The Gems of Yule, Ruby

Ruby

Because of its red color, ruby is the stone of love and passion. This stone is connected to  the heart and can help open the heart to the love of another or to aid the wearer in feeling compassion for others. A stone of fear, it can be worn to bring bravery to the wearer.

 

Herbal Etiquette

Herbal Etiquette

by Amber S.

When studying herbology within witchcraft, it is important to learn about how plants work and the best ways to gather our stores, whether they come from wild plants or plants in our garden. There is more to herbs and trees than meets the eye.
All things have a soul: rocks, trees, animals and people. The soul is the energy of an object that exists in the same place and time as the physical body. Things that exist on the physical plane can be seen on the astral plane because of their energy. When you remove part of a plant, it is customary and proper to ask before you take any part of it and thank the plant once you have finished.
Plants that you grow and raise in your garden do not need to be asked for their permission to take leaves and flowers. Because they depend on you for protection and sustenance, you can remove what you need when you need it. It is an understood relationship between the grower and the plants. They give their leave and fruit in exchange for protection and care. Prayers and spells should be said over the crop at significant times such as planting, watering, pruning, and harvesting.
Wild plants are a little different. these plants are dependant on themselves for their health and survival. When you remove part of a plant, you must first ask the plant. Do this by closing your eyes and imagine just for a moment what you want from the tree. Normally, you will get no answer in return or a feeling of acceptance, in which case, you may remove what you need. Occasionally, however, you will receive a feeling of mistrust or an uncomfortable feeling telling you that you may not remove any part of the plant, in which case, you must move on.

When gathering wild herbs:- Never remove the bark from a tree. Bark covers a tree to keep out disease and fungus just the way our skin does for us. removing the bark can result in infection and the death of the tree. If you need bark for a recipe, remove twigs instead and strip the bark from the removed twigs with a knife.
– Try not to remove the entire plant. If possible, take only a few leaves or flowers and move on.
-Always ask a plant before you remove any part of it.
-Always thank plants after you have taken from them.

Plants are very sacred to witches. All plants should be given homage when we take something from them. There are many different ways of giving thanks. Any act of devotion is acceptable. Traditionally, gifts of apple cider, milk, honey, tobacco, or prayer are given. You can also give shiny coins or fertilizer as a gift. If you have nothing to give, a prayer for the health and well-being of the plant is more than sufficient. Leaving gifts for the tree spirits is also a good thank-you idea. Fairies enjoy music. Performing a song and dance for them is also a good thing to do if you have not brought any gifts with you.

Your Magickal Spell for Monday, July 2 – Broom Purification

Broom Purification

Supplies:

  • tree branch
  • brightly colored long-stemmed flowers
  • string or thread

 

Procedure:

Before dawn, take a branch from any tree.  Thank the tree for its gift and leave a coin or semi-precious stone at its base in payment. Next, obtain several brightly colored flowers on long stalks. Tie these flowers to the branch to fashion a sort of broom, then sweep the floor in every room  of the house, visualizing the flowers of the broom absorbing negativity and “evil” as you work.  Then, still before sunrise, leave the broom at the crossroads.  Traditionally this ritual is repeated at the first of each month.

Here Comes the Sun

Here Comes the Sun

by Michael Steward

Satirical, yet useful, home and garden article

The holidays are over. The festivities are ended. After the last decoration is alphabetically filed and boxed away for next year, and the last of the shreds of hand-stamped wrapping paper are finally in the color-coordinated recycle bin, a sense of emptiness ensues. No more extended weekends (except for those government employees who everyone else is jealous of). No more demiglace, gourmet eggnog, or cleverly decorated pagan ornaments.

Looking for that special way to shed light into your life during this dreary northwest post-holiday season weather? Here are some ideas to “Bring In The LightTM“.

Create a special illumination in your home to remind you that the sun is shining just above the clouds — and that you can reach up and pull down some of the much-needed solar warmth.

A Sun shaped talisman hanging from your window is always a good idea. Shavings of different colors of crayons make an excellent stained glass effect when ironed (on low heat) between two pieces of waxed paper. Mount this creation in a sun-shaped frame. Cut out two identical sun shapes from a piece of cardboard. Cover them in gold foil or gold leftover wrapping paper (that you made last season by hand in your basement). Add other crafty effects, such as beads, sparkling pipe cleaners, or tissue paper. Glue the stained glass in the center of the two frames, and hang in a window to remind you of those beautiful summer days not too far away.

You can also bring in the light with an easy painted effect on a boring white wall in your home. While it may seem intimidating at first, creating a feature wall in your home is actually quite easy, and the end result can freshen up any room! I think that yellow is an excellent way to brighten a boring old room. (Yes, YELLOW). Use a true bright lemon yellow. For a full wall you wont need more than a pint of paint. (You can, of course, use any color — but get the strongest version, as we will be watering down the paint in this process for a more subtle effect)

Move furniture away, and protect the baseboards and floor with masking tape and newspaper. In a roller pan mix a half-cup of yellow paint with 3 cups of warm (not hot) water. Mix it well. Keep the consistency opaque, but very viscous. Use a natural sponge with just a bit of paint on it and pat it on your wall, starting in the upper corner. Rotate the sponge continually so as not to leave identical marks on your wall. Spread the paint thin so that the

effect is subtle, yet refreshing. Work consistently from the corner in a fan shape, blending in each section as you go. Use a piece of cardboard to mask off adjacent walls.

In the garden — it’s time to get a start on spring annuals, and preparing for the seasons ahead! Here are the Monthly To-Do’s for the January Gardener:

  • Order seeds
  • Sow seeds of warm-season annuals indoors
  • Sow seeds for hardy spring-blooming annuals
  • Cut back on feeding houseplants (do not feed dormant houseplants)
  • Move living Christmas trees outdoors
  • Plant or transplant frost-tolerant perennials
  • Plant bare-root roses
  • Apply dormant spray to bare-root roses
  • Plant bare-root trees, shrubs, and vines
  • Prune winter-blooming shrubs and vines just after bloom
  • Apply dormant spray to trees, shrubs, and vines
  • Plant bare-root perennial vegetables
  • Sow seeds for cool-season vegetables
  • Protect tender plants from frost

Getting your hands in the dirt is one of the best ways to keep in touch with the earth `s cycle, and connect with the winter season in preparation for spring!

Good luck to you in the coming season! And remember, it’s a Blessed Thing.

The Goddess Companion

Pomona lived in ancient times,
a nymph whose merest touch would green
an orchard, would fill its boughs with fruit.
Oh how Pomona loved her orchards!
The rest of nature left her cold, but
fruit trees! apples! pears! These were
Pomona’s great delight, her fiercest joy.
She bore a knife, but not for hunting:
no, hers was used to trim a hedge
of rose or cherry-wood, or to prune
a fruitless tree, or graft an aged apple
so that it burst forth anew.
Orchards were her secret nurseries
and trees were her beloved ones
who never thirsted, never withered.
Oh! to live among Pomona’s trees!
Oh! to be loved as much as that!
~Ovid, Metamorphoses
 
The Roman Goddess Pomona was honored as the spirit of fruit trees, and also as the gardener who tends them. For many people, connection with nature occurs primarily through gardening. Even in urban areas, a pot of marigolds on a balcony will brighten the darkest day. The connection between people and plants is one that has always illuminated myth and ritual. Although few rituals exist today to celebrate the great productivity of plant and animal life each summer, we can build our own with friends and family. Eating the first corn, cutting the first ripe tomato, grilling fresh fish in the open air: if done consciously, these can become rituals of thanksgiving and love to the earth that sustains us.
 
.
By Patricia Monaghan

Collecting and Preparing a Magickal Wood

Collecting and Preparing a Magickal Wood 

Most Witches prefer to use a fallen branch rather than cutting a limb from a tree, feeling that taking from the tree with a blade is disrespectful. Others believe that if you ask the tree and indicate your purpose, you can tell if the tree gives permission by laying your hand softly on the bark. If you feel unhappy, sad, or like you’re being brushed off, permission is not granted. If, however, you feel a warm flowing sensation, then the tree has give its permission. An offering should always be left at the base of the tree if a branch is taken in this way.

The wood should be left in a warm, dry place and allowed to cure, if it was living when taken. Fallen branches may already be sufficiently dried. If in doubt, treat it as living wood. Some Witches prefer to leave the bark on the wood, where others peel away the bark with a pocket knife, then sand the surface with sandpaper until smooth to the touch. The soft surface takes paint and wood-burning techniques better than the bark. The choice is yours. As a final touch you may wish to wrap the handle portion with leather or other soft cloth. Some Witches add crystals and gems to the point that will direct the current, either gluing or wiring the stone into place with thin copper or silver wire.

Citrus Unblocking Spell

  1. Collect as many types of citrus fruits, emphasizing the sour ones. There can’t be too much fruit in this bath.
  2. Quarter each fruit, squeeze the juice into a tub of bath water then toss in the rind.
  3. Add a bottle of orange blossom water or hydrosol.
  4. Enter the bath, rub yourself with the fruit, envision your blocks cleansed away and then allow yourself to air-dry. )Depending on the quantity of fruit used, you may be sticky. Leave the fruit residue on for as long as possible before showering it off.)