Herbs for Hekate


The Tarot of Delphi by J.D. Hildegard Hinkel

One of my most favorite things to do whilst crafting my magick is to go out into my garden and harvest fresh herbs, plants, bark, fruit, flowers, resins and leaves.  I love the ceremony of picking and culling the perfect flowers, leaves and stems or pulling out the plant in its entirety. I love speaking to the trees and asking to partake of the gifts they provide through their bark, resins, flowers, leaves, fruit, nuts and seeds. Its something that all my family does as a regular practice as in the “old country” the only way to get access to herbs, plants and trees was to grow them or wild-craft (harvest them from nature).

An aspect of my practice, which I took on-board early, due to it being one of the first things my mother taught me with respects to magick.  One of the first memories I have, is of my mother showing me how to gather Greek Basil from our backyard to make into a steeped tea to drink, after having complained of a headache.  I also have fond memories of my mother taking me out into nature with nothing more than a kitchen knife to show me which greens and herbs were safe to collect and eat and which herbs and plants to carefully avoid.  She taught me about the aspects of nature’s pharmacy which could harm and those which could heal because she believed you couldn’t heal without knowing how to harm and vica versa.

I never realized how this early education with trees, herbs and plants shaped my craft in not only preparing food and drink in healing (and on occasion harming) but also in magickal use.  This is why when starting out in one’s practice I would suggest everyone grow at least one herb on their kitchen windowsill or if feeling adventurous create a simple herb garden either in pots or in a garden bed, to be able to have these sacred plants at hand.  This is not only for convenience, but it’s a way to deeply connect the energies of the plant – to you, which comes from time spent sowing the seeds, planting the seedlings and tending to them by fertilizing them, watering them and on occasion trimming them back.

I would suggest starting off with these easy yet wonderfully effective and safe perennial herbs to plant in your garden, which can be used for various magickal purposes:

Chives = aphrodisiac, protection and weight loss.
Tie a chive into a knot whilst thinking of the protection needed and then bury it deep into the ground.

Fennel = strength, protection and weight loss.
Chew the seeds for confidence and courage.

Garlic = protection.
Hang a garland of garlic in the home to protect against malevolent energies.

Mint = purification and healing.
Mint placed around the wrist in a chain protects from illness.

Oregano = peace.
Steep some of the dried herb in water and use to wash the doors and windowsills of the house, which prevents negativity entering the home.

Rosemary = protection, love and stimulates the mind.
Tying up a few dried springs and then burn in the home for purification and to clear the mind.

Sage = longevity and increases magick.
By using the dried herb make a divination tea and scry for future events.

Thyme = purification, love and psychic ability.
Carry a spring of thyme in your pocket to boost your psychic abilities.

As a devotee of Hekate I consider myself a practicing Pharmakia.  Pharmakia is a Greek word meaning sorcerer who works with baneful herbs.  Some translations of Pharmakia also include the word witchcraft and I strongly resonate with this as a magick worker whose Patron is Hekate.  I actually wrote a poem about being Hekate’s Herbalist due to working with Hekate’s herbs so frequently.  I find my witchcraft being so intriguingly infused with nature within my practice I work with what I call Hekate’s Pharmacy – the herbs, plants and trees used in her name and with her guidance.  I do this whilst maintaining a connection to the land I live on as well as respecting the plants and trees I use in my magickal life.  Like the Ancient Hekate Priestesses – Medea and Circe, I too, like to have access to Hekate’s herbs, plants and trees for me to use in her offerings, devotionals and crafts.  Therefore, I have personally created this list from academic resources with respects to her ancient practice, modern practitioners findings, devotees of Hekate personal musings and my own UPG.

Hekate’s Pharmacy by Setjataset

*Aconite (aka monkshood or wolfsbane)

Angelica

Alcea ‘O Hara’

All-heal

Almond

Apple

*Asphodel

Cardamon

Chives

*Cypress

Cassidony

Chamomile

Barley

Bay Laurel

*Belladona

*Black Hellebore

*Black Poplar

Basil

Garlic

*Galangal

Greenbrier

*Datura

Dandelion

Dittany of Crete

Fennel

*Hedge Mustard

Hulwort

Honeysuckle

Ironwort

Jasmine

Juniper

Lavender

*Lesser Celandine

Lion’s Foot

Maidenhair Fern

*Mandrake

Mint

Mugwort

Mullein

Myrrrh

Oak Tree

*Oakmoss

Olive Tree

Onion

Oregano

Pepper

Pine

Pomegranite

*Poppy

Rose

Rosemary

*Rushes

Saffron

Sage

Thyme

Verbena

Vetiver

Willow

*Wormwood

*Yew

(*Please note these can be harmful or toxic if ingested, inhaled or placed on skin.)

As always please research and check all the plants and trees you will be handling before working with them to ensure you do so in a safe manner.

I would also suggest that before collecting any items from Hekate’s Pharmacy for use in your practice, that you evoke Hekate to bestow her blessings and give her thanks.

One I use, is one I wrote for my devotionals when I was first initiated to her practice: Devotional Hymn to Hekate

 

 

C) T. Georgitsis 2020

Organic Chinese Tea Appreciation: Glenferrie Tea House

Last year I found out the Glenferrie Tea House started to offer organic chinese tea appreciation sessions so I booked myself in as I have an obsession with tea.

The appreciation session lasted for about 2 hours and was set in the master tea makers home complete with traditional tea table and chairs.

set up 1

The different types of teas we tried were white tea (top near the small tea cups) and in order from left to right (bottom near prosperity pigs) were oolong also known as red tea, green tea and black tea.

My favourite was the Green tea which was the Green Puerh and the Oolong tea known as Red Puerh was perfect for my constitution (love it when my natural medicine knowledge can be used).  I found the Black Tea known as Hei Cha was the longest fermented we had at 10 years old which had an interesting flavour, since I’d never had black tea before.  All teas were from the same region in China – Yunnan Province and other than the loose non fermented White and Green were packed as disks.

tea

I learned so much about Traditional Chinese Tea I never knew before.  The things which stood out for me was the first brew of any tea is the tea wash to remove any impurities from the processing of the herbs and should not be drunk.  Also white tea and green teas only make about 5 good brews whilst red and black can make up to 10-15 and the notes change drastically with each brew.  Lastly White and Green tea shouldn’t be kept past 1 year after its been exposed to the air as its worthless unlike black or red tea which can last longer due to the fermentation (similar to wine).

The great thing is I have confirmation that my palette is still delicate as I could definitely taste the notes in the various teas (flowers in the green, chocolate in the black etc) and asked about them which impressed the tea master even though that was not my intention – just wanted to make sure I was tasting it right.

white tea trying

 

All images (C) T. Georgitsis 2016

 

 

 

Pagan Blog Project: Z is for Zaghareet

dancer

Zaghareet (pronounced “zah guh REET”.) also known as a ululation is a long, high-pitched, wavering yet sharp trilling howl created with the fast movement of the tongue to show heightened emotion.  On the most part its a celebrational  sound used to give praise and express joy within several contexts: ritual, singing, celebrations/events but it can be also be used as a sound of deep mourning depending on the culture using it.

In the context of bellydancing at haflas, weddings and other parties.  The dancer herself can use the zaghareet to show how much fun they are having otherwise it can be directed towards the dancer to show appreciation for their dancing.  It’s a great honour to receive a zaghareet.

This is what its supposed to sound like:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vaz82eJTkK4&index=2&list=PLCZAeT3QsYc60xQ8s8tETcjr3Uipl3t2y

© T. Georgitsis 2015

Pagan Blog Project: Y is Yes I’m Coming Out

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When I was 21, I chose to share with my sister that I had joined a Wiccan coven.  My relatives were well aware of my magical and spiritual practices due to the familial connections but that was done with one’s own family and without outside participation.  I was worried with how they were going to handle the news of me practising witchcraft with a bunch of Australians who I wasn’t related to, so I thought I’d test the waters with my sister.

To say it was a complete shemozzle was an understatement…..

I spent most weekends at my sister’s place for years helping her out due to a horrid divorce as she had heavily relied on me as confidant, supporter and helper so I thought it would be a good time to share my news with her.  I felt she would be open if I was just honest with her in a clear, concise way.  I was informative and positive about it all, as I really wanted her to understand where I was coming from.  She spoke little and only mentioned to be careful and seemed to be accepting of my choice.

Consequently I was extremely annoyed and frustrated when I left her that afternoon and drove the 20 mins home, where my father was waiting for me in a heightened state of anxiety and apprehension.  My sister had called him as soon as I had left her place to tell him I had joined a cult and that I needed a good talking to as I was going to be brain washed and used.

I felt so betrayed.

I was genuinely surprised as truth of the matter is I had been so careful with the way I approached my sister about it all and was very selective with the language I used.  I even gave her a copy of Scott Cunningham’s “Witchcraft Today” to read and she showed some interest.  My sister knew how I privately studied the occult, how my interest was deepening as I got older, how I wanted to learn more and network with others who were likeminded – she knew these were the reasons why I had joined the coven  This is why I was so horrified at how she twisted my words in her mind and didn’t have the decency to speak to me about it further.  It pained me that my sister had backstabbed me this way and over time I noticed her pulling away from me.

Thing is I accepted my sister for all her insecurities, selfishness, ego, greed and bitchiness but I always protected her and defended her and thought that as a big sister she would also do the same to me – no matter what.  That wasn’t the case and what she ended up showing me was how much contempt and hate she had for our mother and the magickal tradition we are part of and how all magicians/witches are against God/Jesus.  I had NO idea she felt this way until I confronted her about her behaviour.  I knew she never practiced herself unless it was to remove a hex or evil eye (the same is with most of my family) but the absolute revulsion she had for practitioners of the craft really shocked me. Although we moved past it for a while she would always make passive aggressive digs about it.  In the end it wasn’t my coming out that destroyed our relationship but it was the beginning of me opening my eyes and taking in what a spiteful, bigoted and angry individual she was…she chose to severe the ties between us due to my personal choices of how to live my life years later and hand to god/dess my life hasn’t been dimmed without her – in fact its made me realise that I don’t NEED to have assholes in my life who put me down due to their issues with something that doesn’t affect them.

With that said, my father was more open.  He married a magician/witch after all and had witnessed my mother practice on occasion and was impressed and amused by her talent.  I was truly my mother’s daughter and as long as I was in a safe environment he supported me fully…plus he knew I wasn’t an idiot and could think for myself.  In fact my father met my fellow conveners and he opened up his home to them and many rituals as well as dinner gatherings were held there.  He got to know my fellow coven and got to see firsthand what lovely people they were.

In the end I realised that coming out even though you might think you are out is harsher and I get why so many people stay in the closet.

Would love to hear other people’s stories on what happened with them when they came out of the broom closed to family…

© T. Georgitsis 2015

Pagan Blog Project: W is for Witches Flying Oil

Witches Flying Oil is an agent used to help witches reach the astral or trance states.  In the 1300 witches flying ointments were made with heated animal fats and nightshade herbs and it was claimed to help them fly to the Sabbath on their brooms.  Witches Flying Oil is a vegetable based oil infused with herbs which is a milder version of witches flying ointments.

witch_m_1728821a

Tina’s Witches Flying Oil for Hekate (© T. Georgitsis 2014)

Ingredients

  • Bay Laurel Leaves
  • Mandrake
  • Mugwort
  • Wormwood
  • Poppy Seeds

Method

  1. Fill a glass jar with ¼ of dried herbs and fill the rest with virgin olive oil.
  2. Before closing the lid put some cling wrap to stop the metal lid from corroding.
  3. Succuss (shake) the herbs in the oil solution daily for a month.
  4. Steep for a month in a secure glass jar and place in a cool dark place.
  5. Strain solution through cheesecloth (at least three times) and then bottle securely in smaller jars.

Simple Use for Witches Flying Oil

Annoint your third eye or back of neck for inducement of trance and flying on the astral.

© T. Georgitsis 2014

Pagan Blog Project: V is for Vinegar (Four Thieves)

Four Thieves Vinegar also known as Prophylactic Vinegar or Marseilles Vinegar/Remedy, is a health tonic made from vinegar, herbs and spices which was created in the middle ages to protect against the plague (black death). It can be used as powerful disinfectant and bug spray.

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 Tina’s Four Thieves Vinegar Recipe (© T. Georgitsis 2014)

Ingredients

  • Vinegar (white wine or apple cider) – 2 litres
  • Wormwood (1 tablespoon)
  • Sage (1 tablespoon)
  • Marjoram (1 tablespoon)
  • Meadowsweet (1 tablespoon)
  • Campala Root (3 tablespoons)
  • Angelic Root (3 tablespoons)
  • Rosemary (3 tablespoons)
  • Horehound(3 tablespoons)
  • Champhor (3 tablespoons)
  • Thyme (2 tablespoons)
  • Mint (2 tablespoons)
  • Lavender (2 tablespoons)
  • Cloves (25 cloves)

Method

  1. Add dried herbs to vinegar solution.
  2. Before closing the lid put some cling wrap to stop metal lid from corroding.
  3. Steep for 3 weeks in a secure glass jar in a cool dark place.
  4. Before closing the lid put some cling wrap to stop metal lid from corroding.
  5. Strain solution through cheesecloth and then bottle securely in smaller jars.

Simple Use for 4 Theives Vinegar

Use as a disinfectant or house cleaning agent.

© T. Georgitsis 2014