June 29th 2010
How to enchant a small elf during midsummer :
The Full Moon nearest to the Summer Solstice is The Strawberry Moon
Elves love wild strawberries.
This is a well known fact.
Now of course, magics like the High Elves of Kingswood aren't likely to fall for this little enchantment - they're much too grand and sensible.
It's the small elves, the ones who hide in bracken and generally make mischief that could definitely be tempted out into the open - and if they like what you've made for them, they might grant you a wish - worth a try.
Make your preparations carefully - even the smallest and silliest of elves (and believe me, some of them are silly - very) know when you've taken a bit of trouble for them.
* Make some tiny baskets - these are made with a walnut shell.
* Gather your wild fruit by the light of the full Strawberry Moon. (This flash is the bright, bright moon that has shone over Hurst Wood for the last three days).
* Line the baskets with a clean leaf and fill them with the wee strawberries.
* Add little bowls of cream - irresistible -
mine are ladelled into hazelnut shells.
See how small they are? One of these bowls is sitting on a 20p piece (a faery-found naturally).
* Arrange your elf-feast, make your wish (nothing too complicated mind - these are elves we're talking about!) then hide away.
* Important * Do NOT try to record your encounter in any way - unless you have a Drax machine (and I know you haven't!)
Taking pictures of magics in the ordinary villager way will cause them to fade! You don't want that on your conscience I'm sure.
(Please see note on my About page if you're not familiar with this sad effect).
June 21st 2010
Summer Solstice - Litha - what a wonderful dawn :
The Ogham wood for this day alone, which should be used for magic is heather (Ogham name Ur)
On this longest day I wanted to greet the first rays of the sun (sol) above the sea horizon. Sitting on the rocks, I lit my purple candle (spirituality and meditation) and waited at dawn. The only sound was the soft roll of the sea as it broke in a swell on the shore, and the pebbles being sucked back in the undertow.
The clouds, dense in places and mingled with a little sea mist, would only allow me to see the sunlight as it filled the gaps and tinted the sky with a gentle pink.The bird who rules this special day is the lark - today the Sun is at its highest point in the sky, it stands still above the land - just as the lark soars higher and higher, then hovers, singing for joy.
The old tree gods battle to the death each year on this day. Holly (Ogham Tinne) will duel with Oak (Ogham Duir) who has been protecting the earth for the past six months in the gradually lengthening light. Tonight Holly will win the battle and take the earth gradually back into the dark until they fight at the winter solstice and Oak will live to rule again.
(Lots more about this legend, and about Holly magic here)This is why the magics and the ancestors take sprigs of oak grown mistletoe, cut with gold (or any metal but iron) and caught in a white cloth so that it doesn't touch the ground, to decorate their stone circles or woodland groves. The mistletoe is the evergreen spirit of the oak and lives on into the dark months when the Oak stands stripped of leaves.It was obviously going to be a lucky day, as I found seven hag stones amongst the pebbles! These stones found on a solstice day have the greatest protection of all. Later, as it's growing dark, there's a ritual for the Summer Solstice which you might like to know - you can read about it on my "Spells and Charms" page!
Just in time!
Ready for Litha? Not long til our Summer Solstice now:
That silly old dragon Storm has sent me another drax at last - all about a lovely Lithuanain custom which he is looking forward to - called "Searching for the Fern Blossom".
If you like folk-lore and magic you will find it here on my Dragon Ramblings page.
June 15th 2010
Badgers - beautiful, shy and in danger of being culled by the thousands!
One of the largest and most endearingly beautiful mammals in the British Isles is the badger. We're lucky enough to have a family in Hurst Wood, but even a magic like me doesn't see them often. They are very shy creatures and nocturnal.
If you were to discover a badger sett and sit quietly downwind at dusk you may be blessed with a sighting of them. The young ones (like these in the picture from the Badger Trust - see links below) first venture out of their tunnel in mid May when they're about ten weeks old.
Badgers have one enemy - and that is the Villagers (mankind - humans as some of you say).
Acts of Parliament make it illegal for any person to kill, or injure badgers, but. despite this, the plans to cage and shoot thousands of badgers in Wales (because they are thought to spread bovine TB to cattle on nearby farms) are still gathering pace. The new coalition government is making plans right now (June 2010) to cull thousands of badgers in England too.The plans for Wales have been put on last minute hold so that a second appeal by The Badger Trust on June 30th 2010 can be taken into account.To slaughter thousands of these gentle animals when there is no concrete evidence that it will solve the cattle problem - seems to the magic community just another proof of human greed and depravity!Here's an excellent eight page printable information sheet about badgers
if you'd like to learn more.
Elderflower cordial is ready! (The Ogham wood for magic changes today to Duir (Oak) June 10th - July 7th)
Yes! The cordial has worked out well.
There's still time to make plenty more too - hedgerow magic at its best!! !
Can't wait to use it - perfect for splashing over strawberries for a start!
The recipe's here on my cooking page if you'd like to try.
See if you can make time for some hedgerow harvesting - it's well worh it!
And by the way - don't forget to thank the Elf Mother (see below) for the flowers will you?
June 7th 2010
My Lady Ellhorn - take care with the Elder Tree
Elder is a tree of the Ogham calendar - Old name - Ruis Ruling time : 25th Nov - 22nd Dec
Elemental - Water
Ellenwood, Elder, Ruis is a tree of great magick and power. Amongst the roots and lowest branches the Elder Mother - Elf Mother - Ellhorn the Wisewoman sits.
Cut into the wood without due respect at your peril!
This is not a wood for the making of wands - the elder rules the 13th Lunar Month and the smell of the leaves and wood is unlucky as well as unpleasant.Today I asked My Lady Ellhorn if I could pick a basket full of flowers to make into elderflower cordial.
Do you like my basket? It is very old and once belonged to someone dear to me named Gypsy..
Allow the tree to grow where it will and she'll bring you protection from curses and malevolent spirits, gifts of the huge white saucers of a million tiny star-shaped florets in June and an abundance of black, juicy berries in autumn. We may take the wood (but NEVER to burn!) IF we first bow low to the Lady Ellhorn, tell her why we need the wood then ask her permission. If we feel approval to take a little, or prune her branches, then we'll leave her a gift or tend to her needs and thank her.
The stems of Ellenwood are hollow and filled with a spongy pith which can be scraped out - magics make them into musical pipes and whistles.
We magics also use the wood for tiny safeguard charms to place about our living spaces or to wear if travelling. The charms can also work against warts, (not that Fae get warts you understand - but others certainly do!) - toothache and fevers. Simply rub the charm over the forehead, tooth or wart and tell its evil spirit to be gone, then bury the charm deep in the ground.
This is a banishing spell of course, so at its most powerful during the waning Moon - today or any of the next six days would be a good time! (You can always check your moon phases on my Magical Moons page). Now I must get back to my brew - the elder flowers need two days to steep and blend into the sweet water - when it's finished I promise to show you how to make the cordial on the Hedgerow Cooking page.
May 28th 2010
The Necromancer - don't try to befriend one of these!
Hope you saw that full moon last night - it floodlit the woods and cast deep black moon-shadows!
Just a quick note in case you were getting fed up with wild flowers!
Do you like making things with your hedge and woodland finds?
See what you think of this evil looking creature!
You'll find it on my Hedgerow Crafts page.
White flowers and Hawthorn for the Bridal Month
It will be Full Moon in two nights time, a fine one - don't foregt to check with the calendar on my Magical Moons page.
Muddypond may be a faery type of magic - but she doesn't think much of all this bridal stuff! The flowers are pretty though, and highly enchanted - especially the Hawthorn Tree, where Elven Meets are held in their shade. That's why you ask permission from the tree to take a bough or two for your May Day decorations.
Then again, take care how you approach them, specially the gnarled ancient ones - some might be witches they say - witches who've transformed themselves into trees. Whatever they are in reality, they're part of the Sacred Triad - find an Oak, an Ash and a Hawthorn tree growing together and you have found a magical grove - yes, I can promise you that!The magical associations for white are : Happiness, Peace, Purification, Calming, Sprirituality, amd Protection
May 19th 2010
Ferns Unfurling and a Purse Full of Gold
Putting some in a vase of flowers can cleanse negative energies - but it will never last for more than a day - it does so hate being cut. In the language of flowers, giving fern means sincerity.If you need to exorcise any evil spirits (and I hope you don't try - the only one I know who could begin to make magick like that is the Seer) - drop plenty of dried bracken onto hot coals by moonlight and state your intent!Best of all - when the moon is waxing (as it is today) - go to the forest and the ferns alone and wait for the stroke of midnight. If - and only if, the world around you is absolutley silent - no rustle of a wood mouse, falling of a cone or swirl of an owl's wing - then mischievous Puck will push through the bracken fronds and hand you a little rough-stitched purse full of gold.
By the way - you like magickal shoes I think?
If Puck should give you that purse, here's just the thing -
Have a look at these from Fairysteps - on my links page!
May 13th (The Ogham wood for magic has changed today to Huath (Hawthorn) May 13th -9th June)
More May Day Musings - better late than never
At last, after turning the shelves in my hollow oak store upside down I've found the book I was looking for -
"Grey Rabbit's May Day" by Alison Uttley, with pictures by Margaret Tempest.
I've loved these books (and I have them all) since I was the smallest faery-sprig! Here's what she says:' "We must gather lots of flowers with May-dew on their petals on May morning," said Little Grey Rabbit.
"I'll take a jug to catch some, for it's magical. We must make crowns and garlands for May. I think we should ask Wise Owl about all this." "May Day?" asked Wise Owl sleepily, looking down at the company. "How to keep May Day? May is the Queen of flowers. You must make crowns and sceptres for her. She's invisible, but you hang them on a May tree and she will find them.""What kind of flowers, Wise Owl?" called Hare."My Book of Wisdom says 'Cowslips and all spring flowers but at the top of the crown there must be a Crown Imperial'," Wise Owl answered.'Fuzzypeg the hedgehog makes cowslip balls, there are plenty growing in the fields near my wood. You can just see him in the picture below right, following Hare up the hill.
Later, Grey Rabbit talks about the procession and reminds us of this: ' Auriculas and primulas, cowslips and bluebells covered the wicker frames, and at the tip of each crown and sceptre was a noble crown imperial. Inside the crown sat a small doll with a veil, for that is the old custom.' Rat carves them a doll from a piece of wood with his sharp teeth. She represents the Roman Goddess Flora, Queen of flowers, fertility and springtime.
The sketch showing the May Doll inside a sceptre, is taken from "Folklore and Customs of Rural England" by Margaret Baker.(Pub: David & Charles 1974)
Bluebell Woods, Enchantments and Faery Lore - Beware!
In the days of witch hunting, bluebells in full flower in your cottage garden patch could be used as evidence of witchcraft in your trial! Witches were supposed to grow bluebells to attract the Fae, probably because they didn't have enough magick of their own! Wreaths woven from bluebell heads and worn about the neck or forehead would mean that the wearer could speak only the truth.In flower language the bluebell speaks of humility, constancy and gratitude.Now, should you hear the bluebells ringing in the woods as the sun rises or twilight falls, we are summoning our sisters for a meet and a dance in the perfumed blue. Do not listen for them, they spell mortal danger to any but magics. If you're a very young villager sprig beware!
Don't enter the wood if you hear them ringing and summoning the fae, even by accident, we might lead you deeper until you are lost, or perhaps steal you away.
Beltane and Bellowhead - Celebrating at Dawn Light
The fair maid who, on the first of May
Goes to the field at the break of day
And washes in dew from the hawthorn tree,
Will ever after handsome be.
Us magics have no problem getting up with the dawn light, usually! Just as well as this is when to catch a glimpse of "Jack-in-the Green". A very old villager custom for May Day, or Beltane as we call it, is "Jack-in-the Green" - he is their idea of our Green Man of course, but he cuts quite a comic figure, crowned with flowers.
In myth, "Jack" must die a ceremonial death, (symbolizing the end of all seasons but summer). Then he must spring to life and dance with his May Queen and revellers, bringing the green leaves back to the trees.
Here is Jack, beginning his dance as the day began to lighten.
We should have seen the sun come up from the top of Bluebell Hill but it was a grey and cloudy dawn. It's good to know that it's not only the magics who welcome in the May
!Later, as the sun was going down, I flew into the struts of a huge, huge white tent, to watch, listen and marvel at the music of Bellowhead. I just had to go you see - to the grounds of Rochester Castle and hear them play for real.
If you've looked at my page all about the music which the Storm Dragon liked to play, you will know that Bellowhead are one of his favourite groups - all twelve of them!
You can listen to them playing "Fakenham Fair" at the Proms here, while you read - I nearly fell out of the rafters when they played "Frogs' Legs and Dragons' teeth" at the end! You can listen to that one too, on my Music Page and I defy you not to dance just like the audience at Rochester!! . Hope you like my flashes of the concert below.
Lots more stunning tunes to be heard on my Music Page !