From the Editor...
A Balanced Life
The idea of life balance is a very appealing one, and having a busy life style there seems to be so many arenas of my life where I can't seem to strike that right sense of balance. The truth is I cannot walk a tight line and achieve perfect balance, it is simply unattainable.
The problem as I see it is that in this modern world we are all trying to be perfect and live a perfect existence. No matter how hard you try you cannot achieve a perfect life for any sustained length of time so it's better to face reality and accept who you are right now with all your imperfections and do the things you can and just get on with life. You will probably find that you will start living a more happy and fulfilled life and actually achieve more of your goals.
The Autumn Equinox is a perfect occasion to consider balance and harmony and how those forces are at work within your life. It is important at this time to remember that the only constant in life is change; decisions are made and actions are generated. Life can present us with a variety of tragedy, mediocrity and moments of tremendous joy. While the past cannot be altered, the bountiful harvest of wisdom gained from each experience is truly a gift. With a perceptive mind, we can locate those grains of wisdom and insight to plant as seeds for a more gratifying future.
The best and safest thing is to keep a balance in your life, acknowledge the great powers around us and in us. If you can do that, and live that way, you are really wise. ~ Euripides (484 BC - 406 BC)
SOL's Full Moon Circle ~ February 26th, 2010
The Virgo Full Moon opposite the Pisces Sun was a time to reflect upon the balance of energies between such qualities as service and compassion, craft and inspiration, analysis and intuition. The Virgo Full Moon was also a good time to plan solid foundations to support our dreams and visions and to concentrate on drawing together all the disparate, fragmented parts of our self into a coherent pattern.
During our full moon ritual we invoked Vesta, the Roman Goddess of the hearth and home and her Vestal Virgins. Vesta is the guardian of the eternal flame of the soul and legend has it that on March 1st, each year, her priestesses conducted a special ritual to extinguish the fire and then relight it. With the timing of the full moon to coincide with this auspicious date it was an excellent time to draw our attention to that which is of true importance, igniting and burning away all which is of no consequence in order that we can attain a clear picture of our true creative purpose.
The God Vulcan on this night became the guardian of the Fire quarter and the sacrificial God. Vulcan is the only God in mythology definitively identified as being ugly, and is said to be the manufacturer of art, arms and armour using a volcano as his forge. His role in the proceeding was to act as the forger of the eternal flame, and to assist each person in the circle to rise above their limitations and to accept the offerings that each person purges into the sacrificial flame.
Our meditation for the evening concentrated on calling into ourselves the energies of the upperworld and the underworld with each person encompassing the position of the middle world. By connecting with the upperworld and underworld, we were essentially recreating our own cosmology while deepening our spiritual understanding of the other worlds. Standing in between worlds with one foot in the upper and one in the lower, we each faced Vulcan & Vesta in their eternal glory, asking them to assist us with the ability to burn away all that no longer serves a purpose in our life. At the end of the meditation Vulcan gave us a gift of a sword to help cut away what was unnecessary in our life. Vesta's gift was the eternal flame to spark the inspiration in our life. This gift was placed within our heart.
After the meditation each person wrote down things that corresponded to the physical, emotional and spiritual self that they wanted to sacrifice in order to bring about a brighter creative future. The piece of paper was divided into 3 sections and then sacrificed in the sacrificial flame which was guarded by the great God Vulcan.
We all shared our experiences and then we thanked Vesta, Vulcan and the Vestal Virgins for their presence and guidance, the circle was closed, the residual energy was then grounded back into the earth and forwarded to individuals for healing.
More information regarding this circle and past circles can be found in our Book Of Shadows. Our next Full Moon Circle will be held near Engadine on Friday, March 26th. Please contact us for further details if you would like to attend.
Vesta Meditation - a personal experience
I felt the cool air on my skin as a white, swirling mist completely surrounded my body. I was then guided to imagine the powers of the underworld being available to me, deep beneath the surface of the earth, for spiritual taproots to drink up as they undulate across the earth to seep through my feet. The energy spiraled up through my body like a calming, healing and gentle wave of water from the earth's sacred wells and rivers, holding the potential for rejuvenation and transformation.
I lifted up my hands, fingers outstretched, to the sky - the upper world - where I could feel the heat of the sun and the stars shooting through my body in a second wave of energy. I felt the connection with both worlds and now stood with one foot in each.
A vision of a stone column started to take shape in front of me. The column was upside down, which was at first quite puzzling until I realised that I was looking at its reflection in the water which had now also appeared in front of me and had begun to ripple and transform from a small pond into a great ocean. The vision grew to reveal the column looking very much like an ancient Greek or maybe Roman column. The main body of the column was plain rather than fluted and the cap looked like a cross between the Greek "Ionic" and "Corinthian" styles. The way the cap flared out from the top of the column reminded me of the letter "V". A crescent moon appeared under the cap, also reflected in the water below. The column had no visible base as the top image blended with its watery reflection at a horizon, over which there was an image of the full moon.
I felt that this symbolism represented the upper and lower worlds with the moon in the middle world - a part of both worlds, yet separate, as it had no reflection. The two crescent moons were shown either side of the full moon, in the orientation seen in the southern hemisphere for the maiden, mother and crone and I believe the column represented the masculine aspect of deity.
Vesta and Vulcan appeared and I sought their guidance on some personal issues. Vulcan gave me a sword with a highly polished golden blade and a silver hilt. The guard was engraved but I was unable to read it, the hand grip was tightly wound with fine silver wire, and the pommel was a circle of silver enclosing a smaller, circular gold centre piece. There were no jewels on this sword, only silver and gold. These two metals could be symbolic of the sun and the moon, day and night, masculine and feminine, perhaps even the upper and lower worlds and the blending or overlap of the two. I graciously and thankfully accepted Vulcan's gift.
Vesta's gift to me was the eternal flame to spark the inspiration in my life. She slowly walked towards me, holding out the flame in her hands. As she approached I could see that the flame was contained in an open-topped, clear glass bowl, but as she grew closer and placed the flame inside my heart the glass bowl dissolved, leaving the flame held only by her hands. I watched, quizzically as her hands disappeared inside my chest for an instant then were withdrawn empty. The flame in my heart felt warm and comforting and I was very reluctant to leave the meditation once we were called back to the reality of our mundane surroundings.
Mabon - Wheel of the Year
The Northern and Southern Hemisphere receives the same amount of light and dark only twice a year, because the earth is tilted at right angle to the sun. Autumn equinox is one of these times. The Equinox (in latin meaning equal night) takes place on or near March 21st (southern) or September 21st (northern). If the world was flat, as many believe it still is, it would turn on its axis and we'd all fall off (author's personal comment).
This is a time of the second harvest to celebrate the gifts of the earth. The main theme is life, death and rebirth.
The ancients celebrated a full barn with crops and that the family and friends were all safe and well. It is also a time of balance, a balance of what we have and what we will have or have not in the future. Honour both the darkness and the light in our lives. A time for focusing on life, death and rebirth, a time to consider where we are and where we need to be.
This is the time of the Crone and her consort as he prepares for death and rebirth. She carries the sickle and scythe and is preparing to reap what has been sown. The earth dies a little each day; we embrace this descent into the darkness before we can truly appreciate the light and warmth when it returns.
The Druids call this celebration Mea'n Fo'mhair and honour the Green Man the god of the forest. The Norse call it the Winter Finding, which runs until October 15th, which is the Norse New Year. The Ancient Mayans observed September 21st as a special time in their calendar. In Japan there is a six day celebration around the Equinox. The Welsh make up Corn Dollies and hang them around their house, hoping for a good month. Other names for Mabon include: The Second Harvest Festival, the Wine Harvest and the Feast of Avalon.
The burning of a large wicker figure around this time was common for the Druids. The charge that the Druids made human sacrifices was first made by Julius Caesar and has been restated many times by historians. But their information is from reading Caesar's notes, no evidence to support these claims has ever been found.
Colours: look to the trees, orange and red with a brown background.
Astrological sign of Libra, the scales of the Libran are the direct link to harvest time.
The farmers brought their crops into town for sale, which were weighed and they were paid in gold.
This is a time for drawing your family and friends close. It is a time to reflect on the old and plan for the future. To honour both the dark and the light side, they are both equal, none stronger than the other. Pay homage to your dark side as well as your light.
Witchcraft & Wicca - Issue 17 - Rhys Chisnall
& me :-)
Image from : http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/maboncrafts/ss/MabonIncense.htm
Australian Autumn Flower ~ Crowea
by Janine Donnellan
Crowea is a genus of small evergreen shrubs in the family Rutaceae. They are native to Australia, where they occur in Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia. Crowea are related to Boronia and require similar growing conditions, they are named after James Crowe, an English botanist. These plants require humus rich moist soil, in a well drained partly shaded to sunny position with protection from wind.
The varieties are Crowea salinga, Crowea angustifolia and Crowea exalata and their star shaped flowers are lightly scented with five petals and can range in colour from white through to red, but are predominantly found in purple or pink. Crowea tend to flower over an extended period, Summer through to Autumn.
Crowea Bush Flower Essence
- peace and calm
- balances and centres the individual
- clarity of one's feelings
- continual worrying
- a sense of being "not quite right"
This essence is ideal for people who are feeling 'not quite right' with themselves and are just a little out of balance. An excellent essence for worry and distress and for people who are not sure of what it is they are feeling. This flower has five petals with a prominent raised centre. Five in numerology relates to the emotional centre and the integration of emotions and can give one a liberating sense of freedom.
Crowea is said to help people feel calmer, more centred and more peaceful. It is also said to have a general "balancing" effect on the body and feelings in a way that is similar to a treatment of kinesiology.
I release all my worries and distress
My thoughts are calm and peaceful now
Environmental and Electromagnetic Pollution
With the amount of chemicals present in our foods, the air, the wide variety of products we use daily, the build up of toxicity is increasing as well as our sensitivity to them.
Ian White (founder of the Australian Bush Flower Essences) has created a combination essence, including Bush Fuchsia, Crowea, Fringed Violet, Mulla Mulla, Paw Paw and Waratah, to protect against and clear the body of the side effects of electromagnetic pollution. This addresses the worrying effect on our immune and nervous systems from the over exposure to radiation, especially on our children who spend their days either texting or emailing their friends, sitting in front of the TV, playing video games, or surfing the net.
As part of The Green Cross Radiation Rescue Program, a special study, using the Combination, was conducted by the specialist medical team in Balarus, near to Chernobyl. This was designed specifically for children severely contaminated with high levels of accumulated radioactivity as a direct result of the fall out from the Chernobyl disaster 20 yrs ago.
Their results were astounding. After only 2 weeks of taking this combination, those children, who had the highest levels of radiation in their bodies, found that the radiation was reduced by 43%. Research continues to discover just what this combination is capable of!
Shamanism - Shadow Totems
The shadow totem is an animal that challenges us somehow. They might be animals we confront regularly like spiders or fleas. Sometimes it's more difficult, it's an animal that's easy to avoid because it might only be at the zoo, or in books.
It is an animal we fear and/or dislike. We experience an irrational feeling of distaste or revulsion towards it. It is an animal that we might kill, or avoid, or turn off when we see it on television, and it is an animal that can feature in our nightmares or that may even have attacked us in the past.
We fear these animals because they teach us the lessons that we don't want to learn, because we fear what we might lose in the process and even what we may gain. We may fear what the animal may tell us about ourselves, often they force us to confront harsh truths about ourselves. What we dislike most about the animal, may be what we dislike most in ourselves, or it might represent something that happened to us, or is happening to us, that feels harmful and unpleasant. In extreme cases, we can develop debilitating phobias of these animals.
Some common shadow energies:
Funnel Web Spider - Click on image for larger view
(Original artwork by Ravenari)
- Raven / Crow
There are of course a lot of others!
Working with shadow totems can be a challenge. Some people like fast results in their spirituality, the idea of a long and protracted journey of hard work with little results can be frustrating to say the least. But with shadow animals it is important to understand that reconciling your shadow self, even aspects of your shadow self, with your conscious self can be a difficult and ongoing process.
Shark - Click on image for larger view
(Original artwork by Ravenari)
Of course the process might also be very fast! You might have a lightning bolt of realisation and suddenly go, "Yes! I do hate that about myself, and I fear this, and I'm going to do *this* to fix it, why did I never figure that out before?" But most of the time this process is slow and ongoing, and entirely worth it and rewarding in the end.
Don't force the process, sometimes you will not be ready at all, and you will know when it happens. Be patient with yourself. Respect and understand yourself and your spiritual journey as you are learning to respect and understand your shadow energies.
Visualisation to your Shadow Animal
1. Find a quite place that isn't too bright, and slow your breathing down. Focus on breathing deeply into your gut, and also breathing out slowly. Focus on this and relaxing your body, particularly your shoulders, feet, forehead and muscles. Some people find it helps to imagine stress leaving them on each exhale.
2. Imagine that you are in a clearing. You can feel sunlight on your skin In this clearing there is a black bowl of water. You sit in front of it. You look down and see stones with Y and N carved onto them. You ask the bowl, "Am I ready to meet a shadow totem?"
3. If you receive an 'N', simply recharge your body in the clearing and then quietly leave. If you receive a 'Y' stand and see a path open up in your clearing. It may be a shadowy path, a bright path, fringed with trees or something else.
4. Before you walk down the path, imagine a gentle, warm and comforting light come and fall around you like a cloak. It protects all of you, and reminds you that you cannot be seriously harmed or hurt in your visualisation, and that you are connected to the divine. If you like, ask for the protection from particular deities or other animals that might help you.
Snake - Click on image for larger view
(Original artwork by Ravenari)
5. Walk down the path that appeared into another clearing. Sit down and patiently wait, respectfully, for the shadow animal to appear.
6. When it appears, school any irrational responses as best as you can and remember to be respectful. Ask it any questions you may have, or wait for it to speak to you. You may consider questions like, "Why do I fear you?", "What do you have to teach me?", "Will you help me overcome my dislike of you?" etc. The animal may reply in the language you speak, or it may reply in an obscure way through body language, smell, sound or something else. Be patient, and if you are confused, don't be afraid to ask for clarity.
7. Take your time with the animal, and then once you feel finished, or you feel the animal has 'finished' with you, respectfully and humbly thank it for its presence.
8. Walk away from the clearing, back into the clearing with the bowl. Sit down facing away from the path, and focus on your breathing, and the feel of your surroundings.
9. When you feel ready, open your eyes and write down your experiences and thoughts, and any questions you might have for later.
10. You can do this meditation whenever you want, your animal/s might not always be willing to meet with you though. Be patient and remember that time is not your enemy, it's better to be patient than to rush.
Click on the banner below to go to Ravenari's website...
Dog Feathers ...a Wand with a Difference!
I decided to make myself a small wand - a ritual tool to represent the element of Air - using a stick from one of the large Angophora trees in the bush across the road from my house. Many people associate Wands with Fire and Swords with Air. However, the elemental correspondences I use for both ritual tools and the Tarot associate Wands with east and the element of Air, and Swords with north and the element of Fire. This makes more sense to me than the opposite since Wands are primarily a mental ritual tool and Swords are an energy or action tool.
I selected four suitable sticks from the ground at the base of a tree then took them home to start stripping the bark and make my final choice of which one to use. As it turned out, the first stick I had picked up was actually the easiest to strip back and tidy up, so it was 'the one'. The overall length of the stick is about 30cm. This is quite a bit shorter than the 'elbow to tip of middle finger' measurement traditionally used to determine the length of a wand, but better suited to fit in my bag of ritual tools I take to SOL gatherings. I prepared the stick with a knife and sandpaper, removing the very rough bits, then looked at it for a while hoping for inspiration to come on how to decorate it. The small end of the stick looked a bit like a dog snout so I decided to work with that idea. At first I thought I'd rather turn it into a dragon but the more I whittled away at the wood the more dog-like it became so, 'Dog' it was.
Although Dog is my totem animal it seemed a little odd at first to be associating Dog with my wand and the element of Air, but after comparing the two I realized it was not such a stretch of the imagination after all. Dog as a totem animal is usually associated with attributes such as guidance, teaching, protection, loyalty, vigilance and intelligence. These attributes do actually tie in quite well with some of the many correspondences associated with Air. For example: the focus of Air is intellect - dogs are very intelligent and also relate well to other qualities of Air such as reasoning and communication. The senses associated with Air are smell, hearing and voice; we all know that the senses of smell and hearing are especially well developed in dogs (allowing them to be so vigilant) and their voice (barking) is one of their many methods of communication, although 'vocal' dogs are not always appreciated in a suburban environment.
I painted the 'dog end' of the stick to look like my Border Collie, Shelby. 'He' needed ears so I searched through a packet of polished gemstone chips until I found two suitably shaped black pieces (possibly onyx, obsidian or tourmaline) and glued them to either side of the wand/dog's head. The head is only about 1 cm wide by 2.5 cm long so I found it a bit difficult to achieve the detail I wanted. At the edge of the black paint I painted a band of yellow to represent air and then added some yellow ribbon and some hair that Shelby kindly donated (he has plenty to spare!) which I thought was far more appropriate than adding feathers to the wand. After all, his hair has a very 'airy' quality about it, being very fluffy, almost 'feathery' looking. He also likes to 'fly' by jumping high into the air to catch tennis balls, and he loves to run around the yard barking at the wind and storms. Some people have even called him air-headed but I know my baby boy is really quite brilliant!
After I'd added the 'dog feathers' (which I made by tying the cut end of each small bunch of hair with cotton thread and then dipping it in glue and attaching the ribbon and 'silver' bead while the glue was still wet) I wound copper wire around the wand (copper and silver are often associated with Air) and then applied some clear lacquer. The 'Shelby stick', as my family were calling it, was ritually cleansed and consecrated and, voila! ...my new wand was born.
Crystals need to be cleansed when you buy them, after wearing or using them for healing. Always cleanse jewellery with or without crystal in setting. Energies will be present from the previous owner, environment or others handling it.
Ways to cleanse your crystals
Many crystal are sensitive to light, heat and water. Check before deciding on a cleansing method. Never use chemicals, ultrasonic cleaners, or steamers. Crystals have inclusions and faults, using harsh cleaning methods may damage them, sometimes beyond repair.
By cleansing, the intention is to clear away patterns of energy that may be undesirable or inappropriate to you while at the same time attuning to the crystal's energy to your own.
Running Water - Simply hold your crystal under cold running water, such as an ordinary tap or leave it out in the rain. Cleanse in a river, creek or natural spring where water is flowing.
Resonating Sound - Purify your crystal with the resonating sound of a bell you love. You can cleanse a roomful of crystal by ringing the bell above them, but the best way is to purify crystal one at a time.
Smudging - Burn a smudge or incense stick of dried herbs (sage, cedar, sandalwood or frankincense) and waving the smoke over and through the crystal. A feather can be used to fan the smoke. You can use smudging to purify a roomful of crystal.
Sea Salt - Soak crystal in a non-metallic container filled with water to which some purifying sea salt or crab apple Bach Flower Remedy has been added. Clean sea water is another option. If prefered lay crystals in a bed of Rock or Sea Salt (do not add water). Make sure that every speck of salt is brushed or rinsed off afterwards, as it can damage the crystal.
Earth Burial - The earth has a natural, magnetic quality which will draw off negativity. Bury them in a pot or in your garden, place a marker so that you are able to uncover them later. It is recommended to leave for two or three days.
The list of stones that should not be cleaned in the salt and water soaking method:
Amber, Turquoise, Imperial Topaz, Red Coral, Fire Opal, Moonstone, Opal, all Calcites including Blue Calcite, Green Calcite, Orange Calcite, Angelite, Azurite, Kyanite and Kunzite or any raw or rough stone.
Any stone with hardness under 7 should not be cleaned in salt water. If you are not sure of the hardness of the stone use another method of cleaning.
Malachite should be cleaned by putting it under running water and dried in the sun. Never have salt close to Malachite. Malachite is toxic and should only be used in polished form.
Some healing stones such as Calcite, Selenite, and Dioptase will crumble or cleave on contact with water. With these stones, use incense for cleansing.
Citrine, Kyanite, and Azeztulite are self-cleaning.
After the stones are cleansed and dry, they are ready for use. If the stones are for ritual use, wrap them in a clean cloth of natural material, such as cotton, silk or wool. Keep them in a safe place where they will not be handled or touched by other people.
Ways to Charge your Crystals
Sunlight - Firstly rinse under running water then place outside in the sun. Take care, some stones fade in the direct sunlight, and direct sun rays may start a fire.
Moonlight - Rinse under water and place in direct moonlight. Full Moon is best; leave it out to be bathed by the energy of the moon.
Crystal Cluster and Geodes
- Amethyst is said to transmute lower energies into the higher frequencies of both the spiritual and ethereal worlds, thereby transforming whatever is placed on it.
- Clear or Smoky Quartz cluster and Carnelian cleanse other crystals, and are especially useful for delicate and friable stones, but may need cleaning themselves afterwards.
- Clear Quartz clusters will assist your stone on building up its healing energies.
Meditation/ Thought Visualisation - You can use a simple meditation to visualise all negative energies being cleared and cleansed from your crystal. With each breath out imagine a beam of light being drawn down into and through the crystal. You can hold the crystal in your hands; place in third eye position (chakra) or as appropriate to you. This method can be used to cleanse, recharge and activate crystal.
Activate and Programme Your Crystal
Making a spiritual connection with your crystal helps to activate it, to awaken its consciousness. Visualize the pathways of energy flowing into your crystal, then, with you intention focused on activation, call upon higher-dimensional entities to activate your crystal.
Vortices, power points, sacred locations and special events such as lunar or solar eclipses, or spiritual gatherings, help to activate new levels of light in your crystal's energy matrix.
Before programming a crystal, it is usual to dedicate its energies to the highest good of all. While holding the crystal in your hands visualise light surrounding it, then formulate your intention for the stone. Be specific about how you want to use it because focused intention is part of the process.
When you have formulated your programme, attune to the crystal; check out that this is exactly the right crystal for the purpose; the crystal will feel lifeless if it is not.
When you are totally in tune, say out loud: "I programme this crystal for/to...[state your purpose]", then wear the crystal, position on your body as appropriate, place it where you will see it frequently or keep it in your pocket to remind you. You can also add it to your water bottle (elixir).
Gem Shows and Lapidary Clubs
Gem shows hosted by local lapidary clubs are often a good place to purchase crystals, either rough or polished. Click here for a list of 2010 gem shows in Sydney and surrounding areas of eastern NSW.
Crystal workbook, Sheril Berkovitch
The Book of Crystal, a practical guide to the beauty and healing influence of crystals and gemstones, Lansdowne
The Crystal Bible, Judy hall
Photos by Jenwytch from http://spheresoflight.com.au/index.php?page=treasures
Herbs ~ Thistle
As any modern gardener will tell you, thistles are a bloody nuisance. I've been told they're sharp, spiky and down right ugly, and that was being polite. I've also been told that you must get them young or you'll never be rid of them. And yet you can see why the Scots have it as a national symbol, it does have a harsh beauty about it, just like the Scottish highlands.
"It is not seen enough, you should wear it in your cap.
By my troth, I am sick.
Get you some of this distilled Carduus Benedictus, and lay it to your heart: it is the only thing for a qualm.
There thou prickest her with a thistle."
"Much Ado About Nothing" by William Shakespeare
Botanical Family: Asteraceae
Planetary associations: Mars
Zodiac associations: Aries
Magickal classifications: Magickal Herbe, Religious Herbe
Invocatory: Thor, Minerva, Pan
Tarot: Emperor Card, Page Cards of Any Suit
Part Used: roots & leaves
Synonyms: Cotton Thistle, Blessed Thistle, Holy Thistle, Spotted Thistle, Woolly Thistle, Ground Thistle, Dwarf May Thistle, Way Thistle, Lady's Thistle etc.
Thistle is the common name of a group of flowering plants characterised by leaves with sharp prickles on the margins. It is the old English name - essentially the same in all kindred languages - for a large family of plants occurring chiefly in Europe, Africa, The Canary Islands, Caucasus, Australia and Asia, arranged under the botanical groups Carduus, Carlina, Carbenia, Cirsium, Cnicus and Onopordum (sorry if I missed any). Prickles often occur all over the plant - on surfaces such as those of the stem and flat parts of leaves. These are an adaptation that protects the plant against animals from feeding on them.
In the language of flowers, the thistle (like the burr) is an ancient Celtic symbol of nobility of character as well as of birth, for the wounding or provocation of a thistle yields punishment. For this reason the thistle is the symbol of the Order of the Thistle, a high chivalric order of Scotland.
In agriculture the Thistle is the recognized sign of untidiness and neglect, being found not so much in barren ground, as in good ground not properly cared for. It has always been a plant of ill repute among us; Shakespeare classes 'rough Thistles' with 'hateful Docks,' and further back in history we read of the Thistle representing part of the primeval curse on the earth in general, and on man in particular, for - 'Thorns also and Thistles shall it bring forth to thee' - Genesis 3:18.
Among the thirteen noxious weeds enumerated in a proposed Bill in the UK, the name of Thistle is naturally to be found. And yet in medicine Thistles are far from useless. When beaten up or crushed in a mill to destroy the prickles, the leaves of all Thistles have proved excellent food for cattle and horses. This kind of fodder was formerly used to a great extent in Scotland before the introduction of special green crops for the purpose. The young stems of many of the Thistles are also edible, and the seeds of all the species yield a good oil by expression.
Two or three of the UK species are handsome enough to be worthy of a place in gardens. Some species which flourish in hotter and drier climates than the UK, such as the handsome Yellow Thistles of the south of Europe, Scolymus, are cultivated for that purpose, and have a classical interest, being mentioned by Hesiod as the flower of summer. This striking plant, crowned with its golden flowers, is abundant throughout Sicily. The Fish-bone Thistle (Chamaepeuce diacantha), from Syria, is also a very handsome plant. A grand Scarlet Thistle from Mexico (Erythrolena conspicua) was grown in England some fifty years ago, but is now never seen.
A thistle found in Australia, Scotch Thistle, is found from the NSW border all the way along the coast to Adelaide. It originated from Europe, western and central Asia and Asia Minor regions.
Some Thistles, such as the Musk Thistle, are very attractive to bees, hoverflies and butterflies, and are a food plant for the caterpillars of many Lepidoptera species.
The old lore regarding the thistle is inconsistent with its modern magickal use. Perhaps running skyclad through the fields after being evicted from the Garden of Eden provided some sharp reminders of the nature of reality.
The Thistle represents the virtue of endurance and can be used Magickally to strengthen one's ability to survive periods of stress, difficulty, or in herbal terms, to weather the storms of life. Thistles are sometimes used at the Autumn Equinox to provide the Magick of survival to last throughout the fierce winter. In olden times Thistle was used as a hex breaker.
Thistles have been used in modern times in animal magick to provide healing and survival for the animals, both feral and domestic. A ritual of healing may be done for an animal, bringing it within a Circle which has a thistle bloom placed at each of the four directions.
In Ol' England, wizards would select the tallest thistle to make into a magick wand or a "walking stick." Many thistles are used, but the three best known are Blessed Thistle (Holy Thistle), Teasel, and Milk Thistle.
Thistle is a herb of protection and vitality. A bowlful placed in a room strengthens the spirits and renews vitality. One may be carried for added strength and energy. They offer protection when grown in the garden or carried in the pocket. Throwing them into a fire will deflect lightning away from your home. Wearing a garment made from thistle will break any spell. Poppets are also stuffed with thistle to break spells. Use in healing spells and for depression. It is said that when a man carries one he becomes a better lover. A method of calling spirits is to boil some thistle. After removing it from the heat, be seated next to the bowl and begin meditating. As the steam rises, so will your questions and their answers will be heard.
There is also a reference to Thistle (Holy) in The Use of Colour in Magick. It is listed in PLANT/HERBS for the colour red.
Blessed Thistle can be used to strengthen the heart, and is useful in all remedies for lung, kidney, and liver problems. It is also useful as a brain food for stimulating the memory. A cup of tea per day will help chronic headaches; it is also viewed as having many beneficial holistic qualities, including being of use in the treatment of loss of appetite and indigestion. Blessed Thistle is also sometimes used as a treatment for the early stages of fever and inflammatory infections. It is also to aid in breaking up colds and headaches, and in the treatment of wounds and skin abrasions.
It is used in remedies for menopause and for menstrual cramping. Often used by lactating women to stimulate blood flow to the mammary glands and increases the flow of milk.
Be very careful of using the herb in large quantities because it can induce vomiting.
a compendium of HERBAL MAGICK by Paul Beyerl, 1998
P.S. I'll think differently of any thistle that I happen to see from now on, that is if I can find any.
The Tales of Little Purple ~ Part 4
One day as a great treat
Uncle George decided to take Little Purple
Out to the mouth of the Dragon's Cavern
Out to the big wide world so large
So he took Little Purple
Out to that big wide mouth so large
And what do you think would happen
With this mighty dragon so little
Why Little Purple took one look
At this big wide world so large
And his little heart quaked and shaked
At a site so huge
He quickly flew into the shelter
Of Uncle George's wings
And hid his head in fright
At what a terrifying site.
He had hidden himself so well
Within these old wings so large
That it took Uncle George some time
To find the very frightened Little Purple
As he pulled him out by that wretched harness
Uncle George said "now, now, Little Purple"
And patted and soothed him much
But to no avail
So he took the quivering, quaking bundle
That was Little Purple
Back inside the Dragon Caverns
His wonderful treat a failure
Illustration by Rayvensclaw
Sometimes the very best of intentions goes horribly wrong, poor Little Purple & poor Uncle George. Bye Bye from Uncle George (Little Purple was hiding under the bedcovers & wouldn't come out to tell this story).
Click on the word-search image to download a printable version of the Mabon Word-search.
Issue 25 - AUTUMN, MARCH 2010
SPHERES OF LIGHT (SOL)
ABN 46 385 794 818
We are based in Australia, in the Sydney-Illawarra area of NSW.
More about us...
For general inquiries...
Phone Janine on 0408 025 268
In addition to our regular Full Moon Circles we also run workshops and classes which are highly interactive and experiential, focusing on participation and engagement of participants. If you want to keep abreast of SOL's circles, gatherings, workshops and activities please click on the banner below to check out our Events Calendar.
SOuL Searchers is Spheres of Light's paranormal investigations subgroup. One of the many things you will find unique about the SOuL Searchers team, unlike the majority of other paranormal investigators, is that we undertake our investigations from a shamanic perspective.
The Spheres Of Light Holistic Centre has within its members practitioners who can provide Spiritual Healing in a variety of natural healing modalities. Each modality is designed to heal all levels of the body; the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual bodies. Working with ancient universal energies, healing works to restore balance, bring inner harmony and peace, to re-energise the body, to stimulate the body's own immune system and so aid recovery, as well as inducing deep relaxation. Healing is excellent for relieving modern day stresses and providing support during difficult times in your life.
If you want to know about current topics check out the forum pages. This is a place where you can discuss ideas and catch up on general news. So if you want to participate please become a member as we would love to hear from you.
... plus much, much more!
The National Pagan Directory is a Spheres Of Light initiative to help Australian Pagans connect with each other in their local area. It is a FREE listing & provides links to information about covens, groups, classes, workshops, retreats & other special Pagan events, plus Aussie Pagan businesses & services. If you would like your coven, group, regular meet-up or special event to be listed in the NPD please send us your details. We also invite Celebrants in the Pagan community to promote their services in the NPD. For further information & contact details click on the banner above.
Spheres Of Light holds regular Full Moon Circles near Engadine (Southern Sydney, Australia) on the Friday before each Full Moon. These Full Moon gatherings are Open Circles, meaning that all Pagans are welcome to come along any time and experience a Full Moon circle with us. Details here...
Come join us for meditation in the beautiful surrounds of The Royal National Park. Our meditations will be conducted every third Sunday of the month. Please email email@example.com for times and meet up details.
SOuL Searchers Coffee Meetup in the
Royal National Park
Sunday March 21, 2010
If you are interested in the paranormal SOuL Searchers we will be holding a coffee meetup on Sunday 21st March at 11.00am at the Royal National Park kiosk at Audley. Click here for more information about SOuL Searchers Paranormal Investigations.
(Please Note: you must be over 18 years of age to attend any SOL gatherings, events, classes & workshops.)
PAGAN AND COMMUNITY EVENTS
Please email us the details of any pagan or community events, classes, workshops or regular meetings that you'd like to see promoted here in this free listing & in the National Pagan Directory.
Witches' Workshop has a new home for their practical workshops and rituals!
"48 Little Oxford Street" is an alternative arts and lifestyle centre which opened recently. Described as "an oasis for the creative soul" the 48 Little Oxford Street is a creative space for running a variety of classes and workshops. These include: Various dance forms such as Bellydance and Reggaeton; African and Shamanic drumming; Massage classes; Performance development; plus several regularly run Circles and ritual events care of WitchesWorkshop!
"Witches Workshop" will initially be running a regular Circle/classes designed to assist you with your psychic development and study of Witchcraft and Magick. Come and experience the transforming of theory into practice through their open Circle by exploring wicca/witchcraft, magick, alchemy, shamanism, trance and ritual. (Click here for details.)
48 Little Oxford Street, Darlinghurst Sydney
Arts, Health & Lifestyle: A creative centre for living and expanding your consciousness through dance, rhythm, body and soul work. Reawaken the creative and healing energy in yourself. An oasis for the creative soul.
PAN Full Moon Public Circle
March 30, 2010 at Seven Hills, Sydney (map)
Date: Tuesday March 30, 2010 at 8:30pm
PAN Inc. full moon ritual. PAN runs a public full moon ritual each month at Rotaract Hill, Seven Hills. Anyone is welcome to attend - the purpose of the ritual is to provide members of the pagan community an opportunity to celebrate the full moon together & network with friends, it is also a public ritual where those new to paganism can attend to learn more and meet like-minded others, and the rituals also help inform the general public about what pagans do and dispel misguided myths about paganism and witchcraft.
The circle is held on the top of Rotaract Hill on Terminus Road Seven Hills NSW, just next to the train station. Getting there is easy. If you take the train, the hill is less than five minutes walk (and easily visible from the station). If you drive, there is plenty of parking available both at the base of the hill and across Terminus Road. Full Moon info and contact details here.
The Autumn Retreat event is about relaxation, reflection and a connection to the elements. All activities will weave into your weekend an experience of the elements: earth, air, fire and water in a subtle, gentle way. This event is for adults 18yrs+ and is suitable for anyone on their pagan path who is looking for a retreat style weekend away.
In Shamanic terms a Power Animal is a spiritual companion that appears in animal form with its own unique nature and skills to assist you with a particular life experience. According to shamanic understanding, we each have a number of power animals that will come to us at certain times throughout our life. Each Power Animal has certain medicine powers to teach and certain knowledge to share, for each Power Animal has its own methods of overcoming the many challenges we must meet in order to evolve as spiritual beings.
The Short-beaked Echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus), also known as the Spiny Anteater because of its diet of ants and termites, is one of four living species of echidna and the only member of the genus Tachyglossus. The echidna is covered in fur and spines and has a distinctive snout and a specialized tongue, which it uses to feast on ants and termites at a great speed. Like the other extant monotremes, the Short-beaked Echidna lays eggs; the monotremes are the only group of mammals to do so.
Click on images for a larger view.
Echidnas are powerful diggers, using their clawed front paws to dig out prey and create burrows for shelter. They may rapidly dig themselves into the ground if they cannot find cover when in danger.
Echidnas feature in the animistic culture of indigenous Australians, including their visual arts and stories. The species was a totem for some groups, including the Noongar people from Western Australia. Many groups have myths about the animal; one myth explains that it was created when a group of hungry young men went hunting at night and stumbled across a wombat. They threw spears at the wombat, but lost sight of it in the darkness. The wombat adapted the spears for its own defense and turned into an echidna.
My recent encounter with the echidna occurred in the reserve in front of my house. My husband is a member of the local Bush Care group and they were clearing away weeds at the time when someone spotted the Echidna. I quickly grabbed my camera and found the echidna in the hollow of a tree, curled up in a tight ball with just his black nose sticking out. I reached out to touch the echidna and gently stroked his spines. This was the closest I had been to this fascinating creature, although I occasionally see one scavenging in my backyard.
Echidna is a symbol of protection, only allowing those it trusts and wants to venture within its circle of friendship. The echidna's spines represent the difference between aggression and assertiveness, shunning assistance and not needing support, being approachable and unapproachable at will and knowing when to withdraw in self-protection. The echidna with its powerful ability to dig out prey and create shelters indicates that it can uncover hidden aspects of one's psyche and can get to the heart of the matter with speed. As a monotreme and thus a paradoxical creature, echidna teaches us also the importance of guarding against full disclosure.
Use at least three different types and colours of block-shaped cheese.
Cranberry Relish for accompaniment.
Use a cheese slicer to make even slices (1/8" to 1/4" thick). Using a few seasoned cheeses will give the appearance of changing leaves. To make leaves of various sizes, use cheese-leaf cutters (available in cookware and hardware stores). In the centre of a round cheese board, place a bowl of cranberry relish (available in most grocery stores). Place leaves in a ring around the bowl. Repeat layering with remaining leaves. Cover with plastic wrap and store in refrigerator until serving time. Use leftover cheese leaves for snacks, casseroles, pizzas and salads.
For the perfect accompaniment to your Autumn festive feast, whip up this chunky cranberry relish. Makes 1 1/2 cups
2 tsp olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
2cm-piece fresh ginger, peeled, cut into thin matchsticks
170g pkt craisins (dried cranberries)
100g (1/2 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
125ml (1/2 cup) red wine
125ml (1/2 cup) water
2 tbs red wine vinegar
1 dried bay leaf
a pinch of ground cinnamon
Heat oil in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add onion and ginger. Cook for 5 minutes or until soft. Add craisins, sugar, wine, water, vinegar, bay leaf and cinnamon. Stir to combine. Increase heat to medium-low. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the craisins are soft and the mixture thickens. Set aside to cool. Transfer the relish to an airtight container. Store in the fridge for up to one week.
Mabon Wine Moon Cider
4 cups apple cider
1/2 tsp. whole cloves
4 cups grape juice additional cinnamon sticks
2 cinnamon sticks for cups, 6 inches long
1 tsp allspice
In a 4-quart saucepan, heat cider and grape juice. Add cinnamon, allspice and cloves. Bring just to boiling. Lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Serve with ladle from a cauldron. Makes 8 cups.
Would you like to help sponsor our newsletter and advertise your pagan-friendly business in Axis Mundi? Click on the banner above
for more details.
14th of each month
Publication Date approx. 20th/21st
Submissions to this newsletter are open to all pagans and pagan organisations; let us showcase your work. Submit your articles, poetry, book reviews, essays and opinions, hints and tips, information pieces and artwork. All contributors whose work is included in our newsletter receive full credit, and are linked to their website if desired.
Submitting your work for consideration is easy. Just send an inquiry or the completed work to us. We give every submission careful consideration.
More info here...
Become a "Fan" and keep up to date with SOL's activities via Facebook...