Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Hyssop and the hopeful witch (I have returned to blogging with this post0

This article appeared in the Detroit Paganism Examiner today.

Bright Blessings

As Summer continues onward, this it the time to enjoy the beautiful blueish blooms in your Witch's Gardens that are associated with Hyssop. A classic must for most magical herbalists, it is one of the majestic residents. It's uses are many and this is the time that those who are harvesting should be very busy.
For those unfamiliar with the term magical herbalism, it would be time well spent to check out a copy of Scott Cunningham's book of the same title. A classic, this Michigan native basically made the standard, along with his famous book "Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs". It is almost unheard of for those who are on the paths of herbal magic not at least heard of this book in the Great Lakes region.
Hyssop, or Hyssopus officinalis in its Latin name, corresponds to Jupiter and fire in many traditions. It is a short green semi evergreen that scents the air and spreads out from its base in thick spires. The leaves are narrow, and the flowers are small and fragrant. For magical use, as well as for tea, it is the flowers and leaves that are used.
However, this columnist, having been raised by Parents of the Heart (my term for parents who may not be your biological, but are your parents just the same) who had seen the Great Depression, it has always been my way to not throw out anything that may be useful. So this writer use the stems in my fuming bundles, in elixirs, my fire pit bundles, and many other ways. Waste not, want not.
The plant is also used for attracting bees. The bee population is under ever growing threat, and by having this plant in the garden it is a way to help them survive. It also attracts other critters, so a good opportunity to see local small wildlife comes with it.
The medicinal uses for this herb are amazing. Some of the most commonly known are as
"calming and tonic herb, Hyssop has an expectorant action and can be used to treat bronchitis and respiratory infections and to help reduce fever when taken as a tincture or tea. An oil infusion made from hyssop is useful in treating bruises, cuts, eczema and can also be useful for wound healing..."
as listed by The Way of the Witch.
But there are also a myriad of uses in the magical realm as well. Purification, healing, and protection are the most common. As a matter of course, it is also used as in my personal cleaning blends for many rituals. It is also a great tea. However, it is always wise to check your correspondences when designing your own.
Usually, you can get two harvests from each year. Be mindful to cut the flowers as soon as they are in full bloom. Do not let them go to seed if you want to get more blooms.
To dry them, wrap small bunches at the base of the cut stems with either yarn or string. Tie firmly, taking care not to overtighten which can result in broken stems. Hang upside down in a dry cool place, until ready. Keep in mind, that if you leave them outside and it rains, you will get really brown results, so keep them inside.
This plant is a perennial, so once it is established, expect vigorous growth. It winters well and even survived the Michigan Polar Vortex last winter. The same could not be said for the Rosemary next to it.
You can either braid the stems into wands, make wreathes, or leave them straight while drying. It is a personal choice. Then afterwards it can be placed in containers for future use. Separating the bounty into different containers and charging them to purpose is a great way to save time and effort later. Also, it never hurts to put a tiny Citrine in the bottom of the containers as well.
One usage that may not come immediately to mind, but one that is satisfying, is making hyssop infused oil for the magical lamp. Using a clean base like olive oil and making an oil with the irregular stems and leaves of the hyssop is a way to make a Blessed Lamp. This can be used at home, or given as a gift.
Reading this and wanting to get some hyssop but it is not growing outside? A great herbs supplier locally is Lotions Potions and Notions right here in Michigan. For a review of some of her products you can visit the review "The nitty gritty on Lotions Potions and Notions products" in the Detroit Paganism Examiner.
Also, most online and brick and mortar shops specializing in holistic or magical clientele usually have this item in stock. A beloved favorite of Detroiters, Donna Adams at Discount Candles can also fulfill your herbal needs with a smile. Located in the Eastern Market community at 1400 Gratiot Ave, it is a quick drive or bus ride away. And yes, they do ship.
Looking to learn more about herbs? You may also wish to visit Learning Herbs.
Happy Gardening.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


A swirling vortex of inertia. That is what the community seems to be when it comes to younger pagans events in the local area here. Even at chat nights, often it seems the same people break into the same groups with no inclination toward welcoming new comers or under 30 set.

I have even observed multiple lap tops utilized in the midst of these gatherings, the owners more interested in cyberchat than the one in which they are allegedly taking part. They seem to have forgotten what it was like to be the new face in the place, shiny new Llewellyn book covers with the uncracked spines.

Factions form in cafe alcoves and a pall of that legendary siege mentality that denotes the Detroit area pagan permeates the air. No newbies need apply. " I have athames older than you, sonny " is the tone. Aging heads sneer down at tousled or moussed ones and the newcomer is dissuaded.

The few events that do take place seem to require either one be a child or an older 20 something. TeenWitch need not apply. Goth culture is tolerated with a smathering of barely concealed disdain in many circles. Or else patronized. If you do not want to study higher arts, your basic studies or lightwork preference while you find your path is dismissed into the land of Fluff and fluffernutter.

There is so much talk of self work, but no support system for the young pagan or witch, coming out or hiding in the broom, closet in high school. It seems to be forgotten that before you can use the tools, you have to know how to use them. That means the apprentice cannot be shunned by the teacher at every turn.

If your parents aren't spending money at one of the events, you are ignorable. Push the youngins to the fringe and wait until they can get car insurance and a room in their names for the festivals. Take your Hot Topic necklaces and begone, even though that is the only place they can get to for their jewelry. When Scott Cunningham found a sacred stone, the community said "wondrous". When the young pagan finds a sacred stone, the community says "oh, how cute....".

No resources for the skaterwitch. No Moon Parties. No Mojo picnics. No Healing Raves.

Well, I guess that's why they don't come out much, huh?

If I were them, I would look at our wondrous stones and tell us to

"Kick Rocks with no socks!"

".......talking bout my gen-er-ation....."

(p.s. if you are old enough to recognize the lyrics, you probably are old enought to remember that old snootyfaced witchs SUCKED when you were young!)

Remember what it was like to be young and free!


Why, oh why, did I just have a conversation with someone over coffee and breakfast regarding how messed up the situation is in Metro Detroit when it comes to communication and posturing in the community? They specifically stated that it is too confusing to keep up with up here, with our factions and what not, and that they prefer the plain talk of Ohio (or insert your state here) tribes.

I propose a Mojo Love Picnic!

Like stone soup, the community and all of its factions can get together and make a big ass bot!tle of 4 thieve's vinegar, think gallon size, and fill it full of all the crappage in the community we don't like.

Then we dispose of it in some water and party on!

Or, we could each bring our own individual bottles and do it that way in a massive ceremony!

Come on, let me see you shake your tail feathers!

Who's with me?!

Let's give the bad vibes a Roundhouse Kick of Change!

(Hootchie Cootchie Man plays in background......)


C.R.E.A.M. = cash rule everything around magick ... nowadays.

As I navigate all the pagan notifications and invitations sent to me on facebook, I cannot help but to feel that the community has be come taken over by commerce and self promotion.

Every event seems to be less and less about fostering a sense of community, and more about how many vendors the respective group can garner.

Trinkets are fun. But what I am observing is the trinketing of a movement that fought long and hard to establish its legitimacy in the greater society of this country.

If it is all about commerce, then maybe we should just hang it all up and become a merchants' guild.

How dreadfully disgusting and base.

Money, money, money.

If you don't have a book deal, you don't have legitimacy.

If you don't charge for your classes, they must be worthless.

If you appear at the engagement, then they had better pay you to be there. And let you sell your book, spell kit, etc..

Surprisingly, the same group of self-declared sacrosanct individuals who condemn the greater society for its shortcomings are self-blind where it comes to themselves.

Where would we be now if Starhawk had stopped to break for a commercial message or run her vendors' booth in the middle of the critical consciousness raising moments.

How sad if the community had lost the group momentum in the observance of announcements regarding upcoming workshop registration fees.

Granted, money is needed to put on events. But vulgar commercialism is just that, vulgar.

Let us be tasteful in our fishwifing online and in person please.

Hail the power of paypal. Charge if you will, Debit if you must.

All acts of lucre and booty are the new rituals.