Welcome to Witches Brew
 
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These bags are hand-sewn leather and suede leather clip bags. Heavy duty re-enforced snap for clipping to a belt loop. Draw string closure, leather fringe, and decorative beading. Inside lining easily folds out to clean.

High quality leather, and suede leather, sewn with nylon thread. These bags are heavy duty and should hold up and give you years of use. Great for travel.

Measures 7 1/2 inches high and 4 inches in circumference. I have only 5 available and in the colors listed below.


Indigo blue, camel, burgundy, sand, and bone.

For more pictures and prices check them out here:  Handmade Pagan Crafts

 
 
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Beautiful hand painted smudge fan.

This fan is made with an ostrich plume,imitation eagle (turkey), and black orpington feathers. I raise Blue/Black/Splash Orpington fowl, and utilize their fallen feathers!

Accented with art nouveau style findings, wire, and imitation pearls. Handle is made from decorative stainless steel and wrapped with black and white thread and silver wire.

You can see more pictures and check it out here: Handmade feather quills and smudge fans


 
 
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Beautiful Red-tailed hawk feather smudge fan, hand painted and decorated.

This feather was found in my field along with some crow feathers. Accented with Crystal and filigree beads, and wire.

Handle is made from decorative stainless steel, wrapped with accenting color thread and gold wire.

You can find it here!  Handmade feather quills and smudge fans 


 
 
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My Cyp's are in full bloom here in my garden. They are one of my favorite native orchids. There is just something about them. They have a beauty all their own, and stand out like no other flower in my garden. Although beautiful, the blooms don't last long enough for my liking. Wish they would bloom all summer long.If you're interested in learning more on these beauties read on. If your interested in purchasing them, I have included a link.
Vermont lady slipper Co. sells out fast! Get them as soon as you can in the spring.
Vermont Lady Slipper Company
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Cyps in my Garden
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Doing quite well with morning sun, then shade the rest of the day. Along side ferns, lily of the valley, touch me nots, and false solomans seal.
The Showy Lady's-slipper (Cypripedium reginae)
also known as the Pink-and-white Lady's-slipper or the Queen's Lady's-slipper, is a rare terrestrial temperate lady's-slipper orchid native to northern North America.

Despite producing a large amount of seeds per seed pod, it reproduces largely by vegetative reproduction. and remains restricted to the North East region of the the United States and south east regions of Canada. Although never common, this rare plant has vanished from much of its historical range due to habitat loss. It has been a subject of horticultural interest for many years with Charles Darwin who like many, were unsuccessful in cultivating the plant.

It is the state flower of both Minnesota and New Hampshire, United States and was also proposed to be the provincial flower of Prince Edward Island, Canada.


Habitat
Cypripedium reginae grows in calcareous wet lands, open wooded swamps, with tamarack and black spruce.[4] Contrary to many garden tips, C. reginae thrives in neutral to basic soils and prefers growing in fens. Despite growing in mildly acidic environments, its roots can penetrate the mossy layers down to more neutral water sources. It forms clumps by branching of the underground rhizomes. It forms aerial roots in the swampy bog conditions. It is eaten by white-tailed deer.

Cypripedium reginae can be found in Canada from Saskatchewan east to Atlantic Canada, and the eastern United States south to Arkansas and Tennessee.
(information courtesy of Wiki)
 
 
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Can't beat'em, eat'em! Many of you have probably seen this weed somewhere in your garden. For many years I pulled it out, only to discover it is very much edible. And tasty! I use it in my salads raw. BUT, it can be cooked, simmered, saut'ed, you name it. It's great!
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Purslane's stem is round and smooth, and it trails along the ground like a small vine. Young plants have a green stem, but, with maturity, stems take on reddish tints. Purslane has small, oblong, green leaves, which form clusters. The leaves resemble small wedges and, like the stem, are juicy. Has that description of purslane whetted your taste buds yet for purslane cooking recipes?

Edible Landscaping Harvest: Picking and Using Purslane

In order to preserve purslane's juiciness for eating, harvest this delight of your edible landscaping in the morning or evening, when you won't have to compete with intense sunlight. Purslane can either be used raw in salads or sauteed as a side dish. In addition to the crispy texture you would expect from a succulent, purslane also has an interesting peppery flavor.

Although you won't find it at the salad bar of your local fast-food stop any time soon, purslane has made it onto the menu of a number of upscale restaurants.

But there's more to the eating of the herb, purslane than its use in gourmet recipes. Its benefits extend to nutrition. Okay, so you knew that was coming. After all, what article about eating weeds doesn't eventually get around to how nutritious they are? But did you know exactly how it is good for you?

Not only does purslane have leaves in Omega-3 fatty acid, but it also has stems high in vitamin C. Omega-3 fatty acids are instrumental in regulating our metabolism. Purslane contains a very high concentration of alpha-linolenic acid -- several times the concentration in spinach.

So don'tjust throw it away! Eat it instead! Join the many who now treat purslane as edible landscaping. And if your purslane is growing on the edge of a garden,you might want to consider pinching it instead of pulling it. That way, all summer you can enjoy healthful eating with this spicy succulent of edible landscaping.
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Purslane Salad

2 cups purslane leaves and stems, chopped
2 cooked potatoes, chopped
4 cups mesclun salad greens or wild greens (i.e., lamb's quarters, lady's thumb, Asiatic dayflower)
1 bunch scallions, chopped
1 medium carrot, grated
1 red bell pepper, chopped
Mix together all ingredients, toss with Creamy Cashew Salad Dressing, and serve.

Purslane potato salad

6 medium potatoes, sliced and cooked
2 cups purslane, chopped
4 scallions, sliced
1 celery stalk, sliced
1 cup mayonnaise

Mix together all ingredients. Serve chilled.


Purslane Quiche

    Pastry for a 9-inch one-crust pie
    2 cups washed Purslane (leaves and small stems)
    2 cups shredded Swiss cheese (about 8 oz)
    1/2 cup chopped onion
    4 eggs
    2 cups heavy cream (can substitute half-and-half but baking time will increase)
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon grated Nutmeg

Heat oven to 425-degrees. Prepare pastry and line pie pan.

Sprinkle chopped onion and 1 cup of the shredded Swiss in the pastry-line pie pan. Add Purslane.

Beat the eggs slightly then add in the cream, salt, and Nutmeg. Stir the cream/egg mixture, then pour the blended mixture into the pie pan.

Add remaining cup of Swiss cheese.

Bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300-degrees and bake 30 minutes longer, or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Allow quiche to stand 10 minutes before cutting (if you can wait that long).

Serve in wedges.

 
 
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I have been absent as of late. Of course any one who knows me, knows I can be found in and/or around the garden. So far since the beginning of May, I have been toiling in the garden, getting it back into shape, since it's long winter's rest.

Oh, and what a job it was. Over a month and a half of work. Mind you I do have a 5 yr old to attend to, and house hold chores, such as the never ending stream of laundry, dishes, picking up after my lil tornado goes thru the house, cooking, etc. So I bide my time inbetween these things and the outside chores, and seem to get them all done it a resonable amount of time (I think?) LOL

I t perhaps is my own fault for having so much to do in spring, as I usually never cut anything down come fall. I always say I will, but never do. I use the ole, "oh I'll leave it for the birds to eat"....yeah right. The comes spring, and I am moaning and groaning of what I "should" have done.

Never the less, it's just maintenance from here on out, and hopefully in the fall, I will indeed follow thru with my plans to clean up the yard of  dead debri, so I dont have to do it the following spring.

I decided to snap a few pictures of the yard and garden so far this spring. It was rainy out this morn, and made everything seem a little greener, and I figured it would take some good pictures. Hope you enjoy.
 
 
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Calendula officinalis
[ka-LEN-dew-luh oh-fiss-ih-NAH-liss]

Family: Asteraceae (Composite)

Names: Pot Marigold, Summer's Bride, Husbandman's Dial, Holigold, Marybud,
Marygold, Bride of the Sun, Spousa Solis, Golds, bull flower; butterwort, care, cowbloom, death-flower, drunkard, golden flower of Mary, gouls, goulans, kingcups, holygold, sun’s bride, water dragon, yolk of egg, poet’s marygold, publican and sinner, ruddles, Scotch marigold, shining herb, solsequia, Gold; Ringelblume, Studentenblume, Totenblume, Goldblume (German); souci (French); calendula (Italian); Nagietek lekarski (Polish); goedsbloemwratten-
kruid (Dutch); calendula gialla, fiorrancio, calenzola (Italian); calendula, flamenquilla, maravilla, flor de muerto (Spanish); maravilhas, marianas (Portuguese); ringblomma (Swedish); nogotki, lekarstvennye (Russian); chin-chan-hua (Chinese); janvah, azariyunah, azarboya (Arabic)

Description: Native to Asia and southern Europe and was brought to America by early settlers. Introduced to Britain by the Romans. Calendula is a flowering annual that grows to a height of twelve to eighteen inches. The stem is slightly fuzzy and the leaves are soft, long (growing to 6"), pale green. The root is a long spindly taproot. Flowers may be yellow or orange. The flowers are about one and one-half inches in diameter, consisting of concentric rows of ray florets  surrounding the smaller ones making up the center disc.

Cultivation: Direct seed in the garden once the last chance of frost has past or plants can be put out before the last frost being careful not to injure the long taproot when transplanting. Germination is 7-10 days at a very high percentage if the seed is of good quality. The young seedlings are susceptible to damping off so take care to have good drainage and ventilation. Prefers a moderately healthy soil with average drainage and a pH of 5-8 but will grow in a wide range of soils. They prefer full sun or partial shade. A second planting can be made at the beginning of July to ensure a fall harvest. Thin plants to 12 inches apart. If you dehead the plant religiously in spring and summer it may produce more flowers as the weather turns cooler. Irrigation needs are on the high side so it’s  recommended to water once or twice a week depending on the temperature, humidity and soil type. Cultivation should be done soon after transplanting and probably one more time before it becomes unnecessary due to the short life of the crop in the field. Pests include blister beetles, aphids and cucumber beetles. Best way to deal with pests is to pick the flowers often so there is little time for the pests to feed. Cucumber beetles are extremely difficult to deal with except with strong botanicals like rotenone.

Flower harvest can start as early as late May in warm areas. You can pick a particular planting three times a week until productivity goes way down, which is usually after 6-8 weeks. Harvests start to diminish in the late plantings after the first frost. The best time to pick is in the heat of the day when the resins are highest and the water content the lowest. Never let the flowers develop to the point where the seed is forming or you will greatly diminish your harvest totals.
The flowers should be dried as soon as possible as they tend to heat up and decompose if kept in the sun or in your harvest bucket. The petals dry quickly but the receptacle does not so you can expect a total drying time of 10 days or more at 90 degrees or so. Some growers advocate quick drying at high temperatures of 120 degrees which dries them in 5-7 days. They must also be sorted carefully as they reabsorb moisture readily. Dry flower yields of 400-600 pounds per acre can be expected. An acre would require a crew of 3-4 picking nearly every afternoon for 3-4 months.
History: The word calendula is derived from the Latin calens meaning the first day of each month because the Romans claimed they bloomed the first of each month. Christians called it "marygold" and "marybud" because it bloomed at all the festivals celebrating the Virgin Mary, also because people believed by constant association with the flowers they could ward off evil. It should not be confused with Tagetes also called "marigold". Known as the "herb of the sun" because the flowers open in the morning and close in the evening. Mentioned as such in Shakespeare's A Winter's Tale. The French name gauche-fer, meaning left-hand iron, was coined because the brilliant yellow marigold flower was thought to resemble the polished shield worn by warriors on the left arm. The culinary use of calendula dates back to ancient Rome. Common people couldn't afford to buy saffron and they discovered that powdered calendula petals were an excellent substitute which is why it has been called "poor man's saffron".

There are many stories about calendula. One is the story of the four wood nymphs who fell in love with Apollo, the sun god. The nymphs became so jealous of one another they began neglecting their duties to Apollo's sister, the goddess Diana. She turned them into four dull-white marigolds, which distressed Apollo, but his only recourse was to send down his most brilliant rays to color them gold. In German folklore, rain was predicted if the flowers remained closed after 7 am. In India, Buddhists held pot marigold sacred to the goddess Mahadevi, who carried a trident emblem adorned with the flowers, while her followers crowned themselves with marigolds at her festival. Marigold was commonly used as an aphrodisiac, and thought to have great significance in love. Planting marigold in the footsteps of a loved one was supposed to tie him to his beloved. An old legend held that if a maiden touches a pot marigold with her bare foot she would be able to understand the language of birds. In the Middle Ages in Europe it was believed that those who wore marigolds would have a vision of anyone who had robbed them. Spanish sorcerers were said to wear it as a talisman. Traditionally it was picked when the Sun entered the sign of Virgo and the picker had to carry a wolf’s tooth wrapped in a bay leaf. In Mexico it is thought to be a flower of death and is believed to have spring from the blood of the Indians killed by the Spanish invaders.

Xochiquetzal, the Aztec love goddess, taught her people the message of the  marigold, the petalled book of the cycles of life, of seed to leafy stem, of leafy stem to bud, of bud to flower open to the Sun, of flowers to drying petals that were the womb for the seed – to complete the cycle. Offerings of marigold petals were made to her. In the early days of this country dried marigold petals were sold in country stores out of a wooden barrel just like other herbs. The practice of coloring butter made from autumn and winter milk--low in vitamin A and pale
compared to spring butter--with skin-healing calendula was so common that butter became widely known as a burn ointment. The pigmentation of ornamental fish in captivity can be intensified by adding Calendula to regular fish food.
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Constituents: essential oil, carotenoid;flavanoids; sterol; mucilage; saponins;carotones; bitter glycosides; triterpenes; resin

Character: slightly bitter, pungent, drying, gently cooling

Meridians/Organs affected: liver, heart,lungs

Key Actions: anti-inflammatory; relieves muscle spasms; astringent; prevents hemorrhaging; heals wounds; antiseptic; detoxifying; mildly estrogenic

Cosmetic Use: The yellow or orange flowers produce a dye for the hair which women used in 16th century Europe. Marigold water is soothing to the eyes and the flowers provide a face cream which leaves the skin smooth and silky. When infused in water, marigold blooms make a tea that, when sipped, tones up a lazy circulation. It is also said to alleviate varicose veins. Since the blooms have healing properties the cooled infusion is valuable as a skin tonic for oily, blemished complexions. It can also be used as a rich skin moisturizer, a hair shampoo and a rinse, the latter being particularly useful in highlighting the tints in brown and reddish hair.

Medicinal Uses: Throughout the ages, tinctures made from calendula blossoms have been used to treat headaches, toothaches and even tuberculosis. The ancient Romans used calendula to treat scorpion bites and soldiers in the American Civil War found it helped stop wounds from bleeding. There is nothing better for sore or inflamed eyes than to bathe them in marigold water. (Place a large handful of flowers in a saucepan and add 1/2 pint water. Simmer for 20 minutes, strain and use while slightly warm.) Calendula is a popular salve and cream ingredient because it decreases the inflammation of sprains, stings, varicose veins and other swellings and soothes burns, sunburn, rashes and skin irritations.

Laboratory studies show it kills bacteria and fungus such as ringworm, athlete's foot. It is gentle enough to be applied as a tea to thrush in children's mouths. Taken internally, it has been used traditionally to promote the draining of swollen lymph glands, such as in tonsillitis and as part of the therapy for uterine or breast cancer, both as a poultice and as a tea. Herbalists report success in using a swab of calendula preparation or calendula boluses to treat abnormal cervical cells. Some antitumor activities have been observed in scientific studies. The infusion or tincture helps inflammatory problems of the digestive system such as gastritis, peptic ulcers, regional ileitis and colitis. Calendula has long been considered a detoxifying herb, and helps to treat the toxicity that underlies many fevers and infections and systemic skin disorders such as eczema and acne. The herb is also considered cleansing for the liver (promotes bile production) and gallbladder and can be used to treat problems affecting these organs. Makes a healing mouthwash for gums after tooth extraction.

Calendula has a mild estrogenic action and is often used to help reduce menstrual pain and regulate menstrual bleeding. The infusion makes an effective douche for yeast infections. Calendula oil is extracted from the petals by maceration. It is healing and rejuvenating, used in many skin preparations and in aromatherapy.
Applications: Infusion is taken for menopausal problems, period pain, gastritis and for inflammation of the esophagus Tincture is taken for stagnant liver problems, including sluggish digestion and also for menstrual disorders, particularly irregular or painful periods.

Homeopathy: Homeopaths use Calendula officinalis as a local application to open wounds, to stop bleeding after dental work, and internally for cancer. It is indicated especially for excessive pain and a tendency to be chilled, especially in damp weather. Veterinary Use: St. Hildegard von Bingen praised calendula as a remedy for animals, recommending it to treat flatulence in sheep caused by bad feed. For this purpose, give the sheep fresh calendula juice. For cough in cattle
or sheep, spray freshly pressed calendula juice into the nostrils of the affected animal. I have had great success using calendula salve on animals for wounds, injuries and inflammation. Fox this, mix together equal amounts of calendula and comfrey salves. Calendula tea is also suitable for washing wounds.

Emotional Uses: Marigold is said to comfort the heart and spirit. It is used for people who are nervous and easily frightened, who have low defences, pick up illnesses easily and feel themselves in need of protection. It is associated with shock and trauma and the expression of strong emotions, particularly anger. A solar herb, marigold is used to temper the excesses of Mars; that is, anger, impatience and pent up energy. It is good for hotheadedness; in the form of headaches with stabbing pains and for rashness, intolerance and foolhardiness. It has a smoothing effect, like that of unruffling feathers and soothes prickliness. Buy some marigold flowers and keep them wrapped in a white cloth. Carry them with you. When you feel in need of protection, hold the bag and feel the warm solar energy radiating through you.

Aromatherapy Uses:
EXTRACTION: an absolute by solvent extraction from the flowers. The real calendula absolute is produced only in small quantities and is difficult to get hold of.

CHARACTERISTICS: A dark greenish-brown viscous liquid with an intensely sharp, herbaceous odor.

BLENDS WELL: oakmoss, hyacinth, floral and citrus oils

CONSTITUENTS: The absolute contains calendulin, waxes and volatile oil

USES: Skin care: burns, cuts, eczema, greasy skin, inflammations, insect bites, rashes, wounds, cracked nipples, varicose veins Flower Essence: The Calendula flower imparts a warm, golden light of healing for those souls who must learn to use “the Word” as a truly creative spiritual force. It is especially indicated for personal relationship work, and for all healing and teaching work when the art of communication must be intensively developed as a soul force. Calendula gives great forces of warmth and benign compassion to the human soul, especially helping to balance the active and receptive modes of communication.

Ritual Use: Gender - Hot; Planet - Sun; Element - Fire; Basic Powers: Love,  Clairvoyance. Place the flower beneath the head at night to induce clairvoyant dreams. A vase of these flowers in any room immediately brings a renewed surge of life to everyone in it. Sometimes added to love sachets. It should be gathered at noon. In the 16th century, those who drank a potion made from marigolds were
reputed to be able to see fairies. Sun Magic, carried into court for positive outcomes in legal matters, prophesy, simple joys.

Language of Flowers: sacred affections; joy; remembrance; grief

Other Uses: For an orange dye for wool: tear up 1 pint of marigold flowers for each oz of wool you want to dye. Put the flowers in a large pot, and add enough water to cover. Boil the flowers for 30 minutes; then strain out the flowers and add enough fresh water to make 1 quart of dye solution for each ounce of wool to
be dyed. Wet the wool yarn, fabric or unlined garment in warm water; squeeze out excess water; add the yarn, fabric or garment to the dye bath; and let simmer (do not boil) for about 30 minutes. Now turn off the heat, let the solution cool, remove the yarn or garment and rinse it in cool water until the water runs clear.
Some marigold plants appear to be natural pest repellents that keep insects away
without being poisonous to people or pets.

Culinary Use: The edible part of the calendula blossom is the "petal" as the center of the flower is strong and bitter. To remove petals, grasp the bloom in one hand and gently pull the petals from the disk. Calendulas have long been used to color butters and cheeses. They seem to add more color than flavor to most dishes but they do give a delicate, aromatic, salty bitterness. Petals must be well bruised to
give off any color. The easiest way to do this is to chop the fresh petals finely. The taste vaguely suggests marigold: herbaceous and slightly musky. Calendula petals are most commonly used cooked in rice dishes, custards and puddings, but they are also good added to baked goods and egg dishes, and as a garnish for salads and vegetables. Also add the petals to meat dishes, cream soups, chowders, cream
cheese or yogurt dips and mashed potatoes or turnips. The petals can be dried for use in winter soups and stews. They are best dried on paper, canvas or cheesecloth rather than screens or baskets, as they have a tendency to stick to the surface that they're dried on. Keep in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dry place
for use out of season. Before adding dried petals to a recipe, pulverize them.
 
 
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Mugwort is used for astral projection, divination,psychic powers,clairvoyance, protection to travelers, sleep , strength and healing.

Mugwort, also commonly called wormwood, is a perennial herb known for its slumber and dream assist properties. It dispels nightmares, calms sleeplessness tendencies, and is sometimes used to enhance shamanic astral travel during sleep. A mugwort bundle (leaves and flower tied together) is placed under a bed pillow before retiring for the night. Dried bundles of mugwort can also be used as smudging tools to cleanse areas that need energetic clearing.

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Concecration of divination tools.

Make an infusion of the herb mugwort, while it's still warm, strain it and then bathe the mirror or stone in the infusion, while softly whispering this chant 9 times.

As you do so, invision the mirror or stone awakening to you and your own psychic abilities:

Lovely oracle of magic worth,
fair creature of psychic light,
the truest answers, you shall bring forth,
you shall be my eyes, my sight.


Third eye spell
A spell to open the third eye.

Fill a small purple bag (or a piece of cloth that you can wrap herbs in and tie up) with as many of the following herbs as you can:

--mugwort acacia honeysuckle peppermint rosemary thyme yarrow
--cloves dandelion lilac lavender Calendula - (marigold)

Gather the edges of the cloth and tie a string around it if you are using a cloth, or if you used a small purple bag, tie it shut. (Drawstring bags work best.)
Using a dark violet marker, draw an eye on the front of the bag.
Rub the bag on the third eye Chakra (forehead) whenever performing divination or needing
psychic sight, and sleep with it under your pillow every night.

Protection Oil with Mugwort
Base oil: such as sweet almond oil, jojoba, sesame, etc.
To the oil add any three of the following:

--rue, rosemary, angelica, bay, basil, fennel, sage, mugwort, Vervain.

Use either the whole herb or a pure essential oil.
Allow the herbs to mix and steep in the oil for 1 week
Handle the bottle frequently, projecting protective energy into the mixture.
Recommendation:  make this oil during a waning moon but you can also make your own timing judgement.
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I often wondered what it would be like to be out the of damn closet already.....Many things wander thru my mind, such as, if I came out to my family and friends, I have this silly notion stuck in my head that they all would be so excepting and embrace it, and me for choosing the path I have. That's just what it is, a silly notion.

From the conversation I have had in the past with my family and friends, and the comments they have made about similarly related issues, it would seem to me that ignorance is bliss. Not that my family and friends are by any means "haters", they aren't, far from it actually, it is just, like most people in today's society, they fear that which they don't understand.. Plainly put.

I was raised in a "Lutheran" household. However we never actually were regular church attendees by any means. My father worked to much and my mom had us to take care of. I knew of the teachings so to speak, meaning I knew the whole, there was a god, and the baby Jesus, Mary, immaculate conception thing and Adam and eve, etc etc. Any more than that forget it...LOL

I remember going to summer bible school sort of thing, kind of like catechism, but only for the summer, and I only went once. So you see, my family was far from being bible thumpers. However my dad tried to instill a good belief system in us anyways.

Many years later, ( at the age of 19) I got married and failed miserably at it, sucked actually, we both did. To young, you know the bit. Which led me on my path of "there has to be something more". Divorced 3 yrs later and wondering what the hell did I just do with my 3 wasted years? I turned to wicca/witchcraft, and delved into it. It kept my mind busy, and out of trouble. I began studying gardening, herbalism and the like.

Now, older and wiser, on my second marriage of  9yrs, and having a child of 5. I couldn't be happier. My husband is catholic, raised in a the traditional "catholic ways", i.e. purgatory, hell, all the scary shit, that scares the hell out of a kid. However, he is the most open minded person I have ever met, and fully supports me in anything i do, and my beliefs. So now your probably wondering, when am i going to get to the point? Ok, here it is, I am out of the broom closet, but to only one person, my husband. He knows it, he's ok with it, etc.

The rest of my family, not so much as I explained before. The reason? Well it isn't because of what you might think really...it's the fear that they will think I will be setting my daughter up for relentless teasing and ridicule at school. Which, in all honesty, the thought has crossed my mind alot. It is one of the concerns of my husband as well. They would worry that because of my beliefs, that she would be an outcast of sorts. Kids can be so fickle, we all know this. I wouldn't want this for her at all. Any mothers out there can sympathize with me on this one regardless of how they feel about their own beliefs.

I really wouldn't care what they thought of me, it is her I worry about. My husband and I both have talked about this subject over and over. He wants her to have a "base" religion. Of course it is catholic. She was baptized catholic and more than likely going to be attending catechism (shudders). I'm hoping this will be put off as long as possible really...LOL I have told him that I really don't want her to be scared shitless with the catholic teachings. You see my husband still doesn't sleep naked, (for fear of the angels laughing at him...yeah....I can thank his grandmother for this), not to mention the "mamoonas", "purgatory" ,"burning off all your sins, before being allowed into heaven" and other such terrifying thoughts. I could go on and on. My husbands family really put a whammy on his head when he was younger and it carried over into his adult life, but as time goes on he has had time to come to his own conclusions of things and isn't that bad anymore. You know the "older and wiser thing".

Anyways, he is ok, with me teaching her my beliefs, as long as I don't refer to it as "magik" or "spells", he prefers the terms "herbalism and prayer"...which is fine by me. I told him when she is old enough, I will teach her magik and spells, and about the gods and goddess', how I believe all things are connected with nature, etc, etc. but for now, yes..herbalism and prayer. Besides she is to young right now anyways.

But this is why I am not out of the broom closet yet. Not for fear of what people might think of me, but for what people might do or say to my daughter. It's sad really that it has to be this way, I struggle with this thought everyday. The thought of following the norm..ya know. If she goes to catechism, believes in the catholic teachings, or other christian teachings, she will be considered, well, normal. Isn't that ridiculous? Anything outside the box is abnormal...I hate that about our society. I asked my husband this question, "what if when she gets older she doesn't want to be catholic, she wants to follow the pagan path? He replied, that's fine. I just want her to be able to defend herself, if the situation arises. Right now she is to young and doesn't know any better."
I thought i had better not push the issue farther than it needed to be at that point in time. I often wonder if any other pagan moms have thought of these many questions in their minds as well? Have they had similar struggles? Have they not come out of the broom closet for the sake of their child?  I wonder..... if I am alone with my thoughts, I so very much wonder.
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Artemisia vulgaris

Family: Compositae

Names: By Foot, felon herb, St. John’s Plant, Maiden Wort, Mother’s wort, womb’s wort, Mugwurz, powerwort, solstice girdle, thorwort; Echter Beifuss, Mugwurz, Gánsekraut, Belfuss, Beifuβ (German); armoise, armoise commune, herbe de St. Jean, Ceinture de Saint-Jean (French); artemisia, assenzio, amarelle, erba di San Giovanni, amarelle, campaccio, assenzio selvatico (Italian); zona diri Johannis, Artemisa común, ajenja, artemisia, hierba de San Juan (Spanish); Hao-shu, ai-hao, ch’i-ai, i-ts’ao, k’iai, chih-ts’ao, chiu-ts’ao (Chinese); bijvoet (Dutch); Harilik puju (Estonian); Berendjasef (Farsi); Pujo (Finnish); Liath lus (Gaelic); Fekete üröm, Anyafû, Taplóüröm (Hungarian); Nat (Laotian); Bylica pospolita (Polish); Gråbo (Swedish); artemisia verdaderia (Portuguese); afsantin-e-hindi (Arabic)

Description: A single-stemmed plant with floppy leaves. The height is up to 6 feet and a width of 1-2 feet. The flowers are tiny, redbrown, wooly, clustered on stem tips. The leaves are elongated oval, but deeply toothed on end into points; green top with fuzzy silver white underneath, to 4 inches long. Blooms from July to August. Native to Europe and Asia and naturalized in the US

Cultivation: This is a perennial to Zone 2-3. It germinates in 10-24 days. Space 1 foot apart in a soil with temperature of 65-70F. Soil preferred is dry or moist and it likes nitrogen and a pH of 5-8.5. Needs full sun. Can be propagated by seed or dividing clumps. In moist garden soil, it will spread rapidly by runners. Harvest stems to be used for moxa sticks from July to September when Mugwort is flowering. Cut plants a little above the ground and hang them singly upside down to dry in an airy, shaded spot. When dry strip the leaves and flowers from the stems. Mugwort root is best dug up in November.
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Constituents: Volatile oil containing linalool, 1,8-cineole, B-thujone, borneol, nerol, neryl acetate, linalyl acetate, myrcene, vulgarole, cadinenol, muurolol, spathulenol and others; Vulgarin, a sesquiterpene lactone; flavonoids: quercitin-3-glucoside, quercitin-3- rhamnoglucoside and 5,3’-dihydroxy-3,7,4’- trimethoxyflavone; coumarin derivatives: 7,8- methylendioxy-9- ethoxycoumarin; triterpenes such as 3B-hydroxurs-12-en-27,28-dionic acid, B-amyrin, B-sitosterol

Actions: bitter digestive tonic, uterine stimulant, stimulating nervine, menstrual regulator, antirheumatic, anthelmintic, antispasmodic, carminative, choleretic, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, orexigenic, stomachic, vermifuge

Character: bitter, pungent, drying, quite cold.

Meridians/Organs affected: liver, spleen, kidneys

History: Once known in Europe as the Mother of Herbs or Mater Herbarum, mugwort appears in ancient lore long before Dioscorides praised it in the 1st century. It was one of the 9 healing herbs of the Anglo-Saxons and is thought to be the girdle worn by St. John the Baptist in the Bible. When black tea prices rose in early-19thcentury Cornwall, England, it became a popular tea. Roman centurians reputedly placed it in their sandals to keep the soles of their feet in
good shape. The origins of its name appear to be as confused as the intoxicated state mugwort produces. Some suggest it originated with mygge, meaning “midge”—any small insect, such a a gant—or with the old English magat, or “maggot.” However, it is the wool moth that mugwort deters, and a better possibility would be mothe, Anglo-Saxon for “moth.” On the other hand, a few authors claim it comes from the Irish mugan, a mug that holds beer— mugwort beer. Dioscorides recounted that the goddess Artemis (who inspired the plant’s genus name) was believed to give succur to women in childbirth. A 13th century Welsh herbal The Physicians of Myddfai recommended “If a woman be unable to give birth to her child let the mugwort be bound to her left thigh. Let it be instantly removed when she has been delivered, lest there should be haemorrhage.”

An 18th century Spanish herbalist, Diego de Torres, recommended the application of a mugwort plaster below the navel as an effective method of inducing labor. In Poland, Mugwort collected from nine different fields would increase a woman’s fertility. A baby was bathed in mugwort and thyme in order to give the child strength. It was tucked in the eaves of the house in order to
protect it against “uncleanliness” on St. John’s Eve. Both mugwort and wormwood were placed in the coffin in the belief that it would delay decomposition of the body. A few long branches were sprinkled with sour milk and hung from a beam generally near the ceiling of the house. The flies then clustered on the branch and stopped plaguing the inhabitants. When enough flies had settled on the branch, two people cautiously approached it with an open sack and captured the insects. The sack would then be taken outside and disposed of.
Villagers wiped their hands in mugwort in order to keep the bees from stinging. .
Throughout the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and into modern times, European practitioners used mugwort almost exclusively as a woman’s remedy. A few who describe the healing properties are Hildegardof Bingen, Paracelsus and Culpepper. It was used to increase fertility, ease birth, stimulate the afterbirth, alleviate menstrual pains and balance menstrual irregularities. Mugwort is included in the bunch of herbs offered for Mary’s blessing on the Day of the Assumption in the southern Catholic regions of Germany. Some people burn Mugwort as incense in the stables on Assumption Day to protect the animals from disease. The name “by foot” comes from the belief that when bound to the legs it takes away the tiredness of travelers. One other intriguing sentiment about Mugwort is that it can aid in the magick of criminal detection.
A "superstition" exists that in Japan, placing a cone of Moxa in the footprint of a thief would cause the thief to get a "hot foot", that is he would feel a burning sensation as if the cone were on his foot.
During the Middle Ages, Russian physicians used it against epilepsy, while the Mongols massaged it into their calves to prevent cramping and muscle fatigue caused by horseback riding for a long time. During this time in all Northern European countries, on the feast day of St. John, dancers would leap around a fire wearing a crown made from mugwort to protect them from disease during the coming year. The French name armoise is taken from the Greek goddess Artemis who represents the emancipated woman. Language of Flowers: Happiness, tranquility, travel, “be not weary”
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Medicinal Uses: A digestive and tonic herb, mugwort has a wide variety of traditional uses. Milder in action than most other Artemisia species, it can be taken over the long term at a low dose to improve appetite, digestive function, promotes liver detoxification and absorption of nutrients. In addition to encouraging the elimination of worms, mugwort increases bile flow. Mugwort has long been used in the West to promote menstruation (yet is found in Chinese formulas to prevent miscarriage). Use a standard infusion of two teaspoons per cup of water steeped for 20 minutes, take ¼ cup flour times a day. A tea or compress was used to speed labor and help expel the afterbirth. Mugwort decreases external inflammation and, in both China and Europe, a poultice is traditionally placed on rheumatic and arthritic pains.

In Russia, it is extracted in vodka for swellings, wounds, and various skin problems. It is also a fairly effective poison oak treatment. Mugwort is also an antiseptic and has been used in the treatment of malaria. Mugwort is known to serve as substitute for tobacco, bearing the folk name, "Sailor's Tobacco". Likewise, it has been considered as a substitute for cannabis, in the sense that it has very mild relaxing, rather than inebriating properties, and the ability to offset symptoms of withdrawals from various substances of abuse. It is often cited as a herbal treatment for opium addiction. Additionally, it tends to have aromatic properties when burned that are reminiscent of cannabis when burned, therefore adding to its potential as a cannabis substitute. It makes a good foot bath for tired feet and legs. Cleansing to the liver, it promotes digestion. Mugwort is an emmenagogue, especially when combined with pennyroyal, blue cohosh, or angelica root. It is helpful in epilepsy, palsy, and hysteria and is useful for fevers.

Toxicity: Avoid large amounts or continued consumption which can adversely affect the nervous system. Don’t use while pregnant

Ritual Uses: Mugwort is prominent among many women’s covens to express adoration of the goddess Diana. It is said to protect travelers from fatigue, sunstroke, wild animals, and evil spirits. When cleaning a child’s room, mugwort water might be aspurged to protect one’s children. When your home is battered by a storm or when your life feels threatened by impending danger, it is believed that dried mugwort should be tossed into the hearth fire to keep you safe. A crown of it is worn at Midsummer. It is also used as a bathing herb prior to the shortest night offering many blessings. Bunches of dried mugwort from the previous year’s harvest may be tossed into the Midsummer fire.

A tea or a pillow of it brings vivid prophetic dreams and helps one to contact the astral realm. Use the tea and incense to help in scrying. Mugwort is used in magick to activate instruments of divination- crystal balls and magic mirror- although it is sometimes phrased that the role of Mugwort is to "cleanse" the instrument. Mugwort’s most striking claim to fame being magnetic in character, however, is that it is often known as "compass plant", owing to the fact that it’s leaves tend to arrange themselves with the North-South lines of the earth’s magnetic field. Worn as an amulet, the herb’s root bestowed strength and health.

*Material contained herein, is not intended to treat or diagnose, always use caution and educate yourself before using anything medicinally.
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