Happy (insert holiday here)!
Are you aware that there is a 6 day line up of events happening right
now? To be fair, most people are only aware of the middle four, but
there are six that I would call note worthy. February 13 saw the dark
moon at 9:51pm EST. Then February 14 is, of course, Valentines
Day and it is also the Chinese New Year (plus the Daytona
500, "lets go racing, boys!"). The 15th is the day we
observe Presidents Day this year. Tuesday, February 16,
is Fat Tuesday and the start of Mardi Gras so the next
day, February 17 is Ash Wednesday. On February 18 the Sun
enters Pisces and the Celtic Tree Month of Ash begins. There
you go....6, count em, 6 days of celebrating something that is
important to someone!
So what to write about? Thats easy. Last year I wrote about
2009 being the Year of the Ox so I had to write something about
2010 being the Year of the Tiger. In honor of Valentines Day I
will tell you a bit about one of my favorite, altho expensive, essential
I was looking back at some past newsletters and was reading the parts
when I brought Sandy
here. For any of you that are wondering, she is doing great. Instead
of being under the couch all the time, she is on
the couch most days. I put a throw on the couch for Brian (my boyfriend)
and I to use to keep warm when watching TV. Sandy thought it was great.
Brian didnt want cat hair all over it so I kept it folded on the
back of the couch and created a nice kitty bed for Sandy using "her
box" (cat owners understand this ) and a small blanket from
my aunts house that I brought with her. She like the box bed but
eyed the blanket. She would jump on the couch and paw at it and try
to drag it down. It took two weeks before she drove me crazy and I gave
up. Now she spends most of the day on "her blanket", sometimes
she burrows into it. Brian and I watch TV and freeze, but Sandy is happy
and purring. She really is a strange little kitty, I never know what
shell do next and she keeps me laughing. She now has a bunch of
store bought toys that she ignores most of the time. Ill put up
a pic of her on her blanket once this newsletter goes in the archive
(this newsletter service wont let me add one now).
Sandy peeking out from her blanket.
Chinese Year of the Metal Tiger
So what does the Year of the Tiger have in store for us? According
to The Handbook of Chinese Horoscopes, this....
"This is definitely an explosive year. It usually begins
with a bang and ends with a whimper. A year earmarked for war, disagreement
and disasters of all kinds. But it will also be a big, bold year.
Nothing will be done on a small, timid scale. Everything, good and
bad, can and will be carried to extremes. Fortunes can be made and
lost. If you take a chance, gamble for high stakes, but understand
that the odds are stacked against you.
People will do drastic and dramatic things on the spur of the
moment. It is not surprising that Watergate and the drama of Nixons
resignation culminated in the hotheaded year of the Tiger. Tempers
will flare all around and it will be a trying time for diplomacy.
Like the Tiger, we will tend to charge without thinking and end up
regretting our rashness.
Friendships, joint ventures, and deals requiring mutual trust
and cooperation made at this time are brittle and will be easily broken.
However, the forceful and vigorous Tiger year can also be used to
inject new life and vitality into lost causes, sinking ventures and
drab or failing industries. It will likewise be a time for massive
change, for the introduction of new and bold, especially highly controversial,
The fiery heat of the Tigers year will no doubt touch everyones
life. In spite of its negative aspects, we must realize that it could
have a cleansing effect. Just as intense heat is necessary to extract
precious metals from their ores, so the Tiger year can bring out the
best in us. Just one brief word of advice for this unpredictable year:
Hang on to your sense of humor and let things sizzle out!"
Wow. Sounds like a tough year. Just what we need....NOT! The above
is a general Tiger year outlook, it does not differentiate the elements
involved. So if you go online and find something about a metal tiger
year that does not match this exactly, dont go emailing me that
Im full of it, they both are right. One is just more general.
That being said, I encourage you to find out more about the Chinese
horoscope. It is really quite interesting and they go into more that
just the year. There is a 5 element cycle too so if two people are born
12 years apart and both are tigers they are not necessarily the same
sign as one could be a metal tiger and one could be a water tiger. They
also divide the year into 12 signs so for example Im a monkey
(month) snake (year). Cool, huh?
I found a fun website that will figure your animal for the day, month
and year you were born. For example, Im a brown pig (day)
born in the year of a green snake during the month of the green monkey.
It also tells you the corresponding element and energy (male/female).
I am female earth (day), male wood (month), and female
wood (year). To find your Chinese Zodiac Animals, go
here. This site has other fun stuff to waste time doing. If you
look into the Metal Tiger info, you can find out your lucky element
and how you will do this year. I love the little cartoons they use for
each animal sign. Here is a link to the home page, have fun! http://www.chinesefortunecalendar.com/Default.htm
A Rose is a Rose
I love the smell of roses. Real roses, not that awful artificial fragrance
they call rose. Rose essential oil is one of the most expensive
out there but it is worth it. My favorite is Bulgarian which I am
out of right now. I was only able to get Turkish rose when last I ordered
and it is nice but if given the choice, go with the Bulgarian and you
wont be disappointed. Why is it so expensive? It takes an actual
ton of petals to produce 11 ounces (300g) of essential oil. Seriously.
Think of how many petals that is. Wow.
I was always frustrated when I came across an oil blend recipe or a
spell that called for rose, it seemed to have been used often. That
was until I bit the bullet and bought 5ml of Bulgarian rose otto for
$78 a few years ago. I used it sparingly but found it very effective
in both skin care and spell work. I recently had to replace it and bought
both Turkish rose otto (5ml for $105) and Turkish rose absolute (5ml
for $45). I wondered, if rose was always so costly, why was it in such
widespread use? The answer is that it was not always so expensive. The
reason it takes so many rose petals to make oil now is that the scent
has been bred out of the rose. Thats right, they cross bred
roses to lessen the smell. My understanding is that this was done mainly
because the scent would be overpowering at a funeral or wedding where
there could be dozens of rose in one small room. Roses grown for making
oils contain more scent than those you purchase in a shop. The difference
between the smell of roses from an older plant and those in a shop is
amazing. Mankind thought they could improve on nature and now we are
paying the price, literally.
Of course, you can always substitute something else for rose in a recipe
or spell. You can use rose water, which is more reasonably priced or
you can make your own (do not use store bought roses, use unsprayed
ones grown by you or a friend to make rose water ). If a spell calls
for rose oil, see if you can tweak it to use either fresh or dried rose
petals instead. In soap or a bath product, dried rose petals can also
be used instead of oil but be sure they are just dried petals and not
coated with anything or dyed. Or you can find another oil that has the
same properties to substitute in a spell. For skin care, if you can
afford it go with the rose oil. I only put a drop or two in my facial
blend but it really makes a difference.
Rose is associated with Venus and either water (Cunningham)
or air (Heath). Magickally it is used for love, beauty,
clairvoyance, compassion, consecration, to contact other planes, divination,
luck, harmony & balance, peace, retention, secrets, and transformation
. Because it is so expensive and therefore a splurge for most of
us, I would say it makes the perfect oil to use when one needs love
of self or to see ones true beauty. Roses are so romantic that
I would include the oil in any spell aimed to strengthen the bond between
you and your lover.
Medicinally, rose is excellent for the skin, I use it
in my face oil blend. Rose tones the capillaries and stimulates circulation.
It is antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, tonic, antiviral, antidepressant,
aphrodisiac, sedative, diuretic, and has a purging action on toxins
and waste products. Rose balances and strengthens the digestive
system and can help to relieve nausea, vomiting, and constipation.
Soothes sore throats and eases coughs. As a tonic for the womb
it can alleviate premenstrual syndrome and regulate the menstrual
cycle (avoid during the first four months of pregnancy).
When buying essential oils the Latin name is important. For
one, it tells you it is truly an essential oil and not a fragrance oil.
Second, there can be many variations between species that effect the
scent and properties of a plant. For example, I found out that rosa
damascena petals are the most often used for perfumery and bath
products while rosa laevigata petals are never used but it is
the major source of rose hips for the food and herbal products industry.
The best roses for essential oil is rosa damascena and
rosa alba followed by rosa centifolia and rosa
gallica. There is a specific rose, rosa rubiginosa (syn. r. eglanteria),
whose oil is made from the seeds and is excellent for scars, burns and
I mentioned above that I bought both rose otto and absolute, they are
two different products from the same plant. Rose otto or attar
(can be called rose oil or rose essential oil) is the purer of
the two as it is steam or hydro distilled. This oil is best for
aromatherapy or therapeutic use. Rose absolute is produced by
solvent extraction, by which a solvent is used to extract the
plant molecules. The absolute still contains a bit of the solvent thus
it is not pure plant oil, it can irritate sensitive skin depending on
the solvent used and the quality of the finished product. Absolute also
has more rose scent, making it better for perfume or scenting uses.
Absolute is the cheaper of the two but dont think it is inferior,
it is still rose. If you want rose for scenting soaps, candles, or for
spell work, the absolute is the better choice. If you are looking to
create a skin oil or to treat a condition like depression, grief, or
for menstrual issues, go with the otto.
Interesting facts I uncovered: