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Herb of the Month-Thyme

With the summer heat now upon us, it’s time – no pun intended- to harvest some of our herbs. Here in the Central Valley of Oregon, things are a bit trickier, gardening wise, so we need to pick hardy perennials. With that in mind, let me introduce you to our Herb of the Month-Thyme.

Herb of the Month-Thyme
Thyme in a raised planter (Photo by Terry Lynn Pellegrini)

Thyme is a member of the mint family. It is generally a low growing perennial, winter hardy to zone five. Leaves are dark, gray green in color and the labiate flowers are tiny and generally pink. Blooms in early to midsummer. There are many tiny oval-shaped leaves on each slender, woody stem.

Thyme comes in over fifty varieties with different fragrances and flavors. Fresh or English thyme are used most often in cooking.

A native of the Mediterranean, Thyme was spread throughout Europe and used frequently by the Romans. Their soldiers added it to their bathwater to increase bravery, strength, and vigor. It enjoyed a long association with bravery. In Medieval England, ladies embroidered sprigs of thyme into their knights’ scarves to increase their bravery. In Scotland, highlanders brewed tea to increase courage and keep away nightmares.

Thyme is also a purificatory herb; the Greeks burned it in their temples to purify them and so thyme is often burned prior to magical rituals to cleanse the area. In spring a magical cleansing bath composed of marjoram and thyme is taken to ensure all the sorrows and ills of the past are removed from the person.

It is said that places where wild thyme grows are blessed by fae, and due to this association thyme is often used in work regarding fae.

Thyme

  • Plant: Thyme
  • Latin Name: Thymus vulgaris
  • Family: Lamiaceae
  • Folk Names: Garden Thyme, Common Thyme
  • Elements: Water
  • Energy: Feminine
  • Planet: Venus
  • Astrological Signs: Aries, Capricorn, Libra, Taurus
  • Deities: Aphrodite, Aries, Freya, Hecate, Mars, The Fae
Thyme in Bloom- Photo by Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay

Magickal Uses of the Herb of the Month-Thyme

Parts used – Whole Herb

  • Banishing Negativity
  • Cleansing
  • Courage
  • Divination
  • Dream Work
  • Fairy Magick
  • Happiness
  • Healing
  • Health,
  • Heighten Empathy
  • Love
  • Prosperity
  • Psychic Abilities
  • Purification
  • Sleep

Magickal Ways to Use Thyme

  1. A pillow stuffed with thyme dispels nightmares and promotes positive dreams.
  2. Wearing a sprig of thyme in your hair makes you more approachable.
  3. Add thyme to your bathwater to increase courage.
  4. When working hard to achieve a goal that seems un-achievable, thyme can be used in spells to help you keep a positive attitude.

Growing Thyme

Thyme can grow in the ground or in a container. Either is left outside in wintertime. New leaves will emerge within the early spring. Thyme thrives in full sun and loves heat. Thyme likes well-drained soil as it doesn’t like “wet feet.” In the garden, plant with other drought-tolerant perennials.

It’s hard to grow thyme from seeds as they are slow to germinate and easily “drowned”. It is much simpler, and more satisfying, to buy the plants from a garden center or take some cuttings from a friend. Over time, you can propagate from your own cuttings.

Plant cuttings or young thyme plants any time after the ground temperature reaches 70°F. This is usually 2 to 3 weeks before the last spring frost in well-drained soil about 9 inches apart. 

Space young plants 12 to 24 inches apart, depending upon the specific variety. They will spread out quite a bit so they need plenty of room.

Thyme does well in greenhouses and even indoors with proper grow lights and moisture levels. This is important in Central Oregon as are many micro-climates can make growing any herbs a challenge.

Culinary Uses

Thyme is used most often to flavor soups, stews, meats and veggies. I use it in my pasta sauce, beans and sprinkle it into chicken soup. It’s great on roasted potatoes, and even in fresh bread.

Thyme can be used either fresh or dried. Dried has a more powerful flavor so use less than you would fresh, roughly one third of the dried herb compared to fresh. When using fresh you can use the entire stem (remove the stem before serving) or remove the leaves from the stems and sprinkle into your dish.

Thyme infused vinegar is a wonderful way to add flavor to salads and veggies. Fill a jar with fresh thyme (dried can be used in a pinch but it is harder to strain) and then cover with white wine vinegar. Let the jar sit for several days to a week. You will know when it is ready when the vinegar has a strong thyme taste. Strain the vinegar and discard the thyme. Place back in the jar or a fancy serving decanter.

Medicinal Uses of Thyme

The information provided below is for educational purposes only and is not to be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Before using any herb medicinally, always consult with your physician.

  • Antifungal
  • Antiseptic
  • Antitussive
  • Carminative
  • Disinfectant
  • Expectorant

Thyme is often used for acute respiratory infections including coughs and colds. It can sooth gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea, gas, and indigestion.

Thyme is a powerful disinfectant and antiseptic when used both externally – as a wash – and internally in a tea or tincture.

Some benefits of using Thyme are:

  • fighting acne
  • lowering blood pressure
  • helping to alleviate cough
  • boosting immunity
  • disinfecting
  • repelling pests
  • aromatherapy
  • boosting mood
  • preventing bacterial infections
  • helping to treat yeast infections
  • possibly helping against certain types of cancer

Our Herb of the Month-Thyme, is an amazing plant. It is hardy, easy to grow, great for cooking and packed with medicinal benefits. May this humble yet amazing plant grace your garden and bring you joy.

Blessings!

Sources: Gladstar, Rosemary, Medicinal Herbs, a Beginner’s Guide, Storey Publishing 2012; Tierra, Michael, The Way of Herbs, Pocket Books, 1988

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New Class – Making Magick with Culinary Herbs

Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme. We’ve all used them for cooking, but did you know you can use them for magick as well?

Welcome to Making Magick with Culinary Herbs! This fun, hands-on class will provide you with information on 9 culinary herbs, their magickal properties, uses, as well as a bit of history and lore. We will then go on to create one of three (your choice) charm/spell bags using these wonderful herbs.

Class will be held on:

June 12, 2022, 1 pm

June 16, 2022, 6:30 pm

at the Triune Moon studio – 51636 Huntington Rd Ste 2, La Pine, Oregon

Price is $20 per person and includes a detailed handout and all herbs, etc. for the hands-on portion.

Click on the link below to reserve your spot!

https://square.link/u/nJ9n9C0i

Making Magick with Culinary Herbs
(Image by Steve Buisinne from Pixabay)

Note: This class will be available for purchase online early in July.

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Vervain – Herb of the Month, February 2020

Vervain, commonly known as Verbena, is an extremely versatile herb, both magickly and medicinally. Found all around the world, it has a rich and useful history. Vervain has been considered a magickal and sacred herb in many different cultures throughout the centuries. It is best remembered as a sacred plant to both the Druids and the Roman priesthood.

Vervain - Verbena Officinalis
Verbena Officinalis

To the ancient Romans the name “verbena” meant altar plant. The twigs of the plant were put into bundles and then used to sweep the altar and temple areas.

The name “vervain” comes from the Celtic term “ferfaen;fer” meaning “to drive away” and “faen” meaning “a stone”. Healers would gather this herb to be used to treat kidney stones – something it is still used for today.

Vervain is a slim plant that may grow to be about 80 cm (32 in) tall. It is a hardy perennial and self-sows. It grows freely in the wild and is often found along roadsides and in dry or stony grounds. Today it is a favorite in many a garden and a staple in every witch’s herbal cabinet and apothecary.

Plant: Common Vervain

Scientific Name: Verbena

Genus: Verbena, L.

Latin Name: Verbena Officinalis, Verbena Californica, Verbena Hastata (Blue Vervain)

Family:  Verbenaceae

Folk/Secret Names: Van Van, Dragon’s Claw, Enchanter’s Plant, Herba Sacra, Holy Plant, Frog’s Foot, Juno’s Tears, Pigeon Grass

Gender: Feminine

Elements: Water

Planet: Venus

Astrological Signs: Gemini

Deities: Venus, Cerridwen, Isis, Mars, Venus, Aradia, Jupiter, Thor, Juno

All of my posts contain affiliate links.  If you click on a link and make a purchase I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.  This small commission keeps the website up and running and the author in wine, chocolate, and books – not necessarily in that order.

Vervaain - An artists rendition of vervain

Magickal Uses of Vervain

Vervain is a sacred plant, potentially the most mystical plant on earth. It is used on altars and is a staple plant in magic ceremonies. It is a versatile herb that has many magickal uses.

Parts Used: Flowers and Leaves

  • Bestowing peace
  • Catalyst – use to make spells “go”
  • Cleansing the altar
  • Consecration of tools
  • Healing
  • Herb of Immortality
  • Keeping evil at bay
  • Protection
  • Purification
  • Romance and love
  • Turning your rival into an ally
  • Used in fortune telling and prophecy
  • Vervain is the herb of poets, singers, and bards.  It was often carried by these performers for to bring inspiration and increased skill
  • Vervain was placed around fields to prevent bad weather and to ensure a good harvest.
  • Vision questing

Substitutions: Motherwort, Skullcap, California Poppy

Verbana hastata
Verbena Hastata

Growing Vervain

This easy to grow plant is a favorite in many home gardens. The Verbena genus is large, contains both annuals and perennials, and has a range in height from 10 cm through to 1.4 m. Vervain (Verbena) as an annual grows in zones 1 to 10, as a perennial: zones 3 to 10. In general the plants have dark green toothed leaves, and bloom from summer until the first frost of winter. Depending on the variety they may have clusters of tiny flat fragrant flowers or spikes with tiny flowers, making Vervain a great attractor of butterflies and bees to the garden.

Vervain can easily be started from seeds. Be sure to stratify the seeds (follow link for definition) to increase the germination rate. Sow seeds outside after the last frost of spring. Seeds can take anywhere from two weeks to three months to germinate, so don’t get discouraged. Alternately you can pick up plants from your local nursery.

Plants need full sun and well-drained soil. Keep the soil moist, but not wet. Spacing of your plants will depend on the variety.  Consult the information on the seed packets or plant tags to determine the planting space required for your variety. When in doubt, consult the staff of your favorite nursery or garden center.

Depending on your soil quality and acidity, Vervain needs very little fertilizer.  I usually add a bit to the soil before I sow seeds or add new plants and to any established perennials in the early spring.

Blooms are very long lived.  However, Vervain is self-sowing so if you don’t want your garden overrun with these beautiful plants cut the flowers before they go to seed.

Medicinal Uses

The information provided below is for educational purposes only and is not to be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Additional Information

Verbena Officinalis is most often used medicinally.  Alternately you could use Verbena Hastata. Some of Vervain’s properties are:

  • Analgesic
  • Antibacterial
  • Anticoagulant
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antispasmodic
  • Astringent
  • Diaphoretic
  • Diuretic
  • Emmenagogue
  • Galactagogue
  • Nervine
  • Stimulant

Vervain is most often used to treat:

  • Anxiety
  • Ascites
  • Cirrhosis
  • Colds
  • Depression
  • Flus
  • Gout
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Jaundice
  • Kidney Stones
  • Liver disorders
  • Mastitis
  • Painful or irregular menses

Please consult a licensed Herbalist and your Physician before using any parts of the Vervain plant medicinally.


Sources: 

Beyerl, Paul The Master Book of Herbalism Blaine, Washington, Phoenix Publishing Inc. 1981

Dugan, Ellen Garden Witch’s Herbal, Woodbury, MN, Llewellyn Publications 2009

Mueller-Ebeling, Claudia, Ratsch, Christian, and Storl, Wolf-Dieter Witchcraft Medicine Vermont Inner Traditions 2003

Tierra, Michael The Way of Herbs New York, NY, Pocket Books, 1998

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The Witches Garden: Part Three – Maintaining

The Witches Garden: Part Three

In our last two installments we planned our garden and then planted our seedlings and sowed our seeds. In this, “The Witches Garden: Part Three” we will be discussing how to maintain your newly planted garden.

Our first step in maintaining our garden is to thin our newly sown seeds. If you’ve planted nursery plants, you’ll be able to skip this step.

The Witches Garden Part Three - newly emerging cilantro plants
The Witches Garden: Part Three
Emerging Cilantro plants

As your seedlings emerge, use the information on your seed packet to thin them out. The cilantro plants shown here need to be thinned to 6 to 8 inches apart. Thin your plants when the second set of leaves have appeared. Thinning your seedlings, gives them the space the require to grow to maturity without being crowded.

If you placed a mesh screen over the tops of your seedlings, remove it once the new plants are pushing up against it. Otherwise, your plants will bend sideways and their growth may be stunted.

Protecting Your Witches Garden

Maintaining your garden includes protecting your plants and seedlings from the attack of predatory insects. Snails, slugs, earwigs, aphids and mites love to munch on young plants, often with devastating results. There are several organic methods that can deter or eliminate these predators.

  • Diatomaceous Earth – This powdery substance can be used to both deter and desiccate slugs, snails, earwigs and other insects. Sprinkle it around your new plants to act as a barrier. Note: Be sure to get “food grade” product for best results.
  • Organic pest control products – There are several pellet pest control products to save your plants from the onslaught of insects. I recommend Sluggo or Sluggo Plus (registered trademarks by Monterey) for snails, slugs and earwigs. Both products contain Iron Phosphate and the plus adds in Spinosad. While the labels say it is safe around pets and wildlife if you have animals that may ingest the pellets, I would suggest placing them under pots and out of reach. Iron poisoning can occur if large amounts are ingested.
  • Organic Soap Insecticide Sprays – For aphids, mites and other flying insects that may insist on eating your plants, an organic insecticidal soap spray is best. There are many on the market – just be sure that the label reads “OMRI-listed and USDA-approved for organic gardening”. Soap sprays kill on contact, they do not penetrate the plant membranes. These sprays are very effective in eradicating pests, but they can also kill beneficial insects as well so be mindful.
  • Homemade Soap Sprays – For the ultimate in DIY pest control you can create your own soap spray. There are many recipes out there for these sprays, but I personally like to use a combination of Castile Soap, cayenne pepper and water.
Containers of Sluggo, Sluugo Plus and Insecticidal soap
Organic Pest Control

Weeds – Your Gardening Nemesis

Weeds are the bane of most gardeners existence. These persistent plants seem to pop up exactly where we don’t want them. Unfortunately, if you wish to keep your garden as organic as possible the best method to rid yourself of weeds is to pull them.

Note: Let your seedlings grow a bit before weeding. If you are unfamiliar with how your new plants look you may inadvertently pull them instead of your weeds. When in doubt, do a quick internet search. Information and images of your plants in all stages is readily available to you.

Pulling your weeds doesn’t have to be a chore if you do it a little every day. Weeding is actually a wonderful way to enjoy the sun, play in the dirt and listen to the earth around you. The act of pulling weeds can even be meditative as long as your entire focus is on the repetition of pulling out the weeds.

The most effective way of ridding your garden of pesky weeds it to be certain to pull the entire root of the weed. Merely yanking the tops of the weeds does nothing because the roots will continue to shoot up new plants. Loosen the soil gently around the weed and then pull the plant close to the root ball or tendrils. Weeds such as clovers may have an intensive root system so they may require a bit more work to eradicate. Be patient!

Keeping Your Plants Growing Strong

The Witches Garden: Part Three - a bag of organic all purpose fertilizer
Organic All-Purpose Fertilizer

In order to keep your garden blooming and thriving you must have two things: 1) Water; 2) Food – in the form of fertilizers.

Different plants have different water and food requirements. Always check your seed packets and information provided with your plants to determine how much water they require. Some plants may like moist soil, which means you will have to water more frequently than those who like dry or sandy conditions.

How you water is up to you and your location. Some areas get a great deal of rain in the spring and summer so your plants may only need an occasional hand watering. Here in the California Central Valley our summers are extremely hot and dry. I have many of my plants on automatic drip watering systems to insure that they are not getting parched under the summer sun.

Be cautious. You can overwater your plants. If your plants are yellowing or losing leaves, back off on the water. Conversely, if your plants are drooping and turning brown, they need more water. It takes a bit of trial and error to determine a successful watering schedule. A few minutes each day observing your plants should be all it takes to determine what they require.

Feeding your plants is fairly simple as well. Most plants will require additional nutrients every 3 to 6 weeks, depending on the type of plant and the fertilizer being used. Check your labels for amounts and timing, as each type differs.

Following the manufacture’s direction, sprinkle or spray your plants about three weeks after planting or after new seedling have gotten their second set of leaves. Fertilizers may have to be worked into the soil around the plant a bit. Water immediately after fertilizing to help release it into the soil.

Watching Your Witches Garden Grow

You’ve planted, watered, fertilized and then protected your new Witches Garden. Now is the time to sit back and watch your garden grow. Maintaining your garden doesn’t have to be overly time consuming or difficult. On the contrary, if you take a few minutes every day to maintain your garden you’ll find that you’ll spend more time enjoying and less time working.

Part Four of the Witches Garden – Harvesting and Preserving – will be coming in a month or so. Until then, may your garden bring you hours of joy, lots of beautiful flowers, herbs and veggies.

Blessed Be!

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The Witches Garden: Part One – Planning

Witches Garden - A beautiful garden in front of a cottage

Basket in hand she slowly walks down the cobbled pathway of her witches garden. Her bare feet make not a sound as she wends her way through herbs and flowers. Humming a happy tune, she looks right and then left, studying the plants that line the path. Adjusting her broad-brimmed hat she peers down at a lush green Mugwort plant. Reaching into her basket she pulls out a sharp, white handled knife. Skillfully, she makes several cuts to the plant stems and then places the cuttings into her basket. Bowing her head towards the Mugwort, she thanks it for its sacrifice. She pulls an offering of fertilizer out of the voluminous pocket of her garden apron. Sprinkling it around the plant she bows again in thanks. Smiling, she turns and continues down the path, scanning her charges to see who else may be ready for harvest.

This is a glimpse of the iconic Witches Garden, a garden that seems a dream to the majority of us. However, a witches garden doesn’t need to be located on a huge plot of land or even in a country setting. Your garden can be on a balcony in the city, a patio in an urban area, or in raised beds in your suburban back yard.

Planning Your Witches Garden

In this the first installment of The Witches Garden, we will discuss how to plan and create your own magickal oasis no matter where that may be. To begin, let’s discuss the types of plants you may wish to include. Please note: When in doubt about a plant and its ability to grow in your area, check with your professionals at your local garden center.

In order to decide what I would like to add into my witches garden I think of the herbs and flowers that I use most in my magick. For me these include:

  • Alyssum
  • Calendula
  • Dill
  • Lavender
  • Mugwort
  • Rosemary
  • Sage

Next, I will make a list of culinary herbs that double as magickal herbs as well. My favorites are:

  • Basil
  • Bay
  • Marjoram
  • Oregano
  • Savory
  • Thyme

Already we have quite an extensive list going. If you have limited space you may have to pare your list down to accommodate the planting area.

Witches Garden - pots and planters in my garden
Using both containers and raised beds in the garden.

Next, check to make sure that a) the plant will grow in your area; b) if the plant will grow best in containers and/or in the ground and; c) how much sun each plant requires during the day (Full sun, part sun/part shade, full shade). You will have to spend some time watching your intended garden plot to see when the sun hits each area. Full sun plants require 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. Part sun/part shade plants will need 3 to 6 hours of sun. Full shade plants will require less than 3 hours of sun per day. Plan accordingly!

Once you have determined which plants will grow in your area, the proper amount of sun required, and how they need to be planted, we can move on to the next step. Here, we determine whether or not we are going to purchase our plants ready to transplant or if we will start them from seed.

Giving Your Witches Garden a Good Start

Making the decision to begin your garden with transplants or seeds depends on a few factors: 1) Cost- Plants at the nursery tend to be more expensive than starting plants from seeds; 2) Some plants like Tarragon, cannot be started from seeds. A quick Google search can show you how best to start your plants, and; 3) The amount of time you are willing to invest in starting your garden – Starting from seeds takes considerably more time.

Personally, I like to use a combination. I tend to start with purchased plants for my tomatoes and other veggies because I tend to have better luck than I do starting them from seed. Most of my herbs and flowers are all started from seeds, bought from my favorite on-line vendors.

I would suggest using organic seeds and plants, especially if you are going to be harvesting them for food or medicinal purposes. While I prefer that my magickal plants be organic as well, they are not always easy to find. Rule of thumb – if you are ingesting it, keep it organic. Otherwise standard plants or seeds will work.

Making Your Witches Garden a Success

Our planning is nearly complete. All that remains is laying out our Witches Garden. Take a few minutes to sketch out the area that you have available (you don’t need to be an artist to do this – Goddess knows I’m not). Take notes as to the amount of sun in the area and whether or not the plants are going into the ground or containers. Jot down the square footage (see here for instructions on how to determine this measurement), for either the in-ground or container area. Once you know how much space is available you will have an idea of how many plants you can grow and/or how many containers (pots, raised beds), you can place in your new garden area.

Careful planning of your garden may seem like an awful lot of effort, but the time you take now will determine how successful of a start all of your plants will have. As in all of Witchcraft and magick, prep is key! Take the time to get things organized and started right and I believe, green thumb or no, you will have a successful garden that you can take pride in. Happy Planning!

Next Week: The Witches Garden: Part Two – Planting

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Dill- Herb of the Month

Dill is a semi-hardy annual with erect, freely branching annual herb with finely dissected, lacy, blue-green foliage. Dill is best known for its use in the making of pickles but can be used both as a culinary and medicinal herb. Magickly, Dill – our herb of the month, is a powerful and potent plant ally.

Dill - Herb of the Month
Lacy green leaves in a bunch
Dill – Our Herb of Month

Plant: Dill

Latin Name: Anethum graveolens

Family:  Apeacia (a member of the parsley family)

Folk/Secret Names: Dilly, Dill Weed, Garden Dill, Meeting House Seed, Hairs of a Hamadryas Baboon, Semen of Hermes

Gender: Masculine

Elements: Fire

Planet: Mercury

Astrological Signs: Gemini

Deities: Anubis, Hermes, Janus, Khensu, Mercury

Magickal Uses of Dill

Parts Used: Leaves, flowers, and seeds

  • Attracting Money – Place dill seeds and leaves in a spell bag then place in your wallet or purse to attract money.
  • Attracting Romance – Add dill seed to a sachet and hang it on your showerhead or place in a bath to make you irresistible to your lover.
  • Breaking Jinxes (leaves)
  • Dispelling bad dreams – create a sachet and place under your bed or pillow.
  • Emotional and Mental Balance
  • Good Fortune in Court (seeds)
  • Good Fortune in love affairs (seeds)
  • Love
  • Luck
  • Lust
  • Protection -Hang dill in doorways to promote protection. Place a sprig of dill in a child’s crib for safety and peaceful sleep.

Substitutions: You can substitute Fennel in your spell work if you are out of Dill as it has similar correspondences.

Growing Dill

Dill, our herb of the month, does not transplant well, so sowing the seeds is recommended. Plant 12 to 15 inches apart in a weed-free, semi-rich, slightly acidic, well-drained soil in a sheltered sunny position. It takes well to pots and containers, just be sure that they drain well.

Plants may grow to 2 or 3 feet in height. Pinch off the flowers if you wish to increase the leaf production.

As soon as the plant has four to five leaves, you can start harvesting. Pinch off the leaves or cut them off with scissors.

Leaves can be used fresh or dried. Dry your harvested leaves by either hanging them upside down in bunches or spread on a mesh screen or muslin. Place in a warm – not hot – area out of the direct sunlight.  You may also dry in a dehydrator.

When growing for the seed try growing more than one plant, one or two for the leaves and one or two for the seed. Do not plant Dill next to Fennel as the plants will cross-pollinate. Keep them away from Carrot as well as the carrots will not grow well with Dill around.

Dill seeds in the late summer or early autumn. Flower can take up to 25 days for the seeds to germinate. The seeds should be collected when they are light brown and fully formed. Place a paper bag over the seed heads and cut, leaving a bit of the stem sticking out of the bag.  Tie the stems together and hang to dry for a 10 to 15 days. You will know that they are ready when you shake the bag and you hear the seeds fall.

Warning:  Mature dill seeds are toxic to birds! Harvest all seeds before they drop.

Culinary Uses of Dill

Dill -Herb of the Month
Dill seeds on a butcher block counter
Dill Seeds

Add Dill – our Herb of the Month – to potatoes for a tangy treat.

Create a Dill infused vinegar for use on salads by adding Dill to white wine vinegar and infuse for 2 weeks.

Add some dill to scrambled eggs, omelets and frittatas for some zest.

A pinch of dill creamed into butter with some added garlic makes a great spread for toast, bread and biscuits.

Let’s not forget the pickles! Dill – our Herb of the Month- is essential in making a crisp and crunchy dill pickle.  Check out this great dill pickle recipe here

Medicinal Uses of Dill

The information provided below is for educational purposes only and is not to be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. More information on these disclaimers can be found here.

  • Antimicrobial
  • Bacteriostatic
  • Carminative
  • Digestive aid
  • Flatulence reducer
  • Helps to soothe colic in infants
  • Sleep Aid
  • Soothes a gassy stomach
  • Stimulant
  • Stress reliever
  • Dill helps relieve flatulence and a gassy stomach when taken as a tea or by chewing the seeds.
  • Use Dill to assist in relieving infant colic.
  • German health authorities have approved dill as a treatment for intestinal complaints related to bacteria.
  • Chew on the seeds of the Dill plant to dispel bad breath (Halitosis)
  • Taken as “dillwater” it aids in promoting the secretion of milk and, when taken regularly by nursing mothers, is said to help avoid colic in their babies.

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Making and Using Black Salt for Spell Work

A Triune Moon Magickal Moment

Need a “go to” for protection, cleansing negative energies and banishing? Then black salt should be added to your magickal cupboard. When made and used properly, this mineral becomes a powerful ally for your spells, potions and powders. Making and using black salt isn’t difficult, but it can be a bit time consuming. To begin, let’s discuss its various uses as the purpose of the salt can determine the ingredients that go into its preparation.

Safety Note: Do not confuse the black salt we are making here with
black lava salt or kala namak salts used in fine cuisine. This salt should never ingested. It is for ritual purposes only.

Uses of Black Salt

Also known as Witch’s Salt, Drive Away Salt, Sal Negro and Indio Salt, black salt has a long history of use in the magickal community. While salt has always been seen as protective, when the color black is added it takes on some very different energies. Anything colored black, when used in magick and ritual, traditionally corresponds to:

  • Protection
  • Absorbing or removing negativity
  • Banishing
  • Releasing
  • Reversing
  • Hexing
  • Cursing

The change from white to black, transmutes the salt’s energies, allowing those energies to move from the realm of light into the shadows, into the dark. When we add additional herbs to the darkened mineral we change its powers even further.

Making and Using Black Salt - cauldron, sea salt black pepper and charcoal
Ingredients for Black Salt
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Basic Recipe for Black Salt

Black salt can be created in two ways – with the list of ingredients below or with food coloring. While many people feel the salt blackened with food coloring is just as potent, I believe the extra time and effort it takes to mix in the corresponding ingredients adds a power that you just can’t recreate with food coloring. However, use what works best you.

To create a basic black salt you will need the following:

  • 2 parts sea salt – course or fine
  • 1 part scrapings from a cast iron cauldron, pot or skillet
  • 2 parts fine ash from your fire pit or hearth fire (Using ash from a ritual fire works great as long as the ritual corresponds with the use of the salt.)
  • Optional – Black Pepper (replace one part ash with the pepper)

I prefer to use coarse sea salt as it is easily strewn in a circle or across walkways or steps. If I want to use it in powders I grind it up a bit with my mortar and pestle.

Iron scrapings are traditional in most recipes but don’t worry if you do not have any cast iron. Just replace the scrapings with additional ash. If you do use scrapings from your cauldron, wipe out the cauldron first to clear out any residue from previous spell work. You wouldn’t want to mix ash or oil from a healing ritual with a black salt for banishing.

The ash can be gathered out of the family fire pit, fireplace or from your cauldron. A ritual fire or a fire burned exclusively to create your salt will add even more power to the working.

Below are some of the many herbs and woods you may want to add to your fire, increasing the potency of the ash. The list is arranged by the energies you may wish to incorporate:

Magickal Properties

  • Protection:  Oak, Ash, Birch, Rosemary, Garlic, Graveyard dirt
  • Cleansing negative energies:  Cedar, White Sage, Basil, Eucalyptus
  • Banishing: Alder, Black Pepper, Rue, Cayenne pepper
  • To Rid yourself of enemies:  Red Pepper, rose thorns

Be cautious! Some of these herbs may give off caustic smoke. Do not purposefully breathe in the fumes.

Gather up your ash once it has cooled completely. I’ve used both the fine ash and small charcoal bits in my salts.

Scrape the bottom of your cauldron and add to the salt and ash in the jar.

Place all of the ingredients in a large glass jar. Shake until the salt has turned completely black. Let it sit for at least three days then remove any large pieces of charcoal. Your salt is now ready to use.

Using your Black Salt

There are several traditional uses for black salt. However, don’t feel limited by these methods. Use your salt in any way that works for you.

Getting an enemy to leave: Mix red pepper with black salt and toss it where an enemy walks so that he or she will leave. Alternately you can sprinkle some in your enemies shoes.

Protections: Use black salt, either alone or created with ash from protective herbs, and sprinkle it around your home or ritual circle. This creates a protective barrier that allows no harm to enter.

Absorbing and removing unwanted and negative energies: In any area that has unwanted or negative energies place a bowl of, or create a ring with, your black salt. Allow the salt to sit for at least 9 to 24 hour while It pulls in all of the energies. Using gloves so you don’t come into contact with the salt, clean up all of the salt. Dispose of it off your property if possible or wrap it securely in black paper and place in your garbage can.

Binding and Hexing: Add black salt to poppets and spell bags.

The time and effort you take in making and using black salt will pay off in more powerful and focused spell work. So get busy and mix up a batch for your magickal cupboard today.

Blessed Be!

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Tarragon – Herb of the Month

Tarragon is a perennial plant with long, light green leaves. It is not a plant that is normally found in the American garden as it is used sparsely for culinary purposed here. However, tarragon, our herb of the month, is a must have for every magickal herb cabinet.

Plant: Tarragon, French Tarragon

Latin Name: Artemisia dracunculus, Artemisia dracunculus var. sativa

Folk Names: Estragon, Little Dragon, Dragon’s Herb, Dragon’s Mugwort,Wyrmwort

 Close up on the leaves of French Tarragon
French Tarragon
Ready for Harvest

Gender: Feminine

Elements: Fire

Planet: Mars

Astrological Signs: Aries

Deities: Artemis, Venus

Magickal Uses of Tarragon:

Parts Used: Leaves – fresh or dried

  • Detoxification
  • Protection
  • Banish Negative Energies
  • Exorcism
  • Confidence
  • Courage
  • Keeping secrets
  • Sprinkling tarragon upon the windowsills and doorways is said to protect the home from thieves.
  • Often used by Hedge Witches for its soothing and calming effects.
  • Cultivates warmth and feelings of comfort
  • Used as a “fixing herb” in hoodoo and voodoo.
  • Attract Love
  • Luck
  • Aids in personal growth
  • To Elicit desire

Substitutions: Anise can be substituted for tarragon in most spells and vise versa.

Growing Tarragon

French Tarragon growing in the garden
Grow Tarragon in your Witches Garden to have fresh herbs in your magickal herbal cabinet.

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Tarragon, our herb of the month, cannot be started from seeds, only cuttings. Transplant Tarragon in the early spring.  Plant your cuttings in well-drained soil about 2 – 3 feet apart in a sunny area. Tarragon does not care for wet conditions as this may cause the plant to become straggly and die off.

Plants may grow to 2 or 3 feet in height. Prune your plant regularly to prevent flowers and to keep at a height of about 2 feet as any taller and the plant tends to droop.  Every 3 or 4 years divide up your plant in the spring or fall, freeing up space to keep the plant healthy.

In the fall remove any leaves and debris that falls on the plant as it will kill the foliage. Tarragon will die back to the ground during the winter months but will reemerge quickly in the spring.

Culinary Uses

Cut Tarragon laying on a wood cutting board
Fresh cut Tarragon leaves

The French Tarragon variety is the plant most used in cooking.  Tarragon adds flavor to eggs, fish, cheese and poultry.  It is a main ingredient in French Bernaise sauce for Eggs Benedict. Tarragon butter can be used over green beans, asparagus, peas, carrots. Add tarragon to mayonnaise to serve with cold seafood or fish.

Create a Tarragon infused vinegar for use on salads by adding tarragon to white wine vinegar and infuse for 2 weeks.

Medicinal Uses

The information provided below is for educational purposes only and is not to be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Additional information

  • Antiseptic
  • Mild anesthetic
  • Emmenagogue
  • Laxative (in large amounts)
  • Cardioprotective
  • Anti-hyperglycaemic
  • Tarragon stimulates the digestive system and also enhances appetite. It helps regulate metabolism by promoting the secretion of digestive juices and activates the co-enzymes that assist digestion.
  • Tarragon herb helps relieve flatulence, constipation, hiccups and dyspepsia.
  • Tarragon is a rich source of Vitamin C, which helps boost the immune system of the body. It helps prevent strain on the immune system, preventing a variety of infections and ailments.
  • Another health benefit of tarragon is its ability to cure oral problems like loosening of teeth, cavities and fragility of gums.
  • Chew Tarragon to relieve the pain of toothache and sore gums.
  • A fine paste made of fresh Tarragon leaves placed on abrasions, ulcers, boils and cuts will assist in preventing infection and facilitate the quick healing of the wound.
  • A handful of fresh tarragon leaves placed into a pot of boiling water will create a fragrant and healing vapor. Place your face carefully over the pot and inhale the fumes to clear sinuses, relieve headaches and migraine pain.
  • Warnings: Do not consume Tarragon while pregnant as it may be harmful in large quantities and to avoid risk of complications and accidental abortions.

Notes: Tarragon is a member of the Asteraceae family. If you are sensitive or allergic to other plants in this family such as ragweed, daisy or marigold you should take caution when adding tarragon to your diet either as a culinary herb or medicinally.