Witches’ holidays

Despite competition from twentieth century “life in the fast lane”, the awesome spectacle repeated in the pattern of the changing seasons still touches our lives. In the ages when people worked more closely with nature just to survive, the numinous power of this pattern had supreme recognition. Rituals and festivals evolved to channel these transformations for the good of the community toward a good sowing and harvest and bountiful herds and hunting.

One result of this process is our image of the “Wheel of the Year” with its eight spokes – the four major agricultural and pastoral festivals and the four minor solar festivals of the solstices and equinoxes. In common with many ancient people, many Witches consider the day as beginning at sundown and ending at sundown the following day. So, for example, Samhain starts at dusk on the 31st, ending the evening of the 1st.

 

October 31 – November Eve – Samhain
The night lengthens and we work with the positive aspects of darkness in the increasing star- and moonlight. Many Craft traditions, following the ancient Celts, consider this the eve of the New Year (as day begins with sundown, so the year begins with the first day of Winter). It is one night when the barriers between the worlds of life and death are uncertain, allowing the ancestors to walk among the living, welcomed and feasted by their kin, bestowing the Otherworld’s blessings. We may focus within ourselves to look “through the glass darkly”, developing our divination and psychic skills.

 

December 21 – Winter Solstice – Yule
The sun is at its nadir, the year’s longest night. We internalize and synthesize the outward-directed activities of the previous summer months. Some covens hold a Festival of Light to commemorate the Goddess as Mother giving birth to the Sun God. Others celebrate the victory of the Lord of Light over the Lord of Darkness as the turning point from which the days will lengthen. The name “Yule” derives from the Norse word for “wheel”, and many of our customs (like those of the Christian holiday) derive from Norse and Celtic Pagan practices (the Yule log, the tree, the custom of Wassailing, et al).

 

January 31 – February Eve – Imbolc (Oimelc or Brigid)
As the days’ lengthening becomes perceptible, many candles are lit to hasten the warming of the earth and emphasize the reviving of life. “Imbolc” is from Old Irish, and may mean “in the belly”, and Oimelc, “ewe’s milk”, as this is the lambing time. It is the holiday of the Celtic Fire Goddess Brigid, whose threefold nature rules smithcraft, poetry/inspiration, and healing. Brigid’s fire is a symbolic transformation offering healing, visions, and tempering. Februum is a Latin word meaning purification – naming the month of cleansing. The thaw releases waters (Brigid is also a goddess of holy wells) – all that was hindered is let flow at this season.

 

March 21 – Vernal equinox – Ostara
Day and night are equal as Spring begins to enliven the environment with new growth and more newborn animals. Many people feel “reborn” after the long nights and coldness of winter. The Germanic Goddess Ostara or Eostre (Goddess of the Dawn), after whom Easter is named, is the tutelary deity of this holiday. It is she, as herald of the sun, who announces the triumphal return of life to the earth. Witches in the Greek tradition celebrate the return from Hades of Demeter’s daughter Persephone; Witches in the Celtic tradition see in the blossoms the passing of Olwen, in whose footprints flowers bloom. The enigmatic egg, laid by the regenerating snake or the heavenly bird, is a powerful symbol of the emergence of life out of apparent death or absence of life.

 

April 30 – May Eve – Beltaine
As the weather heats up and the plant world burgeons, an exuberant mood prevails. Folk dance around the Maypole, emblem of fertility (the name “May” comes from

 

READ MORE:  https://www.nightbringer.se/witch_holidays.html

 

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6 reasons you must massage your breasts! Yes, you can do it on your own TNN

01/8Why you should be massaging your breasts

Breast massaging is a known but neglected practice. The benefits of this are not only limited to sexual stimulation but one’s overall well-being. There are various ways to go about breast massaging, the most common and effective one being Taoist Breast Massage, a technique which is easy and can be done on your own if you are not comfortable with a stranger touching your lady part. This massage practice requires warm-hand-circulation on your breasts. Read the technique and the after effects of a regular massage routine below.

02/8​The technique

THE TECHNIQUE: Warm your hands by rubbing them with or without oil. Now, gradually rub them in circles around your breast. This should be done in an upward and outward movement. The circuit of this massage should be breasts going towards your face and then towards the outline of your breasts. Maintain light pressure otherwise it can lead to pain. Do this for 36 repititions in both directions, upward and downward.

03/8​Can enlarge them

CAN ENLARGE THEM: Breast massage can help increase blood circulation in this fat-storing tissue. Due to massage, a breast enlarging hormone

 

READ MORE:  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/photo-stories/6-reasons-you-must-massage-your-breasts-yes-you-can-do-it-on-your-own/photostory/63938328.cms?picid=63938339

 

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Will Sit-Ups Get Rid of My Belly Fat? By Jennifer R. Scot

sit ups to reduce belly fat

Many exercisers wonder if sit ups burn belly fat. If you’re like most frustrated exercisers, you do countless crunches and see only a small result. It may cause you to question the purpose of sit ups. Well, wonder no more. Here’s the low down on the popular exercise. Find out what sit ups can and can not do for your belly before you invest any more time or energy.

Sit Ups and Belly Fat

Belly fat can be especially difficult to reduce. For many people, the abdominal area is where much of their excess fat is located. It’s not impossible to get rid of tummy fat but you have to be patient.

Unfortunately, you can’t reduce the fat in your abdomen by doing sit-ups alone. Spot reducing, or doing exercises to get rid of fat in a targeted area, is not effective. When you exercise, you can’t choose where you lose fat. But that doesn’t mean that doing sit-ups is a waste of your time.

The Purpose of Sit Ups

Abdominal exercises like the sit up, or the abdominal crunch, serve a very important function. These exercises strengthen and tone the muscles in your belly area. This area is often called your core. It’s the area between your rib cage and your hip bones.

When you strengthen your core, you improve the way that your body moves during the day. Your posture improves and daily activities (like lifting heavy objects) become easier to manage. Having a strong core may help you to stay more active during the day—which can help you to burn more calories and lose weight faster.

Building muscles with sit-ups can also help to improve the appearance of your belly. But if you carry fat in your abdomen, the muscles will not show. Instead, they will be buried under a layer of fat. So to get a flatter belly, you need to do sit-ups alongside a fat-reduction program.

How to Reduce Tummy Belly Fat 

You can measure your waist circumference to see if you need to reduce belly fat. Reducing the fat that you carry in the midsection may help to reduce your risk for disease. But most people also feel that it makes them look better. And most people feel better when they lose excess weight.

With a combination of

 

READ MORE:  https://www.verywellfit.com/can-i-reduce-belly-fat-with-sit-ups-3495613

 

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5 Major Health Benefits of Yoga Top 5 Amazing Benefits of Yoga By Djohny Alexandre

Yoga is one of the simplest forms of exercise you can do to improve your health, mind, and body. All you need is a yoga mat, and some comfortable clothing or none if you prefer naked yoga!

Research shows that adding this ancient practice into your lifestyle can help boost your brain and heart health as well as the body strength and flexibility— just to name a few.

To put simply, there is not a thing yoga can not improve!

So if you’ve have been thinking about getting started, here are five reasons to motivate and propel you forward.

1. Improves Your Flexibility

If you’ve ever watched a yoga class or people doing yoga poses, one thing you probably noticed is that they pretty flexible.

Especially performing poses such as the downward facing dog, seated forward bend, and standing forward fold.

This doesn’t mean you need to be flexible to do yoga, but if you practice regularly and stick with it, you’ll notice a gradual increase in your flexibility. And eventually, seemingly impossible poses will become a piece of cake.

In addition to an improvement in your flexibility, aches and pains will start to disappear, which is often associated with tight

 

READ MORE:  https://thriveglobal.com/stories/5-major-health-benefits-of-yoga/

 

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The Rantin’ Raven: The Riddle of the Pentagram BY DANA CORBY

Though ancient beyond belief and occurring in indigenous iconographies all over the world, the Pentagram has become the symbol of magic and Witchcraft. A five-pointed star enclosed within a circle, it is used for invocation, banishing, protection, and as a recognition symbol. Witches will often have a small Pentagram about them, just as Christians will wear a cross on a necklace or lapel pin; for the sense of security it gives them, as a reminder to be conscious of who and what they are, and so other Witches may know them for kin.

Image by Mankey
Image by Mankey

The Pentagram has more meanings than any other symbol in Wiccan iconography. It means perfection, evolution, working to completion, and is a glyph of the way energy moves between the Godhead and humanity and back again. It symbolizes the five physical senses with the spirit at the center; different forms of it represent each of the four magical elements while one form represents all four elements with spirit either at the top or bottom; it also represents motion of the Universe, weaving itself within a place of perfect stillness.

In ritual magic, the symbolism of the Pentagram has been elaborated until it is possible to make it the object of lengthy meditations, and to make entire devotional phrases in Hebrew (in which language every letter has a numerical value, which in turn has an esoteric meaning) out of the proportions of the line segments. As these meditations deal almost entirely with that Deity represented by the Tetragrammaton, further detail is outside my scope here. Nonetheless, it is interesting to Witches to read some of the materials these traditions have generated on the subject, and can enrich our understanding of the meanings and uses of the Pentagram.

There are two primary variations on the Pentagram, as used by Wicca. These are the Banishing and Invoking Pentagram, and the difference between them is

 

READ MORE:  https://www.patheos.com/blogs/agora/2016/05/the-rantin-raven-the-riddle-of-the-pentagram/

 

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Is Salt As Bad As Once Thought?

Woman adding too much salt to pizza, is salt as bad as once thought?

Should you avoid salt? Some sources claim it isn’t as bad for your health as once thought. David Trachtenbarg, MD, UnityPoint Health, says having too much salt in your diet is entirely possible, and while you do need some salt in your body, he explains the reasons why watching your salt intake still matters.

What’s Too Much Salt?

On average, Dr. Trachtenbarg says most people consume between 9,000-12,000 milligrams of sodium a day, roughly over three times the recommended amount. He suggests keeping daily sodium levels at 2,300 milligrams maximum, with less than 1,500 milligrams being preferred, especially for adults with high blood pressure.

“For most people, there are no side effects of having too much sodium,” Dr. Trachtenbarg says. “But, that doesn’t mean salt can’t have a negative effect on the body.”

He lists the health impacts of consuming excess sodium:

  • Blood pressure. Eating too much salt is linked to hypertension, or high blood pressure. Reducing salt intake to 5,000-6,000 milligrams per day has shown to lower blood pressure.
  • Heart health. If you have heart disease or congestive heart failure, extra salt can cause fluid retention, which can lead to shortness of breath and hospitalization.
  • Kidney function. If you have kidney disease, too much salt in your diet may cause you to retain fluid, leading to weight gain and bloating.
  • Diabetes. While not directly connected to blood sugar, eating too much salt increases the risk of complications from diabetes.

“Nearly every processed food has added salt,” Dr. Trachtenbarg says. “When eating processed foods, it’s important to look at the amount of sodium listed on the nutrition label.”

How to Reduce Sodium Intake

The simplest way to reduce the amount of salt in your diet is avoiding processed foods and not adding salt to your meal. Dr. Trachtenbarg encourages you to look closely at nutritional labels, staying away from foods with high salt content, like bacon and large pickles.

“Reduced sodium or low-sodium foods can help reduce blood pressure, but foods with close to zero salt are often tasteless. The good news is if you limit salt intake, your body becomes more sensitive to the salt in food. This means many processed foods may become too salty for your taste, and you can enjoy lower sodium foods without missing the flavor,” Dr. Trachtenbarg says.

Other common beliefs about reducing sodium don’t hold as much promise. Dr. Trachtenbarg lists why the following steps don’t balance out salt consumption.

  • Drinking more water. Extra water doesn’t “wash out” the salt. High salt intake can lead to bloating and fluid retention.
  • Sweating it out. There’s about 500 milligrams of salt in a pound of sweat. Normally, only a very few athletic people will sweat a significant amount of salt. Even though exercising in high temperatures produces more sweat and salt, it can also lead to heat stroke, which can be fatal.
  • Using “healthy” salt options. Sea salt is often talked about as being a better sodium option. And, while sea salt does have a different element make-up than salt (sodium chloride), there’s no clear benefit of choosing sea salt over regular table salt.

As for those who say at least salt is better than sugar, Dr. Trachtenbarg says that isn’t

READ MORE: https://www.unitypoint.org/livewell/article.aspx?id=ad2fb339-a297-4b0b-959c-5033c35cc8bb