Basic Herbal Ointment

Basic Herbal Ointment

 
This is a basic ointment that you can make with any herb you want to use for a magical purpose. Just choose the herb you want by consulting the correspondences and add it as directed. You’ll need 1 ounce of lanolin or cocoa butter and 1/2 oz of beeswax, 3-4 ounces of apricot kernal oil, 1 ounce of strong herb infusion of your choice, and 5 drops of essential oil of your choice. You can match the infusion and essential oil or use different herbs. Melt the lanolin or cocoa butter and the beeswax in the top of a double boiler. When completely melted begin adding the oil, pouring a very stream into the pan while stirring constantly until all the oil is added. Turn off the heat and slowly add the herb infusion stiring constantly until the cream has cooled. Add the essential oil and stir in completely. Spoon or pour the cream into an opaque white jar or clear jar covered with paper. You may add 6-8 drops of tincture of benzoin to the mixture when you add the essential oil as a preservative if desired.

Making Ointments – The Beeswax Method

Making Ointments

The Beeswax Method
 
 
This process creates a more cosmetic ointment without a heavy, greasy feeling. It is best to prepare it with oils rather than herbs, as it is difficult to strain.
 
If possible, use unbleached beeswax. If not, use what you can find. Chip it with a large, sharp knife so that you can pack it into a measuring cup. Place one-fourth cup or so of beeswax in the top of a double boiler(such as a coffee can set into a larger pot of water). Add about one-fourth cup olive, hazelnut, sesame or some other vegetable oil. Stir with a wooden spoon until the wax has melted into the oil.
 
Remove from the heat and let cool very slightly, until it has just begun to thicken. (This step is taken so that the hot wax won’t evaporate the oils.) Now add the mixed oils to the wax. Stir thoroughly with a wooden spoon and pour into a heat-proof container. Label and store in the usual way.

Making Ointments – The Shortening Method

Making Ointments

The Shortening Method
 
 
Gently heat four parts shortening over low heat until liquified. Watch that it doesn’t burn. Add one part dried herbal mixture, blend with a wooden spoon until thoroughly mixed, and continue heating until the shortening has extracted the scent. You should be able to smell it in the air.
 
Strain through cheesecloth into a heat-proof container, such as a canning jar. Add one-half teaspoon tincture of benzoin to each pint of ointment as a natural preservative. Store in a cool, dark place, such as the refrigerator. Ointments should last for weeks or months. Discard any that turn moldy, and lay in a fresh batch.

Making Ointments

Making Ointments 

 
Ointments are easily made. They consist simply of herbs or oils and a base. In the past, hog’s lard was the preferred base because it was readily available, but vegetable shortening or beeswax produces the best results. The base must be a greasy substance that melts over heat but is solid at room temperature. Some herbalists actually use dinosaur fat (i.e., Vaseline, which is prepared from petroleum)!
 
There are two basic ways to create magickal ointments, the shortening method and the beeswax method.

Spellcasting In Natural Magick

Spellcasting In Natural Magick

 
Spellcasting involves following a format that provides the structure to channel, amplify and release energies to bring into actuality the fulfillment of a wish, a need or desire.
 
Spellcasting can bring results fast if you really are in a crisis situation, perhaps because you endow the spell with the urgency and emotion. Mel, a 25 year-old store manager living in a historic town in the south of England, desperately needed a home to rent and had been to every agency in two with no results. A couple of days before she was due to move our of her present flat. Mel did a simple spell to find her a comfortable, affordable home as soon as possible. She took the symbol she had empowered, in fact a written one, to work having slept with it under her pillow.
 
The next morning her mobile rang. It was a man to say he and his wife had a home to rent and she could go to see it that evening. When Mel got there the house was perfect and affordable but the couple had no idea where they got her number because she hadn’t given it out and they had not even got round to advertising the house, so it had not come through an agent. The couple said they would let her know, but just as Mel was driving off disappointed, the man ran after her and said the house was hers and she could move in the next day. The couple didn’t know anyone to whom Mel might have mentioned the house problem. Mel moved into the house soon afterwards and was very happy there.
 
The energies of someone wanting to rent out a property and Mel’s urgent need must have telepathically been drawn together.
 
Of course, most spells aren’t as instant and may involve more earthly leg work. However, spells do get the energies moving and usually bring into your sphere through unexpected opportunities or seemingly chance meetings, what it is you need—at the time you need it. Under the rules of cosmic exchange you neeed to be willing to reciprocate by passing on information or surplus items when you hear though a friend of a friend of a need, even if this involves a lot of effort or you are busy at the time.
 
Rituals also follow similar stages beginning with a statement of the purpose, adding elemental powers and ending with the desired results. This would for example, be the rebirth of light as the December midwinter solstice, celebrating the return of the sun after the shortest day – and as importantly, acknowledging or bringing your own rebirth or renewal of hope.

Natural Magick In Your Life

Natural Magick In Your Life 

 
The natural world is a power house of magickal energy that can be used to amplify our personal psychic powers and daily lives even if we don’t have the time or inclination for a spell. We all possess these abilities but they can get blunted by modern life. Working with nature rapidly restores the instinctive connection with our own inner self and you find as a bonus that you are more intuitive and aware of our hidden factors in your everyday decision-making. At specific times we can tap into the ever-changing energies of the Sun, the Moon, the seas, lakes and rivers and the weather and into the magickal qualities manifest in different flowers, herbs trees and crystals. All these will help you tune into the best times and places, moon phases and days of the week to carry out your rituals–or to bring your daily life more into harmony.
 
There is nothing strange about our magickal powers; they are part of our right hemisphere brain functions which include imagination and creativity. Working with symbols and images, the ability that underpins much magick is also located in the right-hand side of the brain. With practice we can expand possibilities first in our minds and then during rituals to transform the stored energies and magickal meanings contained in even everyday symbols and images into magickal power. For example, if we were working with a wax butterfly we had made, it would represent a new beginning because that is the meaning given to butterflies throughout the ages. The 16th-century mystic Teresa of Avila described the spirit leaving the body after death as a butterfly emerging from a cocoon. You might not be aware consciously of such symbolism (though much of this symbol code is stored in our genes to be awakened in magick), but you would instinctively know that by choosing a butterfly as a symbol in your spell, it would be a joy-bringing focus. Magick is the sister of psychology and good magick operates on sound psychological principles.

How Is Natural Magick Different?

How Is Natural Magick Different

 
Sometimes you might put on a lovely dress and dance in a ballroom following taught steps so that you and partner move in harmony. On other occasions you might dance spontaneously, moving freely alone on a moonlit seashore or at a friend’s party to fast exciting music. Both are dancing, in the same way that formal magick and natural magick are both ways of performing magick. Neither is better, not are they mutually exclusive.
 
Formal magick uses traditional rituals and beautifully made tools to control magickal energy, while natural magick uses tools made from natural materials: wood, clay, herbs, beeswax or crystal. Usually they are very simple because they are secondary to the setting of the spell or ritual. For where possible natural magick is performed outdoors, winter or summer, rain or shine, whether in woodland, on the seashore or in your garden. You can, in really bad weather or if it would not be safe or feasible to cast spells outdoors, practice natural magick inside your home by bringing in flowers, herbs or berries and by linking your magick to what is happening outside the window.

Sometimes on a seasonal festival or personal rite like handfasting you may carry out quite an elaborate outdoor ritual and of course ritual magickal practitioners and covens do work outdoors where possible.

So natural magick involves a difference of emphasis and location, but adheres to all the traditional rules of magick follow.

What Is Natural Magick?

What Is Natural Magick?

 

Magick is a constantly flowing stream of energy. It is a concentrated and channelled form of the life force that flows through all animate life forms: People, animals, birds ,insects and plants of all kinds. The life force is also present in rocks and crystals in some cultures regarded as living energies, in rain, sunshine, the moon, winds, storms, the rainfalll and the rivers and seas. In Charge of the Goddess, written by the late Doreen Valiente who revised much of Gerald Gardner’s Book of Shadows, the high priestess speaks as the goddess:

I who am the beauty of the green earth, the white moon among the stars, and the mystery of the waters call unto thy soul, I am the soul of nature.

 

This is a good summary of the powers of all magick, but especially natural magick that lies at its heart.

We receive and give out the life force in its spontaneous form through our aura, our psychic energy field that extends about an outstretched arm span around us. It also passes to and from our bodies through our chakras or psychic energy centers.These energy centers filter the aura energy and receive power from the earth beneath and the sky above us, from what we eat and drink and breathe and from those with whom we interact.

When you stand in the shallows of the sea and feel the waves pushing your toes, that sensation is the life force and the force behind magick. If you stand on a windy hillside and are tugged by the wind, that also is the life energy and the power behind magick. When you bury your feet in earth or press your soles against grass barefoot you are taking in the pure power.

Magick involves channelling and directing the life force by tapping into those energies in ritual and in spells and using the directed and concentrated flow to transfer thoughts and wishes (if positive) into actuality. This occurs in the same way that a strong wind can buffet you off course or the tide can lift you unexpectedly off your feet. It can be exciting occasionally to surrender yourself to the unchannelled might or nature and see where it carries you.

In spells and ritual, however, you structure words, images and actions to collect the power, and channel it into a named purpose. You can then amplify and release the concentrated strength into the specific purpose or area of the spell or ritual. In the release your wishes and focused thougths make the transition through the psychic sound or light barrier so you have the impetus to make these desired possibilities come true.

Lady A’s Spell of the Day for Feb. 3rd – Spirit Animal Protection Spell

Spirit Animal Protection Spell

This spell is used to call upon otherworldly beings, such as your Spirit Animal or Totem, for protection and guidance.

Items You Will Need:

  • A black candle
  • A white candle
  • Two candleholders
  • Matches
  • A photo, figurine, painting or other image of the animal whose help you are soliciting

Best Time To Cast Spell:

  • Any time

The Spell:

Think about various animals and their distinctive qualities. Bears, for example, are strong and fiercely protective. Foxes are clever, experts at dodging difficulties. Which animal’s characteristics will best serve and guide you now? When you’ve chosen an animal helper, find a photograph, small figurine or another symbol of that animal.

Collect all the ingredients listed above. Cast a circle around the area where you will do your spell. Fit the candles in their holders and set them on your altar (or another surface, such as a tabletop). As you face the altar, the black candle should be at your left and the white one on your right. Light the candles and place the image of the animal between them.

Gaze at the animal image. Sense this animal’s presence near you, not necessarily as a physical creature but as a spirit being who will accompany you wherever and whenever you need him or her. Breathe slowly and deeply, bringing into yourself the qualities you seek from that animal: strength, courage, speed, cunning, and so on. Feel your fear ebbing away. Ask this animal to share any suggestions that might help you. An answer may come in the form of a vision, insight, sensation, sound, scent, or inner knowing.

When you feel ready, extinguish the candles and pick up the image of your animal guardian. Open the circle. Carry the image with you for prtection and reassurance.

Magickal Goody for February 3rd – Witch Soap

Magickal Goody of the Day

WITCH SOAP

4 lbs lard

13 oz lye (1 can)

5 cups cold water

1 tbsp lavender oil

1 tbsp patchouli oil

1 cup fresh strawberry juice

1/4 cup dried soap bark herb (optional)

In a large enamel or iron kettle, melt the lard over very low heat. (Never use metal) In a separate pot, stir together the lye & the water. Heat lard until small bubbles begin to appear – do not boil.

Remove from the heat & slowly pour the lye solution into the lard. With a big wooden spoon, stir in the lavender & patchouli oils, the strawberry juice & soap bark herb. Simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently.

Pour into 2-inch deep greased pan & allow to cool overnight. Cut the soap into squares and leave in the pan for at least 3 days before removing. Place the Soap bars on waxed paper & allow them to age in a draft-free area approximately 4-6 weeks before using.

Herb of the Day for February 3rd – Stevia

Herb of the Day for February 3rd

 

Stevia – Sweet Herb

The Herbal Sugar Substitute

Stevia Sweet Herb Plant – Source: Reader’s Digest, Magic and Medicine of Plants

  • 30 times sweeter than sugar
  • Helps to keep the body’s blood sugar in balance
  • Placed directly in cuts and wounds, more rapid healing, without scarring, is observed
  • Low caloric, aids weight management
  • Improved digestion
  • Effective results applied to acne, seborrhea, dermatitis, eczema, etc.
  • Beneficial for hypoglycemics
  • Increases energy levels and mental activity
  • Reduces desire for tobacco and alcoholic beverages

FDA’s Position on Stevia

In December 2008 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Stevia product rebaudioside A (rebiana) as a general purpose sweetener. Rebiana is an ingredient derived from the leaf of the stevia plant.

Stevia Zero-Calorie Products

Companies are marketing products featuring zero-calorie sweetener made from rebiana. Trademarked stevia sweetners are Truvia™ (Coca Cola and Cargill) PureVia™ (Whole Earth Sweetener Company LLC and PepsiCo).
Sources: Marketwatch.com, npr.org

Previous FDA Reports

In 1995, the FDA revised an earlier 1991 import alert to allow Stevia and its extracts to be imported as a food supplement but not as a sweetener. Yet, it defines Stevia as an unapproved food additive, not affirmed as GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) in the United States. The following is a portion of this revised alert:

If stevia is to be used in a dietary supplement for a technical effect, such as use as a sweetener or flavoring agent, and is labeled as such, it is considered an unsafe food additive. However, in the absence of labeling specifying that stevia is being or will be used for technical effect, use of stevia as a dietary ingredient in a dietary supplement is not subject to the food additive provisions of FD & C ACT.

Crystal of the Day for Feb. 3rd – Kyanite

Crystal of the Day

Kyanite

Spiritual and Healing Properties of Kyanite:

Kyanite opens and clears the body’s communication centers. For channeling or meditation purposes it works best when it is worn near the throat chakra. Kyanite never needs cleaned or charged because it is self-caring, self-sustaining. It carries a very “light” energy that attracts light beings (angels, spirit guides, extraterresterials). Wonderful manifesting stone.
 

Remedy Benefits of Kyanite:

  • Balances chakras
  • Aids communication
  • Promotes telepathy
  • Brings tranquility
  • Boosts immune system
  • Manifesting properties
  • Induces dream recall

Today We Honor The Goddess Morrigan

The Goddess Morrigan

The Morrígan (“phantom queen”) or Mórrígan (“great queen”), also written as Morrígu or in the plural as Morrígna, and spelt Morríghan or Mór-ríoghain in Modern Irish, is a figure from Irish mythology who appears to have once been a goddess, although she is not explicitly referred to as such in the texts.

The Morrigan is a goddess of battle, strife, and fertility. She sometimes appears in the form of a crow, flying above the warriors, and in the Ulster cycle she also takes the form of an eel, a wolf and a cow. She is generally considered a war deity comparable with the Germanic Valkyries, although her association with cattle also suggests a role connected with fertility, wealth, and the land.

She is often depicted as a triple goddess,although membership of the triad varies; the most common combination is the Badb, Macha and Nemain, but other accounts name Fea, Anann, and others.

The Morrígan is often considered a triple goddess, but her supposed triple nature is ambiguous and inconsistent. Sometimes she appears as one of three sisters, the daughters of Ernmas: the Morrígan, the Badb and Macha. Sometimes the trinity consists of the Badb, Macha and Nemain, collectively known as the Morrígan, or in the plural as the Morrígna. Occasionally Fea or Anu also appear in various combinations. However the Morrígan also frequently appears alone, and her name is sometimes used interchangeably with the Badb, with no third “aspect” mentioned.

The Morrígan is usually interpreted as a “war goddess”: W. M. Hennessey’s “The Ancient Irish Goddess of War”, written in 1870, was influential in establishing this interpretation. Her role often involves premonitions of a particular warrior’s violent death, suggesting a link with the Banshee of later folklore. This connection is further noted by Patricia Lysaght: “In certain areas of Ireland this supernatural being is, in addition to the name banshee, also called the badhb“. Her role was to not only be a symbol of imminent death, but to also influence the outcome of war. She did this by most often appearing as a crow flying overhead and would either inspire fear or courage in the hearts of the warriors. There are also a few rare accounts where she would join in the battle itself as a warrior and show her favortism in a more direct manner.

It has also been suggested that she was closely tied to Irish männerbund groups (described as “bands of youthful warrior-hunters, living on the borders of civilized society and indulging in lawless activities for a time before inheriting property and taking their places as members of settled, landed communities”) and that these groups may have been in some way dedicated to her. If true, her worship may have resembled that of Perchta groups in Germanic areas.

However, Máire Herbert has argued that “war per se is not a primary aspect of the role of the goddess”, and that her association with cattle suggests her role was connected to the earth, fertility and sovereignty; she suggests that her association with war is a result of a confusion between her and the Badb, who she argues was originally a separate figure. She can be interpreted as providing political or military aid, or protection to the king—acting as a goddess of sovereignty, not necessarily a war goddess.

There is a burnt mound site in County Tipperary known as Fulacht na Mór Ríoghna (“cooking pit of the Mórrígan”). The fulachta sites are found in wild areas, and usually associated with outsiders such as the Fianna and the above-mentioned männerbund groups, as well as with the hunting of deer. The cooking connection also suggests to some a connection with the three mythical hags who cook the meal of dogflesh that brings the hero Cúchulainn to his doom. The Dá Chich na Morrigna (“two breasts of the Mórrígan”), a pair of hills in County Meath, suggest to some a role as a tutelary goddess, comparable to Danu or Anu, who has her own hills in County Kerry. Other goddesses known to have similar hills are Áine and Grian of County Limerick who, in addition to a tutelary function, also have solar attributes.

Wikipedia

NASA Photo of the Day for February 3rd

 Panorama of the East Coast

Panorama of the East Coast

This Jan. 29 panorama of much of the East Coast, photographed by one of the Expedition 30 crew members aboard the International Space Station, provides a look generally northeastward: Philadelphia-New York City-Boston corridor (bottom-center); western Lake Ontario shoreline with Toronto (left edge); Montreal (near center). An optical illusion in the photo makes the atmospheric limb and light activity from Aurora Borealis appear “intertwined.”

Image Credit: NASA

Astronomy Picture of the Day for February 3rd

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2012 February 3
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download the highest resolution version available.

Inside the Eagle Nebula
Credit: Far-infrared: ESA/Herschel/PACS/SPIRE/Hill, Motte, HOBYS Key Programme Consortium;
X-ray: ESA/XMM-Newton/EPIC/XMM-Newton-SOC/Boulanger 

Explanation: In 1995, a now famous picture from the Hubble Space Telescope featured Pillars of Creation, star forming columns of cold gas and dust light-years long inside M16, the Eagle Nebula. This remarkable false-color composite image revisits the nearby stellar nursery with image data from the orbiting Herschel Space Observatory and XMM-Newton telescopes. Herschel’s far infrared detectors record the emission from the region’s cold dust directly, including the famous pillars and other structures near the center of the scene. Toward the other extreme of the electromagnetic spectrum, XMM-Newton’s X-ray vision reveals the massive, hot stars of the nebula’s embedded star cluster. Hidden from Hubble’s view at optical wavelengths, the massive stars have a profound effect, sculpting and transforming the natal gas and dust structures with their energetic winds and radiation. In fact, the massive stars are short lived and astronomers have found evidence in the image data pointing to the remnant of a supernova explosion with an apparent age of 6,000 years. If true, the expanding shock waves would have destroyed the visible structures, including the famous pillars. But because the Eagle Nebula is some 6,500 light-years distant, their destruction won’t be witnessed for hundreds of years.