It's official, we've crossed the line between the darkness of winter and the birth of new light. The Spring Equinox arrived on March 20th, 2016. Marking a new beginning. A New Year!
This is my favorite time of year. Often before I know it,this season flies by with such anticipation and excitement it takes my breath away. The air is fresh with new life. Shoots emerge out of the dead of the ground as buds emerge forth from branches long brown from the long winter days. I feel an urge to surge to life as everything around renews itself. Mother nature rejuvenates from winters longs sleep.
The winds change direction as the Sun rises to greet us earlier each day. It's time to fertilize mother earth with the seeds of the new growing season. The soil is renewed from the rotting of the leaves, old growth is given up from the previous year. The earth absorbs the richness left behind to enrich. Nourishing Mother Earth to regrow out of the old. Like the Phoenix it rises out of the ashes. We inhale, feeling the freshness of the new life cycle.
I have hope during this season. I honor the time aged traditions of the Germanic Goddess of Spring, Eostre and the celebration of Ostara. A feast, to recognize fertility. The hare/rabbit and the egg indicating the continuation of the life blood of Mother Earth. The promise of Christ, out of death comes the renewal of life. Universal connections blend together between life and death and the ever ending cycles held deep within her womb.
It's a joy to be alive during this time. We feast our eyes upon the mornings light as it streams through the windows waking us ever earlier. Inspiring us to take part in the growth just outside our window. We watch earth change from the browns of winter to the lush greens of spring. We welcome the flutters of birds, gathering the remainder of the trash in order to shelter the new life within their eggs. We feel the rustle of the wind, bringing in the puffiness of clouds floating upon the breezes. The air moistens, wet with anticipation. Rain pours forth freshening the birthing process.
I begin to think of planting. What will I need this year to nourish, sustain and complete the opportunity presented to me. Our health is sustained through the planting of crops. Herbs burst through the grounds embracing the warmth, sustaining us, healing in their futures application.
This is a time to seek out the early nourishment of the natural plants. Often we recognize as weeds. Like the dandelion, anxious to give, but often ignored due to our need for trimmed green lawns.
The dandelion is celebrated by the air spirits, as they mature to secret puffs of fluff, blowing well wishes to our lovers. We can pick fresh the newly emerged flowers. Digging deep the roots along with the magick of the plants vitality for us.
Make an Iced Lime Dandelion Tea (Wellness Mama)
1 quart of dandelion flowers- pick fresh and use immediately- just the yellow parts.
3 quarts of cold water
1 cup of hot- not boiling water
The juice of 3-4 limes or as desired.
2-3 Tbsp of Stevia leaf or sweetener of choice such as honey, 100% maple syrup or sugar.
1/2 cup dried red raspberry leaves- which is optional.
Pick the Dandelions fresh. Rinse well in colander with cold water.
In a jar or cup, pour the hot water over stevia leaf or dried red raspberry leaf and stir well. If using another sweetener put in the warm water instead. Steep for 5-8 minutes and strain off the herbs.
Pour the sweetened liquid from stevia/raspberry leaf into a gallon size glass jar. Add the juice of the limes, and then add cool water. Stir.
Add the Dandelion flowers and mix gently. Refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours or until completely chilled and serve. You can strain out the flowers or pour them into the cups. Freeze the flowers in water and serve as ice cubes.
I'm going to enjoy the freshness of this tea while planting my garden on a warm spring day.
Throw together a salad made from the leaves of the Dandelion, add some fresh radish, green onion and some shaved fresh Parmesan Cheese (or desired cheese)
Mix dressing from one fresh lemon, fresh garlic, tab of sugar and 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil.
I can't forget to keep the root. Drying and storing to use throughout the winter months. Gather it fresh. Slice it into small even pieces. Size of a small stick. There are several ways to dry dandelion root. You can keep them whole, wrapping a string around the top knob, until it's hanging from the string. Then add another one to the string line, and another. Hang this sting like a cloths line. When dry, chop in food processor.
Some people prefer to chop in food processor, then spread on cookie sheet and dry in an oven of 180 degrees F. When the root is dry, proceed to roast for approximately 30 minutes at 200 degrees F.
Of course you can dry in a dehydrator and then roast to make the Dandelion root coffee or tea. Roast on a cookie sheet for 30 minutes at 200 degrees F.
Dandelion is said to help the body eliminate toxins by cleansing the liver and gallbladder. It's good for stomach upset and digestive problems. It helps normalize insulin levels in the blood stream and acts as a mild laxative. It's said it helps also with blood pressure due to it's diuretic properties. (5)
This herb is long used woven on a thick thread. Worn as a necklace of ritual beads to call upon the goddess Hecate (Greek) also known as Trivial (Roman). She was the Greek daughter of Titans, Perses and Asteria. She was known as the Goddess of the Crossroads. A pole would be erected at a Y-crossroads (only 3 directions). Hung on the pole would be three faces pointing in the 3 directions. Seeing all. She was also known for 3 paths, guardian and protector of the newly born and household. More notable she was a Dark Moon Goddess. Known for magic, sorcery, witchcraft, cross roads, trivial knowledge and necromancy, (3). Also she is associated with gates, doorways and nurturing the young. She was a dedicated Goddess of assisting. However, throughout time, she has been degraded, depiction of a “hag” standing over a caldron. An old witch.(4) She assists us to emerge from the underworld. Perhaps in some way, this is why we hate but admire the Dandelions. Their stamina endures throughout time.
Spring just wouldn't be spring without the blessing of mother earth replenishing our pantries with the necessary staples of the herbs dancing in the breeze waiting to be picked. Blessing us with life.
So as we peak between the dried leaves, moisture and muck. We'll see the spouts of Chives enhancing our salads, vegetables, soups. Use the chive flowers to garnish any dish you deem fit.
The Oregano begins to reveal itself amongst the foliage of last years long dead harvest promising to grace our tables with richness. Banishing bacteria with it's flavours, adding happiness to any joyful celebration.
As it has been for hundreds of years,Sweet Woodruff, protecting our Christian places of worship. Hiding amongst the woods ready to be picked in preparation for the May Day Celebrations. Delight yourself with the ancient wine known as Maibowle.
May Wine Punch
1 small bunch of fresh sweet Woodruff
4 Tbsp superfine sugar, to taste (or honey)
1 bottle white wine (suggested; German Rhine wine, Riesling, or Moselle)
4 Tbsp Brandy (preferably Asbach Uralt)
1 bottle Champagne, well chilled (pink or white)
1 cup fresh strawberries
Fresh orange slice, to garnish
Fresh sweet Woodruff , to garnish
Add some spring violets (6)
Place springs of fresh sweet Woodruff into the white wine. Cover and let steep at least 30 minutes, or overnight.
Pour the wine over ice into a punch bowl; discard the Woodruff.
Add the sugar, brandy, champagne, strawberries and orange slices, stir gently to combine.
Garnish with additional fresh sweet Woodruff and float edible violets in the punch bowl.
Refresh, Renew and Enrich your lives this spring. Add the old with the new in our celebration of the ages we've lived.
The Master Book of Herbalism: Paul Beyerl; p.255
A compendium of Herbal Magick: Paul Beryerl; p. 150; p. 360
www.food.com/ direct recipe for May Wine Punch
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