December already! We’re coming up to the longest night of the year. Already it’s dark when I leave work, and I feel sleepy by about 8.
Meanwhile life is moving on; seems like everyone I know is moving soon, including me. We’re staying in town, but will be moving closer in to central Denver, and close enough to work for me to bike in when the weather is nice.
Santa’s coming soon. I know what I’m getting for Yule – a new (to us) house. For which I am profoundly happy. Anyone want to help us move?
Hawk Shadow and members of Oak Haven Coven will present the December ritual. Please join us for a celebration of abundance and connection to spirit.
Thanks and a Tip of the Hat to Manea for a glimpse inside her personal tradition and a lovely visualization in October.
And our thanks to those of you who joined us for an impromptu Samhain on November 7. Everyone there had a part in making that ritual a success.
--Alia and Catherine
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If you have something to say, and are willing to let Alia or Catherine edit it slightly, (generally for grammar – Alia has the soul of an English teacher and I want to be one) please feel free to submit your writing. Content will not be edited. We can usually make room for more voices.
by Deb Hoffman
Cold and flu season is upon us (sniffle). In addition to a flu shot, I always take an immune-system tonic in September and October (but it isn't too late to start!). I like to take Astragalus and Schizandra. Take them as separate herbs, or there are some combos out there as well. Some herbalists recommend Echinacea as a tonic, but I think it should be saved for an actual treatment herb.
I'd like to share some time-honored herbal cold remedies that have helped ease some of my cold and flu discomfort over the years. I found these in a wonderful little magazine called "Well-Being" that was published back in the 70's).
FIRST AID FOR A COLD: This is a very pleasant tasting tea that is most effective at the onset of a cold. Use equal amounts of peppermint, yarrow, and elder flowers. Use 1 tsp per cup of boiling water, steep covered for 15 minutes. Drink several cupfuls hot during the day.
HERBAL COLD CAPSULES: These take a little more work, but you may find more convenient than tea. Mix equal parts of golden seal root powder, ground myrrh gum, slippery elm powder and cayenne. Cap in size "00" capsules (available at any health-food store)and take 2 every 4 hours until the cold is gone. (I usually don't recommend golden seal anymore because it has been so intensely over-harvested. If you try this remedy, please use cultivated, not wild-crafted herb. You could substitute echinacea. Also, do not use golden seal for more than 3 weeks as it can become irritating to the system over an extended period of time.)
DE-CONGEST-AIDE: Mix equal parts of lobelia, mullein, echinacea and comfrey. Use 1 tsp per cup of water. Steep, covered, for 15 minutes. Drink several cupfuls during the day. (There has always been an aura of controversy surrounding the use of lobelia and possible toxicity…however, used following these directions there should be no problem.)
SORE THROAT SOOTHER: Mix equal parts comfrey root, marshmallow root, slippery elm bark and wild cherry bark. Using 1 tsp per cup of water, simmer for 20 minutes. (I make a quart at a time and add some cinnamon sticks and a few cloves to the mixture). Strain and use as needed, as a drink or a gargle. Add a little honey and lemon…ummmm good!
COUGH TAMER: Use 3 oz of the Sore Throat Soother mixture in 1 quart of water and slowly simmer down to 1 pint. Add 1 1/2 cups of honey and simmer for 5 minutes. Add 1-2 drops of oil of wintergreen or peppermint.
Now, I know that there are a few of you hardy souls out there who think everything goes better with garlic, so I will share a garlic drink that one of my herb school buddies swore by…I have never been brave enough to try it!
KEEP-ILLNESS-AT-A-DISTANCE GARLIC DELIGHT: each morning mix in a blender 1 cup orange juice, 1 tsp olive oil, and as many cloves of garlic as you like. Hmmmm, my friend said it make a "delicious creamy drink that chases away colds and helps your liver too!"
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