The Sunday Stir April 17, 2016

A light read for your Pagan Sunday morning! 

This Week's Meme:

In the News

Weekly Horoscopes

This Week's Totem: Hawk

In nearly every indigenous tradition where animal totems are honored, the hawk is a messenger from the Otherworld. In the tradition of the Northern Celts, hawk represents nobility, leadership, remembering who we are, and remarkable visionary gifts.

Key words and phrases: Spirit messages, connecting with ancestral heritage, preparing for battle or action, being aware of all that is happening around you.

In Nature

  • The family Falconidae, which includes the Hawks, the falcons, the vultures, the kites, and the eagles — all diurnal birds of prey — numbers about three hundred and fifty species of which between forty and fifty are found in North America. The remainder are distributed through-out the world.
  • Hawks vary in size depending on the species. Smallest hawk (American Kestrel) weighs only 4 ounces. Largest hawk (Ferruginous Hawk) weighs up to 5 pounds. Females are larger than males.
  • Hawks have excellent eyesight. They can see 8 times better than humans. Their eyesight is primarily used for hunting. Hawks can locate prey from a distance of 100 feet.
  • Unlike many animals, hawks are able to see different colors.
  • During the hunt, hawks can dive 150 miles per hour through the air. They are able to catch a prey both in the air and on the ground.
  • Hawks are opportunistic feeders; they hunt and eat whatever is available. Mostly, they hunt frogs, insects, squirrels, rats, snakes, rabbits and smaller birds.
  • Hawks are monogamous animals (one couple mate for a lifetime). In the case that one partner dies, the survivor will find another mating partner.They perform a spectacular dance in the air as part of their mating ritual.  The male performs series of acrobatics in the air that may last up to 10 minutes.
  • The average lifespan of a hawk is between 13 and 20 years in the wild. Hawks live over 20 years in captivity.

Hawk as a Totem

Those who carry hawk as a totem are messengers and visionaries. They are able to walk between the worlds easily. Hawk people are very optimistic, but also very perceptive. They can see into the souls of others, and may seem to be overly direct in sharing their observations. They also tend to be very protective of those who are close to them. Typically, you always know where you stand with a hawk-person, as they are loyal, honest, and trustworthy. Engineers, teachers, inventors, writers and artists are common occupations for those who claim the hawk as their guide.

Hawk's Message

Hawk asks you to look within and without, see the bigger picture and to take courage to follow your true path.

With Hawk's keen sight, the message is to keep a weather eye out on your life. Fly higher to see the overall picture, because there are details you may be missing. Hawk is a totem of action as well. If you've been procrastinating on a project or dream, call upon Hawk to assist you in taking action.

Now is the time. It may be time to claim your birthright and honor your ancestors. Or, perhaps you know that it's time to stand up for yourself or others- if so, it's time to prepare yourself for the battle ahead. Take a 360 degree look at your life and the plans/dreams/hopes you have. Ask yourself: Am I lacking confidence? Am I allowing worry (the fear of loss) to dominate my life? Am I hesitating or procrastinating somewhere? Have I been acting too rashly without seeing the bigger picture?

Hawk can help you see what needs to be fixed and give you the tools to take proper action. Hawk awakens our vision and inspires us to create our lives according to our purpose or path in life. Pay close attention to the messages coming from the natural and spirit world at this time.

Want to learn more about your own totems? Order a Medicine Wheel Report today!

Eating with the Seasons: Spinach


It is thought that spinach was first cultivated in southwest Asia.  Trade routes through the Middle East took it to North Africa, from where it was introduced to Europe by the Moors by the twelfth century.

A cookbook belonging to King Richard II demonstrates that spinach was grown in England in the fourteenth century.

Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) is a flowering plant belonging to the family Amaranthaceae.


Spinach has a high water content and so reduces to around a quarter of its size when cooked.  Buy lots.

Keep in a plastic bag in the fridge for three to four days.

Give leaves a good wash in a sinkful of lukewarm water to remove any traces of grit (if bought from a farmers' market) or chemicals (if bought from a supermarket), changing the water two or three times.  Drain, or dry in a salad spinner if the leaves are to be eaten raw.  Cut out any thick stems.

Spinach can be steamed in the water clinging to the leaves after washing.  Give them 5 to 10 minutes in a large saucepan on a moderate heat. Sauteeing and microwaving are also good cooking methods.

Raw spinach is excellent in salads and, like watercress, has a natural affinity with bacon.  Spinach also pairs beautifully with smoked haddock and with cheese, especially feta-style.

Nutrition Facts

Spinach is store house for many phyto-nutrients that have health promotional and disease prevention properties.

Very low in calories and fats (100 g of raw leaves provide just 23 calories). Its leaves hold good amount of soluble dietary fiber and no wonder green spinach is one of the finest vegetable sources recommended in cholesterol controlling and weight reduction programs by dieticians!

Fresh 100 g of spinach contains about 25% of daily intake of iron; one of the richest among green leafy vegetables. Iron is an important trace element required by the human body for red blood cell production and as a co-factor for oxidation-reduction enzyme, cytochrome-oxidase during the cellular metabolism.

Fresh leaves are rich source of several vital anti-oxidant vitamins like vitamin A, vitamin C, and flavonoid poly phenolic antioxidants such as lutein, zea-xanthin and beta-carotene. Together, these compounds help act as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a healing role in aging and various disease processes.

Zea-xanthin, an important dietary carotenoid, is selectively absorbed into the retinal macula lutea in the eyes where it thought to provide antioxidant and protective light-filtering functions. It thus, helps protect from "age-related macular related macular disease" (ARMD), especially in the elderly.

In addition, vitamin A is required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin and is essential for normal eye-sight. Consumption of natural vegetables and fruits rich in vitamin A and flavonoids also known to help the body protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.

Spinach leaves are an excellent source of vitamin K. 100 g of fresh greens provides 402% of daily vitamin-K requirements. Vitamin K plays a vital role in strengthening the bone mass by promoting osteotrophic (bone building) activity in the bone. Additionally, it also has established role in patients with Alzheimer's disease by limiting neuronal damage in the brain.

This green leafy vegetable also contains good amounts of many B-complex vitamins such as vitamin-B6 (pyridoxine), thiamin (vitamin B-1), riboflavin, folates and niacin. Folates help prevent neural tube defects in the offspring.

100 g of farm fresh spinach has 47% of daily recommended levels of vitamin C. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, which helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful oxygen-free radicals.

Its leaves also contain a good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, magnesium, copper and zinc. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese and copper are used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Copper is required in the production of red blood cells. Zinc is a co-factor for many enzymes that regulate growth and development, sperm generation, digestion and nucleic acid synthesis.

It is also good source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Regular consumption of spinach in the diet helps prevent osteoporosis (weakness of bones), iron-deficiency anemia. Moreover, its soft leaves are believed to protect human body from cardiovascular diseases and cancers of colon and prostate.


Parmesan Spinach Cakes

12 ounces fresh spinach
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese, or low-fat cottage cheese
1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
2 large eggs, beaten
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400°F.
Pulse spinach in three batches in a food processor until finely chopped. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add ricotta (or cottage cheese), Parmesan, eggs, garlic, salt and pepper; stir to combine.
Coat 8 cups of the muffin pan with coconut oil or grass-fed butter. Divide the spinach mixture among the 8 cups (they will be very full).

Bake the spinach cakes until set, about 20 minutes. Let stand in the pan for 5 minutes. Loosen the edges with a knife and turn out onto a clean cutting board or large plate. Serve warm, sprinkled with more Parmesan, if desired.

Magical Applications of Spinach

Mostly used in kitchen witchery, spinach is a child of both Earth and Jupiter, therefore it can assist in attracting prosperity/money, spiritual strength, physical well-being, and protection.

Meditation Time

Here is your weekly meditation video. Relax and enjoy this super stress-reliever.

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