Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Common Reed

Phragmites australis is a perennial grass with the common name of Common Reed, growing 1.8 to 6M tall and 70 to 100cm wide. Its leaves are narrow and flat, with its blades arching. Flowers are feathery and are egg shaped. These flowers appear in spring, where it can be erect or drooping and tinged with brown or purple.

Naturally it lives near shores, where it only grows effectively on the edges of waterways. Full sun is required and constant moisture a must. Common reed is also tolerant of both frost and salt, being a hardly plant requiring little to no care.

Common reed also uses rhizomes to spread, allowing it to become a weed in some areas.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Australian Politics And Weather

The joyous day has come to find out who will be Prime Minister of Australia at the end of the day. Depending on how one looks at it is either a good or bad thing that Julia Gillard remains Prime Minister. Drama wise, I’m personally glad that now it has been dealt with seeing as I find it annoying to see another drama within the field of politics.

And while drama is being mentioned, last night was a drama in itself. The area I live in was filled with loud winds and shocking humidity. The combination left me awake for a number of hours during the night. On another note, a house apparently was also struck by lightning and set alight during the heavy rain earlier on in the night.

Both the lack of sleep and the political drama probably isn’t the best combination. To say the least, I will happily enjoy reading or watching a drama but tend to want to keep my politics out of it. Perhaps it will be an idea to pick up a newspaper or two tomorrow for all the politically related drawings and articles created in todays honour, a good laugh could be used.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Gods And Goddesses: Ma Gu

Ma Gu is an immortal and considered a goddess by some, said to be the goddess of hemp and longevity. Her name means “Hemp Maid”. She appears young and beautiful, with her hair often in a bun, her fingernails long and alike to birds talons, along with being clothed in a dress with a collar made of leaves. Ma Gu is also known to carry a basket and depictions of her often show her on a crane or deer or holding peaches or wine.

Her birthday is celebrated on the sixth day of the sixth lunar month.

The temple complex in Yantai of the Shangdong Province of China is said to be the only temple dedicated to Ma Gu that survived the Cultural Revolution. Cultivation and attainment of immortality by Ma Gu is also said to be at this temple. At her temple, violence is taboo and hunting and fishing are also banned under order of this goddess. Those who violate this apparently end up drowning in the lake or becoming hopelessly lost.

Ma Gu freed slaves who worked for her father and showed how to farm reclaimed land from the sea before becoming immortal. Her husband later murdered her and dumped her body in a lake, where her body washed up where her temple stands. After death, she gained the status of fairy and became handmaiden, serving peaches of immortality.

Ma Gu is protector women and gives favour also over shamans, alchemists and mystic seekers.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Totem: Giraffe

The giraffe has its long legs and neck, with its appearance being easily recognizable allowing for many across the globe to give easy recognition to this African animal.

This particular animal is one that can make a loud noise, but often resides in quietude. The giraffe teaches to embrace quietude, that one can speak but it is something that should be used when needed. The balance between vocal communication and quietude is also taught by the giraffe.

Despite their body, the body of the giraffe remains well balanced. A lesson is how to keep one’s balance and how to progress despite a body that may be problematic for one reason or another.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Garden Sage

Garden Sage, also called Common Sage, is the common names for Salivia officinalis, a perennial evergreen subshrub. The garden sage is known for its uses, both medicinal and culinary in nature. There are also a number of varieties of this particular plant.

Garden sage will typically need full sun except in warmer areas where part shade will be needed. Flowering will occur in mid-summer, with harvesting best soon before and after blooming although it can be done any time. Once leaves are harvested, they can be dried in a well-ventilated room on screens as long as it is away from direct sunlight.

Pests are not the greatest worry to this plant; rather it is excessive water and lack of sunlight. Pruning is suggested after flowering to help keep this plant in an attractive shape and as lack of pruning may cause problems to this plant later on.

A loamy-clay soil is what garden sage best grows in, but this hardy plant can also tolerate other soils. Nitrogen rich soils are what garden sage loves, helpful if one does not have a loamy-clay soil. The garden sage also does well being grown in a container.

Monday, February 20, 2012


Recently I watched a video about ancestors; I think it was from the Pagan Perspective channel on YouTube. I reminded myself of the video I had watched and it got me thinking about ancestor veneration. There is a number of dates of note dealing with ancestors, Samhain, Day of the Dead, Qingming Festival and Ghost Month.

A personal belief is of rebirth, leaving the question of why to venerate after a certain amount of time. It is also viewed that even after rebirth, a part of the person stays behind leaving them able to bring blessing or possibly even the opposite, leaving ancestor veneration of some significance. Personally it is however not just about trying to appease, but also to remember them.

This leaves is to give regular offerings that only really need to be some incense and a candle or two to be lit for a small amount of time. Offerings of foods and liquids boil down to who the ancestors are, with how the altar looks also being part of whom the ancestors personally are.

How one venerates their ancestors can vary a number of ways, the most notable is the times of the year take of most importance in remembering and venerating ancestors. It can also only be only a particular day or two of the year, a weekly basis or a daily basis, depending on practice. When one looks at it, asking people on what they do can tell plenty.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Gods And Goddesses: Coatlicue

Coatlicue is the Aztec goddess of earth and fire. Known also as “mother of the Gods” and have given birth to the deities Quetzalcoatl, Xolotl, Coyolxauhqui and Huitzilopochtli. Coatlicue takes appearance with claws and two snake heads, wearing a skirt of snakes and a necklace of hands and hearts.

A patron of women who die in childbirth, Coatlicue is known by the name Teteoinan, referred to as Toci, and Cihuacoatl and is also referred to as “Mother Goddess of the Earth who gives birth to all celestial things”, “Goddess of Fire and Fertility”, Goddess of Life, Death and Rebirth” and “Mother of the Southern Stars”.

Legend also states a ball of feathers impregnated Coatlicue, resulting in the birth of Huitzilopochyli. Her husband also being Mixcoatl.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Totem: Camel

The camel is an animal of ability to last long without water, being able to not require water when there is greenery to eat. It is their hump or humps which stores fat for the purpose of an energy reserve.

To remain positive in times of harshness is taught by this particular totem, as in all periods of time there is going to be a period of cruelty, sadness and overall problems. To keep positive and to keep fighting on is the best course of action as taught by the camel.

Learning how to create reservoirs of energy is a lesson of the camel. The camel shall teach how to create these reservoirs within the body and how to use it to survive throughout the tough times and hold on.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Lamb's Ears

Stachys byzantina is the botanical name of Lamb’s Ears, a herbaceous perennial with leaves with silvery but soft foliage. It is a low growing plant better known for how it feels and appearance of foliage over its spikes of light purple flowers.

It is best to grow lamb’s ears in full sun, but in the hotter areas partial shade take preference. Poor soils are what this plant grows in, but good drainage needs to be considered. It is a drought tolerant plant and can make a groundcover. Rot will also occur for the leaves if they are too wet.

It is considered a weed by some and can spread rapidly, with it also being able to be propagated not only through seed, but also by division. If growing by seed outdoors, it can be done during autumn.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Unusual Elderly Woman

There seems to be something special about using trains as transport seeing as you are bound to find various kinds of people on it. It can admittedly be annoying over one little fact; people cannot expect what will happen on the train while they are on there.

I had the joys of sitting opposite of an elderly woman who seemed absolutely terrified. How could I tell? It was the look on her face, and the fact she was silently talking to herself in a seemingly worried fashion. The reason for this? Two obviously Muslim women in their late teens or early twenties, making me question if the elderly woman would be terrified if the two Muslim’s were not wearing their hijabs

Variously during the train ride the very elderly woman looked over her shoulder to look at the two Muslim women before turning her head to the front of her body along with widening her eyes before talking silently to herself for several seconds. She was quite relieved for when the two Muslim women got off at their station, giving a big sigh of relief. I obviously noticed this considering how close I was sitting to this woman, and am wondering how many others gave notice yet alone how many people this elderly woman has unpleasantly reacted to in her verbal silence and widening eyes.

When this sort of thing pops up, it is certainly annoying to be so close to such a person seeing as what they will do next is unpredictable. The person could be harmless, but that is not definite.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Gods And Goddesses: Raiden

Raiden, also known as Raijin, Kaminari and Narukami, is the deity of lighning, thunder and storms. His companion is a demon known as Raiju and often depicted in art with the wind god Fujin. The name ‘Raiden’ comes from the words ‘rai’ (thunder) and ‘den’ (lightning).

It is said his appearance consisting of red skin, has the claws of an eagle and the head of a demon. Raiden carries a large drum and takes to eating the navels of humans.

Raiden is also referenced across games and various other forms of entertainment.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Totem: Bat

The bat is a widely recognised animal and is the only flying mammal. It comes in a variety of forms, with the vampire bat being the most recognisable of the bat species. This deity is also associated with the deity Fu.

It is taught to let go of any fears and old patterns that do not fit in, as old the old can be just as needed as fear. Just as the bat teaches to let go of the fears and unneeded patterns, changes are to be embraced. Changes can be difficult, but is a needed part of life.

Psychic abilities are indicated by the bat, so it may be wise to look into divination and the development of psychic abilities. It is through the development of psychic abilities that can help with the connection to the spiritual and the divine.

It is also the bat that gives challenge of development of spirituality.

Bats are social, and it gives suggestion of looking at one’s own social life. It might be time to connect better with friends, or to find friends of like mind.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Prunus armeniaca is the botanical name for the apricot, a small tree that grows between eight and twelve metres tall. It is one of the trees which produce fruit containing a single protected seed. This seed can be planted in its shell, but it may be up to two years before the seed finally gives out roots and begins to grow. If the seed is taken out of the shell, the seed can be grown in spring.

For the apricot, it is suggested that it is pruned after the harvesting of its fruit which occurs during the summer. Pruning itself will allow for shape, maintain health and can help with the improving of the colour and the quality of the fruit being produced.

Well-drained soil is needed for the apricot, and it is enjoys a pH of six to eight. It is tolerant of alkaline conditions, drought and hardy of winter conditions when dormant. Although it is sensitive to salt in the soil.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Joyous Times

It is that time of the year again, the Super Bowl. It has already happened, but seeing as I am in Australia it means the joy of turning on the television to see the Super Bowl being mentioned. Oh the joys of sports.
As joyous as the Super Bowl is, a line was heard on the news. As the cold snap in Europe is causing problems, but apparently has caused deaths of about three hundred people (mostly consisting of the homeless). ‘No news is good news’ indeed…

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Gods And Goddesses: Fudo

Fudo is a Japanese god who is also called Acala. He is the deity of fire, wisdom and protection, but also is the patron of astrology. Fudo is a part of the “Myoo”, or “Great Kings” and is at times referred to as Fudo Myoo.

Fudo is usually depicted as an unattractive old man who is surrounded by flames, holding a sword in his right hand and a coiled rope in his left. Depiction often leaves Fudo alone, but it is not uncommon to see Fudo depicted with two attendants, sometimes even up to right.

Living in a temple upon the summit of Mount Okiyama, Fudo is surrounded by fire and people are not allowed to see him seated there.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Totem: Hummingbird

The hummingbird is a small bird which flaps its wings at an amazing rate causing a humming sound, and this is how it received its name of hummingbird. It can also fly at the speed of fifty-four kilometres an hour.

To take life less seriously, or even not seriously at all, and to have fun is what the hummingbird cherishes. This lesson is spread by this bird and it reminds to not take things too seriously.

As having fun is taught by the hummingbird, it also likes to teach to enjoy oneself (especially within nature). To have fun is one thing, to be able to live in enjoyment and of the surroundings is another.

Looking back at the past, the hummingbird teaches to take the joys of the occurrences from the now gone. It teaches to leave behind the bad and to keep the joys of the events that have occurred. However, the past must not be dwelled upon and moving forward is needed.