What is Beauty?

secretsoftheserpent

How can we define beauty?  Beauty is a force in this world whether you know it or not.  How do we define that which is not beautiful?  What is the effect upon us when we see something as beautiful or not beautiful?  The dictionary defines beauty as something that gives pleasure to our senses.  To be considered beautiful a thing must have artistic value.  A value that can be detected by everyone not just those who have knowledge about beauty.  Something that is asymmetrical can not be regarded as beautiful.  


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Herbs for Holiday Baking

The Herb Society of America Blog

By Peggy Riccio

Pumpkin pie with sage leaves and marigold flowersWhen I think of herbs for Christmas, I always think of the Simon and Garfunkel “Scarborough Fair” song:  “Are you going to Scarborough Fair? Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme.” Sure, there is peppermint and plenty of spices, but these herbs seem to be the most popular during the holidays. I think that is because these plants are still green in the garden. In my USDA Hardiness Zone 7 Virginia garden, I can still pick these plants in December to use in the kitchen. My mint plants, always in containers, overwinter well, and I can harvest spearmint and peppermint.

When using these herbs, don’t just think of flavor and cooking. Think of the plant itself, the structure, size, weight, and texture of the branches and leaves. Think of how the stem or leaf can be used to decorate the dish and your table. 

Parsley

Parsley is a biennial…

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Putting the Garden to Sleep: End of Season Activities and Rituals

The Druid's Garden

Garden bed with scarecrow

The day before the first hard frost. Our garden is still bountiful as the Butzemann watches over all….As the darkness continues to grow deeper on the landscape, it is high time to consider how to put the garden to rest for the winter and honor the garden that has offered you so much bounty and joy for the season. I actually find this one of my favorite gardening activities of the year, both on a metaphysical and physical level. There’s something special about “tucking” your garden in after a productive growing season and knowing that the land will go fallow and rest as the cold and ice come. Here are both the physical activities and sacred activities that you can do to help put your garden to rest.

Do note that my timings are based on the temperate climate in Western Pennsylvania, USDA Zone 6A.  You can adapt appropriately based…

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The Shift

secretsoftheserpent

There is a huge shift right now in the conditioning of the world.  The past few decades were about taking responsibility for yourself and not being a victim.  Even marketers targeted individualism.  Here lately the conditioning has shifted to a more collective conditioning.   It’s all about accepting yourself and the needs of the many are more important than the needs of the few.  In reality only individualism and only collectivism are very toxic. What’s going on tells me the world does not understand Magic.    


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Four Thieves Inspire Flu-Fighting Soup

The Herb Society of America Blog

By Beth Schreibman-Gehring, Chairman of Education for The Western Reserve Herb Society unit of The Herb Society

Originally published on January 30, 2019

flu-soupLast winter the urgent care center diagnosed me with the flu, and I’ve never been quite as sick as I was for that month. I spent several days in bed and used all sorts of herbal remedies to support healing. Daquil/Nyquil just made me feel worse and went straight into the garbage.

I started with homemade bone broth. Herb and spice-spiked chicken broths are well known to promote the movement of nasal congestion and are thought to have anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties. I felt better with every bowl I ate, proving the old adage: Let your food be your medicine.

For a powerful immune-boosting soup I took cues from the Legend of the Four Thieves. In this story, aromatherapy, herbal, and alchemical worlds collide and take…

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Transitioning into Deeper Darkness: Seasonal Activities and the the Golden Hour

The Druid's Garden

Sun at sunset Sun at sunset

As the light grows dim this time of year, as the days grow short, many people find this particular season a difficult one.  Without the light, our thoughts can spiral into the darkness, our spirits long for the warmer days.  The cold and dark are barely here, and there is so much winter ahead.  Just this week, I had three separate conversations with friends about this exact issue: it is a hard time of year, particularly the time between Samhain and Yule, when we know there is much more darkness to come.  It is a hard time this year, in particular, when so many of us are beyond stressed and burned out due to the unfolding events of the last two years.  It also was a strange year, in that we had temperatures that stayed well above freezing, which kept the leaves green–and suddenly temperatures that plunged…

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The Other Quince

The Herb Society of America Blog

by Matt Millage

PXL_20210402_173312198After a brief email exchange with a colleague last fall around this same time, I set off to collect some fallen treasures from the forest floor from a tree I had never collected from before. The fruit was large and aromatic, but I was unfamiliar with its culinary use. Suddenly the sweet scent of ripening flesh let me know that the bounty was close, and true to smell, the six-inch long, bright yellow fruits of the Chinese quince (Pseudocydonia sinensis) were scattered beneath a tree. Much larger than its cousin, the common quince (Cydonia oblonga),which is used often in fruit production and tree grafting, the Chinese quince has a reputation for being rather astringent, and I had never thought of cooking with it. 

After informing my colleague that the harvest was complete, I inquired as to how he planned on using the crop. He explained…

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The Age of Safetyism

secretsoftheserpent

In this post I’m gong to show you that you are not actually in control of your own life. You are being run by biological drives, social conditioning, your ego, addictions, and rationalizations your brain will come up with to protect what you think. I’m going deep down the rabbit hole on this one. It is meant to try to shake you awake.


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New Moon in Scorpio | Entering the Crone Moon Cycle

We are already deep in Scorpio season and this new moon in Scorpio continues that theme of depth, mystery, and intensity. This moon cycle ramps up to some pretty intense astrological events and opportunities for transformation.

This month we experience the 11/11 portal which can help you manifest your dreams and desires. We also enter the Eclipse season with a partial eclipse on the full moon. Eclipses are powerful portals and tend to shake things up in a big way.

So buckle up and get ready for some big transformational opportunities to present themselves to you.

The moon turns new in the mysterious and deep sign of Scorpio on the 4th, which will help you embrace your own dark side. Scorpio is the sign of death and rebirth and this new moon cycle can hold potent transformational energy for you.

The Sun is opposite Uranus on the same day, which will add to that transformational energy and can bring to light any thing suppressed or blocked that is keeping you from stepping into your full power. This aspect is sometimes seen as rebellious, but can be used to break free from any self imposed obstacles that might be holding you back.

Read original article at: Spirit de la Lune ~ New Moon In Scorpio|Entering the Crone Moon Cycle

Old Growth Red Pine — An Uncommon Sight

Among the common, the uncommon exists.  Learning the uncommon among the common helps us see in new ways what has been in front of us all along.

Take red pine, for instance. 

Where I live in western Pennsylvania, red pine (Pinus resinosa) is a common sight.  Many county and state parks contain large tracts of land that host nothing but red pine plantations.  These plantations, believe it or not, are considered by fundamentalists to be “ecological deserts” — a category that also includes parking lots and golf courses.

Red pine, it seems, can’t catch a break.  Because of the bias against its ubiquity and against its purported ecological disservice, it’s no wonder that people rarely take any time to marvel underneath a red pine tree.

But there is something that we should know about red pine.  Among the common, the uncommon exists.

Red pine is not common in every context.  To provide two examples — “natural” stands of red pine are quite uncommon in my home state of Pennsylvania, and across the entire range of red pine, old growth red pine forests occupy less than 1% of their original range. 

What’s more, old growth red pine forests are far from ecological deserts.  Researchers consider these forests to be critical for maintaining biodiversity at stand and landscape levels.

To gain some insight on the matter, I decided to visit a “natural” stand of red pine.  Not too surprisingly, I did not discover an ecological desert.  Instead, I encountered a diverse ecosystem containing red pines that were approximately 250 years old and approaching old growth status.

If you are interested in learning the uncommon among the commoncheck out the brand new video!

Speaking of uncommon (or very common, depending on where you live), I recently encountered this melanistic eastern gray squirrel foraging for acorns.  The presence of melanism across the range of gray squirrels is really low (less than 1%).  In some areas, though, it can be higher than 50%.  To learn more about black squirrels, check out the latest Instagram post!Click to view post

Thanks for reading and watching, and thanks for your continued support!

-Adam Haritan