‘THINK on THESE THINGS’ for July 26th

‘THINK on THESE THINGS’
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler

We often wonder why we must come in contact with some phases of life that seem so unrelated to how we think and plan. It seems we should be able to contend with things that really have little kinship to what we’re trying to do.

But no matter how we question and analyze, situations and events continue to present themselves for solving. It takes a great deal of wisdom to know the difference between that which we must do and that which we must refuse serious consideration. This very thin line is the deciding factor in the victory or defeat of a plan.

Like a well-written story, sometimes the smallest incident hidden among our experiences can play a very big part at some later time. It is difficult to know just which parts of the puzzle will fall into place to complete a picture we seek.

We must take one step at a time, being sensibly aware of the thoughts we store in our minds. For “as a man thinketh in his heart, so he is.” As long as we dwell on all the unnecessary activities we will never have time for the important things. If we seek the wisdom of the one Creative Mind we have much less chance of being led astray by the glitter of unimportant things.

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Available online! ‘Cherokee Feast of Days’
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler.

Visit her web site to purchase the wonderful books by Joyce as gifts for yourself or for loved ones……and also for those who don’t have access to the Internet:

 

http://www.hifler.com
Click Here to Buy her books at Amazon.com

Elder’s Meditation of the Day
By White Bison, Inc., an American Indian-owned nonprofit organization. Order their many products from their web site: http://www.whitebison.org

Elder’s Meditation of the Day July 25

Elder’s Meditation of the Day July 25

“People need to wake up. They can’t hear God’s voice if they’re asleep.”

–Vernon Cooper, LUMBEE

Black Elk, a Sioux, talks about the hoop of many hoops. He says that above the people is a hoop, a conscience, the total belief of the people. If the hoop is sick, meaning dysfunctional, codependent, a lot of alcoholism, family abuse, violence, racism and sexual abuse, the people can get used to this and think this is normal. In other words, the people are asleep. If we have left the spiritual way of life, the people are asleep. If we are giving our power to another entity, the people are asleep. In most tribes, there are Coyote Clans. The job of the Coyote Clan people is to wake the people up. They need to become a nuisance and irritate the people. We must return to the spiritual walk.

Oh Great Spirit, keep me awake today. Let me hear the voices of our ancestors…let me hear the voices of the Grandfathers. Because everybody is doing it doesn’t make things right. Let me hear the truth today and become a coyote for the people. Give me the courage to be willing to be different. Let me walk straight on the Red Road.

July 25 – Daily Feast

July 25 – Daily Feast

The haying season is in full swing and trucks loaded with bales of green-gold leave the meadows stirred into action. Killdeer circle overhead, and quail call for a covey scattered by the noise of machines. To all appearances, this is the quiet season – but appearances are deceiving. The end is never the end but another beginning. The grasses drying in the sun have dropped seeds that will sprout again. Tall graceful sunflowers shade the wild petunias that wait for another rain. We finish one thing and begin another – always with a fresh eye for how we can do better. It reminds us that what we want to reap, we must first plant and cultivate and water with love.

~ The Great Spirit has smiled upon us and made us glad. ~

KEOKUK, 1848

‘A Cherokee Feast of Days’, by Joyce Sequichie Hifler

Daily Motivator for July 26th – Positive power

Positive power

Your most formidable obstacle is you. If you are unwilling, or filled with  doubt, you simply cannot get very far.

All the other challenges and limitations, you can find a way around. Yet when  you persist in holding yourself back, nothing can move you forward.

The extremely good news is, you never have to continue holding yourself back.  You can be entirely free of your most stubborn burden simply by choosing to be.

Your doubts are yours by choice, and you can choose to let them go. Your  apathy, lack of ambition, and negativity are yours by choice, and you can be  free of them all in an instant.

There are many difficult challenges to living a life of success and  fulfillment. Yet once you get the positive power of your own authentic purpose  on your side, you have what it takes to handle everything else.

Instead of being your own biggest obstacle, choose to be your own most  effective advocate and facilitator of success. You have the power to choose in  every moment, so choose again and again to live the richest, most meaningful  life you can imagine.

— Ralph Marston

The Daily Motivator

Daily OM for July 26th – Dealing with Disappointment

Dealing with Disappointment

A Bridge to Acceptance

by Madisyn Taylor

The gift of disappointment is to bring us into reality so we don’t get stuck in the realm of how things might have been.

Whenever we do something in life with an expectation of how we’d like it to turn out, we risk experiencing disappointment. When things don’t go the way we had envisioned, we may feel a range of emotions from slightly let down to depressed or even angry. We might direct our feelings inward toward ourselves, or outward toward other people or the universe in general. Whether we feel disappointed by ourselves, a friend, or life in general, disappointment is always a tough feeling to experience. Still, it is a natural part of life, and there are many ways of dealing with it when we find ourselves in its presence.

As with any feeling, disappointment has come to us for a reason, and we don’t need to fear acknowledging it or feeling it. The more we are able to accept how we are feeling and process it, the sooner we will move into new emotional territory. As we sit down to allow ourselves to feel our disappointment, we might want to write about the experience of being disappointed—the situation that preceded it, what we were hoping would happen, and what did happen. The gift of disappointment is its ability to bring us into alignment with reality so that we don’t get stuck for too long in the realm of how things might have been.

As we consider other disappointments in our life and how we have moved past them, we may even see that in some cases what happened was actually better in the long run than what we had wanted to happen. Disappointment often leaves us feeling deflated with its message that things don’t always turn out the way we want. The beauty of disappointment, though, is that it provides us a bridge to its other side where the acceptance of reality, wisdom, and the energy to begin again can be found.

Connecting with the Earth as Darkness Deepens

Connecting with the Earth as Darkness Deepens

by Catherine Harper

About now, the summer garden is coming into its full splendor. This is what most people think of when you say garden — tomatoes and peppers, corn and beans, squash, melons, cucumbers, grapes and berries… all right, mentioning berries is almost cheating in the Pacific Northwest, where some kind of berry is in season for more than half the year. But that only makes up for the shortcomings of our climate regarding other staples of the classic American garden — here, the corn season is short, as are most varieties of corn suited for our growing season. Tomatoes are almost a religion in themselves, for they will not thrive without substantial assistance. Peppers and eggplants are more difficult yet, causing many people who don’t like zucchini to overplant it, just so they have something growing with enthusiasm. Melons, too, are temperamental. But still, with luck and practice these luscious foods do grow, and it’s a season of wonder for the garden.

It’s a strange thing that just as the garden begins to bear in earnest, and you can hardly see a way to eat or save all the beans and squash that you’ve grown, is when you need to begin preparing for fall and winter crops. Of course, this is a less common sort of gardening these days when gardening for most of us is a luxury rather than a matter of survival. The popular gardens emphasize the delicate fruits of summer, which are most productive, and most notably different than their pale grocery-store counterparts.

Winter gardening isn’t so much about bounty and bulk but having a few fresh things you can add to your meals throughout the cold seasons. By extension, it’s also about understanding the seasons, and connecting with the outdoors when it isn’t fun and easy. Our winters, while dark and wet, are relatively warm, and green. The world around us keeps moving and changing, whether we’re paying attention or not. And the beets and kales and onions of the winter garden are tastier than you might imagine, even as they allow you to take this piece of the season, of the outdoors, and make it a part of yourself.

Winter gardens, while less productive, are also less labor-intensive than their summer counterparts. The plants aren’t tender, and require little extra fussing. (Of course, if you want to grow plants that aren’t really that cold-hardy, or have quicker-growing plants with bigger yields, you can fuss to your heart’s content.) Unlike during our relatively dry summers, supplemental water is rarely necessary. Weeds don’t grow much, and so won’t get in your way, and most garden pests are either dead or elsewhere.

A winter garden will profit from rich soil but will actually do better without a lot of supplemental fertilizer — large amounts of available nutrients will only encourage lots of tender young growth, which is more susceptible to temperature fluctuation. Full sun is also important — not because many of the plants are usually thought of as needing “full sun” but because our winter days are so short and cloud cover so heavy that every extra bit of light will help.

Most of the plants for a winter garden are started around the beginning of August. I almost exclusively start mine in containers, and only plant them into beds after some of the summer produce has been cleared. Nurseries are increasingly carrying winter starts as well, though the selection tends to be limited.

Alliums

If you want to take a first swing at winter gardening, and you’re in the mood for easy successes without a lot of effort, alliums are a good place to start. Plant onion sets (pearl-size onion bulbs) for green onions, or any old garlic that happens to be sprouting. If you’re only interested in the greens (and garlic greens, if you haven’t tried them, are a wonderful treat), little preparation is needed — dig a shallow trench a couple of inches deep, space your bulbs about two inches apart, and cover. You can do this any time, though you’ll find the maintenance easier if you wait until later August. While the weather is still hot and dry, provide water as needed. The greens are useable at any time after they emerge. Delicious, ignored by most pests and impervious to poor soil, alliums grow easily this way.

Of course, if you want to actually produce storage onions and garlic, you should give them very rich soil, hold off planting the garlic until October or so and start the onions from seed around Imbolc. If you’re going to go to that much work, you might consider starting overwintering leeks from seeds in late August, and planting them out in the fall with garlic.

Brassicas

In the fall and winter months, “seasonal color” beds are planted with these odd things that look like purple and white cabbages. This first impression is essentially correct — these are ornamental kales, kales being perhaps the hardiest member of a family that also includes cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, mustard and collards. If you spend much time growing brassicas, their similarities become more and more obvious. When small, they mostly (with the partial exception of mustard) look like the same plant, though the broccoli has been bred to produce a large head of closely packed buds, and Brussels sprouts have been coaxed into producing miniature cabbages along the length of their stalks (though in fact a regular cabbage will often produce sprouts similar to Brussels sprouts after the main head has been cut). Kales, closer than other cultivated varieties to the wild type, produce ruffled leaves that don’t form a true head. And I’m almost afraid to speculate exactly what was done to induce the poor plants to turn into cauliflower.

If you’re looking for an easy start, look to the primitive vigor of the kales — there’s a reason they’re so commonly used as an ornamental; pretty or not, the things are tough. Properly speaking, these plants should be started from seed by the middle of July, so these might be good ones to buy as starts, planting them out in September. Many varieties are available, in shades of green, red and purple — I favor the variable wild garden kale mixes, but even the ornamental varieties are perfectly edible. Kales keep me in greens for soups and stir fries all winter long.

Once you’ve come to know kales, the rest of the family is not much of a stretch. Keep in mind, though, that some varieties of broccoli will produce a fall harvest, while others will overwinter and produce heads in spring. Cauliflower is similar, and Brussels sprouts need to be started early just to be ready in spring. Fall-harvested mustard and cabbage will be sweeter for growing into a cold season.

Other greens

If you really don’t want to put a lot of effort into your garden, but you’d like fresh salad greens, here’s what I’d recommend: Prepare a patch of earth (to save weeding later on, clear it and then cover it with clear plastic during a few scorching summer days — the concentrated heat will kill weed seeds). Get a packet of mache (or cornsalad) seeds, sprinkle them over the ground, rake them in, and then walk away. If you’re in a hurry for your mild-flavored greens, water a bit, but if that’s too much for you, never mind. When things get damp again, they’ll sprout and grow into little rosettes of tender spoon-shaped leaves. If you cut off the leaves and leave the roots, they’ll grow more leaves. If you harvest most of the plants and let a couple go to seed, the process will start over again. With very little care, you can be kept in greens from fall through about May, when they go to seed — longer if you replant earlier in the year. This is just about the only plant that is really growing during December and January, a period through which most plants at best preserve the status quo.

Lettuce, spinach and chard are my other favorite fall and winter greens. All can be grown from seed, either as fall greens or as overwintering ones (with spinach and chard, the difference is a bit academic, but if you wish to overwinter lettuce, select a variety intended for that purpose). If you want a lot of greens through the winter, it may be worthwhile to consider giving your greens bed some kind of protection, such as a cold frame or tunnel cloche (a system of u-shaped supports holding up a piece of plastic, keeping the plants and the ground they’re in a few degrees warmer).

Root vegetables

My favorite root vegetables are carrots and radishes, which are traditionally sown together. The radishes come up almost immediately, and can be harvested at the end of the month. The carrots, on the other hand, are in it for the long haul, and carrots are planted now to overwinter for a spring harvest. Carrots can be a very hardy crop, sometimes growing to cudgel-like proportions, but they should be planted only where there is at least eight inches of soil before you hit clay. If this does not describe your garden, and you like carrots, it might be time to consider a raised bed.

It’s a little late already to start beets, but beets are one of the few root vegetables that can be started in containers and then transplanted, so it might be worth your while to look for starts. Turnips might make it from seed now, if you get them in quick.

Legumes

What could be better than fresh peas for Thanksgiving? Peas planted in late summer will — with a little bit of luck with the weather — bear through the fall. A pea inoculant can only help.

Fava beans, too, are often planted in the fall. While they won’t give you a winter harvest, they’re a good cover crop, that can be tilled into the soil come spring, or they can be left to bear their wonderful beans.

Altars and Shrines

Altars and Shrines

by Erika Ginnis

One of my dear friends, who I was married to at the time, made a comment about me once that has stayed with me over the years.

We were getting ready to move into a new house, and we were having some kind of conversation about decorating style. From out of the blue, he said, “Oh yeah, your decorating style is Early American Shrine.”

I stopped what I was doing. I turned around and was actually silent for a moment (anyone who knows me can attest to the rarity of this action). I thought about it for a minute and then broke out laughing. I realized he was totally right. I had just never thought of it in quite that way before.

I asked him to elaborate, and he was more than glad to do so! He said “Given the opportunity, you will make anything into a shrine or altar. Look around at all your stuff and tell me if that isn’t true. You put candles on either side of everything, you add flowers and incense whenever you possibly can. They are all altars. It’s cool. I like it. It’s just what you do to anything that will sit still long enough.”

I took a look around, and I had to admit he was right. It cracked me up. Since that time, I have come to accept with amusement this tendency to create altars wherever I go. I have even used to it to my advantage, being a witch and a healer and a creator of spaces both private and public where people congregate.

define a shrine or altar

Before I go any further, I want to look at some definitions. I sometimes use shrine and altar interchangeably. They are, however, slightly different things, according to Encarta World English Dictionary 2001:

Shrine [shrin], noun (plural shrines)

1.         Holy place of worship: a sacred place of worship associated with a holy person or event

2.         Container for holy relics: a case or other container for sacred relics, for example, the bones of a saint

3.         Tomb of holy person: the tomb of a saint or other revered figure

4.         Niche for religious icon: a ledge or alcove for a religious icon, for example, in a church

5.         Something revered: an object or place revered for its associations or history

(Pre-12th century. From Latin scrinium, “a case for books or papers,” of uncertain origin. First used to denote a container.)

Al·tar [áwlt?r], noun (plural al·tars)

1.         Raised ceremonial religious structure: a raised structure, typically a flat-topped rock or a table of wood or stone, or raised area where religious ceremonies are performed

2.                        Communion table: the table or other raised structure in a Christian church on which the bread and wine of communion are prepared

(Pre-12th century. From Latin altare, from altaria, “burnt offerings,” from, probably, adolere, “to burn up.”)

By these definitions, I have a working altar and many shrines. Since I sometimes use the shrines to do magickal work as well, the meanings get less clear; thus, I use both words. In general, for me a shrine is to something or someone, and an altar is for doing workings.

Now that I have touched on some definitions, I want to set them aside and say that what I really hope you get out of this article is permission to explore and develop what works for you, call it what you will.

why place shrines  and altars?

It makes sense to me to recognize the divinity in us and our surroundings. I love arranging things to add that quality of the sacred. I believe it does many things for us. It speaks to a deep part of us that is below the conscious mind, to the deep ocean of the soul. It calms and delights the prehistoric part of us that is, at this moment, still sitting by a fire and telling the mythic stories that run in our blood — the part of us that is in awe and fear of the dark night, the bright moon and the workings of the world, no matter what we do for our living in the modern day to day.

Shrines and altars also speak, at least to me, of beauty. I feel more connected to a sense of grace and loveliness when I am setting things out in a specific way. It puts me in a place of being mindful and honoring, rather than the place of rushing. It helps to remind me that I am spirit. It gives me a place to focus.

My head has sometimes been known to harass me and say; “Hey, what the heck does it matter that you are placing these things thus and so? They are just things, physical objects; how can that affect anything?” In case you also are plagued by this type of inner dialog (or perhaps outer dialog with spouse, partner or roommate), I will say this: I think there are at least two things at work here. (I will warn you that I spend a lot of time seeing things in pairs of dichotomies. I look at a paradox and get really giddy, since I often see both opposites as simultaneously true, and that is where I often find Spirit.)

First, when I take the time to pay attention, when I have an intention and dedicate a space (regardless of the size) to something, it changes me internally. The altar exists inside of me somehow. It creates a mental and spiritual and energetic shift inside of me. This is nontrivial. Some would say that all our experience is really our perceptions of our experience and therefore all reality is actually inside of us. Changing something within us, then, can have a tremendous impact. Whether or not you subscribe to this line of thought, it is easy to see how much our inner stance colors our outer experience.

Second, I think that everything is energy and that when you place your intention and direction onto physical objects you do indeed change them on some level. One way of looking at the world says that everything is part of One Thing, and that everything is just arrangements of energy. So the very act of arranging things with sacred intention is by its very nature divine and imbues an even “greater” concentration of sacred energy into the act and by extension the objects acted upon.

a shrine or altar for  a deity or spirit

Now, there is the added aspect for an altar or shrine of the energy of a particular god or goddess, or perhaps the fey; as pagans, we may have direct interaction with all of these as real and tangible. When you create an altar or shrine for a particular energy, being or archetype, you are going to be working with yet another layer of interaction and experience, and I should add, opinion. I know from my own personal experience that I created an altar for Yemayá with all the various things that she would find sacred. The “odd” thing was that I did this prior to even knowing who she was, what her name was and what she would traditionally have on an altar. She was just very clear in telling me what was supposed to be there (see “She Moves in Mysterious Ways: My Relationship with Yemayá,” under the pen name Iris WaterStar, Widdershins, volume 2, issue 2).

If you know that you want to create a shrine for a specific god or goddess, I think it is always wise and also great fun to do research before you begin. Find some reference books about the deity you are working with, and find out what kind of colors, objects and symbols are sacred to that deity. You may even find pictures of specific shrines and altars that will give you some ideas. Take the time to meditate on the god or goddess. I believe if you allow yourself to get internally still, you can connect with something within that can guide you in your creation. It can be an amazing experience.

One word of caution: If you get really good at this, please remember that you may not want to or be able to provide every single thing the god or goddess might “suggest” on the altar. Some of them might ask for actual living lions or precious gems, or something else that might not be feasible. The phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” can come in really handy here. Statues, photographs, artwork, all of these things can give the energy you are looking for without breaking your lease or your budget. Work with the energy gently, and allow it to be an inspiration.

Your space does not have to be dedicated to a particular god or goddess. Choose whatever you want your intention to be. It can be a place of prayer, or meditation. It can be a creative expression, or even an altar to creativity. It doesn’t always have to be specific. It can be general, such as a shrine containing items that bring a sense of calm or peace. It may be a fountain or a place in your backyard. You may use your altar for magickal workings or for contemplation.

we create shrines  every day

Granted, I look at the world through altar-colored glasses. But I believe we create shrines all the time, even if we are not conscious of it. Sometimes they are for things that we would not really choose to honor. That pile of bills we are ignoring in the corner looks a lot like a shrine to a sense of lack. The television that we arrange our living rooms around is certainly a focus of energy. Is there a mantra in our heads that is saying things that don’t really serve us? These “accidental” creations are very powerful uses of energy. I am a proponent of doing as much of what we do on purpose as possible. If not that, I propose we become aware at some point of what the heck we are doing, so we can make choices about how we direct our energy. I believe that we are each spirit. We are part of the divine. We have power. We can create. What kinds of altars do you see around you? Are there ones in your life you would change?

For me, the act of making an altar is part of reclaiming my own power to create or identify sacred space. I grew up with a lot of messages that said that someone else had that power, not me. The first altars I made were difficult for me. I had an internal fear that someone was going to smite me down since I wasn’t “qualified,” that there was this perfect blueprint I had to follow (which I didn’t have) in order to do it “right.”

Over time, I have found many powerful traditions with very specific ways to create and bless a shrine or altar. Such ways come from all religions. They are spiritually valuable to people and as such deserve to be honored and respected. I use many of them. The information has been handed down for centuries because it works. However, keep in mind that these traditions are not the only ways to create sacred space. Get still and go deep inside of you; find the perfect expression of a shrine or altar that is unique just for you. You don’t need someone else’s permission. It may draw from a particular tradition or from several, or from none. The act of finding this part of you can be incredibly freeing and validating.

Some altars are transitory for a day or a season or a specific ritual (some would argue that all things in form are transitory, but that is a separate conversation!), and some altars are a more permanent fixture.

When you have a personal altar or shrine that is more or less permanent, it will collect and hold energy — not only from you, but also from the energies you work with and people who see it. This can be a great thing and a powerful element to draw from. Stonehenge comes to mind. Alternatively, a personal altar or shrine can be something you might want to clear out now and again. I often suggest people occasionally take their altar or shrine objects down and clean or dust them or rearrange them. Doing this can keep the energy clearer and more current. It can also simply make room for change on a personal level. It can feel really good to redo an altar and bring it up to date with where we are at in our lives.

This rearrangement may happen with or without prior planning. A few months ago, I got two fabulous cats. One of them appears to love feathers to the exclusion to all else in the material world. This love has prompted me to shift some things on my main altar, for reasons that became obvious each time I had to replace various items from the floor when I would return home. Also, my fountain shrines needed to be moved to a higher altitude so they would not become drinking bowl shrines. Thus, I have learned firsthand something I have often told students in my altar outline from one of my classes: “If you have children or pets, it is wise to consider what the best placement of your altar should be.”

I am going to conclude this article with that very outline. It presents a few things to consider when creating an altar or shrine. Please use it if you find it valuable. Please do not take it as a set of rules. There are more than enough of those to go around.

I do have suggestions, however. I would suggest approaching this activity from a grounded and centered place so that you will bring more of yourself, and therefore more of the divine, to it. Bring beauty to your creation; let it shine. I would suggest having fun with it. See what you can do when you add a candle or two to the top of a bookcase, or place some flowers in front of a picture. Perhaps we can start a whole new decorating style.

an altar or shrine can be many things

1.        Place of prayer

2.        Place of gratitude

3.        Focus of meditation or magick

4.        Reminder of self

5.        Dedicated be to a specific deity

6.        Place of peace

7.        Expression of beauty

8.        Creative expression

9.        Sacred space

10.     Ever-changing

it’s nice to have a reminder space

*         Helps to calm you and remind you that you are spirit

how to start if you don’t have one

1.        Choose a space.

2.        Define the area using cloth, table, rocks, other. It doesn’t have to be flat; it can be a wall shrine (this might be good if you have children or pets).

3.        Be conscious of your attention and intention.

4.        Start to gather and arrange some objects that have meaning for you, that remind you of your highest, best soul-self, that make you feel good or smile. For example:

*         Pictures

*         Photos

*         Plants

*         Shells

*         Candles

*         Incense burner and incense

*         Statues

*         Rocks

*         Crystals

*         Feathers

*         Water

if you already have one

1.        Clean it.

2.        Add to it.

3.        Keep your journal there.

4.        Make new room for changes in your self.

5.        Recommit to creativity or to the deity.

6.        Make a new shrine somewhere else.

7.        Enjoy!

Erika Ginnis offers spiritual counseling and coaching, psychic reading, healing and classes though her practice “Inspiration is the In-Breath of Spirit.”

ANCIENT MOTHER

ANCIENT MOTHER

 

Holy Mother, you are the Earth!

You ground us as we walk upon you,

You are in the trees that shelter us

And when we hug the trees we hug you.

 

You were here from the very first,

Nurturing us; and we made clay statues

Celebrating your thighs and breasts

That birthed us and fed us.

 

We baked bread in your images,

Since we knew all food came from you.

Lady of the Beasts, we are grateful…

Since earliest times, we have loved you.

 

Asherah, Astarte, Mawu, Inanna,

Ishtar, Anahita, Gaia, Isis;

So many from such different lands!

We don’t know all of your many names,

 

But we know you have always loved us,

Cared for us and protected us;

You are rooted in our lives and our dreams.

We hear your voice in the humming bees

 

See your beauty in the blooming flowers,

Hear the sound of your drum and sistrum.

The very beat of our hearts is in tune with you,

For you are the Ancient Mother of our souls.

 

© July 3, 2008

Beth Clare Johnson

(Mystic Amazon)

In Celebration of Lammas – Using Crystals for Abundance

In Celebration of Lammas – Using Crystals for Abundance

by Spiralotus

Abundance is the connection to the source of all that is; manifesting a constant flow to support, nourish and expand life as well as creativity. In Chinese Feng Shui the wealth corner is the corner farthest away and to the far left of the front door or the southeast corner, depending on what system you use. If you like to use this system you can set up crystals to attract various forms of abundance there.

Some crystals that are associated with abundance are usually green, yellow, gold or orange. However there are other stones that do not have those colors and work just as well. Yellow Sapphire is associated with Ganesh, Hindu god of prosperity. This stone attracts wealth to the home. An Abundance Crystal is a Quartz crystal with one long part and many tiny crystals at the base to encourage dreams, well-being, and love. Tiger’s Eye helps people with material things and assists by showing the best way to do something. It stimulates wealth and helps create stability to maintain wealth. Citrine should be placed in your wealth corner to attract abundance. Carnelian improves motivation and getting out of a rut. Peridot brings wealth quickly and is best for someone who already has things under control. Topaz helps you appreciate life and makes room for abundance. It taps into your own natural resources and because its facets carry both negative as well as positive charges, it helps manifest desires.

When you decide on a crystal to use cleanse it first by running it under water, charging it in the sun or moon, putting it in a pyramid, or if you are a Reiki practitioner, simply Reiki your crystal. Some people put their crystals in sea salt. This is a great way to cleanse them, just make sure the crystal that you are working with will not be damaged by the salt. Always throw away your salt when you are done.

You can program your crystal to attract a specific form of abundance by holding it in your hands and picturing what you want to manifest in your life. Make sure you keep your area for your crystal clean and charged. Periodically smudging the area will help you with this. In your abundance area you may wish to include something that represents Deity to you and perhaps the type of abundance you want to bring into your life. Being as specific as possible helps to create the energy you wish to attract. As your wealth increases in material, spiritual, and emotional areas be sure to give thanks for what has manifested in your life.

 

Spiralotus is High Priestess with the Order of the White Moon. As a Reiki Master and Herbalist, she trains women in the healing arts.

About Lammas

About Lammas

a guide to the Sabbat’s symbolism

by Arwynn MacFeylynnd

Date: August 1 or 2.

Alternative names: Lughnassadh, Lammastide, August Eve, Harvest Home, Ceresalia (Roman, in honor of the grain goddess Ceres), First Fruits, Festival of Green Corn (Native American), Feast of Cardenas, Cornucopia (Strega), Thingtide and Elembiuos. Lammas, an Anglo-Saxon word, means “loaf mass.” Lughnassadh is named for the Irish sun god Lugh (pronounced Loo), and variant spellings are Lughnasadh, Lughnasad, Lughnassad, Lughnasa and Lunasa.

Primary meanings: This festival has two aspects. First, it is one of the Celtic fire festivals, honoring the Celtic culture-bringer Lugh (Lleu to the Welsh, Lugus to the Gauls). In Ireland, races and games were held in his name and that of his mother, Tailtiu (these may have been funeral games). Second, the holiday is the Saxon Feast of Bread, at which the first of the grain harvest is consumed in ritual loaves. These aspects are not too dissimilar, as the shamanic death and transformation of Lleu can be compared to that of the Barley God, known from the folksong “John Barleycorn.”

Lammas celebrates the first of three harvest celebrations in the Craft. It marks the beginning of autumn, the start of the harvest cycle, and relies on the early crops of ripening grain and any fruits and vegetables ready to be harvested. It is associated with bread because grain is one of the first crops harvested. Those in the Craft often give thanks and honor now to gods and goddesses of the harvest, as well as those who represent death and resurrection.

Symbols: All grains, especially corn and wheat, corn dollies, sun wheels, bread, harvesting and threshing tools and the harvest full moon. Altar decorations might include corn dollies or kirn babies (corncob dolls) to symbolize the Mother Goddess of the Harvest. Other appropriate decorations include summer flowers and grains. You might also wish to have a loaf of whole cracked wheat or multigrain bread upon the altar, baked in the shape of the sun.

Colors: Red, orange, gold, yellow, citrine, green, grey and light brown.

Gemstones: Yellow diamonds, aventurine, sardonyx, peridot and citrine.

Herbs: Acacia flowers, aloes, chamomile, cornstalks, cyclamen, fenugreek, frankincense, heather, hollyhock, myrtle, oak leaves, passionflower, rose, rose hips, rosemary, sandalwood, sunflowers and wheat.

Gods and goddesses: Lugh, Thor, John Barleycorn (the personification of malt liquor), Demeter, Danu, Ceres, sun gods, corn mothers, all grain and agriculture deities, mother goddesses and father gods.

Customs and myths: Spellwork for prosperity, abundance and good fortune are especially appropriate now, as well as spells for connectedness, career, health and financial gain. Sacrifice is often associated with this holiday. Visits to fields, orchards, lakes and wells are also traditional. It is considered taboo not to share your food with others now.

Activities appropriate for this time of the year are baking bread, wheat weaving and making corn dollies or other god and goddess symbols. You may want to string Indian corn on black thread to make a necklace, or bake cornbread sticks shaped like little ears of corn for your Sabbat cakes. The corn dolly may be used both as a fertility amulet and as an altar centerpiece.

Some pagans bake Lammas bread in the form of a god-figure or sun wheel — if you do this, be sure to use this bread in your Lammas ritual’s cakes and ale ceremony, if you have one. During the Lammas ritual, some consume bread or something from the first harvest. Some gather first fruits; others symbolically throw pieces of bread into a fire.

How To Do a Detox

How To Do a Detox

by Dr. Frank Lipman

To be completely effective, a detox program has to address both internal and  external toxins. We obviously need to deal with the toxins we eat, drink, breath  and put on our bodies. But, it’s just as important to address the internal  toxicity created by the body as it performs it’s normal everyday functions.  These biochemical, cellular, and bodily activities generate substances that need  to be neutralized and or eliminated, as do the external toxins.

A comprehensive detox program must supply the appropriate nutrients to do  this – and should include nutrients specifically to support the 2 most important  detoxification organ systems, the liver and gastro-intestinal tract.

Although there are additional ways to boost a detox, these should be the key  components of any detox.

• Decrease The Number Of Toxins Going In Limit external  toxins by decreasing or removing the amount of irritants that we put into our  bodies. This means eliminating the foods that often cause sensitivities or  reactions, like gluten and dairy, irritants to the gut like alcohol and caffeine  and sugar and all processed foods that also trigger inflammation. For a complete  list of foods I recommend you can and cannot eat while detoxing please check out  my REMOVE  DIET.

• Support Gastro-Intestinal Function

  • Give the digestive system a rest by decreasing the      amount of food and  supplying key nutrients via juices and or powders.
  • Help balance and maintain healthy flora by removing      abnormal bugs in  the gut. These abnormal bacteria, yeast and parasites can      release toxins  and overload the liver’s capacity to deal with the flood of      toxins.
  • Aid digestion with digestive enzymes which assist the      body to break  down food properly ensuring fewer negative effects from      undigested  foods.
  • Add fiber to “sweep” the intestines. Fiber promotes the      elimination of  toxins and also binds to toxins, which helps to prevent      their absorption.  Dietary fiber is also metabolized by gut bacteria into      short-chain fatty  acids (SCFAs), which feed the cells lining the intestines      and thereby  support cellular integrity, therefore decreasing inflammation.

•  Support Liver Function Assist liver function, as  it is the main organ involved in transforming toxins into metabolites that are  easier to excrete. Nutritionally supporting the liver boosts it’s function  during detox preventing the accumulation of toxic products in the tissues.

A comprehensive detox program must include the targeted  nutrition you need to boost your bodies own detox system. Supplying the right  mix of nutrients to balance the body and optimize function is essential for an  effective detox.

Why Do You Recommend Detoxing?

Why Do You Recommend Detoxing?

by Dr. Frank Lipman

Detoxing helps our bodies cope with the onslaught of toxins and stress which  are an unavoidable part of modern day life. Boosting the detoxification system  helps bring the body back into balance. It’s an important first step in  restoring function and getting the body back to optimal health.

Internally we harbor toxins produced by the billions of bacteria and other  flora in the intestines as well as the waste products produced by the body’s  normal metabolic processes. And externally, our exposure to chemicals in the air  we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, the personal care products we put on our skin and in household  products is greater than ever. Our bodies are constantly neutralizing and  eliminating all these toxins, that is, detoxing. It is a totally natural  process. Just like with cars, our own internal engines are subject to waste  build-up and can become sluggish over time – they both run better when  clean.

So while we are obviously equipped to deal with low levels of some toxins,  our bodies can become overwhelmed and overtaxed by the substantial increase in  the number of toxins to which we are exposed.

If and when our own detoxification systems (predominantly the liver and the  gut) become overloaded and do not function properly, toxins get stored in  various tissues in the body, including fatty tissue. This prevents our system  from functioning at optimum strength and efficiency and is a factor in the  development of various chronic diseases, including cancer. Many of these  external toxins or synthetic molecules are chemically similar to biologically  active substances in our bodies and therefore easily interfere with our cell’s  normal activities. For example,

  • Some interfere with our hormones
  • Some attach themselves to our chromosomes
  • Some disable the immune system
  • Some cause overstimulation of certain enzymes, others      block their  activity

A well functioning detoxification system that is supported nutritionally is  essential to maintaining good health. I have been putting my patients on  “detoxes” for the last 20 years and seen incredible results. An effective,  natural, gentle detox  program can help your body’s natural cleansing ability and put you on the  road to rejuvenation.

What Do You Mean By Detox?

What Do You Mean By Detox?

by Dr. Frank Lipman

There is a lot of misunderstanding about what a detox is and how to do it, so  let me explain how I understand detoxification.

Detoxification is what your body does naturally to neutralize, transform or  get rid of unwanted materials or toxins. It is a primary function of the body,  constantly working and interacting with all other functions of the body. So when  I am talking about detoxification, it is about improving and optimizing the  function of your body’s own detoxification systems. This is done by decreasing  the amount of toxins we put into our bodies while at the same time supporting  our body’s detoxification and elimination systems with the nutrients it needs to  function properly.

As a culture we are very aware of our external cleanliness. We clean our  teeth daily, we bath and wash our hair daily or every other day and we like to  look and smell clean because it makes us feel better. Similarly, I see  detoxification as internal cleansing. The problem is that it’s often hard to  know when our internal cleansing mechanisms are not functioning well. Unlike  other parts of our body it is very hard to know how well our liver is working,  and our liver is the main detoxification organ. It filters the blood of bacteria  and toxins, chemically neutralizing toxins and converting them to substances  that can be eliminated by the kidneys and synthesizing and secreting bile.

Although it is mostly ignored by our current medical system, the  detoxification system is a key component of our body’s functioning. Most of the  molecules made by our bodies every day, are for getting rid of waste products.  We need hundreds of enzymes, vitamins and other molecules to help rid the body  of unwanted waste products and chemicals. We need to manufacture these molecules  to help take the good from what we ingest and get rid of the unwanted. Although  the bulk of the work is done by the liver and the intestinal tract, the kidneys,  lungs, lymphatic system and skin are all involved in this complex detoxification  system.

The purpose of a detoxification program is primarily to support these organs  of elimination so that toxins present in the body can be metabolized and  excreted. Time and time again I’ve seen the benefits a good internal cleanse can  bring.

I think an effective detoxification system is necessary for good  health and in response to the many requests I’ve had, I have put together my own  program based on what I’ve seen working in my practice.I designed a 2 week detox with all the components I feel are necessary to optimize your body’s  detoxification systems. This is now available for everybody online.

 

You Need Sun! 10 Healthy Tips to Get It

You Need Sun! 10 Healthy Tips to Get It

by Dr. Frank Lipman

For the last 30 years or so, doctors (dermatologists in particular), health  officials, beauty experts and many product companies have been demonizing the  sun. They’ve told us to avoid it because without sunscreen, exposure to the sun’s rays will damage skin and  cause cancer.

But this oversimplification distorts the facts. In the past few years,  numerous studies have shown that optimizing your vitamin D levels may actually  help prevent as many as 16 different types of cancer including pancreatic, lung,  breast, ovarian, prostate and colon cancers. And the best way to optimize  Vitamin D levels is through safe, smart and limited sunscreen-free exposure to  the sun.

For hundreds of thousands of years, man has lived with the sun: Our ancestors  were outdoors far more often than indoors. We developed a dependence on sunshine  for health and life, so the idea that sunlight is dangerous does not make sense.  How could we have evolved and survived as a species, if we were that vulnerable  to something humans have been constantly exposed to for their entire existence?  Is it possible that our bodies are made in such a way that the sun is really a  lethal enemy?

Not in my opinion. Like all living things, we need sunshine, and it feels  good for a reason. Much as plants harness the sun’s rays through photosynthesis,  our bodies use sunlight to help the skin produce the vitamin D it needs to build bones, quell  inflammation, bolster the immune system and protect against cancer (including  skin cancer).

Why demonize the sun? Western medicine has made a  practice of telling us to abstain from things that are bad for us in extreme  quantities, when in fact those same things⎯fat, salt and sunshine for  example⎯are very good for us when consumed wisely and in moderation. In the case  of sunshine, our UV paranoia is contributing to a silent epidemic: Vitamin D deficiency. It’s silent because most people don’t  know they are deficient. And it’s deadly, because this deficiency can lead to  cancer and a multitude of other diseases. But we’ve been brainwashed into  believing that even small amounts of sunshine will harm us, and told to slather  on sunscreen, which blocks vitamin D production and exacerbates the Vitamin D  deficiency induced by our modern, indoor lives.

Studies show that as many as three out of four Americans suffer from Vitamin  D deficiency. A study published in 2009 in the Archives of Internal Medicine (a  leading scientific journal), found that 70 percent of Caucasians, 90 percent of  Hispanics and 97 percent of African Americans in the US have insufficient blood  levels of vitamin D. Indeed, it’s thought to be the most common medical  condition in the world, affecting over one billion people and we now have  research showing just how essential vitamin D is to health.

U.S. and Norwegian researchers have found that people who live in higher  latitudes are more prone to vitamin D deficiency and more prone to developing  common cancers and dying of them. It’s now thought that this is due in part to  the body’s inability to make enough activated vitamin D to help regulate cell  growth and to keep cell growth in check. Independent scientific research has  shown that whether you live in a sunny or not-so-sunny climate, exposure to the  sun and its UVB radiation will increase your production of vitamin D and help  lower the risk of a host of debilitating and fatal diseases — including many  cancers, heart disease, high blood pressure, Type I diabetes, multiple sclerosis  and depression.

And now the experts are concerned that we’re passing an epidemic of vitamin D  deficiency down to a new generation. Studies have shown that vitamin D  deficiency may imprint on an infant for the rest of his/her life. Infants that  are vitamin D deficient at birth can remain vitamin D deficient for the first  several months after birth, which may put them at risk of developing many  chronic diseases much later in life.

What is Vitamin D and how much do you need? Although called a vitamin, it  is not. Vitamin D is in a class by itself, behaving more like a hormone. It is  made in the skin, gets into your bloodstream and then goes into the liver and  the kidney where it becomes activated as a key steroid hormone called  Calcitriol. It then goes to the intestines, bones and other tissues, effecting  metabolic pathways and the expression of myriad genes.

Vitamin D’s active form can interact with almost every cell in the body  directly or indirectly, targeting up to two thousand genes, or about six percent  of the human genome. It is necessary for numerous cellular functions, and when  the body does not have what it needs to function optimally, it follows that we  experience a decline in health and put ourselves at risk of disease. We now know  that almost every cell and tissue in our body has vitamin D receptors, which  raises the question: Why would those receptors be there if they weren’t meant to  have an effect?

Our vitamin D needs vary with age, body weight, percent of body fat,  latitude, skin coloration, season of the year, use of sun block, individual  reactions to sun exposure, and our overall health. As a general rule, older  people need more vitamin D than younger people, large people need more that  small people, fat people need more than skinny people, northern people need more  than southern people, dark-skinned people need more than fair skinned people,  winter people need more than summer people, sun-phobes need more than sun  worshipers, and ill people may need more than well people.

The best way to determine whether or not you are deficient is to have your  vitamin D blood levels measured and replenish accordingly.

My Top 10 Tips for Healthy Sun Exposure and Optimizing your Vitamin D  Levels

1. Have a healthy respect for the sun. It is powerful medicine with  potentially dangerous side effects on your skin. Treat it like medication, using  the lowest dose necessary, but don’t avoid it completely. Never fall asleep in  the sun without protection.

2. Always avoid sunburn. It is sunburn, not healthy sun exposure that causes  problems. Repeated sunburns, especially in children and very fair-skinned  people, have been linked to melanoma. Whereas there is no credible scientific  evidence that regular, moderate sun exposure causes melanoma or other skin  cancers.

3. Prepare your skin and build up tolerance gradually. Start early in the  year (spring), or early in the morning before the sun is strongest and slowly  build up the amount of time you spend in the sun.

4. Get 15-30 minutes of unprotected sun exposure two to four times a week.  Each of us has different needs for unprotected sun exposure to maintain adequate  levels of Vitamin D. Depending on your age, what type of skin you have, where  you live and what time of the day and year it is, your need will vary. The  farther you live from the equator, the more exposure to the sun you need in  order to generate vitamin D. For instance, a fair skinned person, sitting on a  New York beach in June, in the middle of the day, for about 10-15 minutes  (enough to cause a light pinkness 24 hours after), is producing the equivalent  of 15,000-20,000 IU’s of Vitamin D. But the same person living further north in  the U.K, or Canada would need 20-30 minutes to get that light pinkness, which is  all one needs. Also, people with dark skin pigmentation may need 20 – 30 times  as much exposure to sunlight as fair-skinned people, to generate the same amount  of vitamin D. For more specifics, I recommend the tables in The Vitamin D  Solution by Dr. Michael Holick.

5. Get frequent, short exposures. Regular short exposures have been found to  be much more effective and safer than intermittent long ones. Note that you  cannot generate Vitamin D when sitting behind a glass window, because the UVB  rays necessary for vitamin D production are absorbed by glass.

6. After your 15-30 minutes of sun-block free time in the sun, you must  protect yourself. If you’re going to be out in the sun for longer periods, wear  a hat to protect your face and light colored clothing that blocks the sun and  keeps you cool. When you do apply sunscreen, use one with fewer chemicals. Check  out the Environmental Working Group’s list of safer sunscreens. Remember that  even weak sunscreens block the ability of your skin to manufacture vitamin D, so  once you have applied it, you will not be making vitamin D.

7. Boost your “internal sunscreen” by consuming anti-oxidants and beneficial  fats. These strengthen skin cells, helping to protect them from sun damage.  Eating lots of vegetables and fruits such as blueberries, raspberries, goji  berries and pomegranates and supplementing with green powdered mixes and fish  oils are great options when going into the sun.

8. Have your vitamin D blood levels checked regularly. The correct blood test  is 25OH vit D or 25 hydroxy vitamin D test. Be aware, however, that current  “normal” range for vitamin D is 20 to 55 ng/ml. This is much too low! Those  levels may be fine if you want to prevent rickets or osteomalacia, but they are  not adequate for optimal health. The ideal range for optimal health is 50-80  ng/ml.

9. Don’t rely on food alone for your vitamin D needs. It is almost impossible  to get your vitamin D needs met by food alone. Fatty wild fish (not farmed),  like salmon and mackerel are the best food sources, but you would have to eat huge quantities of  them daily to get anywhere near what your body needs. Although fortified milk  and orange juice do contain vitamin D, you would have to drink at least 10  glasses of each daily and I don’t recommend doing that.

10. Take Vitamin D3 supplements if necessary. In the winter or if you don’t  get enough healthy sun exposure or if your blood levels are low, make sure you  supplement with at least 2,000 IU’s a day of Vitamin D3. Although I recommend  moderate sunbathing, vitamin D supplements provide the same benefits as sunshine  (in terms of Vitamin D needs). But, if taken in too large a dose, they can cause  vitamin D toxicity, whereas sun exposure does not. It is impossible to generate  too much vitamin D in your body from the sun: Your body will self-regulate and  only generate what it needs, which just reaffirms to me that we should get our  vitamin D from sensible sun exposure. Here are specific guidelines for  replenishing Vitamin D.

Conclusion Although irresponsible sunbathing is  unquestionably harmful and precautions need to be taken, regular, moderate,  unprotected sun exposure is essential for good health. It is free, easy to get  and good for you when used intelligently. It is the only reliable way to  generate vitamin D in your own body, which we now know to be an essential  ingredient for optimizing health and preventing disease.

Frank Lipman MD is the creator of Eleven Eleven Wellness, Guided Health Solutions, a leading  edge integrative health program.

Are Spray Tans Safe?

Are Spray Tans Safe?

by Celeste Yarnall

I came across an article recently called “Spray Tan Dangers” by Beth Levine. This started me thinking  about what we have become accustomed to thinking looks good today, especially in  the summertime.

I personally have the type of skin that just doesn’t tan; I burn, freckle and  peel and long ago I gave up the idea of tanning. But I never dreamed in a  million years that a spray tan might have its drawbacks as well! Trying to fit  in on vacation and not be this white-skinned blob in a bathing suit, I have had  many a spray tan!  OK, they chill you when they are sprayed on, and leave you  with a very odd smell on your skin while drying, but I didn’t think much about  it. But is there more to spray tanning than meets the eye? Why do we want to  look tan, anyway? Some folks think they look thinner, healthier and just plain  better in their summer clothes. But this has not always been the case  historically.

Could this be the time we start rethinking our definition of beauty  and that tanned look in general?

Ms. Levine offered that no one “looks at a 50-year-old with wrinkled,  leathery skin and believes that’s attractive.” Then shouldn’t we all ask  ourselves why we think that tanned skin looks better than pale skin or our  natural skin color, at any age? What ever happened to that peaches and cream  complexion of days gone by or the notion of just being happy all year long with  whatever your skin color is and rejoicing in the way nature created the unique  “you” that you are?

We certainly know that tanning is not required to get our daily dose of vitamin  D. It is far safer to just go out in the sun without sunscreen in the early  morning and late afternoon for a short sun bath of about 10 minutes with as  little on in the way of clothes as possible.

How about just taking a moment to turn back the clock to the Elizabethan  ideal of untanned skin as the goal to strive for. We won’t have to use the lead  white makeup that was popular with the Greeks, Romans, and Elizabethans to  achieve that fair-skinned look. We can just nourish our skin and keep it healthy  from the inside out with healthy food and whole food supplementation such as  omega-3, antioxidants and a healthy daily dose of vitamin D-3.

We  know the risk of skin cancer increases when we sunbathe. And, even though I have  tried these too, tanning beds are an even worse choice. Despite what tanning  centers advertise and some doctors who sell them advocate, the tanner’s close  proximity to the UVA/UVB light source increases the rate of damage.

OK, isn’t it a good thing that there are natural-looking options such as  spray tanning to give us a safer alternative when we want to have that  just-been-on-vacation in the tropics look?  Could there be some dangers to spray  tanning? Levine writes, “Research that reveals new tanning facts now show that  spray tanning may be just as dangerous as every other form of tanning, but for  different reasons.

Ms. Levine sited an ABC News report which “compiled 10 of the most recent  studies conducted on the chemicals used in tanning sprays which asked a panel of  medical specialists in fields such as dermatology, pulmonary medicine, and  toxicology to provide an analysis” of some spray tan products. And the news was  not good for those of us who like to use spray-on tanning products. The problems  come from the active ingredient in tanning products, which is a chemical called  dihydroxyacetone (also known as DHA — but please do not confuse this with  docosahexaenoic acid, the beneficial DHA essential fatty acid found in  marine lipids, such fish, krill, cod liver oil or my favorite, MOXXOR, which comes from the 100 percent sustainable, cold  extracted, organic New Zealand greenlip mussel, grapeseed husk extract and  kiwifruit seed oil. I find the omega-3s and antioxidants in this product really  helps my skin be healthy from the inside out.)

Several studies show that this dihydroxyacetone chemical in the spray tan  solutions:

“was shown to affect the genes within the animals tested” (I know — I don’t  like animal testing either but I am only reporting the facts that were covered  here) “once it was absorbed through the skin or breathed into the lungs and  internalized. DHA received FDA approval in 1977, back in the days when it was  used primarily for tanning lotions. It was not believed to be absorbed below the  outer layers of skin, so it was thought to pose no danger. Plus, tanning lotions  were never a very popular item, as they tended to turn the skin a blotchy and  ugly shade of yellow or orange. However, now that the formulations have been  improved to provide more of  the golden tan most consumers are seeking, along  with the updated spray  method of application that offers more even coverage”(  and allows the technician to even use their own artistic skills in order  to  create a sculpted look to the body, especially to enhance breast  cleavage or  the look of a “six-pack” on the abdomen) “the use of this  chemical is much more  widespread. Unfortunately, it is now known that DHA can be absorbed beyond the  outermost layers of skin, and the fact that it has been aerosolized ups the  danger of spray tanning exponentially.”

“As the tanning product is being sprayed onto your body, you are  breathing  it in. Once the DHA is in your lungs, it is easily  distributed throughout the  body via the bloodstream. This grants this  potentially cancer-causing agent  access to billions of cells throughout  your body. In various experiments at  different university-based laboratories, DHA has been tested on a multitude of  bacteria and the skin cells of mice. The chemical caused mutations within the  DNA of the cells, which can lead to cancer. In fact, an FDA report from 1999  found that, even when not inhaled, DHA was reaching deeper skin levels and being  absorbed into the body.”

Yes, I know the argument well — mice are not people — but I think this should  give us all pause before we sign up for our next series of spray tans!

“Now, think about all of the people who consider this to be the “safe”   method of getting a tan.  There are many who are regular customers   interested in keeping their skin tanned and glowing all year round.  And   pregnant women go spray tanning, which is bad news for the fetus!  Some   people even have their children get spray tans as a treat before a big   occasion.  Every one of these scenarios presents an even higher risk of   doing serious damage at a cellular level.”

And don’t forget some people may actually think that because they now look  tan, that they can’t get a sun burn so out they go unprotected and get seriously  burned in the process. Many customers of spray tan salons are even told that  certain sun tan lotions and creams will remove their tan and so go out in the  sun and use absolutely no sun protection before or a defense afterwards.

I find it troubling, as did Ms. Levine, “that no long-term studies have been  undertaken to examine the health effects of regular use of DHA-based tanning  products on people.” It might be a good idea to take into account that there is  enough evidence to cause concern from nonhuman research.

Perhaps it doesn’t cause much damage to get a spray tan or two a couple of  times a year, but it might be advisable to wear a little paper mask over your  nose and mouth during the process and cover your face and head. We can always  wear a little bronze blush on our faces and necks to get a bit of color. You can  also ask your spray tan salon for some protection or even bring your own, such  as “eyewear, nose plugs, and a mouth covering, like a little mask that painters  wear, to ensure that you are not giving the chemical a direct entryway into your  mucus membranes and lungs.”

But what can we do if we give up spray tans but have “spent time at the  beach, pool, or backyard lounge chair trying to get that perfect tan.” I know I  had my share of nasty sunburns during my lifetime. And I also tried using  tanning beds before they were known to be harmful. Ms. Levine recommends that to  combat some of the free radical damage already inflicted, you might want to  consider a good antioxidant supplement and I totally agree with that advice.   You can do your own research online or at your health food store’s supplement  department and see what you’d like to try. My choice is an antioxidant  supplement called Protandim which I learned about from watching this very  interesting ABC News presentation.  You can get more information on  this patented all herbal formulation here and see if it resonates with you as it does for me.  It’s just one caplet per day, but always check with your own health  practitioners before trying any new products.