The Power of Basil

Lots of gooooooooood stuff and pooooooowah in Basil. It will help you with flatulence (that’s shmancy for gas) and no, I did not mispell poooowah (power) or shmancy (fancy) either *winks*.

But getting back to Basil and how it can wish away stomach upset, relieve you of nasty tension, has antibacterial agents, and EVEN help with insomnia. Bet you didn’t think of that the last time you scooped a fork full of your favorite Italian dish smothered with something- basil, which is usually what tomato dishes use. However, basil goes great with other things like meat, poultry, salads, and soups.

Basil has a secret to its mighty taste and health punch—which triggers the production of saliva which then in turn helps the body digest food more easily. Basil can increase the appetite (great for children or elderly who have lost theirs) and it can help clear the nasal passages of nasty mucus and of disease-ish bacteria. SHAZAM!

How can Basil be so very awesome? Why its because of its many essential oils,  cartotenoids, and folic acids. It contains methyl chavicol –good, good stuff. If you are sprinkling a dried mix, no fear, because even that has calcium, iron, and potassium.

Now, you can DRY Basil by hanging it in a dark cool place or you can FREEZE Basil by pureeing it up in a blender, putting it in a ice cube tray, sprinkle a bit of water, freezing the cubes, them wrap them in a freezer bag and drop a cube for whatever use. You can use fresh basil because its VERY easy to grow on a window seal and will release a nice fragrance throughout the home. Not only will it help purify the air but flies, mosquitoes and nats hate the stuff!

You can make a wine to help with digestion —simply steep a small bunch of fresh basil leaves in a bottle of your favorite white wine for a total of 24 fabulous hours. Strain the greens out, and then pop the wine in the fridge. Every time you eat (preferably after), drink a 4 ounce glass.

To pizzazz your inflaming and irritated bladder or kidneys, pour one cup of piping hot water over 2 teeny weenie tsps of basil and birch leaves. Let that stuff soak for a total of 10 minutes, drink it down 3 times a day until your horrible symptoms disappear.



C.H. Scarlett

Win an Autographed Copy of THE GODDESS GUIDE!

Hey All!

I’m having a giveaway for my nonfiction reference book!

You can enter to win an autographed copy of my book “The Goddess Guide: Exploring the Correspondences and Attributes of the Divine Feminine” by clicking here.

ISBN 9780738715513 – Paperback, 336 pp. $16.95
Available June 1st 2009 – Llewellyn Publications

For anyone who’s ever wondered which form of the Divine Feminine to invoke for a particular ritual, blessing, prayer, or meditation, The Goddess Guide is a goddess-send! As the first and only book of its kind on the market today, this invaluable at-a-glance cross-reference offers instant info on more than 400 goddesses from diverse cultures around the world, organized by their names, attributes, colors, elements, sabbats, light and dark feminine aspects (maidens, mothers, and crones), and geographical regions.

The contest ends March 29th, 2010 at 11:59pm.

The winner will be chosen by a random drawing, and announced on March 30th,  2010.

Good luck!

Experiencing the Paranormal through the Eyes of a Child

The Innocence of a Child

As a child, I grew up in a household where the paranormal was an everyday experience. We never really talked about it, but being inquisitive and opinionated (my mother used to tell me my curiosity would be the death of me) I wanted to ask questions. Of course, the answers I wanted were not forthcoming from my parents and as I became a teenager I read voraciously, tested the waters on my own, and pretty much scared the crap out of myself. I shut down until I was well into my twenties and couldn’t continue hiding who I was.

This isn’t about me though. This is about seeing the paranormal through the eyes of my best friend and cousin’s son. This kid came into the world opinionated and has not shut up since. It wasn’t until he was three that I began to notice things that had me wondering if he like much of our family (my mom and his grandma were sisters) had a bit of what Stephen King referred to as the Shining.

Shortly after his fourth birthday, his family moved into the house where he and his mother still reside and I finally concluded that he had indeed inherited the family gift. We all knew that the house, a nice little two story built in 1903, had an unseen visitor. Again, as when I was kid, it remained a secret in mixed company and I believe the reason was because my cousin didn’t want her son to be scared. See that’s where adults make a mistake. Fear does not come natural for children it’s a learned behavior.  Although, I was sure that he was aware I never mentioned it to his mother because I figured that any mention of it would send her into a panic. I changed my mind after a particularly grueling afternoon of babysitting.

As children are apt to do they enjoy it if you get down on their level and play. He always liked to play camping when he was little. We’d string up some yarn across my bed, hang a blanket to make a tent, and spend hours goofing around in that tent. On this occasion, he told me he had to go to the bathroom, left the tent, and went to the bathroom. After an exorbitant amount a time, he exited the bathroom, and I asked him what took so long, visions of a full roll of toilet paper plugging up my toilet dancing in my head. He screamed as loud as he could and stomped his foot, “SHUT UP!”

Of course, having a four year old scream at you and tell you to shut up, your first reaction is to discipline the kid. When I told him not to tell me to shut up he looked at me as if I were an idiot and said, “I’m not talking to you.” Then he burst into tears, real tears, not the fake crying that some kids will use to get out of trouble. I was shocked at this outburst because it was so uncharacteristic of him.

He crawled onto the bed, into my arms, and proceeded to tell me he was talking to the footsteps; a chill swept through me and instantly I knew what he was trying to tell me. I asked him what the footsteps wanted and he said they wanted to talk to him, but he didn’t want to talk to them. I explained that he just needed to tell them to go away. He said he tried, but they wouldn’t listen to him and maybe they would listen to me. I ask him where they were and he pointed at the corner of the room. When I focused on that spot, I felt the presence that had scared him witless. Taking a deep breath I stared at the spot mustering as much conviction as I could, “You need to leave you’re scaring him and he doesn’t want to talk to you.”

After a few minutes, the presence seemed to fade away and he looked up at me with a smile. “You made them go away. They never listen to me, you chased them away.”  His entire demeanor changed and for the remainder of the day he acted as if nothing had happened.

When his mother came to pick him up, I told her I needed to speak with her in private. As I explained what had happened she slumped against the wall and shook her head telling me she’d thought it was just their house. This confused the hell out of me. She explained she’d heard him talking upstairs in his room numerous times and decided to ask whom he was talking to up there. His answer was always my friend. When she asked him who his friend was, he would just say the man. When she asked if she could talk to his friend he’d giggle and tell her that she couldn’t see him so how would she talk to him. She’d tried to write it off as the imaginary friend thing, but now she knew better.

As he got older, he would ask me questions whenever I visited about what happened when you died. I’d tell him no one truly knows and would direct him to his mom. His mom would laugh and say it’s okay if you want to talk to him about it. I’d tell him what different people believed and told him that he would have to decide for himself what he believed. One of my favorite questions he asked me happened the Thanksgiving he was eight.

“Did you know there’s a ghost living in our house?”

I glanced at his mom and she shrugged. I smiled at him and replied, “Yes, I know about him.”

He went on to ask me how I knew it was a man. Had I saw him? Had he talked to me? I was honest with him and explained that I didn’t see ghosts, but that I could sense them and sometimes hear them. His reply was, “So, God made you so you know the ghosts are there.” Again, I was honest and told him yes. He nodded sagely, said he could do that too and then wandered off to play. He didn’t seem bothered by any of this and it made me smile to know that he wasn’t afraid anymore.

One of the funniest moments was a couple of years later when we went to see the movie The Messengers. He’s fascinated with ghost stories and he drove his mom nuts until she agreed to take him to see it. On the way home, his mother and I were discussing the movie when from the backseat he suddenly piped up with the following.

“I don’t know why those people were scared of the ghosts. Ghosts won’t hurt you. They’re just lonely and they hang out and watch us like the man in our basement.”

His mother nearly wrecked the car.

I blinked and looked at her and then him, “You didn’t tell your mom about that?”

Her eyes got as huge as saucers and she demanded to know what he was talking about and why I knew when she didn’t. Shrugging he replied that when they’d went into the basement to get the Christmas tree and the decorations that he’d seen the man standing in the corner watching them. He explained he hadn’t said anything to her because he didn’t want her to be scared because the man isn’t a scary man mommy. She told him she wouldn’t have been scared and he rolled his eyes and stated, yes you would have mommy, because you think ghosts are scary, but they’re just people without bodies.

Experiencing these things through his eyes over the years has made me more receptive to my own ability to sense spirits. We lose an innocence of spirit as we age, grow, and learn fear of death and what waits for us on the other side. Because of him, I’ve rediscovered some of that innocence. He’s thirteen now and hasn’t mentioned the man for some time although we both know, through conversations, that he’s still aware and that he knows he can’t tell just anyone about what he’s seen. He’s a smart kid and I honestly believe that part of the reason he doesn’t tell his mother certain things is that he is trying to protect her.

Someday I hope he can share that part of himself with her.

Doubly Damned?

Many of the writers here at pagan and pen are not only pagan, but also writing in the erotica genre. In terms of our scope for being disapproved of, this really is a double whammy.

Now add in being a parent.

Mainstream culture still equates innocence with ignorance, steadfastly clings to the notion that children are non-sexual beings (which isn’t so, many children form their sexual identities, preferences etc young). Exposing children to human nudity (at for example pagan camps, some allow it) is seen by some folk as tantamount to child abuse. Mainstream culture happily bombards young folk with sexual images in advertising, but still frowns on talking to them about it in any kind of meaningful ways. Pop music is frequently rife with innuendo, but we’ve all heard the stories about intelligent books being banned, and difficulties on teaching responsible lessons on sex and relationship in classrooms.

I love that fact that paganism doesn’t treat sex as dirty, shameful or sinful. To us, it’s a natural, spiritual, beautiful thing that should be celebrated. We write about it with enthusiasm. At the same time, we inhabit the world where fear dominates. Collectively as a specious, we are very afraid when it comes to children. The laws of the land I live in seem increasingly inclined to wrap them in cotton wool, limit their access to adults, deny them the learning experiences that come from taking risk, and make sure they are in no way equipped to deal with the adult world.

Children need to learn in supportive environments, where questions can be answered and fears assuaged. I remember having my innocence ‘protected’ by people who withheld information, and how terrified I was by the idea of things so horrendous that no one would talk to me about them. Ignorance is not the same as innocence, and most certainly is not bliss.

My philosophy has always been that if a child is old enough to ask a question, they are old enough to need an answer. You have to pitch it at a level they can understand. Smart kids who learn about nature figure out a lot about reproduction, and they do it early. My son knows a few of the technical issues, and is relaxed about them. No longer frightened if he finds a spot of blood in the bathroom. No longer confused about where life comes from. It’s better that way, I think.

He has also asked about what I write. Sometimes I write non-erotica things I can share with him – so I do. He knows there are things that I won’t share with him yet because he’s not ready for them, and currently he’s happy to accept that as an answer. One day, he will ask me why, and I will try and explain in a way that makes sense to him. I know people who would be horrified by this and accuse me of corruption, being irresponsible, a bad parent, a bad person. Perfectly aware that if I wrote murder mysteries, no one would make anything of it.

I think the more afraid we become on behalf of the young humans, the more risk we run of harming them. We teach them that fear. Yes, there are terrible things in the world, but we can’t protect our children from those things by pretending they don’t exist. Nor can we keep them safe by overprotecting them, because they won’t learn the life skills they need for adulthood. Ignorance only serves to breed fear and reinforce it. Treat them like small people as much as you can, not like a separate species. Let them learn and grow at their own pace. Don’t try and protect them from everything. Life is to be lived, and risk is part of life. Sex, after all, is what got them here, and they have an interest in understanding themselves. Respect them, give them truth when they need it.

 And so I am pagan, parent and writer of erotica, and not at all ashamed of that combination.