Friday, January 12, 2007

Red Clover for Magick & Medicine

Red clover (Trifolium pratense) is one of my most favorite herbs! The part you would use are the flowering tops. The beautiful purple blossoms make a very healthy and delicious cup of tea.
It is known as an alterative herb. Alteratives help to gradually restore health and proper function to the body's systems. They aren't a quick fix, but help other herbs to work better in the body.
Red clover acts to purify the blood and is helpful for many chronic conditions. It is specific in rheumatoid arthritis formulas and acts as a mild nervine to relax you. It is also wonderful to strengthen your hair and nails, being specific for childhood eczema. It is gentle enough to drink every day as part of a vitamin and mineral blend (I've included it in my Daily Support Tea).
Red Clover will grow almost everywhere in North America, and in Europe. I can't find published accounts of it being used as a healing herb in very arid areas. This herb, like most "weeds" grows readily near where people have disturbed the earth. If you want to harvest the blossoms, make sure that the plants are growing in areas that haven't been sprayed with chemicals and aren't by roadways. Cut the flowers off when fully opened, and dry on paper in a warm, shady area. Then store away from light or heat once dry.
Brew one tablespoon of flowers , lightly crushed, per cup, covered for 10-20 minutes, depending on taste.

Magickally, Red Clover has some very useful properties. Scott Cunningham writes in his Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs:
"Gender: Masculine, Planet: Mercury, Element: Air, Deity: Rowen,
Powers: Protection, Money, Love, Fidelity, Exorcism, Success. "
Of course, the four-leaved clover is well known to bring luck. Red clover can aid in prosperity particular to specific deals you may be working on. It also can help with cleansing negative energy from a space, particularly from past Spirits. I like to have clover growing near my front
door. It helps to clear the energies approaching my house. (that's another whole subject).
Clover is said to ease a broken heart, as well.
These are just a few of the wonderful properties of Red Clover!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Memories of a Warmer Place

I know that it's really not THAT cold out, for a January day. that said, I just can't seem to get my feet warm today. That got me thinking about some of the warmer places I've visited in the last few years (forget that I used to live in Arizona!). Here's some photos from a wonderful trip to Spain that my Mom and I went to last year at the end of April. What places do you have warm memories of?
These photos are from Barcelona, Seville and a couple of places in between. The one of me in a cafe in Seville is probably one of the most relaxing moments of my life! There was also flamenco in the streets during a festival, and flowers everywhere! It was mostly a balmy & beautiful 75 degrees during the whole trip! I just love Spain!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

A Recipe For Warmth

Finally! We got a dusting of snow last night! It didn't amount to much, but at least the outdoors looks slightly more normal today, considering it's January.
Yesterday, I told you about the benefits of Cayenne. Today I thought that I would share one of my favorite wintertime warming recipes. This dish is full of great bacterial-fighting properties, is naturally immune-boosting, warming to the body, and increases blood flow to the extremities. It will also help clean out your bowels, so beware! Perfect to make if you feel a cold coming on, but good just on it's own tasty merits! Keep in mind that I don't usually measure most ingredients, and luckily with this dish, it really doesn't matter. Just make it the way you like it and you can't go wrong. I like this really spicy!

Curried Onions, Mushrooms and Spinach
Ingredients: add or delete items depending on your taste, but onions and curry are key!
  • Olive Oil

  • Yellow Onions- sliced into rings as thick as you like, one onion per person

  • Shitake Mushrooms preferably (or portobello, or any other kind)- sliced

  • Fresh garlic cloves- lots of them, chopped

  • Spinach- fresh is better, but one box of frozen will work for 2 people

  • Curry powder- I use at least one tablespoon per person, usually alot more

  • Soy Sauce or Tamari- Low sodium, use a few splashes in the whole dish

  • Optional spices- Five Spice Powder, Cumin, Cayenne, Garam Masala

Heat oil in a large saucepan on Medium heat, add onions and garlic, cooking covered for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove lid, add Soy sauce, Curry and spices, Mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes (uncovered), or until onions are translucent and soft, and mushrooms are cooked thru. Add Spinach and cook until wilted (if using fresh), just a couple of minutes. Serve over brown rice, or toss on top of a chicken breast or meatless patty. I just eat it out of bowl, by itself.
It's so easy and delicious! Try it and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Get Hot Under the Collar!

It's good for you! I'm not talking about getting mad, either! I'm talking about the winter's warmer herb, Capsicum frutescens~ Cayenne!
Now, this is the good stuff you can use to help warm you up if it's cold where you live.

The fruit of the Cayenne plant, the chili pepper, is useful in so many ways! You may think of it just an added flavoring to your dish while cooking, but this herb is actually good for your body.
Originating in India and imported into the West in 1548, it really didn't become popular with the medical community until the 19th century. Now we know that this is one potent health ally.
It's a stimulant for your whole body by increasing blood flow. It's really good to help combat colds and chills, or to bring warmth to the extremities. You can use the infused oil on unbroken skin to help circulation to a particular area.
You might not think so, but Cayenne can also help to relieve indigestion! If you have a problem with spicy foods in general, then this isn't for you, but just a few drops of a cayenne infusion (tea) can help to stimulate the digestive function and bring relief. It's also used in ointments for achy areas and is sold everywhere, included in over the counter preparations for sore muscles.

I use Cayenne in capsules I make to treat colds. Cayenne, in that it increase blood flow in the body, helps other herbs in a formula to work better. It also has antibacterial properties. It's good to put a few drops in a gargle solution to relieve throat problems. To do this , you would make a tea of it first then use about 10 drops of it in warm water.
So that's a bit about one of my favorite herbs from the kitchen. The next time you're making a hot dish, toss in a fresh chopped cayenne pepper (always remove the seeds first!) to help your body. You can use the dried powder, too! How about some chili tonight?

Monday, January 8, 2007

The Power's Out ~ Now What?

Well, the electrical power went out this morning just as I was headed into the shower. Luckily, I hadn't gotten in yet. I called our power company and they said the repairs should take about 2 hours. Now, I had planned to get showered and tackle a bunch of stuff on my to-do list. Since all of those involved using electric, I needed a new plan. That got me thinking about what we can do to slow down, take a breath, and get away from the Mile-A-Minute technical world we live in, even if just for a little while.

Maybe some of you might use the time to meditate? Not me, as I'm a most fidgety meditator! I love guided imagery techniques, but left to my own devices, I'm not successful in my attempts.
Since it's a really rainy and dark day outside, there's not enough light to read by inside. I played with my cats awhile, and then sat down to write a bit in a notepad. When was the last time you wrote anything on a notepad, not a keyboard? It' s been awhile, I bet, unless you journal often.
I ended up thinking about being in the dark and then the Moon, as she is in a waning phase now.
When the moon is in her dark (or new) phase it's a great time to start a new project, or maybe do a spell for a positive change you would like to see. It's a great time to do candle magick, as you are illuminating the dark with your spell. I think that the shining light will gather more light as it grows, and the process of building that light will make the spell more powerful.
What does the dark of the moon inspire in you?

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Cosmic Debris

Do you look up in the night sky and wonder if that pattern of stars you seem to see is a particular constellation? Well, here's a site that will help you find out! This is from the Hubble Telescope Official Site, managed by Nasa. There's so much fun info to look at here, including the Hubble photo of the day, among other things.
I found a flash presentation about the monthly night sky and thought you might like to see it:
Turn up your speakers, as there is an audio explanation of what you are seeing.

When I moved out to my current home from living in town, the night sky became part of my nightly routine again. When I was a little girl, my Dad taught me all about the constellations. I used to be able to sort them out, but I'm afraid that I don't remember what I'm looking at anymore. I'm hoping to re-learn some of it. We seem to see shooting stars out here much more often than when I lived in Greenfield. We don't have the street lights here to dim the view.
Tonight is supposed to cloud up and the weather turn bad. We won't be able to see the sky, but I'm going to take a look at that website and find out what I would be able to see if it was clear.

Can you see the stars at night where you live?
Have a great day,