A Story For Autumn

A Story For Autumn

Author: Janice Van Cleve   

Let me tell you a story . . .

Once upon a time there was a little yellow flower petal named Dandelion. Her full name was Dandelion 232 because she shared the crown of the mother plant with 231 of her sisters. Dandelion was very happy. She basked in the sun with her siblings and gloried in her comfortable and easy life. Her mother fed her every day and brought her water to drink. Every night the mother closed her green sepals around the petals to protect and shelter them.

One day there was a distinct chill in the air and Dandelion noticed that the days were growing shorter. Soon she began to feel herself changing. Her lower half grew into a seed while her bright yellow petal transformed into a stem with a white parachute on top. This was very strange and she knew not what it meant. Yet she still felt the security of home. She still shared the cozy flower crown with her sisters and her mother always closed her sepals around them at night.

One night, the mother did not close her sepals. The petals stretched open their parachutes and by the dawn, they had spread out into a great round puffball. A couple of them even blew away in the breeze! “I won’t leave you, Mother! ” cried Dandelion. Mother tried to explain to her little daughter what was happening. She tried to tell her that this was part of the cycle of all things. Dandelion would not listen. She feared the changes that were happening. The next day the wind blew stronger and more of her sisters floated away. Terrified, little Dandelion pleaded, “Please, Mother, don’t let go of me!” She held on with all her might but to no avail. The mother plant died, and there was nothing left to hold onto. Another gust, and Dandelion was plucked from the secure home she had always known and was cast to the wind.

For many days Dandelion was blown about, tumbled around, and bumped by all manner of obstacles until finally her parachute and stem broke off. She lay on the ground bruised and sore and very much afraid. “I’m lost and alone, ” she wailed, “woe is me. It cannot get any worse.” Then along came a bird.

The bird was hungry. It spied Dandelion and decided she would be tasty. Before Dandelion knew what was happening, she was swallowed down. “Oh no! ” cried Dandelion, “this is much worse. At least on the ground I could still see the light. It’s pitch dark in here.”

Several hours later the bird lightened its load and Dandelion found herself buried in a bird deposit. “This is it – the absolute worst, ” sighed Dandelion. “I’ve been torn from my home, abandoned by my mother, abused, battered, and bitten, and now here I am, alone in a strange place and in deep poop!” So Dandelion relinquished all she had known and held dear. She resigned herself to what is and let go of what she wished it to be. She unclenched her grip on life as she knew it and let it unfold as it would.

Time passed. After several months the sun returned to warm the land again. The bird deposit had dried and cracked and now it decomposed itself to become nutrient for the soil. Instead of being the worst of fates, it had been a protection for Dandelion from the harshness of the winter. Dandelion could see the light again. Then she felt a stirring within her. Her seedpod swelled and split open. One long tendril grew out and extended itself down from her into the dirt. Another stretched up into the air and leaves sprouted from it. As the days grew warmer, Dandelion grew bigger. Soon she was a strong and healthy plant with a deep taproot and many lush green leaves.

Summer came and Dandelion began to feel a new stirring. Up from her center grew a stalk. On that stalk grew a crown with sepals and many little petals. She opened the sepals and discovered to her delight a crown of hundreds of little yellow petals basking in the sun. She fed them every day and brought them water to drink. She held them high so they could receive as much sun as possible. They grew and swelled with pride in their bright yellow finery. Every night Dandelion closed her sepals around her daughters in protective embrace. She was very happy.

One day the air turned chill and Dandelion noticed that the days were growing shorter. She knew what was coming. She released the special hormone that triggered seed and parachute formation and fed it to her daughters. She continued to protect them as long as she was able, but at last her sepals would not respond any longer. She recalled how once before she had let go of home and mother and all that she had loved and held dear, and now she knew it was time to let go again. She remembered her mother’s last words about the cycle of all things and she was prepared now for the next turning of the cycle.

The wind began to blow. One by one she felt her daughters plucked from her crown. She knew what they would face but she was confident also in their future and that they would be reborn and become mothers in their own right. She knew that they would have petals of their own and that the cycle of all things would renew as it always had and as it always would. One of her daughters, however, was still holding on to her crown tenaciously and repeating, “I won’t leave you, mother! I won’t leave you!”

And the mother sighed and said, “Dandelion, let me tell you a story

Alder (Mar 18 – Apr 14)

ALDER LORE

  • 4th Moon of the Celtic Year – (March 18 – April 14)
  • Latin name: Smooth Alder – alnus serrulata.
  • Celtic name: Fearn (pronounced: fair un).
  • Folk or Common names: Alder, Gummy/Gluey (European), Rugose/wrinkly (Tag), Tree of the Fairies.
  • Parts Used: Parts Used: Branches, wood, bark, leaves.
  • Herbal usage: Alder is in the hazelnut family and was used by Native Americans as a medicinal plant. Tea can be made from bark and is useful in treating  diarrhea, coughs, toothaches and the discomfort of childbirth. A potion made from the bark can also be used externally as an eye wash or for a wash for  poison ivy, swellings and sprains.
  • Magical History & Associations: The birds associated with this month are the raven, the crow and the gull; the colors are crimson, green-brown and  royal purple; the day is Saturday; and the gemstone is fire-garnet. The Alder, a Masculine herb, is associated with the element of fire, and the planet of  Venus. The Alder is sacred to Bran the Blessed and Cronos (Saturn). Alder is also sacred to Faery kings and elf kings – from the word Alder comes elder (not  the tree) as in ‘elder’ kings. The Fey of the Alder have been described as water spirits or as “Dark Faeries”. They are very protective of  the tree and when they leave their trees, this Faerie will take the form of a Raven. In tree Folk-lore, the Alder is known as the tree of fire – In the  battle of the trees, the Alder fought in the very front line. It is described as the very “battle witch” of all woods, the tree that is hottest in  the fight.
  • Magickal usage: The month of Alder is a good time to do magick designed to celebrate the connection and tie between all women, and the mother-daughter  bond. The Alder has applications in magick done for spiritual decisions, duty, prophecy, oracular strength, intelligence, mental prowess, resurrection, air  magic, water magic, strength, spirituality, teaching, weather magick, and protection from outside forces. Alder leaves or twigs can be carried in a pouch to  act as a protection charm and as a powerful force in psychic battles. Ash talismans or charms can also be carried to aid in the preservation of ideas. The  Alder is known as the “fairy’s tree” in Celtic lore, so is good for fairy magic. The faeries are said to like to dance under the trees when  they are flowering. Carrying Alder twigs or flowers acts as a charm for communicating with the fey. Alder is often used in resurrection magic and also used  in building/construction magic. Alder wood is often called the “wood of the witches”. Whistles may be made of out of young shoots to entice Air  elemental spirits. This gives a Witch the ability to summon, control and banish elementals or the four winds. It is also the ideal wood for making the  magical pipes and flutes for use in magickal ceremonies. Alder produces a red dye from the bark, a green dye from the flowers and a brown dye from its twigs.  Some Witches use these dyes in coloring ritual garb with the red dye signifying fire, the green dye: water, and the brown dye: earth. While the Witch is  dying her robes, she should say:”These leaves from trees, these herbs and flowers,         Make holy with your living powers         Raise the power! Bestow the magick!         Set earth’s seal upon my magick!”

    When harvesting bark or leaves from the Alder, remember to ask the tree if it will allow you to take the    parts and be sure to leave the tree an offering of thanks when you are done. To prepare Alder wood for use, beat the bark away with a willow stick while    projecting your wishes into it.

April 8 – Daily Feast

April 8 – Daily Feast

It seems only yesterday when the first cold wind blew in and laid flat the wild rose and turned the canes gray. Leaves turned and dropped. Snows fell and drifted. Winter threatened to last forever. But it didn’t. Spring runs in and out like a child opening and slamming a door just to irritate us. The birds are flirting and meadows abound with baby calves in their first days. It is a time of change – not only in nature but in us. We enjoy that breaking point between late winter and early spring. In our mind’s eye we know where the wild phlox will spread its fragrance and the oxeye daisies will crowd the narrow path. It is with the same eye that we see ourselves blooming with health and prospering beyond our dreams. Only those who walk under a cloud miss the joy of this time, the open meadows and greening hills.

~ Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam, where the deer and the antelope play….Where seldom is heard a discouraging word and the skies are not cloudy all day. ~

ANONYMOUS

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

*<<<=-=>>>*<<<=-=>>>*<<<=-=>>>*<<<=-=>>>*

Eucalyptus Banish Bad Habits Spell

 
The eucalyptus tree is believed to possess potent banishing properties. If you have a eucalyptus tree, it’s simple to make a decoction:
 
Place leaves, twigs and loose bark into a pot and cover with water. Bring it to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer gently for an hour or more. Otherwise you can create an infusion from dried eucalyptus, available at herbal supply stores. Pour boiling water over the herbs and let them steep until the water cools.
 
Either way, strain out the herbs and add the infusion to your bathwater, to destroy evil ties that bind, whether bad addictions, bad habits or bad company.