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I <3 Lavender………

Merry Meet my friends!  It’s a cold  day here in Ohio after a warmer day yesterday…and it just started snowing! I love watching the snow, love Winter, but I am the first to admit that by the end of February my thoughts are turning to Spring and to my herbs and flowers and garden beds!  I can picture them in my mind’s eye…all green, and colorful and lush and growing!  And the scents…so wonderful!  So I thought I would pick back up on my herb postings while I dream of getting my hands in the dirt again soon 🙂  I’m sure there are many of you that are dreaming out there too!

 

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Picture courtesy of Peaceful Acres Lavender Farm

*this place is near me and I intend to get there this year!

 

Lavender (Spikenard) is one of the most beloved herbs of all time. Well, to me it is…it’s a personal favorite! Its scent is unmistakable…. pleasant and mellow, sweet and earthy.  It’s immediately recognizable.  Lavender can put you into a complete state of relaxation and bliss with one whiff!

There are approximately 30 different varieties of lavender around the world. It has been prized as perfume by the ancient Greeks and harvested in France for its essential oils.  Lavender attracts butterflies, is drought and heat tolerant and grows well in gardens and containers. Both flowers and foliage are fragrant. The blue-purple flowers on silver foliage make this a must-have plant in any garden bed and especially in a Witch’s garden! I love planting it along a sidewalk and near the front door….it is such a lovely, scented introduction to your magickal home. I defy anyone to walk past it and not run their hands thru it then smell their hands….everybody does it!! J

Plant it in warm, sunny spots.  Lavender can grow 12 to 24 inches tall depending on the variety…..there are annual and perennial varieties as well.  I like to plant the perennial and watch it grow bigger and spread more each year. Sometimes a plant will get leggy and unattractive..that is when it’s time to pull it out and plant a new one.  To dry lavender, just cut the stalks, tie the stems and hang them to dry.

Lavender has been used therapeutically for thousands of years.  Its uses as medicine are many.  Lavender can be used externally or internally.  Internally, Lavender is believed to be of benefit for a multitude of problems, including stress, anxiety, exhaustion, irritability, headaches, migraines, insomnia, depression, colds, digestion, flatulence, upset stomach, liver and gallbladder problems, nervousness, loss of appetite, and can aid in reducing a fever.   Inhaling the essential oil in some cases has been reported to work as well as narcotics for inducing relaxation and sleep, easing symptoms of depression, and reducing headache pain.  Lavender Tea is a great way to take lavender internally.  Just add 1 to 2 tsp. lavender flowers to a cup of steaming hot water. Let it steep for 10 minutes, and sweeten as desired.  You can add the flowers to any of your favorite teas as well.  Also, lavender buds are quite edible in salads and many recipes..a couple I’ll be sharing in my next posting!  A delicious way to get lavender’s benefits internally!

The external use of lavender is the easiest and most popular way to use lavender.  It’s been used in cosmetics, shampoos, soaps, lotions, sachets, bath products, and healing salves and balms since well..forever!  As an herbal shoppe owner, I use LOTS of lavender in my products.  Lavender is used to treat burns, rheumatism, muscle pain, neuralgia, cold sores, insect bites, bee stings, cuts, and bruises.  Lavender has antiseptic and antibacterial properties and even local pain killing action.  It helps with psoriasis and eczema and acne.  Lavender oil..whether the essential oil…or making your own by infusing your favorite carrier oil with lavender flowers is wonderful for skin care.  The essential oil is safe to use straight from the bottle too.   You can make lavender oil into a balm by adding a wax, like beeswax, in a 2 part oil to 1 part wax ratio.  Every Witch should have a lavender oil or balm in their cupboard!

There is an abundance of ways to use lavender therapeutically.  Here are a few. As always, be sure that lavender doesn’t cause you a problem before taking it internally or using it externally!

 

-Rub a bit of lavender oil into your temples for a headache.

-Place lavender buds in a mojo bag under your pillow to aid sleep

-Also to aid sleep, make a linen spray using lavender essential oil and vodka.

-Drop a few drops of essential oil or a handful of lavender buds in your bath to ease achy muscles, calm your nerves and help with a good night’s rest

-Put some lavender essential oil in a pan on the stove with water and breathe in the steam to help a cold

-Make a diluted lavender massage oil to ease sore muscles

-Use lavender essential oil in a vaporizer to help with allergies, sleeplessness, headache, tension and irritability.

-Use lavender water as a face rinse or use a lavender oil infused cotton ball for acne, insect bites, canker sores etc.

-Make a cold or warm compress of lavender water for bruises, sores, arthritis.

-Lavender infused vinegar water is a natural antibacterial for your home

-Make a lavender healing balm for cuts, burns, bruises, scratches and bruises.

– Lavender can be used as a tincture to treat fungal infections such as vaginal yeast.

-Drink lavender tea or food with lavender buds to aid any of the above ailments

-Throw lavender buds on your salad or find recipes using them to eat!

 

In Aromatherapy, Lavender oil blends well with eucalyptus, cedarwood, clary sage, geranium, pine,  nutmeg, rosemary  and all the citrus oils.

 

The Magickal properties of Lavender are abundant as well.  Lavender is cleansing, protective, calming, purifying, soothing, and healing.  It increases mental acuity and focus.  It can be used to bring love, romance and fertility.  It lends itself to clairvoyance, consecration, happiness, Midsummer, money, passion, peace of mind, psychic protection, tranquility, blessings, divination, dreams, energy, gentleness, good luck, grieving, and harmony. Also meditation, ritual, and weddings..especially handfastings!  Whew!

Lavender is Masculine…its element is Air and it’s connected to Mercury.  Attributed by some to Hecate and Saturn.  The elves and fae love it too.   Some ways to use Lavender magickally……

 

-Make lavender infused vinegar water to cleanse your home..great on floors and windows

-Burn lavender incense or throw lavender buds on your fire to clear your home of negativity

-Put lavender in a dream pillow to aid you in remembering your dreams and helping you sleep deeper

-Put lavender essential oil in your bath to cleanse your energy and calm you before spells and rituals

-Use lavender oil to anoint your candles before candle spells.

-Carry some lavender buds in a mojo bag to bring love to you

-Put lavender oil on a cotton ball and sniff it from time to time during a test or anytime you need to be focused (like doing your taxes!)

-Make lavender wands for use at your altar

-Plant LOTs of lavender around your home..especially right by your front door for protection..and of course the added pleasure of it’s scent!

-Add lavender stalks to your sage sticks for added cleansing of negative energy and protection

-Keep cut lavender stalks on your altar when you are practicing divination

-Keep lavender buds in your pocket….for multiple reasons as listed above!

-Dried lavender stalks can be burned like incense….or make up a loose incense using dried herbs for divination, consecration, cleansing….

 

This is just a few things I could think of right now.  There are so many other ways I’m sure you can come up with yourself or are already using. As you can see, Lavender is more than just a pretty, sweet smelling herb.  I’m a firm believer that herbs are such a great way for us to stay healthy in a more natural way. It should be in every Witch’s garden!

I’ll be adding more herbs soon…very soon 🙂  So keep an eye out! In the meantime, stay safe and warm in this Winter we’re having……and dream of Spring!

 

*Some of you may have seen this posting I wrote in the Sunday Stew..the Pagan online blog.  Well good news..the Sunday Stew is coming back soon!  You’ll be able to get to it by clicking on the icon on the right hand side of this blog.  I’ll be the Kitchen Witch again this year..posting amazing recipes!

 

Blessings and Love, Autumn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Flowers, Garden, Gardens, Herbal How To, Herbs, Mother Earth, My Favorite Things, Nature, Seasons, Spring, Sun

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

We Must Love Our Mother Earth…….

There is hope if people will begin to awaken that spiritual part of themselves, that heartfelt knowledge that we are caretakers of this planet. 

~Brooke Medicine Eagle

thNP8L5I5IGreetings friends!  I’m hoping that you all had a wonderful weekend and Easter if you celebrated it.  We had beautiful weather here, so much time was spent outside.  My grandkids had a wonderful egg hunt and the adults had fun watching them and helping them etc.  It was a marvelous day and joy abounded!

I had a wonderful birthday as well and thank you so much for all the warm messages and well wishes!  I tend to accept growing older as I like the wisdom that comes with it 🙂  My family remembered my garden witchiness and got me some lovely things for my garden…a bird bath, owl stepping stone and statue, garden journals and seeds.  It was awesome!

For many years now, Earth day has come the day after my birthday.  I still remember it started in 1970 when I was in like 7th grade.  It was mentioned but didn’t seem to be that much of a thing really. Maybe I was too young to care too much.   But by the time I hit sophomore year in high school, it was becoming more acknowledged.  Kids were encouraged to walk or ride bikes to school instead of taking buses.  We were gathering in groups to clean parks, highways, collecting cans for recycling, to plant a tree or a veggie garden, etc.  I still remember a group of high school kids in my neighborhood decided to walk to school.  Now, this was about an 8 mile walk…not a small task that early in the morning.  But we put on our comfy shoes at 6am and off we went as a group.  We walked thru a beautiful winding road park to get there..made it to school on time and we were proud and excited about it.  It became a tradition for all 3 years of high school.  Fond memories.

The sad fact is..all these years later, that though they are many of us who care so much for our Mother, that we are slowly killing Her. Factories, over population, over expansion into green spaces, too much trash, too much chemicals, fracking, oil spills, pollution of waters etc etc…is destroying Her.

There are so many who live close to Earth, that see what’s happening, who do their share in their small way to try to heal Her, help her, work with Her and not against Her…but too many who don’t give a damn.  Trees are torn down to put up buildings..then new trees planted?  Does that make any sense?  Grass is covered in chemicals to keep it perfectly coifed and weed free.  Earth’s critters are constantly scrambling to find a place to live as we tear down their homes.  It goes on and on…and I have no answers for it.  It makes me cry really.

Earth day is not one day of the year my friends.  It’s EVERY day..at least it should be!!!  Now I know I’m probably preaching to the choir here as they say.  Any Witch/Pagan/environmentalist lives this every day…but as I Witch I know I can do better and work on it all the time.  But we need to set an example.  Earth day is a great day to do that.  Talk about it…get a group together to go clean a park or a highway of trash.  Plant a tree.  Help your neighbors plant a wildflower garden.  Get a rain barrel and a compost bin.  Stop using chemicals on your lawn and use natural, earth healthy products! Walk or ride a bike when you can.  Most importantly….teach your children and grandchildren to love and respect Mother Earth as well!!

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Caretakers by Robert Duncan

The Elements….Earth, Air, Fire and Water….we work with them every day as Witches.  Except for Fire…..those elements are ill.  And it will get worse and worse if we don’t do something MORE and FAST to save them. Let’s protect Her, Heal Her, Love Her!

Blessed be our Mother Earth……and blessings to all of you who are doing your part to care for Her!!

I’m not an environmentalist.  I’m an Earth warrior. 

~Darryl Cherney, quoted in Smithsonian, April 1990

 

Blessings and Love, Autumn

*Thumbnail picture was on the internet from multiple sources.

 

 

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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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