Keep close to Nature’s heart…
and break clear away, once in a while,
and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods.
Wash your spirit clean. ~John Muir
Blessed Be My Little Witch. To those who came before and those who will come after, know that the Goddess is with you always. Thank you all my dear readers…be blessed. ~GrannyMoon
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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.
Full Moon April 16
Last Quarter April 23
New Moon April 30
Current Moon Phase: FULL MOON
Time: Approx. 14 days after New Moon (energy lasts from three days before to three days after actual full moon)
Goddess Aspect: Mother
Associated Goddesses: Danu, Cerridwen, Gaia, Aphrodite, Isis
Magickal Attributes: Manifesting goals, nurturing, passion, healing, strength, power. Workings on this day are for protection, divination.”extra power”, job hunting, healing serious conditions Also, love, knowledge, legal undertakings, money and dreams.
Celtic Tree Calendar Month ~ April 15 To May 12 ~ Willow
Willow is a very magical month, great for drawing down the moon and love spells.
Herb of the Year for 2022: Viola (violet, heartsease) named by the International Herb Association
Flower of the Month for April: Daisy
April is Native Plant Month
April is National Poetry Month
April is National Brunch Month
Goddess Month of Maia runs from 4/18 – 5/15
What’s Happening in April!?!
APR. 15-17: Feast of the Seas – Honoring God-Goddess as Olokun-Yemaya (Yoruba/Santeria) and Okeanos-Tethys (Old Greek).
APR. 22: Earth Day – Day to honor the Earth and to meditate on Deity manifesting as Mother Earth
APR. 22: Festival of Ishtar (Babylonian)
APR. 22: Feast of the Divine Couple (Japanese)
APR. 22: Feast of Elaphebolia (Greek)
APR. 22: Odin’s Day – Norse festival.
APR. 23: Festival of the Greenman—honoring the God of the Forest and vegetation.
May 1: BELTANE – Beltane is a Celtic/Gaelic festival that celebrates spring.
May 1: Samain – Southern Hemisphere.
May 1: Virginia Psychic Fair, Falls Church, VA. For info go to https://va-psychic-fair-2022.eventbrite.com
Face to Face with GrannyMoon
Face to Face Class: Noon – 2:00 PM ~ The Magick of Crystals – April 24
Black Hat – April 30 – 7 PM – 9PM
Face to Face Class: 1 PM – 3 PM ~ WitchCrafting – May 1st
Reiki I and II: 3 PM – 5 PM
Face to Face Class: 1 PM – 3 PM ~ The Herbal Cauldron – May 8
Face to Face Class: Noon – 2:00 PM ~ The Magick of Crystals – May 15
Reiki III and Advanced: 1 PM – 3 PM – May 22
Black Hat – May 28 – 7 PM – 9PM
Join us at https://www.meetup.com/Witchy-Wednesdays/
High Priestess Training with GrannyMoon
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), with 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
Learn About Herbs with GrannyMoon!
There is so much to learn about herbs! In Herbalism 101, we cover 21 herbs, and you will start your own personal Materia Medica, that we will build throughout the next levels. We will cover the basic aspects of herbs. From culinary to magickal, medicinal to ornamental. As well as the many modalities of herbs!
During this course, in addition to the on-line lessons and hands-on projects that you do at home, I will be sending you articles, and information, as well as questions about your own personal use and research.
I look forward to walking this green journey with you! I love herbs and I hope that you do too or will learn to!
There are 10 lessons in each level and there is no time limit for completion. You may study at your own pace! There are no texts to purchase.
For more info or to join my class, click here!
The cost for Level 1 is $50.00 or $150.00 for the entire Healing Arts Course (1-3) which includes a free Reiki certification course when all three are ordered at the same time!
Earth Signs and Omens in Nature Course
Learn to read the mysteries of nature! The course covers signs and omens, communication, seasonal rites, trees and shrubs, flowers, plants and weeds, herbs, plant magick, the Guardians of Nature and much more.
The Goddess School Grimoire
eBook (PDF): $6.25
The Goddess School Grimoire is a collection of recipes, artwork, poetry, prose, prayers, rituals, spells, and practical Goddess wisdom put together by the teachers, students, alumni, and friends of The Sisters of the Burning Branch Goddess School. The sisterhood is dedicated to restoring spiritual balance by returning the Divine Feminine to her rightful place and by assisting women in their personal and spiritual development. Since being founded by Head and High Mother Priestess Grandmother Moon in 2000, The Goddess School (GoddessSchool.com) has grown into a large and beautiful global community of women.
Join Our Cat Community on Twitter! The Cat Philosophers! Must Love Cats!
- Be kind and respectful.
- Keep Tweets on topic.
- Explore and share.
Sea Magic: Part 1 April 23, 2022 2pm to 4pm
Sea Magic: Part 2 April 30, 2022 2pm to 4pm
Location: Sticks and Stones
Are you fascinated by the ocean?
Do you feel drawn to the sea?
Join me in a two-hour course that explores your individual connection to her! 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.
interactive notebook, sea water, beach sand, all items needed to create your own enchanted charm bag.
an open heart, open mind, and willingness to share and collaborate.
Instructor: Ember Moon
Astro Magic Forecast for April 18, 2022 – April 24, 2022
This week is bookended by groups of astrological aspects, but not a lot happens midweek.
We begin the week with two troublesome aspects, as Mercury conjoins Uranus and the Sun squares Pluto. Mercury conjoining Uranus speeds up thinking dramatically. Ideas flow rapidly and they are difficult to control. It’s very easy to jump to conclusions, and it may be fueled by Sun square Pluto’s obsessive tendencies. You may feel that outside influences are trying to pressure and control you, and it’s easy to see how this combination can get out of control. Working with these two energies is tough, but you need to control your impulse to act and try to let things settle before making decisions. Ultimately, you may choose to purge some things from your life but do so at a more fortuitous time. Just remember, blowing your life up is a color that never looked good on anyone.
Since the Sun and Mercury move relatively quickly, the storm clouds should clear midweek as the Moon moves through fiery Sagittarius. You may see your big picture objectives more clearly, and this could help immensely. Try to take some time to do something enjoyable and stress-free.
Finally, this weekend, Mercury squares Saturn and sextiles Neptune. Although you may want to escape the troubles of the real world, the real world will not let you out of its grasp. You may feel that people do not understand you, and it may be difficult to express yourself to others at this time. Approach things as practical as possible, and try to manage your thought processes the best you can. This weekend will definitely be a mental battlefield, and you need to prepare accordingly.
Recommended: Sun (Astro Magic), Guardian Protector (Affirmations), Spiritual Cleansing (Blessed Herbal)
Here’s what you missed on CoventryCreations.com this week…
What is Candle Magic?
Ironically, this is a difficult question for me to answer as candle magic is part of my DNA. It is like asking me what air is. I immediately jump into the science and history of magic with big explanations when, really, we can start with the obvious of answers.
Llewellyn’s Spell A Day
National Haiku Poetry Day
APRIL 17, 2022 BY TESS WHITEHURST
In addition to Easter Sunday, today is National Haiku Poetry Day. Compose a haiku to describe and represent what you will be releasing during the waning moon. As you may know, a haiku is a Japanese form of short poetry composed of three lines only, the first and third lines containing five syllables and the second line containing seven. There are two other traditional elements to include. First, a “cutting word” (kireji) should be placed at the end of the second or third line. Think of this as a question, an exclamation, or another incisive word that breaks up the verse or otherwise asks the reader to pause. Second, a seasonal reference (kigo) is also included in a haiku, so you may also want to include a word or phrase that is evocative of spring. Take your time until your haiku feels just right, then place it on your altar as a reminder of what you are releasing. Leave it there until the dark moon on the 29th.
Scrying with the Moon
APRIL 16, 2022 BY ARI MANKEY
On the night of the full moon, fill a dark-colored bowl with fresh water and place in a spot where it will reflect the light of the moon. This can be outdoors or near a window. Once you see the image of the moon in your water, take the index finger of your dominant hand (or a wand or athame) and gently stir the water in a clockwise direction. As you stir the water, relax your visual focus and say:
Power of the moon, shining bright,
Let me see the future tonight.
In these waters grant me second sight,
Visions powered by the moon’s light!
Let your mind wander as your unfocused eyes look upon the swirling water. The power of the moon should charge your water and help you peek into the future. After any vision received, stir the water once again to reset your scrying.
Growing into Spring
APRIL 15, 2022 BY ELIZABETH BARRETTE
Today is Good Friday (Christian), and Passover begins at sundown ( Jewish). Good Friday recommends virtues such as silence or selflessness, while Passover favors faith and hope. Also, spring is a good time for any magical work that relates to growth.
Look up a list of virtues. Which ones appeal to you and which don’t? Which are things you already practice, and which are ones you would like to acquire?
Mark the virtues you would like to acquire. Look up each one and explore what it would mean to embody that virtue. Whittle down your list until you have one virtue that you most want to learn.
Meditate on your new virtue. Think about ways to express it in your life. What, if anything, will you need to add? What, if anything, will you need to give up?
Take a walk in the greening spring. Draw its energy into yourself. Seek opportunities to try out your new virtue for the rest of the day.
Take It Back Spell
APRIL 14, 2022 BY JAMES KAMBOS
Have you ever wished you could take back a spell and make it powerless? This ritual will help you do that. You’ll need two candles, one red and one black. Place the candles on your altar. The red candle should be on the left and the black candle on the right. Safely light each candle, and sit before them. Ground and center. Think of your spell and why you think it went wrong. Then look at the candles and say:
Spirits red, spirits black,
Somehow I went off track.
Spirits red, spirits black,
I cancel the spell and take it back!
Now safely snuff out the red candle. Let the black candle continue to burn. In your mind, see the flame of the black candle absorbing the original spell’s power until it’s gone. Then snuff out the black candle safely. When both candles are cool, throw them away.
Written on the Door
APRIL 13, 2022 BY NATALIE ZAMAN
In the Middle Ages it was not uncommon to write spells of protection around a door jamb— the portal through which the occupants of a house (or barn) came and went. For extra protection to guard against illness as the weather changes and allergy season approaches, write this spell in chalk around the inside of your front door:
To all who come and go from here,
Health and wellbeing shall adhere!
Bring nothing back that carries ill,
So mote it be, this is my will!
Renew the words as needed as the year progresses.
Dreams to Reality
APRIL 12, 2022 BY DALLAS JENNIFER COBB
Summer seems so far off, but it really is just a tick in time away. Gather your calendar and a pen and do a manifesting spell. Cast a circle for protection. Call in the directions:
East, bring the winds of inspiration.
South, fan the fire of dreams.
West, fill me with watery creation.
North, make real what I need.
On your calendar, mark out times to take vacations: a half day spirited away from work, a weekend escape, or a weeklong absence from your work, home, town, and chores. Say this out loud:
My calendar is marked, and
I have planted the seeds.
I consciously tend this garden of dreams.
Growing joy, freedom, and relaxation,
Manifest my desired summer vacations.
Time in nature, with family and friends,
This is what my calendar portends.
So mote it be.
A Prosperity Spell Jar
APRIL 11, 2022 BY SUSAN PESZNECKER
In the US, it’s tax season, and many of us are thinking a lot about money and prosperity. Create a prosperity jar to ease your mind and see to your future prosperity.
You’ll need a lidded pint-size jar, an LED tealight candle, a small piece of paper, a green ink pen, and some or all of the following items: a green gem, stone, or crystal (citrine, malachite, jade, moss agate, or fluorite); a number of coins; a four-leaf clover (make one with green paper if you can’t find a real one); a bay leaf; some rosemary; a small gold item; and a one-dollar bill, rolled and tied with a gold or green cord.
Place everything but the tealight in the jar. On the paper, write:
PROSPERITY LUCK MONEY
Roll this into a scroll, add to the jar, and screw on the lid.
To use, turn on the LED candle and place it on or behind the jar, illuminating its contents. Repeat:
Providential energies; may luck
and prosperity come to me.
Heartwings Love Notes 1030 Easter Thoughts
Heartwings says, “Rebirth, renewal, and refresh are all appropriate Easter words.”
The original collector and editor of the Grimm fairy tales was a folklorist. He said that the eggs associated with the celebration of Easter were used as an offering to the Anglo Saxon/Germanic Goddess of Spring, Eostre. She gave her name to Easter as well. As it is celebrated at the first full moon after the Equinox, the onset of spring, that does seem fitting.
Jacob and his brother Wilhelm Grimm, though today known mainly for the series of fairy and folk tales they collected, were well known in the 19th century for their research and scholarly publications. Their collected tales–some of which have become very famous, have delighted children and adults for many, many years; their scholarly reputation is less well known.
Easter is part of a celebration of spring that has a long history reaching way back before the present Christian era. I even read somewhere that dyed eggs like the ones we associate with the holiday were found in Germany dating back to the bronze age. Other sources trace colored eggs to Mesopotamia and Persia. Eggs as a fertility symbol are surely an appropriate one for the new and renewed life of spring.
Easter is for some people a religious holiday and for others an opportunity to gather and to treat the young ones to fun candy and colored eggs. Plenty of Easter candy items appear in the stores beginning after Valentine’s Day and continuing until after the holiday. Marshmallow chicks and bunnies have been around for more years than I can remember. I searched but could not locate the year they were invented.
There are some fun customs clustered around Easter. One is to have new clothes to wear that day. The Easter parade is another tradition. The most famous one is on Fifth Avenue in New York City. Families gather dressed in their best and stroll along streets where sidewalks are lined with spectators. Fashionable hats and clothing are important factors in the traditional stroll.
New clothes are an important part of Easter. Superstition says that one to three new items are to be worn on that day. It has also been said it is bad luck not to wear something new. What I remember from my childhood, is wearing a wonderful wide-brimmed straw hat with a blue grosgrain ribbon that went around the crown and hung down the back. My dress probably had a sash, and perhaps some kind of fancy stitching that was popular at the time.
When they were small, two years running I made my young daughters matching corduroy coats, and we went to my dad’s church for the service. Perhaps plants were given afterward to the children. I know I made the coats, but I may be remembering the geraniums I was given there when I was young. Memories blend with the years. What is important is not exactly what happened, but the gathering of the family and the celebration of the day. Precious memories of that joy remain long after the details fade with time.
May your Easter memories bring you joy always.
Blessings and best regards, Tasha Halpert
PS Do you have any Easter memories to share with me? I’d love to hear any you might be willing to tell me. It’s always a treat to hear from readers, and though I do try to respond in a timely manner, sometimes life gets in the way, lol. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org and website is http://www.heartwingsandfriends.com.
Creating What We Don’t Want
When our thoughts become consumed with worry, we become a beacon of worry to the world.
If prayer is an intention that we announce to the universe in order to create a desired outcome, then our every thought is a prayer. This includes thoughts of worry as well as of hope. All thoughts are subtle creative energy. Some thoughts are more focused or repeated more often, gathering strength. Some are written down or spoken, giving them even greater power. Every thought we have is part of a process whereby we co-create our experience and our reality with the universe. When we use our creative energy unconsciously, we create what is commonly known as self-fulfilling prophecy. In essence, when we worry, we are repeatedly praying and lending our energy to the creation of something we don’t want.
The good news is that we can re-train our minds and thoughts to focus our energy on what we do desire to bring into our lives. Since most worry is repetitive, it will take more than one positive thought to counteract the energy we’ve created. The simplest antidote to worry is affirmations. When we hold these positive thoughts, repeat them often, speak them and write them and refer to them throughout our day, we are using focused energy to create positive results.
We can start right away, together: I am a creative being, using my energy to cocreate a wonderful world. I know that I create my experience of life from within, and as I do so, I also create ripples of energy around me that echo into the world. My positive thoughts gather together with the thoughts and prayers of others, and together we create enough positive energy to heal not only our own lives but the world we share. I am grateful for the ability to cocreate good in my life and in the world.
A lot of times we have concerned loved ones that worry about us. When this happens they are also sending out a worry prayer to the world. A loving conversation letting them know what is happening is the easiest solution. Also, ask them to send you positive affirmations rather than worry about you. After all, worry doesn’t do them any good either. Explain to them that worry can actually be energetically harmful to you and that wishing good things for you is much more beneficial and much more fun too.
Stones for Beltane
~Author Unknown to Me
Physical protection is a basic necessity, as there really are all sorts of things out there that are ‘out to get us’. This ranges from other people to animals, to the elements, to big business, to anything else that can ruin the delicate balance of our equilibrium. Sometimes, we must be protected from ourselves.
But there are magickal ways that we can bolster our personal protections as well.
For example, when I know I’m going to be around people who drain my energy, I’ve created a small bag with tourmaline, tourmalinated quartz, and hematite. All of these things deal with negativity, and they help me to feel grounded. I added in a little rosemary and some rosemary oil to further that protective energy. I also like to place a piece of hematite in each window and over each door, because it absorbs negativity.
Here are some common stones and herbs used in protection magick. I’ve only included the most readily available and most protective, as there are tons of stones and herbs with protective properties. As with any other ritual use, the intention you put into the item is the most important thing.
Amber: Brings stability and transmutes negative energy into positive energy.
Amethyst: High spiritual vibration guards against psychic attack, transmuting the energy into spiritual and love energy. Also blocks negative environmental energies. Protects against drunkenness.
Black tourmaline (and tourmalinated quartz): Protective during rituals. Points out the cause of negativity or trouble. Disperses negativity, and also protects against electromagnetism, radiation, psychic attack, spells, ill-wishing, and defends against disease. Also bolsters the immune system.
Bloodstone: Banishes evil and negative energy. Also strengthens personal defenses.
Fire Agate: Grounding energy promotes safety and security, builds a protective shield around the body. Returns harmful energy back to the sender with a clear message where the harm is being returned from.
Hematite: Absorbs negativity by absorbing it from the aura and the environment. Must be cleansed often, or it will then become ‘full’, and begin to radiate the same negativity out. Also, strengthening and confidence-building.
Jet: Protects against violence and illness, also protects during spiritual journeying from ‘entities of darkness’, also stabilizes finances and protects businesses.
Labradorite: Deflects unwanted energies from the aura and prevents energy leakage. Creates a barrier to negativity.
Malachite: Absorbs negativity and pollution, including radioactive and electromagnetic pollution.
Obsidian: Forms a shield against negativity and blocks psychic attack, also helps with grounding.
Pyrite: Excellent energy shield, also blocks pollutants and disease. Protects subtle and physical bodies. Blocks energy leaks.
Smoky Quartz: Neutralizes negative energy, replacing it with positive energy.
Sardonyx (and black onyx): Can be gridded around home or placed at points of entry (windows and doors) to protect against crime.
Tiger’s eye: Traditionally carried as a talisman against curses.
Working with Deity, Choosing Gods and Goddesses
Just like we use the energies of herbs and crystals, the elements, elementals, and familiars to help us in our spellwork we also call the energies of chosen Deities. Once we have decided our intent, we chose the moon phase, days and planets, herbs, oils, crystals, and elements to help us in this intent. We may also call a God and or Goddess. You do not have to use the same God or Goddess each time. So for a spell needing courage and fortitude you may call Athena or for a spell for fertility, you may call Persephone.
As well as choosing Deity for spellwork we also choose Gods and Goddesses for ritual and celebration. Some Wiccans use the generic Lord and Lady of the triple goddess in one of her aspects, others are drawn to a few particular gods and goddesses.
Choosing your Personal God & Goddess can be difficult to grasp for anyone who is new to their path, and has little to no concept, of who or what the Gods & Goddesses are and what they mean to them. In this situation, the first thing to do is hit the books or the internet and do some reading, use the information to familiarize yourself with a selection of Gods & Goddesses and the different Pantheons. It will then be easier to select a Pantheon that appeals to you and from there you can focus on individual Gods & Goddesses within that Pantheon and see which ones ‘speak’ to you. It may be that Isis and Cernunnos appeal to you, both are from different Pantheons but that doesn’t matter, your guiding Deities don’t have to be from the same Pantheon. Nor do they have to be the only ones you work with in the future.
There’s a lot of confusion caused by the sheer number of Deities to choose from, but don’t get to bogged down with the choice. If you think that working through all the different Pantheons to find ‘the one’ is too difficult to start, then just think of the God & Goddess as single entities, you may decide this works for you and continue this way on your Path for good. Many people do, there is a belief amongst some Pagans that all Gods are one God, and all Goddesses are one Goddess, meaning that it doesn’t matter which Deity you work with as they’re all really the same ones. Whatever anybody tells you, there is absolutely nothing wrong with worshipping one God and Goddess. When I first started on my Path I was very unsure, in ritual, and when seeking guidance I simply referred to them as the Lord & Lady.
In time, my God & Goddess made themselves known to me. Today I work with a variety of Gods & Goddesses depending on what spell or ritual I’m doing. If you feel that you want to work with more than one God & Goddess, and feel that they are all individual and not just one and that you would prefer to work with one specific God or Goddess or a set of Gods & Goddesses then you can, but how do you choose?
One way to find your personal deities is to meditate and ask that your God & Goddess make themselves known to you. Then watch your life carefully for any signs of the God and Goddess trying to get your attention. Don’t forget that the Path you’ve chosen is unique and personal to you and experiences are different from one person to the next. So if there doesn’t seem to be any signs or you can’t master the art of meditation, then it’s up to you to take the matters into your own hands and find your God & Goddess yourself. Look again at the various Pantheons and get a feel for them. Choose a God or Goddess that you feel would suit you, for example, if you have an affinity with cats and Egypt, Bast would be an ideal candidate to research for your Goddess.
I often find that people are drawn to their God and Goddess through many different reasons. Some think that because it wasn’t given to you whilst meditating or in ritual that somehow it means less. I don’t agree. I think just like you are drawn to Wicca you are also drawn to your gods and goddesses. You may even have been fascinated by them from childhood and they may have been in your daydreams where you made stories about them.
by Kernow Wytch
Essential Oils: Frankincense (Boswellia)
~ Andrew Weil, M.D.
Frankincense (Boswellia) is a resin obtained from the Boswellia, a large branching tree native to India, the Middle East and North Africa. It has been used as incense in religious and cultural ceremonies since antiquity. Clinical trials have shown that boswellic acid, the principal active component, has anti-inflammatory action comparable to that of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). Frankincense has been used to treat osteoarthritis, ulcerative colitis and bronchial asthma as well as colic and intestinal gas. It has also been studied for possible anti-cancer effects.
Arthritis: Applying frankincense essential oil topically may reduce the inflammation, pain and stiffness of rheumatoid arthritis. One randomized controlled trial found that Boswellia extract provided better pain control than a placebo for osteoarthritis, and other research showed that it might decrease joint pain by 32 to 65 percent.
Asthma: Frankincense essential oil is widely promoted for treatment of asthma. Results of a double blind, placebo-controlled study from Germany, published in 1998, showed that 70 percent of the patients treated with 300 mg of boswellia gum resin three times a day for six weeks showed improvement, compared to only 27 percent of patients in A control group.
Cancer: Laboratory studies have shown that frankincense has potential anticancer activity, including slowing the replication of cancer cells and killing some of them. However, to date no research has shown that it is useful in treating cancer in humans.
Menstrual cramps: No scientific research supports the use of frankincense for this purpose.
Ulcerative colitis: A preparation from Boswellia serrata gum resin led to remission of ulcerative colitis in 82 percent of treated patients in an Indian study published in 1997.
While considered safe for adults, some evidence indicates that using frankincense essential oil on the skin can cause contact dermatitis. We don’t know enough about the safety of using frankincense during pregnancy and breast-feeding, so it is best to avoid it at these times. Do not put frankincense essential oil directly on your skin. Dilute it with a carrier oil first. Ingesting boswellia extract may increase the risk of bleeding if you take blood-thinning medication.
Dr. Weil’s View On Frankincense
Natural anti-inflammatory herbs including boswellia may work as well as aspirin and ibuprofen for treating osteoarthritis. Follow package directions and give it at least two months before deciding if it is working for you.
Gupta , V. Gupta , A. Parihar A, et al. “Effects of Boswellia serrata gum resin in patients with bronchial asthma: results of a double-blind, placebo-controlled, 6-week clinical study.” European Journal of Medical Research, November 17, 1998.
Gupta, A. Parihar, P. Malhotra et al, ”Effects of Boswellia serratagum resin in patients with ulcerative colitis.”European Journal of Medical Research, January 1997.
J.E. Chrubasik, B.D. Roufogalis, S. Chrubasik, “Evidence of effectiveness of herbal anti-inflammatory drugs in the treatment of painful osteoarthritis and chronic low back pain.” Phytotherapy Research, July 2007.
Recognizing Your Value
Change your thinking to knowing that your life matters, and that you are important.
It can be easy sometimes to buy into the illusion of our own insignificance. We may see large corporations or institutions, celebrities or successful people in our community, and compare ourselves to them, thinking that their fame or material power affirm how little our own lives amount to. But nothing could be further from the truth. Every single one of us matters — tremendously. Our very existence affects countless people in countless ways. And because we are each essentially a microcosm of the larger universe, our internal experiences affect the whole of life more than we could ever imagine. The world simply could not exist as it does now if you, or any one of us, were not in it.
Perhaps you are aware that on some level you believe your life does not matter. If this thought resonates within you, maybe it is time to explore why you feel this way. You may have formed self-rejecting or belittling beliefs as a child to keep yourself safe or to help you make sense of confusing situations. You may have felt unseen or unheard and decided that there was something wrong with you, rather than with the attention span of the people around you. Spend some time looking into where these feelings of insignificance first took root, and see what changes you might be able to make in your life and in your heart.
This one belief in your own unimportance could be limiting you and impacting your life in enormous ways. When you shift your perceptions around your own ability to affect your life and impact the world, you may discover wonderful parts of yourself that you had long ago forgotten. There may even be exciting new parts that you never even knew existed. When you gain awareness of how much your life really does matter, new sources of energy can emerge and your sense of connection with the world is renewed.
Imagine a world in which we all shared our gifts and bounty with each other, rather than focusing on self-preservation.
There are many variations on the story of stone soup, but they all involve a traveler coming into a town beset by famine. The inhabitants try to discourage the traveler from staying, fearing he wants them to give him food. They tell him in no uncertain terms that there’s no food anywhere to be found. The traveler explains that he doesn’t need any food and that, in fact, he was planning to make a soup to share with all of them. The villagers watch suspiciously as he builds a fire and fills a cauldron with water. With great ceremony, he pulls a stone from a bag, dropping the stone into the pot of water. He sniffs the brew extravagantly and exclaims how delicious stone soup is. As the villagers begin to show interest, he mentions how good the soup would be with just a little cabbage in it. A villager brings out a cabbage to share. This episode repeats itself until the soup has cabbage, carrots, onions, and beets — indeed, a substantial soup that feeds everyone in the village.
This story addresses the human tendency to hoard in times of deprivation. When resources are scarce, we pull back and put all of our energy into self-preservation. We isolate ourselves and shut out others. As the story of stone soup reveals, in doing so, we often deprive ourselves and everyone else of a feast. This metaphor plays out beyond the realm of food. We hoard ideas, love, and energy, thinking we will be richer if we keep them to ourselves, when in truth we make the world, and ourselves, poorer whenever we greedily stockpile our reserves. The traveler was able to see that the villagers were holding back, and he had the genius to draw them out and inspire them to give, thus creating a spread that none of them could have created alone.
Are you like one of the villagers, holding back? If you come forward and share your gifts, you will inspire others to do the same. The reward is a banquet that can nourish many.
The Sun Is Always Shining
If darkness has fallen, know that the Sun is shining at this very moment, somewhere not too far away.
There are times when gloom or darkness causes us to momentarily lose sight of the light. Although it is at these times when the thought of the sun can help us. Its warm, glowing rays brighten even our thoughts, and it’s good to remember that despite appearances the sun is shining right now. We may not be able to see it at this very moment, but if clouds block our view, they are only filtering the sun’s light temporarily. If darkness has fallen, we know that the sun is still shining at this very moment somewhere not too far away, and it’s only a matter of time before it will shine on us again.
When we remember that the sun is still shining, we know that things are still in motion in the universe. Even if life feels like it is at a standstill, sometimes all we need to do is have faith and wait for the time when everything is in its perfect place. Or we can we can choose to follow the cues of the sun and continue doing our work and shining our light, even when we can’t yet see results. In doing so we exercise our patience, making sure we are prepared when opportunity knocks and all other elements are in their right and perfect places.
The sun also reminds us that our own shining truth is never extinguished. Our light shines within us at all times, no matter what else occurs around us. Though the sun gives us daily proof of its existence, sometimes our belief in our own light requires more time. If we think back, however, we can find moments when it showed itself and trust that we will see it again. Like the sun, our light is the energy that connects us to the movements of the universe and the cycles of life and is present at all times, whether we feel its glow or not.
Yogurt-Lime Drink | Recipes | Dr. Weil’s Healthy Kitchen
Fat 2.6 g
Saturated Fat 2.4 g (6% of calories from fat)
Protein 2.1 g
Carbohydrate 21.2 g
Cholesterol 2 mg
Fiber 0.1 g
This recipe is from The Healthy Kitchen – Recipes for a Better Body, Life, and Spirit (Hardcover) by Andrew Weil, M.D. and Rosie Daley (Knopf)
This versatile beverage may be made with just yogurt, or you may blend in various fruits. The coconut milk, cinnamon, and cloves provide a mellow flavor.
This is a versatile beverage because you have the choice of making it with just yogurt; adding fruit and blending it just enough to transform the drink into a whipped, frothy, chunky fruit beverage; or adding frozen fruit to create a dessert drink.
Food as Medicine
Coconuts and coconut oil are high in lauric acid and contains trace amounts of caprylic acid, both of which appear to have antiviral and antifungal properties, and support immune function. According to the USDA, one lime contains 1.9 grams of fiber and 19.5 milligrams of vitamin C, as well as small amounts of iron, potassium, zinc, and calcium.
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 cup plain yogurt
1/3 cup honey
2 cups purified water
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
14 ounces canned light coconut milk
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Mix the ingredients together in a bowl. Chill for 2 hours. Pour into 8-ounce glasses, sprinkle cinnamon on top, and serve.
** In light of recent research, Dr. Weil no longer recommends reduced-fat dairy products unless you happen to prefer the taste.
Tips from Rosie’s Kitchen:
To create a Tropical Shake: Add 2 cups frozen fruit, or 1 cup fresh fruit and 1 cup ice. I recommend papaya or peeled and sliced peaches (about 1/2 papaya or 3 peaches). Use a blender to blend everything together. Garnish with a sprinkling of cinnamon and a straw.
Peach-Yogurt Lime Drink: For a different kind of fruit taste and some festivity, add 1 pitted peach, sliced in half, to the yogurt-lime drink and pulse it in the blender just enough to blend the fruit but maintain some chunks. Pour 1/2 cup into each of 6 cups and serve. The delicate chunks of peach will color the frothy coconut milk with hues of red, pink, and yellow.
I would also substitute cashew milk for the coconut milk.
Ghost Hunting Theories
Lake Vacations With a Spooky Vibe
Ah, a vacation at the lake. It sounds like the perfect retreat. But, if you like a bit of romantic atmosphere, spooky lingering fog, stomping monsters in the woods, strange lights, a lake vacation can be so much more than a paddle boat and some Smores.
If you’re looking for UFOs, pick a lake away from big city lights.
If you’re looking to have a Bigfoot encounter, pick a higher elevation wooded area lake.
If you’re looking for a cursed lake, do a google search for a prospective lake and the word “haunted.”
How about a haunted or cursed lake?
Lake Ronkonkoma in New York
Hold onto your blanket and pull your feet up off the floor and be safe. Here’s a legend of a lake haunted by a beautiful Indian Princess who likes to claim men at the lake to join her in the deep recesses for eternity.
The legend says this princess fell in love with a white settler who claimed a homestead near the lake. Her father forbade her marrying the man. They would repeatedly send each other love messages. The princess would paddle halfway out on the lake and push a message toward his shore. After years of this lovesick connection, the princess lost her mind. She supposedly sent her lover one last note of farewell and the note and her boat washed up on his shore. She had killed herself on the lake. The legend also says that over the past 200 years, one man has died on the lake each year.
Stow Lake in California
The legend has lasted for 100 years that a woman was strolling her baby near the lake in Golden Gate Park and she stopped to sit down, talked to another lady, and her stroller rolled downhill into the lake, drowning the baby. It is said that after searching for her baby all day, during the night she checked the lake, entering it and never coming back. Her supposed spirit has taken on a “white lady” theme.
Source: It is rumored that if someone goes to Stow Lake at night, weird occurrences take place. Stories have been told that the lady comes up from the lake, or the statue in her honor comes to life, or she will come up to you and ask, “Have you seen my baby?” Other reports say if you drive there with your friends in a group of cars, all the cars will stall at the same time. Another rumor is said that, if someone says “White lady, white lady, I have your baby” three times, the lady will appear. She’ll ask you, “Have you seen my baby?” If you say yes, she’ll haunt you, and if you say no, she’ll kill you.
Drew University Lake in New Jersey
In the woods close to the arboretum at Drew University is a lake. It is reportedly haunted by a lady in blue. The spirit apparently likes to trip people and her apparition has been seen. People also report things such as feeling uneasy, as if they are being watched, and even cold spots.
How about a lake that has Bigfoot sightings?
Lake James, North Carolina
Avacado Lake, California
Salt Fork State Park lakes, Ohio
Pat Mayse Lake, Texas
Crater Lake, Oregon
Want a UFO sighting?
Crater Lake, Oregon
This deepest lake in Oregon has had many missing planes, helicopters, people, Bigfoot, and UFO sightings.
Eagle Lake, Allagash, Maine
In the mid-1970s, two brothers and their two friends went camping at a lake in Maine and had missing time. Later on, after hypnosis, they were able to recall abduction by aliens.
Falcon Lake, Manitoba
Lake Elsinore, California
If you don’t plan to go away this summer, at least make some smores and hunker down for some good horror movies that take place at lakes (*my favorites) –
*The People Across the Lake (free on YouTube)
*Friday the 13th (series)
Mermaid: Lake of the Dead
*Cabin by the Lake
House by the Lake
GRAVESTONE CLEANING TIPS FROM BILLIONGRAVES
by Cathy Wallace
Gravestone cleaning can turn back the wheels of time to make your ancestor’s final resting place nearly as beautiful as the day their family members gathered there to wish them farewell.
Time has been hard on gravestones that were originally considered nearly permanent. Weathering, erosion, neglect, and vandalism have all taken their toll.
While some of this damage cannot be reversed, in other cases, preservation and prevention can make all the difference. And as more people become interested in genealogical research, there is a greater desire to preserve what is left of our ancestor’s legacies in stone.
By cleaning and caring for historic resting places you can provide an opportunity for future generations to glimpse the past. Then burial grounds will become treasures of information that would otherwise have been forgotten or lost.
BillionGraves and Save Your Stones
BillionGraves has partnered with the gravestone preservation company Save Your Stones to provide you with the best guidelines and tools for cleaning your family headstones.
The owner of Save Your Stones, Jarrod Roll, is a professional museum curator in Sparta, Wisconsin. Roll was trained during graduate school to clean stone, so it was a natural step for him to begin a gravestone preservation business.
Save Your Stones now brings its 13 years of gravestone cleaning expertise to BillionGraves. You will benefit by being able to not only clean your ancestor’s headstones with a BillionGraves Gravestone Cleaning Kit but also take photos with the free BillionGraves app. The gravestones will not only shine again, but they will have a GPS-linked image posted on BillionGraves.com for your family members to enjoy for generations to come.
Why Should You Clean a Gravestone?
There are two main reasons to clean a gravestone. First, it may need to be cleaned to preserve its structural integrity. For example, plant roots can creep into the stone and cause cracking that may split the stone. Lichen can eat away at the surface causing it to crumble.
And second, plant growth or darkening can obscure names, dates, and other data. Correct and careful cleaning procedures, as used by professional conservationists, can keep the stone readable and prevent future deterioration.
When Should You NOT Clean a Gravestone?
Before you get started, it is important to decide if a headstone really needs to be cleaned.
Sometimes cleaning is done needlessly. For instance, it can be easy to mistake the natural patina of aging for dirt. Marble headstones will not look as white as the day they were set because the nature of marble is to change color as it is exposed to the elements. It may be best to leave those stones alone.
Next, consider the effect that cleaning solutions and methods will have on the stone. Then weigh the benefits against the potential risk of possibly damaging the surface. Cleaning may only make damage worse if the gravestone is already flaking or peeling.
Finally, assess the stability of the monument. Sometimes after careful consideration, it may be best to decide to leave the gravestone in its current state.
Avoid cleaning the headstone just to honor the memory of your loved one. Only clean it if it is really needed. Bless your heart for wanting to do it, but let’s find other ways to keep their memory alive!
Sources of Gravestone Damage
There are several reasons you will want to consider gravestone cleaning. Cleaning can be so important to prevent decay to the stone. Damage is caused to gravestones by . . .
Understand Laws and Regulations
BillionGraves subscriber, Doug McCallum, the son of a cemetery commissioner, said, “It is critical to know the local ordinances. In some places, cleaning any stone – no matter how safe the product – would be considered vandalism and may make you subject to large fines. It is 100% important to ask permission before doing any modification to a stone.”
McCallum’s father noted that some Revolutionary War monuments in the northeastern United States were being damaged by well-intentioned people.
So please, use common sense in considering the condition of a gravestone. Be careful, seek permission, and check online for any pertinent cemetery, city, county, state, or federal ordinances pertaining to the area where you wish to clean a gravestone.
Source of Gravestone Damage #1: Biological Growth
Biological growth in the cemetery is just what it sounds like – living things growing on the gravestones such as moss, lichen, algae, fungi, mold, and other plant life. And while a headstone covered with ivy or fringed with moss and lichen may give a sense of antiquity and nostalgia to the cemetery, it is also extremely damaging. If left untreated, biological growth can cause headstones to crack, crumble, and split over time.
Algae, fungi, and lichen
Algae, fungi, and lichen may be green, gray, black, red, orange, yellow, blue, or brown. These organisms can damage headstones by trapping moisture on the stone and beneath the surface of the stone. Then as temperatures change, the moisture freezes and thaws. Consequently, thermal expansion and contraction cause cracking and flaking.
The trapped moisture also continues to foster the growth of additional algae, fungi, and lichen, which extend into the pores of the stone. Then as the moisture levels fluctuate, the “roots” or hyphae of these living organisms swell and shrink causing cracking, peeling, and flaking to occur.
Plants – such as grass, ivy, moss, and ferns – that grow on or under gravestones can be damaging because their roots penetrate the stone and cause splitting. And like algae, fungi, and lichen, they also trap moisture.
If you’ve ever seen a dandelion or a blade of grass poking up through a cement driveway or causing a sidewalk to heave, you understand the power of tiny plant roots!
Plants, lichen, moss, algae and other natural growths can contain acid. Acidic substances can be damaging to some types of stone and it can become more severe over time.
For example, marble is composed primarily of calcium carbonate. Lichen secretes an acid that can dissolve the calcite. This can cause a loss of carving details, erosion to the surface, and even damage the structural integrity of the headstone.
Source of Gravestone Damage #2: Soiling
Flat grave markers are particularly susceptible to damage from dirt, soil, and mud. Dirt that penetrates into the pores of the stone can cause a dingy appearance. It can also lead to staining. For example, minerals in the soil, such as iron, can leach into the headstone and cause rust-colored stains.
If a headstone sinks into the ground over time and is later raised and reset, an obvious line of soiling can be visible. Soil can also retain moisture after snow and rainfall, leading to the growth of mildew and mold.
Even upright headstones can be damaged and eroded by airborne dirt in windstorms. This is a particular concern in deserts where cemetery ground is frequently left bare.
For cemeteries located near factories or in large cities with lots of traffic, air pollution can be a problem. Pollutants can interact with the stone, changing the appearance and etching the surface.
The National Center for Preservation Training and Technology (NCPTT) states that “sulfur dioxide produced through manufacturing processes and vehicle exhaust can interact with marble surfaces to cause gypsum crusts. These crusts can capture soil and pollution particles to create rough, gray surfaces.”
Source of Gravestone Damage #3: Staining
Gravestones near trees or bushes are at risk for staining from two sources: sap and animals.
Overhanging tree branches and plants may drip sap onto gravestones. Sap contains resins that can be difficult to remove. Sugar in the sap can attract insects, which may lay eggs or burrow into the stone. The sap sugars also provide a source of food for mildew and mold. Bushes and shrubs sometimes have falling berries that can stain headstone surfaces.
Animal urine, feces, and bird droppings can leave gravestones with brown, yellow or white stains that become set into the pores of the stone. These stains may be difficult to remove, depending on the animal’s diet.
Headstone Cleaning Tips
Here are some dos and don’ts for gravestone cleaning.
Don’t do anything that will damage the surface of the headstone
Don’t use common household cleaners
Don’t use strong bases or acids
Don’t use power tools, such as sanders or drills with wire brushes
Don’t use power washers or pressure over 300 psi
Don’t use bleach
Don’t use cleaners with salt in them
Don’t rub the gravestone surface with hard-bristled brushes
Don’t scrape the gravestone surface with anything harder than the stone
Do no harm!
Choose the gentlest cleaning method possible
Do read and follow product manufacturer’s guidelines
Do use good safety practices
Do test small areas before cleaning the entire headstone
Do keep the stone wet as you work
Do obtain the approval of other family members before cleaning
Gravestone Cleaning Supplies
BillionGraves, headstone, gravestone, cemetery, genealogy, family history, BillionGraves, ancestors, gravestone cleaning kit
Water mister, spray bottle, bucket, or hose
Soft plastic scraper
Soft bristle brushes
D/2 Biological Solution
Safety glasses (optional)
First and most important is water. Water will not damage the stone and should be used first to gently wash away dirt, soil, and dried grass clippings. Before you use chemical cleaners, wet the surface of the stone. Then as you are working, continually keep rewetting the stone to avoid letting the cleaner dry on the surface.
Water will keep the gravestone from getting damaged as you clean, so it is essential to either locate a source of water at the cemetery or bring water with you. If the cemetery has a water source you can use, bring a bucket or jug to transport it.
If you have traveled from out of town to clean your ancestor’s gravestone, you could purchase a gallon of distilled water to take with you to the cemetery.
Use a soft plastic scraper to gently remove biological overgrowth, such as moss or lichen. Scrapers should be softer than the stone itself and may be made of pliable plastic or silicone.
When it comes to using brushes for gravestone cleaning, think of the surface as being like the enamel on your teeth. The bristles need to be soft enough to do no damage but firm enough to get the job done.
The brush may be made of natural fibers or soft nylon. With any brush you use, run your fingers over the bristles, checking for gentle pliability. If there are any metal or rough edges, they should be covered with duct tape to avoid accidentally scratching the stone.
A wooden pick can be useful to remove lichen or algae, especially if it is growing in indentations or etched lettering.
D/2 Biological Solution
Cleaners used on gravestones should be the gentlest possible choice to get the job done. D/2 is a gentle biocide and very effective for headstones covered in biological growth – lichen, moss, fungi, algae, and plants.
D/2 Biological Solution was designed by conservators for conservators. It was successfully tested in a 6-year study. Finally, it was recognized as the official cleaner of the Department of Veteran Affairs National Cemetery Administration and specified to be used on U.S. military gravestones.
Historic Monuments Cleaned with D/2
Conservationists have used D/2 to clean millions of historic buildings and monuments as well as for gravestone cleaning. Here are some of the historic places that have been cleaned and restored using a D/2 biocide:
Gravestones at Arlington Cemetery
The White House
The New York City Public Library
The Washington Monument
The state of Washington capitol
The Biltmore Estate (the largest private home in America)
Burial Hill (one of the oldest cemeteries in America)
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin estate
Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry
There are many more but that is enough to give you the idea . . . this is a respected, well-researched product that has been used on some of the finest buildings and monuments in the world.
If there is landscaping near the gravestone you plan to clean, spray them with water before starting. Wetting flowers, grass, and foliage first will help protect them from overspray.
D/2 is non-toxic but may irritate eyes and skin. Safety glasses and gloves are an optional precaution. Masks may be worn if there is a danger of overspray on windy days. Always read the label on the cleaning product you are using and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.
This video demonstrates a gravestone being cleaned. Click on the arrow to start the video.
Methods for Gravestone Cleaning
Using the proper cleaning methods will protect the stone and protect you.
Gravestone Test Spot
Before spraying the entire stone with a chemical cleaner, it is a good idea to do a small test spot in an inconspicuous area to ensure you won’t be damaging the stone. If you wish, use painter’s tape to mark off a small square near the base or back of the gravestone. Spray the area inside the taped off section with water and then follow with D/2. Gently brush the sprayed square with a soft brush to test the results.
Soak with Water
When you are ready to clean the headstone, wet the entire surface with water. If you don’t have an easy source of water at the cemetery, purchase gallons of distilled water or fill water jugs at home to bring with you.
Large spray misters are helpful for large monuments and small hand spray bottles of water are fine for small stones.
Stone is very porous and absorbent. Spraying with water liberally will keep the cleaner on the surface and out of the pores.
Cleaning the Gravestone
Start cleaning from the bottom of the stone and work your way up. This will minimize the effects of streaking if the cleaner runs down the surface.
Scrape off any large clumps of biological growth with a plastic or wood scraper. Rinse.
Spray the cleaner generously over the surface of the stone in an area that can be easily worked before it dries out. Then allow the biocide to sit on the stone for about 10-15 minutes. Next, gently scour the stone in small circular motions with a soft brush. Work the cleaner into the crevices and lettering.
It is better to scrub gently several times over the same area than to try to scrub too hard on the first attempt. Watch carefully for any damage to the stone your pressure may cause and if you see flaking, stop and reassess your methods.
Work in Sections
Spray D/2 Biological Solution generously on the gravestone. Allow to sit for about 5 minutes. Remember, if you are cleaning a large monument work in sections. Keep the gravestone wet as you work by continually spraying it with D/2.
It is helpful to use varying brush sizes for different areas of the tombstone. Use a wooden pick to remove debris and growth from etched lettering and detailed carvings.
Repeat these steps as needed to remove persistent stains and growth.
Finally, rinse the stone when you are done cleaning, striving to leave no visible cleaner on the surface.
You may be pleasantly surprised to learn that even after you have cleaned a gravestone with D/2 Biological Cleaner it will continue to clean the headstone on its own for the next few weeks to months -without you having to anything else.
As the cleaner seeps into the pores of the stone it will kill more biological growth. And you will be able to see a noticeable lightening of the stone during this time.
Finally, take a photo of your newly cleaned gravestone using the BillionGraves app on your smartphone. To get the app, go to the App Store on an iPhone or the Google Play Store on an Android phone. Using the app is quick and easy.
In fact, it’s so easy that you can take about 250 photos per hour as a beginner. That means you could photograph ALL the gravestones in your ancestor’s cemetery!
GPS coordinates will automatically be linked to the images as you take the photos. GPS markers are then posted on satellite maps, so others can also find their ancestor’s gravestones by entering a name on their BillionGraves app.
When you upload your photos you will be given the option to transcribe the data yourself or have another volunteer transcribe it.
The information will then be available online for families around the world for generations to come!
*Gravestone Cleaning Kits are not recommended for fragile headstones.
As long as we remember, their memories never die!
If you would like to take photos of your ancestor’s cemetery, click HERE to get started. You are welcome to take gravestone photos at your own convenience, no permission from us is needed. What a nice way to honor the people your ancestors knew and loved!
If you still have questions after you have clicked on the link to get started, or if you would like tips for planning a group project, email us at Volunteer@BillionGraves.com.
Happy Cemetery Hopping!
Cathy Wallace and the BillionGraves Team
Coach Gilberto Chapter 7
by Stephen Halpert
Diana Rain stepped into Gilberto’s shabby office. Looking around, she raised her eyebrows and snickered. “They must think a lot of you,” she said, opening a folding chair and sitting. “How’s it going Superman?”
Gilberto chuckled. “They’re supposed to give me a real desk in a real office, but it hasn’t happened yet.”
She grinned. “Complete with one of those bars on wheels like you had at Atlas?”
He laughed. “Those were the days. This school lives pretty close to the vest. Money’s hardly ever mentioned.”
She smiled sympathetically. “Old Yankee thrift.” She looked around the room. I see they gave you a wall decoration. What’s that a painting of.” She pointed to a gilt-edged famed oil on the wall near the window.
“That’s a picture of the building before it became the Houndstooth school It was the Parker estate and was left specifically to be used as an educational establishment, with an endowment to go with it.
Diana laughed. “That old table they gave you part of the original building?”
He frowned. “Right now I have to be careful when I sit down at this antique or I’ll bruise my knees.”
She smiled, opened her bag and handed Gilberto her resume. “Thanks for sharing this opportunity with me.”
He sighed and set it on his desk. “Not much pay but lots of fresh air. You were an obvious choice. The school is going coed, so we’ll need a woman athletic coordinator and coach. “
She nodded. “I still remember your old office at Atlas. That magnificent view of Boston Harbor! Those great red leather club chairs comfortable enough for naps.”
He shifted in his creaky wooden desk chair and laughed. “God plays funny tricks on me.”
She smirked. “Yes, on all of us. Speaking of which Sarah Midgley’s in a private sanatorium in Switzerland. Has her blood washed, the whole nine yards. Heard tell her mind is pretty well gone.”
He frowned. “That’s nothing new.” A dark memory of her drifted through him and he shook it away quickly with a jerk of his head.
Diana got up and strode to the window overlooking the new gym and playing fields. She turned and looked at him. “I just can’t picture you here. It’s so not you.”
He shrugged. “Joey will be a senior next year so I can coach his soccer team. We’re keeping our Boston condo. It’s an easy drive down Beacon Street. Plus, Ramon’s here with me.”
She sat down, opened her bag, turned on her tablet and leafed through a bunch of notes. She leaned over his table and grinned. That grin of hers always endeared her to him. “I have to ask you,” she began, “What’s the story with Cyrus Willabee?”
Gilberto’s brows raised. “I see as usual you’ve done your homework.”
She grinned. “Just looking out for quicksand before I step in it. Did you know that the week preceding his death falling from that bridge, he cashed in close to three million in bonds and securities.”
Gilberto sucked in a breath. “Wow!”
“Now get this: he insisted upon, actually demanded cash. That raised a few eyebrows but he got his way. That cash was delivered to him and it disappeared that same week he fell. Our office was asked to investigate”
Gilberto flexed his back. “And speaking of that, how is Smith these days. I hope he’s well. Seriously are you here seeking employment, or are you investigating Willabee’s death and the disappearing millions?”
“Both,” she smiled. “I’ll probably always be on call to the Agency, but in time I hope to retire. Coaching women’s rugby and creating an athletic program for women seems like the type of challenge I’d appreciate.”
Gilberto smiled and shook his head. “You mean those millions really just disappeared?”
She nodded. “But more mysteriously, bank examiners couldn’t find any commercial paper transactions, bills of sale, stuff like that.”
Gilberto chuckled. “Maybe he saved up to buy something special like Mt Rushmore. But why are you so interested in him?”
She laughed. “You know me, I always try to check out the mysterious ones.”
He nodded. “Same old Rain.”
“By the way that table where your sitting is handmade 18th century Americana; quite special, even if it’s got it in for your poor knees.”
“So, what’s the skinny around here on old Cyrus? What have you heard?”
“I wish I could help you but I don’t know a thing. No one seems to know anything–specifically if he fell or was pushed. Headmaster and trustees are all playing that whole incident like it didn’t happen. Bad publicity for Houndstooth they say, shaking their heads. The entire incident is now ancient history.” He paused and looked thoughtful. “So that could mean that nobody here knew about his money.”
“Except possibly his murderer.” Abruptly, she sat up straight. “What?” Her eyes flashed. “Hey,” she said, “Somebody just kissed my cheek.” She jumped up from her chair and surveyed the room.
Gilberto grinned. “Maybe it was his ghost. No other explanation comes to mind. From what I gather he was a complete original, quite the practical joker and they say he had a way with the ladies.”
Rain sat back down and sniffed. “Maybe he still does,” Then she grinned. “Hi Cyrus, I’m Diana. I’ve always had a way with poltergeists. Let’s go have some lunch.”
Gilberto laughed. “I assume there was some sort of investigation?”
Rain frowned. “Something like that. What could the cops do, question the trees? Those on the bridge were a small group of parents visiting the campus, and they said they saw nothing.”
“Ouch,” Rain said. She raised her eyebrows. “And of course his remains were cremated.” Her eyes swept across the room. She smiled and letting them drift into a different focus she said “If you’re here Cyrus I certainly hope we can get better acquainted.”
Seconds later the framed painting of the Parker estate, now the Houndstooth administration building, crashed to the floor.
To Be Continued
Kitty Kat’s Korner
9 Surprising Ways Humans Are Like Cats
By Debbie De Louise
You probably know that monkeys and apes are known to be most like people, but did you know that cats also share many similarities with us biologically, physically and psychologically?
A 2007 genome study found that about 90% of the genes in a cat are similar to human genes. In this study, Initial sequence and comparative analysis of the cat genome (ncbi.nim.nig.gov), the percent of genes represented in a dog were only 81.9 percent and chimpanzee 78.8 percent comparatively (to humans).
Dr. Nicholas Dodman, professor emeritus, Tufts University, explains that cat brains are composed of gray and white matter. Like humans, they have temporal, occipital, frontal and parietal lobes of their cerebral cortex. Dr. Dodman adds that “Cats seem to think in the same pattern as humans, too, partly owing to the similarity of neurotransmitters … Cats receive input from the basic five senses and process that data just as humans do.”
Cats also have short- and long-term memories. Dr. Dodman provides an amazing illustration of cat memories from his award-winning book, The Cat Who Cried For Help (Bantam; 1999). The story involves a cat very bonded to his owner who passed away in a bedroom in his house. After the owner died, the cat refused to go into the bedroom for exactly one year. On the anniversary of his owner’s death, the cat entered the room and jumped on the bed.
Once, I nearly shut my cat’s leg in a door I was opening. The next day, he hid from me when I opened that door showing he recalled that unpleasant incident and was afraid it would happen again if he came near that door.
Pam Johnson-Bennett, certified cat behavior consultant and best-selling author, says, “Cats are learning all the time. Every experience teaches them that something is either positive, negative or not relevant. Cat parents are often not even aware of how much they are training or reinforcing their cats’ learning in everyday life … Just as with cats, we tend to repeat behaviors that have a desired consequence and try to avoid experiences that are unpleasant or threatening.”
Samantha Martin, owner and trainer for Amazing Acro-Cats and Rock Cats Rescue, adds that “People, especially young children, learn things by watching adults do things and mimicking them. Cats also mimic what they see other cats do and get rewarded for. Many of my cats have picked up tricks that I have not trained them to do just by watching another cat do it repeatedly.”
Dr. Dodman recalls an incident at a cat show in Texas many years ago where an obstacle course was set up. Cats were led through the circuit by people waving a teaser toy to guide them over the obstacles. This wasn’t so impressive because any cat would follow someone with a cat teaser. But when a cat who had already passed through the course went back a second time and repeated the circuit without any teasers or assistance, it showed how quickly cats can learn and remember.
Connection and Affection
Pam also explains that, although cats are stereotyped as aloof, they are social animals who need the same type of affection and companionship as people. Just like us, they each show affection in different ways.
“There are cats who enjoy close physical contact when it comes to affection. For some cats and people, that includes anything from holding to simply a gentle touch. It may also mean just some degree of physical connection such as sitting close together enough so as to be touching or leaning against each other. There are cats and humans who prefer to show affection in more subtle and easy-to-miss ways,” Pam says. “Not all people enjoy physical contact and they may show affection through thoughtful actions, being present or through kind words. It’s also easy to miss some ways cats show subtle affectionate displays as well, such as being nearby, showing a relaxed body posture, purring or giving slow eye blinks.”
Cat owner Diane Kane had a cat named Scooter who she found as a young kitten separated from her mother. Diane recalls, “I fed her with a dropper and slept with her on my chest … As she grew, she was my constant companion.” Diane gave an example that when she worked in her garden, Scooter would watch her digging and mimic her behavior by digging holes, too. Another way that Scooter showed her affection included returning Diane’s kisses with “audible smacks.” Although Scooter died young of kidney disease, Diane says that “she lived her life perfectly content to be one with her human family.”
Cats suffer from “human” diseases such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, thyroid disease and cancer. I’ve had cats with diabetes, cancer, kidney disease and my current cat, Stripey, has hyperthyroidism. My diabetic cat, Floppy, who passed away at 15 in 2007 had been treated with prednisone for asthma as a kitten and developed diabetes at 6. I administered two shots daily of Humulin insulin to him. He also suffered from pancreatitis and a liver condition. All his treatments for these illnesses were similar to those people with the same problems received.
Deborah Barnes, past president of the Cat Writers’ Association, also has a cat, Zee, with hyperthyroidism like my cat Stripey. “When Zee was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, we were given some choices for treatment,” she says. Deb chose the methimazole pill, while I chose the compounded transdermal cream applied to the ear twice a day (which I find easier to administer than pills). Weight loss is common in hyperthyroid cats, as it is in people, and is one of the main symptoms of the condition. Stripey and Zee have put on some weight since their treatment started. Deb also keeps Zee on a special diet. She says he gets a combination of canned and dry food that caters to the dietary needs of a cat with thyroid issues, and she also gives him additional supplements in his food. While Stripey eats canned and dry along with our other cats, we also give him treats with his medication and occasional fresh chicken.
Besides sharing common human diseases, cats can also spread what are known as zoonotic diseases to humans. According to the American Association of Feline Practitioners (catvets.com) in its Feline Zoonoses Guidelines, “Zoonotic diseases are defined as being common to, shared by or naturally transmitted between humans and other vertebrate animals.” Some common zoonotic diseases cited in the catvets.com brochure What Can I Catch from My Cat? Feline Zoonoses include cat scratch fever, ringworm, rabies and toxoplasmosis.
Dr. Jane Brunt, executive director of the CATalyst Council for Lifelong Health of Companion Cats, says that the single most important point for preventing many feline zoonotic diseases is year-round parasite preventives, including indoor-only cats. She recommends cat owners work with cat-friendly vets to find the appropriate preventive for their pets. There have also been concerns regarding coronavirus as a zoonotic disease. (Go to catster.com to read our article Coronavirus and Cats: What Cat Owners Need to Know About COVID-19.)
Mental Health Issues
Dr. Dodman says that cats can also suffer from the same psychological issues as people and are also treated similarly for these problems. They can be anxious, have phobias and even disorders such as OCD. “Cats (with anxiety) respond to the same anxiety drugs as people,” he points out.
Another area that cats and humans are similar emotionally is how they respond to loss. Pam relates her experiences with “clients who have experienced the loss of a human, canine or feline member and are confused about what to do for their surviving cat. Very often, they think the cat is lonely, and they adopt a new feline companion. Even though the family understands their own grief, they are often surprised to learn that the surviving cat is grieving and the sudden addition of an unfamiliar cat only makes matters worse. Although we don’t display grief in the same way as cats, we share that emotional pain and loss.”
Cats are also similar to people personality-wise. Dr. Dodman refers to tests that have been conducted on cats to determine their character traits. These tests are similar to the Myers/Briggs study of human personalities. Cats were found to have a combination of three traits: alert (active and curious), sociable and equable (stable temperament). These different trait combinations, according to Dr. Dodman, are also found in people. Cats can be introverts, extroverts or in between the two.
“There are more similarities than differences between cats and people,” Dr. Dodman says.
I’ve also found in the many years I’ve shared my life with cats is that, like people, they all have their own personalities. This individualistic nature of felines is what I believe cat lovers enjoy most about them.
Georgia Nicols’ Weekly Horoscope:
April 17, 2022
An exuberant, electrifying energy ushers in this week because Mercury is lined up with unpredictable Uranus. Since both these planets are in a solid Earth sign, this will also trigger brilliant, practical solutions for us. Nevertheless, what the large print giveth, the small print taketh away. At the same time, the Sun will be at odds with Pluto indicating power struggles. (Patience is the key.) By the end of the week, a dreamy influence arrives making our imaginations soar! Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” I say, “All is theatre. If you put out fresh flowers, you don’t have to dust.”
Aries (March 21-April 19)
Be aware that unusual changes will impact your finances this week, especially at the beginning of the week. Stay on top of banking details. Know what’s happening because something unexpected could impact your assets, including your earnings. This might also apply to your belongings. For example, something you own might be lost, damaged or stolen. Therefore, keep your eyes open! Meanwhile, you are becoming increasingly in touch with a softer part of you – your inner world. Your spiritual values. In turn, this will prompt a greater appreciation of your world. It will also prompt a greater appreciation of the suffering of others.
Taurus (April 20-May 20)
This is a powerful time for you because the Sun, Mercury and Uranus are all in your sign, and they are all lined up. This is why you feel super independent! You might even feel rebellious. You do not want to be dictated to by others. Furthermore, you might feel compelled to suddenly act or do unexpected things. Life has taken on an unpredictable quality for you, which can be exciting but also disconcerting. Be aware of this wild energy swirling around you and think before you act. Do not be rash. Fortunately, friends and members of groups are supportive and loving to you now, which is such a blessing.
Gemini (May 21-June 20)
This is an unsettling time for you and you might not know why. The reason for this is the Sun, Mercury and Uranus are closely lined up in your chart; however, they are “hiding.” This means all this electric, impulsive energy is fomenting beneath the surface of things. This could make you feel vaguely restless. You have that feeling that you should “do something.” In fact, you might say or do something that surprises others. Fortunately, a lovely, supportive influence is taking place at the top of your chart right now, which is helpful to you. This means people in power will be supportive — bosses, parents, teachers, VIPs and the police. Therefore, if you need help – ask for it.
Cancer (June 21-July 22)
This is a popular time for you! You are more involved with young people as well making connections with organizations or clubs. Your involvement with others is lively and stimulating! It might make you feel younger. It might also trigger new ideas that make you change your future goals? Without doubt, some of you will meet someone interesting, perhaps a real character – someone unusual in some way or different from you. In addition, travel and opportunities to broaden your horizons will be thrilling! You might develop a crush on someone from another culture? You are excited and uplifted to explore opportunities in other countries, other cultures as well as publishing, the media, medicine and the law. A very rewarding time!
Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)
Sudden and unexpected news might catch you off guard at the beginning of the week. It could relate to a parent. More likely, it will relate to a boss or someone in a position of authority, perhaps even the government or the police. (“Busted!”) Do be aware of this. However, this astrological combo also indicates that you feel rebellious, especially against authority. You want to do something on your own terms. Furthermore, you’re prepared to speak up about it. You want to fight for what is right, not only for yourself but for others. (Very much your style.) Meanwhile, financial matters are looking sweet! Gifts, goodies and favours from others will come your way. You might receive an inheritance. This same, beneficial influence can promote your love life and make things passionate and wonderfully affectionate. Oh my.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
Travel opportunities might drop in your lap this week. Conversely, planned travel might suddenly be changed or cancelled? Meanwhile, others will hear unexpected news about medical matters or something to do with a legal situation. Or something unexpected might even impact your work in publishing or the media? New ideas and new opportunities to get further training and education will also be exciting. Do be aware that whatever opportunities present themselves to you will have a brief window, which means you will have to act quickly. Fortunately, your closest relationships are warm and cozy! This applies to dear friendships as well as your interactions with a spouse or partner. Bonus!
Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
At the beginning of this week, stay on top of banking details and anything to do with taxes, debt, insurance issues or matters related to shared property. I say this because this is where you might have a surprise. When it comes to financial matters, unless it’s a boon or a windfall, nobody likes a surprise. Therefore, stay on top of your scene. Know what’s happening, in case you have to head something off at the pass. (Especially if the posse is after you.) Fortunately, something quite wonderful is impacting your health as well as your job or your work. This is where you will truly benefit! Relations with coworkers are positive. You might see ways to make your workspace more attractive. You might get a promotion or even a better job. We like!
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
Something unusual will take place between you and a close friend or a partner at the beginning of the week. Someone might make an unusual demand upon a relationship? They might want more freedom? Or perhaps, you will meet someone new? Or someone close to you might introduce you to someone who is different and unusual? Something interesting will definitely take place. Meanwhile, this is a lovely time for your social life because social plans with others will be interesting! You will enjoy the theatre, movies or some kind of interaction where you are entertained. Playful activities with kids will be upbeat. Romance will be thrilling, heartwarming and affectionate. Smoochie boochies!
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
This week you can expect interruptions and sudden changes that impact your job and your work. These changes might be positive – or not. For example, they could indicate the introduction of new technology; or you might have computer problems. Aagghhh. A change to your work might happen. You might start a new job or a new project? You will be full of original, clever ideas related to your work. Likewise, something unexpected might occur that relates to your health. Avoid accidents and be careful. Similarly, keep an eye on your pet to avoid mishaps. On the upside, you will adore entertaining at home or redecorating where you live or buying wonderful things for your home because everything related to home and family is blessed! (You feel so fortunate.)
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
Parents should be extra vigilant this week because this is an accident-prone time for your kids. However, everyone will experience a change to social plans. This change will also apply to vacations or any kind of entertaining diversion, including the arts as well as sports. This could include an unexpected award or a win or some wonderful acknowledgement? Admittedly, it might indicate a sudden disappointment. Could go either way. Most likely it is positive news because this week your everyday relations with others are unusually warm, friendly and mutually beneficial. You are the charter member of your own mutual admiration society. Kiss, kiss, hug, hug.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
This week, interruptions and unexpected events will impact home and family for you – no question. Very likely, this will take place at the beginning of the week. For example, small appliances might break down or a minor breakage could occur. Unexpected company might be knocking at your door. (Do get dressed.) Technology might be a challenge. A Wi-Fi connection? Computer glitches? The good news is that money is coming your way! Many of you will suddenly boost your earnings or find a better paying job. You will work hard to earn your money as well. Since the money is flowing, many of you will also buy lovely, beautiful, special things for yourself. And why not? Money is only useful if you spend it.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
Do be careful because this is an accident-prone time for you. Therefore, pay attention to everything you say and do because I’m referring to both physical and verbal accidents. (“Did I just say that?”) On the upside, you will have brilliant, original ideas! That’s because you can easily think outside of the box. New faces, new places and new plans will be exciting! All of this will definitely keep you on your toes. Meanwhile, a beautiful influence of Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Neptune is taking place in your sign (an influence that is still lingering from last week). This can only bring you good fortune. Alphabetize your blessings!
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