Monday, 12 July 2021

Witchy Birthday Cake

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1DoKP3vqpxze-Q0jFgpAFRrnDgJw_bzqH

Yesterday we went for a surprise birthday trip out and there were surprises galore!

My husband had planned an amazing trip to Stanton Moor to see the Nine Ladies Stone Circle, but he had also arranged for us to meet my best friend and her partner there - and they gave me this incredible cake.

Isn’t it amazing? It has sugar amethysts and is decorated with runes, ivy, candles and a pentagram - I was absolutely blown away πŸ˜­πŸ’œ it’s a total masterpiece.

We had a fantastic trip to this incredible place, and I’ll be sharing photos throughout the week.

Hope you’re all having a lovely weekend! πŸ’œ

Cake by Shannon Holdsworth 

Horseshoe Magick

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1hIPK23SZebkvY2V35_KJ26tJWa6mVnY2

Horseshoes have good luck status in England as Blacksmiths and Farriers are considered to be natural magicians. Horseshoes are displayed in a “U” shape, with the points upwards, so that the luck should not run out. It is considered very bad luck to have them pointing downwards.

Traditionally, only Smiths and Farriers may display a horseshoe downwards. Blacksmiths would have an upside-down horseshoe hung over their forge doors; their magical power pouring from the horseshoe on to the forge itself.

There is one other exception to this rule, though.

In my county we only display horseshoes downwards. It is found on houses, and above doorways. It is also upside-down on our county flag.

The people here believe that the Devil can’t make a home in the horseshoe this way up, and upside-down horseshoes bring good luck to us, much in the same way that upward horseshoes bring luck to the rest of the country.

We also have a tradition where any reigning monarch or peer of the realm who visits the county for the first time should present a horseshoe to the Lord of the Manor. This custom is over 500 years old and still continues today. There are now over 200 upside-down horseshoes on display at Oakham Castle, the oldest said to have been given by Edward IV in around 1470.

Valerie Worth, in the Crone’s Book of Words, gives a horseshoe spell to cure a headache. You hold an end in each hand and press the centre of the horseshoe against your forehead and say:

“Good metal loosed,
From horse’s hoof,
Draw from my brain, 
These nails of pain,
Cast them away,
Keep them away.”

Horseshoe traditions have also become popular for weddings. A bride carrying a horseshoe will bring good luck to both the occasion and the marriage. Sometimes this is a small symbol, made of silver, or porcelain hidden in the bouquet or carried alongside it. My grandmother carried several decorative horseshoes alongside her bouquet.

Do you have a horseshoe protecting your home? Which way up is it? Have you seen horseshoes at a wedding, or carried one yourself?

© Original content; repost with clear, written credits. @the_cemetery_witch

Thursday, 8 July 2021

Birthday Magick

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=12AgDdMKP0cCzF6-6Em0xpOLW2rFYugLb

Birthdays. What do you think of them?

I think of them as being a bit liminal. You have just completed a year’s cycle, and you are just starting a new year’s cycle; but you haven’t completed much of that journey. So whilst they might not be completely liminal, they do feel like an in-between to me. Not quite here, not quite there. But that’s just my own viewpoint.

I find them to be a reflective time, and carry an energy similar to some of the festivities in the Wheel. I find myself looking back at what I have (or have not) achieved, and what I want moving forwards.

I’ll be honest, birthdays are often a deeply difficult time for me. As I grow older I find these occasions more emotional. It is not the process of growing older. That is something I absolutely cherish, and I’m aware it’s a privilege denied to many; but it’s the realisation of the passing of time, and how I might have done things differently that plays on my mind. Even if many of these things have been beyond my control.

I take the day before a birthday to collect myself and get my thoughts in order. In the evening I sometimes do a little magick. On the day I often have a little cry, before getting on and enjoying it. I can’t help it, it’s just how these things flow.

Birthdays are an excellent time to create/perform self-love rituals. There’s no-one who can love you more than you!

Things you can include in a birthday ritual:
πŸŽ‚ Pampering
πŸŽ‚ Letters to the old, or new, you 
πŸŽ‚ Releasing or letting go of old habits, behaviours, and thoughts 
πŸŽ‚ Plans, ideas, intentions and wishes 
πŸŽ‚ Journalling 
πŸŽ‚ A special gift from you to you!

One thing I always concentrate on the day before a birthday is this thought:

We have immense personal power, and once we realise this, it’s much easier to tap into it. We have all the tools we need at our disposal to achieve anything we desire. We have the ability to transmute the airy energy of ideas, and manifest them into something solid, something real. What am I going to create? What do I want to achieve? What am I going to do?

What month is your birthday? Do you think they’re a good time for magick? Do you have any special birthday rituals?

© Original content; repost with clear, written credits. @the_cemetery_witch

Lovely Lupins

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1ThPFBRvF0AJvrROpaYE3gwFbRZPIkVNF

The lupin, or lupine, is a genus of flowering plant in the legume family, with a rich and fascinating history. It was originally named from lupus, meaning wolf, but I have seen several explanations for its name.

Firstly, it has been suggested that it was named after the wolf because of its voracious nature. Secondly, that lupin was named after the wolf, because it was thought that both wolves and lupins kill livestock. Thirdly, because it was believed that lupins “wolfed” minerals and nutrients from the soil, when in actual fact they do the opposite.

It is traditionally used in protection rites and spells, and is said to absorb psychic and magickal energy.

Powder the leaves, roots, seeds, but despite it being used as a culinary plant around the world, please do NOT ingest it, as some lupins contain secondary compounds which can be poisonous.

I have not worked with lupin myself yet, but common correspondences associated with lupin are:

🌸 protection
🌸 balancing 
🌸 otherworld communication 
🌸 absorbing psychic “messes” 
🌸 admiration
🌸 creativity
🌸 animal healing, in particular dogs 
🌸 imagination 
🌸 happiness 
🌸 strength recovering from trauma 
🌸 new opportunities found via a positive outlook 
🌸 corresponds with 3rd eye chakra

© Original content; repost with clear, written credits. @the_cemetery_witch

Wednesday, 7 July 2021

Experiencing the Land Wights

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1CctJK0B8R9mHSNkwxYxFt75I6H7N19m6

I’ve spoken before about land wights, the unique spirits that reside in natural things such as mineral, animal, herb, rock, plant, and stone. Collectively they form the genius loci, the spirit of a place.

Land wights are definitely the spirits that communicate with me most, and something which has developed as I have got older. I felt an instant connection to this place when I moved here ~ a later DNA test would reveal to me that many of my ancestors actually came from this area ~ and the longer I have spent time treading the land, the more information the land wights have passed to me.

It begun as information about the landscape, and moved on to the identification of plants. My plant knowledge has always been quite good, but it has sped up since I moved here. I feel like the land ~ the spirits residing within the land ~ are slowly revealing themselves to me, furthering my knowledge. They will say “I am an X” and when I go home and research, I find they are right.

It’s not just the identification of plants, it’s also their personalities. I get a certain feeling when I approach, spend time with, think about, or use a plant. These are distinct feelings or emotions that I simply have no human words for. They are very specific, and differ hugely from plant to plant. I suppose you could say it is their “essence”.

There is clearly more work to be done with this. There are hundreds of plants yet to be identified, and personalities to understand; and that’s before we get into the realm of using them magickally. What’s interesting is that as someone who has terrible cognitive issues ~ especially a terrible memory ~ one thing I CAN remember is the names of all these friends.

Have you ever felt instantly connected to a place? Did it reveal its secrets to you? Have you experienced what I am?

Apple Cake Recipe

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1CBc8Q5YPNAG3y-Ib0VlchWI0h4HRpIew

A blessed July everyone! 🌞

This is a post from the Solstice which I am only sharing on the website today:

“Today marks the longest day of the year. We celebrate the peak energy available at this time, but it is a bittersweet moment. Despite the joy and abundance of this time, the energetic scales are tipped; and once again we will begin the descent into darkness.

Whilst there is a definite sense of making merry at this time ~ celebrating the abundance of summer and enjoying time outside with friends and family ~ it can be a time tinged with sadness for many, including myself. For those of us with chronic illness who are solar powered, and are only really just starting to feel healthy, well and energised, it’s frustrating to know that the days will start to draw in, in a few days’ time.

But let us put those thoughts aside for now, and revel in this peak moment of light and warmth!

Rather than a traditional Honey Cake, I made an Apple Cake this year. This will grace our table many times between now and Samhain. In many ways it’s more like a pudding than a cake. It is delicious served warm with custard. I have tried this recipe successfully with Gluten-free flour, but not vegan substitutes. I’m sure it would work well.

πŸ₯£ 225g Self Raising Flour
πŸ₯£ 110g Caster Sugar 
πŸ₯£ 170g Bramley Apples, chopped 
πŸ₯£ 85g Butter, melted 
πŸ₯£ 150ml Milk
πŸ₯£ 1 egg 
πŸ₯£ 1 tsp Cinnamon

🌞 Line an 8 inch tin, preheat the oven to 200c 
🌞 Sift the flour into a bowl with the spice and sugar 
🌞 Beat the egg and add to the milk and melted butter 
🌞 Add the wet mixture to the flour mixture, mix well 
🌞 Add the apple, mix well 
🌞 Spoon into the tin, sprinkle some sugar on top 
🌞 Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the cake comes out clean

Happy Solstice everyone 🌞🌞

Sending love, light, and warm wishes on this, the longest of days; and a beautiful Winter Solstice to our brothers and sisters in the Southern Hemisphere.” 

Leicestershire & Rutland Leechcraft

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=17oud_dxoZcKmPRDOZg4gY3KZGnGSECCt

Whilst there are many parts of Leicestershire folklore that are also found in other parts of the country; some recorded folklore is specific to Leicestershire and the immediate district. Some of my favourite Leicestershire folklore is the wonderful, and often bizarre, leechcraft: healing or medical “cures”.

πŸ₯£ Rub a wart three times with the rind of stolen bacon. Nail the rind up on some outside wall, and, as it dries up, the wart will dry up also.

πŸ₯£ Charm against drunkenness: “Take the lungs of an hog; roast it; whosoever eateth thereof fasting shall not be drunk that day, how liberally soever hee takes his drinks.”

πŸ₯£ Swallowing shot will remedy “raisin’ o’ the loights” (heart-burn).

πŸ₯£ Get a black snail, rub it on the wart, then stick it on a thorn until it dies.

πŸ₯£ To cure whooping cough seat the patient on a donkey, with his face towards its tail. Give him a roast mouse to eat. He must not know what he's eating.

πŸ₯£ The Churchyard Mould Cure for rheumatism: bury the patient in the earth for two to three hours, naked, his face only uncovered. Repeat daily until the rheumatism is cured.

πŸ₯£  To cure a wart travel to an ash tree with some fresh pins. Stick a pin through the bark, and then into the wart until it produces pain. Take it out and stick it into the tree. Use a different pin for each wart. The warts will disappear in about six weeks.

πŸ₯£ Charming for whooping-cough and fits: the operator, generally an old woman, draws a circle round the sufferer’s face nine times with her fore-finger, pausing each time at the centre of the forehead and the chin, her lips moving silently during the performance. (It is believed the words of the charm were probably transmitted from mother to daughter as a treasure to be secretly guarded, and may now be irrecoverably lost).

πŸ₯£ When stung with a nettle find a dock leaf and beat the sting with the leaves, repeating the words "in dock, out nettle " — a word with every blow.

Sources: 
πŸ“• Leicestershire Legends, Folklore & Dialect 
πŸ“— County Folklore: Leicestershire & Rutland

The Witches of Belvoir

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1WjpLgXhEfmlPUU06BVUBdvcVJrfsrACE

“Surely... God will choke me on this bread if I am guilty!”


It was 1613, and in Langham, Rutland, lived Joan Flowers. She had two daughters, Philippa and Margaret, who worked for the Earl of Rutland who was seated at Belvoir Castle. 


Philippa helped in the nursery and Margaret was a poultry keeper and laundress until she was caught stealing eggs, and was dismissed from service. The Countess of Rutland refused to give her a character reference which meant she would be unable to find further employment with other local dignitaries.


Joan Flowers was absolutely enraged. Despite being poor she had built up good standing within her community, and she was angry that her daughter would be treated this way. 


She gathered her small coven. Along with Ellen Green of Stathern, Joan Willimott of Goadby, and Anne Baker of Bottesford, and her daughters; the six women climbed to the top of Blackberry Hill, a sinister spot rumoured to be a place of malevolent magick. Here they made a pact with the Devil that revenge would be taken on the Earl and Countess of Rutland, and their three children.


Philippa provided a glove belonging to Lord Ross, Henry Manners, their young son. Joan dipped it in boiling water and rubbed it along the back of her familiar, a black cat called Rutterkin, before pricking it with pins. A week later the child became ill and died. Joan took feathers from the quilt of the Earl and Countess, and boiled the feathers, mixing them with blood, declaring “may they have no more children.” 


The same was done with Francis Manners. He fell sick, but recovered. The witches were angry, and resorted to burying his glove in a dung heap, whereby Francis would fade as the glove decayed. Katherine Manners also started looking ill...


The witches were not secretive about what they were doing, and the news of the curse soon made it back to Belvoir Castle. In 1618, all six women were arrested and imprisoned at Lincoln Gaol. After questioning they were taken to the Lincoln Assizes. Joan Flowers maintained she was innocent, despite the evidence that was brought against her, and despite the boasting she had done.


In 1619, Joan stood before a packed court, having asked for bread to be supplied, and exclaimed in front of an audience sat on tenterhooks: 


“Surely... God will choke me on this bread if I am guilty!” 

She took a bite of the bread... and choked to death.


Joan Flowers’ daughters were found guilty and hanged at Lincoln Castle. It is not sure what happened to the others as it was not recorded, but their deaths did not save Francis Manners who died shortly after in 1620. 


A memorial to the Earl and his family can be found at Bottesford Church:


“He had two sonnes, both which dyed in their infancy by wicked practice and sorcerye”


Footnote: There is evidence to suggest that the Flower family were set up. The family were disliked by the staff at Belvoir Castle, and despite being herbal healers were seen in their local community as obnoxious and arrogant. Many witch trials involved local squabbles. There is evidence to suggest that the boys were actually put to death by the Duke of Buckingham, who wanted to marry the Earl of Rutland’s daughter so that he could inherit the Earl’s fortune. It is said that local people were scared of the Flowers family, but we must consider that these were poor, uneducated women who had to defend themselves in court, with the average trial lasting no more than 20 minutes. Joan Flowers is buried at the crossroads in Ancaster. 

The Leicester Chambermaid

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1d9b-zgGO8nDwK3KWPqy_JUoDLChTpTmj

“So all you brisk and lively blades I pray be ruled by me,
 
And look well into your bargains before you money pay; 

Or soon perhaps your folly will give you cause to cause to range,

For when you sport with pretty maids be sure you get your change!”

Jack was a butcher from London. He considered himself dapper, handsome - and clever. He was dispatched by the family business to Leicester. He had a good day at the cattle market, he gained his wares at a bargain price. He marvelled at himself. He was young, handsome, he had the “gift of the gab”, and he enjoyed the fruits that this skill brought him.

He checked into Queens, his inn for the night. He dined, he supped, and throughout the course of the night he heard whispers that the company of the serving girls could be bought for a small price. Except Bella. She was the niece of the landlord and considered herself above the market and cattle traders. Of course, for a young man like Jack, this was a challenge.

Bella, lush dark curls and pale skin, fell for Jack’s charms instantly. He was dressed in the latest London fashion, he had blonde hair and bright blue eyes, he spoke differently, and he had manners. He was full of tales of travel and adventure. He was so different to the country folk. Bella imagined herself marrying this young man, and moving to London to start a new life... wearing the latest dresses, and living in luxury.

Jack offered her a whole sovereign for what the girls offered for just a few small coins. What could the harm be...?

In the early hours Jack was caught creeping downstairs by the landlord who bellowed “you haven’t paid your bill!” Jack played the innocence card; maintaining that a whole sovereign had been paid to Bella, and that no change had been given to HIM.

Apologising profusely, the landlord called Bella down, who could hardly admit to what she had been doing all night, to corroborate Jack’s story, which she did so quietly in the landlord’s ear. Jack was offered his change, which he declined, and he left pleased with himself, a spring in his step, having gained quite the deal.


A year later, Jack was back at the cattle market, and at the close of day found that Queens was the only inn with a room. Was it a good idea? He wasn’t sure, but he thought to himself “what harm could a mere chambermaid do to the likes of me?”


He checked in, sat down right dinner, and he was halfway through this third pint when Bella appeared with a blonde haired child on her hip, which she promptly plonked on his knee. “What’s this?” He asked, aghast.

“Your change” replied Bella with a smile, “a whole sovereign you gave me, and here I am giving you your change!”


The entire inn erupted with her cleverness. The story spread around the town, where it has been told for many years, as warning to all parties that ALL things come at a price, and if it seems too good to be true, it probably is! 

Bird’s Foot Trefoil

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=14wKWJ9VzgE8yXsg11YWdkCmbEoUNv4Pf

Bird’s-foot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus)

This cheery little plant is one we have in abundance on the cemetery. It flowers in grassy areas between May and September. Native to Eurasia and North Africa, and found throughout mainland Europe, Asia, Africa, the US, and the tropics; it’s not difficult to see that it’s a member of the pea family.

The bird’s foot part of its name refers to the appearance of the seed pods. Five leaves are present, but three are held above the others, hence the “trefoil” part of the name.

It has an abundance of wonderful folk names: deervetch, lady’s slipper, lady’s shoes, granny’s toenails, butter and eggs, eggs and bacon, hen and chickens, cats claws, crow feet, crow toes, devil’s fingers, devil’s claws, king’s fingers, to name but a few.

In folklore the birds-foot trefoil was sometimes associated with evil. Its claw-like seed pods were compared to the Devil’s claws.

The theme of warning and protection comes up a lot with this plant. It has been suggested that bird’s-foot trefoil were woven into wreaths on Midsummer’s night, its three-lobed leaves reminiscent of the Holy Trinity and therefore offering protection; and U.K. schoolchildren used to pick these flowers to use as protective charms against their teachers’ anger.

“Here I dance in a dress like flames,
And laugh to think of my comical names.
Hoppetty hop, with nimble legs!
Some folks call me Bacon and Eggs!
While other people, it’s really true,
Tell me I’m Cuckoo’s Stockings too!
Over the hill I skip and prance;
I’m Lady’s Slipper, and so I dance,
Not like a lady, grand and proud,
But to the grasshoppers chirping loud.
My pods are shaped like dicky’s toes:
That is what Bird’s-Foot Trefoil shows;
This is the name which grown-ups use, but children may call me what they choose.”

~ Mary Cicely Barker, “The Song of the Bird’s-Foot Trefoil Fairy”

The Humble Primrose

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1ZXyFtO6XNKDh8yNes7EPzeE7IWCjByFE

Primrose (Primula vulgaris)

The name primrose comes from the Latin “prima rosa” meaning “first rose”, indicating that spring is generally the time for these beautiful plants to flower, although they sometimes open as early as December in the mildest areas of the U.K.

They’re found across the whole of Britain and Ireland, and are considered a favourite by many, including the many little creatures that depend on them for food, nectar and pollination. They are found in woodlands and by hedgerows and thrive in damp shade. 

There are lots of primrose recipes, but it’s illegal to pick or remove them from the wild as they’re currently protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Folklore surrounding primroses is mainly associated with faeries, and with life cut short.

Hanging primrose flowers outside your house is an invitation to faeries to come in, and touching a rock with a posy of primroses is a key; supposedly opening the doorway to the faerie realms. To receive a blessing from the faeries, primroses should be placed upon the doorstep, and at Beltane primroses and yellow gorse were often lain across the threshold to celebrate the spring and the encroaching summer. That said, as much energy has been spent trying to protect against faeries over the years as attracting them. In the National Folklore Collection in University College, Dublin, there can be found a piece of verse relating to Beltane and faeries:

“Guard the house with a string of primroses
on the first three days of May.
The fairies are said not to be able
to pass over or under this string.”

In Flora Britannica, Richard Mabel notes that in Victorian times it was common to plant primroses on the graves of children. There are definitely primroses dotted about on this cemetery, but I’m not sure if they correspond.

There are other customs related to death and primroses, meaning they provoke a similar feeling to blossom for me: they are representative of the ephemeral nature of life. πŸ’š

Friday, 18 June 2021

Lesser Celandine

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1qDUgKAbfXKGlgp7fpX7BSzbAWfpP2jvp

Lesser Celandine (Ranunculus Ficaria) 

Considered a weed - but still a beautiful plant nonetheless - Lesser Celandine is a small, low-growing, perennial herb from the buttercup family Ranunculaceae. Its cheerful star-shaped flowers appear in early spring covering the woodland floor.

A British native, it can be found in woods, hedgerows, on the banks of streams, and in gardens; and is an early and excellent source of pollen and nectar for emerging bumblebees.

Also known as brighteye, spring messenger, figwort, smallwort, cheesecups, and butter and cheese, it’s most popular folk name is probably pilewort due to its traditional use in Medieval Britain in the treatment of piles.

I call it The Shopkeeper because it closes its petals at 5pm, and re-opens at 9am, even in fine weather; and it was once held that it could be used to predict the weather as they close their petals before raindrops.

If picked on the morning of St Peter’s Day (29th June) it is said that you are given protection from imprisonment - but given that it disappears around late April take from that what you will! πŸ™ˆπŸ˜† It is also associated with psychic ability, the Sun, Artemis, and Scorpio.

I have seen its magickal correspondences referred to as war, destruction, action, rage, and power, but I personally associate it with cheeriness, spring, routine, boundaries, timekeeping, and getting a job done.

Lesser celandine is mentioned in C. S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. When Aslan returns and the woodland turns from winter to spring, the ground is covered with yellow celandine flowers.

Bird’s-foot Trefoil

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1_gMkSb9pZiihRrVXUe8hRnguxUZkeJzf

Bird’s-foot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus)

This cheery little plant is one we have in abundance on the cemetery. It flowers in grassy areas between May and September. Native to Eurasia and North Africa, and found throughout mainland Europe, Asia, Africa, the US, and the tropics; it’s not difficult to see that it’s a member of the pea family.

The bird’s foot part of its name refers to the appearance of the seed pods. Five leaves are present, but three are held above the others, hence the “trefoil” part of the name.

It has an abundance of wonderful folk names: deervetch, lady’s slipper, lady’s shoes, granny’s toenails, butter and eggs, eggs and bacon, hen and chickens, cats claws, crow feet, crow toes, devil’s fingers, devil’s claws, king’s fingers, to name but a few.

In folklore the birds-foot trefoil was sometimes associated with evil. Its claw-like seed pods were compared to the Devil’s claws.

The theme of warning and protection comes up a lot with this plant. It has been suggested that bird’s-foot trefoil were woven into wreaths on Midsummer’s night, its three-lobed leaves reminiscent of the Holy Trinity and therefore offering protection; and U.K. schoolchildren used to pick these flowers to use as protective charms against their teachers’ anger.

“Here I dance in a dress like flames,
And laugh to think of my comical names.
Hoppetty hop, with nimble legs!
Some folks call me Bacon and Eggs!
While other people, it’s really true,
Tell me I’m Cuckoo’s Stockings too!
Over the hill I skip and prance;
I’m Lady’s Slipper, and so I dance,
Not like a lady, grand and proud,
But to the grasshoppers chirping loud.
My pods are shaped like dicky’s toes:
That is what Bird’s-Foot Trefoil shows;
This is the name which grown-ups use, but children may call me what they choose.”

~ Mary Cicely Barker, “The Song of the Bird’s-Foot Trefoil Fairy”

The Witches of Belvoir

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1TEqKF65nKGdEAXIowpUHkr7tYe0sAlrb

This month @witch.with.me are hosting a challenge based on #regionalwitchcraft and this week is the prompt “Folklore”. Folktales are a subset of folklore, and are popular in my county. This story is based on true events. 

πŸ§™πŸΌ‍♀️πŸ§™πŸΌ‍♀️πŸ§™πŸΌ‍♀️ The Witches of Belvoir πŸ§™πŸΌ‍♀️πŸ§™πŸΌ‍♀️πŸ§™πŸΌ‍♀️

“Surely... God will choke me on this bread if I am guilty!”

It was 1613, and in Langham, Rutland, lived Joan Flowers. She had two daughters, Philippa and Margaret, who worked for the Earl of Rutland who was seated at Belvoir Castle. 

Philippa helped in the nursery and Margaret was a poultry keeper and laundress until she was caught stealing eggs, and was dismissed from service. The Countess of Rutland refused to give her a character reference which meant she would be unable to find further employment with other local dignitaries.

Joan Flowers was absolutely enraged. Despite being poor she had built up good standing within her community, and she was angry that her daughter would be treated this way. 

She gathered her small coven. Along with Ellen Green of Stathern, Joan Willimott of Goadby, and Anne Baker of Bottesford, and her daughters; the six women climbed to the top of Blackberry Hill, a sinister spot rumoured to be a place of malevolent magick. Here they made a pact with the Devil that revenge would be taken on the Earl and Countess of Rutland, and their three children.

Philippa provided a glove belonging to Lord Ross, Henry Manners, their young son. Joan dipped it in boiling water and rubbed it along the back of her familiar, a black cat called Rutterkin, before pricking it with pins. A week later the child became ill and died. Joan took feathers from the quilt of the Earl and Countess, and boiled the feathers, mixing them with blood, declaring “may they have no more children.” 

The same was done with Francis Manners. He fell sick, but recovered. The witches were angry, and resorted to burying his glove in a dung heap, whereby Francis would fade as the glove decayed. Katherine Manners also started looking ill...

The witches were not secretive about what they were doing, and the news of the curse soon made it back to Belvoir Castle. In 1618, all six women were arrested and imprisoned at Lincoln Gaol. After questioning they were taken to the Lincoln Assizes. Joan Flowers maintained she was innocent, despite the evidence that was brought against her, and despite the boasting she had done.

In 1619, Joan stood before a packed court, having asked for bread to be supplied, and exclaimed in front of an audience sat on tenterhooks: 

“Surely... God will choke me on this bread if I am guilty!” 

She took a bite of the bread... and choked to death.

Joan Flowers’ daughters were found guilty and hanged at Lincoln Castle. It is not sure what happened to the others as it was not recorded, but their deaths did not save Francis Manners who died shortly after in 1620. 

A memorial to the Earl and his family can be found at Bottesford Church:

“He had two sonnes, both which dyed in their infancy by wicked practice and sorcerye”

Footnote: There is evidence to suggest that the Flower family were set up. The family were disliked by the staff at Belvoir Castle, and despite being herbal healers were seen in their local community as obnoxious and arrogant. Many witch trials involved local squabbles. There is evidence to suggest that the boys were actually put to death by the Duke of Buckingham, who wanted to marry the Earl of Rutland’s daughter so that he could inherit the Earl’s fortune. It is said that local people were scared of the Flowers family, but we must consider that these were poor, uneducated women who had to defend themselves in court, with the average trial lasting no more than 20 minutes. Joan Flowers is buried at the crossroads in Ancaster. 

Thursday, 10 June 2021

Graveyard Dirt

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1fnEwQiqQ11hrEtHhA0c6qQ5hb4aH-MaY

Living on a cemetery it makes sense to talk about Graveyard Dirt.

Amongst other things, it is used for:

πŸ’€ Samhain rituals
πŸ’€ Protection spells
πŸ’€ Communicating with spirits
πŸ’€ Altar item during mourning
πŸ’€ Banishing
πŸ’€ Habit-breaking spells
πŸ’€ Curses
πŸ’€ Ancestor Connection and veneration
πŸ’€ Summoning spirits

Although it is used across many traditions, it is fair to say that using Graveyard Dirt can be a contentious issue, and some people find it disrespectful to take land from those who are trying to rest, simply to increase power, or for other spell casting motives. However, it does not need to be taken from specific graves.

The dirt I have gathered is the dirt removed from grave digging - not all of it goes back, and is left in a pile; but it still holds the energy of this land, which for hundreds of years has been used for funerary purposes. Alternatively, you can gather dirt from somewhere else on the cemetery, or from a grave that is occupied by someone you know.

Firstly, this feels much more acceptable than taking dirt from the grave of someone you don’t know (depending on your viewpoint), and secondly, the character of the person who is buried there may be crucial in your workings, or may have wanted to have been a part of your workings in some way. I suspect my Nan - had she been buried - might have taken interest in some of my spells!

Of course, it is thoughtful and fair to leave a gift for the dead in exchange for what you have taken; flowers, stones, a libation, small coins, or some other small offering, are all appropriate.

Do you use Graveyard Dirt in your practice? What do you think about it?

The Land and People

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=18aiCpnLWWukqUc93PnCoVeqqPOkQR8ng

This month @witch.with.me are hosting a challenge based on #regionalwitchcraft and they get started this week with the prompt “Land and People”, two things that are deeply interwoven here.

I’m a “Raddleman” which means I’m an inhabitant of the smallest county in England - Rutland - which is nestled between Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire.

Our agricultural landscape boasts hills and valleys, sacred wells, a Sheela na gig, a labyrinth, a Norman castle, a Bede house, and lots of churches built on old, sacred ground. We are a beautiful county, steeped in the rich history, folklore and traditions of the surrounding area, much of which has made its way into our magick.

Aside from smiths and farriers, we are the only people that may display a horseshoe pointing downwards to bring us luck, for fear that the Devil will make its home in the hollow when displayed the other way round. Apparently we need to keep an eye on the Devil as he’s always hard at work putting temptation in the way of the people! We nail horseshoes with nine nails over the stable door, and keep one in the fire at all times. A horse-shoe nailed on a door renders the evil power of a witch that may enter of non-effect, and many local houses display them.

Our local produce, broad beans, also feature a lot in our folklore, especially remedies - “take the pod of a broad bean, rub it on a wart, and then bury it or throw it over the shoulder without looking back”, and you can spot someone from Leicestershire as the beans will (apparently!) rattle in their belly.

If you drop a knife, a male visitor will come to the house. If you drop a spoon, a female visitor will come. If one person begins to pour out the tea, and another takes charge of the tea-pot to finish, there will be a birth in the family within twelve months.

We have loads of legends, many of them ghost stories. The spectral lady of Braunston, Swift Nick, Nicodemus, the Black Annis, the Witch of Edmondthorpe Hall, a magic hedge that bows when you walk past it, and a bogeyman. All yet to be shared with you.

Primroses

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1nGXMuKSGoo7I6EQUKdRUfYXpz3kOi3lT

This month @witch.with.me are hosting a challenge based on #regionalwitchcraft and this week is the prompt “Native Plants”. 

Primrose (Primula vulgaris)

The name primrose comes from the Latin “prima rosa” meaning “first rose”, indicating that spring is generally the time for these beautiful plants to flower, although they sometimes open as early as December in the mildest areas of the U.K.

They’re found across the whole of Britain and Ireland, and are considered a favourite by many, including the many little creatures that depend on them for food, nectar and pollination. They are found in woodlands and by hedgerows and thrive in damp shade. 

There are lots of primrose recipes, but it’s illegal to pick or remove them from the wild as they’re currently protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Folklore surrounding primroses is mainly associated with faeries, and with life cut short.

Hanging primrose flowers outside your house is an invitation to faeries to come in, and touching a rock with a posy of primroses is a key; supposedly opening the doorway to the faerie realms. To receive a blessing from the faeries, primroses should be placed upon the doorstep, and at Beltane primroses and yellow gorse were often lain across the threshold to celebrate the spring and the encroaching summer. That said, as much energy has been spent trying to protect against faeries over the years as attracting them. In the National Folklore Collection in University College, Dublin, there can be found a piece of verse relating to Beltane and faeries:

“Guard the house with a string of primroses
on the first three days of May.
The fairies are said not to be able
to pass over or under this string.”

In Flora Britannica, Richard Mabel notes that in Victorian times it was common to plant primroses on the graves of children. There are definitely primroses dotted about on this cemetery, but I’m not sure if they correspond.

There are other customs related to death and primroses, meaning they provoke a similar feeling to blossom for me: they are representative of the ephemeral nature of life. πŸ’š

Regional Witchcraft #witchwithme
June 7-13: Native Plants

Monday, 31 May 2021

Today’s Card Reading

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1YBAeKXSX_F9sFMaSZ6LV34z3fnJrBgLH

If projects and plans have come to a grinding halt, despite you trying to push them forwards, surrender. It’s ok to pause. In a world where we have only just started to make self-care a priority, we must embrace the idea that any kind of break can be positive. Stopping not only restores our physical and mental health, but gives us a chance to plan, observe, reflect, consider, and analyse. We can actually propel ourselves further by taking a step back. So if the universe is forcing you to stop, don’t fret it - you’ll be back on track soon enough and making headway. 

© Original content; repost with clear, written credits. @the_cemetery_witch

Deck: The DruidCraft Tarot  

Oak Apple Day - 29th May

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1J0jxrOb2TAalaJH0u4Bo7OM38xY6Anl-

Oak Apple Day, Royal Oak Day, or Restoration Day, was a holiday in England on 29th May. It was also known as Shick Shack Day or Oak & Nettle Day. It commemorated the Restoration of Charles II in May 1660, with the 29th May being Charles II’s birthday. The name refers to the event during the English Civil War when Charles hid from the Roundheads in an oak tree during the Battle of Worcester, before being crowned King of Great Britain and Ireland.

As in many places, the people of Rutland and Leicestershire celebrated Oak Apple Day and observed it by wearing oak apples and oak leaves. Those that did not wear them were stung by nettles, or pinched on the bottom, by those who did! Wearing a sprig of oak showed that the person was loyal to the restored king. This day would also become known as Pinch-Bum-Day, and it is believed by some that the royal association conceals the pagan tradition of tree worship.

In Rutland and Leicestershire boughs of oak were placed over the doors of notable people and monarchists, and over the battlements of churches. Sadly these traditions are now largely discontinued in this area, although events still happen in the U.K. including at nearby All Saints Church in Northampton, where a garland of oak-apples is laid at Charles II's statue.

Stinging Nettle Crisps

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1IApDdmaa6UR01Wmn_qODEdgRyCjLYPBv

Stinging nettles (Urtica dioica) are one of the UK’s most abundant wild foods, and they grow absolutely everywhere, making them an easy forage. They’re extremely nutritious, they contain lots of Vitamin C, and they’re one of the richest sources of iron you can find in a plant or vegetable. They’re ten percent protein, which ~ apart from hemp ~ is more than any other vegetable.

Today I made some Stinging Nettle Crisps, the perfect accompaniment to a lunchtime sandwich, or a bowl of Nettle Soup.

πŸ₯£πŸ₯£ Stinging Nettle Crisps πŸ₯£πŸ₯£

🌿 Using gloves and scissors snip the nettle leaves directly into a bowl or a carrier bag. We’re not washing these nettles, so they need to be clean and free from bird poo, bugs, dog excrement and other nasties. Pick from the top of large bushes and away from popular dog-walking routes.

🌿 Remove the leaves from any stalks. Arrange them on a baking sheet. Remember that the leaves still sting at this stage, so be careful!
https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1JV30IstN1ZoGG_ggrvw6Xq3YGr4N0xa8

🌿 Spritz lightly with oil, or use a pastry brush to apply a small layer of oil to the leaves.

🌿 Sprinkle over salt, pepper and chilli flakes (optional). You could probably get really inventive at this stage!

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1cOclELtePRr2sSHAtwodK8cR0Vint850

🌿 Place in the middle of the oven and cook at about 130c until they go crisp. You may want to turn them over during cooking.

Nettles are extremely delicious and there are lots of crisp recipes online, with various ingredients added, such as tahini, paprika or nutritional yeast.

Do you like nettles? What’s your favourite thing to do with them?

Thursday, 27 May 2021

Cleavers - Galium aparine

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1vww_jQjIS4tEDZr-h-RuG2XSklCz-6Kz

After chatting all things plant with @fentonsherbology at the beautiful @barnsdalegardens last weekend, I was inspired to catch the small period of sunshine we had yesterday, and put my boots on for a foraging trip.

I needed some nettles, some oak leaves for a small project, and some cleavers (Galium aparine).

Cleavers is an edible herb found in Europe, North America, Asia, Greenland, and Australia. Its tiny, prickly hairs give it a sticky feeling when you touch it, one that is not left on the fingertips.

It has an abundance of folk names. Known by my mum as sticky willy, and to me as sticky bob - it is also called goosegrass, hayriffe, hedgeriff, catchweed, scratwees, hitchhikers, barweed, bobby buttons, whippy sticks, Velcro plant, clivers, bedstraw, hayruff, sticky weed, mutton chops, sticky bud, sticky back, sticky Jack, sticky grass, grip grass, robin-run-the-hedge, everlasting friendship, robin-run-in-the-grass, loveman, and goosebill.

It is a valuable herb that is helpful for treating inflammation, disease of the urinary organs, scurvy, psoriasis, and skin diseases. It has a soothing effect and induces a quiet, restful sleep. Celtic folklore says that drinking a cleavers infusion for nine weeks would make you so beautiful that everyone would fall in love with you, and taking a bath infused with cleavers would make a woman successful in love. It has been used in the past to treat gonorrhoea, and as a hair tonic; it is said to help hair grow abundantly.

The plant is often infused in hot water and drunk as a tea, roughly 2-4 grams of the herb being infused to 60 to 120 milliliters of water is a good measurement, although I just grabbed a bunch and infused it. The infusion, hot or cold, is taken frequently, up to three times per day.

It is a powerful diuretic, so should be avoided when diabetes is present. Please check with a clinical herbalist before ingesting herbs of any kind.

© Original content; repost with clear, written credits. @the_cemetery_witch

Tuesday, 25 May 2021

Oak Galls

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=17IZYGOoWZvxrg9XrKex0OIOPA6mCgBWE

Galls are defined as a growth on a plant that are caused by another organism. In the case of the Oak marble gall (pictured) found on pedunculate oaks, they are caused by a tiny wasp, Andricus kollari, which measures about 1.5mm long.

Around May or June a sexual female lays her eggs in the developing buds of an oak tree, usually in an immature or unhealthy specimen. Chemicals from the adult and the developing wasps cause the formation of the gall.

Oak apple galls are caused by Biorhiza polliza, and oak knopper galls are caused by Andricus quercuscalicis; two other types of wasp, producing two other types of gall.

Until the early twentieth century, oak galls were used in the production of ink. The Book of Magical Charms, a handwritten manuscript written in England in the seventeenth century, containing numerous passages regarding charms for things such as healing toothache, was written in oak gall ink.

Oak galls could also be used for divination. Three galls were dropped into a basin of water to see if a child was bewitched. If they floated, the child wasn’t enchanted, but if they sank, the child was.

They were also used to predict the weather. If a maggot was found inside on St. Michaelmas Day (29th September) the weather ahead would be pleasant. If a spider was found, ruined crops, if a wasp was found, moderate weather, and if nothing was found serious disease would occur all year.

Oaks are associated with my home town. I’m going to buddy these galls with some peridot to make a necklace or bracelet.

© Original content; repost with clear, written credits. @the_cemetery_witch

Sunday, 23 May 2021

Lyddington Bede House

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1SUZSz5Tplu9zkPtdoJtMmcYzpCXa1z_g

One of the amazing places near me is Lyddington Bede House. I’ve been wanting to share this place with you all for a while as it has an amazing energy surrounding it.

It is set in the incredibly beautiful ironstone village of Lyddington, and was originally the wing of a palace belonging to the Bishops of Lincoln. By 1600 it had passed to Sir Thomas Cecil, son of Queen Elizabeth’s chief minister, who converted it into an almshouse.

This almshouse - also known as a bedehouse, poorhouse or hospital - was created for 12 poor ‘bedesmen’ over 30 years old, and two bedeswomen over 45 years old, “all free of lunacy, leprosy or the pox”. It served as an almshouse until 1930.

Almshouses were established from the 10th century in Britain as extensions of the church system, and were later adapted by local authorities. They were designed to provide residence for poor, old or distressed people, such as elderly widows who could no longer pay rent.

Bede is the Anglo-Saxon word for prayer, and the bedesmen and bedeswomen were obliged to pray for the founder of the almshouse. The oldest almshouse in existence is the Hospital of St. Cross in Winchester (1132), and the first recorded almshouse was established in York, by King Athelstan.

Do you have a place near you that gives you the chills (good or bad)?

Wednesday, 19 May 2021

Fairy Rings

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1qsXsBQFzLv9xDp9iUiQEW3VSSeIKUCgp

Fairy rings, are also known as elf circles, fairy circles, pixie rings or elf rings. They are detected by a ring of dark grass like the one in the picture; with mushrooms appearing in late summer to autumn. They grow up to 10m (33ft) in diameter, growing bigger as they get older, and some have grown as big as 365m (1200ft). They are best seen late summer to early autumn.

They are often found in forests, and there are two types of ring. Those found in forests are called ‘tethered’. They live symbiotically with trees, and those found in meadows or other places are called ‘free’ because they’re not connected with other organisms.

For thousands of years people of many cultures have regarded fairy rings with curiosity, awe, and fear; as a result they are the subject of folklore worldwide.

They have been the dwellings of witches, fairies, and elves. Many believe fairy rings are too dangerous to enter. I certainly won’t enter one! In English and Celtic folklore, fairy rings were caused by fairies or elves dancing in a circle.

Norman belief held that the beautiful appearance of fairies would be alluring to people, and if humans joined in the dance they would be punished by the fairies, and made to dance in the ring, unable to stop, until they passed out from exhaustion (or went mad). It is said that if you step inside a fairy ring you will become invisible, trapped there forever. People in Somerset called them “galley-traps” as late as the 20th century. They believed that when a man who had committed a crime passed through a fairy ring, he was doomed to hang within the year. Other folk tales warn of disease, bad luck, or an early death.

Austrian folklore implies that the rings have been burned in to the ground by the fiery tails of dragons. Dutch tradition states that the devil is to blame for creating a fairy ring; it’s somewhere to keep his milk churn. In German folklore fairy rings were once known as witches’ rings, and it was believed that they would dance there on Walpurgis Night.

Some cultures believe they are portals, sign of a fairy village underground, and good luck.

Sunday, 16 May 2021

Midland Hawthorn

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=13oqK8t0pnKvKbB6_zrP-amAOCfseevwO

We’ve just been for a walk in a beautiful ancient woodland full of flowers and I spotted this hawthorn.

It’s a type of hawthorn called a Midland hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata), also known as Woodland hawthorn, which is a bit different to the Common hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna). Its leaves are more shallow lobed, and it has creamy-white to sometimes pinky-red flowers as opposed to the white flowers of the common hawthorn.

Midland hawthorns were actually more prevalent than the common hawthorn in the Middle Ages, but they are much harder to find now. They are native to western and central Europe, and they are most common in central - I’m guessing where the name comes from - and southern England, most notably in Leicestershire and Rutland. They grow in ancient woodland and love clay soil.

In the past the Midland hawthorn was incorrectly known as Crataegus oxyacantha, and in 1753 this name was used to cover several species of hawthorn. In 1775 the Midland and Common species were separated out, and in 1946 it was finally shown that a different plant was actually Crataegus oxyacantha. Because of the confusion, this name is still used occasionally for the Midland hawthorn.

Hawthorn has highly scented blossom, but when the flowers are cut they are said to have reminded medieval people of the Great Plague, such is their foul smell - but I have not tested this theory! Hawthorn was never taken inside the home, it was believed that illness and death would occur soon after.

In my family we don’t consider the summer having started until the hawthorn flowers; which has been really late (in our area) this year. Summer is finally here!

© Original content; repost with clear, written credits. @the_cemetery_witch

Thursday, 13 May 2021

Thor’s Hammer Home Protection

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1ZgzXtIU8ae_DBY5orDa1b9LfMk1v7w0s

It’s Protection & Defence Month over at @witch.with.me and this week’s prompt is “Home Protection”.

Displayed here is our Thor’s Hammer, created for us and given to us by a good friend. It was created with protection in mind, and it hangs in the entrance hall of our home. The famous weapon belonging to Thor was not only a symbol of destructive power, but also one of protection against the forces of evil and violence.

The reason we were given a hammer, and not a different protective symbol, is for several reasons. The friend who created it for us hails from Orkney, once a seat of great power in the Norse empire, and it reflects our time spent there, our residence in the Danelaw, plus our own Scandinavian heritage. It also nods to the fact that we have spent some time in the past as Viking reenactors.

Orkney remained part of a Scandinavian kingdom until 1468 when the islands were pawned to the Scottish Crown by Christian I of Denmark as a dowry for his daughter’s  marriage to James III of Scotland. If you ever get a chance to visit Orkney it has some amazing places - the Brough of Birsay, the Broch of Gurness, Maeshowe Chambered Cairn, Skara Brae, the Ring of Brodgar, and St Magnus Cathedral; the medieval cathedral at the heart of the Earldom of Orkney.

Until we get back to those shores, our hammer will keep us safe!

© Original content; repost with clear, written credits. @the_cemetery_witch

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Today’s Tarot Reading

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1aXV4pyg3OeGg3mWGuiz8nwPlfxAvU7GR

When things haven’t turned out the way you expected it’s ok to be sad and disappointed. It’s ok to dwell for a bit while you reflect on what went wrong and how you could have done things differently, but then it’s time to move on! New opportunities will be waiting for you, so have a good cry, brush yourself down, and then move forwards.

© Original content; repost with clear, written credits. @the_cemetery_witch

Deck: The DruidCraft Tarot

Sunday, 9 May 2021

Today’s Tarot Reading

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1i9i9Jc2joz2mI9YrAx9xS2LF_ykBZ38N

You may be at a crossroads right now, having to make a huge decision and not fully knowing which way to turn. It’s going to take a blend of intuition and intellect to arrive at the right conclusion. The only way to come up with the answer is to tune in to your Higher Self, and listen to your inner voice, and to take the path which feels most right. Everything will come together.

© Original content; repost with clear, written credits. @the_cemetery_witch

Deck: The Enchanted Forest Tarot 

Tuesday, 4 May 2021

Today’s Tarot Reading

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=15vhIKWkmT2ac7jUy6LS2ipeez46KPqo6

Take time out from the hustle and bustle, and tune into the natural healing energies of the earth. Visit your favourite field, lake, meadow, mountain, forest or beach, or wherever you feel most at home within nature, and breathe in the fresh air. Allow the natural energies of the land attune your soul; making you ready to return to life with enthusiasm, vigour and clarity.

© Original content; repost with clear, written credits. @the_cemetery_witch

Deck: The DruidCraft Tarot 

Magickal Attitudes & Personal Protection

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1rHk6lFD5QXbCOgeoZzNR-NClAQYLA_La

Personal Protection is the prompt for the first week of the Protection & Defence Month over at @witch.with.me

We could discuss the many protective elements of witchcraft; such as crystals, spells, charms and candle colours, but I thought I would talk about something much more mundane, which I believe has a magickal power all of its own: attitude.

I believe that keeping your “vibe high” is a great protective shield against the negativity of others. Whilst it won’t protect you entirely from those who are truly intent on doing harm, I do believe it creates a useful and powerful buffer.

What do I mean by keeping your “vibe high” exactly?

For me this encompasses a lot of things. I believe in enjoying life, and being the best person you can be. I believe in accepting and loving yourself, warts and all, and trying to do better when you can. 
I believe in being grateful, humble and cheerful, and acting with honesty and integrity. I believe in being kind to others, and in championing others, especially those with shared passions and interests ~ there is room for everyone!
I believe in being careful with words ~ it’s called “spelling” for a reason! ~ and standing by promises. I don’t believe in spreading malicious gossip, and I believe in being prepared to say sorry if feelings have been hurt. I believe it’s ok to have boundaries, and it’s ok to distance yourself from people if necessary, and to say “no”.

When you know yourself, others come to know you. When you are comfortable in your own skin, and commit to a life of respect and joy, other people’s negativity is diminished, and simply unable to enter your soul, or that of others. When you are happy and build others up, they are happy too!

What you put out into the world comes back to you, and, if it is good, what you put out into the world protects you.

Thursday, 29 April 2021

Chamomile Magick

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1pSXxvTxuIaJqAAZF81bLaLDtlXpbd05M

Chamomile is a fascinating little plant and it has been used for a multitude of ailments by many cultures for centuries. Used in the mummification process, its use has been documented as far back as the ancient Egyptians.

There's Roman chamomile as well as German chamomile. They're from two different plant families, but are used in the same manner, and their essential oils are popular in aromatherapy. Roman chamomile essential oil is often used for sleep issues, for stress, and to calm and soothe the nerves.

Chamomile is masculine in its energy, and is associated with the Sun, and Sun-related gods such as Helios, Apollo and Ra.

✨✨✨ Using Chamomile in Magick ✨✨✨

🌼 Purification
🌼 Protection 
🌼 Banishing 
🌼 Meditation 
🌼 Money magick 
🌼 Warding off negative energies 
🌼 Warding against psychic attack 
🌼 Spells relating to sleep 
🌼 In incense blends for relaxation

Scott Cunningham says:

"Chamomile is used to attract money and a hand wash of the infusion is sometimes used by gamblers to ensure winnings. It is used in sleep and meditation incenses, and the infusion is also added to the bath to attract love."

How do you use chamomile? What magickal correspondences do you attribute to it?

These little pouches are available in my Witch Starter Kits and Herb Kits, perfect for topping up existing supplies and for new witches at the start of their journey.

Bear Medicine

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=15I8ut8Tq9OHgqAI5wKv4hq16Dv13VuUX

What do bears mean to you? My Nan had two carved, wooden bears in her home, I was always fascinated by them as a kid, and for me they symbolise:

🐻 Family
🐻 Leadership
🐻 Protection
🐻 Strength
🐻 Introspection
🐻 Intuition

To many cultures the Bear Spirit is the Great Healer; as bears are known to seek out plants ~ in particular Ligusticum porteri, an antibiotic plant known as “bear root” ~ for their own healing; demonstrating the bear’s deep inner knowing and wisdom. With healing comes balance and harmony, so in that sense, bears represent balance and harmony, too. Bears are active day and night, again representing that balance, and connecting bears to both solar and lunar energy.

Bears represent renewal; they leave their dens after sleeping for the winter, refreshed and invigorated after a long rest. For many, this represents awakening the strong force of the unconscious, and the commencement of a journey after a pause.

Bears are fierce protectors that care deeply for their families. They represent maternal love, maternal instinct, and nurturing. Think of the phrase “Mama Bear” and the way mother bears gently look after their cubs, whilst simultaneously being a fierce predator when the need arises.

Whilst I am no Shaman, I have a deep affinity with animals and so it makes sense for me to call on their energy and spirit when I need help. 
🐻 Call on Bear when you need strength to stand up to injustice. 
🐻 Call on Bear when you need your intuition to lead the way. 
🐻 Call on Bear when dealing with matters of family and security. 
🐻 Call on Bear when you need some inner courage, or protection.

Monday, 26 April 2021

Sunday Witchstack - Tarot Books

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=10Oo9Qeat0jCZ_wTp8kSDRHXBNoR1uwFW

It’s Divination Month over at @witch.with.me #witchwithme and this week’s topic is Divination Books. Yesterday I tagged this for @witch.with.books because, Sunday Witchstack! πŸ™ŒπŸΌπŸ“š #witchwithbooks

These three books are my current go-tos for Tarot; they are:

✨ Everyday Tarot by Brigit Esselmont @biddytarot
✨ The Only Tarot Book You’ll Ever Need by Skye Alexander
✨ Tarot Made Easy by Nancy Garen

Tonight you’ll find me sitting in my little corner, my “Divination Station”, catching up on these. πŸ™ŒπŸΌ

Can you recommend a good book on divination, and one on the Tarot? I’d like to invest in some more.

© Original content; repost with clear, written credits. @the_cemetery_witch

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

My Favourite Tarot Deck

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=109cMinFkUvi2U00Fqw3V-tV1xywu482E

It’s Week Three of Divination Month over at Witch With Me and today’s Mini Challenge prompt is “My Favourite Tarot/Oracle Deck”.

My favourite deck of all time is The DruidCraft Tarot by Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm. I’ve collected lots of decks over the years but this is my absolute favourite, and the only deck I really love to read with after the Rider Waite Smith. It is described as conveying “the teachings of Druidry and Wicca through the images painted by Will Worthington”. The cards are natural, colourful and relatable. They’re quite large, but I like that about them. The artist painted them using tempera – a method favoured by the Renaissance artists, using ground minerals and egg yolk.

This deck was originally released in 2004, some 17 years ago! Which makes me feel rather old πŸ™ˆπŸ˜†

What’s your favourite deck? Is it the first deck you made friends with? Do you have a preferred deck for reading? Is it different to your favourite deck? Tell me all about your Tarot preferences!

© Original content; repost with clear, written credits. @the_cemetery_witch

Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Shop & Patreon - Announcement!

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1Gd0EyW5LMbwabRthypKBzFjink4wnr46

Time for an announcement - or two! πŸ₯³πŸ₯³πŸ₯³

🌸🌸 Online Store 🌸🌸
The Cemetery Witch Online Store launches this Friday 23rd April 2021, at 1900hrs BST.

I will be selling a selection of witchy store cupboard items including Spell Candles, Herb Kits, Witch Starter Kits, The Cemetery Witch Original Incense, Spell Kits and Ritual Jewellery, to name but a few. I will post a link here that evening. 

πŸ§™πŸΌ‍♀️πŸ§™πŸΌ‍♀️ Patreon πŸ§™πŸΌ‍♀️πŸ§™πŸΌ‍♀️
My Patreon is nearly here! Finally! It will be available to sign up to from Saturday 1st May at 2021 at 1000hrs BST.

There are six tiers to choose from:

The Angel Witch
The Graveyard Witch 
The Headstone Witch 
The Mausoleum Witch
The Mourning Witch 
The Cemetery Witch

✨✨✨ This Patreon will offer: ✨✨✨
πŸ§™πŸΌ‍♀️ Printable Grimoire pages (A4 PDFs) from my Grimoire 
πŸ§™πŸΌ‍♀️ Seasonal, eclectic and traditional magick and witchcraft 
πŸ§™πŸΌ‍♀️ Recipes, spells, crafts, correspondences, customs, folklore, spells, interviews, reviews
πŸ§™πŸΌ‍♀️ The Cemetery Witch Magickal Monthly Newsletter - exclusive to Patreon patrons
πŸ§™πŸΌ‍♀️ Cemetery Life behind the scenes 
πŸ§™πŸΌ‍♀️ Entry into witchy prize draws 
πŸ§™πŸΌ‍♀️ Gifts and surprises 
πŸ§™πŸΌ‍♀️ Personal Tarot messages 
...and more 

More information to come soon. A link for this Patreon will be provided on Saturday 1st May.

So exciting!

While I’m here, I’d just like to give a little shout-out to my sisters and brothers in the Craft who have encouraged and supported me with these projects. Thank you. πŸ’•

The Magick of Blossom

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1emv1g5tSdQXEVsecrf2O2EJobg5p-48_

One of the best things about this time of year is the blossom!

Blossom is the flowers of stone fruit trees (genus Prunus), and similar; such as the Apple (Malus). At this time of year they are bursting with flowers, and the loud hum of busy bees collecting pollen.

Apple trees have been grown in U.K. for over a thousand years, and they tend to flower later in the Spring; the last week of April through to May. This blossom is from a cherry, and it has been in flower for a week or so now. Cherries can bloom as early as March if it has been warm - which it hasn’t! There are two native species of cherry in the British Isles; bird cherry and wild cherry. I don’t know enough about cherries to know which type this is, but it is from one of my favourite trees on the cemetery, and I look forward to seeing it every Spring.

I found out yesterday that there are loads of cherries in London! April is Sakura (cherry blossom) Month, and you can see them at Kew Gardens, Kyoto Garden, Greenwich Park, St Paul’s Cathedral and Regent’s Park.

In Japan, cherry blossoms symbolize clouds due to their nature of blooming en masse. Their delicate beauty and grace, and their short lived existence - they last about two weeks - are a metaphor for the ephemeral nature of life, and to many they represent destiny and karma. They represent Spring, and the cycle of life, death and renewal/rebirth. They tie closely into Buddhist themes of mindfulness, mortality, and living in the present.

© Original content; repost with clear, written credits. @the_cemetery_witch

Sunday, 18 April 2021

Divination Space

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=19FMpKtmAY1Ztj3v_ayuJjH2CRzLv9lam

It’s Week Three of Divination Month over at @witch.with.me and yesterday was the first day of a Mini Challenge. Yesterday’s prompt was “My Divination Space/Altar”, so I’m sharing the little corner of my home where I like to read my cards, and where I do some of my best thinking.

I jokingly call it The Divination Station, and it is actually in one of the coldest parts of the house. I have to light lots of candles for a little bit of heat, and put a blanket on my lap, but that adds to the ambience and the experience. I love this spot because it’s next to a window, so I can look out across the cemetery, and as it’s in a corner it feels protective and safe, leaving me free to wander into my work.

Do you have a special spot for divination?

© Original content; repost with clear, written credits. @the_cemetery_witch