Midsummer Night’s Sanity
With the Summer Season half way through its course, the importance of grounding and pacing oneself to go the distance must not be over looked. Before you know it, Summer’s ephemeral beauty will be but a faded souvenir pressed in the dusty tomes of our memories; and only if we should be so lucky. Now, is the time to connect to the Earth and draw its energy up and into ones person; negating that caffeinated busy buzzy body that has been compensating for the effects of the previous evenings overindulgence. Take note the Trickster God Loki is offering you some divine advice, are you paying attention? In celebration of the Midsummer Full Moon I have cast a single Rune and a single stone.
Description: Ansuz the Rune of the Divine Messenger is associated with the Norse God Loki symbolizing a message of Divine importance, calling for us to open our ears and hearts to receive the message of the Black Stone, Onyx. Expect this message to be a hokulele against the moonlit dome of the heavens. It requires alert attentiveness for you may or may not notice it against the expanse of cosmic noise, however, it’s message is clear. GET GROUNDED and keep your HEAD CLEAR.
Revelation: Do not waste the remaining days of summer. Time does not wait for mortal man to wake from his insobriety, and time is fleeting. Take advantage of the now and prepare for what awaits. The Onyx tells us to ground ourselves and integrate. There is much confusion and disinformation being disseminated throughout the world and it is important to have balance and clarity in one’s decision-making as more gloomy uncertainty lies ahead. Do not be overly influenced by anything, especially your usual emotional buttons and their complimentary intoxicants. Be present, agreeable, and helpful; your efficiency will help carry you through the inane insanity that Autumn’s portent will bring so be prepared. Carry a piece of Onyx or a black stone in your pocket when you are at work and think efficiency and integration. Imagine energy flowing out from the stone integrating and maximizing the various energies around you, harmoniously and calmly. When moods and actions get flighty and or over-heated place the stone on your desktop and drop anchor. Feel the grounding energies pull everything back to Earth, cool and collective.
Peace & Blessings
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The Hedge Witch has risen dramatically in the locus of popular culture over the past few years as interest in Pagan traditions and magical folklore has exponentially expanded. This is due in part to legal protections and the popularity of Wicca as a Neo-Pagan religion and the folklore inspired writings of authors like JK Rowling and Wiccan Hedge Witch Rae Beth. What is a Hedge Witch you may ask? And, what ‘s the difference between a Hedge Witch and a run of the mill witch?
First, witches like faery princesses, and dragons exist in our imagination and fantasy entertainments but witches also occupy the world of oblique reality and to this day are being brutally murdered in more bigoted parts of the Earth. It is important to acknowledge that witches are an ancient primal archetype possessing the ability to strike fear in cultures world-wide just like the Dragon, Giants, and Naga. Second, a “run of the mill witch” or typical witch simply does not exist as they vary between cultures, secular and religious practitioners including Wiccan, Thelemic and other New Age and Neo-Pagan Religions. Some practice in groups or covens; others prefer solitary pursuits. A few are exclusively identified with one sex; some are white, some are black some are green; some are known as Kitchen Witches and others as Warlocks.
The term Hedge Witch originated in reality and originates from the old English Haegtesse or Hedge Rider. A Hedge Rider or Witch is solitary practitioner of the natural healing arts and naturopathic-magic, but may work with others of their kind on rare occasions. Hedge Witches are also known as Traditional or Natural Witches and their skill sets and services depend on the person; often combining elements of divination, herbal healing and natural magic. Some practitioners claim it as the evolved art of the Cunning Folk, while others say that its’ practice is more a nature based neo-pagan religion like Wicca, which in my opinion is rather myopic and akin to saying Walt Disney invented the fairy tale. However, the histrionics of the Traditional Witch extends beyond just folklore and has ancient roots extending back to the biblical Witch of Endor and even further still in the esoteric histories of Egypt and Mesopotamia.
It is commonly believed that Hedge Witches are found world-wide. Traditionally known as the Village Witch, Witch Doctor, Kahuna La’au Lapa’au, Shaman, Wise or Cunning Woman or Man, this often misunderstood sometimes fringe member of the community consulted on any number of herbal cures, natural and supernatural remedies of spirit, mind, and body. The Hedge Witch assuaged matters of the heart often acting as a therapist, meta-physician, fertility, and virility specialist. The Hedge, once signified the outermost boundary of ancient villages, fields, and large estates. This boundary represented metaphysically the border between the world of the living and the nether-world of spiritual beings. Practitioners of this type of naturopathic-magic were often called Hedge Witches, not only because they lived in or just beyond the hedge or forest but because they were also believed to commune with spirits, as well as, affect the living with the use of natural magic and herbal remedies found in the “hedge”.
I was raised “On the Hedge” so to speak as the cultural differences between my parents where seemingly insurmountable and at times contradictory. As Intuitive consultant I identify with the Hedge Witch Archetype and draw upon both my Hawaiian healing intuitions of the Kahuna La’au Lapa’au and the hereditary Hola’e which stems from my maternal line going back 20 generations to the Kahuna Nui Pa’ao and my many years of study of western esoterica and the observations of my step-mother(of Eastern European heritage) and her powerful intuitive elucidations which both terrified and fascinated me. For hundreds of years through my paternal line our family maintained a famous well which was widely used for healing, divination, and potent wish making in the South West of England. All this says is that herbal and spiritual healing have ancient roots in my psyche and my genetic structure and Hedge Craft harnesses the mind to heal, as I understand it. As a Tarot Card consultant I utilize my understandings of these healing modalities to aid people in finding clarity and understanding in the face of their difficulties. I believe the power of the mind can create miraculous healing if properly coaxed and that overwrought thinking and stress can cause illness if left unchecked. If you have difficult questions that need answering please contact us for a consultation.
Divination of the Moment
Let the light in and experience joy, Wunjo is the Rune that signifies the emerging psyche from the darkness into the light, allowing for restoration and rejuvenation of the spirit, mind, and body. So pull back those heavy drapes of excessive thinking and let the light in! In Hawaiian tradition the Kukui or Candle Nut metaphysically and literally means light, as the oil from the Kukui fueled the ubiquitous tiki torches that illuminated the inevitable darkness of the Polynesian night, dispelling fears of the unknown.
We often allow the darkness of negative thinking to oppress and dominate our thoughts through the judging and condemning of ourselves and others. When we “lighten” up we pull the heavy rocks or negative thoughts that block the light of our love from shinning up and out from the vessel that holds our spiritual light and soul. In Hawaii when we offer a Kukui Lei (garland of Kukui nuts) with Aloha to guests and loved ones, it recognizes the Divine Light and love we share as children of God.
Insensitivity to other belief systems is an endemic plague undermining the fabric of every society. Lightening up your beliefs and you might realize that politics is a costly game that one need not play in order to find happiness.
If you haven’t received your daily dose of Vitamin D try spending a little time enjoying the sunlight on your face. Smile, because you are precisely in the right place, at the right time, right now! Bask in the light for it is a gift to receive, like ripe fruit on the vine, it is there for your enjoyment! If the darkness that surrounds you can’t wait until the Dawn, light a candle and regard its energy and dissolve your overwrought thoughts and share the…
Divination of The Moment:
-Hawaii Tarot Card of the Day
Ten of Cups
Find and relish the joy brought by family and friends today. Joy comes from the belief that love and friendship are what makes the world go round and palatable.
Today is a day for being happy and happiness is a choice. Security is an illusion but feeling secure in the love of others is a gift to enjoy, so what’s stopping you, have fun and be joyful, no one else can do that for you.
You are responsible for the happiness in your life so participate and choose to be thankful than choose to be happy, even in the face of despair.
The dividends are paid in laughs, smiles, hugs, and kisses. You are certainly rich beyond measure if you share these ephemeral delights!
For hundreds of years now, it has been traditional for the Dalai Lama, and the Government, to consult Nechung during the New Year festivals. In addition, he might well be called upon at other times if either have specific queries. I myself have dealings with him several times a year This may sound far-fetched to twentieth-century western readers. Even some Tibetans, mostly those who consider themselves ’progressive’, have misgivings about my continued use of this ancient method of intelligence gathering. -The Dalai Lama
This is the second post in our Hawaiian Hedge Plant series and we will be outlining the many marvelous uses for the sacred Hawaiian Ki or Ti Plant.
One of the most sacred and versatile plants introduced to Hawai’i by early Polynesian settlers was the Cordyline fruticosa, once considered a member of the Lily family botanists have reclassified the plant as an Agave. Known to Hawaiians as the Ki or Ti Plant, This tightly clustered plant with wide blade-shaped leaves 7 to 10 cm wide and 40 to 80 cm long is fast growing, reaching heights anywhere from 1 to 4 meters.
This popular and storied Hawaiian hedge plant is considered to bring good luck to those who plant it near their homes. The Ki was sacred to Lono, deity of fertility and music and his consort Laka goddess of the hula or dance. It was used as an emblem of the Ali’i and denoted elite rank, privilege, and divine power. The kahili, (feather standard of royalty and the nobility) in its earliest form, was a Ki stalk with its clustered foliage of glossy, green leaves at the top. The leaves were used by the Kahuna La’au Lapa’au or high priests and administers of the Kapu(ancient Hawaiian law) in many healing, religious, and ceremonial rituals.
Practical Applications for Ki, Ti, Si, La’i – Cordyline fruticosa
Some of it’s many practical uses included: food wrappings, cups, plates, rain capes, hula skirts, leis, cordage, footwear, hukilau nets, fishing lures, and thatching material.
Food and Beverage-
Ki root was baked to extract sugar and the baked Ki root itself was savored as a desert, used as a preferential emergency food in times of famine, and brewed into a beer during pre-contact times which has since evolved into a distilled spirit, known today as Okolehao (iron bottom). Once used as a treatment for scurvy, it is best described as a cross between rum and tequila.
Ki is most likely indigenous to Southeast Asia and was transported throughout the Pacific by Polynesians who used the relatively light weight, compact, starchy rhizome for food during long ocean voyages.
Topical Medicinal Uses-
The natural shape of the Ki leaf lends itself well to creating hot packs, poultices, and herbal wraps packed with other medicinal hedge plants. Here are some simple and effective traditional Hawaiian la’au applications for Ki leaf.
Aches & Pains: For muscle pain and stiffness in joints snugly wrap one large Ki leaf around the joint or muscle area overnight. Repeat for 5 days or as needed.
Back Pain: Wrap heated river stones in Ki leaf and apply to sore muscles for inflammation and pain relief.
Fever: Place the Ki leaf in cool water, and then apply the leaf as a compress directly on the effective areas to help reduce fever. Cover the patient with a light sheet, to avoid chilling.
Decongestant: Steam from boiled young green Ki shoots and leaves can be used as an effective decongestant and the fragrant Ki flowers reduces asthma symptoms.
Stress Relief: Young green Ki shoots can be boiled and chilled to make a muscle relaxant and nerve calming beverage.
Magical or Metaphysical Uses-
Ki stalk was used as a diving rod in the practice of Huli Honua which is akin to the Taoist tradition of Feung Shui. The intuitive understanding of the movement of earths energy fields or Geomancy as practiced by the ancient Hawaiians, was the process of aligning oneself with the mana or energy of the ’aina or the land. Understanding the flow of that mana could be determined with the Ki stalk. The proper alignment of all man-made structures with-in the flow of the earth’s energy fields was essential for harmonious and successful living in ancient Hawai’i.
Today the Ki leaf is used in ritual cleansings and blessings. Dipped in a mix of Hawaiian sea salt with fresh water and accompanied with a pule or prayer, the Ki Leaf is used to sprinkle the holy water over it’s recipient(s); offering divine protection from evil and an invitation for the presence of good.
Aloha nui & Happy Gardening!
- The first grouping will consist of Coastal plants. Vegetation that voyagers might have seen upon reaching the Hawaiian shoreline, plants such as ‘ilima and hinahina.
- The second grouping will focus on Canoe Plants that were brought to Hawai’i by the islands’ first settlers, such as hala, ‘ulu, coconut, and kalo.
- And the lastly the Native Dry Forest Plants; recreating theoretically, how Hawai’i’s forests might have looked like, in ancient times.
From a hedge witch perspective it will be interesting to see what medicinal plants will be included in the exhibit and I’m particularly interested in the Native Dry Forest Plants.
Today marks the beginning of series of posts regarding Hawaiian Hedge Plants and we start with the mystical ‘Awa plant.
‘Awa (pronounced aahvaah) is a sacred plant in the Hawaiian and Polynesian cultures and has many uses from the magical to the medicinal. It is more commonly known today as an intoxicating beverage but it’s uses are found in ceremonial traditions both religious and community based across Polynesia. ‘Awa has several medicinal uses including the treatment of: anxiety, colds, headaches, respiratory diseases such as asthma, diabetes, rheumatism and it is commonly used as a muscle relaxant or sedative, often in conjunction with Lomi Lomi or Hawaiian massage.
‘Awa, Kava Kava, Yaqona, Sakau, Piper methysticum
The Polynesian use of Awa as a potent medicinal hedge plant has a long history in the Pacific region. The health benefits attributed to the plant are many. The primary active ingredient in ‘Awa are Kavalactones which are accredited with the ability to impart intense relaxation without affecting mental clarity in it’s users. Used as a social lubricant in ancient social ceremonies, ‘Awa has found new popularity in bars and cafes dedicated to it’s consumption.
Preparation: An`awa drink, good for anxiety, migraines or pre menstrual discomfort may be prepared for personal use by chewing a few small pieces of clean root until a thumb size cud is formed. Once you have produced three of these cuds, mash them in a bowl with fresh water. Strain the liquid through cheese cloth to remove the fibrous elements and if you prefer add cane juice or honey as a sweeter as ‘awa is the Hawaiian word for bitter.
In the traditional Hawaiian preparation, the `awa may be mixed with water or with coconut milk and is sometimes warmed in a special calabash called a kanoa, over hot stones. After straining it is consumed when it has cooled. ‘Awa is often served as a beverage of thanksgiving and is gulped not sipped with some left in the cup that is poured onto the ground with a prayer. Offering `Awa and prayers to one’s ancestors strengthens their spirit presence so that they may be of help to you and your Ohana or family.
Magical Lore: In ancient Hawaii, Kaulas or soothsayers would use ‘Awa to aid in the reception of prophetic visions.
‘Awa Treats Anxiety: Hawaiian Medicinal Hedge Plants
a perennial herbaceous plant, has been venerated as both a potent magical and medicinal herb since antiquity. Steeped in European folklore and ancient Pagan traditions, the exaltations of Angelica resonates in many medieval writings and in the old Pagan festivals which today have been adopted into Christian traditions. In Europe, Angelica stems were often candied and used in confections and as a flavor additive in spirits such as Benedictine and Chartreuse.
Angelica, Masterwort, Archangel, Garden Angel, Angelica Root, Root of the Holy Ghost
the name comes from the Greek angelos meaning messenger and, according to legend, an angel visited a monk and suggested the herb as a cure for the bubonic plague. Another source claims it is named for Michael the Archangel, as the plant blooms on his feast day.
Angelica has a storied history as a medicinal herb, in particular for the treatment of digestive problems and issues with blood circulation. Chinese apothecaries use a closely related herb known as Dong Quai to treat the same ailments. The fruit, leaf, and root of angelica help stimulate digestion, dispel gas and calm the nerves. Angelica is especially good for treating bloating and cramps and acts as a mild emmenagogue to help initiate menstration.
Angelica is an excellent supplement to add to treatments for colds, congestion and fevers. Use Angelica for treating Angina. Compounds found in Angelica act like calcium channel blockers, which is used in modern medicine as a standard treatment for angina and high blood pressure.
Angelica’s bitter qualities make it a superlative digestive, especially in tension-related stomach disorders. Because it is so bitter any infusion or decoction will benefit from adding spices such as anise, ginger, cinnamon, honey and or agave.
Angelica served as a tea helps reduce cold and flu symptoms, such as coughing, nausea, and fever. Drink a hot cup of angelica tea before or after meals.
Infusion (tea) The fresh or dried leaves can be steeped in hot water to make tea.
Infusion (root tea) 1 tsp dried Angelica root is added to 1 cup boiling water and steeped 15 to 20 min. Take 1 spoonful 3-4 times a day For a more potent preparation a decoction can be used. Decoctions involve boiling in addition to steeping. Woody roots, non-aromatic seeds and barks are best suited to this preparation. Place the herb in cold water over a low heat and slowly bring to a simmering boil. Keep the pot covered and simmer for 10 – 20 minutes.
Overnight Method: Use this method when the material you want to extract is a bitter, or mineral salt. The whole herb, roots or seeds, or the bark of a woody plant is soaked in cold water for several hours, then brought to a boil and simmered for 30 minutes. The correct proportion if not otherwise specified is one ounce of plant material to two cups of water.
External use – add crushed leaves to a bath to relieve exhaustion and rheumatic pains.
Poultice – fresh leaves can be crushed and rubbed on skin areas for swellings, itching and rheumatism
CAUTION: Fresh Angelica root is poisonous so make sure it is bone dry before use. Large doses can paralyses or depress the central nervous system and Angelica tea is NOT recommended for those with diabetes. Angelica, in large quantities was once used to induce miscarriages so be careful. In the wild, Angelica has been confused with Water Hemlock which is an extremely poisonous plant.
In Norse mythos, Angelica is associated with Heimdall, the guardian of the gates of Asgard and as such it is traditionally used for protective purposes. Used in healing & exorcism this powerful protection herb has many magical uses that might inspire a Hedge Witch. It is often used as an incense to promote healing or added to ritual bathing to remove curses or hexes. One may sprinkle the ground herb in shoes to prevent fatigue or sprinkle it around the outside of the home for protection. Use fresh sprigs to purify the air, especially in cramped spaces. Burnning Angelica is believed to attract lost lovers.