100 Benefits of Meditation

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There are so many advantages to meditation.

Physiological benefits:
1- It lowers oxygen consumption.
2- It decreases respiratory rate.
3- It increases blood flow and slows the heart rate.
4- Increases exercise tolerance.
5- Leads to a deeper level of physical relaxation.
6- Good for people with high blood pressure.
7- Reduces anxiety attacks by lowering the levels of blood lactate.
8- Decreases muscle tension
9- Helps in chronic diseases like allergies, arthritis etc.
10- Reduces Pre-menstrual Syndrome symptoms.
11- Helps in post-operative healing.
12- Enhances the immune system.
13- Reduces activity of viruses and emotional distress
14- Enhances energy, strength and vigor.
15- Helps with weight loss
16- Reduction of free radicals, less tissue damage
17- Higher skin resistance
18- Drop in cholesterol levels, lowers risk of cardiovascular disease.
19- Improved flow of air to the lungs resulting in easier breathing.
20- Decreases the aging process.
21- Higher levels of DHEAS (Dehydroepiandrosterone)
22- Prevented, slowed or controlled pain of chronic diseases
23- Makes you sweat less
24- Cure headaches & migraines
25- Greater Orderliness of Brain Functioning
26- Reduced Need for Medical Care
27- Less energy wasted
28- More inclined to sports, activities
29- Significant relief from asthma
30- Improved performance in athletic events
31- Normalizes to your ideal weight
32- Harmonizes our endocrine system
33- Relaxes our nervous system
34- Produce lasting beneficial changes in brain electrical activity
35- Cure infertility (the stresses of infertility can interfere with the release of hormones that regulate ovulation).

Psychological benefits:
36- Builds self-confidence.
37- Increases serotonin level, influences mood and behaviour.
38- Resolve phobias & fears
39- Helps control own thoughts
40- Helps with focus & concentration
41- Increase creativity
42- Increased brain wave coherence.
43- Improved learning ability and memory.
44- Increased feelings of vitality and rejuvenation.
45- Increased emotional stability.
46- improved relationships
47- Mind ages at slower rate
48- Easier to remove bad habits
49- Develops intuition
50- Increased Productivity
51- Improved relations at home & at work
52- Able to see the larger picture in a given situation
53- Helps ignore petty issues
54- Increased ability to solve complex problems
55- Purifies your character
56- Develop will power
57- Greater communication between the two brain hemispheres
58- React more quickly and more effectively to a stressful event.
59- Increases one’s perceptual ability and motor performance
60- Higher intelligence growth rate
61- Increased job satisfaction
62- Increase in the capacity for intimate contact with loved ones
63- decrease in potential mental illness
64- Better, more sociable behavior
65- Less aggressiveness
66- Helps in quitting smoking, alcohol addiction
67- Reduces need and dependency on drugs, pills & pharmaceuticals
68- Need less sleep to recover from sleep deprivation
69- Require less time to fall asleep, helps cure insomnia
70- Increases sense of responsibility
71- Reduces road rage
72- Decrease in restless thinking
73- Decreased tendency to worry
74- Increases listening skills and empathy
75- Helps make more accurate judgments
76- Greater tolerance
77- Gives composure to act in considered & constructive ways
78- Grows a stable, more balanced personality
79- Develops emotional maturity

Spiritual benefits:
80- Helps keep things in perspective
81- Provides peace of mind, happiness
82- Helps you discover your purpose
83- Increased self-actualization.
84- Increased compassion
85- Growing wisdom
86- Deeper understanding of yourself and others
87- Brings body, mind, spirit in harmony
88- Deeper Level of spiritual relaxation
89- Increased acceptance of oneself
90- Helps you learn forgiveness
91- Changes attitude toward life
92- Creates a deeper relationship with God/Goddess/All-That-Is
93- Attain enlightenment
94- Greater inner-directedness
95- Helps living in the present moment
96- Creates a widening, deepening capacity for love
97- Discovery of the power and consciousness beyond the ego
98- Experience an inner sense of “Assurance or Knowingness”
99- Experience a sense of “Oneness”
100- Increases the synchronicity in your life & raises your vibration

Tin Can Luminaries

can-recycled-luminaryYou need:
Tin Cans
Nail
Hammer
Metal file
Candle
Paper and Pencil
Tape
Towel
Sand or Kitty Litter
Water and a Freezer

  1. Clean off your can. Remove any labels or paper. Lighter fluid can take off sticky adhesives. If the edges are sharp, file them down to avoid cutting anyone.
  2. Measure your piece of paper to fit around the sides of your tin can. You can measure with a tape measure and produce designs on your computer, or freehand them.
  3. Fill you can with water and put it in the freezer. Overnight works well, but you just need the ice to be solid if you are not patient.
  4. While the ice is freezing. Get your designs ready. Trace them out of a craft book, find line art on your computer or freehand it. Make sure your finished design fits the paper patten you made earlier. You may wish to mark holes for punching or simply draw lines.
  5. When the ice is frozen, dry the outside of the can and tape the pattern to it. Use plenty of tape. As you poke holes in the paper, it may need more tape.
  6. Use an old towel to work on. Fold and roll it to help hold the can in place. Use your hammer and nail to punch holes along your design. The water will keep the can from collapsing.
  7. If you have a large design, or it is a hot day, you may need to refreeze the can.
  8. When you are done with your design, remove the paper and let the ice melt. Use the file to clean up any particularly rough edges inside.
  9. Fill the bottom with sand or kitty litter (just below the holes), add your candle and enjoy.
  10. You can dress up these cans with some spray paint. Get one made for metal. If left outside or in moist areas, the cans will rust. If you don’t want them to rust, be sure to dry them after the ice melts and spray them with a clear coat design to protect metal from rusting.

Are you Paraskevidekatriaphobic?

01-wd1109-superstitions-2That giant word up there means afraid of Friday the 13th.

The history and folklore that surround the superstitions of the Friday the 13th fear are pretty neat. They are on my mind this week, because we do have a Friday the 13th this Friday. And, I have a black cat. Unfortunately, I do have to worry about him when this day comes around. So, he will be spending the n ext few days safely in the house and away from any crazy folk who think he may be bringing them bad luck or some other rot.

Some interesting facts for this year, 2012. We have three occurrences of Friday the 13th this year. And they are 13 weeks apart! This week is the last of them. They were January 13th, April 13th and of course the coming July 13th. We do have 3 in a year fairly often, but this year is special, because it is also a leap year. Aren’t the human constructs of calendars fun?

Most folks do have some sort of superstition. What is a superstition and what is an accepted norm vary from culture to culture and change with the fashion of society. So living out here on the edge by hedge, I just don’t put a lot of stock into it all. I’ve got my superstitions I’m sure, it all just depends on who is doing the looking and the judging.

But back to our fear of a calendar day…..

The number 13 itself reoccurs in many mythological and religious traditions. Some of the more well known include the 13 people at the last supper from several branches of Christianity. This dining event was when a member of the party betrayed the Christ figure and it lead to his murder on a Friday. This may hearken back to the Norse custom of forbidding 13 at a table, for it means that one must die within the year. If only 13 attended, a 14th place was set for the visitor at the door. Or that inclusion may come down to us from the conversion times.

Many folks think of the Knights Templar in connection to Friday the 13th. This was the date that King Phillip IV sent his army out to capture and imprison monks of this medieval order. In the information we have from this event, there does not seem to be any significance to the date, other than that is when King Phillip IV finished his planning and was able to get implementation. After all, the order sent to the bailiffs had gone out nearly a month before. He had to have an effective strike happen simultaneously all over France, so he had been planning and sending notice for sometime. Each set of orders was accompanied with instructions to open at dawn on Friday the 13th and not before. It hasn’t helped the legend much that in 1307, when this event occurred it was also October.

In modern times, we have Tupac Shakur dying on Friday, September 13th in 1996. But he was gunned down on the 7th of September, so the murderer could not have known how long he would linger.

Here are a few more superstitions to fuel your nightmares or gales of cackling. In fact, I think I will list 13 of them.

  1. If you have 13 letters in your name, you will have the Devil’s luck; Jack the Ripper (not even his real name), Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Theodore Bundy and Albert De Salvo. Nifty how you get to count or not count middle names as is convenient to make it fit the facts.
  2. Superstition held that in ancient Rome, a witch’s coven comprised 12 women, with the Devil being the 13th member. Not sure how ancient this ancient superstition is, but with the Devil being Christian and all, how did he do the time traveling bit?
  3. Mirrors, ohh now there is a good one. Break a mirror and get 7 years bad luck (more mystical number love). This idea goes with the whole body of belief that is built around mirrors reflecting the soul. That same body of belief gives us a fount of interesting beliefs surrounding mirrors. This sounds like a good way for Grandma to have to stop buying expensive mirrors with rambunctious kids around. Hey, it works for fairy tales!
  4. Biggest Wins! Break a wishbone in half, and whom ever got the bigger part gets their wish. More ancient Rome references, that apparently our Ancestors spent their time fighting over the prized dried bones from their feasts, resulting in them breaking. And the one with the bigger pieces somehow won the fight, or the luck, or paying for the beer. And toss them broken bits around, bone divination is great after a turkey dinner!
  5. Don’t open umbrellas in the house, or you’ll poke someone’s eye out. But there is more to it than that, don’t even open it alone, or it brings bad luck. Where this came from is rather hard to pin down. More references to ancient Rome, if you want to talk about some serious time traveling of having pop up umbrellas back with the togas. But hey, if you won’t listen when Mom says don’t do that, then attach some spooky myth and let it scare you into behaving.
  6. 66. The number of the beast of course. Three sixes in a room is scary due to the Book of Revelations out of a translation of the Bible, the common Holy Text of several Christian sects. According to State University of New York at Buffalo anthropologist Philips Stevens, the writer of Revelation was writing to persecuted Christians in code, so the numbers and names in the book are contemporary references. Three sixes in a row is probably the numeric equivalent of the Hebrew letters for the first-century Roman Emperor Nero.
  7. Waiting for the other shoe to drop, if you have 3 feet. Bad luck comes in threes. Nowadays you hear it often in relation to celebrity deaths. Three is a magical mystical number. But I think there is a little confirmation bias going on here. Just go check yourself. You’ll be sure to find it three times.
  8. Black cats crossing your path. The original thought that started this whole missive. Cats have been the companions of humans for thousands of years, and feature prominently in mythological roles. They also have a different set of sense than we do. So they sometimes see or hear things we can not. This has contributed to the idea that cats are psychic or magical. The maligning of our black feline friends may be due to their long association with shape shifting witches, or simply with their magical qualities and the tendency of any black animal to be hard to see at night. They can be quite startling when you suddenly come upon a live animal in what you thought was a shadow.
  9. Crossing under ladders. This seems like more of Grandma’s practical advise, like the mirror and umbrella. It was later attached to the idea of breaking the triangle, representing the Christian Holy Trinity (even though thousands of other cultures have Holy Trinities, they don’t seem to mind being in the presence of them). It has also been pointed out that a ladder is similar to a medieval gallows. But I haven’t had enough wine to really see that one yet.
  10. Knock on wood. This is done when someone says something bad or portends an ill omen. The old use of this was to deafen the ears of the Fates, who are always listening. And if you give them a challenge, like making things worse, or proving your word. Why, they are more than happy to oblige. They have a crooked sense of humor.
  11. Throw spilled salt over your left shoulder. Salt is an ancient substance, of much importance. Humans need salt to survive. Salt is so precious, it is of course the origin of our word salary, as it was used as a form of payment. Salt is grounding, neutral and can drive away spirits. So if you spill such precious a substance, it must be due to the presence of evil spirits. And they often lurk on the sinister side (the left). So don’t turn around and be captured by them, and potentially possessed. Instead toss some of that spilled salt over that left shoulder to get rid of them.
  12. Hold your breathe when driving by a graveyard. This one of course has to be modern. No way you could hold your breathe walking by one. You would pass out and join the residents. But this has to do with airy quality of spirits and ghosts, and the idea that you could accidentally breathe one of them in, and become possessed.
  13. And finally, bird poo. The superstition is that if a bird poops on you, and it lands on your head, you will have good fortune. One of those balance of life kind of things. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather carry an umbrella.

So what have we learned from all of this? Possession is around every corner. Grandma knows best. The ancient Romans really got up to some weird stuff. And someone, somewhere apparently does have a time machine.

Please Bear with Me

construction1aPlease bear with me here for a few weeks. I am moving the old site over and updating everything. That is 5 years worth of archives that are being re-indexed, and re-posted.

But, it is worth it! The new site will be much better than before. Feel free to go back and browse through these extensive archives whenever something new pops up. All sorts of things will appear out of the aether as the dust settles.

Thank you for your patience!
Shawna

Some Harvesting- Roses

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Rose petals on the table cloth

Look at all the rose petals. A few days ago the rose bushes were burgeoning with beautiful flowers. So I did the ‘Morticia’ thing and picked them all off. Then I sat down and watched a History Channel special while I separated the petals from the rest of the flower. It came out to about a gallon and a half of fresh rose petals.

I took them up to the third floor, where it is warm and dry and spread them out on this drying cloth. I checked on them today, and they have dried, but they aren’t done yet. They have reduced their volume by about 2/3rds. These smell lovely! They will be used to make teas and incenses. They will also be put into oils and perhaps a few mojo hands. There is now a second crop out on the rose bushes of about the same quantity. I think we may take these fresh and make rose water out of them. The rose water is a great astringent and toner for the skin, very good for that emerging acne of the hormone laden teenage years. I also use it as an offering during full moons, and as a component in the blend I make for water used to pour ghost roads. When adding a rose flavor or scent to a smoke, I prefer to use rose water as the moistening agent while rubbing the herbs into the mullein.

Magically speaking, these rose petals are of a delicate vibration, and make many things sweet. The dried petals would be ideal in a sugar jar for love and beauty in the home. They would also go well in the sugar jar with some cloves for eloquent speaking or ‘honeyed words.’ Rose petals are of course known for their use in love work. But the love here is very young, naive, and innocent. So, if you are looking for any other flavors of love, be sure to add to those roses. Another thing to note, is don’t burn roses for love. The changing of the smell doesn’t seem to carry through the love feelings or energies.

Rose petals are also great in an anointing oil for enhancing the psychic senses. I prefer to add lavender if I’m going up in vibration, and mugwort for going down in vibration. For communing with fey on midsummer’s eve, adding in some flower petals from the mallow family also has a synergistic effect for me.

Nothing Like Time….

Half of the library piled into the dining room
Half of the library piled into the dining room

…to make the heart grow fonder. Or something like that. I’ve been away for some time. To say things have changed would be an understatement. But in the way of all things, they are still pretty much the same.

My gardens are growing and maturing bit by bit. I am still knitting and crocheting away. I have even added weaving to the list of crazy fiber pursuits. I’ve been spending a lot of time with my herbs in my apothecary, concocting new blends for incense, smokes, oils, and other sundry things. Been working on organizing the library too. It is a bit daunting, but it needs some love. I have a craft room, set up and ready for lots of fun. Just need to get up there and get to it.
I feel like dusting off the proverbial pen (and hopefully the camera) and seeing what I can make out of this place again. Not sure where I am going, or at what pace I shall travel.

December

greenman2December, the twelfth and final month of the Gregorian calendar and the first month of Winter, derives its name from the Latin word ‘decem’, meaning ten, as December was the tenth month of the oldest Roman calendar. It was changed to twelve months with the monthless and undated winter period was divided into January and February. In Finnish, December is called joulukuu, meaning “month of Christmas,” since around the 18th century. Before that it was called talvikuu, meaning “month of winter.” Decima, was the middle Goddess of the Three Fates who personifies the present. Decima is a goddess of childbirth, her sisters are Nona and Morta. Called Aerra Geola, “the month before Yule,” or Wintermonat, “winter month,” by the Anglo-Saxons, the Franks called it Heilagmanoth, ” holy month,” and Wolfmoon is the Asatru name. Míí na Nollag or an Dubhlachd is December in Ireland, the dark season.

Astrologically speaking December begins with the sun in the sign of Sagittarius and ends in the sign of Capricorn. Astronomically, however, the month begins in the constellation of Ophiuchus, which is the only constellation on the zodiacal belt which is not counted as an astrological sign, and ends in the constellation of Sagittarius.

December is as full of events as any other month in the year, even with the cold. The United Nations designated a global holiday on December 10th as Human Rights Day. The winter solstice brings a myriad of winter and rebirth celebrations in nearly every faith to experience this season. On the old Tibetan calendar, December 1st was the beginning of the new year. And a bit for the trivia buffs, December always begins on the same day of the week as September.

December birthstones

  • sagittariusModern Birthstone (officially adopted in 1912): Blue Topaz, Turquoise
  • Traditional Birthstone (herald back to the 15th century):Zircon, Turquoise, Lapis Lazuli
  • Mystical Birthstone (Tibetan origin): Onyx
  • Ayurvedic Birthstone (Ayurvedic Indian Medicine): Ruby
  • Other Birthstone (alternative birthstone): Sapphire, Amethyst

Magickal Correspondences for December

  • Astrological Signs: Sagittarius, Capricorncapricorn-001
  • Nature Spirits: Snow faeries, storm faeries, winter tree faeries
  • Herbs: Holly, English ivy, fir, mistletoe
  • Colors: Blood red, green, white and black
  • Flowers: Holly, poinsettia, Christmas cactus, narcissus, daffodil, jonquil
  • Scents: Violet, patchouli, rose, geranium, frankincense, myrrh, lilac
  • Stones: Blue zircon, turquoise, serpentine, jacinth, peridot
  • Trees: Pine, fir, holly
  • Animals: Mouse, deer, horse, bear
  • Birds: Rook, robin, snowy owl
  • Deities: Athene, Attis, Dionysus, Fates, Frey, Freyja, Hathor, Hecate, Ixchel, Kris Kringle (as the Pagan God of Yule), Lucina, Minerva, Neith, Norns, Osiris, Woden, and the Horned God (Consort of the Goddess)

 

November

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November is the eleventh month of the Gregorian calendar and the third of Autumn’s rule. The name is derived from Novem, the Latin word for nine, as November was the ninth month in Rome’s oldest calendar. As the first month of the winter quarter, November was the first month of the new year according to Celtic traditions, Samhain (La Samhna – Irish) being the first day of the new year. Cailleach had guardianship of this month.

Called Blotmonath, the month of sacrifice, by the Anglo-Saxons, the Franks called this month Herbistmanoth, ” harvest month,” and Fogmoon is the Asatru name. It was called Samhain or an t-Samhainn, summer’s end, by the Irish, the month of the festival of Samhain.

The full moon of November is called the Beaver Moon. It is the Mourning or Frosty Moon, and it may also be referred to as the Moon When Deer Shed Antlers, the Fog Moon, or the Moon of Storms, a name it shares with February and March. Some call it the Dark Moon or Mad Moon.

November begins (astrologically) with the sun in the sign of Scorpio and ends in the sign of Sagittarius. Astronomically speaking, the sun begins in the constellation of Libra, passes through Scorpius from approximately the 24th through the 29th and ends in the constellation of Ophiuchus, which is the only zodiacal constellation that is not counted as an astrological sign.

November birthstones

  • scorpioModern Birthstone (officially adopted in 1912): Yellow Topaz, Citrine
  • Traditional Birthstone (herald back to the 15th century): Citrine
  • Mystical Birthstone (Tibetan origin): Pearl
  • Ayurvedic Birthstone (Ayurvedic Indian Medicine): Topaz
  • Other Birthstone (alternative birthstone): Diamond

Magickal Correspondences for November

  • Astrological Signs: Scorpio, Sagittarius
  • Nature Spirits: Banshees and other beings who carry messages between worlds
  • Herbs: Ginger, hops, wormwood, hyssop, patchouli, Mugwort, nutsagittariusmeg, star anise
  • Colors: Black, white, purple
  • Flowers: White lily, dahlia, chrysanthemum
  • Scents: Rosemary, dragons blood, lilac, pine, wisteria
  • Stones: Topaz, obsidian, onyx, Apache tear
  • Trees: Pine, cypress, yew, elder
  • Animals: Bat, wolf, sow, dog, snake
  • Birds: Owls, raven, falcon
  • Deities: Astarte, Calleach, Cerridwen, Circe, Cybele, Freyja, Hathor, Hel, Holda, Horned God, Kali, Maman, Nepthys, Sekhmet

October

cronemay4October is the tenth month in the current Gregorian calendar and second of autumn’s rule, and derives it’s name from the eighth month of the oldest Roman calendar, Octem. The Romans tried to change it four times and named it after Germanicus, Antonius, Faustina and Hercules. None of them stuck.

October was sacred to the goddess Astraea, daughter of Zeus and Themis. Deireadh Fóómhair or an Damhair, the stag rut, was the Irish name for this month or Gealach a ‘bhruic, moon of the badger. Winterfelleth, “winter is coming,” was the Anglo-Saxon name. The Franks called October Windurmanoth, “vintage month.” Hunting is the Asatru name.

The first Full Moon is called the Hunter’s Moon. This moon is also known as Shedding Moon, Ten Colds Moon, Ancestor Moon or the Moon of the Dead, and the Moon of the Changing Season. It shares the name Blood Moon with July and Harvest Moon with September.

October begins (astrologically) with the sun in the sign of Libra and ends in the sign of Scorpio. Astronomically speaking, the sun begins in the constellation of Virgo and ends in the constellation of Libra.

October birthstones

  • libraModern Birthstone (officially adopted in 1912): Opal and Tourmaline
  • Traditional Birthstone (herald back to the 15th century): Tourmaline
  • Mystical Birthstone (Tibetan origin): Jasper
  • Ayurvedic Birthstone (Ayurvedic Indian Medicine): Opal
  • Other Birthstone (alternative birthstone): Pink Tourmaline, Zircon, and Aquamarine

Magickal Correspondences for October

  • scorpioAstrological Signs: Libra, Scorpio
  • Nature Spirits: Frost faeries, plant faeries
  • Herbs: Pennyroyal, thyme, catnip, uva ursi, angelica, burdock
  • Colors: Dark blue-green
  • Flowers: Calendula, marigold, cosmos, rosemary, hops
  • Scents: Strawberry, apple blossom, cherry
  • Stones: Opal, rose sapphire, tourmaline, beryl, turquoise
  • Trees: Yew, cypress, acacia
  • Animals: Stag, jackal, elephant, ram, scorpion
  • Birds: Heron, crow, robin
  • Deities: Astarte, Belili, Cernunnos, Demeter, Hathor, Horned God, Kore, Lakshmi, the Morrigan, Osiris, and the Goddess in Her dark aspect as The Crone