Wednesday’s Weed: Burdock

Burdock (Arctium lappa) is also known as gobo, niu bang zi, cocklebur, beggar’s buttons, cockle buttons, clotbur, bat weed and fox’s clote. Native to Eurasia, Burdock has naturalized all around the world. Burdock has been used for 3,000 years as a blood purifier and immunity booster. Burdock is both edible and medicinal.


Burdock is a tasty little weed. In Japan Burdock’s root is known as ‘gobo’ and you can find numerous recipes for preparing gobo. In addition to its tastiness, Burdock has a fair range of medicinal applications. The best use for Burdock that I have found has been as an acne treatment. My dad taught me that a Burdock seed infusion was a good facial cleanser for treating acne; it has been my experience that it always works. However, I am sure, considering the list of things Burdock is used for, that many would disagree about its best use being an acne treatment.



Burdock is a neat looking little plant. Its dark green leaves are similar to rhubarb, however rhubarb is more glossy. The leaves can get huge, a couple feet long at least. The flowers form on the prickly little burrs. They smell nice. The burrs are prone to catching on animals and clothing (hooray for seed dispersal!).

 Burdock_1 Common_Burdock_with_bee_(2984589835)

                As an Edible

Burdock is very delicious, providing you are eating the right part of it. The leaves are kind of gross and bitter, however the roots and stems/flower stalks are very good. I’m not sure what to compare the taste of the root to, it almost reminds me of celery, maybe? The stems are very similar to asparagus, and can be prepared in a similar fashion, just peel them first. They are best when harvested before the flowers bloom. The peeled root is very good in stir-fry, it’s also pretty good in soup.


As a Medicinal

                Note: I am NOT a doctor; please see one before attempting any herbal remedies.

The root, leaf and seeds of Burdock are all used in medicinal preparations. Burdock has had a reputation for being a blood purifier and immunity booster for 3,000 + years. The fresh leaves, when bruised, are a great remedy for poison ivy or oak. A decoction of the leaves makes a good acne treatment, in addition to a being a good wash for sores. Jethro Kloss recommended a Burdock salve for treating “skin eruptions, burns, wounds, swellings and hemorrhoids.” Burdock is also diuretic and a mild laxative.


In Magick

Burdock is ruled by Venus and the element of water, giving it feminine properties. Burdock is used in protective magicks. It is used in incense, baths and amulets. Burdock makes a powerful addition to protective floor washes when brewed into a tea with broom corn, rosemary and lemon grass. Strain the liquid and add to your mop water; mop the floor as usual.


Works Cited

Cunningham, Scott. “Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs”. Llewellyn Publications. Minneapolis. 1985. Print.

Lust, John “The Herb Book”. Bantam Books, Inc. New York. 1974. Print.

Rose, Jeanne “Herbs & Things”. Putnam Publishing Group. New York. 1972. Print.

Yronwode, Catherine “Hoodoo Herb and Root Magic: A Materia Magica of African-American Conjure and Traditional Formulary Giving the Spiritual Uses of Natural Herbs, Roots, Minerals and Zoological Curios”. Lucky Mojo Curio Company. Forestville. 2002. Print.

Photo Credits

All images from the Wikimedia Commons.


The Pagan Experience: Personal Practice

Personal Practice- Share your favorite spiritual/magickal practices. What tools are incorporated into your daily practice? What feeds you and replenishes you?


This was a hard prompt for me. I have several spiritual and magickal practices that I consider to be favorites. But, in the end I decided to go with the one dearest to my heart, reading. Yeah, I really did just say reading (sorry, totally the most boring Pagan on the block…). Reading also happens to be my favorite secular activity, and those closest to me are probably not surprised to hear that it is an important part of my spiritual practices as well. I have always been an avid reader, it started with fairy tales and mythology (is it any wonder that I grew up to believe in faeries and worship trees?), and eventually just kind of took over. Seriously, I have been known to read food labels when lacking true reading material. As such, I always have a book (or ten) that I am reading, right now I’m about forty pages into Alexander Porteous’ The Forest in Folklore and Mythology. The book I devoured before that was Witchcraft Medicine: Healing Arts, Shamanic Practices, and Forbidden Plants
(before that was Traditional Witchcraft for the Woods and Forests).
When I have finished The Forest, I will be reading Whispers from the Woods or Plants of the Gods: Their Sacred, Healing and Hallucinogenic Powers.

Right now, I feel as if the woods are calling to me (despite me living nowhere near woods); hence the focus on trees and other plants in my recent reading selections. I tend to read periodically throughout the day as I can manage (my toddler takes precedence over reading, of course). I will sit and read a chapter or two and then I mull it over. My process for this varies, sometimes I simply think on the things I have read. Other times, I may meditate on what I have read or consult with my spirit familiars. I have also been known to take notes, and seek out strange books which were mentioned as source material for the concepts that I am mulling over at that time. My favorite reading times are those in which I know that I won’t be disturbed. I am prone to burning incense and candles which correspond to my intentions while I read (most often it is spiritual growth for which I burn frankincense or sandalwood and a lavender colored candle). I feel good when I do this, giving almost a small ritual aspect to such a mundane act. Plus, I really do believe it helps with retaining the information I am reading, and applying it to my life/religious practices.

I hate labels, but if I have to label myself; I am an eclectic Pagan. It is probably for that reason that reading ranks so high for me amongst my spiritual practices. I have no single tradition I draw from, and I find things which I adopt into my belief structure more often than you would probably imagine. Despite identifying as Pagan for nearly 14 years, I am still learning and frankly I don’t ever want to stop learning. Reading helps me to continue that learning and thus it is an essential part of my practice. I couldn’t fathom where I would be spiritually without all of the reading I have done. Now, if you will excuse me, my husband and daughter are out for the morning; I think I’ll light a candle, some incense and dig into The Forest.




Wednesday’s Weed: Chamomile

Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) is also known as German Chamomile, whig plant, ground apple, wild chamomile, Hungarian chamomile, and scented mayweed. Native to Europe and temperate Asia, Chamomile has naturalized in many parts of the world. The name Chamomile comes from a Greek word meaning “earth apple”, it was named such due to the apple like nature of its scent. Chamomile is both an edible and a medicinal herb.


    When I have a cold, or a tummy ache, or just can’t sleep I tend to turn to Chamomile first. Gentle and reminiscent of apples in flavor, Chamomile (at least the tea) has always been a staple in my family. I can remember being an itty bitty kid and my parents giving me Chamomile tea in the mornings so I could pretend to drink coffee with the adults. A member of the daisy family (Asteraceae), Chamomile is in good company; related to such medicinal herbs as blessed thistle, calendula, and echinacea. Chamomile has even been laboratory tested, and proven to fight bacterial and fungal infections. Not to mention, Chamomile is one of the nine sacred herbs of the Nine Herbs Charm.


    Chamomile has an erect, branching light green stem from which its narrow, lacy leaves grow. Chamomile can reach a height of 24 inches. Its fragrant flowers are made up of white petal-like florets, and yellow disc florets.


    As an Edible

    Chamomile has a long history of use as a tea. It was also used by Anglo Saxons in beer making prior to the use of hops. However, Chamomile isn’t just for drinks. I have heard of it being used to flavor a panna cotta, biscotti (I just made this yesterday, yum!) and marshmallows. The fresh leaf of the Chamomile plant is fairly tasty when mixed in mashed potatoes. I still like it best as a tea though (especially when accompanied by chamomile biscotti :3).


    As a Medicinal

    Please consult a doctor before attempting any herbal remedies; I am NOT a doctor.    

The use of Chamomile as a medicinal dates back thousands of years. Hippocrates, Asclepius, Diocorides, Galen- They all wrote of Chamomile’s medicinal uses. Over the years Chamomile has been recommended to treat all kinds of complaints. It helps with insomnia and anxiety when drank as a tea. Poultices soaked in a hot infusion of Chamomile are known to soothe arthritis, gout, earaches, back pain, inflammation, and bruises. Chamomile also possesses properties which aid it in healing stomach upset and ulcers. Chamomile infused oil can be used as a muscle rub, and may be beneficial to those suffering from rheumatism or general joint pains. Chamomile mouthwash reduces inflammations of the mouth and benefits gum health. Some women may find that drinking a cup of Chamomile tea in the morning helps with morning sickness. Chamomile tea is also known to aid other stomach issues such as gastritis and colitis. In addition, Chamomile salves can speed up healing time for cuts, scrapes and burns.


In Magick

The planetary ruler of Chamomile is the sun, its element is water and its associated zodiac sign is Leo. Chamomile is most commonly used in spells for:

  • Money
  • Luck
  • Protection
  • Purity
  • Tranquility
  • Love


To prevent negativity from entering your dwelling, wash your windows and doors with an infusion of Chamomile (I add rosemary when I do this). Powdered Chamomile flowers can be sprinkled around the home to prevent fires and lightning strikes. Chamomile blossoms can be placed inside the wallet in order to draw money to you. In addition, Catherine Yronwode recommends using Chamomile to help protect children from nightmares. She suggests bathing your child from head to toe in Chamomile tea on a Sunday. If they continue to have trouble sleeping give them Chamomile tea to drink.

Works Cited

Chevallier, Andrew “The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants”. DK Publishing Inc. New York. 1996. Print.

Cunningham, Scott. “Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs”. Llewellyn Publications. Minneapolis. 1985. Print.

Ody, Penelope “The Complete Medicinal Herbal”. Dorling Kindersley, Inc. New York. 1993. Print.

Lust, John “The Herb Book”. Bantam Books, Inc. New York. 1974. Print.

Yronwode, Catherine “Hoodoo Herb and Root Magic: A Materia Magica of African-American Conjure and Traditional Formulary Giving the Spiritual Uses of Natural Herbs, Roots, Minerals and Zoological Curios”. Lucky Mojo Curio Company. Forestville. 2002. Print.

Photo Credits

All images from the Wikimedia Commons.

The Pagan Experience: Resolutions

I’m usually not one for the whole New Year’s resolution thing. It has always been my experience that people (myself included) rarely stick to them. I refuse to let that happen this time around, I don’t have enough time or energy to put into goals I cannot reach. This year my goals are simple (or at least I think so).

I want to get healthy, and not just me; my husband wants to get healthy too. We have gotten off to a good start. We switched to a vegetarian diet almost seven weeks ago, we don’t use any chemical cleaners in our house and pretty soon we’ll be making the switch to homemade tooth paste and deodorant, in order to cut the last of the dangerous chemicals we have been so dependent on out of our lives.

I want to maintain my 4.0 GPA this semester. I really want to transfer to UNC’s J-School; it is my hope that I can keep a 4.0 the whole way through community college in order to do so.

I want to get involved in my community; the neighborhood I live in is in severe need of some TLC. I see a lot of litter around the apartments. I need to start picking it up during my walks. As an animistic witch I feel it is my duty to be a steward to our earth. I’m not doing a very good job when my own neighborhood is littered with candy wrappers and soda cans, I plan to remedy this immediately.

I also plan to plant a garden; I want to grow some vegetables out my back door, as well as some clover and plantain, for medicinal purposes (and tortoise chow). In my front yard is enough space for me to grow some calendula, maybe some lavender or hyssop (and I totally want to grow a few kinds of mint in containers :3). I am really excited for L to see me working in the garden; I want to interest her in plants (nature in general, really). It is my hope to someday teach her all that I know about plants, I feel like letting her play by my side while I work the garden is the first step in that direction.

Additionally I want our family to spend more time outdoors as it warms up. I feel like getting out doors and connecting with nature is the quickest way to reach my first goal of getting healthy. We need to walk, run and play in the sun’s glorious light. We are so tired of being sick and out of shape. I feel like we have made so much progress in just changing our dietary habits, maybe instead of joining a gym, we need to just keep eating right and go outside more. Simply enjoy our dear mother nature and all she has to offer us.

This year, another goal of mine is to spend more time in meditation. I think that I need to dedicate a portion of the time L is napping each day to meditation. I would also like to find time at least once a week to meditate in nature; I’m not going to hold my breath, because I am both a full time college student and the mother of a rambunctious one year old. However, it would be nice if I could work that in sometimes. I would like to find welcoming spots in nature and meditate upon a particular tree or perhaps even a particular mushroom or the like. I just want to make more time for nature. That is a big goal all around for my family this year.

We want 2015 to be our best year yet, and I really think that it will. Things have been coming together for my family here recently, and I have a lot of hope for this year. I’m ready for the new beginnings of the spring season, and definitely ready for the start of the spring semester 😀


May we all reach our goals in the coming months!

The Pagan Experience

    Starting tomorrow I will be taking part in The Pagan Experience. It’s similar to the Pagan Blog Project. I think it’s going to be great fun. Here are January’s prompts. If you are a Pagan who blogs you may want to check it out. ❤



6 Weeks and Counting :)

I mentioned my family’s desire to live a vegetarian lifestyle in a post back in the beginning of November. I am pleased to say that as of this week, we have been vegetarians for six straight weeks. So far it has been great. I feel really good now that I don’t have to tell L that she can’t have what we’re eating. I felt like a hypocrite saying that it was wrong to give L meat even though Z and I ate it regularly. I also felt really bad that animals were dying to feed my family, I have always had a hard time saying that a good steak or a juicy chicken breast for dinner was worth the life of the animal who died to provide me with said steak or breast. I cannot begin to explain how good it feels to not have to wrestle with guilt over food. Though I have found that as time passes I have become ultra-aware of the small amount of dairy and eggs that we use and I am seriously mulling over veganism, as I don’t want animals to suffer in any fashion to feed our family. I am lactose intolerant so in order to avoid being glued to the toilet, I stay away from milk at all costs; in fact I can’t even remember what it tastes like (aside from bad, haha). I do however, cook with cheese and occasionally I decide that yogurt is worth suffering for. Giving those up would not be so bad, but I’m not sure I can handle living without eggs. There are few things I enjoy more than a good scrambled egg or egg salad sandwich. But, then again…Z’s drink of choice has always been milk and he has given it up with ease, maybe I need to just take Z’s stance.

Speaking of my favorite fellow, Z has lost twenty pounds since adopting a plant based diet. I’m really proud of him, despite being a total sour puss about the change at first he has made a lot of progress. His portion sizes have decreased dramatically; at first I thought he just didn’t want any of the new foods he was trying, but then he mentioned that he found himself filling up quicker and staying full longer. I’m still working at getting him to drink an adequate amount of water each day, and squeezing exercise into his schedule at the moment is tough, but we’ve made more progress in the last six weeks than we had in the whole rest of the year. This gives me a lot of hope for the next six weeks. I am hoping to get Z doing DDP Yoga with me soon. We already go on walks with L in the morning and he walks the mall during his lunches at work, I know it’s a small start to physical fitness, but you have to start somewhere, right?

Going back to vegetarianism this time around has been an interesting experience for me. Before, when I became a vegetarian, I was a pre-teen and not all that concerned with nutrition. Even so, that was still the healthiest I had been in my life, and I wasn’t even going about it the right way (I ate a very soy heavy diet, tons of canned food, lots of white bread and processed sugars). Now, I try to buy what I can organic, I bake our breads, make our pastas, I have cut out about 80% of the sugar in our diet and I pay close attention to the foods I pair together in order to ensure that my family gets all of the nutrients we need. It has been a lot of work but it is totally worth it. Z and I may still be overweight, but we are definitely healthier. We have more energy, we’ve lost weight, and we have fewer aches, pains and general complaints. In addition, we are laying the ground work to ensuring that L is healthy and aware of her nutritional and fitness needs. L is our primary motivation to become healthy. We need to be good role models in every aspect of the word, which includes health and wellness.

We want our daughter to understand how important it is to eat right and take care of herself. A major fear of ours has been that L will grow up to have the myriad of health problems that plague our families, many of which can be avoided by exercise, good food and a low stress lifestyle. I’m not really one for New Year’s resolutions, but if I were to make one this year, I think it would be to get my family healthy through nature. We want our little girl to grow up playing in the woods, splashing around in creeks and squishing sand between her toes, all while taking in the wonders that nature has to offer. I know of no better way to grow up stress free and healthy, than growing up eating fresh fruits and vegetables and playing outside in the natural world. I know we have only taken baby steps toward this goal, it takes a lot more than a month and a half of vegetarianism and a little walking to transition into a healthy lifestyle. However, I feel like this goal is not only obtainable but near at hand. We’re dedicated to a healthier lifestyle for not only us, but our children as well and Z and I are not going to let anything derail us. 2015 is going to be the year we purge the last of our bad habits, and begin to live a completely healthy eco-friendly life.

Here’s to 2015, may it be better than 2014 for us and you 😀


Natural Cleaning

At the beginning of the month Z and I signed a lease for our very own quaint little two bedroom apartment. As we moved in we made a list of house rules, if you will. Simple things like: whoever does not cook is responsible for doing the dishes, or no wearing shoes in the house. We also made rules about what kinds of products are allowed to come into our home. The big thing we agreed on was no poisonous cleaning chemicals in our home. You hear all too often about little ones ingesting cleaning products. Even when all the necessary precautions are taken, accidents still happen. Furthermore, the American Lung Association has stated that household cleaners emit hundreds of potentially harmful chemicals which adversely affect indoor air quality. I don’t want to breathe that crap, Z doesn’t want to breathe that crap and we definitely do not want L breathing it. Aside from the safety and health concerns we have in regards to cleaning products, there is also the price to be taken into consideration. Why on earth would I want to spend our hard earned money on expensive poisons, when I can get my house just as clean with cheap ol’ vinegar and baking soda?

That’s right. Distilled vinegar and baking soda make up the bulk of my cleaning arsenal. I also employ essential oils (occasionally), lemon juice, castile soap, ground egg shells, corn starch, and washing soda. I personally do not use borax, I’ve heard too many negative things, and it is just easier for me to simply avoid it. If you are new to chemical free cleaning, I am sure you are wondering how this mix of odds and ends gets my house clean, so let’s start with my favorite…


My entire apartment has tile flooring so in order for me to feel that my house is remotely clean, I mop every other day. Hopefully, you are not nearly as OCD as I am about the floor. My basic mopping solution is roughly a couple of cups of vinegar added to my five gallon mop bucket with turbo HOT water. I also add a mixture of various herbs to the water, which tends to mildly mask the scent of the vinegar. The herbs are part of my spiritual cleansing process though, and have nothing to do with the actual cleaning ability of my mop water (I will do a separate post on that soon). You can add essential oils to the mop water and they will mask the vinegar scent, but it is unnecessary. The vinegar smell evaporates as your floor dries, and EOs can be expensive. I have never had any problems with streakiness, or with stuck on stains that the mop water was not strong enough to remove. Just make sure your water is hot for full germ killing abilities.

Cleaning the Kitchen

    In my kitchen I have an altar to Brighid inside a cupboard, for this reason it is very important to me that my kitchen stays very clean (What deity wants to be surrounded by filth?). I, of course, am a very messy cook, so I have my work cut out for me. That said, I have not found conventional store bought cleaning products to be more effective at keeping my kitchen clean. In fact, if anything I feel that they leave behind their chemical residues, which in their own way make my kitchen (and the rest of my home) dirty. Here are the basics of how I keep my kitchen clean:

Dishes– I use a castile soap, vinegar and lemon juice concoction to wash dishes. Take 2 cups liquid castile soap of your choice (I like Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint), 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon vinegar and ½ cup hot water. Combine the ingredients in whatever you intend to use as your dish soap bottle and give a good shake. You’ll need to shake it up before use, but it works well and is natural. When I find myself in a situation where I have something stuck on my pots and pans I let them soak, and if that does not help I use ground eggshell as an abrasive.

Sink– When my stainless steel sink is in need of a good scrub, I use a baking soda, salt and egg shell cleaning powder. Take 1 cup finely ground egg shells, 2 ½ cups baking soda and ½ cup salt; mix well. This is great on sinks, tubs, toilets, baked on food, etc. I don’t currently have a garbage disposal, but in the past I always cleaned it by tossing lemons and vinegar ice cubes down there and turning it on. Speaking of lemons, stainless steel sinks can also be cleaned with half of a lemon and some salt.

Counters– I tend to wipe my counters down with either my castile soap/vinegar/lemon juice mixture, or citrus vinegar. Citrus vinegar is really simple to make. Just fill a mason jar with (organic) citrus peels, I like orange the best, but any will do. Occasionally I will add a sprig or two of rosemary. Next, cover your citrus peels with distilled vinegar and allow it to sit for a couple of weeks. I like to give it a good shake every now and then, but I don’t think it is necessary. After it has sat, strain it and dilute it with water (1:1). It smells fairly nice and it is a pretty decent cleaner, I also use it for wiping out my fridge and washing my windows & mirrors.

Microwave– Since it has been impossible to convince Z that microwaves are bad news, we’re stuck having to clean one every now and again (darn left over spinach lasagna). I do this simply by sticking a microwave safe bowl in there filled with water and sliced lemons. I zap it for about five minutes, let it sit for another three and then just wipe the microwave out. I don’t allow it to get crusted with sauces or anything so I can’t vouch for the effectiveness if you are cleaning a really dirty microwave.

Cleaning the Bathroom

I have always hated cleaning bathrooms, they are not well ventilated generally, and traditional bathroom cleaning products suck. The fumes they put off are absolutely insane, prior to switching to green alternatives I had never managed to clean the whole bathroom in one sitting. Now that I don’t have all sorts of fumes from various chemicals floating in the air, I can get the bathroom cleaned really quickly and not worry about what I am breathing in.

Counters– I really like citrus vinegar for the bathrooms because it makes the bathroom smell really fresh.

Sink/Tub– I use the same sink scrub in my bathroom as in the kitchen. When drains become clogged I pour some baking soda down them (about 1 cup), followed by vinegar (about ½ cup). I set a plate on top and leave it for twenty minutes. The clog should be gone when you run hot water down the drain afterwards. I have heard that this should only be done when you have metal pipes though so keep that in mind.

Toilet– Baking soda and vinegar once again to the rescue J I take 1 cup of each and just dump them straight into the toilet. I let it fizz and do its business for about ten minutes and then give it a scrub with the toilet brush, works like a charm every time and I don’t end up feeling faint afterwards.


When I have more time I intend to play around with making our own detergent, currently I use Seventh Generation, but I am considering soap nuts until I have time to make and test out a few different borax free laundry detergent recipes. I brighten my whites with lemon juice (½ cup added to the wash) or baking soda (also ½ a cup). A cup of vinegar added to the wash softens clothing and removes stubborn odors. Stains can be removed with a baking soda and water paste; for tough stains add a tad of vinegar or hydrogen peroxide after applying the paste to the stain, wash as usual.


Well, that is pretty much how I clean my house. A quick search on google or pinterest is bound to turn up even more awesome natural cleaning tips. If you have any natural cleaning tips you would like to share, please comment. I love learning new natural cleaning methods J

Previous Older Entries

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