Saturday, January 27, 2007

Tuning In With Incense

I spent the better part of yesterday afternoon blending up a new loose herbal incense blend. This blend is a formula that I have been making for years, and have decided to make it available for purchase. It's called "Honor the Ancestors", and is suited for rituals involving ancestor work and past-life regression. I blend loose organic herbal incense to use for ritual and magickal work. These incenses need to be burned on charcoal. I always have a charcoal burner ready to go on my altar, filled with sand and I keep a roll of charcoal disks in my altar drawer.

I love to use incense, and burn some every time I prepare to do magickal work. Whenever I craft a new blend or make a new batch of tea in my workshop, I burn incense. I also like to burn scented incense sticks and cones just because they smell nice and they are easy to use! I have certain scents that I use for particular reasons. Some of my favorites include Amber (working around my altar), green tea(anytime at all), jasmine or other floral(doing herbal research) and Pinon Pine/cedar(to freshen my space and energize me). Of course, I don't limit myself to just these scents, but I seem to have developed my favorites. I have a drawer filled with incense, and I'm not ashamed to say that I'm always on the lookout for new scents. My newest favorite is called "Pagan's Brew", made by my friends at Scarborough Cottage.

Scent is a great way to orient yourself to a particular task. Incense makes that easy to do. It's a common practice to use incense before meditation. If you light the same scent of incense every time before you start, you will begin to find that you will achieve a meditative, contemplative head space faster than without it. We tend associate certain scents with certain things. You can train your brain to associate a scent with a particular activity, such as meditation. Wouldn't it be nice to get into that space more quickly so that you can get more out of the limited time you have?

Hmmm, I think I should find a scent to help me when preparing to write in my blog! What are some of your favorite scents?

Friday, January 26, 2007

You Gotta Love It....

...or NOT! Living in New England during the Winter has it's challenges. Living in New England, in a 35 yr. old mobile home, has even more challenges! Just how much fun can two people have? Well, let me tell you.
Here's the scenario for you: Tim gets up and goes to the kitchen for coffee at 6:30am. Checking the outdoor thermometer, he sees it reads 0 (yes, that's zero) degrees. Then, turning on the hot water to heat up his coffee mug,...nothing happened! And in New England, in January, that only means one thing ~ frozen pipes! So begins the standard drill: turn on all faucets to drip, toss in a load of laundry (warm/warm cycle), and get out space heaters. We narrowed down the frozen section to be someplace between the washer and the kitchen. The bathroom seems fine, which is good because that's what froze up last Winter. Tim cleared out under the sink, and put our smallest space heater under there. We had never noticed that there's quite a hole in the floor under there around where the pipes go under the house. There had been stuff stored under there and had covered it up. Well, Tim got under the cabinet (no small feat!)and found that there's no insulation around the pipes under the floor. Wonderful- it's just the way of things with this trailer. Anyway, once the dryer got turned on, the pipe finally unfroze and we have hot water in the kitchen. In the winter, we vent the dryer under the trailer to help with heating.

As I write this, Tim is under the trailer trying to get to the kitchen pipes to see how much pipe insulation to buy. There have been additions built on over the years that are making it very difficult.

We bought this place in Aug.'05. We bought it for the view of the lake. We have a dock and a backyard fire pit, and we love it here. It was also the cheapest house in Franklin county at the time. There were some very good reasons for that. Someday, we will build a nice house here. However, in the last year and a half, we have spent allot of time and money insulating everything. You would think that after 30+ years, the previous owners would have gotten that done, but Nooooooo... We thought that we had insulated all the pipes, but apparently we missed one. So, live and learn!

In the grand scheme of things, I know that Tim and I are very lucky. We have a safe, warm, place to live. It just happens to be a run-down trailer right now, complete with single-pane crank out windows, and there's not a lot on it that wasn't trashed when we bought it. The additions that were done of a living room make it livable, in terms of having enough space. Although, when they built it, they never installed any heating system in it. Go figure? Fortunately, there's only the two of us. There's also a lot more living space since I moved my herbal workshop to another place. We have reclaimed the office/hallway area for our own.

Well, I need to go make more coffee. Tim is still working under the trailer. It's warmed up to a balmy 2 degrees out there! I also need to do another load of laundry to keep the dryer going, so that we continue to have running water.

I love New England! What are some of the challenges where you live?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

How do you know?

Posting in this blog has led to some unforseen consequences. Because I really want to make this blog informative, as well as fun to read, I have been revisiting much of my reference library.
I have been on the the Internet checking facts and things, as well. I love this part of writing this blog! I do love to teach and this gives me the opportunity to do so, even if it's "virtually".What has happened due to all of this activity has been quite interesting!

Summer Sea Herbs has been very busy all week. Not just with orders, but with communication among customers and other Etsy sellers, too. I have been taking time to learn some new business techniques, and do some other things to move my business forward.

Since things seem to be going well, and Abundance is becoming apparent, that leads to my question:
How do you know when you're doing the "right" work?

Every time that I have tried to walk away from my path as an herbalist, the Universe directs me back, in NO uncertain terms! However, when I have been "walking my walk, and talking my talk", I am rewarded with abundance in all areas of my life. So, that's how I know I'm doing the right thing, for me.

How do YOU know that you're doing what you're "supposed" to be doing? What signs does the Universe give you?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Books about Working with Crystals & Stones

Since yesterday, I have had my head in my reference books about the metaphysical properties of crystals and stones. I thought that I would share with you some of the books that I use regularly. This is by no means a complete list for you, but I like these particular books and thought you might want to check them out!

  • Love is in the Earth by Melody. Actually, any book by Melody is worth having in your collection. This book is considered the bible on the metaphysics of stones. There are two supplements to this volume that are also available. Her other book, The Laying on of Stones is also indispensable.
  • Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Crystal, Gem & Metal Magic by Scott Cunningham. This is my favorite book on the subject! At 250 pages, there's so much information. There are chapters on cleansing stones, and using them for divination, spellwork, and healing. There are six tables, including ones about planetary and elemental correspondences, as well as a handy substitution chart. This is not a technical book and doesn't have information about every type of stone, or how individual stones are structured. It does, however, cover over 100 stones and metals.
  • The Book of Stones & Metals by Maya Heath. This is an interesting volume that covers most aspects of the metaphysics of working with stones and metals. It's very in-depth, and a good read if you have some practical experience already. There are very interesting chapters on making talismans, jewelry and other objects. there is some very good information on the individual stones and the families of stones, broken down by colors. I turn to this book often, but have adapted some of her information to align with my own beliefs more comfortably.
  • Sacred Stones of the Goddess by Galen Gillotte. This book was a most pleasant surprise! I first saw this when I working in a pagan shop a few years ago. it had just come out and we ordered it to see what it was like. I was prepared to not be impressed. Well, I ate my words! Published in 2003, this has 35 Goddess-based spells, as well as chapters on preparation, meditation, Elemental work, invocations and working with beads. Each spell is like it's own little chapter. For each one, there are paragraphs that list the materials, the purpose, which goddess, the stone, an affirmation and meditation, a spell, the timing, the incense, candles, and some of the practical steps. The rituals are really nice and complete! I think that you will get something out of this book, no matter if you are just starting on the path, or if you are a seasoned practitioner.

These are a few books from my collection that I think will make a nice addition to any library. Do you have a favorite book on the subject?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

It's Time to Add a Little Something Extra!

While I love to make my teas and herbal products, I'm always looking to offer my customers new items that are related to healing the body, mind and spirit. With this in mind, I have decided to offer stones, crystals and metals thru my Etsy shop, Summer Sea Herbs!
I have a couple of local sources of stones in New England, where I can go to pick them out myself. This way, I can find the ones that seem to have the best vibrations, color, and quality.
I spend hours choosing these crystals, working my thru many boxes of material to find just the right ones for you! In fact, the picture of me was taken this past weekend while hunting for crystals!

Some of these stones are dug right here in New England, and I also try to buy from stock that is found in the U.S. I used to go dig for quartz crystals myself when I lived in Vermont years ago. The places I used to go have since been closed off to the public, but I still have some beautiful crystals that I treasure. Some of the crystals that I will be offering soon include Labradorite, Pyrite,Herkimer Diamonds, Quartz in it's many forms, Kyanite and others. I also have Lepidolite, which can be hard to find for sale. I have been busy photographing the crystals and doing some research about each type of stone. I know quite a bit about working with crystals, but I want to refresh my memory. we also built a light box today to help with the photographs. What do you think of the results?

It will take me a while to get all the crystals listed in my shop, so check back often to see what's new!