Notes and Blog

We will use this 'Notes and Blog' area keep the community and our members up to date on the happenings and discussions of The Pittsburgh Black Hat Society Network at our General Meetings, Event Details, Organizer Bios, Words from the organizers, Speaker/Performer Information and Bios, Past Newsletters, and General Disccusion Boards will also be included in this area.

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February / Lupercalia

Posted on January 28, 2017 at 3:50 PM Comments comments (7)

 

 


Lupercalia

She-Wolf

Lupercalia is a Roman ritual of purification and fertility dating from such an ancient time that even the Romans of the first century BCE had forgotten its origin and to which Gods it was dedicated and even the meaning of some of its symbolism. (Contrary to Z Budapest’s statements, it was not known whether it was to Faunus and in fact I think it may have been sacred to the more ancient founding Goddess, Rumina, the She-Wolf of Rome.) Central to the ritual is the lustration (light flogging) with a goat skin scourge (see, Gardner didn’t invent it). This was often accompanied by much rowdiness and horse-play. The purpose was the purification of the people from curses, bad luck and infertility. The ritual is performed on February 15. The name of the month comes from the februa, anything used in purifying including wool (used for cleaning), brooms, pine boughs (which make the air sweet and pure), etc.

The rite began in the cave of the She-Wolf in the city of Rome where legend had it that the founders of the city, Romulus and Remus, had been suckled by the wolf before they were found by a shepherd. The sacred fig tree grew in front of the cave. Vestals brought to the site of the sacrifice the sacred cakes made from the first ears of the last years grain harvest. Two naked young men presided over the sacrifice of a dog and a goat. With the bloody knife, their foreheads were smeared with blood, then wiped clean with wool dipped in milk. The young men laughed and girded themselves in the skin of the sacrificed goat. Much feasting followed. Finally, using strips of the goat skin, the young men ran, each leading a group of priests, around the base of the hills of Rome, around the ancient sacred boundary of the old city called the pomarium. During this run, the women of the city would vie for the opportunity to be scourged by the young men as they ran by, some baring their flesh to get the best results of the fertility blessing (you can see why the Christian church tried so hard to get this ritual banned, but it was so popular that it continued for quite some time under the new regime.)

Except for the intrusion of foreign cults, this was the only Roman ritual where a goat was sacrificed. Dogs were only offered to Robigus (a guardian associated with crops), the Lares Praestites (the guardians of community), and Mana Genata (ancestral guardians).

Because of the cave, the fig tree, the milk, and such, I suspect the very oldest forms of this rite honored a Goddess. Unlike some of the other Roman rites like the October Horse sacrifice, there is no other Indo-European equivalent in Vedic, Scandinavian, Irish, or Indo-Iranian traditions.


MAGICAL HERBAL DIRECTORY

Posted on July 10, 2016 at 8:30 PM Comments comments (0)

MAGICAL HERBAL DIRECTORY


 

MAGICAL HERBAL DIRECTORY ALFALFA- prosperity, attraction of money, burn or place in the kitchen

 

ANGELICA- Protection, Healing, inreases life energy bringing warmth of Fire element, Exorcism

 

 

ANISE, STAR PODS- Protection, Purification, Winter Solstice

 

 

ASTRAGALUS- Fortification, Strength

 

 

BAY- Healing, Protection, Psychic Powers, Strength

 

 

BLACKBERRY LEAF- Healing, Money, Protection

 

 

BLACK COHOSH ROOT- Courage, Love, Potency, Protection

 

 

BLADDERWRACK- This sea governed plant makes a wonderful water or sea ritual herb, Money, Protection, Psychic Clarity, Wind Rituals

 

 

BLESSED THISTLE- Abundance, Flow

 

 

BLUE COHOSH ROOT- Courage, Balance, Protection

 

 

BURDOCK ROOT- Healing, Protection, Clears space & holds the space safe, spirit of North

 

 

CALENDULA- Opening to the 3rd Chakra, helps energy move outward from center of body extending in all directions

 

 

CATNIP- Beauty, Happiness, Love

 

 

CHAMOMILE- Love, Money, Sleep, Purification, Child's Annointing

 

 

CHAPPARAL- Fire element rituals, Protection, Spirit of South

 

 

CEDAR LEAF TIPS- Healing, Protection, Purification of body, aura field, & space

 

 

CELANDINE- Escape, Happiness, Legal Matters, Protection

 

 

CHASTE TREE BERRIESCHICORY ROOT, ROASTED- To inspire Frugality, Invisibility, Removing Obstacles, Favors-annoint body to obtain

 

 

CLOVES- Exorcism, Love, Money, Protection

 

 

CINNAMON, GROUND- Healing, Love, Personal Empowerment, Protection, Spirituality, Success

 

 

COMFREY LEAF- Money, Safe Journeys (Worldly or through Meditation)

 

 

COMFREY ROOT- Money, Safe Journeys (Worldy or through Meditation), Winter Solstice

 

 

COPAL RESIN- Love, Purification, Earth Element, Sets Sacred Space,Allows Guides and Guidance to come in

 

 

CORNSILK- Water Element, Stimulates Flow

 

 

DAMIANA- Love, Visions, Opens Door Between Worlds

 

 

DANDELION LEAF- Calling Spirits, Divination, Wishes

 

 

DANDELION ROOT- Calling Spirits, Divination, Wishes

 

 

DONG QUAI, SLICES- Health, Vitality, Fire Element Rituals

 

 

DRAGON'S BLOOD RESIN- Exorcism, Love, Protection,Stimulates action of other herbs in incense blend,Stimulates movement of energy

 

 

ECHINACEA- Strength Wards off negativity or undesireable energies

 

 

ELDER BERRIES- Ancient Wisdom, Contact with Elementals, Healing, Invoke Majic, Protection

 

 

EUCALYPTUS LEAF- Healing, Air Element Rituals, Protection

 

 

EYEBRIGHT- Mental Ability & Clarity, Psychic Ability, Visions

 

 

False Unicorn Root- Connection to Majical Realm, Contains Energy & Intention

 

 

FENNEL SEED- Healing, Protection, Purification, Stimulates Movement

 

 

FENUGREEK- Clearing, Money

 

 

FLAX SEED- Beauty, Healing, Initiates Flow, Money, Psychic Openness

 

 

FRANKINCENSE TEAR RESIN- Consecration, Exorcism, Protection, Purification, Sets Sacred Space, Sets Safe Space for Guides to come in,Spirit of East or North Geranium- Abundance, Fertility, Health, Love, Protection

 

 

GINGER ROOT POWDER- Fire Element Rituals, Brings into Existance, Bringer of the Manifestation, Love, Money, 3rd Chakra Vitality,Inner Strength, Success, Stimulates flow of Energy, Spirit of South

 

 

GINSENG, SIBERIAN- Encourages a long lasting affect, Health, Strength

 

 

HAWTHORNE BERRIES- Fertility, 4th Chakra Strength & Vitality, Love, Contentment

 

 

HIBISCUS FLOWERS, WHOLE- Divination, Love, 5th Chakra

 

 

HOPS- Sleep, Opens the Channel In & Out of the body inrelationship with the Universe

 

 

HOREHOUND- Exorcism, Mental Ability, Protection, Opens Air Element within body & in the world, Opens Channel for Clear Communication

 

 

IRISH MOSS FLAKES- Luck, Opens Throat, Opens Channel for Clear Communication

 

 

JUNIPER BERRIES- Exorcism, Health, Protection, Sets Sacred Space, Spirit of North

 

 

KAVA KAVA ROOT- Luck, Visions, Opens one to receiving guidence and guides,Protection

 

 

KELP GRANULES- Connection to Divine Source through the Physical & Spiritual, Unity, Life-Force Strengthening Spirit of Center

 

 

Lady's Mantle- Love, Self ControlLAVENDER FLOWERS- Happiness, Love, Sleep, Purification, Peace

 

 

LEMON PEEL- Friendship, Love, Purification

 

 

LEMON VERBENA- Love, Happiness, Purification, Peace, Mental & Emotional Balance, Summer Solstice

 

 

LICORICE ROOT- Fidelity, Love, Meditation, Harmony

 

 

MANDRAKE ROOT- Protection, Protection in the Subconscious, Unconscious, & Underworld, Fertility, Money, Health, Love

 

 

MARSHMALLOW ROOT- Boundaries, Love, Protection, Strength, Emotional Balance

 

 

MEADOWSWEET- Divination, Harmony, Peace, Love, 3rd Chakra

 

 

MILK THISTLE- Creativity, Protection, Dispell, Transformation

 

 

MOTHERWORT- Balances Within, Self Empowerment, 2nd Chakra

 

 

MUGWORT- Purification, Clearing, Sleep, Visions, Opens one to the teachings of the Subconscious & Unconscious Self, Dream Clarity & Rememberance, 6th & 7th Chakras

 

 

MULLEIN LEAF- Courage, Health, Opens Life Energy flow through the body

 

 

MYRRH GUM POWDER & RESIN TEARS- Protection, Purification,Sets Sacred Space, Ancient Wisdom

 

 

NETTLES- Exorcism, Healing, Protection, Abundance,3rd & 6th ChakraPAU D\\'ARCO- Fertility, Wards off Negativity, Clears

 

 

PEPPERMINT- Love, Psychic Ability, Healing, Clears Energy & Space

 

 

RASBERRY LEAF- Love, Protection, Spirit of Center, Spring Equinox

 

 

RED CLOVER BLOSSEMS- Abundance, Love, Money, Protection, Success, Summer Solstice

 

 

RED ROOT- Clears Energy, Dispells

 

 

ROSEBUDS- Abundance, Attraction, Healing, Love, Luck, Prosperity

 

 

ROSEHIPS- Abundance, Strength, Fall Equinox Ceremony

 

 

ROSEMARY- Exorcism, Mental Clarity, Psychic Ability, Healing, Spirit of South, Purification

 

 

SAGE, GARDEN- Clears, Healing, Immortality, Inner Guide, Longevity, Protection, Purication, Vision, Wisdom

 

 

SAGE, WHITE- Clears, Healing, Immortality, Inner Guide, Longesvity, Protection, Purification, Vision, Wisdom

 

 

SARSPARILLA- Inner Strength, Grounding, PurificationSPEARMINT- Clarity, Love, Mental Ability

 

 

SWEETGRASS- Bringer of Positive Energy, Clears, Seals In,burned after White Sage which clears, the sweetgrass isthe Bringer, Spirit of East

 

 

TURMERIC- Purification( used with sea salt), Fortification, Strength, Clears AggressionUVA URSI- Boundaries, Clears blockages, Psychic Workings

 

 

VALERIAN ROOT- Protection, Self Esteem, Sleep

 

 

WHITE WILLOW- Sacred Earth Connection between human & Earth & Spirit, Healing, Protection, Spirit of East

 

 

WILD LETTUCE- Love Divination, Protection, Sleep, Opens to the deeper consciousness, Attunes to Deeper Meanings

 

 

WILD YAM- Fortification, Grounding, Release, 1st Chakra

 

 

WINTERGREEN- Hex-Breaking, Protection, Good Fortune, Opens Channels

 

 

WITCH HAZEL- Healing, Protection

 

 

WORMWOOD- Calling Spirits, Psychic Ability, Protection

 

 

YARROW- Spirit of South, Courage, Clears, Stimulates Movement

 

 

YELLOWDOCK ROOT- Clears stuck energy, Fortification

 

 

YERBA SANTA- Clears Channel to Divine Life Force, Healing, Protection, Psychic Ability

 

 

If you know of one we missed or have one you like to add, let us know...

A To Z Of Spices

Posted on July 10, 2016 at 8:25 PM Comments comments (0)

A To Z Of Spices


 

ALLSPICE: These small dark, reddish-brown berries are so called because their aroma and flavor resemble a combination of cinnamon,cloves and nutmeg. Use berries whole in marinades; for boiling andpot roasting meatsand poultry; in fish dishes, pickles and chutneys. Also available ground and excellent for flavoring soups, sauces anddesserts.

 

 

ANISE: Commonly called asniseed, these small, brown oval seeds havethe sweet, pungent flavor of licorice. Also available ground. Useseeds in stews and vegetable dishes, or sprinkle over loaves and rollsbefore baking. Try ground anise for flavoring fish dishes and pastriesfor fruit pies.

 

 

CARAWAY: Small brown, crescent-shaped seeds with a strong liquoriceflavor and especially delicious as a flavoring in braised cabbage andsauerkraut recipes, breads (particularly rye), cakes and cheeses.

 

 

CARDAMOM: Small, triangular-shaped pods containing numerous smallblack seeds which have a warm, highly aeromatic flavor. You can buygreen or black cardamoms although the smaller green type is morewidelyavailable.

 

 

CAYENNE: Orangey-red in color, this ground pepper is extremely hot andpungent. Not to be confused with paprika which, although related, ismild flavored.

 

 

CHILI POWDER: Made from dried red chilies. This red powder varies inflavor and hotness, from mild to hot. A less fiery type is found inchili seasoning.

 

 

CINNAMON & CASSIA: Shavings of bark from the cinnamon tree areprocessed and curled to form cinnamon sticks. Also available inground form.Spicy, fragrant and sweet, it is used widely in savory and sweetdishes.Cassia(from the dried bark of the cassia tree) is similar to cinnamon,but less delicate in flavor with a slight pungent 'bite'.

 

 

CLOVES: These dried, unopened flower buds give a warm aroma andpungency to foods, but should be used with care as the flavor canbecome overpowering. Available in ground form. Cloves are added tosoups, sauces,mulled drinks,stewed fruits and apple pies.

 

 

CORIANDER: Available in seed and ground form. These tiny, pale brownseeds have a mild, spicy flavor with a slight orange peel fragrance.An essential spice in curry dishes, but also extremely good in manycake and cookie recipes.

 

 

CUMIN: Sold in seed or ground. Cumin has a warm, pungent aromaticflavor and is used extensively in flavor curries and many MiddleEastern and Mexican dishes. Popular in Germany for flavoringsauerkraut and pork dishes. Use ground or whole in meat dishes andstuffed vegetables.

 

 

FENUGREEK: These small, yellow-brown seeds have a slight bitter flavorwhich, when added in small quantities, is very good in curries,chutneys and pickles, soups, fish and shellfish dishes.

 

 

GINGER: Available in many forms. Invaluable for adding to many savoryand sweet dishes and for baking gingerbread and brandy snaps. Freshginger root looks like a knobby stem. It should be peeled and finelychopped or sliced before use. Dreid ginger root is very hard andlight beige in color. To release flavor, 'bruise' with a spoon or soak in hot water before using. This dried type is more often used inpickling, jam making and preserving. Also available in ground form,preserved stem ginger and crystallized ginger.

 

 

MACE & NUTMEG: Both are found on the same plant. The nutmeg is theinner kernel of the fruit. When ripe, the fruit splits open to revealbright red arils which lie around the shell of the nutmeg - and oncedried are known as mace blades. The flavor of both spices is verysimilar -warm, sweet and aromatic, although nutmeg is more delicatethan mace.Both spices are also sold ground. Use with vegetables; sprinkled overegg dishes, milk puddings and custards; eggnogs and mulled drinks; oruse as a flavoring in desserts.

 

 

PAPRIKA: Comes from a variety of pepper (capsicum) and althoughsimilar in color to cayenne, this bright red powder has a mild flavor.

 

 

PEPPER: White pepper comes from ripened berries with the outer husks removed. Black pepper comes from unripened berries dried until darkgreenish-black in color. Black pepper is more subtle than white. Usewhite or black peppercorns in marinades and pickling, or freshly ground as a seasoning. Both are available ground. Green peppercorns are also unripe berries with a mild, light flavor. They are canned inbrine or pickled, or freeze-dried in jars. They add a pleasant, light peppery flavor to sauces, pates and salad dressings. Drain thosepacked in liquid and use either whole or mash them lightly beforeusing. Dry green peppercorns should be lightly crushed before using to help release flavor,unless otherwise stated in a recipe.

 

 

POPPY SEEDS: These tiny, slate-blue seeds add a nutty flavor to bothsweet and savory dishes. Sprinkle over desserts and breads.

 

 

SAFFRON: This pice comes from the stigmas of a species of crocus. It has a distinctive flavor and gives a rich yellow coloring to dishes,however, it is also the most expensive spice to buy. Available insmall packets or jars(either powdered or in strands - the strands being far superior in flavor). This spice is a must for an authentic paella or Cornish Saffron Cake. Also an extremely good flavoring for soups, fish and chicken dishes.

 

 

SESAME SEEDS: High in protein and mineral oil content, sesame seedshave a crisp texture and sweet, nutty flavor which combines well incurries and with chicken,pork and fish dishes. Use also to sprinkleover breads,cookies and pastries before baking.

 

 

STAR ANISE: This dried, star-shaped seed head has a pungent, aromatic smell, rather similar to fennel. Use very sparingly in stir-frydishes.Also good with fish and poultry.

 

 

TURMERIC: Closely related to ginger, it is an aromatic root which isdried and ground to produce a bright, orange-yellow powder. It has arich, warm, distinctive smell, a delicate, aromatic flavor and helpsgive dishes an attractive yellow coloring. Use in curries, fish andshellfish dishes, rice pilafs and lentil mixtures. It is also anecessary ingredient in mustard pickles and piccalilli.

 

 

All spices should be stored in small airtight jars in a cool, darkplace, as heat, moisture and sunlight reduce their flavor.

 

 

If we did not mention your favorite spice let us know we will add it to the list...


Goats Rue Herb

Posted on July 10, 2016 at 8:15 PM Comments comments (1)

Goat’s Rue Herb


 

 

 

 

Goat’s Rue Herb Profile Also known as Galega officinalis, Garden Rue, Devil's Shoestring, Virginia Pea, Cat Gut, French Lilac, French Honeysuckle, Italian Fitch, Pestilenzkraut. Introduction Goat's rue is a wild legume used during the Middle Ages to treat plague. It is originally from Europe by way of Asia, but can now be found in most temperate regions around the world that have damp, sandy soil. Historically, Europeans used it to induce sweating to break fevers and to treat infections with parasitic worms and snakebite. Native Americans used it for several different reasons: as an aphrodisiac and to help with impotence in men, to "restore" health and beauty in women, and an herbal tea was made of the roots and given to children to make them grow up strong and muscular. Modern herbalists use it as an herbal tea to treat rheumatism, bladder problems, fever, hard coughs, irregular menstruation, and to increase the flow of breast milk. The famous herbalist Nicholas Culpepper stated that it was good as a soak for tired feet, and also, oddly enough, for cheese making. The plant has no odor unless a stem or leaf is bruised, causing the release of a stench, hence the name goat's rue.Constituents

Galegine (the anti-diabetic chemical in the plant), tannins, chromium.

Parts Used

 

The above-ground parts of the plant, ground and chopped.

Typical Preparations

Traditionally used as a tea, sometimes available in tea bags. May also be taken as a capsule or extract.

Summary

 

Goat's rue derivatives have been associated with reductions in blood sugar levels, but more clinical studies are needed. It is also used cosmetically in hand and foot bath formulas.

Precautions

 

The safety for pregnant or lactating mothers has not been clinically verified, but historical information tends to regard it as safe, and in fact it may be able to increase breast milk.

For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.

This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


 

http://www.galensgarden.co.uk/herbs/goatsrue.php

 

http://www.herbs2000.com/herbs/herbs_goats_rue.htm

Lycii Berry (Goji Berry) Profile

Posted on July 10, 2016 at 8:15 PM Comments comments (0)

 

 

 

Lycii Berry (Goji Berry) Profile


Also known as

 

Lycium chinese and barbarum (often traded interchangeably in Chinese Medicine) Chinese Matrimony-vine, Boxberry, Boxthorn, Wolfberry, and Gou qi-zi. PLEASE NOTE! "Goji berry" and Lycii berry are virtually the same, with the only discernable difference is that Gojii is usually a high altitude strain of Lycium and is commonly found in the Himalayas, Nepal, Tibet, etc., whereas Lycii berry is the more common variety found in lowland areas. For trade purposes they are usually considered the same.

Introduction

 

Lycii berry, otherwise known to Chinese herbalists as Goji or Chinese Wolfberry is a bright red, almost chewy berry with a taste very similar to Raisins. It has been used as a general nutrient tonic (Yin tonic) for many years and Chinese medicine refers to it as a "cooling tonic".

Constituents

 

Beta-sitosterol, Betaine, Beta-carotene, Niacin, Pyridoxine, and Ascorbic acid

Parts Used

 

Whole berries.

Typical Preparations

 

Whole berries can be eaten raw, as they have a pleasant taste. Or they can be included in food or prepared as a tea.

Summary

 

Not much research has been carried out for this particular botanical and to date there have not been any released notes on possible medicinal contraindications, side effects or potential health hazards (except for those pregnant or nursing). One particular warning that has been issued comes from many traditional Chinese herbalists who suggest that Lycii should never be taken for acute colds or flu, because it will have the tendency to bring a sickness deeper.

It was once said by one of our favorite published herbalists that "Wolfberry can make the young wolf out of the old man", because for many years Lycii has been administered for erection problems.

In one recent study, results showed that men over 59 who took 2 ounces of Lycii berry each day walked away from a 10 day study having significantly higher levels of testosterone. In addition to its seemingly successful use of erection problems, Lycii is also widely used as a general health tonic, capable of removing harmful toxins from the body.

The fruit is one of the most popular tonics used in Chinese herbal medicine today and a decoction is typically used to clear the vision, strengthen the kidneys, and nourish the liver.

Precautions

 

Lycii berries contains betaine, which is an emmenagogue and abortifacient. Avoid using when pregnant or nursing. Chinese herbalists suggest to abstain using it during times of cold and flu.

For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.

This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolfberry

 

http://www.mountainroseherbs.com/learn/lycii-berry.php

Festivals of the Dead from around the World

Posted on July 10, 2016 at 8:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Festivals of the Dead from around the World


 

By April

 

Halloween is my FAVORITE time of the year. I like to learn different things about the history and others traditions. I found this on a teaching site, actually, and thought it was interesting.Not Just Halloween: Festivals of the Dead from around the World“The dominant spirit, however, that haunts this enchanted region, and seems to be commander-in-chief of all the powers of the air, is the apparition of a figure on horseback without a head. It is said by some to be the ghost of a Hessian trooper, whose head had been carried away by a cannon-ball, in some nameless battle during the revolutionary war; and who is ever and anon seen by the country folk hurrying along in the gloom of night, as if on the wings of the wind.”—“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” Washington IrvingEurope and America are by no means the only places with long histories of acknowledging the close of the harvest season through the remembrance of ancestors and strangers who have passed on. These traditions also share many elements with festivals held around the world commemorating the death of spring, as well as loved ones no longer with us. One point of intersection can be found in the offerings of food that were left on doorsteps on All-hallows-eve in many parts of Europe and America in the hopes that it might prevent wandering spirits from entering the house. Offerings comprise an integral part of many fall festivals to the dead around the world, such as those celebrated and practiced in Japan, Cambodia, and Mexico.

 

Why might the making and offering of special foods be an important part of festivals dedicated to the dead?

 

Japan—The Obon, or the Festival of the LanternsThe Festival of the Dead in Japan, which is called Obon, is held every year in the month of August. The festival often goes by a second name: The Festival of Lanterns. As in the traditional festival of Halloween, the souls of the departed return to the world of the living during this time. However, unlike Halloween, in which the souls of the dead are often imagined as malevolent or angry, like the Headless Horseman, Obon is a day when the spirits return to visit their relatives.Many Buddhists in Japan celebrate this holiday by preparing offerings of special food for their ancestors’ spirits, which are placed on altars in temples and in their homes. As the sun goes down families light paper lanterns and hang them in front of their houses to help the spirits find their way home. The celebrations end with families sending colorful paper lanterns lit by candles floating down the rivers and bays of Japan and out to sea. The string of colorful lights bobbing in the water are meant to guide the spirits of their loved ones back to the realm of the dead until next year.

 

 

Cambodia—The P’chum Ben at the PagodaIn the tenth month of the lunar calendar, which usually falls in September, Cambodian Buddhists celebrate the Pak Ben, 14 days during which they will wake before dawn each morning to prepare offerings of food and other gifts to the monks living in the local pagoda and to their ancestors. On the 15th day villagers visit the pagoda with offerings of sweet sticky rice and bean treats wrapped in banana leaves and other special foods to mark the P’chum Ben, or the Festival of the Dead, which marks the close of the Pak Ben.Each morning during the festival offerings of food, often beautifully prepared and decorated, are brought to the many temples and pagodas that dot the Cambodian countryside and cityscapes. These offerings are meant for their relatives who have passed on, and each plate of decorated sweets and fruits are offered with a prayer that they will reach their loved ones. In addition, huge batches of rice mixed with sesame seed are prepared each morning and spread along the ground in front of the pagoda where it is left for the hungry ghosts, as spirits who wander the world without any living ancestors to take care of their memory are known.The P’chum Ben festival is a day when people wear their finest clothes, get together with family and friends at the local pagoda, listen to music and speeches by monks, abbots and other important local figures, and enjoy the culinary delicacies whipped up for the occasion. While this Buddhist festival has important and serious underpinnings, it is also a time for people to spend a day visiting their friends and families, and enjoying the celebrations.

 

 

The Aztecs’ Festival of the Dead was not a day-long or week-long celebration, but went on for nearly two months in which the fall harvest was celebrated and death was honored. The festival was presided over by the goddess known as Mictecacihuatl, or the Lady of the Dead. Over the course of the festivities participants would create offerings for the dead such as foods, alcohol, flowers and ceramics.Aztecs and Mayans both believed that one day of the year the souls of the departed would return to the realm of the living, where they could visit their families and loved ones. With the arrival of the Spanish, and Catholicism, the new rulers of Mexico attempted to marshal the fiestas dedicated to the dead under the auspices of All Saints Day (November 1st) and All Souls Day (November 2nd). The dates of these two Catholic holidays are now celebrated in Mexico as Los Dias de los Muertos.This fiesta is marked by the invitation by the living to the dead to return to their family home for a visit. Families place photographs of their loved ones who have passed on at the deceased’s gravesite or on a family altar. They also place offerings of flowers, drinks and food alongside the photographs. This ritual is particularly important for those who have been lost in the year since the previous festival, and is a way of coming to terms with the death of someone loved and missed.Extended families will often meet in the cemeteries on the evening of the festival, and will collect together at the gravesite of a recently deceased relative. The family may keep vigil through the night, all the time eating the foods they have made in preparation for the fiesta, visiting with their relatives, and praying for all the members of the family, alive and dead.The preparation of the altar is an integral part of this fiesta, and some of the objects that are prepared especially for the altar have become a familiar sight to many outside of Mexico. Altars are often decorated with flowers, whose brief life span is meant to be a reminder of the brevity of all life. Brightly colored and intricately cut tissue paper festoon the altar, waving like multi-colored flags. Sweets, fruits and other foods are joined by the staples: bread, salt and water. Grooming supplies, such as a washbasin and soap, are provided for the spirits to tidy themselves after their long journey. Finally, the well-known Calaveras statues depicting skeletons participating in the activities of the living- from cooking to playing in mariachi bands- take their place on the altar, where their comic appearance brings a smile to the faces of the grieving.I would love to hear what you do on Samhain/Halloween. What special traditions do you and your family have? It is a very special time of the year in our home, so I would love to hear how others celebrate!

 

 

Je'Amours two cents...

 

Wonderful April I love this post come on people add to it...

 

Here is Italy Ossa dei Morti Or, Bones of the Dead November 2 I was taught the evil catholic church kinda took are pagan holiday and shoved it on November 2, because they honor the saints on November 1st, and they kinda wanted to bring the Pagans into the fold, but in my family it is all about food and offerings, and remembering those who dearly parted, as children we were told that are dearly parted relatives and spirits who we held dear would give us little gifts and candy... Ole time stories was told and giving of thanks for what they brought to our lives from joy and happiness and the like. The dearly departed at my Aunties house got a seat at the dinner table, got a plate of food and drink...Brightest of Blessing Je'Amour

Rainbow Warrior

Posted on July 10, 2016 at 8:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Brought to us by William or loving known as the Egg Man...


 

Rainbow Warrior

 

That statue is called the "Rainbow Warrior" in memory of the Indian story called "The Rainbow Warrior." Would you like to 'Hear that story?Do you know what a rainbow is, Yes, a beautiful bow of colors in the sky. A warrior is a brave person. One who has courage instead of being afraid.Well, the Indians would tell this story to their children around the campfire. The story goes like this:Some time in the future, the Indians said, the animals would begin to disappear. People would no longer see the wolf, or the bear, or the eagles. And, the story goes, the giant trees would also disappear. And people would fight with each other and not love each other. And, the story goes, the beautiful rainbow in the sky would fade away, and people would not see the rainbow anymore.Well, children would come. And these children would love the animals, and they would bring back the animals. They would love trees, and they would bring back the giant trees. And these children would love other people and they would help people to live in peace with, each other. And these children would love the rainbow, and they would bring back the beautiful rainbow in the sky. For this reason the Indians called these children the rainbow warriors.Now let me ask you a question. Do you love animals or hate animals? (We love animals.) Do you love trees or hate trees? (We love trees.) Do you love people or hate people? (We love people.) Do you love the rainbow or hate the rainbow? (We love the rainbow.)Well, if you love animals and trees, people and rainbows, then maybe you are the rainbow warriors and that is a statue of you.If you would like to read more follow the link below:

http://www.welcomehome.org/rainbow/prophecy/prophecies.html

ST. PATRICK & THE DRUIDS OF IRELAND

Posted on July 10, 2016 at 7:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Saint Patrick's Day


 

 

 

"Doing our part to pass it on"...

Brightest of Blessing Je'Amour

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Satori

 

ST. PATRICK & THE DRUIDS OF IRELAND

By Flame RavenHawk

 

Patrick was a Christian priest whose job it was to convert the

population of Ireland to Christianity. The Druids, however, stood in his way. The Druids were very important people in Ireland at that time, and their symbol was the Snake of Wisdom. Druids could be priests of the old religion of Ireland, but there were also much more.

 

One part of the Druid class were the "Bards", whose job it was to remember all of the history of the people, as well as to record current events. Because the Irish Celts did not rely on a written language, everything had to be memorized. Bards were poets and musicians, and used music and poetry to help them remember their history exactly. Because of this, Bards were highly respected members of the Irish society. The Irish believed that history was very important, for if you didn't remember what had happened in the past, you couldn't safely plan for the future. Bards, therefore, held the future of the people in safekeeping.

 

Another important part of the Druidic class were the "Brehons". Brehons were the Judges and the Keepers of the Laws. The Celtic people had a highly complicated society, and with it, a highly developed set of laws. Brehons trained for many years to learn the laws of the people, so that whenever there was a dispute, the Brehon could Fairly decide the matter and make peace. The laws were there to make sure that everyone; man, woman, and child, were treated fairly and with respect. Because of the wisdom that the Brehons held, and

the knowledge of the laws of the society, they too, like the Bards, were held with much respect.

 

And, of course, there were the Druid Priests. This branch of the Druid set were the keepers of the knowledge of Earth and Spirits. It was their responsibility to learn the Spirit World, in order to keep people and Earth in harmony. Priests performed marriages and "baptisms", they were healers, and psychiatrists. The Priests were The wise grandparents to whom you could go with a problem. They were there to help you solve them, with the help of the Earth and the Spirit World.

 

Into this world of the Irish Celts entered a highly energetic and devoted Christian Priest named Patrick. Because he believed so strongly in the tenets of Christianity, he thought that anyone who was not Christian had to become one in order to be "saved". He came to Ireland to convert the Irish people to Christianity.

 

The Irish people at that time were happy and doing quite well

without Patrick and his ideas, but he was persistent. He noticed that the Druids were really the important people of the society. He thought that if he could convert the Druids to Christianity, the rest of the people would follow. Patrick's main problem was that the Druids were very comfortable with what they had already learned, and were not willing to change. Druids had spent their entire lives learning the ways of the people, and were the last people who were willing to change.

 

Although Patrick was not willing to abandon his vision of a

Christian Ireland, he was getting desperate. He knew that because the strength of the people rested with the Druids, he had to get rid of them in order to get the people to listen to him.

 

Patrick was not alone in his efforts. He had brought many people with him from Britain to establish the new religion. Patrick began to destroy the influence of the Druids by destroying the sacred sites of the people and building churches and monasteries where the Druids used to live and teach. Gradually, the might of the Druidic class was broken by a bitter campaign of attrition. Instead of hearing the teachings and advice of the Druids, the people began to

hear the teachings of Rome. Because the Druids were the only ones who were taught to remember the history, with the Druids dead and their influence broken, the history was forgotten.

 

Patrick won. By killing off the teachers and the wise ones, his own religion could be taught. For this mass conversion of a culture to Christianity, and for the killing of thousands of innocent people, Patrick was made a Saint by his church.

 

Today the story is told that Patrick is the patron Saint of Ireland because he "drove the snakes out". We now know that the "snakes" were the Druids. So although I love the Irish people and celebrate their Celtic heritage, I don't "celebrate" a day dedicated to the man called Patrick, Patron Saint of Ireland.

 

 

 

"Doing my part to pass it on"

Brightest of Blessing Je'Amour

 

 

 

Source: Satori

 

This seems to go 'round every year, so I thought even though I haven't seen it yet, I'd get a jump on it, LOL:

 

From: SeekingWolf

 

St. Patricks Day:

 

A day that St.Patrick chased the snakes out of Ireland. Well, the snakes were the

Pagans. And they weren't just chased out. They were executed; Men,

women and children. So, I've started a tradition with my coven and other friends.

 

On St. Patricks Day , all Pagans should wear something with a snake

on it. A t-shirt, necklace, ring, etc.... This is our way of saying that

the "snakes" are still here and that we are here to stay.

 

The Snake is a symbol of wisdom and free will. Which is why the

church wants to get rid of all Pagans. We believe in free will and

responsibility for our own actions. So, I am reaching out to all my

pagan friends to join me in this new tradition and to pass it on to

all other pagans you know. If we can get at least 1,000 people

wearing a snake this year, it would be a definite great start.

 

Please Pass this on. Thank You and Blessed Be. And May the Goddess

Kiss Your Brow and Bring Light into Your Darkness.

 

Respectfully

SeekingWolf

The Eastern White Pine

Posted on July 10, 2016 at 7:50 PM Comments comments (0)


The eastern white pine has the distinction of being the tallest tree in eastern North America. There is a legend from long ago in which there were warring times among the Mohawks and their neighboring tribes. The Mohawk Nation decided to put down their weapons once and for all. They buried their weapons beneath the white pine trees. From that time forward, peace grew through the white pine. An excerpt from The Legend of the Peacemaker in White Roots of Peace by Paul Wallace reads Peacemaker uprooted a white pine, exposing a deep cavern with a river at its bottom. He told warriors to cast weapons into this hole and the river carried the tools of war deep in the Earth. Replanting the white pine, the Peacemaker said, To bury the hatchet signifies the end of war, killing and violence. The Tree of Peace, Peacemaker explained, has four white roots extending to Earths four corners. Anyone who desires peace can follow the roots to their source and find shelter under The Great Tree. -----Eastern White Pine (Pinus Strobus) is a large pine native to Eastern North America, occurring from Newfoundland west to Minnesota and southeastern Manitoba, and south along the Appalachian Mountains to the northern edge of Georgia. It is occasionally known as White Pine, Northern White Pine, or Soft Pine. It is occasionally known as Weymouth Pine especially in Britain. In addition, this tree is known also to the Haudenosaunee Native Americans as the tree of Peace.

It is also medicinal. The inner bark and the needles are a rich source of Vitamin C. It has been estimated that a cupful of strong pine needle tea has more Vitamin C than the average lemon. The pine essential oil is classified as a middle note, that is, its energetic effect is neither stimulating nor sedating, but rather it works to modify imbalanced conditions. One of the healing associations of the white pine tree is resilience. In plant terminology, resilience is a measurement of a plants ability to tolerate conditions of adversity and return to a healthful state. Demonstrating resilience through challenging climatic circumstances, pines remind us of our own ability to weather climatic shifts and to continue to work to secure the well being of future generations through difficult times. The Trees of Resilience are highly valued medicinal by the Native Americans, Chinese, and European cultures, bringing qualities of clarity and peace.


 

 

 

Arbor Day Foundation

Posted on July 10, 2016 at 7:50 PM Comments comments (0)

 

I say all Witches & non Witches should use this valuable resource. I love the fact they have publication and instructional video to teach people about tree's & wild life...

http://www.arborday.org/index.cfm


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