Nov 30, 2009

Mourning Monday

Growing up, I was always taught that law enforcement was a public institution to look up to... they were people we could count on when we were in need of help, folks to be respected. Somewhere in time, the public has become jaded, forgetful and respect for law enforcement has nearly ceased to exist. Yesterday, this disrespect was vividly demonstrated just two short hours North of here...

TACOMA, Wash. --Four police officers were shot and killed Sunday morning as they sat working on their laptops at a Washington state coffeehouse in what authorities called a targeted ambush. Pierce County Sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer said officers were looking for one male suspect who fled on foot, but haven't ruled out an accomplice said the four officers killed -- three men and a woman from the Lakewood Police Department -- were in uniform and catching up on paperwork at the beginning of their shifts when they were attacked at 8:15 a.m.Investigators believe the officers were targeted, and it was not a robbery.

Troyer would not release their names. It wasn't clear whether the officers even had time to draw their weapons to return fire, Troyer said."This was more of an execution. Walk in with the specific mindset to shoot police officers," Troyer said. There were two employees and a few other customers in the shop. All are being interviewed by the Pierce County Sheriff's investigators."Some are in shock. They are very upset," Troyer said. "They are the ones who are going to put together for us how this happened."

He could not immediately say what agency the officers were from. The Forza Coffee Shop, part of a popular local chain, is on a side street near McChord Air Force Base in Tacoma, about 35 miles south of Seattle. The shop is in a small retail center alongside two restaurants, a cigar store and a nail salon."The four of them are known by everybody here," Troyer said. "We haven't got any information as to why this happened."

Streets around the coffee shop were blocked off late Sunday morning, and a police helicopter hovered over a large crowd of investigators Dave Gabrielson, a clerk at Foot Mart about a block away from the coffee shop, told the newspaper all was quiet when he opened the store at 8 a.m. About 30 minutes later, "All of a sudden a million cops were zooming up and down the road," Gabrielson said.He said he saw officers bring a police dog into a nearby apartment complex.The baristas who were inside the shop are "stunned and shocked, traumatized," Troyer said."We hopefully will have answers, but there is nothing more we can tell you,"

Troyer told KING-TV. "That's as cold-hearted as it is."Last month, Seattle police officer Timothy Brenton was shot and killed Halloween night as he was sitting in a cruiser with trainee Britt Sweeney.Sweeney was grazed in the neck.Authorities say the man charged with that shooting also firebombed four police vehicles in October as part of a "one-man war" against law enforcement. Christopher Monfort, 41, was arrested days after the Seattle shooting and remains hospitalized.

I hope that you will keep the families of these slain officers in your hearts and send some healing thoughts their way.

Nov 29, 2009

Serenity Sunday

Every year, on November 30th, my favorite game starts...The Haggis Hunt! Now, I know most of you will be thinking "What kind of game is played with sheep's innards boiled in the animal's stomach...Gross!" but actually not only is it the popular dish in Scotland but it's also a quest to find this elusive yet mythical creature and win some terrific prizes!

Anyhow,I play every year just because it's fun. In other news, I've started a new's pattern looked really cool so I thought I'd try it. It seems  like a fairly easy pattern so it shouldn't take me too long to finish
On with my list....

My List:

1.) My kids

2.) Leftovers

3.) Good friends

4.) My favorite podcasts

5.) Hats and mittens

6.) Yarn

7.) Rosemary

8.) Hunting Haggis

9.) My ipod

10.) Holiday music

Nov 28, 2009

My Rosemary Tree

I came across the most wonderful little  Rosemary tree the other day while shopping, it smelled absolutely divine so I brought it home to add to my garden window of various plants. I don't  grow herbs in my house very much because  it's usually too warm and they seem to do so much better out of the pot and in my garden but I figured that this was such an elegant looking tree and smells very festive for the season, that I would give it a shot.

A Little Rosemary History

An old French term for rosemary was incensier - incense. Because Rosemary was easily harvested from the wild it was an incense used by the poor or lower classes as a substitute for expensive frankincense or myrrh-based incense in ancient Greece and Rome. The upper class and nobility could afford the more costly imported resins.

When a twig of rosemary is burned it is said to rid space of negativity because of its cleansing vibrations. It was burnt at shrines in Ancient Greece, and burned to drive away evil spirits and to drive away illnesses.

* Place a fresh twig beneath your pillow to drive away nightmares.

*Lay it under your bed for a good night's sleep.

* A necklace made from rosemary preserves your youth and is
said that it is also grown to attract elves.

* Rosemary is also said to be an herb of remembrance and has been added to wedding bouquets. In some European countries it is still a custom to carry rosemary in funeral processions and to cast the herb into the grave at the burial ceremony

* Before the advent of modern medicine rosemary was burned, along with juniper berries, as a disinfectant in French hospitals.

* Rosemary is an herb in the labiatae (mint) family. It's a tender perennial grayish green ornamental shrub 2-6 feet high with scaly bark. It's foliage is needle-like and gray green in color. Flowers are small pale blue to pink clusters.

Contemporary scientific research suggests that Rosemary may be useful for:

* Alzheimer's. Phytochemicals in rosemary may prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine, a chemical that allows neurons within the brain to communicate with each other.

* Cancer. Several laboratory studies suggest that rosemary contains compounds that prevent carcinogenic chemicals from bind to and inducing mutations in DNA.

* Circulatory problems. The camphor content finely chopped rosemary or essential oil of rosemary to bath water helps stimulate blood circulation the skin.

Nov 27, 2009

Can You Understand Me?

Thousands of years ago,
in the sands of time....

Goddesses were hailed as powerful.
They lived alongside Gods who were both kind and not.
Giving life and happiness to the people of the world.

Today in the present.
We preach tolerance and equality.
But yet.....

Scorned are those who dare claim peace.
Shunned are those who turn to the Goddess.

Hear my plea, I beg you now!
This is not some hollywood silver screen!

Can you hear me?
I'm sure you can.

The way I follow is ancient and powerful.
I find peace in my prayers and knowledge the Goddess brings.
Comfort in knowing I am loved.

The earth is connected to me.
I am connected to it.
everything has a place and all must play a part.

Cast aside your hate that many have taught you.
Listen to me now.....
Can you understand me?

Nov 26, 2009

A Thanksgiving Blessing To All

Blessed be the bounty of the harvest
laid in feast before us here.
Gifts of earth and gifts of labor,
hunger's bite we shall not fear.

Wassail! Wassail!
Health unto you.
May your days be merry.

Wassail! Wassail!
Health unto you.
All the years of your life.

Nov 25, 2009

"What Is...?" Wednesday


The name Mên-an-Tol means simply "holed stone" and despite having been considered a significant and popular monument from a very early date, its true purpose remains a mystery.

The monument today is made up of four stones, two upright stones with the holed stone between them and a fallen stone at the foot of the western upright. Expert opinions differ in major details and it is possible that the positioning of the stones have been rearranged on several occasions. William Borlase described the monument in the 18th Century as having a triangular layout, and it has been suggested that the holed stone was moved from its earlier position to stand in a direct alignment between the two standing stones. 

In the mid 19th Century, a local antiques collector JT Blight proposed that the site was in fact the remains of a stone circle. This idea gained support when a site survey located a number of recumbent stones (stones that are lying down or in a position of "rest") lying just beneath the modern turf which were arranged along the circumference of a circle of approximately twenty two yards in diameter. The recumbent stones are somewhat irregularly spaced but the three existing upright stones have smooth inward facing surfaces and are  similar height to other stone circles found at Penwith, in Southwestern England.

There is a wealth of folklore and tradition  about Men-an-Tol and is said to cure many ailments... particularly rickets in children... by passing the afflicted child through the hole. It was also said to provide an alternative cure “scrofulous taint” ( a form of tuberculosis which affects the lymph nodes of the neck also known as the “Kings Evil”) which was otherwise only curable by the touch of the reigning monarch. The site’s reputation for curing back problems earned it the name of “Crick Stone”. 

In the middle ages, the stones were seen as a charm against witchcraft or ill-wishing and could also be used as a tool for telling the future...legend has it that if two brass pins are placed crosswise on each other, on the top of  the round stone, they would move independently in accordance with the question asked.  The Men-an-Tol still sits in open moorland and has been designated as being historically valuable as well as being a naturally beautiful site.

Nov 24, 2009

Tarot Tuesday

In this card, we can see the Hermit standing alone on a mountain top with a  lantern in hand. The Hermit has attained his spiritual goal and is ready to share his knowledge. Astrologically, this card is represented by Virgo (detail-oriented, strong analytical faculties, perfectionism.) It is numbered 9 in the Major Arcana and represents accomplishment, wisdom, the attainment of goals as well as the search for truth. 

In symbolism... the lantern represents the Lamp of Truth containing the star of wisdom and the staff  is the patriarch's staff which is the symbol of the narrow path of initiation. The snow at the Hermit's feet represents the heights of spiritual attainment and he wears the grey cloak of invisibility.

 In readings, the Hermit represents the need to slow down and absorb more of a peaceful and quite life.  He finds his knowledge and wisdom through exploration of the inner self rather then the physical world around him.  The Hermit separates himself from the more unimportant aspects of life in order to find true self-awareness. He does not just experience life but he uses that experience to understand why things are the way they are.  

The Hermit is learning about the self and the motivations behind his own personal actions and thinking.  He often represents a more meditative state of mind that  focuses on one's purpose. The Hermit is more self-conscious, so he has become more aware of any negative patterns or cycles he is repeating and strives to improve them for the benefit of everyone.

When the Hermit turns up for you, some helpful questions to ask yourself are... "When was the last time I stopped to take a break from the hectic daily schedules in my life...? "Am I  able to be quite and listen to my inner voice...? "Is the current path I am on still as significant as when I first started out?  Maybe this is a key time to stop and meditate on your goals and inner truths, take notice any negative patterns that might be hindering your progress.

Nov 22, 2009

Serenity Sunday

This Thursday, millions of families will gather around beautifully decorated tables to give thanks for all that they have. In honor of this day of gratitude, here's my Homemade Cranberry Relish recipe. I have nothing but fond memories of my grandmother each time that I make it for a celebratory dinner.

Cranberry Relish

*1 bag whole cranberries
*1 orange (chunked)
*1 apple (chunked)
*1 large box strawberry jello
* 1 cup of sugar

Grind cranberries, orange and apple until finely chopped (I use a food processor but a blender or food chopper will work too.) Pour into large mixing bowl and add in box of strawberry jello. Add sugar to taste... until not too tart, not too sweet. Let set in the refrigerator over night and  voilà relish!

My List:

1.) My children

2.) Family traditions

3.) Brown and crispy turkey skin (yummy!)

4.) The smell of fresh baked rolls

5.) Happy memories

6.) Grandmothers

7.) Brown, red and gold tablecloths

8.) Mulled wine

9.) Silly turkey napkin rings

10.) Full tummies

*  Framed turkey hand print made by my son Conor in first grade.

Nov 21, 2009

Nora, Cat Extordinaire

I noticed this article via Twitter yesterday and just had to share! After my rant yesterday, I was truly sure that most of society had lost it's marbles. It's little things like this that refresh the soul and reaffirm that there is still softness (no pun intended) in the world. I wholeheartedly encourage you to read this article and watch the video...

Nov 20, 2009

Lizzie's Award Of Shame

Disclaimer: I really hate to facilitate these people's fifteen minute's of fame but this rubbish was just too good to pass up! A friend of mine came across these articles the other day and of course, I just had to add my two cents...

C'mon people, has the world really reverted as far back as the dark ages again, where  unjust accusation was acceptable and even encouraged?  Since when do my beliefs deserve to be disregarded or mocked by others simply because I define divinity in slightly different perspective?  In my daily life, I believe that we are all part of the divine (and not separate from that divine) but yet there are those who turn around and ask "a certain member of the clergy" to forgive them of their sins that were, in their own teaching, wiped clean when another "certain individual" was nailed to wood? ("It is finished!" John 19:30.)  Here are a couple  of paragraphs from the Sunday Monitor ... 

"Pastor Grace Nakabonge gives a Biblical example of when Moses went up Mt Sinai and failed to come back. Tired of waiting for him and in need of a solution, the Israelites made a golden calf and started worshipping it....

But how does the mere worship of a statue usher in evil powers and spirits that presumably act on the whims and wishes of their executors? “Evil powers of the devil seize this opportunity to speak through these idols, making people think they have found God. So people unknowingly begin to worship evil powers and spirits,” she explains. The pastor adds that the distinguishing feature between God’s power to perform miracles and wonders and witchcraft is that the former is for the good of mankind and to bring peace while witchcraft will cause harm and damage even to a neighbour who lives peacefully besides you."

I am compelled to ask ... What in heck made this pastor think that I believe in the idea of anything being evil, let alone this devil nonsense she seems to be trying to shove down my throat? Has she watched so much television and Hollywood mumbo-jumbo that she's taken it upon herself to jump to such broad and absolutely laughable conclusions...

And sadly, even more outrageous silliness has recently sprouted up in the  Indianapolis schools, where it seems that they have started  blocking sites that deal with paranormal and unexplained events from possible internet access by children ...What lesson would we be passing on to our children, that it's okay to harbor false ideas and prejudiced judgments (made by those who are supposed to teach them right from wrong)...should we make the burning of books okay because they might open the minds of our children and then our children may start to challenge the accepted way of thinking?

"Sites that promote and provide information on religions such as Wicca, Witchcraft or Satanism. Occult practices, atheistic views, vodoo rituals or any form of mysticism are represented here. Includes sites that endorse or offer methods, means of instruction, or other resources to affect or influence real events through the use of spells, incantations, curses and magic powers. This category includes sites which discuss or deal with paranormal or unexplained events.

Excuse me... but  since when does my spirituality get thrown in the mix with atheism? I  believe in deity, just as other spiritual folks definition is slightly different but hey, at least I can say that I believe in something  bigger than myself rather than the absence of anything other than what I can see, taste, touch or hear! As for religious tolerance...Well, I guess that only applies to those groups who are generally pre-approved by other similar groups. What about the resurrection...would that not be a  prime example of a paranormal or unexplained event? (Paranormal: a general term that describes unusual experiences that lack scientific explanation or phenomena alleged to be outside of science's current ability to explain or measure... Wikipedia)

 I'd like to share with you that I petition deity too, just as other spiritual folks do, I say a prayer called a spell or ritual... I ask the same things that other spiritual folks do as well..."Look after my loved ones..."  "Keep them safe from harm on their car ride to see Aunt Edna..."  "Help me to do well tomorrow with my presentation at work..."  "Bless my children with long and happy lives..."  How is this so different?

I know that this may be a controversial topic and I don't mean to make light or belittle these issues in any way but my sole purpose in this post is to provoke thought and to call into question the accepted and commonly held beliefs that exist (rather than choosing to remain silent and perpetuating these misleading and damaging ideas) about paganism and wicca, that some in society have chosen to foster. 

Nov 19, 2009

Tarot Shadow Work- Regression

Regression, if only I were young again...How often have I thought about better times long, long ago when all was right with the world and things were pleasant...*sigh*  Okay, reality check here, I'm rapidly approaching the big 44 here soon and if I  remember correctly, the good times were pretty darn crappy.  So, enough of the "Peter Pan" defense mechanism and the brief midlife crisis moment..
Do we find ourselves stuck in this type of thinking, where the situation we're in becomes so frustrating and stressful we find ourselves clinging to the wish that we could be young again...? Have we had any tantrums or stomped off with the threat of moving in with mother lately, simply because things did not go our way...? Have we looked in the mirror and discovered three new grey hairs, so off we went to the local grocery store to buy some hair dye that may or may not match the actual color of our hair as we remember it...?

These are all little ways of regressing and refusing to confront life's problems and assume responsibility for our choices in a futile attempt to control the hands of time. Looking at these behaviors as rational adults, we can see the immaturity and the fear behind it but how do we get to the point of moving past all these behaviors and reach the point in which our Shadow selves are no longer shadows?

In my case, I know what most of my weak spots are but there are those grey areas (and not on my head) that I still have issue with getting a grip on, like my temper. I love control... control is safe, if I don't have it, my temper flares up...I know what to expect when I'm in control and there are no surprises but do I really have control...The realistic answer is no, life is what it is and no man (or woman) is an island, especially myself. Taking the twenty two Major Arcana, I shuffle and concentrate on what I need to know about regression in my own life.

The card I drew is The Devil, who's shadow qualities are: Failure to love myself,having an issue with power (controlling or being controlled) and being too serious about life. These cards can be so uncannily accurate sometimes! Thinking about how this applies in my life right now, I can see that The Devil is trying to tell me that at this moment my issues with control are at play and offers me insight as to how I might address this in my current situation.

Change is inevitable and as much as I dislike change (understatement of the year) I must be flexible and adapt. I am forced to ask myself, "Why am I resisting this change and what made me thing that I may have any control over changes at all?"  The situation I recently moved away from was very stressful so those worn out old tapes  from childhood began to play in my head of a time when coping was not so easy to accomplish in the chaos of an alcoholic home.

I'm grown now, and there is no longer a need to feel in control... I am able to make choices for myself and I have the ability to make good, sound choices based on my understanding of life from an adult perspective. I am able to distinguish the positive changes from the kinds of changes that are unhealthy for me. It's not an easy road to walk but  taking one step at a time  is a great start and before I know it, those grey areas will become less and less grey.

Nov 18, 2009

"What Is...?" Wednesday

 Pooka (Old Irish for ghost
also spelled.. Puca, Pooka, Puka, Phouka

The Pooka is the English equivalent of the Old Gaelic word Púca and refers to the most feared and respected fairy in Celtic folklore. According to legend, the Púca can shape shift into a wide variety of forms, it may appear as a horse, rabbit, goat, dog or goblin. However, it's most common appearance is that of a dark horse with yellow eyes and it roams the countryside at night smashing down fences and gates, terrifying livestock and spoiling blackberries.  

One of the agricultural traditions that surround the Púca is at the end of harvesting, a small deformed goblin shows up in search of a small share of the crops, if he is not made happy he will wreak havoc.. so the farmers leave behind a small amount of the crop which has become known as "The Puca’s share"  in order to satisfy this ravenous goblin.In other regions, the Púca is spoken of with  more respect rather than fear, for if treated with due reverence, it may actually be beneficial to those who run into it. 

The púca is from the mountains and hills and from those areas there are stories of it appearing on "November Day" and giving prophecies and warnings to those who inquire of it. If a human is beguiled into riding on a Púca's back, it has been known to give them a wild ride... though unlike the kelpie (which will take its rider and dive into the nearest stream or lake to drown and/or devour them), the Púca will do its rider no real harm.

It is told that only one man has ever managed to ride the Púca and that was Brian Boru, the High King of Ireland. Using a special bridle containing three hairs from the Púca's tail, Brian managed to control the magic horse and stay on its back until, exhausted, it surrendered to his will.

The king extracted two promises from it... firstly, that it would no longer torment christian people and ruin their property and secondly.. that it would never again attack an Irishman (all other nationalities are exempt) except those who are drunk or abroad with an evil intent. The latter it could attack with greater ferocity than before. 

The Púca reluctantly agreed to these conditions.... however over the intervening years, the Púca seems to have forgotten its bargain and attacks on property and sober travellers on their way home continue to this day. I'm so glad I don't drink or leave the house!

* I apologize if you were looking for a six foot, invisible rabbit.

Nov 17, 2009

Tarot Tuesday

Today's card is the Three of Cups. This is an interesting card since I must have drawn it at least three other times this last week as a daily's definitely trying to get my attention. Every morning  after I get home from taking the children to school, I light a candle and some Sandalwood or Nag Champa  incense and sit quietly (hopefully sweetie is otherwise occupied) and listen to soft music. I do this because my little rubber band has a tendency to get wound way too tight and since I am an Air sign, my rational brain does not like to relinquish control to  my creative, intuitive side very often.

Which makes this card all the more relevant. In the Three of Cups we see three women, one auburn haired wearing a reddish brown robe, one fair haired wearing a golden robe and one brunette wearing a white robe, all lifting up golden cups and doing what appears to be a dance. This card can be interpreted as pleasure, fun, entertainment, parties, family reunions, weddings, baptism, birth, success, a fun lucky turn and a gathering with a group of friends.

I admit, I haven't been in the most festive of moods over the last several weeks with having every attempt to get my tea business up and going thwarted at every turn, my car breaking down and me right after it  as I had to coast onto a side road and petty squabbles stemming from run-in's with the neighborhood bully. Festive has been the last thing on my mind but the Three of Cups keeps urging me to let all of this go, all work and no play, or so they say...

I'm reminded "Not to sweat the small stuff" because taking life too seriously can surely make for a heavy burden to carry.  Most of all, I think these ladies are trying to tell me that there is true power in multiples and I should celebrate and kick up my heels with other people for a change and not try to go it alone. I need to seek out other people to celebrate my life's blessings with (seek out being a course of action for me to take.)  It is similarities which bring us together but it is the differences which make us strong.

As you ponder this card, ask yourself these questions  "What can I do to incorporate a sense of playfulness in my daily life....? Can I accept that joy is my natural state and that I do not have to earn it...?  How can I  create or develop a network of support when I interact with others...? 

Nov 16, 2009

My New Winter Witches Hat

My sweetie bought me the coolest hat today! I'm always cold and complaining about it, so sweetie  spared himself from my whining  took pity on me and brought home the warmest hat I could  possibly put on my frozen little noggin. Thank you, sweetie!