And Breathe…

It’s the weekend, thankfully! 

It’s interesting, although my mind/body cries in outrage this morning, how the feeding on stress and speed, desire and ego, the actions/reactions that are born out of this “stream” are so destructive. And yet here we are, all madly consuming. 

Be it data, information, going to the supermarket, so on and so on. 
However when one empties out, finding that “place” in the heart and once re-connected with, all love and beauty flows from there. 

I notice this as I write this morning. Instead of spending last night chilling out after a hectic week at work, in quiet contemplation, prayer and just *being*, re-finding my “core” again before taking up the weekend, I went headlong and continued feeding, consuming and perpetuating that current of stress.

It’s amazing when you really start to pay attention to your thoughts, body, actions, reactions and what “place” they come from and the relationship, correlation or choreography of that within the outer environment, how clearly we can begin to see what’s really going on. And just by doing really simple things like this.

Stop. Empty out. Breathe.

Try it sometime. You might be surprised at what you find!

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A Cold Wind Blows.

Excerpt from ​Psalm 103:

“Our days pass by like grass,
Our prime like a flower in bloom,
a wind comes, the flower goes,
empty now is its place.”

I read this my lady and an icy wind gusts through my heart as I know the words to be true. They echo through the empty chamber of my heart. The place where you were. Our crossroads reached, the point of egress, now passed. My Rose you have gone from me.

Spirit:

Indeed my lovely, for now, but do not fear. I will find you again, just in a different form. Lift up your heart to me and I will find you dear one.
All things must end order to begin again.  

The Poets Promise; Sweet Cicely.

Today I am featuring a new found friend in my current neigbourhood, Sweet Cicely. A beautiful fragranced and delicate plant. It has a gentle feel about it, for me anyway.

The Sweet Cicely is known by many folk names, British Myrrh, Sweet chervil, The Roman plant, Cow chervil, Shepherd’s needle, Smooth Cicely, Sweet bracken, Sweet fern, Sweet humlock. The plant has a flavour rather like anise with a scent like lovage and it is very attractive to bees. All parts of the plant are edible and were used for food in the old days. The old herbalist describes the plant as ‘so harmless you cannot use it amiss.’

The name Myrrhis odorata derives from the Greek word for perfume because of its myrrh-like smell. Odorata means sweet-scented. Sweet Cicely derives from the mountains in Central Europe where it is a wild plant. Today it is feral in northern Europe.
Apparently the plant was brought by monks to the North from Central Europe in the Middle Ages, and they used it as well for food as for medicine. Leaves and stalks are good in fruit soups and as a green sprinkle on food and as a spice in marmalade.
The stalks were candied, and they were also used in stewed rhubarbs since it lessened the strong taste. A drink can be made which resembles the Greek alcohol Ouzo. Essence can be made by the flowers, the seed, the root and the green leaves. Pour alcohol over and make it draw for some days. This gives a fine light green drink with a piquant taste of anise.

In medicine the monks used the plant for digestive problems and for anemia in elderly people. The leaves were used as an incense for asthma. Infusions were used for flatulence and coughs. The roots have antiseptic action and were used to cure the bites of mad dogs and snakes. Steeped in wine, they were a remedy for consumption. It can be eaten as a general tonic.

It seems to be fond of river banks and likes sunny/shady areas.

Magical properties of the plant:
“This is the herb of Alfheim, used to honor the alfar and the fey. It is a pair with Fennel – “felamihtigu twa”, the mighty two, and they are most often used in conjunction. Tea of Sweet Cicely and Fennel protects against elf-shot; tea to drink or salve rubbed on the afflicted area treats cases of it. Sweet Cicely also aids in the Gift of Sight, in this case the ability to see beauty beneath ugliness, power beneath simplicity, and possibility beneath limitation. It is a useful plant when faced with clients who are living in a swamp of negativity, and you have to find them some hope. Drink in tea or smoke it or eat the seeds (preferably six of them).” – Source: 

http://www.northernshamanism.org

What I loved about it was the way it interacted with me. We fell in love instantly. When I put the leaves in my mouth, it was like someone had sprinkled a dusting of anise flavoured icing sugar over my tongue both in the taste and the sensation. It sweetens the breath and sweetens the tongue. In turn it sweetens the heart, sweetening the air as it passes out over the tongue. It opens up the eyes and heart of the poet, inducing the flow of the sweet honeyed sap of the Muse, succured and nurtured by Beauty. 

I have added a couple of my favourite sites for reference and further research:

http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/c/cicswe67.html
https://herbs-herbal-supplements.knoji.com/edible-plants-myrrh-or-sweet-cicely-history-culinary-uses-and-nutrition/

http://www.gallowaywildfoods.com/?s=sweet+cicely

Liquid Cigars – Evoking Smell And Taste Through Memory. 

A collection of photographs inspired by a whisky tasting festival taken from the scribbled notes of my neigbouring stall-holder with whom I shared the day. Her descriptions and company were inspirational. 

The experience takes me back to my first days on Crete when I encountered for the first time one of my favourite whiskys, Highland Park. My partner at the time asked me to close my eyes and describe the images that were evoked by the smell and taste. I was instantly transported to a rugged sea shore in the rain, the smell of the sea and seaweed strong and powerful in the air and the taste of the salty sea air mixed with rain upon my lips. 

Here is a glimpse into this lady’s sensory world…


Liquid Cigar

Nutmeg and Pepper

Icing Sugar, Soft Toffee

Harbours At Low Tide and Hemp

Boiled Car Sweets

Fun times! I certainly enjoyed myself. 🙂

evoke (v.) (etymonline.com)
1620s, from French évoquer or directly from Latin evocare “call out, rouse, summon” (seeevocation). Often more or less with a sense of “calling spirits,” or being called by them. Of feelings, memories, etc., by 1856. Related: Evoked;evokesevoking.

Photo Credits: 

Cigar Image: 

http://www.cigarinspector.com/cigars-101/how-to-smoke-a-cigar-without-going-up-in-smoke

Liquid Smoke:

Liquid Smoke by Koipeach on DeviantArt

Mosscapes. The Magical World Of Mosses Liverworts and Lichens, Part I.

I don’t know what inspired me to write about mosses and lichens, other than being influenced by the Muse, of course, and being thourouly captivated once I lent my eye to discovering these fascinating and enchanted worlds through my camera lens. I was drawn in and hooked! 

I will start with this beauty, Silky Forklet-moss – Dicranella heteromalla, simply because it was the one that inspired this little journey. I will finish my exploration with a more general moss and lichen study in magic and medicine. 

So. To begin. Silky Forklet-moss – Dicranella heteromalla. 

Not much to write about this moss, that I can find so far anyway.  No particular medicinal, folklore or magical uses attached to it. I am very open to bring corrected on that though! Also, that depends on your own ingenuity, inspiration, applications and “contact” as to possible magical uses.

It likes shady banks, woodland, particularly fond of tree stumps, old upturned tree roots. It favours acid conditions. 

Next up, a lichen, Cladonia chlorohaea –  Cladonia chlorophaea.

Also known as cup lichen or pixie cup lichen. It is a soil lichen, likes shady mossy banks and road verges. 

Pixie cups and other Cladonia species contain didymic acid which was once collected from the lichen and used in folk-medicine to treat tuberculosis. It is used as an expectorant, has been used to treat whooping cough. It can be mixed with honey. In Brazil, it is rubbed down with sugar and water and applied in the trust if infants. (Source Mrs Grieves, A Modern Herbal) It can be eaten.

Moving on to Usnea subfloridana – Usnea subfloridana
This lichen likes to set up camp on tree branches, especially the smaller branches. It us a fruticose lichen, it has an elastic chord or axis running through the middle of the thallus. I like the symbolism there. It likes clean, unpolluted air.

Usnic acid in Usnea is reported to be effective against gram positive bacteria such as streptococcus and staphylococcus making it a valuable addition in a herbal formula for sore throats and skin infections, can be useful against pnumonea. It is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti- protozoan. Is is “drying” and anti-flammitory. (Wikipedea)

Edible, high in vitamin C. A useful ally! 

I hope you have enjoyed this first installment, see you in part ll.