Magical Missives: A Mid-Summer Potion ~ The Golden Rose

Alchemy and Magic

M

iracles,

You are receiving your magical missive a bit early this week (so there will be no email on Sunday) because I wanted you to have this recipe available *before* Summer Solstice.

So in South Central Texas Mid-Summer is HOT. We have already had a couple of weeks where temps regularly exceeded 100 degrees – ick!

What’s a Sacred Artist to do? Make a potion of course! This is my current favorite Mid-Summer potion. I am giving you both alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions because children love this too.

First, let me say a few words about Mid-Summer: like Christmas, Mid-Summer is actually a series of days and not a single event. There is Solstice which is tomorrow, but then there is also the Feast Day of St. John which is on June 24th – so basically the revelries continue through the morning of the 25th.

Many magical things happen during this time. Women gather herbs that are believed to be especially protective and healing – and then they wash their faces in the dew the hanging herbs have collected overnight – in order to see visions of their future.

Faeries are believed to run rampant, which means that wishes can be granted and treasures revealed.

One of my favorite forms of magic is potion-making. It calls to mind bubbling cauldrons and water-drenched buds, and potion making is at its best when the magic goes hand in hand with good taste. Don’t just trust me though, try it for yourself:

The Golden Rose – A Mid-Summer Potion

What you will need:
1 cup water flat or sparkling – I use Topo Chico
1 table spoon Saffron flavored simple syrup (I like Oak and Salt’s syrups)
1 table spoon Rose flavored simple syrup (or a splash of Rosewater)
1/2 table spoon Raspberry simple syrup
If you want a bit more zing to your potion add Lillet Blanc to taste
Finish with a splash of Orange Flower Water + a handful of rose petals
Ice

Significance:
Water is cleansing, healing, and nourishing
Saffron is wealth and abundance bringing, associated with treasure acquired through diligence (you try harvesting Saffron from the Saffron Crocus and see what I mean) – this is the “gold” part in the Golden Rose.
Rose is associated with love, romantic and otherwise, pleasure, sex, intimacy, and the Divine Feminine in her many, many forms.
Raspberry is resonant with themes of procreation, fertility, fecundity, flow, and creative work.
Orange Flowers are associate with joy, happiness, prosperity, wealth, and celebration.
I recommend Lillet as the spirit addition if you want one because it is an herbed apertif wine (stronger in alcoholic content than regular wine so do keep that in mind) and it is infused with oranges and other herbs that make it especially suitable for this potion.

Ceremony:
Make the potion and as you mix the ingredients together speak aloud your petitions, intentions, and blessings for yourself during this Mid-Summer celebration.

Final act:
Drink it up! Share it with friends and family! This potion is best enjoyed by moonlight, firelight, and in time of joy and celebration.

And if you want more Mid-Summer magic come and join the Feast Days for the Radically Reverent – it is free as always!

In love and blessings always,
Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Blessed be our ability to love again, anew, once more.

Daily Blessings

Blessed be our ability to love again, anew, once more.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Blessed be the knowledge that love will always be more than fear.

Daily Blessings

Blessed be the knowledge that love will always be more than fear.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Blessed be our love of ornamentation.

Daily Blessings

Blessed be our love of ornamentation.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Where do our prayers go?

Lunar Letter

D

ear Miracles,

As lovers of the sacred arts – people who dream magic and dance and weave, tell stories and sing together – we are lovers of something we feel is much broader, more luminous, higher or deeper, something more meaningful and more wholesome, than the affairs of a dusty and dim political world, a world so deeply scarred and fractured, as it sometimes seems, beyond repair. If we could live on the Isle of the Blessed, far away from the squalid disputes and the daily strife, how many of us would not choose to do so at once?  (Indeed sometimes you will find me preferring to live under a Magic Mushroom, with a good book of course.) But the scarred and fractured world is our world. It is the one world we have. And it requires our love – especially the love of those of us who are lovers of the sacred arts.

Who better to teach us about these matters than Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.?  In his Letter From Birmingham Jail, which I encourage you to read, Dr. King articulates the four steps for any nonviolent political campaign. Those four steps are:

1.    Collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist
2.    Negotiation
3.    Self-purification
4.    Direct action

An essential part of self-purification is self-examination. If I am physically threatened during a campaign, will I hit back? Do I have the inner strength to stand my ground, and in standing my ground, most importantly am I prepared to turn the other cheek? If I can put myself to the test, and say in all seriousness “yes, I am prepared to turn the other cheek” then I am ready for the campaign. If I cannot honestly affirm this, I have still had work to do.

On the basis of what Dr. King argues in his Letter, I suspect that he understood prayer to play a significant role in the process of self-examination.

This is because prayer here is much more than a mere entreaty to obtain something. We put ourselves to the test. Prayer and blessing call us out. By praying, we are expressing a desire not to hide, but to lay our cards on the table, to get real, to be honest with ourselves and with others, and to get with it.

The upshot is that direct action occurs long before any picket line is created or protest signs are made.  Prayer in this sense has a direct action all of its own, in the truest sense of the word, it is an action that works directly on us.

In other words, prayer and blessing that is only externally directed is not prayer or blessing at all. There is no blessing way in that. When tragedy strikes the understandable reaction among people of all stripes – among religious people and even among people who do not identify as religious – is to pray for a better outcome, to pray for healing, pray for light (even though sometimes what is actually called for is healing darkness), pray for love (even though what might be more useful is clear-eyed discernment), to pray and then…do nothing, change nothing, learn nothing.

As the Danish philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard wrote, “the function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.”  Prayers must go inwards too. They must put ourselves to the test, strike at the roots of who we are, what we think, what we say, how we treat one another and how we live.

In a world in which sometimes seems like a runaway train, these are the results – this is the action – that truly makes a difference.  May it be so!

And, for those of you who would like to get in on some group blessing, I am performing a FREE community altar for La Señora Guadalupe on her feast day, December 12th. Learn about her and send in a petition to be included in our family altar by going here.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

What to do when everything is NOT Ok

Lunar Letter

A

personal favorite theme in faerie tales is one I have come to call “peace, peace, but there is no peace.”  It goes like this: the hero or heroine is in a dangerous situation, but they refuse to recognize or acknowledge that fact.

In the story of the Little Match Girl, a homeless and hungry child freezes to death because she wastes what little fuel she has created pretty pictures and fantasies instead of assessing her perilous surroundings and seeking aid.

In the tale of Bluebeard, a young woman comes upon a room full of dead bodies but chooses to turn away and try to hide her discovery, wanting nothing more than to pretend that it never happened.

In the pages of Cinderella and Snow White we see this theme too — widowed men continually marrying bad, cruel, unforgiving women. Are all of the evil-step mothers really amazing actresses or are the men turning a blind eye to the things they would rather not see (or deal with)?

In all of these tales, there are only two possibilities: death or revelation. The stories teach us that to ignore what is really going on is tantamount to signing our own death warrant. To say “peace, peace” instead of squaring ourselves up to whatever is really happening is to breathe out the one lie that can take us down.

You might think that this behavior is found in faerie tale or myth only. Not so. We see it all of the time. It happens anytime someone asks you “how you are doing” and you respond with “I’m ok, great, fine” even when that is not the case. I have seen people “I’m OK” themselves into bad relationships, terrible jobs, unhappy marriages, and dangerous health situations. “Peace, peace”, but not really and certainly not now. This behavior comes from the best possible place…our desire for peace, our desire to truly be OK…but because it lacks the will to see things as they are, this well-intentioned desire leads ever and always to the exact opposite.

Longtime readers of mine know that I am an optimist. I believe in the best possible outcome, I expect the impossible on a regular basis, and my work is crafted around the reality of miracles. I never advise that we go looking for trouble or that we wallow in victimhood of any kind.  Yes, I believe in the power of positive thinking. But without a willingness to face uncomfortable truths, positive thinking is no longer a useful tool but a weapon capable of inflicting great harm to the self.

Call it like you see it, see it for what it is, and respond with compassion and courage.

This is the only way to call forth what is truly and deeply healing, whole, and holy in ourselves and each other. When we are able to do that not only do we stop the “I’m OK’ mantra we discover that much of what we wish to have more of in our lives, much of what we are yearning for, is already there, if only we see it clearly.

So it is that beauty is not perfectly smooth and soft but has edges, scars, and wrinkles. So it is too that magic requires transformation and demands a departure from comfort. Love — brave, brave love never turns away from fear but takes fear by the hand and walks with it through all kinds of terrain. And peace, lasting peace, is found by telling the truth, sometimes rocking the boat, making waves, being your one, blessed, perfect in your imperfections, self.

They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ But there is no peace. — Jeremiah 6:14

(Listen to this lunar letter by clicking here).

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Many Branches–Plant Love with Kiva Ringtail Rose

Learning and Community

D

ear Miracles: I first heard Kiva Rose’s name mentioned years ago when my mother and I were reading one of Loba’s columns in Sage Woman magazine. The Anima school and sanctuary sounded wild and wonderful and so very needed. Then years later I came across her work again in Plant Healer Magazine–and it wasn’t long before I wrote a couple of articles for that most excellent periodical. Kiva is a busy woman and I was delighted when she agreed to take some time and speak with me about plant magic and all that is wild. 

In her own words: Herbalist, author, and wild creature, Kiva Rose lives in a canyon botanical sanctuary within the Gila Wilderness of New Mexico. She is also the co-director of the HerbFolk Gathering, held each September in the mountain Southwest, is co-editor of Plant Healer Magazine, and maintains an herbal blog, The Medicine Woman’s Roots.

Find Kiva on the World Wide Web:

Plant Healer and The HerbFolk Gathering
The Medicine Woman’s Roots Herbal Blog

 

 

 

Who/What is a Plant Healer? Why this term instead of a term like Herbalist?

A Plant Healer is anyone who works with the plants for the purpose of healing. We chose this term in part because of its simplicity and because of the way it keeps the focus on the plants themselves. I am an herbalist because I love the plants, and feel called to matchmake between plants and people, hopefully facilitating new and deeper relationships among humans and herbs that brings healing for us, as well as inspiring us to take better care of the earth in the process.

 

One of the many contributions you have made to the plant loving community is a return to the notion of “folk herbalism”. How is folk herbalism different from what might be considered more “mainstream herbalism”, what are folk herbalists bringing to the table that has been missing in the community?

Basically, folk herbalism is technically defined as herbalism being practiced by non-professionals or lay people, often utilizing regional or handed down knowledge and perspectives. However, given the wide range of practitioners that currently identify as folk herbalists, I think it makes sense to broaden the definition to include professionals and non-professionals alike who practice an herbalism not currently accepted as valid by the Western biomedical industry and our culture in general.

Folk herbalism has always been here, and has long been represented by an incredible spectrum of practitioners. I personally use the terminology because I value both inclusivity and diversity within the healing community. I especially like the fact that folk herbalism embraces such a wide range of ideas and practices without insisting upon a false or forced homogeny.

 

You run a clinical practice, care for a beautiful wilderness area in Southern New Mexico, teach, write, publish some of the finest books and magazines on the plant path, and organize festive conferences and weekends of education for plant healers, you are also a mom and devoted partner…how do you do it all and what are your personal favorite herbal allies?

Thank you, Bri! I’ve found that it’s my nature to cycle through focusing on what most interests me at the time, and I find that working on so many projects allows me to move from seeing folks to creating art to writing to land restoration to teaching to solitary and family time in a way that allows me to feel both fulfilled and to keep many projects going at once. Also, my wonderful partner, Jesse Wolf Hardin, does an enormous amount and keeps everything on track and on schedule!

Many of my absolute favorite plants are from the genus Salvia, I adore all that I’ve met thus far! I’m very blessed to have two native species growing right here in the canyon where I live and many more nearby. Working with the less well known Sawtooth Sage, Salvia subincisa, was a profound experience in my early herbal studies. While I don’t know of anyone else working with this plant, it is a profound relaxant nervine that is specifically indicated when tremors are present with anxiety. It’s also a wonderful ally for those who have such sensitive nervous systems that even Lemon Balm can seem too stimulating. Back when I was first studying and practicing herbalism, I was also recovering from many years of insomnia, addiction, and abuse and dealing with a very fried and overstimulated nervous system. The Sawtooth Sage helped to heal my nervous system and allowed me to sleep and relax in ways I hadn’t experienced in decades. I especially like it combined with our local Skullcap for tension, anxiety, and insomnia.

 

In 2013 you launched the Bramble and Rose–a wonderful shop where folks can order perfumes, elixirs, balms, and oils, tell us about the Bramble and Rose and what inspired it?

Originally, The Bramble & The Rose was created as an outlet for my passion for creating botanical perfumes and body products, and my desire to share the medicine of aromatics with a wider audience. As time has passed, I’ve slowly been expanding it into a more complete woodland apothecary that includes elixirs, bio-regional incense, bitters blends, and certain single herbs abundant in my area. I’d been asked for many years to make more of my herbal preparations for sale, so I’m happy to fulfill this desire from the community while sharing many of my favorite plant allies!

Part of the profits from The Bramble & The Rose go to paying for the materials used to create the herbal formulas I provide to local clients in my tiny mountain village at little or no charge.

 

If you could give one piece of wisdom to my readers today, what would it be?

To keep your work at its foundation, and to focus on not straying from the source that ignited your passion to begin with. To work as healers of any kind we need to avoid being drained by what we do, and a bit part of that is being able to receive vital nourishment from the earth and work at a roots level. I know that, for me, it’s very easy to get caught up in what needs to be done, and to neglect the simple, sensual delights that first drew me to herbalism. By remembering to play with the plants, experiment with new remedies, and spending wordless time on wild land, I am sustained and replenished in a circle of healing I am honored to be included in.

 

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.