Witch, Heal Thyself!

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I’ve been sick with a cold and chest infection for the past week and I know chest infections can last a while (had one before that took 2 months to clear!) so I’ve opted to use some herbal remedies alongside the usual ibuprofen.

***Please check with your GP if you are pregnant or have a health condition before using herbs***

 

Cold and Flu preventatives

If, like me, you are prone to getting colds and flu then you might want to look at ways to prevent the viruses taking hold by changing to a healthier lifestyle. Increase your water, fruit and veg intake, get some regular exercise, take time to relax and get plenty of sleep.

Other aids include echinacea. You can take this in tablet form or tincture form. Echinacea is said to help boost your immune system. The trick is to take it for 7-10 days straight then give your body a two week break then take them again. If you took it all the time your body would just get used to it and it wouldn’t provide any benefit to your immune system.

Elderberry tincture is said to help shorten the duration of colds. Can be taken as soon as you feel a cold coming on or if you’ve been in the presence of people with the cold. I usually make my own elderberry tincture but this year I was late in going foraging and missed out. I opted to buy some from the supermarket instead but it tastes too sweet. Elderberries are generally available to harvest between August – September. As well as for medicine they are good to use in cooking too. Elderberries are full of Vitamin C.

Here is a link about how to make your own elderberry tincture:

https://whisperingearth.co.uk/2010/09/12/elderberry-recipes-for-health-and-for-pleasure/

 

Herbal Tea for colds

I learned to make this in a herbalism class I was attending many moons ago. It has been my go-to tea when I feel a sniffle/sore throat coming on. I know most folk are put off herbal tea because the taste of some of them are really vile, but this one has the added benefit of tasting light and warming.

You will need:

  • A teapot
  • A mug
  • A tea strainer
  • 1 peppermint teabag
  • half a lemon
  • 2 inch slice of ginger root
  • half a cinnamon stick
  • a teaspoon of chopped licorice root
  • a spring of mint
  • a few sprigs of thyme
  • a tablespoon of honey

Add the teabag to the pot, with the sliced ginger root, mint, licorice, cinnamon and thyme. Take the lemon and slice two pieces off. Cut off the rind and add the lemon to the pot, and with the remaining lemon squeeze the juice into the pot. Be sure to remove lemon seeds. Add boiling water until the pot is full and then the tablespoon of honey, stir it clockwise and put the lid on leaving the pot to brew for 5 minutes.

Strain and pour into your favourite mug. Drink 2 cups per day.

The peppermint and mint are great for headaches and blocked sinuses, ginger can help with pain and inflammation and its warming. Licorice root helps to clear the respiratory system by helping the body to produce healthy mucus which helps to keep the respiratory system functioning without old, sticky mucus clogging it. Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties and thyme contains an essential oil called thymol which helps alleviate coughing and fights bacteria. Lemons are rich in vitamin c and are great for flushing toxins out of the body, and honey is soothing on sore throats as well as being antibacterial.

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Onion Poultice

Great for treating congestion and chest infections.

Supplies:

Frying pan

3 tablespoons water

White dishtowel or any clean linen

2 onions

1/4 cup grated organic ginger, optional

Directions:

Chop and lightly saute the onions and ginger in a bit of water. The onions should be lightly cooked, not browned or caramelized.

Carefully drain the cooked onions and optional ginger and spread them out in the center of the dishtowel. Wrap the mixture in the towel burrito style, that is, fold the longer sides over the onions first and then fold the ends.

The onion poultice is now ready to place on the chest of the person suffering from congestion. Make sure the poultice is not too hot before doing this.

Alternatively, the onion poultice can be placed on the soles of the feet to draw the congestion out of the lungs to facilitate normalized breathing.  It is normal for very productive coughing to occur shortly after using the poultice as mucus is expelled from the lungs.

Leave the onion poultice in place for 20 minutes.  It can be gently reheated in the microwave and reused as necessary throughout the day.

It is best to make a fresh onion poultice every 24 hours or so.

Vapor Rub

Rubbed into the chest this can help treat congestion enough to be able to breathe more clearly. The most common is Vicks VapoRub but an alternative can be easily made at home.

You will need:

  • A tub of petroleum jelly
  • Eucalyptus essential oil
  • Peppermint essential oil
  • a bowl
  • a spoon

To make as you go along:

Take a tablespoon of petroleum jelly and add to the bowl. Add 3 drops of eucalyptus oil and 2 drops peppermint and mix together. Use by rubbing onto the chest or on the soles of the feet before bedtime.

If you can’t stand the thought of using petroleum jelly, there is an alternative recipe here: https://wellnessmama.com/3527/natural-vapor-rub/

Eucalyptus oil is also great to add to an oil burner to help ease congestion.

 

Foods

I generally increase my intake of spicy foods like curries, and onions and garlic when I’m sick to help fight the infection faster. Spicy foods can also help to sweat out the flu especially if you’re feeling feverish. One time I made an onion syrup to use as a cough medicine and it was foul! Never again, I’ll stick to frying them and eating them!

Magical healing

While you are sick I would recommend staying away from trying to do magic yourself. If you have some friends in the reiki or witchy communities willing to help, you can ask for them to send you some healing energy. IF you do not have a support network of fellow pagans then do something simple, and try to avoid using your own energy to do it. Try not to charge or empower spells using your own energy; ask the spirits, the gods or the ancestors. Pray to the moon, the sun, stars and planets, pray to the elements and ask for their aid. Use the correspondences, the power of time, the phase of the moon, the properties of the herbs and crystals. Otherwise you may make yourself feel worse and hinder how quickly it will take you to heal.

The most important thing to do when you are ill is to take time to rest. Any plan or project that is not absolutely essential can be left on the back burner until you are fit and well again. Please practice self care when you are sick. If you can barely keep your eyes open then close down Netflix and get your sick bahookie to bed.

Slàinte mhor! (great health) to you dear reader.

 

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Where has the witch been? Updates and upcoming news

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This year is flying in so fast, I can’t believe it’s now October. I’ve been a bit quiet on the blogging front partly because I’ve just wanted to be lazy and chill out when I can and partly it has been because my energies have been elsewhere. Earlier this summer I had a 3 hour exam I had to prep for and it wasn’t fun at all so a lot of my energy lay there and also I was searching for a new job so a lot of time went to that too, as well as factoring in spending time with friends, family and date nights with my lovely man ❤

This autumn and winter will involve more studying for my course but I also plan to throw myself into more witchery when I get the chance.

I’ve been ‘earthing’ a lot lately, so much so that even my altar room is filled with earth tones and items. I must be needing it. A witch ought to be strongly connected to the earth after-all – we are part of it.  I even started some gardening, I foraged some herb clippings and made a potted herb garden outside my home and the lovely man dug a space for us to plant potatoes. Hopefully they will be ready to harvest late November if other things haven’t gotten to them first!

I’ve learned a new skill – Crochet! I made a pair of hand warmers and hope to learn some more crochet projects this winter such as scarves, hats and shawls.

I subscribed to Witch Casket last month and received my first parcel and was not disappointed. I can’t wait to see what they have in store for the October one.

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I used my gathering tote bag this afternoon to do some foraging in nearby woodland. I picked up some bramble stems, conkers and acorns after giving the spirits a few drams of Stag’s Breath Liqueur. I’m going out again tomorrow to a local nature trail for some rowan and elder. I’ve hinted today that I have a new project I’m working on and it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I’m setting up my own witchcraft business! Still in the early days just now, I have a lot of planning to do and materials to source but I’m so friggen excited about it! Who knows, all going well I may be able to do it full time and give up the day job (I can dream!).

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It’s finally Autumn! I get so excited about this time of year, summer won’t be missed be me! I’m all about the hot drinks, pumpkin spice everything and wooly jumpers! Now is the time to start gathering energies inwards now, keep a reserve of strength to use over the cold hush of winter. Plus one of these will give you all the autumnal vibes:

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Pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks

I have a few blog post ideas to write up so hopefully I will get that done soon as I keep meaning to write more on here instead of microblogging on Tumblr which is far too easy.

Hope you are all doing well and this season brings you much prosperity!

Beannachd leibh

 

A Forager’s Eye

Saw these two little beauties on my walk home today:

 

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Feverfew

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White Nettle or Dead Nettle.

I’ve walked this way for years and it’s always refreshing to find something new growing each year. There’s only a small patch of each so I don’t intend to harvest it this time around but I will watch it’s growth and make a note of how long each stays in bloom. 

 

Feverfew

Medicinally used to prevent migraines, to reduce fever, treat arthritis and digestive problems. From the Latin febrifugia meaning fever reducer. 

In magic it is used in mojo bags along with hyssop and rosemary and carried to prevent accidents.  Can be used as a bath tea to break hexes designed to make you accident prone.

 

White Nettle/Dead Nettle

Known as dead nettle because it has no sting. The leaves are edible when young and can be cooked or eaten raw in salads. The flowers help reduce swelling and inflammation.

I haven’t found references to it’s use in magic, but I imagine it could be used to calm or diffuse tension, or to take the “sting” out of someone’s personality.

Midsummer & Wildcrafting

It’s been a busy June month for me, I don’t know about you guys but I feel this summer season is just whizzing past and it won’t be long until it’s the knitwear and soup season of Autumn (which I’m looking forward to).

I’ve recently had one of my essays published in an anthology by Moon Books, called Witchcraft Today – 60 years on. The anthology is out to commemorate the 60 year anniversary of Gerald Gardner’s book Witchcraft Today. It was printed at a perfect time, as recently a blue plaque was placed at Gardner’s old home in Highcliffe to commemorate him as the father of modern witchcraft.  My wee essay is about how I took a step onto the path of witchcraft and where it has led me, so far. My journey from solitary to coven practice, which was the case at the time of writing though now I’m back to being solitary. I haven’t gotten through the whole book yet, as I’ve got a huge pile of things I still need to read, but there are some fascinating essays which have caught my eye 🙂

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A friend and I spent the full moon on Friday 13th June taking a pilgrimage up to a local hilltop cemetery, where we were sheltered by three tree spirits as we worked our rite. The heavens with impeccable timing opened up and thunder rumbled in the background –  the perfect background music to witchcraft, no? 😉 Well we got completely soaked, but it didn’t bother us. It worked well with the purpose of our rite and it reminded me of how much I loved being out in the rain as a kid.

 

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Then at midsummer I worked a solitary ritual then had a long walk outside to go foraging. There was tons of elderflower so I felt inspired to make some cordial this year. I’m a responsible forager, I make sure I never harvest more than around 10% so I leave plenty of the plant left for growth and to provide food for wildlife. I also make sure I ask permission and leave some sort of offering to the spirit of the plant. This time however I’d forgotten to bring the usual offerings, so I used what I had to give. A little bit of saliva on the bark, “some of me, for some of thee”.

 

Going foraging seems to be a great conversation starter with passers by wondering what you’re doing, and it delights me to see that they find it fascinating and never knew it could be so simple. I hope I have inspired them in some way.

 

I adapted the recipe from the River Cottage website: http://www.rivercottage.net/recipes/elderflower-cordial/ I used less sugar and only one lemon and one orange.  The next day I strained the brew then heated it in a pan and added the sugar and orange and lemon juices and then (carefully) poured into sterilised bottles. I couldn’t wait for it to cool so of course I had to sample some mixed with soda water, and it was truly beautiful, a perfect summery drink. I took some into work for my colleagues to try and it seemed to be a big hit with them too 🙂 I will be making more next summer.

 

 

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I hope you all had a wonderful midsummer 🙂

 

Slàinte mhath!