Friday, June 26, 2009


I have been asked to find out more about Yarrow so here are the results of my research. Please note that I claim no expertise in the use of any herb and I recommend you seek the advice of a trained professional and your doctor before ingesting Yarrow or applying it to any part of your body. Yarrow should also not be used if you are pregnant.

Botanical name: Achillea millefolium

Other names:

  • Arrowroot
  • Bad Man's Plaything
  • Bloodwort
  • Carpenter's Weed
  • Common Yarrow
  • Death Flower
  • Devil's Nettle
  • Devil's Plaything
  • Field Hop (Swedish)
  • Gearwe (Saxon)
  • Gordaldo
  • Herbe Militaris
  • Knight's Milfoil
  • Milfoil
  • Nose Bleed
  • Nosebleed plant
  • Old Man's Pepper
  • Sanguinary
  • Soldier's Woundwort
  • Staunchweed
  • Thousand Weed
  • Thousand-leaf
  • Thousand-seal
  • Yarroway
  • Yerw (Dutch)
Common Yarrow is an herbaceous perennial plant as it lives for more than two years but the leaves and stems die down to soil level at the end of the growing season, which for this plant is at the end of spring.

Gardening uses of Yarrow include being a combatant against soil erosion and to attract butterflies, such as in a butterfly garden.

Yarrow has astringent effects (i.e. contracts the tissues or canals of the body thereby diminishing discharges) therefore has been used to stop bleeding. It is also used to make tinctures to help in the early stages of fever and in colds and flu.

As it is an emmenagogue (herb that stimulates blood flow in the uterus and pelvic area), Yarrow should not be used during pregnancy.

Yarrow is sometimes used with other herbs to intensify their medicinal properties and can help eliminate toxins from the body.

Other ailments that Yarrow is said to assist with include:
  • Amenorrhea
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Baldness (prevention, not cure)
  • Bowels
  • Bleeding
  • Blood clots
  • Blood pressure (lowers)
  • Blood purifier
  • Blood vessels (tones)
  • Catarrh (acute, repertory)
  • Colds
  • Chicken pox
  • Circulation
  • Contraceptive (unproven)
  • Cystitis
  • Diabetes treatment
  • Digestion (stimulates)
  • Dyspepsia
  • Eczema
  • Fevers
  • Flu's
  • Gastritis
  • Glandular system
  • Gum ailments
  • Heartbeat (slow)
  • Influenza
  • Insect repellent
  • Internal bleeding
  • Liver (stimulates and regulates)
  • Lungs (haemorrhage)
  • Measles
  • Menses (suppressed)
  • Menorrhagia
  • Menstruation (regulates, relieves pain)
  • Nipples (soreness)
  • Nosebleeds
  • Piles (bleeding)
  • Smallpox
  • Stomach sickness
  • Toothache
  • Thrombosis
  • Ulcers
  • Urinary antiseptic
  • Uterus (tighten and contract)
  • Varicose veins
  • Vision
Magical uses of Yarrow include:
  • Bravery
  • Break curses
  • Courage
  • Divination
  • Endurance, especially in love
  • Exorcise evil and negative enery
  • Good luck
  • Healing
  • Increase psychic powers
  • Protection
  • Restraint
Deities associated with Yarrow are the Greek God Achilles, who is said to have used it on his wounded troops in battle in order to stop their bleeding and the war God Mars due to his courage and bravery. Other associations include the planet Venus, the element of water and female energy.

Yarrow sticks have also been used for I Ching divinations, although these are commonly replaced by coins in modern times.

9 - Hermit

For those who calculate their major arcana card by their birthday as 9 The Hermit:

The Hermit represents inner reflection. He sits alone, deep in silent meditation, focused purely on his thoughts. He has separated himself from the physical world but still sits above the darkest depths of his thoughts (rather than being encompassed by the shadows of his mind) while his is illuminated by the gentle glow of the orb on top of his wand. In some decks, this wand is replaced by a lantern that illuminates a path, which is symbolic of the Hermit always working towards a positive outcome as a result of his seclusion and meditations - these are not tools of escape for the Hermit but are a healthy exploration.

Introspection allows the Hermit to take a step back from situations, which often allows for greater perspective. It can also provide a much needed moment of respite where one is feeling overloaded. One could liken this to a period of hibernation (that sounds like you, Rob-bear) and he will resurface feeling rejuvenated and restored.

The Hermit is gentle and thoughtful. He is prepared to make the effort required to work through situations, even if it does not seem immediately apparent to those around him that he is moving forward as outwardly he appears so still. He is comfortable spending time in his own mind, but is not necessarily introverted when around others.

The Hermit is capable of great focus in all aspects of his life. He prefers to analyse a situation before taking action, even if this ends up being his first instinct he is more comfortable when not rushed or pressured into decisions.

The lovely and talented Asaya-Ran also has a most excellent post on her blog about the Hermit so for a more thorough insight, pop on over to have a read and why not say 'Hi' while you're there - despite all the dragons around her, she herself does not bite *grin*

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Your Major Arcana Card By Your Birth Date

Last week we looked at working out which major arcana card you are based on your birth date.

To calculate this, add each of the individual digits from your birth date. For example, if you were born on the 21st of January 1937 (which I wasn't, just in case you were wondering), you would add 2 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 9 + 3 + 7, which would give you 24. You then keep adding the individual digits of the results until you get a number between 1 and 21 (to represent one of the 22 major arcana cards, excluding the Fool, which is zero). In the previous example, you would add 2 + 4, which would give you 6 and therefore would mean that your major arcana card is the Lovers.

As it happens, when I performed the same calculation with my real birth date, I also came up with a 6 and therefore the Lovers card.

I usually work with the beautiful Tarot of Dreams deck by Ciro Marchetti. For more information on this deck click here. This is an image of the Lovers card from this deck:

The key word for the Lovers card is relationships. While the card depicts an intimate relationship, this card can represent relationships on any level, with friends, family - even the relationship with yourself. One explanation for the symbolism of the lovers to represent all relationships is that in love all emotions are present.

In some decks, the Lovers card can represent choices. Sometimes these choices are between that which superficial or materialistic and that which is spiritual or intellectual.

In the Tarot of Dreams deck, the lovers appear behind a thin veil. This may represent the secrets we keep or the parts of us that we sometimes hide. It can also refer to a relationship with someone with whom we are completely honest and who is in our inner circle of trust - or conversely may be with someone who is the opposite of this.

The eyes of these lovers are closed and they are not facing one other, which may indicate that their minds are somewhere other than where their physical bodies are. Perhaps they are worried about what is going on in the parts of their lives that are separate from this time, that what is happening at that moment will fade with the dawn and they will have to face up to the cold realities of their day to day lives.

Even though there is an allusion to secrets, these lovers are naked and thus have bared their whole selves to one another. They have opened themselves and have revealed their vulnerabilities and while they are comfortable with their choices, they do realise there are repercussions of all of their actions.

As a card that represents me, I felt this was fairly accurate. I think that it is true that most of us can see aspects of ourselves in each of the tarot cards (hence the relevance of the tarot to people of many cultures throughout the ages and the crux of the beauty and mystery of how they work), I was quite comfortable with this card being a major player in my personality.

While I have a great need for solitude and internal reflection as does the central figure in the Hermit card (hey, if you don't like your own company then who will, right?), I have a greater need for people in my life. I tend to think that human beings are hard wired this way, although there are some exceptions to every rule and it is also true that too much of a good thing can be detrimental, such as is the case where human beings exist too closely together, although I feel that I am starting to digress here a little.

I am also hugely loving and maternal; however, my love is best expressed and nurtured in a two way interaction, as opposed to the dominant matriarchal qualities of the Empress.

I'll leave you with a poem I wrote in July 2007 about this card:

As Lovers lie with limbs entwined
Joined in flesh but not in mind
Creation of relation new
Protection through connection true

As Lovers whisper secrets shared
Their souls and bodies both are bared
Expression of obsession found
Ascension of convention bound

As Lovers know the choice they face
To rise with pride or fall from grace
Realisation of sensation kind
Vision of decision blind

Monday, June 22, 2009

Dark Oval Rings

I woke up a few times in the wee small hours last night and saw several dark oval rings like elongated halos floating near the ceiling. They were like after-images, but the room was quite dark and the ovals were even darker again. They sort of flashed around as I blinked and were gone in the morning.