Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Writing Contest––Call for Submissions

Twenty-first century humans have become entirely too 
serioso. We just don’t laugh enough. So Lyndsey Powers, my writing partner and blog-mate at The 3:15 Club, and I have decided to help make Planet Earth a funnier place. We're launching a contest––and hopefully an anthology––about absurdly humorous work-related experiences. We're looking for true tales of bizarre tasks, wacky work environments, and ludicrous predicaments you've gotten into while trying to earn your daily bread. We're so eager for a riotous, side-splitting laugh that we'll even award cash prizes for the three best tales we receive. Please view our new blog  for more information about entering. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Love Alchemy

Love is the ultimate alchemical substance that transforms fear into peace, judgment into acceptance, and pain into joy. The Beatles were right when they sang, “Love is all you need.”
At any moment, in any situation, regardless of how things appear on the outside, we can choose to respond with love or fear. When other people reject, insult, or attack us with their fear, we can either draw our swords or let the offense pass through us like arrows through smoke. We can decide whether to listen to the voice of Spirit or the voice of ego.
"Keep knocking, and the joy inside will eventually open a window and look to see who's there." – Rumi

Every day we are presented with opportunities to express love instead of fear. Harried store clerks might behave rudely toward us; impatient drivers may cut in front of us on the highway. If we bless rather than condemn, we will change not only our reactions but the circumstances themselves.
“Love is the total absence of fear.” – Gerald G. Jampolsky, M.D.

Aromatherapy for Colds and Flu

Many people suffer from colds, flu, coughs, and other respiratory ailments during the winter season. Aromatherapy is the natural solution for the respiratory problems associated colds in the head, sinuses, nasal passages, and lungs because essential oils are inhaled. They go to work immediately on the affected parts, offering fast, gentle, soothing relief. In fact, essential oils actually get into the blood stream faster when they're inhaled than when they are taken orally and absorbed through the stomach lining.
For many people, aromatherapy is superior in every way to decongestants, shots, and other cold medicines, not only because they are fast-acting, but because they rarely cause unwanted side effects when used properly. Children and the elderly, who are often quite sensitive to medications, can derive wonderful healing benefits from the use of aromatic oils.

Inhaling the cool, stimulating aroma of eucalyptus, spearmint, or peppermint will instantly relieve stuffy nose and sinus congestion without drying out your nasal passages or causing drowsiness. Frankincense, balsam, sweet marjoram, and lemon balm can also be beneficial in treating congestion, coughing, and irritation in the head, nose, throat, and lungs. Pine, fennel, myrrh, and eucalyptus can help bronchitis and sinusitis; cedar wood, bergamot, hyssop, and cypress are effective in treating colic, asthma, and dry coughs. Tea tree oil is soothing to sore throats and can also relieve sores in the mouth and gingivitis.
Tea tree oil, peppermint, and eucalyptus are sometimes available in inhalant sticks, but you can also simply inhale the fumes of these essential oils directly from an open bottle. Tiny "pillows" or "sachets" of some aromatic herbs are available in health food stores and can be placed on your bedside table or pillow at night to help you breathe freely while you sleep. Or, you can simply put a few drops of one of these oils on a handkerchief and keep it close enough to inhale the healing fumes. Aromatic salves can be rubbed directly on the chest, much like Vicks, to break up congestion in the chest and head.
Some essential oils should not be ingested and some can be irritating to the skin if rubbed on full-strength. (Make sure you read the label before using any essential oil to avoid problems.) In this case, you can put several drops in a vaporizer or humidifier to fill your room with refreshing, healing scent. Or, add essential oils to your tub water and enjoy a soothing, healthful bath that will make you feel wonderful inside and out.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Brigid’s Day, Imbolc, or Candlemas

This sabbat honors Brigid, the beloved Celtic goddess of healing, smithcraft, and poetry. A favorite of the Irish people, Brigid was adopted by the Church and canonized as Saint Brigid when Christianity moved into Ireland. Her holiday is celebrated either on February 1 or around February 5, when the sun reaches 15 degrees of Aquarius. In the Northern Hemisphere, daylight is increasing and the promise of spring is in the air. Therefore, Imbolc is celebrated as a time of hope and renewal.
The Holiday’s Significance
Brigid is one of the fertility goddesses, and Imbolc means “in the belly.” This holiday honors all forms of creativity, of the mind as well as the body. Illustrations of Brigid sometimes show her stirring a great cauldron, the witch’s magick tool that symbolizes the womb and the receptive, fertile nature of the Divine Feminine. As goddess of inspiration, Brigid encourages everyone, regardless of gender, to stir the inner cauldron of creativity that exists within.

Brigid goes by many names, including Lady of the Flame, Goddess of the Hearth, and Bright One. Her feast day is sometimes called Candlemas due to her association with fire. In magickal thinking, the fire element is believed to fuel inspiration and creativity.
Although Brigid is an aspect of the Divine Feminine, her day falls under the zodiac sign Aquarius, a masculine air sign in astrology. Her blazing hearth is both the metalsmith’s forge and the homemaker’s cook fire. Thus, she represents mind and body, a blend of yin and yang energies, and the union of polarities that is necessary for creation.
Ways to Celebrate
On Imbolc, the Sun King’s chariot ascends in the sky; the sun’s rays grow stronger and days grow longer. Witches celebrate this spoke in the Wheel of the Year as a reaffirmation of life and a time to plant “seeds” for the future. You may wish to build a fire in a magick cauldron to honor Brigid. On a piece of paper, write wishes you want to materialize during the year, then drop the paper into the cauldron. As the paper burns, the smoke rises toward the heavens carrying your requests to Brigid.

In keeping with the holiday’s theme of fire, many people light candles to honor the Goddess. Candles are the most common tool in the witch’s magickal toolbox, used in all sorts of spells and rituals. Engrave words that represent your wishes—love, prosperity, health, etc.—into the candle’s wax. Then light the candle and focus your attention on its flame, while you envision your wishes coming true.
Excerpted from my book The Everything Wicca & Witchcraft Book, published by Adams Media, copyright 2008. To order this or other books on magick click my books link.