Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Lotus Tree/Flower by Stormloverwolf

Lotus by Stormloverwolf

As I was studying the Ancient Goddess Nuit of Egypt (see previous blog post), I was interested in finding out about the different trees and plants that grew there.  I imagined much beauty there, so I decided to do some research on the Lotus Tree and the Lotus Flower.

Let me introduce you to the Lotus Tree...

The original native place of lotus is south Europe and Himalayan mountains north of China.  It is naturally grown in Egypt in the Sinai Peninsula, Eba mouton, Nubia, besides Ethiopia and the Arabian Peninsula.  One of the largest valleys in Sinai is known as the Valley of Lotus, as it has been cultivated in Egypt since the oldest ages.

It was well known to the Egyptian Pharaohs as Nebes.  In the past Egypt, lotus fruit was cultivated in all homes, in their court yards.  Lotus trees nowadays grow in Upper Egypt.  They are shady, and the wood is used for making agricultural tools, furniture and also in building supplies.

The Lotus fruit is sweet and has a nice scent to it, most Egyptians like to eat it.  The lotus tree slowly grows with large branches.  The leaves are permanently green.  They are oval and glossy.  The neck of the leaf is reddish green.  The branches are hanging with sharp nails.  The fruits are small and yellowish.   They are grown in autumn and are similar to an apple in shape.  It's fruits diameter is 2 cm.  It is very tasty when ripe.

Lotus Flowers -

The flowers and the leaves all appear to be reaching for the sun.  The petals of the flower close and open with the sunshine.  The leaves and pods remain upright, facing the sky until they bend at some point in the stem when they are dying or ripening.  Then these parts of the plant seem to return to the surface of the water, back into the depths at their roots.  They prefer the still water of lakes and ponds in deep dense clay/mud.

The Lotus embodies all four elements.  The plant springs from the Earth and must be very firmly rooted there.  Water is necessary to sustain the plant and the stalks are hollow and filled with milky sap when growing.  The leaves and flowers rise from the depths and are held above the water's surface, representing Air.  Also, the orientation of the leaves and flowers until they dry is upward, reaching into the air.  The flowers and leaves unfurl, representing transformation of Fire. 

In Summer, or the season of Fire, is when the Lotus blossoms.  In spring, and through the summer, the plant is vigorously growing, enjoying the warmth and humidity.  In fall, the Lotus leaves wither, the seeds within the pods ripen and eventually bend down to release the seeds.  During winter, the plant sleeps beneath the water's surface with dormant roots.

Lotus for Magical use -

This beautiful flower is sacred to Lakshmi, Goddess of prosperity; brings material and spiritual abundance.  It is the symbol of spirituality and the centre of the universe.  Lotus has been used to invoke Isis, Osiris, and Hermes.  Anoint a candle with the oil or wash a wash of the flowers for spiritual protection and cleansing.  Breathe in the wonderful scent for your protection or place a piece of the root under the tongue and say “SIGN, ARGIS” in the direction of a locked door and it might open for you.  You can use the seeds or pods as antidotes to love spells and carried or worn to attract luck and the blessings of the Gods.  Lotus is associated with both amber and aquamarine.

Lotus for Personal Growth -

The beauty symbolizes purity, peace and serenity.  It's physiology of reaching into the murk for nutrition and flowering in the sun symbolizes embracing our true inner self with loving respect.  It calms the mind and subdues restlessness.  The seeds open the heart centre, aid devotion and aspiration and improve speech and concentration.  The root opens the root chakra and helps us to listen to and with the heart.

Medicinal uses of Lotus Seed and other Lotus Plant Parts -

Lotus seeds are classified as astringents, being sweet and neutral, and benefiting the spleen, kidney and heart.  The sweet taste and nourishing qualities of the seed are responsible for the benefit to the spleen, this helps stop diarrhoea associated with qi deficiency.  The astringent quality helps prevent loss of kidney essence, so the seeds are used to treat weak sexual function in men and leukorrhea in women.  The seeds also have calming properties and alleviate restlessness, palpitations and insomnia (more so in the whole seed with embryo).  The medicinal dosage is 6-15 grams when it is combined with other herbs that have similar applications and double that when used as the main ingredient.

All parts of the plant are used.  The leaf juice is used in the treatment of diarrhoea and is doct0red with liquorice for the treatment of sunstroke.  The flowers are recommended as a cardiac tonic.  A decoction of the floral receptacle is used in the treatment of abdominal cramps.  The flower stalk is haemostatic meaning able to stop blood flow and is used in bleeding gastric ulcers, excessive menstruation, post-partum haemorrhage.  There are several uses for all parts of this beautiful plant, I urge you to research them.
** Please refer to a qualified practitioner before ingesting any herbal remedies.

Lotus used as Food -

The seeds are roasted or candied for eating directly, made into a paste for producing sauces and cake fillings (in mid-autumn it is customary to serve “moon cakes” which have a filling made of lotus seeds and walnuts); and cooked in soups, usually with chicken or beans.

The lotus root is sweet and can be eaten as fruit, sliced and stir fried, or stuffed with glutinous rice in its flue-shaped holes and steamed as dessert.  Tender young lotus roots are good for salads while starchy mature lotus roots are good for making soups.  Lotus root can also be candied, pickled or deep-fried.

A delicious and simple way to prepare lotus root:  peel roots and slice crosswise.  Sauté in oil over medium high heat (peanut oil works well), stirring constantly, for 10 to 15 minutes.  Add a little sesame oil, a little soy sauce, a small pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar, stir quickly to combine and coat slices.  When lotus is “al-dente”, add a handful of snow peas, sauté till they are bright green, then serve.

**Please make sure you have identified the lotus correctly before eating!



Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Beltane Ritual by StormloverWolf

Beltane Ritual by StormloverWolf

Colours: The deep plum of wine/grapes, gold for the returning of our beautiful sun, green for the lovely fields of grass and white for the purity of love.

Items Needed: One tea lite candle for each person at the ritual. Ribbons in the above colours, or the colours of your choice that represent Beltane to you about 12 inches in length, a stick of wood for a handle to secure the ribbons to hopefully found loose on the ground. If you need to trim from a tree, please make sure to ask its permission first.

Altar: Cloth of gold. A shell to hold water for the West. A green candle for fire for the South. A few rocks and a bit of earth to represent North and sandalwood incense for air for the East.

Walking Deosil to open the circle: “As I walk our circle I sprinkle sea salted water to not only give us strength within, but a barrier in which we can be safe to join our forces and be successful in our work.”

Casting Circle: “I cast this circle now one time, so Ancient One's will hear my rhyme. I cast this circle now times two, for hidden wonders and secret truths. I cast this circle three times round, and now declare this sacred ground.”

Calling Quarters: “To the East, I call to thee fill my visions and set us free. Share your strength, build it strong, that we may succeed in this day’s throng. Hail and Welcome!”

To the South I turn my gaze, bright the lights and clear the haze. Strengthen our will, keep it sound, that we may succeed all around. Hail and Welcome!”

To the West and water, I turn to now, feeling the spray upon my brow. Clear our minds and help bend our ways. Stand strong with us and increase our stays that we will succeed in all our days. Hail and Welcome!”

To the North I do now turn, for our mighty Earth will help us learn. Bring us your will to see things through. Aid in our work and all that we do. Help us find our dreams and make them come true. Hail and Welcome.”

Calling the Goddess: Goddess beautiful, Goddess true. Join us in honouring the Beltane fires through. That we may join the throng of love, passion and bring our hearts together as one, for the promises of the future have now begun. Hail and Welcome!”

Calling the God: Great God we ask that you join with us in our Beltane Rite. We call to our fires, our passions and the light. Stand with us and join us now, we honour you come be with us now. Hail and Welcome!”

Introduction: Beltane, the festival of passion, a celebration of fertility. When the stag races through the woods to join and marry our beautiful Goddess.

We join our hearts with the intent to call a bountiful harvest to come. We honour the Beltane fires not only calling the warmth and brightness of the Sun so desperately needed for the coming seasons, but for these beautiful fires to inspire our own passions – not only in love of one another but our beautiful earth. The animals mate and bring forth their young, our plants, trees and flowers share pollen and strengthen each other that we might continue to live on our beautiful planet.

Work: Gather your ribbons and your wooden sticks. With having a friend to hold the stick, or if by yourself, set the stick somewhere where you can have it secure and do this yourself. Secure each ribbon with a knot at the top of the wood, move around the diameter of the stick. With each colour as you begin to braid the ribbons, think over what you are passionate about. Your sweetheart, your children, your families, your homes, your gardens, your work. Imagine the fires of Beltane rising higher and higher with each thought. You can braid all of the ribbons or do just part of them so that there is a “tail” of free ones. I enjoy re-braiding mine each year and find that small children loved to play with them. Honour your lives, what you have accomplished thus far, and that which you still intend to do. Set your goals and find ways to reach them. Let the rising flames of Beltane remain in your heart along with your passions.

“May this Maypole of Beltane be a constant reminder to us to continue to follow our passions, succeed in our goals and never give up. Blessed Be!”

Releasing the God: “Great God we thank you for your presence, love and passion. We are grateful for you in our daily lives. Hail and Farewell!”

Releasing the Goddess: “Beautiful Goddess, thank you for joining us this day. We honour you and strive to carry goodness in our hearts, Hail and Farewell!”

Release the Quarters:

Spirit of the North, of might mountains, Stag and Bear. We thank you for your presence this day. Hail and Farewell!”

Spirit of the West, water so nourishing and refreshing. Thank you for your presence this day. Hail and Farewell!”

Spirit of the South, the mighty fire and heat. Thank you for your presence this day. Hail and Farewell!”

Spirit of the East, the breeze that clears the cobwebs from our minds that we may realize our possibilities. Thank you for your presence this day. Hail and Farewell!”

In closing: To each and every one of you here this day for our blessed Beltane ritual. Thank you for your love and strength in our work today. May we be ever mindful for all that we have in our lives. May we go forth as the Wheel turns and be of help to those in need, share our love and passions and bring forth positive feelings and work for our beautiful planet. Blessed Be!”

Open Circle: Walking Widdershins, I now open this circle. May the work we began this day carry in our hearts and minds through the summer months bringing us great bounty to sustain us through the cold winter months to come. May this circle be open, but never broken. Blessed Be!”

Monday, 23 April 2018

Goddess Sati by Gypsy Willowmoon

Goddess Sati by Gypsy Willowmoon 

Goddess of longevity, marital bliss & menstruation.

An aspect of Parvati, or Goddess Adi Shakti.

Said to be very fiery and have a nasty temper.

Sati took human form at the bidding of the God Brahma. Sati was born as daughter of Daksha Prajapati and his wife Prasuti.

Daksha was considered the son of Brahma, a great King and magnate. as the daughter of Daksha, she is also known as Dakshayani.

Sati is first consort to Shiva, with Parvati second.

According to Indian legend, the Goddess Sati also known as Kamakhya - committed suicide because her Father insulted her husband Shiva. Shiva, insane with rage, picked up Sati's body placing it on his shoulders, as he performed the tandav or 'dance of destruction'. The God Vishnu, who did not want the cosmos to be destroyed by Shivas dancing, cut Sati's body into pieces and scattered them around the earth.

Everywhere a piece of her body fell, a shrine for the Goddess was built. Her vagina(yoni) and womb fell on the Kamakhya hill in Assam, which is now home to the Kamakhya temple.  Goddess Sati is worshipped here in a natural cave (the womb), in the shape of a yoni -like rock with a spring.

The temple is said to be one of 108 shakti peeths.

Once a year, in June, the temple, situated in Guwahati, Assam, India - Remains closed for 3 days as the spring water turns red: The Goddess bleeds...

No one knows how or why this happens, always during the monsoon.
Some say the red colour, is due to iron oxidation. Whilst others say the Temple's Priests dye it with vermillion powder...

People use this time to celebrate the fertility of the earth and female life power. Devotees of Sati can receive ' prasads' which are pieces of cloth dipped into the Goddess' menstrual blood. Said to bring power and Good luck.

The God of love, Kamadeva had lost his virility due to a curse. He sought out Sati's womb and genitals and was freed from the curse. This is said to be where 'love' gained potency.

Some say the temple is where Shiva and Sati had their romantic liaisons...

image - wikipedia