GrannyMoon’s Weekly Feast 17 – 24 Jan 2021 Thanks for reading! ✨✨✨

Artist Unknown To Me

Take time today to appreciate beauty –
natural beauty, art, people.
Slow down, breathe deeply, smile.
It’s a beautiful world. ~Jonathan Lockwood Huie

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

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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Herb of the Year for 2021: Parsley (Petroselinum crispum, named by the International Herb Association.)

Flower of the Month for January: Carnation: Symbolizing love, fascination, distinction!

January is Hot Tea Month!

Celtic Tree Calendar
Beth (Birch) December 24 to January 20

The Goddess Calendar
Month of Hestia begins 12/26 – 1/22

January 17: Happy Birthday, Betty White!🎂

January 17: In the English West Country, this is the traditional Wassail Night—time to wassail your apple tree!

January 17: Blessing of the Animals Day in Mexico, in honor of St. Anthony Abbot.

January 18: According to sadness boffins, it’s the most depressing day of the year, mainly because it’s dreich, the festive season is long behind us and the working year stretches out interminably.

January 19: Birthday of Dorothy Clutterbuck, who allegedly initiated Gerald Gardner into the New Forest coven.

January 20: Feast Day of St. Sebastian, patron saint of gardeners.

January 20: Eve of St. Agnes’ Day, traditional night for dreaming of your lover.

January 23: National Handwriting Day

January 24: Sementivae, a grain-oriented festival celebrating the sowing of the fields in preparation for springtime’s planting

GrannyMoon’s Sunday Classes at Sticks and Stones, Fairfax, VA
Feb 7: Face to Face Class : WitchCrafting 1PM – 3PM
Feb 14: Face to Face Class: The Herbal Cauldron 1PM – 3PM
Feb 21: Face to Face Class: Noon – 3:00~The Magick of Crystals

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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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High Priestess Training with GrannyMoon
http://GoddessSchool.com

The entire course takes 15 months to complete (four levels). Tuition covers lessons, assignments and instructor feedback. In addition, students may download guided meditation exercises and be eligible for Sabbats, Esbats and retreats with the Sisterhood. The entire fee for each level is $120 (payment plan available), sixteen lessons in each level, except the last.

Ceremonial Cords and frame-able Completion Certificates are awarded as membersvcomplete each level.

Level I – Initiate of the Sisters of the Burning Branch – White cord
Level II – Adept of the the Sisters of the Burning Branch- Red cord
Level III – Priestess of the Sisters of the Burning Branch- Black cord
Level IV – High Priestess of the Sisters of the Burning Branch – Green cord

You Might Also Be Interested In:
http://goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/index.html
http://www.goddessschool.com/courses/natural/naturalwitch.html
http://goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/healingarts.html

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Learn About Herbs with GrannyMoon!

There is so much to learn about herbs! In Herbalism 101, we cover 21 herbs, and you will start your own personal Materia Medica, that we will build throughout the next levels. We will cover the basic aspects of herbs. From culinary to magickal, medicinal to ornamental. As well as the many modalities of herbs!

During this course, in addition to the on-line lessons and hands-on projects that you do at home, I will be sending you articles, and information, as well as questions about your own personal use and research.

I look forward to walking this green journey with you! I love herbs and I hope that you do to or will learn to!

There are 10 lessons in each level and there is no time limit for completion. You may study at your own pace! There are no texts to purchase.

For more info or to join my class, click here!
http://goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/healingarts.html

The cost for Level 1 is $50.00 or the entire Healing Arts Course (1-3)for $150.00, which includes a free Reiki certification course when all three are ordered!

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The Goddess School Grimoire

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 (www.Goddessschool.com) has grown into a large and beautiful global community of women.

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The Magic of Crystals with GrannyMoon

Quartz crystals are a gift from the earth. They have the ability to amplify or strengthen the things in you that are positive.

Quartz can strengthen your ability to be a loving person, and can enhance your abilities to enjoy life and accomplish the things you want in life.
Quartz can reduce stress, help with centering, strengthen, have wonderful healing properties and surround you with protection!

If you love crystals like I do, join me in this On-line 4 Week Mini-Course for a fun and interesting time! No books or supplies needed! $25.00

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Order Your Mind, Body and Spirit Reading for 2021 from GrannyMoon!

Understand specific opportunities & unique challenges that will be presented to you in the next 12 months! New Year Special! A $15.00 Donation!

http://goddessschool.com/donations.html

Please e-mail me with your date, time and place of birth.
GrannyMoonsMail@yahoo.com

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CoventryCreations.com

January 18, 2021 – January 24, 2021.

The week begins with a power-packed surge of energy and ends with more sobering concerns. Make sure you take care of social obligations earlier in the week when the energy is available. The start of the week brings an immediate shift in the cosmic energy as the Sun moves out of Capricorn and into Aquarius. Aquarius energy is great to use if you need to make dynamic changes in your life. If there are areas of your life that need repair, then Aquarius season is a great time to work on them.

Later in the week, Mars is going to conjoin Uranus and square Jupiter bringing the Jupiter-Uranus energy that’s been around all month back on stage again. Since this energy is Mars influenced, and with Jupiter Uranus already an impulsive aspect, you need to think things through before acting. Moreover, Mars conjunct Uranus is accident prone so proceed with caution, and perhaps wear a hard hat.

This weekend the Sun makes its yearly conjunction with Saturn. Sun-Saturn is great for personal advancement and taking care of your responsibilities, but don’t expect fun and games this weekend because completing tasks may supersede personal enjoyment.

Best Coventry candles for this week are Blessed Herbal Problem Solver, Protection, and Stability, and Wicked Witch Mojo Wishin’ Mojo.

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Ruby’s Astro Readings
http://rubysreadings.com

SUN ENTERS AQUARIUS

January 19 – February 18

The Sun shifts into inquisitive Aquarius on January 19th, 2021.

Happy Birthday to all my Aquarius peeps, and welcome to AQUARIUS SEASON, everyone!

This month-long cycle keeps us hungry for knowledge and experience. There’s a stronger urge to mingle once again, so we search for new ways of doing things and for what’s original, different, or unique. It’s a time of self-expression, as our thoughts and actions both drive our ambitions.

During this time, we can become increasingly aware of what is no longer working in our lives and can strive to find what will, as we’re open to learning fresh new perspectives. After all, Aquarius is the Zodiac’s humanitarian, so we can feel pulled to like-minded people and groups to help them get what they rightfully deserve.

Under the Sun in Aquarius, we can feel artistic, friendly, and social. So our general attitude about life is more peaceful but also concerned. We can be quite detached emotionally simply because we want to take care of business. This energy can be nerve-wracking for some and cause high anxiety, especially if we focus on what’s lacking. Turn this worrisome energy into something you can manifest by setting goals and plans for the future. Tackle one thing at a time and prepare yourself. Concentrate on helping others because being detached from our emotions helps us put our feelings aside just long enough to take care of business.

Now that it’s officially Aquarius Season we as individuals will seek more independence and freedom. The status quo doesn’t satisfy. Especially, with so many other planets in this sign like Saturn, Jupiter and recently mental Mercury. We’re going to work very hard now to free ourselves from any restrictions, limitations, and inhibitions that keep us feeling blocked or constrained.

We’re still in the battle against Covid, so we must lockdown and stay in place if we like it or not, life is different for all of us, and we aren’t able to be as social as we used to be. These limitations don’t sit well with us, and people feel quite irritated, especially under all this Aquarius energy because we have a deeper need to be free and alive! The shadow side of Aquarius is rebellion and possible revolution, and that’s already begun here in the US! It’s important to get out of our comfort zones and look into the furthest parts of our minds for answers and more peaceful resolutions!

There’s a lot of movement and excitement, usually during Aquarius Season, along with brilliant ideas and discoveries! We tend to be more open-minded so we can experience more awareness and knowingness. And there are some seriously important A-Ha moments and epiphanies. We can experience strokes of genius, as we’re flooded with information during this time. Taking notes and journal writing can be quite telling during this cycle.

With the Sun in Aquarius, we are better at expressing ourselves more openly. To flow better with this energy, we should try new ways of communicating and expressing ourselves. Areas of study that involve science, technology, and metaphysics can go extremely well. New Age is in, now that we are actually in the “Age of Aquarius,” as we are more attracted to the unusual, bizarre, or just something different.

Conventional or traditional values are changed up during this time, with fresh and exciting horizons ahead, we are motivated by spirit. Now with mental Mercury also in the sign of Aquarius and the Sun, we get the chance to stretch our minds, bodies, and spirits. Explore the possibilities safely!

Stay Safe & Be Well ~Ruby

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Biddy Tarot
http://www.biddytarot.com

Card of the Week: Queen of Wands

Are you feeling upbeat, courageous, and determined this week?
With the Queen of Wands energy showing up this week, you are here to see through your creative visions and life purpose.
You know how to best channel your strengths and weaknesses to achieve your goals. You are optimistic and full of ideas to share with others. You know what you want and how to get it, and are masterful at engaging with others to achieve your goals.

Stay fiercely determined and focused on your goals while being friendly and optimistic with those around you.

Now is the time to be bold in your undertakings and actions. Don’t be afraid to own your real power and put it out into the world.

You have so much to offer – so shine your light bright! Believe in yourself and what you stand for, and don’t be afraid to speak up and be heard. No one will silence you.

Ask the Tarot: How can you authentically express your vision?

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Llewellyn’s Spell-A-Day

Mental/Emotional Clarity Spell
JANUARY 17, 2021 BY DEVIN HUNTER

With the Moon in Pisces and Mercury in Aquarius, this is the perfect time to do workings that can help bring clarity to the emotional and mental aspects of our lives. Perform this spell to lift the fog and bring peace to these areas so you can focus on what is truly important at this time.

In a teacup, combine one tablespoon each of dried lavender flower, dried chamomile flower, and fresh ginger root. Then fill the cup threequarters of the way with hot water. Cover and steep for three minutes, strain, and then add the fresh juice of one whole orange. Stir clockwise nine times and say:

Break the mold and seal the crack,
Clear the way; bring vision back.
What would block me now be gone,
Dark to light just like the dawn.

Drink the tea and then spin counterclockwise
three times before saying:

And so it is.
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Fresh Footbath Forward
JANUARY 16, 2021 BY ESTHA MCNEVIN

Take a thrice-wise footbath today to recharge your endurance and inner warmth for the long, cold days ahead. As you assemble the following ingredients, imagine the gestation and manifestations of spring. While soaking your feet, visualize the path ahead of you as glowing and golden. Be forewarned that this spell will stain your skin and towels yellow. You are about to be very lucky for a few days, and this fortune will transfer but not wash away easily, so make it count!

Combine the following ingredients in a large foot tub and soak your feet for thirty minutes. Repeat this spell three times today for the very best results, and a golden path will lay itself before your feet.

  • 4 tablespoons turmeric powder
  • 4 tablespoons Hawaiian black salt
  • 1 cup potato flakes
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 gallons very warm water
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    Awaken the Spirit of an Altar
    JANUARY 15, 2021 BY STORM FAERYWOLF

An altar is a space equipped with symbols and tools devoted to particular aspects of magic or spirituality, whether deity, spirit, or philosophy. Over time, altars become attuned to the energies that are worked with them. When erecting an altar, we should ideally be in tune with our creative process to allow divine inspiration to guide us. This is a simple spell to help you align with that inspiration to further empower and awaken your altar space.

You will need a small piece of paper and a pen. Ground and center. Concentrate on the purpose of your altar. On the paper, draw a pentagram, and in the center of it, draw an open eye. Chant over it three times:

Awaken unto life and be
A place to reach between the worlds.

Take a deep breath of power and then exhale over the paper, “seeing” the symbols shine. Hide the paper somewhere on your new altar.
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Invocation for Peace
JANUARY 14, 2021 BY DEBORAH BLAKE

Winter can be a difficult time, when the days are short and the nights are long, and light and warmth are in short supply. But there is a benefit to these things as well. The world is quieter and slower, and if you so desire, you can tap into this natural lull in energy to find that quiet inside yourself.

First thing in the morning, or at some time in the evening before you go to bed, take a minute to say this simple invocation for peace. (You can do this on any day during the winter season.) If you want, you can light a candle first, making sure it is someplace safe so you can sit without worry as it burns down.

Quiet of winter,
Calm of winter,
Be within me, as you are without.
Bring me peace.
So mote it be.
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Step-by-Step New Moon Spell
JANUARY 13, 2021 BY THORN MOONEY

Did you make a New Year’s resolution this year? Many people just don’t seem to be able to keep their promises, no matter how good their intentions. Usually it’s because their resolution was a bit too drastic. A great solution is to set smaller goals over the course of the entire year that add up to big changes come December. The new moon is an ideal time to set intentions. As the moon grows in the sky, so does your motivation!

Think about what big change you want to make by the end of the year, and break it into twelve stages. At each new moon this year, you will set your intention to take the next step toward success.

Write your intention for this first month on a slip of paper. Safely light a white candle and read it aloud within your personal sacred space. Keep the paper where you can read it every day and monitor your progress. When the next new moon arrives, it is time to move on to the next phase of your goal! Be sure to extinguish the candle.
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Ask for Guidance
JANUARY 12, 2021 BY DALLAS JENNIFER COBB

Create time to ask for guidance from your higher self today. Set aside ten to twenty minutes in a safe and private space. Sit with your hands on your thighs and breathe deeply. Inhale to a count of four and exhale to a count of six. A longer exhale stimulates the vagus nerve, slows the heart rate, and creates calm.

Exhale and envision stress leaving your body, blowing a black cloud out and away from you. Inhale, welcoming fresh oxygen and bringing vitality into the body.

After about thirty breaths, or when you notice the calming of your heart rate, ask for guidance from your higher self:

Guide me to know which way
to go in the year ahead, for
my own highest purpose.

Breathe another thirty breaths, inhaling for four counts and exhaling for six. Listen for the whispers of your own higher truth and watch for a vision of what is to come.
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First Snow Spell
JANUARY 11, 2021 BY SAPPHIRE MOONBEAM

The first snow of the year is enchanting! When sparkly snowflakes cover the natural landscape, there is a sense of renewal and childlike innocence. Gathering snow from the first snowfall of the year is a wonderful way to cleanse and purify your crystals. If you cannot collect the first snow, do not despair: this spell can be used with snow during the entire winter season. If it doesn’t snow where you live, gather raindrops in a clear glass container during the first full moon of the year (which will be on January 28, 2021).

After you collect the snow, place it in a bowl with the items you want to cleanse. Make sure your crystals will not be damaged by the water or the cold temperature. The most important ingredient in any spell is you and your intention. Repeat these words as you focus your powerful magickal intention on cleansing and purifying your crystals with the snow:

Purify and cleanse these crystals
for me with this magickal snow
(rainwater). Blessed be!

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Heartwings Love Notes 968: Labor of Love

Heartwings says, “Work goes smoothy and well when it is done with a loving heart.”

Once long ago when my husband’s son was a teenager, his chore as a fellow apartment dweller was to vacuum our shared rooms weekly. One Saturday I watched him prepare for his task. He began by scowling and muttering under his breath. He continued by stomping his feet as he muttered. He appeared to be getting angry. I was about to ask him what was the matter when he went off, got the vacuum and plugged it in.

Soon he was slamming the length of the long wand around the furniture. He continued to mutter and to appear angry. The cats fled his wrath and I decided to get something done in the kitchen. Eventually he put the vacuum away and went whistling cheerfully out the back door. When I had the opportunity, I asked him what he had been angry about. He grinned at me and said, “Nothing.” He then went on to explain that he hated vacuuming, and that was how he worked himself up to get the chore done.

I thought about this recently as I was putting the clean pillow cases onto our bed pillows. I laid one on the bed, smoothed out the wrinkles and began to insert the end of a pillow into the case. As usual, this wasn’t easy to do and I had to go at it slowly and carefully in order to make any progress. Finally, though it seemed to take a lot of time, I managed to get all my pillows into their cases. As I did this, I thought about the choice I had between doing my small chore with resentment or doing it with love. Because I figured it would feel better than resentment, I decided on love.

The attitude with which a task is done is actually quite important. It can help to make a task go more quickly as well as more efficiently. I’ve noticed that when I act with impatience, I often make foolish errors or mess things up and have to go back to fix them. When I focus my mind on seeing what I do as an act of love, and most especially when I project a sense of love and satisfaction into the doing of it, the results are much better. It is not always easy to catch oneself in the act, so to speak, and it does require a sense of mindfulness. However, with practice it is quite possible to think of the small chores one does as a labor of love, and to give that to one’s loved ones.

May your chores go smoothly and your heart feel warm as you do them.

Blessings and Best Regards, Tasha Halpert

PS How do you handle doing what you’d rather not be doing while you are doing it? I love it when my readers share their stories with me. Please write me at tashahal@gmail.com or tashahal@aol.om. For more love notes please visit my web pages at http://www.heartwingsandfriends.com.

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Wicca and Modern Witchcraft in a Nutshell
In Magick by Chris A. Parker

Wicca is a very personalized belief and one which varies from person to person. Wicca is associated with witchcraft but is usually considered to be beneficial or positive witchcraft. In Wicca, there isn’t a single right answer. The person searching for an appropriate path should practice the witchcraft that feels most correct to them. The practice of Wicca is as denominational as Christianity is. There are several major forms of Wicca, and the searcher may require a while to find the one which is the best fit for them personally.

The Celtic pantheon or circle of gods is one of the major branches of Wicca. The searcher may choose to join with these groups, while another may choose to join with the Stregheria rituals. Similar to the Celtic pantheon is that of the Druids. Another Wicca major tradition is that of Asatru. The Gardnerian Wiccans follow the teachings of Gardner. An Eclectic Wiccan includes components from many different groups and makes them uniquely their own.

Those Wiccans who are searching for the right branch of witchcraft can be searching for many months and perhaps it will take years.

Don’t be concerned if you are unable to find a good fit in a short time. Eventually, you will hope to find one which feels more personal to you than the other paths. This is the one which will guide you into a better understanding, not only of yourself but above all of the steps which you are about to follow.

In Wicca, there is no “one right answer”. It is more about how you feel. If you prefer a Book of Shadows with lined paper, then that’s great, but don’t be hard on yourself if you’re doing something a little differently than some other Wiccans you might know. If you prefer a wand over an athame, that’s perfectly fine too. Everyone is different. The path of the Wiccan is a personal path. That is one of the many wonders of Wicca.

Witches

At the same time as it is a tradition going back into the mists of history, witchcraft is changing constantly because it is a reflection of those who practice it. There is no central holy book or one rule book to provide guidance to those who are witches. Witchcraft is a balanced spirituality which develops both communications with the whole of nature and prayerful oneness with the gods. A witch can always find room to develop and lessons to be learned. Witchcraft is a constant searching for fresh insight and deepening personal practices of witchcraft.

Most witches believe that daily observation is important to deepen spirituality. The goal is not to inform but to transform, daily observation helps to ground one in the presence of the interconnected and vibrant universe. Daily celebrations of Nature’s cycle will lead to a better understanding of one’s place in the big picture.

Often, witches will start and end the day with a greeting to each element and direction and to the gods. Those who prefer ceremonial observations may recite the Lesser Banishing Ritual. Gardnerian Wiccans may choose to proclaim the Charge of the Goddess.

Witchcraft today is made up of many traditions. Witches believe that the practice of their craft is just one of many paths and including the use of myth, symbolism, and ritual in the daily celebration helps to understand the composition of the magickal universe. Studying about other paths such as Islam, Santeria or Hinduism at a level that will allow one to experience the benefits of the other path will add richness and emphasis to your own walk. Another experience may work better for you than does witchcraft.

Witchcraft and Occult Practices

For hundreds of years, society has viewed witchcraft and occult practices as dark and sinister territory. Magickal practices and those who use them are considered to be associated with the negative connotations of life.

Those who practice witchcraft are considered to have a large collection of supernatural abilities such as levitation, clairvoyance, and telekinesis. or those whose essence comes from dusty and shadowy tomes of written mysteries. However, it should be noted that witches are also students of nature and claim nature as a teacher and educator.

Nature exists as the essence of everything that is outside human changes and interference. It’s not just the earth below and the blue sky overhead; it is all that is in between and yet more. Each being or entity that is part of this network of change is a unique existence of naked power which contains within itself a spiritual connection which binds all things together. The tree is bound to the sea which is bound to a field, which is bound to a river. Each of these entities and places expresses the quality which is inherently magical and imbues everything with a natural glow. Witches use witchcraft to become one with and be empowered by nature.

In essence, witchcraft can be defined as the ability to reach a goal or grasp onto a wish by artful channeling and manipulation of vital energy. The source of the vital energy can be almost any part of the natural landscape which provides inspiration, such as the moon, the sun, or the oak tree.

Both witches and those who oppose them have a pattern of connecting witchcraft with various elemental forces of nature. Many of the ancient tribes and clans recognized encounters with wild animals in their totems. This is particularly noted in the native American tribes and in the clans of the Celts.

A witch focuses efforts toward a delicate connection with all natural surroundings and can become attuned to various levels of knowledge which is a part of the natural kingdom. The ancient confidence in multiple spirits and the movement of these spirits between bodies is the basis of Animism which is the ancestor of the spirituality of the shamans which was prevalent in the prehistoric peoples. This ensuing world view probably forms the basis of the science and art commonly called witchcraft.

Any dedicated gardener will assure you that talking to your plants or singing to them will help them to grow more quickly and with greater strength. Speaking to plants is based in Animism and the desire to return to that connection with nature. Witchcraft recognizes that the core of Nature is that all life is connected and each person and creature is a part of the connection. This is true of each action taken and the pattern we fulfill.

The witch is one who recognizes that energy is without ending or beginning. This belief is fundamental to the practice of witchcraft. Energy can be channeled but cannot be created or destroyed forever.

Witchcraft over the History

Witchcraft of one kind or another has been known in many if not most societies for thousands of years. Over the ages of history, witches have also been known as healers, gods, teachers, historians, priests and priestesses, and shamans. Other people such as Paracelsus the Swiss physician, Virgil, the Roman poet and Pythagoras, the Greek philosopher were believed, sometimes correctly to be witches. In Western culture, the debilitating fear of witches can be traced to the beginnings of persecution in the 1400s when they were first persecuted in Europe.

Witches and those who practice witchcraft have historically been considered people who make magic. People who change or influence events through superstitious beliefs and practices, nature, and folklore are known as witches.

In Europe, although many of the ancient pagan religions which included those with practices including magic spells and other practices were strong, Christianity became the dominant religion. The Christian church, believing that magic practices along with no worship of God as seen by the Jewish and Christians, associated the practices of witchcraft and by extension witches with the devil. For over 300 years, even the mere suspicion of witchcraft was enough to result in torture, brutality, and execution of hundreds of thousands of people. In most cases, as seen in the 17th-century witch trials which occurred in Salem Massachusetts the evidence was faked, obtained through torture and often false.

Often, older women who were widowed or unmarried and lived alone or which only small animals as pets were targeted for the accusation of witchcraft. These women sometimes owned desirable land which was taken from them. Other times they were criticized for their use of plants and herbal remedies along with traditions from folklore in order to heal. Finally, the women often were poor and so made easy targets to the attackers.

Today, witchcraft exists in many cultures and societies. There was no systematic effort to eradicate witchcraft in Tibet, Thailand, Brazil, India or other countries where it is still respected and practiced. In Africa, witch doctors are numerous who ask ancestors for assistance, heal those who are ill, foretell what will occur in the future and cast spells.

In Tibet, a ritual dance by the Buddhist monks portrays an evil spirit from times which predate Buddhist beliefs includes a Tibetan Buddhist priest. The dance is an attempt to drive out evil.

The shamans of Sri Lanka treat maladies by the restoration of energy balance within the body.

The magical art of feng-shui was developed by ancient Chinese cultures and has become most popular in the West, particularly in America.

The best known and most widely practiced type of witchcraft in the West, particularly in the United States is Wicca. It is believed that there are somewhere between four hundred thousand and three million practitioners of witchcraft in the United States. Adherents to Wicca, the most common form of witchcraft call themselves Wiccans or witches. There is an active battle going on right now for acceptance and tolerance for their beliefs. It is believed that Wicca is the religion which is growing most rapidly in the country.

In addition, other popular magical beliefs which may be closely tied together including New Ageism and astrology, aromatherapy are enjoying a strong revival, as are herbalism and alternative medicine.
Wicca and Modern WitchcraftImage by RD LH from Pixabay
Types of Witchcraft

Witchcraft is practiced by four different types of witches in popular Western viewpoints.

The satanic witch was tormented as a worshiper of the devil during the Spanish Inquisitions and also during the witch hunts in this country.  Evangelical Christians still categorize satanic cults in widespread distribution as being endemic to this country.
The second type of witch is the tribal witch.  This is the type of witch from the American Indian, Pacific Islander, and African Caribbean religions.  The tribal witch is the scapegoat of the benevolent healer and shaman. In South Africa and Java both.
The hideous hags in fairy tales such as The Wizard of Oz and Hansel and Gretal are the third type of those who practice witchcraft.
The final kind of witches and witchcraft is the neo-pagan, which includes those who are known as Wiccans. Wiccans trace their roots to pre-Christian history and to the Druidism of the Celts.  There is no connection with Satanic witchcraft, in fact, Wiccans don’t believe in Satan or the Judeo-Christian God, but in a female goddess of all natural things.

Wiccans believe in spirit communication, psychokinesis and other psychic ability such as clairvoyance. Feminists grab hold of the tenets of Wicca in order to emphasize self-empowerment, female spiritual leaders and matriarchal deity.

Hollywood and other media forms have embraced the rich lore of Wicca and of connected witchcraft in a number of magazine works, films, and books. Practical Magic with Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman, the ABC sitcom Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Charmed on WB Network. Book sales both fiction and nonfiction dealing with the subject of witchcraft have soared.
Witchcraft and Magick

In order to successfully practice witchcraft and to bend the force of magick effectively, the witch must draw a sacred breath. This is to remove the mind from its distractions where thoughts are tossed about like leaves on the wind with no anchor. The clouds of stress burden even further so that there is no relief sensed or even hoped for. In order to overcome these fogs and mists, one must focus on the breath of fresh air which is the reconnection with the accessible elements of nature. This fresh air is taken in by the body, providing fuel to the lungs, the heartbeat to continue and the energizing of the entire body. Particularly in the morning, this breath activates and directs the essential four elements of Earth, Air, Water, and Fire and begins the magick. (?f you want to read more about. Try these articles, “Magick – Definition and Etymology” and “The Four Elements Throughout Mystic Tradition”.)

The witchcraft magick directed by the witch in the center of a circle focuses and conducts energy that is the basis of life and youthfulness itself. Nature doesn’t need to be begged only returned to health and vitality after the patriarchal institutions of the human race who have ravaged the Earth Mother Gaia in the quest for dividing the material and the spiritual, the sacred from the profane.

This separation from the Mother is the cause of distress, confusion and searching for answers. Witchcraft magick recognizes the return to the Earth rather than expecting salvation to come from the heavens. As Gaia is more devastated, she grows less patient, but at the same time welcomes the art of witchcraft from those faithful who refuse to be absorbed into the maelstrom of superiority, conservatism, globalism, and consumerism.

Witchcraft magick is frequently castigated because it is proud and self-possessed in its refusal to be forced into molds. The witches recognize a world order that is soul-based, not mind-based. The free spirits that dance upon the wind, roam the plains freely and wander in the forest glades with only the light from the moon.

Witches ask only that from Mother Earth, Gaia which she has freely offered. She gives wisdom, happiness, wealth and health to all those who ask. The essence of witchcraft is the spirit of wholeness with nothing added. This essence is within everything as well as being everything. Its presence is a powerful answer to how we originated in omniscient consciousness which is all-encompassing.

Life is both contractions and expansions, of the push and pulls between concurrence and synchronicity. Although recognizing that subtle interplay of the forces that direct all, one can only recognize that once the cards are dealt, the casting of the runes complete, the spell determined and the powers called, the heart of the matter is in the relationship with the vital energy flow known as magick. To remain focused on the energy flow contained in the squeezing and releasing is the duty of the witch. It is the directing and control of this elemental flow which provides a hint as to the nature of the witch and the nature of the witchcraft which is practiced.

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5 Essential Magical Practices
November 22, 2019 by Gwion Raven

There are hundreds of ways to practice magic. I’m sure you have your favourites. I know I have mine. Over the years, and over many fine glasses of wine, I’ve chatted with all manner of Witches and Pagans and Druids about what makes magic happen for them. While the style and substance may vary, these five essential magical practices appear on everyone’s list.

Magical Practice #1: Use What You Have

I’d love to practice magick in the gardens of an 800 year old manor estate somewhere in the Cotswolds. All my Pagan friends would come for the weekend. We’d wile the day away discussing arcane magical lore, indulge in a veritable feast for the senses, gather in the rose garden under a full moon, make magic until the wee hours, and retire to our plush four-poster beds. Um…Unlikely to happen any time soon. Until then, I’ll practice in the living room, the local park, or in the ritual room my coven meets in.

Practicing magic doesn’t require the perfect location or the most expensive robes or the coolest tools. Don’t get me wrong, I love the tools I’ve collected, bought, borrowed, or been gifted over the years. They certainly get me in the mood to do magic, but I can do magic without them. In fact, most folk magic systems use every day items like candles and pins and sharpies and socks and old mason jars.
Not Where I practice Magic. Oh! But wouldn’t it be lovely.

Magical Practice #2: Spend An Hour In Devotion

If part of your magic includes working with deities, set aside an hour, and be in devotion to them. Working with gods not your thing? Spend an hour devoted to your ancestors, or to your partner(s), or to tending your altar, or even yourself. Make devotion a priority. And that hour could be one sixty minute time slot or you might consider spending 8.57 minutes per day (that’s an hour a week, broken down by day) in devotional practice. The key thing to remember is that devoting time to someone/something is all about them. You’re not looking for a reward or even reciprocation. Devotion is a gift you give with no expectation.

Magical Practice #3: Actually Do Magic

Folks new to the Craft are always doing spells, gathering herbs, making charm bags, anything they can do or make that connects them to magic. After a few years of practice, it’s not uncommon to forget to do magic. Or perhaps, to put it kindly, we get a little lazy. Instead of checking correspondences, erecting altars, or researching spells, we just sort of say “So mote it be” and have done with it. The best part of magic is actually doing magic. I highly recommend having some sort of spell going all the time and actively working with it. Light the green candle on your money altar. Feed your charm bag. Cut pictures out of magazines of the places you want to go. Mix herbs and oils aligned with travel into the glue and paste everything onto construction paper. Whatever you do, actually do it.
Part of a spell I’ve been working for years

Magical Practice #4: Talk About Magic

At least once a day, I talk about magic. Now, to be sure, it’s pretty easy for me. I write about magic. I own a metaphysical shop. My Partner is a witch. Many of my friends are somehow connected to various Pagan communities. If that’s not the reality for you, make it a practice to talk with someone, as regularly as you can, about magic. In person is great, and online works too. There are any number of places to chat about magic. Talking about magic could look like sharing a spell with someone or recounting a mystical experience or discussing that cool new kitchen witchery cookbook you just discovered. Whatever it is, make magic a regular part of your life. Notice I said “regular” part of your life, not “make magic an all consuming passion and bring up magic in every interaction you have with any human being ever”.

Magical Practice #5: Learn How To Ground

This is a big one. You’d be surprised how many Pagan folk don’t know how to do this magical practice. Basically, grounding means bringing yourself to the present moment. Ever have someone rush up to you after a ritual, they get right in your face, they bounce all over the place, and tell you all about their profound experiences with the Goddess, without ever realizing they’re standing on your foot? Yep. That person, needs to ground. Grounding is a pretty simple practice. It can look a lot like breathing. Grounding might be about meditation for you. Lots of folks close their eyes when they ground, but I recommend keeping them open and staying connected to your environment and whomever you’re sharing it with. I can’t tell you how many teachers, high priestesses, magical presenters, and workshop leaders I’ve talked to that swear by their regular, daily, grounding practice.

There you have it folks. Five essential magical practices you can start right now (or restart or continue doing).

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A Candle Meditation To Calm Emotions
BY GWYN

In the past week, I’ve been feeling a lot of emotions. Thus, I have performed this candle meditation. Why? The events of the Capitol Insurrection and its aftermath have preoccupied my thoughts with a lot of anger. I’ve got a lot of feels that need redirection from time to time.

My family and I have expressed the outrage we feel on our podcast (Episode 126 ). I’m sick of people supporting Trump and his…everything. News reports indicate a deeper threat to our government from Trump’s supporters that could include members of Congress. And let’s not forget we still have a PANDEMIC infecting and killing people every day. It’s enough to make even the most sanguine of individuals a nervous wreck.

Take A Moment To Focus
Inspired by others, I’ve encouraged people to care for themselves. Step away from the madness for a moment. Yes. There is a lot of information we need to know to be informed, stay safe, and make smart decisions. But it’s even more important to take a breath, watch something else, talk about anything other than Trump, the Insurrection, Covid 19, etc.

So, as we move into next week’s festivities (and many offer prayers, rituals, and spells of protection over the events) I offer a Candle Meditation. Just something easy to do when you need a chance to stop, breathe, and release or redirect the feels. And feel free to use it for any occasion. I’ve made this basic and generic. Tailor it to your needs.

Candle Meditation
This meditation is easy and can be done at a moment’s notice. If traveling, you can use a battery-operated candle if in a location where any kind of fire is not permitted. You can spend five minutes or however long you feel is necessary. If you are at home and want to add ambiance, play quiet music or nature sounds. Light some incense and dim the lights.

Needed:

Candle (birthday, taper, spell, jar —whatever works or you have on hand) I prefer white for meditation but any color will do.
Matches or lighter
Sit in a comfortable position. You can be in a chair with the candle on a table or sit on the floor with the candle in front of you.

Light the candle.

For 5 Minute Meditation
Take five deep breaths. You can use the technique I shared in my previous post.

Look into the center of the flame. It’s okay to blink your eyes as needed.

Breathe normally.

If there is something that is not useful to you, release or allow it to diminish. Otherwise, exist within the moment. Allow your breathing to bring calmness.

When ready, wiggle fingers and toes. Open your eyes and go on about your day.

For Longer Meditation
As you do this, pay attention to how you are feeling in your body. Acknowledge discomfort if you cannot alleviate it by adjusting the position and move on. Take your time and be aware of your space. Sink into your body. Exist within the moment.

Take five more deep breaths.

Observe the flame and acknowledge it.

Examine your feelings. Reflect on them. Is there anything that you need to embrace that will aid you? Can it be transformed into useful or helpful action? Is there anything you need to release? When you are ready, allow the flame to assist you with releasing or transforming.

Take five more deep breaths. Return to normal breathing, exist within the moment allowing calmness to infuse your mind and body.

When ready, wiggle fingers and toes. Open your eyes and go on about your day.

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Sulfur Quartz – Science & Origin of Sulfur Quartz

Sulfur Quartz is a common mineral that crystallizes in the form of masses, tiny prismatic crystals, large, pointed generators, scepters, and double terminated quartz configurations. Historically it’s been referred to as “Brimstone”, due to the smell of rotting eggs when struck together.

Its color can range from a light pale yellow, to a bold-defining gold that resembles rays of the sun. Although this mineral can be found throughout the world in places such as Canada, Japan, and the United States, the main commercialized deposits are coming out of Brazil.

Meaning & Energy
Sulfur Quartz resonates directly with one’s personal will and helps reignite the inner emotions that drive us forward each day. A renewed growth cycle will begin to engage your body when tapping into this stone’s energies. This newfound perspective of yourself and the world around you will help you see what it is you truly want.

Many souls that are lost in the world have no vision of what they view as important and achievable. This leads people down a scary path full of sadness, monotony, and emotional carnage. One of the major defining factors of Sulfur Quartz is its passive ability to lead one’s mind while providing hope for your emotional body and spirit.

Allow your newly illuminated core to infuse with your own unique cognitive abilities. Remind oneself of the power you possess, and begin to display it through creating, manifesting, building, and driving forward each day.

Amplify Your Desires
Sulfur Quartz enables you to truly create your own path in this world while directing your full attention to achieving your goals and desires. As you begin working with this stone and become more comfortable with its vibrations, one must begin to channel their own energies into it. Grab a piece of Sulfur Quartz and begin placing your most desired intentions into it. This can be done through extreme mental focus or vocal repetitions. This is vital as it makes your dreams and desires physical and known to the universe.

The Quartz is an enhancing crystal and will strengthen this newly conjured energy, while channeling it directly towards your personal will. This allows one’s body to become enchanted and strengthened, while maintaining a clear mind with laser sharp focus. Lastly, this crystal will provide you with reassurance that the journey you are on is the right one!

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Black Salt, White Salt, and Red Brick Dust All Over
BY LILITH DORSEY

There are many traditional Hoodoo, Voodoo and magickal items that can be used for protection. White Sea Salt, Black Salt, and Red Brick dust are a few of these powerful tools.

Hoodoo Help with Red Brick Dust

Hoodoo practitioners put Red Brick Dust almost everywhere- the thresholds, the windowsills, the property line… anywhere that needs to be protected. The most effective dust comes from old houses or buildings. Someone gave me a bag full from an old Haunted House. It has it’s own special mojo. There are several spiritual supply shops that will sell you a bag, or you can make your own from some crumbling bricks that are no longer needed. Just light a white candle, get out your mortar and pestle and ground them down into a fine powder. The red brick dust is said to create a powerful psychic barrier that nothing harmful can cross. For best results be sure to lay a complete line across all your thresholds and windowsills on the eve of the full moon. You can then replace this monthly or whenever you feel the need to reinforce your protection in the home.

Rub Salt in the Wound

Sea Salt has been used for protection and blessing for centuries. Some Pagans I know swear by salt from the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth. All the local rivers flow to the Dead Sea, but nothing flows out. Salt can only be removed through evaporation. This is useful for healing magick, earth magick and protection blessings. Very often I recommend to clients who come to me for spellwork to use salt if they are having a problem with nightmares or unwanted energies in their home. Salt or Saltwater can be sprinkled under the bed and in the corners of the home for a subtle, yet highly effective blessing. I have a godsister who makes visitors stand in a litterbox full of sea salt that she has outside her front door. This makes sure everyone leaves their problems literally on the doorstep before entering her home. You can also make a circle out of sea salt to recharge your Tarot Cards or other ritual items.

Black Salt for Dark Nights

Many protection formulas and spells also call for the use of Black Salt, also known as Black Salt powder. There are many different types of Black Salt, here I am referring to the ritual type, as opposed to the Indian salt used in cooking. Ritual Black Salt is usually made by combininng sea salt or kosher salt with cast iron filings or charcoal. Black Salt is great for removing negativity and I often use it is situations where sea salt alone would not be enough. Some Lucumi formulas call for its help in removing enemies from your path. In fact some people even refer to this as Santeria (La Regla Lucumi) Salt.

Which Witchy Dust Where?

Each one of these salts and dusts have their own special vibrational properties. In my experience a combination of all three is most effective. It’s the same as with roaches, sometimes you have to change up the poison so they don’t get immune. Be sure to us divination, the guidance of your elders, and your own judgment when it comes to spiritual solutions in your own home. Happy sprinkling!

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Essential Oils: Are They Safe To Use?

Chances are you’ve probably heard of essential oils — but what can they really do? Can lavender really help you sleep better? Does citrus actually boost energy? The short answer is yes, when used correctly.

From stress relief to minor pain management, essential oils have a wide range of uses and benefits that can complement traditional health care. As with any supplement, talk to your doctor before adding essential oils into your health routine. In the meantime, here’s some information about essential oils and how to use them safely.

What are essential oils?
Essential oils are highly concentrated oils extracted from flowers, fruits, seeds, and plants. Each oil has its own unique fragrance and chemical makeup. Here are some popular types of oils and what they’re often used for:

Why people use themTypes of oil
CitrusTo boost energy or use for cleaningLemon, citronella
Floral To relax or reduce anxietyJasmine, lavender, rose
HerbaceousFor a calming effectChamomile, eucalyptus, tea tree
CamphoraceousTo clear congestionCamphor, eucalyptus, laurel leaf
MintyFor an energizing effectSpearmint, wintergreen, peppermint
SpicyTo increase energy and focusBasil, cinnamon, ginger

How are essential oils used?
Aromatherapy: Inhaling oils to help relax the mind and body, either with a diffuser, aroma sticks, or aromatherapy necklaces.

1 Massage therapy: Applying oils to the skin or mixing oils into lotions for a massage.

Minor pain relief: Rolling oils, such as lavender or peppermint, onto the temples to relieve headaches and migraine pain.

Relief from the common cold and nausea: Inhaling oils like eucalyptus and peppermint to open up sinuses, or ginger and peppermint oil to relieve nausea.

2 Insect repellant: Spraying citronella oil onto your clothes or using it in a diffuser for an environmentally friendly bug repellant.

Household cleaner: Using lemon oil or tea tree oil as a natural alternative to chemical-based household cleaners.

Are essential oils safe?

When used correctly, essential oils can provide some wellness benefits. But there are no federal regulations around them, so try to buy from reputable companies, and beware of unsupported health claims.

Consider the following safety tips:

Only use diffusers in a well-ventilated space, and make sure to dilute the oil as instructed. As another option, you can use aroma sticks or other aromatherapy accessories.
Don’t ingest the oils, which can cause vomiting or other toxic reactions.

Many essential oils are toxic to pets, so use them with caution.

3 If you’re planning to apply essential oils topically, like for aromatherapy or massage therapy, consider the following safety tips as well:

Make sure you’re not allergic to any of the ingredients. If you get a red, itchy rash or hives after rubbing the oil on your skin, be sure to contact your doctor.
Never apply undiluted oils directly to your skin. When mixing a carrier oil (lotion, cream, butter, shampoo, etc.) with an essential oil, avoid using dilutions above 5% for adults and 2% for kids.

4 Looking for a way to relieve stress or minor aches and pains? Essential oils might be a good complement to your regular health care. As with any supplement or alternative treatment, it’s a good idea talk to your doctor before using essential oils for medicinal purposes.

1 “ Stress Management: Why Aromatherapy is Showing up in Hospital Surgical Units,” Mayo Clinic, October 27, 2017.
2See note 1.
3“Is the Latest Home Trend Harmful to Your Pets? What You Need to Know!,” ASPCA news article, January 17, 2019, accessed November 13, 2020.
4“Diluting Essential Oils,” NOW Foods, June 14, 2019.

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The Good In All

We need to encourage ourselves to look deeply into all things in our lives to see the inherent goodness of everything.

Sometimes we find it difficult to see the good in people, places, or situations that aren’t to our liking. We focus on the things we don’t like in our lives as a way of fueling our efforts to create change. There is nothing inherently wrong with this, and it is one way we make progress. However, if we get too caught up in this way of looking at the world, we lose touch with our ability to sit back and simply say yes to everything on our plates, which is the true starting point for all successful activity. Sometimes what we really need is to encourage ourselves to look deeply into all things in our lives to see the inherent goodness at the heart of everything.

At the core of this inquiry is the practice of unconditional acceptance, which can be scary because we feel as if we are being asked not to change the things we don’t like. But when we think this way, we are still operating on the surface of our lives. In order to feel the beauty and warmth of full acceptance, we have to be willing to sink deeper into the stratum underlying the external manifestation of our lives. This deeper place of being is the origin of all lasting change, yet its paradox is that when we are in it, we often don’t feel the need to change anything. From this place, we experience the pure beauty of the process of being alive, and we see that all things change in their own time. We don’t need to force anything. If there are things that we do need to change, from this place of serenity we create the shift easily, our hands guided by an energy that resides at the very center of our hearts.

In our active, goal-oriented culture, we learn to distrust stillness and to engage in busywork on the surface of life. This tendency can blind us to the good that lies at the heart of all things. But all we have to do to see again is stop for a moment, let go of our preconceptions and our agendas, and settle into the very center of our hearts, remembering that it is only from here that we can truly see.

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Dealing With Change

Change can be both scary and exciting, intimidating and appealing. Rather than avoiding or resisting change, learn to embrace it. Use these crystals to welcome change, however big or small, in any area of your life.

CHRYSOCOLLA helps you to start fresh. Its energy allows you to feel confident and supported as you begin anew and emerge into the new you.

LABRADORITE illuminates your limitless potential. Seeing the incredible spectrum of color allows you to imagine the infinite possibilities that are waiting for you.

PHANTOM QUARTZ helps you break through any self-imposed limitations. This crystal reminds you that change is a necessary part of your journey and breaking through to that next level.

FLUORITE encourages you to see this period of change as a blessing. It reminds you that with change comes the opportunity to wish for what you always wanted.

MALACHITE supports your transformation from one state into the next. It reminds you to leave the past and your old self behind as you move forward into the next stage of your life.

TURQUOISE facilitates healing and supports you during this time of change.

CRYSTAL INTENTION
Change is good.

This is an opportunity for me to grow.

CRYSTAL PRACTICE Hold your crystals in your hands and say out loud, “Change is good. This is an opportunity for me to grow,” 3 times.

On a piece of paper, write down 1 obstacle that is holding you back from moving forward.

Fold your paper up and place your Phantom Quartz on top of it.

Hold just your Chrysocolla, Labradorite, and Fluorite and ask yourself, If I had no obstacles in front of me and no limitations for the future, what would I wish for?

And make that wish! When you’re finished, place these two crystals on a windowsill. Lie on your back and place these crystals accordingly:

MALACHITE over your heart.

TURQUOISE over your throat. Close your eyes and leave your crystals on your body for 5 to 11 minutes. During this time, visualize your transformation through this period and into the future.

Place the Malachite and Turquoise with your Chrysocolla, Labradorite, and Fluorite on the windowsill. After you’ve overcome your obstacle, rip up your piece of paper and throw it away.

Askinosie, Heather. CRYSTAL365 (pp. 251-252). Hay House.

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Gilberto Ties One On
by Stephen Halpert

It was a chilly Saturday afternoon in January. Maria was at the baby shower being held at their condo and hosted by Rosa. Maria’s parents Alicia and Edwardo were in Florida and appeared via Zoom.
Ramon invited Gilberto and Joey to the Boston House on Beacon Street for a lunch. Gilberto gave Joey a fistful of quarters and he went off to play pinball.

Gilberto sighed. “That woman Eva is making me crazy,” he said. “I’ve never met a more dominating female.” He took a sip of his beer. “And it feels like she’s affecting Maria. She’s bossier than ever.”
“I know how you feel,” Ramon sympathized. “Once there are children those sexy babes we’ve married disappear and turn into practical thinking adding machines.”
Gilberto sighed again. “Rosa changed then?” He wasn’t comfortable with his feelings.
“Oh yes,” Ramon assured him. “Once the girls were active, she was even more than an adding machine. She measured every drop of olive oil, totally controlled our bank account. Not that I cared. She knows I like spending money on her and the girls.”
“We only go through this life once,” Gilberto said. “Might as well enjoy it.” He wanted to shake off this gloom.
Ramon shrugged. “As far as we know,” he said “but if anything, God’s a practical joker and for all we know we turn around, come right back and start over.”
“Karma,” Gilberto said. He finished his tankard. |”Isn’t that what they call it?”
“It’s inevitable,” Ramon said. He was sipping a tall Planters Punch.
“I don’t want to lose Maria”
“Don’t think that way,” Ramon said. “You won’t. It just won’t be exactly the same. Motherhood changes a woman.”
Gilberto frowned. “So we’ll get old and she’ll become demanding and opinionated like her mother?”
Ramon shook his head. “Doesn’t have to go that way. What’s important is to be sensitive and not impatient. You’ll have to stand back. You won’t lose her but you’ll need to let go a little.”
Joey came over to their table; his eyes were downcast. “I used up all the quarters.”
Gilberto chuckled, reached into his jeans and pulled out another dozen. “Here,” he said, handing them to him. “But first sit down and have your shrimp cocktail.”
Joey slid into the booth beside Gilberto and across from Ramon. He cleared his throat the same way Gilberto always did before making a pronouncement. He looked at Ramon. “I don’t want to marry Sophia. She keeps saying when she’s twelve she’s going to marry me. “All I want to do is play soccer.”
Ramon smiled. “Not to be concerned,” he said softly. “It’s a compliment.”
Gilberto grinned. “Just don’t tell her you want to marry her, or then you’ll really be in hot water.”
“Oh I didn’t,” Joey assured him. “Then she said Antonia will go live in a convent for the rest of her life.”
Ramon burst into laughter. “She told you that! What did Antonia say?”
“She said if I married her then Sophia would have to go to the convent. I tried saying I didn’t want to get married, that I just wanted to play soccer, but I like them both and don’t know what to do. And besides what’s a convent?” He looked expectantly at the two men.
Ignoring his question, Gilberto looked at Ramon. “What do women do at a shower anyway,” he asked? “Why no men?”
“You want to sit there in the middle of a barnyard of cackling hens,” Ramon asked? “I don’t think so! No more then you’d want your wife along during a stag party at a strip joint for a bridegroom. There are just some times…”
Gilberto finished his beer and nodded to the hovering waiter who brought him another. Ramon continued to nurse his tall, icy drink.
Standing by their table, the waiter poised his pen. Ramon ordered lobsters for each of them and a green salad with olives and anchovies to share.
Joey nodded at Ramon. “Lobsters! Thank you,” he said. He looked at Gilberto. “What’s a convent? You didn’t answer my question.”
Gilberto shook his head. “You don’t need to know. Here:” he pulled more quarters from his pocket. “Go play pinball. Come back when you see the lobsters are served.”
Joey slid out of the booth and went back to the pinball machine.
“Such a good boy,” Ramon said. “You’re lucky to have him.”
Gilberto smiled and took a deep breath. “And my son too will become a soccer all-star.”
Ramon nodded.
“And Joey will make you a fine son in law whichever of your daughters he marries,” Gilberto said slyly.
Hearing that Ramon started coughing. “Please,” he held up his hand, “that’s all Rosa needs under our roof, an underaged husband. You watch anything like that happens and it will all be my fault.”
Gilberto drained his glass. “But you’re in love with her, aren’t you?”
“Of course I am,” Ramon said. “But I still see her domineering, adding machine side.”
“Then what do you do then?”
“Duck,” Ramon grinned. “And pray for rain. You’ve got to remember she and I are best friends. And if we bicker it doesn’t last too long.”
The rest of the lunch went along happily. The lobsters were delicious. Joey smiled when Ramon ordered him a Shirley Temple. “Wash it down with that.” He rubbed Joey’s head and patted his shoulder.
Gilberto ordered a slice of pecan pie. He’d had more beer than usual and felt not only full but also lightheaded. He looked at the time on his device and said. “Guess we’d better get back.”
To his surprise the condo was a flurry of pink and white giftwrapping paper. Rosa was in the kitchen tidying up, insisting Maria relax and enjoy visiting with her parents on zoom. Lola had left as did other women friends.
“Pink,” Gilberto said. Astonishment crept into his voice. “We’re having a son. Why is everything here pink?”
Rosa looked at him and huffed. “Because you’re not,” she said firmly. “You’re having a daughter. Maria was waiting for the right time to share the good news with you.”
Maria walked into the kitchen just as Rosa finished her sentence. She frowned at Rosa and shook her head.
Gilberto’s head spun. He looked from Rosa to Maria and back again. Maria’s lips were pressed together. She rolled her eyes.
“A daughter, but I thought…”
“You thought wrong,” Rosa said. “Best not to plan about children. The good lord has it all worked out.”
Maria sighed and went over to Gilberto.
“I guess.” He stood there, not sure what to do or say. “Not like a sweater you can send back if the color’s wrong or it’s the wrong size. Tears filled his eyes. “But I thought,” he repeated. His head was in a whirl. Shaking, he sat down heavily in a kitchen chair.
Maria took Gilberto’s hands. “Would you like to see the presents?”
He blinked and pointed at Rosa. “She said we’re having a daughter.”
“Yes,” Maria said softly. “We are.” Then she kissed him. “You were so expectant of a son that after I saw the sonogram, I didn’t know how to tell you.”
“A daughter,” he repeated. “We’re going to have a daughter.”
Maria took his hand. “Come into the living room and let’s sit together on the couch.”
Gilberto sighed, got up and followed Maria. He felt dizzy and disoriented. In an instant his dreams had been snatched away. He closed his eyes and started to babble. “I love you Maria. I guess it’s just a different colored sweater.” He kissed her, yawned and leaning against her, and amid the piles of pink, closed his eyes and began to snore.

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10 Medicinal Herbs That Might Live in Your Backyard

Nick Polizzi, Creator of the upcoming documentary REMEDY: Ancient Medicines for Modern Illness, reveals his own personal passion for medicinal herbs that just might pop up in your own backyard!

Last summer, I was helping my mom garden some of the beds in the back of her house when we stumbled upon something that looked too amazing to be true. A gorgeous Reishi mushroomwas growing on the stump of a hemlock tree underneath the fence between her and her neighbor’s yard!

You know, Reishi, the “king of herbs” in Chinese medicine? Scientifically known as Ganoderma and believed by ancient Taoists to be a core ingredient in the elixir of everlasting life? Yup, right there in my mom’s quaint little yard about 60 miles outside of New York City.

I had heard there were some great mushroomharvests to be had in the woods north of her home, but finding one in her shrubs was definitely unexpected.

The simple lesson here is that we don’t need to go far to find the medicine. We fall into the habit of thinking that the transformation or wild prescription for us exists in an exotic location “elsewhere,” but oftentimes they can be found right under our noses if we just open our eyes and take a look.
“Give nature half a chance and she has a miracle in store for everyone.” ~Rosita Arvigo

Below, I’ve shared 9 common low-growing medicinal herbs and 1 mushroom that you may want to search for in your own backyard or surrounding neighborhoods – plus, we’ve also noted which regions they can be found in. This is a good reason to keep your backyard chemical-free — and of course make sure you wash everything thoroughly before preparation and consumption.
Since some of these herbs have potent effects, be sure to look up any potential contraindications with regard to pregnancy, allergies, ailments, or other medications you may be taking.
You’ll want to do additional research on those edibles you do find in your own backyard, to see if they align with your personal needs. And if you find something promising that’s not on this list, take it to your local nursery for help in identification. With a little research, you can discover whether or not that plant has properties worth using, or if it’s one to avoid.

Broadleaf Plantain (Plantago major): Unlike the large plantain trees that grow delectable fruits, the broadleaf plantain is a ground cover. Packed with Vitamin K, calcium, and other vitamins and minerals, the broadleaf plantain has a cleansing and detoxifying effect on the body. This medicinal plant has been used in treating colds, diarrhea, burns, open sores, wounds, mouth ulcers, boils, acne, throat pain, sunburn, fever, respiratory infections; improving liver and kidney function; relieving gastrointestinal inflammation; and drawing out poisons and toxins from bites and stings–even snake bites! It’s often used as an anti-inflammatory and an analgesic, and you can make it into a tea, poultice, or salve. Where it grows – North America, Europe, Australia and Asia.

Burdock (Arctium lappa): Burdock Root is an antioxidant powerhouse and has been used in Chinese Medicine for thousands of years.. Some of its traditional uses include removing toxins from the blood, inhibiting certain types of cancers, treating skin issues, and acting as an aphrodisiac. It’s also a natural diuretic, so be sure to hydrate properly. Consume in moderation. Consider trying in a tea, fresh root form, or dried root powder. Where it grows – North America, Europe, Australia and Asia.

Chickweed (Stellaria media): Chickweed is known as a natural skin rejuvenator, with both cooling and drying effects on wounds, sores, minor burns, acne, eczema, psoriasis, and other skin inflammations. It has also been used for constipation and relieving irritated eyes. Chickweed is a rich source of Vitamin C and potassium, and also provides nutritious trace vitamins and minerals. It fell out of style as a popular salad green, so you may want to try it that way first, or perhaps make chickweed vinegar by infusing it with apple cider vinegar. For topical use, create a salve from the plant’s essential oils. Where it grows – North America, South America, Central America, Europe, Australia and Asia.

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale): Perhaps the most prolific and recognizable, the dandelionis greatly undervalued. This beneficial plant is often found in some of the finest herbal teas, and is used for its healing benefits to treat high blood pressure, calcium deficiency, cancer, diabetes, diverticulitis, irritable bowel syndrome, urinary tract infections, and eczema and psoriasis; detoxify the liver; aid digestion; and reduce inflammation. Use in salad greens, or dry the leaves and roots to make a tea. Where it grows – North America, South America, Central America, Europe, Australia and Asia.

Lamb’s Quarters (Chenopodium album): This “prince of wild greens” is a common garden weed packed with enough protein to rival spinach, along with Vitamins A and C, calcium, phosphorous, iron, and a multitude of minerals.. Our ancestors prized this plant’s medicine for its purification properties to “improve the blood,” and also to treat rheumatism and arthritis, toothaches and tooth decay, constipation, insect stings, eczema, and gout. Keep seed consumption to a minimum, but freely consume the leaves, shoots, and flowers. Eat fresh leaves and flowers mixed in with your other salad greens; steam or stir fry along with your favorite vegetables; or cook and puree with some of your favorite soups. You can also grind seeds into flour. Where it grows – North America, Europe, Australia, Africa and Asia.

Reishi Mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum): If you are fortunate enough to live in an area where the reishi grows, you may already be aware of its long-touted healing properties. Mainly used in prevention of disease, the reishi offers protection against inflammation, various infections, skin disorders, diabetes, heart and liver disease, sleep disorders, digestive problems, cancer, fatigue, anxiety, depression, and viruses, including HIV/AIDS and hepatitis. It also helps to restore hormonal imbalance, and regulates various cellular functions. Because of its slightly bitter flavor, it’s traditionally dried and then prepared for a tea, or pulverized into a powder and mixed into your favorite protein shake. Where it grows – Eastern North America, South America, Europe and Asia.

Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica): Be careful–this herb can sometimes “sting” and leave a rash when bare skin comes into contact with the acid-filled needles. Once boiled, however, the nettles leave you with leaves that, when ingested, provide nutritious elements and anti-inflammatory properties. Nettle leaves have been used in treating allergy symptoms, lowering blood pressure, improving immune system response, reducing pain, acting as a diuretic, treating skin conditions, thickening hair while also reducing dandruff, and causing a sedative effect. The plant’s root has been used to address prostate concerns in men. Handle and harvest while wearing gloves, and then boil or cook to remove the sting from the nettles. The easiest and perhaps most common way to use nettles are in a tea, where you can flavor with other herbs or spices to taste. But once cooked, you can also use nettle leaves like most other greens and use in salads, or season and bake them (like kale chips), or grind to make a pesto. For the roots, toss them in a stir fry or dry like the leaves for use in a tea. Where it grows – Western North America, Europe, Northern Africa and Asia.

Purslane (Portulaca oleracea): Purslane is an excellent source of fiber; Vitamins A, B, and C; iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, copper, and powerful antioxidants. Our ancestors have used it for hundreds of years to prevent and cure disease. It’s been used to treat high cholesterol, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal disorders, skin conditions, and cancer. It’s believed to improve vision, strengthen bones, increase circulation, and aid in weight loss. Try it mixed with salad greens. Where it grows – North America, South America, Central America, Europe, Africa, Australia and Asia.

Red Clover (Trifolium pratense L.): Menopause symptoms. Maintaining bone strength. Improving cardiovascular health. Lowering risk for various types of cancers. Reducing skin inflammation. Fighting respiratory infections. Detoxifying the liver. Boosting the immune system. Managing cholesterol. Balancing hormones. These are just some of the many disorders and “symptoms of aging” that red clover has been used to treat. Dry the herb to make a tea, or make a salve for a topical medicine. Where it grows – North America, South America, Central America, Europe, Australia and Asia.

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium): This pretty little flowering herb is wonderful for healing skin conditions; stopping bleeding (external); encouraging bleeding in cases of amenorrhea; alleviating anxiety; acting as a mild sedative; reducing inflammation; and treating mastitis, high blood pressure, asthma, and muscle spasms. Use fresh leaves in salads, soups, or sautéed dishes, or use dried leaves as a cooking herb. Where it grows – North America, Europe and Asia.Many of these herbs are sold in supplement form, but you can bypass the middle-man and go directly to the source by taking a look around and experimenting on your own. Perhaps LA-based guerilla gardener Ron Finley says it best:
“Growing your own food is like printing your own money.”

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For A Healthy Immune System, Add Astragalus
~Dr. Weil

Want To Promote A Healthy Immune System? Try This Herb!

Feeling like your immune system is under assault? Crowded cities, frequent travel, and spending time in day care centers and schools expose you to a heavy burden of germs. You can help protect and strengthen your system by eating right, getting enough movement and rest, regular stress reduction and cultivating healthy emotional states.

You may also want to try astragalus to help enhance immune function. Obtained from the root of Astragalus membranaceous, a member of the pea family, astragalus has a long history of use in Chinese medicine. It is widely available and inexpensive and can be particularly beneficial for those with immune deficiencies.

Look for astragalus products standardized to 16% polysaccharides and 0.2% flavones and follow package directions for either year-round dosing or support during winter months when illnesses peak.

In the midst of our current global pandemic, astragalus may have a specific supportive role. It’s ability to help keep inflammation at bay as well as reducing viral replication have in on the short list of items to consider taking regularly.

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Nourishing Herbal Infusions

Creating nourishing herbal infusions is easy and fun!! For certain herbs we are looking for the nutritive qualities of the plant ie vitamins and minerals. These nutrients “live” behind the cell wall of the plant and release themselves only after steeping dried plant material for 4-8 hours.

*drying makes the cell wall more fragile and thus assists in releasing compounds that are behind the cell wall.

~Flowers can be steeped for 4 hours

~Leaves as well as roots for 8 hours.

The essential or volatile oils as well as vitamin C are on the outside of the cell wall and are readily made available in water after 5-15 minutes. Tea can be made with fresh plant material. For example chamomile tea will only be steeped for 5-10 minutes. Steeped too long and the tea becomes bitter-have you ever had this experience? If you have you know what I mean.

The reason for the bitterness is that the water begins breaking down the cell wall and releasing bitter alkaloids. In small quantities this is fine and will assist in promoting digestion, but if you are looking for a sweet relaxing beverage you will only want to steep your herbs with volatile oils for 5-15 minutes.

My favorite infusions herbal infusions are Stinging Nettle (Unrtica dioca), Oatstraw (Avena sativa), Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) and Comfrey (Syphytum

To make a nourishing herbal infusion:

Boil Water (1 quart for every ounce of herb)

Place one ounce of herb (for each quart of water) in a tea pot, french press or canning jar.

When the water boils pour the water over the herb (if you are using a canning jar place a butter knife in the jar to act as a conduit-the knife will absorb some of the heat and keep the jar from breaking)

Put a lid on the container and set aside for 4-8 hours
After 4-8 hours strain the herb and enjoy!!!

You can store infusions in the refrigerator for 2-3 days after which they will start to spoil Infusions are nutrient rich and become food –if they spoil feed them to your plants!!!

You can drink infusions warmed, iced or sweetened!! You can also incorporate them into your diet as a soup base!!
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Ginger Tea

Experience a calm and serene feeling with every cup of this flavorful GINGER TEA that’s also good for your body. A healthy and soothing drink flavored with natural spices and sweeteners giving your body tons of benefits. You’ll surely be pleased in every brew of this simple yet beneficial drink!

Ginger Tea with Lemon and Honey

As you may know by now, I love the zingy tanginess of ginger especially on many of my dishes. It brings an earthy and spicy twist to any meaty dish, drink, or even dessert. My health enthusiast friends and I would drink this tea after our work out session to calm everything out.

Today I’ll share my flavorful recipe so you can also enjoy the warm and cozy sensation of this drink, especially during this cold season. It’s so easy to make that you could prepare this for tea time every day!

Aaannd did you know that it’s also a great drink to burn all those holiday fatty food? Yep! Crazy good, right?

Benefits of this Ginger Drink
You’ll know that you have the right plant when you sense its spicy aroma. This is due to the presence of ketones such as Gingerols, the main component of ginger. The root itself has existed for more than 5,000 years wherein the Chinese and Indians used it to treat ailments.

Menstrual Pains
I know how painful it is to have these cramps especially when you’re not expecting it. Luckily, this drink has compounds that inhibit inflammatory chemicals in the body. This lessens muscle inflammation thus decreasing the chances of cramps and discomfort.

Treats Morning Sickness or Nausea
This information might be extra helpful to pregnant women or people undergoing chemotherapy. Drinking a cup of ginger tea helps relieve nausea because of the compounds present in the drink. The plus side of this is that it’s all-natural! No need to worry about chemical side effects.

Blood Pressure Regulation
Consuming this pungent herb has been observed to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It’s also been linked to improving blood circulation which will generally improve your body’s condition.

Weight and Blood Sugar Control
A study shows that consuming ginger can help improve blood sugar control. This means a lot of ailments such as type 2 diabetes may be prevented.

Boosting the Immune System and Relieves Stress
This root crop packs a good deal of antioxidants which helps reduce the chances of general ailments. This is actually one of my secrets why you’d rarely find me stressed (??). It doesn’t really take away the stressors but it helps to calm everything down so I can think better.

Recipe Ingredients
Trust me, this drink is one of the most wholesome beverage that you’re going to taste. There are just a few ingredients for the whole drink and all of these are natural! You can easily find these ingredients in a single trip to the grocery store. Here’s what you’ll need.

Ginger (peeled and sliced)
Cardamon (a close relative of our main ingredient today. This means they go well together.)
Cinnamon Sticks
Star Anise
Lemon Juice
Honey (optional. Serves as a natural sweetener)
Water, because we can’t have tea without water, right?

This recipe is a simple mix you can easily make at home. Add in your own creative twist and let me know how it turns out!

Ginger Drink Variations Around the World
The key process in making tea is extracting the flavor of your main ingredient until it blends with the water. I’ve seen a lot of recipes where they do this in different methods and I’ve listed down below my personal favorites.

Pineapple Ginger Juice (West Africa)
This summer-perfect drink combines the citrusy taste of pineapple and the spicy and tangy flavor of our root crop. You can add a little alcohol to this drink to make it a bit more fun.

Ardak Wali Chai (India)
This beautiful drink is made from our tangy root crop, black tea leaves, and milk. It’s really fun to make because you can see how the water changes in color. From yellowish to reddish, and ultimately to a light brown tea. It tastes sweet with a spicy and a bit acidic flavor.

Ginger Ale (often credited to Ireland)
The modern style of making this (Canadian) drink is just a mix of carbonated water and ginger-infused syrup. Personally, I could drink this once in a while because it still has medicinal benefits but in moderation.

Salabat (The Philippines)
This is one of the simplest ways to brew ginger tea which is quite similar to our recipe today. The slices of ginger are brewed in hot water and that’s it! Instant drinks use dried and powdered variants that dissolve in water for quick fixes! This can be served hot or iced.

Tea Time Pairings
This drink is versatile because it can pair well with many dishes or treats. Personally, I love drinking this during tea time with some of my favorite desserts or snacks. Here are some of my top picks to pair your ginger tea with.

How to Make Ginger Tea

Add ginger, star anise, cardamon, and cinnamon sticks to a medium pot. Pour in water and place on the stove over medium-high heat. As soon as the water comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cook for about 5-10 minutes. The longer you cook, the stronger the ginger tea is.

Adjust the cooking times as needed. Taste as it simmers and add more water if needed. Turn the stove off, remove the pot. Sieve the ginger tea using a fine sieve or cheesecloth over a large bowl or teacup or mug. Add lemon juice, start with a 1/4 cup and adjust with more, as needed to suit taste buds. Discard the remaining ingredients. Top with lemon and sweetener, if desired. Serve hot. Enjoy!
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Kitty Kat Korner!
Sharing our love for cats!

Why do Cats Knead? 7 Interesting Reasons!
BY MARC-ANDRÉ

Have you seen your cats knead? Did you try asking your vet why they are doing such an act? We will answer your question by presenting you the reasons why they need to knead. Cats are exciting creatures, with lots of unique traits and behaviors that only they can do. Some of their unique behaviors include curling up tightly to take a nap or their distinct grooming rituals after taking their meal and of course kneading.

During kneading the cat pushes in and out using paws, alternating between left and right. Some cats knead without showing their claws while others do it with all their claws extended as they push in and draw in their claws as they pull back. The kneading motion resembles the baker kneading the dough, thus some people call it making biscuits.

Cats do this on a sofa, a comforter, a flexible surface, and of course in your lap. Normally, you can also hear the cat’s purring while kneading. Other cats may drool as they relax their jaw. It is not normal for a cat to knead in a trance-like state in a steady, rhythmic movement.

  1. A Left-Over Behavior When They Were Just a Kitten

The most popular reason why cats knead is that it is a leftover behavior during their kittenhood. Cats start to knead when they were just kittens before they were able to get around on their own. During nursing, kittens knead on the area around their mother’s teat to make the milk flow. The kneading helps stimulate the production of milk.

So, why do cats continue to knead even they are adults already? They continue to knead soft surface even if it does not yield milk. It’s because they identify the motion of kneading with the satisfying comfort they felt during nursing.

  1. They Knead When they are Happy or Contented

Adult cats knead when they feel happy or contented. Sometimes they knead on a soft area thinking that it is their mother’s teat. Actually, there are instances that some cats suckle on the surface they are kneading. No matter how you interpret their kneading, one thing is for sure your cat starts to knead if they feel happy, safe, and secure.

  1. Showing their Love and Appreciation

If your cat is extra cuddly and twirled up and kneads on your lap as you are cuddling him, he is repaying the favor and informing you he loves you as well. However, there are instances that it becomes painful because the happier he gets the harder he will dig in his sharp claws. There are ways you can allow your cat to knead on your lap without making your legs turns into raw dough:

• Place a thick, soft barrier between your lap and the cat. By doing this, you can save your legs from getting hurt.
• If you feel that his kneading is becoming intense position your cat on his back and pet his belly instead. In case you got hurt, do not punish your cat from doing this, he is not aware that it hurts.
• Keeping your cats’ nails trimmed is the best solution. So anytime, the cat kneads you don’t have to worry of getting hurt.

  1. To Keep Themselves Supple and Limber

Felines are natural yoga masters and they love to work out on their kinks in their bodies that lead from keeping in one position for too long. One way to keep them limber and supple is by kneading.

  1. Check the Grounds and Create a Comfortable Place to Lay Down

Cat’s ancestors love to lay down on soft, cozy surfaces to sleep or give birth to their kittens. By kneading down on tall grass or leaves, cats were able to create a comfy spot to lie down in, and probably to check the ground for unwanted visitors loitering under the foliage.

  1. To Instill their Scent

Cats are territorial animals, and one way of protecting their area is to instill their scent. By kneading their claws into the surface of an area, they are stimulating their scent glands located in their soft pads on the bottom of their paws, thus making that item their property.

Cats have scent glands that most cat owners are not aware of. One example is on top of their eyebrows. This is one reason also why they love to rub their foreheads on your legs and furniture because they instill their scent all over the surface to tell other cats that this is their territory. Humans cannot smell this scent of course as we do not have a sharp sense of smell like they do. You might not know this but your home and your legs are smeared with your cat’s scent.

Cat’s paws are known to have scent glands. So, one theory goes that cats knead to release the scent in these glands on their paws. It is their way of claiming territory. Some think it’s cute but others find it creepy.

  1. A Way of Flirting

This is not common, but it does happen. This is common only in female cats. They are known to knead their paws before going into estrus – which means going into heat. Female cats knead to show male cats that she wants to mate.

One thing is for sure, if your cats combine kneading with solicitation purring, you are in trouble. If you don’t know or you are not aware of what solicitation purring is, there is a possibility you have experienced it already. The sound of solicitation purring is the cry of a human baby. If you hear this, it means that your cat wants to lick on your cereal bowl. And it works with many all the time.

Cats have many unique and funny behavioral traits and kneading is one of them. Kneading is not only specific to certain breeds of cats. All cats do this and you cannot stop them from doing it. So, even if these are some of the more common ideas for why cats knead, it definitely does not provide all the possible reasons. For instance, some cats knead before they are about to take a nap. It does not matter what the reasons why cat kneads, one thing is for sure kneading is a natural, common, and instinctual behavior.

Author Bio:

Sarah Keene is the founder of Themeowthing where she writes about the various cat breeds, kitty pet care & health advice, training tips, reviews of cat products, and any other issues that you might love to know about cats.

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Georgia Nicols’ Weekly Horoscope
January 17, 2021

All Signs
There are two big changes this week: The Sun moves into Aquarius, which brings a shift for everyone for the next four weeks. Meanwhile, this week, Mars lines up with Uranus creating sudden upsets and impulsive urges. Mars is full of energy and Uranus is unpredictable. Together they create energy is exploding in all directions! People will be rebellious and do rash things. (The last time I did something rash, I was officially escorted out of the attic of an historic, old hotel where I was found studying heart-encased initials and love messages carved into the beams where employees made out in prior decades. I was ordered to leave – with my kids — and the dog.)

Aries (March 21-April 19)
Guard your money and your movable belongings this week because something unexpected might impact them. An accident might create damage, loss or theft. Not good! Meanwhile, for the next month, you will be more involved with friends because you have something to say! Interactions with others will be upbeat and exciting. Many of you will be more involved with groups and clubs. It’s important to know that your involvement with others will actually benefit you now. Naturally, it will benefit others as well because this is a two-way street. But obviously, now is the time to be friendly!

Taurus (April 20-May 20)
This is an accident-prone week so pay attention to everything you say and do (especially mid-week). You will feel impulsive, restless and rebellious because you want to do your own thing! However, others will notice you more than usual because for the next four weeks, the Sun will be at the top of your chart casting you in a flattering spotlight. (Symbolically.) This means without making any effort on your part, you will impress everyone! They think you’re admirable! Since this smoke and mirrors trick is working for you – this window of time is a wonderful opportunity for you to advance your agenda! Act now!

Gemini (May 21-June 20)
Be careful this week because something going on behind the scenes (possibly hidden from you) might catch you off guard. Or perhaps this same “hidden” energy might make you suddenly do something that you could later regret. Be mindful! Be aware of what you are doing and saying. Meanwhile, in the next four weeks, you will want to travel or do anything that you can to expand your horizons. You’ll want to to reach out for more out of life! You want to learn new things and meet people from other backgrounds. If you can’t physically travel, then travel through film and books. (Geminis love magazines and YouTubes because you like quick hits of information about anything!)

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
An unpredictable element might occur this week that impacts your friendship with someone. Either one of you might get angry. You might be too demanding of someone? Someone might be too demanding of you? You might suddenly quit a group or leave a friendship? Tread carefully! In the next four weeks, your focus on shared property, inheritances, taxes, debt and insurance issues will be stronger than usual. Fortunately, if you’re making important decisions in these areas or negotiating, things will probably go your way because lucky Jupiter will protect you. In fact, Jupiter will attract good fortune to you with money and practical advantages.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)
Oh my! Mars lines up with Uranus at the top of your chart this week, which means your ambition might trigger unexpected results. Be patient with parents, bosses, the police and authority figures. Avoid power struggles. Don’t be rebellious or you could later regret it. Think before you speak! Meanwhile, in the next four weeks, the Sun will be opposite your sign (this happens once a year), and when it occurs, it means you need more sleep. Respect your need for more rest. You will also find that you are more focused on partners and close friends; and in fact, this focus will allow you to see a more objective view on your style of relating to others. Helpful to know!

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
Please be careful this week. Be mindful. Pay attention to everything you say and do because this is an accident-prone week for you especially midweek. Likewise, travel plans might suddenly change. Ditto for school plans or anything to do with medicine, the law, publishing and the media. Nevertheless, for the next four weeks, you’re gung-ho to work hard and get better organized. You want to work smart because you want to be efficient, effective and productive. In other words, energy wise, you want the best bang for your buck. Small wonder that you’re setting the bar high this year because this is the year you can improve your job or get a better job! Likewise – you can improve your health. You rock!

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
Make friends with your bank account and make sure you know what’s happening with regard to anything related to shared wealth, shared property, taxes, debt and insurance issues because something unexpected might impact these areas this week. Definitely. It could be a windfall? It might be a loss? Meanwhile, we do know that the next four weeks are a particularly fun-loving, lighthearted time for you when you will relax and enjoy yourself. Yay! In particular, you will enjoy the company of your kids, as well as romantic partners. You will especially want to use your mind for mental games and fun diversionary past times. Anyone for backgammon?

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
Be patient with partners and close friends this week because you might have a blow up with someone. Things are unpredictable, rebellious and probably a clash of egos. (This, you do not need.) Therefore, be patient and tolerant to avoid nastiness. Meanwhile, home, family and your personal life will be your primary focus for the next four weeks. In particular, you might be more involved than usual with a parent. Fortunately, something will please you about where you live because this is your year to improve your home and improve your family relationships. You will feel richer and happier about where you live – one way or the other. Plus, family members will be more generous and kinder to each other. (Gosh.)

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
Be careful with everything that you do this week because this is an accident-prone time for you, especially at work. Sudden mishaps might also relate to your pet so be vigilant and aware of this. Admittedly, a sudden and unexpected change could impact your employment or your health as well. Tread carefully! Be vigilant. Meanwhile, the pace of your days will accelerate in the next four weeks because suddenly, you have things to do, places to go and people to see! Your To-Do list is packed! Between appointments, increased reading, writing and studying and short trips – you’re busy! But it’s “happy” busy and you won’t mind. Strong feelings about financial matters will exist for you. You might feel obsessed about buying something. (“I have to have it!”)

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
People with children have to be vigilant this week because this is an accident-prone week for your kids. Also, something unexpected might impact your social life. For example, an unexpected invitation might catch you off guard. Or perhaps, a social occasion will be cancelled? Sports-related accidents are also possible. On the other hand, there might be wonderful news that is sports related? Meanwhile, for the next four weeks, you will be more focused on money issues – cash flow, earnings as well as matters related to your physical belongings. You might have excellent moneymaking ideas? You might see ways to promote your income because after all, this year you will get richer! Write down your ideas in case you want to refer to them later.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
This week sudden upsets on the home front are likely. This could be a family conflict, or an accident related to your home? Perhaps a small appliance will break down or a minor breakage will occur. Something unexpected is lurking! Be aware of this. Meanwhile, you are empowered in the next four weeks because the Sun will be in your sign. (This happens only once a year.) This means it’s your turn to rejuvenate and restore yourself for the rest of the year. Things will tend to go your way. You will attract important people to you as well as favourable situations. This is very timely as you set out on your new journey of reinventing yourself. This is your hour!

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
Please be vigilant and mindful because this is an accident-prone week for your sign. (Especially midweek.) Be cautious driving, walking and jogging. You might suddenly have to take a small trip; or perhaps, a small trip will be cancelled? Difficulties with relatives, neighbours and siblings might also arise. Therefore, protect yourself by being mindful, careful and patient. Meanwhile, for the next four weeks, you might choose to keep a low profile because your personal year is coming to an end but your birthday has yet to arrive. That means that this is the perfect window of time to make plans for your new year ahead. Set some goals! Goals give you a clearer focus on what is important to you. They also make future decision-making easier. You will appreciate that they give you a sense of purpose.

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Weekly Horoscopes Beginning Sunday, 17 January 2021

If youre born within a cusp period (16 to 26 of any month); youre 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:

This is a tricky week in an unsettled period. While thereve been numerous disagreements about a range of topics, hopefully youve concentrated on those that involve you, personally, or where your knowledge will be helpful. Then focus on them; and the rest? Strange as the idea of ignoring everything else seems, your formidable energy is better employed dealing with matters where you can make a difference.

A recent argument or small upsets have built up in your mind. Thoughts go round in circles and this can take a toll on your physical health. You might need to step away from people you see every day until you sort out how you really feel. Expect your plans to take time and effort and guard against becoming overly ambitious or you could lose interest or be distracted by other ideas. You dont want all the hard work youre putting in now to come to nothing.

As you well know, everything has consequences. Excited as you may be as the week gets underway, for the first time in over three decades, the Sun aligns with Saturn in an area of your solar chart associated with groups and teams. Your management skills will surely be put to the test. You may be asked to take on an extra role. Of course, it is entirely possible that this will give you a chance to practice the fine art of delegation. Whatever, note that with so many planets in what are known as the Fixed signs of the Zodiac, that you`re likely to encounter stubbornness, intransigence, but yes, on the positive side, extra ordinary determination.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

Recently, certain individuals have been complaining about arrangements they regard as unfair. While you recognise everybody has a right to their views, youve also felt it was wise to steer clear of these and other potentially confrontational situations. If these arent actually directly influencing you, shift your focus to matters you can do something about. Once you have, get involved, ideally along with others.

Tension in a close relationship is getting you down. This can be traced back to a disagreement over your choice of friends or activities. Someone in the family does not approve of your recent decisions or your partner is trying to restrict your movement. You just want to get on without having to explain your choices to anyone. You want to keep moving and to enjoy new experiences. Go with what feels right for you.

As the week begins, Mars and Uranus align in your sign; and yes, there is the danger of you going off like a bull in a china shop. Yet your entrepreneurial flair should also surface. You will need to take care that you dont self-sabotage by being too fixated on one goal and oblivious to the impact your decisions have on others. Remember that Saturn has now taken up position at the apex of your solar chart. For the next couple of years, your career and professionalism are on the line. What you dont want to do at this point is alienate those who could help you achieve a goal.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

As an inquisitive Gemini, you thrive on new ideas, if not the unexpected. As a result, when lifes too predictable, youll get things going. However, recent events amongst friends or in the world around you were so unsettling youre unsure what to do or think. The answer? Quietly withdraw, and reflect on whats taking place. Only once your mind is settled will what`s next be clear.

You sense a change in a close relationship. You and a friend or lover are drifting apart. Your long-term plans are very different from each others and you cant see how you can manage to remain together. It might be time to break off this alliance. Take a practical point of view when planning for the future. Give your family plenty notice if you want to make changes in a regular schedule. They`ll be grateful for the warning.

Yes, you`re likely right that much is going on in the background – and entirely out of your control. The alignment of Mars and Uranus in neighbouring Taurus suggests that on the one hand, that others will likely be taking decisions that have extra-ordinary effect on your life. Where you do have control is in your use of social media and how you choose to represent yourself. This week, the Sun and Saturn make their first alignment in Aquarius for three decades. At this point, your expertise could be called into question. You may decide that you need to know more and so enrol on a course to improve qualifications that have effectively stagnated over the years. Clearly much depends on your age – but the major theme is about expanding your knowledge base.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

Judging by this weeks powerful aspects to Uranus, which accents innovation and the unexpected, even simple arrangements are likely to change, and change again. While some of these are welcome, if not overdue, others may be unsettling. However, once youve had a chance to think things through, you`ll realise they offer a timely solution for situations that are becoming an increasing source of concern.

Youve always been intuitive and this is what makes you so alert to the needs and feelings of your partner. If you know someone is worried about the future, rather than getting defensive, make an effort to appease their fears. Try a short, practice stint first, before deciding whether you are ready for new experiences. You dont know what is going to happen and to have a safety strategy seems like a sensible idea.

Saturn may have left your opposite sign, but now its busy elsewhere: this time in an area of your solar chart associated with deep and committed partnerships. Alignment with the Sun suggests, - at the very least - discussions about if not actual signatures on contracts. This comes very soon after Mars conjunction with Uranus. This is a firecracker combination indicating that the first part of this week will be truly exciting. Yes, in your usual Cancerian way youd be right to be cautious. Its probable however, that an idea or concept has been brewing for ages and now is the moment for it to be delivered. In recognition of the effort and energy you`ve put in toward incubating this plan, you may be offered a stake in its further development. In short, this could be a super key to professional development.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

Only days ago, you talked through, and overcame, persistent issues involving a range of crucial matters. Or so you thought. Now that a few days have passed, you`re beginning to realise that several of these are so complex, if not confusing, that they need to be tackled in stages. While this may mean being persistent, the results you get will justify the patience required.

Dont ignore a relative just because you arent happy with what they want or what they say. You may not agree all the time but if youre willing to talk, you will find a way to resolve contentious issues. Be honest about your feelings. A friends spontaneous offer will have you altering social plans for the better. You may not be meeting up with a lot of people but it will be fun to spend time with others who are on your wavelength.

For the first time in roughly three decades, the Sun and Saturn align in your opposite sign. View this as a full stop moment as regards partnerships. In the business world, this could either bring to an end or begin a fresh contract. The issue is all about commitment. If it is the case that one door is closing, then be assured that another is opening. A few days prior to this alignment, Mars and Uranus meet at the apex of your solar chart. This is a Jack in the box cosmic signature suggesting you might have something to say about the direction you want to take and yes, it is likely to be linked to property and career goals. Put all this together, and it`s not hard to conclude that your life is about to go off in new direction. The limitations of the last year may have been beyond your control, the ones you are choosing to accept this year would seem to be very much within it.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

Its rare you undertake changes without thinking things through first. Yet even you are likely to have missed certain details, mostly because until recently they seemed unimportant. While this chaotic approach to decision-making isnt usually your style, judging by the circumstances in question, it`s unlikely you could have avoided these. Take it slowly and focus on the details involved, and what you can learn from them.

Youre in such a sensitive and giving mood that you will find it easy to reach agreements. Happiness in love and friendship has a lot to do with the amount of effort you are putting into your relationships. Your main focus is on pleasing people and positive developments will give you a renewed sense of contentment. Youre ready to work on your personal development as many different interests capture your imagination. Education is crucial to success.

Mars and Uranus meet in another of the Earth signs. This is a firecracker combination. If there really is a music of the spheres, then this combination suggests a loud cymbal crash; and yes, you could be the percussionist. Its probable that you have knowledge that astounds others. Your expertise seems much in the spotlight. That this alignment is followed by another - the first of its kind in roughly three decades, - and taking place in the working area of your solar chart, suggest that whatever your expertise is, that others will want access to it and at a daily level. True, for some this could be about health concerns. Its perhaps more likely that you`ll be asked to take on a project that would take roughly 2 years to accomplish.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

As you discovered last week, even seemingly minor differences are more complex than you realised. This has meant youve had to invest time and thought in getting to the facts, then reaching an agreement with others. While this will have been far more challenging that you anticipated, what youve learnt in the process of dealing with them will prove well worth the time and effort invested.

You will enjoy team activities you can share with friends whose company you always enjoy. You`re in the mood to have fun and eager to jump into new group events while continuing to support safety measures. Are you single? Cupid has a dart aimed straight at your heart. If you are already in a committed relationship, romance will be dreamy and exciting. If there is anything you are uncertain about or confused over, there is someone who is close to you who will offer useful guidance.

For the first time in three decades, the Sun and Saturn align in the research and development area of your solar chart. That event is preceded by another key alignment that accents financial partnerships. Its entirely possible that an idea has now got to the stage where commitment and contracts are exchanged. Obviously much depends on your personal life, but it does appear you now have something to truly get your teeth into and will be keen to move forward - even knowing that you will be under time pressure. Dont forget that yours is one of the Cardinal signs youre almost born to lead and so will need to focus on team management. Yes, you will need to take the initiative and yes, there will be times when your expertise is called into question. Yet it is possible that youve attracted a situation for which you are absolutely the right person. True, these are early days and it will likely take a couple of years but this project service or item to be ready to be rolled out. The process though starts now, and, likely in partnership, this plan could go far.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

For ages either circumstances or the need to be tactful have prevented a frank discussion of certain crucial matters. However, with both the communication planet Mercury and the Sun having recently met your ruler Pluto, events or possibly your own desire to clear things up have forced you to talk things over. The resulting powerful insights weren`t just a relief, they felt like a real victory.

Someone will make excuses for a mistake they made. You feel they should have been more careful but you are willing to listen to them and you will give them the benefit of the doubt. Even so, you will be careful about what you trust them with in the future. You may need to organise your life around new commitments. If you leave others to arrange themselves around you especially if you have children, problems could result.

For the first time in roughly three decades, the Sun and Saturn come together at the very base of your solar chart. Think of this as the headteacher arriving. True, you could get forewarning early in the week when Mars and Uranus come together in your opposite sign and yes, that could lead to a scramble to tidy things up and look as though you have been studying hard. In short, you may feel that inadequacies are about to be exposed. It is perhaps as likely that you will be offered support to develop an interest that is actually a latent talent but which doesn`t fit neatly into any of the usual boxes. View any criticism as identifying the support you will need for moving forward. Yes, it likely means you need to archive some material and be generally more aware of the value of good organisation. This though, maybe something you are more than happy to work on.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

Being a fire sign, you thrive on new ideas and change; and if lifes too predictable, youll shake things up a bit. Now, however, youre urged to pause and think about whether there were situations in the past you either ignored or never got around to dealing with. Although recent developments seem more urgent, tackle past issues first. Youll soon learn how wise this was.

You are finding it easier to express your feelings to someone you know you can trust. You are getting on so well with each other and this makes you look forward to plans you are making together. Are you single? Turning a friendship into romance feels comfortable. The success rate of new ideas and experiments is on the up and if these relate to money, your earning ability is also increasing. You have a lot to feel happy about.

For a few weeks now, youve been acutely aware of the value of teamwork. No, having assessed who is best of what, it may be necessary to reshape, regroup and re-delegate. For the first time in roughly three decades, the Sun makes its first alignments with Saturn in Aquarius. You wont be the only sign that needs to focus on wording and contractual obligations. It may be that you were the one who has to resolve the actual wording. By Wednesday, you may also need to deal with intransigence and stubbornness. As well as redefining a contract, you might also need to access considerable charm and good humour. Yet`s probable that others want to work with you and that though a few difficult few days have to be negotiated, that by early next week an acceptable way forward will be found.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

Judging by this weeks tricky planetary activity, what youd hoped would be simple, if complex, discussions could turn into lengthy debates. While time-consuming, what you and others learn in the process will more than justify the patience required. So, tempting as it is to sidestep seemingly pointless topics, don`t. They could turn out to be of the greatest importance in the long run.

Youre still a little nervous about mixing with too many people. You should be enjoying yourself and joining friends who are planning fun activities and yet youre holding back. Once you are certain there is no risk in the plans you are making, you will feel more able to relax. You need to decide how much to give and how much to take in a relationship thats out of balance. If youve been doing too much for someone, learn how to tell them no`.

Saturn may have concluded its journey through your sign, but it hasnt left the solar system entirely. This week it makes its first aspects in neighbouring Aquarius for over three decades. For many signs this will put focus on teamwork. Whilst for the last couple of years, youve had to take on leadership roles and yes, at times challenge the authority of others, the focus now shifts to working within a team and evolving strategy for that team. You perhaps need the group to become known for expertise in a particular area; to be the A team. This should be easier to accomplish after the Sun moves into Aquarius on Wednesday. With so many planets then in Fixed signs, it should be clear who is travelling in which direction, at what speed and how their efforts can be harnessed to your own.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

While youre inquisitive by nature, in certain elements of your life you avoid change, and sometimes even battle it. Yet the current planetary setup indicates that what seem pointless shifts are actually breakthroughs, if in disguise. While you may be unable to say a wholehearted yes to whats coming your way, at least explore ideas and events. The more you learn, the more enthusiastic you`ll be.

Something you have longed for will soon be yours. This will give you cause for a celebration. Taking a chance on romance or accepting an exciting offer will be the best decision you make this month. Even though something you decide on makes perfect sense to you, a relative might suggest you`re making a mistake. Sometimes you just have to take a deep breath and get on with it, no matter what other people have to say.

For the first time in roughly three decades, the Sun and Saturn align in your sign. Saturn is all about responsibility and duty; and yes, despite the fact that this is your birthday time, and you no doubt want to celebrate, it does appear that you will be required to step up and deal with difficult issues. This could put you on collision course with those born under the other Fixed signs of Taurus, Leo or Scorpio. Destinations may be similar but approaches very different. A team probably has to be brought together. You may need to take charge. For once, there may be no one other than yourself to take responsibility and accept the consequences if things go wrong.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

Somebody seems to be determined to manipulate you into taking over responsibility for certain existing matters or new arrangements theyre struggling to deal with. While in the past you might have said youd handle these, youve finally realised such problems arent your responsibility. Say exactly that to the individual in question, then focus on your own obligations, and who and what you enjoy most in life.

Someone is struggling to cope. You have skills in this area and you won`t hesitate to offer your help. A professional problem at the very start of the week will be fixed in no time. You will do a good job of helping everyone keep on top of everything. Sharing secrets and discussing plans for the future will bring you and someone special closer together. You are feeling loved and optimistic about what the months ahead might bring.

There are two kinds of Pisces: the ones who never seemed to know exactly where theyre going, and the other kind who are super super efficient. Perhaps you are one trying to be the other! For the first time in over three decades, the Sun aligns with Saturn in neighbouring Aquarius. The effect this has on many people may be disturbing. As afish, you may feel that this is akin to the water in your tank being changed at short notice; and yes, you might wonder initially what is happening as you are scooped from one environment to another. There is little you can do other than to go along with the flow. This isnt so much about a control issue but that you perhaps need to watch and study others as they try and find their way too; but yes, you`re right, their decisions will affect you and yes, it would be good to know what these are sooner rather than later.

~arif~

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By GrannyMoon Posted in Pagan

4 comments on “GrannyMoon’s Weekly Feast 17 – 24 Jan 2021 Thanks for reading! ✨✨✨

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