This month, I invite you to check out some foods and herbs that warm the soul and energize the body as we thank winter for its long embrace and welcome spring with arms wide-open. Some herbs and plant energies to look at include rosehips, turmeric, citrus, berries, cinnamon, cloves, and cacao. We also look to all kinds of dairy from our generous livestock and abundant mamas. These foods can highlight the seasonal energies of any dish or celebration, give clarity and joy to crafts and charms that will draw spring closer, and give power and stamina to those remedies that will strengthen immunity and resiliency in good health and balanced well-being.
Freshen the air and awaken the energy of your space with a potpourri of cloves, cinnamon, and citrus peels. Alternatively, you can take one or two citrus fruits – like an orange or grapefruit – and stick whole cloves into them in designs and patterns to make a clove-pomander. This can be used in centerpieces, on decorated altars, as offerings, or strung & hung to freshen a space for a few days. They are especially wonderful to clear the air in a sickroom or give a boost of energy to one recovering from illness or injury.
Infuse honey with rosehips and garlic for a cough syrup and supplement during a cold. Take a teaspoon daily as a supplement, or twice a day for sore throat & dry cough. Add up to a tablespoon in your tea likewise as a supplement to good health. Add Turmeric (fresh root or dried & ground powder) to stocks, soups, and rice dishes to aid circulation and to sort-of “grease up” cold-stiffened joints that are overcompensating with fluid retention and inflammation. Indeed, as a supplement, up to a tablespoon of turmeric may be added to the honey mix above for further immune support and easing of inflammatory illness.
Try some mental flexibility while inhaling some aromatherapeutic orange or vanilla. Pleasing thoughts, changing our minds about distressing situations and our stories around them, and creating the energy of movement and clarity within ourselves (hearts & minds) will open us to the inspired decisions and inspired actions that embrace opportunities and growth.
Serve up some fruit pies or tarts made from berry preserves or frozen berries with homemade whipped cream, ice cream, crème fresh, cottage cheese, or yoghurt – if, that is, you can tolerate dairy. Dairy dishes in many cultures are popular this time of year because one of the old-time agrarian holidays in the first week of February was called “Milking of the Ewes” – the mama sheep heralding spring with the birth of lambs and giving an abundance of milk which also helped folks making cheese, butters, creams, and all manner of baked goods which could get them through the last of winter and into spring planting season. Seasonal fruits include citrus of all kinds and the berries leftover from autumn in some preserved fashion – blackberries, elderberries, and cranberries – which all go great with citrus. Strawberries followed by blueberries are also coming to season in certain parts of the world and lend themselves deliciously to creams & cakes.
And, if there is still the bite of frost in the air, some hot cocoa spiced with red chilis and/or cinnamon makes a great addition to a chilly night or a rich desert. Plus, if it makes your soul feel good, then that will help the rest of your body’s cells feel good… and when they feel good because you feel good… THAT is good health!
Power in Winter - Craft with pine & pinecone, mistletoe & cinnamon
This season is full of traditions and festivals of lights & wards of protection. It is not just for survival during winter, it’s about physical health & well being seeing you through the outward death-lands, cremation grounds, hinterlands & barren landscapes of desolation & danger. Every tradition the world over has – given the timing of their geographic location – some celebration of light & surviving darkness within and without during their winter season/solstice.
Part of it is the strength and hope of the evergreens and the bright power of red holly-berries or leftover cranberries. Even the spicy and sweet depths of strong bark, like cinnamon, warming the insides. And the cleansing purity of white mistletoe berries, dispelling illness and misfortune. We hang these items in swaths, wreaths, and charms all over our homes in this season – along with candles and lights of all kinds. We build the warmth within and ensure both cleansing of illness and protection from harm. Like all things in life, we experience this on every level Spirit, Mind, and Body – so as we decorate our homes, cook and bake traditional foods, and celebrate with others – we are always tending the Light in the darkness, the light within ourselves, the light within our homes, the light of celebration and joyfulness within our families, and the light of hospitality in our communities.
Take a moment, if you have not hung any greens or decorated in common traditions of where you are, to intentionally choose a few things that will draw the power of this season into your space. For example, candles, strung lights, decorative stars, pinecones or an evergreen branch if you can gather one in nature are great ways to bring in some small element of the season.
Choose your focus & items:
Perhaps you can find or make a wreath or circle and glue and string these elements together to be hung of placed on a mantle or table. As charms, the small bundles hung over doorways are good, or wreaths decorated with the smaller items. As centerpieces, these displays draw our eyes and thoughts and can be a focal point for meditation.
Everyone is different and their spaces are different. Winter does not have a race or religion, nor does health or well-being or happiness. You do not have to have deep pockets or be crafty to select some of these items you can find easy access to in nature or at a grocery store.
Simply put your intent for strengthening your light, cleansing and healing, prosperity and well-being into any selection you find and accept. Then, continue that intention joyfully as you place them, glue them, and/or tie them together. Then, continue further with your joyful celebration as you light your candle and meditate, or plug in the lights and watch them glow, or smell the aromatics stewing on the stove or in the potpourri crock, or hang your evergreen charms.
May the coming year bring you joy and well-being through your Inner Light! Have fun decorating and meditating, charming your life and enchanting your spaces!
Herbal Lore For Ancestor's Night
So many traditions offer such beautiful expressions of the season and the holidays we celebrate – no matter the culture. Some of the most popular among these traditional celebrations include Autumn Harvest festivals, festivals for Nature Spirits (especially to appease the more harsh or “trickier” ones), days to honor the dead, and days to honor the Ancestors or other Spiritual guardians & guides (like Saints). Various fruits and flowers that may be in season are common symbols of these traditions or festivals, used for both food, offerings, and decoration according to location and if you’re running spring or autumn. Here in the northern hemisphere, we’re in the midst of autumn and getting ready to celebrate the Ancestor’s Night – also known as Halloween – followed by such honorable days in the Christian calendar as All Saints Day and All Souls Day.
My Favorite Winter Incense Blend: Legends of Frankincense, Myrrh, & Gold
It’s the season of Family! From honoring deceased relatives & loved ones on October 31st, to gathering together and sharing in November & December, this is the season that is all about family, friends, & community. Whether you go your own way or get wrapped up in social engagements, we are always surrounded by the energies of others – in life & in Spirit – and we can easily forget to take time for ourselves.
Faeries, Pixies, Gnomes... Call them what you will - Nature Spirits of all kinds surround us, an integral part of the natural world just as we are. So, let's make friends with them & be good neighbors. This article has some suggestions for this Autumn. And, as October 31st approaches, it's the perfect time to offer a friendly "hello".
Energetic cleansing is a process of dissolving obstructions & clearing the connection between you and Life. It helps to reharmonize the energies within us and emanating from us with the energies around us. We often hear of “smudging” or “burning sage to clear a room”, to rid the space and the air of harmful or unwanted energy. How many of us really know how to go about it?
SHadow Work Protection with Devil's Shoestring & Dragon's Blood
Everything has this duality of Light & Dark, or Yin & Yang. We think constantly in terms of duality as a basic classification of apparent opposites. This is very useful to us until we begin working our way through our own internal states - mental, emotional, and motivational drives (wants & needs). We can come across a lot of internal conflicts, limiting beliefs, and even false beliefs about ourselves, our lives, and our place in the world.
This is where our Shadow-side dwells, amidst these conflicts and tangled webs of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. The Shadow is not inherently dark in some evil sense of duality. And, it's not particularly light is some grand scheme of spiritual supremacy. The Shadow is the "between", a blending of two sides of our human being-ness tangled up in the knots of our perceptions and mis-perceptions. Shadow Work is a healing process by which we embrace the side of ourselves who struggles - sometimes quietly and sometimes loudly - day to day with what works in our lives and what doesn't.
In this Herbal Craft snippet, I have decided to offer some suggestions for a homemade incense for House Cleansing, share my favorite recipe for the spring & summer months, and give you some helpful quick tips for making your own herbal incense blends.
It's that time of year when we harvest what the Earth has provided based on our efforts and what we've attuned to in the Earth. The Autumn Equinox arrives in the northern hemisphere with, hopefully, some milder weather and cooler breezes, clearer night skies, and an abundance of things having come to fruition and ready for us to appreciate.
In the spirit of the season, my friend Kristina and I have been crafting some fun things thanks to her generous gifting and creative spirit.
Scrying The Well is our everything metaphysical blog, posted once or twice a week. Select articles are also published in our Newsletter (about 8 issues annually) along with other news & promos!
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Cynthia Botsko is a Psychic-Intuitive Tarot Counselor and Numerologist. She is also a ReiKi Master. Cynthia has been writing essays, articles, & pamphlets for over 20-years, some published locally or in small circulation and some remain unpublished in her personal archives. She has been teaching the Tarot, Psychic development, & Metaphysics for over a decade.