December 2005 Newsletter
1) Judith's Ramblings
- Judith's Ramblings
- Product Spotlight
- Book Review
- Ritual Workings
*MELT* I got my CanadianFavourites.com newsletter and wow... I so miss those holiday staples - maple sugar, candy cane sleighs, turtles (oooooohhhh I love turtles), munchies by the fire or TV and family _not_ arguing. There's a change, right? I miss home most I think at the holidays and while I get to look forward to going home later on in the following year, it isn't the same. However I know everyone will be at mom's Christmas day so I'll be able to talk to everyone and hear about the lovely turkey, pumpkin pie, apple crumble and other assorted things that are yummy and on the table. My family is cool in that we actually enjoy getting together. I like hanging with them. I totally lucked out!
Last year, I went off Atkins for Nov & Dec and took to eating a tub of ice cream (The Vermonster) every third day. I did gain weight (I don't remember but maybe 5 - 10 kgs?) and inches (13") and spent the next 2 months losing them (only fair - took 2 months to put on so took 2 months to get off). This year I've kept up with the Atkins (mostly... I suppose ritually blessed bread and wine can't possibly count but those jam donuts... well, they did say reduced!) and I intend to keep exercising (which I didn't do last year) all through the holiday season while I can. I've only lost 1.5kgs this month which considering I gained 0.7kgs last month puts me at a net loss of only 0.8kgs but an inch off the old waist so hey - not all bad! And they aren't currently stocking "The Vermonster" at my local Sainsburys so no chance of eating 3 of those each week this winter.
Of course, I just ate a chocolate chunk muffin but I earned it - I had a hospital visit for my pain and I was the perfect patient. I also got on the scales and hit a new low so I had some room for a big calorie splurge! *teeheehee* Mind you... I also have a cold so I also deserve it for working while unwell. *grins*
Have you ever really wanted a gift for the holidays, resisted buying it for yourself, dropped innumerable hints and whatnot only to find that great holiday morning it is missing from under the tree? So you go off and get it for yourself in the shops after the holidays with all the other disappointed people (often us women) who are also there while trying to grin and remain appreciative of receiving the 10th bottle of perfume/pair of wooly socks/Christmas cake they never wear/eat. You wonder what you could have done to make it any easier for him/her/it to actually get it for you short of buying it yourself. Well, after almost 10 years of marriage I have the answer. Yes, I know... some of you will be staring at the screen right now in disbelief and wonder as well as a bit of excitement. Finally - the answer to all those frustrations - how to communicate to your partner what it is you wish for and actually receive it. I know - you might be thinking wish list and trust me, that does help if they remember where the wish list is, how to use it and select the correct thing off it. No, the answer is simple and elegant and works perfectly - take his/her/its credit card (if possible) and buy it yourself, have the shop gift wrap it and write the tag up for it. Place it under the tree and say "HONEY! How thoughtful of you to have already bought me a gift. That's wonderful and I just *KNOW* it is just what I wanted!" You may be met at first with a bewildered look - don't allow it to shake your confidence. Keep looking pleased and eventually your partner will smile and nod and be pleased and proud of themselves for completing the shopping so early and perfectly. Then on the big day remember to comment on how perfect their present to you is and how it was exactly what you wanted and how cleaver they were and it'll all work out perfectly.
I'm afraid there is nothing I can do about the oddly shaped sweaters and mismatches socks from the other relatives and I'm afraid the mess the kids make will have to be "endearing" for a few more years until they move out around 35 years old (I still stay with my dad when I visit home).
If you've ever wondered about the business handbook that I use for running New Moon, a portion of it seems to have appeared on the website http://www.evilrulers.com/ - now, granted it is only common sense that anyone would wear flats, or better yet, running shoes when executing crucial plans, however other issues aren't common knowledge (such as " My slinky sorcererss' robe will have a chain mail foundation garment, at minimum.") so it was surprising to see the suggestion on this website. And really useful as always "My poison-fanged or clawed beast minions will not be spiders, snakes and ravens, but kittens, goldfish, and canaries." because really - who wouldn't cuddle a kitten?
Christmas this year doesn't seem to have the same sparkle in the shops as previous years. Even though it is nice and cold and it's even snowed a couple of times, I'm just not getting that Christmas feeling. I'm not sure why I'm not groovin' to the Yuletide beat this year but I've already got the scented pinecones out with the poinsettia and mulled wine at the ready so I'm trying to get in to the festive spirit. And speaking of festive spirit don't forget to get your orders placed in time for Christmas.
CHRISTMAS DEADLINES - The post office has issues last posting dates and, since most stuff can be shipped next day *IF* you ask for it so we know you need it, I've given as close last order dates as possible.
Aus/NZ - Wednesday December 7th
Japan/Canada/USA/Eastern Europe - Friday December 9th
Western Europe - Monday December 12th
UK - standard - December 15th
UK - Special Delivery/Courier - Tuesday December 20th
2) Product Spotlight
At this time of the year we go out and buy and burn hundreds of candles without really giving it much thought. While I am guilty of buying the occasional paraffin candle, I try and stick to beeswax or palm wax and one of the candles I use to create a holiday scent is the cinnamon palm wax candle. Besides being in a wonderful glass I can then reuse with the inserts, they don't harm the environment the way paraffin candles do.
Paraffin is the wax used in the vast majority of candle making. It has a lower burn temperature making it useful for wax play over the natural waxes which have a much higher melt temperature. Paraffin is a by-product of the gasoline industry - a nonrenewable petrochemical that produces the same combustion by-products as any other burning petrochemical. Fumes from the burning of paraffin wax have been found to cause kidney and bladder tumors in laboratory animals. Burning paraffin candles produces carcinogens and soot when burned. In fact, one air quality researcher stated that the soot from a paraffin candle contains many of the same toxins produced by burning diesel fuel.
So now that I've said horrible things about paraffin candles, what should we use? Beeswax or palm wax candles, both of which I have made sure to stock. The red beeswax and green beeswax are wonderful festive colours and the cinnamon palm wax candle jars with the mandarin palm wax candle jars produces a spiced orange scent that all the folks who encounter it will love. They also make terrific gifts!
You'll find all our palm wax jar candles here: http://www.newmoon.uk.com/herbs/candles.htm
fsf07 - Cinnamon Natures Candles - All-natural candlepots - these candles are the best to burn anywhere in your home or office because they are made with completely natural ingredients. These candles are guaranteed free of animal fats or paraffin wax and so are the healthiest and most environmentally friendly choice. They will burn for 40 hours if treated properly (trim wick, etc) and come in a glass suitable for further use once the candle has burned away. £9/$20
fsf06 - Mandarin Natures Candles - All-natural candlepots - these candles are the best to burn anywhere in your home or office because they are made with completely natural ingredients. These candles are guaranteed free of animal fats or paraffin wax and so are the healthiest and most environmentally friendly choice. They will burn for 40 hours if treated properly (trim wick, etc) and come in a glass suitable for further use once the candle has burned away. £9/$20
3) Book Review
"The Charmed Sphere" by Catherine Asaro
This is not the authors first published work (I'm just about to read that) but it is a beefy novel that you will probably enjoy if only to explore a world with a different type of magic system. The tapestry is woven well though it does become predictable at times.
It is the story of the reluctant bride forced to marry a caretaker king because she is a shape mage meaning she works magic by using shapes. Of course the real king, who is a blind, deaf mute, comes back, claims the throne (reluctantly) and casts our intrepid folk off on an adventure. Refreshingly the heroine is not perfect - in fact she puts her foot in it quite often. Of course she falls in love with the person she is being forced to marry having (of course) accidentally met him.
Chime and Muller the reluctant couple are destined to rule the land they live in but through learning of them and how they think, we realize that actually, they would not make the best rulers no matter how hard they tried. They too realize this and so it is with no small amount of relief that Muller turns rulership over to Jarid - the true kind who is found by Iris, a fellow pupil of magic with Chime and one with wondrous potential that Chime can see but cannot articulate. Iris works best outdoors but because Chime regularly puts her foot in it, she can't help Iris find her potential. Jarid watched as his mother and father lost their lives to highwaymen and with her dying breath his mother cast a spell to save him. We later learn why he took his own hearing and sight and speech and that one of the highwaymen has raised him as his own son. Jarid regains his sight and hearing and speech and with Iris they rule a land about to go to war. Step up Chime and Muller who are needed by the king to help find out more information and help defend and save the realm.
While rather predictable at times, I did enjoy a lot of the plot elements and I won't tell you if they actually manage to avoid the war nor whether our heroine survives the multiple attempts on her life or if the last one at the castle does her in but I'll gamble you'll want to know. I enjoyed it for the way it looked at how magic shapes the world and also for reminding readers that no one is perfect and neither is magic.
3 out of 5 moons
"Sea Dragon Heir" by Storm Constantine
I have to admit I did find myself forced to finish and I am not left with the desire to know more about the main characters as I was with the Rhapsody novels. Storm Constantine writes darker fantasy and does a good job at developing characters and placing them within a believable world. This one isn't just another medieval world - they have guns as well as magic and they fight wars but also have multiple belief systems. You can see the elements of the modern world in her stories but they are also unique.
This book follows the line of the descendants of a line of priests and priestesses of the water dragons whose power was subdued by the invading army and their priesthood. The new generation seek to reclaim their birthright but all does not go to plan and some do lose their lives in the process. Despite this setback, they are determined to continue and the story spins a take of visions, incest, gay sex and intermarriage, of lost lore, reclaiming magic from myth and the latent magic in us all. Valraven and his twin sister Pharinet love each other and luckily when they are married off to other people, each loses their spouse. They are, though, the latest in the line of once powerful mages and they set out to reclaim their power despite the dreadful warnings of what will happen if they do. When Valraven marries for a second time, Pharinet takes solace in the fact that his new wife does not love him but the little "Ren" has a surprise and becomes the key to regaining the lost magic of the Palindrakes.
I think if you enjoy an edgier, darker fantasy rather than all the sweetness and light that seems to be around, you'll love this book.
3 out of 5 moons
4) Ritual Workings
Spell for holiday peace by New Moon
What you'll need ~
3 red candles and 3 green candles or 1 red and 1 green 3" pillar candles
A glass of sherry, mulled wine or nonalcoholic cider
a seasonal favourite on TV
An isolation booth
Place the red and green pillars on each side of the door to the isolation booth which contains the TV and VCR for watching the seasonal favourite (or cable link), munchies and drink. Now light the candles in order while saying an invocation over each one.
As you light the red one(s), say:
By night and Hecate I call
The silent season now to fall;
To deafen ears to strife and pain
and open hearts to peace again.
By Artemis and mighty bow
I set the spell in place and go
To block all strife and here within
I rest in peace and joy and grin
At all who yell and scream and shout
And try, in vain, to get me out.
Now light the green candle(s) and say:
By hunters moon and darkest night
I call the God this sacred night
By bow and spear and hoof and horn
I set this fire my heart to warm.
I cast aside the pain of strife
and welcome in the Gods first light;
As He, reborn, brings love from pain
so now my spell weaves joy again
into each heart and plant and tree
I send this spell, my stress to free.
Now, enter the isolation booth, pop on the seasonal fav. and drink your drink while relaxing and eating snacks. Let others cook and arrange and worry for awhile and let your body recover and build strength for the season and days ahead.
I've been getting some great spells by email - here is one...
I have been using this to help with my love affair with food. I charged a black candle, wrote on it how much weight I'd like to lose, and said:
"As this candle melts away, so do the pounds that hold me sway.
With each passing day I'll be, closer to a thinner me." Wicca for Dummies
Then I light the candle. It works.