Hello There

My thoughts about Traditional Witchcraft, Wicca, cooking, gardening, and anything else that catches my fancy.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Rowan Crosses

New to my shop, I've got some Rowan crosses made with the traditional red thread and strung with seven magical red Rowan berries. I harvested the berries and wood last year and have let them dry all this time. Rowan wood is traditionally said to be highly protective against evil and the wicked spells of bad witches. These crosses can be hung above doorways or by the bed to protect those who pass beneath or dwell within.

Available at Besom, Book, and Wand: The Shop!




Sunday, July 27, 2014

Picking Summer Berries in Oregon

Raspberries!
Last week some friends and I drove to Sauvie Island, Oregon (technically part of Portland) to pick berries. There are many, many farms there and most of them offer a "u-pick" option where you can pick you own produce and pay a low rate per pound. The place I planned on going actually turned out to be closed (on a Sunday, which is very unusual here) but there were plenty of other farms to choose from, so we headed back down the road to the other nice one we saw.

I am simply mad about raspberries, though they tend to be expensive if you buy them at the store. They (and all the fruits) were only two dollars a pound at the u-pick place, so I really stocked up. We started with boysenberries before moving on to blueberries and finally raspberries. We planned on picking blackberries, too, but after several hours in the sun we were getting tired and more than a little sunburned, so we decided to call it quits and visit again for those.

From a Witchcraft perspective, the Pacific Northwest is a literal buffet of goodness. The kinds of herbs, trees, and magic plants that most of the rest of the US can only read about grow here in abundance. The magical Hazel tree, for example, who's wood is almost impossible to find in middle American here grows like a weed; I can think of a dozen such trees in a few blocks around my house.

We had a great time picking berries, but I came home with a pretty bad sunburn (yes, we have sun here in the Pacific Northwest) and learned not to rely on cloud cover and "Oh, we'll only be out here for an house" thinking instead of sunscreen! Many of the berries I ate raw, but the rest I carefully cleaned and put in the freezer. Some of the blueberries, too, we cooked into delicious blueberry muffins which, I'm (almost) ashamed to say, didn't last long!

I do love summer, but I am ready for autumn already........

The bridge to Sauvie Island



Fields

Magical Rowan Tree

Rowan berries

My berries

Thursday, June 26, 2014

New Wands in the Shop!


Hello all. I've been hard at work wand crafting. Since my move to the Pacific Northwest, I've been harvesting all of the traditional magical woods: Hazel, Hawthorn, Rowan, and Elder. I'm glad to say that now most of it is dry, and I've been hard at work creating magical wands to sell in my online shop.

Many people sell wands, but only very few sell them made in the traditional manner and using traditional woods. You cannot just go buy a dowel from the hardware store; what makes the wand "magic" is the tree spirit dwelling within, and this is often asleep or missing entirely in milled lumber. Also, wood you cut yourself you can be certain was gathered under the proper Moon phases and astrological signs. I always, always gather my Hazel wands on a Wednesday (the Day of Mercury) under a Waxing Moon. Rowan and Hawthorn I gather under a Waxing Moon as well, with the Hawthorn cut as close to Beltane as possible. I also cut some wands on the Full Moon closest to Hallowe'en, since I feel wood gathered at this time has a special power and is exceptionally good at spirit and familiar work.

When it comes to crafting wands, I like to strike a balance between something that is natural, and something that is nice to look at, feels good in the hand, and will last. The very act of crafting, turning a stick into "something else," in and of itself adds power to a magical tool. Also, I inscribe various magical sigils and signs into the wands I create to mark them as instruments of the Arte. I treat my wands with an oil finish, to strengthen the wood, and then top them off with several coats of all-natural shellac, which adds a beautiful sheen and protects the wood from oils from the skin and from water. Shellac is easily repaired if damaged and is non-toxic and a renewable resource.

If you are interested in my wands, you can find my shop at Besom, Book, And Wand: A Witchcraft Shoppe. I can also do a limited amount of custom work. Now, I leave you with a few pictures of some wands I've recently finished.



Hazel Wand

Solomonic Hazel

Solomonic Hazel

Pocket Hawthorn

Ogham Hazel

Hazel Wand


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Besom, Book, and Wand: The Shop!

Well, after MANY long delays, my shop is finally open! Here you can find the magical wands I craft as well as sundry other roots, curious, and the like. I will soon be adding magical oils, powders, and incenses to the list. Check back often as I will be adding a lot over the coming weeks!

Besom, Book, and Wand: The Shop!




Thursday, May 29, 2014

Elder Roots

I had to repot my Elder trees this week and found that they had become a bit rootbound in their smaller pots. So, I needed to (carefully) prune the roots before putting them in their new homes. As such I've got quite the handful of Elder roots drying as we speak. When they are good and dry they ill be perfect for crafting magical charms for healing, protection, and perhaps some Underworld workings....

Elder tree roots drying in the sun


A handful of Elder tree roots

Sunday, May 25, 2014

New Place, New Witch's Garden


 Well, a lot has happened since the last time I posted. Unfortunately, last month I received notice that I had 30 days to move out of my beloved Victorian home where I rented rooms. Apparently the owner decided to renovate and did not want anyone living there during that time. To say I was unhappy is an understatement. Though the house needed (a lot of) work, it was in a great location and had a big, wrap-around porch that I loved during the summer months. I also had a lot of space and a more or less private kitchen.

A local Craft friend was moving, too, into a duplex and she had an extra room that she very kindly let me rent. I don't have anywhere near the space I did, but it's a place to stay and there are some interesting trees around me. Now, before I knew I had to move, I had put in a huge raised bed and a lot of pots of things. Unfortunately I was not able to reuse my raised bed (there just isn't room here) but I scooped out all of the good soil, put it into pots, and planted a ton of seeds and such. I also bought an Elder tree and planted it in a large pot, and yesterday I purchased another one, too.

My Elder tree when I bought it. It's WAY bigger now
On the front porch, in my container garden, I now have two Elder trees, several pots of Henbane, some Wormwood, Meadowsweet, Calendula, Marigold, Mullein, pumpkins, and Lavender. When the seeds come in this week I will be adding Vervain, Belladonna, Mugwort, Aconite, and others. We don't get a lot of sun on the porch, so I've had to put some things on plant stands and move some things around to ensure they get the proper amount of sunlight. My next project is to purchase some herb drying racks so I can harvest things over the growing season and dry them out for use in the next year. Obviously, many of the herbs I listed are toxic and can be dangerous, so I always adhere to safe handling instructions when working with them.

I'll post updates as more things come in bloom. One of the great things about living in the Pacific Northwest is that I can grow almost all of the traditional English witch plants. I won't get Elderberries this year, but hopefully by next year I'll have my first crop. So exciting!

My two Elders, my pumpkins, and various seedlings




Plant stands holding various seedlings. The half empty big pot is going to hold my Elder tree when I repot it.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Ghost Hunting at Vancouver Barracks and Hospital

The military barracks in Vancouver, Washington have stood there for many years. Though the oldest building only dates back to the mid-late 1800s, Native Americans, traders, and explorers have lived and died on the site for hundreds of years. The barracks were actually in use until 2011. The hospital opened in 1904 and closed in the '40s, though it was in use as offices until the 1990s. It now stands empty and in disrepair. and it's this building that most of the "ghostly legends" center around. Tens of thousand of patients were treated there during its time as a hospital, and untold hundreds (thousands?) died. In the basement area is the old morgue where the deceased were stored and perhaps autopsied before burial.

Staff and visitors to the hospital when it was still in use as offices reported strange noises, slamming doors, and the sound of people where no people should be. Now that the building is empty it of course attracts all sorts of ghost stories and such. It's not possible to go inside, but we walked around the outside of the building and took pictures of that and a few of the other buildings.

Is the site haunted? I think so, yes. I can definitely sense a lot of heavy "something" there, though I suspect many of the tales of ghostly mischief have been exaggerated over the years. Be that as it may, it's definitely a beautiful and historic place to visit, and the open space offers one a beautiful view of Mount Hood in the distance. Enjoy!

Mt. Hood

Twisted tree and barracks

Old building

Old housing

Vancouver Barracks Hospital

Do ghosts dwell here?