Wisdom and Books

Over the past several weeks, I've been reading bits out of several different books of knowledge. One is a reconstructed history of the Celtic mythology and belief systems around certain trees-- the holly and the oak, for example. The other books are about shamanism and Native American wisdom-- the wisdom of the First People. I've also been drying rose petals, applying for jobs, wrapping up one internship and starting another, and trying not to let any of this interfere with my school work. After all, I've only got until December to finish my Masters.

-The Wisdom of Trees b Jane Gifford
-Earthborn Wisdom by Susan Wells
-Wisdomkeepers by Steve Wall and Harvey Arden
-Poems by Nancy Wood

I'm taking a course in Children's Literature this summer, and it has afforded me great opportunities to browse the children's sections at my local library. One collection of fairy tales that I stumbled across and love for their Pagan qualities is called Moon Ribbon, by Jane Yolen. It constantly amazes and delights me, how insightful and wise children's books can be. I also highly recommend Twelve Months of Monastery Soups if you want a good seasonal cookbook and love one-pot meals like I do. Whatever else I am, I don't think you could ever accuse me of being a purist.


Comfrey Ointment

Wanted to update all my loyal readers (I know, at that stage, I'm dreaming) about my forays into herbal healing. The comfrey ointment I made is a big success. My mom is so happy to have her own little container of it because she was always asking to use some of mine every time I visited. And it is good for so many different things!
  • Sprains, strains and bruises
  • very shallow cuts and scrapes
  • poor circulation
  • bug bites (as a cream, it would be great for poison oak, too, I think)
  • mixed with lavender EO it helps with scarring, too, if you catch it early enough
  • and of course, dry cracked skin
Comfrey itself has gotten a bad rap and is now no longer recommended for internal use, or use on broken skin because of its carcinogen content. So I looked into this, because comfrey was once excellent for healing tea, too. Yeah-- it has the same carcinogen content as a peanut butter sandwich. So I use it in tea, too. It really seems to calm my digestive track quite well, and is very yummy in a green nutritious sort of way.

Next up? Calendula Ointment!
Blessings Be
to You, from Me.

Altars, Photos, and Surface Space

I read once, toward the beginning of my pagan journey, that most pagans/wiccans have many little altars in their homes. And I thought-- I've only got 600 square feet, there is no way I'll ever have more than ONE altar!...

But today I was looking around... well, more specifically, I started rearranging my apartment to better suit the way I live and the things I need spaces for-- and in the midst of this process, I was looking around my apartment. I've got several small altars going on. There's the one by the window, where I have my medicinal aloe plant growing, a cheerful Buddha stretching his arms up and smiling, and a great pillar candle that I light most evenings for a few hours. Then there's the "ALTAR" that I set up intentionally as such, with specific items to represent the four directions etc etc-- and I only light it when I need a spirit-boost or when I'm honoring something. And those two are just the more formal and recognizable altars in my home today.

I've got a great picture of Bast on the inside of my front door, so I bring my true self into the world, and the Goddess comes with me on my travels. Near the entry I've also hung a sun/moon carving and a string of seed beads from across the ocean to remind me of my connection to the whole world and everything in it. To remind me that the wheel turns, and there are always fresh seeds of hope to plant. There is a small wreath of grape leaves/vines that I hang over my fairly useless thermostat to make it pretty and remind me to live with Joy. I realized that my shelf of photographs are all of people who have left me in some way-- an altar of ancestors and of loss. And I moved that shelf so it isn't my primary visual focus when I meditate in my circle anymore. It's important, but I want my primary meditations to be about joy and about the life I lead today.

Next, there's a Venus figurine hanging from the rainbow cord over the doorway to my bedroom, to remind me that sex is a sacred and loving act-- and to protect me from my night fears while I sleep. I've got sacred willow branches that I put in a big vase of water, and now some of them have fresh green leaves growing-- it used to preside over my Aloe and Buddha Altar, but when I rearranged I made it more centrally located. There is a picture of the understory of a forest in Fall behind the gnarled, quirky branches that reminds me of the Wheel of the Year. I've found a few more altars of one kind or another hiding here and there, too. I love them. I smile when I see them, and their presence makes my apartment more of my spiritual home. Plus the cat, of course. She makes everything better. (even when she thinks she knows what time I need to get up better than I do, and wakes me accordingly)

It just blows me away that I've got so much beauty and symbolism and Goddess Energy in such a small space. One of my goals has been to integrate my connection with the Great Spirit Mother with the living of my life-- and when I look around my apartment now, I feel her presence. Maybe these little things are all a part of that integration process. Maybe I'm doing better than I thought. You know, when you live your life fully as yourself, everything you choose to keep in your life has a deeper meaning, or it goes away. There is no room for unappreciated belongings in the authentic life.