Saturday, January 30, 2010

Luverly of the Week: Vox Vulgaris

Vox Vulgaris is a fun Medieval-styled music group from Sweden. It's been a while since I have listened to them, so I thought I would share them with you all. If you haven't heard them, go on over and take a listen.

Here is also a video of their song La Suite Meurtrière:



Friday, January 29, 2010

Third Video in Our Irish Pantheon Series

Um, WTF?

If anyone else were to do this they would be spending time behind bars. This is so bloody scary. It's times like this vagina dentata might come in handy.
Time to end pelvic exams done without consent

Imagine that you are undergoing a fairly routine surgery – say, removal of uterine fibroids or hysterectomy. During or right after the procedure, while you are still under anesthesia, a group of medical students parades into the operating room and they perform gynecological exams (unrelated to the surgery) without your knowledge.

Do you consider this okay, or an outrageous violation of your rights?

Regardless of your feelings, you should be aware that this is standard procedure in many Canadian teaching hospitals.

Medical students routinely practice doing internal pelvic examinations while surgery patients are unconscious, and without getting specific consent, at least in Canada.

Guidelines in the United States and Britain say specific consent is required but, by contrast,

Canadian guidelines state that pelvic examination by trainees is “implicit.”
The practice – one of those dirty little secrets of medicine – has been exposed in a thoughtful, professional manner by a young doctor.

Read the rest of the article here.



Thursday, January 28, 2010

Howard Zinn Passes

Sadly Howard Zinn has passed away. He died yesterday at the age of 87. He had a long and fruitful life, but there are very few like him, and we need as many people like him as we can get.

Check out his wonderful websites here and here.



Sunday, January 24, 2010

Some More PS Tinkering

This is a take on the Irish Goddess Brigid {well Her fiery aspect}. I'm getting into the spirit of Imbolc. ;)






Aon Celtic Art



Friday, January 22, 2010

Wortcunning: Sweetfern {Comptonia peregrina}

Other Names: Sweet-fern, Sweet Fern, Fern Gale, Spleenwort Bush, Sweet Ferry, Meadow Fern.

Description: The name 'Sweetfern' can be a tad bit misleading, since it is actually not a fern but a deciduous shrub. When one sees it, especially when young, it is understandable why it has 'fern' attached to its name; the foliage strongly resembles narrow fern leaves.

Sweetfern grows to about 3 feet high, its trunk is brown with a hint of red and can sometimes be quite hairy. The whole plant can smell very pleasant, especially the leaves when the are rubbed or bruised.

It is native to North America, and can be found growing in the wild from Quebec to the East, Saskatchewan in the West, to about North Carolina in the South. It is in the Myricaceae family, and the Bayberry is a close relative.

Warnings: As with all herbs, one should make sure to be thoroughly informed before ingesting them, and is best to do so under the guidance of a qualified healer.

Cultivating: Sweetfern can be found growing on hillsides, open fields, and in places where pine trees thrive. It does well to hardiness zone 3, and needs to be grown in full sun. It is drought resistant and prefers soil that is sandy, acidic and well-drained. It makes an excellent ground cover on land that has very poor quality soil!

You can buy plants at nurseries, but it maybe a little difficult to find. Another option is to propagate it through root cuttings, instead of seeds {unless you are up for an extreme challenge!}. Once Sweetfern has made itself at home, it needs very little upkeep and will spread very well via its rhizomes. It is a perennial and will mature around its third year.

One disease to be aware of is Sweetfern blister rust, which can also spread to various pines including Jack Pine, Scots Pine, and Ponderosa Pine.

Medicinal/Remedial Properties and Lore: Anti-inflammatory, aromatic, astringent, emollient, haemostat, stimulant, tonic.

Sweetfern has been used by both Natives and settlers to treat various different ailments. One of its most popular uses that is still appreciated today is as a tonic. All parts of the plant would be used, especially the top leaves in a tea to promote overall good health.

A decoction was used internally to treat dysentery, leucorrhea, rheumatism, diarrhoea, and internal bleeding. Henriette's Herbal recommends a dosage of from 1 to 4 fluid ounces, 3 or 4 times a day.

It is apparently quite effective when used topically to sooth Poison Ivy and other irritations, and can be used in this manner to treat rheumatism as well.
Magical Properties and Lore: According to Melvin Gilmore in Some Chippewa Uses of Plants, Sweetfern was burnt as an 'incense' in religious ceremonies by some Indigenous poeple.

European settlers would sometimes use it in folk magic for love talismans and spells, and was sometimes planted in their farm fields in the hopes that some of its hardy properties would brush off on to their own crops.

Other Uses: The nutlets are edible and apparently quite tasty! The leaves can be used to season foods, such as poultry or fish as well. Growing it in the garden is handy as it improves the soil by fixing the nitrogen, and is an excellent plant for wildlife. Deer, birds, and butterfly larvae will feed on Sweetfern, and birds such as grouse and killdeers will nest underneath it.



Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Farm for the Future

I found A Farm for the Future yesterday and thought it was a pretty darn good movie. Here is a blurb about it from the BBC website:

Wildlife film maker Rebecca Hosking investigates how to transform her family's farm in Devon into a low energy farm for the future, and discovers that nature holds the key.

With her father close to retirement, Rebecca returns to her family's wildlife-friendly farm in Devon, to become the next generation to farm the land. But last year's high fuel prices were a wake-up call for Rebecca. Realising that all food production in the UK is completely dependent on abundant cheap fossil fuel, particularly oil, she sets out to discover just how secure this oil supply is.

Alarmed by the answers, she explores ways of farming without using fossil fuel. With the help of pioneering farmers and growers, Rebecca learns that it is actually nature that holds the key to farming in a low-energy future.

You can view it in its entirety on Youtube. Click on the links below and enjoy!



Seedy Saturday is Coming to Town!

It is almost that time of year again folks! It seems like just a few weeks ago that I put the garden to bed, but since Christmas I have been getting seed catalogues in the mail and I have been day dreaming since last fall what will be in the 2010 garden! :D

At the end of February the North Bay Heritage Gardeners will be hosting a Seedy Saturday here in North Bay. I am super excited about this because I have crap loads of different seeds to trade.

There is an organizing meeting tomorrow that I will be attending, so hopefully I will find out where and when exactly it is and other details and I will post it here.

Happy day dreaming folks! :)



Saturday, January 16, 2010

Luverly of the Week: The Ravens & The Wolf by Ingrid Houwers

Ingrid Houwers has a whole bunch of splendid artworks over at her deviantART site, from corsets, taxidermy, torcs, and Celtic art.

Caution: drooling might become a problem upon looking at her gallery. ;)



Friday, January 15, 2010

A Perfect Candidate for the Scold's Bridle

I am sure that many of you have already heard Pat Robertson's little speech about the tragic earthquake in Haiti. If you have not, here it is:

Nothing like a huge tragedy to make one turn all opportunist. I am sure the last thing that the people of Haiti need is to be told that their ancestral Gods are devils or that they are not properly worshipping the God of their former colonizers.

Haiti might be cursed, but it more likely has to do with corrupt government and poverty {and other wonderful things like aggressive globalization and a history of slavery and colonialization} than the Gods.

What a wanker.



Second Episode of The Irish Pantheon Series: Airmid

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Witchy Luverlies from Forest Grove!

I am so pleased with these pretties I thought I would share them with the rest of you! :D

Generally I like to create my own magical mixtures and tools and collect my own witchy ingredients, but some of them are impossible for me to do on my own at the moment, so I turned to Forest Grove Botanica. A little while back I had purchased a nifty little rowan bag from Sarah of Forest Grove when she was still had Skyclad Crafting open, and given the quality of craftsmanship and the exchange in general, I had no doubts that I would be just as happy with this purchase.

I bought a 52 inch strand of rowan berries and red thread {you can see them in the picture at the top} because I never got around to collecting enough rowan berries last season, and I wanted another strand.
Above is graveyard dirt, a must have for folks who wish to connect with Ancestors and the deceased. I had used up the last of what I had that I gathered from a beautiful old graveyard in Toronto that I used to do some workings in.

None of the graveyards that I have encountered in North Bay I find suitable to gathering dirt from, but I recently found out that the Ancestors that I work with are buried not too far from town, and I will have to wait for the ground to thaw before I go collecting there. This should do just nicely 'til then!

If you are thinking of collecting your own dirt, please, please, please be respectful while doing so. It is best to make sure that the dead are receptive, and that the ground itself is. Be sure to leave proper offerings such as coins, or find out what type of offering the land and the deceased would like.

Don't just go digging up random dirt off of someone's grave...remember, these are people's loved ones. Try and get some from one of your own Ancestors or from the grave of a spirit that you work with. If that is not possible, you could try by an old tree or in another 'communal' area of the cemetery.

Above is red brick dust and rowan and dragon's blood oil. Both are fantastic for protection magic.

And here is a some hot foot powder and dream incense. The hot foot powder is traditionally used Hoodoo to get rid of bothersom and nasty people. It is not something I have personally used myself, but the folks I have talked to about it have said it definitely gets the job done, so I thought I would give it a go. ;)

The dream incense was a bonus pretty that Sarah was nice enough to throw in, and she says in her product description that it is good for:

"...dream magic, dream divination & prophetic dreaming, lucid dreaming, astral travel, confronting nightmares, or for working with and/or invoking Morpheus, the Greek God of Dreams."



Friday, January 8, 2010

Ghost of Ye Olde Homestead

Still finding my way 'round Photoshop.












...Need Sleep...

Generally I am plagued with thoughts and ideas just when it is time for me to go to sleep. Eventually my brain will catch up to the notion that it is time for bed. I suspect that this is the case for most creative people: we get up at least once a night to scribble down our ideas before they can escape us. Then we are allowed to get some sleep.

This I can live with.

What I have been experiencing over the last few nights though is not something I really want to live with. No matter how many times I get up to write down these ideas {which grow more and more horrible by the day!} my brain will just not shut up.

I thought that I would turn to my beloved chamomile tea, but that just means more trips to the loo. I tried the whole 'meditation' thing before bed, but focusing to turn my thoughts off is work, and only lasts for a certain period of time. A yogi I am not.

Wouldn't it be luverly if the brain could grow wings and fly out for the night, and leave the body to rest? That way if there are any good ideas that come up, we could have the energy to carry them out. ;)



Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Day Dreaming of an Enchanted Wood

While trying to avoid the cold in the Winter wonderland that we have here in the Bay, I have been tinkering around with Photoshop and having a go at digital collages. I guess it's not too bad for someone who hasn't quite mastered the art of 'blending'.

If you head on over to deviantART, you can find a whole bunch of free images, resources and tutorials.

The following elements were used in this collage:



Saturday, January 2, 2010

Luverly of the Week: Foxgloves from Swan Bones Theatre

Kelly Louise Judd has a whole bunch of nifty artwork in her Swan Bones Theatre Etsy shop! Here is just a small taste of what else you can find over there...



Friday, January 1, 2010

Our Wishes for You All in 2010...

Go raibh tú daibhir i mí-áidh
Agus saibhir i mbeannachtaí
Go mall ag déanamh namhaid,
go luath a déanamh carad,
Ach saibhir nó daibhir, go mall nó go luath,
Nach raibh ach áthas agat
Ón lá seo amach.


May you be poor in misfortune,
Rich in blessings,
Slow to make enemies,
quick to make friends,
But rich or poor, quick or slow,
May you know nothing but happiness
From this day forward.

{a traditional Irish toast/blessing}

All the best to you and yours in 2010! :)


Aymi & Laurel