The Witch’s Garden
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Tea and Incantation
Once per month on the 4th Tuesday at 8pm, I host a Tea and Chanting session at my shop, The Sacred Well in Oakland, CA. For each session, I prepare an intention for the group to consider, a new tea recipe to try, and a mantra that we will all chant 108 times. We then settle in to our meditation space, sip tea, chant, and increase our overall wholeness, wellness, and quality of energy with this practice. There is something really satisfying about this ritual. It clears and opens significant channels of energy and healing via the throat chakra.
I extend this experience in myTea and Incantation class in The Witch's Garden series as an exploration of how the art of drinking tea and chanting can positively affect the body, mind, and spirit. The throat, an important gateway of speech, song, breath, and consumption of food and drink, deserves lots of warm, kind, honeyed love. How many times per day do you find yourself talking, talking, talking or listening, listening, listening, and longing for silence? How often do you feel like you can't even catch a breath because you feel overrun and overwhelmed? We all feel that way sometimes. Drinking tea and chanting can be a great antidote to a loud and stressful environment, job, or life circumstances.
Incantation (chanting) is also an amazing magical tool for bringing about healing. A good chant, well-written, careful, delivered with intention and personal power, can vibrationally re-align the cells and tissues toward health via the water contained therein. If that water is steeped with healing herbs, all the better.
This month's Witch's Garden class yielded two new chants: one we wrote together and one I wrote for a specific purpose.
Together, our class came up with the following all-purpose chant for while one is preparing a healing tea:
"Thank you, herbs, for being gentle
As you aid me in my healing.
Together we are making magic
With sun and rain and earthly blessings.
Be a source of health and comfort.
May our working be complete."
On my own, related to a friend's kidney stone, I wrote:
"Stone in ________'s kidney
Turn to sand
Turn to sand
Dissolve into nothing
At my command
Three times three
I call to thee
Disperse and pass
Disperse and pass
Disperse and pass
So mote it be!"
My students also came up with some fantastic tea recipes as part of their homework. With their permission, I have shared a few below.
To go with the kidney stones chant above, here is:
"Fight the Kidney Stones Tea", by Chase for his partner Jason
1 part Sarsparilla Root (kidney disease and fluid retention)
1 part Red Raspberry Leaf (Kidney stones and inflammation)
1 part White Willow Bark (Inflammation and pain)
Decoct the sarsparilla by boiling it for several minutes in water, then remove from heat and add other ingredients. Let it steep for a while, then drink.
(Note to Chase: sounds delicious, and I'm glad it helped with Jason's kidney stones!)
"Come Down Off it, Girl, Infusion" by Larkin
Going off sugar, truly eliminating it from one's diet will give you a nasty set of symptoms, including vicious headaches. Try the following home-remedy for when your brain is feeling the vice-grip of detoxification.
1 part meadowsweet
1 part plantain
2 parts bilberries
chuck those bilberries in the bottom
place the meadowsweet and plantain in your favorite strainer
pour just-boiled water over the ingredients and let steep at least 15 minutes.
Enjoy the sweet aroma and headache-reducing qualities of the meadowsweet, while the plantain perks your butt back up as you deal with the coma-inducing effects of detoxification. Bilberries add in that bit of non-refined sweet your poor little corporeal self is craving - chomp them up!
(note to Larkin: meadowsweet also contains a bit of natural sweetener, which will taste very sweet indeed if you have been cutting out sugar.)
"Kind to My Body Detox Tea" by Metzalli
1part Dandelion root
1Part Red Clover
1 Part Nettles
1 Part Peppermint
Boil dandelion root in hot water for a few minutes before pouring water over the rest of the ingredients in a tea pot. Let this infuse for about 20 minutes before drinking.
(note to Metzalli: This one would be great for restoring the body after illness.)
"Honoring the Elements and Ancestors" by Mary
Dried juniper berries (1 part)
Dried lemon balm (1 part)
Dried catnip (1/2 part)
Dried vervain (1/2 part)
Dried meadowsweet (1 part)
1.5 cups of water
Add juniper berries to 1.5 cups of water and bring to boil covered for 15 minutes.Remove from heat and add remaining four herbs. Infuse covered for 10 minutes. Strain and drink.
These herbs were selected in honor of the 4 elements and our ancestors.
Juniper berries (masculine/fire) attract positive energy and helps with psychic powers. It is also a diuretic, carminative, tonic, antiseptic and stomach, though should be avoid if you have a history of kidney disease.
Lemon balm (feminine/water) opens us to the Goddess' divine love. It is also a diaphoretic, carminative, febrifuge and tonic.
Vervain (feminine/earth) is known as the Witches' herb and protects, purifies and promotes peace. It is also a tonic, sudorific, expectorant, vulnerary, emetic, nervine, emmenagogue, and vermifuge.
Meadowsweet (feminine/air) is associated with love, divination, peace and happiness. It is also an anti-rheumatic, anti-inflammatory, stomachic, antacid, anti-emetic, and astringent.
Catnip (female/water/ancestors) represents cat magic, love, beauty, and happiness. Cats are also known as magical beings who travel between realms, connecting the past, present, and future. Catnip is also an anodyne, antispasmodic, carminative, aromatic, diaphoretic, and nervine.
Catnip and vervain both have nervine properties, so only 1/2 part of each is used in this recipe.
(Note to Mary: an excellent and well-thought-out preparation!)
"From My Heart To The Heart of Gods! Tea" by Norm
1 Part Cinnamon Chips (Sweet variety, Cinnamomum zeylanicum)
1 Part Dried Hawthorne Berries
1 Part Raw Cacao Nibs
All of these ingredients act on the heart/circulatory system, on the physical pump itself and/or on our energetic emotional center. This tea is about a conscious breathing in and out with love and gratitude; giving is receiving, and real prosperity. For me, working towards this frame of reference is essential for heart health.
Medicinally, I use all of these ingredients for my overall well being, and incorporate them into a bigger regimen to achieve balanced cholesterol levels. It is working!!! For better heart health in the long term.
I say different versions of the following prayer when I leave offerings, do my daily walking prayer or anytime I want to just put it out there. I see in my mind's eye the image of the fiery sacred heart, mine, in my chest with upward turned hands extending forward in a gesture of offering to The Universe. I also see myself connected to the ground below and the heavens above through interconnected glowing white infinity symbols at each level. This way, the infinity symbols looks like a thread of never ending double helix, extending above and below with myself at the center.
"From my heart to the heart of gods! I'm GIVING with a sense of GRATITUDE for everything! It's not about getting, I'm GIVING! And with these open hands, with my palms turn up, I am open to receiving. Blessed Be! (added on for the walking version of this prayer, preferably barefoot on the bare ground) As I bless this land under my feet, this land blesses me. As this land blesses me, I in turn bless this land. We are infinitely connected, above and below. My body IS this Earth, earth is my body. I love you and am filled with gratitude. Blessed Be. (adapted from words spoken by Ariel Gatoga in his "Real Prosperity" podcast).
(Note to Norm: what a beautiful, inspired recipe! Also, YUM!)
...and when the busy herbalist is done with her day, Hummingbird developed:
"Sweetest Dreams Tea" by Hummingbird
3 parts skullcap
1 part rose petals
1 part rose hips
1 part mugwort
Infuse in recently-boiled water and let steep for several minutes. Enjoy before bed.
It's a delight to see my students growing and sharing their experiences making magical, medicinal brews. Every body is different, and every herbalist is different, too. Finding what works for you and sharing your personal experiences helps us all to grow. Do you have a tea recipe you'd like to share with The Witch's Garden? Feel free to post in comments below.
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