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

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Herbal Tea by Verda Smedley

Herbal Tea Where would we be without herbal tea? In the list of possible combinations that follows you will see many of the herbs and flowers we have already discussed as companion plants to your vegetables and all of those beneficial insects. For those of you who haven’t tried making tea beyond the use of commercially prepared tea bags I can assure you it is easy. Simply take 2 Tablespoons of fresh herbs or 1 Tablespoon of dried herbs (in any combination) and put them in a cup or a little basket infuser placed inside a cup. Then simply pour boiling water over the herbs and allow them to steep for 5 minutes. For a larger amount  vt of tea like a four-cup pot add one extra portion of herbs. Note that if you like to add milk to your tea and the herbal combination includes citrus or tart, acidic berries, the milk will probably curdle.
Chamomile and Apple Mint
Peppermint and Ginger
Basil, Lemon Verbena, and Thyme
Chamomile and Valerian
Elderberry, Rose Hips, and Bay
Chicory, Ginseng, and Cinnamon
Fennel and Goldenrod
Jasmine, Orange Peel, and Sage
Horehound and Chamomile
Nettle, Ginger, and Hyssop
Rose Petals, Rose Hips, and Raspberry Leaf
Lemon Grass, Rosemary, and Thyme
Thyme, Sassafras, and Strawberry Leaf
Savory, Lemon Grass, and Scented Geranium
Blueberry Leaf, Beebalm, and Ginger
Lemon Verbena, and Borage
Anise, Chamomile, and Costmary
Angelica, Clove, Orange Peel, and Nutmeg
Marjoram, Anise, and Lemon Verbena
Spearmint, Elderberry, and Lemon Balm
Please consider picking up a copy of the Complete Book of Herbs by Leslie Bremness. That book is a must-have for all things herbal and remains after many years one of my favorites. Some of these tea combos can be found in her book along with countless other recipes and formulas.

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Delicate Dance of Balance by Verda Smedley

We are very happy to welcome a new contributor, Verda Smedley.  This is her first post and it is wonderful. BC

The Delicate Dance of Balance

No matter what harmonic epithet might resonate with our soul, Shaman, Priest/ess or Witch, I have found that the craft holds no hope of perfection without intimate knowledge of our Earth’s mysteries. Therein lies true magic, a gift from the Mother of Creation and handled deftly by the most ancient of mankind.
What we call geology was not an armchair feature in the ancient world. Soil was born out of volcanic or oceanic events. Tectonic plates created mountains, gorges, seismic eruptions and rogue waves. Wind and water sculpted ravines and breathtaking formations, moving both seed and soil. Trickles cut paths that led to rushing rivers carving out extraordinary canyons. Those that lived harmoniously in the natural world had an inherent understanding of the continual, cyclical forces of Creation and destruction. Ritual intent demonstrated love and respect for those forces. There was no attempt to change or control them, only sacrificial appeasement and honor shown to the awesomeness. If the ocean grew fierce, for example, it was better to simply move away allowing it the freedom and privacy to have its own rituals or fulfill its own mystical purposes.
Our planet is the very seat on the sacred elements of earth, water, wind, and fire, the heart and soul of our Mother’s Creation. The bones of our ancestors were put to rest at Her breast. They became particles of soil and lived on in the trees that took root in their ancient bodies. The dust of our ancestral beginnings was carried by the wind, washed into global waters, or lifted into the air as great, fiery ashes. The Ancient Ones understood the beauty of these mysteries and the extraordinary magic that emerged from that knowledge.
I realized that before I could appropriately handle any given species of plant, whether as smoke or steam, prayer bundle or medicine bag, I had to know in my own bones the sacrosanct world in which that species grew. I began to understand that each lived outs it life a midst a wide range of companion plants unique to the habitat in which they could be found. Understanding their relationship to each other and the specialized environment in which they thrived struck me as the ultimate form of sympathetic or companion magic.
When I began my quest for knowledge I was convinced that every ecosystem in which a people evolved or settled was complete for their needs of food, clothing, shelter, medicine and spirituality; even the least diverse, the acidic habitats didn’t disappoint me. I have since established all of my study of plants by the guidelines of specific ecological habitats.
Not all forests are found in mountains or are all mountains forested, especially above the snowline where only alpine species can be found. Acidic woods and mountains can also contain areas of wet bogs and moors or drier areas of heathland. Distinctions can be drawn between all three although all can be found in acidic woods and mountains. Soil found in these forests is composed primarily of old, decomposed rock such as granite (pH 3.5 or less). Pronounced drainage and poor nutrient quality limits the species tolerant of this range but some familiar favorites can be found there such as oak (Quercus), holly (Ilex), hawthorn (Crataegus), birch (Betula), pine (Pinus) and dogwood (Cornus), among many others.
Bogs are exceedingly wet and generally waterlogged. Moors can be thought of as raised drier areas within bogs. Waterlogged material does not readily decompose because of the lack of oxygen and single-celled organisms needed for that process. The accumulation of material eventually becomes sphagnum.
Heathland is composed of dry, highly acidic soil, primarily peat. Sweetgale (Myrica), violet (Viola), buckthorn (Rhamnus), and woodruff (Gallium) are at home in boggy areas. The Heathland is home to familiars such as gorse (Ulex), ragwort (Senecio) and yarrow (Achillea).
The lime-rich soil (about pH 7) of alkaline woods and mountains is extremely nutritious and affords tremendous diversity. It can also contain areas of chalk grasslands as well as fens and marshy meadows. The alkaline forest is home to ash (Fraxinus), alder (Alnus), blackthorn (Prunus) and yew (Taxus) among countless others.
We can find columbine (Aquilegia), angelica (Angelica), speedwell (Veronica) and sweetgrass (Catabrosa) in fens and marshy meadows, the wet areas of the alkaline range. Fens like bogs are constantly wet. However, marshy meadows might only be seasonally wet because of spring thaws and rainy seasons. Grasslands are the great, sweeping meadows of the alkaline range and home to amazing species such as thistle (Onopordum), boarweed (Heracleum), mayweed (Matricaria) and wormwood (Artemisia).
The coast is composed of several systems within the larger ecology simply referred to as the coast. One can find grasslands as well as salt marshes there. Beaches can lay down sand or scree. Different species grow in each. The division of systems is based on the amount of time each day an area is submerged and the consequent determination of the species that can be found in each. Tidal rivers dump into bays and oceans. The banks and deltas of these where salt and fresh water mingle daily afford additional unique habitats. The coast is home to varieties such as goldenrod (Solidago), rose (Rosa), nightshade (Solanum), marshmallow (Althaea) and countless others.
Each species handled in ritual magic comes from a highly specific habitat and brings the secrets of that world to ceremonies, whether we realize it or not. That is my belief and why I have spent decades studying the idiosyncrasies of these secret worlds in order grasp the true nature of the mystery being invoked.
Every spiritual practice from Paleo-Paganism through Neo-Paganism already holds in its hands the keys to living harmoniously within life on our Earth. Those keys are love and acceptance of an older, more complete and perfect world. But that world can no longer be understood without the help of science if we want to re-discover the magic with which our ancestor’s lives was saturated. We recognize the sacredness of sites such as Stonehenge but we forget to factor in the extraordinance of the landscape around it as the source of mystery that compelled the ancients to choose the spot in which it was erected. They knew that environment better than their own souls, every plant, particle of soil, rock and ley line of it. Every feature of ancient life was tied to encyclopedic knowledge of the Earth, out of which emerged ritual magic. If we are to reconstruct Paganism we must begin with knowledge of the Earth, our Mother where all mystery and magic waits for us.

Colorado Shakespeare Gardens

This Week America Went to Church by Peno Hardesty

and so this week america went to church---we sang amazing grace with president obama---we were baptized in the blood and in the tears of history--we were confirmed in the rainbow of love----some of us will buy a tee shirt or a mug and get back to our lives--some of us will say i don't watch the news too depressing---some of us will take a step forward--each in our own way in our own place and try to join with others to make the world better for all--knowing that there will be more tears and more blood and steep hills to climb-
all of us experienced something in America this week--
nine dead
nine justices
come--we choose now

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Colorado Shakespeare Gardens by Barbara Carvallo

I don't usually post pictures of myself.  I have said before that when the Goddess handed out looks, I thought She said books and went to the library to read Woolf and Firestone.  However, I am very proud of my association with the Colorado Shakespeare Gardens; not just because I love Shakespeare, but because I love the people I have met and the beautiful flowers I have the honor of helping to tend. Happy Sunday from Colorado.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Pollen Trail by Jackie B. Steele

Good Morning,
From my heart to yours,
On the Pollen Trail this day,
i am co-creating with the Beautiful Plant peoples,
Mother Earth, Grandmother Moon & Grandfather Sun, and entities unmentioned..
I Love you all....
Red Rugosa Rosa Flower essence & Stinging Nettle flower essence
The Northern Lights were the best I have seen in a decade, in the wee hours,
Must have been one beautiful Solar Storm...
Magick lights dancing...

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Goddess of Summer

At the Solstice the Goddess of Summer opens Her arms with the tender unfolding of the rose.  She breaths Her love to the world in sweet scent on the gentle breeze. 

This is Tropicana, known in Europe as Superstar.  She is large and very hardy.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Goddess by Barbara Carvallo

Goddess of Spring withdraws with the last golden dawn of Her season.  Goddess of Summer, the Great Mother, arrives with the rich glow of the first warm and balmy morning sun.  Not bound by calendars, She will remain until the Crone, Hecate, appears dressed in ebony and purple to herald in the end of harvest time and the coming Winter. 

In Autumn Mother dresses Herself in rusty reds and burnished earth tones to signal the time of gathering; but in Summer She wears the many exciting and exotic colors of the Rose, the Blacked-Eyed-Susan, the Phlox, the Day Lily and her late blooming cousin the Asiatic, the Agastache, the Delphinium, the Gaillardia, the Poppy Mallow, the flowering herbs and more. 

The Viola and the Pansy whisper Her many names with sweet breath and loving care.   Her magick is in the air swelling steadily as the hands of the clock turn sunup to sunup.  At night under the silver moon, and particularly when it is full, the Witches gather to make Her Craft and Holy Will manifest.  We are the protectors and stewards of Her Earth and all Her creatures.  Blessed Be.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Beautiful Moon by Peno Hardesty

beautiful moon---lost in myself I carried feed to the old horse and pig---suddenly--there it was above the trees---beautiful moon----no longer lost in myself I shared the moment with others--continents away perhaps--under the same beautiful moon----I am grateful for the company--for the humanity---for the moon----blessings

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Juno by Jackie B. Steele

"Blessed Be his light & The source from where it came"
My Beloved Juno, we just planted him nestled with sage and sweetgrass in the Warmth of our Mother Earth. He was my Friend, family, and protector, the last of my pack. Saying goodbye to his pain, and fears, Run & Play my Shimoka Dog who Dreamed he was a white wolf. 

I will miss him and my pack. Life goes on....

First Roses and Friends by Barbara Carvallo

We still have a while before the Solstice and the beginning of Summer, yet roses are beginning to show. Feature here is Rainbows End and Tiddly Winks in company with the Wild Poppy and the lovely Mediterranean Bells.