Spell a Day – Feb 23rd 2016

Terminalia, an old Roman festival, was traditionally performed on the last day of the Roman year (Guess what, it was February). This was done to honor Terminus, the God of boundaries. His name, in Latin, actually means Boundary Stone. This was the guy you went to when you were trying to divide your land from your sneaky neighbors. This practice is believed to date back beyond 700BC to the reign of Rome’s first kings. Someone was worried about claims on their land I think.

The festival of Terminalia had neighbors laying garlands upon the boundary stone between their lands. They would erect an altar and make offerings. I think a wall or fence would have been more effective honestly.

Picture this: A rampaging barbarian is pillaging his way through the countryside with his clan. They come upon this strange pillar of stone covered in garlands of flowers. I don’t see him turning to his fellows and saying, “Gee whiz guys, they put this pretty rock up here and covered it with flowers. Maybe we should turn around and just go home.” No, he’s going to bash the rock down and stomp the flowers on his way to the house where he can loot the family who put their trust in a rock. Now, if once said barbarian touches the stone he is struck dead, then it might work. I just don’t see something like that happening here folks. If I am not around after this, it means Terminus took offense to my flippant scenario and struck me down.

Diocletian in 303 AD tried to use the festival of Terminalia to begin his culling of Christianity. I think we all see how that worked out for him. It is interesting that back in 500-600BC, mystics of the time checked to see if all the Gods of the altars on Capitoline Hill were content to have them moved for the purpose of the building of a new temple. Terminus apparently refused permission so they built the temple around his original altar.

Anyway. Today’s spell involved spilling some wine or herbal concoction along the boundary of your property or space to infuse it with protection. Personally, I think a fence is better protection from neighbor’s dogs or rampaging barbarians. The festival and feasting sounded like a good time in Rome’s early years. Perhaps there would be something to preventing the invasion of negative energy by blessing your boundaries or maybe just your altar space, if you have a permanent location setup.

Spell a Day – Feb 22nd 2016

Tea. Green Tea, Black Tea, Earl Grey Tea, Oolong Tea, or my personal favorite, old fashioned Southern Sweet Sun Tea. Where you take the giant glass jar, load it up with water, Lipton Tea bags and sugar, and set it out in the sun to brew. Once it is good and strong, you add ice cubes and stick it in the fridge. That takes me back to my childhood. Ah, a Carolina summer and a big glass of sweet iced tea…

iced-tea.jpg

Wait. Sorry about that Gentle Readers. I got distracted a moment. Today we are talking about tea. The origins of Tea are shrouded in Chinese history, with accounts dating back to at least 2700BC where it was a touted as a medicinal drink. Several legends, a couple thousand years, and the introduction of European traders to the region and we have an explosion of all things Tea.

Many people find Tea to be a relaxing beverage, something to calm the nerves and get you to settle down and just exist. A coworker at my day job enjoys several cups of hot tea throughout the day. He’s a little funny about his tea but he is a good guy. I don’t drink much hot tea, but my wife likes a cup every now and then, not so much right now. She is pregnant and the caffeine is not completely good for a developing baby so she has had to give up most of her herbal teas. Good trade off though in our opinion. We have been trying for so long.

GAH! There I go again, off on another tangent. Where I am going is that having a cup of tea can be very relaxing. Green and Black tea in particular are shown to have many benefits in fighting carcinogens, high blood pressure, arterial problems, and helping to lower stress levels. Sip a cup of your favorite tea and let the benefits soak into your body, pushing out the negative. Check out this blog that gives some suggestions for teas to try. Once I went to this little new age shop (I am sure you can find them in any largish city) where you could blend your own tea ingredients. I was having trouble sleeping so I took a little Chamomile and Lavender, threw in a little lemon for flavoring. Take a cup of really hot water and steep it until the water is cool enough to drink. I had one of those tea ball strainers like this one below I found on Walmart.com
teaball.jpg

Was a great blend, but I never could duplicate it a second time sadly. It was very relaxing and helped with my sleeplessness I was dealing with at the time. Regardless of your feelings about new age/neopagan religions, if you want to find a good tea, you should check out their shops. In person is great because you can see for yourself the freshness of the ingredients and perhaps even try a sample. Online shops would due in a pinch if you know what you like.

Until next time Gentle Readers, I raise a cup to your health and well-being.

Spell a Day – Feb 21st 2016

amethyst.jpg

Amethyst. A pretty purple stone associated as the birthstone of February. I am particularly fond of a creation story based on Ancient Greece. The tale comes to us compliments of Remy Belleau, a French poet. Dionysus, the God of wine and revelry, hotly pursued the maiden Amythste. Amythste flatly turned down the God’s advances, wishing to remain chaste and pure. The Goddess Diana, hearing the maiden’s plight, turned her to pure white stone. Out of respect for her wishes and beauty, Dionysus poured wine over the stone as an offering, staining the crystal purple. What a beautiful love story right? In actuality, this tale is not part of Ancient Greek writings. However, in the story of Dionysus as told by Nonnus, the Titan Rhea does gift Dionysus with a stone of amethyst to protect his sanity. I still like Remy’s version better, but I am a romantic at heart.

Amethyst is the birthstone of two of the most important women in my life. My grandmother, who helped raise me and I still look to her teachings for guidance in my life. The other being my beautiful wife.

The pretty purple stone is also associated with psychic powers, and is supposed to have a calming effect. For that reason I kept a small amethyst crystal cluster similar to the one pictured above on my desk at work for several years. I don’t know if it helped or not. It now resides on my home office desk where it reminds me of the important women in my life whose birthdays are in February. Sometimes belief in something is as powerful as the object actually having power, similar to a placebo effect.

Whether you believe in the power of amethyst or not, take time today to acknowledge your inner voice, your gut instinct. When it speaks to you, or manifests in any way, don’t ignore it or be afraid of it. Your inner power is nothing to be ashamed of. It just might help you through whatever trials you are facing. Until next time Gentle Readers. Take care of yourself, and each other.

Spell a Day – Feb 20th 2016

Today Gentle Readers we are working on growing closer to someone. I think this could be expanded beyond romantic interests. Our world could use a little growing closer to each other. So, in this spirit, I submit:

celebratedifferences
Borrowed this from a Blog I found, Me to the Power of We

I haven’t checked out the blog I found the image above on yet, but these words are especially important in our digital age. The world is a much smaller place than it was 300 years ago, at the beginning of the 1900s, or even just 34 years ago when I was born. The power of the internet and the speed of communication available today has opened the masses to peoples and cultures very different from our own. This should be a cause for joy and celebration. However, zealots of any sort can ruin this.

The United States of America has a long and checkered history when it comes to differences just within her own borders. Protestants and Catholics arguing over religion. Let’s not forget the Civil War. Technically it was State’s rights versus Central government, but let’s be honest, the bare bones of the conflict was over slavery. One group’s belief that they can own another person as property, either because of debt or because the person is different. Even today we have a broadening of acceptance for those that are different, yet zealots on either side cannot stop shouting their rhetoric long enough to just mind their own business.

Take one of the most zealot Presidential candidates we have for 2016, Ted Cruz. He actually said, “Gay Marriage leads to Christianity becoming hate speech”. How idiotic can you be? Because two men, or two women, want the same tax and secular benefits of a Man and Woman marriage has NOTHING to do with Christianity. This may be a country that has strong ties to Christianity, but we are not a religious country in the same way that some North African and many Middle Eastern countries are. As someone who has walked away from most organized religion, I think this is where people need a dose of “Mind your own damn business”.  If zealots of any religion (Christianity or otherwise) want to get involved in politics, they can start by paying taxes and giving up their tax exempt status. Once you start contributing other than to line an official’s pockets during campaign time, then you can start lobbying for laws. Until such a time as we are a theocracy, Shut the hell up. I agree with most of the teachings of Christianity/Judaism and even Islam. The three religions are not as different as the layman would believe. It is zealots who think that their interpretation is the only right interpretation that corrupt all three religions. I found this interesting article on some of the similarities between Christianity/Judaism/Islam.

I am not trying to get too political or religious here. I bring this all up to make a point: When we spend all this time railing against the small differences between people, we fail to see the similarities and celebrate the uniqueness in life. Just because someone may have some different views, or fall under a different category as you, it doesn’t mean that they are really all that different. In the words of each of the three major religions of the world, “peace be upon you” –  shalom aleichem in Judaism, pax vobiscum in Christianity, and salaam alaikum in Islam.  Until next time Gentle Readers, learn about your neighbors. Find that common ground (because I assure you it is there) and celebrate the differences instead of condemning them.

Spell a Day – Feb 19th 2016

cutitout
Courtesy of Write Your ScreenPlay Revision Tips

In the theme of a little more spring cleaning (thinking of yesterday’s Needs/Wants/Unimportant post), today it is time to Cut It Out. What is ‘it’ you ask? Great question my Gentle Readers. ‘It’ are the people, habits, or things in your life that are dragging down your happiness. They just aren’t worth the energy and effort wasted on them. Renew that resolution to quit smoking, or to get rid of the negative acquaintance you just can’t bring yourself to stop hanging out with. Misery loves company friends and if you let them drag you down you will just feel as miserable as they do.

Now, before I get blasted about cutting people from your life, recognize the type of people I am talking about. I don’t mean the good friend that is having a tough time. I am not talking about the friend that lost a loved one and is having a rough year. I am talking about the person in your social circle that seems to serve no purpose except to be negative. Perhaps they are a friend of a friend of a friend that just crept in and setup residence in your social neighborhood. You are under no obligation to solve their problems or make them happy. They have to want to be happy for themselves. Decline an invitation or two, or neglect to send one. Perhaps they will see what they are doing by their choice of attitude and make the steps necessary to change for the better. Some people just need that kick in the behind to jump start their own journey of betterment.

I leave you with this one last image, in honor of “Fuller House” bringing back some of the cast from “Full House” for those who are old enough to remember the show that gave rise to the Olsen Twins.

JoeyCutItOut.jpg

Spell a Day – Feb 18th 2016

Amazing how time flies doesn’t it Gentle Readers? I have once again fallen behind on these posts. I did manage to get three books read and reviewed, so there is that.

Today is about abundance and prosperity in your life. As Madonna said, we are living in a material world folks. Clutter clogs up our lives. I have boxes of stuff in my basement that I couldn’t even tell you what is down there, but NO WAY am I getting rid of it. That is just crazy talk. I might need that stuff at some point and then I would have to replace it. Remember when I said I don’t even know for sure what is in those boxes, yeah that is how this works.

If you focus on differentiating between your Needs and Wants, then you can spend your energy on things that will make you happier. In doing this, you will figure out what is not necessary or important in your life. Winter makes a great time to prioritize the “things” in your life and remove the clutter. Donate unwanted items to charity organizations that might have a use for them. You will feel better and remove stress from your life.

I suggest making a list, cliche’d I know, but visual aids lends accountability and help with being more honest about just where something belongs on the lists. You can be as vague or specific as you desire depending on how deep you want to go with this exercise. Clarifying what is important in your life is a small step to a better you in 2016. Until next time.

Book Review – A New Beginning by Christina Escue

anewbeginning
A New Beginning (Second Chance Series Book1)
Christina Escue
1 Star

I really wanted to love this story and I made myself finish it to be fair to the author but I just can’t give this any more than one star.
The idea of poor Karla Hall, abused and neglected, pulls at my heart. The problem is there is no problem. Other than a brief recounting of what happened to Karla, the rest of the book becomes page after page of people telling each other they love each other and how proud they are of Karla for her strength and maturity. See how I used ‘each other’ twice in the same sentence? Get used to that sort of thing in this book.
The dialogue between the characters is stilted and robotic. I may be far removed from being 14 anymore but even I know this doesn’t work.
Every situation that could have been cause for well developed teenage drama is smoothed over with a hug and an ‘I love you ‘. I kept reading hoping the author ended a chapter truly different but I was wrong. Closest thing to a villain is a teenage boy who needs an ass kicking before a trip to jail and we are denied even that.
I sincerely hope the author will keep trying but we are going to need a thesaurus IV and a content editor stat.