Friday, April 24, 2015

Worts and All ~ Spring Tonic!

Greetings, Broomstix readers! It's your wortcunning friend Airmid back with you again on this happy, happy day. Why so happy? Because the green is finally returning to the meadows and woods, fields and hills, and even to your own backyard. Spring is here!

Imbolc was a time for cleansing and cleaning. Some of you may have burned the last of your Yuletide greens as a trusting affirmation that more green is on the way. In my coven, one tradition we always follow on Spring Equinox is to go looking for Lady Spring. It's like a game of hide and seek. The youngest girl, dressed all in green, goes off to find a good hiding place. Then the rest of us must find her. We sing to her and call to her as we search, and when we find her, we know Spring is officially here and the celebration begins.

You can go looking for Lady Spring too. She can be found in anything that's new and green. And She gives us gifts when we find Her. If you know how to recognize these green gifts, you can use them for Spring tonic potions.

What is a Spring tonic? It is a plant remedy that helps your body get rid of some of the heavy stuff that built up while you were spending the Winter indoors, in front of your television, or sitting at the computer. You'll need a lot of energy to enjoy the good-weather activities coming up, and spring tonics will help you to bounce back from the Winter blahs.

If you go out looking for Lady Spring's good green gifts, one of the first ones you may find is chickweed. This helpful little plant pops up on the first warm days. It grows very low to the ground, often so thick that it forms a kind of mat. The leaves are small and shaped like diamonds, and you'll know the flowers because they look like tiny white stars. Chickweed is loaded with nutrients, the perfect Spring tonic ingredient. Pick some and make a juicy, crisp salad. It tastes like mild, sweet lettuce. Enjoy it now, because chickweed grows best in Springtime and Autumn. It doesn't like very hot or very cold weather.

Chickweed. Photo by NatureServe via Flickr Creative Commons
Another early green you may find on your hunt for Lady Spring's gifts is nettle. This plant likes to live in rich, moist soil. It looks like an overgrown mint, but if you look closely you'll see small prickly hairs on the stems and leaves. And if you find one nettle, you're in luck because there will probably be a whole patch of them growing. Nettles love company, so its rare to find just one plant. Wear gloves or wrap something around your hand when you pick these, and take only the tender new leaves from the top of the stalk. Don't worry about having to eat the pricklies. They soften when Nettle is cooked. Nettle builds healthy bones, teeth, hair and skin, and will increase and balance energy levels.

Nettle. Photo by benketaro via Flickr Creative Commons
The third gift of Lady Spring is--of course--the sunny dandelion! Dandelions may be hard to recognize before the familiar yellow flowers appear, but if you look for them hard enough, you'll recognize the spear-shaped jagged leaves. Look for the toothy leaves that are hairless. Pick the leaves while they are still young and tender and use them as salad greens, cook them like spinach or make a tea. Dandelion is very high in Vitamins A and C, potassium and calcium, which energizes you and gives your liver and digestive system a good tune-up.

Dandelion and friend ♥ photo by steve p2008 via Flickr Creative Commons
For thousands of years, wise people all over the world have been looking for Lady Spring's green gifts and using them as Spring tonics. When you find some, please don't forget to thank Her!

Till next time, bright blessings and good health to you, worts and all--from Airmid.

PS--Kids, remember to check with a parent or guardian before eating anything!

By Gillian Green, Airmid by Morgaine du Mer Green

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

LapiDairy ~ Amber!

Hi, everyone, Rua here!

Since the 21st of last month, the sun has been gaining strength, warming the dairy and all who live here. It’s a good time to celebrate the betwixt and between that is the equinox by singing the praises of a stone that isn’t really a stone. How can that be? When is a stone NOT a stone? When it’s amber!

Take a look at this picture of Rua and amber with some 3D glasses!

This incredible gem “stone” is actually ancient, fossilized tree sap from pines. At one point, it was liquid life, flowing through the trunks of trees, encasing pieces of bark, leaves--and bugs. Some of the most precious pieces have such “inclusions” as complete ferns and even bees. The color can be anything from cherry red, to bright orange, to shades of honey.

Amber is not only very light; it is warm to the touch. If rubbed on a piece of silk, it can hold an electric charge. Because of this, it is believed to draw energy to the person who wears or carries it. It can also bring abundance, happiness, and the strength of the sun to whatever you do. It is also immensely protective. Amber turns back bad feelings, blue moods, and even dark magic, and leaves your mind and aura refreshed. One of the best uses for amber is on your altar, where it has been known to make your Book of Shadows and Spell Work even more powerful. In some Wiccan traditions, amber is paired with jet in the High Priestess’s necklace to represent life and death, light and darkness, male and female, and the balance between them.

No 3D glassses? No problem. Focus on the center line of the above photos--they will combine before your eyes and watch them become three dimensional!
Finally, amber is known for its healing abilities. Ancient people would use amber to clean a room of negative vibrations. You can do the same by holding the stone and letting its warmth seep into your hands and body. So, celebrate amber, man and magic’s special energy booster, and enjoy the longer spring days to come. 

by Katharine Clark, art by Robin Ator

Friday, April 17, 2015

Rhythms of Spring

Nature's awakening from her sleep
Spring faeries up the roots they creep.
Bulbs soon burst forth from the earth
Laughing, dancing, filled with mirth.

Blessings on Spring, the bright warm day.
The flower fairies have come to play.
Water well the seeds you sow,
Give them love and watch them grow!

If you wish to see faerie light,
Take a draught this brew tonight,
Sweet alfalfa, sage and elder flowers,
And sit you under starry showers.

by Patricia Obsidian
Art by W. Lyon Martin 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Treasure in the Cornfield

Do you like to get dirty?

Would you like to discover your own historical artifacts?

If so, then arrowhead hunting may be your new favorite hobby. American Indians hunted and worked with these hand crafted tools all over the land, long before we arrived. Cornfields are the best place to look for arrowheads because the soil is frequently turned for vegetable growth. Before the corn sprouts and after a rainfall are the best times to hunt for your treasure.

Getting prepared for your hunt requires only a few items. You will need knee pads, gloves, a water bottle, and old rag, and a bag. Knee pads and gloves are used for protection while hunting on hands and knees. The closer you are to the ground, the easier you may spot an arrowhead. The water bottle and rag are used to clean any artifacts, and the bag, of course, is to collect all your discoveries. Now you're ready to find a cornfield.

Collect and save your findings--or make things with them, like this stepping stone!

Different arrowheads are made from different rocks, depending on your location. Jasper, relevant in the eastern hemisphere, is an opaque variety of quartz that varies in color from red, brown to yellow. Flint, also found in the east, is a hard gray to black sedimentary rock. Obsidian is more common in the western hemisphere, however it is not a rock; it is volcanic glass. The curved, lustrous surfaces (displayed when fractured) make obsidian easy to identify.

Indians crafted special tools for specific reasons. Thumbnail scrapers were used to take the hide off animals, while bird points were small and sharp to pierce feathers. Larger blades were made for cutting and hooks were made for fishing. Many different shapes and sizes were created, depending on the hunt.

After you've discovered your own historical treasure, you will never look at cornfields the same way again. You can further research Indian artifacts at your local library. Start your own arrowhead collection or simply enjoy the hunt. Cornfields don't only produce corn, but hidden treasure, too.

Happy hunting!

by Laura Beth Shope, photo by Cogdogblog, Flickr Creative Commons

Friday, April 10, 2015

Earth Day 2015

Mark your calendars--because it's only 12 days away!

It's easy to take important things for granted, especially when we're busy. "Holidays" like Mother's Day, Father's Day and Valentine's Day were created (in part to make the greeting-card companies a little richer), but also to set aside a day to honor people that are important to us. We should honor our parents, grandparents and the ones we love EVERY day. We should make an effort to take care of our home planet EVERY day. The Earth Day Network runs all year round and is full of ideas of things you can do to clean up our planet, save resources and leave a smaller carbon footprint EVERY day.

Like us on FACEBOOK and share your favorite green site!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Meet Miranda...

...the spirit of Spring! Many thanks to Carolina Gonzalez at Camino de Yara for sharing her with us! ♥ CLICK HERE for a PDF file to print out.

an original paper doll by Carolina Gonzalez

Friday, March 27, 2015

Rufus and the Magic Box

In memory of Rufus Clark 
Safe journey across the Rainbow Bridge, little friend!

Rufus, the Shih Tzu puppy, was bored. It was a sun-shiney day out, but no one had time to go into the yard to play. Auntie Char-Char was at the grocery store, Auntie Claude was doing the laundry, cousin Keith was working on his computer, and Mommy was busy cleaning and dusting the ritual room. 

He squeaked a few purple snakes and flung a couple of rubber kitties in the air, but nobody came to tug the other end or play catch. He tried digging under the bedroom rug and rolling around underneath, but Mommy just shooed him away, saying he was underfoot. No, there was nothing to do, and the minutes felt like hours. With a heavy sigh, he shuffled off, with head and tail drooping low, to go sleep on his meditation mat in the corner of the ritual area. At least, he figured, he’d be in the same room as Mommy and she might spare a moment to pat his belly or scratch him under his chin. However, as he circled round, kneaded the cotton filled mat into a soft ball, and lay down with a sigh, Mommy didn’t even seem to notice. She was busy with her head stuck in the herb cabinet, dusting and sorting and rearranging the dark amber bottles. 

 At one point, she reached behind her, without turning, and deposited on the floor the prettiest box Rufus had ever seen. It was long and slender, made of wood, and painted in beautiful jewel tones. It seemed to shimmer in the afternoon light. There were pictures on the sides of winged goddesses and green men, and on the top of the lid, a pentagram in gold. Rufus had never seen this before. From his place in the corner, an aroma seemed to reach out across the room and tease his now twitching nose. What WAS that scent? Was it something special? Was this magic box hiding some special treat? Mommy usually left him little gifts and goodies on the floor… was this a little something for him?

As quietly as he could, Rufus got up and approached the box. The closer he got, the better it smelled! Ever so carefully, he took his paw and moved the colorful lid open on its brass hinges. Inside was a variety of small, cone shaped objects. Each one had a different smell, some spicy, some flowery, some like vanilla and honey too! These HAD to be treats for him!

With hungry speed, he quickly gobbled them up, barely tasting the first few bites. The treats didn’t really taste the way they smelled, but neither did many of the treats made for puppies. In less than two minutes he finished them all, and went to lie back down on his mat with a full and contented stomach.

But that’s not quite how the afternoon went.

About ten minutes later, around the time Rufus started to feel a gurgling and a churning in his tummy, Mommy turned around and noticed the empty incense box. She was up on her feet in alarm at about the same time Rufus felt a terrible need to gag, and all those half chewed treats of multiple colors ended up in a rainbow puddle on the ritual room floor.

He felt horrible and, what was worse, the look on Mommy’s face made him cower in fear of being scolded. All he wanted was a little attention, but not like this! Now he was sick, and miserable, and a little afraid. Then, Mommy’s eyes got a softer look, and a sad smile spread across her lips. She carefully placed the now empty box for the magical incense on the altar and fetched a clean rag from her dusting bag. She gently wiped Rufus’ whiskers and nose before cleaning up the mess on the floor.

She sat down crossed legged next to Rufus on his mat, and gently pulled him into her lap.

“That was both our faults,” she soothed, rubbing his ears and stroking the hair out of his eyes. “I should have been more careful, and you should have been less… well… careless!”

Rufus nestled into her arms, and burped. 

Moral: Life is like magic, and not everything is as it appears. Be careful what you taste and ingest in haste, lest you be doomed to taste it again! 

by Katharine Clark
Rufus by Robin Ator