(Hurricane) Irene Inspired, (Hurricane) Sandy Approved

Monday, October 29, 2012
     There's a hurricane a'comin'!! I'm sure most of you have heard that a crazed, uninvited guest named Sandy is currently causing quite a bit of trouble on the east coast of the United States. While sitting in the apartment, listening to the wind knock things about outside, I was reminded of another uninvited guest from last year, Irene.  I have family and friends up and down the east coast (including an aunt that lives right on the beach in Maryland and my mother lives in a flood zone) and during Hurricane Irene, I had this sudden compulsion to do a really quick protection spell.  The spell was quick because I needed it ASAP since Irene was already knocking on the proverbial door and I needed to send out protection energy right away.  I used the same protection spell today for Hurricane Sandy and I thought I should share it with you. This is something that can be done quickly and only needs a few ingredients.

Quick Candle Spell for Protection
     Items needed:
 
  • 1 white or black pillar candle (I used white but go with your preference and what you have available)
  • Basil (herb)
  • Rosemary (herb)
  • Cinnamon (powder)
  • Cyrpress (oil)
  • A fire proof dish for candle burning
  • Protection symbol (carved onto the candle)

I use this symbol for protection. It's a variation of the protection rune and it was introduced to me by
my candle magick teacher. Use this symbol for protection or any other symbol that means protection to you.
 
 
     Carve the symbol into the candle. Also, don't forget to carve 'please' at the top of the candle and 'thank you' at the bottom.  Once the candle is carved, dress (rub) the candle with cypress oil. Next, rub the herbs onto the candle and place some of the herbs at the bottom of the dish that the candle will burn in. While working with each herb, charge the herb for protection by saying, "Basil, I charge you with the powers of protection. Protection for myself and others." (repeat this with each herb)
 
     Now that the candle is carved and the herbs are charged, place the candle in the center of the dish. Take a few minutes to raise your personal power. Visualize everyone you love and care for as safe and protected.  Take a few deep breaths and light the candle. Hold your power/dominant hand over the candle and say the spell:
 
No harm will come
To my family and friends
All will stay safe and well
Until the danger ends. (repeat 9x)
So Mote It Be
 
     Let the candle burn while the storm rages outside (or during whatever danger you need protection from). If you must put the candle out snuff it out, don't blow it out.  Spells can and must be changed to suit each individuals' need.  Don't have the herbs listed above?? Feel like the spell needs re-wording?? Does a different protection symbol resonate strongly with you?? Change things up, make substituions and work with what you have.  This spell has worked for me in the past and hopefully it can do the same for you. Be safe, be well and watch out for Sandy!
 
 
My quick protection candle burning bright during the storm.
 
 
Bright Blessings,
Amethyst

Dust The Cobwebs Off Your Dancing Shoes...

Sunday, October 14, 2012
....because Samhain is almost here and it's time for the Witches Ball!!

 
Nothing to do on Samhain?? Looking for some witches to cackle with? Well, if your in the NYC area, put on your pointy hat and come to the 8th Annual Witches Ball!  The party starts at 9pm and will be a night filled with performers, tarot readers, a drum circle and a midnight Samhain ritual. This year, the proceeds from the ball are going to the fight against breast cancer.

When: Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Location: Club Drom, 85 Ave. A (between 5th & 6th streets)
Time: 9pm - 3am
Price: $15 ahead of time and $20 at the door (MUST BE 21 TO ENTER)
For more information contact: wiccanfamilytemple@hotmail.com or visit wiccanfamilytemple.com


No matter how you celebrate, have fun, be safe and ride your brooms proud!!!

We'll see you there! Bright Blessings,
~Amethyst~

Stone Of The Month ~ October 2012

Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Stone of the Month for October 2012 ~ Bloodstone
     The month of October belongs to Bloodstone in this edition of SOTM.  Bloodstone is sometimes referred to as Heliotrope (Greek) and is one of the many varieties of chalcedony quartz (chalcedony - A microcrystalline type of quartz occurring in several different forms, including onyx, agate, and jasper. -dictionary.com)  Bloodstone is dark green in color and gets its name from the specks of red (and sometimes orange) jasper inclusions.  As a member of the quartz family, Bloodstone is hard and a good stone for carving. The stone is generally considered a masculine stone and is a powerful protection talisman. 


Medieval Bloodstone carvings
     Bloodstone is believed to have deep mystical powers. This stone can banish negativity and evil, guard the wearer from evil spirits, and redirect spiritual energies.  Bloodstone was considered an "audible oracle" in ancient times, providing the bearer with sounds as a means of guidance.(2)  Use Bloodstone to reenergize yourself, enhance creativity and intuition, and stimulate dreams.  If your looking for a boost of courage (headed into battle anytime soon?) or trying to be more selfless, give Bloodstone a try. The stone will also help you recognize a dangerous situation and make a safe exit.  Suddenly taken out of your comfort zone? Bloodstone can help you adjust to new surroundings. It calms the mind, promotes clear thinking and alleviates confusion.  
     Bloodstone is also great for healing the body and grounding energy.  Wear Bloodstone to refresh and strengthen the body and cleanse the blood. Belief in yourself and commitment to personal spiritual growth are encouraged with Bloodstone.  Use it to increase the spirituality of your everyday life.  This stone helps ground emotional/heart energies and decreases impatience and aggressiveness. 
     Using Bloodstone for healing has been practiced since the ancient Egyptians used the stone to shrink tumors.  It supports the blood, removes toxins and can be helpful in cases of leukemia.  Bloodstone also helps circulation, supports healthy blood flow and detoxifies the kidneys, spleen, liver and intestines.  Wear or carry a Bloodstone with you to give your health a boost. 
     Cleansing of the lower chakras gets a boost from Bloodstone.  By bringing action and the heart into balance, Bloodstone helps when you are at the start of a new endevor. Green, the dominant color of the stone, is linked to the heart chakra and love.  Red, the specks within the stone, is related to the base chakra and vitality, phsyical strength and the ability to create things in the world.  "Legends such as the tale of Percival, one of King Arthur's knights who went on the quest for the Holy Grail, illustrates the combined qualities of bloodstone. Percival was a knight trained in the physical aspects of combat, but his quest took him into the spiritual realms, teaching him lessons about illusion and the power of unconditional love." (1)
Interesting Tidbit:
1)In medieval times the specks of red jasper were believed to be the blood of Christ. The blood fell from him as he was crucified, seeping into the ground and bonding with the stone. These medieval christians often carved crucification scenes into Bloodstone and it also referred to as the martyrs stone.
2)Place Bloodstone in a clean bowl of water next to your bed before you go to sleep. This will help you have more peaceful sleep and active yet peaceful dreams.

      Bloodstone is a powerful stone with mystically energy that can even be felt by those that are inexperienced with crystals.  Use it to quell irritability and straighten out a confused mind.  Sometimes called the warrior stone, wear it when you know there is a battle ahead or the road before you looks rough.  It will help you become acclamated to new circumstances when you're taken out of your comfort zone. Place it in a bowl of water by your bed to help you sleep and use it to ground flailing heart energy.  Chakra meditation with Bloodstone will help balance the lower chakras especially the heart and base chakras.  Visiting a cemetary, going on a ghost hunt or visiting any location thick with spirits and energies? Wear or carry a Bloodstone to keep any spirits from hitching a ride home with you.  I gave a few points about Bloodstone but there is more information out there so do some research on your own.


Bright Blessings,
~Amethyst~

Source: 1) Crystals by: Jennie Harding
2) The Crystal Bible by: Judy Hall 

Herb of the Month ~ September/October 2012

Herb of the Month for September/October 2012 ~ Apple
     Hello and Happy Fall!!!  My favorite time of year has finally arrived and I couldn't be more excited! Fall has been my favorite time of year since I was a little girl so I thought for this HOTM post I'd do something a little different.  Let's talk about apples.  Beginning in mid-September, signs of the changing season are everywhere. The shortening of days is becoming more noticeable, temperatures begin to drop, leaves are changing, and suddenly people have the urge to go apple picking.  In fact, many families, groups of friends, covens, etc., go on apple picking trips every year during September and October. Why? The apple has been intertwined with human history for centuries. An apple struck Newton in the head, cluing him in on gravity.  Teachers, the givers of knowledge and wisdom, are given apples on the first day of school. Apple pie is a cultural icon in the United States, evidenced in the phrase: as American as apple pie.  This fruit has the ability to repel doctors and has been used by one of the most evil fairy tale characters in history as her weapon of choice.  It's no wonder people are so enamored with apples; they're everywhere and have been for quite some time.
     The apple has quite a few folk names, including The Silver Bough, Tree of Love, Fruit of the Gods and Fruit of the Underworld.  The ruling element of apples is water, its gender is feminine, and the ruling planet is Venus.  Apples have been associated with a number of deities over the years.  Venus, Freya, Zeus  Diana, Athena, Pomona, Hera and Dionysus are just some of the deities that have been linked with the apple.  Magickal powers of the apple are abundant, but the most prominent are healing, love, wisdom and immortality. 



Cut an apple across its width (horizontally) and you'll find a pentagram inside.
 
     Apples are one of the most common fruits throughout the United States and Europe.  They grow almost anywhere and come in a wide variety.  Apples have grown wild in Europe for centuries and have a long history there.  Raise your hand if you've heard the tales of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.  If you're currently waving your hand in the air like you just don't care, then chances are you've also heard of Avalon.  Avalon is a sacred place mentioned in the Arthurian stories.  Located on the Isle of Avalon are women living and being trained as Priestesses of the Goddess.  Ancient wisdom was cultivated there and magicks and healing was taught all during a time when Christianity was violently sweeping through Europe.  Avalon is an ancient Welch word that translates to "apple".  Therefore, The Isle of Avalon is also The Isle of Apples.  

Because of the probable location of the garden the fruit on the vine was most likely a pomegranite... just sayin'.

         Apples have also received a shout out in the bible... sort of.  In the book of Genesis in the old testament Adam was told not to eat of the tree of knowledge. God said, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die." -Genesis 2:16-17  This statement begs soooo many questions. If you don't want Adam to eat from the tree of knowledge, why did you make the tree in first place? Gaining knowledge is a good thing right? So why not have a bite of that fruit and elevate your I.Q.. Clearly Eve just wanted to advance her education, so she ate the fruit. Have women been looked down upon all these years simply because Eve wanted a higher education? OK, I digress, back to the apple.  Did you notice what was omitted from the quote above? The apple is never mentioned! Fruit from the tree of knowledge is referred to as fruit in the bible, not an apple.  Many scholars believe that early Christians turned 'fruit' into 'apple' which has been popularized over the years via depictions of the fall of Adam and Eve, fairy tales, and movies. Associating the apple with evil was no accident either.  Early Christians recognized that the apple/fruit is associated with the Goddess (wheat and grains represent the God) and it became the forbidden fruit during a time when women were losing their power left, right and center.





     Have apples gone the way of broomsticks, black cats, and pointy hats? Is the apple yet another symbol/tool of  the witch, healer and wisdom seeker that has been transformed into something negative, evil and scary?  Picking a few apples and making a pie is acceptable but one step beyond that and we're in forbidden fruit territory.  Apples have loving and healing energies/properties (we'll get to that in a hot second). In this witch's humble opinion, the apple was transformed into an evil tool of the witch by those that misunderstood witches, healers and the nature of magick.  Instead of being a tool of healing and wisdom it became an evil, poisonous tool used by the equally evil witch wielding dark powers.  Whether good or bad, the apple has been associated with witches and healers for centuries. Now let's talk about the good.


What's Love Got To Do With It?
     Apples carry quite a bit of energy and have a long history with love spells.  Use the blossoms from an apple tree in love incense, potions and sachets. Rub apple blossom oil on red or pink candles to attract love. Find a nice apple (one with no bruises, etc.) and leave it under a tree as an offering to Venus and ask for love. Trying to make sure your lover is faithful and that you will be happy together? Offer to share an apple with your love, you eat half and give them the other half.  Want to know if your feelings for someone will be reciprocated? Hold an apple in your power hand (the power hand is your dominant hand, usually the hand you write with) until it's nice and warm. Then, give the apple to the person your interested in. If they eat the apple then your feelings will be returned.  Use red apples for love, green apples for money and golden apples for fame.

     Apples can also be used as a divination tool.  "...love divinations, which were so popular among unmarried women in Europe for many centuries. Simply cut an apple in two and count the number of seeds. If they are even, marriage will soon occur. If one of the seeds is cut it may be a stormy relationship. If two are cut, widowhood is foretold. However, if an uneven number of seeds are found the woman will remain unmarried in the near future." (1) Another fun love divination using the apple focuses on the stem. Twist the stem of an apple and with each twist of the stem call out a letter of the alphabet (go in order beginning with the letter A).  The letter you call out as the stem breaks is the initial of the first name of the person you are meant to fall in love with.

An Apple A Day Keeps The Doctor Away.... Seriously, It Does 
      Maybe our need to go apple picking every fall is because of some latent folk memory we're all walking around with. We know that winter is approaching because the leaves are changing and the temperature is dropping. The final harvest is just around the corner and we need to stock up on food for the winter. Apples can be stored whole for winter (if picked when ripe and kept at a temperture of 32-35 degrees) and canned  as preserves.
 
     The apple has also be relied on over the years for its healing abilities.  Apples are easily digested which makes them a great baby food option.  The natural acids in an apple help neutralize the acids produced during indigestion   Apples are high in fiber (especially granny smith apples) and stewed apples create a gentle but effective laxative. To rid yourself of constipation and help you sleep eat an apple at bedtime. Eating an apple will also help keep teeth clean and your breath fresh.  Eat an apple to ward off a fever and lower your cholesterol   Have an apple if your blood sugar is low and crushed apple leaves placed on a fresh wound help fight infection. "For all feverish conditions; slice an apple and place in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then simmer till the apple is soft. Strain and chill. Serve cold." (3)

Interesting Tidbits:
1) Centuries ago, in some parts of Britain, people sang to their apple orchards on Christmas Eve. This practice was to ensure a bountiful harvest in the coming year.  Entire families would go out to the orchard, place cakes in the trees branches and pour cider on the roots.  Then they would drink to the trees health and sing songs. 
2) Apples are considered to be a food of the dead and are popular altar decorations during Samhain. Because of this, Samhain is sometimes referred to as the "Feast of Apples".
3) In some traditions the apple represents the soul. During Samhain the apple is buried so that those that will be reborn in the spring will have food during the winter.
4) Apple Cider poured onto fresh dirt will bring new life to your garden. Do this right before you begin planting.
5) Wood from the apple tree makes amazing wands.
6) Some traditions believe that eating apples give you immortality and wisdom.
7) Apples are healthy and wonderful but the seeds, if consumed in large quantities, are poisonous!! Especially for small children and pregnant women. When you eat an apple avoid the seeds and remove the seeds when cooking with apples. ***


Fun With Apples

     I love a nice caramel or candied apple in the fall. There's nothing like a granny smith apple dipped in caramel! I do have to confess that I don't like making them, I'm more interested in the finished product.  If you feel like making some candied apples for your next get together this fall (send some to me) here's a simple recipe for home made caramel apples. This recipe comes from tastykitchen.com (direct link posted below).



Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Difficulty: Easy

   Ingredients
  • 12 whole Apples
  • ¼ cups Butter
  • 1 cup White Syrup
  • 14 ounces, fluid Eagle Brand Condensed Milk
  • 2 cups White Granulated Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

  • Preparation Instructions

    Assemble all ingredients: wash and dry apples, insert sticks, and butter a cookie sheet and dinner plate before starting to cook.
    Heat all ingredients except vanilla in a heavy 2-quart saucepan over medium/low heat. Stir constantly! (Unless you really like the look of scorched bits on your apples.)
    When caramel reaches soft ball stage (235°F–240°F) remove from heat and add vanilla. Let cool a few minutes.
    Using the stick inserted in the apples, dunk apples in the hot caramel and twirl slowly away from the heat for a couple of minutes. It’s nice to have a helper or two at this point.
    Place caramel-covered apples on a buttered cookie sheet.
    Optional: drizzle with melted chocolate or roll in chopped nuts.

    Extra caramel from the bottom of the pan:
    1. Can be scraped out with a spatula into a buttered plate or dish to be cut into individual pieces when cool.
    2. Can be thinned in the pan with half-and-half and eaten warm, as a dip for apple wedges.


    For caramel apples that are a little witchier, try decorating the apples' stick.  I may have to change my policy on making caramel apples because these are so cute!



    Seen on Pinterest.com

    Seen on Pinterest.com

         The next apple idea looks so fun and I can't wait to try my hand at this one.  I saw this on pinterest.com and was able to find the recipe online at gimmesomeoven.com (direct link below). 


    Apple Cidar Cups



    

    Ingredients
    • large apples
    • lemon juice
    • apple cider, either homemade or store-bought
    • optional: cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, allspice and/or star anise for garnish

    Method

    On a cutting board or sturdy surface, use a knife to cut off the top of the apple. Then take a paring knife and carefully outline where you’d like the “rim” of your apple cup to be. (My rims were about 1/4″ wide.) Use a spoon to carefully begin scooping out the center of your apple until you have a nice “cup”. (A melon baller also works well for this.)

    Also, if your apple doesn't sit exactly level, take your paring knife and just slice off a few millimeters to even off the bottom to make it even. Just be careful not to let your knife cut through the bottom or sides of the apple when hollowing it out, or the cider will leak out!

    Once you have the inside of the apples hollowed out, brush a little lemon juice over the inside of the apples (to prevent browning). Then fill with your favorite apple cider, garnish with cinnamon or spices if you’d like, and serve!

    You could also warm the apple cups in the oven before serving. I just wouldn't leave them in too long, or they will lose their firmness.
     
     
        The apple, it's more than a piece of fruit.  Bearer of wisdom and knowledge, cut an apple horizontally to find a pentagram inside.  It was most likely not the fruit Adam and Eve ate without permission and has been wrongfully associated with evil doers and scary witches.  Try the apple divination to figure out your love life and make sure you eat an apple to keep the doctors at bay (eat the apple, don't throw it at the doctor).  Rub the oil onto a red or pink candle to draw in love and make a powerful wand from the apple tree. Don't forget the seeds can be poisonous, especially for small children and pregnant women. Have fun picking apples this season! What's your favorite apple? I'm a granny smith girl. All this talk of apples, I need a cup of hot apple cider stat!
     
    Bright Blessings,
    ~Amethyst~


    ***I am not a doctor and I don't play one on TV. Do your research before you consume any herbs via potions etc.






    Sources:
    1)Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by: Scott Cunningham
    2)The Encyclopedia of Magickal Ingredients by: Lexa Rosean
    3)witchipedia.com
    5)Apple cidar cups recipe ~ http://gimmesomeoven.com/apple-cider-cups/




    

    Lewnah's Spiritual Journey (Part 5)

    Tuesday, October 9, 2012
    Sun Damage, Drum Circles, and the Spirit of the Muppets

          I thought I had the perfect plan all mapped out. Chi-Gong class here, hippie circle there, I become one with my mythical octopus and BOOM! I become a spiritual being loaded with content with my life and acceptance……….


                                   

    Then it hit 116 degrees in “The Valley of the Sun.” Here in Phoenix during the months of July and August, the sun takes on an evil and ruthless life of its own. All windows here are blacked out and 90% of the residents are locked deep in their homes with no natural sunlight and the is AC on 24/7. Now if that’s not enough, tonsillitis struck me with a fever. Yup 102 degree fever in 116 degree weather “I will kill you!” Even everyone at my job was surly and miserable. 



                                      

    Soon I found myself in full Al Bundy position on the couch trying not to snap at my husband since it felt like we were two caged rats. Finally after what felt like an eternity the sun slowly began to back off and I jumped at the chance to get back out.


                                    


    My first stop: a drum circle. Here in Phoenix drum circles are plentiful. There are drum circles for everything from world peace to community fundraisers. My cousin here had invited me out to his drum circle so I packed my husband’s drum, he got as a gift at a street fair in Brooklyn, and headed out. Of course my husband had locked the keys in the car so by the time we arrived, three hot and somewhat tired drummers were all that were there. Besides my cousin, the other two drummers were both in their late 50’s, it looked, and age had painted stories on both of their faces. At 9:45 at night it was still 95 degrees but that somehow now felt manageable to me. The drum circle was located on the promenade at the Tempe town river, surrounded by the Tempe city lights.





    I apologized for our late arrival and asked them if they wished to call it a night but they all smiled and eagerly welcomed me. Sitting there, with my cousin’s djembe drum and my shoes off, I jumped right in hands first. The djembe resonates like a loud, deep heartbeat. Each time I hit it my whole body shook. Now I am no drummer but man did I enjoy hitting that drum and making it sing.  I was certain the other seasoned drummers would grow tired of me but they were so excited to see my genuine satisfaction each time I beat that drum. I began to feel hypnotized by the other drummers and low and behold I was jamming. Slowly people began to stop to watch us as I let that drum have it. 





    Soon I began to visualize rays of energy shooting up into the sky every time I hit it. I would put my head down low to the djembe, hit it open palm, full force and look up into the sky as I felt the energy vibrate up from the belly of the drum, up through my thighs and all the way up into the stars. Each time I imagined that energy soaring up into the sky and eventually coming back down to land as a little gift to all the people I cared about. It was such a moving feeling. I had also caught myself embodying the spirit of one of my favorite drummers, Animal from the Muppets. Every time his image popped into my head an instant wild smile filled my face and I would beat the drum even harder. 





    By the time I realized it a whole two hours had passed. Even my husband had found his inner scat man abilities with both his hands red and swollen. Hot and sweaty, all five of us couldn’t believe how much fun we had jamming. We all thanked each other for sharing a precious moment in time and we all parted ways back to our AC filled homes.
               Thank you drums for breaking me out of my funk. My next step….energy meditation.


    Peace, Love, and Adventure


    Lewnah