Saturday 30 June 2012

Sacred Pampering Ritual: Summer Series 1

Yeah baby, it's that time again. With summer coming in like a roaring lion (yeah Lions are associated with the Sun, I mean the Goddess Sekhmet almost burned the world to a crisp, her breathe created the desert).  One of the things we all love is the chance to get out, to be in the sun and have some serious fun,. the longer days mean more time to play, hang out and just relax with out friends.  One those good days we can sometimes forget to protect ourselves, or the sunscreen we have doesn't quiet cut the mustard and we end up with sunburns. (yes even blacks get sunburned) 

Sunburn can be caused by even intermittent exposure, going in and out of the home for short periods without renewing you sunscreen leaves the skin exposed. With this heat the temptation is to strip down to as little as possible while going out, which of course leaves more skin exposed, most people don't remember to do every part of their body and can end up with sunburn in the most interesting places.  I have lupus (I have talked about this a ton of times) and I am extremely sensitive to the sun, I try to limit exposure as much as possible and even have purchased clothing with sunscreen in it. Yeah you read that right. I'm going to share some of my tips and tricks to avoid harming your skin while still having fun in the sun. 
What is a sunburn??

  1. First degree sunburn is marked by extremely red skin with some swelling. On those of us with darker complexions it can be felt by the tingling and the feeling of burning, since it would be harder to notice the redness at first.
  2. Second degree sunburn has all the symptoms of 1with the addition of blisters on the epidermis (top layer of the skin). SEE A DOCTOR IMMEDIATELY
  3. Third degree sunburn is so severe that blister scars go deep into the dermis, and will remain even after the blisters "heal".  SEE A DOCTOR IMMEDIATELY
How to prevent sunburn:
  1. duh...sunscreen is your best friend, for most you have to renew every 1/2 to 1 hour after first application, if you are doing sports and sweating this may need to be increased. And if you are swimming each time you leave the water and remain on land it must be renewed. there are several kinds out there I will let you choose your favorite brand, but the higher the number the better the coverage. MAKE SURE TO DO ALL OF YOUR SKIN!! A good trick is to lift your hands, if your shirt rides up then put some on the skin exposed,  I like to do a whole bunch of bending and twisting just to make sure that if my clothing moves then even that skin is protected. Don't forget your feet!!!
  2. Head coverings and sleeves... Whhhhaaattt? In this heat?? Yes my darlings, even in this heat, when not in the water, it's best to wear a hat to help shade your face and neck as well as a light cotton (something breathable) shirt or dress to help limit the amount of skin exposed. As I said before there are companies out there that are now making clothing with sunblock built in, simply google and you can find one near you, they are a little expensive since the technology is new, but they are well worth it. 
  3. For women: make-up. yes make-up helps to give an added layer between your skin and the sun, most foundations now come with sunscreen built in, so if you do a moisturizer with sunscreen then a tinter moisturizer or light foundation you should be pretty set. FOR EVERYONE including kids: DON'T FORGET LIP BALM WITH SUNSCREEN, almost all companies make there newer lip balms with sunscreen (Burt's bees makes an awesome one), apply often especially after eating.
  4. Even though we need the sun to create vitamin D, it's best to limit the amount of time you are exposed to direct heat of the sun, during 11-3 is when the sun is at it's most powerful, it would be best to do any gardening or outdoor activities before or after these hours.
  5. Remember that water acts as a powerful magnifier and reflector, so it may not seem like it, but the water can actually help increase your chances of getting burned. Sort of how the sun reflecting off snow increases brightness, the sun reflecting off the water actually helps to magnify it;s strength. which increases your chances of being burned. Limit the amount of time you are handing out by the pool. make sure to reapply sunscreen often when near large bodies of water. (info gathered here, as well as from information from school)
How to Treat: Aloe and Cucumbers are now your best friends:
  • Apply a cooling compress made with tea tree oil or witch hazel and vinegar with aloe vera.
  • Make your own aloe vera juice. Break a leaf from the plant, squeeze the leaf until the juice runs out into your container or spray bottle. use a sterile cloth and apply to the burns; change frequently. (it feels better if you store in the fridge).
  • To treat the burning, itching and pain, use distilled cider vinegar. Use a cloth in undiluted vinegar and apply to the parts most affected. this will help prevent swelling and the formation of blisters.
  • All above remedies must avoid the eye areas especially, use chilled cucumber slices to help relieve the pain, you can also use it on the rest of the skin as it fights inflammation and will help reduce the pain.
  • To prevent peeling, use lavender water on skin that is sunburned and spray often to keep skin hydrated.
  • Apply diluted St. john's wort oil to the affected skin, or 3 drops of lavender oil in sweet almond oil (or carrier oil of choice, just not olive) and massage into affected area.
  • Homeopathic remedies: CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR FIRST: belladonna, cantharis and causticum have proven to be effective in helping with the symptoms of sunburn, should be taken in pill form.  

Make your own sunscreen:
3 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp avocado oil
1 tbsp jojoba oil
1 tbsp walnut or almond oil
1 tbsp shea butter
2 tbsp cocoa butter
1 tsp beeswax
1 tsp soya-lecithin liquid
2 tbsp aloe vera gell
2 tbsp rose or lavender water
1/2 tsp borax powder
20 drops carrot seed essential oil
fragrance oil (avoid citrus oils as they can increase chances of sunburn, so no bergamont, ornage, lemon or lime)
  1. Melt the first four unrefined oils, butters and beeswax in a double boiler (or i used a pot of boiling water and a glass bowl that sat on top comfortably). Add lecithin, stir well, remove from heat.
  2. In another sauce pan, heat the aloe vera, the rose water and stir in the borax until dissolved, Remove from heat.
  3. Allow to cool until they are warm to the touch and close to the same temp, set the second container into some ice and slowly drizzle in the oils, while beating with a whisk. A cream should quickly form.
  4. Add essential oil and fragrance (fragrance is optional) and blend well.
  5. Store in the fridge in a clean airtight jar.
Information gathered from:
My mom and grandmere's home remedies, as well as: The complete guide to natural healing cards group 10 card 8, group 7 card 4, and  group 8 card 28.

Make sure to seek a doctor's attention for blisters, and sunburn that seems severe. Protect yourself and your loved ones, and of course stay hydrated. Check back each week as I share more information on Pampering yourself this summer.
Happy Summer

Wednesday 27 June 2012

KWW: Container Gardening

Well, this eager beaver killed a few of her plants. Yep you read it right, I managed to not actually grow anything except four. The only things that lived are my garlic which I can't use until the fall. three pots of potatoes and one pot of basil.  
Because I am used to just starting the seeds in the ground, having to use pots and this seed starting kit just didn't cut it. I watered every other day and the plants had all started blooming, once the reached the stage to be moved is when the problem started.

For several of the plants (my onions, aniseed, lavender, mint and oregano) I stated them in the Burpee seed starting kit, which came with it's own 'soil'. Now normally when I'm at home with my parents I will start my seeds in an egg carton with soul taken from the woods in our backyard, I would mix that with store bought soil and my plants would come out fine. This is my first time trying the seed starting kit and it failed miserably. 
These swelled with the addition of water
The cups seen here promoted mold, these I didn't water often because they seemed to retain much of the water and so I watered every few days, the seeds seemed to enjoy germinating there and then suddenly there would be little patches of white mild on them and the soil.

This green house kit worked the same way. The seedlings did fine at first but when you had to open it up to let the seeds grow some more they formed the white residue on top. I thought at first perhaps I wasn't giving them enough sunlight but the package said the first week or two no direct sunlight so I did as it said.  

My plants failed and now I have to start all over again, At least i seem to not be the only one this is happening to, a few of the local farms i have been to are behind on their growth due to the late frost we had and the weird up and down weather we had right up until Solstice.  I dumped all the pots and washed them, I tossed the pots that had mold in them and I went and repurchased all my seeds. I also skipped that step for a few of them and got small plants from the local farms and market near me.

I will be going home to get bags of soil from the woods, as well as some of my parents compost, let me tell you I have a composting nightmare to share with you next week.  This is the first time in a long time where I have killed my plants and let me tell you as a green witch it's very disheartening. I have killed this many plants since i first started learning to plant when I was a tween. I am starting over, and I am going to use what I know and not try this 'fancy' stuff, I'm sure for some this burpee stuff would work fine but I found that for me it didn't. I'm counting it as a lesson learned and going back to basics/

How is everyone else doing on their plants??
Be blessed

Tuesday 26 June 2012

Book Review: Salvation In Death

Book Title: Salvation in Death
Author: JD Robb
Publisher: Putnam
Pages: 353
Cost: $26.95
How I got it: Borrowed from the Library
My Rating: ★★★☆☆
When Detective Lieutenant Eve Dallas confirms that the consecrated wine contained potassium cyanide, she’s determined to solve the murder of Father Miguel Flores, despite her discomfort with her surroundings. It’s not the bodegas and pawnshops of East Harlem that bother her, though the neighborhood is a long way from the stone mansion she shares with her billionaire husband, Roarke. It’s all that holiness flying around at St. Christobal’s that makes her uneasy.

My Review:
This time the murder revolved around a priest or a man who was so good at the con he played the Catholic Priest for years. I'm not sure how I feel about this five years and no one noticed that this man wasn't who he said he was?? How did he argue theology, give counsel, without anyone noticing he had no sodding clue what he was talking about?? He must be one hell of a con.  Only someone else was a better con than he was and he was killed.  This time I couldn't feel sorry for the victim like I do in the other books(sometimes), many times throughout Eve or Roarke flashback or talk about past victims, meet past victims and I have no earthly idea who the hell they are because I tend to forget you unless you are part of the core group (sad but true, otherwise there would be no room in the noggin for pertinent day to day information)

I liked that until she laid it out for me I was kept guessing on who the killers were; one of whom I would have never thought to look at. And the way the victim was killed?? Just too inventive by half.  This was a good story that for me had a few too many drawbacks, which is why i gave it three stars, I will explain the drawbacks below:

Now onto several things I noticed about Eve in this book that just about pissed me off, enough that i even threw the book across the room:

  1. page 85, I noted on Goodreads while reading that Eve is a bitch. No one for any reason ever deserves to be abused, and considering Eve was once a victim herself you would think she has some sympathy for those who didn't murder their abusers. Eve is supposed to be complicated but in this case throughout most of the book I came borderline close to hating her, I mean really hating her especially after reading this scene.  
  2. Eve seems to hate women everything that screams feminine she calls stupid.
  3. She's a freaking hypocrite, she's a cop, her husband is a thief & a confessed murderer (okay he had a valid reason but still), and he is still breaking the law especially for her a lot of the time and her best friend was a con woman; and yet she has the nerve to give people the beady eye.
  4. She looks down on cops who don't just do the job and those who became more than desk jockeys. She hates others who play the political game.
  5. She's a bully who makes fun of everyone else's job yet her is so important. She is in a word a bitch and not in a good way. I need her to  grow already, take your ass to her Mira and work it out and stop letting that shyt be her fall back excuse for everything. 
It bothers me that Eve doesn't give quarter to other victims yet constantly uses it to excuse her behaviour. When others contradict what she has decided in her head like when Peabody tried to defend the woman on page 85, Eve shut her down pretty nastily. I need her friends to call bullshyt on some of these things, I need Roarke to rip her a new one. I need to hurry up and catch up and discover what happened to this Eve and the Eve I read in celebrity in Death, 'cause I'm dying to know what brought on the change, I mean clearly it wasn't in this story. It's harsh job but someones got to do it.

Happy Reading

Monday 25 June 2012

What do I believe?

I visited a blog recently that stated what the writer believed in (it's a christian blog, so I'm not sure if I should link or not) and this got me to thinking; as humans we use labels to describe what or who we are; each label carries with it the perceived or preconceived notions about who and what we believe. Clearly I have stated several times that I am pagan, but what does that truly mean to me??

Being pagan clearly means anyone not of the Abrahamic traditions. But what else does it mean? Each time we tell someone we are pagan what are we conveying. or hoping is been shared?? When someone says they are christian we know it means they believe in Jesus, and follow the bible (however loosely they may do so), but what am I sharing when I say I am pagan??

This got me thinking what do I believe and what don't I believe?  Here are a list of things that are concrete beliefs for me:

  • I know that I believe in the duality of Divinity, which is the Goddess and the God. I know the Gods are real, just as I know I am real. I know magic exists, I have been blessed way too may times within my life not to know the existence of the magic that weaves us all together.
  • I believe in Gaia, that the planet is alive and consciously aware of us. That we are all interconnected and that what happens to 'one' happens to 'all'.
  • I believe in the sanctity of life; & that we are all have a right to be happy, healthy and loved. I do not however thing that it means becoming a victim; you have the right to protect yourself and your family, up to and including harming others whose intent it is to harm you. But only when all else has failed. 
  • I believe in a woman's right to choose.
  • I believe in the Fae, and all the other beings that are present within their world.
  • I love to read the tarot but I believe they are simply tools to help you open up to the unconscious mind, I'm still not convinced that they can predict the future.
  • I believe that I am a witch and a follower of the an eclectic path that includes many teachings from my ancestry as well as draws from what i have been exposed to within my life
  • I believe that sex is sacred and powerful and that even though it should be practiced freely it isn't something to just do with anyone, it should be shared with those who understand the gift they are being given.
  • I believe int he sanctity of the human body. That is a temple and should be treated as such, taken care of, decorated as you see fit since it's the home of the Goddess.
  • I believe in the sanctity of marriage, and that it should be available to all those who would seek it. It should be open to consenting adults regardless of race and orientation.  
  • I believe that magic is real, and tangible.
  • I believe in the existence of demons (i have had way too many altercations not to)
  • I believe in ghosts and spirits (my family is filled with mediums)
  • I believe in mediums and psychics
  • I believe that color and crystal therapy works ( we even learnt about it in nursing school so I know there are scientific reasoning as well behind it)
  • I believe in the power of herbs 
  • I believe that when all else fails, a hex is a good thing to have as a back up.
  • I believe in reincarnation, 
  • I believe in soul mates. I believe that there can be several soul mates created from each person, and if you meet them you will know, but if you never meet then they can still be happy with one of their other potentials.
  • I believe it is possible to love more than one person at a time.
  • I believe that Jesus did exist. And that like most of the prophets in other traditions was sent by the Divine to be a guiding light to his people. Each generation gets one, one who stands out more than others who leads them towards greater consciousness and seeks for them a better world. I believe that each tribe also gets one. Many of the great names can be called prophet for that generation. Some examples would be Krishna, Buddha, Gandhi, Dr. King, & Mohammed (peace be upon him).  Even though i do believe these prophets have all existed I don't believe that thier beliefs are the only valid ways to Divinity.

What I don't believe:
  • I personally don't believe in animal sacrifice, I however know that the magic that comes from hat is generally stronger than magic that doesn't use this
  • I don't subscribe to the belief of light/dark magic, magic and energy can be manipulated but like all things that exist it doesn't exist in one phase only.
  • I don't believe in reiki ) I know for some it works and for other it doesn't it's not tangible for me ( yes i see the irony) and i don't believe in it. 
  • I don't believe in the existence of blood sucking vampire *until they do come out* I'm going to have to go with no they don't exist.
  • I don't believe in or worship Satan, as he is a Christian (actually a Abrahamic figure) he doesn't have a role in my beliefs.
  • I don't believe in 'otherkin' you are more than welcome to that belief but I don't and won't until there is other proof *scientific*, i'm just going to go ahead and say "Nope, don't believe in that either".
  • I don't believe in the myth of the "Burning Times". I know the Inquisition took place, and that despite the name almost none of the people who were actually killed, have any actual ties to witchcraft. Many were labeled as witches because they didn't follow the rules of society, they turned down the wrong man, or made enemies with the wrong people. There was money to be made from labeling someone a witch, both for the church and the person making the accusation.  Many women were killed, midwives were killed so that doctors could take over their roles in the society, people who were diseased were accused, but there is no concrete proof that any of the people accused were ever actually witches. I need y'all to stop spreading this myth, Just. Stop. It. 
These are the highlights of what I believe and don't believe, these are by no means the only things I believe, but when I think of being a witch I hope that these are the some of the things people are thinking about when they hear the label. Why not share in the comment section some of your own beliefs??

Sunday 24 June 2012

In My Mailbox (15):

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi over at the Story Siren. It's a chance to showcase the books you have made their way into your home through the post, through email, from the library, as gifts, or purchased during the week. You get a chance to show off the books that you may not get a chance to review or read, but want your bloggie friends to see. 

From Paperbackswap I received:

At last by Lisa Riley
Caroline Singleton is a talented, successful African-American artist who was raised in the lap of luxury in her affluent Chicago neighborhood. On her way to a promising second interview with an integrated marketing firm, she bumps into a man who takes her breath away, both literally and figuratively.
Brian Keenan is an Irish-American former cop from a middle-class background who is shocked by the immediate strong feelings Caroline invokes in him when they first meet. Unbeknownst to either of them, she is interviewing with his firm, a firm in which he is a senior partner.
I have been stalking this book for years, I have wanted to get it but soemthing else always came up now I have it and I'm going to dive right in I can't wait!

For the Kindle I received:
Helpful Herbs for Health and Beauty by Barbara Griggs, click on the link it's still a freebie if your interested.
Joyful Momma's Guide to shopping and cooking frugally
Have you noticed the cost of groceries absolutely skyrocketing?
As the cost of feeding our families well on a tight budget continues to climb ever higher, we need to reevaluate how we spend the money in our grocery budget. That’s where Joyful Momma’s Guide to Shopping & Cooking Frugally comes in.
If you’re like me, you’ve been frustrated by the rising prices of groceries, while the family income either remains the same or goes down. It seems like everyone is looking for ways to cut back on their grocery bill.Let me help you learn how to save big money at the grocery store with some simple and easy-to-implement tips!
I got it as a freebie, but you can now get it for 1.99, but if you are a prime member it's free. The concept sounded good and it's free, you just can't beat that.
The Religion of the Ancient Celts. This is another kindle freebie that's still in effect. I got this one due to Mrs.B's recommendation. 

That's my haul for the week, what'd you get?? Share in the comments and I will swing by your posts. Happy Reading this week

Saturday 16 June 2012


For a writer they are premium, they convey what we wish to share with the world, they carry emotion, evoke thoughts and share wondrous sights. But what happens when the words no longer flow?? When the idea is there but the way to share them isn't? Where does one go when the words have abandoned them?? For weeks I have sat wishing to write to share to convey my newest adventures, yet the words would not come. I have begun to hate words, words written in a way that make women less, words written by those who don't know or understand what it means to black in America, words that share unfair thoughts and ideas about immigrants and what they are in this country.  Words written on pages that share stories that are both amazing and disgusting. Words which have begun to betray me. I have begun to fear words, the written word that demands that I read it before it's due back to the library, words written on torn out leaves, on trees that no longer stand noble in the forest, but rest on shelves, words that have accumulated and have become accusatory in their own noble way.  Words that have changed my life and words that have no effect. I am suffering from a burn out of words. I once loved reading now I look at the books and wonder...

I have for weeks have not had the words to convey what I am feeling, this sense of loss, or ennui, or disinterest. This steady wearing down of the happy soul. A feeling of failure of loss and unspoken truths.  I have jumped through many hoops to keep this blog hidden from many family and friends so that my words can flow free, unhindered by the knowledge of those whose judgement would stem the tide of flowing words. And yet, without them being here they have taken even this haven. I now understand why those who are gay and in the closet feel the need to come out to family and friends. It's necessary, the closet's air is stale and constricting, it stems the free flow of ideas, of thoughts or dreams. coming out and being true to who you are completely gives you freedom, it may also give you a world without several of the people you once considered necessary but then you learn to live and be happy.

Writing for me has always been a haven, a place to get all my thoughts out and in order, to share my opinion and allow those who needed to know to understand better than I could say it in conversation. I feel stifled without my words, without a way to share. Am accidental hiatus has become a dreaded thing, a fear of coming back to discover all my readers have left. A fear that my words will no longer have a meaning and purpose. I feel cast adrift and alone.

I am lost, drowning a sea of despair and fear, being pulled in many directions, going back to things that I had once thought behind me. I am angry, oh yes I am angry, i am angry because I have to hid in fear that I may not be loved for who I am, I am angry with the world for hating my skin, i am angry because of dreams differed, permanently placed out of reach, of ideas lost, loves forgotten, I am angry with patients who destroy the great gift of health they have been given with drugs and alcohol while those who would love the chance at good health struggle to say alive, I am angry at the Goddess for not answering my cries and pleas for the young children who are brought into the ER with wounds that little girls should never have, for the broken bodies and spirits of women who said no and their men heard yes. I am angry at the politicans who use my rights to gain votes while negating who I am as a woman. I am angry at the young Americans who throw away with both hands golden opportunities that those from other countries would love to have. I am angry at the people who walk past those on the streets who need the help. I am angry that i keep self destructing despite knowing how to do better. I am angry. so angry.

Gods I am just drowning in this anger, but it's not the anger that goads or incites passion, it's the anger that comes before bitterness and belittle the soul, it blots out the shining light and draws you further away into despair.

So I take my time and stay away, I allow my spirit to rest, to find it's way back to let the light back into the deep dark hole I have sunk into. And I push, seeking to get back to the place that I once stood. And i am back here, writing and hopefully sharing in a way that let's this burden become eased just a little bit more.  This isn't depression, it's weariness, it's realizing that which once came easy is no longer so, ad things have changed and I am now required to search further afield for what aides in my happiness, because words written on pages, that shared fantastic stories and created new world seem to have lost their appeal. Wgat do you do when words have betrayed you??

Ever yours