Greenwitchaustralia's Blog

A little bit dress up, a little bit of green magic…

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Gardening Nude

When the going gets tough I go digging, weeding and frolicking in the community garden. I have the best intentions of wearing my gardening gloves until I am overcome by the paroxysmal joy of soil. I dig my hands in to that rich humus, do my salute to the soil and get communing with earth worms. There I am again gardening naked of glove!

I come home with a glint in my eye, and a mighty load of crap under my nails. My skin will never be super smooth and its a good thing I don’t embrace fake nail culture as they wouldn’t stand a chance against the pure, unadulterated feeling of dirt. But I am happy.

One hour at the garden for me is therapy, physical activity and community all rolled into one. I am less crabby when I return. I am overjoyed with a harvest of my first ever broccoli, some super spinach leaves and fresh herbs to throw in tonight’s dinner.

My plot beckons with possibility for the coming spring. The soil having been much improved since I commenced gardening in February this year, will be ready for broad beans, herbs, corn, zucchini and edible flowers. So exciting.

I have to work hard against the garden pilferers. So far they have removed three robust parsley plants, a purple sage, and yesterday my three artichoke plants. I try not to get in a rage about vegetable theft, but it seems a little mean-spirited to remove whole plants and not just the offerings of the plants. I will not be beaten. I will replant! There is enoughh for all.

We all have a place we can go to sooth our souls. Mine is the garden. I long for my own magickal garden one day, but in the interim, I’ll keep digging nude at the plot.

Green Blessings.


Baba Yaga’s socks

Winter came knocking on my door yesterday. She had stripy socks and flew through the air in a mortar and pestle. She was sweeping the sky with her silver birch broom. Baba Yaga has come to stay for a while.

I love Winter, nearly as much as Autumn, Summer and Spring.

I love the bare bones of the garden, the chance to pare back and see the basics. I love the plants frosting off and going for a long, cold sleep. I love the root children nestling in under their blankets of pea straw. I love the time to sweep up all the Autumn leaves with my silver birch broom and return them to Mother Earth.

I change my outdoor altar each season. This season its dedicated to the old crone of Winter Baba Yaga. Red, white and black for her messengers. Bones. Well just because. Some Elder Flower and Berries as her patron plant.

I have been scared of her in the past, but now I’m starting to hear her old woman’s wisdom, and her incessant scratching at my door.
She has invited me to play, and I have decided to risk joining her. She has set me three important tasks .

1. Sweep the yard of all the leaves with your lovely broom. Don’t miss a one!
2. Light the cauldron and throw in some offerings. I love a good shin bone or two.
3. Fire up your compost with something hot and bothery. Put it to bed for Winter. (Don’t tinker after that)

P.S And wear a shawl…My shoulders get a bit chilled at this time of year.


Green Blessings.

Coming next… stomping with Baba Yaga.

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Rosemary and a Red Hat

Today I honor the passing of my nan-in-law at the ripe age of 99. The life of Ann Veronica Ryan was celebrated this week, with Rosemary and a Red Hat as she was buried at Warrandyte with her husband Frank, of whom she was married to for 63 years.

Such big numbers. Such a long life well lived.

Her daughter Margaret was resplendent in red hat. Ann had always said to her, don’t come wearing miserable black to my funeral. Wear a splash of color. So Margaret embraced her wishes and wore a red hat. Splendid send-off. I thought of all the marvellous Red Hatted Women who belong to the Red Hat Society. . Marvellous women who chose life and joy over sadness.

The Red Hat Society began after Sue Ellen Cooper read the poem Warning – When I Am an Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple, By Jenny Joseph.

And of Rosemary… it was placed on Ann’s coffin, and thrown into her grave. Rosemary is well-known for Remembrance.

“There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance; pray, love, remember; and there is pansies, that’s for thoughts.” ( Shakespeare’s Hamlet). On Anzac Day people wear it in their lapels. I use it ritually in a selection of herbs to assist with grieving.

The place of ritual observance is ever-present at events such as funerals. Later the remembering of these events seems to help us with the process of letting go of people we love. So visuals and actions such as the rosemary and the red hat, help us remember these times.

As for Rosemary, no good garden is complete without it…and of hats, I might be off to purchase a lavender one soon, so I can be part of the Red Hat Society (under 50’s wear lavender or pink hats).

Green Blessings.

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Venus to Kali in 60 seconds.

I give thanks for my better nights sleep after my interlude with Venus of Willendorf.

I am always perplexed at how slow I am to respond to a need for change though. I was sitting comfortably in the space of ‘Good Mother’, peaceful mother, Earth Mother. My morning was comfortable, things flowed. I liked it. It is easy to feel good about yourself and others when things are working. This is just an illusion. Most things are it seems.

Baby Alice decides to change the plan around calm. Her sleep is disrupted again by fairy flight patterns over the Equator and she wakes irritable and nothing I do changes that.

The day doesn’t improve much. Venus has exited the building and I go from Venus to Kali in 60 seconds. Kali as dark night, mother and destroyer of time. This energy is much more challenging for me. I haven’t sat often with Kali and find it more difficult to understand the lessons.

It is certain though that she is here to journey with me and I need to embrace the different aspects of the goddess within.

I identify each of the goddesses with a corresponding herb. Kali pairs with Mandrake. I have seen this plant before at Chelsea Physic Garden in the UK, but seldom see it in Australia. I purchased some seeds once before, and planted them with the minimum of understanding and respect. I got what I sowed. Nothing! Intent required. So today I intend to research more about the requirements of Mandrake and get knowledgeable about what the remaining six seeds need to thrive.

Today I embrace chaos and lack of control, noise and no sleep.

I am still a good mother, even though it doesn’t feel like it.

Oh crikey I am weary.

Green Blessings.

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Value Added Food

Having a baby in my forties has given me a wonderful opportunity to do a stock take of what I need to eat to stay well. So I’ve taken stock and made stock!

Foods as nutritional supplements, seems to make much more sense to me than tablets, tinctures and medicinals, that often jangle with my frayed nervous system, and interfere with my babies digestion. So staying well and bursting with energy has been a challenge.

Almost everything seems to be contraindicated during breast-feeding, so it is a great chance to strip bare your health and food regimes and go back to basics.

Good food works! We tend to overcomplicate health.

Think nourishing soups, stews and juices. Everything I eat needs to have a ‘valued added’ component to double as food AND medicine.

I enjoy soups most days, but once a week I make up a witch’s brew chock full of goodies, including Astragalus Astragalus membranacous syn. A. propinquus , Star Anise, Barley and Oats. Astragalus has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, for its immune support and energy building. Tastes great and just soothes and settles a fractious nervous and digestive tract. I’ve been experimenting with home-made stocks, but that’s for another post. I love the process of ‘being present’ in making my family’s food. It is easy to pre purchase food, which on the surface should do the job, but it doesn’t resonate at a soul level. And that contributes to the healing properties of the food. It’s the mindfulness of food.

Mornings are for porridge, Oats Avena sativa for me. Sometimes if my babies sleep has been sporadic I don’t feel much like eating. I have some toast early to stabilise the blood sugar and then get my bowl of oats happening. No quick oats here. I soak oats overnight. Better oats, better outcomes. Avena is a soul saver, and my daughter likes it too. It is a powerful nervine tonic. Same principle, value add to your food. I add home-made LSA (Linseed, Sunflower and Almond) to mine. Gives me that protein and Essential Fatty Acids) I also cook fruit into it, apples, pears, quinces whatever my body craves. Raw food doesn’t seem to work for me when I’m weary. I feel like the body doesn’t have the energy to do that extra digestive work.

And juices. Wonder in a glass. Carrots, apples, celery, beetroot, always some ginger. Gives me an afternoon pickup and a great vitamin boost.

Anything I cook, I think about how I can improve its nutritional content. When making my daily bread , I throw in extra ground brown flaxseed meal (I grind it in my husband’s coffee grinder when he’s not looking!)

So while I don’t feel ready for a marathon right now, I am supporting my body to heal and stay well. I am surviving the rigors of a new baby, older children, family life and the approaching winter. The pot is bubbling away.

Blessings on the healing foods.

Green blessings on you all.

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Herbalist, Hedge Witch, Wise Woman?

I’ve always wondered why I am so fascinated with herbs and plants. My mother is a marvelous gardener, spectacular at roses and heirloom vegetables, and her father before her gardened in an allotment during the War. So I guess it is in the blood.  Nobody has been able to explain to me why the Green Ones get in my psyche whispering to me, “Pick me, smell me, tincture me, taste me, drink me”.

In my forties I feel I’ve become more accepting of their role in my life, less doubting. I spent a long time, particularly after my period of book learning herbalism, when I doubted it all. Everyone seemed to be a better practitioner than I was. The more I read and went to workshops and lectures, the more doubtful I became. People kept talking about this course and that course, and I didn’t really want to do anymore. I wanted to do less. In the end I did nothing, virtually abandoning my art and my faith in the plants. This was a bleak time, when I felt disconnected from lots of things. I felt like my years of study and passion had been for nought.

And then I went and made soup…  I realised something was missing, so I  potted a few herbs and then gradually, slowly let them back into my life. (Of course this is a very simplistic version of this bit of the journey!)

Today I see myself as a traditional herbalist. Not a shingled, Modern Medicinal Herbalist, but an Ancient herbalist. I have dirt under my fingernails and am lead astray by a roadside plant waving in the wind. I own my Celtic origins, and its leaning towards plants that are often naturalised in Australia.  I’m one for simples, not standardised fluid extracts. I like tinctures rather than tablets. I adore that which I can grow or wild craft myself. I like medicines I can eat in a bowl, straight from my wanderings.  Sometimes I haven’t ever seen a plant  before.  Sometimes they crop up in my dreams. Deep in my wise woman’s bones I know it is something I or someone around me could benefit from.  I counter these knowings with research.  I go find out what it is , and what it is for, and this theoretical  knowledge backs up my intuitive herbalism. I don’t treat others in the sense of you have prostate cancer, I prescribe Saw Palmetto. I refer on to those with qualifications and indemnity insurance for that. But I can help you hear the whisperings in your own life. What plants are beckoning to you? I can help you slow down, breath and catch the scent of your own cure.  For you are your own healer as am I.

I AM a herbalist.

Green Blessings.

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Herbs, Healing & Story

Green Blessings and welcome to my very first blog.

Herbs, for me,  the first medicine.

Healing, in the Wise Women tradition tells us that compassion, simple ritual and common herbs heal the whole person and maintain health/wholeness/holiness. (Susun Weed, Healing Wise)

Stories are medicine… They have such power; they do not require that we do, be, act anything-we need only listen. (Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women who Run with the Wolves)

Now I just have to be patient with myself as I learn about blogging, how to add photos, my first story and more.