Blessed Lughnasadh 2021

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Instagram:  @thewandcarver    

@wytchencrafts

Hello, and welcome to my first “new” blog on our new blog address.  We are readying to celebrate Lughnasadh/Lammas, and it seems a bit strange to be celebrating a first harvest already. The summer has been brutal for many… flooding in Germany, China, wildfires in upper Midwest US and British Columbia, Canada…heat waves everywhere that are hotter than ever.  Just heard recently on news that India was needing to create its own rain using drones [don’t ask me how, not that technically minded!] to relieve the summer heat.  And there are surges galore of the Covid delta variant.  Don’t leave! I’m not naysaying and trying to put you off, really.  Let’s turn this around…

When you have a tonne of lemons all you can do is make lemonade… and lemon cake… and lemon tarts and… let’s make something positive of it all, something magickal.

Lughnasadh is the time of offering first fruits, feasting, handfasting, fairs, and athletic contests.  As it happens, we are seeing quite a lot about the athletic contests getting underway in Japan, known as the Olympics.  Let’s all get behind our countries and cheer them on.  It really is a good way to celebrate the coming of Lughnasadh.

Lughnasadh wheat harvest, artist unknown

In Medieval times, particularly in Ireland, it was a bad idea to harvest your grain any time before Lammas; it meant that the previous year’s harvest had run out early.  I would imagine the women-folk may have had a word with themselves for making those extra loaves here and there during the year for friends and family, but what else could you do? However, on August 1, the first sheaves of grain were cut by the farmer, and by nightfall his wife had made the first loaves of bread of the season. And the gratitude was joyous on that night as I’m sure you can imagine.

A good deal of us do not need to wait until first harvest to have a loaf of bread, obviously. However, we are finding ourselves needing to wait for other things which we deem necessary. Let’s pretend we don’t need to wait.  One way to celebrate, of course, is with your immediate family – the ones you have lived with and bubbled with the entire pandemic, but what if you have a few friends who are fully vaccinated? Of course, I believe in taking precautions around even those fully vaccinated but maybe, particularly if you are alone, you could invite at least one or two to celebrate with you. That way you could still socially distance and enjoy each other’s company by having a nice slap up meal, some drinks, and general witchiness!

For children, planning a small Olympic-themed back garden event would be lovely for them.  Medals to be awarded to each child for their participation and their best-of performance so that every child goes home a winner.  As children under 12 in most places aren’t vaccinated perhaps you could stitch up their own mask with their country of choice to represent [even if they have never been to that country] on it.

Are there married couples in your coven or circle of friends? Perhaps a handfasting would be a nice celebration to re-affirm their marriage vows or their first handfasting. Mind, some may not be up for it but there could be. I love a good handfasting!

Lughnasadh bread

Have a bread making fair in your neighbourhood.  Or if you have a community centre to hold it in, more the better.  Contact all the people you know and your neighbours and ask that they bake a loaf of bread to be donated. You can create a worthy cause for the sales to go to in order to create more interest.  Mind, you don’t need to tell everyone, unless you know they are Pagan or witches, that the bread-making is because of Lughnasadh [for which they would give you blank look, anyway], but everyone can get their heads around something like contributions toward the NHS or their healthcare system wherever you live, or for helping families cope with food insecurity, or whatever great cause you wish. This can all be performed socially distanced and masked.

Whatever you choose to do, it is a wonderful time to honour Lugh, the Celtic craftsman god. He is a god of many skills and was honoured in various aspects by societies both in the British Isles and in Europe.

It’s often easy to forget the trials and tribulations our Medieval ancestors had to endure. They could not pop to the shops for a loaf of bread and probably would not get much assistance from neighbours this time of year so close to first harvest. No one wanted to be caught without. They also had their own pandemics to worry about.  Still, they understood the wheel had turned yet again and that things would become easier in time. They celebrated this and so should we all. Happy Lughnasadh!

Many thanks for reading and warmest blessings for all whom this way wander x

                     

Do You Think You Need a Witch Bottle?

Originally posted on 20/07/2017 by Isabella via speakingofwitchwands.net

by Isabella @TheWandCarver

In long-ago times, healers or “cunning women” were sought out regularly by all, even the most devoutly God-fearing Christians, sought to be “helped” by one when some strange malady had befallen them or their families. Or perhaps some evil blight had made times hard for them…perhaps, even, they had reason to believe someone in particular wished ill-tidings upon them. When the cunning woman (or cunning man – although it was generally believed the Mister was the contact or go-between for his Missus and her clientèle) was contacted by the client,  they were often in need of a charm – a witch bottle – or a potion to help them rid the evil from their lives and give them protection for a time to come. Depending upon whether the need was related to health or just general protection, the cunning folk would usually tell the client to come back in a few days, in which time she would concoct the necessary remedy for their ills.

For health-related problems, most often she would make a tincture, potion, or charm to rid the client of their illness. But for need of money, love, or to ward away evil, she would most often create what is now called a witch bottle filled with what would bring to, or ward off, depending upon the need. Most likely in those days they were just called charms as no one wanted to say the “witch” word too loudly, lest they be hanged, drowned, or burned!

Because it is so literal and so beautifully explained, I am copying and pasting an excerpt from Wikipedia:

One of the earliest descriptions of a witch bottle in Suffolk, England, appears in 1681 in Joseph Glanvill’s Saducismus Triumphatus, or Evidence concerning Witches and Apparitions:

“For an old Man that Travelled up and down the Country, and had some acquaintance at that house, calling in and asking the Man of the house how he did and his Wife; He told him that himself was well, but his Wife had been a long time in a languishing condition, and that she was haunted with a thing in the shape of a Bird that would flurr [sic] near to her face, and that she could not enjoy her natural rest well. The Old Man bid him and his Wife be of good courage. It was but a dead Spright, he said, and he would put him in a course to rid his Wife of this languishment and trouble, He therefore advised him to take a Bottle, and put his Wives Urine into it, together with Pins and Needles and Nails, and Cork them up and set the Bottle to the Fire well corkt, which when it had felt a while the heat of the Fire began to move and joggle a little, but he for sureness took the Fire shovel, and held it hard upon the Cork, And as he thought, he felt something one while on this side, another while on that, shove the Fire shovel off, which he still quickly put on Again, but at last at one shoving the Cork bounced out, and the Urine, Pins, Nails and Needles all flew up, and gave a report like a Pistol, and his Wife continued in the same trouble and languishment still.

Not long after, the Old Man came to the house again, and inquired of the Man of the house how his Wife did. Who answered, as ill as ever, if not worse. He askt him if he had followed his direction. Yes, says he, and told him the event as is above said. Ha, quoth he, it seems it was too nimble for you. But now I will put you in a way that will make the business sure. Take your Wive’s Urine as before, and Cork, it in a Bottle with Nails, Pins and Needles, and bury it in the Earth; and that will do the feat. The Man did accordingly. And his Wife began to mend sensibly and in a competent time was finely well recovered; But there came a Woman from a Town some miles off to their house, with a lamentable Out-cry, that they had killed her Husband. They askt her what she meant and thought her distracted, telling her they knew neither her nor her Husband. Yes, saith she, you have killed my Husband, he told me so on his Death-bed. But at last they understood by her, that her Husband was a Wizard, and had bewitched this Mans Wife and that this Counter-practice prescribed by the Old Man, which saved the Mans Wife from languishment, was the death of that Wizard that had bewitched her.”

The tale is supposedly true but gives me a chuckle to read it. However, witch bottles have been found with varying objects inside and through x-ray have been found to have needles and nails inside them in many cases. I should not doubt that someone’s urine may have once or still be inside a fair number of them. But truthfully, unless you simply want to create yours in this way, it’s not necessary.

london witchbottle greenwich
X-rays showing contents of the witch bottle found at Greenwich
(Image: Alan Massey/R. J. Bostock)

Was a time you may have sought me out to fix you up with a witch bottle to protect you from harm. I do make them, but in a portable size and I promise no urine. But nowadays so many are finding their power and making their own charms and witch bottles. If this is something you feel you need to do, only be careful to stick to naming what you wish for with no harm toward others or yourself. And if you don’t know what you’re doing, it is best to leave it to someone who does, however, if you are just learning and wish to make an effective witch bottle for home protection then what you can do is either buy a witch bottle from us or make your own out of a discarded jar with a lid. Put inside it:

Your fingernail clippings

Earth from your land/garden/path to your front door

Three rusted nails

9 dress pins

Oak bark

Rice

Salt

Obsidian

A little red wine

As you put each item or object into the bottle or jar, tell it what you want it to do. Your fingernail clippings represent you, so you ask that the bottle protects you. The earth from around your home represents your home and you ask that your property is protected. The three rusty nails, 9 pins, Oak bark, salt, and Obsidian are all items of protection and the Oak bark is also for strength, so you ask of each to protect and defend you and your home/property. The rice is for protection, luck, and longevity; therefore, you ask for those of the rice before placing inside. Take a sip of the red wine and don’t swallow it, spit it into the bottle. This seals it to you so that it does your bidding. Hold the sealed bottle in both your hands and carry to a pre-determined place around your home. If you live in a house, you can bury it in the farthest corner of your property or, as I did when I lived in a maisonette, I buried mine to the left of my front door. It is best to have decided beforehand where you want to keep it and have the hole already dug. Make sure you make the hole at least a couple of feet deep so that nothing can break the bottle. As you carry the bottle simply say, “protect me, protect my home, protect my family (if they live with your), protect my pets” – basically whomever lives in your home. Just carry on repeating this until you feel it working, until you feel it is ready to be buried. Then, simply bury the bottle and say whatever you wish…”amen”, “so mote it be”, “this shall be done” – whatever it is you would say at the end of any spell or prayer. The best time to perform this ritual is on the waxing full moon, best still to perform it on one of the three days of the waxing full moon closest to the actual full moon. As long as the bottle stays intact it will keep you protected. You may even dig it up to move house and bury it again once you’re moved into your new home.

If you should live in a flat/apartment with no actual land at your disposal to bury your witch bottle you can keep it inside your home but you must place it in an area where it won’t be a conversation starter or where anyone, including pets, can get to it lest it be broken. In the corner of a cupboard or even inside a wall would be best.

So, there you are. Your first witch bottle! May it protect and keep you from harm always. So may it be.

Sources: Wikipedia and my Nana

What Really Goes into Creating a Pendulum?

Originally posted on 18/07/2017 by Isabella via speakingofwitchwands.net

Isabella @TheWandCarver

Have you ever wondered why your pendulum, if you are a pendulum dowser, is made from the crystal or the wood, or even a metal, that was used in its creation? Maybe you only purchased it because you thought the pendulum was beautiful…or perhaps you bought it because you resonated with the crystal used. Just maybe you had deeper thought into why you chose your pendulum.  If you did, I am one of those who think about “why” as well.

I don’t know what other people who make pendulums think about when they create some of the stunning pendulums they make, I only know what goes through my own mind as I choose the wood or the stone/crystal with which I create ours. It’s not very likely I’ll create something simply for its looks. I don’t choose woods or crystals for any reason, whether for a wand or a piece of jewellery, or as in this topic, a pendulum, simply because it is pretty. Of course, from a customer’s point of view it helps for it to be attractive…otherwise some items could sit upon the shelf for an eternity if the customer finds it appallingly ugly.

Lapis Lazuli Crescent Moon
photo by i. macy

So, what do I think when creating pendulums for our customers? First, I look at the crystal or wood’s meaning. For example, I try to choose a crystal / wood which has links or properties, if you will, which will help facilitate dowsing. For instance, one crystal I love to use for dowsing pendulums is Obsidian which is known as “the stone of truth”. Whatever you are seeking cannot be kept secret from with Obsidian. And, it shows both the positive and negative sides, so be prepared to take the answers as they are. Another crystal I believe to be beneficial to the dowser is Smoky Quartz. One of its properties is that it is a grounding stone, which is something the dowser needs to be as they work. It can keep away negative energies from the dowser as he or she works to find answers either for themselves or someone else. I believe my favourite crystal for pendulums, however, is Lapis Lazuli. Not only is it a stunning colour but it also has the capacity to activate the higher mind, to enhance and assist communication on all levels. All things very important to the pendulum dowser.

But, what about wood dowsing pendulums? As it happens, wood was probably the first material used for pendulum dowsing. Of course, many beautiful stones and crystals have been available to man/womankind throughout the ages but we must also remember that in many cases very far back in the past, many stones and crystals were only allowed to be used by royalty and people of prestige. So, wooden pendulums were most likely the pendulum by necessity. My personal favourite is my Yew pendulum. However, unless I’m able to find Yew to be at my disposal it isn’t terribly likely we’ll have Yew pendulums in our shop. My second favourite? Oak!

Oak
photo by i. macy

The Celtic people have always revered Oak. In the Celtic Ogham, Duir is the word or name for Oak. There are accounts that trace the name “druid” to duir from Oak. More interestingly, the actual translation of duir is “door” and lore indicates the spiritually advanced Celts would access the ethereal planes of higher thought (psychic vision or soul-thought) by “opening the oak door.”

Therefore, we felt that the Oak was the best idea for a pendulum as when we dowse, we are looking for answers, we are opening a door of sorts to find answers to our queries. We also have been using Magnolia with enormous success. Magnolia promotes psychic development and it aids meditation and spiritual opening, which makes it an ideal choice for a pendulum.

Poplar pendulum by i.macy

In addition to the Magnolia and Oak pendulums we have had over the years, we have recently included a beauty of a Poplar pendulum. The “Spirit of Poplar” is a guide during pendulum divination. The Poplar spirit is a keen guide into the world of divination and seeing true, as well as a bridge-builder between Earth and Spirit realms. It’s powers include Hope, Rebirth, Divination, Astral Projection, Courage, Ancestry, Protection, Healing and deity who honour Poplar included the Morrigan and Hecate.

We hope this helps you in deciding upon which type of dowsing pendulum is for you. Perhaps at least when you shop for a pendulum, whether with us or someone else, you will be able to think about what you need from your pendulum, no matter whether it is wood or stone. Your pendulum should be a tool which you can feel a connection with as you must trust it to give the true answers to your queries. And, as always, we welcome any questions on our Etsy shop, should you have them. Many thanks for reading and warmest blessings )O(

Everything New is Old Again

First posted on 13/07/2017 by Isabella via speakingofwitchwands.net

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

That title threw you a bit, didn’t it? Just a couple of days ago I had written a dissertation on how new the concept of the Celtic Birth Tree Calendar is; however, it never stops – these “new-isms”. Mind, I am probably preaching to the vicar here but I thought as I’m on the subject…We all know “Oak, Ash, and Thorn”. Or perhaps we think we do.

Where did the concept of the Oak, Ash, and Thorn become a “Faery Triad”? I know as far back as the early 1960’s when I was a wee girl, my nana used to say if I sat under her Hawthorn tree I would see the Fae. Truthfully, I never saw a one, although I think I may have heard them laughing occasionally. Probably at the silly little girl who would believe so willingly the things adults told her would happen if she sat quietly.  Much in the same way of when my Aunty would tell me to poke a stick into a hole in the ground and watch til it wiggled and when it did, I would catch a worm. Waiting for faeries, fishing for worms…it was all a means to an end: keeping the child out of their hair whilst they worked.

Oak Ash and Thorn
Oak, Ash, and Thorn talisman

Here I have established – for myself, anyway – that a Hawthorn tree is a faery tree. As my nana was born in 1884 and she claimed it to be true, I believed her. Just bear with me here. So, what of the Oak and the Ash? All of Pagan-dom knows an Oak is a protective tree. Most will also know that the Oak is a tree sacred to the Druids. Ah, but that can be said of any tree. Still, the Druids would not hold meeting unless an Oak tree is present.  The Oak symbolises healing and protection along with prosperity and luck. But what about the Fae? Just be patient.

Then, we have the Ash tree. By all accounts, the Irish Celts held the Ash most sacred. There are several recorded instances in Irish history in which the people refused to cut an Ash, even when wood was scarce, for fear of having their own cabins consumed with flame. The Ash tree represents prophecy, prosperity, and protection, and is also recognised as The World Tree for the Celts. I have read around a bit and have found people saying Ash is used for Druid’s wands. Ahem…I’ve known a few Druids in my life, my father for one, and have never heard tell of this before and would think they would have a laugh about that one, but hey ho…perhaps the neo-Druidic tradition which is forming do use wands.

Everything must be new at some point in time. Even “the old ways” were brand-new once upon a time. Everything evolves over time and changes. Lore changes, mythos changes. The Druids did not write books about what they knew, they passed on their knowledge by telling and teaching others. Witches did not always write Books of Shadows/grimoires either. Paganism has always given rise to evolving practises. We hold to tradition loosely, but keep it close at the same time. It is as one farmer may find a better way to grow a cabbage and he passes on the knowledge to another farmer, and before you know, all farmers are growing 50-pound cabbages.

What I’m saying is, there is not a speck of evidence that there has been an ancient time-honoured “Faery Triad” consisting of Oak, Ash, and Thorn, although my nana and I used to tie bundles of the Oak and Ash together along with the Hawthorn spines, bound in red thread to hang around for protections or to leave for the Fae’s “firewood”. Perhaps again, it was just another clever way to keep the child busy. Or, my nana was quite old, so there may have been some old logic in there somewhere. Who knows?

The Faery Triad…well, there really isn’t one apart from the new-ish idea of one. But the logic, if you know your trees, is sound. So, why not?

I tend to believe that Rudyard Kipling’s book Puck of Pook’s Hill (1906) may have set off the magickal notion of Oak, Ash, and Thorn. The elf, Puck who was self-described as the “oldest Old Thing in England” explained to the two children in the story, Dan and Una, “I came into England with Oak, Ash, and Thorn, and when Oak, Ash, and Thorn are gone, I shall go, too”

A Tree Song – Rudyard Kipling

Of all the trees that grow so fair,

Old Engerland to adorn,

Greater are none beneath the Sun,

Than Oak and Ash and Thorn.

Sing Oak and Ash and Thorn, good Sirs

(All of a Midsummer’s morn)!

Surely we sing of no little thing,

In Oak and Ash and Thorn!

Oak of the Clay lived many a day,

Or ever Aeneas began;

Ash of the Loam was a lady at home,

When Brut was an outlaw man;

Thorn of the Down saw New Troy Town

(From which was London born);

Witness hereby the ancientry

Of Oak and Ash and Thorn!

Yew that is old in churchyard mould,

He breedeth a mighty bow;

Alder for shoes do wise men choose,

And beech for cups also.

But when ye have killed, and your bowl is spilled,

Your shoes are clean outworn,

Back ye must speed for all that ye need,

To Oak and Ash and Thorn!

Ellum she hateth mankind, and waiteth

Till every gust be laid,

To drop a limb on the head of him

That anyway trusts her shade:

But whether a lad be sober or sad,

Or mellow with ale from the horn,

He’ll take no wrong when he lieth along

‘Neath Oak and Ash and Thorn!

Oh, do not tell the Priest our plight,

Or he would call it a sin;

But—we have been out in the woods all night,

A-conjuring Summer in!

And we bring you news by word of mouth—

Good news for cattle and corn—

Now is the Sun come up from the South,

With Oak and Ash and Thorn!

Sing Oak and Ash and Thorn, good Sirs

(All of a Midsummer’s morn)!

England shall bide till Judgement Tide,

By Oak and Ash and Thorn!

We still find not one Fae. But, that is alright because we have this wonderful, magickal, evolution of folklore which has room for the Faery Triad of Ash, Oak, and Thorn. Just believe!

With gratitude to:

Druid Tree Lore – http://www.druidry.org/

Puck of Pook’s Hill (1906) by Rudyard Kipling

Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org

and my Nana 

What’s Your Birth Tree is the New What’s Your Star Sign

First posted on 11/07/2017 by Isabella via speakingofwitchwands.net

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

There really is nothing “new” about birth trees and their meanings for us. It is a far cry different from the astrological signs most of us are used to. The Celtic Birth Tree Calendar (seen referred to as CBTC in future paragraphs) has been around for a century roughly. Many have struggled to understand it so I shall explain. First, the Celtic Birth Tree calendar dates run differently than do our Gregorian Calendar.  The astrological correspondence of your star sign to your birth date may be different or could be like, when you find your birth tree meaning.

The Gregorian Calendar was settled in about c.1582.  The Celtic calendar is a compilation of pre-Christian Celtic systems of timekeeping, including the Gaulish Coligny calendar, discovered in Coligny, France, and was used by Celtic countries to define the beginning and length of the day, the week, the month, the seasons, quarter days, and festivals. (from Wikipedia) The Celtic calendar predated the Gregorian calendar and was an attempt to harness the solar and lunar months into a twelve-month record of time-keeping. It is known, as of this writing, as the oldest calendar of all.

Then things get tricky, as the Celtic Calendar also divided the year into half-light, half dark. The light half of the year began with Beltaine/Beltane/Bealtaine on 1st of May, Gregorian calendar, and the dark half beginning with Samhain on 1st November, Gregorian calendar. It had days of the week and months but was also very much a calendar of celebrations.

Enter the Celtic Birth Tree Calendar. The Druids, whom are very much tree people, as it were, can be called partially responsible for the Celtic Birth Tree Calendar… one Druid researcher/wannabe wrote the book on it, so to speak. Yes, the one and only Robert Graves, whom just happened to call himself  a Druid. Whilst another Druid revivalist, Edward Davies, was the one whom originally said there “might be” an ancient calendar of 13 months, based upon his studies on 16th century Ireland, Mr Graves took the matter a step further and instituted the Celtic Birth Tree Calendar we know and love today.

BIRTHTREE CHART AND OGHAM
collected from Google Images –  PaganSpace.net

Having not read Mr Grave’s writings upon the Celtic Birth Tree matter myself (only being familiar mostly with the casting and reading of ogham staves, which you will find, are also the “alphabet” or consonant of each tree), in my internet travels I find quite often that one chart is different from another as to when the dates run for each Celtic “month”. This is the one copied from Druidry.org:

Someone with this tree sign is quite sensitive and even sentimental. Love and knowledge rule their very being and when they are able to embrace both, they feel sheer bliss and truly live life.

  • Apple Tree (Dec 22-Jan 1 / Jun 25-Jul 4) – Tree of love, intelligence, and harmonization.
  • Fir (Jan 2-11 / Jul 5-14) – Tree of independence, privacy, and contemplation.

When given this tree sign, one is eager, practical, and dedicated to achieving their dreams, yet reasonable and logical when necessary. They give of themselves completely, after much thought.

  • Elm (Jan 12-24 / Jul 15-25) – Tree of beauty, god speed, and organization.

A tree sign such as this one, loves all that is bold, beautiful, and harmonious. They also tend to be open, direct, and quite outspoken with their emotions and opinions. They live with passion.

  • Cypress (Jan 25-Feb 3 / Jul 26-Aug 4) – Tree of serenity, new life, and adaptation.

Someone with this tree sign prefers to avoid drama, opting for a peaceful, dreamlike state of being as opposed to any form of disagreement or opposition. Life for them is peaceful and magical.

  • Poplar (Feb 4-8 / Aug 5-13) – Tree of growth, strength, and visualisation.

When given this tree sign, one starts off blissful and carefree, only to encounter a few difficult challenges that often become hot dilemmas. But with a good outlook, they naturally persevere.

  • Hackberry (Feb 9-18 / Aug 14-23) – Tree of nobility, pride, and dedication.

A tree sign such as this one will not settle for less than what they obtain to achieve in their lifetime. Their strict dedication and vision is what inevitably makes them feel proud and great.

  • Pine (Feb 19-29 / Aug 24-Sep 2) – Tree of health, perseverance, and moderation.

Someone with this tree sign is steady and poised, while moving forward towards progress and success. They often develop a good sense of what is needed physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

  • Willow (Mar 1-10 / Sep 3-12) – Tree of fairness, non-judgement, and toleration.

When given this tree sign, one is not so quick to judge a book by its cover. Instead, they tend to allow the story to unfold naturally so they may clearly learn the meaning of what is written.

  • Lime (Mar 11-20 / Sep 13-22) – Tree of charm, ease, and infatuation.

A tree sign such as this one might have a tendency to charm or be charmed. They go along with situations peacefully and try to make the most of what can often be somewhat difficult for others.

  • Hazel (Mar 22-31 / Sep 24-Oct 3) – Tree of originality, intellect, and adaptation.

Someone with this tree sign firmly believes in individual growth, knowledge, and permeation. They strive to develop their own sense of style and wit, making them solid pioneers in their field.

  • Rowan (Apr 1-10 / Oct 4-13) – Tree of ambition, honesty, and communication.

When given this tree sign, one always believes in being true of character and opinion. They never sacrifice their integrity for hidden motives and always obtain goals by way of pure ingenuity.

A tree sign such as this one beholds sheer charisma to go further than most, especially when such journeys encompass creative thought. They never cease to amaze and go beyond. They never stop.

  • Maple (Apr 11-20 / Oct 14-23) – Tree of personality, energy, and imagination.
  • Walnut (Apr 21-30 / Oct 24-Nov 2) – Tree of fortune, vigour, and determination.

Someone with this tree sign is destined for success and ultimate riches, whether they are in the form of material or supernatural. Their energy is based upon their will and their will is done.

  • Jasmine (May 1-14 / Nov 3-11) – Tree of poise, diplomacy, and socialisation.

When given this tree sign, one can almost always show an interest in politics or some form of public relations and communications or social interests. They enjoy getting their thoughts across.

  • Chestnut (May 15-24 / Nov 12-21) – Tree of justice, ethics, and observation.

A tree sign such as this one goes, but grows no further until they have left a trace of their thought pattern with them. They observe to a certain degree before making sound and fair judgment.

  • Ash (May 25-Jun 3 / Nov 22-Dec 1) – Tree of insight, intuition, and aspiration.

Someone with this tree sign is bright enough and willing to take a step further into deeper, darker, less travelled territory, to see a bigger picture, often resulting in a greater masterpiece.’

  • Ironwood (Jun 4-13 / Dec 2-11) – Tree of discipline, order, and admiration.

When given this tree sign, one can be referred to as having a steady and sturdy enough foundation for further growth and development, both in themselves as well as enabling the same in others.

  • Fig (Jun 14-23 / Dec 12-20) – Tree of balance, expression, and diversification.

A tree sign such as this one loves to explore yet always has a sense of their solid roots. They can discover much more than what their world offers while still maintaining their native spirit.

  • Oak (Mar 21 Spring Equinox) – Tree of boldness, stability, and individualisation.

Someone with this tree sign will more than likely become bolder, brighter, and better than their peers. This can be successfully done as they never lose sight of their own sense of self-worth.

  • Birch (Jun 24 – 3 days after the Summer Solstice which is Jun 21) – Tree of creativity, action, and illumination.

When given this tree sign, one always creates the love, life, and laughter that they desire in their universe. They are not afraid to embrace their own power and they do so with pure progress.

  • Olive (Sep 23 Autumn Equinox) – Tree of logic, reason, and rationalisation.

A tree sign such as this one prefers to know the truth as well as the mystery. In doing so, they make good sense out of what often makes absolutely none whatsoever, to discover greater wisdom.

  • Beech (Dec 21 Winter Solstice) – Tree of skill, resourcefulness, and preservation.

Gort (Ivy) September 30 to October 27

Someone with this tree sign is highly gifted in matters of discovering and carefully preserving. They make use of what others often deem useless, to show a greater knowledge and understanding.

And then, you have this one which I found on maryjones.us  I believe she took directly from Robert Grave’s Birth Tree calendar as it is the one we go by ourselves:

Beth (Birch) December 24 to January 20

Luis (Rowan) January 21 to February 17

Nion (Ash) February 18 to March 17

Fearn (Alder) March 18 to April 14

Saille (Willow) April 15 to May 12

Uath (Hawthorn) May 13 to June 9

Duir (Oak) June 10 to July 7

Tinne (Holly) July 8 to August 4

Coll (Hazel) August 5 to September 1

Muin (Vine) September 2 to September 29

Ngetal (Reed) October 28 to November 24

Ruis (Elder) November 25 to December 23

December 23 is not ruled by any tree for it is the traditional day of the proverbial “Year and a Day” in the earliest courts of law.

As I said, there is a quite noticeable difference in the trees and dates from only these two examples. The reason for this is simple. The Ogham consists of 25 trees. Each tree has a mark which has a name. Only 13 Ogham and trees are used in the Birth Tree calendar. And the other thing is, the Ogham came before the CBTC, not created for it. Some seem to think that the series of marks were written by the Druids on stone or pieces of wood, most likely corresponding to their Ogham, however, it is also pretty well known that the Druid never wrote a dicky bird, their knowledge was always passed down by word-of-mouth. Mr Graves created a rigid 28-day cycle for each month of his calendar which gave it a thirteen-month spread, although all calendars that I’m aware of had 12 months of varying amounts of days, going by the lunar cycle. The year did not begin with Happy New Year celebrations as we know it today. The New Year begins with Winter Solstice…well, the “month” does stretch into January.

Some eclectic Neo-pagans are influenced by Robert Graves’ “Celtic Tree Calendar”, which has no foundation in historical calendars or actual ancient Celtic Astrology.  Celtic Reconstructionist Pagans reject it utterly as a complete fabrication with no historic basis. Whilst this may strike many as quite “new-age” and oh dear, there go those pesky Wiccans trying to make Paganism theirs, what of it? Most people whom have read their CBTC meaning for their birth month see themselves in the reading, 100%. The readings do resonate with the people born in those months.  As a Hawthorn, I certainly see myself in the meaning:  passionate, creative, curious, great listeners, insightful, funny, and great at seeing “the big picture,” but you may not truly know who they are.

Enjoy it. Everything was new once, as we know. And if you pop by our shop, you just may find an ogham pendant for your birth month, if you are so inclined.

Elder Ogham Pendant
Elder Ogham Pendant – photo by i.macy

With thanks to

Druid Tree Lore

Mary Jones

Wikipedia

The Magickal Magnolia Tree

First posted on 13/06/2017 by Isabella via speakingofwitchwands.net

by Isabella @TheWandCarver

The wood bark of the Magnolia Tree has long been associated with all forms of healing, including spiritual healing. In physical healing, Magnolia has been attributed with prevention of, and / or healing of, everything from cancer to being overweight. “One of the active compounds in magnolia, magnolol, is able to prevent the spread or increase of prostate cancer cells. Although research is in its early stages, many experts believe that magnolia bark extracts can also exert beneficial effects in terms of preventing/treating leukaemia and colon cancer.” – https://www.organicfacts.net – as well as a regular supplementary form of Magnolia is shown to help reduce weight by suppressing appetite..however, as always, see a health care professional before adding Magnolia in any form to your diet.

bull bay magnolia
 Bull Bay Magnolia Grandiflora

Every tree is a powerful source of spiritual healing that can help your own immune system to fight any illness or sorrow. Magnolia trees (Magnoliaceae) are an ancient species, arising before bees, they do not produce nectar, but carry a medicinal energy and essence. They are pollinated mostly by beetles. Over 200 species in the world, and often known as “Champa“, this tree bestows blessings of feminine strength and faith in our deepest ideals, as we open our heart and remember to stay true to ourself no matter how much pressure is placed upon us. The Magnolia is a perfect Mother Goddess tree. But that is my opinion and not really what most literature indicates. Magnolia not only heals her children physically, but she also soothes their anxiety and depression giving spiritual healing as well. This is the reason we sell Magnolia Bark in our Etsy shop, when available.

Magnolia Bark
photo by i.macy

The bark of Magnolia oficinalis has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries to address anxiety and nervous tension and to promote sleep. Some researchers believe honokiol, a chemical in magnolia bark, is what makes this happen.  Without knowing what the dosage requirements and side-effects, if any, are involved, I don’t recommend brewing up a kettle of Magnolia bark tea and drinking it, although it probably wouldn’t do any great harm.  There are other ways in which to use Magnolia bark without ingesting it which I find, are very beneficial.

One of the ways I use the bark is in healing and anxiety prevention poppets. For instance, in a poppet for a good night’s sleep I would add the bark along with other sleep-inducing herbs and flowers. It is also wonderful as a base for loose incense if you are doing a healing spell.  But one of my favourite ways of using Magnolia is our Magnolia anti-anxiety pendants [availability unknown]. I leave the bark intact where it will be against the skin. Any time I feel particularly anxious, I simply rub the pendant between my fingertips and feel much calmer.

Magnolia is also said to increase feeling of love and loyalty; reduces the power of addictions and obsessions, especially smoking; helps skin problems; restores strength after a long illness. Promotes psychic development – a reason why I like to create dowsing pendulums with this wonderful wood. It aids meditation and spiritual opening; promotes harmony, peace, tranquillity.

Magnolia helps learning from past experiences and clarifies true identity. It eases restlessness and confusion and helps to maintain balance during difficult changes. Magnolia promotes a sense of freedom and relaxation. It really is a perfect wood for healing, spirituality, and mental health.

Gender-Feminine -Planetary Association: Venus; secondary-Uranus

Element-Water; secondary-Earth

Zodiac Associations-Taurus and Libra

Many thanks for reading and warmest blessings to all whom this way wander x

Sources:

http://www.webmd.com

https://www.organicfacts.net

Cunningham’s Encyclopaedia of Magical Herbs

Promises, Promises

First posted on

By Isabella @TheWandCarver 10/05/2016 by Isabella via speakingofwitchwands.net

It’s funny (metaphorically speaking) how something seems to become a well-worn pattern in your life that you can never fully escape. For me, that is the “Promiser”.

“I promise to…” does not necessarily need to be spoken. When I am told (repeatedly by someone I think I have reason to trust) that said person will do something, I believe it. It’s my one weakness.

My friend, Diane, from day one of school. We got on like a house on fire in every way and were best mates for many years…until. You see, Diane was one of those who would make grand statments and then forget…or never really mean to fulfill those “promises”. During August when almost everybody went on holiday (apart from mine..we did occasional day trips instead) Diane’s family would pack up and off to somewhere nice. Diane always promised to “bring me back something”. I didn’t expect it, and my manners would have never allowed me to ask for anything, if it had occurred to me.

So, of course, when you’re seven, this seems quite intoxicating to know you might be getting a trifle from such exotic places as Blackpool..or..oh, dare I hope, Brighton? You have to know I didn’t really get out much. So, the first several times Diane came back empty handed, I didn’t fret, just went on our way being best mates. I would have been chuffed with a shell or a handfull of beach sand.

Sadly, not even that would be the case because, quite plainly, Diane FORGOT! Yes, every time, she would come back having forgotten not just my “gift” but ME! Here I sat for 2 weeks and nothing to do because I didn’t want to have too much fun without Diane around to share it with…but hey! She was having the time of her life wherever she was and had the audacity to “forget” ME! Not sparing a thought for her very best friend…whilst I pined away for her. That finally occurred to me one day when we were about 13. That’s when she said, “We’re going on our holibobs next week! I’ll bring you something back!” Oh, no she didn’t!

Drawing a deep positivity breath and exhaling the negative, I simply put to her, “Diane, don’t tell me this anymore. It never happens. It has gotten to where it hurts my feelings. Just go and have fun. You can tell me all about your trip when you get  back.” I could have as well had slapped her face by the look on it. This is when she turned on me and calling me a selfish so and so, stormed off, out of my life, and out of our friendship. Just like that. Oh and how she could blank me after she returned to school! This went on til…well, it has never ended.

Lesson learned. If you tell someone you’ll do something, move the heavens and earth to do so or just keep your lip zipped in first place. And, try harder to catch on to the “promisers” early days before you fall for their “grand statements” enough to let yourself be hurt. I suppose it’s something I’ve never really gotten past. And, with it happening again so recently I just had to finally write about it. As The Who put it “We won’t be fooled again!”

Many thanks for reading and warmest blessings to all whom this way wander x

Magickal Holly Cross Anti-Nightmare Talisman Folk Magick

First posted on 24/11/2015 by Isabella via speakingofwitchwands.net

HollyNightmareProtection2
photo by I. Macy

 A 3″ x 3″ Holly equal-armed cross, pyrographed with the bindrune for nightmare prevention and Holly ogham. True folk magick…

by Isabella @TheWandCarver

Myth and Lore can be funny things..as time passes and the stories are re-told, in many cases without benefit of setting pen to paper, so much gets misconstrued…even to the point of hilarity at times. So can be the story of placing a garland of Holly around the neck of a horse to prevent it having nightmares. Yes, animals do dream, but this is one of those misconstrued “stories” as I shall call it, being that I am not sure if the truth of it is either “myth” or “lore” or “nor”. So, I shall tell you what I learned Holly can do for the dreamer as learnt at the knee of my old Nan.

First, you must know that my Nan made crosses out of all sorts for protection. Not the Christian cross, necessarily, but an equal-armed, plain cross. Holly was not only used in her home for Yule celebrations but for other reasons as well. It was used ritually to aid and help with a person’s ability to cope with death. It was also used to ease anybody’s sleep with peaceful dreams. I always slept well at Nana’s if that’s any proof.

Here is Nana’s Holly cross for preventing nightmares and protection in sleep with my own additions, such as the Holly ogham, Tinne and my own bindrune using Dagaz for “safe passage from dark to light”, Ingwaz symbolising “protection, a light shining from the darkness”, Ihwaz for “protection against unexpected attack”, and Algiz for “protection and safe refuge”.

Our crosses are made by de-barking and sanding until completely smooth, pyrographing the Tinne (or Tiene) ogham onto each 3 ends of the cross, and tied together in the centre with red cotton thread. My own bindrune for protection of hearth and home and safe dreams is on the bottom end of the cross. We then polish the cross with linseed oil and then our own handmade beeswax wand polish/wax [we no longer carry this item]. Adding a plait of green for the green of Holly leaves , red for the red of Holly berries, and white for the white Holly wood, for ease of hanging, it is now ready to be hung above your bed, or upon your person as a means of anti-negative dreams, protection and security.

We will have more Holly crosses in stock soon. Please check our Amulet Talisman sections often.  If you would like a special talisman for a different need, you can send us a “convo” (email) from your Etsy inbox to ours, explaining the need and what you envision and we’ll be happy to help you as we do take bespoke orders for nearly every item in our shop. Just click the “Contact” button on any listing.

Many thanks for reading and warmest blessings )O(

All Hallow’s Eve Blessings

First posted on 01/11/2015 by Isabella on speakingofwitchwands.net

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

For the last few weeks, a young black cat has made our back garden her “hang out”.  I wouldn’t exactly call it her making it her home by any means as she did go away for a while and I could only hope she had gone to her real home with her real family.  But then, two days ago, young “Bastet” as we’ve begun calling her, has come back and taken up residency under a small crawlspace underneath the deck behind the house.  I was most pleased to see her back with us.

Some cultures/countries believe – or at least at one time, believed – that black cats are harbingers of doom. Not so of the English, for we have always thought completely opposite of the black moggy.  Good luck all around.  So, we’ve been attempting to keep Bastet happy with us by plying her with plenty of good cat victuals and soothing words and tones.  Apart from her feeling comfortable enough with me pegging out the washing yesterday, she is as feral as a 14 year old girl.

Today as I sat there, watching Bastet contemplate life on one of her favourite perches, a great murder of crows (although thinking back, they looked much too sleek to be crows, possibly ravens) gather rather abruptly in the branches of a young Ash tree across from me.  The tree is in an open “field”, not in somebody’s garden.  At first, I thought, “Ah, what news are the Divine Parents bringing by gifting me the sight of such a spectacular murder? It might not be good!” As we know, along with black cats, many believe the crow to be another harbinger of doom.  Not necessarily!

I watched them hopping about from one branch to another, flying around the tree top, and cawing happily and came to realise….this certainly is not bad news!  They were not gathering to feed upon some poor hapless creature who had only recently perished, whereas the news might have been more to the effect of “clean up your messes, make changes, work harder, give up things which no longer serve you”. The crows/ravens were telling me to enjoy life! Have fun, good things are afoot (or “alight” as it were), go for your dreams a little harder, but enjoy the journey.  It was a pleasure to watch their happiness and fun-having gestures. Beautiful…

For much of my life I have believed that the owl and the cat were my spirit animals. Maybe it’s because I so loved “The Owl and the Pussycat” when I were a child, I don’t know. I do know that I’ve always had an enduring affection for winged creatures and particularly those with feathers.  But as I have been moving into my “golden years”, I continually find the crow and the raven making their presence known to me more often than not.  No matter where I am in the World, crows seem to be near, particularly of a morning if I am outside having a quiet cuppa. Their almost cheerful “caw caw caw” seems to be a morning greeting.  Of course, I always reply back, “good morning, crows!”  If a neighbour overhears me, let them think me daft, I could not give a toss.  I’d rather cultivate a good relationship with the crows, if I’m honest.  They tell me things.

So, today’s message on this All Hallow’s Eve is to go for it, do what you love, make those dreams happen, and have a grand old time doing so.  I think I shall…thank you, crows!

Many thanks for reading and warmest blessings to all whom this way wander x

The Magic of Holly

First Posted on 27/10/2015 by Isabella via speakingofwitchwands.net

English Holly keppen wand ~ photo by i.macy

The Holly and the Ivy
When they are both full grown,
Of all the trees that are in the wood,
The holly wears the crown.
~ traditional carol

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

In his book The White Goddess, the author Robert Graves proposed that the mythological figure of the Holly King represents one half of the year, while the other is personified by his counterpart and adversary the Oak King: the two battle endlessly as the seasons turn. At Midsummer the Oak King is at the height of his strength, whilst the Holly King is at his weakest. The Holly King begins to regain his power, and at the Autumn Equinox, the tables finally turn in the Holly King’s favour; his strength peaks at Midwinter. They are both vegetation Gods/Deities, connected to fertility and the seasons. They battle each other year after year to reign supreme.

Holly is the tree of the 8th month of Celtic Tree calendar, July 8th – August 4th and the 8th consonant of the Ogham alphabet, Tinne or Tiene. Deities are Lugh, Tannus, and Thor. Ruling planets are Mars and Saturn and its element is Fire. The powers of Holly include protection, anti-lightning, luck, and dream magick.

“Holly reminds us of the need to calm our emotions, if we are to reach wise decisions about our situation. The often painful consequences of our actions are brought to the surface for examination, and calm acceptance of our responsibility is required. We are reminded of the need to view ourselves, as well as others, in the light of compassion and unconditional love. Like the Hanged Man of the Tarot, holly represents personal sacrifice in order to gain something of greater value.” – The Wisdom of Trees by Jane Gifford

“Holly wood was used by the ancients in the construction of spear shafts, and as the spiny leaves show, it is well prepared for battle. A symbol of firmness and masculine energy, the holly endows those born under its sign with an equally well-prepared nature. You have a strong connection to the earth, amazing physical strength, and the ability to direct your energy in a balanced even flow. This stability gives you a generosity of spirit ad a very matter-of-fact solidness that others will respect, admire, and rely on. Before you engage in any battle, look inside for understanding and respect for your opponents.” – Written by Kim Rogers-Gallagher, and Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook 2000

The Holly wand pictured above has been sold a while back. Sometimes it is difficult for me to get Holly branches, however, we have a bit left and do make some other things with it such as amulets and talismans. Please check by often to see if we have a Holly charm that would be helpful to you.

Thank you for looking and many blessings!