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Posts Tagged ‘herbs’

Written by:
Wendi Friend

Growing a garden can be an excellent springboard for nurturing the health of your body, mind, and spirit. Long recognized for the physical properties of foods and medicines produced, gardening is also a benefit for its natural tranquility. Most of us are familiar with the phrase, “Stop and smell the roses.” Maintaining a garden can help one do exactly that — take the time to stop and smell the roses. Tending a garden also reinforces other parables, such as reaping what we sow and seeking soul food. Whether you’ve a big yard or a small balcony to work with, starting and growing a garden may improve your health and your living conditions on both the physical and the spiritual planes!

On the physical plane, growing your own garden can do wonders for your health. Time and conditions allowing, you may choose to grow your own vegetables, thereby insuring that what you ingest is completely organic and the freshest in town! But if time, space and weather conditions interfere with the growing of vegetable crops, you can easily create a flourishing herb garden with rosemary, thyme, basil and other treasures from nature’s chest.

Such herbs can be grown indoors in pots; they don’t require much, and the benefits they produce are countless. Your home grown herbs can then be used for culinary purposes, healing teas, bath satchels, herb pillows, incense, potpourri, household crafts, and more! Not only are these foods healthier and better for you, but home grown is generally quite a bit cheaper than store bought products. Food and herb gardens are a way of taking the body and soul back to the basics.

Flower gardens offer many rewards for those who tend them. Flowers are pleasing to the senses for reasons many of us don’t stop to consider. But each individual flower has its own flavor, personality, energy, purposes, and properties (not to mention faeries!). Through color, shape, size, scent, and more, flowers communicate in a language that’s all their own – providing a sense of comfort we don’t find elsewhere. Stop and consider for a moment all the ways mankind has honored and used flowers throughout time. Each of the 50 states in the United States is represented by its own flower. Many flowers have religious symbolism; we send flowers in love, celebration, or sympathy. The essences of flowers are even bottled and sold for health purposes!

We may not understand the inner workings of the effects flowers have over us, but there’s not much doubt in the fact that flowers are powerful. Having fresh flowers in a home makes those in the home feel more relaxed and comfortable in most situations and while modern conveniences allow flowers to be purchased at the local grocery store, there’s no feeling quite like arranging fresh cut flowers for various rooms in your home. Many flowers and plants are believed to have protective qualities, and are therefore planted or placed strategically in and around the home.

To maximize the effects of gardening, such as producing larger, heartier plants, vegetables, herbs, and flowers, one can attune their gardening efforts in accord with the moon’s phases and astrological journey, tending to the garden with the care of the ancients, respecting the spirit within each plant and particle in order to harvest its magick. Some examples of such care are to only harvest on full moon nights, cutting plants with a single slice by a special blade. In addition, herbs are dried hanging upside-down in a warm, dark place, tied together by red ribbon.

Planting and harvesting in accord with the moon has been done for centuries. As such, foods which grow underground are best when planted during the waning moon phase, when the moon’s light is reducing. However, foods growing above ground are to be planted during the waxing moon, when moonlight grows. Additionally, by doing a small amount of research, one will soon find that different varieties of plants, vegetables, herbs, and flowers grow more efficiently when planted during a specific astrological position of the moon. For example, StarBreezes.com suggests, “Plant and prune to encourage growth when the moon is in Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces, Taurus, Capricorn, and Libra. Weed and Harvest when the moon is in these signs: Leo, Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Aquarius and Aries.”

You don’t need to be an expert in order to start your own garden. You don’t need to be a full time farmer in order to enjoy the benefits of home grown vegetation. All you need are a few seeds of inspiration coupled with a little bit of magick. Once you get started, the benefits of gardening will continue to grow and take root, nurturing body, mind, and spirit.

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Written by:
Wendi Friend

When it comes to conjuring spells, writing incantations, brewing potions, or working other forms of magick; with the exception of honoring the threefold law and the law of harming none, the greatest benefit is that there are no set rules etched in stone to be followed. True, you can go to any bookstore and buy a myriad of spell books to follow word for word, but magick is meant to be made unique by each practitioner. Many witches advise that any spell borrowed be slightly altered, in verbiage or ingredients, to make it uniquely that of the one who casts the spell. Here are some guidelines, suggestions, and shared knowledge from experience – not rules and regulations.

Abiding by the threefold law and the law of harming none may seem simple, but in reality and beyond, these laws are extremely intricate and complex. Every action has a re-action. Each reaction is magnified by three, then, returned to sender. This is the threefold law. The threefold law does not only apply to those spells you intentionally cast, or only to the incantations you poetically scribe, but to each and every thought you think on conscious and subconscious levels. In order to truly live by the threefold law, one must always and forever be evaluating their own purpose, intent, actions, and consequences. In addition, you may think you’re safe from the law of harming none if you never make a voodoo doll, or if you never curse another. But to think a bad thought about someone is to curse them; or to accidentally involve another because your plan wasn’t carefully enough thought through, is to harm them. We hurt people without meaning to, so it’s a fine line to walk when aiming to harm none. Once you’ve mastered the threefold law, the law of harming none, and the basic study of elements and energy, you’re ready to begin creating your own spells, brews, potions, and incantations – according to your own guidance and knowledge.

I do, on occasion, make things up to “boost” an energy I’m working with, although I rarely perform spells. Witchcraft is an earth-based practice, one that uses the natural resources and forces of the Earth, as well as the influences of the universe. Unlike scenes in the popular television series Charmed, witchcraft is not based on vanquishing demons and orbing from one scene to the next. On the contrary, witchcraft is a way of tapping into Earth’s natural resources, such as herbs and oils, crystals and gemstones, and planetary influences, among other things. It’s true you may find a witch stirring a brew in her cauldron, but it’s most likely going to be something she can wash her face with, mop the floors with, or cook with – and under most circumstances, won’t contain live or dead animal parts, with the exception of an occasional hair.

Scott Cunningham, well-known author of books on witchcraft, provides us with an excellent tool for learning the basics of whipping up magick in the form of Incense, Oils, and Brews. From this book (or from several online resources found easily via internet search), one can learn the basics of creating such potions. Study is key in magick and witchcraft because it’s important to know what magickal attributes come from what plants, flowers, and trees. Also important is to be able to decipher which elements can be harmful to your health if swallowed. Some herbs can be brewed into healing teas and tinctures, while others can be fatal if swallowed. Eventually, having studied and read, you’ll be able to recognize what oils or herbs you need to create a specific result.

Here are a few simple things I’ve conjured up along the way, and a few simple recipes I’ve created based on the knowledge gathered:

NOTE:

Remember to carefully label all of your products and keep harmful products out of the reach of children.

Bug Spray/Air Freshener/Household Cleanser
2 drops each of citronella oil, peppermint oil, lemongrass oil, and cinnamon oil; combined with 4 drops of alcohol and eight cups of water, boiled and cooled, makes an excellent natural bug repellent that doubles as air freshener and kitchen/bathroom cleanser! I mix up a batch, fill up a spray bottle, and keep it under the kitchen sink.

Home-made All-natural Carpet Fresh
I use an old coffee can with holes punched through the lid as my dispenser. In it, I mix one cup of salt, ½ cup of baking soda, 3 tablespoons of sugar, then a few drops of whichever oil suits the mood and the purpose. The salt absorbs negativity, the baking soda absorbs odor, and the sugar adds a touch of sweetness. The oils are added for their specific energies and/or aroma. Certain oils are best for protection, others for love. Choose an oil based on the mood you’re trying to set in the room.

All Natural Mop Water
To mop, I use an old fashioned mop bucket and a good rope mop. In a pot on the stove, I mix about six cups of water with 2 drops each of Pine oil, Sandalwood oil, Patchouli Oil, and Cinnamon. To that mixture, I add 3 drops of alcohol (to break apart the oils), and ¼ cup vinegar. Once boiling, I remove from heat and pour the mixture into the mop bucket, then fill with hot water. You can use lemon oil, orange oil, or any other oils that suit your needs, but for a mop wash, I’ve found it best to include pine.

Not only do they work, but these ideas are extremely cost effective, and don’t contain an abundance of harmful chemicals and artificial odors. If you’re able to respect the threefold law, know you’re harming none, and are well studied in your craft, then don’t be afraid to listen to intuition and break free from recipe and spell books. Go ahead, make it up!

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