Read GrannyMoon’s Weekly Feast Newsletter! Thanks! 9-16 Feb 2020

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Happy Valentine’s Day!  14 Feb 2020

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

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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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What’s Happening in February?

February 9: Full Moon in Leo

February 5 – February 17: Fornacalia

February 10: National “Have a Brownie” Day.

February 11 thru 13: Anthesteria

February 14: Valentine’s Day

February 15: Lupercalia

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The Moon Phase: FULL MOON

Goddess Aspect: MOTHER

Associated Goddesses: Aphrodite, Arianrhod, Asherah, Danu, Cerridwen, Gaia, Isis,, Selene, Sisters of the Wyrrd, and the Norns

Magickal Attributes: Fruition – Manifesting goals, Nurturing, Passion, Healing, Strength, Power.

From fourteen to seventeen-and-a-half days after the new moon. Prime time for rituals for prophecy. From seven to fourteen days after the New Moon.

Full Moon: Symbolic of the height of power, the peak of clarity, fullness and obtainment of desire.

Full Moon energy is used for banishing unwanted influences in your life, protection magick, and divination.

The Moon travels 1/2 way around to the 6oclock position, and the face of the Moon is fully illuminated. We love full Moon magic, an apt time for fruition, completion and wholeness. Some say the magic can be done the day of the Moon as well as three days on either side of it. It is a good time for all Positive Magic, protection, scrying, love, healing and prosperity. Also a good time to grow closer to the Goddess by Drawing Down the Moon.

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Biddy Tarot Card of the Week
by Brigit | Biddy Tarot <brigit@biddytarot.com>

JUDGEMENT

Order the Everyday Tarot Deck today

The card drawn for this week is the Judgement

This is set to be a BIG week full of spiritual awakenings and deep insights.

Judgement speaks to you at a time in your life where you are assessing your past, evaluating your present and considering your future. You may be inclined to look back at the path you’ve traveled and to ask yourself, “Is this really what I am called to do? Am I living in alignment with my true purpose?”

If the answer is “Yes”, then you’ll find yourself moving towards the energy of the World, full of accomplishment and completion and ready to embrace the new cycle that awaits with the Fool. But if the answer is “No”, or “I’m not sure”, then you may want to spend the coming week (and month) contemplating what your true calling really is. Pay attention to the universal signs that are showing you the way, just like the angel calls the people in this card. The answers are there, but you need to be open to receiving them.

Ask the Tarot: What is calling you right now?

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Llewellyn’s Spell A Day

A Full Moon Cleaning Spell
February 09, 2020 by James Kambos

The Full Moon is an ideal time for a cleansing/clearing spell to remove bad habits, bad relationships, or other negative issues from your life.

For this spell, you will need:
* A white votive candle and holder
* A small piece of plain white paper
* A black ink pen
* A clear glass bowl
* Ice

Think of a problem you wish to cleanse out of your life, then light the candle. Now write the problem on the paper. Next, fill the bowl with ice. Tear the paper into small pieces and scatter them over the ice. Extinguish the candle and allow the ice to melt.

Later, or even the next day, pour the melted ice and bits of paper onto a compost pile or the ground. Throw the candle away. Your problem will begin to diminish.
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Honoring Our Individuality
February 08, 2020 by Thuri Calafia

With both the sun and the moon growing in strength, it’s a good time to shine a light on some of our inner mysteries.

For this spell, take a simple wooden craft store frame and place it on your altar, face up. Light a candle for both the Lord and the Lady, and let the candlelight fall on the glass in the frame. Let the patterns of light and shadow help you to ease into a trance state. Say:

Light and dark, shadow and spark,
reveal to me my authentic self.
Dark and light, by my passion’s
might, I am becoming my best self!

Use paint, dried flowers, and other craft items to decorate the frame with symbols of your uniqueness. Place the frame in a prominent place on your altar to remind you to love yourself for who you are and who you believe you are meant to be.
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To Draw Positive Attention to Yourself
February 07, 2020 by Charlie Rainbow Wolf

This spell encourages recognition for your accomplishments. Your light is shining strongly today, so make the most of it! You’ll need a candle in a holder and something to light it with, a hand mirror, a second mirror, and a pen (red is best) and paper.

Place the lighted candle on the hand mirror, reflective side up. Gaze at yourself in the second mirror. Look hard until you see your positive qualities. It’s easy to see what you think is wrong, and the media promotes that, using presumed flaws to sell their products. They lie, so focus on all your good things and write them down.

When you’re feeling strong and confident, pinch out the candle. Put the hand mirror and your list of good things in a private place, such as your underwear drawer. It should be somewhere confidential but where you will see it frequently as a reminder that you’re amazing.
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A Spell to Warm the Heart
February 06, 2020 by Laura Tempest Zakroff

This spells aids in opening someone’s heart to you so you can improve the relationship, whether it’s romantic, platonic, or family.

Gather these ingredients:
* A toothpick or similar tool to carve into the candle
* A tealight candle (white, pink, or red) in a holder
* Cinnamon

Using the toothpick, draw a heart into the top of the candle, with the wick in the center of the shape. At the bottom/base of the candle, carve the initials of the person whose heart you want to open.

Light the candle, focusing on the person you wish to connect better with for approximately one minute— enough to allow the flame to melt the wax a bit. Then snuff the candle out carefully. In the warm wax, sprinkle cinnamon into the heart shape, mixing it into the wax with the toothpick. Then relight the candle and say:

With earthly spice and candlelight,
your heart shall warm to me outright.

Be sure to extinguish the candle when you’re done.
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She Who Brings
February 05, 2020 by Barbara Ardinger

Today is traditionally ruled by the Roman goddess Fortuna, “she who brings.” In the Tarot, card X, the Wheel of Fortune, is ruled by this goddess. The illustrations on some decks show that we go both up and down as the wheel goes around. Let’s go up on Fortuna’s wheel today. Let’s ask her to bless us and give us good fortune. What does “good fortune” mean to you? More money? Renown? Popularity? Really great shoes? (Be careful what you ask for. It may not end up being what you envisioned.)

Pull card X out of your favorite Tarot deck and lay it in front of you. See yourself in the picture on the going-up side of the wheel. See yourself rising. See Fortuna standing at the top of the wheel, with gifts stacked all around her. Watch her select your gift. Say:

Dame Fortuna, turn your wheel for me,
Give me the best that you can see.
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A Turmeric Facial Cleanse
February 04, 2020 by Raven Digitalis

To invoke greater purification and clarity in your life, acquire a small amount of powdered turmeric root. In addition to being an incredibly delicious component of many curry dishes, turmeric is one of nature’s best anti-inflammatories and is an excellent cleanser for the skin. This healthy plant is a member of the ginger family.

Mix the turmeric with a little warm water to create a paste. Draw sacred symbols into the paste with your fingers, and finish swirling the mix by drawing a large spiral. Envision this brilliant orange paste glowing with a cleansing light. As you do so, speak these words:

Holy root, with all your might, I
cleanse myself with healing light.

Smear the paste on your face and neck, allowing it to fully dry before rinsing off. (You might want to do a patch test on your skin first to make sure you don’t have an adverse reaction to the paste.) As it dries, meditate while focusing on the brew opening your chakras and providing deeply healing purification on all levels.
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Setsubun
February 03, 2020 by Tess Whitehurst

In Japan, today is Setsubun, which literally translates to “seasonal division.” According to the lunar calendar, Setsubun marks the first day of spring. Observances of this holiday are often based in the intention to banish negativity and summon good fortune. Some households practice mamemaki, in which a member of the family goes outside, dons a demon mask, and knocks on the door. The other members of the family open the door and throw roasted soybeans at the “demon,” chanting, Demons out! Luck in! until he goes away.

Try convincing someone to do this with you to purify and bless your household for the lunar cycle ahead. Otherwise, you can just open the door and throw beans out at an imagined demon for the same magical effect. Continue the traditional observance by eating one roasted soybean for every year of your life, and an additional one to bless the year ahead.

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The Pagan Origins of Valentine’s Day
by Kathryn Doyle

Chocolates. Wine. Romance. These are common elements of modern Valentine’s Day, but they’re a far cry from the holiday’s origins more than 2,000 years ago, when the holiday was first marked as a festival of breaking up with long-term boyfriends.

What we know as Valentine’s Day was celebrated by ancient pagans after the midwinter festival of Imbolc. The “Galenalia” festival was dedicated to Minerva, Roman Goddess of wisdom, trade, and recognizing that being single is better than staying with a dead-end guy.

The worst of the winter had passed, and women no longer needed to rely on a man as a source of life saving body heat at night. Mothers and daughters would gather their boyfriends’ animal pelts, set them on fire, and feast on winter squashes and root vegetables until the fires burned out.

Thanks to the writings of Catallus and other Latin poets of the late Roman Republic, we know that women would celebrate Galenalia by leaving their homes for weeks at a time, traveling together on “gal-cations,” apparent sojourns in search of spiritual renewal following the death of old relationships. To the north, Iron Age Celts placed bouquets of flowers on the graves of sacrificed boyfriends.

In the 4th Century A.D., right when Christianity was starting to heat up, Pope Julius I sought to establish a new holy day to memorialize not one but several saints named Valentinus who were all brutally martyred in different, inspiring ways. He wisely chose to adopt and absorb the traditions of Galenalia as part of the new feast day, assigned to February 14th on the Julian calendar. This resulted in the short-lived transition holiday “Minervalentines’s Day” which became “Galentine’s Day” which became the “Valentine’s Day” of modern parlance.

Valentine’s Day was popularly embraced, but over the years church leaders worked to change the focus from pagan breakup customs. They downplayed dumping or sacrificing boyfriends, especially by the Middle Ages when the crusades were becoming a real PR fiasco. Instead, religious tracts encouraged women to “get back out there, mingle, not look for anything serious, necessarily, but be open to having fun.”

In later years, breaking up with boyfriends would actually be condemned as heresy, which historians attribute to the church’s desire to propagate as much as possible in the face of massive plague-related personnel losses.

In 14th Century England, flower production skyrocketed as agricultural practices advanced, and florist’s apprentice Geoffrey Chaucer scrambled to increase market demand, claiming that giving flowers to your lovers on Valentine’s Day was the highest form of courtly love and also warded off Saint Valentine’s Malady, epilepsy. In the Canterbury Tales, the Wife of Bath actually tells her boyfriend that a “magyk natureel” can undo a “mayde abood fornicacioun” with a gift of “fleurs.” Clever product placement indeed.
Chaucer was a genius businessman and his plan worked, sparking a worldwide cultural and commercial phenomenon. Flower sales took off, epilepsy rates were unchanged, and Valentine’s Day became a holiday for sexing instead of ex-ing.

In fact, Valentine’s Day became the least appropriate day of the year to break up with your long-term boyfriend – the opposite of what the pagans originally intended! How few couples at prix-fixe dinners know that the tradition of trading heart-shaped boxes of chocolate comes from a time when pagan women ripped out the actual hearts of boyfriends and handed them back and forth hot-potato style. It’s surprising what a look back at history can reveal.

What would the ancient pagans think if they saw us today on February 14th, exchanging pink trinkets and confections, crepe paper and balloons, just lovers loving love? They’d probably think we recently completed a new henge, since that’s actually how they celebrated henge construction. Neat!

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Heartwings Love Notes 917: Thoughts for Valentine’s Day

Heartwings says, “When you love yourself, you can be your own Valentine.”

When I was growing up it was the custom for valentine cards to be sent unsigned. I believe this was a tradition that dated back many years. The custom of celebrating Valentine’s Day goes back even further to ancient Rome. It originated in a festival of the time called Lupercalia, after the Pan type nature god of the Romans. It also has roots relating to Juno Februata, honoring Goddess Juno. Then, young boys and girls drew lots to see who they would be partnered with for the year, beginning in March.

When I was in the early grades, and paper valentines were placed in a red and white crepe paper decorated box, someone was chosen to be postman and distributed the cards to the addressees. There was no talk of partnering, nor of love, per se. Rather it was all about who got the most cards. Later on, I had fun making my own valentines and sending or giving them, and I have done this for many years. Commercial valentines have been in use since 1800, and Worcester claims to be the originator of early ones, though others have made that claim as well.
My first husband and I met on a day early in February long ago. I wanted to send him a valentine, however, I could nothing but find only a humorous one. Although it was not very nice I sent it anyway. Fortunately for the five children we later produced, it didn’t ruin the relationship. Perhaps it was meant to be. The arrows of Cupid, also known as Eros, sometimes do hit the mark. The Greeks have six words that express love: Eros: or sexual passion, Philia: family love or deep friendship, Ludus: love of children or playful love, Agape: or spiritual love or love for everyone, Pragma: or longstanding love, and Philautia: or love of the self.

The average Westerner saying, “I love…” may be expressing affection, or a preference-I love ice cream, or aptitude–I love to exercise. All these fit our definition of it. And they are all conditional upon our personal choices. Yet spiritual or unconditional love, the most difficult form of love is also the most beneficial for both giver and recipient. This is the love that endures. When I give myself the valentine of unconditional love, I can be much more loving to everyone else. In addition, I do not take issue with any faults, but instead regard with compassion the struggles of the one who is loved as I express patience without expectation.

May you have a wonderful collection of valentines from your loved ones.

Blessings and best regards, Tasha Halpert

PS What is your favorite memory of Valentine’s Day, and what happened as a result? I love it when readers share their stories. Please know that your emails make my day. Your comments and questions ae always welcome and encouraged.

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What’s Up With Your Third Eye Chakra?

Physical location: In the center of your brow
Color: Indigo
Element: Light

The Third Eye Chakra is one of the most powerful energy sources when we are talking about Chakras. This little guy determines your intuition and your alignment with the Universe. No wonder it’s in an important nerve network center! Besides when you think about it when you see things on a bigger scale, such as the alignment with the Universe you can’t help but notice that it eases things when it comes to seeing the bigger picture in life itself.

When energy flows properly through the Third Eye Chakra you have trust in your gut feeling, you are adept at picking up signs and you plan according to your greatest goals. All this means that you are raising your positive vibrations and that you will have quick and easy manifestation Experiences when it comes to the Law of Attraction.

But as you might already be guessing, with great power comes great responsibility! When energy isn’t flowing in the right way it could raise various issues. Some of those are:
” Lack of faith in your purpose
” Feeling pointless
” Indecisiveness
” Finding your work or life insignificant
” Paranoia
” Headaches (including migraines)
” Eye discomfort
” Back and leg pain
” Sinus pain
If you have noticed any of these you already know how to fix it. Just pay special attention to the indigo energy center in your next meditation session.

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Sharing Peace
By Madisyn Taylor

Having strangers in our homes can be difficult, but we can choose to treat their energy as an exchange of gifts as well as an exercise in acceptance.

When we have created a sanctuary in our home, it can be jarring to have the outside world come in. It is easy to share our space with those we know well, but often strangers are asked in as household help, contractors, or technicians that help us make our homes more comfortable. Acquaintances of our spouses or children also bring something new and different into our space. If we resist their presence, treating it as an intrusion, we restrict the free flow of energy and may miss the gift they bring. Instead, we can choose to treat their energy as an exchange of gifts as well as an exercise in acceptance.

Before their arrival, we can prepare by envisioning light surrounding our bodies and radiating outward from the core of our homes. We may want to create a calm and welcoming environment by playing meditation music or lighting incense. We can remove tension for all involved by putting away our valuables. Then when they arrive, we claim our boundaries by guiding them through their visit–asking them to remove their shoes, offering coasters or a place to set down tool boxes, and indicating by example to speak softly or not use harsh language. If something still causes stress, we can remember that what begins as an irritation to an oyster becomes a pearl. After they depart, we can burn sage and clear our space if we like but not without first finding the pearl.

Finally, remember that we learn about life by relating with others. People may have been sent to our homes because we ignored some of the universe’s messengers outside. Our homes need not be a way to keep people out but can be the place where we are ourselves while accepting and allowing other’s choices. When we share the joy of our homes, we radiate our light rather than hide it behind closed doors. The more we do this, the more the outside world can become like the sanctuary we’ve created inside.

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The Treasure Hunt #6
by Stephen Halpert

The next morning Evelyn doorbell rang. She opened it to two men dressed in black.
“Smith,” the shorter of the two said. “Federal agents.” He waved an official looking shield at Evelyn. The second, taller and beefy intoned “Jones. ” He barged his way past her, checking out the room in a peremptory fashion.
Evelyn was aghast.
“We’ll be brief,” Smith said. “Internal Revenue is imposing a lien on your property and assets. Department of Homeland Security is investigating you. Seems you owe the government over three hundred million. You have the right to remain silent.”
Evelyn’s hand shook. “What for?”
Jones glared at her and shook his head. “How about embezzlement for openers? You just don’t throw up a building like that with a prefab kit from Home Depot. There are such things as taxes, you know.”
“But,” she sputtered. “The building was a gift from Neptune.”
“Tell it to the grand jury. Smith said. We’re just messenger boys.”
“The Society has an attorney, Judge Archibald Snit,” Evelyn stammered.
“Better pray he’s a Republican,” Jones said. “Meantime don’t leave town.” They turned and left as abruptly as they had come.
Evelyn gulped, got into her car, and made a beeline to Julia’s. By the time she arrived she was hysterical. Tears smudged her cheeks. Her makeup was all blotched.
Julia opened her door and stared at her friend. ”
Oh, my dear, what’s wrong?”
Evelyn handed the official documents to Julia and took a handkerchief from her purse. “I’m being sued by the IRS,” she said as she wiped her eyes and nose.”
“Have you called Judge Snit,” Julia asked. “I’m sure he’ll be helpful. This has got to be some sort of foolish mistake.”
“I can’t leave town,” she said hoarsely. “What will people think? What will they say? My reputation will be ruined.”
“I guess that’s the price of a miracle.” Jack smiled at her. “Look at what the Holy family went through.”
“Something to drink,” Julia said. “Coffee, tea?”
Evelyn sighed. “Some of your single malt Scotch might help.”
David closed Treasure Island. He smiled at his Uncle Jack but politely waited to speak. A very upset Evelyn was taking everyone’s attention
She frowned. “Now our little Society is under investigation. Yesterday I could hardly believe my good fortune. But now this.” Evelyn frowned. “As far as I’m concerned, like I told them, it was all a gift from Neptune.”
“Tell that to the Judge Snit,” Julia said. “He’ll be sure to help you.”
Evelyn paced back and forth, wringing her hands. “And at least until this morning I felt twenty years younger. Now I’m not so sure.”
Jack grinned. “Maybe you and Neptune share a few secrets.”
“No more hip and shoulder issues?” Julia asked.
Evelyn sighed and sipped at her drink. “I pray those days are gone forever. I even think I’d like to get back into playing tennis again.” Her eyes flew open. She clutched herself and stared at Julia. “They won’t send me to prison, will they?”
Julia patted her shoulder. “Sit down, relax. Everything will be fine. You’ll see.” Why would they?” Wanting to distract her friend, Julia said, “Let me know when, and I’ll reserve court time for us at the Club. I’ve missed our matches, such good exercise.”
“Me too,” Evelyn said. Her device chimed. She listened and smiled. “Oh, my dear, I’ll be on the cover of Time. They’re calling me the miracle woman of the Keys.”
She went over to the buffet and served herself some of the crabmeat and goat cheese. Todd followed her, and between them they emptied the platter. Becky wanted to speak to Todd about his constant overeating, but feared she’d rile him, and he’d just blame it on the sea air.
Finally, David saw a chance to speak. “Uncle Jack, can we go treasure hunting tomorrow? It would sure be nice to find the treasure before we have to go home.”
Julia smiled. David sounded so wistful. She looked over at Lisa. She was texting in an armchair on the other side of the room.
Jack nodded. “I don’t see why not.” He turned to Todd. “I thought we might check out Pirates Den, otherwise known as the town dump.
“Please come with us, Daddy?” David begged.
Todd nodded thoughtfully. “Pirates Den?”
Evelyn smiled. “Pirates Den’s a gigantic sloping swamp in the middle of the woods, but best be careful of the poison ivy. That swamp may have once been a part of a Seminole reservation. Today it’s full of poison ivy.”
Julia frowned. “Us girls will go to the Seaside Mall.”
Hearing the word “mall,” Lisa set down her phone. “A mall, a real mall. Oh, that’s so incredibly cool. Daddy can I have some money.”
David smiled. “And me, daddy and Uncle Jack can go find the treasure?”
“Might not be as easy as you make it seem,” Jack said. “Most people dump their refuse there.”
David’s eyes widened “I love dumps,” he said.
“You would,” Lisa said. She opened up her device. She looked up and grinned. “It says here that poison ivy is so abundant in Florida that it could be called the official state plant.”
Becky shivered. “Maybe you shouldn’t go, David.”
“Maybe you’ll catch it,” Lisa taunted.
“Please, children,” Todd said. “Civility, please.”
“Oh, its ok daddy,” David said. ” I know Lisa won’t invite me to her and Ricky Balfour’s wedding.”
“That’s enough David,” Becky said firmly. “Stop teasing your sister. We’ve all heard quite enough of this, thank you.”
David’s voice turned whiney. “I just want us to find the treasure before we go home. Then we’ll all be rich.”
“And David can be sent away to boarding school,” Lisa said.
“I don’t want to go to boarding school, I want to be home with mom and dad.”
Evelyn tuned to Lisa. “Maybe you’d like boarding school. We have a wonderful one here in Key West, Saint Catharsis. Young ladies from all the best families attend.”
“But probably very expensive,” Becky said.
“They do offer scholarships,” Evelyn said. “I think tuition usually runs around ninety-five thousand a year plus books and personal expenses.”
Todd almost choked on his goat cheese. “Way beyond our budget,” he stammered.
“It’s ok daddy.” David assured his father. “When we find the treasure, we’ll have enough money to send Lisa to boarding school somewhere. Maybe even to the moon.”

(To be continued.)

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The Energy of Cities
By Madisyn Taylor

Living in large cities can be draining, but there are steps that can be taken to make it all work in harmony.

The cities we reside in have souls. Our cities consume, create, evolve, and breathe much in the same way Mother Nature does. Each city is unique, defined not only by the individuals who call it home but also by the energy it exudes. Some cities are suffused by an aura of unshakable calm while others seem continually frenetic, even during the early morning hours. Many inspire creativity within us or arouse our curiosity. A city’s energy is dependent on many factors, including the geography, the people, the industry, and the culture. Residing in a city full of warehouses and factories feels very different than one living in one populated by artists and museums. Some cities elevate the soul while others seem to squash it, and fate may lead us to either.

If the urban center you presently call home feels oppressive or robs you of your vitality, consider relocating to a locale that is more nurturing. You may find that leaving your city is an impossibility, however, if circumstances in your life compel you to remain or the universe has plans for you that involve your staying put. To cope with the stress of working and playing in an environment you have an aversion to, first ask yourself how the city you live in makes you feel. Then take steps to cleanse your home, your work spaces, and your life of the energy that is dragging you down. Try smudging your personal and professional spaces with sage or sweetgrass to dispel negativity. Keeping a quartz crystal on or near your person can ensure that there is always positive, loving energy nearby that you can draw from when you feel affected by your city. And you can do your part to promote widespread good energy by sending love and white light from your heart out into the city each morning and night.

As you become increasingly aware of the way your city makes you feel, you can refine your cleansing efforts to meet your individual needs. If you seek out others who feel driven to purify your city’s energy flow, your combined efforts can become a larger movement that promotes healing and goodwill. You may find that, after a time, you are gradually drawn to those aspects of your locale that energize you, helping you come back into balance.

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Chocolate Cherry Almond Crispy Treats for Valentine’s Day!

~Crispy brown rice cereal (you may substitute Rice Krispies, although the brown rice variety is recommended for better nutrition); find it in the healthy cereal aisle of grocery stores, at Whole Foods, and on Amazon.
~Dried tart cherries (I purchase these at Trader Joe’s.)
~Toasted almonds, coarsely chopped
~Bittersweet chocolate chips; or bittersweet chocolate bar, chopped. (Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips are gluten free.)
~Coarse sea salt (optional); sprinkle the treats with this if you like a sweet/salty flavor combo

Move over Rice Krispie treats. These taste amazing and are better for you. High in antioxidants, low in sugar and calories, gluten free, easy no-bake, 15-min prep.

VARIATIONS. You can customize this recipe to suit you.

Substitute semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips if you don’t like darker bittersweet chocolate. (NOTE: This may increase the sugar and calorie count and reduce the antioxidants in the recipe.) If you’re willing to sacrifice the nutritional benefits of chocolate, you can also use other flavored baking chips like peanut butter, vanilla, cinnamon, etc.
Omit the nuts or dried cherries. If you don’t like either of these, you can leave them out. Increase the volume of the remaining ingredients to make up for the omission. For example, if you omit the dried cherries, increase the rice cereal or nuts by 1/2 cup. This will maintain the correct ratio of melted chocolate to other ingredients.
Substitute the almonds with other nuts. Try peanuts, pecans, walnuts, pine nuts, pistachios, or hazel nuts.
Substitute the dried cherries with other dried fruit. Dried blueberries are another tasty choice that are high in antioxidants. Chopped dried apricots are also highly nutritious.
Add a tablespoon of chia seeds or ground flaxseed for a nutrition boost.

Step 2. If you buy almonds that are already roasted, skip this step. If your almonds are raw, it’s fastest and easiest to toast them in the microwave. Spread them out on a plate (I use a pie plate) and zap them in the microwave for 2-3 minutes; stir after each minute. Times vary with different microwaves, so do a taste test after 2 minutes to see if they have a toasted flavor; if not, they need more time. Mine take 2 minutes 30 seconds. Coarsely chop the toasted almonds (each almond in 2-3 pieces).

NOTE: Nuts toasted in the microwave don’t brown as they would in an oven, but they do get the same toasted flavor. So, go by taste rather than color in testing them for doneness.

If you prefer, you can toast the almonds in the oven. To preserve the almonds’ healthy oils, don’t use high oven heat. Instead, toast them at low heat at 170°F for 15-20 minutes until fragrant and lightly toasted.

Step 3. Add the brown rice cereal, dried cherries, and almonds to a medium size bowl (I use an 8 cup Pyrex); stir to combine.

Step 4. Put the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl or measuring cup (I use a 2-cup Pyrex). Microwave in 30 second intervals, stopping and stirring each time, just until there are a few unmelted chunks left. Stop cooking and stir until all of the chunks melt in. It took 2 minutes total time in my microwave, but microwaves can vary. (It’s important not to overcook the chocolate; this method of stirring in the last chunks works great.)

Step 5. Add the melted chocolate to the rice/fruit/nut mixture. Stir until ingredients are evenly and completed coated with chocolate.

Step 6. Drop 2 tablespoon mounds of the mixture onto parchment paper or a silicone mats. I use a medium scoop for easy, even portions.

Step 7. If a sweet/salty flavor combo is desired, sprinkle each mound with a few granules of coarse sea salt while the chocolate is still wet.

Now wait a bit for the chocolate to harden. It will take approx 30 minutes, depending on the temperature of your room. One of the nice things about this recipe is that the chocolate doesn’t harden so quickly that you have to rush to scoop it into portions. Yet, the chocolate hardens quickly enough that these are ready to eat/serve in well under an hour.

Store these in an airtight container at room temperature. They’ll be good for at least a week, although they don’t last that long around here.

Make them mini bite-size by simply measuring 1 tablespoon portions instead of 2 tablespoons. I use a small scoop for these little mini treats. They’re better portion control–one of these mini bites is just enough to satisfy my sweet tooth at half the calories of the bigger versions. Put them in mini paper muffin liners, and they look pretty on a party platter. No one will guess that they are a no-guilt treat, because they taste so chocolaty and decadent.

Amazing taste and texture. They’ve got that sweet and salty thing going, plus crispiness from the rice cereal, crunch from the almonds, and chewiness from the cherries. And, chocolate. All that taste, and they’re nutrient rich and low in sugar and calories. It’s hard to find a better treat than that.

Make it a Yummy day!
Monica

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Weekly Horoscopes Beginning Sunday, 09 February 2020

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:

Urgent as certain decisions seem, you and the world around you are in the midst of a cycle of timely and, often, dramatic change. Knowing that, ensure whatever you organise now or plan for the future, you`re also ready for the unexpected. While some of what arises may require only a quick rethink, other developments will demand nothing less than a top to bottom review.

Social events are entertaining. You will feel surrounded by temptation and exciting offers, romantically and financially. It will take all your discipline and determination to control an urge to try something fairly risky. You can`t help wanting something new and more exciting out of life. Even so, you should take your time to decide on your next goal or you could regret acting on impulse. Pleasing romantic developments will keep you feeling happy and energised.

Venus is now moving through your sign as Mars moves through another of the Fire signs – and as all planets appear to be moving forward. You should be at your `go getting` best. Your style presentation, colour-coding, handwriting, design-everything, should receive much attention. You could indeed be like a roaring fire. There is however a danger that along the way you could harm something in which you have long-term interest. It`s arguably important then that you have someone with you to act not as minder, but as assistant and helper. It might be wise too, to factor in time for a serious conversation about career management and what you hope to achieve before your birthday. Once Mercury turns retrograde next week, you could affect a useful clearing up operation and indeed realise success before the Sun reaches Aries at the Equinox.
Taurus
Personal theme: I have!!
Earth & fixed sign: April 20 — May 20

Your horoscope for this week:

For weeks you`ve been wrestling with a range of tricky situations. While some are resolved, most remain annoyingly unsettled; and with your ruler Venus having moved into the most strategic portion of your chart, it`s time to learn what you can. While, you could tackle these head on, you`d soon realise that with the foundation on which they`re based shifting, you`re better off waiting and watching.

You admire others who work hard to keep in trim. A friend will have some useful tips and you will be happy to be influenced by their healthy ways. If it has been a while since you`ve had any exercise, start with a few simple strategies to help you on your way. You`re thinking of booking some time off work for a holiday. You may not yet know where you`re going but you are ready for a break and this will give you something to look forward to.

As viewed from Earth, you probably know that some other planets have days, if not weeks or months when they appear to be in retrograde motion. That is not the case presently; and with everything apparently moving forward, you may find others are making fast decisions and indeed, propelling movement in a way that hasn`t been seen for some time. All this should be exhilarating. This might also give you the platform to build reserves and give attention to a project that`s been in the design stage – possibly for over a year. By the time that the Moon reaches your opposite sign on Friday, and with considerable attention to detail having been addressed, you could, before Mars arrives in another of the Earth signs next weekend, be ready to move to test phase.
Gemini
Personal theme: I think!!
Air sign: May 21 — June 20

Your horoscope for this week:

You`re superb at juggling tricky situations. This is fortunate, because while certain decisions are increasingly pressing, on Monday the 17th, your ruler, clever Mercury, goes retrograde. This period is renowned for confusion, unexpected revelations could answer numerous questions. Knowing that, adopt a slower pace, and encourage others to as well. What you learn could lead to new ideas as thrilling as they are unexpected.

It`s hard to find enthusiasm for a project you eagerly began a few months ago. The novelty has worn off and you just want it over with. If someone else offers to take it over, you won`t hesitate to put it in their hands. Your family is supportive. Nothing is too much to ask of them. If ever there was a time when you realised how much your loved ones mean to you, it will be now. Friends too will be helpful and colleagues will understand if you need to delegate some of your duties.

Though all the planets seem to be moving forward presently, Mercury now seems to be moving slower than usual. That`s because it`s preparing for its retrograde phase which begins next week. For now, it`s extended and slow journey across the apex and career point of your solar chart, suggests you may have several irons in the fire but as yet not have chosen which one you want to give attention to first. It may be that you need to incubate some of these for a little longer. In discussion with those born under the Cardinal signs of Aries, Cancer, Libra or Capricorn a plan could emerge but still require full testing. Your, research and development department, looks as though it`s working overtime.
Cancer
Personal theme: I feel!!
Water & cardinal sign: June 21 — July 22

Your horoscope for this week:

The odds are good that either somebody around you is arguing about petty issues or, possibly, you`ve been drawn into matters as irritating as they are minor; but, also, you`re aware certain individuals are brooding about these. Discuss them, diplomatically avoiding commitments. With both the actual circumstances and so-called facts changing regularly, the more flexible both your attitude and your position, the better.

Some gossip you hear will seem to confirm suspicions you have had about someone. Ask yourself whether the information is actually true or has someone added two plus two and made five? Attending a big party or celebration will lift your spirits. The weekend will be a great time to have some fun but guard against excess and avoid impulsive buying. An Aquarius friend with a birthday this week is not expecting an extravagant gift. No data available for this date.

You might need a couple of days to recover from Sunday`s Full Moon. It may be that others are throwing too many ideas at you and you`re unsure as to what decisions they will eventually take – and indeed how these will affect you. Note that Mercury will soon turn retrograde in another of the Water signs. A testing period is on the horizon. Not making firm commitment until test runs have been completed should be viewed as wise. That said, what seems clear is that one of your creative ideas (one that possibly began around March or April of last year), is now coming to its next phase. A rebranding or relaunch might be considered. This doesn`t have to be achieved now but the process and discussions arguably do need to take place. Until Mars leaves the heavy-duty working zone of your solar chart next weekend, you are likely to be super busy.
Leo
Personal theme: I will!!
Fire & fixed sign: July 23 — August 22

Your horoscope for this week:

Certain matters have been on your mind, but you`ve been unclear about your priorities, so reluctant to make demands; but now, with the Leo Full Moon, on Sunday the 9th, bringing both facts and your feelings to a head, it`s time to talk. However, with powerful planetary activity over the coming weeks shaking things up, even the simplest of arrangements should be regarded as an experiment.

An hour or two on your own as the week begins will give you a chance to come to terms with some recent developments. Your eyes are opened to new possibilities and your future path looks brighter. Discussing plans with family and friends should be fun. Be sure to voice your hopes and dreams for the months ahead as an older relative will have some surprisingly good suggestions. Keep your chin up and keep looking on the bright side.

As viewed from Earth all the planets appear to be moving forward. Mercury however is moving at a slightly slower pace than usual, prior to turning retrograde next weekend. All this suggests that whilst much will be moving on apace, that there will inevitably be errors made along the way. You should take particular care if involved in any kind property transaction during the early part of this week. Make sure that there is an adequate paper trail. A curious feature of this week is that you may be more aware of boundaries than usual -and not of the usual kind. Perhaps you are now accepting that there are certain matters totally out with your control. Accepting this, and working out ways to make the best use of what you already have may dominate thinking. Indeed, by the end of this week you could be firmly focused on a garage-type sale to get rid of unwanted items.
Virgo
Personal theme: I analyse!!
Earth sign: August 23 — September 22

Your horoscope for this week:

One of your virtues, as a clever but also conscientious Virgo, is you always think through discussions, and both current and more far-reaching plans. So, when you`re faced with frequently changing situations, you`re at a loss what to do. The answer is nothing. This is out of character, but frees you from worry. Besides, what`s least expected could turn out to be miraculous.

Demands and requests from family and workmates will take you by surprise. Suddenly everyone seems to think you have time to drop everything for them. People are too quick to take advantage of your kindness and it is time to set some healthy boundaries. If you`ve been thinking about adding to your qualifications or getting some additional training, now is the time to go for it. You will welcome this opportunity to gain expert knowledge.

Your ruling planet, Mercury, is moving through your opposite sign and has an extended stay there, – turning retrograde next weekend. It might appear to you that others, – although they appear clear as to what it is, they want this week, – will likely alter direction. Your instincts could be spot on. As early as Monday, you may be fractionally unsettled. Back that judgement. The Moon will be moving through your sign. With your nervous system highly tuned at the best of times, your antenna could be over-working. By Thursday however, and having renewed contact with someone you worked with a long time ago – and who has proven loyalty, – plans could emerge that effectively put a safety net in place.
Libra
Personal theme: I balance!!
Air & cardinal sign: September 23 — October 22

Your horoscope for this week:

Usually, you rely on your tact to sidestep pointless battles or win others over to your ideas. However, the current and coming weeks` planetary activity is tricky, so much you`re urged to be uncharacteristically frank, even about matters that are upsetting, if not explosive. Because everybody is influenced by these complex influences, even those who`re usually impossible will realise they`ve no choice but to be cooperative.

Make more time to indulge your sensual side.. You`ve always had finely tuned senses and getting a massage, buying new scent or dining in a fine restaurant will deepen your appreciation of life. A neighbour will make some strange suggestions. Give their ideas a whirl as a flexible frame of mind will lead you to all sorts of exciting possibilities as well as a chance to widen your circle of friends. Helping to organise a party for a friend will be fun.

It can`t be stressed enough how important it is for you to take your time presently. Mercury is now moving through what could be termed a delicate area of your solar chart. It may be that you are trying to please too many people. Health issues could also have your attention – possibly not your own but the care of someone close. Fact is, that an amazing amount of work could be headed in your direction. Nor is this likely to be resolved much before the end of March. It is important therefore that you pace yourself. Procrastinating will not be an option. As of the middle of this week it might be wise to reach out for more help. There might simply be too much admin for you to deal with on your own. On the very considerable upside you could find support from someone born under one of the other Cardinal signs (most likely Cancer or Capricorn) who understand exactly what you`re going through and is there when you need them.
Scorpio & Ophiuchus
Personal theme: I desire!!
Water & fixed signs: October 23 — November 21

Your horoscope for this week:

For ages you`ve been battling changes in elements of your work or lifestyle you regard as both pointless and disruptive. However, judging by your chart, they`re in your best interests. While your best bet the solution? It`s to plunge in, at least explore these, then allow experience to be your guide. The world around you is changing and so, too, must you. Unlikely as this seems, it`s a breakthrough.

The financial roller coaster is giving you a bumpy ride. One day it will feel as if everything is rosy and then the next, an unexpected bill will knock your finances for six. There may be some delay in receiving resources or money you need to finance a new project so be patient. You might make an effort while you have a chance, to rearrange your domestic schedule to give you more time for hobbies and exercise.

As viewed from Earth, Mercury appears to be slowing down prior to turning retrograde next weekend. It`s extended stay in another of the Water signs, Pisces, puts considerable accent on the research and development area of your solar chart. It is well-known that your sign has heightened financial acumen and an ability to live on very little if that`s necessary. You `do thrift` as no one else quite can! It may be that you need to pass that knowledge on to someone whom you sense is facing a financial calamity before the end of March. Whilst what you have to offer will likely be so much appreciated, it is important that you use some of this creative thinking to develop an interest of your own.
Sagittarius
Personal theme: I see!!
Fire sign: November 22 — December 21

Your horoscope for this week:

Discussions about exciting plans have gone well, but things aren`t proceeding as swiftly as you`d hoped. Actually, that`s best, because between Mercury retrograde from the 17th and numerous shakeups, you`re better off taking it slowly, so you can handle those dilemmas while they`re still manageable. Bizarrely, once you begin, you`ll realise how many issues and, more important, potential opportunities you missed first time around.

A stitch in time saves nine. If there`s a job you have been meaning to do but still haven`t managed to get around to it, get it over and done with now. Otherwise when you do get around to it, this task will take twice as long as anticipated. A disturbing dream will remain in your thoughts. It felt so real that it makes you see a person or situation through different eyes but remember it was only a dream. Try not to let it influence you too much.

In just over a week`s time, Mars will leave your sign. Perhaps you can then turn the temperature down just a little. It may be that you need more rest. Before we get to that point however, it seems it will be all systems go. Yes, some of this could be driven be health needs or increased essential tasks. Revising a system may be necessary. Those dealing with health matters might also need to alter their diet. News reaching new midweek however should make clear that you now have a team of support. With Venus moving through another of the Fire signs and activating the play area of your solar chart, thoughts should soon turn to possible plans for April. This in fact, should provide much-needed mental escape.
Capricorn
Personal theme: I use!!
Earth & cardinal sign: December 22 — January 19

Your horoscope for this week:

While patience isn`t your strength, if you understand why you`ve got to wait, you`ll busy yourself with another plan or project. That`s the case now. Except with fiery Mars`s move into Capricorn on Sunday the 16th kick-starting an exciting cycle, you`ll be tempted to plunge in now. Don`t. Instead, clear up those remaining, and mostly dull, issues. You`ll be glad you did and, surprisingly, learn a lot.

Discuss family matters that need a quick decision. If you leave it too long, someone will act without consulting you and you won`t be happy with their choice. Once you`ve talked it over, the response of your partner or someone who is equally as important to you, should please you. If life brings little in the way of fulfilment, arrange a trip to a place that has always interested you. Travel will give you the inspiration to make some positive changes.

As viewed from Earth, all the planets appear to be moving forward. Mercury though appears to be moving a little slower than usual and will turn retrograde next weekend just as Mars arrives in your sign. View all of that as indicating a pending change of tempo; and yes, a climax could be reached midweek ahead of Mercury`s station. You may be blown away by a plan put forward in first half of this week. What`s unusual about this is that we likely require you to stretch your imagination. As you may remember, there is considerable emphasis on the sign Capricorn in 2020. This isn`t though just about your very natural ability to be practical and focused, but also beneath all that, ability to access creative ways around difficulties.. Incubating a plan – away from your usual workspace – should make the most of this week`s planetary energies.
Aquarius
Personal theme: I know!!
Air & fixed sign: January 20 — February 18

Your horoscope for this week:

In order to discuss certain complex issues, we need to go back to late January, when the Sun`s clash with your ruler Uranus, combined with the Aquarius New Moon, highlighted potential changes you`d either been avoiding or, possibly, never considered. Now, in mid-February, you are. While these aren`t yet clear cut, with every passing day, you`re increasingly sure they could be a very good idea.

There`s some discord around you and this makes you uneasy. You prefer a harmonious environment. Some news has caused a few people distress and disappointment. You understand their frustration but not their way of dealing with it. Back away from anyone who is aggressive and give them time to calm down. Pause to reflect before responding to a proposition received later in the week. You don`t want to rush into a decision and this will help you to give a more thoughtful response.

As viewed from Earth, all the planets appear in forward motion presently. Mercury is however apparently slowing down and next weekend will turn retrograde in one of the financial zones of your solar chart. What is arguably important is that you think carefully before making any kind of investment. It may be wise to wait until after Mercury concludes retrograde period – and when it`s entirely possible that what you are seeking could be found at a lower price. Obviously much depends on your personal chart. Even so, applying a little caution would be wise. Yet that could be difficult to do when strong aspects to one of your ruling planets, Uranus, suggests you`ll be determined to do things your way. Just ensure that if you do choose that course of action, that you obtain receipts and guarantees.
Pisces
Personal theme: I believe!!
Water sign: February 19 — March 20

Your horoscope for this week:

Long ago, you learnt that just because your heart has gone out to somebody who`s facing dramas, you don`t actually need to turn their struggles into a personal rescue mission. Yet one particular situation seems pressing. This could be a distraction from dull, but inescapable, matters of your own that need serious attention. Once you`ve learnt more, you`ll realise how pressing these are.

It may be necessary to cancel plans for the sake of a new friend. Rather than let a small misunderstanding spoil this relationship, you will suggest ways to compromise. This will help you both learn more about each other. There`s a limit to what you can do in a day. If responsibilities are increasing, it may be time to delegate tasks to relatives and colleagues. Everyone needs to rest so they can do their best. Give yourself permission to take a break.

Mercury is now moving through your sign and as you may remember, has an extended stay there. Mercury`s PR spokesperson would have you believe that it`s a smooth communicator. It is however, also a prankster, changing and trickster. You have to be very, very careful that you don`t give out mixed messages over these next few weeks. True, this could bring a little humour way. Yet it might also get you into difficulty. Recalling that Mars is concluding its stay at the very apex of your solar chart, career wise this could prove an exciting period when it seems you are spoiled for options. It would surely be wise to make careful notes of what is proposed to talk these through with someone who has their feet firmly on the ground. Perhaps you don`t need to take a decision just yet? Take care too that you don`t put your nervous system under too much stress.

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

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By GrannyMoon Posted in Pagan

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