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Posts Tagged With: Magnoliophyta
A Story For Autumn
Author: Janice Van Cleve
Let me tell you a story . . .
Once upon a time there was a little yellow flower petal named Dandelion. Her full name was Dandelion 232 because she shared the crown of the mother plant with 231 of her sisters. Dandelion was very happy. She basked in the sun with her siblings and gloried in her comfortable and easy life. Her mother fed her every day and brought her water to drink. Every night the mother closed her green sepals around the petals to protect and shelter them.
One day there was a distinct chill in the air and Dandelion noticed that the days were growing shorter. Soon she began to feel herself changing. Her lower half grew into a seed while her bright yellow petal transformed into a stem with a white parachute on top. This was very strange and she knew not what it meant. Yet she still felt the security of home. She still shared the cozy flower crown with her sisters and her mother always closed her sepals around them at night.
One night, the mother did not close her sepals. The petals stretched open their parachutes and by the dawn, they had spread out into a great round puffball. A couple of them even blew away in the breeze! “I won’t leave you, Mother! ” cried Dandelion. Mother tried to explain to her little daughter what was happening. She tried to tell her that this was part of the cycle of all things. Dandelion would not listen. She feared the changes that were happening. The next day the wind blew stronger and more of her sisters floated away. Terrified, little Dandelion pleaded, “Please, Mother, don’t let go of me!” She held on with all her might but to no avail. The mother plant died, and there was nothing left to hold onto. Another gust, and Dandelion was plucked from the secure home she had always known and was cast to the wind.
For many days Dandelion was blown about, tumbled around, and bumped by all manner of obstacles until finally her parachute and stem broke off. She lay on the ground bruised and sore and very much afraid. “I’m lost and alone, ” she wailed, “woe is me. It cannot get any worse.” Then along came a bird.
The bird was hungry. It spied Dandelion and decided she would be tasty. Before Dandelion knew what was happening, she was swallowed down. “Oh no! ” cried Dandelion, “this is much worse. At least on the ground I could still see the light. It’s pitch dark in here.”
Several hours later the bird lightened its load and Dandelion found herself buried in a bird deposit. “This is it – the absolute worst, ” sighed Dandelion. “I’ve been torn from my home, abandoned by my mother, abused, battered, and bitten, and now here I am, alone in a strange place and in deep poop!” So Dandelion relinquished all she had known and held dear. She resigned herself to what is and let go of what she wished it to be. She unclenched her grip on life as she knew it and let it unfold as it would.
Time passed. After several months the sun returned to warm the land again. The bird deposit had dried and cracked and now it decomposed itself to become nutrient for the soil. Instead of being the worst of fates, it had been a protection for Dandelion from the harshness of the winter. Dandelion could see the light again. Then she felt a stirring within her. Her seedpod swelled and split open. One long tendril grew out and extended itself down from her into the dirt. Another stretched up into the air and leaves sprouted from it. As the days grew warmer, Dandelion grew bigger. Soon she was a strong and healthy plant with a deep taproot and many lush green leaves.
Summer came and Dandelion began to feel a new stirring. Up from her center grew a stalk. On that stalk grew a crown with sepals and many little petals. She opened the sepals and discovered to her delight a crown of hundreds of little yellow petals basking in the sun. She fed them every day and brought them water to drink. She held them high so they could receive as much sun as possible. They grew and swelled with pride in their bright yellow finery. Every night Dandelion closed her sepals around her daughters in protective embrace. She was very happy.
One day the air turned chill and Dandelion noticed that the days were growing shorter. She knew what was coming. She released the special hormone that triggered seed and parachute formation and fed it to her daughters. She continued to protect them as long as she was able, but at last her sepals would not respond any longer. She recalled how once before she had let go of home and mother and all that she had loved and held dear, and now she knew it was time to let go again. She remembered her mother’s last words about the cycle of all things and she was prepared now for the next turning of the cycle.
The wind began to blow. One by one she felt her daughters plucked from her crown. She knew what they would face but she was confident also in their future and that they would be reborn and become mothers in their own right. She knew that they would have petals of their own and that the cycle of all things would renew as it always had and as it always would. One of her daughters, however, was still holding on to her crown tenaciously and repeating, “I won’t leave you, mother! I won’t leave you!”
And the mother sighed and said, “Dandelion, let me tell you a story
Botanical: Eugenia caryophyllata (THUMB.)
Family: N.O. Myrtaceae
—Part Used—Undeveloped flowers.
—Habitat—Molucca Islands, Southern Philippines.
—Description—A small evergreen tree, pyramidal, trunk soon divides into large branches covered with a smooth greyish bark; leaves large, entire, oblong, lanceolate (always bright green colour), which stand in pairs on short foot-stalks, when bruised very fragrant. Flowers grow in bunches at end of branches.
At the start of the rainy season long greenish buds appear; from the extremity of these the corolla comes which is of a lovely rosy peach colour; as the corolla fades the calyx turns yellow, then red. The calyces, with the embryo seed, are at this stage beaten from the tree and when dried are the cloves of commerce. The flowers have a strong refreshing odour. If the seeds are allowed to mature, most of the pungency is lost. Each berry has only one seed. The trees fruit usually about eight or nine years after planting. The whole tree is highly aromatic. The spice was introduced into Europe from the fourth to the sixth century.
The finest cloves come from Molucca and Pemba, where the trees grow better than anywhere else, but they are also imported from the East and West Indies, Mauritius and Brazil.
In commerce the varieties are known by the names of the localities in which they are grown. Formerly Cloves were often adulterated, but as production increased the price lowered and fraud has decreased. Cloves contain a large amount of essential oil which is much used in medicine. When of good quality they are fat, oily, and dark brown in colour, and give out their oil when squeezed with the finger-nail. When pale colour and dry, they are of inferior quality and yield little oil. Clove stalks are some times imported, and are said to be strongerand more pungent even than the Cloves.
Clove trees absorb an enormous amount of moisture, and if placed near water their weight is visibly increased after a few hours; dishonest dealers often make use of this knowledge in their dealings, and the powdered stems are often sold as pure powdered Cloves.
—Constituents—Volatile oil, gallotannic acid; two crystalline principles – Caryophyllin, which is odourless and appears to be a phylosterol, Eugenin; gum, resin, fibre.
—Medicinal Action and Uses—The most stimulating and carminative of all aromatics; given in powder or infusion for nausea emesis, flatulence, languid indigestion and dyspepsia, and used chiefly to assist the action of other medicines. The medicinal properties reside in the volatile oil. The oil must be kept in dark bottles in a cool place. If distilled with water, salt must be added to raise the temperature of ebullition and the same Cloves must be distilled over and over again to get their full essence.
The oil is frequently adulterated with fixed oil and oil of Pimento and Copaiba. As a local irritant it stimulates peristalsis. It is a strong germicide, a powerful antiseptic, a feeble local anaesthetic applied to decayed teeth, and has been used with success as a stimulating expectorant in phthisis and bronchial troubles. Fresh infusion of Cloves contains astringent matter as well as the volatile oil. The infusion and Clove water are good vehicles for alkalies and aromatics.
—Dosages—Fluid extract, 5 to 30 drops. Oil extract, 1 to 5 drops. Infusion, B.P., 1/2 to 1 OZ.
The Wicca Book of Days for August 28
The botanical name of mint is Mentha, for a Greek myth tells that the river nymph Mentha (or Mintha) was transformed into this herb following a doomed affair with Hades. The Greeks and Romans dedicated the plant to Mercury, this Virgoan day’s planetary ruler, however, on account of its ability to clear the head and encourage rational thinking. Still the world’s most popular breath-freshener and an invaluable herb to have to hand in the kitchen, it is furthermore a refreshing, cooling agent whose power to relax muscles makes mint tea an excellent digestive.
Be Open to Orange!
If you need to remain calm and objective before making an important decision today, infuse yourself with these Mercurial characteristics by incorporating a splash of orange – Mercury’s color – into your outfit, maybe in the form of a scarf or handkerchief.
- 4th Moon of the Celtic Year – (March 18 – April 14)
- Latin name: Smooth Alder – alnus serrulata.
- Celtic name: Fearn (pronounced: fair un).
- Folk or Common names: Alder, Gummy/Gluey (European), Rugose/wrinkly (Tag), Tree of the Fairies.
- Parts Used: Parts Used: Branches, wood, bark, leaves.
- Herbal usage: Alder is in the hazelnut family and was used by Native Americans as a medicinal plant. Tea can be made from bark and is useful in treating diarrhea, coughs, toothaches and the discomfort of childbirth. A potion made from the bark can also be used externally as an eye wash or for a wash for poison ivy, swellings and sprains.
- Magical History & Associations: The birds associated with this month are the raven, the crow and the gull; the colors are crimson, green-brown and royal purple; the day is Saturday; and the gemstone is fire-garnet. The Alder, a Masculine herb, is associated with the element of fire, and the planet of Venus. The Alder is sacred to Bran the Blessed and Cronos (Saturn). Alder is also sacred to Faery kings and elf kings – from the word Alder comes elder (not the tree) as in ‘elder’ kings. The Fey of the Alder have been described as water spirits or as “Dark Faeries”. They are very protective of the tree and when they leave their trees, this Faerie will take the form of a Raven. In tree Folk-lore, the Alder is known as the tree of fire – In the battle of the trees, the Alder fought in the very front line. It is described as the very “battle witch” of all woods, the tree that is hottest in the fight.
- Magickal usage: The month of Alder is a good time to do magick designed to celebrate the connection and tie between all women, and the mother-daughter bond. The Alder has applications in magick done for spiritual decisions, duty, prophecy, oracular strength, intelligence, mental prowess, resurrection, air magic, water magic, strength, spirituality, teaching, weather magick, and protection from outside forces. Alder leaves or twigs can be carried in a pouch to act as a protection charm and as a powerful force in psychic battles. Ash talismans or charms can also be carried to aid in the preservation of ideas. The Alder is known as the “fairy’s tree” in Celtic lore, so is good for fairy magic. The faeries are said to like to dance under the trees when they are flowering. Carrying Alder twigs or flowers acts as a charm for communicating with the fey. Alder is often used in resurrection magic and also used in building/construction magic. Alder wood is often called the “wood of the witches”. Whistles may be made of out of young shoots to entice Air elemental spirits. This gives a Witch the ability to summon, control and banish elementals or the four winds. It is also the ideal wood for making the magical pipes and flutes for use in magickal ceremonies. Alder produces a red dye from the bark, a green dye from the flowers and a brown dye from its twigs. Some Witches use these dyes in coloring ritual garb with the red dye signifying fire, the green dye: water, and the brown dye: earth. While the Witch is dying her robes, she should say:”These leaves from trees, these herbs and flowers, Make holy with your living powers Raise the power! Bestow the magick! Set earth’s seal upon my magick!”
When harvesting bark or leaves from the Alder, remember to ask the tree if it will allow you to take the parts and be sure to leave the tree an offering of thanks when you are done. To prepare Alder wood for use, beat the bark away with a willow stick while projecting your wishes into it.
April 8 – Daily Feast
It seems only yesterday when the first cold wind blew in and laid flat the wild rose and turned the canes gray. Leaves turned and dropped. Snows fell and drifted. Winter threatened to last forever. But it didn’t. Spring runs in and out like a child opening and slamming a door just to irritate us. The birds are flirting and meadows abound with baby calves in their first days. It is a time of change – not only in nature but in us. We enjoy that breaking point between late winter and early spring. In our mind’s eye we know where the wild phlox will spread its fragrance and the oxeye daisies will crowd the narrow path. It is with the same eye that we see ourselves blooming with health and prospering beyond our dreams. Only those who walk under a cloud miss the joy of this time, the open meadows and greening hills.
~ Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam, where the deer and the antelope play….Where seldom is heard a discouraging word and the skies are not cloudy all day. ~
‘A Cherokee Feast of Days’, by Joyce Sequichie Hifler