Danu's Cauldron: Wisewoman's Ways, and Wild Fey Magic

Living in a sacred landscape, walking between the worlds in the veil of Avalon Glastonbury. Where the old gods roam the hills, and the sidhe dance beneath the moon...wander into the mists with me and let us see what we may find...

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Celtic power plants and spring green magic

It’s blossom time! Nature abounds and the fields, forests and hedgerows are full of plants that can support us at this point in the year.

Cleavers (Galium aparine) makes an excellent spring tonic to cleanse your lymphatic system. Can be juiced, and added to smoothies etc, or as a tisane or herbal tea, but I prefer to use it as a cold decoction- place the leaves in a jar of cold water, leave in the sunshine for a day, and leave overnight to drink the next day. Cooled in the fridge its a refreshing drink which tastes like cucumber. (Warning: Fresh Cleavers plant can cause a severe contact dermatitis for some people. If this is you, wear gloves when harvesting Cleavers. Strain infusions and tinctures of uncooked Cleavers carefully to avoid throat irritation.)

Comfrey (Symphytum Officinale), common comfrey is now blooming and spreading across the wild spaces and in the garden- this can be steeped in oil, and left somewhere sunny for a couple of weeks to use for bruises and aches and pains. Add beeswax to the oil to make a simple salve and muscle rub.

Elderflower (Sambucus Nigra) is just breaking into blossom- the fresh flowers can be used to make beautiful elderflower tea or tisane, as well as made into a syrup or cordial. Elderflower is excellent to ease fevers, sinus infections, cold and flu. Elderflower has antibacterial and antiviral properties, as well as being a good anti-inflammatory. The flowers can be dried to use later, or used fresh. To make syrup, steep the flowers in water overnight, strain, and bring gently to the boil, adding sugar to taste until it is a syrupy consistency. Add lemon juice to taste, and to help preserve. Never take the wood of an elder without its permission, as it is the home of the sidhe, and a faery being known as the elder mother. A traditional way to ask permission is to say ‘Elder mother, please may I have some of your wood- and you can have some of mine when it grows in the forest.’

Hawthorn (Crataegus Monogyna) is now in blossom and is perhaps the most sacred of the plants in flower at this time. Hawthorn tincture is excellent for heart conditions and anxiety, and so is a valuable addition to any medicine chest, although it needs to be taken regularly to be effective. To make a tincture you need to fill a jar with blossoms or berries later in the year- and then fill the jar to the top with brandy. Store somewhere cool and dark for a month before straining. Take a couple of teaspoons a day. Lots of people are making hawthorn blossom tincture etc this year, which is great as it’s the perfect herbal remedy for tension and anxiety. However, PLEASE remember- this is one of our most sacred plants in our indigenous British and Celtic traditions. Its needs honouring as you would sacred plants from other parts of the world. It is sacred to our spirits known as the sidhe, the hidden folk, the good neighbours etc and as such it is taboo to bring the blossoms inside the house. Ill luck ill health and chaos traditionally ensue. Store your blossom tinctures etc in the shed or other outside cool dark place, and leave the tree a gift of song honey or baked goods in gratitude. And do not take too many blossoms from each tree- denuded trees will feel offended and will not be able to make many berries in autumn. Both berries and blossoms are needed for the birds and the bees etc.

Tread lightly with nature’s bounty friends. Remember we have our own old ways still and the shining ones are all about us at this time. Act with respect and you may find new allies through a troubled time. Go well!



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Danu Forest is a wisewoman in the Celtic Bean Feasa tradition of her Irish ancestors. You could call her many things- witch, seer, walker between the worlds, healer, druid, priestess, teacher, writer, gardener, herbwife, stargazer, faery friend, tree planter, poet, and wild woman. Danu lives in a cottage near Glastonbury Tor in the midst of the Avalon lakes, in the southwest of England. Exploring the Celtic mysteries for over 25 years, and noted for her quality research, practical experience, as well as her deep love of the land, Danu writes for numerous national and international magazines and is the author of several books including Wild Magic, The Druid Shaman, Celtic Tree Magic, Gwyn ap Nudd and The Magical Year'. She teaches regular workshops and online courses and is available for consultations, including healings readings and other ceremonies.


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