A Journal of Celtic Spirituality and Sacred Trees

Issue 9, June/July 1994

In This Issue:
Out on a Limb: Editorial - Muirghein uí Dhún Aonghasa
From Brighid's Hearth: Dandelion - Brighid MoonFire
Poetry: Adoption - Raven
Runes: Os - by Stormy
Earth Awareness: Botanical Insecticides - Brighid MoonFire
Poetry: Infinite Perpetuality - Stormy
Baby Steps: Paganism for Beginners by Coll
Bach Flowers: An Introduction - Muirghein uí Dhún Aonghasa (Linda Kerr)
Bach Flowers: Oak - Muirghein uí Dhún Aonghasa (Linda Kerr)
Lunar Energies & Esoterica: Oak - Imré K. Rainey
Bach Flowers: Holly - Muirghein uí Dhún Aonghasa (Linda Kerr)
Lunar Energies & Esoterica: Holly - Brighid MoonFire
Poetry: Ready - Lee
Plant Identification: Flower Parts - Sherlock
Magic Without All the Bullshit - ShadowCat
Letters to the Editor
Bubbles From the Cauldron - book reviews, etc.

Editor & Layout, Publisher: Muirghein uí Dhún Aonghasa (Linda Kerr)
Staff Writer: Brighid MoonFire
Staff Writer: Imré K. Rainey
Staff Writer & Artist: Stormy

Contributors: Coll, Lee, Nancy Passmore (The Lunar Calendar), Raven, Shadowcat, Sherlock, Signy May. Cover art by Stormy.

THE HAZEL NUT, Issue 9, Copyright © 1994. June/July 1994, Oak/Holly Moons. THE HAZEL NUT is published six times a year.

All rights reserved. Copyright reverts to the individual artist or writer upon publication. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission from the editor and author.
Opinions expressed by authors do not necessarily reflect the views of the editor. We make every effort to ensure the accuracy of all information published, but cannot be held liable for errors, changes, or omissions, or for any incurrances from the application or the practice of any matter contained herein.

In Celtic legend, the hazel tree drops its nuts into the well below, where they are consumed by the salmon. While cooking one of these salmon, Fionn accidently tastes it, and instantly gains all knowledge. As such, the hazelnut has come to symbolize wisdom in a nutshell. THE HAZEL NUT attempts to bring you this wisdom in a small package every issue, with historical research, herbal information, viewpoints, poetry, artwork, and reader submissions. We also explore, in depth, one or more trees of the Celtic tree calendar/alphabet (Beth-Luis-Nion system) as researched and explained by Robert Graves in The White Goddess. This includes its herbal uses, folklore, esoterica, lunar energies, psychology, mythology, symbolism, and other aspects. In this we hope to make the sacred trees a real, and positive, part of your everyday life.
Oak is the seventh tree in the Celtic tree calendar. It usually occurs in June or July, and this year it runs from June 9-July 7.
Holly is the eighth tree in the Celtic tree calendar. It usually occurs in July or August, and this year it runs from July 8-August 6.


Happy Birthday to us! THE HAZEL NUT is now one year old, and has already gone through several changes. Well, get ready for another one. The Folklore & Practical Uses column is being temporarily discontinued. For those of you who look forward to the medicinal information and folklore about the trees every issue, my apologies, but one can only talk so much about oak bark tea. As time and space permits, however, I will write about other trees which aren't part of the calendar system, and soon will begin a new Folklore & Practical Uses column focusing on the Solar Trees.
In the meantime, I'll be writing a column on Bach Flowers as they relate to the Lunar Trees. This column will be a sort of combination of medicinal and esoteric information; to truly understand how the Bach Flowers relate to each tree, you should read the Lunar Energies & Esoterica for that tree, even going back to last year's issue if you need to. The more research you do, the more meaning the trees will have for you.
This issue we have several wonderful contributions from folks around the country. This is a great trend -- let's keep it up! Don't feel you have to limit yourself to poetry or artwork (although we're always short on both and need them desperately); we'll also accept full-length articles, book reviews, and even fiction.
Another thing to consider is cover art: we changed our cover last issue, and the response has been very positive. Now we need a continuing supply of quality artwork to choose from, which expresses the essence of that particular issue. When submitting something for consideration as cover art, please include a brief bio in case we do use it. Don't be disappointed if we don't use your art for the cover; chances are you'll see it inside that or an upcoming issue.
Lastly, we are always open to suggestions. If you see something about THE HAZEL NUT which you feel needs addressing or changing, or have a column or article idea, don't hesitate to let us know. We thrive with your support; without our readers, we have no purpose.

Until next time, party on, dudes! - Muirghein


by Brighid MoonFire

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), is also known as blow ball, cankerwort, lion's tooth, priest's crown, swine's snout, and wild endive. This plant is a native of Greece1, but can now be found in most parts of the world, especially in pastures, meadows and on waste ground, and is so plentiful that people everywhere find them a troublesome weed.
Dandelions are easily identified by the shiny green rosette of leaves, nearly entirely tooth-edged in a slightly backward direction. The stem is longer than the leaves, generally 5-6" in height, and bears a single, yellow flower in the spring. The root and stem will both yield a milky fluid when cut2.
The dandelion is widely used by herbalists for medicinal purposes, but it is also highly prized for its culinary value. The tender young leaves make an excellent addition to salads, but the adult leaves are usually too bitter3. The leaves are a wonderful source of vitamins, containing 7000 units of vitamin A per ounce, and are an excellent source of vitamins B, C, and G. In comparison, the vitamin A content of lettuce and carrots is 1200 and 1275 units per ounce, respectively4. The yellow flowers can be used to make dandelion tea5, and dandelion coffee is made from the roasted roots6.
Dandelion's medicinal actions are diuretic, cholagogue, anti-rheumatic, laxative, and tonic7, and it is used in many patented medicines8. Its chemical constituents are glycosides, triterpenoids, choline, up to 5% potassium, sterols, inulin, sugars, pectin, phenolic acids, asparagine, carateniods, and iron9.
Dandelion is known to be a very powerful diuretic, and its action has been compared to the commercial diuretic furosemide, or Lasix®10. With most natural and chemical diuretics, the usual sideeffect of stimulating the kidney function is a loss of vital potassium from the body, which aggravates any cardiovascular problem that may be present. Dandelion, however, is one of the best sources of potassium in the natural world. Therefore, it makes an ideally balanced diuretic that may be used safely whenever such an action is needed, including cases of water retention due to heart problems.11
The medicinal uses for the dandelion are many and varied. It is said to have opening and cleansing qualities, making it very effective for obstructions and diseases of the liver, gall and spleen12. It is useful against skin diseases, scurvy, and eczema, and it is said that an application of the plant's sap can remove warts13. It is also quite beneficial to the female organs, helping to relieve PMS and menstrual cramps. The natural nutritive salt in the dandelion is 28 parts sodium; this type of organic sodium helps to purify the blood and destroy the acids therein.14
Herbalists generally use dandelion more than any other herb, as it combines well with other herbal preparations for the liver, and is so mild, wholesome and safe, as well as nutritious.


1 Hutchens, Alma R. Indian Herbology of North America. 1973. Shambhala Publications, Inc., Boston, MA, pg. 109.
2 Ibid, pg. 109.
3 Grieve, Mrs. M. A Modern Herbal (2 volumes). 1992 (originally pub. in 1931). Dorset Press, New York, NY, pg. 251.
4 Hutchens, pg. 110
5 Grieve, pg. 251.
6 Ibid, pg. 251.
7 Hoffman, David. The Holistic Herbal. 1983. Dotesios Printers Ltd., Trowbridge, Wiltshire, England, pg. 190; Hutchens, pg. 109.
8 Grieve, pg. 254.
9 Mabey, Richard. The New Age Herbalist. 1988. Collier Books, New York, NY, pg. 52; Hoffman, pg. 190.
10 Mabey, pg. 52.
11 Hoffman, pg. 190.
12 Hutchens, pg. 110.
13 Mabey, pg. 52.
14 Hutchens, pg. 110.


by Raven*

Great Spirit,
we bring to you
one we wish as family.
In your eyes
they shall be
Blood of our blood
Soul of our soul
Spirit of our spirit, and
Life to our family.
As a Sister to our blood
Daughter to our soul
Friend to our flesh
Warrior to our spirit.

As the bear,
the cougar,
the wolf,
and the buffalo,
As the hawk,
the eagle,
and the owl,
As the tortoise,
the squirrel,
the otter,
and the hare,
So shall we live
as family, as tribe
within you.

As a people we grow
as a tribe we live
as a family we love.
As our Mother Earth below us
as our Father Sky above us
as they love and cherish
we will live.
As father to son
as mother to daughter
as man to woman
as brother to sister,
We are blood
we are spirit
we are love
we are one

* As remembered from my adoption into the Wolfhead Clan, Cherokee Indian Nation

Germanic: ANSUZ - ancestral sovereign god
Gothic: ANSUS - a runic god-name (divine ancestor)
Old English: OS - a god; mouth
Old Norse: ASS - a god; an estuary

KEY WORDS: Signals, messenger rune, the rune of the Trickster (Loki), tests, mouth, spoken word


The rune Os is often attributed to Odin/Woden but is also attributed to the Goddess Saga. Odin is the great shaman who hung upside down on the Yggdrasil Tree (known as the Tree of Life or World Tree) for nine days and nine nights with a great self-inflicted wound. The symbolism is in the bleeding, which is what a women does every month with her moon cycles. The nine days represents the nine months a women is pregnant. Without food or drink, Odin reached a shamanic climax, saw the runes and picked them up. In order for Odin to acquire the runes, he had to get in touch with his female side. In doing so, the runes were actually given to him by the Skalds or Norns, the three sisters representing past, present and future fate of humankind.
Next, Odin sought the gift of wisdom. At the extreme depth of the roots of the Yggdrasil, there is a great well. It is protected by the head of Mimir, Odin's Uncle. Also, at this well are the Norns, who water and feed the great Yggdrasil. Odin wants to drink from the well so that he can obtain all wisdom. The only way Mimir will allow Odin to do so is to pluck his own eye out and hand it over to his uncle. This kind of sacrifice is not uncommon in shamanic experiences and activities of the gods. In some versions it is his penis instead of his eye he must sacrifice to the Norns in order to become more like a woman, to gain the wisdom which they possess. Or perhaps it was really his third eye that opened up upon drinking from the well, enabling his female side to develop more intuitiveness and thus gain wisdom.
Gaining wisdom is not enough for Odin. He also wants to be a silver-tongued bard talented in cunning speech and persuasiveness. He can possess the great talent of poetry and speech by drinking Hydromel. The only one who possesses this great drink of honey and blood is the giant Suttung. Odin goes about wooing and seducing Suttung's daughter, Gunnlod. She allows him to sip the fabulous drink on each of three consecutive amorous nights. The three gulps he takes finishes off the entire supply except for a few drops that the mortals get to use in their earthly creativity, as speakers, bards and poets.
There are a number of Lord and Lady combinations in Teutonic Mythology. In one area, the locals honored the Earth Goddess Freya and her consort and brother, Frey, as Lord and Lady. In another area, Thrud, the Earth Goddess, and her consort and father, Thor, are the preferred Lord and Lady of the Land. The older myths were dominated by Goddesses and they were replaced by a combination of Goddess/Consort, each having equality. Eventually they evolved to gods dominating over minor goddesses with little importance, to the patriarchal religions of today, which usually have only one god.
Odin's consort was Frigg/Freja, Queen of the Witches, having all wisdom, knowledge of poetry, cunning speech, magic, medicine and herbal knowledge. The Goddess Saga, keeper of poetry and stories, was also Queen of the Witches. In actuality, Frigg, Freja and Saga were all the same but recognized by different names in different locales. Also, this combination could represent a Triple-Goddess combination of Frigg the Crone, Freja the Mother and Saga the Maid.
Frigg/Freja/Saga could easily have given her consort, Odin, all the information he desired. All he had to do was ask her. It is implied here that perhaps he was too proud to ask. It is true she didn't volunteer information easily but if asked, she would have given it. Then again, Odin's experiences are that of all humankind on a spiritual journey. If he had asked for and acquired wisdom, knowledge, poetry and the ability of a cunning silver-tongued bard, would he have appreciated it as much or not thought lightly of it? That which is easily obtained is usually not as cherished as that for which much sacrifice is involved.
The gods and goddesses, by modern standards, participated in incestuous relationships that were mystically based upon symbolic or very real sacrifice, which enabled the renewal of the land and the changing cycles of the seasonal eight-fold wheel. In much earlier times, the real king of the land had to be sacrificed after uniting with his queen. She represented the continuous power of the land by giving birth through their union. Later this changed so that the king was symbolically sacrificed after uniting with the Queen of the land, assuring the fertility of the land, the people and harvest cycles.

The Rune:

This is a rune of knowledge and learning. When drawing this rune, seek the wisdom or wise counsel of an elder or knowledgeable person. A person choosing this rune is probably an intellectual interested in communicating ideas, or a seeker of wisdom. The seeker is usually a teacher, a journalist, someone in communications, or an occultist.
This rune may indicate the beginning of an apprenticeship in acquiring knowledge, extra skills and experience necessary to nurture natural talents.

Upright Position:

When an important decision has to be made, do not be rash but consider very carefully the outcome. This rune is also a sign that writer's block is gone. That a speaker will be inspired. That poetry can be written. This rune inspires creativity of the silver-tongued bard, the writer, or the communicator.

Reversed Position:

Some mischief is afoot when drawn reversed. Beware of smooth talkers, get rich schemes and tricksters. A confusing atmosphere can prevent you from discerning fact from fiction. You must be careful and alert when this rune is drawn reversed. If you must speak or write, be careful in what you communicate as well!


Blum, Ralph. The Book of Runes. 1987. St. Martins Press, New York, NY.
Cowan, Tom. Fire In The Head, Shamanism and The Celtic Spirit. 1993. Harper, San Francisco, CA.
Gillin-Emmer, Susan. Lady Of The Northern Light, A Feminist Guide To The Runes. 1993. The Cross Press, Freedom, CA.
King, Bernard. The Elements Of The Runes. 1993. Element, Inc., Rockport, MA.
Tyson, Donald. Rune Magic. 1989. Llwellyn Publications, St. Paul, Mn.
Walker, Barbara G. The Woman's Encyclopedia Of Myths And Secrets. 1983. Harper Collins Publishers, Inc., New York, NY.
Willis, Tony. The Runic Workbook Of Understanding and Using The Runes. 1986. Sterling Publishing Co., Inc, New York, NY.


by Brighid MoonFire

Here we are again, once more facing the approaching summer months, and getting ready for our annual face-off with insects. For some of us with flower, herb and vegetable gardens, this can be a particularly difficult time.
Generally, if we ask for any help or suggestions on this awful battle from the 'experts,' we are told to spray our gardens or lawns with pesticides. That'll take care of the insects. Right. It'll take care of the humans and animals too, and even contaminate your ground water in some cases.
Recently, many companies have come out with botanical poisons (isn't that a contradiction in terms). However, what many of them don't tell you is that these botanical poisons can be just as dangerous as the chemical poisons.
Botanical poisons are naturally occurring, plant-based poisons. They work by being eaten or absorbed by the pest. They kill either outright, by preventing proper feeding, or by preventing reproduction of the pest1. Unfortunately, they are generally not pest-specific, and can be harmful to nontarget organisms, including humans. Most do break down fairly quickly in the environment into harmless compounds.
It is best to try to spray poisons only after you have exhausted all other options2. Try to discover which insects it is that are the bad guys, and bring in a few of their natural enemies that won't harm your plants. Several plants, like marigold, are good natural deterrents for some insects3, so plant a few of them along your infested zone. If you haven't already planted your garden, then make sure it's pest-free before you plant. And remember to choose healthy,pest-free plants.
If you must spray, make sure you do so safely. Remember to wait for calm weather. Pick ripe fruits or vegetables, and remove weeds that provide cover to pests. Dress properly and wear a dust mask and goggles. Mix up only as much as you need, and spray early in the morning or in the evening, since many pesticides can injure plants when applied in the hottest part of the day. Make a thorough application of the plants. Remember to change your clothes immediately and take a shower afterwards. And above all, follow the instructions on the container4.
In the paragraphs that follow, we will discuss some of the most common botanical poisons, and what the dangers are that they may present.
NEEM OIL: Also known as azadirachtin5, it is extracted from the neem tree. It acts as a broad-spectrum repellent, growth regulator and insect poison6. It is almost nontoxic to mammals and beneficial insects and is biodegradable7. It is also believed to be complex enough so that insects will need a long time to develop a resistance to it. Found in the commercial product Bioneem/Neemisis®8.
NICOTINE: Made from tobacco, it is a highly poisonous alkaloid9. It is poisonous to most plant pests, especially those that spend most or part of their life cycle in the soil. It is highly toxic to mammals internally and is easily absorbed through the skin10. It also remains toxic on leaf surfaces for several weeks, so use only on young plants and not more than 1 month before harvest. Found in the commercial product Black Leaf 40®11.
PYRETHRIN: Developed from the daisies Chrysanthemum cinerariifolium and C. coccineum. The active ingredient is called pyrethrin, and is extracted from the dried flower heads, which are called pyrethum. Pyrethroids are the synthetic versions of this natural insecticide that are even more toxic to insects13. It is a broad-spectrum insect nerve poison that is moderately toxic to mammals14, and kills lady beetles, yet doesn't appear to harm bees. If you are a hay fever sufferer, avoid contact, as many people have allergic reactions. Found in the commercial products Entire, Red Arrow, and Safer Yard and Garden Insect Killer15.
QUASSIA: Made from the bitterwood tree16, it controls several types of flies and
caterpillars. It is one of the few insecticides that seems to go easy on the beneficials like lady beetles. It can be found as bark chips in many natural food stores17.
ROTENONE: Found in more than 65 species of plants18, it is highly toxic to most insects with chewing mouthparts, like beetles. It works with a broad spectrum of insects, both bad and beneficial. It is moderately toxic to people and most animals, and very toxic to swine, birds and fish19. The toxic residue lasts on the plants at least 1 week, and some people have developed severe allergies and suffer from violent reactions, even after the treated food has been cooked20. There is also some evidence that it may cause growth abnormalities in lab animals. Never use it around waterways or ponds21. Found in the commercial product Deritox22.
RYANIA: Made from the tropical shrub Ryania speciosa23, it is a broad-spectrum insecticide24, but works best with the larvae of moths and butterflies. It is more toxic to pests than it is to beneficials, yet it is even more toxic to mammals and water life. Do not use it near waterways or ponds, and always wear protective clothing when using it. Apply it several weeks before harvest. Found in the commercial product Ryan 5025.
SABADILLA: From the seeds of Schoenocaulon officinale26, a plant from Venezuela. It works with a variety of pests, but is toxic to honeybees27, yet does not seem to hurt lady beetles. It is moderately toxic to mammals and causes violent allergic reactions in susceptible individuals. It becomes stronger when aged in dry, dark storage. It does break down quickly with sunlight. Found in the commercial products Necessary Organics Sabadilla Pest Control and Veratran D28.

If you decide that you are a little leery about using any of the above botanical poisons, there are a few more common substances that you can use as pest controls. They are listed below:
ALCOHOL: Diluted rubbing alcohol works well against pests on houseplants that have waxy foliage29. Undiluted alcohol may injure foliage30.
ALL-PURPOSE SPRAY: Garlic, onion, and cayenne pepper made into a tea and strained. It works well with leaf-eating insects; just be sure to keep it away from your eyes, as it may cause burning31.
AMMONIA: Diluted, it works well for several types of plants, but do not use in hot weather or on drought-stressed plants32.
BAKING SODA: Works with fungal diseases33 when made into a spray of 1 tsp. to 1 quart of water34.
CHITIN: Found in shellfish shells, it control nematodes. In order for it to work effectively, you must add some type of nitrogen source, like dried blood. It is available commercially in ClandoSan®35.
CITRUS OILS: The effective ingredients here are linalool and d-limonene36; make sure that your product contains these. It can cause some animals to experience tremors and salivation, so do not use it around your pets. Found commercially as Aphid-Mite Attack®37.
COPPER: This has been used as a pesticide since the 1700's. It works well to control fungi and algae. It is toxic to humans and other mammals, and it is irritating to the eyes and skin. It is also highly toxic to fish and aquatic invertebrates. It does not become concentrated in plant tissues, yet it does persist indefinitely in the soil. It can be found commercially in Bonide Liquid Copper, Kocide, Top Cop, and Top Cop with Sulfur38.
DIATOMACEOUS EARTH: A non-selective dust that kills pests by dehydration. It works with crawling pests, soft-bodied pests, root maggots, and chewing pests. It will irritate mucous membranes, so wear a dust mask when using, and don't use near children. It is commercially found in Perma-Guard39.
FALSE HELLEBORE: Contains several highly poisonous alkaloids. It helps to control garden insects with chewing mouthparts. It loses its effectiveness quickly when exposed to air and sunlight. It is highly toxic if ingested. It was once used to make poison arrows, so keep this in mind if you decide to use this one40.
GARLIC OIL: Will kill both pests and beneficials in your garden. It is made by soaking 2-3 oz. of minced garlic in 2 tsp. of mineral oil for at least 24 hours. Add 1 pint of water that has 1/4 oz. of liquid dish soap mixed in it. Stir and strain. Mix 1-2 tsp. of this concentrate with 1 pint of water to use. Spray plants well41.
LIME: Has been used for years and controls a number of pests. Wear a dust mask to avoid inhaling the dust. You will need to reapply after rain or high winds42.
SULFUR: One of the oldest pesticides known, it can be used to control plant pathogens and pests. It is moderately toxic to humans and other mammals. It can irritate or damage the lungs, skin, or eyes. It is not specific, and will kill beneficial insects, soil microorganisms, and fish. It may cause plant injuries if applied when temperatures exceed 80F. It can be found in the commercial products Bonide Liquid Sulfur®, Safer Garden Fungicide, and That Flowable Sulfur43.

I hope this bit of information has helped you somewhat and not left you completely confused and scared to death about what to use or not to use. Until next time, happy gardening!


1 Bradley, Fern Marshall and Nick, Jean M.A. Growing Fruits and Vegetables Organically. 1994. Rodale Press, Emmaus, PA, pg. 181.
2 Ibid, pg. 181.
3 Chesman, Andrea, and Lloyd, Louise. The Big Book of Gardening Skills. 1993. Storey Communications, Pownal, VT, pg. 75.
4 Ellis, Barbara W., and Bradley, Fern Marshall. The Organic Gardener's Handbook of Natural and Disease Control. 1992. Rodale Press, Emmaus, PA, pg. 463.
5 Ibid, pg. 477.
6 Chesman, pg. 80.
7 Bradley, pg. 181.
8 Ellis, pg. 477.
9 Chesman, pg. 80.
10 Ellis, pg. 478.
11 Ibid, pg. 478.
12 Chesman, pg. 80.
13 Ellis, pg. 480.
14 Bradley, pg. 189.
15 Ellis, pg. 480.
16 Ibid, pg. 481.
17 Bradley, pg. 190.
18 Ellis, pg. 481.
19 Chesman, pg. 80.
20 Ellis, pg. 481.
21 Chesman, pg. 80.
22 Ellis, pg. 481.
23 Chesman, pg. 80.
24 Bradley, pg. 190.
25 Ellis, pg. 482.
26 Chesman, pg. 80.
27 Bradley, pg. 190.
28 Ellis, og, 482.
29 Balitas, Margaret. The Experts Book of Garden Hints. 1993. Rodale Press, Emmaus PA, pg. 140.
30 Ellis, pg. 465.
31 Ibid, pg. 466.
32 Ibid, pg. 466.
33 Balitas, pg. 139.
34 Ellis, pg. 467.
35 Ibid, pg. 470.
36 Bradley, pg. 181.
37 Ellis, pg. 470.
38 Ibid, pg. 471.
39 Ibid, pg. 471.
40 Ibid, pg. 472.
41 Ibid, pg. 473.
42 Ibid, pg. 476.
43 Ibid, pg. 485.


- by Stormy

Aeons ago there was a great cosmic dust storm.
This storm went on for billions of years.
A billion years equals just one day to the gods.
So this was no time at all for them.
The clouds swirled and furled.
They drifted and sifted.

Then in another dimension the energy gathered.
The storms gave birth and hurled
Across the cosmos now called the Universe.
Suns surrounded by planets turned clockwise
With such unbelievable centrifugal force
Forming what we now call galaxies.

At night, I look up to see the stars.
And wonder how long we have been here.
And wonder where we are going.
And wonder how long it will all take.
Someone said this was all an illusion.
It all looks pretty real to me.

Trees are the oldest living things on earth.
So I seek out the oldest and wisest trees I can find.
I find a 100 foot high sequoia in the Red Woods of California,
Then find a sprawling ancient ash in the plains of Norway.
And discover a majestic ancient oak in a forest of England.
These sacred trees know much and have this to say:

"We came from beyond the stars known as the Pleiades.
The great cosmic cow is the energy
That gathered the dust and made us
For we are fire, we are ice, we are air, we are earth.
We have existed forever but in many different forms;
We have been here a very long time.

We are your guides, your angels, your ancestors.
We are the gnomes, elves, fairies, and pixies.
We are the myths and stories in your genetic code.
We are in your dreams and part of your life.
We are the collective consciousness.
We are you and you are us!"


by Coll

Out of the mists of history come many spiritual traditions. Those which are broadly lumped under the name of neo-Paganism are probably among the most difficult to define. Often contradicting each other, neo-Pagan religious traditions offer a diverse number of approaches to Divinity. Among all religions, this is not uncommon. Just as the Christians have their Catholics, Methodists, and Episcopalians, Paganism shares the diversity of denominations. But while this diversity has led to some conflict, the prevailing view within the neo-Pagan community is one of unity.
One of the biggest mistakes that many of us made when we were novices was believing that the traditions we were being 'raised' in were written in stone, and could not be altered in any way. This in itself has caused much of the discord within our community. "You're not a true witch, you initiated yourself," and "My tradition is more authentic than yours," are actual comments I have heard throughout my years as a Pagan.
This is why the need for community-wide festivals is so great. We must embrace the diversity that we are bringing back to life through our rituals and our beliefs. Church of Rhiannon (COR), of which I am a part, commends The Garden Club for their efforts in the direction of Pagan unity. These two groups (as far as I have been able to see), are attempting to foster the empowerment of the individual rather than the group as a whole. That is probably the single most important tenet of Paganism -- individual empowerment. *** A warning to the novice -- if what your group is doing doesn't feel right to you, get out of it!
In coming to that point, perhaps I can get to THE point of this article; that is, Paganism for the beginner.
The most common theme that runs through most all neo-Pagan traditions is the worship of the dual nature of Supreme Consciousness. One's early religious training has probably referred to this Supreme Consciousness as 'God.' In Pagan religions we discover that 'God' not only set the universe in motion, but is ITself the universe. We know this because we recognize that the life-force flows through everything, from people to rocks. We see this life-force not as an all-powerful 'God,' but as God and Goddess, because we understand that it is the polarity of male and female that creates life. Volumes could be written on this subject alone, but suffice it to say that Pagan worship focuses on the veneration of life through both female and male aspects of the same Supreme Consciousness, and we can further divide God and Goddess into numerous gods and goddesses, each representing a specific aspect of life.
The utility of our rites reflects the above belief. Much of our symbology is associated with the God and the Goddess. On Pagan altars one would typically find wands, which are phallic symbols, and chalices, which represent the womb. These are traditional Wiccan tools, but you can use any number of different items in place of these tools. It's fine to be creative. The idiot fundamentalist Pagan may tell you that you are doing it all wrong, but the spirits which you venerate through these objects will get the message loud and clear.
Another common practice among the various traditions is casting a circle and calling the quarters. We most often worship and do magical work within a circle. The reason for this varies with each tradition. Some say it is for protection from negativity that we cast a circle, and I can agree, but the circle also serves to attract positive influences. COR has traditionally cast a circle by walking around the outer perimeter counterclockwise to repel negativity and then inside the inner perimeter clockwise to attract positive influences. The circle also represents eternity because it never ends. Likewise, it represents the cyclicness of nature, as in the Wheel of the Year and the seasons.
We honor the four quarters as representatives of the four directions and the four elements. This is also done in many diverse ways. A typical Native American ritual is to burn a smudge stick, offering the smoke of burning sage to each direction, then to Father Sun above and the Mother Earth below. In the Wiccan traditions, the elements are often represented by magical items on the altar: a bowl of water for the element of water, a candle for fire, a bowl of salt for earth, and incense for air. Once again, you may change any of these to suit your creativity.
Very often you will see Pagans and Wiccans alike wearing pentagrams. One explanation I have heard regarding the pentagram is that the five points represent the four elements plus the element of spirit. COR holds to a tradition that associates five basic realizations with the five points of the pentagram, and this is shared by other occult schools. More importantly these days, the pentagram worn as jewelry acts as identification to other Pagans. Many folks will relate how they have struck up conversations with complete strangers simply because they were wearing a pentagram. One word of caution regarding the wearing of pentagrams, however; it is a neon sign saying "I am a Pagan!" If you are concerned about the bias of Christians you are around daily, use caution when wearing a pentagram (especially in the rural south). I met one young woman who had actually been fired from her job because she was wearing a pentagram and a customer had complained.
The joys and perils of being Pagan in today's society, for the most part, balance out. I've found that discretion goes a long way towards keeping that balance. I am less concerned about protecting myself because I don't shout to the world that I am a Pagan. Some would criticize me for that, but for me the most important thing is to focus on my spiritual practices. I would rather not worry about losing my job or scaring my neighbors.
Some good advice about following a Pagan path would be that it should nourish you. When it no longer does, then change is in order. Perhaps a change in traditions will spiritually nourish you, perhaps not. In any case, if you embrace diversity from the beginning, any change will come a lot easier.


by Muirghein uí Dhún Aonghasa (Linda Kerr)

What are Bach Flowers?

In 1930, a physician named Edward Bach, M.B., B.S. M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P., D.P.H., gave up his practice in England to devote his full time to finding a simpler, more natural method of treatment that did not 'require anything to be destroyed or altered.'1
His discovery, the Bach Flower Remedies, are a subtle, simple approach to healing, similar to homeopathy, but working directly on the spiritual and emotional levels, rather than the physical body. The 38 Remedies, prepared from wild flowers, bushes, or trees, represent 38 archetypal soul states. When there is imbalance within these soul states, unhappiness and disease will occur. The Bach Flowers are used to 'flood' these negative soul states with the higher, harmonious energies of the plants, thereby returning a state of balance.
Plants have been used for medicinal purposes from time immemorial. Bach, however, makes a distinction between plants that relieve symptoms and those that contain genuine healing powers. The latter are plants of a 'higher order,' and comprise the Bach Flower Remedies. "Each embodies a certain soul quality, or, to put it in energetic terms, has a particular energy wavelength. Each of these 'plant-based' soul qualities is in tune with a certain soul quality in a person, i.e. with a certain frequency in the human energy field. The human Soul contains all 38 soul qualities of the Bach Flowers -- as energy potentials, virtues, or divine sparks2."
Bach found these plants by an intuitive method and called them 'the happy fellows of the plant world.' "His sensitivity was so highly developed at that time that he merely had to place a petal from the plant concerned on his tongue to be aware of its effects on body, soul and spirit3." All the plants are non-toxic, and many of them are also used in herbal medicine.

Gathering the Remedies:

The plants should be gathered only in unspoiled places, where they are still growing in the wild. When cultivated, they lose their healing powers. "The plant itself is not destroyed or damaged. The flower, in which all the essential energies of the plant have concentrated, is picked at the point of full maturity or perfection, that is, when it is about to drop4." The time between picking the flower and preparing the remedy should be kept to a minimum so that hardly any energy is lost. "The whole is a harmonious process of natural alchemy, involving the tremendous powers of all four elements. Earth and air have brought the plant to the point of ripeness. The sun, or the elements of fire, is used to liberrate the soul of the plant from its body. Water finally serves as the vehicle, for a higher purpose5."

Preparing the Remedies:

The easy way to get the Remedies is to buy them at your local health food store. Pour the stock bottle into a pint of vodka and label this. The 'daily dose' bottle, the one you will carry around and use every day, is simply filled from this pint bottle. An important aspect of the preparation, even with a store-bought remedy, is 'titration.' The pint bottle of remedy must be shaken for several minutes in order to 'activate' the remedy before filling the daily dose bottle. As a matter of habit, I also titrate the daily dose bottle before using it.
If you wish to prepare your own remedy from 'scratch,' or there is no obvious Bach Flower for that particular tree, there are two methods of preparing the Essences; the sun method and the boiling method. The sun method is used for the flowers blooming during the late spring and summer when the sun is at the height of its strength. The boiling method is used for the flowers and twigs of trees, bushes and plants, most of which bloom in the early spring before there is much sunshine.
Sun method: You'll need a thin, plain glass or crystal bowl (not cut glass or pyrex) about the size of a sugar bowl, that holds about 1/2 pint of water; a small jug of glass or china; a 1 oz. bottle and new cork or cap; and an empty brandy bottle. The bowl, jug and 1 oz. bottle should be sterlized by placing in cold water in a saucepan and gently boiled for 20 minutes, then dried. Wrap the bowl and jug in a clean cloth. When the 1 oz. bottle is cool, fill it halfway with brandy, cap it, and label it with the name of the Remedy and 'Essence.' The brandy bottle should be filled with spring water, rain water, or tap water.
Locate beforehand the site where the plants are growing. On a cloudless sunny morning, before 9 a.m., take to the site the bowl, jug, 1 oz. bottle and bottle of water. Place the bowl on the ground near the plants, away from any tall grass, bushes or trees which might cast a shadow over it as the morning progresses. Fill the bowl to the brim with water from the bottle.
Place a large leaf, preferably from the plant you are preparing, on the palm of your hand, and pick the flower-heads just below the calyx, or the flowering spikes, from as many plants or bushes of the same kind as possible. Float them in the bowl on the surface of the water; repeat this until the whole surface is thickly covered, overlapping the flowers. Make sure that each touches the water. Try to avoid casting your shadow over the bowl, or touching the water with your fingers.
When the bowl is full, leave it in full sunshine for 3 hours. Then, with a stalk from the plant you are preparing, remove the flower-heads from the water. Again avoid touching the water with your fingers. Pour the water into the jug, and also fill the remaining half of the 1 oz. bottle, capping it tightly.
This Essence will retain its strength indefinitely. If kept for several years, a slight sediment may form at the bottom of the bottle, but this is not harmful. The liquid can be filtered into another sterile bottle and relabelled6.
Boiling method: You'll need a 6 pint enamel saucepan and lid; 2 small china or glass jugs; a 1 oz. bottle and new cork or cap; and 2-3 pieces of filter paper (get from a pharmacy). The jugs and 1 oz. bottle should be sterilized in the saucepan as in the sun method, and the 1 oz. bottle half filled with brandy and labelled 'Essence.'
Find your site beforehand, and take the saucepan, covered with its lid, there on a sunny morning before 9:00 a.m. Fill the saucepan 3/4 full with the flowering sprays, leaves and twigs (about 4 oz.). Replace the lid and return home as quickly as possible. At home, cover the flowers and twigs with 2 pints of cold rain or tap water. Place the saucepan without its lid on the stove and bring the water to a boil, pressing the flowers into the water with a twig of the same plant. Boil for 1/2 hour.
Then remove the saucepan from the heat and let it stand outside until cold. When cold, remove all twigs, leaves and flowers with another twig of the same plant, to keep your fingers from touching the water. The saucepan should stand for a period of time so the sediment can settle as much as possbile.
Fill one of the jugs carefully from the saucepan, without disturbing the sediment. Then cover the other jug with filter paper, and pour from the first jug into this one a little at a time. (This will take a long time.) When the jug is full, fill the other half of the 1 oz. bottle with the filtered water and cap tightly.
With tree flowers and twigs there is often much sediment; it may be necessary to filter the liquid twice. After some months, you may also find sediment at the bottom of the bottle; this should be refiltered into a sterile bottle and relabelled7.
The Essence that has been prepared by either of the two methods is only the first stage in the preparation of the Remedies. The next stage is the Stock bottle. To prepare this, first fill a sterile 1 oz. bottle with brandy. Add 2 drops from the Essence bottle. Cap tightly and label with the name of the Remedy and 'Stock.' The third stage is the Daily Dose bottle. Put 2 drops from the Stock bottle into a sterile 1 oz. dropper bottle. Fill this with fresh cold water and a bit of brandy, cap tightly, and label with the name of the Remedy. From this bottle, take 4 doses a day -- 4 drops each in the morning, twice during the day, and last thing at night8.

The Lunar Trees:

Many of the Bach Flower Remedies correspond with one of the Lunar or Solar Trees of the Celtic Tree Calendar, such as Willow, Oak, or Aspen. This remedy will resonate with a particular energy, or aspect, of that tree. In each of the lunar months, we experience different energies, or feelings. The more out of balance we are, the more negatively those feelings can affect us. While you may feel this way throughout the year, at certain times these feelings are magnified. The tree itself offers a remedy for these feelings, in the form of direct communication with the tree, by talking to it and taking a wand from it, or in the form of its essence. This essence is the basis for the Bach Flower Remedy for that tree, and is prepared homeopathically, as described above. Realize that the Bach Flower Remedy is aimed at the one main negative feeling arising during that lunar, and is not a cure-all for our imbalance -- one often needs two or more Bach Flowers to correct that imbalance. For a full self-diagnosis, read as much on the Bach Flowers as you can.


1 Nora Weeks. The Medical Discoveries of Edward Bach, Physician, C.W. Daniel Co. Ltd., Saffron Walden, Essex, England, 1940.
2 Scheffer, Mechthild. Bach Flower Therapy - Theory and Practice. 1981. Munchen, West Germany, pg. 16-17.
3 Ibid, pg. 17-18.
4 Ibid, pg. 18.
5 Ibid, pg. 18.
6 Weeks, Nora, and Bullen, Victor. The Bach Flower Remedies - Illustrations and Preparation. 1964. C.W. Daniel Co. Ltd., London, England, pg. 9-11.
7 Ibid, pg. 55.
8 Ibid, pg. 94.


by Muirghein uí Dhún Aonghasa (Linda Kerr)

The oak tree symbolizes strength, courage, and endurance. According to Grigson, the oak is struck by lightening more than any other tree1, and Scheffer tells us that oak trees are able to survive in places where earth energies, or radiations, are so strong that other trees, such as beeches, will die2.
This same strength is seen in the Oak type of person, both physically and emotionally, but the Oak character handles these qualities with too much rigidity. Instead of 'going with the flow,' so to speak, and letting himself be guided by his High Self through life, the Oak person gets stuck in a self-chosen rut. He may have a stressful, high-achievement job; she may be a stereotypical 'superwoman,' juggling a fast-paced career and a family life; or he may have taken on the duty of caring for an invalid or disabled relative or child. "Life is a constant struggle, and the Oak person has all the attributes of the winner: inborn powers of resistance, almost superhuman endurance, tremendous will power, courage, devotion to duty, unbroken hope and high ideals3."
The Oak person never gives up hope; they constantly try to find a cure when they are ill. "If their poor health interferes with their work, they become disappointed and discontent with themselves4." They are extremely reliable, dependable people, so much so that others lay their own burdens and responsibilities on their shoulders. They are the mainstay of the family, or of the firm. They may not take a vacation for years, but would never admit to being overworked.
Oak characters do not take the easy way out, and are very independent. Rather than appear weak to others, they will do anything to avoid asking for help. Though they may feel despondent and suffer despair from the conditions imposed on them, they will continue to fight. They can stand great strain, are very patient, and full of common sense.
People with Oak characteristics help others of their own accord, taking great pleasure in doing so, pleasure they feel they have to deny themselves, and feeling most unhappy when they have to disappoint someone.
"The Oak person has forgotten that it is not only achievement and winning that makes life worth living, and that redoubtable fighters, too, will find strength for new deeds from the more subtle, playful, or tender-hearted moments in life5." If the Oak person does not allow himself a break, his inner life will grow more and more impoverished. His heart won't be in his work; endurance becomes an aim in itself, and he will run at full speed until he cracks from the strain. There will be a heart attack, nervous collapse, or mental 'seizure'; this may also manifest in physical symptoms of rigidity and loss of flexibility.
"Oak types are convinced in their heart of hearts of the greatness and immortality of their souls, and consider it their duty to cherish this heritage. The present life is often experienced as a 'temporary fall from grace,' with that inner certainty of the immortality of the soul providing the strength to survive the life on earth6." Scheffer tells us that the trials experienced in this life are designed to break down fixed behavior patterns and make us flexible and capable of growth. As soon as we realize this, consciously or otherwise, and begin following the impulses of our High Self instead of constantly battling against it, life will become both easier and more pleasant.
Upon taking Oak, one will find the stress and pressure reducing, and the energies will flow more freely and abundantly. The playfulness returns, and with it, pleasure in life. "It will then be possible to meet one's commitments without putting so much effort into them. One is indeed as strong as an oak, with new primal forces constantly arising from the very soil7."
Oak (Quercus robur) is prepared by the sun method. Gather the female catkins only, which bloom around April or May8.


1 Grigson, Geoffrey. The Englishman's Flora. 1955. Phoenix House Ltd., London, England, pg. 250.
2 Scheffer, Mechthild. Bach Flower Therapy - Theory and Practice. 1981. Munchen, West Germany, pg. 127.
3 Ibid, pg. 127.
4 Chancellor, Dr. Philip M. Handbook of the Bach Flower Remedies. 1971. Keats Publishing, Inc., New Canaan, CT, pg. 141.
5 Scheffer, pg. 127.
6 Ibid, pg. 128-129.
7 Ibid, pg. 129.
8 Weeks, Nora, and Bullen, Victor. The Bach Flower Remedies - Illustrations and Preparation. 1964. C.W. Daniel Co. Ltd., London, England, pg. 14.


by Imré K. Rainey

The 7th moon of the Beth-Luis-Nion year is the moon of Duir (Oak). In ancient times, Oak wreaths were placed on the heads of athletes who had proven themselves to be a cut above the rest. Oak wood fueled the Midsummer fires as well as the fires burned in the temples of Vesta. Groves of Oak were known to be sacred and oracular to those in a state of spiritual ecstasy.
Half of the year has passed. The seeds of hope and desire were planted towards the end of the winter months. They were allowed to sprout in spring and are now ready for evaluation in the summer. If the crop was well maintained and received all the attention and nourishment that it required, the farmer will dance and sing in joy and victory. The wise farmer knew that in order to guarantee a superb harvest, her seeds had to be planted deep into the soil and given all the stimuli required for strong root growth; after all, a plant with deep and strong roots will not be blown apart by the environment.
Unfortunately, there was another farmer who did not pay as much attention to his crops as he should have. He scattered his seeds on time, but repeatedly forgot to fertilize them. As the harsh spring rains began to pour, a portion of his sprouting seeds washed away. The plants that were left were only ghosts of what they could have been. And now, when the time of the harvest has come, the farmer looks at his less than bountiful harvest and points his fingers at his environment and friends.
The "seeds" planted during Rowan are our goals/plans for the future. Through the metaphors of the farmers, it becomes apparent that in order to succeed with these plans, you must make sure that the foundations of growth, where your plans and you are concerned, have been firmly established and that the required maintenance on those foundations is constantly being met. If your foundations are hosting weak points and cracks, then the months to come are sure to be heavy. However, if they are strong, then it is certain that your goals will be victoriously reached during Oak -- hence the crowning of athletic victors with wreaths of Oak.
The success that follows hard work brings with it great feelings of achievement. These intense feelings often have an intoxicating effect -- they bring about a sense of ecstasy. This is the ecstasy of victory. This ecstasy can encompass mundane achievements and/or spiritual advancement. Either way, this is why the Oak was used to fuel the symbolic fires.

NOTE: Victory is only one of many, many aspects of the Oak. For more info look up Zeus, Jupiter, bees, Cardea, Janus, Rhea, Fenja/Menja, etc.


by Muirghein uí Dhún Aonghasa (Linda Kerr)

Holly may be the most important of the 38 Bach Flower Remedies, as it embodies divine, all-encompassing love. When one flows with the stream of love and lives in a 'state of grace,' one's heart is open, and one feels relatedness with all of life. When one falls away from the stream of love, "the heart hardens, and one finds oneself painfully isolated, cut off and separate from everything1." The opposite of love is negativity, jealousy, envy, separation, suspicion and hatred. These feelings are the biggest cause of all other negative events in life, and sooner or later, we all have to deal with them.
"Envy for instance is a feeling that is widespread today, not only in the business world, but also in so-called spiritual circles. Secretly, one wonders how far the other has got, whether he has already 'reached a higher stage.' People who have entered on the spiritual path have a particular need for love and being able to open up, and such feelings will of necessity arise, until at last the step is taken from separatedness to unity, and we have found God in our own hearts2."
The desire for love in a negative way is seen in one who looks for anything that will cause suffering. Someone who has been isolated in his heart has no true knowledge of love. When he finds one to whom he can direct his desire for love, he will feel constantly in danger of losing this person. He is unable to let his own love flow forth, and instead will radiate uncertainty, fear, and jealousy.
Realize that a certain amount of jealousy is normal, but temporary, in a loving, healthy relationship. In the same way, one who claims to be so tolerant that they know no jealousy is probably not a serene, wise person, but one who may have "already gone so far towards death in his heart that he no longer is able to suffer and to love3."
These negative Holly feelings are not often obvious and easily seen, especially in this culture where it is not considered good manners to speak too openly about your feelings. Watch for jealousy, moodiness, or rebelliousness in first children when a second baby is born; or in dogs when a baby is brought home, or new pets are introduced to them. Also, people who are on a spiritual path need Holly more often than one would think.
The holly is a tree of protection; as "Edward Bach said: 'Holly protects us from everything that is not Universal Love. Holly opens the heart and unites us with Divine Love.' ...Holly helps us live in the state of love...where one is one heart and one soul with the world, and is able to recognize order; where one is able to join in the pleasure of others without envy, even while one may be having problems oneself. The soul quality of Holly is the ideal human state, the goal we are striving for in life4."
Prepare Holly (Ilex aquifolium) by the boiling method. Pick the flowering twigs (about 6" long), that have female and/or male flowers and a few of the leaves. Holly flowers around May5.


1 Scheffer, Mechthild. Bach Flower Therapy - Theory and Practice. 1981. Munchen, West Germany, pg. 98.
2 Ibid, pg. 99.
3 Ibid, pg. 100.
4 Ibid, pg. 100.
5 Weeks, Nora, and Bullen, Victor. The Bach Flower Remedies - Illustrations and Preparation. 1964. C.W. Daniel Co. Ltd., London, England, pg. 76.


by Brighid MoonFire

The glyph for the Holly moon, the eighth moon in the lunar calendar, is "I am a spear that roars for blood." Personally, I think that this says it all, and am looking for a quiet, remote place to hide away for this moon! The best way to describe Holly moon's energies, for those who are new to this, is that basically the entire universe, both men and women, are having the worst case of PMS known to mankind.
While the Oak moon opens the doorway to the next part of the year, Holly says the door is open, it's time to clean out all the trash, whether you want to or not. Holly throws out all the garbage that has accumulated in your life: in other words, it forces you to deal with all your unresolved fears and emotions that have been hiding away in your "anxiety closet." The more open that you can be with yourself throughout the year, then the better you may fare; but if you refuse to deal with what you need to, then you're in for one heck of a rollercoaster ride this moon.
Holly takes the procrastinator in all of us, and gives those things that we have been procrastinating about the energy to manifest and confront us until we deal with them and finish them. If we don't, the the cycle will continue, and we will get to deal with them again next Holly moon, and will not continue to grow in these areas. If that doesn't sound too bad, then remember this: whatever you leave until next time has an entire year to fester and grow, so that it will be even bigger and more infectious next year.
Try to keep this pleasant (?) thought in mind when everyone you know and don't know are being the biggest so-and-so's on the planet. This moon affects all of us, and the intense heat of the season doesn't help matters. It is very easy for conflicts to arise among all these irritated people, so be very careful when you are dealing with people. That is one reason that sometimes it's good to get away by yourself, especially if you have a lot of inner cleaning to do. Of course, if you do survive this moon -- and you will; you may just not want to -- remember that it's smooth sailing for awhile after this one.


- by Lee

My loneliness seems to have reached unfathomable depths. I feel stuck but remain confident that restarting my abuse recovery is the exact way to go.

I feel the lethargy and resistant inertia against my proceeding. Yet, at once I feel my horns sharpening and strengthening... Kernunnos, I have antlers like you and I can use them. I can rip and shred my way through the cobwebs until all the contempt and self-hatred is vanquished.

My horns are strong. They run up my back and out my head. They run up from the earth, up my legs, up my hips and up my back. By this time they have waxen thick and strong, even fierce.

The fight is ready, the weapons are strong. I can stand my ground. I can defend myself.

Lee is 31, a Solitaire, single, hetero male, who enjoys medicinal and magical herbs and using watercolors for his own primitive style art. He is an information systems specialist in the healthcare industry.


by Sherlock

I was originally going to do flower parts in one single article, but there is more to it than I thought. Therefore, this article will just cover basic flower parts; I will go into more depth on flowers in the next issue.
Although this installment is mainly meant to define terms used in identification books, I also want to discuss some of the bare basic biology of flowers. To begin with, there are three basic regions of the flower: the gynoecium, the andorecium and the perianth.

The gynoecium, as its name suggests, is the female part of the flower. It contains the stigmas, styles, and ovaries. These three parts make up the carpel. The pollen grain lands on the stigma where it germinates as it travels down the style toward the ovaries. The ovaries are what will eventually become a fruit (or other seed-bearing device) and contain the plant's egg cells.
The androecium is the male part of a flower. It is made up of the anthers and the filaments. The anther produces pollen while the filament's job is to hold the anther strategically so that insects will get pollen all over themselves. (Anthers are usually below stigmas to prevent self-fertilization.)
The perianth consists of the corolla and the calyx. The corolla is the sum of all the petals. The calyx is the ring of sepals, which are petal-like structures which support the petals.
The entire flower sits on the receptacle, which is the terminal end of a "flower-stem," known as a pedicel.
In the next issue of THE HAZEL NUT I will do an article on the different types of flowers. This is probably the most confusing aspect of flower identification, so bear with me until then.


Mauseth, James D. Botany - An Introduction to Plant Biology. 1991. Saunders College Publishing, Orlando, FL.
Clarke, Ian and Lee, Helen. Name That Flower - The Identification of Flowering Plants. 1987. Melbourne University Press, Carlton, Victoria, Australia.


by Shadow Cat

Are you one of those people with dozens of books on different magical methods, all proclaiming to be THE WAY of doing things? Have you noticed that except for the colors, herbs used, and elemental directions, the stuff all begins to sound the same? Do you ever find that someone used a property in one of your spells for a different purpose and now says that this is really what it should be used for when you know it worked perfectly well for you?
In many cases the people writing these books make one vital error. All magic depends on your perception of reality. Just because it worked for them doesn't mean it will work the same way for you.
When preparing to do anything magical, your first focus should be on yourself. First, you must discover what your perception of reality is. Remember that you have been filled since birth with someone else's concept of what reality is by your parents and society in general. You must redefine these perceptions before you can truly discover what you conceive as reality. This takes a lot of MEDITATION. It's not something that you can achieve overnight.
Of course, you can do what you have been doing all along, and accept someone else's definition of reality as your own, but illusions will only take you so far. Or perhaps you have already discovered that by now.
I am not saying that there are not commonalities in the way people perceive things. Psychology has already explored the universal mind through Carl Jung and many other, and proven the durability of this concept. What I am saying is that you must tailor your magical practices to your world view and not someone else's. Actually, psychology is a good place to start searching for the commonalities that link our perceptions with those of others. Colors, though somewhat varies in their meanings to individuals, do have shared meanings that are consistent for most of human kind. The Luscher Color Test is a good source for this subject. Dr. Luscher took thousands of individual reactions to colors and found common traits that certain colors shared regardless of the persons questioned. He devised a test using these reactions to better understand the subconscious of the individual tested. This is just one example; there are many other cases in which psychology may be used to begin to understand the universal unconscious.
Do complicated rituals confuse you? Maybe there is value in the way rituals can be used to affect our mind state prior to spellwork, but they are not absolutely necessary. Spontaneity is also very valuable in accessing the primitive consciousness that gives our best links to natural divinity. Make up your own ritual rather than use those made up by others.
When you call the quarters in your circle, do you ever feel that the direction for water might be wrong when it says water is east in the Wiccan manual for spell casting and you have a very large lake south of you? Remember, most of the directions for circles were set in another place, and sometimes in another country. When you call the quarters, you should be linking with the ecology of the place where you are, not somewhere in Blarney, Scotland. It's OK to change your quarters to fit your area. Make water south if it feels right to do so!
Incense may be treated in the same way we have treated colors. Don't take someone's word that a certain incense represents a certain property. If you don't know why it links with these properties, then blindly believing it will leave a hollow ring to any spell you cast. Find out what it means for you.
If you find all the changes I'm suggesting shocking, then get ready for an even bigger shock. If you are solid and unchanging in what you do or believe, you are not GOING WITH THE FLOW. The one constant in the universe is change! Life is change. The only true death is to remain unchanging. Be flexible!!! Be true to yourself!!!
Of course, this also means that you are free to ignore this and go right on with whatever way you are doing things now. But I'm hoping you will get creative. How else will you discover new stuff for the rest of us?

Reprinted with permission from The Henge, Beltane 3865, May 1994. For info, write COR, P.O. Box 260, Lizella, GA 31052-0260.


I wanted to write to tell you how much I enjoyed the April/May issue of THE HAZEL NUT. You will find enclosed some photocopies of my artwork. When I read that your theme for the next issue would be Holly I was reminded of a sketch I had done a few months ago. I do hope that you can use them.
At this time I cannot spare the extra funds for a subscription but I have enclosed a check so that you can send me the next issue. By that time I should be able to subscribe.
I appreciate your publication as I have always felt a bond with the trees. My son, who is now six, was born with that bond and I have nurtured it to the best of my ability. I recently joined the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids. Many people have been eager to share information on how 'good' or 'not so good' the OBOD is. If you or any of your staff has ever been involved with the OBOD or has any guidance to offer, I would certainly appreciate it.
Blessings to you!
Signy May
Arbutus, Maryland


I read a review for your journal THE HAZEL NUT in Green Egg magazine. As I follow a Druidic spiritual path, I thought that your journal would help to enrich my studies of the Celtic Tree Alphabet. Would you please start a subscription for me to THE HAZEL NUT.
May the Peace of the
Sacred Grove be yours,
L. Martin Dresden, Maine

Dear Editor:

For those of you who missed Moondance '94, rockin' good time! Best festival yet! Highlights included esoteric classes, pristine woods, magical music provided by Lord Senthor, and palm and tarot readings provided free of charge, which personally speaking were both enlightening and accurate. Also, although all the food at Friday's potluck was good, I had the most delectable lentils I've ever put in my mouth.
All in all it was a high energy, fun, Goddess-worshipping event. My congratulations to The Garden Club and to Muirghein for her organizational wizardry and celebration in honor of Our Lady.
I hope to see all my friends both old and new next year at Moondance '95.
Auburn, Alabama

Dear Moondance People:

For a small rural town to hold a Pagan festival in the middle of 'Bible USA,' that's incredible! I think we've done great.
I'd like to thank all who held classes, and those who attended and listened. It also seemed there were even more new faces than last year -- this is good. So, it looks like Moondance is here to stay. Only one request; please bring more drums! We need a drumming circle.
Thanks and BB,
Auburn, Alabama

Dear Linda:

Wanted you to know how very much I enjoyed Moondance. Usually I hate Pagan gatherings, but this one was great. A good assortment of interesting folk. Enclosed is my check for a two-year subscription to THE HAZEL NUT. I hope our paths will cross in the not too distant future.
Blessed Be,
Lord Merlin
Atlanta, Georgia

Dear Linda,

We wanted to again tell you how much we both enjoyed the weekend at Roxanna (Moondance '94). We both learned a lot, and met some really terrific people.
We are already making plans to come to Moondance '95, and are also planning to attend Earthdance in September.
Blessed Be,
Larry Miller &
David Hardin
Atlanta, Georgia


Reiki: Universal Life Energy, by Bodo Baginski and Shalila Sharamon. 1988. Rhythm Publications, Mendocina, CA. Softcover, $12.95.
- Reviewed by Brighid MoonFire

This book is a wonderful guide for those who wish to learn more about Reiki. It gives a detailed account of the history of Reiki, along with how Reiki works and what it is. In this book you are shown basic methods of treating yourself and others, working with babies, absentee healing, and working with plants and animals. They even discuss working with the dying, and team treatments of Reiki.
Baginski and Sharamon give you sound advice for the "rules" regarding energy exchange and legal precautions, as well as a detailed interpretation of symptoms of many of the body's illnesses.

The Herb Companion Wishbook and Resource Guide, by Bobbi A. McRae. 1992. Interweave Press, Loveland, CO. Softcover, $16.95.
- Reviewed by Bridgid MoonFire

This book is a fantastic reference guide for those who love herbs or are thinking of dabbling in herbs. Either way, you can't go wrong with this book. It's filled with addresses and phone numbers for you to order the usual and unusual plants and herbs by mail, and herbal supplies and products. There's a list of publications, bibliography of books on herbs, mail-order booksellers of herb books, and even educational opportunities. McRae even gives you a list of public gardens, and herb membership groups. This book is definitely a must for anyone interested in herbs, or who thinks thay they may be interested.

Moondance '94, May 12-15, 1994, Roxanna, Alabama
- Reviewed by Muirghein

Moondance is our annual festival, currently in its 4th year. This year we had about 70 people; the best mix yet -- lots of love and harmony. Many thanks to the teachers who gave classes Friday, Saturday and Sunday, to Church of Rhiannon, who gave a wonderful pre-feast blessing, and especially to Lord Senthor, who played for us Saturday night after the ritual.
Friday's potluck was excellent, and both Friday and Saturday night was a seriously fun party! We had a lot of good feedback about the ritual, after which 'the mists came down, and the faeries played.' As in years past, there were several strange (but good) experiences and sightings throughout the weekend; our earth spirits are very happy.
My heartfelt thanks go to all who attended and participated, and I hope to see ya'll there next year!