Pagan Blog Project – N is for New Perspective

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The last few weeks has been full of preparations to attend the Sunwheel Pagan Arts Fest in Alberta, and helping some friends during an emergency. In the past few weeks of finishing the blanket, I had contemplated selling pagan themed knit blankets online.

The weekend and few days before travelling to the Fest, I had fallen in a terrible dark place that I couldn’t seem to climb out of. Something became clear from it, yet even after that realization, I still was full of despair.

I was hoping for lots of sun in Alberta, and boy did I get it! It was very hot, and the moment you began to move, you broke out in sweat. But I asked for it. The very first night, I walked on glass then fire. Being told to write down something that we wished to walk over through fire, it took me a minute to realize the all encompasing problem I’ve had the past 9 months… fear. It was at first fear of death, which mellowed into just an overall fear.

Well, I walked some of it out over the fire… then I sweat it out over the weekend, enduring the fire of the sun, and the fire of alcohol. As much as I was dreading going the day before, I am so thankful for having gone with some of my trad and coven mates, and making friends with fabulous people.

So, what’s this new perspective? It’s this: I need to sing. I have to drop all of these other ideas of doing something else for a living/career. There’s a reason why nothing else sticks. Being surrounded by amazing and talented people like Chalice and Blade (who also happen to be friends), Heather Dale and Ben, Sharon Knoght and Winter, and Vanessa Cardui along with her posse…. I realized in creating and performing my music in a pagan sphere will give me what I need as a performer (the ability to control my schedule), and as someone who wants a house, a garden, and children one day in the not so distant future.
I’m not going to have to worry about some other prima donna soprano ready to take my place every time I need quiet and home, and having a very difficult time trying to find a spot in an opera when I’m ready to go back in.

Now I’m writing these songs that have broke through the distraction of fear, and researching how to do what needs doing leading up to being a pagan musician.

Hail the Sun!

The Month of Alder

Latin Name
Alnus Glutinosa(Black Alder found in Europe)

Common Names
Scottish Mahogany, Irish Mahogany, King of the Forest, Tree of the Fairies

Celtic Name
Fearn

Dates
March 18 – April 14

Constituents
Between 16-20% tannins in young shoots and the bark of the trees. The bark also contains phenolic glycosides, lignans, emodin, and triterpenes. The leaves contain flavonoid glycosides, specifically hyperoside, and resin.

Medicinal Uses
As an astringent, tonic, antiviral (especially for herpes), haemorraghic, antibacterial, emetic, vulnerary, febrifuge, anti diarrhoeal, lymphatic, and possible anti inflammatory.

The leaves were traditionally added to a bed to treat rheumatism. They are just as easily added to a duvet for the same effect.
They are also used to treat inflammation and burns, especially inflammation of the breast.

As an astringent, it is used to treat bruising, swelling, mouth ulcers, and sore throats. It is also used to combat eczema, acne, and impetigo. The cones are used to treat heamorrhage and haematuria.

Can be used to cleanse the blood and tissue, and well treats rhinitis.

The whole plant is used to be rid of fleas in the house.

Associations
Moon, Mars, Fire and Water, lapis lazuli, amethyst, ravens, hawks, seagulls, purple, Odin, Bran, King Arthur, Apollo, Astarte, Aphrodite, Pan, Lugh, Orpheus, Branwn, Arianrhod, fox.

Magical Uses
As it is associated with both the Moon and Mars, and Water and Fire, there is the obvious connection with balance between the emotions and with actions. It’s also used when you need to face all that you’ve avoided recently.

Because of it’s fantastic dyeing properties, it has strong associations with spinning and fabric making.

Making whistles of the shoots is quite easy as the pith of a shoot is simple to push out, making it possible to create Panpipes with the shoots and cutting them at different lengths, then tying them together. This holds great sway over the four winds and Air Elementals, in fact, “whistling up the wind” is said to have started with Alder whistles.

Because it is a tree that allows access to the faerie realms, it is not good fortune to cut one down, as it is a charm against malevolent fairies. Water sprites are said to protect the tree, so again, be wary of cutting it down.

A really fascinating property of the tree is because of its love to be near water (you’ll find them growing near rivers/streams), when the wood is emerged in water, it does not rot, in fact, it becomes incredibly hard, almost as hard as ebony.

Cicely Mary Barker – The Alder Fairy

Allspice

Image from Wikipedia

Latin Name: Pimenta dioica

Common Names: Pimento, Jamaica Pepper, Eddo, Madere, Basheen, Kouroubaga

Parts Used: Fruit, the shells in particular

Herbal Usages:
Although Allspice is now mostly used as a flavouring and condiment in foods, it does aid in griping (pain in the bowels), and when using a purgative (cleansing) for the bowels. It will rid you of the flatulence associated with bowel issues.

Image from Wikipedia

Magical Properties:
This is a spice associated with Fire and Mars, a very masculine spice indeed. It is used for attracting money, luck, success, and healing. Carried in a green flannel bag, it will bring you luck while gambling. Allspice will help you beat out your competition, so carrying some on you while going for interviews, or while competing for something will greatly increase your chances of coming out on top. It is a very useful spice to carry while being a salesperson as it makes it more likely people will buy more from you. Sprinkle the powder at your business or place of work to bring great success; rubbing your hands with it will attract money to your hands.

Image from Wikipedia

The Merry Month Of May

Cernunnos The Golden King Stag – by Sapphire Blackrose

What a busy month it has been! My trad had their Beltaine celebrations on the first weekend in May, which was wonderful! The old Stag King died to regenerate into our new Stag King; the May Queen’s crown was passed on to the renewed May Queen. On this same weekend, a friend of mine said she was in town for the night before my trad’s Beltaine, and the day of our celebrations, so we were very busy having fun with her, perusing our huge mall, lol, eating good food…

Then it was my birthday on the Monday after that weekend, I went and hung out with my HPs while my man was at work. What a lovely day it was! It’s so nice to be somewhere far away from your family, but have people here that feel so much like family. I am feeling the love 😉

Then this past weekend was a camping trip with a local pagan group for Beltaine! What a weekend! I am so lucky that a coven member of mine put on the rituals for the weekend, and how absolutely beautiful they were! The Friday night, we all walked out into the night darkened woods, cast our circle and enjoyed a very sensual ritual 😉 Then there was much merry-making and couples walking away from the light of the sacred fire to go a Maying 🙂 On the Saturday, they held another ritual to charge two new gifts that my coven-mate had made as gifts for the May Queen and Stag King. The energy pulsing through all of our bodies and through our held hands to our neighbours was powerful, warm, strong. The energy raising definitely took much of my energy out to be imbued in the items!

Venus Verticordia – Dante Gabriel Rossetti

A half hour after that ritual was done, it was time for the men and women to separate to experience each sex’s mysteries and to choose the May Queen and Stag King for the year. I enjoyed a small group of the women having a meditative time making something to wear by the fires that night; we chanted and raised more energy while the Goddess was choosing who would represent Her for the coming year. It was such a beautiful afternoon, very trance-like, and very much full of love.

When the time came, the men came back, the God within them all, the fire of the season all in their eyes. The new Stag King came forth to combat the other men, then finally to combat the Old Stag King who was to be sacrificed. When the battle was won, He came towards us women who were protecting our Queen, pushing his way through until they finally came together. A passionate kiss was shared, and all were rejoicing! Hail the King! Hail the Queen! Hail! Hail! Hail!

Image from Wikipedia

The May Pole was picked up by the men and the Stag King, raised and penetrated the earth. We chose our ribbons to dance the May Pole dance. We skipped and twirled, laughed and flirted, made a horrible of the weave until our Queen stopped us to begin doing it the right way 🙂 As we danced, we got closer to each other, there were winks and sexy propositions, warmth and touch.

Dancing and singing continued by the fire, and before the sun went down, we un-danced the May Pole, it becoming a veiled phallus in the night while couples came and went from the fire again.

After this weekend of ritual, magic, love, friendship, kisses, and sex, I am feeling very much connected with the Gods… the energy still courses through me. I am in bliss.

Hail the King! Hail the Queen!

Winter Fires

Winter Fires
Now, as winter  fires
fall soft and low,
and the snow is tossed
and blown about,
I find in the blankets
of my weary head,
the comfort of things
I might of said.

In my tiny bed
of make believe,
the dragons, the demons
are glad to leave.
And the icy chill that wraps
the window pane,
is lost to the warmth and wonder
within my brain.

So, the wind may blow,
the fire may die,
but neither can ever
ferret why . . .

I smile
I choose to ignore their face
gone to the memory
of some happier place
by Linda Copp

Month of the Rowan



Celtic Name
LuisLatin Name
Sorbus Aucuparia

Dates
January 21 – February 17

Parts Used
Berries, bark

Medicinal Qualities
The  bark of the Rowan, as well as most other tree’s bark, has astringent and tannic properties. The bark would be used in a decoction as a blood cleanser, to treat diarrhea, nausea and upset stomach.

The berries are high in vitamin C, and were used to fight scurvy. The berries were made into jams and jellies; teas for diarrhea, hemorrhoids and urinary tract conditions as the berries have diuretic properties; a gargle of the fresh berry juice aids with inflamed mucous membranes

*Please note that before consuming the berries, they must be cooked as they contain parasorbic acid, a cancer causing compound.

Magical Properties
Associated with masculinity, Mars, fire, Imbolc, Brighid.

Used in protection spells, especially against fire and lightning. It was hung around dog’s necks for increased speed, hung in homes to protect against charms of fire, and protection against fires. The Rowan also has the powers to protect humans and animals alike against baneful spirits. It is also used in healing of the body. Equal armed crosses of Rowan are carried for protection against harm and wands placed above doorways for luck and good fortune.
The trees were planted in churchyards to watch over the dead. Because of the five pointed star you see when you slice a berry in half, it is believed that the tree has the ability to protect against witchery, trickery and enchantment. The tree is also said to bring about more strength through courage.

Elemental Magic(k) – Fire

It’s now time to discuss Fire elemental magic(k). Fire is the element of the South (or East, depending on your tradition), Summer, the Spirit, youth, will, the masculine, activity, sexuality, transformation, courage, protection, physical strength, physical exercise, passion and growth. We work with Fire when we dealing with issues of will power, being fearful, and generally moving forward (motivation).

Herbal/Oil/Incense Associations:
Copal, Frankincense, Rose, Olibanum, Orange, Cinnamon, Calendula, Saffron, Almond, Basil, Juniper, Lime.

Stone Associations:
Pyrite, Fire Opal, Fire Garnet, Amethyst, Firestone, Fire Agate, Ruby, Obsidian, Lava, Red Jasper, Bloodstone, Carnelian, Quartz Crystals, Tiger’s Eye, Rhodochrosite.

Elemental Beings:
Salamanders: beings who excite passions, powerful emotions; help in tearing down the old and making way for the new; help in healing the body and mind; stimulate spiritual ideas and perceptions.

Animals:
Lion, Phoenix, Dragon, Lizards, Praying Mantis, Ladybug, Bee, Scorpion, Shark, Horses, Coyotes, Foxes, Snakes.

Tarot:
The Wands suite, The Emperor, The Tower, The Wheel Of Fortune.

Gods:
Hestia, Brigid, Hephaestos, Adranus, Belenos, Ayao, Belisama, Sekhmet, Ra, Loki.

Magic(k)al Workings:
Will power, creativity, healing, purification, passion, love, courage, motivation, growth, spirituality/faith.

Month of the Holly


We are now enjoying the month of the Holly, Tinne, from the 8th of July to the 4th of August. Awesomely enough, the new place we are living in has a nice Holly tree in the front yard! They are beautiful trees to say the least and hold a lot of mythological and magical history.

Latin Name:
Ilex aquifolium (English Holly)
Ilex opaca (American Holly)

Parts Used:
Bark, berries, leaves

Herbal Usages:
Holly leaves have been used in infusions as a diaphoretic (induces perspiration) for fevers. The juice of the leaves also aids in jaundice.

The berries are a very strong emetic and purgative, and therefor should not be ingested unless vomiting is needed. In which case, only a few should be taken.
The berries in powder form is also used as an astringent for swelling and to check bleeding.

Associations:
Fire; Holly King; spear; Odin; Mars; Ares; feminine; life, death and rebirth; dark half of the year.

Magic(k)al Workings:
An incredible protective wood, it is used to ward off negative energies, evil spirits, poisons, angry elementals and lightning. It is also used in dream magic(k), placing a piece of holly under your pillow is said to bring prophetic dreams. It works very well in fertility magic(k) too.

It is very useful in magic(k)s that overthrow the old to bring in the new; to bring success to a new stage of development; and when seeking for a successful business endeavour.


Month of the Oak

The Oak has always been one of my favourite trees. Just looking at pictures of one from afar gives me a sense of wonder and simple, homely countrysides. From June 10 to July 7 is the Celtic month of Duir, the Oak. Oak is the seventh moon of the Celtic calendar as well.

Latin Name:
Quercus alba (White Oak)

Parts Used:
Bark, wood, leaves, acorns

Herbal Usages:
Oak is well known for its astringent and antiseptic properties and has been used as a tonic for a long time. Bark can be made into a tea to heal hemorrhoids.
When given with chamomile flowers, it helps eases intermittent fevers.
Very useful when there are chronic diarrhea and dysentery problems, a decoction of 1 oz of Oak bark in 1 quart water, boiled down to a pint and drank in wine glass size portions will aid the bowels.
This decoction is also used externally as a gargle to help sore throats, and as a fomentation (warm or hot liquids that are applied to the body to ease pain; like a poultice). Can also be injected for leukorrhea, and applied to bleeding gums, or hemorrhoids.
Acorns can also be peeled and be used to make potions to treat alcoholism, bad breath and constipation.

Associations:
The word “Duir” comes from the Sanskrit “Dwr” which means “Door”. It is the door to the three worlds of the Shaman.
Fire; Sun;
wren, black, white carnelian; moonstone; Yule fires; Yule log; Brighid; The Dagda; Dianus; Janus; Cybele; Rhea; Pan; Erato; Hecate; Zeus; Jupiter; Thor; Perkunas; lightning; thunder; the Wild Hunt; King Arthur’s round table.

Magic(k)al Workings
As the month of Duir has the summer solstice in it, the Oak is a powerful symbol of midsummer.
Money, success, strength, fertility, stability, health, healing, potency and good luck. Different types of Oak will lend slightly different properties to magic(k)al workings. Red Oak is fiery, White Oak is for solidity and strength, Brown Oak is earthy and is used for grounding.
Acorns can be used to attract someone of the opposite sex, used for divinatory powers, and to attract prosperity and wealth.
Oak is known as the “King of the Grove”; a holy tree; the lord of truth and is one of the three  sacred trees “Oak, Ash & Thorn”. Worship of the Oak may stem from the early nomadic Europeans using acorns for food.
The acorn is seen as the representation of the supreme form of fertility and creativity of the mind; as such, they are used to increase fertility of both projects and ideas and human reproduction, and also ease pain.
Because of its ties to immortality symbolism, acorns are sacred to the Samhain season and are often used in fall decorating.
It is said that the voice of Jupiter can be heard in the rustling of the leaves. At midsummer, the future can be divined by listening to the wind in the leaves. Acorns should be planted during the Dark moon to attract prosperity.
It is a very powerful herb for protection; England is said to be protected by the Oak when using its timbers to build their ships. It is also used as a boundary for its protective qualities. Acorns placed in windows will ward off lightning and beings that would scare us at night; they will also attract luck. Acorns can be born in pockets to ward off storms, to prevent the bearer from getting lost, and protect from evil intent. They are also carried as charms for immortality, longevity, fertility, ward off illness and preserve youthfulness. Three acorns can be made into a charm to attract youthfulness, attainment, and beauty in life. This charm should be bound with the maker’s hair, and blessed at every Full and Dark moon of a year, and then worn.
A leaf worn on the neck and next to the heart will allow the wearer to not be deceived by the world at large.
A few leaves in bath water will cleanse body and spirit. If you catch a falling leaf, it is said you will not be sick for the winter. If a sick person is in your house, light a fire of Oak wood to draw out the illness.
Because the Oak is a male tree, athames,  and certain male-aspect wands and staffs should be made of its wood. The wood is also used to make religious idols.
The Waning moon is the right time to harvest Oak, during the day for Acorns, and at night for the leaves and wood. Offer wine to the Oak’s roots as thanks for allowing you to take a part of him.

Basil

I love basil. It is one of my favourite herbs to add to food, and to work with magic(k)ally. There are a ton of different kinds, and each one smells so delicious. It is quite a powerfully fragrant herb, and is also used in powerful magic(k)s in the Craft, as it can be used for exorcism.
It is believed that basil got its name from the Greek basileus “a king”, because the smell of this herb is “fit for a king’s house.”

Latin Name:
Oncimum basilicum

Parts Used:
Leaf and stem


Herbal Usages:
Basil can be used for mild nervous disorders, dried leaves used as snuff (to be inhaled through the nose), which is  said to cure nervous headaches. A drop of essential oil on your pillow (or a facecloth inside your pillowcase) will help insomnia and depression.
Works well for tired muscles, or wandering rheumatic pains. A poultice (a moist mass of bread, clay, meal or other adhesive base, combined with herbs and heated, spread on a cloth and placed on an inflamed or aching part of the body) helps to heal wounds because of its antibacterial properties.
Also said to cure warts, and is great for acne.
An infusion will help relieve gas and stomach pains, is said to stop vomiting and calm nausea. The infusion is also really good for chest infections, and bronchial troubles.
Great for repelling insects and treating bites.

Associations:
Mars; Scorpio; fire; masculine; kings; scorpions; leaving a leaf under a pot would turn into a scorpion

Magic(k)al Workings
Sprinkled in each corner of all rooms in the home, and using in bathwater will exorcise negativity. Will bring good luck to a new home.
Mending lovers’ quarrels as well as being worn to encourage two people, who may be in danger of a big blow-out, to have sympathy for one another and avoid argument.
Used in charms hung or placed in vehicles for safe travel.
Leaves are carried in wallets to attract money, and aid in financial needs. Carried in pockets when gambling for luck, and sprinkled across the doorway of a business to encourage it to flourish.
To foretell the success of a relationship, place two leaves on a charcoal. If they separate while burning, the relationship will not work out. If they lay there quietly burning, the couple will be successful in their relationship. Sprinkling basil over a lovers’ heart keeps them faithful to you.
Basil incense is used for purification before ritual; can also be burned for vision quests. Juices are also used in flying ointments.
Lastly, many potions for love, health, money and protection are made with basil.