Tuesday Try A New Taste has been interrupted for Imbolc – Solitary Imbolc Ritual

February 2, 2010 at 10:24 am (Brid, Bride, Brighid, Brigit, Imbolc, Magic, pagan, Ritual, Solitary, Tuesday, Wishing)

Solitaire Imbolc Ritual
by Micheal Hall

Needed:

  • 13 stones
  • 15 candles
  • quarter candles
  • maize (corn meal)
  • female candle
  • small sheaf of grain
  • candle
  • Imbolc incense*
  • loaf of bread (homemade is best)

On your altar place the 13 stones. Within the circle of stones, create a circle using 13 of the candles. Within the circle of candles spread some maize and in that place the female candle to symbolize the Goddess. On the eastern side of the altar place the sheaf of grain with one of the candles inserted inside it.

Dress in your usual ceremonial garb for Magical rites, or skyclad, as you prefer. Before beginning your ritual, bathe in salt-water (using sea salt). As you do so picture the water cleansing your soul and spirit, just as it cleanses your body. When you have dressed, anoint yourself with oil.

When you have prepared yourself, sit in a dim quiet place and light a single, separate candle – not one of the 13 in the circle – and meditate on how at this time of year the Goddess in her fiery aspect as light was welcomed back into the Temples and the Homes of the land. Take this candle and walk slowly to your altar. Place it in the circle of the 13 candles, then light the two altar candles, which are separate from the circle of lights also, and the incense. (Incense should be stick or powdered incense on charcoal in a swinging burner.) Then light all the quarter candles in the 4 directions, starting in the east and going clockwise. Cast your circle in the usual manner, but Invoke the Goddess with the following:

"Sacred womb, giver of the secrets of Life, Mother of all that exists in the Universe, I ask your guardianship of this gathering and your assistance in my work. I am gathered in celebration of your gifts and my work is most holy.
So Mote It Be
"

And Invoke the God in the following manner:

"Fire of the sky, guardian of all that exists in the Universe, I ask your guardianship of this gathering and your assistance in my work. I am gathered in celebration of your gifts and my work is most holy.
So Mote It Be
"

(Continue with the circle casting if it is not already finished). Light the 13 candles and then the Goddess candle in the center and say:

"Warm and quickening Light awaken, and bring forth beauty,  for thou art my pleasure and my bounty Lord Osiris and Lady Isis" (or you may substitute whatever names your circle uses for the God and the Goddess – or those you personally prefer).

Reflect a moment on the coming of the light and offer up the incense. Say:

"O Ancient Ones, Timeless Goddess and Sacred King, who art the heralds of springtime and it’s bounties, be with me now in celebration! Hail to Osiris and Isis! Harvest giver and blessed Lady, let this be a time and a place sacred to your power and your beauty.
So Mote It Be
"

Light the candle in the sheaf of grain and hold it up with the loaf of bread in the other hand and say (or the cakes – whatever you or your tradition uses for the cakes and wine/juice ceremony). say:

"My Lord and Lady, as the seed becomes the grain, so the grain becomes the bread. Mark the everlasting value of our seasons and their changes. "

Break a piece of the bread off and burn it as an offering in the central candle. Then say:

"In the deepest Icy Winter the seed of the Earth lies deep within the womb of the Great Mother. The Spring brings the heat of the Father and with their joining comes new life. The completion of the cycle brings food to the children of the world. As I taste the food I shall know the wisdom of the cycles and be blessed with the food of wisdom throughout my life."

Consecrate bread (or cakes) and wine/juice in the usual manner and partake of them, but first raise your chalice or drinking horn and say:

"Hail to thee Isis!
Hail to thee Osiris!
For thou art blessed"

After this, commune in meditation with the Lord and lady for a while, then close the circle in your usual manner.

(Distributed by PAN – the Psychic Awareness Network: 1-703-362-1139 Note by Matrika, co-sysop: this ritual was written by someone I knew from the Boston, MA area a couple of years back. It is based on a combination of the lore of Wicca and some of the afro-Caribbean Diaspora traditions of Paganism and Magic.) (I tried to link the above, but couldn’t find anything on it Sad)

* Imbolc Incense

  • 3 parts Frankincense
  • 2 parts Dragon’s Blood
  • 1/2 part Red Sandalwood
  • 1 part Cinnamon

directions to make incense here

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader’s personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Fair Use Notice: This page may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. This website distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107.

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Monday Make A – Brighid’s Crown

February 1, 2010 at 10:30 am (Brid, Bride, Brighid, Brigit, Crafts, Imbolc, Kids, Magic, Monday, pagan, Witch)

Brighid’s Crown
An Imbolc Project By Wendy Sheridan
Found at
Pagan Parenting

This is especially appropriate for young girls, since this is the holiday for the return of the maiden.

You will need:

  • Construction paper in your child’s favorite colors, and yellow and/or red for the flames
  • Pencil, crayon, or marker
  • Scissors
  • Glue (white glue or glue stick)

Cut a strip of paper about 2 inches wide and long enough to wrap around your child’s head. You may need to glue 2 shorter strips to get the right length. Remember to include a couple of extra inches for overlap! Draw and cut out eight thin rectangles (these are the candles) of paper. Draw and cut out eight flames and glue the flames to the candles. Draw wicks in the flames and candles. Distribute the candles evenly around the headband. Glue the candles to the outside of the headband. (You can glue it to the inside if you think your youngster will wait long enough for the glue to dry!) Depending on the age of your child, they can do the drawing, cutting and gluing. Even the youngest child can hold paper and have you guide her hands.

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader’s personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Fair Use Notice: This page may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. This website distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107.

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Friday Form A Circle – U of Ark Student Pagan Association (S.P.A.) Imbolc Ritual

January 29, 2010 at 11:04 am (altar, Brid, Bride, Brighid, Brigit, Circle, Friday, Imbolc, Magic, pagan, Ritual, Witch)

U of Ark Student Pagan Association (S.P.A.) Imbolc Ritual

Items Needed:

  • Planter or flower pot
  • soil
  • seed
  • candles
  • Usual ritual tools/items
  • Everyone who attends is welcome to bring poems to read

Cast the circle. This can be done a number of different ways: by visualizing a sphere of energy shielding your work area; by sprinkling salt water around the edges of the circle; by raising energy through humming or chanting and forming it into a sphere around you; by pacing off the safe space until you feel it is impenetrable; or any other means you find to be effective. The idea is to make this space sacred to you for the duration of the spell, dedicated to your purposes; since no meditation is being done, safety from outside forces is less of an issue. Next, invoke the Goddess and/or God. An invocation can be a poem or any passage written by yourself or anybody else that you feel evokes the presence of the God/dess. Fill the pot with earth, knowing that you and it are connected to the greater Earth all around you, and place pot and seed in front of you, on the altar if you have one. Hold the seed in your hand, knowing that it represents the beginnings of life and the magical creed "as above, so below," mirroring the knowledge held in an ancient oak tree with its tiny coils of DNA. Bless the seed in any manner that springs to your heart, and concentrate on your goal for the next spin of the year. Put your intent into the seed and plant it, knowing that your progress towards the goal will grow along with your plant. Thank whoever you invoked, ground any energy you raised, and close the circle.

Before the ritual begins, the participants place any candles which they have brought around the room and light them. The participants also place any Celtic or personal items they have brought upon or around the altar which is in the center of the room. The participants then circle around the altar.

Priestess:

Mother Earth stirs from her long slumber. The fields and forests hear her whisper to awake. The creatures of her realms answer her summons. Everything waits in anticipation for spring. This is the festival of the maiden who gives to all life the breath of life. This is a time of waxing light and receding darkness. This is a season of purification – a renewing of life. At this time and in this place between the worlds, we come into the presence of the Lord and Lady that we may gain wise and truthful counsel. (D.J. Conway)Envision this room surrounded by a bright white sphere of light as I mark the circle.

The priestess circles the room deosil three times with a stick of incense.

Blessing and Welcoming of the Elements.
Reader
[Faces east]

Blessed be the precious and preserving air, the breath of life, our inspiration and delight.

[Faces south]

Blessed be the precious and preserving fire, the blood of life, our warming guest.

[Faces west]

Blessed be the precious and preserving water, the water of life, our cleansing guest.

[Faces north]

Blessed be the precious and preserving earth, the flesh of life, our sustainer and our wisdom. (Caitlin Matthews)

Invocation of the Season of Imbolc.
Reader:

Midwife of Mystery, open the door, Infant of the Infinite, come you in. Let there be welcome to the newborn truth, Let there be welcome to the Spring of the Year. In cold and darkness you are traveling, In warmth and brightness you will arrive, May the blessed time of Imbolc, Kindle the soul of all beings, Bringing birth to innocence and integrity, From the depths to the heights, From the heights to the depths, In the heart of every soul. (Caitlin Matthews)

Song of Imbolc.
Reader:

I am the unopened bud, and I the blossom, I am the lifeforce gathering to a crest, I am the still companion of the silence, I am the farflung seeker of the quest. I am the the daughter gathering in wisdom, I am the son whose questions never cease, I am the dawn-light searching out glad justice, I am the center where all souls find peace. (Caitlin Matthews)

Lisa Thiel’s "Candlemas Song" is played from tape while participants meditate upon Brigit’s three gifts –

  • inspiration
  • smithcraft (and all crafts)
  • childbirth and health.

Invocation of Brigit.
Reader:

"We call on Brigit, the Bright One, whose festival this is, who is said to have been born at the instant of sunrise, and whose sacred fire was tended thru the ages by holy women. We are met to celebrate the Festival of Brigit, midway between the Solstice and the Equinox, the halfway point from the coldest, darkest part of the year. Winter still rules, but the Wheel turns. Winter still rules, but it is waning. The days are visibly longer now, and under the blanket of snow and ice, deep within the womb of the Earth, comes the first stirring of the seeds. Hail, Brigit, we welcome thee and invoke thee." (Courtesy Grey Mare)

Poem of Brigit.
Priestess:

Brigit they name me, and three gifts of fire I bring: first, the flame of inspiration,  frenzy of poet and anguish of artist, and passion of lover for union with the beloved; second, the fierce fire of smith-craft, through whose testing all must pass; and third, the most precious of all, which eases the second’s pain, the undying warmth of healing, the last and greatest gift of the ever-returning Sun. (Traditional Wiccan)

Participant:

Brigit is the Goddess of creativity and inspiration. Each of us has chosen a creative endeavor for the Goddess to bless this season. Please pick out a candle in this room to concentrate on. Now let us join together in chant for our creative desires to manifest.

Candle Power Chant

Candle of power, candle of might, Create my desires here on this night.

Blood of the Ancients Chant

It’s the blood of the ancients That flows throughout our veins, And the forms change but the circle of life remains.

[Chant repeats for a couple of minutes as participants stare into the flames of the candles and imagine their creative endeavors being fulfilled.]

[After the chanting is over, participants who have brought modern or ancient poems (or short stories) with Celtic themes or have Celtic authors read their poems. Everyone who attends is welcome to bring poems to read.]

Reader:
[Faces north]

Precious earth, we bless thee and release thee.

[Faces west]

Precious water, we bless thee and release thee.

[Faces south]

Precious fire, we bless thee and release thee.

[Faces east]

Precious air, we bless thee and release thee.

[Faces the altar]

Goddess Brigit, we thank thee for your presence and your gifts.

[To the participants]

The circle is open, yet unbroken. May the peace of the Goddess go in our hearts, Merry meet and merry part and merry meet again. Blessed be!

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader’s personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Fair Use Notice: This page may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. This website distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107.

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Thursday This Is Your Spell – Light a Candle, Cast a Spell

January 28, 2010 at 10:34 am (Associations, Brid, Bride, Brighid, Brigit, Candle, Charging, Crafts, Imbolc, Magic, pagan, Spell, Spells, Thursday, Witch)

Light a Candle, Cast a Spell
Article written by Melanie Fire Salamander;
Background for this story came
from Sylvana SilverWitch,
publisher of
Widdershins;
published in
Widdershins – Imbolc, 1999 – Volume 4, Issue 7;

In Northern European societies, Imbolc or Candlemas traditionally fell at a time when, with the end of winter in sight, families used the animal fat saved over the cold season to make candles. I don’t butcher stock, and I’m not planning to render meat fat to make candles, but I like connecting with the past through candle-making. And though the days are longer now than at solstice, they’re still short enough that a few candles help.

To further your magical purposes, you can make a spell candle for Imbolc – a candle into which you imbue a particular magical purpose. Once you’ve made and charged your spell candle, you burn it over time to further your intention. I find spell candles particularly good for goals that require a period of continued energy to manifest, for example a new job, and for things I desire recurrently, for example peace and harmony for myself and the people around me. Also, Imbolc is traditionally a time of initiations, of divination and of all things sacred to the goddess Bride, including smithcraft, poetry and healing. To align with the season, consider making spell candles dedicated to these ends.

You can make two kinds of candle, dipped and molded. For spell candles, I’d recommend molded candles, so you can include herbs and other ingredients that wouldn’t mix evenly with dipping wax.

Things you need:

  • Cylindrical glass container or containers
  • Paraffin-based candle wax
  • Double boiler or other large pot in which to melt the wax (keep in mind when choosing a pan for this purpose, once used for wax, it will no longer be suitable for cooking food…)
  • Wick
  • Scissors to cut the wick
  • Popsicle sticks (tongue depressors), one per candle
  • Metal tab to anchor the bottom of each wick (a heavy paper clip will do)
  • Old candles or candle coloring for color, if desired
  • Small objects appropriate to your spell
  • Herbs appropriate to your spell
  • Scent appropriate to your spell.

For your molding container, the best thing is the used glass from a seven-day candle. You can find seven-day candles all over, including many small ethnic markets or check your local pagan store. You can also use glass tumblers, jelly jars and the like. The larger the container, the bigger the possible candle and the longer it will burn. Seven-day candle containers have the advantage of having a good candle shape, so that the flame easily melts the wax at the sides of the glass. To accomplish your purpose, ideally you’ll burn the entire candle, leaving no stub, which is easiest to do in a container shaped like a seven-day candle’s. Make sure also that the glass of your container is fairly thick.

If you do use a seven-day candle, you’ll need to clean out any remaining wax. To do so, heat the glass in a pot of water to melt the wax. Be sure to heat the glass with the water, rather than introducing cold glass into boiling water, which might break the glass. You’ll need a bottle brush, detergent and some concentration, but it is possible to clean these containers.

Candle wax can be found at candle-supply stores and craft stores. It comes in blocks of two pounds each; the smallest amount you can buy is more than enough for several candles. For wick, again you’ll need a candle-supply or craft store. Lead-based wick, which has a thin thread of metal covered with cotton, is easiest to work with, but burning does release lead into the air where it is burned. You can also use pure cotton wick. The Popsicle stick, a craft store or drugstore item, is used to anchor the wick at the top of the candle. If you do use a seven-day candle container, and the tin tab at the bottom hasn’t disappeared, save it. Such a tab anchors the wick to the bottom of the glass, making sure the wick lasts the length of the candle. If you haven’t saved the tab, you can use a heavy paperclip or buy the real thing at a candle-supply or craft store.

The remaining ingredients depend on the intention of your spell and should have associations appropriate to that intention. None of these ingredients is required – you can make a spell candle by simply making and charging it, or by charging an ordinary candle. However, as with any charm, the more energy you put into in its creation and enchantment, the stronger the spell. I give some ideas for ingredients following; for a full list of associations, check your favorite table of magical correspondences, or see The Spiral Dance, by Starhawk; Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner, (this link is to the book, available on Google Books) by Scott Cunningham; or Aleister Crowley’s 777 (this, too, will take you to the book on Google Books).

The easiest way to color candles is to melt old candles with your wax. To get a strong color, use more colored wax. Don’t mix colors, or you’ll end up with a muddy brown. You can also purchase candle coloring at a candle-supply or craft store. For color symbolism, check tables of correspondences; as always, your personal associations and preferences are the strongest and most resonant. Some common associations follow:

  • Red: Lust, passion, health, animal vitality, courage, strength
  • Pink: Love, affection, friendship, kindness
  • Orange: Sexual energy, earth energy, adaptability, stimulation
  • Brown: Earth energy, animals
  • Yellow: Intellect, mental energy, concentration
  • Green: Finances, money, prosperity, fertility, growth
  • Blue: Calm, healing, patience, peace, clairvoyance
  • Purple: Spirituality, the fey, meditation, divination
  • Black: Waning moon, release, banishing, absorbing and destroying negativity, healing
  • White: Waxing or full moon, pro-tection, purification, peace, awareness; good for most workings

Probably the most common small object to add to a spell candle is a written expression of intention. Candle makers often add semi-precious stones; you can add a stone appropriate to your intention, for example sacred to a deity who rules that area of life, or personally connected to you, say a birthstone. Depending on your spell, other small objects might suit. If you’re doing a spell to invoke the peace of the ocean on a still day, you could include sand or seashells. A candle to draw love might include small cut-out hearts, one to draw money pieces of dollar bill. Note that any added objects should ideally be flammable, or if not flammable small enough not to prevent your candle from burning.

You can use herbs suitable for incense to further your spell. Use herbs you can safely burn indoors. Herbs may make a candle smoke and can combine with the wick to create a large flame, so use them sparingly. Also, herbs tend to clump at the top and bottom of the candle, often producing a stub at the end that’s hard to burn. However, herbs are easy burnable ingredients to add in line with your intention, and if you choose the right herbs they’ll smell good. For lists of herbs, try any incense-making book, such as Scott Cunningham’s The Complete Book of Incense, Oils and Brews (link to the book) or Wylundt’s Book of Incense (link to the book). To make sure your herbs smell sweet, burn a pinch first. Both the preceding books also discuss scents, which you can incorporate also. For a strongly scented candle, you’ll need to add perfume. It’s best to use candle scent, found at candle-supply and craft shops, or synthetic perfume oil. Essential oils are volatile and break down in the wax, leaving your candle with no scent at all.

The candle making process – As with any spell, start by considering what you want and what symbols represent your goal. Likewise, as always, don’t try to compel someone who hasn’t consented. Remember that what you do returns to you threefold. Start by collecting your ingredients and planning your candle-making for a day and hour appropriate to your intention. For spells of increase wait till the moon turns to waxing. Or phrase your spell to release something negative. If you need money, banish poverty. If you want love, banish loneliness. Give yourself a few hours to make your candle or candles, during a period when you’re unlikely to have your concentration broken. Just melting the wax alone, depending on the volume melted, can take from 15 minutes to an hour. You’ll be using the kitchen, so make sure you’ll have it to yourself or that any visitors will be attuned to your purpose.

First, melt the wax in the top of your double boiler. If you want all your candles to have the same color, add the crayons or old candles now. You can use a single pot if you’re willing to watch the wax closely – you don’t want it to burst into flames. Break the wax into small chunks beforehand, so it will melt faster. Heat the wax over medium heat, but don’t let it boil. If you want candles of different colors, you’ll need to melt the crayons or old candles separately, then add clear wax to about the right volume in the pot and mix before filling your containers. Add candle coloring according to package directions.

While the wax is melting, pad your working space well with newspaper, because you will almost certainly spill some wax. Make sure all your ingredients and tools are handy. If you have herbs in unmanageable sizes, for example whole rosemary stalks, break them down so the pieces are a size to burn without becoming small bonfires. Once the wax is fully melted, turn the heat low and let the wax cool till the wax on the sides of the pot starts to set, at approximately 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Cooling the wax a little helps prevent the creation of large air bubbles in your finished candle.

Now you’re ready to start forming candles. I usually cast a working circle at this point, calling my patron deities to witness, but without a lot of tools or formal setup. You can work as elaborately or simply as you like. However, I would recommend making the candle with focused intention, as well as charging it later. Take a moment, then, to focus your concept of your goal. You might create a running mantra to repeat through the rest of your candle-making, or consider an image or group of images to help you concentrate. Be sure to state your intention simply and firmly. If it seems appropriate, write your intention down.

First, if you want multiple candles with the same scent, or you’re only making one candle, scent the wax now. Next, cut a wick for each candle. The wick needs to be as long as your candle container, plus several inches. Thread the end of the wick through the metal tab or paperclip, or other object appropriate to your spell – for a money spell, you might anchor the wick with a folded bill. Then, drop the weighted wick-end to the bottom of the glass container. Making sure the weighted end sits flush on the bottom and the wick stays as straight as possible, wrap the other wick end around a Popsicle stick and set the Popsicle stick across the mouth of the glass. Make sure the wick-tail is in the center of the candle-to-be. The more centered your wick, the more evenly your candle will burn. If you’re using unleaded wicking, pour a little wax around the tab at the end, then let it harden firmly. Then gently stretch the wick taut, and rewrap the top around the Popsicle stick.

Next, add the nonwax ingredients to your candle. Drop your folded written intention, if any, and any other objects into the bottom of the candle glass. As each falls, imagine it adding strength to your spell. You can add herbs now as well, or you can add them to the top after pouring, if you want them to float down through the wax and be distributed through the candle. When your objects and initial herbs are in, pour the wax. Pour evenly and slowly, and try to make sure your wick stays in the candle’s center. If you want to add herbs after pouring, do so directly afterward. If you want to scent a candle singly, now’s the time.

The next part is the really hard part – set the candle out of the way, and leave it alone! It will take up to an hour to harden. You can continue to meditate on your purpose, set up an altar to formally charge your candle, or take down your circle for the time being. You might want to check your candle in this interim period, as the top’s center may form a depression, which you can top off with melted wax. To this end, keep some wax melted. When your candle’s solid, cut off the extra wick at the top, leaving about a half-inch.

Next, energize the finished candle with your intention. Cast your circle and call any deities or spirit helpers you like, if you haven’t yet, and restate your purpose. Then raise energy in your chosen manner. When the energy’s at its height, send it into your candle, then ground any excess into the earth, keeping what you need for yourself.

Finally, burn your candle. One of the great things about burning a candle in a glass container is that you can keep it going night and day in relative safety. Make sure, however, that the candle is in a place where no human or pet can knock it over, and where no combustible thing can fall across it. Also, at the end of the candle’s life, you might want to burn it while you can watch; it’s during the last inch or so that the glass will break, if it’s going to. Either way, just in case, burn the candle on a nonflammable surface, say an earthenware plate or a tile floor.

If you don’t want to burn your candle every day, burn it on days appropriate to your spell. For example, burn a love candle on Fridays, a day sacred to Aphrodite, Freya and other love goddesses. Again, tables of correspondences can help you figure appropriate days, or you can determine them astrologically. Or you can burn your candle when you feel particular need.

Ingredients for different intentions – If you can’t find or don’t like any of the following ingredients, by all means cut them, substitute or better yet create your own recipe from scratch! The stronger the associations for you and the more personal your candle’s creation, the more effective your candle will be.

  • For divination and psychic work: Purple coloring; a small image of an eye, for far-seeing; lemongrass, sandalwood, cloves, yarrow and a pinch of nutmeg; frankincense scent
  • For protection: No coloring; basil, Vervain, rosemary, St. John’s Wort and a pinch of black pepper; Vetiver or patchouli scent
  • For healing: Pale blue coloring, bay, sandalwood, cedar, carnation, lemon balm; eucalyptus scent
  • For peace and harmony: Pale blue or lavender coloring; lavender, meadowsweet and hops; lilac or any light floral scent
  • For inspiration in the arts: Yellow coloring; a small image of a light bulb; a piece of amber; bay, cinnamon, lavender, orange peel; scent of bergamot, or any citrus scent
  • To attract love: Pink coloring; small silk or candy hearts; rose petals; jasmine scent
  • To attract sex: Red coloring; sexual images; rose petals, ginger, damiana, ginseng, a vanilla bean; musk scent
  • To attract money: Green coloring; a folded bill or shiny dime; dill, lavender, sage, cedar, wood aloe; oak moss, Vetiver or patchouli scent, or some combination of these
  • To get a job: Green coloring; a topaz or turquoise; pictures of tools you use in your work; bay, lavender, cedar, red clover, nutmeg; orange scent, or any citrus scent

As you make and burn your candle, attune to the season as well as your intention. Now is the time to ask Bride for inspiration and to light a new flame, beckoning the longer days to come.

 

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader’s personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Fair Use Notice: This page may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. This website distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107.

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Wednesday What Herb Is This – Cinnamon and Honey

January 27, 2010 at 10:42 am (Brid, Bride, Brighid, Brigit, Colds, Coughs, Herbs, Honey, Imbolc, Magic, pagan, Wednesday, Witch)

Cinnamon and Honey
*Never give honey to infants under 1 year as it can make them deathly ill with botulism.*

Honey is the only food on the planet that will not spoil or rot. It will do what some call turning to sugar. In reality honey is always honey. However, when left in a cool dark place for a long time it will do what I rather call "crystallizing." When this happens I loosen the lid, boil some water, and sit the honey container in the hot water, turn off the heat and let it liquefy. It is then as good as it ever was. Never boil honey or put it in a microwave. To do so will kill the enzymes in the honey.

In olden times, man used honey for almost every illness of the body and mind. Honey was good for the stomach and intestinal disorders. It was used as a
gentle laxative. Honey was also used as a sedative. Modern research has found that honey increases blood calcium and has the same effect as a glass of milk
before bedtime. Honey is good for the skin. It’s antibacterial properties make honey a good natural remedy for open wounds, skin rashes, and burns. It was
the base for many home remedies such as cough syrup, diarrhea cures and even a cure for bedwetting:

It is found that a mixture of honey and Cinnamon cures most diseases. Honey is produced in most of the countries of the world. Scientists of today also accept honey as a ‘Ram Ban’ (very effective) medicine for all kinds of diseases. Honey can be used without any side effects for any kind of diseases. Today’s science says that even though honey is sweet, if taken in the right dosage as a medicine, it does not harm diabetic patients. Weekly World News, a magazine in Canada , in its issue dated 17 January,1995 has given the following list of diseases that can be cured by honey and cinnamon as researched by western scientists:

  • Heart Diseases: Make a paste of honey and cinnamon powder, apply on bread, instead of jelly and jam, and eat it regularly for breakfast. It reduces the cholesterol in the arteries and saves the patient from heart attack. Also, those who have already had an attack, if they do this process daily, they are kept miles away from the next attack. Regular use of the above process relieves loss of breath and strengthens the heart beat. In America and Canada , various nursing homes have treated patients successfully and have found that as you age, the arteries and veins lose their flexibility and get clogged; honey and cinnamon revitalize the arteries and veins.
  • Arthritis: Arthritis patients may take daily, morning and night, one cup of hot water with two spoons of honey and one small teaspoon of cinnamon powder. If taken regularly even chronic arthritis can be cured. In a recent research conducted at the Copenhagen University , it was found that when the doctors treated their patients with a mixture of one tablespoon Honey and half teaspoon Cinnamon powder before breakfast, they found that within a week, out of the 200 people so treated, 73 patients were practically totally relieved of pain, and within a month, most all the patients who could not walk or move around because of arthritis started walking without pain.
  • Bladder Infections: Add two tablespoons of cinnamon powder and one teaspoon of honey to a glass of lukewarm water and drink it. It destroys the germs in the bladder.
  • Cholesterol: Two tablespoons of honey and three teaspoons of Cinnamon Powder mixed in 16 ounces of tea water, given to a cholesterol patient, was found to reduce the level of cholesterol in the blood by 10 percent within two hours. As mentioned for arthritic patients, if taken three times a day, any
    chronic cholesterol is cured. According to information received in the said Journal, pure honey taken with food daily relieves complaints of cholesterol.
  • Colds: Those suffering from common or severe colds should take one tablespoon of lukewarm honey with 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder daily for three days. This process will cure most chronic cough, cold, and clear the sinuses.
  • Upset Stomach: Honey taken with cinnamon powder cures stomach ache and also clears stomach ulcers from the root.
  • Gas: According to the studies done in India and Japan , it is revealed that if
    Honey is taken with cinnamon powder the stomach is relieved of gas. I
  • Immune System: Daily use of honey and cinnamon powder strengthens the immune system and protects the body from bacteria and viral attacks. Scientists have found that honey has various vitamins and iron in large amounts. Constant use of Honey strengthens the white blood corpuscles to fight bacterial and viral diseases.
  • Indigestion: Cinnamon powder sprinkled on two tablespoons of honey taken before eating relieves acidity and helps one digest the heaviest of meals.
  • Influenza: A scientist in Spain has proved that honey contains a natural 
    ‘Ingredient’ which kills the influenza germs and saves the patient from flu.
  • Longevity: Tea made with honey and cinnamon powder, when taken regularly, arrests the ravages of old age. Take four spoons of honey, one spoon of cinnamon powder, and three cups of water and boil to make a tea-like beverage. Drink 1/4 cup, three to four times a day. It keeps the skin fresh and soft and arrests old age. Life spans also increase and even a 100 year old, starts performing the chores of a 20-year-old.
  • Pimples: Three tablespoons of honey and one teaspoon of cinnamon powder paste. Apply this paste on the pimples before sleeping and wash it next morning with warm water. If done daily for two weeks, it removes pimples from the root.
  • Skin Infections: Applying honey and cinnamon powder in equal parts on the affected parts cures eczema, ringworm and all types of skin infections.
  • Weight Loss: Daily, in the morning one half hour before breakfast on an empty stomach, and at night before sleeping, drink honey and cinnamon powder boiled in one cup of water. If taken regularly, it reduces the weight of even the most obese person. Also, drinking this mixture regularly does not allow the fat to accumulate in the body even though the person may eat a high calorie diet.
  • Cancer: Recent research in Japan and Australia has revealed that advanced cancer of the stomach and bones have been cured successfully. Patients suffering from these kinds of cancer should daily take one tablespoon of honey with one teaspoon of cinnamon powder for one month three times a day..
  • Fatigue: Recent studies have shown that the sugar content of honey is helpful rather than being detrimental to the strength of the body. Senior citizens, who take honey and cinnamon powder in equal parts, are more alert and flexible. Dr. Milton, who has done research, says that a half tablespoon of honey taken in a glass of water and sprinkled with cinnamon powder, taken daily after brushing and in the afternoon at about 3:00 P.M. when energy starts to drop, increases the vitality of the body within a week.
  • Bad Breath: People of South America , first thing in the morning, gargle with one teaspoon of honey and cinnamon powder mixed in hot water, so their breath stays fresh throughout the day.
  • Hearing Loss: Daily, morning and night. honey and cinnamon powder, taken in equal parts restores hearing. Remember when we were kids? We had toast with real butter and cinnamon sprinkled on it!

 

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader’s personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Fair Use Notice: This page may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. This website distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107.

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Tuesday Try A New Taste – Returning Sun Spice Bread

January 26, 2010 at 10:15 am (Baking, Breads, Brid, Bride, Brighid, Brigit, Imbolc, Magic, pagan, Tuesday, Witch)

Returning Sun Spice Bread
unknown source

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/8 cup poppy seeds
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 cup raisins, plain or golden
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 cup butter/margarine
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 3/4 cup Karo golden corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 4 tbs. milk
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp. mixed spices (Equal parts of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice)

Sift the flour, soda, and baking powder into a non-metal bowl. Add the mixed spice and ginger. Next add the brown sugar and raisins. Mix. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. In a small sauce pan, melt the butter and the syrup over a low heat, then pour liquid into the well in the middle of the flour mixture. Add the beaten egg and the milk, and mix very well. Pour into a well greased 2-lb. loaf pan and bake in a preheated oven at 325° F for 40-50 minutes. This bread can be made the night before as it improves with age.

Makes 8-10 servings.

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader’s personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Fair Use Notice: This page may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. This website distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107.

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Monday Make A – Candle Crafts

January 25, 2010 at 10:09 am (Brid, Bride, Brighid, Brigit, Candle, Children, Crafts, Imbolc, Magic, Monday, pagan, Witch)

Candle Hat
From "Circle Round" By Starhawk, Diane Baker and Anne Hill

Here are some various Imbolc candle crafts for children to do (with an adult’s help if necessary)

One holiday tradition in Scandinavian countries is for the girls to wear garlands in their hair that hold a circle of lit candles and bless the light’s return. We’ve adapted this candle custom to honor the returning light for Brigit. These paper hats are a simple and safe variation. Draw an inner circle on a 9-inch paper plate, about an inch from the rim. Next draw very light lines dividing the circle into quarters. Draw four rectangular candle shapes, keeping the dividing lines as guides for the candles’ centers. The rectangles will meet in the center of the plate in a small square. Cut out the candle shapes, preserving their connection to the ring at the rim. This connection serves as the base of the candle. Bend candles from their base to stand upright. Decorate candles with markers, crayons and glitter. Use the discarded plate material to cut flame shapes. Color them bright flame colors, then glue or staple them to the top of the candles.

Pentacle Candle Wheel
from ‘Cauldrons And Broomsticks’

Materials:

  •  Molding Clay
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • 13- 4" White Stick Candles (1/4" diameter)
  • Paints (optional)
  • This Pentacle Candle Wheel is the perfect accessory to any Imbolc altar. Use enough clay to roll out flat with a rolling pin and cut out a circle 18" in diameter and 1/2" thick. Roll excess clay into rope, 1/4" in diameter and long enough to boarder the wheel base. Wet the clay rope enough to stick to base. This will contain any wax that drips from the burning candles. Score the image of the pentacle into the wheel base with the pencil, using the ruler to make straight lines. The Pentacle’s points should be approx. 1/2" away from the border. Take one of the white candles and press bottom slightly (approx. 1/4" ) into each Pentacle point, each cross point (inner angles of the Pentacle) and three depressions in a pyramid shape in the top Pentacle triangle ray. Now allow the clay to dry and harden. The Pentacle Candle Wheel can be painted if desired after dried. Place candles in each of the depressions and place in the center of the Imbolc altar. Remember that the Candle Wheel is the symbol of the light that ensues from the union of the Bride and her consort, the Lord of the Forest.

For additional candle craft ideas, you can go here, here, here, or you can just type "candles" in the little search box on the left.

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Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader’s personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Fair Use Notice: This page may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. This website distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107.

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Friday Form A Circle – The Practical Pagan’s Imbolc Ritual

January 22, 2010 at 10:57 am (Brid, Bride, Brighid, Brigit, Circle, Friday, Imbolc, Magic, pagan, Ritual, Witch)

The Practical Pagan’s Imbolc Ritual
From
The Practical Pagan’s WebPage
("A no-nonsense resource for the
sensible Wiccan")

Imbolc marks the first whisper of spring. The snow (hopefully) is receding, the seeds begin to stir, and we feel the presence of the Goddess and God in our bodies, as we begin to open up to the light, and stir from our own hibernation. It is a good time to be reminded that we all have a share in the Divine. Goddess and God move within us, as surely as they begin to transform the world outside.

Tools:

  • Candles for the quarters, Goddess and God.
  • Tapers, one each for all attending, any color associated with the God, but preferably all the same.

Casting the Circle

Covener says:

"Guardians (spirits, etc…) of the East Wind of enlightenment, and inspiration Lend your powers to our circle this night, That our minds may open to new ideas."

Covener says:

"Guardians of the South Fire of passion and transformation Lend your powers to our circle this night that our love may sustain the land."

Covener says:

"Guardians of the West Water of life and purification Lend your powers to our circle this night that our hearts may be strong and whole."

Covener says:

"Guardians of the North Earth from the beginning of time Lend your powers to our circle this night that we may take our place in the endless chain of life."

Covener says:

"Goddess of rebirth You again bring forth the God and the promise of spring Be with us this night as we celebrate the young God and the growing light. God of love, and protection You again lead the ever-changing dance of life Be with us this night as we celebrate the rising of the Mother and the fertility of the Earth."

Covener says:

"We stand between worlds where Earth and Sky Night and Day Life and death are one. The circle is cast the ritual begun. The Goddess and God stand together once more May we feel their presence in our hearts and minds as easily as we see them in the wider world."

Covener lights taper from God candle on the altar, and proceeds around the circle deosil, lighting each member’s candle and directing the following blessing to each in turn:

"You are Goddess
You are God
You are the blanket of winter
and the first breath of spring
Be with us, within us
Bless, and be blessed."

When finished, returns to her or his place in the circle, now a circle of light. Says:

"The light grows strong once more in the land under the snow, the pulse of life quickens feel the Earth beneath you, the heartbeat of the waking Mother may we share in the great cycle of rebirth and blossom with new life and creativity."

All say:

"So mote it be!"

Here, all gathered should be free to join in an open discussion. (Communication is always good, and besides, this will give the ritual a timely quality, and keep it from being the same each time it is performed.) Share your plans for the spring. Discuss projects with the group, if desired. The idea is that there is new life rising within you, too. Have fun deciding what you’re going to do with it. Be leisurely here, celebrate the company of those close to you. When you’re done, the next bit can be used to close. The form is a simple call and response. Assign lines according to your own preference.

Covener says:

"Night gives way before the growing God."

All say:

"We feel the power alive in the world."

Covener says:

"The Goddess walks the Earth again."

All say:

"And sings us awake with wind and rain."

Covener says:

"The promise of life is newly made."

All say:

"Our winter’s debt to darkness paid. Blessed be!"

The Simple Feast

The food and drink are raised in turn, then blessed using the following, and passed around the circle, either beginning or ending with the acting priest/ess, according to group tradition.

Covener says:

"Goddess of abundance bless these gifts as you bless us all Help us to see the Divine in all we share God of the harvest bless these gifts as you bless us all help us to see the Divine in all we share!"

Feast, sing, dance, play music, whatever feels appropriate. Sometimes simple conversation is enough, since you are already with a special group of people. Remember, though, that you are in sacred space.

Opening the Circle

Covener says:

"Goddess of the brightening day we thank you for your presence in our circle, and ask you to be near us, while we are apart; let your warmth revive us Your love support us and your passion inspire us all."

Covener says:

"God of the growing and wild things we thank you for your presence in our circle, and ask you to be near us, while we are apart; let your warmth revive us your love support us and your passion inspire us all."

Whoever likes can begin in the east. The other directions can then be passed about the circle.

Covener says:

"Guardians (spirits, etc…) of the East, South, West, and North Thank you for your presence and strength both here, tonight, and in our daily lives may we live in peace, with you and each other, always."

All say:

"Blessed be!"

It’s nice to begin this anywhere, then pass it, line by line, around the circle:

"The circle is open,
but yet unbroken
May the love of the Goddess
be ever in your heart
Merry meet, and merry part
and merry meet again."

All say:

"Blessed be!"

From the author: "Ritual practice is a very individual and creative process. Even if you enjoy these rites, find a way to make them your own. Change, adapt, do whatever makes them relevant to your own life circumstances. They will only become more powerful.

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader’s personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Fair Use Notice: This page may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. This website distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107.

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Thursday This Is Your Spell – Solar Cross Home Protection Spell

January 21, 2010 at 1:43 pm (Brid, Bride, Brighid, Brigit, Home, Imbolc, Kids, Magic, pagan, Spell, Thursday, Witch, Witchlets)

Solar Cross Home Protection Spell
by ©Joelle Miller 1998-2001;
Joelle’s Sacred Grove

Create Solar Crosses from palm fronds, make enough to place one in each room of the house. Place a red pillar-style candle center to the front door; with palm crosses in hand, light the candle and open the door and say:

"We welcome in the Goddess and seek the turning of the wheel away from winter and into spring."

Close door; take up the candle and go to each room of the house and say:

"Great Lady enter with the sun and watch over this room!"

Leave a Solar Cross in the room and proceed thusly throughout the house.

This is great for the kids as you can divide up the tasks for each to do – one can hold the palms, another can open doors, another can carry the candle, and so forth. The last room should be the kitchen and here you say:

"Mother of the earth and sun,
Keep us safe and keep us warm,
As over our home you extend your blessings."

 

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader’s personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Fair Use Notice: This page may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. This website distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107.

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Wednesday What Herb Is This – Basil

January 20, 2010 at 10:36 am (Associations, Basil, Brid, Bride, Brighid, Brigit, Herb, Herbs, Imbolc, Magic, pagan, Plants, Wednesday, Witch)

Basil has been called "the Witches Herb" for centuries. Basil has been used for exorcism, protection, in "flying ointments", and love potions. "Where Basil grows, no evil goes!" and "Where Basil is, no evil lives," goes the old adages. Basil, given as a gift, will bring good luck to a new home. Sprinkled around the house, it wards off evil. Soak it in water for three days and sprinkle the water at your doorstep to bring money and success, drive away evil, and have a happy family. add this to the water for scrubbing and cleansing the floors and walls. AFTER moving in, and regularly dried Basil should be sprinkled on the kitchen floor and swept out the door. If possible a basil plant should be planted near the home (or inside in a pot) to bring protection and good fortune to everyone who lives inside. If you have a job interview coming up, you can sprinkle this outside of the building where you hope to be employed (careful though if someone sees you it won’t help your job prospects very much!).

To increase love in the home, use it in cooking or keep some in an open bowl in the kitchen and replace it each week. Mixed in a bath with love herbs (such as red clover, rose buds, catnip, gentian, damania, lavendar, cubebs, and juniper berries ), it increases affection in the family. Basil also protects from evil. Mix with rosemary and rue for a cleansing and protective bath. Pour the water into your bathwater, and rest in the water for 20 minutes allowing the essence of the herb to coat you to provide protection from negative energy.

Imbolc is the traditional time of year for initiations and the initiate should have been taking daily tonics of basil for at least the last two weeks. It is given now to prepare the innerself for initiation to bring fortitude. In situations where you feel you will need protection, steep a teaspoon of fresh basil in one cup of boiling water. Let the basil steep for 5-10 minutes, than strain the herbs from the water. 

Basil oil rubbed on a green candle before burning will attract wealth. The incense smoke is beneficial for the same, as well as for banishing, exorcising and  protection.

 

Oil of basil helps fight colds, coughs, cramps, fever, anxiety, and much more. Basil is a stimulating and antidepressant oil which relieve can mental fatigue, clear the mind, and improve concentration. It is an expectorant and antiseptic, used for all types of chest infections. It’s also good for congested sinuses, chronic colds, head colds and whooping cough. The antispasmodic and carminative properties of basil help to relieve abdominal pains, indigestion, and vomiting. It works well on tired muscles, especially in massage oil used after hard physical work or strenuous exercise, it also eases arthritis and gout. It is reputed to be one of the best nerve tonics among all essential oils. Forget the Prozac, Basil can be used for the relief of depression – but over use will cause depression. Avoid if pregnant. Good for respiration conditions, such as Asthma and Bronchitis. As it has an effect upon Adrenal Cortex it can be effective with allergies. Sweet Basil is great for aiding concentration and sharpening the senses.

 

Basil has been known and grown since ancient times. Back in the first century AD, the Greek physician Dioscorides believed basil dulled the sight and produced "wind." According to Gerard in his Herbal published in England in the 1600s, the smell of basil was "good for the heart and for the head." Gerard also advised that the juice of the plant was good against headaches, if it were drunk with wine, and was useful in clearing up diseases of the eye. In Italy, a pot of basil on your balcony means you are ready to receive suitors. In India, the herb is dedicated to Vishnu and is given to the dead to help ensure their entrance to the afterlife. Prostitutes used to wear it in Spain to attract business. believed to have derived its name form the Basilisk, the fabulous dragon-like creature that was deadly to anyone who looked at it. This may have spawned the old belief that Basil begot scorpions. Some claimed it bred scorpions and that scorpions would be found beneath a pot where basil grew—a belief that arose, perhaps, from the prevalence of scorpions in some of the tropical regions of Asia and Africa, where basil originated, and their predilection for warm, dark places. Gerard wrote that those who were stung by a scorpion would feel no pain if they had eaten basil. Culpepper, a contemporary of Gerard, suggested in his Herbal that basil would draw out the poison of venomous beasts, wasps or hornets. Basil made its way to Europe by the Middle Ages and to England and America in the mid-17th century, where it was used mainly medicinally. It was not until the 19th century that basil became the ever-present component of herb gardens that it is today. Basil is also very important in Asia and Asian cuisines. The range of basils available is the result of the variability of the species, basilicum. The species contains a natural diversity of fragrances and colors; plant breeders have selected for and improved on these different traits.

Growing From Seed
Whether you sow seeds indoors or out, remember that basil does not like cold
or even cool, weather. Sow the seeds outdoors when day and night temps reach about 55 to 60 degrees. When sown or transplanted at the right time, basil is one of the easiest herbs to grow successfully.

Starting Basil Indoors
Plan to sow seeds 4 to 6 weeks before the date of your average last frost in
spring. Basils do not need a long time to grow large enough to transplant to the garden.

  • Fill a shallow container, or flat, or individual 2- to 21/4-inch pots with
    a commercial seed-starting mix. Moisten the mix and let it drain.
  • Sow the seeds in rows in a flat or two to three seeds per pot. Cover the
    seeds with about 1/4 inch of the mix. Press the mix down lightly and spritz
    the surface with water to moisten it and settle the seeds.
  • To keep the mix from drying out while the seeds are germinating, cover the
    containers with sheets of clear plastic wrap, or place each in a plastic bag
    and close it with a twist-tie.
  • Set the containers in a warm location; the growing medium should be at
    about 70-75 degrees F (21-23 degrees C). Seedlings will emerge in 4 to 7 days. When they do, remove the plastic covering and place the containers in bright light or direct sun in a south-facing window or a fluorescent light
    garden. Give the containers a quarter turn every few days so the plants grow straight instead of leaning towards the light source.
  • Keep the mix evenly moist by watering from the bottom: Set the containers
    in a sink filled with a couple of inches of water until beads of moisture
    appear on the surface. A liquid fertilizer at one half the recommended rate
    can be given to seedlings to promote healthy plants.
  • When the seedlings are about 2 inches tall and have at least two pairs of
    true leaves, transplant those in flats to individual pots. Thin those
    started in small pots to one per pot by snipping off all but the strongest
    looking one with a scissors. It is not necessary to transplant purple-leaved
    basils, such as `Dark Opal’ and `Purple Ruffles’, if you sow them about
    1/2-1 inch apart.
  • If young plants become tall and spindly, the growing tip can be pinched to
    encourage branching and compact growth. Some of the smaller basils, such as `Spicy Globe’, have a naturally branching habit and do not need to be
    pinched.

Sowing Directly in the Garden.
Sow seeds in the garden when the soil has warmed up to about 55 to 60 degrees day and night temperatures. Sow the seeds about 1/2 inch deep in good garden soil; if you cover the seeds with less soil, they may float to the surface after a heavy rain. Basil germinates readily, therefore you do not need to sow thickly. You can sow the seeds in rows or in groups; drop two to three seeds in each hole for the latter. Keep the seedbed moist until germination occurs. When the seedlings have at least two pairs of true leaves and are 2 to 3 inches tall, thin them to stand 10 to 30 inches apart, depending on the species or cultivar. Begin pinching out the growing tips for compact growth when the seedlings are 3 to 4 inches tall.  To have an uninterrupted supply of fresh basil, most gardeners sow basil seed several times during the growing season. The National Garden Bureau recommends sowing basil seed every 3 to 4 weeks to harvest fresh leaves for culinary uses.

Garden Uses
Basil is as ornamental as it is edible. Put it in a traditional herb garden, in the vegetable plot in the center of a bed of red- and green-leaf lettuces or edging a bed of tomatoes. Use both the green- and purple-leaved varieties in borders; the latter are especially beautiful with perennials such as coral bells (Heuchera `Palace Purple’), Sedum `Vera Jameson’, fountain grass (Pennisetum), dusty miller, and blue Salvia farinacea. Both combine well with annuals, such as dwarf or medium-height snapdragons, nicotiana, French marigolds, and petunias.

With its natural round shape, the dwarf basil `Spicy Globe’ makes a wonderful edging for any type of garden: perennial, rose, or herb. Try the old-fashioned technique of keeping flies away by planting basils around a patio or in containers on a deck.

Taking Care of Basil
Like most herbs, basils do not require much maintenance. In sandy or infertile soil, fertilize basil plants for continuous growth. If you amended the soil with organic matter, you may not need to fertilize basil. Basil plants need about an inch of water a week. Water, if rain does not provide for the plant’s needs.
Although the flower spikes are attractive, it is recommended to cut them off
as they deplete the plants’ energy resulting in fewer leaves. The leaves have the best flavor—the most essential oils—when they are harvested before the plants flower. Cut whole stems rather than individual leaves, especially if you want to use the leaves as a garnish because they bruise easily. Cutting whole stems is a tasty way of creating a bushy, compact plant: Cut just above a pair of lower leaves; the plant will produce new shoots at that point.

Growing in Containers
Basils are excellent herbs to grow in containers because they add such attractive colors and textures to the plantings. They look good in pots or
window boxes in full sun. A container of basil by the back door or on a deck
provides easy access for harvesting! The container should have drainage holes in the bottom or sides. Fill it with a soilless mix, which is more lightweight than garden soil and is also free of diseases and weed seeds. It is easy to provide nutrients all season by incorporating a controlled-release fertilizer in the mix before planting. With mixed plantings, place most basils near the center of containers or at the ends of window boxes. Use dwarf basils to edge a container planting or on their own in smaller, 8-inch pots, and place the pots around a larger planter, marching up steps, or along a walk. Basils combine well with other herbs and with annuals.

Plant basils at the same level as, or just slightly deeper than, they were growing in their original pots. Water the container well after planting. Keep the plants evenly moist through the growing season; the roots of any plants in a container cannot reach down or out in search of available moisture. Smaller containers will require more frequent watering than large ones. If you plant in a window box, remember that overhanging eaves may prevent rain from reaching the plants. Because it can overwinter in the soil, don’t plant basil in the same location every year. Avoid excessive watering and provide proper drainage  

From Garden to Kitchen 
One of the most useful herbs – a key ingredient for many Italian and Indian
dishes and great when fresh in salads. The ‘fresh-from-the-garden’ taste is
far tastier than the dried variety.
Basil complements many kinds of dishes and combines well with other herbs, whether used fresh or dried. The flavor and appearance of the leaves are best fresh. Many gardeners are unable to eat their fresh, homegrown tomatoes without fresh basil and a dash of premium olive oil. Freshly harvested basil leaves added to mesclun or lettuce salads liven up the flavors. Pesto is another favorite use for basil. Create the classic pesto sauce, a combination of basil, garlic, olive oil, pine nuts, and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Whip up basil butter. Cream together one stick of unsalted butter and 1-3
tablespoons of dried, crushed basil or 2-6 tablespoons of fresh, minced basil. Place in a covered container or roll into a cylinder-shape and refrigerate for at least an hour before using.

Make basil vinegar to use in salad dressings. Heat vinegar (any type) in an enamel pan; pour it into a bottle and add several sprigs of basil. Let set for 2 weeks before using.

If you have any basil left at the end of the growing season consider drying the leaves. To dry basil, cut the entire plant and hang on a string in a well ventilated room. When dry, just pluck the leaves from the stems and store in airtight jars out of direct light.

Windowsill Plants
It is easy to bring container-grown plants inside, but you can also pot up a few plants from the garden. Cut them back rather severely—to about 3-4 inches tall—so they will put out new growth when they become acclimated to the indoor environment. Grow them on the sunniest windowsill you have, preferably with a southern exposure, or put them in a light-garden. Keep the soil evenly moist and fertilize them once a month.
Because basils are so easy to grow from seed, however, the National Garden
Bureau recommends it is just as simple to sow fresh seed indoors at the end
of the outdoor growing season. Pot the seedlings into individual 4- to 6-inch containers and enjoy fresh basil all winter harvested from your windowsill.

Special thanks to Eleanore Lewis as the author of one of the source articles
Sources: National Garden Bureau
Herb-Magic

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