Happy Litha 2022 and Merry Midsummer

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Instagram:  @iseabail_witchwriter

The longest day of the year has just rolled around again.  I hope it is not miserably hot for you, wherever you are in the Northern Hemisphere. But it is now Litha for us and we have a few warm weeks ahead. And a Happy Yule to our lovely witches Down Under where it is Yuletide. We hope you are enjoying yourselves safely.  Lockdowns, for the most part, are over so many will have the travel bug.

stonehenge
my favourite pic of Stonehenge

I am, for myself, keeping to lockdown rules as best I can, being a woman of a certain age. So, I’m not going out in search of a festival, although I would certainly enjoy one!  This is the time of year in the past where, if we could get the time off work or just wanted an overnight “day trip”, off to Wiltshire we would go to see the sunrise at Stonehenge and feeling special because of all the generations of some of my ancestors whom lived there for centuries probably saw the same event at some point in time or another. 

Avebury stone circle aerial view tripsavvy dot com
Avebury Stone Circle, Wiltshire

There are generally thousands who go each year.    Of course, there is also Avebury circle, another henge, which is also located in Wiltshire

How ever you celebrate your Summer Solstice, I do hope you have fun. Many thanks for reading and warmest blessings to all whom this way wander x

The Magick of Heather

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Instagram: @thewandcarver

Heather ogham Ura
The Ogham Alphabet ~ Google.co.uk

Ah, Heather! It was very nearly my name as my Mum very much loved the plant but in the southeast, it did not grow as well, and certainly not as prolifically, as it does in the north country. Heather is the 3rd vowel of the Ogham alphabet – Ura – and it is for Summer Solstice, 21 June. It is not a Celtic Birth Tree Ogham, however, if you are born on this day there is no reason not to claim it for your birth tree!

Heather [Calluna vulgaris] is called the “Flower of Passion”. One of its energies in magick is passion – pure, raw, unbridled passion to be exact. And not just passion, but its consequences and all. This may be down to the time of year and that the flowering of Heather heralded a time of rejoicing and self-indulgence for our ancient Celtic ancestors. Mind, you would think they had enough of this during Beltane, but if you think of Beltane as passionate, think of Litha as the after party! I love this excerpt from The Wisdom of Trees, by Jane Gifford:

LESSON OF THE HEATHER

heather_hills_main countrylife dot co dot uk
Heather hills ~ countrylife.co.uk

Heather is a symbol of passionate love, of sacrifice, and self-control. In the first place, heather represents enthusiasm and sensual pleasure, and the benefits that can be enjoyed from spontaneous self-expression. But within this lust for life and exhilaration lies a deeper lesson of the consequences that may arise out of unbridled passion. The Celts believed that you are always totally responsible and accountable for the outcome of your actions, so you were wise to be sure of your own true nature before totally abandoning yourself to the potent delights of heather ale and the pleasures that it could bring. Unchecked, heather is short-lived and unproductive but if burned yearly to the ground, it re-grows with fresh vigour. The lesson of the heather is that a necessary balance must exist between self-expression and self-control for both to be enjoyable and effective.”

Magickal:

Heather dried
My dried Heather ~ photo by i.macy

Heather can be used for magick involving maturity, consummation, general luck, love, ritual power, conjuring ghosts, healing, protection, rain-making and water magick. Heather is often worn or carried as a good luck charm. It is said that a sprig of white Heather placed in a special place of silence and meditation has the power to conjure ghosts or spirits. To do this, pick a sprig of white Heather at midnight, place it in a glass of river water in the darkest corner of your home. Sit and think of a departed loved one and it is said that the loved ones’ shadow will visit you.

In the language of flowers and the gifting of them, Heather means “admiration”. Heather can be used at Midsummer /Summer Solstice to promote love – carry red Heather for passion or white Heather for cooling the passion of unwanted suitors.

Heather is useful in Faery magick and is said to ignite faery passions and open portals between their world and our own. The fae honouring Heather are attracted to shy people.

As a water herb, Heather is very useful in weather magick. When burned outdoors with Fern, the herbal smoke of Heather attracts rain. Bouquets of Heather and Fern can also be dipped in water to call rain.

Healing: Heather has been and is used for antiseptic, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, and sedative purposes. It has a long history of medicinal use. It is a good urinary antiseptic and diuretic, disinfecting the urinary tract and mildly increasing urine production. The flowering shoots are antiseptic, astringent, chloragogen, depurative, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, and mildly sedative. The plant is often macerated and made into a liniment for treating rheumatism and arthritis, whilst a hot poultice is a traditional remedy for chilblains. An infusion of the flowering shoots is used in the treatment of coughs, colds, bladder and kidney disorders, cystitis etc. A cleansing and detoxifying plant, it has been used in the treatment of rheumatism, arthritis and gout. The flowering stems are harvested in the autumn and dried for later use.

Correspondences:

Planetary: Venus

Zodiac: Gemini

Element(s): Water

Energies: Passion, Protection, Luck

Stone: Red Garnet

Bird: Grouse

Deity: Uroica, Venus, Erycina, Cybele, Nechtan Mac Labraid, the Cupbearer of the Tuatha De Dannan, guardian of the sacred well of Segais and husband of Boane, after whom the river Boyne in Ireland is named. Also, Osiris and Aphrodite.

Other Names: Common Heather, Heath, Lyng, Scottish Heather

The king in the red moorland Rode on a summer’s day; And the bees hummed, and the curlews Cried beside the way. The king rode and was angry, Black was his brow and pale, To rule in a land of heather; And lack the heather ale. ~R.L. Stevenson

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

Sources:
The Wisdom of the Trees, by Jane Gifford