Blog

The Rose Collection

Ramblin’ Rose Shrub

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Summer’s sultry days are even better if you are sipping a luscious cocktail (or sparkling water) with a splash of Ramblin Rose Shrub! It is wonderful in Hendrick’s Gin for a Ramblin Rose Martini, or add a splash to champagne for a special summer toast. For a non alcoholic treat add it to ruby red grapefruit juice and club soda, or give a boost to your herbal ice tea by adding a splash. It’s also fantastic as a sangria ingredient for your next party and will inspire a romantic summer evening! I also love it on it’s own for body and heart health!

Rose Heart Elixir

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This is truly beautiful and delicious heart medicine! I crafted a special concoction of rose infused brandy AND rose infused honey for an extra fragrant and luxurious medicinal, that is double packed with rose magic and medicine. Each infusion included rose petals, buds and hips for a whole heart experience.

Mugwort and Rose Smudge

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Wildcrafted mugwort, rose and daisy come together for this summer smudge. Dreamy and Romantic.

Sassy Bitters- An Appalachian inspired digestive tonic

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Warming yet cooling, Bitter but sweet… It’s SASSY!
Bitters are an alcoholic tonic that stimulates digestion. They are often enjoyed before a meal, or used as an ingredient in cocktails or sodas.
This special bitters recipe features SASSAFRAS, a warming, spicy-sweet root famously known throughout Appalachia as a spring tonic to “cleanse the blood”. It is also a digestive aid, helps remove gas and bloat, and is known to elevate mood and clarity. Blended with our tasty BIRCH syrup, which combines with the sassafras for flavors of licorice and wintergreen for a fresh flavor reminiscent of root beer and spring; plus the medicinal benefits of removing inflammation, bloating and supporting the metabolism.
Add to club soda or ginger ale for a tasty drink or take 1-3 droppers 20-30 mins before a meal to aid digestion.

Forget-Me-Not

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Forget-Me-Not Flower Essence

A comforting connection with the other side

These fairy-sized blue mountain flowers will help unlock the doors to other realms, connect with ancestors and stir up personal and collective memories. Comforting us with a feeling of belonging and connection with those we miss or those we have not met, but know us beyond the veil.

This essence was created for use in the dark- at the dark moon, in dark times and in the dark half of the year… times to quietly reflect and when we most need to remember that we are not alone.

I personally have found this essence to be helpful in times of grief. I have also used this essence to tap into ancestral memories.

The essence is made from flowers grown in my organic garden, winter brandy and spring water. It was created in full sun under the watch of my ancestors, in my grandmother’s tea leaf reading cup.

 

Cicada Magic and Medicine

The life cycle of a cicada is a fascinating thing. Hatched from eggs in branches, a tiny rice grain sized nymph instinctively crawls to a branch edge and with out a second thought, steps off the edge falling and falling into the soft forest floor where it begins to burrow. It retreats to the dark for safety and comfort. It remains in this underworld for 13 to 17 years (depending on the species), feeding on the roots of trees and perhaps listening to the discussions the trees share underground through their web of mycellium. They live with their other cicada nymph friends building camaraderie until the fateful warm spring evening that they emerge to the surface in a riot of new life. They rely on each other and their tough shell for protection while they search for a safe space to attach and emerge. Not only have they crawled and scraped their way to the surface emerging like fingernails in the garden soil, but now their tender bodies and delicate wings must be reborn through the hard shell that once was their body. They rest and become stronger, until their bodies vibrate in song and they call out to each other, searching for their old friends in new bodies and celebrate finding each other once again in the magic of creation.

The cicada story is rich with symbolism and meaning and offers us a great deal of medicine and magic.

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The biggest is the story of transformation. The cicada goes through many transformations, one of which is 17 years long- the other just a few short weeks. Sometimes it can feel dark, or like we’ve been in the same place for too long. Sometimes we are afraid. We have instincts that tell us to go underground, or crawl to the light, to fall from the branch or take to the sky. Not everything becomes a butterfly once, transformation can happen again and again.

The cicada tells the story of revival- right after birth, they leave the earth to go to the underworld, it emerges again after many many years, where they immediately leave behind the body they knew are reborn into a winged body-pink and delicate- that is called to dry in the newly experienced sun, unfurl and take to the sky.

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The cicada brings a passionate energy and a sensuality. A feeling of freedom and liberation- of being in the moment and enjoying it to the fullest, letting it fill and vibrate you till you actually create audible notes.  The cicada after it’s winged rebirth, sings out and follows the songs of other cicadas so that they can complete their life cycle in a loud and spectacular show of passion .Although very old, they remind us that passion can have us as clumsy as teenagers in fast growing bodies and new independence who are trying gracefully to reach what we want, but become blind to anything else around us and bump and crash to what is moving in the peripheral.

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The cicada operates in a group and bring about the spirit of community. They are gentle creatures, as you would consider those who grew up talking to trees to be; and have no defenses others than each other- they rely on their numbers for protection. Although independent, the cicadas operate in a whole as a single moving mass. Perhaps this is why they are often misidentified as locusts. I find great inspiration in the spirit of revolution– the cicadas wait for a crack in the warm spring ground and seize their opportunity exploding in a moment of action. The cicada enjoys it’s new found flight and independence but after flying off, it desperately calls out for a cicada singing the same song of passion- they enjoy their connection to each other and seek it in all stages. It also speaks of family (chosen or blood) and how we nurture each other with patience and in ways of cooperation.How kind and loving the years spent underground must have been,  for them to seek companionship when they have been given wings to fly anywhere they wish to go!

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The cicada also speaks the story of timing. Of knowing, instinctively what not only is best for yourself and what is best for the group. They all know to wait 17 years before they all get the urge that Now, NOw, NOW is the time. Even after crawling to the surface, and then taking to the sky, they know to vibrate and sing and they consider the timing in their replies and overlaps and silences. Listening to them sing in the summer and truly becoming absorbed in their sound can take you on a great meditation journey into reflections about timing. Let your ears hear the individual songs and the harmony they all create in song together. Go in to the forest during the summer or listen to THIS TRACK.

If you want to know more about the cicada life cycle, here is a wonderful video that warms my heart. Return of the Cicadas

A cute song made in duet with a cicada: Baby Bug

An art installation about Cicadas: Magicicada Dublin

And finally, Sir David Attenborough shows you how to call a cicada! Amazing Cicada

 

Imbolic Fire Cider Recipe -You Can’t Trademark The People’s Medicine

Fire Cider is an old folk medicine, made in many different homes in many different ways, often passed down through the generations like a good chicken soup recipe. Despite it’s differences, it’s basis is the same: onions, garlic, hot peppers and other aromatics are infused into vinegar, strained, and then added to honey or something sweet. It is taken by the spoonful in the cold season to warm the body and chase away sickness. I make this in my family and we take it on days when we wake up with a sniffly nose, scratchy throat or a general tired run down feeling and (knock on wood) we generally don’t get winter colds.

February 2nd was World Fire Cider Day. Everyone was encouraged to make and share their Fire Cider Recipe with the hashtag #freefirecider

The reason for this is to call attention and garner support for the fact that a business called Shire City Herbs has trademarked the generic herbal term for a folk remedy. As if that isn’t bad enough, they are suing small herbalist for making and selling their own versions of fire cider. You can read more about the Free Fire Cider Movement HERE. Sign the petition to remove the trademark HERE. Be sure to boycott Shire City Herbs and buy from a small herbalist or better yet, MAKE YOUR OWN FIRE CIDER!

For World Fire Cider Day and Imbolic, I made a batch of Fire Cider and I am including my recipe below. While many people will tell you to buy local and organic, which are certainly wise options, it may not always be possible. It is far better to make-do and concoct this medicine with what is available to you for you and your family, than to not make it at all. I live in a small mountain town with one grocery store and it is also winter, so my choices were slim. Crappy garlic, no fresh turmeric or horseradish didn’t ruin my plan to participate- I just looked elsewhere for ways to supplement. Do not let “the perfect ingredients”, money, or scarcity stop you from taking this into your own hands! (You can even use a recycled spaghetti sauce jar if you don’t have a mason jar.)

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My Imbolic Fire Cider used some holiday flavors on top of the traditional ingredients to make this a special seasonal blend. I added foraged white pine, a good blast of vitamin C; chickweed, another nutrient rich addition that also marks one of the first signs of spring spotted on this halfway mark of winter; and cranberry and clementine, traditional flavors of wintertime and another punch of vitamins.

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Imbolic Fire Cider

2 small onions, diced

2 elephant garlic cloves, chopped

1 jalapeno and 1 habanero

2 thumbsized pieces of ginger, chopped

1 lemon, zest and juice

1 clementine, zest and juice

3 fresh rosemary springs

1 white pine top

1 bunch fresh chickweed

small handfull fresh cranberries

1 Tblsp turmeric powder

1 tsp cayenne powder

Put all ingredients into a quart mason jar. press it down with a wooden spoon and fill the jar with Apple Cider Vinegar. Cover with a plastic lid or line a metal one with wax or parchment paper. put in a dark place and shake daily for 6 weeks. After 6 weeks, strain the vinegar using cheesecloth (or a fine mesh sieve works too). After straining, you can add 1/4 cup honey (or more to taste) stirring to incorporate or mix when needed. (I mix a small shotglass of honey and cider as needed so I can add more for the kids.)

 

 

Autumn Faerie Walker’s Necklace

What is a Faerie Walker?

What is a Faerie Walker? It’s basically a term I generated for what I experience magically, based off of what I felt before I started trying to find a name for it. Much Pagan history is lost and hard to recover, but you can find many resources on the internet. In Witchcraft lore, there is a common term, called a Hedge Witch, or a Hedge Rider. It is mostly defined as a person who practices a shamanic version of Witchcraft usually involving herbalism to some degree. There is also a modern tradition of Witchcraft called the Feri Tradition in which they see themselves as “Fae” or of the other, outside of social definitions and intentionally living in paradox. Modern Witchcraft is also a big part of feminist and LGBTQ+ culture and provides empowerment by acknowledging both the masculine and the feminine in all living things regardless of gender, sexual preference or identity and celebrate sex and the body and pleasure, things women and queers are often shamed for. All of these combine into my cauldron of solitary witchcraft. I feel that “Hedge” or “Fae” speaks to my unconscious self on a much deeper level. By my definition a Faerie Walker is able to cross between our world, or the seen world, and the Otherworld- the Unseen world, and exist of them both.

I am one of these people. I am very sensitive to the fae, ancestors or land spirits around me. I often hear them when I spend time in nature. One time I even saw them. I don’t remember the first time it happened, but I can remember the faeries talking to me as something that always was. I have always been aware of the unseen world around me and insisted on it’s existence, sometimes to my detriment. Sometimes the message can be very personal and sometimes they can be very large. I received a very personal message while sitting quietly in a hawthorn grove. It spoke to me ancestrally and so incredibly deeply that I felt woozy upon standing. Talking about the experience would move me to tears on several occasions. The time I saw the land spirits, it was because they were very angry about some of the man made problems on the land and they wanted to be sure whoever could hear them knew that. I’ve seen things in second hand stores when I put on a ring or tried on a dress. Sometimes the Blue Ridge Parkway can be overbearingly loud with all it has to say or show me. Sometimes they are very profound and stay with me a long time. Sometimes they are just there. Sometimes they lead me to a new plant to make into concoctions or they lead me to other sparks of inspiration. Sometimes they can be dark and musky with mystery and the unknown.

On the first day of fall, the autumn equinox, the veil between the worlds begins to thin more and more each day until the day it reaches it’s thinnest, Samhain. These are times when it is a bit easier to hear, see and feel the world around us.

We are also in very turbulent times. We all are feeling the chaos around us, the crisis, even in our own tiny bubbles. But it is so much more. People are pushed to the edge about the election, we are realizing we have a major epidemic of racialized police murders and that slavery still exists in America in our justice and prison system, the climate and earth is in danger and private corporations are poisoning our water – the list goes on and on. The veil is thinning on a larger level and we are in our Autumn.  I believe this is helping others see this Otherworld around us a little bit clearer. I hope these charms help you to hear them.

These wings were charged under the Dark Moon during the thinning veil with intentions set for opening up the path way to listening to the Otherworld with your heart.

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They say that dying, such as the leaves in the fall, is part of living.

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This beautiful trio especially designed for Samhain features rare orange Cicada wings. (Most wings I harvest are green.) They have been carefully preserved in hand applied layers of resin which give it a sturdy plastic like texture, despite it’s delicate appearance. The chain is antiqued copper, and the jump rings have a twist design adding a delicate detail.  The necklace fastens with an antique copper lobster clasp.

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Leaves & Sunlight

Featuring a fired Czec glass bead which shimmers in the dazzling colors of autumn leaves.

Just looking at it transports you to the dappled golden glow of the forest in the fall. Let the glass bauble catch the light on your forest walk and stare off in the sparkles to help clear your mind and listen…

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Persimmon

Featuring a jade stone, orange cicada wing, antique copper chain, wire, twisted jump ring, and lobster clasp.

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Forest Path

Featuring a fall colored Swarovsky crystal,and a hand dyed silk ribbon in the colors of the forest floor- mossy greens and the crisp colors of fallen leaves.

Let this necklace remind you to use your senses to open yourself up to the unseen. The smells of the forest in autumn is rich and earthy. The textures around us are abundant- from moss to crunchy leaves to decaying bark. Explore the seasonal taste of White Pine and Rosehips. Listen to the wind rustle the leaves and the animals frantically gathering their winter supplies chattering, perhaps to the fae we are listening for…