Category Archives: recipes and lore

Seeds of Hope

Merry meet all,

I love the warm glow of a candle on an overcast wet day. I love gardens and seeds too. I want to talk about how to start seeds in starter pots, because you know, its that time of year!!!

There is more to popping a seed into soil than most people know. It is a bit of an art and a science.

What you will need are seeds, seed starting soil, starter pots, water, and a sunny windowsill. Often, the seed packets come with instructions on where to plant the seeds and how deep and how far apart from other seeds. The size of the seed determines how it gets planted too. Tiny seeds rest on the surface of the soil and larger seeds can be planted deeper in the soil.

Don’t make the mistake I made and put too many seeds in one slot. They will grow better if they are spread out into several slots. I like to fill the starter pot with the right amount of soil and then water it. I let the soil settle then fill the cavity with soil. Then I add the seeds. This avoids the seed drowning in the wet soil and prepares the soil for the seeds. Do not fertilize the soil at this point. That comes much later.

Be sure the starter pot has a hole for water and that you have some form of tray beneath the starter pot. Add the seeds to the soil. If they are large, push them in deep using the end of a pencil. Tiny seeds rest on the surface of the soil. Lightly dust the soil over the seeds. Do not add compost or mulch. Just put the starter pot on the watering tray and then put that onto a sunny windowsill. You can also use grow lights.

At this stage, it is good to wait until a tiny sprout shoots up from the soil. Do not douse the plant in water when you see a sprout. Let the soil dry out between watering. Make sure the seedling gets plenty of sunlight. Also make sure there is a good comfortable temperature in the room.

When a seedling comes up, it will grow its first set of leaves. This is called a cotyledon. Then when it grows the next set of leaves, that is its true leaves. Despite what some sources tell you, its not a good idea to transplant a seedling when the second set of leaves appear. This only confuses the seedling resulting in the plant needing then to put its energy into being moved and adjusting to the new pot. Its energy should be focused on just growing in its present pot. When the roots show beneath or just at the bottom of the starter pot, then you can think of transplantation. Let the plant grow where it is. It is happier that way.

Try not to over water a seedling. It might rot, die off from over watering or its tips might turn brown. When my seedlings were starting out, I added the tiniest amount of water. I knew the sunlight and the soil would sustain them. They don’t need as much water as you believe. Oregano, sage, thyme, these herbs may have come from the Mediterranean. They are accustomed to the hot temperatures there.

Be patient. The seedling is doing the best it can. As a baby plant, like any other newborn, it takes time to grow. It will take a long time to grow to a large size anyway. even years. A true gardener is patient.

I hope this helps you to grow many lovely herbs and flowers!! I wish you luck with it. You can grow anything you want. Once you master how to start from seed, you might not buy seedlings from garden centers again. You will save money starting from your saved seeds too.

I am happy to say that I started a cherry tree from seed outside in my garden!!! I overwintered the seed in the soil. It emerged this spring. I set a circle of stones around the seedling. I also added clean chicken bones to the soil. The bones take 20 to 25 years to decompose or break down. They will become ground bone meal eventually and add nutrients to the seedling. 

I am trying a raised bed area in my garden this year too. I cleared away a patch of dead rotting wood behind the fence of the yard where I live. I used the logs for the raised bed. I plan to fill it with soil then add my indoor seedling transplants I have lovingly tended this spring. I have to clear away weeds and put down newspaper first then I can add soil. I can’t wait. It is my first time trying a raised bed. I am very excited!!!

Blessed  be, Lady Spiderwitch )O(

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Brigit, the ancient Goddess )O(

Sblossoms2

Merry meet all,

The Celtic goddess Brigid is typically honored in the beginning of February. Brigit is an ancient Goddess with mysterious origins. She became hugely popular in Ireland and Britain.

Brigit is one of the Tuatha de Danaan, or people of the Goddess Danu.  Legend tells that Brigit was the daughter of the Dagda, the Lord of Great Knowledge. Other legends tell that she was Dagda’s consort, not his daughter. Brigit is a triple goddess: smithcraft, poetry and healing. She has been compared to Minerva, a Roman goddess and Vesta, a virgin fire goddess.

Brigit is revered for her healing powers. She is a goddess of fire. She is famous for her healing springs and wells. The Druids linked Brigit to the late winter arrival of light and the early promise of spring. Brigit’s connection with the growing season also gives her a role as a fertility goddess. She was a patroness of domestic animals and crops. Brigit is the one who sparks the “fire of the poet’s heart, of the healer’s hands and the fire used by the smith.”

Brigit is knowledgeable about healing herbs. She was a patroness of many healing springs and wells. She is a goddess of smithcraft. Smithcraft was viewed as pure magic, the ability to make to transform stone or ore-bearing rock into tools and weapons. She held sway over poetry and creative arts. Poetry was an oral tradition held by the Celts. Much of their history is lost in the mists of time because the history, family lineage, and mythology  is all orally kept. The bards told of all that in their songs and poems.

Brigit continues to inspire her followers today. Light a candle or many candles in her honor this Imbolc. Ignite the flames and follow a tradition kept by our ancestors. Blessed Imbolc

 

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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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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The Essentials of Herbs

Merry Meet All,

It is that time to start thinking about herbs. I’m growing a pot of thyme and sage indoors. I bought them this winter and I plan to grow them indoors all year. The reason is, that these plants don’t always survive in the garden. Thyme and sage need full sun, and certain soil conditions. Besides, the sight of the potted herbs enchants me and makes me smile.

I have been writing for an herb magazine for a year now. Here is the link: http://www.essentialherbal.com/index.php. I love the magazine for the recipes and that I can learn from other herbalists. I have been able to share my knowledge of herbs with the readers and learn from them. Essential Herbal magazine is gaining stellar reviews, which the magazine deserves. No matter the season or time of year, there are always excellent recipes to be found in the pages.

Their website is awesome. You can download a free copy of the magazine, just by clicking on the link on this post, do puzzles, read their blog, read about the current issue, their latest news, and even buy e-books on their site. They have a group on Yahoo and you can read articles about the basics of soap-making. The wizard behind the magazine, Tina Sams, is the tireless editor of the magazine. She is a great person and a talented herbalist and brings her endless enthusiasm and knowledge to the forefront. Essential Herbal is in its second decade of continued publication. I am not surprised.

I encourage you all to click on the link and learn more about this fascinating magazine. Refresh your knowledge of herbal lore in time for spring with Essential Herbal magazine!

The photo above is of my Ostara Altar. Please feel free to post your photos here of your altar or contact me if there are any complications with downloading files. Enjoy spring.

Blessed Be,
Lady Spiderwitch )O(

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