flowers

Worth the Witch

April, 2019

SHA MAMA’S little helper

Shamanic Self-Care Support for Mama

This month’s Subscription Box is from SHA MAMA’s little helper and it is filled with products that have significant features. They are all plant based, from woman owned companies, and contained in eco-friendly packaging. Right off the bat, you know SHA MAMA’s little helper has not come to play!

SHA MAMA’s little helper’s boxes have a few options. There are the Quarter Day Sabbat Boxes. They correspond to and are themed with the seasons. These start at $77.77 each, a quarter. There are Quarter Day ½ Sabbat Boxes. These start at $38.88 each, a quarter. Next they offer a Monthly ritual with a supportive Product. This box starts at $19.99 a month, but if you prepay for a few month’s in advance it becomes cheaper. Lastly, you can order a Monthly ritual, with no products. This cost only $12.99 a month and like the previous subscription if you purchase a few months in advance it is cheaper.

If you look through all the pictures on SHA MAMA’s little helper site you see a punk rock, witchy, woman promising A “self-care box … mindfully curated each quarter for your enjoyment of, and exposure to, rare and helpful plant-based & Woman-made products that support and pamper Mama. As well as High-Vibe Manifestation, Magick and High-Holiday Celebration tools!” Her smile is infectious and that sounds so awesome!!! I want this in my life. I am sooo stoked to open this box!

Box Arrival!!

I was assuming that since it was coming in a recycled, earth friendly package that it was going to look dull. Boy was I wrong! Though it looks like my mailman had a nice time of trying to get in to it himself, you can still see the adorable detail of the zipper on the topsides of the box where you are to cut the paper tape in order to open it… And can we talk about that fuschia?!?! The perfect color pop. The tape around the sides states that it was “thoughtfully packaged with eco-friendly shipping supplies,” and “Please reuse, repurpose, recycle me!” This packaging is anything but dull.

First Peek

After finally convincing myself to cut into the cute zippers, I get my first peek inside the box and am equally transfixed by the contrast of colors on the inside. So far, this box has been in, 2 different ways, a feast for the eyes.

Let’s see what we have here…

The Information Card

The first thing you should look for is this glossy postcard in your box. It gives you a link to visit that has a written piece from the owner about her ideas behind The Box all the information on the products in your box, as well as a video from Miré Molnar, the owner, discussing the box! She unboxes the box herself for you and discusses each item with you. Very impressive!!

That was the pink side of the postcard. On the other side you will find information about SHA MAMA RISING, which is the main site that offers these Subscription Boxes. Here you will find information on all the services they offer: childbirth education classes, birth talismans, & crystals+breastmilk jewelry.

Now to the contents…are they as impressive?

2 Items from Zen and Meow

I was sooooo excited to see these two items from Zen and Meow. If you said Zen and Who then you better go back and read this – Wood Crystal Grid Review & Interview with Kelly Matthews from Zen and Meow, where Retha Lent wrote, and I quote “If you are looking for top quality wooden grids check out Zen and Meow!” Oh, and as Miré Molnar mentions, Zen and Meow is Woman Owned.

Wooden Crystal Grid

Just shy of 3”, top to bottom, left to right, this is the best little grid I have seen. The quality of this tiny grid is amazing. I wish I had a good enough camera or video equipment to show you the detailing of the pentacle or the beautiful burnishing on the side. If you could feel the smoothness of it. Not a single little wood bit sticking up to splinter. The depth of the carving is perfection. The interlocking arms and extra point tips give it that extra touch. You can take this tiny treasure anywhere or use it at home. Good on any size altar. In any size home or small apartment. Even, to hide!

Engraved Seed of Life Palo Santo Stick

Also, from Zen and Meow, included in the SHA MAMA’s little helper’s box was an Engraved Seed of Life Palo Santo Stick. When burned Palo Santo acts as a smudging agent to cleanse an area or person. It keeps energies grounded and clear. Its scent provides upliftment that raises your vibration in preparation for meditation. Palo Santo is traditionally used for relieving common colds, flu symptoms, stress, asthma, headaches, anxiety, depression, inflammation, emotional pain and more. It is a very useful wood. It smells very fresh with hints of mint & citrus. It’s native to the coast of South America and it’s name translates to Holy Wood. It’s used by everyone from Shamans to saints. The one included in our box is gorgeous! I am just going to keep it as is.

Handmade Beeswax Black Candle with Handmade Tree-branch Candle Holder

The first thought is how perfect the size is for after the beeswax candle when I use my chimes. Then, how beautiful the tree branch will look in time when wax has melted down it. How powerful this little branch will be. How it will resonate with all my intentions. Then I think, wow, I have taken these simple, beautiful objects and turned them into this massive magickal object before I have even found out what it is for! Let’s look…

Oh Ms. Miré you have put your full self and intention into what you have created and put in your box because it has come through loud and clear! WOW, now that is powerful magick!

Coarse Himalayan Salt & Frankincense with Coal

Himalayan Salt, also, know as Pink Halite, is a crystal and is edible. Salt is used for protection and protection from evil. It is often used in & around homes. It is also used for purification, cleansing, and dispelling negativity in many religions rituals throughout the world. Himalayan Salt has many more attributes, as well, making it a great resource to have.

Frankincense resin is burned to create scared, purified spaces. It is very powerful and many use it mixed in with their other herbs to boost their magick. It is also associated with good fortune business wise. Frankincense is great to burn while doing energy work, meditating, or working with your chakras.

They are tall, 4” approx., glass vials, of nice chunks of each. Plus the charcoal to burn the frankincense on. I think a generous amount is given of each. Beautiful in the bottles and came wrapped nicely in beautiful tissue paper. I’m a sucker for cork topped bottles.

New Moon & Full Moon Aromatherapy Oils

Made by Binford’s Natural Remedies, which is a woman owned company that handcrafts all its merchandise and “follows the cycles and rhythms of nature to create all of its products.” They are from their Sacred Altar collection. The ingredients are not written on the bottle and I can not find them on the site, however, you can CLEARLY see the flowers and crystals in the bottle.

Each bottle states what each is intended for. The New Moon oil says it is to be used to cleanse & make your intentions clear. The Full Moon oil if for release so you can receive.

Each bottle also has the web address on it. The type on the bottles needs to be bolder. It already is fading and I will need to use a marker to write what they are on them. That is not important enough though. Let’s see how they smell.

New Moon is a gorgeous flowery scent. Not the over powering scent of flowers that is overbearing and makes you sneeze and bites your nose. But a deep, maybe heady flower, you can feel it’s petals. Don’t mistake this for a smell that is too powerful. It blends in and fades to just the right amount of aroma on the skin.

Full Moon is a sweeter smell. Hints of a powdery scent. A lighter smell you may think, but if you put each on a wrist and take turns smelling them, you will find it is not, it is just different. They are each very powerful! Gorgeous!! I have not smelled blends like these before. Usually you smell the regular lavenders & sages, but not here!

Each comes in a glass, roll on vial. Easy to use. You should rub the oil in for better effect. A little goes a long way. You really don’t need to roll on a lot. You can dab a bit and blend that in.

Resin Magick Skull

At first when I saw the skull I was intrigued. I wasn’t sure what it was. I like skulls though. Plus, it had glitter! I have been seeing them or something like them for sale on Instagram. So I was very curious. It’s a handmade resin skull cast by SHA MAMA RISING owner Miré Molnar. Inside she has placed items, such as; human bones, ashes, blood, placenta, crystals, flowers, and glitter then magickally charged it. How is that for something unique for your altar! I can see a ton of stuff in mine, but I am not sure what it all is. I see herbs, maybe a bone? What would placenta look like? Gosh it’s lovely. Mine came with purple glitter, and purple is my favorite color! Blessed.

Witch Elixir

Created by the website: The Jess Rose. One of her Flower & Gem collection she doesn’t even carry on her site. Created during the 2017 Lion’s Gate, Full moon eclipse, matured over 13 moons. It comes with a card from the owner explaining how to use the elixir, it’s ingredients, and how to store.

What this elixir has in it is a mixture of Flowers: morning glory, iris; Gems: unakite, labradorite; and many more then I just mentioned than the two for each. And they are in a solution of spring water, organic vegetable glycerine and organic vodka less than 4%. You can not see any of the flowers or gems in the bottle. It is all liquid. It comes in the glass bottle with a dropper you are to keep clean and clear from any touching as per instructions on how to keep the bottle from contamination.

What the elixir is for is that the “essences nourish the subtle bodies, auric fields and energy systems.” It is supposedly gentle.

The note that comes with the bottle is wonderfully done. The artwork on it so nice you want to save it and frame it. On the backside it is sealed with wax. Fancy touch! The bottle itself is adorned with a key charm tied around the neck with some black cording. You can keep this and use it as a necklace. Adorable. As for the taste it was yummy to me. I did have a bit of coffee before. I could still taste it. Sweet. I followed the instructions and didn’t let the dropper touch my mouth or tongue. I have stored it properly in a cool area this entire time. It is supposed to work on the support and growth of our inner witch. Grow little witch GROW!!!

I don’t know if a product like this is necessary, but it doesn’t hurt. I can not tell you if it helps yet or what it does, if anything.

The shop is woman owned!

My Over All Impression…

WOW, SHA MAMA’s little helper is dead serious about her Subscription Box, it’s contents, and it’s packaging. Her packaging is wonderful and %100 recycled materials. The products inside are not inexpensive & are not junk! SHA MAMA’s little helper is serious about giving you a true magickal experience when pampering you. The Bindfords All Natural is amazing stuff. Maybe my favorite items in this box. I can say one of the top best smelling oils of all times. You do need to remember a little goes a long way and that you have to rub the oil in, but it is worth it. A definite must have. My second favorite from SHA MAMA’s little helper is the Black Bee’s Wax Candle & Candle Holder. Genius. Handmade by Miré Molnar the boxes creator. It sparked my imagination. I could see it in the future. I saw what her intentions were for us! The magick in those objects is so powerful. It is just so simple, yet so stunning. Let’s not forget the Crystal Grid for Zen and Meow!!!! Such a quality company. I almost forgot, everything is by women owned companies, as well. Inspiring!

This box just screams magickal inspiration! It’s a MUST HAVE!! I can not express it enough!

The Interview

Miré Molnar creator of SHA MAMA’s little helper subscription boxes was nice enough to grant us a wonderful interview.

PaganPagesOrg (PP): What brought the idea of your box to you?

Miré Molnar (MM): I started thinking a lot about the importance of self care after my baby was born. So much of my energy was flowing out to my child – but that energy came from somewhere… It came from inside of me. So I thought a lot about what fueled my life-force energy and what I needed to do to keep my cup full given that I didn’t have the same freedom I’d had pre-baby (to say, go to the Korean spa or get body work etc.). I began to find and use really cool products that became part my daily self care ritual. Products that supported my body, subtle body, my hormones and my bliss. I began using CBD often and jokingly called it Mama’s Little Helper (I’m also a Stone’s fan). I started to call all my little herbal/witchy/beauty products Mama’s Little Helpers because they really helped me feel balanced through any given day of motherhood. Women and mothers in US culture typically seem very comfortable with giving but then are not that great at receiving. Motherhood will knock you on your ass if you don’t take care of yourself but supporting women is just not where our culture likes to point it’s attention. I see a lot of moms really struggle with this. I decided I needed to offer a subscription box to support other women/mamas self care practices and be a voice to help flood the conversation with the message that self-care is not just ok but that it is imperative.

PP: How did you begin them?

MM:I first started last January with a monthly Crystal Creator box on my jewelry shop www.talismama.life that focused a lot on manifestation. It was expensive and it included a really high grade CBD oil, a Law of Attraction planner and various tinctures, body oils and hand-made witchy goodies etc. and each month I would post a ritual or something similar that connected with what was happening energetically with the cosmos and the planet.

PP: How do you choose what to include inside your boxes?

MM:I find a lot of great woman/mama owned brands on Instagram and Etsy. But also people and products find me.

PP: Is yours a recurring monthly box?

MM:I stopped doing a full monthly self care box because the price point was high and I think the amount of products became overwhelming too. So now I offer a Quarterly full and half self-care box and then I offer a monthly ritual that can be purchased with one supportive product or not.

PP: Are you Pagan?

MM:I think that that’s the best word to describe my spiritual beliefs. I find a lot of spiritual paths interesting and I participate in all kinds of things from Thelema to Wicca to Yoga. I like to have the freedom to make my own shit up so Paganism feels the least constricting. I like being in rhythm with the earth and find that ultimately that that is where my spiritual focus feels most comfortable – with mother nature

PP: What types of interests do you have?

MM: I’m a graphic designer, I work at a Sudbury Valley style Democratic Free school, I am an environmentalist, a feminist, civil rights activist and an artist. I love to dance, smoke Mary Jane and be creative. I was very involved in the indie rock music scene of the 90’s and early 00’s, have been in many bands and love Rock N’ Roll! I love getting high on my third eye and I love witchy, hippy, cosmic shit!

PP: Did you feel the pagan world was missing something to make you create your Box?

MM:That’s a great question. Actually I’ve been pretty impressed with what’s available out on Instagram especially when it comes to other woman-made, legit magickal offerings. I do notice a lot of made-in-china Witchy/Pagan boxes and wanted to be another offering (of the small but growing handful) that really focuses on women’s magick (such as: herbalism, potion-making, candle-making, soap-making, kitchen-witching) and includes products made with a lot of high-vibe juju. If we’re really out to make magick then intention is a huge part of that and every component that goes into a product is incredibly important. Making sure that the products I feature use natural ingredients, are made with consciousness and support other women entrepreneurs is very important to me and I hope it’s what makes my boxes stand out in the long run. 

PP: Tell us about you, your life, what we may not know!

MM: I am the daughter of Chantal Molnar, the amazing priestess behind The Milky Way Movie, and feel that my calling is aligned with my mother’s and that I am here to support the empowerment of all women. I make crystal power-jewelry with my father and have created the brand Sha Mama Rising that includes our TalisMama jewelry shop and my Little Helper subscription boxes. I have a 3year old daughter and a wonderful partner and we live in Southern California.

PP: May we have links to your sites that sell other types of products?

MM: Yes a few… You can go direct to the subscription boxes here: http://sha-mama-rising.cratejoy.com or you can find the boxes through my other sites: www.shamamarising.com and www.talismama.life

Thank you so much Miré Molnar for creating such a wonderful Product & for taking the time to talk with us and our readers. I can definitely say that I totally stand behind this Subscription Box and it is totally Worth the Witch!!

***

About the Author:

Jennifer Wright is a witch on a path of change that is always winding. She founded PaganPagesOrg in the hopes of giving those a platform to share and learn without judgment. There are too many important things to her and not enough room to mention them. You are one of them.

Celebrating The Old Ways in New Times

April, 2019

April 2019 for Celebrating The Old Ways in New Times

Bright Blessings!

I write this the day before Spring Equinox, and I am pleased to say, although we still get the scattered odd snow, and colds and upper resp is currently rampant in my hometown, Spring is happening anyhow!

My crocus bulbs have started showing purple buds, and the birdsong, and strong light are a very welcome break from the cold, and gloom of winter!

I have all my seeds for the year already, and I’m going to start buying soil a couple of bags at a time this weekend to fill that new planter box I am thrilled to have!

More than that, joint pain, fatigue, and cabin fever are starting to disappear!

The month of April also sees everybody getting outside more, being cooped up indoors less, doing more Spring cleaning, and planning trips out of town to visit loved ones, and hit festivals. It’s a happy, and active time.

For some of us, it means planning the Beltaine gathering. In years past, I have written a lot about our Beltaine gatherings.

My health made it impossible for me to plan that some years recently- but this year, it’s on!!!!!

Rather than rent a site at a natural area- you know, where we could do firepit and camping- I just booked the clubhouse at my condos. NOW, if it rains, we are covered! It’s also on the bus line, and right at my house. Everybody knows where it is, and it cost a small $40 rental. Win-win!

I bring this up to speak about transformation.

We THINK transformation is making EVERYTHIMG we expect happen exactly as we want it.

That isn’t always the case.

Sometimes, sure, but not always.

Sometimes, we have to ADAPT to make something happen at all, as opposed to DEMANDING we 100% control everything down to the most minute detail. Being a micromanager hinders magic sometimes. We may move energy, but we do not OWN energy. We may be the reflection of the god or goddess, but we are ACTING in that role, and are not actually them. We are merely human.

To accept things as they are, and change ourselves or approach to mirror reality is sometimes the most magical transformation there is.

More on this topic, and a working to follow the theme, but first, I’d like to share with you a wonderful book I reviewed, and the amazing author’s interview.

Interview of Nicholas Guillette

Nick Guilette is the author of Magickal Mechanics: The Fundamentals And Functions Of Magick, which I had the opportunity to review!

This 2018 publication is a simple, no nonsense approach to the way magic works. I most appreciate the brevity of the 60 plus page book, which is broken down into 12 simple mechanics. It’s an easy read, and Nick’s writing voice has an easily understandable, poetic flow that draws you right in. I recommend the book.

Rather than provide too much of a spoiler, I decided to discuss one of the 12 mechanics, and Nick chose #12, which is: “Magickal action must be followed by mundane action on the physical world outside of the ritual setting.”

He writes “Magick is not a silver bullet to solve our problems…creating changes in life through magick requires work in two aspects of existence: The energetic, and the physical.” He also writes, “ Magicians must allow their magick to flow from the astral plane to the mental plane and finally to the physical plane through spellwork and follow it up with mundane action to see their will manifest.”

I was fortunate enough to not only review this good book, but also interview the author as well!

The Interview

Saoirse– Let’s discuss the book by highlighting one of the 12 points. Which would you prefer to discuss?

Nick– Probably the biggest thing would be that magick requires physical action to manifest so #12, because a lot of people tend to think that after they do with spell it’s just going to manifest whatever they want without any work.

Saoirse– A gal I once used to know said “We are spiritual beings having a physical experience! “ Magic is just a PART of who we are as magic workers. Your example of trying to find a job is one I always provide. Sure, cast spells, but if you don’t send that resume out, you might not get a job! I will say, though, ONE time, I did spellwork, and it manifested on its own, but that time, I was told to wait by the goddess!

Nick– Yeah sometimes things do come around when we wait but there may have been some elements there of physical manifestation you took part in doing.

Saoirse-To me, spellwork is my last resort, but most of my friends who practice do magic first. Some say it gets you into the “headspace” to make things happen.

Nick– It can be done either way because you can use magic as a way of your efforts were supporting you in finding the right way from point A to point B, or you can use it as that last connective power after doing everything that you can in the physical world. I do tend to rely on the idea of doing everything in the physical world possible first before relying on Magic because that puts a level of effort behind the intention, and things that you are trying to manifest. It’s like filling a gas tank before going on a trip kind of. The energy is like, “ Oh that’s what you’re aiming towards! Let me help you with that’”

Saoirse– Tell me about a time you used magic, and THEN did mundane work, and how it manifested?

Nick– When I was trying to get one of my jobs I charged a sigil that I kept in the pocket of my dress shirt to help get the job. Then I did research on company policies and what their goals are and talked with people who worked there previously, practiced some lines for interview questions. At the interview I was filled with confidence and the right words seemed to flow through me, and I got the job easily. The interviewer during the group interview even paused at one point to ask me a follow-up question. I was the only one he did that for. I got the job easily.

Saoirse– Let’s discuss having a magical mindset as opposed to wishful thinking. What are the differences?

Nick– A magickal mindset is a way of thinking that knows cause and effect are connected in a way that you can manipulate. On the opposite, wishful thinking relies purely on hopes, chances and luck. Those that work with magick know they can change the dice roll in their favor with their manipulation of reality.

Saoirse– What about when the magic does not work? What does that mean, and what do you recommend to people when they get to a place where that have tried everything, and there are ZERO results towards their goal?

Nick– Sometimes magick doesn’t work because our deep-down beliefs don’t want it to work. Like when I would do spells for teaching jobs simply because of the money, but wasn’t ready, or really excited about actually getting the job. Subconsciously I didn’t want the job so I didn’t get it. It could also mean there is some other option they overlooked, or haven’t thought of that would be even better for them. Or during spellwork, their intention wasn’t focused enough, or their spell wasn’t that powerful due to lack of energy. Many different factors could account for such results.

Saoirse– I have noticed a lot of healing magic tends to go awry. I am pretty sure these folks want it , and have done all they feel is necessary. I know a lot of cases where folks do what the doctors tell them on the mundane levels also, as well as ascribed magical workings. Still no healing. In a situation where somebody does “all the right things” and still no results, for something necessary, and for something that it would SEEM like it would be done, what are the causes perhaps?

Nick– Meddles intention, unclear focus, unclear energy. Like doing everything right when you’re tired, Your words can still come out funny.

Saoirse– So, it sounds like you are from the school of thought that a true magician can manifest anything her or she wants if only the magic is good enough. Yes?

Nick– The magick being their intention, planning, execution and follow-through. Yes. Although there are limits to what magick can and cannot do, which my book outlines.

Saoirse– Yes, there are limits, I agree.

Nick– Magick’s limits are mostly aligned with what can be created in reality, magick is a different way of manifesting, sort of. It’s like a detour. You still use a road, but a different one. Or a different type of fuel, per-se. Magick is akin to having a GPS when driving rather than relying on road signs.

Saoirse-Next I’d like to know about you! Tell me about yourself as both a writer and a magical practitioner!

Nick– I fell into magick because a girl I dated in college had 3 books on it and didn’t want me to read them or try anything on my own for fear of getting hurt. When we broke up I bought them and spent a whole summer reading Occult books from the bookstore and at my university library. I spent the whole summer alone doing rituals every night. That was back in 2008, so I’ve had a daily passion with it. And I started my magickology YouTube channel back in 2015. I wrote an entire book elaborating on how to work with the Simon Necronomicon, basically building around the text explaining everything but Avon would not grant me permission to publish it. So, I came up with the idea of writing my own books. And one night my fiancee gave me the idea for my first when she asked about the psychology of ritual. And I started writing my first book which was Magickal Theater. It took me 3 months. I wrote Magickal Mechanics shortly after.

Saoirse– That is amazing! What projects are in the works next?

Nick– Well I am working on an update of sorts to my book Handy Sigil Magick which is my own personal system for activating sigils through visualization and physical movement. Going to make it more complex and involved than it is.

Here are links to Nicks author pages and available publications:

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=B07GXXNV9L&i=stripbooks&_encoding=UTF8&shoppingPortalEnabled=true

Here is the link to his You Tube channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCV0QFgXDuLeRL8CX0wI2rxA?fbclid=IwAR1aSPM8flLRuoxdMuYfqeQCD7iJ-xEbSW92xjq6R5v3Pa20p9r7CgV_Pp0

He can be reached at priestofthenecro@gmail.com. He always accepts emails from people wanting to suggest video topics or want to learn from him.

He says “ The most important thing is sharing knowledge so everyone can grow in their practice.”

I could not agree more.

Magickal Mechanics: The Fundamentals And Functions Of Magick on Amazon

April’s Working

As magic is often used to create change, one of the most important things we, as magic workers have to accept is that sometimes, we are trying for things that are not ours to try for.

A lot of people think we can have ANYTHING we want if only we do all the right things to get it.

Tell that to somebody who did a lot of healing work, and the person they tried to heal; never got better. Tell that to somebody who tried all they could to save their marriage, and the spouse left them anyhow. Tell that to somebody who worked for YEARS at a certain career, only to discover they belonged elsewhere.

We are sometimes have to adapt. That might mean abandoning something altogether, or just changing our approach.

Going along with Nick’s talk about action plus magic, my working will focus just as much on the mundane as the magic.

The Working

Take a serious look. What isn’t working as expected in your life that you would like to improve? Do you need to completely walk away, or just change something?

Like I had to change how I do my Beltaines, as opposed to completely giving them up, what can you adapt to?

The first step is to identify that which you must simply abandon, or adapt to.

Next, we will do spellwork first.

The Spell

You are doing a spell on yourself!

Make a poppet representing you, or use a photograph of yourself for this.

If you make a poppet, use something that is easy to burn.

YES, you will burn a poppet of yourself, and the flames will IGNITE you to action, not destroy you!

Next write all over your photo or poppet the things you want to change or transform.

For example- say you are trying to lose weight, and your focus has been on cutting calories- and you are literally starving yourself. Not good. You could write something like this “I want to lose weight, but not starve myself! I am making myself sick, and that is NOT the goal. From now on, my focus will be on losing weight for my health, and starvation completely defeats that purpose. I don’t KNOW yet how to eat healthy and also lose weight, so my goal is to research every day for the next month, or longer ,and get help from a doctor or nutritionist if needs be. “

Burn the poppet to ignite you to impassioned action- and then go out and do what you wrote on the poppet you would.

The spellwork is easy, as it should be a small part of the act. I am not one to “put it out there to the Universe”, and WAIT for the Universe to grant a wish! There will be times you have done absolutely everything, and all there is left to do is hope and pray, but for this working, it’s 10% spellwork, and 90% action.

This is a surefire way to make changes happen!

Blessed Be!

***

About the Author:

Saoirse is a recovered Catholic.  I was called to the Old Ways at age 11, but I thought I was just fascinated with folklore. At age 19, I was called again, but I thought I was just a history buff, and could not explain the soul yearnings I got when I saw images of the Standing Stones in the Motherland. At age 29, I crossed over into New Age studies, and finally Wicca a couple years later. My name is Saoirse, pronounced like (Sare) and (Shah) Gaelic for freedom. The gods I serve are Odin and Nerthus. I speak with Freyja , Norder, and Thunor as well. The Bawon has been with me since I was a small child, and Rangda has been with me since the days I was still Catholic. I received my 0 and 1 Degree in an Eclectic Wiccan tradition, and my Elder is Lord Shadow. We practice in Columbus, Ohio. I am currently focusing more on my personal growth, and working towards a Second and Third Degree with Shadow. I received a writing degree from Otterbein University back in 2000. I have written arts columns for the s Council in Westerville. I give private tarot readings and can be reached through my Facebook page Tarot with Saoirse. You can, also, join me on my Youtube Channel.

Tarot Talk

March, 2019

The King of Pentacles

(The King of Pentacles card is from the artist Ciro Marchetti http://www.ciromarchetti.com/)**

We have one more King to talk about, the King of Pentacles. Let’s get busy!

As a reminder, the 78 cards of a Tarot deck consist of 22 Major Arcana cards (dealing with broader and more far-reaching life experience issues, and archetypes that are easy for us to identify with and connect with at some point in our lives) and 56 Minor Arcana cards (customarily grouped into four categories or suits that represent the four elements and dealing with day-to-day issues).

The Court Cards are a part of the Minor Arcana, acting as a representation of the family unit (“families” of all kinds) and individually representing particular personality traits of people, places and events in our lives. These cards can also tell us about our own personality and how it is perceived by others. Thinking of Tarot cards as people, with each card having an individual personality, is particularly appropriate for the Court Cards, as they are the most human of all the cards in a Tarot deck. Even the illustrations for the Court Cards show humans in the majority of Tarot decks.

Instead of numbers, Court Cards have rank. The lowest ranking Court Card is usually called the Page, the messenger or intern or apprentice who is still learning of life and living, but who is also good at dealing with the unexpected. Next comes the Knight, the representation of strong, focused and even excessive manifestations of his suit.

Both the Queen and the King represent mature adults. The Queen manifests her suit in a feminine or yin or inner way, and the King manifests his suit in a masculine or yang or outer way. This manifestation does not necessarily correspond to gender; a man can be represented by a Tarot Queen if he has a strong inner focus, and a woman can be represented by a Tarot King if she projects a strong sense of authority. Some decks change the names around, but the meanings in the hierarchy of the Tarot Court are pretty standard. Since we are talking about the King of Pentacles today, we already know that our King will manifest his suit in an outer yet mature manner. Our King is concerned with results; he exhibits outer, public expertise in his field, and he is an authority figure. In many ways, the Kings of the Tarot Court can be seen as four facets of The Emperor of the Major Arcana.

Our King’s suit this month is Pentacles. The suit of Pentacles (or Coins, Stones or Disks) corresponds with the element of Earth, and of the physical body, physical manifestation, and wealth. Many Tarot decks use images of pentagrams or coins or disks on their Minor Arcana Pentacles cards as well as trees, flowers and green, verdant growth, all of which will make it easy to connect with the symbolism of this suit. A nice place to begin is with the element of Earth itself.

In its natural state, Earth is cool and dry, and it binds or shapes the other elements. Earth is of the physical or physically formed or manifested world, and of nurturing, health, finances and security, and the wisdom associated with living simply and being well-grounded. Earth is the element of form and substance; it is connected to material world security (and even wealth), and to our physical bodies and physical senses, and the pleasures and pains they bring. Earth represents the nurturing and serene side of Nature, and it represents the tangible end result of our labors. Earth is about security and stillness, and knowing what to expect; it is about strength, discipline, and physical manifestation of all kinds, and about enjoying the fruits of our labors. Earthy energies are fertile, practical, and slow to change.

You can see how easy it is to connect the element of Earth to our daily lives, our physical bodies, our careers and our finances, our families, and the natural world around us. These things are all the main correspondences of the element of Earth, the suit of Pentacles, and of course, are connected to the realm of our King of Pentacles.

In the Tarot Court, the suit of the card has an elemental correspondence (in this case, the element of Earth), and the rank of the card has an elemental correspondence. Pages correspond with Earth, Knights correspond with either Air or Fire (depending on the deck), Queens correspond with Water, and Kings correspond with either Air or Fire (depending on the deck). Since we are talking about a King today, we are also talking about the element of Air, or the element of Fire, depending on the deck. For our purposes today, we will see the King of Pentacles as Air of Earth.

The element of Air corresponds with truth, clarity, and our capacity to analyze or apply logic. It is hot and wet, and separates and adapts. Air also represents the intelligence that clears away the fog of ignorance so we can clearly see and understand, and it supports communications and sounds of all kinds. Air allows both expression (out from within us) and hearing (in from outside of us) to happen. If you see the rank of King as representing the element of Air, this information applies to the Kings of your deck, including the King of Pentacles. Elementally, the King of Pentacles would represent resolute force, where intellect overrides the senses, and since Air and Earth are unfriendly (they share no qualities), they weaken each other.

Like the other cards of the Tarot, Court Cards have astrological correspondences. Our King of Wands corresponds with the cusp or joining point of the signs of Aries and Taurus.

Aries is a cardinal Fire sign that acts as a catalyst, a person that inspires others by being totally committed to his or her own vision. Aries is the first sign of the zodiac, the leader of the pack, first in line to get things going. Those born under this sign prefer to initiate, and they won’t shy away from anything new. Aries people are action oriented, assertive, and competitive. Aries is ruled by Mars, the god of war and passion, bold and aggressive, and able to tap into the focus needed to take on any challenge. The symbol of Aries is the Ram, blunt and to the point, and a sheer force of nature. The great strength of those born under this sign is found in their initiative, courage and determination.

Taurus, the second sign of the zodiac, is all about reward. Physical pleasures, material goods, and soothing surroundings are all important to a Taurus. The good life in all its guises is heaven on Earth to those born under this sign. Taurus is a fixed sign, and it represents steady persistence sometimes seen as stubbornness. Taurus is symbolized by the Bull, and Bulls are among the most practical and reliable members of the zodiac, happy to plod along slowly but surely toward a goal. Taurus is ruled by Venus, the Goddess of Love, Beauty and Pleasure, which is why harmony and beauty are a huge part of this sign’s personality. Taurus is a true-blue, loyal sign as well, and slow to anger; like the element of Earth, Taurus is about strength of body as well as strength of heart.

The energies of Aries and Taurus together tend to mesh nicely because what one sign is lacking, the other sign supplies. Aries keeps our King from being boring, and Taurus keeps him from being too independent. Aries is ruled by Mars and passion, and Taurus is ruled by Venus and sensuality and love. Aries will push for growth, progress and new developments, and Taurus will keep to the budget, make sure the resources are in place, and keep everyone safe. While there is always the danger of conflict within this King, he also has the ability to lead and inspire all of his subjects, no matter who they are.

Because they are Minor Arcana cards, Court Cards also correspond with a sephira on the Tree of Life. The Kings correspond with the sephira of Chokmah, along with all of the Twos of the Minor Arcana and the element of Fire. The Kings sit at the top of the Pillar of Force in the sephira of Chokmah, representing the Sacred Masculine and the Catalyst of Life. Chokmah is seen as dynamic thrust, the Ultimate Positive, the Great Stimulator and the Great Fertilizer (one of the symbols of Chokmah is the penis), and thus is connected to the Wheel of the Year. The energies of this sephira represent dynamic male energy and are the origin of vital force and polarity.

The Shadowscapes Tarot King of Pentacles is shown as a strong tree laden with ripe and juicy fruit. His roots grasp the earth with strength as they reach and absorb the resources of the soil, allowing a powerful trunk and wide-spreading branches to reach for the stars. He holds a seed in the palm of one hand, and around the base of the trunk a beautiful dragon is coiled, guarding all. This King is an enterprising individual who has the Midas touch; he turns everything he touches into brilliant success. His branches shield those around him, his trunk offers sturdy support to lean upon, and his fruits are shared with everyone. From the seed, new sprouts will grow, spreading the wealth.

The Tarot of Bones King of Pentacles is represented by a bison skull. The bison was the ultimate provider for the natives living on the American plains; from the bison they received meat for food, hides for clothes, and bones and horns for art and tools. Non-humans benefited from the bison as well, from wolves and other predators to vultures and other scavengers, to insects and bacteria. The grazing of the bison helped to keep the grasses in check, lessening the impacts of wildfires, and their hooves churned and aerated the soil and buried seeds, ensuring the continuation of the grasses in the next season. This card reminds us to examine our resources and prosperity, and to remember those upon whom we rely for sustenance and well-being. It also reminds us that at times we must be the backbone, and offer our own skills and resources to assist others.

The Thoth Tarot Knight (King) of Disks stands next to his grazing horse, gazing at the surrounding hills and fertile fields lit by the afternoon sun. He seems to be contemplating a harvest rather than a battle; he tends to keep his nose to the grindstone without indulging in intellectual musings. He tells of being materially focused, clever and patient regarding those material matters but can also be a bit dull.

The image on the Wild Unknown Tarot Father of Pentacles shows a Stag’s head, regal and in his prime. The feeling evoked while looking at the image on the Father of Pentacles is one of respect, honor, the ability to protect, and prime masculine creativity. The Stag gets to reach this stage of life because he is able to defeat all that challenge him; he is in a sense the fittest of his species that has survived to breed. This card is about having a mighty presence in the physical world; it is about not only the thrill of competition, but it is also about turning a win into both honor and status, and the continuance of a fertile lineage, to the benefit of all.

The Legacy of the Divine King of Coins stands on a richly appointed balcony decorated with golden leafy vines, clothed in green and gold robes and holding a large golden coin. He does not wear a crown, showing his connection to the common man and indicating his purpose: regulating the energies of heaven and earth and balancing the forces of nature. He oversees growth, wealth and resources, and manages them for the benefit of all.

The King of Pentacles is the embodiment of his element. He is realistic, dependable, values possessions and tangible things, and is a good provider. He prefers steady progress and is loyal and honorable. This King attracts opportunities and knows how to take advantage of them. He is good at managing others because he inspires them to succeed. He is a philanthropist who gives generously of his time and attention because he knows that the more he gives, the more he receives in return. Others rely on the King of Pentacles because he is always there for them and he never fails to support them.

When the King of Pentacles shows up, you can be confident that you have the ability to recognize opportunities and the skill to take advantage of them. He tells you that now is the time to manifest your vision of success and translate your ideas into reality!

** We Feature the art of Ciro Marchetti as part of Tarot Talk. You can view his work and Decks at http://www.ciromarchetti.com/.

The Gilded Tarot (Book and Tarot Deck Set) on Amazon

***

About the Author:

Raushanna is a lifetime resident of New Jersey. As well as a professional Tarot Reader and Teacher, she is a practicing Wiccan (Third Degree, Sacred Mists Coven), a Usui Reiki Master/Teacher, a certified Vedic Thai-Yoga Massage Bodyworker, a 500-hr RYT Yoga Teacher specializing in chair assisted Yoga for movement disorders, and a Middle Eastern dance performer, choreographer and teacher.  Raushanna bought her first Tarot deck in 2005, and was instantly captivated by the images on the cards and the vast, deep and textured messages to be gleaned from their symbols. She loves reading about, writing about, and talking about the Tarot, and anything occult, mystical, or spiritual, as well as anything connected to the human subtle body. She has published a book, “The Emerald Tablet: My 24-Day Journal to Understanding,” and is currently working on a book about the Tarot, pathworking and the Tree of Life. Raushanna documents her experiences and her daily card throws in her blog, DancingSparkles.blogspot.com, which has been in existence since 2009. She and her husband, her son and step son, and her numerous friends and large extended family can often be found on the beaches, bike paths and hiking trails of the Cape May, NJ area.

The Emerald Tablet: My 24-Day Journal to Understanding on Amazon

Notes from the Apothecary

November, 2018

Notes from the Apothecary: Fenugreek

Hailing from Western Asia, Fenugreek is an odd tasting herb with some interesting history. Seeds have been found in archaeological digs dating back to 4000 BC and were even found in the tomb of Tutankhamun. Called Greek Hay, Bird’s Foot and Sickly Fruit, the herb is considered to be a bit of a panacea, being a tonic for everything from abscesses to kidney problems.

 

The Kitchen Garden

Fenugreek is an annual herb which means it grows, flowers and seeds all in the same year and does not return the following season. The plants can grow to two feet tall and has little white or yellow flowers. It’s a pretty but unassuming addition to any herb garden

You will find Fenugreek in Indian shops under the name Methi in either seed or leaf form. It’s widely used in cooking, particularly in Eastern dishes. By itself it has a bitter taste, particularly the seeds, but within a dish it adds levels of depth which can’t readily be described. The seeds are high in protein, calcium, fiber, iron and various other essential minerals so make a great addition to your diet. It is possible that if you have a nut allergy, you may also be allergic to fenugreek so approach with caution if that is the case.

The greens are highly nutritious and can be eaten fresh or used dried as an herb. The seeds can be sprouted in a little water and the sprouts are tasty and very good for you.

 

The Apothecary

One of the most common uses of fenugreek is as a galactagogue. This sci-fi sounding word means an herb that promotes and boosts breast milk production. When my own milk supply was depleting due to my youngest weaning, I took a couple of teaspoons of fenugreek seeds every day and it seemed to help. It’s most palatable to make a tea out of them, which you can sweeten or add other herbs into in order to make it taste a little better. I ate the seeds straight down and they are bitter!

Other modern-day uses for fenugreek include relief for digestive issues, increasing libido and even fighting baldness.

Recent research has shown that fenugreek may be useful in sufferers of diabetes, but this research is ongoing. It may also be useful for relieving menstrual cramps and the symptoms of menopause.

 

The Witch’s Kitchen

Cunningham tells us fenugreek is a masculine herb, but look at all the medical uses that relate specifically to women’s issues such as breastfeeding and the menopause. If the plant is indeed masculine, then it’s a great example of how men and women need to help each other out, rather than bemoaning our differences. This male plant is definitely a feminist!

The plant is associated with Mercury which links it to communication, and also wealth and commerce. Fenugreek is therefore useful when crafting spells to do with business, jobs and joint ventures.

In Judaism, fenugreek is eaten during Rosh Hashana and is associated with increase. This is more about increasing our own talents and skills rather than the increase of wealth, but they can be closely linked depending on how you look at it.

Fenugreek is known as a ‘lucky legume’, as it is a member of the bean family and provides protection and attracts luck.

 

Home and Hearth

Scatter fenugreek seeds around the threshold to your home to ensure any who enter can only speak the truth.

Carry a pouch of fenugreek seeds in your pocket when attending an interview or important meeting to ensure you speak your mind. Just be sure you have nothing to hide, as you may be compelled to be honest about things you didn’t want to reveal!

Steep Fenugreek seeds in boiling water then add this water to whatever you use to clean your house with. This will attract material wealth into your home.

Combine fenugreek with alfalfa to craft oil or powder which will attract money. Just be on the look out for mischief, as Mercury is known to play pranks and cause messages to be mixed or muddled.

 

I Never Knew…

In ancient Egypt, a paste made of fenugreek seeds was used in the embalming process of dead bodies.

 

Image credit: Fenugreek from the Vienna Dioscurides, public domain; Freshly Sprouted Qasuri Methi by Miansari66; Junge Pflanzen des Bockshornklees by Yak

***

About the Author:

Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.

She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors and Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways.

A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors on Amazon

Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways on Amazon

Notes from the Apothecary

September, 2018

Notes from the Apothecary: Calendula

Calendula or marigold? Last month we explored the magic and mystical beauty of the true marigold and I mentioned in that article that marigolds are often confused with calendula. Botanically they are actually very different. Calendula are often called pot marigolds or common marigolds, but true marigolds are in the genus tagetes although both tagetes and calendula are in the Asteraceae family, along with sunflowers. Tagetes are native to North America, whereas calendula came to America from the Mediterranean. They have beautiful orange or yellow blooms, with an extremely long flowering season.

The Kitchen Garden

From Mrs Grieve’s Modern :

It was well known to the old herbalists as a garden-flower and for use in cookery and medicine. Dodoens-Lyte (A Niewe l, 1578) says:

‘It hath pleasant, bright and shining yellow flowers, the which do close at the setting downe of the sunne, and do spread and open againe at the sunne rising.’

She refers to calendula as the common marigold, and notes that it is easy to grow as long as the position is slightly sunny and the ground kept free of weeds. Calendula self-seed, and can spread quite easily although they are annuals so the new foliage replaces last year’s plants, rather than joining them. The seeds are curly little horns, perfectly beautiful and very decorative in their own way.

Calendula petals can be used as a substitute for saffron, but only for the yellow colour they impart, not the taste. The flowers make a tasty and beautiful garnish for salads and other foods, and can be mixed into butters and cheeses for colour and flavour. Even the peppery leaves can be eaten to add spice to a salad.

The Apothecary

Natural Living Magazine published a great feature on calendula and its many practical uses. The publisher, Amanda Klenner, notes that she uses the petals in skin lotions, body butters and salves. She also makes marigold tea which soothes irritated mucous membranes and internal tissues. She uses the tea for digestive health, and adds that the petals are used in some cold and flu remedies. She also believes it supports the lymphatic system, crucial for our immune systems.

In the same publication, Nina Katz states that the herb is, “Anti-microbial, anti-viral, anti-septic, vulnerary, cytotoxic, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulant, immunostimulant, cholagogue, heart tonic, hypotensive, lymphatic, respiratory tonic, emmenagogue, anti-spasmodic, astringent, aperient, diaphoretic…”

Many of these terms might be unfamiliar to you if you’re not an herbalist or phytologist. Vulnerary means healing of wounds or inflammation. Cholagogue means to stimulate the gall bladder to produce bile. Emmenagogue means to promote menstrual flow. This means it can be useful for period pain or delayed periods, as it stimulates the uterus. Pregnant women should not ingest calendula for this reason. Always check with a medical professional before changing or starting any type of medication.

The Witch’s Kitchen

Many believe that the term marigold comes from an association with the Virgin Mary. However, that supposition is a little backwards. The marigold (calendula) became associated with the Virgin Mary because the name sounded a little like Mary’s Gold, however the term ‘marigold’ was first coined by pre-Christian Anglo-Saxons, when referring to the marsh marigold, a plant related to neither calendula or tagetes (true marigolds). However, calendula has been used to honour Mary for so long that, if your path leans this way, it still makes a fantastic offering or altar decoration. It’s just good to know the origins and history so you can make your own mind up about what’s appropriate.

Cunningham tells us it is a masculine herb, which I presume is because of the plant’s association with the sun, and fire. I find it has a very feminine energy, but plants are complex and it’s often hard to pigeon-hole them. He advises picking calendula at noon in bright sunlight to ‘strengthen and comfort the heart’. He also states that calendula is used for protecting the home from evil, and scattered under the bed can give you prophetic dreams and ensure a safe night’s sleep. Calendula petals in the pocket will keep justice on your side if you need to attend court. His final and my favourite point about calendula magic is that, if a girl touches calendula petals with her bare feet, she will be able to speak to birds in their own language. How wonderful that would be!

Calendula has historically been used in divination, particularly relating to love and knowing who one’s true love may be. Rachel Patterson recommends the flower for spells or incense blends involved with psychic powers. She also writes that they promote happiness and uplifting energies, and can be used to make gossip about you cease.

Home and Hearth

As we move from summer into fall, calendula should still be flowering for some time yet. If you are lucky enough to have calendula in your garden, pick a few of the flower heads and separate the petals out. Create a circle of petals on a clean cloth or on your altar, one petal at a time. Have the base of each petal pointing toward the centre of the circle, so the end of the petal points outwards. As you lay each petal, think of something in your life you are happy about, or grateful for. You don’t need to write this down or prepare for it. It should be spontaneous and from the heart.

The bigger you make your circle, the longer it will take to complete, but you will think about more happy things! If you have been struggling with dark feelings or depression, it may be sensible to start with a small circle. This can prevent you feeling like you ‘should’ have more to be happy about, which can actually make you feel worse. Sometimes, we may only have a few bright sparks in our lives, and that’s okay. We can still celebrate that, and as we move into the darker months, focusing on the good things we have becomes even more vital and soul supportive.

I Never Knew…

A snuff of marigold leaves was sniffed up the nose, to encourage sneezing to rid the sinuses of excess mucous. Lovely!

Image credits: Flower of calendula by Wouter Hagens, public domain; Calendula officinalis, Seeds by H. Zell, copyright 2009 via Wikimedia Commons; Calendula officinalis – Botanischer Garten Mainz by Natalie Schmalz, copyright 2011, via Wikimedia Commons.

***

About the Author:

Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.

She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors and Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways.

A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors

 

Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways

Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

September, 2018

Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times September 2018

Autumnal Equinox

Bright Blessings,

It is almost the Autumnal Equinox!

We are thankful the weather is cooling off. Some of us nearly suffocate when it is so hot, but it’s also sad that Summer plants are winding down.

I got a head start and threw some mums in pots, and am eyeing more at garden aisles at local shops. I put my radishes in the soil five days ago, and they have already emerged tall and strong!

Next, garden cleanup begins! I have mint, zinnias, black eyed susans, echinacea, and a huge tomato plant that will need cleaned up by winter, and I start that this week. I have large areas of these plants, so it is imperative I do little bits at a time. I have learned over the years that working with plants is done best a little bit here and there almost every day. I see so many people saving all their yard work up for ONE day every month or so, and some complain bitterly about it.

As with all things in life, doing things in moderation in the garden is beneficial! This way, you also get to enjoy the seasons regularly, as opposed to feeling that touching the earth is a chore and a burden.

Besides that, being out there regularly with your plants means you are fully aware of what is going on with them. As we are aware of the poisons of modern chemicals, and how it is killing this planet, the best way to ensure you can manage pests with organic methods is to inspect the plants often. If daily is not possible, at least three times per week is helpful.

Not being aware of the goings on of the plants and the organisms that are interacting with them is one of the main ways a garden can fail. Catch the issues fast, and fix them faster!

The Autumn

As the wheel is turning, the days cool, the nights come sooner, and the sun rises later. It reminds us to enjoy the warmth and growing season for as long as we can, because the cold winter and short days are just around the corner.

Autumnal Equinox falls on the 23 of September this year, and on that day, the day and night are both equal, about 12 hours each. Already I miss the longer days thinking of it!

At Autumn Equinox, Pagans often celebrate a Thanksgiving and the focus is on seasonal food and fellowship.., and I really like this idea.

It gives opportunity to do so before the responsibilities with blood kin and the conventional Winter Holidays rolls around. It also gives opportunity to do this gathering out if doors before it’s just too cold.

It is considered by some to be a time to complete unfinished business before winter comes. This is actually a good idea because just around the corner are the conventional holidays of Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. There will be little time between running to and from shopping and festivities to do anything else.

Pagans further have Samhain, and Yule to add in to those other holidays. Busy busy busy!

Depending on where you live, snow may start fairly soon, and getting places is not as easy as it is during the warmer months.

For some, it is a time to reflect on the harvest or things accomplished during the growing season.

Dr. Brinks and Dr. Brinks

This month’s film falls in with that theme.

It’s called Dr. Brinks and Dr. Brinks, and here is its official trailer:

The film follows the death of illustrious doctors, both named Dr. Brinks who were a married couple. They were considered by many to be perfect people, and were touted as living saints with an almost cult-like following by some.

Unfortunately, some people who are married to their careers allow their family life to suffer. Not only did the parents fail to be close with their children, but they somehow managed to belittle, and shame their kids for not rising to greatness in the way they, themselves did.

The film begins with their son and daughter fighting bitterly following their parents funeral, and trying to squeeze a tiny bit of inheritance out of the parents who basically discarded them in favor of their careers.

The film shows how the adult children feel their own lives are lacking, and shows how both kids deny their own grief because they felt they lost their parents long ago, so their death is irrelevant. Why mourn somebody who basically dropped you?

Their son chastises his sister mercilessly, and she retaliates, and they even wrestle and scream at one another. Grief hits both kids when they least expect it, and in ways they struggle with.

It turns out, the parents were not the great saints they made people believe they were. Their perfect personas were a front for a horrible secret. Not only were they bad parents, but they were just bad people.

The son and daughter are able, with this shocking revelation, to pick themselves up, forgiving themselves of their imperfections, and repair their relationship with one another.

The Hidden Truth

The occult lesson this film teaches us is that belief does not always reflect reality, nor does it create it.

Our Pagan and New Age communities often want to teach us that we control all in our realities with the power of our will and belief, and yet that’s simply not how the world works.

Like being unaware of pests or diseases that can decimate your plants, the kids in Dr. Brinks and Dr. Brinks were completely unaware of the awful things their parents did. Everybody is unaware of these things, but they happen anyways.

Once the truth comes to light, we can either crumble, or pick ourselves up, and move forward, towards improvement.

Hidden truths still affect things.

Besides this, we oftentimes lie to ourselves, and we make it impossible to function in reality. We cannot imagine the world to be as we want it, and conjure that based on wishful thinking. We have to live in harmony with the way things actually are. We CAN change some things, but of the things we cannot change, being in denial is crippling, and hinders us as magical practitioners.

In the film, the Brinks kids were lied to, and they further lied to themselves. It held them both back from believing the beauty in themselves, and it pitted them against each other.

The truth was told, and poof! The spell was broken!

This was not a favorite film of mine, and truthfully, I don’t enjoy films that use sex and nudity to excite viewers, but it’s not a bad film due to the lesson it teaches. It moves a bit slowly for my taste, and relies very heavily on “cool” modern things and images to try to engage middle-aged folk who still want to live as they did in their 20’s. Both characters try too hard to act carefree, cool, and younger than they actually are. They want to be without responsibilities, but it turns out both of them are actually very reliable people, and in the end, they show they can count on each other. However, I really believe the over trying of the Brinks kids was just another illusion they maintained to make themselves feel better, and it’s very appropriate.

More on The Equinox

How this ties in with the Sabbat is at the time of harvest, we may find we are in a place in our lives we just don’t expect, or we may have some new revelation that has us reeling from the shock of it. I have written a ritual in years past for celebrating the unexpected harvests, that are a wonderful blessing we did not expect to get!

But what about when something not good happens we had not expected…something that is really not a blessing? Or what if it MIGHT turn into one with time, but we are just not thrilled with it?

What then?

How do we accept the way things are, and move forward?

The answer is to do a ritual breaking of our illusions, as a rite of passage, and ask for guidance. When hard work towards something falls apart, it can be beyond disheartening, and for some, ritual workings can aid in moving forward to the first step in the right direction.

An end of the old way of being at harvest time celebrates and honors where you have been, and serves to thank the gods for revealing what is to come. Sometimes, we harvest hard truths that are painful. We may ask “Why me, gods?” We can be in denial and mourning, and a time of processing this pain if crucial for processing change for some. The energy of the season can help with your process of accepting what is, and moving into what you actually DID harvest, and that is a new way of being.

Fall Equinox Moving Forward Ritual

This will be a three-step ritual and will entail travel. It does not need to be far, it just needs to entail walking away from the old, and going into the new, forward in the direction that you need to. You can even just walk from one end of the room to the next if it is appropriate, or you can do a trip if you like.

You will begin with either a new pair of shoes or a new pair of socks to take along.

You will start out with the old shoes or socks you wear when you set out, and end by leaving the old pair someplace, changing into the new pair, and leaving them behind to symbolize discarding the old illusions, which created the wrong way of being.

You will custom tailor this to yourself based on the basic structure.

What you need to do is three things

  1. Pick a starting place that represents where you were back when you still believed what was false. At this point, you should be in acceptance of whatever has changed, and the fact you have to adapt. If you want to say some words, or do a prayer, you can, but you don’t have to. An example would be. “I stand here where I was once in darkness, and I step away, moving towards the truth. I leave behind all illusions , and misconceptions here, and pray to my gods/esses for the guidance. The only way is forward. So Be It.” Leave some sort of a gift for the powers that be. Next, you move towards a middle location on your journey. You will be wearing your old shoes or socks, and take with you the new pair.
  2. Your second location will be a representation of the process of the change. You will next go there as the halfway point. This should be a place you find comforting where you can return in times when you need to recuperate and catch your breath. If you want to say some words, you can say something like.“ This is a place of light, healing, and growth. This is a place that will comfort me in the changes that are to come. I draw strength here, and renewed, move towards my new truth. Let this place be healing, and strengthening in times I am afraid, weak, or reluctant to keep moving forward. Let this place bless these shoes/socks that I will wear to carry me. The only way is forward. So Be It” Take the new shoes and socks, and lay them on the ground, and let the energies for this safe place soak in for a bit before leaving. Leave another gift for the powers that be.
  3. Choose a location that represents the new way of being and embracing of the new truth. If you would like to say some words, as you change, go ahead and say something like “ The truth is harder than the illusions, but living by illusions is unacceptable. Let this be as a reminder to me of how far from the darkness I have come, and he way forward in the light will be difficult at times, but nothing is better than freedom to walk in the truth. May my gods/esses bless and guide me. I will not go back. (Take off the shoes or socks, and put the new pair on) The only way is forward. So Be It.” Throw away the old pair of shoes and socks.

May your new change in light of the truth bring only good things. If there are difficulties in the transition, may you have the strength, and love and support of others to weather the struggles. May your new life with the new reality be the best life you have had yet, and may things get better and better.

Blessed Equinox.

Blessed Be!

***

About the Author:

Saoirse is a recovered Catholic.  I was called to the Old Ways at age 11, but I thought I was just fascinated with folklore. At age 19, I was called again, but I thought I was just a history buff, and could not explain the soul yearnings I got when I saw images of the Standing Stones in the Motherland. At age 29, I crossed over into New Age studies, and finally Wicca a couple years later. My name is Saoirse, pronounced like (Sare) and (Shah) Gaelic for freedom. The gods I serve are Odin and Nerthus. I speak with Freyja , Norder, and Thunor as well. The Bawon has been with me since I was a small child, and Rangda has been with me since the days I was still Catholic. I received my 0 and 1 Degree in an Eclectic Wiccan tradition, and my Elder is Lord Shadow. We practice in Columbus, Ohio. I am currently focusing more on my personal growth, and working towards a Second and Third Degree with Shadow. I received a writing degree from Otterbein University back in 2000. I have written arts columns for the s Council in Westerville. I give private tarot readings and can be reached through my Facebook page Tarot with Saoirse. You can, also, join me on my Youtube Channel.

 

Notes from the Apothecary

August, 2018

Notes from the Apothecary: Marigold

 

 

The marigold is a complicated puzzle to unfurl. True marigolds, tagetes, originated in North America and found their way back to Europe via Spanish and Portuguese explorers. Yet the plant we most often call marigold is actually calendula, which travelled the complete opposite way, arriving in America from the Mediterranean hundreds of years ago. The two types of plants are not botanically related, so calendula lovers, I’m sorry, but keep your eyes peeled next month. This month it’s the true marigold’s chance to shine.

 

The Kitchen Garden

Marigolds are striking and beautiful, with yellow and orange petals that come in a fascinating array of shapes. They bring a ray of sunshine to any kitchen plot, and help ward off many unwelcome visitors, including mosquitoes. They are particularly effective at ridding the soil of nematodes. They also do well in very dry conditions, particularly African marigolds, so are easy to care for.

The petals of marigolds are normally edible (as always, double check with an expert before you eat any wild flower) but they don’t all taste the same. Some are quite pungent, whereas others are citrusy and light. They make a wonderful, colourful addition to salads and cocktails, or as a garnish for just about anything you can think of.

 

The Apothecary

On the Modern site, Rita Jacinto has written a fascinating article about the marigold, including some interesting tidbits on their medical uses. She states that the marigold is an herb and that it contains lutein, which I know as a chemical which can help reduce eye damage, particularly that associated with aging. She also tells us that in India, marigold leaves are used for wounds, abrasions and even conjunctivitis. As always, consult a doctor before changing any medication.

 

The Witch’s Kitchen

Cunningham, in his Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, told us that a garland of marigolds over the door would prevent evil from entering the home. However, he also named ‘Marigold’ as calendula officinalis, so he wasn’t talking about our true marigolds, the tagetes. Finding lore about the true marigold can be tricky, as many writers confuse the two plants, but they are so different botanically that it’s really worth trying to ensure you have the right plant for the job at hand.

Marigolds were used by the Aztecs to decorate temples and other sacred spots, and they are still used to this day to decorate graves in Mexico, and during Day of the Dead festivities. Just like the bright orange monarch butterflies are said to represent the souls of the dead visiting us for a brief time, maybe the bright orange, yellow and red of the marigold petals represents reaching through the veil, into the beyond, to talk with our dearly departed. They represent pain, loss, and trauma, but also dealing with these things positively, facing your painful emotions and not hiding from them or repressing them. They remind us to never forget, and that the past, history, or those we love will never die while we remember.

The marigold is associated with the month of October, probably because it has such a long flowering season and can often still be found in full bloom even as the autumn evening start to draw in. If you manage to collect some flowers before Samhain, try hanging them to dry, and you’ll have delightful yellow and orange flowers to complement your sacred space over Samhain.

Marigolds also represent love, fierce loyalty and the contentment you feel when you are with someone you truly feel comfortable with. Meditate on the marigold to understand where your true feelings lie about someone, or a group of friends.

The Latin name tagetes comes from Tages, the Etruscan prophet who taught divination. So it makes sense that the marigold is associated with magic to induce visions, see the future, prophetic dreams and psychic abilities.

Marigolds are sometimes used in Hindu ritual and religious decoration, so if you are influenced by Hinduism marigolds may hold great significance for you.

 

Home and Hearth

If you’re a fan of home dyeing, marigold petals are known to give a gorgeous, yellow colour. This can also be used to colour foods such as desserts or cheeses, so they are really handy for the keen homesteader. Chickens who eat marigolds will have a richer colour to their egg yolks.

During Lughnasadh, or Lammas, use marigold blooms to represent the sun on your altar or sacred space. They represent the south, fire, and the endurance of the sun through the colder days that are coming after the harvest is done.

 

I Never Knew…

In parts of India, marigold flowers are given as offerings to the God Vishnu.

 

***

About the Author:

Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.

She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors and Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways.

 

 

For My Witches in the Wardrobe

July, 2018

 

For My Witches in the Wardrobe

(Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash)

 

I have come again to sit in the closet with you and share in our circle of thoughts, ideas, knowledge, & secrets in solidarity. I am very excited to be here again with you! This time in my Carpet Bag I’ve brought none other than a seasonal favorite for us all, Flowers!! What could be more beautiful, witchy, yet mundane then those? Everyone can use them, and we sure as heck need them!

Many beautiful plants bloom through spring and summer into fall. If you are not a gardener and did not plant your own, that is fine, there are many home improvement shops with bright blooming flowers and local nurseries, as well. You can easily move these flowers into your own pots to make them even more lovely.

Before we delve deeper into the meanings of plants let’s go into the way we can display these beauties. These are normal, everyday displays that do not bring attention to the witch.

 

Flower Window Boxes & Planters

(Photo by Anastasiia Tarasova on Unsplash)

 

Now a Flower Window Box or Planters can be anything from a small box on your balcony filled with fragrant herbs to a potted plant on your window sill blooming with something bright and fragrant. Remember it is the room you have. It doesn’t have to be anything grand. It just has to be right for you!

 

(Photo by ur Aleksanian on Unsplash)

 

If you have a small garden outside you can put your Plants & Herbs in movable Planters and Pots to keep them safe from weather, making them easier to move about. Then, you can, also, move your scents about.

 

Along a Fragrant Path

(Photo by Felicia D’Ascanio on Unsplash)

 

If you have a pathway around your house, maybe leading to your backyard, or from your driveway, placing flowers along each side makes a fragrant walkway.

 

Bowers & Hedges

 

(Pink Rose Bower)

 

Now if you like a bit more drama You can go for something like this, a Bower. They are quite stunning. They don’t scream witch either, just gardener. A nice fragrant hedge adds to the party, too.

 

The Magick of Plants

Now let’s get into the magick of some plants. This is where our fun begins. While everyone is admiring your beautiful garden you are thinking inside what all those uses are for those beauties.

 

Some of the More Fragrant Flower I Have Found to Have Around Are:

 

Sweet Pea: It attracts friends & Allies. It draws the loyalty & affections of others to you.

 

 

Heliotrope: Brings cheerfulness, gaiety, prosperity, & protection. Use in rituals of Drawing Down the Sun or in magickal workings requiring strengthening of the solar aspects of the self. Place under your pillow to induce prophetic dreams. It is said that if you sleep with fresh heliotrope under your pillow, you will dream of the person that has been stolen from your home. Other Names for Heliotrope: Turnsole & Cherry Pie

 

 


Tulip: Because of the many colors and parts of Tulips, they can be used in many parts of magick. Here is a good link to some information Tulip Magic Legend and Folklore at Thought Co.

 

Geranium: For overcoming negative thoughts & attitudes, lifting spirits, promoting protection & happiness. Repels insects. Balances mind and body.

 


Hyacinth: It promotes peace of mind and peaceful sleep. Also, attracts love, luck, & good fortune. Named for Hiakinthos, Greek God of homosexual love, this is the patron herb for gay men. Guards against nightmares when used as an oil, burned as incense, or included in dream pillows. Carry in amulet or sachet to ease grief or the pain of childbirth.

 


Freesia: Used in spells for love, peace, lust, pheromones, harmony, comfort.

 


Datura: Datura is also known as jimsonweed and you can find some incredible information on Tess Whitehurst’s Site Live Your Magic.

 


Lavender: It’s magickal uses include love, protection, healing, sleep, purification, and peace. It promotes healing from depression. Great in sleep pillows and bath spells. Believed to preserve chastity when mixed with rosemary. Burn the flowers to induce sleep and rest, then scatter the ashes around the home to bring peace and harmony. Use in love spells and sachets, especially those to attract men. Also known as, Spke, Nardus, Elf Leaf, & Nard.

 

Rose: Magickal uses include divine love, close friendships, domestic peace/happiness, and lasting relationships. Great for use in incense, potpourri or bath magick. Place around sprains and dark bruises to help them heal faster.

 

Narcissus: Calms vibrations and promotes harmony, tranquility, and peace of mind. Also known as, Asphodel, Daffy Down Lily, Fleur de Coucou, Goose Leek, Lent Lily, & Porillon.

 


Violet: It calms the nerves, draws prophetic dreams and visions, stimulates creativity, and promotes peace & tranquility. Violet leaf provides protection from all evil. Violet crowns are said to cure headaches and bring sleep. Carry or give to newly married couples or new baby & mother to bring luck to the bearer. Keep a spray of violets on the altar to enhance night magick. Wear the leaves in a green sachet to help heal wounds and prevent evil spirits from making the wounds worse. Also called: Sweet Violet, Blue Violet, & Wild Violet.

 

Lily of the Valley: Is soothing, calming, draws peace and tranquility, and repels negativity. Assists in empowering happiness and mental powers. Use in magickal workings to stop harassment. Married couples should plant Lily of the Valley in their first garden to promote longevity of the marriage. Note: Poisonous, use with caution. Also know as, Jacob’s Ladder, Male Lily, Our Lady’s Tears, Ladder-to-Heaven, May Lily, Constancy.

 

Wisteria: It raises vibrations, promotes psychic opening, overcomes obstacles, and draws prosperity.

 

Lilac: Wisdom, memory, good luck and spiritual aid. Also called: Common Lilac.

 

Peony: For protection from hexes and jinxes. Good luck, good fortune, prosperity, and business success. Hang in the home or car for protection. Used to attract faeries. Use in rituals to cure or reduce lunacy. Warning: While the flowers & petals have the positive qualities listed, the seed is called ‘Jumby Bean’ and is known for promoting dissension and strife.

 

 

Honeysuckle: It draws money, success, and quick abundance; Aids persuasiveness and confidence, sharpens intuition. Ring green candles with honeysuckle flowers or use honeysuckle in charms & sachets to attract money. Crush the flowers and rub into the forehead to enhance psychic powers. Also Called: Woodbine, Jin Yin Hua, Dutch Honeysuckle, Goat’s Leaf.

 

Jasmine: It’s uses include snakebite and divination; good for charging quartz crystals. Use in sachets and spells to draw spiritual love and attract a soul mate. Carry or burn the flowers to draw wealth and money. Use in dream pillows to induce sleep or burn in the bedroom to bring prophetic dreams. Helps to promote new, innovative ideas. Also Called: Pikake, Ysmyn, Jessamin, Moonlight on the Grove

 

Now remember, these are just a few!! There are so many flowers out there with magickal uses, those without scents, like ferns for instance!!! They are good for mental clarity, cleansing, purification, and dispelling negativity. Keep them in your room where studying is done to help concentration. Burn a sprig of fern before an exam. Use in sachets and amulets for powerful auric protection. Now did you know that???

 

Creating Your Own Flowers

There are ways to bring flowers into the home for those of us allergic to flowers, without green thumbs, or who just like to craft. If you are not allergic and are just like to create or lack a green thumb you can add essential oils to the following creations.

I have found many crafty ways on the net to create flowers and I am happy to share the following with you:

 

How to Make Lavender Flowers from Crepe Paper

 

Simple Realistic Hydrangea

 

How to Make Crepe Paper Rose

 

There are so many more tutorials on YouTube for different types & sizes of flowers made from a variety of different materials. You can really have some run.

 

How to Incorporate Flowers Into Your Craft

This is the easy part. Flowers can be brought into your craft in many simple ways that will not bring attention to the witch. You can simply wear one in your hair. I’m not even talking about the headband crowns that are popular these days, but a single one behind the ear is fine. Say, a simple violet to calm the nerves.

 

(Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash)

 

There is nothing wrong with a vase of fresh cut flowers or even planted flowers around the home.

How about a nice bowl of floral pot potpourri?

Sachets for your drawers & closets?

There are garden/seed growing kits in stores made for specific reasons. This one gives you all you need to grow yourself lavender and then turn it into a facial scrub! How relaxing is that for a nice Witch Spa Day!

 

All of these can be mixed into mojo bags and witchy doings. It’s all in the eye of the Magick Maker.

 

Until Next Time…

I bid you farewell for now in this aromatic jungle of ideas.

Stay Witchie, even if it’s just between you and me -xoxo

***

About the Author:

Jennifer Sacasa-Wright is simply a Witch. She runs PaganPagesOrg eMag.  She loves hearing your opinions & thoughts on the eMagazine and welcomes comments. You can email her at jenniferwright at paganpages dot org.  When she is not working on PaganPagesOrg she is creating in some other way & trying to make the world a better place with her family.

Notes from the Apothecary

June, 2018

Notes from the Apothecary: The Poppy

With colors ranging from a delicate, golden yellow to brash, bold scarlet, the poppy is a self-contained paradox. Powerful, yet delicate and short lived, this evocative flower has been associated with sleep, death and rebirth for many centuries. This connection comes from the fact that opium, a powerful drug used for inducing sleep and trance like states, is derived from the seed pods of one particular kind of poppy, papaver somniferum. It is possible that humans have been cultivating this poppy since 6000 BC.

Red poppies are also a symbol of remembrance, ever since the trench warfare that took place in World War One in the poppy fields of Flanders. They are used to remember those who fell in defense of other; soldiers and warriors, ancestors who died in battle and those who were affected by the horrors of war. In the UK especially, some people feel like the red poppy glorifies war, but they still wish to honor those who died, in which case they wear a white poppy. This signifies that they do not agree with war on principle, but that they respect and remember the sacrifice made by those who had no choice but to fight.

The Kitchen Garden

Poppies are classed as an herbaceous plant, and are grown mainly for their flowers and seeds. Many of the flowers are highly elaborate, having double or semi-double layers of petals. The red, multi-layered poppies always remind me of Spanish flamenco skirts.

As well as being a beautiful addition to any garden, poppies are very practical. The seeds are delicious, and are often used as decoration and flavor for breads, cakes, buns and muffins. As well as tasting great, like most seeds, they are a great source of protein. They are also high in calcium, so ideal for a dairy free diet.

The oil can be extracted from poppy seeds and used as a cooking oil, or for salad dressings and in baking.

The Apothecary

It should come as no surprise to learn that poppy seeds have been used throughout history as a painkiller, considering they contain the raw ingredients of morphine. They also contain tiny amounts of codeine. The Ancient Egyptians are known to have employed poppy seeds for this purpose, but they must have used them while very fresh as the opiate contents tends to fade quickly upon harvesting.

The Witch’s

The red poppy is a sacred symbol of Demeter, and as such is perfect for decorating any altar you may have to this Greek goddess of agriculture and law. The Minoans also evidently had a poppy goddess, as shown in the clay statuette found at Gazi. This ancient goddess with arms reaching to the sky has her headdress decorated with poppy seed capsules, showing that the cult that revered this goddess placed special, religious significance on the poppy. This may have been due to its narcotic properties, or the simple significance of the cycles of life, death and rebirth. Either way, it’s clear that poppies are a powerful symbol of at least two ancient cults. Using the poppy today can help us connect to these ancient goddesses.

Also within the Greek pantheon, we have Hypnos and Thanatos, the gods of sleep and death, respectively. These twin gods were both depicted with crowns of poppies, once again reinforcing the association between poppies and sleep and death. Death is a kind of sleep that never ends, and being asleep is so close to death in many ways. The poppy reminds us that just because something looks like one thing, it may actually be something completely different. We should examine and reexamine, and be sure of what we are seeing before jumping to conclusions. It reminds us to be less judgmental, more open-minded, and to appreciate the benefits of sleep and dreams.

Dreams are a doorway into our subconscious. And, while our subconscious kicks out some weird stuff most of the time, it can also send us important messages, including messages from our gods and ancestors.

Home and Hearth

Try keeping a dream journal. This can be a hard habit to get into, as you have to remember to write your dreams down the moment you awake from them. If not, you tend to lose details and the whole dream may even fade within a few minutes.

Before sleeping, meditate on an image of a poppy. A red poppy is the one most associated with sleep and dreams, but if a different color has more meaning for you, that’s fine too. Breathe, relax and imagine each petal of the poppy as a layer of your subconscious. Imagine you will be allowed to explore each layer, just as you can clearly see each beautiful petal of the poppy. Immerse yourself in the sense that your subconscious will open for you, blooming like a great flower, with answers and insight.

Keep a notepad and pen next to your bed. That way, even if you wake up at 3am, you can scribble down the contents of your dreams. Don’t worry if you can’t always remember them. The human mind is complex and temperamental! Write what you can and use it to look for patterns, imagery and symbolism.

I Never Knew…

The pain-killing drug morphine, derived from poppy opium, takes its name from Morpheus, the Ancient Greek god of dreams and sleep.

*Image credit: Welsh Poppies in Post Hill Woods, copyright Mabh Savage 2018; the Poppy Goddess at Heraklion Archaeological Museum via Wikipedia; poppies on Lake Geneva via Wikipedia.

***

About the Author:

Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.

She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors and Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways.

 

Follow Mabh on TwitterFacebook and her blog.

 

Notes from the Apothecary

May, 2018

Notes from the Apothecary: Honeysuckle

What a sweet name, conjuring images of bees and summer and jewel like flowers dripping with nectar, while butterflies gorge themselves on the sugary goodness. According to sacredwicca.com, honeysuckle is a Beltane flower, which makes sense as I remember the intricate blooms beginning to open in my grandparents’ yard around this time of year. We would sit in the pale English sun drinking in the smell of the nectar and the gently, bustling hum of honeybees. This exotic looking but fairly common plant holds a great deal of nostalgia for me, and the connection to my recent ancestors makes it an appropriate choice to write about at this other time when the veil is thin; Beltane, the opposite side of the wheel to Samhain, when the fae and their kin are strongest.

The Kitchen Garden…

Eat the Weeds tells us that honeysuckle is ‘iffy for foragers’, basically meaning that it’s one of those plants that has so many varieties, some of which are edible, some of which are not and some of which are downright poisonous. Because of this, if you are planning on cultivating honeysuckle for eating, you should ensure you absolutely know what variety you are growing. Lonicera japonica, or Japanese Honeysuckle, has leaves that can be boiled and eaten, and the flowers are so sweet and delicious they are enjoyed like candy. Lonicera villosa, or waterberry, has edible berries, but is often confused with variants which are not so tasty or even bad for you.

The upshot of this is, don’t eat any part of the honeysuckle plant unless you are one hundred percent sure that you have an edible variety. If in doubt, just don’t. Don’t be disappointed about the dubious edibility of this beautiful plant though. There are many great reasons to have a honeysuckle plant in your garden. As a climbing plant, it’s often used to hide unsightly walls or old fences, replacing urban grimness with nature’s treasure. As well as this, it attracts bees and butterflies, essential pollinators, filling your garden with colour and sound. This in will attract birds, and bats in some climates, so honeysuckle is a great addition to any wildlife garden.

Some species can be invasive, so it’s recommended to keep it away from fruit trees and the like as it can literally use their trunks as ladders to climb, which is not so healthy for your poor fruit trees. But with some liberal pruning when needed, honeysuckle is a beautiful, practical plant which brings a sweet fragrance and a splash of summer colour to any garden.

The Apothecary…

Mrs Grieve, in her Modern , tells us that there are over 100 species of honeysuckle but that only a dozen or so are used medicinally. She tells us that the fruits have emiticocathartic properties, a word which is not common in modern usage but presumably means honeysuckle berries can be used both as an emetic and a cathartic. Emetics cause the body to expel toxins, either by vomiting or defecating, and cathartic work solely on accelerating defecation. This sounds pretty grim, but emetics are often used if the patient is known to have ingested something toxic which needs to be expelled quickly. Of course, the berries cause vomiting because they themselves are toxic (some varieties; see above) so shouldn’t be consumed at all, really.

Other traditional remedies include using honeysuckle leaves or flowers as a diuretic, to ease asthmas, and to help with cramps and even bad skin.

The Witch’s Kitchen…

Honeysuckle is a climbing plant, and reminds us that we have to start at the bottom and work our way up. It is a symbol of perseverance, determination and hard work. Rev. Carol A. Ingle tells us that the plant is associated with the tarot card, The Chariot, allowing you to focus on having discernment, authority and mastery of any task at hand. She also recommends the use of honeysuckle in good luck spells and also bending others to your will. The plant is also great for protection magic.

Culpepper claimed it was a ‘herb of Mercury’. This plant, therefore, is often used in money magic, to attract wealth or new opportunities leading to better prosperity, such as luck for a new job interview. Mercury is also all about clear communication, so meditating on honeysuckle can allow you to open up your mind to allow the words you need to say to someone to come to the fore.

Named Féithleann in Irish, the plant is also known as the Irish Vine, so if you work with the Celtic Tree Calendar, honeysuckle is a great substitute for vine. Please note, I find the Celtic tree Calendar a thoroughly modern construct, as there is no evidence the Iron Age Celts followed a year split up into tree-based months, however it is a lovely construct and one that clearly means a great deal to many people. The magic of trees and plants cannot be disputed, and if this is a way that some practitioners connect with that magic, I have no problem with that. As long as it’s clear that it is not a reconstruction of what our Celtic ancestors followed it is inspired by their reverence for trees and plants, which in itself is a lovely idea.

Home and Hearth…

Irish folklore states that honeysuckle around the door of a home will prevent a witch from entering. Of course, the protective nature of the plant is actually that it will prevent negative energies from entering your house, so this is still great advice!

Bring honeysuckle flowers from your garden into the house to attract money. Keep the flowers in water, then as they start to wilt, immediately discard them, either in your compost disposal or in the eastern side of your garden if possible, to represent the manifestation of your desires.

I Never Knew…

Honeysuckle is much enjoyed by livestock, including chicken and goats. Indeed, the Latin name for one species, lonicera caprifolium, comes from the Latin for ‘goat’s leaf’.

Image credits: Lonicera x heckrottii ‘Gold Flame’ by Wouter Hagens, public domain; Lonicera caprifolium by Sten at Danish Wikipedia; Lonicera nigra by Nikolaus Joseph Jacquin (1727-1817), public domain.

***

About the Author:

Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.

She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors and Pagan Portals: Celtic Witchcraft.

Follow Mabh on TwitterFacebook and her blog.

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