GrannyMoon’s Weekly Feast 2-9 Dec 2018

Last updated: 12-06-2018

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GrannyMoon’s Weekly Feast 2-9 Dec 2018

Blessed be my little witch. To those who came before and those who will come after, know that the Goddess is with you always. Thank you all my dear readers…be blessed. ~GrannyMoon

The NEW MOON always rises at sunrise And the FIRST QUARTER at noon. The FULL MOON always rises at sunset And the LAST QUARTER at midnight. ~The New Orleans Mistic

Dark Moon — Time to Rest New Moon — Time to Begin New Projects; Birth; Attraction Waxing Moon — Time to Grow; Increase Full Moon — Time to be Fulfilled; Abundance Waning Moon — Time to Banish; Decrease Last Sliver of Moon — Time to Die; Letting Go Dark Moon — Time to Rest Again

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Light A Candle Today! In many different traditions lighting a candle is a sacred action. It expresses more than words can express. It has to do with gratefulness. From time immemorial, people have lit candles in sacred places. You may want to begin or end your day by the sacred ritual of lighting a candle on this gratefulness. Or you may want to light a birthday candle for a friend. One single guideline is all you need: Slow down and do it with full attention.

Waning Moon Magick: From three-and-a-half to ten-and-a-half days after the full moon. From the Full Moon to the New is a time for study, meditation, and magic designed to banish harmful energies and habits, for ridding oneself of addictions, illness or negativity.

Magickal Attributes: BANISHING Releasing the old, removing unwanted negative energies, wisdom, psychic ability, scrying, reversing circumstances. Workings on this day are for banishing magick, for ridding oneself of addictions, illness or negativity, physical and psychic cleansings.

Waning Moon means the moon is decreasing in size, moving from the Full Moon towards the New Moon. This is a time for spells that banish, release, reverse. This is a time to break bad habits or bad addictions, to end bad relationships. This is a time of deep intuition and a time for divination.

At this time the moon represents the Goddess in her Crone Aspect, give praise to Hecate, Morrigan or one of the other Crone Goddesses. The period of the waning moon lasts about 14 days.

)0( Honoring the Goddess Every Day at GoddessSchool.com So mote it be!!

Each And Every Day A Feast Day! Embrace It!!!

The GoddessSchool http://GoddessSchool.com High Priestess Certification and Ancient Mystery Teachings Now Taking Students! High Priestess Mystery School Training E-mail me ASAP for an application! GrannyMoonsMail@yahoo.com http://Goddessschool.com/

The Goddess School Grimoire is a collection of recipes, artwork, poetry, prose, prayers, rituals, spells, and practical Goddess wisdom put together by the teachers, students, alumni, and friends of The Sisters of the Burning Branch Goddess School. The sisterhood is dedicated to restoring spiritual balance by returning the Divine Feminine to her rightful place and by assisting women in their personal and spiritual development. Since being founded by Head and High Mother Priestess Grandmother Moon in 2000, The Goddess School (Goddessschool.com) has grown into a large and beautiful global community of women

Four times a year for a cost of $12.00, or 20.00 for a lifetime subscription!

Chock full of Goddess Stories, holy days, spells, rituals, recipes, herbal and moon lore, original articles, drawings and prose from our GoddessSchool Priestesses and even special guests! 2019 Issue Coming in January!!!! Don’t Miss it!!!

GrannyMoon is Founder and Mother High Priestess of GoddessSchool, Sisters of the Burning Branch, dedicated to the Feminine Divine. Living in the Washington, DC suburbs, she attended LDS Seminary, Former staff member and student of the Esoteric Theological Seminary, is an ordained Metaphysical Interfaith minister with doctoral degrees in Theology and Divinity, since 1999. She is a current board member of the Northern Virginia Pagan Pride Day, charter member and former counsel and board member of The Order of the White Moon. A scholar of ancient mysteries, Doula, Reiki Master, Herbalist and Lifetime Member of Herbal Healer Academy, Inc. and former VA State Representative A.R.E.N. Alternative Religions Educational Network. She has dedicated her life to the study and teaching of the Esoteric.

Face to Face classes at Sticks and Stones – 11037 Lee Highway · Fairfax, VA

I teach classes on Saturdays 12-2, and on the last Saturday of the month hosts the Most Excellent Order of the Black Hat – open to all – a group of solitaires who celebrate the wheel of the year. 7:15 – 9:00PM

GrannyMoon’s Herbal Witches Cauldron – Every last Saturday of the month. Explore a new herb or two and work on a hands-on project with us. 4-6PM

GrannyMoon Says Today Is: Moon Day Hail Luna! Hail Mani! Energy: Female Ruler: The Moon Magicks involving the subconscious, healing, emotions, love, spirituality, healing wounds, children, small animals, women’s mysteries,mothers, sisters, female partners, wives, instincts Today’s Magickal Influences: Agriculture, Domestic, Long Life, Medicine, Travels, Visions, Theft Today’s Goddesses: Luna, Selene, Diana, Re, Gaeleach, Ida, Artemis [Whom The Greeks Associated With Bast], The Witches, Yemaya, Erzulie, Bast Incense: Myrtle Perfumes: White Poppy, White Rose, Wallflower Monday – Wear pearl, moonstone, or crystal. Use an emerald for amulets. Color of The Day: Silver, Grey, White Colors for Tomorrow: Red Candle: White Cooking on Monday will improve magics for creativity, insight, maternal nature, and Goddess-related efforts. ~Quote from Magickal Martha

)0( Hail Tyr! GrannyMoon Says Today Is: Tyr’s or Tiu’s Day Day of Mars, Ares, Tiwaz, Tiw (from whom it is named), Tuisco,. Magickal influences are: Passion, courage, aggression and protection, vitality, passion, ambition and raw, unabashed power. Mars energy makes the mind acute.It is lucky to meet a left-handed person on any day except Tuesday – then it’s an ill omen. A superstition from areas of England that were ruled by the Danelaw, because the day is named for Norse God Týr who sacrificed his right hand to bind the Fenris Wolf. #FolkloreThursday

Tuesday – Wear a ruby, star sapphire, or emerald. Use topaz for amulets. Today’s Magickal Influences ~ Destination, War, Courage, Surgery, Physical Strength Be cautious-especially while traveling. Today’s Goddesses: Aset [Isis], Soorejnaree, Pingalla, Anna, Aine, Danu, Yngona, Bellona, Aida Wedo, Sun Woman Perfumes: Hellebore, Carnation, Patchouli Incense: Lignum Aloes, Plantain Color of The Day: Red Colors for Tomorrow: Yellow Lucky Sign: Tuesday Is The Lucky Day For Aries Candle: Red On Tuesday, cooking up a hearty meal featuring carrots, peppers, and garlic (all Mars foods and spices) to empower yourself for victory and success! )0( Hail Odin! GrannyMoon Says Today Is: Woden’s or Odin’s Day Energy: Male Ruler: Mercury – Rules healings, the mind – Use for magick involving mental issues, learning, higher education, addictions, communications, travel, young people, messages, perception, self-expression, artists, poets, and writers Wednesday – Wear amethyst, star ruby, or lodestone. Use turquoise in amulets. Today’s Magickal Influences: Conjurations, Predictions, Knowledge, Writing,Eloquence Incense: Cinnamon, Cinquefoil Perfumes: Sweetpea, Lavender, Mastic, Frankincense, Cloves Color of The Day: Yellow, Grey Colors for Tomorrow: Purple, Indigo, Blue Candle: Yellow Lucky Sign: Wednesday Is The Lucky Day For Gemini And Virgo Today’s Goddesses: Aset [Isis], Demeter, Ceres, Spider Woman, Bona Dea, Oya, Devi-Kali, Hella, Rhiannon, Coatlique, Maman Brigette, Sekhmet, Hathor )0( GrannyMoon Says Today Is: Thor’s Day Hail Thor! Energy: Male Ruler: Jupiter attracting more of what you have. Today’s Magickal Influences ~ Luck, Religion, Healing, Trade And Employment,Treasure, Honors, Riches, Legal Matters, Use Growth, Expansion, Prosperity, Money, Business, Attracting More Thors Day – Wear sapphire, cat’s eye, or carnelian. Use sapphire in rituals. Today’s Goddesses: Juno, Hera, Kwan Yin, Mary, Cybele, Tara, Mawu, Mlaba Mwana Waresa, Ishtar, Nuit Perfumes: Stock, Lilac, Storax, Aloes Incense: Nutmeg, Henbane Color of The Day: Purple, Indigo, Blue Colors for Tomorrow: Light Blue, Pale Green Lucky Sign: Thursday Is The Lucky Day For Sagittarius And Pisces Candle: Blue )0( Hail Freya! GrannyMoon Says Today Is: Freya’s Day Energy: Female Ruler: Venus – Rules lovers and pleasure, affairs of the heart – Use for magick involving love, peace, beauty, gentleness, women’s problems, healing, protection, lovers, ease, pleasure, affairs. Resolve quarrels today! Friday – Cast love spells on Fridays. Wear blue robes and use turquoise, ruby, emerald or cat’s eye. Today’s Magickal Influences: All Love Matters, Friendships, Affection, Partnerships, Money, Sex Today’s Goddesses: Astarte, Aphrodite, Erzulie, Aida Wedo, Eve, Venus, Freya, Frigg, Diana, Aset [Isis], The Witch Of Gaeta, Chalchiuhtlique Incense: Saffron, Verbena Perfumes: Stephanotis, Apple Blossom, Musk, Ambergris Color of The Day: Light Blue, Pale Green Candle: Green Colors for Tomorrow: Black Lucky Sign: Friday Is The Lucky Day For Taurus And Libra Saint Jegudiel represents Friday )0( Hail Loki! GrannyMoon Says Today Is: Saturn and Loki’s Day Day of Seatere, Seater, and Saturn and of Loki, the Norse god of tricks and revelry. Saturday is ruled by Saturn, whose Magickal influences are: longevity, endings, and homes. Saturday comes under the influence of Saturn. Saturn’s influence directs our attention toward routine chores, customs, and conventional traditions. Saturday is a good day for furthering our ambitions through perseverance, patience, responsible action, and a sense of purpose . Saturday – Wear turquoise, labradorite, or diamond. Use amethyst. Saturday is a good day of the week to perform spells and rituals involving spirit communication, meditation, psychic self-defense, binding, and locating lost things or missing persons. Today’s Goddesses: Ops, Rhea, Tellus Mater, Gaia, Eartha, Ge, Tonantzin, Asherah, Anath, The Shekinah, The Matronit, Mary, Gula, Herodias, Oddudua, Demeter Today’s Magickal Influences: Duties, Responsibilities, Finding Families, Works Of Magic, Buildings, Meditation, Life, Doctrines Today’s Energies: Female – Rules obstacles, overcoming blockages – Use for magick involving overcoming limitations, the elderly, endings, deaths, blocks, constrictions, and those restricting you. Incense: Pepperwort, Assodilious, Black Poppy Seeds, Henbane, Lodestone, Myrrh Perfumes: Hyacinth, Pansy Color of The Day: Black Colors for Tomorrow: Orange, Gold and Yellow Lucky Sign: Saturday Is The Lucky Day For Capricorn And Aquarius Candle: Black )0( Hail Sunna and Sol! GrannyMoon Says Today is: Sun Day Energy: Male Ruler: The Sun Rule health, prosperity, leadership, joy, and protection – Use for magick involving happiness, prosperity, joy, healing, protection, power, leadership, ego, authority figures, fathers, husbands Today’s Goddesses: Sunne, Frau Sonne, Aditi, Igaehindvo, Amaterasu, Arinna, Izanami, Ochumare Sunday’s Magickal Influences: Health, Healing, Confidence And Hope, Prosperity Incense: Mastic, Palaginia Perfumes: Heliotrope, Orange Blossom, Cloves, Frankincense, Ambergris, Musk,Myrrh Sunday – wear topaz, sunstone, or diamond. Use pearl in crafting talismans. Color of The Day: Orange, Gold Colors for Tomorrow: Silver, Gray, White Lucky Sign: Sunday Is The Lucky Day For Leo Candle: Yellow

Tarot Card of the Week from Biddy Tarot

This week, you are feeling strong, courageous and ready to take on the world! You are not here to rule by force – instead you see value in being able to ‘read’ a situation first, then gently steer things in the direction you want. Just as this beautiful woman is able to tame the ferocious lion, you are able to take a volatile situation and turn it into something that works to your advantage.

Know this – you can do anything! Especially when you access your inner power and confidence, and lead from a place of gentle persuasion rather than force. And even when it feels like things are getting out of control, you have this immense source of power from within that will guide you in any situation. You can do it!

Ask the Tarot, “What is my source of strength?”

With the days growing shorter and the nights growing longer, it’s easy to slip into a bit of a funk at this time of year. Time to do a little SAD first aid. SAD, or seasonal affective disorder, is a mild depression that happens as a result of the lessened levels of sunlight and the resultant lower levels of vitamin D produced within the human body.

Meditate this morning, sitting quietly for ten minutes before your day starts. Close your eyes. Breathe in, pause, then exhale. Envision yourself surrounded by white light. Breathe the light into your chest. Pause and feel it travel into your head. Exhale it out the top of your head and cascade it around you. With each breath, feel the light warm and brighten you internally.

When you feel calm and centered, move on with your day. Resolve to buy vitamin D and supplement your diet. This post was written by Dallas Jennifer Cobb on November 30, 2018 )0( Magical Dishwashing Spell Date: Thursday, November 29, 2018

For most practitioners who align the seasons with the four elements, autumn is linked to the power of water. The energy of water is magnetic in nature and is tied to emotion and intuition. Connecting to water can help to heal and nurture our spiritual and emotional selves.

Though a relaxing candlelit bath with incense and exotic oils can be spiritually cleansing and recharging, our busy lives don’t always allow for such luxuries. If quick showers are a way of life, a longer connection to water can be achieved during a mundane activity: washing dishes. Scrubbing a sink full of dishes can be a meditative act if you allow yourself to zone out. Just connect to the power of the water to cleanse and heal. You can will that it pull any incorrect or harmful energies from you, thereby cleansing your dishes and your aura. This post was written by Michael Furie on November 29, 2018 )0( An Empathic Spell for Emotional Boundaries Spell Date: Wednesday, November 28, 2018

In 2016 I was lucky enough to publish a book called Esoteric Empathy. While performing research, I realized the profound extent to which empathy is growing as a biological and spiritual force. It is quite literally changing the world!

Everyone is empathic to one degree or another. For those of us who are especially emotionally absorptive (sometimes called “empaths”), little spells such as this one can be helpful when we have accidentally taken on too much emotional energy from outside sources. If you feel this way, my quick-spell suggestion is to meditate and calm your mind in a darkened room. Next, surround yourself with a small circle of salt. (For an additional boost, use the herbs yarrow, rue, and black pepper.) Imagine this circle growing into a mighty sphere of crystalline light all around your body.

Once the circle is established, declare the following multiple times aloud and silently until you feel protected:

“Mighty spirits, please come help me build this sphere! My emotions are protected and those of others are cleared!” This post was written by Raven Digitalis on November 28, 2018 )0( Making Friends with Mercury Retrograde Spell Date: Tuesday, November 27, 2018

We’re right smack in the middle of the final Mercury retrograde of 2018. A friend of mine calls it Mercury “wrecktrograde,” as everything seems to go wrong during this period.

Conventional wisdom suggests that we sit tight, avoiding new ventures, projects, or travel during a Mercury retrograde. It also claims that even the best plans can easily go awry during this period and that communication and relationships will be especially challenging. Magic folks may find their spider senses all atingle during this time, feeling edgy and unsettled.

How to stay calm during Mercury retrograde? Try this meditation. Picture yourself on a rollercoaster. Imagine it speeding along the track while you hold on tight. Feel the ups and downs, the twists and turns. Understand that even though the ride is bumpy, your grip is secure. You’re safe. See yourself coming to a smooth, flat piece of track. The ride slows and evens out. The craziness stops, and you relax and enjoy the view. Realize that Mercury retrograde, too, will come to a smooth end. This post was written by Susan Pesznecker on November 27, 2018 )0( Caught at the Crossroads Spell Spell Date: Monday, November 26, 2018

There comes a time in our lives when we come to a crossroads. Which road will lead us to a happy, fulfilled life? Should we take the road less traveled or stick to the path that feels safe? Maybe you’re a teenager heading off to college—which school is the right one for you? Or maybe a new job opportunity has arisen in another state.

At such a time, call upon Hecate, goddess of wisdom. Decorate your altar with Hecate’s symbols, including keys, black dog figures, poppies, and hazelnuts. Light a black candle for the wisdom of the crone and say:

“Hecate of wisdom and revealer of insight, I come to the crossroads on this night. Illuminate the path that is right for me. As I will it, so mote it be!”

Close your eyes and picture yourself at the crossroads. Let the torch of the crone illuminate the path that is right for you. This post was written by Monica Crosson on November 26, 2018 )0( Resolve a Dispute Spell Date: Sunday, December 2, 2018

It’s an auspicious day to resolve a dispute, even if the resolution occurs solely within you. Indeed, we must respect the free will of others, and their compliance with or resistance to your efforts need not have any bearing on whether or not you establish inner peace. This does not mean condoning unfair treatment or hurtful actions of any kind. It simply means choosing to let go of the conflict within yourself for your own personal benefit.

So today, hold an unlit stick of frankincense and myrrh incense in your right hand. Feel the discord around the situation and direct it into the incense. Then light it. As the smoke rises, say:

“As resin burns to smoke and ash, I now release the painful past. Just as day is born from night, what was heavy now is light.”

When it’s burned all the way down, scatter the ashes on the wind. This post was written by Tess Whitehurst on December 02, 2018 )0( Cleaning and Rededicating an Altar Spell Date: Saturday, December 1, 2018

Whether it’s a dedicated altar table or a cleared space on a kitchen counter, an altar becomes a focal point of power, and some of this energy remains within the surface after the spell or ritual has concluded. Every so often, it is a good practice to cleanse and rededicate an altar space to clear any magical residue so that it will not confuse the intent of future workings.

A simple means of cleansing is to anoint the altar with saltwater and visualize that this is breaking down any old energy, like dish soap works on a greasy pan. To seal the intention, you can say:

“Solid space for magical connection, renewed, revived, and restored; a clean, clear focus for fresh direction, my altar is charged and its power reborn.”

Dry off the altar and set any tools back in place. This post was written by Michael Furie on December 01, 2018 )0( Absorbing Negativity Spell Date: Friday, November 30, 2018

With the days growing shorter and the nights growing longer, it’s easy to slip into a bit of a funk at this time of year. Time to do a little SAD first aid. SAD, or seasonal affective disorder, is a mild depression that happens as a result of the lessened levels of sunlight and the resultant lower levels of vitamin D produced within the human body.

Meditate this morning, sitting quietly for ten minutes before your day starts. Close your eyes. Breathe in, pause, then exhale. Envision yourself surrounded by white light. Breathe the light into your chest. Pause and feel it travel into your head. Exhale it out the top of your head and cascade it around you. With each breath, feel the light warm and brighten you internally.

When you feel calm and centered, move on with your day. Resolve to buy vitamin D and supplement your diet. This post was written by Dallas Jennifer Cobb on November 30, 2018

We learn from Our Mother…the Earth, the Moon, the weather, from the elements, the animals, the stones, the seasons, the trees and all manner of living and breathing things, as well as the inanimate. They have much to tell us, much to share. We learn the language of the Earth and her inhabitants, but we must resonate with them to understand. This is a fun 13 week E-Course, with hands-on projects that you will love!

Join Me! Natural Witchcraft will take 13 weeks of study and hands-on practice. But it should be fun for you too!  We start with the basics!

The Herbalism series, in addition to the on-line lessons and hands-on projects that you do at home, I will be sending you articles, and information, as well as questions about your own personal use and research. There is so much to learn about herbs!

Herbalism 101, we cover 21 herbs, and you will start your own Materia Medica, that we will build throughout the next levels. We will cover the basic aspects of herbs, herbal terminology and herbal history. From culinary to magickal, medicinal to ornamental, as well as the many alternative healing modalities of herbs! The Doctrine of Signatures and making plant medicine.

Herbalism 202 – We focus on herbs and terminology having to do with health and health care, making herbal medicines, classifying herbs, the Doctrine of Signatures, and much much more!

Herbalism 303: The last series of classes teaches about the entire body, one system at a time. You’ll learn a lot about how the body functions and what health problems are related to which body system. You’ll also learn about natural health remedies for many health problems. There are 10 lessons in each level and there is no time limit for completion.

The Reiki Master course is a $150.00 value, yours free for purchasing all three of the Herbalism courses at once.

It is a wonderful beginning with hands-on projects that my students seem to enjoy!

I look forward to walking this green journey with you! I love herbs and I hope that you do too or will learn to!

December brings a ripe time for settling into trust, leaving those inner and outer challenges behind. For those who can accept their lives and life in general as it is, this month means tremendous inner power and peace.

Listen to the Spirit Guides as they show us how to find grace within our hearts – the grace to embrace life in all its imperfections.

December is known for a time of festive holidays and joyous giving. Compassion and peace illuminate our path this December with much of the prior chaos and disruptions shifting into a gentle state of grace.

Like being wrapped in a cozy blanket, fireplace ablaze watching perhaps the snow, ice or even the chilly winds. Spiritually, we find the idyllic state of grace.

Our Universal Lesson and Spiritual Messages Our universal lesson, the spiritual messages and energies almost tiptoe into this season of cheer and good will. They offer all a chance to settle into the unity that the last 11 months have helped us to achieve, and the lesson is more in knowing when enough is simply enough. December is strong and faithful, carrying a beautiful message like the star atop a holiday tree.

Finally, it is time to rest and to be at peace with all we have both given and received. It is our gift from Divine and/or universe to rest easy in December as we spiritually prepare for the onslaught of the New Year. Our lesson is the ability to accept that what is, shall be enough. For those unable to graciously take the spiritual gifts, their spirits and minds will become restless, without anything of value accomplished.

December is about our time to just soak all of grace and gratitude and share our joy and thanks with the collective and universal energies.

Love and Relationships In part with the festive nature of December; socially very few of us will be alone this month or season. Although “love” seems to be cropping up everywhere, we find in December such love is more of compassion and caring, friendships and family. Although with many attending numerous social events, it’s certainly possible to meet a romantic life partner; however, the overall energy is focused on sharing our true self with others.

For those in committed relationships, so long as both can adhere to the “song” of rejoicing for what is and that such is enough, there is peace and harmony abounding. For those that spent November in chaos and distress and seemed unable or unwilling to part ways, we will be given a brief respite with December’s calm overcoming most obstacles, for the month at least. Families seem to find new ways to cherish one another.

Our time becomes our greatest gift again in giving and what we receive from those we love.

Jobs/Careers/Economy and Real Estate Traditionally, December ranks as one of, if not the highest, months in retail sales and with the current quieter flow this December the economy remains strong, and our money just seems to stretch a bit further.

Jobs or career changes do slow down both in being a month of holidays and vacations; therefore, not many companies look to hire. However, the bigger picture is the energy. Again, there’s stillness and a quiet sense of being in the now; therefore, career or job changes are better suited for next month or into the New Year.

Real estate may show fluctuations in up and down pricing, but few are actually selling or making purchases, so it has little if any major or significant effects. For those under contract as buyer or seller, transitions should be smooth and without delays. Again most changes or shifts are not inclined during this December.

To Sum it Up! All in all, December glides in with lots of sunlight and moonbeams, and like a huge holiday gift to be opened, allows us all so weary from the spiritual lessons to rest and recover.

It is a month of rebounding and renewal, of the message of gratitude and grace rather than envy, greed and motion without intention.

Whether you sit by a literal fireplace or soak up the sun at the beach, we learn to accept what is given can and is enough and that each of us make the choice of what is enough and when we are ready to finally and very simply just be.

I wish all a very Merry Christmas, Yuletide and Happy Holidays in whatever you celebrate.

Heartwings says, “The best gifts are often something money cannot buy.”

Lately the Christmas catalogues have weighed down the mailbox. Glossy pages and colorful descriptions extol the virtues of the gifts they say I need to buy for loved ones, not to mention friends, acquaintances and business associates. There are shiny new adult toys to look at, clever, beautifully presented gadgets that draw the eye and more that seek to persuade me to spend in order to please friends and family.

However I have already selected my gifts. I do most of my Christmas shopping all year round, putting gifts away as I was taught to do by example, as a child. By holiday time I don’t need to shop for very much. Most of the catalogues go into the recycling without a glance from me. I regret the waste and grieve for the trees sacrificed on the altar of commercialism. In the past I used to try to get the senders to stop and found that to be a waste of time.

Years ago I made my gifts for friends. I had done this as a child. My mother, who valued creativity highly encouraged me to do so. She even saved many of the booklets I made and gave them back to me when I was grown. This is the kind of gift that cannot be found in a store. Though I would never I look down on any gift, bought or otherwise that a friend has given me, some of my favorite gifts today are those friends and family have hand made themselves.

Many deplore the commercialism of the season. I don’t blame them. In many ways it seems pretty crass to me too. However, as long as humankind has held celebrations at this time of year, gifts have always been associated with it. The exchange of them, whether homemade or purchased has formed an important part of the holidays. What seems more to the point, however is what they symbolize and always have: the expression of gratitude, affection, and acknowledgement to those I love and cherish.

May you find joyful ways to give to those you love and wish to show it.

Blessings and Best Regards, Tasha Halpert

PS. What are some of your favorite gifts, either to give or to receive. I do so love to hear from reads and know what you have to share. Also, My new book, Up to my Neck in Lemons is now available from me or from Amazon. Do let me know if you would like a signed copy, at tashahal@aol.com.

All programs are on sale, but our Herbalist Path Packages have super deals this weekend only to make the holidays even sweeter! What are your goals as you explore your herbal path and education? Do you want to support your family with herbs and natural approaches to your health and wellness? Do you want to learn herbalism to round out your knowledge so you can start a business?

Whether you are just getting started in herbalism or have been exploring this natural path for some time, you might realize that there are several directions to take as an herbalist! Perhaps you are interested in opening up an herb shop or selling your own natural body care products. Maybe your passion is for people, and therefore your desire is to become a community herbalist. Or maybe you wish to study herbalism to benefit your own family’s health and wellbeing.

Follow your calling, and match up your personal or career goals with the Herbal Academy’s unique Herbalist Paths. These discounted training packages are designed to help guide you in your journey and your educational needs! Infuse your life with your herbal education when choosing the Family Herbalist Path, prepare for a business start-up in the Entrepreneur Herbalist Path, or learn how to work with clients professionally through the Clinical Herbalist Path.

All Herbalist Paths are offered at a discount and with a payment plan option! Learn more about the Herbal Academy’s programs and paths here.

HOW TO MAKE MULLED WINE FOR HOLIDAY CELEBRATIONS

Whether it’s a holiday gathering, a crisp autumn evening, or a bone-chilling winter night, mulled wine is both a wonderful winter warmer and a great holiday cocktail. Instead of going with a plain bottle of wine or the typical home stocked bar drinks, why not be trendy and serve up some great tasting wine with a twist. Adding spice to your wine not only allows for experimentation but will also add liveliness and depth to your concoction.

Craft brands are booming. Because of technological advances, we not only have information at our fingertips but also ideas and innovation. We can now connect in inexpensive, non-traditional ways in order to distribute our crafty concoctions like never before.

Craft beer and distilleries are popping up in many areas across the United States. At the same time, people are increasingly interested in the quality of ingredients, as well as herbal remedies and natural health.

The remedies of the past often consisted of herbs steeped in alcohol. So, it is not unusual that the market for craft cocktails using herbs and local ingredients is emerging. Not only is there a surge in bars wooing their customers with creative drinks, but also many new “apothecary” drink books are now being published.

What is Mulled Wine and Its History?

According to http://www.dictionary.com, the definition of mulled is, “to heat, sweeten, and flavor with spices for drinking, as ale or wine.” Mulled wine originated in the 2nd century. Europeans combined hot wine with warming spices to maintain health and ward off sickness (Smith, 2013).

In Greece, in order to prevent waste, people heated leftover wine and added spices. This spiced wine was called “hippocras” after Hippocrates because of the health benefits of the mulling spices (Ideal Wine Company, 2016).

Over the years, many cultures have created their own versions of mulled wine. Nordic countries call it glogg, Bosnia and Croatia serve kuhano vino, and wassail is a mulled drink in England, to name a few.

Instead of going with a plain bottle of wine, try spicing things up with this homemade mulled wine for your holiday celebrations!

The Wine Tastes Great, But What About The Herbs?

Mulling spices consist of warming herbs, dried fruit, and citrus zest. The combination of herbs vary but typically feature cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, cloves, allspice, ginger, star anise, or fennel. The fruit may include apple, orange, lemon, or raisins.

The chart below gives some of the health benefits of herbs used for mulling wine. These herbs can also be used in ciders if you are looking for a non-alcoholic version (Beckius, 2016).

Like everything herbal, there is always room for creativity and personal expression.

HERB BENEFITS Cinnamon Antioxidant, antimicrobial, antiparasitic, stimulates the digestive system, antiviral, and antibiotic Nutmeg Antioxidant, detoxifying (liver & kidney), antibacterial, digestive aid, and pain relief Cardamom Soothes the stomach and intestines Cloves Anti-inflammatory, analgesic, cold and flu prevention, expectorant, and supports digestion Allspice Carminative, digestive stimulant, digestive tonic, antioxidant, and antiseptic Ginger Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-nauseant, digestive aid and immune boosting Star Anise Antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial, supports digestion, and anti-nauseant Fennel Enhances digestive function, carminative Citrus fruit Supports a healthy immune system, antioxidant

The recipe for mulled wine (below) is a favorite drink around the holidays when people are indoors, windows are closed, and rich, decadent food is served.

The combination of the herbs in the recipe enhances digestion, and are anti-microbial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Oranges are high in vitamin C which supports the immune system.

Using elderberry syrup as a sweetener adds to the immune system support, helping keep winter illness at bay. Honey is antibacterial and is a good choice as well.

Red wine is used and rum or brandy can be added, but are optional. Alcohol is very effective in increasing the bioavailability of many herbs and is used quite often in herbal preparations. I use my favorite red wine, but, as was done in Greece, adding spices can be an effective way to jazz up a cheap bottle of wine or repurpose the end of a bottle you tried that was not your taste.

Try this basic mulled wine recipe. It is simple to make and will make your home smell festive and spicy.

Based on a recipe from Gimme Some Oven blog Ingredients

1 bottle of red wine (750 ml) ¼ cup honey or sugar or elderberry syrup ½ teaspoon allspice ¼ teaspoon nutmeg ¼ teaspoon ginger 8 whole cloves 2 cinnamon sticks 2-star anise ¼ cup brandy (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan, and bring to a simmer (do not boil) over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and let simmer for at least 15 minutes or up to 3 hours. Strain Serve warm with garnish if desired

Garnish ideas: Add citrus or apple slices, whole cinnamon sticks, and star anise. You can use fancy glasses and pomegranate seeds for a New Year’s Eve party cocktail or serve warm in your favorite mug.

If you use whole herbs rather than powder, you can also place them in cheesecloth or a small muslin bag (both can be purchased at a kitchen store). Simply pull out the herbs when ready to serve. So whether you dress it up or keep it simple, mulled wine is a great drink for a New Year’s Eve party with friends and family or for a night of Netflix by the fire with wool socks and flannel pajamas.

Smith, A. (2015). The history of mulled wine. Retrieved from https://www.vivino.com/wine-news/the-history-of-mulled-wine

Ideal Wine Company. (2016). Exploring the history of mulled wine. Retrieved from http://www.ideal-wine-company.co.uk/exploring-the-history-of-mulled-wine/

Beckius, K.K. (2016). How to make hot mulled cider. Retrieved from http://gonewengland.about.com/od/morerecipes/ht/htmulledcider.htm

Everyone Can Heal By Madisyn Taylor

We all have the ability to use our healing hands, we only need our intention.

Touch is the first tool we turn to when confronting pain. We react similarly to a stubbed toe and a broken heart, tenderly grasping the affected area. This need to apply physical contact is part of the innate healing instinct present within each of us. We are all born with the ability to heal ourselves and to heal others. Because healing energy does not come from within but from outside our ourselves, the energy is there for anyone to use, and thus no formal training is required. When you have the intent to heal and love is your only motive, you become a conduit for healing energy. Through the simple laying on of hands, you can direct that universal healing energy in order to comfort those who are experiencing pain or distress.

In performing healing energy work, it is imperative that you ground yourself both before you begin and afterward. The illnesses and issues others face can be absorbed into our energy field, and healing can exhaust our own energy reserves. Address the universe directly, stating that you wish to be a one-way channel through which healing energy flows through you and that your energy supply should not be depleted. Next, speak your intention and place your hands on the individual you are endeavoring to heal.

Let your intuition guide you to the afflicted area and imagine a healing white light being drawn in through the top of your head and emanating through your hands. The energy will begin to flow once you have made a physical connection, and your touch will help awaken the body’s capacity for self-healing. The afflicted areas of the body, which were initially tense or tight, will relax once imbued with enough healing energy. Not everybody is sensitive to subtle energy, so try not to feel like you aren’t helping if you don’t feel the flow. The work you are doing is indeed helping. Finally, thank the universe. Disconnect yourself from the person being healed by speaking your intention to sever your connection and then wash your hands.

Understanding how energy works is less important than consciously choosing to make use of it. Performing a loving healing session on your loved ones can be a wonderfully intimate experience that brings you closer together. And as the rejuvenating healing energy passes through you, it can awaken a profound compassion within you that helps you better understand the interactions between the spiritual, physical, and mental selves.

Getting Back to Holiday Basics By Madisyn Taylor

There are many unique ways to celebrate the holidays without spending too much money or becoming exhausted in the process. The true meaning of the holidays can easily get lost in the details. While many of the diverse festivals and feasts we celebrate are designed to be times for celebrating life, new beginnings, traditions, and landmark occasions, those sentiments can be swept away by the stress of overloaded to-do lists and seemingly never-ending holiday obligations. Yet there are many unique and satisfying ways to celebrate the holidays without spending too much money or becoming exhausted in the process. Whereas the media, and possibly even loved ones, may encourage you to do and buy more, concentrating on the spirit of faith, giving, love, and hope during the holidays can help you do more with less. You can create new holiday traditions that help you focus on what you find important.

Holidays can be a wonderful time for taking stock of what matters most to you. This can include family, community, helping those less fortunate, and loving the earth. If you feel driven to give the people in your life gifts, consider presents that encourage positive living or whose impact will continue to be felt long after the holidays. Think about donating your effort to making someone else’s life better by hosting a party for seniors or volunteering at a homeless shelter. You can also make a charitable donation or plant a seedling tree in a loved one’s name. Instead of giving your friends and family material goods, give them the gift of your time. Organize get-togethers that include relatives or acquaintances that you seldom see and emphasize togetherness, fun, and celebration. Time spent making homemade gifts can give you a chance to ruminate on what you treasure about your loved ones.

When exploring the true meaning of the holidays and getting back to the true spirit of the season, allow yourself to alter existing traditions. Even a blessing before a meal or a walk under the stars can help you reconnect with the holidays. Do what fulfills you and then stop before your celebration becomes more of a hassle than a happy occasion. Get back to the basics of generosity and goodwill, and your holiday will certainly be a rewarding one.

Herbal Holiday Tip: Stay Well With Winter EOS by Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Virtually all essential oils have some antimicrobial properties, but winter is the season of the virus—which is particularly difficult to combat.

While there is no research to show that EOs can stop the flu in its tracks, there are several wonderful things essential oils CAN do to help us during the cold and flu season!

Citrus oils are known to get rid of airborne germs (Valnet, 1982) and can support the immune system and immune response. Several other essential oils are known for their affinity for the respiratory system and their ability to ease some of the symptoms of cold and flu.

Two of these essential oils are peppermint (Mentha x piperita) and eucalyptus (usuallyE. globulus). Note that these oils can overwhelm some respiratory systems, especially those of young children, so opt for an alternative if needed.

Spearmint (Mentha spicata) can be used instead of peppermint, and a gentler species of eucalyptus is E. radiata. Eucalyptus in any form needs to be used with caution, in low concentration and kept away from the faces of young children.

Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) is another wonderfully appropriate choice that’s packed with antimicrobial properties! This is a time of year, appropriately, that conifer essential oils really shine. Rosalina(Melaleuca ericifolia), black spruce (Picea mariana), and inula (Inula graveolens) are especially wonderful for winter wellness as each of these oils are high in respiratory-supporting constituents.

When pulling out the diffuser this season, choose one of these oils which will not only fill your home with fresh, seasonal aromas but will also help support your family during cold and flu season!

Honoring My Ancestors without Visiting Their Tombs by Alan D.D. — December 1, 2018

Today’s column comes to us from international columnist Alan D.D., who writes to us from Venezuela. In addition to writing for The Wild Hunt, Alan is a journalist, blogger, and novelist.

I find much to admire in my past; it always has something more to say, something more to teach us, something more to be discovered within it. This attraction includes my ancestors, those members of my family that are here no more. I remember them through seeing their photos, recalling the good times at their side and their voices. If I didn’t know them, I imagine what their lives were like. I differ in many things with my family, but I share their respect towards the deceased.

All my ancestors, however, are either in a graveyard that is being assaulted and robbed, and so the air in it is putrid, or they were buried in another country. The cemetery in my hometown has become highly insecure as a result of the frequent presence of thieves, kidnappers and other criminals who threaten the living, while the graves of the dead are violated to steal the organs of the recently deceased and sell them, or to steal their bones and use them in various rituals, which I find highly disrespectful. On the other hand, I don’t have the resources to leave the country and visit other deceased ancestors, and chances are I will not be able to do so for a while.

I talk to their photographs: In my home there are several photos of my ancestors – not all of them, but many of them, and it’s the same in my relatives’ houses. When I feel the need to get near my ancestors, to reconnect with them, maybe to learn something about them, maybe because of yearning for them, I get a photo and directly talk to them. I try not to follow any protocol, so it’s a natural process, a conversation like when they were alive. Although I don’t always get an answer, the connection is very therapeutic.

I offer them candles: Lighting candles is very common in my family: they mark promises, petitions, even house blessings or religious dates. I light them when I feel the need to send light to my ancestors or when I ask for their help. With a lighter, I burn the bottom end of the candle so it doesn’t move from the plate, then I light the wick and think about the face and name of my ancestor. If I need their help, I ask it after that, and if that’s not the case, I simply ask the universe to send them the candle’s light. If, on the contrary, I receive a message without asking, I light the candle as in acknowledgement, following the same process.

I speak their names: When I have the basic information – their whole name, dates of birth and death – of someone I want to honor, I write it on paper, pronounce it in a low voice or repeat the information in my mind. I get comfortable, close my eyes, and use their name and dates as a mantra. I try to work while the place is in silence. I say my goodbyes aloud if I have already spoken; if I wrote something down, I erase or dispose of the paper.

I listen to music: I’m not speaking about the music they listened to, but songs that make me remember my ancestors, tracks that for some reason I have linked with a particular ancestor. I simply put on my headphones, turn up the volume and sing along in my mind with the song, envisioning the face of my relatives. The music I listen to always becomes connected with many feelings, memories, and ideas. Whatever I do, I always do it better with music, and it all becomes an emotional process. I’m not ashamed of saying it makes me cry sometimes.

I cherish their belongings and mementos: I have my paternal grandfather’s glasses and a piece of wood from my dad’s studio. Those are physical reminders, objects that either belonged to my ancestors or remind me of them in some way. Just taking them, seeing them and remembering the energy they keep makes me feel they are with me, that there’s a part of them that remains in this plane by my side. Suddenly, I don’t feel so lonely.

There are more methods, but these five are the ones I tend to use more often, those that connect me with my roots the most. They help me cross the line between life and death, remember my lineage, where I come from, and that one day, which I hope to be very distant, I will be an ancestor for someone else as well. No matter the ups and downs in my relationship with the dead, or even if didn’t get to know them, I have a special place in my heart reserved for those who passed away.

Charlie walked into the common room next to the laundromat at the senior retirement community. Though he was in his eighties and mostly bald, his body was still solid with strong arms and a wide barrel chest. That morning he was all smiles and looked proud. “What are you so happy about?” Jimmy the gin rummy addict asked. “You look like you just won the lottery.” Charlie beamed. “Better than that!” He wheezed. “My son… my son David is coming for Christmas dinner with me.” “Oh that’s wonderful,” a lady who had just moved in said. She was folding her sheets on one of the long tables. “Aren’t you lucky to have such a loving son.” “I know! I know!” Charlie breathed deeply. “When he was a kid I was stationed in Germany with the army so he grew up in Cleveland with his mother and her family.” Bernice nudged Wilma. “There he goes,” she said. She looked at the wall calendar.” December 10th. Just like clockwork. Same day of December every year.” “You’re right. That’s all he’ll talk about.” Wilma agreed. “Every year since I sold my home and moved in here.” She sighed. “I certainly wouldn’t mind if my Sylvia came and took me out to Christmas dinner.” She got up, went to the coffee machine and poured herself a cup. “Ever catch a look at his son?” “No,” Bernice said. “Closest I came was seeing a cab drive off with them once.” Wilma sighed. “I’m still Sylvia’s mother aren’t I? But oh no, Miss High and Mighty lives on the North Shore and is much too busy to drive out to see me.” “Some children are like that,” Bernice said. “Do you call her?” Wilma nodded indignantly. “Me and her answering machine are very close.” Ever call you back?” Bernice asked. “Not usually. Not unless I’m suddenly on life support and she’s worried about her inheritance. Who am I supposed to leave it, to a home for stray cats?” “Be glad she’s busy.” Bernice snorted. “At least she’s not hitting on you for money like some daughters I know.” Buzz walked in carrying his laundry. Jimmy looked up from his shuffling and grinned. “Guess what! Charlie’s son’s visiting him for Christmas.” “Good!” Buzz smiled. He nodded to Charlie. He’d known him since he moved into a cottage adjacent to his three years ago. He’d heard that Charlie was a decorated veteran. Buzz figured him for a sergeant. He was always a little put off when Charlie pushed his take charge attitude around the community. “Going to the Inn?” Jimmy asked. He cut the cards and riffled them. “No! Better!” Charlie’s cheeks creased in a big smile. “This year he’s bringing the best Christmas dinner a father and son could ever have. Knowing him, a couple of baked stuffed lobsters.” Buzz nodded and gave him the high sign. He began loading his laundry into one of the machines. “Do you have any other children?” Bernice said. “No,” Charlie said. “Just David. By the time I was discharged his mother had divorced me and remarried.” He looked off into space and sighed. His memories brought a turndown to his mouth. Finally he said, “I didn’t see him for years.” He shook his head and sighed. “But we always kept in touch. Oh yes. As his father I tried to make sure I always did the right thing.” “I’m sure you did,” Bernice said in a kindly voice. She got up to check on her dryer and came back into the room. “So you’re not going out to the Inn this year?” Charlie smiled proudly. “Fancy caterer, nothing but the best for his old man.” “I liked giving expensive presents to my kids.” Jimmy said. “Then I ran out of money and they got all upset, like it was my fault, and they felt cheated.” “Holidays can stir up feelings,” Wilma said. As the days wore on Charlie talked continually about his upcoming visit with his son. Right up through Christmas Eve the catering and the size of the feast grew and grew. Many of the residents had visitors on Christmas day and there were a lot of cars with far-away license plates. After she finished dinner, Bernice decided to go for a stroll around the parking lot. She took a cigarette with her and lit up, puffing smoke into the frosty air. As she circled the complex she noticed a light in Charlie’s first floor window. Not wanting to seem nosy, she walked by and looked over as casually as she could. Charlie’s back was to the window and she couldn’t see beyond him. Her curiosity was aroused. Maybe if she got a little closer she could catch a glimpse of his son. Her feet crunched on the thin skim of snow left by the white Christmas dusting from the night before. “Shhh,” she said and giggled. She was a little tipsy from the celebratory snifter of brandy she had allowed herself. Very quietly she crept up to the bush near Charlie’s window. At that angle she could see beyond him. He was sitting at his table, a large pizza in the middle of it. He was talking and laughing, waving his hands. Bernice crept even closer. Finally she could see clearly through the window. On the table directly across from Charlie smiled a well proportioned, ruddy faced man in a Marine uniform. His eyes were the same bright blue as Charlie’s. Bernice blinked and squinted. She rubbed her eyes and looked again. It was then that she saw the frame around the life sized photograph.

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