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From the Trees

This is sort of a meditation, sort of a practice of mindfulness, one I do as often as I can whenever I am in the presence of a tree, specifically the oak tree in front of my house.

When you find a tree you wish to perform this little activity with, simply observe the tree. What kind is it? How wide is it? How tall is it? How old do you think it could be? What condition is it in? How many branches does it have? Is it bearing blossoms or fruits? Gather as much of this information as you can (feel free to journal and sketch or take notes).

Once you’ve gathered as much about the tree’s appearance as you can, sit in front of it and lean back against it or simply face away from it. Take in everything around the tree. What other plants are nearby? Animals? Where is the tree located? In a yard or in a park? How close/ far is it from a water source? How close is it to other trees? Again, gather as much information as you can.

Now, look around. What does the tree see? What events might have taken place at the locations around the tree? What memories does the tree itself have? What has the tree had to do to survive? (Did it have to grow into concrete? Around electrical wires? Around a house or fence?). Take in as much as you can.

What lessons can you learn from this tree? Grow despite adverse conditions? Change with the seasons? Bend but don’t break during storms? There is a near endless possibility of lessons to learn. This mindfulness can be applied to anything within nature, then shifted to apply it to ourselves. We are, after all, a part of nature.

To me, this is one of the biggest lessons druidry has taught me. Take wisdom, find knowledge, find ways to learn from everyone and everything around me. I performed this meditation with the old oak tree (named Acornelius) in my front yard, and I find I relate very much to that tree.

I hope you all find some lessons from this act of mindfulness! Feel free to share feedback about what you’ve learned.

M.G.

The Basil Druid

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The Magic of Metal: Gold

Natural History and Folklore

The Latin name for gold is Aurum, explaining the symbol. Gold was perhaps the first metal worked by humans. It’s purity, rarity and luster have made it the most sought after of all precious metals.

Throughout history alchemists have been attempting to turn other metals into gold, without success.

Chemical Information/ Toxicity
Chemical Symbol: Au           Melting Point: 1064*C / 1947*F
Atomic Number: 79                Boiling Point: 2856*C / 5137*F

Non-toxic with no known biological roles in the body.

Physical Properties

Gold is very ductile and a fine conductor of both heat and electrical currents. It also strongly reflects infrared radiation. It is one of the four metals not silver or grey in color, holding to its reddish yellow tint. It is highly malleable, not very reactive and decently resists corrosion. Gold is greatly insoluble and only solutions of sodium, potassium cyanide and nitro-hydrochloric acid can dissolve it. Gold is extremely dense.

Practical Uses

Since ancient times, gold has been coveted for jewelry, coinage and other arts and to this day its main use remains in the making of jewelry. It is widely used in the making of corrosion free electrical connectors, especially in computers. Some gold is even used in gold salts in medicines for anti-inflammatory properties.

Magical Associations/ Uses

Gold is commonly used in making magical amulets, owing to its protective properties. It is an ideal metal to use in magic pertaining to a change in one’s status or to bring money into one’s life. Its physical properties make it a metal to use for magic of change and longevity as well. Magic for confidence, authority, creativity, hope and rituals or spells involving sun deities.

Golds weight and density could also allow it to be used in a manner of magic designed to weigh someone down, or hold them back, or bind them. It can also be used in fertility magics or added to magical or ritual workings to increase the power behind them. Due to its beauty and traditional uses, gold can be used in magic related to appearances, and glamour magic in general. Gold rings are supposedly very helpful in healing magic.

Correspondences

  • The sun
  • Money
  • Intelligence
  • Purity
  • Courage
  • Confidence
  • Power
  • Zodiac: Leo
  • Element: Fire

Alchemical Symbol

Image result for gold alchemical symbol
Fun Facts

Gold is so malleable it can be hammered into a nearly transparent thin sheet.

Gold on earth, all of it, came from meteorites 200 million years ago.

Gold and Mercury readily form an amalgam even at room temperature.

Iron Pyrite is what is known as ‘fool’s gold’

Gold has been discovered on every continent on earth.

Gold medals at the Olympics in 1912 were entirely made of gold.

The Magic of Metal: Silver

Natural History and Folklore

The chemical symbol for Silver comes from the Greek name arguros and its Latin name argentum, both of which mean grey or shining. Silver is one of the metals long associated with magic, especially healing and warding against evil. Due to its beauty, this metal has been used for jewelry and finery since its discovery.  Slag heaps in Turkey and Greece show that silver was mined as early as 3000 BC.

Chemical Information/ Toxicity
Chemical Symbol: Ag            Melting Point: 961*C / 1763*F
Atomic Number: 47                Boiling Point: 2162*C / 3924*F

Silver is considered safe for general and regular use, even internally. But regular ingestion of silver over long periods can lead to argyria, a causing a bluish-grey coloration of various parts of the body. Though some do have a natural allergy to silver.
Physical Properties

This metal is soft, grey, and reflective. It has the highest electrical conductivity of all elements and highest thermal conductivity of all metals. It is also known to have antibacterial properties. Silver is a very ductile and malleable metal. Silver does not react with air or moisture regularly, though if either of these contains sulfur, it will react.

This metal is the best natural reflector of all metals.
Practical Uses

Used mostly for coinage, jewelry and utensils. It’s electrical conductivity makes it useful in various electronics. It’s anti bacterial properties make it useful for surgical devices. Its uses in making flutes comes from the way the wind moves across its surface. Sterling silver is an alloy of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper, making it harder than regular silver, and some are plated with a finer silver to make it appear more beautiful.

Silver coated band-aids are believed to reduce the liklihood of infection. Colloidal silver, or a liquid suspension with silver particulates in it, is sometimes marketed as a panacea. It is also used in the production of solar power equipment, air conditioning, photography, dentistry and water purification.
Magical Associations/ Uses

Silver has long been associated with healing magic and warding against evil. Protection magic often uses silver, and many mythical creatures seen as impure (werewolves, vampires, etc) have always been said to have a great weakness to silver.

This metal has a long standing use as a purifying element, traditionally used in treating illnesses, contagions, and wounds. Water kept in a silver container or with silver coins in it was often given to patients or used to wash their wounds. Wearing silver jewelry heals the body and calms the mind as well as to draw negative energy away from a person, making way for positive energies.

Some traditions connect silver to the sixth chakra. It is considered a reflective metal magically, just as it is in appearance. Its conductivity makes it a good metal to use in any sort of channeling magic. It can also be use in offensive magic, i.e. a silver bullet ideology.  Its beauty makes it a good metal for glamour magic.

Correspondences

  • Intuition
  • Wisdom
  • Purification
  • Balance
  • Beauty
  • Truth and trust
  • Psychic abilities
  • The moon
  • Element: Water
  • Zodiac: Cancer & Aquarius
  • Deity: any moon goddess

Alchemical Symbol

Image result for silver alchemical symbol
Fun Facts

Pound Sterling, the currency of the UK, was once equal in value to one pound of silver.

Before digital photography, 30% of all silver produced was used in photography

In the US, an alloy can only be called silver if it has at least 90% silver

It is believed to be one of the oldest metals, discovered around 5000 BC

At least 14 languages share a word for silver and money

The Magic of Metal: Lead

Natural History and Folklore

It is the heaviest of the base metals. Lead items found in archaeology are often entirely unbroken and many of the pipes in some European cities are the same lead pipes put in place by the ancient Romans. Alchemists once believed they could turn lead into gold.

The Latin word for lead is Plumbum, which is where the symbol for lead (Pb) came from. The Greeks mined it and it has been used for more than 6000 years.

Chemical Information/ Toxicity
Chemical Symbol: Pb              Melting Point: 327.5*C / 621.5*F
Atomic Number: 82                 Boiling Point: 1749*C / 3180.2*F

Wearing anything made of lead over a long period of time will cause it to react with oils in the skin and will be absorbed into your body. It is not toxic to hold for short periods of time, however.

Physical Properties

Lead is not a pretty metal, and tends to block out light and sound. It is a poor conductor of both heat and electricity. Lead is soft and ductile. Melts easily over open flame. Lead has a bluish white color but will tarnish to grey when exposed to air. Lead is very corrosion resistant. Lead is also used on occasion to store corrosive liquids. It has no known biological role, but if it builds up in the body it can be lethal and cause serious health problems.

Practical Uses

The largest use of lead today is in lead acid batteries. It is also used in various consturction industries, and in the manufacture of ammunition, the use of solder in electronics. In machining, it is mixed with brass to reduce the wear on the material.

Magical Associations/ Uses

Lead can be used in magic for connecting with oneself, protection, meditation, stability and grounding. It can be used in binding magic as well, specifically for binding and controlling negative behaviors and thoughts. Lead is also good for communicating with spirits and the underworld.

This metal is also good for magical workings involving learning, and safe travel. Lead is also a great metal for divination, especially in pendulums. As it blocks out sound and light, this metal is good for making barriers against all kinds of energy. Due to its toxic nature, it can be used in curses and other maledictions as well as the inverse, the reversal of such magics.

Correspondences

  • Transformation
  • Resurrection
  • Protection
  • Steadiness
  • Element: Fire
  • Planet: Saturn
  • Deity: Saturn / Chronos
  • Zodiac: Capricorn and Aquarius
  • Element: Earth
  • Grounding

Alchemical Symbol

Image result for lead alchemical symbol

Fun Facts

The ancient Romans made pipes from lead

Plumbum is also the source of the word Plumber

Once used widely in paint, its toxicity has long since stopped that

Half the lead produced is used for automobile batteries

There is no lead in lead pencils, it is actually graphite

The Magic of Metal: Mercury

Natural History and Folklore

Mercury is also known as quicksilver and was known historically as mercurius vivens or ‘the living mercury’ do to the fact that it still moves around as the temperature changes, even slightly. It has been found in tombs in China, Egypt and India. The Greeks used it to treat skin conditions and it was used to treat syphilis in the Middle Ages. It was also once used in women’s cosmetics, which of course proved fatal.

It was used in thermometers for the longest time, despite its toxicity. Ir rarely occurs alone in nature, usually in cinnabar as droplets. Its earliest use can be traced back to 1500BC, as use in adornments in Egyptian tombs.

Chemical Information/ Toxicity
Chemical Symbol: Hg           Melting Point: −38.829*C / −37.892*F
Atomic Number: 80              Boiling Point: 356.619*C / 673.914*F

Mercury is very toxic, so most of its uses are phased out or are under review.
Physical Properties

Mercury is one of the heaviest metals known to man and is a liquid at room temperature. It is an anomaly among the other metals, as it only reacts to heat, though it does not conduct it. It is not hard or malleable, making it unable to be scratched, shaped or bent. It works as an excellent conductor of electricity when it is frozen.

It has no known biological role, though it is found readily in the environment and in every living thing.

Practical Uses

Its mot notable usage might be that is was used in thermometers. It is now use mainly as a catalyst in the chemical industry, though it is also used in electrical switches. It is also used to make alloys called amalgams.

Magical Associations/ Uses

Since it is dangerous to use, it is often replaced with silver. Mercury and its replacements can be used in metal for change, communication, and progress. Mental clarity, learning, and being persuasive are some reasons to use mercury in magic. It can be used in glamour magic as well, but you should not have any direct physical contact with this metal.

This metal can be used in magic for luck, in scrying magic. Since it is so poisonous, either silver or aluminum can be used in its place.
Correspondences

  • Serpents (due to the way it moves)
  • Change
  • Life, death and decomposition
  • Luck
  • Deity: Mercury/ Hermes
  • Planet: Mercury
  • Zodiac: Gemini and Virgo
  • Element: Water. Earth and Air

Alchemical Symbols

Image result for mercury symbol
Fun Facts

It is highly poisonous

Hg, the symbol comes from the Greek hydrargyrum

Quicksilver comes from its mobility

It is useful in extracting gold from rocks

Mercury weighs 13.6x as much as the same amount of water

It is the only metal that is a liquid at room temperature