Saturday, April 6, 2024

Magical and Medicinal Uses of Cardamom

Magical and Medicinal Uses of Cardamom

Gender: Feminine
Planet: Venus
Element: Water
Powers: Abundance, Focus, Love, Lust, Prosperity, Strength, Wealth
Magical Uses and History: Cardamom is an herbaceous plant of the ginger family, its seeds being used across centuries for magical and medicinal purposes. According to Indian legend, the goddess Lakshmi, a deity of wealth and prosperity, blessed the Ghats Mountains in southwestern India with cardamom, thus ensuring the region's abundance and fertility. Cardamom is still widely grown in the region today, the trading of the spice has brought great wealth and abundance to the area, thus further associating cardamom with abundance, prosperity, and wealth. As spice trade increased and Europeans were exposed to the exotic cardamom, the price increased, preventing many people from accessing cardamom. It became a symbol of luxury and prestige, adorning the table of only the nobility. Archeological records also suggest cardamom was used as a form of currency during the Byzantine Empire. As such, cardamom seeds can be added to spells and rituals to attract wealth and abundance. Add to sachets, spell bags, or place seeds in your purse or wallet to attract money. If you own a business, place some seeds in your cash register for the same purpose. Anoint candles with cardamom essential oil or roll them in crushed seeds during money spells, especially those that take place on a Thursday. Cardamom seeds can also be used as an offering in place of coins or bills.

Cardamom, however, is most well known for its warming properties and highly aromatic flavor, leading to its association with love and lust. In One Thousand and One Nights, cardamom is frequently referenced as an aphrodisiac with many stories featuring cardamom as a spice that enhances love and desire. Later Culpeper assigned cardamom to Venus and noted its use in love charms. In Egypt, cardamom was frequently chewed on to whiten teeth and freshen one's breath, and even used in perfumes, all of which were done to make one more appealing and attract a potential suitor. This tradition continued through Europe, where cardamom was frequently paired with orange, cinnamon, and cloves to produce a "masculine" scent. As such, cardamom is a great addition to love and lust spells. Chew cardamom seeds before talking to a prospective lover to attract their attention and increase your magnetism, wear cardamom perfume to attract a lover and increase lust, place cardamom seeds in the bedroom to increase sexual desires, or add to foods and teas to seduce your partner and enhance the love in your relationship. As with all love spells, please remember to respect someone's consent and never cast a spell on someone without their approval. The last thing you want to do is start a relationship with a kidnapping!

Apart from the aforementioned correspondences, cardamom is also associated with memory and focus, partly due to its warming properties and partly due to its popularity in Scandinavia. How cardamom first arrived in Scandinavia is debated, but there are two major theories. According to Johanna Kindvall, a Swedish cookbook author, Vikings brought cardamom to Scandinavia after having encountered it in Constantinople. Archaeologists, including Daniel Serra, say there is little evidence to suggest Vikings used spices and there are no references in biking or Icelandic literature to support these claims. Serra believes the Moors introduced cardamom to Scandinavia in the eighth century. The first mention of cardamom appears in the 13th century in a cookbook titled Libellus de Arte Coquinaria by Danish monk Knud Juul. No matter how cardamom ended up in Scandinavia, it remains one of the most popular spices with Swedes consuming 60 times as much cardamom as Americans and 18 times more per capita than the average country! It's used in mulled wines, pastries, stewed fruits, and other spiced dishes and many Scandinavians say the smell and taste of cardamom are a "memory spell" reminding them of home and their childhood. Studies have shown that cardamom is a mild stimulant and is able to enhance focus and memory, thus supporting what many who eat cardamom already know. As such, cardamom can be used to help you focus or increase your memory. Add cardamom essential oil to a tissue or cloth and sniff when you need an extra boost. It can also be safely diffused around adults and children over the age of 10. It's generally agreed cardamom essential oil is safe for both dogs and cats, but I prefer not to risk it. Cardamom tea can also be drunk to increase focus and memory in place of cardamom essential oil.

Cardamom can be used in a number of spells including:
    Love Spells
    Lust Magic
    Prosperity Magic
    Wealth Spells
    Memory Spells

Medicinal Uses: Cardamom is mildly warming and analgesic and therefore is able to relieve nausea, griping, and indigestion. It's also a mild appetite stimulant and aids in the production of saliva. Cardamom is also slightly antiseptic making it a good addition to gargles for sore throats. More recent research suggests cardamom may also be able to lower blood pressure if taken consistently.

Preparation and Dosage: To create an infusion, pour one cup of boiling water onto 1 teaspoon of crushed cardamom seeds and allow to infuse for 10-15 minutes. Drink up to three times a day or half an hour before meals to treat flatulence and appetite loss. An infusion can also be used as a gargle.

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Magical and Medicinal Uses of Cardamom

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Friday, April 5, 2024

Book Review: The Holy Wild Grimoire by Danielle Dulsky

The Holy Wild Grimoire by Danielle Dulsky Book Review

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. I received a free copy of this book via Weiser in exchange for an honest review.

I have now officially read every Danielle Dulsky book published to date, and I have to say, The Holy Wild Grimoire: A Heathen Handbook of Magick, Spells, and Verses is by far my favorite. Dulsky's lyrical and powerful prose is showcased alongside practical spells, rituals, and lessons to create your own working grimoire. I have enjoyed all of Dulsky's work, but I believe this one is the most practical and helpful in regard to modern witchcraft and spiritual activism. This book is probably the easiest to follow, understand, and implement as well.

The Holy Wild Grimoire by Danielle Dulsky uses the elements to create a spiritual grimoire through stories, spells, reflections, and visions. While Dulsky refers to the book you are creating as a grimoire, but it feels more like a Book of Shadows in that you are reflecting on your spiritual practice not really adding spells, rituals, recipes, etc. Despite this, each chapter follows the same basic format: word spell, artful invocation, story lantern, opening spells, reflections, presences, visions, testament, and possible additions. The story lanterns were among my favorite aspects of the book. Dulsky is an excellent storyteller and the stories she includes always have a lesson or message corresponding with the theme of the chapter. Stories are a powerful way of conveying messages and teaching lessons in a palpable way. This is why fables, myths, legends, and folktales are so popular across cultures. Needless to say, Dulsky implements these story lanterns as a way to get the reader to reflect on their own life and practice.

Apart from the book being extremely practical, it's also built upon spiritual activism. In the introduction, Dulsky comments on getting rid of the binary, shifting understanding away from a human-centered approach to climate change, and recognizing the value of hope in removing oppressive systems. Each chapter or "book" includes aspects of spiritual activism. Book of Earth, for example, mentions that Earth is the home of all, and we must remove colonization, white supremacy, and capitalism from our view of Earth and home, food, body, safety, etc. Book of Fire talks about maintaining your spark so you don't burn out, while in Book of Air Dulsky discusses self-care and self-love practices. I appreciated Dulsky's discussion of these topics and know I will need to return to this book later to spend more time with the lessons, reflections, and spells. This work is important and takes time, but worth it.

The Holy Wild Grimoire by Danielle Dulsky Book Review

What spoke most to me, however, was the following passage from page 33: "We must remember that sometimes our circles have remained the same while we have changed. Our friendships, our partnerships, and our teaching circles may not have transformed at all, but we have; for this reason, the circles no longer serve us, but this does not mean they never served us." Dulsky then asks the reader to choose a circle that we can show up more authentically in. Seeing as I am currently going through such a transition, I really needed to hear (read?) that my prior practices served me well, even if they no longer serve me. I mentioned in The Future of Flying the Hedge how worried I was to write the post and implement changes on my blog. I still am. I still feel like I need to suck it up and keep doing what I have always done. The Holy Wild Grimoire reminds us all that growth and change is a normal process and if we are to grow, we need to let go of what no longer serves us.

I highly recommend The Holy Wild Grimoire: A Heathen Handbook of Magick, Spells, and Verses by Danielle Dulsky. As I said, this is by far her best work and one I will be returning to this summer when I have more time to apply the spells and rituals in my own life. You can order your copy of The Holy Wild Grimoire wherever occult books are sold.

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Thursday, April 4, 2024

Magical and Medicinal Properties of Turmeric

Magical and Medicinal Properties of Turmeric

Gender: Masculine
Planet: Sun or Jupiter
Element: Fire
Powers: Beauty, Confidence, Courage, Healing, Luck, Purification
Magical Uses and History: The use of turmeric dates back nearly 4000 years to the Vedic culture in India where it had both religious and culinary significance. In Vedic texts, turmeric is referred to by 53 synonyms, each denoting different properties, both magical and nonmagical. For example turmeric is referred to as mangal prada meaning luck bringer, laxmi meaning prosperity, pavitra meaning holy, and hridayavilasini meaning giving delight or charming. As such, turmeric is widely accepted in Hindu culture to be sacred, bringing protection, luck, and even fertility when used correctly. In Ramayana, turmeric is one of eight sacred ingredients used to perform Surya Arghya, the practice of offering water to the Sun God. Performing such a ritual is believed to bring blessings, prosperity, and protection, thus furthering turmerics association with these properties. In Hinduism, turmeric is also associated with the goddess Uma or Parvati, a fertility goddess who rules over marriages and crops. As such, turmeric has found its way into a number of Hindu wedding practices, including haldi ceremonies. During a haldi ceremony, relatives and friends come together to apply a turmeric paste (haldi) on the bride and groom's face and body to cleanse and purify the mind, body, and soul, and bring prosperity and fertility to the new couple. It's also believed to prevent evil spirits from harming the couple before being wed. In other traditions, a string, known as mangala sutra, is dyed yellow with turmeric paste and tied around the bride's neck by the groom to indicate the woman is married and running a household, similar to the exchange of wedding rings in Western culture. Slices of turmeric are also commonly worn as a protection amulet. As such, turmeric can be used in a variety of spells and rituals for protection, luck, prosperity, or fertility.

By 1200 AD, turmeric had spread to China, East Africa, and West Africa where it was quickly adopted into local customs and traditions. Its vibrant yellow coloring and staining ability led to it being used to dye clothing and thread for centuries. Buddhists used turmeric to dye their robes the saffron-yellow still seen today, as turmeric was believed to help purify and protect the wearer. As such, turmeric is perfect for creating magical inks, dying sachets and poppets, or adding color to sweetening jars and other similar spells. Because of its vibrant yellow color and warming nature, turmeric is perfect for spells and rituals for confidence, courage, strength, and happiness.

Apart from ceremonial uses, turmeric was also used in culinary dishes and folk medicine. In Ayurvedic practices, turmeric was used to strengthen one's energy, relieve gas, dispel worms, improve digestion, regulate menstruation, and even relieve arthritis. In southern Asia, turmeric paste was used to cleanse wounds, especially for mild cuts, burns, and bruises. In traditional Chinese medicine, it was used to treat abdominal pain. Turmeric has also been widely used to reduce aging, wrinkles, and skin blemishes when used as a face mask. This is only the tip of the iceberg regarding the historical medicinal uses of turmeric making it perfect for healing spells and rituals, especially those related to stomach issues. Add to healing sachets and brews or even burn as an incense for the same purpose. Because of its associated with beauty, turmeric can also be used in beauty and glamour spells and rituals, especially when applied as a face mask.

Turmeric can be used in a number of spells including:
    Glamour Magic
    Communication Spells
    Luck Spells
    Protection Magic
    Healing Spells
    Banishing Magic

Medicinal Uses: Tumeric has long been used to treat a variety of ailments. It is a natural detoxicant, helping to remove inflammation and countering infection within the stomach and small intestine and stimulating bile production in the liver. Due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, it's also used to treat nausea, gastritis, high blood cholesterol, arthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Due to its antifungal and antibacterial properties, it's useful in topically treating candidiasis and other mild skin infections.

Preparation and Dosage: To create an infusion, combine a 2-inch piece of fresh turmeric root sliced thinly with 1 cup water in a sauce pan. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce the heat to simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool slightly before drinking. Drink up to three times a day. To make golden milk, a popular turmeric decoction, combine 2 cups of milk with 1 teaspoon ground turmeric, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, a pinch of black pepper, and 1 tablespoon of maple syrup or honey to a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce the heat to simmer for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to avoid scalding the milk. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool slightly before enjoying. Drink up to three times a day. To create a poultice or paste, combine one part ground turmeric with 1/2 parts water. Stir to form a thick paste and apply to the affected area. The paste can be used to treat minor wounds, acne, hyperpigmentation, or wrinkles. Turmeric paste is safe to use as a face mask for 10 minutes at a time.

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Magical and Medicinal Properties of Turmeric

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Saturday, March 16, 2024

Book Review: Norse Mysticism by Disa Forvitin

norse mysticism, norse paganism, heathenry, book review, witch, witchcraft, occult, spiritual, wicca, wiccan, pagan

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I have been on a reading kick lately, trying to knock out as many occult books as possible from my ever-growing stack. That means I have yet another book review for all of you. If I am honest, I skipped a couple books in my stack to get to Norse Mysticism: An Exploration of Viking Traditions and Magical Practices by Disa Forvitin. If you read The Future of Flying the Hedge you know that I have decided to listen to my ancestors and follow a new spiritual path, including Norse paganism. This book felt like the right place to get my toes wet.

Norse Mysticism: An Exploration of Viking Traditions and Magical Practices by Disa Forvitin is a very, very brief introduction to Norse spiritual practices. At just under 200 pages and with lots of illustrations (and blank space) you can read through this in an afternoon. It is by no means a comprehensive guide, but does provide a wonderful overview of the history, mythology, and practices of Norse pagans with a bit of Trolldom mixed in.

Forvitin notes in the introduction that Norse mythology was largely an oral tradition, so what you read in this book may not line up with what other authors report. No version is more correct than another due to the nature of oral traditions and the cultural influences of the region from which they originate. I think modern-day practitioners get so caught up with being historically accurate, that they forget the myths and practices were a product of their time, and what records we have are often biased and incomplete. Instead, Forvitin encourages readers to use ancient wisdom to develop a modern, personal practice. Magic is personal so what may work for someone else won't necessarily work for you. Furthermore, the need to fend off literal wolves doesn't apply in most cases, but you may have to defend yourself from wolfish people.

Also in the introduction is a section on the co-opting of Norse symbolism by hate groups. This is one of the biggest problems with modern heathenry; white supremacists have long been co-opting and bastardizing Norse paganism to support their racist ideals and fascist beliefs. True practitioners of heathenry know that it was a largely inclusive practice, allowing for both men and women practitioners of magic (although it was mostly women who participated). On top of this, the Norse were extremely open to women being warriors and there is evidence of trans individuals being greatly honored. Needless to say, these neo-Nazis are misappropriating Norse mythology.

Forvitin gives a wonderful overview of Nordic history to put Nordic traditions into perspective. As with all traditions, we must view them through a historical lens, not a modern one. This helps explain why they did what they did. This also explains the Norse myths, holidays, and types of magic such as seidhr, spae, and galdar. I will say that the dates for the Nordic holidays outlined in the book differ from most other sources. That isn't to say they are incorrect, but that there is some wiggle room if the dates don't work for you. The list of holidays provided, however, is widely accepted by the community at large, which is different from the Wiccan-inspired Wheel of the Year, which borrowed holidays from multiple cultures.

Throughout the book, there are random spells, side notes, crafts, and rituals, such as making your own modern primstav. I loved these little asides as they give the reader some ideas on how to implement ancient practices into their modern lives.

Overall, I enjoyed Norse Mysticism: An Exploration of Viking Traditions and Magical Practices by Disa Forvitin, but feel it was lacking in depth. As I mentioned, this is a short introductory read for those looking to see if the practice is for them, or those interested in broadening their understanding of cultures outside of their own. If you are looking for something that provides more guidance or detail, this isn't the book for you.

Norse Mysticism: An Exploration of Viking Traditions and Magical Practices by Disa Forvitin is currently available for pre-order and is set to release on May 9, 2024.

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Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Book Review: Ancestral Grimoire by Nancy Hendrickson

ancestor veneration, tarot, book review, witch, witchcraft, occult, spiritual, wicca, wiccan, pagan

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. I received a free copy of this book via Weiser in exchange for an honest review.

In 2021, I had the privilege of reading and reviewing Ancestral Tarot: Uncover Your Past and Chart Your Future by Nancy Hendrickson. It remains one of the best books on ancestor work I have read, so when Weiser reached out asking if I would like to review Hendrickson's latest book Ancestral Grimoire: Connect with the Wisdom of the Ancestors through Tarot, Oracles, and Magic I jumped on the opportunity. Of course, I was not disappointed, and honestly, I think this book is the better of the two regarding building an ancestral veneration practice.

Ancestral Grimoire is divided into two parts: Tools for Divination and Building Your Ancestral Grimoire. Part I introduces the reader to the tools that will be used in Part II to build your ancestral grimoire, from tarot and other divination tools to the seasons, months, and sabbats. When discussing the seasons and sabbats, Hendrickson takes a very scientific approach, which as a scientist I appreciate. I love magic and mystery as much as the next witch, but not everything is a 'magical' event. Sometimes it's just science, and that's okay! I strongly believe science and magic go hand-in-hand with one another, and therefore should not be separated from each other.

Hendrickson once again focuses heavily on using tarot to connect with your ancestors. She offers spreads and methods for making contact with specific examples to direct the reader. I love that she consistently provides examples from her own practice as it helps me understand the text and gives me an idea of what I should expect to happen. On top of this, Hendrickson is respectful of gender fluidity. She makes note that traditional binary views don't always work saying that feminine-presenting ancestors can appear as masculine-presenting cards and vice versa. The same is true of age. An adult who was childlike in life can appear as a child card, while a child who was forced to grow up too quickly can appear as an adult card. Instead of focusing on the gender or age of the card, you should instead focus on the ancestor's personality as represented by the cards you have pulled and use other methods, such as a pendulum, to pinpoint gender (or lack thereof) age, or even location.

ancestor veneration, tarot, book review, witch, witchcraft, occult, spiritual, wicca, wiccan, pagan

Despite leaning heavily on tarot, Hendrickson also offers other ways to connect with your ancestors, including through visiting the Land of Tarot. Her description of the Land of Tarot sounds remarkably similar to the Middle Realm, especially if you have established a garden or office for hedge riding. Either way, Hendrickson's Land of Tarot or your astral office/garden are both valid places to meet with your ancestors. She offers a pathwalking exercise to get to the Land of Tarot which is almost identical to starting a hedge riding journey, so if you are talented in hedge riding, you could rely on it over tarot to meet with your ancestors. If you prefer to use tarot, Hendrickson suggests using The Relative Tarot, and I concur. I had the privilege of reviewing the deck in 2021 and it's by far the best deck I have found for connecting with my ancestors, but just because it works well for us does not mean it will work well for you. Your ancestors may request a different deck, one they can better connect to, so pay attention during this process.

Part II focuses entirely on connecting with your ancestors with each month dedicated to a particular ancestor's trait such as lunar magic, solar magic, reading signs, sigil work, manifestation magic, or healing. Not only does she invite you to cultivate a relationship with several ancestors, but also to cultivate necessary magical skills. I love this approach to ancestor magic and fully agree that any ancestral practice you cultivate should be rooted in skill-building.

Hendrickson does all this with a touch of sass, the occasional curse word popping up to emphasize something's importance. I love how real and relatable Hendrickson's writing is. It makes reading feel like a conversation with an old friend.

If you are interested in building your ancestral practice, I highly encourage you to pick up Ancestral Grimoire: Connect with the Wisdom of the Ancestors through Tarot, Oracles, and Magic by Nancy Hendrickson. I know you will not be disappointed.

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Sunday, March 10, 2024

The Future of Flying the Hedge

For the past several years I have felt an extreme disconnect from my practice, which has noticeably overflowed into my blog. I often feel like I am forcing spells, rituals, altar setups, and magical workings for the sake of creating content or being a "good" witch. This doesn't mean I don't still feel a deep connection with witchcraft, but something is off. I don't feel that pull like I used to, which has left me feeling relatively empty. At first, I attributed this emptiness to other factors in my life, but the more I reflected, the more I realized what was missing was, in fact, spiritual.

I am sure we have all felt this at some point in our spiritual journey; what used to bring us joy no longer sparks it; what used to leave us feeling fulfilled instead drains our chalices. This is a normal part of spiritual growth and one I have personally been putting off because of various things in my life. I will admit I am a stubborn woman and sometimes this stubbornness, mixed with anxiety, prevents me from moving forward, especially when moving forward means significant changes.

Since starting this blog in 2014, my life has been very tumultuous. It has quite literally been the definition of 'through our ups and downs." Despite all that has changed over the years, I have continued to blog, sometimes out of passion and other times out of perceived obligation. I know most of you don't expect content multiple times a week, but I have set the expectation for myself to continue to provide the community with free resources, even if it's only a couple times a month.

My blog has served many purposes in my life during this time. It has served as a source of inspiration, a creative outlet, a business opportunity, and a connection to the witch community. I am so glad I made the choice to start blogging about my journey and stick with it all these years, despite other's protests. My mother has never fully supported my blog or my public admission of practicing witchcraft. Despite her love and support for me, I believe she cares too much about what others think. I don't know if she is afraid for me or afraid of what her church will think of her. My ex-husband believed my practice was dumb and downright embarrassing, talking shit behind my back to our mutual friends. He told me, on more than one occasion, that I was wasting my time and that nothing would ever come of this. He isn't the only man to have said this to me over the years either. It's difficult to continue a practice, especially on a public forum, when the people closest to you don't support you. As witches, we hear a lot of criticisms about our beliefs and practices to the point it makes us question why are do it at all. I find it very difficult to continue practicing when I feel constantly judged, demeaned, and ridiculed by the very people who are supposed to support me. Despite all this, I do not regret a single moment of my spiritual journey. This blog has brought me such joy and opportunities over the years, and for that, I am eternally grateful.

By now some of you may be worried. Rest easy. I have no intention of ending my blogging career. I love blogging. It combines so many of my passions into one: witchcraft, writing, creating, researching/learning, teaching, and reading. If I had to describe myself using tarot cards, I would use the Queen of Swords. I love to learn and to share my knowledge with others. If I could, I would be a chronic student, much like Flynn Carson in the movie The Librarian. Since I can't be a chronic student, blogging is a pretty close second. I spend hours upon hours researching for the majority of the posts I write, from Herbarium posts to book reviews to comprehensive guides. I rely heavily on Google Scholar, GAELLIO, and other peer-reviewed databases, on top of books and the knowledge of other practitioners. I genuinely enjoy the process, but it is very time-consuming.

Despite how much I love writing and sharing my knowledge with all of you, I have felt for the past three-ish years that the content I am creating is more focused on what others want aka what's most popular or 'trending' in the witchcraft world, instead of what I am interested in. Celebrating the Wheel of the Year and observing the phases of the Moon no longer resonates with me. I often feel like an outsider in my own body when I attempt to celebrate these things with spells, rituals, and altars. I even feel disconnected when performing more mundane types of daily magic, like stirring my intention into my morning tea or even cleansing a space. It feels so forced and fake now when it didn't before.

I can't pinpoint exactly when I started to feel this way, but I can say the pandemic was the catalyst. I'm sure I'm not alone here in my feelings of anxiety, hopelessness, and frustration. These emotions have overflowed into my practice, to the point where I have almost completely stopped engaging in magical workings. And yet I can still hear the whisper of my ancestors, my spiritual guides, and the Universe calling my name, bidding me to follow them into the darkness. It's time I listen to their call despite my negative emotions telling me to plant my feet and remain an unmoveable force.

So what does this mean for the future of Flying the Hedge?

Well, I'm not entirely sure yet. What I do know is the following:
  • I am going to continue writing and sharing my experiences on this platform.
  • Herbariumbook reviews, and hedge riding posts are staying. These are my favorite posts to research and write and despite the lull in my practice, hedge riding is still important to me.
  • I will no longer be posting about the modern, Wiccan-inspired Wheel of the Year or moon magic. This means Wheel of the Year altars, spells, rituals, and crafts will stop. These practices no longer serve me and despite their popularity, feel like lies. I strive to be authentic and in order to remain an authentic blogger, I need to write from a place of passion.
  • Spiritual activism will become a larger part of my blog. I am deeply passionate about collective liberation, anti-racism, and creating an equitable world for all through both spiritual and non-spiritual means. This is one of the few things that has kept me spiritually active despite how I have been feeling.
  • It's going to take me some time to find my way out of this darkness and this means my blog will grow and change as I do.

There is a good chance my content will be sporadic for a while, even disjointed as I find my way. For the last year, I have heard my Scandinavian ancestors whispering in my ear, beckoning me to follow them. It was ever so faint at first, but the tug that was once just a tickle has become a forceful pull. My desire to study Norse paganism, seiĆ°r, and ancestral work has become a constant itch that I have been unable or unwilling to scratch. My Scottish ancestors, some of whom are also of Scandinavian descent, have also been whispering their support. It's high time I listen.

With such changes in my spiritual journey and therefore the content of my blog, there may come a change in my blog's layout. I haven't decided yet but sometimes the best way to symbolize a major shift in your life is with a complete overhaul of your look. A branding refresh if you will.

Needless to say, I hope that all of you will stick around as I continue to document my journey, even though it's shifting in a new direction. Despite practicing for over 20 years now, I know there is so much more I need to learn and growing I need to do. Witchcraft is a life-long journey and hopefully, my story will help others follow their own authentic path.

Warmest regards,

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Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Magical Properties of Chrysoprase

chrysoprase, crystal witch, traditional witchcraft, trad craft, cunning folk, witchcraft, crystal magic, witch, wiccan, wicca, pagan, neopagan, occult, gem, stone

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Monday, February 26, 2024

Magical and Medicinal Properties of Raspberry

raspberry, herbalism, herbal remedy, magic, witchcraft, herb magic, green witchcraft, hedgewitch, herb magic, herb magick, magick, magic, occult, wicca, wiccan, pagan, neopagan

Gender: Feminine
Planet: Venus
Element: Water
Powers: Healing, Love, Protection
Magical Uses and History: The raspberry was among some of the first fruits cherished by our ancestors with raspberry brambles being found at a variety of dig sites across Asia, Europe, and North America, suggesting that it was a staple in our ancestor's diet. While the modern raspberry is said to have moved into western North America via the Oregon Trail, it has naturalized and now grows wild across the continent. Needless to say, it has long been a staple in the human diet, and for a good reason. Not only are the fruits edible and full of micronutrients but the leaves can also be used to treat a variety of ailments, especially those related to the uterus. According to legend, raspberries were originally snow-white, but highly favored by the gods. In fact, the scientific name of raspberries, Rubus idaeus, means "bramble bush of Ida." Supposedly, a nursemaid caring for the infant Zeus pricked her finger on the thorns of the raspberry plant, drawing blood that dripped onto the berries, staining them red. As such, the raspberry is connected to blood, feminine energy, and fertility, which has been supported by folk and modern medicine. Raspberry leaf can strengthen and tone the tissue of the womb, as well as aid in contractions during childbirth and prevent hemorrhaging, increasing the chance of the mother surviving the ordeal. It was also used to increase milk production in humans and goats, as well as reduce period cramping and pain. In magic, raspberry fruits and leaves can be used in fertility spells and rituals, baked into pies or pressed into jam for the same purpose, in protection spells and rituals for women and children or any person with a uterus, or to bring loving, feminine energy to a spell.

By the Medieval period, the raspberry was not only a food staple and a highly regarded medicinal plant, but it had made its way into Christian paintings where it represented kindness, righteousness, and spiritual merit as its leaves were trifoliate, thus representing the trinity. In some cases, the juice was also used to represent blood, its dark, rich color reminiscent of the blood of Christ. By the Victorian period, the raspberry was said to symbolize perfection, sweetness of character, and modesty. As such, raspberries can be used in spells to bring sweetness, kindness, or modesty or to represent blood.

Finally, raspberries have also been historically used for protection, especially for women and children. Not only have multiple cultures used raspberry to aid in childbirth, but the brambles were often placed in homes or near entryways to prevent unwanted spirits from entering the home or birthroom. In Germany, the brambles were used to tame bewitched horses. As such, raspberry brambles can be used in protection spells and rituals, hung in the home or birthing room, or carried on your person.

Raspberry can be used in a number of spells including:
    Fertility Spells
    Love Spells
    Protection Magic
    Banishing Magic

Medicinal Uses: Raspberry has a long and rich history in medicine, most often being used during pregnancy to strengthen and tone the tissue of the womb, aid in contractions, and reduce or prevent hemorrhaging during childbirth. It can also be used to aid in period pain and menstruation. Its anti-astringent properties can also be used to treat diarrhea, leukorrhea, mouth ulcers, bleeding gums, sore throats, and inflammation.

Preparation and Dosage: To create an infusion/gargle, combine 2 teaspoons of dried raspberry leaf with one cup of boiling water. Allow the mixture to infuse for 10-15 minutes. Drink freely or gargle as needed. As a tincture, 2-4 milliliters can be taken up to three times a day. Externally, the leaves can be used in a poultice to treat minor wounds or burns, especially when combined with slippery elm.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Spiritual Activism: Uniting Spirituality and Activism for Transformative Change

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Spiritual activism is a form of activism that is rooted in spiritual philosophies and practices to dismantle oppressive systems. It combines spiritual knowledge and passion with radical real-world action. According to AnaLouise Keating, "spiritual activism is spirituality for social change, spirituality that posits a relational worldview and uses this holistic worldview to transform one's self and one's worlds." On a large scale, spiritual activism works to preserve and heal our planet and the life that resides here, while on a smaller scale, providing an opportunity for us to grow and mature spiritually. 

Spiritual activism is not part of the "Love and Light" movement. In fact, it works in opposition to "Love and Light" which promotes spiritual bypassing. According to John Welwood, spiritual bypassing is the act of using "spiritual ideas and practices to sidestep personal, emotional 'unfinished business,' to shore up a shaky sense of self, or to belittle basic needs, feelings, and developmental tasks." In short, spiritual bypassing is a type of spiritual gaslighting where the individual ignores the "shadow" aspect of humanity in favor of the "lighter" aspects of life and spirituality. Ignoring these problems in an attempt to remain "positive" does two things: it dismisses the experiences of marginalized groups while simultaneously absolving white people of their personal responsibility to combat injustice. I have talked about spiritual bypassing before in The Darkness Within: Is the Love and Light Movement Hurting Us?, and how such beliefs and actions are detrimental to our mental health and well-being. It's important to note, however, that spiritual bypassing upholds also white supremacy, which is in direct opposition to true spiritual activism. (You can read more about spiritual bypassing and how it promotes racism in Unpacking Spiritual Bypassing: Why 'Love and Light' Without Action Can't Dismantle Racism and Spiritual Bypassing: The Work of Anti-Racism in Spiritual Communities.)

Traditional activism is often driven solely by anger and the idea that you have to "beat" your opponent. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being fueled by anger; it's completely justified in the face of oppression. When anger is your only motivator, however, it can lead to burnout and ultimately remove you from the fight, which helps no one. Furthermore, the true goal of activism is to secure lasting change, which often means changing the minds and actions of our opponents, not beating them into submission. In the end, traditional activism is not always sustainable for most activists, but adding a spiritual component can help reduce the chances you burnout.

Spirituality is a search for meaning in an otherwise meaningless world. It can root your activism in purpose, one that focuses on not only changing oppressive systems but also self-care. As I say in my book The Green Witch's Guide to Self Care you cannot fill the cauldron (help the community) if you do not first fill your own cup (engage in self-care). Your spirituality and practice act as the soil in which you can plant your intentions and cultivate them daily in a sustainable and meaningful way. But what does this look like in action?

Action Based on Compassion for Justice
First and foremost, there must be a spiritual motivation in pursuit of justice, and this motivation should be rooted in altruism and the desire to build community while removing oppressive systems. Some spiritual activists argue that our motivation should not be to destroy but to build, but I see the value in destruction. From destruction comes new life; just as a fire destroys a forest, it adds vital nutrients to the soil that allows life to prosper in its wake. I believe the same is true here. To build a better world, we must first destroy the systems of oppression in place that prevent our collective liberation. However, by shifting our mindset away from anger, fear, and despair toward compassion and love, we can be driven by a greater purpose and reduce our chances of burning out. Anger, fear, and despair are the killers of motivation when we rely on them as our only driving force for too long.

Recognition of Interconnectedness and Intersectionality
All living things are interconnected with each other and the nonliving things that surround us. When one group faces oppression, we all do, even if we cannot immediately see it. Our disconnect from each other and the world around us leads many to distance themselves from taking accountability for the suffering they cause, such as purchasing from companies that exploit their workers or the environment. When you dig deeper and seek these connections, you discover what is good for the oppressed is good for us all. As I always say, we are not free until we are all free. Furthermore, we must recognize that activism is inherently intersectional. To care for one oppressive group while neglecting or even demonizing another is to engage in oppression. I understand it can feel daunting to help in all areas. I am certainly not asking you to take up every cause. However, you should be aware of how your actions intersect with other causes and make the conscious decision to avoid helping one marginalized group at the expense of another. Recognizing interconnectedness and intersectionality also includes approaching our 'enemies' with compassion and moving away from the "us vs them" mentality toward the collective "we." When we move from separation to cooperation, we are much more likely to succeed at dismantling oppressive systems. This does not mean you back down on issues because it makes someone uncomfortable. Far from it. Always be hard on the issues, even when they make others uncomfortable, but soft on the people. 

Accountability with Action
There are going to be times when you mess up. I have certainly made mistakes over the years and continue to make mistakes today. Institutional and systemic racism, msyigony, abelism, and homophobia are insidious and sometimes present themselves unconsciously. A large part of spiritual activism, or just activism in general, is learning and acting on new information. You must take accountability for your actions, whether you meant to harm or not. I know we talk a lot about intention in witchcraft, but when it comes to activism, your intention matters far less than the impact your actions have. However, accountability without action is meaningless. Societal-level transformations are dependent on the accumulation of changes happening on an individual level. Engage in regular shadow work and make the inner changes required to better the world.

Willingness to Learn
One of the most important aspects of activism work is an openness and willingness to learn. It is a privilege to be able to look away from oppression, a privilege that has no place in spiritual activism. Shielding yourself from suffering prevents transformation. Not only must you be willing to keep your eyes on real-world events, you must be open to learning how your actions harm others without your ego getting in the way. Listen to Black, Indigenous, and other people of Color (BIPOC). If their words provoke you, stop and reflect on why. Again, engage in the shadow work necessary for growth and change privately. The comment section is not your journal and marginalized groups do not owe you their time and energy. When you do learn something, pay the teacher for their work!

Commitment to Spirituality and Self-Care
Finally, spiritual activism demands commitment to your spiritual journey, which includes radical self-love and self-care. You should engage in your spiritual practice on a regular basis, taking time to pray, meditate, or otherwise connect to Spirit, such as journaling, gardening, mindfulness walks, and forest bathing. Heck, hug a damn tree! Engagement in spiritual practices helps us to recharge and refocus our engeries while combating exhaustion and burnout. Remember, we are trying to build a sustainable practice, one that can catapult society into a better, more inclusive future. We need you.

In the end, spiritual activism is about creating sustainability rooted in justice and compassion. You may notice there is a new page featured on my navigation bar titled "Spiritual Activism." On that page, you will (eventually) find links to articles, books, and other resources, as well as actionable steps you can use in your own spiritual activism. It is time we stop being bystanders.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Book Review: Tarot for the Hard Work by Maria Minnis

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Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. I received a free copy of this book via Weiser in exchange for an honest review.

I am going to preface this review with full honesty. I have not finished Tarot for the Hard Work: an Archetypal Journey to Confront Racism and Inspire Collective Healing by Maria Minnis at the time of writing this review. However, don't let that deter you from reading what I have to say. I decided to write my review before finishing the book for a couple of reasons. First, you all need to pick up the book as quickly as you can, and waiting for me to completely finish it is only going to delay the inevitable. Second, it's going to take me much longer to finish this book than I originally thought because I desire to do the anti-racism work described with fidelity. I have no desire to quickly read and skim the exercises just to get a review out faster. This book and the work therein deserve my time, effort, and action, no matter how long it takes. At the time of this writing, I have officially completed four chapters. I know that doesn't seem like a lot, but I promise it was more than enough to know this is a book everyone needs to get their hands on, whether you practice witchcraft or not. While Tarot for the Hard Work is centered around tarot, the cards are there to support the archetypal journey we must all travel during our anti-racism work; it's not a requirement for the work itself.

Each chapter centers on a tarot card, starting with The Fool (0) and ending with The World (21), and its relation to your anti-racism journey. Each chapter is structured the same way: introduction to the card, its "embodied keywords", how it appears in liberation work, "correspondences for inspiration", how it can show up as both balanced and imbalanced in our lives, self-identifiers, affirmations, magical practices to conjure the card, exercises, goal setting, reflection, and building a toolkit. Each chapter requires the reader to deep dive into their life and practice as it relates to anti-racism and collective liberation. Minnis encourages her readers to have a journal on hand to document their journey, and that is exactly what I have done. Because of the amount of work and reflection, chapters can take days, if not weeks, to fully and faithfully work through. It's not because they are long, but because the work requires your attention and time. The reflection alone often takes me a day or two to fully mull over, not to mention the time spent on the tasks and exercises suggested in each chapter. This is true shadow work being done that doesn't just benefit yourself, but the whole community.

Exercises and magical tasks range from evaluating your racial biases to starting community refrigerators. Other tasks involved watching videos, reading articles and books, or even mustering up the courage to leave a partner who refuses to engage in this work with you. The first four chapters alone have inspired me to take some pretty monumental steps forward on my journey. Minnis definitely called me out in chapter 3, The High Priestess. The High Priestess is my soul card, aka my soul's purpose. According to Minnis, those who embody the High Priestess "disseminate knowledge through language, action, and energy, all in the name of collective healing." I mean...what else am I doing with this blog if not trying to heal the witch wound while helping others decolonize their practice? In liberation work "their power may be quiet, some may say passive. But make no mistake, the High Priestess is undoubtedly an active participant in their world." Sometimes I don't always post about world events or actions everyone can take but trust that I am always working behind the scenes for collective liberation, an end to systemic racism and oppression, and the end of genocide. "The High Priestess is the witness, not the hero. They're the oracle, not the prophecy." But where do I feel called out? The High Priestess is imbalanced when they need grounding, underutilizes key talents, and ignores intuition. My anxiety, especially my desire to avoid confrontation, often stops me from doing what I know I should be doing, and that isn't okay. It's a privilege to be able to walk away, scroll to the next video, or delete a comment and move on with my life. I am not burdened by the color of my skin, but for the majority of the world, that isn't the case. I must leverage my privilege for collective liberation, and that starts with speaking up and out, lifting marginalized voices, and listening instead of leading.

If you have continued to follow me through the years, you know decolonization/desettling, dismantling oppression, and collective liberation are extremely important aspects of my magical practice. I do not take this work lightly and hope that those of you who have stuck around for the last 10 years feel the same way. If you do, Tarot for the Hard Work: an Archetypal Journey to Confront Racism and Inspire Collective Healing by Maria Minnis is a book you need to order right now. I promise it's a thousand percent worth the price tag. I hope that more books like this one will continue to be published. We are not free until we are all free.

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Tuesday, January 30, 2024

How to Enchant Your Jewelry with Glamour Magic For Beauty, Confidence, and Elegance

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Enchanting everyday items is a great way to work magic into your mundane life. Often, these are items you wear on your person every day, such as jewelry, but you can also enchant crystals, makeup, body creams, or clothing items. What you enchant the item with is boundless and should correspond with your needs and even the type of object you are enchanting. Jewelry, for example, is perfect for glamour enchants, as glamours are often used to enhance beauty and elegance, inspire confidence, or even attract a lover. Traditionally, glamour magic is used to change the spellcaster's appearance. This works not by literally changing your face or body, but by changing the way others perceive you. You have probably heard people say that those who exude confidence tend to be more attractive. Glamour magic works the same way, changing your appearance by changing the way you hold yourself and therefore how people perceive you. With Lupercalia and Valentine's Day just days away, what better time to attract a little love and beauty into your life than some glamour magic?

What You'll Need

  • Piece of jewelry, such as a ring, necklace, or earrings
  • Bowl of salt, large enough to place your jewelry in
  • Pink or white candle
  • Rose petals
  • Lavender
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Rose quartz and/or moonstone (chips will work great too)
  • Match or lighter

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What to Do

Begin by cleansing and consecrating your space using your preferred method. If you wish, cast a circle and invite any spirits or deities associated with beauty, love, and confidence. Next, place the candle in the center of your bowl of salt and your jewelry around the candle. For example, if you are enchanting a necklace, make sure the necklace forms a circle around the candle; if you are enchanting earrings place each earring on either side of the candle. Make sure the jewelry is far enough away from the candle that it will not be damaged by the candle wax.

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Once your jewelry is placed in the salt, awaken your herbs and crystals using your preferred method. I like to blow gently onto my herbs and crystals to wake them up as it infuses them with a bit of my energy as well. Sprinkle the rose petals, lavender, and cinnamon in a circle around the candle, and jewelry. Add your rose quartz and/or moonstone to the bowl and light the candle. Hover your hands over the jewelry and say, "With rose and lavender and cinnamon true, I exude beauty and confidence through and through. What others see shall elegance be. Make me irresistible to others, drawing them to me like no other. As I will it, so shall it be." Visualize the jewelry filling with pink light, infusing it with beauty, love, and confidence.

Allow the candle to burn down completely before ending the ritual and donning your jewelry. When you feel the glamour fading, recharge the jewelry by repeating the above ritual, especially during the waxing or full moon.

Why You Did It

Understanding the whys of a spell (or recipe) is 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. It's my intention that by providing these explanations, you can build a better understanding of how spells are written and executed so you can modify and build your own spells (the goal of my Spellcrafting Series). 

This spell begins with placing your jewelry and candle in a bowl of salt. Salt is associated with cleansing and purification, and helps create a clean slate before charging the jewelry with your glamour magic. It also acts as a great stabilizer for the candle and working space for the entire spell, free of outside influences. A candle of either pink or white was used to infuse the spell with beauty and grace, as well as lead to the transformation you so desire. Fire is the element of new beginnings and transformations, and therefore is an excellent elemental ally when doing glamour magic. Jewelry was picked for this spell in particular because jewelry is worn often and associated with beauty and elegance, making it an excellent choice for glamour magic.

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The circle of herbs and crystals was chosen for their associations with beauty, love, and confidence. Rose petals are the quintessential flower of love and beauty, as well as lavender. Lavender is also associated with confidence as is cinnamon. Cinnamon also helps to strengthen the spell and bring luck. Rose quartz and moonstone, like the aforementioned herbs, are also associated with beauty, love, and confidence. They were placed in a circle around the jewelry and candle as circles are associated with wholeness, which is essential to promoting confidence.

Finally, your energy was added to the spell through words, motions, and visualization. Calling upon the elements to hear you make your intention known while hovering your hands over the jewelry and visualizing it filling with pink light binds the spell to you by infusing it with your energy. As you wear the charm, your energy will continue to pour into it, strengthening the bond you share. 

As with any spell, this one is not permanent and will require frequent refreshing. If you wish to break the spell, hold the jewelry in your hand, thank it for helping you, and let it know you release it of its duty. You can also let the spell wear off over time. You may experience some lingering side effects if you do this, but gradually the spell will dissipate. 

Remember to record this recipe in your Book of Shadows or use my Spell/Ritual Worksheet for reference later.


Glamour magic can take practice and starts within. No amount of glamour magic is going to make you confident if you don't put in the work. No matter what, remember you are a powerful witch capable of so much more than you give yourself credit for. May 2024 be your year of transformation.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Magical and Medicinal Uses of Magnolia

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Gender: Feminine
Planet: Venus
Element: Earth
Powers: Abundance, Banishment, Fedility, Fertility, Growth, Self-Reliance, Tranquility, Wisdom
Magical Uses and History: Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus named the famously fragrant magnolia in 1737 in honor of the French botanist Pierre Magnol, who was one of the first to describe Magnolia virginiana, the American species of magnolia known throughout the South. The earliest record of the magnolia (Magnolia mexicana) in the West was Aztec illustrations of the flowers, which were commonly used as a flavoring for a chocolatey, foaming drink known as chocolatl. This gave the drink a spiced, ginger flavor which was often combined with chili to produce a truly warming drink.

Across the ocean in China, the magnolia was highly regarded as a traditional symbol of feminine beauty, purity, gentleness, and nobility due to its stately nature, elegant perfume, and luscious white blooms. During the Tang dynasty, magnolias were planted on the grounds of the emperor's palace and all magnolias were deemed the property of the emperor. To be gifted a magnolia by the emperor was a great honor and was believed to bring luck, prosperity, and happiness. As such, magnolia flowers can be used in glamour spells for beauty, to quell arguments, to promote confidence, to bring abundance, or to bring gentleness to spells and rituals. The flowers also make great offerings to feminine deities and ancestors. In Japan, the magnolia was often used in wedding bouquets, where they represented purity and strength of love while in Europe magnolias were given as a gift to make up for wronging a partner (cheating) to symbolize pure intentions. As such, magnolias are often associated with love and fidelity and can be used in spells and rituals to ensure your partner remains faithful or turned into a talisman to place under or over the bed to ensure marital happiness.

Apart from its symbolism, the magnolia has also been historically used for healing, especially in Chinese medicine where its bark, flowers, and resin were used to treat rheumatic problems, insomnia, anxiety, depression, cough, diarrhea, and a host of other ailments. As such, magnolia can be used in spells and rituals for health and wellness. Despite it traditionally being used medicinally, multiple cultures warn against sleeping under a magnolia, which was believed to bring death due to its powerful fragrance. Even placing a single flower blossom in a bedroom was thought to cause death overnight. Because of this, magnolia flowers and their accompanying scent have been associated with banishment. Use magnolia flowers or essential oil to remove unwanted energies from your home while replacing them with uplifting, loving ones or to hex/curse your enemies. 

Magnolia can be used in a number of spells including:
    Fidelity Spells
    Love Spells
    Glamour Magic
    Banishing Magic
    Abundance Rituals

Medicinal Uses: Magnolia bark contains magnolol and onochiol, two phenolic compounds that act as an anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant. These phenolic compounds have also been shown to reduce stress, thus soothing anxiety and insomnia. The flower buds are natural emmenagogues, helping regulate menstruation and stimulate menstrual flow, and as such should not be used if you are pregnant or wishing to become pregnant. There are many species of magnolia and most, if not all, are edible and safe to use, but always check before use.

Preparation and Dosage: To create a magnolia bark tea, rinse and soak the bark for at least 30 minutes in cold water. Bring the water to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer. cover and simmer for at least 30 minutes. Strain the liquid and drink up to three times a day. If used as a sleep aid, drink 30 to 60 minutes before bed. As a tincture, take up to 2 milliliters a day. If making a tea from the flower petals, pour boiling water over fresh petals. Let steep for 10 minutes before straining. Drink up to three times a day.

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