Musings of a Village Witch - December and annual review - by Ness
December 1st - December brings fog, mist and a definite chill has descended upon my village here in the South of the UK. Leaves blanket the footways that are now quite muddy due to a distinct lack of warm sunshine. Trees are very bare - their branches reaching towards the sky like spindly fingers. Thoughts of Yule invade my mind bringing with them, hope and a sense of positivity for the year ahead.
December 2nd - A grey skied day and rather dull. No sunshine today to, perhaps, warm the bones and put a little warmth on my face as I take my walk around the village.
December 7th - Mother Nature has decided to coat everything in a beautiful sparkling, glittering feathery frost. The patterns on my windscreen are breathtaking – perfect swirls of patterns like feathers. The grass glitters in the weak sunshine. Underfoot is a little slippery and I see my breath form white clouds as I breathe out. Winter is well and truly here!
December 18th - the rains are here again. Temperatures have risen again a shade and everything underfoot is soggy. The leaves that have fallen to the ground are brown and mushy and squashed together by the many feet that walk across them. The hedgerows are bare and there is a general ‘untidiness’ about them. Ivy berries are starting to ripen and there are berries on the holly. Mistletoe can be seen on the bare branches of the trees – hidden from view in the summer, but now their bright green alien looking leaves that differ so much from the tree that they are holding fast to, are stood out in bright bunches!
This month, I thought I’d look back on this year. I had an idea this time last year about really taking note of my surroundings, watching what happens in nature through the seasons – in particular each month, where I live. I have discovered so many new species of plants, insects and birds – it has been quite an eye opener. A lot of the plants I had heard of and it was a joy to discovering them on my walks and times out in nature. Some were new to me and it was fun to research them, find out their names, their properties and magical correspondences too! I enjoyed working with what was in season at that time, researching recipes and crafts corresponding to that particular month, applying how I felt at that time and working magic in the kitchen and around my home and garden.
I took the opportunity to get out in nature daily, be it the fields where I watched the hedgerows as they came to life – the fields turning from brown to green, then to pale gold – to walks along the shore, seeing the migratory geese as they came, went again and have now returned. Fishing visits to a secluded lake not far from where I live. We started going to the lake in May when flowers and plants were just at that thriving stage. More flowers and plants appeared and at each visit, discovering more flowers and the greenery getting taller, thicker and the wildlife more abundant. Sitting in the warm sunshine connecting with Mother Earth, the elements and the Green Man – there isn't anything more relaxing and rewarding for me. Fast forward a few months and on my last fishing visit, the ground was cold and wet and the trees looked very forlorn. The once tall green plant life around me was dead, brown, decaying and flattened. Nettles and grasses were the only green to be seen. I sat, wrapped up warm, in my chair and immersed myself in the energies around me. I could almost feel the earth as she prepares for her winter slumber here in the UK.
Yule Gingerbread Fizzing Bath Bombs
300g food grade bicarbonate of soda
100g citric acid
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
Organic (if possible) Witch hazel – in a spray bottle
Wearing rubber gloves, combine all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
Spray small amounts of witch hazel into the bowl stirring constantly. Add more witch hazel until the mixture resembles wet sand and holds together when you squeeze it.
Press into a gingerbread man mould if you have one or just form into balls with your hands. (I used a silicone cupcake mould that I have).
Allow to dry then store in a cool dry place. I dried mine in my airing cupboard but any warm place will be fine.
Drop into a warm bath and enjoy the scents of Yule!
Cinnamon and ginger are warming, as well as being antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory and will leave your bathroom smelling amazing. Bicarb is soothing for the skin; citric acid helps to remove dead skin cells and the fizz is just great fun!
From 'The Hedgerow Apothecary' by Christine Iverson
Cinnamon and Ginger also have some amazing magical properties too!
Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum, Cinnamomum
Such a fabulous scent and flavour packing a powerful punch of energy, cinnamon is made from the dried bark of the branches of the tree.
Burn cinnamon as incense to bring focus and concentration.This will also bring about a deeper spiritual connection and boost your psychic abilities.
Add cinnamon to sachets and pouches to bring about love and success. I often add a pinch of powdered cinnamon to any spell work that needs an extra boost of power. That cinnamon power punch also gives you the strength and courage to make necessary changes in your life.
Tie a bundle of cinnamon with a black or red ribbon and hang it in your hallway to bring protection, love and success to your household.
Wear a dab or two of cinnamon oil when you go on a date for added ooh la la. (Dilute it with a carrier oil first if your skin is sensitive).
Cinnamon Magical Properties
Success, healing, power, psychic powers, protection, love, focus, lust, spirituality, changes.
Ruling Planet: Sun
Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
A plant originating in the warmer countries, ginger is a perennial root that creeps and spreads underground. Large green leaves shoot upwards, which are accompanied by yellow or white flowers. Use ginger in workings to bring about money, prosperity and success and in protective spells. You can also add it to other workings to increase their power. Wear ginger to bring passion and love to you. To cleanse and purify, use ginger in an incense blend. Ginger root can also be used as a poppet. Some of them are very person-shaped but even a straight piece will work well. Pass your magical tools through incense made from ginger to cleanse, consecrate and add power to them.
Ginger Magical Properties
Money, success, power, love, cleansing, protection, consecrate.
Ruling Planet: Mars
Magical Properties from 'A Kitchen Witches World of Magical Herbs and Plants' by Rachel Patterson