Tag Archives: magic

The Teachings of the Moon ♡ Full Moon in Cancer 12.28.12

goddesslife.com

This is the last full moon of 2012 (what many Native Americans called the Long Nights Moon) and how suiting it is that the moon dwells in Cancer tonight, its home constellation. Whenever a planet is in its ruling sign’s constellation (for example, the Moon in Cancer, Jupiter in Sagittarius, Mars in Aries, etc.) I think of it like a double-dose of that celestial partnership’s energy permeating the entire cosmos, Earth included. So tonight, as the Moon enters it’s comfort zone of Cancer, we can tap into that divine, intuitive, feminine energy of the Moon in all her glory.

Teachings of Mama Luna.
The moon rules the home, security, intimacy, and emotion. One’s moon sign is often overshadowed by the more popular sun sign,  however acknowledging where the moon was at the moment of one’s birth provides insight into his or her more internal, personal, and private side. I once read that one’s moon sign is the “self” that only his/her truest, closest friends and confidants ever truly know. Yet, these hidden aspects of ourselves are often the force behind so many of our actions and decisions. The moon appears in the dark as a reflection of the light of the sun. Sometimes only a sliver shows, other times not at all.  The moon teaches us humility and reflectiveness, a quiet yet magnanimous force of change and transformation. The moon is ever-changing and exerts a powerful influence over all aspects of life on Earth, as it shifts from new to full in just 28 days, traveling quickly through the zodiacal belt. Women’s natural rhythms are intrinsically aligned with the moon’s waxing and waning energy, along with the tides of all the bodies of water on Mother Earth. Deeply linked to romance, mystery, intuition, and magic, La Luna is representative of the inner soul and life that lies beneath the surface. Each month, the Full Moon embodies the concept of fruition; it is a time for beaming all of our energy and innermost desires throughout the universe in hopes of achieving wholeness ourselves. This Full Moon in Cancer carries a notably reflective, emotional, and feminine energy with it. Known sometimes as the Moon Maiden or Lady of the Night, many cultures associate the moon with the feminine:

The moon, when she was first created, was a glistening jewel. She did not merely reflect light, but rather transformed it and brought out its inner beauty, much as a precious stone glistens with a secret, hidden light all its own. In her own way, the moon was greater than the sun — for the sun only shines from its surface, whereas the moon shone from its inner essence. The sun holds the light that extends outward, whereas the moon holds the light of being. (Kabbalistic reflection on the moon from chabad.org)

…Their Grandmother, Sky Woman, now came to the end of her life. When she died, the Twins fought over her body and pulled it apart, throwing her head into the sky. As part of the Sky World, there her head remained to shine upon the world as Grandmother Moon. (Iriquois Creation Story)

This full moon is an auspicious time to honor the feminine energy within all living things. Each creation contains both male and female energy, and the moon truly exemplifies the power of the feminine that brings transformation and nurturing to the world. Reflect upon the powerful female energy in your life and honor it in your own way tonight. Do you give enough attention to your moon sign? Do you express your inner desires and needs often enough? Are you in touch with the part of you that is intuitive, feeling, and sacred?

Herbal Rituals for the Full Cancer Moon

moonstone ring by Sky at Etsy

☽ Aromatherapy with jasmine and sandalwood. Use essential oils in a bath or in an infuser or simply burn a piece of sandalwood and smudge your space with it. The scents of these fine flowers and trees evoke passions and permeate a positive energy throughout the home. Cancer rules the home, so it’s a great time to tend to your home’s beauty and harmony. Rearranging furniture can often move around negative or stuck energy and bring a new feeling to the space.

☽ Mugwort, Artemisia vulgaris is named for its connection to the moon goddess Artemis, protector of the forests. Drinking a tea of mugwort, lavender, hops, and skullcap before sleep is a magical way to induce a dreamy sleep and some say it helps the dreamer recall and understand the deep meanings of dreams. You can make an herb-infused oil with mugwort and massage onto your lower belly, chest, and anywhere where there is tightness or knots. The mugwort helps to resolve deep emotional pain and releases cramping. Tonight is especially special to ally with this moon herb because of the placement of the moon in Cancer!

☽ Moonstone is a luminescent, mystical, and mysterious stone that seems to magically shift colors and hues before your eyes. It looks much like the moon, pearly, glowing, and mesmerizing. Much akin to its ruling planet, this stone is protective for women and gets us in tune with our feelings. Wearing or gazing at the stone can help us to have hope and embrace new beginnings through ancient wisdom.

Blessing. May this full moon, the last of the year, bring you security, protection, and connection to the inherent wise woman/man within you. May your journey to know and love your truest and highest self be filled with love, peace, and deep meaning. Your connections with all earth-kind be from a place of love and respect. As you gaze upon the full moon, listen to the whisper of your heart and the cosmic heart telling you to trust yourself on your journey.

For information about a personalized astrology based herbal consultation by Gem, contact me or visit my etsy shop listing or website at  www.gembotanicals.com

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the whole universe conspires to guide you on your path

syn·chro·nic·i·ty
The simultaneous occurrence of events that appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection, coined by Carl Jung.

me holding the borrowed rare book in the bright winter sunlight today

me holding the borrowed rare book in the bright winter sunlight today

I recently started working as a substitute teacher at a local school and one day I was at the computer looking at Susun Weed‘s website, reading about nettle infusions, when the secretary nearby said something about her sister who is an herbalist living in NY’s East Village. My ears perked up and I eagerly asked, “you have an herbalist sister?!” She saw how excited I was and told me about her sister who had studied upstate back in the 60’s with a well-known herbalist, whose name she just couldn’t recall. I had a hunch and guessed, “do you mean Susun Weed??” Her eyes lit up and she confirmed, “oh yes, her!” I was so blown away because I was literally on Susun’s site at that very moment, reading about nettle infusions. So the woman continued, “yes, my sister is an herbalist and she always teaches me about herbs. She’s even written a book about herbs. She told me to drink nettle infusion every day!” By this point I just couldn’t believe my ears. Of all the hundreds of articles on Susun’s website, I was just reading about nettles! We both became very aware of the synchronicity in this moment and felt the excitement grow. As our connection to the plants unraveled, we realized what a bond we share through them. The cherry on top was when I found out that the book her sister wrote was Herbal Rituals: Recipes for Everyday Living. This was no ordinary herb book, but rather a book that has been on my wish list for over 5 years now! It is out of print so I never got myself a copy, but here I am, sitting in my bed, sipping tea and reading the herbal book I dreamed of for so many years.

This is just one of many plant synchronicities that I’ve experienced on my journey, and I know so many of you have these things going on all the time as well. I’d love to hear about your experiences! Feel free to email me or even post on my Facebook wall, I’d love to get a discussion going where we can all share these magic happenings and reap inspiration and guidance from them! I have a strong feeling that many of us also go through common plant synchronicities as well, so it would be interesting to look at those trends as a community!

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Lessons from the Mushrooms: Be Optimistic, Resourceful, and Recycle

amanita muscaria, the archetypal mushroom

Take a moment to be awed when you spot a mushroom popping up through the ground. No mushroom is an island. What you are actually looking at is the reproductive structure of a complex, magical organism called Mycelium that is found underneath the grass that you and the mushroom stand on. You are facing the next generation of a superpower whose handiwork is intertwined with the fate of millions of life-forms. Mycelium (and their mushrooms) are there at every stage of an animal or plant’s lifecycle – from birth to death, and so on. Here are some inspiring habits of nature’s recycling squad:

~Mushrooms are the guardians of the forests. Their role in the decomposition and rebuilding of life forms, manifested in partnerships with creatures of all sizes and kinds (such as helping snails digest their dinners),  make them the overseers of the forest’s well-being. Some say they can even help prevent forest fires.

~Studies on mushrooms indicate promising medicinal benefits for us humans, including antibiotics, anticancer, antioxidant, and stress reducing properties. The Reishi/Ling Chi species is also antiviral, anti tumor, and promotes cardiovascular, immunity, and liver health, amongst other virtues.

~Certain species of mushrooms are so powerful that they can break down toxic wastes. Researchers implanted mushrooms on piles of soil contaminated by diesel and watched as the mushrooms were able to find nutrition in the chemicals, ultimately transforming the lifeless pile into healthy soil. That goes for toxic spills and radiation-ridden lands, too…so resourceful!!

~Some mushrooms can be natural alternatives to chemical pesticides that threaten the quality of our foods and the delicate balance of insect ecosystems. Rather than using harsh chemicals, farmers and individuals can use mushrooms to control pests and insects in a safer and less harmful way to us all.

~Mushrooms can be cultivated in the craziest places. We all know about those that grow on cow manure, but also straw, logs, tree stumps, hemp rope, hats, clothing, buckets, cardboard, your own backyard, and yes, nuclear waste sites. They are the ultimate optimists, taking the best from whatever situation they are in.

a fairy ring via The Telegraph

~They form “Fairy rings” – naturally occurring arcs or rings of mushrooms that appear on grasses and in fields. In European folklore, these are the gateways to fairy realms and the indicator that an elf or fairy has stopped by. These beautiful rings form when underground webs of mycelium grow in an outward direction. The mushrooms pop up along this circle, outlining the presence of the complex system working just below the surface.

~There are over 10,000 known species of mushrooms!! Each type is unique and many are amazingly bizarre in appearance. Some glow in the dark (mycena chlorophos), some are tiny (flammulina velutipes), some are as big as a tree, some grow underwater, and some are as hard as rocks. They are all beautiful.

for further information, visit Mushroom Appreciation, and read Mycelium Running by Paul Stamets.

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11 Herbal Books to Inspire, Enchant, and Charm Your Way to Good Health

Maude Grieve’s Modern Herbal, 1971 via Botanical.com

Herbals are books that offer information about the uses, properties, and botanical descriptions of herbs — and it’s no wonder they were amongst the first books produced in Ancient Egypt, China, India, and Europe. Ancient herbals and their modern-day counterparts are always fascinating to me, filled with legend, folklore, and other tell-tale information that reveals the quirks and idiosyncrasies of the times they were born of. Many herbals were illustrated to assist readers in plant identification, and some used the doctrine of signatures, which purported that an herb’s physical appearance revealed its healing virtues. (For example, lungwort’s leaves look similar to diseased lungs, the area of the body they are used to treat.)
The beauty of herbals is how interconnected they all are, like branches of one tree, all referencing others and tapping into the wealth of herbal information passed down through the ages. It’s fascinating to see how modern-day science and research combine with the empirical data and theories of the ages in later herbals. Here are some of my beloved herbals, dating from the 17th Century to the amazing herbals still being produced in our days:

1. Bruton-Seal, Julie, and Seal, Matthew, 2009. Backyard Medicine: Harvest and Make Your Own Herbal Remedies. Skyhorse Publishing. (*rare)

2. Christopher, John R., 1996. School of Natural Healing. Nutribooks Corporation.

3. Culpeper, Nicholas, (1653). Culpeper’s Complete Herbal: A Book of Natural Remedies of Ancient Ills. Applewood Books, 2006.

4. De Bairacle Levy, Juliette, 1997. Nature’s Children. Ash Tree Publishing. (*rare)

Herbs + Things by Jeanne Rose, 1972.

5. Gladstar, Rosemary, 2008. Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health: 175 Teas, Tonics, Oils, Salves, Tinctures, and Other Natural Remedies for the Entire Family. Story Publishing.

6. Green, Chelsea, 2005. The Herbalist’s Way: The Art and Practice of Healing with Plant Medicines. Chelsea Green Publishing.

7. Grieve, Maud, 1971. A Modern Herbal: the Medicinal, Culinary, Cosmetic and Economic Properties, Cultivation and Folk-Lore of Herbs, Grasses, Fungi, Shrubs & Trees with their modern scientific uses. Dover Publications.

8. Kloss, Jethro, (1939). Back to Eden: the Classic Guide to Herbal Medicine, Natural Foods, and Home Remedies Since 1939. Lotus Press, 2004.

9. Rose, Jeanne, 1972. Herbs & Things. Penguin Books.

10. Shaouli, Rabbi Moshe Cohen, and Fisher, Rabbi Yaakov, 1999. Nature’s Wealth: Health and Healing Plants based on the teachings of the Rambam. Publisher unknown. (*very rare)

11. Tis Mal Crow, 2001. Native Plants, Native Healing: Traditional Muskagee Way. Native Voices Publishing.

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