I haven't written much here of late. I am taking three different classes that I have doing a lot of writing for and each has the attention of my pen right now. However, I have been drawn to create a few themed self-care boxes/kits for my little Etsy shop along the lines of the Eight large and small celebrations of the Pagan calendar and they also are drawing my written attention. The current one for sale (shop closes tonight after midnight) has dealt with Mugwort. A traditional dream herb used to celebrate Samhain/Haloween/Dia de las Muertos. I wanted to share a bit of what I included in the newsletter and more thoughts on this blustery Samhain.
Historically, Mugwort was considered the 'universal herb for protection and prophecy' throughout the ancient world. Dedicated to Artemis and Diana, Mugwort was used for pain and healing, psychic powers and lucid dreaming. I find this so interesting as these are also goddesses associated with the moon and Mugwort is a moon plant. When you look to each culture you often find that they correspond and have synchronicity. In ancient China and Japan, Mugwort was hung in open doorways to exorcise the spirits of disease. The ancient Europeans did the same to ward off evil spirits. Listening to an Italian American herbalist speak this last August, she visits her ancestral village each year and finds that these traditions still live on-they have just incorporated them into the catholic tradition.
This was a great ally to the Roman soldiers who placed Mugwort inside their sandals for endurance on long marches. One Roman general recorded that his men marched 10 miles further, as well as faster, when on Mugwort; it is known as the "traveler's herb". To me those parts of the essential oil that create dreaminess also relax and sooth the nervous system, as well as being a stimulant. I included a Mugwort infused oil in the box which I think I should start using as a foot rub when I know I'll be working long hours in my kitchen.
Magically, Mugwort tea was drank before divination rituals and also burnt as a ‘transporting’ incense. I personally like to use a Flower Essence as I am wanting to connect with the plant herself. Native Americans also burned Mugwort as a ‘smudge’ to purify the spiritual and physical environment. This may seem that I am throwing out information that is all over the place. I want to convey how this (as well as so many other useful plants) have been used over the centuries is many different ways. Ways we often forget in this modern society.
One of the classes I'm taking is a Shamanic Apprenticeship with Darcey Blue. Mugwort is the plant I've chosen for long term study as a plant ally. I now see Mugwort when I journey to the crossroads as the crone wearing a beautiful cloak dyed with the deep green of the plant with overlaying cloth serrated leaves. Oh yes, she is also a dye plant💖 💖 And someday I am going to have to figure out how to create that cloak. I talked just a little bit about the healing aspects of this member of the Artemisia family. I encourage you to sit with the plant or a product made from the plant and see what she has to teach you.
With this information in mind I went on creating products that celebrate the beauty and long usage of this “Cronewort”, a name I learned from Susan Weed many years ago for those helpful qualities this Artemisia offers women in the Menopausal years. Samhain is the time of year when we honor the coming death of the land on the wheel of the year. Not that life after Menopause is that time in a woman's life. Far from it! However, the Crone (as archetype) is our escort through this thinning of the veil when we can visit our ancestors for a short time, then move onto a time of quietude through the winter months before the Maiden again springs forth. On this day I can truly feel this dying. As I said it is rainy and blustery outside. We were lucky (it feels like that now that I know the rain has returned) to enjoy a long dry October where we could appreciate the beauty of the leaves turning color. Now the winds have returned and quickly the summer plants are melting into the ground, the beautiful yellow, orange and red leaves are drifting (or flying) by the windows and I can just feel at a visceral level that the season is changing--death is coming to the land. And I'm ready. I felt stretched thin by the long, dry summer (as I said in the last post). This seems right. It is not a scary time of year, It's the natural creaking of the wheel as it turns yet again on its natural path to the next season. So on this dark eve I'll be celebrating with friends for a while, but coming home to sit quietly with some Mugwort based incense, mug of tea and a drop on essence on my tongue as I remember and dream of my grandmothers and those that came before me. This is a time for quiet and memories and thoughts of gratitude for what this last season has taught us before we look to the next. A moment suspended...
At the beginning of this missive I mentioned that the shop will close again as the clock ticks past midnight. Actually I'll be sound asleep so it will probably be tomorrow morning. We have been staying in town off and on quite a bit this fall and head back in again. I've already made the beginnings of the next box-The sweet scents of Solstice. They will be steeping away until the shop reopens the second week of December. I won't be in town that long, but I have lots of makings for specific people right now as well. I hope to be talking to you all before we get that far along, but you can find me daily on IG. Just a few things that are working here in the Chicken Coop-Rose petals and Cranberries soaked in red wine are a basis for a Solstice incense. I've had an Antioxidant berry elyxir steeping for a couple of months. There will be Rose soap, a lovely bit of light and a beautiful lotion to take you through the holiday season.