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Category Archives: Ecclectic World

PDR for Herbal Medicines

pdr-herbal

I have found an amazing book that has awesome information on over 700 monographs complete with scientific and common names, indications, and usage (including Commission E–approved usage). Featured are clinical studies results, when available, and usage in Chinese, Indian, and homeopathic medicine, when applicable. The guide also includes information on possible interactions with prescription drugs, and the management of those interactions and is fully indexed for easy use.

Below is an example of how complete the details in this book are on the many natural herbs for medicinal purposes. I HIGHLY recommend that you add this to your library as it’s a MUST have for those of you who want to do things naturally. Click on the book above to go to Amazon to get a copy…it’s the most inexpensive site I found that I trust. You can also get a FREE .pdf file here.

pdr-herbal-primrose1 pdr-herbal-primrose2 pdr-herbal-primrose3

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Posted by on May 4, 2013 in Natural Things

 

WINNERS of this Give-Away!

Click on the book here to see the WINNERS!

BIG THANK YOUs to Weiser Books for their generosity in providing the free books!

Thank you to everyone who entered and BB! Debby

 
 

Infused Oil Recipes

You can use infused oil to make ointments, salves or even use it directly as a potent herbal medicine. You’ll need a base oil to absorb the properties of the herbs/plants you’ll be infusing. You can use any base oil such as olive oil, safflower oil or almond oil. Olive oil is recommended to make infused oil for use in herbal medicine.

Fresh herbs instead of dried should be used to make infused oil for use in herbal medicine. It’s best if you can use fresh herbs you just picked prior to infusing. The type of herb/plant you use to make infused oil depends on what you want to use it for.

Here is what you’ll need:

Herbs/spices (fresh herbs, if you use spices -either fresh or ground)
A clean, dry jar or bottle with airtight lid for infusing
Cheesecloth for straining

Directions:

Wash the herbs and dry thoroughly. There should be no water on it at all. Coarsely chop your fresh herbs/spices. Fill the clean dry jar/bottle with your chopped herbs/spices.

Pour your oil over the chopped herbs/spices filling the jar/bottle to the top with oil. Put the lid on the jar/bottle and label with the date and type of herbs/spices used.

Put the jar/bottle of oil and herbs/spices in a cool, dark place where it will be out of the way as the oil needs to infuse for two weeks. After two weeks is up, taste. If not strong enough, add more fresh herbs/spices and let stand another week. If you choose ground spices, strain the oil through a cheesecloth before bottling it. You can leave the fresh herbs/spices in for decoration. If you do not strain the herbs/spices out, the flavor will become stronger as it stands, so keep that in mind. Store the infused oil at room temperature unless you used a monounsatured oil such as olive oil or peanut oil, then refrigerate. These are highly perishable and can turn rancid quickly.

If you want a quicker way to infuse your oil, then you can do a hot infusion. This method infuses the oil quickly, so you can use it soon after you’ve made it. By only heating half the oil initially, you won’t waste the whole lot if you accidentally burn it.

Put about half the oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Heat it, stirring constantly, over medium heat, until the spices start to sizzle and the oil bubbles a bit. If you have a candy thermometer, heat the oil to 140° F.

Cook for about 5 minutes. The oil should be very aromatic at this point. Remove the pan from heat, transfer the oil and flavorings to a bowl, and allow to cool.

Taste the oil to make sure that it hasn’t burned, and that it tastes strongly of the spices and herbs. If it doesn’t, add more flavorings, and heat again.

Add the remaining plain oil to the flavored oil, strain through a cheesecloth if necessary.

Use your oil for salads, cooking or as a table condiment. You can also add garlic, but remove the garlic cloves after a couple of days so as to not overpower the flavor of the herbs. If you choose to leave the garlic cloves in the oil, be sure to refrigerate the oil to avoid the threat of botulism.  You can also use your oil directly on wounds, scrapes, cuts or you can use the oil to make an herbal salve or poultice. Use the oils within two to six months unless you used olive oil, then use in one month.

Some recipes:

– Herb Oil For Bread Recipe

1/3 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons finely chopped oregano or marjoram

In a glass or plastic bowl, combine the oil, basil, garlic, and oregano; cover and let stand at room temperature for at least 2 hours.

Serve with a fresh, crusty bread for dipping.

– Basil Oil Recipe

8 tablespoons basil leaves
2 1/2 cups virgin olive oil

Follow above infusion oil directions.  Store for three weeks before using.

– Caramelized Garlic Olive Oil Recipe

6 heads fresh garlic
1 1/4 cup olive oil, divided use
1 teaspoon hot sauce (optional and if using for use on food)

Lay each garlic head on its side and cut off 1/4 inch from the bottom, or root end, exposing the garlic cloves. Remove as much of the paper covering as possible, leaving the head intact. Place the heads, exposed end down, in a single layer in an oven-proof dish and drizzle with 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Roast in a 375 degree F oven for 20 minutes, uncovered. Cover with aluminum foil and cook 10 to 15 minutes longer.

To remove the garlic, separate the cloves and squeeze out the garlic. Wrapped in foil, the garlic will keep for up to two weeks in the refrigerator. It makes a wonderful spread for bread.

Combine the caramelized garlic with the remaining 1 cup olive oil and optional hot sauce (if using for food).  Allow the oil to sit for at least 1 hour and it will have more flavor if it sits overnight.

– Cilantro Oil Recipe

2 cups Packed cilantro leaves
1 cup Light tasting olive oil

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add the cilantro, making sure to push all the leaves under the boiling water. Blanch the cilantro for 5 seconds. Drain and immediately plunge into a bowl of ice water. Drain well and squeeze out all liquid.

In a blender, puree the cilantro with the olive oil. Strain the puree through 6 layers of cheesecloth or a paper coffee filter and put in a sterilized glass bottle, tightly capped. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

– Five Flavor Oil Recipe

1 1/3 cup Canola Oil or Corn Or Peanut Oil
1/2 cup Japanese Sesame Oil
3 large Scallions — Cut Into Thick Green And White Rings
10 Coins Ginger — Quarter-sized, Smashed
1 1/2 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
2 teaspoons Szechwan peppercorns

Combine all ingredients in a 1 – 1 1/2 quart heavy saucepan. Rest a deep-fry thermometer on the rim of the pot. Bring the mixture to a bubbly 225 F over moderate heat, stirring occasionally. Let simmer for 15 minutes; don’t let the temperature rise. Put the pot aside and let stand until cool.

Strain the oil without pressing down on the solids. Store in an impeccably clean glass jar or plastic squeeze bottle at cool room temperature or in the refrigerator.

Note: A bit of cloudiness may develop in the bottom on the jar over time. Pay it no mind.

– Herb and Spice Oil Recipe

4 cups mild olive, safflower, or grapeseed oil
1 cup packed rosemary, basil, sage, thyme, marjoram, oregano or tarragon (or a combination)
***OPTIONAL
1 small handful chopped garlic, dried chili peppers, cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, coriander seeds, or peppercorns (or a combination)

Place the oil and the herbs and spice in the insert of the slow cooker. Cook on low, uncovered, for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, and then turn the cooker off.

Allow the oil to cool for about 20 minutes, and then pour it through a strainer lined with cheesecloth or a clean paper towel or paper coffee filter into a metal bowl. When the oil is completely cool, transfer it to a clean glass jar, cover and refrigerate for up to 1 month; after that the flavor may fade.

The oil may cloud under refrigeration, but it will become clear again at room temperature.

I will add more infused oil recipes off & on, so come back regularly to see the additions!

I found an EXCELLENT place to buy organic herbs and spices here at Mountain Rose Herb.

 
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Posted by on May 20, 2011 in Natural Things

 

Poultice Recipes

An herbal poultice can increase blood flow, draw out toxins, pus and embedded materials from wounds & abscesses, reduce swelling and relax tension in the muscles. A poultice is a soft paste like consistency made up of dried or fresh herbs/plants mixed with water/oil/vinegar which is spread between thin layers of cloth and applied to the injury.
A poultice can also be effective for sprains, bruises, enlarged lymph nodes and skin ulcers.

Here is what you’ll need:

Water/oil/vinegar (add just enough so that the powdered herbs becomes a soft paste)
Herbs/plants (either fresh or dried)
A thin cloth, cotton gauze, linen or a muslin cloth
Plastic wrap, towel or ACE bandage
A safety pin or fastner (if you use a towel)

Directions:

Fresh herb preparation – Add 1/2 cup of fresh herbs and 1 cup of water into a saucepan. Simmer for about 2 minutes. The amount of herbs, for the paste, may vary depending upon how big or small the area you need the poultice to cover.

Dried herb preparation – Mix together enough powdered herbs and warm water to make a thick paste.

If you only have whole dried herbs, they should be ground up in a blender, grinder or with a mortar and pestal, before using. That way you will be able to bring out the most of their healing properties.

Make sure the wound or area is cleaned well first, before applying the poultice.

Lay your chosen cloth on a flat surface. Pour the fresh herb preparation or spread the dried herb preparation onto the cloth. Make sure the cloth is the right size for the wound area you need to cover and be sure the herbal preparation covers the cloth. If you use certain herbs/plants that can irritate, like onion, mustard or arnica, you should place another cloth over top, so the herbal preparation is sandwiched between the two cloths and the preparation will not come in direct contact with your skin.

Apply the prepared poultice to the affected area. Wrap a towel, plastic wrap or a bandage around the poultice. Secure the wrap, as necessary. This will keep the poultice on and keep it from staining sheets and other surfaces.

A poultice treatment can be necessary to leave on for as little as 15 minutes to overnight, depending on what is being treated. During treatment of an infection it is possible to experience some pain and throbbing. It is caused by the infection being drawn out. When the pain subsides, the infection should be fully drawn out.

Some recipes:

– Crush 2-3 garlic cloves (2-3 tablespoons) and mix enough warm water or oil (not hot as it may kill the powerful healing properties of the garlic) to make a soft paste. Spread onto your thin cloth/gauze and wrap. Place the warm poultice on the sore or injury or on the chest for colds or flu.

– Mix Cayenne pepper and wintergreen oil (olive oil will be ok if you do not have wintergreen oil) Use this poultice for pain and inflammation caused by gout.

– Onion and White Willow bark poultice can be used for pain and swelling prepare the poultice preparation with aloe vera or oil. Onion is also great to help heal various sore and boils. Remember to use another cloth on top, when you use onion preparations.

– Boil 2-3 carrots until soft or use raw and mash to a pulp. Mix with small amount of vegetable oil.
Used for cysts, tumors, boils, cold sores, impetigo

– Goldenseal root poultice can be used on boils as well as any kind of inflammation..

– Use powdered mustard and mix with water to make a paste. (May need to add some flour to hold paste together). Wrap in your thin cloth and cover with plastic wrap. Remove immediately if stinging or burning occurs.
Use with caution. Do not use on sensitive or broken skin or directly on the skin.
Good for arthritic joints and any condition requiring increased circulation. Used to help relieve congestion, aid asthma, relieve coughs and assists in getting rid of colds and flu when used on the chest.

– Slippery Elm can be used for sores and leg ulcers, such as those associated with diabetes. It can help keep them from developing gangrene.

– Take ¼ cup of crushed comfrey leaves, ¼ cup of calendula flowers, 1 drop of lavender oil and add it to a mason jar filled with sterile water. Cover, shake it up, and leave it for four days in a dark, cool area. Strain off the leaves and flower petals and retain the liquid. Place the liquid in a glass container. Wet a cotton ball with the liquid, press it against the wound or bandage it against the wound.

– Place a few drops of tea tree oil and lavender oil into about two cups of hot water. (The water has to be very warm, but not hot enough to burn you). Mix the oils into the water and saturate your thin cloth with it. Press it against the boil. Repeat and keep the poultice on for fifteen minutes, then take it off for 15 minutes. The boil should come to a head quickly and the tea tree oil and lavender will kill any of the staph bacteria on the skin or coming out of the boil.

– Chaparral can be made into a poultice and used for a variety of skin disorders, such as rashes, eczema, acne and other skin disorders.

I will add more poultice recipes off & on, so come back regularly to see the additions!

I found an EXCELLENT place to buy organic herbs and spices here at Mountain Rose Herb.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on May 19, 2011 in Natural Things

 

Herb of the Day

Devil’s Claw and Cat’s Claw

Devil’s Claw – the roots and tubers are used.
Cat’s Claw – the bark, leaves and shoots are used.

Devil’s Claw also known as Leopards or Wolfs Bane
Scientific name: Harpagophytum procumbens for the Kalihari plant, Proboscidea Louisianica for the U.S. plant.
The plant is commonly used to treat rheumatism and arthritis, and as a general health tonic. The thick, secondary roots are sliced and dried. Infusions of the dried root are used as a cure for digestive disorders and as a tonic in lack of appetite. It is also taken as an analgesic, especially during pregnancy, and the treatment continuing after labor. An ointment is made from the root material which is applied to sores, ulcers and boils.- (From “Medicinal Plants of South Africa” by Ben-Erik Van Wyck et al., Briza Publications, 1997).
The Khoison peoples of Madagascar and the Kalihari Desert used devil’s claw to lower fever, reduce complications in pregnancy and a myriad of pain-related conditions. Traditionally in African medicine Devil’s Claw has been used as a virtual cure all for such diverse diseases as fevers, malaria, menstrual cramps, the pains of childbirth, TB and other infectious diseases, hypertension, gout, liver disorders, peptic ulcers and other stomach disorders, to stimulate the appetite, lower cholesterol levels, purify the blood as well as for the relief of pain associated with arthritis and rheumatism. In ointments it is used externally to heal wounds, get rid of ulcers, boils and rashes and it is reportedly also used for insect bites.The German Commission E has approved its use for dyspepsia, stimulating appetite and resting degenerative disorders of the muscoskeleton. It is an active ingredient of ¾ of prescriptions for arthritis and rheumatism. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties it is being investigated as a possible alternative to the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) which have received such bad press because of their adverse side effects. The active ingredients of the root believed to be responsible for its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties are the glycosides harpagoside and acteoside.

Medical research has shown that inflammation is the key pathological factor in such common diseases as Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis, cardio-vascular diseases, diabetes (Devil’s Claw can lower blood sugar and maybe a natural way to treat diabetes), dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases, which is why such extensive research is being done on Devil’s Claw.

It can be brewed into a tisane and drunk to stimulate the appetite and aid digestion, and this can also be applied to skin problems.

Cat’s Claw, also known by its Spanish name, Una de Gato, is a potent herb from the Peruvian rain forests. Said to combine the properties of today’s most popular herbs, Cat’s Claw shows great promise as an overall rejuvenating tonic with special applications for natural defense system support. Cat’s Claw is fast becoming world-famous as researchers continue to discover more about the benefits it holds for human health.
Cat’s Claw is also known by the names Una de Gato, Samento, Chacruk, Jipotatsa, Rangayo, and Garabato Amarillo. It’s also called “Opener of the Way” because of its well-known cleansing properties. Native to South America, Cat’s Claw has claw-like spines on its stems, hence the name. It is a giant woody vine that can grow over 100 feet. The root and bark of Cat’s Claw is used by the indigenous peoples of the Rainforest for birth control, arthritic conditions, asthma, cancer, fevers, ulcers, menstrual regulation, general weakness, wounds, detoxification, and rejuvenation. In most areas, only the inner bark of the plant is harvested, so that the root can be left to regenerate for future harvesting. The inner bark provides all of the beneficial alkaloids found in this medicinal plant. Cat’s Claw contains powerful antioxidants, such as proanthocyanidins, which help fight against free radical damage, strengthen the cardiovascular and  immune systems, protect collagen, and reduce swelling and inflammation.

Cat’s Claw is considered beneficial not only for the immune system, but for the digestive and structural systems as well. Cats Claw helps to activate  macrophages, lymphocytes and leukocytes. It also inhibits blood platelet  aggregation. Research on this plant is very recent, but more needs to be done. The common name Cat’s Claw also includes the species Uncaria guianensis, which is used interchangeably with Uncaria tomentosa (the more potent species).

These two plants can give good relief from pain for quite a few ailments. You can use each separately for a pain reliever or combine them to give each a boost and have extra coverage for where each plant aids in different areas. If you are pregnant (or nursing) or want to become pregnant (or get your lady pregnant) avoid Cat’s Claw as it has been shown to inhibit fertility and thus not recommended for those  persons wishing to get pregnant. Also, Devil’s Claw can cause uterine contractions. There are also many drug interactions with blood-thinners and diabetes medications so check with your health care provider before using Devil’s Claw if you take prescription drugs. Devil’s Claw should be used with caution by people with stomach ulcers due to the increase of acids it produces.

Cat’s Claw also has been contraindicated before or following any organ or bone marrow transplant or skin graft and large doses may cause gastrointestinal discomfort.DO NOT USE if you have an Autoimmune Disorder (Lupus, MS, HIV, Tuberculosis, etc..) or are immune compromised. In many countries it is illegal to mix Cats Claw with hormones, insulin, blood plasma or vaccines. As always, consult a doctor before treating yourself with any herb.

I found an EXCELLENT place to buy organic herbs and spices here at Mountain Rose Herb.

Some recipes: (How to make  tincture, infused oil, ointments, poultices and salves coming soon!)

Devil’s Claw

Herbal Tea Recipe
Bitters are generally taken either by mixing 1–3 ml tincture into water and sipping slowly 10–30 minutes before eating, or by making tea, which is also sipped slowly before eating. Devil’s Claw tea is prepared by steeping 1 teaspoon dried root in 2 cups boiling water for at least 20 minutes before straining and cooling.

Low Back Pain
Studies found that devil’s claw capsules (containing 200 mg – 800 mg of a concentrated extract taken three times per day) were helpful in reducing acute low back pain in some people.

Inflammation and the pain.
Just add 5 drops of Devils Claw Extract to your water, and you will be good to go!

Adult
Standardized dose: 600 – 1,200 mg, standardized to contain 50 – 100 mg of harpagoside, 3 times daily
Dried tuber or dried root powder: 100 – 250 mg, 3 times daily
Capsules containing dried root powder: 100 – 250 mg, 3 times daily
Liquid extract (1:1 in 25 % alcohol): 2 – 7 drops, 3 times daily
Tincture (1:5 in 25 % alcohol): 10 – 30 drops, 3 times daily
Tea (Decoction): Boil 1/3 – 1 (1.5 – 4 gm) teaspoonful in water. Strain and drink, 1 – 3 times daily.
The dosages in scientific studies on devil’s claw have ranged anywhere from twenty to 1,200 mg of the herb compounds per kilogram of body weight.

Make an ointment/salve/poultice for treating sores, ulcers, and sprains.

Cat’s Claw

Diverticulosis, Dysentery, Gastric Ulcers and other Intestinal Disorders:
This tea can be used for most intestinal and gastric disorders. Simmer one tablespoon (1 Tbsp) of Cats’ Claw Root Bark (ground down like coffee) in one cup of water for 10 to 15 minutes. For the best results, use organic Cats Claw Root Bark (available at health food stores and herbalists) and distilled or spring water. Drink 3 cups of tea every day until the condition improves.

Enema Recipe:
2 to 4 tbsp. Cat’s Claw powder make into a tea.
1½ quarts warm filtered water ( Mix well )

A tincture can be taken for all forms of Arthritis, either Rheumatoid or Osteo. It will also work on long term Allergy conditions (do not use in anaphlaxsys or sudden allergic edema) such as Hay Fever, Rhinitis or mild food reactions. The tincture also has another wonderful effect: It can reduce the agonies experienced after Cancer treatments. It is effective against nausea and pain caused by Chemotherapy treatments.

Topical creams and ointments can be made from Cats Claw and applied to the skin. It is very effective on Herpes and Viral infections on the skin. It has fantastic antiviral and antioxidant properties and it can really help these infectious and contagious disorders.

Resources:
http://www.health-information-fitness.com/cats-claw-powder-enema-recipe.htm
http://www.sunfood.com/cat-s-claw-tea-cut-wildcrafted-100-grams.html
http://enconcerto.wordpress.com/2009/01/07/herb-spotlight-cats-claw/
http://www.rain-tree.com/cats-claw-powder.htm
http://www.viable-herbal.com/combos/herbs/c340.htm
http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/herbal/msg040057154045.html?6
http://www.crazyfortea.com/devilsclawherb.html
http://herbs-treatandtaste.blogspot.com/2011/03/devils-claw-useful-herb-how-to-use.html
http://www.pccnaturalmarkets.com/health/nutritional-supplement/devils-claw/~default
http://www.drozfans.com/dr-oz-games/dr-oz-devils-claw-reduces-pain-how-to-heal-sprains/
http://www.wholefoodscoop.org/common/adam/DisplayMonograph.asp?storeID=7CE9AED4291A4249833F2893B797892C&DocID=33_000237
http://www.articlestree.com/fitness/is-devil-s-claw-the-answer-to-inflammation-tx520600.html

 
1 Comment

Posted by on May 16, 2011 in Natural Things

 

Review & Giveaway of The Herbal Alchemist’s Handbook


For advertising information and the author’s comment, please see my previous article HERE.

When I received this book in the mail, it was a complete and pleasant surprise. Somebody (I won’t mention their name! LOL) forgot to tell me that they happen to mention to Weiser Books that I’d get a better use from this book than them since I’m a practicing Gnostic Wiccan. 🙂

I really loved the look of this book. The front cover has an earthy, pretty handsomeness to it and the folksy artwork by Jim Warner made no doubt as to what was inside.

On the back cover was an impressive list of Who’s Who within the magickal & herbal world and they gave glowing reviews. I was very excited to get to reading and quickly shut off my phones (after calling up my friend who referred me and thanking them profusely!) and my computer, got a glass of milk, some fruit and sat down on my couch for an evening of good entertainment. Well, let me say, that I wasn’t disappointed. In fact, for the next two days, I couldn’t put this book down. This book though, is more than entertaining. It is one of the best informative, educational and practical teaching tools that I have ever come across, and I have quite a collection in my library to help me along my spiritual pathway.

Karen Harrison has accomplished to put together, in a very easy to read and understand format, everything one needs to create an herbal concoction for any situation we may find ourselves wanting a natural solution for. From formulas & recipes to astrological charting to explanations of the elements, planets, time of day, month and seasons relationships to herbs and what medicinal and or magickal results come from these, this book is powerfully and delightfully heads above the rest.

Whether you are a novice just starting out or a seasoned practitioner, this book has something for you. I only wished I had had this when I first started making my own oils and incense for my rituals! Instead, I had to have several books laid out to find the list of herbs, a book for telling me the times and seasons to do certain works, a book listing metals and stones, an astrology book telling me the pertinent zodiac and planetary info, a book for my altar setup…etc and then put this info down on paper so I could figure out what I had to do to accomplish my craft. A lot of work and preparation to do even just a 10 minute house blessing ritual! But this book has it all! To include astrological chart and numerology work. And believe me, if I can now understand this previously too hard to comprehend realm for me, ANYBODY can understand it!

But what inspired me the most is this: the message of this book covers the complete spiritual spectrum! I have 2 christian friends who have absolutely nothing to do with the magickal world but who still want this book. And I can totally see where they’d absolutely get a benefit from it. The recipes would be made with their loving and caring hearts with themselves and loved ones in mind while making the oils, drinks, bath salts and even foods so their intentions would infuse them just as any magickal chants would. And the instructions given by Karen are so simple and easy to follow that anyone can efficiently create an effective and powerful natural solution to any emotional want/need, ailment or health care concern, no matter what your spiritual inclinations may be.

I will be making several of these recipes and will be posting the results of them here at a later date. I didn’t have the time to do this from when I got the book in the mail to writing this review, but will definitely finish by the end of this month. So make sure to come back for this review.

As for this book, it truly is a must have for your library and I enthusiastically  give Karen Harrison’s book – The Herbal Alchemist’s Handbook – 5 thumbs up!

Kudos and thank you Karen for sharing such a great blessing with us!
Click here to visit Karen Harrison.
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Gnostagia is running a give-away of two of Karen Harrison’s book The Herbal Alchemist’s Handbook. For a chance to win, just leave a comment here, fill out the form below or email me with your contact info. Winners will be chosen at random on Sunday, May 22, 2011.

Open for US only. No PO Boxes allowed for delivery of the book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Weiser Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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CONTEST WINNERS: There were 18 entries…..THANK YOU to all who entered!

And BIG THANK YOUs to Weiser Books for their generosity in providing the free books!

Congratulations to Mrs. Shukra from Waipahu, HI and Julie Smith from Cleveland OH…. the 2 lucky winners of Karen Harrison’s ‘The Herbal Alchemist’s Handbook’ from Weiser Books!

 

Easter – Ostara

Think Easter is just a celebration for those of the christian faith? Well, think again!

Click on Picture Below for More Images.

Before christianity many others celebrated the Vernal Equinox which falls between March 19th and 22nd. This Sabbat is primarily a night of balance in which night and day are equal at the midpoint of spring, with the forces of light gaining power over the darknes. This is when the cold winter leaves and the warmth of the spring sun brings rebirth and new life, the awakening Mother Earth. The next full moon is called the Ostara and is sacred to Eostre the Saxon Lunar Goddess of fertility (from whence we get the word estrogen, whose two symbols were the egg and the rabbit).
Because the Equinox and Easter are so close, many Catholics and others who celebrate Easter often see this holiday as being synonymous with rebirth and rejuvenation: the symbolic resurrection of Christ is echoed in the awakening of the plant and animal life around us. It was only natural for christians who were building their church to combine these two holidays to entice the pagans to come into their fold!

(The following are excerpts from WitchVox)

The traditional coloring and giving of eggs at Easter has very pagan associations. For eggs are clearly one of the most potent symbols of fertility, and spring is the season when animals begin to mate and flowers and trees pollinate and reproduce. In England and Northern Europe, eggs were often employed in folk magic when women wanted to be blessed with children.

As for the Easter egg hunt, a fun game for kids, I have heard at least one pagan teacher say that there is a rather scary history to this. As with many elements of our “ancient history, ” there is little or no factual documentation to back this up. But the story goes like this: Eggs were decorated and offered as gifts and to bring blessings of prosperity and abundance in the coming year; this was common in Old Europe. As Christianity rose and the ways of the “Old Religion” were shunned, people took to hiding the eggs and having children make a game out of finding them. This would take place with all the children of the village looking at the same time in everyone’s gardens and beneath fences and other spots.

It is said, however, that those people who sought to seek out heathens and heretics would bribe children with coins or threats, and once those children uncovered eggs on someone’s property, that person was then accused of practicing the old ways. I have never read any historical account of this, so I cannot offer a source for this story (though I assume the person who first told me found it somewhere); when I find one, I will let you know! When I first heard it, I was eerily reminded of the way my own family conducted such egg hunts: our parents hid money inside colorful plastic eggs that could be opened and closed up again; some eggs contained pennies, some quarters and dimes and nickels, and some lucky kids would find a fifty-cent piece or silver dollar! In our mad scramble for pocket change, were my siblings and cousins and I mimicking the treacherous activities of children so long ago?

A favorite part of Easter for kids, no doubt, is that basket of treats! Nestled in plastic “grass” colored pink or green, we’d find foil-wrapped candy eggs, hollow chocolate bunnies, jelly beans, marshmallow chicks (in pink, yellow or lavender!), fancy peanut butter or coconut eggs from Russell Stover. How this custom began and why are the baskets supposedly brought by a bunny???

In the faery lore of the Celtic countries it is customary to leave food and drink out for the fairies on the nights of our festivals, and it is believed that if the fairies are not honored with gifts at these times, they will work mischief in our lives. Certain holidays call for particular “fairy favorites.” At Ostara, it is customary to leave something sweet (honey, or mead, or candy)–could this be connected to the Easter basket tradition? Perhaps a gift of sweets corresponds to the sweet nectar gathering in new spring flowers? The forming of candy into the shape of rabbits or chicks is a way to acknowledge them as symbols; by eating them, we take on their characteristics, and enhance our own fertility, growth and vitality.

So, now you know how the Easter Bunny got to share the day with the christians belief of Christ’s resurrection! Pretty smart way to make religious peace between the people, no? 🙂

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Here are a couple of templates to print and color and make decorations for Easter. Also, I’ve included a wee bit of interesting facts and activities that you may like to add to your celebration. Enjoy!

Easter Bunny, Chick and Basket

Easter Eggs

Symbols: Egg, Rabbit, Equilateral Cross, Butterfly

Deities: Youthful Deities, Warriour Gods, Deities awakening to sexuality

Colors: Pastels

Traditional Foods:
Leafy green vegetables, Dairy foods, Nuts such as Pumpkin, Sunflower and Pine. Flower Dishes and Sprouts.

Herbs and Flowers: celandine, cinquefoil, jasmine, rue, tansy, and violets may be burned; acorn, crocus, daffodil, dogwood, gorse, honesuckle, iris, jonquils, lily, narcissus, olive, peony, strawberry, woodruff and violet may be decorations.

Incense:
Jasmine, Rose, Strawberry, Floral of any type.

*Taken from Celtic Myth and Magick – Edain McCoy

*Here are a few suggestions for activities that may be part of the Sabbat celebration or something to do during the day:

Make Hot Cross Buns to honor the union of the Earth and Sun for spring. Slash the ‘X’ with your bolline and bless the bread.

Have a traditional breakfast of buns, ham, and eggs. Save the eggshells and after breakfast, throw the crushed eggshells into the garden and say:

For fairy, for flowers, for herbs in the bowers,
The shells pass fertility with springtime showers.

Wear green clothing.

Bless seeds planted in the garden.

Color hard-boiled eggs and add the symbols for the Fertility God, the Goddess, the Sun God, unity, fire, water, agriculture, prosperity and growth, strength and wisdom, spring, love and affection, and protection.

Consecrate the eggs by saying:

In the name of the Goddess of spring (name),
And the ever-returning God of the sun, (name),
By the powers of the four elements – earth, air, fire, and water,
I do consecrate these eggs of Ostara.

Point your athame at the eggs, make the sign of the pentagram, and see the energy flow through the blade into the eggs, and say:

New life writhing as new life shall enter the soil.
Let those who see this life find it and consume it,
for all life feeds on life.

The eggs may be hidden and the Ostara Egg Hunt commences.

On Ostara Eve, light a purple or violet candle and burn patchouli incense. Carry them both through the house, saying:

Farewell to wintry spirits and friends;
On morrow we greet the spirits of spring;
Our blessings to thee as your way you wend;
And merry we’ll meet next winter again.

Blow out the candle and say:

Merry meet, merry part, and merry meet again!

*Activities from “Green Witchcraft” by Anne Moura (Aoumiel)

Thank you to WitchVox and Joelle Miller for most of the above information!

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2011 in All Things Pagan

 

A New Dimension Added to Gnostalgia

Well, Barry & I discussed this and we both decided that I would add another dimension to Gnostalgia. While he is into Steampunk, I’m into Pagan, gnostic and natural things. Now, let me explain Pagan. The term pagan is from the Latin paganus, an adjective originally meaning “rural”, “rustic” or “of the country.” As a noun, paganus was used to mean “country dweller, villager.” Only about the 4th century did the semantic development of post-classical Latin paganus in the sense “non-Christian, heathen” develop. Paganism is a blanket term, typically used to refer to polytheistic religious traditions. Gnostic means: Of, relating to, or possessing intellectual or spiritual knowledge. Gnosticism is the doctrines of certain pre-Christian pagan, Jewish, and early Christian sects that valued the revealed knowledge of God and of the origin and end of the human race as a means to attain redemption for the spiritual element in humans and that distinguished the Demiurge from the unknowable Divine Being. And of course, naturalism is all things in the natural word that can be used by us for our health, well-being and substenance.
Sometimes, this will spill over into Steampunk (you’ll see the connection when it happens) and other times, it’ll be very different. Even though sometimes Barry may be in agreement, all in all, this avenue and what I write about these things will be of my own thoughts, opinions and beliefs alone. I have been on a spiritual journey for over 13 years and have studied, researched and practiced many different things, to include being a high priestess in Wicca. My journey has evolved as I have found my way along my spiritual path to where I’ve accepted somethings from paganism, gnoticism/christianity and naturalism and incorporated these into a belief system that resonates within my heart & soul and feels right for me. So, I would like to share the knowledge and findings with you here. I hope you’ll keep an open mind, enjoy the writings, opinions and conclusions I have learned and possibly come away from these at the very least, entertained and hopefully, with a wee bit more “gnosis” then you had before!

Blessed Be!

 
4 Comments

Posted by on April 11, 2011 in Ecclectic World

 
 
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