It is summer and it is time to go back to go back to the hidden paths, back to the Yaga’s hut and garden. Summer is a season of overflow and sensuous abundance, something I have struggled to maintain during the darkest hours, with all the death and heartache, but which I am fully preparing to embrace this Summer holiday. Summers can both be scorching and horrifying and sweet and dizzying in the best of ways. No Season is quite the same each year, and it is important to be observant and open to the beauty around you.
One of the most potent things I have done in order to break me out of these cycles of numb day-to day living is the ingestion of certain herbs- the bitter digestive ones particularly. Wormwood brought me to my deep, dark and hidden Scorpoid depths, and Mugwort helped me with my grieving process when I lost Salem. Bitter herbs like Mugwort and Wormwood are not flavours we are accustomed to in our modern diets, and for that reason, they can really help to snap you out of a funk, they force you to taste, and feel the world more clearly again.
When I come upon the Yaga’s hut, as always there is a pot of tea, steeping with the bitter Wormwood, I sip it and want to spit it out. To keep it in my mouth and swallow it down takes a lot of being present. Sitting with the discomfort destroys the last dregs of ennui and normalcy.
A Midsummer Nights Eve- Some Flower Magic for the Solstice
Mugwort is similar in some ways to Wormwood, but she is a bit gentler, a woman’s herb, a powerful summertime medicine which I tincture for The Yaga and other spirits of the wild who would be soothed by it.
Mugwort is one of the most used herbs within Witchcraft and Magic, very often used for lucid dreaming and psychic tea and is used in dream pillows along with Lavender and some other herbs. Corrine Boyer advises that there are some people who may experience unpleasant dreams when using Mugwort in this way. Never ingest Mugwort while breastfeeding or pregnant as it is an abortifacient.
Mugwort is a herb of edges and hedges, and is often considered a pest for how it can overtake a garden. For me I have found a deep and nourishing connection with Her during my trauma and loss, and felt called to eat the fresh leaves during my grieving of Salem, and somehow this helped me to deal with the fragmented feelings in my soul and body.
One of the folk names of Mugwort is St Johns Plant and it is known as part of the midsummer herbs (Including Saint Johns Wort). According to Corrine Boyer “It was worn as a ‘girdle’ (something that encircles like a belt) on St John’s Eve for protection from ghosts or dark magic” The girdle could then be burned in the midsummer fires to remove misfortune. Mugwort is also placed above doorways in order to bring protection and good fortune to the household and it was often used to protect livestock from witches and faeries by being hung up in sheds on Midsummer’s Eve (Boyer).
As an intensely protective herb, it is no wonder it has become the modern witches ally for traversing the dream realms, both bringing us closer to the edge but safe from the mischief and darkness of the other side. As it was a herb known for strewing due to its powerfully cleansing nature, I would add some Mugwort to a Solstice floorwash to get rid of any malevolent energies and bring good fortune.
Foxglove or Folk glove, has a strong connection with the fairy kingdom, and begins booming in Spring, and continues on into Summer, and is one of my favourite plants to work with during the light half of the year. It is said that Foxgloves attract fairies to the garden and collecting the dew from the flowers can also help one to communicate with the fae. In much folklore it is a plant used to break enchantments and bewitchment and was often kept in children’s shoes or babies cradles. It is associated with midwifery and women’s magic, and with blessing as much as with darker
Foxglove is incredibly poisonous, and should never be ingested under any circumstances. Never forget either that one must also take care when gathering flowers such as Foxglove, as fairies are known to be protective of them, and any perceived offense or slight could bring misfortune to those who pluck the flowers.
The Saturnine roots which have a powerful relationship with the dead make powerful protective charms and the Venusian flowers can be used in love and glamour magic.
Siolo Thomspson in her Hedgewitch Botanical Oracle mentions that Foxglove is a herb of connection particularly to the creative and sexual self. Because of my relationship with The Pink Fox, during late Spring and early Summer I feel in many ways that Foxglove brings me back into connection with her, and that wild power of enchantment and fairy tale magic that I long for. It has been a long while since any sense of playfulness has entered not only my craft but my life as well, and Foxglove does offer some sense of playful adventure down bewitching roads.
The Queen of Flowers- The Rose
Roses are some of the most enchanting and enchanted flowers in fairy tales and folklore. Being associated with love, protection, magic, youth, beauty, and many other things, it is no wonder that Rose has been crowned Queen of all the flowers. Rose is particularly associated with Aphrodite, and Cupid and is a well-known ingredient in love philtres, its scent enough to awake feelings of love, lust and sweetness.
Love divination during the midsummer was popular, and roses were used frequently. Placing a red rose under your pillow on Midsummer nights eve will allow you to dream of your true love, and if you pick a flower on Midsummer’s eve which does not fade after a month, you could be sure that your lover is faithful. (Boyer).
Roses are edible and medicinal, and the flowers are often used in remedies for heartache, grief, and for purification. There is a wealth of folk medicine that Roses are employed for, due to their anti-inflammatory, astringent, and nervine properties, but always keep in mind that flowers should be pesticide free, and fragrant.
Roses are very protective and defensive plants, whose thorns can be used to break enchantments as much as the flowers can be used to create them. As such it is a powerful plant to have in the witches arsenal and makes a wonderful inclusion in summertime magic.
Magic under the Teapot
In this day and age where many are disconnected from the nature around us, from the seasonal shifts and changes, some of the simplest ways to connect with the Solstices, Equinoxes, and other seasonal festivals is through silent observation, and a walk through a garden, or park.
Summer days are about reconnecting, recapturing and re-enchanting with the most sacred parts of the wild through sensuous abandon. Even if you don’t have exotic herbs growing in your garden, take a look at what is growing around you, and connect with the flowers, birds and other wildlife that may surround you at any point.
What will you find when you step out of your door and actually experience the world? Some Agapanthus, or Plumbago perhaps? Look in the grass among the clovers and see the bees and the butterflies. Look under the teapot, and find the hidden magic in the everyday. Allow yourself to be wholly and fully connected with this season, for soon enough it will be gone, and the colder and darker days will be upon us and we will have lost the opportunity to enrich our souls and bodies with the warmth of Midsummer Magic.
“Above all remember this: that magic belongs as much to the heart as to the head and everything which is done, should be done from love or joy or righteous anger”- The Ladies of Grace Adieu Susanna Clarke.
Further Reading, Resources and Bibliography
Under The Bramble Arch- Corrinne Boyer
Hedgewitch botanical Oracle- Siolo Thompson
The Witching Herbs: 13 Essential Plants and Herbs for your Magical Garden Harold Roth
The Fox’s Feast- The Pink Fox and The Story Teller’s Moon– Other Writing’s on Foxglove from me