Good Morning All! I just wanted to take a moment and give myself a shameless plug! With the baby getting bigger, my kiddies in school, and pieces falling into place (thank you Goddess, Shining Ones, & Kindred!) I’ve been able to birth something I’ve been wanting to bring into existence for a long time – an herbal/soap/oils shop! Please check me out on Facebook, Etsy, and Twitter! Thank you so much and Brightest of Blessings!
Hey all! Been trying to get back on here and start up writing and journaling again. As some of you who know me personally, it’s been one hell of a time since the end of February! A little background here – at the beginning of February, everything was going along fine. I attended a beautiful Imbolc ritual sponsored by the Church of the Spiral Tree (CST) with my Kindred out on the land in Roxanna, AL. It was a ritual having us to look back upon where we’d been, where we’d like to be, and what would be needed to be done in order to achieve those goals. I thought I had everything planned out – a healthy pregnancy, picture perfect delivery, managing my time, and starting back going to school in the Fall. I was going to do everything “right” this time around; to do and have things that I had wanted to have and have done during my previous 2 pregnancies that I had wished for. I was busy planning, shopping and “nesting”, interviewing doulas, setting up birthing altar…I was so proud of myself! I was making things happen and even standing up for myself and fulfilling my needs against what my husband thought was “best for me” (which is very hard being codependent and married to someone who I believe has a Narcissistic Personality Disorder). But, I guess the Universe had other plans for me…
Later that month, on February 28, I went to Labor & Delivery at my hospital because I had felt decreased fetal movements the previous night and none that I could feel that morning. After being monitored all day, a decision was made that evening to deliver my baby at 31 weeks via emergency Caesarean section and was immediately transferred to the NICU at another hospital. The whole experience brought me to Hel and back if you will – the hardest and most difficult Descent that I’ve ever had to go through in my life, bringing me to where I am today; so please be patient and bear with me… 🙂
On January 28, 2014, Cailleach made a special appearance in Georgia. Apparently the last time a “storm” of this magnitude hit Georgia was back around January 9, 2011 and happens roughly every 4 years or so – so we were especially lucky to be here when it hit, LOL! Now, me, being from Central New York, just kind of watched all the madness and craziness unfold and thought to myself, “Really?”
But to be fair, they’re not prepared for this sort of weather and don’t have the fleet of plows and stock piles of salt that we take for granted in the North.
Here are some photos from Cailleach’s visit:
Neighbors were out playing in the snow, attempting to sled and creep around the streets – amazed and in awe at the natural and wonderful gifts Cailleach had dropped on us. The kids and I could barely wait to go out the next day and play in the powdery Winter Wonderland – remembering our times back in Upstate New York the previous year. That night I left offerings of fruit muffins out for Cailleach and the Nature Spirits and Land Wights who I’m sure were a little confused…
Now, this feels more like Imbolc!
We enjoyed the snow while it lasted for about a whole 2 days….soon, it will begin to feel like Ostara again…
***WARNING: If you are at all squeamish about human placentophagy (consumption of the placenta), turn around, close out this window, and leave now as this may be TMI for you!
Well, eating – no; not exactly….more like ingesting, but we’ll get into that….
Last night before leaving a kindred gathering, I was talking to a few of my kindred about the next few gatherings I wouldn’t be able to attend – Imbolc being one of them due to my husband needing minor surgery next week and our Beltane/Walpurgisnacht Celebration as my due date is in fact April 30 – way too close to be 1 hour away from the hospital in which I’ll be delivering. We joked about dancing the May Pole that could be in turn be used as a birthing pole and have my baby right there. We started talking about The Bradley Method – classes and coaches, and I was like, “Yeah right! During my last 2 births, my husband just sat back across the room the whole time playing on his iPhone until it was time for the hard pushing!” To be honest, he was no help at all – totally clueless as to what to do or how to help me as I labored through the pain and showed no prior interest in even attempting to learn what it meant to be a birthing partner or coach…Woosah….anyways, back on subject…
That conversation made me think long and hard about perhaps looking into hiring a doula to assist me this time around. Granted, I was able to get through 2 other natural births without one, but ugh, just the thought of having to go through that again by myself fills me with dread….
As I was searching for and comparing doulas in my local area, I came across one local doula service offering something that I had never heard of before – placenta encapsulation. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve heard of the practice of women eating and sharing the placenta for nutritional reasons and could see and respect the practicality of said practice, but the very thought just quite honestly didn’t sit well with me. Even watching the scene in the movie Wanderlust in which Almond and Rodney come downstairs into the kitchen with a fresh placenta in a large bowl with a still attached newborn via umbilical cord announcing that a meal was to be made and shared with the house members was enough to turn my stomach. To me, it almost seemed like cannibalism. As I read on and started to do more research however, my opinion started to change…
Before I go any further, I want to touch on and address the issue of cannibalism. Some people believe that the eating of placenta is a cannibalistic act and is quite taboo with reasons ranging from ignorance on the subject to moral objections and religious beliefs. “There is the assertion that the placenta is part of the woman’s body. Actually, this is inaccurate. While there is a maternal component, placental tissue is mainly derived from the fertilized egg and carries the fetus’s genome…What about swallowing semen? Would that fit the definition of cannibalism?” What about exchanging and ingesting skin cells contained in body fluids while kissing or having sex? But let’s define what cannibalism really is: “Cannibalism is the eating of human flesh. Flesh is defined as being muscle and fat; placenta is neither. Cannibalism, by definition, is consumption of the flesh of someone or something that has been recently killed. Placentas, again, do not qualify.” Setting all preconceived notions aside, logically – does that fit the definition and criteria for cannibalism? No, I think not. I concur with Judi Selander’s conclusion: “…placentophagia is not cannibalism because it does not involve killing, nor the consumption of flesh which belongs to a deceased person. It does not present an affront to the dignity of the human person. Nor is placentophagia morally evil as long as the intentions and circumstances are either good or morally indifferent.”
So, now that that’s out of the way and we’ve determined that placentophagia is NOT cannibalism, let’s move on. Historically speaking, people from many different cultures have been consuming placenta for hundreds, if not thousands, of years! “In a 1979 volume of the Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine, William Ober’s article ‘Notes on Placentophagy,’ evaluates the possibility that certain ancient cultures that practiced human sacrifice may also have practiced human placentophagy, including Egyptians, Tasians, Badarians, Amrateans, Gerzeans, Semainians. Human placenta has been used traditionally in Chinese medicine (TCM), though the mother is not identified as the recipient of these treatments. A sixteenth-century Chinese medical text, the Compendium of Materia Medica, states in a section on medical uses of the placenta that, ‘when a woman in Liuqiu has a baby, the placenta is eaten,’ and that in Bagui, ‘the placenta of a boy is specially prepared and eaten by the mother’s family and relatives.’ Another Chinese medical text, the Great Pharmacopoeia of 1596, recommends placental tissue mixed with human milk to help overcome the effects of Ch’i exhaustion. These include, “anemia, weakness of the extremities, and coldness of the sexual organs with involuntary ejaculation of semen.” Dried, powdered placenta would be stirred into three wine-cups of milk to make a Connected Destiny Elixir. The elixir would be warmed in sunlight, then taken as treatment. It is not known exactly how traditional this remedy was, nor exactly how far back it dates.
Ober also identified many cultures known to have practiced placentophagy for medicinal purposes, and one for its flavor:
In Jamaica, bits of placental membranes were put into an infant’s tea to prevent convulsions caused by ghosts.
The Chaga of Tanganyika place the placenta in a receptacle for two months to dry. Once dry, it is ground into flour from which a porridge is made. The porridge is served to old women of the family as a way of preserving the child’s life.
In Central India, women of the Kol Tribe eat placenta to aid reproductive function. Consumption of placenta by a childless woman, ‘may dispel the influences that keep her barren.’
The Kurtachi of the Solomon Islands mixed placenta into the mother’s supply of powdered lime for chewing with the areca nut.”
The benefits of placenta are quite amazing. “In Italy, women have been known to eat parts of the placenta to help with lactation. Hungarian women bite the placenta to expedite the completion of labor. And knowledgeable midwives in this country have their birth mothers take bites of raw placenta to help stop hemorrhaging, due to its beneficial oxytocin content.” 
From my research, benefits of consuming placenta or capsules include:
- Decreased risk of post-partum depression.
- Reduced risk of post-partum anemia.
- Increase in breastmilk production.
- Reduction in post-partum bleeding.
- Pain relief, and faster healing.
- Helps return the uterus to pre-pregnancy state.
- Gives you more energy
The known ingredients that give the placenta its healing properties are:
Gonadotrophin: the precursor to estrogen, progesterone and testosterone
Prolactin: promotes lactation
Oxytocin: for pain and bonding; produced during breastfeeding to facilitate bonding of mother and infant. In pharmaceutical form this is a very addictive drug because it promotes a feeling of connectedness with others
Thyroid stimulating hormone: boosts energy and helps recovery from stressful events
Cortisone: combats stress and unlocks energy stores
Interferon: stimulates the immune system to protect against infections
Hemoglobin: replenishes iron deficiency and anemia, a common postpartum condition
Urokinase inhibiting factor and factor XIII: stops bleeding and enhances wound healing
Gammaglobulin: immune booster that helps protect against postpartum infections 
Now, from what I’ve gathered, the eating of cooked placenta is comparable to liver. I CAN’T STAND LIVER! No matter how many different types of livers I’ve tried and how they’ve been prepared, I just can’t stomach the taste. And still, just the thought of handling and cooking placenta still grosses me out. Granted, it is more frugal and “magical” if you will – to bring it home and prepare yourself – investing your own energy into it and all. There are many sites and videos out there with directions on how to do your own capsules, recipes for preparing it and incorporating it into smoothies, lasagna, spaghetti, soups, stews, pies, sushi, etc. – yummy! 😛 – but damn….yeah, no thanks.
Fortunately, I was able to find a service that comes to the hospital and picks the placenta up to be processed who is offering one hell of a deal right now using the TCM (steaming it with lemon, ginger and green chili, dehydrating it, grinding it into a powder, and into empty vegetable capsules) that expires in a few days. I do not believe in coincidences, so I believe that I was meant to come across this and give it a try.
Based on my current situation – pretty much a single mother of a 5 year old and almost 4 year old as my husband is barely home; and on my previous experience with depression and having to resort to going on Zoloft after the birth of my second child to deal with a very bad bout postpartum depression, I want to make sure that I’m doing everything I can naturally and spiritually to avoid going down that route again and make sure I’m taking care of my family. Who wouldn’t?
Am I going to tell my family? Mmmmmm, probably most definitely not, LOL! Based on their reactions to my decisions to have natural drug-free births, breastfeeding, cloth diapering, and co-sleeping (my mother and grandmother would “jokingly” compare me to a cow, thought I was crazy, “felt sorry for me” for supposedly not getting enough sleep or thinking that my breasts were sore and “worn out” from breastfeeding, kept asking when I was going to start weaning, or move my kids to a crib…but they did manage to throw in things occasionally like, “I don’t know how you do it” or “You’re quite the little mother”.)
I could only imagine the shock and horror in their voice the next time I call home and tell them that I will be ingesting my placenta – actually, it kind of makes me giggle 🙂 And to be honest, I probably won’t even tell my husband as he gets really weird sometimes about such womanly things.
For the holidays, my husband got me an Amazon gift card because he knows how much I LOVE books! So, about a week ago, I started scouring my wishlist and putting that bad boy to use! I’ve also been feeling a pull towards Mjölnir. With my ever-growing interest in and continued development of a Heathen spiritual practice, I guess it’s only natural that I’d feel drawn to start examining Mjölnir as a magical tool and personal protection amulet.
Today (Thursday), both pendants I ordered came in the mail (appropriate on Thor’s Day) and I couldn’t be happier with them. I cleansed and consecrated them with salt water and Dragon’s Blood incense and said a short prayer to Thor, asking him to bless them and keep me and those who ride in my vehicle safe – as the larger one’s purpose is to hang in my vehicle on my rear view mirror and the one with the three horses is my personal amulet.
I really liked the Raven Head Hammer – obviously, and with my personal attraction to the Horse, I thought it very fitting for a personal amulet. It also looked smaller and felt slightly more feminine to me.
I ordered a tri-colored braided horse hair necklace, similar to the one I have my Epona pendant on, to replace the cheap black cord that the Horse pendant came with.
Ha! So, speaking of the Horse – come to find out, 2014 is the year of the Horse in the Chinese zodiac! Here is a great little read from http://www.cycleharmony.com entitled, “7 Goddess Powers to Jump Start 2014” by Jing J.
“It’s the beginning of a new year – 2014, the year of horse. In religion, mythology and literature, horse represents our inner strength and driving force in life. It also symbolizes our ability to overcome obstacles in life and pursue our goals no matter what may stand on our way.
It’s time to let go of self-defeating thoughts, shed off self-limiting beliefs, and remove barriers to positive changes.
It’s time to uncover who we truly are, express our creativity and authenticity, and unleash our goddess powers from within.
It’s time to stay centered and grounded, and walk confidently in the direction of our dreams.
It’s time to deepen the relationship with ourselves and the relationships with one another – to expand our global community of Cycle Harmony sisterhood!
Because we’re goddesses who can no longer be denied – by ourselves, or by others.
Here are the 7 super powers we all have as goddesses!
The power to love
It’s time to love others for sure. But it’s time to love ourselves even more. When the light of self-love shines on the goddess, she smiles, blossoms, and warms up everything and everyone around her.
Someone once said, when a man changes, he changes himself. When a woman changes, she changes a family and an entire nation. So love yourself. Because when you do, you’re doing it not only for yourself, but for everyone within your sphere of influence.
The power to enjoy
When the goddess plays and has a good time, everything falls into place, easily and effortlessly. When things get too hard, it’s a reminder to take a break, play a little and have some fun. The power of the goddess allows things to flow and take their course – with ease and grace.
The power to express
One of the goddess’ great powers is to know herself, to express herself authentically and unapologetically. And when she does, people rise up to meet her – and to honor her.
The power to create
The goddess has great powers to create – whether it’s a new life, a painting, a book, or a business. She is a magician who brings to life what she sees in her mind’s eye, and she manifests the glorious life she has imagined in her mind.
The power to heal
The goddess is a natural born healer. She knows that whatever pain or illness she’s experiencing, she can heal herself by calling upon her magnificent body and powerful mind.
The power to connect
The goddess knows that she is connected with the divine – the infinite, the ageless, and the unlimited. So she gives herself time and space to meditate and rest in the stillness, silence and spaciousness. Her connection with the divine and with herself enables her to connect with everything and everyone around her.
The power to give back
The goddess loves to share, to give back and to help others. She knows that when she helps others, she inevitably helps herself, since we’re all connected and we’re all part of one big family.
Which of the goddess’ powers would you like to cultivate and strengthen in 2014? Please come and join our community of goddesses. We are all on paths to uncover and unleash our own magnificent powers – and to support one another on our journeys…”
Or, if Unicorns are more your style, celebrate the year of the Unicorn! MYTH Masque says: “This is a time of creative renewal, of wild inspiration and visionary aspirations…a time to tailor your reality to your own grand design. If you are a Dreamer and a Do-er, an Artist and a Myth-maker, this is the year your Legend comes to light. Of course, seeing such things to fruition cannot happen without an incredible amount of dedication and hard work–but know, now more than ever…it is possible.”
Wow – where to begin? Again, it’s been a long, long, looooong time since I’ve written in this blog. I meant to write this post back around Samhain, but, life has a way of happening and priorities had to be made and some things set aside. If you had been following along, you know that I had been experimenting with treating my endometriosis naturally with herbs and vitamins with success – so much success in fact that I found out that I was pregnant at the end of August! OMGss!!! How did THAT happen?? I mean, though I wasn’t using birth-control, we were using a few different natural birth-control methods…which still leaves me scratching my head as to how this happened….. Though I do say that it doesn’t help I guess when you have altars dedicated to Freyja and Frey literally right next to your bed…so I chalk it up as a blessing and a gift from Them. Thank you!!!
Wow – 2014. Where did the time go? My everyday life and spiritual path have been somewhat chaotic and frustrating. Back in May, after being on the receiving end of a pretty serious domestic incident, I decided that I needed to start counseling to face and deal with issues from that were still troubling me from childhood and some traumatic things that occurred as an adult in both my time spent in the military and with personal relationships. Come to find out, I was, and still am, a textbook Codependent with PTSD. I obviously knew about the PTSD, but it was good to finally put a name to my “condition” and to get a better understanding of it; but dealing with it and re-programming your ways of thinking and behaving you developed as a 4-year-old as a means surviving and coping mechanisms – a whole other ball game! At times, I felt completely hopeless and unable to change. Other times, I felt OK and that I was making breakthroughs and having a lot of “A ha!” moments. It’s still a daily battle and find myself reverting back to and falling into old patterns and ways of thinking. Somedays you win, other days – not so much. But, instead of acting on fight or flight, ignoring my feelings, or trying to make them go away – I find that I need to take time outs to remember and understand what’s going on. I give myself permission to feel, examine it, and remind myself to let stuff go…And it’s OK!
Back around June or July, I had made a decision that I had to trim some stuff out of my life. The mundane was getting pretty overwhelming with playing both Mom and Dad to our 3 and 4-year-old as my husband’s current assignment keeps him very busy and away from the house for sometimes up to 16 hours a day, trying to keep up with the everyday cooking and cleaning, shopping, and working on my college degree online kept me pretty busy to say the least. To keep my sanity (somewhat) in check, I had to leave the Apple Branch as there was no way I could keep up with the work. I also felt myself drifting away from my previous strongly held Dianic tendencies with a new-found interest and relationship I had been building with Frey (who actually seems to prefer for you to actually make things yourself vs. buying things as offerings and altar items as I’ve found out) and maintaining a healthy respect and reverence for Odin.
My focus then turned back to Heathenry and Druidry – more so Heathenry as I was feeling, and still am, feeling that pull of the Norse and Germanic Gods and Goddesses. I had begun daily devotions to different deities on each day and was really into working with runes – faithfully keeping a journal and researching them. Around the end of June/early July and onward, I noticed that I kept pulling A LOT of delay runes – Isa, Nauthiz, Hagalaz, even a Thurisaz (yikes!) when it came to taking on new projects. Everything was telling me to slow down, to just stop, be patient, observant, and listen – that everything was going to be OK and work out in time as I was on the right Path. But I am such an impatient person and want everything NOW! It was killing me to feel stuck in a rut – especially since I really wanted to start doing and getting more involved with classes and events with the Nine Worlds Kindred which has become my spiritual family since around Ostara this year. But with the surprise pregnancy, I now know why they were popping up. My daily devotions and even rune journaling had gradually slowed down and come to a halt when the Morning Sickness (All Day Sickness really!) kicked in. I dwindled down to making devotions and small offerings to Freyja when I could and felt so very disappointed in myself for not being able to keep the pace, initiate and attend classes with the Nine Worlds Kindred, or continue developing and delving deeper into my Path (thanks Codependency!).
And to be honest, I felt as though there was a real distance growing between myself and Freyja and feeling kind of alone. I’ve found that Freyja is not at all the very “Motherly Type” and wondered if She was disappointed in me. But I was reminded that this pregnancy was a gift – that I was on the right Path and everything was as it should be.
I’ve also been feeling myself very drawn to Frigga and the Horse as of late. Horses starting up a lot through various means and media – just out of the blue type sitings and occurrences. I find a warm comfort with the Horse and feel that the Horse is a totem that I really need to be working with right now – not to mention its influences and associations with abundance, fertility, and motherhood. Interestingly enough, it is associated with not only Epona and Rhiannon (who I find comfort in), but also Freyja – which explains why, in my opinion, I quite often draw Ehwaz when seeking comfort or reassurance from Freyja and is a rune that I very much personally associate with Her.
This past month has been extremely busy – not just with the holiday season and the usual hustle and bustle that accompanies it, but with both of my kids being sick, then me getting sick…I’ve just tried to stay in and hibernate away from the world as much as possible. I only began to feel a renewed sense of purpose and dedication to my Gods and Goddesses and it hasn’t been until today really that we’ve ALL felt like getting out and getting some fresh air in which my husband went out for a run, the kids kept up with their new bikes and I walked my pregnant butt 2 miles! I was able to get take some great pictures and was just what I needed to feel that connection – to feel the brilliance of Sunna to hear and feel the stirring of the Earth Mother and Her children.
I am slowly starting back and working up to working with the runes daily. About 3 days ago, I made an offering of Ancient Amber cone incense to Freyja and asked Her for message. I pulled Dagaz and felt it was a very positive rune, especially as I feel myself starting to emerge from my darkness and into the light as the days grow longer.
Last night, I again made offerings of fine European chocolate, rum, and incense to Her. I sometimes like to examine the ashes to see if there are any messages or omens to be picked up and immediately spotted Gebo – a sure sign that She had accepted my offerings and that things were good between us.
I also picked up a very interesting image of what appeared to be a horn bearing Valkyrie that looked ALMOST EXACTLY LIKE THIS
I also made offerings of rum and incense to Frey. The cone had apparently stopped burning about half way through. When I examined it, there was a very distinct Sowilo rune in the middle of the ashes where it had stopped. I didn’t take that as an omen or sign that the offerings had not been accepted, rather a message from Him reminding me of the breakthrough I had made when meditating on the Sowilo rune back this summer – a huge relief that things in the past are just that – in the past! They’re not in the present or the future – they happened in the past and to move forward with love and light in my heart; not to carry the bad things or the darkness with me. This was especially auspicious as I had prayed to Him that evening while making my offerings to help me and remind me to move forward with His love, light, and joy in my heart.
I feel like I’ve waited so long – trying to be patient, prepping, and preparing for my Path make some real progress on my spiritual journey. 2014 is going to be the year – I can feel it that change is going to happen, I just know it! I’m looking forward to really developing myself – mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
I wish you all love, joy, and blessings in the New Year to come!!!