Elderflower – Gentle & Effective Medicine + Delicious Champagne

herbs Jun 20, 2020
 

What kind of wand did Harry Potter defeat Voldemort with?  It was ELDER! And for good reason, because Elder’s magic is legendary across cultures.  I will do another post about Elder’s MAGIC when the berries are ripe, but for now I want to focus on the frilly, divine FLOWERS.

Elderflowers are an UMBEL, as are Yarrow and Queen Anne’s Lace, meaning that the individual stems of the small batches of flowers that make the flower head all arise from a single point and often are a different lengths to make the flower head flat – or fairly flat – across the top.  Think of the word “umbrella” and how the supports of an umbrella reach out to hold up the fabric of the top all as one piece. It’s slightly rounded, but even.

 The flowers of Elder are beautiful and they smell wonderful, but they don’t last long and will wilt quickly after gathering. If left on the plant they disappear fairly quickly too, soon to be dark...

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YARROW: Wound Healing & Magic-making

herbs Jun 18, 2020
 

MEDICINE

Ask any herbalist what their #1 indispensable herb is, and chances are good that most will name Yarrow.  The true stories of yarrow saving lives abound – from the young man who sliced his leg with a chainsaw to internal bleeding injury from a skateboard accident*.

Yarrow’s healing properties are legendary, as her many common names reveal: Bloodwort, Woundwort, Carpenter’s Weed, and Plumajillo (little healing feather). Even her Latin genus name, Achillea, refers to her alliance with soldiers and healing. Achilles was the hero from the Iliad, and he is said to have used yarrow a great deal to help heal the soldiers he led in battle.  

Yarrow is a wild herb, but she is also easy to grow from seed, and she makes a beautiful addition to landscaping.  There are many decorative cultivars of yarrow in a variety of colors (pink, yellow, red and more), but for medicine and magic, stick with the original white-flowered Achillea millefolium.

Yarrow...

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Queen Anne's Lace is a Beautiful Wildflower + Herb (use caution) -- Delicious Jelly! :)

herbs Jun 15, 2020
 
BE VERY CAUTIOUS GATHERING WILD PLANTS -- ESPECIALLY THOSE THAT LOOK LIKE THEY ARE FROM THE CARROT FAMILY -- SOME ARE DEADLY

Queen Anne's Lace is delicate and lovely, and one can imagine that Queen Anne might have carefully crafted the flowerhead from thread with the intention of creating a decorative doily. In fact, the story goes that the single dark reddish flower often found right in the center of a white QAL flower is a single drop of blood from where Queen Anne pricked her finger while making the lace.

This beautiful wildflower is wild carrot, Daucus carota, the mother of the sweet orange root vegetable everyone knows.  I don't recommend trying to wildcraft the root, though. This is a biennial, which means she only lives two years, and the second year is the year she sends up a stalk and flowers.  By that time, the root is pithy.  The more edible roots are those of the first year plant, but because she doesn't have the telltale signs for positive...

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Nature’s Band-Aid: A wild herb that belongs in everyone’s apothecary (plantain)

herbs Jun 14, 2020
 

Have you ever had a mosquito bite or a spider bite or a splinter that was embedded so deeply it was hard to get out?  Or have you ever inhaled smoke and felt like your lungs were hot, dry, and you just couldn’t get whatever you had inhaled coughed out?  

What if I told you there is a plant that is probably growing in your yard right now that could help heal those issues and more? Plantain (Plantago spp.) is a fantastic wild herb (some call it a weed!) that has amazing healing properties.  It is called "Nature's Band-Aid" by many people, and it is one herb I think EVERYONE needs to know – because it grows everywhere and is potentially life-saving.  In fact, I have heard other herbalists tell stories of people who were bitten by poisonous spiders who survived because of plantain – while their companions who were also bitten did not and died.

Plantain is a first-aid kit in a leaf. It has the power to draw out debris and toxins from a wound. Two of...

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Prickly pear is a fantastic herb + food

herbs Jun 12, 2020
 

Did you know prickly pear's ability to draw out venom/debris can be potentially life saving?  It's an herb I would never want to be without for medicine. In the warm weather, its pads store water and become plump and firm and juicy inside.  If someone in my family were to be bitten by a snake, the first two things I would do would be to grab my bottle of echinacea root tincture and slice off a prickly pear pad. The spines need to be removed, and you want to be especially careful of the fine hairs, called glochids, which are very painful and hard to see/remove once embedded in skin.  Those are easily burnt off by holding the pad with tongs over a flame.  Then slice the pad down the middle, so you have two ovals with exposed gel in the middle.  Cut to size of wound and apply gel side to skin, holding on with an elasticized or ace bandage.  If you want to read an amazing story of how this has been used for remarkable recovery from rattlesnake bite,...

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Judgement and the Ancestors

tarot May 21, 2020

I’ve always read the Tarot's Judgement card as “Discernment” or “Ascension.”  It is one of the cards in Tarot I’ve always felt was misnamed, and I think the name throws people off when they are first learning to read.  But today, the card was something else entirely.  This is the spread and the cards:

I was paired up with Juana in a Tarot Explorers’ Club breakout paired reading session.  I love when there are an odd number of people during paired readings and I get to join in the fun.  I find new insights are frequently sparked during these sessions, even though I have been reading Tarot for 25+ years – and today was one of those times.

I created this spread as a variation of the Celtic Cross, and the bottom card represents something under the surface of things that is having an influence.  Now, normally with Judgement in that position, I would go the direction of maybe it represents people in your...

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