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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

November's Super Moon & Things to do during a Full Moon


This year, the full moons of October, November and December all take place when the moon is at its closest point of approach in its orbit around Earth — a so-called supermoon.  
October's supermoon occurred on Oct. 16. The next supermoon will be November's full Beaver Moon, which is expected to reach the peak of its full phase on the morning of Nov. 14, at 8:52 a.m. EST (1352 GMT), but it will appear full to the casual observer in the day before and after the main event. It is the second of three consecutive supermoon full moons for 2016.  
This full moon will be not only the closest and brightest supermoon of 2016 but also the largest since 1948, Bob Berman, an astronomer at the Slooh Community Observatory, told Space.com. What's more, the full moon won't come this close to Earth again until Nov. 25, 2034, according to a statement from NASA
Every Full Moon is vital in renewing energy and reviving intent. It can help you release negativity, thoughts that no longer serve you, and break habits that are holding you back. Thus, connecting with the Full Moon can empower you to make changes in your life that you may have been contemplating and invite new and brilliant vibrations into your life!
Take a little time to celebrate the full moon and maximize your existence:
× on the night of the full moon, step outside and find a grassy private area to sit or lay down and contemplate the moon.
× make an altar with candles, shells, water, whatever speaks to you and set it up in view of the moon. Breathe in the strong lunar energy and push out any negativity that resides.
× take a piece of paper and write insecurities, fears, habits, things that are keeping you from being your best self, then let those things go by burning the paper and symbolically banishing them. As you burn them away you might feel overwhelmed, take comfort in the guidance of the moon and remember that you have within you brilliant traits and strengths to replace that which no longer serves you.
× meditate. Whether through a guided meditation, listening to relaxing music or complete silence, take a minute outside, close your eyes, take deep breaths and just be present and feel what's going on inside of you.
× girls: have a girls night with close positive friends and talk about things that you're passionate about, make art, watch a show and discuss it, have a few drinks, go out on the town, whatever you'd like!
× have a bonfire and swap stories, listen to music, dance, have fun and let go of negativity.
× let your creativity flow, be inspired by the moon whether to paint, draw, dance, hike, pick flowers, write, or anything else that inspires you.


And don't forget to charge your crystals!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Herb Spotlight: Cottonwood Trees

In springtime, when the forest is waking up, as I walk along the river that winds its way through my town, the little wispy white flowers fall from the cottonwood trees and I collect from already fallen branches (a gift from the recent storm) and gather the not yet sprouted buds, covering my fingers in sticky red resin. One of mother nature's healing gifts, cottonwood resin contains a special medicine that has the power to soothe sore muscle, ease the pain in arthritic joints, and help heal damaged skin.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Crystal Spotlight: Amethyst

Amethyst, the protector, is a very powerful stone, guarding against stress and negative environment energies. It vibrates with a quiet calm and enhances higher states of conscious and meditation.

Worn over the heart, amethyst helps you to strengthen discipline, overcome blockages, and enhance spiritual awareness.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Herb Spotlight: Peppermint

Peppermint leaves, which grow on beautiful curling vines is easy to care for and will also give you a great yield compared to other herbs. Peppermint has a sweet, fresh scent that will clear your sinuses, ease a headache, help with indigestion and other stomach problems, and can calm anxiety and stress.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Harnessing the Power of Autumn & Major Arcana to Inspire Change

Well Met dear souls! Thank you for taking the initiative to head over to this post, you have taken the first step in becoming your best self!

In this Article, I will talk about why Autumn is such a good season for making positive changes and continuing on your path of personal growth. I also have prepared two tarot spreads you can use to find the things you need to change, accept some maybe unexpected truths about yourself, and the wisdom you need to make decisions.

Have you ever felt that disquiet in yourself when the seasons change? With the change in our surroundings (especially winter to spring and summer to fall, the most extreme of the seasonal changes) comes a shift in the energy around us, which can cause disharmony within you and is a great time to take a look at the things in your life; negative ruminations, diet, exercise, personal relationships and career path, anything that you feel like may be off or is no longer serving you. Some things that may invigorate you in one part of the year may tire you in another. For example, I love to trail run. This is something that I pick up every spring and put to sleep every fall. I love it but I’m not going to bundle up in the dead of winter to go run an icy dangerous trail, so during that time I do yoga and other exercises. During the middle of summer, the hottest point of July is another extreme and so I usually don’t hit the trails too much then either, preferring to lift weights and take walks in the warm night air. Find what works for you in every season! We are meant to constantly be growing and using the seasons to affect positive change in our lives is a great way to do this!
Change is important! It keeps us present and alive. It’s one of the only constant things that you can rely on and therefore important to accept and welcome it into our lives rather than avoid the inevitable.

While Spring is more of a time for detoxification, to refresh and revive your mind and body, Fall is the time of death and rebirth. Whatever changes are calling to you this season, honor them. If you feel inspired to try a new class or job or follow a dream you have had for a while, start to seriously consider the steps you could take to start down the path you’ve been too afraid to step foot on. If it’s diet, celebrate the bounty of fall harvest by including more vegetables and stopping at local fruit stands. Incorporate more and better exercise by getting out into nature, which is scientifically proven to decrease negative ruminations and anxiety.  If it’s love, welcome the sacred intimacy and calm that cannot be achieved during the busy months.

Fall is a time for focus. The crazy noises and sights and smells of summer are starting to cool down, we’re settling into a calmer, quieter time. It’s much easier to hear yourself and listen to your inner voice. Whatever changes need to be made, listen to your intuition and make decisions based on instinct. This change is the Earth’s energy encourages us to move forward, out of the now and into the new.

I have two spreads to help you encourage growth in yourself and inspire real change. Choose whichever calls out to you more, or both! I found the idea for these spreads on a tarot forum, then tinkered around with them to create something perfect for our purposes. For an especially powerful reading, separate the Major Arcana cards in your deck from the others and use just those to do your reading. While all the cards hold wisdom and great meaning, using just the Major Arcana for these readings (or any) can help focus your readings, provide strong messages and sometimes give you much needed wake-up call!

Creating a Change Spread


......1...6......
3...............4
.....5......2….

1. Present situation that needs change
2. Foundation - personal reason for the change
3. Physical action
4. Attitude adjustment
5. Foundation - what cannot be changed
6. Situation after the change.


Direction Spread

…..5…..
3……..4
.....2.....
.....1.....

1. My strengths/talents (the raw clay with which to work)
2. What steps I can take to use my strengths as a vocation (how to mold
the clay)
3. Spiritual/inner influences
4. Practical/outer influences
5. The path I should take (the finished clay vessel)

Thank you for reading this article! If you have any questions or comments, feel free to post them and I will answer swiftly! I hope you are able to use this information and tarot spread outline to make real positive changes in your life!

*          *          *

The Autumn Equinox marks the balance between light and dark and is also known as Mabon by Pagans and Wiccans. To celebrate Autumn, several of us have banded together to support YOUR Equinox Journey, offering tarot and oracle card spreads; information on how to work with the Colours of Autumn; tips on working with your Inner Cauldron; new additions for your Art Journal; creative writing tips; working with Lilith; the journey of Persephone, Demeter and Hades, and much much more. To read the next article in the Fall Tarot Blog Hop, "click here." 

Thursday, September 8, 2016

12 Ways To Use Rosemary

While I am a lover of all the herbs, there are a couple of them that have many different uses and medicinal properties, you can cure and aid many ailments and health concerns with just a few plants. Even if you’re in an apartment, you can grow one or two herbs by the window or on the front porch. Pick a few herbs that can be used with all sorts of variety, like cooking, medicinal, skin care, etc. It would be best to research each herb yourself to see what would be best for your specific needs, but if you’d like a few ideas, my favorite is Rosemary. (If you’d like a couple others, try Lavender, Basil, and Peppermint as well!)

Why Rosemary?


Let me tell you a little bit about Rosemary and why it’s such a miracle plant.  Rosemary (also known as Rosmarinus officinalis) has been used in traditional medicine for years. Rosemary can relieve muscle and nerve pain, boost liver function, improve circulation, cure adrenal fatigue, aid in digestion and eliminate bad bacteria. Rosemary also will help give antioxidants a boost, helping fight off infection and disease.

HARVESTING ROSEMARY


First of all, to correctly harvest Rosemary, all you have to do is cut off the top couple inches of each little plant (make sure you leave it a little room to keep growing, don’t snip too far!) and it’ll keep growing! Pruning your plant daily or weekly (depending on how big it is, use your judgment) can actually help your plant stay healthy and not overgrow its pot!

HOW TO CORRECTLY DRY THE HERBS


Hang your rosemary upside down in small bundles in a dry area out of the sun (which is said to remove color and aroma from the herb, though I’ve been unable to find any article yet with scientific reasoning to prove this to me as of yet) I still do it anyways just in case! It makes sense to me that the sun would also evaporate the natural oils in the herbs too quickly and while you want your herbs dry, you don’t want them stripped of medicinal qualities and taste. Drying can take anywhere from a day or two to a week depending on how big your bundles are. Once they are dry, store them in a covered jar (again, out of the sun) until you are ready to use! Some say to strip the leaves from the stems before storing, but I like to leave them on the stems right until I use them! Though this takes up more space, many sources I have read from (many being chefs) say you get the most flavor/aroma from keeping them on the stem until ready for use.

You are now ready to use your rosemary! Completely dried herbs are safe from mold and bacteria and will keep for 6-12 months if kept in an airtight container.
Rosemary has many medicinal and holistic uses you would not expect. But we’ll start with the most obvious use of Rosemary: Cooking.

ROSEMARY IN COOKING


Rosemary is very aromatic and flavorful, perfect to use for both sweet and savory dishes in the kitchen. Here are a couple ways to use rosemary you might not have tried. If you have any more, feel free to post them in the comments! I love trying new things with my herbs.

Make a rosemary-infused olive oil by placing several sprigs of rosemary in a glass jar with enough olive oil to cover the herb, let sit for 2 weeks or more, it will get stronger the longer you let it sit. You strain the rosemary out of the oil or leave it in and put it in a bottle with a spout and just let it strengthen over time. When you use it up, get rid of the rosemary and do it again with fresh sprigs.

Make a rosemary-infused vinegar the same way as above, or you could even store them together with the rosemary. Or infuse the vinegar with a different herb (like basil or oregano) than the oil and get different flavors/properties!

Make garlic & rosemary butter by putting the desired amount of butter into a glass mixing bowl with chopped garlic and rosemary, use a wooden spoon to fold in the herbs and garlic in, tearing and smashing them into the butter, add a 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice and a dash of salt per 8 Tbs. butter. Put into a glass container. If refrigerated, can last for up to a month.

Make frozen Rosemary cubes by pressing freshly chopped rosemary into ice cube trays, cover with water and freeze, store the cubes in a Ziploc bag or dish and take out at any time to use for vegetables, soups, smoothies, etc.

Make a rosemary & lemon salt for poultry, vegetable or fish dishes by taking a jar, press fresh rosemary in the bottom, squeeze the juice of one large lemon per about 16 ounces of salt, and pour the salt on top. Shake it and let it sit in a cool dark place. The longer it sits, but the stronger it will get but you can use it immediately, just let it keep sitting. When it’s gone, throw out the rosemary and start with a fresh batch.

SKIN AND HAIR CARE

Rosemary hair rinse tonic
For this simple but powerful hair tonic you will need vinegar, (I prefer apple cider vinegar but you could also use regular white) enough dried rosemary to fill ½ of whatever jar you are using, and a glass jar with non-metal lid (use glass, cork, wood or plastic.)
Place rosemary into glass jar. Pour vinegar over the rosemary. Cover with non-metal lid (vinegar ruins metal). Let sit in a cool dark place for 1-2 weeks. Use cheesecloth or a tight mesh strainer to strain the rosemary. Pour into a glass tincture bottle with a dropper or spray attachment.
To Use: Drop (or spray) all over your scalp. Let it sit on hair for about 5 minutes (the time it takes to shave your armpits or use a body scrub) and then rinse with water. No other shampoo or conditioner is needed this shower/bath. Use once a week to stimulate hair growth, cleanse chemicals and soothe an itchy scalp.

For my Rosemary hair growth oil, I like to make it in a little glass tincture bottle with a dropper so that you can drop it without mess or waste onto the ends or specific area of focus. For this one, I like to use essential oils instead of homemade infused oil because I love the way the EOs interact with coconut oil. So along with Rosemary oil, I like to add tea tree oil (melaleuca) because not only is it fabulous for both your hair and skin, it also encourages growth and smells fantastic. Add 15 drops each of these oils to ¾ parts of coconut oil and fill the remainder with jojoba oil. (Another great oil to use in this recipe? Hemp seed oil, which is chock full of Omegas 3, 6 & 9, moisturizes the scalp and strengthens hair. For those unfamiliar with hemp seed oil, hemp seed oil is made from a different type of the Hemp plant than marijuana and does not contain the chemical tetrahydrocannabinol or THC)

Make a comforting Rosemary sea salt scrub and bath salt by combining ¾ parts Sea salt (Epsom salt can also be used instead of sea salt for those with sensitive skin) with ¼ baking soda and adding an oil (choose one of the skin/hair boosting oils from the Rosemary hair growth oil above, like coconut, jojoba or hemp and also consider castor oil, a skin healing oil that won’t leave your skin dry.) Add rosemary essential oil or herbs, or both, and any other oil or herb you’d like. (My favorites are rose petals, rosemary, lavender and chamomile, with lavender, rosemary, and melaleuca oils.) Mix all these ingredients together and add to a glass jar. Shake before using, settling of the oils in natural.

Use the powerful healing effects of rosemary in this Healing Herb Salve including Rosemary, Cottonwood Bark, Chamomile, Lavender and any other herbs you’d like to add to your choice of oil (again, choose from one of the options above) and soak the herbs in a glass jar (metal lid is fine this time) for at least two weeks. Then, strain the herbs from the oil with a cheese cloth or close mesh strainer and warm in a double boiler or a saucepan on low. Add 1-ounce beeswax to every 6 ounces of oil (a 1:6 ratio, a little more beeswax for a harder salve, a little less for a more gloss like salve) I don’t add any essential oils to this recipe so it can be safe for any burn, bruise, bump or bite.

NATURAL DEODORANT

Did you know that really the only reason deodorant is necessary is because of your diet? Eating a lot of dairy products, sugary drinks, and processed foods are all hard to digest and causes your body to eliminate toxins by producing heavy, stinky sweat! Eating more herbs like rosemary, along with basil, mint and others, drinking more water and reducing the amount of those other foods/drinks can decrease the odor in your sweat, making deodorant unnecessary. I personally very rarely use deodorant! If you’d like more information on the dangers of deodorant and how to switch, check out this useful article on the dangers of deodorant.

NATURAL BUG REPELLANT

Burn dried Rosemary in a safe dish near your patio or area you want to keep mosquito free, or on a rock next to a campfire as the thick cloying smoke and smell are repugnant to bugs, especially mosquitoes.
If you have a diffuser, put a couple drops of rosemary oil in it and a drop of peppermint to keep away those pesky pests.

BODY AND ORAL PAIN RELIEF

Since Rosemary is a natural pain reliever, there are many ways to use this magical plant for healing. For external pain and sore muscles, wrap the herbs in a hot, wet towel and apply it to the area or drink a tea made with rosemary for oral pain relief, sore throat and should help loosen mucus, or relieve congestion by boiling water and adding to large bowl, stir in a few sprigs and hold your head above the steam, covering your head with a cloth or towel to make sure none escapes, and breathe in deeply. (NOTE: You can also add Lavender to help with headaches and stress, or peppermint to help clear your sinuses and lessen headaches.)

I hoped you liked these uses for Rosemary! I didn't add any metaphysical properties or uses for rosemary because I wasn't sure of the interest but I might add it in later.
Please comment your experiences with these uses and any other ideas you might have! Namaste!

Friday, September 2, 2016

6 Ways to use Lavender Daily

Lavender, a soothing and potent flower, has been used medicinally for centuries by many different cultures. In early Egypt, mummies were embalmed with shrouds soaked in lavender, as it would keep insects away and help to preserve them. Ancient Rome used lavender in purifying baths, giving lavender the Latin name Lavare, which roughly translated, means “to wash.” It was meant to purify the body of toxins. Lavender is said to have many healing properties. When Medieval Europe was hit by the plague, herbalists would instruct the people to wrap sprigs of lavender around their arms and legs to keep the Black Death at bay. In World War I, nurses used lavender to wash clothes, to cool burns, and as an antiseptic for wounds. Today Lavender is often used to calm the nerve, release anxiety, and relax the mind. It can relieve a headache, migraines, and insomnia. Lavender can be used to help the uneasy mind to sleep, the anxious nerves to relax, consistent pain to ease.
Here are six of my favorite ways to incorporate more Lavender into my daily routine. Try them out!

Lavender sea salt bath soak & scrub

Make a comforting sea salt bath soak & scrub by combining ¾ parts Sea salt (Epsom salt can also be used instead of sea salt for those with sensitive skin, or a mixture of the two) with ¼ baking soda and adding an oil or several oils (choose a skin & hair boosting oil, like coconut, jojoba or avocado and also consider castor oil, a skin healing oil that won’t leave your skin dry.) Add lavender essential oil or herbs, or both, and any other oil or herb you’d like. (My favorites are rose petals, rosemary, lavender, and chamomile, with lavender and melaleuca oils.) Mix all these ingredients together and add to a glass jar. Shake before using, settling of the oils in natural.

Lavender relax and sweet dreams pouch

One of my favorite ways to use lavender is to throw a handful (or a couple handfuls) of the dried flower into a thin pouch (choose one you can see and smell the contents from the outside) and add other herbs, (rose petal, rosemary and mugwort are my personal choices) and simply keep the pouch under your pillow at night. I like to inhale from it deeply before going to sleep, and having it under your pillow will also lightly emanate the scent. You can also refresh the scent of the lavender buds by adding a couple drops of lavender essential oil every now and then. If you are so inclined, you could also add a clear quartz crystal, amethyst, selenite or any other relaxing or dream boosting crystal to help encourage lucid dreaming and a deep sleep.

Lavender healing salve

Use the powerful healing effects of lavender in this Healing Salve, including Lavender, Rosemary, Cottonwood Bark, Chamomile, and any other herbs you’d like to add to your choice of oil (choose from one of the options above) and soak the herbs in a glass jar (metal lid is fine this time) for at least two weeks. Then, strain the herbs from the oil with a cheese cloth or close mesh strainer and warm in a double boiler or a saucepan on low. Add 1-ounce beeswax to every 6 ounces of oil (a 1:6 ratio, a little more beeswax for a harder salve, a little less for a more gloss like salve) I don’t add any essential oils to this recipe so it can be safe for any burn, bruise, bump or bite.

Lavender lemonade

For 12 cups (about 1 pitcher) of water, squeeze or juice 6 large lemons, add 5 drops of lavender oil, 1 cup raw honey, and 1 cup of dried and crushed lavender flowers and blend. Feel free to add lavender sprigs and mint leaves for garnish.

Lavender face wash

Try ditching your store bought face wash in favor of a natural, only 5 ingredient lavender face wash! I used Lavender because it is antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial, and Tea Tree oil for its skin healing and anti-bacterial benefits, along with a couple drops of strong frankincense to heal scars and clean pores.

Ingredients:

¼ cup water
¼ cup castille soap
½ tsp. avocado or jojoba oil
¼ tsp. vitamin E oil
5 drops lavender
5 drops frankincense

Combine and store in a glass jar.

Lavender hair rinse tonic

Apple cider vinegar (or regular white) enough to cover the flowers.
enough dried lavender flowers to fill ½ of whatever jar you are using
glass jar with non-metal lid (use glass, cork, wood or plastic.)
Directions:
Place dried lavender into glass jar. Pour vinegar over the lavender. Cover with non-metal lid (vinegar ruins metal). Let sit in a cool dark place for 1-2 weeks. Use cheesecloth or a tight mesh strainer to strain the lavender flowers. Pour into a glass tincture bottle with a dropper or spray attachment.
To Use: Drop (or spray) all over your scalp. Let it sit on hair for about 5 minutes (the time it takes to shave your armpits or use a scrub) and then rinse with water. No other shampoo or conditioner is needed. Use once a week.