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Shake Up Your Christmas Traditions

Christmas TraditionsIf you think about the Christmas period, it is just jam-packed with traditions. Most likely you have incorporated many of the traditions that your parents had in their homes when you were growing up.

But sometimes doing Christmas, or just the season in general the exact same way that you have always done, can be a bit anti-climactic, and for the women it can often be a stressful and exhausting time.

So, why not try shaking up your old traditions:

• Why not try setting out something different for Santa and the reindeers. If you don’t like mince-pies, carrots and sherry – then make it brandy and cookies, or chocolate and gin/tonic!

• If you always open your presents before breakfast, then why not extend the suspense and open them after the Queens speech… (more…)

The Tradition of Christmas Cards

Christmas CardsI have to confess that I love sending cards, whether it is birthday cards, thank you cards, new home cards or Christmas cards. I like everything about the process, the occasion it is celebrating, picking a card that suits that person, and sending it off with good wishes.

But the advent of modern technology, has meant that more and more people rely on electronic communications to send their good tidings. There are some good reasons for this, environmentally there is paper and card, some of which can’t be recycled, postage costs, as well as the time and effort it takes, when we are ever increasingly feeling crunched for time. (more…)

Botanicals for the Skin

BotanicalsIf you have been shopping lately for skin products, you may well have noticed the uplift in items containing restorative botanicals. You might be more familiar with botanicals like Rosehip and Lavender than you think, as they have recently been popular for use in soft drinks like tonic and alcoholic drinks like gin, but in fact, these botanicals are also very useful for the skin, and have been used for generations, and their use in cosmetics is now being highlighted.

So, what does each botanical do?

Argan

Argan is commonly found as a hair oil, and this is for good reason, in Morocco where it originates, it is used to protect from dry desert conditions. It is a natural form of vitamin E, and as such it is a great botanical to consider in autumn and winter when we are suffering with cooler weather and central heated homes. It is great for sensitive skin, and those that are prone to redness. You will find it in products aimed at your hair, cuticles and skin. (more…)

The Magic of Trees – Part 2

The Magic of TreesAutumn is the perfect time to explore the magic around trees, if you missed the first part of this post then click here first…

That will allow you to explore the Alder (Fearn), Ash (Nuinn), Birch (Beith), Elder (Ruis), Hawthorn (Huathe) and Hazel (Coll) trees.

Holly, Oak, Rowan and Yew:

Holly (Tinne); according to Welsh legend, the Oak and Holly King fought on the 1st May for supremacy. Of course, the Holly King rules the waning period from midsummer to midwinter solstice. Many of us will associate holly with the symbol of Christ, and it is also a popular decoration for Christmas. But originally holly was sacred to the Celts and Celtic God Taranis who would have carried a club made of holly, representing his power as a Thunder Giant.

(more…)

The Magic of Trees – Part 1

The Magic of TreesSacred trees are found in most cultures, just think about bringing in evergreens into our homes for Christmas each year.

So, below we explore some of the trees with their Ogham name, alongside their magical associations.

Alder (Fearn) is known as the ‘tree of fire’, but also as ‘Bran the Blessed’, named for the eldest son of Llyr – the Oak Father. Its magical abilities are tied up in controlling the elements, specifically the four winds. Traditionally wooden whistles were carved from its wood, and were used to summon its security and control against the weather.

Ash (Nuinn) is associated with seafaring and deities of the sea, and was even used as a charm to guard against drowning. Staves of the tree have been used to keep snakes away, as well as to treat sick farm animals. But the tree has also been used for protection on the land, with Irish immigrants taking it with them to America to offer protection, following the potato famine.

Birch (Beith); this tree is sacred to Mother Goddess, symbolising spring, new beginnings and re-birth. It is believed that this is the first tree to grow again after the Ice Age, so is long revered. In some countries like Russia at times of the year such as Whitsun a birch tree will be dressed in female clothing, to pay homage to the Goddess and the coming of summer.

Elder (Ruis) is connected to ‘other dimensions’ and the seeing of other-worldly, ghosts and magical creatures, especially around May eve, and if wearing a crown of elder twigs. If fact the tree has long been used as a guise by witches! But for others like Native North American Indians the elder is simply a tree of music.

Hawthorn (Huathe) is associated with Mars, Thor and Thunder Gods! It was planted around sacred boundaries to act as a shield from both psychic and physical harm. That said it is considered to bring very bad luck, if you bring Hawthorn blossoms into a home other than on May morning. But the twigs are thought to have exceptional healing powers, but only if gathered on Ascension Day.

Hazel (Coll); hazel rods have been used for many reasons – the Druids believed they were symbolic of wise judgement and authority. But Irishmen that had settled in America used them to keep snakes away. Staves were used in Viking courts to mark the perimeter. In Wales a hazel cap was fashioned, when worn it was said to bring about wishes. The nuts have long been considered a sign of fertility and traditionally brides were given a bag, and it was not unheard of for people to use them almost like confetti.

Come back next week to explore the remaining trees.

Ref: Encyclopedia of Magic & Ancient Wisdom

 

Do you know the Male Gods of Wisdom?

Male Gods of WisdomGreek mythology is full of tales of desire, heart-ache, life and death, they ruled heaven and earth and passed down their inherent wisdom giving lessons in morals, regret, love and forgiveness.

Why not delve into the masculine Gods with us, and see if you can apply a little bit of their logic to the men in your lives?

Apollo – God of Arts and of Prophecy

The message from Apollo is to embrace your creativity. Apollo was what we would call an old head on young shoulders, he had a gift for foresight from a young age. He was the son of Zeus and Leto, and people travelled to the Oracle at Delphi from all over the world to hear his prophecies. One of his reasons for embracing creative expression was for ridding the soul of toxic thoughts and feelings from the past, allowing a new and brighter future to unfold. (more…)

Puzzle

PUZZLE“Life is random, but when you finish a puzzle you know you’ve made all the right choices.”

The film PUZZLE is actually adapted from an Argentine film called ‘Rompecabezas’ the tile means puzzle in Spanish.

Agnes (played by our cover star Kelly Macdonald), has never ventured far from home or family, she was raised in a tight-nit immigrant community by her widowed father. Now in her early 40’s she finds herself somewhat adrift with a husband and children after focusing solely on their wants and needs.

As a birthday present Agnes receives a jigsaw puzzle, and finds that she is very good at it, and it gives her a heady thrill that she has not experienced in a long time. This is the beginning of a quiet but dramatic transformation of her life.

Robert is a wealthy inventor, and somewhat of a recluse, and Agnes meets him as a ‘puzzle partner’, recognising her talent for puzzles, he recruits her for a world jigsaw tournament. This is something that Agnes wants to pursue, but it means stepping away from her domestic bubble to go after a new hobby. Not everyone in the family embraces the change so enthusiastically. (more…)

Silence is Golden

Silence is GoldenWhen you were growing up were you told ‘silence is golden’, I didn’t really appreciate the sentiment as a youngster, thinking it was over-rated, along with ‘children should be seen and not heard’… But as it turns out, our very modern busy lives are filled with distraction and noise, and actually finding periods of peace and quiet can be our salvation!

Noise pollution is actually quite a threat to health, and it’s a difficult one to manage – you don’t physically see that noise is having an impact on the quality of your life, but in fact constantly living with noise can increase your blood pressure, reduce your concentration levels and productivity and disturb sleep to name a few.

Some noise comes externally, like building works, aeroplanes, traffic and so on, but other noise can be brought on by ourselves, by not switching off from modern technology. (more…)

Thrive this Summer

SummerAs I write this article England is in the throes of what can only be described as a heat-wave. It’s the glorious weather we can only dream about, and plenty of us pay good money each year to ensure we get some by holidaying abroad. But somehow when you are working, and trying to sleep at night, it’s all not so funny. So how can you thrive during summer rather than just survive?

Heat Stroke

Heat exhaustion is not just a possibility in foreign climes, it can happen just as easily at home… Typical symptoms are nausea, dizziness, cramps, thirst, tiredness, headache and even a fast pulse. It is caused by the body losing too much water and salt, through sweating, either due to extreme heat or maybe from playing sport in very hot weather. To guard against it happening, ensure that you stay well hydrated, try to eat more water rich foods in your diet (think cucumber and watermelon), and stay out of the sun during the height of the day between 11am-3pm, and seek shade where possible. If you do get caught out, then remove unnecessary clothes, lie down, get into as cool a place as possible, drink water, and try and cool the skin. (more…)

Understanding Crystals

Crystal HealingWhen you are thinking about purchasing a crystal, it can be helpful to understand how both the colour and the shape of the gem will impact the energy that it outputs.

Here are some examples of crystal colour categories and their meanings:

Silver/Grey tones represent transformation, change and sometimes invisibility.

Black tones offer protection, they are grounding and act as detoxifiers.

Brown gems can be used when you need to feel centred, they are purifying and are great for cleansing rituals.

Pink crystals represent love, they help with feelings of unease and apprehension. (more…)