• Monthly Columns

    Notes from the Apothecary

    Notes from the Apothecary: Clover     Clover is also called trefoil, literally “three-leaves”, and grows in most places around the world. Although many clover plants look similar, there are around 300 species of Trifolium and they’re in the same plant family as peas. Both the round, joyful flowers and the iconic triplet of small, round leaves have a ton of folklore around them – and some surprising modern research, too.   The Kitchen Garden Red and white clover are the most common where I live, and often pop up in lawns without any encouragement from gardeners. As well as being a fantastic food source for bees and other insects,…

  • Monthly Columns,  Spells & Rituals

    Celebrating The Old Ways in New Times

    Celebrating The Old Ways in New Times for August 2021 Bright Blessings! Lughnasadh is upon us, and is it ever hot! We are due to have heat advisories the next two, possibly three days in my town, and the dog is displeased with how short of a distance I allow her for walks. Exacerbating that is the fact they decided to pour asphalt on our street, so I don’t even want to go outside at all. I spend a lot of time outdoors but truthfully, I don’t remember ever having the issues with heat that I have this year. Have I ever changed! I can remember I thought my mother…

  • Monthly Columns

    Notes from the Apothecary

    Notes from the Apothecary: The Orange     Oranges: juicy, bright globes filled with vitamin C and sunshine. The orange is a citrus fruit that’s one of the most cultivated fruits in the world, and may have been cultivated by humans for around 2,500 years. The sweet orange as we know it today is a hybrid of mandarins and pomelos, and is very different from bitter oranges, the likes of which often line the streets of towns in Mediterranean countries. I once made the mistake of plucking and peeling a juicy looking orange while in Spain, only to have my mouth shrivelled by the intense bitterness! Sweet oranges, in comparison,…

  • Monthly Columns

    Notes from the Apothecary

    Notes from the Apothecary: Lilac     Lilac is a flowering shrub in the olive family, Oleaceae, cultivated in many parts of the world including all across Europe and North America. Robust spikes of delicate yet strongly scented flowers come in colours ranging from purples and pinks through to blues and whites. I’ve been writing Notes from the Apothecary for over 6 years now, and some months I struggle to think of a plant that’s magical, seasonal, and of interest to our readers worldwide. I had no such struggle this month, thanks to the wonderful fragrance that stopped me in my tracks as I was out playing with my 3-year-old…

  • Monthly Columns

    Notes from the Apothecary

    Notes from the Apothecary: Blackthorn   Prunus spinosa, literally meaning a spiny fruit tree, perfectly describes the beautiful yet oh so spiky blackthorn. Blackthorn is a familiar sight across much of Europe, and in Northern England where I live, the blossoms are one of the most impressive displays of spring. Blackthorn blossoms really stand out in the hedgerows because the flowers arrive quite some time before the leaves; white, delicate yet profuse blossoms perched on dark, spiny twigs. Blackthorn is also intertwined with folklore, otherworldly beings, and magic. It truly is a worthy addition to our apothecary.   The Kitchen Garden Many people will know the blackthorn for its beautiful…

  • Monthly Columns,  Spells & Rituals

    Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

    Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times for March 2021 Bright Blessings! It’s below freezing outside, and we may get up to eight inches of snow in the next three days. I have been shoveling my backside off this month, because we’ve already gotten PLENTY of snow already, as The Cailleach reminds us it’s still her domain. Not for long!   (Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash)   In just over a month, it will be Spring Equinox, and, according to weather reports, it will have warmed up significantly by then. Already, the days are longer, and seeds are out in stores…YES we got some seeds. Those who have read…

  • Monthly Columns,  Spells & Rituals

    Notes from the Apothecary

    Notes from the Apothecary: Bluebell     Tiny bluebells are, for me, a sign that spring is truly on the way. In the woods near where I live, they spring up, completely unannounced, sometime between the snowdrops and the wild garlic. It’s a “blink and you miss it” kind of phenomenon; Come to early, and the ground is just green and dormant. Come too late, and the flowers have already wilted, the plants getting ready to store their energy until next year. The most spectacular showing of bluebells is at a patch of woodland a little further afield, by the banks of one of our waterways. These bluebells arise and…

  • Monthly Columns

    Notes from the Apothecary

    Notes from the Apothecary: Relaxation Special There’s no getting away from it: things are pretty stressful right now. The pandemic situation is something we’re potentially stuck with until there’s a vaccine, plus on top of that, there’s a whole lot of unrest in the world. Finding time to relax and unwind has never been more important. That’s why I decided to dedicate this issue of Notes from the Apothecary to plants and herbs that help alleviate daily stresses. Remember, herbal remedies are a form of complementary therapy and should NEVER replace existing medication or treatments. You should always take advice from a medical professional, especially if you are already taking…

  • Monthly Columns

    Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

    Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times for June 2020   (pic by AmberAvalona on pixabay.com)   Bright Blessings! Believe it or not, it will be Summer Solstice before we know it! What warmer weather we are having that at this time a month ago! Many of us will be merrily working away at our gardens! For me, having pulled a raised bed, I won’t be planting as much- and I learned a very ugly truth meaning I might not plant hardly anything at all. I still live in the condos- truthfully, we may be stuck here as long as another year- if not longer. Long boring story- sigh. Normally,…

  • Monthly Columns

    Free Resources for Pagans Right Now

    If there’s a silver lining in the coronavirus quarantine and lockdown measures, it can only be the way in which it’s made communities come together in support of one another. Within the Pagan communities worldwide, this includes a wealth of free resources to help Pagans and their families connect with one another, learn new things, and stay spiritual even in the face of crisis. Here are the ten best pagan resources I’ve found this month, please feel free to share your own in the comments or on our social media.   Pagan Federation Online Garden The UK Pagan Federation continues its run of great free events with a virtual garden…