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Monday, May 5, 2008

Feline Magick


Introduction to Feline Magick



What is it about the cat that we are so drawn to? This answer may vary depending upon whom you ask. For myself, it is many things about her that I am drawn to; her power, her gentleness, her aggressive, her eyes, the way she carries herself and all that she gives in her love.

I have owned many in my lives and in this lifetime, only a few. My first one came to me from a neighbor, she was black with bright green eyes, and was always there for me; even if I wasn’t for her. She was a powerful and wonderful cat. Her name was Black Widow, Widow for short. She was a Pisces, amazingly powerful and intuitive as to when I was home from my trips. She was a free spirited cat and one of my strongest familiars. I had her for many years until she fell ill and I had to put her down. That was the hardest time in my life. I felt like I had lost the one person who was always next to me. She slept with me, woke me up, took care of me when I was sick, made me laugh when I was sad; and did all the things a best friend would do. I would see visions of her, images would appear before me when I would just be in a trance. Then one day, she spoke. She told me that she was fine and would always be there, and yes would return to me one day. I have always to this day cherished her in my life and always will.

Eight years later, I was in the salon and one of the hairdressers had a carrier with a little 15 day old black kitten inside. Instantly, she leapt toward me and wanted me to pet her. Well, I went home and asked my boyfriend at the time, husband now, if I could bring her home. He agreed, and the following week I went and picked her up. Her name is Onyx, born on Aug 20, 2000. She is a Leo with a Virgo Moon Rising. She is very much a gem and a familiar.

Now, in the talking of my familiars in the past few years more have come and gone than I would have ever imagined. After Onyx came, then less than a year later another came to me on the Full Moon of Samhain. I had seen her around the house for a while, but on this particular night she made her presence known to me. The moon was at its’ fullest power and bright orange too. My stones were out in the front yard in the circle for cleansing and charging. She walked up to the door facing my office.She appeared and we chatted for some time through the door. She eventually became a permanent part of the house. On January 29, 2001 she was hit by a car. Her name was Agatha.

Upon that happening, I created a Spirit Call Spell for Felines, which will be included in the Feline Book of Shadows Lesson. In this lesson we will cover the history briefly. In the others, we will cover other futther areas of the Feline and her Magick.

The cat is an interesting being, as I have come to learn in my life. They are not possessed, they are very observant and watchful. When they choose the person they wish to be their friend, they will watch them for a time from afar. This is to see how they are, how they act, how they treat others; humans and animals, and how they respect their surroundings.

Upon doing this, they will choose whom they are to live with for the time that is needed. They are wonderful friends to have, and in them choosing you, they are telling you that you are being blessed with their presence. Cats are great hunters, and love to share trophies with their human counterparts. I can only say so much there. I have had more than my share and some not-so-good in appearance. They expect to be treated properly, pampered, spoiled and allowed to come and go as they wish. Now, in today’s society it is harder, as more do get hurt from ignorant drivers.




History of the Feline

It is common knowledge these days where the history begins, Egypt since around 2600 B.C.E.

In Egypt the cat is the most worshipped of all the animals. It is a punishment of death if anyone were to kill a cat. They worshipped the following deities: Bastet, Pasht, Ubastet, Sekhmet, Set, and Ra. All were with cat heads and human formed bodies. Set and Ra were with the male human body. Ra was the Sun god, Pasht was the aggressive side to Bastet, Sekhmet was the lion figured one and loved blood. Set, we know was known to have murdered his brother Osiris.

So what about the treatment of the feline and how they were revered? Well, they were sometimes considered more important than the human counterpart themselves. If a house was seen burning down, it was the fireman’s job to get the cat out first and then go back for the human. If a person was seen purposely harming a cat, they would be put to death. This was considered an act worse than murder. I some cases mobs would be seen ripping a person limb from limb if they witnessed this person harming a cat. This was a very common occurrence in Egypt cultures.

What of the meaning "nine lives?" Well, this simply meant that a cat could only live nine separate lives as a cat. Meaning it could reincarnate nine times to a cat form, and no more. When a cat completed this cycle it was a time of great mourning for the families involved. They would shave off their eyebrows, this was considered to be full mourning upon their death. Once this happened they could no longer incarnate into a cat. From this point on they would reincarnate into other life forms.

The funeral rites were very important to the Egyptians in how they buried their cats. They would be embalmed, with various herbs, oils, drugs, and spices. Depending on the families status they would then wrapped the cat in either plain or multi-colored linen. Following, paper mache or a sculptured wooden mask would be placed over the cat’s head, and then they would carefully cover this with either plain or multi-colored linen. Some would be painted and then decorated with the finest of gold, if the family could afford such luxuries. Once the mummification was completed, they would then be placed into a mummy case, along with the necessary afterlife objects and foods. If this was for a kitten of course the case would be smaller and the metal bronze instead of gold.

The Egyptian word for cat is ‘’Mau," likely based for the sound that cats made. However, the meaning of the word is light, this eluding to the Sun god Ra. In Sanskrit the word for cat is ‘’margaras," meaning hunter; in Hindu ‘’cleaner;" Aryan ‘’ghad:" Latin ‘’cattus;" French ‘’chat;" Italian ‘’gatto;" German ‘’katze;" and Arabic "kittah." Original origins for the cat are believed to have come from the Greek word ‘’catus," meaning acute.

In the occult cats are viewed as being all knowing, all seeing, and with great psychic abilities. It is even said that if a cat allows you too look into their eyes long enough, you will see the land of the fey and the underworld. This is a rare blessing if one allows this of their human counterpart. They are known for predicting all kinds of weather, natural disasters [prodigies], omens and portends. I usually know what kind of weather to expect, as Onyx is like a weather man, and she is always on target. She is observant and very powerful.

Later in history, the cat was associated with witchcraft, and causing harm at the wish of their human counterpart. This caused a great fear of the feline by many people. So much so, that they created a device that was a cat trap, called the “cat o gan." It was a musical instrument that was used to entrap as many as 20 cats at a time, their tails being pulled by a mechanism that made them meow in grave pain. The "cat o gan" remained in use for exactly 100 years. However, during the hunts some were lucky enough to have escaped the tortures of their organs being removed and races that were used to torture these beautiful beings. They escaped a most interesting way, by way of ship. They were a welcomed sight, as they kept the rodent population down and became then a favorite pet of the human. This was the time of the 1700s.

I will end this lesson here, as there is way too much in the history of the feline to put in just one lesson, so we shall continue forward in the other lessons. I hope that you will enjoy this class and that you will learn more of who your familiar really is and how much a part of our lives they really are.



The Little White Cat
[Folk song from the Gaelic]
18th Century
Anonymous—Translated by Mrs. Costello of Tuam

The little gray cat was walking prettily,
When she found her little son stretched dead
And ‘twas only a year since her family
Were cast out and drowned in a trench.
The little white cat, white, white, white,
The little white cat, Breed’s cat.
The little white cat, snowy white
That was drowned in a trench.

The little mother stood upright,
When she found her little son dead;
She brought him in and made a bed for him,
And then began to lament him.
The little white cat, white, white, white,
The little white cat, Breed’s cat.
The little white cat, snowy white
That was drowned in a trench

Andrew, the blind, had some of her family,
And they came together to lament him,
I am sure if Barry hears it,
He will regret the death of the Breed’s cat.
The little white cat, white, white, white,

He broke no chest, nor lock of the neighbors,
Nor did he destroy the cows’ butter.
And you never heard such discourse,
As the mice had in telling it.
The little white cat, white, white, white

His eye was grey, his walk was pretty,
His step was light and active:
And I’d rather far be going to the clay
Than the province of Munster should hear of it.
The little white cat, white, white, white,

The little white cat would hump his back.
As big as a three pint jug.
Wasn’t he a fine show for the gentry to see,
Poll, Breed’s pretty little cat?
The little white cat, white, white, white,

Walter’s Martin will put a wooden coffin on him,
And it’s he that is able.
And were it not for the time at which he died
We should have every cause for lamenting
The little white cat, white, white, white,
The little white cat, Breed’s cat.
The little white cat, snowy white
That was drowned in a trench.


Bibliography for this section:

Along with my own person experiences are the following;

cover 1000 Years of Irish Poetry
Edited by Kathleen Hoagland, Intro by Malachy McCourt
cover Egyptian Magic
by E.A. Wallis Budge
cover Cat Magick
by Patricia Telesco
cover Your Magickal Cat: Feline Magick, Lore, and Worship
by Gerina Dunwich
cover The Mysterious Magickal Cat
by D.J. Conway

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Animal Herbology


Introduction to Animal Herbology


Herbal medicine is gaining popularity in Western culture. Those of us who use herbal remedies in our own lives, are also apt to use natural remedies to enhance the health of their pets. Herbal medicine is a very useful adjunct to traditional veterinary medicine, however, it is not without its own risks. Herbs that help in humans do not necessarily have the same effect on animals. And more importantly, some herbs that are safe for human consumption may kill or injure our pets. Therefore, it is essential to seek qualified professional assistance from professionals well versed in animal herbology and dosages.

I can’t stress too strongly that use of herbs or any other medical procedures on your pets without clear knowledge of what you are doing puts the lives of your animal friends at risk. Herbal and vitamin supplements can be of remarkable assistance in a well managed therapeutic regime, but you MUST make certain that you inform your veterinarian of any herbs, vitamins, or other supplements that you have administered to your pets, AND you must know what you are doing. When in doubt, speak to your veterinarian.

A note about birds: If you have pet birds, you are likely already aware how careful you must be regarding what medications are administered to them. Sometimes, even licensed veterinarians are unaware of what substances can be fatal to birds. For your bird’s health, please seek a qualified AVIAN veterinarian for advice. For safety’s sake, do not use any of the following herbs in this lesson, unless they are specifically noted as safe for birds.

This lesson is meant to supplement knowledge you have already obtained through other appropriate studies. It is not meant to in any way be a complete guide to a subject as complex as herbology for animals, so it will definitely be necessary for you to do your own research as well.

Please also be aware that even though the following herbs are mentioned in this lesson as having been used in animals with therapeutic effect, natural does not necessarily mean “safe.” It is important to purchase your herbs from reputable sources with standardized strength. It is also necessary to understand that animals, like humans, can have unforeseen allergic reactions. Whenever you administer medications of any sort to your pet, it is necessary to watch them carefully afterwards for any symptoms.

Herbs That Should NOT Be Given To Pets

Certain herbs should never be given to your pets, as they are toxic. These include:

White Willow Bark (Salix alba) – Similar to asprin, toxic to cats.


MMUNE SYSTEM STIMULATION

One of the most common uses for herbal supplements in both animals and humans is to stimulate the immune system. Keep in mind that in certain cases, such as auto immune disorders in which the body essentially attacks itself, immune system stimulation is exactly the opposite of what you want to be doing. It is important to be certain of what the problem truly is before treating it.

If, after a proper diagnosis, you wish to assist the immune system of your pet, there are several supplements that can be used:

Shark Cartilage: Shark cartilage is a traditional Chinese remedy that contains mucopolysaccharides and carbohydrates that stimulate the immune system. It can also be used as an anti inflammatory that helps with issues such as arthritis or other types of joint injuries.

Echinacea: The purple coneflower, echinacea augustifolia, and echinacea purpurea are the species of echinacea most often used as a herbal remedy. Echinacea stimulates the immune system via several different methods, and is a highly useful herb that can be used in cats, dogs, and birds. It should generally be used in conjunction with drugs prescribed by a veterinarian. Be certain to inform the veterinarian if you are using echinacea for your pet, since it could be a concern during anesthesia and recovery. Echinacea should NOT be used if your pet is suffering from lupus, tuberculosis, connective tissue disorder, FeLV, FIV or FIP. Do not continue use beyond 6 to 8 weeks, as the immune stimulation actions fade over time. You can restart therapy after a “rest” of approximately 4 weeks.

Alfalfa: Alfalfa sprouts contain many vitamins and minerals, and is generally a nutritional herb, but is also said to stimulate the immune system. Alfalfa may be used in birds.

Brewer’s Yeast: Also said to stimulate the immune system.

Seaweeds: Certain types of seaweed, such as Kelp, Kombu, Nori, and Undaria protect against some bacterial agents, as they stimulate the immune system. They have been used in birds. Be aware that Kelp should not be used in animals with autoimmune thyroid disorders.



CYSTS, ABRASIONS AND ABCESSES

As always, serious injuries should be seen by your veterinarian. For minor wounds, you can use the following herbs:

Lavender Oil: After thoroughly cleaning the wound, one drop of lavender essential oil will assist in healing. Lavender oil can also help burns heal.

Tea Tree Oil: Tea tree oil can be used after thorough cleaning as an anti microbial agent. It can also be used to bring a cyst to a head. One drop is all that is necessary. After the cyst is brought up and drained, use a drop of lavender oil to aid healing.

Aloe: Fresh Aloe gel is very useful for all animals including parrots. An additional bonus is that Aloe gel can be used as an effective pain reliever for the owners of parrots who may occasionally receive a “love bit” that is overly enthusiastic.

Epsom salts: Soaking itchy paws and abscessed nail beds in 1/2 cup epsom salts per gallon of water for 10 minutes, 2x per day will help draw out infection and relieve itchy feet.


DIGESTIVE DIFFICULTIES

Peppermint: Digestive difficulties in dogs can be treated with peppermint (mentha piperita). It is necessary to make sure that there is no underlying problem such as accidental poisoning or eating something they shouldn’t have.

Catnip and Catmint: Getting peppermint down a cat might be a challenge, since they generally don’t like mint taste. Catnip and catmint are both useful for nausea in cats. Again, make sure that your cat hasn’t gotten into something she shouldn’t have.

Ginger: Ginger works in animals the same way it does in humans. It can be used to help with gas, diarrhea, and car sickness. It can also be used as an anti-inflammatory. Ginger can be used with parrots.

Slippery Elm: Slippery Elm bark is a digestive aid for pets with nausea and constipation. It can also be used as a cough suppressant. Slippery Elm can be used with birds for coughing and vomiting, and in animals including birds externally for bites, boils, or abscesses. If a parrot is bitten or scratched by a mammal, even if it looks superficial, bring it to a veterinarian immediately, as a course of antibiotics will likely be necessary due to the parrot’s lack of natural defenses to pasturella bacteria.

Acidophilus: When antibiotics are used to treat your pet, they can kill “good bacteria” living in the gut, allowing “bad bacteria” to build up and cause problems such as gas or diarrhea. These good bacteria can also be killed by stress and illness. Acidophilus is a powdered form of the useful bacteria, lactobacillus.


ARTHRITIS AND RHEUMETISM

It is natural to get discouraged when your pet is in pain, and to attempt to use your own remedies, however, it is important to let your veterinarian know of your concerns, and let them know you are treating with natural remedies.

Dandelion: Useful in treatment of arthritis. Can be used with birds.

Perna Mussels: These muscles contain glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) that assist in building cartilage and bringing down inflammation. The mussels also contain glucosamine, which is a precursor to GAG. The perna mussel also includes a type of Omega-3 fatty acid that reduce pain and help anti inflammatory action.

Glucosamine and Chondroitin: These products are useful for both humans and animals, however, it is necessary to be very careful with figuring the appropriate dosage for pets. They can take human grade pharmaceutical glucosamine and chondroitin, however not in the same quantities as humans do. Animal supplements often are augmented with absorbic acid to help with its uptake in dogs. Special animal dosages are available through your veterinarian, or over the Internet. These compounds help to heal cartilage and reduce pain in hip dysplasia. They also assist with the pain and joint damage of arthritis in both dogs and cats. If the dosage is too high, dogs may vomit or get diarrhea. It then becomes necessary to reduce the dosage. Glucosamine and chondroitin are safe for long term use, and can be used with other drugs and vitamins.

Yucca: The yucca plant can be used to reduce pain and soft tissue swelling with minimal gastric side effects. It works by increasing the circulation in the damaged tissue, so that waste build up is reduced.


NERVOUS AND BRAIN DISORDERS

Chamomile: Because its sedative power is mild, it is useful for birds in stressful situations.

St. John’s Wort: Yes, animals can suffer from the same types of nervous disorders as humans, including obsessive/compulsive behaviors, depression, and mood swings. St. John’s Wort (hypericum perforatum) has been used to treat compulsive licking in dogs, aggression, separation anxiety, feather plucking in parrots, and neural disorders. Do not use St. John’s Wort with other antidepressant drugs. Also, do not use St. John’s Wort with animals who spend a lot of time in the sun, as large doses can cause photosensitivity.

Bach Rescue Remedy: Rescue Remedy is a combination of flower essences that can effectively be used to treat temporary anxiety, such as going to the vet. Be sure to let the vet know you’ve given this to your pet.

Ginkgo: Ginkgo is said to increase the blood flow to the brain. Humans have reported increased memory and brain function from use of Ginkgo. Animal herbalists have been using it to treat cognitive dysfunction in older animals.



EYE IRRITATION

Eyebright: As its name implies, eyebright tea can be used as a wash for eye irritation in all pets including birds.

EAR IRRITATION

Warm about one tablespoon of olive oil, and add two drops of tea tree, one drop of lavender, and one drop of chamomile. Drip into and around the ear. Do not use with parrots.

SINUS CONGESTION

Cayenne: Cayenne is the active ingredient in capsaicin. It is useful in all animals as a treatment for sinus congestion. Recommended for use in parrots as they love its taste.

DETOXIFICATION

Animals, like humans, can build up toxins in the colon and filtration organs. A mild course of detoxifying agents, such as those listed below, can be useful in treatment of other disorders.

Garlic: The anti-oxidant, antifungal and anti-parasitic properties of garlic are useful detoxifiers in all animals including birds. Garlic given to parrots should be fresh garlic, not powder. Do not use for long periods of time, as it could cause anemia.

Cinnamon: Cinnamon is a mild antifungal and anti-bacterial. It can be used on parrots.

Aloe Detox: Aloe Detox is a commercial product that is made by a company called Naturade. It has been credited with saving many parrots through detoxifying the liver.

Milk Thistle: Milk thistle seeds contain silymarin, an antioxidant that protects and is said to regenerate the liver. Very large dosages can cause loose stools.


CHRONIC CONDITIONS

Ginseng: Both Panax ginseng and Panax quinquefolius have been used to treat animals with extreme weight loss from chronic conditions such as cancer and leukemia, chronic infections, nerve disorders, and anorexia. It is said to enhance the release of insulin, so that the glucose levels in the blood decrease. Ginseng CAN cause increased blood pressure, may contribute to low blood sugar, and may pose a concern during anesthesia and recovery.

Essiac Tea: Essiac tea is said to be a natural cancer treatment, consisting of various herbs including burdock root, sheep sorrel, Turkish rhubarb root, red clover, slippery elm, and sometimes other herbs. There are several manufacturers of the product. It has been used for cats and dogs.

FURTHER WARNINGS REGARDING PARROTS

Use of non-stick cookware can be fatal to parrots. If the cookware is overheated, it can release polytetrafluoroethlyene (PTFE) gas that is rapid working and lethal. All species of birds can be affected. The only clinical sign of this poisoning generally occurs when the bird drops off its perch. Although this is not a herbal issue, it is an important safety consideration if you keep birds.

Herbal products to avoid use of with birds include:

Borage
Calamus
Chapparal
Coltsfoot
Comfrey
Ephedra
Germander
Licorice
Ma Huang
Life Root
Lobelia
Pokeroot
Sassafrass
Yohimbe



CONCLUSION:

We have a special obligation to our animal friends, to take as good care of them as is humanly possible. This includes proper veterinary care, as well as alternative medical care when warranted, in conjunction with medical professionals. Herbal remedies can be very useful, but you must do your homework. If in doubt, ask a professional.

Written by:
Rev. Mikki Barry
Master Herbalist
Global Institute For Alternative Medicine

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Dogs Cloned For Drug Sniffing Jobs


These puppies are really sweet-looking, aren't they? According to the South Korean Customs Service, the seven Labs you see here are all very good-natured dogs, highly trainable, and exceptionally good at sniffing out drugs. They should be; they've been cloned from Korea's best drug sniffing dog.

Seoul National University scientists, if you remember, created what is believed to be the world's first cloned dog, an Afghan hound named Snuppy, in 2005. The same group of scientists was responsible



for this most recent cloning of the drug sniffing Labrador retrievers, who are now being trained by the Korea Customs Service. The cloned Labs, however, have not been named individually. I guess because they all look alike, they all have the same name - Toppy - the "to" from tomorrow and the "ppy" from puppy.

Although the Associated Press (AP) reports that it cost the Seoul National University about $100,000 to clone each of the seven Labs, the expense may be worth it if the dogs turn out to be better qualified than the un-cloned dogs. Un-cloned dogs are trained for the drug sniffing jobs at a cost of $40,000 per dog, even though only three of ten dogs are actually capable of doing the job after training concludes.

Cloning technologies are being refined rapidly. You can now clone the perfect show dog, the perfect jumper, the perfect pet, and the perfect working dog. Robots are replacing humans in so many industries. Will the good old natural-born dog soon be made redundant?

AP via National Geographic.com
If you would like to see the drug sniffers in action, visit this video .


Source: InventorSpot