Herbal project: Dandelion flower tincture

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.

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Detachment in Spirit Work 

Note: I’m not an expert on Spirit Work but I have been working with my own (personal, not professional) form for around 10 years now, and I do understand it may mean different things to different people. While I have made mistakes, and while I’m still learning and getting better acquainted with it as a more serious practice, I feel it’s important to get other people thinking about their own approach.

(EDIT: I removed a section relating to an experience with another Spirit Worker because leaving it up didn’t sit right with me.)

Detaching from our own mindset, baggage and filter is crucial for Spirit Work, but most especially when it is for someone we know. Obviously we all have a filter, but not thinking over what comes through with our own mindset seems like something that’s very important.

As my mum has begun her own Underworld journey I am having to learn this need for Detachment in Spirit Work myself. I have to ‘remove’ my own filter and just say what needs to be said. Of course I have to give interpretations of things that aren’t as clear-cut – like impressions, sensations, feelings and images – but it has been a really big learning curve for me. And I’m not infallible.
You can’t just ‘un-know’ someone but you can learn to detach and (temporarily) stop seeing this person as family member/ partner/ friend/ aquaintance. It’s about allowing the information to flow without over-thinking or over-analysing it in relation to us or what we already know about the person.
By doing this I’ve had to pass on some messages to my mum that I would prefer (as her daughter) she didn’t have to hear. But in my role as Messenger I can’t let that affect what she needs to be told. I might want to protect her from hearing those things, I might prefer for her not to have to hear certain things, but if I put it through my Daughter filter I won’t be doing the work Spirit/ Deity/ Whoever needs me to.

With someone we know we have to detach from the Family Member/ Partner/ Friend/ Acquaintance aspect of ourselves and assume the mantle of Spirit Worker.
This is not to say we have to ‘give it to them straight’ – we can warn or say it might not be what they wish to hear – but we shouldn’t alter or omit because we don’t want for them to have to hear something or because we might fear these things. We are the Spirit Worker. Interpreting and relaying the message is our job, not picking and choosing what we pass on.
This, to me, is basic responsible practice, and if done with care even the hardest, scariest or most awe-full messages can be passed on to give what is needed.

Drying Elder flowers & berries, Roses, and creating tinctures & an infused oil

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.
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Project: protective herbal pouches

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.
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Reclaiming my inner Witch, & exploring Magical Herbalism

 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.
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Musings on the Goddesses of the Jotnar, Angerboda and Iron Wood Magic

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 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.