Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Summer Solstice

The wheel turns.... The growing season is upon us.

Artist Unknown (I'd love to give you credit though.)

Also known as Alban Hefin, Litha, and Midsummer, the Summer Solstice marks the highest point the sun will travel in the northern hemisphere making it the longest day of the year. For our brothers and sisters on the other side of the equator, Blessed Midwinter! It falls somewhere between the 19th and 23rd of June. In 2014 it will fall on the 21st (a Saturday). Here on the east coast of the US it will happen at 6:51am...but I'm hoping to be asleep still.

William Shakespeare wrote about the holiday in "A Midsummer Night's Dream." The mischievous Puck runs around doing his Lord's bidding causing havoc for a group of young lovers as well as for his Lady. Shakespeare had done his homework, that is, he studied the was of the Celts. He learned about their celebration of the holiday and made sure to incorporate some of their beliefs into it.
We are also entering the time of the "traditional" wedding. Why is this the time when everyone gets married? In ancient times, pagan couples who had paired up during Beltane, had spent their year and a day together, and decided on a more formal handfasting would have the ceremony between Midsummer and Lughnasadh. Other pagan symbols still seen at modern weddings: wedding bands a symbol of the Magick Circle, throwing the bouquet or garter, and jumping the broom.

Back to magick...

Image from: A Solar Summer Solstice Project, Annie B. Bond

Midsummer is the high point of growth. Our gardens are going crazy. We're mowing our lawns regularly, like twice a week. There are baby animals EVERYWHERE! It is an excellent time to stop and look at our own growth. 

Was there something that you had wanted to grow or expand on? Now is a great time to put that into effect. I'm not talking about physically growing something necessarily, it's a great time to boost your plants a bit, I'm talking more abstract like growing knowledge, love, or wealth. 


There is no wealth like knowledge, and no poverty like ignorance Buddha

We gain knowledge through learning whether it's from people or books. This is a great time to join a new club, start a new book, or learn a new skill. 
Learning is ruled by the element of Air (East). Call upon the element to aid in your study, just be careful and don't call up a wind storm.

You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection – Buddha

The most true fact about love is this: no one can or will love you as you should be loved until you love yourself. Each of us has parts of ourselves we dislike and maybe downright hate. We need to learn to love ourselves from the inside out. 

First, let's stop with the "if...then" promises we make ourselves. "If I lose 10 pounds then I'll buy that ---- I really like." NO. STOP!! Buy the item because you love you because you're perfect being you. (Hey, you ARE perfect being you! You are the only you there is!!!) Stop letting the outside dictate how the inside should feel/think/act.

Spell for Growing Self-Love:
What you need:
A mirror - the larger the better

You can do this ritually in a circle if you wish but I do it daily during my daily self-purification (shower, lotion, quick smudge/anointment).

Start by writing a list of everything you like/love about yourself. It can be surface things like your eyes or hair, or they can be things like different parts of your personality. You must come up with 12, more is great but no less.

Now, stand naked in front of your mirror, look yourself in the eye and tell yourself WHY you're special. WHY you love yourself. And FEEL  the love. If you need to lie to yourself for a little while that's fine but still try to feel the love for yourself. Every week add a new part of yourself that you may not have liked/loved so much before and add it to your daily list.

Remember the Saturday Night Live skit: (Ok, I'm dating myself but I love me anyway!) 

I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and, gosh darn it, people like me.

 Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Wealth is not the abundance of money, oh no, it is so much more. The wealthiest people I know don't drive fancy new cars or live in huge homes; they live simply surrounded by family and friends. They work hard but enjoy the work they do. They find joy in the simple things, not the expensive ones. 
So use this time to grow stronger bonds with those you love and with your connection to the things that matter to you. I plan on making a trip to our local Native American healing springs where I will release what has been holding me back, leave some nasty energy that attempted to invade my home this winter, and hopefully leave grounded, centered, and at peace. 
Ok. Ok. I know, we still need to pay the bills. So, my here's my:

Never Run Out of Money Spell (a modification of a Scott Cunningham spell)
What you need: 
Bowl - earth colored (brown or green) 
Pocket change - the larger the better

-as long as there is money in the bowl there will be money in your bank account
-as the money in the bowl grows so does your bank account (<-- I don't recommend since at some point you have to empty the bowl)
-as long as there is money in the bowl you will always have enough (<-- what my  bowl is charged for) 

Charge the bowl. Now, you can do this any number of ways but here are some suggestions: 
Now place some pocket change in the bowl, the larger denomination the better. My bowl ALWAYS has a $2 bill, a $1 piece, and a $0.50 piece. I place my  pocket change in the bowl at the end of the day, as I collect it cleaning the house, etc. (That is, if I can get it before the 8-year-old does.) 

When the bowl gets full I roll up the change and take it to the bank. Sometimes I deposit it, sometimes I take my little guy out for ice cream. I always leave my seed money to start the next round. 

Traditional Herbs: chamomile, cinquefoil, elder, fennel, hemp, larkspur, lavender, male fern, mugwort, pine, rose, Saint John's wort, wild thyme, wisteria, verbena

Traditional Incense: frankincense, lemon, myrrh, pine, rose, wisteria

Traditional Gemstones: all green gemstones (emerald, jade, etc.)

Traditional Foods: fresh veggies, Summer fruits, pumpernickel bread, ale, mead

Traditional Colors: blue, green, yellow

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Life and Lyme

Over the last two years I have found my health steadily deteriorating. I believed strongly that I had Lyme disease and asked my doctors repeatedly for the blood test. I was denied repeatedly and told that it was just depression, my thyroid issues (I haven't had one for 15 years), or that I was just over reacting. 

1. I managed cancer and divorce without ever being on depression medication, why then, in the past 2 years should I need it?

2. I have been without a thyroid for 15 years, I've figured out my issues with it and learned to manage them, this is something completely different. 

3. I'm over reacting? I'm a 30-something year old woman who feels like she's arthritic in every joint and moves like an 80-something? I've gone from hiking, snowshoeing, and being generally active to taking 5 minutes to walk the 50 feet from my bedroom to the bathroom every morning. Sure, I'm just over reacting. 

A recent documentary produced by the French (France) public television states that in Germany where Lyme disease is actively being tested for, over 80% of the population is positive for the disease. In countries like France and the US it is 30% or less. Does that mean there's less cases of Lyme in these countries? Doubtful. 

In the US, people are more likely to be diagnosed with depression, neurological disorders, arthritis, fibromyalgia, and early onset dementia before they are ever tested for Lyme disease. The kicker is, not everyone who has Lyme tests positive and not everyone who tests positive is symptomatic. 

I've been telling people it's better to be safe than sorry! By following some simple steps you can keep yourself pretty safe: 

1. ALWAY wear closed shoes (sneakers, hiking boots, etc), socks, and pants when in the woods or in areas of long grass. (Long grass: any grass that is taller than your ankle.)

2. Tuck your pants into your socks. Ticks, unlike fleas, do not jump but they can crawl! Tucking your pants into your socks makes it that much harder.

3. Spray your legs & feet with a tick repelling bug spray. Not all bug sprays repel ticks so check carefully. Spray your clothing and shoes at regular intervals during your day.

4. Do a check at the end of the day! Most ticks will remain attached for 2-7 days. Look for small red dots with black centers. They can be taken out with tweezers or tick key (available at most drug stores). Don't forget to check your furry family members too!

5. Let your doctor know you've been bitten by a tick. She/he may wish to take preventative measures.

For now, I live one day at a time. I try to stay as active as possible. I've done a run of antibiotics but I don't feel they've really helped. I'm now working with a natural remedy, a Lyme Defense Tea created by an herbalist in southern New Hampshire (mistymeadows.org). I'm drinking 34 ounces daily, well, trying to anyway. 

This is also why I haven't been blogging much. My main symptoms are fatigue, joint pain, and mood swings. (JOY!) I often don't feel like doing much of anything except sleeping. 

Oh, and that video LYME DISEASE A SILENT EPIDEMIC (password: LD)