Improvising

secretsoftheserpent

We have all heard it, “Be Yourself”.  It is the battle cry of all self help groups.  This could be good advice are really bad advice.  For most, it is bad advice.  Why?  Because most people don’t know who they really are!  How can you be yourself when you don’t know who you really are?  The concept that is you is a mask.  We have been wearing the mask so long we don’t know who we really are.  The concept of fake it till you make it is what everyone has been doing since they were a child.  It is time to act real until you remember. 

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Ancient Order of Druids in America

The Druid's Garden

Dear readers, I’m taking a pause from my regular article-style blog posts this week to share some big news and do a bit of reflection. Last week, as of the Fall Equinox, I became the Grand Archdruid of the Ancient Order of Druids in America (AODA). I’ve been in leadership and service with the AODA since 2013, serving first as Trilithon journal editor for four years, then as Grand Pendragon, then as the Archdruid of Water for the last four years. And now, I’ve stepped up to lead the AODA, following Gordon Cooper, and before him, my friend and mentor, John Michael Greer. Because of this, I wanted to take a week to share my story of AODA and reflect on this path. I do this for a few reasons–first, I wanted to share the news. But also, I realize that a lot of people may find this reflection useful…

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New Moon in Libra

New+Moon+in+Libra+-+Spirit+de+la+lune.jpg

 

The moon joins the sun in Libra on the 28th of September. We are officially in Libra season!

This new moon in Libra brings in a breath of fresh air and a sense of harmony to our relationships while offering us opportunity to reconnect in new ways.

This month holds a lot of other aspects that will cause some transformation within yourself and your personal relationships that can last into 2020.

This is a very important month for making progress and transformation in 2020. Luckily, Saturn the planet of Karma and lessons went direct last week, which is helping us see our path with a bit more clarity.

Each New Moon, using our planners and our Spirit de la Lune deck, we create the Moonthly energy reading for the coming month ahead.

Read complete post at:  Spirit de la Lune ~ New Moon in Libra

Second Moon of Autumn 2019

Elder Mountain Dreaming

By Phoenix of Elder Mountain Dreaming –Greetings and Happy New Moon dream walkers. The next new moon begins on Saturday, September 28, 2019 in the sign of Libra. I am still pondering over how powerful the last three moons in summer were and how many changes have occurred. For newbies or those who need to refresh how to do this awareness work, please read the Lunar Workstudy directions here.

Autumn is fully on its way this month of October and sets its course for the coming of Winter. The Season of Night is a completely different energy and rhythm and as we align ourselves to nature, we begin to slow our processes down. Thats hard if you have a very busy life, but we can always take time to find balance and rest.

For those who live where the big oaks and maples are, prepare yourself for the color…

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The Witch Reborn in Autumn: Spiritual Death and the Dance of Bones | Spirits Dance Bones

Good Witches Homestead

The Wild Witch and the Dance of Bones

The moon ascends from her primal cave,
And my feet twitch in excitement.
For this is the long-awaited call
Back to my soul’s home.
I become a wild witch once more.
Hail Autumn,
With your winds of change,
Blowing me free of what has passed,
Dancing in the delight of freedom.
Spiraling joyfully towards the darkness that is my truth.
Spinning onwards to Hekate’s Cave,
The font of magick and mystery.
The spirits of the season join me and the leaves, in our delight,
Knowing deep in our souls that we are connected,
In our pursuit of the deeper truths.
Swirling wildness embraces me,
As I proclaim
My place among them.
Our dance calls forth the spirits,
Of the departed and the mighty,
Night wandering under the pale light of the moon,
Onwards, our steps in harmony,
Towards the crossroads where we…

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Homegrown and Wild Harvested Aromatic Smoke Sticks

Written and Photographed by Juliet Blankespoor

This article was originally written for Mother Earth Living magazine and is published here with permission from the publisher. Mother Earth Living is an American bimonthly magazine about sustainable homes and lifestyle.

Homegrown and Wild Harvested Smoke Sticks

Aromatic plant smoke holds an ancient and familiar allure. The alchemy of transforming dried plants into fragrant smoke has a profound effect on the feeling—or energy—of a space or person. There’s a reason that cultures all around the globe burn aromatic plants in ceremony and religious practices. The emotional sway of scent, coupled with smoke, is universal and dare I say, unparalleled.

Throughout history, people have burned a large number of plants in the form of incense, resins, and leafy bundles, for various spiritual and practical purposes. Certain botanicals contain essential oils that act as a deterrent to insects. When these plants are burned, the essential oils carried in the aromatic smoke helps drive away pests like mosquitos, fleas, and biting flies. Additionally, the smoke from such plants is often antimicrobial. In one study, various plants were burned to release smoke into the air, effectively reducing airborne populations of pathogenic bacteria by 94% in one hour. Another study examined the antimicrobial effects of smoke obtained from various South African plants that are traditionally burned, and found the smoke to be more antimicrobial than other extracts from the same plants.

Having lived in the humid southeast in various primitive structures, I can personally attest to smoke’s ability to deter mold. You can imagine the importance of aromatic plant smoke before the invention of doors, screens, and contemporary hygiene practices. Burning fragrant leaves and resins helped keep people and their spaces healthy!

People also burn aromatic plants for the enjoyment of the scent or to promote positive feelings. If you diffuse essential oils in your home or light natural aromatherapy candles, you’re using a concentrated form of botanical aroma. Burning smoke sticks, resins, or aromatic leaves is simply a less concentrated way of releasing essential oils—and related aromatic plant compounds—coupled with the visual and olfactory mystique of smoke.

The spiritual and religious traditions of burning aromatic botanicals are rich and varied, traversing almost every religion and continent. The ancient Egyptians burned botanical incense as much as four thousand years ago. Aromatic plant smoke figures into the ceremonies of Buddhists, Christians, Taoists, Pagans, and Hindus.

Throughout North America, various Native peoples have bundled and burned aromatic herbs for centuries. Plants such as white sage (Salvia apiana), sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata), and sweetgrass (Hierochloe odorata) are used in ceremony and for other healing purposes. The practices and rituals vary among groups, with very specific and deliberate traditions.

I am of European descent and am not trained in any one culture’s traditional practices or ceremonies, therefore I am careful to not portray my bundling or burning as traditional Native American in style or practice. Additionally, I gather or grow plants that were traditionally used for aromatic smoke in Europe, and incorporate these into my bundles. As such, I will refer to these aromatic bundles as “smoke sticks,” as this is more universally applied. I’m specifically avoiding the terms “smudge sticks” or “smudging,” as these refer to specific practices, which belong to certain indigenous cultures in the Americas.

Many indigenous groups believe that aromatic plant bundles should not be sold but instead should be traded, gifted, or homemade. All the more reason to learn how to make your own!

Harvesting and bundling aromatic smoke sticks is actually quite easy and fun.  Consider hosting a gathering with a group of friends—each bringing material from her own garden or neighborhood—and combining the botanical bounty into collective aromatic smoke bundles. Every time you burn a stick, the warmth of your friendships will be rekindled!

Read complete article at:  Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine ~ Homegrown and Wild Harvested Aromatic Smoke Sticks

 

A New Study Supports The Claim That This Mushroom Can Stave Off Dementia

Greetings!

I’m constantly scanning the scientific literature in search of new studies that document the healing potential of mushrooms.  Recently, I encountered a study whose results lend even more support to the use of one particular mushroom for cognitive health.

Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus) is an edible mushroom whose fruiting body consists of an unbranched, cushiony mass of icicle-like spines.  This fungus is a common decomposer of hardwood trees and can often be found late summer through early winter in eastern North America.

In addition to its culinary use, Lion’s Mane is valued for its potential therapeutic applications.  More specifically, extracts from this fungus have been shown to offer support for the treatment of cognitive impairment and depression.

A brand new study published in the journal Biomedical Research revealed that ingestion of Lion’s Mane fruiting bodies significantly improved cognitive function in human participants.

This double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial utilized 31 humans over the age of 50.  Participants in the experimental group ingested 4 supplements — each containing 0.8 grams of powdered Lion’s Mane — every day for 12 weeks.

After 12 weeks of ingestion, the participants in the experimental group significantly outperformed those in the control group (participants who received a placebo) on tests that are commonly used in medicine to screen for dementia.

Researchers concluded that compounds within Lion’s Mane known as hericenones potentially have the ability to influence “brain neural networks and improve cognitive functions” (Biomedical Research, 2019).

Even better, Lion’s Mane is currently fruiting in eastern North America and will continue to make appearances throughout the next few months.  In other words, you have the ability to forage your own wild medicine right now.

If you’re interested in learning how to forage Lion’s Mane and dozens of other wild fungi, don’t forget to check out what Foraging Wild Mushrooms has to offer.

This online course is designed to teach you the skills necessary to safely and confidently harvest wild fungi for food, for medicine, for study, and for fun.

Today (Monday) is the last day to enroll, as registration will close at midnight.

To learn more, you can follow this link:  Foraging Wild Mushrooms

In the meantime, consider delving deeper into the fascinating world of Lion’s Mane and its ability to protect the human brain against cognitive decline.  The research seems promising!

Thanks for reading, and as always, thank you for your support!

-Adam Haritan

Incubus/Succubus

secretsoftheserpent

According to mythology and legends the Incubus is a male demon who went into a women’s bedroom in the middle of the nightin order to engage in sexual activity.The Succubus is a female demon who went into a male’s bedroom to engage in sexual activity.Is this just the ancients ways of explaining erotic dreams or is there some history here?There is definitely history here and it is one the church has tried to cover up.They have been successful until now.

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Damson Jam

Hedgerow Vintage

We spent a wonderful day picking fruit at a Pick Your Own fruit farm. We had baskets full of damsons, strawberries and a few green beans. The site that we visit, is old and quiet, lots of trees and birds. It has a gentle, stillness.

Last year I burnt my damson jam, so this year I was determined to get it right….and I did!

Here is the recipe I used, it has a much reduced sugar content from many jam recipes you will see, but the jam has ended up being much more tart, which I really like. We did stone all the fruit beforehand, manually – there is just no easy way around it.

Ingredients

  • 1.5kg Damsons (stoned)
  • 900kg Sugar
  • 400ml Water
  • A good sprinkling of cinnamon

Method

  • Cook the damsons in a preserving pan with the water gently for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Then add the sugar slowly…

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My Fave Fall Crystal Combos!

My Fave Fall Crystal Combos! / krista-mitchell.com

I love autumn! The crisp, cool breeze feels invigorating after long, hot, summer days.

The trees put on their show of colors (interesting fact: I read that the autumn colors of leaves are their natural color being revealed as the chlorophyll fades).

And the days grow shorter and cooler, prompting a return to wearing warm, snuggly clothing, and supping on comfort foods.

As the seasons and the planetary energy shifts, and we approach the autumnal equinox, our energy needs shift, too.

Our relationship to the land, its rhythms and cycles, is still of primal importance to us, even if many are now living modern, urban lifestyles.

The experiences, feeling, and patterns of our ancestors still reside in our DNA, genetically passed down through the generations.

The fall equinox is a full-fledged harvest festival, when thanks is given for the abundance of Mother Earth.

We celebrate the fruition of the seeds we’ve sown: the bounty we’ve gathered from the earth, as well as the bounty of our achievements.

The modern day spiritual spin on the meaning and significance of the autumnal equinox focuses on balancing the light and dark forces within us (our radiance vs. our shadow selves), but in days of old it marked the decline of the power and vitality of the sun, and the inevitable death of its associated gods.

The Goddess becomes the Crone, and is venerated for her age and wisdom.

We’re reminded that there is a cycle and time for all things, and that all things and phases in our lives have value.

It’s important to remember this in times of turbulence and fear: Life goes on. Death happens. Rebirth is inevitable. This was understood by our ancestors, but we’re in an age of disconnect — or at least it seems that way. I often wonder if we’re more in a space between death and rebirth, where old things are falling away, and there’s a birth of new consciousness happening.

But it’s still all part of the cycle.

Read full article at: Krista Mitchell My Fave Fall Crystal Combinations