Category Archives: Gardens

The Wheel Turns to Imbolc 2015…….

“Every gardener knows that under the cloak of winter lies a miracle

 a seed waiting to sprout, a bulb opening to the light, a bud straining to unfurl.

 And the anticipation nurtures our dream.”
–  Barbara Winkler

imagesCA48N7RIMerry Meet my friends and Blessed Imbolc Eve!  I have been very remiss about writing in my blog and I’m sorry for it. Before I go further though, this post is my 200th blog post and I have been blogging now for 5 years! I can’t believe it’s been that long! I want to thank you all so much, my readers and friends, for showing any interest in my writings. I very much appreciate you!

Since the holidays I have been busy enjoying Winter!  I have been reading like crazy which was one of my goals I set at New Years.  Even following a couple of book challenges and I’m enjoying it tremendously.  I’m one of those people who have a house full of books, including some shelves of books I have yet to read.  I love reading and Winter for me is the perfect time for it.  How about you? Are you reading more when forced to be indoors more?

Another thing I’ve been working on is making up an herbal chest for medicinal use.  If you’re a fan of Outlander ..books and series…by Diane Gabaldon, you might know what I’m talking about. I adore everything Outlander!   I made up a chest much like Claire’s “wee” box of medicinals.  I’ve added all the herbs that to me have a purpose of use for good health, healing, calming etc.  I’ve of course added essential oils, and things like gauze, bandages, scissors, tweezers, thermometer, and some modern day meds too.  Have a tummy ache, I have candied ginger, fennel seeds, or peppermint herb for tea. In pain, I have nettle tea or arnica salve.  Have a cut, I have my own healing salve. You get the idea 🙂  It was a lot of fun to do.

But while we are smack dab in the middle of Winter here in Ohio, tomorrow is Imbolc.  When day and night are equal and we recognize that the light extends each day and takes us to the first day of Spring in March.  We honor Brighid on Imbolc by keeping a fire on the hearth and inviting her into our homes with the use of a corn dolly, Brighid’s cross, or Bride’s bed.  I like to light candles all over the house, and at midnight swing open the doors and invite to come to my hearth bringing peace, protections, joy and abundance to my home for the year. Imbolc is also about doing our Spring cleaning both in our homes and in our own attitudes and situations. Throwing out those things that are no longer useful, old, raggedy, ugly, joyless…clearing our spaces of clutter leaves us open to new possibilities and bringing light into our dark places.

I have been working on my home for a couple weeks now. Attacking the cobwebs in the corners, cleaning out drawers and closets, making the hard decisions of do I really need this or want this in my home? Rugs and curtains and throw blankets and bed linens all getting washed and scented.  I have used herbal vinegar waters to mop and clean windows (not that you can tell after the rains lol) I organized my file cabinet, pitched papers no longer needed and filed what I do need in a better way.  Even my Witch cupboard got a good cleaning out today…pitching old herbs and incense (or burning them in our fire) cleansing crystals and my tools, salting and saging everything.  It was fun and it looks and smells great!  (picture isn’t great because our power was out for awhile today..but you can see how neat it is lol)

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Gardeners are beside themselves knowing Winter is halfway over.  I know several witchy gardeners who have ordered their seeds, planned their garden beds and are dreaming of digging in the dirt again.  I myself ordered 18 packets of seeds today….a mix of herbs, veggies and flowers.  Can’t wait to get them.  Planning your gardens are a great way to spend these cold Winter days.

 

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Tonight, it’s pouring rain.  We didn’t get the snow expected..like nothing! I’m so bummed lol.  But it’s a good night for quiet and contemplation, lit candles and fire.  Besides writing this blog, I’m journaling my thoughts for what I want to manifest in the Spring.  I have written down and will burn those things I want to release in my life.  Old angers, hurts, frustrations, poor habits are all good things to let go of.  I bet you have some of those things you can let go of too?  Try burning it..it’s so satisfying!!!

Imbolc has been one of my favorite Sabbats, as I’ve said before, because it was the first one I really celebrated.  That magickal feeling I got when I washed my floors and windows with herbal washes, lit white and red candles, cleansed my home and invited Goddess Brighid to join us in our home…well, I get that feeling still 16 years later. I want to wish all of you a very Blessed Imbolc.  May Brighid bring you all wonderful things for the coming year.  May the rest of the Winter be kind to you too…remember Spring will come!

 

Blessings and Love, Autumn

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Filed under Books, Cleaning & Organizing, Flowers, Gardens, Goddess, Herbs, Holiday, Imbolc, Photography, Protection, Quote, Seasons, Spring, Sun, Winter

Sisters, Smoky Mountains and Snow! …………

Merry Meet!  I hope this posting finds you all well, staying warm and safe if you’re in the line of the Winter Storms and enjoying a great week!  I’m sitting by the fire tonight, in my jammies with a glass of Irish whiskey and ginger ale.  Winter has arrived in full force here in Ohio.  We got 5-6 inches on Sunday night into Monday morning,  and have had our first single digit temperatures too!  Way, way earlier than usual to be this cold and this much snow!  But I LOVE it!! It’s so beautiful, that first snow of the year. The snow often covering trees still holding onto their Autumn leaves.  It’s official..no more mowing, gardening, weeding, or watering until next Spring! 🙂 Now we have the cold and snow and all the Magick the season of Winter can bring!

 

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I had the pleasure of going on a small trip to the Smoky Mountains last week.  Those who know me or have read my blog for a while, know how much I love those mountains. I try to go every year, sometimes twice like this year 🙂  Just seeing them causes my whole body to relax, my soul to sing and my heart to fill with peace.  I don’t know why…perhaps I’ve been there before in a past life, but I just adore seeing them and being in them.  Speaking of snow, it was the same there. VERY cold, breezy and while there wasn’t any snow on the ground, the higher peaks of the mountains were covered in beautiful snow.  The smaller mountains were still covered in lots of beautiful colors of Fall.  Mostly in reds and deep oranges. So gorgeous!  The contrast of Autumn and Winter was stunning!

 

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I was blessed to have with me; my daughter and three of our friends.  Women I love as Sisters.  Fellow Witches.  All members of my Tribe/Circle.  We had such a great time.  We set up an altar when we settled into our cabin.  Everybody brought something to place on it. One of my Sisters went out and collected a few things from nature…. on a very steep graded hill I might add LOL.  We added those, lit incense. and let it sit until the next night.  We spent time in a few shops, ate some amazing meals and spent a LOT of time talking over the next few days.  Our altar was used for tarot readings for each of us and lit candles for private reasons.  It was a magickal time. Next year, I think my whole Circle of Sisters is going to try to go there together!

I’m so blessed with the women in my life in general. I have two blood sisters who I love.  My chosen family of like -minded sisters is so important to me too!  Whether they are someone in my life I can touch, be with in person…or if they are my wonderful facebook/instagram friends who touch my life through social media every day, I’m blessed. I know so many of my Sisters who have been through such hard times and yet they are strong, kind, wise, positive, giving, and loving.  It never ceases to amaze me how they will go out of their way to offer a word of empathy, healing, love, humor, knowledge and ideas.  I believe that women…sisters…can do a lot of healing to what has been done to our Mother Earth, to what the world’s religions have taken away from women, and to what a very often cruel society ( and some men) bestow on women in general.  Looking and listening to my Sisters on our beautiful trip to the mountains, give me hope that the Goddess is emerging more and more, making Herself known to more of those Sisters in the world I have yet to meet, and working to heal our world in so many ways.  Fills me with gratitude to be a part of it! To walk with the Goddess….and my Sisters!

To Jeanni, Shawna, Diana and Sara..thank you for a wonderful trip! To my other close sisters/friends…you know who you are…Thank you for filling my life with love and friendship. To my Sisters all over the world..thank you for being a part of my daily life despite the miles that separate us!  And always, Thank you to the Goddess who guides me, loves me, protects me and fills me with great Joy!

 

A sister is a gift to the heart, a friend to the spirit,

a golden thread to the meaning of life.

~Isadora James

 

Blessings and Love, Autumn

*Pictures are my own.

 

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Filed under Altars, Autumn, Daughters, Discussion, Friends, Gardens, Goddess, Mother Earth, My Favorite Things, My Writing, Nature, Photography, Quote, Seasons, Smoky Mountains, Winter

October and Samhain’s Sirens……….

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Merry Meet everyone!  I hope that you all had a very Blessed Mabon and that Autumn has finally come to your neck of the woods.  I love October! It’s my very favorite month of the whole year lol..as all of you who know me or have read anything here know.  My name ought to give it away as well.  I come so alive when Autumn comes…my heart is brighter, my steps are lighter, my energy level is high and I relish every moment of this most wonderful time of the year! How does it make you feel?  Are you loving every minute or are you just dreading that Winter is coming?  I sure hope that you are all loving it!! Most of my Witch friends of course, are loving it! 🙂

“Crispy air and azure skies,
High above, a white cloud flies,
Bright as newly fallen snow.
Oh the joy to those who know October!

Scolding sparrows on the lawn,
Rabbits frisking home at dawn,
Pheasants midst the sheaves of grain,
All in harmony acclaim, October!

Brown earth freshly turned by plow,
Apples shine on bended bough,
Bins o’erflowed with oats and wheat,
And satisfaction reigns complete. October!

Radiant joy is everywhere.
Spirits in tune to the spicy air,
Thrill in the glory of each day.
Life’s worth living when we say, October!”
–   Joseph Pullman Porter

Here in Ohio we are finally having Fall weather.  Nice days with cool nights.  We were very dry but finally, yesterday and today, we got some rain.  The leaves are changing color…brilliant reds have started and some trees are losing their leaves like crazy already.  We are having fires in the fireplace (so so cozy!), the crockpot is in action and I’m in the mood for homemade breads, baked goods with apples and pumpkin, and soup!  Today, it didn’t get out of the 40’s and I had to wear a sweater!! Yay!!  I have decorated the house for Fall, my spice scented candles are lit often, and wood is stacked at the back door, ready to give us cozy, warm fires for the next few months.

 

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A beautiful “Autumn Blaze” Maple

 

Our garden beds are cleaned up of all the flowers that are spent or ready to be cut back.  I harvested the last of almost all my herbs.  Fennel seeds are still maturing and I always leave some lavender and rosemary for my Samhain altar and Ancestor supper table. I got more then three harvests from my herbs this year. I so loved it and will miss my herb bed over the long Winter.  But I have lots of dried herbs for cooking, my herbal potions and products and of course, for Magick!

 

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My wonderful last harvest of herbs!

 

I’m late doing this but I wanted to let my readers know that it’s time for Samhain’s Sirens!  An online blog written by many wonderful Witch friends of mine.  It started on October 1 and will continue through Samhain.  You will find lots of wonderful Witchy things…blog posts, crafts, music, drink recipes, Remembrances, altar pictures etc etc…and oh….lots of recipes from ME!  I dug out some of my best and favorite recipes to share with you!  Come follow the fun and try to win a give -away too!  The link is on the right here on this blog…look for the icon that says Samhain’s Sirens. Just click on it and it’ll take you there. Once there, you can sign up to follow it so you see the post each day.  You’ll love it! It’s all about putting us in the mood for this wonderful Sabbat!

Mercury has gone retrograde today (uh oh) and we are waxing to the Full Blood Moon.  The veil is thinning..can you feel it?  The wheel is spinning fast to Samhain.  Too fast!  September flew by and I want time to slow down now so I can savor every moment of this delicious Season.

 

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I’ll be back soon to talk about Samhain, share some recipes and have a visit.  In the meantime, throw on a sweater and go outside. Breathe in the crisp air and scent of woodsmoke,  listen to the wind through the beautiful colored leaves of the trees, look for that waxing Moon, feel the Earth beneath your feet before She’s covered with snow, and have a taste of tart cider or apple.  Be grateful for the beauty of this time of year!  Mother Earth is giving us quite a show before She goes quiet to rest.  Blessed Be!

 

Blessings and Love, Autumn

*All the pictures are my own.

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Filed under Autumn, Full Moons, Gardens, Herbs, Mabon, My Favorite Things, My Writing, Nature, Photography, Poem, Samhain, Seasons

Blessed Mabon 2014…………

 

“Smoke hangs like haze over harvested fields,
The gold of stubble, the brown of turned earth
And you walk under the red light of fall
The scent of fallen apples, the dust of threshed grain
The sharp, gentle chill of fall.
Here as we move into the shadows of autumn
The night that brings the morning of spring
Come to us, Lord of Harvest
Teach us to be thankful for the gifts you bring us …”
–  Autumn Equinox Ritual

 

Merry Meet my friends!  Autumn has arrived here in Ohio!  Even though Mabon isn’t until the 23rd, Autumn is here none the less. I for one, couldn’t be more Happy about it! My favorite time of year!!  Already I feel like a heavy load has been lifted.  The heat and humidity of Summer makes me feel heavy, weighed down, and tired.  I am energized as the cool days and even cooler nights are upon us.  We have had our first (and second and third) fires in the fireplace!  There is nothing more cozy to me than a fire on an Autumn evening.

 

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My oven has been busy with baking. My crockpot is on the counter permanently, garden beds are cleaned up of flowers that are spent and I’m about to harvest a huge amount of herbs..most of them for the last time this year.  Summer couch covers are washed and put away, warm blankets have been brought out, the chimney and furnace have been inspected and cleaned, a cord of wood has been ordered, and Winter clothes are in the closets and Summer clothes put away for next year.  Autumn cleaning is near finished.

We are seeing some color in the leaves already as I showed you on my last posting.  Some trees have lost their leaves completely, but there is LOTS of color still to come.  Bees still abound in my gardens. Birds, squirrels, chipmunks, and other ground animals are gathering frantically.  This morning I had a huge amount of activity at my bird and squirrel feeders.  I had a couple dozen mourning doves, a pair of cardinals, 3, yes 3! male blue jays, a Flicker woodpecker and multiple finches, sparrows and other small birds.  Our white squirrel Luna, other gray squirrels and several chipmunks were also scurrying and gathering! It was wonderful to watch.  I still have my hummingbird feeder up for migrating hummers, but we haven’t seen one for a few days now. If you don’t already, please think about feeding these animals and birds…to help them through the long hard Winter we are being promised again this year.  You will get so much pleasure out of it!

 

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My Mabon altar is set up and plans are made for my Circle/Tribe to meet on Sunday evening here.  There will be an outdoor fire, weather permitting, desserts, spiced cider and good company!  Several of us are also attending our local Pagan festival on Saturday which we are looking forward to.  For several of us, it’s our first time to go!  I am usually on vacation this time of year so haven’t been able to attend.  I can’t wait!

 

Yesterday, I was flipping through a Taste of the South magazine and came across a recipe that sounded so yummy I thought I’d share it here with you.  It sounds soooo spicy and good for Fall!  The picture is theirs as well.

 

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Orange-Cardamom Bread

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 1⁄2 teaspoons salt

1 1⁄2 teaspoons baking powder

2 1⁄2 cups sugar

1 1⁄2 cups whole milk

1 cup vegetable oil

3 large eggs

2 tablespoons orange zest

1 1⁄2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1⁄4 teaspoon ground cardamom

Orange Glaze (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray 2 (8×4-inch) loaf pans with nonstick baking spray with flour. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.
In another medium bowl, beat sugar, milk, oil, eggs, zest, vanilla, and cardamom at medium speed with an electric mixer until well combined. Gradually add flour mixture, beating until smooth.
Divide batter evenly between prepared pans.
Bake 30 minutes. Loosely cover with aluminum foil, and bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, approximately 30 minutes more.
Let cool in pans 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and let cool completely on a wire rack.
Drizzle with Orange Glaze.

 

Orange Glaze
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon orange zest
1⁄3 cup fresh orange juice
In a medium bowl, stir together confectioners’ sugar and orange zest and juice until smooth.
I will be making this recipe this week.  It sounds yummy!  I think my Circle ladies will like it! 🙂  I hope you try it too!
I am most anxious for the next couple months of Autumn weather and the first snows of Winter.  There is just something about this time of year to me.  I call it nesting…coming indoors.  Warmth of fire, smell of woodsmoke and candles, something simmering on the stove or baking in the oven, warm beverages, perhaps crochet or a book on my lap (and a cat or two of course) are all just so cozy to me.  I turn more inward, I am a bit less busy, more time for introspection, journaling, writing, reading etc.  Having said that, this is also my favorite time of year to go for a walk, to spend time walking on crisp, bright colored leaves in my warm jacket and gloves, seeing Mother Earth in all her glory….well it’s just a NEED!  I know many of you have the same need!  To grab every minute we can of the beauty that is our Mother.
I’m wishing you all a very Joyful and Blessed Mabon!  To you and yours!  May you find the balance in your life as Mabon, the Equinox, brings balance of day and night.  Prepare yourself for the dark months of the Year.  Blessed Be!
Blessing and Love, Autumn

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Filed under Autumn, Flowers, Gardens, Herbs, Holiday, Mabon, Mother Earth, My cats, My Favorite Things, My Writing, Nature, Photography, Poem, Recipe from my Kitchen, Ritual, Seasons, Spice, Winter

The Wheel Turns to Mabon 2014…………

applesMerry Meet my friends.  Can you believe it? September has arrived! I am so glad!!  We are going through a really hot and humid spell here as I know many of you are as well.  Summers last hurrah I think.  We are very quickly going into my favorite half of the year. I feel a quickness in my step, my energy level is shifting and my mind has turned to cleaning, cleansing and decorating the house, cleaning up the flower beds, harvesting the last of my herbs and veggies, and getting ready to celebrate Mabon.  The 2nd harvest festival!

 

“Mist blankets the morning garden and the empty fields; a last rose blooms slowly over the arbor by the backyard gate.  Paintbox leaves fall to the ground under galoshes and the wheels of slicker-yellow school buses.  Sweaters come out of cedar chests, soup pots simmer, and wild geese make their mercurial journey southward across the pale autumn sky.”

-from Simple Wicca by Michelle Morgan

  Mabon which is on September 23rd this year, marks the Autumn Equinox, the balance of night and day and the first day of Autumn.  It is a time for thanksgiving, and rest.  Our ancestors at this point were busy filling the larders with preserved fruits and vegetables, smoked meats, aged cheeses, flour, wheat, cider and wine etc.  The thanksgiving was for the bounty the Summer crops had given them (hopefully) and the “rest” was much deserved.  Great feasts were held with an abundant table of food and drink, dancing and enjoying the last warm days of the year.

 For us, it’s also a time to be thankful for our own little garden’s bounty, for what the farmers have grown and harvested for our grocery shelves or farmer’s market, and to know that all the hard work in our gardens is about done for the year.  Putting the garden beds to “bed” for the Winter, depending on where you live, may still be yet to come.

Mabon also means the Goddess is passing from Mother to Crone and the God is preparing for death and re-birth. The trees are starting to change into their Fall tapestry of colors, the nights are colder and longer, the Sun casts long shadows, woodfires are lit, blankets are aired out and thrown on beds and sofas, the oven has something made with apples and cinnamon baking, and the stove top has spiced cider and hot soup simmering.  Sweaters, picking apples, carving pumpkins, hot drinks, warm bread with preserved jams, critters gathering and nesting, birds flocking and filling their bellies, hay rides, corn mazes, nature walks, the Harvest Moon…everything you can think of that is most wonderful about Autumn is upon us!

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My celebration of Mabon is always a thanksgiving ritual, a feast with family and friends, an outdoor fire if weather permits, an offering for Mother Earth and the Fae for all their hard work, and reflection on my year that is ending at Samhain. It’s also about letting go and renewing, re-assessing, and thinking about how I’d like to spend the more quiet months to come in Winter.  And baking..did I say baking?  What is it about this time of year that makes me want to bake?  Breads, pies, cakes, cookies…..things made with spices, apples, pumpkin…..it doesn’t matter, I just want to bake! 🙂  How about you?  My Circle will gather as well for our celebration too. I’m thinking a soup and bread feast sounds wonderful!

I will be back soon with some recipes to share with you! Remember too that you can go to the Search box to the right here and type in Mabon for the past 4 years of recipes, rituals, information etc!  In the meantime, I’d love to hear how YOU celebrate Mabon!  Have a wonderful week!

Blesssings and Love, Autumn

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Filed under Autumn, Family, Friends, Gardens, God, Goddess, Holiday, Mabon, Mother Earth, My Writing, Nature, Quote, Ritual, Samhain, Seasons, Spice, Summer, Winter

I <3 Herbs……Chamomile

Merry Meet my friends!  It’s hard to believe but our Summer has been amazingly mild here.  As a matter of fact, it has been so cool at night that leaves are turning and even falling on some trees already!  Birds and critters like squirrels and chipmunks have changed their patterns, my gardens are looking more like early fall then late summer, and we’ve had the house opened up for days instead of running the AC.  All of which I love! Even my herbs have slowed down their growth, gone to seed etc.  *Post…..I wrote this a few days ago…it is now HOT and Humid and 90’s all week! 🙂  Gotta love Ohio 🙂

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Speaking of herbs, for the Sunday Stew this week, I wrote about the herb Chamomile. A really wonderful herb in so many ways.  To read the Stew just click on the Cauldron on the right side of the page here.  As per usual, part of my post is there and the entire post is here.  At the end of this post here, you’ll find a link to again print out the info, if you wish, for your BOS or herb book.

 

Chamomile

I have hesitated a bit to write about Chamomile. I know several people who can’t drink the tea or even use external products with chamomile due to allergic reactions. So I’m going to start off by saying this: If you are allergic to ragweed, daisies, marigolds, or mums…you may not be able to ingest chamomile. You also may not be able to use it externally. So use great caution if you’ve never tried chamomile before ok? Allergic reactions can be a mild dermatitis or a full blown anaphylactic reaction. Now let me say this too, I have seasonal allergies due to ragweed and mold, but I have no trouble with chamomile. So again, be careful when and if you try it! Ok…warning done..so let me go on about all the wonderful things about chamomile for those of us who can enjoy this herb!

 

Alternative Names:

Matricaria recutita , Pinheads, Scented Mayweed, Sweet false chamomile, Whig Plant, Ground Apple, and Earth Apple

 

Growing and Cultivating

There are two types of chamomile…Roman and German. The German is used most often in the USA but if you buy chamomile essential oil it will most likely be Roman. Both varieties have the same effects medicinally and magically of course.

German Chamomile is an annual plant that will grow up to 2 1/2 feet high. The leaves are fern-like and the flowers look like small daisies..white flowers with yellow centers about an inch across. Roman Chamomile is a perennial plant that is wide spreading and only grows less than a foot tall. The leaves are slightly different and it has the same flowers. Roman Chamomile is often used as a ground cover. It can tolerate even being walked on!

These plants belong to the sunflower family Asteraceae . The flower heads are the primary plant parts used in herbal medicine. Commonly found all over Europe and Asia. It was introduced to North America and Australia. You can find chamomile in the wild…. near road sides, around landfills and in cultivated areas as a weed.

Chamomile requires Full Sun, and doesn’t tolerate really dry or HOT conditions. It can be planted from seed, cuttings and, of course, seedlings or small plants. Chamomile is self-seeding so even if you plant the annual version, it may come back. You can harvest the flower heads (the parts used for medicinal purposes) about 6-8 weeks after planting. Harvest them in the morning and when the flowers look fresh and healthy. The flower heads can be used fresh or dried for teas and other herbal preparations. You can dry the flower heads in a basket or on a screen best.

 

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Medicinal Uses of Chamomile

 Chamomile has a wonderful taste of apples that most people find appealing. The scent of chamomile is sweet and apple-y is well. Chamomile has many properties. It is used for:

– Anxiety and stress

-For calm and sleep aid

-To help heal burns

-Anti-inflammatory

-Anti-virus

-Analgesic

-Safe for children who have stomach aches or are teething or for trouble sleeping

-For any stomach ailments such as sick stomach, ulcers, cramps or diarrhea/constipation

-Dental/oral care

-Depression

-Soothes skin ailments such as eczema, reddened skin, rashes and sunburn

-Hemorrhoids

-As a hair rinse for light colored hair

-Bath products

-healing balms

 

A cup of chamomile tea before bed is a must for many people I know..it just calms and comforts and helps you feel drowsy. But you can use it for so many things as you can see above. Put a cup of brewed tea in your bath to calm and soothe your skin and to let the scent calm your anxiety or stress. A bath in it will also help with hemorrhoids. Make a hair rinse using flowers brewed in water or apple cider vinegar. Make a poultice for cuts, rashes or sunburned skin. Make a cool compress to ease eye puffiness. Make a good healing balm or oil for muscle aches, swollen joints or a burn. Rinse your mouth with warm chamomile water or tea for sore gums. You can apply a drop of chamomile oil straight on an abscess in your mouth. A cup of chamomile tea with ginger added will aid nausea too. Just some of the ways you can use it!

 

Children can use chamomile too in small amounts as a tea. You can also buy chewable chamomile tabs to help them to fall asleep or ease teething and sore mouth. Works to soothe a child who is anxious or stressed as well.  My grandkids have used it with success.

 

Aromatherapy

Chamomile essential oil blends well with cedarwood, clary sage, frankincense, geranium, lavender, rose, marjoram, neroli, orange, rosewood and ylang ylang essential oils. It works wonderfully in a simmering potpourri and in bath salts. If you are sensitive to chamomile..you may still be able to use the essential oil if it’s diluted well with a base oil etc. But again, try it on a small area before bathing in it or slathering it on your skin.

 

Magical Uses

 ELEMENT: Water

GENDER: Masculine

PLANET: Sun or Venus

Chamomile can be used in Magic for

-Power or Energy

-Peace and Calm

-Healing

-Money

-Midsummer

-Sleep

-Love

-Purification

-Protection

-Divination

 

-Plant chamomile in your garden for protection

-Place chamomile in a mojo bag before doing something stressful such as taking a test or a doctor appt

-Take a chamomile bath to soothe and calm or to bring love and romance to your night

-Simmer chamomile on your stovetop with lavender to bring Peace to your home

-Drink chamomile tea or place some on your altar before practicing any divination

-Use it as an incense to smudge your house for purification and protection

-Use in a sleep pillow to aid sleep

-Place a few flowers in cool water to wash your face when you’re upset or stressed

-It is said that you can wash your hands in it before playing a game of cards or gambling to bring money to you

-Use with spells to draw money, to divine, to rid of negativity or to protect

– Sprinkle the dried flowers around your property to protect from spells or curses.

Anoint your healing candles with chamomile essential oil

 

I’m sure that you can come up with many ways to use chamomile in your daily Craft. Also, though I say that this is some of the magical uses for Chamomile….and for that matter with any herb I’ve talked about. The herbs may mean something completely different to you. That’s fine….use it for that purpose!!

 

“If you are cold, tea will warm you;
if you are too heated, it will cool you;
If you are depressed, it will cheer you;
If you are excited, it will calm you.”
William Ewart Gladstone

 

Chamomile is a very important herb in any Witch’s arsenal of supplies. Put it on your list of must have or at least must try!

You can print out this information for your BOS or herb book here:  Chamomile2

 

Blessings and Love, Autumn

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Filed under Autumn, Flowers, Gardens, Herbs, My Favorite Things, My Writing, Nature, Photography, Protection, Quote, Seasons, Summer

Happy Sun Day!…………..

sunflowersGreetings my friends!  I’m hoping this writing finds you all doing well.  How is your weather?  Are you experiencing cooler weather?  Here in Ohio as I’ve said before, we are having an extremely nice Summer.  Hot days have been rare, and we’ve had many days that were Fall-like in temps and feel.  This last week has been wonderful with 70’s during the day and as low as 50’s as night.  This has brought on many changes already.

Along with the shorter days/longer nights we have leaves already changing on the trees and  bushes, some trees like dogwood and crabapple have their berries,  the birds, squirrels and chipmunks are preparing for cold weather already, the gardens have lost some of their flowering beauty and my husband is mowing a bit less now. The Sun casts longer shadows in the morning, A/C is turned off and there seems to be a constant soft breeze.  We could use more rain here but had some yesterday so that was great!  Part of being a Witch, is feeling the changes in the Seasons.  Feeling the Wheel turning.  Many of us I know, have felt the change happening since before Lughnasadh, and no wonder! as it seems to be coming so much faster this year!

“Whilst August yet wears her golden crown,
    Ripening fields lush- bright with promise;
Summer waxes long, then wanes, quietly passing
    Her fading green glory on to riotous Autumn.”
–  Michelle L. Thieme, August’s Crown

I’ve been really busy with writing for both The Sunday Stew and Samhain’s Sirens. I’m studying a book with a book club, working on my herbalist certification when I have time, keeping up with my herbal shoppe and of course all the things you all do too.  Family, friends, house, grocery, cooking, my Circle gatherings, reading, etc etc.  A busy Witch am I!  I have to admit that I’m feeling about done with working in my gardens etc.  I’m ready to just enjoy the coming Autumn season.  I’ve been burning my favorite scents of apple, pumpkin, cinnamon and such already! 🙂  I’ve also been in the mood to bake and cook!  How about you?  There is just something about this time of year I want hot comfort foods, sweet baked goods,  homemade breads and good things from the last harvests of the gardens.

Last week I made my amazing Red Hot Chex Mix and can’t remember if I posted the recipe here…so I’m going to share it with you now!   Quick and easy, hot and spicy…you’ll love it!!  It gets inhaled around here! This is NOT the one on the back of the chex cereal boxes!

 

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Autumn’s Red Hot Snack Mix

*This is one of those recipes that I honestly have no measurements.  But it’s easy to make so I’m passing it on!

*Preheat oven to 250*

In a large roasting pan (I buy one of those aluminum throw away ones..so easy and no clean up!) place a stick of butter or margarine and put it in the oven to melt while the oven’s heating up.

When butter is melted, add to pan any of the following to fill the pan full…not so full you can’t stir it up but full!

1 box wheat chex
1 box corn chex
1 box rice chex
1 box cheese crackers
1-2 cans or jars of peanuts

*Now…this is up to each of you to do as you please.  You can do different cereals (not sweet ones) like Cheerios or any other corn, wheat or rice cereal.  You can use other things besides the crackers or other kinds of cheese crackers like goldfish, or you can use bugles, pretzels, corn chips, sun chips, sesame sticks, melba rounds etc etc….it’s endless.  I use cocktail peanuts or dry roasted peanuts…you can again use as you want.  But fill up the pan!!

Now give it all a good mix to coat with the butter.

Now add these seasonings…heavy handed!!

Worcestershire sauce
Red Hot Sauce
Lowry’s seasoning salt
garlic powder.

You can’t really do too much of this LOL.  The more the better!

Now don’t stir it….pop it in the oven for 20 mins.

Remove from oven, give it a stir, add seasonings again…yep…again….and put back in oven.

Do this 4 times!  The last time I may or may not add anymore of any of the seasonings.  If it’s looking well coated it’s done except for oven time.  If it still looks like it could use more..go for it!

After 4 x 20 mins of baking…dump the pan out onto a brown paper bag to cool.

This will make 2 gallon sized bags full!!

 

There is enough to share with someone or a couple someones so DO!  I’ll be back soon with info about another herb and soon….Mabon!  Hope you all are having a Magickal Sun day!

 

Blessings and Love, Autumn

 

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Filed under Autumn, Flowers, Friends, Gardens, Herbs, Lammas/Lughnassadh, Mabon, My Writing, Nature, Photography, Quote, Recipe from my Kitchen, Seasons, Spice, Summer

The Wheel Turns to Lughnasadh/Lammas 2014……

Merry Meet my friends!  How are you all this fine day?  How has your Summer been so far? My Summer has been wonderful really.  We have had numerous days that stayed in the 70’s giving us a reprieve from the normal HOT and Humid days of July. We’ve had a good amount of rain, so lawns are still green and growing like crazy.  I’ve done two harvest on my herbs already and they are growing strong still…heading to a 3rd harvest.  Our garden beds and veggies have loved the rain and the cooler nights too so our flowers are still budding and blooming.  The SuperMoon was pretty amazing too…such energy!!

 

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Now…can you believe it…we are just 11 days from Lughnasadh/Lammas! The first Harvest festival!  Have you noticed that the wheel is turning to Fall?   The nights are getting longer again, the Sunlight has changed, the critters are gathering, even some of my bushes/plants leaves are changing colors already.  Corn is high is the fields, sunflowers are blooming, and yes, Halloween and Fall stuff are coming out in the craft shops 🙂  While we have a bit of Summer left…the subtle changes are there.

“The summer air is hot and still, the afternoon hazy; crickets call relentlessly from among the brown grasses, and ears of corn are the same heavy, burnished gold as the late-day sun. Hawks circle in the blue-white sky overhead, and seedpods ripen where flowers bloomed just a month before.

 But shadows begin to lengthen along the garden wall, and the nights come, just a bit cooler, perhaps; a settling begins in the Earth, a gathering, a slow, quiet turning toward the coming darkness.”

-Simple Wicca by Michelle Morgan

 

For Lughnasadh, I love to do a few things.  Harvest my herbs (which I’ve just done), make herbed oils and vinegars, and bake bread!!  Making breads from good grains to celebrate the harvest is a favorite thing to do for me.  And the scents that come from that put me in mind of Autumn immediately!  It won’t be long before apples and pumpkins will be everywhere and that just makes me want to bake too!

Magickally, I do a simple outdoor ritual to honor the first harvest, keeping in mind that our ancestors were VERY busy at this time of year to ensure that they had ample food for the Fall and long Winter that was to come.  Planting, tending, harvesting, and storing food took a great effort in order for them to eat when they could not just go to a grocery store like we do.  I love to do some canning this time of year too….this year I’m thinking apple butter, strawberry jam and I might try my hand at pickles 🙂  Seeing pretty jars of colorful goodness in my pantry just makes me happy..and reminds me how Blessed we are in our time.  Kitchen Witchin too makes this Witch very happy!

 

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Having said that, I know that some people aren’t as well off as others. There are people who don’t have enough food.  Keeping this in mind, donating to food pantries or your own neighbors who may need a little help, is a kind thing to do.  Share your harvest if you can.  I often pass tomatoes and fresh homemade bread over the fence to my neighbor, Jane.  No, she’s not hungry…but she lives alone and she is always thrilled to get something I pass over to her.  It makes me happy to do it too.

I thought I’d share a recipe with you for a muffin that is wonderful this time of year. I made them the other day, when we were cool and I was thinking about Fall all day 🙂  Filled with apples and cinnamon and crunchy topping..they are a huge hit at my house!

 

Autumn’s Apple Crunch Muffins

1 1/2 cups sifted flour

1/2 cup sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 cup soft butter

1 egg, slightly beaten

1/2 cup milk

1 cup Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced (or your favorite apple )

 

Topping

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

*Blend these ingredients in a small bowl.

 

Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a mixing bowl.  Cut in butter until fine crumbs form.  Set aside.  Combine milk and egg and add to dry mixture.  Blend well.  Stir in apples; blend well.

Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling about two-thirds full.  Sprinkle with brown sugar topping mix.

Bake at 375* for 25 mins or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.

*makes 12

**ok…it says it makes 12…I only got 8 nice big muffins.  If you want more….I suggest you double the recipe.  Then take some to your neighbor 🙂

 

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These muffins will put you in a Lughnasadh state of mind…I promise 🙂  I want to wish you all a very Blessed Lughnasadh.  I hope your Harvest is abundant, your Joys plentiful, and that Goddess Blesses you this day and every day!

Oh…don’t forget that you can find the past 5 years of Lughnsasadh/Lammas postings, recipes, info etc by typing it in the search box on the right side here 🙂

 

Blessings and Love, Autumn

*Pictures are my own.

 

 

 

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Filed under Autumn, Family, Flowers, Garden, Gardens, Goddess, Herbs, Holiday, Lammas/Lughnassadh, Making Jam, My Writing, Nature, Photography, Quote, Recipe from my Kitchen, Ritual, Seasons, Summer

I’m a Happy Garden Witch………..

Merry Meet friends!  Hope this writing finds all of you doing well.  If you live in the Northern Hemisphere..I’m guessing you’ve been enjoying Summer-like weather now! I know we have here in Ohio.  It’s been quite warm, we’ve had adequate rain, and the Garden Centers are booming with busy gardeners grabbing up flowers, shrubs, herbs and veggie plants.  I have made several trips there myself 🙂

This is only the 2nd Summer now in our new home and we are still planning garden beds and fine tuning what we did last year.  We lost some plants from the extreme Winter we had so we had to dig up some dead plants and decide what to do with the space.  I’m thrilled with what we’ve done.  I did most of the bed design and planting..while hubby helped me with the bigger pots and the I helped him with the mulching.

I have more I want to do yet…another bed would be great….but until I can talk hubby into it LOL….we will be planting some flowering trees like Pear and Lilac, installing a trellis or two against our fence and planting climbing flowers and putting in a big Maple tree in the backyard.  Here’s just a few pics of what we’ve done….they are newly planted but growing fast and I’m very happy with the results.  I kept in mind planting for drawing bees, birds and butterflies.  So far…it’s working 🙂

 

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As a Witch…..I have added Magick in many ways.  As I plant….I put my intentions and energy into each plant to grow strong and healthy..infuse it with Magick!  I draw runes and pentacles in the dirt, or even right on the wood of the raised bed of herbs.  I plant crystals in the soil, water with collected Moon Water and ask Goddess to bring Her energy and power to my home and gardens.  For me, working in soil…handling living plants, nurturing them, and watching them bloom and grow…brings me pure Joy, Grounds and Centers me, and allows me to feel one with Mother Earth.

I have many friends who don’t have yards or garden beds because they live in apartments etc.  I have friends who say they don’t have a green thumb..have no luck or desire to garden.   That’s ok too.  Not everybody is into gardening…I’m sure you have some other talent I wish I had 🙂   For those that want to but live in an apartment….it takes a very small space of balcony or patio or patch of dirt to plant a few things to bring you joy.  Pots are wonderful for growing flowers, herbs and even some vegetables.  The Joy is the same!

This time of year, I get such a thrill out of seeing my friend’s gardens posted on social media.  I get such great ideas and inspiration from others.  My friend Sunshine has a wonderful little balcony.  It’s one of the most magickal little places I’ve seen… with her pots of herbs and flowers and veggies, her Goddess statues and faeries….I get inspiration from her too! Though it’s a small space…it’s pure Magick!

It’s only 18 days until the Summer Solstice.  The Solstice is usually when I get to do my first harvest of herbs, and when I re-new my Witch’s Protection Bottles, wards etc around my home and yard.  I’ll be back to talk more about that soon.  In the meantime…get barefoot, go out under the waxing Moon (Friday the 13th She will be Full!) and just FEEL the warmth of the Earth, and the softness of the grass on your feet.  It will fix just about anything that’s ailing you!

barefoot

 

Blessings and Love, Autumn

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Filed under Bits of Magick, Faeries, Flowers, Full Moons, Garden, Gardens, Goddess, Herbs, Litha/Summer Solstice, Mother Earth, My Favorite Things, Nature, Our Yard, Photography, Protection, Quote, Seasons, Spring, Summer, Uncategorized

I <3 Herbs…….Lemon Balm

Merry Meet my friends!  Despite some cold weather..even some frosty mornings…Spring is in full swing here now!  I’ve started my plantings finally…herb bed is in and I’m working hard on the other 5 beds in my yard, replacing some dead plants that didn’t make it through the Winter  and putting in lots of new flowers!  I am a very happy Witch when I can dig in the dirt!

This week for the Sunday Stew…I’m writing about Lemon Balm..one of my favorite herbs!  You can find the link to the Stew here:  http://www.networkedblogs.com/XaXZ5 Be sure to read the Stew for lots of wonderful bloggers, recipes, news and information!

I’m sharing what I wrote about Lemon Balm here with you!

 

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Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), is a perennial herb native to southern Europe, western Asia and northern Africa and has been used medicinally for thousands of years. It can be categorized under the Lamiacease (mint) family. Melissa in Greek means “bee”. Officinalis is a Medievel Latin word meaning “used in medicine”. The name is probably derived from its traditional use by bee keepers to attract bees and its high medicinal qualities. Lemon Balm is also known as… bee balm, honey-leaf, horsemint, garden balm, balm gentle, English Balm, common balm, sweet balm, balm mint and sweet Melissa.

Lemon balm exudes a very refreshing lemon fragrance when we bruise or crush its leave. For centuries, the bee keepers have planted lemon balm near the bee hives, even rubbing the leaves on the inside of the hives to encourage the bees to stay. Its strong lemon fragrance is believed to attract and to settle the honey bee swarms. This is why lemon balm is also commonly known as bee balm.

Cultivating and Growing

Lemon Balm likes Sun and will spread like crazy if allowed to! It can be successfully grown from seed. The plant reaches about 2-3 feet in height and produces masses of wrinkled, aromatic leaves. It’s deeply wrinkled leaves are about 2 to 3 inch long. The shape of lemon balm leaves is similar to mint leaves (oval or heart shaped) and are a bright yellow- green in color. Lemon balm grows relatively small flowers that can be white or yellow in color. Lemon balm is easy to grow and maintain. It’s a versatile herb and can tolerate severe weather conditions. Lemon Balm is a wonderful plant for all herb lovers to have in their gardens! It’s a favorite of mine and you’ll see why!

Medicinal Uses
Lemon Balm has many medicinal properties. It’s an Antispasmodic, Anti-Viral, Aromatic , Cardiac tonic, Diaphoretic/sudorific, Digestive, Emmenagogue, Febrifuge, Hypotensive, Nervine, Sedative, Stomachic, Uterine Tonic, and Vermifuge. Lemon balm is used to relieve Anxiety, Colds, Depression, Dysmenorrhea, Nausea, Sore Throat, Insect/flea bites and Sunburn. It will help to heal Herpes/Cold Sores. It can ease cardiovascular symptoms and Pregnancy/Childbirth.
Here are just a few ways Lemon Balm can be used…whether you drink it as a tea or use the leaves on your skin. You can make a tonic, an oil or a balm as well. Each preparation is conducive to a way to use Lemon Balm for healing.

-Lemon balm has been used as one of the important ingredients to treat Insomnia. It has the ability to promote sleep.
-Lemon balm is a calming herb. It helps to reduce anxiety, improve relaxation, increase alertness and overcome stress problems. (tea, room spray or used in bath)
-Lemon balm cream can effectively cures cold sores caused by the herpes virus (HSV).
-Lemon balm has been used as a folk remedy to dress wounds, to treat snake, animal or insect bites. It has also been said to be able to ease high blood pressure, headaches, toothache, earache, fever, influenza, menstrual cramps and vomiting
-Lemon balm helps to improve digestion, loss of appetite and stomach discomfort and flatulence.
– Herbal tea made from the lemon balm’s fresh or dried leaves is consumed to treat insomnia, anxiety, agitation, herpes, fever, menstrual cramps, muscle spasms, colic, vomiting and poor digestion.
-Crushed leaves rubbed on the skin may help prevent insect bites or heal existing wounds
-a lemon balm infusion added to warm bath water may promote menstruation.
-Some medical studies have found that drinking lemon balm tea may help to treat the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Research indicates that lemon balm can help to reduce agitation and improve cognitive function in individuals with Alzheimer’s. The Georgetown University Medical Center cites studies that suggested that lemon balm can improve memory and decrease anxiety in people suffering from mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease
-Using lemon balm in aromatherapy has benefits as well such as to relieve a headache, nausea, calm stress, and aid in more restful sleep.
– The hot tea brings on a sweat that is good for relieving colds, flus and fevers and an antiviral agent has been found that combats mumps, cold sores and other viruses.
– Studies indicate that the herb slightly inhibits the thyroid stimulating hormone and restricts Grave’s disease, a hyperthyroid condition.
– Lemon balm’s antihistamine action is useful to treat eczema and headaches and accounts for the centuries-old tradition of placing the fresh leaf on insect bites and wounds.
– Lemon balm has antipyretic, refreshing, cholagogic and stimulating properties. Use a pad soaked in the infusion to relieve painful swellings such as gout.
– Use as ointment for sores, insect bites, or to repel insects.
– Use hot infused oil as ointment or gentle massage oil for depression, tension, asthma and bronchitis.

Warnings
Lemon balm may interact with certain medications, such as thyroid medications and HIV medications, explains the University of Maryland. Talk with your doctor prior to taking lemon balm to prevent any interactions with medications or health conditions

These are just some of the ways to use Lemon Balm medicinally! You can see why it’s an important herb to have in your Witchy medicine cabinet!

Culinary
In the culinary world, chefs prize lemon balm for its light, refreshing aroma and taste, often described as lightly lemon with a hint of mint. The fresh leaves yield the best results in cooking, though the dried leaves and stems are often used for making tea. The leaves produce a mild, lemony tea, and they’re often added to black or green teas for extra flavor. Whole or chopped fresh lemon balm leaves also add flavor to green salads, fruit salads, vegetable dishes, poultry stuffing and marinades for fish, and they provide a nice accompaniment to corn, beans, broccoli, asparagus, shell fish and lamb. I know from experience it is great on homemade breads too!

Cosmetic

The lemon balm plant reportedly cleanses the skin, and herbal steams containing lemon balm leaves are recommended for sufferers of acne. Cleansing herbal baths including the plant’s leaves may also benefit the complexion. Lemon balm essential oil is a common ingredient in homemade and commercial cosmetics formulated for oily or acne-prone skin. The essential oil has a slight drying effect and should not be used on dry skin.

Other Uses

Lemon balm was made into wine commonly in the early 1800’s. The leaves of Lemon Balm were also used as a furniture polish when rubbed directly onto the wood. Today, many commercial furniture polish manufacturers still use the herb in their product. It’s a wonderful plant to have in your garden to attract bees for pollination purposes. Roman author and naturalist, Pliny wrote “that bees like Lemon Balm more than any other herb.”

Magickal Uses

Lemon Balm can be used in many ways magickally. It’s said to be sacred to the Goddess Diana and was used in her temples.
Gender: Feminine
Element: Water
Planet: Moon
Deities: Diana, Venus and Jupiter

Lemon Balm is used in romance, attraction and love spells and charms. It can be used in lunar magick as its’ associated with the Moon. It can be used in Ritual work honoring the Goddess Diana as well. Lemon Balm brings mental clarity, calm, healing, health, friendship, fertility, and success. As a bathing herb it can help to attract romance, to cleanse before Moon rituals, and to aid sleep/dream and astral travel.
Lemon Balm helps to relieve melancholy, to balance feelings and moods. To me, this would be a wonderful herb to use to help ground and balance. Lemon Balm can help us to open up to receive the divine love of the Goddess.
A few ways to use lemon balm magickally:

-Use it in your bath before rituals..especially during Moon rituals.
-Add it to a dream pillow to aid in dreams and astral travel
-Place on your altar to help with your mental clarity during meditation or divining
-Carry some leaves in a mojo bag to attract love or romance
-Use it in incense..the aroma brings calm and balance and can altar your mood
-Plant in your garden to draw success and healing into your home

These are just a few ideas you can use to make the most of the Lemon Balm I just KNOW you’ll be planting in your yard right away….if you don’t have it already of course 

One more thing to talk about….Lemon Balm was one of the most important ingredients in Carmelite Water. Carmelite Water was invented in 1611 by Carmelite monks (some say nuns) in Paris who called it “Eau de Carmes”. Carmelite water was used as a perfume and toilet water, and was also taken internally as a cordial. The perfume was used to “cover” the smell of disease or just the fact that bathing was rare in those days. It was also used internally for digestive complaints and neuralgic complaints such as headache, pains etc. I’ve been looking at the recipes I’m finding in books and online and think it sounds worth trying. I’ll let you know next time what recipe I tried and I might share it too

If you’d like to have a copy of this information for your Book of Shadows or files…you can do that by clicking here:
lemon balm.docx

I hope that you all have a very Happy Memorial Day and a great week! Stay safe!

Blessings and Love, Autumn

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Filed under Flowers, Gardens, Goddess, Herbal How To, Herbs, My Favorite Things, Nature, Seasons, Spring, Summer, Uncategorized