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Plant Familiars


Midsummer greetings from The Magickal Cottage! Our coven celebrated Litha here at Crow Hollow on June 20th, and we made herbal charm bags to capture that intense solar energy for channeling towards our individual purposes. Midsummer is the most magickal of times for harvesting herbs. It’s really quite logical! The longest day of the year will be giving our plant companions a super jolt of solar energy. What better time for an herbal harvest?

This brings me to the topic of personal plant familiars. Most magickals have heard of animal or spirit familiars, but plant familiars? Yes, indeed! If you work with herbal energy or even magickal oils it just might benefit you to consider working with a plant familiar. How do you discover which plants are your familiars? You might begin by considering which plants you are drawn to intuitively. 


I know one of my plant familiars is a rose. Roses make my heart sing. They always have, and I have grown hundreds of them. Roses are a great favorite of many people, but, on the other hand, I have seen people rip out entire rose beds to replace them with gravel or cement. This I can’t fathom. But that’s me….


I have other plant familiars besides the rose, but the rose has followed me to every home I have ever lived in. What do I mean by saying that it has followed me? That brings me to another way to find your plant familiar. If you have success growing a certain plant, then it might be your plant familiar. In Texas I at first couldn’t grow the usual hybrid tea roses I had grown in California, but then I discovered antique roses and a whole new world opened to me. So the roses taught me some wonderful lessons during those humid Texas summers.

Back in California I am discovering more wonderful plant familiars. I’m learning that your familiars can change by location and it’s not always dependent on growing conditions. In Texas rudbeckia reseeded itself and thrived all over our property. I had planted just a few plants and they took off, much to my delight. Back in Cali I can’t seem to get those lovely daisy like plants to grow. Other people grow those yellow and orange beauties just fine but not me. However, look what is thriving now:


Shasta daisies sprang up from wild flower seeds and are all over the place! So consider this: my new Shasta daisy familiars have that same solar shape as the rudbeckia but are a luminous white. That’s something worth meditating on! What changes have occurred in my life that are reflected in my plant familiar? 

A wonderful California native is familiar to magickals for the purpose of smudging. Salvia apiana, or white sage, grows in the dry canyons near where I live now. Lots of people around here try to grow white sage in their gardens, but it curls up and dies. It’s just a wild child and doesn’t like being told where to live! Lucky for me it has chosen to be my plant buddy.


White sage is all over the place, along with its cousins blue sage, purple sage and black sage. I may never buy another smudge stick!


My most recent adventure into the green world of plant familiars is High John the Conqueror. 


This magickal lovely is hard to come by as a garden plant. Cherished by hoodoo practitioners, the root is used a lot like mandrake root. I managed to purchase 5 seeds at a steep price and 2 have sprouted and look happy. They do resemble morning glories which can be invasive. So we shall see what comes of this new relationship. High John may have lots to teach me!

So what does one do with a plant familiar? My first impulse is to explore the meanings and properties of the plant. In sympathetic magick the plant’s shape, scent, color and texture can tell a lot about the plant’s energy. Remember the solar shape of my daisy like friends? Sun energy with its forceful yang quality will definitely play a roll in this plant’s gift to you if you have such a plant totem. Does your plant familiar have round leaves suggesting a lunar energy? Are there mars like spines on your plant suggesting protection? First consider your initial impression of the plant to see what qualities it may lend to your charm bags, candles, incense, etc..

A way to cross check your plant familiar’s energy is to do some research. Witchipedia has some wonderful resources.

The realm of plant familiars is enchanting to explore! You can find tree familiars (think wand making) and commune with the dryads. The flower fairies in your cutting garden will delight and adorn you. And the aromatic properties of your herbal friends will add some powerful aid to your spells and charms. 

Enjoy the warm days and store up the energies of our present growing season if you live in the northern hemisphere, for they will serve you well when the days grow darker.

Bright Blessings,

Sarina

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It’s interesting that the fairy flowers all seem to be starting their bloom just before Beltane. I always think of Beltane as a “fairy fest”. 

This gorgeous lady of a plant is what we always called Canterbury bells. It’s a form of campanula which alludes to the bell shaped flowers. The flower goes by other names as well, many of those names containing the words “bell” or “thimble”. Another name for campanula type blooms which probably refers to this flower:


is harebell. I seem to have an affinity for rabbits. 


There is a delightful story about a rabbit (or hare) who rescued some fairies from some onery pixies. The fairy queen, in gratitude, gifted the rabbit and all his decendants the harebell flowers to grow in his meadow to ring and warn him when a fox was near by. See? Fairies are nice! I’m not quite sure about pixies, though. 


The other fairy flowers that are blooming now are foxgloves, or digitalis to be scientific.


Here is the long list of other names for foxgloves:

Goblin Gloves, Witches’ Gloves, Dead Men’s Bells, Fairy’s Glove, Gloves of Our Lady, Bloody Fingers, Virgin’s Glove, Fairy Caps, Folk’s Glove, Fairy Thimbles.

If you didn’t already know, digitalis is quite toxic. Let’s be honest and say deadly. That’s probably why some call it dead men’s bells. It’s true it is famous as a heart medication and has been used to treat other ailments, but it’s definitely not a DYI type of herbal ingredient. It has been said of digitalis, “It can raise the dead and can kill the living.” This may be the last year it grows in my back yard for awhile because of the grandkids. 

Foxglove is one of the top fairy favorites. Witchipedia states:

“Scandinavian legend says that the faeries taught foxes to ring foxglove bells to warn each other of approaching hunters.”

Hmmm….now the foxes get bells. Sounds like the fairies don’t play favorites! At any rate, foxgloves have long been associated with witches and witchcraft. 

And so, this brings us back to Beltane! This is a time when the elementals are very active. Yes, it’s a time when we celebrate and request fertility from the Lord and Lady. We hop over the Beltane fire to insure a prosperous year and likewise dance around the maypole. 

Next Sunday we will celebrate this ancient sabbatt in our coven. We will participate in all the traditional rites and rituals. Today, however, I got an urge to make something to honor the fae. I decorated a candle for them to burn on our Beltane altar. It is dressed with blessing oil, lavender and roses and a 6 pointed fairy star. I chose what I felt were fairy colors and dripped colored wax over a white candle. Creating the candle felt very magickal and meditative.

At Beltane why not take a moment or two to honor the fairies, those elementals that nurture the natural world to which we are intimately connected? 

I wish you all the magick and abundance that Beltane can bring!

Brightest Blessings,

Lady Sarina 

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In a little over an hour I plan to take advantage of some powerful lunar eclipse energy and send another jolt of the peace and love vibrations to our Love/Peace egregore that is hovering over planet Earth. Remember last July we started this collection of thought forms (an egregore) to overshadow the fear based one that has had our planet under its oppressive influence? 

Our energy of love and peace has made a difference! I know some days it doesn’t seem that way, but the first thing I thought of on January 21st with the world wide peaceful marches was the egregore  we had created. 

Since today there is a lunar eclipse,  and he the magick is extra strong, I plan to join with coven mates and we will build the energy over a few hours to finally release it in the form of a giant quasar like burst to supplement the Love/Peace energy we started last summer. Eclipses contain the energy of all moon phases over about 4 hours. Search the web to find out the times for the lunar eclipse for February 10/11, 2017. The next lunar eclipse will be in August and we can do this same ritual again to keep the positive going.

Please give a thought to whatever full moon ritual you are doing and join your love/peace energy with ours as we send it to heal blessed Gaia. Many thanks!

Blessings,

Sarina Ravensmoon 

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Quickenings

Imbolc has marked the beginning of early spring here at the magickal cottage. This particular Imbolc was special for me in that I was reborn into a first degree priestess with my new coven. Going from being a solitary for so many years to being part of a coven has been a rewarding experience indeed. The timing was right just as the timing dictates when the new lambs are birthed and the seeds begin to stir beneath the soil. Our lady, Brigid, is the goddess of midwives and so associated with Imbolc. What new wishes are you birthing into your life? I, of course, am turning my attention to the garden, and as soon as the rain lets up I will lose myself outdoors. As I gaze out the window my mind paints pictures of the possible projects and changes soon to take place. 


I made several Brigid’s crosses this year. I was delighted to find that the leaves of poor man’s orchid, which grows in our yard in excess, works wonderfully for making the crosses. When folded over the leaves bend and don’t break. An ancient solar symbol, Brigid’s cross reminds us of the return of longer days and abundant growth. 

Here’s to the beginning of the light half of the wheel that makes up our year! May old Sol smile on you and your magickal home. ❤

Bright Blessings,

Sarina Ravensmoon 

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Where I live here in California the lemons ripen on our tree in January. I usually end up giving many of them away on top of making lemonade, lemon pies and this year I made lemon blueberry scones and took them to our full moon ritual to share. Yes, to me January is about lemons and all they symbolize!


Lemon Blueberry Scones

http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2015/08/06/glazed-lemon-blueberry-scones/

Lemons are very cleansing and after all the holiday hubbub, I am ready for some physical and ritual scrubbing. In January I feel like going minimalist and cleaning out cupboards and behind furniture. I still have a lot of stuff, but after the Yule decorations are put away I  feel like seeing calmer colors and bare table tops. 

Lemon is a great additive to a cleansing wash for floors and countertops. The juice or oil of lemon will raise the energetic vibration of people and places. The yellow color is very Mercury-like and I feel the flavor and smell of lemon can clear the cobwebs from your brain. After last fall and the mayhem in the muggle world I am needing a brain cleanse. How about you? 

Physically, lemon in water is very detoxifying and helps the body to release unhelpful buildup. Can we relate to holiday overindulgence? Thank the Goddess for lovely lemons!

I know many people have snow rather than lemons in their yards right now, but lemons in some form are usually available almost everywhere these days. Actually, meditating on a silent white field could have a similar cleansing effect on body and spirit as you sip a lemony brew. 

“Bloom where you are planted”, I always say. Look around your space and acknowledge what you are being presented with at this moment in time. Do you have lemons or a snowy landscape or the sound of rain on your roof? What magick can you work with these blessings? 

With the return of the light at Yule may you move forward, renewed and ready to accomplish your goals for this journey around the sun!


Brightest Blessings,

Lady Sarina

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I created a video to go along with yesterday’s post, “Connecting Circles to Overshadow the Fear”. I hope it gives you some ideas for your full moon ritual next week. Please feel free to comment and share! 

Full Moon Ideas for Sending Positive Energy to a Troubled World

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Full Moon, July 19, 2016

Full Moon, July 19, 2016

Can you feel it? It’s almost palpable. There seems to be a spirit of fear that is looming over planet Earth at this time that has touched just about everyone in some way. I very much suspect that these feelings of fear have been sort of coagulating into something that has been termed an “egregore”, and so I am going to refer to this spirit of fear as the Egregore of Fear.

What is an egregore? Well, an egregore is like a collection of thought patterns that join together and form a collective energy that takes on a life of its own. Some may regard an egregore as a type of entity, and others may feel it to be less “alive” than an entity.  But entity or not, an egregore can have a profound effect on those with whom it makes contact. To read more about egregores visit this link:Egregores

There are egregores in the mundane world. Corporations have used them for years. They may not call them egregores per se, but the idea is the same. Companies create an atmosphere and use it to inspire employees to buy into their corporate philosophy. The psychologist,  Carl Jung speaks of the “collective consciousness” which shows how our thoughts can join together to create a larger thoughtform. 

I think we’ve all experienced egregores at some point in our lives. Most of us have had the experience of walking into a room or other space and feeling an overwhelming feeling of dread or depression. There can be “good” egregores as well. Visiting a holy place of some sort or a sacred space in nature, one might sense a feeling of peace or joy that lingers there.

So I am thinking that this Fear Egregore I mentioned has grown pretty big. It is draining us right now. I expect it could grow even larger and drain us even more. Social media seems to be acting as an accomplice to the Fear Egregore. You read a post about something horrible, or some policy, or some political candidate and you react either pro or con to the post and the Fear Egregore gets fed. I am guilty of responding in this way and need to constantly monitor my thoughts.

 

Don't Feed the Egregore!

Don’t Feed the Egregore!


Ok, now, hold on! Don’t feed the egregore! I’m thinking there are steps we can take, but we need to keep calm and take action in a deliberate and unified way as a magickal/spiritual community. There may be more than one way to deal with a  “non-helpful” egregore. One might focus on breaking it up energetically or trapping it and emprisoning  it, but I see problems with both of those tactics.  One very effective way to deal with an unpleasant egregore is to create a bigger “good” egregore to overshadow it, rendering it less effective. You may hear people say they are sending love and light to a situation and they are pretty  much attempting to create an egregore of love and light. The thing is, an egregore needs to be composed of the thoughts/energy of at least two people. The more people involved, the larger the egregore. 

So here is my suggestion: let us come together as circles, groups and solitary idividuals from all parts of the world during the upcoming full moon on July 19 to raise energy of love and peace. We will in this way create a Love and Peace Egregore. The more who participate in raising or sending energy,  the bigger our Love and Peace Egregore will grow. Be creative and come up with visualizations and various ways to pack some power into the energy you send! What does love and peace mean to you as an individual and a group? Does it mean having  all physical needs met? Does it mean being loved unconditionally? Can you gather items, photos, etc. to suggest to you what love and peace means? Could you dance or sing or chant to raise your power? And as you release the power you raise, see it rising up over our planet and joining together with the thoughts and energies of others to create a huge, glowing bright Love and Peace Egregore. Watch it overshadow the Fear Egregore and even cause it to appear smaller and smaller.

Some people may read this post and say, “Yeah, right! Sounds good on paper, but this is just more of that fluffy bunny mentality. It ain’t gonna work! This is just the way people are. Can’t change human nature.” In response to that I would put forth that it’s certainly worth a try. What have we got to lose? Perhaps we will need to do this circle linking more than once (I suspect we may). But isn’t that what magick is? It’s bringing about change through the force of the will, desire and action. 

I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas for this full moon ritual. Please share and repost this blog post so that as many of our community can participate as possible. Thank you.

Brightest of Blessings,

Sarina

On Facebook you can join  this event on the 19th: Full Moon Connecting Circles

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