Category Archives: Herbalism

White Sage

When I moved into my apartment, I told myself that I wanted a little garden. I thought it would be good for some stress relief, and I could grow myself some herbs and a couple vegetables to save money. Well, that didn’t really go to plan. I have a garden, but basil and, an old friend, Rosemary are the only culinary plants that I have been growing (and lets be honest, basil and Rosemary are some witchy plants in their own right). I decided to purchase some witchy plants as well, so I ordered three seed packets from Harold Roth over at Alchemy Works. I wanted plants that I had never worked with before and would survive in the tropical climate here. I ended up with mugwort, wild tobacco and white sage. I am still working on growing some more plants, but for now, this is my garden and it is doing well.

The sage especially loves the climate here and has been flourishing. I actually ended up with too many plants in the pot because it decided to sprout like crazy off of itself. So about two weeks ago I cut one of the plants out to thin the pot. I made two very small bundles for smudging. It was entirely an experiment because I didn’t know if a bundle would dry or not in this humidity and no house here is built with good ventilation of any kind. But I tried anyway. I ended up with two tiny, but beautiful little smudge bundles. They dried perfectly and I decided that this full moon was the perfect time for a test drive.

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Now, I have bought the smudge bundles from the new age stores.  To be honest, I have always been let down by them. I am not sure what it was, but I was just never impressed by the store-bought smudge. Back home, I would forgo sage for home-made rosemary or hemlock smudge. I could also never use it indoors because it set off my asthma. Now, you are probably wondering why I even bothered purchasing the white sage if this is how I feel. To be honest, I am not sure why I bought it either. I just felt that I should give white sage another chance, and I am so glad that I did.

This past full moon, I went out on my balcony about midnight and performed a smudge ceremony with one of the tiny bundles that I made. It was, hands down, the most powerful experience I had ever had with white sage ever. She sung to me and cleansed me in a way that I had never felt from this plant before. I have a new respect for her after that night.

After that experience, I had to make more. I burnt through almost an entire bundle that one night, so these small ones will not last long. So the other day, I had a bit of down time to do some much-needed crafting. How I have missed crafting and making things with my hands. I pulled out my knife and cut a whole lot more sage. The pot was a bit choked, so I took quite a bit to make room for the stronger individuals in the pot. I made a small sacred space on the kitchen counter to work in. I burned what was left of the tiny bundle I had started the other night.

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The raw sage on my mini-crafting altar.

The raw sage on my mini-crafting altar.

I cleaned each leaf and stripped them from the stems. I decided that I like the small bundles. They dry better and faster and I have no need for massive bundles that you typically see. I also cut a small strip of my rosemary to use as a core for one of the bundles. I love using rosemary for smudge, so I thought that this union, while experimental, would be a good thing. I find that I always need about seventeen hands when I wrap smudge and this was no exception. I still need to perfect my technique, but I figure that comes with practice and time. I am still happy with the three bundles that now hang, drying in my room.

The products. The right three are the new ones and the left two are the ones I first made.

The products. The right three are the new ones and the left two are the ones I first made.

Being able to get back to a little bit of crafting and plant work makes me happy. I have had so little time crafting since being down here and that kills me sometimes. I also love being able to smudge again. That was something that I absolutely loved doing when I was home and have not had while being down here. As my plants continue to grow, I will definitely be crafting more.

Hopefully there will be more blog posts coming here in the next few days to weeks. I have several ideas, but the words just have not been flowing well. My creative side was severely suffocated during this past semester. I hope to find a good balance going into this next semester, but I am just taking it one day at a time.

Mitakuye oyasin

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Recent Craftings and Gifts

Last week Monday, I was bitten by the crafting bug.  With the crazy schedule that I have, Monday nights are my only nights that I can do  a couple hours of witchery, so it was a good night.  So I went outside and meditated under the pine tree in the yard. I left another offering for the ancestors and spirits and then returned to my lair to do some crafting.    The area of my room in front of my window looks like a small jungle with all my plants there. I save some of my favorites and pull them inside for the winter. So my thyme and rosemary live with my boston fern and my chia head.

Lately, I have had a great interest in rosemary. Apart from being delicious, it is a powerful magical herb and the spirits and ancestors love it as an offering (although this latter part may have something to do with the fact that I grew her myself from a little sprout and lovingly care for her).  I want to do a post all about rosemary at some point.  Earlier this semester, I cut and bundled a bunch of rosemary into a smudge wand.  I am an asthmatic, and sage smudge tends to bother me, so I do not like to use it indoors.  Rosemary has not bothered me at all, so I use it to smudge a lot more.  So Monday night, I cut enough rosemary to make a decent wand.  I left an offering to my plant in thanks and then bundled and hung the cuttings to dry.

Then, I decided to play with some fire. Over the summer I planted three cayenne pepper plants, which exploded with fruit. I strung a few, and my dear friend strung the majority and they have been drying in my closet.  With cayenne, it is impossible to get the peppers to look like they do in the jar of pepper flakes you buy at the store unless you have a dehydrator.  As a poor college student, I posess no such apparatus, and that is just fine with me.  I ripped up about 15 peppers into as small of pieces as I could get them with my fingers and then ran them through my mortar and pestle. I put the pieces and three whole peppers into a baby food jar (since this is my first batch I am going small), and then filled it with olive oil.  I capped it and photographed it. Now it sits on the shelf next to my plantain oil. I shake them a couple times a week.  The other day, the oil had taken on a beautiful amber color. I am really excited to try this for cooking and healing work.

Last week, we had quite the windstorm, I loved every minute of it. Standing in a strong wind is quite a bit of fun. The storm left quite a few gifts for me.  I found a some juniper and some yew from the hedges out front of my house.  The yew is hanging in my closet and the juniper is resting on my altar with Cernunnos.  I also found several dead branches on the hawthorn hybrids on campus. I snatched them up before maintenance could throw them away so I could do some wildcrafting with them.

Juniper bough deposited on my porch by the windstorm

Thorns from a hawthorn hybrid on campus

That is what this witch has been up to.

 


Photo Phriday

A quick glimpse into the life of me! I will get a legitimate blog post out soon. I have lots of things to talk about.

My current altar

Rosemary Smudge

A new oil. There will be a blog post about it

My plainain oil that is still steeping. I will be straining that in the next mont or so

Drying rosemary and cayenne.

Some hybrid hawthorn thorns. Another blog post to come.


My Plants This Year

My Parents and I went to the garden center today.  We found a wonderful little nursery nearby. We have been getting our Christmas trees from them for years and it is a great local place.  We now get all of our plants from them that they can provide.  I love promoting local business and this is a great one to promote.  A week ago, I bought my mom some wonderful flowers from them for mothers day for her big porch pots (I always found cut flowers to be wasteful and just downright silly.  Why would anyone want dead things bought for them? (maybe this is why I am single)).

As of right now, I have a great little garden going.  I had thyme and mint that survived the winter and they are really enjoying their time being back outside.  Yesterday my grandmother gave me a clump of her oregano which is flourishing under this rainstorm.  Today I bought a new rosemary plant (it is not salem rosemary, but it was $1.99 for a huge plant from a local grower, I couldnt pass it up), a small pot of parsley (I make some kick ass tabbouleh), a little basil plant, and three little cayenne pepper plants.  I am excited to get them all photographed and planted.  Once this rain lets up a bit I will go and get photographs.  I am really excited for my garden this year, there will be many posts of the things made from it in the coming months.


Plant Adventures

So the other day, we had such beautiful weather  I went to my job interview then had the rest of the day to myself.  I studied some for my GRE and then the urge to be outside struck.  I grabbed my camera and went out to my backyard to look and see what was living back there.  My family doesnt have a very large yard, but we have a line of pine trees on a hillock that lines the back yard and acts as a barrier from the highway.  Under the pines, my dad does not maintain it very well which allows for quite a bit of wild growth.  I always like to explore and see what comes up in the spring and what came back that we planted the year before.

First I looked at my herbs that survived the winter.  My thyme survived and is flourishing now that it is outside.  My mint decided that it wanted to be an ivy this year.  So I stuck the pot out back in the pines so that it can throw its runners to its leafy little heart’s content.  My rosemary and sage did not make the winter indoors ( i suspect my father had something to do with it, but I cannot prove my suspicions).  I will be replacing those in the near future.

After making my mint happy I meandered up into the pines.  I found my dear friend Fern.  There is one fern growing up there and it has been for years, but it is the only one.  I am always afraid that it won’t come back one year, but every year I am overjoyed to see it’s fiddle-heads poking through the  pine needles.  It seems to grow stronger every year.

I also found a little patch of some spearmint that was growing up there.  My father had gotten a rather sickly little plant last summer and I was positive that it would not make the winter. It looked so sickly and we planted it so late, but the little guy made it.  Soon to be overrunning the other plants up there.  I cleaned up the invasive vinca vine from around the mint to make sure it won’t get choked out before it can really establish itself.

I found our hostas that we planted last year.  They came up nice and healthy, now we just need to keep the rabbits off of them and they will be beautiful.  I also found the king of all dandelions growing in the pines.  I will be digging him up here in the near future before my dad can spray the weeds up there.

My dad and I tilled up the family garden patch.  I love the smell of fresh tilled earth.  I wanted to roll in it it smelled so good.  So now all we have to do is get our vegetable plants.  I believe that my parents will be getting them on sunday.  We plant roma tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes, grape tomatoes, jalapenos, bell peppers, and cucumbers.  It is not much, but it gives us plenty of cucumbers for salad and snacks and enough salsa to last for quite some time.  My mom also started making and canning her own tomato sauce last year.  We have some great soil this year so here in a few months we will be swimming in homegrown tomatoes and cucumbers.  I cannot wait.

So here is the guardian of the garden.  I left a little offering of my dried herbs from last fall so that he continues to watch over the yard and all the wonderful things growing in it.


Nettles, Dandelions, and Things to Come

I apologize for that Hiatus. Things at school were more than a little crazy.  Namely a dozen exams (nine of which were finals) in a  two week span.  So now that finals are over and I am all moved into my new house in Findlay things can go back to normal.  The past two weeks have been a hiatus from my normal witchcraft completely.  I burned a small candle every night and carried an acorn in my pocket and that was about it in the way of witchery.  But that is all behind me now and all I have to worry about is the grades on said tests.

Yesterday is one of my free days before I begin the crazy business that is g

oing to be my summer and I feel that it was spent well. I had a desire to get my hands dirty, to play in the dirt and work with some plants.  Unfortunately I don’t have the means to go get my herbs yet. I am waiting until my job starts up and I have a paycheck under my belt.  My dear friend and working partner Liz had me over today and we made some nettle pesto.  We played around with the ingredients for a bit until we found the right consistency and flavor.  It still wasn’t perfect. We require more experimenting but our end product for the day was pretty good.  We agreed that pesto required mass amounts of garlic and cheese, but that is just our personal taste

After making pesto we went out to the yard to look at the plants growing on Liz’s deck.  We went into her yard and started looking at things that grow wild.  The urge struck to attempt to dig up some dandelion root. So we went dandelion crazy and spent over an hour stalking the yard and digging up a bunch of roots.  Most of them were pretty small, but there were two that were large enough to dry and carve.  One was bifurcated. I will post pictures as soon as I get them.  We washed all the roots and gently scurbbed off as much dirt as possible, now they are drying in my windowsill.

All of the roots that we dug up.

The most interesting of the roots

The biggest of the roots we dug up. Isnt he beautiful?

Now we have a goal to find more dandelion root, but only the big roots. We also want to try to make some dandelion wine.   Overall, this was a good start to summer. We have lots of crafty plans that we would like to carry out, and the list continues to grow.  Hopefully we will be able to get some of the things done and blog about them.

Some ideas of things to come:

bags

incenses

salves

herbal vinegars

magickal curios

lots of herbiage (I plan on going to the garden store here in the next few days to replace some of my herbs that did not last the winter)

besom?

woodcarved things

pyrographed things

woodcarved and pyrographed things

Lots more witchiness.  It gets me all tingly to think about the fun that is to come this summer.