After the grey days and the mizzle it’s lovely to see Spring in all its sunshine glory. Green, white and yellow prevail, lifting the sparse gloom of Winter. It’s lovely to see the trees and bushes coming back to life, and seeing more flowers start to return.
(c) Michelle G, Northern Tamarisk, 2018
Happy Equinox, everyone. May Winter’s pall make way for Spring’s more inviting shawl.
As it looked through the haze
The Sun saw it then;
The seed was a seed no more,
But with Spring’s eyes
It had shed its disguise
And was coming at last
Out at last
From Winter’s gloom.
(c) Michelle Gilberthorpe, Northern Tamarisk, 2018
I saw some lovely bright Dandelions on the grass opposite our house last Monday and they gave me an idea. Mum and I are both in need of some more joyous, spontaneous energies, and we’re both exploring Inner Child healing at the moment. For me the Dandelion has a positive, joyful, almost childlike playfulness to it. So many people see it as a weed but it has amazing detoxification properties, is full of nutrients and can be used for uplifting.
Mum helped me pick them, and after checking them for critters I put them in a jar, poured vodka over them, and placed them on my altar. I thought I’d ask Bast and Horus to help charge the tincture. Both are associated with the Sun. Cats can be playful, nurturing and protective, like Bast. Horus can see from a higher vantage point, is associated with children as Horus the Child, and is sometimes shown with His wings protecting the King’s back. As such I feel like Their blessings will add to the energy of the Dandelion tincture, which I intend to use in aura sprays to nurture us during Inner Child work and bringing in more joyful, abundant energies.
We moved house on 6th July. We left the home and garden that nurtured and nourished us for almost 14 years. If we could pick them up and move them closer to the new area we would have, but we could no longer stay.
We’ve moved to a different area of the county, one closer to the main city. We need the opportunities it provides, the better transport links, the better and more varied health and wellbeing facilities, and more groups so we can experience more of life again. While the area we had been living in for the past 20 years has some beautiful countryside it is a deadzone when it comes to opportunities for me and my parents’ growth.
The house and garden we left had looked after us well, and I miss our lovely Elders, Hawthorns and Blackthorns. To thank them all I did a Despacho-type ceremony on one of the few dry days of our last week there. I used some pink handmade fair trade paper to represent the love and appreciation my parents and I feel.
The flowers were all from the garden, and I also added some dried Rose petals and Lavender. As is customary I also added lots of sugar, and some mini pretzels to represent never-ending memories.
Mum also came to see it, and added some pieces of Lavender and more sugar.
Afterwards I meditated with the Despacho for a while, then wrapped it up and buried it behind the Plum tree. I offered some potato vodka and the rest of the pretzels.
Here are some photos:
As spoken about before, I love collecting berries and drying them. This has now extended to flowers. Our lovely Elders have been in full bloom, so I collected some of the creamy sprays to make tinctures from. Some had also started to become berries, so I thought these might be good for a transition-type tincture – PLEASE BE AWARE THAT THE UNRIPE BERRIES ARE NOT SUITABLE FOR INTERNAL USE. I intend to use the tinctures mainly for aura and energetic sprays, and for cleansing baths.
I’m really loving getting so connected to nature again, and finding new ways to bring Mother Earth’s bounty into my life in magical ways. I’ve been making sprays for a few years now, along with oil mixes. At least I won’t get the raw berry bits clogging up the spray bottle mechanisms now!
Here are some pictures of the Elder flowers and proto-berries before and after drying. They were particularly fiddly to get off the stems, and I still have to remove the flowers from their stalks to make up the tincture. I will be leaving them to ‘soak’ for at least two months before filtering them.
I’ve been thinking of doing something like this for a while. I love experimenting with herbs, oils, salts, waters and crystals. I’ve been working on different cleansing bath variations for a couple of months now and I have a couple of favourites. While they help I also wanted something I could keep in place as protective charms.
I have my own dried Hawthorn and Sloe berries from our garden, and mum had some Hawthorn tea bags she didn’t want, so I rummaged through my herbal chest to see what felt right. With a bit of guidance from Loki I now have four little protective pouches. It feels great to be engaging with my Witchy side again after she’s been mostly dormant for the last few years.
Even back in childhood I loved reading about witches and magic. A number of years ago I started researching the witch trials and Medieval magic, but most of it was so far removed from the forest and nature that I put it aside. That longing for connection remained, however, and it became a part of my spirituality. It’s why she doesn’t show much on the surface, but dig a little deeper and my Witchy nature is there. She called to me in February, but other things took over. I had a dream at the beginning of June where I discovered a powerful Witch in a tomb, and when I looked at her face she was me. I am rediscovering this part of me.
Despite the more obvious practices of Seidhr, spells, enchantments, divination and shapeshifting, there is another powerful magic in the Iron Wood: the women Themselves.
The women are the fiercer, more powerful sex among the Jotnar – think of Angerboda and Skadi, of Groa and Gerda. But this strength isn’t just physical, and nor is it purely ‘magical’. Their true power lies in Their personal power, Their Sovreignty, Their sacred expression of Their Selves. They are empowered women, the Ones Who stand up for Their needs and desires, standing Their ground, asserting Their boundaries.
To the writers of the time these powerful, self-assured women must have been seen as a real threat to the ‘way of the world’. These are independent Goddesses who know Their needs and magics and are respected for it. How much of the ‘terrible and terrifying’ description of Them is really true, and how much is the filter of the writer?
While these amazingly strong Goddesses can be fierce and awe-inspiring, is there a chance They have been somewhat misrepresented? How much of Their true nature has been rewritten or lost? Just as Sigyn is reduced to the long-suffering wife of Loki in the Eddas, with the gift of her magic as galdr fetter hinted at in just one epithet, how much of the Jotnar and Iron Wood has been lost?
In being drawn back to the ways of nature, the Earth and the crystal, plant and animal kingdoms I feel my inner ‘wild woman’ calling. This is part of me I have been too afraid to claim, but now I’m tentatively curious. Whereas Angerboda used to terrify me I can now be in Her presence with a great deal of respect for Her power. I know She values physical strength, but She also values strength of will and heart.
Beside Her more obvious Iron Wood connections, to me She is a Goddess of empowerment. Part of Her gift is bringing us into our own power. While this manifests differently in each of us – due to different personalities, abilities and paths to follow – She is the embodied Powerful Feminine.
Although Hers can be a tough love, She does love… and fiercely. She is loyal and true to Her Self and to those She loves. She doesn’t suffer fools gladly.
Some of my projects from recent weeks:
For the first time this year I actually managed to do some sketching! I’m out of practice so the proportion and perspective need working on (especially in Sigyn’s picture) but I’m pleased that I am able to start working creatively again.
Today is World Penguin Day! For more info see this page: https://www.awarenessdays.co.uk/awareness-days-calendar/world-penguin-day-2017/
Anyone who knows me knows I love penguins. These adorable, majestic birds feel like they make up a part of my very being, such is my abiding love for them.
Penguins first came into my life in the form of a cuddly toy from my late Uncle Tony. The imaginatively named Pengy was a gift for my first Christmas and one of my favourite cuddly friends growing up. He still watches over me to this day.
As I grew so did my obsession with all things Penguin. When my Danish cousin came to visit in 2006 she counted all of my penguin items and the total was nearing 100. I’ve been trying to heal my hoarding tendencies the last few years so most of the penguins have found new homes, but my favourites remain.
When I started exploring spirituality in the early 2000’s I came across the concept of animal guides, or totems. I found it fascinating but also incredibly frustrating. Where was Penguin? Eventually I found a book that included my soul brethren, and I finally understood why Penguin feels so much a part of me.