New Green Allies

I picked up a few new herbs for the garden yesterday. I can't wait to get them into the ground. Hopefully, I'll be able to find some room for them.

Of course there is a lot more information available on these herbs and their uses, but below I have added a few snippets regarding what I know of them. As with any herb, do extensive research and perhaps even consult a professional before self medicating.

Pennyroyal: (as stated in an earlier post) Probably the most dangerous emmenagogue and reported to have been used by Native American Indians for centuries to induce abortion. This would also classify it as an abortificient. Also, Kurt Cobain apparently drank it daily to help with stomach ailments.

Tansy: Also an emmenagogue used to promote menstruation and cause herbal abortions. Read more about these uses here:

Borage: Self seeding annual. Reported in older times to give courage to any who consume it. Also reported to counteract depression and cause a mild euphoria.

Horehound: Long known for its help with lung ailments and coughs.

Helping the Bees

Okay, so instead of just talking about the problem I thought I would look up some resources on how the average person can help our little bee brothers and sisters. Below is some information and a list of helpful links centered on living in partnership with the pollinators of our planet.

Provide Nesting Places for Bees: Honey bees like hollow trees. If you can leave these on your property for honey bees to build their colony in please do. Plus, this gives you another reason to avoid clearing out that wooded area at the back of your lawn. Just let it be natural and nature will appreciate it.

Plant Bee-Friendly Plants: Plant a variety of native plants that have different bloom times to keep the bees eating for months. Many "weeds" also provide much needed nourishment for bees. Avoid using weed killer in your lawn and let the red and white clover flourish a little while longer. The bees will thank you for it.

Avoid Pesticides: Organic gardening is just plain better for everyone. Nature needs natural methods to be as healthy as possible. Use natural materials whenever you can.

List of Bee Friendly Plants PDF
The Pollinator Partnership
Urban Bee Gardens

Mama Merope's Bees

There's been a lot of blogging about bees lately.

Pagan Godspell was the first place I heard about the cell phone connection to it all. She leaves us with an earlier prayer for their survival as well. Hecate also chimes in to speak about her regrets and hopes for the future of humanity and the honey bee.

I've just sort of been soaking it all in and wondering what life on this planet might be like without the honey bee. We hardly notice them unless they're nearby and threatening to sting us or climb into our soda can. We don't tend to remember how our lives - the very food we eat - depends on their hard work.

Last weekend over dinner my father-in-law all but told me I was stupid for believing a cell phone could kill a bee. He's a Conservative you know, so apparently nature is less than important to him. If I even bring up environmental issues he goes off and calls Al Gore a "cardboard cutout of an idiot". What amazes me is that he loves to garden and seems to know all the names of the plants and trees around him. The picture of the bee and purple flower above is from his garden. I’m sure he thinks the honey bee is just the latest object of the Liberal media. Or something like that. I love the man, but he could certainly use a little wake up call when it comes to Mother Earth.

In ancient Crete the bee was venerated as a symbol of the Goddess. We don’t know the Bee Goddess’ name, but I tend to call her Merope, the Honey Faced. Merope was a later Greek Goddess and one of the Seven Sisters. She married a mortal and, as legend has it, that is the reason she is the faintest star among her sisters within the constellation of the Pleiades. She hides her face in shame. I think this was something the Greeks added later, after the influx of patriarchal ideas. The Goddess is often known to bring together – or balance out – the divine and the profane (profane being anything inherently human, mortal, and mundane.) Her mortal consort is very likely a later image of the bull-god of Crete.

So the Minoans were smart enough to understand the connection between all of life and to understand what it meant to live in harmony with the rest of the planet. They observed the work of the bees and noted how, without the buzz, their crops would fail and their lives would end.

Thousands of years later humanity has unfortunately become less intelligent and more concerned with how much "stuff" they have. "Screw those stupid bees, I just got the coolest, most expensive phone on the market! I can text at the speed of light and take hi-res pictures. That's so much cooler than a few bugs."

It's worth saying that the decline in honey bees could be a natural event. If that's the case I think Mama is trying to tell us something. She's all but shouting "your time is almost up."

Poem: The Pythia Speaks

(A completely free form work in progress. Comments welcome.)

I walk the corridors,
Laurel branch in hand

Strings of dappled light
Invade the darkness
And the smoke of incense
Fills my lungs

The tripod waits
Where from my lips spill
The forgotten mysteries
Of the endless serpent

The sweet perfume ascends
From the swollen Earth
Like the vapors of a flowered brew

My young body shakes
And pulses
With the spirit of the Mother

The supplicants gape
In wonder
In horror

They don't know it is the Earth that speaks
Through me,
Her priestess

It is the Earth that quakes beneath them
And not the God of the Sun
But ancient Mother Gaia they invoke

New "Earth Like" Planet

Astronomers in Europe have found the first planet outside of our universe that may be habitable. Apparently this is a very big deal and is "a significant step on the way to finding possible life in the universe". According to the Associated Press scientists say

"The planet is just the right size, might have water in liquid form, and in galactic terms is relatively nearby at 120 trillion miles away. But the star it closely orbits, known as a "red dwarf," is much smaller, dimmer and cooler than our sun."

The planet is about 20 light years away which means someone needs to find the secrets to warp speed if we ever want to visit it. It's also unclear as to whether the planet has an atmosphere. And if it does what kind of atmosphere is it?

I've always been fascinated by the possibility of other kinds of life. It's common for us as carbon based life forms to assume that other life must also be carbon based. What would a creature that evolved in a nitrogen dominant atmosphere look like? It's also assumed that water is pivotal to life since that is the case here on Earth. What if there are life forms who thrive on some other compound - like sodium or chlorene? I'm not a scientist, but I think it's within the realm of possibility seeing as how vast and complicated space really is.

It's worth saying that Mars is also in the category of Earth-like planets and we have yet to find life there. Though I have heard some theories about there being underground life on Mars which make great fodder for sci-fi stories but are less than credible.

All things considered this is pretty cool stuff.

Pentacle Accpeted by VA

From Fox News:,2933,267887,00.html

Wiccan Pentacle Added to Emblems Allowed on Headstones

Monday, April 23, 2007

MADISON, Wis. — The Wiccan pentacle has been added to the list of emblems allowed in national cemeteries and on goverment-issued headstones of fallen soldiers, according to a settlement announced Monday.

A settlement between the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Wiccans adds the five-pointed star to the list of "emblems of belief" allowed on VA grave markers.

Eleven families nationwide are waiting for grave markers with the pentacle, said Selena Fox, a Wiccan high priestess with Circle Sanctuary in Barneveld, Wis., a plaintiff in the lawsuit.

The settlement calls for the pentacle, whose five points represent earth, air, fire, water and spirit, to be placed on grave markers within 14 days for those who have pending requests with the VA.

"I am glad this has ended in success in time to get markers for Memorial Day," Fox said.

The VA sought the settlement in the interest of the families involved and to save taxpayers the expense of further litigation, VA spokesman Matt Burns said. The agency also agreed to pay $225,000 in attorneys' fees and costs.

The pentacle has been added to 38 symbols the VA already permits on gravestones. They include commonly recognized symbols for Christianity, Buddhism, Islam and Judaism, as well as those for smaller religions such as Sufism Reoriented, Eckiankar and the Japanese faith Seicho-No-Ie.

"This settlement has forced the Bush Administration into acknowledging that there are no second class religions in America, including among our nation's veterans," said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which represented the Wiccans in the lawsuit.

The American Civil Liberties Union said the agreement also settles a similar lawsuit it filed last year against the VA. In that case, the ACLU represented two other Wiccan churches and three individuals.

VA-issued headstones, markers and plaques can be used in any cemetery, whether it is a national one such as Arlington or a private burial ground like that on Circle Sanctuary's property.

Wicca is a nature-based religion based on respect for the earth, nature and the cycle of the seasons. Variations of the pentacle not accepted by Wiccans have been used in horror movies as a sign of the devil.

The Not So FAQs

What's this blog all about?

Spirituality is a unique experience for everyone. Panthea is about mine.

There may be times when I post about news and such, but I don't claim to be a reporter of any kind. For great Pagan news you can check out the Wild Hunt or Wren's Nest at Witchvox. At Panthea you will mostly find my personal opinions and experiences of the Goddess. This could consist of my Goddess-y musings, my personal theology, and my thoughts on life in general.

I'm thrilled when others find something here worth talking and thinking about. I love hearing about the personal spirituality and experiences of others as well because I believe this is how we learn best about ourselves and connect with each others as individuals that are all part of a greater whole. While I call that whole the Goddess, you may call it something different. That's completely okay. You can call me Bob, but I'm still Lee.

What does Panthea mean?

Panthea is a Greek term meaning All-Goddess or "All Things are Goddess".
As the personification of the "complete female", Isis was called "The One Who Is All", Isis Panthea ("Isis the All Goddess"), and the "Lady of Ten Thousand Names".

If there is anything else you're curious about please ask. You can use the comments or send me an email.

Shadow Mutterings

Just like anyone else I am full of flaws and don't always have the nicest of thoughts running through my head - though I try really hard most of the time. I try not to judge, I try to be compassionate, etc. Sometimes though, you just need to let your shadow come out to play.

For example: The other day I was sitting in my morning class (as a returning college student) and thinking about how I didn't want to be there. My exact thoughts were something like "I'd rather be home watching Entourage but instead I am stuck sitting in a room full of f-in teenage idiots who should write books on how to grunt unintelligibly and still look cool." I then proceeded to think dirty thoughts about my professor. *wink*

Not a very nice thing to think right? But, let's not pretend we haven't all had those moments.

Ever go to a grocery story and get mad at the automatic door for not opening quickly enough? Me too. Ever call someone a really terrible (but creative) combination of expletives while driving? Yeah... I've done that one too and laughed about it two seconds later. Come on. Ass-hat is kind of funny, but that's one of the nicest things I've said in comparison

Being a Priest/ess or being spiritual doesn't mean being some perfect, saint-like person. And I'll be damned if I'm even going to consider something resembling repentance.

Herbal: Motherwort

I tested out the Motherwort infusion I made the other day. Below are the results I recorded in my herbal.

(Leonurus cardiaca)

Date: April 19, 2007
Purpose: To promote menstruation
Method: Strong Infusion – Aprox. 1 pint boiling water to 6 tbsp dry herb, steeped for about 3 hours. Too Strong.
Dosage: Tried to drink 1 hot cup but bitter taste made it near impossible – even when sweetened with honey. Ended up drinking 2 shooters instead.
Effects: Slight nausea, fuzzy in the head. Long standing aftertaste. Bloated? Gas? Diuretic effects? Thought of drinking another shot makes me want to vomit. Perhaps my body does not need or does not want this medicine? Water down?

Notes: A perennial to Zone 3.

Also called: Herzgespan, Agripaume cardiaque, Yi Mu Cao.

Only leaves are used. Nervine, emmenagogue, anti-spasmodic, hepatic, cardiac tonic, hypotensive.

Most commonly used for women to promote menstruation, regulate cycles, and relieve the symptoms of pms.

Also used to treat irregular heartbeat – slowing hearts that beat too fast, and too control high blood pressure. Often combined with hawthorn as an infusion for this purpose.

My experience with the strong infusion has lead me to believe this herb is best suited as a tea infusion, sweetened to taste with honey or perhaps combined with a sweet tasting flavor herb like mint, lemon verbena, etc.

Susan Weed’s favorite remedy for hot flashes brought on by menopause.

Jesus Camp

Jesus Camp showed up via Netflix to my doorstep yesterday. I honestly had not heard much about the movie, but I was eager to pop it into the Xbox and watch.

I was prepared to get annoyed, maybe even a little angry. I often find myself watching channels on "Jesus Row" (and I use that term affectionately). I'm not sure exactly why I do this. It could be that I have an unconscious need to torture myself. But no, I think it has something to do with staying informed and keeping myself thinking. So, I was no stranger to the normal annoyed state that evangelism usually puts me in. I was, however, not at all prepared for the sick show of emotionally abused children that populates Jesus Camp.

I literally was brought to tears at a few points in the film. Not because I was filled with joy, but because I felt so completely terrible for these children. I recall one little girl who said she was not allowed to dance for anyone but god and that she often had to stop herself from "dancing for the flesh". I couldn't believe my ears. My heart broke for her. I couldn't imagine being a child and feeling guilty for dancing barefoot with sheer innocent abandon in summer-scented grass. That, in my eyes, would be a real abomination. And that poor little girl has to live with that guilt every day.

The children in the film were repeatedly told that they were the chosen warriors of god. The pastor in charge of this child abuse, Becky Fischer, was seen screaming "This means war" at the top of her lungs. I think she needs to be put in a straight jacket and dragged far away from the children she claims to be "using". Those were her words.

After watching the film I found another Pagan blogger's comments on it. Check out Blog o' Gnosis for more, including links to the various personalities seen in the movie.

I am genuinely horrified beyond belief. You should check it out for yourself because no amount of words could justly explain the horror. You'll just have to witness it with your own eyes.

Worth a Read

Deborah Lipp of Property of a Lady has a post on Feminism and Goddess Worship that is worth a read.

See also my own article on this subject here.

Healing, Dolls, and Magic(k)

I recently read a post from an email list that I am on that spoke about healing dolls. I've been making dolls for about a year now and really enjoy it. I guess it never struck me to make them with the purpose of healing.

I make Goddess dolls, so I thought perhaps each Goddess could be identified with a certain type of healing and could thus be given to those who have certain ailments. For example: I have a friend who is experiencing a difficult pregnany and I thought Brigit might be a good choice for her. Brigit is known as a midwife and is frequently called upon to aid labor. The main color I would choose would be green - perfect for healthy growth during pregnancy. I may even stuff the entire doll with lavender to give her a soothing quality. Including this with a bit of bath salts, some incense, a candle, and perhaps even some post partum items like cloth pads, nursing pads, cloth diapers, a knit blanket, etc. and I've got a really great gift basket. And it's all hand made.

Anyway, I'm rambling and I have a point to make.

I am not a spellcrafter. At one time I was very interested in spellwork, but over time it lost its luster and its meaning. So, I was thinking that making a healing doll - or making anything for that matter - with the intent to help or heal may be my kind of magic.

I think it's important to get to the practical root of what magic is and what it was always intended to be used for. In my opinion magic is most suited to two things - healing and prayer. You could throw protection and the like in there as well, but I tend to think of that as prayer too. Anything that creates peace of mind can constitute as prayer in my opinion.

Anyway, what do you think? Do you think Paganism, Wicca, etc. has gone a little overboard with the emphasis on spells and such? I mean why not just call it prayer (with props)? I think Witchcraft is a practice not a religion. How do you feel about that statement? What spiritual significance do spells, tarot cards, etc. have?

Can you tell I am trying to get a conversation going here? *wink*

Triple Goddess Malas


(This first prayer can be used for the entire round or for the Divine bead.)
Great Goddess, Lady of Life
Whose Garment is the shining Heavens.
You are the white moon among the stars
And the beauty of the green earth.
You are the Oneness of all things
And the Completion of the Spirit
You are the mystery that if that which we seek
We find not within
We will never find it without
For you have been here since the beginning
And you are that which is attained at the end of desire.

(adapted from the Charge of the Goddess with Tridean influence)

Goddess, I am looking within and I see your light shining.

(white beads)
Maiden of freedom
You are the Eternal Virgin,
The Holy Bride of Nature,
And the revealing light within the shadows
Through you all that is good comes to birth.

(red beads)
Mother of Compassion,
Forever fertile, Lady of the forge.
You are the creating force of love
And the strength which nourishes all that lives.
Through you the cause of life is served.

(black beads)
Crone of Wisdom,
Ancient One, Keeper of the Cauldron.
You stand at the gates between the worlds
And carry the shining sickle of death.
Without you nothing can be transformed.

(divine bead)
Great Goddess, Lady of Life, Three that are One.
You are everything; the Earth under our/my feet, the Air which we/I breathe, the Water which purifies us/me, and the light within our/my soul(s).
All things are born of your spirit.

(to end)
By the power and will of She that is Three, So mote it be.

Pagan Prayer Beads

Small random rant warning...

Prayer beads pre-date Christianity and are theorized to go as far back as ancient China. It's well documented that Hindu and Buddhist Malas predate the Christian/Catholic rosary. So, now that we've got that straight let's makes sure that a Pagan who prays with beads is not mistaken for a Christo-Pagan or labeled as someone who can't "stick to their own stuff". There is no one religion who can claim ownership on the use of prayer beads.

Just in case you were wondering where that came from I was reading this article at the Wild Hunt and the subsequent comments that followed.

"The practice of using counters of various kinds for the purpose of reciting prayers is one that embraces the broad spectrum of historical religions in every age.

The repetitive Asian mantra was always dominant among Buddhist and Hindu monastics that developed circular beads on strings to chant continuously, night and day.

Their beads reflected various colours and substances that had rich, symbolic meaning related to their religious beliefs, including the numbers of beads on any given circlet.

Representations of western pagan religions likewise show worshippers holding what appear to be prayer-beads used for repetitive invocations."


Just Had to Share

My first set of moon pads. Pictured: 5 11-inch Pads - slightly modified from the pattern, and 3 pantyliners. I'm not sure if these will get me through an entire cycle yet, but I've testing them dry and they are quite comfy. I really love the cute "pink punk" tartan fabric. Too cute.

Moon Time Girl Stuff

I've been looking into cloth pads lately. I was surprised (and thrilled) to see that there were so many women on the internet from all over the world using cloth menstrual pads and raving about them. I decided I just had to give it a try. So, I ran down to my local Joann's and picked up some cute cotton flannel (with a punk rock flair). I hunted down a few fabulous patterns and got to work. Needless to say my sewing machine has been getting some good use over the past few days. Cloth pads are easy to make and just plain cute. I never thought I could ever be excited about getting supplies for my period.


So, why use cloth pads? The most obvious reasons are that making the switch from disposables is more environmentally friendly and saves you some money. The less obvious reasons: using cloth is more empowering, allows you to pamper yourself, and makes the moon-time experience more enjoyable. Society has made periods something to hide and be ashamed of. Using cloth pads takes this time back as our own again and creates a healthier attitude towards menstruation.

What about the gross factor? I thought about this too - a lot. My first reaction was basically "eww". But everywhere I look there are women saying that the gross factor is gone once you give cloth a try. I'm personally over it and it didn't take much persuading. Check out some of the links below for more info. There's even mention of harmful chemicals in disposables that can seep into your skin. Now that's gross.

Shop and Learn

The Mother Goddess

Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet expresses a lesson of the Mother aspect of the Goddess with his famous quote: "My religion is simple. My religion is kindness."

The Mother aspect of the Great Goddess is perhaps the most well known. After all, we all have mothers and are typically familiar with the qualities of a healthy mother-figure regardless of our own individual upbringings.

Hundreds of images of the Mother Goddess have been found that date back to the Stone Age. Characteristics of motherhood and fertility are commonly found in their design as they bare exaggerated breasts and bellies. The exaggerated belly conceptualizes qualities of the womb – creation, protection, etc. - as something present in the "creator" and something to be harnessed within oneself. In turn, the engorged breasts illustrate that nourishment is a necessity for all living things and is able to be provided only by other living things.

In myth the Mother appears to have many characteristics, but the most common are those associated with creation and nourishment. She is often seen as the Earth itself, producing and giving freely of the things that her children need to survive.

As with the Maiden, the Mother is not only found within beings who are physical mothers. She is in all things at all times regardless of fertility, gender, or age. Every person contains an "Inner Mother" - an aspect of themselves that is capable of unconditional love.

The Mother aspect of the Goddess is the Teacher of Compassion. After going through the processes and revelations brought on by embracing the Maiden within, the Mother suddenly surfaces and begins to take the reigns.

As you learn to remove judgment and accept Oneness you may begin to notice her voice inside your head, urging you to find compassion for that boss that drives you crazy or the clerk at the grocery store who seems to be taking too much time out of your day. The Mother teaches us to love all people and all life.

One of the most valuable lessons of the Mother is compassion for self. This falls right in line with the concept of non-judgment of self. The Maiden removes judgment and the Mother replaces it with compassion.

The "darker" (for lack of a better word) side of the Mother is one of destruction. She is willing to consume life back into herself when necessary while teaching us that death has a purpose as a part of life.

The Mother is also the archetype of a fierce protector who will defend the lives of her children with her last breath. In this way we understand that life should be fought for and defended.

The Mother is connected with the traditional interpretations of the element of Fire. Fire is transformational energy; destroying and creating all at once. Fire is the primeval force of creation. Where as the Maiden provides inspiration, the Mother takes those ideas and molds them in her fire, like a blacksmith with a fine sword, and gives them life.

The Mother can be felt with the heat of the sun or the warmth of your hearth. Allow her into your heart and she will show you all of the possibilities that come with the presence of unconditional love, kindness, and compassion.


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