Aloe

Aloe_Vera

Aloe Vera is part of the Xanthorrhoeaceae family and has its own genus. Native to Africa, this plant is now a popular house plant around the world.

Folk names for Aloe include: Burn Plant, Medicine Plant, Saqal, and Zabila.

Gender: Feminine

Planet: Moon

Element: Water

Powers: Protection, Luck

Aloe is protcective and guards against evil influences as well as prevents household accident.  In Africa, it is hung over houses and doors to drive away evil and bring good luck. The gel is used folklorically and the dried inner leaf juice pharmaceutically  as a laxative.

Most species have a rosette of large, thick, fleshy leaves. Flowers are tubular, frequently yellow, orange, pink or red, and are borne, densely clustered and pendant at the apex of simple or branched leafless stems. (Jesus Christ what a sentence!) Many species appear to be stemless, with the rosette growing directly at ground level; other varieties may have branched or unbranched stems from which the fleshy leaves spring. They vary in color from grey to bright green and are sometimes striped or mottled.

Aloe can be used as: Abortifacient (drug to cause abortion or contraceptive), analgesic (painkiller), anti-aging, anti-alcoholic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiplaque, antiseptic, antiviral, anti-wrinkle, bitter, collagenic, depurative, digestivem fungicide, hemostat, hypoglycemic, insecticide, laxative, moisturizer, stimulant, and tonic.

Aloe is used to treat: abrasion, abscess, acne, alcoholism, alopecia, anemia, asthma, bacteria, bleeding, blindness, boil, bruise, bug bite, burn, cancers, childbirth, colic, constipation (in adults), cough, dermatosis, diabetes, eczema, epilepsy, fever, frostbite, fungus, glaucoma, hemorrhoid, herpes, high cholesterol, hyperglycemia, hysteria, indigestion, infection, infertility, inflammation, itch, jaundice, leukemia, mouth sore, pain, peptic ulcer, psoriasis, radiation burn, rash, rheumatism, ringworm, salmonella, streptococcus, sunburn, swelling, syphilis, tuberculosis, tumor, ulcer, virus, wart, worm, wound, wrinkle.

Do not take aloe if you are pregnant or lactating. It may cause allergic dermatosis. Do not self medicate without consulting a dosage guide. 

Sources:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aloe

Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham

Handbook of Medicinal Herbs Second Edition by James A. Duke

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Dandelion

For another entry for my Wortcunning series is the Dandelion.

DandelionFlower

TaraxacumOfficinaleSeed

Dandelion (Taraxacum) is also known as Blowball, Cankerwort, Lion’s Tooth, Piss-a-Bed, Priest’s Crown, Puffball, Swine Snout, White Endive, and Wild Endive. The common name is French for “lion’s tooth.”

The dandelion is a flowering plant in the Asteraceae family. It is native to Eurasia and North and South America. Two species of dandelion, T. officinale and T. erythrospernum, are found worldwide and both are edible in their entirety.

From Culpeper: “It is well known to have many long and deep gashed leaves lying on the ground round about the heads of the roots; the ends of each gash or jag, on both sides looking downwards towards the roots; the middle rib being white, which being broken yieldeth abundance of bitter milk, but the root much more; from among the leaves, which always abide green, arise many slender, weak, naked foot-stalks, every one of them bearing at the top one large yellow flower, consisting of many rows of yellow leaves, broad at the points, and nicked in with deep spots of yellow in the middle, which growing ripe, the green husk wherein the flowers stood turns itself down to the stalk, and the head of down becomes as round as a ball, with long reddish seed underneath, bearing a part of the down on the head of every one, which together is blown away with the wind, or may be at once blown away with one’s mouth. The root growing downwards exceeding deep, which being broken off within the ground, will yet shoot forth again, and will hardly be destroyed where it hath once taken deep root in the ground.”

Medically the dandelion is used as an allergenic, antibacterial, antidote, antiinflammatory, antioxidant, antiseptic, astringent, bitter, choleretic, detoxicant, degestive, diuretic, hypoglycemic, laxative, stimulant, and tonic to name a few.

It can be used to treat abscesses, alcoholism, anemia, anorexia, backache, bacteria, bladder stone, boils, bruises, cancer, congestion, coughs, cramps, diabetes, dysentery, fever, flu, gas, gallstone, eczema, heartburn, inflammation, infection, kidney stones, neurosis, obesity, pneumonia, rheumatism, sores, stomachache, swelling, toothache, tuberculosis, tumors, ulcers, vomiting, wart, water retention, and yeast.

The root can be dried, roasted, and ground like coffee and made into a tea. *Caution should be taken as dandelion is high in potassium. *

Magickal Uses

Gender: Masculine

Planet: Jupiter

Element: Air

Deity: Hecate

Used for divination, wishes, calling spirits, psychic powers. Burying dandelion in the NW corner of the house will bring good favor.

Sources:

 www.janih.com/lady/herbs/magick/D.html

Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham

Culpeper’s Complete Herbal

Handbook of Medicinal Herbs Second Edition by James A. Duke

Acacia

I’ve decided to start writing about herbs, or Wortcunning. Wortcunning, by definition of Oberon Zell-Ravenheart, (“herbal wisdom”) is an old word used for discovering properties of plants. This type of cunning practice has been around for hundreds to thousands of years. It’s an old practice that I’m proud to study and be a part of. So I will go down a list and explain some common and rare herbs that witches use and how we use them.

First herb: Acacia

 Acacia_covenyi02

There are many types of Acacia growing throughout the world. Acacia is a genus of shrubs or trees from Gondwanian origin. Other names that this plant goes by is gum arabic, gum senegal, thorntree, wattle, or whistling thorn. Folk names for Acacia are Cape Gum, Egyptian Thorn, Kikwata, Mkwatia, Mgunga and Mokala. You will mainly find these trees in Australia and Northern Africa along the Nile.

 The flowers, leaves, stems, roots, bark, resin, seeds, and essential oils are used.

Medically, Acacia has many uses; few being: antibacterial, antihistamine, anti inflammatory, aphrodisiac, astringent, decongestant, expectorant, hemostat, hypoglycemic, hypotensive, neurostimulant, stimulant, and tonic.

It is known to be used to treat bacteria, bleeding, bronchosis, burn, different cancers, childbirth, chill, cholera, congestion, conjunctivitis, cough, diabetes, diarrhea, dysentery, fever, flu, fractures, gingivosis, gonorrhea, hemorrhoid, hypertension, hyperglycemia, infection, inflammation, insanity, leprosy, pneumonia, pulmonosis, smallpox, snakebite, sores, sore throat, stomach ache, syphilis, tapeworm, toothache, tuberculosis, typhoid, and wounds to name a few.

Large internal doses may lead to constipation and dyspepsia.

For magickal uses burn the herb and oil for altar offerings. It aids in psychic powers and mediation. Placing a sprig over the bed wards off evil.

Gender: Masculine

Planet: Sun

Element: Air

Deities: Osiris, Astarte, Diana, Ra

Sources:  Handbook of Medicinal Herbs Second Edition by James A. Duke with Mary Jo Bogenshutz-Godwin, Judi duCellier, and Peggy-Ann K. Duke

http://www.janih.com/lady/herbs/magick/A.html

http://www.earthwitchery.com/herba-g.html

Encyclopedia of Magickal Herbs by Scott Cunningham

Two Points from Across the Sea

Alright so it’s not across a body of water that this happened, but when you think about the amount of time and the distance, it sure as hell feels worlds apart. It the strangest thing when you work so hard to physically and spiritually try to banish someone from your life and all of a sudden they’re there. The exhaustion I felt trying to push everything about this person out of my mind, sight, and touch was immense. I thought I had accomplished it. There was no trace of this person left, or so I thought.

There was a bond I had with a particular person that ran deep. She was my sister in crime. We were a pair that would hardly be seen separately. From middle school to graduation, it was the typical best friends forever relationship, but as always the real world reared its ugly head and adulthood slammed down on us. I noticed I didn’t want to let go of that connection I had with, not only her, but everyone else in our circle. Things took a very horrible turn.

Sometimes women lose friends due to the men they allow into their lives. Sometimes they don’t realize it until it’s too late that something is wrong. I think this is one such situation. Mind you, this is just from my point of view. I can’t speak for others, especially her. I noticed one day the man she brought into her life was a bit off. Next thing you know, they’re married and she’s moving. There was a cacophony of deceit and lies that I don’t wish to elaborate on, but will admit their origins of the previously mentioned male. She disappeared after a nasty incident that involved a hospital trip. This man was poison and I didn’t have a way to tell her. I felt helpless.

Some time went on and just a couple of days ago, I get a message on Facebook from her. I was frozen as I read her words over and over. It saddens me to say that she had lost a best friend and that loss made her remember me. I had to think for a while of what I was going to say. She basically apologized and asked to rekindle our friendship. After going through some more drama brought on by people I thought  were my friends, I was a bit iffy but grateful that someone would overcome so much to contact me again. It was very heartfelt and sincere. I couldn’t have asked for better. It’s crazy how hard I worked to get her out of my life. I did ask some advice from a close friend and as a result I responded. I broke a barrier I had put up for so long and worked so long to reinforce. You know what, though… it was totally worth it. I think things are going to get better.

Sometimes you can’t fight the universe. Things will happen and, as a superior species, we will adapt. It’s just up to you whether you want to accept it or not. I chose to accept it. I choose not to regret it.

Strange V-Day Gift (Book Review/Spoilers)

This year the husband and I didn’t do too much for the holiday, but we did make a trip to the local bookstore. I love the place and it’s not overrun by hipsters. We have this little tradition where we go every so often after we’ve saved some money and splurge on reading material and I am never disappointed. This time I came across a book in the fantasy section.

21642_4812830753602_1772245607_n

The name Krampus caught my attention. Now if you don’t know who Krampus is, let me educate you. 🙂

Krampus is the “anti-Santa” in today’s culture. He’s been known to have originated before Christian traditions and is claimed to be associated with the Pagan Horned God. I’ve always known him to be the guy to take naughty children and beat them with Birch limbs during the Christmas season. He is still celebrated today in Europe.

Now this book is by an author named Brom. Yes, the same Brom who does those amazing pieces of art. I was excited that he was a writer (having no previous knowledge of his written works). I’m glad he doesn’t write series or I would have been way late to the game. So, Jesse got me the book and I delved into this amazing adventure.

THE FOLLOWING CONTAINS  SOME SPOILERS SO SKIP TO BOTTOM TO AVOID

The book opens up with a prologue about Krampus. He’s chained somewhere dark and he’s a right mess. You read through his hatred and pain of this place and the person who put him there. It’s so well written and it pulls you right in and you know you won’t be able to put the book down.

We are introduced to Jesse, the protagonist. Like most heroes, he has a little back story filled with sadness and despair. An aspiring country singer, Jesse’s habits lost him his wife and daughter to the local sheriff. Now he lives in a run down trailer at the end of a trailer park.  Just as you learn of Krampus’ woes, you learn of Jesse’s and you feel what he feels as he contemplates suicide by bullet.  Brom takes you into this man’s life and you can’t help but feel that sorrow he’s feeling in the loss he’s experienced.

END OF SPOILERS

Jesse by Brom

Jesse by Brom

 From this point you are taken on an insane adventure with Jesse as he discovers Belsnickles, who Santa really is, and just how crazy his life can be. It has a consistent plot that keeps you enthralled throughout. The humor is dark and there are places where I found myself chuckling. Brom takes the myth of Krampus and Norse mythology and sculpts it into something absolutely wonderful. This author places you in situations with the protagonist and makes you feel every single emotion to the tee.

Makwa the Belsnickle

Makwa the Belsnickle

Not only can Brom create beautiful artwork, he can weave stories that make you crave more. You cling to every word and keep turning page after page. This is my first Brom novel and I look forward to reading more.

If you’re looking for related material I highly suggest reading Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett for a similar reading experience.

Imbolc

It’s coming. Not winter. Gods no. That’s been so overdone. Spring time, sillies! It’s almost time for Imbolc!

Hooray!

Hooray!

Imbolc, or Imbolg, is nowadays celebrated on February 2nd. Other names for this day are Saint Brighid’s Day and Candlemas. In the olden days it was held between the Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. It is the Gaelic festival marking the beginning of spring. The word Imbolc in Irish means “in the belly”. This is because it was the time when the ewes in the flock starting lactating and lambing season started. It’s a time of fertility and a sign of the seasons changing.

Aw... da baby!

Aw… da baby!

This Sabbat is one of the four major Sabbats celebrated by Pagans. Historically it was celebrated in Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man. It is a festival for the hearth and home, lengthening of the days and early signs of Spring. Celebrants would like candles or bonfires and feast. They would watch the weather and divine to see how far Spring would be. The fires were a sign of purification and the return of the sun’s warmth. Along with the feasts, spring cleaning, and visiting wells people would also make talismans. These came in the form of Brighid’s Cross or a Brideog (straw doll).

These are actually corn husk. Not straw.

These are actually corn husk. Not straw.

The goddess celebrated this time of year is Brighid. Brighid is a Gealic goddess of fertility, fire, midwifery, and children. It is said that on Imbolc Eve she would visit virtuous houses and bless those who reside in them. Brighid represents the lighter half of the years and brings a time of divination. It is here where people would watch for serpents and badgers to come out of hibernation. Hence, we have Groundhog Day.  She is also in Hoodoo as Mama Brighid.

There are many rituals you can do for Imbolc. It’s best to find one that suits you and your path respectively. So celebrate the coming of spring widly.

~Blessings~

Sources:

http://spiralpathdesigns.deviantart.com/art/Imbolc-Mandala-281395552 *first picture*

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ewe_and_lamb_in_Kent.jpg *second picture*

http://angrychicken.typepad.com/angry_chicken/2009/10/autmnal-activities.html *third picture*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imbolc

Countless books.

These are the Books that Put Me Where I am Part 2

If you would like to read the first part, please click here: https://aradialecrawe.wordpress.com/2012/12/28/these-are-the-books-that-put-me-where-i-am-part-1/

So this is the second part of my book list. These are books that have stuck with me throughout the years and I still love reading to this day. Granted, they aren’t a complete list, but a list of those that I recommend to the reader.

Night by Elie Wiesel

Night by Elie Wiesel

This is one of those haunting books of a first hand experience in Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps during the Holocaust. You get chills as you read his account of how he survived with his father through the nightmarish occurrences they went through.

This is Buchenwald. You can see Elie on the 2nd row, 7th from the left.

This is Buchenwald. You can see Elie on the 2nd row, 7th from the left.

It’s the first in a series that Elie has written and the second is called Day. This was a book that everyone in my high school received for a school wide reading program. Everybody participated in activities and projects in each class revolving around the book itself. It was quite sobering and amazing to learn what happened in concentration camps. I would suggest this for high school students and up as reading material. Go through the internet and find notes and classes on this book and you won’t regret it. For a synopsis and history here is the Wikipedia link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Night_(book)

The Beaded Moccasins by Lynda Durrant

The Beaded Moccasins by Lynda Durrant

This is another sobering story of a young girl named Mary Campbell. She lived with her family in Pennsylvania and on her 12th birthday is kidnapped by Delaware Indians. She must struggle through not letting the memory of her family go and accepting her place among the Native Americans. Now when I was young, this hit me hard because I tried to imagine what it would have been like for me if I were taken away like Mary. It was an emotionally hard book to read but extremely worth it. I absolutely adore this book and hope my nieces will enjoy it too.

A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck

A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck

Good news! It’s not a sad book! It’s actually the opposite. This was another school reading program book we received in high school. It was a good year when I read this. It’s a novel of funny short stories involving two children named Joey and Mary Alice. Every summer they visit their grandmother in Illinois and experience some of the best adventures. There are eight short stories in this book and they’ll make you laugh and cry and go back for more. This book helped me connect better with my grandfather who lived through the Great Depression ( the era in which the book was written) after a small confusing conversation with him. I tried to tell him I was reading the book and since he was hard of hearing he told my aunt that I thought the Great Depression only happened in Chicago…… Bless my grandfather, I love him so. There is a second novel called A Year Down Yonder where Mary Alice stays with her grandmother. I really recommend reading these to your children and teach them a little about the Great Depression. You’ll be surprised.

Abarat by Clive Barker

Abarat by Clive Barker

I want to thank my friend Ashlee for introducing me to this book. She always knew where to find the most interesting books that got me hooked. Abarat is about a girl named Candy Quackenbush who is whisked away to Abarat where she learns there is more to her than she knew. It’s an amazing stories with the most colorful characters you could imagine. The plot will keep you reading. You will fall in love with and realize how much you can hate certain characters. It is a three part series with the second book called Days of Magic Nights of War, and a third (which took him forever to release) called Absolute Midnight. These books are fantastic for all ages. I encourage all of you to fall in.

Harry Potter by JK Rowling

Harry Potter by JK Rowling

Are you surprised I’ve made it this far without talking about Harry? I thought I would save the best for last. These books have been with me for almost fifteen years and I have loved every second of it. They are my second love after Jesse, they were first but you know…. Jesse. I’m glad he loves them almost as much. In sixth grade my science teacher, Mrs. Wilson, sat at the front of the class and one day started reading the books to us. From the first sentence I was drawn in. She only got through the first or second book that year, but as the months went on I started reading them on my own. I even got my dad into them. She is the main reason I love Harry Potter and keep it close. I don’t give her enough credit, but she was one of those teachers that stick with you through life. I don’t think I need to explain the plot or synopsis of these books. They were a big part of my life and still are to this day.

Thank you, JK.

So now you have seen the books that played a large part in my growing up. Do you remember the stories from your childhood? Can you name any that left an imprint on you?

These Are the Books That Put Me Where I Am Part 1

As a kid, I was a hell of a reader. I remember going to the library in elementary school and checking out the same books over and over again. Middle school and high school I was able to buy my own books. I didn’t think it was a big deal, but people will tell me they remember me in school with a book in my hands or hunched over drawing. I’m grateful my parents always let me buy books from the scholastic catalog that they would hand out in school. It was like Christmas for me. Nowadays, a lot of parents don’t encourage enough reading. It’s the video game era and children are glued to the television. I know, I know. I play tons of video games, but I always make time to read. I have a library of books that contain a little bit of everything. It’s good not to limit yourself to one genre. Reading can make you more intelligent so why wouldn’t you read all the time? Nothing gets me more agitated than someone who is illiterate and cannot use proper grammar. If I just met a person and they tell me they have never picked up a book or hate to read, I immediately have a NOPE moment and walk away.

How can you not get excited from this?

How can you not get excited from this?

I’m glad books and reading are becoming more popular recently. I’m not glad that it’s books that are trash. Snooki? Really? For shame. Don’t get me started on Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey/Gray….whatever. Firstly, Twilight isn’t literature. It is a fanfiction by a middle aged woman. Secondly, Fifty Shades is a porn about a rich brat with mommy issues. Give me some credit though. I tried with all my might to read them. Now before I get assassinated by Twitards, let’s move on.

The first books I remember reading are the American Girl series.

These be mah bitches.

These be mah bitches.

The elementary school I attended had ALL the books. I read ALL of them….well, what they had in the mid-nineties. My favorites were Samantha and Molly. If you want your little girls to have a good influence, put these books in her hands. They have good morals and wonderful story lines. They teach what life is like with each girl: the struggles, the good times, historical events. I would want my daughter to read these instead of something by Justin Beiber.

After these I moved on to some Newberry Award winners:

Oh, this book... I'm gonna fangirl

Oh, this book… I’m gonna fangirl

I was soooo addicted to this book in school. It’s a historical fiction that takes place in 1832. The main character is a thirteen year old girl named Charlotte who is traveling from England to Rhode Island. She finds out that she is the only passenger and female on the ship, which is call the Seahawk. This girl was raised in an upper-middle class family. Meaning she never really had to work for her things, therefore; she’s narrow minded and naive to the world of those who are below her. It’s one of those transformation stories that has twists and turns all throughout it. It teaches you the hardships of being a sailor, what it’s like to sail, and describes what overthrowing a horrible power feels like.

The Feels

The Feels

This is the book based on the movie adaptation that came out in 2002. Wonderful movie. I loved Sissy Spacek as Mae Tuck. It’s a book that teaches the hard decisions accompanying immortality. No, not vampires. It’s about a family who stumbles upon a fountain of water under a tree in the forest. The water gives them everlasting life. Enter Winnie Foster who falls in love with the family and later learns their secret. She goes out of her way to protect them from a nasty villain. Soon she is left with a difficult decision. This book will bring you to tears.

Who doesn't love a good WWII story

Who doesn’t love a good WWII story

This book is based in Copenhagen, Denmark during WWII in 1943. It’s about a girl named Annemarie Johansen. I cannot give a short description because there is too much to say. So here is the Wiki entry http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Number_the_Stars

I hope the schools still let children read stories from WWII in the future.

9780064402057

This book is the first in a five book series. If you’re looking for the second, it’s call Skylark. It is a bit difficult to read for some children, but the end result is worth it. It shows that if you have to deal with a drastic change, you might get used to it and eventually come to accept and love it.

So there are the first five. I’ll have another five ready soon. If there are any books that made an impact on you in your childhood, please share. Maybe someone will take your suggestion and share it with their children.

~Blessed Be

Winter Solstice/Christmas 2012

Last year for the Solstice, Jesse and I did a small ritual where we welcomed the sun’s return. This year due to working schedules, we were only able to a quick and simple ritual at the end of the day. Usually we burn a Yule or Juul Log in the stove and celebrate with all sorts of food, drink and stories as it burns. In our current situation we could only do something small. Hopefully in the future we can celebrate the way we want.

Christmas was quite surprising this year. I did have to work on Christmas Eve, which resulted in my crying to the managers because some vile woman called me every insult imaginable. Retail is awful. Nonetheless, Jesse and I were able to visit family that night and enjoy each others company the rest of the evening. It was when I woke up that Christmas really set in.

I heard music coming from the television. Bing Crosby crooning in the air and rustling by the Christmas tree. I sat up to see Jesse had bought a CD and thought he would wake me up by playing it. Best way to wake up on Christmas morning. I was suddenly buried beneath wrapped presents he tossed onto the bed. I didn’t realize he had gotten so many.

So many goodies.

So many goodies.

Pictured are: A stuffed Fizzgig, a Chamberlain figurine, a tarot card bag, a pendulum made of quartz, a cast iron cauldron, WWII Monopoly, and special edition of the first season of Game of Thrones complete with Dragon Egg.

Oh it was wonderful. I got him a few things too. A leather bound, gold edged copy of The Hobbit; a special order from Paladium Books consisting of three or four RPG books (all signed), a tshirt and sketchbook from one of the artists; and finally a complete strategy book including DLCs of Skyrim.

I think it turned out to be a wonderful Christmas and I wish everyone else enjoyed theirs as much as I did mine.

Happy Christmas/Blessed Yule/ Happy Holidays

Lesson in Humility

A long time ago when I was going to church, our youth group was led by a husband and wife team. They were passionate about leading young people to Christ and showing them how to live a good Christian life. I had many wonderful times with them and I miss the love I was shown. Things have changed since I left the church and most of it isn’t for the best. They have their own little church outside of town. They aren’t what they used to be.

It’s also not the point of this post. I had to introduce them in order to get my point across.

I watched a video from someone whom I’m subscribed to on youtube. From there it took me to a Mormon channel that had their song with a movie about Jesus. Jesus was a great guy. He had good morals and loved everyone no matter who or what they were. He knew how to handle an argument and took care of those in need. It may be a faerie tale but I think the story of Jesus holds a good message. Anyway, in this video I saw the bit where Jesus was washing the feet of his disciples. For some reason I went back many years ago to an Easter service our youth group had on a Thursday night. The husband and wife were there and I believe there were other adults. They spoke of how Jesus loved his disciples and washed their feet to teach them a lesson. We listened to the sermon and I noticed the other adults were bringing wash basins from the kitchen. They had towels and anointing oil and carried them to the front where they moved the chairs to make two semi circles. At first I thought that we had to wash their feet. Second thought was,”The fuck?”

They split the group into two (boys and girls) and had us sit in the chairs. One of the strangest things that has ever happened to me, happened in the next few minutes. The wife went one by one to each girl and removed their shoes. I watched as she gently untied and pulled off shoes, sandals, socks, toe rings until our bare feet surrounded her. The husband was doing the same to the boys. It was kinda funny seeing the uncomfortable faces at a grown man touching their feet, but it wasn’t meant to be intimate. Our youth leader then moved the wash basin to the first girl and proceeded to place a foot inside. She then took a pitcher of warm water and poured it over the girls foot. I watched a grown woman wash a child’s feet. She wasn’t scrubbing away, but making sure the water cleansed the feet. She was keeping her head bowed and stayed on her knees as she lovingly washed the girls feet. She did this to every one of us.

When it was my turn, I couldn’t help but get this overwhelming sense of pure compassion and love from my youth leader. She washed my feet one by one and poured anointing oil over the water and rubbed it in. She used the towel to dry them and kissed the tops of my feet. For some reason I started crying. I couldn’t help it. This woman who was a teacher and a leader to us was prostrating herself and washing our feet, something only servants did for their masters. I was genuinely humbled by that. I could feel that she was absolutely sincere as to what she was doing. She loved us. She loved these little misfit children who came to church for a family we didn’t have at home. It wasn’t the fact that God compelled her to do it. It was the love she felt for us.

I honestly can’t say the same for the husband. I still see the wife out and about. She knows how I am and what I do, but she doesn’t let that get in the way of giving me a hug and telling me she loves me. Every time she sees me she never fails to do that. I believe she’s one of the few Christians left in my life who actually practices the teaching of Jesus. And for that, I thank her.