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Magickal Musings From Infinite Flame

December 15, 2010
Define "wicked".....

 

New Candle, Show This Weekend, and Some Updates

I guess the hematite ring I mentioned in my last newsletter is still working as I have been extremely busy working on several projects. Throw in the holiday shopping and decorating and you can see why this newsletter is a few days after the dark moon. Since I missed the last dark moon (it was right after I sent out the Samhain/Halloween newsletter), I will try to make this one twice as interesting : )

First, I want to announce our new Shaman’s Offering Magickal Gel Candle. We actually made this one in November and it debuted at the Holistic Festival. The idea for the candle has been with us for over a year but it took time to get the ingredients just right. We were inspired when we attended a Shaman class last winter that is offered by Phoenix Honka through Sacred Sage. It was an awesome experience and I would highly recommend this class if you are interested in Shamanism. There are so many facets to the practice of Shamanism that we could create several candles to go with the energies. The drawback is that gel candles are not like solid wax candles and should not be burned for long periods of time. So we decided to create something that held the overall energies of Shamanism that one could use when practicing at home or for group rituals/meditations that were less than 2 hours long. The candle includes four sacred plants: tobacco, sage, sweetgrass, and blue corn. There is a Botswanna agate in each candle that has been drilled so once the candle is gone, it can be added to sacred jewelry or items used by the practitioner. Go to the Shaman’s Offering page on our site for more details.

I have decided to do the Holistic Festival this weekend at Gibraltar Trade Center in Mt. Clemens. Originally I was not going to do it but the Universe seems to be giving me the OK as all my shopping is done and decorating will be done tonight, very unusual as most years Brian and I are out at the stores the weekend before Christmas finishing up. So far the weather looks to be decent and that is the deciding factor as I drive from Novi to Mt. Clemens all three days. And to be honest, in this economy I need to take every opportunity to make some cash. There is not another show until February and who knows what the weather will be like then. Also at Gibraltar this weekend is the Gun & Knife Show and the Sports Card Show so there is something for everyone.**Altho everyone said their profits were down, we did have fun. I enjoyed talking to many people who came to the festival.

My last dark moon newsletter was about hematite. I have added pictures of my hematite to the archive page so be sure to check them out.

While reading one of the Nature’s Gift newsletters, I saw a link to an article about frankincense and cancer. If you have been reading my newsletters for a while, you may remember I wrote the Lughnasadh 2009 one about frankincense and my experience with skin cancer. Its nice to see some research supporting this and I hope it will lead to more awareness of natural cures.

As many of you may know, I am a freelance web site designer. I would like to announce a new site I have created for a friend who owns Dearborn Wig here in Michigan. The store is small but she has hundreds of wigs in many different styles and colors. She specializes in helping medical patients to keep that natural look if their treatments result in loss of hair. Wigs have come a long way and I was surprised at how natural they look and feel. If you or someone you know is looking for quality wigs, please direct them to Dearborn Wig in Dearborn Heights, Michigan. Or just take a look to see my web-weavin’ skills : )

Firs and Pines and Spruces....oh my!

So I thought I’d write about the properties of the Christmas/Yule trees that we bring into our houses at this time of year to decorate and honor through the season. Not an easy thing when you look closely at the Latin names of these evergreen trees. Those pines, firs and spruces are the same and yet they are different. They all belong to the Family Pinaceae, but have a different Genus and thus their uses and energies can vary.

I’ll start with the Firs, since my tree is usually a Balsam Fir. Fir trees belong to the genus Abies, which is made up of about 50 species of large conifers. Silver Fir, abies alba, was the original Christmas tree. Balsam Fir, abies balsamea, is my person favorite for a Yule tree and one of the first essential oils I purchased. It is not only aromatic, but an astringent and antiseptic oil that stimulates circulation and acts as a diuretic. It has been used in commercial mixtures for diarrhea but in excess it is purgative. Can be used in a mouthwash and is excellent in a bath for rheumatic pain. Oleo-resin from this tree is known as "Canada Balsam" or "Spruce Gum", which is used for chewing and in traditional North American medicine for chest infections, venereal disease, wounds and burns. This oleo-resin is used as a food flavoring and as a lens cement and sealing agent for mounting microscopic slides.

This year I had to get a Fraser Fir, abies fraseri, as there were not any balsams to be found. One source suggests that Fraser and Balsam are essentially the same species that has evolved according to their climates as they do not grow in the same areas. Its uses are very similar to the Balsam but are not used as much due to the difficulty in harvesting trees. It grows naturally only at elevations above 4,500 feet in the Southern Appalachian Mountains from southwest Virginia, through western North Carolina, and into eastern Tennessee. A number of stands occur in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Its highest native habitat is Mt. Mitchell, North Carolina (6,684 feet) which is the highest U.S. point east of the Mississippi River.

The Silver Fir, abies alba, is also called European silver fir as it is native to the mountains of Central & Southeastern Europe. Used internally as a diuretic and expectorant, found in many cold and cough remedies. Irritates the tissues, causing greater blood flow to the area. Externally it is used in rubbing oils and liniments, bath extracts, and for rheumatism and neuralgia. This fir is the source of honeydew honey which is regarded as a tonic in parts of Europe. Inner bark has been made into bread by Lapps and Eskimos. Source of oil of turpentine which is an important solvent in the paint industry. The residue is known as "rosin oil" and is used in the manufacture of varnishes, lacquers and carbon black (for pigments and ink).

Now lets discuss Pine trees, which belong to the genus Pinus. This includes about 120 species of evergreen coniferous trees and shrubs which occur in northern temperate regions like Central America, North Africa, and Southeast Asia. Various pines have been used medicinally from the earliest times. All are rich in resins and camphoraceous volatile oils which are strongly antiseptic and stimulant. Pine oil is extracted from the needles and branch tips. It is widely used in massage oils for muscular stiffness, sciatica and rheumatism and in vapor rubs for bronchial congestion. Pine also produces an oleo-resin of turpentine which is distilled to produce oil of turpentine or spirits of turpentine (not to be confused with petroleum based turpentine substitute).

Caution:Some pine oils can be toxic. ALWAYS check the Latin/botanical name to be sure you are using a safe oil. Dwarf Pine, pinus pumilio, is poisonous! NEVER ingest any essential oil or herb without doing in-dept research or consulting a herbologist.

Scots Pine, pinus sylvestris, is also sometimes called Scotch Pine here in the US. This tree has also been called a Scots Fir or Scotch Fir but it belongs in the pinus genus. Most pine essential oil is pinus sylvestris. This oil is bitter, aromatic, and warming, it acts as a diuretic and expectorant, improves blood flow locally, and has a tonic effect on the nerves. It is strongly antiseptic. Used internally for urinary and respiratory tract infections and gall bladder ailments. Externally for arthritis, rheumatism, sciatica, poor circulation, bronchitis, mucus, sinusitis, asthma, pneumonia, acne, fatigue, and nervous exhaustion. The oil and tar from this tree are added to disinfectants, bath preparations, detergents, and preparations to stimulate hair growth. Caution: Can irritate sensitive skin and should not be used on children or the elderly. Avoid using this oil if you have high blood pressure as it can increase blood flow.

I was able to uncover some interesting facts about Scotch Pine, pinus sylvestris:

  • Was used in religious ceremonies in ancient Greece, Egypt, and Arabia

  • Needles were burned to clear away infections and insects

  • Ancient Romans ate pine kernels in bread as a restorative

  • Pine needle mattresses are still used as a remedy for rheumatism in the Swiss Alps

  • Native Americans used pine needles in bedding to repel lice and fleas.

  • They also mixed pine twigs with cedar and juniper for use as a purification incense.

  • Refreshes a tired mind, alleviates fatigue, nervous exhaustion, and overcomes feelings of weakness and self-doubt

Spruce belongs to the genus picea, which includes about 35 species. Spruces are large trees, from 20–60 meters (66–200 ft) tall when mature. Scientists have found Norway Spruce in the mountains in western Sweden, nicknamed Old Tjikko, which at an age of 9,550 years are claimed to be the world's oldest known living trees. Spruce is one of the most important woods for paper uses, as it has long wood fibers which bind together to make strong paper. Spruces are cultivated over vast areas for this purpose. Also, spruce is useful as a building wood, used for many purposes, ranging from general construction work and crates to highly specialized uses in wooden aircraft and many musical instruments called tonewood, including guitars, mandolins, cellos, violins, and the soundboard at the heart of a piano. The Wright brother’s first aircraft was built of spruce. Because this species has no insect or decay resistance qualities after logging, it is generally recommended for construction purposes as indoor use only (ex. indoor drywall framing). Spruce wood, when left outside can not be expected to last more than 12–18 months depending on the type of climate it is exposed to. The resin was used in the manufacture of pitch. Native Americans in New England also used the sap to make a gum which was used for various reasons, and which was the basis of the first commercial production of chewing gum. In survival situations spruce needles can be directly ingested or boiled into a tea. This replaces large amounts of vitamin C.

White Spruce, picea glauca, is native to Alaska and most of Canada, and can be found in parts of the US including Northern Michigan. It is also known as Canadian spruce, skunk spruce, cat spruce, Black Hills spruce, western white spruce, Alberta white spruce, and Porsild spruce. It is mainly used for paper-making and for lumber.

Black Spruce, picea mariana, can be found in the same areas as white spruce. It is a smaller tree and is used mostly for making paper.

Blue Spruce, or Colorado Blue Spruce, picea pungens, is found in Colorado, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Idaho, and Wyoming. It is the state tree of Utah and Colorado.

Red Spruce, picea rubens, is found in eastern North America, from Quebec down to Northern Carolina. It is used for Christmas trees and paper-making. The wood is used to made higher-end acoustic guitars. The sap can be used to make spruce gum. Leafy red spruce twigs are boiled as a part of making spruce beer. It is the Provincial tree of Nova Scotia.

My herbal books do not have spruces in them. After researching, my guess is because spruces do not seem to be used medicinally. Thus I would advise all of you to NEVER take spruce oils internally. Yes, I realize the sap is used for gum and the needles can be made into tea, but the lack of more info makes me err on the side of caution, especially as essential oils are higher in concentration.

Evergreen Magick

I So how do we use these trees in rituals, spells, and magick? First we need to know the metaphysical properties of each.

Balsam Fir - element Air, planet Mercury - clarity, prosperity, money

Evergreen - element Fire, planet Sun - calming, clarity, comforting, healing, prosperity, money, protection, purification, strength

Pine - element Fire/Air, planet Mars - banishing, cleansing, healing, love, fertility, prosperity, money, protection, purification, regeneration, strength, physical and magickal energy

Spruce - element Earth, planet Saturn - love, fertility, protection, psychic protection, strength

*The only fir I have references for is balsam. Evergreen is a separate entry in Magickal Oils by Moonlight, most likely because some oils are marked "Evergreen".

Since I have used these for prosperity, I’ll start with that. Needles from any of these trees are a perfect addition to your prosperity incense, herb pouch, or even put a few (3, 9, whatever number is strong for you) in your wallet or checkbook to draw money to you. This is the time of year to find pine scented candles so stock up! I purchased 50 green pine-scented tea lights at Walgreens for only $4. They have cinnamon too, another good prosperity herb. These are great for money spells as they burn down in one night. Do not worry if they are artificially scented, you can always anoint them with pine/fir/spruce oil when you use them if you are not sure. Most are probably true scent as the oils are not that costly to use, and they come in all shades of green. Add essential oils of any of these trees to your prosperity oil blend creation or use the oil by itself. You can infuse your business cards, phamplets and other paper material by placing them in an air tight box with a cotton ball that has a few drops of oil. Best not to let the cotton ball touch the papers or there might be a stain, just having it in the container should infuse the scent. For extra oomph, place them in the box on the night before the full moon and leave them in the moonlight the night before, of, and after the full moon. As this oil can irritate the skin, do not anoint yourself with the oil alone. Always add a carrier oil when creating an anointing oil.

Just setting up the tree into your house will bring protection. If you feel you need to do more, you can burn some of the needles in a censor and carry it through your house (this works for purification too). Save some needles for use throughout the year, they burn better when dried. If you do not want to burn stuff, or if they are too fresh, you can put a cutting from the tree in each room to bring the energies through the whole house. Either incorporate them into your decorations or place in a hidden area if you live with people who do not recognize the energies and would think it weird. I like to add pieces of the tree to the potpourri in the house. Hang a wreath of fresh branches on your door to ward away those who would bring harm. In the past, I have weaved fresh trimmings into the cords for the lights on my porch.

All of the protection uses can also bring purification, just set your intent. If you cleanse your house with sage or incense, you can use a small branch from your tree to sweep the smoke as you go. Put a few drops of essential oil in a burner and as the scent fills the room it will purify the air. Put a few drops of oil in your bathwater for a purifying and healing bath.

For strength, healing, clarity, calming, and the other uses, any aromatherapy technique will work. Just walking into your house and smelling the fresh pine/fir/spruce scent will uplift your spirits. Add some drops of the oil to freshen up your potpourri. If you have to use an artificial tree, you can purchase pine scented ornaments and things. I would not recommend adding essential oil directly to your artificial tree as the oil may react with the plastic or other materials. If you decorate your tree with ribbon, create a spray using distilled water and a few drops of essential oil and spray the ribbon. Let dry before putting on the tree. This would work with any fabric ornaments you use. You could buy some cheap fabric ornaments and put some drops on them. If you don’t like them, hang in the back of the tree, the scent will still come through. Then you can throw them away after the season if the oils ruined them.

There are many uses for the parts of your tree and the essential oils. Get creative and soon your protected, purified house will smell like a pine forest, bringing you comfort, strength and health.

**I added this info in a short newsletter sent on December 22:

Right after I sent the newsletter last week, I went to the post office and found out they are selling evergreen stamps! These are the Forever stamps and they are very pretty. I'm thinking there has to be a way to use these to increase prosperity. Maybe use these stamps when mailing out invoices to clients or when paying bills. Use them if you do promotional mailings. You can share the prosperity by using them whenever you mail to your favorite business (I don't know why you might snail-mail when you can e-mail... but work with me here!) and be sure to use them when sending out holiday cards to spread the energies to friends and family.

While catching up on e-mails today, I found this tip in the Daily Feng Shui newsletter by Ellen Whitehurst, you can sign up at Astrology.com.

"As well, green promotes peace and plenty, while evergreen itself is said to be able to absorb any negative vibes lingering around the house. Hanging an evergreen branch or bough above the door at any time of year has long been believed to keep negativity and evil at bay while allowing peace and prosperity to enter. "

I saved the trimmings from my tree and now I know just what to do with them: I'll be creating a nice evergreen door topper this afternoon!

Since Yule is next week and I not only have my day job and computer work but I went insane and decided to do Gibraltar and I have to plan and clean for our Yule ritual next week.....there will not be a Yule newsletter. I invite you to read my Yule 2008 newsletter. I might have time between Christmas and New Years to send one out but if not....

Have a Blessed Yule, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Peaceful Kawanzaa, Joyous Saturnalia, Festive Festivus! (did I miss any??)

~~~~Rhiannon Rose @--^--

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Moon Phases
& Sign

Dark Moon in Sagittarius:
December 5 - 12:36pm

Mercury in Retrograde:
December 10 7:04am
Until December 30 2:21am

1st Quarter in Pisces:
December 13 - 8:59am

December 21:
Full Void-of-Course: 3:13am
Lunar Eclipse: 3:17am
Moon enters Cancer: 4:22am
Sun enters Capricorn: 6:38pm
Yule/ Winter Solstice

Last Quarter in Libra:
December 27 - 11:18pm

*A full moon lunar eclipse on a solstice would normally be a time for some great magick, but not this one. The moon is void-of-course during the eclipse. For those who do not know, this means the moon is between signs and the energy at this time is uncertain. Activities or spells that are started during this time rarely come to fruition or turn out much differently than anticipated. Throw in Mercury in Retrograde and you have some really unsteady energy flowing on this night. If you want to capture this energy anyways, be sure your workings are finished before 3:13am or begin sometime after 4:22am when the moon has entered Cancer.


Credit and
Butt-Kissing

Llewellyn's Witches Datebook for all moon phases

The Herb Society of America New Encyclopedia of Herbs and Their Uses by Deni Brown

Aromatherapy, An Illustrated Guide by Clare Walters

Magical Oils by Moonlight by Maya Heath

Magical Aromatherapy by Scott Cunningham

Fraser Fir Info

Wikipedia: Spruce

Out of time! Insert your favorite Chrismas song's lyrics here....

 

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