I'm Ness and you may have seen my postings on the Kitchen Witch Coven page and our Kitchen Witch Instagram page, of photos of nature and what is going on in the hedgerows, fields and shores around the village where I live. I thought it would be a -lovely idea to do a monthly blog and share with you, photos, a video, a spell - working with what is in season that particular month. I will also make something, with what is in season too, if i can.
January 6th - It's a cold day today. We've not had any rain for a few days so what was a soggy and very muddy field, is now compacted with footprints of wellingtons, walking boots and various sizes of dog paw prints! The hedgerows and footpaths are still dormant generally - bare spidery branches on trees, decayed and flattened plants and grasses, berries that have lost their lustre - although there are small signs that nature is stirring. Little buds on shrubs and the daffodils and snowdrops start to poke their leaves through the cold, damp earth. The time that the sun rises and sets is a minute longer each day.
The Brent Geese are here on our shores until April. There are hundreds of them and you can hear them honking to each other. Its quite amazing that they fly here every year, but our winters are mild compared to those in Russia and Canada, where they are from. They spend the time fattening up on eelgrass and other delicacies the shore has to offer before heading off back home again to arrive just as the snow and ice begins to thaw...
Today brings a cold day and the rains have come again turning the hardening soil into a slushy and slippery surface underfoot. The sun is shining but it is weak against the cold wind although it brightens the spirits of the feathered folk - the tree sparrows chatter to each other in the hedgerows and the crows caw from the tree tops and as they fly overhead. The geese continue honking to each other as they feast on their breakfast on the shore banks, pecking around in the sea mud. Today I look around and notice tiny leaves on the shrubs - young but eager to get out there and grow! I spot a snowdrop and the daffodils are beginning to get their buds - tightly closed against the elements, not yet ready to shine but they will know when the time is right..
The fields have long green lines of new shoots, fragile and tiny. A very long way off from being strong and straightand basking in the sun - but their time will come.. as the wheel continues to turn..
Spell for Growth, new beginnings
As the earth begins to stir, thoughts turn to new projects, ideas for the year ahead and the wonderful prospect of warmer weather.
I used a green candle for new beginnings, growth and to represent the shoots of new ideas. Green Aventurine crystal for encouragement in manifesting those ideas.
Bay is very much in abundance this time of year and it is just starting to bud. It is a wonderful herb for creativity and inspiration, so will be perfect for spurning on those brain cells for ideas too!
Willow is associated with inspiration, so if you find any twigs from those that have fallen over the winter, while out and about on your travels, you can add those.
Place the bay, any twigs and crystals around your candle. Light it, take a few deep breaths and focus on the flame. As you do, feel the warmth from the flame, close your eyes and visualise what you would like to manifest this year. What ideas do you have? Does the warmth give you ideas and plans? When you are ready, open you eyes, sit and watch the candle burn for a few moments. If you can, leave the candle to burn down.
Nettle Hair Tonic
Nettles are also sprouting up in the hedgerows and footpaths this month. The mild weather and rains have helped and there is a lot of them about. I picked some to make a Nettle Hair Tonic. Be sure to wear gloves and to pick the nettles away from popular dog walking areas. (I picked mine from the ditches)
You will need:
1 large bunch of nettle tops
500ml white wine (or apple cider) vinegar
1 tablespoon of fresh or dried herbs. (I used sage for mine)
Put the nettles in a large pan with the water and the vinegar and bring to a simmer for 2 hours
Stir in your herbs - essential oils can be added too if you like
Allow liquid to cool and strain through muslin - I squeezed it to get all of the goodness from the nettles - and bottle.
This will keep for about a week.
Nettles are quite a common plant native to pretty much everywhere. It doesn't mind what the soil is like and once it takes a hold, it can multiply quite quickly and grow up to a height of around 2-4 ft high.
As we know, the nettle is known as the 'stinging' nettle, due to its coarse hairs which, when touched, can irritate the skin and bring you up in a rash which will fade in an hour or so. A leaf from the Dock plant is said to alleviate the itch if rubbed on the skin. Some nettle varieties are known as 'dead nettles' as they don't have the stinging hairs. Nettles, magically, can be used to remove curses and send back hexes. They are also good for workings to protect against negative energies and avert danger. Make a magic powder with dried nettles and sprinkle around your property for protection. They can also be used for healing too.
Nettle Magic Properties:
Healing, Protection, Exorcism, Money
Nettle Hair Tonic recipe by kind permission from The Hedgerow Apothecary (recipes, remedies and rituals) by Christine Iverson
Nettle correspondences from A Kitchen Witches World of Magical Plants & Herbs by Rachel Patterson