Feb 28th 2010
Snowdrop - "The February Flower" - "Flower of Hope"
A bit late this year, but here they are at last! Galanthus nivalis or Snowdrops - given to this earth not by magics, but by an angel as a sign of hope. Hexagonal crystals of snow were dropped by him from the Upper World. As the snowflakes fell to earth and touched the ground, each one turned into a tiny white flower with its fresh minty green stripe - snowdrops - a thousand little blossoms of hope.
What is so amazing about these as signs of hope, is that there is a compound in the leaves and bulbs which is now being used as a medicine to treat an ageing of the mind which can strike villagers down - called Alzheimers Disease. Hope indeed!
Keep your snowdrops out of doors where they belong - to bring them inside is unlucky - but you knew that? Magics don't like to see one of these all alone - it's a sign that somewhere, a magic or woodlander is fading.
My flashes were taken at a Kentish place called Challock, not so far away from my wood and very, very close to the Kings Wood forest where the High Forest Elves live and work.
Challock Church in Kent hosts one or two special
Snowdrop Days with teas, but you can walk there and enjoy the flowers on any day during the season.
Feb 19th 2010 (The Ogham wood for magic has now changed to Nion (Ash) Feb 18th - 17th March.)
Winter twigs and beautiful, beautiful lichen:
Checking on the feel of the air in my woods, the first thing I did was look for lichens. That’s because lichen absorbs its minerals straight from the rain, it just won’t grow where there’s much pollution. The Seer would be really pleased if he saw the flashes I took today – the lichen looks strong and healthy. It's actually quite gorgeous I reckon - what do you think?
When faery clothes and rags are in the making, in shades of fawn and brown, there's nothing better to use for the dye than lichen, or crottle as the old ones used to say. I collected a whole basketful to dry out.
There's a special little three legged black pot that's used for boiling it up, but I won’t do that for quite a while yet.
While I was walking, I collected some twigs for a decoration, the ones covered with soft grey lichen look lovely against dark green leaves.
I made a tied bunch, with lots of gort (ivy) round the outside. If you'd like to make one with "founds" from your wood or hedge, have a look at my "Crafty Make Its" page, it tells you how.
Oh yes, that reminds me - did you manage to look at the "Dormice Biscuits" on my "Cooking Make Its " page yet? I think you'd like them.
Also, a little bit about the nearest village (pfffttt!!) to my Hurst Wood, - it's about a tower on a villager building that's called Charing Church and it's new on the "Book Places" page. Oh my - I have been busy for a change!
Feb 11th 2010
Rabbit huddles and snow survival:
Oh my! Here it is again – snow – and more snow – and only the other day I was showing you the first surprise primroses. This week I hoped to give you a glimpse of the snowdrop drifts – but all we get is snow drifts!
Today, I went out to see if anyone needed Wood Warden help – and who should I find along the east path out through the overgrown quarry?
Let me introduce you – this is Joelly. He helped serve Storm’s Dragon Punch to the guests at our Solstice party. He’s looking quite grown up now, with his dense, thick winter coat.
I asked him if all was well with his family in spite of the snow. I guessed they’d be fine because wild rabbits stay warm by spending a lot of time in their burrows under the ground. They huddle up together over the winter to keep as much of their body heat as possible. A warren group even keeps each other warm by sleeping in a pile! As they 're vegetarians, rabbits can dig under the snow to find grass and nibble the bark of trees.
Huddling in this weather sounds good to me. Glad to know they’re such
Feb 3rd 2012
Just a note:
Hooray!! I got a Drax from old Storm today. It's interesting stuff, all about the most important dragon ceremony of the year in Lithuania - called Kucios. The most important ceremony for all the folk there in fact - not just dragons - even if it was on 24th December! Better late than never hey Storm?
I left it outside Badger-Himself's set at the end of the wood. Thought he might be interested to borrow it for a while, he's always curious about old customs.
You can read it too on the "From Storm" page, I hope you can find time :-)
Feb 1st 2010
The festival of Imbolc - exact middle of the second half of the dark-side.
* The diagram of the Brigid cross is from : http://www.fisheaters.com/stbrigidscross.html
Jan 28th 2010 (The Ogham wood for magic has now changed to Luis (Rowan) Jan 21st - Feb 17th)
Storm 'n me, talking of serious things.
Well, there really isn't very much going on in my wood, it's cold and damp and wintery. A few little hedegrow folk asked for winter medicines and one needed a cobweb bandage - cut himself on a piece of broken glass from a bottle in the lane!
So I got to thinking about Storm, as I often do and wondering how he is, back in the mountains of Lithuania. Busy too no doubt. I found this Flash - such memories! We were talking about the pine trees. He says that mine look reasonably healthy considering we live within range of The Feeling from nessB (see Book Places page). In many parts of Europe, he says, pollution called "acid rain" from villager works is causing terrible sickness amongst the great firs of the forests.
I think I'll go around later on and talk to some of them. Perhaps they'd like to hear some of Storm's Music for Trees. I'll play them some of the tree-songs to keep up their spirits - they know Spring is coming - they can feel it in their roots. Don't forget you can listen too on "The Music" pages if you like.
Jan 19th 2010
Early signs! Fairies LOVE Primroses.
Look what I found today at the far end of the Neighbourhood Bank! Primroses. Just these few, low down, in a sunny spot under the nut trees. This is where lots of the wood mice families live. I don't know how these plants survived, they were buried under inches of snow only a few days ago.
British Folklore has it that if you're a villager and want to actually see a fairy, you should eat a primrose flower! Pffft! Well, you might!!
Please don't eat these though, they are the only ones about! I think that if you grow plenty in your garden, and promise to look after them well, you are much more likely to see us.
The plants in our wild places are protected, so you really need to plant your own, under the hedges, they love dappled shade.
I use primroses, when there are lots about in the Spring for my
Eco-enchantments business, and for looking after the Hedgerow folk too.
The pretty, scented flowers make infusions for tisanes, to be drunk in May against rheumatism, and at any time to make you sleep well. The leaves are fantastic for antiseptic dressings, rub them first to make the juices flow and lay them on cuts, bites or bruises.
Primroses are ruled by the light of Venus and by the Goddess Freya. The Druids loved them, planting them by standing stones and circles, and wearing them in ceremonies to welcome the Spring and the months of the light side.
Jan 9th 2010
Snow in Hurst Wood. Snow everywhere!
So bewitching in my woods just now, but sooo cold too. This weather makes you realise just how few Wood Warden fae's there are around - and all the birds and other hedgerow folk need a lot of helping in this endless snow. The robins and mistle thrushes have practically moved in with me! At least I have a few stores left and plenty of logs for the fire.
That mad little Quarry Gnome has been skating on his pond - good job he hasn't put on too much weight in the last year!
Jan 1st 2010 (The Ogham wood for magic has now changed to Beith (Birch) Dec 24th - Jan 20th)
Snow and hag stones on the beach
So here we are old diary - two thousand and ten. What will it bring to the magic clans I wonder? I made a few "resolutions" you see. Wonder if Storm did the same - even Granny M might make them I suppose! I know Badger-Himself did, I met him out walking in the snow. That was a rare thing to see in the middle of winter.He said the leg that he injured by the power station aches in very cold weather and he had to get out for a stretch.
Here is another rare thing!
Snow by the sea! To celebrate this day I flew down to the beach - all wrapped up against the snow as you can see in my best gossamer cloak.I need more hag-stones, so many folks want one of my hag-stone strings that I can't keep up with them.
I took this flash on a beach near Hythe, and the big ship in the distance must be going in to Dover. Not sure if I have seen snow on the shingle before - if I have I was only a fairy-sprig!
Found six hag-stones - two of them are very nice ones but a bit on the small side. I will save those two for the top of a very particular rope that needs doing soon. Someone I know is planning a new spell and stones found on New Year's day will bring that extra touch of magic!
More about hag stones on my Talking of Magic page.