Beltaine Lore

Merry Meet All,

Beltaine is tomorrow. April gives way to a fertile earth. The songbirds fill the air with their songs and grass turns green. Beltaine is here!

The deities of Beltaine are: Pan (Greek). This agricultural god watched over shepherds and their flocks. He roamed the woods and pastures and played tunes on his flute. He appears like a faun, and is often honoured as a fertility god.

Flora (Roman): The goddess of spring and flowers was celebrated annually from April 28 to May 3rd. The Romans wore bright robes and floral wreaths, and attended festivals in her honour. They offered milk and honey to the Goddess.

Let’s not forget the Fae. Leave an offering in your garden to welcome them back to guard and nurture your garden to grow. Hang a garland of green over your door for protection. Collect some morning dew on the morning of Beltaine. Use the dew to clean your face, and in ritual as consecrated water, to invoke the goddesses Diana and Artemis. Bake oatcakes to ensure you will have abundance of your crops for the year.

Merry Beltaine

Blessed Be,
Lady Spiderwitch )O(

My herbs and vegetable seeds

Merry Meet All,

I am excited! I’m excited because this is my first year in experimenting with container gardening. I have a variety of organic vegetable seeds and seed starting soil, organic Neptune’s harvest fertilizer, and a big deep planter for my veggies outdoors. So read on to see how I did this and how you can too!!

First, you need seeds. I went to Halifax Seed and bought a few organic vegetable seeds packets. I chose a lettuce mix, green onions, carrots and peas. I started tomatoes from seed from other tomatoes already. I bought two seed trays with slots. I gathered my soil, a candle, a spoon, the seeds, the trays and slots, watering can and fertilizer.

I lit the candle and prayed to the God and Goddess to bless this experiment of mine and the seeds. Working in four rows, I planted one row of shallots, one row of lettuce mix, one row of peas and one row of carrots. You can see the seed trays here:

I was hard at work, as you can tell. In the second tray, I planted peas. The expiry date is for 6/2013. The third tray (I used an egg carton) is the lettuce mix. I can’t wait to plant these outdoors. I set them on a large flat piece of wood and set the three trays on top of my pet guinea pig’s cage. The seeds will receive plenty of sunlight and a breeze from the open window. I watered and fertilized the seeds. Now I have to wait for them to germinate.

I bought organic herbs for cooking and magickal workings. I have a lovely thyme plant growing in a gorgeous golden brass cauldron. The tiny leaves cascade over the edge of the cauldron. The dill will be set outdoors, the tarragon is for cooking, and the parsley is for Magic, and the peppermint is to improve the indoor air quality. I am having success with the carrot tops. They are indeed sprouting. I placed a carrot in a bowl of water and I can see sprouts coming up.

It is exciting to watch plants grow. Vegetables are annuals. I have tons of seeds in the packets, enough to grow veggies year-round. Why not? I have enough light, space and soil.

I sterilized the seed trays and planter before I used them. I will put the seedlings in the planter to grow outdoors. The bleach kills any potential eggs from hatching. I also learned a few more tips I would love to share. I planted a sliced green onion, the roots facing down in the soil, and it will grow from that. I am using organic Neptune’s Harvest fish emulsion fertilizer. It is worth investing in this smelly fertilizer because you will reap more fruits, herbs or veggies. It packs growing power to your plants. I can see a major difference in my sage. The sage plant has never looked happier. You will notice an increased bounty if you use that stuff.

Healthy plants are more resistant to disease and pests. I chose organic vegetable seeds that have resistance to disease and pests. I may not have disease ruining my plants, but I am sure the insect population will try to enjoy their share of my veggies before fall comes. I plan to set down some chickenwire to keep out larger pests, some cloches to protect the plants, and mulch to add moisture.

A lot of work! The work is worth it. I bought a kneeling pad, a new trowel, and I need gardening gloves. Otherwise, I am all set. Happy planting! I hope you are all ready for Beltaine!!

Blessed Be,
Lady Spiderwitch )O(

Beltaine- Solitary Ritual

Merry Meet All,

Beltaine is about the stirring of the green earth. The earth awakens and green sprouts push out from the soil. This ritual is fun to do. Just be sure to check the frost date in your area and be certain that the frost date is passed for this ritual, which is best performed outdoors.

You will need the following: seed packets, or seedlings, water, soil, gardening tools, tea, incense.

To begin, enjoy a cup of herbal tea and light some corresponding incense. Stick the end of the incense into the soil. Rain incense or patchouli or lavender incense would be appropriate. Prepare the soil for planting. Mulch, water and fertilize your soil. Loosen the soil to allow room for the roots.

Say a prayer to the God and Goddess. Also, invite the faeries to bless your garden. Now you can plant the seeds or seedlings. Get in touch with the soil again. Smell and feel the texture of the soil. As you place each seed in the ground, offer a blessing, such as:

May this soil be blessed in the womb of the earth,
Grow fruitful and full to bring forth the harvest
anew.
Cernunnos, bless this seed. Blessed Be.

Cover the seeds or seedlings with soil. Add compost tea, compost, or mulch to fertilize and add nutrients. Put earthworms back in the soil and remember that without insects, beneficial insects, there would be no plants. Do not add hazardous pesticides to your garden. That kills off the beneficial and predatory insects that feed on the pests. It also affects your crop by leeching into the plants you want to grow. Opting for an organic method benefits all. Healthy plants are naturally resistant to disease and pests.

Water the plants and thank the deities/ God and Goddess one final time. Say aloud:

Hail Cernunnos! God of fertility!
We honor you by planting these seeds
I ask your blessing for fertile soil and plants
Hail, Cerunnnon, master of the earth!

Once you are done, remain a moment and meditate on what you have accomplished. Know that now the fruit, herbs and vegetables, whether planted in the soil or container grown, are now about to bloom. Tidy up the weeds and old plants. Leave a crystal or milk and honey as a libation to the garden and the God and Goddess.

My article on thyme is to be published in Essential Herbal magazine this summer. I had an article on Wildcrafting Herbs with intent published in the May/June issue of Essential Herbal magazine this spring. You can click on the link here:

http://www.essentialherbal.com/index.php

Thyme is a beautiful and multipurpose herb that no gardener should be without. I am also having my article on Odin and Gandalf printed in the upcoming next issue of Eternal Haunted Summer Ezine. Here is the link: http://eternalhauntedsummer.com/

Enjoy Beltaine!

Blessed Be,
Lady Spiderwitch )O(

Beltaine

Merry Meet All,

Beltaine is a few days away. I bet you are all excited. I heard of someone who made over eighty ribbons for this festive Sabbat. Wow!! Beltaine is about passion, life and rebirth. I can see green creeping back into the world when I look out my backyard window.

Here are some ideas on how to decorate your altar. Clean, cleanse and smudge first!! Use lots of greens. Place a god figure on your altar to honour and reflect the greenery of the season. Buds on the tree boughs, daffodils and tulips blooming, all symbolize spring. Make your own Maypole tree. Add a Goddess statue to the altar. The fertile womb of the Goddess is honoured at Beltaine as well. You can use a cup, cauldron, or other feminine items.

Add spring flowers to your altar- crocuses, hyacinths (smell heavenly), daffodils and tulips. The tulips and lilies are growing in my garden. If you planted bulbs in the fall, they will grow now and that can be fun to watch. You can take a cutting from a flower in your garden. Make a floral crown to wear with wire or pipe cleaners, twine, and flowers.

Since Beltaine is a fire festival, incorporate fire into your altar setup. Use candles or a brazier to make the Fire Element a part of your ritual.

Some items to use on your altar are:

May baskets
chalices
honey, oats, milk- leave as a libation to your garden
Antlers or horns
swords, lances, arrows.

Perform a ritual to welcome the faeries back to protect and bless your garden/ indoor plants. Enjoy your beautiful altar and have a merry Beltaine!

Blessed Be,
Lady Spiderwitch )O(

Waxing of the Moon

Merry Meet All,

The moon is currently 92% illuminated and is in the Waxing Gibbous phase. Gibbous is an astronomical term for describing a planetary body that is almost fully lit up. Tonight you can see the moon glowing in the night sky. The next phase is the Full Moon. That brings culmination. The current Gibbous phase now tests our patience and forces us to resolve our current pressing issues.

In 2 days there will be an eclipse bringing a time of shifts and changes as Mercury and Jupiter (Ideas and Belief) make an aspect. This is a great night to review goals and intentions and reaffirm what it is you wish to manifest. Create a positive affirmation so that when Mercury and Jupiter align, you are ready to set it in concrete.

The moon entered Libra this morning and remains there until tomorrow afternoon when the moon goes Void Of Course. Libra is about finding balance. Libra brings beauty and creativity to our lives. Heed your inner voice and what your intuition is trying to tell you. Focus on what you need to act on. Mint, thyme and sage will bring renewal. Ylang-ylang in the burner adds a romantic feeling to your home. The corresponding herbs to use are feverfew, violet, catnip, lemon balm and St.John’s Wort.

Mercury’s sextile to Jupiter today signals positive thinking, insight, and teamwork. Today is governed by Mars, the Red planet, the God of War and Conflict, Mars is Action! The energy of Mars is strong, eager and capable to meet the tasks presented. Mars represents our drives and ambition. Now is the time to tap into magicks to meet goals. Tuesday is the day to face down what has hounded you.

Wear the fiery colors of Mars today to signify your willingness to conquer fears. Carry bloodstone or carnelian in your pocket to reinforce your convictions. Work with snapdragons and thistle to create a shield around you.

Burn red spicy candles to add magickal aromatherapy to your home. Cook a lovely meal of fiery spicy foods to bolster yourself for success.

The magickal colour for Tuesday is red. Red is a hot colour and the colour most often selected by extroverts. In China, red is the colour of prosperity and joy. Red symbolizes passionate love. Mars is known as the God of War.

Red is associated with warmth. Red also means danger. Red is the colour of blood, which is associated with warmth and blood.

The Moon rises tonight ~ 17.34 Moon sets ~ 04.26

Blessed Be,
Lady Spiderwitch )O(

Happy Earth Day

Merry Meet All,

Today is Earth Day!! I think we should care about the earth every day. I tweeted that too. Earth Day should be every day. It should be but today is extra special. I have already turned off my coffeemaker, cleaned my pet cage, and gawked at my garden. I also planted more tomato seeds in jiffy pots, and bought an organic dill seedling at the local farmers market in my area. I plan to go on a nice walk on the trail today too.

What do you all plan to do on Earth Day? How do you plan to express your reverence to the God and Goddess? I would love to know. Feel free to comment below.

I wish you all a wonderful green Earth Day!

Blessed Be,
Lady Spiderwitch

Spring Sprouts

Merry Meet All,

Beltaine is coming! Before you know it, you will all be dancing round the Maypole!! I bet you’re all excited. I will have lots of fun stuff here so you will be prepared for Beltaine. Beltaine is the third spring Sabbat in the Wheel of the Year.

I heard of a way to grow carrots. Or, rather, the carrot tops. You need the carrot top (without the leaves), and it should be one inch in size. Cut the carrot top off and place it in a bowl full of water. Push two toothpicks into either side of the carrot and suspend the carrot top just above the water in the bowl. Place the bowl on a sunny windowsill. Soon you will have nice green carrot tops growing. I plan to feed the carrot tops to my pet guinea pig, Magic. He will love that. I plan to grow carrots and peas in containers indoors as well. The slugs eat everything in sight.

My potted garlic is growing well. Graceful, long shoots are growing from the garlic bulb. I spotted tulips, my bugleweed and woodruff, chives, are coming up in my garden. Each passing day, it becomes more spring. This is an exciting time.

Stay posted, as I will be posting more about Beltaine.

Plants in photo: From left to right, garlic, orchid plant, tomato sprout begun from seed, umbrella plant, and carrot

Blessed Be,
Lady Spiderwitch )O(

My indoor & outdoor herb garden Project

Merry Meet All,

Indoor gardening, especially in early spring, presents possibilities otherwise impossible in other conditions. For myself, I am experimenting with growing garlic, thyme, sage, an English ivy plant, and ginger indoors. The garlic bulb has already shot up 2 sprouts. The ginger is taking its own time. The thyme seems happy as well as my orchid, my umbrella plant, sage, and English Ivy. I also have a spider plant in my bathroom.

I fermented some tomato seeds and now have a sprout in a pot, as I mentioned in an earlier post. I plan to grow the ginger and garlic indoors all year long. I tried growing garlic in my garden and it vanished. So hence I am growing garlic indoors. My mother has a beautiful indoor ginger plant and is the reason why I was inspired to do so. I think ginger plants are beautiful.

I plan to order a lot of mixed organic seeds from Horizon Herbs for my garden this spring. I like them because the seeds are certified organic. I look forward to my second project this summer, which is outdoor container gardening. Oh I can’t wait.

So I shall update you all regularly on my indoor gardening efforts as time goes. I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. I will be posting here about the upcoming Beltaine Sabbat here in the future.

Blessed Be,
Lady Spiderwitch

Finale of the Dark Season

Merry Meet All,

I am of mixed feelings of this time of year. As any self-respecting Witch worth her salt will admit, the Crone’s time of year rules all. I love autumn and fall. I love Mabon to Samhain. I like it that it gets dark early at night, awakening in me my darker true nature.

This post is to be a bit different than my other recent posts. But one cannot have dark without light and vice versa. Without the Crone, there is no rebirth. The Crone is now morphing to the Maiden. Beltaine is the next Sabbat in the Wheel of the Year.

Hence my sadness of the return of the light and the fading of the Crone. I recently picked up an amazing book that I hope some of you are familiar with. The book is called Nocturnal Witchcraft by Konstantinos. I love this book, having at long last found my kindred spirit. At last, someone understands me. He talks about nightkind, which I consider myself to be, and how it should not be feared. He sheds light on working nocturnal magick at night. At last. I decked out my altar according to the method provided in the book. I found what I need and did not need to buy any magick tools. I have to get candles and incense, but that does not need to be expensive. I have a black velvet hemmed altar cloth. So the silver and black look beautiful. I have not added any of this to my BOS yet, but I do plan to.

I love to perform magick at night. I feel alive when I do. I might need the assistance of caffeine, but that is a small price to pay. I like this book because like I said, I always felt alive at night. I perform most of my rituals indoors, with the exception of my backyard garden, but there is a different energy indoors. We are limited by indoors. I could bring an elemental object in from outside, such as herbs, bark, seasalt, salt water, stones, tree leaves (taken in kind), or even grass clippings. The point is that I can bring an item inside and draw energy from it for my magickal workings. The book can also provide guidance when and where I need it.

As you can see from earlier posts, I love Samhain. I like cawing of crows, toads who swim by lilypads, crafty cunning spiders, cats, horses, swans, and owls. I do not fear the darker creatures that roam the earth. I love the creaking of tree boughs and years ago, I forced myself to overcome my fear of cemeteries. I crossed a graveyard and haven’t feared them since. I know that book is not for the faint of heart, but Witchcraft is not for the faint of heart. The true and fierce heart of a Witch is his or her strength. Facing your fears can strengthen you as well as truly knowing yourself before you delve into darker magick.

I have been excited to see cheerful and ambitious sprouts emerge in the clayish soil of my garden. I know the plants died back to be reborn in spring. I know the buds shall open and splendor the trees with greenery. But the time of the dark half of the year is my most favourite and I await -somewhat patiently- the return of Mabon. If I am patient, it’s return will be more appreciated.

I would love to know if some of you out there have read this book and also share a kindred sense as you read it. Let me know!! Till then, many blessings on your magick and your gardens, or indoor gardens.

Blessed Be,
Lady Spiderwitch )O(

How to save herb seeds

Merry Meet All,

Herbs have long been prized for their beauty and usefulness. Herbs are loved for their colour, beauty, and fragrance. Here are some tips on how to store and use herb seeds. This is a great way to save money.

Mint is known for its invigorating peppermint scent. Mint is invasive in the garden and when you brush by, the scent is released in the air. Watch for when the mint flowers brown. This is the time to start storing seeds. Cut the flowers from the stems and hold the flowers over a bowl. Over the bowl, seperate the flowers and empty the seeds into the bowl. Clean any chafe or debris from the seeds. Place the seeds on a paper towel or a pie pan and allow to dry for a few days. Store the seeds in a glass jar in a dry, dark place.

Lavender seeds are easy to save. Cut the lavender above the brown area of the stem shortly after the flowers begin to bloom. Bind the stems together with a ribbon or elastic. You can make the ribbon or elastic be a colour that corresponds with the element of lavender. Be sure the stems are facing in the same direction. Place the bushel of lavender stems in a paper bag, stem side up, and secure the bag by tying it shut. After two weeks have passed, run your fingers down the stem of each plant to remove all the flowers and seeds. Discard the stems after removing the flowers and seeds. Store the seeds in a clean sterile Mason jar and leave in a dry, dark place. Empty the contents of the paper bag onto a flat surface. Sort the seeds from the flowers and store the seeds in the labeled jar. Lavender seeds do not save well, so use them as soon as possible.

Coneflowers are admired for their beauty and medicinal qualities. The seeds are hidden in the plant’s spiny centre. The method of removing the seeds are by winnowing the seeds. It is recommended that you wear gloves while removing the seeds. Also, watch for the time to remove seeds from coneflowers. Hold on till the stems droop and the flower head turn brown to black or the seeds will not be developed enough for next spring’s planting. There is another method. Soak the seed pods in water overnight. Water softens the bristles and makes removal easier. Lay the seeds out on a paper towel and allow to dry, then store in a glass jar.

Verbena flowers attract butterflies. Verbena self seeds itself each year but by saving the seeds, you save money and means that you have access to the same variety. Wait till the flowers fade and turn brown. Cut the stalk once the seedheads have turned brown. Leave the seedhead in a well ventliated room to dry for two weeks. Leave in a bowl lined with paper towels to absorb absorb excess moisture. Label an envelope with the name Verbena and crumble the seedhead into the bowl. Remove the debris. Label the envelope with the name and the date of the seed harvest. Place the seeds inside and store in a dry, dark place. The verbena seeds are a light tan colour and good for one to two years after harvesting. The chafe, or straw-like husks, can be planted with the seeds. Do not let the seeds come into contact with humidity.

Remember to thank the Goddess for the bounty of seeds you have harvested. Storing seeds helps you save money. Good luck and happy planting.

Blessed be,
Lady Spiderwitch )O(