Whenever I think of all the ancient traditions surrounding May Day -- a day dedicated to fertility and the imminent return of the sun -- I think of a maypole crowned with multi-colored ribbons and all sorts of wildflowers. (Not that I've ever actually had the opportunity to dance around a 'real' maypole, other than the one my Girl Scout troop in Caldwell, New Jersey made one creative year of my youth.) But I have since come to learn that the weaving and the plaiting of the ribbons around that same pole are as common a practice to this celebration as are the dancing and singing!
This makes a huge amount of sense if you understand that the symbolism surrounding this mating dance represents the union of the Goddess and her consort; the joining of the two energies to form a third entity. Now, don't think this is a stretch, because this Feng Shui cure dovetails very nicely with the energies permeating May Day, and it's even believed to lead to an eventual engagement as well.
The following May Day adjustment is most appropriate if you're single and looking for a consort of your own, or if you and your mate are trying for a baby: Take two red cords, both 18-27 inches in length, and braid them both together until they form one cord. Hang this piece on the inside handle of your bedroom door. It's as simple as that!
If you don't fall into the categories of looking for love or wanting a wee one, celebrate May Day by bringing a beautiful bouquet of fresh flowers into your space. This is a terrific way to honor the springing and blooming energies all around us right now. You can also light some seasonal sage in your space on this particular day to cleanse your home with bright and protective energies.
And finally, lest we forget, there's an old wives' tale that says if you wash your face with the first morning dew of May Day, you'll have irresistible beauty all the days of our life. Using any one or all these cures will certainly bring a spring to your step and joy to your door. And that's a very happy May Day!
With Cinco de Mayo happening the first week of this month, of course I have to think about all the fashion associated with traditional Mexican couture. One particular costume, influenced by early Spanish colonizers, eventually became a backbone of American bohemian style as well.
This puebla-style clothing for women often consists of a loose-fitting dress or blouse with a square-cut neck, and short sleeves embellished by lots of embroidery. The skirt is usually long, tiered and ruffled, and is often designed with a host of different colors expressed. Are you getting the puebla picture? Now add to all that a lace mantilla or headdress and a hand-held fan, and you've pretty much got the woman who worried over (and waited for) her warrior during the Franco-Mexican War.
But, I'll bet you don't know what so many women from cultures all over the world understand about that humble, hand-held fan -- specifically, that it's capable of protecting its holder from negative energies. In fact, in the days of ancient Oriental cultures, officials of the high court were never without their fans for this exact reason. And if the fans happened to be blessed, they were also believed to possess special powers as well! For instance, a sandalwood or red fan provided an additional (and cosmic!) layer of protection, while a golden fan simply served as a lucky charm.
Now, flash-forwarding to the present, the idea of fans providing protection from negative energies is also believed to pertain to ceiling fans as well, at least according to the philosophy Feng Shui embraces. This modality says that if you suffer from any sort of stale, stalled or stagnant energies -- no matter the season -- you should turn on every fan in the house to get good Chi moving 'round and around. (Just be careful not to sleep directly underneath a swirling ceiling fan, as this can create a cutting sort of energy around you and inflict irritation.)
And who couldn't be a big fan of that?
So many people seem to be either picking up allergies where previously none existed, or experiencing allergies that were once only seasonal in nature but now last all year round. There's no doubt that changes in the collective carbon footprint, as well as personal responses to climatic anomalies, can have repercussions on immune systems, while at the same time wreaking havoc on what used to be reliable 'allergy calendars.'
All that said, swollen nasal passages are an annual allergy-related occurrence that invariably accompany sinus outbreaks. I therefore share this next simple 'cure' with enthusiasm and encouragement!
Simply mix equal amounts of freshly grated horseradish with freshly squeezed lemon juice. (Jarred horseradish will work fine, but it's best to avoid pre-squeezed lemon juice here.) Eat a teaspoon of this concoction before breakfast, then another before either dinner or bedtime. I can attest that this alternative remedy for sinus sufferers brings long-lasting relief, as long as you commit to the routine and stick to it each and every day.
If you'd like to augment this remedy with an over-the-counter product called Nasaline, feel free. This one-two punch is a knockout to stuffiness, while it also helps decongest even the most swollen sinus cavities.
(And as always, this advice in no way precludes any you may receive from a qualified health care professional. Naturally!)
Mexican food isn't all just rice and beans, you know. Ancient Mayan traditions -- as well as French and Spanish touches -- influence a good deal of this cuisine, signaling a glorious feast of flavors. Try this simple recipe this May 5!
MEXICAN BAKED RICE
1 1/2 cups of long-grain rice
1 cup of tomato juice
2 cups of chicken stock
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/4 cup of red onion, finely minced
1/4 teaspoon of ground cumin
2 tablespoons of minced figs
1 tablespoon of pumpkin seeds
Add the olive oil to a two-quart casserole baking dish. Sautee the garlic, onion and cumin for one minute, then stir into the rice. Add all the liquids, cover and bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Toss with the figs and pumpkin seeds after all the liquids have absorbed.
Ah, springtime, when thoughts and dreams turn to flights of fancy. Unless of course, yours is stuck on the tarmac -- or worse yet, delayed indefinitely!
I hear it all the time, and I face it far too often as well: that out-of-control feeling that strikes whenever you're waiting to get airborne ... but the pilot's instructions tell you to "remain seated -- we're now 55th in line for take-off." What's a troubled traveler to do?
Just realize that there's an all-purpose, traditional Feng Shui symbol that not only promises happily-ever-after to lovebirds flying high, but also offers that same good fortune where large metal wings are concerned. It's the symbol known as 'double happiness.' Long a harbinger of a perfect mate -- and thus, the perfect marriage -- this symbol also doubles as a lucky little travel talisman as well!
Simply download and print any image of the standard double happiness symbol and take it along as your charming travel companion, as well as a sign of good luck. If you find yourself stuck in an airport where obstacles may lurk, go ahead and rub this symbol three times, from left to right. Soon enough, you'll be on a plane heading safely down a runway to your destination!
Double-happy trails to you this spring!
As long as I've known of this next 'cure,' I've annually shared it only during this magical, mystical month of May. You see, this month harbors one of those very special days on the calendar we're all prompted to celebrate ... but as in the case of this one, maybe not for the reasons you think.
It's been said that the fifth day of the fifth month (widely recognized as Cinco de Mayo) is also sometimes referred to as 'Hundred Grass Day': the only day that ordinary grass allegedly possesses extraordinary properties. The legend tells that you should rise somewhat early on that same morning and walk exactly 100 steps into a field of grass -- or if applicable, into your own yard! As you walk, you are strictly advised to not turn your head for any reason at all.
Once you've counted off your 100 steps, stop and pick exactly 100 blades of grass. Take them home and steep them in a pot of boiling spring water for at least ten minutes. After this, lower the burner's heat and let the grass and water simmer for 20 more minutes. Strain and throw the grass away, reserving the liquid essence. Boil the water once more, this time for less than five minutes; let it cool before bottling.
Use this water in your shower to repair any damage recently caused by stress, strain, worry or nerves. It has also been long believed that soaking a cool cloth in this water and placing it on your forehead during a troubling headache will immediately ease the pain.
Utilize this magic grass water the same way you'd use any sort of really lucky eau de toilette, then take note of how irresistible and in-demand you become! Mow down migraines with these blades of glory, then get out there and bloom where you are planted. Make true love grow!