Spring Sprang…

It finally happened…

March is a-marching, madness abounds, the sun is nearly done melting the snow, bird song flitters through opened windows and the darkness is lifting… Buds have appeared, they may be small and indistinct at the moment, but there they are… The sun shines, giving a warm glow to the everything and lightening my mood…

But this morning the skies were cloaked with clouds, lurking, threatening to darken my mood… I’m truly in ‘Spring Mode’, my heart feels as if winter has been too long, too dark and too cold, and they are failing miserably to bring me down… It’s nice to see the last remnants of The Hags bleached plaid wash away, even if it reveals the sickly yellow-green carpet that spreads out under foot… The rain, and sun will transform that soon enough…

And time remembered is grief forgotten
And frosts are slain and flowers begotten,
And in green underwood and cover,
Blossom by blossom the spring begins.
-Algernon Swinburne

But as the Equinox approaches and we find ourselves at the ‘edges’ of Winter, the major climatic shift can hard on our bodies… So it is a good time to give a boost to your immune system with natural remedies and cleansing foods… Which is why I’ll be hosting the Tea Party for the week later in the month… But for now, I always find this time of year leaves me with a craving for Dandelion and Burdock cordial…

Ingredients for Dandelion & Burdock Cordial...

In rural Britain it’s traditional to drink Dandelion and Burdock cordial at this time, as these herbs help to cleanse the blood and are a good tonic for the body after it’s Winter hardships… As the Vernal Equinox heralds the arrival of spring, it is a time of renewal in both nature and the home, so before I get down to some serious packing (we’re moving in May) and spring-cleaning, I think I’m going to try my hand at making my own homemade Dandelion and Burdock cordial!

There have been a small number of stories concerning its origin, most now widely considered to be apocryphal… The story tells of an Italian monk who, whilst deep in prayer, was sent a message from God to go out an make a elixir from the first ingredients he comes across… St Thomas of Aquinas the monk in question, lived around the 13th century, if the story has any truth to it, it would make Dandelion & Burdock one of the oldest soft drinks… err.. ever.

* Dandelion – Is rich in Vit A and C, iron, and it’s benefits include stimulation of bile flow, weight loss, improvement in liver metabolism and it’s also a safe diuretic.
* Burdock – This healer and blood purifier, regulates sugar metabolism, destroys “unfriendly” bacteria, detoxifies and cleanses the kidneys and gall bladder.
* Anise -This antimicrobial herb has been used since the seventh century, as a remedy for curing coughs, and aiding in digestive problems.
* Ginger – This warming herb as a truck load of health benefits from aiding in digestive ailments, relieving nausea; which can be effective in treating morning sickness as well as motion sickness. It can help knock out a fever, and stimulate circulation of the blood. It can also help relax muscles around the blood vessels and is said to help prevent blood clots from forming. The warming effects make it a natural decongestant as well as an antihistamine, making it the perfect remedy for colds.

This gorgeous drink full of ginger and spice, hedgerows, sunshine & fun, is not something that you have to enjoy in the Spring, it’s also a favourite Summer drink, mixed with lots of ice – And is rather tasty with a shot of Gin, garnished with a few fresh Borage flowers, for the ultimate English beverage, stepped in folklore…

Back on the 1st March…

A full moon illuminates the night, and you have the impression that everything around you sparkles – a fine, fine glitter- under the silvery light… You clearly see pastures and forests; you hear the gurgling of a stream, the fluttering of leaves,  the hooting of owls in the distance…

You approach a house… A rustic cottage beside the stream, amongst the trees… You can clearly see the glow of firelight in the hearth, and the twinkling of candles through the windows…

You approach quietly; your footfalls soft as you approach the open door… You notice a broom, propped up on the threshold…

You step inside, carefully avoiding stepping on the Toad that eyes you from the foliage by the front step… Resting beside a wax sealed bottle filled with sharp, rusted nails, broken glass and other rust coloured and strange curiosities…

In the windows hang colourful fishing floats, their coloured glass sparkling in the candle-light… On the window-sill ,and on the many shelves, sit a collection of bottles, white pebbles, smooth river stone, herbal infusions, salves and balms, seashells, freshly ground herbs, resins, roots, driftwood, dried flowers, wooden boxes,  and jars… Hanging on the walls are bouquets of various medicinal and sacred herbs… Earthen-ware and wooden pots are placed on a roughly hewn wooden table, stained with over-use, reds and greens worn into the very wood…  In the hearth rests a cauldron, and propped up in the corner; A forked staff of Oak wood… The bleached bone of a Stag’s skull, antlers still intact, rests with it…

A woman with long raven hair, streaked with grey – A few small braids woven with coloured thread, small beads, trinkets and feather of her birds – works her pestle and mortar… Her black dress hangs to the floor, her bare feet peep out from beneath its folds, a red cord wrapped around her waist, as she pounds the fragrant smelling herbs into submission… Adorning her fingers; her Handfasting band of silver knotwork, and a silver serpent that is eating its own tail… She wears a dangling necklace of carved bone, various small shells, garnet and jet, it glints in the hearth-light, falls to her breasts, and swings with the motion of her grinding… The torc around her neck, reminding her of her oaths…

You are in the cottage of a Witch…

Come in from out of the cold and stay a while… She might tell you a secret, or three…

Welcome to ‘Of Shimmering, Hidden and Crooked Ways’, my own wee nook of the blogosphere… A place for Witchcraft and cunning … A place for folklore, song and celebration… A place for my Witchy ‘Workings’, gardening, cooking and travels… A place to honour the Old Ones, the Old Ways and the Ancestors…

A place for learning, and growing and teaching…

Once a week I shall be featuring an interview – The first person  I have the privilege to interview is the beautiful, and incredibly talented, Carolina Gonzalez of The Hoodoo Shop , which is a business ran by herself and her husband, dedicated to all forms of Folk and Traditional Magic…  You can read the interview at the re-launch of this blog on the 1st March…

Carolina Gonzalez - Working on Samhuinn

Carolina Gonzalez - Working on Samhuinn

As well as some secret planned fun, the re-launch on 1st March will also feature…

…A Giveaway –  A stunning, Ancestral divination pendulum –
I would post a photograph, but it’s still a work in progress, so I’ll have one for you at the launch as well as the details on how you can  get your mitts on this piece of Witchy goodness…

…The details of the upcoming Blog Tea Party! Not to be missed! Fun for all…

… A very Cailleach inspired theme…

So, until then, I invite you to have a look around…  There’s a little about me, and details for contacting me