Hyacinth Tincture

“If of thy mortal goods thou art bereft,
And from thy slender store two loaves alone to thee are left,
Sell one, and with the dole,
Buy hyacinths to feed thy soul.” –James Terry White (1907), Not by Bread Alone

According to ancient Roman mythology, Hyacinth was a beautiful young man. This mortal was the faithful lover of the god Apollo. As usual, the pantheon of gods was rife with jealously. No one was more envious of their relationship than the West Wind, Zephyr. Enjoying the company of one another, Apollo and Hyacinth started a game of discus. Hyacinth ran to catch the discus, as any fool-hearty lover might to impress their significant other. Zephyr blew Apollo’s discus off course, which mortally wounded the young man. Apollo rushed to his love, denying Pluto claim to the boy’s soul. Instead, Apollo crafted a flower, the hyacinth, from the spilled blood. His tears stained the flower’s petals as sign of his grief. Despite this tragic origin, the hyacinth has often been associated with playfulness, games, and recreation: a reminder of Hyacinth’s impish nature.CBnCuDjUAAAONtB

Today, I thought it appropriate to write a blog post about a Hyacinth tincture I made a few weeks ago and completed today. A tincture is a concentrated liquid form of an herb or flower (similar to a cooking extract). Tinctures preserve the properties of the herb, while also making them last longer! In fact, alcohol based tinctures have a shelf life of several years. Most tinctures can be used both externally and orally. Always keep in mind, however, to fully research a flower or herb’s toxicity prior to use. I encourage you to try making your own tinctures, as they are very inexpensive (compared to store bought)! They are great for medicinal or ritual purposes. For example, the pink hyacinth flowers I used for my tincture will help in any spells pertaining to recreation or playfulness. Who doesn’t need a little fun in their lives every once in a while?

Below, I have outline the method I find most useful for the process!


 Supplies:

-A clean glass jar with a lid

-Consumable 80 proof alcohol (I use vodka)

-Herb/flower of choice (dried or fresh)

Most tinctures have an alcohol base, as it makes them last longer. You can use vodka, rum: really any alcohol except isopropyl! Tinctures can also be made with a glycerine, vinegar, or honey base, but we can leave that for another instructional post.

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Fill the jar 3/4 full with the herbs. Do not pack down, movement is necessary!

Fill the jar with alcohol and stir with a clean spoon.

Put the lid on the jar (I use a pickling jar to seal in freshness!). Store the jar in a cool/dry place, shaking daily for at least three weeks. Optimally, store for six weeks.

Strain through a cheesecloth. Store the tincture in a clean glass jar.

NOTE: Alcohol evaporates, so check regularly to make sure the herbs are always completely submerged. Similarly, try not to open the jar often—this could increase the risk of introducing bacteria which can result in mold or fermentation.CBnCvzdUIAAiG0V

If you replicate this recipe with the hyacinth, I would not recommend taking this tincture orally. This flower is sometimes confused with hibiscus which is edible. Many parts of the hyacinth, on the other hand, are poisonous. Although I have not found any warnings against the consumption of the flowers, I would not suggest it. Instead, use this tincture as a perfume.

Pax et Bonum,
Meadow

Color Magick

“The tulip is, among flowers, what the peacock is among birds. A tulip lacks scent, a peacock has an unpleasant voice. The one takes pride in its garb, the other in its tail.” -French Proverb

For centuries, tulips splattered color across the fields of Persia and Turkey. These flowers were the inspiration for noble and elegant art pieces across Asia and Europe. Europeans mistakenly gave tulips their name, from the Turkish tradition of wearing tulips in the turban. Tulip = Turban? Not too far a stretch! The flower’s popularity spread quickly during the 17th century, particularly in the Netherlands. Tulips are now grown throughout the world, but most people still identify cultivated varieties as common “Dutch tulips.”

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The symbolic meaning of tulips is generally means “a perfect love.” Very befitting as a live Valentine’s Day gift! Like many flowers, different colors carry their own significance. Red tulips strongly associated with true love, while purple represents royalty. Yellow tulips once are now a common expression for cheerful thoughts and playful love. White tulips can send a message of forgiveness and variegated tulips, once among the most popular varieties, mean “You have beautiful eyes.” While it is easy to go on forever assigning symbolic meaning to flowers, it may suffice to move on to the significance of color magick.

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NaturalCarisma Blogspot

With any sort of flower, you can use the different colored variations in color magick. With tulips, for example, a witch can use a dark strain such as “Queen of the Night” for full moon rituals or bright red or pink flowers for spells to increase passion.

Adding color to your altar is simple. You can use clothing, altar cloths, candles, or flowers in colors associated with the intent of your spell or ritual. Some witches even write their spells using special ink or colored pencils with a corresponding color palate. Below is a small reference table of colors and their meanings. TheMagickalCat has a splendid article for color correspondences. I have included their table for your use when gathering/working with the natural world.

Black: Grounding, wisdom, learning, protection, safety, reversing, uncrossing, unhexing, repelling black magick, banishing negativity, releasing, shapeshifting, defense, scrying, pride.

Blue: Communication, will power, focus, forgiveness, good fortune, weight loss, truth, fidelity, patience, domestic harmony, organization, removing bad vibrations, sincerity, astral projection, water element.

Brown: House blessing, animal/pet magick, earth magick, concentration, material goods, stability, locating lost objects, earth element, real estate, construction, food, financial crisis.

Copper: Business success, passion, money, fertility, career growth.

Gold: Masculine divinity, great fortune, abundance, prosperity, male energy, understanding, divination, fast luck, solar/sun energy, positive attitude, justice, health, attraction, luxury.

Gray: Loneliness, glamour, contemplation, removing negative influence.

Green: Prosperity, abundance, money, physical & emotional healing, growth, luck, marriage, tree/plant magick, acceptance, weather, counteract envy/greed/jealousy.

Andy Small Fine Art Photography

Indigo: Spiritual guidance, psychic ability, stop gossip/lies, dignity, divination, meditation, ambition, overcome depression.

Lavender: Knowledge, intuition.

Light Blue: Spirituality, tranquility, peace, protection.

Orange: Creativity, self-expression, intellectual matters, overcoming addiction, legal matters/justice, joy, business success, ambition, vitality, fun, action, opportunity, celebration, investments.

Pink: Love, compassion, nurturing, femininity, friendship, romance, partnership, spiritual & emotional healing, protection of children, domestic harmony, self-improvement, maturity.

Purple: Wisdom, influence, spiritual power, contact with spirits, drive away evil, change luck, independence, government, break habit.

Red: Passion, vitality, strength, survival, fertility, courage, sexual potency, mercy, action, danger, war, fire element, conflict, sports, independence, assertiveness, competition.

Silver: Feminine divinity, stability, psychic awareness, intuition, dreams, victory, meditation, communication, moon magick, gambling luck.

Violet: Spirituality, connection to higher self, Goddess, insight, clarity, tension.

White: All purpose, unity, purity, cleansing, peace, balance, spirituality, healing, innocence, rain, magick involving young children, truth, consecration, balancing the aura.

Yellow: Pleasure, success, happiness, learning, memory, concentration, persuasion, inspiration, imagination, solar magick, charm, confidence, air element, travel, flexibility.

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Unknown Photographer (Pinterest)

Color has an effect on our brains and it can produce raw emotion. It can affect an individual’s mood and stimulate even awareness. That said, it is comes as no surprise that color has been used in modern medical, psychiatric, and educational practices. The ancients practiced forms of color magick that many of us are familiar with today. To be successful with this type of magick, keep this in mind: Colors used for spell work should evoke a unique inner response. Each response can be different and vary from person to person. Thus, colors must have meaning to the person using them, in order for color magick to really work. Experiment and see what works for you! If you have worked with color magic or have further questions regarding the topic, please leave your responses in the comment section below.

Pax et Bonum,

Meadow


See more at:
http://www.themagickalcat.com/Articles.asp?ID=241#ixzz3RkM3nigm
http://www.proflowers.com/blog/history-and-meaning-of-tulip
http://www.angelfire.com/la/redwitch1/colors.html

The Morning Star of Flowers

“And thus the snowdrop, like the bow
That spans the cloudy sky,
Becomes a symbol whence we know
That brighter days are nigh.” –George Wilson

In the midst of a silent Winter, the land sleeps. Blankets of snow cover the ground and the nights grow longer. For months, the world passes by in uneven shades of black and white. A day arrives when man begins to forget the gentler days of warmth. Doubt convinces him that Spring has abandoned the land. It is in this bleak moment, the snowdrop suddenly blooms.

Snowdrop flower scientific illustration by Ravendark Creations

In 1753, Carl Linnaeus scientifically classified the snowdrop as Galanthus nivalis. Galanthus is from the Greek words gala, meaning “milk,” and anthos, meaning “flower.” The following word nivalis means “of the snow,” thus roughly translates into English as “milk flower of the snow.” This small bulb plant, dark green and white, symbolizes Spring’s arrival, new hope, and lasting endurance. While this blog post is primarily interested in the magickal properties of the snowdrop, it is always worthwhile to explore a plant’s origins and folklore.

One Christian folk myth, entitled “How the Snowdrop Became,” illustrates how the snowdrop became a symbol of hope and endurance. The tale is describes how an angel turned falling snowflakes into snowdrop flowers to give Adam and Eve as a sign of hope before evicting them from the Garden of Eden.

Another legend, from Romania, takes a different approach to the flower’s origins. The myth coincides with the Spring celebration known as Mărțișor. The story has been shared through generations and changed over time, but the common tale as told today follows:

“Long ago, when the Sun appeared each year to warm the earth in the form of a beautiful young girl, the people loved her dearly and looked forward to her appearance with joy. When she stepped onto the earth, birds began to sing and roots stirred under the ground. One year however, the monster of Winter, known as a Zmeu, lay in wait for the young Sun and took her prisoner. No ray of brightness could escape from the thick, stone walls of his castle dungeon. That year, Winter did not lose his iron grip on the soil, the earth stood hard and grey and the people suffered. A young Hero, who loved the Sun dearly and saw the plight that the earth would face without her, set out to sort out the Zmeu and lured it from its castle walls. The two fought bitterly and the Hero managed to set the Sun free. He warmed himself with her kiss as she rose into the sky and the icy winds became Spring breezes. But the poor Hero was grievously wounded and despite the Sun’s warmth, he fell to the ground. Each drop of blood as it fell, melted the snow beneath him and the first snowdrops began to grow, opening their white petals as the Sun reached her zenith.”

In modern times, it is still a tradition at the Mârtisor Festival, for women to receive charms with red and white threads. Sometimes with tiny red and white dolls attached. If this red and white practice of dolls, snowdrops, and spring all seems vaguely familiar to some readers, perhaps it is not too far a stretch to link Mârtisor with the Wiccan sabbat, Imbolc.

Photo by Unknown Artist

A sign of spring in Europe and the Americas, snowdrops can form expansive carpets of white. These displays attract enormous crowds of sightseers to gardens and festivals. The most notable modern event concerning snowdrops is Scotland’s Snowdrop Festival, which is held for weeks on end between February and March. Such a little flower can fascinate millions of people worldwide for generations. This brings me to a very serious point.  A few wild snowdrop species are threatened by loss of habitat and human consumption. Please do not needlessly pick the flowers! If you must use a plant’s magickal properties for spellwork, always ask for the plant’s permission. Talk to your blossoming neighbors and show them the respect any innocent deserves. Instead of cutting flowers and putting them in a vase, plant them in the yard or a container. Below is a brief introduction to the planting and care of snowdrops. If you have additional questions or comments on this plant, leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Planting Instructions for Snowdrops:

First, the propagation of the bulbs. Always buy your bulbs from an accredited source! A good nursery will provide you with a healthy set to get you started and ensure you a full crop. Some suppliers sell clumps of bulbs in full growth (also known as “in the green”), while others sell dormant bulbs (a phase in the plants life when the leaves have withered).

The snowdrop does not do well in warm, tropical climates. The Hardiness Zone depends on the species of Snowdrop, but USDA typically recommends Zones 3-8 for most varieties. If you live outside these zones, there is a little trick to try! Buy the bulbs in the green and cool them by sticking them in your freezer for six weeks. Some nurseries will even do this for you. After this process, pot them and watch them grow. Keep in mind, the bulbs need to be dug up and chilled again for next year.

Snowdrops enjoy full sun to partial shade. Heat, however, will shorten their bloom period, cause them to wilt, and go into dormancy. They bloom between late winter and early spring. They will flourish while there is still snow on the ground and a dusting of snow will not bother them at all.

Snowdrops like a neutral to slightly alkaline soil pH and rich but well drained soil. Plant bulbs point up, about three to five inches apart and two inches deep. Try not to crowd them too much either. Water well and keep watering weekly. Unlike tulips and daffodils, snowdrops do not linger long once they have bloomed. For the most part, snowdrops take care of themselves during dormancy.

Photo Credit to Casey Robin Art Prints

If your soil is lean, consider fertilizer after flowering. As the bulb grows into clumps, there may be less blooms— At this point, consider digging up the bulbs and dividing the clumps for more little snowdrops. Replant immediately.

Unfortunately, snails and slugs will eat their way through the flower’s leaves. To prevent this, try setting up some copper barriers around your plot. Luckily, snowdrops are resistant to larger animals such as deer, rabbits, and groundhogs (except maybe kitty cats and the fairies)! Everyone will enjoy these elegant flowers.

Finally, as a medical warning, some people get a skin irritation from contact with the bulbs. All parts of the Galanthus are mildly toxic if ingested, so it is not recommended for teas, although many Green Witches have made Snowdrop Essence without complication.

Dreamy snowdrops by Fotografie-Egmond

Pax et bonum,

Meadow

“Alluding to the colour of the flowers.
The snow-drop, Winter’s timid child,
Awakes to life bedew’d with tears;
And flings around its fragrance mild,
And where no rival flowrets bloom,
Amidst the bare and chilling gloom,
A beauteous gem appears!” 

–THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS (1839)


Information gathered from personal experience and several sources through public access. For reference and further reading:

*http://www.ecoenchantments.co.uk/mysnowdropmagicpage.html
*Nature Lovers from Amazon Online
*http://www.floridata.com/ref/g/Galanthus_nivalis.cfm
*https://archive.org/stream/languageofflower00unse/languageofflower00unse_djvu.txt


How to Know if You Are a Green Witch

Are you the type of person who stops to admire the red-breasted robin as he bathes in a puddle? Do you pause during walks to listen to the whispering leaves or laughing flowers? If you are fascinated by the natural world or even man-made gardens, you might be a Green Witch.

Green Magick is ultimately an earth-oriented type of witchcraft. In the wise words of Wendell Berry, “If a healthy soil is full of death, it is also full of life: worms, fungi, microorganisms of all kinds… Given only the health of the soil, nothing that dies is dead for very long.” The very essence of our humanity is connected directly to the earth. For millions of years, it has nourished and rejuvenated mankind. This relationship is sought after by many modern day Green Witches. Plagued by the hustle and bustle of urban living, the Green Witch seeks comfort in ancient rituals. The dirt, trees, herbs, plants, and flowers all have an energy.

Green practitioners consult these friends for their medicinal and magical value. They choose to grow their own herbs or gather them from the wild (also known as Wildcraft). With patience and time, Green Witches learn to make herbal remedies, craft teas, and maintenance gardens. That said, it is important to remember that the spirits of nature, the dead (of humans and animals), and the Fey play a significant role in the Green tradition.

Another point to address is the difference between a Hedge Witch and a Green Witch. Those who practice Hedge Craft walk a more shamanic path. Hedge Witches engage in spirit flight and can journey into the Other World, an amazing accomplishment for any witch. Thus, the term “hedge” signifies the boundary between this world and the spiritual realm. Similar to Green Witches, a Hedge Witch may also work as an herbal healer or even a midwife. While some differences seem drastic, it is NOT impossible for a Green Witch to become a Hedge Witch, or vice versa. A simple label cannot define you as a witch or restrict you to certain abilities. If you practice and stay true to the path, you can master any craft you want.

While many witches are born with a natural affinity, an individual has a choice in which craft they wish to pursue. Green, White, Traditional, Hedge, or Sea Witches are all welcome to our circle. Please understand though, Black Magick is NOT practiced by any member in the Circle of the PussyWillows.  Black magic is a dark art, because it is used to obtain something by means of controlling someone else. Our circle does not promote Magick for personal gain.

So, are you a Green Witch? Do you have any questions or experiences you want to share? Post them in the comments below.

Merry part,

Meadow