Lyreleafs & Cloud Readings

Spring has sprung here in Florida, and with temperatures ranging from the 70’s to the 80’s, it’s been perfect weather for cloud watching and wildcrafting with some of the beauties right here in my yard and garden.

With spring fever behind us and hot days ahead, I’ve grown more and more interested in weather lore and other folk lore isolated to Florida and the Southeast. I have checked out some books on Florida’s climate and general weather patterns, but I want the old folk’s lore of weather and cloud divination.

 

 

I want to learn about the clouds moving overhead, about what those movements mean for my home and garden, my place in the local Land, and about how to perceive outcomes of various garden-related happenings when divined.

I want the magical and mystical workings of rain and clouds and fog. I want to gain and use my knowledge and experience of the weather patterns and learn how to read them with the purpose of divining future energies of all things home and garden.

So what does one do when one is looking for some divine guidance in seeking out the appropriate information about a spiritual topic of interest?

Invite the Ancestors to tea, of course. And a little bit of Lyreleaf Sage goes a long way.

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This sage (Salvia lyrata; other common names include wild sage and cancerweed/cancer root) grows wild in yards, meadows, roadsides ditches, culverts…you pick a spot, and these babies will root there. They’re hardy little herbaceous perennials and readily self-seed and spread like crazy in ideal conditions.

Which is good for me, because hey, if I can use it as an edible and a healer, I sure as hell will! And this little plant is wonderful as a calming tea at 10 o’clock at night, curled up with a good book. The fresh young leaves and blossoms can be used in salads, and have a very light and pleasant minty flavor.

While the Lyreleaf’s medicinal properties don’t pack as much of a punch as other species of salvias, Lyreleaf can be used as a carminative/laxative (a mild tea made for kiddo’s gassy tummy or constipation…hey, it happens), and for relief during cold and flu season. Lyreleaf sage also makes a relieving salve for cuts, sores (warts and zits and boils, oh my!) and minor wounds.

On the spiritual and magical side, sage is also a plant linked with divination, purification, protection, and psychic learning. I’ve come to connect sage’s otherworldly attributes to, well, the other-world. Ancestors can be invited when sage is burned.

Now, traditionally White sage, or Sacred sage (Salvia apiana), is the sage of choice for burning and smudging, but I’ve found that the edible sages work well for these purposes, too. So I decided to harvest and dry my Florida Lyreleaf for tea, as well as a bundle for smudging/incense.

Then we’ll see what we see.

I haven’t used this particular sage in an infusion or for spiritual purposes yet, but am anxious to have it dry so I can get down to business.

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Until then, I’ll keep reading my library books on weather and atmospheric phenomenon, and offer these lovely tidbits on my new friend, Lyreleaf sage:

 

 

 

 

 

[Close-up of Lyreleaf blossom photo: ©Mark Hutchinson for http://www.fnps.org]

Saturday reading

The rain and chilly weather have made their way to my spot in FL, and along with a steaming cup of black coffee, I opened one of my beloved books.

Celtic Oracle by Gerry Maguire Thompson is a fun and easy oracle deck to work with. The cards feature beautiful illustrations capturing the mystical characteristics of each animal and plant they represent, and I can’t quite resist the simple power and meaning they impart.

I drew 2 cards this morning, one plant totem and one animal totem. Both seemed to coincide with the current New Moon energies and symbolism, as well as the energies that rebirth with the passing of the Wheel from Imbolg toward Spring Equinox/Easter.

I hope these energies resonate within your Heart, and that the season has you productive, healthy, happy, and harmonious 🙂

Blackbird {Druid Dhubh}

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The blackbird is the bird of enchantment. In Celtic legend, its song can send the hearer into a magical trance that enables entry into the Otherworld. The blackbird signifies self- awareness, self -discovery, and exploration of the inner world of the individual psyche.” ~Celtic Oracle.

The New Moon during the turning of the Lunar year has been calling forth that energy required to look inward, to listen to your intuition (‘self- awareness’). This in turn can then be manifested to explore and discover that which moves and motivates you to expression (‘self- discovery’).

This energy is much like the Blackbird represented in this card. Use this energy and look to your own inner self. The answers to your questions are within you; all of them.

Oak {Duir}

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The Oak is the most revered of all Celtic trees, bestowing great power and breadth of vision. The Oak engenders self confidence and optimism, the ability to cope with danger and difficulty, and high standards of morality, and the determination to tell the truth. Uncontrolled, the Oak’s powerful energy can lead to being overly demanding or interested in the pursuit of glory.” ~Celtic Oracle

The Oak by far was the King of the trees to the Druids. The word druid roughly translates to oak men, and the tendency for some species in the Oak’s family to grow large and live long have made the Oak a meaningful totem for strength and outward movement.

Which is probably why the Druids sought to model their great teachers/leaders after the Oak’s characteristics.

Harness the power of this kingly tree only after having taken the time to self-reflect and become aware of your inner voice. Once you’ve spent some time intimating with your Self, you can use the inner strength and power you’ve nurtured to cultivate your self-confidence to go after your dreams and reach your goals.

I hope these cards bring meaning & joy on your Saturday, and if anything, meditate on the symbolism of these totems to help you along your journey.

Blessings, Love & Light Xo

The Garden Plan

Spring is just around the corner, as winter never lasts for too long here in Florida, and as it is, I’ve been daydreaming and somewhat planning my garden for Spring.

The front bed will hold herbs for cooking, crafting, and healing, as well as offerings and ritual use, the side beds will hold FL natives and naturalized plants (some tropicals that I just have fallen in love with), and the back yard, well, that’s another story entirely.

For now I’m contemplating some of these beauties that are FL-friendly and can add to the foundation of a FL-friendly garden/landscape:

Acrostichum danaeifolium
Acrostichum danaeifolium–LEATHER FERN
photo of Callicarpa americana
Callicarpa americana–AMERICAN BEAUTY BERRY
photo of Codiaeum variegatum
Codiaeum variegatum–CROTON
photo of Gamolepis spp.
Gamolepis spp.–BUSH DAISY
photo of Hamamelis virginiana
Hamamelis virginiana–COMMON WITCHHAZEL
photo of Hamelia patens
Hamelia patens–FIREBUSH
photo of Hibiscus spp.
Hibiscus spp.–HIBISCUS (MALLOWS)
photo of Illicium spp.
Illicium spp.–STAR ANISE
photo of Sambucus spp.
Sambucus spp.–ELDERBERRY (SHRUB)
photo of Strelitzia reginae
Strelitzia reginae–BIRD OF PARADISE
photo of Zamia floridana
Zamia floridana–FLORIDA COONTIE (FLORIDA ARROWROOT, FLORIDA ZAMIA)

Some grow slowly, and some more quickly, but I’ve admired these babies at garden centers (where available) and when searching through landscaping pictures on online resources. The bare bones of the yard and my other garden beds will be exposed between now and the middle of February, as I hope to get my fingernails filled with dirt, here, pretty soon.

What FL friendly plants (and natives) are in your gardens if you live here?

Traditions of the North Witch: The Völva

In ancient Scandinavia and Germania, there was a class of priestesses or seeresses whose history and lore are of great interest. These seeresses, or völvas/vǫlvas, were a class of women all their own. Responsible for reading omens, prophesying, and divination on behalf of their tribesmen, these women were clearly the conduit between Midgard and the Beyond.

Völvas must surely have looked to the Ancestors’ spirits, as well as spirits that resided in the land and sea. These women were thought to be the mortal divinity of Freyja, as it is said Freyja was the goddess who introduced the art of Seiðr–that is, the practice of seeing into the future, the Unknown, and even the world of the dead, as much wisdom is gained from Spirit conversation.

These women were held in very high esteem, respected as a divinity by all…including men of all ranks. This seems to be so because the culture and religious practices of the Vikings and Germanic tribes attributed all women as having been in some way endowed with this power. Those that chose this path in life because of their strong sight became married to their staves, the working wand of the wild witch.

Völvas who were requested to divine on behalf of the people would do so sometimes publicly, as all were connected to Fate, and would sometimes be called to the home to perform a ceremony. It seems clear that these women acted as Shamans to their communities. They would be imparted with spell-song, to help aid their trance-states so the information from the worlds beyond would be better transmitted.

Not unlike Shamans of many other tribes, völvas would commune with plant and animal spirits as well as those that dwell within the land and hearth and home. For this reason, many were called upon as healers for spirit and body, too.

The Seiðr-craft was so revered and respected (because of its origins from Freyja, no doubt) it is said that Freyja was the one to impart this knowledge to Odin himself. The power of the Feminine Divine, indeed.

The lesson one can take from the völva and other women who are practitioners of this ancient tradition is one of self-discipline and spiritual development. The sight must be practiced, brought into harmony with all of the Self. Such practice seeks to completely eradicate the Ego’s stirring presence of self-doubt, opening the channels for communication between all divine beings, both of Earth and those who dwell beyond and below.

Image courtesy of GermanMythology.com 

A little bit of Summertime Magic

The weather has been absolutely heavenly, and things are growing and thriving in the garden and around the yard. DSCN2872.a1_markedMy dandelions have been plentiful, perfect for making cosmetics and tea. These babies pack a punch of all sorts of vitamins and minerals, and are a very rich source of beta-carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A. Some of the other vitamins and minerals found in dandelions include Vitamin B-complexes, Vitamin C & small amounts of Vitamin D, fiber, potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium, and phosphorous.

Dandelions are also a great source to get trace minerals and organic sodium (table salt is baaaaad news!) A bitter plant they can be, but these babies can be mixed with sweeter greens and fruits for a wonderful salad. Minus the ants! So clean before eating & using.

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I don’t believe this particular species of milkweed is native to FL, but it sure as hell helps nurture, support, and harbor my monarchs! I got to watch the monarch’s life cycle from caterpillar to butterfly with my little girl, and it never fails to amaze me!

(This is a great page, easy to read information about FL’s native milkweeds and monarch facts.)DSCN2847.a_marked

Here she is emerged from her chrysalis, posing for a picture. Nature is amazing, the Earth Mother always gifting us with moments to share love and joy with every living being. With moments like these, magic truly does exist.

Summer Blessings Xo