Hello There

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

Monday, April 29, 2013

A Plaque For Doreen Valiente

My love for Doreen Valiente (who I never had the chance to meet but who's book have had an immense influence on my Craft) is well known. She was definitely one the most important writers on Witchcraft and the occult of the past century, up there with such luminaries as Aleister Crowley, Dion Fortune, and Gerald Gardner. Money is now being raised so that a plaque commemorating her many decades of work in the Craft can be placed on the wall of her apartment home of 30 years. I have already made a contribution, and I ask all of you who've been touched by her writings, as I have, to give generously so that Doreen Valiente can be honoured.

Here  is the link to the donations page:

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Hawthorn: The Magical Tree of Springtime

During my walk today, what should I come across but many flowering Hawthorns. Now, keep in mind that back in the South I only saw one Hawthorn ever.....and it was more like a barren shrub than a tree. Be that as it may, it's long been my favourite magical wood to work with and I have several wands and magical tools made from Hawthorn branches harvested in the UK. Imagine my joy, then, to come across easily 10-15 of them in a relatively small area.

The Hawthorn tends to be a smaller tree, sometimes more like a shrub, and has twisty branches that bear shortish, but sharp, thorns. In the springtime the tree firsts displays leaves (unlike the Blackthorn, which has flowers first) before blossoming with many small, white, fragrant flowers. Some say the scent of the flower is unpleasant, others say it acts as an aphrodisiac for men, and still others that it enforces chastity. To me, the flowers had a very pleasant, though quite sweet, odour that was almost intoxicating. Indeed, it's easy to picture the showy white flowers and strong smell putting one in the mood for love, which may very well be the source of the tree's association with springtime romance and naughty romps in the field. The Hawthorn has a strong association with Beltane or May Day, and with fertility and weddings. Traditionally, couples getting married would wear crowns of Hawthorn blossoms and leaves, and would sometimes decorate with boughs of the wood. Oddly enough, at other times of the year to bring Hawthorn into the house was considered to be detrimental in some way. In the autumn the Hawthorn yields many small, red, tart berries that can be eaten as jelly or made into wine.

Like most magical trees, the Hawthorn has a bit of a darker side as well. The thorns have been used in both love spells and curses, and when the tree has shed its leaves in the winter the twisted, thorny skeleton that remains can present an ominous sight. A Welsh Witch of my acquaintance speaks of the Thorn Lady, a kind of spirit of the Hawthorn tree that can act as the "wise grandmother" of the Craft, and not all of her lessons are love and light. It's considered very bad luck to damage or cut down a Hawthorn, as the Good Folk are very protective of it and will take revenge on any who dares to destroy the tree.

On a more mundane level the flowers, berries, and leaves all have medicinal use. The berry can be used (under medical supervision only) to strengthen a weak heartbeat, and the flowers and leaves have a tonic quality. As mentioned above, the berries can also be used to make many delicious jellies and jams. The wood of the Hawthorn is beautiful and VERY hard, and can be carved into small trinkets, handles, and similar objects.

If you come across a flowering Hawthorn this spring, consider yourself lucky because in my opinion there are few trees more magical. Stop for a while to set beneath the thorny branches and feel the powerful magic of the tree.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Happy Full Moon

This is the Beltane Moon.....time to let loose and really celebrate the coming of Spring!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Doreen Valiente Biography Announced

This is very exciting news! Doreen Valiente was one of the most influential figures in the modern Witchcraft movement, and her work has certainly influenced me more than any other resource. I've read part of Philip Heselton's work on Gerald Gardner, and if his work on the Valiente book is anywhere near as good it will be a truly wonderful and invaluable biography.

Doreen Valiente Biography Announced

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Magical Beauty of the Pacific Northwest

I am firmly convinced that I live in the most beautiful place in the world. I'd like to share some recent photos I've taken of Oregon and Washington. This whole region truly has a very magical feel.

Columbia River Gorge



Cherry trees

The Apple Tree


Black Walnut

The Park

Downtown Portland

Spring Flowers

Tulip Tree