From the Wortcunner’s Cabinet, Butchers Broom

By Isabella @TheWandCarver
Instagram: @thewandcarver

In the 17th century, the English herbalist Nicholas Culpepper used Butcher’s Broom to help the healing of fractured bones. And it has been used in medicine ever since for a variety of reasons, one most important reason is as an anti-inflammatory drug. Butcher’s Broom is a shrub naturalised to England/UK, growing wild all over Europe and northern Asia and found growing happily wherever there is sandy soil. It is found natively in the Mediterranean, Iran, the Azores islands and parts of Africa. And now, Box Holly has become sparsely naturalised in North America, wherever there is sandy soil, I am sure. But I am here to dig up some magick on the fabulous Butcher’s Broom [box holly].

Butchers Broom
photo from artimondo.co.uk

Magickal:
Butchers Broom – or my favourite, Knee-Holly, is used in protection charms. You may use it in any way you like. I find using the woodiest part in making protection incense may not be to everybody’s olfactory preference but the smoke calms one and it calms the animals in your home. The incense is also extremely good whilst divining by tarot, runes, pendulum, or any other forms of divination as it helps you to access your psychic powers as well as helps you stay calm and focused. The dried leaves are good to use in poppets, witch bottles, and sachets for protection as well as drawing healing and psychic powers to you.

To raise the wind: Take a small handful of Butchers Broom twigs and toss them into the air.

To calm the wind: Burn a small handful of twigs and scatter the ashes into the wind.

Remember – intent is everything in magick.

To Banish: Make a small altar besom from Butchers Broom. Write on a piece of paper what it is you want to banish from your life that you feel is holding you back. Burn small twigs of Butchers Broom in a cauldron along with your piece of paper until ash. Use your Butchers Broom besom to stir the ashes anti-clockwise whilst thinking of how this problem will leave you in peace. Naturally, make sure the ashes are cold first! Then, go outside and face North, get a few ashes on the “broom” part of the besom and blow them off, then East, etc. You can add your own words to this by saying something after each turn that will tell the Universe what your intentions are or just think them. If any ash is left afterwards, simply tip it out on the ground and give it a stamp with your foot imagining yourself free of your hindrance. So mote it be!

Butchers Broom dried
My dried Butcher’s Broom ~ photo by i.macy

Medicinal:
Not throwing caution to the wind [pun intended] but I shall say now: If you have high blood pressure, do NOT use Butcher’s Broom in healing yourself or others unless by sympathetic healing. Do not ingest.

In addition, it’s possible that butcher’s broom may interact with blood pressure medications and stimulant medications. So, if you’re taking either of these, you should probably avoid butcher’s broom.

From Culpeper’s Complete Herbal and English Physician, by Nicholas Culpepper:

For the Wrist Drop, and for the maw or belly, take two cups full of the ooze of this wort, which is named victoriola, and by another name, Knee Holly; administer it [to the patient] to drink fasting mixed with honey; soon it diminishes the wrist drop.

Additionally, English herbalist Nicholas Culpepper prescribed butcher’s broom to heal fractured bones, taken both orally and made into a poultice over the break. I should think we have come a long way since Mr Culpepper wrote this in his Complete Herbal, which by the way, is as useful today as ever, back in the 17th century.

Butcher’s broom is used for haemorrhoids, gallstones, “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis), and for symptoms of poor blood circulation such as pain, heaviness, leg cramps, leg swelling, varicose veins, itching, and swelling. Butcher’s broom is also used as a laxative, as a diuretic to increase urine output, reduce swelling, and speed the healing of fractures. The root is the main part used in healing, however, the leaves and woody stems are also boiled into tinctures, teas, and poultices for external use.

Today, Butcher’s Broom is known most widely for the way it benefits the circulatory system, especially for those with orthostatic hypotension (a drop in blood pressure when going from sitting to standing) and chronic venous insufficiency.

In some cultures, the roots are eaten in much the same way as asparagus.

There are several ways to get the benefits of Butcher’s Broom. Many people take it in supplement form, which can be found in pills, oils, and creams. As mentioned earlier, some people eat Butcher’s Broom roots like they would asparagus, although it smells and tastes much more pungent and bitter than asparagus.

Correspondences:

Gender:  Masculine

Planetary: Mars, Jupiter, and Mercury [primarily Mars]

Powers: Healing, Wind spells, Divination, Protection, Psychic Powers, Banishing

Element: Air and Fire

Astrological: Aries, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Pisces

Day: Tuesday and Thursday

Deity: Jupiter, Mars, Amon, Ares

Other Names: Box Holly, Sweet Broom, Knee-Holm, Petti-gree, Victoriola, Euscus, Knee-Holly, Kneehulver, Bruscus

Many thanks for taking the time to read our blog! We hope you’ve enjoyed it and hopefully learned new things. If so, please like our blog, give us a follow and share via the various buttons below. Warmest blessings to all whom this way wander x

Sources:
Leechdoms, Wortcunning, and Starcraft of Early England, by Thomas Oswald Cockayne, 1857 ~ A collection of documents, for the most part never before printed, illustrating the Science of this country before the Norman conquest

The Old English Herbals, by Eleanour Sinclair Rohde

Culpeper’s Complete Herbal and English Physician, by Nicholas Culpepper – reprint 1987 from 17th century

Wikipedia.org

Experience

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

Crystal of the Week, Amazonite

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Instagram: @thewandcarver

Amazonite was always one of those crystals that I thought were pretty…mainly for the colour…but I never really delved in to find out much about it. And, partially, too, because not to brag, but I do not know how many crystals/stones I have…I lost count years ago. And, that isn’t because I’m one of those people who “see it, must have it”. Generally speaking, I only purchase a crystal when I feel I “need” it. So, this is how it came to be that only within the last year – in my cronage – did I finally purchase a few Amazonites. Very pleased that I finally did, I must say!

My Amazonites ~ photo by i.macy

With a name like Amazonite, you would expect this stone to be a full-on warrior, practically making one’s hand tremble only to hold it. Not really…Amazonite to me is a gentle giant. It has strong vibrations, but they are gentle and calming. It is a stone you need to have if you are in any way prone to a nervous disposition. I wouldn’t call myself nervous but there are times, as there are for most people, when things get right on top of me and I feel overwhelmed. That is when Amazonite brings me back to normalcy and calm. Funnily enough, I didn’t know this was what was meant to happen until, in a shop, I held the larger stone you see in my hand and felt immediately calm. You see, I am agoraphobic, always have been, and in my youth, it took many drinks to get me to the party but these days, if I drank that much I probably would be arrested before I got to the tills in Aldi. I do push on and go where I want to badly enough, but it doesn’t come without its problems. As soon as I held the Amazonite, I just knew I needed several of these in my life!

There is no wonder then, why Amazonite is called the Stone of Courage. It is a stone that can provide harmony and balance and give you the voice and the courage to speak your mind. It can drive away irrational fears and holding it feels like you have a dear friend with you, keeping you safe. For these reasons alone, I highly recommend Amazonite but there is so much more to this kindly warrior.

Amazonite is a wonderful chakra clearing stone. It is mainly for rejuvenating the heart and throat chakras, but it can assist in clearing all chakras and balancing their energies. It helps you to see both sides of every story. Amazonite is also a stone of healing and prosperity. In healing, it aids in cell regeneration and healing after illnesses, trauma or injury, and relieves muscle spasms. It may be used in treating disorders of the nervous system and blockages in the flow of neural impulses, as well as issues with the throat and thyroid gland.

Amazonite is helpful in balancing the metabolic processes related to calcium assimilation. An elixir of Amazonite taken three times a day is believed to rectify a calcium deficiency and may be useful in resisting tooth decay and osteoporosis, and for diminishing calcium deposits.

As an emotional healer, it soothes trauma and calms the mind, alleviates worry and fear, and directs anger and irritability into more positive action. It regulates the aggressive aspects of one’s personality and urges the mind to seek emotional balance. Amazonite increases self-esteem, especially in women, and reduces tendencies to self-neglect. It enhances the ability to communicate more effectively by identifying how one’s words have created the current reality, and how to change one’s vocabulary to reflect a higher, more aligned reality. It also empowers one to set appropriate boundaries, inwardly in self-discipline, and with others in establishing healthy relationships.

Magickal:
Amazonite makes a wonderful talisman for drawing luck and wealth into your life. It is also equally as wonderful as a talisman for courage. It can protect you by absorbing bad energies coming at you and dispelling them into the cosmos, to be cleaned and returned as positive energy.

Correspondences:
Zodiac: Virgo
Powers: Healing, Power/Courage, Luck, Protection [Absorbs Undesirable Energy, Dispels Negative Energy]
Deity: Sacred to most, if not all, the Egyptian deity

Many thanks for reading. Please like and share if you enjoyed and warmest blessings to all whom this way wander x

Sources:
Experience

The Crystal Bible, by Judy Hall

https://mycrystalpedia.wordpress.com/a/amazonite/

From the Wortcunner’s Cabinet, Nettle

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Instagram: @thewandcarver

Nettle at Clerk Hill, Whaley, Lancashire ~ photo by wildflowerfinder.org,uk

Nettle is one of those “weeds”/herbs/worts which almost everybody has in their cabinet, I believe. Even the non-witchy community love Nettle tea for what ails them. And, like Yarrow, it is practically free to use if you live in Europe or the Western United States as it tends to grow quite wild if not maintained.  For those knowing their plants, wild-gathering is the optimal way of having most of what you need in your wort cabinet. For the rest, there are plentiful ways of buying Nettle…dried, fresh, freeze-dried, even in pill and liquid form. Why do we need Nettle in our lives? For everything!

Nettle is full of vitamin C and iron. It makes a fabulous soup stock and steamed Nettle leaves are a great little side for the main course of your meal. Of course, there is always the famed Nettle tea, so as you can see, it has many uses in the kitchen, and more that I don’t even know about, I’m sure. Of course, before you decide to make a Nettle salad, you must know about the plant a little because those leaves, if not properly prepared, can do more harm than good. You have heard of Stinging Nettle, I am sure, and that is where the “sting” comes from – the leaves. The leaves and stems are covered with tiny stingers made of silica, like glass, and they break off into your skin when touched, unleashing their chemicals which can cause a nasty allergic reaction. I have not forgotten my first run-in with Nettle at about the age of 4 as Nana gathered it for her kitchen. I must have not noticed that she had thick, heavy gloves on instead of the little woolly ones like mine, so I tried to help. Pulling those little woolly gloves off doubled the agony, believe me. Therefore, please only use thick, heavy gloves and cover yourself well whilst wild-gathering Nettle.

Another household use, if you are so inclined, is to spin yarn or thread from the inner fibres of the stems. I know nothing of spinning yarn and thread apart from what I may have seen in films and television, but apparently, the people of Denmark once used it to create burial shrouds and the Native American people used it for fishing nets. It is said to be a very soft fabric when woven and a very strong thread or rope when used singularly. The all-round usefulness of Nettle doesn’t end there – a green dye can be made from its leaves and stems to dye the fabric you create from the Nettle itself.

But what about Magick?? Oh, alright 😊

Magickal Uses:
Long ago, a bundle of Nettle were placed under a person’s sickbed to induce their good health and healing. People believed putting things under beds was somehow a good thing to do, such as laying a knife under the bed of a woman in labour to reduce her pain. I know the knife didn’t work for me, but I could not say about the bundle of Nettle under one’s bed. Would never hurt to try! You can return to sender or reverse a curse with Nettle by using it in a poppet. Carry a sachet filled with Nettle for protection. Hang Nettle around your home or sprinkle it around, if in dried form, to ward off evil and to give general home protection. As Nettle is also believed to ward off lightning strikes, this can also be beneficial in that aspect. Nettle is always my first go-to for protection use and it is the first herb I put into our Protection witch bottles.

Medicinal:
Because of Nettle’s considerable amounts of iron, it is a good wort for those with anaemia. Word of caution: If you are going to drink Nettle tea to discourage your iron deficiency, be sure to not continue taking iron tablets. Too much iron can cause more problems than deficiency can. It is best to use the fresh leaves and not the dried herb, although there are still health benefits to the dried herb. Fresh is always best. Nettle tea is also an excellent diuretic.

Nettle is another wort that is very useful to staunch the flow of blood from a wound, much like Yarrow. As a matter of fact, Nettle and Yarrow seem to go hand-in-hand in many concoctions and decoctions for health and magickal purposes. Topically, a poultice of nettle leaf can be used to soothe the heat and inflammation associated with burns.

Correspondences:
Gender: Masculine
Planet: Mars
Zodiac: Scorpio
Element: Fire
Powers: Consecration, Exorcism, Healing, Lust, Protection, Anti-Sorcery, Hex Breaking, Uncrossing
Other Names: Stinging Nettle, Sting Weed, Common Nettle
Deity: Apollo, Freya, Hecate, Ra, Thor

Many thanks for reading, please share if you enjoyed, and warmest blessings to all whom this way wander x

Sources:
http://www.witchipedia.com/herb:stinging-nettle
Encyclopaedia of Magical Herbs, by Scott Cunningham
The Old English Herbals, by Eleanour Sinclair Rohde
Experience

Crystal of the Week, Desert Rose

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Instagram: @thewandcarver

Desert Rose
My Desert Rose ~ photo by i.macy

The Desert Rose is also referred to as the Sand Rose, Selenite Rose or Gypsum Rose. Found in dry, desert regions, Desert Rose Selenite is named for Selene, Greek goddess of the Moon because of its moon-like glow. Exchanged between lovers, it will bring about reconciliation.

Some minerals form rosette shapes, and Selenite is one of these. The Selenite rose rock or “The Desert Rose” is often confused with the Barite rose. The edges of Selenite rose are sharper and the crystalline structure is less hard than the Barite rose.

Some Desert Rose metaphysical properties are mental clarity, increased awareness of self and environment; allows one to see inner truth, promotes success in business, helps one to access angelic guidance, quickly unblocks stagnant energy, instils a deep peace, and assists in accessing past lives. Because each one is said to contain a unique spirit guardian, they have traditionally been used as talismans for protection.

And, for all the above reasons, Desert Rose is an excellent meditation stone. It will guide you in connecting to your higher self and reaching a deeper meditative state. This stone is a very strong activator of your third eye, and it will help bring your clairvoyant gifts to the fore. The energies of this stone will also strengthen your natural intuition. It is also believed that it can help you to speak with your Spirit Guardian, as all Spirit Guardians can speak amongst themselves, and the Desert Rose’s can help facilitate conversations with your own. I say this as I have found it to be a wonderful assistant whilst speaking with mine.

It makes a wonderful protection stone. Place a Desert Rose Selenite sphere at the corners of your home to create a peaceful, safe environment that will not be disturbed by outside influences.

Health and Healing:
Desert Rose is considered to be helpful in fighting off viral infections. However, if you believe you have the flu, please see your GP!

Desert Rose is also believed to help reduce seizures, help with psoriasis, strengthen bones, help one’s complexion, provide relief for backaches, ulcers, release one from unhealthy addictions, travel sickness, and aid in treatment of the prostate.

Family, Love, and Finances:
Children: It can be used to help children shine at something they are good at but have difficulty showing it due to shyness.
Finance & Prosperity: helps work against redundancy, and thus should be used in work environments prone to tension or redundancy situations.
Home: It is a stone of family unity and so should be placed in your house. It will also help bring out your inner potential.
Love: strengthens relationships by encouraging friendships between lovers, enhances warmth and closeness between you and your loved one, helps unleash inhibitions and creates a positive mental attitude.
Ritual: Desert rose will amplify any fire magick.

Correspondences:
Associated Crystals: Banded agate and petrified wood.
Candle Colour: Light brown.
Element: Fire and Wind
Flowers & Plants: Flowering cactus and oleander.
Herbs – Incenses – Oils: Copal, fennel, parsley, tarragon and witch hazel.
Planet: Pluto.
Zodiac: Scorpio, Capricorn, Taurus
Energies: Healing, Power, Love, Protection
Chakras: Heart, Third Eye, Crown
Number: 11

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

Sources:
Experience
The Crystals Bible, by Judy Hall
Encyclopaedia of Crystals: Revised and Expanded, by Judy Hall, 2013
https://meanings.crystalsandjewelry.com/desert-rose/

Rhyolite, Bixbyite, and Topaz Matrix

Originally posted on 01/02/2018 via speakingofwitchwands.net

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Instagram: @thewandcarver

The only way to effectively write about this little beauty is to explain it as a whole, then break it down into each part to give you the metaphysical properties of this unusual, phenomenal crystal package, given us by Nature. So, we must talk a little science before we can get to the part where I tell you what it can do for you magickally. Bear with.

The combination of Rhyolite, Bixbyite, and Topaz is unusual because there appears to be only one place in the world where it hails from in this form, and this is from the Thomas Range, Juab County, Utah, United States. More specifically, it is from the Maynard Claim, named so after Maynard Bixby who discovered “Bixbyite” and “Bixbite”; Bixbite being an entirely different crystal from Bixbyite. Let me explain:

Bixbyite is a perfect, lustrous black, cubic crystal perched nicely atop quartz rhyolite matrix or in my case, a bit deeper at times. It is a manganese iron oxide mineral and the iron/manganese ratio are quite variable and many specimens have almost no iron. It is a metallic dark black with a Mohs hardness of 6.0 – 6.5. Typical localities are Jhabua and Chhindwara districts, India and the Thomas Range in Juab County, Utah. It is also reported from San Luis Potosi, Mexico; northern Patagonia, Argentina; Girona, Catalonia, Spain; Sweden and South Africa. Please note that the only place it is found in Rhyolite is in the Thomas Range, Utah.

Rhyolite, Bixbyite, and Topaz by i.macy

Bixbite is now known as Red Beryl. It was first found in 1904 in the Maynard’s Claim, Thomas Range, Juab County, Utah, US. Red Beryl is very rare and has been reported only from a handful of locations: Juab County, Wah Wah Mountains, Beaver County, Utah; Paramount Canyon and Round Mountain, Sierra County, New Mexico, although the latter locality does not often produce gem grade stones. To my knowledge, Red Beryl/Bixbite in Rhyolite matrix is only found in US.

Bixbyite: black. Bixbite/Red Beryl: red.

But what is Rhyolite and why is it so special? Rhyolite is an igneous, volcanic rock. During the late Cretaceous [100 – 65 mya] the younger ranges of the Rocky Mountains were created, and deep fractures appeared which reached deep into the crust. In course of volcanic activities [approx. 20 mya], five or more layers of volcanic topaz rhyolite lava flows covered areas in today’s Utah. Then hot fluorine and beryllium-rich gases and vapours, rising through shrinkage cracks of the cooled lava, met groundwater resources near the surface. The water evaporated and left behind niches or miarolitic cavities and porous areas in which the remaining steam could react under low pressure and high temperatures [300° – 650° C] with the rising mineral-rich gases so that red beryl crystals could grow. Not only do Red Beryl crystals grow in Rhyolite but also do Bixbyite and Topaz.

Topaz: The Thomas Range of western Utah is also one of the world’s best sources of topaz. Cavities in the Topaz Mountain Rhyolite often contain topaz crystals with a beautiful amber colour. Topaz crystals are also found in soils and dry washes around Topaz Mountain. These crystals are usually colourless because the amber colour can be lost through prolonged exposure to direct sunlight. A few specimens fade to a beautiful pink colour.  Topaz is usually a naturally  sherry “yellow” but comes in assorted colours only through heat or irradiation.

What does all of this combination mean for us in the magickal sense? Quite a lot! Bixbyite is a base/root, third eye, and crown chakra stone. It is fabulous at assisting us to open our psychic awareness, making us more intuitive and imaginative. It is also for anyone seeking to communicate with spirit – a remarkable helper in communicating with ancestors – and keeps a clear connection between the seeker and spirit. Rhyolite enhances self-esteem, self-worth, self-respect, and deepens the acceptance of our true self. It helps us to heal old emotional wounds and to deal with challenging circumstances calmly and with inner strength. It is used to aid communication with animals and the realm of Nature. Rhyolite is a heart chakra stone and is also good to use in seeking your spirit animal. Both Bixbyite and Rhyolite are good supporters of past-life regression…Bixbyite in getting you through those stages and Rhyolite helping you to accept and heal. Topaz is a solar plexus crystal, which as a combination of helpful chakra crystals, fits in wisely with Bixbyite and Rhyolite. Like with Rhyolite, Topaz inspires self-realisation and confidence as it imparts the strength to quieten wild emotions. Topaz is highly effective for affirmations and visualisation, meditation, and astral projection, and is an excellent talisman for discerning Divine wisdom and connecting to the heavenly realm.

I hope you’ve found something of help from this lovely combination. It has been a pleasure to share it with you. Many thanks for reading and warmest blessings x

Sources:
Encyclopaedia of Crystals, by Judy Hall
Encyclopaedia of Crystals, Revised and Expanded, by Judy Hall
http://www.realgems.org/list_of_gemstones/red_beryl_info.html
https://geology.com/gemstones/states/utah.shtml

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!

From the Wortcunner’s Cabinet: Vervain

Originally posted on 30/01/2018 via speakingofwitchwands.net

By Isabella  @TheWandCarver

Instagram: @thewandcarver

Having a laugh as I look through different sites regarding Vervain, the multi-functional herb which is used for everything from love to money to protection…and suddenly, I run across a website which says, in the list of metaphysical properties/powers of Vervain, that it “wards off vampires”. Tee hee. That wouldn’t be because in the American vampire love story series, Vampire Diaries, seemingly endless amounts of Vervain was drank, scattered about, worn, and probably bathed in to prevent vampire attacks…but in the end, it mattered not as the main character eventually chose to be a vampire, didn’t she?

Vervain is one of the herbs [worts] which I use in somewhat great abundance, as it happens, but never to ward off a vampire. Although it is good protection against snake bites…but not so much from people bites. And, certainly not in the great abundance with which it was consumed on Vampire Diaries. Still, should you purchase one of our witch bottle necklaces such as the Love Witch Bottle or the Prosperity Witch Bottle, you will have a pinch of Vervain in those.

vervain-indigo-herbs
Vervain photo from indigo-herbs.co.uk

Why is Vervain useful in a Love witch bottle …or for any kind of love empowerment or spell? Oh, let me count the ways! Firstly, Vervain is a Venus-ruled herb and a water element herb. It is sacred to Isis, the Goddess whom is considered to be the ultimate wife and mother. And, along those lines, as Isis is an Egyptian Goddess, in days of yore, the Egyptian people made love potions including Vervain…perhaps they still do, for all I know. It is a well-known, powerful herb for attracting love. But, did you know that it is also an excellent herb for helping those suffering from lost love and broken hearts? Burn it in an incense on a charcoal disc for helping overcome the pain of a break up, broken heart, and unrequited love. Vervain would make a thoughtful gift to anyone looking for love or trying to heal from loss of love this Valentine’s Day.

How is it that Vervain is so great for all matters of the heart and, at the same time, help draw prosperity and money into your life? Vervain is sacred to the Greek God, Jupiter. Jupiter is the God of the sky, but his planet is the one associated with money. According to the Seven Keys of Solomon, if you wish to do a money/wealth/prosperity spell it should be done on the day of Jupiter [Thursday] and in the hour of Jupiter [there are two in each day, one during day hours, one during night hours]. You can use Vervain, such as we do in a talisman, like our witch bottle, or you can burn it in an incense during your ritual. You can also use it in money candles if you are so inclined to make your own candles or you may roll a pre-made candle in a bed of loose Vervain after you have applied your candle dressing oil.

Vervain is also an excellent protection herb. Make an infusion with the fresh herb in water to use to wash and consecrate your tools and altar. Plant the wort around your property. You can use the Vervain-infused water in a spray bottle to spray your door sills to prevent negative energies and people from coming into your home. Wear it in a talisman around your neck or carry it in a pocket or pinned to a lapel to ward off negative energies around you. Make a sachet to place in a child’s cot to protect him or her and to ensure joy and intellect for the child. Albertus Magnus, in his Book of Secrets, offers a clue when he wrote that ‘infants bearing it [Vervain] shall be very apt to learn, and loving learning, and they shall be glad and joyous’. If you suspect psychic attack upon yourself or others, burn Vervain all around the person being attacked. Please do so carefully and responsibly.

Vervain is always its strongest when fresh cut at sunrise. Still, the dried herb itself is one of the strongest worts I’ve had the pleasure of using as well. It has the reputation of being able to greatly strengthen the effects of any other herbs it is used with. Because of this, the Welsh call it Iiysiaur hudol or ‘the enchanting herbe’.

Vervain was a favourite of the Druids, who gathered the herb when the Dog Star, Sirius, was on the rise, in the dark of the Moon. The Druids utilised Vervain in divination, consecration, and ritual cleansing of sacred spaces. They made a magickal drink called the Cauldron of Cerridwen [a shapeshifter] that some say included rowan berries, sea water, lesser celandine, flixweed, and Vervain, which brought the drinker creative energy for bardic song and prophecy; a drink made from Vervain is still said to help poets in their work. Vervain is also still used to make a drink for initiating into Druidic paths. It is fragrant and can be drunk as a tea or burned as an incense. In its connection with the Underworld, it can be added to a cup of wine drunk on Samhain to aid contact with the Beloved Dead.

Medicinal Use:

Vervain is advantageous for women. The herb not only enhances the lactation but also induces menstruation cycles. In addition, Vervain is known to invigorate the contraction of uterine muscles during labour and hence herbalists suggest that it is best to avoid using the herb during pregnancy. However, Vervain may be used during labour as it makes child birth easier.

It is useful as a diuretic.

The herb encloses substantial amount of tannins that makes it an effective astringent and useful as a mouthwash to treat bleeding gums and mouth ulcers.

Lotions or ointments prepared with Vervain are effective in treating sores and wounds, and valuable medication for insect bites and skin disorders.

Tea brewed from the herb may be taken to alleviate tension; to lift depression, lethargy, irritability and all other problems associated with stress  such as headaches, migraines and even the nervous system fatigue.

When used as a hot infusion [tea], Vervain functions as a diaphoretic and helps to lower feverish conditions by inducing sweating.

*Word of caution:  if taken in excess dosages, the herb may lead to vomiting. Vervain possesses verbenalin that is said to be a gentle purgative and is suspected to be accountable for the vomiting.

Correspondences:
Planetary associations: Venus
Zodiac associations: Virgo, Libra
Elements: Water, Earth
Gender: Feminine
Magickal powers: Aphrodisiac, Fertility, Consecration, Immortality, Love, Protection, Purification, Psychic Visions
Deity: Diana, Hermes, Medea, Aradia, Bast, Thor, Jupiter, Isis, Cerridwen
Part Used: leaves, flowering heads
Other names: herba veneris, herb of grace, verbena, enchanters herb, holy herb,
blue vervain,  Herb-of-the-cross, Pigeon’s Grass, and holy wort

Many thanks for reading and warmest blessings x

Sources:

A Compendium of Herbal Magick, by Paul Beyerl, 1998

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verbena_officinalis

http://www.witchipedia.com/herb:vervain

Experience

Petrified Wood, The Kindly Grandmother

Originally posted on 25/01/2018 via speakingofwitchwands.net

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Instagram: @thewandcarver

Can you imagine… a tree growing along for many years, then it begins turning to stone? It has always amazed me how this happens. This is the way I perceived it happening when I first learned of petrified wood as a young child… just standing there, tall and beautiful, then one day, stone. Obviously over the years I learned differently, and as we all know, the process begins on the wood which has been in the ground for some time and the organic materials have been replaced with minerals [mostly a silicate, such as quartz], while retaining the original structure of the tissue. It basically becomes a three-dimensional fossil! You just inherently know this is going to be something with teeth in the metaphysical sense.

Petrified Wood is a grounding and protecting stone. I think of “grounding stones” as ones with enormous patience. It is as though they have been around so long and have seen so much that they have the settled ways of the serene older person. The wisdom is beyond reproach, and when you hold such a stone or crystal you can feel that wisdom, serenity, and patience vibrating through you. That is as it should be, for when we need grounding before performing rituals, spells, or simply meditating, sometimes we need all the serenity we can get. I believe it is safe to say you will gather the grounding patience you need from Petrified Wood. Its protection asset is easy to trust. It builds a barrier, a wall, around its user, making it much less likely that harmful spirits or hexes to take hold.

Petrified Wood
Petrified Wood ~ photo by i.macy

It is said to calm the nerves and fears and to encourage feelings of well-being, safety and security, enabling you to stop worrying about the ‘small stuff’. Here the serenity of Petrified Wood comes into play again. It soothes and calms like the kindly grandmother. It gives you a feeling of “everything will be alright”. You never feel alone if you have Petrified Wood in your home. I often handed my daughter a piece of Petrified Wood when she became anxious and couldn’t get a grip on reality. It instantly soothed and calmed her. She has had many problems with nerves over the years but luckily between her Kunzite pendant and elixirs and Petrified Wood, she has managed her anxiety without medication very well for years. Please do not use this as a fail-proof diagnostic and medication tool. If you are having anxiety, depression, or any mental issues, please see your medical professional first before trying any holistic treatment. We all know there are some things which absolutely must be treated by a doctor.

In healing, Petrified Wood is believed to help restore physical energy, to strengthen the bones and to relieve hip and back pain. This may be down to many reasons, but we are always more energetic and full of hope when we feel cared for. And healing is more about believing than anything else in many cases. In crystal healing, Petrified Wood is used for pain relief, particularly in the spine and hips.

Petrified Wood is also said to be helpful in past-life recall or past-life regression work. Which would make sense as it holds the ancient spirits within and they can provide guidance in past-life workings. I have not used the Petrified Wood for this reason yet but look forward to giving it a go.

Correspondences:
Associated Crystals: Green moss agate, rutilated quartz, and tree agate
Candle Colour: Brown or grey.
Chakra: Root, Solar Plexus, Third Eye, and Heart
Element: Earth and spirit.
Flowers: & Plants: Polyanthus, poppy and snapdragon.
Herbs: Incenses – Oils: Burdock, echinacea, fennel, sage and thyme.
Planet: Earth and Saturn.
Zodiac: Virgo
Powers: Grounding, healing, protection, past life recall
Crystals to use with: Agate, Jasper, Chalcedony, Bloodstone, Red Jasper, Onyx, Carnelian, and Opal.

Thank you for reading and many warm blessings to all whom this way wander x

Sources:

The Crystal Bible, by Judy Hall

Experience

From the Wortcunner’s Cabinet, Wormwood

Originally posted 23/01/2018 via speakingofwitchwands.net

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Instagram: @thewandcarver

wormwood
from Botanical.com

Working with herbs very often, as I do, I got thinking, “why not do a series on herbs?” …particularly since recently blogging about wort cunning. So, in no particular order apart from most probably writing about what I’ve worked with most recently, we shall begin with Wormwood [artemisia absinthium]. The hint is in the name – what famous drink of the 19th century, recently revived by the Goth community, is made with this herb? If you guessed Absinthe, you win! As early as I can tell, the drink was made popular in 19th century France and became very popular in Great Britain as well – notably a favourite of Oscar Wilde – one of my favourite authors and generally favourite people of all time. The drink, as it was in those days, has been banned, however, and a new, less dangerous Absinthe became popular mainly with the Goth community in recent times. The 19th-century drink was dangerously toxic when taken in excess and since the traditional use of wormwood is believed to summon spirits and allow communication with the dead, there is not much wonder why some people claimed to see visions whilst inebriated!

Mind, we are not advocating the use of Wormwood for this kind of thing. We’re more interested in what it can do for us on a magickal level. Wormwood is one herb I use very often. It is an ingredient in several of our witch bottles, depending upon the powers needed. It is also an ingredient I use in one or two of our loose incenses. Those are still in testing and have not made it to the shop shelves yet. And, during my practise as a cunning woman, I have used Wormwood extensively for everything from astral travel to protection and psychic awareness. I must say, it is definitely one of my “go-to” herbs.

Magickal
The scent of Wormwood is said to increase psychic powers. Burn with incenses on Samhain to aid invocation, divination, scrying, and prophecy. It is especially good when combined with Mugwort and strengthens incense for exorcism and protection. Hung from a rear-view mirror, Wormwood is said to protect vehicles from accidents on treacherous roads. Wormwood is burned to gain protection from wandering spirits. It is used in divinatory and clairvoyance incenses, initiation rites and tests of courage and enables the dead to be released from this plane so they may find peace.

Wormwood is used to relieve anger and allow the user to vent it in a more peaceful way. It can also be used in magick to prevent strife or war. Carried in a pouch, Wormwood is protective. In ancient lore, people used the plant to counter poisoning by Hemlock and various Toadstools.

It is also used in love charms and spells to draw a lover, and is associated with the Lovers card in the tarot. It is sacred to the maiden Goddess, and can be used for scrying and divination as part of incense or perhaps a weak tea to drink before scrying, or a wash for the instruments used. It is used in women’s rites, probably especially those pertaining to rites of passage from child to a maiden – and would probably be a good addition to rites celebrating menarche. It is used in initiation rites, especially those prior to testing times.

An Old Love Charm
‘On St. Luke’s Day, take marigold flowers, a sprig of marjoram, thyme, and a little Wormwood; dry them before a fire, rub them to powder; then sift it through a fine piece of lawn, and simmer it over a slow fire, adding a small quantity of virgin honey, and vinegar. Anoint yourself with this when you go to bed, saying the following lines three times, and you will dream of your partner “that is to be”:
‘ “St. Luke, St. Luke, be kind to me,
In dreams let me my true-love see.” ‘

Medicinal
Wormwood is said to be useful in the treatment of some depression. It is very good for those who feel utter despair because of their life circumstances. It has some anti-inflammatory properties due to the presence of chamazulenes, so it could be used to treat inflammatory digestive disorders. It is used to treat liver and gall bladder congestion where this has led to jaundice, and liver-related depression, lack of appetite, nausea and vomiting. As it is warming, it is particularly good for those who suffer from a depressed autonomic nervous system, leading to impaired digestive function. In addition to all the above, it can be used to treat diarrhoea and intestinal parasites.

artemisia_absinthium_200610_300
Wormwood

Some regard Wormwood as a circulatory tonic and stimulant – this would make sense considering its use to improve digestion. It can be used to treat nervous exhaustion and other nerve issues such as neuralgia and depression as previously mentioned. Apparently, it can be used to ease alcohol-induced hangovers although it may be better to dose up on milk thistle before you start drinking or simply not drink as much. This is another of those odd herbs that can be used to cure epilepsy but will also cause it if you use it in large enough doses.

Wormwood has a strong anti-bacterial property – the root, though not often used in medicine, is extremely powerful and useful to ease infections of the throat and lungs. It eases pain and is very cooling and soothing. It can be used topically as an antiseptic.
As an emmenagogue, it can be used to stimulate absent menses where this is due to uterine stagnation which causes delayed menstruation. It can also be used to ease painful periods. It is used as a pain reliever during labour and can be taken as a weak tea or applied as a rub to stimulate sluggish labour when contractions are too weak.
A rub made with the essential oil can be used to relieve the pain of arthritis and related joint complaints, though the oil should NEVER be taken internally.

Correspondences
Other names: Absinthe, Absinthium, Green Ginger, Old Woman, Crown for a King, Madderwort, Sweet Annie, Wormot

Planetary: Mars, Saturn

Element: Earth

Sabbat: Samhain

Powers: Binding, Psychic Awareness, Evocation, Love, Clairvoyance, Past Life Regression, Astral Travel, Protection

Associated Deities: Diana, Artemis, Aesculapius, Horus, Isis, Castor, Iris, Menthu, Pollux

Harvesting: cut the flowering tops off wormwood when they are in full bloom on a sunny day when the sun is at its peak

‘While Wormwood hath seed get a handful or twaine To save against March, to make flea to refraine: Where chamber is sweeped and Wormwood is strowne, What saver is better (if physick be true) For places infected than Wormwood and Rue? It is a comfort for hart and the braine And therefore to have it it is not in vaine.’

~ Tusser (1577), in July’s Husbandry

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

Sources

Wikipedia.org

The Encyclopaedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham

The Old English Herbals by Eleanour Sinclair Rohde

Botanical.com

Experience