Thursday, April 28, 2011

A May Pole

May Poles are symbols of fertility and celebration.  A tall pole with hung with ribbons and flowers was the center piece of May Day and Beltane celebrations in the European past.  While most of us don't have the space for a twelve foot tall May pole, there is no reason you can't enjoy the beauty and symbolism of one.  This year, for the first time, I made a scaled down version.  My inspiration was the beautiful pictures that the members of WicccanTogether's Crafty Witches group posted.

You will need:
 1/2 " diameter dowel (mine is 36" long)
circular wooden disk for the base (the woodcraft aisle of your crafts store should have several sizes to choose from); you will also need to drill a hole through the center- the same size as your dowel's diameter
ribbon- choose several colors that represent spring to you- the length should be double the length of your dowel
A wooden ball with a hole slightly bigger than your dowel.
Flowers- silk, dried, or fresh for decoration

Insert the dowel into the base.  Center the ribbons over the top of the dowel.  Arrange them to fall in a pleasing fashion.  Use the ball as a cap on the dowel to keep the ribbons in place. Finish by placing flowers at the top and base of the May pole. You can glue it together if you like, but it's not vital.

 Traditionally, the top of a May Pole was crowns with a wreath of flowers and people danced around it, braiding the ribbons around pole.  You can also use this as a table decoration or a symbol for your altar.  This is an easy, fun project that can be tucked away for use over the years.  Enjoy!



Monday, April 25, 2011

A Witchy Moon Garden


I'm so excited to feature this guest blogger!  This post, from another site, really caught my imagination. The author was kind enough to allow me to re-post. In addition to her gardening tips, please check out her etsy site! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.  
-The Cauldron Keeper

Hi 
Mandy said I couldnt hang out in the shadows that I must introduce myself so here goes....

Im Harobed A Crafty Witchy kinda Bitchy Ageing Hippy :) Being a lifelong professional gardener and a Hedgewitch my days are filled with plants of all descriptions and weeds up to my ears! To me there is nothing more magical than a walk through my gardens. I work and harvest all season ,then when cold weather drives me indoors I turn my hands to crafting pagan tools from my harvested bounty.
Then Im up to my ears in witchy dream catchers, herb wreaths and curing wood.There are spells in boxes ,bottles and bags.Curing wood elbows my wands, every pickle crock I own is over flowing with half finished something and feathers. My herbs hang out in every nook ,crook and cranny always ready to be used in a spell or(if they're bored)leap out and fondle you. My entire house looks like Hippies took over hogwarts and invited tolken over for wine! So theres a bit about me,I hope you enjoy the read.


A Witchy Moon Garden

Spring brings with it the urge to get out ,grub in the dirt and for some of us create our scared spaces.Being a HedgeWitch and seasoned gardener, my sprawling garden was planned around sunlight,moonlight and all four seasons.

But I have the luxury of owning my own land in a rual area. I'm not hindered by excessive tidiness so in my realm everything jostles for position and elbows each other,more is better here! For those of you who require a more formal approach to each garden today I'm going to talk about creating a Moonlight garden.These are
quite popular now ,but not new or inovative.For centuries Witchs have either cultivated them or chosen their scared spaces for privacy and beauty in the moonlight. Two of the most important things in a moon garden are, an unobstructed view of the moon and a place to be comfortable,to sit and to do your workings. There is no right or wrong spot for this just make sure it's comfortable. No matter how good that wrought-iron love seat looks,it doesn't compare with soft cushions to perch on.

To truly appreciate your Moon Garden, you have to sit and let the worries of the day fade and your eyes adjust to the dark ,this isn't going to happen if your butt hurts from a uncomfortable seat!Once your eyes are adjusted to the darkness, white and light colored blossoms take on a silvery glow, blooms appear to float because their green stems and foliage fade into the darkness.

In my garden Moonflowers, Four-o'clocks,Datura ,Honeysuckle and Gardenia add unique qualities to
the night, their fragrances waft through the garden pleasing the nose and attracting night pollinators. Sound is another element to consider. At sunset, when temperatures cool and breezes come, the blades of ornamental grasses,rustle and whisper,Bamboo leaves come alive with the wind and its stems gently rap out a soothing rhythm. If you have a water feature the sound becomes amplified in the still of the night.Frogs start their evening serenade ,the fireflies dance over the water lighting the way and your fish frisk among the waterlilies. Here is the place for you to cast your circle,work your Moon magics or just escape.

I have pots brimming with the plants I use most often in Moon spells spread around so once I cast my circle I need not leave for lack of reagents.This is where you find my Cauldron along with a basket of candles and burnables.I have a fountain where my crystals can spend the evening being water cleansed and moonlight charged. Fairy stones are scattered around for the Fae and tokens for the Dryads are in a bowl by the pond.Its truly a place for magic to manifest, energy to grow and spells to be cast.

Your Moon garden need mot be huge ,exspensive or daunting to make.You can easily create one by properly planting a few pots and placing them where you can view them at night.If you want to add a water feature but are on a budget,a battery operated tabletop fountain can be bought at any dollar store for 10-15$.They have a lovely sound , and bring the cleansing energy of flowing water to your Moonlit space.The real key to spaces such as this is what you plant.

The vivid reds ,blues,greens and purples of your garden that shine during the day fade into dark shadows at night.This is when whites,pale pinks ,pastel yellows and silvery blues shimmer and glow .They take up the cloak of Moonlight and turn your garden (no matter how small) into a place where magic dwells.

As with any garden you need to first watch your sun for a week or so, then choose your plants according to what will happily grow there.Take the time to decide which of these will serve you best and please beginners keep in mind how much time you are going to put into maintaining your plants.If you love it but its fussy with specific needs ,then leave it until you have some experience .Most plants die because they are planted in the wrong place and are not getting the required maintenance. A moon garden dosnt have to be huge,properly
placed the right shrub or tree will brighten your nightscape,there is nothing to compare with the grace of River Birch in the moon light or the sight of a blooming Magnolia at mid-night!

Below is a list of plants that Ive chosen for their beauty in the moonlight and their carefree growth habits. Anyone can grow these if you pick the proper spot!So there you have it,I hope I've inspired you,if you have a question just ask,if you don't have a gardener of your own I'll be glad to answer it:)

Early - late spring
pale colored or white.....
Daffodils
Hyacynth
Tulips
Candytuft
Any Daisy ,Shasta daisies are very nice as their blooms are so large
Foxglove
Climbing hydrangea

late spring throughout summer
Honeysuckle after dark fragrance is heady and the blossoms almost glow
Yarrow ,common wild Yarrow takes on a whole new look at night
Queen Anne's lace (wild carrot) looks like Irish lace dancing in the breeze
Sweet alyssum (treated as an annual in the North)

Nicotiana,this has a wonderful fragrance thats only detectable after dark
Catmint
Jasmine

Echinacea 'White Swan'has huge saucer shaped white blooms that appear at night like drifts of snow
varigated Hosta
"Regal Splendor"
"Hosta Varigata"
"Patriot"
Hydrangea
"Oak Leaf"
Artemisia 'Silver Mound' or Varigated Artemisa

Lavender,these hardy shrubby plants turn blueish silver after dark
Lilac, pick a white one and you get to see their silvery blossoms as well as smell the scent
Any ornamental grass ,varigated in particular
Silver Dragon Liriope
Yucca ,these have stalks full of huge white bells that tower it the garden and put on a real show dancing in the moonlit breeze
Garlic Chives ,their white pom-pom blossoms should always be planted where they are seen at night
daylilies
"Pandora's box"
"Happy Returns"
"Ladies Gloves"

Fall
For fall the choices get fewer but the wise witch plans her garden for late displays
Chysanthemum ,there are many of these I prefer the giant white "Spider" Mums because they take on the appearance of exotic Earth bound stars
Asters come in many colors the pale pink or pastel purple ones add a lovely glow to the nightscape
Pansies ,planted in groups along your path these will gently light the walk to your garden
Japanese Toadlily take on a light pinkish-lilac glow at night
Fall blooming Anemone ,these are shade lovers who carry their blooms at the top of slender stems so they nod and dance with each Autumn breeze
Boltonia "snowbanks" this one grows four foot and in mid-September Its smothered in tiny daisy like blossoms that twinkle in the moonlight as the breeze stirrs the stems
Montawk daisys (commonly known as Nippon Daisies)are the last Daisy to bloom and a must have for any garden
Goldenrod shines in sunlight and fills your night with a golden glow

early - late Winter
Fall blooming Camillias ,these beautiful evergreen shrubs bloom in December here in Virginia and there are serveral to pick from for a moonlit display pink pale pink or white
Yellow twig Dogwood is a plain Jane until its foliage drops to reveal bright yellow stems that glow at night
planted with its sibling red twig Dogwood it gives you a stunning display of color in the stark winter months
Witch Hazel blooms late in the year right befor the break of spring with pale to bright yellow blooms
Peris Japonica "Lily Of The Valley" shrub also blooms at the end of winter with long streamers of beautiful white blooms
When Febuary is winding down Helleborus ,crocus and Snow Drops are the heralds of spring braving frigid tempratures and snow there is nothing as welcoming to me than the sight of these

Harobed Fidnuc can be found on Facebook or at http://www.etsy.com/shop/RivahHippys