Friday, October 16, 2020

13 Essential Herbs Series: Cloves

In this series, I will be exploring 13 common herbs you may have in your kitchen or garden, dissecting their meaning from science, history, and culture.  



Appearance: Small, brown, dried herbs in a nail-like shape (hence the origin of the name)
Edible? Yes, though those with blood clotting issues, liver disease, or food allergies specific to cloves should be wary.
Origins: Madagascar, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia
Other Notable Qualities:  Cloves are notable for being extremely aromatic.

Scientific Correspondence:

Eugenol, the main component in clove oil, is a known antiseptic and anesthetic.  While it hasn't been proven effective in scientific studies, traditional medicine commonly uses cloves or clove oil as a remedy for tooth pain and fevers, saying it protects against pain.  While the science isn't quite behind it, the belief is there, and that could certainly give cloves a protective attribute.

Historical Correspondence:
Communication - Friendship

A common herb used in Chinese cooking, the clove was said to be used as a sort of breath mint.  Specifically during the 3rd Century BCE, during the Han Dynasty, chewing a clove first was required before speaking with the emperor.  As such, cloves can be said to promote clear communication, particularly when talking to someone of authority or even a deity.

Cloves are added into perfumes and placed in holiday scented sachets as gifts.  A common gift of in Victorian England was the orange pomander decorated with cloves, as seen below.  They were said to represent friendship, and are still a frequent gift today.

Cultural Correspondence (USA/Midwest):
Familial Love

Because of their fragrancy, cloves are a common addition to potpourri, especially around the fall and winter holidays.  Because we most commonly associate this smell during the seasons where we're gathering with family, we could associate it with familial love.

Sigil to Invoke Cloves

Utilize this sigil as a way of invoking the properties of cloves if you have none available to you.  You are welcome to print this sigil, place it in a grimoire, use it on a spell or put it in your blog with proper credit.  Do not claim this sigil as your own.

Encyclopedia Britannica: Cloves
Spice Advice: Cloves Cloves
Mountain Rose Herbs: Cloves
The Spruce Eats: Cloves

**Images were found via a search labeled for reuse.
If you would like an image removed or credited, please let me know.**


Black Pepper

Coming Soon

Friday, October 9, 2020

Samhain / November Night: November 7th, 2020

Samhain is one of four Gaelic fire festivals adopted into the modern Wheel of the Year.  Historically celebrated as the last harvest festival, those living in Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man would complete their final harvest before the festivities began on the evening of October 31st.  Special communal bonfires would be lit and participants would then take fire from that bonfire for their hearth fires at home.  Fattened livestock meant for slaughter might be sacrificed as part of the celebration, either to dine on or for offerings.  Like the historic Beltaine, the veil between the world of the living and the world of the others would be considered thin at this time, allowing the Aos si to cross over.  Aos si were spirits, old gods, souls of the dead, and/or fairies depending on the tradition.  So sacrifices, offerings of meals, and feasts involving the dead were common. Another common attribute of Samhain was mumming or guising.  The roots of our modern trick-or-treating, participants would go door-to-door, sometimes in costume, reciting poems or verses in exchange for food.  Historic Samhain was quite the celebration, which might last until sundown November 1st or, in some areas, might be a three-day festival.

Modern celebrations draw heavily off of these practices.  Modern pagans who follow the Wheel of the Year see Samhain as the "Witch's New Year," and celebrate it as the end and beginning.  Many see Samhain as a celebration of life and death, with a particular focus on silent suppers, ancestor altars, and a reflection on mortality.  Because the veil between the world of the living and dead is thin, Samhain is a great time for magic and divination  And because it coincides around the time of Halloween, all the typical celebrations of the popular secular holiday are also included, from jack-o-lantern carving to autumnal decorations.

While Samhain is traditionally celebrated on the eve of October 31st, those that want to celebrate at the exact midpoint between the equinox and the solstice are in luck: Modern science makes it much easier for us to calculate that timeframe as well.  Scientifically-calculated Samhain typically fluctuates between November 6th and 7th, depending on the year.

This year's Samhain occurs scientifically on Saturday, November 7th, 2020 at 4:56 PM CST.  Every year it shifts slightly, so I would suggest checking if you're coming to this article after 2020.

Activities and Spells

Friday, October 2, 2020

GIVEAWAY - Ends October 23rd, 2020 - ENTER BELOW!

Items include:
Weave the Liminal by Laura Tempest Zakroff
Recycled paper mache skull
 Cachet Earthbound Recycled Sketchbook with natural pages
Real wood pencil tipped with gold paint
Goddess statuette/tealight candle holder
Package of loose incense/herbal blend (includes bay, cinnamon, cedar, frankincense, juniper berry, orange, sunflower) 
Clear quartz point keychain
4 Witch's Brew candles by Yankee Candle
Witch's Brew Car Jar air freshener by Yankee Candle
10 Earth incense sticks
Clarity Oil blend by
Psychic Oil blend by
Pack of charcoal disks
20 various small gemstone shards

One lucky winner will be selected on October 23rd!  The more you help on the survey, the more likely you are to win!

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