Sunday, December 30, 2012

More Magical Hyssop

If you’ve been following my Basic Magical Herbs course posts, you’ll have already read a little about Hyssop in Lesson 3. Here is some information on this fabulous herb from one of my favorite authors:

Hyssop: Nature’s Medicinal Storeroom by Susan Pesznecker in Llewellyn’s 2013 Herbal Almanac

“Hyssop (pronounced HIH-supp)…A member of the mint family, hyssop has a wide range of medicinal uses and is particularly good for winter colds and flu as well as being a potent immune stimulant.”

“Hyssop has a wide range of uses in medicinal herbalism. In ancient times, it was regarded as a general use herb that could treat or cure almost anything.”

The camphor in hyssop helps to “dilate the bronchial tree, easing breathing” while the terpene marrubin “is known to be a strong expectorant…Topically, hyssop infusions are both cleaning and stimulating, making them good for treating circulatory problems, infections, and fatigued muscles and joints…The antiseptic volatile oils in hyssop make the infusions useful in treating simple wounds and wound infections. A strong hyssop infusion also makes a relaxing, restorative bath.” (See more on herbal baths here)

“Taken orally, a hyssop infusion promots calm and relaxation and has generally sedative properties. It aids treatment of lung infections by opening the airways, stimulating mucus formation, and stimulating expectoration.”

 “[Hyssop’s] name translates with almost no change from the ancient Greek, and hyssop is mentioned in the Christian Bible (which identifies it as an herb used in cleansing holy places) and in the works and writings of many ancient and medieval herbalists including Hippocrates, Dioscordes and Galen.
“Hippocrates mentioned hyssop to treat pleurisy and lung congestion, and both Dioscorides and Galen likewise recorded its use for asthma and a number of other respiratory conditions.”
“From the ancient Greeks to medieval folk practitioners, hyssop was regarded as an ideal herb for purification, protection, and cleansing.”

Magical uses include:

  • Being hung in bunches for protection against the evil eye
  • Being used for smudging
  • The Catholics of today use hyssop in the aspergillum to purify with holy water

In cooking and beverage:

  • The ancient Romans used hyssop in an intoxicating and fragrant wine
  • It is one of the main herbal constituents of Absinthe
  • Medieval folks used it to preserve meat (or just hide the smell of slow spoilage)

More Metaphysical Hawthorn

Not too long ago, I eagerly posted information about the metaphysical uses of Hawthorn and how beneficial this plant is. I wasn't able to add the information from the article I read that actually inspired me to use hawthorn but, while packing, I found the book the article is in and I wanted to share some of the information in it with you all.
To read my original post on Hawthorn, please go HERE.

Four Roses: Tree Medicine from the Rose Family by Darcey Blue French in Llewellyn’s 2013 Herbal Almanac

Hawthorn is listed as having cooling, drying, sweet, sour, and astringent energetics as well as stimulant, relaxant, antioxidant, tonic, nutritive, nervine, and cadiac actions.

“Hawthorn is most famous for its use as a heart tonic, addressing both the physical and emotional heart. Hawthorn is a nourishing food and medicine and is generally considered very safe. The fruits are rich in bioflavonoids, vitamins and minerals that nourish the blood and the heart by protecting from free radicals and oxidative damage. Hawthorn has been used traditionally for as a tonic for weak hearts, congenital defects, and general cardiovascular health…hawthorn is a beautiful ally to help protect the heart.”

French feels comfortable recommending hawthorn to people on other heart medications excluding blood thinners with the recommendation that these same people monitor their heart health regularly, especially hawthorn can decrease the need for medications.

“It Is important to remember that hawthorn is tonic and astringent and generally appropriate for folks who lack tone in the cardiovascular system. This may manifest as a weak heart, either energetically or physically. One may be pale, easily winded, or have poor circulation to the external parts of the body, because the tissues are flaccid and weak. Astringent tonics help to tighten, tone, and strengthen such tissues to improve circulation.

Hawthorn is a remarkable ally for what the Chinese call ‘disturbed shen.’ Shen is the word used for spirit, the spirit that resides in the heart and makes up our mental/emotional/spiritual state of mind. We understand this in the West when we speak up heartsickness or heartbreak. What we feel with our hearts can result in a strong physical sensation in that area, such as ache, palpitations, emptiness, and pressure.”

French lists Hawthorn as a remedy for such disturbed shen conditions as “anxiety, restlessness, nightmares, dreaminess/fantasy, insomnia, heartsickness or heartache, fear, panic, or trauma/PTSD.”

“Hawthorn is a powerful ally to anyone suffering in a situation where their heart needs extra protection emotionally and spiritually. This calming nervine brings the heart and spirit back into alignment; improves circulation of blood, oxygen, and life force; and restores balance and strength to the spirit and heart.”

Saturday, December 29, 2012

An Air Ritual - Polyamory Communication Invocation

I recently received a fantastic book - Pagan Polyamory: Becoming a Tribe of Hearts by Raven Kaldera
and I wanted to share a wonderful ritual within that uses the powers of Air and an Air invocation that really resonated with me. I also wanted to share it as I recently wrote about Air as the first of the Airts in my First Degree learning (which you can read about Air and its Correspondences HERE).

Communication Invocation

(I wanted to say that before the ritual, Kaldera explains the importance of a group breathing exercise in which everyone sits in a circle and breaths deeply until all are in unison)

"The center space is laid with a fan, a knife, and a talking stick. First, all share in a breathing exercise together. Then the first individual speaks:
Hail, powers of air!
You are the breath in our bodies,
the same breath shared by each of us, 
without which there can be no life.
We come before you strong in our knowledge
that we are on the same side together,
that we are bound by love and are not enemies,
that the happiness of one is the key to the happiness of all.
Breath in and know that this is true.
Hear us, powers of air!

The second speaker takes up the fan and gently fans the next person in the circle. The second person takes the fan and fans the next individual, and so it is passed until everyone has received the gift of wind. While this is going on, the second speaker says:
Hail, powers of air!
You are the wind of change
that blow through our minds.
We come before you open to changing
if that is what is necessary
to keep a balance strong between us.
We will not fear change,
even when it is less than comfortable,
for you are the power of the rising sun,
the glory of dawn,
and all new beginnings.
Hear us, powers of air!

The third speaker takes up the knife between their two hands and presses it reverently to their third eye, and then passes it on. Each in turn repeats the gesture, while the third speaker says:
Hail, powers of air!
You are the knife's edge
separating one thing from another,
untangling the threads of our knotted feelings. 
We come before you ready to feel your edge,
even when it cuts deep,
for the sharp glance of another may see
what we have hidden from ourselves.
And yet, we promise not to abuse that edge,
nor to slash carelessly at each others' souls,
so that every cur made is the sugeon's scalpel,
taken into the service of healing
rather than destruction.
Hear us, powers of air!

Then the fourth speaker picks up the talking stick and says:
Hail, powers of air!
You are the power of words, 
the song of meaning,
the stream of communication,
the many stories of language,
we swear to try our best
to learn each others' language,
that understanding may always flow between us.
Gift us with the knowledge of the perfect word,
the perfect phrase, the right thing
that will resolve each argument
and yet not stifle the flow of feeling
from whence it sprang.
Hear us, powers of air!

The fourth speaker then says:
I come to this circle to speak only truth,
Holding forth only hope,
seeing only friends,
and giving each their say.

Each person, as they take the talking stick should repeat this short verse. The discussion can now commence in whatever order the polyamorous family prefers."

If you've read my article on air correspondences and are like me and always feel that herbs and such can give a ritual a boost, you might consider cleansing the space before the group gathers, lighting incense, or sharing an herbal infusion using the herbs and scents that correspond with Air.

Blessed Be,

Friday, December 28, 2012

Basic Magical Herbs Lesson 7

Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)

Medicinal Uses: spasms, inflammation, clears toxins

A Druid's Herbal for the Sacred Earth Year by Ellen Evert Hopman says of Parsley:
"Parsley is a diuretic and helpful for gravel and stone as well as for edema, jaundice and kidney problems...The oil of the seed (five to fifteen drops) has been used to bring on menstruation."
(Persons with weak kidneys should avoid this herb.)

Magickal Uses: lust, protection, purification

A Druid's Herbal says of Parsley:
"Parsley was using in funeral rites by the Greeks; it was held sacred to Persephone. It was wound into funeral wreaths and used to decorate tombs."

The Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells lists parsley for protection and cleansing:

Parsley Protection Spell 1
"P is for protection - and for parsley, too. That's why it's used for a garnish; parsley on your plate keeps your food free of any low-level spirits attempting to sneak inside you via your food."
Parsley Protection Spell 2
"Garnish yourself with parsley's protection. Wear a sprig of parsley to provide protection wherever you travel."

Parsley Bath
"This bath is not suitable for use during pregnancy.
Make an infusion by pouring boiling water over an entire bunch of parsley and one sliced parsley root. Add the infusion to bathwater."
(See more on ritual baths HERE)

Bee Balm (Monarda officinalis)

Medicinal Uses: insect repellent, Anxiety, Sedative, lowers blood pressure

Magickal Uses: love, success, healing

"Although Bee Balm is somewhat of a giant in medicine and aromatherapy applications, uses in folklore and magic are surprisingly rather sketchy and hard to find for this herb.  Of course, for purifying and relaxation spells, Bee Balm is top notch when leaves and flowers are tied in a cloth and placed under hot running bathwater, and as such, this is considered a good addition to spells or rituals concerning peace, happiness, contentment, restfulness, and ridding oneself of negative energies or hexes.
Of course, Bee balm is an excellent herb either alone or combined with other herbs for any spell or ritual that calls for a tea or infusion, and it tastes good too!" (From Gardens Ablaze)

"Use in spells or rituals concerning peace, happiness, contentment, restfulness, and ridding oneself of negative energies or hexes. Bee Balm is bound to Air and Mercury, and due to the influence of both of these (Air for intellect and Mercury for success), it is believed to be a good herb for money and success in business-related spells. Carry a few leaves in your wallet to attract money, or rub leaves on the skin before a business meeting or job interview for success." (From Natures Alive)

Datura (Datura stramonium)

Medicinal Uses: asthma, gastrointestinal, boils (in pharmaceuticals)

Magickal Uses: hex breaking, sleep, protection from evil, spell breaking

Datura Leaf Shoe Spell 
(In the Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells)
"This is an old spell, but be cautious: not only is datura poisonous, it's also a skin irritant. Place datura leaves in your shoes, then place these shoes under the bed facing the wall to encourage sleep."

Pictured is a Datura Clay Sculpture by Cathy Kiffney Studio

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Wiccan Ethics: Learning from Others

Today I wanted to write a little bit about Learning from Others as a Wiccan. By Learning from others, today, I mean specifically Learning from Other Religions or paths or practices that may be similar to Wicca or may be very different.

I mostly wanted to share a few things I've read recently that resonated with me and encourage you, dear reader, if you are wiccan, to open yourself up to learning other truths from other paths even if they are not your own. Open your mind up to the universe and all the beauty and knowledge it can share.

The first thing I wanted to share with you is something I learned very recently - the lesson came to me in a form of a blog post by Karen Maezen Miller, author of Momma Zen and the blog Cheerio Road. Miller is a Buddhist and a Mother of a daughter and so her posts are usually about Buddhism, mindful parenting, etc.
The lesson I recently learned from her is about the Buddhist concept of Attachment that she wrote about in a blog post called the Rose Colored Carpet:

"Although I'm bothered to do so, I thought I would revisit the briar patch of attachment. We are so attached to what we think attachment means. We are always attached to what we think things mean, to what we think things are, and that is the cause of all suffering...

The truth is never the phony thing we attach to.

This is how Buddha saw the truth. He saw it as it is. This is the way we all see it, and although we may not want to accept it, we will experience it just the same.

1. Life means suffering. Things change.
2. The origin of suffering is attachment. It hurts when things change.
3. The cessation of suffering is attainable. Accept that things change.
4. There is a way out of suffering. You can change yourself."

This actually brings me back to a time not so long ago when I was doing a tarot reading for my girlfriend. I pulled out the major arcana card Death. She became worried and it took a very long time for me to explain to her that Death simply means CHANGE. Change can be good or bad but if we are attached to what is changing, it can hurt and cause a lot of fear and worry. I think this is the real reason this card has the grim reaper on it and says Death - change can cause a good deal of fear and there are very few people that do not fear Death or the concept of death.

Accepting change and accepting Death in all his forms is a way of releasing attachment, releasing fear, living with the flow of the Universe. This is something Wiccans, I think, can certainly resound with.

The other thing that I've learned recently comes from my new studies in Reiki with the Witch School sister site Reiki School.
It is from my very first lesson about the 5 Reiki Principles

I. Just for today, do not anger
II. Just for today, do not worry
III.Honor your parents, teachers and elders
IV. Earn your living honestly
V. Show gratitude to every living thing

I am trying to take these one at a time, even though they seem very simple. Do not Anger and Do not Worry Today are the two that I struggle with in the now. I've added 2 new mantras in my daily meditation and grounding practices that I also find myself saying throughout the day.

"I acknowledge my worry/fear and I release this worry/fear because it is not beneficial to me."
"I acknowledge my anger and I release it as it is non-beneficial to me."

I use the worry one in the morning because it seems lately the first thing I think of in the morning are all the things that stress me out in my life - all the things I have to get done or something bad will happen. I say my mantra as I ground myself and release any non beneficial energies for the day and seal up my aura to protect myself from negativity. I have found that less and less do I wake up to a stress-filled mind.

The anger mantra I find myself using when I am about to speak in anger to someone - more recently my husband or my mother or grandmother. I saw the mantra and try to take a moment to understand their view point. He is doing this because he too is worried about our situation and he is doing the best he can even though his focus is scattered and therefore forgot/ignored/etc what I felt was important. She wants what is best for me even though her view of what is best does not resound with my own desires or will. She believes with all her heart her own faith and I need to respect that even if she does not respect mine.

I tend to say my mantras three times with deep breaths and seeking stillness in my mind. By the end I feel better and can continue on rationally.

I hope that you, dear reader, may have learned something new from this post, even if it is that I have a mildly scattered way of writing.

Love and Light,

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Chakra Meditation 1

Hello Readers,

Today I wanted to post something a little different than the usual herbal banter - don't worry, there will be more in the future - and write a little about Chakras, specifically the meditations that I use to open up my chakras.

This first meditation involves 5 of the 7 Chakras and their connection with the 4 Dharmas.
I learned this meditation from Lissa Coffey, author of What's Your Dosha? and What's Your Dharma? I met her briefly at Coptic Conference 2012 and the following is from my notes from her short lecture on Dharma and the guided meditation.

The 4 Dharmas are Karma, Bhakta, Jnana, and Raja. We all have a certain Dharma, and some of us have more than one. Our Dharma is connected with our purpose in life - or, more closely with how we see our purposes and where we place importance in our lives.

Those who have Karma Dharma (yay a rhyme!) see their purpose in life as Service. They serve god, the divine, the earth, family, friends, humanity, etc. Their mantra is "I am a Karma Yogi and my Purpose is to Serve."

The purpose of those with Bhakta Dharma is to Love. They see Love as the most important thing in life. Their mantra is "I am a Bhakti Yogi and my Purpose is to Love."

Those with Jnana Dharma see their purpose in life as Knowledge. They love to learn and see out the Truth of things. Their mantra is "I am a Jnani Yogi and my Purpose is to Know."

And lastly, those with Raja Dharma desire to Be.
This was explained to me with a story - a group of students were taken to a mango farm and told to know the Mango. Many measured the mangos, the trees, the leaves. Some tested them chemically from soil to fruit. Others still drew the trees and studied their shape and color. The Raja Yogi went up the the mango tree, picked a mango and took a bite out of it, enjoying the mangos purpose. Their mantra is "I am a Raja Yogi and my Purpose is to Be."

Strangely, the best way for me to remember the Dharmas is by connecting them to the houses of Hogwarts - Karma is Hufflepuff, Bhakta is Gryffindor, Jnanni is Ravenclaw, and Raja is Slytherin.

The guided meditation:

After taking a few deep breaths and finding stillness...
"With your eyes closed, look up at your third eye chakra. See it as a window (mine happens to look like a white triangle at first). Start by bringing in yellow light and guiding that light down into your stomach, your solar plexus chakra. This is the seat of Karma Dharma. See your solar plexus bathed and fed by the yellow light. As it fills repeat the Karma mantra "I am a Karma Yogi and my purpose is to Serve."
When your solar plexus feels full, look back up at the third eye. Bring in green light this time and guide this light to your chest, your heart chakra, the seat of Bhakta Dharma. See the light filling the heart chakra and repeat the Bhakti mantra, "I am a Bhakta Yogi and my purpose is to Love."
When the heart feels full of green light, look back up at your third eye and see the light change to blue. Bring the blue light down into the throat chakra. This is the seat of Jnana Dharma. See your throat filling with blue light and repeat the Jnana mantra, "I am a Jnani Yogi and my purpose is to Know."
When the throat feels full, look back up at the third eye and see the light change to violet. Guide the violet light this time up to the top of the head. This is the Crown chakra and the seat of Raja Dharma. See the crown chakra fill with violet light and repeat the Raja mantra, "I am a Raja Yogi and my purpose is to Be."

After the meditation, relax, release, ground.

(sorry if this written guided meditation seems...not very guided. Its my first time really writing one.)

I hope that this meditation and short bit of information helps you as much as it helped me.
Feel free to use the links above to learn what your Dharma is.

What do you think my Dharma is?

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Basic Magical Herbs: Lesson 6

Welcome to the halfway point! Only 5 more lessons to go, only 15 more herbs until I am finished with the Basic Herbs 101 course on Witch School! Thank you all for joining me on these posts. I hope you are learning as much as I am.

Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)

Medicinal Uses: Mild anti-hypertensive, in large quantities can lower blood pressure
The historical (untested) use of Allium schoenoprasum was to expel worms and intestinal parasites, and as a mild antiseptic.
Chinese medicine suggests chives be used for colds, flu, and lung congestion.

Magickal Uses: protection against evil and diseases
This herb quickly gained the reputation of chasing away evil spirits and disease.  For this reason is was planted outside the windows of young children and brought indoors to the kitchen.  It was not uncommon to see Chive bundles hanging from ceilings and tied to bedposts.

Lavender (Lavendula augstifolia)

Medicinal Uses: indigestion, headaches, skin complaints

The essential oil is used for migraines and dizziness, eases toothaches, and used for hysteria. Lavender is antiseptic and useful in salves. The leaf is used against nausea and vomiting. Lavender, rose petals and white wine steeped for two weeks creates an antidepressant.

Because the essential oil is safe in diluted form to use on children, I often use it on the children in my family for sub burns and to help them sleep when anxious. Add a drop to a scarf for them to hold or add a few drops to aloe gel to put on them after a burn.

Magickal Uses: love, protection, purification

Strewn in bonfires at Midsummer, ingredient in love spells, and brings peace and healing into the home.
Used with Sandalwood to make contact with the spirit world.

I've also found lavender used in many bath spells whether for its soothing or aphrodisiac properties. (See more on ritual baths here)
Pictures is a Lavender Bath Spell from The Three Wise Cats. "Use this spell to help ease away the stress and tension of the day. Turn off the lights and turn on some soothing music as you follow the instructions to a calm and relaxing feeling free of stress and tension."
You can purchase this spell on Etsy Here.

A herb used in handfastings as part of the ritual chalice, worn or carried on those participating. Adversely, lavender can be used in protection spells against an abusive spouse.

Lavender Safety Spells
"Allegedly lavender minimizes spousal abuse and cruelty."

Lavender Safety Spell 1
"Add essential oil of lavender and/or lavender hydrosol to your bath."
Lavender Safety Spell 2
"Safety-pin a sprig of lavender within your clothing."

Burning during labor and child birth, and is used by some as part of the herbal blend to preserve placenta. It is also one of the herbs of choice at baby blessings and the oil is gentle enough that it can be used, diluted, on children.

Birth Chamber Aroma Spell
"Diffuse essential oil of lavender through an aroma burner to soothe the mother's fears, welcome the new born, and stimulate emergence. This scent also beckons beneficial fairies."

Yew (Taxus baccata)
Each part of the yew is poisonous except for the skin of the red berry which can be eaten if great care is taken not the break the seed and it spit out whole.

Medicinal Uses: According the Ellen Hopman, Yew is a powerful healer. The Medicinal properties of yew are found in the shoots and bark. The property found in yew, taxol, has been used to treat cancer. It has also been used to treat asthma, bronchitis, epilepsy, indigestion, and rheumatism.

Magickal Uses: Raising the dead, Wands are made from the wood.

Burned to contact spirits of the dead, is the central “world tree” in Celtic ritual, and is a Celtic symbol of stability.

In A Druid’s Herbal of Sacred Tree Medicine by Ellen Evert Hopman, the Yew has its own chapter as on of the 5 sacred trees of the Druids.
Yew, called Idad (ITH-ath) was the traditional tree planted at graveyards due to its associations with death and immortality.
The word Ogham of Morainn mic Moin called yew “oldest of trees” because it can live for thousands of years. It is the longest lived tree of the continent of Europe.
Yew is a powerful symbol of death and resurrection because when a “mother tree” dies, she sends up shoots in a circle around her that are technically the same tree.

Slivers of yew wood were burned to purify a place much like sage is used for smudging by the Native Americans.
The Hittites called the yew “eyan” and used it for protection from demons and disease.

Yew was used for dowsing, as the raw material for ritual tools and boxes, and the “yew of resilience” was one of the nine sacred woods used in Celtic ritual fires. It was also used in sacrifices, wreathing a black bull for Hecate, and is also sacred to the fae.

Pictured is a set of Elder Furthark Runes in Yew from GreenWoman Crafts.
"These are beautiful handmade runes. The runes were cut from the same branch of yew; they were sanded and then pyrographed (burnt) with the rune.
The runes are of the Elder Futhark system, and as such include 24 runes. An extra blank rune in case of loss is included.
The Yew tree, is thought by many to be Yggdrasil, the great World Tree of Norse mythology, the yew tree has existed since before the Ice Age. Associated with everlasting life, rebirth and transformation, it is used magically for seeking visions, travelling between worlds and exploring the mysteries of life and death."
You can buy the pictured runes on Etsy Here.

It is said that the druids bath their dead in a bath of yew to bring them back to life. This could be understood literally – perhaps the Druid’s knew of its cancer treating properties – or figuratively as a form of rebirth into the afterlife.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Airts, Herbalism: Air - East

As part of my magical studies of the Correllian First Degree, I am studying the Airts or the Quarters, and, of course, with an herbal twist I will be sharing with you a small part of what I am learning in relating the Airts one at a time to their corresponding herbs, oils, plants, trees, etc.


In the Sacred Circle, Air or East is the first quarter called because all things start with thought, which is the domain of Air. Air's domain also covers intuition, knowing ones self, and discrimination of thought.
Some Air Deities include the Celtic goddesses Anu, Don, and Eostra; Aeolus (Greek), Ehecatl (Mexican), Fujin (Japanese), Njord (Norse), Pazuzu (Assyrian), Vayu (Hindu).
In the Zodiac, Air is represented by Libra, Aquarius and Gemini.
I share this before getting into the herbs because some of the herbs relating to Air related also to these deities and expressions of this element.

In my Basic Magical Herbs 101 course, I have covered these Air Herbs:

According to my Witch School class on the Airts, Air corresponds to:

  • Yellow flowers or spring such as daffodils; blossom, crocuses
  • Wind pollinated trees such as willow
  • Scents and oils such as orange blossom or light incenses

Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham:

  • Acacia
  • Agaric
  • Agrimony
  • Almond
  • Anise
  • Arabic, Gum
  • Aspen
  • Banyan
  • Bean
  • Benzoin
  • Bergamot
  • Bistort
  • Bittersweet
  • Bohdi
  • Borage
  • Bracken
  • Brazil Nut
  • Bromelaid
  • Broom
  • Carraway
  • Chicory
  • Citron
  • Clover
  • Dandelion
  • Dock
  • Elecampane
  • Endive
  • Eyebright
  • Fenugreek
  • Filbert
  • Goat's Rue
  • Goldenrod
  • Hazel
  • Hops
  • Houseleek
  • Lavender
  • Lemongrass
  • Lemon Verbena
  • Lily of the Valley
  • Linden Flowers
  • Mace
  • Male Fern
  • Maple
  • Marjoram
  • Mastic
  • Meadowsweet
  • Mints
  • Mistletoe
  • Mulberry
  • Oregano
  • Palm
  • Papyrus
  • Parsley
  • Pecan
  • Pimpernel
  • Pine
  • Pistachio
  • Rice
  • Sage
  • Savory
  • Senna
  • Slippery Elm 
  • Southernwood
  • Wax Plant
  • White Pine

The Zodiac and Herbs

Libra's herbal correspondences:
Alkanet, Daisy, Dog-Rose, Elderberry, Ephedra, Feverfew, Lady-Mantle, Motherwort, Neem, Pennyroyal, Thyme, Uvaursi, Vervain

Aquarius' herbal correspondences:
Arnica, Balm-of-Gilead, Belladona, Blue-Bottle, Cannabis, Fumitory, Gravel-Root, Gingko, Horsetail, Knapweed, Solomon's Seal

Gemini's herbal correspondences:
Caraway, Dill, Devil's Claw, Elecampane, Fenugreek, Horehound, Lavender, Licorice, Marjoram, Oregano, Parsley, Pleurisy, Redclover, Umbrella-plant

Wiccan Ethics: Why Degrees?

The Degree System in wicca and some other forms of paganism is something that varies from one tradition to the other and is also a system that I have found to be very little understood. 

I found a simple definition of degrees and the degree system on

"A Degree shows that the student has spent time learning, studying and practicing...the initiate studies and typically follows a lesson plan designated by the coven's High Priestess or High Priest. Such a lesson plan might include books to read, written assignments to turn in, public activities, demonstration of skills or knowledge obtained, etc."

Usually, traditions will have 3 Degrees and my focus in this post will be on the First Degree. 

You might be wondering what degrees have to do with ethics. 
I have found that the First Degree in wiccan circles of conversation to be grossly misrepresented and misunderstood. 
The First Degree is not, or should not be in my humble opinion, merely given to someone because a coven or tradition wants that person to be a part of their group. It is not an honorary degree or one that should be taken lightly. 
I state this in ethics because to give someone a first degree status is to not only lessen the status in those that are working for it but to also fail to give that person with that honorary status no chance of truly learning or attaining the knowledge that they could have. 

I think this article taken from states it best even though they are not of the same tradition as myself:

What is a First Degree? 
          Many  persons feel that the first degree initiation is  something  
          that  a person receives simply because this group or that  wishes  
          to accept a person into their circle. 
          In the my tradition, as a first degree, you ARE a priest/ess, and  
          as  such  you carry responsibilities.  In  some  traditions,  the  
          knowledge  you have gained during your first degree studies  will  
          qualify you for a third degree in that tradition.  But let's look  
          at it a minute. 
          As I have stated, as a first degree, you ARE a priest/ess.   What  
          does this mean?  In other faiths, you must go to seminary or  its  
          equivalent for a period of at least 5 years to obtain this  goal.  
          When  you  leave  there, you are knowledgeable in  not  only  the  
          beliefs  of  your  faith,  but  also  it's  history,  sects,  and  
          doctrines.  You have been trained to be a counselor, helper,  and  
          friend  to your parishioners.  You have had training  in  dealing  
          with  problems  within  your church,  your  community,  and  "the  
          enemy".  Basically, you have been given the trust of your  church  
          to be knowledgeable, loving, caring, and trustworthy.   
          Should a Priest/ess in the craft be expected to be any less?   As  
          an Isian, the answer is a resounding NO!   
          During  your first degree studies, you are the equivalent  of  an  
          Associate  Pastor/Minister/Whatever.  You are now in training  to  
          eventually  have your own coven, or if you wish to  be  solitary,  
          you  are  in training to be able to defend your religion  to  the  
          outside world if the need arises. 
          What are the responsibilities of a First Degree in my tradition? 
          As always, in the this tradition, you are required to  constantly  
          be learning and growing.  This does not mean that you have to  be  
          constantly be learning about the craft, but about yourself,  your  
          community, Mother Earth, etc.  This responsibility does not cease  
          even   when   you  receive  your  third  degree.    This   is   a  
          responsibility to yourself. 

                         Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 


          Some of your responsibilities to the coven are listed below: 
          1.) To grow within the craft.  
          2.)  Observe  and  participate in all circle  functions  of  your  
          degree or lower. 
          3.)  To  assist in preparation for all circle functions  of  your  
          degree or lower. 
          4.)  To assist any student of a lessor grade in  his/her  studies  
          when asked by this student for assistance. 
          5.)  To contribute at least one research paper of 10 pages (5  if  
          single spaced) or more on the craft subject of your choice. 
          6.) Contribute in some manner to each sabbat or public  gathering  
          either  by  time, monies for supplies, or bringing  something  to  
          share  either during or after event.  Time could be  by  arriving  
          early to help set up, staying a little later and helping to clean  
          up  after, preparing and sharing a workshop (if open workshop  is  
          scheduled),  making  phone calls to remind people of  the  event,  
          7.)  Contribute  to ideas for coven gatherings and  help  arrange  
          same. (Remember, all things do not happen at Covenstead!)  
          8.)  Be aware of any conflicts within Circle, and bring  this  to  
          the  attention of the HP/HPS (even if that's where  the  conflict  
          9.)  Be  prepared  to accept the responsibility of  a  circle  or  
          ritual should something happen to your HP/S. 
          To  some  people, this may seem like a lot of  expectations,  but  
          keep  in mind.  We are not are not training  "week-end  witches."  
          You are in training to be a Priest/ess of Wicca.   
          Your  first degree is something to be proud of.  You have  worked  
          hard  and long to receive it, and your HP/S has found you  worthy  
          of same.   
          May the Lord and Lady smile on your efforts. 

                         Last amended June 11, 1989

I am proud to be training hard to attain my First Degree in the Correllian Tradition of Wicca. 

Blessed Be,


Monday, December 17, 2012

The Crone

The Crone

In modern pop-culture, the Crone is seen as both Wicked Witch and Fairy Godmother. I believe that this is a concept not very far from the truth. The Crone, as the aspect of the Goddess, is the elder wise woman with knowledge of all magic.

In First Degree Lesson 2, Reverend Don Lewis describes the Crone as “the Great Sorceress” and “the Hallowe’en Witch.”  For many, the Crone is the ideal Goddess of the witch in that she is the one who holds the power of magic in her hands. She is a guide for all witches to the inner secrets and deepest knowledge.
She is also the guardian of the veil, not only between this world and the astral plane but also between life and death and rebirth. The Crone is called “the Destroyer” in that she is the Goddess of Death, which, for many, brings an image of fear.

Fear of the Crone
“In many minds today, Crone is synonymous with wrinkled, dependent, frail, debilitated, ugly, grotesque, dispensable, useless, or unimportant old woman.” Ruth Gardner explains in Celebrating the Crone that this was caused by the events that formed the image of crones and witches in the mind of society including the inquisition, the burning times and the degradation of women.
I believe that Rev. Lewis was correct in saying, “People who do not possess wisdom often fear it, thus is the Crone Goddess often feared as well.” In our society, when people fear something or someone they tend to degrade it, make it into something they can look down upon and over power. This may be one of the many causes of so many fairy tales depicting the defeat of the wicked witch.

My Relationship with the Crone
The Crone is a Goddess with whom I have a very deep relationship with and connection to. She has been my Patron Deity since I was fourteen years old. Also, the Spirit Guide who aids me and whom I channel during divination spells takes the form of a crone. Many of the divination tools I own I have blessed by invoking Her, and most were bought with Her in mind such as my rainbow obsidian sphere that I call my Crone’s Eye.

I first connected with the Crone during winter of 2002 while I was meditating and asking for guidance as a witch and as a budding woman. I began by lying on the bed, eyes closed in the yogic corpse position. I then received a vision that both astonished and absolutely terrified me. A woman dressed in black was leaning over me from the headboard, which I only later admitted was impossible physically as the headboard was pressed against the wall. Her appearance was scary in that she seemed an old woman with a slightly hunched back, long spider-webby white hair, and a harshly pointed, slightly crooked nose. The most terrifying part of her appearance was that she had no eyes. In place of them were two black holes that seemed to be filled with the darkness of space itself.

My fear was so great at how real and physical this woman seemed, I cried out and fell out of bed to get as much distance between her and myself as possible. My cry was loud enough for my grandmother, who was downstairs, to come up and check on me. When I told her what I saw, she automatically assumed I had been dreaming and offered to bring me a cup of warm milk and honey to help me sleep.
That night I stayed awake wondering about this vision as, at that time, it was the most vivid I had ever had when awake. Since that night, I have come to love this apparition and seek her guidance in most of my magical work that uses any form of divinatory practice.

Seeking the Crone
Just as any other facet or face of Deity is associated with certain aspects of the Divine, so is the Crone. The Great Sorceress can be called upon for any magic, but her closest association is in divination, shadow work, endings and new beginnings.
A witch can find great success in calling upon the Crone when performing magic associated with:

  • ·         Aging
  • ·         Menstruating or Menopause
  • ·         A need to end something
  • ·         Project has come to an end
  • ·         Exploring the unconscious realm
  • ·         Shadow work – exploring trauma, negativity, depression
  • ·         Improve psychic skills
  • ·         Feeling of being threatened
  • ·         Put the past behind you/begin anew
  • ·         Need to retreat and rest
  • ·         Facing death or a loved one is dying
  • ·         Connect to ancestors
  • ·         Desire to explore deep mysteries
  • ·         Need for deep wisdom

The Names and Correspondences of the Crone
“Through the years, the Crone has been called by many names…All of these (and others) reside within each of us.” – Ruth Gardner
Crone goddesses include Cerridwen (Celtic), Grandmother Spiderwoman (Native American), Ereshkigal (Sumerian), Hekate (Greek), Kali (Indian), Lilith (Hebrew), Nephthys (Egyptian), and XochiQuetzel (Mexican).

Hekate is the face of the Crone I have the most knowledge of. In First Degree Lesson 2, Hekate is “the Great Crone Goddess of ancient Greece, patroness of magic and wisdom, and a Goddess of the Spirit World.” She is said to be associated with the Egyptian Goddess Hekat, which, linguistically, would make sense as well as the fact that Hekat and Hekate share associations with deep mysteries and magic. Hekat, also spelled Hequit, is the Goddess of magic and midwifery, giver of wealth and wisdom. She was also considered associated with Nut and Hathor, just as Hekate is linked to Demeter and Artemis or Persephone as a completion of the Maiden, the Mother and the Crone.
The priestesses of Hekate were considered especially powerful in ancient times when her worship was at its height. Powerful priestesses even ruled as queens in some societies especially preluding the fall of Troy in which Hekabe or Hekuba ruled and is known for cursing the wandering Odysseus.  Hekate’s worship continued strongly until it was forced underground by the Romans and even there continued in some covens who were said to meet at the fountain of Hekate Trevia during the full moon.

Crone Correspondences:

  • Waning/Dark Moon
  • Late Fall/Winter
  • Direction: West or North
  • Time: Dusk
  • Sabbat: Samhain
  • Tarot: Queen of Swords, The Moon
  • Planet: Saturn
  • Color: Indigo, Black
  • Herbs: Nightshade, fly agaric, vervain, aconite, mandrake, henbane, and henna
  • Incense: Mugwort, star anise, myrrh
  • Essential oil: sage, cedar
  • Animals: Flesh eating birds – Owls, Vultures, Ravens, Crows. Spiders
  • Number: 6
  • Chakra: Third Eye/Pituitary, Crown/Pinneal
  • Body Part: Eyes
  • Magical Correspondences: Divination (especially scrying), Prophecy, Shadow work, Banishing, Devoking, Transformation.

The Witch School First Degree by Rev. Don Lewis Lesson 2 “Crone Goddesses”
Hecates “Hecate the Crone”
Order White
Celebrating the Crone by Ruth Gardner. Llewellyn “Hequit-Hekat-Hekate and the hags of Ancient Egypt” by Saeth

***Essay created for Lesson 2 in my First Degree studies 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Basic Magical Herbs Lesson 5

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)

Medicinal Uses: Stomach, pulmonary, whooping cough
has been used for fever and antiseptic properties.

Magical Uses: sleep, psychic powers, courage
Burned in ancient temples

The Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells lists Thyme for its use in healing, irresistibility spells, pillows, and psychic power spells.

Thyme Anti-infection Spell
"Thyme's name derives from the Greek thymos, "to smoke" or "fumigate." Burn thyme so that its aroma permeates an area to ward off infectious disease."

Thyme Pillow
"Stuff dream pillows with thyme to ward off melancholia."
"Dream pillows stuffed with powdered thyme allegedly relieve and prevent seizure disorders."

The Dream Pillow pictured contains a blend of Thyme, Lavender, Bay leaf, Chamomile, and Rosemary and can be purchased through Etsy at DesignsByBellaMoon.

In A Druid's Herbal for the Sacred Earth Year by Ellen Evert Hopman:

"Garden known primarily as a lung cleanser and an herb to dry up moist lung conditions. Thyme tea is excellent for babies with moist coughs.
'Is is used to help expel the afterbirth and also as a wound herb, because of its antiseptic properties...Combine thyme and rosemary for migraine headaches...
'Thyme is a house blessing herb and is used as incense to encourage health. It brings vitality and strength to one who carries it while walking. A classic for healing spells, it is placed near the bed to ward off nightmares. Wear the herb to enhance psychic powers...
'It is burned to purify a ritual space and used in the ritual bath to wash away the sorrows of the past (discussed here). It is sacred to Venus...
'According to one source, the plant was used by Druids as a ritual offering to the gods."

Peppermint (Menthe piperita)

Medicinal Uses: decongestant, anti-nausea, other digestive properties
Don’t use at night as it’s a slight stimulant.
Its aromatherapy properties increase memory and awareness.

The Peppermint Pink Ink pictured can be bought through Etsy at GildedQuill.

Magical Uses: lust, travel, protection, cleansing, healing

The Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells lists peppermint for an asperging spell, candle spell, distance healing, luck and success, sex and seduction, spirit summoning, and vampire banishing.

Peppermint Asperging Spell
"Creat an infusion by pouring boiling water over peppermint. Strain and use a peppermint branch to asperge as needed."

Peppermint Distance Healing Spell
"1. Place peppermint leaves on top of a photograph of the patient.
2. Charge a blue candle with your desire
3. Carve and dress the candle as desired.
4. Burn it beside the photograph.
5. When the candle has burned down, dispose of the peppermint leaves.
6. Repeat as needed, with fresh leaves each time."

Peppermint Candle Spell
"Peppermint oil, usually a benevolent component of romantic and healing spells, is also used as a hexing agent in candle spells to bring harm and unhappiness to one's enemy."
The spell is a hexing spell that leaves the intention and sought outcome up to the spell-caster with peppermint mixed with mineral oil as the candle dressing.

Luck and Success Magic
"Peppermint brings joy as well as good fortune. It cleanses stagnation, creaming room for opportunity and success."

Peppermint Chervil Sachet
"Peppermint and chervil, two lucky plants, combine synergistically to bring happiness, luck, and protection."

Combine 1 part dried chevril to 1 part dried peppermint and sew into a satchet to wear against the skin during the day and sleep with under your pillow at night.

Peppermint Floorwash
Add an infusion (tea) of peppermint to floor wash water wiht vinegar and a "little" Cascarilla powder. Use this to clean floors and thresholds "to radiate an invitation to happiness and good fortune."

In Love Magic
The book explains that Peppermint corresponds to love magic because of its mythological connection to Hades and his first love Mentha - who was transformed into the plant by Demeter after the two were caught in their affair. Mentha supposedly had her last laugh because Hades could not perform sexually without mint from there after. "Of course, the fact that peppermint was once used as a contraceptive might also have influenced the Lord of the Dead."

The book lists peppermint used a floor wash and as a powder to lure in and excite love.

In Spirit Summoning

Peppermint Present: Fragrant Steam
"Fill a cauldron with water and add fresh peppermint. Place the cauldron over a source of fire and warm it so that the aroma permeates the area."

Peppermint: Fresh Offering
"Remove peppermint leaves from their stems. Place them in an attractive bowl and set on a table or altar."

Henbane (Hyoscymus niger)

Medicinal Uses: {asthma, motion sickness, whooping cough } in pharmaceuticals.

Magickal Uses: love, rain spells

In A Druid's Herbal for the Sacred Earth Year:
Henbane was used with mandrage in early Greek temples to induce a healing sleep.
It is also a classic component of the Witch's Flying Ointment, much like Belladonna (discussed here).
Picture from WhiteMagickAlchemy

In the Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells Henbane is listed for its use in rain spells.

Make It Rain (1)
"Allegedly throwing henbane into water brings rain."
(I guess it means running water or during a weather ritual into a chalice or cauldron)

Make It Rain (2)
"Burnign henbane is meant to stimulate rainfall. Unfortunately henbane's fumes are toxic so the actual logistics of this spell are problematic."

Herbal Solstice Swap tea and seeds and oils and more

Just received my Herbal Solstice Swap gifts from Twisted Thystle and Green Journey.
I do not yet have pictures but will soon.

From Green Journey, I received seed packets - Calendula, Holy Basic, Echinaceae, Cilantro, and St. Johns Wort.

Illustrations copyright 2012 Aline Crehore

From Twisted Thystle I received

Harvest Moon Tea sampler and Sweet Ginger Body Oil

Saturday, December 8, 2012


So many people give to charities during the holidays. Whether its food for the hungry, toys for children in orphanages or foster homes or money to organizations that give relief to many, this is the time of year when people feel the most giving. 

I tend to be wary of many organizations and charities. There have been so many that have been exposed for using the money for selfish reasons or giving false information to those that are kind enough to donate. 
When I do give to charities, I try and give something other than money. Books, toys, clothes, and more are welcome to many and there isn't much of a chance a ceo of a charitable organization is going to make off with a thousand teddy bears as he is a thousand dollars. 

A Charity I am promoting this year...

Witch School/The Correllian Tradition is creating a Pagan Interfaith Library in South Africa. They are requesting books on all faiths and paths as well as divination tools to be sent to Florida where they will then be shipped to South Africa on April, 2013. I think this is a fantastic charity and one that pagans of all paths can get behind with pride. 

As of Dec. 8, 2012 there have been 121 books collected!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Basic Magical Herbs: Lesson 4

Now in Lesson 4 of Basic Magical Herbs and I'm very happy you've stuck with me in these lessons.
I posted on the Basic Herbs forum on Witch School about what I was doing here, sharing a small part of my lesson and research I've done further and here is what Reverend Sherry, the course instructor and my mentor, said:

"Thats exactly what I entended for you all to do. Basic herbs 101 & 102 are starting points for your BoS. There are so many herb websites and books that you can find information on.
Good Job!!!

:) glad you are enjoying yourself. It makes me very happy.

Oregano (Origanum vulgare)

Charlotte Branca in Herbal Legacy writes of oregano:

"Oregano has a very long history of use in folk lore. It has been used for culinary purposes, medicinal reasons, and was believed to hold magical properties as well...Ancient Greeks believed that oregano was a useful poison antidote and was used extensively both internally and externally as a fomentation to treat skin irritations and infections, dropsy, convulsions, and as an antidote for narcotic poisons. Traditional Chinese healers have also used oregano for generations to treat a variety of complaints. In Shakespearean times, oregano was used for just about anything. It is said to encourage good luck and good health. It is used in spells for happiness, tranquility, luck, health, protection and letting go of a loved one. It is believed that when worn on the head during sleep, it will promote psychic dreams. Oregano symbolizes joy. It is said to banish sadness and why not with its sweet fragrance and velvety leaves...It is believed if carried in a sachet or charm it will bring good luck and good health. It has also been used in love potions and rituals to enhance an already existing love relationship. A tea or incense is used for any of the above as well as for letting go of a loved one whether it be a husband, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, or anyone else that it hurts to leave. Growing oregano near your home is said to protect it from evil forces. It can also been carried as a charm for the same purpose. Plant Oregano around your house for protection, and scatter it inside the house to protect it as well..."

Medicinal Uses: antioxidant, colds and flu, bacterial and viral infections.

Magical Uses: rituals, love, happiness

The Encyclopedia of 1000 Spells lists Oregano for a courage bath and a spell to forget old lovers:

Oregano Courage Bath
"Bathe in an infusion of oregano (not while pregnant!) to calm nerves, regroup scattered thoughts and emotions, and to summon courage."

Oregano Spell
"The scent of oregano allegedly helps you forget old lovers...burning the dried herb as incense or heating a few drops of the essential oil in an aroma burner are...effective."

Pictures is Oregano essential oil from Oregano World which you can order Here.

Cinnamon (Cinnamonum zeylanicum)

The herb most cooks and herbalists and witches have in their kitchen. I've seen it listed in many many forums as someones favorite herb to use for so many purposes. It makes people pep up with the spice, reminds so many of us of home, brings life to a recipe, and adds appetite to life and food.

I remember the first time I used cinnamon magically was when I was working for my tarot mentor June Wright. She taught me that cinnamon was a great prosperity bringer and would burn essential oil in an aroma diffuser to bring business.

Medicinal Uses: help with diarrhea & nausea, colds

Magical Uses: spirituality, healing, stimulate psychic awareness

The Encyclopedia lists 2 cinnamon spells:

"Cinnamon casts an aura of potent protection, however derivatives of this fragrant tree bark are often too irritating to be applied directly to skin. The hydrosol is reasonably gentle. add cinnamon hydrosol (experiment to discover comfortable proportions) to bathwater to create a protection bath."

Romantic Maintenance (5) Cinnamon
"Grind pieces of cinnamon or cassia bark together with hair from your head and that of your partner's. Burn and place the ashes in a glass vial. Keep the vial in a safe place for as long as you with love to last."

Pictured is a cinnamon broom from Rita's Spiritual Goods.
"Hanging the broom on the back of your door symbolizes the sweeping away of obstacles and/or the negative influences of those who enter your home or try to. It helps you multiply earnings and draw in luck and prosperity.
It has been charmed with an I Ching coin which draws in good luck charm and also works as a protective talisman. It is also a good coin to work with for divination, so this one is perfect in the home of any reader, fortune teller or medium."
You can purchase it HERE.

Belladonna (Atropa belladonna)
The poisonous herb of the week is a very popular one in witch and magic folklore and media.
I am reminded almost immediately of this herb's use in the movie Practical Magic (1998) where Gillian Owens uses belladonna to sedate her abusive boyfriend and accidentally murders him.

Medicinal Uses: liniment, bandages, extracts, anesthesia

Magickal Uses: applied to skin an used as a sorcerers pomade in history, sacred to Hecate. Ritual oil for Dark Goddess Rites, Glamour, Astral Projection, Sex Magic, Visions, Warrior Arts
Also an herb used in the famous Witch's Flying Ointment

Herbal Solstice Swap - salves balms and oils oh my

I just received my third Herbal Solstice Swap gift today from Rosemary and Rue!

I was so excited when my hubs brought the package in from the mail. I opened it up to find four beautifully wrapped packages and a note. I waited 7 hours for my girlfriend to get home so i could use her Android phone's camera to take a picture before opening they were sooo pretty!

When I did finally open them, I was happy to receive
1 bottle of massage oil
1 bottle of aloe spray
1 herbal spiced lip salve
1 cinnamon and myrrh salve

Just as heart-warming as her gifts were, so was her little note that read:

"With Gratitude this winter season...

[HedgeWife], thank you so much for organizing this incredible circle of giving and sharing! You have been a true inspiration for me. I hope my herbal offerings find you well this winter month. I created a new formulation, cinnamon & myrrh salve, specifically for your exchange. I dearly hope you enjoy these items. Warm thoughts and green herbal blessings!

Rosemary and Rue Apothecary"

Thank you soooo much for such a sweet note hun.
Your gifts are absolutely amazing.

I'm wearing the lip balm now and its so smooth and soothing on my dry lips and smells delicious and spicy.
I will be using the massage oil on my girlfriend later this evening to give her a relaxing rub down after a very stressful day at work.
In all, they are truly a blessing.

Yuletide Blessings,


Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Herbal Tarot: 1 The Magician Astragalus

1 The Magician Astragalus

The Herbal Tarot deck book:
"Astragalus is an herb of creativity. It is a digestive and a diuretic. The root is used to increase energy and aid assimilation and digestion. It is also the most powerful herbal immune tonic known. (Mercury).
'Symbolically used for: Poor assimilation of food and ideas. Weakness, fatigue, sluggishness. Tendency to be cold.
'Divinatory Meaning: Creativity. Unlimited possibilities. Ability to do whatever one imagines or decides.
'Reverse Meanings:  A person who is too busy, too outwardly directed, selfish."

The Magician -

At #1, the Magician is the male power of creation by willpower and desire.  He draws divine power down from the heavens, molds it with that energy of thought, and makes it manifest on Earth (his finger pointing to the ground). This is that most ancient magic to make real whatever he imagines in his head merely by saying it aloud.

When I fist learned tarot, I was taught that the Magician is the card that represents one of the most basic of magical tenants - As Above, So Below.  His gestures represent this saying and he is the card of manifestation and understanding of this concept.

In the Witch School First Degree lessons, As Above, So Below is explained thus:
"What is mean by this phrase is that all of creation, whether great or small, reflects the same Divine Nature, or plan...For this reason, the same truth will be discerned in a galaxy of star and in a single grain of sand, if one is open to it."

The Magician is often represented by Mercury. Mercury is the planet and god of smooth talkers and salesmen. Also clever with the sleight of hand (Mercury *was* the god of thieves!) and a medicine man - either a real doctor or someone trying to sell you snake oil.

Astragalus (Astragalus hoantchye, Astragalus membranaceous)

Common Names:Huang qi, Yellow Leader
Gender: Masculine
Planet: Sun
Element: Fire

Medicinal Properties: Immune tonic, diuretic, lowers blood pressure, Qi tonic, Cancer

Astragalus is one of the best-researched immune system stimulants now available. It works like echinacea, in that both herbs increase the number and activity of immune cells. However, astragalus concentrates on building the immune system, and unlike echinacea, it can be taken on a daily basis.

Astragalus has also shown some vasodilatory as well as anti-inflammatory action. Its anti-inflammatory effects occur, it seems, because it inhibits the release of histamines from mast cells. Quercetin, a polyphenol, works the same way. Consequently, astragalus could help relieve hay fever and other allergic conditions.

Magical Properties: Healing, Hex Breaking, Protection, Purification, Energy.

Use Astragalus Root in magic spells and incense for concentration and to focus your energies. Excellent for using in dedication or self initiation rites.

Luci Johnson lists Astragalus in her

Kundalini Magical Potion
Astragalus and peony root, red wine.
Drink to stimulate the arousal of kundalini energies. Brings enlightenment, inner balance and understanding of the Divine Mother and Father.

as well as her Magician Tarot potion based on The Herbal Tarot:
Astragalus, schizandra and aswaganda with red wine.

***I hope that you all are enjoying my Herbal Tarot posts. If you're just now joining use, feel free to previous three posts:

About Tarot
0 The Fool Ginseng

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Masonic Pagans Evicted in Florida

I come from a long line of Masons on my mother's side of the family. I don't think, until my mother's generation, there was a man in my family not a Mason or a woman not in the Eastern Star.
I suppose it shouldn't surprise anyone that I married a Mason, also from a long line of Masons on his father's side.
My husband, while being a Mason, is also a practicing Pagan.

So, when we read that Grand Master Jorge Aladro ruled that Pagan Masons do not uphold beliefs compatible with Freemasonry and should resign we didn't know what to think.

(Read this on The Wild Hunt: After Florida Grand Master Ruling, Pagans and Freemasons Speak Out )

My first response was anger. Did Grand Master Aladro not know where Freemasonry came from? How could he be so closed minded?
My husband had nothing to say at first. He merely listened as I read then nodded. He said he would have to see what would come of it.

I know that this is only one lodge in Florida. However, this sets a very bad precedent.

I've sent the article to all my mason and pagan friends to get their view on it.

I will say I love the idea of sending a Yule card to the Grand Master and wishing him many Happy Pagan blessings. Kill em with kindness.



Monday, December 3, 2012

Plant Healer Giveaway

Herbal Roots Zine is doing another giveaway. Sign up today and be entered in a drawing to win Plant Healer Annual, announced December 10, 2012.

 the First Plant Healer Annual and the Art of Plant Healer Magazine!

Contributors to Plant Healer Annual include many of the leading voices in folk herbalism and wildcrafting, such as Paul Bergner, Matthew Wood, Aviva Romm, Kiva Rose, Phyllis Light, Samuel Thayer, 7Song, Rosemary Gladstar, Susun Weed, Jim McDonald, Kristine Brown, Virginia Adi, Todd Caldecott, Sean Donahue, John Gallagher, Rosalee de la ForĂȘt, Robin Rose Bennett, Ananda Wilson, Christa Sinadinos, Margi Flint, Katja Swift, Dale Bellisfield, Susan Belsinger, Jane Valencia and Henriette Kress.

Sounds like a great Holiday Gift to me ^_^

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Basic Magical Herbs: Lesson 3

Thank you for joining me for Lesson 3 of my Basic Herbs course studies. Remember, if you want the information provided in the course, it is FREE through Witch School.

Hyssop (Hyssopus officianalis)

Medicinal Uses: bronchitis, congestion, externally on cuts

Magical Uses: purification, protection as well as healing and hex/curse breaking.

Good floor wash!
Baths, sachets, incenses and sprays.

In A Druid's Herbal for the Sacred Earth Year by Ellen Evert Hopman:
"Hyssop was a holy herb of the ancient Greeks, used to cleanse sacred spaces. Hyssop can be burned as incense, word, used in decorations, and added to the chalice. Use a bunch to ritually 'sweep' the altar as a preparation for a ceremonial rite. Alternatively, a tincture can be made...the dose is ten to thirty drops, four times a day."

Hyssop oil is said to be a more potent purifier than even White Sage (discussed in lesson 2). The oil can be used to anoint candles, yourself, charms, talismans, in spell work, or use a bit to put in a ritual bath, use it in a diffuser.
You can buy Hyssop oil at the Enchantery at Etsy HERE.

Ginger (Zingiber officinale)

Medicinal Uses: soothing effect, coughs, rheumatic conditions. Said to have analgesic, antiseptic, anti-spasmodic, bactericidal, emetic,  expectorant, laxative, and stimulant properties.
Recommended during pregnancy for morning sickness.
 Ginger should only be used with caution under the guidance of a health professional in patients with the following conditions: taking anticoagulant therapies, with heart conditions (due to carditonic effects), in persons with gallstones, persons with diabetes and/or hyop/hyperglycemia and in people with increased or decreased blood pressure.

Magickal Uses: love, success, money.
Fast results as a love potion.

In A Druid's Herbal for the Sacred Earth Year by Ellen Evert Hopman:
"Ginger enhances all spells, especially love spells, being a spicy and 'hot' herb."

The Herbal Tarot connects Ginger with Eight of Pentacles and says:
"Stimulant. Diaphoretic. Carminative. Antispasmodic. Emmenagogue. Used for gas, poor assimilation of food, also to relieve motion sickness and spasmodic cramps. the fresh root is made into a tea for colds and fevers."
To learn more about The Herbal Tarot, see my posts Here.

Hemlock (Conium maculatum)
This week's poisonous herbs and one of my favorite poisonous herbs to this date. Hemlock grows wild where I used to live in Kentucky and Tennessee as well as here in Alaska.

Medicinal Uses: externally in ointments, dizziness, sedative, pain reliever (used in pharmaceuticals)
Has been recommended as an antidote to Strychnine poisoning, and in other poisons of the same class, and in tetanus, hydrophobia, etc.

Magickal Uses: destroy sex drive, sacred to Hecate, astral travel, hexing

Witches of the Craft shared a Hemlock Hex on their blog HERE

Pictured here is a hemlock wand created by Art Craft and Nature. Hemlock wands are used for enhancing the reflexes, and enchanting potions, but do not place the wand directly into a potion. It can also be used for anointing talismans, and destructive works. On the back of the wand you’ll find a small triangle burned into the wood for collecting, and directing energy through the wand. Plus an Amber shard for protection, and the electrical life energy within the stone, and a Quartz crystal point for affixing to your wand creating a focal point on for absorbing, storing, amplifying, balancing, focusing and transmitting the energy; should you choose to do so. You can purchase this want on Etsy HERE

Azure Green

AzureGreen- Celebrating All Paths to the Divine