For Flu’s Sake!

teafortwo
The Flu has struck!

So has bronchitis, pneumonia, strep, and the full range of other ‘fun’ illnesses this time of year brings about.  I often wonder how much of it is brought on by our rush to make the holidays perfect. We get so wrapped up in the wrappings and trappings. The first thing we forget is to take care of ourselves.  I’d like to think I’m smarter than that but….nah, I’m just as guilty!

Instead of grabbing my cup of chamomile/green tea, with a small slice of ginger, I reach for the eggnog…with an extra dash of brandy of course! I did discover Jim Beam Honey is a great accompanying alcohol to store bought eggnog. Then again, I’m rather fond of it straight.

Anyway, off topic there. Back on topic…

Ginger is a great aid in preventing, and reducing, the flu. If you feel the flu coming on, or have a mild case of the flu, fresh ginger juice helps kick it in the pants. Dried ginger, in this case, won’t work. You will have to get fresh ginger root and juice it. It takes 1-2 pounds of ginger to make 3-4 ounces of ginger juice.

You can use the ginger juice in your tea. You’ll find it very hard to drink straight. Ginger can be a bit strong. I add it to a combination of chamomile, lavender, and green tea. Easy on the lavender or it will over power the rest of the flavors. Add some lemon, honey and a dash of cayenne in hot water and nothing will slow you down.

You can also take the ginger juice (3-4 ounces), combine it with lime (one quarter), honey (1 Tbsp) and cayenne (1/8 tsp). Add it to 6 ounces of hot water and drink up to 6 cups daily. I only use this when I reach the miserable point. You know the point. Where you know you’re sick but, you’re debating with yourself on whether you should drag your butt to the doctor or not.  The ginger juice combo saves me from making the trip.

If you like tinctures, you can do a combination of:

2 oz lomatium
2 oz red root
2 oz licorice
1 oz isatis

Take 30-60 drops each hour.

Unfortunately, I find this combination hard to swallow. It is just not as taste bud friendly as the ginger juice.

You can make your own antiviral tinctures by adding any of the following dried herbs to vodka:

Chinese skullcap
Isatis (Dyer’s Woad)
Licorice
Houttuynia
Lomatium
Cordyceps
Astragalus Membranaceaus
Rhodiola (Arctic Root)
Boneset
Elder
Strobilanthes Cusia
Forsythia Suspensa
Sophora Flavescens

We do like combinations of the herbs – mainly in tea form! Try skullcap and isatis with a little hot water and honey. We add a little strawberry, but we tend to be a little fruity!

Please remember, while the herbs listed above have properties which will help with the flu. Some of them do have side effects. Research them before you use them, and always purchase from a trusted source! Many of them can be purchased in tea form, pill form, and in premade tinctures.

And above all…see your doctor! Herbal remedies are great, but they are no substitute for a doctor’s care. Your health matters more!

We hope this flu season finds you healthy and happy, and very flu free!

Blessed Be My Friends!

Merry, Merry Christmas Contrary to Controversy

Christmas

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Yes, I said Merry Christmas. That seems to be the hot spot for some over the past two years. To say Merry Christmas, or Happy Holidays. To recognize one belief system over another. To risk offending one person by saying it, or offending them by not saying it. The debate rages on!

I say….I was brought up with this time of year being Christmas. I was brought up with Christmas being a magical day where a magical, jolly, round man flew through the sky. A set of magical reindeer pulling a magical sleigh. A sleigh filled with a magical bag which held toys for all the children of the world.

Then…I was introduced to the Christian belief system. Where I learned about a magical day where a virgin gave birth to a healthy, bouncing magical god boy. A day, foretold by magical angels, with trumpeting and singing.  One of the first times, in history, where the parents knew the sex of the child before it was born!

No matter what belief system you follow, you are celebrating magic on Christmas. Don’t believe me? When was the last time you looked up the word magic?

The definition of magic is:

mag-ic /’majik’/

noun

the power of apparently influencing the course of events by using mysterious or supernatural forces.

adjective

1. used in magic or working by magic; having or apparently having supernatural powers

2. wonderful; exciting 

verb

move, change, or create by or as if by magic

The bible is filled with magic, and god is portrayed as a supernatural being. Before Christianity swept the world, the Pagan belief systems revolved around the supernatural. To this day, it still does! We still see things we can’t explains and consider them supernatural, magical. I can’t help but believe magic has a bad rap because someone stopped believing in it.

So, this Christmas season think about this….

Christmas is celebrated world wide. It has been Christmas to millions of people who do not associate the Christian meaning to it. Christmas is just another word which brings joy and magic to the hearts of many. This time of year is about celebrating each other, life, wonder, and magic…not just the birth of one.

So say Merry Christmas, or Happy Holiday’s, or Seasons Greetings, or…. just say something! Risk offending someone, because if they’re offended they haven’t found the true spirit of the season. It would take more than pixy dust and a cattle prod for them to ever find it!

And let me leave you with this…

Love and Friendship, Kin and Kind
You’re forever in my heart and mind
The Magic is made, our lives entwined
So we must honor, ties that bind

Blessed Be My Friends!

Everything is Popping Up Poppet’s!

PoppetPattern

Poppet! Poppet! Who has the Poppet!

We’ve recently started making Poppet’s in the store. Poppet’s, up to this point, were not real big sellers. In fact, like Witchcraft, they’ve had a rather nefarious reputation. The Poppet has become interchangeable with the voodoo doll. Both of which have been forced into the stereotype of evil, hateful, used for revenge, etc.

I saw the stereotype in action not too long ago. I was visiting New Orleans, the French Quarter. There is no place like it! I was in one of the many little shops along Bourbon Street getting my fortune told. These two ladies walked into the store, saw a shelf of voodoo dolls, and immediately turned around and walked out. As they walked out, you could hear them say, “I’m not going in there with those evil things! I can’t believe they’d sell such things!”

I have to admit I wasn’t impressed with the fortune teller. I’ve had better readings from a novice. When you tell me someone is going to die in six months…simply because I had the death card. I really have to question your ability to read tarot. Then again, I was in New Orleans, and while I know the history, I also know much of it is now strictly for tourist.

I was, however, very impressed with the shop keeper. The ladies who walked out, offended by the voodoo dolls, sparked a conversation with the other customers. He quietly explained the history of the voodoo doll, and its purpose. He didn’t mince words, and gave the other customers a chance to ask questions. It is that one act which will make me a return customer. Faulty fortune teller or no, I will be back!

The Poppet’s user is age old. They were, and are, a closely guarded secret. I know I’m hesitant to hand someone a Poppet without knowing their intent. In the wrong hands, or used incorrectly, a Poppet can be a dangerous tool. Used correctly though, they can be a saving grace.

Poppet’s are generally made from cloth. Any material will do. I’ve seen Poppet’s made from twigs and corn husks. You’d be amazed what you can create in a pinch! I tend to make mine with yarn. A cloth doll is nice, but if someone else makes it for you, it is really hard to fill it with herbs, etc. If you make it yourself, with the wrong material, it can be hard to write on it.

The yarn Poppet’s we make solve both of those problems! Even after they’re made, you can still fill them with herbs. If you write what you need on paper, you can put it inside the Poppet. If you’re like me and tend to write a book whenever you write…a larger piece of paper is a saving grace! Plus, you can still add hair, clothing, facial features, etc.

There are many reasons you’d make a Poppet – Protection, prosperity, luck, love, health, happiness… We tend to use them most for bindings – admittedly, this is NOT something we like to do, or recommend. Poppet’s can also be used for Banishings, in extreme cases, and again it is not something we recommend.

Our favorite reason to make Poppet’s is for Friendship. Each of our Poppet’s is blessed with health, prosperity, success, healing, and family. Then we bind it with the following:

Love and Friendship, Kin and Kind
Ever in our Hearts and Mind
Magick made and Lives Entwined
Thus we Honor, Ties that Bind

The Poppet’s are not taglocked. So, they’re not tied to any one person, place, or thing. If you ever purchase one, you can taglock it yourself. For those who do not know what taglock is – A taglock is the part of the poppet that links to the person you mean it to represent. In order to taglock a Poppet you would need a piece of the persons clothing, their handwriting, a photograph of the person, some of their hair, nail clippings, or bodily fluids. The more personal the item, and the more personal items you have, the stronger the taglock.

The more time you put into making/taglocking the Poppet the stronger the connection. Don’t forget to name the Poppet if it is going to represent someone. You can do this by repeatedly telling the Poppet who it is it represents.

This is where we’re going to throw in a strong Caution! Remember, this Poppet represents a person once you name it and taglock it. Keep it in a safe place!! What happens to the Poppet, happens to the person. You may not mean to cause the person harm, but if you get the Poppet to close to a flame…or the neighbors cat runs off with it because you filled it with catnip….you will never forgive yourself!

Once the Poppet has done its work Do Not forget to dismantle it! Remove the herbs, taglocks, etc. Dispose of them properly. Make sure any link between the Poppet and the person it represents is completely destroyed. Then cleanse the doll thoroughly!

Poppet’s can be reused if cleansed properly. It is not something we recommend, but then we tend to err on the side of caution. When in doubt, rule it out!

Most Poppet’s come in the shape shown above. Ours come as male or female. Eventually we’d like to include animal Poppet’s. There have been many times we could have used a cat or dog poppet to do a healing. If you know of a good way to make an animal poppet, drop us a line at wickedwitchmidwest@yahoo.com. We look forward to hearing from you!

For now…

Blessed Be My Friends!

Wonderfully White Winter Solstice Blessings

winterwonderland

Winter Solstice is upon us, and I have to admit…I do not like winter!

I love Winter Solstice though! It is a magical time of year. It is a time of renewal, rebirth, and joy; a time to reflect on the past. Remember those who have come before, and those we are blessed with now. It is also the time when the fermentation process would be complete, and alcohol would be ready to drink!

I’m not a big drinker – I do like a glass of wine once in a while but, I never seem to finish the whole bottle. Not without help anyway. A good glass of honey mead is never wasted on me, but again…a glass is my limit. Call me old and boring if you want. The “falling down drunk” never appealed to me. I do enough falling down without the help of alcohol.

The Winter Solstice is “The Holiday’s” for everyone else. That means baking and wrapping packages and shopping and snow and garland and glitter and glitz and…. exhaustion! It also means eating too much, and drinking too much. Do you see a bit of a recurring theme here?

So…what does a Witch do for the The Holidays? This Witch gets crafty!

This time of year I pull out the Blessing/ Banishing tree. I know I’ve posted about this before but we can never count our blessings enough. But, you can’t have the light without the dark. For each blessing we receive we must surrender something. So, why not something we want to get rid of?

The Blessing/ Banishing tree works like this – you’ll need:

1 Tree – Tree size depends on the number of people participating. If you purchase a living tree, you can save it until the season is over, dry it out, and you have your Yule log for next year.
10-20 Red Ribbons/ Bows Per Person (or color of your choice)
10-20 White Ribbons/ Bows Per Person (or color of your choice)
Drink – Alcoholic or Non-Alcoholic.

I usually combine the Blessing/Banishing Tree with the Triskelian Rite of Tea. Since I’m doing this one for the Winter Solstice Mint Hot Chocolate is my go to drink – the benefits of mint, especially this time of year, helps with the headaches, indigestion, gas, heartburn, and sleeping. If you prefer tea, a nice chamomile mint tea would be perfect! Chamomile reduces the stress hormone, as well as having aromatic benefits.

Back to the Blessing/ Banishing tree! Once everyone has their tea, or hot chocolate, elect someone to go first. Each person will add one red bow, and one white bow, to the tree during their turn. You’ll have to designate which color bow is for banishing and which is for blessing. Personally I use white for blessing and red for banishing.

When putting the bow on the tree each person will say what blessing they’d like to bring into their lives, and what they’d like to banish from it. For example: I’d place a blessing bow on the tree to bring family closer. I’d put a banishing bow on the tree to rid myself of excess weight (everything I gained from Thanksgiving!).

You might think coming up with 10-20 blessings and banishings is hard. Once you start though, you’ll wish you had more bows! Don’t hesitate to use your blessings and banishings for someone else. Remember, what you send out comes back to you! I have family that struggles this time of year. We’ve had so many family members pass around the holidays. It does tinge the holiday with a bit of angst, and fear. The Blessing/ Banishing tree allows me to remember all the great people I have in my life, and to send them Blessings while Banishing some of their troubles.

The recipe for my Mint Hot Chocolate is:

2 cups milk
2 cups half and half
6 sprigs fresh mint
10 oz milk chocolate chips

I usually double, or triple the batch and throw all of the ingredients in the crock pot. Since it is winter, fresh mint sprigs may not be easy to find. You can substitute a crushed candy cane or two. If you prefer your hot chocolate luxurious and rich, reduce the milk to 1 ½ cups and add a half a cup of sweetened condensed milk.

If you’re like me, and do not have a fire place, you might find it a little hard to do the traditional Yule log rituals. Over the years I’ve replaced the burning of the Yule log with the gathering of the pine branches. Everyone receives their own pine branch, and single green candle.

Pine signifies prosperity and growth. Add a green candle which stands for abundance, growth, money, success, health and healing. Toss in a little craftiness – a sprig of mistletoe, a little ribbon, a couple of crystals, and whatever else you’d like to use to decorate…and the next thing you know, you have the perfect centerpiece, or table marker, or bookshelf décor.

Once you have the above crafted. You can use it for one of two little rituals. The first one, everyone lights their candle, makes a wish, then lets the candle burn out. The second one, everyone lights their candle, sits back and remembers the past year. After a bit of inward reflection, everyone uses their candle to light a larger, central candle. The central candle represents togetherness, the coming year, and new beginnings. Once the central candle is lit, you can either put out your individual candles, or…make a wish and let the candle burn out.

However you choose to celebrate this wondrous season be sure of three things – Dance, sing, and celebrate! Every one of you will be in my thoughts, and part of my Blessings/ Banishing tree. May Isis, Mithras, Rhea, Hera, Lucina, Lucia, Frigga, and Freya show you the beauty of the season and bless you many times over.

Blessed Be My Friends!

Attitude

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes.”

~Charles R. Swindoll~

A Little Wicked Wisdom

It is amazing to think…

I have been writing this blog, and a couple of others, for several years now. I write solely for myself, but really appreciate the readers I have. I don’t filter my writing to be politically correct, or socially acceptable. I believe both are a waste of time.

If we were to stand face to face and have a conversation; you would find I speak exactly the same as I write. I don’t change myself to suit others. This world is already way to full of people judging people. I don’t have the time, or the inclination to join the mass hysteria.

I am a small town, bible belt living, bi-sexual, Book of Shadows totting Witch. I stir up controversy the second I step out my front door. I fight multiple stereotypes every chance I get, but only with words. I don’t have a taste for violence – I wouldn’t be a Witch if I did. I am also not a pacifist. You hurt my family, kids, animals, or friends – anyone I care about and the hexes come out.

I know I will face the consequences of any negative actions I perform. Call it karma, the three-fold law, whatever you prefer. I try to keep my words soft, my actions softer, but I will not back down from a fight. Insults are just words. They generally don’t ruffle my feathers. And, if one wishes to discuss religion vs. spiritual beliefs I’m up for the debate.

However, I do not appreciate emails from bible thumping groups depicting me as the devil, and all that is wrong with society. I do not even tolerate such issuances in my daily life.

What is wrong with society, and the bible thumping crowd, can be defined in one word: Ignorance.

Infer I am a Satanist, Devil worshiper, purveyor of evil and I say, “Thank you!” I know a couple of Satanists, and a couple of Lucifarian’s – fantastic, caring, loving, completely non-evil people. To be counted among them would be an honor.

Call me Christian, or Catholic, and I take offense. I do not wish to be associated with religious belief systems which have spurned more death then any Satanic group. The foundation of these belief systems is solidly built on death. The historic deception, deceit, lies, and coercion used in solidifying the basis of these religions is sickening.

If the ‘faithful’ of these belief systems would truly research the foundation of their dogma…they would not blindly follow them any further. How do I know? I didn’t blindly follow.

To the group who so wisely emailed me. Who wanted to bring to my attention my short comings; how the devil was leading me astray. Who wanted to bring me to the light. Let me say this:

Your ignorance is showing, and it is shameful!

First, you know nothing about me. Second, you are not “the way, the truth, the light.” You are closed minded, deceived, and hopelessly lost to an idea. I feel sorry for you. You are what is wrong with this world today.

Since I dislike sweeping generalizations, and the last paragraph was full of them. Let’s begin with the first part – you know nothing about me.
I may be from a small town, but that does not make me ignorant. I did blindly follow your belief system….until I started questioning. I was told to “take it on faith,” but wasn’t a fool. So, I studied. Studied, ..and studied,.. and was ordained,… and questioned more,… and hated the answers I was given,… and was disillusioned by what I was being force fed. There is a reason they call it ‘Blind Faith.’

The bible…the lovely, fictitious book; culled by a council of corrupt, pagan influenced, self-righteous men with an eye on controlling the populous. Did only what their predecessors had done before them. They used existing religious practices to define your valued doctrine. Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look.

The cross – the most ancient and exalted human ideograms of the Sun. SUN not SON. Recognized throughout the world, and celebrated as a symbol of life by Buddhists, Greeks, Amerindians, Egyptians, and Christians. The cross dates back to the Paleolithic era. That is pre-Neolithic….long before bible decide to use it.

The cross also represented resurrection of the Sun. Oh, there’s the spelling thing again! Sun, not son. Such a small thing – especially if you’re a group of men looking to control a populace. If you add in the representation of Egyptian Anhk, which is the Just-Man crucified. You start forming the picture of how they decided on the crucifixion.

Oh, and let’s not forget Osiris-Dionysus (1000 BC) – the pagan fertility god who suffered persecution, was nailed upon a crucifix, died, and later rose from the dead. It just happened to be the dominant belief system where Christianity first flourished. Coincidence? Artifacts portraying Jesus on a crucifix weren’t found until the 5th century. Prior to that time artifacts depicted Jesus as the fish, or shepherd, but never on the cross.

Felix Marcus Minucius, one of the early Christian fathers even discredited the whole idea Christians worshiped the cross. Declaring:

“You it is, ye Pagans, who are the most likely to adore crosses. Your winning trophies not only represent simple crosses, but a cross with a man on it.”

That is only the cross. One small part. I haven’t even touched on the four gospels. Four gospels…four seasons…that one is hard to miss. Then there is the whole male dominant part. A male council decides the “God” of the bible is male – shocker!

To many early cultures, prior to the succession of Judeo-Christianity, the celebration of birth to death was key. Ceremonial figure heads were female. The Goddess was supreme through 3000-1100 BC. Christianity insists this cycle is reversed – a dead man literally came back to life.

Multitudes invented tales of resurrection to lead people astray. Pythagoras’ servant convinced the Scythians he had risen from the dead. Pythagoras himself did the same in Italy. What about Rhampssinitus in Egypt? Don’t forget Orpheus among the Odrysians, Protesiaus in Thessaly and Heracles and Theseus.

To Roman historians Christianity was seen as a new depraved and deadly superstition. The Sophist historian, Eunapius of Sardis, even described the destruction when literalist Christians came to power. He recorded that the Empire was being confounded by a “fabulous and formless darkness mastering the loveliness of the world.”
Before Christ, Jesus Christ, the original dying and resurrecting Solar gadman was known by many different names:

• In the Greco-Syriac myth, Adonis. Worshipped by women as the beautiful fertility god. Yearly carnivals called “Adonia” took place at Byblos and abroad to commemorate his demise and resurrection.
• In Egypt, it was the goddess Isis and the resurrected Osiris.
• In Anatolia, he was the youthful godman Attis, the Sun/Son of the goddess Cybele, who died, and three days later returned to life.
• In Babylonia, he was Tammuz worshiped by the goddess Ishtar. In the Old Testament, his disappearance is even mourned by the women of Jerusalem (Ezek. 8.14).
• In Greece, it’s the Thracian god Dionysus in honor of the goddess Demeter and Persephone. His fanatical priestesses were called Maenads. In Rome, they were called the Bacchantes.

I could keep going, but I think this post is long enough. I’m happy to talk with anyone via email, or otherwise. I am happy to listen to what you have to say. Just know that you will not convert me, or convince me. I am far too old, and have done far too much research.

That is why I do not follow a religion. I follow a spiritual path. I am polytheistic, no monotheistic. And I encourage everyone not to be blind followers. If you want some reading material pick up some of the following:

Pagans and Christians: Gus diZerega
The Christ Conspiracy: Acharya S
The God Gene: Dean H. Hamer
The God Delusion: Richard Dawkins
Beyond Belief, The Secret Gospel of Thomas: Elaine Pagels
The Gospel of Mary Magdalene: Jean-Yves Leloup

Do not let anyone, including me, tell you what to believe. Use that wonderful brain of yours and decide for yourself. Then do not expect others to believe as you do. Their life, their experiences, their surroundings, the events in their lives, are completely unique to them – and it is those things which have led them to the path they chose. Let them walk that path – judgment free!

Harm None and Blessed Be!

Pumpkin Pickin’ Predicament

pumpkin

Do a little dance! Make a little rant! Get down tonight!

We’re having 80’s week at work to celebrate Customer Service. It has given the world a whole new sparkle! It has also colored it brightly, and erased all signs of fall. I’m a bit torn as to whether this is good, or bad. I love fall! I love fall colors! I love all of the fun things which fall brings!

Apple cider, pumpkin pie, spices, cinnamon…. and clove… and nutmeg… and….oh the smells and tastes and… excuse me while I get lost in the thoughts! More than any other time of the year I get a true feeling of home tinged with a great big glop of love. And why not? It is the one time of year we let our guard down, and become truly human.

This is the time of year when donations to charities increases; where stories of people helping people become common place. Love is in the air, and more babies conceived – human and animal alike. The average person would simply write this off as the time of year. I, however, know it has everything to do with magick!

Don’t believe me? Let’s break this down. Starting with the spices….

Clove – a very aromatic antioxidant with antiseptic, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory quality. Oh the things you can do with Clove!

Used to treat gastroenteritis and intestinal parasites, toothaches and insect bites. Also used to relieve pain, treat nausea, vomiting, stomach issues and impotence.

Fill a small bottle with whole cloves, pour olive oil over it, seal it…and you have one of the best, natural, remedies for toothaches. Cheaper, and sometimes better tasting, than store bought anbesol, etc.

Put it in a tincture of alcohol or witch hazel and use it as a disinfectant. Add a few cloves to a mix of fresh apples, orange peels, cinnamon sticks, and spring water – heat on low, in a bowl on the stove and your house will smell fantastic!

Use some clove and eucalyptus oil in the shower, or bath, for help with repertory illnesses. Carry clove with you for protection. Make it into incense to draw wealth and prosperity. Burn it in your next campfire to keep away the pesky bugs like mosquitoes and flies. Add it to smudging spray to drive away negative forces – it is that added little ‘kick’.

Cloves secret weapon though is the emotional element of love…sweet, enduring, love!

Cinnamon – another very aromatic spice. Used in treating coughs, arthritis, muscle spasms, vomiting, diarrhea, infections, the common cold, loss of appetite and sore throats. If you follow research, cinnamon may also have an effect on preventing Alzheimer’s.

Every year at this time I buy a cinnamon fragrance broom to hang in the ritual room. I mix up some cinnamon and sugar for morning toast. Cinnamon and honey gets mixed and jarred to help with annoying coughs and sore throats.

A tincture of cinnamon helps lower blood pressure. Also helps lower blood sugar levels in diabetics, works on circulation problems, and digestion problems. If you have never made cinnamon tincture (extract) don’t panic when part of it comes out gooey. That does not mean the tincture is bad. The gooey-ness is a good sign. Tinctures/ extracts bought at the store are processed…which is why you don’t see the gooey-ness. Also, if you’re making your own cinnamon tincture be sure to leave it sit in the dark for a minimum of two weeks. Shake it periodically, but don’t open it for at least the two weeks. The longer you leave it sit the better.

Like its friend Clove, Cinnamon has the emotional element of love. And I’m not just talking about the love of the taste!

Ginger – The aromatic spice makes think of Asian stir fry, almost as much as pumpkin pie! Ginger is used for treating loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, nausea resulting from cancer treatment, flatulence, stomach upset, colic, morning sickness, motion sickness, bronchitis, cough, menstrual cramps, arthritis, and muscle pain. Wow! What a list! I love nature!

A little secret from the modern world – ginger is used as an ingredient in antacid, laxatives, and anti-gas medications. They’ve even done tests of adding ginger to asthma medication. The tests have been pretty successful so far.

Personally, I add ginger to my yearly cold medicine. A small jar, one lemon sliced, two slices of ginger, and a lot of honey. Put the sliced lemon in the jar until it fills it. Add the two slices of ginger, pour the honey over all of it until the jar is full. Put a lid on it and let it sit in the fridge. When you need it, take one to two tablespoons, add to boiling hot water, and sip. I like adding a little green tea for an added antioxidant boost – plus I just love green tea!

If you’re making any kind of stew…add some powdered ginger and you’ll be amazed at the flavor bonanza. Just a side note – Ginger Essential Oil should never be consumed unless supervised by a doctor. I prefer to buy fresh ginger since I haven’t had much luck growing my own. I will conquer it though!

If you’re working any spell which need an added kick – spells for success, money…Love. Ginger is a great addition, and adds a kick you won’t get with other herbs.

Oh! And let’s not forget my favorite ginger of all – Ginger Ale! I highly recommend making your own at least once in your life. They have a great recipe on the foodnetwork.com

Nutmeg – the aphrodisiac of the group. Nutmeg has been used to treat rheumatism, and gastric disorders. Nutmeg also has a darker side. For this site though….I’m only interested in its wonderful addition to making my pumpkin pie delicious!

Carrying a small piece of nutmeg is considered lucky. If you want to attract money, you can make a charm of a whole nutmeg.

Nutmeg does not have the emotional element of love. The fact that it is an aphrodisiac definitely aids in the love factor though.

Apples – the cancer fighting fruit. It is actually part of the rose family. Apples aid the digestive system. The pectin has an amphoteric action – meaning it is either a laxative or antidiarrheal. Depending on the bodies needs.

Apple Cider Vinegar is one weight loss tincture the world has made popular over the last few years. A week doesn’t go by that I don’t see it posted on Facebook. I keep it handy for getting rid of fruit flies outside. A little apple cider vinegar and a drop or two of dish soap in a bowl… flies can’t resist it!

The apple is associated with beauty, love, faith, death of the old year, peace, abundance, wisdom, joy, fertility, youthfulness, immortality, temptation, and knowledge. Say that in one breath! Used in pies, drinks, tinctures, salves, shampoos, sauces, and the list goes on. My favorite, this time of year, is apple butter! One recipe for Apple Butter I recently found on Yahoo Food…and can’t wait to try…is:

4 pounds of mixed apples – they suggest Cortland, Pink Lady, and Braeburn – peeled, cored, and chopped into ¾ inch cubes.
2 cups apple cider
1 cup light brown sugar
One 2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced

Preheat the oven to 300°. Combine all the ingredients in a Dutch oven and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, partially covered, until the apples are soft, about 25 minutes. Use an immersion blender to puree the apples (or puree in a blender in batches).

Transfer the Dutch oven, uncovered, to the oven. Bake, stirring every 20 minutes and scraping the bottom so that it does not burn, until the mixture is very thick and dark brown, 2 to 2 1⁄2 hours. Cool completely, then transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to serve. The apple butter will keep for up to 1 week.

Doesn’t that sound delicious? I can already imagine the smell permeating the house while it is cooking.

On to pumpkins, and the rant part of this post.

Pumpkins – packed with carotenoids and a great source of vitamin A, C, E and B, and dietary fiber. They’re rich in potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, manganese, sodium, and zinc. Plus, pumpkins are just cheerful looking with their bright colors. Yellow, orange, red – very chipper colors!

Even the seeds are healthy with an anti-inflammatory effect. Asthma, atherosclerosis, bone health, cholesterol, depression, eyesight, immune system, … the list of items pumpkin helps fight is endless (or it just seems that way!)

Now…here’s my rant. This year, walking through Target, admiring the Halloween decorations, I ran across fake, carve-able pumpkins. Fake! Man-made pumpkins. I can only imagine what it takes to make those pumpkins. I can see the chemicals, the pollutants, the ick factor! Every part of me cringes at the thought of these things.

Here is my problem with them. Somewhere there is a factory pumping these things out. In that factory are workers slowly getting sick due to the chemicals. No matter how hard any company may try, when working with any kind of chemical, there is no way to completely prevent the illnesses caused by the toxins. Those same toxins are seeping into the ground, reaching our ground water. The neighboring community is being affected.
I appreciate the fact the company is providing jobs for the community. At what cost though? The medical costs these people will later incur will be more then what they will make. Their lives will be forever altered by the illnesses.

These fake pumpkins will be bought by millions. They’re easy, less messy, a time saver, and cost about the same as a real pumpkin. They’ll be bought because people are lazy. They were created for a society that is over-weight, takes the easy way out, and doesn’t consider the consequences.

And don’t, for a second, think I exclude myself from this broken society. Oh, heck no! For one minute I considered buying one of these fake pumpkins. I considered it because I can’t stand the feeling of pumpkin guts on my hands. What can I say, I have issues with textures. In that minute though, my brain kicked in. I started asking the “What ifs?”

What if I did buy the fake pumpkin? What would it hurt? Well….for one, the neighborhood squirrels wouldn’t get their yearly supply of pumpkin seeds. I would truly miss seeing their little tails scurry around the yard. I wouldn’t get to watch my ever growing family of cats try to fit inside the pumpkins once they’re carved. I wouldn’t get to enjoy the smell of semi-burnt pumpkin. Thanks to a small candle and freshly carved pumpkin ‘lid’. I wouldn’t get to watch the pumpkin slowly melt into an unfamiliar funny face. My compost bin would miss the familiar orange fall covering that comes with the aftermath.

There would be no spicy pumpkin seeds for the remainder of the year. Snacking would go back to being boring. I wouldn’t be able to try pickle juice flavored pumpkin seeds. And I was so looking forward to that this year!

And that is exactly how my mind works. Scary isn’t it? 

So…after looking at all the spices, and apples, and pumpkins, it really does come down to love. The smells, the colors, the tastes, all inspire in each of us an emotion. Whether it is contentment, happiness, feelings of home, love, peace, ….or even fear. Emotions are strong this time of year.

Whether you’re working your magick in the kitchen, or in a circle, never doubt magick is real. Take it from a Witchy one, the herbs and spices and foods we use for the holidays carry that magick.

Blessed Be My Friends!

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