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Posts Tagged ‘tea’

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Basil leaves 
and rose petals drying on my homemade drying rack. Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2016.

The warm weather is here, and I’m working to improve my relationships with plants. I’m always learning about herbal properties, plant identification, methods of preservation, and various magical uses. My paternal grandmother started to teach me when I was little.  She had a beautiful herb garden and apple trees at her home.  Some of my favorite childhood memories are of our time exploring the garden together.

Presently, I have various plants drying from my drying racks.  Some will season food, others will become tea, some offerings, and many will serve multiple purposes!

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A basketful of freshly picked strawberries from a local farm.  Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2016.

Today we went strawberry picking.  It’s alway a lot of work but great fun!  My daughter certainly enjoys it.  We picked three big baskets.  As soon as I got home, I started to process them.  I have several in the freezer and made some jam.  I’m going to throw some on the dehydrator later.  A friend suggested I make strawberry shrub syrup which I hadn’t ever heard of before, but I’m intrigued!  Perhaps tomorrow.  I may even have enough to make more jam!

While picking, I found several patches of wild chamomile and red clover.  I brought some home to dry.  Both are great in tisanes.  My hands smell delicious…

A few days ago, we had our first bonfire of the year at our home.  We decided that we would  toast some vegan marshmallows we had leftover from Bee’s birthday party.  I taught Bee that we need young wood on which to place the marshmallows while we toast them.  We brought an offering of water to the nearby apple tree.  Bee reached up and asked permission without any prompting!  She then held the cup of water up, presenting it to the tree.  She poured the water and then I found suitable branches to cut.  We gave the tree our thanks.  I explained to Bee that I normally don’t harm trees, but sometimes young wood is necessary.  I was really impressed with her respect and how easily the words came to her.  I’m definitely a proud Druid mama!  Hopefully the tradition of working with plants will continue in my family for another generation.

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(This entry describes my morning.  Written in the style of  If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff.)

If you give a Druid a cup of tea, she’ll feel very content, almost meditative. She’ll be moved to give some as an offering to her Ancestors.

So, your Druid will go to the household Ancestor shrine and realize that she should really clean it since the evergreens she placed on it for the Winter Solstice are all dried out.  What’s more, New Years is coming, and a clean house brings good luck for the rest of the year!

As she starts to clean the shrine, she decides that she should save the evergreen needles for “something” later on.  So she finds a clean jar to store them in.

Your Druid is smart, and she knows that she needs to label and date her jar.  She goes to the drawer that contains the writing implements and chooses a blue marker to write “Blue Spruce – Winter Solstice – 2014” on the lid.

While putting the marker away, she notices a small, green marker stain on the drawer.  “Oh no!” she says, thinking what her landlady would say.  So she wets a rag and begins to scrub.

Thankfully, the stain fades, but your Druid notices dried food and other strange stains on the cupboard doors.  So she continues to clean and clean and clean.  After all, New Years is coming, and a clean house brings good luck for the rest of the year!

Eventually, she gets really tired.  She decides to finish later.  At that moment, she realizes that she needs to drink her tea!  She gets her cup but realizes that it’s no longer warm.  It doesn’t seem hospitable to share lukewarm tea with Ancestors on a winter day.

So you put the kettle on to make more tea.  And you know what that means?

It means your Druid will want to give some as an offering to the Ancestors but will need to continue cleaning the shrine!

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Transplanted wild chamomile. Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2014.

Earlier I went out to lunch with my husband. We stopped in The Mustard Seed, a local health food store and cafe. We sat beneath a big poster displaying a variety of medicinal herbs. Weretoad asked if I had ever encountered chamomile in the wild and I said that I had not but would love to find it one day.

Sometimes the Kindreds hear you.

A delightful downpour welcomed me home after work this afternoon. Rather than rushing inside, I took a moment to revel in the cool relief the rain brought. I was rewarded with a welcomed sight – a few small patch of plants that looked like chamomile, growing right near my home!  Some research confirmed that I had discovered wild chamomile – aka “pineappleweed.”  The scent of it’s conical blossoms gave it its name.  I decided to try transplanting a couple.  Others online advised that I should trim the tops a bit to promote root growth after transplanting, so you won’t see the blossoms that gave it away in my photograph.  I brought those in and promptly brewed a cup of tea!  Well… after I gave thanks.  I disturbed some ants while digging up my new plant allies, so I gave them a peace offering of sugar-in-the-raw.

May the ants know my respect and the wild chamomile thrive both in and out of my pots!  I’m grateful the Kindreds finally allowed me to find this chamomile.  Clearly the time was right.

 

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Prayer to Brighid over Tea

I’ve written before about how I often give Brighid an offering of tea at some point during the day.  This has become especially common for me to do when engaging in an artistic pursuit.  Lately, I’ve been offering spicy herbs infused in fresh brewed hot water.  As I drop the herbs in her teacup, I say the following prayer I wrote:

Lady Brighid,
Goddess of the sacred fire, well, and oak,
I give this offering to you in thanks for your many blessings.
In the name of the sacred fire, I thank you for your inspiration.
In the name of the sacred well, I thank you for your healing.
In the name of the sacred oak, I thank you for your protection.
Lady Brighid, may you know my love, my gratitude, and my reverence.
May I bring honor to you in all I say and do.
Lady Brighid, I thank you!

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First off, if you haven’t read the latest offering from The Wild Hunt on Mothers’ Day, you really ought to.  It includes a concise history (which I was not aware of before) as well as possibly spiritual implications this secular holiday may have for Pagans.

This is the first time I’m officially celebrating Mothers’ Day now that I’m expecting.  Despite her not having been born, the little one growing in me makes me a mother; an inexperienced mother, but a mother all the same!  Weretoad has arranged for me to get a maternity massage in the near future and brought me to see “The Great Gatsby” last night (which I thoroughly enjoyed).  Today we went to Foxy’s restaurant in Fisher’s Landing on the St. Lawrence River to celebrate with my parents.  The view there is spectacular and they gave mothers a free dessert.  Nom!

I wanted to include a special ritual on my first personal observation of Mothers’ Day.  In particular, I wanted to give offerings to my spiritual mothers.  I’d never thought of doing that before, but becoming a mother really makes one reflect on the sacrifice it takes to be one, and thus I reflected on how I should have been doing that all along!  Originally, my intent was to share a cup of pregnancy tea with my Ancestral Mothers.  The more I thought, I realized that I should also honor the Earth Mother, the Mother Nature Spirits, and the Mother Goddesses, especially my lady Brighid.  They all play an important role in my concept of what it is to be a mother – whether biological or not.  And so, I organized a bit of a tea party devotional!

My very eclectic tea set ready for the job! Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2013.

I made a pot of pregnancy tea and brought two teacups and saucers to my altar – one to act as an offering bowl and the other for my portion of the tea during the return flow.  I spoke words of praise and thanks to the Earth Mother and Mothers within the Three Kindreds.  I poured tea and meditated.  I drew omens to see what blessings or lessons they had for me on my new journey and they were very good and encouraging.  The Nature Spirits gave me the raven for initiation and protection.  The Ancestors sent me the dog for companionship and protection.  The Goddesses sent me the boar which signifies the strength of a warrior.  I directed those blessings into my cup of tea and drank them up.  I also directed them into an amulet I intend to have with me at the birth.

My tea party devotional was a wonderful way to connect with the maternal energies on this day.  I feel the rite was successful and I intend to do another next year.

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I think I see some new growth…  Here’s hoping!  Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2012

 

My husband’s birthday was a couple weekends ago so we went away to visit our family and celebrate.  I had recently brought in some of my potted herbs since the frost is becoming more intense each evening.  Upon returning, I found that my bee balm, once flourishing and green, had been practically sucked dry by aphids!  Ugh!  I was very sad and tried to remove the pests but a majority of the plant has died.  I always feel awful when this happens.  Why didn’t I do a thorough examination of the plant before brining it in?

I grew my bee balm from seeds purchased from Alchemy Works.  I had been wanting to grow some for a few years.  My grandmother introduced me to the plant when I was very young so there’s a huge nostalgic draw.  She has them in her garden and used the blossoms in her pressed flower works.  They are a lovely bright red and look stunning in art.  As the name hints, they’re a favorite of pollinators.  I’m always striving to improve my garden and make it more hospitable to bees, butterflies, and humming birds.  Finally, as a tea drinker, I was attracted to bee balm’s  history in Colonial America.  Following the tea taxes, Colonials took to brewing bee balm, nicknamed “Oswego Tea,” as a substitute.  Apparently it is very similar tasting.  I was hoping to try some soon but…  Alas.

However, as you might be able to see in the photo I took, there is some small growth.  I’m very hopeful the plant can bounce back.  I need to create a good spray of garlic and cayenne peppers to combat the aphids… especially before the hubbub of the holiday season!  I’ll have to see if I can fit that in between baking rolls and cooking cranberry sauce.

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A gift from my father. 🙂

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