Friday, September 28, 2012

Moldavite

What is Moldavite?  Most people consider it a gemstone, but it is actually a type of natural glass, much like obsidian.  Moldavite is a clear olive, moss, or forest green color due to it's high iron content.  However, the really cool part is that it is also from outer space.

This "space glass" is actually classified as a tektite, which is a type of meteorite.  About 15-20 million years ago, a huge meteor fell to Earth, partially burned up in the atmosphere, and crashed into what we now call the Moldau River valley, scattering vaporized debris into the air that cooled, solidified, and rained down moldavite all over the region.  All genuine moldavite comes from only four mines, each located in the Czech Republic, making moldavite considerably rare.

It is prized among those who believe in the metaphysical properties of gemstones.  People say that moldavite has a very high vibrational frequency, and report a phenomenon called the "moldavite flush" when handling it, where the face and neck sweat or turn red and the heart beats more quickly. Emotional healing often occurs with this reaction, in that the heart chakra is opened, and people experience a profound release - whether through laughter or tears depends upon the individual.

Moldavite is said to enhance one's spiritual progression, balance all of the chakras, deepen a person's intuition and psychic powers, and open a person to his or her spiritual guides.  Many other gemstones can claim these powers as well, but what sets moldavite apart is the fast pace and intensity of these occurrences when working with this stone.   Moldavite is also regarded as a sort of portal to other dimensions; being comprised of both the earth and the stars, moldavite is used for receiving information from the cosmos and for communing with extraterrestrial or otherworldly beings.

Some have a hard time working with moldavite because of its depth and force.  These people have to build up gradually or only work with moldavite at specific times.  Others, however, take to moldavite like a duck to water.  The theory is that these people really need moldavite on some level, whether it is because they have become embittered or cynical in life and need to rediscover a childlike appreciation of it, or because they are "star children" that are feeling lost in this incarnation on Earth.

My own personal experiences of moldavite are limited, but extremely marked.  I have a pentacle necklace that was given to me by my aunt that I used to wear when I went to coven meetings.  Between the combination of ritual and the moldavite, I almost always went home too high-strung to go to sleep... and this would sometimes last for hours.  It wasn't a bad feeling, like having too much caffeine, but more like the kind of excitement I felt as a kid going to sleep on Christmas Eve.

My moldavite pentacle necklace
I have also noticed that the times I have worn the necklace outside of the coven, I have felt very quick-minded.  It has helped in a number of situations where I was trying to write or be mentally quick on my feet.  On the down side, I have also felt spacey and air-headed in a few situations wearing the necklace.  And again, prolonged contact with the moldavite has almost always resulted in me taking a lot longer to calm down and relax.

I do want to note, however, that some of the information I read about moldavite says that it begins to change you whether you like it or not as soon as it comes into your life.  I would have to say that I agree with this opinion, since I myself began to rapidly change right after I received this necklace... yet, I'm pretty sure that I was already ripe for change, or the moldavite would not have worked on me this way.  Which means that, unfortunately, as much as you might like someone else you know to change, I don't think that simply giving them a moldavite is going to make that happen.  If, on the other hand, you think they just need a little push - well, I guess it wouldn't hurt!

I highly recommend moldavite just because it definitely helped me to get outside of myself.  It deepened the work I was already doing internally, but at the same time, it did make me more aware of others around me that I was compatible with, and it inspired me to pursue relationships with some of these people, who in turn became essential to my spiritual growth.  Just a little nudge in the right direction.... maybe that's what I got from the moldavite.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Elemental Salt Blend

Lately I've been putting together some travel altar kits for my Etsy store.  And candles, incense, and even water are not always possible or accessible when doing magic on the go. Therefore, I've come up with this excellent salt and herb blend that incorporates all four elements, and can be used as a substitute for traditional elemental symbols and tools. (Note:  herbal correspondences have been taken from Scott Cunningham's "Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs." Llewellyn Publications; St. Paul, MN - Twenty-sixth Printing, 1999.) Because of the various correspondences, this is almost an all-purpose blend, and the concoction also has some nice (not necessarily magical) practical applications, too!

"Elemental Salt Blend," by Autumn Damiana

1 teaspoon dried lavender buds (air)
1 and 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary (fire)
1 and 1/2 teaspoon dried lemon zest (water)* (see below)
4 teaspoons salt or salt crystals

This recipe makes 8 teaspoons, which weighs roughly 1 ounce.

A mortar and pestle is required to make this blend (although I suppose it could also be made in an herb grinder.)

Start with the lavender buds, grinding them down in the mortar and pestle.  Next, add the rosemary (if working with whole dried rosemary leaves, crush them into smaller pieces in a plastic bag first.)  When both are sufficiently ground, add the lemon zest and grind this into the other two herbs.  Lastly, add the salt, and simply mix.  (If using salt crystals, grind them down to granular sized pieces separately, and hold in a separate container until needed.  If you want chunky salt crystals in your blend, then add them as-is or mash them into the herb blend until they are the desired size.)

How to use your Elemental Salt Blend:

- Smell or taste the blend while meditating to connect with the elements.
- Sprinkle pinches around to cast the circle or dedicate sacred space.
- Use as an offering on an altar or at sacred sites (CAUTION:  concentrated amounts of salt can kill plants, insects, and small animals.  Dilute heavily with water or scatter sparingly.)
- Salt + all three herbs have strong purifying powers.  Infuse the mixture in water and spritz, sprinkle it, or use as a wash on items, surfaces, or around areas to banish negativity.
- Put in cheesecloth or a cloth tea bag and add to bathwater for energy-cleansing.
- Mix 25% to 50% blend with baking soda, and sprinkle on carpets.  Leave to sit for at least a few hours, and vacuum up.  This not only magically cleanses the house, but helps remove odors.
- The herbs are all associated with love, and salt has an extremely grounding, earthy effect.  Use the blend in love spells or potions where you want to use your head as well as follow your heart.
- Grind the blend into fine dust and combine with oil to make an elemental anointing oil.
- Use the blend in an oil diffuser (the kind with a bowl of oil + candle) to release the scent.

These are just a few of my ideas, but I'm sure there are many more uses for this awesome blend.  I will post more in the future as I discover them.  If you think of any yourself, leave me a comment!


*** How to make lemon zest ***
Lemon "zest" is nothing more than dried lemon peel.  The peel on most citrus fruits contains the concentrated oils of the fruit itself, and therefore tastes and smells like a stronger version of the actual fruit.  In many places, you can buy lemon zest in a jar, because it is often used in pastries.  However, because citrus loses its flavor rather quickly, it is WAY better to make the zest yourself.  This is easy to do as long as you can get a hold of 4-6 medium to large sized lemons.

When looking for lemons to zest, it is better to find lemons that have a thick peel.  Scrub the lemons with a vegetable brush to get rid of dirt and any wax that may be added to commercially available lemons.  Then, grate the lemon peel on a zester or Microplane® if you have one.  If not, use the side on your cheese grater with the finest blades.  Make sure to ONLY grate the yellow part of the peel; the white "pith" underneath is very bitter, so try not to gouge it as you are grating.

When you have finished grating your zest, leave it out to dry on a plate where it will not be disturbed.  Cover it LOOSELY with a paper towel, paper plate, or a piece of crumpled foil if necessary.  It must be exposed to the air to dry properly!  Stir it at least once a day to ensure that it dries evenly.  It should take 2-4 days, depending on humidity.  Alternatively, you can dry the zest in a low-temp oven for a few hours.  When it looks orange-ish in color and feels crunchy, it is done!







Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Through the eyes of a child...

This is not Pagan-related, but I wanted to post some funny pics I took with the kids I worked with over the summer.  Working with children is not easy, but it can be a lot of fun.  They cracked me up with some of the goofy stuff they did!  We all had a good time.

And sorry about the crappy quality of the pics - I have a really old, janky phone.  Enjoy...


So, we learned that if you are going to use a towel instead of a potholder to pull things out of the oven, DO NOT let it touch the heating coil!!!


These are foam tiles with road tracks.  You put them together on the floor to make a mat and drive cars around on them.  Not that anyone ever used them for that...


Paint + rocks + hot glue gun + wiggly eyes = total cuteness!


Apparently, it's way more fun to throw toys down the slide than to go down yourself.  I had to monitor this VERY closely for obvious reasons.  Action truck shot!


I saw a lot of very, um, "creative" things done with playdough over the summer.  This was one of them.


This was another.  Two girls caught a fly on the window, encasing it in a bubble of playdough.  Then they went outside and watched the fly through the glass, wandering around and around and around in circles.  FOR AN HOUR.  Talk about easily amused!


All those empty cubbies... and all those backpacks on the floor... hmmmm...


Lego chicken man!  Or something.


This was supposed to be an "ocean scene" art project with fish, penguins, water, and snow.  But one girl had another, creepier idea...


...and decided to illustrate the morbid end result as well (love it!)


A shrine to the ostrich god?  The funny part is that this is a postcard that the boy who built this brought from home (what is it with these kids and birds??!)


IT'S A TRAP!!!  
(Craft idea from Bonnie Burton's The Star Wars Craft Book.)

This last one of a chalk drawing is actually from a previous job, but I had to include it.  The nine-year-old boy who drew it was oblivious to why we thought it was so funny.  It's supposed to be a public pool on one side and and a park on the other connected by a street or something like that.  Ha!  He couldn't figure out why the teachers couldn't stop laughing.