The Mystery of Flowers and Plants (Part 2 C – D)

Cactus – (endurance – burning love – maternal love – strength)

Cacti are unique, distinctive plants, adapted to extremely arid and hot climates and have water conserving features. Their stems have green succulent structures containing the chlorophyll necessary for growth and life, the leaves have become the spines for which cacti are so well known. The cactus is a hardy and resilient plant.

Calendula – (despair – grief – sorrow)

Calendula blossoms are used to ease indigestion, and calendula petals are used in ointments to heal skin irritations, jaundice, sore eyes and toothaches.

Calla Lily – (magnificent beauty)

The calla lily is native to southern Africa and is visible in many works of art.

Camellia – (perfection – gratitude – reasoning – admiration – good luck)

Each colour has a symbolic meaning including innate worth, adoration, perfection and loveliness (white) innate worth, adoration, perfection, loveliness, (pink) longing, longing for love, (red) excellence, heart flame. The English name is derived from the Latin name camellia, named after the Czech-born missionary and botanist George Josef Kamel, whose name was originally derived from the word kamel, meaning “camel.”

Carnation – (impulsiveness – joy – devotion – love – fascination – capriciousness) white carnation meaning (disdain – refusal)

Carnations were used in Greek ceremonial crowns. The name carnation may come from the Greek carnis (flesh) and refer to the incarnation of God made flesh. The English name derived from the flower name, from French carnation, meaning “complexion,” from Italian carnagione, meaning “flesh-colored.” The carnation is also known as “the poor man’s rose.”

Cattail – (prosperity – peace)

Cattails or bulrushes, are wetland plants with spongy, strap-like leaves and creeping stems, the thick root can be ground to make a flour substitute. The spread of cattails assists the process of open water bodies being converted to vegetated marshland and eventually to dry land.

Chamomile (action – movement – energy)

The extract of German chamomile is taken as a strong tea and is used in herbal medicine as a digestive aid, it has anti-inflammatory properties. Chamomile tea is used to calm the nerves and chamomile makes an excellent mouthwash against mouth and gum infections. It is used in ointments and lotions and is very soothing.

Cherry Blossom (learning – education)

In China the cherry blossom is a symbol of feminine beauty, it represents the feminine principle and love. Falling blossoms symbolise fallen warriors who died in battle, and symbolise the samurai. Cherry blossoms in Japan are symbolise the transience of life because of their short blooming times.

Christmas Rose

The Christmas rose is purported to have flowered on Christmas Day, thus associated with the infant Jesus. It is a member of the genus Helleborus and is not related to the rose bush. The Christmas Rose (sometimes known as the Lenten Rose) of Mary Gardens, bears pure white or pink flowers.

Chrysanthemum – (wealth – optimism – cheerfulness – abundance)

The name is derived from the feminine form of Greek (Chrysanthos), meaning “golden flower.” Chrysanthemums are associated with death in Italy. Colour meanings (white) truth, hope, rest and friendship, (red) love, (yellow) slighted love. The Japanese put a single chrysanthemum petal on the bottom of a wine glass to sustain a long and healthy life, and Japanese emperors sat on their Chrysanthemum throne. The name is derived from the feminine form of Greek Chrysanthos, meaning “golden flower.

Crocus – (joy – happiness – cheerfulness)

The genus crocus is in the iris family, the plants grow from corm, are mainly perennials and found in woodland and meadows, crocuses are native to central and southern Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, central Asia and China.

Cyclamen – (goodbye – resignation)

Cyclamen grow in dry forest or scrub areas, have white, bright pink, red or purple flowers, and are native to Africa and the Mediterranean. They are part of the primrose family, although bare no resemblance.

Daffodil – (regard – chivalry – respect – unrequited love – sunshine – happiness)

In Greek mythology the daffodil is described as a pale yellow deathless kind of lily flower, that overspreads the plains of Hades, and is the favourite food of the dead. The traditional daffodil has a yellow to golden-yellow color all over, and due to breeding the daffodil may be variously colored. Breeders have developed some daffodils with double, triple, or ambiguously multiple rows of petals, and several wild species have double variants. The English name is derived from the flower name, from Latin asphodelus, from Greek asphodelos, meaning “asphodel flower.”

Dandelion (nature’s oracle)

In Medieval times the dandelion was called lion’s teeth, because its leaves had jagged tooth like edges. The dandelion has for centuries been consulted as an oracle, the time can be told by the number of blows to get rid of the seeds. For a prophecy about how long it is until your wedding day, count the number of seeds left after you have blown on them once, the number of seeds left tells you how many years it will be.

Dahlia – (forever – dignity – elegance – forever thine)

The dahlia was used as a food source in the 1940’s by the Europeans, when the French potato crop was destroyed by disease. The dahlia is named after Anders Dahl, the 18th century Swedish botanist. The English name is derived from the flower name, taken from the surname of Anders Dahl, meaning “valley,” from this “dahlia flower” or “valley flower. The Aztecs used dahlias to treat epilepsy.

Daisy – (feelings shared – innocence – purity – beauty – simplicity – loyalty – love) also known as (“flowery mead”)

The English name is derived from the flower name, from Old English daegeseage, “day’s eye. “Hairpins decorated with daisies were found during the excavation of the Minoan Palace on the Island of Crete, and daisies are believed to be several thousand years old. Egyptian ceramics were decorated with daisies. Maidens grabbed a bunch of daises with their eyes closed, then counted them to find out how many years until they were to marry. Originally known as ‘bruisword’, and used to heal bruises. It is considered good luck to step on the first daisy of the year

Dandelion – (affection requited – sympathy – happiness – love’s oracle – faithfulness – desire)

The dandelion is native to Europe and Asia, in northern areas and places where the dandelion is not native, it has become a weed.

Day Lily – (forgetting worries) in China (symbolic of devotion to mother)

The flower means “Suited for A Boy,” it was used as a lucky talisman by expectant mothers who wished for a baby boy. “In China when the day lily has a cheerful position, the flower is called “Wong Yu.”

Delphinium – (levity – ardent attachment – fun – light of heart – joyous)

Delphinium derived from the French form of the Latin, Delphinia, meaning “woman from Delphi.” The flower resembles nose of the dolphin, and delphiums were thought to repel scorpions. The Native Americans used delphiniums to make blue dye, and the Europeans made ink.

FROM: http://witcheslore.com/bookofshadows/herbology/the-mystery-of-flowers-and-plants/3649/

Whispering Woods Dragon Lore course – Lesson 2

Whispering Woods Dragon Lore course
A history of Oriental Dragons
Lesson Two

The dragon is considered to be a mythological animal of Chinese origin, and a member of the NAGA (Sanskrit) family of serpentine creatures who protected Buddhism. It was by his subtle but powerful charms that the Naga Apalala was able to keep the wicked dragons in check.

Japan’s dragon lore comes predominantly from China. Images of the reptilian dragon are found throughout Asia, and the pictorial form most widely recognized today was already prevalent in Chinese ink painting in the Tang period (9th century CE).  Chinese Dragons are believed to decide where rain fell, to affect river flows and wind conditions. They breathed out heavy mists which create rain, and not fire like their Western counterparts. Chinese Dragons are associated with rivers. Folktales often have them carving out major rivers with their sinuous bodies. They are also associated with other water sources such as wells and springs.

According to the Chinese, the reason their Dragon has five toes, the Japanese dragon has four toes and the Korean dragon has three toes is because the further away from China a dragon goes the more toes that it loses. The Japanese believe just the opposite, believing that they grow more toes so that they eventually cannot walk very well.

The mortal enemy of the dragon is the Phoenix, as well as the bird-man creature known as Karura. In contrast to Western mythology, Asian dragons are rarely depicted as malevolent. Although fearsome and powerful, dragons are equally considered just, benevolent, as well as the bringers of wealth and good fortune. The dragon is also considered a shape shifter who can assume human form and mate with humans. The Chinese call the dragon ‘lung’ (long) because it is considered to be deaf.

In China, however, dragon lore existed independently for centuries before the introduction of Buddhism. Bronze and jade pieces from the Shang and Zhou dynasties (16th – 9th centuries BCE) depict dragon-like creatures. By at least the 2nd century BCE, images of the dragon are found painted frequently on tomb walls to dispel evil. Buddhism was introduced to China sometime in the 1st and 2nd centuries CE.

By the 9th century CE, the Chinese had incorporated the dragon into Buddhist thought and iconography as a protector of the various Buddha and the Buddhist law. These traditions were adopted by the Japanese (Buddhism did not arrive in Japan until the mid- 6th century CE).
In both China and Japan, the character for “dragon” is used often in temple names, and dragon carvings adorn many temple structures. Most Japanese Zen temples, have a dragon painted on the ceiling of their assembly halls.

In both Chinese and Japanese mythology, the dragon is one of four legendary creatures guarding the four cosmic directions (Red Bird – S, Dragon – E, Tortoise – N, and the Tiger – W). The four, known as the Four Celestial Emblems, appear during China’s Warring States period (476 BCE – 221 BCE), and were frequently painted on the walls of early Chinese and Korean tombs to ward off evil spirits.

The Dragon is the Guardian of the East, and is identified with the season spring, the color green/blue, the element wood (sometimes also water), the virtue propriety, the Yang male energy; supports and maintains the country (controls rain, symbol of the Emperor’s power). The Guardian of the South, the Red Bird (aka Suzaku, Ho-oo, Phoenix), is the enemy of the dragon, as is the bird-man Karura. Actually, the Phoenix is the mythological enemy of all Naga, a Sanskrit term covering all types of serpentine creatures, including snakes and dragons. The Dragon (East) and Phoenix (South) both represent Yang energy, but they are often depicted as enemies, for the Dragon represents the element wood, while the Phoenix signifies the element fire. However, they’re also often depicted together in artwork as partners. The Dragon is the male counterpart to the female Phoenix, and together they symbolize both conflict and wedded bliss; the emperor (dragon) and the empress (phoenix).

The oriental Dragon has the head of a camel, horns or a deer, eyes of a hare, scales of a carp, paws of a tiger, and claws resembling those of an eagle. In addition it has whiskers, a bright jewel under its chin, and on the top of its head the “poh shan” or foot rule, without which it cannot ascend to heaven.  This is merely a general description and does not apply to all dragons, some of which have heads of so extraordinary a kind that they cannot be compared with anything in the animal kingdom.

The breath of the Dragon changes into clouds from which is emitted either rain or fire. It is able to expand or contract its body, and in addition it has the power of transformation and invisibility.

The ancient Chinese Emperor Yao was said to be the son of a dragon, and many rulers of that country were metaphorically referred to as dragon-faced.”

Chinese Dragons:

Heavenly Dragon
The heavenly or celestial dragon (tian-long) was the celestial guardian who protected the heavens, supporting the mansions of the gods and shielded them from decay. The Tian-long could fly and are depicted with or without wings they are always drawn with five toes while all other dragons are shown with four or three toes.

Spiritual Dragon
The spiritual dragons (shen-long) were the weather makers. These giants floated across the sky and due to their blue color that changed constantly were difficult to see clearly. Shen- long governed the wind, clouds and rain on which all agrarian life depended. Chinese people took great care to avoid offending them for if they grew angry or felt neglected, the result was bad weather, drought of flood

.
Earth Dragon
Dragons that ruled the rivers, springs and lakes were called Earth dragons (di-long). They hide in the depths of deep watercourses in grand palaces. Many Chinese fairy tales spin yarns of men and women taken into these submarine castles to be granted special favors or gifts. Some of the di-long even mated with women to produce half-human dragon children.

Treasure Dragon
Believed to live in caves deep in the earth the (fu-can-long) or treasure dragon had charge of all the precious jewels and metals buried in the earth. Each of these dragons had a magical pearl that was reputed to multiply if it was touched. This pearl was as symbol of the most valuable treasure, wisdom.

From Japanese lore we have;
The Origin of the Sword of Heaven, one of the Three Sacred Treasures of Japan
Susano-O-no-Mikoto descends to the mountain Torikamiyama in Izumo, where he comes upon an old couple weeping beside their daughter. The man says that he’s a god of the land (kunitsukami) and that each year the eight-headed, eight-tailed serpent, the dragon-prince Yamata no Orochi has devoured one of his daughters (some versions say 12 most say 8 daughters), and that the time has come for him to claim the last.

Susano-o-no-Mikoto transforms the girl, Kushinada Hime, into a comb, which he puts in his hair, and orders that a special wine (The first gift of Saki to mortal men) be brewed and barrels of it placed along a fence with eight apertures or gates.

When the serpent drinks the potion and falls into a drunken sleep, Susano-O-no-Mikoto severs each of the heads with his sword.

As Susano-o-no-Mikoto is dismembering the dragons body to dispel the dragon-prince’s strong magic’s in one of the tails he discovers a sword, which he presents to Amaterasu. This is the sword that is later known as Kusanagi (Mower of Grass).

It is given to Ninigi no Mikoto by Amaterasu as one of the three symbols of his authority over Ashihara no Nakatsukuni.

And these three symbols become the Three Sacred Treasures of the Imperial Family of Japan, “Kenji (sacred Kusanagi sword called “Grasscutter”and Magatama, coma shaped beads (supposedly a jade and/or splendid jewels) and Yata no Kagami (mirror), thus begins the Story or Legend of Imperial Japans beginnings.

While Japanese Dragons are also weather elementals, they are more associated with the sea (the Tatsu) and wells and lakes rather than with rivers.

Perhaps because China has more great rivers and Japan is surrounded by seas. Nevertheless, Japanese Dragons are closely associated with the beginning of life and fertility. Japanese myths also include the Hai Riyo, a dragon-bird with scaly body and clawed feet but gilded feathered wings and tails.

The Japanese see their dragons as kings of the land.

Japanese Dragons:

There are the Tatsu, which are Japanese dragons. They are a symbol of the Mikado. They are also looked upon as imperial and spiritual power, and they like to live in lakes and springs.

Sui-Riu is the Japanese Dragon King. The Dragon King was in charge of all the rain, and he was sometimes known as “the rain dragon.”

Han-Riu is a multi-striped Japanese Dragon. Though the dragon is around forty feet long, this dragon can never reach heaven.

Ri-Riu, A bit of an unknown dragon, it is said that he has exceptional eye sight. And that he could see more than 100 miles away.

Ka-Riu was one of the smaller dragons, being that he was only seven feet long. It is said, however, that the Ka-Riu was fiery red.

Fuku Riu is a dragon of luck.

Hai-riyo is Japanese “Dragon-Bird”. Said to be much like the Chinese Ying-Lung, this was the most “evolved” form of a dragon.

Sui Riu–a rain-dragon, which when in pain causes reddish rain, colored by its blood.

From Korean Lore:

The Korean dragon was said to have certain specific traits: no wings, for example, in addition to a long beard.

The Korean dragon was said to have three toes. They are generally viewed as benevolent beings related to water and agriculture, often considered as bringers of rain and clouds. Many Korean dragons are said to have resided in rivers, lakes, oceans or even deep ponds up within the mountains.

The Koreans believe that all eastern dragons originated from Korea. When the dragons leave Korea and go toward China, they gain toes. When the dragons leave Korea and go toward Japan, they lose toes.

The Korean dragon is usually described as having a camel’s head with rabbit eyes, a serpentine neck, the belly of a frog and tiger feet.

As with Chinese dragons, the number nine is significant with Korean dragons and they are said to have 81 (9×9) scales on their backs.

Main Korean Dragons:

Yong – The powerful sky dragon

Yo – The hornless ocean dragon

Kyo – The mountain dragon

Korean dragons are said to have long beards and bear no wings. They prefer to spend most of their time in water such as rivers, or deep lakes away in the mountains. Korean dragons are considered to be benevolent and strongly tied to agriculture.

Quiz:
1. The mortal enemy of the dragon is the _____________.
2. The Dragon is the male counterpart to the female _________.
3. What type of a dragon is a “di long”?
4. Han-Riu–striped with ________ different colors.
5. Chinese and Korean dragons are said to have ____ scales on their back.
6. The dragon is one of _____ legendary creatures guarding the four cosmic directions
7. The oriental dragon has the paws of a ______.

Source:

Author & Researcher

Crick

Website: Whispering Woods

Crick also offers an online ezine which is located at Black Hen E-Zine

 

Daily Feng Shui News for March 2 – ‘Fame’

Many of us will be tuned into the 86th Annual Academy Awards tonight, an event that showcases the achievements of the film industry’s best and brightest. If you would like to be thought of as a star within your own industry, then Feng Shui says that you should light up your ‘Fame’ area. This arena is located at the back center or back middle of your living space. One way to fire up the ‘Fame’ energies is to place nine small red candles in that space and light them whenever you want to heat up your recognition factor. When this works for you and you receive an award, the first thing I want to hear you say is, ‘I’d like to thank Ellen –.’

By Ellen Whitehurst for Astrology.com

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Your Charm for Tuesday, February 18 is The Axe Head

Your Charm for Today

The Axe Head

Today’s Meaning:

As an axe comes to a complete stop when it hits the tree so you have grown motionless. You now must draw back, step away from this quadrant of your life and begin again. Set a new path into motion.

General Description:   

This Chinese incised jade Axe head was suspended round the neck, and worn as an amulet to protect the wearer from illness, accidents, and injuries, also as a charm against witchcraft. The Chinese had great faith in the supposed medicinal powers of jade, which was recommended and prescribed by their physicians. The Axe head was always considered to be an emblem of strength and power among primitive races; even today small axe heads are still regarded as effective talismans against disease in many countries, and great faith is placed in their supposed supernatural powers of healing.

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Daily Feng Shui News for Feb. 12th – ‘Plum Pudding Day’

On ‘Plum Pudding Day,’ I thought I would share legend and lore attached to the magical plum. The branches of plum trees have long been positioned above the doors and windows of European households to keep negativity, illness or evil at bay, while the Chinese revere the plum as one of the most fortune-filled foods of all. In Eastern cultures the plum is eaten and enjoyed as it is believed to be a fruit that bestows longevity and luck. It might be a plum idea to indulge in this same sort of pudding today.

By Ellen Whitehurst for Astrology.com

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Your Charm for February 8th is The Food Charm

Your Charm for Today

The Food Charm

Today’s Meaning:    

Your health vibration is very high! You are energetic and feel you can accomplish anything. This aspect reflects positive vibrations due to diet. This will continue for a few weeks.

General Description:  

The Lamas of Tibet encourage all sorts of magic. Their religion is a form of Buddhism, introduced into Tibet about 750 A.D. It is corrupted with the worship of demons, and many curious magical beliefs. The Food Charm is used to stamp the form of their god Buddha on their food for protection against the powers of evil, and for happiness, both of the physical and spiritual body. The device shows the god Buddha probably surrounded with the emblematic circle of rice, which in Tibet means the Wheel of Life, or misfortunes roll off, and good fortune rolls on.

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A Very Blessed Monday Morn’ To All Our Family & Friends Of The WOTC!

Flowers and Roses Images
Great Gaia, Earth Mother

Help me to reconnect

With the land below and the sky above

Help me to see the beauty that surrounds me

And appreciate all that gifts you have given

So I might live more fully

See more clearly

Breathe more deeply

Of all that is you.

So Mote It Be

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Your Charm for Tuesday, January 28th is The Tortoise

Your Charm for Today

The Tortoise

Today’s Meaning:  

The tortoise represents the dome of the sky, the universe. It tells you to take slow, deliberate steps and you can achieve everything you desire.

General Description:

In China, Japan, and many other countries in the East, the Tortoise is regarded as a talisman for repelling every description of magic, and the supposed malign influence of the evil eye. This jade charm is also used as a powerful amulet for good fortune, happiness, both of the heart and body, endurance, strength, and longevity. In Eastern Asia the Tortoise is regarded as the symbol of the universe, the dome of the sky being represented by the shell, and the earth by the body of the tortoise.

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Daily OM for Jan. 10th – Influencing the Tone of Your Life

Influencing the Tone of Your Life
Color

by Madisyn Taylor

Color has the ability to trigger our emotions, affect the way we think and act, and influence our attitudes.

When we enter a room or see an object for the first time, our minds register its color before any other detail. The colors our eyes can perceive are like words that form a subtle language of mood, energy, and insight. Color can exert a gentle effect on the mind and the body, i

nfluencing our dispositions and our physical health. Color has the ability to trigger our emotions, affect the way we think and act, and influence our attitudes. You unconsciously respond to the color of the walls in your home, your car, your clothing, and the food you eat based on your body’s natural reactions to certain colors and the psychological associations you have formed around them. The consequences of the decision to paint a room or wear a specific article of clothing therefore goes beyond aesthetics.

The colors you encounter throughout your day can make you feel happy or sad, invigorate you or drain your vitality, and even affect your work habits. Throughout history, cultures spread over many different parts of the globe have attributed varying meanings to different colors. In China, blue is associated with immortality, while people in the Middle East view blue as a color of protection. There is also evidence that human beings respond to color in a very visceral way. Red excites us and inflames our passions. Too much red, however, can make us feel overstimulated and irritated. Pink tends to make people feel loved and protected but also can cause feelings of lethargy. Yellow represents joy or optimism and can energize you and help you think more clearly. Bright orange reduces depression and sadness. Blue and green are known to inspire peaceful feelings, and people are often able to concentrate better and work in rooms painted in soft blues and greens. The darker tones of both colors can make you feel serious and introspective.

There are ways to integrate color into your life that go beyond picking the hues of your décor and your wardrobe. You can meditate with color by concentrating on the colors that make you feel peaceful or using a progression of colors to symbolize a descent into a relaxed state. Color breathing involves visualizing certain colors as you in inhale and exhale. Choose to surround yourself with the colors that you are attracted to and make you feel good, and you can create an environment that makes you feel nurtured, peaceful, and uplifted.

The Daily OM

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Your Charm for January 9th is The Dorje

 Your Charm for Today

 The Dorje

Today’s Meaning:        

You are at a physical peak–particularly from a sexual perspective. Enjoy the next few weeks, for they can be remarkable if you let them.

General Description:

In India and Tibet the Dorje or Thunderbolt of Jupiter, is a favourite and greatly valued talisman. It is worn to protect against magic, all spiritual evils and to bring abundance, fruitfulness, and riches. The Dorje is shaped much like a dumb bell with pointed ends, and is the symbol of power and indestructibility. It is supposed to overcome the Buddhist gods Ahi and Vrittra, the serpents, which the Buddhists believe swallow up the waters and cause drought, starvation and death; compelling the serpents to disgorge the waters, and to pour down the fertilizing showers.

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Your Ancient Symbol Card for December 20 is The Hand

Your Ancient Symbol Card for Today

The Hand

Although the exact meaning may vary, The Hand is a symbol of some form of personal power in many cultures and religions. The presence of The Hand is an indication that your personal powers are at or near their zenith. The Hand suggest a time when you should leave your mark on the world.

As a daily card, The Hand suggest that now is a time for you to leave your mark on the world. Your unique strengths are heightened to a point where you can not only expect to make substantial progress towards your goals, but enjoy recognition for your efforts as well.

Let’s Take A Look At the Many Winter Customs Around The World

Winter Customs Around the World

By Patti Wigington, About.com

Winter Around the World:

Whether you observe Yule, Christmas, Sol Invictus, or Hogmanay, the winter season is typically a time of celebration around the world. Traditions vary widely from one country to the next, but one thing they all have in common is the observance of customs around the time of the winter solstice. Here are some ways that residents of different countries observe the season.

Australia:

Althought Australia is huge geographically, the population sits at under 20 million people. Many of them come from a blend of cultures and ethnic backgrounds, and celebration in December is often a mix of many different elements. Because Australia is in the southern hemisphere, December is part of the warm season. Residents still hhave Christmas trees, Father Christmas, Christmas Carols and gifts which are a familiar Christmas and gifts, as well as being visited by Father Christmas. Because it coincides with school holidays, it’s not uncommon for Australians to celebrate the season on vacation away from home.

China:

In China, only about two percent of the population observes Christmas as a religious holiday, although it is gaining in popularity as a commercial event. However, the main winter festival in China is New Year celebration that occurs at the end of January. Recently, it’s become known as the Spring Festival, and is a time of gift-giving and feasting. A key aspect of the Chinese New Year is , and painings and portraits are brought out and honored in the family’s home.

Denmark:

In Denmark, Christmas Eve dinner is a big cause for celebration. The most anticipated part of the meal is the traditional rice pudding, baked with a single almond inside. Whichever guest gets the almond in his pudding is guaranteed good luck for the coming year. Children leave out glasses of milk for the Juulnisse, which are elves that live in peoples’ homes, and for Julemanden, the Danish version of Santa Claus.

Finland:

The Finns have a tradition of resting and relaxing on Christmas Day. The night before, on Christmas Eve, is really the time of the big feast — and leftovers are consumed the next day. On December 26, the day of St. Stephen the Martyr, everyone goes out and visits friends and relatives, weather permitting. One fun custom is that of Glogg parties, which involve the drinking of Glogg, a mulled wine made from Madeira, and the eating of lots of baked treats.

Greece:

Christmas was typically not a huge holiday in Greece, as it is in North America. However, the recognition of St. Nicholas has always been important, because he was the patron saint of sailors, among other things. Hearth fires burn for several days between December 25 and January 6, and a sprig of basil is wrapped around a wooden cross to protect the home from the Killantzaroi, which are negative spirits that only appear during the twelve days after Christmas. Gifts are exchanged on January 1, which is St. Basil’s day.

India:

India’s Hindu population typically observes this time of year by placing clay oil lamps on the roof in honor of the return of the sun. The country’s Christians celebrate by decorating mango and banana trees, and adorning homes with red flowers, such as the poinsettia. Gifts are exchanged with family and friends, and baksheesh, or , is given to the poor and needy.

Italy:

In Italy, there is the legend of La Befana, a kind old witch who travels the earth giving gifts to children. It is said that the three Magi stopped on their way to Bethlehem and asked her for shelter for a night. She rejected them, but later realized she’d been quite rude. However, when she went to call them back, they had gone. Now she travels the world, searching, and delivering gifts to all the children.

Romania:

In Romania, people still observe an old fertility ritual which probably pre-dates Christianity. A woman bakes a confection called a turta, made of pastry dough and filled with melted sugar and honey. Before baking the cake, as the wife is kneading the dough, she follows her husband outdoors. The man goes from one barren tree to another, threatening to cut each down. Each time, the wife begs him to spare the tree, saying, “Oh no, I am sure this tree will be as heavy with fruit next spring as my fingers are with dough today.” The man relents, the wife bakes the turta, and the trees are spared for another year.

Scotland:

In Scotland, the big holiday is that of . On Hogmanay, which is observed on December 31, festivities typically spill over into the first couple of days of January. There’s a tradition known as “first-footing”, in which the first person to cross a home’s threshold brings the residents good luck for the coming year — as long as the guest is dark-haired and male. The tradition stems from back when a red- or blonde-haired stranger was probably an invading Norseman.

Are We Killing Our Pets With Treats?

Are We Killing Our Pets With Treats?

Nearly 600 dogs have died since 2007 who consumed pet jerky treats made in  China, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Another 3,600 dogs have been  reported ill. The pet treats were sold under a wide variety of brand names.

The FDA currently does not know the cause of this outbreak and is reaching  out to veterinary health professionals, as well as the public, for answers to  help solve the mystery. Since the FDA is unable to determine the cause, no  recall has been put in place, meaning pet owners need to make more educated  decisions about what pet treats are safe to use.

I recently spoke with pet nutrition expert Anthony Bennie about the outbreak.  He provided some insight and helpful knowledge on feeding our pets healthy  treats.

LS: How long do you think this has been going on?

AB: It’s been going on since it became evident that it’s possible to sell  really cheap versions of what people want here. It’s one thing to copy  electronics, another to copy pet treats. When you take the theory of cheapest  practices and apply that to what you put in your animals’ mouths, it is a recipe  for disaster.

LS: What do you think caused the recent outbreak, with number of death and illnesses still on the rise?

AB: Irradiation (the process of exposing pet food and treats to  radiation as a means of eliminating foodborne microbes and killing pests) and glycerin (a humectant preservative) in virtually all pet treats from  China in pet treats from China. There have been issues with pet  food ingredients and finished treats from China for quite some time, including  the massive recalls in 2007 that were traced to melamine, a non-edible protein  additive used in China to adulterate and cheapen the products.

LS: Have there been studies done on the dangers of using glycerin and  irradation together?

AB: The use of both glycerin and irradiation in the same product is  troubling to me. No proper studies have been done to determine the possible  synergistic effects. For the health and safety of your pets, as a first step I  strongly encourage pet guardians to buy pet treats and foods made and sourced in  the USA; but even then, be a detailed label reader and avoid products with  chemical preservatives or other ingredients that you can’t pronounce and don’t  recognize as foods.

LS: The FDA made a recent statement that treats aren’t a necessary part of a  fully balanced canine diet. Honestly, I was  appalled by the ignorance of this statement. In addition to the nutritional  value,  my dogs are paid and rewarded well with treats. Nobody wants to work for free, including dogs.

AB: Our pets are  an extension of the family, so news like  we’ve been hearing is very  worrisome for any pet guardian. But to make a  statement like this, which  could damage many ethical American pet treat  manufacturers, is bizarre  and unfair. No one is claiming ANY problems with  American made treats.  It would be absurd to allow these fears to stop you from  offering your  pet ANY treats or between meal snacks. Think of your  own energy  level throughout the day; would you want to eat nothing all  day until your  single nightly meal? It’s the same with your animal  companions, who can lose  vitality and playfulness if these ‘pick me ups’  are simply cut out of the diet.  Emotional bonding is also reinforced  when providing healthy snacks to your  pet, and training often involves  food rewards. Give your pet treats and  snacks  in moderation as you always have.  But stick with USA Made, grain  free, low carb, natural snacks that  are dominated by meat protein but  offer a holistic balance with other whole  food nutrients such as flax  and veggies.

LS: I frequently give my dogs fruit and vegetable treats. They love shredded  carrots and cut up apple pieces. When purchasing  healthy treats, what should we look for?

AB: A healthy pet treat that is 100% USA made and sourced, and features   all-natural and wholesome ingredients like USDA inspected chicken and  beef  along with natural cheddar cheese, organic flaxseed, and air dried  vegetables.  My family-owned company, ClearConsciencePet.com, provides that in our dog treats. I  am proud to say that we have won six national awards for nutritional excellence.  People tell us that our Sliders® are like doggy crack. Dogs will do anything for  them.

LS: Thanks Anthony. I can’t wait to have Sanchez and Gina try them too! I’m thrilled that all of  your treats are gluten free, as my dogs are gluten intolerant, and I  don’t always have time to make all of their treats myself.

Do you give your dogs treats/ snacks? Do you look at the package to check the  ingredients and where they are made? Thanks for sharing your stories in a  comment below.

 

 

Good Morning, My Dear Family! Time for a little site maintenance!

Good morning, my pretties! How are you doing this morning? I hope fine. Or at least having a better one than me, lol! You ever had one of those moment where you wished you could go through the computer and choke someone? Well, I have, in fact just got through with one of those moments. In case you own a site, blog, business or whatever on the net, listen up. For the last week, I have been getting emails from this company (I use that term loosely) out of China. These emails were in regards to a “company” in China wanting to register our name as theirs. I politely told them that we have held this name since 2006. In fact, I was taught a serious lesson while still on MSN. At that time, I registered and filed copyrights on our name. Witches Of The Craft is copy written just in case you didn’t know. I guess I will have to start putting the little registration mark at the end of our name again. Anyway, totally off topic here, back to the company out of China. I wrote them and I was nice about it, I got another email. This time informing me this company is insisting on using our name. If I wanted to stop this company from using our name, then I would have to pay this organization in China so much money to stop them. Well you can imagine what my reply was, “Bullsh**!” Not I didn’t say it but I wanted too. I simply told them to go ahead. They would be hearing from our lawyers because we own the name, all copyrights and domain associated with the WOTC. Then after that I politely notified Bing & MSN because this bunch used a Hotmail account. I told Bing & MSN what had happened and what these individuals were threatening. I was informed that this is one heck of a scam and some individuals had been falling for it. These people get ahold of your email address, send you threatening emails that your site’s name is getting ready to be purchased. Then they send you another one telling you to stop all this action, you need to pay this other China place several thousands of dollars to stop it. I guess they didn’t realize when something or someone threatens the WOTC, I get really defensive and sure and the hell ain’t letting go of a dime. I also went a step further and turned them over to the Better Business Bureau and the FBI. They are out of China, they won’t never catch them. But in case you or someone you know experiences something like this, you will know. It is a scam and if I could get my hands on them, I would choke ’em!

It just upsets me to think there are people that would do this to others. It makes me very angry when people prey off of others. I get upset when I hear about the elderly getting taken on a phone scam. Heck, money is too hard to come by these days and someone tries to steal it like that, it’s pathetic. The world never eases to amaze me. I really like the emails regarding money transfers from a foreign country to the States. Or someone has died and you are their long lost relative? Gotten any of them? I get them all the time on my personal email account. It is funny. They are trying to tell me my rich great uncle out of the Bahamans has left me a fortune. Now to claim it, just send us your bank account info and my money will be there in a few days. Now tell me, how damn dumb do these people think you are? Give them your bank info? I know it got bad around here for awhile with con-artists calling the elderly and stealing them blind. Also, had one or two that bit on the email scam. I know times are bad but money gotten that way will never do them any good or least that is what I keep telling myself :s . If the Law would occasionally catch one, I would be happy. But that ain’t going to happen either.

Well, now that I have vented, I feel much better. I did want you to be aware of the scam in case you were contacted. Now for today, I am not going to do any posting at all. Instead, I am going to update the site. Going from month to month takes work on one page. Going from season to season, that basically takes all day and all night. I always try to get the little dividers and such that will work all season long, then I can just change the graphics & info. But since we are going from Fall to Winter, that requires a little more work. Besides I occasionally get caught up in looking at the graphics, lol! And anyways, you seem to enjoy the site when I am not here, lol! I swear I don’t bite, really! It just hit me, in case you are leaving is because you think you interfere with my postings, you aren’t. You don’t bother me at all. I love see you here. You are the reason we do this every day. In fact, when I see the numbers go from 387 to 61 I wonder if I have posted something you didn’t like :s. Like I told you before this is your site, I am only the zookeeper, lmao! See I vented I feel good now.

If I don’t hush, I’m not going to get anything done. I am going to get busy updating. Enjoy the site, that’s what it’s here for.  I will see you all bright and early tomorrow morning (I know, who am I trying to kid!). Have a great one, my sweeties!

Luv & Hugs,
Lady A