Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Looky what I got!

I have to thank Michel at Pumpkins and Toadstools for awarding my very first blog award.  Thank you so much Michel, I can not tell you how much receiving this award from you makes me feel connected to other like minded folks and inspires me to write and connect more.  I am truly honored!  It’s amazing that we have the ability to share ideas and stories with witches across the big pond.  In so many ways I shun technology and long of simpler times but it is hearing other women’s stories and being able to connect across miles, reading their tales with nods of understanding that reminds me despite all, we are all the same and it is through technology I am able to make these connections.  I am very new to the realm of bloging and each and every blog I encounter is a delight, but I wish to spread the joy that Michel has brought me by passing on this award to three other sites as the guidelines to the award states, hoping to spread as much joy as Michel brought me.  I have chosen:








When receiving this award, it is requested that you pass the award on to 3 blogs about Domestic Witchery that you really enjoy.

Include the award in your blog post.

Link the nominees within your post.

Don't forget to mention the person who gave you the award.

Let your chosen winners know that they received The Domestic Witch Blog Award by commenting on their blog.


What a wonderful idea this is, not only do I feel inspired but I was able to discover even more blogs by following the award.

Nothing is so Bitter That a Calm Mind Cannot Find Comfort In

Wormwood is bitter yet full of comfort 

This poor little herb has such a marred history even being banned in some countries.  I am sure there is some truth to the concerns of wormwood however in my experience occasional use has not led to any problems. In fact Absinthe is available in our local ABC store now.  I only write from personal experience and caution anyone reading this to do their own research before taking any herbs internally.


I have read that wormwood received its name because historically it was used to rid ones self of intestinal worms, fortunately I have not had to test wormwood’s effectiveness against worms, but I have found that both wormwood tea and wormwood tinctures are great to ease stomach upsets and tea is often used to aid with divination and to cleanse magical items.


Wormwood is easy to grow, it prefers dry soil, rich in nitrogen but I have seen it grow in the wild in all types of conditions.  I have a small wormwood patch growing in my kitchen garden pictured above.  If you do plant wormwood make sure to plant it by itself or in a container because it secrets a toxin to other plants (or so I have read, yet I still have to weed the area my wormwood grows in frequently).


When harvesting wormwood for internal use I only choose new growth.  I find the older bigger leaves too bitter and save those for use in incense or to make magical teas with.


Allow the herbs to dry, I usually just hang in small bundles, but you can place them on cookie sheets on low heat in the oven if you need to dry them quicker.  Once the herb is dry crumble it with a mortar and pestle and store in an airtight container away from sunlight.


When making tea to ingest I usually use 1-2 teaspoons per cup, if using for stomach upset it is better to not add any sweetener or other herbs to help alleviate the bitter flavor.  It is the bitter flavor that signals to our bodies to produce bile to help with digestion.  If you drinking the tea for divination purposes feel free to add any other herbs or sweeteners you choose.  If you are using tea externally to wash or bless magical items you can make the tea as strong as you feel you need.  I usually use older leaves and steams to make wormwood wash.


To make a tincture I use fresh leaves picked mid to late August and fill a ball jar with the leaves.  Then I cover with a strong alcohol, I use Rain Vodka because it is made with organic corn here in the U.S., but any alcohol over 80 proof will work fine.  Then I seal the jar and let sit for 6 weeks (make sure you label your tincture and when you made it) I often leave the jar on my counter top so I can give it a good shake and add more alcohol if needed.  After six weeks I strain the liquid from the plant matter and put into dropper bottles again making sure to label the contents and the date.


To take the tincture I add 30-60 drops to a shot glass of warm water and take before heavy meals.


Other uses for wormwood include teas to ease labor pains, washes for bruises and sore joints and as a bug spray when combined with pennyroyal and citronella.


To make bug spray make a very strong tincture of pennyroyal, citronella and wormwood then place in a spray bottle. Spray yourself before going out but do not use around young children or pregnant women.


I keep a dried sprig of wormwood tucked inside my tarot cards and often burn as incense when doing divination work.


I have heard of others stuffing pillows with wormwood to aid with dream work.


Despite the reputation wormwood has earned I have not nothing but positive experiences with it aside from a few hangovers in my younger years for indulging in to much absinthe.  I hope this gives you some ideas on how to work with wormwood, but as with anything if it does not feel right for you don’t use it.  

Thursday, July 30, 2009

There’s Rosemary, that’s for remembrance; pray, love, remember.

I feel the stirrings of Lughnasadh deep within my veins.  All though we are going to have a small informal celebration I look forward to Lughnasadh with as much anticipation as I awaited Christmas as a child in a Christian home.  The fact that Christmas was a celebration of the birth of Christ never really resonated with me despite my parents attempts to keep our celebrations focused on religion.  It was a holiday where a little girl’s dreams came true, all of my desires were beautifully wrapped up in bows and shiny paper under and artificial tree, every table in the house overflowed with cakes, cookies, chocolates and cheese, the family was together, music played, and the house was transformed into a magical winter wonderland.

  Lughnasadh holds the same magic for me all though it is not about the gifts I am about to receive, but a celebration of the gifts I have already received. It is a time of deep reverence for nature, and there are no artificial trees. Lughnasadh is the first of the harvest celebrations in my tradition, a time to be mindful of the bounty of this year. But it is also a time of transition, although the sun sits high in the sky, and the days are long we have moved into the dark half of the year.

To honor the balance of the light and the dark we will light a bonfire, as we recite just a few of the many things we have to be thankful for as we make an offering of herbs harvested from the garden. I harvested rosemary bundles today “for remembrance” as Ophelia states in Shakespeare’s Hamlet.  I also harvested wormwood in preparation of the dark times because my magic is very effected by the seasons, during the summer months most of my energy is focused on my garden, where as during the dark months I focus more inwardly on spiritual works.  Wormwood is a great helper in opening ones senses to things usually out of reach in our mundane worlds.

In addition to our bonfire we will have a harvest feast, right now the garden is full of yellow squash and heirloom tomatoes, so I will make a squash casserole and tomato salad both seasoned with herbs from the garden, along with my traditional corn bread men, and a blackberry pie, I just received a couple quarts of the biggest blackberries I have seen from a CSA I belong to.

Two of my fellow witches will come over to help with the preparations of the feast and participate in a small private ritual, then house is open to friends of different faiths, for a night of celebrations regardless if they are aware of what it is they are celebrating.  I’d like to think a celebration of thanks, and an acknowledgment of the turning of the seasons resonates with all living beings regardless of faith.



Thursday, July 23, 2009

Decorating with Dried Herbs:

Here are a few pics of herbs I have dried and used to decorate around the house.  Not only do I think they look pretty but they smell wonderful too.

New moon Magic


My best friends recently put a contract on a beautiful historic farm house, that was absolutely everything they wanted, except very far away from, their friends, family, jobs, and community.  As it got closer to time to close on their home they realized that the house was a mistake.  They were able to get out of their contract but still need to find a house to live.  They want to move close to me, but there is nothing available near me in their price range.  Feeling a little desperate my friend asked me if we could do some work to find them a home.  So we gathered on the new moon, had a lovely ritual and everyone left feeling very confident that they would find something soon.  Today a house was listed less than a mile from me more than $200,000 less than any of the other houses in the area and just a little more than the house they were going to originally buy.  The haven’t had a chance to look at the house yet, but we all have a very good feeling that the work we did on the new moon is guiding their way, to finding their new home.

I posted a picture of the table before our ritual

The Goddess Provides

Things have been busy around the cottage.  A friend of mine moved in across the ally from me, and is redoing his garden.  Which is currently filled with bricks.  Lucky for me he wants the bricks gone so I have been hauling them over to Herbcroft to create more raised beds.  I also came into a flat of Feverfew, Chamomile and Lemon Balm plants that were in dire need of planting.  I am always thankful when gifts present themselves such as these, and I am a firm believer that what we need is always made available as long as we are open to receive, but these were particularly special gifts, because my daughter suffers from allergy induced asthma but I had not planted a medicinal garden for her yet.  Now I have a great start to a special garden just for her. Goddess Bless!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Herb of the Nine: Stinging Nettle

While piddling around my garden today I was stung by my nettles.  My nettle patch is still very sparse despite being two years old so I let them all go to seed before harvesting them.  I careful shook the seeds off the stems today but still managed to get stung.  With knuckles burning hours later it became apparent that the nettles wanted to be the subject of my first blog post: 


I love nettles!  If you do not have a nettle patch growing I strongly suggest planting one.  They make a delicious protein rich addition to soups and dried leaves steeped in water makes is a great source of chlorophyll. I particularly enjoy nettle tea during the dark days of winter.  It rich green broth transports me to the verdant days of spring.


Since I will not have enough to harvest this year for tea or soup, and generally you do not want to use nettles after they have bolted this year’s harvest will be saved for magical use.


Due to the sting of nettles my first inclination is to use nettle for protection magic using the energy of the sting to drive away unwanted energies.


However the sting can also be invigorating brining attention and energy to an afflicted area therefore nettle can aid in the alleviation of stagnation.


And finally it a prolific grower and spreads quickly in very poor soil, it is often used by survivalist as nourishment because it is easily obtained in the most remote areas and full of rich nutrients. Invoking the energy of nettles would also be useful during great time of need.


I personally do not mind the slight sting of nettles occasionally so if I get stung I often just let the sting remain.  However while harvesting nettles you should use heavy gloves, and plant nettles away from areas children and animal might play. 


There is a Rhyme “Nettle in, dock out, Dock in, nettle out, Nettle in, dock out, Dock rub nettle out. So if you get stung and want to alleviate the pain, rub dock leaves over the inflicted area.