Lunar Lore

Lunar Lore
As when the moon, refulgent lamp of night,
  O’er heaven’s clear azure spreads her sacred light,
When not a breath disturbs the deep serene,
  And not a cloud o’ercasts the solemn scene;
            – Homer, “Iliad”, Bk. viii. (Pope’s trans.)

Today Is: Woden’s Day

Today Is: Woden’s Day – Energy: Male Ruler: Mercury – Rules healings, the mind – Use for magick involving mental issues, learning, higher education, addictions, communications, travel, young people, messages, perception, self-expression, artists, poets, and writers  

  • Today’s Magickal Influences: Conjurations, Predictions, Knowledge, Writing, Eloquence
  • Today’s Goddesses: Aset [Isis], Demeter, Ceres, Spider Woman, Bona Dea, Oya, Devi-Kali, Hella, Rhiannon, Coatlique, Maman Brigette, Sekhmet, Het Heret [Hathor]
  • Incense:   Cinnamon, Cinquefoil
  • Perfumes: Sweetpea, Lavender, Mastic, Frankincense, Cloves
  • Color of The Day:  Yellow, Gray, Violet
  • Colors for Tomorrow: Purple, Indigo, Blue
  • Lucky Sign: Wednesday Is The Lucky Day For Gemini  And Virgo 
  • Candle: Purple Violet

Daily Crystal: Black Tourmaline

Black Tourmaline

This Tourmaline is a very good grounding crystal for the emotions. It is also very good for grounding one during crystal healing layouts. It does not hold you back from going as far as you can go, it does help bring you back when you are ready, and more to the point, it grounds the Healing energy and information gained in the layout/meditative state enabling you to integrate what you have received and learned into your physical body and consciousness.

Black Tourmaline when held in the hand will relieve the symptoms of allergies noticeably within 10 minutes, if you do not feel a difference within that time, swap the Tourmaline between hands. It is also good for holding if you get a fright.

Black Tourmaline is very useful for people who are having trouble sleeping, either put it in your groin region or in your hand, even under your pillow and you will have a quality sleep and will awake feeling energized and ready to take on the day ahead with vigor.

http://www.shamanscrystal.co.uk/crystal/440/tourmaline-black

Crystal Meaning
The Wall. One of the most protective of crystals. It centres and grounds energy, whilst forming a protective barrier shielding one against all forms of subtle negative energy. Inside the user it promotes a very decisive energy which acts fast, dispelling illusions and provoking immediate action. Outside the user it reflects energy back to the point of origin. It closes auric leaks and hides weaknesses. In magic use its an excellent ward.
Magical use; Defense, Protection, Warding, Clearing, Grounding.
Healing use; Clearing, grounding, Methodical thinking, mental disorders.
Protection – Use 4 Pieces. 1st hold all four and focus the mind on the crystals working together. 2nd Place around an areaTourmaline_Black_Form for Meditation, Sleep or Ritual.
Physical Properties
Prismatic crystals formed mostly vertically & striated. It forms in granites and pegmatites, as well as metamorphic rocks, it may be found near Beryl, Zircon, Quartz and Feldspar. Colours – Tourmaline occurs in Black, Green, Red Rubellite, Blue and Watermelon. Group SILICATES, Hardness 7-7.5.

http://www.thatcrystalsite.com/guide/properties-glossary.php?init=b

Daily Goddess Devotion: Witches Prayer

Daily Goddess Devotion: Witches Prayer

I am of the Goddess for You are within me.
From beneath me arises Your energy of all the Earth; my home and my foundation.
From above me pours down Your light of the Sun and the enchanting Moon.
Into my right hand You give the strength to control and direct the magick hidden deep within my soul.
Into my left hand You give the skills of your divine energy to heal with the wisdom of time.
For You are the source of blessing.
So shall it ever be.

Lady Abigail
Copyright 11132009

‘May we live in peace without weeping. May our joy outline the lives we touch without ceasing. And may our love fill the world, angel wings tenderly beating.’
 
The Universal Heart Center
 

Runecast for Wednesday, March 9

Algiz of Heimdall’s Aett popped out of the pouch this morning Algiz pronounced “all-yeese” (Z or -R: Elk; protection) Protection, a shield. The protective urge to shelter oneself or others. Defense, warding off of evil, shield, guardian. Connection with the gods, awakening, higher life. It can be used to channel energies appropriately. Follow your instincts. Keep hold of success or maintain a position won or earned.

The elk stands alone, his horns silhouetted against the stormy sky. Protection. Stand alone. Keep open space around you. You are strongly caught up with something in your life and need to free yourself from excessive emotional bonds. By being too emotionally involved, you are wasting your energy and opening yourself to unfriendly people. By doing so, you are preventing yourself from progressing and creating disappointment, so try to be detached and objective, and in career matters, be independent. Instead of worrying about trivial, everyday issues, decide on the most important thing and forget everything else. Also, before involving other people, make sure that you really need their input. 

Algiz Reversed: or Merkstave: Hidden danger, consumption by divine forces, loss of divine link. Taboo, warning, turning away, that which repels. (Note: the reversed or merkstave definitions are included only for reference as they apply to a multi-rune cast and not to a single rune that’s drawn blind from the pouch)

As with all, take only what feels right to you and disregard the rest.

**a portion of today’s rune meaning/description was kindly provided by Ingrid Halvorsen at sunnyway.com and used here with her gracious permission**

In the Light…

Tom

SoulDiscoveryThruReiki
“Music is a release from the tyranny of conscious thought”
— Kevin Burke
Insanity is inherited, you get it from your kids…

Health Wise – Herbs as Remedies

Health Wise

Herbs as Remedies

by Nana

Herbal remedies

Humans’ reliance on plants has been constant from prehistoric days. Plants have provided shelter, clothing, fuel and nourishment to our bodies, not only as food sources but also as medicinals, for thousands and thousands of years. Ancient records from China, Egypt, Sumeria, Greece and Rome tell of specific applications of herbal remedies for various human ailments. Healers were often women herbalists, who knew the properties of regional plants, grown in various conditions and harvested in different ways.

Modern pharmacology is rooted, so to speak, in these plant remedies. Many manufactured drugs are derived from plants that had traditionally been used “crudely” to treat the same symptoms: aspirin from willow bark, digitalis from foxglove, morphine from opium and so on. In many parts of the world, herbal remedies still constitute the major source of pharmaceutical care. Over half of the modern pharmaceuticals in America are derived from natural sources (plant, microbial, even animal), and it remains the practice of pharmaceutical companies to research botanicals for compounds that can be synthesized (and therefore patented) and marketed as drugs.

An advantage of a synthesized compound is guaranteed potency. An herbalist working with wildcrafted plants knows that no two plants are exactly alike, and no two harvests. The efficacy of herbal medicines cannot be easily standardized, much as vintages of wine cannot be identical. Even the application of herbal remedies cannot necessarily be standardized. Native American herbalists are usually reluctant to share their botanical knowledge with non-Natives, because they believe strongly that the efficacy of various remedies has as much to do with the cultural and spiritual context of the patient as with the plants.

Plants themselves are extremely sophisticated chemical laboratories, whose raw material happens to be evolved from the same elements as our own bodies. It is not surprising that we can make use of their chemistry. Phytochemicals, or plant chemicals, have broad ranges of biological activity. For those of us who are beginning to appreciate the folk wisdom of our ancestors, many of whom were burned as witches for practicing herbal medicine, there is an instinctive attraction to the medicinal use of plants.

As the costs in dollars and sense of modern allopathic medicine rise, cheap, “natural,” herbal remedies are very appealing. There is a current marketing boom in the sales of herbal products, fueled by manufacturers’ promotion and consumers’ disenchantment with modern medical practice. At this time, it is legally forbidden to make medical claims for these herbal products other than to state how they affect the structure and function of the body (where this has been researched), and your health food store retailer is not allowed to recommend specific remedies to you, only show you where you may do some reading on the herbs so that you can choose something for yourself. There are many books published on herbs and botanical medicine.

Many herbal remedies remain scientifically untested, but for quite a few of them, centuries of use have established substantial evidence of safety and efficacy. A list of some of these, and their suggested applications, follows. Keep in mind that use of any medicine, including herbal, to treat a serious health problem should be monitored by a health professional. Naturopathic doctors are trained in herbal medicine and can be specifically helpful in advising you with applications for your needs.

Aloe, or the gel from the spiny leaf of the aloe vera plant, is used topically to treat burns and skin disorders, including acne, and is often taken internally to improve the function of the digestive tract.

Cayenne is used to promote good digestion and, in some cases, to treat circulatory disorders. It acts as a thermoregulator, affecting both the regulation of body temperature and sensitivity to warm temperatures.

Echinacea is by now recognized by many Americans as an herbal remedy for the common cold and flu. It isn’t an antibiotic but boosts the immune system and the production of white blood cells. The original “snake oil” marketed by traveling salesmen included echinacea in its ingredients. If taken immediately after a snake bite, echinacea is said to help prevent toxins from affecting the body. Typically, however, echinacea is used to shorten the duration and lessen the severity of colds.

Ephedra, or ma huang, is one of the most popular herbs in the United States. It is marketed primarily as a stimulant, for “energy” and weight loss, as it affects the central nervous system. In so doing, it can enhance the metabolic rate and increase the burning of fat. Ephedra is also a bronchodilator and nasal decongestant that has been used in Chinese traditional medicine for coughs, colds, asthma and allergies. Pseudoephedrine has been created synthetically for many years and is an ingredient in many over-the-counter cold remedies. Ephedra has significant stimulant side effects. Herbal products containing ephedra have not been standardized for their stimulant level, so the possibility of over- or under-dosing is notable. Potential drug interactions should be taken seriously.

Garlic is perhaps the most widely used herbal remedy in the world. It is effective as an antiseptic and is used extensively to treat infections, both externally and systemically. There have been many studies on garlic’s effect on serum cholesterol and triglycerides, and it is approved as an over-the-counter drug as an adjunct to diet control of lipid levels and as a preventative to age-related vascular changes.

Ginger is another culinary herb that is used to aid digestion. It is frequently very effective at countering nausea or motion sickness, with none of the drowsiness associated with other systemic drugs.

Gingko biloba extract, from the leaves of the gingko tree, has been used as a medicinal in China for thousands of years and is one of the most widely used prescription herbal medications in Europe. It is a vasodilator that has been studied as a treatment boosting blood supply to the brain and to lower legs and feet when the supply has been insufficient. It is popular as a remedy to improve short-term memory.

Kava extract is made from the root of the kava kava plant, which grows in the islands of the South Pacific. It acts as a relaxant and anti-anxiety aid without affecting mental clarity. Traditionally, Polynesians have used kava as a ceremonial drink for religious and social purposes, as it encourages emotional peace and spiritual awareness.

Milk thistle is used widely in Europe to support healthy liver function and is found in many hospital emergency rooms as an antidote to several kinds of poisons.

Saw palmetto is an indigenous American plant shown in several studies in Europe to be effective in treating benign prostatic hyperplasia, although none of these studies was long-term. It is believed that saw palmetto alleviates the symptoms of an enlarged prostate without actually reducing it in size.

St. John’s wort, or hypericum, is a perennial herb recommended by Hippocrates and widely named in many of the medieval herbal texts. It was used to drive away evil spirits, which translates into a modern anti-depressant function, as well as an anti-inflammatory agent and treatment for wounds. It is of renewed interest today not so much for those purposes as because of its activity against retroviruses, which makes it a possible treatment for AIDS.

General guidelines for using botanical supplements reflect common sense:

  • Do not exceed the recommended dosage without professional advice.
  • Discontinue use if side effects are noted.
  • Purchase herbal products from known and trusted sources.
  • Do not use potent botanicals while pregnant or nursing without a qualified health practitioner’s supervision.
  • Seek the advice of a qualified practitioner before using botanicals to treat serious illnesses.
  • Store botanicals out of the reach of children, in a cool, dry environment, and discard any products over one year old (unless the label instructs differently).
  • If you are taking prescription medicine or over-the-counter drugs, ask a pharmacist about possible interactions with any botanicals you wish to use.

Source: Croom and Walker, “Botanicals in the Pharmacy: New Life for Old Remedies,” Drug Topics Magazine, November 6, 1995.

Homeopathic drugs

Homeopathic remedies are also derived only from plant, mineral or animal sources. They are classified as drugs and are defined by the guidelines, procedures and monographs of the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States. Homeopathic products that are monographed in the pharmacopoeia are designated as “official” and must meet specific criteria for inclusion. As such, they are regulated by the federal government. Homeopathic products that are not included in the pharmacopoeia are designated “nonofficial” or “nonmonograph” and their use in homeopathy must be supported by homeopathic literature, research or a foreign pharmacopoeia.

Because they are recognized as drugs, homeopathic medicines can make specific health claims and are sold like over-the-counter drugs. Added to the facts that they are derived from natural sources and administered in easy-to-take form, this has contributed to the increase in popularity in these alternative medicines. Homeopathic medicines are formulated in very small dilutions and therefore are safe even for children.

Remedies from rocks

Remedy may be too strong a word for minerals, unless nutrients can be considered remedies for malnutrition. Reflect that, just as we share our biochemistry with the plants on this planet, we share elements with the rocks and minerals. Calcium, boron, copper, tin and many other trace minerals used to be present in our soil to a much larger degree than they are now, and our ancestors’ diets were full of them. Maybe it is coincidence, but the groups of humans who boast very long life spans as a norm all tend to live in high, dry places, where they rely on glacial “milk” for their drinking water as well as for agricultural irrigation. This glacial run-off is dense with minerals broken down from the mountain rocks. These populations are not necessarily eating diets that are well-balanced in vitamins, but they have very little disease.

Veterinarians have long since included trace minerals in the feed for livestock and pets, providing minerals in a more complete way than in the formulas we feed infants instead of breast milk. Pets don’t get sick as often as our children do. Vets have also learned when the application of various nutrients can correct a physical problem that would typically be addressed with expensive drugs or surgery if detected in humans.

My guess is that as we humans become more familiar with our body chemistry, the science of nutrition will become even more sophisticated than medical science is today, which will look crude and ignorant in retrospect. No doubt a great deal of folk health wisdom, accrued over centuries of awareness of human interactions with the world, will be validated.

Healthy Bodies Make Better Magick

Healthy Bodies Make Better Magick

by NightOwl

article

Are you in pain? Do you wake up tired? Take a couple of minutes right now and examine your body, your heart and your spirit. Then answer this question: Are you in pain right now?

You may forget to pay attention to yourself, even if you know it’s important. Stretch, flex, roll your head around, rub your neck and shoulders – how are you doing? Look for tension in your jaw, around your eyes, in your neck and shoulders and in your lower back. Are your hands sometimes clenched when you are not conscious of being stressed?

Continue your assessment to determine which areas need attention. Try taking a few minutes and assess your body several times a day. If you want to make changes in your life, remember it’s impossible to get somewhere without knowing your starting place, and your body is your starting place.

We live at a time when we use our minds more and more, and our bodies less and less. Most of us think of our “selves” as being located in our heads somewhere. Yet if we stop for a moment to consider the reality of our lives, our bodies are our very best friends. They carry us around like faithful and patient mules; they bring us exquisite pleasure; they enable us to interact with other people and with the world of nature. They give us honest and reliable information about our actions and our thoughts. As practitioners of the Craft, we use our bodies to focus energy and do magick. They are our chief magickal tools. If you purge pain and ill health from your body, your magick has that much more chance of working.

Working with pain isn’t simple. We human beings tend to learn our deepest lessons via pain. If you train yourself to think of pain, whether physical, emotional or spiritual, as a valued teacher – one who grades pretty tough – then you can more easily accept any source of pain or unhappiness in your life as an opportunity to learn. Pain is one of the ways in which our bodies “speak” to us.

I am not suggesting that this is the “true” explanation for pain, or that this is the “best” way to approach it, but this is a way to view the puzzle of pain that empowers you to put it to use in your life.

The keys to the pain puzzle are your body, your feelings, your thoughts and your beliefs. Your body responds to physical reality and follows the orders of your thoughts and beliefs. As you learn to pay attention to the pain in your life, you will increase your ability to see your own belief structures, both positive and negative, to take good care of your body and to decrease the suffering in your life if you choose to. This article covers some ways to unlock the pain puzzle.

None are a replacement for seeing a doctor or other health care professional when you are sick or injured. If it seems warranted, discuss with your M.D., naturopath or other health care professional possible causes and treatments for your pain, tiredness or stress. If a professional does give you medication or make suggestions, at least try them for a period of time. What is the point of paying someone to advise you and then ignoring the advice? By all means, insist your health care providers explain the reasoning, and the mechanism, for any treatments they give you. But if you don’t trust their suggestions, find a health care practitioner you do trust enough to follow.

If you try some techniques following – actually doing them and not just thinking about them – and you still feel really sad much of the time, or if you cannot find the energy to even try them, you may have clinical depression and you should see an appropriate health care practitioner right away. Depression is a real physical illness that has emotional components. Trying to think your way out of most illnesses is risky business.

You are the one in charge of whatever you do for yourself, and you have to do the work to change anything in your life. Every act of life is a creation ritual. The suggestions in this article are just ideas to enable you to become more aware of your state of well-being and help you fine-tune your wonderful mind, body and spirit.

Begin with breathing

Breathing is the only body system that is both voluntary and involuntary, and so it is the easiest place to begin. Practice breathing all the way down into your belly. Fear and tension cause us to tighten our bellies and breathe in the upper lungs. You can relax very quickly by breathing deep into your belly and counting as you breathe to balance the in-breaths and out-breaths. For example, breathe in to a count of six, slow and easy. Hold your breath for a count of three, and then exhale to a count of six. Hold again for three, and inhale for six. Do this cycle several times, striving to breathe very evenly all the way in and all the way out, ending with your lungs completely full, and then completely empty.

Be gentle with yourself while doing this. It is not a contest to see how much or how little air your lungs can contain but a way to become conscious of what you do with your body and to nourish it. Many people “underbreathe” all the time as a result of stress and find they are tired because the body is oxygen-deprived.

Particularly if you are quitting smoking, or some other addictive, numbing behavior, practice breathing deeply and slowly every time you get the urge to return to your addictive practice. You may find this reduces the craving.

Easing your pain

Try lying on your back with your knees bent and slowly twist your legs first to the right, then the left, as far as is comfortable. This exercise will make you aware of and help release any tension in your lower back. Next, sit cross-legged and roll your head around on your neck, slowly and carefully, then shrug your shoulders, roll them in big circles, and flex your spine forward and back. Are you finding any areas of tightness, any pain?

If so, first examine your environment to see if it holds the source. Is there pain in your neck and shoulders? Are you on the phone a lot? If you are, do you have a headset or at least a shoulder brace? Are you in the habit of holding the phone by scrunching up your neck and shoulder while you write stuff down? If you do that, and your neck hurts, stop doing that and invest in a shoulder brace (around $5) or a headset phone ($30 to $100, and you get what you pay for). Don’t wait until your boss offers to pay for it; his or her neck doesn’t hurt.

Do you carry a purse or a backpack on one shoulder? If you have pain right at the top of your back and at the base of your neck, stop hanging that heavy sack on one shoulder. If necessary, get one that cannot be carried that way. A fanny pack around your hips can carry as much and won’t create the pain in your neck and shoulders. A regular two-strap backpack is better for your spine than a one-strap bag, if you will use both straps.

Examine your posture, the chair you sit in at work, your mattress and pillow, your easy chair. Are any of those the possible source of your pain? If so, determine what changes will assist your body and make those changes. Sleeping on a fairly firm mattress, and if you have neck pain getting a cervical support pillow, can reduce or eliminate back and neck pain. The pillows are sold on television or at places like Zenith Supplies, a fabulous store near 65th and Roosevelt in Seattle, for $20 to $30. Pillows and mattresses wear out and should be replaced every few years.

Walking, swimming, biking and all other forms of regular exercise will do more for your well-being and long-term health than any other single thing, except for stopping smoking. Smoking is the No. 1 killer in the United States; 1000 people a day are dying from the long-term effects of smoking just in this country alone. Regular exercise is also the best way to improve your mood and energy.

Yoga is the very best exercise for reducing pain, even that from arthritis and other chronic problems. If you are in the habit of regularly taking pain medication, either prescription or over-the-counter, discuss your chronic pain with your doctor, exercise teacher or coach and see if there are not specific exercises that will help you. Many yoga teachers and other exercise experts are extremely skilled in working with chronic problems or people with specific needs. Movement therapy, dance classes or hiking in the park could change your entire experience of living.

Don’t be afraid to try acupuncture for chronic pain. The needles are much less painful than most people imagine they will be, and acupuncture can be very helpful for a wide variety of chronic illnesses, injuries and stress-related pains.

Another way to improve your well-being is to drink more water. You may not be drinking enough water to allow your body to balance itself. Drink at least a quart a day, plus other liquids. When you are under stress, adrenal steroids and other stress chemicals build up in your body. When you exercise, drink water and breathe deeply, you assist your body in getting rid of the stress chemicals. Just exercising to the point where you are breathing more rapidly and beginning to perspire changes your body chemistry dramatically, and therefore changes your mood.

Better sleep

Get enough sleep. Modern humans are only sleeping six to seven hours per night. It has been estimated that humans slept eight to nine hours per night before the invention of electric lights. Our bodies have not been able to adequately adapt to the sleep reduction in the short amount of time lights have been available, so most of us are tired most of the time and don’t really realize it.

If you have trouble sleeping, or wake up tired, try the following practices:

  • Reduce the amount of caffeine you use. Do not drink any coffee, tea, or soft drink containing caffeine within six hours of when you want to go to sleep. If this change doesn’t solve your problems, switch to decaf, herb teas, fruit juice or water.
  • During the day, turn up those lights, and be sure to spend some time outside every day in the fresh air, walking around and appreciating the wonderful planet we live on.
  • Go to bed at the same time each night. Use earplugs if your bedroom is near a noisy street and eye shades if you cannot make the room dark enough. Make your bed clean, comfortable and adequately supportive.
  • Don’t read or watch television in bed. Train yourself that when you go to bed and turn out the light, you will simply go to sleep. Tell yourself, “I can go to sleep easily and sleep all night.”
  • If your dentist tells you that you grind your teeth in your sleep, get a bite guard. They are a bit expensive (in the $200-300 range) but can go a long way toward soothing neck, shoulder and facial pain, plus enabling you to get more restful sleep.
  • Try melatonin supplements. If you are older, you may not be producing enough melatonin from your pineal gland. Production begins to fall around age 30, and by age 40 a fair percentage of people are not producing enough to stay asleep all night. Do some reading before you begin any self-experiments, however. Melatonin will only work one time each 24 hours as it “resets” your biological clock. Only take it once each night at most, about an hour before you want to go to sleep. It does not help everyone but appears to have a very low incidence of side effects. Discuss taking it with your health practitioner.
  • If you become aware of pain in your body you ignored during the day, do some light stretches and flexes, tighten and release different muscle groups and turn your head from side to side while lying flat on your back with your knees flexed. Listen to slow, dreamy, relaxing music while you stretch.
  • Examine the label of any herbal preparation you are using. Ma huang, or ephedra, should only be taken in the morning as it will interfere with your ability to fall and stay asleep. Ma huang is a pretty intense herb and should be used with caution anyhow, as it may raise your blood pressure, make you dizzy or wind you up just too tight. It is often the main ingredient in the so-called “thermogenic” formulas sold for weight loss.
  • Before going to your doctor for prescription sleep medication, consider trying the herbal teas such as Sleep Easy, or preparations with folk remedies like hops, skullcap, valerian, passionflower and others. Look remedies up in herb books and, if you like, experiment gently with yourself, beginning with small amounts and increasing them gradually.

Herbs are not harmless, so learn what you are doing before you use them, or go to a herbalist or other health care professional. Be cautious and stop using anything the moment you have an adverse reaction, including prescription medication, which often interferes with rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep. Herbal sleeping formulas may leave you feeling groggy when you first wake up, but they do not seem to interfere with REM sleep the way prescription sleeping medications do.

Additionally, if you suspect that you are suffering from seasonal affective disorder or mild depression, try using herbs and other folk medicine if it is not too serious. St. John’s wort is used widely in Germany to help mild depression.

The food you consume

If sleep is not a problem for you, but you still suffer from tiredness, nervousness, muscle tension and pain, consider trying the following.

Go to your health care professional for a complete physical. You may have some condition that requires treatment. For example, you may be anemic and need to take iron. Without adequate iron, your red blood cells cannot carry enough oxygen to meet bodily needs.

A quick home check for anemia can be done by very gently pulling your lower eyelid away from the eyeball while you look at it carefully in the mirror. The blood vessels are very close to the surface there, and the area should be a nice rosy pink. If your lower lids are noticeably paler than other people’s, ask your doctor to check you for iron deficiency.

Avoid taking iron unnecessarily, however, as it can build up in the blood, particularly in males, and can become toxic. Females who menstruate are less likely to have too much iron, and more likely to have too little, as they lose some each month during their periods. After their periods cease, women need to be more cautious about taking too much iron.

Eating a healthy diet with little or no caffeine, small amounts of sugar and fat, adequate protein and lots and lots of grains, fruit and vegetables will go a long way toward improving your health and your well-being. You should eat at least some complex carbohydrates as soon as you get up in the morning, to begin bringing your blood sugar up to operating level. Just having some coffee in the morning and eating no food until lunch is a poor health practice, as is skipping lunch. Several small balanced meals per day are much better for your health than one giant one at night.

Following is a recipe for “Go Juice,” adapted from Adele Davis’s and very good for building your tolerance for stress and reducing those winter blues. All items mentioned are available in health-food stores or in the nutritional departments at co-op groceries, Fred Meyer’s, Larry’s Market and other stores. Prices are approximate.

To a 12-ounce can or equivalent frozen juice (your choice, grapefruit, raspberry, peach, lime) add the following in a blender:

  • 1/2 to 1 cup nutritional yeast. Using a full cup makes the mix thicker than you may like; you can always drink more if you like the effects. A 1-pound can of nutritional yeast costs around $7; yeast is even cheaper in bulk from the bins.
  • 12 to 24 calcium-magnesium-zinc tablets. Generally, 250 tablets are $10 to $12. Try Costco for cheaper.
  • 1/2 to 1 cup lecithin granules or powder. A one-pound can runs about $7.
  • 4 to 8 tablespoons blended oils. If you make Go Juice often, try mixing one pint Hain All-Blend oil mixture (safflower, walnut, soy, peanut) with one pint of olive oil. Keep the blended oils in the fridge to keep them fresh. You can also use this blend for cooking and in salad dressing. Cost is $4 up, depending on the oils you use.

Mix the juice and put some of it in a blender. Turn on the blender and first grind up the mineral tablets, then slowly add the yeast, lecithin and oil. Allow them to blend thoroughly, then add the remainder of the juice to make a couple of quarts, and store your Go Juice in the fridge. Shake it well each time before you pour some in a glass to drink, as the minerals settle out and you need to take all the ingredients together.

If you find the mixture causes intestinal gas, try taking three to six Super-Enzymall tablets (Schiff, 90 tablets for $13), or another enzyme formula, and three to six Betaine Hydrochloride with Pepsin tablets (Thompson, 180 tablets for $9) with each 6- to 8-ounce glass of Go Juice you drink. Experiment to discover what works for you.

Some people hate the taste of Go Juice, and others love it. You should notice an improvement in energy and mood within a week if you drink a glass each morning and each evening.

Many people take vitamins and other supplements as insurance. Unless you really pay attention, and eat food that is grown organically, you do not have any way to know whether you are getting all the nutrients you need. A good (usually fairly expensive) multiple vitamin, additional Vitamin E and C and, for women particularly, additional calcium can improve your well-being. If you have pain in your legs at night, commonly called “growing pains” in children, or menstrual cramps, you may be low in calcium or may not be absorbing what you take in. A naturopath can help you evaluate your diet if you cannot do so by yourself.

More tune-up tips

Learn some massage so you can have massage breaks with your co-workers and friends. When you get together to watch a movie at home, give each other back and shoulder rubs. Get some massage tools and carry them with you so you can use them on the bus or if you get stuck in rush-hour traffic. Use them for little breaks at work. If you have a desk job, remember to stop, stretch, bend, breathe, get up and walk around and change your position every hour or so.

Light-sound machines or “brain-tuning” tapes are useful for learning how to relax and to help you fall asleep. Brain-tuning tapes play a slightly different pulsed rhythm in each ear. The pulses are masked with music and ambient sounds such as rainfall, cricket chirps and owl and whale calls, so the pulsing is not very noticeable. The brain balances out the difference between the two rhythms and lowers your brain waves to match. The Brainwave Suite tape set is excellent, as are many others. The light-sound machines can put you into a meditative state, or to sleep, in a few minutes and are a lot of fun.

These tapes and machines are amazing to use and really work for many people. Do not confuse them with the “subliminal learning” tapes that are widely offered for sale. I have not been able to find any studies showing that “subliminal” tapes are any better than just listening to the relaxing music used to mask their spoken words. You could probably do just as well buying relaxing music you like.

Light-sound machines can be dangerous for those who have seizure disorders, so do not use these if you do, and never use them while operating machinery or during any other dangerous activity.

Grounding and earth energy

Learning to ground and doing so daily, even if just for 10 to 15 minutes at a time, can really help you relax and learn about yourself. There are many ways to ground, and in the absence of a class or teacher, all the possibilities can be confusing. Following is one description. You can use your imagination to focus your own energy, and you can then practice moving energy from the earth and sky into and out of different areas of your body.

Stand or sit in a relaxed posture with your spine straight and, if standing, your knees slightly bent. Take a deep breath and relax your belly. Imagine that there is a long cord attached to the base of your spinal column that extends down into the ground, going down deep, even to the center of the earth. Visualize this cord and imagine it getting bigger and stronger, see it pulsing, and then visualize or feel sending energy down it. Imagine the energy as light, sound, vibration or however you wish to picture and feel it.

Then visualize and feel any tension, or excess energy in your body, draining down the cord into the earth. You will be able to feel the change right away, although you will have your own experience of it and may describe it very differently from anyone else. It may be helpful to ask a friend who is more familiar with the skill to ground with you the first few times, to help increase the sensation and the experience.

You may wish to use your hands to increase the sensation of the experience. Place one hand on the center of your chest, and the other on the center of your back opposite it, as near the top of your spine as you can comfortably reach both front and back. Slowly move your hands down the center line of your body to the base of your spine, using your imagination to feel the energy moving down your spine with your hands and continuing on down your grounding cord into the earth.

Play around with this for a few minutes, and then imagine you are growing roots from the bottoms of your feet, down into the earth. Feel your roots sliding down, deep into the darkness and inner warmth of the earth. Use these roots to draw earth energy up into your body to balance and heal it. This energy may have a color, a temperature, a vibration or some other sensory or visual aspect. Imagine and feel the earth energy filling and nourishing your whole body and spirit.

Sky energy

You can also draw energy from the sky. Once again using your imagination to create a picture of this in your mind’s eye, see an opening beginning as a point and growing to about the size of a quarter in the very top of your head. With your imagination, draw in energy from the sky. Imagine this sky energy filling and energizing your body, flushing out tension and tiredness. Sky energy will probably appear and feel very different from earth energy to you. Imagine sky energy and earth energy swirling and mixing together in your belly and pelvic area, and then spreading out to heal and nourish your entire body, mind and spirit.

Move this energy from point to point in your body. For example, rub your palms together and feel the sky-earth energy mixture flowing into and building up in your hands. Feel it moving into your hands more and more as you rub them together. Then, when you have built up a charge, separate your palms an inch or two apart, and play with the ball of energy that you can feel between them. Build this energy ball even more, moving your hands closer and further apart, feeling it get larger and stronger. Then take this energy ball and press it into any area of your body that is tired or tense, and visualize the energy ball flowing from your hands into the area. Feel that area soaking up the energy and being nourished by it.

These exercises can be done anywhere, at any time, to assist in balancing your energy and improving your mood. Your ability to use them will increase with practice, just as your muscle tone increases with physical exercise. In time, you will do them automatically whenever you are under stress. If you’re interested in learning more about them, look through the many books available, or take a class.

Remember that thinking about doing a technique is not the same as actually doing it with your body. It is very easy to kid yourself that you know a technique just from reading an explanation. To actually learn it, you must actually do it.

Listening to your inner voice

Can you usually hear what your “inner voice” is saying? Do negative or scary thoughts flit through your mind fairly often? You can greatly reduce the stress in your life by paying attention to the content of the automatic thoughts that go through your mind. You may have to make an effort to become conscious of the exact words, but if you do, you will probably find the source of much of your unhappiness in life. To learn to hear your own automatic thinking, also called “self-talk,” take a few minutes every once in a while and write down every thought that pops into your mind. You may be surprised at how negative your self-talk really is.

If you do find it’s mostly negative, don’t worry about it. The little thought-voice in the mind is negative for most people. It’s like a scared little watchdog who always tries to keep track of the “worst possible scenario” to keep you safe, so it usually looks on the dark side of things.

It’s useful because it’s on the lookout for danger, but it can become a major source of stress and tension because it is only semi-conscious. You can begin to greatly reduce the tension in your life by becoming aware of your self-talk, assessing the accuracy of the statements and changing the inaccurate negative or scary ones to positive and relaxing affirmations. Once you do a little work to become aware of your self-talk, you can use it to change your point of view in life and have a lot more fun. As you learn to hear what a paranoid pip-squeak lives inside your head, you will laugh at how silly it sounds out loud.

Get a kitty or some easy-care plants to make your home a restful refuge. Cultivate a positive frame of mind, and take a self-mastery class. Encourage your friends to support you in being positive, and put cards around your house with affirmations like “Today I will be happy and calm, and I will accomplish everything I need to do” or “Goddess grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.” Get involved and make a useful contribution to the well-being of the world through volunteer work or other social action. Develop a regular spiritual practice. Mourn your losses, and give yourself credit for all you accomplish.

These are difficult times we are living through; the future looks uncertain, and everything is changing faster than before. Try thinking of what you are doing as surfing, or dancing, with the energy of life.

This is indeed a time of great opportunity.

Today’s I Ching Hexagram for 3/9

Today’s I Ching Hexagram for Everyone:

60: Limits and Connections

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

Hexagram 60
General Meaning: Limits are necessary to give purpose and direction to life. Swimming in a sea of boundless opportunity would eventually lead to exhaustion and drowning. Winging it alone in a sky of boundless opportunity would lead to being lost. In human affairs, the making of choices, and alliances, implies limitation, for in choosing one path another must be abandoned.

One key to a successful life is to select your limits consciously and carefully — to be discriminating in the setting of personal boundaries and knowing when to join in formation. Thrift, for example, often precedes prosperity; just as the letting go of selfish interests leads to greater personal reward. Only by consciously accepting useful limits can one’s energy be channeled to good purpose, and lead to lasting accomplishments.

Point yourself toward a middle way between discipline and freedom of spirit. Limits will come of their own accord; but to be able to consciously select your own affiliations in life — that’s knowing how to fly! At the same time, don’t go overboard with discipline. Even self-correction must be limited, so that in attempting to bring order and direction into your life you do not choke off vital sources of enthusiasm and spontaneity.

Similarly, in groups and partnerships, agreed upon rules or regulations should strike a balance between being too strict and too soft. If too strict, they build frustration and ultimately become destructive. If too lenient, sloppiness becomes acceptable, and positive energy is dissipated. The best path is one that allows for the fulfillment of individual potential, while supporting self-discipline and focus.

Today’s Tarot Card for 3/9

Today’s Tarot Card for Everyone:

The Chariot

This Tarot Deck: Gendron

General Meaning: Traditionally, the card usually entitled the Chariot points to a triumphal feeling of freedom, as if the charioteer is being paraded through the streets as a hero (or heroine). The card reflects congratulations for high achievement, and serves as a sign of empowerment.

Huge wheels and frisky steeds speed the rate at which the driver’s willpower can be realized. This kind of charge makes more of the world accessible to anyone ambitious enough to seize the Chariot’s reins. But there is danger in this feeling of freedom, because of the increased rate of change and its power to magnify mistakes in judgment. As a seasoned warrior, the Charioteer is called upon to be extra attentive to the way ahead.

Daily Horoscopes for 3/9

 

General Daily Horoscope

 

Although the Moon is in earthy Taurus, we are buzzed today because clever Mercury joins shocking Uranus, amplifying the potential for excitement. We’re able to string our thoughts into sentences very quickly as we project ourselves into the future. Mercury moves into spontaneous Aries at 12:47 pm EST, further encouraging us to talk first and think later. Meanwhile, a creative quintile from the radiant Sun to potent Pluto intensifies our emotions.

 

Aries Horoscope
Aries Horoscope (Mar 21 – Apr 19)

You don’t want to wait any longer because your anticipation has changed into impatience by now. Unfortunately, you must acknowledge that the timing for starting something new is less than ideal. You are tempted to continue your planning, while sitting tight for a few more days. Thankfully, your intuition is working well, so follow your instincts and go for it only once you feel ready.

 

Taurus Horoscope
Taurus Horoscope (Apr 20 – May 20)

You prefer making your plan and then sticking to it, but now you’re more likely to change your mind at the very last minute. You may receive an invitation for a social event that you would normally skip. However, you’re eager for a new experience today and might agree to partake in festivities that are outside of your comfort zone. Enjoy the change of pace without feeling the need to justify any of your decisions.

 

Gemini Horoscope
Gemini Horoscope (May 21 – Jun 20)

Your key planet Mercury skips into action-packed Aries today, encouraging you to learn everything you can about something new. You might develop an unexpected interest in heading in a different direction. You are eager to start moving, but you could get sidetracked by a major distraction. Instead of losing sight of your previous goals, demonstrate your genius by turning your brilliant ideas into something real.

 

Cancer Horoscope
Cancer Horoscope (June 21 – Jul 22)

You may feel anxious today because it’s difficult to stop thinking and get back into your emotional comfort zone. There’s so much going on internally that you cannot filter through all the noise to hear what’s really being said. However, the mental distractions can be a lot of fun if you are willing to playfully draw others into your world. Just be true to yourself while continuing to learn from your experiences as they unfold.

 

Leo Horoscope
Leo Horoscope (Jul 23 – Aug 22)

You might think that people are acting weird now as they say things without considering the consequences. Your best friends could let you down as their indecisiveness possibly leaves you in a difficult position. There’s no need to feel desperate, so don’t overreact by losing your temper. It’s not wise to take an unnecessary risk now; be smart and focus on becoming self-sufficient, instead.

 

Virgo Horoscope
Virgo Horoscope (Aug 23 – Sep 22)

You have new and exciting methods you want to try today, but a friend or partner might push back now. Some of your brilliant ideas may work fine, but others can just lead you on a wild goose chase. Unfortunately, you might not know if something will work until you test it, which could take quite a bit of time and energy. But you don’t need to invent a better mouse trap or light bulb, for you can feel fulfilled by simply being more unorthodox in your approach.

 

Libra Horoscope
Libra Horoscope (Sep 23 – Oct 22)

You don’t want any discord today, but believing that everything is beautiful could leave you detached from reality. It may appear that everyone is having a lovely time, but this isn’t the whole picture now as anger or even resentment lurks beneath the tranquil surface. It might be your turn to stir things up for a change. Don’t be afraid to express what you’re thinking. There’s no reason to say everything the same way you did yesterday.

 

Scorpio Horoscope
Scorpio Horoscope (Oct 23 – Nov 21)

Today you are able to get back to the research that you recently set aside. Your mind is a sharply honed razor now and your intuition works like sonar. But don’t settle for traditional methods to locate the information you seek. Trust your inner voice, but don’t overreact to what you learn. No matter how extraordinary it is, you’ll gain a clearer perspective on your future over the days ahead.

 

Sagittarius Horoscope
Sagittarius Horoscope (Nov 22 – Dec 21)

Others usually want to play with you because they know that you are always up for an adventure. Although you are looking forward to having a good time, you may find it difficult now to kick back and relax because high-frequency static is crackling across your senses today. It’s not easy to let down your guard if you are also worrying about more serious global issues. Moderate your intensity by balancing the political picture with your individual needs.

 

Capricorn Horoscope
Capricorn Horoscope (Dec 22 – Jan 19)

You know that something really big is going on, yet you’re distracted today by weird ideas that you cannot get out of your head. It’s easy to fall into an obsessive pattern by fighting against the stream of unorthodox ideas that are now flowing from your subconscious mind. But resistance to this natural expression is futile; going against the grain will only make the noise grow louder. It’s smarter to ride the intellectual currents, even if you are afraid of being too impractical.

 

Aquarius Horoscope
Aquarius Horoscope (Jan 20 – Feb 18)

You are a fount of original ideas because your key planet Uranus connects with quicksilver Mercury today. Your thoughts are exploding into consciousness so fast that you may not be able to keep up with yourself. Don’t worry if you have lots of loose ends by the end of the day, since you’ll have more time next week to finish what you started.

 

Pisces Horoscope
Pisces Horoscope (Feb 19 – Mar 20)

The ingenious Mercury-Uranus conjunction is in your sign today, but it may be hard for you to make practical use of your current brilliance. Nevertheless, the new ideas can wake you up in such a way that you see things in an entirely different light. However, don’t expect others to rush in and support your unconventional plans right away. Instead, give it time; your friends will come around to appreciate your point of view.

New Moon Report for 3/9 – Mercury in Aries

Mercury in Aries

Wednesday,March 9, 9:47 am PST, 12:47 pm EST

Brainy Mercury’s shift into spontaneous Aries opens minds to inventive ideas and fires up communication with passionate words. This enthusiasm, though, is better for talking than for listening. A lack of attention to others can produce one-sided conversations that inhibit our capacity to compromise. Still, it’s important to set aside objectivity at times so that intuition is free to blaze new paths of awareness.

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As of March 3, 2011

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Chicken Soup for the Soul – The Long Road Home

Chicken Soup for the Soul

The Long Road Home

As I arrive home from college for the first time, I realize many things have changed—in my family and in myself.

BY: Lia Gay

I find myself packing again.  Well, let’s be completely honest, this isn’t really packing it’s shoving three weeks’ worth of dirty clothes into a suitcase and having my roommate sit on it so I can get it to close.

This time is different; this isn’t the same nostalgic trip down memory lane as when I packed before college.  This is the “night before my first trip home frantic pack.”  So you get the idea—my plane leaves in two hours, and no, college didn’t teach me to procrastinate.  I was experienced in that art long before I stepped onto my college campus.

So now that I’m packed, I have a minute to examine my emotions about my first trip home.  I’m excited.  My best friend, Matt, picks me up, groggy, for our 4:00 a.m. drive.  My expectations are that I am going home to what I left: my parents, home-cooked meals, friends with whom I shared distinctive bonds and my long-distance boyfriend, whom I have been dying to see.  I am happy at college, but a trip home, to my family and friends, sounds like just the thing I need to prepare me for the pre-finals crunch.

I think I will catch up on the missed hours of sleep on the plane.  Instead, I look around and realize that most of the exhausted passengers are students just like me.  Below us, in the cargo bin, sits a year’s worth of dirty laundry at least.
I miss my connecting flight, so I am later than expected.  I step off the plane to find my mom frantic, thinking I had been “abducted” on the trip home.  I look at her puzzled.  I guess in a mother’s eyes there is no logical explanation for being late, such as the obvious flight trouble.  I assure her that I am fine and that I don’t need to fly as an “unaccompanied minor” on the way back.
A few hours later, I’m back at the airport, waiting for my boyfriend’s arrival home.  He steps off the plane with the same groggy but excited look I wore hours before.  We drive over to see my dad, who seems calmer than my mother had been.  I ask to see my room, expecting to find my shrine, my old pompoms, prom pictures, candid photos of friends and dolls scattered about.  To my surprise, everything is gone; there’s not even a trace I had ever lived in the room.  I’m starting to wonder if I really had been abducted on the way home.  It’s as if the second I became a “college” student, I had ceased to exist.

I start to wonder what else had changed since I’d been gone.  My parents are in an awkward transition, wondering how to treat me now.  They wrestle with whether to treat me—still their daughter—as one of them, an adult, or as the child they feel they sent away months earlier.

I run into two of my best friends from high school; we stare blankly at each other.  We ask the simple questions and give simple, abrupt answers.  It’s as if we have nothing to say to each other.  I wonder how things have changed so much in such a small amount of time.  We used to laugh and promise that no matter how far away we were, our love for each other would never change.  Their interests don’t interest me anymore, and I find myself unable to relate my life to theirs.

I had been so excited to come home, but now I just look at it all and wonder: Is it me?

Why hadn’t the world stood still here while I was gone?  My room isn’t the same, my friends and I don’t share the same bond, and my parents don’t know how to treat me—or who I am, for that matter.

I get back to school feeling half-fulfilled, but not disappointed.  I sit up in my bed in my dorm room, surrounded by my pictures, dolls and mementos.  As I wonder what has happened, I realize that I can’t expect the world to stand still and move forward at the same time.  I can’t change and expect that things at home will stay the same.  I have to find comfort in what has changed and what is new; keep the memories, but live in the present.
A few weeks later, I’m packing again, this time for winter break.  My mom meets me at the curb.  I have come home accepting the changes, not only in my surroundings, but most of all in me.