Monday, August 10, 2015

Quickening

“Wisdom of Raven and Wolf 
hangs within my reach. 
You have only to patiently listen, 
and I will teach. 

Witches bane, Fairy cross, 
Star-clad and Quick with Life, 
I will protect you from all harm, 
Evil intent or Heavenly strife. 

Bride’s Crown, Quickbeam
Lady of the May. 
First womanly flame of Creation, 
I remind you that Life is a journey… 
not a destination."

 For those new to the game, each poem is inspired by a Teacher found in Nature; a star, stone, animal, plant etc that holds lessons of Wisdom for us. Can you guess who is singing today? 



“Charm is a glow within a woman that casts a most becoming light on others.” John Mason Brown



The Rowan refers to both the European and the American Mountain Ash, both of which belong to the Family Rosaceae (which includes Roses and Apples), Genus Sorbus. This tree can be found throughout the Northern Hemisphere from the Himalayas to the Appalachians. There are numerous legends, superstitions, and names for this Teacher across Europe; Quickbeam, Rune tree, Thor’s helper, Witchbane, Dogberry, Druid’s Tree, Dragon tree, and Witchwood being just a few. To quicken means to awaken, to stir with the first movements of Life, to make alive, vitalize or excite, which is exactly what this leafy Teacher can help us do. Rowans love to spark our imagination, revitalize our creativity, and encourage us to passionately embrace the new beginnings offered to us.

The distinctive red or orange berries of most varieties are an important winter food source for most birds, and Rowans are known for generously keeping fruit to feed others throughout the year. Feathered Teachers from Raven to the gentle Waxwing make excellent balancing energy for the Rowan. Blackbirds and thrushes are especially fond of their fruit.
When properly prepared the berries of the European Rowan can be made into a tart jelly said to taste much like cranberry sauce. They have also been used to make cordials and liqueurs. It is a popular choice to serve with wild game. I am not certain all varieties of Rowan can be similarly prepared, but I do know that the seeds within the Rowan’s fruit are high in Prussic Acid, so should not be eaten in quantity. Rowan berries are high in vitamin C, and have been use to treat scurvy as well as sore throats, inflamed tonsils and hemorrhoids.


There are some 50- 100 different species of Rowan/Mountain Ash recognizable in gardens and woodlands across the Northern Hemisphere. Some have golden, white or pink fruits, while others have subtle in-between shades. These trees prefer to grow along the edges of forests, providing shade and shelter for trees much smaller than themselves. Ironically, those same trees often push the Rowan out by overshadowing it in later years. People who feel called by this Teacher should choose with care those to whom they give time, energy or resources.

This Teacher has a long association with the Good Folk who live Under the Hill, commonly known as Faeries. This “lady of the mountains” represents protection (especially against enchantment and the Fae), wisdom and knowledge, luck, tenacity, vitality, divination (especially of metal), communication with spirits, and location. Rowan, Oak, Ash and Thorn are the quartet of leafy Teachers most often linked with the Fae.

Yggdrasil the “World Tree” is an Ash tree (Family: Oleaceae, Genus: Fraxinus) where Odin hung for days and nights to gain wisdom over all things. The Mountain Ashes (Sorbus Americana)  were given their name due to their superficial resemblance to this true Ash. Whether Old World or New though, the red-berried Rowan, or Mountain Ash, is still considered to be sacred to Thor, and is sometimes called Thor’s Helper. Likely this is due to the Scandinavian tale in which Thor is fording a river on his journey to the land of the Frost Giants, and an evil magician causes the river to flood. The little Rowan bent down and provided Thor with a handhold to climb out and escape. 

Of course, Thor’s Finnish counterpart, Ukko, is married to Rauni, the goddess of the Rowan. It is said that the earth was barren until Rauni came down and took the form of a Rowan. Ukko struck the Rowan with his magical lightning and thus all the plants and trees of the world were brought to life. In fact, Rowan was once commonly planted in coppices as a nurse-maid to shield new saplings, furthering it’s reputation as a motherly and nurturing tree.

It was thought by the Celts that the Rowan was brought by the Tuatha De Danann from the Land of Promise. In some Celtic tales the Rowan is described as the Tree of Life and it was the Rowans red berries which fed the Salmon of Wisdom rather than the Hazel nut. Dragons sometimes appear in tales to guard this magical fruit. In the tale of Diarmaid Ua Duibhne and Gainne, the Rowan’s red berries appear again as food of the gods.

Red foods, like the Rowan’s berries, were often considered taboo for anything other than ritual or magical endeavors, and often appear in tales as food of the gods or the Good Folk (fairies). The Scottish word for Rowan is “caorunn” and this tree can still be found in clan badges around Scottland. The clan names Mac Cairthin and MacCarthy also hold the Gaelic root word for this Teacher; MacCarthy literally being translated as “Son of the Rowan”.

Some tales say that the first woman was a Rowan tree and the first man an Alder, other tales say the first man was born from Ash and the woman from Elm. A sprig of Rowan was once worn to ward off evil, enchantments of all sorts (especially Faerie), and lightning. The Norse included a plank of Rowan in the hull of their boats to protect the ship from storms, lightning, and the wrath of Ran (the Sea). Likewise throughout Ireland and the British Isle, a cross tied with red thread or sprig of Rowan was placed over the doors of a home to protect against evil magic, black spirits, misfortune and illness.


The Rowan’s motherly protection and ability to nurture new life gives it close ties to livestock animals, particularly the cow. An old protection against evil magic was to hang a Rowan branch in the barn stall or tie it with red string to the horns of the cow. Rowan wood was also a popular choice for cradles as it protected the infant from all ill intent. The Rowan, also known as the Sorb Apple, with her star-like white flowers and red fruits marked with a pentacle is also associated with Goddess energy in general. 

Brighid or Bride, the triple goddess of Ireland, claims this little Teacher as her own by fashioning her arrow shafts from it’s wood. The Rowan is still considered to be an Imbolc tree, one of the four great yearly Sabbats involving Brighid and a time of livestock protection, birth and fertility. It’s believed to be at it’s strongest on May Day, the traditional time to gather Rowan wood. “Quickbeam” is another name for these trees, as these Teachers are believed to be “quick with life”. 
This is probably why traditionally, stakes used against vampires were made of Ash or Rowan. Rowan has also been planted in countless graveyards to both protect the dead, and to prevent ghosts arising from those violently killed or engaging in other haunting activities. Often used in basket and textile weaving, or as spear and axe handles for it’s springiness. Rowan wood is also highly prized for barrel making. Forked branches of Rowan or Ash were once used as water divining rods.

Being a favored food of so many birds, the Rowan can often end up as an epiphyte in the forks of other trees, like Oak or Maple. These are still referred to as “flying rowans” and were once thought to be especially potent in protecting against evil influences, astral travel, the making of visionary brews, and flying as no evil upon earth touched it.

The name for this Teacher, “Luis”, in Ogham, could be derived either from “luise” meaning “flame”, or from “lus” meaning “herb”. Its Proto-Indo-European root was either “leuk”- ‘to shine’, or “leudh”- ‘to grow’. Rowan reminds us to hold tight to our beliefs, nurture the creative force whenever possible, and savor the good things in life. Even in the midst of the coldest winter, sustenance can be found. Well balanced Rowan people tend to be charming, communicative, cheerful, confident without ego, artistic, passionate, and life loving. Emotional instability, consistently choosing “harm” over "help (either through our own choices/actions, or by simply seeing that which is truly harmful to us as helpful) and stubbornly hanging on when we should forgive or forget are potential signs of unbalanced Rowan energy.

An excellent friend for those seeking better communication, strengthening of self, protection, awareness of enchantments, stronger spiritual purpose, or “quickening” of energy, visions, or abilities. The Rowan will help us to correctly determine friend from foe, good from bad, and help from harm. This Teacher has been known as the Whispering Tree that will impart all the Knowledge of the World to those that take the time to listen.


“All it has experienced, tasted, suffered:
The course of years, generations of animals,
Oppression, recovery, friendship of sun and – Wind
Will pour forth each day in the song
Of its rustling foliage, in the friendly
Gesture of its gently swaying crown,
In the delicate sweet scent of resinous
Sap moistening the sleep-glued buds,
And the eternal game of lights and
Shadows it plays with itself, content.” Herman Hesse


Potential Balancing Energies: Moose, wolf, bear, morel mushroom, fox, raven/crow, thrushes, waxwings, cow, pig, goat, dog, snake, horse, or dragon, water, rose, apple, snail, ant, bee, wasp, badger, rabbit/hare, deer/stag, various butterflies and moths

Key Concepts: Quickening, Knowledge, Maic, Hex-breaking, Fae energy, Protection especially against hostile magic, Communication, Creation, Inspiration,

Associated Gods/Goddesses or Mythic figures: Brigid, Aphrodite, Oengus Mac Og, Hebe, Grainne, Halys, Finn Machumail, Orpheus, Pan, Dagda, Herne, Venus, and Thor. White Ladies ~the ghostly or fae creatures

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Intaglio en Memoriam (Carven in Memory)

Tears of Bacchus
counting Buddha's prayers
bead by bead
From tones 
of shyest lilac
to hues of 
luscious lavender
shades of royal violet
Like a graceful spill of wine
our wisdom is arrayed. 
Calm thyself
Breathe
Shed hobbling guilt 
debilitating fear
grief
We will
soothe away
nightmares
bringing dreams
sweet and deep
Listen to our 
timeless serenade!
Emotional healers,
we attend to health 
at all levels of being
Sober as judges,
we joyfully sing 
of Humility
Serenity
Spiritual awakening
Temperance
Sincerity
Wisdom undeceived 
Artistic creativity
Noble sovereignty 
Messages sent and received 
Touched by Angels
Clearing the way
for visions Divine
We awaken
Crown
Eye
and Heart  
To those attuning 
with our vibrations
histories, 
memories
stories we'll tell
mysteries
protection
and wisdom impart.
Stone of Bishops,
Artists
Composers
Poets
Inventors
Children
Pious diplomatic quartz
Brimming with
soulful memories
we will teach 
your spirit bliss
Practice self compassion
Be patient
Meditate

You'll get there
in due course!


Couldn't sleep with this Teacher's song whispering in head. (For those new to the game) Each poem is inspired by a Teacher found in Nature; a plant, star, stone, animal, etc that holds lessons of Wisdom for those who listen. Can you guess who is singing today?


Sunday, August 2, 2015

Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

Raised from darkness
Polished and poised
Every be-ringed gesture
becomes an attraction to Fortune

"I will guide you to adventure!
Open the way
to new opportunities
I'll bring business to your door.

In layers of translucent green
I cleanse and activate your heart
shield you from energy theft or pollution
Re-balance your emotional core.
I vibrate to the tune of inner harmony
helping you to embrace each new start.

In shades of azure dumortierite
I strengthen throat chakras
deepening intuition
stimulating third eye's sight
aiding the release
of all addictive blights

Sparkling shades of snow
are rare, but all inclusive.

Dressed in red
I'll strengthen your blood
solar plexus, and sacral base
to help you manifest abundance

Orange or yellow resonate
to the tunes of leadership
decisiveness
and creative grace.

Feeling lucky?
Take a gamble
seize the chance
Opportunity knocks once
but with my help
she'll give you 
a second glance."



For those new to the game, each poem is inspired by a Teacher found in Nature; stars, stones, animals, plants etc that hold lessons of Wisdom for us. Can you guess who is singing today? Congrats to Cathy Parisi, and Alan who named this Teacher!







"Nothing so conclusively proves a man's ability to lead others as what he does from day to day to lead himself.  ~Thomas J. Watson

"The reason most people do not recognize an opportunity when they meet it is because it usually goes around wearing overalls and looking like Hard Work." Henry Dodd 

"Focus, child! Opportunity is not a lengthy visitor. Do you know what you wish? Are you certain what you wish is what you want? If you know what you want, then make a wish." ~ Cinderella's mother, Into the Woods 

Aventurine can be translucent or opaque in shades of green, white, blue, red, orange or yellow. Primarily micro-crystalline quartz (some argue rock), which means it does not grow in points and clusters but rather in chunks and slabs. Inclusions of other minerals give it color and shine; mica gives a silver, and pyrite, a gold sparkle. Hematite or Goethite will create red, gray, pink, orange or brown Aventurine. Fuchsite, sometimes known as chrome mica, is a chromium rich variety of Muscovite which creates the most common shade of Aventurine, green. Muscovite or Ilmenite also creates shades of blue, gray or white. Dumortierite inclusions create shades of blue. For our purposes today, I will focus on the one I am most familiar with, green Aventurine. 

The shimmering effect found in this Nature Teacher is known as aventurescence. Sometime in the 18th century in Venice, some member of the Miotti family (according to most sources) managed to spill copper shavings into a batch of molten glass creating a glittering "stone" which came to be called Goldstone. This shiny effect closely resembles the natural shimmer found in Aventurine. Most sources seem to assume that the name Aventurine is an allusion to this creative event that resulted in a manufactured "stone" with similar appearance. This random event led to the localized protection of the manufacturing of Goldstone, a rather detailed utility patent, which influenced perhaps even helped shape our modern day patent laws. In Italian, "a ventura" translates as "by chance, luck or risk". 



Indian Jade, Gambler's Stone, Stone of Opportunity, Stone of the Amazons, Stone of Heaven and Luck Stone are all titles that have been given to this Teacher at some point. Thought to be the luckiest of stones, Aventurine's presence actually attracts and calls our attention to opportunities around us. This Teacher also likes to help by encouraging us to let go of bad habits, patterns or past disappointments. Aventurine encourages leadership qualities like focus, perception, insight, perseverance, motivation and creativity in the face of obstacles. This bright Teacher opens us up to new ideas, and lends us a brightly polished sense of optimism and good humor as well which strengthens us against feelings of depression and defeat. For me,  its most important qualities have been its protective ones. 

Green Aventurine helps connect us to the Earth, and Devic entities which helps us to stay balanced, grounded and centered as well as encouraging us to actively connect our selves with Nature. It strengthens communication with our spirit guides/guardian angels. It eases anger, nervousness, fear and irritation which in turn allows us to make decisions with a clear and focused mind. It cleanses, balances, supports and activates our Heart Chakra. It shields us from energy theft, electromagnetic and emotional pollution. It helps to clear energy blocks. as well as helping us to let go of the day's accumulated negativity. 

I work with the public in a fairly large volume. This friend helps me keep my mental/emotional footing steady, my sanity relatively intact, and my energy positive without getting dragged down by the stress, negative emotions and attitudes one encounters all day long in such a position. Green is a color for growth and prosperity. Aventurine encourages us in those directions.   


An extremely soothing and gentle companion, Aventurine is very much a Teacher that promotes personal growth at every level as well as healing in general. It was thought to be especially good at  supporting the health and healing of the heart, lungs and circulatory system. It was once believed that it helped to correct nearsightedness as well as enhancing visionary powers. I have found Aventurine especially good at helping us to resolve past traumas, particular emotional trauma, and releasing emotional baggage in general; inner work and healing seem to be this Teacher's specialty. 

Inner Harmony is key to all Aventurine lessons, and this Teacher does all it can to help us attain that state, making a wonderfully positive focus during meditation. It works well with other stones too, like Blue Lace Agate, Amethyst or Hematite. In ancient times it was used to fashion tools with sharp edges, as well as charms, jewelry or other art objects.  Keeping a piece in your left pocket (our "receptive" side) is thought to bring luck and prosperity. Some will even put it in their cashbox/register to attract new business, take/wear it on a date, or job interview. 

This Teacher asks us to remember our connection to the Natural world around us while letting go of outmoded thoughts/beliefs/patterns that distance us from our place in the Tree of Life. Aventurine gently reminds us that our perception/attitude can greatly influence how we think or react. Why see trouble when you could be seizing an opportunity? Going through the motions when we aren't really "feeling" it can help us turn gears in the right direction, bringing about our desired goals. Defeat happens more often between our ears than in physical reality. How does this humble Teacher appear in your life?  



"A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of their difficulties"  ~Harry Truman

"I keep the telephone of my mind open to peace, harmony, health, love and abundance. Then, whenever doubt, anxiety or fear try to call me, they keep getting a busy signal — and soon they'll forget my number." ~Edith Armstrong

"The road that is built in hope is more pleasant to the traveler than the road built in despair, even though they both lead to the same destination." ~Marian Zimmer Bradley

Key Words: Inner Harmony, Personal Growth, Leadership, Prosperity, Luck, Opportunity, Fertility, Healing, Renewal, Optimism/Hope 

Associated with: Deities like Cupra, Flidais, Kuan Yin, Tara, Ganesha, Raphael, Arael, Metatron... deities of of luck like Bast, Hermes, Fortuna or Tyche. Deities of healing like Asclepias, Bridgit, Dian Cecht or Nodens. "Green" Nature deities like Artemis, Gaeia, Cybele, Aja, Herne the Hunter or other Green Man/Woman figures, Gnomes, Brownies and other Earthy creatures. 


Potential Balancing Energies: other stones like Amethyst, Hematite, Jade or Rose Quartz. Birds like Hummingbird, Turkey, Robin or Raven. Insects like Preying Mantis, Fireflies/Lightning bugs, Crickets, Grasshoppers or Butterflies. Animals like Cats, Rabbits, Foxes, Coyote, or Frog. Plants like Clover, Greater/Lesser Plantain, Jade plant, bamboo, Patchouli or Dragon's Blood tree. Elements like Earth and Water