The Bad Witch’s Guide

September, 2018

The Bad Witch’s Guide Autumn Equinox

I have always enjoyed the light around this time of year. The beginning of mists at sunset and dawn. The first tinges of frost and the spider webs like diamond nets over the leaves that were beginning to turn. The dead summer grass rattling in a wind with a distinctly crisp edge.

The light and dark are in perfect balance. The Veil between this world and others is thin

Mabon has his name attached to this festival and I like that. I like Mabon in general. I like a seeker. I also like balance so equinoxes feel really good for me. It is neither thing, light and dark, hopeful and guarded, plenty and want. Perhaps that is why Pryderi, Rhiannon’s sacred son is often associated with Mabon for this reason.

Pryderi (or Prederin) is born of a Goddess (like Mabon). He enters the forest, the world between. His manners are rough and he insults a great King, Arawn. King Arawn switches places with him and during his quest into Awen learns to “dwell with desire” but to not act on it. He learns great self-control and in so doing wins a great battle. In learning mercy and abstinence (not sleeping with another’s wife) becomes a Great Leader. It is a great lesson. To not give into lust or vengeance, even you can “get away with it”.

Of course I love the food and while apples and pork are more Samhain for me, Mabon is full of cobnuts (fresh hazelnut), damsons, wild game like pheasant and venison and this year’s lamb tend to be fresh seasonal and excellent. In fact Mabon is the peak of vegetable harvest, from the last of the fresh garden herbs to runner beans and early potatoes. The sea also is full of wonders, oysters and mackerel, sardines and sea bass are plump and delicious.

It is pickling season. From Yule onions (the ones you break out with your cold cuts) to some kimchi because the cabbages are amazing this year, preserving your own food is fun and relatively simple. Part of me wonders if Mabon isn’t a pickling party that got out of hand so marvellously they did it every year! That is the light in the dark; planning the plenty in a time of ice and snow. It is in the wine and vinegar, the syrups and treats, the medicine and the merriment.

The dark is something else. The dark is in the journey work, the intoxication*, the self-exploration and releasing of our leaves to feed our next year’s growth. This is not ancestor work or work with the dead. This is honouring our deaths. All of the people we have been that are no longer. It is letting go of all we have been carrying, good and bad, at least for a while.

Many traditional wiccan rites around this time of year feel like hollow reflections of Lughnasadh or Samhain. Yet this is as powerful as midsummer or Yule to me. A time of beginnings and endings, of big and small changes. It is the bloom of mushrooms, the food of the Gods after all. *While I don’t condone their use it is an ancient part of ritual practice. It is a time of sacrifice and plenty.


What you will need:

A fire (or safe heat source)

A large pan or cauldron.

A sterilised bottle or jar


Caraway seeds (a pinch)

White rose petals (13)

Elder leaves (13)


Sugar (to make a syrup)

A sieve or strainer

If you are using freshly picked seasonal berries you will need to double what you would be using for dried and make sure they are well washed and dried.

Heat your water and add your sugar. When up to a simmer, bless your pot or cauldron with a seven pointed star. Make sure your sugar is dissolved.

Add your leaves one at a time with the following charm.

Dark mother, Matrona,


Sweet Moon:

I call you

I evoke

For your healing and protection,

The Birch, the Rowan, the Ash, the Alder, the Willow, the Hawthorn, the Oak, the Holly, the Hazel, the Vine, the Ivy, the Reed, and the Elder Moons.”

Add the elderberries and stir it gently in a figure of eight pattern.

Add your caraway seeds and then a rose petal at a time saying the following

Light mother, Matrona,


Bitter Goddess:

I call you

I evoke your healing and protection.

By blood and thorn, by your magick and power

The charm is made by seed and flower.”

Remove the cauldron from the heat and let it sit for about five minutes before you carefully strain it, mashing the berries a little to get as much juice as you can and bottle it and seal it.

This syrup is good for flus, and colds it can also be used as a blood substitute or made into a tea to replace wine in most other rituals.

8 Effective Natural Remedies to Prevent a Cold

December, 2016




If you want to prevent a cold, you’re certainly not alone. Colds slow us down and make it so much harder to enjoy life. The key to feeling better is learning the best cold prevention methods and then using them to safeguard your good health. Today, we’re going to let you know the ins and outs of effective cold prevention.

We’ll share lots of practical tips which will help you to protect yourself from germs. Our comprehensive guide will include cold prevention for all ages, as well as a cold prevention remedies list and some advice on how to avoid colds, to begin with. We’ve put together a really detailed guide which is ideal for anyone who wants to explore preventative tips that work well for many users. We believe in natural remedies for preventing colds, and we are committed to offering tips that really work. First, let’s share some information about the common cold. It’s been plaguing mankind forever, and it is definitely something that most people dread.

What is the Common Cold?





The common cold is an illness which is triggered by microscopic organisms known as viruses. There are a couple hundred viruses which create cold-like symptoms, and the most common “attacker” is called a Rhinovirus. It triggers ten to forty percent of colds and causes twenty percent of cold cases. A virus known as Coronavirus causes twenty percent of these cases, while a virus known as Syncytial causes five percent and a virus known as Parainfluenza causes five percent of cases.

Cold symptoms run the gamut. Most people experience runny noses or stuffed noses, while others have sore throats and coughs. Some people experience congestion and/or body aches and milder headaches. Sneezing and low-grade fevers are also common. Some people report feelings of malaise while they are coming down with colds or dealing with colds. It’s possible to have just a few symptoms or a lot. Some people have milder colds because they are really strong, while others suffer from due to being a bit weaker. The age of the person may impact how bad a cold is. For example, someone who is elderly may be hit harder by a cold than a younger person would be. There are no set rules. Everyone is different. Just pay attention to your body if you feel unwell and take good care of yourself.

Now that we’ve covered some information about the common cold let’s talk about how to prevent colds in all ages. Kids have a special set of tips, some of which are just fine for the adults, too.


Cold Prevention In All Ages Overview





Kids become ill when they touch things that are contaminated with flu viruses. A lot of household surfaces and objects may carry these types of germs, including the handles of doors, railings for stairs, pencils, remote controls and so on. Usually, viruses which are found on these surfaces will remain alive for a few hours or more, before they die. To protect your kids from colds, make sure that they wash their hands on a regular basis. Hand-washing is a very effective way to kill germs, and you should encourage your children to wash their hands with hot, soapy water on a regular basis, especially after they play.

Also, to protect everyone, parents should keep their kids home if they have colds. This means keeping them home from school and other types of activities. As well, if you have more than one child, be careful to keep your other kids away from him or her while he or she is sick. Kids can still talk, but they shouldn’t share toys or get too close. While it’s often pretty challenging to keep kids separate, it’s worth trying, and we recommend it.

As well, kids should be trained to cover their mouths when they are coughing. Coughing sends cold germs into the air. The simple act of covering one’s mouth helps to keep them from touching other people and then infecting them. You can model this behavior yourself by covering your own mouth when you a cough. You may also want to cover your nose when you sneeze.

Regarding older kids, teens and adults, cold prevention tips vary. All will benefit from using the kid’s tips, though. It’s about frequent hand-washing, trying to avoid touching things which may be contaminated, staying away from people if you’re sick, or they are, and covering your mouth if you cough. Being mindful of these things should really pay off. Since there is no “cold shot,” like there is a flu shot, Prevention is really key. While you may not prevent every cold, you may avoid a lot of them if you’re careful.

Now, there are some natural supplements which people utilize quite a bit, and some get good results. As with most natural supplements, results will vary. Everyone is different, and everyone reacts to supplements in their own way. We find that these supplements get the best ratings from consumers and they definitely provide preventative benefits to a lot of people. The key to making the most of our tips is trial and error. You may need to try a few tips to find what is right for you. Use one of a few of these tips in order to stay well. You probably won’t have to use all of them. You will be able to order all of these supplements online.

Cold Prevention Remedies List






Zinc is one time-honoured cold remedy. This metal is one of the trace elements that we need to stay healthy. A lot of people have success preventing and/or treating colds with zinc supplements. They reduce symptoms of the rhinovirus. However, the reasons why improvements in these areas occur are unknown. It’s possible that zinc is antiviral and therefore inhibits the growth of viruses, such as cold viruses. If you’re interested in preventing or treating a cold, seventy-milligrams per day should work well. That recommended dosage is for adults. If you want to give zinc to kids, follow instructions on the package, as brands vary regarding their strength i.e. some milligrams in each dose.

Chicken soup is a folk remedy for colds, and there’s some scientific basis for its popularity as a cold remedy. A New York Times report indicates that this tasty and comforting soup stop neutrophils from moving. These are white blood cells which protect us from infections. The inhibition of these types of cells may reduce the symptoms of upper respiratory colds.






Echinacea is a popular way to prevent colds. Those who believe in the power of this supplement think that it dramatically lessens the duration of colds and may help to prevent them as well. This herbal remedy is widely available, and it’s considered to be pretty safe. Take it as directed, as milligrams per tablet or capsule will vary. You’ll find it almost everywhere these days. While some medical experts dispute its effectiveness, others definitely think it’s worth taking.

Garlic is available in grocery stores and in supplement form. It’s a potent germ-killer, and it’s known as “nature’s antibiotic.” If you want to use garlic, add it to food, eat it raw or take capsules or tablets. Some forms of garlic supplements are odour-free. Taking away the odor typically doesn’t change the performance, so you’re safe going for those supplements as well.

Ginseng is a Chinese supplement which is naturally-derived, and it’s renowned for its ability to boost immune system function and support general good health. Natural Ginseng capsules and tablets should be available lots of different places online. As well, you’ll find them at stores which sell Chinese herbs and medicines. Take ginseng as directed to boost your chances of staying well.

Vitamin C is an absolute powerhouse regarding its ability to promote better immune system function. Some people take a lot of vitamin C during the cold-weather months. They know that it helps them to stay well. However, to be on safe side, grab some chewable vitamin C or other types of vitamin C tablets and then take them according to the instructions on the bottle. The chewable ones taste great and may be easier to give to kids. Make sure that the supplements that you choose are safe for kids before you give them to your children. Recommended dosages will usually vary based on body weight.

Hopefully, this guide to the best supplements for preventing a cold will help you to protect your health. However, colds usually last only five days, so you should be able to make the best of things until you feel better. Now, let’s talk about the best ways to make a cold a bit more comfortable…

How to Take Care of Yourself






Sometimes, despite our best intentions, we get colds. This means that supplements, keeping our hands washed and so on doesn’t always work. Germs do have a way of getting in,and when they do, we need to face the facts and then take care of ourselves. Our best advice is to take it easy on yourself if you can. This means choosing to stay in and rest as much as you can. While a lot of us decide to soldier on by going to work and doing everything that we usually do, it’s not the best way to get better. You’re putting more stress on yourself and stress makes everything worse.

So, rest if you can. It’s also really important to get as many fluids as possible. Drinking pure water is great, such as bottled water or spring water. Hot herbal teas and fruit juice in moderate quantities should be good choices, too. Keeping your body hydrated will help you to feel better, faster. As well, you should consider eating a nice, clean diet. Put the junk food away, even if you crave it or want it because it’s easy. Go for fresh, healthy and unprocessed foods which are good for your body. If you don’t feel as hungry as you usually are, don’t worry too much. Just try to eat three smaller meals each day.

If you need to be out and about, give some thought to taking care of yourself on the go. Bundle up if it’s cold, bring a water bottle along and have some medicine on hand.

While natural remedies are great and often work very well, it’s sometimes convenient to have medicine around in case you need it. A lot of people use natural remedies to prevent colds and then take non-natural cold medication if they do happen to get sick once in a while. There are so many cold remedies out there. Most are pretty safe when taken as directed. Bear in mind that over-the-counter remedies do sometimes cause side effects. Some may make people jittery, for example. Everyone reacts in their own way.

Also, try not to exert yourself too much when you need to go out. Take transit or drive, rather than pounding the pavement. While a little exercise is good at this time, too much can be a bit draining. You need to conserve your energy.

If you can rest at home and get better, without needing to worry about work and errands, take some time to binge-watch Netflix or read a novel. With hot tea and some Kleenex at the ready, as well as natural remedies and/or over-the-counter medication, you’ll be able to make it through a cold with a high degree of comfort. Just baby yourself. Don’t be afraid to let other people help you if they ask to. It’s your time to be taken care of. However, our natural remedies will be great choices for self-care. While this article is focused on prevention, you should know that many of the supplements that we talked about are also great for treatment purposes. Vitamin C and Ginseng are two examples.

Hopefully, this guide will help you to prevent a cold and to take better care of yourself.


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Wise Woman Traditions

January, 2009

Hot Colds and Cold Colds – Winter Health

Winter is coming. So are colds and the flu. Here are some tips for preventing these viral illnesses. And for getting well fast if you do get sick.

Preventing colds and the flu can be summed up in three words: Wash your hands. The viruses that cause colds and the flu most readily enter our bodies by means of our hands. Wash your hands after shopping. Remind your children to wash their hands as soon as they come home from school. A little “hysterical hygiene” goes a long way to keeping colds at bay.

Of course, there are herbs that can be used to help thwart colds and the flu. Yarrow is a clear favorite, especially as a tincture. Teachers, moms, and wise children find a dose of 5-25 drops of yarrow tincture in the morning in some liquid reduces the likelihood of getting sick by more than half.

Astragalus is gaining fame for its ability to support strong immune system functioning. I throw a few tongue-depressor-like pieces in my soups, where they infuse their goodness without imparting much flavor. Powdered astragalus can be added to almost anything, from oatmeal to pancakes, soups to gravies. And there is always the tincture, which works well in doses of 1-3 dropperfuls a day. (If at all possible, use domestic astragalus, rather than that from China.)

Eleuthero, which used to be called Siberian ginseng, is another immune system nourisher, used in the same ways as astragalus: cooked into food or taken as a tincture.

And don’t forget honey. A spoonful at the first sign of a sore throat or runny nose can kill the bacteria responsible and help you get better fast. (Note: Do not give honey to babies under 12 months old.)

And if you do get sick, here’s my favorite way to get well fast.

* Treat a cold cold with heat.
* Treat a hot cold with cold.

This may sound too easy, but it is actually one of the most effective ways I know of to minimize the severity and duration of a cold (or the flu). I first learned about cold colds and hot colds when I was studying Five Element Theory with a sweetheart who was attending acupuncture school.

It is important to remember that “cold” and “hot” don’t refer to temperature; they refer to what we might call metabolism. Thus, the person with a cold cold could very well have a raging fever and the person with a hot cold may have no fever at all. Similarly, hot foods and herbs are not necessarily cooked, and cold foods and herbs need not be refrigerated.

So how can we tell the difference between a cold cold and a hot cold? And what are cold herbs and hot herbs, cold foods and hot foods?

The person with a cold cold (or a cold flu) is pale. Their bodily fluids are copious and without color: The nose runs with clear or white mucus; the bowels are loose and the feces are light in color; urination is profuse and colorless. The tongue may be coated with a white moss. If there is fever, it is accompanied by chills. The person with a cold cold seeks heat and hot foods.

The person with a hot cold (or a hot flu) is ruddy; the face, or at least the cheeks, are very red. The eyes may feel dry and irritated. Their bodily fluids are scant and dark: nasal mucus is dry, yellowish, or “stopped up;” the bowels slow and feces are hard; urination is infrequent and highly colored. The tongue may be red or coated with a yellow moss. If there is a fever, it is “raging.” The person with a hot cold seeks coolness and has little appetite.

When you have a cold cold, indulge your desire for heating foods and herbs: Drink lots of hot spicy herbal teas with honey*, such as ginger tea, cinnamon tea, or any of the spicy “Yogi Tea” type blends. Nourish yourself with chicken soup, beef broth, miso soup. Enjoy baked winter squash, baked potatoes, baked yams, baked garlic. Eat lots of olive oil, ghee, butter, olives, and avocados. Eat beans and eat the warming grains: kasha, rye, oats. Stay warm; take a hot bath or a hot shower and wrap up snugly before going to sleep.

When you have a hot cold, indulge your desire for frozen fruit smoothies. Drink lemon and honey* water, iced nettle infusion, hibiscus and mint teas. Nourish yourself with seaweed salads, cucumber sandwiches, and fresh tomatoes with basil. Enjoy berries and melons, green salads, and roasted fowl. Eat the cooling grains: corn, millet, spelt. Eat a little something even if your appetite is small. Stay cool; take off your shoes and socks and put your bare feet on the ground. But keep covers handy when you go to sleep.

You see, cold colds turn into hot colds and vice versa. They don’t stay the same the whole time you are sick. So be prepared to pull the covers up to your chattering teeth and flowing nose even if you went to bed stuffed up and sweltering. Or to throw off the pile of covers you clutched hours earlier. The real beauty of this idea of hot colds and cold colds is the premise that everything, even a cold, will change and so the cure comes not from knowing the right answer, but in following the flow of the sickness and offering appropriate treatments. I imagine a balance scale, swinging back and forth between hot and cold, with me gently damping the swings, making each one a little less severe, until single-pointed stillness – health – is regained.

Whether dealing with a hot cold or a cold cold, you can eat as much of the neutral nourishing foods – rice, wheat, fish, honey*, and yogurt – as you wish. But, beware of taking vitamin C while harboring a cold or the flu; it is extremely cooling.

I hope these tips for preventing and dealing with colds and the flu help you, and those you love, stay in glowing good health all winter long.

Green Blessings.

(*Note: Do not give honey to babies under 12 months old.)