Monday, November 5, 2012

Harvesting herbs

I have finally harvested my surviving herbs for winter.  I collected them after the morning dew had dried, then covered them with very hot water for a couple of minutes to retain their color and remove bacteria.  Now the kitchen is redolent with rosemary.  I also have lemon thyme and parsley, but clearly rosemary is the queen of the kitchen!

Here is the parsley waiting for its bath.

Next, the lemon thyme drying.


Finally, the rosemary in a ziploc baggie, ready for the freezer. 

 The nights have been freezing but the days are still sunny. With a little luck, maybe I'll be able to get another harvest before they go dormant! I'm guessing it's my kitchen's northwestern exposure, but herbs don't seem to do very well inside for me. Still, I'll bring the parsley in and try again this winter.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Pagan Blog Project - M is for Mabon

The autumnal equinox is upon us just as the stores are breaking out Thanksgiving decorations.  Happily, that makes it a little easier to say goodbye to summer and fill our homes and deck our altars with symbols of the harvest.  I found a mat of oak leaves at Kohl's:
a small tealight lantern at Target:

and these owls at Pier 1:

If you have a garden you may be enjoying late blooming flowers or the ripe fruits of summer. 

Thanks to an abundant little tree, I've been able to make peach pies, grilled peaches, peach salsa and still have enough left over to give a friend for her Yule peach brandy! I've learned how to roast sunflower seeds and eggplant.
But the best harvest of all has been my grandson, Riley, born this past spring!

Here in northern Nevada you can feel summer beginning to give way to fall as the light changes, the days grow shorter and the nights cooler.  I can feel my energy changing from the activity of summer to the contemplative focus of fall and winter.  As nature is doing, it's time for us to turn inward and become dormant, conserving our energy for what we want to germinate come spring.  May your life yield a rich harvest that will sustain you through the winter.  Blessed be!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Pagan Blog Project - J is for Jasmine

Jasmine is one of my favorite scents.  I love it in incense and candles and this year I bought a shrub which I hope will flower next spring.
According to Jamie Wood's The Wicca Herbal, jasmine is associated with the goddess Diana, the god and planet Jupiter and the moon.  It "increases self-confidence, self-love, spiritual love, prophetic dreams and prosperity."  And all this time I just thought it smelled pretty!  
The Magical Herbal Encyclopedia website claims jasmine, either in the form of flowers or essential oil, is used for calming the nerves, snakebite, eye problems, attracting love, prosperity and money, divination and psychic dreams, as well as for charging quartz crystals. 
White jasmine flowers are symbolic of the moon and the mysteries of the night. The flowers are said to draw wealth and money if carried, burned or worn.  You can smell the flowers to induce sleep, while burning the flowers in the bedroom should cause prophetic dreams - hopefully not nightmares about burning the house down!

Other magickal uses include meditation and astral projection.  So get yourself some jasmine and open the door to love, money and prophetic dreams!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Pagan Blog Project - J is for Just Do It!

When you're feeling overwhelmed by all the demands of life it can be easy to let your spirit life lapse.  To get back on track, don't worry about carrying out every step of your ritual.  Don't have time to cast a circle and call the quarters?  Just take a moment, perhaps light some incense or a candle, and honor the deity that is you.  With a grateful heart find joy in the little moments of perfection that happen every day - a song you love on the radio, a hummingbird in your garden, a beautiful sunrise or brilliant moon.
Observe your craft in little ways on a daily basis and you will find yourself subconsciously carving more time for it as the wheel of the year progresses.  
Financial experts advise beginning any fiscal planning by figuring out a budget - listing where all of your money goes as well as where you would like it to go.  I've started a similar idea with my time, making a list of all the things I want to do every day along with all the things I have to do. (See a sample below.) 
September 10 - 16
Shop (market/clothes/errands)
Prepare for sabbat, esbat
Paint file
Feed & weed garden
Trim plants for fall

As I started ticking (or not ticking) things off the list, something interesting happened. I noticed the things I did every day weren't things I wanted to do but things I felt I had to do (like housework). If I have 15 minutes in the morning, I spend it doing dishes instead of meditating. I generally put off projects and hobbies until I have a chunk of free time, only that free time never seems to show up. So now I try to sew a seam or two instead of the whole skirt or pull weeds around one plant instead of the whole yard. And I'm finding the project gets done faster than it would have if I'd waited for a free day.
So don't fret if you have to work during a sabbat or the baby's schedule doesn't allow you to meditate every morning.  Offer your intentions to the universe and watch the magic happen (with your willing spirit) to live your best charmed life.  Blessed be!