Saturday, 28 April 2012

Pagan Blog Project I is for Ivy


I am a day late in posting this, but yesterday I was working and didn't finish until late so I decided to post today when I had more time and relaxation.  I am keeping with the theme of plants from the Hedgerow for my pagan blog because looking at the properties and uses of these plants is so interesting to me that it has now become a personal journey and project for me.  So without further ado here is my topic about Ivy.

The Celtic month of ivy falls from September 30 until October 27 and its Celtic name is Gort.  Ivy is a plant which is linked to Jupiter and also the sun.  Ivy is sacred to both Osiris and Saturn and is connected to the god Dionysus. The legend with Dionysus tells us that when Hera wife of Zeus found out that her husband had been unfaithful to her with Semele the daughter of Cadmus king of Thebes; Hera told Semele to suggest Zeus showed his true self to her.  Semele did this and on doing so was consumed by Zeus’ divine flames which almost killed their unborn child, Dionysus; it was a sudden growth of Ivy which saved him.  Ivy is sacred and can be used in magickal workings; it grows in spirals and is linked with holly.  Ivy can also be seen growing around trees such as oak.

A talisman which is made from Ivy would be good to give to a friend as it helps to bond and ensure good friendship.  It can also be used to bind love, fidelity or luck to a person and when growing on or near a house offers protection against the evil eye.
If ivy does not grow on the grave of an individual it is said that it is because their soul is restless.  Ivy is used in Yule decorations along with holly.
Medicinal herbal use of Ivy include using ivy leaves to make a douche to treat female infections, the leaves can also be used externally as a poultice for infections, ulcers, nerves and sinews.  The tender twigs of Ivy can be simmered and made into a salve to treat sunburn.
Protection Charm
2 equal length Rowan twigs
Red thread
Tendrils of fresh Ivy
Make an equal armed cross with the Rowan Twigs and tie it with the red thread, this can be ribbon, wool or string as long as it is red. Ensure you tie some of the string at the end of one of the arms of the cross so it can be suspended.  Intertwine the Ivy around the cross saying
As I wrap this Ivy round
Protection to me and mine be bound
I hang this protection charm by my door
Harm and evil be gone for ever more.
So mote it be

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Continuing the Pagan blog Project - H

H is for Hawthorn

In the Celtic Year the month governed by Hawthorn was May 13 – June 9 and its Celtic name is Huath.  The Hawthorn is also known by the names of May blossom, Mayflower, May tree, May bush and Hawthorn. 
In herbal use the berries are used as a cardiac tonic as it is a strong herb it would be advisable not to use it on its own, therefore it would be better to mix with borage, motherwort, cayenne, garlic and dandelion flowers.  Hawthorn leaves can be used too as a substitute for oriental green tea and the seeds can be roasted and used like coffee. 
Hawthorn wood is similar to apple wood and usually does not grow much bigger than a shrub, it is found in hedgerows all over the British Isles and the pink/white blossom give a musky scent.  It is said that the young leaves of Hawthorn can be eaten in salads, much like rocket.
Some ancient Hawthorns guard ancient wells, particularly in Ireland where torn material known as clouties are hung on the branches of the shrub for healing or wishes and as the material degrades; the wish develops.  Hawthorn is also one of the nine woods placed on the Bale fire and is burned to purify and draw in the Fae. The month of the Hawthorn is a good time to do any magickal work which will clear old habits; it can also be used for protection, love and marriage.  The Fae are fond of Hawthorn groves and is one of the sacred Faerie triad trees of Britain and where oak, ash and hawthorn grow together, it is said you will see the Faeries.  Lore has it that also sitting under a Hawthorn in the month of May means that you are lost forever into the unknown, mystic faerie world.  Even today in parts of Ireland and Wales it is tradition in the spring to braid crowns of Hawthorn blossoms and leave them as a gift for the Fae. 

Branches of Hawthorn used to be fastened to houses, this custom was said to bring the blessing which the Hawthorn tree spirit has in its power to bring to the village, and in some places it is tradition to plant a may tree near the house. Hawthorne in the rafters of a home is good for protection against spirits, and ghosts.    
In Appleton in the British County of Cheshire there is a custom around midsummer of “Bawming the Thorn” in which school children walk in parade to the tree and dance around the thorn tree which is situated outside the church.  The tree is bedecked with garlands, ribbons and flowers.  Local tradition has it that the tree in Appleton, Cheshire is an offshoot of the original Glastonbury Thorn, brought to Appleton in1178 by the lord of the manor, Adam de Dutton. 
In the past most witches’ gardens contained at least one Hawthorn hedge for protection, as well as being one of the ingredients in the famous Flying Ointment. Leaves can also be used as a charm to protect a newborn child and a thorn carried in a pouch can bring good luck while fishing and can also ward off depression. A Hawthorn branch hung from the roof or chimney of a house will protect it from lightning. 

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Pagan blog Project Week 14 - H is for Hedgerow

Hedgerow Plants in the English Countryside

I am lucky enough to live in the North English country side and am surrounded by fields. The lane at the back of my house is bordered of either side by old hedgerows.  Some of these Hedgerows are very ancient and are often tending too by the farmers who fields they border.  Hedgerows not only offer a barrier again farm animals getting out on to the road, they can also, too represent borders between land owners, particularly in ancient times. Another association with the Hedgerow is with its uses in magick and in particular its connection and association with the faeries.

I am fortunate to be surrounded by old, yet traditional hedgerows such as Gorse with freshly opened flowers and intertwined with Ivy.
There is also Hawthorn which grows in abundance the leaves just coming out of bud fresh and green
There is also Hawthorns other half, Blackthorn flowering prior to its leaves coming out.
As yet as it is early spring, the flowering hedgerows are not quite in their prime, but on this lovely spring day, while out walking my dog, I couldn't resist taking these and sharing the joys of what the hedgerows have too offer. Many of these species are associated with the Fae and I feel should be looked after and preserved for generations to come.
Hedgerows in Natural Medicine

Our hedgerows are not only there to demarcate land boundaries but they can offer us riches, not only in terms of the fauna and flora they hold and that we can appreciate, but also as a source of medicine.  In ancient time the ancestor’s harvested roots, barks, herbs and flowers and most of these will have come from the native species we find today in the British Hedgerows. 

If you know what you are doing, then harvesting your own for the medicine cabinet will be rewarding, not only will have know what is going into what you are making, you are saving huge costs, in terms of the cost of logistics in bringing these products to us from other places, the cost of packaging, and overhead costs that go towards commercial over the counter items such as heating and rent.  For the small amount of input it will take you, there will be more benefits for you, plus you will be recycling as you will use sterilised jars, bottles or pots for storage.  Just remember that if you do decide to harvest medicinal plants from the hedgerow, it is imperative that you are one hundred percent sure you are harvesting the correct plant.  Do invest in a good book which has good quality pictures and descriptions of plants so you have a guide and can make sure you are harvesting the right plant and not a poisonous one.  If you want to explore this field further then I can recommend an excellent website.  Although this is a British website, there are books published on this subject for both the U.K and America, this website gives details of this.

Alder Buckthorn  can be used to protect against the magickal workings of others placing the branches by windows and doors is said to keep these forces out

Ash  this tree has been associated with divination and knowledge and in some Celtic legends was associated with the god Lugh.  The leaf from an Ash tree is said to bring good fortune if you carry one in your pocket or purse.

Beech  The druids used Beech groves for their sacred spaces if there were no Oak groves.  Beech can be used in divination, working with the ancestors and ancient wisdom.
Black Poplar  The Black poplar was said to have been a funeral tree sacred to the Mother Earth. Plato makes a reference to the use of Black popular as an aid in divination
Blackthorn is used for creating magical wands. Magic wands made from blackthorn can be used for many purposes. When a blackthorn magic wand is carried, it confers protection from evil, can be used for wishes. Also good for divining rods
Buckthorn  is said to be used in protection, exorcism, wishes and legal matters.
Crab Apple  this is a member of the rose family and has healing properties,  the crab apple is the original ancient apple tree and like all apple trees is linked with magick.  Slice an apple in the middle crosswise to the direction of the stork and you see a pentacle star.  Apples were said to have been buried in churchyards to feed the dead and they symbolise rebirth.
Dogwood  Place the sap of the dogwood onto a handkerchief on Midsummer Eve. This will grant any wish you have as long as you carry it faithfully. Dogwood leaves or wood can be placed in protective amulets.
Elder is well known for its berries gathered in the autumn to make elderberry wine; its flowers can be made into cordials too.  It is said the Elder can be used for exorcism, healing, prosperity, and peace.
English Elm  Elm can be used in all love spells
Field Maple can be used in binding spells and abundance spells
For more information there is an ideal website.