GrannyMoon’s Weekly Feast 13-19 May 2019

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Note: There will be no Weekly Feast next week! So enjoy the week!

Blessed be my little witch. To those who came before and those who will come after, know that the Goddess is with you always. Thank you all my dear readers…be blessed.
~GrannyMoon

The NEW MOON always rises at sunrise
And the FIRST QUARTER at noon.
The FULL MOON always rises at sunset
And the LAST QUARTER at midnight.
~The New Orleans Mistic

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Dark Moon — Time to Rest
New Moon — Time to Begin New Projects; Birth; Attraction
Waxing Moon — Time to Grow; Increase
Full Moon — Time to be Fulfilled; Abundance
Waning Moon — Time to Banish; Decrease
Last Sliver of Moon — Time to Die; Letting Go
Dark Moon — Time to Rest Again

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Light A Candle Today!
In many different traditions lighting a candle is a sacred action. It expresses more than words can express. It has to do with gratefulness. From time immemorial, people have lit candles in sacred places. You may want to begin or end your day by the sacred ritual of lighting a candle on this gratefulness. Or you may want to light a birthday candle for a friend. One single guideline is all you need: Slow down and do it with full attention.

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Goddess Month of Maia begins 4/18 – 5/15
Goddess Month of Hera begins 5/16 – 6/12

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Celtic Tree Calendar: Uath (Hawthorn) May 13 to June 9
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Current Moon Phase: Waxing Moon

Time: From New Moon To Full (Approx. 14 Days)

Goddess Aspect: Maiden

Associated Goddesses: Artemis, Branwen, Eriu, Nymph, Epona

Magickal Attributes: Invoking Beginnings, New Projects, Ideas, Inspiration, Energy, Vitality, Freedom. Workings On This Day Are For “Constructive” Magick (Love, Wealth, Success, Courage, Friendship, Luck Or Health.)

Perform magic on waxing moons to attract a new quality or behavior, to increase the light within, to attain personal and spiritual growth and greater awareness. The quarter moon suggests a period of overcoming obstacles and continuing on the path to growth.

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Honoring the Goddess Every Day at GoddessSchool.com
So mote it be!!

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Each And Every Day A Feast Day!
Embrace It!!!

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The GoddessSchool
goddessschool
http://GoddessSchool.com
High Priestess Certification and Ancient Mystery Teachings
Now Taking Students!
High Priestess Mystery School Training
E-mail me ASAP for an application!
GrannyMoonsMail@yahoo.com
http://Goddessschool.com/

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The Goddess School Grimoire’
goddessschool
http://www.lulu.com/shop/sotbb-Goddess-school/the-Goddess-school-grimoire/hardcover/product-762380.html
Hardcover: $39.45
Softback: $26.95
eBook (PDF): $6.25

The Goddess School Grimoire is a collection of recipes, artwork, poetry, prose, prayers, rituals, spells, and practical Goddess wisdom put together by the teachers, students, alumni, and friends of The Sisters of the Burning Branch Goddess School. The sisterhood is dedicated to restoring spiritual balance by returning the Divine Feminine to her rightful place and by assisting women in their personal and spiritual development. Since being founded by Head and High Mother Priestess Grandmother Moon in 2000, The Goddess School (Goddessschool.com) has grown into a large and beautiful global community of women

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GrannyMoon is Founder and Mother High Priestess of GoddessSchool, Sisters of the Burning Branch, dedicated to the Feminine Divine. Living in the Washington, DC suburbs, she attended LDS Seminary, Former staff member and student of the Esoteric Theological Seminary, is an ordained Metaphysical Interfaith minister with doctoral degrees in Theology and Divinity, since 1999. She is a current board member of the Northern Virginia Pagan Pride Day, charter member and former counsel and board member of The Order of the White Moon. A scholar of ancient mysteries, Doula, Reiki Master, Herbalist and Lifetime Member of Herbal Healer Academy, Inc. and former VA State Representative A.R.E.N. Alternative Religions Educational Network. She has dedicated her life to the study and teaching of the Esoteric.

Join me! GrannyMoon@Goddessschool.com http://Goddessschool.com Saturday’s with GrannyMoon!

Face to Face classes at Sticks and Stones – 11037 Lee Highway · Fairfax, VA

On the last Saturday of the month I host the Most Excellent Order of the Black Hat – open to all – a group of solitaires who celebrate the Wheel of the Year. 7:00 – 9:00PM

GrannyMoon’s Herbal Witches Cauldron – Every last Saturday of the month. Explore a new herb or two and work on a hands-on project with us. 4-6PM

WitchCrafting Workshop – The 1st 3 Saturday’s of the month! Noon – 2PM

USUI SHIKI RYOHO REIKI CERTIFICATION with GrannyMoon!
You’ve been selected as an Event Host for this repeating Meetup.

Saturday, June 1,8, 15 2019 – at 2:00 PM

Sticks and Stones ~ Westfair Center
11037 Lee Highway Fairfax, VA 22030 (703)352-2343

Teach a witch a spell and she can do that spell. Teach a witch the craft and she can do magick!

GrannyMoon, Teaching the Craft for over 20 years!

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GrannyMoon Says Today Is: Moon Day Hail Luna! Hail Mani! Energy: Female Ruler: The Moon Magicks involving the subconscious, healing, emotions, love, spirituality, healing wounds, children, small animals, women’s mysteries,mothers, sisters, female partners, wives, instincts
Today’s Magickal Influences: Agriculture, Domestic, Long Life, Medicine,
Travels, Visions, Theft
Today’s Goddesses: Luna, Selene, Diana, Re, Gaeleach, Ida, Artemis [Whom The
Greeks Associated With Bast], The Witches, Yemaya, Erzulie, Bast
Incense: Myrtle
Perfumes: White Poppy, White Rose, Wallflower
Monday – Wear pearl, moonstone, or crystal. Use an emerald for amulets.
Color of The Day: Silver, Grey, White
Colors for Tomorrow: Red
Candle: White
Cooking on Monday will improve magics for creativity, insight, maternal
nature, and Goddess-related efforts. ~Quote from Magickal Martha

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Hail Tyr! GrannyMoon Says Today Is: Tyr’s or Tiu’s Day! Day of Mars, Ares, Tiwaz, Tiw (from whom it is named), Tuisco,. Magickal influences are: Passion, courage, aggression and protection, vitality, passion, ambition and raw, unabashed power. Mars energy makes the mind acute.It is lucky to meet a left-handed person on any day except Tuesday – then it’s an ill omen. A superstition from areas of England that were ruled by the Danelaw, because the day is named for Norse God Týr who sacrificed his right hand to bind the Fenris Wolf. #FolkloreThursday

Tuesday – Wear a ruby, star sapphire, or emerald. Use topaz for amulets.
Today’s Magickal Influences ~ Destination, War, Courage, Surgery, Physical Strength
Be cautious-especially while traveling.
Today’s Goddesses: Aset [Isis], Soorejnaree, Pingalla, Anna, Aine, Danu,
Yngona, Bellona, Aida Wedo, Sun Woman
Perfumes: Hellebore, Carnation, Patchouli
Incense: Lignum Aloes, Plantain
Color of The Day: Red
Colors for Tomorrow: Yellow
Lucky Sign: Tuesday Is The Lucky Day For Aries
Candle: Red
On Tuesday, cooking up a hearty meal featuring carrots, peppers, and garlic (all Mars foods and spices) to empower yourself for victory and success!
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Hail Odin! GrannyMoon Says Today Is: Woden’s or Odin’s Day
Energy: Male Ruler: Mercury – Rules healings, the mind – Use for magick
involving mental issues, learning, higher education, addictions,
communications, travel, young people, messages, perception, self-expression,
artists, poets, and writers
Wednesday – Wear amethyst, star ruby, or lodestone. Use turquoise in amulets.
Today’s Magickal Influences: Conjurations, Predictions, Knowledge, Writing,Eloquence
Incense: Cinnamon, Cinquefoil
Perfumes: Sweetpea, Lavender, Mastic, Frankincense, Cloves
Color of The Day: Yellow, Grey
Colors for Tomorrow: Purple, Indigo, Blue
Candle: Yellow
Lucky Sign: Wednesday Is The Lucky Day For Gemini And Virgo
Today’s Goddesses: Aset [Isis], Demeter, Ceres, Spider Woman, Bona Dea, Oya,
Devi-Kali, Hella, Rhiannon, Coatlique, Maman Brigette, Sekhmet, Hathor
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GrannyMoon Says Today Is: Thor’s Day Hail Thor!

Energy: Male

Ruler: Jupiter

Today’s Magickal Influences ~ Luck, Religion, Healing, Trade And Employment,Treasure, Honors, Riches, Legal Matters,
Use Growth, Expansion, Prosperity, Money, Business, Attracting attracting more of what you have.

Thor’s Day – Wear sapphire, cat’s eye, or carnelian. Use sapphire in rituals.

Today’s Goddesses: Juno, Hera, Kwan Yin, Mary, Cybele, Tara, Mawu, Mlaba Mwana Waresa, Ishtar, Nuit

Color of The Day: Purple, Indigo, Blue

Candle: Purple, Blue

Colors for Tomorrow: Green, Light Blue

Perfumes: Stock, Lilac, Storax, Aloes

Incense: Nutmeg, Henbane

Lucky Sign: Thursday Is The Lucky Day For Sagittarius And Pisces

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Hail Freya! GrannyMoon Says Today Is: Freya’s Day
Energy: Female Ruler: Venus – Rules lovers and pleasure, affairs of the
heart – Use for magick involving love, peace, beauty, gentleness, women’s
problems, healing, protection, lovers, ease, pleasure, affairs. Resolve
quarrels today!
Friday – Cast love spells on Fridays. Wear blue robes and use turquoise, ruby, emerald or cat’s eye.
Today’s Magickal Influences: All Love Matters, Friendships, Affection,
Partnerships, Money, Sex
Today’s Goddesses: Astarte, Aphrodite, Erzulie, Aida Wedo, Eve, Venus,
Freya, Frigg, Diana, Aset [Isis], The Witch Of Gaeta, Chalchiuhtlique
Incense: Saffron, Verbena
Perfumes: Stephanotis, Apple Blossom, Musk, Ambergris
Color of The Day: Light Blue, Pale Green
Candle: Green
Colors for Tomorrow: Black
Lucky Sign: Friday Is The Lucky Day For Taurus And Libra
Saint Jegudiel represents Friday
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Hail Loki! GrannyMoon Says Today Is: Saturn and Loki’s Day
Day of Seatere, Seater, and Saturn and of Loki, the Norse god of tricks and
revelry. Saturday is ruled by Saturn, whose Magickal influences are:
longevity, endings, and homes. Saturday comes under the influence of Saturn.
Saturn’s influence directs our attention toward routine chores, customs, and
conventional traditions. Saturday is a good day for furthering our ambitions
through perseverance, patience, responsible action, and a sense of purpose .
Saturday – Wear turquoise, labradorite, or diamond. Use amethyst.
Saturday is a good day of the week to perform spells and rituals involving
spirit communication, meditation, psychic self-defense, binding, and
locating lost things or missing persons.
Today’s Goddesses: Ops, Rhea, Tellus Mater, Gaia, Eartha, Ge, Tonantzin,
Asherah, Anath, The Shekinah, The Matronit, Mary, Gula, Herodias, Oddudua,
Demeter
Today’s Magickal Influences: Duties, Responsibilities, Finding Families,
Works Of Magic, Buildings, Meditation, Life, Doctrines
Today’s Energies: Female – Rules obstacles, overcoming blockages – Use for
magick involving overcoming limitations, the elderly, endings, deaths,
blocks, constrictions, and those restricting you.
Incense: Pepperwort, Assodilious, Black Poppy Seeds, Henbane, Lodestone,
Myrrh
Perfumes: Hyacinth, Pansy
Color of The Day: Black
Colors for Tomorrow: Orange, Gold and Yellow
Lucky Sign: Saturday Is The Lucky Day For Capricorn And Aquarius
Candle: Black
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Hail Sunna and Sol! GrannyMoon Says Today is: Sun Day
Energy: Male
Ruler: The Sun
Rule health, prosperity, leadership, joy, and protection – Use for magick involving happiness, prosperity, joy, healing, protection, power,
leadership, ego, authority figures, fathers, husbands
Today’s Goddesses: Sunne, Frau Sonne, Aditi, Igaehindvo, Amaterasu, Arinna,
Izanami, Ochumare
Sunday’s Magickal Influences: Health, Healing, Confidence And Hope, Prosperity
Incense: Dragons Blood
Perfumes: Heliotrope, Orange Blossom, Cloves, Frankincense, Ambergris, Musk, Myrrh
Sunday – wear topaz, sunstone, or diamond. Use pearl in crafting talismans.
Color of The Day: Orange, Gold
Colors for Tomorrow: Silver, Gray, White
Lucky Sign: Sunday Is The Lucky Day For Leo
Candle: Yellow

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MARYLAND PSYCHIC FAIR
May 19th, 2019 9 am to 5 pm
1506 Defense Highway, Gambrills, MD 21054

Many of the best psychics, mediums, healers, and readers of all types, along with related arts and crafts vendors from Maryland and the surrounding areas. For both those who are serious or for those who are just curious. Event can be a life changing experience to just a fun time. 3/4 of tables offer some type of readings, 1/4 of tables offer related arts, crafts, books, oils, crystals, information etc.

31 Tables, All under one roof , Indoor Event, Free Parking.
A Fair that is not too large and not too small.

Many of the vendors will be giving Fair Specials and Discounts.
Some of the tables will accept credit cards.

Snacks and soft drinks will be available.

Pre-pay via Eventbrite -Ticket Cost = $5.00 plus service charge.

Pay day of the event, at the door- Ticket = $10.00 (Cash Only)
https://md-psychic-fair.eventbrite.com

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Llewellyn’s Spell A Day
Dandelions and Spirit Contact
May 07, 2019 by James Kambos

Dandelion foliage is a powerful aid in drawing spirits of the deceased. To do this, you’ll need a few dandelion leaves that have never been sprayed with weed killer. You will also need some water, a saucepan with a lid, a cloth, and a scrying tool such as a magic mirror.

Boil the water in the saucepan and add the dandelion leaves. Cover the pan and take it off the heat, then let the mixture steep for a few minutes. When the mixture cools, dampen the cloth with it and wipe off the scrying tool you’ll use. Set the pan near you and begin to scry. Then say:

“Spirit (or deceased’s name), come to me.”

“Come only in love and peace.”

When you see the spirit’s image, you may ask a question. Then thank the spirit and let it go. Afterward, pour the water and leaves respectfully upon the earth. If you didn’t succeed in making contact, try again. Just keep your sessions short.
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Our Lord of Light, IAO Pan
May 09, 2019 by Estha McNevin

If we want to leave behind the doldrums of winter and surpass the storms of spring, we have to look to the sweet promise of summer. This spell is sure to bring the name of Pan to your lips all season as you revel in the unbridled glory and light of regeneration. Find a private, sunny location and place a one-pound container of honey on top of a gold ring or amulet. Clap and slap the earth rhythmically as you chant:

“IAO Pan!”

Be sure to act like a kid: roll all around, gesticulating your jazz hands enthusiastically to consecrate the honey with vigorous solar energy. While you perform this wild celebration of spring, charge the honey with life in the golden and glowing light of the day. Revel in the light with wild abandon. Draw the spirit of the wildwood to bless your enchanted honey with radiance as you cry out:

“O, god of nature!”
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Garden Protection Spell
May 10, 2019 by Ember Grant

If you keep a garden or even just a few houseplants, use this spell to protect them and to encourage healthy, flourishing growth. This spell can be used for any type of plant, indoor or out.

Visualize your plants in perfect health; picture the ideal growing conditions. Imagine an invisible protective shell or bubble around the plants that allows air, light, and water to enter but repels anything harmful, such as pests and disease. Add a quartz crystal to the bed or pot, if desired, as an added protective measure. Chant:

“Roots grow deep, and branches strong,
growing season full and long.
Bless this garden and its yield,
protect it with a magic shield.
Let no weather, pest, or blight
harm these plants, day or night.”
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Lemuria Spell for Ancestors and Spirits
May 11, 2019 by Stephanie Rose Bird

Lemuria is an ancient Roman festival that was held on May 9, 11, and 13. This is the time when a ceremony like the Day of the Dead occurred. The following spell is designed to keep evil ghost spirits of all stripes at bay while also feeding your ancestors.

Begin by taking off your shoes. There shouldn’t be any knots in your clothing either. Walking barefoot wards off evil.

Gather and wash nine black beans in spring water.

Put a cleansed and dry black bean in your mouth. Focus on the work at hand. When ready, spit it over your shoulder. Do not look back.
Incant:

“This I cast;
With these beans, I redeem
me and mine!”

Repeat this action eight more times (for a total of nine times), each time with a fresh bean.)0(
Offering to Mother Earth
May 12, 2019 by Blake Octavian Blair

On Mother’s Day, it’s important to remember to honor Mother Earth, our first mother. Think of a natural feature local to you that you find sacred, such as a stream, a large wall of exposed rock, or a special tree in your yard. These features, while having individual spirits, are also manifestations and parts of the body of our Mother Earth. Gather some eco-friendly offerings for Mother Earth in a small basket or on a tray with a small bell or rattle. Reverently approach your chosen natural feature. Ring the bell or shake the rattle to announce your presence, and petition the spirits and Mother Earth. Sprinkle the offerings at the base of your chosen feature. Offer a prayer, such as the following:

“Mother Earth, I ask thee,
Help me live more gently.
My gratitude to you and
all your creatures.
May they be our sacred teachers.”

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Heartwings Love Notes 879: Mothers are Everywhere and Always

Heartwings says, “Mothers come in all shapes, colors, sizes and kinds.”

When I think of the word mother, I envision a womanly figure with her arms around a child, though not necessarily her child. Many women without children do their share of mothering. One definition of mothering is taking care of or caring for someone. The nature of the caring embraces many actions. A mother cat keeps her kittens close, yet disciplines them as well. A human mother hugs her child and also disciplines that child-hopefully in a loving manner. Mothers of all kinds help children learn limits and learn to respect them.

Growing up, I was fortunate in being given a great deal of unlimited physical freedom. Nobody minded when I climbed trees or played explorer in the marshes behind our home. As long as I stayed on the property I could do as I liked. The few times I ventured off I was severely punished. However, my punishments were not cruel, only restrictive, like being confined to my room for a long period. I’m sure my mother kept an ear out for me while I played. She was at home with me and my siblings. Today’s mothers are fortunate to be able to do that. In some respects it makes mothering more difficult when they can’t.

I went on to have children of my own; all of my girls are now mothers themselves. Sometimes they still need me to mother them; sometimes they even mother me. Mothering does not end when the child is an adult. However as many a mother must discover, mothering must be modified if one does not wish to annoy one’s children. There is a fine line between caring for someone you love and overdoing it: smothering versus mothering. Kindness is defined by how it affects the recipient; helicopter parenting, as it is called can have negative results of all kinds. Limits are for parents as well as for children.

Teachers mother students; some animals have been known to mother young ones not of their kind; I was comforted by the trees I spent hours sitting in– reading, and writing poems. Mothering is of the heart–the heart of the receiver as well as the giver. A difficult childhood results when the mother is unhappy or ill prepared for motherhood. It is easier to judge one’s childhood experience as an adult. Also, not only women can mother. Men can as well. I see them, infants on their backs or in a stroller, tending little ones in a loving manner. On this Mothers’ Day In my heart I honor all those who have mothered me, and I am grateful to each and every one.

May you have fond memories of those who have mothered you.

Blessings and Best Regards, Tasha Halpert <tashahal@gmail.com>

Do you have stories to share about mothers you knew or enjoyed? Please share, as I do so love to hear from my readers, and I promise to respond as well.

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Many Uses of Mint for Health and Home!
By Margaret Boyles

Mint leaves for tea, food, health, home, and garden!

What do you know about the mint family, Lamiaceae, the sixth- or seventh-largest of the flowering plant families. There are so many benefits of mint leaves: in food, drink, health, home, and garden!

Meet the Mints
There’s a lot to admire about the family of plants that provides most of our common culinary herbs (e.g., basil, oregano, marjoram, rosemary, sage, thyme, summer and winter savories), many of our favorite tea herbs, and dozens (perhaps hundreds) of traditional medicinal herbs, not to mention many aromatics for use in flavorings, perfumes, and cosmetics.

You’ll also find some of them among our favorite landscaping plants. Think salvias, agastaches, and lavenders, bee-balms, hyssop, and Russian sage. All summer, they produce nectar-rich blossoms, which attract bees and beneficial pollinators along with an occasional hummingbird.

Many, if not most mint-family members contain strongly aromatic oils (think lavender, rosemary, basil, thyme, and sage), which account for their many uses as seasoning, flavoring, and perfuming agents.

Most of the mints that I grow also have telltale square stems and delicate pinkish, lavender, or blue flowers. One outlier that’s become a favorite in my summer herb garden: the bright red bee-balm that seeds itself all over the place, makes a great cut flower, and serves as a tasty tea to boot.

I grow most of the annual and perennial culinary species, plus bee-balm, lemon-balm, and hyssop in my garden (or, cold-sensitive species such as rosemary and lavender) in my greenhouse year-round.

Wild Mint Varieties
Out of curiosity, I started researching this plant family a couple of weeks ago because of the numbers of wild, invasive mint species that sprawl impressively, though uninvited, over my lawns and gardens. These perennials spread through underground stems (rhizomes) as well as seeds.

The spearmint, especially nasty, has woven an enormous network of tough, quarter-inch-thick rhizomes under an entire flower bed, spilling out into a large section of lawn, sending up a new plant every inch or two from the underground nodes. I’ve pulled up yards and yards and yards of the ropey invaders, but they still keep coming.

Wild catnip has invaded my biggest vegetable garden, seeding itself especially thick around the edges of the asparagus bed. We haven’t had cats for a couple of years to enjoy rolling around in the fresh leaves, though I’ve pulled many of the small plants to dry for winter tea. But the catnip I’ve pulled and disposed of would make a cup or two of soothing nighttime tea for every resident of Merrimack County.

The ground-ivy comes up all over the lawn, but especially enjoys wandering into tilled soil. Once the snow melts and the spring rains come, it spreads rapidly into the vegetable garden beside our pond, turning into a thick mat sporting delicate purple flowers.
Although I find it annoying, it’s nowhere near as difficult to eradicate as spearmint. I’ve learned I can pull up a large mat of it using a spading fork stuck in at a shallow angle. During one of these digging exercises, I had an epiphany: What if I tilled up the poor, weedy soil around our septic system clean-outs and planted a few of these ground-ivy mats to grow as a ground cover in the unsightly spot? I plan to do just that right after our regularly scheduled septic-system maintenance this week.

Medicinal Use of Mint Plants: Use Caution

One thing I’ve learned from my research is that most Lamiaceae have been used for centuries in traditional medicine. Many, perhaps most, are currently under investigation for potential uses in human and veterinary medicine, as insecticides or insect repellents, and as antifungal or antibacterial protection for crop plants.

These are potent plants, full of phytocompounds that plants manufacture to protect themselves against harmful bacteria, viruses, and other assaults from the environments they evolved in.

If herbal medicine interests you, please approach the mints, especially their essential oils, tinctures, and concentrated extracts, with care. This goes for both over-the-counter and homemade remedies.

Although many have been used by traditional healers around the world for centuries, most herbs haven’t undergone rigorous testing for safety and efficacy, especially in pregnant/nursing women, children, elders, and people with chronic illnesses.
Seek out as much information as you can from books, online sources, and experienced herbalists in your area. Inform your healthcare practitioner whenever you begin using an herbal remedy.

Most herbalists recommend staying away from ingesting essential oils as medicines unless under the care and observation of a medical provider experienced with herbal medicines. Out of an abundance of caution, herbalists also urge pregnant and breastfeeding moms, as well as people with serious chronic diseases to avoid even using mint-family essential oils in massage oils.

Many mint-family species contain potent phytocompounds that affect the endocrine system, sometimes dramatically. For example, sage and peppermint, even as tea or food flavorings, can reduce the milk supply in breastfeeding women. The essential oil of pennyroyal, historically used to induce menstruation or as an abortifacient, can be lethal if ingested in a large enough dose to accomplish those purposes.

Some mints contain strongly psychoactive compounds. Among the most potent: the hallucinogenic Salvia divinorum, whose use and/or sale has been banned in many nations, as well as half of U.S. states.

But there are many safe uses for mint-family herbs besides beautifying your gardens.

Safe Uses of Mint Plants

” Tea: What we usually call the “mints” (peppermint, spearmint, apple mint, etc., in the genus mentha, and catnip, in the genus nepeta) are traditional tea herbs. They’re beloved not only for their delicious taste and invigorating aromas, but also for easing queasy stomachs, calming anxiety, and promoting restful sleep.
” Flavor cubes: Freeze a few trays of strong mint tea, then use the ice cubes for cooling summer drinks.
” Hair rinse: Add one part strong mint (especially rosemary) tea to one part cider vinegar for a conditioning rinse you can either leave in or rinse out. The vinegary smell dissipates after drying.
” Facial astringent: Add a few finely minced leaves of fresh peppermint or other mint to a cup of witch hazel. Store in a glass jar for a week or more, shaking occasionally. Strain the herbs from the mixture after a week.
” Mouthwash: Chop a quarter cup of fresh mint, bee-balm, lemon balm, basil, thyme, or oregano leaves and infuse in a quart of boiling water. When cool, strain the herbs and store in the refrigerator.
” Breath freshener: Just chew on a few mint leaves. Sage teas and extracts have been used for centuries as a mouthwash for oral infections. Don’t use chew mint-family herbs if you’re breastfeeding, as even small amounts or sage and peppermint may reduce milk supply.
” Scent up a space: Use the essential oil of your favorite mint-family plant in a diffuser, or using a cotton ball, spread a few drops on a light bulb.
” Moth repellent/scented sachet: Tie a few branches of strongly scented mint (peppermint, sage, lavender, rosemary, bee-balm) together, or pull off a handful of leaves, and stuff them into the leg of an old nylon stocking. Suspend by a string inside a garment bag, tuck into bags of stored woolen clothing, or just place in your drawers to let your clothes soak up the scent. Refresh periodically to keep the scent fresh.
” Dream pillows and nighttime face masks: Lavender is such a well-known relaxant, many folks buy or make their own pillows or face masks to lull them to sleep. To make your own, crumble a few dried lavender flowers into the flax seed you’ll use for the pillow stuffing.
” Lavender mist: An easier way to use lavender to help you off to dreamland: Mix a few drops of lavender essential oil with a cup of vodka in a spray bottle. No, don’t drink it! Just mist your pillowcase, your sleep mask, or even your nightshirt lightly before turning in. It may take a bit of experimentation to get this whole thing right.
” Ant Repellent: A few stems of mint, gently crushed and placed near suspected entry points really does deter ants, though you need to replace the mint with fresh material every few days. Some gardeners clip bits of mint over mulch beneath veggies of interest to insects, which may confuse pests in search of host plants.
Do you use mint for anything else? Let us know in the comments!

About This Blog
“Living Naturally” is all about living a naturally healthy lifestyle. Margaret Boyles covers health tips, ways to avoid illness, natural remedies, food that’s good for body and soul, recipes for homemade beauty products, ideas to make your home a healthy and safe haven, and the latest news on health. Our goal is also to encourage self-sufficiency, whether it’s relearning some age-old skills or getting informed on modern improvements that help us live better, healthier lives.

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Do You ACTUALLY Have to Pick Herbs?
By Alex Delany

Well, that depends. Are they hardy? Are they tender? And how lazy are you?

Spending your time meticulously plucking herb leaves off of their stems is pretty much nobody’s idea of a good time. You’ve got better stuff to do! So do you actually…need to? Well, let’s start with the good news: You don’t always have to. But there’s also some bad news: Sometimes you do. That’s just the way life works though, a constant mix of good and bad, plucking and not plucking.

So how do you decide whether or not you need to spend time plucking? Great question. It really depends on what type of herb you’re working with, what you’re using it for, and also, how ambitious or lazy you’re feeling.

The first question you should ask when approaching a bundle of herbs is, Can I eat the stem? For so-called “hardy” herbs the answer is usually no. When we say hardy herbs, we mean stuff like rosemary, thyme, oregano, and sage. These are herbs with a more woody flavor and stems that are tough, chewy, fibrous, and generally unpleasant to put in your mouth. For hardy herbs, you almost always want to pick the leaves from the stems. (We’ll get to the “almost” part later.)

Now let’s talk about “tender” herbs—mint, dill, parsley, cilantro, and basil. And in this case, the answer varies. You should always pick mint leaves from the stem, because even though the leaves of the herb itself is tender, the stems are bitter and woody, more like the hardy herbs we talked about earlier. When it comes to basil and dill, the answer depends. You should use the stems when they’re soft and thin and remove them when they’re stocky. That’s a judgement call. When in doubt, give it a nibble.

And then there are the truly tender herbs, parsley and cilantro. The stems will always be tender, edible, and—here’s the kicker—even more flavorful than the leaves. (It’s true!) Including the finely-chopped stems adds crunch to sauces, salads, and soups, which means you don’t have to pick the leaves from the stems. That’s a win-win.

But there are times when, regardless of the texture or taste of the stem, you want to take the time to pluck those leaves. These instances are all dictated by how you’re using the leaves. If you want a more subtle flavor and a more elegant texture for garnishes or herb salads, pick your herb leaves. They’ll look prettier and give a gentler flavor to your dish.
Making a pot of stock You can just throw those sprigs in stems and all you’ll just strain them out later.p

Making a pot of stock? You can just throw those sprigs in, stems and all—you’ll just strain them out later.

There are also certain situations where you might end up adding any kind of herb to a dish—a braise, say, or a pot of stock—and then plucking them out, straining the liquid or oil they’re in, or otherwise removing them before the dish is finished. In these cases, you can go ahead and throw a few sprigs in, stems and all—they’ll infuse the dish with flavor, and those stems won’t end up on anyone’s plate.

And that’s that. There’s no tidy, one-size-fits-all answer to this whole herb picking question. It’s all circumstantial, and it’s up to you to know what exactly you’re looking for and working with. Do the stems taste good? Do you have the time? What kind of flavor are you going for? This could be some large metaphor for navigating your life and relationships. But it’s not. It’s about picking your herbs.

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How to Select and Care for a Crystal
by Richard Webster

People have been fascinated with crystals and gemstones for thousands of years. Their color and beauty made them mankind’s first precious objects, and they would have used them for decorative purposes, as well as symbols of power and authority. According to the book of Exodus, Aaron, the High Priest of Israel, wore a twelve-jeweled breastplate. Precious stones were also used as amulets and talismans, showing that people have always been aware of their spiritual and protective aspects. Using crystals for healing and divination was a logical development of this. People still use crystals and gemstones for all of these purposes today. Some years ago, a friend made me an amulet of green jade that I wear for a number of reasons, including protection and luck.

When my family were young, we regularly visited a huge crystal store in a small town about sixty miles from home. It was housed in an old movie theater that our three children thought was haunted. On each visit, they happily spent an hour or two selecting stones that appealed to them. On one occasion, when my daughter was about twelve, I asked her why she’d chosen a particular stone, and she replied that it felt right. I was excited as, up until then, she’d always chosen stones solely on how they looked. Unknowingly, she’d discovered the best way to choose a crystal: it has to feel “right.”

Try to handle as many crystals and gemstones as possible before buying one. If you’re in a store that sells crystals, ask permission before handling their stones. When you find one that appeals to you, place it on your left palm and cover it gently with your right palm. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths while focusing on the palms of your hands. See what thoughts, feelings , and other sensations come to you. Trust your intuition. If the stone is the right one for you, it will feel “right.” Even if the stone feels right, confirm this by repeating this process with several other stones before buying it.

There are other ways to handle a crystal while deciding which one to buy. You might like to hold it in the palm of one hand and gently close the fingers of the same hand over it. You might hold it between your thumb and first finger. You could place the crystal on a flat surface and hold your palms facing each other an inch or two away from each side of the stone. If you use a pendulum, you might like to hold it over any stones that appeal to you and see how your pendulum responds. A friend of mine uses his body as a pendulum. He places a selection of stones in front of him, closes his eyes, relaxes his body, and thinks of his need for a suitable stone. When he opens his eyes, his body will have moved unconsciously and he’ll be looking at the crystal that’s right for him.

Body dowsing, as this process is called, is also a good method to use when you can’t choose between two stones. Place one stone slightly to your left, and the other slightly to your right. Close your eyes, take a few slow, deep breaths and ask yourself, “Which of these stones is better for me now?” When you open your eyes, you’ll find that your body will be indicating the stone you need to buy.

The right stone will protect, guide, and help you in everything you do. Consequently, it’s important to take your time in choosing your stone. The more stones you handle, the easier it will be to recognize the right one when you find it.

Once you’ve found the right stone you’ll need to look after it. You should cleanse your crystal regularly to remove any negativity that might be affecting it. This is especially important when you first obtain it, as you’ll want to eliminate any energies the stone might have picked up before it came into your possession.

There are many ways to do this. These include water; smudging; exposing the crystal to the rays of the sun and the moon; burying it in the earth or a container of raw salt, brown rice, or dried herbs; or even placing it in the freezer for a few hours. My favorite method is to pass the crystal several times through the smoke produced by a smudge stick. However, this isn’t always convenient, and is potentially dangerous as smudge sticks give off a great deal of heat.

Probably the simplest and easiest method is to use your breath. Hold your crystal in your cupped hands and blow on it while focusing on your intention of cleansing it. Do this at least seven times, turning the crystal each time to make sure that every part of it receives your breath.

Ideally, you should keep your crystal somewhere where it will receive plenty of sunlight and fresh air. Crystals also like to rest on natural surfaces, such as wood, glass, silk, and other natural fibers. Please don’t hide it away in a jewelry box, drawer, or any other closed container.

The best way to get to know your crystal is to carry it around with you. Hold it or stroke it whenever you find yourself in a stressful situation or feel the need for more energy or confidence. Talk to your crystal, silently or out loud. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the helpful answers that will appear in your mind. Your stone will become a good friend that will guide and protect you in every area of your life.

You might decide to keep your crystal as a friend and confidante. Alternatively, you might want to dedicate it to a specific purpose, such as remembering past lives, attracting prosperity, improving your memory, handling grief, or attracting love.

To do this, decide on a specific intention and create a sentence that encapsulates what you want your crystal to do for you. A good way to start is to use the words, “I intend this crystal,” followed by whatever it is you desire. If you want to attract good luck into your life your sentence might be: “I intend this crystal to attract all the good luck I need in every area of my life.” This is a general good luck intention. You might want to attract luck into a specific part of your life, such as your career, health, relationships, sport, or gambling. If you want good luck in relationships, you might write: “I intend this crystal to provide advice, protection, and good luck in every area of my love life.”

Once you’ve created this intention, carry your crystal everywhere with you and hold or stroke it whenever you affirm to yourself that you’re a lucky person who deserves a good, honest, loving partner. Assure yourself that good things happen to you because you’re a lucky person, and that you’ll recognize the right person as soon as he or she comes into your life.

Every morning, hold your crystal and say: “I am a lucky person. Good things happen to me every day. The universe will bring the right person to me.” This is a positive affirmation, and whenever possible you should repeat it out loud three times, increasing the volume and intensity with each repetition.

Remember to thank your crystal whenever you receive good luck of any kind. Even though you might be asking for luck in relationships, you should also thank it when, for instance, you find a parking space exactly where and when you want it.

Once you’ve achieved your goal, you can dedicate your stone to another purpose, if you wish. Alternatively, you might find another stone that you can dedicate to your new intention. In my case, by the time I’d reached this point, I already had several crystals. You’ll probably be the same.

Please look after your crystals. Give them the care and love they deserve, and they’ll repay you in many different ways.

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Worry
By Madisyn Taylor

Worry is an extension of fear, and can also set you up for attracting that which you don’t want in your life.
We have all had the experience of worrying about something at some point in our lives. Some of us have a habitual tendency to worry, and all of us have known someone who is a chronic worrier. Worry is an extension of fear and can be a very draining experience. In order for worry to exist, we have to imagine that something bad might happen. What we are worrying about has not happened yet, however, so this bad thing is by definition a fantasy. Understood this way, worry is a self-created state of needless fear. Still, most of us worry.

One reason we worry is because we feel like we’re not in control. For example, you might worry about your loved ones driving home in bad weather. There is nothing you can do to guarantee their safe passage, but you worry until you find out they have reached their destination unharmed. In this instance, worry is an attempt to feel useful and in control. However, worrying does nothing to ensure a positive outcome and it has an unpleasant effect on your body, mind, and spirit. The good news is that there are ways to transform this kind of worry so that it has a healing effect.

Just as worry uses the imagination, so does the antidote to worry. Next time you find that you are worrying, imagine the best result instead of anticipating the worst outcome. Visualize your loved ones’ path bathed in white light and clearly see in your mind’s eye their safe arrival. Imagine angels or guides watching over them as they make their way home. Generate peace and well-being instead of nervousness and unease within yourself.

Another reason we worry is that something that we know is pending but are avoiding is nagging us–an unpaid parking ticket, an upcoming test, an issue with a friend. In these cases, acknowledging that we are worried and taking action is the best solution. If you can confront the situation and own your power to change it, you’ll have no reason to worry.

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6 Ways to Build Bridges to the Spirit World
by Devin Hunter

In the Witch Power Series, (The Witch’s Book of Power, The Witch’s Book of Spirits, and The Witch’s Book of Mysteries) we take a deep dive into the concepts of power and how we as witches cultivate it. One of the central themes throughout the series is the notion that witchcraft and the spirit world are uniquely tied together and that building a deeper practice often means building bridges between ourselves and the spirit world. This isn’t always easy; society conditions us to trade our ties to the otherworldly for a sense normalcy and control. As witches, however, much of what we do depends on breaking through the copacetic and embracing the transcendental. Here are six things you can do right now to start building deeper relationships with the spirit world.

Be here now. One of the trappings we easily fall into as sentient beings is losing ourselves in thought (especially about the past and future), completely overlooking the importance of the moment. The should-haves and what-ifs are always going to be there—that is a normal part of life. They can’t, however, take over, which is what tends to happen when we let ourselves slip into streams of regret, fear, anxiety, and worry. Each of these things is a necessary component to a healthy mind, but they also can get in the way of living in the moment.

When we invoke our spirits, we often seal it by commanding them to, “BE HERE NOW!” This, too, is a requirement of us. We have to meet the spirit world halfway. Practice mindfulness techniques, like savoring meals and acknowledging the origin of your food, taking sixty seconds to check-in with your body throughout the day, checking in with your spirit allies on a regular basis, and observing your environment with your ESP skills. When in doubt, remember to think, “Where, What, How, Who.” Where am I? What am I doing? How does it feel to be me right now? Who (of my allies) is with me right now? Answering these questions will help bring your attention to the present moment and empower your connection to your spirit allies.

Stop waiting for a phenomenon to feel your connection. We tend to wait for some preternatural event to happen before we really tune-in to the forces that surround us and pay attention to the messages we are receiving. It shouldn’t take that much work to get the point across to us, nor should that level of effort be a requirement for communication. Spirits are everywhere, and they are constantly reaching out to us through coincidence, inspiration, dreams, and symbolism. Those spirits capable of doing something flashy to get our attention are few and far between, so waiting on them to mysteriously enter our life to jump start our spiritual awakening isn’t likely to be fruitful.

If you struggle to get clear messages from spirits, try working with a tool such as a talking (spirit) board, the tarot, oracle cards, runes, or a dial plate. I use these tools constantly to help clarify communication from the spirit world when my other gifts feel cloudy. I often recommend dedicating a deck to the ally(ies) with which you work with the most and then incorporating a daily reading into your practice to build your connection to them.

Because we are essentially swimming in an ocean of spiritual energy, it is vital to create spaces for specific energies and spirits to coalesce. Traditionally, we do this by building altars, crafting ritual rooms, and dedicating sacred groves. These become the base of operations, where our human lives become uniquely intertwined with those of our beloved allies. Having a space where we can meet the spirits we work with is excellent, but not always something we can do, and aren’t things that are particularly portable. We don’t always get to go to or have access to these designated spaces, so carrying them with you is important.

We can do this by dedicating and empowering amulets and talismans, or even by tattooing our bodies. Now, I am not suggesting everyone go out and get a tattoo to commemorate their connection to the spirit world, but having a direct link no matter where you go can be an incredible boon. We often refer to our bodies as temples; if this is true, then our skin is the altar. The jewelry, clothing, and accessories we wear are all part of how we dress that altar. Wearing articles that are empowered to keep you connected to your altar, and the work you are doing there, will help to anchor that magic in the everyday and connect you to your allies in a deeper way.

Go where the spirits are. One of the best way to learn a language is through the process of “total immersion.” The concept is to essentially stick someone in the middle of a location where a different language is spoken, and that by necessity we will pick up that language more quickly than we otherwise would have. We can apply this same concept to learning the language of spirits. It may sound obvious, but visiting places where spirits are known to gather can give you deep insights about your particular psychic abilities and how spirits interreact with them. I am often referring students to cemeteries, hospitals, natural wonders, and other locations known for higher levels of spirit activity.

By visiting these locations, you can gain hands-on experience dealing with all kinds of spirits, in a mostly controlled setting. Because it is highly unlikely that a spirit would follow you home from its own home, going to these places and making offerings, petitions, or even just to clean up, are all excellent ways to make yourself known to them. Being sure, of course, to check-in with your own spirit guides before venturing off to do so.

Don’t be boring. It is a well-known fact that spirits hate boring people. Don’t blame me, I’m just the messenger! In all seriousness, though, it isn’t very likely that spirits will find you interesting if you don’t find yourself interesting. I mean, could you blame them? Who wants to hang out with a boring person all day long, hoping that they would break their boredom long enough to notice them?

One of the best ways to increase the consistency of your spiritual encounters is to go do something! Especially if you feel inspired by it. When we light up with passion, the spirit world goes wild and, like moths to a light bulb, new allies will present themselves. This can happen on a regular walk through the park, when you’re working on a project, even when you’re cooking! Whatever you’re passionate about, go do more of that. If you don’t have a passion, then start exposing yourself to new experiences. At the end of the day, we need to stir up the energy in our lives that would otherwise become stagnant and keeping yourself from being sedentary in mind, body, and spirit is an excellent way to ensure that happens.

Recognize your existing connections. Spirits aren’t just something that we find later in life—we’ve had spirits around us since before we were born. Often we approach the work of building bridges with the spirit world as a new task, when in reality we have always been building these bridges. Understanding that you are guided by the spirit world means understanding that this has always and will always be the case. Reach back through your memories and identify those allies who have been with you since the beginning.

To do this, I recommend looking back on big moments in life: graduations, weddings, the birth of a child—even the not so good things like car accidents or the loss of a loved one. In those moments we are surrounded by our spirit allies, even if we don’t perceive them in the moment. In meditation, go back to those times and relive that memory as an outsider, this time looking for the people you couldn’t see before.

Spirits and witches go together like sunlight and solar panels. The more time we spend soaking up their wisdom and magic, the stronger our craft will become and the brighter we will be able to shine. Beyond grand acts of ritual there are real-world, practical things that we can do in the moment to bridge the personal gap between ourselves and the spirit world. Often it comes down to taking time for ourselves and our allies, but beyond that the work involved requires us to live in the moment and to embrace the power that we already know is there. Sometimes the tools necessary to do this are right in front of us, while sometimes we have to find new ones, but as witches we never stop building our bridges to the other side. Building them with intention and purpose, however, allows us to truly thrive.

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Balancing Your Warrior Spirit
By Madisyn Taylor

When we recognize our warrior self, we can exhibit strength without sacrificing tenderness.

The human soul is dynamic, adapting readily to the changing conditions we encounter as time marches unerringly forward. Though we may use a single set of characteristics to define ourselves, we slip easily into contradictory roles when circumstances necessitate doing so. When we feel called to explore the way of the warrior, we may feel a strong sense of dismay because we have no wish to disavow ourselves of our softer side. Yet embracing the warrior spirit is not a matter of denying gentleness or compassion–all human beings embody all traits to some degree, and seemingly contradictory aspects can coexist peacefully within us. We can exhibit strength without sacrificing tenderness precisely because both are elements of the self and both have a role to play in the complexity of existence.

Balance is the key that unlocks the door of peaceable coexistence where opposing characteristics of the self are concerned. The warrior spirit, when allowed free reign, is overpowering and all-consuming. If it is to be an affirmative force in our lives, it must be tempered with wisdom and moderation. Our inner warriors are ready to react instantly to conflict, chaos, and confusion, while nonetheless remaining committed to a path of goodwill and fairness. They lie at the root of our dedication to integrity but do not drive us to use our strength to coerce others into adopting our values. The warrior may be nourished by raw emotions with the potential to cause us to lash out, but it channels that energy into positive and constructive action.

Your inner warrior is one source of strength you can draw upon in times of great need. When you employ your warrior spirit thoughtfully, it manifests itself as clarity, focus, determination, courage, constancy, and an unflappable zest for life. The warrior views roadblocks as evolutionary opportunities and is not afraid to pursue a purpose to its climax. There is more than enough room in the existence of the warrior for softness and benevolence, and the warrior’s willingness to stand up for their beliefs can aid you greatly as you strive to incorporate these ideals into your existence. Exploring this unique side of yourself is a means of broadening your reality so you can internalize mindfulness while meeting life’s challenges with an intensity of spirit that never wavers.

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The Juniper Berry

When you think of juniper, do you reflect on the landscaping shrub found in public parks and gardens? Or maybe you’re familiar with juniper’s needle-like greenery as a bonsai enthusiast. But there’s so much more to know about this coniferous member of the cypress family!

For starters, juniper yields a spice and an essential oil. A clue to its character is revealed by taxonomy: its name is derived from the Latin junio, meaning “young,” and parere, which means “produce.”

Put together, the designation suggests something evergreen, or forever young. Indeed, many indigenous peoples living near stands of juniper attribute the plant with bestowing them with long life and vitality, as well as food and fuel.

The dark purple fruits of the small tree are actually two-year old female seed cones masquerading as a berry with scales. This fact has not deterred epicureans of days long past, nor gastronomes of the present day.

In fact, for centuries, juniper berries have been used as a flavoring agent for game meats, sauerkraut and other pickled foods, as well as beer, like the French genevrette, a brew made from equal amounts of juniper berries and hops.

The frosty gin and tonic you occasionally enjoy on a summer’s evening is brought to you by – you guessed it – juniper berry, the primary spirit in the spirit.

Even the folks at Starbuck’s capitalized on the complex flavor of juniper berry – peppery with slight citrusy and pine-like undertones – when the company introduced their Juniper Latte around Thanksgiving last year.

If you’re a foodie, or just appreciate good flavor, you must get to know gemeiner wachholder, aka juniper berry, a bit better.

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Stephen Halpert
Bedtime Story

Judy Wren was the romance editor at Gifford’s, an old Boston publishing firm that had been founded on penny dreadfuls and today sold a varied line of pulp fiction. Judy shared an office with her good buddy Betsy Daniels who edited thrillers and supernatural titles. Both were in their late thirties, single and often shared lunch downstairs at the first floor bistro.
On that particular day Betsy had to attend a meeting, leaving Judy to eat her lunch alone. Looking around the bistro from her corner table Judy saw at attractive stranger eating a sandwich while he perused several of the lurid paperbacks recently published by Gifford’s. His intense blue eyes, determined chin and rugged shoulders captivated her. Dressed like a State Street banker, his suave debonair appearance reminded her of the Hollywood actor Cary Grant.
Furtively she opened her device and took several photos. She couldn’t wait to show them to Betsy. Here was everything she thought she’d ever want in a man. Thinking that gave her a chill. She considered introducing herself but instead paid for her lunch and retreated to the elevators.
Later that afternoon, back in their office she asked Betsy. “What do you do when you find the perfect man? And no wedding ring.”
“Run like hell. Keep your distance,” Betsy’s voice was emphatic. “You never know when a hunk like that might turn out to be a shade or even maybe a ghost.”
Judy laughed. “You’ve been editing weird stuff for too long. I did get a couple of pictures.” Judy opened her device and handed it to Betsy.
Betsy looked and frowned. “Nothing here but blurry shadows.” She handed Judy back her device.
“That’s strange. I thought the lighting down there was decent.”
“Just be careful. You have no idea how many vampires or other weird creatures prowl the streets these days.”
Judy sighed. When I graduated college I promised myself to put my career ahead of any marital possibilities. Now I think I’ve made a terrible blunder.”
Betsy peered at her over the rim of her glasses. “Maybe a lot of us feel that way. But cheer up it’s never too late.”
“Sure,” Judy said, and until closing edited an edgy tale of a woman obsessed with her dentist.
The next morning Judy saw him getting into the elevator. She wanted to say something but the doors closed and left her staring after him. Over lunch she raved about him to Betsy.
Betsy chuckled. “I guess this hunk occupies first place in your fantasy hall of fame.”
Judy blushed. “I don’t remember sharing my hall of fame with you.” She paused. “I did notice one odd thing.”
Betsy leaned forward. “What?”
“Well,” Judy took a breath, “you know the painting of our founder, the one that hangs in the conference room?”
Judy raised her eyebrows, “Yes, so what?”
“He looks like a younger version.”
“That’s odd,” Betsy said. She paused. “Not to change the subject but what did the doctor tell you about those heart palpitations you’ve been having?”
Judy frowned. “He wants me to come in for tests, said it was probably nothing but he wanted to check.”
Well that’s a good idea,” Betsy said. “You keep me in the loop now, I care about you.”
After work that afternoon she saw him in the lobby at the newsstand. Rather than rush over and introduce herself she chose to follow him. After several blocks, he vanished. One minute his rugged shoulders were just ahead of her, the next moment he was gone.
“Where are you?” she cried aloud.
“Right here beside you,” came the jaunty voice of an older man carrying groceries.
Her face reddened. “Not you!”
“Oh,” he smiled. “You must have been thinking out loud. I do that a lot. Drives my wife crazy.”
She clutched her handbag, looked straight ahead and walked faster. How could he just disappear that way? Unless he wasn’t there. Could she be imagining him? She decided the next time she saw him she would confront him. I’ve got to stop acting this way, she told herself. No man is worth this kind of aggravation.
That Saturday evening she attended a full moon birthday bash for Ray, one of the illustrators in the art department. Just for fun she wore her new backless black cocktail dress. She had bought it on a whim over a year ago in a fancy boutique while attending a conference in Montreal but hadn’t worn it until now for fear of giving men the wrong impression.
When she arrived at Ray’s loft in Chinatown the bash was well under way. A jazz combo hammered out Dixieland, the drinks were flowing, the smell of pot noticeable. Everyone was chatting amicably, some standing by the buffet, others siting at café tables near the fluted glass windows that overlooked the city.
He was there! She saw him standing by one of the windows. Taking a deep breath she walked over.
Nervously she smiled. “I’m Judy Wren. We haven’t been introduced but I’ve seen you….”
He nodded; his eyes took her in and he smiled politely. Oddly he remained silent.
She didn’t know what to think. “What’s your name?” she asked.
He smiled again, this time winningly.
“I’m really bad at small talk,” she began, and then she heard her name being called. She turned around.
“Judy, we’re over here.” Betsy Daniels and Fran Crosby were waving from a café table. “Come join us.”
“I’ll be right back,” she said. She turned and went toward them. “Betsy did you see him? He’s standing over there by the windows. I finally got a chance to say hello.”
Betsy pulled out a chair for her. “Over where? And what did he say?”
She frowned. “Nothing. He didn’t say anything. I thought he was going to, and then you called me.”
Betsy smiled and gently placed her hand over Judy’s. “When Fran and I came in we saw you standing over by the window. But you were by yourself. We didn’t see you talking to anyone.”
“Are you sure?”
They nodded.
“But I just talked to him. I saw him as clearly as I’m seeing the two of you right now.” Her heart felt as if it had turned over in her chest. She looked toward the window. No one stood there.
Fran smiled sympathetically.
“Judy you’re a true romantic,” Betsy said. “That’s why your titles sell so well. You make them seem incredibly real.”
“Real,” Judy said. She shook her head. “I guess.” She finished her drink. She didn’t feel all that well. “I know it’s early but I’m tired. I think I’ll go home. See you Monday.”
In her bedroom Judy undressed and changed into her silk nightie and a robe. For a lark she dabbed some perfume behind her ears. Looking at herself in the mirror she smiled. She felt a bit better. Maybe I’ll watch an old Cary Grant movie on Netflix, she thought.
She headed into her living room, sat down on the couch, and picked up the remote. As she flicked though the channels, something caught her eye. She turned her head and there he was, smiling at her. He was wearing a velvet maroon smoking jacket, ruffled shirt, and trousers. He held out his hand. “I’ve been waiting for you,” he said. “Waiting for the right time.”
As if in a dream she stood up and took his hand. “You have?”
“Yes, and now it’s time.”
The next day, Betsy, nervous that Judy hadn’t answered her phone calls let herself into her friend’s apartment with the extra key. To her relief, she saw her sitting on the couch. Her eyes were open and there was a sweet smile on her face.
“Why didn’t you answer your phone? I was worried about you.”
But there was no response. She drew closer and put her hand on Judy’s shoulder. It was then that she realized she wasn’t breathing.

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Weekly Horoscopes Beginning Sunday, 12 May 2019

If you`re born within cusp period (16 to 26 of any month); you`re advised to read horoscopes of both signs covered by that period. You`re in the border; you may have influences from houses within those signs.

Outlines are longer versions; consists of every possible detail of everyday and based on three parts of each sign: 1st, 2nd & 3rd Decan; that is, any of three divisions of 10° within a sign of the zodiac. Even if you know or don`t know your Decan; I recommend, please read all three Decan.

Aries
Personal theme: I am!!
Fire & cardinal sign: March 21 — April 19

Your horoscope for this week:

After weeks of informative discussions, you`re impatient.. Ideas need to be turned into action. Things seem clear, but you`re short of facts, as you`ll discover if you move too swiftly. Ordinarily, you`d rather dive in, and deal with events as they arise. Be patient. Judging by the stunning links being formed between the Sun, Saturn and Pluto, planet of transformation, this week`s breakthroughs are worth waiting for.

People will blossom under your guidance. That`s why others look to you to take charge of a group project. Take this welcome opportunity to exercise your leadership skills. Being in the driver`s seat will remind you of how much you enjoy the challenge of leading a team to success. When an opportunity to better yourself arises, someone in the family will give you a push in the right direction. Family are supportive of your dreams.

Before next weekend`s Full Moon both Venus, and your ruling planet Mars, will have changed signs. The fact that they do this within 48 hours of one another suggests that you might take fast action. Imagine using a highway where you need to change lane quickly: initially the priority may be to conserve fuel. Having done that though, you could then find it a challenge to overtake someone driving too slowly; and that`s really the problem in this working week, that others just don`t get the sense of urgency you feel. You have to be careful that you don`t come across as being overly emotional or demanding. It`s likely imperative that you also show that you are aware of practicalities and indeed have a long-term vision. Without this, it might be all too easy for others to ignore what you have to say: thinking that you`re en-route to expensive disaster.

Taurus
Personal theme: I have!!
Earth & fixed sign: April 20 — May 20

Your horoscope for this week:

When cornered, you can be tough. Yet long ago you learnt that patience achieves more that even powerful manoeuvres. Not only is that the case now, if you can manage to do nothing until the 15th, when your ruler Venus actually moves into Taurus, which sharpens your mind and boosts your spirits, you`ll realise how wise you were to wait until the time is right.

A friend or colleague isn`t being especially cooperative. Your intuition is very strong, and it won`t take you long to sense their mood. This will be all that`s necessary to ensure you act in a way that will help you avoid contact with this difficult person. Your health will seem to swing from one extreme to another. There will be moments when you`re feeling energetic and sociable and other times when you just want to chill.

Your ruling planet, Venus, arrives in your sign midweek. Before it does, it makes fabulous aspect with Mars. This is likely indicative of the formation of a powerful alliance; and yes, this may be work but very much creative- related. Fact is that your risk assessment abilities are at their height. You might now know exactly where to put both cash and energy. Before next weekend`s Full Moon in your opposite sign, Mars changes sign. The fact that it`s arriving in another of the Water signs ahead of a Watery Full Moon, suggests that many people could be overly emotional between Thursday and the weekend. The art for you may be to ensure that basic needs are met. There is considerable focus on food and nurturing. This though could find you at your very best. Indeed, using an alliance formed at the start of the week, you could both protect one of your major interests and at the same time give space for those who need to blow their top to do so in the knowledge that once this is done, you all get down to business.

Gemini
Personal theme: I think!!
Air sign: May 21 — June 20

Your horoscope for this week:

While the past few months haven`t exactly been easy, you`ve made overdue changes, shed a few burdensome arrangements and learnt a lot, mostly about matters you`ve previously dismissed as uninteresting. Now, suddenly, those facts are pivotal. Thrilling yet perplexing ideas or offers have come your way, and you know exactly what questions to ask and, better yet, the kind of demands you should be making.

Expect there to be a lot of involvement with friends, colleagues and neighbours. You find it rewarding to do kind things for the vulnerable people in your community and your help with a fundraising project will be appreciated. It can be hard for you to sleep at night when you are worried about money. Beware of spending beyond your means and think about putting yourself on a strict budget. This will bring peace of mind.

Mars, moving through your sign, opposes what is known as the galactic centre in the early part of this week. It might then seem to others that you are screaming. You may indeed be right in demanding that action is taken; and yes, it is possible given that Mars makes fabulous aspect of Venus on the same day that the Sun and Pluto arrive at new phase, that you could arrive at an equitable deal on Tuesday 14th. It`s likely important however that you listen carefully to what the other side is saying. It may be that though you feel you`re getting what you want, that in a few days` time you`ll realise that there is an unacceptable loophole yet to be negotiated. Mars leaves your sign on Thursday 16th and at that point asset management looks set to become ever more important. Indeed, it might be considered wise to have both financial and physical health checks before the Full Moon on Saturday 18th. This isn`t so much to look for problems but to stop them accruing.

Cancer
Personal theme: I feel!!
Water & cardinal sign: June 21 — July 22

Your horoscope for this week:

As an intuitive water sign, and somebody ruled by the Moon, which itself goes from being a glowing orb to a narrow sliver of light each month, you have an instinctive knowledge of nature`s cycles; and it`s good. Still, certain changes are taking ages. Wait and watch. On the 16th, the tide turns, and suddenly all those events you`ve been waiting for come together, some overnight.

You long for harmony in the home and if you bite your lips you could get your wish. There may be the occasional moment when you find yourself at odds with a relative but choose your words carefully and this will keep the peace. A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down. A new assignment will take a while to get off the ground, persevere. There will be a number of people involved in this project and there`s likely to be quite a lot going on.

Halfway through this week, and ahead of Saturday`s Full Moon in another of the Water signs, Mars arrives in your sign. You could think of this as high-octane fuel being put in your tank. If you`ve a project you want to launch, midweek may be the optimum time to do so. You are likely to find over Monday and Tuesday that others are talking about your expertise and all that you bring to a team. With your imagination working overtime and creative juices flowing, so much could be achieved before the weekend. True, much of this may have been incubating since Mercury arrived in another of the Water signs back in February. After an apparently slow and sluggish start, the rate of development should now be startling. It will surely be vital for you to have a good support team in place. It`s normal for those born under Cancer to look to relatives to provide that. You may find that on this occasion, it`s someone with whom you have no blood ties, – and who is perhaps born under one of the Air signs of Gemini, Libra or Aquarius offers assistance in scheduling that`s exactly what`s needed.

Leo
Personal theme: I will!!
Fire & fixed sign: July 23 — August 22

Your horoscope for this week:

This promises to be a remarkable week during a time of unsettling yet worthwhile change. The issue is your tendency to be headstrong. As a result, the only real mistake you could make is to battle, if not reject sudden ideas, offers or developments.. They may be unexpected but, within days, you`ll realise that they fit perfectly with the larger scheme of things.

Your kindness, generosity and compassion make you a good friend, colleague and neighbour. It`s a great time to share your thoughts and feelings. You`ve always been honest with others and what`s great now is that your friends are being more open than usual with you. You`re ready to put long-term plans in motion. A lot about the future can be decided on and joint transactions will put you in a cheery frame of mind.

Once Venus joins both the Sun and Mercury in another of the Fixed signs, Taurus, midweek, your focus is likely to improve. That might also be prompted by someone who is as keen to see progress as you are.. Rather than pulling against one another, you could combine forces on Tuesday and move plans forward at speed. It`s entirely possible that property matters will be involved. At the very least, the realignment of your desk could be discussed. Note that the Full Moon on Saturday May 18 straddles the backbone of your solar chart. Though there is a lunation like this every year, this one is different in that it is the first for many decades with Uranus firmly established in Taurus. It might be as well to anticipate the unexpected. As of Thursday, and with Mars` move into neighbouring Cancer, preoccupation with both image and resources are likely leave you with much to discuss. In this respect, those born under the Water signs of Cancer, Scorpio or Pisces should give valuable insight.

Virgo
Personal theme: I analyse!!
Earth sign: August 23 — September 22

Your horoscope for this week:

There`s no question this is a period of growth. Events are exciting, yet many are taking you into unfamiliar territory in terms of places, people or ideas. While, ordinarily, gathering facts first would be wise, there`s no time. What`s more, much of what`s arisen will be so unexpected you`ll need to deal with each twist and turn as it arises, something you`ll find surprisingly easy.

Travel will provide a welcome change of pace. What you would really love to do is jump on a boat, train or plane and get away from it all. If you`re planning on visiting a foreign country, learn a few phrases of the language to make your experience more pleasant. If you can`t get away, it won`t be all work and no play. Don`t be surprised if a number of party invitations arrive. There could also be a few romantic surprises in store.

You may have been putting out feelers for months. Recall that 2019 got off to a curious start with Mercury spending the better part of two months in your opposite sign of Pisces. Throughout that period, you may not have been sure as to which way you were going. Now there`s greater clarity. That will likely increase too after Mars moves into Cancer on Thursday. That this ingress comes just a day after Venus makes Taurus ingress, suggests that the middle of the week will prove a dynamic time for all signs. In your case, the need to secure deals that have been discussed but not yet set out on paper will likely increase. Note that next Saturday there is a Full Moon and that the temptation to get things signed and sealed around this event will likely increase. It might be wise however, to spend the weekend going through detail. In fact, you might not want to make a firm commitment until after both the Sun and Mercury reach the apex of your solar chart on Tuesday 21st.

Libra
Personal theme: I balance!!
Air & cardinal sign: September 23 — October 22

Your horoscope for this week:

True, you`ve numerous reasons to discuss recent ideas or offers in depth. However, there`s a single reason you shouldn`t. It`s that with things moving so swiftly, what you don`t agree to now could simply vanish. True, that may mean reviewing what you`ve organised later; but that, too, would actually be for the best. The stars say to plunge in now, and consider the details later.

You have a strong sense of justice and you believe in equality for all. So, if there`s something underhanded going on or if someone is trying to make money in a devious way, you`ll make certain they don`t get away with it. There`s an independent streak to your nature that`s on show now. Some people will be surprised to see that you can be assertive and even charmingly persuasive when you want to be.

Midweek, Mars moves from one of the Air signs and crosses the apex of your solar chart. It`s then that you`re likely to really push your career forward. All of this may have been in preparation since the end of March. After considerable discussion, you may be preparing to go public. You`re probably right to identify that this needs to be done before the Full Moon on Saturday, May 18th. This lunation is the first of its kind for many decades (with Uranus now fully established in Taurus) and extra focus might need to be given to financial matters. Though this is arguably not the time to make major decisions, you could at least assess investment options. What may be important as of Thursday 16th, is to determine the next stage of your career ladder and what you want to achieve before the solar Eclipse on July 2. To do this, will likely require support: particularly from those born under the signs of Taurus, Leo or Scorpio. In the case of the latter, their insights could prove invaluable.

Scorpio & Ophiuchus
Personal theme: I desire!!
Water & fixed signs: October 23 — November 21

Your horoscope for this week:

Even those Scorpios who appear to be easy-going are busily organising not only their own lives, but those of loved ones, family, friends and often colleagues. Now, however, events are forcing you to let go of the reins and allow life to unfold as it must. Battling for control is a waste of your efforts. Instead, back off and busy yourself with activities you rarely have time for.

There`s a tendency for others to want to call the tune at home. You don`t mind it when occasionally your partner sets the pace, but you might feel, at the moment, as if you`re at the constant beck and call of the family. Don`t be surprised if you feel a need to get out and about and escape the confine of your own four walls so you can enjoy new pleasures and experiences. It will be fun joining in social activities and making new friends. Take a short trip just for the fun of it.

Next Saturday`s Full Moon on May 18th, is the first of its kind for many decades. Uranus is now firmly established in your opposite sign. No doubt a change of direction has either already taken place, or you know will occur before early August. This shift of direction should not be underestimated. Whilst understandably since early April, preoccupation may have been on both health and to some extent financial maintenance, emphasis is due to shift. Yours is not a sign known for doing anything in a hurry. You work best when given time to analyse, probe and assess motivation. Those tasks though will likely be easier to accomplish after Venus moves into your opposite sign midweek. It`s then that you may find others are more willing to listen to your views and to give reassurance where necessary. You may also find from midweek that contact with those who live some distance away, but who have a proven track record in resource management is especially helpful. This might also be an excellent time for distance learning. Don`t underestimate – especially from Wednesday, – your ability to soak up information.

Sagittarius
Personal theme: I see!!
Fire sign: November 22 — December 21

Your horoscope for this week:

Because you value your freedom to think and live as you please, you avoid imposing demands on others. Recently, however, certain individuals have taken advantage of that freedom. Still, you`re reluctant to make demands. So, don`t. Simply explain the problems their activities are causing you and ask them to rethink what they`re doing. This discussion will be as life-changing for you as it is for them.

Friends who ask for your advice really do value your opinions. It isn`t a waste of your valuable time to offer guidance that comes from experience. You have a receptive audience for your ideas and suggestions. Now that people are starting to listen, it will be easier to gain the support of someone in authority. You`re making some adventurous plans and others are starting to see that despite the challenges involved, these are achievable.

It might not be so easy to listen to your inner voice at least until Wednesday: it seems others have strong opinions and need to have their voices heard. Initially, you might be more than happy to let them have their way. Yet by Friday, and both Venus and Mars having changed signs, you could have a rethink. This is likely entirely justified. Fact is that whatever decisions are taken you need to feel that you`re firmly behind them. There may be more questions you want to ask. Though not usually driven by relationships, in this instance it may be important for you to build trust with a work colleague. Though they may be under significant health strain, and adjustment to your routines made necessary as a result, you could nevertheless reach understanding. If it`s been sometime since you did intense networking, this week could also find growing interest: possibly resulting in you joining a club or association.

Capricorn
Personal theme: I use!!
Earth & cardinal sign: December 22 — January 19

Your horoscope for this week:

As a Capricorn, you`ve always known that patience is rewarded. That`s exactly what`s happening now, although you won`t always recognise those amazing events for what they are, at least at the time. The trick is to do something that seems seriously unwise, and say a tentative yes to everything; and those things that don`t work? Once you know more, you can minimise or shed these later.

Changes will be discussed in depth. Although you aren`t keen on some arrangements, you could be in the minority. For this reason, you might decide to keep your feelings to yourself. Just take a deep breath and go with the flow. A relative will have something to celebrate. You will be delighted to hear their news, and this will sow the seeds of a growing excitement within the family. Don`t be surprised if you are asked to plan a party.

By the middle of the week Mars will have moved into your opposite sign of Cancer. This happens just a few days before a significant Full Moon in another of the Water signs; and yes, you may be right in concluding that there will be some uncomfortable emotions to deal with between Thursday and Saturday. Inspired and excited as you may be by decisions taken before Wednesday, it could be that this leaves a colleague totally overwhelmed. It`s not just at work that you may need to offer support. At home, others may be grappling with career developments that they find unsettling. Be prepared for the influence of the developing Full Moon to be considerable and for others to look to you for advice and support. With Venus forming conjunction with Uranus at the Full Moon, it might also be as well to anticipate the unexpected – especially if dealing with youngsters. In this instance, they might need you to help them with a technical issue that`s got them in a flap.

Aquarius
Personal theme: I know!!
Air & fixed sign: January 20 — February 18

Your horoscope for this week:

As much as you enjoy new ideas and intriguing people, it`s becoming clear events are taking you in new, and unfamiliar, directions. While, on one hand, you`re excited, you`re also anxious about the disruption this would bring. Take things in stages. Once you learn more, what seems unlikely if not unappealing now could, with a little creative thinking and brainstorming, turn out to be wonderful.

A partnership deal will go well. Contracts are signed, agreements are reached, and this makes you less anxious. A legal professional who has your best interests at heart will approve the wording of an important document. Your mind is on your longer terms aims and aspirations and if you can get the support of your family or significant other, you will feel more confident about your ability to attain them all. Positive thinking is good for your health.

By the middle of the week, Venus will have arrived at the base of your solar chart. This marks a special time of year when risk assessment and asset management usually prove an excellent exercise. This year that may be more important than usual, in that before next Saturday`s Full Moon in another of the Fixed signs, Mars will have changed signs. You might give thought to your legacy, estate planning or even will-making. At a different level entirely, you may be grappling with major issues and confrontations as others move post or jobs. The emotional impact is not to be underestimated. Though not usually given to tantrums, it would perhaps be understandable if you exuded a volcanic explosion before next weekend. It may be that you`ve been bottling things up for a long time. On a more constructive and positive note, your valuation of something that was once important to you but which you sense could now be looked after by someone else, may be spot on. The art though, may be to delay change of ownership until after the eclipses in July.

Pisces
Personal theme: I believe!!
Water sign: February 19 — March 20

Your horoscope for this week:

While several of those around you are thrilled with the way things are going, you`re less pleased and, in fact, are worried that others don`t seem to care as much as you do about the matters in question. Tempting as it is to challenge their thinking, begin doing your own investigation. What you learn could lead to a serious review of your views about certain ideas or activities.

If a friend`s problems upset them enough to make them snappy, ill-tempered and irritable, you will want to do all you can to help them out. It may not have been your initial intention to devote so much time to other people but because you are sensitive and compassionate, you might be the only person to understand. You`re thinking of replacing an old or broken item. When you find yourself fantasising about a new car, computer or phone, it`s time to buy a new model.

Though the Moon changes signs every couple of days, and most of us accept that there is a constancy to this rhythm, when the planets change signs, there is significant gearchange. This week both Venus and Mars move into new areas of the zodiac. This brings with its fresh currents of energy. The arrival of Mars in another of the Water signs should suit you well. For the next six weeks so, Mars moves through the creative zone of your solar chart. If you`ve been tempted to start a new project, write your first novel or whatever, you might choose to get this underway before the Full Moon on Saturday. This lunation is extra special in that that same day, Venus and Uranus align in Taurus for the first time in many decades. This marks a fresh moment for all signs. For you, the ability to see what can be turned into something new will surely rise to the surface after Wednesday. Indeed, your ability to recycle and reassess could be noted and bring you new admirers.

Posted by: arif uk <pepper.buoy@yahoo.co.uk>

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By GrannyMoon Posted in Pagan

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