Tag Archives: nourishing

nourishing the soul: the magic of replenishment


Most of us magical folk know what to do if we’ve been feeling spiritually out of sorts or have had negative energies around our home; we do cleansing and purification rituals. Such rituals get rid of negativity, but often something more is needed. A second step after the purification process should be to replenish one’s spiritual energy. The unhappy occurrences that are sometimes a part of daily life (the occasional upset, argument, or near miss in traffic) can have an accumulative effect on one’s soul, and while it’s not as serious as the trauma of soul loss, it is something we need to remedy. It’s not technically  healing magic, though any work of that nature needs to be taken care of first, and purifications as well. Replenishing magic is the work of recovering, building up, and strengthening one’s spirit. Many of the things that I will describe below are things that nourish the body as well as the soul, for as we live, both the body and the soul are one.

  • Using your usual ritual format, perform a ritual to your patron deities and guardian spirits, giving special offerings and libations, and asking them for guidance and strengthening of spirit.
  • Revitalize your ongoing spiritual practice, if you feel it is lacking. Do daily devotionals of your own devising, with grounding and centering as a vital part of it. Include affirmations and chants in your practice, if you find them helpful.
  • Take a soothing balancing mineral bath with Epsom salts and milk.
  • Weather permitting, spend some time amongst trees. The effects of forest bathing are real and profound. Hug a tree and let it’s energy soak in and make you whole. Get lots of fresh air and open up windows to air out your house, if possible.
  • Drink some revitalizing peppermint tea or mint water.
  • Eat some nourishing foods; whole fruits and vegetables (with runes of power carved in), and soups made with bone broth and magic.
  • Use a spiritually reviving woodsy essential oil like cedar, sandalwood, or rosewood, in a homemade room spray and/or personal fragrance spray (2 parts distilled water, 1 part alcohol, enough essential oil to scent).
  • Wear deep red burgundy colors, and rich maroon. Colors that resemble lifeblood attract growth and vigor. Get a shawl or scarf to use for this purpose, and throws for your furniture. It’s even better if you can weave, crochet, or knit it yourself, as you can utilize knot magic in it’s making.
  • Carry strengthening stones or resins (tiger’s eye, quartz, amber, or jasper) as charms in your pocket, a sachet, or as jewelry.
  • During this period of rejuvenation, seek out some wholesome “feel good” entertainment; books, music, or movies/video clips that uplift you.

nourishing the soul: the magic of replenishment

honeysuckle tincture


Those beautiful golden flowers and intoxicating scent is, to me, the embodiment of Summer.

In herbalism, honeysuckle has been used as an expectorant, a diuretic, depurative, relaxant, and an astringent. It has been used to treat the common cold and fevers, and may be be a suitable substitute for elderflower. (But as always, check with your health care practitioner for answers to questions about your health and the use of herbs.)

To capture some of that summer magic, you can use honeysuckle blossoms to make a tincture. A tincture is a liquid extract, usually made with a strong odorless 80 proof alcohol like vodka or Everclear. Tinctures can also be made with vinegar, which are usually just referred to as herbal vinegars. Vegetable glycerin can also be used to make a tincture (use half glycerite, half distilled water), and the resulting extract is called a glycerite. Glycerites are especially suitable for children, as they are sweet and alcohol-free.

Sterilize all your equipment in boiling water. Fill a canning jar with dried honeysuckle. Pour in alcohol (or your other choice of liquid) to fill the jar. Lid tightly and keep in a cool dark place. Take out and shake every once in a while. Let steep for several weeks to a month. Strain out into a bottle and keep out of direct sunlight.

They say honeysuckle is a cure for homesickness and excess nostalgia. Honeysuckle is traditionally used in love spells, and the tincture makes a powerful love elixir. Use it to dress magical objects such as charms, talismans, and sachets (mojo bags). It can also be used as a room spray.

honeysuckle tincture

Eir’s Healing Bath Crystals


The sixth night of Yule is sacred to Eir and healing. Our craft for the day is healing bath crystals. Make this very useful craft to stock you family’s flu kit or to give as gifts. Lavender soothes skin irritations, headaches, and promotes restful sleep. Eucalyptus is especially good for clearing sinuses and soothing achy muscles.
bath crystal supplies
Eir’s Healing Bath Crystals
1 cup epsom salt
1 cup baking soda
2 tablespoons glycerin
up to 1/2 teaspoon eucalyptus essential oil
up to 1/2 teaspoon lavender essential oil
3 drops green food coloring (optional)
mixing salts
Mix epsom salt and baking soda in a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix together glycerin, essential oils, and food coloring. Stream the liquid ingredients into the salt mixture, mixing as you go along. Mix well, breaking up any clumps that form and incorporating the liquid ingredients well. Transfer to a jar with a tight fitting lid and label.

To use bath crystals, add a tablespoon or two to running bath water. (Make sure you are not allergic to any of the ingredients before using.) These bath crystals can also be used in a foot bath; just add a pinch to a pan full of warm water and soak your feet. Depending on how potent you make it, you could also use it as a quick nasal decongestant inhaler; just open the lid and inhale the vapors.

Eir's Healing Bath Crystals

kitchen witchery basics


In this new age of Pinterest picture tagging, it has occurred to me that maybe a picture doesn’t paint a thousand words. In fact, I think someone new to the world of kitchen witchcraft or folk magic may get the impression that its all about just cooking something witchy or old-fashioned, or about having a witchy looking kitchen and cool symbols etched into your wooden spoons. Well, there is a little bit more to it than that; at its heart, what is needed is…

good food + good energy

Well, that’s the main idea, anyway. There are also a number of other things to consider; knowing the nutritional/medicinal/magical value of food and food combinations, directing one’s energy from a heightened state of consciousness (and how to get to said state of consciousness)… also, kitchen witchery isn’t just about food and cooking; its really about hearth and home and all the things one makes in the kitchen, like homemade natural housecleaning products, bath products, health & beauty aids, and even crafts.

chant the veil back, sing the magic in

One of my favorite ways of opening the door to the flow of magic is through chanting. It puts me into a heightened state of consciousness, puts me into a magical rhythm, and also flavors the type of magic I am doing. (There are a number of great chants to use while cooking on the Pagan Chants of the Month Page.)

stirring, mixing, kneading, shaping

So after the tasks of getting out all the bowls and utensils and measuring out ingredients is done, I start my chanting/singing, I get in my “zone”. I’m mixing, stirring, shaping; the ambient and spiritual energy in my (purified & blessed) household (see my article on stovetop shrines), as well as my personal energy or Od, flows into the substance I’m mixing, through my hands, through my spoon, which functions as a wand. (Actually, I think a wooden spoon can be a lot more powerful than a wand.)

I stir deiseil (sunwise, clockwise) for increase and prosperity, while tuathal (counter-clockwise,  widdershins) would be for decrease of banishing. So too, would the phase of the moon enhance this effect; the waxing (increasing) moon for the former, and the waning (decreasing) moon for the latter.

The shapes formed are of significance as well; circles of eternity, triangles symbolizing goddess energy, with a sharp knife and a good collection of cookie cutters, the possibilities are endless. A kitchen spell can be as simple as cutting a symbol (or sigil) into one’s food (an apple or a biscuit, for instance), with intent, then slowly and mindfully eating that food.

nutrition, medicine, magic

Most of us have a repertoire of home health cures and herbal remedies handed down to us through family- this is kitchen magic carrying on through the generations! Most of these are valid and nourishing, but some should be re-examined and discontinued if necessary (like putting butter on a burn- don’t do that).

And for the magic associations, there is usually a bit of science in the magic connotations a culture puts on certain foods; an apple a day really does keep the doctor away. And most of us do know the magical associations our own culture has with certain foods, but doing a little research and making a chart of magical food associations to go in your cookbook can be helpful, as well as notes on the use of home remedies and common herbs for minor ailments.

Kitchen Witchery - Ozark Pagan Mamma

It’s paw-paw time!


paw-paw1Right now there is the delicious aroma of paw-paws (also called Ozark bananas) filling my kitchen.  The taste is a cross between a banana and a mango, and they’re really good for you- a truly nourishing food.  Pawpaw trees grow wild in moist soil- they don’t usually grow very tall, and are often more of a bush or shrub.  When ripe, paw-paws are yellow with brown spots.  My dad used to wait until they were all the way brown to eat them- but by then they are way too ripe in my opinion.  Right now, the ripe ones are laying on the ground ready to eat, and some that are not all the way ripe, but loosening from the stem, can be picked and will ripen quickly on the kitchen counter.  I’ve read that paw-paws can be eaten as a vegetable when green, but I haven’t tried that.  There’s all kinds of recipes paw-paws, in case you have so many paw-paws that you aren’t able to eat them all before they go bad- they do go bad fast.  You can store them a little while in the fridge, but chilling them to below 40°F can change their flavor- though the pulp can be frozen with good results, but it’s better to freeze them quickly.  You don’t want to heat them too hot either, that destroys the flavor- but cakes and breads are good.  Use your recipe for banana bread to make paw-paw bread.

In the Ozarks, the paw-paw is considered a very magical tree.  It’s been used in love spells in so many peg spells, and for protection and revenge.  Even paw-paw seeds have been used for magic (they have lots of big seeds).  I think the reason it’s been used in love spells is because the fruit seems so exotic and smells so intoxicatingly good.  As for revenge (the seeds were thrown into coffins to insure revenge for a murder)- I think this was to make a paw-paw tree grow over the murderer’s grave… the flower of the paw-paw tree has the odor of rotting flesh.  The reason behind paw-paw trees being used in protection magic may somehow be related to the fact that the bark and wood of the tree are natural insecticides.

My dearly departed dad use to sing this song to me:

Where oh where is dear little Johnny?
Where oh where is dear little Johnny?
Where oh where is dear little Johnny?
-Way down yonder in the paw-paw patch.
Common girls, let’s go find him.
Common girls, let’s go find him.
Common girls, let’s go find him.
-Way down yonder in the paw-paw patch.
Pickin up paw-paws, put ‘em in yer pocket.
Pickin up paw-paws, put ‘em in yer pocket.
Pickin up paw-paws, put ‘em in yer pocket.
-Way down yonder in the paw-paw patch.



Healing Herbs


When I first decided that I was going to take a natural approach to medicine, I was a little bit overwhelmed- there are what seems like an infinite number of herbs!  It was such a daunting task to decide where to start.  I don’t remember my family using herbal remedies when I was growing up, but then again, I was rarely sick.  When my oldest child was a baby, my dad grew catnip to give her for colic.  If he knew more herbal remedies than this, he never mentioned it.
So I got a few books, attended a class or two, still the amount of information was overwhelming.  I wanted to get to the point where I had a basic knowledge to draw from so that I wouldn’t have to page through books for the simplest of remedies.  Then I got a book from the library called 10 Essential Herbs: Everybody’s Handbook to Health by Lalitha Thomas.  This was the key- narrowing it down to a manageable number of herbs.  Most of the herbs on the list are pretty common, and very versatile.  She even has little rhymes for each herb to help one learn the uses of the herbs.  Here is, according to Lalitha, the 10 essential herbs: cayenne, chaparral, cloves, comfrey, garlic, ginger, onion, peppermint (my favorite!), slippery elm, and yarrow.  There is one from her list that I do not think should be there though, and that’s chaparral.  I have heard that it has been known to cause kidney and lymph lesions and liver failure if taken internally, but may be safe if used externally.  Chaparral isn’t something that grows locally in my area of the country anyway.  Also, I would have put echinacea on the list of top 10 most useful herbs.  So despite the fact that I don’t agree with all her choices for the list, I think the whole concept of it is so useful- get to know just a handful of common (very versatile) herbs, and have some around in case you need them… genius!

*Disclaimer- this is my simple approach to home herbalism- I am not an herbalist nor a doctor.  Check with your doctor or herbalist before taking any herb.

It’s blackberry time!


blackbryLast week, me and baby went to the blackberry patch and found a few (mostly) ripe blackberries. We’ve walking over there about every day and we always seem to find a few- he eats them as quick as I can pick them! Yesterday, though, I found a whole handful of ripe blackberries, plus a bunch that were out of my reach. So I guess it’s officially blackberry time! Oh, they are so good!
Blessed Queen of the Brambleberries sweet!
Hail to You, Wild One of Briar, Leaf and Fruit.
In the heat of summer, You abundance bursts forth.
Your dark berries yield their precious juices in a healing elixir.
We offer you thanks and a song.
“Berries ripen slowly… on the vine… sunshine and water… over time.  Early fruit is bitter, but don’t wait for it to fall… or you may not get any at all.”

Back to Tradition


Everything old is new again.  I’m talking about the “Traditional Foods” movement- the following that books like “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon has generated.  Another book that isn’t part of the Traditional Foods movement, that I know of, but touches on some of the same points is “Why Some Like it Hot” by Gary Paul Nabhan.  His book is similar to the former only in that it seems to suggest that we should go back to eating the foods that are traditional to our culture.  Books like these make me feel good about eating what I like most- the foods that I was brought up on.  Turns out red meat isn’t all that bad for us after all- as long as its grass-fed.  (No more failed attempts at being a vegetarian for me!)  And dairy products are good for those of us who digest them well- people whose ancestors were cattle herders and so evolved into lactose -tolerant adults.  The point being, mainly from Nabhan’s book, is that when seeking out what is good for you, look to what your ancestors ate- and what is good for one group of people may not necessarily be the right choice for another.  A lot of people in America don’t really have a food tradition to go back to- maybe they have been eating fast food or boxed dinners all their lives, and have no memory of what their grandparents ate.  My situation may be a little out of the ordinary in that my parents were old enough to be my grandparents, were country people, and very old fashioned.  The kinds of foods they prepared as I was growing up may not have been the typical American fare; pinto beans flavored with a ham bone, simple soups made with homemade broth, simple cuts of meat, sometimes organ meats, wild poke, mustard, and dock greens, and other wild foods,  fresh from the garden vegetables, and a variety of home pickled vegetables they called “chow-chow”  (which, according to “Nourishing Traditions”, probably supplanted an earlier tradition of fermented vegetables).    For the most part, these are really simple meals- no need to over-think it.  It feels good to eat this way, though I don’t do it all the time.  And I know that this is just one part of what the traditional foods movement is about.  But its a place to start.  And I’m grateful to have inherited a food tradition.