Friday Form A Circle – Sun Circle: A Ritual for A Group of Children

June 18, 2010 at 9:51 am (Ancestors, Associations, Blessing, Children, Circle, Friday, Kids, Litha, Magic, Midsummer, pagan, Ritual, Sun, Witch, Witchlets)

Sun Circle: A Ritual for A Group of Children
From Keepers of the Earth: Native American Stories and Environmental Activities for Children
by Michael J. Caduto and Joseph Bruchac;

Activity: Form a circle and use oranges to symbolize the sun. Recall the many gifts that we receive from the sun.

Goals: Understand the important things that the sun provides for us, such as food, energy, heat and light. Understand that we can show our appreciation for these gifts.

Age: Younger Children and Older Children

Procedure: Have the children stand in a circle with their eyes closed. Have each child hold one hand open, palm up, in front of him or her. Take chilled orange sections, or pieces of other bright, sunshine-like fruit, and place one in each waiting hand. Ask the children to guess what you have passed out. Once someone has guessed correctly instruct the children to open their eyes but not to eat the oranges yet. Hold up a whole orange and tell the children that it represents the sun. Have each child name one thing that we receive from the sun; then he or she can eat the orange slice. Remind the children that it is the food energy created from sunlight by plants that enables people to do this, or any other activity.

Materials: Sunny area, enough chilled and peeled oranges to provide one section for each child, a whole orange.

A suggestion from BabooKyra: I’m going to do this with my campers. The only thing I’m going to change is that we will pick the oranges ourselves and use whole oranges. After the ritual, I’ll give them spices to make pomanders. The scent will remind them of camp for years.

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader’s personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Fair Use Notice: This page may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. This website distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107.

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Wednesday Whatever – Litha Correspondences / Associations

June 2, 2010 at 4:08 pm (Associations, Litha, Magic, Midsummer, pagan, Wednesday, Witch)

Litha Correspondences / Associations
by Edain McCoy
from
The Sabbats: a New Approach to Living the Old Ways
by Edain McCoy

Sabbat 

  • Midsummer

Other Names

  • Summer Solstice
  • Litha
  • Alban Hefin
  • Sun Blessing
  • Gathering Day
  • Feill-Sheathain
  • Whit Sunday
  • Whitsuntide
  • Vestalia
  • Thing-tide
  • St. John’s Day.

Symbols

  • Fire
  • The Sun
  • Blades
  • Mistletoe
  • Oak Trees
  • Balefire
  • Sun Wheels
  • Faeries

Colors

  • Red
  • Gold
  • Green
  • Blue
  • Tan

Deities

  • Father Gods
  • Mother Goddesses
  • Pregnant Deities
  • Sun Gods

Activities

  • Jumping Balefire
  • Gathering Herbs
  • Clan Gatherings
  • Well Dressing

Taboos:

  • Giving Away Fire
  • Sleeping Away from Home
  • Neglecting Animals

Animals

  • Robin/Wren
  • Summer Birds
  • Horses
  • Cattle

Stones

  • Emerald
  • Jade
  • Tiger’s Eye
  • Lapis Lazuli
  • Diamond

Foods

  • Summer Squash
  • Lemons
  • Oranges

Plants

  • Oak
  • Mistletoe
  • Frankincense
  • Lemon
  • Sandalwood
  • Heliotrope
  • Copal
  • Saffron
  • Galangal
  • Laurel
  • Ylang-Ylang

Meaning

  • Honoring of Sun/God at His power
  • Saying Farewell to the Waxing Year
  • Preparation for Harvest
  • Honoring the Pregnant Goddess
  • Beginning of The Waning Year

Attunement Teas (Individually or Blended)

  • Anise
  • Carrot Drinks
  • Lemon
  • Nettle
  • Orange

Ritual Oils

  • Heliotrope
  • Cinnamon
  • Sandalwood
  • Lavender
  • Orange
  • All Mint Oils
  • Lemon
  • Saffron

Mythical Creatures

  • Satyrs
  • Faeries
  • Firebird
  • Dragon
  • Thunderbird
  • Minticore

Key Action

  • Nurture and Love.

Goddesses

  • Aestas (Roman)
  • Athena (Greek)
  • Bona Dea (Roman)
  • Chup-Kamui (Japanese)
  • Damona (Breton)
  • Dia Griene (Scottish)
  • Elat (Semitic)
  • Erce (English)
  • Freya (Norse)
  • Gokarmo (Tibetan)
  • Hathor-Tiamet (Egyptian)
  • Isis (Egyptian)
  • Juno (Roman)
  • Keca Aba (Russian)
  • Kupulo (Russian)
  • Marici (Tibetan)
  • Nut (Egyptian)
  • Robigus (Roman)
  • Shekinah (Hebraic)
  • Wurusema (Hittite)
  • Zoe (Greek)
  • Aine (Irish)
  • Artemis (Greek)
  • Banba (Irish)
  • Cerd (Iberian)
  • Dag (German)
  • Dana (Irish)
  • Djanggawaul Sisters (Aboriginal)
  • Eos (Greek)
  • Eriu (Irish)
  • Gerd (Teutonic)
  • Grian (Irish)
  • Indra (Aryan)
  • Jord (Teutonic)
  • Kali (Indian)
  • Kou-Njami (Siberian)
  • Mabd/Maeve (Irish)
  • Mitra (Aryan)
  • Olwen (Welsh)
  • Sekhmet (Egyptian)
  • Vesta (Rome)
  • Zatel-Ekwa (Hungarian)

Gods

  • Baal (Phoenician)
  • Bochica (South American)
  • Dagda (Irish)
  • Dharme (Aryan)
  • Hadad (Syrian)
  • Hyperion (Greek)
  • Gwydion (Welsh)
  • Llew (Welsh)
  • Maui (Polynesia)
  • Orunjan (Yourban)
  • Ra (Egyptian)
  • Thor (Norse)
  • Ziuhtecutli (Aztec)
  • Apollo (Greco-Roman)
  • Balder (Norse)
  • Chacol (Mayan)
  • Donnus (Irish)
  • El (Semitic)
  • Helios (Greek)
  • Ganges (Indian)
  • Legba (Voodun)
  • Lugh (Irish)
  • Oak/Holly King (Anglo-Celtic)
  • Prometheus (Greek)
  • Sol/Helios (Greco-Roman)
  • Upulero (Indonesian)
  • Zues (Greco-Roman)

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader’s personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Fair Use Notice: This page may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. This website distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107.

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Thursday his Is Your Spell – Midsummer’s Day Herb Gathering Spell

May 27, 2010 at 9:41 am (Associations, Blessing, Garden, Herbs, Litha, Magic, Midsummer, pagan, Spell, Thursday, Witch)

Midsummer’s Day Herb Gathering Spell
From Pagan’s Palace – Now Gone 😦

Midsummer’s Day is a traditional time for Witches in all parts of the world to gather herbs from their gardens or from the wild to use in potions, dream pillows, poppets, and other forms of spellcraft. To be recited on Midsummer’s Day, thrice before and thrice after gathering your herbs for magickal workings:

"Herbs of magick, herbs of power,
Root and bark, leaf and flower,
Work for me when charms are spoken,
Potions brewed and curses broken!"

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader’s personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Fair Use Notice: This page may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. This website distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107.

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Wednesday Whatever – Summer Solstice: Ura, the Night of the Heather

May 19, 2010 at 9:02 am (Ancestors, Associations, Fae, Faery, Fairies, Fairy, Flowers, Folklore, Heather, Herbs, History, Lore, Magic, pagan, Wednesday, Wisdom, Witch)

Summer Solstice: Ura, the Night of the Heather
by Sarah the SwampWitch,
Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002

The moon is perhaps humankind’s oldest form of marking time. According to some scholars, the Celts used a Lunar Calendar that consisted of 13 months, each 28 days in length. Each month of the Celtic Lunar calendar bears the name of a tree, which also stands for one of the consonants in the Celtic ‘tree alphabet’. There are basically two different versions of this Lunar calendar: the Beth-Luis-Nion (which begins on the Winter Solstice) and the Beth-Luis-Fearn (which begins on Samhain). I work with the Beth-Luis-Nion simply because it seems to work the best for my style of Witchcraft.

Beth-Luis-Nion version of The Celtic Tree calendar

  • B – Beth, the Birch Month (December 24th – January 20th)
  • L – Luis, the Rowan Month (January 21st – February 17th)
  • N – Nion, the Ash month (February 18th – March 17th)
  • F – Fearn, the Alder Month (March 18th – April 14th)
  • S – Saille, the Willow Month (April 15th – May 12th)
  • H – Huath, the Hawthorn Month (May 13th – June 9th)
  • D – Duir, the Oak Month (Jun 10th – July 7th)
  • T – Tinne, the Holly Month (July 8th – August 4th)
  • C – Coll, the Hazel Month (August 5th – September 1st)
  • M – Muin, the Vine Month (September 2nd – September 29th)
  • G – Gort, the Ivy Month (September 30th – October 27th
  • Ng – Ngetal, the Reed Month (October 28th – November 24th)
  • R – Ruis, the Elder Month (November 25th – December 23rd)

The five vowels I, A, O, U, and E have corresponding tree names to the nights of the solstices and equinoxes:

  • I – Idho, the Night of the Yew, Winter Solstice Eve
  • A – Ailm, the Night of the Silver Fir, Winter Solstice
  • – Herb too sacred to have a Celtic name, the Night of Mistletoe, Day after Winter Solstice
  • O – Onn, the Night of the Gorse Bush, Spring Equinox
  • U – Ura, the Night of the Heather, Summer Solstice
  • E – Eadha, the Night of the White Poplar, Alban Elfed or Autumnal Equinox

Here Is Lore On The Tree Of The Summer Solstice – Heather:

  • Latin name: Calluna vulgaris
  • Celtic name: Ura (pronounced: Oor’ uh)
  • Folk or Common Names: Common Heather, Ling, Scottish Heather
  • Parts used: herb, flowering shoots.
  • Herbal usage: Heather’s flowering shoots are used to treat insomnia, stomach aches, coughs and skin problems. The plant, used fresh or dried, strengthens the heart and raises blood pressure. It is slightly diuretic and a Heather Tea is often prescribed in cases of urinary infections. Heather is sometimes used in conjunction with corn silk and cowberries.
  • Magickal History & Associations: Heather is associated with the sun, and with the planet of Venus. Its color is resin colored and its element is water. Heather’s bird is the lark, and its animal association is the honey bee. In ancient times the Danes brewed a powerful beer made from honey and Heather. And for centuries the heather flowers have also been a special beverage to the bee, who in return creates delightful Heather honey! Its stones are amethyst, peridot, and amertine – and it is a feminine herb.

The herb is sacred to many Goddesses: Isis, Venus-Erycina, Uroica, Garbh Ogh, Cybele, Osiris, Venus, Guinevere, and Butes among them. White Heather was considered unlucky by Scottish loyalists because of its connection with the banishment of Bonny Prince Charles. Haether is the home to a type of Fey called Heather Pixies. Like other Pixies, the Heather Pixies have clear or golden auras and delicate, translucent wings. But these faeries are attracted specifically to the moors and to the Heather which covers them. They are not averse to human contact, but they don’t seek them out. They have a pranksterish nature.

Magickal Usage: Heather is sacred to the Summer Solstice. Heather is used for magick involving maturity, consummation, general luck, love, ritual power, conjuring ghosts, healing, protection, rain-making and water magick.

Charms made with Heather can be worn or carried as protection against danger, rape and other violent crimes. This flower represents good fortune and Heather can also be carried as a lucky charm. It was believed that wearing the blossom associated with your month of birth would bring exceptionally good luck – therefore people born in the month of Heather (August) should carry White Heather, for even better luck throughout the year.

Legend has it that a gift of white Heather brings luck to both the giver and the receiver, whereas red Heather is said to have been colored by heathens killed in battle by Christians, so is less lucky. Heather is associated with secrets from the Otherworld.

A sprig of white Heather placed in a special place of silence and meditation has the power to conjure ghosts, ‘haints’ or spirits. After picking a piece of white Heather at midnight, place it in a glass of river water in the darkest corner of your home. Sit and think of a departed loved one and it is said that the loved one’s shadow will visit you. Heather is said to ignite faery passions and open portals between their world and our own. Heather represents solitude because it thrives in wide open spaces, and Faeries who enjoy living in such undisturbed places are said to feast on the tender stalks of Heather.

The Fey of this flower are drawn to humans who are shy. Heather is useful for Solitary healing work (going within). Heather, if used along with Mistletoe, creates powerful healing medicine in both spiritual and physical aspects.

Heather can be used at Midsummer to promote love – carry red Heather for passion or white Heather for cooling the passion of unwanted suitors. If you give someone a gift of Heather it means: ‘Admiration’. A charm bag filled with Heather can be carried for decreasing egotism or self-involvement. As a water herb, Heather is very useful in weather magick. When burned outdoors with Fern, the herbal smoke of Heather attracts rain. Bouquets of Heather and Fern can also be dipped in water to call rain.

***Document Copyright © 99, 00, 01,02 by Sarah Nunn (Sarah the SwampWitch). This document can be re-published and shared only as long as no information is lost or changed, credit is given to the author, and it is provided or used without cost to others. Other uses of this document must be approved in writing by Sarah Nunn.

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader’s personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Fair Use Notice: This page may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. This website distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107.

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Monday Make A – Plant an Elemental Garden

May 10, 2010 at 9:19 am (Air, Associations, Earth, Fire, Garden, Herbs, Litha, Magic, Midsummer, Monday, pagan, Plants, Spring, Water, Witch)

Plant an Elemental Garden
From About.com

If you’re a Pagan or Wiccan who’s into gardening, you might want to consider planting an elemental garden. The four classical elements are often associated with Pagan and Wiccan spirituality, so why not incorporate them into your gardening? Litha is a great time to work on your garden, so if you haven’t gotten out there digging in the dirt yet, now’s your chance! The sun is at its peak, the earth is nice and warm, and plants are growing all around. Move some of your existing plants (or put some new ones in) and create an elemental garden. By connecting different parts of your garden with the four elements, you can add a little bit of magic into your life each year. Here’s how to get started.

Before you plant anything, you’ll need to figure out how much space you have to work with. Ideally, you’ll want to make your elemental garden in a circle. To make a circle in your yard, figure out first where you want the center to be. Mark the center by driving a temporary stake into the ground. Next, figure out what diameter you want the circle to be. Using a piece of string tied to the top of the stake, walk around in a circle, marking the perimeter. You can do this with birdseed, a handful of dirt, or anything else you like. Once you’ve marked your circle, till up the soil. Although it’s good exercise to use a shovel, it’s also backbreaking work. If you’ve got a large space to cover, you may want to invest in a good rototiller.

Once you’ve tilled up the soil, figure out which way is north. You can do this easily with a compass, or if you know where the sun rises and sets, it shouldn’t be too hard to determine which way is east and which is west. After you’ve figured out your directions, divide your circle into quadrants, so that each direction has one quarter of the circle. Mark your spaces with stones. You can either use small ones, (don’t just throw away the ones you dig up!), or you can use large pavers

Each of the four directions is associated with an element. North is connected to Earth, East to Air, South to Fire and West to Water***. To plant your elemental garden, figure out which plants are connected with those particular elements – and this will vary depending on where you live. For example, Earth is associated with stability and security. Why not plant some herbs there that carry the same associations? Bryony, cinquefoil, honeysuckle, and pennyroyal * are all related to Earth.

For the East section of your garden, which is tied into the themes of Air, use plants connected with inspiration, wisdom and knowledge. Sage, marjoram, mugwort and members of the mint family are perfect for this quarter of the circle. In the South, select plants related to the passionate qualities of Fire, such as basil, betony, rosemary and rue. Finally, the West quadrant is where your Water-related plants should go – hyssop, yarrow, chamomile and ivy will do well in this section.

* Be cautious when selecting plants for your garden, and be sure to do your research. Some forms of pennyroyal are toxic and can cause miscarriage in pregnant women, and can be potentially fatal if ingested by small children.

As you dig a hole for each plant, you may wish to add a blessing. Get your hands in the dirt, dig in, and feel the soil. Thank the Earth for the gift it’s going to give you. As you place the plant or seeds in the hole, you might want to offer something like:

May the gods smile upon this plant,
bringing it strength and long life.

Or, you may prefer to offer a specific blessing for each quadrant – for the South section, offer a blessing of Fire, for the West, a blessing of Water, and so on. In some traditions, it’s popular to smudge the garden or perform some other purification rite after planting – after all, a garden is a sacred space.

If you’re going to spend any time in your elemental garden – and you’ll need to, if you don’t want your plants to die – it’s not a bad idea to add accessories that make you feel at home. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but you might want to consider some of the following:

  • Statues of the gods of your tradition
  • A gazing ball
  • A fountain or other water feature
  • A fire bowl
  • A small altar
  • A bench or chair for meditation
  • Wind chimes or bells
  • A prayer pole or decorative flag

To tie in the accessories to the elemental theme, consider a Water feature in the South corner, a small brazier to the West, a pile of stones in the North, or a decorative flag on the East portion. Any of these will be perfect for bringing you closer to the elements in your garden. Make your garden a place where you can sit and reflect, and it will indeed be a spiritual and magical place!

Do you live in an apartment or dorm room, or some other location with limited space? Don’t worry – you can still grow things! Container gardening makes it a breeze. Use flower pots, hanging baskets, or other items arranged in a group of four to create your elemental garden. You can even paint them with colors or symbols associated with the four cardinal directions. If you’re really strapped for space, use one container with four plants in it. For more ideas, be sure to visit our Container Gardening site at About.com.

***Note from Dawtch – I have said this numerous times, but just in case there’s a new reader out there, my PERSONAL associations are different – North is Air, East is Earth. For more of my views, you can go here.

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader’s personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Fair Use Notice: This page may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. This website distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107.

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Wednesday Whatever – Midsummer Hail and Farewell

May 5, 2010 at 9:39 am (Ancestors, Associations, Faery, Fairies, Fairy, Folklore, History, Litha, Lore, Magic, Midsummer, pagan, Wednesday, Wisdom, Witch)

Midsummer Hail and Farewell
by Ahneke Greystone, Midsummer 2000;
excerpt from:
Cauldrons and Broomsticks
A newsletter for and by the Pagan/Wiccan Internet Community,

That I am mortal I know and do confess
My span of day:
but when I gaze upon
The thousandfold circling gyre of the stars,
No longer do I walk on earth but rise
The peer of God himself to take my fill
At the ambrosial banquet of the undying.

– Claudius Ptolemaeus,
Greek-Egyptian, 2nd Century

Such a wonder, this season of paradox! A vibrant moment of existence, warm caresses from the Sun, long days to share with family and friends. It is a time for first harvest and second sowing. For some there is more to do than a day’s time allows; for others it is a time of sweet pause and respite. We are poised between increase and decline. Balanced on the Mystery.

Gathered around the fires of Midsummer Eve, we reflect on the turn of the Wheel and the symbolism of fire as a sign of our consciousness. The awakening we experience, as did the God, when times of frivolity and independence turn to times of responsibility and community. It is a time of maturity and reflection. On Midsummer Day our focus will be on celebration; a time for living in the moment and making merry. A Dance of Life, with our minds and bodies attuned to the awesome possibility and promise of existence. Tonight we are comforted knowing that as fire burns it cleanses and purifies, clearing the land and our psyche for the time of repose ahead. Providing the fertile source from which the cycle turns again in Winter.

This holiday transcends all time and culture. The heritage of the celebration is sometimes unacknowledged, and sometimes celebrated much as it has been for hundreds of years. Modern pagans recognize several names; it was called Litha or Vestalia in ancient Rome, Gathering Day in Wales, Feill-Sheathain in Scotland, Alban Heflin in the Anglo-Saxon tradition, Thing-Tideln in Scandinavia, All Couple’s Day in Greece, and it is the Celtic Feast of Epona. It was and often still is celebrated throughout Russia, Europe, the East, Africa and the Americas, and other places throughout the world honoring the season of ripeness and the advent of the harvesting.

In ancient times Midsummer was as well a time for celebration and reflection. Rites were ecstatic, celebrating fecundity and harvest, placating the gods for gentle rather than destructive weather. We knew that Divine whim could destroy the crops we needed to harvest in order for human and animal to survive the upcoming Winter. This was the most powerful fire festival of our solar holidays.

Summer was a time of war, a time of invasion and defense. Our ancient family connected the death of their compatriots with the peak and passing of Summer. The symbolism of the burgeoning land, cut into harvest, and the strong men who died in war was a powerful and integral part of the holiday. Even in ancient times, the paradox prevailed. Life and death.

The wedding month of June traces to our pagan roots. Courting traditionally began at the Winter Solstice, when days were not as filled with tasks, and there was time to focus on familial matters. Towards Spring, pregnancies became obvious. Marrying in May was considered unlucky, as that was the time of the Sacred Marriage. Thus, marriage became common after Beltane. Mead was traditionally drunk for the month following the bonding to guarantee fertility and the health of children conceived. The Full Moon in June is known as the Mead Moon, and we honor this today in our reference to a wedding holiday as a honeymoon.

Midsummer, especially the Eve, is a time when the Fairie become visible to our human eyes. The boundaries between the worlds are thin. Even those of us who rarely experience fey moments can be caught up in the mischief and mayhem brought to us this evening. We will be reminded that our world is a quixotic one. If we have become too staid, that will be remedied this evening! The fairies delight in revealing our human foibles and turning our world on end.

Midsummer in some traditions was the time the Ivy King was seen as battling and overcoming the Oak King. He ruled for the next six months, until the Winter Solstice when the fated battle began again, with the Oak King then victor. In other traditions, the Sun King was seen as born on the Winter Solstice, reaching his peak at Midsummer, to decline and pass either into the Underworld as reigning King there or into repose until his rebirth in Winter. The myth of Demeter and Persephone gave inspiration to a yearly cycle of the Feminine Divine, who at Midsummer is seen as the Daughter who has just begun her journey to the Underworld and the Mother who has not yet realized that her beloved daughter has gone. She will shortly understand this, and she will send the Earth into decline and mourning.

The Goddess at Midsummer is the Lover-Mother. She is pregnant and aware of the life within. This is a bittersweet time. The mature God is her husband and the father of her child. He is more her partner at this time than at any other. Emotionally and intellectually they are equals. She is enjoying this time of mundane connection. It is as though her tasks are done and she finds the time to relax and enjoy life. She who always leads and inspires can briefly lay her head upon the shoulder of her consort and let someone else take charge.

Shadowing her joy is the knowledge of what will come. Her lover will pass over and she will evolve once again separate from him. The child within is her connection to this Earthly time and the wonders of physical existence. It is also her connection to Eternity. What agony she will suffer, though, to see all that she loves pass. Even as her wiser self knows the purpose.

Goddesses for Midsummer include Earth Mothers and Goddesses of beauty and mature sexuality, fire Goddesses and Goddesses of the animals and the hunt. They include: Aine, Ameaterasu, Anahita, Aphrodite, Artemis, Asherah, Brighid, Cardea, Coaltique, Corn Mother, Danu, Erzulie, Esmeralda, Freya, Flora, Gaia, Hera, Hestia, Iamanja, Inanna, Ishtar, Li, Litha, Mawu, Oraea, Oshun, Oya, Pele, Rhea, Rhiannon, Spider Woman, The Corn Mothers, Tiamat, Tonantzin, Vesta, Yellow Land Earth Queen, Yemaya.

The God has matured from the free and independent young man to the wise elder, the King who has learned of commitment and responsibility to his Queen, his family and his community. He is the counselor and the person others turn to for leadership and guidance. The Lord of the Greenwood is now the Sun King. He wears his crown with dignity and with some sorrow. For he remembers how at Beltane he envisioned the blood upon the corn. He knows his time is about to end. He reflects on a life of joy and abandon, of peace and contentment, of accomplishment and triumph. It is the time when he looks back on his life, rather than forward. The time remaining is short. With age and maturity comes the wisdom in him that accepts his life, is aware of the contributions he has made and acknowledges his fate. He looks to the end with peace now, fearless and aware of his role in the theater of life.

The Gods of Midsummer are the Gods of the hunt, Gods of the Sun, Father Gods and the Gods of the Arts. They include: Apollo, Arthur, Balder, Balin, Cernunnos, Faunus, Gwynn ap Nudd, Hades, Heimdul, Helios, Herne, Hugh, Lugh, Pan, Perkunis, Phol, Ra, Taliesin, Woden.

Midsummer Correspondences

  • Colors – Verdant and growing shades, colors of light and fire – gold, green, hazel, orange, peridot, pink, red, yellow.
  • Trees: The most powerful being the oak, ivy and mistletoe, but also including evergreen and fruit-bearing trees – fir, holly, mistletoe, pine, hawthorne, maple, oak, peach, palm, rowan.
  • Crystals/Stones: Amber, carnelian, cat’s eye, citrine, clear quartz crystal, copper, emerald, garnet, peridot, ruby, sulfur, yellow topaz.
  • Flowers: Red flowers, carnations (red), honeysuckle, iris, lily, marigolds, nasturtiums, rose, sunflowers, trefoil, wisteria, witches’ broom.
  • Creatures: Cardinal, dove, lizard, magpie, parrot.
  • Herbs: Basil, chive, chervil, dragon’s blood, fennel, lavender, mint, parsley, Rosemary, rue, sage, St. John’s wort, tarragon, thyme, vervain, violet.
  • Incense: Carnation, cedar, cinnamon, copal, fir, frangipani, frankincense, myrrh, pine, rose, rosemary, sandalwood, tangerine, thyme, vervain, violet, wisteria.
  • Oils: Carnation, citronella, geranium, lime, musk, orange, tangerine, ylang-ylang.
  • Foods: Hot and spicy foods, corn, dark breads, tomato and red vegetable juices.

And now it is Midsummer! May you cherish the special moments of your life, honoring them as Divine gifts. May the love you have for family and community be paramount today, and may you see in the eyes of your mates, children, family and friends that spark of eternity that is a part of each of us. Celebrate!

Blessings of the Sun King and the Queen of Summer to you!

The night has a thousand eyes,
And the day but one;
Yet the light of the bright world dies
With the dying sun.

– William Bourdillon

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader’s personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Fair Use Notice: This page may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. This website distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107.

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Tuesday Try A New Taste – Midsummer Eve’s Pasta

May 4, 2010 at 9:08 am (Associations, Cooking, Litha, Magic, Midsummer, pagan, Recipe, Tuesday, Witch)

Midsummer Eve’s Pasta (Vermicelli Alla Sangiovannello)
Recipe by: Flavors of Pulgia, by Nancy Harmon Jenkins

In years past, on the night of June 24, the Feast of St. John or San Giovanni, true Baresi celebrated Midsummer’s Eve by taking their tables outside and dining in the streets or on overhanging balconies from which they could call to each other and carry on conversations and flirtations. "True" Baresi are denizens of the old town, living in the crowded warren of narrow streets and alleys and overarching white-washed walls that still curl like a North African medina around the harbor’s edge beside the beautiful twelfth-century church of the city’s protector, St. Nicholas of Nyra, now of Bari.  On this, the longest day of the year, the traditional dish served is vermicelli, spaghetti, or penne with a simple sauce of oil, garlic, anchovies, and tomatoes. Some add capers, some hot chile peppers and parsley, some olives, either black or green, but the basic idea is a quick, fresh, simple dish that celebrates the flavors of summer.

Ingredients

  • 3 salted anchovies or 6 oil-packed anchovy fillet
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1/3 c extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb fresh red ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 sm dried hot red chile pepper or 1/4 ts crushed red pepper
  • flakes
  • 1 tb capers
  • 1/3 pitted and chopped black or green olives
  • 2/3 c finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • salt to taste
  • 1 lb spaghetti, vermicelli, or penne

If you are using salted anchovies, rinse them thoroughly under running water and strip away their bones. Then chop them coarsely. (If you are using oil-packed anchovy fillets, simply chop them.) In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, gently sweat the garlic in the oil. When the garlic is soft, add the anchovies and cook, stirring with a fork and pressing the anchovies to dissolve them in the oil. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook just long enough to soften them and release their juices. Add black pepper and, if you wish, the pepper flakes, and cook a few minutes more to blend the flavors. Stir in any of or all of the other possible ingredients – capers, olives, and parsley, reserving a little parsley for a garnish.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a rolling boil. Drop in the pasta and cook until almost done – about 10 minutes. Drain the pasta and turn it into the pan with the sauce. Stir to mix well and let the pasta finish cooking in the sauce, another 2 minutes. Turn into a heated serving bowl, garnish with parsley, and serve immediately.
Yield: 6 Servings.

 

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader’s personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Fair Use Notice: This page may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. This website distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107.

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Monday Make A – Magical Staff

May 3, 2010 at 9:43 am (Associations, Crafts, Litha, Magic, Midsummer, Monday, pagan, Sacred Woods, Tools, Witch)

Magical Staff
From About.com

Many Pagans and Wiccans use a magical staff in rituals and ceremonies. While it’s not a required magical tool, it can come in handy. The staff is typically associated with power and authority, and in some traditions only the High Priestess or High Priest carries one. In other traditions, anyone may have one.

Much like the wand, the staff is considered symbolic of male energy, and usually is used to represent the element of Air (although in some traditions, it symbolizes Fire). Like other magical tools, the staff is something you can make yourself, with a little bit of effort. Here’s how.

If you get a chance to go on a hike, while you’re out there roaming around you should take the opportunity to look for a good piece of wood for a magical staff. Ideally, you’ll want to find a piece of wood that has already fallen from a tree – do not cut a piece of wood from a live tree just because you think it would make a nice staff.

A magical staff is typically long enough that you can hold it comfortably in your hand, vertically, and have it touch the ground. Your best bet is to find one that is between shoulder height and the top of your head. Hold the stick to see how it feels in your hand – if it’s too long, you can always trim it down. When it comes to diameter, you should be able to comfortably wrap your fingers around it. A one- to two-inch diameter is best for most people, but again, hold it and see how it feels.

Some people choose a specific type of wood based upon its magical properties. For example, if you wished to have a staff connected to power and strength, you might select oak. Another person might choose to use Ash instead, as it is strongly tied to magical workings and prophecy. There’s no hard and fast rule, however, that you have to use a certain type of wood – many people make a staff out of the stick that "felt right" to them. In some magical systems, it is believed that a tree limb felled by a storm is imbued with a great deal of magical power.

To remove the bark from your stick, you can use a knife (not your athame, but a regular knife) to strip the bark. This will also help you to shape the staff if there are small irregularities on it, or to remove excess bits of branches. With some varieties of wood, you may want to soak the staff so that the bark is wet, making it easier to strip off. Some types of wood, such as pine, are easy enough to strip the bark off by hand if you choose.

Use a piece of light-grained sandpaper, or steel wool, to sand the staff down until it is smooth.

Once you’ve got the staff shaped and sanded, you have a couple of options. You may want to drill a small hole at the top so you can insert a leather thong – this comes in handy when you’re waving your magical staff around in ritual, because you can put the thong around your wrist and reduce the chances of accidentally flinging your staff across a room. If you like, you can also decorate your magical staff by carving or burning symbols of your tradition into it, adding crystals or beads, feathers, or other charms into the wood.

It’s generally not considered necessary to use a polyurethane finish on the staff, and in many traditions it’s believed that to put a synthetic finish on a staff will block the magical energies. However, some people choose to oil their staff to give it a light shine – if you do this, use an oil that is plant-based, rather than petroleum-based.

After your staff is complete, consecrate it as you would any other magical tool.

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader’s personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Fair Use Notice: This page may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. This website distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107.

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Wednesday Whatever – Mystical May

April 28, 2010 at 9:09 am (Ancestors, Associations, Beltane, Fertility, Folklore, Greenman, History, Lore, Magic, Mysteries, pagan, Wednesday, Wisdom, Witch)

Mystical May
From the Mystical World Wide Web

‘But I must gather knots of flowers,
And buds and garlands gay,
For I’m to be Queen o’ the May, mother,
I’m to be Queen o’ the May.’

(Alfred Lord Tennyson)

Introduction

The name for the month of May has been believed to derive from Maia, who was revered as the Roman Goddess of Springtime, of Growth and Increase, and the mother of Mercury, the winged messenger of the Gods. Yet this is disputed…before these deities featured in mythology, the name Maius or Magius, taken from the root Mag, meaning the Growing month or Shooting month was used. May has also been known as:

  • ‘Thrimilce’ (Cows go to milking three times a day) – Anglo-Saxons
  • ‘Bloumaand’ (Blossoming month) – Old Dutch

As part of the seasonal calendar May is the time of the Hare Moon according to Pagan belief and the period described as the Moon of the Shedding Ponies by Black Elk (Black Elk Speaks, Neihardt). This is the first month of Beltaine (May – July) within the Celtic calendar, the onset of summer. It was the traditional practice of shepherds to follow and stay with the flock when out to pasture, this being known as transhumance.

This is one example of how daily life was closely tied to that of the animal and the earth, an awareness of the balance and harmony needed between man and nature, something today we are desperately trying to save. In ancient times such practice would daily remind the people of the Creation myths, the power of evil, the potential of its destruction, hence their folklore is full of such references. In pagan beliefs man believed himself to be the guardian of nature, perhaps this is one reason why today we also see the close bond between the so called green movement and the knowledge, rituals and beliefs of pre-Christian practice, further connections being made with what is known as the new age movement.

This period has also been associated in the Christian church with St John, the Evangelist (27 December), or John in the Celtic church (6 May) who describes this month as having the longest days, indicating that light has triumphed over darkness, positive over negative, life over death. The symbol of the eagle is given to St John, emphasizing the need for a keen eye and sharp awareness, an eye that does not stray from the task. This could be seen as a metaphor to remind the people of the need to focus on refining the spirit and not being tempted to folly, for not letting the sun affect the work on the land, for pleasure to be kept at bay (hence another indication that love and courting is a distraction at this time despite its natural associations with fertility).

This is the time associated with the ritual of baptism too, when the joy of the spirit is given, being seen in all things. It was a time of many rituals establishing man’s relationship and commitment from the earth to a higher level of being. Here the folklore of birds comes in to focus, as it is the power of the invisible spirit, or the wind, which brings hope anew. In Christian beliefs this is reflected in the story of the raven and the dove with Noah, whilst in pagan practice it is a time of peace, when thanks and hope was asked for of Bel the Sun God.

Surprisingly perhaps May was believed generally to be an unlucky month which may be linked to the possibility of failure. This belief is thought to be of ancient origin as it was known to be the best time to plant and sow for the next year. It was a time when all spare hands were expected to work the land with no time for personal celebrations and/or courting. It was a time when the food supplies for the rest of the seasonal year were sown and therefore the health of the community depended upon it. An old country (UK) rhyme

Marry in May and rue the day!

Perhaps then quite naturally, it was also believed by many rural communities that a baby born in May would always be sickly. It was traditionally believed that any cats born in this month would not be good rat or mice catchers.

As part of the astrological calendar, May has many associations. This is the month of the house of Taurus (April 21 – May 21) and the house of Gemini (22 May – June 21). Taurus is the second sign of the zodiac, symbolized by the Sacred Bull or Heavenly bull and has close associations with all cattle. In ancient Persian astrology Taurus translated as the Bull of light, and in ancient Egypt Taurus represented fertility and development or growth and was linked closely with the success of the land to produce. The sacred bull was also seen by the ancient Egyptians as the vessel in which the God Osiris was celestial. Taurus reflects the second phase of the journey of the sun, and of the child relating to the early teen years.

Venus is the ruling planet of Taurus and the Roman Goddess of Love. To the ancients the planet Venus was seen as highly important being second to the Sun and the Moon. The ancient Greeks believed that Phaeton nearly destroyed the earth, known as the Blazing Star, the earth became consumed by fire and Phaeton was transformed into Venus. The ancient Assyrians knew the planet as the fearful dragon…who is clothed in fire. The Aztecs, called it The star that smoked, the Quetzalcoatl called it The feathered Serpent, and the Midrash knew it as The brilliant light… blazing from one end of the cosmos to the other. Venus, is often used to symbolize the inner qualities of romance, loyalty, practicality, caution and charm whilst also having a love of the land, art, of the finest luxuries that can be obtained with a powerful desire for beautiful possessions, (so there is a danger of excess in all things).

Aphrodite, the ancient Greek Goddess of Love was seen to influence those around her by the use of her magic girdle. One fitting and you were smitten. Taurus has a way of encouraging this response. Venus also brings the need for affection and a search for love, as those born during this time are also generous in love, sharing their enjoyment and their warmth. Taurus is a fixed, negative earth sign and the first earth sign associated with the statements ‘I am steadfast and provide stability’, ‘Mine’ and ‘I value possessions and enjoy indulgence’. It rules the throat and the neck. Taurus is associated with the Daisy, Dandelion, Foxglove, Lily of the Valley, Narcissus, Poppy and Rose. Taurus is further associated with the Apple, Blackthorn, Fig, Hawthorn, Pear, Vine and Willow.

Colors associated with Taurus are pale blue, all shades of green, pink and yellow. The main stone associated with Taurus is the Emerald, whilst the main stone associated with the month of April is the Diamond. Lucky number is seven, lucky day Thursday. Metal associated is copper.

‘The time of fertility and growth is upon us.’
‘I could tell you of my adventures –
beginning with this morning.’

Gemini is the third sign of the zodiac symbolized by the ‘Celestial Twins’. The word Gemini is Latin meaning ‘twin’. It has often been suggested that this symbolism indicates the need for the Gemini to find a partner, someone close or to feel needed, an important part of something. In ancient Greek mythology the twins of Castor (mortal) and Pollux (immortal) were associated with the sign, being the sons of Zeus and Leda. Zeus gave immortality to both upon the killing of Castor.

Gemini reflects the third phase of the journey of the sun, and of the child developing from the teen years through adolescence to young adulthood. Here we see the curious mind developing further, also to becoming aware of the close connections between thought and action. Gemini possesses the duality and contrast in nature, that of the light and dark or night and day, summer and winter, and the growth and decay in all things.

Mercury is the ruling planet of Gemini. In Roman mythology Mercury was the Messenger of the Gods, son of Jupiter and Maia and the equivalent of the God Hermes of ancient Greek mythology. Mercury is often used to symbolize the inner qualities of vitality, intelligence, quick thinking, restlessness, co-ordination and flexibility. One drawback of this being that settling upon and fully completing a task was very difficult, due to the need to explore and develop new projects before boredom set in. Despite the possible unreliability alluded to Gemini, they have a lot of energy and can bounce back, which means they can adapt well to changing situations and hence they love to be part of a group – although their membership is not always maintained.

It was once believed that as Gemini represents the twin, that those born in Gemini would also be ambidextrous. Gemini is a mutable, neutral sir sign and the first air sign associated with the statements ‘I encircle the earth’, ‘On the wings of the wind’ and ‘With the swiftness of sound’. It rules the nervous system, the hands, shoulders, arms and lungs. Gemini is associated with Heather, Lavender, Lily of the Valley, Privet, Tansy, Violets, Yarrow and also Ferns. Gemini is further associated with all nut trees, and also the Cedar, Chestnut, Hawthorn, Hazel, Linden and the Oak.

Colors associated with Gemini are light green, slate gray, yellow and any color combinations of spotted mixtures. The main stone associated with Gemini is the Agate, whilst the main stone associated with the month of May is the Emerald. Lucky number is five, lucky day Wednesday. Metal associated is quicksilver or mercury.

Holidays On May 1

May Day

This day is believed to have been a replacement of the Beltaine or Beltane when Celts celebrated the beginning of Spring often by the building and burning of huge bonfires to honor the Sun. In later times young people would collect any greenery and flowers from the woods and forests to decorate their homes (See also Mystical WWW Trees & Plants). This was to indicate the power of nature to fertilize and rejuvenate the land and so affect the prosperity and health of a community. The festivals that still continue can be seen to be examples of the fertility of the earth, with many prevalent in the UK. May Pole dancing, based around the White Hawthorn was later replaced by the garlanded Maypole (a pole decorated with bright ribbons and flowers which was to show the transition of fertility from Winter to Spring), and Morris Dancing.

Beltane

Beltane or Bright Fire pagan celebrations, half-way between Midsummer and the vernal equinox. The first day of summer. Focus of the celebrations was courtship and love, and also of mating/fertility, being a time to start new relationships. The bee and the cow are symbolic of the goddess at this time, being able to create an endless supply of milk and honey. Oats, too, are connected with the goddess at this time.

The Green Man is also associated with Beltane as are the Goddesses Aphrodite and Maia. Brigid (1 February) and Columcille (7 June) were joint protectors of cattle and it was usual practice to ask for protection during the periods of Samhain, Imbolc to Beltane:

‘Everything within my dwelling or in my possession,
All kine and crops, all flocks and corn,
From Hallow Eve to Beltane Eve.’

It was traditionally believed in many parts of rural England (UK) that a beautiful complexion could be achieved by collecting dew on this day and gently smoothing it over the face.

‘The fair maid who at first of May,
Goes to the fields at break of day,
And washes in dew from the hawthorn tree,
Will ever after handsome be.’

Slovakia Day

Dedicated to Kupula, a Goddess of Fertility, and Poludnitsa, honored as Goddess of the Fields. Similar in traditions to that of Beltane.

Brioc

Celtic feast day of Brioc, Patron Saint of purse makers. Born near to Cardigan, Wales, died 530. Lived fifth-sixth century, traveled to Cornwall, England and later Brittany where he was revered as on of the seven saints. The pagan prince Conan is said to have requested that Brioc baptize him after having witnessed Brioc sit calmly amongst a pack of wolves when reciting psalms. The wolves moved away strangely calmed by their meeting. Known for his charitable works and generous nature. Reputed to have accompanied Mawgan (24 September) to Cornwall from Wales.

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader’s personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Fair Use Notice: This page may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. This website distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107.

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Wednesday Whatever – Celebrating the Sabbat of Beltane with Your Witchlings

April 21, 2010 at 9:08 am (Associations, Beltane, Children, Crafts, Kids, Magic, Wednesday, Witch, Witchlets)

Celebrating the Sabbat of Beltane with Your Witchlings
The Pagan and Wiccan Parenting Page

Things to do at Beltane:

  • Set up a Maypole with a ribbon for each member of the family.
  • Walk the perimeter of your property with your children. Pick up litter and make sure everything is in order.
  • If you plan ahead, at Halloween you can purchase Faery wings for your child to wear at the local discount store for around $4.00.
  • Make flower pictures with cup cake papers. Have your child glue them down on paper and paint, color, or draw the stems.
  • When I was a very small girl in New England, we decorated our bikes, tricycles, and scooters with crepe paper and had a parade.
  • Watch Disney’s Robin Hood with your child. Then make cardboard swords with your child and pretend to have a sword fight. You can make a newspaper hat, paint it green, and stick a feather in it to look like Robin Hood. Let your child dress up like the May Queen. Make a pointed hat with a large piece of paper rolled, and tape crepe paper streamer from the top. Decorate with crayons, stickers, and glitter.
  • For younger children, read "Rabbit’s Good News" by Ruth Lercher Bornstein.
  • For older children, read, "How Babies are Made" by Andy & Steven Schepp.
  • Beltane Song

Good Bye Winter,
Good bye Winter,
Good bye Winter,
Good bye Winter,
We wish you’d leave us now.

(replace the following words for "Winter:" snow, slush, snowsuits, cold wind, and any thing else the children come up with.)

Come back Springtime,
Come back Springtime,
Come back Springtime,
We wish you’d come today.

(replace the following words for "Springtime:" green grass, flowers, birds, and any thing else the children come up with.)

Juice of Love
Ingredients:

  • 1 package of frozen strawberries (with the juice)
  • 2 cups of either pineapple juice or orange juice
  • 2/3 cup nonfat dry milk
  • 8 ice cubes
  • 2 teaspoons sugar.

Put all the ingredients into a blender, and blend until ‘"smoothie" texture. Serve immediately.

Beltane Baskets

Start with a white paper cup. Have the children stick flower stickers all over the outside. Make a pipe cleaner handle. Fill with tiny Spring flowers.

Start with a large circle of paper. Let the children paint or color it. Roll into a cone shape. Staple into place. Staple on a paper handle. Fill with flowers.
Start with a margarine or whipped topping tub. Cover with construction paper. Paint or color construction paper, or cover with stickers. Tape on a stiff paper handle. Fill with flowers.

  • Read The Girl Who Reached for the Stars

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader’s personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Fair Use Notice: This page may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. This website distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107.

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