GrannyMoon’s Weekly Feast 14-21 Feb 2021 ~ Thanks for reading my blog!

“When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.” ~Paulo Coelho

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 February: Violet: Faithfulness, Wisdom and Hope

February is Heart-Healthy Month, Black History Month

Celtic Tree Calendar
Luis (Rowan) January 21 to February 17

The Goddess Calendar
Month of Bridhe, begins 1/23 – 2/19

FEB. 14: Valentine’s Day, voted the Sweetest Day of the Year by Chocolate Lovers Everywhere.

15: Lupercalia, celebrating fertility and the coming of spring. Festival of the Wolf: Pan’s Day—Honoring the Lord of the Wilderness, Animals, and Fertility. Coming of Spring.

16: Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday. Enjoy a safe Covid-year celebration!

17: Random Acts of Kindness Day.

22: George Washington’s birthday.

27: Full Moon — Quickening Moon, or Snow Moon at 3:17 a.m. Magical rituals in this cycle often focus on new beginnings and plans for the future

GrannyMoon’s Sunday Classes at Sticks and Stones, Fairfax, VA
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!

Treat headaches with herbs. You’re reading, driving, working, cooking—and whoomf! a headache happens. For ordinary headaches caused by the stresses and strains of daily life, a calming cup of herbal tea may be all you need to restore your equilibrium. Use these dried headache herbs, brewed with 1 cup boiling water and sweetened with honey:

Lavender, lemon balm, meadowsweet, ½ teaspoon each
Sage, rosemary, mint, ½ teaspoon each
Rosemary, marjoram, peppermint, ½ teaspoon each
A cool lavender compress for the temples and a quiet rest in a dark room may also give you the relief you need.

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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CoventryCreations.com
February 15, 2021 – February 21, 2021:

The beginning of the week starts off with the Mercury-Venus-Jupiter conjunction shining a favorable light upon pretty much every area of your life. Use this energy to plant the seeds of success for the rest of the year.

Midweek brings Saturn square Uranus to shake things up and drive the need to change structures that may be too rigid and outdated. Thursday, the Sun moves out of Aquarius and into Pisces. Take time to listen to your inner world and the messages our Higher-Self reveals.

This weekend Venus forms a discordant aspect to Mars, and you will question your purpose in relationships. Seek the middle ground in disagreements and keep your motives in check. Finally, and possibly the best news of the week, is Mercury goes direct on Sunday. Communication issues will slowly begin to improve over the next week.

Best candles for this week – Road Opener / Emotional Balance / Adam and Eve / Mercury Rx Neutralizer

Here’s what you missed on CoventryCreations.com this week…

New Moon in Aquarius February 11, 2021
During this New Moon, we desire to expand our sphere of influence and open to new experiences. Choose well, my friends. The thoughts and activities you indulge in today direct the course of your future. Look before you leap and assess who and what you let into your mind and life.

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Biddy Tarot
http://www.biddytarot.com

Card of the Week: Ten of Cups
Can you feel the love?

This week is full of energy from the Ten of Cups. This card embodies happiness, joy, and emotional contentment, particularly in your relationships and family.

You’ve created an abundance of love and happiness in your life, and you now share this love with others, expanding your heart even more.

You have a sense of wholeness, completion, and alignment in your relationships with others. You are experiencing a blissful state of peace, harmony and love where your dreams and wishes have come true.

Take a moment to step back and appreciate everything you accomplished. You’ve created a life of connection and bliss by following your heart and trusting your intuition.
Continue to follow your heart and trust your intuition to lead you to the opportunities aligned with your Highest Good.

Ask the Tarot:
How can I share my love with others?

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Llewellyn’s Spell-A-Day

Platonic Love
FEBRUARY 14, 2021 BY ELIZABETH BARRETTE

People usually think of Valentine’s Day as a holiday of lust and romance, but love is so much more than those things. There are many more kinds of love, platonic as well as carnal. Today is a good time to celebrate them as well.

You will need a piece of parchment paper, a pen, ink, and a ribbon. Use Dove’s Blood magical ink if you have it. Otherwise, use ordinary ink in a color you associate with love. On one side of the paper, write down all the kinds of love you can think of: love of parent for child, love of child for parent, love between siblings, love between friends, and so on. On the other side of the paper, write the names of the people you love and who love you. If you don’t want to use names, descriptions or roles work fine. Then roll up the paper and tie it with the ribbon. Carry it with you or keep it on your altar as a concrete symbol of love.
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Waxing Moon Money Spell
FEBRUARY 13, 2021 BY KATE FREULER

Draw a picture of a waxing moon on the palm of your hand with henna or marker. If you don’t want anyone to see it, you can instead draw it on a hidden part of your body.

As you draw the outline of the crescent moon and then color it in, visualize prosperity entering your life. See yourself paying the bills and buying the things you want and need, and feel how relieved and happy you’ll be when this happens. If you use henna, it will have to sit on your skin until it dries. Spend this time visualizing your goal as if you already have it. You can even imagine a stack of money sitting in the palm of your hand.

When the moon picture has dried, go about your business and forget about it. Wash your hands as usual, and allow it to naturally fade away. By the next full moon, some money should come your way.
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Year of the Ox
FEBRUARY 12, 2021 BY BLAKE OCTAVIAN BLAIR

Today is Lunar New Year! In Chinese astrology, it is the year of the Ox. The Chinese consider the Ox to be hardworking, reliable, and intelligent. Perhaps you’d like to take hold of the auspicious energies of this day and channel them into beginning a project you have been thinking about embarking upon. Find an image online of an Ox that you can print and place on your altar, and light a candle before it. Meditate on the qualities of the Ox, and recite an intention similar to the following:

Lunar power glowing bright,
This is the year of the Ox’s might!
Earthy and honest, reliable and keen,
May great progress on
my venture be seen!

Let the candle burn down safely in an appropriate holder. While it burns, take steps to begin your project. Keep the picture of the Ox to remind you of your goals and to help you remain steady in your efforts.
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New Moon Love Spell
FEBRUARY 11, 2021 BY SAPPHIRE MOONBEAM

Since today is the new moon, it is a perfect time to attract new love. Fill your tub with water for a cleansing, magical bath. On the edge of the tub place rose quartz crystals to enhance unconditional love for yourself and others, along with clear quartz crystals to amplify that intention. In the bathwater, add white rose petals for purity, yellow rose petals for joy and friendship, lavender rose petals for magical enchantment, orange rose petals for passion, and red rose petals for love. Take a deep breath, relax, inhale the scent of the flowers, and soak up the divine earth love. Clear your mind and your heart, then say these words:

On this new moon night,
my love burns bright.
Attract the love to me
that is my destiny.

Remove the flower petals and place them on your altar to dry. Once they have dried, take them outside and toss them into the wind to send your wishes for love into the air.
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End Gossip Spell
FEBRUARY 10, 2021 BY JAMES KAMBOS

If you’ve been the target of slander and gossip, this spell will help end it. You’ll need a blue ink pen, paper, a small freezer bag, and some water.

First, write the rumor on the paper and place it in the freezer bag. Fill the bag with enough water to cover the paper. Toss the bag into your freezer. After the water has frozen, remove the bag from the freezer. Let the bag sit on your counter, or in your sink, until the water has thawed. When thawed, hold the bag and say:

No more slander, no more lies.
Let water turn to ice.
Let ice turn to water.
Only the truth will be told hereafter.

Remove whatever is left of the paper. Throw it away or put it in a compost pile. Pour the water down a drain or on the ground. The gossip should now begin to stop.
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Block Buster Spell
FEBRUARY 09, 2021 BY DEVIN HUNTER

Tuesday, the day of Mars, is always a good time to do work for new beginnings and breakthroughs. Today happens to be a particularly powerful day for this, as Mars is currently transiting Taurus, the sign known for its work ethic. Cast this spell to open the roads that feel blocked to you.

Using a small carving tool, etch the name of the block you wish to bust on the side of a red candle. Dress the candle by rubbing the sides with ground ginger and cinnamon, then affix it to a firesafe dish or candleholder. Facing the west, recite the following spell and then light the candle. Allow the candle to burn completely without snuffing it out.

Tired, over it, I am done with this sh*t,
I call the powers, get me out of this pit.
I banish the blocks and clear the way,
I call in the new, the old cannot stay.
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Modern Anti-Poverty Witch Bottle
FEBRUARY 08, 2021 BY MICHAEL FURIE

This spell is designed to guard against financial hardship. It takes the notion that shredded and torn items corresponding to the goal will magically shred that which we are warding off, in this case poverty. If you don’t have credit cards you wish to cut up, bits of hard plastic packaging will do.

Gather these items:

  • Red candle in a holder
  • Intention scroll: pen, paper, and a green or gold ribbon
  • Glass bottle with a lid
  • Cut-up credit cards
  • Torn bills
  • Tulip petals

Light the candle, and on a new piece of paper, write the following intention:

For the good of all, protected I’ll
be, from financial hardship and
poverty; secured and safe, troublefree,
without harm, so mote it be.

Roll this paper up into a scroll and tie it with the ribbon. Add each of the items to the bottle and close it. Finally, carefully drip wax from the red candle over the bottle lid to fully seal it, activating the magic. Be sure to extinguish the candle.
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Purify and Balance
FEBRUARY 07, 2021 BY EMBER GRANT

Two common kitchen herbs can make purifying your personal space very simple and also bring balance to your environment. Rosemary is associated with the Sun and the element of fire, and thyme is associated with Venus and the element of water. The combination of these two herbs represents a balance of projective and receptive energies—masculine and feminine. In addition, in this spell you’re applying heat to water, another way the two elements are blended.

Add equal parts of dried rosemary and dried thyme to a cheesecloth bundle or tea bag. Steep the bag of dried herbs in hot water for five minutes. While the infusion is steeping, chant this phrase and stir the water briefly in a clockwise manner three times:

Water and fire, your balance I require.

Allow the water to cool, then pour it into a spray bottle and use it to mist any place that needs clearing and balance. Visualize negativity being dispelled as you spray the mist. Dispose of the steeped herbs.

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Asking For A Friend: Are You A Good Witch Or A Bad Witch?
FEBRUARY 12, 2021 BY GWYN

Anyone who has ever watched The Wizard of Oz must remember Glinda’s question to Dorothy — “Are you a Good Witch or a Bad Witch?” A notion that has been in the public consciousness for time immemorial. Or at least since witchcraft became a known thing. But is the question fair or even accurate?

In my recent post about Tom Brady’s wife, Giselle Bündchen, who practices witchcraft, she is quoted by her husband as calling herself a “good witch.” The context appearing to be she performs so-called “good” magick, rather than “bad” magick. Indicating (at least how I’m reading it) that because of this she is (or remains) a “good” person. There is an implication that if she were to practice so-called “bad” magick then she’d be a “bad” person. So, I thought I’d explore that a little bit.

What Is Good Or Bad?
Human beings are complex creatures. We are creative, intuitive, problem-solvers starting with our most ancient ancestors devising ways to interact with the mundane and spiritual worlds, sustaining their lives. History illustrates that humanity has always strived to understand, create, communicate, build, and improve. But we have our flaws too. Emotions run high and deep within our species as does ambition to tame and conquer (in some more than others).

In my view, this is why people have spent millennia defining what is good, bad, right, wrong, evil, benevolent, and so forth. This is why laws or social “norms” have been created to govern how we live and work together. And for the most part, people have benefited through this endeavor.

Does it always succeed? Obviously not, because racism, misogyny, homo/transphobia, etc., exist. War happens. There are people who have “personality disorders,” individuals who could be deemed “bad” or even “evil” (depending on your definition) because of their harmful actions. But there are also people who choose to do “bad” things because circumstances push them in that direction. Are they “bad” people or just people living in a bad situation seeking ways to cope, escape, or simply survive?

And then there are those who are deemed “bad” for spiritual reasons. Because they choose to follow the beat of a different drummer, adopt a style of dress, live their true nature, practice certain arts deemed by particular sacred texts as “evil” or “tainted” despite refutations to the contrary. Individuals who feel connected to something outside of the “norm” and thus enter into the ranks of society’s marginalized. A stamp, a mark, or a scarlet letter attached to their personhood for choosing to be different. Being forced to answer the question —“Are you a good witch or a bad witch?”

Good, Bad, Neither?
Trying to suss out my feelings here, I guess it bothers me we have to ask the question at all (even subconsciously). Because the “overculture” has deemed witchcraft as “bad” there has been a concerted effort by modern Witches, Wiccans, and other magickal practitioners to assert our “goodness.” To the point, some hamstring themselves and others with strictures such as the Rule of Three (or Three-Fold Law).

The above is a Wiccan tenant that has been misinterpreted for years as “whatever you send out returns to you threefold. ” Many people double-down on this when it comes to anything deemed negative. Some even to the point of not associating with people they deem to be “bad witches” for performing baneful magick. They don’t want “exposure” to “blowback.” And yes, I’ve heard people express that with my own ears.

However, Jason Mankey has offered an excellent rebuttal to that notion in a recent comment on the Tom Brady blog post: “The rule of three as originally articulated said that “when someone does good to you, you should return that good three-fold.” It has nothing to do with karma, or the universe handing out punishments or rewards.”

Additionally, I believe it is helpful for any witch or magickal practitioner to be able to both hex and heal. They are two sides of the same magickal coin. In fact, there is an etymological argument to be made that all witchcraft is a form of hexing. This is one reason why some religious folks will always mark any form of witchcraft (sorcery, divination, et al) as “bad.”

Witch. Plain and Simple.
In the end, I suppose the question will always remain. And we will always have to deal with those who react to witchcraft, and witches in general, according to what culture or religion dictates.

Some people are more comfortable being associated with Glinda (the Good Witch). This will always be more desirable to them, rather than being lumped in with the Bad One. And yes, still using the movie reference, not the musical. The green-faced Wicked Witch of the West had no name, by the way. Typical. But to my point, does defining our “witch selves” as “good” or bad” really matter? Does it help or divide?

Witchcraft will always reflect who we are as individuals. Why? Because magick is self-governed by what we as witches or magickal practitioners intend for the outcome of our spell, in whatever form it takes. And how we cast does come down to ethics, our chosen morality, what we are willing to do for the intention to be met. Choices. That’s just part of life as a human being and our responsibility as witches. For our question, does that make someone a good witch or a bad one?

Well, I believe it just makes a Witch. Plain and simple.

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Heartwings Love Notes 970: When Less is More

Heartwings says, “You may only need a small amount to enjoy a tasty treat.”

A long time ago I read an interesting book about how someone successfully lost weight and kept it off without depriving herself of the foods she enjoyed, like ice cream, pie or cake. She practiced what she called the three bite method. She allowed herself three bites or spoonsful of any treat she craved. For the rest, she ate moderately of a healthy range of proteins, vegetables, fruits and healthy carbohydrates. It has been my experience that portion control plus the three bite method has helped me lose excess pounds and then kept me at a healthy weight.

Little tricks like reducing the amount of oil when stir frying and then adding water instead of more olive oil helps lower the ultimate total of calories. Drinking water when hungry is a good way to put off snacking, too. Another trick is to drink some water before eating; you begin filling your stomach as well as hydrating yourself. Nuts make a good, healthy, satisfying snack. I try to avoid sugar because when I indulge in it, it makes me want more. I know it’s not good for me, so I allow myself only a small amount and try to avoid eating sweets at night, especially.

When I do have a little of some tasty treat I satisfy my desire. I also avoid taking more just because it had tasted good. For me, the best taste experience is in those first three bites. When I was a child, I was always encouraged to finish what was on my plate. The so called “pity the starving children in China” was one of the trite and certainly specious statements used to encourage me to do so. Finishing my plate today might mean eating more than I need to. I try to pay attention to how much is enough when I eat a meal, and I’m not ashamed not to finish if my body says not to.

Less food can be more satisfying, especially when eaten slowly and chewed well. The old adage to “chewy our liquids and liquify your solids” while sounding extreme, is an important reminder to slow down. It also helps my digestion to incorporate more digestive enzyme bearing saliva into what I am eating or drinking. I try to remember to put my fork down between bites as well, so as to finish chewing before taking in more food. In addition, I feel it is important to be grateful for good food and to honor the source of it with gratitude. When I take the time to taste my meals and to savor them, not only do I eat less, but I also enjoy what I am eating more.

May you enjoy your favorite foods even more when you practice moderation.

Blessings and best regards, Tasha Halpert

Do you have ways you can share that help you with your dietary considerations? Please share? I so enjoy hearing from readers. Please write to me with comments questions or suggestions, at: tashahal@Aol.com and for more love notes, visit my webpages at http://www.heartwingsandfriends.com.

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Aphrodisiac Foods ~ A Sexy Recipe Collection
by Melissa • February 13, 2013

Are you ready for some romance in the form of food?

Below you will find a romantic recipe collection that I’ve compiled from my blog. These are just suggestions for serving each of the aphrodisiac foods. You will be able to click the links below each photo where I have included a recipe. I hope you have fun creating an aphrodisiac menu for you and your sweetie! Even better….cook some of these delicacies together….

Aphrodisiac ~

A food, drink, or drug that stimulates sexual desire.
A thing that causes excitement.

~ ASPARAGUS ~

“Asparagus stirs up lust in man and woman” ~Nicolas Culpepper (19th Century French Herbalist)

~ ALMONDS ~

Throughout history, the almond has been regarded as a fertility symbol. The aroma is said to arouse passion in women…

~ AVOCADOS ~

Chosen as an aphrodisiac food because of their shape and vitamin content

~ BANANAS ~

Bananas contain bromeliad which is said to enhance male libido

~ BASIL ~

Basil’s aroma is said to have a stimulating, aphrodisiac effect on men and women

~CHILIES ~

Spicy Chilies contain capsaicin. This natural chemical increases circulation and stimulates nerve endings.

~ CHOCOLATE ~

Chocolate (Cacao) actually contains the “love chemical” PEA, and tryptophan which is necessary for serotonin production in the brain. Serotonin = well being and relaxation.

~ HONEY ~

Wonderfully tempting. In medieval times, people drank honey wine (mead), during a newlywed couple’s “honey month” or honeymoon. Here are some tempting recipes using this sticky-sweet, tempting aphrodisiac…

~ SEAFOOD ~

It’s common knowledge that oysters, clams and lobsters are considered aphrodisiacs, but other kinds of seafood can cause you to start thinking romantic thoughts too. Shrimp is one of my favorite romantic foods. Feed shrimp to your lover using your fingers…

~ STRAWBERRIES ~

Shaped like perfect little red hearts, strawberries are nature’s edible Valentines! Considered an aphrodisiac fruit since the times of ancient Rome, the pretty little red strawberry was the symbol of Venus, Roman Goddess of Love!

~ TRUFFLES ~ MUSHROOMS ~

Truffles are a legendary aphrodisiac of ancient Rome, and one of the most sought-after ingredients in the culinary world. Truffles are rare and wonderful! It is said that truffles’ musky scent is like the male pheromone, androstenone. Other mushrooms are considered aphrodisiacs too…for their musky, mysterious scent…

~ VANILLA ~

Vanilla is a mild nerve stimulant. Many believe that vanilla is a natural aphrodisiac: as early as the 1700s, physicians prescribed vanilla to their male patients to ensure potency.

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The Surprising Health Benefits of Being in Love
By: Ellen G. Goldman, Health and Wellness Coach

When I was newly home from graduate school and working my first full-time job, finding a husband and starting a family seemed to be the next expected step in the progression toward adulthood. I was looking forward to having someone to share my life with—someone to be a steady roommate, a sharer of responsibilities, and a traveling buddy for my then-infrequent vacations. Certainly prime on my mind was finding a suitable father for the kids I hoped to have in the future. Getting married would also eliminate the constant nagging of my mom and other relatives, who constantly pointed out that I wasn’t getting any younger. (Ironically, I was married at 24, a mere child compared to the average marrying age today!)

Luckily for me, I did find the right guy, and all the advantages I’d anticipated did come along with the marriage package. However, I never considered that being married would be good for my health, too. When scientific research began to appear touting the health benefits of being married, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that being married is also just one more way I’m improving my health.

We humans are hard-wired for social connection, and we all possess a basic need to belong and to be loved. For many people in today’s world, the need to marry young has been trumped by climbing the career ladder, and being in a committed relationship doesn’t necessarily mean tying the knot. But despite that, most (but not all) still harbor a strong desire to be in a romantic relationship.

And it’s no wonder why we seek out romance: When we find that special connection, positivity flows, and your nervous system is flooded with feel-good hormones. Dopamine, one of the hormones triggered when individuals are in love, evokes feelings of pleasure, optimism, energy and a sense of well-being. Physical touch, such as hugging, hand-holding and having sex, releases oxytocin, which lowers stress hormones. Research shows that those who experience these positive emotions associated with love have stronger immune systems, lower blood pressure, greater resistance to the common cold, faster recovery after illness and injury, and decreased anxiety and depression.

In 2007, the Department of Health and Human Services put out a report of their findings after reviewing the research on the health effects of matrimony. It stated that married people are happier, live longer, drink less and even visit the doctor less often than unmarried folks. Married couples tend to have health insurance, which encourages preventative care and healthy behaviors. Additionally, married couples are more financially stable, which reduces stress. A 2004 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also found that mortality rates were lowest in married couples. (Note: Although much of this research has looked at the effects of love on married couples, there is no reason to think that those in a positive and committed–yet unmarried–relationship wouldn’t enjoy these same benefits.)

However, simply being in a relationship isn’t enough to reap these benefits; the quality of the relationship matters, too. Love is a complicated emotion, and it can have both good and bad side effects depending on how partners treat each other.

According to psychology professor and researcher Julianne Holt-Lunstad, positive relationships prove as beneficial to survival and longevity as quitting smoking—and the benefits of love might even exceed those of exercise. On the flip side, negative relationships can wreak havoc on your health. For example, it has been found that married people have lower blood pressure than unmarried people, but unhappily married people have higher blood pressure than both happily married and unmarried groups. Additionally, a 2009 study in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior found that divorced or widowed people have 20 percent more chronic health conditions (such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer) than married people.

So, how do you ensure your marriage (or relationship) will be happy enough so you and your significant other can start reaping the benefits of love? Here are a few basic tips to follow for a healthy relationship:
Get out of relationships that no longer serve you. Studies show that unrequited love can lead to increased drinking, recreational drug use and depression. If the relationship isn’t working, move on–for the sake of both you and your partner.

Practice open communication. When both of you are open and honest about your feelings, it is much easier to provide each other with what you want and need.

Make time for each other. In today’s fast-paced world, our relationships often get pushed to the back burner. Make time for your partner, even if you have to schedule it in; it is worth it!

Learn to compromise. When you enter a relationship, it goes without saying that you will probably have to make some sacrifices. Anticipating and working amicably through those compromises is key for a healthy partnership.

Have activities outside of your relationship. It’s important to keep your own separate identities and to not become too dependent on each other, no matter how in love you are. Be sure to strike a good balance by maintaining your own friends, hobbies and interests.

Don’t sweat the small stuff. Chances are, your partner is probably going to have certain habits that drive you crazy—but it’s also likely that there are things about you that drive your partner crazy, too! Learn to embrace those little flaws (everybody’s got ’em!) and save the stress for the more important things.

Try something unexpected together. As humans, we thrive on novelty. It can be easy to fall into the rut of routine with your partner, causing boredom and relationship dissatisfaction. A couple times a month, go somewhere other than your ”usual” place for dinner, or book a small weekend trip together. Trying new experiences with your partner is great for bonding, and it will help you create memories to last a lifetime.

Keep making each other laugh. Laughter is good for the soul, and if you and your partner can keep cracking each other up, you’re probably on the right track! It will only make you both even more resilient to obstacles in your way.

Set and reach goals together. Finding and working toward mutual goals, like getting in shape or saving for a new car, can be a fantastic way to bond with your partner.

Above all, love yourself first! When you love and respect yourself, it’s much easier to find a mate who will love and respect you, too—and then you can start reaping all the benefits love has to offer!

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Gemstones That Change Color in Different Light
~geologyin.com

Hackmanite is an important variety of sodalite.
Photochromism is a process that can be described as a change of color upon exposure to light. A mineral that possesses this property is said to be photochromic. The phenomenon was discovered in the late 1880s, including work by Markwald, who studied the reversible change of color of tetrachloronaphthalen.

That’s when the color changes from exposure to light, like self-adjusting sunglasses. Several other stones will do this but hackmanite, especially some of the varieties from afghanistan and burma, carries this effect to extremes as you can see pale blue to deep purple.

Technically, photochromism is defined as “the reversible transformation of a chemical species between two forms by the absorption of electromagnetic radiation, where the two forms have different absorption spectra.” But the term has been loosely adopted in mineralogical circles to mean the reversible change of color of a mineral upon exposure to a particular type of light.

The term “tenebrescence” also means the reversible change of color of a mineral upon exposure to a particular type of light. Tenebresence is from the Latin “tenebrae” for shadows.

Tenebrescence refers to a reversible color change in which certain minerals darken or change color in response to radiation of one wavelength and lighten or change back to their original color upon exposure to a different wavelength. These changes usually take effect with exposure to Shortwave UV, Longwave UV and sunlight.

It seems the term tenebrescence is being replaced by photochromism. Whether you call a mineral tenebrescent or photochromic, they both roughly mean the same thing. This effect can be repeated indefinitely, but is destroyed by heating. Tenebrescent minerals include the Hackmanite variety of Sodalite, some Scapolites and Tugtupite.

White Hackmanite, from a few sources, may turn raspberry red after exposure to shortwave UV light and the color fades rapidly in sunlight. A recent find of colorless Scapolite from Badakhshan, Afghanistan changes to a saturated, medium blue when exposed to shortwave UV light.

When the shortwave UV light is removed the stones immediately begin to fade and return to colorless within a few minutes. Tugtupite will darken in color from from light pink to deep rose red when exposed to shortwave UV light and fade back to light pink when removed from the UV light.

Other minerals may change color or lose color when exposed to certain types of light but the change is permanent. These minerals may also be called “photochromic” by some. Joel Arem, in the Color Encyclopedia of Gemstones, describes Proustite as a photochromic gem because it can permanently turn dark or even black with prolonged exposure to light. This is also true of Pyrargyrite. Both minerals suffer from this effect because of their silver content. Silver was used in early photographic processing for this reason.

Alexandrite Effect: Gemstones That Change Color in Different Light

This alexandrite was cut to feature its beautiful color change. When the light source changes from daylight to incandescent light, the gem’s color changes from bluish green to reddish purple.

Alexandrite is the variety of chrysoberyl BeAl2O4 which changes color from green or blue-green in daylight to red, purple/red, or raspberry red under incandescent light. Chemically, alexandrite can be differentiated from normal chrysoberyl by the presence of chromium. Alexandrite is defined by its color change and only chrysoberyl that displays a distinct change of color should be referred to as alexandrite.

The origin of this color change is often attributed to dichroism, but simple observation shows that the change depends chiefly on the nature of the incident light. In antiquity this change was from sunlight to candlelight and this exhibition is still used today by many gemologists and jewelers.

Alexandrite is a gem that exhibits an amazing property. It appears redish in incandescent light and green in sunlight. Incandescent light and sunlight both appear white when we look at them but, as Alexandrite demonstrates, not all white light is the same. Differences in white light sources can have a profound effect on how we perceive an object’s color. The Alexandrite Effect is a perfect example.

The alexandrite variety displays a color change (alexandrite effect) dependent upon the nature of ambient lighting. Alexandrite effect is the phenomenon of an observed color change from greenish to reddish with a change in source illumination. Alexandrite results from small scale replacement of aluminium by chromium ions in the crystal structure, which causes intense absorption of light over a narrow range of wavelengths in the yellow region (580 nm) of the visible light spectrum.

Because human vision is more sensitive to light in the green spectrum and the red spectrum, alexandrite appears greenish in daylight where a full spectrum of visible light is present and reddish in incandescent light which emits less green and blue spectrum. This color change is independent of any change of hue with viewing direction through the crystal that would arise from pleochroism.

Alexandrite from the Ural Mountains in Russia can be green by daylight and red by incandescent light. Other varieties of alexandrite may be yellowish or pink in daylight and a columbine or raspberry red by incandescent light.

Stones that show a dramatic color change and strong colors (e.g. red-to-green) are rare and sought-after, but stones that show less distinct colors (e.g. yellowish green changing to brownish yellow) may also be considered alexandrite by gem labs such as the Gemological Institute of America.

According to a popular but controversial story, alexandrite was discovered by the Finnish mineralogist Nils Gustaf Nordenskiöld (1792–1866), and named alexandrite in honor of the future Tsar Alexander II of Russia. Nordenskiöld’s initial discovery occurred as a result of an examination of a newly found mineral sample he had received from Perovskii, which he identified as emerald at first. The first emerald mine had been opened in 1831.

Today, several labs can produce synthetic lab-grown stones with the same chemical and physical properties as natural alexandrite. Several methods can produce flux-grown alexandrite, Czocchralski (or pulled) alexandrite, and hydrothermally-produced alexandrite. Flux-grown gems that are fairly difficult to distinguish from natural alexandrite as they contain inclusions that can look natural.

Czochralski or pulled alexandrite is easier to identify because it is very clean and contains curved striations visible under magnification. Although the color change in pulled stones can be from blue to red, the color change does not truly resemble that of natural alexandrite from any deposit. Hydrothermal lab-grown alexandrite has identical physical and chemical properties to real alexandrite.

Some gemstones falsely described as Lab-grown synthetic alexandrite are actually corundum laced with trace elements (e.g., vanadium) or color-change spinel and are not actually chrysoberyl. As a result, they would be more accurately described as simulated alexandrite rather than synthetic. This alexandrite-like sapphire material has been around for almost 100 years and shows a characteristic purple-mauve colour change, which does not really look like alexandrite because there is never any green.

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A Natural Solution For Dry And Chapped Lips

If chapped lips or dry skin are a problem, find natural relief with calendula, an herbal remedy made from the petals of the ornamental “pot marigold” flower. Available in tinctures, oils, lotions and creams, look for products with at least 10-percent extract of Calendula officinalis. A gentle, effective remedy is to wash the skin with a diluted solution of tincture. You can also apply ready-to-use calendula skin products or oil directly on irritated areas. Calendula can safely be used for skin irritations, rashes (including diaper rash), eczema, acne and minor burns.

Prevention is also a good rule here as well. Good barrier protection from the cold weather will go far – consider using a thick layer of coconut oil or other natural lip balms to hold moisture in as much as possible.

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The Dark of the Year
By Sheri Barker

Although the wheel of the year has turned past the winter solstice, there are still long nights ahead before the seasons turn to a time when light and dark give the appearance of being more balanced. Many people find this to be a difficult time of year for a variety of reasons. Some are affected by the biological changes brought about by a reduction of exposure to sunlight, which can cause disruption of circadian rhythms and serotonin and melatonin levels. Others tune into the evolutionary survival trait of the fear of the unknown that made the dark a scary place and helped keep humans safe against predators that hunted in the night. And some, like me, feel discomfort from a place that elevates that survival trait beyond biology and into the realm of spirit.

As a child, I was deeply afraid of the dark. The reasons for how that fear developed are long gone, banished to the dust pile where psychological debris goes to compost. I remember what the fear felt like, how it could paralyze my mind and body, and how certain I was that the dark housed monsters that were going to get me. I did not yet comprehend that sometimes the darkness is the monster.

My mother used every parent’s sovereign specific in her attempts to ease my fear of the dark: a nightlight, which she plugged into an outlet in the hallway outside our bedrooms. This was somewhat helpful until the bulb burned out and there was no replacement on hand. My mother tucked me in, gave me some encouraging words, and left me on my own in the dark with only my little brothers across the hall. I remember being too frightened to move and too afraid to even close my eyes, thinking it would be better if I could see whatever monster was going to emerge from the dark. After several minutes of my eyes adjusting to the dark, I found a small amount of light was coming in through the window which looked out on a large commercial feed and coal storage yard beyond our fence line.

After an inner battle to get out of bed and go to the window (the realm under the bed being fraught with danger), I ran the few steps across the floor and pulled the shade up to let the light into my room. A small half-circle of light filled the floor in front of the window, and I instinctively stayed inside that light. I was young enough that a nighttime landscape was new to me, and this one was lit by streetlamps spaced around the coal yard. Intrigued by this new way of seeing everyday objects, I took note of pallets full of farm and garden supplies turned into indistinguishable mounds of shadow, the pathways between them corridors of light fading to nothing, and the outbuildings at the edges of the light blended into the woods beyond. There was so much to process that I stood by the window until my toes felt icy cold.

Just as I was growing tired and contemplating the jumping distance to the bed, I saw something move in the coal yard. A shadow floated, rather than walked, from the outbuildings to the center of the yard. It did not change in form or substance as it moved, either in light or darkness. I knew this shadow was something that was wrong and ill-intentioned. I did not want to see it but could not stop watching. The moment it stopped moving, it turned in such a manner that I knew it was facing my house, and in the next moment, I sensed that not only was it looking at me, but it also knew that I had seen it.

Without thinking, I stepped away from the window and out of the light. For the first time in my life, the darkness of my room was a safe haven. I was too afraid to return to the window to draw the shade down, but for once I felt able to move around in the dark. I did not turn the light on because I did not want the shadow to see me. In my first ever act of sympathetic magic, I quickly gathered the small army of stuffed animals and dolls who were my daytime friends and piled them on my bed before climbing back under the covers. Placing the animals in a circle around me, I spoke words to empower them to be my protectors from the shadow. Over many nights, they never once failed me.

For the rest of the time my family lived in that house, my connection to that shadow remained. I could sense its presence on the nights it moved through the coal yard. Sometimes I would sit by the window and watch it. Over time I learned to recognize the malevolence and dark energy that emanated from the being, and there were times I felt that presence in other areas in the neighborhood, especially along the old railroad tracks and in the woods where I was not supposed to play but did.

I never told my parents about the shadow being. I suppose I thought they would not understand, or would tell me I was dreaming it up. So imagine my surprise when, as a teenager, my mother shared her own story of a daytime encounter with the being. After she told me she had seen it too, we talked about it off and on until her own spiritual journey made the subject taboo.

In retrospect, I believe that my child self had an intuitive perception of a danger that I could not communicate to others. I lacked the familial, spiritual, and educational influences that would have given me the language and knowledge to move beyond perception and into understanding of what I was seeing. I had to rely on time and experience, and again, intuition.

There have been many times in my life when I have seen and sensed that same malevolence. I would know it anywhere. I have sensed it in physical locations both with and without seeing a presence – in homes where there is paranormal activity, in buildings both new and old, and in wild places. I have also seen it and sensed it in the spiritual and physical space held by certain other human beings, and that is where it frightens me the most. I have seen the damage those humans cause. I have seen the energy of their auras with bites taken out of them, darkness where color should be.

I cannot give a name to the shadow being, but if I did know it, I would choose not to name it out loud. To me, it is only darkness. I do not know how that energy can become attached to or even consume a human being, whether by choice or accident. What I do know is that there is a difference between darkness as an absence of light and darkness as a malevolent presence. There may be monsters in the dark, but sometimes darkness itself is the monster. My experiences taught me well the importance of paying attention to instinct and intuition, and how important it is to listen to children, or to anyone, who says they are afraid but cannot articulate why.

This time of year is meant to be a time for turning inward, for self-reflection and nurturing and quiet growth. I embrace that reason for the season, and the warm glow of candles and small lights serves as a reminder that the light will return. The days will grow longer, and balance will be restored. But during this time, I am also aware that darkness is a real thing itself, and that to continue to protect myself from it and from fear of it, I must maintain an understanding of what it is. My lights and candles serve another purpose, as a reminder that I have the magic and power to keep my fear of the dark at bay.

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4 Plant-Inspired Self-Love Practices
Updated on February 2, 2021
Originally Posted in Tea & More on January 25, 2019

The relationship you have with yourself is the most important you will ever have. Putting our own needs first is not selfish, it’s a necessity, and one that sometimes we forget to honor. Without our own foundation of self-love, and the health of our emotional well-being, we can’t begin to love and care for others. While our self-care rituals take many forms; eating well, getting enough sleep, exercising and breathing, staying hydrated, we often turn to plants to give ourselves a little something extra special – especially around this time of year. Instead of starting with “what do I need to fix about myself in order to be happy” we like to go straight to the desired outcome – to be more joyful. Here are some of our favorite ways to incorporate plants into the pursuit of happiness.

  1. We use traditional lovers herbs – even if only for ourselves! Plants used for love and romance, and often referenced by Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, beauty, and sensuality, are plants that are often already in our wellness cabinets. Some of the best herbs for self-love are nervines. Nervine herbs replenish the nervous system, and support calm in the body, they quiet mind chatter and awaken our senses. Whether you are getting cozy with a loved one or not, these plants open up our hearts and allow the tension in our bodies to melt away – leaving us in a comfortable place to engage in loving conversation and be a little gentler and kinder with our actions towards ourselves and others.*

A few of our favorites:

Rose: A beloved herbal medicine for the heart, rose is used to support and open the energetic heart chakra.* Rose allows us to be open to new possibilities, yet strong and protected in our self. This is a great herb to use in syrups and elixirs as roses are sweet and their floral nature pairs excellent with raw honey.

Damiana: Traditionally used to support circulation, and has historically been prized for promoting a healthy libido. Damiana’s true qualities increase desire and enthusiasm with warmth and excitement, allowing us to be more open, and connected, even if just within ourselves. A lovely one for tea or in chocolate truffles.*

Vanilla: The scent alone can take us somewhere else. Vanilla invites qualities of pure euphoria and bliss and is wonderfully decadent! We love adding vanilla to just about any dessert, tonic drink or syrup.

Kava†: A special and more exotic plant that we pull out at this time of the year. Kava is traditionally used during welcome ceremonies as it is excellent at soothing tension, calming the mind and supporting a healthy stress response.* Kava’s qualities wash over us with a sense of calm and warm-hearted openness – leaving us fully present in the best of ways for our partners, friends, and family. It has often been said, “where there is Kava, there is love in the heart.”

Many of these herbs can be used in combination with food, and desserts – especially with cacao!

  1. We Take Herbal Ritual Baths: Therapeutic, and much like a spa experience in your own home, botanical baths are a lovely way to wind down after a long work day, or when you need a moment of retreat and alone time.

Fill up your bathtub with hot water and add a few drops of your favorite essential oil or a handful of fragrant herbs like rose petals, chamomile, lavender or lemon balm, and a few tablespoons of Epsom salts for a relaxing soak. You can put the herbs in a small cotton bag or use a mesh tea strainer to catch them when you drain the tub. If you don’t keep bulk herbs in your home, herbal tea bags work just as well. Our organic Chamomile with Lavender and Lemon Balm teas are two of our favorites to use.

To set the mood, we light candles, prepare tea (a bath time favorite is our Cup of Calm tea), listen to soft, soothing music, and soak for long periods with a good book, or just simply being. It’s a great time to focus on your breath or do gentle self-massage.

  1. On-the-go Wellness: It’s a rare situation when you come across an herbalist who doesn’t carry herbs with them, as you never know what you might encounter. While we often carry a wide range of herbal products for various situations (digestive support, immunity, occasional sleeplessness) while traveling, herbs are incredibly powerful for emotional resilience and we never leave home without them. Keeping ourselves together emotionally day by day is an act of self-love, and you never know when you might need a little support.*

Here are a few of our favorite items we carry with us:

Urban Moonshine Joy Tonic – an uplifting tincture blend of nervine herbs that help to turn around a bad mood and calm the nervous system if feeling overwhelmed or occasionally stressed.*

Herbal tea is always there for you and convenient to take on the go. H+H Stress Relief is our favorite if you need a moment to take a deep breath to feel like yourself again. It helps you relax, anytime.*

Essential oil blends for a change of perspective. Scent alone can be powerful, and herbs like lavender, chamomile, geranium and clary sage are all great ones to keep on hand for a pleasurable pick me up. It’s easy to find pre-blended aromatherapy rollers to carry with you everywhere.

For inspiration on putting together a wellness pouch, see our Herbs for Travel blog post, or Urban Moonshines Herbal Travel Apothecary article.

  1. Surround Yourself with Beauty, Pleasure and Plants: Don’t save the best for last! Drink your best herbal tea from your favorite mug, cook a special meal and set the table as if you are a guest in your home. Treat yourself to those gorgeous flowers or an aromatic massage. The feelings of pleasure are part of a well-balanced and joyful life. And this doesn’t just mean sexual pleasure — it includes pleasurable experiences like foods and scents; happiness inducing activities such as yoga, dance, and creative hobbies like making art, gardening, or cooking. Whatever your budget allows – treat yourself with Joy.

These pleasurable acts of self-love help us feel inspired, loving, receptive, and liberated.

†Safety is a concern for users of kava. People, especially those with liver disease or liver problems, or persons who are taking drugs that can affect the liver, should talk with their health care practitioner before using kava.

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3 Common Nightmares & What They Mean
FEBRUARY 15, 2021 BY CLARE R. JOHNSON PHD

Dreaming Imagery

Scary dreams have so much energy! Even the most terrifying nightmares carry creative, healing, and spiritual gifts. When we unwrap our disturbing dreams and nightmares, we understand how these gifts can empower us in our waking life.

Many people report anxiety dreams or dreams with distressing content. Nightmares have been on the rise since the outbreak of the pandemic, but the most common themes remain the same as always: that we are trapped, chased or attacked by shadowy men or aggressive animals, or we find ourselves in the midst of an apocalyptic disaster.

Let’s have a look at why such nightmares come, and how we can work with them to discover any personal meaning they may have for ourselves and our life situation. Only the dreamer can know for sure what their own dream or nightmare signifies for them personally, and the best way to find out is by doing dreamwork to unwrap the deeper meaning.

Disaster Nightmares
“An earthquake rips the ground open and people are screaming and falling into the chasm.”

Have you ever had distressing dreams of fires, tsunamis, hurricanes, or other natural disasters?

During the pandemic, many people report dreams of giant bugs taking over the planet. Other common disaster nightmares are scenes of warzones or other man-made disasters such as shipwrecks or plane crashes.

Some natural disaster dreams may reflect our relationship to our planet, our reaction to current news events, and our fears about the future, but more often this type of nightmare flags up emotional upheaval, helplessness, and terror in the face of unwanted changes. When such dreams arise, it can mean that we are feeling overwhelmed during an extremely challenging time. Drowning in dreams often seems linked to feeling overwhelmed by emotions or a life situation.

If you have this kind of nightmare, see if you can build a bridge between the core emotion in the dream and something you are currently dealing with in your life. Ask yourself: “When did I last experience that sense of ‘I’ll never make it!’ in my life?” Or: “When did I last feel so desperate?” Often it will be possible to connect this feeling to something in our life: “Oh, right—I’ve been feeling like I’ll never make the deadline for this project and it’s making me feel totally panicked and desperate.”

One woman had recurring nightmares about earthquakes while she was going through a divorce. Although she felt she was coping with her situation, when she worked with her nightmares, she was able to connect her feelings of terror and instability to her suppressed fears of what would happen to her once the divorce was finalised. She realised she needed to create a life-saving plan of action for her post-divorce life.

Dreams are mirrors. They show us how we are really feeling, and remind us to act to change our lives for the better, by enlisting help, creating a plan, or changing unhelpful behaviours so that we can move forward with joy instead of fear.

Scary Animals and Frightening Beasts
“I’m standing on a high pinnacle of rock. A huge, fire-breathing dragon swoops towards me aggressively and I’m terrified that he’ll either attack me or cause me to fall to my death.”

Have you ever had nightmares involving animals who bite or chase you, or mythological beasts whose power paralyses you with fear?

When dream animals want to get our attention, they might attack us, pin us down, roar in our faces, scratch, bite, or pursue us. They might even rip us to pieces and kill us. But this doesn’t mean that they are negative energies—in fact, dream animals are fascinating to work with. Their instinctive, wild energy can reveal our conflicts and the shadowy aspects of ourselves or other people in our lives. They may also have a shamanic significance, linking us to the spirit world.

A nightmarish animal or beast is trying to wake us up to something that needs addressing within us, or in our life. Nightmares come to propel us towards psychological wholeness. We can get to the heart of an animal nightmare and discover any message it may have for us by asking some key questions: “Which qualities does this animal embody for me?” “How does it feel to go through life in this animal’s skin?”

Vividly imagine yourself as that animal, seeing the world through its eyes, feeling its energy move through you, speaking with its voice. What does it want or need? What is it afraid of? What wisdom does it offer?

This kind of imaginative dreamwork is based on Gestalt therapy, developed by Fritz Perls in the early 1950s. It’s a wonderful way of connecting deeply with the energy of a nightmare figure, and can be done alone if it feels right, or with a friend or therapist present if there is a lot of fear or difficult emotions such as disgust or guilt. Some nightmares should not be worked on alone, so do check in with yourself before you engage on these deeper levels with threatening nightmare figures.

A woman who dreamed a dragon was swooping at her while she stood alone on a high pinnacle realised the dragon symbolised her husband, an aggressive and domineering man who was also having an affair. She understood how unsafe he made her feel on every level, and how threatening this situation was to her wellbeing. The nightmare showed her a vivid picture of how alone and threatened she felt, and helped her to understand that something had to change fast.

Being Trapped
“I’m in a dark room with no doors or windows. A malicious presence is there with me, and I can’t escape.”

Have you had terrifying dreams of being trapped in a burning building, or in a crashing airplane? People often report nightmares of being stuck in terrible situations, screaming for help but nobody comes to their rescue.

Such nightmares are often linked to feelings of helplessness, a lack of emotional support, and a belief in one’s inability to change a situation.

If you have a nightmare like this, ask yourself: “Where in my life do I feel trapped and powerless, as if there’s no way out?” Or ask: “Where do I need to take action in my life?” And, crucially: “Who can I turn to for help in my life?”

One woman had recurring nightmares of being trapped in a doorless, windowless room. She easily linked the feelings of helplessness and panic to her current psychological crisis. During a therapy session, she mentally re-entered the nightmare feeling safe and supported. She was able to imagine herself finding a window, through which she escaped into a beautiful flowering courtyard.

This felt symbolic to her. She realised that she did have choices in her life and could seek a more nourishing, hopeful space for herself. Once she had resolved the dream story in this way, the nightmares didn’t return.

When we do empowering imaginative work with a nightmare, equipping our dreaming self with resources such as a sense of safety, a strong ally, or magical powers, we can often break the cycle of bad dreams.

Our dreaming mind wants us to be whole and healthy. All dreams come to help us—if they can’t get our attention in any other way, they create shocking scenarios to make us sit up and listen to what’s going on within us.

We need to listen to our dreams and nightmares, because they speak to us right from our own heart and soul and have wonderful gifts of insight and wisdom to share with us.

My new book, The Art of Transforming Nightmares, aims to empower dreamers by giving them practical tools to resolve nightmares and other disturbing sleep experiences in healing ways.

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Home Is Where the Heart Is

A turtle carries its home on its back, as humans we carry our home in our heart.

The word “home” has a wide variety of connotations. To some, home is merely a place where basic needs are addressed. To others, home is the foundation from which they draw their strength and tranquility. Still, others view home as a place inexorably linked to family. Yet all these definitions of home imply somewhere we can be ourselves and are totally accepted. There, we feel safe enough to let down our guard, peaceful enough to really relax, and loved enough to want to return day after day. However, these qualities need not be linked to a single space or any space at all. Home is where the heart is and can be the locale you live in, a community you once lived in, or the country where you plan to live someday. Or home can be a feeling you carry inside yourself, wherever you are.

The process of evolution can require you to undergo transformations that uproot you. Moving from place to place can seem to literally divide you from the foundations you have come to depend on. Since your home is so intimately tied to the memories that define you, you may feel that you are losing a vital part of yourself when you leave behind your previous house, city, state, or country. And as it may take some time before you fashion new memories, you may feel homeless even after settling into your new abode. To carry your home with you, you need only become your own foundation. Doing so is merely a matter of staying grounded and centered, and recognizing that the pleasures you enjoyed in one place will still touch your heart in another if you allow them.

Your home can be any space or state of being that fulfills you, provided you are at peace with yourself and your surroundings. A person can feel like home to you, as can seasons and activities. If you feel disconnected from what you once thought of as home, your detachment may be a signal that you are ready to move one. Simply put, you will know you have found your home when both your physical environment and energetic surroundings are in harmony with the individual you are within.

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Why Dancing Is Healthy for Women
by Andrew Weil, M.D.

Japanese researchers assessed the effects of 16 types of exercise to help women retain their ability to walk, bathe, dress, and otherwise go about the ordinary activities of daily life as they aged. The investigators asked 1,003 women, who were without disability when the study began, about the types of exercise they engaged in. On follow up eight years later, the team determined that 13 percent of the women had developed some form of disability that interfered with their daily lives. They also found that the women who said they participated in dancing when the study began had a 73 percent lower likelihood of developing disabilities that affected their daily lives.

Study leader Yosuke Osuka of the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology noted that it is “unclear why dancing alone” made the difference but added that it “requires not only balance, strength, and endurance…but also cognitive ability, adaptability and concentration to move according to the music and partner, artistry for graceful and fluid motion and memory for choreography…these various elements may contribute to the superiority of dancing” in maintaining a higher capacity for the activities of daily living.

My take? Dancing of any kind is beneficial for your body. Aerobic exercise promotes general fitness, conditions your heart and respiratory system, stimulates immunity and increases stamina. It also tones your nervous system, reduces stress, increases oxygen flow throughout the body and gives you a sense of well-being and empowerment. Dancing is one of the most effective aerobic activities of all because it’s upbeat and enjoyable and provides a thorough workout.

Source:
Yosuke Osuka et al, “Exercise type and activities of daily living disability in older women: An 8-year population-based cohort study.” “Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, December 18, 2018; DOI: 10.1111/sms.13336

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Spiced Golden Rice Pudding For The Goddesses of Spring – Gather Victoria

In a culinary fusion of western and eastern goddess traditions, this Golden Rice Pudding is made with primrose infused cream and spiced with saffron, cardamom, orange zest and a touch of candied ginger. It is my offering to the Hindu Goddess Saraswati, Goddess of Wisdom, Learning and Art and Brigid the Celtic Goddess of Illumination, Inspiration and Poetry.

Both of these goddesses of early spring brought blessings of fertility, prosperity and good health and their feasts celebrated “the coming of the light”.

This is an excerpt from the Winter Holiday Edition of the Gathery E-Cookery book on Gather Patreon In a culinary fusion of western and eastern goddess traditions.

Source: Spiced Golden Rice Pudding For The Goddesses of Spring – Gather Victoria
https://gathervictoria.com/2021/02/09/spiced-golden-rice-pudding-for-spring/

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Mind Stretching

Having a flexible mind makes navigating life much easier, as you are not thrown off course easily.

Flexibility is the capacity to bend without breaking, as well as a continual willingness to change or be changed in order to accommodate new circumstances. People with flexible minds are open to shifting their course when necessary or useful; they are not overly attached to things going the way they had planned. This enables them to take advantage of opportunities that a more rigid person would miss out on. It can also make life a lot more fun. When we are flexible, we allow for situations we could not have planned, and so the world continues to surprise and delight us.

Since reality is in a constant state of flux, it doesn’t make sense to be rigid or to cling to any one idea of what is happening or what is going to happen. We are more in tune with reality when we are flexible. Being in tune enables us to adjust to the external environment and other people as they change and grow. When we are rigid or stuck in our ways, instead of adjusting to the world around us we hunker down, clinging to a concept of reality rather than reality itself. When we do this, we cut ourselves off from life, and we miss out on valuable opportunities, as well as a lot of joy.

Just as we create flexibility in our bodies by stretching physically, we can create limberness in our minds by stretching mentally. Every day we have the opportunity to exercise our flexibility. We can do this in small ways such as taking a different route home from work or changing our exercise routine. On a larger scale, we can rearrange the furniture or redo a room in our house. If these are things we already do regularly, we can stretch our minds by imagining several different possibilities for how the next year will unfold. As we do this, our minds become more supple and open, and when changes come our way, we are able to accommodate and flow with the new reality.

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Gilberto’s Lazy Sunday Afternoon
by Stephen Halpert

The driver stopped and stared at her, seemingly immobilized.
Her second shot took out the left front tire, rendering the vehicle inoperable. The sedan sagged into the road.
“Get the kid,” shaved head yelled. Despite his blooded face he stumbled to his feet and followed his companion, charging toward Gilberto.
“Hold on Joey,” Gilberto said. “Make yourself very small.”
Maria launched another concrete missile, this time hitting the driver hard in the chest. He screamed but kept rushing at Gilberto
Maria had no time to reload the derringer. Instead, she threw another jagged chunk of concrete followed by several handfuls of gravel. The driver tried to duck but a stone the size of a grapefruit exploded into his face; his eyes grew covered in blood.
“Yay mom,” Joey yelled. “Hit um again.”
Despite this intent on snatching Joey the man kept charging toward Gilberto Just as he was upon them, Gilberto turned and kicked his left leg hard into the side of the driver’s knee. He jumped aside and this time kicked him hard in a tender part of his autonomy. The driver screamed, clutching himself as he fell to his knees.
Then Gilberto faked to the left, kicked his assailant in the kidneys. He screamed again and fell over. Maria rushed over and hit him on the side of his head with the handle of her derringer. He sprawled on the ground, gasping. Shaved head had collapsed, unable to get up.
Then they heard sirens. A Boston police cruiser shot onto Charles Street. Following it was a familiar sedan. Gilberto saw Jones behind the wheel, Smith talking into his device.
Two police officers’ pistols drawn, Smith and Jones behind them converged on the scene. Both assailants lay stunned and bleeding on the sidewalk. They were cuffed, taken into custody. As they were pulling them toward the back door of the police cruiser Smith showed them his credentials. The officers nodded, went to the cruiser and drove away.
Now that the action was over, Gilberto felt anger his anger rise. Who would attack his family? Try to kidnap his son? He clenched his fists, breathing heavily. He hoped to find out more. Perhaps Smith and Jones might have answers.
Looking at Maria, Smith and Jones shook their heads. “How’d you manage to throw those rocks so good?” Jones asked Maria?”
“I was the star pitcher for my women’s softball team,” she said calmy. “I guess I haven’t lost it.” There was no mention of the derringer.
Smith and Jones looked hard at Gilberto, Maria and Joey.
“You folks ok?” Smith asked.
Gilberto nodded. “Maria saved us.”
“You weren’t so bad yourself,” she said.
Smith smiled. “Good for you.”
Gilberto set Joey down and carefully embraced Maria. Tears of relief coursed down her cheeks.
“Maybe once the baby’s born you could play softball again.” Gilberto said. “You stopped them cold,”
“We both did,” Maria said softly. “We saved our son from being kidnapped.”
“Why don’t you folks jump in and we’ll drive you back home,” Smith said. Meanwhile the police had radioed for a tow truck that was already hauling the damaged vehicle away.
“No need to stay here now,” Smith said. “Let’s get this young man another ice cream and take you all home.” (To be continued)

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Essential Oils: Tea Tree Oil
Guide To Essential Oils | Andrew Weil, M.D

Tea tree oil is derived from the Australian tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia), native to the eastern coast of Australia. The oil is clear, strongly aromatic, and a powerful disinfectant. (It is not the same as tea oil, which is used for cooking.)

Tea tree oil became popular in the U.S. in the 1920s and 1930s due to its ability to treat bacterial infections. Its use declined after World War II when effective antibiotics became available, but interest resumed during the 1970s.

It is an effective remedy for fungal and viral infections, particularly those affecting the skin. The compound terpinen-4-ol, one of more than 98 compounds, is responsible for most of it’s antimicrobial activity.

Tea Tree Oil Uses:
Acne: Five percent tea tree oil may be as effective as five percent benzoyl peroxide for acne treatment. Tea tree oil takes longer to work but may be less irrigating to the skin. Dosage: Apply 5 percent gel for 20 minutes to affected areas twice daily.

Toe Nail Fungus: A topical application of 100 percent tea tree oil, twice a day for six months, eradicated toenail fungus in about 18 percent of patients studied. It also improved the appearance of the nails in about 60 percent of patients.

Athlete’s Foot: It oil also appears help relieve symptoms (although it doesn’t cure the fungus). One study found that 10 percent tea tree oil reduced scaling, inflammation, itching, and burning when applied regularly. Apply a light coating of dilute oil (25 to 50 percent) three or four times a day. Continue for two weeks after symptoms resolve.
Bacterial vaginosis: One small study found this essential oil effective for treatment of this vaginal infection.
This essential oil also may help manage dandruff, bee stings, scabies, and lice. Laboratory studies suggest that it may have a therapeutic role in management of abscesses and boils, especially those due to MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus).

When added to hot water, creating a steam inhalant, tea tree can help treat cough, bronchial congestion, sore throat and overall pulmonary inflammation.

Caution:

Tea tree oil is toxic when swallowed and should only be used externally. Because it may irritate skin, apply only a small amount at first and discontinue if irritation appears. The oil may burn if it comes in contact with the eyes, nose, or mouth. Do not apply tea tree oil to non-fungal rashes or broken skin.

Tea Tree Oil For Household Use:
Added to vinegar/water solutions it can kill mold and mildew on kitchen and bathroom surfaces. To clean countertops and tile floors add 50 drops to a bucket of water.

Dr. Weil’s View On Tea Tree Oil:
Tea tree oil is the best treatment I know of for fungal infections. It is an excellent alternative to the harsh chemicals found in most over-the-counter treatments for athlete’s foot and jock itch. It is also gentle for people with sensitive skin, offering much-needed relief for dandruff and acne.

Source:
K.A. Hammer et al, “In Vitro Susceptibilities of Lactobacilli and Organisms Associated with Bacterial Vaginosis to Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil.” Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, January 1999.

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SOOTHING MOON MILK RECIPE WITH WARMING SPICES

BY STEPHANIE MARY

Moon milk is one of my favorite beverages for eliciting feelings of peacefulness and serenity. Each sip of this herb-filled heated milk fills my belly with warmth and contentment and acts as the perfect vehicle for me to work in the herbs and spices my body craves. Over the years, I’ve created many moon milk recipes, and have also found some wonderful gems from other genius content creators. One of my favorite moon milk mavens is Stephanie from MyTinyLagunaKitchen. She even has a free ebook with some of her amazing adaptogenic creations that I highly recommend!

Stephanie came to visit us and was generous enough to share one of her perfectly warm and spicey moon milk creations. This pumpkin spice version is balanced with earthy chamomile and a sprinkle of vanilla, and it is nothing short of magic in a cup.

What is moon milk?
(If you’re familiar with moon milks, skip on down to the recipe)

Moon milk stems from an Ayurvedic practice of drinking warm cow’s milk to assist in a restful night’s sleep. It was believed that drinking heated milk in small sips improves ojas, which is described as a state of balance and a harmony of body functions.

However, vegan versions of moon milk work just as well, which suggests it is the adaptogenic herbs coupled with the practice of taking time to enjoy a warm and nourishing cuppa that creates the real magic.

Mugs of hot drinks and cardamom powder spilling out of bottle.

While people traditionally drink moon milk before bed, I have found that it is an enjoyable way to take a little edge off or soothe feelings of stress anytime of the day. Remember that sip-by-sip, we are offering this gift to our hard-working bodies and minds. We must fill our own cup before we can fill that of others.

Mug of hot drink with chamomile and decorative spoon.

SOOTHING MOON MILK RECIPE WITH WARMING SPICES
BY STEPHANIE MARY
Makes about 16 ounces (2 servings).

Ingredients:
8 oz. clean, filtered water
2-3 Tbsp. organic chamomile flowers
8 oz. milk of choice
5-10 drops organic ashwagandha extract
1/4 tsp. organic vanilla bean powder
1/4 tsp. organic chamomile flower powder
1/8 tsp. organic cardamom powder
1/2 tsp. organic pumpkin pie spice
Pinch of sea salt
Organic maple syrup or sweetener of choice, to taste
Organic chamomile flowers for garnish (optional)
Hand dropping tincture into hot beverage.

Directions:
Heat water until it reaches a gentle simmer.
Add chamomile flowers and steep for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat milk of choice.
Using a strainer, pour chamomile infusion into each cup, filling halfway.
Fill remaining half of cup with warm milk.
Add ashwagandha extract, herbal powders, and sea salt.
Add optional sweeter, to taste.
Stir until incorporated.
Garnish with optional chamomile flowers.

Pro Tips:
You can add this moon milk to a blender or utilize a frother if you’d like a latte effect.
No recipe is carved in stone, so feel free to adjust ratios or flavors to suit your preferences and needs.
It’s possible that your herbal powders may sink to the bottom as you are enjoying your drink. I like to keep a spoon handy to keep that herbal goodness suspended and evenly sippable.

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Snow Ice Cream

One of the greatest treats in life is to sit by a warm fire and eat snow ice cream. All you need to remember is to brush the top layer off clean snow and dip out the clean center, never dipping the cup dep enough to pick up dirt from the ground or off old boards or buildings.

To make snow ice cream, whip 1 cup of heavy cream. Then fold in sugar and vanilla extract to taste. Take a large bowl outside and scoop up about one quart (4 cups) of perfectly clean snow. While the snow is still frozen, fold it into the cream mixture, and adjust the sugar and vanilla to taste. Eat immediately or pack the bowl in a snowbank, (well covered to protect the ice cream for wild or domesticated animals) and let it chill until the ice cream has hardened. Makes about 6 servings.

Source: “The Pioneer Lady’s Country Kitchen” by Jane Watson Hopping, Chapter January Soups, Warm Fires, Hot Chocolate, and Rest; Snow Party
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Kitty Kat Korner!
Share your love for cats!

5 Ways to Plan a Date Night With Your Cat
Beth Ann Mayer

As Valentine’s Day approaches, let’s consider re-imagining date night.

Think fast: When was the last time you enjoyed a date night? The pandemic has forced local restaurants to close or switch to takeout and us to hunker down for — checks notes — almost a year. It’s made it difficult to go anywhere, let alone indulge in a date night.

It’s also given us a new appreciation for our cats, who have, at the very least, put up with our being home all the time while also giving us someone to snuggle.

So, as Valentine’s Day approaches, let’s consider re-imagining date night.

“We can reward ourselves and our little friends who have been there for us through this whole difficult time,” says Samantha Bell, a cat expert and celebrity and entertainment relations coordinator at Best Friends Animal Society.

When we plan a date night with our significant other, we try to think of ways to surprise them and make them happy. Take the same approach with your cat. Remember, cats are wild animals in their own heads. For each activity, Samantha suggests asking yourself, “What would a wild cat living their best life want?

“Let’s give them a chance to experience what they are meant to do,” Samantha says.

You can do this by planning a day that appeals to all five of your cat’s senses. Samantha offers tips for how to take a walk on the wild side with your feline friend this Valentine’s Day.

Sight
Wild cats hunt for food and fun. They love spotting prey like fish, mice, birds and little bugs. “Obviously, we don’t want to bring these things into our homes,” Samantha says. “There are a lot of amazing things online.” She suggests Googling “videos for cats.” You’ll find hour-long videos of birds in baths and aquariums with fish that quickly dart back and forth. “Putting a video on the big screen for ambiance during dinner will make the cat happy and excited,” Samantha says. “After dinner, maybe watch an animal documentary.” Samantha’s cat loves Blue Planet.

Smell
A cat’s sense of smell is at least 14 times better than ours. “Scent is their strongest sense,” Samantha says. “When they recognize each other … or are interested in something, it’s because of scent.” Samantha believes “scent buffets” can be fun for cats. Catnip and valerian root (which is often found in cat toys and is available on Amazon) are musts, but think about introducing Kitty to something new. “Novel scents are great enrichment for cats,” Samantha says. If a friend or neighbor has a gerbil or hamster, ask for shavings from their cage.

Also, do Kitty a favor and skip the perfume you’d wear if heading out on a date with your significant other. “It gives them a headache,” Samantha says.

Taste
Treat your cat to something new. Instead of kibble or typical wet food, which is usually chicken, turkey or beef-flavored, opt for something like venison, salmon or duck. Some brands make these types of food in cans. Or, give Kitty something extra special. “You can prepare fish for yourself and leave a little bit for your cat that you do not season,” says Samantha. FYI: Garlic and onions are poisonous to cats, so you’ll want to be sure Kitty’s treat doesn’t have any of that in it.

Hearing
Create a soundtrack for your date night that’s music to Kitty’s ears. At dinner, opt for something soothing, like classical music or something made for cats. Musician David Teie has created playlists at a frequency cats enjoy. After dinner, play sounds of their prey, like birds, mice and gerbils. “When they hear those noises, they get very excited and want to play,” Samantha says.

Touch
While Kitty is excitedly listening to prey sounds, make her feel like she’s actually hunting. Try a wand toy. “Really get into it,” Samantha says. “Don’t just swing it back and forth. Put it on the ground, have it round a corner, so the cat really feels like it’s hunting it. They’ll grab it and bite it and feel proud of themselves.” And it’ll make your cat fall in love with you all over again. “It’ll really bond you with your cat when you give them the opportunity to do something they really wanted to do,” Samantha says.

Need a Date?
If you have room in your home and heart, Samantha believes cats make the perfect fur-ever dates. “The companionship of animals has been shown to reduce stress, lower blood pressure and lessen depression and anxiety, helping people to feel calmer and more secure when the news from the outside world is distressing,” she says. This adoption checklist can help you figure out whether you’re ready to take the plunge into cat parenthood.

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Georgia’s Weekly Horoscope:
Sunday, February 14, 2021

All Signs
An interesting planetary coincidence is occurring around Valentine’s Day – that special time for “l’amour!” Mercury is retrograde in the same sign as Venus, which means people are encountering ex-partners and old flames in person or on social media. Although these chance meetings might be “in person,” they can also take place in a fantasy world. Oh yes! You can be transported by passionate, sexy dreams! This is because romantic connections with anyone from your past (including your imagination) are heightened now. Fortunately, dreams are private. Only you know what you’re up to.

Aries (March 21-April 19)
In the next four weeks, you are in a window where your personal year is ending, but your new year is not yet ready to begin. This gives you the perfect window for contemplation and self-scrutiny. It’s an ideal time to think about what you want to achieve in your personal year ahead (birthday to birthday). Make a point of defining some goals for yourself for the coming year. Do yourself this favour. Goals make future decision-making easier, and they give you focus. What are your hopes for the future? How can you make these hopes your goals? Do not just react to life as it happens. Grab life! Steer your course. Meanwhile, friends and acquaintances from the past are back in your world in person, online or in your dreams.

Taurus (April 20-May 20)
Your popularity with friends and members of groups will increase in the next four weeks. You are loved! Not only will you enjoy interacting with others (in person as well as in your dreams), you will want to make goals for your future. Examine how far you have gotten in realizing the goals that you set for yourself so far. Don’t ignore these goals because if you do, in about a month, they will create challenges. The next few weeks are an excellent time to ascertain what has to be done and line your ducks up in a row. This is also a good time to integrate your energy with those of the people around you. Work with others. Do not go it alone.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)
Looking swell! In the next four weeks, the Sun will cross the top of your chart, which is the only time all year this happens. Symbolically, it means you are thrust in a flattering spotlight, which makes people admire you. They see you as competent and capable even if you don’t do anything special. (It’s smoke and mirrors.). This is why others will seek you out to ask for your advice; plus, many of you will be more involved than usual with a parent. With the Sun at the top of your chart, now is the time to examine your life as a whole and see if you’re going in the direction you want. Friends from afar or from other cultures will enter your world again. Feelings and dreams of escapism will be strong. “I need a change of scenery!”

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
For the next four weeks, life will hum along nicely. Your energy will be strong. That’s why this is a good time to do something to broaden your horizons — perhaps study or explore new experiences. Naturally, you will want to travel; however, most cannot do this. Nevertheless, you can learn from people from other cultures. Meanwhile, your physical passions will be aroused, especially because you might encounter sexual partners from your past. These encounters might be in person, online or in your dreams. However, it happens, these “encounters” will be stimulating and memorable! Financial negotiations will favour you in the next four weeks, especially wrapping up old business and discussions about inheritances and shared property. Ka-ching!

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)
Because Mercury retrograde and Venus are both opposite your sign, many of you are hearing from ex-partners, or thinking about them, or dreaming about them. In other words, they are back in your world! Actually, this is an intense, passionate time for you. You will have passionate feelings about every aspect of your life in the next several weeks. With Mars at the top of your chart, your ambition is aroused so you will also work hard to achieve your goals. The combination of all these different planetary aspects is creating a powerful time for you to achieve something important. Just do it. “Use the Force, Luke.”

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
In the next four weeks, you feel pulled in various directions; but one thing is certain: you will need more sleep. You will give more thought to your closest friendships and partnerships – perhaps, wondering about whether a particular relationship is more trouble than its worth? No partnership is perfect; but if a partnership benefits you more than not – it’s probably worth keeping. Always remember that your friends influence your future because they influence your mind and your mind makes your decisions. This is an excellent month to finish up old business at work or anything related to your health. You might even wrap up old business related to a pet? You’ll be productive.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
In the next four weeks, you want to turn over a new leaf. You want to pull your act together so you can take it on the road. This is why you will work hard and try to be as efficient and effective as possible. You will carry this high bar into your personal world in terms of health and everything you do – including dealing with pets. You want to make improvements in your world! Likewise, your romantic world will get a lovely lift, perhaps because old flames are back in your world – or in your dreams. (Anything can happen because your sex drive is aroused.) Meanwhile socializing with others via Zoom plus fun activities with kids will be a source of joy.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
Lucky you! The next four weeks will offer you one of the most fun-filled months of the year! Not only will you enjoy fun times with children and romantic flirtations with others, you will also be more in touch with your muse and will enjoy any chance to express your creative talents. Traditionally this window of time is the perfect time to take a vacation. However, you can be creative and figure out how to take your own “vacation” at home or in a safe way. Family relations are warm. Relatives you have not been in contact with are back in your world again. Be patient with partners and close friends because fiery Mars is opposite your sign. (Patience is the antidote to anger.)

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
A lovely display of planetary energy is affecting you now. It draws your focus to home, family and your private life, especially dealing with a parent. Meanwhile, Mercury retrograde, lined up with Jupiter and Venus will promote warm communications and fun conversations with siblings, relatives, neighbours and people from your past. This will encourage learning, studying and writing, especially making money through your words. (We like!) Meanwhile, fiery Mars is in a part of your chart that makes you want to work hard. You want to accomplish a lot. In fact, you are so ambitious to be productive, you might be a bit bossy delegating to others.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
The pace of your days is accelerating in the next four weeks! Your mind will be busy and you’ll be eager to talk to others, plus you will read, write and study more than usual. Some will be forced to take short trips. This increased busyness could be related to sports or something to do with children or the arts, or possibly the hospitality industry or the entertainment world. Meanwhile, cheques in the mail will be late. (Grrr.) However, take heart! You might resurrect old ideas to earn money – ideas that failed before but might be worth reconsideration. “Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more!”

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
For the next four weeks, you will be more focused on money, earnings and cash flow. Likewise, some of you might shop or spend money more than usual. But at a deeper level, this focus on finances will also manifest as a profound exploration on your part, into your values. In other words, what really matters in life? If you don’t know what really matters, how will you know how to make wise decisions? Aye, there’s the rub. Fortunately, with four planets in your sign right now, including Mercury retrograde, you will have the means and motivation to do this soul-searching. This journey might be provoked because old friends and ex-partners from your past trigger epiphanies and memories. “Rosebud!”

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
Once a year, the Sun travels through your sign for four weeks. This week this special journey begins for Pisces. Essentially, this is your chance to recharge your batteries for the rest of year. Furthermore, with the Sun in your sign, you will attract others to you, as well as favourable circumstances. It’s a good thing! Meanwhile, secret love affairs and secrets of any kind might come out now. They might be revealed or they might be more prominent in your mind and your awareness. Certainly, your ability to research and look for solutions to old problems and answers to old questions is sharpened, which is why you will get results for your quest for truth.

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Weekly Horoscopes Beginning Sunday, 14 February 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 on 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:

For ages youve been aware a range of practical or financial issues would need attention, so its no surprise when some require fast action. That will do the trick now, but certain of these will require more detailed effort on your part. The irony is, once youre involved, youll recall just how fascinating the matters in question and the people involved can be.

You wish someone would explain to you what is going on. Everything is up in the air and there seems to be no sense of organisation around you. Your apprehension will vanish once things get moving and you realise that there have been measures put in place to bring things together in a more focused way. A close relationship is changing. You sense where this is leading. It would be better to accept it rather than try to fight the inevitable.

It should now be obvious that the wheels of change are turning – and at speed. Ideas could be thrown this way and that and yes, this should be exhilarating; and yet: midweek Saturn and Uranus arrive at their Last Quarter square. Where Saturn represents restriction, Uranus represents breakthrough. The past and the future collide; and yes, you could find yourself in the midst of arguments that seem never ending. Polarisation is probable. The fact that at least one person is so determined not to shift their view will make for very real difficulties. However, Mercury stations direct next weekend and it may be that they simply need a few days to process and to accept that there is now no going back. Over Thursday and Friday, you could stand back and let someone come to a conclusion themselves. View this as an Aries cosmic test in patience.

Taurus
Personal theme: I have!!

Earth & fixed sign: April 20 — May 20

Your horoscope for this week:

True, the decisions youre making and issues involving others youre facing are complicated and, on occasion, worrying. Still, once you understand each step is adding to your perspective, you`ll realise how worthwhile the efforts and, often, patience required will be. For this reason, invest time in getting all the facts and, where necessary, discussing matters with others. This will pay off big time, and swiftly.

You can`t get over a recent disappointment. A relationship did not turn out as you had been expecting and you feel angry with yourself for allowing yourself to have been used. It might seem impossible to find the energy or enthusiasm for a job you are working on. Your boss or a senior colleague expects you to roll up your sleeves and get on with the work while you think you deserve a break.

Both Mars and Uranus are travelling through Taurus and midweek, Saturn will be at exact right angle to Uranus. This could bring on a bull in a china shop moment. With the Moon also moving through your sign, you could allow yourself to get so incensed that you charge ahead with no thought to the chaos and destruction you might leave behind. The fact that your ruling planet, Venus, is at right angles to Mars, accentuates this possibility. Restraint would be advisable though yes; it would be wholly understandable if you were maddened by the attitude and behaviour of others. You could though, view all this planetary energy as productive. It would work really well if you needed to move large pieces of furniture! Or even a mental block. Note that Mercury changes direction next weekend, and that what seems to be a cul-de-sac now, could yet open to a brighter future.

Gemini
Personal theme: I think!!

Air sign: May 21 — June 20

Your horoscope for this week:

Your ruler Mercury may be retrograde and stirring up confusion. However, what you learn in the process of getting to the facts wont just be informative, the resulting insights are likely to answer a range of questions, some unresolved for so long you thought youd simply have to live with the resulting mystery. Ironically, what you learn will kick-start a valuable cycle of exploration and discovery.

Your heart is not in a community or social event almost everyone seems to have been looking forward to. New regulations make for a slight dulling of the pleasure you could be getting out of this. Any routine jobs associated with your work will be done automatically while your thoughts wander elsewhere. Data or information received will suggest that recent changes in the workplace are making a difference. People will praise you for your contribution.

Before the Moon arrives in your sign on Saturday, neatly coinciding with Mercury, your ruling planet, arriving at its direct station, there are very definite obstacles to be overcome. True, excellent aspects in the first half of the week should benefit friendships and partnerships of all kinds. Yet you could hit major difficulties midweek as Saturn, travelling through another of the Air signs, arrives at its right angle to Uranus. It may be that your competence and expertise is questioned. You might also be asked to take sides. It might help to remember that others need more time than you usually do to process new ideas and ways of thinking, and that they could yet accept your proposals. In the meantime, whilst giving them space to do just that, you could underpin your expertise with research.

Cancer
Personal theme: I feel!!

Water & cardinal sign: June 21 — July 22

Your horoscope for this week:

The trick to dealing with the unsettling situations and othersresulting ups and downs is to back off, and adopt an analytical approach. That may seem uncaring; but this shifts your perspective and, as a result, your mood will improve, probably more than you imagined possible. This, in turn, will enable you to boost others spirits. After that, together you`ll tackle obstacles that, recently, seemed insurmountable.

Before taking on a challenge, think about what it may entail. You may not be certain you have the skills or experience to carry out this task. Since you won`t want any later regrets, a little more research will give you the confidence you currently lack. Someone close will let you in on a secret that will in some way prove useful for you within the next ten to fifteen days. A scrupulous approach to health and work matters will pay off.

Though normally cautious, it perhaps wont take much for you to be excited about a plan presented in the first half of the week. You could be carried away on a tide of idealism (that could also affect your romantic life). By Wednesday however, and coinciding with the right angle between Saturn and Uranus, reality could hit - and hard. It might then be apparent that neither financial capital or the physical and mental energy will be available. Convincing others that they need to take an altered approach will surely be challenging. Yet recall that Mercury is retrograde. It is just possible that you dont yet have all the facts and figures. Equally, it may be that others just need longer to consider options before they come up with a strategy. All is not yet lost. In the meantime, your priority should be to ensure that colleagues, overwhelmed by possibilities, don`t collapse under the strain and to focus on their health and well-being.

Leo
Personal theme: I will!!

Fire & fixed sign: July 23 — August 22

Your horoscope for this week:

The key to dealing with this confusing periods twists and turns is to resist battling your own dilemmas and, equally, do the minimum to support others. The reason is simple. Urgent as situations seem, youre short of facts. Once you begin asking questions and, in some cases, get those whore facing similar matters to join in, youll learn more and act together, and swiftly.

Keep any good ideas you have to yourself. If youre developing a business proposal add a password to your documents. Keep your plans under wraps. A workmate who isnt as creative will be keen to hear your thoughts and will be equally as keen to steal the credit which should be yours. A job you agreed to take on will feel like you are running a gruelling marathon. The challenge goes on and on and you can`t wait to have this over.

By next weekend Mercury, in your opposite sign, will appear at a standstill. Over the next few days its movements are barely perceptible. Mercury is the planet associated with the brain and the opposite sign implies others. So, it could be not that others are slowing down in their thinking, but there in a period of reflection. It is possibly not the case that they`re getting ready to change their mind, that they are thinking deeply about the consequences of the steps there are about to take. This might as easily be true of you. By the end of this week Venus and Mars will be at right angle with the latter at the apex of your solar chart. Whilst every day could be described as a turning point, this could be a more memorable one when you finally decide who it is that you can work with. Career wise this could bring you into contact with craftspeople and those who want to revive an old art and perhaps need your enthusiasm but yes, also your investment.

Virgo
Personal theme: I analyse!!

Earth sign: August 23 — September 22

Your horoscope for this week:

Being a quick thinking and practical earth sign, youre usually the first to spot the source of problems and, therefore, their solution. However, with your ruler Mercury retrograde, youre either lacking reliable information or distrust what you`re being told. Still, in some cases, you must take action. Do so, but not alone. Get others involved and, with every step you take, double check your facts.

A work assignment isnt making any progress and thats because people arent talking. Take this chance to encourage everyone to meet and discuss possible solutions. Be sure to put your own ideas forward. You could be amazed how willing your colleagues are to fall in with your suggestions. New doors are opening up for you. Pause for a while to think about what youre letting yourself in for. Don`t jump too quickly over the threshold

As we know, yours is a sign known to worry. Its important to you to think things through from every possible perspective. The problem with that is that you will inevitably, find flaws. The art is always to find the flaws you can live with and do something about the ones that you cant. As for many people you could be carried away on a tide of enthusiasm of the start of the week but hit almost little obstacles midweek. These may be driven by health matters or even something as basic as cleanliness and routine efficiency. This though is an area in which you excel. Recall that your ruling planet Mercury will be moving almost imperceptibly this week as it moves towards its direct station next weekend. This is when you could uncover items that have been hidden or ignored. Those items include ways of thinking and experience. A strong possibility is that your expertise will be acknowledged by someone who to date has appeared to ignore your opinion. It may be now that they realise, youd be an asset on their team. The big question for you by the weekend, is whether or not thats a position you want to accept.

Libra
Personal theme: I balance!!

Air & cardinal sign: September 23 — October 22

Your horoscope for this week:

Hopefully during Februarys unruly first half, you realised that everybody is facing unsettling events. While some will, clearly, lead to worthwhile changes, a few are worrying. As a Libra, youre trying to deal with your own concerns yet support those around you. The solution? Encourage others to deal with tasks then, together, take a break. Focus on everything wonderful in your lives, and celebrate it.

An argument in the home will cause strain between you and a loved one. Someones reaction seems exaggerated and the tension between you will make you uncomfortable. You will hardly be able to remember what started all the trouble and you are really working hard to clear the air. An unexpected bonus or financial gift may make you a little careless about spending on everyday items. This isnt a good time for speculation or taking any chances where money is concerned.

Your sign has justified reputation for taking so, so long to make your mind up about things. Its interesting really that if something is not too important, then you can make your mind up instantly. Its the big things that you want to chew over and over until you feel youve arrived at the right conclusion. As Mercury comes to its direct station next weekend, it really would be advisable to go slowly and not to allow yourself to be pushed into making an early decision. True, with several planetary alignments coming to their next phase is likely that others will push you for answers and yes, there is the danger of this leading to a breakdown in a relationship. Sensitivity will be needed to avoid that. On the very considerable upside however, you and a colleague potential business partner could do some amazing brainstorming and problem solving and yes, an idea thats been incubating in your research and development department the best part of a year could now move to launch stage.

Scorpio & Ophiuchus
Personal theme: I desire!!

Water & fixed signs: October 23 — November 21

Your horoscope for this week:

Recently, youve been observing others a lot. Youve noticed that while youll think things through in detail before doing a thing, theyll have only a vague idea of their objectives, but plunge in; and now, youre encouraged to be just as easy-going. Unwise as that seems, youll soon realise youre struggling less with unsettling twists and turns. In fact, youll turn some into unexpected opportunities.

A housemate wants to take the lead. This isnt a regular occurrence and you will be quite interested to see how they approach some aspects of your world differently when they are in control. It could be surprising how inventive some people can be and you might learn something new from watching how others approach routine tasks. A money matter needs more careful thought. You do not want to commit to a long-term expense if you feel you cant afford it.

It might help to imagine yourself as a company doctor. By next weekend Mercury will breached its direct station. Its movements this week a barely perceptible and near ideal conditions reassessing values. This is a good time for any kind of risk management. Yes, it is possible that certain colleagues and business partners will be thinking now of moving on and yes, that could be deeply unsettling. Winds of change could blow Fick and fast and affect you deeply. They also promise exciting developments in and although there are likely to alter your career course, could lead you to a path that makes better use of your considerable talents. Dont underestimate your people skills or your ability to focus. In this respect, and wearing your whitecoat, you could analyse and give healthy opinion as to how a problem could yet be solved. In the process, youll surely secure your place.

Sagittarius
Personal theme: I see!!

Fire sign: November 22 — December 21

Your horoscope for this week:

While your independent streak is an asset, at the moment it could complicate matters. Thats because a range of both the changes youre making and, equally, certain tricky dilemmas require teamwork. The problem but, also, the virtue is that others are more painstaking about details than you are, so slower. This once, be patient. Those minor but essential facts will soon prove to be crucial.

It won`t do you any harm to let a friend persuade you into joining them in a little trip out somewhere. You may have had other plans but give such a suggestion a try and you could discover a whole new area of enjoyment for the future. Your upbeat attitude will rub off on those around you both at work and at home. Whatever your aims and intentions, you will receive the support you need whenever you need it.

Expect to have to do much listening; and those closest to you – relatives and colleagues are likely considering major moves that would impact on you. It would be wise not to give opinion too early. Tempting as that might be especially around the first quarter moon on Friday, its probable that not everything has yet been thought through. Mercury is still retrograde. That doesnt mean that decisions will be overturned but that many ideas are still in a melting pot and not yet fully formed. It would be wise to keep council until early next week if you can. That said, it does seem likely that you will be asked to arbitrate between the past and the future; i.e., though it should be clear that the time is right for someone to move on to pastures new, there will likely be concerned as to how archives can be preserved. This though, is where you could excel.

Capricorn
Personal theme: I use!!

Earth & cardinal sign: December 22 — January 19

Your horoscope for this week:

Since mid-December, when both your ruler Saturn and the expansive Jupiter moved into the sign of innovation and breakthroughs, Aquarius, your life, and world, have changed. This, in turn, led to a shift in your perspective, about here and now goals and the future; and those changes continue. Tempting as it is to make plans, for now, continue broadening your horizons. The more you learn, the better.

Youre overly sensitive and emotionally brittle. You have a sinking feeling something is going to go wrong but you could be wrong. Often when you are feeling low everything seems worse than what it is. If you need help, ask for it. Your family and friends will feel good that they are able to do something for you that you will find useful. Youve done a lot for them recently and this is their way to repay you. Uplifting news received on Thursday will release some of your tension.

Work is hard. Youve always known that. Indeed, it may be that Capricorn is a born thinking that way. Finding pleasure in what you do may be one of lifes quests. Is perhaps as well that you do enjoy negotiating obstacles as a fair few could present midweek. The problem is really that others have grand ideas and proposals and yes, that many of these are super exciting, but the you know as well as them really, that they dont have the practical skills, or the capital or indeed the energy to see them through. Rather than abandoning the project though it may be that what is needed is to build a task force to complete one stage before the full moon at the end of April. In time limiting this and in preparing a schedule not only could you end the week feeling that youve made a useful contribution, you might also put in the essential staging posts to success.

Aquarius
Personal theme: I know!!

Air & fixed sign: January 20 — February 18

Your horoscope for this week:

Planning ahead may be a virtue; but between the insights triggered by the Aquarius New Moon, on Thursday the 11th and the coming weeks unexpected events, the more flexible arrangements and your thinking are, the better. Some changes will have been on your mind, but surprise developments will corner you into making others. Explore everything. That way, youll learn from every twist and turn.

Before making a start on a new project, there are things you need to sort out with a friend or someone who is close to you. Either they will volunteer to complete a job you had begun together or they will expect you to get on with it and get it over with. A strange situation you encounter on Friday will make you pause and wonder whether you should get involved. Whatever occurs, trust your intuition.

Perhaps more than any other sign, every seven years Aquarius seems to change direction. 2021 is likely to be one of those years. Decisions made this week could prove critical. Take your time. Recall that Mercury is retrograde in your sign. There is no need to rush. Tempting as it might be to stand your ground be firm, and show complete determination and focus. It might be as well to building a little flexibility especially where either property or career matters are concerned. You may not yet have all the facts. It`s probable to that someone close relative or colleague is arriving at similar conclusion. A clash of dreams is possible. This is where you need to employ good listening skills. Take note of body language. It is entirely possible that someone is avoiding telling you something they think you will be afraid to hear. All will surely be different early next week after Mercury turns direct. At that point, you may be more comfortable to declare your plans too.

Pisces
Personal theme: I believe!!

Water sign: February 19 — March 20

Your horoscope for this week:

Tempting as it is to side-line certain of your plans or projects to give those whore struggling a hand, youd soon regret it. Deep down, youre longing for a distraction from difficulties as complex as they are tedious. The irony is, once youre involved with these, youll realise how much youre leaning from them and, better yet, how worthwhile they`ll be in the long run.

A community effort has plenty of support but no real sense of direction. It might be time to suggest people get together to decide on a way forward. Dont be surprised if you are asked to take on a leading role. Everyone has been waiting for this chance to get organised and theyll be grateful for your efforts to bring them together to make for an effective team. If suddenly towards the end of the week you seem to have no energy, cancel plans and make some time for relaxation.

Instinctively you know how dreams are important and that they can become reality. You understand magic. So, its likely important to you to listen carefully to what others have to offer at the start of the week. This is your way of honouring them. That said, by mid-week obstacles will need to be faced if their visions are to be realised. Practicalities cannot be ignored. Whilst your window on the world might be literal!) and the opportunities others suggest maybe exciting on Monday, by Wednesday it should be apparent that all will not run smoothly. This could put you on collision course - especially with those born under the Fixed signs of Taurus, Leo, Scorpio or Aquarius. They may think youre being too fussy or even too idealistic. Expect to be challenged. Anticipate too, that if you can find compromise, then you could present a united force early next week after Mercury turns direct.

~arif~

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By GrannyMoon Posted in Pagan

3 comments on “GrannyMoon’s Weekly Feast 14-21 Feb 2021 ~ Thanks for reading my blog!

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