SOCIAL MEDIA

Monday, February 22, 2021

Herbarium: Magical and Medicinal Uses of Pennyroyal

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Gender: Masculine or Feminine (depends on tradition)
Planet: Mars or venus (depends on tradition)
Element: Fire or Earth (depends on tradition)
Powers: Protection, Peace, Strength
Magical Uses and History: A member of the mint family, pennyroyal was historically used in Ancient Rome and Greece as a cooking herb. Many old recipes call for its use alongside other herbs such as oregano, coriander, and lovage, especially in pork recipes. Its culinary uses endured into the Medieval period, but fell out of use shortly after, maybe due to its less than pleasant taste and abortive properties. However, due to its strong abortive properties as an emmenagogue (a menstruation stimulant), pennyroyal is deeply associated with midwifery. As such, it can be used in spells related to encouraging menstruation, blood magic, and protection from unwanted pregnancies, especially for those in the sex industry. Do not, however, ingest pennyroyal without proper medical guidance as the plant is toxic. Its toxic nature, however, makes it a great herb for general protection.

The scientific name Mentha peluqium is believed to originate from the Latin pulex meaning flea, alluding to its use as a flea repellent. It was historically rubbed on the body to repel fleas and has been used in modern times around the home to prevent fleas from entering. (Do not spray directly on your pets or allow your pets to ingest the plant). Furthermore, pennyroyal is said to protect against the Evil Eye. Charms and herbal sachets of pennyroyal were worn or hung in the home to protect the wearer from ill-will, hexes, and curses. The herb can also be used in hex or curse-breaking spells and the oil to anoint candles for similar magical purposes. In Medieval Europe, boughs of pennyroyal were hung in sickrooms to heal and protect those within from disease. In other folklore, pennyroyal was placed in one's shoes prior to traveling to protect the wearer and prevent their feet from tiring.

Finally, pennyroyal is associated with peace. Pennyroyal carried in the pocket is said to prevent quarrels while hanging it in your home is said to bring peace, even when tempers run high. 

Pennyroyal can be used in a number of spells including:
    Blood Magic
    Protection Spells
    Hex & Curse Breaking
    Peace Spells

Medicinal Uses: Pennyroyal is rich in aromatic volatile oil which helps ease flatulence and abdominal colic as well as anxiety and spasmodic pain. Its main use, however, is as an emmenagogue to stimulate menstruation and uterine contractions. As such, it should be avoided during pregnancy. Due to its toxic nature, pennyroyal oil should not be taken internally.

Preparation and Dosage: Despite its toxicity, pennyroyal can be taken in small doses internally as a tea or tincture. However, use at your own risk. Its use is highly discouraged by all medical websites. To create an infusion, pour one cup of boiling water over 1-2 teaspoons of dried leaves and allow it to infuse for 10-15 minutes. Drink up to three times a day. As a tincture, 1-2 milliliters can be taken up to three times a day.


Want to print a copy of this for your Book of Shadows? Click below for your free copy!

Herbarium: Magical and Medicinal Uses of Pennyroyal


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Monday, February 15, 2021

Apothecary At Home Review: February 2021

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It has been a couple months since I wrote a review of the Apothecary At Home box, and a couple of things have changed since November that I'd like to cover so no one is surprised. February's box is Herbs for Heart Health, which is so fitting for the month of love.

Before I jump into the box though, I wanted to give you witches a rundown of the company. First, Apothecary At Home is a small, witchy woman-owned business in Berkley, California. Their mission is to inspire, empower, and equip the next generation of herbalists by supplying an affordable monthly subscription box that brings the herbal classroom directly to you, no matter your herbal background. Each month brings a new theme and wellness topic complete with herbs and step-by-step instructions to create your own natural remedies. In my opinion, this is one of the best boxes of its kind on the market, fantastically pairing herbalism and witchcraft into one affordable and ducational, monthly subscription box.

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Again February's theme is Heart Health. As always, there is a complete, sourced informational booklet, that explains heart health and diseases, each of the herb's medicinal profiles, folklore, and magical uses, and recipes that feature the herbs. I love the time, care, and research put into the booklet and the fact that they suggest future reading, continued study resources, and cite their sources. I am slowly creating a materia medica using this information and the botanical prints, although I am tempted to frame all these lovely prints and decorate an entire wall with them in the spare bedroom. This month focuses on two herbs, hawthorn berry and linden, with a bonus herb yarrow. There are 2 ounces of both the yarrow and hawthorn berry and 1 ounce of the linden, which is WAY more than I will likely use in the near future, meaning I have plenty not only to restock my herbal cabinet but to use in my magical workings as well. I still can't believe they are able to pack so much into a single box every month for the price point! This month, I was pleasantly surprised to find linden. It's an often-overlooked herb and now I feel compelled to write a detailed herbarium post about this lovely herb.

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The one thing I absolutely love about this box is that it comes fully stocked with everything you need minus an ingredient or two, to make the herbal remedies. In previous months, this included salve tins, jars, brown dropper bottles, mullein bags, and beeswax or soy wax. This month is no different, except neither recipe is a salve so there is no beeswax or soy wax this month. This month is a cardiotonic syrup and yarrow infused oil, with a number of bonus recipes included for recipes such as high blood pressure tea, linden lozenges, and yarrow infused witch hazel. Having all the supplies on hand makes creating these remedies extremely easy and gives you no excuse not to get started right away. This is a major selling point for me and many others as the easier it is to create the remedies, the more likely we are to do it. To keep everything properly labeled, which is extremely important, they have included several beautiful labels so you can record the contents and date of the remedy or infusion.

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Apart from the supplies to make the remedies, the box also comes with yarrow seeds from the Southern Seed Exchange so you can continue your herbalist adventure by expanding your garden. This is a switch from Bentley Seeds Co, a small family-owned business in upstate New York. I've reached out to Shannon, the creator and founder of Apothecary At Home, to see if this is something for all subscription boxes or just for those in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic. If it is just for those in the SE and Mid-Atlantic then I am super excited to have a variety of seeds that do well growing in Georgia clay. As must as I would love to grow all the things, some plants just do not do well here, like peonies and hollyhocks. Either way, I love that each month Shannon continues to support small businesses around the country. This is a major plus in my book and I am glad my money is going to help small businesses. Shannon's mother, Virgi, also creates the two lovely botanical prints found in each month's box that you can frame, glue into your Book of Shadows, or place in your materia medica. The prints are printed on sturdy paper which I greatly appreciate. They are absolutely stunning and I am looking forward to adding more to my collection. This month's prints feature hawthorn and linden.

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Finally, the surprise, bonus items this month are Blood Pressure Tea from The Loose LeafPink Sea Salt Chocolate by Raaka Chocolate, and a Heart vinyl sticker by Pergamo Paper Goods. The chocolate is so smooth and delightful. The tea tastes of lemongrass (my favorite) and hibiscus with hints of ginger, ginkgo, and a light sweetness from hawthorn berries. This is one of the best teas I have tried from The Loose Leaf and I look forward to ordering some more in the future, maybe even some for my mom who struggles with high blood pressure from time to time.

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Overall I LOVE this box. I continue to be awed and delighted by this amazing box and strongly encourage my readers to pick up a subscription now. You can save 15% on your first box using code WILLOW15. It's a great way to support a small, witchy business and learn an amazing skill at the same time for a fraction of the cost of an herbalist course.

***
I know that I included a pros and cons list in my original post, but I wanted to expand on some new features and new information I have received since the last box. I will likely keep this list going for as long as I am posting about it.

Pros:

  • The box is designed to teach, instead of just providing you with goodies. It includes everything you need to learn how to make herbal remedies and gets you started on the herbalist path.
  • The item quality is great. Every item is worth more than I paid and sometimes you even get some bonus items thrown in!
  • The information packet is informative and explains how to use each of the items in the box. The herb profiles are clearly outlines and recipes are easy to follow.
  • There are vegan and non-vegan options. They offer both beeswax and soy wax for salves, so if you are vegan there is an option available for you.
  • They survey you for allergies. When you sign up for the box, you begin with a survey where you can let them know if you are allergic to anything. I thought this is great because I am allergic to opiates and gogi berries, and while I don't think opiates will end up in the box, gogi berries have a strong possibility of showing up. I'm glad that they take this into account and won't put anything in my box that I am allergic to.
  • They are eco-friendly. The box is recyclable and you have the option to receive the information packets printed or digital. I love how much you can customize this box! The original box came with bubble wrap, and for a while, they switched to paper, but the last several boxes have contained packing peanuts to protect the glassware.
  • They support the BIPOC community. Right now, they are offering boxes to BIPOC who are interested in learning herbalism for free or heavily discounted. If you or someone you know is interested in the details, check out their website. You can also sponsor a box to help provide more boxes!
  • They support other small businesses such as The Loose Leaf and Raaka Chocolate
  • They have an online study group specifically designed to answer questions, share ideas, and have support, whether it's from other subscribers or Shannon herself!
  • monthly/bi-monthly newsletter is sent out detailing important information, updates, savings, and more to help you use the remedies in your box and learn more about the herbs. I really appreciate the contact and support!
  • All of the supplies are reusable. The glass containers can be used over and over again, making it very eco-friendly.
  • There are more than enough herbs to create the remedies and restock your apothecary in the future. I know 2 ounces doesn't sound like a lot, but trust me... it's a lot!
  • There are multiple options including a mystery box and an ala carte option (suppliesherbs, and study guides). 
  • This box is available! They still have some spots available for next month's box, but you best hurry!

Cons:

  • The box is somewhat expensive. It's currently priced between $25 (not bad at all) and $40 plus $8 shipping within the US. However, if you were to compare this to an online course, this box is significantly cheaper and provides all the supplies needed for a fraction of the price.
  • Lately, the packaging has not been as eco-friendly as in the past. The boxes have contained packing peanuts, which may or may not be biodegradable. I understand this is to ensure the integrity of the glass containers, but it is disappointing to see the switch.
OVERALL: 5 out of 5 stars 

Interested in purchasing this box? Check out Apothecary At Home onlineUse code WILLOW15 to get 15% off your first order!


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Thursday, February 4, 2021

Magical Properties of Carnelian

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Monday, February 1, 2021

Imbolc/Winter Thermstice Altar 2021

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This year you may notice some new names for the sabbats as well as some new holiday altars on the blog. Inspired by Alden's book, Year of the Witch, I am trying to rewrite my Wheel of the Year to be more in line with my beliefs and ancestry. The Wheel of the Year is largely a Wiccan construct and was not celebrated in its current form anywhere in the world. This doesn't mean that it's bad, it just means it's difficult for people outside of Europe, Canada, and the Northern United States (which have roughly the same climate being in the same biome and all) and of different ancestry to really connect with it. Furthermore, not all of us connect with the Celts, which is where many of these celebrations originated from, Imbolc included. I am currently writing a blog post that goes into more detail about how I am reconstructing my Wheel of the Year that will delve into this in more detail, so keep an eye out on that post to learn more about my reconstruction.

Imbolc or the Winter Themstice, whose history is sketchy at best, is and was a celebration of light. It marks the midway point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox, meaning that its exact date of celebration changes each year. Many witches, however, choose to celebrate the Winter Themstice (Imbolc) on February 1st. During this time, sympathetic magic is worked to coax the Sun to return and with Him the return of life on Earth. Candles were lit in mass as a result, bread was baked, and houses were cleaned to prepare for the return of Spring. With these themes in mind, I created a simple, yet effective, Winter Themstice altar.

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1. White Candles- Imbolc, the Winter Themstice, or Candlemas is a celebration of sympathetic magic to coax the return of the Sun. The candles on my altar are for just that purpose, to sympathetically call back the Sun and to aid in His return. They also represent the inner flame that burns even during the darkest and coldest of times. Here in Georgia, we are coming to the coldest time of the year, yet life is still found all around us. I picked white candles to represent snow and renewal. There is white sand in the bottom of the lantern to also represent snow. (Where did I get it: Dollar Tree 2017 & 2019; Cost: $5)

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2. Tangerine Quartz and Green Aventurine- Being a time of hope, rebirth, and the return of the Sun, I decided to go with tangerine quartz and green aventurine on my altar. Tangerine quartz is a mixture of quartz and hematite which results in the rust color seen in the crystal. The union represents the unity of the Sun and Earth who together create life. Furthermore, being orange in color, tangerine quartz is considered a solar crystal, symbolizing the energies of the Sun. Green aventurine represents prosperity, balance, and the return of green sprouts. It is also a potent garden protector, making it the perfect addition to any Imbolc altar that includes seeds. (Where did I get it: Metaphysical Subscription Boxes; Cost: ~$6)

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3. Bell- Bells are used for cleansing as well as to 'ring' in your desires. Being a time of spiritual and space cleansing as well as a time to call back the Sun, I felt the bell was the perfect addition to cover both of these aspects of Imbolc.  (Where did I get it: Metaphysical Subscription Boxes; Cost: $2)

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4. Roses- Roses are one of my favorite flowers, representing love, passion, and unity, three characteristics or acts that bring forth new life. I placed two, small roses on my altar to represent the relationship between the Sun and Earth, whose love results in new life. This is also a time of lambing, which again comes from the unity of two individuals. (Where did I get it: My Garden; Cost: Free)

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TOTAL COST: ~$13


Like my other altars, most of the items I use are found, made, or purchased for around $1, although if the items must be purchased by you, then the cost will be higher. I hope you find this sort of break down helpful, especially those of you looking to create Instagram perfect altars on a budget!

What are your plans for Imbolc this year? Let me know in the comments below!



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Thursday, January 28, 2021

Honey & Lavender Imbolc Posset Ritual

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At Imbolc, we celebrate the slow return of the Sun and Spring. It marks the mid-way point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox and is deeply associated with the lambing season, which is where the name Imbolc may originate. Depending on the source, Imbolc may be from the Old Irish for "in the belly" which refers to the pregnancy of ewes and as such the production of milk, from Old Irish imb-fholc which means "to wash or cleanse oneself," or from the folk oimelc meaning "ewe milk." No matter the actual etymology of the word, Imbolc is known as both a celebration of lambing season and milk and ritual cleansing. This honey and lavender posset combines both of these celebrations into one delightful dessert recipe.

What You'll Need

  • 4 cups heavy or regular whipping cream (I am using Silk Heavy Cream to make this vegan which did not sit up very well)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon lavender + 1 teaspoon for garnish

What to Do

Bring the cream and honey to a boil over medium heat. Stir continuously for 3 full minutes in a clockwise direction. As you stir, visualize the milk and honey mixture filling with purifying golden light while chanting, 

"With golden honey, shining like the Sun,
This spell of cleansing and celebration is begun.
Milk so white and pure,
Cleanse my soul so I am no longer unsure.
Bring me serenity and clarity,
Your warmth soothing all insecurities.
Honey and milk combine,
To honor the union of the divine.
May the Sun return and heat the Earth,
And from His rays, we shall witness rebirth."

Remove from the heat and add the lemon and lime juice. Stir to combine. Place the 1 tablespoon of lavender into a tea ball and submerge it in the mixture. Stir clockwise while saying,

"With citrus and lavender purple,
Awaken dear Sun so life may come full circle."

Allow the lavender to steep for between 10 and 20 minutes string occasionally. The longer the lavender is allowed to steep, the stronger the flavor. When it's time, remove the tea ball of lavender and pour the mixture into small ramekins or custard dishes. Top with the remaining lavender and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Chill for at least 2 hours in the fridge or in the freezer for 30-40 minutes until it sets. When it's ready, enjoy by yourself or with friends. Remember to leave some for the Earth and genius loci as an offering.

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Why You Did It

Understanding the why's of a ritual are just as important as performing it. It helps you understand the process so you can modify the spell or ritual to suit your needs and helps guide you to write your own.

For this spell, we only used a couple of simple ingredients to make a fantastic cleansing dessert in honor of the season. First, honey, being golden in color, is associated with masculine solar energies and warmth. By combining with milk, traditionally associated with Earth and feminine energies, we are creating a union between two heavenly bodies or divine beings, depending on your beliefs, to represent rebirth and renewal. Both rebirth, renewal, milk, and honey are central themes and feast foods of Imbolc. Furthermore, milk and honey are known for their healing properties. Honey is naturally antibacterial and aids in treating bacterial infections. Milk, vegan or otherwise, is full of vital nutrients that help stave off infections and prevent brittle bones. Together they help cleanse the body and prevent illness as well as boosts your stamina, which is needed after a long rest, and reduces insomnia.

Lemon, like milk and honey, is also antimicrobial thus increasing the healing and cleansing properties of the dessert. The bright yellow color is also associated with the Sun, adding additional solar energies to the spell as a way to encourage the Sun's return through sympathetic magic. Furthermore, lemon is associated with purification and rejuvenation, making it the perfect addition to an Imbolc spell. The lime, being green, is representative of Earth, which is just beginning to wake during Imbolc, hence the lesser amount. 

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Finally, we have lavender. Lavender is the culmination of the fruits of the Sun and Earth's labors, the rebirth of life. While it's not the first flower to bloom in the Spring, it does bloom earlier than many, dotting the landscape with beautiful purple hues. Lavender is also associated with love, being used by prostitutes to attract customers or by young women to attract a future husband. Because Imbolc is lambing season and the beginning of the union between Sun and Earth, it seems only fitting to use lavender in this spell to represent the love that creates new life.

Wish to break this spell? There is nothing to break in this spell, so just leave it be. You can always throw the posset out instead of eating it if you decide you don't want to cleanse yourself and celebrate the season.

Remember to record this ritual on your ritual/spell worksheet and have a wonderful Imbolc! How do you plan to celebrate this year?




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