The summer solstice is a great time to harvest your herbs. Use the herbs associated with the Litha season and make an herb pouch to hang or carry as a multi-purpose talisman.
The summer solstice is a great time to harvest your herbs. Usually by now, gardens are in full bloom, and if you do any wildcrafting, midsummer is a perfect season to find some goodies out in the woods. You can take some of the herbs associated with the Litha season and make an herb pouch to hang in your home (or carry with you) as a multi-purpose talisman.
In many magical traditions, the number nine is seen as sacred, so we’re going to use nine different herbs in this pouch project.
These are all herbs commonly available during the midsummer season, but if you don’t have access to them, feel free to substitute other herbs that grow in your area. Usually people use dried herbs in craft projects, but because these are growing right now, you may want to just use them fresh.
Gather equal amounts of the following herbs:
Basil, for good fortune
Hyssop, for cleansing and purifying
Lavender, for calmness and peace
Mugwort, for divination and dreams
Peppermint, for passion and love
Rosemary, for remembrance
Sage, for wisdom
Thyme, for psychic development
Yarrow, for healing
Blend your herbs together in a bowl. If you’re using dried herbs, crush them into a fine powder using your mortar and pestle. If you’re using fresh ones, it’s probably better to simply tear or chop them into equally sized pieces. This will help release the essential oils, and allow you to take advantage of the fragrances.
Stitch together a basic drawstring pouch using a summery color fabric (yellow or orange is perfect, but work with what you have).
If you don’t have any bright colors available, a plain muslin or cloth fabric will do just fine. Place the herbs in the pouch, and pull the drawstring tightly.
You can keep the pouch on your altar during your midsummer celebrations, hang it over your door to welcome guests, or even carry it in your pocket as a summertime talisman.
Midsummer, or Litha, is the season of the summer solstice, and it's a great time for herb gardens, because there are buds and blooms everywhere. This is a powerful time togather herbs, and also to prepare and use them. Any fresh herb can be dried simply by picking it and tying it up in small bundles in a well-ventilated area. Once they are completely dry store them in airtight jars in a dark place.
To make your own magical summer incense, first determine what form you’d like to make. You can make incense with sticks and in cones, but the easiest kind uses loose ingredients, which are then burned on top of a charcoal disc or tossed into a fire. Thisrecipe is for loose incense, but you can always adapt it for stick or cone recipes.
As you mix and blend your incense, focus on the intent of your work. In this particular recipe, we’re creating an incense to use during a Litha rite -- and since Litha is all about the sun and its strength, we’re going to make this a fiery and powerful incense.
3 parts myrrh
1 part apple blossoms
½ part bay leaves
½ part cinnamon bark
1 part chamomile flowers
1 part lavender flowers
2 parts mugwort
½ part rosemary
Add your ingredients to your mixing bowl one at a time. Measure carefully, and if the leaves or blossoms need to be crushed, use your mortar and pestle to do so. As you blend the herbs together, state your intent. You may find it helpful to charge your incense with an incantation, such as:
Balance of the heavens and earth below,
The power of the sun in this incense grows.
Cinnamon, mugwort, apple and bay,
Fire and water, on this longest day.
Herbs of power, blended by me,
As I will, so it shall be.
Store your incense in a tightly sealed jar. Make sure you label it with its name, as well as the date you created it. Use within three months, so that it remains charged and fresh.
Posted on July 9, 2014
This weekend I had one of those caught-off-guard encounters about religion. I typically consider myself well versed to debate theology, in fact I welcome it. I live in the south, and have the pleasure of working with a very large but close knit group of nerds. We often chat about our thoughts and ideas covering typical no-no topics of politics, religion, sexuality, even personal finances. It isn’t often that I’m uneasy or at loss for words, most especially where my Wiccan path is concerned. However, I found myself this weekend in one of those conversations that you look back at and kick yourself for all the things you should have said; but turned out to spawn a surprisingly introspective evening. It went a little something like this….
I was shopping at a local gigant-o mart, picking up groceries and such for my family, when I happened down an aisle and spotted a familiar face. It was a guy that I had grown up with in the family church. We had been friends, sat in Sunday school together, gone on countless mission trips and outreach programs, and organized Vacation Bible School together. I knew his family and he knew mine, but it has been many years since I had seen him. We struck up the typical ‘how are things?’ conversation, discussing our spouses and children. It was all quite friendly and I genuinely enjoyed catching up. But then:
“Ah, I heard you had turned witch” he said, inclining his head towards my necklace.
And with those words, I was immediately on the defensive. I didn’t like the way he said “turned witch” and my mouth spoke before my brain could catch it.
“I didn’t turn witch. I was born a witch. I was just…” I flailed my hand in the air, searching for the words, “…raised by Christians”
“You make it sound like you were a child raised by wolves” he says,
I laughed it off. “Yea I guess I did. It was good to see you, tell your folks hello.” And just like that I ran away from the entire situation. I didn’t even get what I needed from that aisle.
I spent the rest of my shopping trip pondering the words that had come out of my mouth when I was unexpectedly challenged about my spirituality. Was I born a witch? Are we born one faith or another? No, I thought. Until my adolescence I had definitely believed the Christians were correct. It was my curiosity and my questioning nature that led me out of the church and into books of religious histories and ancient mythologies. But why had that happened? Was that internal inkling that something wasn’t right, that very curiosity that led me to the pagan path, was that what you’d say was “the call of the inner witch?” Had it always been there, just waiting to come out? And why had I never thought about this until right now?
I’ve practiced for a little over a decade. I stand proudly outside the broom closet. I relish in internal meditations and know that every bit of my spirit is soundly home in Paganism. But with all that I had never really given much thought to if I felt as if I was destined to be where I am. Like so many others in our community, I did experience that feeling of coming home when I found this path. I had always felt this was a sign from my spirit guides that I had found the place that I belonged. But now that my subconscious spit out that sentence, I think it was me that found where I belonged. I’ll admit I have always been a skeptical person and if you had asked me last week, I would have scoffed at the idea of someone being born with inclinations to any particular faith; because logic tells me that religious expression is something that is learned as you develop as a person. But you know, I think I was wrong. There IS something inside us that calls us to where we are. And it can’t be explained and it can’t be defined; but we all made it to where we are because somethingsomewhere inside us told us to look, and we did, and we found, and we stayed. Because weare witches.
And that is the way we were made.