Monday, July 30, 2012

Meatless Monday

So last night I made the hubby spaghetti.  Since I have changed my eating habits this past year, I don't really care for it anymore.  Definitely don't miss the ground beef.  So this is what I made myself.

What is it exactly?

Well it is my version of a RAW spaghetti.  Yep that's right, everything on this plate is RAW.
Now it is not necessarily completely Vegetarian.  I am still learning the lines on what is and isn't Vegetarian.  It does have "real" cheese on top.  It's a shaved Raw Parmasan I found at Whole Foods last weekend when I went shopping with one of my friends.

The pasta is a spiralized Zuchinni.  The sauce is roma tomato, basil, carrot, brocolli, Celtic Sea Salt, onion, garlic, and black pepper.  I also added a few brocolli pieces to give it a "meatball effect" and added more shredded carrot to the center of the dish just because there was a tiny bit left. Also on the very top are a few pieces of zuchinni slices that did not get spiralized as well.

This was really good.  It's a take on one of the first raw food classes I took last year.  I added more veggies to the sauce.  I am really beginning to like this way of eating, I feel so much more better when I eat closer to Raw.  Closer to Gaia's Bounty!

Blessed Be,
Crystal T.

Friday, July 27, 2012

O is for Oils

This week's O is going to be about Oils.

First thing I have noticed is that over the years I have seen a decline in an old tradition (at least old for myself) which is candle dressing.  I simply don't hear or see people do it anymore.  Of course there are increased markets that will sale candles dressed already which have been annointed with oils and possibly dressed with herbs as well.  While they are fine to use and save people time in prepping for ritual or a spell by having purchsed them in advance, I feel that something is also missing.  Apart of our energy that goes into dressing the candle. 

For myself, I usually have about 20-30 tapers and pillar candles on hand.  There are times where I will pre-dress them knowing that its what I will specifically use that color for a specific role.  One of the things I like to do when I am dressing my candles is to meditate while I am doing it. It brings a sense of an energetic charging to the process.

If you don't have various colors of candles on hand and need a candle for a spell or ritual another thing you can do to the candle is dress it with an appropriate Oil to convey your needs.  When you dress your candle with oil two things are happening here.  First off you are cleansing the candle of any old energies that may be present.  These can be as minimal of where did you buy your candles?  How many people do you think touched your candle before you did?  Do you think that anyone of those folks could have had a bad day whenever they touched it?  They could have been sick with flu or something worse?  No matter who has touched your candle, someone else besides you has imprinted energy into it whether they wanted to or even knew it.  It's always best to start off with a clean slate when it comes to Candle Magic.  You want that of your own intent, not someone else's right?

Now this won't be about Dressing Your Candle (this will come later maybe for a Magical Monday Post)....I want to focus on another aspect of it....the oils.

What type of oil can you use?  Well almost any kind of oil that will burn.  The three I personally use and also I believe most people would prefer to use consists of Essential Oils, Frangrance Oils, and Cooking Oils. 

Which oil is the best for you to use?  The one that either calls to you or the own you will most likely already have in your home.

I have used plain vegetable oil to a blended oil that was created by either myself or someone I know.  I have also purchased a blended oil from one of my favorite shops (Coventry Creations).  It can be oil that costs you $1 from the dollar store (or less at the grocery store when on sale) to as expensive as you are willing to spend (I have spent a pretty penny on rose oil in the past and use it sparingly.)

Your best bet when you are in a pinch is to turn to your kitchen cupboard or pantry.  Almost every household will have some kind of oil in the home.  It could be one of the following which I have used once or twice in my lifetime.  Most of these oils would also be considered a "Base" oil or Carrier Oil.

Vegetable Oil
Canola Oil
Sunflower Oil (a favorite during the Summer months)
Olive Oil
Coconut Oil
Palm Oil
Soybean Oil
Sesame Oil
Pumpkin Seed Oil (a favorite during Samhain)
Safflower Oil
Peanut Oil (for those not allergic)
Grape Seed Oil
Argan Oil
Avocado Oil
Corn Oil
Almond Oil
Cottonseed Oil
Walnut Oil

Then you have other oils that are from the world of Aromatheraphy which I have also used.

Apricot Kernal Oil
Borage Oil
Cocoa Butter
Evening Primrose
Hazelnut Oil
Jojoba Oil
Rose Hip Oil
Shea Butter
Wheatgerm Oil

If you don't have time to dress a candle with a specific blend of oils for a specific purpose, just for example, you are working a prosperity spell.  Normally I would use a base oil with an essential oil.  Normally I would probably use Corn Oil with an essential oil dealing with Mint.  However if I did not have the mint, using the plain corn oil would work for me, because in my personal correspondence I use the corn oil as a conductor for prosperity on the plant's ability to grow to high heights and prosper.  The corn's ability also to be utilitzed in many ways promotes me wanting to use it because once its there it can be used in many other ways besides food.  It can be used as food, fuel for vehicles, leaves woven into baskets, silks into threads, plus many mother things.  Please no negative talk about Corn, I read everything and for the record I do not buy anything that is a GMO.

You could use Almond, Apricot, Olive or Rose Hip Oils for love.

For protection you can use Argan Oil or Coconut Oil.

For courage you would use the Borage Oil.

Wheatgerm and Walnut for health.

Olive Oil for peace and harmony.

These oils can be used for so many different things. 

Then you have the entire world of essential oils...which frankly I just don't have the time or energy to write about them.  That entry could be done every day on a specific oil and take me well over a month to write about them. 

I surely hope that dressing candles does not become a thing of the past.  It will always be something I use as long as I am physically able to dress my own candle. 

Do you dress your candles when you use them for magical purposes such as spells and ritual?

Blessed Be,
Crystal T.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

ConVocation 2013

Howdy All!

This is just a short reminder that if you plan on teaching at ConVocation 2013, you better get those applications into the MEC quickly.  The deadline to submit workshops is almost upon us.

I have already received a few emails if I were going to present again on my Mooncycle Magic series and I have decided to NOT submit any workshops for 2013.


You see, one of my favorite authors will be presenting next year for the very first time at ConVocation!  With my past lucks of wanting to go to Guest Presenter classes (such as Dorothy Morrison, Selena Fox, and a few others) I simply do not want to miss any of her classes if I am able to have the opportunity to go to them.   In the past I was alwasys scheduled the same time as most of the classes I wanted to attend.  So I took myself out of the equation.  It will also give me more time to go see my favorite candle maker, owner of Coventry Creations, Detroit's own Hoo-Doo lady, Jacki Smith's classes as well!  I learn something new every year from Jacki!  If you haven't read Coventry Magic yet, you really should think about buying it!  It's one of my favorite books on the market!

It will be lots of fun going and not worrying about the stress that comes with presenting!  I always "freak" out the night before my workshops and sleep very little wondering if anyone would show up.  Of course when that happened a few times they had to bring in more chairs to accomodate the amount of people that did show up! 

The next few years I am going to be focusing on my health and my writing.  I am currently working on a few separate projects.  It's just focusing on one at a time to complete it is where I am having problems.  I just want to work on them all at once. Hahaha  Who knows maybe for 2014 I will have a new workshop or two to present for consideration in the following years.

So I am looking forward to just relaxing, attending classes, and hanging out with my magical family this coming year.  It's going to be a ball.  After last year, I do know now that I need to bring in my own food. I got pretty sick last year so no playing around this coming year.  Or I will need to research the restaurants in the area better to plan my meals.  When I made my reservation last year I did request the same room, it was an awesome room!



Monday, July 23, 2012

Meatless Monday - Raw Food Favorites

So today for Meatless Monday, I am not going to be focusing on food itself.  I will however be focusing on a few of the people behind the food that make it fun, healthy, and keep me inspired to eat it. 

When I first set out on a path last October (I think, when I actually started to begin eating this way) one of the first places I found was Raw Food Rehab.  Here is a website that is sort of set up in a virtual "Rehab meets Mansion" center.  Their forums are comprised of various places you would see in your home such as the Kitchen for recipes, the Loo for "potty" talk (physically about what goes on in the bathroom, LOL), The Garden, The Tool Shed, plus many other wonderful rooms.  Many of the ammenities are completely free and she also offers other services where an additional charge is necessary to participate.

Creator/Founder Penni Shelton is a remarkable lady.  Penni has her own YouTube Channel (click HERE to watch) which I recommend if you are new to Raw Food, you will want to definitely subscribe to Raw Food Rehab's website (why not it is totally free to join and you have access to so much information) and also subscribe to her YouTube channel as well.  At these two sources they both will surely help the newcomer to Raw Food, just like its helped me so much.  If it were not for Penni's wonderful and informative videos I would most likely have not even tried attempting to eat a Raw Food menu or attempt to even give it a whirl.  Her archived videos of Foodie Friday's gave me the opportunity to see how easy it is to create a beautiful meal out of raw food.  Seeing what the food could look like motivated me to even attempt a few of my first recipes and I fell in love with raw food.  Penni does not look down on you if you are not 100% raw just that you are trying to eat healthy and incorporate some raw food in your life because it is good for you.

One day while visiting RFR, I came across a video that Penni did with a woman named Dara Dubinet.  Clicking Dara's name will take you to her YouTube Channel.  There is not a day that I don't watch a video by Dara.  I have started to watch her videos from the beginning.  With over 500 videos on her channel, you too can have a daily dose of Dara who will inspire you to "Get Your Greens On" as she has inspired me to do so.

Lauren from the blog "Ginger is the New Pink" is another inspiration.  She documents her life with eating raw food, healing from Chron's Disease, and daily life in general.  She is another inspiration that led me to believe I can do this!  I don't have Chron's but someone dear to me does.  Battling Kidney Disease and Lupus wanting to heal myself with Food is something we both share.  She has introduced me to products I normally would not have tried if not for her review of them.  From cookbooks, Daiya Cheese, Hail Mary's, beauty products and Dharma Straws plus many many more.  I check in to read her blog often to see what's new out there that makes life a little easier.  If I am in the mood to look at food in photos (I really hate the term "food porn") I will usually go to her website for inspiration of what I could make for dinner. 

Now I will just list a couple other inspirations for you to check out...

Amber Shea Crawley, Author of "Practically Raw"

The Shannon's whose cookbook will be out soon, they have re-written the Betty Crocker Cookbook VEGAN style!  It is available for pre-ordering at their website Meet the Shannons.

Maybe with the upcoming weeks this will be an avenue to not only focus on food, but the people that make them as well.

Many thanks to the people that inspire me to eat better for myself and making the information understandable for a newbie to culinary worlds of Raw, Vegetarian and Vegan fun for a meat-lover like myself.  (For the record, I am not Vegetarian for poticial reasons, but medical ones.  Just look at me like an ex-smoker, I still want to eat meat, I just know its bad for me and a struggle I have to deal with every single day!)


Friday, July 20, 2012

O is for Oneiromancy

Photo Dreams by Andrew Beebe

What is Oneiromancy you ask?

It is the ability to tell the future with your dreams.

Have you ever had a dream about someone you have never met, only to meet that person a few months later?

Have you ever dreamed about the birth of your future child?

Have you ever dreamed about an event months prior to it taking place?

These are all examples of Oneiromancy.

At one point or another we have heard the phrase, "trust in your dreams", "listen to your dreams", "follow your dreams".

Dreams are supposidily a factor of each person's well being.  They help a person understand or deal with circumstances and events that happen in our everyday lives.  Sometimes our dreams will just simply let our imaginations soar and give us opportunities to experience things in our everyday lives that we may never phyisically experience (for instance a person unable to walk in real life participating in a marathon running on their own feet). 

Dreams are also a way that some people communicate with the Gods. 

Sometimes a persons dreams mean absolutely nothing at all.  It could just be your brain shifting through various objects in your mind and simple going thru them to process and file away for another day to be understood.

Dreams can help you deal with emotions that you would never in real life act upon such as punch a boss whenever you are angry with him, kiss a beautiful woman just because she's beautiful, or have that final conversation to say goodbye to a loved one that you were unable to do before their died.

Just with other forms of divination there are "Dream Dictionary" books out there that provide information about the symbols a person sees within their dreams.  Just with every other form of divination out there just because its written down in a book somewhere does not mean it will be the same interpretation for each and every person.

For example:

Say I dreamed about an Accordian.  According to most dream dictionaries I have read, this instrument is supposed to be a sign or symbolic of something sad or depressing.  For myself, it means the total opposite.  Anytime I have dreamed about an accordian it was in the hands of my grandfather Ernest.  Man, oh man, could he play that thing!  For me it is a symbol of my heritage and love for music.  It is a symbol of my family at gatherings, reunions, and special occassions.  Its a symbol for celebration.

There are many other symbols that I disagree with the books upon and I am sure there are others out there that feel the same way as I do.  One way I have begun to understand what my "dream dictionary" is was by creating my own dictionary.  I began keeping a dream journal many years ago. 

I only write on one side of the notebook (when open flat it would be the right side of the book).  I will highlight items I think are important to the dream.  On the left side I will write down my first interpretation of what I think that symbol means.  I will only choose a few things to focus on, because if you choose too many at once then you will not be able to keep up with their meanings if they are consistant.  I will leave enough clear space on the left side of the page to go back at a later time and write notes about any instances should the dream come true. (Those that may have taken my tea leaf reading workshops might recognize this procedure as its the same manner I use for my tea leaf readings, I write each and every single reading down in its own notebook as well.)  I have had a few instances of meeting new people, sucessfully seeing the gender of a pregnant friends baby, another friend winning a large amount of money due to lottery, plus other events in my life. 

My dream journal is a nice reminder that I was able to document an event months prior to it even happening. 

So do you listen to your dreams? 

A few books should you want to read further on this subject matter.

Dream Dictionary: An A to Z Guide to Understanding your Unconcious Mind by Tony Crisp

Dreamer's Dictionary by S.Robinson and T. Corbett

The Illustrated Dream Dictionary by Russell Grant

The Element Encyclopedia of 20,000 Dreams by T. Chung

Wishing you Sweet Dreams tonight!

Blessed Be,
Crystal T.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

O is for Obesity, Food and Temples

Yes, I am joining the bandwagon of a number of people that will be probably writing about Obesity this week.  I don't know how specific it is going to be about my spirituality but more of a rant.

Do I view Obesity as a Pagan specific problem?  No I don't.  I think it is a non-spiritual and totally human issue.  I personally hold myself responsible for every single thing I put into my mouth.  It's my choice to eat it or drink it.  I feel every person is responsible for what they eat with exception to children.  Their parents decide what they eat by what they purchase for their household in the form of food choices. 

Now, is it my right to point a finger at a fellow person and call them fat?  Should it be my life mission or chosen path in life to make them change?  Oh heck no!  It could be my right to think it, but to say it out loud I think is a form of disrespecting that person I would be pointing a finger at.

I don't know their story or what they have been through.  You don't know what its like to walk in their shoes and live their life. 

In many blogs this week I keep seeing the phrase "your body is your temple".  I do agree with that statement.  How you treat your body is indeed a way of dictating how you will feel.  If you go out smoke, drink heavily, and eat crap, yes you are bound to possibly be sick in the long run.   Now for the total other side of that same rainbow if you monitor every morsel that goes into your mouth, exercise for hours every single day are you living a healthy life as well? Some people look at the later as a disease called Anorexia which is the total opposite of Obesity.

I see no problem with Obesity in my Pagan Community no different than the mundane community I live in.  I know just as many "Fat", "Big Boned", "Large", and what one of my fav catalogs now deems "Goddess Sized" people that are Christian, Jewish, Hindu, and Atheists alike.   Religion has no center on why a person is the size they hold.

I was once considered think of this as my "Venus/Aphrodite" Temple....

I also now have a temple that is just as beautiful as the above but in the form of another Venus,
Venus of Willendorf that is....

Part of how my "Temple" changed forms is that of my personal shift from Maiden to Mother in my life.  I gave into the cravings of that comes with being pregnant and I also gained anywhere from 25 to 100 lbs depending which pregnancy you want to talk about. 

Why haven't I lost the weight and gone back to my Maiden Temple?  Here are my reasons....

1.  I no longer am 20 years old. My metabolism is no longer what it used to be.

2.  I have medical issues that have NOTHING to do with weight but EVERYTHING to do with little to no energy to be able to exercise.  With that comes extreme fatigue and spending half my days in the bathroom throwing pending the day and how I feel. I have Kidney Disease as well as Lupus.

3.  When I ate the pooriest, I was also a heavy drinker and also a 3 pack a day chain smoker.  I also woke up every single morning at 4am to be running 5 miles every morning by 6am.  This was all during my stint in the U.S. Army.  My body looked like an athlete but I treated it as trash. I weighed anywhere between 125 to 145 lbs then.

4.  I used to eat nothing but crap I mean heavily processed foods loaded with everything that should not be consumable or that I can even pronounce.   This past year I have been on a quest to change how I eat.  Some people when they go Vegetarian, Vegan, or Raw lose a ton of weight. For myself, its been relatively slow.  I started out close to 300 lbs and I am only down about 30 lbs this past year totally since my transitioning to a Raw Lifestyle.

Should you be interested in what that is I can provide a few of my motivational examples: 

(Please note, these people are not Pagan that I am aware, they are however my current inspiration)

My favorite "The Raw Food Muse", Gina Silvestri

Earth Empress, Shakaya Breeze who's all about "Nude Food"

Dara Dubinet who's videos I call by her catch phrase "Get Your Greens On!"  can be seen on YouTube.

I eat healthier than ALOT of other people I know.  I have a friend that loves her Coca-Cola, cigarrettes and Skittles but she's skinny as a rail.  Even with my Kidney Disease, I truly feel I am "healthier" than she is medically.  She has a whole slew of other problems I won't get into. 

Is weight a primary cause of whether or not a person is healthy?  It's definitely a factor, but not the isolated cause.

This past year since I was hospitalized, I have changed alot of things in my lifestyle.  I have changed how I eat which is the biggest challenge for me since all my life I have been a huge supporter of the Hunt and serious meat eater.  (For the record, I still support Hunter's rights.)  I have gone from meat being the main course to very little meat to no meat at all in my meals.  This past year I have been at least 85% Vegetarian and also about 50% of that is Raw Food.  Unlike my Vegetarian motivators that I listed above, I have not lost a ton of weight just yet.  This past year with my health problems I have been walking and exercising as much as I physically can and as my doctors allow.  For the first few months they did not want me even walking short periods at a casual pace.  Yes, when I went on vacation a few weeks ago, I did indulge my taste buds and I also gained 15 lbs putting me back closer to that original 300 lbs.

This past year I have been researching food for both medical reasons as well as magical ones.  I do think that food can be apart of a person's spirituality.  If you look at my past posts for Pagan Blog Project, you will find several entries about food.  I do believe that eating Gaia's Bounty can bring us a closer connection to her.  I also believe that some of the earliest forms of magic dealt with food as its center as well.

I know I am a big girl.  I am working on leading a long healthy life as well.  I am trying to treat my body as a temple. It's just under renovations right now.  I am also trying to bring out my inner Goddess (that is for a different blog entry another time).  I know how I treat my body, and I know that my husband still loves my body no matter what size I am.  He truly treats me as if I were a Goddess. 

Yes, I know I need to lose weight. BUT it is not because someone is pointing their finger at me and calling me fat. If someone did that to me, I am sure I could over analyze their lifestyle and point out a few faults of their own. However, it is not my place to tell a person how to lead their life. It is not a person's right to tell me how to live mine either. It's my personal decision and it won't happen until I am physically, mentally, and emotionally ready to do it.  Obesity is not a Pagan issue, it is a human issue.

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for all the wonderful friends in my life.

I am thankful to spend a glorious week with Katherine, Dawn, Suzy, and Mary to experience the great out West and some of our Nation's National Treasures.

Mt. Rushmore

I am also thankful to Suzy for turning me onto the Starbuck's Green Tea Frappucino with a shot of Pepperment in it.

  And I am thankful to Kathy and Dawn for putting up with me and my newest addiciton throughout our trip. LOL

Devil's Tower

Crazy Horse Monument

I had a wonderful week with a group of AMAZING women!


Covered in Light Memes


I don't know what is going on internally with the group CIL, no matter what happens, I still feel that it is a person's right to choose to cover their head and not be discriminated against if they feel the need to do so.  I live near one of the largest Muslim communities in the United States.  I have often been asked if I am Muslim because of a particular headwrap I do wear on occassion.

There are a few things that will always be private to me.  I may choose to answer questions or not.
Religion sometimes falls into that category.
Politics is ALWAYS in that category.  I try to keep my political views to myself.

I do not wear a headcovering strictly for religious reasons,
my story actually started out as a medical one hence the photo above.
Last year (this July) I was hospitalized for what I know know is Kidney Disease. 
From my personal battle with the disease I began to lose my hair last October. 
Much of it as grown back but I am still losing it in spurts. 
I get bald spots here and there or my hair breaks off and looks like a brillo pad.

So I cover my head.  If you want to show your support to anyone that covers their head for whatever reason, but choose not to do so yourself, simply smile at that person,
tell them they look fabulous and move on about your business. 


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Covered In Light

CiL International Day Cover Letter

Covered in Light invites you to help stop the discrimination.

Due to some very horrid experiences of two of our Sisters, we are planning the first annual Covered in Light International Day for raising awareness about women being discriminated against their right to veil if they choose. On this day, we are asking women to wear a covering of their choice to stand in solidarity and if they feel so inclined, to organize a parade/march in their local area to spread the word.

The Date is Friday Sept 21, 2012.”

Unlike Sisters who are forced to cover and are oppressed as a result, our Sisters are often oppressed and discriminated against for choosing to cover their hair in public. One Sister was spat at as she passed by. The very next day, another Sister reported that she'd witnessed and defended two Muslim women from the same treatment while standing outside a public building. Many women don't veil while in public for fear of discrimination. Young girls are harassed at school because of their choice to veil.

We have simply had enough.

Covered in Light is sponsoring the First Annual International Covered in Light Day to show support while standing in solidarity with our veiled Sisters of all religions, beliefs, and personal reasons to cover. Women should be allowed to walk with pride while veiled in public instead of living in fear of discrimination.

This will be a day for men and women to stand together in support of a woman's right to choose, to end hate, stereotypes, and preconceived notions. It is a day to educate the public about the myriad array of women who cover and the reasons why they cover.

Women who veil come from a variety of religious and spiritual traditions including those who are Amish, Buddhist, Catholic, Druze, Eastern Orthodox, Hindi, Jain, Jewish, Mennonite, Muslim, Pagan, Quaker, Sabian, Sikh,Taoist. Women veil for non-religious reasons as well including cancer patients, those suffering from alopecia, women who practice veiling in honour of their spouse, women who prefer to practice modest dress that includes the head scarf, and women who cover for cultural reasons, rather than out of a religious obligation. With this, there are a growing number of women who veil in protest of the sexual objectification of women.

No longer shall a woman be spat on, threatened with violence, live in fear for a piece of cloth on her head. No longer shall a girl be bullied at school for covering her hair.

This is about Sisterhood. It is about freedom of choice. It is about respecting the choice women make to veil. We are here to educate and enlighten the world about women of all faiths who choose to don a headscarf, tudung, hijab, tichel, dupatta or any other name that may identify the bit of cloth on a woman's head.

On Friday September 21, 2012 we invite you to take part in this very special event by "putting yourself in their scarves." On this day, wear a headscarf in the style of your choosing with pride in support of the women who choose to veil while protesting against the fear, hate, and discrimination many face.

In celebration of the timeless beauty of the veiled woman, we encourage participants to recreate a famous painting of a veiled woman as a photograph and upload it to the International Covered in Light Day Facebook page.

Find out, if only for one day, what it's like to be "Covered in Light" and support those that already know.

In peace and unity,

The Sisters of Covered In Light


In case you are interested, why YES I am a member!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Pinterest Find - Tub Cleaner

Howdy All!

So lately I have to admit, I am an addict of Pinterest. 
One of the things I found and wanted to do is this Tub Cleaner recipe where you use equal parts of Dawn Dish Soap and Vinegar.  I have been intrigued by it to know if it really worked so today when I went grocery shopping I picked up a bottle of Dawn (not my usual brand) and a new spray bottle to try it out.

I did not take a "Before" photo of my tub because it was really really really bad.  It's been a while since I scrubbed it and I am actually ashamed of myself for letting it go for so long.  It was definitely time to clean it.  You see, I love bubble baths and of course with bubble baths come soap scum.  So the level of yuck was pretty high....

I did take a few photos of how it was after I sprayed the solution in the tub.  I don't know if it made it look any better or a crude attempt to hide the ring, scum, and yuck by shading it blue.  Here goes: (I still can't believe I am actually doing this....)

One thing I noticed is there is a definite chemical smell going on...use in a bathroom with enough ventilation or if you are able too, please open a window.  I am sure my husband will say something about the smell when he enters our bedroom later this evening when he gets home from work....if he doesn't say anything then the smell will have finally disappated.  This is the master bath so its in our bedroom.

I left the tub to soak only for a little while as I wanted to be able to see the results.  Those that know me, know I am very impatient that way!  It may have sat 20 minutes.  The various entries on pinterest talk about letting it go for at least one hour if not to over night.

One thing they don't say in bold letters which I think they should is to use alot of DRY TOWELS to wipe the solution up with.  If you are a paper towel girl, you could use them and simply dispose of them.  I on the other hand only use paper towel when its ultimately yucky and I am not willing to wash it.  So I have a box of rags I use for cleaning.  I went thru my entire box and a few clean bath towels as well.  I am going to wait until they have dried a bit before I attempt to washing them.  I can just imagine what is going to happen when I wash them.  I might run them in the washer with just plain water first and then really "wash" them.  I hope I just don't have suds coming out from the top of my machine like the time I was stupid enough to put dish detergent in the dish washer.  (LONG STORY for another post! LOL)  Needless to say suds were all over the floor of my kitchen when I came home from work that day!

Anyways, after I wiped everything up, here is the result.

I think it did a pretty good job for only 20 minutes.  One thing I noticed is that I have really REALLY hard water where I live.  I get alot of spots from the mineral content in it (and we are on City Water).  There are usually spots all over the faucet and metal parts, lime and calcium build up etc.  This took alot of it off completely!  I have not seen it shine like this in a long long time.  Normally I have to scrub the metal parts with a brillo pad to make it sparkle.   Now before you get too critical, yes I do still see some spots that need to be addressed and will let the solution soak longer next time, but I do believe this worked very well. 

As a Lupus patient, one of the things I go through is not having the energy any more to scrub things with good old fashioned "elbow grease".  I simply don't have the strength.  Heck I have to take breaks while I am typing this blog because my arms hurt just from bending at the elbows this very moment.

I do have to say, I am a believer and will be doing this again very soon on the boys' bathtub.  Now that one will definitely sit for a full hour! LOL


Monday, July 16, 2012

Bay Leaf Cafe - Spearfish, South Dakota

Howdy All,

You might have noticed that my blog has been quiet.  It's because I have been preparing and now completed a trip out West with some of my favorite ladies (Katherine and Dawn). 

During our trip my eating habits were not the greatest...after all I was on vacation.  One of the culinary gems on our trip was that in Spearfish, SD at a small cafe in the downtown area.  It was Vegetarian friendly.  I really enjoyed the food here and wanted to post a short blog about my experience.

The name of the cafe is called the Bay Leaf Cafe.  If you click their name it will take you to their website.  We luckily were able to make it in time to get there for lunch.  I say "in time" because the city was shutting Main Street down to prepare for their "First Fridays" party.  Upon first sight, I did not think it would be a big establishment with such a small storefront.  However, when you walk through their doors, think of the shape of a shoe box, its long but narrow in width.  The walls are filled with art from local artists which entice the patron's eye, while the smells of the place make your tummy grumble even more with hunger. 

I ate the Portabello Sandwich.  It was very good and juicy.  It was a grilled Porta on a bun with Gorganzola Cheese and a side of sweet potato fries.  They also serve a wide array of coffees and liquors as well.  The table's centerpiece was that of a shiny bottle of Sun Wine.  They had pretty colors of blue cobalt, bright sunny yellows, and ruby reds.  I could have bought the wine just for the bottles alone they were so pretty.  One thing I regretted not trying out was their poppyseed bread.  My friends were trying to keep the carbs on the down low, so I did not want to tempt their tummies by adding a big loaf of bread to the table.  I also wish I took a photo of my food, it was just so pretty a presentation!  My stomach took over before my brain could and I inhaled my food.  It was gone before I even thought about taking a photo! 

If I am ever in the area again, I would definitely suggest stopping by there to eat.  Next time I would like to go for dinner.  There was a piano in one of the corners of the building and I think at night they might offer live entertainment. 

Anyways, again, I would highly recommend this restaurant for any Vegetarian, Vegan, or to the traveler that finds themselves in Spearfish, SD in need of a restauarant that can accomodate both the Vegan or Hardcore Carnivore (as they have Elk, Buffalo, and many more options) as well.

Thank you Bay Leaf Cafe for providing me with a wonderful and memorable meal!

Blessed Be,
Crystal T.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Tea Tasting Tuesdays - "Good Medicine"

For the next few weeks I will focus my Tea Tasting Tuesday entries to include the teas I picked up while on my trip out West with my Coven.

While at the Crazy Horse Memorial, in their gift shop I came across a line of teas made by the Native American Herbal Tea Company.  I picked up a few of their teas.

The first one I am going to be tasting today is that of the "Good Medicine" variety.

This one includes:

Blackberry leaf
Wood Betony
Linden Leaf and Flowers
Eucalyptus leaf
Ginseng Leaf
Licorice Root
and Natural Flavors

I am not a huge fan of Licorice Root but this tea was surprisingly good.  I was even able to drink it without any sweetner but did choose to add some raw honey to it. 

I wish I took a photo but the boys were driving me crazy.  Just having a few moments to myself to drink a cup of tea alone was reward enough's been a crazy day!

Next time I will take a photo, I purchased more than one kind from this company.


Friday, July 13, 2012

N is for Nettles

Nettles, Nettles, Nettles...

All his stinging glory!  If you don't treat him with respect, he will let you know he is not pleased.
My first attempt with working with this beautiful herbal deva was back in the late 90's.  I knew very little about him.  Frankly, I did not know who he even was.  I was at my home (the one I lived in at the time anyways) and was set out to start my first herbal garden.  Little did I know that the "weed" I was getting ready to pull would make a huge impact on my life.

There I was kneeling at the sides of my garden's bed getting ready to pull all those nasty weeds.  There were a few tall ones that were just so stubborn!  Stubborn to make themselves known to me.  You see, I had no clue what Nettles were much less their name included the word "Stinging" in it.
I began with every ounce of my being trying to pull this "weed" from the soil trying to up root it.  The more and more I began to pull, the more and more I began to not have any breath.  My skin began to feel as if it were on fire slowly burning its way from my palms towards my elbows.  I was alone at the time and began to worry about not being able to breathe.  I called my mother in law and she instantly guessed that I got into a patch of Nettles.  Off I went to the Emergency Room....luckily I am not "allergic" as some people are, but I was in it so much that my body could not keep up with the reaction.  I will be fine if I wear long sleeves and gloves next time I plan on handling him.

A few weeks later I was invited to join my sister in law at a women's retreat called "Blessing of the Lake".  Here is where I would find my first herbal Mentor.  J.R. is a pleasant woman and so full of knowledge!  During the course of the weekend we went on several herb walks and she educated me alot upon Nettles.  She taught me about Nettle's insight and lifeforce.  I learned not only is he more than a weed, but a great herbal Ally!  He is very nourishing and protecting.  Jacki introduced me to what I drink almost every day, the "Herbal Infusion".  I was first addicted to her Comfrey and Peppermint infusion and everytime I see her to this day, Jacki will tell me to go and take in our ally Nettles.  She knows I am not a great fan of Nettles.  But as my sister Annette has told me more than once in the past, "What you want and WANT you NEED are two completely different things.  The Goddess knows what is best for you."   I have learned that Nettles is great for nourishing the kidneys, something that taken a forefront in my life right now.   I am still not a fan of his strong earthy, grassy, pungent and bitter taste.  However I am getting along with him much better these days.   Jacki would be please to know I drink a small cup (but a cup no less) of Nettles infusion each and every morning.   It is apart of my morning meditations when I wake up. 

My morning routine is that I wake up.  I go into the kitchen.  I strike a match (or lighter) and light the candle on my stove.  I turn to the mason jar that has been brewing the night before and strain its contents thru a coffee filter (or cheesecloth pending what I have in my pantry).  Then I warm it slightly on the stove and add raw honey to it until its able to meld into the brew.  The combination of the Nettles and Honey is very palatable to me.  While I drink this infusion I conduct my morning meditations for the day and watch the sun rise.

The following is from my BOS.  I started this BOS before I knew the importance of citing sources.  If you are the original author of any of this content, please let me know.  Much of it was copying from the internet as well as notes from books.  Some of it is my writing, that of a friend or research.  I am sorry I can not provide any sources for where I got this information.

What is an infusion?

INFUSION: The original form of a potion, an infusion is not unlike a tea in quality. Pour boiling water over the herb in the proportions of one ounce herb to one pint water (although you may need much less for herbs that infuse quickly in water). Steep for fifteen to thirty minutes until a tea is formed. 

Correspondence of Nettle:

G/P/E: Masculine, Mars, Fire.

Family: Urticaceae Genus: Urtica Species: Dioica

Also Known As: Stinging Nettle, Common Nettle, Greater Nettle

Diety:  Thor (Norse), Loki (Norse), Agni (Hindu), Anansi (African), Milarepa (Buddhist Saint and Yogi aka The Green God),

Magical Attributes: To advert danger, protection, healing. Exorcism, Protection, Healing, Lust

Magical uses can include: Using the herb as a green dye, using its pulp to make a magical protection scroll, Soup, or infusion.  It can be braided into something for cord magic and intwinted into besoms for protection.

Uses: Use gloves to handle so as to avoid getting pricked. High in vitamin C and iron and when in tea form can ease asthma and up your energy levels. Stuff a poppet with nettles to send bad vibrations or curses back to the sender. Carry for courage, add to protection charms. An anti-toxin. Thrown into a fire to avert danger. Place freshly cut Nettle under a sick person’s bed to aid in the person’s recovery. An effective cure for gout, Nettle is also good for the symptoms of hay fever, scurvy, PMS, and helps heart patients.

Health Benefits

Nettles contain vitamin A, vitamin B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (panothenic acid), vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin K, vitamin E. chlorophyll, potassium, calcium, mangaan, acetycholine, serotonine, sulphur, iron, selenium, magnesium, chromium and zinc.

The following are some of my favorite recipes on how I use Nettle besides drinking it daily.

By clicking here you will find a few recipes on a Stinging Nettle Hair Tonic, Nettle Hair Lotion, and a Nettle Hair rescue.  Any of these items can be used on a daily basis and turned into something Magical.  By infusing your intent into the product you choose to create, why not protect yourself with one of these items the same way that Thetis dipped Achilles into the waters of Styx for protection but this time let the water from your shower cover every inch of your body? LOL

My favorite form of using Nettles magically is that of protection spells. Protection Tonics, Mojo Bags, amulets, etc. 

 I hope you get to know and respect this wonderful Herbal Ally


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Medicine Wheel

Its been one day since I have returned from our annual Sisters of the Craft yearly trip/get together.  This year we chose to venture out West and visit a few Sacred and National Treasures.

The main highlight and what I wanted to do most was to visit the Medicine Wheel in Big Horn National Forest.  It's always been a dream of mine to visit this special and sacred place.  When I first started out on my path I was most drawn to spiritual concepts I found in Native American History.  Though I am a devout daughter of Herne (still to this day even with not being able to eat alot of the hunt because of my medical issues) the respect for the cycle of life remains intact.

Last year when I was diagnosed with Kidney disease my first diagnose was not the greatest.  My doc originally thought that I would be on dialysis sooner than expected.  Here we are a year later!  I currently do not need dialysis and do not see the need for it in the immediate future (ok so the 2 years has turned to 5 years).  If we are able to control both my Lupus (recently diagnosed earlier this year and the current thought of the cause) and stop the regression of my Kidney Disease I can live a long, healthy and normal life span as most people not sick at all.  At least that is my ultimate goal.

When I was in the hospital last year, both myself and a few of my Covenmates were going through some really hard medical times.  We decided together that if we got thru this past year we would reward ourselves with a Sacred Journey.  As we discussed the many options, Wyoming kept coming up.  One of us had family there that could offer an offset of financial obligations such as extra hotel rooms.  We agreed that this would be our next sacred journey together.

So last week we packed my car and headed out West.  Here are a few photos.

The Medicine Wheel

Various Prayer Bundles and Ribbons tied to the Wheel's safety barrier.

The first challenge of the journey is making it up the mountain because you have to walk the 1+ miles up and down the mountain's path just to get to the wheel.  It included up the mountain, down the mountain, up the mountain once again, plus a final very steep incline to reach the top where the wheel is located.  Thankfully there were a few benches we could stop, rest, and take in the spectacular view.

Even with some snow present in places the climb up left me very hot to where I took off my jacket to make it up the mountain and give my back a chance to breathe.  It was very cloudy and also hazey that day from the many Forest Wildfires in the area and the surrounding states that caused the sky to be covered.

As I was walking around the Wheel (counterclockwise which is a sign of respect for those visiting the wheel as the current tribes still using the wheel request) I received many messages and thoughts of things I needed to take of in my life.  Most of them involved with Healing, Cleansing and Swifting.  I also aquired a new energy that was not present before and also made it down the mountain with only one stop on the way down.  The Ranger at the bottom of the mountain who was switching shifts (she was coming down from being at the top of the mountain once we got there) was able to time me on the way down.  She said that for me being a big girl I made it in great time.  It takes her 45 minutes a day one way to make it either up or down the mountain.  I know it took us alot longer getting up the mountain because of the amount of inclines but on my final way down it took me one hour to get down the mountain.  I am very proud of myself physically being able to do this much less be only 15 minutes behind the ranger that walks it several times during the day (therefore being much fitter than I am).

I felt that visiting this Sacred Place was very important to my well being both medically and spiritually.  I do tend on blogging more about this place and trip later on when I have recovered from the journey.  We had many "little sleep" nights as we tried jam packing as much opportunities into our daily schedule that involved waking up very very early to going to bed very very late. (Roughly we were sleeping from midnight to 5am if we were lucky, LOL). 

If you are able to make a spiritual journey or are looking to visit a Sacred Place, please consider visiting the Medicine Wheel.  You won't be disappointed! 

Blessed Be,

Crystal T.

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