Day 160: Fall Equinox, Libations

As Roderick headlines, Pagans practice libations to recognize the action and reaction inherent to karma. Libations are effectively returning food and drink directly to the earth from whence they came, closing the circle of action. Libations, then, represent “the princple that beginnings and endings are one in the same”.

What you’ll need:

  • A cup of red wine (or a red fruit juice such as cranberry)
  • A piece of a baked good (such as cake or bread)
  • A wooden or silver platter (optional)

Take your wine and baked good to a secluded natural setting.  Place the cup of wine and the baked good on the platter and set it beneath a suitable tree.  Hold your arms out to shoulder level, palms up, saying:

Great Mother and Horned Lord
Accept this offering of food and drink!

Take only a sip of the drink and then pour the remaining contents near the roots of the tree.  Next, take a bite of the baked good and crumble the remains along the tree roots, saying:

From east to west, from south to north,
Ancient ones, I call thee forth!

Quickly gather your belongings and leave this sacred spot.  Come back to this location at least once annually and repeat this libation ceremony.

My libation

There really was only one spot I wanted to perform this libation–at the little fern circle I found when looking for fairy energies.  I performed a libation then as well, too, so maybe that was the source of the impetus.

At any rate, I squeezed some pink grapefruit juice, found a good whole grain seeded roll, and dressed up my presentation with a sprig of lemon balm.  I deviated from the instructions by not having a red beverage and by not using a wood or silver platter, but that doesn’t really matter.  The plate is made of clay–real earth–and I squeezed the juice myself, which seems more energy-directed than popping open a bottle of Welch’s.

I found a moment of peace when performing the libation.  It really was that in-between time of beginning/ending, when the world stopped and you could just be with it for a moment.

Day 158: Fall Equinox, Corn Blessing

Today, we return a little to some of the material used in the corn dolly blessing to whip up a little bit of a potion.

What You’ll Need

  • A small jar of dried corn
  • Purified water
  • 1 teaspoon dried blessed thistle
  • 1 teaspoon dried mandrake root

Use the corn kernels that you saved in a jar several days ago.  Add to the jar your dried herbs.  Begin with the mandrake root.  As you add the root, say:

Mandrake to preserve and bless all life.

Then add the blessed thistle, saying:

Thistle to protect and guard against strife!

Cover the corn and herbs with purified water and seal the jar with a tight fitting lid.  Allow this to sit on a windowsill at nighttime for one complete lunar cycle.  Put the jar away each morning and set it back out each night for 28 days.  When the lunation is complete, drain the liquid from the jar.  You can use this holy water to bless and protect your home, your family, and yourself.

When I read the instructions for this little charm, I had to stop my eyes from rolling a little bit.  Mandrake.  Why ever not?  It’s not like there’s a bazillion protective herbs.

Oh wait…yes there are.

I’m of the opinion that neo-Pagans keep turning to mandrake because it just sounds so cool.  Along with deadly nightshade, it’s probably the most common herb associated with witches in fiction.  They seem to always be adding it to some noxious potion or other, or using it as a poppet in unethical love poppetry.  I think this is a little unfortunate because the plant is actually pretty scarce.  In cultivation, it takes a couple of years to get established, and then a few more before it can make it through winter without losing all its leaves, scabbing over, and the like.  Unfortunately, it’s the taproot that the magicians are after, which means it’s a one-time harvest sort of deal.

I also sort of gave a curmudgeonly grumble at the use of holy thistle, which–unlike many thistles–is one grown in Europe and Iran and is not supposed to be grown in America.  But many thistles share the same powers of protection, strength, healing, hex-breaking, and the like.  Holy thistle just happens to be more popular with the pagan set.

But I set off to see about acquiring the proper herbs anyway…and couldn’t find either!  I ended up at Mrs. Thompsons, where the proprietor suggested may apple and nettle as substitutes.  May apple, which is also known as American mandrake, maybe has a little more magical oomph in drawing money than European mandrake, but even Scott Cunningham notes that it is “generally used as a substitute for the European (true) mandrake” for “its uses are practically identical” even if the plants are not related in the slightest.  Nettle, like Holy Thistle, is also strongly protective.  Cunningham suggests carrying it in a sachet or using it to stuff a poppet used in protective magic or to sprinkle it around the house to protect it from evil.

My ingredients all assembled and ready to go

Supplied with these substitutes (which cost a whopping thirty-five cents), I turned to assembly.  I proceeded with Roderick’s directions, saying “may apple” and “nettle” instead of “mandrake” and “thistle” and thought about protection and safety as I assembled everything together.  Now I just get to wait until June 14th.

Day 154: Fall Equinox, Corn Dolly Blessing

What You’ll Need:

  • 4 tea light candles
  • Your corn dolly
  • Dried corn kernals (popcorn)

Form a 5-6 inch diameter circle with your handful of dried corn kernels.  Place each tea light just outside of the circle at the four compass points: east, south, west, and north.  Hold your hands, palms down, over the circle and say the following incantation:

Mystic dame of Harvest Home
Lend the spirit of the gnome,
In this circle of the corn,
May your blessings thus be born

Once you are done, set the dolly within the corn circle, allowing it to stand upright. Light the four candles. Silently regard this small ritual for a few moments, then extinguish the candles. Whisk the corn kernels into a glass jar and store them away for use in a magical practice that you will do on another day.

Finally, if you place the dolly near your hearth or in your kitchen, you will invite the blessings of the Earth Mother and all kindly spirits and energies of bounty

The 'dry run' of the corn dolly blessing

I admit it.  I have a fondness for dramatic circles, so I launched right into this puppy, saying the incantation and silently regarding just as directly.

You know what I felt?  Nothing.

So I repeated everything again slowly and with more purpose, thinking about all the energy that went into producing the corn I was sprinkling, the bees that made the wax I’d be burning, and the ingenuity of the people who first thought to harvest and craft these materials into things we could use.  And I grounded and centered before chanting the invocation.  Moreover, as I chanted, I envisioned the ‘mystic dame’–a woman who looks maybe in her early 60s to me, and pleasingly plump yet with a very ‘present’ expression about her–and the gnomes and really put intention behind my invocation.

Much, much better.  This felt like consecration.

Day 153: Fall Equinox

Naturally, as the equinox holds night and day in equal balance, Mabon has a lot of ‘balance’ energy and calls attention to its liminal state.  Neither day nor night, neither bounty nor dearth, it holds the extremes in equal weight on the cosmic scales.  Roderick says taht because it lies between such extremes, it, like the spring equinox, is a time of increased hauntings and psychic stress.  Unlike the spring equinox, though, Mabon’s power focuses more on the harvest aspect rather than growth.

In Oregon, it seems that September is pretty much the height of the agricultural year.  Everything seems to be getting ripe, and it really isn’t until the tail end of October that productivity tapers off and you can get out of the fields.  I suppose that in England, Germany, and the Nordic countries, September is grain harvesting time.  The equinox marked a time where the air began to chill, the light really began to ebb, and all the foliage started to blaze into reds and oranges.  Mabon, then, was a huge final harvest festival filled with lots of different traditions.

As Roderick notes, one of these traditions was “Harvest Home”, which officially marked the end of the year’s toil.  In some areas, the landholders would treat their laborers to a feast during which the laborers could speak their minds without recrimination.  Another practice was the “Corn Mother”, who needed to be driven out of the fields by the time of the harvest, possibly so that she was not injured in the reaping.  Many communities held that the mother’s spirit was contained in the last ear of corn on the final cornstalk (or wheat stalk, most likely).  And there is a plethora of things people did with that final stalk.

Today, though, we’ll be crafting a ‘corn mother’ of our own:  a corn husk doll.  Luckily for me, some of my housemates made tamales earlier this week.  I was able to use some of their leftover corn husks for this activity, which happily saved me a trip to the grocery.

Practice:  Making Corn Husk Dollies

Throughout rural Old Europe, pagan folk would practice harvest customs that often included making corn dollies.  The dollies were often made of an entire sheaf of corn, dressed in woman’s clothing, representing the Corn Mother.  In other customs, folks would remove the corn’s husks, dry them, and then fashion these into a figurine.

In today’s practice you will make your own corn dolly to use as a representation of the magical energies of the mother goddess at harvest time.

What You’ll Need:

  • Corn husks, fresh or dried, between 6 and 14 pieces, depending on elaboration
  • 4 cotton balls
  • Twine or string
  • Scraps of cloth, yarn, buttons, and dried twigs (optional)

If using dried husks, soak the husks in fresh water for at least 2-4 hours before attempting the project.  Once the husks are pliable, tie at least two husks together at their smaller end.  Wad the cotton balls around the tie, then fold the husks back over the cotton.  Smooth out the husks, then tightly cinch them around the cotton with a piece of string.  This will form the head of the doll.

Next, you can make the doll’s arms by folding another husk and tying it near each end to make hands.  Slip the arms between the husks that extend under the head.  Tie with string below the inserted arms to form the doll’s waist.  Next, arrange enough husks around the figure’s waist so that they overlap slightly, and then tie them in place with string.  Fold these husks down carefully so that you do not see the string beneath.  This then form the skirt of the dolly.  Before setting aside the doll to try, gather up the skirt husks and loosely tie them with a length of string.  This will help keep all the husks neat and straight when the doll dries.  With the husks gathered, take a sharp pair of scissors and cut the skirt in an even line.  This even edge will help the doll stand upright if desired.

You can leave the figure as it is, or you can dress it up with a face, hair, or clothes.  If the doll does not stand upright on its own, you could fashion a broom or a staff and attach it to a hand.  The extra support should help the doll remain standing.

My drying corn husk dolly

Growing up as I did in Indiana, I made corn husk dolls many-a-time as a child, and I got to be a snob about it.  Therefore, I re-wrote some of Roderick’s original instructions into the ones seen above above, but I have a few other pointers.  Namely, the challenge is to only use corn husks and string, and no string should be visible on the final doll.

It’s been awhile since I made one, though, so I did forget a few things.  Firstly, you really do have to wait 2-4 hours for the husks to get pliable enough to stretch as you need them to stretch without splitting.  Splitting is a big deal whenever you flip a husk over as you do with the head and how I’ve tried to make the sleeves here.  Secondly, the doll looks better if you give her ‘shoulders.’  I didn’t do it quite right here, so my doll looks like she’s being choked.  To make shoulders, take two husks and fold them into two strips.  Place one strip on the left shoulder, then bring the ends across the front and back and pinch them at the right hip.  Take the other strip, place it on the right shoulder, then bring the ends across to pinch them at the left hip.  Tie off the waist, then proceed with the skirt.

You should also make the arms longer than you think they’ll need to be.  Ideally, you should bend them and give the doll elbows.  Also, if you want to make hair, shred a couple husks and insert them into the head pieces before you tie and fold them over.

Day 149: Lammas, A Harvest Blessing

No matter the time of year, try this technique.  Even if the ground is covered with ice and snow, the rite brings for the energies of the Mother’s bounty.

What you’ll need:

  • Your ritual sickle
  • Hot water
  • 2 teaspoons fenugreek seed
  • A clear, recloseable jar

Heat the water until it is just about boiling.  Place the fenugreek seed into the small jar and pour the hot water over it.  Allow this to steep and cool on its own.  When the infusion has cooled, go to a garden with your sickle and the fenugreek infusion.  Within the garden, pound the handle of the sickle on the ground three times.  Hold it in both hands above your head and say:

Mother of all,
Of vine and grain,
Bring forth thy bounty
In the Mighty Ones’ names!
By all thy love,
Do thou descend,
Offer thy fruits
Without end!

Pantomime gestures of harvesting, using the sickle while waving it over the field in all directions.  Then dip the tip of the blade in the fenugreek infusion and fling it toward the field, so that the infusion sprinkles out to bless the soil.

When you are done, close the infusion in the jar and return to your home.  Strain out the infusion, allowing the seeds to remain in the jar.  Close the jar back up and place it somewhere where you can see it regularly.  This bottle is reputed to attract bounty, especially in the form of money.  The next time you receive money, empty the jar immediately and bury the seed.

Assorted materials

I do enjoy it when I have all the materials for a working at my beck and call.  I was just about ready to head out to Sundance to pick up fenugreek when it occurred to me to check the Co-op’s herb supply.  Yup!  A whole jar that I’d apparently never seen before was just waiting for me.

It was very late at night when I was able to steep the infusion, so I let it cool overnight.  When I woke up this morning, the first thing I did upon waking (after fixing my bed, of course) was to snap up my consecrated boline and the infusion, put on my slippers, and sneak into the garden.

It was really lovely performing this rite so early.  The day was at its peak potential, which, I guess, is what grain is just before it is harvested, so the symbolism worked for me.  Better still, I didn’t have to worry about any housemates happening on me and breaking my mindset.  I performed the rite, and sprinkled all our beds and the chicken coop with the fenugreek infusion, and I’ve tucked the jar on the shelf immediately above my desk just awaiting my next pay day.

Day 148: Lammas, Consecrating the Ritual Sickle

Even though I chose not to paint a sickle, that doesn’t mean I can’t consecrate my boline as a ritual sickle.  So this exercise I gladly performed!

What you’ll need:

  • Lammas incense
  • A burning vessel (such as a deep cast-iron pot or an iron cauldron
  • Self-lighting charcoal
  • Lammas oil
  • Two brown taper candles
  • The ritual sickle

On a table at twilight, set out the ritual objects:  the sickle, the incense, oil, incense burner, and charcoal.  Place the sickle between the two brown candles.  Light the charcoal and when it begins to turn ash-white, sprinkle some of the incense on it.  Hold the sickle blade over the smoke and say:

I consecrate thee, O harvest hand!
Do the Mother’s work,
And scythe the land!

Next, place the sickle back between the candles.  Take out the oil and anoint the exposed silver edge of the blade with the oil, saying the incantation once again.  Allow the sickle to rest between the two candles again.  Sprinkle a dash of the incense on the coals once more and then allow the sickle to remain on the table until the candles burn completely out.

The consecration setup

I grounded and centered before performing this consecration using some of the visualizations I learned in Hartwood Grove.  While I performed the actions Roderick describes above, I slowly chanted the incantation and envisioned reaping grain and aligning it with prosperity, security, and abundance.  I pictured a whole herd of cattle chewing through a winter on the grain.  I saw myself plowing through stacks of books and retaining their information and arguments.  I saw a moment of rest after all work has been completed.  And I put those images into the tool.

Day 140: Lammas, Harvesting Rite

Looking over these instructions, I think that this is a rite best performed out of doors.  Newspaper and kindling will generate a healthy amount of smoke–smoke you might not want your home to smell like or your ceiling to permanently pay testament.  If it must be performed indoors, as mine was, I would leave off the paper and kindling in favor of rubbing alcohol.

I’ve learned that if I want a healthy inside fire for burning small things that won’t generate much smoke of their own, rubbing alcohol performs wonderfully. The alcohol burns pretty cleanly as well as dramatically, and a couple splashes burns well for several minutes.  It’s not a 100% smokeless fire, especially if you’re burning a lot of objects, so it would well behoove anyone burning anything indoors to make sure that there is plenty of ventilation and that you’re burning in a room where visitors won’t look up at the ceiling later and wonder what you’d gotten up to. Also, make sure your burning vessel is well away from any walls, flowing garments, or anything taller than itself: flames grow tall and rambunctious.  And, of course, always make sure there is a working fire extinguisher on hand in case of emergency.

What You’ll Need:

  • 4 dried stalks of wheat or 4 fresh flowers with stem and bud attached
  • A cauldron or burning vessel
  • Kindling
  • A paring knife or boline
  • Cutting board
  • Several small candles
  • Compass

At dusk, create a magical ritual space by lighting small candles and placing them in a 9-foot diameter circle on the ground (or smaller, such as 6 or 3 feet).  Set up a table to be your altar at the center of this magical space.  Set all of the required ritual items on this table, along with a few more candles so that you can see.  Use a compass to designate in your circle the four quarters:  east, south, west, and north.  At each compass direction, place one of the wheat stalks or flowers.

Begin by placing one wheat stalk on the ground in the east, saying:  “I reap with knowledge.”  Place one on the ground in the south saying:  “I reap with action.”  Place one on the ground in the west saying:  “I reap with sensation.”  Place on on the ground in the north saying:  “I reap in silence.”

Then return to the east and hold your hands high saying:

All must end; this is the way.
What doth rise, but not decay?
Lugh has come, the Barleycorn,
I raise the scythe and now ’tis shorn!

Now collect the wheat or flower in the east, south, west, and north.  Hold them together in a bunch and place them on the cutting board.  Using your stronger hand, cut the buds from the stems with one firm stroke.  Light the kindling in the cauldron and then ritually place the buds into the fire.  Watch them burn in silence, meditating on the principle of sacrifice.  When you are finished, extinguish all of your candles and bury any remaining ashes or buds.

The last of the snowdrops for a harvest ritual. Yes. Just go with it.

I’ve been looking forward to this practice.  It’s not quite casting a circle, but the attention to space construction and the greater amount of movement in this practice are good practice and, thanks to my work with Hartwood Grove, immediately invocative of magic.

Of course, it’s a bit hard to come across dry wheat now, so I popped down to my garden and came away with four of the last snowdrops of the season.  I fully acknowledge that snowdrops are just about the last thing one would think of when thinking about “harvest”, but they are beautiful, their scent is gorgeous, and I love using them in magic.  Besides, any cut flower is a sacrifice to the gods in my book.

I performed this in a tiny, tiny little circle on my bedroom floor as my bedroom is the only room in the house that I know doesn’t have a working smoke detector (shh!).  I used scissors for a boline and the aforementioned alcohol as kindling.  Even though I’d taken loads of fire precautions, I have to admit that the flames grew so tall and wild that I was slightly worried my bedding or my desk–either just a couple feet away–would catch on fire, so my meditation on sacrifice was not a very deep one.  After I closed down the magical space, I lit a brown candle and meditated more deeply.

What came to me in the meditation on sacrifice was the element of choice.  It seems that whenever one makes a choice, there is a sacrifice.  Obviously, there is the sacrifice of the other option, but there’s also the different sacrifices one makes in order to pursue that choice, each a choice of its own.  The price of our free will or maybe even our entire existence is sacrifice.  Maybe as such, sacrifice is something to be honored and embraced rather than avoided.  Acknowledging the small sacrifices one makes daily rather than making them unconsciously is a start.

Day 139: Lammas, Breaking Bread

Breaking bread is a central Lughnassadh custom.  In this ritual, members gather and each attendee bestows personal thanks and good wishes into a central loaf of bread.  One member of this community then holds the bread before the community and breaks it.  Each member then consumes a small portion of the loaf in order to assume its virtues and blessings.  This will be our practice today.

What you’ll need:

  • A whole loaf of unsliced bread
  • Several 4×4-inch squares of blank paper
  • A red ink pen
  • A cauldron or other burning vessel

Gather together a group of magical practitioners or try this on your own.  Use the pen to write down a wish or a blessing for the coming year.  Place the papers in a heavy cauldron or other deep metal container.  Light the wishes on fire.  Hold the loaf above the flames and imagine that the energy of these wishes enters from the flames into the loaf of bread.  While this happens, say:

Hoof and horn, hoof and horn
All that dies shall be reborn!
Corn and grain, corn and grain,
All that falls shall rise again!
We all come from the goddess,
And to her we shall return;
Like a drop of rain,
Flowing to the ocean!

Break the loaf in half just as the flames begin to die out.  Pass pieces of bread to the participants saying “May we never hunger” or “May I never hunger” if you are alone.  As you eat a piece of the bread yourself, imagine that you become filled with its virtues.

Breaking bread...better with others, okay alone.

I’ve been looking forward to this practice for a few days now.  I like the symbolism it offers:  ingesting your offered and sacralized wishes and blessings makes them a part of your very self.  In fact, I was so drawn to this that I decided to bake my own bread, which was delicious (though it probably could have baked a little longer…so hard to tell with whole wheat!).

My wish was to become a better student and scholar and to be worthy of these titles.  It’s so odd, but having performed this working, I feel more connected–like I have access to those internal abilities to make myself these things and to share them with others.

May I never hunger!  Physically, spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually!

Day 137: Lammas

As is widely known, Lammas gets its name from “loaf mass” which calls to mind the mass said over the first loaves of bread made from the year’s grain harvest.  I actually prefer this name, but–in keeping with the more Gaelic names I use for the other Sabbats, I call this holiday “Lughnassadh” (Loo-nah-sah), which roughly means “feast of Lugh” where Lugh is an Irish god or mythological being that has been associated with the sun since Victorian times at least, but is often more of a trickster figure in mythology and the ‘light’ aspect of his name is likely more akin to lightning, as storms were considered battles between him and another god, Balor.  In mythology, the feast was begun  by Lugh in commemoration of his foster-mother’s funeral–she died after clearing Ireland’s fields for agriculture.

Roderick notes that the theme of sacrifice was an important aspect of Lughnassadh, but he doesn’t mention the mythology, saying instead that this sacred harvest represented the sacrifice of the horned god as he manifests through grain to sustain human life.  I find that a little problematic with some wheel of the year interpretations:  if the lord dies at Lughnassadh, Yule, and Litha…well, we’ve got a lot of death to deal with.  It seems a little unbalanced to me.

At any rate, celebrants of Lammas or Lughnassadh might have celebrated with circular dances performed with the intention to regenerate the earth and sustain the community or with offering harvested crops as sacrifices.  That latter bit shares similarities to today’s practice.

Practice:  Harvest Luck and House Protection

  • Fresh produce of your choosing
  • A brown taper candle about 5-6 inches in length

One magical Lughnassadh custom was bringing the prized and highly magical first sheaf of corn across the front door threshold of one’s home.  The custom would ensure luck and protection from illness and poverty for the coming year.  In your practice today, select a produce or grain item that as symbolic attributes that represent a quality you would like to bring into your life.

Bring the produce or grain to your home, but before you bring it inside, light a brown taper candle (a color that represents the earth and harvest) and hold it in your left hand.  Stand before the front door of your house, hold the food item above the lit candle flame, and say:

Oh Holy Lugh, Lord of the Harvest
Bring [state your desire] into my home,
With this harvested fruit of the land.

Step over the threshold of your front door.  Place the food item somewhere near the door through which you just entered and set the candle close by.  Allow the candle to burn completely out.  After the candle extinguishes, prepare and eat a portion of the food item in silence.

My candle and minneolas by my bedroom door

For this working, I was pretty set on citrus fruit for three reasons:  they’re currently in season, I can’t get enough of them, and the giant orange minneola tangelos are just about the sunniest fruit I can imagine, and I need solar energy.  To me, citrus equals sun, and I need the warmth, the transformative power, the fuel, and the follow through of the sun in my life right now.

So I brought them up, lit my candle, took a moment to focus on Lugh, his energy, and my own desires, and repeated the request, asking specifically for motivation and follow through.

Given the fact that I’ve basically got a 12-inch taper, I did not wait for it to extinguish, but I gave it a good few hours of burning and manifestation.  And man, was that minneola good!

Day 135: Summer Solstice, More Stone Waters

Oh, I dearly love it when Roderick gives his readers a little break.  I was starting to get a little bit flagged with all these new and varied workings.  Beltane didn’t seem nearly as involved.

Today is largely a repetition of yesterday’s practice.  Basically, we pick a stone, hold it up to the morning sun and imagine that it absorbs the suns rays, then pop it in a glass jar of water and let it steep in the sunshine all day.  Then we drink the water.  Roderick gives the following short list of minerals and properties to help make a decision:

A bloodstone bath...

Amber: To enhance beauty
Amethyst: Magical dreams and visions, tranquility, spiritual awareness
Bloodstone: For success in business, courage, and healing magical power
Jade: Luck, love, longevity, health, prosperity, wisdom
Moonstone: Moon goddess energies, psychic ability, love
Marble: Success, prosperity, solidity
Obsidian: Peace
Opal: To bring about change, magical ability, prosperity
Quartz crystal: Psychic ability, awareness, receptivity

I’m not sure I would have chosen all of these stones to present on a short list of possibilities.  Opals are pretty pricey gems; people don’t have them just lying about the place.  Marble isn’t quite as expensive, but you don’t usually see “small” marble pieces.  They’re usually substantial features like counter tops or bookends.  And amber is sort of a special case; you definitely try to keep amber out of direct sunlight as heat can damage it, so I’m not sure I’d recommend using any amber pieces you especially liked in this application.

At any rate, I could do with an infusion of success, healing, and courage in my career, so I went the bloodstone route.  Also, I have a strong fondness for bloodstone anyway so it was a win/win choice.  After I drank the water, I did feel better in a whole body way.  Granted, it could have simply been related to drinking a whole pint of water in a sitting–I think I am a bit dehydrated as of late–but I do feel a bit stronger, like I’ve got the courage to face up to my fears.

As with the sun water earlier, I popped the stones into my jar early in the morning and arrived back home just as evening was falling.  The energy I felt this time was different.  Instead of ‘growing’ energy, this one felt more…well, more like ‘warrior’ energy.  It was much more focused and had an aggressive edge to it.  I guess I can see the associations with business, courage, and healing with bloodstone–all of those require careful, measured aggression.