Welcome fellow seekers to the monthly newsletter of Spirit Of the Sycamore Tradition. A collaboration of the elders, clergy and members of our tradition. Sometimes, we have entries from the extended tribe of the Pagan community here too. If you would like to have something of yours featured, please let us know!

If you missed the previous Sycamore Spirit newsletter you can still see it here: Sycamore Spirit Newsletter #3.

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Herb/Plant Of The Month:
By Cianaodh Óg

Stinging Nettle - "Brennnessel 1". Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Brennnessel_1.JPG#/media/File:Brennnessel_1.JPG
Stinging Nettle - "Brennnessel 1". Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Brennnessel_1.JPG#/media/File:Brennnessel_1.JPG

Stinging nettles usually show up growing in the same locations every year. They love rich soil, moist woodlands, thickets, disturbed areas, along partially shaded trails and riversides. So do be careful if walking in the woods and trails as they are called stinging nettles for a very good reason. They generally grow to between 3 feet and 6 feet tall if left undisturbed in good conditions. Tiny, stinging white hairs cover the entire surface of the plant so wear thick gloves and be careful while harvesting. Boiling removes the stinging hairs though so once they are cooked they are safe to eat and taste kind of like spinach and is  is a vitamin-rich food source as well as a remedy for various medical conditions including sore muscles and joints, eczema, arthritis, gout, and anemia.

From Thomé, Flora von Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz 1885
From Thomé, Flora von Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz 1885

Stinging Nettles are not native to North America. They originated in Europe and Asia but can now be found growing throughout the continent wherever conditions are right for it. If you happen to get stung by some stinging nettle by accident rubbing the stings with stinging nettle root or jewelweed  suppresses the itching and burning sensation much like it does for poison ivy and poison oak. The skin irritation usually only lasts about a day so it's not as potent as a case of poison ivy rash.

The best parts to eat are the young, tender leaves cooked and used as a spinach substitute or in soups and other recipes. Some people even brew beer from the young shoots of the plant. It should, of course, go without saying, never eat Stinging Nettle raw! Nettle root tea can be used for medicinal purposes such as enlarged prostate and  difficulty in urination due to benign prostatic hyperplasia. Tea made from the leaves is rich in iron which can aid in blood coagulation and the formation of hemoglobin.

Meditation, a skill to be cultivated.
By Arachne Crowsinger

In Spirit of the Sycamore Tradition, we encourage our members to meditate and for good reason. Meditation isn’t just about your mental health, it’s also exercise for your brain. Being magickal people means that our most important tool in doing magick is our brain. If we have a sloppy, lazy brain, the magick doesn’t work.

Most people don’t understand that for one to truly meditate, is for one to become truly one in the moment. This is something that most people don’t achieve the first time out of the gate. It takes practice and when it is achieved, you experience something truly unique. A peace and a stillness of your mind and a sense of time dilation. Time dilation is when things appear to slow down to a crawl around you, yet you appear to be moving and acting the same as always.

Basically, what happens is that your mind reaches a state in which it is analyzing all the data being input from the five senses and is not distracted by the internal stimuli of the “what should I have for dinner’ thoughts that clutter it. This allows your brain to actively focus on your surroundings and let you ‘be in the moment’.

Now, I’m sure the minute you read the word meditate, you pictured someone sitting cross legged on the floor, going “Ohm!” over and over. Then, you probably thought, been there, tried that and that doesn’t work for me. Believe you me, I hear ya!

The truth of the matter, that a meditative state can be achieved not just by the conventional method of sitting and “ohming” until the cows come home, it can be achieved through physical activity also. Most athlete’s refer to this as the “zone”.

So, reaching a meditative state doesn’t necessarily require you to be still. Some people can reach a highly meditative state by running, others just walking in the woods. They become so focused on the physical task that they are doing, that the “noise” of daily thoughts falls away and the brain moves into the meditative state.

Don’t expect to achieve a meditative state on the first try or the fifth, it takes a while. And if your brain won’t shut up, don’t be afraid to try different things to achieve that meditative state and give your brain the exercise it needs!

The Song Of A New Day

By brother Ta'li Seabhac, 2nd degree priest of Temple Of the Standing Stones

The song of a new day
Paints over the screams of yesterday
The striking Sun
Rises above
The shadows of our face.

We create the dawn and all that
Dwells within the unmarked paths,
A simple stone
Dirt we made our own
Becomes our wild
Yet freedom home.

Beyond the oaks
The waters wait to be
Visited By the wind.
An echoed whisper
Crisp tender murmurs
The trees they come alive.

The early flyer
The tired workers
The feather leg and crawl
A voiceless reason
Season's meaning
They all wait for the call.

Prayer & Blessing Requests

We receive many requests throughout each month for prayers and blessings as members of our tribe and extended spiritual family struggle through the challenges of life as well as share in their triumphs and new journeys on their paths. Here, we ask that you add a candle to your altar or otherwise send energies to the following people who have requested prayers and blessings:

Cianaodh, an elder of Spirit Of the Sycamore Tradition and HP of Temple Of the Standing Stones shares:

I would like to ask for prayers and healing energies for our sisters and brothers of this tribe and those whose lives touch ours and are in need. I make obeisance before all the gods on your behalves.

Wahya, 2nd degree priestess and acting High Priestess of Temple Of the Standing Stones requests prayers for:

My friend Corie's husband, Andrew. He's still in the hospital battling Leukemia, and waiting for word on a bone marrow donor.
My cousin Kaylee, she's still dealing with the symptoms of Lyme Disease and doctors are refusing to diagnose her.
I'm also going to ask for prayers for our really good friend Liz and Bryan. Their daughter goes to an appointment on Monday to schedule surgery on her heart. It is enlarged, and causing her lots of breathing problems, stunted her growth a bit. It causes her to grow slower than normal. She's 5 years old.

Cat, 2nd degree priestess of Mystic Willow Coven requests prayers for:

For my dad papa Joe. He just finished last round of Chemo.

Ryn, an initiate of Mystic Willow Coven requests prayers for:

My brother in law passed away yesterday.

05/03/2016 C.E.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

TOSS = Temple Of the Standing Stones hosted events
MWC = Mystic Willow Coven hosted events
SOS = Spirit Of the Sycamore tradition events

TOSS - Clergy Day - Saturday, May 14th

Because of weather conditions our tradition ended up postponing our Beltane camp out by a week preempting our normally scheduled Clergy Day on the weekend nearest the New Moon so we are taking this weekend off to allow our families time to celebrate the birthdays of two of our tradition clergy members as well as take in the pleasures offered at Scottish Highland Games at U.T.A. in Arlington this weekend.

Temple Of the Standing Stones clergy takes the weekend nearest the New Moon off to spend time with their families and friends beyond their spiritual family as we see these bonds as very important to our growth on our path and we seek to maintain these connections.

TOSS - Full Moon Esbat- Saturday, May 21st 8pm til midnight.

Our apologies, but Esbats are open to Initiated Clergy, Spouses and Candidates ONLY as these are the times we do our personal magickal workings and hold temple business meetings. Please feel free to attend our next open event though!

Also, during the day come see us at Pagan Unity Festival at Arlington UU located at 2001 California Ln. In Arlington, Texas. Spirit Of the Sycamore Tradition will be doing the closing ritual and staffing an information booth during the day.
Workshops, Vendors, Children's Activities, Entertainment, Charity Auction and Raffles

Totally outdoor event rain or shine

This is a free community event
Bring your folding chairs or blankets for workshops and performances

Please note....This is a family friendly event..No weapons or firearms of any kind,No illegal substances, No alcohol will be permitted or tolerated on the UU grounds during this event.

The event is free

Parking is located at the school across the street and street parking is on Sprocket along the side of the school for guests

Vendors and volunteers MUST park on sprocket(street parking )so we have room at the school for guest parking.

Photography:
Always ask first

We love our fur babies, familiars and service animals and they are welcome at the event(outside only) but remember it will be hot and lots of activity and people, so it may not be a comfortable day for them. While animals are permitted, I strongly advise to only bring them if NECESSARY. They need to be on a leash at all times, The UU grounds are home to cats and other wild life. That fact needs to be respected, we don't want them chased or made to feel threatened.. And as always Please pick up after your fur baby..

You are responsible for your animals behavior.....

Do not try to approach other ppls pets without permission.
Please do not, touch, feed or distract service animals without permission.

How can you help?
Volunteer!!
Or donate ice, bottled water, canopy tents

Rain or shine

Find out more on the Facebook Event Page for Pagan Unity Fest.

MWC - Full Moon Ritual - Sunday,May 22nd at 4pm

Getting together for a Full Moon Ritual. Must have prior approval from the HPS to attend.

Address will be sent privately to attendees.

See event on Meetup - http://www.meetup.com/Mystic-Willow-Coven/events/227319303/

MORE EVENTS TO BE ANNOUNCED! Please be sure to watch our Meetup groups, Facebook pages and website calendars as more open events are planned.

If you would like to help support our efforts please consider chipping in through our Meetup Groups:

Temple Of the Standing Stones: http://templeofthestones.org/chip-in/

and

Mystic Willow Coven: https://secure.meetup.com/Mystic-Willow-Coven/contribute/
What are we up to? Find out each month (Usually first Saturday morning) by signing up to receive our newsletter by email:

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May the kindred bless and keep you,

The tribe of Spirit Of the Sycamore Tradition