Apple Magick

You really can’t think about the Autumn months without the scents of apple pie, pork roast and apple, meat pies, lovely apple and cinnamon candles coming to mind. It instantly evokes a feeling of nostalgia, warm blankets, crackling fires, County fairs, and Mom’s warm apple cider. Just the sight of a fresh ripe apple in the farmer’s market makes my heart skip a beat! This is without a doubt the start of the holiday season. For Pagans it is the last of three Harvest seasons (Lughnasadh, Mabon,Samhain), each representing a different aspect of both physical and spiritual harvests. These three celebrate the bounty of hard work, of things coming to fruition, and our energies winding down with the cycles of Mother Earth to rest until the next planting season.

But most importantly they celebrate the bonds of family from birth to death and rebirth. Lughnasadh, Mabon, and Samhain all celebrate the people in our lives that have passed on into the Summerlands. While the Harvest begins at Lughnasadh in gathering early Summer fruits but also begins the second planting season for Autumn. The celebration of these days are marked with fruits, vegetables, family gatherings, and remembering family waiting on the other side. In fact, Samhain was often called the Feast of Apples.
The apple, next to the pumpkin and turnip, is the most recognizable as a symbol of the season. It is also sacred to many deities across the world, especially those dealing with love, sex, marriage, and death. Apples belong to the element of Water and many of the deities associated are gods of passion, emotion, and the ebb and flow of life.
It’s said that Zeus gave his wife Hera a tree that grew golden apples for a wedding gift. Hera, being the goddess of marriage, gave these apples as gifts to the gods and sometimes mortals as blessings on their unions. The Atalanta is said to have been distracted by three golden apples thrown down in a race with her suitor, who received the apples from Hera. The Trojan War is said to have been indirectly started by a golden apple of discord presented to Paris by the goddess Aphrodite. Hercules retrieved the golden apples of immortality in a quest for the Golden Fleece.
In Scandinavia the apples of perpetual youth were protected by Indunn in Asgard. These apples were said to keep whomever ate one young forever. Gna, the messenger of Frigga, gave an apple to King Rerir who shared it with his wife who then bore him a child. Frey sent 11 golden apples to Gerda as a marriage gift. The goddess Freya is said to have an orchard of apples with magickal powers. At Yule she brings bags of apples to children.
Apples are also associated with the Blue Hag of Winter, the Cailleach Bhera, Cerridwen, Babd, the MorRhiaghan, Morgan Le Fey, Vivienne, Diana, Eve, Lilith, Athena, Flora, Pomona, Venus, Apollo, Aillin, Zeus, Dionysis, Olwen, and Chango. The goddess Pomona, a wood nymph of whom pommes (the name for flowering fruits) is derived. In fact the Feast of Pomona is held between November 01 and November 03.
Apples are used as offerings, wards, divination tools, blessings, in dream magick, for prophesy, in the crafting of tools, statuary, runes, charms, and as spell components. Fertility and love spells incorporate the apple and peeling an apple in one strip is said to have the initial of the first name of your future spouse. Slicing an apple in half reveals a pentagram that may be used as a ward or to bless tools. Apple branches make excellent wands and runes. Apples sliced in half or in thin slices and strung as a garland protect against negative energies and baneful spirits and invite love, prosperity, and health into the home. Potions made with apple bring love and health. Poppets made with apples may be used to draw love into your life.
In divination apple blossoms signify temptation, better things to come, a new chance. Runes carved into apple branches to make the Ogham tie strongly with relationship readings, may be used for love charms and protection and health charms for the family and home. Quert, also spelled Ciert, signifies the necessity of choice on the physical plane. On a mental level it shows many doors open for greater knowledge and self discipline. Spiritually this stave shows a need to choose a path and complete it before moving into another part of your journey. Peeling an apple in one strip is said to reveal the first initial of your future spouse while dreaming of apples signifies. Dreaming of apples signifies prosperity, health, and impending love. If you are already married it could signify temptation or a renewal of your current love. Bobbing for apples or twirling a rope with apples were both ways to predict impending marital status and bliss.
Apple blossoms may be used in fertility, prosperity, temptation, and divination spells or as an incense for love or divination during readings. Fruit may be used as offerings, incorporated into the Mute Dinner, and as parts of charms. Apples are also known as the food for the dead and many tales of the Underworld and Summerland. Pomegranates (a kissing cousin of apples), is associated with the goddess Persephone/Proserpina. The fruit is said to soothe their souls and keep them in the Underworld while they await their loved ones. In Celtic lore, Fae were said to offer apples to humans so they would remain in the Otherworld. The greatest of all realms, the Isle of Avalon where magick is said to originate and the Druids were said to train Priestesses and Priests of the Goddess and Her Consort, is also referred to as the Isle of Apples. The root for Avalon is Afallon, which has its root in the Welsh word for apple.
Apples are not only used for magick and divination but also have many positive health benefits as well. Green apples are known to relieve migraines and red apples eaten grated is known to relieve diarrhea. Eaten whole, tangier apples can ease constipation, and apple wine has many mystical as well as healing properties. Apple cider vinegar is a well known for its anti-bacterial properties and during the Plague walls and floors were often washed down with it to prevent other outbreaks. From a magickal perspective, washing the doors, windows, porches, walls and floors are said to keep evil spirits and baneful magicks from entering the home. Apples are very good for detoxing the body, liver, brain, and joint health as well as for treating gout, rheumatism, high blood pressure, and migraine headaches. Some say even the scent of a green apple begins to soothe their pounding head. Apples with honey was used to treat heart ailments in the old days and warmed apples soothe a sore throat and increase the appetite in people who are ill. An application of apples sliced and chilled directly to the skin is said to heal skin inflammations and inflammations of the throat.
Crab apples are a member of the apple family but unlike larger species, they can be extremely tart. They represent the Maiden at Beltane and the Crone at Samhain. Crab apples grow in clusters and are about the size of a quarter to a half dollar. These wee apples are usually grown for the honey that can be cultivated from the blossoms, but they are also stewed for a garnish (much the way cranberries are) and made into jellies and jams. Making a ring of crab apples with your intended love’s name carved into them is said to draw the person to you. The apples are then buried after the fact.

Othal is the New Black

Over the years I have had both the pleasure and amusement of watching symbols from many paths become mainstream, even fashion accessories and when followed with knowledge it’s a good thing. In a society filled with cultural appropriation this is nothing new for Pagans and Heathens. While it sometimes can prove to be just more of the same old, it’s a gradual sign of society becoming more tolerant despite outward appearances. I would love to see these trends come with information, but baby steps.

I have to constantly remind myself that our Nation is, comparatively speaking, very young. It still has some growing and maturing to do and that process is always accompanied by growing pains. Somewhere between the trendy New Age flavors in fashion today, someone got it very wrong. I, like millions of others in our country, was absolutely horrified to see symbols I hold very dear to my heart being waved as a symbol of hate and dissension. As Neo-Nazis and other like-minded groups marched through Charlottesville I couldn’t help but have a cold dread pour into my blood. A chill of foreboding perhaps, or just the utter horror of the situation on my screen and what this could mean for our family. Our baby steps sometimes cause us to stumble, fall, and get stuck in a bad, dirty place.

One of the more prominent symbols was the Elder Futhark Rune, Othal (Othala), a rune generally referring to lineage, ancestry, or something being inherited. The rune itself is a beautiful symbol of pride in one’s family, but it is also pride in the ties between our ancestors and the very land we walk on.

Othal (Othel, Othala) belong to the Aett of Tyr and is one of the runes found in the Elder Futhark, but not in the Younger Futhark. Its appearance also connects with another symbol used very often by another religious group, the Icthys. Both symbols resemble the fish and both reflect abundance but that is generally where the connections end.

Othal is derived from an Old Norse word odal connecting it to family and specifically genetic family with the natural connections between people of the same tribe. It may be first applied to ancestry or lineage and secondly to the land of the tribe. Germanic tribes and Anglo-Saxon tribes had two very different perspectives of tribal laws regarding land. In Celtic and similar tribe perspective tribes owned the land collectively and shared responsibility for the land. In Germanic perspective the individual owned the land and was singularly responsible for the upkeep and prosperity of the land. The Goths also adapted this symbol as a symbol of sovereignty connecting to divinity, specifically divine sovereignty.

Othal is a connection to each other, to the land, to our ancestry. It is the rune of abundance and of honoring our ancestors and lineage. It is not a rune of hatred and dissension. Even merkstave (if you choose to use reversals), the rune can be read as a lack of generosity, empathy, or appreciation for the land or family. It rather denotes a Scrooge character in which selfishness, greed, and lack of understanding eventually results in loneliness and loss of humanity.

In this perspective, Othal is exactly what needs to be invoked right now. Our society, our world, could use a little more nature, a little more kinship, and a lot connection to the land. Perhaps this was just the sneakiness of Loki tricking people into searching for exactly what they need hidden and disguised as chaos. Of all the symbols to become trendy, Othal is one of the best and brightest to use on the world’s runway.

Book Review – The Good Witch’s Guide: A Modern Day Wiccapedia of Magickal Ingredients and Spells by Shawn Robbins and Charity Bedell

 

 

Available at Amazon.com

The Good Witch’s Guide is truly what it sets out to be: an excellent reference guide for skilled practitioners, novices or those just beginning to take interest in the magickal arts. The book is well-organized, insightful and provides explanatory summaries within each section that provides clarification of purpose.

The Good Witch’s Guide is broken into three parts, the first of which is Ye Olde Witch’s Wisdom, Rituals and Formula’s. This part of the book gives a brief history of the folklore, aromatherapy, and use of crystals and gemstones. I like that this part of the book explained the “doctrine of signature” which is thematic in traditional folklore. I found the essential oil list comprehensive; the chapter provides a list of common ailments, points of improvement and essential oils that are recommended to provide relief. The essential oil section is also divided into healing and magickal and provides several recipes for each. Required items that many of these recipes call for are easy to locate.

The chapter, Crystal Power, provides information on charms, elixirs, and explains chakra balancing in a concise manner. The chapter also provides a list of crystals and gemstones and their applications as well as recipes for healing and magickal applications. The list provides a great number of commonly utilized crystals and gems.

The second part of the book, Spirit Spells and Spirituality, outlines the importance of well-being and visualization. I absolutely love the spells for well-being and self-love. The focus segues into spells that can be utilized to heal others such as the Healing Poppet Spell. The section then transitions to cleansing, protection and magical spells. Chapter 5 covers candles, their colors and uses.

Chapter 6 has spells for health and also some for removing fears and phobias. The section is rounded out with a section that defines types of spirituality and philosophies. I like that it gives a brief summary of those listed without a bias toward one or another. “A Good Witch’s Guide” encourages and promotes self healing in daily life and encouraging use of healing of others and then extend it outwards to include wildlife and the environment. It contains a gentle reminder to be kind, be mindful and act with love.

The third part of the book, DIY Brews and Potions, continues to remind the reader to look in your kitchen and your yard for sources for herbs and plants. As well as defining animism, this section contains a terminology of infusions, decoctions and tinctures. A list of common herbs and uses for them includes information on possible prescription drug interactions, information that is vital to all practitioners. As a kitchen witch, I really appreciated Chapter 8, Kitchen Witchware: Cooking up Magick. There are several recipes that are definitely going to be incorporated into my repertoire!

The A to Z of Health Remedies is a nice addition to the appendix. I enjoyed seeing remedies from other practitioners. The Good Witch’s Guide also provides a great resource list for supplies and also a recommended reading and reference material list.

I enjoyed The Good Witch’s Guide. It is a good read. The book provides a summary explanation, directions for self use, healing, magick and then encourages focus outward to use the knowledge to benefit others and the environment around us. Throughout the book there is significant emphasis on cleansing the items you work with of residual energy as well as a focus on energy, mood and intent. These things are very important to keep in mind whether you are creating an essential oil for a ritual bath or baking a loaf of bread for a family dinner.

I appreciated the liked that the format of the book was user-friendly. Each of the three sections is broken down into healing and magickal applications and each of these sections lists herbs, spices, plants, supplies uses in either application. I also liked that the authors encourage the practice of “look in your spice cabinet” and also to look for plants, herbs in your environment.

I recommend The Good Witch’s Guide: A Modern-Day Wiccapedia of Magickal Ingredients and Spells to anyone who is interested in learning or continuing to seek knowledge with healing lore or has an interest in the arts. Rating: 5 stars

 

Lenore Sagaskie is a writer and artist living in self-imposed exile in Michigan.

You can follow Lenore on Facebook and on Twitter @Lenorewrites

It is time to Stand Against Hate!

Anyone that knows me will not expect many comments from me on political or social issues.  It isn’t that I do not care or that I do not keep up with what is going on.  I am just usually busy marketing community projects and my own business and keep my political views to myself.  This week I do not feel that I have the option to keep going with business as usual.  This week has shown us something more horrible than anything I could ever imagine happening in the United States.   This week something has happened that requires every American, every Human to stand up and say “NO!” to.

Last weekend, people calling themselves the Alt-Right, White Nationalists, Ku Klux Klan, White Supremacists, Aryan Nation, etc. gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia under the guise of protesting the removal of a Confederate statue with their hate-filled chants, violence and horror.  One of those people decided to drive their car into a crowd of people with the intention of hurting as many as possible.  One young woman was killed and many more were injured.

You would think that would be the worst of it.  You would think that all our leaders would put aside  their differences and come together to assure the country that this is not acceptable.  Our leaders would stand together and assure us that the evil that showed up that day was not welcome here and all that is possible would be done to protect the country from this evil.  Assure the world that this is not representative of what is in America at its heart.   For the most part, that did happen.  Until we got to the President of the United States.

Our President, the leader of the free world, the Commander in Chief of the United States Armed Forces, stood in front of the cameras and told us that there was violence on both sides.  He told us that the counter-protesters brought clubs to the protest and implied that “they started it”.  He even went so far as to say that there were some “very fine” people on both sides.  ………..  Let that sink in for a moment.  Very fine people marching under swastikas and confederate flags.  Very fine people carrying torches and chanting hateful rhetoric.  Very fine?????!!

So here I am.  What can one person do? Many would say nothing.  I’ve been told by some that there isn’t anything you can do about it so just ignore it.  I just can’t.  Not this.

So here I am standing up and saying “NO!  THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE!”

America was founded by immigrants.  America went through a long and bloody history to learn that equality has no color.

Perhaps the good people of America have become complacent.  Perhaps we have looked the other way too often when confronted with the ugliness of racism and hate.  We cannot do that anymore.

Stand Against Hate!  Do so in your own way but step outside the comfort zone and stand up.  I pledge to Stand Against Hate when I see it.  I pledge to show everyone that I will not participate or ignore hateful rhetoric.   Do not allow the hate to become comfortable.  Do not fight hate with hate.  But do not allow people to get away with posting or saying or doing hateful racist things.  Force them back into the shadows.

Click here to add Stand Against Hate to your profile picture on Twitter or Facebook.

There are many other ways to stand up against hate.  Consider donating to organizations that protect our liberties such as ACLU or organizations that work to identify hate groups such as Southern Poverty Law Center.  If you cannot afford to donate show your support on your social media.  Speak out when you see hate.  Contact your representatives in government and make it clear that you will only vote for people that stand firmly against hate.  Tell them you will not vote for people that do not call out those in power that support hate.

For quick reference here is a link to the directory of the House of Representatives with their phone numbers.   https://www.house.gov/representatives/

Here is a link to the directory of the Senate with phone numbers.  https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/

The Seeds of Harvest

We are coming upon the Harvest festival time, along with many other types of festivals and festivities. For Pagans, the folks who are seasonal minded and our farmers , we know we are gearing up for the harvest and Autumn.

Yet why would I title this as Seeds of Harvest? Well if you were able to chat with a farmer, a gardener or country folk, you’d get to hear about the seeds that are gathered and saved for the next harvest. This is a vital practice that allows us to continue to grow food for ourselves and animals that may have a plant related diet, like cows.

Now you may be wondering what do seeds of harvests have to do with anything outside of food related things.

Well it has to do with the spiritual, mental and emotional work that goes on as we get to know ourselves and as we learn to heal ourselves. For many generations we humans have used aspects of our lives and nature to tell stories and teach lessons about life and how to live it or to teach a moral point and to help guide somebody along a path.

So today I want to share about the harvest of metaphorical seeds from the harvests of prosperity, healing, help or guidance and other such positive things that have been happening in our lives, and also the seeds of us getting to know the self and gaining our power.

I want us to take a look at seeds that have multiple uses and different stages of those uses. What comes to mind are our seeds that are edible at different stages and that they also are used for future crops.

Corn and beans are a couple of the sort of seeds that has different edible stages and can be used for future crops that will be harvested.

We love to harvest corn and beans before they are fully mature and they are tender still, so we can enjoy their freshness and juiciness. This would be a first harvest. When it comes to our personal work and magic, this would correlate to the first results of our work. It may be that first paycheck or fresh perspective on a long term challenge that helps you change direction or get answers you needed.

Yet as we know with personal work and such, there isn’t an end to the directions any of it can go or the continued work and help, we need to do and receive.

So back to our seed metaphor.  Hopefully you didn’t consume all of your first harvest. As an experienced farmer or gardener may be able to tell you, save some of your first harvest by canning and freezing the rest of it for future nourishing meal ideas. Your first results and answers and such can continue to help guide you and help you in your personal and magical workings. More so if you don’t just think you reached the final results just yet, and sometimes you don’t.  So the fuel is there so to speak to help continue the work.

We know though that things don’t stop at the first harvest/ first results of the person work of growth and healing.

We have further harvesting/work that needs to be done. This takes us to a second harvest that happens after we’ve allowed the remaining plants to finish maturing. At this point with corn and beans, we get to take part of this harvest and turn them into easier to store dry forms of food. The corn gets turned into grits, meal or flour and these forms can be used as hot cereal or baked goods.  Beans after soaking and cooking to soften them get turned into meals that are very different from the fresh green beans and such that you have in the freezer. You may use them in soups and stews or baking them into delicious meals.

What the second harvest can teach us when it comes to personal growth and magical workings, is that things will need to reach a certain level of maturity to ensure further growth, healing, help and answers.

We also gain a different level of understanding and realizations of goals being accomplished. The help and guidance becomes more self sustaining and we can at this level of things free up some of our time and efforts, so we are not overthinking and over working ourselves. In fact having that time to step back or away from things allows things to move more favorably in you favor.

               Then comes the last bit of the harvest.

Hopefully we’ve had forethought in saving seeds! Hopefully we didn’t consume all that corn and beans or storing all of them for food. For we will need seeds for future crops and they need to be stored properly, so they don’t rot or get eaten up by animals. For when the next growing season arrives we will need to plant those seeds for future sources of nourishing food.

This last harvest represents to us the need to use our power, thoughts and action in such a way that blessings of healing, growth, answers and guidance continues on into the future. For it isn’t really a natural thing to stay stationary or stagnant. Life is ever ebbing and flowing. Life is ever growing, maturing and ripening. And life is always somehow nourishing and caring for all living beings. So too is it good for us to follow the example of life.

I leave you with wishing you all a bounteous harvest in all your personal growth and magical workings!

Book Review: The Good Witch’s Guide : A Modern Day Wiccapedia of Magickal Ingredients and spells

Written by: Shawn Robbins and Charity Bedell, pub 2017 Sterling Publishing Co. 305pp

The Good Witch’s Guide is not your average, everyday introductory or advanced peep into the Craft. To be honest, owning quite a few of these guides, myself, I was used to the standard Wiccan/Witchcraft encyclopedia reference materials. Most of them, I find, are stuffy, and to be clear, I’m not a huge fan. When I cracked open this book, I was expecting this to be just another reference guide, however; I found myself pleasantly surprised. This book is a real page turner.

The Good Witch’s guide is full of wonderful spells, incantations.

There is a guide to crafting your own personal Magick and yes, stones, essential oils, colors and herbs.

It has everything from Witchy Wisdom, rituals and formulas, spirituality, folklore, health and health remedies.

Of course, there are sections dedicated to candle Magick, brewing your own potions, tinctures and salves.

This book is jam packed with all kinds of recipes for Sabbats and special occasions.

Want to know how other Witches are casting their own versions of these spells? There’s even a section dedicated to that!

There are tons of traditional spells that are tried and true and all of the “how-to’s” that go along with them.

In this authors humble opinion, this may very well become the definitive guide for all who take the time to read it. The Good Witch’s Guide is a pleasure to read for the Beginner in the Craft all the way to your most Adept Student. It can be used strictly as a reference manual or can be read cover to cover without the monotony of other reference guides.

On a more personal note, this is one book is one that I will cherish and read again and again!

Laurie Bates
Falcon Lunafyre

https://www.amazon.com/Good-Witchs-Guide-Modern-Day-Ingredients/dp/1454919523/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1495484984&sr=8-1&keywords=A+Good+Witch%27s+Guide

Human beings are being murdered in the Republic of Chechnya because they are gay

It is happening. Humans beings beaten, tortured, detained in camps and prisons, and murdered by strangers and families in the Republic of Chechnya.  Here is a quick break down of what is going on in the Chechen world regarding the systematic campaign to exterminate and entire portion of the human population. The facts are grim.

The seeds of this reign of terror started to bloom in the early days of this March, when an application submitted by the group Caucasus, members of the GayRussia.ru project. The request was denied. However, this gave the authorities the impetus to begin their move toward the eradication of an entire segment of people.

In all, a total of four marches in North Caucasus Federal District. This notice of intent struck the chord. Though it is doubtful that the projected 300 marchers was an accurate reflection of the actual amount of attendees that would risk such a public demonstration, the government’s response seemed based upon a literal acceptance of the veracity and accuracy of this number.

In a letter on Russian social media platform VKontakte , the horror that was unleashed under a wave referred to as “honor killings” makes it plain.

MESSAGE FROM VKONTAKTE

(Original spelling and punctuation)

Salam alaykum all!

I never thought that I would write again here but now, when the topic of one chain and substituting one is being tortured as long as it does not pass, and still others it may concern, and I think it would be right if I warn.

There often appear posts about the bases ( refers to provocations to identify people of homosexual orientation -. Approx. EM ) and I some time ago trying to find these victims of the bases. When you do not find one, I thought it’s not true. Now I understand why I could not find one, which was framed in Chechnya. Unfortunately, many killed.

Killed not just young children and even grown men who are over 50 years old. Among them are well-known personality in Chechnya.

At various events, television releases, participated in the contest. I do not want to call them names. Most mladschemu 16 years. He was our village. Just the other day he was brought all beaten, just a bag of bones. They were thrown into the courtyard and said that he was killed. He still say he came to himself and hardly come. I do not know how they explain why they do so, they will be asked to present proof that our son or brother is.

In Chechnya, because strictly defame anyone whatsoever without tangible evidence. It is possible and to remain without pants. Especially to lay hands on the guy, and accuse him of homosexuality is generally a disgrace for many centuries. I do not know how they explain it but it’s crap happens. Source middle, military cousin of mine who just this morning told me about it. I was wrong when I said here and wrote that of the bases there. They never have and how they are now free hand. Be very careful and remove its dubious connection.

Importantly, do not remove the daily rent is probably all realtors are forced to put the camera in the apartments and in this way they get the dirt on the victims. And realtors with Chechnya will do anything just to avoid losing their business and who would dare to object to our military. Be very careful please. This is my last post here. ” – https://www.novayagazeta.ru/articles/2017/04/01/71983-ubiystvo-chesti

The republic is semi-autonomous, and has its own laws. In theory, the sanctioning of murder of persons completed an anal sex act is officially suspended, though codified by law in article 148 of the Chechen penal code. The penalties include caning in the first two instances, then execution upon the third. This same article has a history of being used to punish practitioners of alternative faiths.

http://www.sova-center.ru/en/misuse/news-releases/2017/03/d36596/

In practice, it continues to rise. The current head of the Chechen Republic,  Ramzan Kadyrov, maintains a very supportive stance of honor killings and the view that persons of genders other than heterosexual males being rightfully subjected to the practice. The following actions occurred at the beginning of the following month.

On  and before April the 1st, men were rounded up, it was coined a ‘prophylactic sweep’ in Chechnya. At first, the region’s officials denied that any such roundup and detention was “lies and misinformation”. A spokesman for the leader of Chechnya, said to the Interfax news agency –

Rachel Denber,Deputy Director, Europe and Central Asia Division, American Magazine

Ramszan Kadyrov Image: government.ru.

On April 3, mass rally expressed outrage at the reporting done by news agency Novaya Gazeta’ on the current situation. Kadyrov made clear his hostile stance toward media coverage of the current human rights situation in his country, even going far enough to declare them “enemies of our faith and of our motherland.”

Elena Milashina IWOC award
Image: U.S. Department of State

Retribution was promised, with stress being on the lack of limitation for the time period that might be necessary to exact such reprisals. The news outlet lost two reporters to murder in the past years, and Investigative Journalist Elena Milashina is in hiding following death threats for covering this story.

http://google-maps.pro/satellite/Argun.Chechnya.Russia#43.293028,45.891570,17

“Any homosexual Chechen can tell the story with the bases – if it happened not with him, then with his friends. One of the acquaintances of the interlocutor of the RS, Grozny businessman, sold the car to pay for the silence…”  –Sergey Khazov-Kassia, Chechnya: The Gay Outcome, Radio Liberty, http://www.svoboda.org/a/28417768.html

The 10th of April saw the international media begin to use the term “concentration camps” for the alleged detention centers in which detained gay men were housed. Stories of torture, and killings in wooded areas, or by families emerged. The world turned its eyes toward the very real consequence of living as a gay person in the nation, and its fatal implications.

“If such people existed in Chechnya, law enforcement would not have to worry about them since their own relatives would have sent them to where they could never return.” – Ramzan Kadyrov

In the United Kingdom, there came the declaration that a protest would take place near to the Russian Embassy in London. This took place on the 11th. Protests would continue to proliferate throughout the world. Outcry from human rights organizations and activists were high.

https://www.facebook.com/events/876760675796386/

A separate rally followed on April 22. Named “UK Rallies Against Homophobia in Chechnyahttps://www.facebook.com/events/675146246011541/  , it sought to “get this extremely under-reported story in the news. They are peaceful demonstrations“.

Amnesty International puts the number of suspected missing and detained at approximately 100, numbers confirmed by Human Rights Watch https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/04/04/anti-lgbt-violence-chechnya . Amnesty International created an urgent action petition,

Chechnya: Stop Abducting and Killing Gay Men

against these acts. This is the English Version for download.

EUR4660232017ENGLISH

International pressure is rising for Russia to act. The continued lack of movement on the situation is a cause of moral outrage. The United Nations called for action in April.

It is crucial that reports of abductions, unlawful detentions, torture, beatings and killings of men perceived to be gay or bisexual are investigated thoroughly – VOA News

http://www.voanews.com/a/russia-urged-end-torture-killing-gays-chechnya/3809377.html

In Sochi, Russian president Vladimir Putin met with German chancellor Angela Merkel. She expressed her concerns regarding the human rights crisis in Chechnya, and the climate in Russia, for humans who are gay or minorities. Her alarm over the human rights violations being reported motivated her to speak out against the actions of the regime. She asked the Mr. Putin to use his status to ensure greater protections for the rights of the people of Chechnya, particularly those being affected by the current actions of the government there.

“I asked President Putin to use his influence to protect these minority rights,” – Chancellor Merkel

A body that comes in with grass root material action in this situation is the Rainbow Railroad https://www.rainbowrailroad.ca/. They are assisting the situation by aiding those fleeing persecution and by extension seeking to save lives. They are working to facilitate the escape of persons at risk for torture, death, and worse. Currently, they count two completed “navigations” to safety, and have 30 more in process.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has named them as one of the organizations the Canadian government with whom work is being done in the effort to protect humans who are lgbtq.  Their efforts help to gain asylum. They are literally a life-line pipe-line.

Here in the United States, a group known as American Friends of Rainbow Railroad Inc set up a fundraiser to assist their efforts. The Facebook based campaign page is Helping Gay Men Flee Chechnya. The donations are to be aimed toward assisting the Rainbow Railroad with airfare, legal services, and temporary housing while the men are awaiting the granting of asylum in Canada.

As Pagans we often ask how we can make a difference on a local and world scale. The suffering of a single person is the suffering of humanity. By spreading the news of this atrocity, we can become a catalysts for action. Pagan activists are called to rally around this crisis. Whether a vigil, a prayer, a petition, a donation, or protest, all things are possible. All things are needful. All things make a difference.

Groovy Green Craft Practitioner Series: Pineapple Weed or Disc Mayweed

DISCLAIMER:  ALWAYS USE CAUTION WHEN IDENTIFYING PLANTS. USE YOUR FIELD GUIDES AND LEARN YOUR LATIN NAMES. WHEN IN DOUBT, FIND AN EXPERT. NO ARTICLE IN THIS SERIES IS INTENDED TO GIVE MEDICAL OR ANY OTHER ADVICE IN THE HEALING ARTS OTHER THAN THAT OF A LAY PERSON.

This uppity garden visitor is the diminutive Disc Mayweed, better known as Pineapple Weed (Matricaria discoidea). It pops up all over the cracks and cracks of your local sidewalks in many places here in Michigan. It is also fond of meadows where chamomile would like to grow. Indeed, this is only to be expected as it is often known as wild chamomile. I have found it often to be not far away from anywhere a cottonwood tree grows.

Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 vols. Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York. Vol. 3: 521. Public Domain

This plant has some real gumption. It seems to grow through spots that it should not be able to command. It can be found in every county of this beautiful Michigan mitten. This spirit is such that it bucked the system and decided to jump the big water over to the older countries form these shores.

This is one of the few weedy American plants that has apparently spread to (rather than from) Europe. – Herbarium, University of Michigan

By H. Zell (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

This groovy green visitor is good for munching, mending upset stomachs, and making money magicks. So grab your little linen sacks and start gathering them whilst most folks ignore the treasures in their own yards. Let us look at what this gem has in store for the teapot, the medicinal tisane, and the table altar.

Like a chamomile, it is best gathered in the earlier in the morning while it is still wet with dew. The younger the lacy leaves that you gather, the better it will be for your tastes. If you wait too long, it can turn just a might bitter. You know, like tax forms.

The plant has a distinct pineapple smell when you crush or bruise it. The taste is a bit sweeter than chamomile. Yes, that is why it is called what it is. It can be added to salads for a mellow addition to fruit and nuts. Strawberry and blackberry mix well with this in a nice acorn leaf blend to refresh the palate. GrowitCookitCanit has a fabulous recipe for Pineapple Weed Tea to pick you up when you just need a little bit of sunshine in a cup. Honey should be local, if you can get it.

For our healing handyfolks, we have a good deal of usage that may be gained from the addition of this golden and green sweetheart. According to Sarah at Midwest Permaculture, its uses include “include treating gastrointestinal upset and gas, infected sores, fevers, menstrual pain and postpartum anemia

Hmmm, that is quite a lot from a mighty mini. However, sometimes we ignore clues in our faces. But let us look a bit at the name of the plant itself for a revelation.

`Matricaria` stems from the Latin matrix meaning `mother` while `caria` is Latin for `dear`. This gives us `mother dear`.

This name refers to the medicinal use of pineapple weed for easing the pain of the menstrual cycle, as well as for treating colic in babies. –A Tea-Lover`s Soul Weed, by Jenny Harker

Prosperity magick is right up the alley of this plant you can find near the alley. Those golden heads can bring gold, so adding this to a prosperity working is a winner. It is also known as a plant that is good for domestic and familial harmony. So add to your floor washes to lift the home life. I would even consider weaving it into your early wreathes for your windows.

Now, I know we have had some good luck with finding songs about the herbs we are covering. But this time, we are just going to have to use the feeling and properties of the herb here for our inspiration for music. With that in mind, enjoy Katrina & The Waves, “Walking on Sunshine“.

 

Pagan Business News Interview with Elizabeth Ruth

An awesome interview with Elizabeth Ruth, Blitch, Rootworker/Conjurer, Diviner, Photographer, Instructional Designer, Writer, Miniature Addict. Listen as she tells her story of her life and her passion for promoting and supporting her people and how she rose from the ashes to become a spiritual advisor, root worker, teacher and successful business woman.
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