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[Witch Way] Volume #5 Issue #9 -- Lupercalia, The Original Valentine!
February 13, 2013
Hi, Happy Valentine's Day

Ken's Korner

Last month I talked about knowing what you really want as the first step to getting the life you desire. Let’s face it, most people really just don’t like the life they have. Sure, there are good things in their life, but as a whole, it’s just not satisfying. Witchcraft can help you get the life you’ve always wanted, but it takes work and desire.

This month we’re going to talk about your feelings of what is acceptable. While most people would like to have a better life, whatever they define better as, they don’t feel that it’s right to want more, or they feel that they don’t deserve better than they have. These people will never achieve a better life unless they change the way they think.

Last month we found the definition of selfish, it’s “relating to, or characterized by self-interest”. I would change that slightly to being selfish is an active self-interest. There’s nothing wrong with an active self-interest, as long as it’s not to the exclusion of others. We’re not talking about doing nothing for others, we’re talking about doing something for yourself as well as others.

Most people go through life on auto pilot. They wake up each morning, go to work, come home, maybe watch something inane on TV, then go to bed. That is the extent of their lives. They may get together with friends or family on the weekends, but even that doesn’t make for a very satisfying life. Most people are really no better off than the Serfs who tended the farms in medieval Europe. The difference is, you can change your lot in life, but you have to want to.

Change is frightening. It brings with it all manner of unknown situations, which is why most people say they hate change. The life you have is comforting, even if it’s not comfortable, because it’s known. You know where you’re at, and what your life is like. If that changes, what would happen? It could change for the worse, and you lose everything that makes you comfortable. That’s what most people fear, and that fear keeps them from ever trying anything different.

On the other hand, change could bring you everything you’ve ever wanted. Most people don’t believe that will happen. They see themselves as undeserving of good things, or they look back on their lives and see only the bad things change has brought them, and think that nothing good ever happens to them.

We as a species tend to remember much more of the bad things that happen in our lives, than the good. It’s the hard times that teach us what not to do. If you have a good life, and nothing negative ever happens to you, you aren’t learning any lessons, you’ve already learned them. Most of us however, haven’t been so fortunate, and we’ve had to go through more than a few hard lessons.

So even if change doesn’t bring you more of a positive life experience, it does benefit you if you learn the lesson it brings. That in itself teaches you not to make certain choices, so that you won’t have to relive the experience. Thus your life gets better because you’ve learned a valuable lesson in what not to do.

The other issue I see a lot of, is people who feel that they don’t deserve, or shouldn’t desire more than they already have. It’s as if they feel that the life they are given is the life they should have. They just aren’t one of the lucky ones who has a good life.

Really?!?

I thought you came to this Path because you weren’t getting what you needed from the spiritual journey you were previously on. So why are you bringing the moral attitudes of that spiritual Path to this one? This is the Path that teaches, ‘if it feels good, do it’. ‘All acts of love and pleasure are rituals to the Goddess’, and ‘if it harm none, do what you will’. There is nothing in anything I’ve ever read or been taught that states you must live the live you’ve been given.

You are a Witch. That means you have power, and you recognize it. If you won’t create a better life for yourself, who will? The Gods? The Gods don’t give you life changes, they help you by guiding you through the life changes you experience. If you listen to them. Everything that has ever happened in your life, good or bad, is due to the choices you’ve made. The Gods don’t give you riches, or a car, or a family life, or a better job, that’s for you to do on your own. The Gods will point out opportunities for these things. The Gods will show you what could be, but they won’t give you or anyone else these things. You must do that for yourself.

You don’t think you deserve a better life? Then there’s no need to worry, you’ll never have it. If you don’t believe that you deserve better than you have, you either have the perfect life, or you have a self esteem and self confidence issue. The entire point of any Spiritual Path, is to allow you to reach your full potential. No one ever said that to reach your full potential as a Witch, you have to give up material comforts. That’s for monks. I don’t know about you, but I’m no monk.

If you don’t deserve a better life, who does? Give me just a single name of someone who deserves a better life than you. Just one. We all hope our children have a better life than us, but that doesn’t exclude us from having the best life possible. Even the Christians say, “The Lord helps those who help themselves”. What does that mean? It means that the only one who can make things better for you, is you.

If you want something better out of your life, then you must make that happen. The first step is deciding what that better life looks like. You must figure out what it is you truly want from life. Next, you must realize that you deserve to have that kind of life. Not only is it ok to ask for that better life, it’s actually expected if you are to walk your Path. Witchcraft is a holistic spirituality. We don’t just focus on our spiritual life, we focus on the entirety of it. We don’t just strive to reach our full potential spiritually, we strive to reach our full potential physically, emotionally, and mentally as well.

Working toward the life you want, is walking your Path toward your full potential.

Blessed Be,
Ken

Ken Biles



Plant, Petals, & Potions

by Julie Andaverde

DISCLAIMER: It should be understood that Julie Andaverde is not a medical doctor, nor is Witch Way a medical journal. Some of the herbs and ingredients discussed in this column can be dangerous or even deadly if misused. Proportions and ratios discussed are based on personal observation and experience. Use of any herbs or ingredients is at your own discretion and risk. None of the information contained herein should be construed as medical advice. Always consult a trained medical professional.

Oh, how I love this time of year. The nights are slowly beginning to yield to the days which, ever so slowly, are getting warmer and longer. The birds outside my window are a-flutter with their love songs, mating rituals, and dances. Yes, it’s that time of the year again, when life begins to silently stir beneath the cold earth; the excitement and anticipation for the fertility of spring driving each of us to follow nature’s lead.

Yes, my dear Witches, February is upon us! The time for romance, love, sex, passion, and the flutter of heartbeats. Now let’s get magical, mischievous and discuss one of my favorite aphrodisiacs! The Damiana Plant

Herb: Damiana
Latin Name: Turnera Diffusa, Turnera Aphrodisiaca
Family: Turneraceae
Genus: Turnera
Species: diffusa, aphrodisiaca
Synonyms: Turnera microphylla
Common Names: Damiana, damiane, oreganillo, the bourrique, Mexican damiana, Mexican holly, damiana de Guerrero
Parts Used: Aerial parts, leaves
Gods and Goddesses: Ganesha, Kurma, Shu, Vishnu, Zeus, Artemis, Diana, Viracocha, Mama Quilla
Magical Uses: Aphrodisiac, Divination, Lust, Love, All Psychic Workings, Tantric/Sex Magick, Visionary Work

History and Folklore:

Damiana is an herb native to Mexico as well as Central and South America. It is a small shrub-type herb that grows 1-2 m high and bears aromatic, serrate leaves that are 10-25 cm long. Small yellow flowers bloom in early to late summer, which are then followed by small fruits with a sweet smell and fig-like flavor.

This plant grows along the ground, preferring dry, rocky areas, hot climates, and along coast lines. The medicinal part of the plant is its leaves, which are harvested during the flowering season. Turnera diffusa and T. aphrodisiaca are generally regarded as the same plant for most herbal uses. A closely-related species, T. ulmifolia, is similar in appearance, but it has different traditional medicinal uses. The botanical Latin name of the plant, Turnera aphrodisiaca, describes its ancient use as an aphrodisiac and is traditionally the most widely used species. It is considered an herb of the new world with the first written documentation of Damiana appearing in the chronicles of the Spanish missionary Jesus Maria de Salvatierra in 1699.

Salvatierra describes his encounters with Damiana in his manuscripts: the leaves being brewed in a liquid with sugar and used to enhance love-making. The Mayans have traditionally used this herb for evoking passion and love, which continues to be Damiana’s most famous attribute. Most Pagans are familiar with the herbal Damiana liqueur which is prepared by steeping the herb along with other herbs, spices, and honeys in alcohol. Damiana liqueurs are widely available commercially.

Magical Uses:

Parts of The Damiana PlantDamiana is magically associated with love, lust, and romance though it is also a visionary herb with properties to accentuate psychic abilities and affect levels of consciousness. It is a great herb to use for dream, trance, astral travel and visionary work. This plant is often associated to Venus due to its aphrodisiac qualities. However, considering its stimulant properties and the shape of the plant, some consider Damiana more closely associated to Mercury. Its use to quicken a romantic relationship also fits well with Mercury’s nature.

Ritually, Damiana is often used in love charms, spells, and myriad of ways in recipes. Kitchen witches can use this sweet-smelling herb to spice up cookies or bread for their lovers. The aroma will permeate the home with the scents of love, home, hearth and lends a wonderful earthy flavor. Sprinkle your cookies or bread with a little Lavender to heighten the effects! Use sparingly, however...we’ve all heard of love spells gone wrong. The same is true for baked goods! :) Remember that it’s as much about adding your intention while cooking and instilling your love into the food.

Sitting beside your Valentine next to a crackling fire? Throw a little Damiana into the flames for a boost! Again, use sparingly – Damiana when used in an incense or thrown into a fire creates a heavy smoke, so be sure to regulate well when used indoors. The Damiana combined with the element of Fire will call to Diana and Venus to lend their energies – like a moth to a flame! Try burning it with a little White Sandalwood for a sweet, romantic aroma. Because Damiana lends such a sweetness, it makes a wonderful addition to smoking blends, not to mention its purported uses as a psychoactive herb... ah, the psychoactives are always my favorites!

As a tea, Damiana is a great mood booster and stimulant. Mix with a bit of peppermint, clover, and ginger. This is a great alternative to caffeine without the harsh jitters, crash, and dehydration.

Medicinal uses:

Damiana has an affinity for the male and female reproductive systems, toning and restoring vitality to those organs. It has been used to increase low libido and its warming and spicy energy is sure to put anyone in the mood! Get a little nervous before love-making? The calming properties of Damiana will help you mentally prepare for love in addition to stimulating your nether-regions. Due to its warming and circulating properties in the pelvic region, Damiana can be used to alleviate gynecological problems such as pelvic stagnation and delayed menstruation. In Mexican folk healing, the herb is used to aid with dysmenorrhea (painful periods).

Damiana is an amazing nervous system tonic as well. Its overall restorative nature can be helpful when recovering from times of long-term stress and when the nervous system is depleted. Damiana's relaxing and uplifting qualities can be useful for anxiety, mild depression, and nervous exhaustion. Its combined influence on the nervous and reproductive system make it especially useful for depression and anxiety associated with sexual issues. One of its Mayan folk names is translated to “asthma-sweep” which alludes to its useful properties as an expectorant and antispasmodic.

Effects:

This aphrodisiac produces a marijuana-like high, euphoria, mental/psychic stimulation, and a definite increase in arousal. When taken orally, as in a tea or infusion, the effects are milder and softer than when smoked.

Duration of effects: When smoked, the effects last 1-2 hours. When ingested orally, the effects are much milder but last longer. Of course, the magical effects of the herb can last very long indeed...

Contraindications: Damiana has demonstrated mild hypoglycemic effects in animals. Persons with diabetes and hypoglycemia should use this plant with caution, as blood sugar levels should be monitored accordingly for this possible effect. Damiana is an abortifacient and should not be used during pregnancy. Damiana would be fine for use in incense, spells, and beauty products without harm.

CAUTION: DO NOT CONSUME DAMIANA IF PREGNANT OR DIABETIC.

So, I leave you with this my pretties: Take a cue from the universe! Seek shelter from the cold, turn the lights down low, cuddle up, and indulge in the sensuality that Damiana brings. I’m sure you’ll find…ahem…something to do to beat that cabin fever! Or use this magical herb to stimulate your senses, head out into the world, and let Damiana lure that special someone into your life!

Love, light, and blessings!
Julie Andaverde

Resources:

Alchemy Works
Amazing Nature
Erowid
Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine by Andrew Chevallier
The Book of Herbal Wisdom by Matthew Wood
The Desktop Guide to Herbal Medicine by Brigitte Mars
A Family Herbal by Rosemary Gladstar





The Witching Hour

by Marcus Leader

Empowering Your Magick Through The Assemblage Point

In past articles and on my radio show, The Shamans Brew, you have heard me talk about the assemblage point or awareness and the vital role it plays in the manipulation of human awareness. I have talked with you about the nature of this little known energetic spot in the human energy system and how it determines what we are able to perceive of the outside world. I have explained how the normally rigid position of this assemblage point locks our view of reality into what is considered “normal” by humanity as a whole. I have also explained how the fluid of movement and vacillation or vibration of this normally rigid focal point of energy is the primary difference between a psychic or medium and a “normal” non-psychic person. In this article I am going to explain how to start learning to manipulate your own assemblage point and train it to shift and vibrate allowing perceptions of other realities to filter into your own awareness in a controlled manner. This control over your assemblage point will do more than just allow you to perceive other realities, entities, and energies; it will also lead the way to channeling some of these other energies into your own magickal endeavors thereby super charging your magickal skills.

To give you a brief summary, I will explain the basics of what the assemblage point actually is and how it works. The emanations from the universe around us are perceived by each one of us as a series of complex energetic frequencies which enter into our personal energy fields, call it your aura, soul, spirit, or whatever name feels the best to you. Basically it is the energy that you are made of on all dimensional levels.

However, the emanations from the universe are vast, possibly infinite as they constitute not just our physical reality, but all dimensional realities. This bombardment of information in the form of energetic vibrations is far too overwhelming for our human minds to comprehend and digest and would lead us to immediate sensory overload thereby paralyzing us if we were to take in more than a small fraction of these emanations at one time. Through divine plan or evolutionary necessity, we humans have been spared this whitewash of energy as a result of the assemblage point.

The assemblage point is a place in the human energy system about 3 to 6 inches above either the right or left should blade of the back. I am not certain why it varies from right to left , but this is what has been observed in people for centuries. Our energies that make up who we are, are not amorphous, meaning that they do not comprise a simple field of energy without form, they are instead a vast and complex series of fibers running in an orderly fashion through the entirety of our being. Every fiber of our being runs through a cohesive point of intersection called the assemblage point. This assemblage point acts like a fine tuner of outside energy much like a tuner on a radio tunes in only one frequency at a time filtering out the millions that are out there. The position of our assemblage point in our energy fields determines exactly what frequencies get into our awareness and hold it there unless it is acted upon by outside forces or our own intentions from within.

All humans have the commonality of being tuned into the same frequencies which is a very good thing or we might all be out there alone not being able to perceive others. This is a failsafe system and only extreme trauma can cause it to drift away from the human condition for more than a few moments at a time. You may know people who have been unfortunate enough to have encountered this type of shock or trauma. Many of these people have been misdiagnosed with dementia or other catatonic conditions.

So then what is the benefit of intentionally shifting the assemblage point? Well first I should explain that there is nothing you can do to drive your assemblage point to a position where it will not return, so if you have concerns about that rest assured that it cannot be done from within only through extreme trauma. You might be wondering if a person with dementia or one in a catatonic state can be helped through assemblage point manipulation and the answer is yes to a certain degree depending on what the underlying conditions are for the personal shift. Shamans have done this kind of healing for centuries.

Armed with the knowledge that you cannot accidentally get lost or stuck in another reality, you can put your fears aside and discover the many miracles of assemblage point manipulation. This would include dramatically increasing your psychic abilities and communication with other entities as well as meeting with your own spiritual guides and teachers. It also leads to a closer bond with Deity. These actions are considered passive and very beneficial, but you can also take a more dynamic approach by shifting your assemblage point at will to allow a stream of pure life force energy to enter your own energy thereby increasing your ability to transmit personal power through focused human intention, known to many as magick!

By channeling energy in through the assemblage point you can build your intentions and then release it back through specific chakras through the manipulation of the assemblage point giving a supercharged blast of intention far more powerful than anything you can do under normal conditions. I know this may all sound complicated, and it actually is, but it is not as hard to do as it sounds.

I am writing a book entirely on the assemblage point because it is a very intricate topic, but for now, I am going to give you the first of a series of exercises designed by the shaman of my Toltec lineage for increasing the fluidity and movement of your own assemblage point. Think of it as stretching your energetic body before you start working out.

This is really quite simple and the perfect starting point in your own personal energetic evolution. You must first teach your body and mind a new way of seeing. Start by holding your arms out in front of you with your palms facing each other about 6 inches apart. Hold your thumbs up as though you are giving the thumbs up sign to someone. You should be looking at the backs of your thumbs. Now slightly cross your eyes to give you double vision and you will see 4 somewhat blurry thumbs.

Now adjust the eye crossings a little so that the inner two sets of thumbs move closer together and when you can hold them overlapping each other you will see something amazing. You will still see the two outside thumbs but the two inside overlapping thumbs will have formed a single thumb in the center and that image will become very focused and filled with such clarity of detail that you will think it is an actual real thumb when in fact it is a phantom thumb which does not exist! Try holding this vision as long as you can, but don’t overdo it the first few times. Eventually you will be able to hold this phantom thumb for as long as you wish.

What you are doing when you practice this new way of seeing is equivalent to stretching the rigidity of the assemblage point by perceiving a clear vision of something that does not exist. This stretching is completely safe but starts to give the assemblage point the ability to move a little laying the foundations for your further development and the next series of exercises coming in next month’s newsletter. One word of caution, do this exercise in private or you are going to have people thinking you have lost your mind when in reality you are expanding it.





Betwixt & Between

By Gwynalda Shadowalker

Greetings, and I hope that you had a lovely Imbolc.

As the Wheel of the Year turns from Winter to Spring here in the Northern hemisphere, we are transitioning from a period of dormancy to one of active growth. Soon, we shall plant those seeds of intent to make manifest our desires that will be harvested later in the year.

Traditionally, Imbolc marked the time when all the Yuletide greenery was cleared away and burnt so the hobgoblins wouldn’t haunt the house. It also kicked off the official “spring cleaning” frenzy. It was necessary to clear out the old so that the new would have space to grow.

Toward that end, I’d like to share with you a magickal method for cleansing crystals, gems and stones with Citrine. If you’re anything like many of the Witches that I know, you’re probably carrying around or wearing at least one or a few stones. If you’ve been doing so for a while, it might be time to clear those stones of any psychic “gook” that they’ve absorbed over time, so that they can better serve you.

Oh, and please note: if you choose to cleanse a stone that you’ve charged for a specific purpose as an amulet or talisman, you’ll need to re-charge it after it’s been cleared. Alternatively, you can add Citrine to your amulet or place it on a cluster of Citrine for a few nights rather than using the three-part cleansing method.

Crystal Cleansing with Citrine

Citrine is a form of coarse crystalline quartz (silicon dioxide) that has a yellowish or golden-brownish color due to inclusions of colloidal iron hydrates. Citrine turns white when heated and dark brown when exposed to X-rays. It’s found in Brazil, France, and Russia.

Magickally, Citrine fosters prosperity, creativity, generosity, pleasure, protection, strength, alignment, confidence, healing, stability, moderation, comfort, career success, truth, warmth, digestion, enjoyment of life, and spiritual growth.

In healing, Citrine is commonly associated with the third (solar plexus) chakra, or Manipura.

According to Love Is in the Earth by Melody, Citrine is one of only two types of minerals (the other is kyanite) that does not need to be cleansed regularly because it “does not hold and accumulate negative energy, but dissipates and transmutes it...” This makes Citrine a highly effective catalyst for cleansing and clearing other crystals and stones.

This cleansing technique uses sea salt, spring water, sun- and moon-light, and Citrine. I’ve successfully used this method to cleanse stones before charging them for a specific purpose in spell crafting. It’s also effective in clearing crystals that are regularly used to promote healing and aura fortification.

Materials: a small, deep, flat-bottomed clear glass bowl with a clear glass lid (novelty candy dishes work well); sea salt (‘tis best to use the fine-textured kind without iodine or other additives); a large number of small Citrine crystals and/or beads (enough to cover the bottom of the bowl about 3 times); several stones that you’d like to cleanse; a quart or so of spring water; a one-cup glass; measuring spoons; a regular spoon.

Directions: During a waning Moon, place one third of the Citrine beads on the bottom of the bowl to cover it. Place the stones that you want to cleanse on top of the Citrine layer, so they aren’t touching each other or the sides of the bowl, and so that they don’t stick up over the top.

Pour in some salt so that the Citrine beads are totally covered, and your stones are about one-fourth covered. Add another layer of Citrine beads. Pour in more salt so that your stones are about two-thirds covered. Add another layer of Citrine beads. Pour in more salt to cover the Citrine beads.

Place the uncovered bowl in a cool dark place where it won’t be disturbed for one to three days. After that time, remove your stones and the Citrine beads. Remove the salt. If you like, you can store the used salt with some of the Citrine beads in an open container, and then re-use it for future cleansings.

Rinse the bowl, your stones, and the Citrine beads with fresh spring water. Please note: certain stones— such as Malachite— shouldn’t get wet. Do some research to make sure that the stones you intend to cleanse will be alright.

Once again— while the Moon is still waning— place about a third of the Citrine beads in the bottom of the bowl, and your stones on top of the Citrine. Add the rest of the Citrine beads so that they are evenly distributed.

In the glass, add salt to the spring water (about one-half tablespoon per cup) and stir so that it completely dissolves. Pour the salt water into the bowl. You may need to mix up a second cup of salt water to cover all of the stones.

Place the uncovered bowl in a cool dark place where it won’t be disturbed for one to three days.

When the Moon is New and waxing, repeat the second process, but omit the salt from the fresh spring water. This time, place the uncovered bowl in a sunny/moonlit place, such as a South-facing window sill, for one to three days. (Oh, and remember to keep the bowl out of reach of curious kids and thirsty critters.)

You can store your stones with the Citrine beads in the covered glass bowl, so that they’ll be ready when needed.

Blessed Be—Gwynalda )O(





Trending Toward The Positive

By Evylyn Rose

The Positive Side of Grieving

The year 2012 came with some big changes for many of us. For some, we underwent many negative trials and spent much of our time feeling like we were getting buried underground and had to dig our way to the surface with our bare hands over and over again. As we enter into this new year, it is important that we take the time to stop and see what good has come from it all. This month, I want to share a personal story and the complications that can arise from grief even when effects are not expected.

Many people today are raised in what the average individual would consider a dysfunctional family. Some live with mild cases of dysfunction, whereas comparatively fewer of us suffered more extreme cases. While I do not pretend to have had the worse childhood and know that there are some cases far worse than that of my siblings and I, I have had to learn to cope and overcome years of various forms of abuse, mild brainwashing, and manipulation.

Rather than focus on the details of the household my siblings and I were born into in this life, this article is about my father. Gregory was a raging, physically abusive alcoholic years before I was born and after. In later years, thanks to the overwhelming message against domestic abuse to small children, my father learned to lock himself in his bedroom to avoid physically attacking in his consistent drunken state. He often did not work or quit good paying jobs. The only job he held for multiple years was one that did not care if he was drunk as long as he did his job and there were no complaints from customers.

In 2006, I cut all ties with Gregory. He had sent a disheveled email complaining he heard I did not call because I did not want to speak to a drunk. Truth be told, I am simply miserable at keeping in touch. Seeing an opportunity to remove a source of negativity from my life, I told him he was an abusive alcoholic and I did not appreciate his using my love for him as an excuse to continue drinking. I expressed that if he should ever seek professional help, I would be there to support him all the way, but, otherwise, I did not want to hear from him again. I never spoke a word to him and, after a couple years, he stopped sending cards.

On December 18, 2012, Gregory Joseph Hobbs, less than a month from his 50th birthday, died. The news came to me through my older brother. His back-to-back calls and text messages were clear indicators of a problem. As he told me what little he knew, I felt the tears form and we ended the call. I walked into my house, sat on the kitchen floor and cried. I didn’t know why I was crying. He was dead to me for years, so news of his actual death should not have had much of an impact.

After a few moments, I walked to my ancestor altar and lit some incense. I told my friend who was staying with me what had happened. He tried to cheer me up and we cracked several jokes about how both our fathers were probably reacting to the things we were saying. Another friend had texted me in reference to our conversation from that morning. I couldn’t think and text him simply that my father had died. He was at my door within five minutes.

That night, I made phone calls. Despite rarely keeping in touch with my family, I spent several hours talking and socializing with family members and friends. I spoke with my high school best friend, who reminded me of Gregory’s positive traits. He was a very generous man. We were always poor, so he didn’t have money, but he would give the shirt on his back away to someone who needed it. He was loyal, caring, and compassionate; all around a good man. His only selfish act was his drinking.

I had the unfortunate responsibility of informing my father’s older brother. Having lost his baby sister at a very young age, losing his second youngest brother in 2006, mother in 2010, and not knowing the whereabouts or condition of his youngest brother, I couldn’t bear to tell my uncle the news directly. I spoke to my aunt, his wife, instead. She gave answer to my tears: loss of hope.

As much of a dreamer as I can be, I am also realistic. I knew my father would never seek professional help. He would be a shattered alcoholic the rest of his life. However, with his death, there will never be any possibility of his attempting to get better. There will never be an opportunity in this lifetime for the bond between us to be repaired.

For the first time in nearly three years, I went back to the east coast to visit my family for Gregory’s funeral. The night I arrived, I learned that my father had quit drinking in the final months of his life. Granted, he quit because an accident left him on medications that, combined with alcohol, would kill him. It was like a stab in the heart. He quit drinking and no word of it came to me to support him; no rekindling of the love between father and daughter in the last months of his life.

I spent most of the week there socializing and distracting myself from my worries and processing my father’s death. After returning, I had moments of sadness, which I drowned out with other things. I continued distracting myself. Between other problems and grief, I spent a few days not even able to pull myself out of bed. The complicated situation of my past makes grieving difficult. How do you grieve someone who meant something to you at some point but is half the cause behind your PTSD?

As I am writing, the moon has entered into the first New Moon of 2013. This New Moon is in Capricorn and is demanding us to not only make plans but also to follow through on them. My To-Do list has grown to an overwhelming length.

Despite many items being a priority, my first priority is saying goodbye to a good man who made bad choices. Today, my father will be added to my ancestor altar. Gregory made a poor father and failed to be the strength, structure, and support we needed. Now that he is free of his limitations of his most recent life, he can now move onto making up for it in spirit. May his next life be filled with all the strength, courage, and peace he so lacked in this one.

I look back at 2012. I see the struggles I endured. I see lessons learned and lessons most definitely failed. Then, I see my father’s death. I reconnected with friends and family. I was brought face-to-face with love and support that I thought was missing from my life. I was provided with care, laughter, and understanding. To top off all these wonderful gifts from the Gods, I now have a new spirit ally as I am presented with a new opportunity to heal old wounds and forgive past hurts. Thank you, Dad.

Blessings,
Evy





Recipes for This Month's Herb

Damiana

Picture of The Damiana Plant

Preparations

Tea
One tablespoon of damiana per one cup of water. Pour just boiled water over the herb, cover, and let steep for 10 minutes. Strain and enjoy! Damiana is bitter, so the longer you steep it the bitterer it will become. To reduce the bitter taste, try combining with other herbs like peppermint, lemon balm, ginger, or cinnamon — whatever tastes good to you!

Love Liqueur
(Adapted from Rosemary Gladstar's Family Herbal)
A sweet and delightful drink to put you in the mood on those extra special nights! This recipe takes some time to infuse so prepare ahead of time.

Ingredients:
1 ounce damiana
2 cups vodka or brandy
1.5 cups spring water
1 cup honey
1 vanilla bean, chopped
Rose hydrosol (can substitute half an ounce of dried rose petals)
Chocolate syrup
Almond extract

Directions
Soak the damiana (and rose if using petals) in the alcohol for five days. Strain and save the liquid in a bottle. Soak the damiana you removed from the alcohol in spring water for 3 days. Strain and gently warm the water extract over low heat and dissolve the honey into it. Remove the pan from heat and add the alcohol extract and stir well. Add the chopped up vanilla bean and a touch of rose hydrosol for flavor . Pour into a jar/bottle and let it sit for at least 2 weeks or longer. The flavor will be at its best after a month. Strain the vanilla bean.

For each cup of the damiana liqueur add 1/2 cup of chocolate syrup, 2-3 drops of almond extract, and a touch more rose hydrosol.

Damiana Passion Incense

½ part Cinnamon
¼ part Ginger Root
2 ½ parts Damiana
A few drops Ylang Ylang essential oil







If you have an article you'd like to submit as a guest author for Witch Way, or for CyberWitchcraft, go to the Contact Page and click Submissions in the drop down box. Let me know what the article is about, and I will reply back to you so that you can attach it in an email.

Articles for Witch Way should be at least 500 words, and those for CyberWitchcraft should be around 2000 words.

If you have any comments or suggestions, you can go to the Contact Page on CyberWitchcraft, or simply reply to this email. This newsletter and the website are created for you, your thoughts and ideas are important to us.

Until next month, may you be blessed in all that you do, or as we usually say,

Blessed Be,
Graphic Signature

Ken Biles


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