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Forget-Me-Not: Sweet But With a Dark Side

Forget-me-not is a charming little plant with soft blue flowers that the Victorians regarded as a symbol of fidelity and love. It was given as a token of remembrance, a sweet request to not be forgotten.

I had never grown forget-me-not in my garden until last year when a little plant cropped up between the iris and daisies. With property surrounded by meadows and woods, wild flora and fauna turn up in my garden on a regular basis. I decided to let the little blue-flowered visitor stay. After all, it has been considered a lucky plant.

By early autumn, I began to change my opinion. One of the folk names for forget-me-not (Myosotis scorpioides) is scorpion grass, which is also reflected in its species name. Prior to blooming, the flower stalks are tightly curled resembling a scorpion tail. This should be a warning that it wields a metaphorical sting. Forget-me-not doesn’t ask sweetly to be remembered, it clings like a vengeful lover who refuses to be set aside.

During autumn cleanup, I discovered that forget-me-not had made itself at home in the peripheral gardens. It won’t let go; the tiny seeds attach to anything (garden gloves, pant legs, sweatshirt sleeves) and stick like Velcro. This spring, it has turned up everywhere. It will not let you forget it.

Magically, the ancient Egyptians used forget-me-not to aid in receiving visions during the month of Thoth (approximately September 11 to October 10) by placing a few leaves over their eyes. As mentioned, it was considered a lucky plant and in Germany it was used as a talisman for finding hidden treasure, especially if it was guarded by the fae. Forget-me-not was often used for protection from faery mischief; however, judging by the plant’s behavior, I think it is faery mischief.

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Hollyhocks: Old-fashioned Beauty and Magic

I purchased hollyhocks for my garden this spring. Here in northern New England it’s early spring; the daffodils haven’t bloomed yet. One reason I chose hollyhocks was that they were in the gardens of my parents and grandparents. Those tall spires of large flowers were impressive (and still are) as they reach six to eight feet tall.
     The common hollyhock (Alcea rosea) is also known as althea and rose mallow. The five overlapping petals create a bowl-shaped flower that ranges from white to pink to purplish red. The hollyhocks I bought are a cultivar with dark purples, almost black, flowers. Hollyhock has large, heart-shaped leaves with three to seven lobes. They grow up to eight inches long, but become progressively smaller toward the top of the stalk.
     Hollyhocks were a mainstay in cottage gardens and used to treat a range of ailments including snakebites and scorpion stings. They were also grown for beauty; the medieval commoner’s roses. Hollyhocks were also believed to provide protection from the devil and other perceived evils.
     A seventeenth century recipe listed hollyhock as an ingredient for fairy oil, which when anointed to the eyes made the usually invisible fae visible. An elaborate ritual was used to gather the ingredients, which also included grass from a faery circle. With the proper incantations, the oil was also used to conjure a faery known as Elaby Gathon. Nannies called upon this faery to protect babies as they slept to prevent bad faeries from substituting changelings.
     Hollyhocks in the garden attract abundance, prosperity, and happiness. After moving to a new house, crumble a handful of dried flowers, and then sprinkle them around, inside and out, to help you and your family feel at home. Of course, also look for faeries who may also feel at home in your garden with the hollyhocks.

 

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Silence about one’s magic is a long-standing witch—and Druid— tradition.

 

Buddha would not discuss theory or cosmology because doing so wouldn’t leave enough time for spiritual practices. I feel somewhat similarly about magical spells I do. 

 

Talking about them more than needed drains the energy out of them and distracts me from the focus, inner growth, and realizations that help me do an effective, safe spell. 

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Tragedy, Magic and Grammar

The calls for magical intervention kept coming, interspersed with medical updates that were presented as progress, despite all evidence to the contrary. There’d been a tragic accident, and a young person was on life support, unresponsive. Emotional emails flew back and forth, many filled with hope and confidence in the power of magic and affirmation.

I participated at first. But when we were asked to use a spell formula affirming the miracle of a complete recovery, I stepped away. I worried that we were asking too much, that this person's nearest and dearest were going to be either devastated or exhausted by their hope against hope. Energy was being expended at a rate that would inevitably demand a crash. Perhaps even a soul was being held to earth when it was time for it to fly free.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

Winters here are rough.

 

The photo shows one of the last tiny harvests before the cold locks me indoors for too many days.

 

In the jar is lemon balm—wee clippings from the very top of the plant, since the lower leaves are already weathered beyond use. Likewise, the jar holds a mere five inches of nettle leaves and nettle seeds from the top of a stalk.

 

The harvest also includes gorgeously dark peppermint and some fuzzy, pale mint. The square-stemmed plant is ready to assault my tongue with glory, if there’s enough mint in the jar to storm my tastebuds. If not, a more gentle mint taste will sweeten and enliven the tea blend. 

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

“In yoga class, I often remind my students that we can be peaceful and powerful, calm yet strong—all in the same breath. I think there is a peace to be found in the acceptance of all of these contradictory powers within us. Finding a way to stand within this unknown and unknowable. We are gloriously complex and contradictory in a world that loves boxes, snap judgments and 100% certainty. People may find this inability to define you uncomfortable, but this is a reminder that you do not owe anyone an explanation. Your rich inner world needn’t mean anything to anyone but yourself. A person can be called a witch for merely knowing, and for owning her knowledge. And to some, for strange reasons that may include fear, power, jealousy, a woman who ‘knows’ is dangerous indeed…Communicating *I am knowledgeable, powerful, and I can make choices about how I use these strengths…can be a real challenge to the status quo!”

—Sarah Robinson, Yoga for Witches (p. 93)

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Magic Is Reality

You are innately magical. The cosmos is innately magical, every atom of the universe rife with the potential for miracle.

 

Mind you, I believe training in magical techniques is important in order for spells cast to be effective. However, just as important is allowing the magical self and getting in touch with the universe's magic. In fact, that’s as important a part of training as techniques are.

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