Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Ginger is my friend

Ginger (Singiber officinalis) has been a lifesaver for me this past week. To be more specific, ginger candy. The IV steroid treatments I'm going thru leave a really bad metallic taste in my mouth after the IV has been running for about 30 minutes. It really tastes like I have been sucking on dirty quarter coins. Blehh! This has generally lasted about 24 hours, or just in time for my next treatment. I have found that citrus flavored things like juice and Starburst brand jelly beans help for a few minutes, but didn't do much for my stomach. Because I've been pretty out of it in general, I asked around a bit if anyone knew what might help. I should've thought of it myself because I use ginger in my tea formulas, but it never occurred to me to use it for this.
My friend, Kate, at TeaNoir, suggested the ginger and she was so right! it really helps the taste and the nausea I've been having immediately after the treatments. I'm sure that these would also help for anyone undergoing chemo treatments.

Kate said that ginger Altoids were really effective. Well, I couldn't find those, but I did get some ginger candy by these folks, GingerPeople. I liked these because they are individually wrapped so I can pop them into my purse. Of course, you could also get some bulk crystallized ginger at your local healthy grocer.

In my Throat & Cough Soother Organic Tea, I use powdered ginger as a circulatory stimulant and expectorant. It's good for cutting chills in the body if eaten in a meal, or taken as a tea when you are sick. Ginger oil or a poultice is also good to use in topical applications for rheumatic aches and pains. When massaged into the body, it brings blood to the area and increases circulation.

I think that I will have to take another look into cooking with fresh ginger root. I'm one of those people who always buy a piece of ginger, and then it sits in the back of my veggie bin in the fridge until it shrivels into nothing.
I haven't been able to think about eating anything fishy since I started the steroids. Once I get done with these treatments, I'm thinking shrimp, ginger and snow peas! I also found a recipe for Ginger and oatmeal muffins. Yum! If you have a good recipe with ginger, I'd love to see it! Post it in the comments!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Witches' Almanac

What if you could find a book, an almanac, that contained this year's planetary aspects, climatological info and planting times, moon phases, stories and lore about the natural world, and a list of all the special days that a witch might need to be aware of? This might be a real find, right?
Well, now you can!

The Witches' Almanac has been in production since 1971. I have been buying this annually since 1998. The yearly editions span from Spring Equinox to Spring Equinox, and generally become available during the preceding Winter.
Every year there is a different focus or theme. Last year, the focus was on the element of Air. This year, it is about Water.

From the website,
"The 2007-2008 edition celebrates the element of Water. Its theme embraces the magic of Sacred Wells and Charms for Neptune’s Favors. We explore the water rites of Fiji, the tarot’s Death card, seashell charms, gypsies, freemasonry and much more. This issue also proudly boasts an interview with the late Elizabeth Pepper, founder of the Witches’ Almanac. Arcane symbols and intriguing graphic images are always a part of every issue."

I really like the astrological work in the Almanac. Each sign has an in depth look at when different planets and aspects will enter your sign, and then there are sections for each aspect of your life, including health, finance, spirituality, and love. This covers 2 full pages for each sign. There is also a handy list of the retrograde planetary motions, and what they may mean for you. For example, the next Mercury retrograde cycle is from June 16- July 10th.

Other articles in this year's Almanac include "Wine & Ritual Libation" with a recipe for Witches Sangria! There's a nice meditation on the spirals of a Nautilus, as well as the sacred geometry of a Nautilus shell. There are many other pages of interest relating to magick and lore, both fun and useful.
You can usually find the Witches' Almanac for sale at your local pagan or new Age shop, or you can order it directly from their website, listed above. This is a reference work I keep in my magickal toolbox every year. I find it helpful, and I love the beautiful & unusual graphics in every issue. I think you'll like it, too!