Thursday, May 31, 2012

Self Sufficiency-Makin' Medzin Salves

I grew up on a small farm. Chickens, turkeys, rabbits, a horse, 3 goats for milk, cheese, and to clear our land, along with multiple cats and dogs and numerous other small pets. We grew or made a lot of our own food and also made things like soap (from rancid butter leftover from commodities-this was part of the hand outs given by the Seventh Day Adventist church a town over along with canned meat, applesauce, cheese, and peanut butter) salves, and tinctures. We made our own medicine as there was no money, or much respect, for Western medicine.

This wasn't that long ago, as I am 30 years old. People DO STILL live like this all over the country. Part of my child hood was spent in a one room, dirt floor house with no indoor plumbing. When you think you got it hard, you best think again. I remember my mother scrubbing my clothes on a washboard bloody her hands were. BUT this life and our beliefs taught me to be self sufficient-something we are losing rapidly as a people. It was important and necessary to learn to live WITH the land and spirits. It was a way to ensure good health without paying much money and without travel. It was a way to survive and build confidence. It was a way to connect, nourish, and renew as a whole.

EVERY person should know their directions (N, E, S, W) how to grow at least a few types of food, and how to make a basic tincture and salve. EVERY person should know how to care for themselves and their own family without relying solely on others. You will be shocked how much this feeds the soul and nourishes the spirit. We are detached from our land but we can choose to learn things that will attach us again to Her. It takes very little time and effort.

Salves are an easy medzin to make and can be use for numerous ailments depending on what herbs and essential oils you add. Everything from clear skin, bug bites, arthritis, bruises, sprains, headaches, cuts, dry skin, I could go on.

So here is a basic salve recipe for you to try so y'all can start makin' one of your own medzins:)

You'll need;
large jar
Roughly 2 cups of mixed herbs
Roughly 4 cups of fine base oil
fine colander/strainer
pyrex measuring cup
containers for salve
essential oil (optional)
cookie sheet

First you need a large jar- a large Ball canning jar is good. Fill it half way with herbs you have researched that fit your condition and make sure they are skin safe. Some herbs can not be applied to broken skin-you would not use these in a salve for cuts. Use common sense.

Next, choose a nice base oil. Safflower, Sunflower, Grapeseed, Olive, and Almond are all available at a good size grocer. A large bottle will cost no more than $10.

Add the oil to the jar and macerate the herbs by gently shaking the jar or bruising them with a spoon. Let this sit in a sunny window for at least 2 weeks.

After this, use a fine colander to strain the oil into a pyrex measuring cup. Next get a small, clean pot and put it on low on the stove. Keep the temperature low as these oils are delicate and will burn. Add the oil to the pot and warm, next add your beeswax. This is what turns your oil into a salve consistency. I use about 1/4 of beeswax to how much oil I have. Some folks use up to a half and half ratio-it depends how hard you want your salve. An easy test is once the beeswax is melted completely, dip a butter knife in the pot and drop a drip on the counter-it will set up quickly and this dot will be an example of the consistency of your salve. At this time, you may also add any other natural additives such as shea butter or cocoa butter.

Beeswax can be the trickiest ingredient to locate. I get mine from local beekeepers and if you do some research, you can do the same. If not, most craft stores will carry it though it can be found much cheaper on -line in bulk.

Turn off the heat and remove-let cool for a while. If you pour it into plastic jars too soon it will literally melt the jars! Use tins if you are concerned. Set your containers of choice on a cookie sheet to allow for ease when moving and also to contain any spills. Pour the oil back into the pyrex cup-over the sink in case you spill. Then pour this into your containers. If you spill, wait for it to harden, peal it up and put it back into the pyrex and it will re-melt; waste not, want not! Once poured, wait until the salve starts to "set" it will begin to harden on the bottom-this is when you add your essential oils. If you add them when the liquid is too hot they will evaporate immediately out of the salve. If you wait too long you will have skin on the top of your salve and the oils will not spread evenly throughout the salve.

Cap and move tray to the fridge or allow to cool on the counter. I prefer to move mine to the fridge so they do not get bumped.

On average this makes about ten, 2 ounce containers for me, but it depends on what herbs are in the mix as different herbs will absorb more or less of the oil; petals absorb a lot, roots absorb little.

Hope you try it out!


Monday, May 28, 2012

a little picture post...

Some of  the beauties around here that I just love. The joy found in the beauty of nature, which surrounds us, never goes away unless we stop seeing it. So slow down and take the time to look! Connect with this world of which you are part of it's great web! If we can be grateful for the small and simple, we always have a light when life becomes overwhelming and complex.

 Lady's Slipper-native orchid

 Dixie John roots
 Two-flower Cynthia
 Melissa and Violets
 Wild grape vine
 Jack in the Pulpit
 Skunk Cabbage

A blog to check out...

Michael has a lovely blog and he was so kind as to feature some of my items and shop here. Stop on by!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Each Day We are Born Again

I've gotten a few requests to go over a typical day for me...which really isn't all...but I realize it may be interesting to folks that are new to this or those who have not yet committed to practicing daily. Or perhaps those who aren't able to be open about it yet.

As many of you know, I have a 3 and a 4 year old. They go to school part of the week so much of my days are broken up with 6 strips back and forth to the school. My son only goes for a half a day so I have to pick him up then go back for my daughter.

And so it begins...

CLEANING! Cleaning is a huge part of any hoodoos house and daily ritual. Cleanliness, in my book, is next to Godliness. So, when I return home from taking the kids to school and running errands this puts the time about 10am. I put in a load of wash with Florida Water, clean up breakfast, make beads splashed with Florida Water, wash my dishes, clean all surfaces, and sweep the floor in my kitchen. I begin in a clockwise manner (to draw in, not push out what we have) with a lovely hand made broom. I then carry this on from the front door to the back, as to sweep luck in and I recite prayers and affirmations of what I am drawing in and what I am warding off. I then throw the dirt off of my property (not onto another's) or flush it down the toilet, as to get rid of any ill fortune that was in our home.

If I have a bit of extra time, I throw down a combination of ground High John, Little John, tobacco and sage to cleanse and protect. Then I sweep...again.

My candles are then lit and altars blessed with Florida Water and liquor. There is always one candle to Oya as I am one of her daughters (although alternated with Oshun when needed as they can not be fed together), one for steady work for my husband and I, any candles for any particular deity being petitioned at that time, and one for the welfare of my clients. This one is typically a Three Fates or Anima Sola candle. Each candle is dressed with an appropriate oil and I use a combination of oils to anoint myself with-mostly my hands as these are what I work with.

I then choose an incense for the day. This may correlate to something I am working on for a client, something a neighbor needs worked on, or a general blessing for my community and clients if nothing dire is present at the time. I also ask that those who I am meant to serve find me and to give me the strength to serve them to the best of my ability. This may be resin or hand-dipped sticks-either way, the incense is set outside to be carried throughout the neighborhood. It is believed that whoever smells or sees it will be blessed.

An offering of foodstuffs is then prepared-this typically consists of an orange (citrus for the dead), fresh baked bread, and other fruit, fresh water, a liquor, and maybe honey. This is also set outside with a prayer of gratitude.

NOW I can begin work! By now it is 11am and I have an hour to work before I pick up my son. So I get as much done as I can. Typically this hour is spent answering e-mails. I do this for another 2-3 hours at night-minimum. When I return home at 1 pm, I continue with my list of orders.

Occasionally I have a client prod me about the shipping of a order-it is clear they think it has been too long. Though most orders go out in 3-5 days, sometimes humans are impatient...imagine that:) And now you begin to see, why it may take a few extra days. For one, I a human. I buy groceries and gas, have appointments, and errands just like everyone else.

I often work until 6pm or later (if hubby grills out for us:) on orders and then sit down to a few more hours of private listings and e-mails while hubby puts the kids to bed.

I then take myself to bed, reading a bit and praying for constant work, food, and shelter for myself, community and clients. I read only spiritually based books-exclusively. This is something I have devoted myself to. I love to read (often a book a week) and these books are not only informative and enlightening, they are entertaining for me. It is a discipline I adopted many years ago to keep my mind focused. I also do not subject myself to violent imagery in TV, art, or movies. I find that these images leave impressions on the mind and spirit and that NO ONE needs them to live a full, healthy life. We see enough of this in everyday life.

Well, now you know what I do with ALL my time! You now also know where your items are created is a sacred space, that I live and breathe my work, and that lots of that work is done on the behalf of those who will never know. Each day is a day to begin again. What we did or did not get done yesterday doesn't matter-today is what we have and we start over again, in the now. Each day I strive to serve as many people as I can to the best of my ability and not hold myself to a number. To serve without limitations or quotas is liberating and the only way, I have found, that one can serve and not get burnt out.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Items for the Urban Shaman...

 Deer Toes
 Deer Hooves
 Coyote Teeth
 Raccoon Teeth
 Gator Claws
 Termite Wood
 Coyote Foot Bones
 Coon Dongs (raccoon penis bones)
 Gator Jaw Knives
Dirt Dauber Nests

I get a lot of questions about the animal curios I carry. Mostly about how to use them and how I acquired them. All animal parts are acquired through reputable sources, most are Native American or legal, ethical hunters not wanting any part of the animal's body to be wasted. Some, such as black cat bones and raccoon parts, are acquired from road kill. Nothing should be wasted, and if I can collect these items and share their symbolism and ashe' with others, then that animals life was not taken for granted or wasted in any way.

Animal gris gris is the most powerful form of sympathetic magick. Just as the Doctrine of Signatures applies to plants, we can apply this theory to claws, bones, teeth, and nests of animals. This theory is even easier to apply with animal gris gris since we do not have to guess what the item looks like, then associating a use with what we interpret it to resemble like we do with roots and leaves. A claw is a claw-it grabs what the animals needs. A tooth is a tooth-it helps the animal macerate it's food to sustain it's body. A foot bone has carried the animal to search for food, away from predators-enabled it survive. The ashe' in each part of an animals body is different and is a valuable resource.

Many practitioners are new to using animals parts. Many practitioners (and people in general) see it as well, kind of gross or macabre. It has been so long since any of us, or even our elders, actually hunted, killed, and prepared our own food. So now, we get grossed out by an animal part unless it's an 8 pack of chicken breasts in the grocery store.

But as Pagans, aren't we all about spirits, nature, worship, honor, respect, resources, and re-purposing? Then why not become familiar with the animals around us by learning their spirits, their purpose, their ashe'. Even urban animals like rats, pigeons, and raccoon have worth, purpose, and meaning.

Now, I'm not telling you to go out and forage for road kill BUT taking a walk in the woods is a great place to start. You will be surprised at what you can find. It may take several trips, or maybe even reading a book or two to learn about the signs and markings animals make so you know where and what to look for. But why not? We are Pagans-we love learning and adding new facets to our practices!

If you are not afraid to eat it or co-exist with it-then learn it's spirit and respect it's vessel.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Working the Psalms

My experience with spiritualism began with a Gideon bible when I was about 10 years old. I had taken it from a nightstand in a motel that my grandpa and grandpa and I stayed in while traveling back home to the Gulf. It had a green plastic cover textured to look like leather-and I kept it. I remember asking my grandma if it was free and her replying "I'm sure they won't mind". I still have it to this day. It was the first bible I had ever had or read, and it felt weird keeping it. It was something sort of new and secret. Anything that small must be for putting away in a special place.

The bible were not pushed in my household as I was raised to choose a belief for myself and without the need of doctrines in worship. This gave me confidence a practitioner as I only had myself to answer to and there were no doubts of doing anything "wrong" in my worship.

Several years later I found a pamphlet about using the Psalms in magical workings...and the pieces began to fall together. It all just melted together...

The word psalms is derived from the Greek Ψαλμοί (Psalmoi), perhaps originally meaning "music of the lyre" or "songs sung to a harp" and then to any piece of music. From psallein "play upon a stringed instrument" and then to "make music in any fashion".

The Psalms are poetry, songs to be used as praise, worship, and affirmation of goals and aspirations. By incorporating them in your practice you obtain extremely detailed help in many areas. They fit in wonderfully with spiritual practices and the art of hoodoo, as well as many other magical systems. They can be easily used by the beginner or novice and provide a tremendous amount of energy and aid to workings. Simply set an altar with two appropriate colored candles for your intent, dress them with a corresponding oil, and recite the proper Psalm for your concern. You can begin on the corresponding day as well and I recommend doing this same ritual each day for a week at least. I have recited Pslams for months before with remarkable results.

Below is a list of each Psalm, in order from 1-150 and each of their uses.

1 - Dangerous confinement, Premature delivery
2 - Storm at sea, Life threatened by water
3 - Severe headache, Severe backache
4 - Good luck
5 - Fortune in business
6 - All eye diseases
7 - Defense against your enemies
8 - Love and goodwill of others in business
9 - Restoration of male childs health
10 - Protection against unclean spirits
11 - Safe from persecution\fear
12 - Safe from persecution
13 - 24 hr from unnatural death\suffering punishments
14 - Favor with all men, freedom from slander
15 - Against presence of evil spirit\insanity\melancholy
16 - Sorrows to joy\enemies to friends\name of thief
17 - Protect from evil for 24hrs.
18 - Protect Against theft
19 - Assist in dangerous delivery
20 - Free from danger and suffering
21 - Storm at sea
22 - Against misfortune
23 - Receive instruction in dreams
24\25 - Danger and flood
26 - Danger from land or water, severe imprisonment
27 - Kindly received in a strange city
28 - Reconcile a enemy
29 - Cast out an evil spirit
30 - Free from evil
31 - Escape slander
32 - Receive grace, love, mercy
33 - Protect children from death
34 - To receive friends favorably
35 - Lawsuit in which you are opposed by unrighteous people
36 - Against evil and slanderous libel
37 - Against loss of reason by drink
38\39 - Slander
40 - Free from evil spirits
41\43 - Against enemies that cause loss
44 - Safe from enemies
45\46 - To make peace between man and wife
47 - To be beloved, respected, by fellow men
48 - Stop enemies from harming you
49\50 - Against severe or incurable fever
51 - If burdened with heavy sin
52 - Against slander
53-55 - To quiet open or secret enemies
56 - To free ones self from passion
57 - For fortune in undertakings
58 - Protect From attack of vicious dog
59 - To prevent sinful passions which can overcome
60 - Safety for soldiers
61 - Blessings before occupying a new dwelling
62 - Pardon of sins
63 - Against unfair business partners
64 - To complete voyage in good health--water
65 - Fortune in all undertakings
66 - Driving out evil spirit
67\68 - Against fever \ evil spirit
69\70 - Against slavery to sinful passions
71 - Freedom from a prison
72 - To become universal favorite\ never suffer poverty
73 - Not to be induced to deny faith
74 - Defeat persecutions by embittered enemies
75 - To effect forgiveness of sins
76 - Protection against fire and water
77 - Against want or danger
78 - For respect
79 - Fatal to enemies
80\81 - To save friends from errors
82 - Assist to attract business
83 - Abide safely in war, avoid captivity
84 - Against bad odor
85 - Reconcile an old friend
86-88 ------------------
89 - Recovery of patient
90 - Against deception, evil spirits or ghosts, or being cheated
91 W\90 - Against incurable disease or evil spirit
92 - To attain high honors
96\97 - Bring contentment and happiness to your family
98 - Establish peace and unity between families
99 - To become pious
100 - To overcome all enemies
101 W\68 - to secure from persecution against evil spirits\ persons
102\3 - That barren women may find favor
104 - Destroy influence of the devil
105-7 105 cures 3 day fever---107 cures one day fever
108 - Secure great success in business - coming and going is blessed
109 - Against mighty enemy
110\1 - Compel enemies and oppressors to beg
112\3 - To increase in might and power
114 - Success in business
115 - To dispute with infidels
116 - Safe from violent or unexpected death
117 - If you failed to perform an act of charity that was promised
118 - To silence heretics
119 -To keep promises
120 - Find favor from a judge
121 - Travel alone by night
122 - To address superiors
123 - Retrieve a slave
124 - Journey by water
125 - Travel in enemy country
126 - So an infant will live
127 - Prevent evil to a newborn
128 - For a fortunate pregnancy
129 - To live piously and virtuously
130 - to Escape besieged city
131 - Protection against the sin of pride
132 - Punctuality
133 - Love and friendship of your friends
134 - Increase of intelligence
135 - Repenting from sin
136 - Penitent confessions
137 - Against hate envy and malice
138 - Produce love and friendship
139 - Increase and preserve love among married people
140 - To remove a growing hatred between man and wife
141 - To remove heartfelt fears
142\3 2 - pain in thighs 3- pain in arms
144 - To cure broken arm
145 - Against fear of ghosts and evil spirits
146 - Restoration from wounds
147 - Wounds bites and stings--Scorpion, salamander
148\49 - Prevent fire
150 - Thanksgiving for escaping danger