This Blog has become a forum for a number of serious Pagan women to post and create. Our object is to provide a voice.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Perfect Moment

This rose is Perfect Moment.  She is a hybrid tea of German origin – parentage is New Day x Mercedes x Seedling.  She stands around three and a half feet tall with medium sized blooms of pink to red with gold.  She has won the American Rose Society’s All American Award.  Her scent is mild, but she more than makes up for it with her stunning bloom.

This rose lives in Hecate’s garden in the north quadrant.  She has taken to blooming under the last light of the full Mother moon.  This photo was taken yesterday just after the break of dawn.  She was a closed bud the night before.

This is but one manifestation of the grace of the Goddess.

A Witch's Path

I was up yesterday morning before sunrise as is my habit on watering days.  Given the native dryness of the Prairie, the excessive heat of the season, the draught and the wind that follows it, I have needed to water every other or every two days.
I walked the circle from north to east to south to west thanking the quadrants, the elements and the Goddess for the luxuriant beauty they have brought into this world and my life.  You see, I am only a caretaker.

I entered the western quadrant as the sky began to shed the darkness one shade at a time.   There I observed an isolated bank of ashen cloud gliding ever so slowly off the Rockies toward the eastern Planes.  I knew then that there would be no rain.  For a little while I enjoyed my coffee sweetened by the cool morning air and the song of waking birds in the trees all around.  When I went to turn on the hose I glanced again at the sky in the western quadrant.  There looking down on me was the moon that is featured here.  The cloud bank was gone as if burned away by a blazing sun.  I took this to be an omen of a long hoped for beginning of better days to come for the planet and its inhabitants.
No matter how many great men and women who will change the course of history walk below her, the moon’s course remains unchanged.  No matter how many fools look up at her believing that she exists only to please them and that her sole manifestation is what they can perceive with their limited minds, the moon will continue to embrace her sister earth with white-silver magic long after all fools are dust.

As a follower of the Great Goddess I believe that the phases of the moon are analogous to the changing times of a woman’s life.  The waxing Maiden moon is the moon of hope.  The full Mother moon is pregnant with and birthing the possibilities born of that hope.  The waning Crone moon is the moon of transition as the change brought about by possibilities becoming reality enters our consciousness.  The time of the dark moon when the Great Crone is preeminent is the gestational period of hope.  Then Hecate, Queen of the Witches, leads us into the unconscious to confront our Shadow where we learn the difference between what we need and what we want.  In full procession of this wisdom we offer it to the waxing moon as hope, and the cycle begins again.
This is one unfolding truth along my Witch’s path.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

An Anomalous Summer

My gardens stand today as a mere shadow of their former selves.   Heat, draught, the wind that almost always follows draught, and insects which increase in virulence with hot weather have taken their toll. 
The flower featured here is Monkshood – Latin name Aconitum napellus.  The bloom should be larger and a very deep purple.   Its reduced size and faded color are, in my experience, the results of heat stress. 

A word of caution, Monkshood should not be planted in gardens where children or plant eating pets play.  It contains a powerful alkaloid poison that was used in earlier times as a sedative and antispasmodic.  In combination with Belladonna, also identified as Deadly Nightshade, Monkshood was used topically in ointments to treat skin injuries and ailments.   Under no circumstances are either of these substances recommended for use by the untrained, the unskilled or the uninitiated. 

Aconitum napellus is often found in Witches’ gardens as a tribute to a time when the practitioners of the Craft of the Wise were skilled in and freer to practice the Goddess’ healing arts.  In addition, Monkshood is sacred to the Goddess Hecate and with its cousin Wolfsbane, is often used non-medicinally at the Waning or Dark Moon in the practice of ceremonial and ritual high Crone magic known to the ignorant as Black Magic.

To return to the discussion of the garden, I have received a number of emails from gardeners who follow my blog or my Facebook page asking me what they have done wrong.  They have followed my advice or the advice of their local gardening professionals.  They have planted appropriately, watered, fed and protected from insects and disease.  Yet, their gardens look as if they have been neglected and allowed to burn up in triple digit heat for two full seasons. 

I answer them in a word – nothing.  You have done nothing.  The season is anomalous and excessive – excessive heat, excessive dry, no spring and excessive summer.  This is apparently happening all over the world if my correspondence is anything to go by. 

Whether we in our stupendous arrogance believe in Climate Change or not is irrelevant.  It is what it is.  No amount of name calling, proselytizing or pontificating from delusional partisan hacks or contribution whoring politicians will make it into something else.

Most evenings of this brutal summer I stand in my gardens at sunset when the light is less harsh and the damage less visible.  I hear my grandmother’s voice sailing out of the West on the swelling red-gold light filling the Rocky Mountain sky.  “Little Witch,” she reminds me, “A gardener proposes, but the Goddess disposes.   She is in charge.  If you forget, let Her remind you.”

Friday, July 6, 2012

As the Moon Grows Dark

As the Moon grows dark,
            The Goddess gives birth to new possibilities gestated in swollen fullness,
            The Goddess nurtures a world full of new hopes and dreams, siblings of all possibilities.
As the Moon grows dark,
            I look back in the Goddess’ silver light and growing shadow to the path I have traveled,
            I look forward in waning radiance and deepening mystery to the path ahead.
As the Moon grows dark,
            The lessons learned shimmer on the whitewater streaming beside me to my right,
            The lessons to be learned whisper from the dense forest of the unconscious to my left.
As the Moon grows dark,
            I see and sense Goddess’ newly birthed and splendid possibilities,
            I give thought and voice to a Her world full of immaculate hopes and dreams.
As the Moon grows dark,
            The gift I offer in return is devotion to Her Craft practiced with or without ceremony,
            The path I walk and lessons I have learned were ordained in Her sight and by Her grace.

The Herban Goddess, © 2012

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Nonsense of the Ignorant

Recently I have had a number of people ask me to teach them White Witchcraft.  I have no bloody idea what the hell they are talking about.  Witchcraft is Witchcraft; it isn’t the “Price is Right” with doors one can enter without taking any responsibility for what is behind them.  The nature of the Craft practiced by any given practitioner is their choice, their right, their responsibility, and their liability if it comes to that.
These “White Witchcraft” people are the same strange people who ask me for love spells and money spell – no one has ever asked me to cast spell for world peace, interestingly enough.  Where in the name of the Great Crone do people get this crap – Hollywood, other religions, fortune cookies?  Nobody has ever represented us correctly in motion pictures – nobody.  Nobody has ever represented us correctly in church doctrine – nobody.  Damn few people know anything about us.  Damn few people have taken the time to honestly and seriously learn.  We are less known then the Mormons or the Masons, and we aren’t a secret society.  The secrets we keep are for self preservation. 
People make this drivel up as they go along, I guess.  However they manage to collect such stupidity, it is trivializing and demeaning to all of us.  For instance, we are not New Age.  We didn’t drop from the sky into their local metaphysical store with bells on our toes and crystals hanging from our nipples to tell them pretty lies with a Tarot Deck.  The Craft of the Wise was a codified, albeit loosely codified religion before the time of Christ.  It is the antecedent faith of the Wicca and the ancient, unwritten and living liturgy of the Goddess.  We are devout practitioners of a profound and sacred tradition – unknown and disrespected though it may be. 
Thus, I tell these odd and ignorant people who are so inclined, that the next time they meet a Witch not to ask her how to get their boyfriend back, or where grandpa stashed the Picasso he is rumored to own, because they will only piss her off. Then she won’t tell them even if she knows.   

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Today is Beltane, Sabbat of the Maiden Goddess in my Tradition. It is a time of love, passion, procreation, bright beginnings. Soon the Maiden Goddess Brigit will become pregnant with a new reality and truth as the Wheel moves into Summer and She becomes the Great Mother Isis - Her wings enfolding the world. Many blessings of this Sabbat, my friends.

Sunday, April 29, 2012


This is  Allium, a flowering plant that has more than 500 species.  The most common flower variety in this part of the country is the deep purple globe.  Her globes range from two to 4”inches in diameter, and she can stand as high as 4’.  I also have a small white Allium which has not yet bloomed.  Since this is the white’s first season, I don’t expect her to get more than a 1’ tall with globes no more than 1 -2” in diameter.
Many of her species have been harvested for eating.  Today the most common are French Shallots, Leeks, Scallions, Garlic and Chives.  I would not advise eating the ornamental Allium. 
Some Allium can be found in Africa and South America; however they are primarily indigenous to the Asian Northern Hemisphere.  Their habitats range from mineral soils that are dry and well drained to moist organic soils.  Some even grow in swamps and forests.  Mine like heat, dry mineral soil, sun and a lot of drainage. 
They are usually grown from bulbs and fill in nicely for a back border or garden divider.  Butterflies like them and as you can see, so do bees.

In the symbolism of flowers Allium represents the Sacred Circle to me.  It has no beginning and no end, as the Goddess has no beginning and no end.  Our evolution under Her tutelage having no beginning or end like the Sacred Circle is part of the foundation of a Witch's mysticism.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Isis' Iris

This is the tall, bearded Iris.  She takes her name from her graceful falls.  Her standards are upright and elegant.  This is a rhizome as opposed to a bulb, that is to say that her roots are large and tuberous spreading out in all directions.  She is generally divided every three to five years to contain her growth.  It is not a good idea to plant the Iris near roses or any other plant whose water and food supply she might interfere with.  

She is sacred to the Goddess Isis, particularly in her blue and purple presentation.  From mid-spring to early summer she blooms prolifically – each year producing more and more blooms.  There is also a variety of Iris that re-blooms in fall.  They will be marked accordingly. 
At Full Moon she is a wonderful addition to the altar during ritual invocation of the Great Mother.  Her fragrance is warm and sensual.  She comes in myriad colors and variations.  In the symbolism of flowers, I believe that the Iris represents the pregnant womb of the Goddess gestating the world, both above and below, seen and unseen. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Homecoming

This is the tall, standard tulip, deep purple running to black.  They stand in perfect formation like sentinels at the gate, surrounded by the Great Crone’s garden in the Northwest corner of my yard.  Almost all of Her Roses in this garden are of deep, rich and dark hues.  In my tradition the Crone is associated with the colors black, enigmatic purple, and hypnotic crimson.  Her stones are moonstone and amethyst. Her flower is the Rose, Her scent patchouli, Her element Earth, Her quadrant North and Her power supreme.  In the words of another belief system She is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.   Moving between the light and the dark She is both midwife and guide to the next world.

Many Celts see Her as the Goddess Ceridwen, Keeper of the Cauldron of  Life and Death from which we all come and into which we all must go.  The Cauldron itself is an early version of the Holy Grail.  I see the Great Crone as Hecate, Goddess of the Dark Side of the Moon and Queen of the Witches.  It matters little.  All Goddess are one Goddess and appear to us as our soul perceives.  This is one of the gifts of the Crone. 

Knowing of this bequest and others when the Goddess was called the Whore of Babylon and banished from the minds of the people, we Pagans remained devout, keeping Her rites and tending Her fires .  We have been waiting a very long time for the world to open its mind again to the blessings of the Sacred Feminine. 

In a small way the promise of Her homecoming is reinforced every year in my garden.  When Winter subsides and the sanctity of floral beauty returns, Her ladies in waiting the Tulips break ground.  The black is the last to arrive and the longest to stay.  Thus, outside of the garden gate these sentinels watch and wait for the first Rose to bloom in the Goddess’ wake.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

In Her Name


          The Rose is the queen of all flowers.  Sacred to the Goddess Hecate, she graces the garden with her scents sweet and subtle, her colors grand and gracious and her textures elaborate and exquisite.  I am privileged to have been given by the Goddess in this lifetime a gardener’s skill.  By Her grace and in Her tribute I tend the Rose as both devotion to my Craft and liturgy for the Old Religion.   What Goddess has taught me, I teach in Her name. 

Many people have asked me about pruning roses.  I am happy to share my knowledge with regard to gardening, and anything else for that matter, with one caveat.  I live on the Eastern Slope of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.  Thus, my experience is geared toward the High Plains.  Gardening is not just a seasonal occupation for many of us, but a regional occupation.  By that I mean, what grows here may not grow where you live at all, or very well or for any length of time.

Speaking as a Master Gardener I believe that it is critical for anyone growing roses to know the following: soil type – acid or alkaline and concentration of organic matter; soil composition – sand, clay, rock and loam content.  If your soil contains clay, what kind of clay?  Drainage in your area.  Roses do not like what is called, “Wet feet.” They require good drainage.

Locate your resources such as the best nurseries and/or University Agricultural Extension in your area.  By the time you have been gardening as long as I have you have probably managed to build a library.  My library is large and covers many species.  If I can help answer questions, don’t hesitate to call upon my resources.

I can’t stress this enough; I buy roses from reputable nurseries and growers.  Here in Colorado roses are stressed in their first season by a soil that is alkaline, climate of hot, dry summers, very cold and often dry winters, not to mention a good chance of transplant shock.  In the second season their roots hit what is called the clay wall.  Amending the soil helps to a point – to a point I say – however the rose is likely to struggle.  If the rose has not been propagated and nurtured properly in my experience it won’t survive.

Having said all of this and turning to the care of the rose, it is my belief that roses should be pruned in Spring; other people will tell you Fall.  It is a matter of philosophy.  To begin with any leaves left from the previous season on the ground or on the rose canes should be totally removed before pruning begins; this is to prevent the spread of disease agents that have overwintered.  Dead canes should be removed all together.  The cane is never pruned – cut – anymore than one third of the way down.  It is cut on a diagonal with a very sharp rose shear.  In some parts of the country the end of the cane should be sealed with a rose stick or water soluble Elmer’s Glue. There is a tiny carpenter bee that likes to burrow into the cane.  If enough of them go deep enough the rose will die.  Again, your local nursery or Agricultural Exchange can tell you about your area insect population.

In addition to the carpenter bee there are a number of insects and diseases that plague these lovely plants.  Infestations of thrips, spider mites and aphids are common on the Plains.  Rose diseases in their most virulent form are often caused by fungi.  These fungal agents vary from area to area depending upon temperature and moisture.  Three of the most common diseases are Rust, Black Spot and Powdery Mildew.  They appear on leaves and canes.  Although they may not kill the rose they can disfigure and act as serious stressors on a plant trying to survive a blazing summer, an insect infestation or going into a hard winter.

Conventional wisdom holds that watering roses overhead is the prime causes of fungus, along with excessive rain and humidity. While it is recommended that roses be watered at their base, people with large or mature landscapes and many roses might not be able to do this.  Rule of thumb has always been that overhead watering should be done in the morning – not the evening.  Allowing the leaves to dry in the sun will cut down the incidents of fungal diseases.  Infected leaves should be cut from the plant immediately.   However, new thinking is that good pruning; plenty of airflow within the garden, conscious selection of resistant rose varieties, vigilant monitoring and prompt action when problems are seen will decrease the incidents and severity of infection, watering practices notwithstanding.  Watering in the morning is still recommended if overhead watering is necessary.  Again, infected leaves should be removed.

In addition to newer and ever more resistant rose varieties, gardeners – whether organic or inorganic – have a panoply of ways to deal with the pests and fungal diseases of roses.  If you are an organic gardener you might want to speak to the University Agricultural Extension or gardening center professionals in your area for ideas on how best to deal with insect infestation and fungi.  If you are an inorganic gardener you can chose a spray insecticide or fungicide or use a systemic.  I don’t ever recommend sprays.  The systemic preparations are administered at the base of the rose four to six times a season.  The gardening professionals in your local nursery will be of great help in deciding which is best for you.

Feeding roses in Colorado means compensating for a number of things.  We have an alkaline soil, little organic matter, cold often dry  winters and hot dry summers.  All of these things are stressors.  Amending the soil helps over the long haul, however most of the nutrients in Colorado’s soil are not in a form the rose can take up readily.  I use Bayer’s All in One systemic feed, insecticide and fungicide.  I never spray anything in my gardens unless absolutely necessary.  Bayer’s is applied at the base of the rose every four weeks starting in April and ending mid August.  It can be applied in granules or liquid.  Every spring and fall I apply Bone Meal granules for phosphorus to facilitate blooming.  Meal is taken up slowly and works its way through the soil over a period of months.  When you apply feed, insect or fungus control systemically you are feeding from the root, and creating insect and disease resistance as opposed to the spray foliar feeding and anti insect and fungus preparation that act topically and can harm the environment. 

There is a hygiene to gardening, most definitely when dealing with diseased plants.  Keep hands, tools, gloves and clothes clean.  After working with an infected rose wash your hands and tools with antibacterial soap and rinse with warm water and rubbing alcohol.  Empty clippings from a diseased rose out of your gardening basket or can before approaching any other rose in the garden.

Rose beds should be laid out in such a way as to give roses plenty of space and airflow.  Not only does this reduce the incidence of fungal diseases but it lessens contamination from one rose to another.


It is generally held that roses first appeared in prehistoric times, exclusively above the equator in the northern hemisphere.  We are not talking about the complex beauty with many petals growing in your yard today.   Instead, the early rose was much like the wild rose – flat in design with a single layer of petals resting above the sepals or the slender pointed leaves that contain the bud and open out as the rose blooms. 

Clearly, it is beyond the scope of this discussion to elucidate the history of the rose.  Suffice it to say that they have been admired for their delicate beauty and sweet scent, coveted, fought over, immortalized, researched, grown, groomed and hybridized for as long as there have been rose lovers.  Today there is a bewildering array of types.  It behooves anyone interested in acquiring a rose or starting a rose garden to know something about the various types of roses. What follows is a list and brief description of some of the most common. 

Miniature Roses many of which are very small, seldom above thirty inches tall and are excellent for containers, lining a walkway or garden.  The true miniature rose is perfect for the patio garden.  Other roses of this type are miniature only with regard to their leaves and flowers.  They can become quite tall.  A word of caution here – make sure you know which one you are buying.

 Species Rose, Wild Roses and their Hybrids are extremely hardy.  They are old roses – some call them the original roses – and are often of the climber or large landscape variety.  The flat petal structure is generally the rule.

Hybrid Tea Roses are the most fashionable garden roses and range from about three to five feet tall depending upon sun exposure.  This rose is greatly admired for its pallet of stunning colors, wonderful fragrances and gracefully symmetrical flowers.  The hybrid tea frequently produces one lovely rose on each stem.

Grandifloras are more robust than a hybrid tea.  They can stand well over six feet tall.  Their blooms can show as clusters of large to medium size roses on one stem. This rose is produced by crossing a floribunda with a hybrid tea.

Floribundas are exceptionally hardy roses with the ability to adapt too many soil types and temperature variables.  This rose produces a great number of flowers, in thick clusters.  They re-bloom much of the season.  They are not as fragrant as the Grandiflora or the Hybrid Tea.  They reach about 2-4’ in height – although some can get taller. They are dense in structure.

Mini-Floras fall between Miniatures and Floribundas with regard to blooms and foliage of intermediate size.  Since 1999 when the American Rose Society identified this species many lovely varieties of this rose have been developed.  This is a great rose for people who don’t have a lot of space, but want a rose garden.

Landscapes are large – up to five feet tall – disease resistant and extremely hardy in most climates.  They are prolific, all season bloomers.  This is the best rose for a beginning rose gardener. 

Climbing Roses do not climb – they have no way to climb.  They lack tendrils and can’t twine.  Climbing roses simply have incredibly healthy growth habits.  They just grow into things with their stiff - even woody - canes, grabbing on with their thorns.  They show blooms singularly and in clusters.  Most of them bloom all season, however, know what you are buying.  Some climbers often called Antique or Victorian only bloom once a season.

 Plan your rose space before purchasing the rose.  For instance, how large will the space be, and what companion plants will share the space if any.  Talk to the gardening professionals in your area about soil type, water requirements, best over winter performance and disease resistance of the roses available to you.  Not all roses are hardy in all areas.  As with any gardening project, plant the rose where it belongs.  Roses require at least six hours of sun per day.  The optimal exposure is eastern and southern sun here in Colorado.  Western sun burns the delicate tissue of the rose bloom.

There is no trick or great difficulty to growing roses.  Respect them – give them the sun, the space and the care they need.  They will repay you a hundred fold.

All roses have names – given to them by their growers.  The rose featured here is Cary Grant, as elegant and beautiful as its namesake. 

Type:  Very Large Hybrid Tea
Color:  Bright orange blended with copper & gold
Height/Habit:  Medium-tall/Slightly spreading
Bloom/Size:  Large, very full
Petal Count:  35 to 40
Fragrance:  Medium strong spicy
Hybridizer:  Meilland-1987 (Grower and year created)
Parentage:  (Pharaoh x Konigin der Rosen)
x seedling
Long period from bud to bloom.  Long lasting.  Glossy dark green foliage.  Color deepens in fall.

Monday, April 9, 2012


The Goddess Brigit emerges from the shadow of winter. She carries Her water jug as if to dip it into a well. All wells are sacred to Brigit. They are openings in the body of the Great Goddess, Gaia, from which we take Her blood the water that sustains our life.

Brigit is the Lady of the Sacred Flame – the light of creativity and inspiration. She at once creates the flowers and inspires them to bloom. Beside Her stand the Fae tending the tiny Forget-Me-Not plants at Her feet. The blue of their miniature flowers is the clear blue of an April sky. The green of their foliage is the sweet color of new life. They will pass through the seasons, flowers fading and leaves dying back, only to emerge once again in the light of Goddess’ inspiration.

Witches know nothing about angry, warring Gods. We only know the Goddess and the magic cycles of Her life which are the cycles of our own. From Spring to Spring we are one. As Brigit is one with Gaia, so we are one with each other. Blessed Be.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Goddess' Sweet Columbine

This is the Columbine – in her true blue presentation she is Colorado’s state flower. She is high born, gracefully cascading down the slopes of the Mighty Rocky Mountains in a radiant stream of sunlit elegance. This little lady stands in tribute to endurance and charm. Grown in some of the coldest regions of the our mountain range, she can tolerate a late freeze or snow. If you plant a bed with different shades of Columbine they will cross pollinate, and the next season you will discover that they appear varied in subtle and lovely ways.

Native to the rocky earth of Colorado’s High Country they aren’t particular about soil. I do amend my soil every season with organic compost to steel them against the one thing they won’t experience in a cool and often rainy Rocky Mountain spring – heat. Sunday at the beginning of April it was 84 degrees here on the Eastern Slope. Today it is snowing and 32 degrees, yet my little Columbines stand like sentinels armored in lace and looking skyward for a break in the clouds. Nonetheless, transitioning between a very cold winter and an early summer will stress plants, particularly the wild flower.

Columbine likes her water. I water her as often as I water the Rose. In the two to three weeks of triple digit heat in a Colorado summer I see to her watering more often.

Even though they can be bought bear root, they are usually grown from seeds or starter plants, and spread through broadcasting. Columbine’s roots are neither invasive nor destructively tuberous so she can be grown near other plants and will not disturb their food and water supply.

It has been my experience that her preferred companion plants are the Agastache, some species also indigenous to Colorado, and the Lily. Because of the many, many colors of Agastache it can be chosen to compliment Columbine’s hues and multiplicity of hues.

It is generally believed that the Columbine is a spring bloomer – sun to partial shade – this information is found on bags of dry root, seed packets and with containers of starter plants. These instructions do generally refer to life in the wild as opposed to closer and more meticulous care in a garden. My Columbines live in the sun, with only evening shade, and with proper deadheading, watering and feed they bloom well into mid-summer.

The Columbines featured here are planted in the Goddess' Fairy Garden. It is a large garden and populated with many leafy plants and intricate blooms. Thus, providing shade to rest in, places to hide, and in the case of the gentle depressions in the Columbine’s uppermost petals, a bed. Fairies are the most powerfully magical entities of all, save the Goddess Herself. In a world devoid even of common sense, it is a great comfort to know that the Little Ones, of sterling character and impeccable moral standards, are working beside you in the garden.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sweet Soft Summer

Soon the rose will materialize, her luscious fragrance drifting in with the honeyed sun that warms the Earth. Under the crystal blue sky a symphony of perennial hues and scents will complement the rose in pure natural harmony. Now is the beginning of the best of all possible times for those of us who have the privilege of and are dedicated to tending the Goddess’ gardens.

A true gardener laments the coming of Autumn - the first song of Winter - just a little. The fading of the last mum is like the loss of a rare and beautiful love. Even though the rose and her companions will return in streams of color and joy from spring to summer, they are deeply missed at the evening of the year, through its midnight and into the dawn of the next.

When I was a child my father, the finest gardener I have ever known, told me that Heaven's seasons are the opposite of ours. When the pale gown of Winter covers the Earth the souls of all the flowers bloom above to delight the saints. My father and I did not share a faith – born as I was to the Craft – but we shared an understanding of the inestimable spiritual significance of the flower.

Close your eyes now, and your spirit will sense and smell them coming.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Goddess and the Iris

Goddess’ early show of tiny Iris make sweet patches of bright color on a nearly barren landscape. As Mother Hecate steps across the sunset stained Western horizon, trailing her winter gown of lacy snow behind Her, Brigit glows in the East with the sunrise. This little Iris sings at once “so-long” and “welcome.”

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Walking with the Crone

Menopause, the final phase of womanhood has been mischaracterized, misdiagnosed, mistreated and misunderstood for centuries. Long held to be an inevitable feminine pathology by a misogynistic medical community, the greatest impact of the process was seen in my mother’s day to be upon the male partner of the menopausal female. After all, hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats, and most importantly loss of libido was, and in some ways still is, perceived to be a terrible ordeal for men living with women living with menopause.

The research that was never done before on this exclusively feminine experience has suddenly in the last decade or so begun to lurch forward with all the apparent precision and deliberation of an L.A. car chase. Women are inundated with myriad herbal preparations, questionable science and conflicting medical information. There even appears to be a Viagra for women. All of this is touted to get women painlessly and youthfully though the Change of Life, as my mother’s generation euphemistically called it.

Notwithstanding all of this, no one seems interested in knowing the nature of the change beyond its physical ramifications. What beside the loss of skin contractility, joint mobility, the gaining of weight and increased risk of breast and colon cancer should concern women as they ride the tide of menopause? Some Pagans believe that menopause is a time of deep spiritual awakening. Perhaps one of the reasons that the phenomenon of menopause has been so hideously ignored and treated as disease by men and women alike is that the spiritual aspects have never been considered a matter of public discourse.

In the Old Religion, Witchcraft, as in many other Pagan groups the phases of a woman’s life are seen to progress through Maidenhood (childhood and adolescence), Motherhood (the child bearing years) and Cronehood (the years following menopause). These phases are analogous to the waxing, full and waning moon and to the aspects of the Goddess - Maiden, Mother and Crone.

The Crone is the wise woman, the grandmother in some traditions. She is midwife, healer, and fearless in the face of death. Her profound and ever evolving wisdom gives her a grace and dignity that transcends youth and physical beauty. Her rich intuition and deep understanding of others makes her leader and follower, queen and commoner, Goddess and worshiper. She understands the paradox because she dwells close to the source and is free of infantile sexual politics and petty social concerns.

This blessed state cannot be bought, sold, taken or given away. One is not born with this beauty of mind and spirit – it must be earned. This is the product of life and experience, because you cannot be where you have never been. Finally, this is a great cause for celebration.

When a woman puts on the black and purple at the time of her Croning she is acknowledging the privilege of owning her womanhood. She holds her hands up to the Divinity of her heart and whispers a prayer of thanks for all she has been, all she is and all she will be. This is true power and a far cry from disease.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Early Spring Show

First little Iris of the season. She is true-blue and gold. Not more then two inches tall and two inches across her flower head, this little lady will flower in the snow if need be. She is a bulb and makes a wonderful tiny boarder plant for first season show.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


Come spring Fae ask softly of their dear Mother Earth,
“In the honeyed sun open your womb and give birth,
To stunning perennials and the blossoms of trees,
Beauties with sweet, velvet scent to drift on the breeze.”

The flower featured is the Spring Crocus. It is the Fall Crocus that has saffron on its stamen. Of course you would have to fill Yankee Stadium to get enough of that spice to flavor your rice. But hey, the Goddess is judicious in all things.

Friday, March 2, 2012

In Honor of the Great Goddess

I have walked with Hecate for twenty year, since my Croning at age 40. She is the Queen of the Witches, Goddess of the Dark Side of the Moon, Midwife at our temporal beginning and the Guide through the Veil at the end of our life. She holds the torch at our crossroads so that we may choose our path. Can She be dark, of course. Will Her Witches follow Her into the dark when the highest of magic is to be practiced, of course. The dark is just the dark, what the practitioner brings into the dark defines the properties of the magic practiced there. Dark is as necessary to light as left is to right, as sunset is to dawn and as color is to white. There is nothing in the dark but our conscience and our shadow.

The Flight of the Crone

In the cool, still, velvety night,
By the dark of the moon in silver starlight,
The Crone raises Her cloak and takes to flight.

High above the slumbering, shadowy ground,
She sores through the trees without a sound,
For company a raven and a three-headed hound.

In a voice deep as darkness She begins to sing,
Ancient words of power with solemnity ring,
I am the Goddess; I am Magic on the Wing.

© The Herban Goddess, 2005

Sunday, February 19, 2012

An Article of Faith

I have met a number of people recently, online, who laugh at my religious beliefs. They tell me that my faith is a childish superstition. It is amazing to me that some people can base their judgments and assessments of others on a handful of old books of dubious authorship and questionable historic authority and not see the irony of doing so. I have said before, I will say again, I thank Goddess every day I was born Pagan. We do not burden our souls, our loved ones or those we meet with unfounded allegations or pejorative verdicts. If you are a Christian, I am happy for you if it brings you joy. If you are a Jew, I rejoice in the comfort your religion offers you. If you are a Muslim, I celebrate your courage in following a faith that is much maligned – as is mine. Indeed, whatever religion you follow I offer you a hand of friendship, tolerance and compassion. Thus, is one of the central tenants of my “childish superstition.”