Herbs and Health by Nicola Peterson


This is a handy pocket-sized book with herbs and some of their properties. It would be useful to carry around on trips or for a quick reference but doesn’t go deep enough for me.

What it is good for is an alphabetical list of common diseases with herbs to treat them. It would be a very good book for a beginner to start with.

Autumn Equinox


A few days ago I celebrated the Autumn Equinox. It was the first time I used my outdoor working circle, which is a weeping willow tree.

I wound up the circle by walking three times clockwise around the interior of the branches, stating my purpose.

Then I stopped and talked a bit about the Autumn Equinox and what it means to me. After which I wound down the circle by walking three times anti-clockwise around the circle while giving thanks to the tree.

I do think that calling the quarters is wiccan, so I don’t do that. And some trad witches do something similar, but I feel that’s extraneous to what you are doing.

I did mean to ask my deities and ancestors to be with me and keep me safe, but I forgot to do so. If I forget anything, I don’t stop the ritual and do it again from the start. I feel if anything changes, it was meant to be and we should just go with the flow.

During winding up the circle, the bus dropped someone off at the bus stop. It’s not a stop that’s frequently used, so I thought I’d be okay. Instead, I was bricking it because I’m working on public land she had the right to interrupt my ritual and circle. But thankfully the tree kept me from interference, except from my cat, who had followed me and thought the dust at the roots of the tree was perfect to roll around in!

This is why I make my circles with the intent and statement that they are meant to keep anything and anyone malign out, but let harmless entities in. You never know what a cat will do!

Cornwall


I’ve just come back from a holiday in Somerset, Devon and Cornwall. In Cornwall we visited The Eden Project and Tintagel Castle.

Tintagel Castle is where the myths say that King Arthur was born. Unfortunately it’s a ruin now, which commands spectacular views of the Cornish coasts. I enjoyed climbing around the ruins, but at 5ft 2” with short legs I had trouble with some of the steps, which are cut very deep.

The Eden Project was another matter. If you are at all sensitive to the spirit of the land, don’t go there because there isn’t any. The Eden Project was built on a quarry site, they carted in soil (which didn’t come from the local area) so they could grow these exotic plants (which of course, also didn’t come from the local area). To me, the land of The Eden Project feels like a coffin.

The Eden Project is a charity devoted to the conservation of exotic species of plants. This is all very well and good, but what about our plants such as cowslips and primroses, which are either in decline or on the endangered list. We should be doing more for them, instead of focusing on sexy exotic species. For a long while, Britain has had the mentality of “we’re alright” and “it doesn’t happen here”, while those of us with eyes to see and a brain to think with know that we’re not alright and yes, it does happen here.

The good thing about The Eden Project is that it has very good wheelchair access, but another bad point is the cost. £17 for waged and £12 for unemployed*. People (except for Sir Henry Wood when he was setting up The Proms) forget, or don’t know how little people have to live on when they are on benefits. In 2007 I got £33 per week and that had to pay for everything except the rent.

*For that money you can either buy a one-off ticket or an annual one.

American Gods


American Gods by Neil Gaiman

This book is about a man called Shadow, who after coming out of prison is offered a job by a mysterious man called Wednesday.  Wednesday is actually the American Odin, who is trying to enlist the old gods in a battle against the new gods of America who are Media, Technology and so forth.

I found this book to be an enjoyable read, but I only recommend fiction books on this blog if they have got something to offer me as a pagan.  And this one has stirred up questions in my mind as to the nature of gods and if they become a different god when they are taken to a different place.  I follow the Irish pantheon and live in England, so the last question is particularly important to me.

Followers of the Norse pantheon, especially Odin and Loki will get a lot out of this book.

Rating : 4 out of 5

Books


You may be asking yourself “what place do books have in a blog where the emphasis is on doing things?”

Reading is doing something and I think that reading books are just as important as the things we do.  Once a traditional witch and her teacher, both of which said “we don’t read books” showed myself and several other people what they were doing.  They were just playing about and unsurprisingly, they said they had to cast a lot of spells to get something to happen, which means that most of their spells were ineffective.

On the other hand, I once heard of someone who studied for eight years without casting a spell and gave witchcraft up without ever having casted a spell!

At the moment there’s quite a few books on my bedside table that will be of potential interest to the reader of this blog, so there will be quite a few book reviews.  But I will still make a weekly post that is not a book review.