Category Archives: spring

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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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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Spring Frost

Merry Meet All,

The May long weekend is coming up. The final frost of the cold season is coming too. If you have planted any tender herbs or flowers in your garden recently, there is still a risk of frost. Gather your cloches and/ or long sheets or tarps and secure them over your plants to protect them.

Here in the Maritimes, it is freezing cold and I could see my breath this morning. The plants that are already growing in gardens now are hardy and can bear the cold. Tend to your tender plants that are outside to ensure they survive the cold.

Good luck gardening!!
Blessed Be,
Lady Spiderwitch )O(

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Spring Sprouts

Merry Meet All,

Beltaine is coming! Before you know it, you will all be dancing round the Maypole!! I bet you’re all excited. I will have lots of fun stuff here so you will be prepared for Beltaine. Beltaine is the third spring Sabbat in the Wheel of the Year.

I heard of a way to grow carrots. Or, rather, the carrot tops. You need the carrot top (without the leaves), and it should be one inch in size. Cut the carrot top off and place it in a bowl full of water. Push two toothpicks into either side of the carrot and suspend the carrot top just above the water in the bowl. Place the bowl on a sunny windowsill. Soon you will have nice green carrot tops growing. I plan to feed the carrot tops to my pet guinea pig, Magic. He will love that. I plan to grow carrots and peas in containers indoors as well. The slugs eat everything in sight.

My potted garlic is growing well. Graceful, long shoots are growing from the garlic bulb. I spotted tulips, my bugleweed and woodruff, chives, are coming up in my garden. Each passing day, it becomes more spring. This is an exciting time.

Stay posted, as I will be posting more about Beltaine.

Plants in photo: From left to right, garlic, orchid plant, tomato sprout begun from seed, umbrella plant, and carrot

Blessed Be,
Lady Spiderwitch )O(

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Rebirthing the Garden

Merry Meet All,

Happy Easter!! I hope you are all enjoying your weekend. Here, the weather is beautiful, my snowdrops are blossoming, and the air is crisp and fresh. It is like a real spring day. The next turn in the Wheel of the Year is Beltaine, as many of you know, and that happens on May 1st. Today the moon enters Sagittarius and the colour of the day is black.

Ah spring. Spring is muddy, raw, fertile. Spring is the reawakening of the earth, the return of greenery, the rebirth of plants. I prefer summer personally but nothing cheers my heart more than seeing tiny buds emerge from the soil. The buds defy winter.

April is a time when winter is fading and spring is returning. It is the in between time of the seasons. We see patches of snow on the ground and the muddy fresh soil. This is the time when people think about their gardens. Consider performing a ritual to welcome back the faeries and guardians of the garden.

You can perform this ritual indoors or outdoors. It would be better outdoors since this is to request the guardians of your garden to bless your garden.

Say this aloud: (Light a stick of incense and a candle.)
Faery guardians come and play,
Bright blessings to the Fae,
Guard and bless my garden
on this day,
Charm my garden to grow!”

Meditate and visualize faeries dancing around your garden. Bring the candle indoors and allow the incense to burn itself out. Cast off the shackles of winter. Spring is here!!

Blessed Be,
Lady Spiderwitch )O(

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A Poem for Spring

Merry Meet All,

Last night I attended an Open Heart Forgery poetry reading at Coburg Coffee House in Halifax. The reading was held there instead of its usual location at JustUs Coffeehouse on Spring Garden Road. The hours were different. My usual friends and fellow scribes were there.

I arrived late and sat down. Someone was in the midst of reading her poem. I settled in to enjoy the reading. I met some new people there. Athena, the daughter of the lady who helps run the Poetry Show was there. She is the cutest baby ever and likes to reach for anything within her grasp. I enjoy hearing the poetic efforts of my friends. There is magic in words.

Open Heart Forgery is a monthly journal of poems and lyrics that aims to energize local writers from the grass roots up. I enjoy attending the readings and reading new poems each month. The journal is published monthly and distributed around the city in different venues, such as libraries, on buses, and other places. The link to the website is: http://www.ohForgery.com. . The poetic journals are distributed for free.

By the end of the reading, people left and returned to their more mundane activities. I was surprised to be offered a ride home as well as my friends. We were spared the horrors of Metro Transit for that night at least. We all chatted on the ride home.

April is National Poetry Month. March, being the month that heralds in spring, means I had to write a poem. It is not in the monthly journal. I left my draft of my spring poem at home. But we can all find a way to share poems with each other and share in the magic of words. I am going to leave you with my poem that I composed last night before the reading.

Spring’s Rebellion

A gray ceiling hangs overhead
Frail leaves scrape on concrete
in the cold pale morning.

Tiger lily buds emerge from brown grass
and patches of snow. Hope stirs as
winter’s barren rule comes to an end.

Create poems! Let them grow and spring from the mud like buds and blossom into poems! April is National Poetry Month. You can write the poems in your Book of Shadows and ask that your chosen deity or Spirit guides you and inspires you. I am now making it my goal to compose poems in a journal rather than on scraps of paper so next time I am organized- and then have to share them with readers.

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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