GrannyMoon’s Weekly Feast: 15 August 2021

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

Today’s Affirmation

Even when I am afraid or unsure,

I choose to move in the direction of my goal.

Whenever I fall, I stand up,

brush myself off, and keep moving.

– Jonathan Lockwood Huie

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Dark Moon – Time to Rest

New Moon – Time to Begin New Projects; Birth; Attraction

Waxing Moon – Time to Grow; Increase

Full Moon – Time to be Fulfilled; Abundance

Waning Moon – Time to Banish; Decrease

Last Sliver of Moon – Time to Die; Letting Go

Dark Moon – Time to Rest Again

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Light A Candle Today!

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

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

Flower of the Month for August: Gladiolus

August is National Watermelon Month

August’s Feature: Your Herbal Harvest

Goddess Month of Hesperus runs from 8/9 – 9/5

Celtic Tree Calendar: Hazel Moon: August 5 – September 1

Week 3. Friendship Week (Rosemary is the friendship herb).

August  15 – Festivals of Mary .In middle Ages, Aug 15 to Sept 15 were called “Our Lady’s 30 Days.

August 17 – Black Cat Appreciation Day

August 22 – Blue Moon

Week 4. Be Kind to Humankind Week.

August 29. Just what we need! National More Herbs Less Salt Day.

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THE CURRENT MOON PHASE: Waxing

Keywords for the First Quarter phase are: action, expression, growth, breaking away. It is the time in a cycle to take the initial action necessary to achieve your goal by expressing your needs and desires. 

Feel & Move. Make phone calls. Write letters. Dance. Act now. 

Waxing Moon: Time: From New Moon To Full (Approx. 14 Days Symbolic of growth, manifestation, attainment, gravidity (heavy with child – both philosophical and literal). 

Goddess Aspect: Maiden

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

Magickal Attributes: Invoking Beginnings, New Projects, Ideas, Inspiration, Energy, Vitality, Freedom. 

Workings Are For “Constructive” Magick (Love, Wealth, Success, Courage, Friendship, Luck Or Health.) Symbolic of growth, manifestation, attainment, gravidity (heavy with child – both philosophical and literal).    

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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 members complete each level.

Level I – Initiate of the Sisters of the Burning Branch – White cord

Level II – Adept of 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 May Also Be Interested In:

http://goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/index.html

http://www.goddessschool.com/courses/natural/naturalwitch.html

http://goddessschool.com/Paganstudies/healingarts.html

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Learn About Herbs with GrannyMoon!

There 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.

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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Sea Magic: Part 1

Saturday, August 28, 2021

4:00 PM to 6:00 PM EDT

Sticks and Stones ~ Westfair Center

11037 Lee Highway Fairfax, VA 22030 (703)352-2343 Westfair Center · Fairfax, VA

Are you fascinated by the ocean?

Do you feel drawn to the sea?

Join Ember Moon in a two-hour course that explores your individual connection to the Ocean! After connecting to the sea through Ocean breathes and a short guided meditation, collaborate and learn alongside others as we create our own Ninefold Sea Blessing and enchant our own sea charms.

Materials provided:

interactive notebook, seawater, beach sand, all items needed to create your own enchanted charm bag.

Please bring:

an open heart, open mind, and willingness to share and collaborate.

Cost: $30

Instructor: Ember Moon

Ember Moon is a Sea Witch and Priestess. Her interests and studies center around folk magic with a focus on Norse practices. Ember is a Reiki Master, crystal healer, and vibrational sound healer. She is a teacher in both the mundane and magical and is passionate about facilitating collaborative learning and self-discovery.

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CoventryCreations.com

August 16, 2021 – August 22, 2021

The third week of August is the busiest week of the month with two sign changes, a Full Moon, four planetary aspects, and Uranus stationing in Taurus.

The week begins with Venus moving into her own sign of Libra, and after the onslaught of planets through the fixed signs in June, July, and the beginning of August, this is a welcome relief. While Venus is in Libra relationships will feel more centered and balanced and it will be much easier to communicate your needs. If you went through a relationship rough patch in  June and July, this would be a great time to work on the issues and move the relationships into a more harmonious space.

Towards the middle of the week, Mercury conjoins Mars and if you need that extra boost to get things accomplished, this duo will deliver. Just keep a watch on your tongue, because you may say something you will later regret.

This weekend, besides the Full Moon in Aquarius (see Lunar Magic) and the Sun moving into practical Virgo, Mars trines Uranus in Taurus. It’s a great weekend to break your normal habits and rituals and do something different. Let go of your inhibitions and take a risk.

Recommended: Full Moon (Astro Magic), Love’s Enchantment (Blessed Herbal), Shut Your  Mouth (Dorothy Morrison’s Wicked Witch Mojo), Black Cat (Motor City Hoodoo

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

New Moon in Leo on August 8, 2021

Leo brings in the deep desire to be uniquely ourselves. This is another invitation to throw off the masks and personalities we’ve taken in life and try again to be fully self-actualized. For some, it will be a welcome breath of fresh air because being anyone but ourselves is oppressive.

Create a New Pathways Beyond Your Personal Challenges

August Astro Magic 2021

I have to admit that I may be a little biased this month being a Leo, but I hope my exuberance over the sign can be a catalyst for inner change, transformation, and some good ole’ magic.

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The Divine Practice of Angel Numbers

BY LEEZA ROBERTSON

Realize Your Divine Self with Angel Ascension Energy

With special numbers like 000, 555, 1010, and 1111, the angels are trying to help you move into a state of awakening and love. For each number, The Divine Practice of Angel Numbers shares a short affirmation-style message from the angel, a deeper message, a description of the angel, visualization or meditation, an angel connection prayer, and an exercise for putting the number’s energy into a crystal. This book also explores thirteen archangels, such as Metatron and Uriel, and their unique ascension lessons for increasing your joy, health, and well-being. Author Leeza Robertson makes it easy to start receiving blessings and support from the angels for specific purposes like letting go, making deeper soul connections, and transcending negative energy each and every day.

A new energy that the angels call ascension energy is sweeping the planet. This book shows how angels use special numbers to connect with you and teach specific ascension energy lessons. You will discover hands-on tips and support for prayer, healing, altar work, automatic writing, rituals, working with chakras, and more. The ascension lessons in this book will support you as you learn to gently open the door and start receiving guidance and love from the angels.

Includes a color insert for crystal identification.

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Tips for De-Stressing on National Relaxation Day

On August 15, celebrate a day dedicated to chilling out. With these relaxation tips, you might be surprised how much you benefit from some me-time.

By James Quigley

Reviewed by Mary Garcia

National Relaxation Day was created in 1985 by a 9-year-old Michigan boy who believed people “think too much about working” and that “people don’t think enough about relaxing.” For the past 35 years, August 15 has marked this celebration of leisure. For the upcoming 36th anniversary of the holiday, let’s take a closer look at why relaxation is not just fun, but fundamental to your overall wellbeing. Then, you can turn this once-a-year event into a daily routine.

Mental and physical health benefits of relaxation  

Taking a step away from the rigors and demands of your everyday life can have a profoundly positive effect on your mood, energy, and stability. In fact, Mayo Clinic suggests regularly engaging in a relaxing activity as one of their six top strategies for avoiding job burnout, one of the most common and most difficult mental health struggles that working people face. 

Limiting your stress through practicing intentional relaxation can also help you:

Manage your blood pressure

Fall asleep more easily

Avoid stress-related afflictions like ulcers

Have a decreased likelihood of smoking or obesity

Improve your immune system

Three tips to help you actively de-stress   

So you’ve decided to incorporate a little more relaxation into your life. Okay, what next? 

Getting to a relaxed state of mind isn’t something that just happens to you. Paradoxically, learning to appreciate relaxation can actually take a little bit of work. These three tips will make that effort easier and help you incorporate de-stressing techniques into your daily routine. 

1. Remember that relaxation is me-time

Me-time doesn’t actually have to do with being alone versus in a group of people; you can definitely relax with partners, friends, and families! Instead, me-time is an important descriptor that helps you identify why you’re doing something, not just who you’re doing it with.

However you choose to relax, make sure you’re pursuing that activity purely for your own enjoyment. Something that seems relaxing on the outside can still be stress-inducing if you have ulterior motives to worry about. For example, writing music won’t be relaxing if you’re doing it on a tight deadline as part of your job. Me-time activities shouldn’t be strongly linked to your career goals or daily responsibilities. 

2. Go in with a plan 

Do you know what definitely won’t help you de-stress? Frantically trying to figure out how you should relax during your lunch hour, after work, or on the weekend. Thinking forward to your free time, consider some methods for relaxing that you might enjoy. This will help you take full advantage of the moment when it arrives.

There are an infinite number of ways to relax because everyone has different interests and skills. Here just a few that you might enjoy:

Meditation – Whether it’s a guided group class or a solo session out in nature, meditation can help you achieve a relaxing reset. 

Yoga – Establish a strong mind-body connection by combining inner focus with physical stamina. 

Cooking – Explore your tastes and share your own culinary creations with family and friends. Don’t be discouraged if you’re a beginner. Join a helpful group like Denver Cooking, Baking & Decorating Workshops and Meetups.

Gardening – Whether you have a full yard or just a spare windowsill, you can grow your planting passion and reap the benefits of being a greenthumb. 

Exercise – Getting active will help you feel happier, more energetic, and less stressed. It’s a fun way to challenge yourself and build discipline. 

Reading – A great story can transport you from your current reality and let you explore someone else’s for a while. You might even learn something incredibly valuable along the way. Plus, it’s always fun to read books that are being adapted into film this summer. 

3. Join a community that will help you relax year-round

Who you choose to relax with is just as important as the activity you pursue. Often, friendships and relaxation go hand-in-hand. Finding groups to share your hobbies and socialize with will help you achieve a relaxed state of mind more frequently. Carrying those good feelings into your daily life makes it much less difficult to handle your job and other responsibilities.

If you don’t find a group near you engaging in your particular interests, you can easily create your own Meetup group and invite others to actively de-stress together.

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Nothing is Insurmountable

There is nothing in your life that cannot be overcome; whatever the situation or problem, there is always a solution.

When our next best course of action seems unclear, any dilemmas we face can appear insurmountable. Yet there is nothing we cannot overcome with time, persistence, focused thought, help, and faith. Whatever the situation or problem, there is always a solution. And if you remember to look within, even as you search around you for the “right” course of action, you will be able to center yourself, clear your mind, and see that nothing has to be impossible.

The first step in overcoming any obstacle is to believe that it can be overcome. Doing so will give you the strength and courage to move through any crisis. The second step is to make a resolution that you can prevail over any chaos. Enlist your support network of family and friends if necessary. The more minds there are to consider a problem, the more solutions can be found. Don’t discount ideas just because they seem impractical or “unrealistic,” and don’t keep searching for the “best” alternative. Often there is no “best” choice, there is only a choice to make so we can begin moving beyond whatever is obstructing our path. At the very least, making a choice, even if isn’t the ideal one, can give you a sense of peace before you have to figure out what your next course of action will be.

If you feel overwhelmed by the scope of your troubles, you may want to think of other people who have turned adversity into triumph. We often gain a fresh perspective when we remember others who have overcome larger obstacles. It can be inspiring to hear of their victories, helping us remember that there is always light at the end of every tunnel. It is during our darkest hours that we sometimes need to remind ourselves that we don’t have to feel helpless. You have within and around you the resources to find a solution to any problem. And remember that if a solution or choice you make doesn’t work, you are always free to try another. Believe that you can get through anything, and you will always prevail. 

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Wealth Is Neutral

As a form of potential energy that empowers us to generate change, money is neither good nor bad.

At its most basic, money is a tool that enables us to meet our individual needs. As a form of potential energy that empowers us to generate change, it is neither good nor bad. Yet many people react emotionally to issues concerning finances, unconsciously condemning currency itself, the manner in which money is spent, and people who live lives of financial abundance. Individuals who are rich in gifts such as high intelligence are acknowledged for their positive traits while those who have acquired material riches or aspire to become wealthy are frequently judged harshly. However, wealth is not a trait upon which judgment can be legitimately passed. It tells us nothing about how a person lives, what they believe in, whom they care for, or the scope of their values. Like any blessing, wealth is merely an instrument of purpose that can be used both constructively and destructively.

From an early age, people learn to court wealth while simultaneously associating money with greed, selfishness, and unethical behavior. Consequently, this idea becomes entrenched in their hearts as envy. To attain a balanced and rational comprehension of money, as well as a fairer perspective of wealth, we need to recognize that outward manifestations of wealth tell us little about the individuals enjoying those blessings. When we feel the finger of jealousy prompting us to draw unflattering conclusions about people whose lives seem more financially secure than our own, we should remind ourselves that there are many elements of their circumstances we cannot see. Their wealth may be the result of long hours of taxing labor, they may donate a large percentage of their resources to charitable causes, or their bounty may be an incidental aspect of a life spent doing what they love. Ultimately, we can heal our hurtful associations with money by turning a blind eye toward both wealth and poverty when interacting with others and instead focusing on the individual before us.

If you take a moment to consider your own feelings regarding money and wealth, you may discover that you equate financial prosperity with happiness, power, security, independence, or self-indulgence. Money itself, however, is none of these things. You can begin developing a healthier view of wealth by simply accepting that while some possess great wealth and others do not, we all have the potential to create lives of beauty, substance, and wisdom using the resources we have been granted.

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Heartwings Love Notes 995 Cooking from Scratch

Heartwings says, “You can put more love into the food with scratch cooking.”

My mother didn’t cook from mixes, and the only canned food we ate was what she put up in mason jars, herself. There were few if any mixes of any kind on the market. Jell-O, of course was available, and commercially canned vegetables were common, however they didn’t taste as good as fresh and while frozen foods came into the markets in the early forties, we mostly ate with the seasons.

She never wanted anything to go to waste. Green beans inevitably appear all at once, and much of her crop went into jars to be sealed with rubber rings and bathed in boiling water. I can still see my mother standing by the stove with the large canning pot steaming away. In the middle of winter, we always had vegetables to eat, carefully preserved on the shelves in the cellar closet. Peaches, too lined those shelves; they brought summer to a bleak winter day.

We never had TV dinners. They were first produced only in 1953, the year I graduated from high school. However, we did have some frozen foods. They were first available commercially in 1939, in Springfield, MA. They were more expensive, and my mother didn’t like to spend extra money. Winter time meant we ate a lot of carrots and winter squash, available fresh. Today’s families have a very different experience at the table. What a luxury of choices and eating experiences they enjoy.

This simple Vinegar Cake has been around for generations. Suitable for vegans it has no eggs or butter. Preheat oven to 350, grease an 8X8 square baking pan.

Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour,1 cup sugar, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt, 4 Tbs cocoa powder plus more for dusting top, 1 Tbs vinegar, 1 Tbs Vanilla Extract, 1 cup warm water, 6 Tbs Vegetable oil.

Mix dry ingredients in a medium bowl, mingle wet ingredients. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add all of liquid ingredients. Mix well. For best results, use a hand mixer, or if not, a sieve and stir the ingredients through it. If batter isn’t relatively liquid, add water a tablespoon at a time until you get a thin batter. This cake is very moist. Bake in greased 8X8 pan in 350 preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick in the center comes out clean and edges have pulled away slightly from the pan–this could take up to 35 minutes. Or bake in cupcake cups, a little less. Sieve cocoa powder over baked cake or frost. Serves 16 or however you cut it, or makes 12 cupcakes.

May your recipes nourish you and yours.

Blessings and best regards, Tasha Halpert

Got any easy recipes to share? Food stories to tell? I so appreciate yourcomments and thoughts. Please write to me at tashahal@aol.com, and for more love notes, check out www.heartwingsandfriends.com. Thanks

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Three Principles for an Ethical Foraging

by Dana – The Druid’s  Garden

Foraging for wild foods, mushrooms, and wild medicines is something that is growing as a pastime for many people. The joy of foraging from the land connects us to our ancient and primal roots and allows us a chance to build a more direct connection with nature. But with any practice rooted in nature comes the need for balance and responsibility. Thus, the following principles can help wild food foragers and wild food instructors harvest ethically, sustainably, and in a way that builds wild food populations rather than reduces them.  I share both the principles in text below as well as graphics.  The graphics are (full size and web-sharable versions, see links) and they are licensed under a Creative Commons license.  Anyone who teaches plant walks or wants to use them in foraging, wild foods, and herbalism practice is free to download them, print them, and share them! The two graphics are of the same content, rendered differently. For full size printable versions click the following links: The Foraging Flower (8 1/2 x 11″ JPG); Foraging Ethics Tree (8 1/2 x 11″ JPG)

Harvest Mindfully: Mindfully and ethically harvesting from the land to ensure sustainable harvesting, ensuring the long-term survival of wild food and medicines for the benefit of all life and future generations.

Take only what you need. Harvest only what you need and resist the urge to harvest everything. Find ways of preserving foods and wild medicine so that nothing goes to waste.

Harvest in a way that sustains long-term populations. Be careful about how much you harvest, where you harvest, and when you harvest to ensure that you are not damaging plant populations or harming individual plants. If you need to take a root harvest, it should only be done sustainably and when plants are in abundance. If you are taking a mushroom harvest, remember that mushrooms are the reproductive system; if you harvest them all, the mushroom can’t reproduce. At the same time, recognize that some plants should be harvested as much as possible–those who are spreading and harming native plant populations.

Harvest with gratitude and respect. recognize the gift that nature is offering you, and harvest respectfully and with gratitude. Be thankful for the plant and the opportunity to harvest.

Tend the Wilds: Our ancient human ancestors understood that creating a reciprocal relationship with nature were the only way to ensure a more bountiful harvest and sustain our lands so that they could sustain us in return. Thus, building in wildtending practices and tending the wilds should be a counter-practice to foraging.

Cultivate and spread wild plants. Learn how to cultivate and tend the native and naturalized plants you commonly harvest.  Work to establish new wild patches of these plants by gathering and scattering seeds, dividing and planting roots, and transplanting. Cultivate new patches which you can later harvest from.

Target your efforts towards at-risk plants. Look for plant populations that are in danger of disappearing (from overharvesting, loss of habitat, etc) and target your efforts to help cultivate them. This may mean that there are certain plant populations that you do not harvest until a more stable population is established.

Create a balance between foraging and wild-tending: Strive to balance your practices between foraging and wild tending, both in terms of working to cultivate more specific plant populations and also in terms of broader conservation and ecological work, such as protecting wildlands, replanting lands, engaging in political activism, or working with conservation groups.

Build your Knowledge: Understand the plants that you are harvesting–how they grow, how they function ecologically, and the populations of plants in your area.

Build your knowledge of ecology and plants. Recognize that there is a lot to know about plants and that this is a lifetime of study. The more you know, the more you are able to apply to your foraging and wildtending practice. Read books, attend workshops, and learn about how your plants function in the ecosystem: where do they grow? how do they grow? What insects/animals depend on them?  Which plants can you harvest as much as you want? Start by learning about a few plants and build from there.

Observe and interact.  Don’t depend on the wisdom only in books but get out into your local landscape, observe, and interact.  Recognize that the populations in your local area of plants and mushrooms may be radically different than what you read about.  Understand what is happening in the areas that you spend time in specifically so you can be more mindful of your interaction.

Connect, learn, and share with community.  We can do more as a community than as individuals, so find ways to connect with like-minded others, building and sharing knowledge.  The more we spread these principles and ethical foraging approaches, the more good we can do in the world.

Background on these Principles

Milkweed patch now well established in the meditation garden!

I started teaching wild food foraging almost a decade ago after a lifetime of cultivating an ethical practice of foraging and working to regenerate damaged landscapes.  I began teaching foraging with the naive and simple premise that if people understood that nature had value for nature, they would honor and respect it, work to protect it, and cultivate a relationship with it. However, this is not the case. But with increasing frequency, as new people get into wild food foraging, I’m seeing something very different emerging: communities of people who see wild food foraging as a treasure hunt, going into areas without any knowledge of the plant populations or sustainable harvesting techniques, and pillaging the ecosystem.  And in these same communities, there is strong resistance to any discussion of limits, ethics of foraging, or cultivating reciprocation with the land.  But, this situation offers us a chance to grow and to learn how to be better stewards of the land.  With that said: what an opportunity for change. We are always learning and expanding our understanding, foraging is an opportunity for this. Be open to changing your perspective and be forgiving and understanding of yourself and others on this foraging path.

Unfortunately, in the wild food community, we see the same colonizing and capitalist attitudes that pervade other aspects of Western society. Here in North America, one of the underlying issues is that nature is treated by most people in the 21st century no different than it was treated in the 16th-19th centuries: as a resource that you can take as much as you want from. The history of colonization here in North America turned carefully cultivated food forests into deserts and destroyed the way of life and culture of indigenous peoples who lived in harmony with nature. The current practices of land ownership and individualism stress this further–the assumption is that if it’s your land, you can do what you want with it regardless of how it impacts other life living there. Many people born into Western culture are enculturated into this colonizing mindset and may not even be conscious of how much it impacts our assumptions and relationship with nature. This mindset drives a set of behaviors that are literally putting our planet–and all life–at risk. Thus, it becomes increasingly clear to me that at least some behavior surrounding wild food foraging is a new take on the very old problem of colonialism.

I’ll give three examples to illustrate the impetus for the principles I offer. When I was a child in the Allegheny Mountains, Wild Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) was easy to find. My grandfather used to harvest it in small quantities and brew it up for us as a special treat. In the years since, with the increasing demand from China and the rising prices for American Ginseng, in all my time spent in the forests here, I have never found a single wild ginseng plant growing.  This means that the medicine of American Ginseng is completely closed to the people of the Appalachians, and it should not be. I have only had the opportunity to interact with wild ginseng that someone (myself or others) has planted. And in cultivating it, I’ve realized how incredibly hard it is to establish and grow. Most people cultivating it have less than a 20% success rate with either seeds or roots. In a second example, when a friend and I were co-teaching a wild food class, we came across a patch of woodland nettles. Some of the students in the class immediately went into the patch of nettles like vultures, taking every last nettle. Not 15 minutes before, we had had a discussion of wild food ethics and sustainable harvesting, but this was quickly forgotten with the excitement of the harvest.  That nettle patch has since regrown with some careful tending, thankfully, but it took about four years to get as large and beautiful as it was. In a final example, one wild food foraging online group in my region, a person posted a picture of six 5-gallon buckets full of ramps, including the bulbs. This represented an extremely unsustainable harvest for several reasons, not the least of which being that ramps take 1-2 years to germinate from seed and up to 7 years to mature. When I kindly shared information about how to harvest ramps more sustainably (very limited or no bulb harvests depending on the population, being mindful of the amount being taken, scattering seeds to propagate ramps), I was banned from the group for “pick shaming.”  Most online groups have very strong and immediate reactions to anyone discussing ethics, sustainability, or limited harvests, which prevent any conversations from taking place.

These three examples illustrate the challenges present with overharvesting and were part of the impetus for the above principles. I will also note that all of these examples come from the United States; I don’t know if the issues I’ve witnessed apply to other contexts or cultures.

I’ve never met a wild food instructor, teacher of herbalism, or earth skills instructor who didn’t do their best to teach at least some of the principles I’ve outlined above.  But it seems that we need to do more, particularly as large numbers of new people are picking up wild food foraging and that many online spaces are opposed to discussions of the ethics of practice. These principles can be a critical part of every class we teach, every social media post, every Youtube video we create, and every publication we author. By adhering to a set of ethical standards that put wild food foraging in the broader context of building a reciprocal relationship with nature, I believe we can create a more balanced and ethical practice for all.

Examples of the Ethics in Action: Working with Milkweed, Garic Mustard, and Oak

Here are three specific examples how this might be done, both from a teaching standpoint and from a practitioner standpoint:

Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) is one of my favorite wild edible plants, with four different harvests throughout the season. A wild food foraging practice that includes common milkweed has a chance for causing harm. Overharvesting shoots can prevent the plants from growing at all; overharvesting flower buds, immature seedpods, or silks can prevent the milkweed from going to seed and spreading.  In most areas in the US, common milkweed is in decline due to new farming techniques, spraying, mowing, and land-use changes. Thus, our land needs a lot more common milkweed, which is a critical food source for declining insect populations, including the increasingly endangered Monarch butterfly.

When I teach common milkweed, I start by passing out small packets of common milkweed seeds that I have grown in my garden from local seed stock.  I tell people about what a wonderful wild food that common milkweed is, how good it tastes, and how to prepare it.  And, I ask that people work to cultivate their own patch (in their garden, yard, or in a wild area) so that they can eventually start harvesting it themselves.  I explain that I do not, ever, harvest this in the wild but rather, I cultivate new patches and eventually return to them to harvest. In this example, I teach Common Milkweed in context: not only what it is but how to harvest, but the challenges surrounding it.  And, I put the direct tools for change–seeds–in their hands, so that they can spread them and begin their relationship with milkweed from a place of reciprocation and stewardship.

Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) is another plant I commonly use and teach.  The lesson of this Garlic Mustard is a very different one: Garlic mustard is an opportunistic plant (I avoid the term “invasive”, also for ethical reasons) and by harvesting, we can control the populations of this plant.  Because it is always abundant and opportunistic, not only do I teach this plant, I encourage those on my plant walks to harvest as much of it as they can while we are on the plant walk.  I will sometimes bring a garlic mustard pesto or another dish that they can taste to see how delicious it is.  On social media, I will share recipes and information on how to find it and cook it, so that others can also start harvesting this plant abundantly.

Offering gratitude to the oak with an offering Offering gratitude to the oak with an offering

Oak (Quercus Rubra, Quercus Spp.) is another one of my favorite trees from a foraging perspective. When I teach oak in the fall, I usually bring a sample of acorn bread or cake so people can get a sense of how delicious the oak is.  This helps people recognize and honor the oak tree as such an abundant resource. We discuss the principle of the “mast year” and how you can harvest acorns. We discuss how to identify good acorns to harvest based on examining their caps and shells.  We do talk about how much one can reasonably harvest and process–and how to leave acorns for wildlife.  I also teach wildtending practices with Oak in two ways: first, I encourage them to be like a squirrel, not only harvesting acorns but, after harvesting, taking a stick and popping some of them back into the ground to propagate the oak.  I also encourage people to return to their favorite oak in the spring and dig up some of the small oak seedlings to spread elsewhere, ensuring the genetics of the tree survive.  This creates a balanced relationship with the oak, and helps repopulate a keystone species in our bioregion.

In all three examples, I’ve developed both a teaching and foraging practice based on examining the specific context in which a plant or tree grows, its abundance, and the ecological needs it has.  In the case of Milkweed, declining amounts of milkweed (including in my immediate ecosystem) have led me to cultivate it in a number of places, spreading those seeds outward, and considerably limiting how much milkweed I enjoy eating.  The case with Garlic Mustard is the opposite–I harvest and eat as much of it as I can as a way of limiting the spread.  One of the practices of the oak is to participate in acorn planting and spreading oak trees.  Each of these wildtending practices allows me not only to ethically balance a foraging practice but to create a deeper and more meaningful relationship with the living earth.

I would love to hear thoughts on these principles and other ideas for how we can cultivate ethics of reciprocation within wild food foraging!

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Ghost Hunting in the Gilded Age

SEPTEMBER 27, 2021 BY RICH NEWMAN

Close up of a talking board

We live in a fantastic time to be paranormal enthusiasts. Dozens of ghost hunting programs are currently featured on television. There are websites dedicated to developing and selling ghost hunting gear, and tourism for haunted locations is so high that hotels and restaurants often post their ghost stories right on their own websites. But, believe it or not, this isn’t the first time that America has been captured by the mystique of ghosts and hauntings.

After Margaretta and Catherine Fox claimed to have made contact with a spirit in Hydesville, New York in 1848, a new movement quickly swept across the country: Spiritualism. Not to be confused with Spiritism (a movement started by Allan Kardec in the 1850s that was largely concerned with reincarnation), Americans were suddenly holding séances in their homes, playing with talking boards, and having parties all concerned with speaking to the dead.

While most of the ghostly activity of this period is associated with the use of mediums—people with the psychic ability to channel spirits and even allow them to temporarily possess them—there were also techniques used by the psychically challenged to interact with spirits, too. Many of these were quite effective and can even be used today by modern ghost hunters. Let’s talk about a few of these.

Setting aside the use of a medium (a practice that is actually used by some paranormal groups today), the most common means of spectral communication by Spiritualists was a technique known as “table turning.” Also known as table tilting, table tipping, and table tapping, this involved a group of people sitting around a small, light (usually round) table with their finger tips resting gently on the surface. A designated speaker would then ask questions from any spirits who were present and ask that he/she turn or tilt the table. Sometimes this would be more of a vibration than dramatic movement, but any activity would pretty much be interpreted as interaction. If a spirit was particularly energetic, the speaker might then ask questions with one-word answers, and then proceed to slowly say the alphabet. The spirit could then move the table when certain letters were said to spell out a word.

Today, this practice is simply known as table tipping, and I’ve seen it used in the field a number of times. In my experience it seems to work best when yes or no questions are asked and the spirit is directed to interact with the table to answer. For instance, the speaker might say, “Please let us know when what I say is correct. Did you live in this house?” If there was an answering movement involved with the table, it would be taken as a “yes.”

Another simple, but effective, item that Spiritualists would use is the candle. In addition to lighting the parlor for a séance, candles were often used by a small group to indicate when a ghost was present. This typically involved placing a single candle on a mantle or table, eliminating any wind moving through the room by closing doors and windows, and then the Spiritualists sitting on the other side of the room (so nobody could inadvertently blow out the candle). A speaker would then entreat any spirits to indicated their presence by blowing out the candle.

I have to admit that this sounds like the premise for a low budget horror movie, on par with the old Bloody Mary legend, but it’s actually quite viable for the present day with a small, but recommended, change. Instead of simply sitting the candle away from everyone, a better way to guard against accidentally blowing it out would be to surround it with glass or plexiglass—essentially sitting it inside a small, transparent box. You would, of course, still need to have the top open to allow the flame to burn, but with high enough walls you could be assured that any extinguished candles were not the result of a wandering breeze.

A popular variation of this technique is something that modern ghost hunters call the “Irish Wind Chime.” Essentially it’s exactly the same premise as the candle-in-a-cage, only you are placing a small set of wind chimes that are hanging from a mini stand under a glass “hurricane”-style cover. Since they are sitting in a micro, sealed environment, any movement of the chimes would be an indicator of a spiritual presence. Care just has to be taken to insure that nothing is shaking the area where the chimes are sitting.

The most controversial method used by Gilded Age ghost hunters was, without a doubt, the infamous “talking board.” After frustrated Spiritualists got tired of the slow method of speaking to the dead by reading aloud the alphabet, it only goes to reason that some enterprising soul would think to simply write the letters and numbers on a table of sorts. The actual origin of the talking board is something of a mystery, but most historians agree that it began making appearances in parlors during the late 1880s.

What we now think of as the “Ouija Board” was first marketed by the Kennard Novelty Company in the early 1890s. Some have supposed that the name came from the combined French (oui) and German (ja) words for “yes,” but talking board historian Robert Murch has stated that the name was supplied by a medium named Helen Peters who claimed she got the moniker from a spirit she communicated with via a board. She said that it meant “good luck.”

Spiritualists loved the Ouija Board, and by 1893 it was a best-selling novelty of the day. Interestingly, in order to sell the device to the public, the Kennard Novelty Company had to prove to the patent office that it worked. After a quick session where the board spelled out the name of the patent officer, it was granted its patent and the new craze began.

The modern version of the talking board, or Ouija Board (as Hasbro still markets it), might be made of plastic and cardboard vs. the original wood, but it essentially is the same. The alphabet, numbers, and words “yes, no, hello, and goodbye” adorn the board, while a planchette is used to communicate with spirits.

Just as they were used in the Gilded Age, two or more people are supposed to sit around the board with their fingers lightly touching the planchette. Questions are then asked and the planchette (hopefully) moves to the appropriate answers—sometimes spelling out words, dates, etc. During the late 1800s, the talking board was a popular parlor activity, with the only negative being the possibility that somebody among them was purposely pushing the planchette.

Today the board is still popular, but it has a bit of a mixed reception. Thanks to a few popular horror movies, and rather vocal followers of organized religion, many believe that these boards are “evil” and used, exclusively, to speak to non-human entities, such as “demons,” “djinn,” etc. This is, of course, nonsense. There is nothing inherently evil in a Hasbro board game—or any other incarnation of the talking board. Like most objects used to interact with the dead, there is nothing inherently good or bad about it.

In fact, the linking of the talking board with the occult and evil practices is a modern belief that began in the 1970s (with some pointing directly at the book/film The Exorcist as the cause). Before then, the most famous case involving a talking board is that of Pearl Curran who came into contact with a spirit named “Patience Worth” via a board. Curran would produce novels, poetry, and other prose all supposedly sourced from Patience Worth. But this is hardly anything of a sinister nature.

Much like practitioners at the turn of the century, you, too, can use a talking board while ghost hunting, but you might want to make sure that everyone present is okay with it before doing so. There’s no sense in scaring or angering anyone. Ironically, I’d actually suggest using it without any human interaction. Since plastic is such a poor conductor of electricity/energy, there’s really no need for anyone to place their fingers on the planchette. Just use the lightest planchette possible and ask any spirits present to move it. If anyone wants to “share energy” with spirits via a planchette, I’d suggest constructing one of copper or aluminum for better conductivity.

The last thing I’d like to touch on concerning Spiritualism is the concept of “debunking.” While there were certainly hardcore followers who were quick to believe most everything was of a paranormal nature, there were also practitioners of the day who reveled in exposing fraudulent mediums, fakery, and criticizing the new practice of “spirit photography.”

Much like today, one of the favorite tools of Victorian ghost hunters was the use of a camera. Taking photos before and during séances often produced images of spirits, and would sometimes capture live activity in the parlor, such as the appearance of “ectoplasm.” People like famed illusionist Harry Houdini took great delight in debunking double exposures and ectoplasm that would actually be various substances, including cheesecloth and a potato starch/gelatin that was usually swallowed and then regurgitated during the séance.

In many ways, fake spirit photography in the Gilded Age is quite similar to modern ghost hunting photos and the appearance of “orbs.” Thankfully, many of us take a cue from Mr. Houdini and take the time to scrutinize photos taken from haunted places—and we debunk our own photos that contain orbs that are nothing more than bits of airborne dust, pollen, etc.

So, while we may think of Spiritualism as a movement from the late 1800s—and perhaps a bit outdated—the truth is that we have taken a lot from our ghost hunting ancestors. And though we may be safe with throwing out some of their more outlandish forms of communicating with the dead (I don’t think the “spirit trumpet” will be coming back into fashion any time soon), every time we ask a ghost to make a rapping sound for us, or take part in a table tipping session, we are continuing an American tradition. One that, thankfully, won’t be ending any time soon.

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Gilberto Rides Again by Stephen Halpert Chapter 14

The merger between Atlas and Clay Calhoun was in its final stages: lawyers for both sides splitting hairs, quibbling over money. Gilberto was unsure why this merger was even happening. How shoestrings fit into Atlas’ long term corporate identity was a mystery to him. Was Atlas kicking off a retail division? He had learned over the years to stand back and watch before venturing an opinion.

He looked over his travel folder for the trip to North Carolina. He and Maria would be staying at The Bull Run Inn, famous for its southern hospitality and its Jeb Stuart Tavern.

There was a light knock on his office door. Sara Midgley slipped in and placed a thick file on his desk. “Merger details.” She smiled coyly, her eyes telegraphing an obvious message.

Her tight silk blouse and clinging short skirt left little to the imagination. She leaned provocatively against the edge of his desk, her eyes wide. “Why are you avoiding me?”

He raised his eyebrows. “I didn’t think I was.”

She sighed softly. “You know you are.” Abruptly she changed the subject. Her eyes grew wider and she took a breath. Her words came out fast. “But listen, I really need your help. Someone broke into my condo. I’m afraid someone’s trying to kill me.”

He frowned. “Why are you afraid someone is trying to kill you?’

“A feeling,” she waved her hand

Was this some kind of ploy to get his attention? “Was anything stolen?”

She shook her head no. “My vanity was obviously searched and my cosmetics had been messed with. My bureau drawers were rifled, but nothing’s missing.” She sighed audibly.

Gilberto frowned “If nothing was stolen…” What’s this about, he thought. Aloud he said, “Why would someone do that?”

Instead of replying, she closed her eyes and pressed the tips of her fingers against the sides of her forehead. Her breath quickened. “I can’t help it,” she pleaded. “Gilberto, I need you. I need to feel you close to me.”

Her perfume cloyed at his nose. He began to sneeze.

She reached and touched his hand. “It makes no sense for us to deny ourselves the obvious.”

His eyes watered. He grabbed a bunch of tissues. “Maybe obvious to you but not to me.” He blew his nose.

“You must feel it too,” her words barely above a whisper.

He shook his head. “Sara stop this. Remember I’m married.”

Her tongue moved slowly over her lips. Her voice grew louder, more insistent. “What’s that got to do with anything? Oh Gilberto, I’m so damned scared. Can’t you understand, someone wants to kill me.”

He ignored that. “Sara, I’m in love with Maria. Just let it go at that.”

She picked up the honeymoon photograph in a silver frame on his desk. Gently he reached and took it from her.

Was this all an act?? He knew he didn’t trust her. The way she was talking made no sense to him.

She pouted and leaned closer. Her perfume attacked his nostrils and he sneezed harder. He backed away. What was he supposed to say to this mad woman?

More whispers. “Gilberto, I’m begging you!”

He waved his hands. He could hardly speak. “Sara move back, give me room to breathe. Your perfume’s really getting to me.” 

Hearing that she looked confused, yet still she persisted. “Please Gilberto, I’m begging you.”

His eyes watered. He grabbed more tissues, blew his nose.

“It must have to do with my deceased husband,” she said. “I could never believe what they called his cause of death. He was too good a swimmer; too healthy just to drown that way.”

“Have you been to the police?”

She shook her head no. “They wouldn’t believe me; they’d write me off as some crazy. Gilberto, we work together. Your being near me appears normal, natural; you can protect me.”

Reluctantly he said. “You’re welcome to be with me and Maria.”

She frowned. “It would be so nice if you left her home.”

He felt as though he were trapped in a forties’ noir melodrama. “Don’t get your hopes up.”

Her eyes lit up. “I could pay you Gilberto. I have money.”

She came around his desk and got even closer, provoking another onslaught of sneezes. He blew his nose and laughed. “Come on, Sara, how am I supposed to protect you? Why don’t you hire a professional bodyguard?”

Ignoring what he was saying, she sighed deeply. “Such a hunk, such a wild ram in heat.”

That made him laugh again. “Come on Sara; one minute you tell me you fear for your life, then the next you come on to me. Make up your mind. Maybe you need to see a shrink.” He shook his head, went to the window, opened it, and breathed.

She followed him. Her fingertips softly touching his shoulders. He turned and faced her: “Back off Sara!” 

Her face flushed; lips quivered. “I don’t understand it any more than you do Gilberto.”

Were those real tears in her eyes? Before he could think what to say, she abruptly, turned and left his office.

He sighed, grabbed more tissues to stave off another round of sneezing. The scent from her perfume lingered in his office.

He left the Atlas building and walked down Stuart Street toward lower Washington Street and the Sushi bar where he’d be meeting Smith. He wondered if Kim Rain would be there. Weirdly, he shivered. Was he was being followed? He spun around abruptly but saw no one. Both sides of Stuart Street were empty. The faint scent of Sara Midgley’s perfume lingered on his sports coat.

Entering the restaurant, Gilberto spotted Smith and Rain at their usual back table. He joined them and ordered the raw fish platter and a tall Sing Ha Beer. Then he shared some of his earlier meeting that morning with Sara Midgley.

“The Black Widow,” Smith said dryly. “Obviously there’s ulterior motives.”

“She makes me nervous,” Gilberto said. He drank some of his Sing Ha and tried to relax.

“Maybe that’s the idea.” Kim Rain smiled. Wearing a tailored suit and dressy shoes, she seemed androgenous. “Maybe she wants to throw you off your game.”

“What game?” I sit in on Board meetings, do a lot of listening but that’s about it.”

“More to it than it seems then,” Smith said. “Her husband did drown under peculiar circumstances. As no doubt you know, his body was never recovered.”

Gilberto nodded. “This merger with Clay Calhoun is worrisome but most likely unrelated to his drowning.”

Kim Rain looked serious. “Why would Atlas want shoelaces unless there’s some kind of stock swindle brewing?” She looked at Smith. “Can’t corporations make money by losing money? Then she smirked. “They have a word for that on Wall Street, don’t they?”

“Selling short or pump and dump,” Smith said.

They all laughed and the conversation turned to the trip and the meetings around the merger. As they finished their sushi and got ready to leave, Smith said: “Take her at her word, Gilberto. Be watchful and if any bloody assassins try to jump into her path fend them off with those famous soccer kicks of yours.”

To be continued.

Stephen loves comments. Please send them to him at tashahal@aol.com

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Kitty Kat’s Korner

Cat Tip of the Month: When your beloved cat crosses the Rainbow Bridge, be open to the paranormal. They may wish to come back and visit from time to time.

Why Do Cats Bring You “Gifts”?

By Susan Logan McCracken

Although I’ve had indoor-only cats for my entire adult life, I grew up with several outdoor cats who earned their weight in paper currency as “working” cats on my parents’ farm. Although these cats were friendly toward humans, I think they would have climbed the curtains if we tried to keep them indoors. But they were sure great at their jobs: catching mice, rats, and moles in particular that shredded my parents’ lawn.

Our tuxedo cat, Miss Kitty, would wait patiently for a mole to come out of its hole beneath the grass, then she would grab it and bring it to my parents, who praised her for her work. I remember during a garage sale, Miss Kitty brought one of her “gifts” and dropped it right in front of one of our customer’s feet. You can imagine the alarm that the shopper expressed. I can’t remember anything more, but I’m guessing she never returned to any of our garage sales!

Love Language

Giving gifts is considered to be one of humans’ love languages, a concept made popular by Gary Chapman’s best-selling book The 5 Love Languages. Do cats have love languages and could gift giving be one of them?

Miss Kitty did receive a lot of praise from my parents whenever she brought her prey to them, and I guess you could surmise that she felt the love and repeated the behavior.

I consulted with board-certified feline veterinarian Gary D. Norsworthy, who owns the Alamo Feline Health Center in San Antonio and has more than 40 years experience practicing veterinary medicine.

“The older I get the more I am convinced that genetics is a major player in personality traits,” Dr. Norsworthy says. “I believe this is one example of that.”

Dr. Norsworthy recounted the story of one of his patients, Ret, who brought home tree bark, a deflated soccer ball, and a horse’s bridle. Ret’s retrieving behavior began when he was 6 months old and his humans, a sweet senior couple, gave him treats every time he brought them one of his treasures.

Dr. Norsworthy refers to cats who engage in this behavior as retrieving cats. “These cats are not trained; they come by it naturally. Their unusual behavior may be increased with rewards, but retrieving cats are often driven to make their owners happy with or without rewards. If you have one of these unique cats, enjoy their special talent.”

Hunting Instinct

All cat species are carnivores and have an instinct to hunt. Among lions, the lionesses hunt for food and bring it to the cubs as a team, while male lions protect the pride. Other feline species are solitary hunters, but the females still share the food with their offspring and teach them to hunt.

Female domestic cats also hunt and bring dead or injured prey home to their offspring to teach them how to hunt. One theory is that spayed females, as they do not have offspring, bring their prey to their humans instead. In other words, they consider their humans as family.

You might inadvertently reward this behavior without realizing it. If you jump, scamper trying to catch the thing, then give your cat a treat, you just rewarded the behavior.

If your cat plops a toy or other object in front of you, he is most likely looking for some playtime. That is a good time to indulge your cat’s need to play. Cats are hardwired to play and might engage in destructive behaviors or have health problems if they don’t get enough playtime.

Curbing Predation

If you’re concerned about your cats bringing prey animals into your home, here’s how to get them to stop.

Keep your cats indoors. Studies show indoor-only cats live longer.

Provide regular playtime. They need the stimulation and exercise.

Use food or treat-dispensing puzzle toys to simulate hunting followed by eating.

Feed a high-meat protein diet. Cats need animal protein to thrive.

In a recent study, researchers from the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom found that people who provided their cats with a high-meat protein, grain-free diet and introduced five to 10 minutes of play with prey-simulating toys each day experienced a 25% to 36% decrease in the numbers of animals the cats captured and brought home.

The researchers concluded that nutrition and playtime were so successful in curbing feline predation that these noninvasive, positive methods worked better than impeding their hunting abilities by such measures as adding bells to their collars, which they wrote had no discernible effect. The study, “Provision of High Meat Content Food and Object Play Reduce Predation of Wild Animals by Domestic Cats Felis catus,” was published on Feb. 11, 2021, in Current Biology.

No matter their reason for bringing you gifts, your cats see you as family as much as you see them as family. And like you, their basic needs for a healthy life include proper nutrition and exercise.

What kinds of gifts does your cat bring you? Share your stories with us at catstermag@belvoir.com.

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Georgia Nichol’s Weekly Horoscope: Sunday, August 15, 2021

All Signs

This week ahead is upbeat and optimistic! It starts off positive and morphs into exciting changes and stimulating experiences. Get ready for something different! Many will muster the courage to break free from certain restrictions and go after what they really want. Routine will be boring. People will be charged with ideas and enthusiastic about new introductions, new encounters and new activities. Lots of change! It’s interesting that Albert Einstein said, “The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” (And a genius like him should know — after all mathematics is 90% intelligence and the other half is common sense.)

Aries (March 21-April 19)

This week begins with friendly, social occasions, playful activities with kids and possibly a vacation? One thing is certain – you’re ready to play! Sports events will be gratifying and upbeat. Note: As the week progresses, get ready for surprises and sudden changes related to your job or your work. You might encounter new people, new places and new situations. Work-related travel might be on the menu. Something unusual related to a pet might occur? It’s a great time to start a new job or begin a new project. These same surprises and new discoveries could relate to your health. Oh yeah, you’re the pioneer of the zodiac and you love change. Go with the flow and be happy!

Taurus (April 20-May 20)

Your relationship with a parent or a family member will be gratifying and rewarding as this week begins, especially because you will feel fortunate in matters related to real estate, home and family. (Caution about overestimating something.) Later in the week, you definitely want to play because you’re full of fun, creative ideas! Sports events, the arts, the entertainment world, playful activities with kids and anything to do with social diversions, parties and fun getaways (including vacations) will appeal! You will make an effort to seek out good times! You have always liked your creature comforts because you enjoy the good things in life. Ya think?

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

As this week begins, you are in an upbeat, optimistic frame of mind – no question. You believe in yourself. You believe in your abilities. You believe in your future. This is great! After all, you are the one who is scripting the movie of your life. Grab opportunities to travel or get further education or training. Later in the week, surprising changes at home or within your family will take place. Unexpected repairs and improvements are likely. New and unusual people might be on the scene. You might encounter a surprise opportunity with real estate or a way to make exciting changes to where you live.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)

Finances and business deals look good at the beginning of this week. You feel confident and you’re happy with how things are folding. This is an excellent time to fundraise or get money from other sources including banks and financial institutions. You might benefit from the wealth of your partner. Fasten your seatbelts because as the week progresses, it gets busier with unpredictable events. Sudden short trips, the introduction of new people into your life, exciting new ideas, new beginnings and a busy, accelerated pace will keep you charged with enthusiasm. Be smart and stay light on your feet so that you can deal with the unexpected because this week, life is a changing landscape!

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)

You feel positive and happy this week because you’re enjoying good times and the emotional support of some people. Interactions with others will be cheerful and friendly. Admittedly, you might be inclined to go overboard or overestimate something in a positive way. (Be aware of this.) Later in the week, you might have unexpected moneymaking ideas? You might make spontaneous purchases? This is because something related to your earnings, cash flow and your possessions will undergo swift, sweeping changes. (It’s a bit of a whirlwind.) You might begin a new business or start a new project that impacts your earnings or your belongings. You might make a clean sweep of things and clear up messy areas! “Finally!”

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

This is an unusual week for you. At the beginning of the week, you’ll feel content and pleased with yourself. You’re happy to be in your own skin. However, as the week progresses, life gets more wild and crazy! You’ll feel alive and charged with new ideas! Something to do with your immediate environment will be new and different. Quite likely, you will meet new people and be involved in new activities. You will also be courageous about doing things your way because you see now you have a chance to do this. Nothing will hold you back. You might suddenly take on an exercise program or a new regime to improve your health in an invigorating way! “I’m ready!”

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

Right now, you feel good about yourself, which is why you will enjoy schmoozing with others – friends as well as groups and organizations. You’re confident about your ideas and this translates into positive conversations with friends and relations. Basically, you feel like a winner! (Take two, they’re small.) Because of an undercurrent of surprise and change this week, you might feel restless. You might decide that something has to give. Unexpected news might catch you off guard along with the surprising actions by someone else. Is this something that you didn’t see coming? Fortunately, with your ruler Venus in your sign, you will be smooth and unflappable. (Get out and shop for wardrobe treasures.)

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

Relations with bosses, parents and authority figures are excellent. Because everyone’s in a great mood, it’s as if you’re in a mutual admiration society. (This could be a good time to advance your cause or ask for a favour?) Almost certainly, later in the week, someone will surprise you. Or perhaps instead, you will meet someone new who is unusual and interesting? Possibly, this unexpected impact with someone else will be because of your involvement with a group? Whatever the case, something exciting will catch you off guard, and someone younger might be involved. In turn, they might introduce you to a variety of new experiences and new people. Naturally, this will lead to new avenues and new ways of doing things for you. Mucho changes!

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

Oh happy day! You’re in a positive frame of mind as this week begins. In fact, you feel confident about your beliefs, your ideas, your politics and your approach to life. (Some of you feel so confident you might be a tad righteous.) Relations with friends are warm and rewarding this week, especially with people who are creative and artistic. Keep your ducks in a row because, quite possibly, you will be sidelined or surprised by something to do with parents, bosses or someone in authority. Whatever it is, it will be exciting, different and will send you off in a new direction. Meanwhile, you will impress important people with your cutting-edge, timely ideas. You’re the promoter, remember?

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

Financial matters, earnings and money deals please you very much right now. You feel happy with how your wealth and assets are looking. (And maybe cooking?) However, later in the week, travel plans are completely unreliable. You might suddenly have to travel when you least expected to do so. Alternatively, carefully laid travel plans might be cancelled or changed. (Whaaat?) These same surprising, unpredictable influences might also impact school plans or something to do with publishing, the media, medicine and the law. Whatever surprises you, might be a fabulous opportunity to explore. Or you might feel blindsided by something? Look for new doors and new opportunities within these changes because this is possible. Stay fresh!

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

Life is good! Things are looking terrific for your sign because lucky Jupiter is in Aquarius enjoying a standoff with the Sun. This makes you feel great! In particular, friendships and partnerships will be warm and enriching! As this week wears on, do be aware that some surprises might catch you off guard related to shared property, taxes, debt, or the wealth of your partner. Hopefully, it will be good news. Your partner might get a raise or a bonus which indirectly benefits you? You might get money back from the government? You might inherit? Something unexpected will affect your shared assets – definitely. Meanwhile, travel for pleasure appeals. Some of you might strike up a cozy relationship with someone new and unusual.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)

Ta da! You feel happy, confident and have a strong sense of well-being. In particular, your health feels invigorated, which is why you are eager and enthusiastic to handle whatever comes your way. This is good because some surprises from partners and close friends will likely be on the menu later this week. Someone close to you might demand more freedom in the relationship. They might suggest something unusual. Possibly, you will meet a new friend who is unusual or different. Whatever happens in your closest relationships will be surprising, stimulating but at the same time, liberating and exciting. You might see new ways of doing things or perhaps, new ways of living? Someone might be surprised to learn something new about you. They might see a side of you they never appreciated before?

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Weekly Horoscopes Beginning Sunday, 15 August 2021

If you’re born within a cusp period (16 to 26 of any month); you’re 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; consist of every possible detail of everyday and are 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:

Understandably, you’re tempted to tackle certain plans that are going nowhere. Instead, focus on tidying up several of your own, as yet unrewarding, ideas and ventures. While you’ve worked on some, but without success, you’re no longer enthusiastic about others. Once you begin, however, you’ll soon realise that, between changes in circumstances, and what and who you’ve encountered, you’ve plenty of worthwhile options to pursue.

You might look back and realise you have been spending without thinking. You can’t blame anyone else if you’ve been careless about cash in the past. It’s not as if anyone held your hands behind your back and forced you to spend. So why waste even more money now? If you don’t need it, don’t buy it. A hint of friction in the home in the weekend could be due to some ill feeling when either you or someone you live with has to make work a priority.

As of Monday, Venus begins its annual transit of your opposite sign. It would be understandable if you experienced envy about other people’s career plans and how much they’ve accomplished in the last year. That feeling should be temporary. By Wednesday, and the Moon’s arrival at your own career point, you should have a clear idea of action you could take to improve your own standing. All this is the build-up to a dynamic weekend that includes both a Full Moon and Uranus’ station. The fact that these events coincide and are in Fixed signs of the zodiac suggest this will mark a turning point. Career wise this could be when a team comes together and/or when you realise precisely who has both talent and experience. Nor would it be surprising if you were asked to take on greater role within a team. Your leadership skills are doubtless recognised: but now they could be used on new platform.

Taurus

Personal theme: I have!!

Earth & fixed sign: April 20 — May 20

Your horoscope for this week:

The current theme is teamwork, both in existing plans and arrangements but, also, in new ideas and ventures you’re hoping to get off the ground. Tempting as it is to force issues, instead focus on exploring every option and, equally, meeting those who’ve insights to discuss. This ensures you’re prepared for the stunning ideas, offers and encounters promised by next week’s amazingly congenial planetary activity.

You’ll be as happy as the day is long providing you are left to your own devices. As the week begins, your main aim will be to avoid people who love to whinge and jobs that aren’t your responsibility. Once you’ve had a few days to think about it, you will know what to do to move a joint project forward. You are beginning to appreciate the support around you at work. Where some people have been shirking their responsibilities there are others who can’t do enough for you.

You know what you enjoy doing. You also know what you’re good at. Give both careful thought in the first half of this week. By next weekend’s Uranus’ station in your sign – which comes within hours of a Full Moon at the apex of your solar chart, – you should know exactly what it is you have to offer and what products and services you could provide. Yes, this may be your moment for launching your own business. Even if that’s not a realistic possibility, – and obviously much depends on your personal chart, – there’s high probability of you wanting to do things your way and taking control in a way that so far hasn’t been apparent. This really could be life changing. The accent though, is very much on what you enjoy doing and who you enjoy working with. A partnership opportunity could at least be discussed.

Gemini

Personal theme: I think!!

Air sign: May 21 — June 20

Your horoscope for this week:

Recently a range of tricky but crucial issues involving how you live, work or your lifestyle arose. While you’ve had changes in mind, it seems destiny is cornering you into taking action. The trick? Begin serious discussions now, knowing each will broaden your horizons and, better yet, inspire you. Once that vision’s clear, you’ll exchange your lack of commitment for a new enthusiasm.

When you take over a team venture, the sheer volume of problems will astound you. You will do your best to resolve the situation. That’s why you are pulling out all the stops to hold up a group project that seems to be on the brink of collapse. Once you have everything clear in your mind, the next step is to present your thoughts to others. Your career and outside activities seem to be taking over your life and yet you will enjoy this challenge.

Venus begins its transit of another of the Air signs as of Monday. Through until September 10, a hobby or research idea would be a happy way of spending your time. Taking into consideration next weekend’s Full Moon (also in one of the Air signs), it may be that you decide to undertake a course to improve skills and latent talent. That though is just one, – albeit important – theme running through this week. Another concern is efficiency, archiving and exploring a local network. Whilst it’s likely that the number of short journeys will increase substantially, this might suit you – perhaps because it could be incorporated into a fitness regime. Cooperation with local businesses is certainly highlighted and may give rise to discussion about developing a more permanent partnership.

Cancer

Personal theme: I feel!!

Water & cardinal sign: June 21 — July 22

Your horoscope for this week:

You’re not alone in wrestling with a range of unsettling feelings, from impatience to concerns about what’s next. Actually, you and the rest of the world are in the midst of a period of vital but disruptive change. For now, think about what could go and your version of what’s next. Then, to start, focus on exploration. The coming two weeks’ ideas, offers and encounters could change everything.

Money is flowing now. This makes you feel more secure. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself in the mood to spend as your thoughts veer to ways to make your home cosier. A run of good luck will last a few days but money will run out if you keep on spending so be sure to save as you go. You might notice some envy creeping into a work relationship when a colleague makes it obvious, they resent your success. They should try working harder.

Venus begins its annual transit of the base of your solar chart. Harmony is about to become so, so important. Yet it’s probable, – and especially given that you are one of the Cardinal signs that ‘needs to see things done’, that you will want action before next weekend when Uranus arrives at its station – and there is also a Full Moon. Yet you also like to see things ‘being done properly’. So, you could experience an inner war with the need to see plans realised quickly yet efficiently. There is also the high probability – most likely in the second half of the week, – of involvement with someone who is extremely highly strung and whose nerves are more than a little frayed. You may need to ‘talk them off the ceiling’ and encourage them to embrace a career opportunity which really could be once-in-a-lifetime. Don’t doubt your nurturing abilities. You can do this and might enjoy the challenge.

Leo

Personal theme: I will!!

Fire & fixed sign: July 23 — August 22

Your horoscope for this week:

If it seems like August’s first half has been more about undoing both existing arrangements and future plans, that’s as it should be. Ideally, you’ll at least be willing to consider the amazing, if unsettling, ideas or offers that begin to appear this week and only become more thrilling, and more tempting, as the days pass. In doubt what to do? Just don’t say no.

Whatever your plans for the week ahead if a more exciting opportunity comes along, you will be ready for it. It won’t be easy to inspire others to get a move on. This is because they don’t share your enthusiasm for work you are supposed to be doing together. Don’t be surprised if you end up doing most of this job on your own. A friend might offer you a ticket to an outdoor event or concert when for unanticipated reasons, they can’t now make it.

Next weekend’s Full Moon is in your opposite sign (Aquarius) and comes just a day after Uranus stations at the apex of your solar chart. This will likely be a defining moment for many signs – with yours coming in the top three. Ahead of this, Venus, in Libra, transits your networking zone. Contacts made should ease your path but yes, prompt you to consider alternative ways of getting to where you want to be. Obviously much depends on your actual birthday: yet all Leos are likely considering new career paths and yes, possibly making property moves. Just how determined you are could be tested over these next few days. With Venus’ arrival in this area, it ought not to be difficult to gather support. Others should sense your growing excitement and enthusiasm but yes, also challenge your organisational skills. Let’s hope that in the last couple of weeks you have managed to put affairs in order.

Virgo

Personal theme: I analyse!!

Earth sign: August 23 — September 22

Your horoscope for this week:

When your ruler Mercury moved into Virgo on the 11th, you began an intense and extended cycle of review. Tempted to begin making changes? Instead, continue to focus on both unsettling insights and increasingly appealing ideas or offers; and be patient. Things are unlikely to come together until the pivotal Virgo New Moon on 7 September. What you decide then will be worth the wait.

No matter how much you try to help someone in the family, they just don’t seem to want your assistance. It won’t be easy to leave them to struggle on alone but this is what they want and this will be how they learn more about themselves. You might find it hard to concentrate on detailed work later in the week. Double check all complex jobs before classing them as complete. Try to arrange it so you can do something relaxing.

It’s been suggested that those born under Virgo have a hard time sitting still. It does seem that you are forever multitasking! It may be important as of Monday to let someone know that you are giving them your full attention. What you presumably don’t want is to let them think that you have fingers in so many pies, that their particular pie won’t be given sufficient consideration. It might also be useful to remind yourself of the advantage of playing the long game. You don’t need things to be resolved immediately; though true, at least one situation would benefit from being resolved before next weekend. On the career front you should think long-term. It might be wise to make a list of the things you would like to achieve during your life journey. You may be surprised to discover that you already have some of the expertise needed. A further possibility is that having discovered where you are lacking, that over Thursday and Friday you research courses that would give you the qualifications you need.

Libra

Personal theme: I balance!!

Air & cardinal sign: September 23 — October 22

Your horoscope for this week:

For weeks you’ve been wrestling with tricky situations and increasingly pressing decisions; but you’ve been short of facts. Finally, you’re beginning a cycle that combines practical discoveries with worthwhile conversations. The resulting insights clarify your perspective, so instead of worrying what’s next, you’ll begin enjoying the encounters and surprises that come your way. The trick? Recognising these aren’t the answers you’re seeking, but will lead to them.

You may be busy from the start to the end of each day and in constant demand from friends but you should take regular breaks. Instead of going out in the evenings if you aren’t in the mood to socialise, stay in and put your feet up at home. Sometimes the most loving thing you can do for someone is to treat them with respect and courtesy. Practicing kindness and compassion will help you and a partner reconnect on a romantic level.

Venus arrives for its annual transit of your sign. That begins on Monday and lasts through until September 10. Your charm should be on display. That’s at the very simple level. At a deeper level, this is all about finding refinement and balance; and yes, those of your sign do seem to enjoy the exercise. The process might require that you confront those who infer that they have answers but who are floundering. Taking into account Uranus’ station next weekend, and the Aquarius Full Moon, it does seem likely that you’re about to change direction. That could be driven as much by a political need as by the need to explore alternative – and more expedient – ways of working. All this could and should be exciting – especially if a Leo is involved. Indeed, their input will likely alert you to a new presentation style that proves invaluable.

Scorpio & Ophiuchus

Personal theme: I desire!!

Water & fixed signs: October 23 — November 21

Your horoscope for this week:

For weeks you’ve been quietly observing the changes that are undoing familiar elements of your lifestyle and that of others; and, you’ve been intrigued by new but unsettling options. Finally, things are beginning to work out. While the pace is slow, next week’s powerful planetary activity brings these and other changes together into a plan that’s not just worthwhile, you’re excited as ways you haven’t been for ages.

This would be a great time to begin a home improvement project. As much as you love your home you may recently have been getting bored with your usual surroundings and a change is needed. Just painting a drab room bright colours will lift your spirits. Whether you’re dealing with a financial, legal or property matter, listen to what the experts are telling you. You are entering a time when you start looking towards the future with hope and confidence.

You might imagine that there are a few surprises left; but be prepared for another to head your way and to reach you ahead of next Sunday’s Full Moon. Just 24 hours earlier, Uranus (still passing through your opposite sign) arrives at its station. These two factors together suggest a defining moment. The build-up begins as of Monday and hopefully, after you’ve cleared space. Recall that between the 12th and 16th that a grouping of planets in Virgo was excellent for tidying things away, and putting affairs in order. Being able to get your hands on exactly the right piece of paper just when it’s needed would surely make a huge difference and enable you to cope with whatever is thrown at your way later. There is also strong possibility of you being asked to affiliate with a group and to take on a vital role within it. This may be something you consider closer to your birthday. For now, discovering and identifying with political agendas could be exciting.

Sagittarius

Personal theme: I see!!

Fire sign: November 22 — December 21

Your horoscope for this week:

When things begin falling into place, nobody moves more swiftly than a Sagittarius. Recently, however, seemingly promising events have been a disappointment, enough you’re now wary. That’s wise. This leaves you time to declutter your life, plans and diary of no-longer workable ideas. Better yet, you’ll also spot worthwhile new developments. Yes, things are moving at an irritatingly slow pace. Be patient. it will be worth it.

There’s a hint of confusion and uncertainty in the air. Avoid making serious decisions. If anyone wants answers from you, take your time over deciding how much information you want to reveal. Others will look to you to take charge of a project that is going wrong. You might decide to turn down this offer. Someone will complain when they had expected more from you but you can’t force yourself to act when you aren’t in the right mood for it.

To some, it might seem that you are all over the place. Nothing could actually be further from the truth. Yours is one of the Mutable signs of the zodiac suggesting that you are good at multitasking and have natural versatility. Yes, you could be accused of having fingers in too many pies and yes, there may be many long-standing conversations and tasks left unfinished. You are though, by next weekend likely to grapple with many of these and yes, come up with a plan that disarms some people. What should be clear is that your working pattern requires further adjustment. This has been a theme for many months and isn’t entirely down to post-pandemic-review. In your case, it may be that you identify a task you’re determined to conclude during this life journey and that you make clear by the weekend how you plan to see this realised.

Capricorn

Personal theme: I use!!

Earth & cardinal sign: December 22 — January 19

Your horoscope for this week:

Nobody is more cautious about stunning offers that appear from nowhere. However, there’s a secret. Get involved, but with the intention of learning more about what’s happening, nothing more. As you do, also ensure you’ve a way to escape. These are about what you’ll learn and who you’ll meet. Lasting arrangements? They’ll come later and, as your instincts are telling you, will be worth waiting for.

You have something to celebrate. Your past hard work is starting to bear fruit and you should be proud of your accomplishment. A colleague or fellow student will be envious of your success and they aren’t making any attempt to hide their feelings. You are disappointed with their reaction but you shouldn’t let this bother you. If they worked as hard as you, they too could be successful. In all areas and at all times, let common sense be your guide.

Venus arrives at the apex of your solar chart and you may be reminded of why you’ve been attracted to certain roles. Take time now to contemplate all your many gifts. Yours is a sign known for good husbanding i.e., you are resourceful and know how to capitalise on resources. You also know how to mediate and give advice. Those talents should be in demand this week. There’s high probability of colleagues born under Taurus, Leo, Scorpio or Aquarius making clear fresh intention. Whether or not they’ve thought through the ramifications sufficiently well, is questionable. They may need support. For your part, capitalising on your expertise and perhaps improving it by enrolling on a course scheduled to begin in September could be the subject of much discussion. What seems likely is that you’ll realise that there are profitable pathways yet to explore.

Aquarius

Personal theme: I know!!

Air & fixed sign: January 20 — February 18

Your horoscope for this week:

After a period as challenging as it’s been puzzling, you’re beginning to recognise sudden and, often, seemingly unfair changes as breakthroughs – but in disguise. Keep this in mind as yet more unexpected twists and turns reshape your options and, possibly, your life. For now, focus on letting go of activities and alliances that were once rewarding but no longer are. Soon there’ll be exciting options to consider.

You should really think carefully before making financial decisions. A charming salesperson will propose a quick and easy way to make some money. It won’t be and intuitively you will know they aren’t to be trusted. Even though you aren’t usually a one to enjoy monotony, you could be surprised that in the weekend all you will want is to have some time with no challenges, no change, no demands and no stimulation.

Next weekend’s Full Moon is in your sign and comes just a day after Uranus (travelling at the base of your solar chart) arrives at its station. This could mark a defining moment. Prior to that, as of Monday, Venus begins its transit of another of the Air signs; a transit that doesn’t conclude until mid-September. This provides a useful timeframe for considering your knowledge base and how it might be improved. There’s high probability of unexpected developments both at home and at work – most of which are a legacy from events that took place at the start of the year. Recall that at the end of 2020, Jupiter and Saturn aligned in your sign for the first time in a few hundred years. This really was the beginning of something new and yes these are still early days. For now, the art must surely be to identify the next stage of your career development and to discuss – most likely with Gemini and Libra friends – how the next phase of the quest to gain expertise should begin.

Pisces

Personal theme: I believe!!

Water sign: February 19 — March 20

Your horoscope for this week:

Everybody makes promises they hope they can keep, except you. As an idealistic Piscean, you’ll often struggle to do what you’ve said, only to find others didn’t expect things to work out. Obviously, situations of this nature are disappointing. This week and over those to come, destiny will compensate you, and in ways as wonderful as, often, they are unexpected. The plan? Explore whatever comes your way.

Family is supportive and this makes all the difference when you have some difficult decisions to make. Working from home seems like the ideal solution to a current dilemma. If you have to reorganise your domestic scene to give you more elbow room, those you live with will be happy to help. An older colleague will be in an especially helpful mood and they will know how to make shared work more interesting.

Arguably you need a rest. You certainly will by next week! There is every likelihood of you being bombarded with ideas and plans: some of which could be entirely unexpected. The unexpected – of course – happens in every week but doesn’t always coincide with the Full Moon. Next Sunday’s Full Moon in one of the Fixed signs may be an indicator of Taurus, Leo, Scorpio or Aquarius colleagues declaring new plans and fresh direction. Sensitive as you are, even you could be taken unaware. What may be revealing are the questions raised after Venus moves into Libra on Monday. Throughout the course of this week, you may sense someone gently testing the water as to what you can and cannot cope with and yes, to what extent you would give assistance. Don’t be surprised if this includes something financial.

From Celestial Prognostication IO

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By GrannyMoon Posted in Pagan

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