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Notes from the Apothecary

August 1st, 2016

Notes from the Apothecary: The Rose

Rose

 

I’ve temporarily veered away from my series on trees as I was inspired to write about the rose. There are some beautiful rosa rubiginosa which have been flowering in the grounds of my son’s school for several weeks before I wrote this article, and they are so beautiful. (image left: rosa rubiginosa, source Wikipedia). My six-year-old boy has been enchanted with these gorgeous flowers, and I have had to plead with him not to pick them all as he decided ‘they are all for mummy’! Walking through Hamsterley forest we came across several varieties of wild rose, and again in woods local to where we live. So lovely, so sharp, potentially dangerous and full of mysticism and magic.

The Kitchen Garden

Growing roses can be done in a variety of ways. Bare root roses can be ordered and should be planted in the fall but ideally before the ground freezes. Roses can also be bought in containers and pots, and these plants will have foliage and maybe flowers on. These can be planted at any time of year apart from when the ground is frozen or too dry. Basically, avoid extremes and you should be ok. They like a good compost and manure is also ideal. Fertiliser can help.

Once you have your supply of roses, you can use the petals and hips (the red or orange seed pods) in a variety of ways. Dried, the petals are wonderful in potpourri or sachets to place in drawers for scenting. As well as being a wonderful natural perfume, roses petals also give a wonderful, unique flavour which can be used in desserts and sweets. Rose water is easily available at Asian food stores and is a simple way of imbuing your own food with the scent and favour of roses. A great example of this is Turkish Delight.

You mustn’t eat the hips raw as the seeds have fibres around them like little hairs, which are incredibly irritating to the throat. Cook and strain or press the hips to obtain the juices. Rose hips make amazing jellies, jams, syrups and tonics, and in Sweden are even made into a soup called nyponsoppa.

The Apothecary

Rose hips are very rich in vitamin C, however most recipes involve boiling the hips which, unfortunately, destroys some of the vitamin. Thankfully, they are so packed with vitamin C that even after preparing as syrup or jam, they still retain a reasonable amount, making them very useful as well as tasty.

Vitamin C is well indicated in boosting the immune system, so having some rosehip syrup in stock before the winter nights arrive is a great idea, to try and keep colds at bay. The vitamin is also thought to protect the cardiovascular system, the eyes and the skin. It is used by the body to help repair cells, so any rosehip product can be used when recovering or convalescing from any illness or injury.

Mrs Grieves tells us, in her Modern Herbal, that rose water (made from the petals) is used as an eye lotion (which makes sense with the vitamin C content), and that a cold cream is created by mixing oil of rose, wax and almond oil, and that this is very effective for chapped hands.

Culpeper believed rose petals were purgative and useful for fevers and jaundice. In fact, he seemed to have enormous faith in the healing power of the rose, citing its usefulness for joint ache, fainting and swooning, weak stomachs, infections, strengthening the heart, liver problems, sores in the throat and mouth, headaches and pimples, amongst other ailments.

In North American Indian medicine, the root of the plant has been used in a decoction as a cough remedy, particularly for children.

The Lab

Roses, the damask rose in particular, have been the subject of several pharmacological studies, in order to establish its usefulness in modern medicine. Interestingly, one of the effects it has is upon the central nervous system, including promoting sleepiness. It was found (in mice) to be possibly as powerful as diazepam. It may also have anti-depressant properties.

Some components of rose petals may even have analgesic effects, meaning they could potentially be employed as painkillers.

The Witch’s Kitchen

The rose hails originally from the Middle East, most likely from the area now known as Iran. In May, in the city of Ghamsar, there is an annual rose festival where the petals are collected and made into fragrant rose water. The damask rose is known as the Mohammadi rose or Mohammadi flower, and is sacred. Nothing is wasted during the process of making rose water. Even the left over petals are used as animal feed for livestock. The traditional process has been followed for thousands of years, although of course it is now also produced on an industrial scale, it is reassuring to know that the ancient traditions are kept alive in this way.

In western tradition, we view the rose as a symbol of love. The often red petals are symbolic of passion and the heart, although the thorns remind us of the perils of un-tempered lust. Cupid shot his arrows into a rose garden, trying to avenge himself upon a bee that stung him, and this is where the rose’s thorns came from. When Venus, his mother, walked through the garden, he pricked her foot upon the thorns, and her blood turned the roses red.

As a Celtic witch, red to me is the colour of magic and mysticism; a sign that something other worldly is happening. Red is a warning, an omen; the colour that makes us prick our ears up and pay attention. A sudden red rose in an otherwise green hedgerow is a clear sign that you should pause and look around, see what else you can see, or open up your mind and heart and see what you can feel; who is trying to contact you? Or it could simply be a reminder to connect to nature more often; to literally stop and smell the roses.

The scent of rose petals is particularly evocative and is useful in meditation, to help lull oneself into a state where the mind can wander unhindered.

As well as the associations with Venus and Cupid, roses are associated with Isis, and were also used in Egyptian funeral wreaths. In Hindu mythology, Vishnu and Brahma both eventually agreed that the rose was the most beautiful flower in existence, and the goddess Lakshmi was created from rose petals.

In Christianity, the rose represents the Virgin Mary, and the flower is referred to as the rosa mystica, or mystical rose.

The rose symbolises a yearning for perfection, but reminds us that nothing is perfect; even the most beautiful of living things has its thorns. It can represent balance, love, emotion, fire, passion, omens, prophecy and poetry.

Home and Hearth

Strew rose petals upon a freshly swept hearth to bring love and happiness into your home.

For positive magic, to draw something to you, use either very fresh flowers, glossy hips, or thoroughly dried petals. Wilting flowers represent something in flux or something dying; something coming to an end. This may not give you the intended result. In contrast, wilting flowers may be just what you need if you are looking to cut ties with something or someone, or to draw a line under a phase in your life. Let the rose wilt and die, then bury it away from your home or sacred space.

I Never Knew…

Rose bushes can live for a long time, and apparently the oldest living plant is in Germany, and is over 1000 years old.

You Can Have a Green Ally!

Herbal medicine is people’s medicine. So why don’t more people use it? Because it can seem complicated and scary, for starters. That’s the reason I urge you to use herbal medicine simply — one herb at a time. And that’s a good reason to have a green ally: one plant that teaches you the fundamental principles of herbal medicine.

Herbal medicine is spirit medicine as well as body medicine. Our green allies tend our souls along with our sores. So why don’t more books and courses talk about plant spirits? Or, if they do, why do they divorce it from herbal medicine? Because it’s not something that is easily written or even talked about. You have to connect with the devas and fairies yourself. And that’s a good reason to have a green ally: one plant that opens you and guides you into the realms of green blessings.

Herbal medicine is broad, deep, wide, timeless. It takes seven lifetimes to become an herbalist.

Take the time this year to develop a relationship with one special plant: a green ally. How?

Choose a plant that grows very near to you … no more than a one-minute walk from your door. You don’t need to know the name of the plant, or anything about it. You will be sitting with your plant every day, so, if possible, choose one that grows in a quiet and lovely place … in a pot on your balcony is just fine … in a park is great … so is an alley … or a backyard.

You can read about the plant you’ve chosen if you do know the name, but it isn’t necessary. The point is to develop a special caring, nurturing relationship with your green ally. The following six exercises can help you do this. They are from my latest correspondence course: ABC of Herbalism with Susun Weed, which focuses on ways to prepare and use 52 herbs and herbs for dealing with more than 20 health concerns. I also offer a year-long Green Ally Correspondence Course. For more information on my other correspondence courses visit me at www.susunweed.com

Green Ally Exercises from “ABC of Herbalism with Susun S. Weed”

First green ally exercise:

Sit and breathe with your green ally for 3-10 minutes a day. You breathe out and the plant breathes in; the plant breathes out and you breathe in.

Second green ally exercise:

Make a detailed drawing of your green ally, as accurate as you can make it. Then do a soft-focus, impressionistic drawing of your green ally. When the weather is too inclement to breathe with your green ally, breathe with your green ally’s picture.

Third green ally exercise:

What part of your green ally is usually used? Are other parts helpful? Experiment by making several small tinctures, oils, and vinegars of the different parts of your plant. Ask the plant to help you discover new ways to use her.

Fourth green ally exercise:

Observe the conditions that your green ally chooses to live in. Does your ally grow near to people (to be used) or far from them (to be left alone)? In a shady spot (cool) or a sunny one (warm)? In a wet area (moist) or an arid one (dry)? In rich soil or poor soil? Plants make alkaloids and glycosides in rich soils; resins and essential oils in poor soils.

Fifth green ally exercise:

Write a story from the point of view of your green ally. Let your ally speak to you and through you. Listen for the voice of your ally in your dreams, in your day dreams, in your mind. Write down what she says.

If this is hard, try writing with a pen instead of on a computer; or try writing with your non-dominant hand. A warm-up exercise given to me by Jean Houston is to first write a page of praise of your ally, tell your ally how wonderful she is, and how much you like her.

Final green ally exercise:

Introduce one or more friends to your green ally. Tell them what you know, what you feel, and what you think about your ally. If it is edible, feed them some.

Study with Susun Weed in the convenience of your home! Choose from four Correspondence Courses: Green Allies, Spirit & Practice of the Wise Woman Tradition, Green Witch, and ABC of Herbalism – includes audio/video tapes, books, assignments, special mailings, plus personal time.

Learn more at www.susunweed.com

I recently found this amazing graphic…although it is set up counterclockwise (for me) it is wonderful to see how the Sabbats and esbats connect and flow with the death and rebirth of plants as well as the world.. so I wanted to share this as well as some herbal information in this edition of Notes…

hearthbeats

This is in no way a complete list of herbs… but it is as complete as I have and will use..

Herbs A to Z

Aloe Vera – Moon and water. It powers are used for protection and luck. Carry it with you to protect yourself against evil or clumsiness. Aloe is used for its antibacterial, anesthetic and antiseptic properties; it is a good tool for restoration of tissue. It is most commonly used on burns, minor cuts, sunburns and is being used for the treatment of skin cancer.

Angelica – Sun and fire. The root carried in a blue cloth bag is a protective talisman. It was considered to be under the guard of angels and therefore a good preventative charm against the plague. Put the whole root in a blue or white cloth bag and hang it in the window as a protection against evil.

Agrimony – Air. Used in protection spells, used to banish negative energies and spirits. It can also be used to reverse spells and send them back to the sender. An infusion of the leaves is used to treat jaundice and other liver ailments. Externally, a fomentation is used for athlete’s foot, sores and insect bites.

Anise – Jupiter and air. Used for protection, a pillow stuffed with anise seeds is reputed to keep away nightmares..

Apple – Venus and water. Was used in love spells for hundreds of years, cider can be used in place of blood or wine where called for in ancient spells and rites. The wood is made into wands and used for love spells and rituals. In Cornwall, a large apple was given to each member of the household to be eaten at Samhain for good luck.

Ash – Sun and water. A protective tree used to make besoms and healing wands. Ash leaves placed beneath the pillow, are thought to induce psychic dreams. The leaves are considered lucky, carried in a pocket or etc., the leaf is supposed to bring good luck.

Basil – Mars and fire. Used in wealth and prosperity rituals, carrying basil in your pocket is supposed to attract money.

Bay Laurel – Sun and fire. In ancient Greece, bay leaves were used to make the crowns of victors in competitions. The leaves can be burned or chewed to help induce visions. Worn as an amulet it wards off negativity or evil. Leaves under the pillow will help bring prophetic dreams. It is also used in protection and purification rituals.

Benzoin – Sun and air. It is used in purification incenses. A few drops of simple tincture of benzoin will help to preserve oils and preparations.

Betony – Jupiter and fire. Added to incense of protection and purification, If you sleep on a pillow stuffed with betony, it will prevent nightmares. In ancient times it was supposed to prevent drunkenness.

Blackberry – The berries and leaves are considered to protect against evil if gathered at certain times of the moon.

Borage – Air. The fresh blossoms bring courage when carried. A tea will induce your psychic powers. Borage is used for treating bronchitis, rashes and to increase mother’s milk. An infusion is used as eyewash.

Broom – Mars and air. Can be used to create a besom to cleanse the circle of outside influences,it was considered a sign of prosperity to come if the broom plants had many flowers.

Buckwheat – Earth. Buckwheat is used in money and protection magick. You grind the seeds to make flour and sprinkle it around your house in a circle to protect it. You can also use it to form a circle on the floor or ground around you while performing magick. Also keep some in the kitchen to guard against proverty.

Chamomile – Sun and water. Used in prosperity charms and rituals. It also induces sleep, the tea brings peace and tranquility for those times when you need to do a ritual but the emotions are stirred.

Caraway – Mercury and air. Used in love charms to attract a love.

Carnation – Sun and fire. Thought to be worn by witches to prevent capture and hanging. It produces energy in ritual when used in incense.

Catnip – Venus and water.. Catnip is a member of the mint family; it is an edible herb for humans as well as a fragrant herb for cats. It is know to be a relaxing herb taken in a tea, also helps with flatulency, stomach acid and stomach spasms. Catnip is an antispasmodic, astringent, aromatic, carminative, diaphoretic and an anodyne, helps promote menstruation and lessen menstrual cramps.

Cinnamon – Sun and fire. Used in incense for healing, clairvoyance, and high spiritual vibrations, use in prosperity charms.

Cinquefoil – Jupiter and earth. This was an ingredient in many spells during medieval times. Hang on the house entrances as protection. Can also be used in spells and charms for prosperity, purification and protection.

Clove – Sun and fire. Wear to drive away negativity and stop gossip. Cloves strung on a red thread can be worn as a protective charm.

Clover – Mercury and air. Used in rituals for beauty and youth, Four-leaved clovers are carried to see fairies, detect evil, heal illness, and avoid madness and a general good luck charm. Red clover can be used as a nerve tonic and a sedative for exhaustion. It is often used in combination with many other drugs in the treatment of cancer. It can also be used for skin eruptions.

Coriander – Mars and fire. Used in love spells and charms.

Cowslip – Venus. These flowers were believed to bring luck in love to the wearer. It was traditionally woven into funeral wreaths to be laid on the deceased one’s grave at the full moon for thirteen moons after death. Posies of cowslips, placed under the pillow are said to allow contact with the dead in dreams.
Dandelion – Jupiter and air. An herb of Hecate, used in Samhain rituals; It is said that if you rub yourself all over with the dandelion, you will be welcome everywhere and all your wishes will be granted. Dandelion benefits all aspects for the liver. It clears obstructions and detoxifies poisons and promotes healthy circulation. The juice from a broken stem can be applied to warts. When allowed to dry, use for 3 days or so, it will dry up the warts.

Dill – Mercury and fire. Used in love charms. Hang in a child’s room to protect them. In olden times, dill was considered an excellent protection against evil.

Dragon’s Blood – Mars and fire. Used in love and protection spells. A piece under the bed is reputed to cure impotency. Carry a piece with you for good luck. Dissolve a little in the bath for a strong purification bath. Dragon’s Blood is also used to make a magickal ink.

Elder – Venus and air. Branches can be used for wands and staves.. In ancient times, it was considered unlucky to burn elder or to bring it into the house.

Eucalyptus – Moon and air. Used in healing rituals and charms of all kinds. Surround blue candles with the leaves and burn for healing vibrations. Hang green pods around the neck to cure colds and sore throats.

Eyebright – Sun and air. Anoint eyelids with the infusion daily to induce clairvoyant visions. It stimulates the liver to remove toxins from the body. It can be used internally or externally to treat eye infections and afflictions. The herb also strengthens the eye and helps repair damage.

Fennel – Mercury and fire. Connected with mother’s milk and breastfeeding, traditionally bought for new mothers and hung near the cradle to keep away flies. Fennel eases the appetite, relieves gas and expels worms.; can also be used as a gargle, mouthwash and eyewash. Helps with coughs and it is also used for cancer patients after radiation and chemotherapy treatments.

Fern – Saturn and earth. Extremely powerful protection’s, grow in the house and include in vases of cut flowers. Ferns are supposed to protect any house that contains them from damage by storms.

Frankincense – Sun and fire. A very powerful scent which aids meditation and induces a spiritual frame of mind, burn as a general protective incense. Frankincense has been used in purification and protection incenses since ancient times, although it was the only incense not burned by the Greeks as an offering to the gods. It is still used as incense in Christian churches. .

Gardenia – Moon and water. Wear the flower to attract love.

Garlic – Mars and fire. Extremely protective herb., carry the bulb with you on trips over water to prevent drowning. Hang in the home to protect. The ancient Greeks placed bulbs of garlic on the stone cairns at crossroads as an offering to Hecate. Garlic is a powerful natural antibiotic. It can stimulate cell growth and activity. It reduces blood pressure in hypertensive conditions. A main advantage to using garlic for its antibiotic properties is that it does not destroy the body’s natural flora. It is excellent for use in all colds and infections in the body.

Ginger – Fire. Used in passion spells to heat up the relationship. Used in success spells and ensures the success of spells. Ginger is an excellent herb to use for strengthening and healing the respiratory system, for fighting off colds and flu. Helps remove congestion, soothes sore throats, relieves headaches and body aches. Combined with other herbs, it enhances their effectiveness. It is also very useful in combating motion sickness and morning sickness and digestive problems.

Ginseng – Fire. Carried it will guard your health and attract love. Ginseng is an effective substitute for mandrake in all spells. Ginseng stimulates the body to overcome all forms of illness, physical and mental. It is used to lower blood pressure, increase endurance, aid in relieving depression. The dried root is used for healing purposes. Used in conjunction with most herbs, it is effective in treating all sorts of illnesses, including cancers, digestive troubles, and memory. It also helps overcome fatigue. During menopause it aids in rejuvenating the system, balances hormones and aids in regulating hot flashes.

Goldenseal – Fire. It is used in prosperity spells, and healing spells and rituals. Goldenseal is another natural and powerful antibiotic. The herb goes straight to the bloodstream and eliminates infection in the body.  When taken in combination with other herbs, it will boost the properties for the accompanying herbs. Pregnant women should not use this herb!

Hawthorn – Mars and fire. Used in protection sachets. In ancient times, it was associated with happiness in marriage and carried by brides. The Romans put Hawthorn leaves into the babies’ cradles to protect them against evil. Burn Hawthorn berries as an incense when you feel the need for energy and dynamism in your life.

Hazel – Sun and air. Good wood for all purpose wands. Forked branches can be used as diving wants. Tie two Hazel twigs together with a red or gold thread to make a solar cross as a good luck charm.

Heather – Water.  When used in potpourri, it adds protection and when burned with fern, it is said to bring rain. A tea made of heather blossoms is used to suppress coughing and is an aid for sleeplessness.

Holly – Mars and fire. Because of its red berries and evergreen foliage, holly has always been a powerful symbol of life, protection and safety. Leaves and berries can be carried to heighten masculinity.

Honeysuckle – Jupiter and earth. Use in prosperity spells and charms.

Hops – Mars and water. Used in healing incenses and charms. Hops in a pillow will induce sleep. It is unwise to use hops if depressed, they are believed to engender melancholy. Hops is a sedative. It us useful in treating insomnia and nervous tension, it is mild and safe, also used in brewing beer and ales. Hops can be used for treating coughs, bladder ailments and liver ailments. Externally it is used to treat itching skin rashes and hives.

Horehound – Air. Use as an incense for protection.. Horehound is used in children’s cough remedies because it is a gentle but effective expectorant. It acts as a tonic for the respiratory system and stomach. In large doses, it acts as a laxative.

Horsetail – Earth. Whistles made from the stalks are used to call the spirits.  It aids in coagulation and decreases bleeding. Helps broken bones heal faster, helps with brittle nails and hair. This is because of its high silica content. Has also been used as a part of treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, when the plant is boiled in water, it makes an effective foot soak for tired feet or for the treatment of athlete’s foot.

Hyssop – Jupiter and fire. Use in purification baths and protection spells. Associated with serpents and dragons, can be burnt as incense or thrown on the fire to tap into dragon energy.

Ivy – Saturn and water. Guards and protects the houses it grows over, Often given to newlyweds, in conjunction with holly, as a good luck charm.

Jasmine – Jupiter and earth. Used in love spells and charms.

Juniper – Sun and fire. If a sprig of Juniper is worn, is said protect the wearer from accidents. The berry or hot plants such as thistle, chili peppers and bougainvillea, desert dwelling cacti, coffee beans, and Almond Trg seeds, generally help with visualization.  It is high in natural insulin and has the ability to heal the pancreas where there has been no permanent damage. Useful for all urinary infections and water retention problems, It can be used externally as a compress to treat acne, athlete’s foot and dandruff. .

Lavender – Air. Lavender is used in purification baths and rituals. Used in healing incenses and sachets. Carrying the herb will enable the carrier to see ghosts. The flowers, when burned, induce sleep and scattered throughout the home, maintain a peaceful harmony within. Carrying lavender brings strength and courage. Lavender tea made from the blossoms is used as an antidepressant. When used in combination with other herbs it is a remedy for depression and nervous tension and stress. It can also be used as a headache remedy.

Lemon Balm
– Drink as in infusion to soothe away the emotional pains after a relationship break-up; considered useful in recovery from trauma and sexual assault. It has long been considered to drive away melancholy and low spirits.

Lemon Verbena
– Venus and air. Wear as a love charm and to increase one’s attractiveness. Add to charms to increase their power.

Linden – Jupiter. It is associated with conjugal love and longevity.

Lovage – Sun and water. Add the root to cleansing baths. Carry to attract love.

Marigold – Sun and fire. In a vase, renews energy of everyone in the room where the vase is placed, can symbolize constancy and endurance in love.

Marjoram – Mercury and air. Add to love charms. Place a bit of the herb in every room in the house for protection. It was used in an anointing ointment for love divination in combination with marigold, thyme, honey and wormwood.

Meadowsweet – Jupiter and water. A sacred herb of the Druids, arrange fresh meadowsweet on the altar when mixing love charms or performing love spells. Strew around the house for love and peace. Wear garlands of meadowsweet to Lammas to join with the essence of the Goddess.

Mistletoe – Sun and air. Worn as a protective amulet, or to help conceive, Mistletoe was held in great esteem by the Druids, and was suppossed to protect the wearer from evil.

Mugwort – Venus and air. Put into the shoe while travelling, for protection from sunstroke, wild beasts and evil spirits and to prevent fatigue on long journeys. Mugwort tea will induce clairvoyance. Rub fresh leaves on magick mirror and crystal balls to strengthen divinatory powers. Add to scrying, clairvoyance and crystal balls to strengthen divination incenses. It is said that putting it under the doorstep, insures no unwelcome person will enter. It is also used to help induce menses, especially when combined with cramp bark.  Fresh juice of the plant treats poison ivy. Pregnant women should not use it.

Myrrh – Sun and water. Purifying and protective incense, can be used to consecrate tools. It is a powerful antiseptic, being a remedy second only to Echinacea. It is a strong cleaning and healing agent, soothing the body and speeding the healing process. It is used in mouthwashes, gargles and toothpastes for fighting and preventing gum disease.

Myrtle – Venus and water. Sacred to Venus and used in love charms and spells of all kinds. If grown indoors it brings good luck. Carry Myrtle leaves to attract love, or the wood to preserve youth. Wood can be used to make magick charms.

Nettle – Mars and fire. Stuff a poppet with nettles to protect yourself from unwanted attention. Sprinkle around the room as protection or add to protection charms. If carried, said to instill courage.

Nutmeg – Jupiter and air. Carry a nutmeg to strengthen clairvoyant power and to prevent rheumatism.

Oak – Sun and fire. Sacred tree in  many cultures. It has long been associated with royalty. Rites were often performed in groves of oak trees and mistletoe that grew on oak was considered the most powerful. Burn oak leaves as purification. The wood is used for all purpose wands. Acorns are carried to preserve youthfulness and to ward off illness. Hang in the windows to protect the house.

Olive – Sacred to Athena. Regarded as a symbol of peace and wealth, also a sign of safe travel.

Onion – Mars and fire. Used in protection and healing. Place cut onions in a room to absorb illness, leave overnight and throw away in the morning.

Orange – Sun and water. The dried peel is added to love and fertility charms and is used in Solar incenses. It is a traditional Chinese symbol of good luck and prosperity.

Orris Root – Venus and water. Add to love charms, baths and incenses.

Parsley – Mercury and air. In ancient times, parsley was considered symbolic of death and was made into wreaths to crown the graves of the dead. It was sacred to Persephone and used in funeral rites. Because parsley seeds take so long to germinate, it was said that they went to the devil and back before sprouting.

Patchouli – Sun and earth. Both men and woman can carry as an aphrodisiac and to attract lovers. Patchouli is used to treat dysentery, diarrhea, colds without fevers, vomiting, and nausea.

Pepper – Mars and fire. Used in protective charms.

Peppermint – Venus and air. Use in healing incenses and charms, also good in a healing bath, burn as winter incense. Any mint infusion can be sprinkled around the house as a cooling-off influence after arguments.

Periwinkle – Venus and water. Hang on the house entrances as protection.

Pine – Mars and earth. Burn as purifying winter incense, pine nuts are eaten and carried as fertility charms. Pine needles can be added to healing or cleansing baths.

Plantain – Earth. It is considered to have healing, strengthening, protective and snake repelling properties.  Also when placed under the feet, it is said to remove weariness. Hung in the car, it protects. When taken internally, plantain has a soothing action, particularly in the respiratory, digestive and urinary systems. It relieves irritates and inflamed conditions such as colitis, gastritis, bronchitis, harsh coughs and cystitis. It has an astringent action, stems bleeding and encourages healing, internally and externally. It can be taken for colds, sinus congestion and allergic conditions such as hay fever and asthma. It is an antiseptic, cleansing and a good expectorant.

Poppy – Moon and water. Eat poppy seeds as a fertility charm. Carry seeds or dried seed pods as a prosperity charm.

Rose – Venus and water. Carry roses to attract true love. Drink a tea of rose petals for divinatory dreams. Add to charms and incenses for sleep, love and healing.

Rosemary – Sun and fire. Use in protection charms, incenses and baths. It was thought as a preventative against the plague. Wear to aid memory and learning. Can be used in sea rituals and sea magick. Wash your hands in with rosemary infusion before performing magick as a substitute for a ritual bath. Drink the tea before exams or interview to make the mind alert. It can also be made into a protection wreath.

Rowan – Sun and fire. Tie two twigs together with red thread as a general protection and luck charm. Use as a divining stick. The berries are used as a good luck amulet. A necklace of the berries can be used as a healing charm.

Rue – Sun and fire. It was once worn to guard against plague. Added to charms, it is designed to keep illness away. The smell of the fresh herb clears the mind of emotional clutter. Use a sprig of rue dipped into water to sprinkle an area for magickal purification.

Saffron – Sun and fire. Used in prosperity and healing rituals, charms and incenses.

Sage – Jupiter and air. Used in healing and prosperity charms, regarded as a great safeguard of health and has a reputation for promoting longevity. It is supposed to grow best in the gardens of the wise and was once thought to flourish or sicken as its grower’s fortunes did likewise.  It is beneficial to the mind by easing mental exhaustion and by strengthening the concentrating abilities. In a lotion it is useful for treating sores and skin eruptions and to stop bleeding in all cuts. Chewing the fresh leaves soothes mouth sores and sore throats, as will sage tea. It is good for all stomach troubles, diarrhea, gas, flu and colds. As a hair rinse, it removes dandruff. Sage combined with peppermint, rosemary and wood betony, provides an excellent headache remedy, and is used as a deodorant.

St. John’s Wort – Sun and fire. Used in protective charms of all kinds, it was supposed to be so protective that its mere presence would cause evil spirits to fly away. Wear to ward off fever and illness, burn as banishing incense. Gather on Midsummer’s Eve, pass through the smoke of bonfires to purify and hang in the house as protection. Wear to instill courage and strengthen the will. Drink the tea of the herb to cure melancholy. St. John’s Wort is said to combat stress, minor depression, alcohol cravings. It is an antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, anti-depressant, astringent, expectorant, vulnerary, helps with insomnia and bed wetting. Drink the tea for help with anemia, headaches, jaundice, feminine difficulties and pain, and chest congestion. Use the oil externally for burns, wounds, sores, bruises and skin problems.

Sandalwood – Moon and air. Used in purifying, protective and healing incenses.

Slippery Elm – Air. It can be burned to stop gossip. It can be used to neutralize stomach acids. It is also used to boost the adrenal glands, draws out impurities and heals all parts of the body. It is most useful for the respiratory system. Externally it is an excellent healer for burns, skin cancers, poison ivy and wounds.

Sunflower – Sun and fire. Brings the blessings of the Sun into any garden in which it is grown. The seeds can be eaten by women who wish to conceive.

Tansy – Water. The ancient Greeks thought that Tansy would preserve dead bodies. Used in love charms, It can be used internally and externally for gout, roundworm, ague, spasms, epilepsy, bruises, strains, colic, hysteria, skin diseases and to prevent miscarriages. Can be used preserve dead bodies because it can drive away flies and stave off decay.

Thyme – Venus and Air. Burn as purifying incense, use in magickal cleansing baths. Inhale the scent for refreshment and renewed energy. Wear to protect oneself from negativity and grief at funerals. When worn, it is thought to inspire courage.

Valerian – Mercury and water. It was used in a love charm and spells and purification baths.

Vanilla – Jupiter and fire. The bean can be carried in a love charm.

Vervain – Venus and water. A herb sacred to the Druids and used by the Romans as a ritual cleansing plant. It can be used in magickal cleansing baths, purification incenses and safety amulets. Hang above the bed to keep away nightmares. It can be used in love and protection charms. Burn as a good purification incense, it also brings good luck and inspiration. It has no odor or taste, which is why it is regarded as magickal or otherworldly. Vervain can be used for ailments of the eye, thinning and ailing hair, sleeplessness, inveterate headache, scrofulous diseases, indolent ulcers and sore throat. It properties also include sedative, and astringent.

Violet – Venus and water. Violets mixed with lavender for a powerful love charm. A violet compress can aid headaches. Carry the flowers as a good luck charm. Violets are supposed to absorb ill will and evil spells. The scent is said to soothe and clear the mind.

Walnut – Sun and fire. Carry the nut as a charm to promote fertility and strengthen the heart.

Willow – Moon and water. Willow wands can be used for healing. The Willow will bring the blessings of the Moon upon those who plant it or have it on their property. Willows have been used to bind together witches besoms.

Wormwood – Mars and air. This was once burned to raise spirits. It can be used in divinatory and clairvoyance incenses, burn first at Samhain to gain protection from roaming spirits. Used in initiation rites and for tests of courage and endurance. It should not be used by those suffering from shock or grief as it has an affinity with the world of the dead.

Yarrow – Venus and water. It can be used in love and marriage charms. It is said to ward off negativity when worn.  Drink yarrow tea prior to divination to enhance the powers of perception.  It was a famed herb for staunching blood flow in all forms. It can also be used for hysteria, flatulence, heartburn, colic, epilepsy, rheumatism, toothache, colds, internal bleeding, loss of appetite,  sore throat, sore nipples, heavy menstruation, piles, cuts and contusions, eliminates toxins. This herb intensifies the efficiency of other herbs when taken in conjunction.

So there you have it.. Many Herbs and some uses.. Please consult with your Doctor as well as a Nutritionist that can work with you to best use these herbs. Do not use without researching more intensely as well as skin testing to see if you will react badly.

Until next time

Blessed Home and Hearth

Merry Meet everyone. I am back after taking a month off to plan my wedding for Halloween. Wow, I didn’t know that getting married could be so hard! But we made it and are so happy.

I was raised in a Christian household and came into my path after I was grown and away from home, so I still observe some of the Christian holidays with my family. November brings us Thanksgiving and to me it does not matter what your faith or path is, it is never a bad thing to take time to be thankful and give thanks for all that we have. My husband (that sounds so strange and yet good at the same time) and I do not have much but we give thanks for what we do have every day.

I keep a journal and try to write at least one thing I am grateful and thankful for in it every day.

We have moved into the cold dark time of the year so all out planting, harvesting and gathering is over, by now everything is canned, dried, and put up for the coming months and some of us will find that we have a lot of time on our hands. This month I am going to post some crafty ideas, home deco ideas as well as my usual column items. I am also adding a new element this month. As you know my husband is a truck driver. Pagans come in all shapes, sizes and walks of life. They are even truck drivers. I drove for about 17 yrs. before giving it up. In that time I learned lots of different tricks and tips for making life on the road easier and more livable. I am going to start passing that onto my Pagan truckers here.

Yule: Traditions and the Yule Log

Yule, (pronounced EWE-elle) is when the dark half of the year moves aside to the light half. The morning after the solstice, the sunrises just a little higher and stays just a little longer in the sky each day. Known as Solstice Night, or the longest night of the year, the sun’s “rebirth” was celebrated with much joy. On this night, our ancestors celebrated the rebirth of the Oak King, the Sun King, or Giver of Life that warmed the frozen Earth. From this day forward, the days would become longer and the nights shorter.

Symbols of Yule: Yule log, evergreen boughs or wreaths, holly, mistletoe, gold, silver, or red pillar candles, poinsettias, Christmas cactus.

Herbs of Yule: Bayberry, blessed thistle, frankincense, laurel, mistletoe, oak, sage.

Foods of Yule: Cookies made into festive shapes, fruits, nuts, pork dishes, turkey, eggnog, spiced cider.

Incense or candle scents of Yule: cedar, bayberry, cinnamon.

Colors of Yule: Red, green, gold, white, silver, yellow, blue

Activities of Yule: Caroling, burning the Yule log, decorating the Yule tree, exchanging of presents, kissing under the mistletoe.

In centuries past on Yule Eve, a big log was brought into a home or large hall. Songs were sung and stories told. Everyone celebrated. Offerings of food and wine and decorations were placed upon it. The log was burned to help remove all the bad and negative things that had happened during the year and to cleanse for the New Year. The log however was never allowed to burn completely, a bit was kept in the house to start next year’s log. The log brought good luck. Any pieces that were kept protected a house from fire, or lightning. Ashes of the log would be placed in wells to keep the water good. Ashes were also placed at the roots of fruit trees and vines to help them with a good harvest. It was believed the log could predict bad luck. If the fire went out before the night was through, tragedy would strike the home in the coming year.

The burning of the Yule log also marked the beginning of Christmas celebrations in Christian homes. In some traditions as long as the log burned the people didn’t have to work, so huge logs were burned. Think of it as an extended celebration.

In England the log was supposed to burn for the twelve days of Christmas, from Christmas Eve on December 24th to Epiphany on January 6th.

The type of wood for the Yule log depended on the area of the world that was lived in, some used ash, while others used oak.

We never had a fireplace to burn our Yule log so I decorated a small log with holly and ever green boughs and hot glued 3 small taper candle holders to it and placed the candles in the holders on Yule Eve. The candles would be lit at the beginning of our celebration and extinguished at bedtime.

For those of you who have combined families the Yule log can be combined with your Christmas Eve celebrations also. You could also bake a Yule Log Cake. (I do not yet have a recipe)

Have you ever been kissed under the Mistletoe? Some people get pretty sneaky about where they hang it in the house don’t they? They hang it in a place that isn’t expected and then wait for the unsuspecting to come along.

The custom of kissing under it comes to us from our friends in England. Their custom is to pick a berry from the sprig each time someone kisses under it, once all the berries are gone…no more kissing. The name mistletoe comes from two Anglo-Saxon words, Mistel which means dung and tan which means stick. Poop on a stick…still want that kiss? lol.

Many get pretty creative with the decoration, making elaborate balls to hang instead of hanging a simple sprig, hence the kissing ball.

Actually the hanging of Mistletoe dates back to the ancient Druids. They would hang it in their homes to ward off evil and to bring good luck. It is also a sign of friendship.

 

 

 

Yule also concurs with the Christian holiday Christmas so your children are out of school for Christmas Break. Making Yule decorations with your kids are a great way to reconnect with them and make them feel like they had a hand in the making of the holiday prep for your family. Salt dough ornaments were really popular in our house. Simple ingredients, holiday shaped cookie cutters, glue, glitter, paint and sequins can make this fun time for kids.

Salt Dough Ornaments

1 cup salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup luke warm water
In a large bowl mix salt and flour.  Gradually stir in water so that it does not clump. Mix well until it forms a doughy consistency. With your hands form a ball with your dough and knead it for at least 5 minutes. The longer you knead the dough the smoother it will be. Store your salt dough in an air tight container and you will be able to use it for days if you cannot make the ornaments right away.

You can let your salt dough ornaments air dry, but if you have gotten this far with your child’s attention still intact you won’t want to wait that long. Salt dough can be dried in the oven safely. Place ornaments on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper.

Bake at 275 F until the ornaments are dry. The amount of time needed to bake your ornaments depends on size and thickness; thin flat ornaments may only take about 45 minutes, thicker ones can take 2-3 hours. You can increase your oven temperature to 350 F, your dough will dry faster but it may also brown, which won’t matter if you are painting the ornaments.

There are a few ways to color your salt dough:

Add powdered tempera paint to your flour

Add food coloring or paint to the water before you mix it with the salt/flour

Add natural coloring like instant coffee, cocoa, or turmeric powder.

You can paint your creations with acrylic paints and seal with varnish or polyurethane spray after they are baked and cooled. Add sequins before your sealant and glitter after the sealant has been applied.

 

 

 

 

Have I mentioned that I love to cook? Well…I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to cook!

Chicken and red potatoes with an Orange/cranberry wine sauce

1 orange, grate the rind. (do not use the bitter white part) save the flesh of the orange.

¼ tsp thyme
1 1/2 lb. chicken breast                                                           ¼ tsp rosemary
3/4 tsp. pepper                                                                         1 lb.red potatoes, diced
1 Tbsp. olive or canola oil                                                       1 1/4 cup chicken broth
1 cup whole berry Cranberry Sauce                                        1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar

Preheat oven to 375°. Rinse chicken & pat dry. Sprinkle with salt to taste, pepper, and the remaining herbs. Cover with ½ the orange rind. Place in a baking dish and bake for 30 minutes. While the chicken is baking toss the potatoes with the oil and salt and pepper to taste. After 30 min remove chicken from over and dish, place potatoes in the bottom of the dish and return the chicken to the dish, return the dish to the oven for 90 min, occasionally turning the chicken and potatoes with a spatula.

During the last 40 min of baking, combine chicken broth, cranberry sauce and vinegar in a small saucepan. Bring to boiling over medium heat boil 20 minutes or until reduced to 1 1/2 cups. Peel white from orange, seed, flesh and cut into small pieces. Stir remaining rind and cut orange into saucepan; simmer 5 minutes. Let chicken sit for 20 minutes before cutting. Cut chicken in half lengthwise down the middle. Spoon Cranberry Sauce mixture over chicken and serve with red potatoes.

 Ginger Bread cake

1 cup brown sugar                                                       1 cup molasses
1/2 cup butter                                                              3 cups flour
1 cup buttermilk                                                          2 tsp. ginger
2 tsp. cinnamon                                                           1/2 tsp. cloves, ground
1/4 tsp. nutmeg                                                           2 eggs, well beaten
1 tsp. baking soda, dissolved in 1/4 cup boiling water

Cream the butter and sugar, add the eggs and molasses, and mix well. Sift the flour and spices, and add alternately with the milk to the first mixture. Stir in the dissolved baking soda. Pour into well-greased cake pan and bake at 350° F for 30 minutes. Cool and ice with an icing made from powdered sugar and milk. Sprinkle with colored sugars if desired.

 

 

 

Wassail Punch

Many centuries ago England gave us the tradition of “wassailing”. Based on the tradition of friends gathering in a circle, the host drinks first to the health of all present. He/She would sip from a cup of hot punch or spiced ale, the host would then pass the cup.. A special large cup or drinking bowl was used for the toast. As each friend raises the cup, before sipping he or she would state the toast, “Wass hael” meaning “be whole” or “be well”. While many versions exist, this one contains the symbolic ingredients: apples, representing fertility and health; spices, signifying riches and variety; eggs, a symbol of life and rebirth as well as wine and brandy.

 

1 dozen apples; baked                                     1 cup water
4 cups sugar                                                    1 Tbsp. freshly ground nutmeg
2 tsp. ground ginger                                        6 whole cloves
6 allspice berries                                              1 stick cinnamon
1 dozen eggs, separated                                  4 bottles sherry or Madeira wine
2 cups brandy

Combine water, sugar, and spices in a large glass saucepan. (You can use any saucepan but Teflon) Bring to boil over medium high heat, and boil for 5 minutes. In a small bowl beat the egg whites until stiff. In a separate small bowl, beat the egg yolks until light in color. In separate pans, bring the wine and the brandy almost to the boiling point. Fold the whites into the yolks, using a large heatproof bowl. Mix the sugar and spice mixture into the eggs, combining quickly. Slowly stir the hot wine with the spice and egg mixture, beginning slowly and stirring briskly. Add the brandy last. Just before serving and while the mixture is still foaming, add the baked apples. Serve in heatproof cups. You can cut the baked apples up and mix in the punch so that guests can have the apples with their drink.

I spend this time of year getting creative with my recipes and whatnot for the next year. I love tea and using herbs with my tea rather than traditional black teas. I also love coffee and drink a lot of it while on the road. This time of year I find myself dragging with no energy. It is due to not enough sunlight, so I will supplement my energy with kola nut and cocoa. I do not remember where I found this recipe but I love it.

Mix 1 tbsp. of ground kola nut with enough honey to bind. Roll into very small balls and then roll to dust lightly with cocoa powder. These can be stored in a small zip lock bag in the fridge. When needed just drop one into a cup of coffee, tea or cocoa. ****DO NOT USE more than 1 ball and NO MORE than 2 balls a day. Kola Nut is a stimulant and will speed up the heart rate. DO NOT USE if you have heart problems or high blood pressure****

 

 

 

Pet Recipes

For the Kitties: Holiday Treats

1 c turkey, ground                                                       ½ c fresh cooked, mashed or canned pumpkin

1 tbsp. canola or olive oil                                            ½ tsp ground flax seed

 

Mix all ingredients together and roll into small balls, and store in an airtight container in the fridge. Serve whenever you want to treat your kitty. Store for about 1 week and discard the remaining treats.

 

 

For the puppies: Puppy Meat loaf.

This month I am introducing a dog food instead of a treat. I have finally found a recipe I can take on the road with us. I cannot yet make enough for the whole month in the truck, but I can make enough for my dog to have this as a meal about once a week. We now have a fridge in the truck that has a small freezer in it so I can make some of these up and freeze them and thaw when wanted. For this recipe you can use beef, chicken, turkey, lamb or if you feed fish to your dog, Salmon. I personally do not feed fish to my dogs. Rice is good for their digestion so I have included it in this recipe.

 

4 c brown wild rice                                                     1/2c bow shaped rice pasta

10 c water                                                                   2 ½ c chicken or beef stock broth

1 ½ lbs. of the meat you want to use                          1 ½ c veggie mix, frozen thawed veggies      will work

½ c oats                                                                       ¼ c ground flax seed

¼ c buttermilk                                                             3 eggs

In a large pan boil the rice and meat, and pasta until rice is tender. Add all remaining ingredients and shape into small loafs if you do not have the mini loaf pans, if you do use these, but spray with cooking spray before putting mini loafs in. Bake at 375 for 20-30 min or just until the top starts to brown nicely. Cool completely and pop out of the pans. Wrap in plastic or zip lock bags. For small dogs usually 1 loaf is enough, for larger dogs 2. I thaw the loafs and mix with Sebastian’s dry food so that he doesn’t forget that he has to eat his dry too. So 1 loaf is good for him.

 

 

 

 

Witchy Household and Beauty Tips

Empty squeeze ketchup and mustard bottles are great for decorating cookies and cakes. Simply clean the bottles with boiling water and allow drying for colored sugars and such. You can also use them for frosting decorations instead of pastry bags.

Use dryer sheets to help with static and dust collection. Wipe furniture with the sheet and dust will not build as fast

Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize!!!! It is dry outside so our skin gets dry. Coconut oil is a great moisturizer. Just a little bit goes a long way. Coarse Sea salt is a good buffer for getting rid of dry scaly skin, just mix some with coconut oil and gently buff those dry areas. DO this for your legs before shaving and it will lessen the chance for nicks.

Don’t forget to take care of your lips. The wind and cold is murder on them. Try sweet almond oil in place of chap stick. Antibiotic cream applied at night before bed will help with split lips.

 

As mentioned in the beginning I am adding a new element to my monthly column. I was a truck driver for many years and am now married to one and travel with him 24/7/365. WOW right! Traveling is tough on a person, but working, and living on the road is really tough. Truck drivers have it hard on the road being away from family and friends for days, weeks and maybe even months at a time. My truck is my home and it is SMALL, but just like your home there are tricks to storage and house proofing.

We are fortunate that our truck has 2 bunks in it. We use the upper bunk for storage. If you have one and want to use it for this purpose just be sure to remove the mattress beforehand so that the items you store are behind the lip of the bunk, otherwise they will not stay up there. Stackable storage containers or the plastic storage dressers are great, but you will have to use elastic cords to keep the drawers shut as the bouncing with cause them to slide open.

Truck drivers run in all weather conditions and the winters can be extremely harsh in some parts of the US and the world.  Before the onset of winter I will buy weather stripping and put it around the side box doors to help keep the cold out. I also hang heavy towels over our sleeper windows  as well as the covering. This time of year I will shop Goodwill for old blankets to fold and put at the head and foot of the bed to help keep the drafts out. I also fold and put one under the mattress along the back wall to keep the draft there out. For those of you that drive the trucks that are drafty at the doors, put an extra stipe of weather stipe along the door. Believe me you this will go a long way to helping keep the truck warmer in the cold, especially for those driver that have bunkwarmers or APU’s and don’t idle their trucks. Regardless of what your company says a bunkwarmer is not going to keep you warm if the temp is below 25 degrees.

For you drivers that do not have cab curtains: simply get 2 insulated window drapes 84 inches long and 42 inches wide and sew them end to end. The metal heavy duty- winged paper clips secure the curtain to your visor and you can simply secure the sides by putting the window down and the securing the curtain by putting the window up with it. This will help keep more of the heat in when you are sleeping.

 

Well my friends it has happened again, time to let you go for this month. Until next month have a Blessed Yule and a Merry Christmas. Count your blessings and hold your loved ones tight and keep your brooms under the radar.

)0(

Blessed Be,

Jade Owl

You can email me @ [email protected]

© 2013 By: Jade Owl (Margaret Loomis)

Aromatherapy

What is Aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy uses essential oils extracted from natures flowers and herbs. They are used singley or in blends. The aroma is inhaled, and the oils mayb be applied to the skin, as well. The herbs/flowers or combinations address specific disorders or needs. It appears the body is able to utilize the healing properties of the oils through the olfactory system of the body and so initiate the healing process. These illnesses maybe physical or emotional.

Seasonal Aromatherapy
Season’s are changing and it’s getting colder out. I thought I would share with you some aromatherapy tips on some seasonal disorders that you may find useful. These are mainly physical.

 

Nasal Inhaler
Use to inhale the vapors when you have a cold or sinus congestion.

You’ll need

rock salt
2 drops essential oil eucalyptus
2 drops essential oil rosemary
1 drop essential oil peppermint

Put a few pieces of rock salt into a glass vial, add the drops.
The salt will absorb the oils.

Or Simply add the drops to a handkerchief to inhale.

 

Sinus Infection

A compress with Peppermint oil relieves the symptoms of a sinus
infection.

Mix 5 drops of Peppermint oil in two cups of warm water.

Lay a small cloth dampened with the mixture across your nose
and your cheekbones.

Breathe deeply, keeping your eyes closed.

 
Winter Skin Relief

Here’s a blend for dry, rough and scaly skin.

Lavender 4 drops
Patchouli 2 drops
Sandalwood 4 drops

Use in 1/2 oz. of carrier oil. (Find out about Carrier Oils)

 

Sore Throat
At the first sign of a sore throat try this.

DO NOT SWALLOW!!

Dissolve 1/2 teaspoon salt in warm water and add 2 drops of Tea Tree essential oil, stir well.

DO NOT SWALLOW!!
Gargle, repeat several times.

 
For Windburn Chapped Skin

Mix 3 drops of Lavender or Chamomile in
1 Tablespoon Jojoba

Apply to skin.

 
Winter Protection

Mix 20 drops of Sandalwood in 3 oz. of base oil.
Sweet Almond, Grapeseed and Safflower oils are
some to try.

This blend is said to strengthen
the immune system against colds and flu.

Use as a massage oil.
Massage feet before bed, put on socks and go to sleep.

 

Sore Throat Gargle

Just 1 drop of Cedarwood Atlas Cedrus atlantica,in 1/2 cup water can be used as a sore throat gargle.

Allergies with Sinusitis

Allergies such as hay fever will often cause sinusitis.
A little Lavender gently massaged into the sinuses at
either side of the nose will help to clear the condition.
Be sure to dilute in a carrier oil. (Find out about Carrier Oils)

 

Allergy FootBath

Essential oils are easily absorbed through the feet
therefore an aromatic footbath can be effective for
allergy related symptoms.
Try this blend for allergy relief symptoms

1 drop Geranium
1 drop Rose
3 drops Lavender

Combine with 2 Tablespoons Sea Salts.
Add to a basin of tepid water.
Soak feet for 15 minutes.

Use as a preventive during seasonal changes
when you expect allergy symptoms
Headaches

When using essential oils for a headache,
try inhalation from a tissue. This method
often works faster and better than massage.
Oils to try are Lavender, Chamomile, Peppermint,
Basil and Rosemary.

 

 

Ravensara Oil

Helpful for chronic fatigue.
An essential oil which has a regulating effect
while energizing the immune system
and balancing the circulating immunoglobulins.
A very good expectorant, helpful for bronchitis.
Gentle yet effective. Can be used on young and old alike.
Can be used neat or undiluted on the skin.
Apply neat to cold sores.
A very powerful anti viral oil

 

Muscle Cramp Rub

Adding Tangerine to a massage oil will help to relax cramped muscles.

 

Fever

Eucalyptus can effectively bring down a fever.

Add 6 drops to a bowl of tepid water. Mix.

Dampen several clothes in the water, wring out and apply to wrists, feet and forehead.

Wipe down the rest of the body with one of the cloths.

 

Help Clear Sinuses and Ease Breathing

To help clear sinuses and ease breathing,
place 1-2 drops of Sweet Marjoram oil on
a handkerchief or tissue and inhale deeply.

 

Muscle, Nerve, & Joint Pain

Eucalyptus oil is an effective analgesic and is
often used to relieve muscle, nerve and joint pain.
Apply a massage oil to the affected area before a
warm bath,then massage the area again after your bath.
You can use a blend of Lavender and Eucalyptus for even
better results.
When massaging small areas like a shoulder you can
double the amount of essential oils used.
ex. 20-30 drops per 1 oz. carrier oil. (Find out about Carrier Oils)

 

Colds & Flus

Keep this blend on hand for colds and flu.

Blend together

5 drops of Lavender
5 drops of Tea Tree
5 drops of Eucalyptus

Store in an amber or cobalt bottle.

When ready to use blend 5 drops in a teaspoon of
vegetable oil. Rub over swollen glands and neck area.

May be applied once every hour.

 

For Lowered Immunity

Choose Rosewood when you want an immune stimulating oil
but not an energizing one like Tea Tree.
Rosewood is gentle, a very safe oil, a good oil for anyone with
lowered immunity. It is also helpful for chronic fatigue.

 

Upset Tummy

Upset Tummy Aid

7 drops Mandarin
4 drops Ginger
4 drops Peppermint

Add to 1 oz. carrier oil. (Find out about Carrier Oils)
Massage on tummy as needed.
Try inhaling directly from the bottle.

 

These are just some recipes to help you get through the season changes.  Remember sometimes just burning a smelly candle helps sooth the senses.   Share some of your seasonal recipes with us!

Notes from the Apothecary: Rowan

rowan1

 

Image: ‘Flying’ Rowan at Brimham Rocks in North Yorkshire, UK. Copyright Chris Gunns 2006 via Wikimedia, some rights reserved.

As well as what we traditionally think of as herbs, every apothecary should be stocked with some other items. I’ve already spoken about bulbs such as garlic, and spices like cinnamon. Now I’d like to move on to the largest of our green cousins; the trees.

I’ve chosen the Rowan, or mountain ash, as my first tree to explore as it is well known as a sacred and magical plant in many different cultures. I am most familiar with the Celtic tales of the Rowan tree, as it is a path of Celtic Witchcraft I follow. However, my favourite tale about the Rowan is actually from Greek mythology: that it grew from the blood of the eagle sent to retrieve the chalice of Hebe. This is why the leaves are the shape of feathers, and the berries (usually) blood red.

The Kitchen Garden

‘But you can’t eat Rowan!’, I hear some of you cry. Well, OK, I don’t recommend it for the novice, but you can actually make a rather nice jelly out of the berries. You mustn’t eat the berries raw, and even when cooked it’s only the juice or the decoction of the fruit we want. Like rosehips, rowan berries have tiny fibres inside that are extremely irritant to our inner tubes, so they are not for chewing on!

If you boil them up though, breaking them up slightly as they soften, then strain the liquid through muslin, the resulting ‘juice’ has a unique flavour that pairs very well with a pectin high fruit such as apples or pears.

The Apothecary

Our old friend Mrs Grieve tells us that both the bark and the berries have medicinal properties. She advises that a decoction of the bark may be given for diarrhoea and that it is also effective against vaginal infections. The ripe berries, she says, are useful for sore throats and inflamed tonsils. Again, I would warn against eating the berries due to the irritant nature of the seeds. I presume Mrs Grieve means for you to make an infusion of the berries, and strain it well.

Rowan berries are also astringent which may make them useful against haemorrhoids.

Rowan wood has been carried as a charm against rheumatism and the berries hung in a house to ward off flu. Although there’s no evidence to back up the medical claims here, the magical protectiveness of the tree is superb so perhaps this is where the healing comes from in these instances.

Day to Day use

Rowan wood is dense and tough and as such is used for staffs, staves and walking sticks. In Finland, it is used in farm tools and horse drawn sleds.

The berries are also used in dyeing. The berries themselves contain the tannins which help the dye ‘set’, and when combined with the bark produce a dye which stains black. I can’t imagine any item of clothing more potent than a cloak or robe dyed black with rowan.

The Witch’s Kitchen

One of the plus points of Rowan is that any witch can use all parts of the tree; the leaves, the wood, the bark, the roots, the flowers and the berries.

The wood makes an excellent wand, although of course don’t destroy any trees in order to find your perfect piece. Rowan trees are quite small generally and won’t be happy about having huge chunks torn off them. I tend to look for lucky windfalls after a gale. Rowan wood is an excellent protective wood, and wards off energies that seek to harm you. A rowan wand would make an excellent tool for cleansing and consecrating, especially a sacred space. The wood can also be carved, so you can personalise your creation without difficulty if you have the talent.

The leaves have several uses. The type of leaf is ‘pinnate’, meaning ‘like a feather’. They remind us of the feathers of the eagle in Greek mythology, and so represent air and the realm of birds. They also symbolise courage, fighting for what is yours and retrieving lost items. They also symbolise earth (being part of a tree) and balance; just look at the symmetrical imagery in each leaf stem.

The flowers also represent balance as they are hermaphroditic, meaning each flower is both male and female. It is self-contained and independent. The flowers are white, the colour of creatures beyond the veil, contrasting with the fruit which is generally bright red, the visceral colour of our flesh and blood existence.

The bark is an ancient medicine and as such can symbolise knowledge, wisdom and healing. Grind it into an incense or place pieces on an altar to magnify the power of healing magic.

The root is not widely used, but as a sacred tree that fell from the heavens to earth, the root symbolises the link between earth and sky, and we can go further and understand that as the root draws water from the earth into the tree, it is a link between earth, water and sky. It is reminiscent of the great world tree, Yggdrasil, in that it links all the realms, although Yggdrasil is a true ash, rather than a mountain ash.

To complete the elemental quartet, the berries are our fire source. They are strongly associated with the sun, and so fire and the south. They remind us of passion, especially the passion to fight for what we believe in. They are attraction, desire, hunger and hunger fulfilled. They are the fruition of hopes and dreams. They are the driving force of ambition.

Overall, all parts of the rowan tree will protect you and reflect negativity and unwanted magical advances.

Throughout Celtic mythology the rowan tree is used again and again as a portent of magic or misdeed. The chariot of Mug Ruith, the blind druid of Munster, had axles made of rowan wood. Beguiling lips were described as ‘red as rowan berries’ in Togail Bruidne Dá Derga. In The Siege of Knocklong, the druid Cith Rua tells Cormac a druidic fire must be made with rowan sticks. These are a tiny selection of the many references throughout what remains of the Celtic tales. If you need any convincing of the magic of the rowan tree, these stories are definitely the place to look.

Home and Hearth

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Image: Rowanberries and leaves in Helsinki Finland. Copyright Jonik, 2004 via Wikimedia.

At or around the autumn equinox, use a handful of rowan berries instead of a candle as your focus of meditation. If you pick them yourself, thank the tree and always leave a few berries for the birds to find. As well as feeding the birds, this helps spread the seeds so there will always be more Rowan trees.

Relax, and breathe normally. Focus on the berries and let their image fill your mind. Other thoughts will come and go. This is normal, don’t try not to think other thoughts as this is counterproductive. Just let the thoughts slide through your mind and either dismiss them or agree to return to them later.

If you find your eyes sliding shut, try visualise the berries in your mind. Remember their vivid colour, their perfect form and their smooth skin. Try to recall any flaws or pocks, and notice how this only makes them more gorgeous and vibrant.

As you dwell on the image of the berries, you may find other images popping into your head. Follow these images wherever they may take you.

When you leave the meditative state, breathe normally for a while, drink some water, and make a record of the images and thoughts that came to you. These will normally be of significance moving into the darker part of the year, and if you can’t interpret them right now, you will usually find clarity will come by Samhain. In times of stress, close your eyes and remember the perfect, round globes of the berries and how you felt when you were focused on them. Allow this peace and stillness to fill you, and push out the anxiety and worry.

I Never Knew…

Rowan berries apparently make an excellent wine! I look forward to testing this theory later in the year… Watch this space!

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