The book above is for learning about spells and charms.
It's a treasured faery volume called "Lines on Enchantment",
passed down to Muddypond in the times of long ago and far away.
(If Miss Green worked harder at her Stella Fae levels, she might use it a lot more!)
How to make Ogham Tree Blessings or Yuletide Decorations
A tiny disc of each Ogham tree is marked with its special symbol
and hung to bring midwinter blessings and protection at the yuletide hearth.
If you give a little something in return, (**see below), you may carefully cut a small piece of wood from each of the Ogham Trees that rule the thirteen Ogham moon spans.
Make neat discs using a pruning saw. They look best with a diameter of about 1 inch (2.8cms) which is the same as a two pence piece.
For Ngetal, the ruler of the 13th moon and which can be either reed or wheat straw, you might include a tiny Briget's Cross or a wee bundle tied with ribbon.
It's lovely to see just how diverse in colour and pattern each wood is, from the white of the holly to the mahogany red of the alder.
Neatly drill a hole at the top and add the correct Ogham symbol. Here a pyrography pen has been used to burn the sign permanently into the surface using the smallest nib. The Elder - Ruis, is the most difficult to work with as it has a very soft, pithy centre which makes neat pyrography hard to achieve. Thread with a pretty ribbon.
Muddypond used hers to decorate a little faery tree, hanging it with her Ogham Silver Leaf Collection from "Where the Wild Roses Grow" and some tiny star-shaped beads. You can see a picture of the whole Ogham Blessings Tree here on the Diaryblog. Another set made a pretty gift for a friend who hung them on a natural pine.
** To 'Give back' in a practical way to a tree whose wood you have cut or whose fruit you have harvested may I suggest :
Water it in dry weather : Tidy up around it, keep it without litter or clogging weeds :
Leave food for birds in its branches : Smudge its lower branches with smoke from a blessings incense:
How to make an enchanted Hawthorn Faery Token
The seven sided Star of Fairie, crafted from the wood of an ancient hawthorn
Powers: emotional strength happiness protection
Ogham Tree : old name - Huath (e) Ruling Time: 13th May - 9th June
Read more about the Ogham magic of Hawthorn trees here on my Ogham pages.
The Star of Faerie is based on the Heptagon, that is seven sided - and many a token given between them has this motif.
The hawthorn itself is a tree of ancient powers, part of the Sacred Triad of Oak, Ash and Thorn where in Ireland the faere-folk of the Tuatha dė Dannan danced in the dusk. Hawthorn protects with its sharp barbs, and is known as a way to the heart, both emotionally and physically.
This one was simply crafted from the thorns of a huge, gnarled and venerable hawthorn, standing amongst lichened apple trees in a tangled and forgotten orchard that I know. It's a beautiful place and embued through and through with magick.
A tiny 12mm circle was cut from a strong twig needed for a wand. I hung a gift of a little silver thread to catch the light on the tree before cutting. The disc was placed in the center of a small, seven-sided star pattern. The thorns were carefully chosen and each one glued in place to match the seven points.
When the glue was set hard, a tiny flourish of copper embossing powder was brushed round the base of each thorn, and the Ogham symbol for Hawthorn burnt on to the centre. The whole star measures about 10cm across.
This one is hung in a looped wreath of thin hawthorn twigs from the same tree and finsished with a rough raffia bow.
Making the Eco-enchantments special Rowan Protection Charm
Ogham Tree - Rowan Old Name - Luis
Ruling time January 21st - February 17th
Powers: protection of property from unquiet spirits, lightning and black witchcraft.
You can read all about the magick of the Rowan Tree here on my Ogham Rowan page
When September arrives, Muddypond Green is always very busy with her
Eco Echantments business and Protection Spells. This is the time of year when the red berries ripen on the Luis trees. Luis is the old Ogham name for the Rowan.
The Rowan is a tree that the Magics love, as they know that each berry has a five pointed star,
a natural pentacle at its base. Look closely!
Muddypond makes all her protectors, delivering them wrapped in pretty autumn leaves to her customers. Many of her friends, Grandmam Badger and Old Rabbit for example, order a new one every year.
Here's how to make one for yourself.
They make lovely presents too!
Things you will need
Powers - protection and good fortune for loved ones
Hag-stones are pebbles from beach or river that have a hole worn right through them. Known as "Holy stones" or "Holey stones", they are thought to represent the Earth Goddess and to give protection. They can lend temporary psychic power to any who look through them at the full moon, or the stars on Solstice nights.
The stones are not easy to find. More power for good can be added if the seeker finds them on the first day of a New Year or either of the cross-quarter days of Beltane (May 1st) or Samhain (Oct 31st) and gives them to a loved one.
Each stone might protect from early accident or death, and if it shatters, then it has used its power and helped you. Therefore the "Seven hag-stones on a seven knotted string" is a powerful charm many times over, the seven knots also lending their "binding from harm" strength.
If this rope of stones is a gift for a loved one, then it really is important that you find the stones yourself. (or made by an eco fairy of course!) If this is impossible, the charm will still work to a certain extent - and certainly be better than nothing!
Use natural twine - jute or sisal are worth seeking out, the rougher the better as this blends with the stones. Make it easier to thread by wrapping one end tightly in a little sellotape. Arrange the stones with the biggest at the base.
Each knot should be big and knubbly to enhance the natural look of the finished rope.
Please note - a fairy or other magic will always use seven stones and seven knots - whereas a white witch may well use nine.
(If you'd like to see a little more about hag stones,
and so many of you tell me that you would! - there's a snippet in this site on the Book Page)
An Amulet for Courage - made from Alder
A very pretty keepsake to hang where you will - or to give as a gift to someone with an ordeal to endure
Powers: giver of courage easer of fears protection
Ogham Tree : old name - Fearn Ruling Time: 18th March - 14th April
Read more about the Ogham magic of Alder trees here on my Ogham pages.
Use whatever you wish to tie the alder wood, but Muddypond made a special cord for hers in black and silver. Black to represent the dark powers of the wood and the raven, alder's totem bird. Silver for the moonlight and water.
You will need
* a small piece of alder wood (about 20cms -8ins)
* sharp knife and strong needle
* strong glue
* tiny alder cones
* small black feathers
* black wool, ultra thin black ribbon, silver thread
* Peel and scrape the bark from the twig and cut into two equal lengths of about 7cm (3 ins). Trim the ends on the diagonal.
* With a sharp knife, carve out a hollow at the centre back of each twig so that they make a flattish join. Glue.
* Make the cord (see below). Decorate the ends with the tiny cones and small feathers and loop cord around and over the centre of the cross, leaving long tails hanging below.
* Make a small hole at top end of cross and insert a hanging loop.
Making a special cord of any colour combination is a really easy and useful trick - so here's how, if you are not sure ...... try experimenting with different textures and thicknesses ..............
- Tie the top ends in a loop and fix it to a door knob, or anything that will create tension
- Twist the threads together, always in the same direction, a bit at a time, twisting until the whole length can take no more
- Now hold the cord halfway along with thumb and finger, pulling it tight - take the bottom half up to the doorknob end so that the two halves lie alongside each other. Hold both ends and maintain the tension.Fig 2
- Now the trick! Quickly let go thumb and finger at the bottom and the strands will twist themselves by magic into a beautiful cord. Fig 3 Tie each end neatly.
Make a Necklace with Elder Beads
Keep it plain or add what you will for extra magical intensity - here I have added wonderfully scented Juniper berries
Powers: Elder Protection, Healing, Wisdom, Prosperity, Sleep, Blessings
Powers: Juniper Protection, Anti-Theft, Healing, Exorcism
The wood of the elder tree is perfect for making beads of any size, to add to an amulet or use how you will. The stems are packed with a soft white pith, which can be easily removed, allowing the beads to be threaded.
Do take care though - the elder-mother does not always give of her gifts easily, cut the wood with respect and knowledge! (Read lots more about the Magic of the Elder here in my Ogham pages).
You will need:
* fresh, living elder twigs
* sharp secateurs of craft knife
* knitting needle
* strong red ribbon or thread
* other berries or beads as required,
here I have used dried juniper berries
Cut the beads with a sharp implement, taking care as even the green wood can split easily (see pic below).
I graded the size of these beads in pairs, and cut two longer ones with more texture for the centre.
Push the knitting needle through and force out the soft pith
Thread the ribbon (red is protection against malicious forces) through the beads and berries using a largish needle.
The bead hanging at the bottom was added separately.
Showing a carelessly split bead, and the soft pith from the centre.
Showing hollow elder beads
of different sizes and textures.
Juniper is used for protection against accidents, and can be burned in herbal incense for this intent.
I love this little extract from the Gerard's 16th century herbal , where he mentions all sorts of juniper health benefits, including ....
'Diverse in Bohemia do take instead of other drinke, the water wherein these (juniper) berries have been steeped, who live in wonderful good health.'
Click picture to see enlargement
Hang a woven cross over your door, above the bed or by the hearth at Imbolc for protection
and as a sign that you give thanks for the quickening of the year. It should be left in place until the following year.
The correct time to collect and plait the rushes is
St. Bride's Eve, or Jan 31st ready for Là Fhėill Brighde.
You will need 16 rush stems, cut in equal lengths. Wheat straws could be used instead. (Extra ones are usually needed in case of casualties!)
It's traditional to use rushes since one of the many legends of Brigid or Bride, or Bridget, tells us that she visited a pagan chieftan (some say her father), either at his deathbed or in a prison. The floor was strewn with rushes. As she sat beside him, she picked some up and wove them into an equal armed cross, which she held as she prayed for him.
Here, I have used three different types of rush and reed, all of them growing together at the water's edge of Gnark's quarry pond at Hurst Wood.
Each has a different texture, width and colour to offer.
They were cut to about 30cms - 12 inches, and made a finished cross of about 16cms when trimmed.
* Fold 15 rushes at their centre point and crease well.
* (Fig 1 - the white cross denotes the original stem). Take one strong stem, and holding it vertically, fold another stem across it at its centre, facing right.
* Holding the stems firmly together, turn them 90° to the left, so that the folded stem is now the vertical one.
* (Fig 2) Fold a new stem across this one, pulling it tight. Hold under your thumb and turn all 90° to the left.
* (Fig 3) Fold a new stem across the two which are now at the top. Hold tight and turn 90°to the left.
* Continue, pulling quite tight as you go and always turning to the left until all 16 stems are used.
* You should be able to let go and place the weaving on the table. Choose flexible strips of rush to bind round the ends of each arm.
* Slide the binding a little to make each arm of an equal length, and trim the ends with a diagonal cut.
This modern hand crafted plaque comes from Anne Murphy
at Eala Enamels.
More about the Goddess Brigid
Brigid was one of the most important pagan goddesses, particularly of Ireland.
Because of her significance to the Celtic people and to the Druids as patroness of Bards and Blacksmiths, her cult was too powerful to be abandoned, and was imported into the Christian religion as it spread throughout Ireland from St. Patrick.
Brigid's Cross made with flowering reeds
The pagan Goddess Brigid of Celtic mythology was daughter of the Morrighan and the Chief of the ancient fairy race of Ireland, the Tuatha de Danaan. Some legends say that another daughter of theirs is Ogma, who the Ogham alphabet is named after - yet others that Brigid was the mother of Ogma and that Ogma was a man and champion of the Gods.
I found this reed cross in Iceland amongst an eclectic selection of things in The Museum of Skogar.
Legends of healing powers and miracles about the Christian Saint Brigid, born in the village of Faughart, County Louth in Ireland on February 1, 453 AD to a Druid father, and one of his servants are legion. She became Ireland’s first nun and Abbess.
Asking the King for land at Kildare to build her abbey, she was refused - so she asked if she may have just that which could be covered by her her green mantle. When the King agreed, her maids took the four corners of the cloak and stretched them until they covered enough grounds for her building.
Other legends say that, 500 years before this, Saint Brigid was present as midwife at the birth of Jesus, and that later, as his foster mother, she shielded him from the persecutions of Herod and his army.
These three beings, Pagan Goddess - Midwife to Christ - Ireland’s Saint - were intertwined gradually in folklore so that whether as a Goddess or a Saint, Brigid is still far from forgotten.
The Ogham Trees :
Willow -old name - Saille
Ruling time April 15th - 12th May
Ivy - old name - Gort Ruling time September 30th - 27th October
The pentacle symbolises the five elements - at the top is Spirit, then in a clockwise direction, Water, Fire, Earth and Air.
There are five natural hag stones around the protective circle. (For more about the protective elements of the hag stone see above and Book Page)
The feathers symbolize air and flying free in the dream world.
The hand-made beads were chosen to beautify the pentacle and as symbols of friendship.(Mine were gifts from Africa and Iran.)
Hang the catcher where it will find the morning sun as this will burn away any negative energies absorbed in the night.
This talisman is quite large, it measures about 35cms across.
* Begin by taking long strands of pliable ivy and willow, stripped of their leaves, and plaiting them together. (I used 5 strands here). Weave the ends in to form a circle.
* Place the twig circle over a printed circular protractor:
* Take a long piece of sisal or jute twine (deliberately rough) and make a sharp end - I twisted the twine down a short, strong wire with sellotape.
* Starting at the top point, push the twine between the strands of the twig circle, threading a bead on each section and pulling tight as you go.Fasten off at the top and make a hanging loop. Don't worry if the shape is not perfect - this is an all natural object!
* Use smaller strands of willow or ivy to bind the hag stones around the circle.
* Finish with plaits of feathers and beads.
You might like to charge this talisman to make it even more magical by rubbing a little essemtial oil over
the twigs (I used cedar oil as it is associated with pleasant dreams) and whispering an intention or blessing.
The Ogham Trees :
Apple -old name - Quert
Blackthorn - old name - Straife
Powers: harmony and balance in all things - protection
The old ways tell how two trees rule the two halves of the year - the dark and the light - they are Ogham woods and they are magick:
Apple - old name Quert rules the Light Side - from the Spring Equinox in March when days begin to lighten until the Autumn Equinox in September. (Some traditions tell that apple also shares a lunar month with hazel around August)
Blackthorn or Sloe - old name Straife rules the Dark Side - from the Autumn equinox when the days shorten and the dark hours lengthen until wheel turns back to Spring. (Some traditions tell that blackthorn also shares a lunar month with willow around April)
Ogham Tree - Heather Old Name - Ur
Ruling time - one day only - June 21st
This is a just one faery ritual - you can change anything you wish (as long as you have your reasons) and make it as simple as can be. It's the wishes (intent) and thanks that you add to these rituals which are by far the most important things here!
First - if you get up to greet the sun, take a clear crystal with a hole to hang it by, cleanse it and your hands for a minute under running water.
Enchant it by rubbing over with a tiny drop of clear honey, orange oil or juice (to represent the sun's work on earth) and state your intent. Perhaps this is just to say thank you for the changing seasons, the summer nights, for the healing of a friend, or for some change in your life that you long for.
Now hang it up until evening where it will catch and store the rays of the sun.
As the sun goes down, hang the sun crystal nearby, burn a little Litha Incense, swirl the smoke around you, light a candle then sit still and explain your intentions (as above).
A herbal incense isn't like the incense sticks that you villagers can buy ready made, those are burned for their scent. Hand-made (faery made) herbal incense is charged with magick, every ingredient specially chosen for its associations - it's meant for sprinkling in a candle flame, or burning over a tiny charcoal block.
To make a mixure that lasts and burns slowly you need a resin (such as frankincense, benzoin or myrrh). Please don't let this put you off - if you prefer a simple magic, just sprinkle a few suitable herbs in the bonfire or the candle flame.
Here's my recipe for a herbal Litha Incense, each ingredient is specially chosen for this solstice day, and to make it personal to me, as I'll explain. It burned beautifully, one tiny spoon lasting long and making a summery, scented smoke.
* 3 small chunks of frankincense ( a Sun resin) to * 1 of benzoin (also a Sun resin)
* A teaspoon of dried mistletoe (for the Druid legend of the oak)
* A sprinkle of oak bark (as above)
* A sprinkle of dried heather (the ruling Ogham wood for this day only)
* One dried bay leaf (Astrological association - Sun. Element - Fire)
* A sprinkle of the Ogham wood personal to your birth date - ( I used 7 dried rowan berries)
Grind these ingredients to a sawdust-like powder (with pestle and mortar or an old electric coffee-bean grinder)
Now stir in * 3 drops of orange oil and * 2 drops of clear honey (to represent the Sun's summer bounty.)
Last evening (June 21st) I set out my things - you can see :-
* The sun filled crystal
*Purple candle - fire ((my choice of colour association) in a bowl of earth
*Tiny jar of my incense (only 6cm high) with a very old silver spoon (the swirling smoke represents air)
* A little burner with 4cm round charcoal block
* 7 hag stones - found at solstice dawn on the beach (see my diaryblog page) - also representing earth..
* Small bowl of water with a white wild rose for summer
* Sprig of dried heather (rules June 21st on the Ogham tree calendar)
I also used my crow feather smudge stick (to swirl the scented smoke and send the energies far and wide) and my rowan handled athame (to draw a magic circle).
Diola lle' Hodoea