Wednesday, October 8, 2014

~The Perfect Apple~

Greetings Crafters of the Realm!!

     The second fruit that we shall look at in our series Fruits of the Harvest, is the perfect apple. Apples have been with us throughout our history. Archaeological digs have uncovered the dried remains of apples and apple seeds as far back as 5,000 years B.C. Twenty five thousand varieties are grown here in the US, and seventy five thousand are grown worldwide. The crab apple is the only variety native to North America. All other varieties have been imported. You may remember the folk tale of Johnny Appleseed. He was the kind and generous man who traveled around the country planting apple seeds so that neither American natives and settlers of the west would never be without food. I know that when I think of Johnny Appleseed picture a man wearing overalls made from burlap with a saucepan for a hat travelling around followed by a group of animals barefoot planting his wonderful trees all over the wilderness. We tell our children these stories when they are young but there is so much more concerning the apple that many people hear. So let us take a look at some more information on the perfect apple.

~Apple Mythology

    Hera, The Queen of the gods, received apple trees as a wedding gift from the Earth Mother Gaia. Hera set the Hesperides, The Daughters of the Evening along with a fierce dragon to guard the apple trees far off to the west. The apples were golden and had magical powers. They could heal and regenerate and always hit their target if thrown, returning to the hand of the person who threw it just like a boomerang.

     Eris, the goddess of discord was upset about not being included in the wedding feast, but went anyway and slammed one of the apples labeled "For the Fairest" down on the table. Seeing the label on the apple three of the goddesses began to argue. Hera, Athena and Aphrodite all thought the apple was for them. (That is where we get the phrase, "An apple of discord"). As the argument escalated, Paris, the Prince of Troy was asked to settle the matter. He, in turn awarded the apple to Aphrodite. This enraged both Hera and Athena and in revenge they both helped the Greeks in the Trogan War and Troy fell.

     In Norse mythology the apple is the symbol of immortality. and in China the apple represents peace. Apple blossoms are the symbol of a woman's beauty. In Christianity, the apple represents the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. In Astrology the apple is considered a feminine tree governed by Venus, it's element is water.

~Magical properties of the Apple

      The Wood, Blossoms, Fruit, and Seeds of the Apple Tree can be used in your workings. The Apple can be used in many Magic workings including Love, Healing, Fertility, Prophesy, Immortality, and Garden Magic. Unicorns are said to prefer the apple above all other fruits.
  A sacred tree to the Druid. A Wand made from the wood of the Apple is most often used for visions and working with the Fae or Otherworld. To do this it is said you need a Silver Bough, described as a branch of the tree which bears the buds, flowers, and fully ripened fruit.
     The Druid, Merlin was said to work in a magical apple orchard shown to him by the Faerie Queen, Qwendolleu and was given the gift of prophecy after eating one of her magical apples. The orchard was guarded by birds. Merlin is also said to have taken shelter under an apple tree during his bout with madness. The apple tree is particularly favored by the Druids as Mistletoe is often found in it. It is said that Merlin used a Silver Bough of the apple tree adorned with ripened fruit and bells to cross safely into other worlds.The bells played a magical tune to appease the spirits. The last apple is often left in the apple tree to insure a good harvest for the next year.

Apple tree products can be used in potions, oils and incense. You may also substitute apple juice for wine in rituals. Apple blossoms can be used in love sachets and apple blossom oil can be used in many spells as well. If you can only find synthetic apple oil, add blossom petals and apple seed as well as a couple of leaves to strengthen the oil for your workings.

~Health benefits of the Apple

     Apples are the second most popular fruit in the U.S. This is a good thing because the consumption of apples greatly benefits your health. In fact, they are high among the top ranked fruits that you can eat for health benefits. We have all heard "An apple a day keeps the doctor away " The apple is full of healthy vitamins and antioxidants that fight disease. It is ranked second in antioxidant activity and is easily absorbed into your blood stream. Much of the vitamins and antioxidants are contained in the peel of the apple so never throw away your peel. Studies of the benefits of the apple have shown that the consumption of this fruit can decrease your risk of coronary disease. Eating the apple along with berries has shown to decrease your risk of Type II Diabetes, and when eaten with pears they can decrease the risk of asthma. They are also thought to greatly inhibit the growth of liver and colon cancer cells.

~Apple Spell ~

You Will Need:
One White Candle
Loose Apple blossoms
Apple Oil
Three Apples: Body, Mind, Soul.
White Cotton cloth

Take a Purification Bath Immediately before you begin.
Follow your normal actions in preparing and settling into your space, if you can, set your altar on the shore of a lake at Dawn.
Cast your Circle and begin,

Anoint candle with Apple Oil
Sprinkle Apple blossoms all around your space and into your cauldron,
as the smoke raises light your candle.
Pour water into your Bowl saying
        ~Blessed Lady of the Lake, I call to your loving grace.
One at a time place your three apples into the water saying
        ~With Sacred fruit of Silver Bough, I ask of you to heal me now .
 Remove apples one at a time and place in white cotton cloth saying
        ~Healing body, mind, and soul
           As Above So Below
           So Shall it Be

Eat the first apple and bury the core giving thanks for your Healing.

Wrap the remaining two apples in the cloth.
On the next morning repeat with the second apple.
On the third morning the same.
Once the final core is buried,
return to the spot and pour water over the buried apple for thee days.

~Apple Spell ~

Blessed Lady of the Lake,
I call to your loving grace.
With Sacred fruit of Silver Bough
 I ask of you to heal me now.
Healing body, mind, and soul
As Above So Below
So Shall it Be 

~Shine Boldly~

Monday, September 22, 2014

~Blessed Mabon~

Today we kissed the sun goodnight 
as it began it's journey to slumber. 
Blessed Mabon!
 ~Shine Boldly~
Photos by: Mary Willoughby

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Exotic Pomegranate

     With the Autumn Equinox right on our doorstep. The second of the harvest festivals and the beginning of the fall season. Let's look at some of the fruits of the harvest and their magical properties and health benefits. We will start with the exotic pomegranate.

~The Mythology
     Demeter was the goddess of the earth and of grain. She was the goddess responsible for the bounty of the earth and all of the food for mankind. Demeter was the mother of the beautiful Persephone.
Persephone along with the other goddesses enjoyed picking and smelling the lovely flowers that grew on Mt. Aetna in Sicily. One day a narcissus caught Persephone's eye and she plucked it. As she pulled the flower from the earth a rift formed.
     Demeter had not been watching her daughter very closely. After all she was grown now and there were the other goddesses there to help keep an eye on her. But when Demeter went looking for her daughter she found that she had vanished. The other goddesses could not tell Demeter what had happened to her daughter. One minute she had been there and the next minute she was gone.
Demeter was beside herself with grief and roamed the county side looking for answers. She wondered, heart broken for 9 days, randomly torching the earth.
     Demeter went to Helios, the god of the sun and asked him what had become of her daughter as he was able to see everything that happened on the earth during the day. Helios told Demeter that Zeus had given Persephone to be married to Hades. Acting on this promise, Hades had taken Persephone home to the underworld. Helios added that he thought that this was a good match.
     Demeter was outraged. Rage turned to sorrow and depression. She was so distraught that she couldn't even think about doing her work. No one else was able to do her work for her since she hadn't shared the secrets of agriculture with anyone else. Since Demeter was not providing food soon no one would eat. Famine would set in.
     Zeus decided that he had to do something to placate his sister. He sent Hermes to the underworld to talk to Hades. Hades said that he would allow Persephone to return to her mother but offered her a farewell meal. Persephone knew that she should not eat but seeing the kindness of her husband she lost her head and ate 6 pomegranate seeds. Eating the food of the underworld insured that Persephone would always have to return to the underworld. From that moment on, Persephone was allowed to return to her mother for two thirds of the year but the last three months, she would have to return to her husband in the underworld. In return, Demeter agreed to let seeds sprout from the earth for all but the last three months when she had to be separated from her daughter again. To further show her goodwill, Demeter taught Triptolemus the secrets of agriculture and he traveled the world teaching man how to grow their own food.

~Magical properties of the Pomegranate

The Pomegranate brings prosperity, protection, fertility, conception and wisdom.

Magical parts- seeds, juice, outer skin

The pomegranate is the sacred fruit of Persephone and represents her journey to the underworld.
It is customary to eat three pomegranate seeds on Halloween in remembrance of Persephone's journey. Eating more than that is said to bring hardship into the coming year.

In the middle east the fruit symbolizes wealth and fertility. There it is the custom to eat as many as possible in order to bring prosperity into their life.

Carry a dried piece of the outer skin or add it to a spell for conception.

~Health benefits of the Pomegranate.

Pomegranates are rich in antioxidants. Even more so than red wine. They are thought to help fight many cancers, especially prostate cancer. Studies are being done with pomegranates and prostate cancer prevention.

Pomegranates have anti inflammatory properties and pomegranate oil can help with menopause.

Pomegranates possess anti microbial and anti viral compounds.

Pomegranate juice may lower blood pressure and improve blood flow, therefore it is good for your cardiovascular system.

~Below is a simple spell using pomegranates from Hidden Realms.

~Simple Pomegranate Spell~

I eat these seeds 1x3
for vision, wisdom, prosperity
So Shall It Be

~Shine Boldly~

Monday, September 8, 2014

~SuperMoon Blessing~

Greetings Crafters of the Realm!!
    Tonight's Moon is the third of three consecutive Supermoon's, as well as this years Harvest Moon!!
     As the Full Moon peaks on this Magical Night it will indeed be grand!
Here is a Spell from My Book for you!

You Will Need:
One White Candle
Loose Sage.

Take a Purification Bath Immediately before you begin.
Follow your normal actions in preparing and settling into your space, set up in the full beams of the Moon.
Cast your Circle and begin,

While holding both arms outstretched to the Moon say:
Full Moon in Perigee
Shine your Blessings down on me

Bring your hands down to your Altar
and light the White candle saying:
Light of Life, Nature's Grace
Reflecting from your Silver Face

Take your Sage in hand and sprinkle it into your Cauldron.
Let the smoke rise and surround you.
Waft the cleansing smoke your way.
While you do this say:
Purify and Make Me Whole
Cleanse me Deep within my Soul
As Above So Below

(If you have a Feather you may use it, 
but your hand will do just as well.)

You may stay in this space for as long as you wish. 
Once you feel ready Give Thanks for your Blessings.
 You may then close and leave the space.

 ~Supermoon Blessing~

Full Moon in Perigee
Shine your Blessings down on me
Light of Life, Nature's Grace
Reflecting from your Silver Face
Purify and Make Me Whole
Cleanse me Deep within my Soul
As Above So Below

~Shine Boldly~

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Sometimes it is like a Dance, even when you are the Only One that can hear the music

The evening of the summer solstice was fast approaching. I had been preparing for this time of the evening all day long and my energy level was tingling. I sat on my front porch and sipped my "tea", a family potion actually. I watched the sky being painted with giant burnt orange and hot pink feathers as I sipped the warm and calming liquid. It was a beautiful sight to behold. The sound of the crickets were even more relaxing as they sang me their night song. Then I saw a white tailed rabbit run across my yard and heard the distant call of a whippoorwill. Where the sunset met the bluing sky, I saw the first star of the night. The fireflies began to dance in the trees. The Guardians were here with me. I lay my wreath of golden flowers upon my altar around a small bowl of water and sprinkling the flowers with the water I gave thanks to the Mother Earth for all of her wondrous gifts. I light my white candle and invited the Fae to celebrate with me. Then I rang my chimes three times. I knew then that the faeries  were there to dance with me. We danced with joy late into the night. As the party wound down we all felt new hope, all said good night and remember to "Shine Boldly". Happy Summer Solstice from Hidden Realms.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Full Moon Blessing

Blessings to all on this Full Moon night!
May you gain strength and self insight!
As you Dance in Circle, may your heart fill with love!
While blessed Moon beams shine down from above!
~Shine Boldly~

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Banishing Spell

Greetings Crafters of the Realm!
     I Hope that you all enjoyed last nights Full Moon! It was indeed a powerful one for me!!
As the Moon Wanes it is a great time to cast Banishing Spells for things which you would like to diminish in your life!
     Fully Charged and ready, here is a Banishing spell you can do!

You will need:
Herbs- rosemary and peppermint, enough to burn in your cauldron & sprinkle as you cast.
Candle- one white
Item of banishment- something to symbolize what you wish to banish.
Sachet or cloth- one you can fold items in and bury.

Remove all items from your surroundings that represent what you wish to banish.
Take a Purification Bath Immediately before you begin.
Follow your normal actions in preparing and settling into your space.
Cast your Circle and begin,

With Cauldron Burning and candle lit,
Place your item of banishment in cloth or sachet sprinkle rosemary and peppermint over the item
While sprinkling the peppermint say:
 I create the change I seek today,
While sprinkling the rosemary say:
 I bind (name it) and take it away.
Fold or pull closed.
Drip wax from candle over sachet or cloth and say:
 I seal this spell with purity, love, and reverence,
 So Mote It Be

Take it and bury it off your property where it will not be disturbed.

~Shine Boldly~

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Squash 'N' Grow!

     The trees are budding and the grass is green, bees are buzzing and the birds all sing!!!
With spring going into full swing it's time to Grow!!!
     A couple of weeks ago I began planting! Many from saved seed and others from clippings!!
Sage, Basil, Mint, Lemon Balm, and yes, Squash too!!!
     So you've probably been grabbing a few veggies from the store during this brutal cold spell that's been going on. Don't let your scraps, or over ripe go to waste!! Many can go into your compost or you can regrow!!!
Below are some tomato plants I grew from my over ripe tomatoes!
All I did was Squash, Water, & here they grow!!!!
Other things you can grow from your left overs are:
  • Ginger
  • Potatoes
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Green Onions
  • Basil
  • Cilantro 
Just to name a few!

~Shine Boldly~

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Spring Celebrations!!! =^^=

Spring! It's finally here! A beautiful and colorful season. A time for planting and celebrating the warm fresh air after the long, cold winter. Gorgeous flowers and vegetation begin to bloom and animals come out from their long sleeps to shake out their furs. It is a time for celebrating the rebirth of the world, and the new life and hope that it brings. It truly begins on the Spring Equinox (Ostara, The Vernal Equinox, Lady Day) when the days and nights become of equal length. Which just so happens to be today! However, there are many celebrations and a number of Goddess' and Gods connected to the coming of spring!

Asasa Ya  (Ashanti) is an Earth Mother Goddess who is celebrated along side Nayame, a Sky God, in celebration of new life and rain in a festival known as The Festival of Durbar.

Flora (Roman) this Goddess had her own festival known as Floralia, which took place from Late April to Early May. Offerings of Honey and Milk are generally given to this Goddess. The God Attis is also associated with spring, and his blood is said to be the source of the first Violets.

Osiris/ Asari (Egyptian) Through his association with new life after death, he was associated with the different cycles of nature, particularly with the annual flooding of the Nile and the vegetation through his connections with Orion and Sirius at the beginning of the year.

Freya/ Freyja (Norse) Goddess of Love, Beauty, Fertility and War, she is said to love music, spring, flowers and in particularly Faeries. She is known as the Patron Goddess of Crops and Birth. Freya is said to divide the slain warriors with Oden, half going to her Palace (Folkvang) and the other to Valhalla. Women also go to her Hall (Sessrumnir). She is said to abandon the Earth during the cold months, only to return in the spring to restore life and beauty to nature.

Eostre/ Eastre (Western Germanic) whose namesake is the root of our present day springtime celebration of Ostara. Her name derives from Proto-Germanic ' Austro ', meaning "to Shine". Which is closely related to the reconstructed name of Hausos, a Goddess of the Dawn. It has been suggested that Eostre's lights, as goddess of the Dawn, where delivered by rabbits/ or hares.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Spring Equinox/Ostara

The Spring Equinox!
Also known as Ostara, Lady day, Egg day, and Alban Eiler, which means "Light of the Earth".
This Festival  is celebrated between March 19th and March 22nd.
     On this day the hours of light and dark become equal again as the do on the Mabon/ Autumnal Equinox.
After this day the hours of light will grow longer and longer bringing with it a renewal of life to the Earth. This is a great time to begin planning and planting your gardens!
  Many cultures celebrate the returning of Spring during this time of year each encompassing various expressions of life and fertility.
     For Wiccan's this as a time of renewal and rebirth. A time to commune with the God and Goddess and our connection to them within our natural world. It is a time to restore balance, both spiritually and physically.
     The Goddess Eostre was the Saxon version of the Germanic Goddess Ostara. Her feast begins on the first full moon following the Vernal or Spring Equinox.
     A popular legend of Eostre tells of her finding a bird late in the winter. Laying helpless and wounded on the ground Eostre saves the bird's life by transforming it into a hare. However, the transformation was not complete, The creature took on the appearance of the hare but still held the ability to lay eggs. The hare, most grateful for her kindness would decorate the eggs and leave them as gifts for Eostre each year.
Easter eggs anyone?
     The English monk and historian Bede recorded that the Goddess Eostre's name was adopted in England for the Christian holiday of Easter, which is celebrated on the Sunday after the full moon following the Vernal or Spring equinox.
      Eostre is the Goddess of dawn and was often depicted  as a young woman surrounded by light, budding trees and flowers.
     Ostara is a celebration of light and balance. Often times houses were cleared out to restore the home's balance. It is said that if you drink from a spring at dawn at this time, it would restore balance and health to the body!

Ostara Altar Ideas:
Place a pale green altar cloth on your altar and drape some pastel colored scarves over it.
Add A Pentagram in the middle. 
Around the Pentagram place pastel votive candles, (yellow, and pink, ect...) at the four cardinal directions.
A silver candle for the Goddess and a gold candle for the God, placed at the top of your altar. 
Your chalice should contain milk and honey. 
Add a basket of decorated eggs, a ladybug and a caterpillar and a small ceramic rabbit. 
Place some spring flowers around your altar.

~Shine Boldly~
~Mary & Renee~

Friday, February 21, 2014

Handmade Potpourri

Making your own Potpourri is fairly easy to do. Select the desired materials you wish to use. I like Citrus peels and flower petals. Petals from any flower will do, the choice is yours... I will be using the petals from my Valentine's roses!
Arrange your petals on a screen or dehydrator. If you use a screen make sure you place it in a well ventilated area. Allow your Petals to dry completely.

After 24 hours in the dehydrator this is what your Petals should look like.
Once dry, place your petals into a container or a jar with a lid. 
Along with your dried petals in the jar, add the essential oil of your choice.
(About 5-6 drops of essential oil per cup of petals.)
 I have chosen Rose oil for mine!
Also add about 1/2 tsp of Orris root powder.
 (1/2 tsp. per cup of petals.)
Put on the lid and shake!
Let it set for at least 24 hours, shaking every few hours to allow the oils to evenly absorb into the petals.
Place in sachets, decorative bowls, or whatever you desire!
Your very own 
Handmade Potpourri!!!

~Shine Boldly~

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Wishing Tree

How many times a day have you said to yourself "I wish I had...". Well why just keep your wish inside your head when you can send them out into the universe so that they can come back to you. You can do this at anytime of year and everyday for the rest of your life. We all have wishes, right? How cool would it be to have a 5th generation wishing tree on your property one day in the future.

What you will need :
 A tree, any tree will do so long as you can safely reach the branches.
Ribbon, cord, yarn, any thing that can be tied to the branches. Make sure that the length of the ribbon is long enough to be tied to the branch and long enough to tie 3 knots in to it as well.

Even if you don't have a tree, you could plant a branch in a pot. You can even make a small one for an outside table. The key is that it is outside where it can interact with nature.

Take your ribbon outside and stand next to your tree. Hold your ribbon in both hands. Concentrate on your wish with your eyes shut while you imagine there is a bright white light deep in your heart, now let that light surround your wish. Mentally carry the light-surrounded wish up from your heart to your pineal gland, ( the area right between your eyes, your third eye). Touch the ribbon to this area and transfer your wish into the ribbon. Open your eyes and look at the ribbon. State your wish aloud and tie a knot about a third of the way down the ribbon. Now see yourself getting your wish. For example say your wish is to write a best selling novel. See yourself at the book signing while tying another knot a little farther down the ribbon. Then tie your third knot and claim your wish. You could say thank you for granting this wish or just say "Now it is mine." Tie your wish to the tree and release your wish into the wind.

Use a new ribbon each time you want to make a wish. This is also something that you can do with your children and then hopefully they will do with their children and so on and so on.

Note:. Never ever wish for something that may cause harm to yourself or anyone else .