5 MAGICAL HERBS IN SLAVIC MYTHOLOGY

Yew B. Archer

In every mythology of ancient times, nature has been the main source of magic. Whether it was used for magic rituals, healing purposes or even casting curses, the fact was still there. Our ancestors believed they held a form of energy. So really it’s no surprise today that your granny says to drink tea made from a marshmallow’s root for a bad cough. That being said, here are 5 magical herbs in Slavic mythology which serve us to this day.

1.HAWTHORN

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This magnificent herb which is native to Northern Hemisphere of Europe, Asia and North America has been a source of magical procedures in the treatment of various diseases for centuries by the Slavic people.

The cult of the hawthorn tree has been preserved until today, and has survived the belief that a man who is sick should take a cake made of corn or wheat flour (in many cases…

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Ostara- Balance of light and dark )O(

Merry meet all,

The weather outside is frightful. Ostara is a few days away. I am trying to believe that spring is coming. Yet my snowdrops are buried under wet freezing rain/ slush. Snowdrops are sacred to the Goddess Brighid. I dedicated my snowdrops to her for that reason. Every early spring they grow. More flowers are on the way.

The sky darkens early here still. I may be the only one here but I love the dark half of the year. My dark side reveals itself a lot. I downloaded a cool photo of a skull resting on the open pages of a book. It is such a cool picture. I am currently reading Spirit Conjuring for Witches by Frater Barrabas. I have a ways to go yet. I will post a review when I have finished reading it. I will miss the dark time but I also embrace spring. I can only take so much of wearing a heavy winter coat and boots after all.

I do miss my garden. I have started echinacea, dill, thyme and lavender from seed. I hope to plant them in my garden once all chance of frost has passed. I also have rosemary and calendula cuttings which I hope will develop roots and be ready to plant in soil. I would love for once to successfully grow rosemary. I learned that rosemary doesn’t like to be moved. Dill has deep roots. Calendula will bloom if you overwinter it indoors if there is enough sun. The more I work with herbs, the more I learn from them. I intend to order mugwort, moonwort and mandrake seeds if I can. I am determined to grow a pumpkin patch this year too. I will grow beefsteak tomatoes too and peas, beans, carrots, herbs too, I planted my garlic last fall. I can’t wait. I hope to get hyssop and feverfew to grow from seed too. I have the room in my garden for all this!

I am ready for spring. I look forward to reviving my garden and not being weighed down by a woollen winter coat.

Blessings, Lady Spiderwitch )O(

 

For your reading pleasure:

http://www.epicgardening.com/white-sage-plant/

https://www.gardendesign.com/plants/witch-hazel.html

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Organic Choices

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Merry meet all,

I keep harping about organic food and herbs. There is a reason for it. I am a devout animal lover. I can’t stand animal cruelty. I have been researching the way that chickens, cows and pigs and even our dear friends bees are treated. All I can say is that it is mostly so inhumane I can’t believe it is for real.

I am now strongly considering becoming a vegetarian. I live on a budget. But there is a good reason why I want to be a vegetarian. If an animal suffers in those torture chambers and I eat the meat, I take that energy into myself. I absorb the torture and suffering the cow, chicken or pig endured. Why would a person do that to themselves? Why should the animal endure such cruelty? How can those people who chop, mutilate and harm these animals live with themselves? I couldn’t live with myself.

I am now making a choice. I will starve before I will contribute to the cruelty those animals suffer. They are forced to suffer. They are not given a choice. We have a choice. We should make the right choice. We can make a choice.

Bees are now facing near extinction. Cows, chickens and pigs are force fed growth hormones and confined into filthy unsanitary cramped cages day in and day out. Their bodies are grossly deformed due to the chemicals they are injected with. Their bodies are swollen and red and sore. Who wants to live like that? Who wants to be forced to feel that way?

I have already demonstrated my passion for helping the bees in my herb garden. I shall extend that same passion to the other areas of my life. There are alternatives to non organic processed meat such as fruit, vegetables, beans and grains. I have already made several awesome meals with black beans and quinoa. It is also easier on a person’s budget. The beans, grains and veggies are healthier and are less likely the result of an animal suffering. I want to help end the madness. I never eat at Mcdonalds. If enough people get together and support local ethical farmers and organic food, then they help end the cruelty. There is a problem though: the government and the corporations count on people being dumbed down. Those are the customers or consumers today that they count on. But I have been to the local Seaport farmers market on a busy day it teems with people who are too eager to buy locally sourced fresh organic meats, cheeses and veggies.

As long as there is demand for the organic foods, then it will be produced. That demand must be maintained and prolonged forever. What if our local supermarkets carried only organic food? I hope one day that is a reality. 

Blessed Be, Lady Spiderwitch )O(

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Ides of March

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Merry meet all,

Snow huddles over the grass. The air is still cool but March is the in between month. Winter lingers but spring fights back. The next turn in the Wheel of the Year is Ostara. Ostara is the second spring Sabbat.

To celebrate the early return of spring, I rummaged through my seed packets stored above my fridge. I kept the seed packs in paper envelopes in a plastic ziploc bag. I put dill seeds, echinacea seeds, lavender and thyme seeds in the paper towels. I prefer growing from seed since you can actually grow more of the same plant that way. I look forward to planting them in the spring.

The spring equinox occurs on March 20th. Ostara, or Eostre, inherits its name from the Teutonic goddess of spring and dawn. The origin of the word ‘east’ comes from many Germanic words for dawn that have in common the root for the word “aurora” which means ‘to shine’. Ostara basically means the vernal equinox.

Ostara means the balance of the earth’s gravity between the extremes of light and day- think yin and yang, the dark of Winter Solstice and the light of spring. Beltaine celebrates the sexual union of the God and Goddess and fertility.

Now is a good time to start the seedlings. I plan to start my tomatoes from seed and pumpkins too. I want to start mugwort and mandrake from seed. I just hope to find an organic seed supplier.

http://www.witchvox.com/va/dt_va.html?a=usma&c=holidays&id=1991

Blessings, Lady Spiderwitch )O(

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I dream of spring )O(

Crow3

Merry meet all,

The next turn in the Wheel of the Year is Ostara. It sure doesn’t appear to be spring now. We just suffered a massive snowstorm with a record topping amount of 75-90 centimeters of snow and 100km/ hour winds. More snow is reported to be on the way. The whole city was shut down. We Haligonians have just come out of hiding. This quarantine is starting to drive me a little crazy.

February also marks my kitty’s birthday adoption month. I love her so much. I remember the day she entered my home, my heart and my life. I can’t live without her.

Its almost time to plan our herb and flower gardens for spring. I miss my garden so much. It is buried beneath several feet of obnoxious snow. Its a bit early but this is around the time when seed catalogues arrive in the snail mail. I pore over them and muse on what to grow this year, what I will do different this year. I want a raised bed! That will help me grow vegetables better. Raised beds are beneficial and awesome ways to grow veggies. Nothing is stopping me. I want to complete my rock wall at the back of the first garden, help my  scarlet runner beans grow, order mandrake and moonwort seeds, plant tons more lemon balm and shasta daisies and mint. I can’t wait for spring.

Plan what you will grow this summer. Plan what seeds of new dreams, ambitions, dreams and goals you want to sow this year in your life. Mingle the two in magical ways. Brush up now on your herbal lore and balm and bane plants. Wait for the shiny new seed catalogs and take stock of your gardening supplies. The snow still fills our yards but before you know it, the snowdrops and crocuses will shove their saucy heads above snow to defy winter.

Blessings, Lady Spiderwitch )O(

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Ghoulies and Ghosties and Long-Legged Beasties and things that go bump in the Night.

Round the Cauldron

Merry meet all,

Today I sewed a few tarot bags for the local witch shop Neighborhood Witch General store. I found cool fabric at two local fabric stores, Fabricville- my top choice and the other one, Atlantic Fabrics. I live near Fabricville. The other reason why I like that store is the membership discount card. I get a discount on everything I buy.

The first fabric I selected is black with a white outline of stag heads. I am not posting pics yet but when I have completed them, I shall post pics then. I promise! It looks so cool. The other fabric was a little odd. It is a beige color with a print of my fave Halloween quotes such as- “Watch for Ghoulies and Ghosties and Long-Legged Beasties and things that go bump in the Night.” Or Something Wicked this way comes or the famous quote from The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe- “Deep into the darkness Peering, / long I stood there, wondering, Fearing , doubting, dreaming, Dreams no mortal ever dared to.” Well, every mortal but me and like 73 more Poe fans like me. The fabric has ravens, owls, black tree branches, witches on broomsticks, skulls, cats and odd bottles, red candy apples, broomsticks decorated on it. Could I ask for more?

I need to locate and use cord for the casing of the tarot bags. Then I shall take them to the store to hopefully sell them. I look forward to it.

It’s not the only event to look forward to. This Friday night we moon worshipers will be treated to an eclipse, comet and full moon. Get  your silver candies and white robes ready! A celestial treat awaits us in the cosmos. Be sure not to miss it.

It’s almost time to plan our gardens for spring. I want to add a raised bed to my garden this year. I will use Besser stones and add soil, compost and water and watch my veggies blossom!  A raised bed has many advantages. I shall keep you posted!

Enjoy the full moon

Blessings, Lady Spiderwitch

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Flu Season Tips

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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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Imbolc Rite )O(

Imbolc celebration

 Merry meet all,

Imbolc heralds a promise of spring’s return. This post tells how to perform a ritual to honor Imbolc.

Prior to the ritual, take a warm meditative bath. Concentrate on purifying yourself of any lingering negativity. Smudge yourself and your home with cleansing incense like lavender, frankincense and sage.

Dress your altar and make sure your ritual area is clean and inviting. You will need the following items: candles, a bowl, ash, sand or salt, seven candles (ok to use tealights for this), matches or a lighter, your altar area.

Settle the tealight candles into the ash/salt/ or sand in the cauldron. Light the first candle. It is now ok to say a prayer or chant something.

The light returns within and without/ In the chill of winter I now seek life.

Light the second candle. Say aloud:

I call upon fire, that melts the snow and warms the hearth.
I call upon fire, that brings the light and makes new life.
I call upon fire to purify me with your flames.

Light the third candle. Say:

This light is a boundary, between positive and negative.
That which is outside, shall stay without.
That which is inside, shall stay within.

Light the fourth candle. Say:

I call upon fire, that melts the snow and warms the hearth.
I call upon fire, that brings the light and makes new life.
I call upon fire to purify me with your flames.

Light the fifth candle, saying:

Like fire, light and love will always grow.
Like fire, wisdom and inspiration will always grow.

Light the sixth candle, and say:

I call upon fire, that melts the snow and warms the hearth.
I call upon fire, that brings the light and makes new life.
I call upon fire to purify me with your flames.

Finally, light the last candle. As you do so, visualize the seven flames coming together as one. As the light builds, see the energy growing in a purifying glow.

Fire of the hearth, blaze of the sun,
cover me in your shining light.
I am awash in your glow, and tonight I am
made pure.

Concentrate on the glowing candles. Visualize that the energy from the candles is healing and empowering you. Try to think of what needs  healing in your life, personal or not. Let the candles burn down and close the circle. Feel charged by the ritual. Dispose of the candles by casting them outside. 

Blessed Be, Lady Spiderwitch

Credit to Abut.com for ritual information.

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Imbolg Customs

 

Merry meet all,

Imbolg has many traditions and customs. One of the most popular customs is the Corn Dolly. The doll can be kept on a Bride’s bed to bless the home with fertility and fortune. If you created a corn doll at Lammas, then you can use the doll more often. Dress the doll in the corresponding colors of Imbolc, red, white and even green. This act shifts the corn doll from Crone to the Spring Maiden. You can also create a corn doll in oats, rye or wheat.

To make a corn doll, bind together an ear of maize or a sheaf of oats. Choose straw or sheafs in good condition. Soak them in lukewarm water. Let dry. When it is ready, drape the doll in white clothing, lace handkerchiefs or white cloth and lace. You can add ribbons or  beads. Concentrate on your intention as you make the doll.

When Imbolg is over, use the doll to bless your garden and grains. Find her a place of honor to rest for the coming year. Or ask her for her blessings in your kitchen. I would consider putting a loop on her head and hanging her in your kitchen at a window. Then she can bless your kitchen all year.

BRIGIT’S BED

Make a Brigit’s bed near a hearth fire. First clean your home thoroughly and smudge with lavender and sage. Decorate the home with white candles, ribbons and flowers. Make a small bed for her to lie down on. The bed can be a wooden box with a small piece of cotton on it. Put a corn doll man next to her or a broom.

Say or chant a blessing on your Bride doll. Place white and  candles near the doll and bed. Leave offerings and a chant a prayer to ask for her favor.

Have a merry Imbolc

Blessings, Lady Spiderwitch  )O(

 

 

 

 

 

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Brigit, the ancient Goddess )O(

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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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