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Monthly Archives: March 2014

Garlic

Garlic is an herb that people either love or hate. Those who hate it can’t seem to get passed its…fragrant nature long enough to discover its bountiful deliciousness. 😉 Garlic is without a doubt my favorite herb. I use it every chance I get.

It is quite a handy thing to have around, especially if you’re a Witch! It is widely renowned for its uses in the Culinary, Healing, and Magickal Arts. Garlic has been grown and used in all three aforementioned Arts for roughly 5000 years. It was widely used in ancient Egypt, India, China, and Babylonia. If one were to travel through these ancient lands you would see garlic offered up to Gods, people using it for the swearing of oaths, and also its use as a form of currency.

I’m going to talk a little about the Magickal & Medicinal uses today, so I guess I’d better start off by saying that I am not a medical professional, nor a licensed Herbalist. Anything I say is based on books I have read, as well as my own personal experience. So, don’t take my word for it, do your own research, and be sure to consult a qualified Health Care Provider if you are ill. (Thus ends my “Hey, don’t sue me if this doesn’t work blah-blah-blah” message 😉 ).

This aromatic bulb is sacred to Hecate and is left at crossroads to honor Her. On a personal note, I was thrilled when I discovered garlic’s link to my lovely Patroness. It seemed yet another one of those little clues left by The Universe that She has been with me throughout my life…even when I was not yet aware.

Among garlic’s uses are Exorcism, Protection, Purification, Lust, and Health. Most notable is its use in Vampire Lore to keep the lively blood suckers at bay. Which, thankfully, The Vampire Diaries has not subscribed to…keeping my dreams of a Date with Damon Salvatore alive! lol *ehem* Well, anyway…back to uses.

Some ways to use Garlic in your Magickal Life:

)O( Hang strands of garlic in your pantry to protect food stores from vermin.

)O( Place cloves of garlic above doorways to keep illness and evil from entering your home.

)O( Carry for protection against storms, as well as physical & psychic attacks.

)O( Braid of garlic hung above entryways to your home will keep away thieves and other unwelcome guests.

)O( Burn garlic skins indoors to ensure prosperity and harmony within the home.

)O( Hang a braid of garlic above your bedroom door to draw a Lover to it.

Garlic Correspondences

Botanical Name Allium Sativum
Folk Name(s) Ajo, Poor Man’s Penicillin , Stinkweed, Stinking Rose
Part(s) Used Cloves, Whole Bulbs, Flowers
Gender Masculine
Nature Yin (Active)
Planet Mars
Element Fire
Deities Hecate, Kali Maa, Mars
Magickal Associations Exorcism, Health, Lust, Mental Clarity, Protection, Purification, Vigor (Physical Energy)
Astrological Signs Aries, Scorpio

Medicinally, garlic is truly a healing herb to be reckoned with! It has properties that make it effective as an anti-viral, an anti-fungal, an anti-biotic (even effective against antibiotic resistant bacteria), at reducing cholesterol, as well as boosting immune system functions.

Probably the oldest written record of garlic’s healing abilities is the ancient Egyptian text Codex Elsers, dated around 1500 BCE. Within this ancient medical guide are instructions for 22 remedies that facilitate garlic as a cure for heart disease, worms, and even tumors. Garlic continued to be used for these ailments even once the herb was brought to The Americas. I find it astounding that the Native tribes of the New World came to use the herb for the same ailments as the Egyptians did centuries before.

So how does it work? Its bulbs contain compounds that can form allicin by way of an enzymatic reaction that is activated by crushing or chopping it. Allicin reduces cholesterol and reduces stiffness of blood vessels, making it integral in treating and preventing Heart Disease. Garlic is also jam packed with anti-oxidants (compounds that protect cells from damage that can lead to ailments such as cancer, atherosclerosis, inflammation and neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkison’s & Alzheimer’s). Some of these power-house bits of nutrients are beta carotene, zea-xanthin, and Vitamin C, just to name a few. 

Here’s some Dosage Info via WebMD:

For High Blood Pressure –  Fresh garlic 4 grams (approximately one clove) once daily, by mouth. (Fresh garlic typically contains 1% alliin)

For prevention of Colon, Rectal, and Stomach cancer – Fresh or cooked garlic 3.5-29 grams weekly, by mouth.

Here’s a little chart of Vitamin & Mineral Info I compiled. As you can see, you get a lot of bang for your buck with this bulbous beauty!

Garlic Nutritional Information

Amount of Nutrient per 136g

% of RDA per 136g

Calcium 246 mg 25%
Copper .4 mg 20%
Iron 2.3 mg 13%
Magnesium 34 mg 8%
Manganese 2.3 mg 114%
Phosphorus 208 mg 21%
Potassium 545 mg 16%
Selenium 19.3 mcg 28%
Sodium 23.1 mg 1%
Zinc 1.6 mg 11%
Vitamin A 12.2 IU 0%
Vitamin C 42.4 mg 71%
Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol) .1 mg 1%
Vitamin K 2.3 mcg 3%
Thiamin .3 mg 18%
Riboflavin .1 mg 9%
Niacin 1 mg 5%
Vitamin B6 1.7 mg 84%
Folate 4.1 mcg 1%
Pantothenic Acid .8 mg 8%
Choline 31.6 mg N/A
Omega-3 Fatty Acids 27.2 mg
Omega-6 Fatty Acids 311 mg

Source: Nutrient data for this listing was compiled from USDA SR-21. Percent Daily Values (%DV) are for adults or children aged 4 or older, and are based on a 2,000 calorie reference diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower based on your individual needs.

Personally, I use raw garlic to cure pretty much whatever ails me. If I feel that I’m getting a cold, or other viral nasty (particularly one involving a sore throat), I start chopping garlic to put in my eggs & mashed potatoes.

With Mashed Potatoes, I prepare the potatoes, then mix in a few cloves of chopped raw garlic. It makes the potatoes taste fabulous, but more importantly, the potatoes make the raw garlic more palatable and less harsh on the stomach.

With scrambled eggs I use 1-2 cloves chopped and thrown in with 2 eggs. The eggs cook so quickly, that the garlic is merely warmed. Once again, the eggs taste great, and the eggs help protect the stomach from being overwhelmed by the garlic.

A little additional info for nursing Moms. While using garlic for medicinal purposes while nursing isn’t harmful to your baby, it will likely change the taste of breast milk, which could have an adverse effect on your babies nursing habits. So I advise using much caution. (Don’t want the wee ones to stop eating!)

Alrighty! Now, if you’re looking for more info. I recommend:

Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs

Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Wicca in the Kitchen

Herbal Antibiotics by Stephen Harrod Buhner

The Cherokee Herbal by J.T. Garrett

Now go forth and nom on some Garlic!

AprilPixiePic2014I don’t know about you, but I’ve been having a blast with the Pixie Pic-A-Day Photo Challenge! I have missed a couple days myself, as Jury Duty has been totally screwing up my schedule, but I’ve been trying to catch up.

I know a few of you are playing along, and the pictures you’ve shared have been GREAT! I love seeing everyone’s approach to each prompt. It’s truly amazing how many different ways you can look at something.

If you haven’t joined in yet, I urge you to do so. It really is fun to do (especially if you like to take pictures) and it’s a fun way to explore and express yourself, and to Express Your Spirit!

Give it a go, there’s no right or wrong way to interpret the prompts (Just try to keep them “Safe for work” lol)

 Here’s the Basics:

  1. Choose your apparatus of choice! (camera, phone, tablet, etc…)
  2. Check the Monthly list for the daily prompt (The number corresponds to the date of the month)
  3. Take a picture based on the prompt for the day. (The prompt for day 3 is: Shower. Interpret that in whatever way floats your boat) Keep your subject within the overall theme of the challenge which is Expressing Your Spirit!
  4. Once you’ve taken your picture, share it to Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, or Google+ with the hashtag #PixiePicADay (This way everyone can easily find others that are participating!)
  5. Check out what other’s have posted. (Just click on the hashtag #PixiePicADay on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or G+ to see what everyone has shared)It’s always interesting to see how others have interpreted the prompts.
  6. Have Fun, and be sure to check back for Next Month’s List!

That’s it! Easy Peasy! I look forward to seeing your April pics! Feel free to follow me to see my pics.

Follow Me Here: Twitter, Instagram, Google+

P.S. Don’t worry if you miss a day! You can either skip them all together, or post your pics and add the hashtag #catchingup. The whole point is to have fun. 🙂

 

 

I’m taking a different approach to this week’s post, as it’s more of a photo-essay. I created it using photobucket’s “stories” feature, which still seems to have a few bugs in it, but it was still fun to put together.

Anyway, the story takes place in Salem, Massachusetts at Samhain of 2008. I was on vacation with my Mom, and we ran into quite a few folks that weren’t to happy to have a bunch of Witches taking over the town to celebrate our Sacred Holiday. Have a gander, and let my photos tell the tale of how I dealt with it all.

While the protesters that were strewn throughout Salem had me quite annoyed at the beginning, I chose not to let their over-zealousness about what they thought the state of my soul was get me down. I cannot control what they believe, nor do I wish to. I do wish they’d realize that their signs, flyers, and shouts of hell-fire aren’t really doing anything to further their agenda, but all I can do is act in a manner befitting the Divine Spirit that lies within me

A little addition: Since I originally drafted this post on Tuesday, Fred Phelps (former leader and founder of the Westboro Baptist Church famous for picketing the funerals of Gays) has passed away. Since (and even a few days before) his death, I have seen many people urging others to picket Mr. Phelps’ funeral. Personally, I do not see what that would accomplish, other than perpetuating all the nastiness and bile that the man himself used to prescribe to. Regardless of what we feel about how he led his life, anyone in attendance of his funeral is entitled to say goodbye in peace. Whether or not those individuals would afford any of us the same courtesy is irrelevant. I see nothing productive coming from lowering our standards of behavior in retaliation. That is only my opinion, of course…you’re certainly entitled to your own.

 

IrishHeritageYup, that’s what I called it, Irish Heritage Reclamation Day? Why? Well, because in my humble opinion, St. Patrick was a bit of a douche, and I don’t think he should have a day named after him. He is known for 2 things primarily: Driving the snakes out of Ireland, and Bringing Christianity to the Emerald Isle. Well, BOTH of these things are not true. He didn’t drive snakes out of Ireland (no snakes ever existed in Ireland…it is widely believed that these ‘snakes’ were actually Druids)), he converted pagans into Christians but Christianity already existed in Ireland though it was not wide-spread (and his ‘mission’ to do so may have been fueled by his being held captive in Ireland as a teen. You know a little bit of “I’ll show those nasties a thing or two” might have been part of his motivation – yes this is conjecture on my part, but this is my blog, I say what I want, lol).

ANYWAY, St. Patrick’s Day is pretty much a U.S. holiday that was celebrated by early Irish immigrants as a way to band together and be proud of their Irish heritage. This is the time when corned beef & cabbage came into play as well. I think it’s nice that they found something to pull them together as a community during a time when they were all experiencing much hardship.

So, if the snakes that Pat drove out of Ireland were pagans, why on earth do I celebrate on this day? Well, much like early Irish-Americans, I am quite proud of my Irish heritage. I have always felt that my Irish roots run deep, and have always had an affinity for all things of an Irish-Celtic nature. I have two Irish deities in my personal eclectic pantheon. I’ve traced the journey of my Great-Grandfather’s family as they made their way to North America – first into Canada, and then to the U.S. a few generations later. Also, this is a day that meant a lot to my family on a personal level. You see, my Great-Grandparents were married on March 17 (many moons ago), and while they have both moved on from this life, I still like to celebrate their union.

Yes, it’s fun to get schnockered, it’s fun to party, I wholly admit to doing both (though not nearly as rowdily as I once did). Partying and drinking, however are secondary or lower on my list of things to celebrate today.

Ol’ Pat (who was NOT Irish, and who’s color is apparently blue) died on March 17th…ok maybe not cool to celebrate the dudes death, BUT my Pixie-ish spin on THAT would be celebrating the end of his personal crusade to oust the Druids. Today I honor those wise and Holy Ones.

So,  I don’t refer to today as St. Patrick’s Day, as I don’t feel he should be celebrated. I call it St. Paddy’s Day (As this actually elevates those early Irish-American folks…since they were oft times referred to as Paddy’s – yes, also not exactly the nicest term either, but come on, let’s reclaim this shit and turn it positive!!), Irish Day, St. Patsy’s Day (as in Patsy from Absolutely Fabulous, lol), and any number of things that pop into my little Pixie brain.

Today I honor My Heritage. Today I honor My Family. Today I honor the tenacity of Irish Immigrants. Today I honor the Pagans who died rather than shun their beliefs. Today I honor the Irish Deities. Today I honor Me.

 

Faeries!Being that my not-so-alter-ego is that of a Puckish Pixie, Faeries are something quite near and dear to my heart. Their history is also rooted in Celtic Irish Mythology, which makes them quite important to my Spiritual Path as well. So, where to start? How about we head on back roughly 4000 years, and take a brief peek at the Tuatha de Danann.

The Tuatha de Danann were, quite literally, the People of the goddess Danu. According to the Annals of the Four Masters (chronicle of medieval Irish history, compiled between 1632 and 1636 in a Fransiscan monestary), they were a powerful ancient tribe who ruled Ireland from 1897 to 1700 BCE. Until they were defeated in battle by the Milesians.

According to legend, after the Milesian’s victory their leader, Amergin, was called upon to divide the land between the two Peoples. He cleverly split the land with the Milesians Ruling that which was above ground, leaving the Tuatha de Danann to rule all that was below.

The Tuatha de Danann were led underground by their King, The Dagda, and became known as the Aes Sidhe (people of the hills). They are the Faery People of the Otherworld who have been known to intervene in human wars on the side of justice and righteousness.

Throughout most of the Medieval period, Faeries were not seen as beneficial beings to have around. Most people during this time felt it necessary to protect themselves and their families from the fae. It was believed that they would steal children and leave them with a less-than-stellar replacement….why they supposedly did this is not entirely clear. It is possible that this was the way for people of the period to explain away childhood ailments and physical deformities.

Towards the tail end of the Middle Ages, however, as folks were gearing up for the Renaissance the Fae became an integral part of tales told by Bards before the Royal Court. They were fanciful stories of love & trickery…and not nearly as dark & sinister as what some of the superstitions had most recently been. And, while I think that most of these stories still weren’t exactly accurate in their portrayal of faeries, the essence was correct (especially in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream). Perhaps these Bards (especially ol’ Will) were far more in tune with the nature of things than even they realized.

So, what are Faeries as we know them today? Simply put, Faeries (aka: Fairies, Wee Folk, Pixies, etc…) are nature spirits, but simple is hardly a word I would use to describe them. My favorite description of them comes from 17th-century Scottish minister Robert Kirk who said they are “a middle nature betwixt man and angel.”

Faeries come in many sizes from quite wee to that of ourselves. They are humanoid in their appearance, but they appear to us as more ethereal beings than physical. They reside between realms/dimensions, which is why most people are not aware of them and why even those of us who are aware tend to only catch glimpses of them…most will see them as a glimmer of light that flashes quickly by, barely noticeable at all.

“I believe in everything until it’s disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it’s in your mind. Who’s to say that dreams and nightmares aren’t as real as the here and now? Reality leaves a lot to the imagination.” ~John Lennon

In my experience, faeries like flowers, clover, a nice sunny spot on the lawn, shiny stones & soft tinkly chimes. They also like to hide things…lots of things, at least lots of MY things! LOL They also like water, be it a birdbath, a fountain, or a babbling brook. They like the reflective quality of the water, the way the sunlight glints off the surface…not to mention the way they can make faces at themselves in it. They are also big fans of fun, laughter, integrity, honesty & sincerity.

Generally, the Fae do not like loud sudden noises, clutter (although I think the ones surrounding me must be an exception to this lol), or dirty water. They are also not big fans of dishonesty, chaos, selfishness, or abusers. Basically they are not fans of nasty people & nasty habits, and you certainly can’t fault them for that! 😉

To become friends with these wee winged ones, one must help create a pleasing environment for them (Pretty flowers, a fae house, a fountain and/or birdbath etc), and show respect & a love of nature. Once you’ve created the environment, spending time outside, and being playful will show them you’re not a stick-in-the-mud and just may be someone they want to party with!

Another thing you may want to do is appeal to their love of shinys. Not to say that their friendship can be bought with baubles, because it can’t. However, a gift of a few lovely stones to show them you appreciate them will certainly go a long way in gaining their favor. I mean, who doesn’t like a nice shiny???

Give them their space…meaning don’t intrude in their environment ALL the time (nobody likes a guest who overstays their welcome, including the Fae). Be a decent human being and be kind to nature and all her creatures…and don’t be a phoney. The Fae detest falseness and to be false in order to gain their trust will only backfire.

 

Express Your Spirit #PaganBlogProject #PixiePicADaySelf-Expression occurs in many ways. Some write, some draw, some paint, some become actors or comedians, some create jewelry…the list goes on and on. While creating, in whatever medium is preferred, we tend to infuse much of our Ego into our work. This is sometimes referred to as Expressive Egoism.

Some may think expressing one’s Ego is a bit narcissistic, but that’s taking Egoism up a few notches to Egotism (That “T” makes a difference!). Which would be like going from being concerned about one’s own welfare to being utterly self-absorbed and primarily worried about yourself… Expressive Egoism is pretty much an exploration of self, and we should all do some of that every now and then.

“In reality, my art is a confession made of my own free will, an attempt to clarify my own notion of Life..at bottom it is kind of an egoism, but I shall not give up hoping that with its assistance I shall be able to help others achieve their own clarity.” ~Edvard Munch

This all sounds quite serious and fancy-schmancy, but in expressing ourselves we can also discover things about ourselves, our surroundings, and our lives (both Spiritual and Mundane). Time to push the seriousness slightly to the side, because I’ve decided it’s time to have some fun with it.

Anyone who follows me on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook knows I’ve had a thing for participating in Photo-A-Day challenges. Well, I thought it was about time there was one that allowed us to express a little bit of our Spirit as well as the Ego. I will admit, I should have come up with this during a “C” week, you know, good ol’ creativity, but I didn’t think of it until this week. SO, you will notice the first 6 days are kinda missing. Whoopsie! Next month will have ALL days included and it will be posted early, so we can all look forward to it.

 So, here it is *points all Vanna White like to the lovely pic below*.

#PixiePicADay #MarchPixiePic

How does this work? Well, basically:

  1. Choose your apparatus of choice! (camera, phone, tablet, etc…)
  2. Check the Monthly list for the daily prompt (The number corresponds to the date of the month)
  3. Take a picture based on the prompt for the day. (Today’s prompt is: Your Sign. Interpret that in whatever way floats your boat) Keep your subject within the overall theme of the challenge which is Expressing Your Spirit!
  4. Once you’ve taken your picture, share it to Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook with the hashtag #PixiePicADay (This way everyone can easily find others that are participating!)
  5. Check out what other’s have posted. It’s always interesting to see how others have interpreted the prompts.
  6. Have Fun, and be sure to check back for Next Month’s List!

That’s it! Easy Peasy! Now get out there and get to Expressing that Spirit!

*Runs off to take today’s Pixie Pic!*

P.S. Don’t worry if you miss a day! You can either skip them all together, or post your pics and add the hashtag #catchingup. The whole point is to have fun. 🙂