Oh, Blessed Dirt

Life has been hectic for us here lately, so many things stirring in the cauldron– the good, the bad, financial, medical, personal, business, both positive and negative.  We’re still in the Middle-Of-Life, though I hadn’t expected this at the tale-end of middle-age.  Needless to say, “Stress” has been our companion, my companion, for the past several weeks, months; and I wanted to share a wonderful “Aha!” moment.

I just came in from weeding the garden.  I came in with dirty hands, sweaty hair, muddy jeans, grubby feet– and it feels soooo good!  I *love-love-love* getting down on the ground, playing in the dirt, getting dirty!  And as I’m on my knees thinking how Peaceful this is, how Grounding this is– Dirt!— the “Aha” hit me…Of course, it’s grounding.  Of course, Dirt is connected– to the Earth (planet & element)– and to the Goddess! (duh)

Do you realize that children instinctively know this?  They know this and acknowledge it and act on it until a grownup tells them not to.  No wonder children love to play in the dirt– there is a reason for this!

I feel reconnected.

Dirt is dirty, but our kids need it. Research shows kids who play in the dirt are healthier than those shrouded in a germ-free bubble. Why kids and mud are the perfect pair...

Learn how to play in the dirt at www.theprairiehomestead.com!

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Garden Magick @ Hedgewytch Hollow (photo blog)

I’ve about knocked myself out this year revamping our gardens and grounds.  It has been a lot of work, and I’m not finished yet, but it’s also been a lot of fun, and it’s turned out to be a wonderful creative outlet.
 
(Spirit Chimes in the “Old Garden”)
 
“The Old Garden” is my main garden spot, though I’m not sure why I call it this anymore, except that this was the first garden I added to this place years ago, and it’s this spot that I’m still working on yet.  I think I may have found someone interested in two saplings that I’ve (unwisely) allowed to grow in this flowerbed, simply because I dearly love trees and I couldn’t bring myself to cut them down after watching them grow for two years. (A Russian Olive and a Maple)…I know, I’m an extraordinarily unconventional gardener.The following two pictures are guardians at the north entrance of the Old Garden:
 
 
 
(South end of the Old Garden)…It’s the middle of the Old Garden that I’m still working on– the girls and I just picked up another large load of mulch and stones today.  I’ve purchased so much mulch and garden supplies from our local Menards this year that one employee asked me if I do landscaping.

____________________

Below are some of the flowers and plants that grace our gardens and grounds:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
(Our Large Rosebush)  

 

(from underneath looking out)

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
(My neon hot pink geraniums, up close)…My sixteen-year-old daughter took this photo right after I watered the geraniums.____________________

We have tiki torches all over the yard in the various garden spots, and on Monday, June 4th, the night of the Full Moon, we lit all of them and wandered around the yard for a while enjoying the magickal night while I tried to take pictures of both the full moon and the gardens, just the gardens, and just the moon– the moon photos being mostly unsuccessful, they really didn’t give you the full effect (no pun intended). 

Following are pictures that I took: 

 
(The newest garden spot, which I just created this May,
slap-dab in the middle of the front lawn)…
I’ve often noticed that so many people have very bare front yards and create their garden space only in the backyard, out of sight.  I didn’t want to do that; I wanted to be able to see a garden from my front door, and I wanted everyone else passing by to see my garden as well.  I wanted to be different, and this is something I generally succeed at, just ask my family.
 
(Follow the Yellow Brick Road)…I’ve always wanted to create a “Magickal Threshold” into the backyard, and I decided to do just that this year with a grape arbhor and grapevines.  The plants are hard to see in the dark, but there are grapes planted on either side of the arbor, and the leaves are suppose to turn beautiful colors in the autumn.  We’ll have to see just how much they grow this summer.  The Yellow Brick Road in daylight:

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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(The Patio Court)…I posted one of the photos of the patio court at Facebook.  It was absolutely loaded with orbs.  The girls and I love to sit out here in the dark of the evening, with candles lit at the table, sometimes under moonlight, and sometimes by the glow of the tiki torches.  The Patio Court, daytime:

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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The Chicken Corner:
This spot is just inside the backyard, at the end of the brick path, and this is where we have Cletus’s kennel.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Front Yard Garden in daylight:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Spring 2012 @ Our House

I’ve been working like a crazy woman this spring redoing garden spots, adding new garden spots, planting, mulching, planning, shopping, and creating.  It’s been a hoot, and I’ve loved the bonus of this early growing season.  I’ve added several photos to a new garden slideshow, and I’ll be updating this slideshow from time to time with new pictures.  Welcome!…

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Spring @ Our House (slideshow)

I’ve been working like a maniac the last couple of weeks redoing the flowerbeds, landscaping, and cleaning up the yard.  I wish I would’ve kept track of how many large bags of mulch and soil I’ve gone through; I can tell you that it is a lot!  I told my husband that I must have been bitten by some sort of ‘landscape bug’.  I’m even fixated enough by it that I notice the landscaping everywhere I go– outside the Dr’s office, in front of the post office, you name it.  I think I’ve spent close to $1000 dollars, and I still have the front yard left to do.  I bought so much mulch at our local Mennard’s that the guy helping us this week asked me on one of my daily trips…”Do you do landscaping?”  I thought a minute, and then I told him, “Yes, I guess I do.”  My girls laughed about this all the way home. 

I’ve taken a few photos and started a slideshow, but keep in mind that I’m a long way from done yet.  As I complete new projects and areas, I’ll take more photos and update this slideshow.  We have a large project planned for the front lawn. 

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Garden Magick: My Herbal Shopping List

I have friends who live in warmer climates, and they tell me that their rosemary and lavender are perennials. That’s not the case where I live, except for a huge mound of sage I planted years ago which comes up faithfully every year, and several plants that are native to my area (Nebraska). So every spring I make a list of the herbs I want to re-plant, rosemary and lavender being right up there at the top. I’m in the process of making my list right now, and I’m going to post it here, along with some magickal information on the correspondences and uses for these herbs.

 Rosemary

Gender: masculine (or projective)
Planet: Sun
Element: Fire
Magickal Energies: protection, cleansing, purification, exorcism, healing, beauty/youth

I use rosemary for cleansing a space of unwanted negative energy. You can add it to the water you’re going to use to scrub the floor; burn it, using the smoke to magickally smudge an area; hang dried bunches of the plant in the four corners of a room, over the threshold of doorways, or above the windows. I’ve made a tincture of rosemary to use as an astringent for my face– I took a nice size bottle, filled it with spring water, added a pretty sprig of rosemary and let it sit and seep overnight, in the moonlight. The next day, you can remove the sprig of rosemary– though I chose to leave mine in the bottle– and refrigerate. To use it, just pour a little on a cotton-ball and use it to wipe down your face after you’ve washed your face as usual to remove makeup. Not only is the rosemary good for your complexion, you are tapping into the magickal energy of this herb to preserve the appearance of youth and beauty.

Lavender

Gender: masculine (or projective)
Planet: Mercury
Element: Air
Magickal Energies: love, sleep, romance, purification, destressing, communication, enhancment of creative energy

I most often use lavender in mojo bags and poppets aimed at romance; for mojo bags kept beneath pillows to enhance sleep; for candle spells to remove negative and stressful energies from an individual, from a set of circumstances, or from a particular space. Burn a yellow candle dressed in Witch’s Oil and rolled in crushed lavender before beginning a project connected with communication, such as a writing project or assignment, or a personal letter. Keep a bowl of lavender by the computer for this same magickal enhancement, because this is an area that is engulfed in the energy and act of communicating with others. Finally, at the end of the day, drop a sprig or two in your bathwater to destress, to find peace and comfort, to shed the energies of all those people with whom you’ve come in contact with all day long.

Dill

Gender: masculine (or projective)
Planet: Mercury
Element: Fire
Magickal Energies: protection, power, lust, fertility, money mojo

I have used dill seeds in money spells, especially money spells geared towards children– such as cases involving child support disputes or other issues of this nature. The other thing that I’ve most called on Dill for is protection. Grind the leaves of this plant and add it to a red flannel bag, along with a rusty nail (or a cemetery nail, if you have it), a snip of hair from your head and a fingernail clipping, along with a pinch of whole cloves. Next, tear a page from a bible containing the 23rd psalm, write your name in large bold letters across the page (in dragon’s blood ink, if you have it), fold this paper up to fit inside the red bag. Hang this bag near the front door of your home to prevent enemies from entering; this means anyone who would wish you ill, even someone you may not recognize as an enemy.

I’m sure this isn’t it for my planting, but at least it’s a start to my list. I’m going to have to wait until the green-houses open up in my area to see what’s available. One thing about planting dill, my daughters love the huge brilliant catapillars that are attracted to it. They are really stunning– black, white, and yellow. I didn’t plant any last year, and we missed watching them. I have to say that over the years I’ve tried potting some of my outdoor herbs and bringing them inside to winter, including my rosemary and lavender, but this just never seems to work for me, the plants just don’t last long indoors. Not enough sunny windows perhaps, or maybe I water them too much/not enough. Anyway, we’ve been taking advantage of this wonderful and warmer than average weather to do some yard work and get our garden spots ready for spring planting.

Prairie Summer Magick

I don’t know how Laura Ingalls Wilder survived the pioneer age through summer heat and humidity with no air-conditioning and not even one lousy electric fan. I would’ve died. I took my camera outside to capture some of our flowers and stuff this week and was amazed when the lens fogged over. I guess you can tell how cool we keep our house.

This is my new birdbath. I wanted something large enough for the larger birds to be able to get in and really enjoy– and they do! I make sure that I empty, rinse, and refill all birdbaths at least every other day, so that the birds always have fresh clean water and so that mosquito larvae will not thrive in this standing water.

My Virginia Creeper is running amok in this small garden space at the east side of the house, and I let it have it’s way– love it! The Day Lilies and the Echinachea are still blooming. Everything seems a bit later than usual this year, I suppose because May was so darn cold, everything got a late start.

Lily: The gender is feminine (receptive), the planet– Moon; the element– Water; deities include Venus, Juno, Nepthys, Kwan Yin. It’s magickal powers include protection, especially against the evil eye, ghosts, and unwanted visitors. (And I’d have to say that they’ve done an exceptional job on a couple of these points!)

Lilies are also used magically to break love spells (keep a note of this!) and to help bring clues to light in criminal cases.

Echinacea (Purple Cone Flower): This plant was used by American Indians to ensure and strengthen spells. It’s also used medicinally to treat infections. It’s an extraordinarily popular flower, and it grows like gangbusters here in Nebraska. I started years ago planting it in my virgin flowerbeds and it has since spread on it’s own, coming up in some rather unusual places; and me being me, I let it stay where it wishes to go.

Summer wouldn’t be summer without a pot of petunias sitting around somewhere. They bring to mind childhood memories, when my Aunt would buy large boxes of a lavender petunia they called “Sugar Daddy”, and my sister and I would each be given our own little spot of ground to plant them.

My daughters enjoy these vibrant blossoms just as much as my sister and I did.

The treehouse deck is very cozy and private this year, the tree limbs have grown down around the front of it so that you feel very hidden and protected, magickal and empowered, when you sit up there. It’s also very peaceful, and if it weren’t for the large swarms of mosquitoes that we have right now, or the stifling humidity, you’d find me up there more often. But that will change with fall and the color of the leaves.

I have a birdbath and feed platter, as well as the cats’ water bowl and food dishes up here. I know that those two things don’t sound like they go together, but so far, everyone has gotten along. (It must be a special place, where nature can call a truce.)

The girls, and some of the cats, have enjoyed the carpeted treehouse this year– the entrance is above the chair, to the right side of the photo.

My sunflowers surrounding a bird feeding station in the front yard are tall, waaaay above my head, and they’re blooming now! Sunflowers (and lilacs) are my favorite flowers, so I’m always tickled to see these large cheerful blossoms. I leave all plants stand until spring, so during the winter birds enjoy the natural food of seeds, right from the stem. It’s taken me a while to convince my ex-farmer husband to let everything just sit and do it’s normal and natural thing in the autumn and winter, but I think I’ve won him over.

Mother Nature knows best. There’s a rhyme and reason for everything.

Sunflower: the energy is masculine (projective); the planet is the Sun; the element Fire. The seeds of the sunflower are said to enhance fertility, and women wishing to get pregnant would benefit by eating the seeds. (That’s easy– they taste good!) Sunflowers make wishes come true, reveal the truth, guard against pests (all varieties), keep you virtuous ( if you wish to be :), and give good luck to their gardener. What more could you want?

This is the remnants of my Elemental candles. Skry the wax and tell me if you see anything. We have fun doing this at our house, and some of the unusual observations have really hit the mark, more often than not. Some people are actually very gifted with this type of magick. I don’t always allow my candles to burn down this way, most of the time I burn the votive candles in glass candle holders; but once in a while, I’ll just let them pool. I burned these candles over the course of several evenings, a week or two ago.

Online tarot classes: http://ladyamythyst.webs.com/onlineclasses.htm

 

Dreams, Magickal Formularia, & Fairie Realms

I have a new dream to add to my journal, it’s incomplete, one scene out of an entire adventure, most of which can’t be remembered, but it’s visually memorable:  An Indian (Native American) village is burning.  I don’t see the flames, but the smoke is thick and curling, sulfurous, twisting through the air like dirty gray clouds.   I feel appalled, and yet can do nothing but watch, from whatever invisible perch I’m allowed to view this scene from.

And watch I do, though as an unseen outsider watching a disjointed scene develop.  Occasionally the clouds of smoke will part, and I can see the steep sides of a teepee constructed from buffalo hide.  Other times the thick smoke separates to reveal the wall of a modern home…and this is shocking and unexpected.

And that’s the extent of what I remember, though I know that there was a much broader scenario, lost now in my sub-conscious.

 

 Tarot Card of the Day
(Deck:  Handle)

White Buffalo woman
Daugther of Stones in the West
Princess of Stone

I feel a theme here, unintentional, yet somehow connected to the scheme of things.

From this card, I get…strength; individualism; great effort under duress; quiet fortitude; power that’s understated.  Also, I sense a grounding to Earth, to the Mother Goddess, creativity, and manifestation into the physical realm.

 

http://ladyamythyst.webs.com/tarotreadings.htm

Night before last we had heavy rains here in Nebraska, which resulted in a flooded basement for us.  This sounds awful, and it certainly wasn’t fun, but it’s been worse.  This time the floor was completely soaked the length of the room and all the saturated area rugs had to be drug outside.  We’ve had flooding before that’s left us with ankle deep water downstairs, so I’m not going to complain about this episode.  It was actually fairly easy to get cleaned up.

I took a picture of the ditch ahead of our house about mid-morning the day after the rain.  On the night of the storm, this ditch was filled to the brim with water.  As you can see, it had already gone down quite a bit.

Welcome to Hedgewytch Hollow:

You can see two of our feeding stations here, at either end of the front yard.  These will become much more interesting and ‘wild’ looking as the season progresses because we allow the seeds from the birdfood to sprout and grow beneath and around the feeding stations.  These plants include milo and towering sunflowers.

The center of our front lawn remains uncut.  My husband mows around them, creating a sort of ‘wild island’, where a gorgeous bed of clover is allowed to grow, along with grass, dandelions, and my beautiful wild violets.  There are also large stones in there– I mean ‘large’ stones– that he brought back from Iowa, and a barrel containing columbine and marigolds, along with a statuette of a white sow (for the goddess, Cerridwen), and a black cauldron in which I plant something different each year– this year, it’s marigolds.

So funny– just last week there was a man going door to door in our neighborhood trying to drum up business for a local lawn service.  I answer my door, and he points to this ‘wild’ area in our front lawn and says, “I see you have a few ‘trouble spots’ there.”  I told him that we certainly don’t have any ‘trouble spots’, and that stretch of lawn is just exactly the way I want it.  He looked stunned.

We allow plantain to grow throughout our yard, wherever it may have a hankerin’ to do so; and this plant seems to favor a large area of our front lawn.  Not only is plantain edible, a nice wild green you can add to your salads or cook up and eat with a little butter and salt and pepper; but it has magickal properties as well.

I use plantain to create mojo bags for safe travel, which we keep in our vehicles.  In my old Suburban– the ‘She-Sub’– is a black bag containing plantain, calamus root, a pinch of sea salt, and a stone of tiger’s eye.

For plantain the planet is Venus; the element Earth; the energy feminine (receptive); and the magickal energies are geared towards healing, strength, and protection.

This is the columbine that’s growing in my barrel in the center of our uncut area of lawn.  It seems to like this spot.  I only wish that it’s blooms lasted longer through the season; I think they are so beautiful.  Columbine also has magickal purposes, but if you use it, you should be aware that the seeds to this plant are poisonous.

For columbine the energy is feminine; the planet is Venus; the element is Water; and its magickal energies include courage and love.

When we first moved here, fifteen years ago, there was a huge gorgeous cotton wood tree in the front yard, on the east side of the house.  It faithfully shaded my daughter’s bedroom window throughout three seasons of the year.  In the autumn we were treated to a beautiful golden display of large leaves that made the most magickal sound when the wind moved through it.  But alas, the tree eventually died, and we had to have it cut down for fear of the brittle tree damaging the neighbor’s house, should it go down in a windstorm.


I told them to leave the tall stump, and here it is, yet today, wearing a garland of virginia creeper, standing as the centerpiece in another wild garden spot.  This area, towards the back of the front lawn and to the east of the house, is overrun with virgina creeper, as well as day lillies, dahlias, purple cone flowers, and a baby lilac bush, as well as other foliage that decides to make this magickal spot its home.

I have a magick wand made from a twig saved from the majestic old cotton wood tree.  It’s served me well, as an old friend, which of course, it is.

The growing season is just getting under way in our area, so this space has just begun to fill itself in with this year’s growth.  I took the bottom part of the metal bunkbed I turned into a bird feeding station, and I put it here, using it as a trellis, in anticipation that the virginia creeper will cover it by mid-June.

 I have two potted plants hanging from the bunkbed birdfeeder in the front yard.  One of them is pansies, which remind me of my daughter, Anne.  When she was a little girl, I called her ‘Annsie Pansie’.

 The planet for pansies is Saturn; it’s energy feminine (receptive); the element is Water; and the magickal energies include:  love, rain magick, and divination.  It’s said that if you carry this plant upon your person, you will draw love to you.

The other potted plant is violas.  This plant reminds me of springtime in South Dakota, knowing that a long summer was just around the corner; my grandmother’s house; paved walkways; morning sunshine; and cold dew.  Childhood memories.

 This is clover that covers much of the ‘wild area’ in the front lawn.  I took this photo the morning after the rain storm, and as you can see, raindrops still sit upon it.

This clover holds an attraction for the wild things.  I was coming out of the kitchen one day, and there were my cats– Salem & Pixie– frozen in awe, watching something out of the glass on our front door.  I looked to see what was holding their attention, and sitting in our clover patch, watching the cats with just as much curiosity, was a very large rabbit, one of the largest I’ve ever seen.

We’ve spotted this rabbit in the clover patch now and then, but each time I run for the camera, I come back to find it has disappeared.  I’m beginning to think, half whimsically and half seriously, that this rabbit is not just any ordinary old rabbit, but perhaps a magickal creature.

The cat is Baby (aka Duchess), sitting on one of the large rocks in the front yard.  This photo was taken the night of the thunderstorm, during the evening, before the storm hit.  This photo is full of orbs; not only is there a large one on the barrel, the sky is full of them.

This is a photo of my latest aquisition– a goddess ring.  It’s sterling silver, citrine, blue topaz, and the goddess’s face is carved from bovine bone.  And no, this one is not for sale– it’s a keeper!

Jewelry is my weakness, particularly rings– no idea why– and my daughters know that someday it will be passed on to them.

The energies for this ring will include:

Citrine…the energy is projective (male); the planet is the Sun; the element Fire; and the magickal energies protction and psychism.

 Topaz…the energy is projective (male); the planet is the Sun; the element Fire; and the magickal energies include protection, healing, money, and love.

From Hedgewytch Hollow
Blessed Be!

Wytchy Chit-Chat: It’s Been a Long Week

I feel like I’m waking from a fog.  This past week I’ve been sick with the flu, in bed most of the time, filled up on Ibuprofen and cold medicine, sleeping off and on, and waiting for the moment I would feel normal again.  Well, that moment has finally come– ta,da!– and none too soon; because I’m scheduled to be at Next Millennium tomorrow to do another book signing and tarot readings.  (That’s Saturday, May 7, noon-4pm, at http://www.next-mill.com )
I really didn’t know, as the week progressed, whether I’d make it or not, so I’m thrilled to be back up and at ’em!  I hope to see you there. 🙂

When I snapped out of my fog and re-joined the world of the living, it was quite a sight to behold.  Our apple trees had seemed to snap into bloom over night.  The air is fragrant with apple blossoms, and so is the house, as we fling open all the windows and let the fresh air run throughout.  This is my favorite part of spring, and I wish that these trees could stay magickally blooming for about three times longer than normal.  I snatched up my camera– and the following photos were taken today, by me, in our backyard:

I’m not the only one who enjoys our apple trees.  As I worked at the table on the back porch today, this was my secret companion.  He made a couple attempts to join me on the porch rails, but the sight of all the cats curled up asleep around me seemed to put him off (wise bird). 

I discovered that the small lilac bushes I’d planted in the herb garden right next to the porch were finally going to bloom– I’d planted them a couple years ago and they seemed to take forever to settle in and get comfortable.  But it was worth the wait…

My carpet of creeping charley (ground ivy), which I just started last year,  has taken hold and is growing like gang busters, providing a lush carpet in my secret garden…

So many of the other plants, from my hostas to the clematis, are very busy and in the process of creating leaves, they’re not ready to bloom any time soon.  But I don’t mind– patterns of leaves in a variety of colors are just as beautiful to me as a hoard of blossoms…

I’m never alone…if I don’t have a child following me around the yard, I have a cat.  Pyewacket, my eccentric black angora, was enjoying this day outdoors just as much as I was, and every time I turned around, there he was…

It was a good day today.  I finished up a good-sized magazine article and got it sent off way ahead of deadline.  I caught up on laundry that I intended to catch up on before I got sick.  I had the opportunity of spending some quality time with my kids and my katz on this gorgeous spring day; and my girls and I even managed a quick shopping run.

Today reminded me of a plaque that belonged to my Uncle, a beautiful plate that my Aunt use to have hanging in her kitchen when I was a child.  It said:

“Good Lord, just give me good health, and I’ll take care of the rest.”