Thursday, February 27, 2014

I present an argument for dream recall and dreamscaping.

A few years ago I started and read about half of Sliver RavenWolf's To Ride a Silver Broomstick and for whatever reason I set it aside. Things in life changed, grew complicated, and I shifted or rather put being a Witch on hold for awhile. Restarting my journey on the path two years ago, I've been reading a few books here and there, taking my time to enjoy the journey, and decided it was time to revisit this particular book. So far it was much the same as before, a lot I remembered and could skim over, but then I came to Chapter 8: Meditation, Visualization, and Dreaming, and suddenly I have a bit of a bone to pick not only with Sliver RavenWolf, but even with some members of the Pagan/Witch community. 

First let me state that I while I have an issue with one section of this book, it doesn't mean that I have found any of the other bits of information wrong or suspect. This book is actually a helpful source of information and has been for many many people. Also let me point out that I actually like Sliver RavenWolf's writing but let's get on to what I take issue with.

The parts on Meditation and Visualization are fine and dandy. I read through most of it mentally saying "yeah, yeah, yeah, I already know this," or "hey, I didn't know you could do it like that, cool beans". When I came to Dreaming everything was great until I reached the bottom of page 86 wherein she writes:

"A note about prescription drugs here. A friend of mine says that she, and some individuals she knows, always dream about blood under prescribed codeine. I know that after you have mastered dream recall, cold medicines sold over the counter or prescription drugs strongly affect dreaming. I do not suggest working with dream recall or dreamscaping when under the influence of any type of medication."

I'm pretty sure she's not implying anything or trying to be offensive but what exactly is she saying? Are those of us who have to take medication out of luck? Will we not have accurate recall or dreamscaping if we take meds? Does she expect us to purge our systems- probably not but I wanted to present the question anyway. Are we to be denied this particular avenue, if it is something we are interested in? It's certainly something I am interested in, I have some pretty crazy dreams, some reoccurring dreams that I've had for years, and some that leave me with the deja vu feeling in times of wakefulness.  

As a person who has taken prescription medication for ADD as a kid, anti-depressants for all of my short adult life, and recently pain medication for chronic pain, I find this rather annoying. You know some people take meds because they have to. If it weren't for my depression and anxiety meds, I probably wouldn't be here writing this blog at 2 am in the morning. And as a person who suffers from a herniated disk, disk degeneration in my lower spine, and fibromyalgia to top the cake, I can tell you that if I don't take my pain meds, getting through the day is much more difficult. 

Now I know there are some people out there who screech to the ceiling and rant and rave about how going "all natural" is the way to go, that we don't need all these chemicals in our bodies and so forth. I have a dear friend who was even been bitched at and told she should do just that, go "all natural". Maybe it works for some people, some people who don't have chemical imbalances in their brains, but for others it just doesn't work. Before anyone gets their panties or boxers in a twist I will tell you why I think this and why I will defend this belief until you are blue in the face.

Aside from my own person experience in not taking my pills as directed and the fall out of that, my Father was a corrections officer for over 30 years. Point being I have been exposed to criminals all my life. WAIT, I am not saying that all people with mental disabilities or issues are criminals and I will defend that point fervently until the day I die! Sometimes there is just evil in the world. What I am saying is that my Dad and I once had a discussion about some of his clients and why they were in his facility. It's actually very depressing. You see a lot of people who are for lack of a better term "crazy" don't believe that they are. So they don't want to take their meds. So they do something, get into trouble, and get sent to jail or to the corrections facility and are court ordered to take their meds. Well, they are fine while taking the meds and are able to function well enough or normally, to get back on the straight and narrow. When they have done their time and are let out, they think they are fine or just don't want to take the meds anymore and go off of them, and then they do something stupid or bad and are right back in trouble again.

In my everyday life, away from examples like that, I have seen a couple of friends who didn't want to take pills who suffered from depression or anxiety. I kept telling them to go to the doctor, see if there is anything they suggest, hell maybe even therapy. They would resist and fight and be depressed and suffer along and finally break down, go to the doctor, get medicine and it would be like night and day. I'm not saying they were 100% cured, but it would make enough of a difference that they weren't as bad off as they were before. 

What's my point? If the meds work, take them. Don't mess around with them, don't purge your system or skip doses. It's not good for you and honestly, I truly feel and believe you can still practice dream recall and dreamscaping while on medication. Her "normal" or anyone else's isn't your "normal" and that's okay. I feel that you can still have good and meaningful dreams and still glean all that you need to from them. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

D: Dragon's Blood, it's more than just incense and body oil

Most of the people I know have either heard of or have burned Dragon's Blood incense and or used the body oil. One of my favorite types of incense, it's a little heavier than most I typically like to use and has a little bit of a sweet  tone to it. Anyone who knows me knows I don't do sweet incense, I prefer something a little more woodsy, but for some reason there's just something pleasant about Dragon's blood that keeps me coming back for more. So, wanting to know more about it, I chose it from this week's Pagan Blog Project prompt list.

Dragon's blood, most commonly known for it's incense form comes from a several tree and plant species. It's Latin names are: Dracaena Cinnabari, Daemoorops Draco, Daemomorops Proqous. Folk names include: Blume, blood, Draconis Resina, Dragon's Blood Palm, and Sanguis Draconis. Dragon's Blood's gender correspondence is male, it's element is fire, and planet is Mars. Some deities associated with Dragon's Blood are: Horus, Mars, Aries, Shango, Shiva, Minerva, and Athena. Astrologically speaking it's primarily associated with Aries and Scorpio and secondarily again with Aries but also with Leo and Sagittarius. Its power is love, protection, potency, and exorcism. Dragon's Blood is also an anti-fungal, anti-viral, and an anti-bacterial.

Dragon's Blood has been, is, and can be used for various things but before I get to how cool some of these uses were and are, I'd like to impart a few words of caution. Before you start any type of herbal treatment it's a good idea to talk with your doctor or herbalist for the obvious reasons of allergies, what might happen in conjunction with any medication you're taking, and so forth.

Now for the good stuff!

The Romans used Dragon's Blood to stop bleeding, clean wounds, and to help with intestinal problems. But they also used it as a pigment for painting. During the medieval period it was used for alchemical and ritual purposes.

Medically speaking  it can help with menstrual problems, the lowering of fevers, stomach ailments, diarrhea (and won't cause constipation), wound healing, insect bites, and scars.

Dragon's Blood has been used as violin varnish by Italian violin makers. The Chinese used it as a furniture varnish and dye for paper.

As I said before most of the people I know use it in incense and body oil form. Lately, I've seen Dragon's Blood soap, shampoo, body butter and lotions, even candles and room spray. But, magically it can be used as an ink for writing and an ink for magical seals. It increases protection and banishing spells and can be used in rituals of fertility. It is said that it can bring lovers back and if you put a stick under your pillow it can cure impotency. When you burn it, it drives evil and negativity away and when you add it to other incense it increases power and potency. It's a powerful protectant when carried and or sprinkled around the house. And my favorite perk, if you want to quiet a noisy house, mix sugar, salt, and powdered dragon's blood, put it in a bottle and place it where it won't be found and that should quiet the house down. In my case, I'm trying to figure out just where the heck I'm going to hide it where someone won't bother it, which is a bit tricky.

You can buy Dragon's blood from various places on the internet. Diane from The Crunchy Pagan Mom Blog, says: "So long as you obtain true Dragon's Blood, such as the Dragon's Blood found in the Sangre de Drago tree, there are no known side effects". She recommends using legit Dragon's Blood and the site she listed was: Mountain Rose Herbs. AzureGreen also sells it in several different forms.


Scott Cunningham's encyclopedia of magical herbs

Sunday, February 2, 2014

C: Cauldrons symbols and tools

What do Cauldrons mean? What do we use them for? Are they just decorations and symbols? Yes and no.

Before modern convention, Cauldrons were used for cooking. They hung over hearth and camp fires boiling and bubbling with stews and other meals. But for Neo-Pagans and Wiccans, they are more than just a way of cooking, cauldrons are used for many things such as a ritual vessel, brewing potions or herbal remedies, and burning spell papers and incense. You could use them as candle holders or even in divination as scrying bowls.

 The cauldron is a symbol of the feminine, of the Great Goddesses womb, of fertility  and intercourse. They are linked to the west and water and associated with Cerridwen, Kali, and Hecatate.

There are many things you could use, clean up, and as someone else wrote "re-claim" as a cauldron from stoneware to a glass bowl, but the safest are those made of metal. Typically I have seen cauldrons like those in the picture above. They come with a handle and sometimes a lid and stand on three legs. Sadly, the largest cauldron I have seen is sitting in my Grandmother's front yard. She's using it as a flower pot and I suspect that in all the years she's lived in that house its been sitting there and is most likely rusting out.

What they mean for non-pagans. For the most part people generally associate cauldrons with witches and Halloween. Someone might set up a "witchy scene" in their front yard or in a "haunted house" for decoration and adding the element of something "wicked" to their Halloween party.