Pagan Blog Project 2014 – B for Brewing

I’m still a little behind with the Pagan Blog Project , but I’m trying to catch up.  Today’s topic is BREWING.

Brewing is a favourite hobby of mine, and I feel that it relates to my path because I am taking the substance of the earth, and turning it into a euphoric drink, which I then in turn – drink with, cook with, return back to the earth in the form of offering, and which I gift to friends (who are also of the earth).

While I have yet to try beer-making, I have made mead, dandelion wine, port and cider (both of which are in the process of being made as we speak).

According to Wikipedia, archaeological evidence suggests that brewing has been around for over 9000 years (over 9000.  I thought it too.)  That’s 9000 years of taking a sugar (be it honey, fruit, dextrose, or sucrose), letting it sit in water in a jug, and leaving it be, up to the fates of the wild yeasts that float around in the atmosphere, and then coming back to it sometime later and finding a product which is drastically different, and positively intoxicating.

It’s only natural that one would want to repeat the process, and give thanks to the gods, who took their pot of honey, and turned it into nectar.

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(from last summer)

PBP2014d

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Pagan Blog Project 2014 – B for Brewing

Musings

Once again, I don’t use this as often as I ought to.

I am out of work on time off right now, but I go back in a little under a week, where I will likely fall off the radar again.  I can’t help it, work has been crazy busy.  I don’t just mean “Oh, I worked a little overtime last week” busy, but rather I have been pulling 11-15 hours a day, 7 days a week, for three weeks straight.  I sleep 6 hours a night IF I’m lucky.

I love what I’m doing, but I’m just knackered, and the internet in camp doesn’t work so well at night.  So I thought I’d play a little catch-up while I can.

Drink of the Day: organic Santa Cruz cranberry delight

Forages of the week: I haven’t much time at home, and nobody takes care of my garden, so it’s gone a bit crazy, but in the last few days, I have harvested raspberries, strawberries, peas, lettuce, rhubarb, and calendula from my garden.  My mugwort will be ready to harvest next month when I’m home, and I can harvest my nettles now, I just have to get my lazy bum out there in proper clothing to do it.  My chives are good to go as well, but I don’t really like them dried, and I’ve been too lazy to go buy ice cube trays to store them frozen.  Maybe before the week is out…

As for actual foraging, today I picked a bunch of saskatoon berries in the local park, and tomorrow I have plans on stealing all the fireweed flowers from the railyard to make jelly.  If I get around to it, I’ve been canning and jamming lately, and I’ve got some recipes to share.  I just need some time to actually sit down at the computer.

Exercise of the week: cycling.

I’ve been trying to get out there on my bike every day that I’ve been home, to make up for the lack of it while I’m away at work, and I’ve done a pretty good job so far.  21km the first day I got home, 28km yesterday (followed by a massage!), and today I took off from cycling in favour of foraging this morning – but I made up for it by going to aquafit class this evening.  Such a workout!  I’m always surprised by how tired I am after just one hour of aquafit.  I can cycle for three before I start to hurt.  Hopefully getting back out there tomorrow, too!

And a little tidbit of exciting news.  I’m going through the process to buy my first vehicle!  It’s a 1994 Ford Aerostar in surprisingly good condition for its age, and I’ve already started making dirty-hippie-campervan plans for it.

Musings

Magick Mondays: Ritual Magic of Flowers

Ritual Magick of Flowers

Acacia Blossom: Hidden Love, Friendship, Retirement, Platonic Love

Amaryllis: True Beauty, Pride, Innocence

Ambrosia: Love Returned

Anemone: Being Forsaken, Sincerity, Estrangement, Abandonment, Expectation, Illness

Apple Blossom: Good Fortune

Aster: Variety, Differences

Azalea: Fragility, Passion, Temperance, Symbolic Womanhood

Baby’s Breath: Sweet Beauty, Innocence, Purity, Modesty

Begonia: Heightened Awareness, Balance, Psychic Ability, To Send A Warning

Bells of Ireland: Luck, Good Fortune

Belvedere: Declaration Of War

Buttercup: Increasing Self-esteem, Verbal Communication, Childhood Reminiscence, Wealth

Camellia:

General: Gratitude, Admiration, Perfection, Masculine Energy
Pink: Persistent Desire
Red: Ardent Love
White: Beauty, Adoration 

Cactus: Dreams of Beauty and Wealth Coming to Fruition

Calla Lily: Beauty

Carnation:

General: Self-esteem, Healing, True Love
Red: Admiration From Afar, Desires That Do Not Come to Pass
Pink: True Sentimental Love
Purple: Changeability
Striped: Refusals of Love, Rejection
White: Innocent, Pure Love
Yellow: Rejections, Disappointments 

Cattail: Prosperity, Peace

Clover: Good Luck, Faithfulness, Compassion

Chrysanthemum:

Red: Love
White: Truth
Yellow: Scorned in Love 

Cinquefoil: Parental Love and Care of the Young

Cornflower: Refinement, Elegance

Daffodil: Inner Beauty, Chivalry, Clarity of Thought, Vanity, Unrequited Love, Energy That Comes From Being In Love, Sunlight, Respect

Dahlia: Spiritual Evolution, Dignity, Refinement, Instability

Daisy:

White: Decisions, Inner Strength, Heightened Awareness, Creativity
Red: Unconscious Beauty 

Dandelion: Spirit Magick, Wish Magick, Prophecy

Dogwood: Indifference

Dragon’s Blood (also known as Dragon Lily): Inner Power

Edelweiss: Nobility

Forget-me-not: True Love, Remembrances, Links To The Past

Foxglove (also known as Dead Men’s Bells and Fairy Thimbles): Stateliness, Deception, Youth

Fuchsia: Good Taste, Love Secrets

Gardenia: Refinement, Purification, Emotional Support, Secret Love

Geranium: Returning Joy, Healing, Difficulties and Frustrations Passing Away

Green Grass: Submission

Heather:

General: Inner Healing From Within, Initiation, Immortality, Luck, Rainmaking, Protection From Violent Crimes And Theft, Weather Working, Warding Off Inappropriate Suitors
Purple: Solitude, Admiration
White: Protection, Wish MagickHellebores: Protection

Heliotrope: Devotion

Hibiscus: Obsessive Love, Feminine Energy, Sensuality, Warmth, Creation, Fragile Beauty

Honeysuckle: Ties Between Lovers

Hyacinth:

General: Overcoming Grief, Games, Gentleness Of Nature, Impulsivity
Blue: Consistency
Purple: Regret, Sadness, Jealousy
Pink: Harmless Mischief
Red: Harmless Mischief
White: Shyness, Prayers For Those In Need
Yellow: JealousyHydrangea: Ruthlessness, Frigidity, Hex Breaking, False Pride

Hyssop: Protection, Purification

Iris: Purity, Faith, Wisdom, Hope, Valor, Magick and Energy For Pure Aims

Jasmine:

General: Material Wealth, Love, Divination, Dream Magick
Indian: Fondness
Spanish: Sensuality
Yellow: Modesty, Refined Beauty, Elegance
White: SociabilityJonquil: Sympathy, Having Your Affections Returned To You, Desires Fulfilled

Lavender: Devotion, Magick, Love, Protection, Healing, Distrust, Inner Sight

Lilac:

General: Pride, Beauty
Purple: First Love, Infatuation, Pure Love
White: InnocenceLily:

General: Birth, Honor, Divinity, Humility, Purification
Calla: Beauty
Day: Motherhood
Eucharis: Enchantment, Glamoury
Lily of the Valley: Sociability, Joy, Humility
Orange: Hatred, Dislike
Tiger: Wealth, Pride, Prosperity
Water: Soothing
White: Virginity, Purity, Majesty, Youth
Yellow: Happiness, Lies, GratitudeMagnolia: Determination, Nobility, Fidelity

Marigold: Protection, Fidelity, Dream Magick, Longevity, Jealousy, Psychic Abilities, Legal Matters Cruelty Between Lovers, Despair, Evil Thoughts

Mimosa: Love, Protection, Purification, Secret Love, Divination

Morning Glory: Death and Rebirth, Affection, Spontaneity

Motherwort: Secret Love

Narcissus: Beauty, Vanity, Formality

Orchid: Love, Beauty, Refinement, Fertility, Consideration

Pansy: Cheerfulness, Romantic Thoughts

Passion Flower: Faith, Peace, Spiritual Enthusiasm, Sleep, Friendship

Pennyroyal: Protection, Strength, Banishing, Peace

Peony: Exorcism, Protection, Anger, Shame, Marital Bliss, Compassion, Shyness

Periwinkle (also known as Vinca and Myrtle): Love, Recollections, Lust, Memories, Mental Powers, Money, Protection

Petunia: Anger, Resentment, Disdain

Poppy:

General: Eternal Rest, Oblivion, Imagination, Fertility, Sleep, Invisibility, Red: Pleasure
White: Consolation
Yellow: Success, MoneyPomegranate Blossom: Fertility, Binding, Incarceration, Elegance, Divination, Wealth, Un-reciprocated Love Magick

Poplar: Flying, Wealth

Primrose:

General: Obsessive Love, Feminine Energy
Evening: Inconstancy
Red: Unsolicited RecognitionPussy Willow: Motherhood

Rhododendron: Learning Who Is Against You, Power To Overcome Enemies, Banishing, Stirring Up Agitation

Rose:

General: Love, Passion, Strength Through Silence
Black: Impending Death
Bridal: Bliss
Christmas: Relief
Coral: Desire
Damask: Inspiration For Love, Refreshing Love
Green: Masculine Energy
Hibiscus: Fragile Beauty
Lavender: Magick
Orange: Wonder
Pink: Perfection, Everlasting Joy, Secret Love, Grace, Indecision
Peach: Immortality
Red: Love, Protection, Healing, Respect, Beauty
Dark Red: Shame, Shyness. Mourning
Tea: Enduring Desire
Thorn-less: Immediate Affection, Love At First Sight
Wild: Ferocity
White: Innocence, Secrecy, Silence, Purity, Humility, Exorcism
White (Dried): Death
Yellow: Joy, Jealousy, FriendshipRosebud: Youth, Innocence, Beauty, Virginity

Snapdragon: Force of Will, Protection, Creativity, Clairaudience

Snowball: Heavenly Journeys

Spider Flower: Impulsive Acts Of Love

Star of Bethlehem: Reconciliation, Atonement

Strawberry Blossom: Luck, Love

Sunflower:

General: Wish Magick, Fertility, Happiness, Wisdom, Healing
Dwarf: Adoration
Tall: Pride, Fleeting Wealth, Lies About MoneyTansy: Declaration Of War

Toadstool: Weather Working

Tuberose: Pleasures That Inevitably Cause Pain, Addictions

Tulip:

General: Lust, Sensuality, Romance, Notoriety
Red: Declaration Of Love
Variegated: Image Magick
Yellow: Charisma, Hopeless Love, Making Friends, SociabilityVenus Flytrap: Incarceration, Confinement

Violet:

General: Modesty, Affection, Virtue, Psychic Sensitivity
Blue: Watcher Conjuration, Fidelity, Love
White: Impulsive Acts Of LoveWisteria: Protection, Love

Zinnia:

Magenta: Lasting Affection
Mixed: Memories Of Those Beyond Your Reach
Scarlet: Constancy
White: Goodness
Yellow: Haunting Memories

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Magick Mondays: Ritual Magic of Flowers

Arnica Oil, Three Methods, and an Ointment

(this was meant to be posted a few weeks ago when I actually made the arnica ointment. sorry…)

Medicinal Oils:

Making infused oils with plants (fresh or dried) is an easy way to preserve their medicinal properties. This works because many plants contain oil-soluble components, such as essential oils, resins, basalms, waxes, and vitamins which can be extracted when placed in a carrier oil for a length of time. These infused oils can last up to one year, depending on the type of carrier oil you use. Olive oil is a classic example, because it has a long shelf life, and is readily absorbed by the skin, but many other options are available. Lighter oils, such as almond, jojoba, or sunflower oil can be used, or they can be blended together to utilize the benefits of multiple oils at once. Squeezing the gel out of a vitamin E (tocopheral) capsule, or adding tea tree oil can also help to preserve shelf life. Even hard vegetable or animal fats can be used, if heated with the herb.

A good list of the shelf lives of various carrier oils can be found here.

* If using freshly foraged herbs, make sure to let the herb wilt for a few hours to evaporate any excess moisture, which could cause mold and spoilage later on. A good preventative for spoilage is also to cover your jar, not with a tight-fitting lid, but rather with cheesecloth, or a paper towel and elastic, so that any excess moisture can escape.

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* When using dried herbs, remember the rule of thumb is to use half the dried amount versus the fresh amount. So if a recipe calls for 2 quarts of -insert herb here-, remember to use only 1 quart.

As a general rule, use 1 cup (250mL) fresh herbs (or 1/2 cup dried herbs) to 2 cups carrier oil. Add anywhere between 1mL and 5mL vitamin E oil as a preservative after straining.

1) Traditional Method

Begin by making sure every utensil you’re using is clean and dry (moisture is bad, if you haven’t gotten the message yet!)

Take your plants and break them up (called garbling) by hand. This helps bruise the plant and make it more readily release its volatile oils.

Pour carrier oil over top of your plant, making sure to cover it completely. Exposed plants can cause spoilage. Cover your jar with a piece of cheesecloth or paper towel and an elastic to secure it.

Place in a dark, cool location, and shake or stir daily for anywhere between 2-4 weeks. Make sure to keep an eye on your oil and watch for any changes – cloudiness, or molding. If this happens, strain immediately (if it doesn’t smell off, it should be okay).

After 2-4 weeks, strain through a cheesecloth, or muslin, or a coffee filter, and add vitamin E or other essential oils for preservation. Pour into a clean glass container (preferably dark) and label with the date and what the infusion is. Store in a cool, dark place out of sunlight.

2) Sun Infusion Method (my favourite)

Follow all the directions of the Traditional Method for preparation.

Store jar on a windowsill in direct sunlight, allowing the heat of the sun to infuse the herbs into the oil. Steep for at least two weeks, before straining, adding vitamin E or essential oils, and storing.

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* It’s especially important with this method to make sure not to put a tight-fitting lid on your infusion. The sun heats the oil, which causes condensation, which can ruin your entire batch if it’s left to mold.

3) Double-Boiler Method

This is a really good method to use if you need your oil faster than 2-4 weeks away, or if you don’t have the time to steep it slowly.

Fill the bottom portion of a double boiler with water (not too much though). Break up your herbs by hand into the top portion of the pot. Heat on low – if your heat is too high, you can burn your oil.

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Pour the oil over your herbs and bring water (in the lower pan) to a low simmer.

Heat slowly for 30-60 minutes, stirring occasionally (although I’ve read sources that say as long as 2-5 hours). The lower you heat your oil, the longer it can infuse without ruining the quality of your infusion.

Let the oil cool to room temperature, and then strain through cheesecloth. Add vitamin E or essential oils, and then bottle and store in a dark, cool place.

* I don’t own a double boiler, so I used an oven proof dish inside of a large saucepan.  It works, but be careful not to drip water in the dish!

* To make any of these infusions stronger, add a batch of fresh herbs to the infused oil, and repeat.

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Arnica Ointment, taken from The Boreal Herbal, by Beverley Gray

1 cup (250mL) arnica flowers

1 1/2 cups (375mL) sunflower oil

1/2 cup (125mL) olive oil

1 TSP (5mL) vitamin E

1 oz. (30mL) beeswax

Add beeswax to a double boiler on low heat (or use an oven proof dish inside of a pot filled with water). Stir often, until beeswax is fully melted. Add full volume of infused arnica oil, and stir until fully combined.

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I’ve since used it, and it works like a charm!

Sources:

http://whisperingearth.co.uk/2010/04/26/potions-group-making-herb-infused-oils/

http://www.anniesremedy.com/chart_remedy.php?prep_ID=30

http://mountainroseblog.com/making-herbal-infused-oils/

The Boreal Herbal, by Beverely Gray

Arnica Oil, Three Methods, and an Ointment