Herbal Grimoire: Rowan (Mountain Ash)

*Please note: this is not a monograph, and I am not an herbalist. This is an excerpt from my herbal grimoire, and the writings of a Witch. It is intended to supplement your own research and studies.*

Identification

The Rowan is a deciduous tree, growing 5-20 feet tall. The bark is smooth reddish brown to gray, often with a silver sheen. Leaves are compound, oblong to lance-shaped and sharply serrated and dark green with lighter underside. Small white flowers form fluffy clusters and are replaced with bright red to orange berries in autumn. This tree can be found in low-to-middle elevation forests, as well as rocky slopes in northern and mountainous regions. It seems to prefer to grow on the fringes of places, such as meadows, clearings, stream banks, and slopes. Cultivars can also be found along roadways. The berries are edible but extremely tart and bitter.

Remedial Qualities

The berries are high in vitamin C – can be added to jams, wines, beers, and bread. The Nuxalk would rub the berries on the scalp to combat lice and dandruff.

Magickal Qualities

Gender: Masculine

Planet: Sun

Element: Fire

Powers: psychic ability, healing, power, success, creativity, protection

Rowan is primarily considered an Herb of Protection as well as a Visionary Herb. For centuries it has been used for protective purposes in Europe, often being planted around the home. A traditional protective amulet is made with two twigs tied together with red thread to form a cross. The branches are often used in fashioning dowsing rods and magickal wands.

The leaves and berries can be added to incense blends, sachets, and amulets, to enhance creativity and psychic abilities, and to banish unwanted energy.

Preparation and Recipe

To dry the berries:

String the berries together along a thread with a needle, and hang to dry. May be used as is for ritual adornment (as a necklace or on your altar), or removed from thread to add to incense, sachets, etc.

You can also purchase dried berries from the shop here.

Sol Incense Recipe:

2 TBS dried rowan berries

2 TBS dried rowan leaves

1-2 cinnamon sticks

1 TBS frankincense resin

2 TBS St. John’s Wort flowers

Crush ingredients separately in mortar and pestle, then add together in a bowl and mix well. Store in an air tight jar.

Burn as needed for creative and visionary works, divination, or casting a circle for ritual.

References:

Beyerl, Paul. The Master Book of Herbalism. Blaine: Phoenix Publishing, 1984.

Cunningham, Scott. Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs. St. Paul: Llewellyn Publications, 1990.

Pojar & Mackinnon, ed. Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast. Auburn: Lone Pine Publishing, 2014.

Deur, Douglas. Pacific Northwest Foraging. Portland: Timber Press, 2014.

Bright Blessings,

Saga

Keeping a Witchcraft Journal: The Mirror Book

The Mirror Book is a term coined by Scott Cunningham, and refers to a Witch’s daily journal, in which you record anything pertaining to your spiritual life and Craft. This distinguishes it from the Witch’s grimoire or Book of Shadows, which is a more permanent record of recipes, spells, and the like. The Mirror Book is a valuable tool in assessing your progress in witchcraft, and life in general. Over time, as you read back over the book, you become your own teacher. As Cunningham says: “One of the goals of the Wicca is self-knowledge; the Mirror Book is a valuable tool in achieving this.”

So, what do you record in your Mirror Book? Here are a few suggestions:

-Date

-Moon phase

-Menstruation cycle (if applicable)

-Unusual weather

-Significant astrology/planetary alignments

-Dream notes

-Divinations

-Reflections on witchcraft/being a witch

-Reflections on your studies in witchcraft

-How you are feeling that day – physically, emotionally, energetically

-Successes and failures in magick spells

-Reflections on your rituals

-Mundane concerns that pertain to your spiritual life or Craft

-Synchronicities

-Repeating symbols or themes in your day-to-day life

-Significant interactions with others (humans, animals, plants, spirits, etc)

-Progress in your Craft, such as building a new altar, starting an apothecary garden, creating a Witch’s tool, etc.

These are just a few ideas to get you started – you can also check out these journal prompts on the blog for more ideas. What do you include in your witchcraft journal?

Bright Blessings,

S.

March/April Book Coven

Apocalyptic Witchcraft by Peter Grey

For the March/April Book Coven we will be reading Apocalyptic Witchcraft by Peter Grey. I think this is going to be a challenging read, considering the times we are in. It is a challenging read regardless. However, if you are ready to dive in, let me know (contact info below) and I’ll make sure you’re on the email thread for it! Our meet-up time is still TBD, but will be sometime around mid-April.

Book synopsis.


One of the chapters presents a “Manifesto of Apocalyptic Witchcraft”, so the *optional* activity is to create your own Witchcraft Manifesto (aka Rules, Guidelines, Laws, etc), which may include or omit from the one presented in the book. As a Witch I believe it is important to work on defining our Craft, and this would be an excellent addition to your personal grimoire. It is of course not set in stone, but rather an ever-evolving philosophy. If you feel comfortable doing so, you may share some of your Manifesto with the group at the meet-up. It would be great to get insight and inspiration from one another. 

I encourage you to purchase this book directly from the publisher, Scarlet Imprint, if possible. While they are based in the UK, my order was shipped promptly and it took about two weeks for it to arrive. Here is the link to purchase from them (or you can purchase a digital edition to start reading right away): 


Hard Copy

Digital Edition

If you do not have the resources to purchase it, you can find a free pdf for it here.

Here’s an excellent interview with the author and his partner, both who also run Scarlet Imprint:

If you would like to be added to the ongoing mailing list for the Book Coven and receive monthly updates directly to your inbox, please send me an email at saganightryder@gmail.com and I will add you to it!

Book Coven General info:

  • A monthly book club with Zoom meet-up at the end of the month.
  • Book selection announced mid-month (for the upcoming month).
  • This is a month-to-month opt-in, you aren’t expected to participate every month!
  • You do not have to be a Witch to join the Book Coven, just know that witchcraft will be a running theme with the book selections and probably a part of the discussions.
  • There will be a bonus activity (optional) inspired by the book, as well as journal prompts.
  • Email me at saganightryder@gmail.com if you want to join in for the upcoming month!

Bright Blessings,

S.

Imbolc Reflections & Plant Divination

Thyme, first sprouts of the year.

First sprouts of the year, Thyme 🧚‍♀️💚 Because this is due more to chance and circumstance, rather than any planning on my part, I’ve chosen to see this wonderful herb as a message of guidance for the year ahead. The magickal powers of Thyme include health + healing, restful sleep, psychic powers, love, purification, and courage. It is used to invoke the Faery Folk, and a bank or bed of Thyme in the garden is believed to be home to the Faeries. The flowers of Thyme represent courage and bravery. This herb is both hardy and delicate, and reminds me of the phrase, “sword without armor”. Remedially it is most commonly used for afflictions of the lungs and stomach, both of which I associate with grief, so perhaps it may be used as a balm for grief as well. Overall, I understand this to mean I should continue my work with the Faery Folk, remember my own inner strength and courage, particularly when it comes to experiencing grief, and focus more on my path of healing, for self and others. 🙏✨ While this is a personal reflection, perhaps it resonates for you as well, or perhaps you have your own first sprouts that you may glean from in a similar manner?

Bright Blessings and Merry Imbolc,

Saga 🌙

Resources:
• The Forgotten Arts: Growing, Gardening & Cooking with Herbs by Richard M. Bacon
• The Way of Herbs by Michael Tierra
• Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham
• The Master Book of Herbalism by Paul Beyerl

Eight Values of the Witch

For your studies and consideration:

“Let my worship be within the heart that rejoiceth, for behold: all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals.

And therefore let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you.

And thou who thinkest to seek for me, know thy seeking and yearning shall avail thee not, unless thou know this mystery: that if that which thou seekest thou findest not within thee, thou will never find it without thee.”

-Charge of the Goddess (Doreen Valiente)

Beauty

  1. The quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit: LOVELINESS
  2. A beautiful person or thing; esp: a beautiful woman.
  3. A graceful, ornamental, or excellent quality that contributes to beauty.

Strength

  1. The quality or state of being strong: capacity for exertion or endurance.
  2. Power to resist force: SOLIDITY, TOUGHNESS
  3. Power of resisting attack: IMPREGNABILITY
  4. Legal, logical, or moral force.
  5. a) Degree of potency of effect or of concentration b)Intensity of light, color, sound or odor c) Vigor of expression
  6. Force as measured in numbers: effective numbers of any body or organization
  7. One regarded as embodying or affording force or firmness: SUPPORT
  8. Maintenance of or a rising tendency in a price level: firmness of prices

Power

  1. a) possession of control, authority, or influence over others b) One having such power: a sovereign state c) archaic: force of armed men d) a large number or quantity
  2. a) i. ability to act or produce an effect ii. capacity for being acted upon or undergoing an effect b) legal or official authority, capacity, or right
  3. a) physical might b) mental or moral efficacy c) political control or influence
  4. an angel of the fourth lowest rank
  5. a) the number of times as indicated by an exponent a number occurs as a factor in a product; also: the product itself b) cardinal number 2
  6. a) a source or means of supplying energy; esp: electricity b) motive power c) the time rate at which work is done or energy emitted or trasferred
  7. magnification 2b
  8. scope, comprehensiveness

Compassion

  1. sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it

Honor

  1. a) good name or public esteem: reputation b) outward respect: recognition
  2. privilege
  3. a person of superior standing – now used esp. as a title for a holder of high office
  4. one whose worth brings respect or fame: CREDIT
  5. an evidence or symbol of distinction
  6. chastity, purity
  7. a) a keen sense of ethical conduct: INTEGRITY b) one’s word given as a guarantee of performance

Humility

  1. the quality or state of being humble

Mirth

  1. gladness or gaiety as shown by or accompanied with laughter

Reverence

  1. honor or respect felt or shown: DEFERENCE; esp: profound adoring awed respect
  2. a gesture of respect (as a bow)
  3. the state of being revered or honored
  4. one held in reverence – used as a title for a clergyman

Source:

Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary. Massachusetts: G. & C. Merriam Company, 1971. Print.

Bright blessings,

S.

NEWS: The MMC Shop is now open!

Hello friends,

I am excited to let you know that the MMC shop is now open! Here I’ll be adding items that I find useful for the Witch, such as herbs, candles, apothecary items, and more. These are all created, crafted, and assembled by me, and many of the items will be foraged and/or garden-grown as well. I aim to provide goods that are created sustainably, inspire you in your Craft, and are available at affordable prices. Please follow me on IG @mmc.blog to stay up-to-date on new additions as well.

Much love and bright blessings,

S.

New Year’s Activities for the Witch

While the calendar new year is not really a part of the Witch’s Wheel, that doesn’t mean it can’t be a time for intention and ritual. Here are a few ideas for activities that can be done at this time, and if you have additional ideas, please let me know in the comments!

New Year Blessings,

S.

Witch Musings: Altars

My kitchen altar.

A Witch’s altar needn’t be extravagant – this is my kitchen altar and I’ve intentionally kept it minimal, because I value my table space for cooking and food prep! It has my mortar and pestle, a bowl of sea salt, and some fresh cut herbs in a jar of water. It’s right next to the stove, as a reminder of Mother Earth’s abundance, and the magick and medicine I make with it when I cook or bake food for myself and loved ones.

While there are plenty of active daily practices one can do as a part of their Craft (meditation, prayer, offerings, etc), the altar can bee seen as a “passive” daily practice, a visual reminder of our intention, purposes and values as a Witch.

Blessed Be,

S.

A Witch’s Prayer

Here is a prayer I wrote, which can be spoken during ritual, circle casting, sabats, esbats, meditation — really whenever you like! I personally like to recite this prayer on a daily basis as a part of my morning meditation. A prayer is a spell, and many things can be a prayer – a piece of art, a bouquet of flowers, a bonfire, stargazing, a pot of soup. Use this prayer as you see fit. Blessed be.

Hail Mother Earth,

Hail Father Sky,

Hail the Four Directions –

Ice of the North

Fire of the South

Bright Dawn of the East

Gentle Sunset of the West

Hail Sol – Life Giver

Hail Luna – Queen of Witches

Hail the Shining Ones!

I ask for your guidance, illumination, and protection.

I am within you, and you are within me.

Love under Will,

So mote it be.