Saturday, January 6, 2018

Hope for the New Year, 2018



Hope for the New Year, 2018

            Well, now, 2017 was a real corker, wasn’t it? I don’t know about you, but I for one am glad it’s over. I suggest that we take up, once again, Hope as our point of view for 2018. Keeping a good thought leads to good results. And if there’s only one oil you buy from Rev. Dee’s Apothecary this year, buy our Louisiana-style Van Van Oil and buy it now!

             Below you’ll find a list with explanations of all the uses of Van Van oil, but first, a little history. Most of the Van Van oil you buy in stores is just synthetic lemongrass oil in a synthetic carrier oil such as mineral oil (a petroleum byproduct.) Some of it doesn’t even smell lemony, so who knows what’s in there! Originally, Van Van oil was the name of an oil made from lemon verbena, called verveine in French and pronounced “van van” or something similar in Louisiana French dialects. So the original ingredient wasn’t lemongrass at all, it was lemon verbena. Lemon verbena (verveine) is not the same as the herb that we call vervain in English, which does not have a lemony taste or aroma. Verveine is a popular herbal tea (tisane) in France and is easy to find in the U.S.

            For those who are unfamiliar with Louisiana traditions, let me explain that we’re talking about New Orleans tradition but also traditions outside of the city such as those in Cajun Country. Many cultures put their stamp on Van Van oil in the state of Louisiana so that is why I labeled my product as such, since Louisiana-style Van Van oil is far more complex than most other styles of the product. It contains several lemony, all-natural essential oils such as lemon verbena, lemongrass, lemon, melissa (lemon balm), citronella, and a special zing from a bit of ginger oil. The herb you find floating in it is a bit of finely chopped lemongrass. I’m making new Van Van (see the picture of my worktable) for 2018 so get it while it’s fresh! It is the most versatile oil you can buy. 

 

Here are the most common uses:

--Cleansing is the main use, and here is how to use it for cleansing:

                        Floor wash water: Use several drops in a bucket of floor wash; pine scented or lemon scented is recommended. Use this floor wash both at home and in your business; we recommend the ¼ or ½ oz. size instead of the usual 1/8 oz. if you have a lot of floor space to wash.

                        Furniture polish: Most furniture polish is lemon-scented anyway; if using spray-can polish, just add a couple of drops to your polishing cloth or paper towel along with the polish. If using a bottled oil, you can put the Van Van oil directing in the container; in this case, it’s best to buy the larger size.

                        Spray cleaner: if you use a lemon-scented spray cleaner for counters and windows, go ahead and add the drops to the container if it opens or add a couple drops to your paper towels as you clean.

                        Work area cleaner: If you have a desk, office, or cubicle, I suggest not only cleaning your desk but also around doors and windows. This is also protecting the area; more on that in a bit.

                        Your business: If you own your own business, clean all display cases as well as floors and windows as above. See below for protection advice.

                        Cleansing yourself: If you bathe after you come home from work or school, remove any negativity you may have absorbed during the day by anointing yourself with Van Van oil while you bathe or shower. Anointing the throat chakra is optimal; some also anoint forehead and crown of head. Don’t get Van Van oil on mucous membranes; the ginger and lemon in it can irritate sensitive skin.

                        Cleansing candles: If you work with candles and they get dusty before you use them, you can cleanse them with a soft cloth or paper towel and a little Van Van oil.

--Protecting is the second most important use:

                        Workplace and business protection: After cleaning all appropriate surfaces in your business or workplace, clean around the door frame/window frame of your office or cubicle; if you own your own business, it’s important to protect it, so any possible entryways should be cleaned and anointed with Van Van oil. If you wish, you can say whatever protection prayer or chant you like while you are cleaning and anointing; that part is up to you. I always clean the desks in the office I share at college and clean/anoint the door frame. Teachers and professors can’t be too careful these days! When someone walks by and asks what I’m doing, I usually say, “My New Orleans stuff,” and they say “Oh,” and keep on walking! If you are worried about people you share the room with having allergies, just use enough water to remove the scent after you cleanse/anoint. Don’t worry; the vibes will still be there!

                        Protecting yourself: If you bathe before work or school, anoint your throat chakra while you are in the bath or shower. It’s ok to rinse it if you’re worried about the scent, but believe me, most people find the aroma divine! Saying a prayer or mantra of your choice is a good idea while you’re doing this. The Van Van oil acts like a barrier to keep out other peoples’ negativity. If you must go to work or school in a dangerous part of town, make sure you anoint yourself before leaving home.

--Other magickal uses:

                        Anointing candles: Spell candles or religious candles can be anointed; Van Van helps with all positive intentions. It can also be used in addition to other oils.

                        Anointing gris-gris, mojo bags, etc.: Van Van oil is great to anoint and re-anoint your mojos and gris-gris, especially those for gambling and for love. Lucky charms can be anointed as well.

                        Spell and spiritual work: Van Van oil is used as a primary oil in spiritual cleansing, blessing, and protection, and can be used in limpias, also known as house cleansings/blessings. In spellwork it can help to purify, cleanse, protect, add power or luck. It can be used in conjunction with other oils and dressings as a counterpart to another oil that is used for positive purposes.

Our Louisiana-style Van Van oil comes in 1/8, ¼, and ½ ounce bottles. See Rev. Dee’s Apothecary at www.DyanaAset.com or our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/RevDeesApothecary/  to order.

            To end with our message of hope, let me share with you a wonderful poem by Emily Dickinson.

 

“Hope” is the thing with feathers - (314)

By Emily Dickinson, 1862
“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -

And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -

I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe/Tonantzin on Dec. 12th



Honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe/Tonantzin on Dec. 12th

Here’s the short version of what happened to Juan Diego in 1531 and how Our Lady of Guadalupe came to be from the Catholic Online website:
“For the third time, Juan Diego is ushered in to see the Bishop. The skeptical cleric has waited for two days to see what sign Our Lady has for him. Juan opens his tilma, letting the roses cascade to the floor. But more than the roses, both men are astonished to see what is painted on his humble tilma - an exquisite image of Our Lady.
In the image, she stands as she appeared, a native princess with high cheekbones. Her head is bowed and her hands are folded in prayer to God. On her blue cloak, the stars are arranged as they appeared in the morning darkness at the hour of her first apparition.
Under her feet, is a great crescent moon, a symbol of the old Aztec religion. The message is clear, she is more powerful than the Aztec gods, yet she herself is not God.
At the same time Our Lady is appearing to Juan Diego, and directing him to cut the flowers on Tepeyac Hill, she also appears to his uncle, Juan Bernadino who believes he is about to die. As soon as she appears, the fever stops and Juan Bernadino feels well again. She tells Juan Bernadino, she wants to be known as "Santa Maria, de Guadalupe."
            So, let’s look at the wording above: “She is more powerful than the Aztec gods, yet she herself is not God.” No, she’s not. She’s Goddess. More specifically, Tonantzin, the “great mother,” as her name means in the Nahuatl language. Ancient Aztecs list cornflowers as her sacred blossom, but of course, when the Spanish came, suddenly her favorite flower was the Rose of Castile, a type of rose that is native to Spain, not Mexico.
            I’ll let the ethnographers sort all this out; to me Guadalupe—now considered the patroness of all the Americas—is Tonantzin and vice versa. All of the energy and love that Mexicans and other Americans have poured into her image and name over hundreds of years have made her real. Yet she was already real; she was Goddess and her holiday was Dec. 12th, which, depending on which version you read, was either the second or the first date in which she appeared to Juan Diego, and so it became her feast day in the Catholic church…might as well be, right, since the day was already sacred to the Goddess.
            Guadalupe gets around. I was surprised and pleased to see a statue of her in Notre Dame in Paris. In New Orleans, Our Lady of Guadalupe Church and Shrine of St. Jude is one of the “voodoo churches” in the city, primarily because a statue of St. Expedite resides there. But Guadalupe is honored in the Vodou tradition too, and in Santeria and in modern Goddess religion. Why is this important to us? Because observing her day unites many faiths and versions of faiths. To some she is one aspect of Goddess, to others she is one version of the Mother of Jesus, and to others she is a symbol of Mexican indigeno pride.
            As any Southern Californian like me knows, she is most often invoked for protection. But she is often called upon for financial blessings, miracles—because of her healing Juan Diego’s uncle from an illness that was usually fatal—and interestingly enough, to conquer fear. Vodou and Santeria practitioners also call upon her to break jinxes or protect against them. In Goddess religion she is revered as the Great Mother, and she can aid all mothers with their needs or stand in for the loving mother that perhaps you never had. Some who practice an Afro/Latin tradition as well as Catholicism see her as an aspect of Yemaya, the great mother goddess of the Yoruba, or as one of the aspects of Erzulie, the Haitian goddess.
            Many people just call on her when they are at the end of their rope and don’t know whether to tie a knot in it and hang on or turn that knot into a noose and end the pain once and for all. No doubt about it: Guadalupe/Tonantzin says “Hang in there, there’s cake and ponche in the kitchen. You can’t go now. We’d have to return your Christmas presents and pay the restocking fee!”
            So on Dec. 12th I will be burning a rose-scented candle with her image on it. I’ll anoint the pre-scented candle with a little real rose oil and sprinkle around some dried rosebuds (usually labeled “Rosas de Castillo” in Hispanic grocery stores.) I’ll cry and write petitions and place them under the candle along with those of anyone who would like me to place their petitions there. I might place a Native wild rose or if I can’t find one an American Beauty rose in a vase to represent my First Nations heritage (that is what indigenous people are called in Canada, where my indigenous heritage comes from.) Lady of the Americas. Oh, Goddess, do we ever need you now!
            You can read about how Tonantzin “became” Guadalupe in a couple of the articles below, and you can find any number of discussions of this hybrid deity.

Barnett, Ronald A. “Our Lady of Guadalupe: Tonantzin or the Virgin Mary?” http://www.mexconnect.com/articles/2614-our-lady-of-guadalupe-tonantzin-or-the-virgin-mary
Mexicolore: The Virgin of Guadalupe and Tonantzin, http://www.mexicolore.co.uk/aztecs/gods/virgin-of-guadalupe

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Greetings from Krampus!



Gruss von Krampus!
(Greetings from Krampus)

There’s a strange fellow who hangs out with St. Nicholas in Germany, Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and many other European countries. His name is Krampus, from an old German word for “claw” (think “crampons”). Krampus has fur, horns, a long tongue, a tail, and sometimes hooves. Chains and bells hang from his costume, and he carries a birch-branch switch and a large basket. Why? Well, if you’re a bad little boy or girl in Central Europe, you’ll find out! On Christmas Eve, Krampus and St. Nick go over a list. While St. Nick gives presents to the good little children, Krampus seeks out the bad kids and switches them; then if they’re really bad he might put them in his basket and take them away! After all this mayhem, he and St. Nick meet up at the beer garden to toast a job well done.
Dec. 5th, the day before St. Nicholas’ feast, is Krampuslauf. Many cities in Europe and now the United States--including Los Angeles--hold parades of numerous Krampuses who march around, occasionally switching spectators and threatening to leap over barriers. In one online video from Europe (do NOT try this in the U.S., Krampus!) a Krampus switches a policeman who has admonished him to stay between the barricades. In several videos, they chase and switch young women or put children in baskets or on sleighs used as floats in the parade. The kids don't appear to be afraid of Krampus; many are delighted. A man dressed as Bishop Nicholas, in saintly white, usually follows, sometimes with a few young women dressed as angels.
            In the late 19th Century Krampus started showing up on Christmas cards, often with the greeting “Gruss von Krampus!” Some cards portray him traditionally; others make fun of the tradition by depicting him carrying off an attractive woman or otherwise behaving in a salacious or silly way. Krampus is no longer the boogieman—he now belongs to the same category as the Lord of Misrule, adding a dash of chaos to an otherwise orderly, sober, and religious holiday.
            We need Krampus. He is obviously a holdover from an earlier time, a time of Saturnalia and Winter Solstice festivities. He’d be an awesome guest at Festivus, because the rest of us get a little depressed this time of year and feel like there are a few out there who could use a good switching. It’s a time of stress, loneliness, poverty, and unrealistic expectations for a lot of people. So Krampus is the answer to the Christmas blues for some of us. He clangs his cowbell at carolers, stumbles rudely through the holiday parade, holds up traffic, drinks wassail straight from the bowl, and waves his switch blindly as his mask threatens to fall off. His avatars keep multiplying, usually wherever there are enough hipsters to make Krampus costumes and stage a parade or concert and wherever there are people who order from the Archie McPhee catalog. Only Santa Claus truly understands and appreciates him, but some of us are glad he’s there. He brings a little darkness to an otherwise disturbingly well-lit fete.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Three Artemisias



The Three Artemisias: Sacred Herbs of the Goddess

by Rev. Dee

            Artemisia is a group of plants that are, like the mints and sages, part of the aster family. While many Artemisias are grown for botanical and healing purposes as well as for ornamentation, we will talk about three of the Artemisias that I have brought together as a Summer/Autumn blend for incense or asperging. So let’s meet the Artemisias, the sacred herbs of Artemis!
           
Artemisia vulgaris: In English, it’s called mugwort. Its magical properties are thought to be strongest around the summer solstice, when it is often harvested and dried for usage then and later in the fall. Mugwort is used in dream pillows to help induce psychic dreams, and it is an ingredient in Rev. Dee’s Psychic Visions incense as well as in The Three Artemisias blend. It is burned for protection and cleansing of negative energies. Chernobyl, the Russian word for mugwort,  was burned by the Eastern Slavs at Midsummer, it is still considered a sacred herb for cleansing. Like its cousin, Wormwood, it was taken in olden times to expel worms from the digestive tract. It has been used since pre-Christian times in both Western and Eastern Europe, and was sacred to the Druids.
Artemisia absinthium: Ah, wormwood! It contains strong magic and psychoactive properties, even moreso than its cousin mugwort. Wormwood is the  darling of psychoactive alcoholic beverages: “Vermouth” literally means “wormwood,” and of course, the properties of Absinthe, the Green Fairy, are legendary. Absinthe is legal again after almost 100 years of prohibition, and once again it is used by artists, writers, and other creative people for inspiration. Wormwood not only banishes bad spirits but also invites good ones. Medically, it expels worms and soothes intestinal cramps. Spiritually it is used to smudge or asperge, especially at the summer solstice, autumnal equinox, and Samhain. A hoodoo use is to keep a package of it in your car’s glove compartment to prevent accidents. Contrary to popular belief, “chernobyl” does not mean wormwood! It means mugwort. A similar Artemisia was used by the Aztecs to induce psychic visions, and wormwood and its effects were described as far back as ancient Egypt.
Artemisia Tridentata: Big sagebrush is not one of the Salvias, like garden sage or white sage, although its uses are similar. Of course, the sages and the Artemisias are closely related. Big sagebrush is used in the American West as a smudge to cleanse, purify, and bless the home and ceremonies by the Luiseno Indians and many other Native tribes and nations. It is also made into a salve for arthritis pains; mugwort can also be made into a salve for bruises and abrasions. Big sagebrush may not be as well known as sweetgrass and sage among the Native American smudges, but it is considered just as holy and benevolent. Groups like the Rincon Youth Storytellers in Southern California are keeping alive the lore and legend of this plant and sell it during the summer and fall pow-wow seasons.
            Rev. Dee’s Three Artemisias blend contains all three of the Artemisias discussed here, and can be burned as incense for cleansing, blessing, and protecting. It can also be soaked in hot water and then the water used for asperging if you don’t wish to have smoke in your home. It can also be used as an incense to help induce psychic dreams, to aid in divination, and when doing spirit work. Use it also as ceremonial incense for the Summer Solstice, Autumnal Equinox, and Samhain/Dia de los Muertos. It should NOT be burned in an enclosed space if children are present. The Three Artemisias are sacred to Artemis, Diana, Hecate, Mars, and all Moon deities.

Medicinal Plant Project: Ongoing study of the medicinal plants of Rincon: https://rinconyouthstorytellers.com/projects/
Mugwort: http://www.witchipedia.com/herb:mugwort
Wormwood in Hoodoo Folk Magic, Spell-Craft, and Occultism: http://www.herbmagic.com/wormwood.html

Monday, March 20, 2017

I Got them Old Ostara Blues, again, Mama!



I Got them Old Ostara Blues, again, Mama!

            That isn’t really a song, so maybe I should write one. We are told that Ostara, aka Eostre, the word from which the name Esther and the words estrus and estrogen derive, was a Germanic goddess of fertility, and as we all know, Spring with its new life is a big deal in cold climates such as northern Europe, so I get why this is important. But it’s never much worked for me.
            For one thing, here in Cali March and April truly are the cruelest months, often being colder and stormier than the winter months. One year we had to cancel our Ostara ritual when it rained and the wind was blowing so hard that the rain came down sideways, and a large portion of our area lost power, literally and figuratively. The winds of April yet to come are always freezing here at the coast and in the desert Southwest; Las Vegas can be a horror in April, with cold winds so fierce that you can’t stand outside long enough to get a taxi.
            On tap for tomorrow in Los Angeles, the second day of spring: rain. Of course. So while the northern climes are celebrating the sun and the little crocus shoots, we’re in seasonal affective disorder mode again on the West Coast.
            Now, what they do in parts of the Middle East and Central Asia make more sense to me: Nowruz, Newroz, or what have you means “New Day” and on the surface it’s the same old Spring stuff. But wait! It’s not just spring, it’s New Year’s! That makes a whole lot more sense to me. Singing! Dancing! Yummy foods! Jumping over fire pits! Wearing new outfits! And it goes on for two weeks! Apparently the “spring cleaning” idea came from these cultures as well, although their spring cleaning means a really heavy duty cleaning of the house and the cleansing of the soul as well. Ok. Now we’re getting somewhere. My soul could use a little cleansing.
            Edain McCoy has a lovely book on Ostara customs and the spring rites in general. If you are moved by pastel colors, little lambs and bunnies, eggy dishes and those flower crowns, then this is for you. I love Edain and her work, but I wish I could get more excited about Ostara. I’m just not feeling it, but it isn’t her fault by a long shot.
I suppose now is also a good time to mention The Rite of Spring. It was meant to cause riots, really, not just because of an overly dramatic Ballets Russes performance, but because it was supposed to evoke an ancient Eastern European pagan rite of spring which allegedly included a human sacrifice. Quelle horreur!
            As I’ve said, I’ve never related to Ostara. Crocuses don’t grow in Cali. The stuff we do at Easter and St. Patrick’s day—the lamb stew, the colored eggs, etc.—all that comes from the olden times. But Easter’s another topic for another column. Today I’m celebrating New Year’s!

Harvey, Olivia. the Vernal Equinox is Monday and we’re ready to break out our floral crowns! https://www.yahoo.com/news/vernal-equinox-monday-ready-break-192215790.html
Kurdish Newroz. http://thekurdishproject.org/history-and-culture/kurdish-culture/kurdish-newroz/
Lidgett, Adam. Spring Equinox Facts 2016: History of the Pagan Ostara Festival. http://www.ibtimes.com/spring-equinox-facts-2016-history-pagan-ostara-festival-2336956
McCoy, Edain. Ostara: Customs, Spells, and Rituals for the Rites of Spring
Nowruz 2017:  The Persian New Year Festival. thhttp://www.mfa.org/programs/special-event/nowruz-2017-the-persian-new-year-festival
Stravinsky, Igor. The Rite Of Spring.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Where's My Time Machine?



Where’s My Time Machine?

As Astrologer Austin Coppock tells us, “On February 10th, we are treated a penumbral lunar eclipse at 22 Leo, the first of many on the axis which connects the Lion and the Water-Bearer. This eclipse occurs with the Sun and Moon occupying degrees configured tightly to this year’s Jupiter-Uranus opposition, and moving the game of 2017 along, turning over another set of cards.”
            Holy moly. I have little understanding of what all that means astrologically, but I do know that magically the confluence of the full moon, an eclipse, and, oh yes, a “strange green comet” as Elizabeth Howell tells us will be visible along with the “full snow moon eclipse.”
            Most magical practitioners will say not to do magick during an eclipse, and that too many weird things happening in the sky should just make us stay home and hide under the bed. Others will say that this is the perfect time to harness the power of the moon. And most of us will say that the power of the moon is symbolic in spellwork anyway, not literal, so do what thou wilt. I won’t be doing any magick; having been poleaxed by The Year of the Rooster I’m spoiling for a fight, and I’m not ready to calm down enough to do any magick tonight, weird astronomical configurations or no.
            Now, Austin also invokes one of my all-time favorite movies, 1960’s The Time Machine with Rod Taylor, a beautiful film adaptation of the H.G. Wells novel. I think a lot of us wish for a time machine right now; I don’t want to live in the world I’m living in at the moment, a time in which all of the societal progress that has been made in my lifetime is about to be swept away at the point of a pen by a barely literate con man. But hey, that’s just me.
            Tonight might be a good time to watch the film and to think of all the truly beautiful things out there. Many of them do come from a time before we were born, a time in which society was in great upheaval and in which factories had not yet mass-produced everything we use. I’m so glad that the handcrafting movement is back, and once again we can find handcrafted goods by talented people.
            Maybe someone will make that time machine after all. If not, then at least we can dream about one. Sweet dreams—I’m exhausted. Have a gander at the following for more information:

Coppock, Austin. “February 2017: Time Machine,”https://austincoppock.com/astrology-february-2017/

Howell, Elizabeth. “Look Up Friday! Green Comet and Snow Moon Eclipse Team Up for Skywatchers” www.space.com.

The Time Machine, 1960. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0-2hlsvcE

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Imbolc, Candlemas, and Oya: The Whirlwind in the Thorn Tree



Imbolc, Candlemas, and Oya:
The Whirlwind in the Thorn Tree

“And I heard as it were the voice of thunder:
*****
The whirlwind is in the thorn tree.
It's hard for thee to kick against the pricks.”
--Johnny Cash, “The Man Comes Around”

            It might not be a “man” who “comes around” and takes names and kicks ass. It might be Oya. She’s got a lot to do this year, oh man, oh man. Oya is the African face of Imbolc, the Candlemas orisha who whips the winds of February, the winds that cut me like a knife. But I’m an Aquarius, an air sign, so I’m supposed to like wind or something. I don’t. Never have, never will. But I do like a good fire. And Oya is all about the flame.
            Do some reading up on her. I have some stuff below that I’m suggesting you look at, and I’m also suggesting you listen to that Johnny Cash song on YouTube. It’s an apocalyptic song, a song about Death and what comes after. Oya is death. The story of her getting tricked into owning the cemetery? Nonsense. She owns it because as a warrior she IS death. What do you think warriors do? Stop a minute and think about it.
            Now, I did say I was going to speak about Imbolc. If you want to know about Brigid and her connection with Imbolc and Candlemas, read the previous blog. So, on Candlemas, we have Groundhog Day in the U.S., the last vestige of European pagan Imbolc in mainstream America. Like Punxatawny Phil and many other municipal groundhogs around the country, he is called upon to predict the weather by annoying the crap out of him, taking him from his comfy, warm burrow, and making him squint into the light of a February morning so some city fathers can see whether spring will come early or not. It’s a publicity stunt, but it hearkens back to ye olde Europa where I believe it was a hedgehog that predicted when winter would end. So, if the groundhog or hedgehog sees his shadow, it’s six more weeks of winter. If not, then spring will come early. This is a big deal to people in cold climates, and most of Europe has a cold climate compared to sunny SoCal where I live, so it makes sense.
            We have a little publicity stunt of our own: Palos Verdes Pancho, a plush groundhog toy that was offered one year at Build-A-Bear. I had him built myself and asked for a Spanish-speaking voicebox. This morning he did not see his shadow. I guess that means spring will come early in SoCal. We’ll see. So that’s it for Imbolc but for the ewe’s milk cheese.
            And I’m ignoring all the white-light stuff online. Nuh-huh. Not this time. I’m not begging Oya to help me cope with change, but you can if you want to, because that’s one of the things Oya is good for. Now, asking her to change things—go ahead. Just be prepared for what happens next.
            Don’t burn incense for her. She doesn’t like smoke, but she does like flame. I illuminate candles for her—meaning that I decorate them with sparkly things. I also anoint her candles, and offer her things that she likes. I have an amethyst—Aquarius’ birthstone—and a labradorite stone on her altar. I have rosemary, mint, and lavender in a vase—she like strong, sweet-smelling things. The rosemary this year is blooming like I’ve never seen it bloom before.
            I’ve been too busy trying to save what little amount of employment I have left to fully prepare for this holiday, so I didn’t have a chance to get to the store to buy nine of those little Asian eggplants, but if you do, put them in a basket along with nine pennies and put it on her altar. If you can’t get them, one big eggplant will do. That’s what I’ve got. Some people make a little skirt for it from construction paper in burgundy or purple. Burn a lot of candles. You can always order an Oya candle from Rev. Dee’s Apothecary. Burn purple, wine, dark blue, dark green, brown, or white candles or a mix of all of those. Just light ‘em up. If you must burn incense, do so in another room, and burn a cinnamon or coconut incense for Elegua. You need to light his candle first, of course; you always light his candle first before working with any other orisha.
            Write your own words to say to her, or speak off the cuff. Don’t be afraid to speak or write strongly—she would! She’s also good for employment, for in the New World she’s seen as the patron orisha of career women. If you’ve read The Dark Archetype, and you should, you’d know that and you’d see a wonderful career-boosting ritual. So I’d suggest that, if nothing else, you implore her to get you a job if you want one or help you keep the one(s) you already have.
To get you started on your own ritual, here are a few words I borrowed from one of the websites below and tweaked a little; you can start with this if you wish:
Although it is now dark, I come seeking light.
In the dead of winter, I come seeking life.
I call upon fire, that melts the snow and warms the hearth.
I call upon fire, that brings the light and makes new life.
I call upon fire to purify me with its flames.
            Before I finish my altar and light my candle, I’m going to make her a special drink: a Cosmopolitan! I knew that she preferred red wine rather than the standard rum that most orishas like, but I didn’t know she liked Cosmos. I’ll post a few standard recipes below along with my suggestions for further study.
            Change. Wind. Fire. Thorns. Rending. Blood.
            You’d think it was Lupercalia or something!
            Oh, wait…that’s the next blog.

Recipes for Cosmopolitans:
Cosmo #1: 1 (1.5 fluid ounce) jigger vodka; ½ oz Cointreau; 1 tsp. lime juice; 2 oz cranberry juice..
Cosmo #2: 2 oz vodka; ½ oz triple sec; 1 ½ tbsp. cranberry juice; ¼ oz lime juice.
Cosmo #3: 1 1/2 oz lemon vodka;1 oz Cointreau; 1 oz cranberry juice; 2 tsp. lime juice.
All Cosmos should be shaken well with ice and strained into a martini class. Garnish with lime peel, orange peel, or an orange slice.

References and for further study:
Cash, Johnny. “The Man Comes Around.”
Dumars, Denise and Lori Nyx. The Dark Archetype.
Gleason, Judith. Oya: In Praise of an African Goddess.
Heathwitch. “Oya, Lady of Storms,” http://www.orderwhitemoon.org/goddess/oya-storms/Oya.html
“Origin of Groundhog Day.” http://landscaping.about.com/cs/pestcontrol/a/groundhog_day_4.htm
“Oya,” Santeria Church of the Orishas. http://santeriachurch.org/the-orishas/oya/