CoExist Bumper Sticker Give Away!

This is what I hope to be one of many giveaways! One lucky winner will receive a RED COEXIST BUMPER-STICKER! ANY a free Pagan Pack as well...


You can earn one entry for each of the following actions:
  1. Follow The One Witch's Wonderland Blog
  2. Follow The One Witch's Wonderland Blog by Email
  3. Follow The One Witch's Wonderland FaceBook Page
  4. Follow SabrinaMBowen (OWW owner & writer) on Twitter
  5. Use buttons at bottom to Share this on FaceBook (post a link to the post in comments)
  6. Use buttons at bottom to Share this on Twitter (post a link to the tweet in comments)
Post below (in comments) for each entry. Winner will be chosen at random!

Good Luck!

Winner to be pulled May 1st!

Belief O Matic Results

If you've never taken the Belief-O-Matic test, it's so awesome! For me, and most people I've talked to, it's 100% on track. Plus, it's just fun! But it gives you the chance to see not only what religion your beliefs most align with, but also where you stand overall in the religious world.

Here is the test if you want to take it your self.

And here's my results!
1.  Neo-Pagan (100%)
2.  Mahayana Buddhism (81%)
3.  Unitarian Universalism (79%)
4.  New Age (76%)
5.  Jainism (72%)
6.  Reform Judaism (70%)
7.  Hinduism (65%)
8.  Liberal Quakers (65%)
9.  Sikhism (61%)
10.  Theravada Buddhism (60%)
11.  Baha'i Faith (57%)
12.  Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (54%)
13.  Orthodox Judaism (53%)
14.  New Thought (48%)
15.  Scientology (46%)
16.  Secular Humanism (46%)
17.  Islam (43%)
18.  Taoism (39%)
19.  Orthodox Quaker (38%)
20.  Nontheist (26%)
21.  Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (22%)
22.  Eastern Orthodox (20%)
23.  Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (20%)
24.  Roman Catholic (20%)
25.  Seventh Day Adventist (19%)
26.  Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (18%)
27.  Jehovah's Witness (10%)

No surprises here!

Wind Moon

In April, the thunderstorms of March are beginning to subside, and the wind picks up. Seeds are being blown about on the breezes, spreading life all around from one place to the next. In fact, this lunar cycle is often known as the Seed Moon. Trees have buds on them, spring daffodils and tulips abound, and the birds are nesting once more. Much like March, this is a time of conception and fertility and new growth.

Correspondences:

Colors: Bright primary colors -- red, yellow, blue -- and their combinations
Gemstones: Quartz, selenite, angelite
Trees: Hazel, forsythia, lilac, willow
Gods: Ishtar, Tawaret, Venus, Herne, Cernunnos
Herbs: Dandelion, milkweed, dogwood, fennel, dill
Element: Air

This is a good time to work on magic related to new beginnings. Looking to bring new love into your life, or conceive or adopt a child? This is the time to do those workings. It's the time to stop planning, and start doing. Take all those ideas you've had brewing for the past couple of months, and make them come to fruition.
Also Known As: Seed Moon

Are Natural Disasters Proof of God's Wrath?

First I want to say that I do hope and pray that all of my readers as well as their loved ones are all safe and happy today. I hate to say I was thankful to hear there were only 47 deaths in all this, but when we are talking about over 240 confirmed tornadoes, 47 deaths is without doubt a blessing.


I have been hearing over and over again how these natural disasters are God's Wrath for humanity. And I have to say it's hard not to think that at times. I was raised in a strict Jehovah's Witness family and when I see things like this the first thing that comes to mind is their teaching that Natural Disasters "one after another" will usher in "the end." But then I think, this happens EVERY YEAR and it has been happening every year for MILLIONS of years!

On average, 1000 tornadoes hit the US yearly. Although records for tornadoes only go back to 1950, we have enough data to understand that the numbers aren't growing in any significant way as to predict any "end." It's also worth noting that there is an average of only 60 deaths per year from Tornadoes in the US. And I have to guess that if God were to use natural disasters to assert his power and wrath over humanity, there would be quite a few more deaths than 60...

But what about the Earthquakes? Floods? Hurricanes? Wild Fires??? Again, if you do even the slightest amount of research on the numbers you'd see there were over 21,000 Earthquakes last year, only a fraction of those were even able to be felt by the general population, let alone strong enough to cause damage. In fact out of those 20,400+ earthquakes in 2010 there were less than 200 that were even above a 6.0 Magnitude. And if you were to compare the numbers over the last decade you'd see that the numbers are NOT growing, but actually staying about the same, with an overall average of 26,250 earthquakes a year...

The pattern is nearly identical for Hurricanes. However, I will say that the number of Floods and Wildfires IS growing. But it's easy to see why, and it has nothing to do with God or his wrath, it's more likely to have to do with Man and his greed! It's been purely inconceivable to human kind for the last 300 years that they should put the earth first. We have gone as far as to redirect rivers, clear entire forests and literally hollow out mountains in our search for the bigger and better life. At this point we should all know that when we fight Mother Nature, we force her to fight back...

I also like to think that Natural Disasters are the Gods way of bringing us together. Natural Disasters are exactly that, Natural and Disasters... Death and Destruction from the hand of Gaia. But are these disasters always horrid? Well, yes, of course they are for those who lose loved ones. BUT, lets think for a moment what these disasters do long term. They create stronger bonds in families, friends and communities. They impress upon us exactly how much we need to care for our Earth Mama and get more and more people and companies on board with a natural lifestyle. And of course they bring the best out in all of us. Simply put, they remind us all how sacred and fragile life truly is, and they bring us together on the side of life, love and nature in ways that nothing else can.  So while it's easy to see that these Disasters are not proof of any "Wrath" of the Gods, maybe they are in fact the Gods way of helping us, help each other...  Blessings often come in strange bundles!

Morals & Religion

This seems to be a subject which is rather popular now a days, although I find it rather silly. To me the notion that one needs religion in a way to be a good person is simply ridiculous. None the less, it's one that many people seem to embrace. This, I believe, is due to an upbringing around organized religions which carry seemingly extreme punishments for what they deem to be "immorality.". I have yet to come across anyone whom grew up without a strict religious upbringing who had this view, still, it's one I felt could use some touching on.

Religions all around the world have their own ideals and beliefs about morals. For most Wiccan or Pagan paths the "religious" moral code is limited simply to "Harm None." Beyond that, it's left up to the individual to decide what is or isn't "moral."  Other religious paths impose lengthy lists of "laws" meant to impose an identical moral code upon each of it's followers, even going as far to decide what type of hair styles are appropriate at times.

But is religion or even spirituality really needed in order to understand morals? To me, common sense says NO. I know many an Atheist who are simply good people, some of which even have a stricter idea of what morals are than I do.

In addition to religious teachings about right and wrong, we also have secular teachings. These teachings come to us in the form of laws, and cultural norms.

And while just about every religion out there teaches not to kill, we obviously don't need religion to teach us that it's wrong to do so. My four year old will tell you it's bad to kill people - and he has no concept of religion, legal reasoning or cultural norms. So this says to me, it's simply common sense, and something which is generally born within us. From the time we are able to understand that other people hurt we can understand that we shouldn't be the cause of that hurt.

So why would it be necessary for us to have a religion to spell these rules out? Well, fortunately, for the majority of us, we don't. But, since there has been two of any creature (including us) there have been bad choices! Murder, Rape, Robbery and other Abuses have been a part of culture since there has been culture. And in times where religion was intertwined with government the rules of the land and the rules of the faith were one in the same. If we read through the Old Testament of the Bible we are in fact going to read the Laws that the Israelites were legally bound to follow. Those religiously imposed laws were in fact no different than our secular legal codes today. Because of the fact that there will always be those (with or without religion) who are willing to put their morals aside in order to do what they choose regardless of the pain it causes, we have to have laws about what is and isn't okay in society. And since the majority of religions in our world today at least have ties to older or even ancient belief systems, it's easy to understand why so many of them come equip with their own brand of moral codes and rules, as they were needed to aid the governing of cultures past.

All that said, today, government and religion are separate entities - at least they are meant to be. Those with religion simply have an increased reason for positive living beyond what the laws of the land require. But by no means does that mean that those who are without religion are lacking morals. It simply means they are being good people, which I honestly believe is something ingrained in all of us - religion or not! At heart, we all want to be at our best.

I think it's also worth noting that religion has more of a tendency to excuse decent morals than non-religion does. Legally it's ALWAYS wrong to murder. However, within some religions it's not only okay but required under some circumstances...  For example, in more strict Islamic Religions women who have sex prior to or outside of the marriage bed are to be stoned to death by their husbands or their fathers in order for the family to cleanse themselves of her "shame." In a religion free society this simply would NOT be acceptable, and most governments today do not allow such things. But never the less it does and is happening today.

So maybe we shouldn't be asking if one can have morals without religion. Maybe we should be asking if someone can excuse not having them simply because of religion... As I see it, religions talk a good talk, but they lack when it comes to walking the walk. Religious wars and religiously supported genocide, murder, rape, theft, oppression and abuse have been documented since the beginning of religion. So while the worlds religions make a big deal out of teaching morals, it seems as if their morals have "loopholes" to them. Many religious beliefs even come along with myths teaching that God himself has seduced or impregnated young girls or virgins by means of trickery, force or simply without asking... Yet many of these same religions also teach very conservative dress codes, strict gender identity and even sexuality denial... 

So after looking at both sides of the question... My answer is still a firm NO, Religion is not required to have morals. If anything, morals are better taught without religion. Religion tends to impose a belief in simply following rules or religious laws, even when they work against basic moral codes, while secular morals will lack many of these "grey areas."

Of course, I have to note that NOTHING is ever black and white, including morals...  In the end, what's important is now where your morals come from, but that you don't ignore them. If you believe something is wrong - DON'T DO IT! It's that simple... Religion or no... Follow what your heart tells you is right and wrong and you'll always be on the right side of life!

Green Cleaning for Dummies - Week 8: Final Week

**Green Cleaning for Dummies is an 8 week series
WEEK 8:  You've Come A Long Way Baby!

You Can Consider Yourself a Tree Hugger!

So you should be at intermediate level now and you are well on your way to making more green changes in the weeks to come.   Here are a few more recipes for you to add to your arsenal.   These are the last friends you will meet in this series:  Aloe and Witch Haze.

Recipe:  On the Go Lemony Fresh Sanitizing Handwipes

1/4 cup alcohol (or substitute with one or two drops of tea tree oil)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup aloe juice (optional)
1/2 lemon juiced
Paper Towels cut to size and folded, or reusable flannel/cotton cloth
Sealable ziptop plastic bag or small flat tupperware

Mix all the ingredients and paper towels/cloths and seal in a flat tupperware container or a small jar.  Your container should be small enough to be easily portable and stored in a purse, diaper bag, or glove compartment.  This is meant for travel cleaning on the go.       Paper towels is a convenience but you can buy recycled ones to compensate, using cloth requires you to take care to have a place to toss the used ones (easy to do, just keep a small toss bag in the car or diaper bag)


Recipe:  Easy Soothing Baby Wipes

2 cups of witch hazel
1 cup aloe vera juice
Paper towels or reusable cotton/flannel cloths

Find a suitable container to your liking (a big one for the home and a small flat one for on the go).    Mix well and use like regular commercial wipes. 

Baking Soda and Vinegar Parting Tips:
  • To deter ants:  Sprinkle baking soda along ant paths outside the home and spray crevices with vinegar.
  • To kill weeds in cracks and crevices:  Spray with straight vinegar
  • To clean tools and pots:  Mix baking soda and vinegar into a paste, schmear on your tools and garden pots, rinse clean, and dry thoroughly.
  • To keep outdoor cushions fresh:  Store in bags sprinkled with baking soda before storing for the season.
  • To freshen the dog:  Sprinkle baking soda on fur, leave for a few minutes then brush off (best done outside!)
  • To remove fleas:  Wash dog or cat in a solution of vinegar and water.  Don't rinse -- let air dry.
  • To freshen pet beds:  Sprinkle with baking soda, let sit for an hour or more and vacuum clean.

COOL TIP:  Put large bay leaves strategically in your cabinets to deter bugs.   I have bay leaf "bits" in open mini preserve containers in the corners of my cabinet labeled  Bug-B-Gone.

Green Cleaning for Dummies - Week 7: Armed & Dangerous

Pictured: Pomander
Assortment
**Green Cleaning for Dummies is an 8 week series
WEEK 7:  Armed and Dangerous...
Let's Freshen Up!

First a Recap  of your Prepared Arsenal:

1. Baking soda and 50% Vinegar in all bathrooms and the kitchen
2. Baking soda, vinegar, washing soda, and sodium per-carbonate in the laundry room
3. All Purpose Cleaner
4. Bathroom Disinfectant Cleaner
5. Dishwashing Mix
6. Carpet Deodorizer
7. Furniture Polish
8. Furniture Duster/Cleaner

Purchased Detergents/Soaps

1.  Earth friendly laundry detergent
2.  Earth friendly dish soap
3.  Earth friendly regular soap

What's Next?
1.  Replace your toothpaste with a SLS free kind
     or with a mix of equal parts baking soda/salt and xylitol to taste if desired
2.  Replace your shampoo with detergent free
     or baking soda and vinegar
3.  Get rid of all commercial air fresheners


Stove Top Air Freshener

In a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water heat until hot cinnamon sticks, cloves, all spice, or nutmeg in any single spice or combination desired.   Once hot, turn off and the house will smell of spice.


Recipe:  Ginger Spice Spray Air Freshener

1 cup water (or 1/2 cup water 1/2 cup vinegar)
1-3 cinnamon sticks
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Mix well in a small spray bottle and spray wherever desired.


Recipe:  Scent Essence Air Freshener

1 cup water (or 1/2 cup water 1/2 cup vinegar)

Your Choice:
Lemon Extract (or lemon juice/zest)
Lime Extract (or lemon juice/zest)
Vanilla Extract (or vanilla bean)
Almond Extract

Mix well in the concentration desired in a small spray bottle and spray wherever desired.


Recipe (Advanced):  Closet and Drawer Freshener Pomander Ball

What you need:

1.  An orange (something with thin skin not thick!) or another citrus fruit.
     Apples also work nicely.
2.  Whole cloves
3.  2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
4.  2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
5.  2 teaspoons allspice
6.  2 teaspoons orris root powder OR sandalwood oil  (essential)
7.  A nail or embroidery needle about the width of the clove stems

** you may use any spice pre-mixture you want.  Apple Pie Spice, Pumpkin Pie Spice, Garam Masala, etc.**

Prick holes in the fruit in a desired pattern.  The most common is up and down rows, but you can get fancy.   Insert cloves into the holes about 1/8 of an inch apart.     Mix the spices in a bowl and roll the fruit in it until it is completely covered (use the leftovers to make more pomanders).   Put the fruit into a paper bag and keep in a cool, dry, dark place for three weeks to six weeks so that it can shrink and harden (it won't mold because of the orris root powder).    When cured properly it will be light and sound hollow if tapped on a surface.   If you use sandalwood oil paint the fruit with the oil (you don't need a lot) then roll into the spices.

Toss into a drawer or attach a pretty ribbon with pins to the dried pomander and hang in a closet or wherever you want a nice scent.   You can also affix a ribbon or string to the top of the fruit first and then put in the cloves.   If you want to wrap the ribbon around the fuit, use masking tape the width of the desired ribbon to mask off an area before studding with cloves.  Pomanders keep indefinitely.   To freshen the smell of a very old pomander, brushing it with orange oil or clove oil will keep it going. 

Check out what else I'm writing!