The Magickal Poplar Tree

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Instagram: @iseabail_witchwriter

POPULUS ALBA woodlandtrust org uk
Populus alba ~ woodlandtrust.org.uk

Poplar trees, or Populus – the genus, has about twenty-five to thirty-five species, and is native to much of the Northern Hemisphere. The name Populus refers to the fact that the trees were often planted around public meeting places in Roman times. They grow rather tall, 15 to 50 metres [49 to 164 ft] and have trunk diameters of up to 2.5 metres or 8 feet 2 inches.  Different species have names other than Poplar, such as Aspen or Cottonwood.  It all depends upon where you live, I suppose. According to Wikipedia, in the September 2006 issue of Science Magazine, the Joint Genome Institute announced that the western balsam poplar [P. trichocarpa] was the first tree whose full DNA code had been determined by DNA sequencing.  Pretty impressive, that.

POPULUS NIGRA woodlandtrust org uk
Populus nigra ~ woodlandtrust.org.uk

Loosely speaking, the Poplar is divided into three groups, as mentioned above – Balsam Poplar, Aspen, and Cottonwood, in the United States. As far as I can understand, the only “like” or comparable Poplars which are found in both the US and the UK are the Aspen, Black Poplar, and White Poplar.  Of course, I have already written about the Aspen.  I did find some pretty impressive information concerning a trial which took place in the 1990’s where new hybrids of Poplar were being experimentally planted in the lowlands of England to see if they would be viable as trees to investigate the interaction on profitability….to test whether growing these hybrids would be worth the doing.  I imagine this investigation is on-going as the first seven years will be their baseline for all future events from this experiment…and I have found no ending conclusion of it in my research.

So, as we have nothing quite the same in the UK as all the species of Poplar which reside in the US… apart from the Aspen, which you can read about here, and White Poplar and Black Poplar, I shall write about the White Poplar and the Black Poplar, which both grow in both the US and in the UK, their respective genus’s and species being Populus Alba and Populas Nigra. The White and Black Poplar’s are both naturalised to the UK, having been brought from the US in times past. The genus Populus Alba leads me to think that the White Poplar may have been first discovered in Scotland. Why? Because “Alba” is the word for Scotland in Scottish Gaidhlig, or, Gaelic as you would recognise it.

Magickal

Being of Saturn and the zodiac of Capricorn, any part of Poplar is best used on Saturdays during the planetary hour of Saturn. The best spell work is achieved during this time for  anything to do with safety, power, success, intellect, travelling, communication [especially into other realms]; spells to help you get through difficult times, as well as when you just need a boost in a specific area of your life.

For change and success, the Poplar wood is best ground fine and used as one of the ingredients of your loose incense created for just these purposes.  You may also use it in talismans which you create for these purposes at your altar during ritual.

For creating a protection charm/amulet, you will do well to create your amulet in ritual as in a witch bottle, sachet, or poppet of yourself or the person you’re wanting protection for.

Creating a talisman featuring Poplar wood is also found to attract money and wealth; again, may be used in poppets, sachets, and witch bottles. And, of course, in your ritual loose incense for this purpose.

The leaves of the Poplar are particularly good for use in ‘flying ointments’ for those involved in astral travel and/or hedge witchery, and necromancy – to help walk the hedge and to contact ancestors. The Spirit of the Poplar is a guide during divinations. A perfect divination pendulum can be fashioned from Poplar wood which we are now selling in our shop.

POPULUS ogham Ead

In the Celtic Birth Tree ‘astrology’ [which really needs another designation as it has nothing to do with astrology apart from the lunar months], Poplar is a tree of growth, strength, and visualisation. Its Ogham alphabet is Ead [pronounced hadh] for the English alphabetic equation of the letter E.

Healing

POPULUS ALBA catkins woodlandtrust org uk
White Poplar catkins ~ woodlandtrust.co.uk

I must turn to Nicholas Culpeper for he so kindly wrote about both the White Poplar and the Black Poplar.  You can be assured that much of what he writes is still in practise today.

White Poplar:  ‘White Poplar, saith Galen, is of a cleansing property: The weight is of an ounce in power, of the bark, thereof, being drank, saith Dioscorides, is a remedy for those that are troubled with the sciatica or the stranguary,  The juice of the leaves dropped warm into the ears, eases the pains in them,  The young clammy buds, or eyes, before they break out into leaves, bruised, and a little honey put to them, is a good medicine for a dull sight.’

POPULUS NIGRA catkins woodlandtrust org uk
Black Poplar catkins ~ woodlandtrust.org.uk

Black Poplar:  ‘The Black Poplar is held to be more cooling than the White, and therefore the leaves bruised with vinegar and applied, help the gout. The seed drank in vinegar is held good against the falling-sickness.  The water that drops from the hollow places of this tree takes away warts, pushes, wheals, and other like breakings-out of the body.  The young Black Poplar buds, saith Matthiolus, are much used by women to beautify their hair, bruising them with fresh butter, straining them after they have been kept for some time in the sun.  The ointment call Populneon, which is made of this Poplar, is singularly good for all heat and inflammations in any part of the body, and tempers the heat of wounds,  it is much used to dry up the milk of women’s breasts when they have weaned their children.’

POPULUS NIGRA buds woodlandtrust org uk
Black Poplar buds ~ woodlandtrust.org.uk

Black Poplar is a good remedy for urinary tract infections, kidney stones, and cystitis. It has anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and diuretic properties well suited to alleviating pain and infection. The Poplar’s buds have all the help you need!  Add two teaspoons of the dried bud from the Black Poplar to one litre of water and infuse for 10 minutes.  You can drink two to three cups of the tea per day to stave off stones and to treat your urinary tract infection or cystitis.  For rheumatism, use Black Poplar bark in a decoction of half a teaspoon of dry bark to a cup of water, infused for 10 minutes.  Drink two cups per day to alleviate pain and inflammation.  Poplar has gallic acid, and salicin, both painkillers.  You may use the recipe above with Poplar buds instead if preferred. This recipe also is good for the gout and bronchitis and is very helpful with the common cold.

Correspondences

Planetary:  Saturn

Gender:  White Poplar, Masculine; Black Poplar, Feminine

Zodiac:  Capricorn

Element[s]:  Air

Powers:  Hope, Rebirth, Divination, Astral Projection, Courage, Ancestry, Protection, Healing

Deity:  Hecate, Morrigan, Tyr, Apollo, Zeus

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

Sources

The Complete Herbal and English Physician, by Nicholas Culpeper

Whispers from the Woods, by Sandra Kynes

What’s Your Birth Tree is the New What’s Your Star Sign, by Isabella

Wikipedia

Druidry.org

Crystal of the Week, Howlite

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Instagram:  @thewandcarver

Many people I have spoken with about Howlite is how the stone doesn’t calm them in the way many stones do.  They report the feeling that the anger or anxiety they have been feeling has been “pulled” out of them by the stone.  Regardless of how Howlite calms you, because it does absorb bad feelings we may be experiencing, the result is that we feel more self-assured, a higher mental awareness, and the ability to communicate on a calmer level.  It can even help with those sleepless nights we experience from time to time by placing your Howlite on your bedside table.

Howlite
My Howlite ~ photo by i.macy

Talking of absorbing quickly, Howlite is a very soft stone.  When you talk about Blue Howlite, it didn’t just come up out of the ground that way.  Because of its softness, people learned they could dye the stone all kinds of colours.  Some people are confused by Blue Howlite and Turquoise quite often.  Turquoise is a much harder stone and when polished, it is quite shiny.  Even after polishing, Howlite still feels a bit chalky and doesn’t look quite so shiny.  If you ever have doubts when in a crystals shop, either ask to see a piece of Turquoise or find one in the many bins and baskets set about in the shop, then compare it to the Blue Howlite.  The differences are very clear.  And, whilst I’m not a huge fan of buying crystals online, if you do enjoy doing so, be sure to take close note of photos and descriptions…. There are some not very trustworthy sellers [mostly on eBay] who will try to sell you a Blue Howlite as a Turquoise – for more money!  And they don’t stop there.  Howlite has been dyed to resemble Lapis Lazuli and Red Coral as well.

Please keep in mind that whatever the colour of your Howlite that the magickal, healing, and all other properties remain the same.  If you just like assorted colours, that is fine, enjoy them, but don’t expect that they will have more, or less, attributes than the white Howlite. You will probably find many writings online about them having this trait or another, but in all sincerity, they are all equal.

Magickal

Howlite is a very good stone to use for past life regression work.  Focusing on a piece of Howlite can assist in journeying outside the body and gaining insight from past lives.  Placed on the third eye, it opens memories of previous times and lifetimes.  Howlite is also a fabulous stone for protection.  You can carry it with you or wear it as jewellery.

Brings me to mind about our Magnolia Witches Stang [sold out] in our shop. I made it for all witches but primarily for the practising hedge witch. The hedge witch uses the stang for bridging the “worlds”.  And, I added thirteen Howlite skulls to the handle grip because of Howlite’s ability to assist in both past life regression and astral projection/hedge riding plus for added protection. 

Howlite has a positive affect on all chakras, mainly the Crown chakra.  It helps to easily align all chakras.

Healing

Howlite stones have a lovely soothing energy that will help to alleviate stress and may help to calm fits of anger and bad temper.   I have heard people report that in a state of heightened stress that Howlite “rushes in and vacuums out” the high stress they are feeling.  I don’t know this for myself; perhaps I’ve never had one near when stressed to that degree.  I believe it, however, because Howlite works quickly to de-stress the person holding it. Why do I mention this in healing?  Because when our stress levels are through the roof, our blood pressure rises as well.  Howlite can help relieve the heightened blood pressure caused by stress.

For anyone having sleeping difficulties, place a piece under your pillow as it is known to alleviate insomnia.  You can also make a gem elixir from Howlite to help you sleep.  I would not use a dyed piece of Howlite, however.  And do be certain to wash the Howlite before putting it into your water bottle.

Howlite balances calcium levels in the body.  It aids teeth, bones and soft tissue. Helpful in cases of osteoporosis. This kind of healing work would most likely be carried out by Pranic healers.

Correspondences

Planetary:  Moon

Zodiac:  Gemini

Gender:  Female

Element:  Earth

Powers:  Past Life Regressions, Patience, Peace, Insomnia

Chakra[s]:  Primary, Crown Chakra.  Can be used for any of the seven.

Deity:  Quan Yin

Other Names:  Depends on colour it has been “dyed” such as “blue Howlite”

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

Sources

The Crystal Bible by Judy Hall, 2003

Crystal, Gem and Metal Magic by Scott Cunningham, 2002

Chakra Healing & Karmic Awareness by Keith Sherwood, 2005

The Illustrated Directory of Crystal Healing by Cassandra Eason, 2003

Gemstone Energy Medicine Healing Body, Mind and Spirit by Michael Katz, 2005

Experience

Crystal of the Week, Black Kyanite

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Instagram: @thewandcarver

As, ever, before writing, I like to hold the crystal I’m blogging about for a bit… to renew my friendship with it and to feel the vibrations; what they are telling me. How do I describe the feeling of being switched round and put back together at warp speed? I suppose if any of you know that description then I don’t need to elaborate. It was very moving, no pun intended. And at the same time, I felt perfectly rooted to my seat. Not a hair out of place… but oh! What a ride! That is Black Kyanite for you!

black kyanite
My Black Kyanite ~ photo by i.macy

My opinion of what just happened is, whilst having me perfectly grounded, my Black Kyanite “fixed” my yin yang, finished healing my Root Chakra [forgot to mention I have been on a chakra clearing/repairing … lately after finding myself very blocked up] and then stripped of the stifling aura which has clung round me for too long and freshened me right up. Yes, I do feel rather amazing right now!

To be honest, I don’t always get hardcore feelings from crystals. Not in the earth-shattering way that I just did. Yes, I do always get vibrations, however, most of the time they are more “attuned” to me and what I’m using them for. It just occurred to me that this is what happens to a low vibration person. Normally my vibration is relatively medium to high. When I’m not well or have been remiss about taking care of myself, etc, my vibrational level sinks. What Black Kyanite does to low vibration people could be a little scary at first. I must say that I’m glad I have been working with my chakras up til this writing because that has most likely saved me a real comeuppance! So, my suggestion to all who read this is, please have your chakras in check before working with Black Kyanite or expect a wild ride whilst it repairs you!

Magickal
Black Kyanite is a good talisman stone. It is protective of its bearer. It is a perfect grounding stone before rituals. Black Kyanite helps you to remember so it will be good to use when you’ve spent time memorising a lengthy spell chant. Keep close by when doing any divination works. Cassandra Eason says in The New Crystal Bible, “You will have cause to speak your mind, but do not waste words on those who will not listen.” I think it means, don’t waste your gift upon those whom only want good fortunes told and are dismissive of the words foretold that may not suit them. Still, as an all-chakra stone, it is an excellent partner to have near when reading tarot or any other divination work as it helps keep your Third Eye Chakra balanced. Black Kyanite is excellent against psychic attack. Additionally, Black Kyanite is self-cleansing so no need to clean but can be recharged in the full moon, if desired. Please be sure never to soak in water.

Meditation
Brilliant crystal for past-life regression work, is Black Kyanite. A lot of people are doing future life progressions, something I honestly see no point of. Still, the Black Kyanite is there for you if that is what you wish to do. It strengthens the tether between Spirit and the Otherworld and can be used successfully in astral protection and hedge witchery. You can cleanse, clear, and re-build/repair all your chakras in meditation with Black Kyanite, however, its speciality is the Root/Base Chakra. And, as a special bonus, you can use your Black Kyanite to get in touch with your Spirit Guide/Guardian Angel for the very first time. If you have never attempted yet to meet your Guardian, Black Kyanite will be a stellar help in doing so. One thing to remember is that Black Kyanite will rapidly place you into a deep meditative state more so than many crystals will. It is also very useful for reading lucid dreaming messages.

Healing
Black Kyanite treats muscular disorders, fevers, thyroid, adrenal glands, throat and brain; a natural pain reliever; lowers blood pressure; heals infections; releases excess weight, supports the cerebellum. This crystal is, of course, a very useful one to Pranic Healers, and my personal opinion is that it would be best to see one for any healing work with Black Kyanite.

Correspondences
Planet: Jupiter, Moon
Zodiac: Sagittarius, Cancer
Element: Water
Powers: Healing, Grounding, Protection, Manifestation
Chakra(s): All, particularly the Root/Base Chakra
Deity: Ganesh

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

Sources:
Experience
The New Crystal Bible, by Cassandra Eason
The Crystal Bible, by Judy Hall
The Crystal Bible 2, by Judy Hall

Crystal of the Week, Hag Stones

By Isabella @TheWandCarver
Instagram: @thewandcarver

Hag Stone 2
My Hag Stone, Top side ~ photo by i.macy

Hag stones or “holey stones” aren’t really classified as “crystals” but magickally they do a power of good for those who connect well with natural stones and crystals. They have a bit of a violent birth, most of them, being tossed and turned in oceans and sent swirling around and down rivers, clashing with other less moveable rocks in their paths. And some merely erode over a very long time from a steady dripping of water onto the same spot. It seems to me these poor hag stones get quite tortured over a great period. Most likely, many were created during the Great Flood after the ending of the Ice Age. And many were made by a burrowing bivalve mollusc called Pholas dactylus. There is no telling how old the Hag Stone you find might be. Which reminds me, you don’t find Hag Stones, they find you.

Magickal:

Hag Stone 1
My Hag Stone, Bottom side ~ by i.macy

In the days of cunning folk – not that they no longer exist, they do, for I am one, myself – the Hag Stone was given to people seeking to protect their children, homes, and livestock. My grandfather kept one rather large Hag Stone tied above his barn door to keep his cows safe from being made to give sour milk. My mother remembered having a necklace her father fashioned with a hag stone for her to wear as a wee girl. The reason they are called “hag” stones is that during these olden times, there was great fear of the “Night Hag” and apparently, she was responsible for the theft of horses and children at an alarming rate. If you have occasion to wander round old barns in the UK or anywhere in Europe, you will most likely see evidence of the Hag Stone still at work, protecting cows, horses, and any other animals kept.

From Legendary Dartmoor:
If ever you happen to be around any old Dartmoor farm buildings you may possibly notice a small holed stone or pebble sat on a window ledge. Occasionally if the building has a lock with a key still in it there may well be a similar-looking holed stone tied to the end of it. These are known as Hex, or more commonly elsewhere, as Hag Stones and their tradition dates back to the time when witches rode along the hedgerows at night.”

Not only did farmers employ the Hag Stone, or Holey Stone, for protection, but so did sailors. In the UK, Dorset fishermen also adopted the Hag Stone as a protective charm against malevolent witchcraft and still use it today according to Dr H Colley-March in his article on “Witched Fishing Boats in Dorset”, 1906.

It was “…not uncommon for rowboats at Weymouth to have ‘holy stones’ tied to nails or staples in the bows…” [Colley-March] As well as holed stones attached to fisherman’s small boats, Hag Stones were also fastened to the bows of large fishing boats to protect them at sea.

Holed stones were found having been put inside of walls in many old homes whilst being built; years later during restoration and renovation, they are discovered. They were installed there by the builders of those homes to prevent malevolent spells on their families and protection against Pixies [or “Piskies” if you lived in Cornwall]. Often, they used the Hag Stone on a rope to which their front door key was kept.

And, talking of Pixies, Faeries and such, in Italian Witchcraft the holed stone is associated with faeries, and often referred to as the “holy stone”. It is considered a doorway, or key to the doorway, into the faery kingdom. In Italian folk magic, it is believed these stones have the power to bind a fairy to one’s service for a length of time. There are other legends to this end, but another popular one is that if you hold a holey stone up to your eye and look through it you can see creatures that you cannot normally see, such as Faeries.

Lastly, the Hag Stone has been used since around the 15th century to prevent “Night Mares”. Holed stones were often hung on bedposts to deter demons, including the night-hag, the nightmare, or a succubus.

Some the nightmare hath prest, With that weight upon their brest, No returns of the breath can passe, But to us the tale is addle, We can take of her saddle, And turn the night mare out to grasse.”

And, if you want to wear one, it is said to be a useful amulet for protection from the “evil eye”.

Healing:
It was often thought that rheumatic pains could be eased by placing a hex stone under the mattress. I have never given this a try, so I could not possibly say if this is helpful or not.

Correspondences:
Planet: Moon
Element: Water
Powers: Protection, Healing, Anti Nightmare
Sabbat: Samhain
Other Names: Holey Stone, Odin Stone, Hex Stone, Witch Stone, Fairy/Faerie Stone, Eye Stone, Wish Stone, Nightmare Stone, Witch-riding Stone, Witch Hammer, Ephialtes Stone, Holy Stone
Where to find: Beaches, dried river beds, streams

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

Sources:
Experience

http://www.legendarydartmoor.co.uk

Wikipedia.org

From the Wortcunner’s Cabinet, Mullein

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Another fabulous wort you can use for free if you’re a mind to go wild-crafting is the wonderful Mullein. Yes, I know, any herb can be wild-crafted if you know what you’re looking for and if it is in somewhat plentiful supply where you live, but not all plants are. Mullein is easily found in Asia, Europe, and is a naturalised citizen of the United States when it was brought…as many plants and trees were…over on the ships of the early European and British settlers. Do be certain to ask permission if you find Mullein growing all around in your neighbour’s lawn…as it is a weed, after all, he or she may not mind, but don’t go helping yourself unless they say it’s alright.

photo by Sihiri Magical Market ~ sihiri.co.uk

Mullein has a very shallow root therefore it will be easy to pull out of the ground. Tie up by the roots and hang in a cool, dry place to let it dry out appropriately, but place something underneath to catch the seeds. Either use them or dispose of them properly or you’ll find your lawn overrun with Mullein in time should they get swept outdoors. The little fuzzy hairs which cover every inch of a Mullein plant are very irritating to the skin and mucus membranes. Use care when collecting, and always strain liquids with Mullein in them very well to remove the little hairs before ingesting.

Growing Mullein is easy enough and its little yellow flowers attract butterflies and bees. The flowers can also be boiled to make a bright yellow dye for fabrics. If you add sulfuric acid, it will turn the dye green and if you add an alkali it will turn the dye brown.

Mullein can be used in candle crafting as well. You can use it as the wick! According to Indian lore [I am assuming this is regarding Native Americans] Burning a stalk of Mullein protects against evil and magic.

Magickal Uses:
Whereas a spell calls for graveyard dirt and you are not able to procure dirt from a graveyard by any reason, you can grind and powder Mullein as an excellent substitute. Despite the many folk names for Mullein, it is, in magick, known as Hecate’s Torch or Lucifer’s Torch, as well; it is representational of the Crossroads. It is one of the nine herbs and resins we use in our Necromancer’s Witch Bottle Necklace which I originally created to use in my travels as a hedgewitch, because of its encouragement of manifestations of spirits, to see into Otherworld, and likewise commune with those who dwell there. If you like to create your own candles for your spell work, you could truly enhance riding the hedge by creating a candle using either a stalk or the leaf of Mullein as the wick.

Mullein can also be used for prophetic dreaming and astral travel whilst asleep, drink a cup of “Dreamer’s Tea” before going to sleep which is 2 parts Mullein flowers, 1-part Poppy flower, 1-part Mugwort, and 2 parts Spearmint. To aid divination by tarot, runes, ogham, or pendulum, you can either drink the Dreamer’s Tea or you may use a loose incense with Mullein. We have been working on a Necromancer’s incense blend recently which we’ll sell in our shop soon.

Mullein is also useful in preventing nightmares and is always protective of the dreamer. I love a sachet of Mullein and Lavender under my pillow for such a purpose. I don’t think I have nightmares, as such, but there are the odd nights when I have dreams that are not prophetic, nor astral travel-related…they are just unpleasant things that must be coming from my subconscious for some peculiar reason or other. I find the sachet quite relaxing and protective on those nights.

Medicinal Use:
Mullein is an excellent colds and coughs medicine as it loosens phlegm, is an expectorant whilst soothing the cough at the same time. The tea is also mildly sedating which helps you to relax and rest – which is one of the main things needed when you have a bad cold. If you are using fresh Mullein, be sure to strain through a cloth or cloth bag before drinking so the tiny hairs won’t go into your tea. Not to advocate smoking, but…I have read many times that smoking Mullein is excellent for sufferers of asthma and chronic cough. It’s best to roll it using a cigarette machine so you can use the filtered paper. Once again, you don’t want the tiny hairs getting into your throat and lungs making things worse. For earache or any inner ear troubles, it is recommended to make a tincture of Mullein and garlic then use a few drops in each ear. It can also be used to treat ear mites in animals. Make an infusion of Mullein for treating frostbite and burns.

Correspondences:
Planet: Mercury [Agrippa] or Saturn [Culpepper]
Gender: Feminine
Deity: Jupiter, Hecate, Lucifer
Element: Fire
Other Names: Common Mullein, Great Mullein, White Mullein, Woolly Mullein, Torches, Mullein Dock, Our Lady’s Flannel, Velvet Dock, Blanket Herb, Velvet Plant, Woolen Rag, Woolen, Rag Paper, Candlewick Plant, Wild Ice Leaf, Clown’s Lungwort, Bullocks Lungwort, Aaron’s Rod, Adam’s Rod, Jupiter’s Staff, Jacob’s Staff, Peter’s Staff, Shepherd’s Staff, Shepherd’s Clubs, Beggar’s Stalk, Golden Rod, Adam’s Flannel, Beggar’s Blanket, Clot, Cuddy’s Lungs, Duffle, Feltwort, Fluffweed, Hare’s Beard, Old Man’s Flannel, Flannel Flower, Beggar’s Flannel, Hag’s Taper, Hedge Taper, King’s Taper, Candelaria, Quaker Rouge, Graveyard Dirt, Devil’s Tobacco, Miner’s Candle, Ice Leaf, White Man’s Footsteps, Witches Candles, Witches Taper

Thank you for reading and if you enjoyed this blog and find it useful, please share it on Facebook, Pinterest, or by any of the useful buttons below. It’s my pleasure to share this with you! Warmest blessings to all whom this way wander x

Sources:
Witchipedia.org
Experience
The Old English Herbals, By Eleanour Sinclair Rohde

Beannachdan na Samhna dha na h-uile

By Isabellla  @TheWandCarver

Instagram:  @thewandcarver

Or, in English, Samhain blessings to all.  I am feeling my Scottish roots deeply this year as I have spent the better part of the last three weeks working through that genealogical branch in my family tree.  I had always grown up believing the prevalence of Scottish ancestry grew through my maternal grandfather’s lineage but as it happens, the Scots brightly adorn both halves of my family tree – and for many, many generations to boot! Then, let us have a Scottish little Samhain!

What about Halloween?

Most of us know the word Halloween is a version of Hallow’s Eve. But are you aware that Halloween originally has Scottish beginnings? The origins of Halloween can be traced back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, or summer’s end. Summer represented the living world [along with Spring, it is the light half of the year] and the dark half of the year begins  31st October.  It was – and is still – believed that spirits of the dead roamed about freely on this night and it was believed that children must be dressed to conceal their youth from these dark entities. What better way to do this than to dress up like the so-called evil spirits themselves so they could blend in?

from Google images, unknown

On this night of merry-making and scary acts [more from children than evil entities!] the way from house to house would invariably be lit by little neep lanterns.  What is a neep lantern, you ask? Well… you know the vegetable as a swede in England or a turnip in Ireland and if you’re in France, it would be called rutabaga.  Neeps were, and are, carved out and a candle placed inside just the same as is a pumpkin in America.  Personally, I think the neep lanterns are much scarier looking! I love them! A jack-o’-lantern [or jack o’lantern, US spelling] is a carved pumpkin, turnip, or other root vegetable lantern, commonly associated with the Halloween holiday. Its name comes from the reported phenomenon of strange lights flickering over peat bogs, called will-o’-the-wisps [England] or jack-o’-lanterns [Ireland].  Jack-o’-lanterns carved from pumpkins are a yearly Halloween tradition that went to the United States with Irish immigrants.

For all the “guising” that went on in Scotland through a few centuries, the American “Halloween” as is now known in the UK did not latch on fully until the last couple or so decades. Long before Halloween, in Scotland children and adults would go “doukin’ for apples”.  I’m sure that will cause a lot of laughter from across the pond, but the word “douk” as it happens means “to plunge, to dip, to bathe”.  Of course, most of you probably use the word as it is described from the urban dictionary.  Not so nice a connotation indeed! Still, the practise arose most likely from the fact that the ancient Celts held apples as sacred.

Samhain and the protection of fire

Returning to Samhain, large bonfires were an integral part not only of celebrations but also that of protection and were lit in each village to ward off any evil spirits. All home hearth fires would be extinguished then re-lit from the flames of the great bonfire. Sometimes, two bonfires would be built side by side, and the people—sometimes with their livestock—would walk between them as a cleansing ritual. The bones of slaughtered cattle were said to have been cast upon bonfires.

The bonfires were used in divination rituals, although not all divination involved fire. In 18th century Ochtertyre, Scotland a ring of stones—one for each person—was laid round the fire, perhaps on a layer of ash. Everyone then ran round it with a torch, “exulting”. In the morning, the stones were examined and if any was mislaid it was said that the person it represented would not live out the year.

Samhain was mainly seen as a liminal time when the boundary between this world and the Otherworld could more easily be crossed. This meant the aos sí, the ‘spirits’ or ‘fairies’ [the little folk], could more easily come into our world. Many scholars see the aos sí as remnants of the pagan gods and nature spirits. At Samhain, it was believed that the aos sí needed to be mollified to ensure that the people and their livestock survived the winter. Offerings of food and drink would be left outside for the aos sí, and portions of the crops might be left in the ground for them.

The dead were also honoured at Samhain. The beginning of winter may have been seen as the most fitting time to do so, as it was a time of ‘dying’ in nature. The souls of the dead were thought to revisit their homes seeking hospitality. Places were set at the dinner table and by the fire to welcome them. The belief that the souls of the dead return home on one night of the year and must be appeased seems to have ancient origins and is found in many cultures throughout the world. It is the very night I use most for hedge walking and visitation with my ancestors and to honour them. The result of which is always gratifying.  I hope they feel the same.

Halloween celebrations names in other countries and areas include:

Wales –  Calan Gaeaf

Isle of Man – Hop-tu-Naa

Cornwall – Allantide

No matter how you celebrate Samhain this year, please do so safely and responsibly.  Many thanks for reading and warmest blessings to all whom this way wander x  Beannachdan na Samhna dha na h-uile!

Ammonite Magick!

Originally posted on 07/12/20 via speakingofwitchwands.net

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Instagram: @thewandcarver

Ammonite Earrings
My Chinese Ammonite earrings ~ photo by i.macy

Just look at one and you know it is something quite special, the Ammonite. It draws away negativity…just put your head between a pair and see what I mean. If the day isn’t going so well and the dark thoughts think they can move in, I know wearing my Ammonite earrings will soon take care of that. Ammonite spirals are a filter, drawing in these dark energies which are no longer needed, moving them through the spirals and releasing them as fresh, positive, loving, life force energies.

Ammonite is not considered a stone or crystal, it is a fossil, and fossils are a wonderful tool to assist you in moving from the old to the new and to be receptive to the fresh, innovative forces that are available to you. Ammonite helps you to reconcile the past with the present and to help you gain perspective on the present. These are, like the Orthoceras, another fossil, brilliant in past life recall work. As they are excellent for honouring ancestors, they are useful to the hedgewitch, or anybody working with astral travel to connect with their ancestry. They also help in re-entry, so to speak, from astral travel in a kind and grounding way which eases you back into “reality”.

Folklore / History:

Ammonite from Charmouth Dorset
My Ammonite from Charmouth, Dorset ~ photo by i.macy

Ammonite’s name is derived from the name of the ancient Egyptian god Ammon who believed these creatures were divine. Ammon is represented in ancient literature by the head of a ram with twisted spiral horns that are reminiscent of an Ammonite’s spiralled shell. Pliny the Elder, the Roman historian, described Ammonites as the holiest stones in ancient Aethiopia because they were believed to bring prophetic dreams.

Ammonites have had a long association with serpents in English legend. The 7th Century Saint Hilda of Whitby turned an infestation of snakes to stone to enable a now-famous abbey to be constructed. These petrified “snakestones” were carved or painted with a head-on them and sold as pious souvenirs. During the early 19th-century English fossil hunters referred to Ammonites as cornemonius, a corruption of the Latin name hammonis cornu.

Medical:

Ammonites were used in folk medicine across Europe for snake bites, fertility, and birthing pains. In 18th century Germany and England they were added to water as “drakestones” [“dragonstone”] or “crampstones” to treat livestock. Sliced in half to make a pair, they were often given as wedding presents because they represented a journey and two parts coming together as a whole.

Magickal:

Ammonite is known to strengthen one’s will to live as well as appreciating life and living it to the fullest; being very beneficial to the human psyche. Feng Shui practitioners believe that Ammonite also has a positive effect on the flow of energy called ‘chi’, assisting one to cleanse and detoxify the body. It is regarded as helpful in childbirth.

Since Ammonites were once living beings, they are connected to Akasha, the fifth element. These are tangible proof that in nature nothing is wasted; it shows how only manifestations of energy may be transmutable, but energy itself cannot be destroyed.

Ammonite may be used for vivid prophetic vision and dreams as well as work or meditations relating to past lives and longevity. And as before-mentioned, very useful in astral travel and hedge witchery.

Correspondences:

Chakras: Base, Solar Plexus, Third Eye

Zodiac Signs: Capricorn, Virgo

Number: 8

Diety: Ammon

Energy: Receptive

Element: Earth, Air, Water, Fire & Akasha

Planet: Jupiter

Powers: Elemental Power, Longevity & Past Life Meditation

Candle Colour: Green or Black

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

Sources:

The Crystal Bible by Judy Hall

Chakra Healing & Karmic Awareness by Keith Sherwood

Crystal, Gem and Metal Magic by Scott Cunningham

Chiastolite, a Magickal Stone, Indeed!

Originally posted on 30/11/2017 via speakingofwitchwands.net

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Instagram: @thewandcarver

Lovely Chiastolite is found in Australia, Chile, Russia, Spain, Brazil, Sri Lanka, Canada, and the US. It is usually a deep brown with a black cross in it which the Greeks called “chiastos” meaning cruciform or crosswise. The Ancients saw the stone as a “sign from God” [or the Gods]. The Ancients also believed it to be a highly protective stone, which has been proven to be true. And, for the record, the Australian Chiastolite can be found as a black stone with a green cross…very unusual, indeed! This one is going onto my bucket list of stones and crystals I want!

Magickal:

In the distant past, Chiastolite was used to ward off the evil eye and curses by ancient people. As a Root/Base Chakra stone, it is wonderful for grounding oneself before spell work or meditation. For travellers, it is a brilliant protection stone. Chiastolite is also a stone of balance and harmony and will counter disagreements between people of differing ideas, and transform their attitudes into one of harmonious agreement. I suppose if nothing else but to “agree to disagree” but we should all strive to at least do this, rather than becoming enemies, many times over the smallest things.

from simplyalternative.co.uk

Chiastolite is a gateway to the Mysteries and out of body travel. It will aid you to journey in the spiritual realms to the area of the Akashic records and it will aid you in making a connection to the Akashic records to learn about your past lives. As many of you know, the Akashic records are the repository of all that has ever happened, and where you can go to and investigate your own past life experiences. The information discovered may help you to work out how your past lives relate to your current life. It has brought much to my attention in this respect as a Hedge Witch whilst travelling between the Worlds to speak to my ancestors. I have found the records are very helpful in proving to myself what is real and what is not. Whether you use astral travel for this or simply to go where you’ve never been before, Chiastolite is a perfect stone not only for getting you where you want to go but for the ultimate protection along the way.

my chiastolite by i.macy

When accessing the Akashic records, good crystals to use with Chiastolite are Shaman Stones, Cavansite, Calligraphy Stone, Axinite, Goethite, Creedite, White Heulandite, Merlinite, Petrified Wood, Euclase, Covellite, Black Andradite Garnet, Libyan Desert Glass/Libyan Gold Tektite, and Blue Apatite.

One other reason to use Chiastolite is during any psychic readings with tarot, dowsing pendulum, runes readings, or ogham staves readings, for they not only protect you, but they also enhance your psychic abilities, as well.

Healing:

Healers use Chiastolite to lessen fevers, relieve rheumatism, balance the immune system, fortify nerves, and increase lactation in nursing mothers. Chiastolite is also helpful in balancing the chakras, particularly the Root/Base chakra and the Third Eye chakra. It may balance the blood flow and is said to aid the body to repair chromosome damage. This is a suitable stone to help you as you age, when you may find that you are no longer able to do things that you could previously do. It is a strong stone to aid the teeth and bones. Chiastolite is a comforting stone if you are suffering grave illness, and it is known to be helpful to ease the dying as they approach the time to return to Spirit.

Other Stones/Crystals which work well with Chiastolite: Lemurian Seed crystal, Jet, Black Obsidian, Black Tourmaline, and Sugilite. In turn, Chiastolite can enhance the energy of prosperity stones/crystals.

Correspondences:

Colour: brown with black cross
Australian, black with green cross
 
Zodiac: Libra

 
Element: Storm Element

 
Chakras: Root Chakra, Third Eye Chakra

 
Energies: Power, Protection, Love, Prosperity

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

Sources:

The Crystal Bible, by Judy Hall

Wikipedia

Experience

The Magickal Sycamore Tree: My First Tree Love

Originally posted on 21/11/2017 via speakingofwitchwands.net

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Instagram: @thewandcarver

sycamore01
Sycamore tree ~ woodlandtrust.org.uk

The Sycamore tree is a member of the Earth’s oldest family of trees – found to be more than 100 million years old. They can live to be around 600 years old and can sometimes grow to be over 100 feet tall. The Sycamore is an extremely fast-growing tree…and this I know from experience. In Britain they are also known as Plane trees, more specifically American Plane.

In Greek history, according to Herodotus, the Greeks owed some of their military success to the charm of the Sycamore. In 480 BC, an invading Persian king, Xerxes, camped his army in a sycamore grove. Xerxes was so taken by their beauty that he decided to stay camped there, putting off his march for a few days. It was said that this delay cost Xerxes the war, and Greece went on to build the Athenian Empire.

In ancient Egypt, the “Holy Sycamore” was believed to connect the world of the living with the world of the dead, but this information is due to a mistranslation; Sycamore has been mistakenly credited with being sacred to the Egyptians. And the Sycamore tree is mentioned many times in the Bible, so I’ve read.

Sycamore symbolises development, perseverance and vitality. They are often able to grow where no other tree can; represents versatility and symbolises coldness. It is believed to promote relaxation and harmony, whilst at the same time raising energy levels and banishing lethargy. It is good for any magic to do with prosperity, love or longevity. It is said to bring success and abundance, but also to teach humility. Also said to be good for using in healing potions. Sycamore is an air and water element tree.

More correctly called Great Maple, in North America, the Native Americans used the sap from Sycamore for wine-making and syrup! In healing remedies, it was used for wound dressing and a variety of medicinal purposes, including cold and cough remedies. It was also used for dietary, dermatological, gynaecological, respiratory, and for gastrointestinal problems.

To past Native-American cultures, the Sycamore was equivalent to the Oak, as Holy trees go. It is fairly water-resistant and can adapt itself well to grow nearly anywhere. It even grows hardily in the cold, rain-drenched, acidic soil of the North Highlands of Scotland.

In Britain you never hear about the mystical qualities of Sycamore. It would seem the witching world never give it a second look when thinking of wands or other magickal charms made from wood. As a young girl, I was lucky to have been moved from the big city to a life relatively in the country at an age when my little witchy wings were forming. We had a massive Sycamore tree behind our detached house, right outside my bedroom window. There were four Sycamores, in truth, planted in a row behind our house. The largest of all was outside my window…they had all been planted at the same time…I would know, my father, planted them. And whilst three grew at a normal-ish rate, the one in front of my window grew so fast I was able to climb it very soon! Mind, they weren’t little trees when first planted – my father always planted semi-grown trees around our house. Dad was such a Druid when it came to trees. He had at least one of everything and if he found the room, he had at least two of every tree…It wasn’t long before we were living in a veritable forest.

My Sycamore tree was everything to me for years. I climbed high up in it…I could sit on a large branch for hours just thinking. As I sat, many times fat squirrels would venture up in hopes of a treat, or a bird would light close by and give me a wary side-ways look, as they do. My favourites were the visiting Owls at night and the Crows and Ravens in the morning. And, naturally, my first wand was a Sycamore branch. I didn’t carve it into anything special, I just carried with me most places around our gardens or into the woodland behind us…well, if you could tell where our property ended, and the natural woodland began, that is! It was broken a bit by my parents veg garden – the size of several allotments; my Dad was over the moon! – and my Dad’s kennels for his beautiful English Setters, as he was a Quail hunter. Then, the “real” woodland began and there were small streams, tiny ponds, loads of different trees to learn about, but truthfully, my first tree love was the giant Sycamore.

I think it fitting now that I look back, that a Sycamore tree would be my first tree love…it is, after all, a tree of Ancestral and Earth Wisdom. Many of you whom have read my previous blogs know that I am a Hedge Witch…not the neo-Hedge Witch but the one who rides the Hedge and walks between the Worlds…mainly to speak with my ancestors primarily during All Hallows Eve. And, as a Taurus, I am very much an Earth Girl. This could also have much to do with loving to help my Dad when he planted in his gardens, the smells of rich Earth being turned to accept our little seeds to grow a lovely harvest of many healthy delights. I spent hours as a young girl playing in the soil, quite literally, and the most soothing thing to do at times, when my little girl life became fraught from the dreadful things that could happen from time to time, was to sit and dig my hands into the warm, fragrant Earth, feeling cosy and calmed by the connection.

And, I could always sit in my Sycamore tree…perhaps it is when my ancestors began working my life through that tree. Do you ever wonder why you make some of the life decisions you make? I can clearly understand nearly every one of mine by tracing through my ancestry. I believe it began with that tree, if I’m honest. And I am grateful for it.

So, yes, I think that a Sycamore has a lot of magickal value. It is definitely a tree perfect for any sort of ancestral workings. I have no doubt that it promotes relaxation and harmony. I can safely say it banishes lethargy and raises energy levels. I can not attest to whether it does anything for love spells, prosperity spells, or longevity spells, but it couldn’t hurt to try. As for success and abundance…perhaps it has done. I feel I’ve been very successful with nearly all things I’ve gotten stuck in and determined to do, as well as through lean times and all other times, I have had an abundance of what was needed to get by. And, we were certainly not rich growing up, but abundance was always ours. We never went hungry and the bills were paid. I can certainly see how Sycamore teaches humility…try acting stupid whilst half-way up one and see how quickly you land on the hard Earth! Lastly, I haven’t been on the receiving end of any Sycamore healing potions, but I do know Sycamore heals the soul…it feels like a loving parent. And I have days when I would give about anything to climb up into my old friend’s arms, or limbs, I should say, and snuggle up on my favourite limb and let its wisdom and love fill my soul and heart with hope again.

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

Sources:

druidry.com

Trees of London

Woodland Trust

Wikipedia

Experience

Hawk’s Eye, The Traveller’s Crystal

Originally posted on 09/11/2017 via speakingofwitchwands.net

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Instagram: @thewandcarver

Hawks Eye
Hawk’s Eye ~ photo by i.macy

Hawk’s Eye, also known as Blue Tiger’s Eye as it is sometimes referred to, is a very beautiful crystal.   It is blue-grey to blue-green in colour. It is so-named for its “chatoyancy” which reminds one of the eyes of the hawk. Hawk’s Eye is a variety of macro-crystalline quartz. Hawk’s eye is a pseudo-morph of quartz. A pseudo-morph is one mineral that changes into another mineral over time and in the case of Hawk’s Eye, it began its life as crocidolite and was later transformed into quartz. Crocidolite is a fibrous blue mineral belonging to the riebeckite family of amphibole silicates. It is one of the several forms of asbestos. The transformation of Hawk’s Eye begins as quartz slowly becomes embedded between the fibres of crocidolite, eventually completely replacing it while retaining the fibrous shape of the original mineral.

Hawk’s Eye is not a blue Tiger’s Eye, although very closely related to it and Pietersite, as well.  Tiger’s Eye is formed from Hawk’s Eye. As blue crocidolite is dissolved by quartz, traces of iron oxide remain; less iron tends to result in the blue colour of crocidolite and if more iron is present, colour tends to result in the brownish golden colour of Tiger’s Eye.

Enough of the facts, yes? What about what can Hawk’s Eye do for you? Hawk’s Eye is believed to help those with a fear of flying. It is thought to be good for sight and vision, enhancing our ability to focus. Physically, it is often used for problems with eyesight, but it is also helpful for sinus congestion, as well as spine and neck problems.

Hawk’s eye is believed to be a stone of protection, often used by travellers. It can also be used to help protect against the negative energy of others. Its energy is known to help balance the brow chakra.

Use it to expand your horizons at work. It will help bring new opportunities at work or the possibility of transfer to a new location.  Hawk’s Eye is an excellent crystal for business owners.

Hawk’s eye is the best stone for astral travel, clairvoyance, and remote viewing.  Anyone, such as I, who is a Hedge Witch or learning Hedge Witchery would do well to have these crystals on hand as we are considered travellers – of another kind.  It is also an excellent crystal for past-life regression.  Although I have not tried it for this purpose yet, I would imagine that it would be superb for lucid dreaming, as well.

With their ability to work well together with Angelite, I would believe that Hawk’s Eye would be a perfect crystal to use with Angelite when meditating to correspond with or “find” your Spirit Guide/Guardian.  And equally, as Sapphire is an excellent crystal to use whilst practising necromancy as in contacting the spirit of a loved one, Hawk’s Eye would be a perfect addition to this working for its ability to enhance the spiritual Sapphire.

Although for many years my main focus of interest has been on crystals and how they help heal as well as how they can help advance my magickal practise. Funnily enough, I have only recently learned about [and owned] Hawk’s Eye.  My little handful, as pictured, sends a wild amount of electrical charge pulsing through my hand when holding them. I always lay them down feeling much more optimistic than before. As a small-business owner, that can be a very helpful feeling, indeed!

Correspondences:

Associated Crystals:  Angelite, blue quartz, and Sapphire

Candle Colour:  Mid-blue

Chakra:  Brow

Element:  Air

Flowers & Plants:  Mint, lupin, and larkspur

Herbs – Incenses – Oils:  Agrimony, aloe vera, rosemary, and sandalwood

Planet:  Jupiter.

Zodiac:  Sagittarius

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

Sources:

healingwithcrystals.net.au/tiger-eye.html

The Crystal Bible, by Judy Hall

Experience