‘THINK on THESE THINGS’ for August 7

‘THINK on THESE THINGS’
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler

Surely there is nothing so peaceful to the eye as the quiet, soft-hued hills resting in the autumn sun. We think if we could only get to those hills we could walk in the warmth of that sunlight and feel that peace in every nerve and muscle.

But so frequently we are unable to follow our wills. We are forced to sit where we are. And the very thought of being bound to this spot sometimes makes us restless, perhaps beyond reason. It creates a feeling of panic, that life will never be peaceful.

And then we look up into the limitless sky and see the depths and immensity of the universe, and we know that nothing binds us. That is, unless we want to be bound.

If we were to go to those hills, there would be others in the distance that would look as inviting. To hunt for peace outside ourselves is to ever be in search, and so to be bound again. But to loose that infinitely beautiful truth that peace is never there or there – but here, within me.

Most of us are lovers of familiar things. We love the routine of living, the security of knowing what is going to happen at a certain hour on a certain day. We love the knowledge that we will continue to love others even though we may not like what they are doing at the moment. We find great peace in knowing others will continue to love us even when we’ve been foolish.

The exciting and livable life is not always one of being on the go, being in entertaining places. The real life of life is not spangles that glitter and one continual round of gaiety.

Life is contentment, living in depth with a genuine love for work seasoned with recreation and freedom to worship where we choose and to pursue our talents as we please.

English author Samuel Johnson tells us that the fountain of content must spring up in the mind; and they who have so little knowledge of human nature as to see happiness by changing anything but their own dispositions will waste their lives in fruitless efforts.

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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 August 7

Elder’s Meditation of the Day August 7

“Everything I know I learned by listening and watching.”

–Vernon Cooper, LUMBEE

Sometimes my mind is talking so fast about so many different things that I can’t slow it down. All day long I am judging and making assumptions about everything.

Great Spirit, help me this day to slow down. Help me to listen – quietly. Help me to watch carefully. Help me to listen to my inner voice. Let me listen and watch only the thing You would have me observe. Guide my eyes and my ears to be focused on You. Grandfather, love me today and teach me to be quiet.

August 7 – Daily Feast

August 7 – Daily Feast

The path through the woods has a light layer of scarlet leaves that have fallen early from the woodbine. Crickets are chirping the coming of a new season – and the sassy blue jay, tla yv ga, agrees. Touching the earth is a lovely feeling that once again we find our beginnings. Whether we walk of plant or plow, it is a place created for us, a place to stand with bare feet to feel comfort spread quietly through us. The pulse of the earth slows our own and tranquilizes confusion. Seeing the ga lv lo I, sky, in its limitless depths stirs us to imagine, to stretch our awareness to know how much beauty is provided for us. It helps us to see that mean things can only last as long as we allow them. Nothing can hem us in when we know the freedom of spirit.

~ I was born on the prairies where the wind blew free and there was nothing to break the light of the sun. I was born where there were no enclosures…. ~

GERONIMO

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

Daily Motivator for August 7 – Embrace the responsibilities

Embrace the responsibilities

It’s easy to be resentful about your responsibilities and commitments, and to  see them as burdens. It’s much better to enthusiastically embrace the positive  opportunities they offer.

Fighting against yourself, and your own obligations, is never in your best  interest. Take the high road, gracefully accepting and fulfilling those  obligations.

Every area of responsibility gives you the chance to make a positive  difference in the world. Each obligation is an opportunity to add value to life.

Create that value, and put yourself at a significant advantage. Embrace the  responsibilities, and feel the power that your responsible behavior brings you.

It’s true that not everyone is willing to move life forward. Yet those who  actually do move life forward are the ones who benefit most from the resulting  progress.

Choose to get the most out of life by consistently giving your best to life.  Honor your commitments, meet your obligations, and truly enjoy the goodness that  you are helping to sustain.

— Ralph Marston

The Daily Motivator

Daily OM for August 7 – Afraid of the Truth

Afraid of the Truth

Feeling Threatened

by Madisyn Taylor

Facing the truth upfront rather than turning from it will keep your life moving in a forward and positive direction.

Most of us have had the experience of being in possession of a piece of truth that we were afraid to share because we knew it would not be well received. There are also instances in which we ourselves have been unable to handle some truth confronting us. This might be a small truth, such as not wanting to see that our car needs repairs because we don’t want to pay for them, or a large truth, such as not fully accepting that someone close to us is pushing us away. Usually the truth is evident, and we can see it if we choose, but we have elaborate ways of hiding the truth form ourselves, no matter how apparent it is.

For the most part, we avoid the truth because it scares us, or makes us angry, or makes us feel like we don’t know what to do. We often create our lives based on a particular understanding, and if that understanding turns out to be fully or even partially incorrect, we may feel that our whole sense of reality is being threatened. It takes a strong person to face the truth in circumstances like these, and many of us run for cover instead. Nevertheless, we can only avoid the truth for so long before it begins to make itself known in ever more forceful ways.

Ultimately, there is no way to avoid the truth, no matter how painful it is, so the sooner we let down our defenses, the better. When we know the truth and accept that we may have to adjust our lives to accommodate, we are in alignment with reality. At the same time, we can be patient with people around us who have a hard time seeing the truth, because we know how painful it can be. Whatever the truth is, we make a sincere effort not to close our eyes to it, but instead to be grateful that we have access to it.

Mistletoe (Aprox. Dec. 23)

MISTLETOE LORE

  • Tree of the day after the Winter Solstice (Aprox. December 23)
  • Latin name: Viscum Album
  • Celtic name: It is said that Mistletoe is too sacred to have a written word
  • Folk or Common names: Mistletoe, Birdlime, All Heal, Golden Bough, Loranthaceae Phoradendron flavescens
  • Parts Used: leaves, berries, twigs
  • Herbal usage: **CAUTION: Mistletoe berries are extremely poisonous and have been known to cause miscarriage.** Mistletoe can be used as a stimulant to  soothe muscles and to produce a rise in blood pressure. It increases the contraction of the uterus and intestine. Mistletoe has been recommended as an  oxytocic in postpartum hemorrhage and menorrhagia. It is also used as a circulatory and uterine stimulant. This plant can induce menstruation. It has shown  effective in treating tumors in some animals. It is recommended that due to the toxicity of this plant that ingestion of this herb be avoided.
  • Magical History & Associations: Mistletoe is one of the Druid’s most sacred trees – as Ovid said, “Ad viscum Druidae cantare solebant. (The  Druids are wont to sing to the Mistletoe.).” In Druidic lore Mistletoe is an herb of the Winter Solstice and is the special plant for the day after  Yule. The Druids gathered their Mistletoe at Midsummer or at the 6th day of the moon. The Druid priests or priestesses would wear white robes while gathering  the plant and would use a golden knife, taking extreme care not to let the plant touch the ground. Two oxen were often sacrificed for the harvest. The Druids  considered that the Mistletoe that grew on Oak trees was the most potent and sacred. Mistletoe is a plant of the sun and also of the planet of Jupiter. It is  associated with the element of the air. The colors of Mistletoe are green, gold and white, and its herb is hyssop. The gemstones associated with Mistletoe  are Black Quartz, Amber, Pearl and green Obsidian. Mistletoe has the immortal creature the Gryphon-Eagle associated with it and also the plain eagle is its  bird association. There are many deities associated with Mistletoe: Loki, Blader, Hercules, Shu, Osirus, and Aeneas are a few of those deities.
  • Magickal usage: Romans, Celtics, and Germans believed that mistletoe is the key to the supernatural. Mistletoe will aid and strengthen all magickal works  but is best called upon for healing, protection, and beautiful dreams – dreams which will unlock the secrets of immortality. Mistletoe is a good wood to use  for making wands, other ritual tools and magickal rings. The Berries are used in love incenses, plus a few berries can be added to the ritual cup at a  handfasting. Boughs of Mistletoe can be hung for all purpose protection around the house. Sprigs of Mistletoe can be carried as an herb of protection – plus  amulets and jewelry can be made out of Mistletoe wood as protective talismans. Hung over the cradle, Mistletoe will protect the child from being stolen by  the fey and Mistletoe that is carried will protect the bearer from werewolves. Mistletoe stood for sex and fertility – hence our tradition of kissing under  the mistletoe. It is traditionally hung in the home at Yule, and those who walk under it exchange a kiss of peace.

Silver Fir (Day Of Winter Solstice)

SILVER FIR LORE

  • Tree of the day of the Winter Solstice
  • Latin name: Abies alba.
  • Celtic name: Ailim (pronounced: Ahl’ em).
  • Folk or Common names: Common Silver Fir, Balm of Gilead Fir, Balsam Fir, American Silver Fir.
  • Parts Used: Needles, wood, sap.
  • Herbal usage: The Silver Fir is one of the tallest trees native to Europe, sometimes exceeding 160 feet tall. The wood of the Fir is beautiful and is  often used in making musical instruments and in the interior of buildings. The sap from the Silver Fir can be manufactured into a turpentine like oil that is  a pale yellowish or almost water-white liquid of a light, pleasant fresh turpentine like odor. It is a diuretic, and stimulates mucous tissues if taken in  small doses. In large doses it is purgative, and may cause nausea. The oil also has some uses as perfume and in essential oils that can be added to  homeopathic bath and beauty products.
  • Magical History & Associations: The Silver Fir is associated with the moon and with the planet of Jupiter. Its colors are piebald and light or pale  blue. Its birds are the eagle and the Lapwing, and its animal association is the red cow. Its stones are Tourmaline and Amber – and it is a feminine herb.  This tree belongs to the triple aspect Goddess in Celtic lore, offering learning, choice and progress. The tree is sacred to many Goddesses: Artemis (the  Greek Goddess of Childbirth), Diana and Druantia among them. It is also sacred to the Gods Osiris and Attis, both who were imprisoned in Fir/Pine trees.
  • Magickal usage: the Silver Fir is used for magick involving power, insight, progression, protection, change, feminine rebirth, and birth. The Silver Fir  and the Yew are sisters standing next to each other in the circle of the year and their foliage is almost identical. However the Yew is known as the tree of  death and the Silver Fir is the tree of birth or rebirth. The Silver Fir was a sacred tree to the Druids who felt that it stood for hope. The Silver Fir wood  is used for shape-shifting and magic involving change, since it offers a clear perception of the present and the future. The wood chips are sometimes used as  incense and the wood can be used in the construction of magickal musical instruments. Burning the needles of the Silver Fir or sweeping around the bed with a  branch that has been blessed will protect a new born baby and its mother. In the Orkney area of Scotland, the new mother and baby are ‘sained’ by  whirling a fir-candle three times around her bed. For a ‘Weather Witch’ the cones of the Silver Fir warn of wet weather and foretells when a dry  season approaches. Charms made of Fir can be given as good luck tokens to departing friends. In its appearance (and in its current, and undoubtedly ancient,  use) the Silver Fir is the quintessential Yule tree. Its branches can be used as decorations at Yule time either as wreaths or as garland, where it will  provide protection for the household and its occupants.

Yew (Aprox. December 21)

YEW LORE

•Tree of the day before the Winter Solstice (Aprox. December 21)
•Latin name: Taxus baccata.
•Celtic name: Idho (pronounced: Ih’ huh).
•Folk or Common names: English Yew.
•Parts Used: Needles, wood, berries.
•Herbal usage: CAUTION – THIS PLANT IS POISONOUS AND SHOULD BE USED WITH CAUTION. The needles and branch tips have been used to treat lung diseases and bladder problems. recently a new cancer drug, Taxol, has been derived from its bark and berries.
•Magical History & Associations: The name “Yew” is a corruption of the Anglo-Saxon word ‘eow’. The word ‘Taxus’ is from the Greek word ‘Taxon’, meaning ‘bow’. The 5000 year old “Ice Man”, discovered in the Alps, had a bow and axe handle made of Yew. The Yew is known as the ‘Tree of Death’ through out Europe and is associated with the season of winter. It is sacred to many Dark Goddesses: Banbha, Amalthea (mother of the horned Dionysus), Morrighan, The Erinyes, Cailleach Beara, Berchta, and Hekate. Shakespeare recognized the relationship of Yew and Heckate and referred to the contents of her cauldron as “slips of yew, silver’d in the moon’s eclipse…” (Macbeth) – and elsewhere Shakespeare makes ‘hebenon, the double-fatal yew’ the poison which Hamlet’s uncle pours into the king’s ear. Heckate’s sacred tree of death is said to root in the mouths of the dead and release their souls, and also absorbs the odors of death itself. Bulls are associated with this tree, as are female goats. The bird associated with Yew is the eaglet, since the eaglet’s appetite is insatiable, and the bones of its nest are white like the snow on its cliff-ledge. The Yews colors are white and silver and it is associated with the element of water. The Yew is associated with the planet Saturn and with the metal lead. In Old England the Yew was known as “The Witches Tree” since it is associated with sorcery and magick.
•Magickal usage: The time of Yew is known as a time of death, and so on the day before Yule it said that is not a good idea to do actual spell work, instead it is suggested to do rituals of the season concerned with reincarnation. Because the Yew grows to such an old age, it has become a symbol of stability in Celtic areas of the world and so is often used as the central “World Tree” in ritual spaces. As one of the three magickal trees (along the Alder and the Black Poplar) associated with death and funerals, the Yew has often been planted in graveyards. Yew sends up new trees from its roots, so is a powerful symbol of death and reincarnation. Yew wood is appropriate for magickal tools such as wands and staves. In ancient times Yew sticks were carved with the Ogham characters as tools of divination. The Futhark features a 13th Rune, which is considered one of the most powerful Runes and represents a stave cut from a yew tree. This Rune is regarded as the stave of life and death. Yew can be dried and burned as an incense to contact spirits of the dead – and even to raise the dead.

Poplar/Aspen Tree (Aprox. Sept. 22)

POPLAR / ASPEN LORE

  • Tree of the Fall Equinox – (Aprox. September 22)
  • Latin name: Common Poplar – Populus Balsamifera; Trembling Poplar – Populus Tremuloides; Balm of Gilead – Populus Candicans; Black Poplar –
  • Celtic name: Eadha (pronounced: “Eh’ uh”).
  • Folk or Common names: All Poplar – Popple, Alamo, Aspen; Trembling Poplar – American Aspen, White Poplar, or Quaking Aspen; Balm of Gilead –  bombagillia.
  • Parts Used: Bark and buds (sap)
  • Herbal usage: Poplar can be used as a tonic, chiefly used in treating fevers. The infusion has been found helpful in treating chronic diarrhea. Balm of  Gilead buds can be used as a stimulant or tonic. A tincture of them is useful for complaints of the chest, stomach, and kidneys, and for rheumatism and  scurvy. The sap collected from the buds can be used to make a healing ointment and can be used as an external application in bruises, swellings, and some  skin diseases. Teas can be made from the Poplar buds and are useful in helping treat arthritis and rheumatism.
  • Magical History & Associations: In Gaelic tongue the tree was called Peble and Pophuil in the celtic way. Poplar is generally a plant of Jupiter,  Saturn and the Sun and is associated with the element of water. Its color is rufous (red) and the bird associated with Poplar is the Whistling Swan. The  stones associated with Poplar are Amber, Citrine Quartz, Sapphire and Swan Fluorite. The Anglo-Saxon rune poem seems to refer to the Poplar as being  associated with the rune “berkano”. Heracles wore a crown of Poplar leaves in triumph after killing the giant Cacus (the evil one) and retrieving  Cerberus from Hades. The upper surface of the Poplar leaves was thus darkened from Hades’ smokey fumes. Poplar trees are sacred to the Mesopotamian  goddess Ua-Ildak. The Grass King of Grossvargula, who was seen as having fertilizing powers, went on horseback wearing a pyramid of Poplar branches and a  crown. He led a procession of young men about the town and was then stripped of his branches beneath the Silver Lindens of Sommerberg. Poplar (Aspen) is said  to be the tree of the Autumn Equinox and of old age, and is known as the shield makers’ tree. The Black Poplar was a funeral tree sacred to Hecate as  death goddess, to Egeria, and to Mother Earth. Plato makes a reference to the use of Black Poplar and Silver Fir as an aid in divination. The Silver Fir  standing for hope assured and the Black Poplar for loss of hope. The Grove of Persephone in the Far West contained Black Poplars and old Willows. In ancient  Ireland, the coffin makers measuring rod was made of Aspen, apparently to remind the dead that this was not the end. In Christian lore, the quaking Poplar  (Aspen) was used to construct Christ’s cross, and the leaves of the tree quiver when they remember this fact.
  • Magickal usage: The Poplar’s ability to resist and to shield, its association with speech, language and the Winds indicates an ability to endure and  conquer. The Poplar is known as the “Tree that Transcends Fear”. Poplars symbolize the magick of joy, the aging of the year, resurrection and hope   – and are connected to the Otherworld. Poplar can be used in magick done for success, passage and transformation, Hope, rebirth, divinations, shielding,  endurance, agility in speech and language, protection, and love – and as an aid in astral projection. Balm of Gilead buds can be carried in tiny red bags to  help mend a broken heart. These buds should be kept as close to the heart as possible. Balm of Gilead buds can also be placed under the pillow and slept on  to heal a broken heart. It may take several days to feel relief, but this really works. Balm of Gilead is also effective for grief, homesickness and the  blues. Poplar can be used in protection charms of all kinds. Poplar is a good wood to burn in balefires and ritual fires since it offers protection. Shields  can be made of Poplar since the wood is thought to offer protection from injury or death. Add some Balm of Gilead resin to your tinctures to enhance the  “fixing” of the scent and to offer some added protection to the tincture. Carrying Poplar helps to overcome the urge to give way under the burden  of worldly pressures, and aids in determination. Poplar buds can also be carried to attract money and can be burned as an incense to create financial  security. Siberian reindeer-hunting cultures carved small goddess statues of Poplar (Aspen) wood. Groats and fat were then offered to the figures with this  prayer:”Help us to keep healthy!         Help us to hunt much game!”

    Poplar buds are also sometimes added to flying ointments and was also used in astral travel. A medieval recipe for a    flying ointment called for Cinquefoil, Poplar leaves, soot and bat’s blood obtained at the wake of the new moon. The trembling leaves of the Poplar    tree can be ‘read’ to divine messages from the God and Goddess, and also from spirits that drift into woods. The Poplar is the sacred World Tree of    the Lakota nation. For the sun dance ceremony, a Poplar is carefully cut and lowered, then is re-erected in the center of the dance circle. While being    carried the Poplar must never touch the ground. Green branches, a buffalo skull and eagle feathers were used to decorate the Poplar for this ceremony.

Heather (Aprox. June 20)

HEATHER LORE

  • Tree of the Summer Solstice (Aprox. June 20)
  • Latin name: Calluna vulgaris
  • Celtic name: Ura (pronounced: Oor’ uh)
  • Folk or Common names: Common Heather, Ling, Scottish Heather
  • Parts Used: herb, flowering shoots.
  • Herbal usage: Heather’s flowering shots are used to treat insomnia, stomach aches, coughs and skin problems. The plant, used fresh or dried,  strengthens the heart and raises blood pressure. It is slightly diuretic and a Heather Tea is often prescribed in cases of urinary infections. Heather is  sometimes used in conjunction with corn silk and cowberries.
  • Magical History & Associations: Heather is associated with the sun, and with the planet of Venus. Its color is resin colored and its element is  water. Heather’s bird is the lark, and its animal association is the honey bee. In ancient times the Danes brewed a powerful beer made from honey and  Heather. And for centuries the heather flowers have also been a special beverage to the bee, who in return creates delightful Heather honey! Its stones are  amethyst, peridot, and amertine – and it is a feminine herb. The herb is sacred to many Goddesses: Isis, Venus-Erycina, Uroica, Garbh Ogh, Cybele, Osiris,  Venus, Guinevere, and Butes among them. White Heather was considered unlucky by Scottish loyalists because of its connection with the banishment of Bonny  Prince Charles. Haether is the home to a type of Fey called Heather Pixies. Like other Pixies, the Heather Pixies have clear or golden auras and delicate,  translucent wings. But these faeries are attracted specifically to the moors and to the Heather which covers them. They are not averse to human contact, but  they don’t seek them out. They have a pranksterish nature.
  • Magickal usage: Heather is sacred to the Summer Solstice. Heather is used for magick involving maturity, consummation, general luck, love, ritual power,  conjuring ghosts, healing, protection, rain-making and water magick. Charms made with Heather can be worn or carried as protection against danger, rape and  other violent crimes. This flower represents good fortune and Heather can also be carried as a lucky charm. It was believed that wearing the blossom  associated with your month of birth would bring exceptionally good luck – therefore people born in the month of Heather (August) should carry White Heather,  for even better luck throughout the year. Legend has it that a gift of white Heather brings luck to both the giver and the receiver, wheras red Heather is  said to have been colored by heathens killed in battle by Christians, so is less lucky. Heather is associated with secrets from the Otherworld. A sprig of  white Heather placed in a special place of silence and meditation has the power to conjure ghosts, haints or spirits. After picking a piece of white Heather  at midnight, place it in a glass of river water in the darkest corner of your home. Sit and think of a departed loved one and it is said that the loved ones  shadow will visit you. Heather is said to ignite faery passions and open portals between their world and our own. Heather represents solitude because it  thrives in wide open spaces, and Faeries who enjoy living in such undisturbed places are said to feast on the tender stalks of Heather. The Fae of this  flower are drawn to humans who are shy. Heather is useful for Solitary healing work (going within). Heather, if used along with Mistletoe, creates powerful  healing medicine in both spiritual and physical aspects. Heather can be used at Midsummer to promote love – carry red Heather for passion or white Heather  for cooling the passion of unwanted suitors. If you give someone a gift of Heather it means: ‘Admiration’. A charm bag filled with Heather can be  carried for decreasing egotism or self-involvement. As a water herb, Heather is very useful in weather magick. When burned outdoors with Fern, the herbal  smoke of Heather attracts rain. Bouquets of Heather and Fern can also be dipped in water to call rain.

Furze/Gorse Tree (Aprox. March 20)

FURZE/GORSE LORE

  • Tree of the Spring Equinox (Aprox. March 20)
  • Latin name: ulex europaeus
  • Celtic name: ‘O’ – Onn
  • Folk or Common names: Broom, Frey, Furze, Fyrs, Gorst, Goss, Prickly Broom, Ruffet, and Whin.
  • Parts Used: Flowers
  • Herbal usage: A decoction made with the flowers thereof hath been found effectual against the jaundice, as also to provoke urine, and cleanse the kidneys  from gravel or stone ingendered in them. In parts of the UK, it was once cultivated and cut down to provide burnable fuel for bakers’ ovens. The ashes  left after it has been set on fire yield a generous amount of alkali and have been used as a type of primitive soap for washing purposes after first being  mixed with clay and rolled into balls. The golden flowers yield an excellent natural yellow dye.
  • Magical History & Associations: Furze is a thorny shrub with bright yellow flowers that is associated with the Spring Equinox. This herb is a symbol  of the young sun at the spring equinox and royalty. Furze is associated with the astrological sign of Aries, the planet of Mars, the element of Fire, and is  a masculine herb. Furze is associated with Jupiter, Thor, Onn, and also with the Gallic ash-grove Goddess On-niona. The color for Furze is dun, and its bird  is the cormorant.
  • Magickal usage: Furze is a druid Sacred tree, whose flowers are associated with the Spring Equinox. Furze is a symbol of fertility and has the magickal  uses of Protection and Money. Furze is a good herb to use as a proctectant against evil. In Wales hedges of the prickly Gorse are used to protect the home  against dark fairies, who cannot penetrate the hedge. Furze wood and blooms can be burned for protection and also for preparation for conflict of any sort.  There are two school of thought about giving Furze flowers as a gift. On one had the gift is supposed to be good luck, but on the other hand if you give them  to someone that you love it means: Anger. There is an old rhyme about Furze that refers to its all-year-round flowering habits:”When Gorse is out of bloom,         Kissing is out of season.”

    Furze is also used in money spells; it attracts gold.

Elder (Nov 25 – Dec 23)

ELDER LORE

  • 13th Moon of the Celtic Year – (Nov 25 – Dec 23)
  • Latin name: Dwarf Elder – sambucus ebulus; Elderberry – sambucus canadenis.
  • Celtic name: Ruis (pronounced: roo ish).
  • Folk or Common names: Lady Elder, Elder, Elderberry, pipe tree, bore tree, bour tree, Eldrun, Hyldor, Hyllantree, Ellhorn, Sambucus.
  • Parts Used: Bark, leaves, flowers, berries, wood.
  • Herbal usage: The Elder has many medicinal uses, and can be used to treat over 70 conditions. The bark can be used fresh for headaches and to promote  labor, or can be dried and powdered and used in small doses as a diuretic. The leaves and flowers can be made into drinks, poultices and salves. Elderberry  flower water is useful for soothing sunburns. The berries are safe to eat when eaten ripe, and they can be used to make wines, jams and teas.
  • Magical History & Associations: The Elder is a tree of Venus and is associated with the element of air. The bird associated with the month of Elder  is the rook, the color is blood-red, and the gemstone is dark green malachite. The Elder also is associated with Black Horses, Ravens, and Badgers. The Elder  is linked to the eternal turnings of life and death, birth and rebirth, and creativity and renewal. It represents the end/beginning and beginning/end. It is  sacred to the deities of Bran, Venus, Hel, Callech, Holda, the White Goddess, the Great Goddess, and Pryderi (The Celts believed that it was during the time  of Elder that their sun or solar spirit was held prisoner, just as Pryderi was forced into exile). The Elder is the Old Crone aspect of the triple Goddess,  wise old energy at the end of the year’s cycle, and is sometimes called the “death tree” because of this. Funerary flints found in megalithic  long barrows were Elder leaf shaped, suggesting the association of Elder with death goes back a long way. Elder is also called the “witch’s  tree” and certainly the village hedge-witch would have used the elder in healing and Magick. The Elder is also associated with a dryad (tree spirit).  Early European legends tell of a dryad called Hylde-moer, The Elder Tree Mother, who lives in the Elder tree and watches over it. Should the tree be chopped  down and furniture made of the wood, Hylde-moer would follow her property and haunt the owners. Similar tales tell that if a child’s cradle were made of  Elder, Hylde-moer would pinch the child black and blue and give it no peace or rest, therefore it is considered unlucky to make a cradle out of Elder wood.  The Elder is also seen in a negative light by the Christian religion, since Judas supposed to have hanged himself from an Elder tree and the cross used to  crucify Jesus was supposed to be made of Elder.
  • Magickal usage: The month of Elder includes the Winter Solstice, which is celebrated as the Sabbat of Yule, a day to mark the return of the Sun.  Therefore, calling upon the Sun God or Goddess is good to do during this month. Elder has the Magickal powers of Healing, Visions, Faery Magick,  Spirituality, Cleansing, Sleep, Exorcism, Offering, Love, Protection, and Prosperity. Elder is often used to produce visions. At Samhain, the last of the  Elderberries were picked with solemn rites. The wine made from these berries was considered the last sacred gift of the Earth Goddess, and was valued and  drunk ritually to invoke prophecy, divination and hallucinations. Elder twigs were woven into head-dresses to enable the wearers to see spirits. The Elder is  very useful in Magick dealing with Nature Spirits and the Fae. Wood spirits are said to live in Elder forests, and wood elves are said to come to listen to  music played by flutes made with Elder wood. The Elder has strong protective qualities. Tiny twigs of Elder or dried Elderberry can be worn in a bag around  the neck as a charm for protection against physical or psychic attack. As a protection against evil (and later against witchcraft) Elder branches were hung  in doorways of houses and cowsheds. Elder can be used to bless a person, place or thing by scattering leaves and berries to the four directions, and over the  thing or person being blessed. It is said that if you stand under an Elder tree, you will never be struck by lightening. Elder was also buried in graves to  ward off evil spirits, and is considered protection against earthbound, “physical” spirits like vampires. Elder as Vampire-Repellent is older  folklore than the lore about garlic. When you put Elder on a threshold or windowsill, you can force a vampire to count over the thorns and the berries until  morning comes, because vampires are obsessive-compulsive about counting things. Also, Elder blossom were worn at Beltane to signify witchcraft and magic, and  Elder twigs can be used to undo evil magic. Elder is a traditional wood for making Magickal tools, like besoms and wands. It is said in Irish folklore that  it is Elder and not Ash which is used by witches for their magic ‘hobby horses’ and besoms. Justice was often dispensed under an Elder, so the hilt  of a coven sword was often made of Elder wood. Elder is also a good wood to use to make Protective Wands. There are very strong superstitions about not  cutting down or burning an Elder (maybe caused by a fear of releasing the tree’s Hylde-moer – or maybe out of a deep respect for the tree), so be sure to  remember to ask the tree if it will allow you to take a branch. It is traditional to say this before you cut a branch:”Lady Ellhorn, give me of thy wood,         And I will give thee of mine,         when I become a tree.”

    Some people like to leave a small gift of some kind when they do harvest a branch – or you can do something practical like untangling the    tree’s ivy, clearing up around the trunk, watering in dry weather, or tidying up trash from around the tree.

Reed (Oct 28 – Nov 24)

REED LORE

  • 12th Moon of the Celtic Year – (Oct 28 – Nov 24)
  • Latin name: Latin name: American Elm – ulmus americana; European Elm – ulmus procera; slippery Elm – ulmus fulva.
  • Celtic name: Negetal (pronounced: nyettle).
  • Folk or Common names: In Britain where the Reed tree is the dwarf elm, it is called the Water-Elder, Whitten, or rose Petal. Since I use the immature Elm  tree in place of the Reed tree, the Elm is usually known as Elm, and sometimes Piss-Elm (due to the smell it makes while being burned as a green wood).
  • Parts Used: Bark, leaves, wood.
  • Herbal usage: The Elm has many medicinal uses. Slippery Elm bark can be powdered and made into a milk for babied that can’t tolerate cow’s milk.  In fact slippery Elm bark is good for many purposes. In tea it can ease insomnia and sooth an upset tummy. It is also useful for enemas and makes good  poultice material. This type of poultice can be used on wounds, infections, ulcers, burns, and poison ivy.
  • Magical History & Associations: The birds associated with the month of Reed are the owl and goose, the color is grass green, and the gemstone is  clear green jasper. Symbols of this Celtic month are The White Hound, The Stone, the Planet Pluto (Pwyll), The Fire Feast of Samhain Dis, Pwyll, and Arawn.  Identified with the submerged or hidden dryad, The Month of Reed represents the mysteries of death. In fact the Fire Feast of Samhain celebrates the dead and  on Samhain, the boundary between the Otherworld and this world dissolve. It is a night of great divination. Or in another fashion, it represents the hidden  roots to all life. The Month of Reed is associated with being both a savior and custodian. Pwyll, the Celtic ruler of the Otherworld was given “The  Stone” , one of four treasures given to him for safekeeping. The Stone represents the right of the kings and queen to have divine power. Thus the Reed  is also the symbol of Royalty. The White Hounds represent the dogs that guard the lunar mysteries. The Elm tree is a tree of Saturn and is associated with  the element of earth. It is sacred to Odin, Hoenin and Lodr. The elm is also associated with the day of Tuesday.
  • Magickal usage: The month of Elm / Reed is a good month for using music in magick, especially music made by bagpipes and flutes, and also for doing  divination. Elm is sometimes said to symbolize the dark side of the psyche and so can be used in psychic workings. The Elm is commonly known as “the elf  friend”. If you desire to have contact with wood elves, pick a grove of Elm trees and sit under them and sing. Around about dawn, the elves will have  gotten over their initial shyness and come out to join in the singing. Elm trees are also thought to provide a channel for the communication with divas. To  get an Elm tree to help you in this quest, offerings can be brought to a favorite tree and left. The best offerings are wine, mead, tobacco, coins and sage.  Tiny twigs of Elm can be worn in a bag around a child’s neck as a charm to produce eloquent speech in later life. Elm wood may be bound with a yellow  cord and burned to prevent gossip. The Elm represents primordial female powers and therefore the Elm is a tree with great protective qualities. The wood from  the Elm can be made into talismans and charms that can be worn for protection. The Elm also has the qualities of regeneration, boldness and fidelity, and so  added to its protective qualities, it is excellent when given as a good luck token to departing friends. Using Elm is spellwork adds stability to the spell.  According to Edain McCoy in her article: Willow for love, Oak for strength (97 Llewellyn Magickal Almanac) a tea can be made for the month of Reed that  includes a pinch of slippery Elm:REED MOON TEA – Fertility, love, protection.

    1 part red clover         1 part hyssop         1 part boneset         pinch of slippery elm

    **Note: Please be very, VERY careful when taking this teas! These are powerful herbs, meant to be used by more or less experienced herbalists and    witches. Boneset is toxic in large doses or if taken over long period of time. To use, put in a tea ball and steep for 5 or 6 minutes.

Ivy (Sept 30 – Oct 27)

IVY LORE

  • 11th Moon of the Celtic Year – (Sept 30 – Oct 27)
  • Latin name: Osirian Ivy – hedera helix
  • Celtic name: Gort (pronounced: goert).
  • Folk or Common names: Ivy.
  • Parts Used: leaves, bark, berries. Caution: Some types of Ivy are poisonous.
  • Herbal usage: The leaves of Ivy can be used to make a douche for treating female infections. Ivy leaves can also be used externally for poultices to heal  nerves, sinews, ulcers and infections. Tender ivy twigs can be simmered in salves to heal sunburn.
  • Magical History & Associations: Ivy is the symbol of resurrection. Ivy is an herb of Jupiter and the sun, and is associated with positive ego  strength. The bird associated with this month is the mute swan, the color is blue, and the gemstone is yellow serpentine. Ivy is sacred to Osiris and Saturn.  It is also connected with the god Dionysus. When Zeus’s wife Hera, discovered that Zeus had bedded Semele, the daughter of Cadmus, King of Thebes, Hera  suggested to Semele that she should ask Zeus to unveil himself to her. When he did so, his divine flames consumed her and almost killed her unborn child,  Dionysus, but for a sudden growth of ivy. In still another story of the deities, Kissos is the name given to a nymph who dances so furiously at a Dionysian  feast that she collapses and dies of exhaustion. Dionysus, grieving her untimely death, changes her into ivy. Most Ivies have five-pointed leaves which are  sacred to the Goddess.
  • Magickal usage: The month of Ivy is a good time to do magick for rebirth and tenaciousness. Ivy has attributes of restraint of fear and dealing with  Emotions. Ivy grows in a sacred spiral, which symbolizes reincarnation, from lifetime to lifetime, and from minute to minute, day to day. Ivy travels  everywhere – it spreads happily and thrives in many places where no other greenery could survive – its determination to reach through obstacles toward light  and food is well known, and therefore Ivy symbolizes strength. Ivy has many uses in Magick done for healing, protection, cooperation, and exorcism, and is  very useful in fertility magick. Ivy is also equated with fidelity and can be used in charms to bind love, luck and fidelity to a person. A talisman made of  Ivy would be good to give a friend since it will help ensure eternal friendship. Ivy provides protection against evil when growing on or near a house but  should it fall off and die, misfortune was said to be on the way. Ivy was sometimes used in divination: an ivy leaf placed in water on New Year’ s Eve  that was still be fresh on Twelfth Night foretold that the year ahead would be favorable. Should ivy not grow upon a grave, the soul of the person buried  there is said to be restless – and should it grown abundantly on the grave of a young woman, then this meant that she died of a broken heart. Ivy is also  connected with the Winter Solstice and is often used for decorating at Yule-tide. Ivy, intertwined with Holly, is traditionally made into crowns for the  bride and groom at weddings/handfastings. Ivy was also used in ancient times for poet’s crowns, since Ivy was believed to be a source of divine  inspiration. Ivy was also used by the Greeks to make victory crowns for conquering heroes in the games held at Corinth. Holly and Ivy make excellent  decorations for altars. An early church council even attempted to ban the use of Ivy in church decorations because of its Pagan associations.

Vine (Sept 2 – Sept 29)

VINE LORE

  • 10th Moon of the Celtic Year – (Sept 2 – Sept 29)
  • Latin name: Grape – vitis
  • Celtic name: Muin (pronounced: muhn).
  • Folk or Common names: Grape (when dried: Raisin).
  • Parts Used: Berries, wood, leaves, juice, seeds.
  • Herbal usage: The leaves from some varieties of Grape can be used to make teas for treating diarrhea, hepititas, and upset tummies. Grape leaves can also  be used externally for poultices to treat rheumatism, headaches and fevers. The fruit from most viney plants can be eaten and can be juiced for drinking. The  juices can also be fermented into various wines and alcoholic beverages.
  • Magical History & Associations: Grapes are an herb of Jupiter and the Moon, and are associated with positive ego strength. Birds associated with the  month of the Vine are the Tit-mouse and the white swan; the animal is the snake; the color is variegated; and the gemstone is amethyst. An annual Grape Vine  Festival called the Vinalia Rostica was held by the Greeks and the Romans – this was a festival of thanksgiving for the first of the grape harvest and was  dedicated to God Dionysos / Bacchus and to the Goddess Venus of the Grape Vine; and also to Minerva. It was celebrated by offering the first fruits of the  grape harvest and prayers for sustenance for all. The Grape Vine is also sacred to the deities Osiris, Hathor, and Demeter – and its five-pointed leaves are  sacred to the Goddess in general. Other specific deities associated with the Vine are Rhea, Oenone, Aphrodite, Branwen, Guinevere and Etain. The wood of  Vines is one of the nine traditional firewoods to be added to the Belfire that is burned at Beltane – as the tree of tree of joy (its juice is capable of  altering consciousness), Vine is added to the fire as a celebration of joy.
  • Magickal usage: Vines in general are symbols of both joy and wrath. This month marks the vintage season when the Grape crop is harvested and so is a good  time to do any and all rituals associated with the harvest – in fact, the Autumn Equinox (called Harvest Home or Mabon) is celebrated during this month. The  month of Vine is also a good time to do magick associated with inspiration, imagination, poetry and imagery. The Grape has applications in magick done for  Faerie work, garden magick, joy, exhilaration, wrath, mental powers, rebirth, happiness, fertility, inspiration, prosperity, and binding. The leaves and  fruit from Vines can be used in spells to overcome inferiority complexes and to enhance ambition. The Grape Vine also symbolizes resurrection because its  strength is preserved in the wine, that magical elixir that’s known for its ability to dissolve the boundaries between us, allow us to mingle more  easily, and relax with others. Grapes and Grape wine are often used to symbolize vitality, since tonic healing has always been related to the vine. Here is a  recipe for Vine Moon Tea (good for use in Earth magic, sex magic, overcoming difficulties):1 part blackberry         1 part dandelion         splash of currant wine or Grape juice         pinch of hibiscus

    Grapes can be used in many types of prosperity or money attraction spells. They can be eaten as part of prosperity spellwork if the person casting    the spell visualizes money energy vibrating as the grapes are eaten. You can also place grapes on the altar during money spells. Pictures of Grapes or    grape Vines can be painted onto garden walls to ensure the garden’s fertility, as was done in ancient Rome. Eating grapes or raisins is said to    increase fertility, as well as strengthen mental powers. Grape leaves can be dried and carried in a small pouch or bag to act as evil-repellent.