Well, what a fantastic summer we are having for a change, especially after that long winter. Folklore says the precipitation in March shows you the precipitation in June. Gladly, this proves once again that snow in March means lots of sun and little rain in June, just like the last time we had ‘lambing snow’ so worth remembering!! In the meantime, let’s enjoy (if you are like me) getting a little colour on the skin, lighter hair and upping the Vitamin D stores, due to the constant high pressure and continuous sunshine, thanks to a stuck jet stream over the UK.
Lammas celebrates the beginning of the harvests. School summer holidays came about so the children could help to get the local crops in and stored in days gone by, so people took their days away, then the hard work began. The farmers will be happy this year as expect the grains will be in much sooner than usual as there has been plenty of sun to help them golden up. The first harvest is about bringing in the grains – things like oats, wheat and barley… very important crops to our country, both past and present. If you can find a field with any ears of wheat or barley left loose after the harvest, pick up a few ears and bring home for our harvest jar…more on that later!
Celebrate the season with an outdoor picnic, complete with cheese, salad, meat and bread rolls, hopefully either home-made or purchased from a small bakery that makes in-house, to appreciate the accomplishments of our farmers, and toast and celebrate the first of our harvests with a glass (or two) …cheers!
Your magickal Harvest jar…
People’s lives depended on the harvests in days gone by…it was necessary for life to have enough to eat over the winter, so people hoped and prayed for a good harvest and this would all be celebrated at the turn of the wheel. We also have harvests in our lives from the seeds we too plant, whether ideas, children or businesses, and wishes in our daily lives to help improve them are just as important today as they have always been. Your long-term goals should be in your wish box, which is updated 6-monthly but are for things in your future i.e. partners, new home, perfect job etc but the things we harvest seasonally can be wished for in the family harvest jar.
First, you will need a pretty jar, whether gifted with maybe a candle in but too good a jar to discard, or even a recycled marmalade or honey jar that you have decorated with relevant symbols yourself…but a pretty wide-necked jar with a cork or lid. Also collect dried sage or fresh leaves if you have them in the garden, wishing grains, a sprinkle of oats, barley or wheat, fresh from harvested fields, but otherwise a little sprinkle of porridge oats will suffice, 4 hazelnuts (or acorns or other nuts in the shell), a small piece of pyrite and a piece snow quartz. You will also need paper and a gold or yellow pen, and some golden coloured ribbon or cotton (golden harvest theme)
On the night of Lammas, when you make your fire, you can put together your Family harvest jar. Hold the sage between your “magick mittens” and charge the herb ‘to set your wishes in motion’. Add to jar. Now repeat with the rest of the items and layer in the jar with your chosen nuts and crystals on the top. If you don’t have all of the items, then no worries, just use what you have. You are now ready for wishes. With your Sun/harvest pen, write a single wish on a piece of paper, roll into a scroll and tie with a little ribbon (different colour per family member). Place in the jar. All family who live in your home can add their wishes, as many as they want, but only one wish per scroll. When all are done, close the jar with the lid and place in a prominent position in the family room, but not where it can be played with or opened by mistake. You have set your wishes into motion and now leave them and wait for your harvest to appear. Review your wishes in the spring, remove what has materialised or no longer relevant, and replace what is still relevant and yet to occur. Wishes can be added to the jar as needed!
The summer heatwave…
The weather this summer so far takes me right back to the summer of ’76, holidaying at my aunties B&B in sunny Scarborough - a holiday two 17-year olds will never forget! The weather was relentless with only factor 4 on our skin against the sun…now we know better and I would never use less than factor 15 and 25-30 when it’s really hot!!
With the constant heat comes the flies, the beasties and the burn, so here are a few tips to help you survive the weather if caught out and literally only got the contents of your kitchen to hand…
Firstly, due to needing windows open for air, in a burner, use citrus oils like lemongrass, lemon, lime, Litsea Cubeba, bergamot and citronella near windows or fresh plants like basil to keep flying critters out your house. Flies in the house and nothing to stop them or kill them? Then…add some treacle or syrup to strips of paper and hang near windows… what we also used to do when I was a kid!! No money for fancy sprays in those days!!
Carry my Midgie B-gone or Lavender spike in your bag to discourage beasties biting, by pouring drops into the centre of your hand, rubbing your hands together and then simply ‘wiping’ the oils over arms, hair, clothes and legs/ankles whenever anything appears to be flying about. The lavender can also be applied direct to any bites that you or your family may get. Any Vinegar is also useful for bites if no lavender is around…you can even get a sachet of basic vinegar from the chip shop or any café if out and about!
Talking of vinegar, which is a great kitchen remedy for lots of things, add a ‘splodge’ to a warm bath if you get sunburn, with some olive oil and 10 drops lavender, and soak for 20 minutes. The vinegar will relieve the burn and rebalance the skin’s acid mantle, the olive oil will replace the moisture and the lavender help heal the skin. This was our family go-to remedy for skin recovery since I was a child.
Natural kitchen remedies for Prickly Heat…
Prickly heat rears its head every year but with this year’s heatwave, I am expecting more issues, so if you suffer from this problem, here’s some advice to help this issue.
Skin gets waterlogged with sweating; the ducts become blocked and swell to form blisters that then burst. Itching is persistent and is relieved by anti-histamine. Vitamin C and Chamomile tea are natural anti-histamines, so can help quite quickly and are usually in most kitchens.
Another kitchen remedy is to pour equal measures 25ml rose water and 25ml vegetable glycerine into a bottle to which you add the juice of third to half cucumber et voila…this makes a lovely soothing skin softener that will cool the over hot skin, stop the itching and moisturise at the same time…
A cool shower will be amazing to cool down, followed by a body rub with a piece of lemon to help as your final ‘kitchen remedy’, if nothing else is available. Drink plenty of cool water and eat salads and other ‘cooling’ food to help cool your system down…you are very welcome!!
Our stock of salt…
First, we stocked Sea salt, used for magick, body scrubs and for cooking, then we got Himalayan Salt in stock, not just lamps for the home and as requested by asthmatics, but also in fine, coarse and chunks of Himalayan salt, for cooking, body and face scrubs and adding to the bath for aiding body detox.
I started to get leg cramps and restless legs at night and found it was deficiency of Magnesium, a mineral a lot of people are deficient of these days, and so important to the body. We make sure we take calcium for healthy teeth and bones, but without magnesium, we can’t absorb the calcium! When visiting the mountains, their glacial water is calcium rich, but the supplement being pushed was magnesium…too much calcium can cause a build-up, resulting in things like kidney stones, but which the magnesium helps to dissolve.
Well, after years of enquiring if I stock it, I finally have Epsom salt too. Epsom salt has been known about for centuries and is a compound of magnesium and sulfate from Surrey, and has been used as a healthy bath soak for as long, to help absorb magnesium through the skin. Nowadays for quickness, people shower, but I remember my mum always adding bath salts to her baths to soak away the days worries every evening!! Bath salts were generally made from Epsom salt, sea salt, baking soda and herbs, so have a go at making your own and add a couple handfuls to every bath, and soak away your aches, pains and worries, as my mum always did, and help calm those restless legs/leg cramps too. Apparently, it also helps the body increase its serotonin level and thus enhances well-being whilst calming stress hormones…what’s not to like? Check out the properties of Himalayan and Epsom salts for yourself and see if you can benefit from a little salt other than on your crisps or chips!!
Another exciting addition to stock…
At the time of writing, and after a long wait, I have just taken delivery of rather a lot of raw beeswax. It is 3 years since I last had wax, hence why I am so excited. I can go back to full magickal candle making, like I have done for years! When it arrived, I cleaned my old moulds, pulled out my old pots, and got the wax melting overnight … it was so delightful returning to the shop the next day to the familiar gorgeous aromatic smell of fresh beeswax. Oh, how I’ve missed that smell and it’s lovely to have it back! My friend’s first comment when I said I had wax was… ”We can proper Christmas candles this year!!” It will take me a bit to get stock made but the shop will once again be filled with the delightful smell of melting wax and their matching magickal aromas!
And another new and unusual addition…
Like I said, been a busy few weeks, but sunshine does this for me, and with the energy of the Sun, I got back in the mode of restocking and getting things moving in the store. One shop rule has always been that if I get asked for something 3 times in one week, I will look into getting it into stock if it fits in with the shop. After a supplier turned up with a product to see if I was interested late last year, I put it aside to look at in the Spring. Much to my surprise, I had lots requests this year for said product, from people who presumed I would stock it, I had to finally pay attention! We are now carrying CBD oil and spray among our remedies, for those of you who may want to try it or would like easy access to a source of the oil in a shop you love, with quality you can trust!!
New Moon: Sat 11 Aug @ 10.47 hrs Full Moon: Sun 26 Aug @ 12.57 hrs
New Moon: Sun 9 Sept @ 19.02 hrs
Also, Mercury goes retrograde from 26 July until 18 August!!!! You have been warned, hence why I am getting this out before that date…! Try and stay cool but make the most of this fab weather while it lasts!
Bright sunny blessings from Chris (alias the Green Witch)