The Magickal Mariam Stone

Originally posted 18/01/2018 via speakingofwitchwands.net

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Instagram: @thewandcarver

Miriam Jasper
My Miriam Jasper aka “The Bean” ~ photo by i.macy

Mariam [Miriam, Maryam] stone helps keep one cool under severe pressure. It is an alchemist stone, enabling one to transform seemingly hopeless situations into creative, positive ones. Mariam Jasper was formed when the Himalayas rose into the sky. It is compressed bone, vegetation and shell from an ancient swamp which was compressed by the incredible forces involved in the mountain’s creation. It is also sometimes called “The Calligrapher’s Stone” (which I believe is wrongly associated as from what I have researched, Calligrapher’s stone looks different completely), as well as “Cobra Jasper”, “Snake Agate”, or “Elephant Skin Jasper”. If I were called upon to make up names for crystals, I would name it the “Bean Jasper” …. although, just because mine looks like a bean does not mean they all do. If you look at Google images, you’ll find these in all shapes and sizes.  The actual name of this lovely stone is “Sange Maryam”, so named for the Goddess Mariamma, who is an avatar of Kali, another Hindu Goddess.

All jaspers are strong, secure, stability stones. It is a powerful protection against things that are not good for you and it eases emotional stresses, making it a wonderful gemstone to have in your home. Jasper gives one the courage to speak out and have personal independence. It also protects from fears in the night.

The crystal meanings of this stone relate to its valuable action to aid meditation and it is also an excellent protection stone. In meditation, it is a useful stone in aiding you to contact your guides and the angelic realm. It will help you to look inwardly at yourself and at your behaviour and can be beneficial to aid you to gain insights when you are doing past life work.

Mariam also serves to counterbalance the busy modern world by bringing back pleasure in nature. It is considered an amulet for driving long distances, prosperity on business trips and overseas deals. Use Mariam Jasper for long term business decision making and forward planning. It counters instant gratification that can destabilise a happy relationship, aids the gentle release of karma or trauma from the past helping you to move forward into the future and is said to ease skin complaints, scar tissue, mobility, and scalp disorders.

Crystal pairings
For money or luck, use Goldstone, Agate, Haematite [Hematite], Aventurine, Garnet, Carnelian, Sodalite, or Citrine.

For security at home, work, or travel, pair your Mariam Jasper with Agate, Aventurine, Iolite, Turquoise, Onyx, Carnelian, Fluorite, Malachite, or Tiger’s Eye.

For contacting your spirit guides and in past life regression work, pair with Angelite or Petalite.

Correspondences:
Element: Fire
Energies: Protection, healing
Chakra: All

Many people look past Jaspers of all kinds as they don’t seem to strike them as being stones or crystals of much power. One person said to me that they aren’t as “pretty” as other stones! Oh, I do beg to differ… and besides, who really cares about “pretty” – you need something that works! And Jasper is a hard-working stone, believe me. All Jaspers are strong grounding stones and wonderful protectors and healers. But on top of that each variation – and there are many! – has additional powers, or energies in addition to the basic ones. You really can’t go wrong buying a Jasper. Not to mention, they are always very affordable, therefore, you can own many of them without breaking the bank. And they make lovely pendulums and jewellery.

Next time you are in your favourite crystals shop, hold a Jaspar. You may feel a strength vibrating from it you have never felt before.

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

Sources:
The Crystal Bible by Judy Hall

The Magickal Spindle Tree

Originally posted on 23/11/2017 via speakingofwitchwands.net

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Instagram: @thewandcarver

I have a theory about Sleeping Beauty’s fateful finger prick on the spindle in her 15th year of life – besides the one in which I think she was far too young to be kissed by princes – is that the spindle was poisonous by Nature. And, this is true of the Spindle tree…it is quite a poisonous tree, mainly the leaves and berries but I wouldn’t want to prick my finger on the wood, either…just incase!

How was the Spindle tree so-named? From my research it seems the major consensus it that William Turner concluded, this being from The Old English Herbals, by Eleanour Sinclair Rohde, 1922:

I coulde never learne an Englishe name for it. The Duche men call it in Netherlande, spilboome, that is, spindel tree, because they use to make spindels of it in that countrey, and me thynke it maye be so well named in English seying we have no other name. … I know no good propertie that this tree hath, saving only it is good to make spindels and brid of cages ” [bird cages].

Woodland Trust

The Spindle tree, and it’s leaves and berries, has been used over the centuries for many medicinal purposes. Everything ranging from appetite stimulants to nits [head lice], and horse/cattle mange. As before mentioned, the tree and its parts are very poisonous, so it would be better left in favour of other, safer options for these ills.

It has also been used for many household items in addition to its namesake reason, spindles, and other items such as bird cages, and even toothpicks.

The Spindle tree is found in many countries – albeit, named differently in each, I am sure. To America it was brought from England several centuries ago to be used in gardens and eventually became known as the Arrow Tree. I can only imagine it was as useful for making arrows there as it was for making spinning wheel spindles in Britain and other parts of the world. The Spindle tree is found mainly in hedgerows in Britain but has become very useful as an ornamental tree as well.

Spindle is also one of the trees of the Ogham alphabet. It is not one of the Celtic Birth Tree Ogham, but one of the five extra Ogham. It was declared there were not enough sounds to cover all human speech from the other Ogham, therefore, OI or TH, from the Irish Oir, was created. In the diagram of the Ogham, you’ll see it encased in red. It is the 22nd letter of the Ogham. OI represents the Spindle tree. It is also associated with lightning. It has been said it eases the pain of labour and birth. In modern times it has come to be associated with wealth and inspired knowledge.

According to authoress Sandra Kynes, Whispers from the Woods, Spindle is a symbol of magic in the Norse Pagan tradition. Another name for the constellation Orion was “Freya’s Spindle”. Spinning is associated with the Goddess Athena because she is credited with being the inventor of spinning and all womanly arts. The spindle was the tool of the Fates, daughters of the Goddess, Necessity [the Mother of Invention], who fashioned the destiny of humans.

Magickal:

Can be used effectively in cleansing rituals to heal old emotional wounds. Spinning and weaving spells that bring people together. Confronting one’s “shadow self” or when facing difficulties. Spindle tree wood makes an excellent pendulum for divination.

Correspondences:

Element: water
Deity: Athena, Frigg/Freya, Minerva, The Fates
Energy: feminine
Sabbat: Imbolc
Attributes: attaining quests, cleansing, divination, honour, inspiration, spiritual work, feminine power, seeking true self, community spirit
Other names: Spindleberry, Pegwood


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

Sources:
The Old English Herbals, by Eleanour Sinclair Rohde
Whispers from the Woods, by Sandra Kynes
Druidry.org
Wikipedia
Woodland Trust

Samhain and the Magick of Blackthorn

Originally posted on 31/10/2017 via speakingofwitchwands.net

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Instagram: @thewandcarver

treeid-blackthorn woodlandtrust
Young blossoming Blackthorn ~ photo by woodlandtrust.org.uk

It is the tree of Samhain. In the Celtic Birth Tree Calendar, Blackthorn is 31st October, the beginning of Samhain and more recently associated with Halloween. Its ogham name is Straif, Chieftain tree.  It is not a CBT Calendar birth tree, therefore there will be no “zodiac” reading associated with Blackthorn, although some traditions believe those born upon this day to be born from something less than angelic. We shall lay superstitions and old beliefs aside to look at Blackthorn as the wonderfully magickal and protective tree that it is.

“The holy day of Samhain is, in the Celtic tradition, the first day of Winter: a time of sacrifice, divination for the New Year, communion with the dead, of endings and rest. On this night the world of spirits, ancestors and mortals might meet.

The Blackthorn tree is esoterically known as both the Mother of the Woods and the Dark Crone of the Woods.  It is found primarily in the British Isles and is generally part of hedgerows and in thickets. You’ll often find it alongside Elder and Hawthorn in the hedgerows bordering many farmlands. It is a very difficult tree…more like a shrub than a tree, traditionally never becoming taller than thirteen feet in height…to physically come close to. And if you do, mind the thorns or “spines”…

Within the mythic cycle of the Goddess as Crone, she deepens into Herself and enters the Dreamtime, the place between the worlds where past, present and future exist simultaneously. The season invites you to enter a place of stillness and simply be where you are: not moving forward or backward but utterly present, suspended in the space between past and future. It is here that you may hear Her voice in the crackling fire, rain, and wind.

Review the year that has passed with introspection and retrospection. Commune with your ancestors and honour your beloved dead. Remember your sisters who perished in the Burning Times, and commit yourself to the struggle for justice. Divine and ask the Fates for blessings in the coming year. What do you leave behind in the year that has passed, and what do you wish to take with you? How will you prepare to listen to the Old Wise One within?” ~ Women’s Rites, Women’s Mysteries by Ruth Barrett, and We’ Moon

sloe-dave kilbey photography
Sloe berries on Blackthorn tree ~ photo by Dave Kilbey davekilbeyphotography.co.uk

The Blackthorn does produce fruit, called sloes, and is often made into sloe berry jam and sloe gin.  The berries have medicinal use as well which we’ll look at later.

Folklore

Blackthorn is generally depicted as an ill omen throughout Britain and even Europe, however, the Celtic people formed its most sinister reputation…a hard, cold winter would be referred to as a “Blackthorn winter” and the Ogham letter straif is where the English word “strife” is derived from. Drawing the straif Ogham stave [made of Blackthorn wood, of course!] means the diviner is in for a thorny go of things. The drawing of the stave also indicates the actions of fate in your life, something that cannot be avoided but must be faced and dealt with. Blackthorn gives you the strength to accept and persevere in the face of adversity.

Blackthorn is associated with death quite frequently. Samhain is the death of the old year whilst hailing in the new.

In the Irish legend, the Pursuit of Diarmaid and Gráinne, a passage describes Sadhbh eating sloe berries and becoming pregnant as a result. She gave birth to a son who was born with a lump on his head. The lump turned out to be a worm or snake. The snake was eventually killed in sacrifice for another man. In The Sword of Oscar, sloe berries are part of a sacrificial theme as well. Blackthorn’s theme in traditional stories often indicate a warrior’s death in service to the High King or tribe.

In the Word Ogham of Cúchulainn Blackthorn is ‘an arrow’s mist’ and ‘smoke drifting up from the fire.’ These are both kennings for death.

Magickal Use

Blackthorn is used for purification, as well as protection, ridding the atmosphere of negative energy. It deals with the issues on a Karmic level, which cannot be avoided. Meditating on Blackthorn can purify our minds of negative thoughts and impulses at the deepest level of our psyche. It can aid us in combating fear, depression, and anger. The thorns of the Blackthorn can be imagined lancing the built-up abscess of negative thoughts, and release the emotional toxins, which can then begin to heal. Using the gentler sister tree, Hawthorn, in conjunction with Blackthorn, can aid the process of healing.

Traditionally, Blackthorn is used in protection against evil, creating boundaries, purifying, confronting our own dark side. Blackthorn dispels negativity, toxins, old wounds, and impurities. It can be used in exorcisms. It is associated with chthonic and protective deities.

Blackthorn Spines
Two of my Blackthorn spines…one is 3″ long! Photo by i.macy

The spines can be used as pins to stick in a poppet. A wand or staff can be used for help in exorcisms or for protection from fire and for general protection.  A staff can be used to make wishes, and carrying the wand or staff protects one from evil. The wood makes a good divining rod. Often the Blackthorn wand is called a “blasting rod” for the power is so intense. An ideal wand for casting spells against enemies.

Protection Spell:

Carefully gather a few thorns from the tree.

On a piece of paper,

write the name of the person or situation

from which you seek protection,

and then wrap it around the thorns.

Bury this in the ground – if possible near the tree

from which the thorns were collected.

Whispers from the Woods, by Sandra Kynes

Medicinal Use

The fruit and leaves contain Vitamin C, organic acids, tannins, and sugars. Steep the flowers for a diuretic, tonic, and laxative. The dried fruits can treat bladder, kidney and stomach ailments. Boil the leaves for a mouthwash or to soothe the throat from tonsillitis or laryngitis.

Correspondences

Planet: Mars, Saturn

Element: Earth, Fire

Zodiac: Aries, Scorpio

Symbolism:  The inevitability of Death, Protection and Revenge, Strife and Negativity, The Balance between light and darkness.

Stone: Black Opal, agate, bloodstone

Colour: Purple, Black, Red

Bird[s]: Thrush

Deity: Morrigan

Sabbat: Samhain

Folk Names: sloe, sloe plum, wishing thorn, faery tree

Pronounciations:

Scots Gaelic: Draighionn

Irish Gaelic: Draighean

Welsh: Draenen ddu

Many thanks for reading.  Have a blessed Samhain and warmest blessings to all x

Sources:

Druidry.org

Whispers from the Woods, by Sandra Kynes

Women’s Rites, Women’s Mysteries by Ruth Barrett, and We’ Moon

Experience

The Magickal Hazel Tree

Originally posted on 24/10/2017 via speakingofwitchwands.net

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Instagram: @thewandcarver

Hazel Ogham Pendant by i.macy

The Hazel tree…also known as “The Tree of Knowledge” is the ninth month of the Celtic Tree Calendar, 5th August – 1st September and is the ninth consonant of the Ogham alphabet named Coll.

Hazel tree people are known as “the know-ers” of the Celtic tree “zodiac”.

People born under the Celtic Hazel tree sign are highly analytical and intelligent. They are gifted in academics and are often the brightest students in the classroom. They are also artistic and can make motivating teachers. They tend to be profound in thought and philosophical by nature.

Their intellect gives them the talent to remember and repeat things with amazing accuracy. Hazel people are well versed in all topics which can make them seem as a know-it-all in social situations. They pay great attention to detail and like things to be just right.

The perfectionist tendencies of the Hazel tree zodiac will sometimes leave them with control issues if everything doesn’t turn out exactly how they pictured. Their ambitious standards can make it impossible for anybody to meet them. They can be perceived as someone who is very difficult to please because of their overly critical nature.

Their critical nature is just their way of trying to analyse a problem and find ways to fix it. They want situations and people to be at their best, but they need to realize that no one is perfect and very few, if any, will meet such high exacting standards.

The Hazel Druid Celtic tree sign often finds it hard to unwind and relax and can come across as too argumentative.

According to The Fairy Bible, by Teresa Mooney:

Hazel Tree ~ woodlandtrust.org.uk

The Hazel Fairy is a mercurial sprite, deeply wise, a bringer of insight and flashes of inspiration. This fairy can help you to find knowledge in a very individual way, and to develop your intuition so that you can see deeply into many things.

Hazel holds the secrets of the earth and can teach about dowsing and the currents within the land, known as ley lines. She also encourages meditation and confers eloquence on those who respect and honour her.

Folklore:

Wisdom is at the heart of the Hazel tree. Druids, Poets, Bards, and Shaman have long sought wisdom through Hazel. Many early Irish tales describe poets and seers as ‘gaining nuts of Wisdom’, which is most likely a metaphor for such heightened states of consciousness, although the more literally-minded have argued that this expression could refer to a potent brew made from hazelnuts that had psychotropic effects. As to this theory, there are numerous references to drinking ‘hazelmead’ in early Irish literature and many references to Scottish druids eating hazel-nuts to gain prophetic powers.

Hazel woods frequently figure in the sacred landscape. In Ireland, hazel is coll, and the early triad of gods of the Tuatha Dé Danaan, MacCuill, (son of HazeI), MacCecht (Son of the Plough) and MacGréine (Son of the Sun) supposedly divided the island into three so that the country was said to be under the plough, the sun or the hazel, for ‘these were the things they put above all other’.

The Hazel’s association with wisdom extends to other cultures of the ancient world. In Norse mythology it was known as the Tree of Knowledge and was sacred to Thor; the Romans held it sacred to Mercury, who – especially in his Greek form, Hermes – was the personification of intelligence. Hermes’ magic rod may have been made from hazel. The English word derives from the Anglo Saxon ‘haesl’ which originally signified a baton of authority.

Medicinal purposes:

Finely powdered Hazel nuts steeped in hot water then with the addition of honey and lemon is thought to relieve a stubborn cough.  The leaves brewed into tea can be used to treat such ailments as circulatory problems, fevers, diarrhoea, and excessive menstrual flow.

Magickal:

Hazelwood has been used for centuries to divine for water. For help from the faeries, tie hazelnuts onto a cord and hang in your room. Like Holly, Hazel protects your home against lightning.  It is a wood used often for making wands and other magickal things such as talismans and amulets for purposes of gaining knowledge and wisdom.

Correspondences:

Planet: Mercury

Element: Air

Symbolism: Wisdom & Divination, Poetry & Science, Playfulness & Enchantment, Healing Arts

Stone: Topaz, Pearl

Birds: Crane

Colour: Orange

Deity: Hermes, Aemgus, Artemis, Diana

Underneath this hazelin mote,

There’s a braggoty worm with a speckled throat,

Nine double is he,

Now from eight double to seven double

And from seven double to six double

and so on until:

And from one double to no double,

No double hath he

~Old adder bite charm, writer unknown

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

Sources:

The Fairy Bible, by Theresa Mooney

Druidry.org

SunSigns.org

woodlandtrust.org.uk

The Magick of Willow

Originally posted on 28/09/2017 via speakingofwitchwands.net

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Instagram: @thewandcarver

white willow salix alba_200
Photo from heathwood.co.uk

It is a tree I’ve long admired. To sit and watch the Willow gently blown by a soft wind is mesmerising and soul-lifting. Willow can truly put you into a state of zen without trying very hard.

Perhaps that is best explained in The Faces of WomanSpirit, A Celtic Oracle of Avalon by Katherine Torres, Ph.D. (see below)

Trust All is here and now.

Know it.

Connect with the Hand of Goddess.

Let Divine Mother Transform you.

Be an Example in the World.

Willow asks you to bend with her into the path of retrieval.

Follow the labyrinth trail, connect with the power of wisdom and the rhythm of your soul, and return to your ordinary world strengthened. You will find that your awareness of your purpose is stronger and your intent cannot be broken by the spell of someone else’s desire.

Could not say it better myself. The Willow tree can put you into a state of rightness with the world, only by observation. Imagine what it can do it in magick!

Willow is the Fifth month of the Celtic Tree calendar, 15th April – 12th May and is the Fifth consonant of the Ogham alphabet – Saille being its alphabetical name.  If you are a Willow sign, you are ruled by the moon, and so your personality holds hands with many of the mystical aspects of the lunar realm. This means you are highly creative, intuitive [highly psychic people are born under the sign of the Willow] and intelligent. You have a keen understanding of cycles, and you inherently know that every situation has a season. This gives you a realistic perspective of things, and causes you to be more patient than most tree signs. With your intelligence comes a natural ability to retain knowledge and you often impress your company with the ability to expound on subjects from memory. Willow Celtic tree astrology signs are bursting with potential, but tend to hold themselves back for fear of appearing flamboyant or overindulgent. It is your powers of perception that ultimately allow your true nature to shine, and what leads you to success in life. Willow signs join well with the Birch and the Ivy.

Willow Birth Tree Ogham Pendant [Etsy]

Willow’s Medicinal Value

It is a tree of many, many uses. Most well-known is its active ingredient in aspirin, salicylic acid, contained in Willow’s inner bark. But it has been used for centuries for all sorts. These very bark scrapings were made into astringents and used to reduce fever. Willow was also used as a diuretic, a gargle for sore throats and gums, an external wash for sores, skin problems, wounds and burns.

White Willow was commonly used. Purple Willow has the same general properties as White and may even be more effective in lowering fevers. Black Willow has these same properties and can also be used as a sexual sedative. The Black Willow has also been used to treat gonorrhoea, and to relieve ovarian pain. Goat, or Sallow, Willow eases indigestion, whooping cough, and catarrh and is used as an antiseptic for disinfecting bandages. All varieties of this Tree can be utilised as an eyewash, clearing up of skin problems, and a decoction of leaves and bark, simmered, can be used to treat dandruff. All can also be utilised to prevent recurring fevers and as a digestive tonic, especially for dyspepsia.

Folklore

The Willow tree is one of the seven sacred Irish trees and is a sacred tree to Druids.

Willow is used for the enhancement of psychic abilities.  Orpheus, the poet, was said to have received his Gift by touching the Willows in a grove sacred to Persephone. Groves have been used by many types of artisans to gain eloquence, inspiration, skills and the gift of prophecy. This Tree is held sacred, also, to Minerva, the ancient Great Goddess whose bird, the Wryneck, nests only in the Willow. Cranes are also known to nest here and a grove of Willows with nesting cranes is a symbol of extremely happy domesticity.

Magickal uses are extensive. The Besom, the Witches Broom, is traditionally made from three trees. The stave is made from Ash, for protection; Birch twigs are used for the broom itself to expel evil spirits. The Besom is bound with Willow to honour Hecate. Willow branches are said to be the best for divining Water, channelling Earth energy, and finding lost objects.

“Clootie” – Scottish or “cloutie” wells are places of pilgrimage in Celtic areas. They are wells or springs, almost always with a tree growing beside them, where strips of cloth or rags have been left, usually tied to the branches of the tree as part of a healing ritual. In Scots nomenclature, a “clootie” or “cloot” is a strip of cloth or rag, a prayer rag, if you will. These can be tied to any tree when asking for a nurturing love or a release of grief; Willow will serve this purpose best. By the same token, for a wish to be granted, ask permission of Willow, explaining your desired goal. Select a pliable shoot or branch and tie it into a loose knot while expressing your wish, leaving the branchlet on the Tree! When the wish is fulfilled, return and untie the knot, remembering to thank your Friend and leaving a gift of gratitude.

Correspondences:

Planet: Moon

Element: Water

Symbolism: Resonance and Harmony

Stone: Moonstone

Birds: Hawk, Snowy Owl

Colour: Silver

Deity: Persephone, Hecate, Cerridwen,

Artemis, Selene, Luna, Diana, Brigit

Sabbat: Beltane

Alone with myself

The trees bend

to caress me

The shade hugs

my heart.

– Candy Polgar

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

Sources:

wikipedia.org

druidry.org

The Magickal Apple Tree

Previously posted on 15 August 2017 on speakingofwitchwands.net

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Such a plethora of information could be given on the Apple tree I would do well to write a book! But, I imagine somebody has probably done so already. So many varieties, so much lore…so let us only speak of the common Apple tree mostly and the folklore which surrounds it according to the Druids and Magickal community. Who doesn’t love a good Apple story? Everyone loved Snow White and how the evil queen put her to sleep with the poisonous apple. Snow White, mind you, did not spring to life from Mr Disney’s imagination but has been a fairy tale since Medieval times. In fact, the story made the Medieval church of the times believe that enchanted apples could be given to a victim to cause demonic possession. How times have changed!

Bramley Apple
The original Bramley apple tree bbc.co.uk

In Celtic tradition, the Other-Worldly Avalon was also known as the Avallach, the Isle of Apples, ruled by Fairy Queen, Morgan le Fay (Freeman, page 196). This is the land of faeries and the dead, where King Arthur was taken to be healed by his sister, Morgan. Like their cousins to the North, the Celts attributed the power of healing and youth, or rebirth, to apples. Apples are one of the magickal trees part of the Celtic Ogham tree alphabet, its Ogham name being Quert.

The gifts of the Apple Fairy are everlasting youth and beauty, although sadly such matters often give rise to strife….  The apple fairy invites us to enjoy sensuous pleasures of all descriptions, in the knowledge that there is plenty to go around, and that nothing that is truly ours can ever be taken away from us.” ~ From The Fairy Bible, Teresa Moorey

The Apple tree is very much a symbol of rebirth and reincarnation. Apple branches have been carried in funeral cortèges as a symbol of reincarnation.  In The Poetic Edda, eleven apples are given as a present to keep the Aesir ageless. Buckets of apples were found in the 9th century Oseberg ship burial site in Norway and fruit [and nuts] have been found in the early graves of the Germanic peoples in England. In Norse tradition, the Apple is the tree of immortality. The Goddess Idunn was the keeper of the apples, which she fed the Norse Gods and Goddesses to keep them forever young. Apple wands were also used in Norse love rituals. To the Norse, apples represented long life, wisdom and love.

Love. Love spells and offerings of Apples have long been tradition. There is an old Scottish custom of eating an apple on Samhain night whilst gazing into the mirror. Legend says that you will see your true love reflected there.

Spell for Love

Use a crab-apple, or a cultivated apple if you don’t have crab-apples available. If possible, use one that you have hand-picked. Carve the initials of the one you love and desire, and your own initials, in a ring around the apple. Bury it in the ground, or commit it to a body of water. adapted from Whispers from the Woods, by Sandra Kynes

Apples have form for being brilliant healing fruits, firstly by eating one but in other ways as well. Apples are particularly good for any kind of healing magic. They can be used to invoke a healing goddess into a Witch or Druid, who then can employ ‘laying on of hands’ on the patient. For long distance healing, the apple wand can be used as a catalyst to send the healing energy to the patient, or can be charged with healing power and given to the patient at a later time. If the laying on of hands is not your style, you can use an Apple wand over the ill person.  Have him or her lie on the floor, and pass the wand lying over their solar plexus or heart chakra, to help him/her take in the healing energy the group is raising. There are unlimited variations and ideas for using the energy of Apple to heal.

Apple Awen
Druid Apple Awen pendant ~ photo by i.macy

Apples trees are sacred to the Druids as an-t-uil-oc [Mistletoe], is often found on Apple trees. This makes the Apple tree an especially holy tree to the Druids, along with the Oak. The Apple Tree is closely linked to Druids in their aspect as magicians and shamans. Bards and Shamans carried apple branches/wands (with bronze, silver, or gold bells), called the Craobh Ciuil (Branch of Reason), as symbols of their office (Blamires, page 142).

Apple Druid Wand 2
Druid Apple Wand w/bell ~ photo by i.macy

The Ogham name for Apple is ‘Quert, the tenth month of the Celtic Tree calendar, 2nd September – 29th September by some charts, although the one we use lists Vine as this month’s Ogham. It is the tenth consonant of the Ogham alphabet. According to the Word Ogham of Óengus, Quert is the ‘force of a man’, or the epitome of health and vitality in a man or woman. The apple is in the heart of the ogham grove, and is the source of life. It is from the apple that we receive healing, renewal, regeneration and wholeness, especially after being wounded, exhausted, or ill (Mountfort, page 100). Pulling the ogham stave Quert is a mandate to rest and heal yourself from strife, illness, fatigue, or injury. It is an invitation to regain your sense of wholeness and connection with nature.

Apple Ogham Pendant
Apple Ogham pendant with Quert ~ photo by i.macy

Planet: Venus

Element: Water

Symbolism: Love & Trust, Health, Garden Magick

Stone: Emerald, Rose Quartz

Birds: Grosbeak

Colour: Yellow-Green, Pink

Deity: Demeter, Hera, Pomona, Frigga, Freya

Folk Names: Fruit of the Gods, Fruit of the Underworld,

Silver Branch, The Silver Bough, Tree of Love

       “Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces,  I would still plant my apple tree.” – Martin Luther (1483-1546)

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

Magickal Hawthorn Tree: The Mayflower Tree

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Instagram @thewandcarver

hawthorn alone
lone Hawthorn tree, courtesy of Google images

The Hawthorn tree represents the sixth month of the Celtic Tree calendar, 13 May – 9 June, and this period is represented by the Ogham for this tree, which is also the 6th letter of the ogham alphabet, Huath (Huathe, Uath).  The Hawthorn Tree, or Mayflower tree, is sacred to Roman Goddess Flora, Celtic Goddesses Aine and Brigid, along with the Manx – Celtic God Manannàn Mac Leirr. This Ogham symbol is used in Celtic Reiki and its essence represents the energy of cleansing and preparation. It clears the mind of negative thoughts and mental confusion, offering clarity: it gives patience and offers stillness. The Hawthorn tree is masculine and usually, but not always, grows in hedges, but a lone Hawthorn tree, growing on a hill is a portal to the world of faery and is also considered one of the three trees of the Faery Triad, including Oak and Ash.

Hawthorn Ogham Pendant
Hawthorn Huath Ogham Pendant ~ photo by i.macy

We offer a Hawthorn Ogham pendant in our Etsy shop for those born in the lovely month of May, or in fact, to anyone who loves Hawthorn.

Hawthorn Faery

“Along with Oak and Ash, Hawthorn forms the “faery triad” that is especially inviting to the fae. Hawthorn is, in some ways, the faery tree, forming a portal to the faery realm and holding strong magick.    The Hawthorn faery offers access to the Other-World, but also protects the unwary, so it is important to be patient with this spirit. She can enchant your life, bringing growth and fertility to all areas, and when the Hawthorn flowers in spring, it represents the bridal gown of the young Goddess.    Hawthorn is sacred to the Welsh sun goddess Olwen, the “white lady of the day.”  Where she trod she left white footprints on hawthorn, and her father, Yspaddaden Pencawr, was “Giant Hawthorn.” Thirteen tasks were demanded of her suitor, Culhwych, before he could marry her and overcome the power of the giant.   Thirteen is a number associated with the moon, for the moon makes 13 circuits of the zodiac to one of the sun. Thus, the Hawthorn suggests union of sun and moon, male and female.   The Hawthorn faery promises cleansing, fulfilment, guardianship, and fertility. Keeping grounded and practical is the best way to access her and use her gifts.” ~ The Faery Bible by Teresa Moorey

Oak Ash and Thorn
The Faery Triad Talisman: Oak, Ash, and Thorn ~ photo by i.macy

In Ireland, Hawthorns have always been highly respected as faery trees. They were often referred to as ‘gentle bushes’ after the custom of not naming faeries directly out of respect. Solitary thorns were known as the faeries’ Trysting Trees, and frequently grew on barrows and tumps or at crossroads, thought to be a favourite location of pagan altars.

Folklore: Much of the folklore attached to it seems to come from the fact that the tree is covered in long branches of early, white blossom around the time of Beltane – the First of May.  In England, the Hawthorn is known as the Mayflower tree in honour of the month during which it blooms. Symbolising hope, it was the name the Pilgrims took for their famous ship, The Mayflower.

Hawthorn flowers
Hawthorn flowers, photo courtesy of Google images

If 1st of May seems early and the blossom is not ready – remember that the British calendar was changed and went forward 12 / 13 days in 1752 – trees have long memories and so work to the ancient dates! This is evident as well in Hawthorn’s place in the Ogham Tree Calendar – beginning now on 13th May – it would once have started on May 1st. Hawthorn is still prevalent in May Day celebrations, whatever the case.

Maypole_1500-56a6e0953df78cf77290a7cf
A Pagan Maypole celebration, led by the Green Man, photo courtesy of Google images

But whilst Hawthorn was a propitious tree at May-time, in other circumstances it was considered unlucky. Witches were supposed to make their brooms from it, and in some parts, it was equated with the abhorred Elder, as in the rhyme:

Hawthorn bloom and elder-flowers

Will fill a house with evil powers.

In magick, Hawthorn is known as a psychic shield that can lift the spirits, and a little charm of the wood is a thoughtful gift for a friend going through a time of vulnerability or depression. It is also especially effective against malevolent spirits.

Protection Spell:

Carefully gather a few thorns from the tree.

“On a piece of paper, write the name of the person or situation from which you seek protection, and then wrap it around the thorns.  Bury this in the ground – if possible near the tree from which the thorns were collected.” ~ Whispers from the Woods, by Sandra Kynes

Correspondences:

Planet: Mars and Venus

Symbolism: Purification, sacred marriage

and male-female unity

Stone: Lapis Lazuli, Blue Calcite

Birds: Blackbird, Owl, Purple Martin

Color: Midnight Blue, Purple

Deity: Olwen, Blodeuwedd, Gardea,

Hymen, Hera, Virgin Mary

Sabbat: Beltane, May Day

Folk names: May bush, May tree, quickset,

thorn-apple tree, white thorn.

A hundred years I slept beneath a thorn

Until the tree was root and branches of my thought,

Until white petals blossomed in my crown.

From The Traveller ~ by Kathleen Raine

Many thanks for reading and warmest blessings x

Sources:

Druidry.org

thoughtco.com

thegoddesstree.com

The Magickal Ash Tree II

Originally posted on 22/06/2017 by Isabella via speakingofwitchwands.net

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

So much can, and has been, said about the magickal Ash tree that I’m not sure where to begin – or to end – this blog. I can only really attest to what I personally know, right? In that case, Ash is a wonderful wood to work with, as a wand carver and rune maker, I find Ash wood the easiest to carve and sand, and the result is always gorgeous. It is also quite a chatty wood, for me, anyway, as I listen to the wood to get the direction of where to go with carving for wands. It always has much to say. The spirit of Ash is quite strong! (Well, it IS believed in some traditions that Witches live in Ash trees) But mainly, the point of this writing is not much to do with making wands, or runes. It was intended to be a hopefully helpful bit of information regarding the bark and wood of the Ash tree in magickal usage.

Many people write to me when looking through our Witchcraft Supplies section in our Etsy shop asking questions. I have come to realise that most people do not read the description provided, and that is mostly down to how hard the description is to find if you are using your phone’s Etsy app to shop. Therefore, I’m happy to explain here as much as I can on how to use wood bark and shavings in your magick. Ash is definitely a wood you want in your potionary stocks, when we have it available, that is.

Ash Wood
old photo by i. macy ~ will be a WytchenCrafts label from here on

There are many magickal uses for all parts of an Ash tree, however, as said, we’ll only stick to the wood and bark here. The wood is traditionally burned at Yule to bring prosperity into the New Year ahead. Maybe you don’t have a fireplace, but you can use it in a loose incense mixture and burn on a charcoal disc for the same effect. Ash is also known as one of the three trees in the Faery Triad (Ash, Oak, and Thorn) along with Oak, and Hawthorn. Ash is a wonderful wood for promoting “brain power”. We have had, at one time, a talisman in our shop to this very purpose and will be having them again in future. In meantime, you can use the bark and or shavings in poppets for this purpose as well. Ash bark rubbed into a wart is said to make it go away. And Ash wood and bark is said to have magickal effectiveness in protection from drowning, sea power, and healing. Ash is also used for protection of any kind, whether in loose spell incense, poppets, or in witch bottles.

If you have a need and you can, at the very least, fashion a witch bottle, adding Ash shavings or bark to the ingredients, it will most likely be quite effective. Every witch has his or her preference in how a wood, herb, or flower is used in their magick. You can find your most effective vessel, we can provide the ingredients.

A few other facts about Ash which may be helpful to you in planning your spell work:

Planet: The Sun and Neptune

Element: Water, Fire

Symbolism: Mastership and Power

Stone: Turquoise, Lepidolite (Increase psychic awareness)

Birds: Common Snipe

Colour: White, pale Blue

Deity: Eostre, Frigg, Hel/Holle, Minerva, Nemesis, Odin, Nemesis, Poseidon, Neptune

Folk Name: Hoop Ash, Nion – (a rune name from the Irish Gaelic word Nionon which means heaven.)

The Ash tree is also a sacred tree to the Celts and to Druids. The ogham for Ash is “Nuin” or “Nion” and it is most likely sacred to the Norsemen as it is associated with and said to be Yggdrasil. Ash is the third month of the Celtic Tree calendar, February 18th – March 17th and the 3rd consonant of the ogham alphabet. 

I hope this little article has been of use to the magickal community in your quest to use Ash wood in your spell work. Many thanks for reading and warmest blessings to all x

Sources 

Woodland Trust, UK

Cunningham’s Encyclopaedia of Herbs

Druidry

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

                     

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!