Sunday, June 28, 2015

Element: Air

Magical properties and correspondences of air.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Magical and Medicinal Uses of Honeysuckle

Magical and Medicinal Uses of Honeysuckle. Includes free BOS page!

Folk Names: Goat's Leaf, Woodbine
Gender: Masculine
Planet: Jupiter or Venus
Element: Earth
Powers: Love, Money, Protection, Psychic Powers
Magical Uses and History: Honeysuckle or woodbine is deeply associated with love and devotion. This is likely due to the plant's clinging and entwining nature, a fact immortalized in a number of works, including Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and several of Shakespeare's plays where it was a symbol of enduring, steadfast, and embracing love. In Greek mythology, it is said that the lovers Daphnis and Chloe, who lived far apart, could only see each other as long as the honeysuckle bloomed. Daphnis prayed profusely to the gods for honeysuckle to bloom longer so that he and Chloe could spend more time together. It is believed Daphnis's prayers were heard and now honeysuckle blooms continuously during warm weather periods. In Italian folklore, however, it is said that a young peasant, Paolo, fell in love with two different girls, Bianca and Nerina. Both loved Paolo but agreed they would not be jealous of each other no matter who he ended up choosing. Paolo threw bouquets for flowers into both of their gardens, but Bianca did not return the attention while Nerina secretly did. Paolo still could not make up his mind and therefore decided to marry the first girl that brought him a flower. By this time, all of the flowers were dead, leaving nothing for the girls to collect. Bianca prayed to Venus for flowers, tears streaming from her face as she did so. From those tears, a vine grew and the first honeysuckle flowers bloomed. When Paolo passed the next day, he was struck by the heavenly scent of honeysuckle. Ignoring Nerina's advances, he immediately went to Bianca, showering her with kisses and affection. Both of these stories solidify honeysuckle's association with love and devotion. As such, honeysuckle can be used in love spells, baths, and rituals to attract a lover, keep a lover, or promote self-love. Furthermore, the binding nature of honeysuckle vines can be used to bind a lover to you, although I don't suggest this.

The scent of honeysuckle was believed to induce psychic powers and dreams. During the Victorian period, teen girls were forbidden to bring the flower into the home because it was thought to induce erotic dreams. Today, lightly crushed fresh flowers can be rubbed on your forehead prior to induce prophetic dreams, increase psychic powers, and aid in divinatory practices. Honeysuckle oil can also be used, or incense burned for the same purpose. Furthermore, the sweet scent is uplifting and therefore can be used to bring happiness to your home, dispel depression, and remove negativity from a space.

Honeysuckle is often associated with money spells as well due to its fast-growing and prolific nature. Burning honeysuckle incense, placing the flowers around a green candle, or simply putting the flowers in a vase attracts money and prosperity. Growing near your home, honeysuckle brings good luck and wealth while warding off thieves and witches. If it grows over your door it is said to keep fevers at bay.

Honeysuckle can be used in a number of spells including:
     Protection Spells
     Money Spells
     Love Spells

Medicinal Uses: Honeysuckle has been used to treat inflammations, including sore throats and mouth sores, and for general infections including cold, flu, fever, and urinary tract infections. In Chinese medicine, it is used to treat arthritis.

Preparation and Dosage: Flowers, stems, and leaves can be used to make a variety of remedies. To make an infusion, boil 2 cups of fresh flowers in one quart of boiling water for 10 minutes. Strain and return the tea to the pot. Add 1 cup of honey and stir until mixed. Drink up to 3 times a day. For a tincture, take 1-4 milliliters internally up to three times a day. Externally the flowers can be applied as a wash for skin rashes, inflammations, and sores. To make a wash use the infusion recipe without the honey. Honeysuckle is not intended for long-term use. While the flowers are low in toxicity, the leaves and stems are not. Symptoms of poisoning include drowsiness, extreme tiredness, dilated pupils, and photosensitivity. DO NOT USE HONEYSUCKLE BERRIES.


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Sunday, June 21, 2015

Book Review: The Magical Household by Scott Cunningham & David Harrington

Book Review: The Magical Household by Scott Cunningham & David Harrington

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
I recently finished Scott Cunningham and David Harrington's The Magical Household. I gave this book 5 stars for a variety of reasons. However, as before, I would like to start off with what I didn't like. First of all the book is not a spell book, although it does contain some spells and rituals. My copy is not entitled The Magical Household: Spells and Rituals for the Home as some newer copies are named. Instead, mine says "Empower your home with love, protection, health, and happiness," and that is exactly what the book is about. Furthermore, the book is a compilation of knowledge, folklore, and traditions. It is really just a listing writing in paragraph form. Many of the sections do not go into depth, requiring you to do more research.

Book Review: The Magical Household by Scott Cunningham & David Harrington
Despite the two things I did not particularly like, I did thoroughly enjoy the book. I learned some new spells and traditions that I plan on implementing in my home in the future. The chapters on the indoor garden and mystic garden were very helpful. The authors outline different types of plants and what they do. Furthermore, they note which plants you should probably not bring into the home and why. I'm not going to lie. Anything about gardens piques my interest, to begin with. I adored these chapters. The chapters on protection and household purification were also helpful and introduced me to some new ideas. This book also contains a chapter on moving, something most other books do not cover. It is a short chapter, but a helpful one nonetheless if you are moving.

The book is very straightforward and easy to read. Despite it not going into depth, this is still a great book for novice and skilled witches alike. I strongly suggest everyone purchase this book, unless you are not superstitious. The book is filled with a lot of ancient lore, which I find fascinating, but may turn off those who are not superstitious.

Remember, if you are looking for more book reviews, please read my Knowing Thy Craft post!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Mercury Retrograde

What is Mercury Retrograde?

I apologize for not posting much the past couple of weeks. As you may be aware, Mercury has been in retrograde. While I know scientifically speaking, the placement of the planets probably does not affect our day to day lives, it is hard to ignore them when they actually do. My husband, a non-pagan and atheist, never takes stock in anything pagan, but after being with me for 5 years and listening to the effects of astrology after certain events, I think he at least has some belief in it.

This year Mercury retrograde is affecting all the air signs, meaning my family is experiencing it in full force. Both my husband and I are air signs; he is a Gemini and I am a Libra. I'm not going to lie, this has been an interesting year for us, but a good one.

But what is Mercury retrograde? 
During this three and a half week period, Mercury passes us. Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun, making its orbit much shorter than that of Earth. Three or four times a year, Mercury passes us, causing powerful gusts of "wind" that disrupts how we feel on Earth. According to the principle "As above, so below,"  the orbits of the heaves and human activity on Earth are connected.

So how does Mercury retrograde affect us?
Mercury rules of all types of communication, including everything from listening and speaking, to learning, researching, and reading. It also rules over negotiating, buying and selling, and formal contracts and agreements, including deeds, wills, leases, mortgages, contracts, etc. Codes are also included in this, including computer codes, and transportation, shipping, and travel.

When Mercury retrogrades, its resting or napping, meaning we don't have the full benefit of a wide-awake planet. All of the areas ruled by Mercury, therefore, tend to get scrambled or spin out of control. Miscommunication is extremely common, leading to disagreements and fights. Contracts fall through or take longer than expected to come to fruition.

So what should I do or not do during Mercury retrograde?
Since Mercury rules over communication, this is not a good time to do anything involving it. Don't start a new blog, magazine, website, or advertising campaign. I posted what, two posts during Mercury retrograde? This is also not a good time to sign contracts or even try to reach a new agreement, including closing on a house or signing a lease. The same goes for verbal contracts. The environment during this period is fluid and confusing, so even if a decision is made, it will likely change when the retrograde ends. Simply put, don't make any important moves while Mercury is in retrograde.

When does Mercury retrograde occur?
Here is a list for this year and the upcoming years.

     September 17 - October 9 in air Libra
     January 5 - January 25 ends in earth Capricorn
     April 28 - May 22 in earth Taurus
     August 30 - September 22 in earth Virgo
     December 19 - January 8, 2017 in earth Capricorn through fire Sagittarius
     December 19, 2016 - January 8, 2017 in earth Capricorn through fire Sagittarius
     April 9 - May 3 in earth Taurus through fire Aries
     August 12 - September 5 in early earth Virgo through fire Leo
     December 3 - December 22 in fire Sagittarius
    March 22 - April 15 in fire Aries
    July 26 - August 8 in fire Leo
    November 16 - December 6 in fire Sagittarius
     March 5 - 28 in water Pisces
     July 7 - 31 ends in water Cancer
     October 31 - November 20 in water Scorpio
     February 18 - March 9 in water Pisces and ends in air Aquarius
     June 17 - July 12 in water Cancer
     October 13 - November 3 in water Scorpio through air Libra

Now I have mentioned that communication becomes jumbled during this time. People often fight with each other because of miscommunications or because things come out wrong. I see tons of people blame their poor judgment and communication on Mercury retrograde. Just because it is in retrograde does NOT mean you are not responsible for your actions. It's also NOT an excuse to be a complete ass to others. Do NOT blame your mistakes on a planet. Step up and step back and take responsibility for your own actions. There is no excuse for your ill behavior during this time. What Mercury in retrograde does mean is that normal and civil discourse is difficult during this period, therefore taking more time than usual or being misunderstood. It does NOT mean people treat each other like dirt. So stop will all the nonsense. Astrology explains events, not your poor behavior.

I'll get off my soapbox now and share some good news. My husband and I have been pursuing something pretty big. I'm not going to reveal what as of yet as we have been keeping it a secret from the majority of our friends and family, but after months of waiting, we finally received some big news the moment Mercury retrograde has ended. I didn't even realize Mercury retrograde had ended because I was so excited by the good news. It actually hit me this morning. Haha! I can't wait to share with everyone what is going on. If you happen to be one of the 5 people that know, please continue to keep our secret. =)

So, now that Mercury retrograde is over, go out and pursue some new goals! Keep an eye out for my upcoming posts on Midsummer lore and traditions, herbarium post on honeysuckle, and a new book review!