High John the Conqueror
Latin Name: Ipomoea jalapa
Common Names: John the Conqueror, Bindweed, Jalap Root
Folklore: John the Conqueror is spoken of often in African American folklore and is frequently considered to be quite magically potent, particularly among Hoodoo traditions.
It has been written of and referenced for these purposes by numerous famous Blues singers including Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, and Bo Diddley, making it quite the iconic among that community and culture.
Magickal Uses: Essential ingredient in mojo bags, Good Luck, Strength, Overcome Obstacles, Powerful Protection against Negative Energy and Curses, Sex Magick, Attraction.
Venus is a Roman goddess principally associated with love, beauty, sex, fertility, prosperity and military victory. She played a key role in many Roman religious festivals. From the third century BC, the increasing Hellenization of Roman upper classes identified her as the equivalent of the Greek goddess Aphrodite. Roman mythology made her the divine mother of Aeneas, the Trojan ancestor of Rome’s founder, Romulus.
In myth, Venus-Aphrodite was born of sea-foam. Roman theology presents Venus as the yielding, watery female principle, essential to the generation and balance of life. Her male counterparts in the Roman pantheon, Vulcan and Mars, are active and fiery. Venus absorbs and tempers the male essence, uniting the opposites of male and female in mutual affection. She is essentially assimilative and benign, and embraces several otherwise quite disparate functions, She can give military victory, sexual success, good fortune and prosperity. In one context, she is a goddess of prostitutes; in another, she turns the hearts of men and women from sexual vice to virtue.
||Age:||Eighteen months old
|Home:||East Hartford, Connecticut, USA
UtchiB, as I call him, came from a backyard breeder. She was a very young woman who didn’t know what she was doing. I had lost my beautiful ten-year-old soulmate Sphynx, MooShoo on my birthday, February 13th from thrombosis.
I swore I would always have a beautiful Sphynx in my life, but only a rescue will do. I searched for over a year to find AustinButchie. When I took the hour-long road trip, I didn’t know what to expect. The breeder told me she was in over her head, and proceeded to bring a cat carrier full of beautiful nekkids down for me to see. Out popped UtchieB!!! He was a wild man, running all over the place. He was older than the other kittens, but I found his playfulness intriguing. Later on, I realized that he was probably the runt of his litter, as he is very small for his age. He is goofy, charming and a purr machine.
UtchieB wanted nothing to do with his carrier, insisting on riding on my shoulders, purring all the way home. As far as gradually introducing him to my fur crew? Well, let’s just say he kept climbing over the babygates I had stacked in my bedroom door to be with the gang. The rest is history.
UtchieB was entered into his first cat show shortly after that. While he did “okay” in the Household Pet category of the TICA show, a judge friend said he definitely needs to be shown as a purebred alter. Unfortunately, I do not have his papers so that wasn’t an option. He is happiest being housecat, though. And that’s okay with me!!
||Age:||Six years old
|Home:||Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA|
Wilson is my adopted shelter dog who is the subject of my children’s books, “Wilson Gets Adopted” and “Wilson Learns Manners” – which helps children learn manners, too – and the spring release will be “Wilson and the White House Pups.” I post Wilson in costumes on his website, Wilson Gets Adopted.com.
I found Wilson on Petfinder, I was looking for a small non allergenic dog to be compatible with my two Havanese. He was four years old then, and he is six now. His first book tells, of course, of his adoption, but it starts with his early life – he ended up in rescue because his former owner was an elderly man who got sick, and couldn’t keep him anymore.
Wilson is friendly, loves to be in front of the camera and be on TV shows. As he was a rescue, I thought he might be mixed with Bichon or some other breed, but we had DNA testing done, and he’s purebred poodle! So that proves you can find purebred dogs in rescue!
He learned tricks when he came to live with us, SIT, FETCH, PAW, DOWN, STAY, and he was an apartment dog with his first owner, so my two dogs taught him to go outside. He loves being dressed up – the attention and the treats are part of the deal!
Wilson is a true “lap dog“, if I let him, he would stay on my lap all day! He gives kisses and snuggles. He’s the best.
The History of Valentine’s Day
The origins of Valentine’s Day trace back to the ancient Roman celebration of Lupercalia. Held on February 15, Lupercalia honored the gods Lupercus and Faunus, as well as the legendary founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus.
In addition to a bountiful feast, Lupercalia festivities are purported to have included the pairing of young women and men. Men would draw women’s names from a box, and each couple would be paired until next year’s celebration.
While this pairing of couples set the tone for today’s holiday, it wasn’t called “Valentine’s Day” until a priest named Valentine came along. Valentine, a romantic at heart, disobeyed Emperor Claudius II’s decree that soldiers remain bachelors. Claudius handed down this decree believing that soldiers would be distracted and unable to concentrate on fighting if they were married or engaged. Valentine defied the emperor and secretly performed marriage ceremonies. As a result of his defiance, Valentine was put to death on February 14.
After Valentine’s death, he was named a saint. As Christianity spread through Rome, the priests moved Lupercalia from February 15 to February 14 and renamed it St. Valentine’s Day to honor Saint Valentine.
What’s Cupid Got to Do with It?
According to Roman mythology, Cupid was the son of Venus, the goddess of love and beauty. Cupid was known to cause people to fall in love by shooting them with his magical arrows. But Cupid didn’t just cause others to fall in love – he himself fell deeply in love.
As legend has it, Cupid fell in love with a mortal maiden named Psyche. Cupid married Psyche, but Venus, jealous of Psyche’s beauty, forbade her daughter-in-law to look at Cupid. Psyche, of course, couldn’t resist temptation and sneaked a peek at her handsome husband. As punishment, Venus demanded that she perform three hard tasks, the last of which caused Psyche’s death.
Cupid brought Psyche back to life and the gods, moved by their love, granted Pysche immortality. Cupid thus represents the heart and Psyche the (struggles of the) human soul.
- Approximately 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year. Half of those are sent through Care2 (OK, maybe not HALF… or even half of half… but we are growing fast!)
- In order of popularity, Valentine’s Day cards are given to: teachers, children, mothers, wives, sweethearts, Koko the gorilla.
- The expression “wearing your heart on your sleeve” comes from a Valentine’s Day party tradition. Young women would write their names on slips of paper to be drawn by young men. A man would then wear a woman’s name on his sleeve to claim her as his valentine.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Seven Things Not To Do on Valentine’s Day
- Mel, selected from DivineCaroline
By Lyndsay Rush, DivineCaroline
Ahhh, Feburary 14. The day of love. The day that Cupid works for all year. The day Hallmark cashes in on our emotions.
For some people, February 14 is just another day. And this year, just another Sunday. Whether you’re indifferent, upset, or excited, there are some things you just shouldn’t do on this lovers’ holiday:
1. Go on a first date.
I would like to shake my fist at whoever suggests this as a way to spend Valentine’s Day. First dates are hard enough as it is without the added pressure of taking place on a holiday like this. Chances are you’ll either spend the evening with false expectations, hoping he’s “The One,” or you’ll spend the night miserable and wishing you were home in your pajamas. Valentine’s Day is NOT the day to take a dating risk. Reschedule for the next day and question his sanity if going out on Valentine’s Day was his idea.
There is nothing worse than hearing someone spend all day complaining about their lack of prospects, heartache, or ticking biological clock. Save yourself some dignity, throw out a few snarky jokes about being single if you must, and then save it for your journal. Negativity begets negativity and you will feel the effects of being a downer all day. And so will everyone around you.
3. Call your ex.
ABORT! I repeat, ABORT! If you are considering this as you look tearfully out your bedroom window with The Holiday soundtrack playing in the background, ABORT! On a day like this it’s natural to have your thoughts drift to the last person you were with, but you broke up for a reason and even Cupid can’t create a day big enough to change that. Avoid the Valentine’s Day emotional hangover and don’t attempt a reconnect.
4. Reenact MTV Spring Break.
The last thing you need to do is drink your way out of this holiday. While it is perfectly acceptable (and fun!) to dress up and go out with your girlfriends on V-Day, don’t channel your inner “Senior year spring break.” Remember, this is just another day on the calendar and you taking four tequila shots is not going to fix anything about your love life.
5. Take yourself for granted.
This is a big one. Do whatever it takes to get perspective on life amidst the flower, candy, and romance-induced mayhem. Your worth and value as a human being and sister, daughter, friend is in no way influenced by your relationship status. Keep your chin up and focus on what you have accomplished this year or what you hope to accomplish in the future. You are loved and valued for more than your ability to snag a significant other.
6. Be alone.
The chances of the above “not to-dos” occurring is exponentially higher if you’re alone on Valentine’s Day. Gather with friends over dinner. Get some pals and go see a flick. Open a bottle of champagne with your best friend. Do whatever it takes to surround yourself with love. This is one of the best ways to ensure you spend the night having fun and focusing on the wonderful, non-romantic loves in your life.
7. Overlook the good in your life.
This one goes along with the “taking yourself for granted” no-no. Although it’s easy to be swept up by romantic comedies, candlelight dinners, past lovers, roses, chocolates, teddy bears, and diamonds, there is much in life that is equally–if not more–important. Try making a list of blessings in your life. From “roof over my head” to “amazing nail polish collection,” pen all of the things in your life that make it excellent. We need reminders of this every day and not just Valentine’s Day.
At the end of the day, what really matters is a healthy perspective on February 14 and all that comes along with it. In no way do I mean to imply that this should be a day of doom and gloom to those of us who are not currently in a relationship, but I offer this list as an opportunity to maintain perspective amidst a wildly commercial day focused on romantic love. Cheers to a day full of love–in whatever way it reveals itself to you!
Moon Phases By Jan Spiller:
Last Quarter (waning/90-45 degrees)
February 14, 2012 — The time of reaping is at hand. There is a feeling of completion infused into the atmosphere during the Last Quarter Moon. The opportunity opens to recognize how far you’ve come in various parts of your life. This is not a good time for new beginnings, but rather a reflective period suited to evaluating how you have been using your time and what has been accomplished. Issues of authority may arise. This Moon phase supports taking responsibility for actively tying up the loose ends of projects that are already underway.
Strange forces are at the helm during this unusual Valentine’s Day. While Mercury uniting with Pallas in Pisces (3:32AM PST) is terrific for problem-solving and heading off any kind of interpersonal crisis, a void Moon in Scorpio – lasting from 9:05AM PST to 4:57PM PST and starting during the Last Quarter Sun-Moon Phase – adds a giant element of uncertainty across the board. It doesn’t help that normally productivity-enhancing Ceres is making a touchy square to distant Pluto (9:37AM PST) during the void cycle. Finishing old business and projects on a high note is still the recommended course of action while the Moon is completing its monthly transit in Scorpio under dubious circumstances. Pushing your personal agenda at any cost is a no-no. Once the lunar orb enters upbeat, fiery Sagittarius (4:57PM PST), look for the heartfelt silver lining in any remaining romantic cloud cover. Healing vibrations are increasing – thanks to a supportive, 60-degree alliance from Jupiter to Chiron (5:38PM PST). Keep utilizing the happy-go-lucky presence of Sagittarius Moon to give you a fun-filled evening. Assisting you in getting along with dear ones is the monthly Moon-Juno conjunction (10:51PM PST) – amplified by a Venus-Ceres contra-parallel (11:01PM PST). With a little extra sensitivity, love birds can find their way to respectful, caring embraces under the aegis of an optimistic Sagittarian lunar dispensation.
Calendar of the Moon
Lenaia Day III
Colors: Purple and green
Altar: A large post is set up behind the altar, draped in robes of purple and green, with a mask of Dionysus upon it, and arms raised upwards made of grapevine and fruit tree branches. The altar is draped in purple and green, and upon it set two purple candles, a wreath of grapevines, two jugs of wine (one white and one red), and a chalice.
Offerings: Dancing. Drumming. Music. Transforming dreams into reality.
Daily Meal: Wine. Goat or lamb. Lentils. Grape leaves. Greek food if possible.
Lenaia Invocation I
Hail, son of Semele! Iakkhos, Giver of Wealth!
Not only wealth of body and thought,
But wealth of spirit as well,
Numinous in sacrifice,
One whose mysteries
Cannot fully be spoken,
One who we can only truly know
Through the way of unknowing,
We ask for fertility of soul
Not merely for us, but for
The whole world of humanity.
We dance for the soul’s creation
And re-creation, again and again,
You who understand the cycle
And know that all endings
Are simply beginnings.
From our souls down through our bodies,
From our bodies into your Soul,
From your Soul into the Earth,
We give you our open eyes
That you may fill them with vision.
(Instead of a particular chant, a drum circle is formed and all dance for at least an hour. Any appropriate chant may be used. After the drum circle is closed, the red wine is passed around and shared, with the worker saying, “Behold the blood of Iakkhos.” The remainder is poured out as a libation. Then the white wine is passed around and shared, with the worker saying, “Behold the dreams of Iakkhos.” The remainder is poured out as a libation.)