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.

Merry Meet!

Welcome to my first attempt at blogging.  Sadly I just an old fashioned cottage witch with very little computer savy so bare with me until I learn how to spiff this blog up.  Any suggetions or help will greatly be appreciated.  My attentions for the blog is to meet others with similar interests, to share ideas, to learn from and inspire others who embrace the simple magic of life.  

We recently purchased a Tudor style cottage in major need of updating and a yard overgrown with weeds, this blog is about our life as we transform the little cottage into our home and the yard in the garden it wants to be.

Our family consists of my agnostic husband, my raised pagan 13 year old daughter, a rescued pitbull, an adopted cat and myself.