Well, the wheel doesn’t stop turning, no matter what we would like. Signs of spring are becoming more obvious. With this mild winter, I have plants that never went dormant. Time to start planning the next garden! (No Brussels Sprouts this time, gypsy. You’ll have to pick on me for something else.)
There have been many passages this past month. Notable among them is the passing of Stewart Farrar, who passed into the Summerland February 7. Rest well, teacher of many, until time for you to return.
In a different type of passage, Morgan R. is assisting women learning Wicca who have been released from jail. Hearthstone has agreed to help with re-integration. If you have any daily necessities (like shampoo, toothpaste, toiletries – I will have a list soon) that you can donate to women who have nothing, please contact me and we will make sure it will get to where it is needed.
And we have a guest column this month from Michigan. Please read her column and check your candles.
Our thanks to DragonsTide for sharing the wiccaning of Lyon Oak with us. The kids playing during the ritual was a lovely reminder of where our future lies, and it was a lovely opportunity to greet a new member of our community.
The February Open Full Moon will be on Friday, February 18, 1999, at 7:30 PM, at the First Unitarian Church, 1400 Lafayette, Denver, CO. The doors of the church open at 7:00. We like to begin at 7:30.
In celebration of Imbolc we will lead a ritual that guides us into the dark heart of the labyrinth and out again into the growing light of the coming spring. Do you have a hurt, habit or problem that you want to banish? If so bring it with you and you will leave it behind as a part of this ritual. Are you trying to make some aspect of your life grow and expand? Then bring that with you as well. We look forward to seeing you there.
Circle of Spring Eternal is a peer circle that does not exclude any tradition. We work in a number of different formats and are always open to new members. We require no obligations of secrecy or exclusivism. Please feel free to contact us at CSE@thegrimoire.net if you have any questions.
We have determined that our break-even point is about $3 per person.
We aren’t going to start collecting at the door, and no one will be turned away for not having a donation. However, we would like to suggest a donation of 3 to 5 dollars per person. (The extra is to cover the pagans that can’t swing $3.) If you can’t afford it, you are still welcome – if you can afford more, we’d be delighted to accept it.
NOTE: Hearthstone is a church and your donations to Hearthstone are tax deductible. If you would like to write a check so you can keep track of your donations, we can certainly handle that as well. And if it simpler to write a check occasionally rather than come up with a few bucks every month, believe me, we understand!
Day of Love
In his play, “Julius Caesar” Shakespeare had a dire warning for the emperor: “Beware the ides of March!” Assassins were plotting to strike during the middle of that month.
I have a happier tip: “Enjoy the ides of February.” Therein is the festival of Lupercalia. Of course, most of us in the Western world are more familiar with the celebration under the name of "Valentine's Day."
It's a very good idea to have a special day to commemorate love. Some of us may occasionally need a gentle reminder to express our more tender feelings. On that day, we fill out cards, give flowers and/or chocolates and/or jewelry, and perhaps enjoy a romantic dinner. All of this is good.
But, how many of us remember to savor many kinds of love?
We have the obvious, erotic love involving infatuation and passion.
We may feel the platonic love of and for a friend. There is the familial love between siblings, between parent and child, and among other family members. One may pet a companion dog or cat. That bonding is a kind of love.
Did you ever play peek-a-boo with an infant, or engage in hide-and-seek with a child? That kind of innocent play shows caring.
Helping is also a way of expressing of love. Donating to the Red Cross is one example. For another, there is a website that uses advertising money to pay for donations to programs of the World Health Organization. One merely visits the site – as often as daily, if one wishes – and clicks on a "button" on-screen. The URL is: http://www.FreeDonation.com/
I like to think that helping others makes this a better world. It increases the amount of love within us and around us. And doesn't it always seem that we all need more love?
Please remember to stock up on and share one particular kind of gift, now and any time you wish to give affection – of whatever type.
Keep handy a generous supply of warm hugs.
by Misti Anslyn Tucker
The Lead Connection
Witches love candles . and we use a lot of them. That makes the recent discoveries by scientists in several research laboratories in the US and Australia particularly critical for us.
The discovery? Candles can be a threat to your health!
In October, 1999, Jerome Nriagu, a professor of environmental health sciences at the University of Michigan reported a study in which he found that candles with lead wicks can release between .5 and 327 micrograms of lead into the air in your home every hour that you burn them.
After five hours of burning in a room that measured 12 feet by 12 feet by 10 feet high, the lead levels from some candles Professor Nriagu tested measured well over 1.5 micrograms per cubic meter.
Compare that to the EPA recommendation of no more than 1.5 micrograms per cubic meter for ambient air and you see that lead poisoning could be a serious danger for candle lovers.
Tests reported by the Australian Ministry of Consumer Affairs in September of 1999 indicate that some candles emit between 500 and 1000 micro-grams of lead per hour. Lead poisoning affects the central nervous system, and the blood and cardiovascular system. It can cause brain damage in children and can lead to serious developmental delays and behavioral problems.
If the health threat isn't enough to cause concern, the amount of lead released from these candles also damages your house and your possessions, and insurance companies are becoming increasingly aware of the danger and are refusing to cover the damages. Lead contamination is even making properties impossible to sell.
Checking Your Candles
Most US manufacturers of candles voluntarily stopped using lead candle wicks in the early 1970s, but since it's a voluntary ban, some candle makers in the US may still use them. More critically, manufacturers in Mexico and China are known to still be using them, since the lead in the core of a wick slows the burning of the candle and keep the wick from falling over into the wax, which is sometimes a problem with the much safer cotton or paper wicks.
Both very inexpensive candles from stores that specialize in cheap imports and expensive, long-burning, scented candles from boutiques can be a risk. To minimize your risk, check each new candle before you light it. When you trim the wick to ¼ inch, check inside the wick for a dark or metallic core or for a dark threading through the body of the wick. If you find signs of metal, don't burn the candle! Return it to the place of purchase for a refund.
Unbranded candles are the worst offenders, so try to find a safe, unscented name brand candle and stick with it. Write to the manufacturer of your favorite brand and ask for a list of ingredients in the candle and the wick, or a letter of assurance that the candles don't contain or produce as a by-product of burning any of the dangerous contaminants in this article. If you get one, buy those candles in preference to any others. In candles that you've already started burning, use a straight pin to open the top of the wick. You should be able to feel the "metal touching metal" grating sensation if there's lead in the wick.
When you buy new candles, avoid those that are soft or oily, since the extra oils in those candles don't provide the support a paper or cotton wick needs and so they're more likely to have a metallic core wick. It's best to use unscented beeswax candles.
More Bad News
Lead may be the most prominent danger from candle burning, but it's far from the only one. Recent studies are finding carcinogens in some of the more expensive jar candles. The recent fad for scented "aromatherapy" candles is inspiring candle manufacturers to include scents and oils that contain chemicals that are unsafe to burn. Some of those chemicals include benzene, polycylic aromatic hydrocarbons, toluene, methyl ethyl ketones, and naphthalene – some of the same substances found in paints, lacquers, and varnish removers that make them dangerous to inhale.
And please - pass the word.
If you have something to say, and are willing to let Alia edit it slightly, (generally for grammar – I have the soul of an English teacher) please feel free to submit your writing. Content will not be edited. We can usually make room for more voices.
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