Do you know what smudging is?
Smudge sticks are tightly bound bundles of herbs (often sage), that are slowly burned as a way to purify and cleanse your house or yourself. Originally, the roots of or smudging come from North American Native purification ceremonies, but can be used by anyone to clear negative energy and as an added bonus – makes your rooms smell nice.
- Step 1. Get some herbs! If you have a garden, chances are good that you have enough ingredients to make at least one smudge stick. Typically sage is used but there’s also Cedar, Sweetgrass, Mugwort, Lavender and so much more out there to try! You can experiment by mixing different combinations and seeing which smells the best to you.
- Step 2. Clip herbs into similarly sized lengths so they can burn at the same rate. The bigger the better, make ‘em nice and fat if you can. They burn slower and last longer. Wrap a string around the base of the herbs, make sure the string is thick enough and won’t break easily.
- Step 3. Begin to wrap the string tightly around the herbs, going on an upwards angle. Make sure it’s as tight as possible and progresses upwards. Wrap it around twice in the same spot if need be. Once you get to the top, wrap it towards the bottom in a criss cross pattern. Wrap it as much as you see fit, then tie it at the bottom. Cut the string, and there you go!
- Step 4. Set the bundles aside somewhere dry and dark where there is good air circulation. You can hang them using string or thin wires; you can even attach it to a fan for quick drying
Or you can just lay them out flat to dry, but make sure the air circulation gets underneath the bundle as well – it if doesn’t completely dry out, it will be hard to light.
And just like that, you have a magical wand of purity!
You can walk around your home, waving it around to gets lots of smoke.
Traditionally feathers were used to garner more smoke in sacred ceremonies.
The more you move it, the more smoke is released. Happy smudging!
Also Known As
The name mullein probably comes from the Latin word mollis, meaning soft, referring to the plant’s woolly stem and leaves. The name also might relate to the Latin malandrium, meaning malanders, a cattle disease for which mullein was used as a remedy.
A couple of folk names for mullein have more intriguing associations. “Candlewick plant” refers to the old practice of using the dried down of mullein leaves and stems to make lamp wicks. Some say mullein stems once were dipped in tallow to make torches either used by witches or used to repel them, hence the name “hag taper.” The custom of using mullein for torches dates back at least to Roman times.
“Jacob’s staff,” “Jupiter’s staff” and “Aaron’s rod” all have been used as names for the tall flower stalks. The plant’s soft leaves also are known commonly as “bunny’s ears” and “flannel leaf.
Traditional and Modern Uses
Mullein tea is a traditional treatment for respiratory problems, such as chest colds, bronchitis and asthma. Mullein leaf tea is slightly bitter; a tea of the flowers is sweeter. Both the leaves and flowers contain mucilage, which is soothing to irritated membranes, and saponins, which make coughs more productive. Research has shown that the herb has strong anti-inflammatory activity, and lab studies suggest that mullein flower infusions have antiviral properties, as well.
Many of mullein’s traditional medicinal uses were similar throughout the Old and New World, but whether European settlers learned to use the herb from Native Americans or vice versa is open to debate. Besides using mullein leaf and flower teas to treat respiratory problems, some Native Americans also used the plant’s roots. The Creek Indians drank a decoction of the roots for coughs; other tribes smoked the roots or dried leaves to treat asthma.
Topical applications were equally varied. The Cherokee rubbed mullein leaves in their armpits to treat “prickly rash.” Leaf poultices were used to treat bruises, tumors, rheumatic pains and hemorrhoids. Mullein flower oil (made by steeping the flowers in warm olive oil) also has been used for treating hemorrhoids, as well as earaches.
Mullein leaves have been used in cosmetic preparations to soften skin. “Quaker rouge” refers to the practice of reddening cheeks by rubbing them with a mullein leaf. And a yellow dye extracted from the flowers has been used since Roman times as a hair rinse as well as to dye cloth.
Like many other herbs, mullein is not entirely benign. Some people find the plant’s hairs irritating to skin and mucous membranes. It’s a good idea to see how you react to a small amount of mullein before consuming it or smearing it on your body. And always strain the tea through fine-weave cloth or a coffee filter to remove any stray hairs.
From Mountain Rose Herbs
Verbascum densiflorum Bertol.
Plant Family: Scrophulariaceae
Mullein is towering biennial plant with a single stalk up to 6-1/2 feet (2 meters) bearing whorls of leaves and topped with a spike of 5-part yellow flowers. The flowers coat the mouth with a honey-like scent and a sweet taste. The name mullein itself is derived from the Latin word “mollis” which means soft. It has its origins in the Mediterranean, but has been naturalized in North America. The flowering stem was dried by the Greeks and Romans and dipped in tallow to be used as a lamp wick or torch. These torches were said to ward off evil spirits and witches, though mullein was certainly not uncommon in a witch’s herbal garden. Frazier writes in the Golden Bough that mullein was added to the bonfire on Midsummer’s eve to ward away evil from the celebration. Some ancient magical grimoires have listed powdered mullein leaf as a substitute for graveyard dust when that is unavailable.
Mucilage, flavonoids, Iridoids, sterols, and sugars.
Dried flower as an oil, and dried leaf as a tea.
Traditionally used as a tea, and is frequently combined with other herbs. May be taken as an extract if fresh material is used, and is very rarely found in capsule form. The fresh or dried flowers have traditionally been used to make an oil infusion for external use.
From Susun Weed
Looking to protect your lungs from the smoke in the air from all of the wildfires burning? Or maybe you or someone you know is experiencing COPD or emphysema? Do you have a child or are you an adult with a chronic cough? Listen to Susun explain the healing and strengthening qualities of mullein to support lung health and learn how to make restorative mullein milk.
From “Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs”
Mullein (Verbascum thapus)
Folk Names: Aaron’s Rod, Blanket Leaf, Candlewick Plant, Clot, Doffle, Feltwort, Flannel Plant, Graveyard Dust, Hag’s Tapers, Hedge Taper, Jupiter’s Staff, Lady’s Foxglove, Old Man’s Fennel, Peter’s Staff, Shepherd’s Club, Shepherd’s Herb, Torches, Velvetback, Velvet Plant
Powers: Courage, Protection, Health, Love Divination, Exorcism
Mullein is worn to keep wild animals from you while hiking in untamed areas. It also instills courage in the bearer, and a few leaves placed in the shoe keeps one from catching a cold. Mullein is also carried to obtain love from the opposite sex.
Stuffed into a small pillow or placed beneath your pillow mullein guard against nightmares.
In India, mullein is regarded as the most potent safeguard against evil spirits and magic, and is hung over doors, in windows, and carried in sachets. It is also used to banish demons and negativity.
In the Ozarks, men performed a simple love divination. The men went to a clearing where a mullein grew and bent it down so that it pointed toward his love’s house. If she loved him the mullein would grow straight again; if she loved another it would die.
Graveyard dust-an infrequent ingredient in spells-can be substituted with powdered mullein leaves.
At one time Witches and magicians used oil lamps to illuminate their spells and rites, and the downy leaves and stems of the mullein often provided the wicks.
LINDEN is one of my favorite trees. It goes by many names: basswood, lime blossom, and tille. To the botanist it is Tillia; and this is the name most of the world knows it by. It thrives in many places and is harvested from China to France for commercial sale.
When linden blooms, its fragrance is so sweet that the bees flock to it. Their buzzing is the sound one must tune in to if identifying linden by sound. (I usually find them by smell!) When I harvest linden blossoms, I am careful to wait until after the bee has left the flower, so I don’t get stung.
“I smell fairies at my feet, I’m sitting under a linden tree;
Bees abuzz and birds atweet, linden blossoms sure smell sweet.
Linden, linden heal my heart,
You can bring me a brand new start.”
Linden blossoms hang from a green strap-like structure that looks a little like a leaf, but isn’t. The green structure is part of the remedy and needs to be harvested along with the cluster of flowers dangling under it.
I reach for linden when I want to quell inflammation. A student lowered her C-reactive protein (C-rP) levels, and her risk of suffering a heart attack, by drinking linden infusion for three weeks. C-reactive protein is a measure of the amount of inflammation in the blood vessels specifically and the overall body in general. With the licensing of a drug (Crestor, rosuvastatin calcium) to lower C-rP levels, we are going to be hearing lots more about this substance in the near future. (Find out why you don’t want to take this drug at www.worstpill.org)
Lowering inflammation is key to achieving a happy, healthy old age. Toward that end, I drink at least two quarts of linden infusion a week. I believe that most chronic diseases are the end result of inflammation. Joint pain is inflammation. Dementia is inflammation. Blood vessel disease is inflammation. And adult-onset diabetes is inflammation. It seems to me that many cancers are a response to inflammation too. A recent study found women who taken NSAIDs regularly are less likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer.
Linden is the world’s leading anti-cold and anti-flu herb. It prevents and heals all respiratory distresses (but is not an anti-infective). It is a cooling and strengthening herb. Linden is considered safe for children and elders.
Linden is primarily used as a tea, though I prefer the curative powers of a strong infusion. I use one-half ounce of linden blossoms to a quart of water and steep for four hours. I strain off the first brew and refrigerate it, then rebrew the wet linden flowers by adding two cups of cold water to them in a saucepan. I bring this rebrew to a boil, cover, and let sit for four hours to extract the healing mucilage that is triggered by the cold water.
Linden flowers are the usual medicine, but the leaves are medicinal as well. They are heart-shaped and even more mucilaginous and anti-inflammatory than the blossoms.. A student who had been kicked by a horse found relief from a nasty wound (already more than a week old) by applying chewed up linden leaf. If I didn’t have so much plantain at hand, I am sure I would use more linden leaf poultices.
Linden grows well in cities; I have rarely been in a city in North America or Europe that does not a Linden Avenue. A highlight of my love affair with linden come with a visit to Linderhof in Bavaria. The day I got there, the three-hundred-year-old linden tree was blooming and buzzing and throwing off a scent that made me swoon with delight. My local lindens are tall at fifty feet. This giant was over a hundred feet.
From “Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs”
Linden (Tilia Europaea)
Folk Names: Lime, Lime Tree
Deities: Venus, Lada
Powers: Protection, Immortality, Luck, Love, Sleep
Lithuanian women used to make sacrifices to linden trees as part of religious rites.
Linden is extensively used in Europe as a protective tree. The branches are hung over the door for this purpose, or the tree itself is grown in the garden.
The bark of the linden carried prevents intoxication, while the leaves and flowers are used in love spells. Since it is a tree of immortality its leaves are used in spells of this nature.
Linden and lavender mixed equally make excellent pillows which hasten sleep in the insomniac, and good luck charms are carved from the wood and carried.
From Mountain Rose Herbs
The Linden tree is found in both Europe and North America. There are many folktales concerning linden across Europe. One of the most radical is of Celtic origin that states that if you sit under the linden tree you will be cured of epilepsy. In Roman and German folklore, the linden tree is seen as the “tree of lovers”, and Polish folklore tells that the wood is good protection against both the evil eye and lightning. Linden blossom have been used to make a variety of items including herbal teas and a base for perfumes, as well as being known for producing tiny aromatic flowers that attract many bees that in turn produce a wonderful honey.
About 1% antioxidant flavonoids including hyperoside, quercitrin, myricetin galactoside, kaempferol, kaempferol glycosides including astragalin and its 6-p-coumaric acid ester tiliroside), myricetin and quercetin glycosides. Linden flowers also contain approximately 10% mucilage largely comprised of arabino-galactans; proanthocyanidins; caffeic, chlorogenic and p-coumaric acids, eugenol, and geraniol.
Leaf and Flowers.
Mostly used as a Tea. Can be taken in both extract and capsule form.
Don’t drink linden flower teas within 2 hours of taking any vitamin and mineral supplement, since the mucilages in the tea can interfere with the absorption of nutrients from the supplement.
From Vitality Magazine
The Linden Tree
French Folk Remedy Gains Respect Here as a Digestive Tonic, Liver Cleanser, and Relaxing Heart Herb
High overhead, you can hear honey bees lazily buzzing in and out of its perfumed flowers. The shade is cooling and the scent has a calming effect. You feel relaxed and alive and aware of its healing energy.
This is the linden tree. Sometimes if grows 130 feet high, and produces some of the most powerful herbal medicine known to humans. You may even have one of these trees on your street because they are planted widely in cities, and are fairly common in the countryside throughout Ontario where they are usually known as basswood.
In fact there are several names for this important tree. Sometimes the flowers are called lime blossoms. The French know it as tilleul and its scientific name is Tilia europoea or americana. The blossoms are creamy white in clusters of five, on long stalks with a long greenish keel or bract (like the “wing” of a maple seed) beside each cluster. It is these flowers that are so widely used in Europe to make a herbal tea or infusion — one that is actually so pleasant to taste that you can order it after a gourmet meal in a five-star French restaurant. And no wonder, since linden tea is a very effective digestive remedy. Even the honey made from linden blossoms is said to be health-restoring; it is much sought after and considered to be the best flavoured and most valuable in the world. The honey is also made into medicine as well as delicious liqueurs.
A RELAXING ANTI-STRESS REMEDY
Linden flowers have always been used in herbal medicine as a calming, relaxing remedy for the nervous system. This is one of those safe herbal teas that can be taken by almost anyone and consumed over a long period of time. When you substitute linden tea for your coffee, you will soon feel a great reduction in stress levels. It is a gentle relaxant especially effective for anyone suffering from nervous irritability. This is because the flowers contain an essential oil composed partly of an alcohol sesquiterpene called farnesol which is antispasmodic and sedative. The tea has been used without harm even for small children, and in Europe a calming bath is made for overwrought infants by adding a strong linden infusion to their bath water.
Children also benefit from the diaphoretic activity when it is given to them during influenza or severe colds. (A diaphoretic promotes sweating, using the skin as an organ of elimination.) There also seems to be an anti-catarrhal effect; one American study has demonstrated that the use of linden flowers for children in the early stages of a respiratory illness will prevent the inner ear infections that often follow.
The relaxing effect of linden is particularly felt on the cardiovascular system, especially when there is arteriosclerosis or hypertension (high blood pressure) present. (Linden is hypotensive; it lowers blood pressure.) The British herbalist, Simon Mills, author of Out of the Earth, the Essential Book of Herbal Medicine, points out that linden blossoms have a healing and restorative effect upon the blood vessel walls — one that extends even to the improvement of varicose veins.
A leading French authority on phytotherapy, Henri Leclerc described the effect on the blood as rendering it more fluid, less viscous (thick) and less likely to coagulate. Linden also prevents adherence of plaque to the blood vessel walls, along with the whole list of complications that result from that process. Other French authorities on phytotherapy, Drs. Duraffourd and Lapraz, assert that the flowers act as a plaque anti-aggregant, and Bezanger-Beauquesne gives clinical evidence of mild coronary vasodilation. This means that the arteries inside the heart which provide the heart muscle’s vital supply of blood are less likely to become blocked. In this way, linden prevents constriction of the blood, making strokes less likely.
Hundreds of tonnes of linden flowers are consumed in France each year. Along with the widespread consumption of garlic, olives and red wine in the Mediterranean countries, Linden is a likely contributor to the lower occurrence of heart disease in this region.
Of course, caution is needed by anyone taking blood thinners, conventional medicine for high blood pressure, or other heart medications, because linden can potentiate (amplify) the effects of those pharmaceuticals. Careful monitoring would be needed by your cardiologist if you wanted to drink linden tea regularly. But as a preventive, there is probably no better herb for maintaining the smooth inner lining of the blood vessel walls and assuring that stress does not affect the even flow of circulation of the blood.
Like so many herbs, linden has several additional medicinal benefits. Many women use linden during menopause to offset nervousness and sleep disorders. Rina Nissim, the Swiss phytotherapist and specialist on women’s health, recommends linden to alleviate unpleasant symptoms before periods and at ovulation.
There is a lot of mucilage in linden flowers. This gives them a soothing, healing quality when the infusion comes into contact with the membranes of the digestive system. This demulcent action combined with the relaxing factor has led to the use of the tea for diarrhoea and indigestion.
RESTORING THE LIVER
One of the most remarkable therapeutic effects of linden is on the liver. In this case, it is the inner bark or sapwood of the tree that is used. The French have a phyto-pharmaceutical specialty called “aubier de Tilleul de Roussillon,” Roussillon being a region in the south of France where it is thought that the very best linden trees grow. The sapwood is sometimes used in England to treat kidney stones and gout. But in France it is considered an important liver remedy because it has a mild choleretic action (stimulating the flow of bile through the liver) which assures non-aggressive drainage of the liver. This is the key to natural self-restoration of the liver.
In France it is also known to be effective in treating viral hepatitis, and patients with hepatitis C have shown very positive results after using it for some time. Over the course of treatment, raised liver enzyme levels were carefully monitored and showed considerable diminishment — almost to normal. Other plants with anti-viral activity were used as well, but the importance of linden bark is its non-aggressive action. When there is liver disease, many conventional pharmaceuticals are simply too toxic for the liver to process. Herbal medicine excels in treatments for the liver — all of them bitter remedies which work to decongest and restore this essential organ that protects us from the effects of pollution and chemicals in our food and the environment.
HOW TO USE LINDEN
It is easy to make linden tea. You can obtain the dried flowers from a health food store or herb shop and they are even available in tea bags. Use a heaping teaspoonful (2-4 g) of the crushed flowers (with the bract) per cup of boiling water. As with all herbal teas, it is important not to allow the steam to escape. This is crucial when using linden flowers because the relaxing properties depend on volatile oils which can easily evaporate and be lost in the steam. That’s why you should carefully cover the tea pot or make linden tea in a jar with a screw top lid. If you are in a restaurant, you can place your saucer over the cup containing the tea bag while the flowers are steeping. They should be steeped for about 10 minutes. Drink three cups each day for an indefinite period. A typical course of treatment would last three months.
The tincture is also available as a 1:5 preparation in 25% alcohol. Dose should be 2-4 mils taken three times a day. You can also use a fluid extract (1:1) in 25% alcohol and the dose is 2-4 mils three times a day.
Preparing the sapwood is a little different. There are no volatile oils to worry about here because the active constituents are beta-sterol, stigmasterol, fatty acids and linolenic-acids. These require considerable boiling to release them from the finely chopped wood. Normally a decoction is prepared by simmering in an open pot 30 to 40 grams of the wood in 1 litre of water for enough time that the liquid is reduced to 1/2 its original volume. This makes enough to drink in one or two days. Duraffourd and Lapraz recommend drinking great quantities the first few days — up to 3 litres a day — and then continuing at a more moderate dosage of 1-2 glasses a day until recovery has taken place.
The sap wood can be purchased or ordered from some health food stores in Ontario but it is more readily available in Montreal if you have difficulty finding it here.
COLLECTING YOUR OWN LINDEN FLOWERS
Collecting linden is a pleasant summer day’s occupation. It should be done between 10 a.m. and noon before the hot sun has caused the evaporation of the essential oils. Try to avoid blossoms that are covered with dust. You can time your collection to a day or two after rain. The flowers themselves must be fully opened and dry. Remember that if you are gathering them, you may be allergic to the abundant pollen they contain and so wearing sunglasses and even a dust mask might be helpful. Once collected, the flowers with keel attached should be spread out on a clean sheet or paper towels out of the sun until dry. You will have to turn them over every day. Once brittle, you can store them in jars with tight fitting lids or sealed paper bags.
- Huckleberries are associated with lowering cholesterol; protecting against heart diseases, muscular degeneration, glaucoma, varicose veins, and peptic ulcers.
- High in vitamin C, Huckleberries protect the body against immune deficiencies, cardiovascular diseases, prenatal health problems, and eye diseases.
- Clinical studies show that huckleberries promote eye health, especially with diabetics.
Reference : Northwest Wildfoods
To freeze huckleberries, begin by washing and drying them. Next, place on a cookie sheet, cover with a paper towel, and place berries in the freezer. Once frozen, put huckleberries in a sealed container and put back in the freezer for later use. Huckleberries may replace blueberries in most recipes.
From “Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs”
Huckleberry (Gaylussacia spp.)
Powers: Luck, Protection, Dream Magic, Hex-Breaking
Placed in sachets and carried, the leaves are luck-inducing. They also keep away evil and break hexes and curses.
To make your dreams come true, burn the leaves in your bedroom directly before going to sleep. In seven days you should see results.
The huckleberry resembles the blueberry, but does not belong to the blueberry family. Although all huckleberries are edible, some species are not very tasty.
The garden huckleberry, which was developed by Luther Bur bank, is closely related to the tomato. It is best in pie, with lemon juice added.
When eating huckleberries, add a little honey. They can also be mixed in fruit salads.
Benefits of Huckleberry
Huckleberries are especially helpful in aiding the pancreas in digesting sugars and starches. This fruit is alkaline in reaction.
The huckleberry is high in vitamins B and C and potassium. They can be used in an elimination diet, and because they are high in iron, are good for building the blood.
Huckleberries have been used as packs on running sores, eczema, and skin disorders. The leaves of the huckleberry may be dried and used to make a tea that is good for poor starch digestion.
based on this recipe from Fine Cooking
3 cups huckleberries (or any fresh berries)
1/4 cup water (increase to 1/2 cup water if using strawberries)
1-2 cups sugar
Place the berries in a medium saucepan. Crush the berries with a potato masher or other flat-bottomed object good for crushing things. Add 1/4 cup of water (or 1/2 cup ifusing strawberries) to the berries. Bring the berries to a boil over medium heat. Reducethe heat to medium-low and simmer for about 5 minutes. Pour the mixture into a sieve,catching the liquid in a bowl or large measuring cup. You can gently press on the solids with the back of a spoon taking care not to press any of the solids through. Clean thesaucepan you just used or get a clean one out. Measure the juice volume. For every 1/4 cup of liquid juice add 1/4 cup of sugar – a 1:1 ratio. Place the juice and sugar in theclean saucepan. Bring it to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce to low heat and simmer for about a minute until the syrup thickens. Refrigeratefor up to 2 weeks. Makes 24 ounces of syrup.
How to Dry
Select firm, dry huckleberries. Cover a flat tray with cheesecloth or light muslin. Spread the berries on the cloth; place the tray in the sun. Dry in sun for two days, turning once or twice, then set tray in a warm, dry place and let huckleberries stand until leathery to the touch. To dry berries in a dehydrator, spread on an open screen and dry as for other berries, following directions for the dehydrator. Oven drying is possible, but very low heat (140°F) must be used and the oven door must be left slightly open so moisture can escape. Store dried berries in a cool, dry place. Use as you would raisins. Dried huckleberries can be soaked in water for use in baking
How to Extract Juice
Combine 11 cups of huckleberries and 1 cup water. Crush berries. Bring just to a boil and simmer 10 minutes. Strain through a jelly bag or several layers of cheesecloth in a colander. Let the juice drip into a bowl. For clear juice, do not twist or press jelly bag or cheesecloth. For long-term storage, the juice should be frozen or canned. Yield : 5½ cups
4 cups crushed huckleberries
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 package powdered pectin (1¾ ounces)
4 cups sugar
Sterilize pint or half-pint canning jars and preparelids. Measure sugar and set aside. Measure crushed huckleberries and lemon juice into a large saucepan. Add pectin and stir until dissolved. Bring to a full rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly. At once, stir in sugar. Stir and bring to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and quickly skim off foam. Immediately pour hot jam into hot jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Wipe jars rims and add prepared two-piece lids. Process 5 minutes in a boiling water bath. Yield : 5 cups
Many people know this story, but as I add things to this blog I realize that I need to share some of my stories. I won’t be here forever and they may mean something to someone when I’m gone.
Aug. 7, 2015 is the 40th anniversary of our first date. Fred took me out to the Cheerio Restaurant in Santa Monica, Ca. While we waited at the bar for our table, I discovered a best friend that I didn’t know I had. We had a lifetime to catch up on. We talked for hours. We didn’t hear them calling his name for a table. We did finally remember we were hungry about 10:00 pm and there was no shortage of tables then. I still remember what we ate. He had Bombay beef curry and I had steamed clams. I kept the shells, much to his chagrin, because I wanted to clean them up for a macramé plant hanger. Well, he can’t say he wasn’t warned.
After dinner, we picked my kids up from my friend Debi and we went back my place where we continued with the single most magical day of my life. It was one of those “too good to be true” moments that can be very frightening. Especially if one has been wounded in past relationships. We were both a little shaken by the experience and we both had to go to work the next morning on 3 hours of sleep. We both spent the following weekend in a sort of daze. Half stunned and half scared. But it had really happened. In hindsight, that night is the anniversary that means the most to us. That was the night that bound us together for this lifetime. We have other anniversaries. He moved in with us on Oct. 10th. We were married May 11, 1977. Those dates are a good excuse to go out to dinner or have a get together. But August 7th is ours.
Back then, I worked on the order desk of a large automotive parts wholesaler in downtown Los Angeles. Fred worked for an auto parts store as a driver/counter person. I met him at the catering truck on my first day on the job. We had a friendly relationship right from the start, but it was all business.
It must have been the night of Aug. 3rd that I was visiting Debi and she brought out her tarot deck. I had never seen a tarot card before and I was interested when she offered to read my cards. My recollection of the reading is not very good 40 years later, but I remember that there were some really good cards, major arcana cards that impressed the shit out of me. The Wheel of Fortune & The Magician stick in my head but there were several.
The next morning at work I mentioned the tarot reading to Gus who was one of my customers. I knew he was into such things and wanted his take on all of those major arcana cards. It was just a conversation in passing. Nothing memorable about it other than he thought it was cool. A couple of hours later there stands Fred and he’s saying “So tell me about this tarot spread.” I was fairly dumbfounded. How the hell did he know about my tarot reading? Well, it turns out that he was the person who was teaching the tarot to Gus. They were friends. So I told him about the spread and he said something like “I wish I got tarot spreads like that”. And since I did nothing but shuffle the cards I couldn’t very well do more than shrug.
After Fred left, my co-worker started teasing me that he was going to ask me out. Again, I was a little bewildered by that. I was a woman working in the automotive industry, which wasn’t very common in 1975. I got asked out (or propositioned) a half a dozen times a day. And I wasn’t having any of it. Later that day, Fred did call and asked me out and I was astonished to hear myself say “Yeah sure. When?” He was equally startled. I guess there is some sort of game woman play that I didn’t know. So we agreed on Thurs. night since he was going camping over the weekend.
I was a little nervous over the next couple of days. I hadn’t dated anyone in a very long time.
I was recovering from a bad marriage and a series of bad relationships with men, including my birth father and grandfather. I’d started to believe that all men were assholes to be honest. I had to spend some time on myself fixing that attitude. Because you get what you expect. It’s that plain and simple. If you want more you have to be ready to have more.
By Friday the 8th, I realized that Fred and I had been crossing paths for over 2 years. My friend Karen had tried to get me to take a job where she worked. It paid more but the drive was just too much for my little 1957 VW. I couldn’t take it on the freeway because it wouldn’t do 65 mph. (I’m the only person I know who was happy when they lowered the speed limit to 55). Well, it turns out that Fred worked with her. So we could have met then.
Later he changed jobs and came into the auto supplier where I’d worked previously, in the office and later on the billing desk. He must have just been feet from me several times a week for a year. Yet we didn’t meet. Neither of us was ready. We were working through our own issues.
But by August 7, 1975 we were ready and it was a helluva night!