Magickal Goody of the Day
The months of August, September and October are typically the time for harvest festivals, feasts and celebrations in the northern hemisphere. It is a time when many cultures and spiritual paths celebrate the bounty of the Earth, give thanks for the blessings of this bounty and honor their deities connected with Harvest and the plant spirits.
It is a good time for us to reconnect with the cycles of Nature and receive teachings from the nature spirits and plant spirits. Study some of the plant species in your area (foods, flowers, trees, etc) and then take a walk outdoors and try to identify these species. You will notice that some of these plants are beginning to set seed, and it is very interesting to look at all the different types of seed that exist in Nature!
You can create a necklace of seeds to wear during a Harvest celebration, or you may choose to use your “necklace” as an altar decoration or candle garland. You can collect seeds from outdoors that are large enough to string onto a necklace, or you can get seeds from the produce you buy at the grocery store. Apples, gourds, squash, and corn are all good sources for seeds. Always use uncooked seeds (for instance, never use cooked corn on the cob because the kernels will decompose on your necklace rather than drying). “Indian” corn can also be used, but since it is already dry you will need to soak the kernels in warm water until they are soft enough to string onto your necklace. Larger seeds, like buckeyes and acorns, can be used but they require the use of a thin drill bit to get a good hole in them.
Use a sturdy, sharp needle and a heavy string such as dental floss, beading string or hand quilting weight thread. I like to double my string so that the necklace is very sturdy. Once strung, the seeds will dry and they may shrink a bit so make your necklace longer than you would like to account for this shrinkage. Hang the strung seeds in a well ventilated room until the seeds are dry. You can make the necklace long enough to slip over your head or you can add a clasp on the ends of your necklace. You can also wear them wrapped around your wrists or ankles several times (bells can be added if you plan to dance at your festival). You may also wish to add bits of raffia or stripped, dry cornhusk by tying the bits around your string at different intervals. You can also add any type of charms or stones to your necklace that are used at autumn celebrations in your tradition…..perhaps half of a black walnut, to represent Owl/Wisdom/Goddess.
By ScryeWulf for the Magickal Crafts Newsletter
Gemstone of the Day
(Color: White, colorless, light yellow or red, or gray)
Specific Gravity: 2
Luster: Vitreous – pearly
Healing: Opal is a stone of inspiration which enhances the imagination and creativity as well. It helps one release inhibitions and enhances the memory. Opal is said to be helpful for eyesight and Parkinson’s disease. Fire opals (ranging from orange to red) have also been associated with improving circulation. Green opals help give an energy boost.
Workings: Opal is also said to be a very spiritual stone, and can help one be “invisible” in situations where they don’t care to be noticed. It has been known to bring happy dreams, and also to ease the process of change. Opals are also helpful for enhancing dreamwork or assisting spiritual journeys.
Opal can be a very creative stone, especially for writers and those who need to get their thoughts down on paper.
Fire Opal is said to be energizing, giving strength and endurance in stressful times. It is also a great meditation stone.
Chakra Applications: Blue opals can help open up the third eye, soothe the throat chakra, and encourage telepathic communications. Pink opals address emotional issues, offering nourishment and support to the heart chakra.
Foot Notes: Opal is a gemstone and the birthstone for October. Opals can form anywhere but are mostly found in places where there are hot springs. Opal color depends on how pure the stone is. Most stones look white but have an iridescent shining of other colors, too. If they show colors, they are called precious opals.
Website: The Whispering Woods
Herb of the Day
American hemp, Rheumatism weed, Choctaw-root, Indian Hemp
Apocynum cannabinum L.
The common name, Dogbane, refers to the plant’s toxic nature, which has been described as “poisonous to dogs.” Apocynum means “Away dog!” and cannabinum means “like hemp,”. This is in reference to the strong cordage that can be made by weaving together the stem’s long fibers.
The fiber was particularly useful in making fishing and carrying nets, for string and for ropes, and to some extent for weaving rough cloth.
Medicinal Uses: DogBane was dried, crushed, and then snuffed for coughs in head colds.
The root was made into a tea and was used to help a baby’s cold, earache, headache, nervousness, dizziness, worms and insanity.
This tea was also taken for heart palpitations, but care should be observed if using it for cardiac disorders. It acts as a vasoconstrictor, slows and strengthens the heartbeat, and raises blood pressure.
The root could also be used as an emetic, diaphoretic, antispasmodic, cathartic, anodyne, hypnotic, laxative, treats vomiting, diarrhea, hydrocephalus, urinary difficulties, dropsy, jaundice, liver problems, and stimulates the digestive system. It has been successfully employed for alcoholism.
A wash made of crushed root can be used to stimulate hair growth, remove dandruff and head lice.
The milky juice can remove warts.
A poultice of the leaves reduces tumors, hemorrhoids, and inflammation of the testicles. The poultice placed over the eyelids works on opthalmia and eye diseases.
The leaves ground into powder can dress wounds, sores and ulcers.
DogBane can be toxic if ingested without proper preparation.
Magickal Uses: The flowers are used in magickal love mixtures. Dogbane is an herb of protection and is ruled by Jupiter.
Native American women kept track of important events in their lives by knotting a piece of hemp from the Dogbane. These knots were adorned with bead, shells and so forth in accordance to the event being remembered.
DogBane is harvested for its fiber. The stems are cut in the fall; they are then split open and the long, silky fibers removed. The fibers are then twisted into string, which provides cordage. String, thread, rope, baskets, snares, netting, and clothing can be made from these fibers.
Properties: Dogbane contains: Strophanthin, apocannocide, choline, trigonelline, cymarin, rosins, fixed oils, starch and proteins.
Growth: The flowers of DogBane are small, white to greenish-white, and produced in terminal clusters (cymes). The flower size is 1/4 inch wide. Blooms first appear in late spring and continue on into late summer. The flowers are borne in dense heads followed later by the slender, pointed pods which are about 4 inches in length.
Many small insects, such as wasps and flies, pollinate the flowers.
The leaves are ovate or elliptic, 2-5 inches long, 0.5-1.5 inches wide, and arranged oppositely along the stem. Leaves have short petioles (stems) and are sparingly pubescent or lacking hairs beneath. The lower leaves have stems while the upper leaves may not. The leaves turn yellow in the fall, then drop off.
The leaves lack hairs, and often have a reddish-brown tint when mature, it becomes woody at the base, and are multi – branched in the upper portions of the plant.
The stems and leaves secrete a milky sap when broken.
Dogbane has a long horizontal rootstock that develops from an initial taproot.
Website: The Whispering Woods
Deity of the Day
Roman God of Wine and Fertility
In Roman legend, Bacchus stepped in for Dionysus, and earned the title of party god. In fact, a drunken orgy is still called a bacchanalia, and for good reason. Devotees of Bacchus whipped themselves into a frenzy of intoxication, and in the spring Roman women attended secret ceremonies in his name. Bacchus was associated with fertility, wine and grapes, as well as sexual free-for-alls. Although Bacchus is often linked with Beltane and the greening of spring, because of his connection to wine and grapes he is also a deity of the harvest.
A celebration is held in his honor each year at the beginning of October.
Bacchus has a divine mission, and that is his role of “liberator.” During his drunken frenzies, Bacchus loosens the tongues of those who partake of wine and other beverages, and allows people the freedom to say and do what they wish. In mid-March, secret rituals were held on Rome’s Aventine hill to worship him. These rites were attended by women only, and were part of a mystery religion built up around Bacchus.
In addition to being the patron of wine and drink, Bacchus is a god of the theatrical arts. In his incarnation as the Greek Dionysus, he had a theater named for him in Athens. He is often portrayed as a slightly effeminate figure, prone to good humor and general bawdiness.
Bacchus was the son of Jupiter, and is often portrayed crowed with vines or ivy. His chariot is drawn by lions, and he is followed by a group of nubile, frenzied priestesses known as Bacchae. Sacrifices to Bacchus included the goat and the swine, because both of these animals are destructive to the annual grape harvest — without grapes, there can be no wine.
Astronomy Picture of the Day
Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
2015 August 31
Explanation: Pluto is more colorful than we can see. Color data and images of our Solar System’s most famous dwarf planet, taken by the robotic New Horizons spacecraft during its flyby in July, have been digitally combined to give an enhanced view of this ancient world sporting an unexpectedly young surface. The featured enhanced color image is not only esthetically pretty but scientifically useful, making surface regions of differing chemical composition visually distinct. For example, the light-colored heart-shaped Tombaugh Regio on the lower right is clearly shown here to be divisible into two regions that are geologically different, with the leftmost lobe Sputnik Planum also appearing unusually smooth. New Horizons now continues on beyond Pluto, will continue to beam back more images and data, and will soon be directed to change course so that it can fly past asteroid 2014 MU69 in 2019 January.
Moon in Aries
Aug 30, 2015 to Sep 2, 2015
The weatherman may say rain, but expect some Sun to shoot through the clouds. Aries Moon draws fire into the atmosphere, stimulating life force and vitality. You’re alive, filled with your own thoughts, centered into the vision before your own two eyes. It’s all about you today. Trouble is, everyone else is in the same place. Imagine a playing field with plenty of loose cannons. That’s Aries Moon. Insensitive remarks can land at missile speed and detonate into conflicts. The good news is they’ll end just as quickly. This Moon goes against teamwork, but it’s auspicious for personal challenges. Compete against your own limits. What’s that mountain you’ve been wanting to climb? Be daring. Headaches, eyestrain or sinus difficulty imply troubling feelings have collected inside your head. Meet whatever you’ve been avoiding head-on.
The Wisdom of Buddha
I never see what has been done; I only see what remains to be done.