My Proposed Course of Study on Herbalism

This article was originally published on my defunct website back in 2001. I was lucky to find a digital copy backup copy. This has not been updated, expanded or link-checked in a very long time. I am reposting this to see if there is any interest in continuing this line of inquiry and to pull it out of my drafts folder. 

I believe in autodidactism – self-directed education. Although there are a number of courses available on the web for Herbalism, some free and some not, it is hard to judge the quality of the course without having a basic understanding of the subject matter. This is for those who might find my study outline useful in that it is presented without in-depth embellishment.

My Proposed Self Course of Study on Herbalism

Herbs and Spices in History
In magical practices
Medicine and folklore
The Spice Trade
History of the Spice Trade
UCLA Medicinal Spices Exhibit
History of Spices
Basic Information of Various Herbal Practices
Magical Practices
Kitchen Herbs
Incense and Ritual Meaning
Incense Recipes
Symbolism and Creativity
The Most Common Aromatic Herbs
The Emotional Factor
Various of Uses
Herbal Medicines
Using Caution
Folk Remedies
The Heath Food Store
Herbalism and The Law
Our Kitchen Herbs
Spice & Herb Encyclopedia
Preserving Ethnic Flavors
Edible Wild Plants in Local Region – Eastern United States
Experiments in Eating Wild Plants – Reported experimentation
Stalking the Wild Asparagus
Perfumes and essential oils
Essential Oils of India
The Art of Beauty
Essential Oils Primer
Perfume Primer
Homemade Basics
The Lost Art of Natural Dyes
Making Dye
Textile Uses
Wild crafting – Ethics
Trees in our Lives
     Tree based everyday products
     Food and handcraft uses of trees
     Trees in Magic and Medicine
     Trees that made History
Green Ecology

Top 10 Things I’d like to see removed from Pagan blogs; Snarkified.

And the 10 things are….

Spells, Shmells

It feels cheap and trashy, like going out and picking up a redemption certificate from a street preacher or claiming baptism just because a Priest road splashed you with his car. Make your spells. Sharing them…ugg. This isn’t a show off of magic hour. Paganism is about religion.

Rune and Tarot castings and other such ilk
Why do Pagan blog focus so much on divination? Fortune telling is either an entertainment only business; then what point does it have on a religious blog or….it is a religious practice? It’s just so over done. Everyone is doing it, has done it an right now is contemplating doing it. Stop it!

Crappy book reviews…
Does every 101 book need your very own review added to the scores already out there? So go ahead and add another review promoting another crappy book. I’ve already read ten reviews about that book. I’m skipping yours.

Jewelry, glitter and gold…
I totally get this one. You saw Paganism as a great way to make money and you’re creative too. Perfect combination….make some necklaces, bracelets and earrings and neat what-nots; slap something Paganish on it and proclaim yourself a Pagan. Rake in the money…

Yeah, why don’t you have a e-store?

Altar supplies, the cups and daggers and boxes more..
Ditto for the jewelry. Selling it doesn’t belong on a blog. Yeah, argue all you want. Bite me. Sharing those photos because you want everyone to see your altar isn’t the same thing. But trying to sell me graveyard dust because you live next door to one, get real. I can take a walk to my local one just as well. Or better yet…use the dust from inside my home! Didn’t ya know the whole earth is a graveyard!

Black backgrounds
Those poor misunderstood Goths, Pagans stole your black style. Give it back! Stop Appropriating other Cultures! This just doesn’t’ apply to those half breeds of Pagan Goths; poor souls.

Honestly my poor aging eyes can not handle the extreme contrast of back on white or worse black on red. Smarten up whipper-snapper…you want your elders to read your youthful thoughts.

Correspondence lists
This element beget that sign, that beget this time, that beget that stone…..*snore…..*
Utter dry drivel that has me chewing on my nails in search for water. Ugg…There are so many different lists and none of them agree. I’ll let you in on a secret. They are made up! So make up your own! This is nothing more that someone’s UPG becoming tradition. *winks*

Never Again! Never Again the Burning Times!
Holds her hands up in the air…
Alright, alright…it’s gotten harder to find this meme cropping up anymore. Utter rubbish of myth making, one hell of a case study of telling a lie long enough, people will believe it. But to make sure it stays down, it’s made it to The List.
Proceeds the kick the meme backing into obscurity.

All other religions are big meanie poopy heads posts
You know the ones that trash whatever religion the newly converted Pagan was, like Christianity is all evil, or that Catholics stole Pagan deities and yup this crazy reason is why they should be scorned, ridiculed. Enough already. Take your hate pettling elsewhere. Your stinking up my air.

Love and Light, New Age-y Crud
Light workers of the World un-tie! Guess what….another case of appropriation. Those aren’t Pagans. Of course some might be Pagans….kinda like Gothic Pagans. But the practices are not Pagan. Those are new age-y practices that come from the mighty jumble pot of Pot…that back in the ‘70’s our parents…hmm and I guess for some of us grandparents or great grandparents poured into various religious ideas and practices and stirred. What baked out…..was a chewy mix of new age ideas. The age of Aquarius is not here.


And The Big Disclaimer:

What really sucks is that I may need this. Actually it’s a certainty. I do snarky humor at my best of times and though it might find a spot that stings, humor is what is meant. I do believe that there is nothing under the sun that can’t be laughed at and made fun of or poked with humor. If you found offense, please take a deeper look inside yourself to find the why before attempting to take bites of my delicious head. And I firmly hope the Paganism as a whole as grown up enough to poke fun at it self and laugh.

Laughter is medicine for the soul.
Open wide!

Hot Coffee

“Need a pick me up?”

I’m a coffee nut. Daily do I imbibe at the carafe of the dark mysterious brew. Today I bring you….

Another tidbit of well-traveled coffee humor….

You Know You’re Drinking Too Much Coffee When…

  • Juan Valdez named his donkey after you.
  • You ski uphill.
  • You speed walk in your sleep.
  • You answer the door before people knock.
  • You sleep with your eyes open.
  • You just completed another sweater and you don’t know how to knit.
  • You grind your coffee beans in your mouth.
  • You have to watch videos in fast-forward.
  • The only time you’re standing still is in an earthquake.
  • You lick your coffeepot clean.
  • Your eyes stay open when you sneeze.
  • The nurse needs a scientific calculator to take your pulse.
  • Your T-shirt says, “Decaf is the devil’s coffee.”
  • You can type sixty words a minute with your feet.
  • All your kids are named “Joe.”
  • You don’t need a hammer to pound nails.
  • Your only source of nutrition comes from “Sweet and Low.”
  • You don’t sweat, you percolate.
  • You’ve worn out the handles on your favorite mug.
  • You’ve built a miniature city out of plastic stirrers.
  • People get dizzy just watching you.
  • People can test their batteries in your ears.
  • When someone asks you,” How are you?”, you say,” Good to the last drop.”
  • Your birthday is a national holiday in Brazil.
  • You’d be willing to spend time in a Turkish prison.
  • You go to sleep just so you can wake up and smell the coffee.
  • You speak perfect Arabic without even taking a lesson.
  • Your Thermos is on wheels.
  • You can outlast the Energizer Bunny.
  • You don’t even wait for the water to boil anymore.
  • You think being called a drip is a compliment.
  • You don’t tan, you roast.
  • You don’t get mad, you get steamed.
  • You soak your dentures in coffee overnight.
  • Your coffee mug is insured by Lloyds of London.
  • You think CPR stands for “Coffee Provides Resuscitation.”

Now, if you will excuse me, I’m going to go have another cup of coffee. “ZZZAP!”

What Do Labels Do?

This article was originally published on my defunct website. I was lucky enough to find a digital backup copy. It has been edited only for formatting on this blog.

 What do labels do?

  If I said that I am a panthistic – animistic neo-pagan eclectic Earth mystic solitary ritualist herbalist healer or that I am monotheistic Christian Southern Baptist Prayer warrior evangelist, would you know what I meant and how to relate to it and to yourself? More likely not.

Labels fascinate me. A single word to describe an object, place, or ideal has such hidden power. In a way to know a “thing” you must be able to define that “thing.” In a full detailed definition, the secret of that “thing” is clearly stated. I wanted to unlock the secret of my belief’s. Wadding through terms I’ve rarely heard I started collecting them. Defining the many terms has been nightmarish. A good dictionary has been invaluable but people don’t always stick to those meanings. Often I am left to figure out what they meant by context and by their actions rather than to rely on the “standard definition.”

Understandably, English is a living language and it changes and grows. Meanings change. For what I was asking a static definition would be useful. I’ve used the Merriam-Webster dictionary that is available online as that static tool. For example to ask an audience for the definition of the term “Pagan” is asking for insanity. The term is still in great upheaval and dispute. If I could recite all the different meanings and uses of “pagan” I would be writing a dictionary. It is so important to have a set and commonly known meaning for words. It allows a common ground of knowledge between two people so that they can interact without misconceptions. I have had to rethink many writings in light of the dictionary meanings versus my personal definition.

I started to label my own beliefs by shoving them in the neat little boxes  even though a precise match was not always found.  I’ve realized that the more I’ve tried to define my beliefs the more confused I’ve become. Labels are a way to identify an item but perhaps not the best way to identify religious beliefs. I’ve tried to construct a simple category breakdown that could be applied to different people with different beliefs. I was hoping that I would find common ground between various beliefs other than the categories. I did not. I found that the further I tried to break down the religions into categories and labels the larger the variations became. This should have been self evident. 

What was surprising to me was my own use of labels that don’t fit in the dictionary. I use labels that I may be the only one to use them. What is an Earth mystic anyway? I couldn’t find a easy definition, and I have a hard time trying to define it still. It is more in the realm of a personal label than any other term that I introduced to my breakdown. Below is my work in progress. I am offering it up for review.  I have omitted definitions for the terms and categories. I am hoping that between the questions and examples, my meaning will be clear through the context. Try it out and please let me know what you think.

Here is the label breakdown and some of the questions that I posed to myself in trying to find the boxes that I could fit in. It is still a work in progress and has many bugs still in it.

deity style/ deity/religious class/religious style/religious tradition/style of worship/social style/trade/deity style

What type of deity do you believe in?
•Pantheistic – Animistic
•Atheist- skip to the next relevant question
•Agnostic – skip to the next relevant question
•Other deity
What is your deity?
•fill in the blank
religious class
What religious class do you belong to?    
          Organized religion
religious style
What is your religious style?
religious tradition
What is your religious tradition?
•Fill in the blank
•ex-  Mormon
•ex-  Unitarian
•ex- “Name of Sect” Islamic
•ex- Alexandrian Wicca
•ex- Earth Mystic
style of worship
What is your style of worship?  Primary form of worship
•Mystic- the mysteries
social style
What is your social religious style?
•Cultural – Default
•Fellowship / Coven / Study Groups
What is your spiritual trade/calling? (givers/takers)
•Caretaker – Coven Mother or Father // Deacon or Deaconess
•Monk or Nun
•Prayer Warrior – Mage
•Conversions – Evangelist
◦Student of History
◦Student of Theology
•Other / None

Top Five Web Sites…

Top Five Pagan Websites for the Seeker

stock art from Microsoft office

  1. The Witches Voice  – Also know as Witchvox. Wiccan site for local networking, informative articles and news of interest to Pagans.
  2. Patheos’ Pagan Channel –  Features blogs, resource library, book club and more.
  3. The Cauldron Forum – Especially their article A Pagan Primer. A no nonsense forum for Pagans of all traditions.
  4. Turk’s Net – Repository of Pagan humor. The Field Guide is worth a good giggle.
  5. Kaaos – Features articles with a dash of witty humor.

    10 Ways to Turn Halloween to Samhain


    1. Plan to stay up till midnight.  It is a New Year’s celebration after all.

    2. Replace the spiders and cobwebs with black cloth and candles.

    3. Give all the skeletons family names and attach a picture name tag.

    4. Plan a family dinner and leave an extra place setting out and empty chair. Invite your dearly departed ones.

    5. Replace all the spooky music with somber melodies or gentle drumming.

    6. Go crazy with the candles, but don’t turn your home into a bonfire.

    7. Use natural decorations. Like leaves, gourds, dried corn and pumpkins. Think last harvest.

    8. Set up a seasonal altar or an ancestors altar. Decorate with pictures of loved ones that have passed the veil.

    9. Tell the stories of the family and speak the names of your loved out loud.

    10. Play some games. Do a little divination. Tell tall tales. Have some fun.

    Have a Blessed Samhain everyone.