Feng Shui for Winter Nights
by a Care2 favorite by Betsy Stang
Red is not just for Christmas! Red is the color of warmth, of fire, of yang. It is the antidote for the cold yin nights of winter. Warm your nights with just the right chi by practicing these feng shui tips for winter colors, light, warmth, safety and sharing.
Winter Colors and Light
Red Replace some of your summer blues with reds and oranges. Think pillows, quilts and place settings. You will feel warmer and less depressed. A cozy red or burgundy throw on the chair or on the bed will make you feel wonderful, and cut down on the need to turn up the heat.
Orange Cook orange. Pumpkins and squash are plentiful and give you the good carbohydrates and nutrients that you need for winter.
Light up the Night
Get at least one full spectrum light for a reading area. The complete spectrum will relieve seasonal affective disorder and help your eyes. Plants love full spectrum light so you can put some greenery nearby, and create a small winter garden that will cheer you up and help provide oxygen for your rooms.
Long evenings mean it is time to replace light bulbs. Think energy conserving compact fluorescents, especially for outside lights and accent areas. Your pocket book and your planet will thank you. There are even energy conserving Christmas lights that are now standard in Canada. Solar path lights won’t go all night at this time of year, but they probably are on sale and will light your way home in the evening with no strain on the environment. Additionally, in February, as the days lengthen, they will glitter most of the night, even in the snow, and will make you smile for years to come.
Warm up your Windows
Check to make sure all windows shut well. If you have single paned glass which lets the cold wind into the house, find some cheerful thick fabric, valances or drapes, which can cut your heating costs all winter and is a terrific way to change the feel of a room. The Victorians covered their windows for a reason; their homes were drafty! When you feel an uncovered window on a cold night, it’s cold! So think warm and add fabric.
Remove or cover your air conditioners. If removal is difficult get some wonderful natural fabric from your local fabric store and create a cover. Tip: Double-sided Velcro is amazing for the sewing challenged!
Watch For Fire
It is the time to have your boiler and fireplace checked and cleaned. Too many house fires or clogged boilers are caused by the lack of taking this step. All combustible materials create residue which in time builds up, so be safe, be warm and be pro-active. This expense could save you thousands.
Pay Attention to Your Floor, Your Grounding
Remove any dangerously slippery bath mat. The backing does disintegrate, and think about a cozy rug for your bedroom or sitting area. Please think about natural materials so you are not creating a toxic environment. Artificial rugs off-gas and pollute a closed environment; you could expose yourself and your family to illnesses. Look for Tibetan or other tribal rugs made from natural fiber and plant dyes.
Tell Stories; Share with Others
Get some good books. The wintertime has always been storytelling time among all traditions, so let the indoor time give you a chance to expand your mind, either for sheer pleasure or to learn something new you have been meaning to get to but haven’t had the chance.
Lastly, share your home with your friends. Long winter evenings are great for sharing food and conversation. Being with those you love will remind you of how much you have to be grateful for.
And as your gratitude increases take some of your old clothing and household goods to a local shelter or Goodwill and spread some cheer around. You will also get rid of your clutter and make room for the new.
From Divine Design by Betsy Stang, certified Feng Shui consultant.
Herb of the Day
To grow: Evergreen shrub, herb. Rugged and picturesque, grows 2-6 ft high. Leaves are narrow, aromatic, glossy, and dark green above, grayish white below. Flowers grow in small clusters and are lavender blue, 1/4-1/2 inch. They bloom in winter and spring, and occasionally in the fall. It endures hot sun and poor soil. You must have good drainage for this plant. Once established, water it sparingly in the desert. In other areas the plant needs little or no water. Control growth by pinching tips when plants are small and by pruning older plants lightly.
Uses: Rosemary is a circulatory and Nervine stimulant. Can be used for headaches, dyspepsia, or depression associated with debility. It can be used to ease muscular pain, sciatica, and neuralgia externally. It’s oil may be used on hair follicles for premature baldness.
Parts used: Leaves and twigs. Gather the leaves throughout the summer. The best time to collect them is during their flowering time.
Infusion: Pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1-2 tsp. of the dried herb and leave to infuse in a covered container for 10-15 minutes. Drink three times a day.
Tincture: Take 1-2 ml of the tincture three times a day.
Calendar of the Moon
Day of the Yew Tree
Color: Ivory or bone-white
Altar: Upon a bone-white cloth set a vase of yew branches, a single ivory candle, a pot of soil, seeds of a sometimes-poisonous medicinal plant, a bowl of water, and a bell.
Offerings: Plant seeds. Care for a cemetery.
Daily Meal: Vegan
Invocation to the Green Man of the Yew Tree
Hail, Green Man of the Autumn!
As the leaves fall and turn to brown,
As their breaking bodies crack beneath our feet,
As the earth itself browns and fades
And every stalk and tree gives way
To withering, the evergreens alone
Hold up their heads, and watch over
A kingdom which begins in death.
This is your kingdom, sacred yew,
Whose wood made bows to shoot
Flying death into the hearts of enemies.
Wreath of sacrificial bulls, beloved of ghosts,
Barrel-maker’s joy, coffin of the vine,
Churchyard tree whose roots spread
One to each corpse’s mouth,
Whose scarlet berries bring still more death,
Spell of knowledge, King’s Wheel,
Boundary of autumn and winter,
Saturn’s tree, slow to grow and slow to die,
Eagle who shrieks and dives to kill,
Whose all-seeing eyes follow shadows,
We hail you, sacred yew tree,
Green Man of the Autumn,
On this the day of your deathwatch.
Chant: (To be sung to the slow beat of a drum)
Like leaves we fall Like leaves we fly Upon the winds
(Each comes forward and plants a seed in the pot of soil, saying, “Hail Green Man of the Earth!” Water is poured onto the pot, and then the rest is poured out as a libation. Ring bell and dismiss.)
Today’s energies are dedicated to a disease that claimed the life of my father and shaved years off the lives of his mother and brother. And since I’ve recently been diagnosed with insulin resistance as the result of a glucose metabolic disorder, I find myself prompted to further investigate the correlations between Feng Shui and my own insulin imbalance. According to this philosophy, disease is caused by an disparity in one of the five elements inside our bodies and our homes. In this case, diabetes relates to a disorder of the earth element since it is caused by an insulin imbalance. Insulin is produced by the pancreas, an organ Eastern medicine symbolizes as an earth element. Earth is also represented at the center of the home. If you or anyone you know suffers from this sugar issue, find your home’s center and observe that entire environment. Declutter and clean! The next step towards health and well-being is to add any earth element to this area. A fresh and healthy green plant, an earthenware vase or container with a beautiful bouquet or anything with the color of yellow or brown (throw rugs, wooden coffee tables) will do the trick. Bringing balance to the earth-related arena inside your home will go a long way towards doing that same thing inside your body. And that’s something really quite healing and truly quite sweet!
By Ellen Whitehurst for Astrology.com
Calendar of the Sun
Black and grey
Altar: Spread a black cloth, and lay it with photographs, paintings, and other depictions of our ancestors. Add also symbols of their old tools, and statues of ancestral deities, a bowl of seeds for the future garden, pots of soil, a pitcher of water, and many candles of black and white and grey.
Offerings: Things they would have liked to eat, drink, smoke, or smell. Tend a cemetery and clean up the graves.
Daily Meal: Food from an earlier era, using authentic recipes.
Invocation to the Ancestors
Our ancestors got up at dawn,
Slaved in the dirt,
Sweated in the sun,
Chilled in the cold,
Numbed in the snow,
Scattering each seed with a prayer:
Pray that there be enough,
That no one starve this winter.
Pray that no bird nor beast
Steal the food I have struggled for.
And most of all,
Pray that each seed I save
Of this harvest
Shall next year
Bring forth a hundred more.
We live today
Because they worked
Because they sowed
Because they harvested
Because they prayed.
Those who came before
We are your children
Those who came before
We honor your names
(Each person takes seeds from the bowl and plants them in the pots of soil, speaking the name of one of their ancestors as they do so, as in: “In honor of _______.” The pots are watered, and the candles put out one by one.)
Calendar of the Moon
Apaturia Day 3: Koureotis
Altar: Upon a white cloth set the carved root of a tree, the leafy branch of a tree, scattered seeds, a bowl of water, a loaf of bread, and either fresh milk or nourishing herbal tea.
Offerings: Oneself, to the Order.
Daily Meal: A feast of any correct foods of the harvest, prepared for all.
Hail to those who have come together today!
Hail to those who live outside the Houses,
Yet follow the Rule as best they can,
Spreading the seeds of our Light beyond our walls.
(One comes forth with a handful of seeds, and gives them out to the lay members who have come to the House on this day, and says, “Take these with you, and plant them well.”)
Hail to those who are like the branches of a tree,
Reaching for the light, seeking for grace,
Who come to us like birds alighting,
Perhaps to stay and nest, perhaps to fly away.
Hail to you, and may you touch that Light
With your outstretched arms.
(The tree branch is carried around, and all Branch members brushed with the water.)
Hail to those who are rooted here,
Flesh and bone, heart and soul,
Giving up their lives for this our Life.
Hail to those who are the ground beneath our feet,
The stone beneath the field, the mountain
Beneath the path that climbs. Hail!
(The carved root is carried around, and all Root members are touched with water via the root.)
Bring forth those who would enter,
Who would come further, who would go deeper!
Bring them forth and hear their vows!
(All cry, “Bring them forth!” and those who would enter the Order as lay members are brought forward, and then those who would enter the Houses as Branch members, and then those who would take Root vows. Each in turn makes their vows before all.)
Song: Blessing Song
DANGEROUS PLANTS NEVER EAT OR INGEST ANY OF THE FOLLOWING:
Avoid experimenting with ANY the following plants.
Some of them possess highly potent medical properties and should only be used by the truly experienced witch or herbalists. Many are poisonous in part or in whole and cause serious illness or death if not used properly.
Castor oil plant (seeds)
Christmas rose (root)
Honeysuckle (vine and fruits)
Mayapple (roots, leaves, seeds)
Monkshood (fine as a rub – The smallest amount is deadly if used internally)
Springier tree (seeds)
Tobacco (Believe it! This IS a deadly poison if concentrated and eaten)
Wood anemone (seeds)
Yew (seeds and berries)
by Amber S.
When studying herbology within witchcraft, it is important to learn about how plants work and the best ways to gather our stores, whether they come from wild plants or plants in our garden. There is more to herbs and trees than meets the eye.
All things have a soul: rocks, trees, animals and people. The soul is the energy of an object that exists in the same place and time as the physical body. Things that exist on the physical plane can be seen on the astral plane because of their energy. When you remove part of a plant, it is customary and proper to ask before you take any part of it and thank the plant once you have finished.
Plants that you grow and raise in your garden do not need to be asked for their permission to take leaves and flowers. Because they depend on you for protection and sustenance, you can remove what you need when you need it. It is an understood relationship between the grower and the plants. They give their leave and fruit in exchange for protection and care. Prayers and spells should be said over the crop at significant times such as planting, watering, pruning, and harvesting.
Wild plants are a little different. these plants are dependant on themselves for their health and survival. When you remove part of a plant, you must first ask the plant. Do this by closing your eyes and imagine just for a moment what you want from the tree. Normally, you will get no answer in return or a feeling of acceptance, in which case, you may remove what you need. Occasionally, however, you will receive a feeling of mistrust or an uncomfortable feeling telling you that you may not remove any part of the plant, in which case, you must move on.
|When gathering wild herbs:- Never remove the bark from a tree. Bark covers a tree to keep out disease and fungus just the way our skin does for us. removing the bark can result in infection and the death of the tree. If you need bark for a recipe, remove twigs instead and strip the bark from the removed twigs with a knife.
– Try not to remove the entire plant. If possible, take only a few leaves or flowers and move on.
-Always ask a plant before you remove any part of it.
-Always thank plants after you have taken from them.
Plants are very sacred to witches. All plants should be given homage when we take something from them. There are many different ways of giving thanks. Any act of devotion is acceptable. Traditionally, gifts of apple cider, milk, honey, tobacco, or prayer are given. You can also give shiny coins or fertilizer as a gift. If you have nothing to give, a prayer for the health and well-being of the plant is more than sufficient. Leaving gifts for the tree spirits is also a good thank-you idea. Fairies enjoy music. Performing a song and dance for them is also a good thing to do if you have not brought any gifts with you.
Calendar of the Moon
Day of the Reed
Altar: Upon a blue-green cloth set a vase of reeds, a single blue-green candle, a pot of soil, seeds of some rare but useful plant, a bowl of water, and a bell.
Offerings: Plant seeds.
Daily Meal: Vegan
Invocation to the Green Man of the Reed
Hail, Green Man of the Autumn!
In this time of whistling winds
And growing cold, when we see
The year wind down towards
Inevitable winter, the reeds
Sing their mournful song
Along river and marsh,
And the eternal ocean’s shore.
Reed who thatched our ancestors
Homes, who gave them roofs
Over their head and shelter
From the wild elements
That your month promises,
Remind us that the best way
To assuage sorrow and mourning
Is by finding some way to work
With hands and body
Toward the coming of a new day,
Even if that day be only for the eyes
Of others not yet born.
Let us put roofs over the heads
Of all who need them, borne
Out of our own mourning
For what should already have been.
We hail you, sacred reed,
Green Man of the Autumn,
On this your day of falling.
(Use any keening, wordless, mournful polyphonic chant. Each comes forward and plants a seed in the pot of soil, saying, “Hail Green Man of the Earth!” Water is poured onto the pot, and then the rest is poured out as a libation. Ring bell and dismiss.)