Category Archives: herb

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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The Morrigan

CIMG2888

Merry meet all,

Last night, I crafted up a storm! I crafted a clay statue of the goddess Morrigan and a clay tea light holder. The Morrigan Tonight I created the Morrigan statue out of polymer clay. The clay is red and black. My hands were RED (how fitting), by the time I was done. Her body is red, and the wings are black, and the stand below feet is black. I worked herbs into the clay- rue, rosemary, juniper berries, and mugwort. These herbs correspond to the Goddess Morrigan. Her hair is black. I also made a black and red tea light holder. I made an incense of the herbs too. The night is dark and stormy. Maybe I could have made her taller but I think she is just beautiful. Unfortunately, she doesn’t stand on her own. I sketched in a rune symbol on the front of her torso- Eihwaz, or yew, which is also connected to her. I love the Morrigan statue and I am sure she will bless me with her power. I burned myrrh incense which corresponds to her, listened to music and relaxed. I rediscovered playing with clay, which to me being stressed, felt good. I still have clay remaining and will use it to make her a spear later. 

The moon’s waxing and growing to a Full Moon. On the Full Moon, I will dedicate the statue and perform a dedication ritual. I think the statue could have been bigger and fancier as the statues sold in metaphysical shops but you do what you can. 

I may invest in a fancy statue anyway in the future but for now, it will do. The Morrigan will understand, I am sure. 

Blessings, Lady Spiderwitch )O(

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In Memory

samhaingarden

Merry meet all,

‘Tis near Samhain. ‘Tis near the Witches Time. The view of my backyard right now is so beautiful. As Samhain draws close, I am reminded of those who have passed before me that I cherish and love. I found out today that someone I knew passed away 2 days ago. Thompson Rahr was a friend of my brother’s and was there when I discovered I was a Witch. I had that powerful intuitive experience. I will always have a good memory of him. I lit a beeswax candle on my altar to honor him. I arranged the chinese lanterns around the candle on the seashell on my altar. I carved his initials onto the candle. He deserved better. He fought kidney disease bravely for 21 years. I will always remember Thompson. 

Soon I have to clean my garden, put away the gardening tools and decorations, and lime the garden. I have to add necessary minerals to the soil. I can then plant my spring bulbs. I might add vermiculite too. I keep the leaves all over my garden all winter. They insulate my plants from the bone chilling cold snow. I dread winter but I rapturously love autumn. I am not alone in that sentiment I am sure. I will leave an offering to the nature spirits this fall. 

Samhain is a time to- well you can do this all year- but especially at Samhain, to remember and honor those who have passed away. I have been doing housework all day. I wanted to give my space a special cleaning to have it all nice and special for Samhain. I think that a clean home is nice to have, especially since it is Celtic Witches New Year. I am not a messy person but I was stunned by how much cleaning I had to do. A New year is best started on the right buckled shoe, if you follow me. 

On a similar note, while we honor those who love us, and many other cultures do this too, such as the Mexican Day of the Dead. I think that October 31st doesn’t have to be limited to the Celts. Anyone of any background or what have you can remember their cherished dead. So now my apartment is so clean you could almost eat off the floor- not necessary to, but it is clean. Also, a clean altar- that’s next, and home shows you respect the dead too. Now I just have to decorate it and prepare a dumb supper menu. I can’t wait to perform the dumb supper. 

I should also make a soundtrack of music to enjoy as I perform the dumb supper menu. I plan to burn incense and enjoy some nice red wine. I think red wine is a safe choice for being preferred by those who I choose to honor at the supper and myself. I hope to make beef stew, and I already baked 2 loaves of barmbrack bread, have cheese, crackers, my Mom’s nice sourdough bread, and Black Magic chocolate cake- frosted. I will have coffee after to enjoy. I lucked out with the Black Magic chocolate cake. I think the spirits will approve of that. 

I will set up a black tablecloth, use black plates, silver cutlery and a black cup. I have no idea where anyone ever finds black cutlery. The spirits are forgiving if one doesn’t have black cutlery. Silver or stainless steel can add a nice touch anyway. I will place photos on the table of those who passed before me and the offerings near the photos. I will wear a black dress, cloak, and get all done up. Black attracts Spirit. It is most appropriate. 

During the whole ritual, of course, I won’t say a word. I should make sure my furbabies are taken care of then before starting the meal then. I got lots of inspiration from a Halloween magazine for ideas on decorating. 

I so look forward to the experience. This year, I am not attending the Samhain Ritual on the Commons. I am at odds with most of them anyway. I am fed up with their treatment of me and their behaviour towards me. I practice as a Solitary. I am sorry but some of them need help. This leaves me with more time to do what is important to me anyway. Quite often, in preparation and in attending the Ritual on the Commons, I feel quite stressed anyway. 

The Full Moon shines on October 27th. Be sure to perform a drawing down the moon ritual. 

I hope you all enjoy your Samhain. Blessed Be, 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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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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Magical Cleaning

CIMG2736

Merry meet all,

The Eastern Quarter corresponds to the Element of Air. The bathroom fan in my apartment here was broken. It made the most awful cacophonous harsh sound when I turned the bathroom light on. Now it is fixed. In Mrs. B’s Guide to Household Witchery: Everyday Magic Spells and Recipes, she lists fans as representing the Element of Air. Now that the fan is fixed, the blockage is removed. It is harmonious and now I love being in my bathroom. It is the first room people see when they come in, so naturally I want it to be nice. 

After the fan was fixed, I set out to clear my altar area. It needed a good spring cleaning. I debated with myself about whether to lift my altar off the dusty floor then made my decision, I am glad I did. I placed the altar on a round table. Behind the altar is a beautiful painting, which is why I had my altar on the floor. But I never used my altar much and I think it had to do with it being on the floor so low. I love it now that it is placed so high on a table. It is easier and I can clean the floor beneath it. It is finally easier for me to access the altar and feel comfortable. But since my altar has accumulated so much energy and has been used in so many rituals, meditations and spells, I will continue using it. 

I also cleaned and smudged every altar tool. My bookcase full of witchy tools was so crammed, dusty and disorganized and now it is so clean. I love the feel in my bedroom now. Everything feels fresh and clean. I smudged the altar, the tools and I mopped my floors. Everything is fresh and clean in time for spring. I even found my hammer. Now that’s some cleaning!!

Have you cleaned your altar areas in time for spring? Now’s the time. 

Good luck spring cleaning and add magick to the cleansing!

Blessed Be, Lady Spiderwitch 

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Herbs Book- Healing Herbs

CIMG2691

Merry meet all,

I am happy to be published in a book about healing herbs. The editor of Essential Herb magazine,which I used to write for, wrote a book on herbs and included my contribution about growing ginger in the book. 

This is good news!!! It is timely since spring is 30 days away. I can’t wait to read it. I have included a link to the book below. It is not yet released till next month. 
Exciting!
Blessed Be, Lady Spiderwitch )O(

 

Link: http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/healing-herbs-a-beginners-guide/9781592336500-item.html?ikwid=healing+herbs&ikwsec=Home&ikwidx=4

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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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Sagely Wisdom

b400c-echinacea1

Merry Meet All,

Imbolc is almost here!! Sorry for the pause in the posts, but I have been so busy trying to write a novel proposal that everything else has been- and that includes my entire life, has been on hold. Now that some of the maddening, gritty work is done, I can concentrate on other things. 

…like Imbolc. I’ve germinated garden sage and milk thistle seeds so far. I put the seeds in a folded damp paper towel in a ziploc bag. The seeds germinate much faster. I found loose sage leaves at the grocery store then discovered the sage was from Israel. What? i was shocked. So I rejected the sage and instead, bought a bag of seeds. 

Now I know where my sage is coming from. My own garden or windowsill, which I prefer. The sage from Israel would be useless to me. The magic properties that sage is known for would be long gone. The power of the herb would barely exist by the time it reached Canada. I couldn’t believe it. I would rather grow my own, which is highly possible as I have a garden. 

I wanted to buy the sage to steep in a teapot and do my sacred magic circle of sage tea all around the perimeter of the apartment here. But I wouldn’t use sage leaves from Israel. Sage is known for increasing longevity, aiding in protection and offering wisdom. How much of the natural wonderful properties remain in it by the time it is on the store shelf? Not to mention that the leaves are sprayed with a pesticide and preservative. Ugh Who wants that? 

Ah I am now left to the wonderful chore of growing my own. I have a young sage plant in my garden but it is buried under snow. I won’t harvest from a young plant I will wait till it is established. I can’t wait to plant my seedlings in the garden in the spring. 

I often read my copy of Cunningham’s Encyclopaedia of Magical Herbs. I love that book. I couldn’t live without it. It is an excellent reference book that should be on the book shelf of every serious Witch/ Pagan or Hedge Witch. 

Grow local! Grow your own herbs. My Genovese Basil was unintentionally uprooted this fall so I potted it up and brought it indoors. I can’t believe how it is flowering. The plant gets lots of sun from the southern window. My sage seedlings are growing next to it. Soon I shall have a few lovely sage plants blossoming in the garden, when spring arrives. I will have all the chemical-free sage  I want for casting protective magic circles!! 

I’ve been reading and enjoying Raven Grimassi’s articles in Witches and Pagans magazine. I now have new fun ideas to try on my herbs and plants thanks to him. I want to buy his books. I like his approach. I hope they include more of his writing. 

Blessed Be, Lady Spiderwitch )O(

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