Friday, April 28, 2017

Peace, love and basil

The Bounty and Beauty of Basil

This sweet tasting herb is excellent in savory dishes. Basil truly grows like a weed and you should cultivate it right on the kitchen windowsill so you can snip and add to your Italian-inspired dishes. Give your basil plants plenty of sun, lots of water and you will reap a mighty bounty to share with the neighbors.  Old wives and hedge witches claim basil protects your home while it brings prosperity and happiness to any gardener’s home.  Basil helps steady the mind, brings happiness, love, peace, and money and protects against insanity. (What more can you want?) Basil has many practical magical applications such as making peace after disagreements. The benefits of this plant are as plentiful as the plant itself; it can be used in getting and attracting love and on the highest vibrational level abetting psychic abilities, even astral projection. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Chives for Good Cheer

Allium, also known as chives, is blessedly easy plant to grow anywhere and everywhere –on the kitchen window sill or in the garden patch. A member of the onion family, this is a lovely case where the entire plant- bulb, leaves and flowers can be eaten. Plant the bulbs six inches apart, water and you can pretty much ignore them after that as all they require is water. A plus is that this relative of onion has insect repellant properties so you can plant rows of this beside veggies and fruits and the bugs will stay away. They propagate quickly so you can dig up mature bulbs and separate them and replant. One tip to remember is that chives do lose their flavor when dried so use them fresh. The flowers are a lovely surprise to add to salads for the edible beauty and many a kitchen witch uses chives in all manner of dishes as it good for weight management and is a plant of protection for both home and garden.  Chives were used by practioners of old in amulets to ward off evil spirits and mischievous fairy folk. Fresh cut bunches were also hung beside the sickbed to speed healing, especially for children. If you see a home surrounded by rows of allium, you know they hold to the “old ways.”

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Balm for All Sorrows (and a boon for love magic!)

Balm also goes by the equally lovely Latinate Melissa. From Greco Roman times, this relative of the mint family has been held as a significant medicinal. You can grow lemon balm with ease from seed packets in almost any kind of soil but likes shade in the afternoon to prevent wilting.  This is one of the happy plants that will “volunteer” and spread in your garden and can be used in love magic- to bring love to you and also heal after a break up of divorce.  It can also be employed as an aphrodisiac.  Infusions and teas made from lemon balm make good on the offer the name implies, it can soothe the heart and any lingering upset, blue moods and aches and pains from trauma, both physical and emotional. I suggest we all grow as much as possible and let some go to seed for those new plants that will pop up in unexpected places in your herb garden. A kitchen witch never complains about a plentitude of balm; anyone who makes much use of lemon balm in brews and cookery will enjoy an abundance of love.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Green Witchery- Magical Uses for the Herb Thyme

Thyme - An Herb for the Ages

You could say that thyme is a classic herb, so much so that the venerables Virgil and Pliny sang the praises of this medicinal mint relative over 2000 years ago. While thyme loves Mediterranean weather, it can grow elsewhere from seeds and cuttings. Good for the stomach and especially effective as respiratory relief, thyme induces sweats to remove toxins and reduce fever.  Thyme honey tea is truly a sweet way to make the medicine go down so much so you will drink it even when hale and hearty. Thyme is also a culinary plant, making a delightful additive to savory dishes. When I lived in a warmer clime about ten years ago, I planted wooly thyme in among the flagstones of my front yard and let it spread as much as possible. When I came home from work, the sunny 80-plus degree sunny weather had warmed the thyme, creating a perfumed walkway; coming home was a heavenly experience.

It has been believed for centuries that thyme brings courage and both inner and physical strength. Even when your are facing seeming insurmountable odds, spells and smudging featuring thyme can get you on track and bring you to your goal. I think the greatest of all aspects of thyme is to rid your home and family of melancholy and overcome despair after extreme difficulty and loss.  If your loved ones have experienced a catastrophe, try thyme for rituals of magic and restitution. I have no doubt that practitioners of green witchery will be singing the praises of thyme for at least two thousand more years.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A Garden of Health and Healing

Do you use chamomile regularly? Do you purify your space with sage? Are rosemary, mint and lavender favorites in your sachets and teas? Think of all the herbs and plants you love and use often, then begin researching their upkeep and care. Make sure to research your planting zone so you get the optimal climate to nurture your plants and herbs.  Once you have planned your plantings, infuse your plot with magical intention.  Keep careful track of your progress in your Book of Shadows.  As you grow in experience and expertise, so will the healing power of your plot.

Remember is to research plants and herbs that can be toxic or poisonous to ensure the safety of children or our canine and feline friends. Many a beloved power flower handed down to us is excellent for magical workings but not at all appropriate for tea, edibles or such. Make sure visiting children stay far away from wisteria, rhododendron, Lily of the Valley, Narcissus, foxglove, larkspur, hydrangea and oleander. They are beautiful but deadly, literally.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Kitchen Witch Garden:

  Supernatural Seeds and Herbs of Happiness

I have lived in homes where my only gardening options were containers on a deck or planters on the front stoop. This taught me you can do a lot with seed packets, pots and an open mind. When selecting space for your kitchen witchery garden you can have something as simple as a set of containers; this can be planned as with any other garden space. If you are lucky to have a backyard or land, I suggest you begin the designing process by incorporating all the plants you know you want to use in your magical workings, your cookery, and always allow yourself to experiment. Trying new veggies or seeds that are new to you can be enormously rewarding. I agree with Londoner Alys Fowler, who is one of England’s top gardeners. She says there is no earthly reason why roses and cabbages can’t go side by side and veggies can nicely nestle in among florals. Once you have tried a few such painterly plantings, you can give yourself a free hand in your creative approach. 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Handmade Herbal Amulets: Gifts of Healing, Gifts of Love

You will experience years of enjoyment from tending your garden, as Voltaire taught us in his masterpiece, Candide. You can share that pleasure with your friends and those you love with gifts from your garden. Your good intentions will be returned many times over. I keep a stock of small muslin drawstrings bags for creating amulets. If you are a crafty kitchen witch, you can make the bags, sewing by hand and stuff the dried herbs inside.

For courage and heart: mullein or borage
For good cheer: nettle or yarrow
For fellow witches: ivy,  broomstraw, maidenhair fern
For safe travels: comfrey
For fertility: cyclamen or mistletoe
For protection from deceit: snapdragon
For good health: rue
For success: woodruff
For strength: mugwort
For youthful looks: an acorn

Amulets should be kept on your person at all times, in a pocket, in your purse or book bag or on a string around your neck. 

Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Ancients’ Healing Secret


Oxymel’s are a very old fashioned tonic that dates back from ancient times that have fallen out of fashion. It remains a favorite herbal healers use and is made of two seemingly opposing ingredients- honey and vinegar. Herbs can be added to great effect and when you see honey menthol cough drops on the pharmacy shelf, note that origin of over two thousand years ago. Oxymels are supremely effective for respiratory issues. The recipe is simplicity itself, equal parts honey and vinegar poured over herbs in a canning jar. Store in a dark cupboard and give the sealed jar a good shake every day. After two weeks, strain out the herbs with cheesecloth and store in the fridge.

Recommended oxymel herbs: Oregano, elder flower, sage, balm, mint, lemon peel, thyme, lavender, rose petals, hyssop, fennel. 

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Herbal Healing: Dandy Sassafras Ginger Detox

When I was little living on the family farm, I accompanied my dad to the woods looking for sassafras roots to make tea. I love the taste; it was delightful and also gave me more energy. After apprenticing for my part-Cherokee dad for a few years, he allowed me to go out alone gathering the source of my dearly beloved beverage.  Years later, I discovered sassafras was highly prized by Native Americans who used it for medicine and were extremely knowledgeable about combining herbs to amplify their power.

This morning medicinal is inspired by a shamanic Native healing recipe using sassafras, dandelion and wild ginger. For a wonderfully medicinal decoction, take a half cup of each and boil them in spring water. After steeping for twelve minutes, stir in honey and enjoy. It is pleasantly surprising how good the detox tastes and even more how the herbs combine to eliminate toxins from the body, chiefly the kidney and liver. After the holidays or a pagan feast times, we all imbibe and enjoy rich foods, good wine and sugary desserts. This purifying herbal blend will cleanse the organs that cleanse your body, thus aiding wellness. This detox should be used seasonally and is not intended for daily use, due to its great power.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Kitchen Witch Wisdom Quick Tip – Decoctions 101

Roots, bark and herbs with tough stems and seeds don’t really work in the method of infusing. Decocting is boiling and then evaporating by simmering slowly to produce the most concentrated liquid which is excellent in medicines. I even use my humble crock pot for these slow brews.

Use a coffee grinder for roots and small pieces of bark and stems to make quick work of these.

 I recommend the decoction method for the roots of willow, sarsaparilla, wild cherry, yohimbe, yucca, licorice, parsley, dandelion, angelica and cohosh.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Body Purification Ritual Bath

Since the time of the ancients in the Mediterranean and Mesopotamia, salts of the sea combined with soothing oils have been used to purify the body by way of gentle ritualized rubs. From Bathsheba to Cleopatra, these natural salts have been used to smooth the skin and enhance circulation, which is vital to overall body health since skin is the single largest organ in the human body.  Dead Sea salts have long been a popular export and are readily available at most health food shops and spas. You can make your own salts, however, and not only control the quality and customized the scent, but save money, too. The definitive benefit that is far and above the cost savings is that you can imbue your concoction with your intention, which is absolutely imperative when you are performing rights of self-healing.

Shekinah’s Garden of Eden Salts

Shekinah translates to “She who dwells within” and is the Hebrew name for the female aspect of God. Olden legend has it that she co-created the world side by side with Yahweh, the god of Israel. This simple recipe recalls the scents and primal memories of that Edenic paradise.
3 cups Epsom salts
½ cup sweet almond oil
1 tablespoon glycerin
4 drops ylang-ylang essential oil
2 drops jasmine essential oil
Mix well and store in a colored and well-capped glass bottle. 

Use these salts with a clean washcloth or new sponge and gently scrub your body while standing in the shower or bathtub. Ideal timing is during a waxing morning moon or at midnight during a new moon. You will glow with health and inner peace.