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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