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Sunday, July 7, 2013

Temperance Banner

The new banner on this blog was created from a photo I took at the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory on Belle Isle in Detroit, Michigan, USA.  It's of the Temperance sculpture dedicated by a Christian group in 1910.  While I don't agree with the extreme temperance movement (an oxymoron if there ever was one), the virtue of temperance itself is I believe worthy of respect.  Here is part of the definition taken from Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary 11th Edition:
  1. Moderation in action, thought, or feeling: restraint.
  2. Habitual moderation in the indulgence of the appetites or passions.
Side view of Temperance sculpture
How boring some would say and point out the quote I've seen attributed to Oscar Wilde, Ben Franklin and Mark Twain among others, "Moderation in all things, including moderation."  This quote is something I wish those pushing alcohol abstinence when this statue was erected would have taken to heart.

By no means am I temperate in all things.  But it's a personal goal I strive for at all levels physically, mentally and spiritually and in my dealings with other people.  I was reminded of this photo because of the somewhat recent internet Pagan brouhaha over soft vs. hard polytheism.  My eclecticism or maybe just my personality keeps me from caring about what others believe or how they practice their religion or live their spirituality as long as it isn't trampling on the rights and lives of others.  That doesn't mean I'm a big fan of the coexist bumper sticker ideology though.  Moderation shouldn't mean tolerating murderous, misogynistic religious ideologues.

Does temperance imply no passion?  I don't think so.  But scholars have been pondering this for centuries so I have some way to go in expounding on the virtue.  I'll leave you with some quotes I found to ponder for yourself.
"A man who is eating or lying with his wife or preparing to go to sleep in humility, thankfulness and temperance, is, by Christian standards, in an infinitely higher state than one who is listening to Bach or reading Plato in a state of pride."  ~ C. S. Lewis
"Temperance is moderation in the things that are good and abstinence in the things that are foul."  ~ Frances E. Willard
"Taste every fruit of every tree in the garden at least once.  It is an insult to creation not to experience it fully.  Temperance is wickedness."  Stephen Fry
Hmmm, it seems one man's foul would be another man's pleasure.

Basically, I hope you like the photo gentle readers.  Blessings.

© Trish Deneen

Monday, July 1, 2013

Oak Tree in Natural Medicine and Magic

The oak tree has long been associated with the Druids. These ancient priests are believed to have held a grove of oaks as a sacred meeting place. Its use in healing has been known for centuries as well as for building, which is no wonder in a tree known for its incredible strength and durability.

The Oak Tree in Natural Medicine

The bark of the oak brewed into a tea has been used for healing varicose veins, hemorrhoids, and reducing fevers. Acorns from the tree are also crushed and used in various herbal preparations including mixing with milk to help counteract reactions to medication.

Oak was one of the first Bach flower remedies. Dr. Edward Bach developed his oak essence to be used by those who suffered from instability and hopelessness drawing upon the tree's physical strength and ability to give shelter.

The Oak Tree in Spiritual and Magical Practice

As mentioned, the Druid priests considered a grove of trees, especially the oak, as a sacred space for religious communion and ritual. Drunemeton is a Celtic word for sacred oak grove, and some Pagan groups today gather in what they call their Nemeton or grove. The Druids, according to the Roman natural historian Pliny, believed that the parasitic plant mistletoe was a great healer used best if gathered from the Valonia oak tree on the sixth day of the moon.

Catherine Yronwode tells us in Hoodoo: Herb and Root Magic that African American hoodoo practitioners use tea brewed from oak bark to remove a jinx from their clients. In this tradition, oak chips and mistletoe are burned to remove unfriendly spirits from a dwelling.

The planet Jupiter is heavily associated with the oak. The god the planet takes its name from was a ruler among gods and held the responsibility of law and order as one of his tasks.

Oak is considered mighty ruler among trees in folklore and has come to be associated with sacred kingship. The cycle of the oak and holly king in Wiccan rituals represents the death and rebirth of the sacred king. Therefore, magic and ritual honoring the divine masculine is especially powerful when aided by the oak.

Modern Pagans use wands from the tree as well as leaves, acorns, and bark for use in magic, meditation, incense and talismans. Its strong, sheltering presence is the chief energy drawn upon for use in oak tree medicine and magic.

References not mentioned in article:
  • Hopman, Ellen Evert. Tree Medicine Tree Magic. Phoenix Publishing, Inc., 1991.
  • Green, Miranda J. The World of the Druids. Thames and Hudson, Ltd., 1997.

© Trish Deneen