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.

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