Monday, March 28, 2011

My Dark Moon Journey: Chapter I Question 5

5. Do I go through anxiety, depression, and periods of darkness in the weeks before my birthday, during the winter holiday season, when I menstruate, or when I am faced with a major change in my security? Have I ever considered that these dark times in my life might be a naturally occurring part of the cyclical process and a necessary period to facilitate regeneration and the birth of something new?

I had to sit here and think about the first part of this question.  Not sure if I ever felt that way before my birthday.  I might have but not because I was getting old, because no one does the things I do for others.  Yes during the winter months I find myself struggling to get things done and missing the sun so much. My mother made a comment last Dec that made me think.  She said  "At the end of the year you always have issues, maybe you have the seasonal disorder."  I said yes I know.  I am not one to embrace winter because I just do not like it. I hate being cold and do not like snow.. This year I tried to embrace winter.  To find the good in resting and taking time for myself!! When I menstruate my first day is a tough one.  I get the heaviest flow that day, the bad cramps and back aches, and every now and then I retain water.    The first day takes so much out of me that I just want to sleep and rest all day. I used to get depressed and worry about changes in my security until my back issues happened.  That is when I learned that no matter what you do , you can loose your security at any time no matter how hard you try. Your body will tell you when it needs rest!!  I looked back and saw that I still had a place to live , my kids were taken care of and I was doing better that whole time.  I do not worry to much anymore.Yes , Yes and another YES to the last question.  If we did not have these times to sit and "rest" or "die" nothing new would come around and I for one wouldn't want it any other way.  I always have room for bigger and better things!!  I embrace change way better than I did before!!

My Dark Moon Journey: Chapter I Question 4

4. How do I feel when considering the prospect of my own or any loved ones’ death? Am I afraid to die? Do I feel abandoned by the death or loss of loved ones? Can I express my anger and grief, and allow myself to mourn?

I can say that it used to bother me a lot but again my views have changed and I see death as a good thing.  You must die before you are reborn again.  We can not stop the process it is natures way.  Yes I will miss them because they are no here with me but I know I can talk to them when ever I need to threw other means.  I used to be afraid to die now it is different. Yes I did worry more when my children were younger. I would worry about who would take care of them, but we have such a loving family that I do not worry anymore.  Now I am not afraid.  When my time comes it comes.  No I do not feel that I have been abandoned.  It was their time to go from this place and to move onto something better.  Their human body has died NOT them.  Yes I can allow myself to mourn.  I have already.  I have lost both my sets of grandparents and I have to say it didn't bother me as much as I thought it would.  I was close to one of them more than the other two and yes I had my mourning period but I knew she was still around me. 

My Dark Moon Journey: Chapter I Question 3

3. How do I feel about growing old? Am I afraid of age, or of telling other how old I am? How do I respond when I see old people? Does it make me uncomfortable or panicky? Have I ever been to a nursing home or old age home? Was I anxious to leave?

I feel fine about growing older.  Not like we can stop it so why not embrace it.. LOL  Nope I am not afraid of aging or telling people how old I am.  I am wondering if it would different if I looked my age. I know it used to bother me that people would think I am at least 10 years younger than I am.  Now I feel your only as old as you feel. It is all in your mind!!  Depends on how they act toward me. Some older people now a days think you owe them everything and that you have to go out of your way to please them.  I learned that lesson when I worked in retail and on Senior Citizen day!!  Other than that I do try to help them when they look like they need help and have a chat when they want to talk.  Yes I have been to a nursing home many times.  No I was not anxious to leave.  The only thing that made me sad was that so many of our elders are put into these home's and then forgotten about.  Kinda like out of sight out of mind. Some have great stories to pass down and no body to listen to them. 

My Dark Moon Journey: Chapter I Question 2

2. Am I afraid of the dark? How do I feel when the power goes off and my house is plunged into darkness? Do I panic? Do I feel safer with a nightlight or porch light turned on all night? How do I feel about dark places in my environment, such as dark closets and basements? How do I feel about darker-skinned people?

Right now I can say kinda.  If I am in a place I know and it is dark with no light I am OK because I know were I am and what is around me.  When I am in a placed I do not know then at first I am a bit scared, then I calm myself down and tune into my other senses.  I hate when I am not ready for it, but do not mind sitting here in the dark in my home.  I will find some candles sometimes and then light them.  No I do not panic.  No I do not feel safer with the light on. I shut if off before I go to bed.  Closets and basements are fine with me, the only worry is that I will trip and fall over something and hurt myself.  I feel fine around dark skinned peopleMy issue is more of your height.

My Dark Moon Journey: Chapter I

 1. Do I equate the concept of light with the forces of good, increase and happiness? By contrast, do I associate dark with the forces of evil, decrease and sadness?
I did sit here and think about this for awhile.  Wondering if I still have the same thoughts on it as I did before.  I have been going threw another "dark" time in my life, but see it as a growth not anything bad.  Yes I have not so good feelings about things, but I know what was before has to be reborn into something new.
I can remember when I was younger that yes indeed I saw light as good and dark as bad. That is what I was being taught and have only changed my view when I found the path I am on (about 8 years ago).  When I was young I was afraid of the dark.  I remember having a night light in my room. When I went on sleep overs I had to have a mini flashlight so I wouldn't be scared.
Now I see as a time to rest and the end of something.  I feel you can not have one without the other.  Light and dark go hand and hand together.  Why be afraid of something that you need.  The so called dark times in my life are the times when I have sat down and really looked at the issues and what wasn't making me happy and I then decided to change them. How can that be bad?  If I did not change them then I would not be the person I am today!  I think we all need that down time and the time to sit and look at what we would like to change in our lives. 

Update on me and a new book

Merry Meet all. I know it has been awhile since I have been here.  With work and no internet at home now, I steal time when I can. I have been so busy.  Me and my sister are now starting a coven with the members we have been getting together with.  My magical name will be changing.  Yes change is good.  For while I have felt a block in my magic and my personal growth and I know why.  My sister said something to me that made perfect sense and I was off to discover my new name.  I will just have to get used to it. LOL..

Now onto the book.  My sister is reading a book or was not sure and I noticed she was posting answers to some questions on her blog.  It looked like a good book and I asked her about it. She told me the name of the book and I went out and bought it.  Now I will do the same.  At the end of each chapter the author gives you questions to answer and my answers will be here.  Let me show you the book and a bit about it.

Thanks to Cricketsong for the picture.. hehe : )

Mysteries of the Dark Moon: The Healing Power of the Dark Goddess by Demetra George

Is the book I am reading and I just finished the first chapter and will be putting my answers down in a different post. I did find it a bit hard to start off with as I am not a "reader" for enjoyment.  The book has to catch me right away, but I am gonna read it because there are some things that did catch me and I can't wait to read more.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

New Year..

Wow I can't believe that a new calendar year has flown by yet again.. I can't believe that I have not been here for this long!!  Guess I am on busy women.  I vow this year to slow down and make time for the things I want to do and NEED to do. 

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Update on me..

Have not had much time to sit here and do blogging like I used to. Well one of my jobs ended once school ended but  it will be picking up now since I had a meeting with that boss yesterday. Gotta get everything prepared for the upcoming school year.   I just took another job with a friend helping him part time at a computer repair shop.  Getting his paperwork in order and things like that.    I still have my merchandiser job and loving it.  Working more hours as I am covering for vacations and a open spot.   Also doing the flea market on Sunday and loving it!!  I will have to post some pictures of the new stuff we just made once I get my PC back from my friend.  She was running a bit slow and she needed a tune up.     I have so many ideas on what I want to make but not the cash to do it.. I gotta keep telling myself baby steps.. LOL 

Monday, June 14, 2010

Ice Magick By: Enodia Black

My first winter in Eastern Washington was bitter. I had lived in
        California previously, and I didn't know how to function in really
        Cold, snowy, weather. I wandered bewildered through a world
        Blanketed in white. Large, soft, snowflakes fell on my head, and my
        Feet sank deep into the powdery coldness. Snow slid over the tops of
        My boots, encrusted the hems of my jeans and soaked my feet. It was
        Cold, miserable and hard to get around. But it was also beautiful.
        The snow caused the land around me to shape shift into a pure, white,
        Sparkling expanse. I got to know a phenomenon called "freezing fog,"
        When the fog moves in despite the low temperatures, and freezes onto
        Everything it touches, coating the branches of trees with crystals of
        Ice. The ice, though slippery and dangerous, had a beauty that
        Caught my breath. It was powerful, and because it is a force of
        Nature, I began to wonder how its power could be used magickally.
        Water to Ice
        To understand how ice can be used in Magick, it is important to first
        Understand the element of water. Water is one of the most important
        Elements to human beings, because we need it to survive; for this
        Reason, water has always been thought of as sacred. Water is in
        Constant motion, always flowing. In fact, water is so linked with
        The idea of movement that when we see water that is still, we give it
        The name "stagnant," a name which denotes unnatural lack of change,
        And even decay. It is not surprising, then, that water Magick is
        Concerned with things that tend to remain in a state of flux:
        Emotions, the subconscious and purity.
        Water is like our emotional states; it is deep, mysterious and can
        Even be deceptive. We have all heard the phrase "still waters run
        Deep," a phrase that describes the churning turmoil that can exist
        Beneath a placid demeanor. Water can look calm, but below, out the
        Range of our vision, so much can be going on. An entire ecosystem
        Exists beneath the surface, out of our eyesight. When we enter the
        Water, we enter a new world. The surface of the water is very much
        Like the veil that stands between the world of the everyday and the
        Otherworld. The veil is normally difficult to pierce, and only on
        Certain nights (like Samhain) can we cross it easily. But water can
        Help in the process of parting the veil — we can gaze into a bowl of
        Water, and see into the otherworld. So water is not only Magickal,
        It is also an excellent medium for divination.
        Water is also the only element that is capable of changing its form.
        It is linked to all of the other elements. Water covers the earth,
        And the earth requires water to produce life. Fire can act upon
        Water and cause it to unite with the element of air to evaporate and
        Form a gas. Finally, when water is cooled, it can combine with the
        Element of air to form ice. This capacity for change, and its need
        To always move, makes water the quintessential shape shifter. As a
        Form that water takes when it shape shifts, ice is ideal for Magick.
        Perhaps because all Magick is concerned with change, ice Magick is
        Extremely powerful.
        Ice Magick
        Ice Magick is similar to water Magick. However with ice Magick, the
        Power of the spell is increased because of the act of freezing the
        Water. When water shape shifts from a constantly moving force to a
        Solid, its power is the most potent. Magickally, ice is not
        Associated with all of the same properties as water; it's mainly used
        For spells that have to do with transformation. Ice can be used
        Magickally to perform any kind of Magick that induces a change in the
        Caster's' inner state, so it can be used to help reveal personal
        Secrets, remember forgotten memories, dispel depression and release
        Magick is an act of transformation, and ice possesses a strong
        Magickal power since it is in the process of changing. Ice spells
        Have two phases, the freezing of the water, and the melting of the
        Ice. I have seen some spells where the caster writes a problem on a
        Piece of paper, immerses the paper in water, and freezes the water to
        Put an end to the problem. Those kinds of spells only use one of the
        Two phases of ice Magick. It is important to remember, however, that
        Problems that are frozen must eventually come back; everything that
        Is frozen must melt. I have found that it is more practical, and
        More powerful, to use both phases, freezing and melting, in spells.
        The freezing of the ice begins the spell, because the caster is
        Already thinking of the spell, and planning the ritual, when the ice
        is frozen. The process begins as the water solidifies, and the power
        is released during the ritual as the ice melts. For this reason, I
        find it most useful to freeze "special" ice for spells. Also, most
        ice trays are made of plastic. Holding the frozen water in non-
        natural plastic is not as effective; magick is natural, and should
        ideally involve natural substances. Metal bowls can be used, but the
        easiest method is to use cardboard coated with wax (so that the
        cardboard doesn't stick to the ice). Small paper drinking cups that
        are coated with wax are ideal, as are frozen juice containers that
        have been emptied of their contents and washed.
        Ice Spells
        A piece of ice naturally begins to melt when it is left at room
        temperature, so it works like the burning of a candle in candle
        magick, changing itself during the spell, thus releasing its energy
        to the goal at hand. It is extremely powerful to encircle a candle
        with ice and perform a spell. The ice melts and the candle burns —
        two elements that work in a cooperative way can produce powerful
        results. Spells that use fire and ice are wonderful for obtaining
        balance, since they employ the complimentary elements of
fire and
. Also try putting ice in a bathtub while visualizing. This
        technique is especially suited for spells involving physical
        Herbs and oils can also be used to enhance ice magick. An infusion
        of one or more herbs can be frozen, or essential oils can be added to
        the water before freezing. When water is frozen, it combines with
        the element of air, so herbs and oils that are associated with either
        element can be used. Herbs that work best are ones that, when
        growing in the natural world, can endure cold and snow, or require
        cold weather to germinate. Below is a list of some herbs and oils
        that work well for ice magick:
        Magickal Associations
        Happiness, Exorcism
        Love, Healing, Psychic Power, Luck

        Love, Healing, Divination
        Psychic Power, Love, Courage, Exorcism
        Information in this table was obtained from Cunningham's Encyclopedia
        of Magical Herbs and Fern's Plants for a Future.
        Ice and Divination
        Ice can also be used for divination. Symbolically, the surface of a
        body of water represents the veil between this world and the
        otherworld. So, when water is frozen, the door to the otherworld is
        closed. But as ice melts during a ritual, the door re-opens and we
        can look inside.
        The surface of melting ice is shiny, and like any reflective surface,
        is well suited for scrying. One way to do this is to sit in a dark
        room with a yellow candle burning off to the side, so that the light
        of the flame flickers on the melting ice. Ice scrying requires
        patience — messages will be revealed slowly, as the ice melts. Ice
        scrying is especially suited for looking into the past, since the
        frozen water symbolically represents a frozen moment in time.
        Looking into past lives is possible, as is looking back and trying to
        remember a forgotten memory. The melting ice represents the
        releasing of memories from the subconscious mind.
        Final Considerations
        Because ice forms in the natural world during the winter months, ice
        magick is best performed in the spring, when the world begins to
        thaw. However, it is also possible to perform ice magick at other
        times during the year, as the need arises. Dawn is best, because
        symbolically, dawn is to the day as spring is to the year.
        Ice magick is very powerful. It is a neutral, natural force that can
        be used for positive or negative means. It is therefore important,
        as it is with any spell, that the caster makes sure of his or her
        intentions before attempting it. Remember how beautiful ice can be,
        as it sends off prisms of light, but also remember that it is very
        easy to slip on ice. Ice should not be feared any more than wind,
        rain and storm. The spell caster should approach ice magick with
        respect and reverence.

Perfume free laundry detergent

For a large load of laundry, mix:
1 full cereal size bowl of baking soda
1 full cereal size bowl of white distilled vinegar
1/2 to 1 full cereal size bowl of Borax
Instructions: Begin a load of laundry.  As water fills the washing machine, pour the baking soda.  Make sure you empty the bowl of all the baking soda residue and then pour the vinegar. 
The reason for this is that when you pour the vinegar in the bowl while there's some baking soda residue, the 2 ingredients fizz when mixed together and you don't want the bowl to overflow before you pour the ingredients into the washing machine.  This mixture is great because it's affordable, easy to use, non-toxic, earth-friendly and completely free of toxic petro-chemicals and irritants. 
We use this efficient method every time we do laundry and we always have very positive results! Copyright 2009 D. A. Colvin
~Wise Woman Newsletter, November, 2009


By Peg Aloi

In this modern world, many of us do not have a healthy relationship with
Food.  Despite so many choices, many of us hurry through meals or simply
Eat the quickest thing available.  Our European ancestors had a deep
Reverence and respect for the land and its inhabitants, and their
Relationship to food was a very conscientious one.

Modern Pagans try to enhance their relationship to the natural world,
And one good way to do this is by paying special attention to the food
We eat.  This article will look at the ways we can enjoy better health
By aligning our eating habits with those of our ancestors.

Although we have been told for years by the medical establishment that
We need to cut down on fats and red meat, many Americans are losing
on trendy high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets.  Obviously such
An extreme diet is not healthy in the long run.  But the principle
Behind it actually has its roots in our early evolution.

Prior to the advent of agriculture, humans were hunters and gatherers.
That meant eating animals and green plants, and whatever fruits or nuts
Could be foraged.  The consumption of grains, which form the basis of
The starchy, agriculture- based foods--such as bread, pasta, potatoes,
And cereals--in our diets began relatively recently in our history.  It
Is believed that humans are designed to digest grains efficiently,
Because they are made of both protein and carbohydrates, and the stomach
Utilizes different enzymes to digest these foods.  So ingesting them at
The same time can lead to poor absorption of nutrients and faulty
Digestion.  This principle forms the basis of the popular
"food-combining" diets, as found in many contemporary books.

The human body is designed to eat meat and plants; our teeth are made
For tearing into flesh and for grinding down plant material.  There is
Growing interest these days in so-called "caveman diets," which
Emphasize leaner meat than what we find in grain-fed cattle--such as
Elk, deer, or buffalo.

The healthiest humans in the world (with virtually no cardiovascular or
Heart disease, nor cancer) are the Masai tribe of Africa.  These people
Are nomadic cattle herders who eat almost nothing but the meat, marrow,
And milk of their cattle, along with green plants.  They also get a lot
Of exercise--walking and running up to twenty miles a day as they herd
Their cattle.

Clearly their healthy hearts and lungs are helped by the fresh air and
Exercise, but the quality of the food they eat is also significant.  In
The Western world, much of the meat we eat is raised for slaughter, and
Animals are pumped full of antibiotics and hormones for more efficient
Production.  The health dangers of a high-meat diet are not just due to
The low fiber, high-fat content, but also to the traces of these toxic
Substances that remain in our tissues.

So what do we eat to stay healthy--especially if we can't walk twenty
Miles each day?  I propose a lifestyle that attempts to eat as our
Ancestors did: simple, healthy foods in reasonable amounts that are,
Where appropriate, specific to our ethnic background or our region.

In earlier generations, foods were not full of pesticide residue or
Hormones and antibiotics.  Our oceans and lakes were not laden with
Chemicals.  Fruits and vegetables were not tainted.

Today, therefore, there is no better way to spend our food dollars than
To buy organically grown produce and naturally raised meat and fish.
Unfortunately, in some areas organic foods are expensive and hard to
Find.  The greater the demand for these products, the more widely
Available, and cheaper, they will become--so ask for them.  We may raise
Our eyebrows at the higher price on apples grown without pesticides, but
Isn't better health and a cleaner environment worth a few extra pennies?

Our ancestors did not have grocery stores, microwave ovens, or
Refrigerators.  They hunted and gathered from season to season, and they
Stored what they could to get them through winter.  Fruits and
, nuts and seeds were eaten raw, and so kept all of their
Nutritional value.  One of the best ways to align ourselves with the
Natural rhythms of the seasons, as our ancestors lived, is to eat
Locally grown raw foods.

Most cities and towns have a farmers' market in late summer or early
Autumn when so much of the harvest is available.  Depending on your
Area, you could get wonderful fresh fruits and vegetables from April
Through November.  Local grocery stores will also make an effort to sell
This local produce so look for the signs that identify foods as "locally
Grown."  Think of how a tomato you eat in the middle of the winter is
Tasteless, or how store-bought apples in spring are mealy--they have
Usually been picked prematurely and shipped a long way.  We can enhance
our health and get great pleasure from our food if we take advantage of
the growing seasons in our area.

It is believed by holistic healers that the human body stays healthiest
by eating foods grown in our natural climate.  These foods protect us
from infections and enhance our natural immunity because of pollination
and other environmental factors.  So even though I love Florida oranges
and grapefruit in winter, they are not as health-giving for me as summer
raspberries grown in Massachusetts.

We are also products of our ethnic heritage.  Being half Italian and
half Irish, I notice tastes and preferences, not to mention food
, particular to my background. Traditional cultural food
preferences develop over centuries, based on climate and availability.
As customs form, that particular group's genetic make-up is affected by
the foods eaten over many generations.  My Italian half prefers to cook
with olive oil (much healthier than other oils), while the Irish side
likes butter (still better for us than margarine or other partially
hydrogenated fats).  The Italian likes savory herbs such as basil and
rosemary and thyme; the Irish likes good old salt and pepper.  Neither
of these influences has allowed me to stomach hot, spicy food--but
someone of Mexican or Spanish descent would have no problem eating lots
of red hot chilies.

You can find out which foods might aggravate certain chronic conditions
(headache, fatigue, indigestion, insomnia, and so on) by finding out as
much as you can about your mother's natal nutritional habits.  When my
mother was carrying me, she broke out in hives whenever she ate
cheese--so even though my Italian and Irish ancestors were great cheese
lovers, I need to eat it in moderation.

It is believed that the current rise in peanut allergies in children is
due to an increase in peanut consumption by pregnant and nursing mothers
(maybe trying to get their protein from nonmeat sources).  Understanding
our personal nutritional needs, including what we are allergic or
sensitive to, helps us choose foods that enhance our immunity and align
our health in subtle ways.  In this way, we can then avoid any
self-medicating with painkillers, sleep aids, caffeine, or toxic
substances such as cigarettes, alcohol, or prescription medications.

Many health complaints can be traced to a nutritional deficiency, yet
nutrition is not a required field of study in medical school.  Is it any
wonder then that the Western world is plagued by so many
lifestyle-related disorders directly linked to poor diet?

As modern Pagans, we seek a closer relationship to nature, and we feel a
need to be stewards of the Earth.  By following a spiritual path that
emphasizes personal responsibility and self-transformation , we make our
way in the larger community by choosing to make the world a better place.

By choosing naturally raised meats and fish over factory-farmed
products, we show our support for humane methods of animal husbandry.
By choosing organically grown local produce, we show our support for
small, noncorporate farms that choose not to poison our environment with
pesticides.  Food need not be a political issue, but by aligning our
lifestyle choices with the eating patterns of our ancestors, we can not
only honor our past but help to preserve our future.
Link unknown

Spell Pouches Colors

  • A white pouch can be used for Spiritual enlightenment, cleansing, clairvoyance, healing, truth seeking; Rituals involving lunar energy' May be substituted for any color.
  • A yellow pouch can be used with spell fostering activity, creativity, unity; brings power of concentration and imagination to a ritual.
  • A gold pouch can be used in a spell to attract the powers of cosmic influences; beneficial in rituals intended to bring about fast luck or money, or in rituals needing solar energy.
  • An orange pouch can be used in a spell to promote creativity, the ability to speak one's mind, ambition, career matters and the Law, self-confidence. It is also a solar color.
  • A pink pouch can be used in a spell for romance, friendship; it is a standard color for rituals to draw affections; a color of femininity, honor and service
  • A red pouch can be used in a spell to foster health, passion, love, fertility, strength, courage, will power; increased magnetism
  • A silver pouch can be used in a spell for the removal of negativity and encourages stability; helps develop psychic abilities; attracts the influence of the Mother Goddess.
  • A purple pouch can be used in a spell which promotes power, success, idealism, psychic manifestations; ideals for rituals to secure ambitions, independence, financial rewards, or to make contact with the spiritual world.
  • A brown pouch can be used in a spell of materiel increase; eliminates indecisiveness; improves powers of concentration, study, telepathy; increases financial success.
  • A blue pouch can be used in a spell to promote a cool calmness, loyalty, or whenever an influence needs to be increased, for rituals to obtain wisdom, harmony, inner light, or peace; confers truth and guidance.
  • A light blue pouch can be used in a spell for inspirational meditations, peace and tranquility to the home, for rituals to obtain wisdom, harmony, inner light, peace and guidance.
  • A green pouch can be used in a spell for ambition, growth, new beginnings, prosperity, fertility, success; stimulates rituals for good luck, money, harmony, and rejuvenation.
  • A grey pouch is a neutral color and is useful when negates or neutralizes a negative influence.
  • A black pouch can be used to to banish evil or negativity as in uncrossing rituals.

Imbolc Ideas Having To Do With Fire

By Starhawk, Anne Hill, and Diane Baker.Brigit Fire
Whether we circle around a hearth, outdoor bonfire, or kindle a blaze
In a cast-iron cauldron, in the season of Brigit we welcome the
Return of light. Here are some suggestions for a safe and cheerful

Cauldron Fire
You will need:
A cast-iron pot of any size
A lid that fits snugly, for putting out the fire
Bricks, hotplate or other heat-resistant material to set the cauldron
Epsom salts
Rubbing alcohol
To keep the blaze going for 45 minutes in a five quart cauldron, you
Need 1/2 gallon of Epsom salts and approximately 4 to 6 pints of
Rubbing alcohol
Any cast-iron pot can be made into a cauldron with a fire of Epsom
Salts and rubbing alcohol. This is a very safe blaze. Once the
Cauldron is secured on a heat-proof surface, pour the Epsom salts in
Until the bottom is covered, approximately 1 inch deep. Pour rubbing
Alcohol over the salts until the alcohol is about an inch higher than
The salts. Hold a lighted match just above the alcohol. The liquid
Will light and produce a strong orange flame. The flame burns cool,
Unlike a wood fire, and it is difficult to burn things
In. When the flame gets low, cover to snuff out completely. Add more
Rubbing alcohol to the cauldron and relight carefully. The warmer the
Rubbing alcohol, the more quickly it ignites. This fire recipe leaves
A significant amount of sediment in the bottom of the cauldron. For
This reason, it is best to dedicate a pot strictly for cauldron use.

Kindling a Fire
This holiday is a good time to teach your older children how to set a
Fire and kindle a blaze. Most children are eager to help lay a fire,
But may be too scared to light one. Using long matches often eases
Their fear, and with supervision they can become quite proficient at
Lighting fires. Children are great at gathering wood. A note of
Caution about burning found wood, however: Make sure you inspect the
Wood. Scrap plywood gives off toxic fumes, as does wood that has been
Painted or coated with urethane. Make sure the wood you are burning
Has not been coated with creosote. Creosote is a dark, often tarry
Preservative and is commonly found on wood washed up on the beach.
Its fumes are toxic, and when burned, the treated wood creates a
Smoky, stinky blaze. Creosote is easy to identify by its smell, which
Resembles that of turpentine or paint thinner.

Egg Carton Fire Starters
You will need:
Paraffin wax or beeswax (old candle stubs work great for this)
The bottom halves of cardboard egg cartons
Sawdust, pine needles, scraps of cotton material, dry pinecones, or
Shredded paper
A pot
Reuse all those old candle ends in this practical, convenient fire
Project. Stuff each cardboard egg holder with sawdust or other
Flammable material. Melt the wax in a pot, over low to medium heat.
When the wax is melted, carefully pour the wax into each depression
In the egg cartons. Make sure the wax does not overflow. Let cool.
After the wax has cooled down, use scissors to cut the fire starters
Apart from each other, leaving the hardened wax inside its cardboard
Shell. To use, set one or two fire starters in your fireplace,
Surround with kindling and larger wood, and light. The fire starters
Will keep burning long enough to light even the most stubborn logs.

Fire Safety
Never leave candles lit and a blazing fire unattended. It is a good
Idea to have a pail of water or a fire extinguisher close at hand
When having a fire. If you often light fires at your home, try
Growing an aloe Vera plant, or keep some of the pure gel on hand in
The fridge, to use as first aid for burns. Fires at the beach are
Popular in all seasons, and eliminate some of the risks of fires in
The woods or in the meadow. Few people are aware of how to extinguish
A beach fire safely, however. Covering up a beach fire with sand
Actually insulates the coals, keeping them burning through the night.
Those hidden coals will still be red-hot in the morning waiting for
An unsuspecting person to step on them. Always douse a beach fire with
Water - seawater works as well as fresh water - until there are no
More live coals. Wait for the steam to clear; then using a stick,
Turn over all the coals to make sure no smoldering coals remain.

Candle Hat
One holiday tradition in Scandinavian countries is for the girls to
Wear garlands in their hair that hold a circle of lit candles and
Bless the light's return. We've adapted this candle custom to honor
the returning light for Brigit. These paper hats are a simple and
safe variation. Draw an inner circle on a 9-inch paper plate, about
an inch from the rim. Next draw very light lines dividing the circle
into quarters. Draw four rectangular candle shapes, keeping the
dividing lines as guides for the candles' centers. The rectangles
will meet in the center of the plate in a small square. Cut out the
candle shapes, preserving their connection to the ring at the rim.
This connection serves as the base of the candle. Bend candles
from their base to stand upright. Decorate candles with markers,
crayons and glitter. use the discarded plate material to cut flame
shapes. Color them bright flame colors, then glue or staple them to
the top of the candles.

Brigit Candles
You will need:
1 recipe salt dough clay
a bowl of water
8 1/2 by 11 inch sheet of paper, one for each candle
wax paper, cut into 8 1/2 by 11 inch sheets, one for each candle tape
1 T vegetable oil
small bowl
candle making supplies
Honor Brigit with new special candles. These candles use molds made
from coiled salt dough ropes so that each completely unique candle
bears the spiral imprint of the coil.

Taper Candles
Make ropes by rolling salt dough clay between your hands. Each rope
should be two or three feet long and 1/4 to 1/2 inch in diameter. If
younger children can't manage such lengths, have them make smaller
segments that can be joined later with a little pressure and water.
Dip your fingers into the bowl of water occasionally if the dough
tends to crack. Roll the paper into a 1 inch wide cylinder and tape
it shut. Around this cylinder, tape a piece of wax paper. Coat the
wax paper with a thin layer of oil. Lightly moisten a salt dough rope
with water. Lay the paper cylinder on its side at one end of the
rope. Roll it along the dough, wrapping the rope up the cylinder
until it is six inches tall. Be sure the edges of the coiled rope
always touch. To provide extra support, at intervals stick several
toothpicks vertically through the coils. Make a bottom for the mold by
shaping another piece of salt dough into a 3/4 inch thick circle
that's larger than the coiled tower in diameter. Moisten the bottom's
surface, then carefully lift the coiled tower onto the bottom piece
and press gently to make a seal. Pull the paper cylinder out. This
slides out easily, leaving the wax paper. Remove it by gently tugging
on the wax paper with one hand while you support the clay coils with
the others. Inspect each part of the mold, looking for tiny cracks
where melted wax could leak. Press these shut. If the coils start to
sag, quickly fashion a paper cylinder around the outside of the coils
and tape it closed. Trim it to the same height as the clay, so it
won't get in the way when you are pouring wax. Set the mold in
an empty bowl, in case wax leaks through. You are ready to pour.
Pouring the wax is thrilling. Go very slowly up each level to make
sure no wax is leaking through. If a leak appears, carefully pinch it
shut and pour again. Insert the wick. The wax will harden within an
hour, long before the clay dries. To unmold, just unwind the clay. If
some sticks, soak the candle in cool water and then gently rinse off
the clay. The candles have a wonderfully craggy spiral looping from
bottom to top, and burn with a lovely strong flame.

Beehive Candles
You can also make beehive candles with great success by coiling ropes
of salt dough in a small, deep bowl. A rice bowl is the perfect size.
It's easier to start with making a spiral, about 3 inches across,
outside of the bowl, then transferring this into the bottom of the
bowl. Next coil the rope inside the bowl until you reach the top. The
candle is burned with the dome side up, so the wick has to be
extended through the wax at the bottom of the bowl. When the wax is
firm enough to insert the wick, use a slightly larger straw than
usual, and push it firmly through the candle, into the dough beneath,
straight to the bottom of the bowl. The candle unmolds easily: Lift
candle and mold from the bowl and uncoil the mold.

Brigit Candleholder
To echo the Goddess's symbol of the serpent, make this candleholder,
which resembles a coiled snake. Follow directions for making a mold
for taper candles, with the following differences:
1. Size your holder by wrapping a paper cylinder around whatever
candle you intend to use. Remove candle before proceeding further.
2. Dough ropes should be about 1/2 inch wide and a foot long. If
candleholder is taller than 4 inches, use toothpicks for extra
3. Make the bottom by coiling a rope into a small circle. 4. After
the paper cylinder has been removed, use your candle to gently test
of the open end of the candle holder is large enough to accommodate
the candle. If it's too small, delicately press the opening wider. If
it's too large, fill in with bits of salt dough.
5 Bake the holder as directed. Turn after the first hour to be sure
it does not stick to the pan.
6 Cool completely after baking. Then paint with snaky patterns,
finishing with eyes on the end of the top coil.
From "Circle Round" By Starhawk, Diane Baker and Anne Hill
Courtesy of Witches Moon

Busy Busy Busy...

Hey everyone. Yes I have not been here for awhile that is because I have been so busy... With work and my other job I did not have much time. Now that one of my jobs is ending for the summer I do have some time. 

I have partnered with my sister at the flea market and now we have a bigger booth!!  Ya I have my own spot!!  I will be highlighting what I make here and still give information when I can.  I wish I had more time to sit and write.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Greatest Gift You Can Give Your Stress...

Shocking as it may seem, there are probably very few people who have never experienced stress. Stress can happen in a minute or it may build over time. It can spur creativity but is more likely to leave you irritated, depleted, and even physically ill. Which is why, sponsored by The Health Resource Network (HRN), April is Stress Awareness Month, a time when care givers across the country will be increasing public awareness about both the causes and cures for stress, now seen as a modern day epidemic.
The word stress is a derivation of the Latin word that means to be drawn tight, which is pretty much how most stressed-out people feel. The words meditation and medication have the same prefix derived from the Latin word medicus, meaning to care or to cure, indicating that meditation is an effective and efficient remedy for a busy and overworked mind. Which is why meditation is the greatest gift you could give your self.
In essence, meditation is simply about calming our chattering monkey-like mind and being aware and present in this very moment. This is easier than we may think, yet so many people say to us: My mind is too busy; I can’t sit still; I can’t possibly meditate; I just fall asleep. This is because our mind tends to be all over the place chasing different scenarios, so that our ability to be completely here and now is challenged. Although being aware of the present moment is simple, we have spent so many years covering it up with all sorts of distractions that now we have to practice being still in order to reconnect with it.
During meditation we gently let go of distractions so we can genuinely be present. Like a child watching an ant walking down the sidewalk carrying a crumb, that is all that exists in her world at that moment. She is not thinking about what she had for breakfast, or what she will do with her best friend at her next playdate. She is only watching the ant.
Meditation enables us to stop trying, to let go of the story, the dramas, our stressed mind, and to discover an inner easefulness. Some people describe this as a sense of coming home, as if they had been away or out of touch with themselves without having realized it; others experience it as a huge relief as there is a release of anxiety and self-centeredness and they enter into a more peaceful state of being. The inner joy and happiness is incomparable. Personally, we don’t know how we would function in this mad, mad world without it!
Here is a simple and effective practice that can be done anywhere and at anytime of day. Practice for 5 minutes, 10 minutes, or longer:
Sit comfortably with your back straight. Take a deep breath and let it go. Eyes are closed, breathe normally. Begin to silently count at the end of each out breath: Inhale… exhale… count one; inhale… exhale… two; inhale… exhale… three. Count to five, then start at one again. Just five breaths and back to one. Simply follow each breath and silently count. So simple!
(For step-by-step instructions for meditation and a guided video, click here.)

Help Sustainable Farmers: Join A Crop Mob

The New York Times recently did a story on a new group of young, landless North Carolina farmers, known as the Crop Mob, who volunteer to help on local, sustainable farms. Since the story was published, crop mobbing has become a social media sensation among foodies and sustainable farm advocates (like me).
As the group describes on its web site, “Crop mob is a group of young, landless, and wannabe farmers who come together to build and empower communities by working side by side. Crop mob is also a group of experienced farmers and gardeners willing to share their knowledge with their peers and the next generation of agrarians. The membership is dynamic, changing and growing with each new mob event.”
The group began in the North Carolina Triangle of Durham, Raleigh, Chapel Hill, because there are many small, sustainable farms started by young farmers who often can’t get all of the work done alone.
Sustainable farming is labor-intensive work; the planting, harvesting, processing and even barn raising that this type of farming requires used to be done as a community effort and is often too overwhelming for one individual to handle.
That’s where the Crop Mobs come in. “The crop mob was conceived as a way of building the community necessary to practice this kind of agriculture and to put the power to muster this group in the hands of our future food producers.”
The monthly volunteer days or “Mobs” are announced informally by word-of-mouth and on the Internet. Anyone who is willing to work can just show up.
As outlined by the group, there are a few principles on how the Crop Mob works:
  • No money is exchanged.
  • Work is done on small-scale, sustainable farms and gardens.
  • A meal is shared, often provided by the host.
  • This is not a charity. We crob mob for crop mobbers.
Crop mobbing is growing and there now a number of mobbers popping up all over the United States and on the Internet including Seattle, Washington; Atlanta, Georgia; Madison, Wisconsin; and California.
Those who live in the city or suburbs don’t need to feel left out. Even city farms, backyard, or community gardens can use mobs too, as the New York City Crop Mob illustrates. It is hosting its first mob on April 11.
If you are interested in joining a Crop Mob in your own area, check the interactive map to see if there’s one near you. You can also go here to get tips and info. and starting your own mob.
You can find them on Facebook and on Twitter.
Judi Gerber is a University of California Master Gardener with a certificate in Horticultural Therapy. She writes about sustainable farming, local foods, and organic gardening for multiple magazines. Her book Farming in Torrance and the South Bay was released in September 2008.

Standing at a crosswalk....

Let's say you're standing at a crosswalk. And you're standing there with a parent, or perhaps anyone or anything that you have some sort of issue with or power struggle right now. The person/entity in "authority" asks, warns you, requests, or otherwise attempts to restrain/advise you from moving into the street at this time. You in your NEED to do so, in continuation of a comfortable pattern, your impetuousness, a need to assert your OWN personhood, or whatever ego driven reason, decide to step into the street anyway. Are you willing to accept the consequences of your actions, whatever they may be, or do you spend time and energy blaming the other person in some manner for what may transpire or even for what did NOT transpire? Think before you leap is the message of the day. Where and why and when do you render yourself a "victim" or draw someone else into your drama?" And why?  Later, "if only" doesn't help you if only you see what you want to see. It's not necessary to make drama. Stand quietly and wait for the right time for anything. To everything is a season and a reason. Things propelled by the wind end up wherever they do.St

Essential Oil Safety and Cats

Be Wary of Aromatherapy Claims for Cats
By Sue Martin
Please be wary of any animal practitioner or supplier of essential oils claiming that their products or techniques are completely safe to use with cats: the statement is both inaccurate and unsafe. No matter what their claims say, nothing will change the unique physiology of a cat.
Generally, essential oils consist of hydrocarbons or monofunctional compounds from mono-and sesqui-terpenes, together phenylpropanoids and other volatile aliphatic and aromatic substances.
Many terpenoids are rapidly absorbed orally and dermally by the cat's system and are metabolized in the liver. Due to their volatile nature, inhalation of essential oil components is also possible, and these enter the bloodstream via the lungs, also to be metabolized in the liver. The terpenoids and their metabolites are often conjugated with glucuronic acid (glucuronidation) and glycine depending on the type of terpenoid and animal species involved. The conjugated metabolites are usually more water-soluble and are easily excreted through the kidney and feces.
Cats are known to be deficient in their ability to eliminate compounds through hepatic glucuronidation (they lack enzyme glucuronyl tranferases). Glucuronidation is an important detoxification mechanism present in most animals except cats. Lack of this important detoxification mechanism in cats may result in slower elimination and thus build up of the toxic metabolites in the body causing toxicity problems.
Most people are aware of warnings that focus on the topical and oral administration of essential oils, but they are generally unaware that inhalation of essential oils can also be unsafe for your cat. Oils can affect a cat by absorption and inhalation just like for humans, and precautions should be used when repeatedly diffusing essential oils, since the development of liver damage can be a slow process without any visible symptoms.
When diffusing oils, try not to use excessive amounts of essential oil, and choose oils which have lower volatility's as far as possible. In addition, ensure good air circulation especially during the diffusion process, so that local concentrations of essential oil vapour are not built up in non-airchanged areas inhabited by the cat. Make sure cat can get to 'undiffused' air at any time if possible, and only diffuse in an individual room if cat does not have access i.e. make it a multi-room location.  Toxicology studies show that the feline liver usually needs 48 hours to process and excrete 'terpenes', thus allow 48 hours between end of last diffusion and starting another to avoid repeated exposure by inhalation.
As most of you probably know, humans become quickly used to the intensity of a beautiful aroma ("adaptation") and have the habit of 'freshening it up' and adding more essential oils, definitely not so good for the cat. To test this, leave the area for another area not affected by the diffusion for about 15 minutes, re-enter the room and you will again smell the aroma. Remember cats have many more olfactory receptors than we do and are probably trying to figure out why you use so much oil.
Following is only a very small sampling of the many unsafe applications and untrue claims for cats:
1. "Essential Oils are distilled from plants & through their processing & mixing with vegetable oils, they oxygenate your pets' blood system & soothe their emotions & nerves."
This statement is untrue, essential oils do not oxygenate an animal's or a human's blood, yet a certain multi-level marketing company espouses this myth as proven scientific data, whereas it is actually pure sales hype.
2. "This Essential Oils product has been developed for application in the ears of cats and kittens with ear mite infestation. Recommend daily application to both ears in infected pets to kill mites and control infection in ear canal".
Frankincense and Helichrysum in diluted vegetable oil base, apply several drops to each ear daily for 2 to 4 weeks.
PRECAUTIONS: Discontinue use if redness, swelling, heat or pain result from application of this product.
They offer precautions, as reactions will most likely occur. They do not tell you that placing the essential oils and vegetable oil in the ear will actually do more damage than good to the internal ear organs. That the oil blend can build up causing deafness and the cat's system is absorbing enough essential oil compounds to cause permanent liver damage or death.
There is no valid research that shows Frankincense and Helichrysum essential oils kill ear mites in cats, but there is proof essential oils are toxic to cats.
3.  A book on animal aromatherapy recommends using peppermint essential oil on a cat or kitten for respiratory problems and runny nose. 
The owner of a kitten wrote to me about how her kitten even after applying 2 drops of peppermint on its chest, as the book instructed, would not get better. First, I felt a stab of sympathy for the kitten because her owner had read and applied an unsafe application, and secondly, frustration that authors write such unsafe information. 
I told her she should have taken the kitten to a veterinarian as some respiratory problems can be life threatening or contagious to other cats. I then suggested she place two drops of peppermint on her cheek, as that is a tender spot but not as tender as the skin of 6-week-old kitten, to feel for herself to a lesser degree what her kitten is feeling. She wrote me back, "Sue, I thought you were wrong, I placed the two drops and felt nothing, but after about 30 seconds it started to burn and redden my skin, even after trying to wash it off, the burning is terrible. I feel so bad that I did this to my kitten, no wonder he is so upset and meowing so much. I will never put essential oils on my cat again and I am throwing away the book."
N.B. There are reports of respiratory failure in children when menthol (a major component of peppermint oil) has been applied to the nostrils.
4. Another big mistake is to apply the healing benefits of essential oils seen in the human situation to the feline situation.
5. Many make the mistake of applying an essential oil dosage suitable for a human baby to a cat, thinking that, due to its small size, if it is safe enough for a baby, it must be safe for cats. Babies do not have a cat's liver!
6. There is a debate about the use of hydrosols and cats. Hydrosols also named hydrolats or floral waters are promoted as 100% safe for use with cats, when there is no proof that this is so. Testing is not required* of hydrosols as it is with essential oils, so 99% of the suppliers don't even know what compounds are in their product.  No valid information exists to confirm that the use of hydrosols topically and internally with cats is safe, therefore using hydrosols on your cat may have unknown risks. Remember essential oils were once considered safe until cats started getting sick and/or dying due to their special liver physiology!
*There is one exception to testing required; Turkish Rose Hydrosol producers are required by Turkish Law to test and maintain the established high quality standards of their products.
Library of Congress Copyright TXu1-041-842 May 15, 2002 by Sue Martin

Spring Detox Tips

Time for a major clean-up! ...

By Marie-Andrée Guimont

Did you know that the human body also needs a spring cleaning? The goal of a detox diet is to give your body a rest and to eliminate toxins such as pesticides, synthetic products and atmospheric pollutants. After the cleansing program, your organs such as the kidneys, intestines, and lungs emerge as new to better perform their jobs and to make your body healthier.
Here are a few basic rules to help renew your system!
Water and Infusions
As a first step to purify your body, make drinking water a priority. We recommend drinking a minimum of a litre-and-a- half of water per day. In addition to drinking the recommended amount of water, prepare an infusion daily. You can use birch or orthosiphon herbs to prepare the infusion as to favour the elimination of toxins.

Start your day with a glass of lemon water; in a cup, pour equal amounts of hot water and lemon juice. Citrus is rich in vitamins, stimulates the liver, and participates in cleansing the body. It also helps balance the pH of the stomach.

If you can get your hands on it, fresh dandelion also helps with elimination. Try incorporating it with a tea or in a salad. Those who are reluctant to try fresh dandelion can opt for capsules of powder available in pharmacies.

Healthy and Fresh Foods
Be sure to eat at least five fruits and vegetables per day. It is ideal to eat them raw. And make sure to clean them well before eating them. For snacking, opt for fruit juice
Grapes act as a laxative; they relieve constipation and facilitate bowel movement. During your detoxification diet, integrate them to your meals in the morning, at noon and in the evening. Be sure to choose grapes that are ripe. If the fruit isn’t ripe enough, it can have the opposite effect of causing constipation.
Note: Select organic products that are devoid of chemicals and preservatives as to thoroughly purify your body.

The Method
After having read these basic guidelines, it now up to you to choose a program that suits your needs. It is advised to do a detoxification program three to four times a year, and ideally when the seasons change. In less than two weeks, you will begin to feel rested and more energetic. Depending on the method used, the program should last three weeks.  
Beware: the ultimate goal of a body cleansing should not be weight loss. That being said, by taking care of your body, it makes sense that weight loss may result.  

The Thrifty Kitchen: Cooking With Fruit and Vegetable Scraps

We try to shop organic as much as we can, and sometimes organic produce is considerably pricier than conventional. When you pay a premium for organic food, you want to get your money’s worth! Before you throw those fruit and veggie scraps into the compost bin, check out these ways to use the bits and pieces that you’d normally toss.
Swiss Chard
Chard leaves are the star in lots of tasty veggie dishes, but after chopping up all of those greens, you’re left with a pile of stems. The stems, or ribs, are actually great in recipes, too! They’re crunchy and slightly tangy. You can treat them like celery or onions and add them to stir fries, casseroles, soups, and stews.
Celery Leaves
Margie, the woman who operates the local Atlanta CSA Vegetable Husband, has a great suggestion for the leaves on the top of celery. She adds them to soups and stews for a deep, celery flavor. Celery leaves also work really well in salads of both the greens- and mayonnaise-based varieties. Just chop them up finely and mix them right in to add a little kick!
Mushroom Stems
Many stuffed mushroom recipes call for chopping the stems right up into your filing mixture, but these tasty leftovers have more uses than just that! Once you remove the tough part at the very bottom of the stem, try adding them to everything from soups and casseroles to salad dressings. You can toss your dressing into a food processor with some mushroom stems and process until smooth to add a nice, earthy taste to your salads.
Citrus Peels
After peeling that orange or juicing a lemon, you can take advantage of the zest before composting the rest! Citrus zest is the dark-colored part of the skin, and it’s perfect for adding a citrusy flavor to baked goods. You can remove it using a paring knife or vegetable peeler. Just wrap the zest in wax paper and put it in a container in the freezer. It should last a couple of weeks.
Home made, organic vegetable broth is a great catch-all for your scraps! You can save veggie leavings - like onion and garlic peel, carrot ends, mushroom stems, and stems from fresh herbs and spices - in a container in the freezer. Once you have enough, just put them into a pot with enough water to cover and bring to a rolling boil. Lower the heat and simmer for an hour, then strain out the scraps. What’s left is a wholesome, tasty veggie broth that’s just as good as (if not better than) the store-bought sort!
Becky Striepe is an indie crafter living in Atlanta, GA with her husband, two cats, and her trusty sewing machine.

Help Save the Ladybugs!!

Beyond being cute bugs, lady beetles (aka ladybugs or ladybirds) are incredibly helpful creatures, as many gardeners can testify. They protect crops by eating certain types of pests, and their presence reduces the need for insecticides.
Unfortunately, these gardeners’ best friends started rapidly declining in the 1970’s and ’80s according to researchers, and today some native species of North America are on the brink of extinction.
So where did all the ladybugs go?
The Lost Ladybug Project is looking into this question. The project, which began in 2000 after Cornell scientists partnered with 4-H master gardeners, is trying to find out where native types of ladybugs are living today and why so many have disappeared. An invasive beetle species imported from Europe and Asia is one possible culprit.
The Lost Ladybug Project has an unconventional research team. Over 50 percent of the participants in the project are under the age of 14, according to USA Today. And two key discoveries were made by 11-year old, Jilene, and 10 year-old, Jonathan back in 2006.
The project is specifically working to find and preserve three species: the nine-spotted or C9s, the transverse and the two-spotted. Approaching their goals with a “citizen’s science” model, leaders of The Lost Ladybug Project are encouraging anyone and everyone to help locate ladybugs: “Find ‘em, photograph ‘em, and send ‘em,” they ask. John Losey, co-founder of the project, firmly believes that “citizen science is the best way to educate and enthuse volunteers about the process of science and the best way to shed light on major environmental problems,” according to the group’s website.
Check out www.lostladybug. org for all kinds of interesting information about ladybugs. The site includes lesson plans, games, coloring books, and even a song–all focused on teaching kids to appreciate ladybugs and to participate in preserving the species.