cane grass

Unusual Herbs

Recently, as I was reading through several books, I came across quite a few ingredients that I had either never heard of or was unsure of their exact nature. While the herbs compiled below are not necessarily “unusual,” they are ones of which I did not have extensive knowledge. Hopefully this list can be of help to anyone new to the craft, if not at least interesting reference material. 

Asafoetida:
Also known as “devil’s dung” due to its foul smell, asafoetida is a type of resin derived from a perennial herb native to Iran and Afghanistan. Today, it is mainly used as a powdered seasoning in India, as it tastes like garlic or onions when heated. Its magical powers include exorcism, purification, and protection. Careful when storing, as the odour may contaminate nearby herbs. 

Bistort:
Also referred to as “snake weed,” bistort is a flowering plant native to Europe, as well as North and West Asia. Its long flowers are different shades of pink. The American bistort (or smokeweed) has white to pinkish blooms. This plant’s magical uses include physic powers and fertility. When combined with frankincense, you can improve physic powers, aid in divination, or drive out poltergeists.

Calamus:
May be called “sweet flag,” “sweet rush,” “sweet cane,” “sweet grass,” “sweet root,” or “sweet sedge.” A type of wetland plant, its magical uses include luck, healing, money, and protection. The powdered root can be used in healing incenses and sachets. Use caution, this plant may be carcinogenic.

Cinquefoil:
Of the two species listed in Cunningham’s Encyclopaedia of Magical Herbs, one is native to the eastern parts of US and Canada, while another is native to Eurasia and Northern Africa. Cinquefoil has blooms that can be white or yellow and leaves looking similar to those on strawberry plants. Its magical uses include money, protection, prophetic dreams, and sleep. 

Deerstongue:
Sometimes called “wild vanilla” because the leaves, when crushed or dried, produce the scent of vanilla. The leaves can be used to flavour tobacco. Native to North America, this herb grows pretty purple florets, and it is this attribute which leads some to call it by another name, “blazing star.” Its magical uses are lust and psychic powers. 

Galangal: 
Lesser galangal (Alpinia officinarum) is native to China, while greater galangal (Alpinia galanga) is native to South Asia and Indonesia. May be referred to as “chewing John” or “Low John the Conqueror,” this herb is a member of the ginger family. Its magical uses include protection, lust, health, money, psychic powers, and hex-breaking. If galangal is not available, ginger may be substituted. 

Grains of Paradise:
This peppery-like spice is native to West Africa and, along with galangal, belongs to the ginger family. Its powers include lust, luck, love, money, and wishes. While holding some grains of paradise in your hands, make a wish, and then throw a little of the herb to each direction, beginning in the north and ending in the west. 

Heliotrope:
Careful, this plant is poisonous! The flowers of “cherry pie” or “turnsole” can be white or purple and have the fragrance of vanilla. Garden heliotrope originates from Peru, while common heliotrope is native to Europe, North Africa, and Asia. This herb can be used for exorcism, prophetic dreams, healing, wealth, and invisibility. 

Niaouli:
Most commonly used as an essential oil, niaouli is a type of tree covered in papery bark from the genus melaleuca, of “tea tree” fame. Niaouli oil is made from the leaves and twigs of the tree. Though native to Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, and parts of Australia, it is considered a weed in the United States. Appropriate for use in a “protective” oil blend. 

Petitgrain:
Another essential oil, petitgrain is made from the leaves and twigs of the bitter orange tree, thus giving it a woodsy, citrus scent. This would also work well in a “protective” oil blend. 

Stephanotis:
A flowering plant with waxy, white blooms and leathery leaves, the particular species “Madagascar jasmine” is popular in wedding bouquets. Its essential oil has the magical property of friendship. 

Tansy:
Sometimes referred to as “golden buttons” because of the appearance of its flowers. It is native to Eurasia but invasive in some parts of North America and is toxic if ingested. Tansy can be planted to repel ants, and magically, it has the powers of health and longevity. 

Ti:
This plant is native to southeastern Asia, Papua New Guinea, Melanesia, northeastern Australia, and parts of Polynesia, but was introduced to Hawaii by Polynesian settlers and greatly utilised there. “Ki” in Hawaiian, this plant is also referred to as “good luck plant.” Its associated deities include Kāne, Lono, and Pele. Magically, ti is used for protection and healing. Green ti planted around the house creates a protective barrier. 

Tuberose:
A richly scented, night-blooming white flower native to Mexico. Tuberose absolute is true tuberose essential oil, while others are synthesised for the scent. If the fragrance bouquet is all you need, you can create this with the oils of ylang-ylang, rose, jasmine, and a hint of neroli. Magically used in love-attracting mixtures. 

Woodruff:
Strongly scented, herbaceous plant sometimes referred to as “sweet woodruff,” “master of the woods,” or “wild baby’s breath.” Commercially, dried woodruff is used as pot-pourri or moth deterrent, but magically, it is used for victory, protection, and money. 

Protector

For the first time in seemingly forever, children had hope.

Hope because the children believed that they didn’t ever had to be victims again.

Hope because they didn’t like when they were taunted and hit and hurt and starved, “to show them.”

Hope because Little Dan’s clever plot of summoning The Protector had possibly given them a chance of escape.

Dan had come to them after being taken from a playground about a month ago, and his absence in his parents’ life was only meant to produce money for the cult from the ransom they would most likely pay. He’d shown up with eyebrows narrowed in confusion, a tattered shirt, with a funny little star pendant hanging on his neck. And he’d had a name, not a number!

The rest of the children had been bred within the cult itself, raised on the taste of fear and the horrors of never-ending servitude. But from the moment that Dan was teleported into their cult’s small and high-security location (they didn’t know where. The Keeper always refused to tell them when they asked) he had given the children a priceless gift of imagination.

He wove stories out of thin air, stories of lemon-drop houses and places where the walls were made of rain that tickled you when you touched it. Tales that kept the children entranced; stories where happy children bounded through meadows of sugar-canes and grass, sucking lollipops and falling down to laugh and stare at the clouds.

The children had never laughed before. They’d never seen the need to.

Dan’s stories filled the kids with a sort of unfulfilled hunger and desire to see what they’d always been warned to not intrude on: The outside world. They dreamed of these place in which to live, witness, observe, see; where to talk with others listening, to pursue happiness, to find love, to be children.

And that was when Dan stole a paper from The Keeper. One with a summoning circle on it.

They were going to escape, and Dan’s Protector was going to help.

At a time that most of the Bad People were doing something somewhere else, Little Dan slipped out of his cage and unlocked everyone else from their solidarity confinement. The large group adjourned in the tiny center of the first- floor prison, squished together towards the back of the hall in an effort to give Dan space. Rumors and hushed but triumphant whispers bounced from child to child, discussing the radical act The Newbie was about to commit.

Dan mimicked the drawing on the coveted paper; an odd sort of circle with lots of lines and symbols that would be too hard to copy if any of the other children attempted to draw it themselves. But Dan, their hero, could of course; he was unstoppable in the face of any conquering threat.

He used chalk, which the other children had stolen sometimes to draw pictures on the inside of their cell walls. They would receive beatings for stealing and possessing anything relatively nice for a millisecond, but it was worth the long-lasting color on the otherwise gloomy chamber.

The littlest of the children, #618, piped up from the back of the room.

“Little Dan?”

“Yeah?”

#618 shuffled their feet nervously. “Who is this, ‘Protector’, exactly?”

Dan scratched his head. “I dunno, actually. My daddy and mommy used to sketch this to make someone come in our house that they called ‘The Protector.’ They would draw this circle, put a bit of blood inside,  and chant some funny words- See those at the bottom of the paper? And then weird smoke would rise and a guy who they bowed at would come up and he has a top hat that’s really cool!! But before I got stoled he hadn’t come in two years which made daddy and mommy sad, something about ‘he’s not answering summonings as often anymore’ but when I was in Keeper’s office, I saw a circle and I just knew it was a sign that we’re all gonna be happy and safe real soon, and I’ll see mommy and daddy again and they won’t have to pay the bad guys money! And we can have a extra hotel for everyone and we can all eat pancakes every day- that’s what my mom makes at home- okay now let’s get started!”

#618 frowned, “What did you-”

The rest of the children told him to stop being a butt and if he didn’t shut his piehole he wouldn’t see the sun for another month.

#618 promptly shut up.

The next 20 minutes passed in a blur. The children faded off into a trance, wondering when something interesting would happen. Finally, just as the children were practically bored to death, Dan boomed out in finality, “Alcor!”

And then, just like Dan said, funny smoke rose out of the circle!

The smoke glowed and hissed, snaking between a few wondrous children’s legs. It reached the center of the circle, provided a beautiful beacon of light for the dimly lit area.

It quickly transformed into the shape of a man, with fluffy brown hair and cool eyes! He even had a cool flappy suit with a silly top hat! AND wings!!! He was even better than they imagined!!

Dan squealed. “Protector! I knew you would come for me!!”

The man looked surprised quickly, and then his expression softened into a friendly smile. “Hey there, Dan! Are these your friends?”

Dan turned back to the children, hand cupped over his mouth. In a stage whisper he gasped out, “Mommy told me he knows everything! See, he even knows my name!!”

The children murmured in a susurrus of approval behind him and the summoning circle.

Dan turned back to their savior.

“We wanna get out and away from the bad guys!”

The Protector peered at them inquisitively. “That sounds perfectly fine with me, but where would you want to go?” His voice was powerful but soothing and soft, and it calmed the skeptical children towards the back of the crowd. It was a lullaby of sorts; reassuring, peaceful, and friendly.

Dan looked at the children, then back again. “We wanna be with my parents again!”

The Protector laughed; a kind, thoughtful, chuckle that sounded like mischievous church bells and thunder. “Sounds good to me, kids!”

Cheers and cries of utter jubilation erupted and rang about in the hall. Spurred on by the excitement, Dan seemed ready and prepared for what to do next. He thrust out his hand for The Protector to shake, finalized the miraculous covenant.

Blue fire from the hands of The Protector bathed Dan in a delightful shimmer.

A fanged grin and a flash of drool was all the warning the children needed to sense that something was very, very wrong.

When Dipper came back to himself, he blipped to an unregulated pocket dimension where he had a sense he had been summoned once. 

And he arrived, and gasped.

It was clearly a place for a cult, with hundreds of cells lining the walls up and down, stacked on top of one another. There was a small first-floor hallway or meeting place, littered in viscera, organs, and about 200 bodies; not to mention dried blood that served as a sort of paint for the floor. It had long since been abandoned.

Was this a cult he had ruined?

He examined a severed hand on the floor.

It was not the hand of a cultist. It was the hand of a child. The hand he had shaken. The hand of a certain boy named Daniel Stilton.

Oh my stars.

His non-existent body had begun to shake uncontrollably.

Like a punch in the gut, his omniscience provided a sharp and clear memory, a curse, reminding the scale of just what he had done.

He had done this. This was his fault.

His stomach churned at how he had twisted the kid’s deal. To be reunited with parents. Dead parents. Parents who were members of the Dreamer’s Star, who had hysterically and foolishly summoned him to seek the location of their missing son.

Parents he killed. Parents that were dead.

Ripping, tearing. Biting, gnashing.

Children’s blood on his hands.

Children’s souls in his mouth.

When he lost himself, the only thing protectable was his thirst for blood, death, murder, and fear.

Demons happen to like a twist of meaning.

A Protector, yes?

The Outsiders

Warnings- I mention Soda dying in Vietnam. I give Pony a little memory issue, though.

Note- Johnny and Dally had already died in this one. I know the title’s weird.

~~~

  The old house loomed in front of the old man. It was a lot more decrepit than the last time he had laid eyes on it. It’s once white sides were now grey and vines were traveling up them. The roof had light marks on it and reminded him of soft spots. That was probably what they were: leaks and soft spots. The fence that used to surround the place weren’t there anymore and the yard’s grass was around two feet tall. The man’s eyes got misty. Why did it look like that? It had so much love so many years ago.

   "Grandpa? What is that place?“ The man looked over at his great granddaughter. She was watching him carefully and holding his hand. She gave him a look that said very politely that she wanted to leave. It was early in the morning and he had woken her up for a road-trip. The man patted her hand and started to walk across the road with her. They had been standing across the street from the house. His family member helped him walk. He’d had shaky knees ever since he turned eighty about seven years previous.

  "I used to live here. This was my home.” His voice was shaky as he spoke. She looked like she was very interested now. She’d never even seen pictures of the house before. It was amazing to see it in the flesh and know where it was. It was a key to her grandpa’s past and she’d love to know everything.

  “We called it ‘The Curtis House’, because, well, it was.” He chuckled, but spoke softly and slowly. His worn silvery green eyes roamed around the outside. “I lived in there with my two older brothers, Soda and Darry. Our parents died when I was your age, fourteen, so I grew up with my brothers.”

   Ponyboy and his great granddaughter, Jodie, walked through the tall grass and maneuvered their way to the porch. The cane clutched in his right hand didn’t help very much, so Jodie was really what was holding him up. Still, they walked.

  Ponyboy dropped his cane in the tall grass as he reached toward the splintered steps’ banister. It felt rickety and a rush of dread washed through the old man. The house should never have looked like this. He’d always swore to take care of it. He vaguely remembered everything he and his brothers would do to make sure the house stayed neat and taken care of. How had he let it get this way? Why was it abandoned?

  “You’ve never said anything about having brothers! How come?” Jodie asked softly. Pony’s eyes softened and he felt a shudder come from inside. He struggled for the words to answer her. They walked up the steps slowly and tried to reach the porch’s flat surface. It didn’t look flat anymore, however. It was more sagging and warped than anything. They cautiously walked to the front door.

Keep reading

illusionofwill-hiatus  asked:

Joan of Arc for the drabble thingy.

i.
The first time Michael comes to Jenny Dark, she is squatted down in the long, marshy grass of Cane River Lake, watching a blue-winged teal in the reeds.

Be not afraid, he says very softly, crouching down beside her.

I am the one called Michael, and I have come to counsel you, lead and advise you in what you must do—believe what I say, for it is at Our Lord’s Command.

Jenny shuts her eyes, takes a ragged breath. I’ been waiting, she says. I know. I know.

ii.
Jenny is sixteen when she begs her cousin Durand to drive her to the army recruiter’s. They laugh her right out again—war’s no place for a spindly bow-legged thing like her, dirt still under her nails and a cock-eyed, cocky, a strange brightness sitting at her shoulders.

I’m not made for anything else, she tries to tell them. They don’t listen.

iii.
Michael is a man with shoulders big as the spreading oak; broad hands with knuckles already brassed. There is blood beneath his nails and holes in uniform, buttons having lost a little of their shine. (It does not suit him and they both know this, but he said I was general in a war between brothers, and this was the only reference she had.) The color of it shifts, when no one’s looking—grey to navy and back again, like a storm passing into night.

He doesn’t laugh much. Jenny takes to bringing bruises home, fat lips and black eyes, just to watch the way his eyes flare up like fireflies. She figures it means he’s pleased with her.

iv.
There will be other battlefields, Saint Margaret tells her, rolling out the bread dough in sure, quiet strokes. There is flour on her blessed cheek, dusting the edge of her sleeve; the cross at her throat keeps glinting, catching the afternoon light. There are always dragons. Always.

v.
One sticky afternoon in August, Jenny Dark hacks her dark hair off with scissors, throws a crucifix and some clean underwear, the remains of her babysitting money, in a dufflebag.

Michael sits in the bed of her father’s pickup, his face turned up to the sun. This wasn’t the plan, he informs her coolly.

Okay, Jenny says, throwing her duffle in beside him before climbing into the driver’s seat.

The truck kicks up a cloud of dust as she pulls away, and then there’s just the hum of cicadas, two women standing on the front porch with brightness in their hair, smiling.

Ethanol is a renewable, domestically produced alcohol fuel made from plant material, such as corn, sugar cane, or grasses. Using ethanol can reduce oil dependence and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Ethanol fuel use in the U.S. has increased dramatically from about 1.7 billion gallons in 2001 to about 14.4 billion in 2016
—  THAT’S WHY CALIFORNIA PUTS UP TO 30 PERCENT ALCOHOL IN FUEL!! More gas purchases supplements their ridicules gas taxes!!! That state rapes their tax payers and assumes they are smart doing it….. I really think California is ran by retards that monkeys can easily do their jobs!!! But the people there that actually let their public servants do this to them have no dignity or self respect.
Unusual Herbs: Calamus

This is technically a root, but it was too interesting not to add to the list

- Also known as Sweet Flag, or by it’s scientific name, Acorus Calamus. Other nicknames include Myrtle Grass, Sweet Cane, Sweetgrass and Gladdon

- A member of the Acoraceae family, it is native to India, southern Russia, Siberia, China and central Asia

- The root is commonly powdered and put into sachets for healing, as well as using the seeds as beads for the same effect

- It’s also grown in order to bring good luck, and can be kept in the home for protection

- It is said that it is used to control others or a situation, and so is often used in spells for this purpose, by sometimes powdering the root and sprinkling it where they need to

- Magical uses include; peace. love, strength, luck, protection, money

More Unusual Herbs;

Agrimony

Betony

Cinquefoil

Heliotrope

2

Chestnut-breasted Mannikin (Lonchura castaenothorax)

Also known as the Chestnut-breasted Munia or Bully Bird, the Chestnut-breasted Mannikin is a species of Estrildid Finch (Estrildidae) that is native to Australia, New Caledonia, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea. It has also been introduced to French Polynesia and France as well.  Chestnut-breasted mannikins typically inhabit swamps, reeds, mangroves, cane fields, grass country along with a number of other habitats.  They are a highly sociable species and can be seen in large flocks foraging for grasses and small insects. 

Classification

Animalia-Chordata-Aves-Passeriformes-Estrildidae-Lonchura-L. castaenothorax

Images: Fir0002 and Aviceda