Category Archives: Spring

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

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!

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Blessings and Love, Autumn

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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

If It’s Not One Thing….It’s Your Mother……

Being a mother means that your heart is no longer yours;

it wanders wherever your children do.

~Author Unknown

 

Merry Meet my friends.  It’s a very quiet Saturn day here at my house today.  It’s been gloomy and pouring rain ..with on and off again thunder too. I actually love it, though it IS keeping me from planting my herbs I finally picked up this week.  I got all but 4 of the plants I was looking for. I will have to go to my other favorite garden center on Monday.  I am even trying some herbs I’ve never grown before like fennel and lemon verbena 🙂 Can’t wait to dig in the dirt!

 

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Here in Ohio, Mother’s Day is usually the first weekend that we are most likely safe from late frosts and that has definitely been the case this year.  Our Winter was long but Spring has arrived.  This rain is helping everything to look so green and lush.  Late blooming trees and flowering bushes like Lilacs and Forsythia and Rose of Sharon are all starting to bloom.  It’s really lovely.

Speaking of Mother’s Day, it’s tomorrow in case you weren’t aware. 🙂  Last night I attended a Mom’s Day banquet at my Mother’s church with my daughters, my sisters and of course my Mom.  My little granddaughter was supposed to go as well but she is under the weather with a stomach bug …poor kid.  Now a Witch in church..well it’s not the first time that’s happened I’m quite sure LOL.  However, my Mother..well …let’s just say that she has never been an easy woman to have as a Mother.  And no matter how old I get, or she gets,  it hasn’t changed.   So it was a bit stressful at times, but in the long run.  I’m glad we all went to make her happy.

 

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I know that Mother’s Day can be a very loving, wonderful, happy day for many of us.  It has been for me as a Mom and Nana, in my adult years.  I am blessed with wonderful daughters who love me and show it,  and my grandchildren are nothing but pure joy to me.  But on the other end of the spectrum, there are those who aren’t moms, or have lost their moms, or don’t get along with their moms, that make the day either difficult at best, and terribly sad at worst.  My heart always goes out to my friends who have lost a loving Mother.  I think that for some, losing your mom is something you never get over.  I send you all big hugs if that is your situation..I truly am sorry for your loss.

On this Mom’s Day, I’d like EVERY woman..whether a mother or not….to do something for herself..to bring joy to YOU.  My friends who don’t have children…well, they are Mom’s too.  Women are natural nurturers.  Whether they care for aged parents, a loving partner, pets, their homes and gardens, charities, friends, nieces and nephews, etc etc….you should celebrate this day.  Frankly, Mom’s day should be everyday.  Women need to learn to nurture themselves MORE! The lessons we learn from taking some time to ourselves on Mom’s Day..should be done every day!  After all, as the adage goes, you can’t care for others until you care for yourself.  I think this is a very hard lesson to learn as a woman, we tend to put ourselves last.  As I get older though, I realize how important it is to put ourselves higher on our list of things to do.  We must nurture the Goddess within us.

I’d also like us to think on Mother’s Day..about the Mother of us all…Mother Earth.  I always give thanks on this day (and every day really) for Our Mother…who nourishes us 24/7 with Earth, Air, and Water.  With beauty in Her nature if we take the time to look and feel and listen and touch.  Make an offering for Her and show some gratitude for all She does to sustain us.

 

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Picture from Café Press

 

For those like me, who have a  relationship with our Moms that isn’t always as we would like it to be.  Well…just remember, if it’s not one thing….It’s your Mother 🙂  Do the best you can to honor her as your mom.  When she’s no longer with you…you’ll be glad you did.

I wish all the Women out there a very Happy Sun day and Mom’s day.  Hope you’re loved ones treat you like the Goddess you ARE!!

On a personal note, I wish my beautiful daughter Kate a very Happy Mother’s Day.  Watching you with your own children, makes my heart swell with pride and joy.  I love you.

 

There is an instinct in a woman to love most her own child — and an instinct to make ANY child who needs her love, her own.

~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com

 

Blessings and Love, Autumn Earthsong

 

 

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Filed under Daughters, Discussion, Family, Garden, Goddess, Grandchildren, Happy Mother's Day, Holiday, Mother Earth, My Writing, Nature, Quote, Seasons, Spring

Beltaine Blessings 2014…….

thCA8K56D9Merry Beltaine Eve my friends.  It’s been a rainy few days here with afternoon hours of Sun and warmth and gentle breezes.  Really nice!  I am ready for my celebration of this fun Sabbat and almost ready for my Circle’s celebration on Saturday night.

I’ll start the morning off tomorrow greeting the Sun..I hope…then I’ll wash my face in the dew of the Beltaine morning to help me show a fresh face for the day and to bring light and beauty to my skin for the year 🙂  I’ll have coffee and a simple breakfast.  At some point of the day, I’ll take a walk and make offerings along the way to the Fae and the Goddess.   In the evening, a nice meal of fresh foods and a ritual to honor the Goddess and God as they meet and create and help the Wheel to continue to turn.  A simple way to celebrate the day in a solitary way.

On Saturday eve, my Circle gathers. We will feast, make May Day baskets, have a fire where we’ll burn wishes and herbs, and we will have a small, simple ritual.  The May Day baskets will go to elderly neighbors or family members to cheer them for the day. I can’t wait!

 

I thought I would share a wonderful salad recipe with you..perfect for Summer and warmer weather. Nice and light!

 

Strawberry Avocado Salad with Honey Lime Dressing

4 cups mixed greens/chopped lettuce

1 cup sliced strawberries

2 kiwi, sliced

 1 avocado, sliced

2 tablespoon sliced almonds

1/2 cup plain greek yogurt

zest of ½ a lime

juice of 1  lime

pinch of salt

2 tablespoon honey

Arrange the lettuce, strawberries, kiwi, avocado and almonds in a salad bowl.

Whisk together the remaining ingredients to form the dressing and drizzle over salad.

*Serves 2

Whether you’re going to a Pagan Beltaine Maypole festival, gathering with friends and family, or spending it more quietly and solitary….Beltaine is a Sabbat to celebrate.  Officially….We are into Spring, and Summer is coming!  Think flowers, gardens, bare feet, less clothes, being outside MORE!!  For many, their favorite time of year!

‘But I must gather knots of flowers,
And buds and garlands gay,
For I’m to be Queen o’ the May, mother,
I’m to be Queen o’ the May.’
–  Alfred Lord Tennyson

 

I wish you all a very Blessed Beltaine!  May the Sun God shine upon you always and May the Goddess always dance with you!

Blessings and love, Autumn

*Don’t forget to type Beltane or Beltaine into the search box on the right to find the last 4 years of info there…recipes, correspondence, rituals etc.

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I <3 Herbs……Yarrow!

Merry Meet my friends. It has been a rainy, dark day today. Thunder and Lightning and I’ve done some dancing with Thor in the storms. I’m so thrilled that we had a couple of beautiful days here though. I got all our clothes washed and hung out on the clothesline to dry. (I LOVE that!) We got a few things done in the yard…some grass seed planted where a dead tree was removed last Fall….we got a birdhouse put up…a new birdbath put out and we bought a couple of hanging baskets of Calabracia to hang on our patio, a deep purple one and a yellow one. I pulled out the rosemary that isn’t coming back 😦 Added garden soil to my raised herb bed etc. All in preparation for planting! Which we can’t do yet! Ack! LOL. Another week or two I think. For sure by Mother’s Day!

Again, this posting about Yarrow can be found at The Sunday Stew here: http://mypaganworld.blogspot.com/2014/04/the-sunday-stew-beltane-edition.html. It’s the Beltaine issue so be sure and check it out!! It’s wonderful!

Beltane is almost here! As I was thinking about which herb I wanted to write about for the Beltane issue of the Stew…I decided on Yarrow. Yarrow is one of those wonderful herbs that grow wild…nearly everywhere! Usually from June thru September in meadows, roadsides, pastures, ditches etc etc. Easily found. Often thought to just be a weed LOL..but it’s so much more!!

 

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Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) grows from 10 to 20 inches high, a single stem, fibrous and rough. The leaves are fern-like, dark-green, giving them a feathery appearance. The flowers are several bunches of numerous small, white flower heads. Each tiny flower resembling a daisy. Depending on the weather and where you live, the flowers bloom from May to September.

For you gardeners out there, growing yarrow is sometimes too easy, as it tends to take over a plot. It creeps along via its root system, while simultaneously reseeding itself. Yarrow prefers ordinary soil and a fair amount of sunshine. Some varieties of yarrow grow up to 4 feet in height. It comes in shades from white to pale pink…to ornamental yellow and red varieties!

Other Names: Milfoil, Old Man’s Pepper, Soldier’s Woundwort, Knight’s Milfoil, Thousand Weed, Nose Bleed, Carpenter’s Weed, Bloodwort, Staunchweed, Devil’s Nettle

Mythology:

Yarrow carries the name Achillea because the Greek God Achilles in mythology is storied to have given the plant to his troops to stop bleeding in battle. Unfortunately, it didn’t stop the bleeding when he hurt his own heel, and he died from his wounds. The modern terms “Achilles tendon” and “Achilles heel” originate from this myth.

Medicinal Uses:

Yarrow has been a well-known healing herb for centuries. It has a wonderful list of healing medicinal purposes!
Parts used….everything above the ground (leaves, stems and flowers)
Harvesting for medicinal purposes should be done while the plant is in flower.
Yarrow is used medicinally against colds and flu, cramps, fevers, stomach ulcers, kidney disorders, toothaches and abscesses, skin irritations, to regulate menses, and to reduce inflammation. It can aid digestion and increase appetite. Yarrow is a diaphoretic and helps to eliminate toxins and fevers. Yarrow’s astringent properties can also help stop diarrhea and dysentery. Other yarrow uses include coughs, sore throats, lowering blood pressure, hay fever, and more.
Externally, clean yarrow leaves can be used to stop a wound from bleeding. A yarrow infused oil or balm can be used to treat other topical skin conditions including burns, ulcers, and swollen and inflamed skin, and hemorrhoids. Inserting a fresh, clean yarrow leaf into the nostril can stop nosebleeds. Yarrow can also, conversely, start bleeding when needed…for instance, getting clotted nose blood, to un-clot.

 

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Medicinal applications:

An infusion (tea) of yarrow flowers can be prepared by steeping the flowers into boiling water for some time. This preparation is useful for upper respiratory illness. It may also be useful to heal eczema when applied externally as a wash. An infusion or tea is also great for reducing fever. To get relief for varicose veins, soak a cotton pad with the infusion and apply to the veins. The poultice will also aid hemorrhoids. You can also put the infusion in bath water to soothe hemorrhoids and skin issues.
Yarrow oil is useful for any external skin issues such as swollen joints, rashes, or bruises. Also great as a chest rub (add peppermint or eucalyptus essential oil) for congestion of the chest..colds, flu or cough.
Cuts and scratches on the body can be healed by wrapping cleansed, fresh yarrow leaves on the affected area. To clean leaves, place in a bowl, pour white vinegar over them…let stand for a bit. Strain off vinegar then rinse leaves twice to ensure all the vinegar is gone. You can also place a chewed leaf on a sore tooth.
A tincture made of Yarrow is useful for healing urinary disorders and menstrual problems.

Warning:
Pregnant women should not use Yarrow internally! Excessive use can cause headaches and skin irritations for anyone who is sensitive to it.

Culinary Uses:
Yarrow is bitter but used sparingly it works in cheese sauces, soups and salads. Has been used in place of hops to brew beer.

Magickal Uses:
Gender: Feminine
Planet: Venus
Element: Air
Yarrow is used magickally for Courage, Love, Psychic abilities, Divination, Perception, Protection and Purification.
Some ways to use Yarrow for magick are:

-When drank as a tea, Yarrow is said to increase psychic powers and powers of perception.
-When flowers or leaves are burned, if the smoke goes up, it’s a good omen, but if it goes down, it’s a bad omen.
-Use Yarrow flowers in love sachets and charms.
-Place Yarrow flowers under your pillow before sleep and your lover will appear in your dreams.
-Hang flowers over your bridal bed to insure love that lasts at least 7 years. Or place them in your bridal bouquet
-Grow Yarrow near your door for protection or hang some over your front door.
-Carried in the hand or placed in a mojo bag….it is believed to ward off fear. Also to reverse negativity and protect from hexes
-Add to the bath to protect from evil or harm.
-Throw Yarrow flowers across the threshold to protect the house from evil.
-Tie to an infant’s cradle for protection from harmful forces. (an old belief too)
-Place the flowers on your altar to aid in divination
-use it in loose incense for protection, purification or divination

These are just a few ways to use Yarrow in Magick. I’m sure you can find many more. Next time you take a walk, look for some yarrow and bring it home and put it to good use!

A sensitive plant in a garden grew,
And the young winds fed it with silver dew,
And it opened its fan-like leaves to the light,
and closed them beneath the kisses of night.
~Percy Bysshe Shelley, “The Sensitive Plant,” 1820

 

I hope that you all are enjoying both the Stew and learning about herbs. I know I learn more and more as I study them and use them too.  I’ll be back in a couple of days to wish you all a very Blessed Beltaine and maybe a recipe 🙂

Blessed New Moon to you all!
Blessings and Love, Autumn

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Happy Bunny Day……….

IMG_0857Merry Meet my friends!  It’s Friday afternoon, a bit overcast here, breezy and in the 60’s.  I’ve been busy today….cleaning house, grocery shopping, laundry etc….getting ready for my family (well some of them) to come over Sunday for our Easter celebration. I think I have 13 family members coming…there are 5 not going to make it.  We will miss them!

Now some may say, why is a Witch celebrating Easter?

Well, for me…it’s all about being with family, putting together an egg hunt for my three grandkids, and celebrating Spring and being outdoors etc.  But I DO have members of my family who are Christian and celebrate it for the reasons all Christians do.  I’m ok with that of course.  We all love each other and it doesn’t really matter why we are together..as long as we are 🙂  Don’t forget, Easter is just the Christian way of celebrating Ostara….so it’s easy for me to enjoy the bunnies, eggs, flowers, being outdoors etc 🙂

For our meal, we are keeping it extremely simple.  We are doing a meat and cheese tray to make croissant sandwiches, my wonderful potato bacon salad, deviled eggs (of course), fruit, a relish tray of veggies, olives, cheese and dill dip and a couple of desserts.  The focus will be on the egg hunt and watching the kids have a blast 🙂  Luckily, our weather is going to be amazing!!

I thought you all might like my Bacon Potato Salad recipe…it’s great all year long but especially for the Summer and cook -outs! I am not kidding you..I’m known for this potato salad and expected to make it all the time 🙂 It’s really good!  I may have posted this here before but it’s been a while if I did. So here you go!

 

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My own picture…fresh made today!

 

Best Ever Bacon Potato Salad.

5 lbs potatoes, cooked, peeled and cubed

1 dozen hard boiled eggs, peeled and chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

onion if you like…but I don’t.

1 lb bacon, cooked and crumbled…reserve the hot oil

Mix all these ingredients in a large bowl that you can cover.

The Sauce….

Ok..here’s where it gets tricky…cause I don’t really measure.

2 cups or so of Hellman’s mayo (maybe a bit more )

3-4 TBs yellow mustard

2 tsps. sugar

1 tsp salt

pepper to taste

and 6 tbs bacon oil (warm is good!)

Blend everything together and pour over the potatoes, eggs and green peppers in a large bowl.  Mix well.  Refrigerate….though I will say it’s good warm too 🙂

Hope you like it..let me know if you make it!!!

 

I just want to wish you all a beautiful Easter holiday…however you celebrate it.  If you don’t…well,  have a beautiful Spring day!!  And for us Witches…Beltane is just around the corner!!! 🙂  Also, my Birthday is Monday…and for my birthday…I want to just thank you all so much for following this blog, being my friend and making my Life brighter and happier…as I hope I do for you too!!

 

Blessing and Love, Autumn

*Pictures are my own photography

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Blood Moon………..

Merry Meet my friends!  It’s a gorgeous Spring day here! Sun is shining, it’s quite breezy and warm.  I have spent the morning washing all my throw rugs and hanging them on the line.  I’ve jarred up new herbs in those awesome anniversary Ball jars that are GREEN!!  I love them and need more!!

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I’ve made foccachia bread, did some housework and opened doors and windows  to let fresh Air in and stagnate Air out!  Wish I could be outside planting but it’s just not time yet as I’ve said 🙂   I think everyone in the neighborhood is mowing..the scent is amazing!!  Hubby mowed a couple days ago and our grass is greening and lovely!

 

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Picture from Yahoo News

April 15 is going to be an amazing Full Moon.  It will be a Blood Moon!  A lunar eclipse!  Can you imagine the terror this must have brought in ancient times and the Magickal energy it’s going to bring to us in these times? About 2am EST the Moon will cross the Earth’s shadow turning the Moon a copper red….A Blood Moon.  It will last about an hour. This is one Witch who will be up in the middle of the night soaking in the Energy and Power and watching in amazement!

Another special thing about this Blood Moon…. there will be Four of them in the next year and a half. Pretty much unheard of!! There are sometimes 2 a year, but so subtle most can’t be seen.  There was a 300 year period where there were NO Blood Moons before the 21st century.  It shows how non-common they are.  The dates are April 15, 2014; October 8, 2014; April 4, 2015, and September 28, 2015. I for one will be marking these in my calendar.  I don’t want them to escape me!! 🙂

I would try to use this magick to the fullest extent!  Make Blood Moon Water, energize and cleanse your crystals, jewelry, altar tools…. Draw down the Blood Moon energy into yourself…set out powerful wards and protections with the aid of the added energy,  and just sit and bathe in Her Light.  Full Moon rituals will take on a whole new meaning under  a red, red Moon! Don’t you think?

“But about the first watch the Moon in eclipse, hid at first the brilliance of her heavenly body, then all her light was sullied and suffused with the hue of blood.”

From: Curtius, History of Alexander.
These quotations refer to a lunar eclipse at moonrise in Sicily and at Arbela, of 20/21 September 331 BC.

 

I wish you all an amazing Full Blood Moon!  May Her Light shine on you and fill you with Magickal Power!

 

Blessings and Love, Autumn

 

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The Wheel Turns to Beltane 2014…….

“Be like a flower and turn your face to the sun.”
– Kahlil Gibran

thCA8K56D9Merry Afternoon!  As I type the title to this post..I can’t believe how fast the year is going.  Beltane already???  But yes, Spring is springing out all over..finally!  Today we are sunny and warmish…but it’s incredibly windy and that keeps things feeling a bit cool still.  But trees are budding, spring flowers blooming, birds singing, garden centers are busy and there is no denying that the Wheel is turning..turning..turning….

Here in Ohio it’s too early to plant but I have a few herbs growing on my kitchen window sill that I successfully started from seed.  Hubby and I have checked for damage after the long, frigid Winter and it looks like our  new plantings from last year (bushes, perennials, herbs) all survived but  one boxwood and are a little worried about our hydrangea bushes..but everything else is just fine!  Even my lavender plants are already greening up! Yay!

Beltane is the earliest we do any planting here and many experts suggest waiting until Mother’s day to be extra sure of no late frosts.  I however, will at least be planting happily in my herb bed by May 1 or so.  Beltane for me is the perfect Sabbat for just that!  Mother Earth is fully awake, fertile, blooming and budding by then.  The Sun God is growing in strength and warmth as well!  And all around, the animals are happy and capering about.  Don’t forget, Beltane is a lusty time of year 🙂

Beltane is a Fire Sabbat! We have lots of fires..to burn old, dusty, dried up herbs and yard brush, wishes and hopes written on paper, and dancing and divining with it as well.  It’s the time of year I also put out more outside protection such as witches bottles, wards, salted boundaries etc etc.  The house is open and airing out stagnant energy. I have by now cleansed and smudged the house, done my Spring cleaning and put away all the heavy winter blankets, throws, curtains etc.

All the elements come into play for Beltane as well.  Earth, Air, Fire and Water all active and present for our benefit.  We dig in the dirt to plant and walk barefoot in the new, soft grass. We listen and feel the wind through the trees with their new canopy of leaves. We have bonfires and light candles, and for many, warm weather means a trip to the nearest body of water! Use the elements again after being cooped up all Winter!

My Circle of Witches will meet around Beltane for a feast, a fire and to make May baskets for some elderly people in our lives…to brighten their May as well.  We will wear flowers in our hair and go barefoot and welcome the warmth of the Sun, the longer days, and planting season.  The Goddess and God will romp and love and create..and if we are wise, we will too!!

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Beltane is a big time for community gatherings. You will find Pagan festivals, Maypole dancing and garden shows this time of year.  Go check them out and support them!

Be sure and type Beltane into the Search box for previous postings, correspondence, recipes etc for Beltane.  I’ll be back with a new recipe or two soon.  In the meantime, enjoy the beginning of Spring and plan a wonderful, fun, frolicking Beltane celebration for you and your loved ones!  Spring Blessings!!!

“The month of May was come, when every lusty heart beginneth to blossom, and to bring forth fruit; for like as herbs and trees bring forth fruit and flourish in May, in likewise every lusty heart that is in any manner a lover, springeth and flourisheth in lusty deeds.  For it giveth unto all lovers courage, that lusty month of May.”
–  Sir Thomas Malory, Le Morte d’Arthur 

 

Blessings and Love, Autumn

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I <3 Herbs……Rosemary

Merry Meet everyone!  Hope that you are having a beautiful Sun day in your neck of the woods.  Here in Ohio, we woke up to heavy Frost and freezing temps…but it has warmed up since to the 50’s, Sun is shining and it’s a gorgeous day!  We are yet warm enough to do any planting here….tradition states not to plant til Mother’s day to be safe from late Ohio frosts.  I however am biting at the bit so to speak to dig in the dirt!

 

As I told you before..I am most thrilled to be a writer..the Herbal Witch…for The Pagan blog The Sunday Stew.  Here’s the link again  The Sunday Stew.   If you haven’t read it…please do and support it as well.  For this week, I wrote about Rosemary….and thought I’d go ahead and share it here on my blog as well. But go and read everything else the Stew has to offer by some of my favorite people!

 

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 “I plant rosemary all over the garden, so pleasant is it to know that at every few steps one may draw the kindly branchlets through one’s hand, and have the enjoyment of their incomparable incense; and I grow it against walls, so that the sun may draw out its inexhaustible sweetness to greet me as I pass ..”
–  Gertrude Jekyll

 

Rosemary or Rosmarinus officinalis is one of my very favorite herbs. I believe I find a use for it most days! It has a long history of uses…medicinal, culinary and magickal! Rosmarinus officinalis means “dew of the sea”. But you don’t need to be near the sea to grow it.

 

Rosemary is a beautiful ornamental plant that takes very little attention to thrive. It’s a hardy, bushy perennial plant that comes back bigger each year. It can grow quite large in the right conditions. It looks much like an evergreen with a sweet, pungent scent. The leaves are needle- like…..dark green on the top, and grayish green underneath. It gets pale blue flowers around the stem when in bloom. Rosemary likes Sun and some room to breathe, and water when too dry. Pruning is perfectly acceptable, not only so you can use it but to spur on more growth.

 

Ancient Uses:

Rosemary has long been the herb of Remembrance…to this day. It was the herb used at funerals and to honor the dead after they are gone from the home. The tradition of laying sprigs across the coffin or upon tombstones dates back to ancient Egypt. Personally, I honor this tradition to this day. When visiting a grave of a loved one, I take a small wand of rosemary or plant rosemary where allowed. I also put rosemary on my Dumb Supper table at Samhain. To remember.

 

Rosemary was also associated with memory.   Scholars of ancient Greece wore wreaths of rosemary on their head, to help recall while taking exams. It was used widely at weddings..in the bride’s bouquet, given to the wedding guests to wear and put in the wine the couple drank to help them remember their sacred vows. Rosemary was planted in every newlyweds garden, but the adage “where rosemary flourished, the woman ruled” caused this practice to fall out of style when husbands kept plucking them from the ground to prove that they were the “ruler” of the home.

 

During the Middle Ages, rosemary was thought to dispel negativity and promote prosperity. It was thought to encourage happiness of home and hearth. It was kept in the home in some way, under pillows, hung on the mantle or hearth or by the door. It was even burned in homes to prevent the black plague! To me, many of those traditions stand true today.

 

 

Medicinal Uses:

Parts Used:   leaves

Preparation: infusions, teas, oils, salves & balms, vinegars, and culinary use.

Healing properties of Rosemary are:   pain relieving, restorative, stimulating, anti-bacterial, decongestant, diuretic and anti-fungal. Rosemary is used in the treatment of muscular pain, rheumatism, circulation problems, mental fatigue, nervous exhaustion, cellulite, arthritis, colds, bronchitis, fluid retention, sinusitis and is suitable for dry, mature skin and acne.

Excellent tonic for those who suffer from burnout or chronic fatigue syndrome

 

Encourages the production of bile thus aiding digestion

 

Helps to relieve the symptoms of Bronchitis, Asthma and Flu

 

Vision tonic

 

Nervous system tonic

 

Emmenagogue (induces menstruation)

 

Antidiarrheal

 

Relieves migraines and headaches caused by stress

 

Encourages hair growth and scalp health

 

Relieves vertigo caused by inner ear problems

 

Enchances memory

 

Mouthwash for bad breath

 

Stimulates the brain for memory and recall.

 

 

Make Rosemary tea for digestive problems, as an expectorant, to relieve cold symptoms, and as a relaxing beverage that may be helpful for headaches and low moods.

Externally, its oil made into an ointment has been said to treat rheumatism, sores, eczema, bruises, and wounds. Rosemary tea or vinegar used as a hair rinse promotes hair health, hair growth and healthy scalp.

 

Aromatherapy: Use rosemary essential oil in your salves, balms, and bath products. Rosemary oil blends well with LOTS of other essential oils… Lavender, Citronella, Oregano, Thyme, Pine, Basil, Eucalyptus Radiata, Peppermint, Elemi, Cedarwood, Petitgrain Bigarade, Cinnamon Bark, Clary Sage, Clove Bud, Ginger Root, Bergamot, Frankincense, Juniper Berry, Melissa, Celery Seed, and Fennel Seed. I use it in many of my Verbena Lane Shoppe products. It’s extremely healing!

 

In Cosmetics, rosemary is used often in shampoos, conditioners, lotions etc.

 

Culinary Use.

Rosemary has a strong and pleasant aroma and piney, earthy flavor. In cooking, it works well with dishes of beef and lamb, fish and bread. It’s excellent in stews and casseroles, roasted and grilled foods, pizzas, soups, vinegars, and herbed butters. Don’t be afraid to try it!

 

Magickal Uses:

 

Planet: Sun

Gender: Masculine

Element: Fire

 

Rosemary works in magick to rid negativity, to protect, to heal, to banish and to bring luck and prosperity. It’s used for mental clarity and cleansing. It’s associated with Love, friendship and memory. There are many ways to use Rosemary for magick. Here are a few!

 

-Burn rosemary to rid your home of negative energy

-use it in incense to meditate and clear your mind

-use it in mojo bags for multiple reasons ie: before a test, for healing, for protection

-Hang bundles by your front door for protection

-Add it to a healing poppet

-use rosemary to substitute for other herbs

-put it in a dream pillow to ward off nightmares

-add it to bath water to cleanse and heal

-keep a plant in your garden, by your front door or in your kitchen..use it’s scent when you need to be uplifted, use it in your cooking, use it to make vinegars and herbal preparations

-Use in potpourris and sachets

–plant it at your loved ones graves, or take them a bouquet

-keep it on your Samhain table or altar

-Make rosemary infused Moon water to cleanse your hands before spellwork

-Add to your recipes to add protection and healing for your family

These are just a few ideas…I’m sure there are many more! I’ll be back to post a recipe or two using rosemary in the next couple weeks.   Be sure to add it to your “must have” garden plant, kitchen herb, and Witch’s cupboard.

 

This is the post in it’s entirety on the Stew.  I will be back here on my blog as well with recipes, more herbs and will post pictures along the way as I’m planting…soon!

Blessings and Light and Happy Sun day!

Autumn

 

 

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