Gardening for the White Witch

Witch Garden
Image via TheGingerbreadShoppe on Etsy.com

Merry (almost) Imbolc!

I wanted to share how someone who does not consider herself/himself a green witch can still connect to the earth especially before a Sabbat.

As spring is coming (maybe not quick enough for some) it is important to connect to the earth in the way our ancestors used to, by planting! The types of seed used is completely up to the witch and the climate. I chose some standard herbs and some peppers that grow really well in my climate (Florida).

Also, it is important to note that beginners and witches like myself should choose seeds that are not difficult to grow. You wouldn’t want to rob the plant’s chance at life because it landed in your less capable hands would you? The reason I included myself in that last statement is because plants have the tendency of not thriving when in my care. If you are in that same category you should stay away from any plants that may not grow well in your zone. For example, growing bulbs is difficult for me because it rarely gets cold enough for them to take root. But aside from planting your own tree, it should be doable.

2015-01-31_14.17.55The rest is rather self explanatory (plus there are instructions on the back of the seed packets!). Fill the pots with some potting soil, add seeds, lightly water, place in the sun and viola!

Many may not consider merely planting some seeds a ritual, but as with any magick the power is within the intention. Planting during the beginning of planting season connects us to our many ancestors from long ago. Man would not have survived without simple mastery of horticulture, and sowing the land was highly revered in ancient times (and this was the work of the women!). One can almost feel the pride of years of ancestors smiling down upon oneself when connecting to the roots, and the laughter of one’s future children enjoying the seeds we have planted and the earth we have helped create.

In everything natural, there is something marvelous

– Aristotle

So even if you live in an apartment, have little money (seeds and soil are free if you collect them outside), or have little time, I urge you to plant something. For when you plant something you become more than just a casual observer of the cycle, you are a part of the cycle.

2015-01-31_14.15.04Blessed be, Luna

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


Circle Overview

The founders of Circle of the PussyWillows currently do not live in the same place geographically (spiritually they are exactly in the same place), and therefore cannot hold regular meetings. However, there has been a general consensus to practice magick at least once every Monday (or moon’s day).

We accept both the god and goddess, and there is not an emphasis on one more than the other as they are both halves of a whole. Our approach on which god or goddess that a member can worship is an eclectic one. The member has the option to choose which deity suits a specific situation.

The Circle of the PussyWillows does not follow any hierarchical order and there is no “leader,” however the founders do outline the general parameters of the circle, and encourage a collaborative structure.

We are currently only accepting one new member per year. The reasoning behind this is that the circle is a very tight knit group and everyone is a part of the welcoming of a new member. Since there is no central location for the circle, this process of building trust and establishing relationships is slowed. Thus, it takes approximately one year for this relationship to be built among all members before the process can begin again with a new member.

Current Status: Closed

There is a minimum age of 18 for any member who wishes to join the circle.

New Moon Ritual January

January 20th marked the first new moon of 2015. Each month the new moon marks a chance to banish the negative from one’s life and invite the positive. Thus, banishing rituals are welcomed during this time.

The ritual performed on this particular new moon included some candle and cauldron magic. First, the circle was cast and cleansed using sage. Then in utter darkness there was a meditation to connect to the god and goddess. Once the meditation was complete, the words “out of darkness comes light” were spoken and the white candle was lit and the room was illuminated.

Now comes the banishing spell. On bay leaves whatever negative emotion or behavior that was to be banished was written on the bay leaves, one at a time. Once all of the things to be banished were written down, they were lit by the candle and placed in the cauldron.

The ritual was completed by a personal oracle card reading and pendulum dowsing, and of course ending the circle.

Blessed be, Luna

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

How to Know if You Are a White Witch

First things first anyone can be a witch, just as anyone can be a Christian. Wicca is first and foremost a religion, and as such once you “convert” into the religion you are a witch. This post is more for the Wiccan that is unsure whether they have more natural power as a white witch (as opposed to a green witch, black magick has no place in this circle and anyone can try to exert their will onto another, one does not need special powers for that).

White witches are mostly within the psychic realm. You may have very lucid dreams, maybe even premonitions. From a psychological standpoint, you may be someone that relies heavily on your intuition (you may be interested in taking the Myers Briggs personality assessment, this is a good indicator of whether you rely on your intuition to make decisions). One of the true tests of a white witch however, is divination. Almost anyone can practice the different forms of divination: oracle and tarot cards, runes, pendulums, skrying, tasseography, etc. the difference is whether you get results.

2015-01-04_14.40.20

When a white witch practices divination, the spirits and the divine take notice. If when you do readings, either for yourself or others, do you consistently get relevant results? You may not even know the reading was relevant until a couple of days have passed and your reading comes into fruition. You may not be proficient or show any natural talent for all of the divination mediums, but you should have some natural ability in at least one area.

White witches are also proficient healers. This can be spiritual or physical. Often white witches will make poppets to inspire healing in either oneself or another. Do you have the compulsion or need to help others? This may be an indicator of your natural healing powers attempting to manifest in some form. Do you tend to have a calming effect when others are upset? Maybe another indicator.

Whether your are a white witch, green witch, or still have no idea, the important thing to remember is that everyone has natural power and energy that can be used to help others and oneself, or can be destructive when one’s own selfish needs are imposed on another. Whichever path is chosen, the rule of three still applies.

I hope you found this post helpful! Do you feel like you are a white witch? Tell me about your experience in the comments!

Blessed be, Luna