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Resin of the Week: Dragon’s Blood

February 1, 2012

So today I have for you not an herb of the week but a resin of the week. Today we will talk about dragon’s blood.
Dragon’s blood is a resin that comes from the Calamus Draco tree.

Calamus Draco


You can buy Dragon’s blood in liquid form, as a powder, or as a hard rock of resin.

Dragon's blood resin

powdered dragon's blood

I personally buy it in rock form, and then make my own liquid with it which I will be telling you how to do later in the post.
Magickal uses for dragon’s blood are love, protection, exorcism, and potency. On its own, when burned, it can dispel negativity. It can also be used to add a little extra oomph to any spell or magickal working. It is also used to make magickal inks which are especially used in oath making. It’s great as just incense as well for it smells great. Its planetary ruler is Mars and is associated with fire. Also if using rock dragon’s blood, freezing it makes it easier to pulverize if the need arises.
Medicinally, it can be used to treat wounds, cuts, and burns. Some say you may ingest it but I caution against this. There’s not much information available on the affects of it if it is taken internally.
As a fun little fact, dragon’s blood is also used to varnish violins which is what gives them their luscious red colorings.
How to make dragon’s blood oil:
Take you dragon’s blood and place in a sauce pan. Heat on the stove on medium until melted. Add a carrier oil to the liquid (I use almond oil), let cool a little and bottle. How much carrier oil you use is up to you and determines how diluted your oil will be.
Since we are talking about dragon’s blood, I am going to take this opportunity to talk about my favorite type of incense, Kyphi incense! Kyphi incense is blended incense which was used by ancient Egyptians. Below I am listing one of my favorite recipes for kyphi incense. This is quick and simple to make and smells heavenly.
Kyphi Incense
4 raisins or dried cranberries
1/2 teaspoon frankincense
1 tablespoon red wine
1/2 teaspoon benzoin
1 teaspoon sandalwood
1/4 teaspoon myrrh
1/4 teaspoon juniper berries
1/4 teaspoon dragon’s blood
1/4 teaspoon orris root
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Soak the raisins in the red wine overnight.
Using a mortar and pestle, individually grind the sandalwood, juniper berries, orris root, and cinnamon. In a large wooden or ceramic bowl, mix the dry ingredients together.
Using a mortar and pestle, individually pulverize the frankincense, benzoin, myrrh, and dragon’s blood into small granules. Add the resins and gums to the powder mixture.
Drain the red wine from the raisins and mash the raisins or cranberries with the mortar and pestle. Add the raisins or cranberries and honey to the dough. Knead thoroughly with your hands, and then form the dough into pea-sized balls. Spread the balls out on wax paper and store them indoors away from direct sunlight and moisture. Turn the balls daily for one to two weeks, depending on the climate. Once they are dry, store your Kyphi balls in a sealed plastic bag or glass jar. Smolder the incense balls one or two at a time over charcoal.
This recipe was adapted from here
I hope you have enjoyed our fun adventure with kyphi incense and dragon’s blood and I hope to see you on more herbal adventures!

Herb of the Week Voting:

People, I know you’re reading my blog so please vote. I do this for you.


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Herb of the Week: Juniper Berries

January 25, 2012

So this week’s herb of the week (based on the whopping three votes I got) is Juniper Berries.

Berries on the shrub

Dried Berries

In magick, juniper berries are masculine, ruled by the Sun, and are associated with the element of fire. They are used as household protection, seeing ghosts, protection, and health. You can use them in incense to increase one’s power to see spirits or for smudging. Watch out though because juniper berries produce a lot of smoke when burned due to their high oil content.

Medicinally, they are used as a mild diuretic to treat edema, kidney disease, and lower back pain. Their detoxifying properties can aid in the treatment of gout and rheumatoid arthritis. Juniper berries also help prevent build up of uric acid and can help clear congestion. You can use juniper berries as a tea, tincture, or as a spice in recipes. They are also used to make gin (not that gin is very medicinal.)

You can also soak juniper berries in olive oil overnight to make a massage oil or soak them in everclear or witch hazel  to make an astringent to use on sore or aching muscles.

Juniper berries are not to be used by pregnant women or those individuals with serious kidney problems.

So next week, I have decided to do something a little different. Instead of an herb, you will be voting for a resin. It will be a fun and exciting post, no matter which one you pick.

 

Karate High School

January 24, 2012

We interrupt the normal prattling about herbs, tea, and witchery for me to prattle about something else. When I was in high school (which seems like it was a million years ago when in fact it was only five years ago) I went to a show with a friend to see a band called The Medic Droid. Now The Medic Droid was the soundtrack for our entire lives at the time. Their song “Fer Sure” is what we sang to, fucked to, and snorted our cocaine to so naturally when I heard they were coming to town, I had to go.

So here I and my friend go down to this dingy, dark, and very small club called the Back Booth (with my mother in tow since someone had to drive. Not that my mom remembers it well. She was so drunk, I ended up driving anyway.)  We’re packed into the club like sardines and I’m being pressed up against the stage.

Well of course The Medic Droid has an opening act. It was an experimental rock band called Karate High School. Now when they were announced, I and my friend looked at each other like “Oh gods, save us from the cheesiness,” but in fact when they started playing, I was blown away. I felt exhilarated and extremely turned on (shut up, I was fifteen.)

Well here I am rocking out to this new found euphoria and the singer gets down on the floor and hands me the mic to hold while he sings into it then he pets my hair, caresses my cheek, kisses me, and returns to carrying on his show. I was floored, flabbergasted, and extremely flattered.

You see, I had never considered myself anything eye catching or beautiful. I surrounded myself with beautiful people and fucked beautiful people, but never considered myself one of them. Yet here stood a beautiful person (and to my fifteen year old eyes, Paul McGuire was absolutely chocolate cheesecake worthy) who chose me out of a sea of beautiful people as his own.

Now in all reality, he probably did that because I was a pretty girl and close to the stage but that day made me realize my beauty and self worth. I listened to their music religiously for about a year but eventually forgot about them until today. I found out that they no longer are inexistence here: http://www.karatehighschool.com/

I must admit this makes me sad. I need to find a new copy of League of Tomorrow which was my favorite album and I want to thank Paul McGuire for helping this little witch realize her self-worth. You truly are amazing.

Oh as a side note, that night of the show my mother got hit on by the bassist of Karate High School. I guess like daughter like mother lol.

 

Also, I realize how cheesy and lame this sounds but I live in a fantasy world and don’t care much for reality so leave me alone.

My Little Wand

January 24, 2012

My oak wand is rather special to me. For so long I had been wand-less, using my short sword or fingers to do my work. Although I use my short sword regularly, I am not very fond of it. It was a gift I put to use and although it serves its purpose well, it doesn’t have the right feel to it. What I needed was a wand.

I wanted something unique and special and it had to have a crystal on it. I scoured Amazon and eBay, my local metaphysical shops, everywhere I could think of but everything was too pricey and nothing called out to me saying “ooo ooo ooo pick me pick me pretty pretty please!!!!” After exhausting myself and my resources, I was about to give up, thinking I would be the wand-less witch forever. Then one day my prince in tainted armor (if it was shiny, I‘d go crazy and besides he has his flaws too) handed me a stick he had found in my friend’s backyard while he watched us have circle (my prince rarely participates for he is afraid of messing up.)

This stick was cute, as long as my forearm from elbow to mid-palm and was forked just a little at the top. Of course I thanked my prince (after all, he bringing me things like this is a common occurrence. I have collections of fossilized shells that he brings me from his job at the coal plant) and I took my little stick home with me.

Some friends had mentioned making a wand out of my little stick but I said that I had no crystal or any idea how to make a wand. Well my prince living up to his nature got wind of this and brought home some thick copper wire he had stolen from the plant for me. I swooned at this grand gesture but I still had no crystal. I went to Avalon which is our local witchy store but there were no crystals that would work.

Well one day my magickal partner at the time took me down to old town for the night just to look around and hang out. Well there just so happened to be a mineral and gem shop on the strip that we decided to go into. Waiting for me inside the store in a display was a bunch of little crystals. I squeed and combed through them, looking for the perfect one. I finally found the perfect one then realized with much dismay that I had no money. I put the crystal back and moped around the store. Well my devious magickal partner came behind me and scooped up the crystal and paid for it against my protests and gave it to me.

So once I got home, I had my three pieces to potentially make the perfect wand, but how? I pondered this for days and finally it dawned on me. I stuck the crystal in between the forked part of the stick then wrapped the copper wire around to hold it in place an viola, I had my wand. I then cleansed, consecrated, and made it my own (by streaking my blood down it) and sat back happy.

Here is my end result:

My wand 🙂

 

Now here are the properties of the materials of my wand:

Oak: Strong masculine energy, aligned with earth, water, and spirit. Magickal properties of truth, steadfast knowledge, protection. Oak wands bring vitality and a long life, promote observation and intuition, and inspire bravery, presence, leadership skills, prosperity, and strength.

Quartz Crystal:

Energy- protective, receptive

Planet- sun, moon

Elements- fire, water

Deity- The Great Mother

Magickal properties- protection, healing, psychism, power

 

Copper:

Energy- reception

Element- water

Deities- Aphrodite, Astarte, Ishtar

Magickal properties- energy direction, healing, luck, love, money, protection.

Copper can amplify thoughts when sending and receiving psychic communication.

 

So now I have a beautiful wand. Next I need a good athame, staff, and Book of Shadows. Hmmm……

Herb of the Week: Mugwort

January 18, 2012

Our new herb of the week is *DUN DUN DUN* (Insert dramatics here) MUGWORT!!! Now, as I explained in the last herb of the week post, I will be choosing the herb of the week until people start voting for one. I’m thinking about inserting a poll for this.

It kinda reminds me of Cannibus

Anyway, our herb of the week is one almost everyone has heard about. Most of the things you’ve heard are probably exaggerations or just plain false but nevertheless, Mugwort is an awesome little herb.

So we all know that mugwort has been used in witchcraft for quite some time now *wink wink* but did you know it can be used medicinally too? Yep, that’s right; mugwort can be used for a variety of problem pertaining to the digestive tract. Mugwort starts by stimulating gastric juices, speeds up the digestion process, and relieves flatulence and bloating. Mugwort essential oil can also be used medicinally for it is both antibacterial and antifungal.

Magickally, mugwort is feminine, ruled by Venus, and associated with the element of earth. Its properties are strength, psychic powers, protection, prophetic dreams, healing, and astral projection. Mugwort is also the main ingredient in dream pillows and can be used in as either a tea or essential oil to anoint divination tools. Burning mugwort while scrying also helps to enhance divination.

Disclaimer!!!!

First and foremost, never ingest the essential oil of any plant or use on the skin without diluting with a carrier oil first. Essential oils are just too damn concentrated for this. Secondly, women pregnant or breast-feeding should not ingest mugwort in any form. Also, habitual use (this only applies in ingesting the herb) may cause nervous system damage and liver problems. I recommend no more than a cup a day and no longer than a week straight.

Alas, mugwort makes a very bitter tea and most don’t like it by itself. I, myself, blend it with equal parts of Damiana and rose petals, then let it brew for fifteen minutes. It tastes like absolute heaven.

Ok, so folks, I charge you with a duty. Vote for next week’s her of the week (told you I’d insert a poll).

A very friendly plant indeed

January 17, 2012

Today, we have a very special plant to talk about. Here in sunny Florida, almost everyone has at least one of these plants sitting on their front porch or in their garden. This plant originally hails from Africa, is a succulent (meaning it retains water), is not at all picky, and can be used both magickally and medicinally. What is this miraculous plant you ask? Well, it is none other than your friendly Aloe Vera.

Now, most people know that aloe can be used to soothe sunburns but it actually has a whole array of medicinal uses. It can be used to treat small burns, cuts, chapped skin, eczema, Poison Ivy rash, dermatitis, radiation burns, coral wounds, and help speed up cell regeneration.

You can even find Aloe Vera juice in the grocery or health food store. Aloe Vera juice benefits are as follows:

“There are many aloe vera juice benefits. When aloe vera juice is taken twice daily in 2-4 oz doses it is said that it can help a person to maintain good health. Aloe vera juice is known to help to detoxify the body and cleanse the colon. The properties of the juice also help to detoxify the blood stream. It is also said that aloe vera juice could benefit a person with intestinal or stomach problems. It could aid in the healing of ulcers and help the digestive tract to work smoothly. It is also said that aloe vera juice can improve circulation. The aloe helps dilate the capillaries and aid in cell growth. Aloe vera juice also has many benefits that aloe vera gel does. It acts as an antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal agent, preventing illness. The overall effect of taking aloe vera juice regularly can be a feeling of energy and health.” (see source below)

Magickally, aloe is feminine, ruled by the moon, and is associated with the element of water. Aloe plants bring protection and luck. If you have an aloe plant in your house, it will guard against evil influences, household accidents, and prevent feelings of loneliness.

Now the awesome part about today’s post is that I’m going to tell you how to grow a successful aloe plant.

First thing first is your potting mix. A gritty potting mix is crucial to allow plenty of drainage. You can mix half potting soil with half sand and that will do it. Next is your pot size. The roots should take up 2/3 of the pot. Any bigger and it will sit in wet soil which will make it rather mad at you. You generally don’t need to repot until the plant looks like it’s about to burst out of its original pot. Clay, porcelain, and plastic all work well for aloe as long as enough drainage is provided.

In warmer weather, you should water your aloe once a week. When it starts to cool down, only water it every two weeks. During the winter time, bring it indoors and only water once a month. Aloe likes light shade rather than full sun so it is perfect for porches or windowsills.  I personally, never fertilize my aloe so if you wish to, the second link at the bottom will give you tips on fertilizing.

Disclaimer!!!

Although it is beneficial to ingest aloe juice, I recommend only ingesting the juice that is found in the grocery and health food store that give directions and dosage for aloe is a purgative. For women who are pregnant, DO NOT TAKE INTERNALLY!!! Aloe stimulates uterine contractions. Also those mothers breast-feeding SHOULD NOT use to soothe sore or chapped nipples for it can make your baby rather sick.

http://www.aloe-vera-studies.org/aloe-vera-juice-benefits.php

http://www.herbcompanion.com/gardening/the-goods-on-growing-aloe-zm0z11djzdeb.aspx?newsletter=1&utm_content=1.17.12+HBC+eNews&utm_campaign=2012+ENEWS&utm_source=iPost&utm_medium=email&page=2

Herb of the week: Rosemary

January 12, 2012

So, as something fun and educating, I have decided to post every Thursday a new herb of the week. I picked this week’s herb but I’m hoping that people will post comments suggesting a new herb for the next week.

This week’s herb is rosemary.

 

Now, magically, rosemary is ruled by the sun therefore it is masculine and the element it is associated with is fire. Rosemary’s properties are protection, love, mental ability, healing, and remembrance. A couple of fun facts are that rosemary was considered the flower of Mount Olympus which was home of the Greek gods and rosemary can be used as a substitute for other herbs in a spell. Rosemary can also be used to smudge for when it is burned; rosemary emits a powerful cleansing and purifying energy.

Medicinally, it stimulates the body’s natural healing process, can be used as a digestive aid, treats depression, muscle spasms, promoter of menstrual flow, increase mental ability to think clearly, stimulate production of bile, relieve cold symptoms, headaches, and can lift moods. As oil it can be sniffed to “clear cobwebs” from the mind. If making an ointment from the oil, the ointment can treat rheumatism, sores, eczema, bruises, and wounds.

Disclaimer!!!!

Always remember that when working with pure essential oils, you are to dilute the oil before use either with a carrier oil or simply mixing with other ingredients. Never use pure essential oil on the skin! Don’t ingest it either or any other essential oil for that matter!!!!

Also, when making tea from rosemary never consume more than two cups a day for large doses internally can irritate the stomach, intestines, and kidneys.