From the Wortcunner’s Cabinet – Poppy

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Instagram:  @thewandcarver

poppy red norfolk wildlife trust

Red Poppy ~ Norfolk Wildlife Trust

As it is November, I felt it is a fitting time to talk about Poppy.  It is the flower representing firstly the lives lost in WWI and in succeeding wars.  It is a talisman to spark the memory of others to pray for our troops in the here and now, and to buy a Poppy these days means you support those troops and their families.  No matter how you feel about war, be grateful we have trained men and women who will protect us come what may.

End of my Poppy Appeal.  Let us move on to the magick.  Poppies have long been associated with death and sleep.  It was once believed that Poppies would grow where men died in battle.  Was it  coincidence that so many men died in the brutal battle in Flanders Field full of Poppies? For Poppies have represented the dead long before we adopted them as our official remembrance flower.

In the Victorian Language of Flowers, Poppies symbolise sleep, and imagination.  Red Poppies mean pleasure, white Poppies are for consolations, and yellow Poppies mean success.

In the World of the Gods and Goddesses, Demeter loved a youth named Mekon. When he died, she turned him into a poppy.  And, Hypnos, Greek God of Sleep and Dreaming, sometimes carried a Poppy stalk or a horn filled with Poppy juice.  The Minoan culture featured a Goddess wearing a garland of Poppies in her hair, and Poppies in Christian art can represent both the blood of Christ on the cross and Christ’s death prior to his resurrection.

Magick

Poppy is a useful ingredient to put into loose incense for love spells or any kind of love working.  It is also used in Moon incense and in any incense for prophesy, fertility, psychic awareness, dream magick, and spirituality.

poppy-seeds-dutch-blue-a-1-extra-fancy-whole-1

Poppy seeds ~ Google images

I have heard from people who practise HooDoo magick  that they mix Poppy seeds with Inflammatory Confusion Oil [which I’ve never heard of]  and rub the mixture on black Mustard seeds which are also widely believed to disrupt the activities of troublesome people.

Poppies are a flower favoured by Hecate and any magickal work you do using Poppy when you evoke Her name should go favourably with you.

Sleep with a sachet under your pillow stuffed with Poppy seeds to bring relief from insomnia.

The dried leaves and flowers of the Poppy can be used just as the seeds are if you don’t have the seeds.

We put Poppy in our Love Witch Bottle Necklaces to help people attract love and to learn to love themselves.

Healing

poppy white whiteflowerfarm dot com

White Poppy ~ whiteflowerfarm.com

Historically the white Poppy has been and probably still is used for creating narcotic medicines.  And, they are still very much in use for creating heroin, unfortunately.  I’m afraid I can not speak to healing with Poppy as I am not at all familiar with it and a bit afraid to lead anyone else to dabble with it unless you only use it in sympathetic medicine.  Of course, using Poppy seeds in small amounts or even dried Poppy probably would not harm anyone, however, I do hear that ingestion of Poppy seeds can make a urine test positive for narcotics so if you think you may be tested in future, don’t eat the buns with Poppy seeds!

An interesting fact –  Roman surgeons used an anaesthesia made from Opium [morphine for numbing pain and limiting movement], Henbane seeds [scopolamine for inducing sleep], and Mandrake [for slowing heart rate and deadening pain].  Please do not try this at home.

Nicholas Culpeper in his 17th century tome, Culpeper’s Complete Herbal and the English Physician has much to say about Poppies, although for our purposes nothing which can be used.  He recommends “the garden poppy heads with seeds made into a syrup, is frequently, and to good effect used to procure rest, and sleep, in the sick and weak, and to stay catarrhs and defluctions of thin rheums from the head into the stomach and lungs, causing a continual cough, the forerunner of a consumption; it helps also hoarseness of the throat, and when one has lost their voice, which the oil of the seed doth like-wise.”

No doubt the patient was at the very least, quite happy!

Correspondences

Planet:  Moon

Zodiac:  Cancer

Element:  Water

Gender:  Feminine

Deity:  Demeter, Kore, Hypnos, Thanatos, Nyx, Somnus, Ceres, Aphrodite, Hecate

Powers: Calm Energy, Communion with the Infinite, Invisibility, Overcoming Addiction, Making Peace with Death, Perspective, Relaxation and Sleep, Surrender and Release

Other Names:  Corn Poppy [red], Corn Rose, Opium Poppy [white], The Black and White of the Garden, Erratic Wild Poppy

Many thanks for reading and wishing warm blessings to all who pass this way.  I hope you found something of use in my blog and if so, please don’t hesitate to share via social media buttons below.  I also invite you to like and comment as I always answer.  X

Sources

Witchipedia

The Encyclopaedia of Magical Herbs, by Scott Cunningham

The Complete Herbal and English Physician, by Nicholas Culpeper

The Old English Herbals, by Eleanour Sinclair Rohdes

Experience

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Samhain, The End of Harvest and Witches New Year

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Instagram: @thewandcarver

At one time in Gaelic history, this was exactly what it meant – the end of harvest season. Nowadays, thanks to supply and demand “harvest season” has been mutated a bit. If you can get away with planting and harvesting during less opportune times, you do. Mind, it still does not keep every country from buying another country’s fruit and veg.  It is very telling in some of the produce we have in supermarkets…even some green grocers have taken to having produce brought in from Spain and the like.  What happened to being in or out of season?? I’m sure the Ancient Ones sigh often.  I would apologise for my bit of a diatribe there but I’m only an old crone who remembers a time when, if you wanted a strawberry but they were out of season, you jolly well did without.  Unless, of course, like my Mum, you had some frozen ones put up from the May or June pickings.  Still not quite the same.  Still, I can guarantee my Mum’s frozen stash of strawberries were sweeter and tastier than any rubbish you pick up in the supermarket when it is out of season.

samhain bonfire

Samhain bonfire ~ Google images

I’m sure some of you are still worryingly eyeing the “Gaelic history” bit. Yes, Samhain is an original Gaelic celebration spelled Sammhuin in Scots Gaelic, not Celtic as you may have imagined. The Gaelic Goddess Cailleach has been long  known to herald in the beginning of winter.  Of course, nowadays it is celebrated by most all Pagan people.  It is technically celebrated on 1 November, although the true beginning is 31 October as All Hallows Eve, the night, of course, when the veil between worlds is the thinnest and the best time to contact those long gone.  Celebrations include burning bonfires, mummer’s plays, guising – costuming and visiting homes for treats, feasting, and connecting with one’s ancestors. It is a time to not only celebrate the end of harvest time but also the beginning of winter based on the Celtic Calendar which I have written about in two separate blogs.  The Irish and Welsh, insular Celts, were next to have begun celebrating Oíche Shamhna [Ireland] or Calan Gaeaf [Wales].  If you happen to live down under, at this time you will be celebrating Beltane.

Have you ever wondered why we call two weeks a fortnight? The word was fashioned upon the longer nights of winter in a manner of speaking.  There was once a word called ‘se’nnight’ which means one week, but it has now become obsolete.

samhain The Crossing, by ErinM31

“The Crossing!”  by ErinM31

As you can tell, I get off track easily!  It’s because I love Samhain so much, I want to include everything pertaining to and some things not entirely pertaining to.  I love the longer nights because I have an affinity for darkness [and rainy days]. I do like sunshine, don’t worry, and my propensity to love darkness does not mean I’m an evil, daemonic witch.  Far from it.  Samhain is the beginning for me in a sense.  It is when I ride the hedge, or, my annual meeting with the ancestors. All the fun ways to celebrate are great and I do participate when I can, however, this is my special night…where I commune with those whom have gone before me and have made me what I am. It is when I can see their faces and learn from them.  Mind, sometimes there is not much to be said, but to see them and just be with them is enough. It is my time for looking into the past and into the future, for protection, both psychic and physical, for overcoming fears, especially of ageing and mortality, and insights into the future and how to manage the present.  It is my time to give them the thanks they are due for their part in creating me. Of course, they did not know this is what the total of their endeavours would bring, but I have no doubt my gratitude must make them feel better about it 😊 It is the beginning for me because it seems to set me up for the coming year in a better frame of mind and often with new knowledge.

On 31 October, I shall be wearing my necromancer’s witch bottle which helps with reaching and communicating my ancestors, my draenan ddu [Blackthorn] mommet for protection, candles lit, and psychic incense burning, and a hopefully respectful moggy beside me.  This will be her first hedge ride.  Fingers crossed.

samhain ancestral

Image by Jess Carlson

All of this gets me wondering…how many of you celebrate All Hallows Eve and the beginning of winter as a solitary, like me? What are your favourite ways of spending the evening and the following day? Many of you probably have a stunning altar set up in memory of your ancestors.  I have found that it seems most solitary witches seem to set up an ancestral altar alongside their working altar and the working altar gets a passing nod to end of harvest with a few related things and colours.  And, the pagan families I know and have known set up the family altar more in the end of harvest sense with beautiful small pumpkins, gourds, apples and the like but only a few pictures or artefacts of most recently passed family as a nod to ancestry. Mind, I realise this is not always the case with all solitary and family pagans. One year when the children were young, we nested a gorgeous wicker cornucopia in the centre filled with beautiful fruits and vegetables we later used in our Samhain supper.  It was almost a shame to use it but the stew and the tarts we made were worth it 😊.

What if you are a solitary witch with no desire to visit beyond the veil but would like to honour your ancestors? Perfectly alright! Every witch has his or her methods.  If you are unsure what to do or how to set up an ancestral altar, it is easy.  You will need to determine how may photos you would want to include.  You can frame them or simply place your photo album open on the altar space.  Place white candles on the altar.  I normally place a one on each corner of my altar.   Be sure not to have the altar near anything flammable such as window curtains.  Do you have any artefacts, personal items belonging to some of your ancestors? You can use anything you find meaningful.  For my father, I really don’t have anything small of his, but I place a red poppy badge by his picture because he fought in WWII. I also place a filter less cigarette by his photo as he smoked those.  The picture I use is of him with his first hunting dog whom he loved. Unfortunately, I don’t have anything small and meaningful of my mum’s, but I have her picture.  No  photos of her parents but I do have a small studio portrait of my father’s parents which I include.  My parents were along in years when I was born, making their parents very much along in years as well so finding small pics of them is nearly impossible.  I simply add other bits of memorabilia from places I believe they visited to fill in.  And they were both staunch Royalists so of course, Queen Elizabeth has her small place on my altar.

I think you get the idea – anything goes if it means something.  Offerings are nice to include…can be anything you would know they enjoyed – food, wine, cigarettes [hence the ciggy I put near my dad].

Divining is a very popular way to contact the ones whom have passed on amongst many witches for Samhain, particularly solitaries.  Many may use a pendulum to dowse for yes or no answers from the Old Ones.  Some do a tarot reading to get answers to questions they have wanted to ask.  And, for some, the Ouija board is a popular way to go. Just mind you are properly protected and grounded.  And yes, you can use a Ouija board alone but again, be very careful you know what you’re doing. I have gotten valid and good insights divining this way.

You may celebrate Samhain and honour your ancestors in any way you find comfortable to you. All that ever really matters is that how you do it means something to you.  How I celebrate may help you if you are new to this and need a few ideas, however, they are only ideas and I don’t mean to tell you what you should do, for there is no ideal “should”.  No right or wrong, just your way.  I always invite comments at the closing of my blogs and I really do look forward to hearing how you celebrate or set up your altar!  I hope everyone has a safe and happy All Hallows Eve and a Happy Samhain.

Thank you for reading and many warm blessings to all who wander this way.  Please feel free to leave a comment, I always answer them, and share by the various social media buttons if you feel this article may be of use to others.  Blessed be! x

samhain blessings

art by Spiritrong

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Folklore of the Blackthorn – Dark Crone of the Woods

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Instagram:  @thewandcarver

With Samhain around the corner, I thought it a good idea to re-visit our favourite Samhain tree, the Blackthorn. As I do attempt to keep my blogs short enough for readers not be bored it also means I am unable to share everything possible about a tree – or whatever I’m writing about.  This blog will not be about the usual – magick and healing – but it will be more about the lore, or folklore of the tree.  But yes, there will be some magick in it for you 😊

I shall be sectioning each of Britain’s country’s folklore about Blackthorn, so no-one is confused as to where the information comes from.

treeid-blackthorn woodlandtrust

Blackthorn hedge ~ Woodlandtrust.org,uk

England

Blackthorn is a prolific grower in the UK, notwithstanding in England, where it is planted in every hedgerow surrounding fields.  If you are from another country and you have seen the aerial photographs of the stunning crop fields of the UK, you have seen where Blackthorn resides.  Obviously, it grows elsewhere as well but it has a home in the hedgerows for good reason – protection.  If you have never seen those wicked thorns/spines be sure to read my last blog on Blackthorn!

From Christianity, Blackthorn is seen as a sinister tree and associated with Witches. Blackthorn was [and is now] often used for ‘binding and blasting’. A ‘black rod’ is a Blackthorn wand with fixed thorns on the end, used to cause harm to others.  In British folklore, a Witch will use a Blackthorn stang in rituals of cursing. The sharp thorns were reputedly used by English witches to pierce poppets in their curses, called the ‘pins of slumber’.  In South Devon folklore in England, Witches were said to carry Blackthorn walking sticks, with which they caused much local mischief. Witches and heretics were burned on Blackthorn pyres. The Devil was said, in medieval times, to prick his follower’s fingers with the thorn of a Blackthorn tree.

In England Witches would carve the Norse rune thorn on a Blackthorn stave for protection.

In Dartmoor,  you may hear talk of, “‘ow the slones be doin’” which is not referring to the rich city folk and their Chelsea Tractors, no, a ‘slone’ [or sloan] is local dialect for sloe berries. Folk would also shudder at the sight of a tree heavily laden with slones for: “many slones, many groans“. This meant that a heavy crop of berries was a sure sign that the coming winter would result in widespread sickness [groans].   But the most popular use of the slones was to make juice, wine and sloe gin.

When the trees began blooming [around early February / March] my father, would always speak of the old English warning of a coming “blackthorn winter” and “the cold blow” ahead.

“When winter comes in earnest to fulfil

His yearly task at bleak Novembers close,

And stops the plough and hides the fields in snows;

When frost locks up the streams in chill delay

And mellows on the hedge the purple sloes …”.

John Clare – The Shepherd’s Calendar – 1827

Blackthorn is often purported to bloom on Christmas Eve, going by the holy thorn at Glastonbury. It is one of the trees, which were reputed to form the thorny crown of Christ at His crucifixion.  I think that at one time it may have done before the calendar changed for most of us to the Gregorian Calendar.

Ireland / Celtic

In the Irish legend, the Pursuit of Diarmaid and Grainne, a passage describes Sadhbh eating sloe berries and becoming pregnant as a result. She gave birth to a son who was born with a lump on his head. The lump turned out to be a worm or snake. The snake was eventually killed in sacrifice for another man. In the Sword of Oscar, sloe berries are part of a sacrificial theme as well. Blackthorn’s theme in traditional stories often indicate a warrior’s death in service to the High King or tribe.

At Samhain, because its berries ripen in the Winter, it helps us to prepare for the dark season to come. At this time, the Morrigan and Dagda, are said to mate.

We use Blackthorn in amulets and spells of protection for our shop. In Irish tales, heroes were aided by the Blackthorn tree – if they threw a twig of Blackthorn after them, it would take root and form an impenetrable hedge or woods, thwarting the pursuing giant.

Blackthorn can also herald the presence of the darker deities in your life, such as the Irish Morrigan and Dagda.

Blackthorn has been used for divining rods.  As a method of trial [according to Irish legend], when Mochta’s axe was heated in a fire of Blackthorn, it would burn the skin of a liar but others were unharmed.

Blackthorn is Draighean in Irish Gaelic.

Scotland

The Blackthorn tree is linked with warfare, wounding and death, associated with the Scottish Cailleach – the Crone of Death, and the Irish Morrigan. In Scotland, winter begins when the Cailleach [also the Goddess of Winter] strikes the ground with Her Blackthorn staff.

In the Word Ogham of Cuchulain Blackthorn is ‘an arrow’s mist’ and ‘smoke drifting up from the fire.’ These are both kennings for death.

Blackthorn is also associated with early [and present!] Witchcraft in Scotland. In 1670, in Edinburgh, Major Thomas Weir was burned as a Witch along with his most powerful magical tool – a Blackthorn staff, carved with a Satyrs head, which was said to have fantastic powers – it was even able to fly. Major Weir claimed that he received this magic staff from the Devil, but it is more likely that he obtained it while he served as an officer under General Leslie in Ireland. The Major was a pious Covenanter, and people came from miles around to hear his sermons. He was considered the ‘Saint of West Bow’, until one day in 1670, instead of his usual sermon, he confessed years of debauchery with his sister, Jean, to the congregation. Brother and sister were both tried and condemned to death. His ghost, along with the infamous Blackthorn staff, is still said to haunt the Edinburgh West Bow district.

Blackthorn is Draighionn In Scots Gaelic.

Wales

Very hard to find Welsh folklore concerning Blackthorn, but I have no doubt there is more than I did find.  A good blog in the making, that! What I did find is this:

Lastly, a few of the wells in that part of Gwyned may be grouped together and described as oracular. One of these, the big well in the parish of Llanbedrog in Lleyn, as I learn from Myrdin Fard, required the devotee to kneel by it and avow his faith in it. When this had been duly done, he might proceed in this wise: to ascertain, for instance, the name of the thief who had stolen from him, he had to throw a bit of bread into the well and name the person whom he suspected. At the name of the thief the bread would sink; so the inquirer went on naming all the persons he could think of until the bit -of bread sank, when the thief was identified. How far is one to suppose that we have here traces of the influences of the water ordeal common in the Middle Ages? Another well of the same kind was Ffynnon Saethon, in Llanfihangel Bachettaeth parish, also in Lleyn. Here it was customary, as he had it in writing, for lovers to throw pins (pinnau) into the well; but these pins appear to have been the points of the blackthorn. At any rate, they cannot well have been of any kind of metal, as we are told that, if they sank in the water, one concluded that one’s loverwas not sincere in his or her love.” ~ Celtic Folklore, Welsh and Manx, by John Rhys

Blackthorn in the Welsh language is draenen ddu.

On Nos Galan Mai or May Eve, villagers gather hawthorn [Welsh: draenen wen, “white-thorn”] branches and flowers which they would then use to decorate the outside of their houses, celebrating new growth and fertility.

In Anglesey and Caernarfonshire, it would be common on May Eve to have gware gwr gwyllt “playing straw man” or crogi gwr gwellt “hanging a straw man”. A man who had lost his sweetheart to another man would make a man out of straw and put it somewhere near where the girl lived. The straw man represented her new sweetheart and had a note pinned to it. Often the situation led to a fight between the two men at the May Fair.

Being the time between Summer and Winter, Calan Haf would be the time to stage a mock fight between the two seasons. The man representing Winter carried a stick of blackthorn and a shield that had pieces of wool stuck on it to represent snow. The man representing Summer was decorated with garlands of flowers and ribbons and carried a willow-wand which had spring flowers tied on it with ribbons. A mock battle took place in which the forces of Winter threw straw and dry underbrush at the forces of Summer who retaliated with birch branches, willow [Welsh: helygen] rods, and young ferns [Welsh: rhedyn]. Eventually the forces of Summer would win, and a May King and Queen were chosen and crowned, after which there was feasting, dancing, games and drinking until the next morning.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little bit of extra Blackthorn information and please do feel free to comment!  And, as always, likes and shares are very much appreciated.  Many warm blessings to all who wander this way x

 

Sources

Tree Wisdom, The Definitive Guidebook, by Jacqueline Memory Paterson, 1996

Celtic Tree Mysteries, Secrets of the Ogham, by Steve Blamires, 1997

Celtic Folklore, Welsh and Manx, by John Rhys, 1901

Famous Edinburgh Crimes, by Ross MacDonald, 1977

Whispers from the Woods, by Sandra Kynes, 2007

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How Do I Deal with Fear?

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Instagram:  @thewandcarver

How do I deal with fear, indeed.  Many of us, no matter how intelligent… no matter how ‘tough’, no matter how young or how old, we all seem to have that common denominator:  Fear.  And often I am asked, ‘How do I get rid of fear?’.  You don’t, my friends.  In case you don’t know, fear is one of those built-in things we have that, for no matter how hard we try, we can never 100% rid ourselves of it.  But that’s alright.

You’re mad, you are thinking now… it’s alright to go round feeling as though fear just hangs over you like a rain cloud? No, not quite that way, but I’ll explain.

People have had fear built into them since the first of mankind walked the Earth.  It was necessary to keep them sharp and on watch for natural enemies like huge animals what might eat them to other tribal people who might want to take over their patch.  But early mankind was most likely much simpler thinking and once they had seen off the object of their fear, they relaxed and felt happy.  They did not go back into their cave or hut and ruminate about the next thing that could happen to ruin their happiness.  As far as they were concerned, it was sorted. Until the next time.

As time progressed and religion began taking shape, early Pagans feared their Gods and Goddesses.  Anyone would do when your God was the God of lightning and storms.  The first time you saw a mate struck by a bolt of lightning, you would be fearful of that God, wouldn’t you?  Perhaps that is where sacrificing one of your fellow tribe came from…Let’s give Thor/Indra/Zeus one of our own first and perhaps he won’t take another one in that manner again.  The Ancient Ones had to kind of make it up as they went in many cases but suffice it to say, it is probably how they handled that kind of fear.  But much like their ancient ancestors they would also feel fear when fighting off enemies, then, they would go back to a relaxed and happy state once they won the battle.  Not many would sit at home and start worrying about the next time he or she had to go to war.

The point I’m making is, until recent-ish history, say, over the last two-thousand or so years, people were able to deal with each fear as it came and then relax – at least for a while.  People began living in fear in earnest when Theodosius passed legislation prohibiting all pagan worship [c.392] and it did not improve when the Crusades began c.1095 and the Inquisition began [12th century].  We then added to our natural enemies, occasional human enemies, and fear of our Gods with the fear of literally everyone, for no one really knew who would be against or for them.  We were becoming trapped into an endless cycle of constant fear which has had devastating results upon mankind individually and together.

Is it any wonder we are fearful?

“The first duty of a man is subduing Fear” [Thomas Carlyle c.1846]

So… how are we meant to subdue Fear? People pray for it to go away.  It won’t.  People think they are not brave if they are fearful… not true at all because if you can still push yourself to do a thing no matter how afraid you are then you are considered very brave.

“Human beings face a multitude of difficulties and dangers which must be confronted if they are to live a human life.  The human body is extremely vulnerable, always exposed to the possibility of accident, illness, pain, and death.  Yet, people are not usually obsessed with these undoubted dangers, and life would be scarcely possible if they were.  All pleasure in life would be lost were we overwhelmed by all the actual and possible dangers that surround us.”  ~ John Casey

In Mr Casey’s Pagan Virtue: An Essay in Ethics [1990], he goes on to describe how he “might” rid himself of fear by virtually pretending there was no danger from the item which causes the fear in him.  We all know that is no good.  If the spider which you are pretending to be not dangerous really is, then you are not allowing Fear to do his job.  You might want to back away from that spider!  This appears to make one think it is alright to cheat Fear of his due.  I’m afraid Fear may redouble his efforts on future scares in that case.  Casey goes on to say that he might do better at ridding himself of fear by having more self-confidence.  Ah… well, in theory, that sounds smashing, still, in practise, it is impossible.  I know a good many people with bags of self-confidence, however, they are visited by Fear now and again.  As well it should be. And I won’t go on with Mr Casey’s dissertation as to when he begins saying that he must develop anger to dissuade Fear, I closed the book.

What Mr Casey seems not to have learned by 1990 is that Fear is a part of everyone.  Fear is not going to be “gotten rid of”.  Would you chuck out the part of yourself that causes you not to step off a ledge? The part of you that says “RUN!” when you need to get out of the way of something or someone barrelling toward you?  The part of you that stops you from getting into a car with a drinking driver?  I would not.  Not even when it has nearly driven me round the bend on a couple of occasions.  But that was not Fear’s fault.  It was mine for allowing it to rule my thoughts over everything else that I knew was common sense.  Too much of a good thing can be bad for you, clearly, if you let it be.

So, what is the answer?

I think I have one plausible answer.  It works for me.  It does take a bit of getting used to and it needs a bit of discipline.  It is not a one-shot attempt kind of thing.  You see, Fear is not a separate human-type individual sitting your shoulder, still, Fear does hear and listens and has his own personality of sorts.  Mine tends to be quite clingy at times and I have come to think that maybe he needs me more than I need him.  I guess that’s why he hangs around longer than he should.  But on to my method.

tim-ferriss-quote-fear-is-your-friend-it-is-an-indicator-sometimes

Quote by Tim Ferris, Artist unknown

I talk to Fear.  Aloud.

Fear, my friend.  I know you are a part of me.  We need not try to part ways, I have come to realise that yes, I need you.  You have been there at the right time for me and I do appreciate this.  However, it seems to me you tend to overstay your welcome and I find myself feeling fearful over some rather silly things.  Now you and I both know this is unnecessary.  What if I get fed up and stop listening to you and end up in trouble?  I would say you weren’t doing a very good job of things then, wouldn’t you?  So, let’s do this… you go sit over away from me and wait until you see some real danger.  When you do, please notify me. Until then, please stop waving small matters and imagined matters in my path.  This does me harm if nothing else.  I can sort out these little things without you.  Thank you so much for your real help in past and future.  We are friends, we just don’t need to be in each other’s pockets.

Afterwards, I feel absolutely wonderful.  I know he is still lurking but that is a good thing.  I am sure I will need him again in future.  But not because the rash on my arm might be something deadly – which it isn’t, or because of a million other little things that would only take a bit of common sense to fix.  This may or may not work for you.  If you really want it to, it will.  You’ll need to be assertive but kind.  No need shouting at Fear. And you may have to do this every day for a while until you get your Fear put into his place.  But the thing is, he will cool down and leave you in peace more and more.  And this is how I deal with fear.

I would love to read your comments on how you deal with your fear in the comments below!  Everyone has different ways of doing things and it’s always good to have varieties of ways.  Many thanks for reading and please don’t forget to like and share on social media!  Warmest blessings to all who wander this way x

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The Magickal Chestnut Tree

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Instagram:  @thewandcarver

sweet-chestnut-habit-woodland trust

Sweet Chestnut tree ~ woodlandstrust,co.uk

The Sweet Chestnut [Castanea sativa] tree lives to be about 700 years old and interestingly, does not bear fruit until around its 25th year of life.  It is native to Europe, western Asia and north Africa, and is thought to have been introduced to the British Isles by the Romans; today it can be found commonly throughout Britain in woods and copses, especially in parts of southern England, where it is still managed to form large areas of copping. If you remember my last writing about a nut-bearing tree, The Magickal Walnut Tree, it was believed that the Romans brought those to Britain as well.  Would we have had no nuts if not for the Romans?  Apparently not, as it is beginning to seem!

It’s a wonderful tree to grow if you have the room for the flowers provide an important source of nectar and pollen to bees and other insects, and red squirrels eat the nuts.

Horse Chestnuts [Aesculus hippocastanum] are easily mistaken for Sweet Chestnuts.  Horse Chestnut trees originated in the Balkans and were introduced to the UK in the 1600’s as an ornamental tree.

Horse Chestnuts are one of the first trees to come into leaf each year.  The leaves are made up of 5 to 7 leaflets.  These trees look at their best in springtime, when they are covered with clusters of either pink or white flowers, known as ‘candles’.  The flowers are normally pollinated by the early flying bumble bees.

horsechestnut uk safari

Conkers ~ photo by C. Bradley, 2004 uksafari.co.uk

Shortly after pollination the seeds of the tree appear encased in a prickly green shell about 1cm in diameter.  Through the summer they grow to about 5cm in diameter and then in September the prickly casing splits open to release the shiny brown seed, known as a ‘conker’, which is something any child in Britain can spot miles away.

The sweet chestnut is the delicious, edible chestnut that most people are familiar with around the holidays.  An edible chestnut is easiest to spot if it is still in its husk, which is spiny and needle-sharp. The toxic, inedible chestnut, the horse chestnut, has a husk that is much smoother, with only a few ‘warts’. Horse chestnuts are the ones commonly found in forests.  If you are a wild-gatherer of foods and herbs in the forests or roadside lay-by’s, please take care in gathering the correct Chestnuts.

Magickal

Chestnut trees and its respective parts are often used in purging,  banishing rituals spellwork, however, I have not used them in any of these kinds of spells, so I have no knowledge to offer here.

For blessing a new home to attract abundance and prosperity place a bowlful of Sweet Chestnuts in each room of the new home. Keeping a bowl of Chestnuts close to you is also good for peace of mind.  You can carry a couple or handful in your pockets for the same effect.

Chestnuts can be eaten to encourage fertility and desire and may be carried as a charm by women who wish to conceive. Keeping chestnuts around the house (and eating them) encourages abundance. **

Staves made from chestnut wood are said to encourage longevity, increase energy, enhance intuition, and help with grounding and centring of energy. Chestnut wood can also be used to make talismans for justice, success, to gain the sympathy of your audience and to encourage your mind to take in information.

Druids often made staffs from Chestnut wood, because the physical connection to the wood allowed the user to draw longevity and invigoration from the wood.

Sitting under a Chestnut tree will help ground and clarify the mind during periods of meditation.

Place a Chestnut piece of wood or carving under a troubled couple’s bed to ease disputes and relationship problems.

** Warning:  As always, take care not to eat of use any kind of nut in your home if you or anyone has nut allergies.

Healing

Native Americans may have used a tisane of chestnut leaves to treat severe coughs and heart disease, a poultice of the leaves for sores and a decoction of the bark to treat worms.

Horse chestnut  is a traditional remedy for leg vein health. It tones and protects blood vessels and may be helpful in ankle oedema related to poor venous return. It is used extensively throughout Europe as an anti-inflammatory agent for a variety of conditions, in addition to being used for vascular problems. The plant is taken in small doses internally for the treatment of a wide range of venous diseases, including hardening of the arteries, varicose veins, phlebitis, leg ulcers, haemorrhoids and frostbite.

Horse chestnut is an astringent, anti-inflammatory herb that helps to tone the vein walls which, when slack or distended, may become varicose, haemorrhoidal or otherwise problematic. The plant reduces fluid retention by increasing the permeability of the capillaries and allowing the re-absorption of excess fluid back into the circulatory system.

The seeds are the source of a saponin known as aesc in, which is the compound that has been shown to promote normal tone in the walls of the veins, thereby improving circulation through the veins and promoting the return of blood to the heart.

Correspondences

Planetary:  Jupiter, Sun

Zodiac:  Cancer, Gemini, Sagittarius, Virgo

Element[s]:  Air, Fire, Water

Gender:  Masculine

Powers:  Healing, Love, Prosperity, Abundance, Attracting Animals, Relieving Worry, Transforming Karma

Deity:  Artemis, Diana, Boann

Other Names:  Sweet Chestnut, Candle Tree

As always, I thank you kindly for reading my blog.  I hope you will take a moment to give it a like, leave a comment, and share it via the social media buttons below.  I hope the information has been very helpful to your practise.  Warmest blessings to all x

Sources

Witchipedia

Whispers from the Woods, by Sandra Kynes

The Magic of Trees: A Guide to Their Sacred Wisdom & Metaphysical Properties, by Tess Whitehurst

Woodlands Trust

Experience

 

 

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#MeToo

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Instagram:  @thewandcarver

As a business owner, I try very hard to stay dis-opinionated when it comes to politics – particularly another country’s – religion, and a plethora of things which could easily turn nasty.  It’s not that I don’t care, it’s just that I try to find more positive things to comment on.  But then, there is #MeToo…

Someone said recently in my general hearing “This #MeToo business is catching on like a sale at M&S… when one woman buys one and it’s half off, the rest of them want one and all.” CRINGE.

What you don’t know about me is, it takes all I have sometimes to hold my tongue.  I have a very sharp tongue and if I don’t think long and hard about what I’m going to say, I will make people cry. I get it from my grandfather.  He was a Scot and he  really didn’t care if he burned your earholes to a crisp. And, his filter was non-existent.  At least, I do have a filter and have learned to use it. Thanks to my grandmother.

I won’t tell you what flashed into my mind to say to this plank but suffice it to say it was deliciously rude and cruel.  And to my mind, it was no better than he deserved.  I would have enjoyed watching his ears go up in flames, if I’m honest.   Because…. #MeToo.

shutterstock_metoo_institure for policy studies

photo by Shutterstock 

I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s to my teen years and early twenties.  In those days, girls/women were accused of “asking for it” if anything terrible happened to them. If, for example, you walked into a police station and told a copper you had been raped, you would probably have been eyed up and down first.  Then maybe given a piece of paper and a pen to write down what happened.  If you were luckier still,  you might get taken into an interview room and asked many questions…the thing is, though, the questions were mostly seeming to dig you out, not to find out what kind of devil could possibly do such a thing.

“What were you wearing?”

“Had you been drinking at all?”

“Had you been taking drugs?”

“Do you live alone or with your family?”

“Is the lad someone you know, or did you just meet him?”

“Are you a prostitute?”

“Why were you walking alone at this time of night?”

I’m remembering this as best I can, there may have been more, but this is what my best friend got for her troubles when she reported the fella she had gone on a date with for the first time,  who decided to take what he wanted… “no” meant nothing to him, and she did tell him no…repeatedly.  And, the police did not even ask her if she said no.  It almost seemed a given that it did not matter if she did or not.  It was still very much a man’s world in those days, after all.

When she got home, things got no better.  Her Mum… her own MOTHER! told her that “dressed like that, it was no wonder the lad thought he could have his wicked way”.  Needless to say, no matter what I could do or say to help her, she began drinking heavily and somehow remained a functioning alcoholic for a good many years, holding down a good job as an estate agent but could never trust any man enough to have a meaningful, happy relationship with.

Then, in my case, I never told.  I couldn’t face anybody with what had happened to me.  Not to mention that I was only twelve years old at the time.  I was a tall girl and wore make-up from a young age.  Dressed smart and stylishly to boot.  I guess I always thought I “was asking for it” and all… I knew it was what my Mum and everyone else would say.  That’s why I have never told anyone until now. But #MeToo.  I kept mine to myself all these years.  And, I’m not going to tell now.  For one, chances are the man is dead by now and even if he isn’t, I don’t want the inevitable stupid questions…

“What were you wearing?”

“Had you been drinking at all?”

“Had you been taking drugs?”

“Do you live alone or with your family?”

“Is the lad someone you know, or did you just meet him?”

“Are you a prostitute?”

“Why were you walking alone at this time of night?”

But the worst one of all because it has been so long:

“Why didn’t you report him then?”

Or

“Why didn’t you tell your family?”

Why not indeed.  I think this has been fully explained above, that is why.  And so, on the day that in the United States the Senate is going to vote for whether Brett Kavanaugh will become a Supreme Court Justice despite the testimony of many but particularly that of Dr Christine Baisley Ford, which by the way, passed three markers on her polygraph test / lie detector test for 100% honesty, that he sexually assaulted her at that party in the 1980’s; he is being voted to become to Supreme Court Justice.  Where is the justice in that?

I have no closing speech.

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Feuille-morte

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Instagram:  @thewandcarver

To make a countryman understand what feuille-morte­ colour signifies, it may suffice to tell him, it is the colour of withered leaves in autumn. “

— John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, 1690

My favourite time of the year – Autumn! And the trees are coming alive with colour, the freshness in the air signifies the Autumnal change from a fairly sweltering Summer.  Funny how I would think the trees are coming ‘alive’ with colour when in fact, they are dying, the leaves are that is.… but I think that, in and of itself, has  great significance to the time of year and its representation. We think of Autumn, being the time before Winter – when for many the world looks barren, plain, and dead – as the ‘old woman’ status of the world during the season.  I rather think it more like the ‘late middle-aged woman’.  She is still invigorating and colourful.  She still has much to do and enjoys fun as much as the next.  She dresses herself in bright colours – reds, purples, yellows, and feuille-morte: which in French literally means ‘dead leaf’ but think of the hues of those dead leaves!  The colour name, feuille-morte refers specifically to a brownish-orange or yellowish-brown colour. I think that gives our late middle-aged season just that little bit more flair, don’t you?  She deserves it.

Autumn time of the crone mollie kellog

Autumn Crone ~ art by Mollie Kellogg

Of course, the colourfulness of her dress does not completely cover the knowledge that she is dying.  She knows it.  We know it. But something we may not think about is that the sap is going to carry on rising within the tree just as the movement through Winter, or the ‘death’, is going to carry on shifting… until the Sun rises on Spring and the tiny green leaves will unfurl from the tree where the Autumn Crone enjoyed her last hurrah just months before. And she is reborn as a young Spring Maiden again with a pretty green frock and time to enjoy.  One thing you can be assured of – her spirit never died.  It has been there all along, resting up for her new adventure and her new youthfulness.  And so, it is with us all.

I welcome comments and follows and always pleased when you share my writings. My heartfelt thanks to those who do so. Warmest blessings to all who wander this way. x

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