A Sunny Afternoon In February
Last Friday evening was September 21st, the autumn equinox!
I decorated my altar for the Sabbat (Holy Day) Mabon, paying tribute to the return of the Autumn equinox. During this time of year, the sun's strength starts to diminish, until the winter solstice in December, when the sun becomes stronger again and the days start to become longer than the nights. The symbols which I placed on my altar include veggies and fruit to represent the harvest for which we should all give thanks and praises to the Goddess, Mother Nature for the abundance and to share the joy that we have received during the past year. It's like the 'first' thanksgiving before the one we acknowledge during November...that is the second thanksgiving. I also have a statue on my altar which represent The God and The Goddess, polarity and also continuous life. On my altar I have the elements air, fire, water, earth and ether in the form of plants in soil for earth, water and sea shells for water, orange and yellow candles, citrine and amber crystals for fire (to bring the sun's energy back to you). Feathers and incense for air and clear quartz and amethyst crystals for ether (spirit)
Mabon is a good time to pray for and meditate on balance and harmony. It's also a time of change. Protection, wealth and prosperity mantras are appropriate as well. I went to the farmer's market the next morning really early to gather the other harvest items I needed to complete my altar. I picked up fresh apples, apple cider and cinnamon cider donuts...during this season, any foods made with cinnamon and cloves (ruled by Jupiter) represent ingesting the sun. I also got some gourds, mini pumpkins, and two yellow/orange beeswax candles. Of course, broccoli, kale, onions, potatoes, etc were in my basket. I left the market with only the funds on my metro card! So, I'd be at the mercy of public transportation to get home, two buses. The trip was going to be long and I was a bit pressed for time...clients to see on Saturday morning and all that! Making a pretty long story shorter- when I got off the bus to transfer to yet another bus, I found a twenty dollar bill laying at my feet!!! I didn't bother looking around, I understood that it was all in divine order lol. So, I hailed a cab, hopped in with my early morning harvest. Told the driver where I needed to go and handed him the money. He only charged me fifteen dollars for the ride. I told him to keep the change...To me, that was my blessings for my good intentions and getting up early to take care of my ancestral duties. I continue to do my spiritual work, acknowledging the wonders, grace and mercies that I am granted every day....Ashe'
Five Beauty Benefits Of Watermelon
Watermelon can be used both internally and externally for its beauty benefits. It can benefit both the skin and the whole body with the vitamins and nutrients it provides as well as providing a delicious and handy method of hydration. Watermelon is best eaten and used during the summer, when it is fresh and plentiful. Here are a few of the beauty benefits of watermelon.
Watermelon is a natural skin toner.
It is naturally slightly astringent and may be used to benefit your skin’s appearance. Watermelon juice can be mixed with honey for use on dry skin, or with witch hazel for oily skin, or even used by itself as a simple, natural toner. Simply dip a cotton pad in the solution or the pure juice and wipe over your face and neck after cleansing. This will ensure all the cleanser is wiped away and will also help to exfoliate, refresh and tighten your skin. Watermelon juice or pulp can also be added to homemade face masks.
Watermelon is a Good Source of Antioxidants.
Anti-oxidants, such as the vitamins C and A and the lycopene found in watermelon, are powerful tools against the visible signs of aging. Watermelon is one of the few sources of lycopene, which is a red pigment also found in tomatoes. Free radicals are particles with unpaired electrons that can cause damage to the body and diseases such as cancer, arthritis, asthma and heart disease. Free radicals are also considered responsible for many of the visible signs of aging. Fine lines, wrinkles and age spots can all result from free radicals, which are increased by sun exposure, smoking and alcohol consumption. Anti-oxidants can help to mop up free radicals, lessening the damage they can do, as well as potentially reversing some of the damage already done to the skin.
Watermelon is a Source of Vitamin A
Vitamin A is important for several reasons, including the support of healthy vision and bones. However, eating enough vitamin A is also vital to the health and vitality of the skin. Vitamin A may help to reduce the amount of oil secreted by skin and reduce pore size.
Watermelon is a Low Calorie Food
Watermelon is a sweet food that is filling, yet low in calories. It makes an excellent alternative to high calorie treats, or foods high in fat or salt that can lead to bloating and obesity. Eating watermelon rather than these foods will help you to lose weight. Watermelon is also a natural diuretic, so it is an excellent means to flush out toxins in the body and reduce bloating.
Watermelon is Mostly Water
Watermelon can help you to keep hydrated during the summer months. Drinking enough water can be difficult and it is easier to eat a few slices of tasty watermelon.
Watermelon has many different potential roles in beauty enhancement. Use watermelon on your skin to help create a healthy look, or eat watermelon slices to hydrate and nourish your body. This delicious fruit will benefit you all summer long.
What's In Your Soap
Carcinogenic ingredients are no joke and triclosan is no exception. This antibacterial compound chemical is commonly found in cleansers and deodorants and has been has been linked to cancer, developmental defects and is even very toxic to inhale. To keep triclosan out of your home as well as out of your body Use only plant-based organic sand home-made soaps. Ancient Blends Naturals offers you five scent-sational, natural soap choices...made from scratch and infuse it with natural oils, essence and vitamins. http://www.cowrieshell.com/shop.html
Savory Herbal Butter
There're so many possibilities for creating your own herbal butter! Who doesn't love soft, creamy butter? I just love the way they look. Whether you use Hotel Bar Butter or any of the other natural alternatives, this recipe can be a savory addition to your breakfast, lunch or dinner. Another favorite of mine is mushrooms and scallions - make this for your guests this upcoming Fall season and have them ranting and raving over it.
You can spread it on toast, use it in soups, use it on sauteed veggies, mushrooms, or use a spoonful to soften baked potatoes spread with chives and sour cream. The uses of this herbal butter are endless.
Herbal Butter recipe
1 cup unsalted organic butter (or healthy butter alternative)
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
1 tablespoon fresh oregano
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
In a bowl, mash the butter into a cream. Mix in the fresh garlic, parsley, oregano and thyme. Refrigerate for several hours before using.
Garlic has been called the 'stinking rose' because of it's dual role as a pungent herb so strong smelling that it has been used to ward off evil spirits in India and Transylvania and as a cure-all or miracle drug renowned for it's health benefits which tastes great incorporated in an herb butter recipe.
It is rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and selenium. It helps in digestion and helps with the iron metabolism of the body. It helps fight cardiovascular diseases by decreasing the rate of arthrosclerosis, blood pressure, and heart attacks. It also helps fight cancer because it contains antioxidants which fight free radicals and carcinogens.
Parsley contains volatile oils and flavonoid such as myristicin, and luteolin which are beneficial for one's health. It also contains antioxidants such as Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and carotene which help neutralize carcinogens entering the body through food. The flavonoids also act as anti-oxidants. It also helps clear the respiratory tract and promotes a healthier cardiovascular system.
Oregano has been called 'joy of the mountain' in Greek for it's warm, balsamic aroma and authentic Mediterranean taste especially when added into an herb butter recipe. It is effective as an antibacterial and is chock full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Thyme is a lovely herb most often used by the French to spruce up egg, vegetable, and meat dishes as well as soups and stews. Along with many other herbs, it is nutrient dense with many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It also acts to kill microbes from the intestinal system.
Do you have any herbal butter recipes to share?
Of all the amazing plants in the herbal kingdom, only a few hold such a great place of reverence in our gardens as lavender. It's graceful beauty, spicy-peppery aroma, and potent healing properties have made this herb one of my favorites and quite a staple in our homes; especially in the kitchens, bedrooms and bathrooms.
Lavender has to be the most widely known and most used of the essential oils. It’s flowerly, light aroma is so pleasant and uplifting. Lavender is also a cool color, not so much in popularity but in tone. The ying-yang balance of lavender points to the feminine side, being very supporting of our ability to turn inward and increase our awareness. Take a look at the spiritual qualities lavender is known for... spiritual healing, tranquility, higher consciousness, releasing energy blockages, easing tension, promoting a sense of calm and is also highly recommended for purification. Lavender essential oils are harvested from the flowers of the lavender plant. You can use lavender in a bath, diffuser, or mist.
Benefits of Lavender Oil for Hair
Of course, for me lavender essential oil as well as the lavender flowers play a major role in my Ancient Blends hair and body care product line (see ancient-blends-sacred-hair-and-scalp). Lavender oil is among the most commonly used aromatherapy oils, which is extremely effective in treating hair loss. Regular usage is helpful in controlling thinning hair and improving hair growth. Alopecia areata, a condition where you lose excessive hair, especially in patches has been known to be treated with lavender essential oil. As a natural hair expert, I recommend daily scalp massaging with warmed lavender oil in olive oil, which will definitely ensure significant hair re-growth in a few months. You can use lavender oil for hair growth and get rid of problems like itchy scalp and dandruff as well. It is a powerful antiseptic and it is very useful for disinfecting the scalp, treating dry scalp, lice, lice eggs or nits. It also fights fungi, viruses and other microbes.
Also, a relaxing head massage with lavender oil is also helpful in curing insomnia and improving sleep quality. One of the lavender oil benefits is that it relaxes you and helps you get rid of anxiety and depression. The calming and soothing effect of this essential oil is beneficial for relieving stress. This in turn helps control hair loss, as insomnia, stress, depression are among the common and probable causes of this problem. Sufficient sleep and mental peace ensures that hair loss is in control. It also increases blood circulation under the roots of the hair follicles. Aside from all of this, you can regularly use one of the following hair masks for improving the texture of your hair and controlling hair loss problem.
Ways to Use Lavender Oil for Hair
You can use lavender oil in combination with other essential oils that are beneficial for hair growth to make an effective hair mask. Here are some that I for you try...
For Hair Growth...
You need to take 10 drops of lavender oil, 10 drops of rosemary oil, 5 drops of basil oil and 4 oz. of jojoba oil. Mix all these oils well and store them in a dark bottle. Use it regularly for scalp and hair massage. This is very effective in smoothing your hair and boosting hair growth Make sure that you shake the bottle well, before each use.
For Dry Scalp...
Take ¼th cup of oatmeal and soak it in water for 20 minutes. Take 7 drops of lavender oil and 5 drops of rosemary oil and mix all these ingredients properly and then apply the paste on your scalp. You can wash off this mask after an hour with warm water. This mask is good solution for getting rid of itching and dry scalp.
While using lavender oil for hair growth or other problems, you will start noticing its benefits within a few weeks or months. You need to keep using it regularly as the results will not be seen immediately. So include this essential oil in your hair care routine and take the first step towards healthy hair. Always use precautions when working with any essential oil. Avoid your eye area and other sensitive parts of your body.
You may use lavender essential oil for calming and rest, promoting peaceful sleep and a feeling of happiness. Lavender may help alleviate migraine headaches.
There are many levels of quality to be aware of when shopping for any essential oil. The trick is to preserve the delicate life of the plant, the essential oils. One of the best methods to extract the powerful healing properties of lavender is the method “steam distilled” to ensure high concentrations of the essential oils of lavender or Lavandula officinalis.
Lavender and Love
Lavender does have special magical properties... it has been used for centuries in the area of love, used to scent love letters, also used as a perfume to attract the opposite sex. Back in the Renaissance days lavender would be combined with rosemary and used to secure the chastity of a woman.
Feng Shui and Lavender
Feng Shui focuses mainly on the flow of energy, whether we are talking about the architecture or how our home is decorated. It is advised to use lavender or any purple color sparingly. In Feng Shui and health it is thought that the color purple could trigger blood disease, but it is fine as an accent. The lighter purple shades like lavender is popular for meditation rooms.
Crown Chakra and Lavender
The color purple is associated with the crown chakra, the energy center associated with higher purpose and spiritual connectivity. The crown chakra, also known as our 7th chakra is located at the very top of our head and the vibration of the crown is the highest vibration in our physical body. I recommend anointing your crown chakra with lavender essential oil before mediating.
When we look into the world of gemstones and crystals a popular crystal is Amethyst (one of my favorites), which is available in pink or lavender, and is a very powerful healing crystal.
Amethysts are recommended to those who deal with stress a lot, such as people with an excessive work ethic who are unable to enjoy relaxation. This quality is also believed useful when treating insomnia too. Amethysts also help those who are prone to depression and an overall melancholy feeling. Many also believe that amethysts are useful for those working to transcend chemical dependence. The stones may work as talismans to provide inner strength when battling dependency. Amethyst is believed to target the pituitary gland, which directs the endocrine system, the pineal gland, where altered states of consciousness and psychic skills are thought to be triggered, and the entire cerebral cortex in the brain. It is therefore felt to be a tonic for headaches, mental illness, anxiety, concussions, and depression.
Amethysts are also used for natural healing. It is a stone steeped in ancient magic and is as popular today as it was two thousand years ago. If placed under a pillow or worn to bed, it supposedly drives off insomnia and nightmares. It also produces a restful sleep with pleasant, healing, and prophetic dreams. It will also make sure that you don't oversleep. It is a spiritual stone, with no negative side effects or associations with violence, anger or passion. It is a stone of peace. It calms fears, raises hopes, lifts the spirits, and promotes thoughts of the spiritual reality behind our lives. It wards off guilt and self deception, curbs overindulgence, and bestows good judgment. It calms emotional storms and in situations of potential danger, it will come to your aid. It also lends courage and is a powerful amulet for travelers. When worn, it protects against thieves, harm, sickness, and danger.
Amethyst is cleansing, physically and psychologically. It helps to promotes internal balance and harmony and brings about stability to the individual. Amethysts are capable of raising ones spirits, promoting self assurance and confidence. They brighten the outlook on life and enhances our sense of humor. The virtues of amethyst include beauty, calm, fulfillment, humility, a loving demeanor, perfection, piety, sincerity, spiritual balance, tranquility and wisdom.
Amethyst should be worn during contemplation or placed on simple meditation altars. It is worn during psychic acts and since it is a stone of wisdom, it allows the information received through the psychic mind to be appropriately utilized. The stone also helps sharpen the conscious mind and enhances the mental powers. It is used to improve memory and keeps thoughts in line with life goals. It is a stone of pure, true, emotional love. It is often exchanged between two lovers to strengthen their commitment. It is also one of the few stones specifically prescribed for men to use for attracting women. It supposedly draws “good women” to love him. This stone is also used by those involved in lawsuits to ensure that right is done. It has been long thought to bring success to businesses.
Autumn Season Detox
Beginning on September 22 or 23, the autumn equinox announces a time of change, in weather, daylight, and temperatures. Physically, you will need to take special care of the most two vital organs of this season, your lungs and your large intestines.
Our lungs—along with our bronchial tubes, throat, sinuses, and our nose—are a major detoxification pathway. They act as the go-between for the internal and outer environment, inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide through their pulmonary capillaries. Each cell performs as a mini lung by taking in oxygen from the bloodstream and eliminating carbon dioxide, which is then carried back to the lungs. That’s why it’s so essential for our lungs to have good-quality air that is clean, moist, warm, and rich in oxygen.
Equally important to our health and detox process are our large intestines, which also need our special attention during this season. When our system becomes backed up with toxins, a mucus buildup along the lining of the intestinal wall occurs. The waste lodged in our colons ultimately affect every part of our body and the result is constipation. One of the first places this intestinal problem appears is our skin in the form of rashes, blotchy skin, acne, and eczema. And because constipation can cause fecal matter to stay lodged in your system for weeks or even years, this motionless waste develops a hard, stubborn buildup along the walls of our bowels and creates a dangerous playground for unwanted bacteria.
Autumn healing teas, herbs, and spices like Fenugreek tea is my autumn beverage of choice due to its effectiveness as a lubricant and its ability to soften and dissolve mucus in the lungs and moisten the intestinal tract to prevent constipation.
Autumn spices including warming cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and anise, which are not only deliciously aromatic but help to prevent indigestion, gas, and cold hands and feet. Anise is a lung remedy as well, known to help bronchial disorders and asthma. Our autumn tea, herbs, and spices all help to support intestinal and respiratory function and alleviate dampness.
Call Me To Schedule Your Autumn Dextox Consultation