Sunday, February 25, 2018

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.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

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.

Your Magical Intent - 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.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Ancients’ Healing Secret: DIY Herbal Tonics

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.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Tranquility Incantation: Peace in Every Step

For inner peace, take a walk in the woods, a stroll on the beach, or just relax in your backyard. Bring a stick, seven leaves from an ash or oak tree, several stones, and matches. With the stick, draw a circle on the ground and mark four directions: North, East, South, and West. Arrange the stones and leaves at the center of the circle.

Concentrate upon your connection to the earth and how to honor that in your life. Say:

Good luck rises for me in the East;
My music rises in the South;
My wishes rise in the West;
From the North, my dreams will come true.
And so it is.

Friday, February 9, 2018

DIY Herbal Detox: Sassafras Ginger Cleanse

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.

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. 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, February 4, 2018

Comfrey, the One-herb Pharmacy

Comfrey Comfort

 Comfrey is beloved by kitchen witches and is one of the best-known healing herbs of all times. It has even been referred to as “a one-herb pharmacy” for the inherent curative powers.  Well-known and widely used by early Greeks and Romans, its very name, symphytum, from the Greek symphyo means to "make grow together," referring to its traditional use of healing fractures. Comfrey relieves pain and inflammation. Comfrey salve will be a mainstay of your home first aid kit. Use it on cuts, scrapes, rashes, sunburn, and almost any skin irritation. Comfrey salve can also bring comfort to aching arthritic joints, and sore muscles.

Lavender Comfrey Cure-All Salve:

3/4 cup comfrey infused oil
1/4 cup coconut oil
4 tablespoons beeswax
10 drops lavender essential oil

Combine comfrey and coconut oils. Heat the oil and wax together until the wax melts completely. Pour into a clean, dry jar. When the mixture has cooled a little, but not yet set, add 10 drops of lavender essential oil which is also an antiseptic. Seal the jar and store in a cabinet  to use anytime you scratch yourself working in the garden or want to renew and soften your hands and feet after a lot of house and yard work.   One note, use it on the outside of your skin and it will work wonders but if a cut is deep, don’t get it inside the wound. Let your physician handle that. Comfrey is a miracle plant for healing; in combination with the lavender, this power duo will restore your spirit along with your skin.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Imbolc Ritual, February 2

Imbolc, also known as Candlemas, the highest point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. In the olden times in the British Isles, it came to be observed as Brigid’s Day, and the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin. Many Wiccans use this sabbat (holy day) as the special day to initiate new witches. Brigid, the Celtic goddess and saint honored on this day, is connected with both the elements of fire and water, both with powerful purificatory powers.

Essential elements for this Imbolc ritual are a cauldron, white candles, a bough of cedar, a small bough of pine, a small bough of juniper, a small bough of holly, incense, red cotton thread or yarn, a stone for an altar, and a bowl of water.

The leader of the circle should purify the circle with the fire of the incense while invoking the four directions to raise power. Place your altar stone north of the circle and place white candles on and around the altar. Cast the circle:

Face east and say:
Welcome, Guardians of the East, bringing your fresh winds, the breath of life. Come to the Circle of Candlemas.

Face south and say:
Welcome, Guardians of the South, bringing us heat and health. Come to the circle on Candlemas.

Face west and say:
Welcome, Guardians of the West, bringing the setting sun and light rains. Come to the circle on Candlemas.

Face north and say:
Welcome, Guardians of the North, brining life-bringing rains and snow. Come to the circle on Candlemas.

Meditating on the concept of purification, make a bouquet of the four branches and wrap it with the red cord. The red symbolizes Brigid’s fiery aspect, while the four trees stand for purification. Bow with it to each of the four directions. Bow last to the north, over the altar stone, and say:
Bright Brigid,
Sweep clean our homes and spirits on this sacred day.
Purify our souls of the dullness of winter, and help us prepare for the light of summer.
Brigid of the white hands, Brigid of the golden curls,
Bless us all. So mote it be.

All respond:
So mote it be!

The ritual leader dips the branches in the water and sprinkles the circle, and the participants, saying:
Blessed Brigid, may your water heal us, and make us whole.

Leave the bouquet on the altar stone as an offering to Brigid.