elderberry

HedgeWitch Days!

September, 2015

THE MAGIC OF A SONG AND A BISCUIT!

Hi my lovelies!

September, ahhh, I love it! Crisp autumnal walks in the fading sunshine, crunching of leaves and nut husks underfoot and the hedgerows bedecked with scarlet berries.

This is my all-time favourite time of the year.

Of course this has absolutely nothing to do with the peace that descends over the land as the children are once again contained by the walls of the school, yay! The colours of autumn can quite take your breath away, here in magical Wiltshire it is glorious as the fields are stripped bare and the chaff is singed down, the trees explode into a riot of uplifting and comforting hues…and all of us that walk this path rejoice in the second harvest, Mabon.

The equinoxes are literally a time of balance, once again as the wheel of the year turns we stop and take a moment to celebrate and give thanks, and this is our biggest thanksgiving festival of all. The light and dark are at that now poised on the edge of change once again, signalling for us to stop and take stock. I love that we have these points on the wheel of our year, it’s so wonderful to be reminded every 6 or so weeks to pause, take a breath, and ready ourselves for the next chapter…bit like a coffee break in the calendar! Ummm, biscuits, see how my mind wanders, it’s amazing that I ever get past the first sentence of anything I write! Where was I? Oh yes, biscuits…nope, oh yes… Mabon!!!

Ok, so we have a wonderful harvest to celebrate, beautiful leaves to walk through and dress our altars with, nuts and berries to gather and use, so what, as a solitary Hedgewitch can you do to celebrate the second Harvest, welcome the dark half of the year and honour the Goddess and the horned one? Of course you can hold your own thanksgiving ritual, light candles and bedeck you and your home with all the joys and colours of this time of year, but how about this year doing something like that famous song says…

’’You’re going to reap just what you sow!’’

Now I know we really aren’t at the sowing time of the year, and we are reaping the harvest now, and so we have technically already done that line in the song this year, but I think that sowing the seeds of magic that slowly grow through the dark half of the year means a stronger harvest when it eventually comes but maybe we should now sow a seed of magic to reap in the future…Which of course, if you know me and how my brain works brings me back to, yes you’ve guessed it, biscuits!

Time to get those aprons on guys and whip up a batch of yummy seasonal biscuits, which a little magic thrown in of course?! Elderberries are so underused unless they are in Jams, jellies and cordials so get picking these gorgeous plump gems whilst they are in season, how convenient that the season runs from now to just before Samhain, making these little guys perfect for our Mabon recipe. Don’t forget to check the Hazel for any nuts too, it’s always a race to beat our squirrel friends to their nutty goodness, but hey, maybe this year is my year to win! Remember as ever, if you forage for your ingredients, leave plenty for our wild friends, take only what you need.

ELDERBERRY and HAZELNUT COOKIES

(Preheat your oven to 180’c)

Light a simple candle to the Goddess

You will need;

110g salted butter

200g sugar

2 eggs

Juice of half a lemon

2 tablespoons milk

240g flour

½ tsp baking powder

½ cup elderberries

½ cup chopped cob or hazelnuts 

Method

  1. Place the butter in a saucepan and melt gently over a low heat.
  2. Once butter has melted pour into a large bowl and combine with the sugar, lemon juice, eggs and milk. Whisk together in a clockwise direction and say;

I stir for positivity, light and love for all.

  1. Continue to whisk until smooth.
  2. Sift in the flour and baking powder and stir clockwise saying;

Wheat of the earth, bind this spell for me.

  1. Once the mixture is smooth, tip in the Elderberries and chopped nuts. Stir gently clockwise to combine and say;

Fruits of the earth, seal this spell for me.

  1. Place your bowl of cookie batter next to your lit candle and say;

Light of the goddess, please bless this spell for me.

  1. Leave your bowl next to the candle for 15mins to bless the work you have done.
  2. After 15mins has passed, drop tablespoons of the mixture onto a lined baking sheet, leaving room to spread between cookies.
  3. Place in the oven and cook for approx. 10-15mins (remove when just golden brown.

Allow cookies to cool slightly on the tray before moving carefully to a cooling rack.

You can dress these cookies up by drizzling the top with a little white chocolate if desired or change the flavour by adding a little orange or lemon peel.

Ok, now you have your wonderful cookies, time to reap what you have sown my lovelies!

Place your cookies in a tin, on a plate, whatever you have, hold your hands over them and say;

Mabon blessings on this my spell

Sown with love, all is well!

Then take your cookies and give them to someone! A neighbour, a nursing home, a homeless person, anyone you wouldn’t normally interact with on a daily basis. Give them with love and blessings, with a smile as warm as the sun and a heart full of golden light.

Your spell is complete my lovelies…and you will find you WILL reap what you have sown, the dark half of the year awaits with its many blessings, haven’t we got off to a good start!!!

Of course once you’ve completed your spell you should really make some more, you know, just to check they are ok hehehe…it would be rude not too, I’ll put the kettle on, cuppa???

Mabon bounty and love guys, and as ever

Bright blessings

The Witch’s Cupboard

July, 2012

The Miracle of Elderberry

 

Family:  A member of the Honeysuckle Family

Healing History:

As early as 400 B.C. Hippocrates called the Elder his Medicine Chest.  From the Middle Ages into the 19th Century, Europeans and American herbalists used the berry as a laxative and diuretic, to treat diabetes, and to increase resistance to illness and treat infections, such as flu.  Beyond herbal medicine, elderberry has also been used for centuries to make preserves and wine.

Therapeutic Uses:

Used for Flu, Prevention of Degenerative Diseases, Heart Attack and Stroke and Gum Disease.

Magickal Uses of Elderberry

 A Druid Sacred Tree. Sacred to the White Lady and Midsummer Solstice. The Druids used it to both bless and curse.

Magical Uses:  Elder wands can be used to drive out evil spirits or thought forms. on panpipes or flutes made of elder have the same power of the wands. A Dryad “Elder Mother” is said to live in the tree; she will haunt anyone who cuts down her wood. Stand or sleep under an elder on Midsummer Eve to see the King of the Faeries and his retinue pass by. The flowers are used in wish-fulfillment spells. The leaves , flowers, and berries are strewn on a person, place or thing to bless it. Wood is NOT to be burned as it is sacred to Hecate. Flowers are used for altar offerings. Hung over doorways and windows, it keeps evil from the house. Carry Elder to preserve against the temptation to commit adultery.
Use for: Money; Riches; Love; Blessings; Banishing; Releasing; Consecration; Cursing; Purification; Cleansing.

My Personal Elderberry Flu Juice Recipe:

You will need:

½ cup dried elderberries

2 cups of water

1 cup of local honey

5 cloves

1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger

2 large cinnamon sticks

Add water and elderberries along with the cloves, ginger and cinnamon sticks to a non-stick pot.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium and allow this mixture to simmer for about 20-30 minutes or until it’s been reduced by half.  Strain.  Add the honey and mix well.   Allow to cool slightly.  Bottle, label and keep in the refrigerator.  Dose:  For children, 2 tablespoons 3- 4 times a day.  For adults, 4 tablespoons 3- 4 times a day.  You want to administer this at the onset of cold or flu.

How to Make Elderberry Wine:

You will need:

  • 10 lbs fresh, ripe elderberries
  • 1-3/4 lbs finely granulated sugar
  • 4-1/2 to 5 pints water
  • 1 tsp acid blend
  • 1 tsp yeast nutrient
  • 1 tsp pectic enzyme
  • Montrachet wine yeast

Wash, the stem and inspect the berries for ripeness and soundness. Put berries in a stainless steel or enameled pot with 3/4 pound of sugar and half the water. Slowly bring to boil while stirring occasionally and turn off heat. Cover and set aside to cool to room temperature. Strain berries over primary through a nylon straining bag and hang bag over primary to drip drain for two hours. Very gently press pulp to extract a little more juice, but do not overdo this. Stir in remaining sugar and dry ingredients (except yeast) and stir well to dissolve. Add enough water to bring to one gallon and add yeast. Cover primary and wait for active fermentation. Ferment 2 weeks and siphon off sediments into secondary. Top up and fit airlock. Ferment two months, rack, top up, and refit airlock. Repeat after additional two months. Stabilize, wait 10 days, rack, sweeten to taste, and bottle. Age one year before tasting. [Adapted from Julius H. Fessler’s Guidelines to Practical Winemaking]