Category Archives: flowers and herbs

Spring Sprouts

Merry meet all,

My project for herby sprouts is working!! I am amazed at how a whole huge plant can start from a tiny seed. I now have a garden on my windowsill. I’m growing snapdragons, lavender, thyme, basil, moonflower and morning glories, tomatoes, pumpkins, elecampagne from seed. My calendula overwintered and is now flowering! I also just bought black rose seeds.

I accidentally snipped a calendula flower and stem. I put the stem in a glass of water and waited and waited. Several weeks later the stem grew roots which I planted back into the same pot with the other calendula. I have three sprigs of rosemary in a glass of water to grow roots.

Patience is important when growing from seed. Try not to over water the plants. That killed my dill sprout. Just add a tiny drop of water every other day or if the seedling looks limp. Keep the starter pots by a sunny window. I have a plastic bag around the starter pots which helps to trap the water. Use good seedling potting soil. It is geared towards starting plants from seed. Let the seedlings grow on their own.

My moonflower just germinated!! It is weeks away till I can plant them but it is fun to watch them grow and help them along. I use a small clear plastic mister bottle which I have watered the seedlings with. You can also water from beneath. That prevents the seedling from root rot and dying. If you do water on the surface of the soil, add a tiny amount of water.

Small to tiny seeds lie on the surface of the soil. Water the soil prior to planting the seeds so they don’t drown. Bigger seeds are planted deeper in the soil. The sprouts still push through soil. So now we have sun, soil, water and time… what else? Love. Be gentle to your plants. Let them grow and just trust that they will grow. Before you know it, you will have a full fledged garden of seedlings waiting to bloom once the frost has passed.

Don’t disturb or transplant young seedlings. Let them grow where they are. You can if you want magically empower the seeds to fulfill your magical intention. The roots take time to be fully developed. Transplanting them too early can put the seedling in shock and damage it. They are content in the home that they germinated in. When it is time to harden the seedlings and plant them outside, then you can uproot them. Again, patience is key.

My morning glory seedlings )O(

Starting your plants from seed indoors has a few advantages. They are protected from the frost, can grace your window with their beauty and you can be sure that you will have a beautiful plant growing. If you start from seed, you control the growing conditions. You can grow several of the same plant without paying a fortune. Your plants will be ready to go once the frost has passed, saving you the effort of buying the same plants from the garden center.  

I’m starting the nasturtiums from seed outside. They are easy to grow and grow well there. Snapdragons seed heads look like skulls, which is one of the reasons why I bought the seeds. I also like the sound of the plant’s name. I’m running out of room for more seedlings. This has been a magical and fun project. 

My snowdrops have bloomed. My spring bulbs are growing slowly too. I can’t wait. 

Happy planting!

Blessings, Lady Spiderwitch )O(

 

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Flu Season Tips

CIMG1137

Merry meet all,

I know it’s been a few days since my last blog post. I have been brutally ill from a flu bug that nearly bit the very life out of me. It was the most horrid flu bug I have ever had. I ached all over from head to toe, and thought I would die. I spent 3 days in bed. I won’t go into more gross detail but I also had to go to a dental appointment first thing in the morning, first brutal day of the flu. I almost fell on the floor while I was there. I am here to give you some much needed survival tips on how to combat the flu and emerge a victor.

First things first…

Time. If you suspect you have the flu and feel the commonly known symptoms of the flu, cancel major appointments and important business meetings and travel plans. You can’t go anywhere if you are too sick to move and you risk infecting others with the same illness.

Provisions. Stock up on plenty of fresh ripe lemons, organic honey, toilet paper and Kleenex boxes, food that is sources of protein and vitamins such as colorful ripe vegetables, meat and shellfish, and beans and grains. These foods are rich sources of Vitamins A, D and B. These foods also contribute to boosting your immune systems. That is necessary to healing from the illness. Ginger and ginseng are also good for you.

Rest. I spent 3 shameless days in bed feeling like the world was going to end. I really did believe it. I was dizzy when I stood, my eyes burned, my back felt broken, I couldn’t help but sleep, and I sniffed and coughed uncontrollably. If that is not enough, I could only remain awake for 15 minutes at a time between long sleep intervals. So it is a good idea to cancel those meetings and travel plans and just stay home. No one else wants your cold. It is a hard cold fact of life.

Treatments. Get plenty of rest, don’t think you will be staying home watching videos or finishing your adult coloring book. If you have the flu as horribly as I did, this is the perfect time to take advantage of the sleep you need. Take the proper recommended doses of Tylenol or Ibuprofen at the right times. Stay hydrated. Take plenty of steamy showers to loosen up the mucus in your sinuses. Blow your nose often and keep the wastebasket near your bed. Extra tip: Line your wastebaskets/ cans with a plastic bag so it is easy to remove when full. Grocery bags are perfect for that. Keep a tray or a table near the bed but that is not in your way but makes it easy for you to access something if you need it in a hurry. Unplug the phone and internet, and close the curtains. I could barely stand so I welcomed the solitude. Fill the kettle early on in the day.

Health Boosters. I steered clear of Red Rose tea and only drank a bit of coffee. I drank a LOT of organic honey and lemon tea. Not Neo Citran- which is pure artificial sweetener, the real stuff. It was a savior scent from heaven, that concoction of awesome goodness. I cherished every drop. I lost my appetite but I still forced down a few healthy meals: an apple, pasta + brussel sprouts, seafood chowder,  lentil soup, sweet potatoes. These are the foods that give you your much needed health back.

A plan. Do go see your doctor. Your doctor can and will advise you if you have influenza, a viral infection or pneumonia. They can give you medicated pain and fever relief. If they do an x-ray, those will tell the doctors more about your condition. Try to take a cab or arrange a ride to and from the hospital. Try to avoid using the metro transit, if at all possible. People might be sick on the bus or you might infect them. 

Spoiling. This is the perfect time to spoil yourself. Go ahead and if you can handle it, have that spa day or staycation. I took hot showers. I also enjoyed a 20-minute soak in the tub. I added sage leaves I crumbled in my fingers, salt, Epsom salts, and clove essential oil. I exfoliated and scrubbed my finger and toenails. I made a natural mask for my skin of olive oil and honey, which I put on my face for a few moments than washed off after. I felt great. Go get lots of herbal teas for colds and keep them handy. Avoid alcohol and excessive amounts of caffeine. Read a nice health magazine. Recover in a clean apartment and bedroom. Change your bed linens once you are back on your feet. 

This is how I did it. I am finally on the road to recovery. For a while there, I wasn’t sure if I was going to live. But I must have some stoical endurance in me to have survived. With some luck, you will too. I hope you enjoyed reading my post and now have lots of ideas to guard your health. 

More tips: Do keep your room clean. Put some flowers in a vase. Dim the lights. Listen to soft low volume music. If you can handle it and won’t choke, sleep with a lozenge under your tongue as you sleep. Don’t choke. If you think you would choke, don’t do it. I managed to remain alert enough to not swallow the lozenge. Keep lozenges or a glass of water nearby instead as you sleep. Don’t have flashy lights or throbbing techno music booming in the background. Put off collecting the mail or throwing out the garbage. Just stay home. Your aching senses will thank you. Think Enigma, world music or Enya. Meditation can help as well as breathing exercises. Have plenty of Kleenex or toilet paper at hand. 

Good luck!

Blessed be, Lady Spiderwitch )O(

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The History of Imbolg

Ewewithbabylamb

Merry meet all,

Imbolc springs to life soon in February. Imbolc is the next turn in the Wheel of the Year. Imbolc is the first of the three spring Sabbats, the other two being Ostara and Beltane. It is one of the great Celtic fire festivals.

Brighid is often honored during this time. She is a goddess of fire and fertility. Imbolc is a time of magical energy related to new beginnings, the goddess and fire. Life stirs within the soil. The sun brightens and the days slowly grow warmer. In the Irish Gaelic,  Imbolc is called oimelc, meaning ewe’s milk. At this time, the cows and ewes are nursing their calves, a common precursor to spring. Imbolg also means “in the belly”. Imbolc is also known as Candlemas,  the Feast Day of Saint Brighid, Le Fhelle Brid, Imbolc has a Celtic connection. Brighid is a triple aspect Goddess. She is a keeper of the sacred flame and a guardian of the hearth.

To our ancestors back to the Paleolithic times, the winter season was a true horror. Imagine dealing with glaciers, frigid winds and cold, and scarce food. The wind howls and you hear the ghostly voices of your ancestors. The wind cuts like wolf fangs, its so cold. The clan chews on the last of the mammoth meat, starvation is close. Any sign of spring then was a sign of survival, a cry to the soul. The Crone was valued then in the clans, but she finds it hard to keep up as they hunt for elusive oxen. The Crone was the wise woman, the one the clans turned to for hope, wisdom of how to survive and store food. She knew the early signs of the coming spring.

The Maiden doesn’t transition and emerge till the cold fierce time of the Crone is passed. Winter even in our time is still upon us. If you listen closely to the wind, it might whisper messages to you. Be sure to heed them. The Crone’s cloak of darkness and snow still hovers over the earth. Spring is a few weeks away. Soon the ice shall thaw to leave room for crocus and tulip bulbs. A common symbol of spring is the Bear who awakens from hibernation. When animals emerged from hibernation, it was a favored sign of spring. The idea of the goddess in bear shape was a reality through the Paleolithic times in Europe.

Bears are protective of their cubs which made the bear a popular mother figure. Sheeps and ewes correspond to spring.

I shall post more about Imbolc in the future. For now, stay warm and keep posted.

 

Blessings, Lady Spiderwitch )O(

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Autumn Cooking

Allium Harvest at Lammas

Allium Harvest at Lammas

Merry meet all,

Today’s post is about foods to enjoy at the time of Mabon/ Samhain. I know pumpkins immediately come to  mind-but- they are not just for carving. 

Pumpkins can be baked into breads (yum!), into cookies, and soup. I always buy a few pumpkins to cook with not just carve. There are plenty of them in stores. I want a couple white ones too. White pumpkins make me think of ghosts. 

Apples are popular now. Apples can be made into applesauce, pies, and apple crisp. Which reminds me, I have plenty of rhubarb in the freezer. Mm I might bake rhubarb cobbler with apple. 

Some popular spices and herbs for baking during the autumn season are: cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, basil, clove, anise and orange. Add lavender to cookies. Another fun thing to try is halloween cookie cutters. I have a wide range of cookie cutters in the shapes of moons, coffins, bats, pumpkins, tombstones and witches. Add sprinkles, frosting, or even  natural food dye for ghoulish delights! 

Cocoa will keep you warm this fall. Cocoa can be combined with espresso in coffee or a batch of brownies. 

Nuts like walnuts, sesame seeds, coconut, dried fruit and almonds add health and flavour to your food. Mix up a batch of tasty morning granola with the ingredients mentioned in this post for some health and immune boosting breakfast!

Some popular recipes to try are pumpkin bread, soups, stews, other dark breads, and root veggie recipes. Doesn’t this all sound good? 

Gather some lentils too for lentil soup or save your potatoes and get a leek or two from the local organic farmers market for an invigorating bowl of potato and leek soup. I love my cauldron pot. It looks like a cauldron pot. I brew many a soup or stew in that pot. I use a blender that my Mom owned since I was a baby. I puree the soups, pumpkin or squash in it and it still works like a charm. 

Cooking food from scratch has some advantages. It is more effort to be sure. You have control over what ingredients go into your food. You can freeze the soups for later use. Empower your meal with energy for health or other things. You can see how it’s made and add your own special touch to the recipe. I personally prefer to be a die hard slow cooking kitchen witch, concocting my own recipes and know that I am not adding too many processed food ingredients. Yuck. I have GMOs. 

My witch hazel tree flowered! I also gathered herbs from my garden. I got calendula, lady’s mantle, leopard’s bane, woodruff, and lamb’s ear. 

Blessed Be, Lady Spiderwitch 

 

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New Moon harvest

CIMG0765

Merry meet all,

Today I bound my garlic cloves from the garden with an elastic and hung them to dry. I chopped off the onion stems and stored the onion heads in a dry clean basket. I will leave the garlic and onions to cure for a number of weeks. Then I hope they store well for the winter. The bluejays steal eggshells I leave in the garden. I wonder why. I believe I shall harvest more rhubarb too. I do enjoy some raspberries from my garden too, though not as many as I’d like. 

The sky’s overcast here today. The sun’s trying to shine through the clouds. The oak seedling in my garden’s doing well. The garden sage is doing well. I can’t wait for another big harvest from my garden. I love to garden and I am sure it shows, but it gives me a sense of accomplishment and brings me peace. I love my garden. It’s been a lot of work and I am seeing the results of my labour, which is part of what Lammas is about. 

The New Moon shines tomorrow night. The New Moon phase is a good time for new beginnings and starting new projects. Cleanse your crystals and burn a candle to meditate or reflect on what you would like to do. I am seeing August as a good time to get my writing and sewing done and up to date. September always signals a change for me. 

Many New Moon Blessings, Lady Spiderwitch 

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Litha Rites

tomaotoes

Merry meet all,

Litha is almost here!!! Well, today it’s raining. But I sure hope for sunshine on June 21st!! Here is more info to help you prepare for an awesome Summer Solstice. 

This celebration focuses on the sun. Use solar colours when decorating your altar. Reds, oranges, golds and yellows are associated with the sun. Try setting your altar outdoors to truly get the most out of the ritual or at least near a sunny window. 

Litha is also a time of balance. The light and dark are in battle with each other. Perhaps a Brighid’s cross or a yin yang symbol would do. Decorate your altar with pinwheels, sun wheels, oak leaves and acorns, and sunflowers. 

To decorate your home for the Solstice, bring in washed flowers, herbs and vegetables from the garden. Leave the food in baskets and arrange the flowers in vases. Burn yellow and gold candles. Arrange flower candles at the base of the candlesticks. Braid herbs into a herb wreath and hang it on your door. Collect seeds and store them in a pretty cloth pouch or a seed envelope. 

Celebrate Litha either as a solitary or with your coven. Go outside! I plan to take a cauldron outside and burn incense on charcoal  in the cauldron. It will smell beautiful. I also plan to spend the day or part of the day tending to my garden. I will burn incense as I tend to my garden. The scent will help carry me away. Midsummer is a magickal time. 

Hold a bonfire, welcome fairies into your garden, share a special meal outdoors with friends and family. The choice is up to you how you enjoy the day. Go for a nature walk and go wildcrafting or clean up trash as you see it. Be sure to wear gloves. 

Have a fun Litha!

Blessings,

Lady Spiderwitch  )O(

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A Garden to honor my ancestors

Seedling Magick

Merry meet all,

Tonight I’m sipping coffee and I occasionally peek out to my blossoming garden. It cheers my heart to see the plants grow. I also take pride in it for a different reason. 

I am carrying on the work of my ancestors. I am part Celtic and part Viking. My maternal grandmother is from Scotland. My maternal grandfather is from Cape Breton-French Acadian. My father was Norwegian. 

They would have worked hard in a garden to provide the food to feed their families. It was a produce or perish way of life then. They would have raised livestock. I don’t raise livestock but I do have two familiars. A garden was necesary. I also know how to fish, saw wood, gather and store wood, and operate a real wood stove. I know how to identify animal tracks, herbs and berries, and cook homegrown food- and ride horses. I often practice slow cooking, as opposed to eating processed food out of a can. Yes I do know to work a coleman stove. 

Allow me to elaborate here. One time in Pleasant Bay, my sis Niki harvested some root veggies from her garden. She cooked a pot of stew and it was cooked on the wood stove. I love the sound of a stainless steel kettle rattling on the wood stove- and a woodpecker pecking at the outdoor house walls. Then I was given the pot of soup and I held the pot of stew on my lap the way to the main house, where we all enjoyed it. I mean, it was delicious. Well it was made from totally locally grown vegetables and cooked on a wood stove. What was there to not like? 

I also can sew and clean. I know you may be thinking these seem like such domestic chores- especially since last fall, I was in the kitchen literally cooking all day. But I filled glass dishes with the plastic red lids with four different soups and I was able to feed myself all winter long. 

I have a fresh stash of lentils and beans. I know what to do with them. Performing this work is satisfying because I feel like I am carrying on a tradition. I have occasionally gone camping, maybe not as often as I should. Spending so much time in Pleasant Bay has helped me appreciate going for a simple walk. Well today was rainy. I also know how to make candles, make crafts like candles, jewelry, and bind books But my main pride and joy is my garden. I fail to understand why no one started a garden in the backyard here before me. Oh well my job. And I love it! I bought a celtic cookbook to also honor my ancestry. 

I am studying the different gods and goddesses in the Celtic pantheon. That is just fascinating to me. I do have a hard time getting my hands on books and information on the Vikings so I could honor that side of my family. I hope to learn more about them. 

I plan to make good use of the raspberries in my garden in jam and maybe eat them with pancakes. I plan to grow tomatoes, kale, lettuce, carrots, beets and radishes, potatoes, chives, garlic, rhubarb, and onions. For someone who lives on a meagre budget as I do, this is a lot of food. This includes the herbs and flowers I shall also harvest in the fall. The Witch Hazel will be cool. I haven’t planned on what to do with that yet. I can also harvest roots, seeds, and flower petals for various magickal uses. 

I let my Samhain pumpkins compost in my garden all year. The orange pumpkin was closer to the house. The white pumpkin composted over the tulip and garlic bulbs. When I raked the leaves this spring, I didn’t find the white pumpkin. I guess that is how well it composted. But the soil, bulbs and bugs would have benefitted from the nutrients from it. I did find the dried crumbling remnants of the orange pumpkin. I know it helped the soil. 

I planted snowdrops because I read they were sacred to Brigid. This is one of many ways I hope to explore and deepen my connection to my ancestors.

Blessed Be, Lady Spiderwitch )O(

 

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Ostara Ritual for a Solitary

Ostara Gardens

Merry meet all,

Once you have decorated and dedicated your altar, think about performing a ritual. You can perform this as a solitary and it is best performed outdoors if possible. You won’t need much to do this ritual outdoors. Be awake early to do this. If you want to cast a circle, do so now. 

You will need three candles: one green, one yellow and one purple. You will also need one bowl of milk, and a bowl of honey or sugar. 

Begin by noticing the air around you. Try to sense the arrival of spring. Inhale the fresh air deeply. and sense the change in the seasons. The air may have an earthier aroma. Light the green candle to symbolize the awakening earth. As you light the candle, say: 

The Wheel of the Year turns once more, and the vernal equinox has arrived. Light and dark are in balance, and the soil stirs to life. New life springs forth once more in the eternal cycle. 

Now, light the yellow candle, and say:

The sun draws ever closer to us, pulsing the earth with its warming rays, Light and dark are in balance, and the sun warms the earth with radiance. Life grows once more in the eternal cycle. 

Finally, light the purple candle. Purple represents the Divine in us and in all life. As you light it, focus on the presence of the Divine. Say:

Spring has come! Let us be thankful. The Divine is present all around, in the air, earth, fire and water. We are blessed on this day. Welcome! Life giving Light! Welcome!

Take a moment to meditate on the flames and what they symbolize. Consider your relationship to the Divine. Now blend the milk and honey together, mixing carefully. Pour it as a libation upon the ground, around the altar space and as an offering to the earth. As you do, say:

I offer this milk and honey to the earth, As thanks for the blessings I received and those I may some day receive. 

Once you have made the offering, stand for a minute facing your altar. Feel the cool earth beneath your feet and the sun’s warmth on your face. Feel the balance of light and dark. When you are ready, end the ritual. 

Blessed Be, Lady Spiderwitch )O(

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Season of Change

Penny

Merry meet all,

Who besides me hates winter? Let’s see a showing of witch hats. Yeah I thought you would all agree. Last night’s full moon was the last of the dark winter full moons for the season. It gets exciting from here. Spring is on its way. So you can all breathe a sigh of relief. I am. 

I think winter affects us in more ways than just seasonal affective disorder. I have not felt any inclination to do any magick at all. This is not like me. I do enjoy it. It could be because I live alone and never have any company for an esbat. It could be because it is hard to know if you are growing or not when you live alone. These things all contribute to how and when and if people perform magick. It certainly affects me. I performed a simple meditation last night. That is all I had the energy for. 

Yet I managed to manifest a cat. It sounds like I need more confidence in myself and trust in myself. So I propose to try to have more confidence and trust in myself. I do suffer from anxiety and depression, which can take over your life. I usually try to not let this affect me. I have to keep thinking Spring is almost here. The Spring Equinox occurs later this month. Who couldn’t be cheered up that? 

So I can assume that this depression I am going through could possibly by seasonal. Let’s hope so. By the way, I hope you all check out the amazing movie The Theory of Everything about Stephan Hawking. I watched that movie yesterday and I really enjoyed it. I was so engrossed in the movie I forgot about everything else. You will cheer for Stephan Hawking. He is inspirational. 

You can view the trailer here:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2980516/

Blessings, Lady Spiderwitch 

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Imbolc

witchhazel-late-winter

Merry meet all,

Imbolc is almost here. I get a huge burst of creativity at this time of year. Imbolc is  a lesser Sabbat and first of the three spring Sabbats. Imbolc honours the Goddess Bride. The ewes bear calves. Spring is on its way too. 

Imbolc is called “Oimelc”, which translates to ewe’s milk. The colours red and white are traditionally associated with Imbolc. Make your altar decor reflect the Sabbat theme. Imbolc is a sign of spring, so include plants that symbolize new growth. You could add potted bulbs such as forsythia, crocuses, daffodils, and snowdrops- which are sacred to the Goddess Brighid. Make a Brighid’s crown as a centrepiece. 

Brighid is the Goddess of Celtic peoples. Add a celtic design to your altar such as a Brighid’s Cross or other Celtic knot work. Other symbols are cauldrons, a small anvil or hammer, a Brighid corn doll, animals such as cows, sheep or swans, poetry, fairies and herbs. Candles, of course. Use a white and red altar cloth or you can lay down a fresh clean white altar cloth and a red strip of fabric across it to symbolize the traditional colours. 

Tomorrow I will talk about rites and rituals and recipes!!

Blessed Be, Lady Spiderwitch )O(

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