From the Editor...
Death Becomes Us
Samhain has arrived this year with mixed blessings, death has come knocking and in the space of a couple of weeks I have attended two funerals; the first one for a mother of a dear friend and this week for a beloved Uncle. On the positive side there have been two births during the month, a reminder that life and death are the two poles around which we alternate over and over again.
Perhaps the hardest of all facts to face up to in this life is that sooner or later one's physical and mental state will eventually give way to decay, disease and death. All creation is subject to this dreaded process and everything about us is dying by degrees - disintegrating before our very eyes.
We take these revolving doorways of life for granted, but they mark the boundaries that make each life experience unique and special. Our lives unfold in stages, allowing us time to blossom into our full potential. Unfortunately we have the illusion of a gradual transition between one phase and the next, yet the course of our life is never linear. Each cycle in life creeps up on us and we look in the mirror each day not noticing the growth of wrinkles, then, as if by magic, the veil suddenly lifts and one day we face reality and are shocked. Today was my moment of truth, as I was applying my make-up on the train I suddenly realized that I was looking my age.
Truth is the only armour which can really protect us from ourselves; if we can honestly assess our lives in relation to the eternal rhythms and patterns of nature then there is no real harm, we can console ourselves that in fact we are sharing a common experience with all manifested beings.
As we now energetically and spiritually move into the colder months, we are reminded that the approaching winter is a time of dormancy; a time to reflect on the aspects of our life that no longer serve our highest good, a time to release that which holds us back from reaching our potential, and it is also a time of preparing for our next transformation. As we progress through those dark aspects of self, may we all acknowledge the voices from our shadow that lies hidden in our emotions and our soul? May we apply the alchemy of transformation by honouring our essential self and appreciating what truly is uniquely special and sacred in our lives and in our hearts.
There is no death of anything except in appearance; and so, also, there is no birth of anything except in appearance. That which passes over from essence into nature seems to be birth, and that which passes over from nature into essence seems, in like manner, to be death; though nothing really is originated, and nothing ever perishes; but only now comes into sight, and now vanishes. It appears by reason of the density of matter, and disappears by reason of the tenuity of essence; but is always the same, differing only in motion and condition. ~ Apollonius
SOL's Full Moon Circle ~ April 23rd, 2010
by Amethyst and Rayvensclaw
You know how your life is supposed to flash before your eyes just as you are dying? Well that was the basis for the meditation for this ritual which I've had since before Samhain last year. Actually I wanted to use it then, but someone else did that year's ritual, so I put it on the backburner. Well actually I had two meditations I could have used, but as it was for an open circle, this was the most appropriate option.
As this time of year is a turbulent time and there were going to be plenty of spirits around, and not all of them nice, the Quarters needed to reflect that kind of energy. The God and Goddess were easily chosen, Merlin as Rayvensclaw works well with him and Hecate as I work well with her. We each wrote our own words that we would say to call in Merlin and Hecate, not the usual occurrence.
Janine had used the music for a previous Dark Moon and she didn't mind me using it for this one. We had already decided who was going to smudge everyone and that we were going to cast the circle together, me starting on one side verbalising and Rayvensclaw starting opposite beating his drum to a heartbeat rhythm; also we had decided that we would both read the meditation, each of us doing separate parts. We weren't quite sure how this would go with the others, because we hadn't heard or done this type of thing before but it felt right for the ritual and we thought it went quite well. Now who to call in the Quarters? We were still discussing this on the journey to circle and we didn't decide till we got there.
My (Amethyst) experience with this meditation was actually more profound than I had thought it would be. Going into the barrow to die I distinctly felt old and tired, and during the meditation I could recall the first touch of my children's hands after they were born (they are 29 and 25 respectively now) which was a great pleasure. Also when I was leaving the barrow I felt young and strong. One of my kinfolk greeted me holding onto a roast leg of some animal that he was eating, I found that quite amusing.
My (Rayvensclaw) experiences with this meditation was the tender feel of a loving kiss from Mother and then my partner, I also felt our daughter's first touch at the hospital at her birth. And the feeling of also having a son after our daughter.
Rayvensclaw and Amethyst then walked around the circle drumming a heartbeat with the others in the circle following with their drums or clapping to the beat, the drumming progressed faster and faster until stopping. Upon completion we directed our raised energy towards the great Mother.
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, May 28th. Please contact us for further details if you would like to attend.
Samhain, April 30 - May 1
During this time of the year the northern hemisphere is celebrating Beltaine, but in the real world (Australia) it is Samhain, pronounced "Sow-In". The name Samhain is Irish Gaelic in origin and other names for this Sabbat include All Hallows Eve, Halloween and (Old) Hallowmas. It signified the end of summer and the coming of the barren winter. In the northern hemisphere they celebrate Samhain on 31st October or the start of November. It is a time for trick or treating and pumpkins with candles. Note: Before pumpkins were available from the New World, the Celts would have used hollowed out turnips (and also had the misfortune of eating the insides).
Lore: The God "dies" on Samhain. He leaves this realm of existence and returns to the Summerland to be recycled and cleansed in the cauldron of the Goddess. The veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead is thinner than usual at this time of year, a reminder that the two realms are not as separate as one would believe.
Samhain is the "dark" time where the shadow and wiser aspects of the "self" are brought out into the open and examined. It is a time for looking into the future and the past, of seeing time as cyclical, of releasing the stagnant energy that has built up over the year. Samhain is an appropriate time for banishing and sorting out any unfinished business. It is a time to remember, to study, to meditate, and to let go.
Activities: Samhain is a time where we come to terms with death, where we honour and remember those who have passed over into the Summerland. Many people use Samhain to honour those dearly departed by inviting them to take part in the celebrationary feasts. Sometimes people take part in scrying and other forms of divination to enable them to see future events. Sewing and handicrafts are also popular, as people prepare their gifts for Yule.
Some people use this as a time to collect the final information for large projects that are culminating. This is also a time to identify your weaknesses, some people like to write their weaknesses on a piece of paper and then burn it in the cauldron to symbolically release them. One custom is to light a new orange candle at midnight and let it burn until sunrise for good luck. Black candles are used to ward off negative energies. Another custom is to stand in front of a mirror, look into your own eyes, and make a secret wish. Yet another custom, of course, is to carve a pumpkin or turnip and light a candle inside. Candles were and are still burned at each window to guide friendly spirits home and also to keep away the unfriendly ones. Other spiritually related activities to do on Samhain include past-life recall, spirit contact, meditation, astral projection (or "flying"). Wreaths can be made at this time of the year. In ancient times wreaths were found on Witches doors as a marker that a Witch lived within.
Herbs and Plants: Apples, thyme, rosemary, mugwart, allspice, catnip, deadly nightshade, mandrake, oak leaves, sage, poppies and straw. Have already mentioned turnips and pumpkins.
Colours: Orange, black, dark purple and gold.
Crystals: Aquamarine and clear quartz.
Halloween has had a complicated past. It involves various stories involving Gaelic and Cetic people; the Romans also had festivals at this time of year (Feralia) which honoured the Goddess Pomona whose symbol was the apple, even Pope Gregory IV moved All Saints Day to November the 1st.
It is important to note that is not just death that is celebrated at Samhain but also change, a change within our lives or with a situation. Change is what most people fear, but sometimes we have to change to grow and go forward. (Off my soapbox now)
Witchcraft & Wicca. Issue 17. By Rhys Chisnall
Gwyn ap Nudd
by Janine Donnellan
ad regem Eumenidium et reginam eius: Gwyn ap Nwdd qui es ultra in silvis pro amore concubine tue permitte nos venire domum"
"to the king of Spirits, and to his queen--
Gwyn ap Nudd,
you who are yonder in the forest,
for love of your mate,
permit us to enter your dwelling."
Translation from Medieval Folklore. According to a 14th century Latin manuscript , Welsh "soothsayers" would repeat this on entering a dark forest.
Gwyn ap Nudd is often portrayed as a protective Warrior-Hunter god of the native British tradition. He is celebrated as the 'Winter King' and he is represented in the night sky by the constellation that we now call Orion the Hunter. According to old Welsh writings, Gwyn ap Nudd's home was the Glastonbury Tor which is situated upon the 'Michael Line' that is positioned upon the Beltaine/Samhain alignment, the two times of the year which is significant to the Winter King. It has been discovered in recent years that upon Mid Winters Day, the sun can be seen to roll up the side of Glastonbury Tor, home of the Winter King! Gwyn is a shining bright otherworldly protective figure; a psycho pomp - a guardian, an 'escort to the grave' - protecting the dead on their way to Gwynfa ('Paradise') - interestingly Paradise Lane still runs around the foot of the Glastonbury Tor.
Gwyn ap Nudd is said to reside in Annwn which is an underground Netherworld region, it is associated with the Avalon mysteries and the Arthurian legends. This underworld netherworld is supposed to exist in a secret chamber underneath the Tor in Avalon. Its immortal inhabitants are the fair folk.
Folklore transforms Gwyn ap Nudd into the King of the Fairies and also Lord of Annwyn, a psychopomp, marshalling the departed souls into Avalon. He is also the leader of the Wild Hunt, riding through the clouds raising human shades (spirits), along with the hounds of Annwn. Along with Gwyn ap Nudd, King Arthur is the most common leader of this spectral hunt in western Britain and as late as the early twentieth century many would still swear to have heard the terrible passing of the hunters. The Cwn Annwn as they are known in Wales are in fact widespread across the UK and indeed the whole of Europe and are said to be variously white with red ears or 'black, wide-eyed and loathsome', as in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle entry for 1127 AD.
Magic of the Celtic Gods & Goddesses - Carl McColman & Kathryn Hinds
Oak, Ash & Thorn - D.J. Conway
SOuL Searchers Paranormal Investigation at Monte Cristo ~ 1st-2nd May, 2010
On the 1st May 2010 the SOuL Searchers Paranormal Investigation team headed off for a Samhain weekend at Monte Cristo, a homestead which has the notoriety of being the "most haunted house" in Australia. With the veil between the worlds being especially thin at this juncture of the year what better time could there be to conduct some serious paranormal research. Armed with cameras, handycams, and a variety of paranormal testing equipment the SOuL Searchers team departed Sydney early in the morning with great expectations and perhaps some trepidation.
Australian Autumn/Winter Flower
~ She-Oak (Casuarina)
by Janine Donnellan
She-oak male flowers
Casuarina is a genus of 17 species in the family Casuarinaceae, native to Australasia, southeastern Asia, and islands of the western Pacific Ocean. She-Oaks are common in dry scrubs and woodlands on well drained soil or rocky ground. The name Casuarina comes from the word "Cassowary" due to the likeness of the plant's thin drooping stems and leaves to the feathers of this bird.
She-Oaks are evergreen shrubs and trees growing to 35 m tall. The foliage consists of slender, much-branched green to grey-green twigs bearing minute scale-leaves in whorls of 5-20. The leaves are tiny and teeth-like, forming rings around the branches.
She-oak female flowers
The She-Oak flowers in winter with reddish but discreet flowers. The flowers are produced in small catkin-like inflorescences; the male flowers in simple spikes, the female flowers on short peduncles. Fruit is a hard, woody cylindrical cone flattened at each end.
She-Oak's seed heads are food for large parrot species, and cockatoos. It is the most common food of the Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo and also attracts moths and beetles which provide food for birds.
She-Oaks are so named because they were known as the Aboriginal "woman's tree".
Because very little will grow underneath the trees, Aboriginal children could always be easily found when playing underneath. The children were also safe from 'the bush devil' (snakes) who avoid travelling over the fallen branches.
The wood of the She-Oak has also been used in the making of Boomerangs by the Aborigine people, due to its toughness, and it is also an excellent wood to make wands out of it. It definitely contains powerful magic for those with knowledge on how to use it.
She-Oak Wand by Brendan Olszowy of Fable Blades. Brendan hand makes all his one-of-a-kind pieces at his home in Western Australia.
She-Oak Flower Essence
- emotionally open to conceive
- female balance
- female imbalance
- inability to conceive for non-physical reasons
When it comes to motherhood issues, one day stands above the rest and that day is called Mother's Day. On this special day it gives everyone an opportunity to recognize the excellent job their mum took on, sometimes accidentally, sometimes with fear and trepidation. Women and girls who find themselves bearing children are thrust into a world of the unknown; no matter how well-prepared they feel they are.
Our thoughts also go out to all those potential mothers who are experiencing problems in falling pregnant. She Oak primarily offers assistance to women who are having difficulties with conception. It will benefit women who feel distressed about infertility. It removes those personal blocks that prevent conception. It can also be used in conjunction with Flannel Flower which will help remove karmic patterns hindering conception. The fruit of this tree is very similar in size to a woman's ovary.
This essence is made from flowers from the female tree. Red is a vibrant, energetic colour which is what is needed for the process of fertilisation and growth of a foetus.
She Oak has the ability to improve the regulation of fluid within the body, allowing for better absorption within the cellular system generally. With this ability to improve hydration within the body, regulation of reproductive hormones can also be improved, thus also assisting with balancing irregular menstrual cycles, mood swings, pre-menstrual tension and menopausal symptoms.
I am confident with my choices relating to conception
I am balanced in all aspects of my womanhood
by Janine Donnellan
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.
Rat - Shadow Animal
I have an aversion to rodents in general and rats in particular. Well actually aversion is probably not the right choice of word; phobia is probably a more accurate description. I have had this phobia about rats all my life. I hate them, and if our paths cross I go weak at the knees and I feel like I am going to faint. The strange thing is that I have never had a bad experience with a rat so I am not sure how this phobia developed; perhaps I had a really terrifying life threatening experience in a past life.
A couple of weeks ago I actually killed a rat -- it wasn't intentional -- I ran over it on the way to a paranormal investigation. I didn't even realise I had hit it. A friend travelling behind me saw the whole thing and told me about it when we arrived at our destination. I was glad that I was unaware of killing the animal at the time I was driving as I would have been too disturbed to focus on the investigation.
The Shadow Animal is something we fear, or we 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. However, the Shadow Animal often represents inner fears that one must overcome. Often the Shadow Animal reminds us of attributes about ourselves that are difficult to deal with and are usually aspects of our character or personality that we often detest about ourselves. I would like to add that it is also possible to have more than one Shadow Animal, and it is possible for them to change over time.
Failing to face the fears of the Shadow Animal will allow the forces represented by that animal to continue to work against you, thus holding you back from your total spiritual development. Well that is the theory of it, but I must say that overcoming fears about a shadow animal, and in my case overcoming my phobia about rats, is lot easier said than done.
While researching information on the attributes of rats I realised they are not mentioned in a favourable light in Celtic folklore, perhaps due to the black plague during the medieval times, but evidently they do have their place in shamanic journeys. In shamanism you are required to overcome and 'kill' your totem animal in order to gain its spirit as an ally. Gaining a rat as an ally is something that does not bear thinking about but perhaps this incident of killing a rat was symbolic of me killing off an aspect of my life that no longer serves a purpose.
Rat does have some admirable and not so admirable qualities; it carries the symbolism of hoarding, and also of being resourceful and able to survive. Rats are often invisible, they are indeed sly, sometimes aggressive creatures who can track down whatever they seek, defending themselves with great ferociousness. They can teach us about being able to change our dependencies to continue to thrive in new or adverse conditions. Rat learns to use whatever he encounters in plenty to survive for another day; although Rat's survival is driven by his fear of never having enough.
If Rat or any other Shadow Animal has come to you lately, perhaps it is time to confront those fear-based emotions and begin to change your habits and lifestyle accordingly.
Australian Native Bush Rats
I would like to mention that the Australian native rats, such as the Bush Rat, are much different and shyer than the introduced black rat, and are not found in places where human traffic is frequent and rarely comes in to your home - they prefer to nest in dense forest under storey, sheltering in short burrows under logs or rocks, and they line their nests with grass. Native bush rats often nest under the Gymea lily plants in my back yard and from time to time I see them running along the top of the fence.
The Bush Rat is charcoal grey to black or light brown above, cream or white below; has a sleek smooth coat, is grey to grey-brown or reddish above, grey or cream below and has dense soft fur. The ears are different from the introduced rat and are more rounded.
Brown & white rat photographs by JCT - Jenwytch's son :-)
Crystals ~ Celestite
Celestite (also known as Celestine), from the Latin "caelestis" meaning "celestial" or "heavenly", was aptly named, for these dusky sky blue crystals have a very ethereal appearance.
Other colours: Clear, white, gray, blue, green, yellow, orange or reddish brown.
Appearance, Crystal System: Orthorhombic - Orthorhombic crystals have unequal axes that encompass energy and are useful cleansers and clearers. This crystal needs to handle with care due to its brittle crystalline structure and hardness of 3.5, very soft. Keep out of direct sunlight as colour may fade.
Properties: This stone has beneficial "stories to tell" through channelling angelic wisdom. Some even say it originally came from the cluster of stars known as the Pleiades (commonly called the "Seven Sisters") and that it holds celestial wisdom.
Celestite is a subtle expander of consciousness, lifting the boundaries of awareness to greater expansion, giving one the ability to articulate messages from the higher realms. Due to its delicate energy, exposure will be intensified and cumulative over a period of time.
Despite the appearance of delicacy, Celestite provides grounding and rational assessment of lofty visions. It lets you speak authentically about spiritual matters.
It has been known to accelerate spiritual development, stimulate clairvoyant communication, aid in dream recall and astral travel. Its ability to heighten divine intuition makes celestite especially useful for Reiki practice.
Celestite is good for creative artistic pursuits that require mental acuity such as fine artwork, graphic design, writing and music. It helps you to communicate them better to your chosen audience.
If used for intellectual problems, it helps one to be calm and rational in finding out the solution, by stepping back and understanding all the plausible sides to the problem. It helps one in preparing speeches and delivering them clearly. It is believed to aid in the analysis of complex ideas.
Celestite imparts a gentle strength and an enormous inner peace. It can calm and sharpen the mind dispersing worries and promoting mental clarity. Celestite has an uplifting quality making it good for lifting heavy moods and sadness thus reducing the tendency of self-destruction. It encourages and maintains a positive attitude and promotes self-love in dark corners of one's being.
Celestite is said to be good to help those who fear heights (air travel, mountain hiking).
Celestite will help you to actually hear what is being said, rather than what you think is being said.
Use it to help a rescued animal to trust humans again or an injured animal to recover its strength and well-being.
Use celestite to help nervous children experience new activities and environments.
Celestite is a soft stone (both physically and metaphysically) and its vibrations radiate in all directions. A large piece of Celestite crystal placed within a room heightens the vibrations in that room. Place in bedroom or meditation space, a good environmental cleanser.
This stone was believed to be passed among family and friends in order to ward of evil. Both the Greek and the Roman cultures would pass this stone along to those who needed it for driving evil out of a person's body.
Celestite should be cleansed in a bowl of tumbled hematites, if it has points, the points must be positioned so that the points always point towards the sky. These crystals will only need recharging occasionally, which should be done briefly in the sun. Be careful not to leave your stone too long in the sun, as it may cause discoloration of the celestite.
On a Physical Level:
- It has been used as an aura cleanser and activator to bring Angelic attunement.
- It works well in balancing the chakras by smoothing out disjointed energies.
- Headaches from tension and stress
- Mouth problems
- Treat eye disorders
- Digestive problems with stress as a factor
- Mental disorder
- Improves disposition
- Hearing disorders
- Thyroid or throat problems
- Eliminates toxins
- It can also be used to help relieve acute anxiety, OCD
- This stone is also used to encourage wound healing
- Make an elixir with this stone to apply to all pain issues.
(Gem elixir - use indirect method due to its brittle crystalline structure.)
Chakra: It facilitates the opening and balance of chakras between the Throat and the Crown. Celestite's blue ray stabilizes the opening and functioning of the Third Eye.
Juterna: Goddess of hot springs, mineral baths, brooks and ponds. As such, she has healer aspects.
In early times she was known as Diuturna.
Some interesting information relating to Juterna/Diuturna...
"There is reason to believe that the ancient form of the name was Diuturna; a basin in the Vatican bears an inscription dedicating it to the goddess Diuturna."
From: Records of the Past, Volume 2 - Page 174
Records of the Past Exploration Society - Archaeology - 1903
(via Google Books http://books.google.com.au/books?id=89K-KNgVL-UC&q=diuturna+goddess&dq=diuturna+goddess&cd=3)
Kore: Persephone was titled Kore (the Maiden) as the goddess of spring's bounty. Persephone was the goddess queen of the underworld, wife of the god Haides. She was also the goddess of spring growth, who was worshipped alongside her mother Demeter in the Eleusinian Mysteries. This agricultural-based cult promised its initiates passage to a blessed afterlife.
Nut: pronounced Noot - was the Egyptian goddess of the sky and of the heavens. She is the Great Weaver who wove the world. Nut is the Mother of all deities.
Nut is the Goddess of the Firmament and Rain, a Warrior Goddess who is also skilled in the domestic arts.As Mother Night, Nut represents the unconscious, luna, moon, feminine, the emotional body. Her glyph often depicts two crossed arrows against a leopard skin. Nut is associated with the element air, rainbows and sycamore trees.
- Place celestite crystal on altar to honour goddess (see above).
- For drawing down healing powers from higher sources and to heal air pollution and the seas.
- Mediation with celestite will open a clear channel of communication, allowing one to tap into the perfect power of the universe's total love.
- Use this stone to assist one in remembering dreams, keep a stone under your pillow and a dream journal beside your bed, each night request the aid of the crystal in remembering and each morning just as you awake, write what your memory brings. As dreams are tools to the subconscious uses to help the physical and the conscious heal and evolve, this stone will enhance the process through more lucid dreaming, keeping dream records and as a communication channel between the two realms.
- Celestite is worn or carried to create eloquence and to promote compassion for the Earth and out fellow creatures.
- Astral Travellers can use the crystal to improve accuracy in achieving pre-determined destinations.
Zodiac: Capricorn and Gemini, Libra.
Numerical Vibration: 2, 8 Numerology
Feng Shui: Celestite is used in the Northeast area for self cultivation, in the Southwest area for partners and relationships (use in pairs) and for dispersing negative energy in any room. Use it in the Center/Health position to encourage good health.
Complete Book of Natural Magick, Cassandra Eason
A Year and a Day in Magick, Cassandra Eason
Illustrated Guide to Crystals, Judy Hall
Herbs ~ Dittany of Crete
I really didn't know what herbe to write for this month's Axis Mundi as it's after Samhain but before Yule. As I was doing the research before Samhain (officially 12:32am 6/5/10) it just seemed right to do another Samhain herbe, so here it is!
Botanical: Origanum dictamnus
Planetary associations: Venus
Zodiac associations: Libra, Gemini
Invocatory: Persephone, Aphrodite, Artemis, Zeus
Part Used: leaves
Synonyms: dictame, Dictame de Crete (French), dictame vrai, dictamnus, diktamo, dittany, Dittany of Candie, hop marjoram, hop plant, Mangirotu, origan dictame, Spanish hops
Dittany of Crete originated on the island of Crete and is supposed to have been named for the mountain Dicte on Crete. A second option is the Latin meaning of Dittany's name, Origanum, most likely derives from two Greek words, meaning joy and mountains. The word dictamnus is again a blending of two words - the first part refers to Dikti, the mountain where Zeus was born and thamnos translates as shrub. And a third option is; an earlier Minoan goddess Diktynna who gave her name to the herb and has supposedly left many reminders of herself there in Crete.
Zeus, ruler of the Olympian gods reputedly gave the beautiful and health-giving herb to Crete as thanks for his upbringing there. He was born in the Dikteon Andron cave on Crete after his mother Rhea fled there to trick her husband Cronus and protect her son.
Ancient shepherds noticed that wild goats would seek out dittany after being wounded by arrows. After eating the plant the arrows fell out and the wounds healed. Shepherds discovered that eating dittany helped heal open wounds in humans also. Later shepherds developed compresses made from dittany leaves.
According to Virgil's version of the Trojan War, Aeneas was severely wounded by an arrow so deeply embedded that it could not be removed. His mother, the Roman Goddess Venus, took some dittany of Crete from Mount Ida on the island of Crete, applied it to Aeneas' wound, causing the arrow to drop out and healing the wound immediately. It was also popular as a therapeutic plant in Minoan Crete, ancient Greece, and ancient Egypt (Kemet).
The Greek goddess of love Aphrodite is also linked to Dittany as she used it to treat her wounded son, Aeneas during the Trojan War. And because of its reputed Aphrodisiac qualities is inexorably linked with the goddess of love herself.
Aphrodite's sister goddess Artemis also has connections with Dittany and was often crowned with a wreath of Dittany on her statues in temples to honour her.
Hippocrates recommended dittany for stomach and digestive system diseases, rheumatism and arthritis, regulating menstruation, healing wounds, and toning the body. Dittany of Crete is mentioned in Charlemagne's herb list and was popular throughout the Christian Dark Ages (medieval times).
Other Ancient Greek scholars besides Hippocrates, such as Aristotle and Theophrastus, all extolled the virtues of the 'miracle cure' plant in various ancient writings.
Later in the Roman Era poets, writers and philosophers such as Virgil, Cicero and Pliny the elder all commented on the benefits of Dittany.
A branch of healing dittany she brought,
Which in the Cretan fields with care she sought:
Rough is the stem, which woolly leafs surround;
The leafs with flow'rs, the flow'rs with purple crown'd,
(From Virgil's Aeneid 12.411-431)
Later still, during the Classical Renaissance period, European scholars, herbalists and botanists such as Gerald, Dapper and Culpepper renewed interest into the efficacy of Dittany.
In the Qabalah dittany is listed in the Material Correspondence of Malkuth to be used as a perfume. Malkuth is the final of the ten Sephiroth on the "Tree of Life." Its meaning in Hebrew is Kingdom.
Dittany is sometimes associated with Hallow's Eve, when rituals are done throughout the world to seek communion with those who have passed into the Otherworld. The leaves can be burned as incense or burned in the Hallow's fire when seeking communication which brings wisdom from the other side. Dittany has also been associated with the Underworld, and can be connected with Persephone, Orris and other deities who can assist with transport into that realm.
This herb is excellent for manifestations of spirits when burned as an incense. Dittany can be mixed with equal parts of vanilla, benzoin and sandalwood to make an astral projection incense. Burn a small amount before making the attempt. The juice of the dittany will drive away venomous beasts, so rub it on your body before entering their domains.
Dittany can help with the sure activation of your Third Eye, and it has a traditional use in its ability to help manifest our psychic vision. Dittany is a teacher or guide's good tool of new awareness, connective enlightenment and understanding. Use Dittany Essential Oil to clarify your psychic ability and to assist you as a beginner with any divination techniques.
Dittany's therapeutical properties, according to a study performed by the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI),(8-10 May 1996, CIHEAM, Vallezano-Bari, Italy), are: insectifuge, anti-endemic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antiflux,- perfumery, antirheumatic, spasmolytic, bactericide, termitifuge, fungicide, anesthetic, herbicide, antiplaque, vermifuge, antiseptic, carminative, tracheorelaxant, expectorant, febrifuge, nematicide, hepatoprotectant, prostaglandin, cicatrizing. The active ingredient of Dittany of Crete is the essential oil carvacrol.
Colour: About red.
Essence: Special thin aromatic (high tones).
Special weight: 0.933 - 0.935
An aromatherapy dilution (using almond oil) can be used externally for massages and it has an intense and direct action as:
- Relaxant - tonic (intense anti-stress therapy).
- Intense action in nervous system.
- Intense action in muscular aches (nape-aches, waist-aches, legs-aches).
- Intense action in headaches and period pains.
- Circulation system (intense action in rheumatism and phlebitis).
- Cicatrisation of dermic exanthemas (acne, eczema).
- Intense action in cellulite.
- Anti-ageing action.
- Intense antiseptic action for face and body therapies.
P.S. I have left out any reference to Dittany's usage as a herbe of love, although there is an element of love in death.
A Recent Acquisition
Click on image for a larger view
Well hello there, I'm a Silver and I've at last acquired my human. I'd started to think that there was something wrong with me (but of course there isn't, I'm just too perfect for words) as no-one seemed to want to take me home with them.
I decided that I would make my home in OZ and so when the Mythical Creatures exhibit came to Sydney Maritime Museum (closing 23/5/10) I decided that would be a good time to step into the human world. Little did I know the perils that would entail. For starters, I was locked up in a glass case, so damn hot and sweaty; and if that wasn't enough I was regularly tickled with a dusty feather thing. I had great difficulty holding a sneeze in till there was no-one in the shop, some days I thought I'd just burst, but no-one seemed to care!
I'd been sitting in the Museum shop for quite a while feeling very unappreciated, when I overheard the shop humans saying that as these dragons (I'm the last of my kind, but there are other kinds still waiting to acquire humans) and other mythical creatures (fairies etc) won't be needed (shock/horror) when the exhibit closes, so we'd better mark them down.
Now at first I didn't understand what they meant, until a passable looking fairy (I'm just gorgeous aren't I) informed me that humans had to pay something called money to take us home. Well that was news to me, but when it all sank in, I realised with some horror that a suitable human was going to be able to take me home for less than I was worth (quelle horreur!).
I'd overheard the shop humans saying that as it was Mother's Day there would be a lot of customers about, so I held my breath (I'd just been tortured with that feather thingy again) and low and behold a male human pointed me out to his female. I'd just heard her saying that she wasn't particularly interested in any of us dragons, and as it was late in the afternoon, things didn't look promising. But she looked at me, not just once but twice, and I heard her say to the male, "I hadn't noticed him". She dithered about a bit and then requested a shop human to remove me from the glass case so that she could get a better look at gorgeous me.
She picked me up and viewed me from all directions (perfect of course) and then I heard her say, "I'll take him". I was so excited I almost forgot to hold my sneeze in. Now comes the ignominious part, I was put in this plastic bubbly stuff and stuffed into an ill-fitting box.
Well I've been in my new human's home now for a few days, and I can see that the wait has well been worth it. To start with she's not a muggle (you know the Harry Potter thing -- non-magickal) and there are others of my kind (not as beautiful of course) who I can socialise with. As you can see from my picture, I'm truly gorgeous (suitable human appreciation is expected) and I come with my own Athame (letter opener to muggles) so I'm practical as well. When I've been here a while longer, I might just let you know how I've been getting on.
P.S. My human is quite whimsical you know and note to self, have been told by other dragons to be kind to that little purple one (I'll have to see about that).
Issue 27 - AUTUMN/WINTER, MAY 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.
(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.
PAN Full Moon Public Circle
May 28, 2010 at Seven Hills, Sydney (map)
Date: Friday May 28, 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.
June 25 - Tarot Readings with Jane Meredith
Jane Meredith will be at Gaia's Garden for private tarot readings. For Bookings call (03) 9859 2292
June 26 - Journey in the Garden: Dark Face of Aphrodite, with Jane Meredith
Join us for a Journey in the Garden with Jane Meredith, the wonderful author of the newly released 'Aphrodite's Magic', who will be conducting a one day workshop for women. To register please contact Gaia's Garden on (03) 9859 2292
It now offers an easier navigation to the things that interest witches & everything WitchesWorkshop does best - workshops, courses & retreats. The new site also integrates our Ning site with the ability to self-list events, services, even free classifieds, everything you need to network with Australian Pagans. There will soon be many additions in the areas of publishing, film & the Arts. I welcome feedback & hope you enjoy our new face to the world.
Tim 'ozpagan' Hartridge
by Tori Collins
Tim and I took Teasel in last year when we stumbled across her living rough in the back streets of Paddington. A tough little street cat, she knows how to show affection. She was starving, dehydrated and painfully thin so we took her home with us and got her straight to the vet, where we learned she was suffering from Hyperthyroidism. Teasel has been on her thyroid medication for over 8 months now and has settled into our home well with our other cat, Cleo. She loves her food, as her little round belly is testament to! Teasel has succumbed to all the care and attention she gets from us and is now more loving and relaxed. She makes herself known when the coven comes around, slinking in and out of the circle and coercing coven members into giving her scraps of food - cheese is her favourite. She spends most of her time in the witchy library room with Tim, pawing through magickal texts and learning the magickal arts from her Master.
Teasel is also looking to become a professional photo-model. Her agent (Tori Collins) has created a campaign to see her on the packets of "Whiskas". You can help Teasel score this professional photo-shoot by voting for her and joining her Facebook 'Fan Page' (see links below). We'll need all the help we can get for this under-privileged Magician's Cat to get her paw in the door.
Bush Tucker Damper
In colonial Australia, the technique of making damper was developed out of necessity by stockmen. Often away from home for weeks, with only sacks of flour as provisions, a basic staple bread evolved. It was originally made with flour and water and a good pinch of salt, kneaded, shaped into a round loaf, then baked in the ashes of the campfire or open fireplace. It was eaten with rashers of fried dried meat, sometimes spread with golden syrup, but always with billy tea or maybe a swig of rum.
2 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup milk (or 1/2 cup powdered milk and 1 cup water)
1. Preheat oven to 180 deg C.
2. Grease and lightly flour a baking sheet.
3. Mix flour, salt, sugar, and butter together in a bowl.
4. Add milk and mix well. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes.
5. Shape into a flat circle and place on the baking sheet.
6. Bake for about 30 minutes. (Traditionally, balls of dough might be placed on rocks placed at the edge of a campfire to cook. Alternatively, wads of dough might be wrapped around the tip of a stick and held over an open fire to cook.)
Irish Soda Bread
250 g plain wholemeal flour, plus a little extra for sprinkling
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
310 ml buttermilk
1. Use a baking tray; grease tray. Preheat oven to 200 deg C. Sift flours, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a bowl, tipping in any bran left in the sieve.
2. Make a well in the centre and pour in the buttermilk. Using a wooden spoon, gradually stir flour into the buttermilk to form a soft dough. Bring dough together with your hands, then turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead briefly to a smooth dough. Shape into a ball.
3. Place dough on baking tray and flatten slightly to make a round, domed loaf about 19 cm in diameter. Using a sharp knife, make a deep cross in the top, cutting half-way down into the dough. Sprinkle extra wholemeal flour over the top.
4. Bake for about 30 minutes or until well risen and browned and the bread sounds hollow when tapped on the base. (If it still seems to be moist and heavy, bake for a further 3-5 minutes and test again.)
5. Transfer loaf to a wire rack and leave to cool completely. Serve on the day it is baked, as it quickly becomes stale. Or, you can toast it the following day.
Recipe from: http://www.readersdigest.com.au/
Image from: http://www.worldonaplate.org/
Try this, too...
If you can't find buttermilk, use the same quantity of skim milk to which you have added 1 tbsp lemon juice. Alternatively, use skim milk and sift 2 tsp cream of tartar into flours, bicarbonate of soda and salt.
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