Sunday, 29 December 2019

Rosehips


Rosehips are a great source of Vitamin C, and have been found to benefit those who suffer with osteoporosis. It is also used orally to treat stomach problems, infections, obesity, and applied to the skin for stretch marks, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these other uses.

Aluminium is found to react with rosehips, so it’s important to take rosehip two hours before or four hours after antacids. There are also other medicines that interact with Rosehip (Oestrogen, Fluphenazine, Aspirin, Lithium, Warfarin), so please make sure you do your research before you use it.

River Cottage Rosehip Syrup: .
πŸ₯£ Sterilise a couple of bottles and vinegar-proof screw-tops or stoppers by washing thoroughly in hot soapy water, rinsing well, then putting them on a tray in a low oven (at 120°C/Gas 1⁄2) to dry out and heat up.
πŸ₯£ Roughly chop the rosehips in a food processor in batches, then transfer to a large saucepan and add 1.25 litres water.
πŸ₯£ Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for around 15 minutes.
πŸ₯£ Strain through a double layer of muslin, letting the pulp sit for a good half hour so that all the juice passes through.
πŸ₯£ Wash out the muslin, or cut a fresh piece, fold to double it and pass the strained juice through it again.
πŸ₯£ Measure the rosehip juice into a large saucepan.
πŸ₯£ For every 500ml, add 325g sugar.
πŸ₯£ Heat slowly, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved, then bring to the boil and boil for 3 minutes, skimming off any scum if necessary.
πŸ₯£ Decant immediately into the prepared bottles and seal.
πŸ₯£ Label when the bottles have cooled completely.
πŸ₯£ Use within 4 months and refrigerate once opened.


Try it for breakfast trickled over porridge, pancakes, drop scones, or eggy bread; use it to sweeten plain yoghurt (with some chopped apple if you like); or for a delicious pud, trickle it on to hot or cold rice pudding or good vanilla ice cream.

Sunday, 22 December 2019

Happy Winter Solstice



A very merry and blessed Solstice.
I have been slow recently. Aside from seasonal preparations, I have been taking each day as it comes. I am now ready for full hibernation, as I always am at this time of year.
I am sharing a picture of our cemetery in the spring. Whilst I loved autumn, and I’m enjoying the magic of the current season, I can’t lie - I am looking forward to blue skies and sunshine again. 
Whilst I didn’t observe the Solstice at the official time of 0419hrs this morning, I did rise before the sun came up, and took a wander down the drive. I caught the sunrise from my favourite spot in the cemetery, and made my intentions for the year ahead.
As the light returns I wish you a wonderful year ahead, and a peaceful holiday season.

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Protective Bell Spell



πŸ›Ž Consecrate your bell(s) by passing through the smoke of incense. Use Dragon’s Blood, Cinnamon, or some other protective herb.
πŸ›Ž Charge the bell by holding it in your hands. Speak to the bell, telling it of your goal.
πŸ›Ž Put the bell in the corner of the room to be protected. You may wish to do this spell before doing other spells - using the bell to protect you in your spell-working room.
πŸ›Ž The bell will ring to warn you when danger appears. If you have more than one bell in the room, you will be aware of what direction the danger is coming from.
πŸ›Ž If the bell rings be sure to cleanse it and recharge it.
πŸ›Ž Repeat the ritual after emergencies, and as maintenance, whenever you feel the bell needs a recharge.

Do you use bells in your magical practice? If so, how?

Monday, 9 December 2019

Lavender Essential Oil



As a qualified Clinical Aromatherapist I am often asked ‘what’s your favourite oil?’. I suspect that when people ask me that they’re waiting for an exotic answer.
There are so many beautiful smelling oils, with various applications, however there is one oil that is gentle, soothing, and has a myriad of uses: Lavender.

I love Lavender. I use it in the mop bucket, on our bed sheets to aid sleep, on spots (it kills bacteria), and on a tissue in the bottom of our bin to counteract bad smells.

There are so many uses for Lavender!
πŸ’œ Add a few drops to a clean cloth and put in your tumble drier - instant fragrance and deodorising.
πŸ’œ Use 4-6 drops in a bowl of hot water with a towel over your head as a cold/flu treatment.
πŸ’œ Add a few drops to a cotton wool ball and use in your wardrobe as a deterrent to insects and moths.
πŸ’œ Put on a splinter to reduce swelling - the splinter will come out more easily.
πŸ’œ Use as a perfume - dab behind the ears and on wrists (Lavender and Tea Tree are the only safe oils to use neat on the skin).
πŸ’œ Eliminate pet smells from carpets - add to baking soda, sprinkle, leave for 30 minutes, then vacuum.

Lavender might not be the most exciting oil, but it is definitely the most helpful. It is the one oil I can’t live without, and the one that is guaranteed not to be wasted. .

What is your favourite essential oil and why?

Monday, 2 December 2019

A Witch's Familiar



You see, a witch has to have a familiar, some little animal like a cat or a toad. He helps her somehow. When the witch dies the familiar is suppose to die too, but sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes, if it's absorbed enough magic, it lives on.
~ Henry Kuttner

Friday, 29 November 2019

The Ghoul-Gate



One grave in every graveyard belongs to the ghouls. Wander any graveyard long enough and you will find it - water stained and bulging, with cracked or broken stone, scraggly grass or rank weeds about it, and a feeling, when you reach it, of abandonment. It may be colder than the other gravestones, too, and the name on the stone is all too often impossible to read. If there is a statue on the grave it will be headless or so scabbed with fungus and lichens as to look like fungus itself. If one grave in a graveyard looks like a target for petty vandals, that is the ghoul-gate. If the grave wants to make you be somewhere else, that is the ghoul-gate.
~ Neil Gaiman

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Old Irish Curse


May those who love us, love us.
And those who don't love us,
May God turn their hearts.
And if he doesn't turn their hearts,
May he turn their ankles,
So we'll know them by their limping.
~ Old Irish Curse

Sunday, 24 November 2019

A Witch's Altar


One of the most basic and simple things that a witch needs, and can easily implement in to their practice, is an altar. The beauty of altars, like most things in witchcraft, is that they can be as simple or as elaborate as an individual wants.

There are no rules, no right or wrongs, no set way in which an altar should be set up, or where it should be.


An altar should suit the witch, the witch's home and the witch's lifestyle; it's entirely up to the witch to make sure that it reflects their own personal practice.


Altars are sacred spaces that are used for setting intentions, celebration and practice. They focus the mind and symbolise personality and spirituality.


A few of you have asked me about the location of my altar. I have actually chosen to use the centre of our dining table. There are several reasons for this. Our table is huge - so there is wasted space in the middle - and it's located in the centre of our home and near to our kitchen, so it's a very practical place. It is also the part of the house where our energy is most abundant - where we relax, where we spend time together, and where we deal with the rich emotions of daily life. For me, this makes this area more sacred, rather than less. It also feels like the most magical room in the house, and for whatever reason I can't envisage having an altar in any other room.


By using the centre of the table in our most used room, we are continually reminded of our connection to the magical world and our spiritual practices. Having our altar on our dining room table means our living space is also decorated with seasonal items, and bears significance when we combine feasting with magical practice, for example our dumb supper at Samhain. I like Autumn the most - our altar has pumpkins and leaves and chestnuts, in amongst our altar paraphernalia.


When my altar candle is lit, it becomes a sacred space. It is where I create, where I ponder, where I will, where I weave.


I'd really like to hear about your altar, if you have one. Why is your altar special to you?



Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Beannacht/Blessing


On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.

And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets into you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
ad a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters,
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.

And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak,
to mind your life.

~ Beannacht, John O'Donahue

Monday, 18 November 2019

Houses



It was a mistake to think of houses, old houses, as being empty. They were filled with memories, with the faded echoes of voices. Drops of tears, drops of blood, the ring of laughter, the edge of tempers that had ebbed and flowed between the walls, into the walls, over the years.
Wasn't it, after all, a kind of life?
And there were houses, he knew it, that breathed. They carried in their wood and stone, their brick and mortar a kind of ego that was nearly, very nearly, human.
~ Nora Roberts

Sunday, 17 November 2019

Prayer for Receiving Stewardship of Land



O Great Landvættir beneath my feet,
I call you, I awaken you, I offer you friendship!
In the name of Jord, Green Mother,
I swear I will not exploit this land out of greed.
In the name of Frey, Lord of the Grain,

I swear I will plant each seed with thought and reverence.
In the name of Freya, Lady of Spring,
I swear I will see the beauty of my land as a source of soul’s comfort.
In the name of Nerthus, Mother of the Vanir,
I swear that I will keep the secrets of this land as jewels.
In the name of Skadi, Winter Queen,
I swear I will leave wild places for your children.
In the name of Ullr, Hunter of the Wild,
I swear I will not take too many of your children, even to feed my own.
In the name of Iduna, Orchard-Grower,
I swear I will be grateful for every mouthful this land gives me,
And that I will give back what is given with all due respect and joy.
~ Gudrun of Mimirsbrunnr

Saturday, 9 November 2019

Wren's Autumn Apple Cake



It’s cold, dark and wet outside, so we’re inside enjoying a slice of my Autumn Apple Cake. It’s moist and stodgy, perfect for those times when you need a bit of comfort.
I thought you guys might like the recipe.

225g Self Raising Flour
110g Light Brown Sugar
170g Chopped Bramley apples (I like to put more in!)
85g Butter, melted
150ml Milk
1 x egg
1/2 tsp Cinammon
1. Line an 8 inch tin, preheat the oven to 200 degrees C
2. Sift flour, spice, sugar
3. Beat egg, add to milk and melted butter. Mix well, and add to the sifted flour mixture
4. Add the fruit
5. Spoon into the tin, and sprinkle some sugar on top.
6. Bake until golden colour, and check with a knife (it should come out clean).
7. Enjoy.

Obviously you can swap out some of the items for gluten free and/or vegan alternatives.


Tuesday, 5 November 2019

When Great Souls Die...



And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of

soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.
~ Maya Angelou

Sunday, 3 November 2019

Memento Mori



Memento Mori.
Remember you must die.

One of the most life-affirming things I’ve ever done is start living on a cemetery.

There is plenty of life here. A steady stream of visitors to the graves, dog walkers, and runners passing through on their daily run to admire the beauty of the place. Funeral processions, noise from the earth diggers that dig the graves, and the constant lawn mowing and hedge trimming.

There are owls, foxes, rabbits, and bats. There are birds in the tree outside my bedroom window, and a family of Starlings nesting in the gutter over the kitchen.
There are flowers; those left by mourning relatives, and those blooming in the spring. We have trees and shrubs and greenery; and big, dark, open skies with which to view the many millions of stars above.

And amongst the gentle hubbub there is also peace and quiet to reflect on all of this.
As I stand at the kitchen sink and look out at the gravestones I have silent space to ponder my own mortality.

This is an old cemetery and whilst death happened a lot earlier in the 1800s, one only has to take a quick look around the headstones to be reminded that death is always just around the corner.

So I choose to make the most of life. Memento Mori. Remember you must die.

Thursday, 31 October 2019

Samhain Night





This is the night when the gateway between
our world and the spirit world is thinnest.
Tonight is a night to call out those who came before.
Tonight I honour my ancestors.
Spirits of my fathers and mothers, I call to you, and welcome you to join me for this night.

You watch over me always, protecting and guiding me, and tonight I thank you.
Your blood runs in my veins, your spirit is in my heart, your memories are in my soul.
With the gift of remembrance, I remember all of you.
You are dead but never forgotten, and you live on within me, and within those who are yet to come.
~ Patti Wigington

As crops die and winter takes over, we look within to find our own balance of dark and light. Light is always born out of darkness, they are inseparable, interdependent, and necessary. Do not be afraid of the darkness - darkness is fertile with potential.

The down-time of winter gives us the opportunity to rest and reflect on the past, and to dream of new beginnings. I hope the seeds you plant for next year bring you peace, joy, happiness, and abundance.

Have a blessed Samhain all those who celebrate. With love and blessings, Wren πŸ–€

Thursday, 24 October 2019

Making a protective Rowan berry necklace



About ten days ago I spoke a little about Rowan, and how it has long been praised in folklore for its magical properties. The Rowan’s wood and berries are used in a lot of folk-magic, and a necklace from the berries is said to protect the wearer from harm. The red berries counter any magic aimed at the wearer, and protect the wearer from bad spirits when carrying out Shamanic-type work. Rowan is also said to help the wearer focus when working with energies from magic realms. A Rowan necklace or garland will last for many years when stored in a dry place.

“Rowan twigs and strings of red,
Deflect all gossip, harm and dread”

1. Gather your berries. September is ideal, however I was late and gathered mine in the first week of October.
2. Measure and cut a piece of red cord. This is the traditional colour for making Rowan charms, and of course the vibrant colour adds to the energy of your protective magic.
3. Thread the Rowan berries on to the thread using a large darning needle. It is customary to place a knot between each berry, however I didn’t bother with the knots, and added a small wooden bead instead.
4. When you are finished hang your necklace or garland somewhere warm and dry. An airing cupboard or greenhouse works well. The berries will shrivel and darken as they dry out.

My necklace has had about ten days to dry out; as you can see it’s wrinkly and getting darker - quite a contrast to when I first made it.
Scroll down to my earlier post if you’d like to see the necklace in its beginning stage, and learn more about Rowan.

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

The Three Great Celtic Triads



Three things from which never to be moved:
One’s Oaths, one’s Gods, and the Truth.
The three highest causes of the true human are:
Truth, Honour and Duty.
Three candles that illuminate every darkness:
Truth, Nature and Knowledge.

Monday, 21 October 2019

Samhain Celebrations



If you celebrate Samhain how will you observe it? Amongst a few other things, we will be having a Samhain ceremony at sundown. Whilst we will be celebrating the end of the harvest and a lovely summer, it will also be a serious occasion as we remember our dead and look ahead to the winter - which will be very cold in this house (gulp).

1. Prepare a seasonal feast. Dress your Samhain table. Lay an extra place for any spirits passing through that wish to join you. This is a formal occasion; your table a sacred space.
2. Put the cooked food on the table. Gather everyone round. “Tonight we celebrate Samhain. Samhain marks the end of the harvest, the end of the summer, and the approach of the coldest nights. The abundance of the harvest and the fruits of our labour are placed before us. We thank the Earth for all She has given us. We thank those who walk before us. We enter winter, a time of sacred darkness, with gratitude.”
3. Go outside taking some wine/cider/juice and some bread with you. Break the bread, and make an offering to the Earth. Do the same with the wine. “Summer is gone. Winter is coming. We give thanks for all that we have.” When everyone has made their offering go inside and feast.
4. Leave any leftovers outside as an offering for the dead. You can give them to pets, but I would avoid eating them myself.

What are you doing for Samhain? I would love to know!

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Halloween & Samhain - The Celtic roots of modern Halloween custom


Halloween and Samhain are often thought of as the same festival, which is an easy assumption to make considering they are held at the same time of year, and both are celebrations of the dead. 

Halloween is a festival concerned with warding off evil spirits and remembering the dead, and Halloween traditions are believed to have originated from the earlier, Celtic fire festival of Samhain. 
Samhain marks the end of the harvest and the end of summer; a time when everything is dying and we're about to enter the colder, darker part of the year, when the veil between this world and the next is thinnest. 

Many of the old rituals, like leaving sweets on the doorstep to appease mischievous ghosts and spirits, have become modern customs. 

Bobbing for apples has its roots in scrying and divination. The Celts saw the apple as a representation of the Goddess, and over time it became an object that could determine marriages. A bobbed apple placed under the pillow of a girl would elicit dreams of her future husband. 

Dressing up, or 'guising', at Halloween comes from the notion that disguising yourself will prevent harm from wandering spirits. Mischievous spirits could play tricks on the living, so it was advantageous to 'hide' from them by wearing a costume. Guising at Halloween in Scotland is recorded in the 16th Century, and later recorded in other parts of Britain and Ireland. It was first recorded in North America in 1911. 

Since the Middle Ages 'mumming' on certain holidays has existed throughout the British Isles. Mumming involves going door-to-door in costume, performing short plays in exchange for food or drink. At Samhain people may have impersonated spirits and received offerings on their behalf, with the belief that impersonating these spirits would protect them from them.


The Church also contributed to Halloween celebrations with an activity called 'souling'. A person would go from house to house asking for cakes ('soul cakes') in return for praying for the souls of those resident in the house, which was popular during the later Middle Ages. 
In my house we celebrate Samhain, but we do provide sweets for the children that are Trick-or-Treating.

There are many references to guising, mumming and souling at Halloween throughout Britain and Ireland in the 18th and 19th century, although the belief is that it is extremely unlikely that the modern custom is directly related to these old customs. 

Do you observe Halloween, Samhain, or both? 

Halloween is catching on here in the UK. as a commercial festival, despite its roots originating here.


Monday, 14 October 2019

Protective Rowan


The Rowan has long been praised in folklore for its magical properties. A necklace from the berries is said to protect the wearer from harm. Whilst it’s often referred to as a Mountain Ash it’s not actually an Ash at all, and is a member of the Rose family instead.

Typically, September is the month to gather and use Rowan berries ~ I know, I know, I’m a tad late this year ~ and consequently my berries are a bit fat!

The Rowan’s wood and berries are used in a lot of folk-magic, and this beautiful tree is believed to have come from the Faerie realm.
Its berries are used for wine and potions to increase second sight, for healing, and for staying strong whilst fasting. The blossom end of the berry has a natural pentagram, adding to its protective properties.

Today I made a Protective Rowanberry Necklace, choosing to thread some brown wooden beads in between each berry to make it my own.
You can also make protective charms from Rowan twigs and red thread to hang in your car, office or over the doors in your house.

“Rowan twigs and strings of red,
Deflect all gossip, harm and dread”

Friday, 11 October 2019

Glastonbury Goddess



Mother Earth,
Enlighten what’s dark in me,
Strengthen what’s weak in me,
Mend what’s broken in me,
Bind what’s bruised in me,

Heal what’s sick in me...
And lastly, revive whatever peace and love has died in me.
~ Unknown