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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

Book Review – The Green Witch: Your Complete Guide to the Natural Magic of Herbs, Flowers, Essential Oils and More by Arin Murphy-Hiscock

February, 2019

Book Review
The Green Witch: Your Complete Guide to the Natural Magic of Herbs, Flowers, Essential Oils and More
by Arin Murphy-Hiscock
Published by Adams Media
Copyright 2017
Pages: 235

If you are starting down the path of a green witch, you will appreciate this complete introduction to the natural magic of herbs, flowers, essential oils, gems and more.

This book is a slightly edited version of her book, “The Way of the Green Witch: Rituals, Spells, and Practices to Bring You Back to Nature,” published in 2006, also by Adams Media.

The information is easily understood and put into practice.

Arin Murphy-Hiscock describes the path of a green witch as “intensely personal,” driven by individual strengths and talents, and aligned with the climate of the geographic location and the energy of that environment. That makes each path individual, as green witches seek harmony between nature and humans in an ongoing celebration of life.

“The practice of the green witch doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, fancy tool, or complicated rituals. Perhaps more than any other path of witchcraft, the path of a green witch rests on your philosophy of living and how you interact with the world around you,” Murphy-Hiscock states.

“Like kitchen witchcraft, green witchcraft emphasizes practicality and everyday activity. There are no special words, no unique prayers, no uniforms, no holy texts, no obligatory tools, and no specific holidays … unless you create them for yourself. While the green path is very much the art of daily practice, it isn’t set apart as sacred. It recognizes the sacred in everyday life. The path of a green witch is sacred – very much so – but not isolated from the secular. The secular life itself is what is sacred to the green witch.”

Green witches descended from folk healers and practitioners of folk magic: the village herbalists, midwives, healers and wise women. The book explains the differences between other practices, noting a green witch opens to nature’s energies and works with them subtly, rather than other practices where energy is raised, directed and released.

The book touches on ethics, personal energy centers, making a home a sacred space, environmental energy, the power of the seasons and astrological influences. There are pages covering the magic of trees, the energy of flowers, powers of herbs, and using stones and crystals. One chapter covers gardening and another is on healing.

Some recipes are provided for incense, spell bags, teas and foods, and suggestions for ritual are also included.

It is well written and informative, and while it is not in-depth enough for the advanced practitioner, new seekers will find it a valuable foundation of knowledge.

Many of those leaving comments on Amazon noted the book covers nature’s magic in an inclusive manner, so those of any faith, culture or tradition can embrace the practice and experience a deeper, more magical connection with nature while moving through daily life.

The Green Witch: Your Complete Guide to the Natural Magic of Herbs, Flowers, Essential Oils, and More on Amazon

***

About the Author:

Lynn Woike was 50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before she consciously began practicing as a self taught solitary witch. She draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae, Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can follow her boards on Pinterest, and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.

Notes from the Apothecary

December, 2018

Notes from the Apothecary: Christmas Cactus

 Oh no, not the C-Word! That’s right, my fellow Pagans, I said it. Christmas. Love it or loathe it, come December the 25th, possible birthday of Dionysus and Mithras (but unlikely to be the birthday of Jesus) the nation, nay, the world goes Christmas mad and we shake our heads. Don’t they know it’s just another solstice celebration? Or at the very most, an adoption of the festivities of Roman Saturnalia? Well, it might surprise you to know that I love Christmas. Yeah, it’s a touch annoying when people deny the Pagan roots, but I’m a sucker for seeing other people happy. And Christmas makes people happy! It also gives its name to some amazing things: Christmas Island, Christmas Jones and of course, the beautiful and exotic Christmas Cactus.

The botanical name is Schlumbergera, chosen by botanist Charles Lemaire (1801-1871) in honour of Frédéric Schlumberger (1823-1893) who was a renowned collector of cacti and succulents.

 

The Kitchen Garden

 Christmas Cacti are generally kept as houseplants as they are native to Brazil and used to this type of climate. In the wild they grow attached to rocks and trees, but they are happy in some well-drained, good quality compost with a bit of grit or sand.

The cacti are normally grown from cuttings and their spikes are barely there, making them resemble a succulent more than a traditional cactus. The leaves are flattish pads and they form chains which eventually erupt into bright and beautiful flowers. They are normally quite happy sharing a large pot with other succulents and cacti as long as it doesn’t become too crowded.

Don’t let them have too much direct sunlight. It can damage the leaves. But too little light, and they may never flower. Many schlumbergera flower in winter, making them a wonderful addition to natural holiday decorations, whatever you celebrate.

 

The Witch’s Kitchen

Cacti in general are associated with fire and the south. They are also associated with the zodiac sign of Aries, but Christmas cactus is specifically associated with Sagittarius. Unsurprisingly this plant is associated with the month of December and the festival of Yule or the Winter Solstice. Christmas cacti make a great altar decoration for any festive period, and ones with pink or red flowers are particularly appropriate for the south of your sacred space.

The association with the zodiac sign of Aries can be expanded to include the god Aries, and Mars, Aries’ Roman Equivalent. This lends the Christmas cactus the power of strength, courage but also of conflict and success in battles.

Sagittarius is another fire sign, but one particularly associated with November and December, the signs time in the zodiac ending around the winter solstice. Sagittarius is the archer, and associated with prophecy and divination. The Christmas cactus, therefore, could be a great tool in meditative divination or prophetic spellwork.

Sagittarius is ruled by Jupiter, so the Christmas Cacti could also be a great addition to expansion magic, and lawfully aligned magic.

 

Home and Hearth

Collect the flowers of your Christmas Cacti before they begin to fade. Let them dry; laying them on some paper in an airing cupboard or a sunny windowsill away from damp is good for this. Place the dried and hopefully colourful flowers in a small, clear jar. Either hang the jar on a thong or chain, or keep it in a pocket when you are going into situations where you need a little more courage. This could be confrontations with friends or family that you are nervous about, or perhaps raising a grievance in the workplace. The energy of Mars will walk with you, and the balance of a very hardy plant.

 

I Never Knew…

For those who enjoy growing succulents and cacti, the adorable name for baby succulents is pups!

All images from 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.

A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors on Amazon

 

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

Story Series: Hedge Wizard

September, 2018

Part 1


(Photo by Clint McKoy on Unsplash)

Chapter 1, Part 2

Flight through the Forest

As we flew over the treetops, with the great starry dome overhead, I seemed to be flying upside down over an ocean filled with innumerable lights. The blue child led me deep into the forest, and at one point slowed down to allow me to catch up with him. Then he locked elbows and flew with me, and suddenly all was changed. The trees glowed with light of many colors, like lamps of blue, green, red and violet, each type of tree a different hue. Some trees throbbed with light, while others gave off a steady sheen. In places I saw what looked like columns of light erupting from the trees up into the sky and eventually disappearing in distance. Elsewhere, shafts of light descended suddenly from the sky and fused with particular trees. The blue child led me to a glade in the forest filled with oaks and poplars. We flew to one particular oak and passed inside it through a hollow ‘fairy door’. I was in the trunk of a massive, giant oak tree with the blue child.

Some noise in the forest woke me up at this moment. It was early morning, just around dawn. I went back to sleep and had no dreams I recalled.

At breakfast the Hægtessa seemed pleased and rested. She said she’d had the best sleep in years, for it’s tiring at times to fly with the blue child or other dryads in the forest. At least when you get up to my age,” she smiled. “But while you’re young it’s great fun, and you gradually become acquainted with the deeper forest.”

Dawn can go home tomorrow,” she continued as an afterthought. “Try again tonight with the Blue Child. See if you can get inside the Great Oak. Tell me what happened tomorrow at breakfast. If you find you like doing this, and don’t mind learning herb-lore from me, you can be hedge wizard when I am gone. But think it over; you have plenty of time to consider it.

But the times you go home,” she added, in turning, “don’t speak of your experiences here. Just say you are learning herb-lore from me. That will provide enough reason for them to ostracize you. No point in giving them more.”

* * * * *

On the following night once again I was flying with the Blue Child through the night forest. The blue child led me to a glade in the forest filled with oaks. We flew to one particular oak and passed inside it through a hollow ‘fairy door’. I was in the trunk of a massive, giant oak tree with the blue child. Blue light was all around us.

We rested inside a recess in the oak’s trunk. Not far from us was the figure of an old man sleeping. He seemed carved from wood, or else turning into wood. On his face was an expression of contentment and rest.

Who is that?” I asked the Blue Child. “My Dad,” he answered. “He is falling asleep into the tree. Dad, Dad,” he called softly. The old man’s eyelids fluttered, scattering small splinters. He looked with love at the Blue Child. “Dad, this is Bird-brow. He is taking his first flight.”

The old man’s voice came resonantly from his lips, which hardly moved. “Welcome, Bird-brow,” he said. “The gods bless you.”

And you, Sir,” I replied. “But what is happening to you?”

Oh, I am dying. It is time to return to the Tree, our Mother. My son will serve Her in my stead.”

In the garth, where I live,” I said, “to die is an occasion for sorrow.”

Not among us,” the old man said, smiling. “For we do not die entirely so long as the Tree lives. And She has lived here in the Forest a very long time.”

You can still go upstairs if you’d rather, Dad,” said the Blue Child.

No, Son. My place is here with our Mother, the Oak. But you should go upstairs to tell the Bright Ones I will stay here and subside into wood.”

The Blue Child turned to me. “Rest here awhile. I will return soon.”

The blue light grew around us and seemed to lift the Blue Child. He rose on a column of light and rushed out of the crown of the Tree, up into the sky. He was suddenly gone. I looked at the old man inquiringly.

You must pardon me,” he said, closing his eyes once again. “I am becoming very sleepy.”

I moved outside the trunk up into the lower branches of the Oak. Around me the elms were glowing green, the larches a paler shade of the same color. Here and there in the haunted forest columns of light shot up into the sky and disappeared; once in a while a column descended from the sky and passed into a tree from above, and the tree took on its color and glowed softly.

After some time had passed, a shaft of blue light descended from the sky and the Blue Child was back. “Now we must scout out the Hægtessa’s herbs,” he said. “the old beds have dried up.”

But where were you?” I asked him, as we resumed out flight.

In our star. Every tree in the forest has a star. Ours is there.” And he pointed almost directly up, to the top of the sky. “You must return with the Haegtessa in the morning and help her pick herbs.” Once again we entered the oak.

But where are the herbs?” I asked. “The trees will find them,” he said, and then called out softly “Dad…Dad.”

The old face appeared once more in the wood. “Yes, Son, what is it? I was drifting off.”

The Haegtessa needs more herbs, Dad. The old beds have dried up. We must find the closest bed of wild herbs for her.”

Right away,” said the face, and disappeared into the wood.

Where has he gone?” I asked the Blue Child. “Down into the roots,“he said. “The roots of the great oak extend far on every side and touch the roots of trees growing around us. They in turn touch the roots of their neighbors, and so on. The search for the wild herbs is even now traveling far afield, along the roots through the Deep Forest.”

Presently the old face of the Oak Father appeared once more in the wood. Little splinters flew from his eyelids and lips as he smiled and said “Tell the Hægtessa the way to the herbs has been charted. If she comes here to the Great Oak she can follow the trail with her staff” “Thank you, Oak Father,” I said, and promptly awoke in the crystal room.

At breakfast the Hægtessa was radiant. “You’ve done well, Bird-Brow,” she said. “The Blue Child and the Oak Father both like you. That is important.”

I told her what the Oak Father said. “I know,” she said, “I have done this before, many times. What he said was for your benefit. We must go together today, since you may be doing this next time.”

After breakfast she said farewell to my mother and little Dawn. “She has recovered. Keep her quiet and well-rested for a few days. Bird-Brow is going with me today on an expedition. He will return home tonight.”

The Hægtessa put on her voluminous white robe and took her carved oaken staff from her cabinet. “Take this sack with you, Bird-Brow,” she said. “We will bring back some herbs for replanting in my field.”

I had flown with the Blue Child to the Great Oak and knew vaguely how to get there in the body, but the Hægtessa knew the way very well, and in about half an hour we mounted the hill leading to the tree. It was a quiet, blue morning, punctuated with light birdsong.

The Hægtessa grounded her staff near the base of the oak. “Grasp my staff, Bird-Brow” she said. I grasped its head and felt a tingling coming up the staff from the ground. She knew I felt it, and took it back. “Now follow along. We have a journey to make.”

She walked to the next tree, a smaller, younger oak, and then beyond it to a birch, feeling the ground with her staff with every step. In this way we went down hill and up hill for about half an hour. Coming to a shallow stream, we forded it, the Hægtessa feeling the trail along the stream bottom with her staff, and picking up the trail again among the trees on the other side. The land sloped uphill from the other bank, until we reached a plateau at the edge of a cliff. Far below I could see the field of herbs. Passing to the left along the cliff, we came to a mild grassy slope downhill, and followed it down to the herb beds.

The field of herbs was the size of two yards placed side by side. Beyond them the forest continued on a shallow rise. “The herbs have come here from many places in the forest,” said the Hægtessa. “They are our partners. It is our job to protect them, to pick the weeds from among them and ring them about with guardian plants like marigolds. Some we will gather up and replant in my garden. These will be of use, like the feverfew I gave little Dawn, but once replanted, the herbs have less potency. Here, in this field, is where they retain their full magic.” She showed me how to tell weeds from herbs, and we replanted a few marigolds along the margins.

You must come here with the Blue Child, Bird-Brow,” she said, “perhaps once a week, to see if all is well. You must also come here at times in the body to dress and protect the field, and gather a few herbs for replanting. That is, if you want to.”

She looked at me carefully. “I am old, Bird-Brow,” she said. “I cannot make the journey here often. If you wish to be hedge wizard after me, you must start now to help with the fields.”

I will, gladly,” I said. “But what of my father and the boar hunt? I have never been asked to be on it before, because I was too young. He is counting on me to be with him.”

Some problems have no easy solution, Bird-Brow,” she said.

When I visited the herb field and pitched my tent, all was quiet. In the night I saw one herb light up within, and in it I could see the Hægtessa preparing herbs. She looked very old and tired, and suddenly I knew I would disappoint my father and remain here with her. When next I slept in the crystal room, the Blue Child flew in and said I had chosen wisely. She would not live much longer. In the morning I told her of my decision to remain with her and learn her herb-lore. She smiled and took me into her garden, pointing out the herbs which had been replanted. “These can be used in healing, Bird-Brow. But they must be boosted with wild herbs from the field.” Back in her house, she showed me how to prepare the herbs, cutting them and mixing them with the wild herbs. They seemed to quicken into new life when mixed with their wild counterparts.

At night, I flew with the Blue Child to the wild herb field, but instead of returning to the Hægtessa’s house we flew together over the wheat fields to the Hall. There was a lamp lit inside the Hall, watched over by the Hall-Sun, a young, vigorous woman with straw-colored hair. I was surprised to see my father there with her. “He won’t come, Hall-Sun.” he said sadly. I had hoped to show him hunting. The Hægtessa has bewitched him to her service.”

He can still come along to the boar-hunt,” the Hall-Sun said. “He can fly with the hunters and the Blue Child.” And she nodded to my companion.

That night the boar-hunters ran through a long tunnel in the Hedge, carrying torches. My father led them. The great wild boar had been reported in these parts, and each hunter was armed with bow, arrows and spear. I hovered over my father and the Blue Child and I flew on ahead to scout out the quarry and report its whereabouts to the hunters. Once or twice I saved my father from the boar by warning him of its murderous attack. I think he was aware of my protection and thanked me. He showed me how he stalked the boar and in this way I learned about hunting. The Hall-Sun watched me closely and I was taken by her fresh beauty. She seemed sprung from the earth, like harvest wheat. Her gaze seemed to reprove me for not being with my father on the hunt. But then I thought of the Hægtessa and her difficulties, and when I did, the Hall-Sun nodded approvingly.

End of part one

Story Series: Hedge Wizard

August, 2018

Part 1

(Photo by Tj Holowaychuk on Unsplash)

Chapter 1

1. A Visit to the Hægtessa

I remember when little Dawn had a fever and had trouble sleeping, I went with Mother across the harvested fields to visit the Hægtessa. The green wall of the Hedge, tiny in the distance, grew and threw open its arms as we approached. On all sides it stretched, shutting out the Forest, except where the river ran by, downhill on the right, where the fishing lodge straddled the bank. I knew that far to the left, the hunters’ tunnel passed under the hedge.

Beyond the Hedge I could see the tops of many trees, outliers of the Forest. The Forest went on and on, they said, forever. No one went very far into it except the hunters. The Hægtessa, whose name meant ‘hedge-rider,’ went a little way in at times to gather herbs.

As we approached her house, Mother cautioned me to remain quiet unless spoken to. The Hægtessa, it was said, lived a very quiet life and disliked noise.

Her house ran right through the Hedge to the other side, and thus had two fronts, each barely extending beyond the Hedge itself. Her magic accommodated the Hedge to her house, neatly fitting it without impinging on it in the least.

I had never been in her house. I had been up to the Hedge, and down to the fishing-lodge by the river, and seen the gabled front of her house from a distance, but never herself. But now she came out.

But when the Hægtessa emerged, she was a kindly-looking middle-aged woman, getting a little stout. She was dressed in a simple farm smock and apron.

I’ve been working in the garden” she said to me, answering my thought. The morning sun peeped over the roof of the forest, and I squinted. She looked at me curiously, then turned to my mother.

Hello, Mopsy,” she said, using my mother’s little girl name.”What can I do for you?”

It’s Dawn, here,” said Mother. “She is hot and can’t sleep. I think her head hurts.”

The Hægtessa took Dawn in her arms. “She needs feverfew and a few other herbs,” she said. “Step in.”

We went up three steps and were inside her house, which seemed carved rather than built. A wide room stretched on both sides. Ahead were more steps, leading past cabinets of herbs and instruments up through the middle of the house. There were no windows to right or left.

Her magic keeps the hedge from bothering the house,” I thought. “But why the hump in the middle?”

Once again she answered my thought. “The roots of the hedge pass under the middle of my house. Else there would be two hedges.”

*

The Hægtessa ascended the inner steps and took several herbs from the shelves. She took dried leaves of feverfew and mixed them with fresh leaves. Then she prepared two or three other herbs.

When she brought the tea down, I saw a circular stairway at the back of her herb-closet. Past it steps probably started down to the forest side of her house.

We have to wait and see how she takes the herbs,” she said. “Please make yourselves comfortable. I will brew another tea.”

We sat on her cushioned carved benches and waited, while Mother applied a cool rag to Dawn’s head from time to time.

The Haegtessa kept us company. She talked about her need for an apprentice, “I’m not as young now as I once was.” She was running out of some herbs and needed help locating new gardens in the forest.

Somewhat later she felt Dawn’s head and said she felt a little cooler, but she needed to stay there for a night or two until her head was back to normal. She fixed up a bed for Mother in the room with Dawn, then turned to me.

Perhaps you’d like to sleep in the loft?” she asked, pointing to the circular stairs. “Come and see.” I followed her up the stairs. At the top, the gabled room was on the right. On the left a door opened into a circular chamber, roofed with crystal. I had heard of the dream chamber, but thought it was just a story.

In the center of the room was a wide, comfortable looking bed. Some treetops could be seen at the rim of the dome, but otherwise it was all sky.

Do you think you’d like to sleep here?” she asked.

Oh, yes,” I said. “Yes, thanks.”

That is well, Bird-brow; I give you that name in place of your boyhood name Hops. For outside, when you squinted, I saw a bird’s head, perhaps a robin’s, in the wrinkles between your brows. So I know you will profit from a night spent up here.”

The first night the dream chamber was filled with a blue light, whitened a while by the moon. I lay entranced by the starry sky and don’t know when I dropped off. Just before I woke I seemed to see a bluish figure flying around the room. It was a boy, a little smaller than I am, but I awoke before I could see more or speak to him.

At breakfast the Hægtessa was jovial. Dawn was much improved, and Mother had finally gotten some much-needed sleep. We had milk and meat and some fruit I had never seen before, juicy with a red pith. “One more night and Dawn will be well,” she said. “Did you sleep well in the chamber, Bird-brow?”

Why do you call him that?” asked Mother. “His name is Hops.”

He is growing fast, and has grown much overnight. See, already he is nearly eight years in stature. And I name him Bird-brow.”

Mother said nothing, but shifted a little uneasily in her chair. We knew that a hedge-witch has the right to assign a name to someone, and that name is not without meaning.

During the morning the Hægtessa took me out over the stair-hill and through the forest side of her house to the herb garden just outside the forest-door. Just beyond it was the blasted heath where the advancing trees of the forest had been cut down and the grass and seeds underneath them burnt brown. We picked herbs that day and she showed me how to store them in jars and prepare tinctures and other medicines.

At sunset a hunter came by with a brace of conies. “Have you heard that the great boar hunt is being prepared?” he asked me. “Your father is organizing it. Will you be with him?” I said certainly. He skinned them and stayed to supper with us, then went off again into the forest.

That night I dropped off to sleep swiftly, and before long the light of a star shone brighter, and the blue child flew or slid down the trail of light, landing at the foot of my bed.

Come, Bird-brow,” the blue child said. “You are asleep, so you can fly,” and we both flew through the crystal and out into the night of the forest.

To Be Continued…

The Kitchen Witch

April, 2018

Green Goddess Salad

April is the month that spring really gets into high gear, even here in Buffalo. April is the month of Venus, the goddess of love and with flowers beginning to bloom, it’s easy to see why. April is also the month of Earth day – April 22. I was ten years old the very first Earth Day. When I was a freshman in college, in my women’s studies classes, I read Silent Spring by Rachel Carson. If you haven’t read this book, you really should!

I have always celebrated Earth Day with a vegetarian meal, usually a Big Salad. Green Goddess Salad is a perfect Earth Day choice. It mixes the celebration of Venus with the celebration of the green earth.

This is one of my absolute favorite salads. I have made it dozens of times, although I haven’t made it in quite a long time. It’s a little on the expensive side but I think it’s worth it. My recipe is from a cookbook that I wish I knew the name of but unfortunately it was in that period of time where I copied recipes out of books I got from the library and never wrote down the name of the cookbook! Which makes it really difficult to reference now! Suffice it to say that I have been making this salad for thirty years and I have tweaked the recipe numerous times – enough that it’s MY recipe now.

I did a little research on the history of the Green Goddess Salad. It was created at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco in 1923 to honor the actor George Arliss, who was starring in the play, “The Green Goddess”, written by William Archer, which had been a big hit on Broadway and was now touring the United States. Arliss would star in two movies of that name, one made in 1923 and another one in 1930, for which he would receive an Oscar nomination. George Arliss was a big star of the stage and silent movies in the early twentieth-century but he is almost forgotten today. Likewise, both the play and the movie “The Green Goddess” have been lost in the mists of time. I read the synopsis of the screenplay and I can’t imagine “The Green Goddess” being popular in today’s culture – it’s a very silly romantic comedy about a plane wreck in a south-sea island and the need of a human sacrifice to a “Green Goddess” – all kinds of ridiculous antics before the British air corps save the day.

Unlike the play or the movie, Green Goddess Salad stayed popular throughout the 1940’s and 1950’s and into the 1960’s. There was a bottled version of the dressing but that disappeared in the 1970’s when ranch dressing became popular. Apparently, you can still buy it online but it’s $7.50 a bottle! I think it might be a tad cheaper to make it fresh! Not to mention much tastier!

If you Google “Green Goddess Salad”, you will find all kinds of salads. Some have chicken in them, some have shrimp, some have garbanzo beans. Some have “updated” versions of the salad dressing, omitting the mayonnaise and the sour cream and substituting avocado, making it a truly green dressing. Some have gotten rid of the creamy aspect of the dressing altogether – the Park Restaurant in San Francisco now serves a “Green Goddess Salad” with a dressing that is basically a vinaigrette made with tarragon wine vinegar and olive oil! Yes, the herbs are the same and there are anchovies in the mixture. But how can you have a “Green Goddess Salad” without a creamy salad dressing? Maybe I’m an old fart but that just doesn’t seem right to me!

The recipe I copied from the “mystery cookbook” was quite simple – but that was the way salads were thirty or forty years ago. Here is a scan of the recipe from MY cookbook, complete with typos:

Because I am not going to be serving six people, I too “updated” this salad for my own use. I am having it for my dinner, so naturally it’s going to be on the large size but it’ll be half the size of this recipe.

The first thing I did was make the dressing. I no longer own a blender or food processor, so this was a totally different process. In the old days, I would cut fresh parsley from my garden, coarsely chop the green onions, add everything else and blend. But I couldn’t figure out how to chop the green onions finely enough by hand for a salad dressing, so I decided to put them on the salad instead. I added garlic powder instead. And I had to use dried parsley instead of fresh.

Instead of mayonnaise and sour cream, I used plain Greek yogurt. I used a single-serve container, so it was a little more than half a cup. With that in mind, I used more or less half the amount of the rest of the ingredients. The beauty of making salad dressings is that you can fool around with the seasonings a bit – it’s not like baking a cake, where you have to be precise.

I didn’t use tarragon vinegar. It’s wicked expensive and I have to be honest – I really do not like the flavor of tarragon very much. So I used white wine vinegar instead. I did add a small amount of dried tarragon with the other herbs. When I tasted it, I decided that it needed a little more anchovy paste and a touch of sugar – I wasn’t going to add any sugar but I decided that it needed it. I also added a dash of salt.

This salad dressing needs to sit for the ingredients to fully “marry” and “get happy”, as Emeril would say. Put a cover on the bowl and set it in the refrigerator and do something else for at least fifteen minutes. Thirty minutes are better.

I arranged the greens on a large plate. I rarely eat endive because when I was a kid, I really hated it and now I don’t think about unless a specific recipe calls for it. But I had to admit that the pale curly leaves looked pretty on top of the torn pieces of romaine. I decided to add baby spinach to the mix – to make the salad greener.

The recipe calls for “two medium tomatoes” but I had a bunch of those little “Campari” tomatoes, so I took three of them and halved them and arranged them along the edge of the plate. Then I chopped the green onions that I had omitted from the salad dressing and I added them to the salad.

At this point, the recipe calls for “frozen artichoke hearts, cooked, drained & chilled” – if you want to do this, you can but I only did this the first time I made this recipe. After that, I bought canned artichoke hearts. They’re much easier to deal with and you can refrigerate the ones you don’t use for another salad on another day. As for the olives – I really wanted to get good Greek olives – Kalamata Olives would have been perfect – but the inner-city grocery store I went to didn’t have any. Honestly, I was amazed that they had anchovy paste!

I omitted the anchovies and added salad shrimp instead. This is what the salad looked like when I had it all assembled on the plate and before I put the dressing on it:

Ok – this was the problem. When I put the salad dressing on top of the salad, it flowed over the top like slow-moving lava. It wasn’t attractive at all. I quickly threw the salad into a large bowl and mixed it all together until everything was “coated” with the dressing – which was what the recipe said to do, after all. Then I rearranged the salad on the plate:

Now – that looks good enough to eat!

As I ate, I made a few mental notes. One – the salad dressing really works better if you have a blender. I think also that fresh parsley and basil are a must. Putting those fresh green herbs into the blender with the mayo/sour cream/yogurt and pulverizing the hell out of them gives the dressing the proper pale green color. My dressing – although it tasted fabulous! – was white with green flecks. It wasn’t what it was supposed to be. As with Spell-Work, sometimes improvising works and sometimes it doesn’t.

The other thing was substituting salad shrimp for anchovies. If you are serving friends who do NOT like anchovies, then by all means substitute shrimp or chicken or garbanzos or whatever else you wish. But I really missed the flavor and the texture of the anchovies. I can guarantee you that the next time I make this salad – and it will be quite soon – I will be putting anchovies on the greens.

However you make this salad, enjoy Earth Day! Praise to Venus, the Goddess of Love and Spring and all good things! Brightest Blessings!

Click Images for Amazon Information

***

About the Author:

Polly MacDavid lives in Buffalo, New York at the moment but that could easily change, since she is a gypsy at heart. Like a gypsy, she is attracted to the divinatory arts, as well as camp fires and dancing barefoot. She has three cats who all help her with her magic.

Her philosophy about religion and magic is that it must be thoroughly based in science and logic. She is Dianic Wiccan and she is solitary.

She blogs at silverapplequeen.wordpress.com. She writes about general life, politics and poetry. She is writing a novel about sex, drugs and recovery.

Crystal Connections

February, 2018

Amazonite

A member of the Feldspar family, it’s said that Amazonite is the stone of truth. By stimulating the throat chakra, this stone assists in clear communication by aligning your speech to higher ideals. Amazonite inspires confidence, hope and enhances creative “true to self” expression. With its soothing green colors, calmness is what this crystalline structure is all about. This stone also works powerfully through the heart chakra by healing past emotional traumas.

(Photo courtesy http://shijewels.etsy.com)

When I worked in the financial industry I would often wear Amazonite jewelry not only because of its abilities described above but also because it’s known to relieve stress and dispel negative energy, and where there’s money, negative energy seems to follow. Thinking back, I remember wearing an Amazonite bead bracelet that I would mindlessly fiddle with when I was dealing with large amounts of money, and calm is exactly what I remember feeling when I did that. Another wonderful aspect that this Feldspar offers is its ability to assist in manifesting. Meditating with Amazonite can help clarify your intentions and affirmations, bringing your souls purpose into alignment.

(Photo courtesy http://shijewels.etsy.com)

To be honest, when I first started collecting crystals, Amazonite wasn’t even on my radar. I was so obsessed with the more common crystals, especially the Quartz family, that this subtle but sweet little gem was passed over many times. It may have taken a bit longer than I’d like to admit, but I can say without a doubt that I’m grateful to have this stone included in my crystal healing arsenal.

***

About the Author:

Shiron (Shi) Eddy hails from the Pacific Northwest and shares a home with her husband, a Great Dane and a cat. Her love for crystals and minerals came from her dad who was an avid rock hound in his younger years. Shi happily shares her knowledge of crystals with anyone who is drawn to them, but especially loves to help people connect with minerals that involves their metaphysical properties. When she’s not networking with other crystal and mineral lovers, Shi can be found making jewelry, painting, crocheting Goddess dolls, selling her wares at shows or spending time with family and friends. You can find her jewelry in her shop ShiJewels or follow her on Instagram.

The Enchanted Cottage; Magic for the Witch’s Home

September, 2014

Moss

The craft of the cottage witch conjures images of a secluded cabin on the edge of an enchanted forest. An elderly woman resides there, bent posture and warts wreak havoc on her frail form. Standing over her bubbling cauldron, she whispers incantations only the spirits can decipher. Wolves howl in the moonless night, sending icy tendrils of fear down your spine. A wisp of wind swirls around the cottage, filling the Autumn air with magic. The old woman cackles, turning about in wicked glee. The spell is cast, the deed is done—magic is afoot.

Though the above scene is great for movies and fairy tales, it is not what cottage witchery of today looks like. Sure, we may have cauldrons bubbling with brew and we may cackle from time to time, but most of us are just your everyday person living in today’s fast-paced world. The magic we do in our homes are aimed toward the health and well-being of our families and community. Through spell-craft and folk magic, we enchant the world around us. We advise loved ones with day to day problems through the reading of tea leaves, tarot and other forms of divination.

The cottage witch may honor many gods or none at all. Some work with ancestors and the spirits that live on their land. We gather inspiration through fairy tales and myth, weaving them together to form our own understanding of the occult world. Through trial and error, the cottage witch learns which potions and incantations work best her. The understanding of superstitions and interpreting omens may play a large part in the life of the cottage witch.

The witch’s kitchen is where most of the magic happens. The cooking of foods, brewing of teas, and mixing of herbs and oils for spell-craft take place in what is sometimes called the heart of the home. It is where we gather at the end of a long day to discuss the events of the day. We bless our food as we are preparing it, filling it with love and health. Offerings for the House-Spirits are left here, in hopes that they protect our home and fill it with enchanting warmth. The making of poppets and witches bottles may be prepared here, the kitchen table doubling as an altar.

The life of a cottage witch is one filled with enchantment. We dance through the seasons of Earth and life, weaving magic through all we touch. We laugh, we cry–we cackle. In this column, I will be discussing all of the above information and more in great detail. From folk lore to superstitions, from spells to the many forms of divination the cottage witch can utilize. House-hold deities, spirits and the Mighty Dead will make an appearance here. Join me in the making of magic, join me in– The Enchanted Cottage.

The Mugwort Chronicles

June, 2013

Wild Carrot or Poison Hemlock?

Several months ago, my brother and I were discussing our mutual love of the woods and the outdoors. Although he has hunted and fished most of his adult life, he admitted that he really didn’t pay too much attention to the wild greens around him. Somehow, our conversation turned to the subject of Hemlock and my brother was quite surprised to learn that Hemlock trees were not poisonous, but several relatives of Wild Carrot are some of the most deadly plants in North America. Their similarity in appearance to Wild Carrot has resulted in many deaths, including children using their hollow stems for straws or for making whistles.  My brother was also surprised to learn that sometimes Wild Carrot and Poison Hemlock can grow in the same areas and that Poison Hemlock can be found growing right in your own backyard.

Wild Carrot, Poison Hemlock and Poison Hemlock’s deadly cousin, Water Hemlock all belong to the Apiaceae plant family. Formerly known as the Parsley or Umbelliferae family, the Apiaceae family includes cow parsnip as well as many well-known edible plants such as celery, parsley, angelica, fennel and sweet cicely. Although many of these edible plants are cultivated, they can still be found growing wild. It is important to note that the non-poisonous Hemlock tree, Tsuga, is not related to the Hemlock plant.

Personally, I never wildcraft any plants from the Apiaceae family. In my opinion, the potential for making a deadly mistake is far too great. I am honest enough to admit that I just do not feel comfortable or 100% certain in recognizing the differences between the edible and the deadly-poisonous varieties. If you ingest either Poison Hemlock or Water Hemlock, it is very unlikely that you will get a second chance to get your plant identification right the next time.   According to tradition, it was the Poison Hemlock plant- Conium maculatum that was used to execute Socrates.

What can make identification difficult is that although Wild Carrot and its edible relatives do have some fairly recognizable differences from Poison Hemlock and Water Hemlock, like many plants, these characteristics can be affected by variations in growing conditions making accurate identification sometimes difficult. It is important to remember when harvesting edible wild plants to be aware of what other plants are growing in close proximity, as poisonous plant neighbors can ‘share’ their toxic constituents with nearby plants. To avoid potential contamination, never harvest any plants growing in the vicinity of Poison Hemlock, Water Hemlock or any other poisonous plant.

Let’s look at some of the characteristics for Wild Carrot, Poison Hemlock and Water Hemlock.

 

 

 

 
WILD CARROT – Daucus carota

Wild Carrot, also known as Queen Anne’s Lace, was introduced from Europe as a medicinal plant; the vegetable carrot was bred from this plant. The root, flower and seeds are all edible and medicinal.

Wild Carrot is often found in dry fields and along roadsides, flowering from May to October. Growing an average height of 1 to 3 feet, it has tiny white flowers arranged in compound umbels-flower clusters in which individual flower stalks arise from the center. These umbels average 3 to 5 inches across. The center flower is often purple and the leaves are very finely divided (tri-pinnate), arranged in an alternate pattern and embrace the stem with a sheathing base. The root is small, spindle-shaped with a strong aromatic carrot smell.

Distinctive features: Unlike Poison Hemlock and Water Hemlock, Wild Carrot has a solid stem which is covered with short coarse hair. Remember: “Queen Anne has hairy legs”!

For some really good detailed photos, check out this weed information website from Canada: http://www.weedinfo.ca/en/weed-index/view/id/DAUCA

The Carrot Museum also has some great information, including ancient folk lore regarding Wild Carrot:  http://www.carrotmuseum.co.uk/queen.html

 

POISON HEMLOCK – Conium maculatum

Poison Hemlock is found in areas of moist fertile soil, in wooded lots, along fences and in waste areas. Unlike Wild Carrot, Poison Hemlock grows tall-between 3 to 6 feet high. It has small, white flowers in compound umbels with alternate, finely divided leaves with bases sheathing the stems. Poison Hemlock has a large taproot, white to yellow in colour. The entire plant is toxic and if you need to work with it, be sure to wear protective clothing.

Distinguishing features: The leaves have a mouse-like odor when crushed and are extremely nauseating when tasted. The stems are smooth, hollow and often covered with purple reddish spots or mottling.        

The Noxious Weed website from Kings County, Washington has some good photos of Poison Hemlock:

http://www.kingcounty.gov/environment/animalsAndPlants/noxious-weeds/weed-identification/poison-hemlock.aspx

 

WATER HEMLOCK-Cicuta maculata

Water Hemlock grows in open wet areas such as marshes, along shores and sometimes in open swamps. Like Poison Hemlock, Water Hemlock grows tall-3 to 6 feet or higher, with flat or rounded white umbels, 2-5 inches wide. The leaves are alternate, pointed and lance-shaped with numerous teeth; they are sometimes red-tinged. The roots have fat tuber-like branches. One of the most poisonous plants in North America, even a small mouthful of Water Hemlock can kill an adult. Always wear protective clothing if you need to work with this plant.

In Amy Stewart’s book, “Wicked Plants”, she tells of two brothers who, in the 1990’s during a hike, mistakenly identified Water Hemlock for Wild Ginseng. One man ate three bites and died several hours later, while the other took only one nibble, developed seizures but survived.  She also notes that the roots have a slightly sweet taste, which may make the plant seem edible.

Distinctive features: The whole plant has a ragged look. The stems are hollow, smooth and branching, often with purple reddish mottling.  The lower part of the stem is chambered.

This site has some good photos of Water Hemlock:

http://www.natureskills.com/outdoor-safety/water-hemlock/

 

If you feel called to work with the medicinal properties of Wild Carrot or wish to wildcraft other edible members of the Apiaceae family, consider taking a class taught by an experienced teacher which includes hands-on plant identification as part of the course work. While field guides are extremely helpful tools in plant identification, it is important to be introduced to the members of this family face-to-face by a knowledgeable instructor to avoid a potentially deadly mishap.

This information is offered for educational purposes and is not intended to take the place of personalized medical care from a trained healthcare professional. The reader assumes all risk when utilizing the above information.

~Louise~

Copyright© 2013 Louise Harmon

All Rights Reserved
Resources:

-Alternative Nature On-Line - Wild Carrot:

http://www.altnature.com/gallery/Wild_Carrot.htm

 

-Foraging Texas: Queen Anne’s Lace/Wild Carrot:

http://www.foragingtexas.com/2008/08/queen-annes-lace.html

-Tsuga: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsuga

-Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide-Wild Carrot or Queen Anne’s Lace: Daucus carota: http://www.ppws.vt.edu/scott/weed_id/dauca.htm

-Stewart, Amy. Wicked Plants. Chapel Hill: Algonquin of Chapel Hill, 2009. Print.

-Wildflowers and Weeds-members of the Apiaceae family: http://www.wildflowers-and-weeds.com/Plant_Families/Apiaceae.htm

HearthBeats: Recipes from a Kitchen Witch

September, 2010

Hey guys and gals.. I am sending some recipes for homemade cleaning supplies and body care supplies…

Starting with window cleaner.

Recipe #1

2 cups water
3 TBS vinegar
1/2 tsp dish detergent (liquid)

Recipe #2

1 gallon water
1/4 cup vinegar
1 tsp dish detergent (liquid)

Recipe #3

1 gallon water
1/4 cup vinegar
2 TBS lemon juice
squirt dish detergent (liquid)

Recipe #4

1/2 cup white vinegar
1 gallon warm water

Spray windows with preferred cleaner solution then wipe clean with crumpled newspapers. The newspaper helps prevent streaks.

Avoid cleaning windows and glass when the sun is hot and shining on the window–glass will dry too fast and there will be streaks.

Also wash one side of the window in an up and down direction, on the other side scrub side to side. This will help determine which side of the glass has the streaks that need to be polished out.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Shake ½ Cup of Borax and 10 drops of tea tree essential oil into toilet,
give it a quick scrub with the toilet brush, close the lid and leave for
several hours or overnight. Scrub again, flush and delight in your sparkling
clean, fresh-smelling bowl.

Homemade Laundry Soap Detergent

Recipe #1

1 quart Water (boiling)
2 cups Bar soap (grated)
2 cups Borax
2 cups Washing Soda

  • Add finely grated bar soap to the boiling water and stir until soap is melted. You can keep on low heat until soap is melted.
  • Pour the soap water into a large, clean pail and add the Borax and Washing Soda. Stir well until all is dissolved.
  • Add 2 gallons of water, stir until well mixed.
  • Cover pail and use 1/4 cup for each load of laundry. Stir the soap each time you use it (will gel).

Recipe #2

Hot water
1 cup Washing Soda
1/2 cup Borax
1 Soap bar

  • Grate the bar soap and add to a large saucepan with hot water. Stir over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.
  • Fill a 10 gallon pail half full of hot water. Add the melted soap, Borax and Washing soda, stir well until all powder is dissolved. Top the pail up with more hot water.
  • Use 1 cup per load, stirring soap before each use (will gel).

Recipe #3
Powdered Laundry Detergent (
I use this and it is great. You can pre-wash with Dawn if you get grease or oil stains)

2 cups Fels Naptha Soap (finely grated – you could also try the other bar soaps listed at the top)
1 cup Washing Soda
1 cup Borax

  • Mix well and store in an airtight plastic container.
  • Use 2 tablespoons per full load.

Recipe # 4
Powdered Laundry Detergent (
you can make this in smaller batches. It works great too.)

12 cups Borax
8 cups Baking Soda
8 cups Washing Soda
8 cups Bar soap (grated)

  • Mix all ingredients well and store in a sealed tub.
  • Use 1/8 cup of powder per full load.

Liquid Detergents Note

Soap will be lumpy, goopy and gel-like. This is normal. Just give it a good stir before using. Make sure soap is covered with a lid when not in use. You could also pour the homemade soap in old (and cleaned) laundry detergent bottles and shake well before each use.

*If you can’t find Fels-Naptha locally, you can buy it online (check Amazon).

Optional

You can add between 10 to 15 drops of essential oil (per 2 gallons) to your homemade laundry detergent. Add once the soap has cooled to room temperature. Stir well and cover.

Essential oil ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil

If you add an extra ½ cup borax and a ½ cup salt to 1 ½ cups liquid detergent you can make a great soft scrub.

All purpose cleaner

2 Tablespoons Borax
1 Teaspoon Castile Soap
15-20 drops total of Essential Oils such as Pine, Lemon, Lemongrass,
Eucalyptus or Tea Tree (remember that Tea Tree is has great disinfectant
qualities)

Add Borax to a 1-quart spray bottle.
Fill with warm water.
Add Castile soap and 15 to 20 drops of oil.

Shake and use.

Body care

Basic Shower Gel

1/2 cup unscented shampoo
1/4 cup water
3/4 teaspoon salt
15 drops fragrance oil
Food coloring ( optional)

Directions:
Pour shampoo into a bowl and add the water. Stir until its well mixed add the salt and fragrance.

Add any fragrance oil that you like!

Liquid Hand Soap Recipe

1 bar of soap, small (not super size)
3 C. Water

Take your bar of soap (we use Dove or store brand like it, because it’s more moisturizing), and grate it with a cheese grater. Pour the water and grated soap into a microwaveable container and cook on high for 3 min. Remove and stir until all soap bits have melted (put in a bit longer, if needed). Let it cool, then pour into pumps (leftover from store bought liquid soap), and the remainder in any container with a lid. Makes about 24 oz.

Peach Shower Gel

3/4 cup distilled water
1/4 cup shampoo concentrate (or substitute with 1/2 cup unscented shampoo and increase salt to 1 tsp.)
1/2 tsp. table salt
1 tbs. apricot kernel oil
15 drops peach fragrance oil
5 drops vitamin E oil (2 capsules)
1 drop orange food coloring (optional)

Warm the water and pour into a ceramic bowl. Add the apricot kernal oil, salt, peach fragrance oil, vitamin E oil (just break open the capsules) and coloring. Stir until well blended and thick. Pour into a squeeze bottle and close.

Hair Growth herbal Shampoo

This shampoo not only helps encourage hair growth, but it also keeps the
Scalp very clean and healthy and helps prevent dandruff.

2 cups distilled water
1 cup fresh spearmint
1 cup fresh rosemary
1 cup all-natural, gentle baby shampoo
Essential oil or fragrance oil, your choice, optional (to make it a
Scented shampoo)

Boil the water with the fresh herbs for about ten minutes, in a glass
Saucepan (like Visions). Or, you can put in a microwave-safe glass or
Plastic bowl and heat in the microwave until boiling, and allow to boil
For about ten minutes. Then, remove the pot from the stove or bowl from
The microwave and cover with a lid and allow to sit and steep for an
Hour. Strain the liquid through cheesecloth. Mix this with the baby
Shampoo. Pour into bottles and let set overnight. The next morning you
Can add some fragrance or essential oil to the shampoo in whatever scent
You like the most.

Until next month
Merry Cooking and Blessed Eating
The Hearthkeeper

PS. If there is anything you would like to see here.. Please email me at  thehearthkeeper@gmail.com

Blessed be…

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