Rose Spell For The Fey
Said to be from a 17th century work
Midsummer is a time when the Fey are out and about, so it seems like it would be a good time to try to attract some to your garden – if you want to. Roses attract the Faery to a garden. Their sweet scent will lure elemental spirits to take up residence close by. Roses can be used in Faery love spells. When performing the spell, sprinkle rose petals under your feet and dance softly upon them while asking the Faery for their blessing on your magic. Roses are loved by the fey so you can plant Roses in your garden to attract fairies. Wild Roses are best for this purpose and you need to say the following spell as you plant your baby Rose bush:
"I ask a fairy from the wild,
To come and tend this wee rose-child.
A babe of air she thrives today,
Root her soul in the Goddesses’ good clay.
Fairies make this twig your bower,
By your magic shall time see her flower!"
Summer Solstice: Ura, the Night of the Heather
by Sarah the SwampWitch,
Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002
The moon is perhaps humankind’s oldest form of marking time. According to some scholars, the Celts used a Lunar Calendar that consisted of 13 months, each 28 days in length. Each month of the Celtic Lunar calendar bears the name of a tree, which also stands for one of the consonants in the Celtic ‘tree alphabet’. There are basically two different versions of this Lunar calendar: the Beth-Luis-Nion (which begins on the Winter Solstice) and the Beth-Luis-Fearn (which begins on Samhain). I work with the Beth-Luis-Nion simply because it seems to work the best for my style of Witchcraft.
Beth-Luis-Nion version of The Celtic Tree calendar
- B – Beth, the Birch Month (December 24th – January 20th)
- L – Luis, the Rowan Month (January 21st – February 17th)
- N – Nion, the Ash month (February 18th – March 17th)
- F – Fearn, the Alder Month (March 18th – April 14th)
- S – Saille, the Willow Month (April 15th – May 12th)
- H – Huath, the Hawthorn Month (May 13th – June 9th)
- D – Duir, the Oak Month (Jun 10th – July 7th)
- T – Tinne, the Holly Month (July 8th – August 4th)
- C – Coll, the Hazel Month (August 5th – September 1st)
- M – Muin, the Vine Month (September 2nd – September 29th)
- G – Gort, the Ivy Month (September 30th – October 27th
- Ng – Ngetal, the Reed Month (October 28th – November 24th)
- R – Ruis, the Elder Month (November 25th – December 23rd)
The five vowels I, A, O, U, and E have corresponding tree names to the nights of the solstices and equinoxes:
- I – Idho, the Night of the Yew, Winter Solstice Eve
- A – Ailm, the Night of the Silver Fir, Winter Solstice
- – Herb too sacred to have a Celtic name, the Night of Mistletoe, Day after Winter Solstice
- O – Onn, the Night of the Gorse Bush, Spring Equinox
- U – Ura, the Night of the Heather, Summer Solstice
- E – Eadha, the Night of the White Poplar, Alban Elfed or Autumnal Equinox
Here Is Lore On The Tree Of The Summer Solstice – Heather:
- Latin name: Calluna vulgaris
- Celtic name: Ura (pronounced: Oor’ uh)
- Folk or Common Names: Common Heather, Ling, Scottish Heather
- Parts used: herb, flowering shoots.
- Herbal usage: Heather’s flowering shoots are used to treat insomnia, stomach aches, coughs and skin problems. The plant, used fresh or dried, strengthens the heart and raises blood pressure. It is slightly diuretic and a Heather Tea is often prescribed in cases of urinary infections. Heather is sometimes used in conjunction with corn silk and cowberries.
- Magickal History & Associations: Heather is associated with the sun, and with the planet of Venus. Its color is resin colored and its element is water. Heather’s bird is the lark, and its animal association is the honey bee. In ancient times the Danes brewed a powerful beer made from honey and Heather. And for centuries the heather flowers have also been a special beverage to the bee, who in return creates delightful Heather honey! Its stones are amethyst, peridot, and amertine – and it is a feminine herb.
The herb is sacred to many Goddesses: Isis, Venus-Erycina, Uroica, Garbh Ogh, Cybele, Osiris, Venus, Guinevere, and Butes among them. White Heather was considered unlucky by Scottish loyalists because of its connection with the banishment of Bonny Prince Charles. Haether is the home to a type of Fey called Heather Pixies. Like other Pixies, the Heather Pixies have clear or golden auras and delicate, translucent wings. But these faeries are attracted specifically to the moors and to the Heather which covers them. They are not averse to human contact, but they don’t seek them out. They have a pranksterish nature.
Magickal Usage: Heather is sacred to the Summer Solstice. Heather is used for magick involving maturity, consummation, general luck, love, ritual power, conjuring ghosts, healing, protection, rain-making and water magick.
Charms made with Heather can be worn or carried as protection against danger, rape and other violent crimes. This flower represents good fortune and Heather can also be carried as a lucky charm. It was believed that wearing the blossom associated with your month of birth would bring exceptionally good luck – therefore people born in the month of Heather (August) should carry White Heather, for even better luck throughout the year.
Legend has it that a gift of white Heather brings luck to both the giver and the receiver, whereas red Heather is said to have been colored by heathens killed in battle by Christians, so is less lucky. Heather is associated with secrets from the Otherworld.
A sprig of white Heather placed in a special place of silence and meditation has the power to conjure ghosts, ‘haints’ or spirits. After picking a piece of white Heather at midnight, place it in a glass of river water in the darkest corner of your home. Sit and think of a departed loved one and it is said that the loved one’s shadow will visit you. Heather is said to ignite faery passions and open portals between their world and our own. Heather represents solitude because it thrives in wide open spaces, and Faeries who enjoy living in such undisturbed places are said to feast on the tender stalks of Heather.
The Fey of this flower are drawn to humans who are shy. Heather is useful for Solitary healing work (going within). Heather, if used along with Mistletoe, creates powerful healing medicine in both spiritual and physical aspects.
Heather can be used at Midsummer to promote love – carry red Heather for passion or white Heather for cooling the passion of unwanted suitors. If you give someone a gift of Heather it means: ‘Admiration’. A charm bag filled with Heather can be carried for decreasing egotism or self-involvement. As a water herb, Heather is very useful in weather magick. When burned outdoors with Fern, the herbal smoke of Heather attracts rain. Bouquets of Heather and Fern can also be dipped in water to call rain.
***Document Copyright © 99, 00, 01,02 by Sarah Nunn (Sarah the SwampWitch). This document can be re-published and shared only as long as no information is lost or changed, credit is given to the author, and it is provided or used without cost to others. Other uses of this document must be approved in writing by Sarah Nunn.
Midsummer Hail and Farewell
by Ahneke Greystone, Midsummer 2000;
excerpt from: Cauldrons and Broomsticks
A newsletter for and by the Pagan/Wiccan Internet Community,
That I am mortal I know and do confess
My span of day:
but when I gaze upon
The thousandfold circling gyre of the stars,
No longer do I walk on earth but rise
The peer of God himself to take my fill
At the ambrosial banquet of the undying.
– Claudius Ptolemaeus,
Greek-Egyptian, 2nd Century
Such a wonder, this season of paradox! A vibrant moment of existence, warm caresses from the Sun, long days to share with family and friends. It is a time for first harvest and second sowing. For some there is more to do than a day’s time allows; for others it is a time of sweet pause and respite. We are poised between increase and decline. Balanced on the Mystery.
Gathered around the fires of Midsummer Eve, we reflect on the turn of the Wheel and the symbolism of fire as a sign of our consciousness. The awakening we experience, as did the God, when times of frivolity and independence turn to times of responsibility and community. It is a time of maturity and reflection. On Midsummer Day our focus will be on celebration; a time for living in the moment and making merry. A Dance of Life, with our minds and bodies attuned to the awesome possibility and promise of existence. Tonight we are comforted knowing that as fire burns it cleanses and purifies, clearing the land and our psyche for the time of repose ahead. Providing the fertile source from which the cycle turns again in Winter.
This holiday transcends all time and culture. The heritage of the celebration is sometimes unacknowledged, and sometimes celebrated much as it has been for hundreds of years. Modern pagans recognize several names; it was called Litha or Vestalia in ancient Rome, Gathering Day in Wales, Feill-Sheathain in Scotland, Alban Heflin in the Anglo-Saxon tradition, Thing-Tideln in Scandinavia, All Couple’s Day in Greece, and it is the Celtic Feast of Epona. It was and often still is celebrated throughout Russia, Europe, the East, Africa and the Americas, and other places throughout the world honoring the season of ripeness and the advent of the harvesting.
In ancient times Midsummer was as well a time for celebration and reflection. Rites were ecstatic, celebrating fecundity and harvest, placating the gods for gentle rather than destructive weather. We knew that Divine whim could destroy the crops we needed to harvest in order for human and animal to survive the upcoming Winter. This was the most powerful fire festival of our solar holidays.
Summer was a time of war, a time of invasion and defense. Our ancient family connected the death of their compatriots with the peak and passing of Summer. The symbolism of the burgeoning land, cut into harvest, and the strong men who died in war was a powerful and integral part of the holiday. Even in ancient times, the paradox prevailed. Life and death.
The wedding month of June traces to our pagan roots. Courting traditionally began at the Winter Solstice, when days were not as filled with tasks, and there was time to focus on familial matters. Towards Spring, pregnancies became obvious. Marrying in May was considered unlucky, as that was the time of the Sacred Marriage. Thus, marriage became common after Beltane. Mead was traditionally drunk for the month following the bonding to guarantee fertility and the health of children conceived. The Full Moon in June is known as the Mead Moon, and we honor this today in our reference to a wedding holiday as a honeymoon.
Midsummer, especially the Eve, is a time when the Fairie become visible to our human eyes. The boundaries between the worlds are thin. Even those of us who rarely experience fey moments can be caught up in the mischief and mayhem brought to us this evening. We will be reminded that our world is a quixotic one. If we have become too staid, that will be remedied this evening! The fairies delight in revealing our human foibles and turning our world on end.
Midsummer in some traditions was the time the Ivy King was seen as battling and overcoming the Oak King. He ruled for the next six months, until the Winter Solstice when the fated battle began again, with the Oak King then victor. In other traditions, the Sun King was seen as born on the Winter Solstice, reaching his peak at Midsummer, to decline and pass either into the Underworld as reigning King there or into repose until his rebirth in Winter. The myth of Demeter and Persephone gave inspiration to a yearly cycle of the Feminine Divine, who at Midsummer is seen as the Daughter who has just begun her journey to the Underworld and the Mother who has not yet realized that her beloved daughter has gone. She will shortly understand this, and she will send the Earth into decline and mourning.
The Goddess at Midsummer is the Lover-Mother. She is pregnant and aware of the life within. This is a bittersweet time. The mature God is her husband and the father of her child. He is more her partner at this time than at any other. Emotionally and intellectually they are equals. She is enjoying this time of mundane connection. It is as though her tasks are done and she finds the time to relax and enjoy life. She who always leads and inspires can briefly lay her head upon the shoulder of her consort and let someone else take charge.
Shadowing her joy is the knowledge of what will come. Her lover will pass over and she will evolve once again separate from him. The child within is her connection to this Earthly time and the wonders of physical existence. It is also her connection to Eternity. What agony she will suffer, though, to see all that she loves pass. Even as her wiser self knows the purpose.
Goddesses for Midsummer include Earth Mothers and Goddesses of beauty and mature sexuality, fire Goddesses and Goddesses of the animals and the hunt. They include: Aine, Ameaterasu, Anahita, Aphrodite, Artemis, Asherah, Brighid, Cardea, Coaltique, Corn Mother, Danu, Erzulie, Esmeralda, Freya, Flora, Gaia, Hera, Hestia, Iamanja, Inanna, Ishtar, Li, Litha, Mawu, Oraea, Oshun, Oya, Pele, Rhea, Rhiannon, Spider Woman, The Corn Mothers, Tiamat, Tonantzin, Vesta, Yellow Land Earth Queen, Yemaya.
The God has matured from the free and independent young man to the wise elder, the King who has learned of commitment and responsibility to his Queen, his family and his community. He is the counselor and the person others turn to for leadership and guidance. The Lord of the Greenwood is now the Sun King. He wears his crown with dignity and with some sorrow. For he remembers how at Beltane he envisioned the blood upon the corn. He knows his time is about to end. He reflects on a life of joy and abandon, of peace and contentment, of accomplishment and triumph. It is the time when he looks back on his life, rather than forward. The time remaining is short. With age and maturity comes the wisdom in him that accepts his life, is aware of the contributions he has made and acknowledges his fate. He looks to the end with peace now, fearless and aware of his role in the theater of life.
The Gods of Midsummer are the Gods of the hunt, Gods of the Sun, Father Gods and the Gods of the Arts. They include: Apollo, Arthur, Balder, Balin, Cernunnos, Faunus, Gwynn ap Nudd, Hades, Heimdul, Helios, Herne, Hugh, Lugh, Pan, Perkunis, Phol, Ra, Taliesin, Woden.
- Colors – Verdant and growing shades, colors of light and fire – gold, green, hazel, orange, peridot, pink, red, yellow.
- Trees: The most powerful being the oak, ivy and mistletoe, but also including evergreen and fruit-bearing trees – fir, holly, mistletoe, pine, hawthorne, maple, oak, peach, palm, rowan.
- Crystals/Stones: Amber, carnelian, cat’s eye, citrine, clear quartz crystal, copper, emerald, garnet, peridot, ruby, sulfur, yellow topaz.
- Flowers: Red flowers, carnations (red), honeysuckle, iris, lily, marigolds, nasturtiums, rose, sunflowers, trefoil, wisteria, witches’ broom.
- Creatures: Cardinal, dove, lizard, magpie, parrot.
- Herbs: Basil, chive, chervil, dragon’s blood, fennel, lavender, mint, parsley, Rosemary, rue, sage, St. John’s wort, tarragon, thyme, vervain, violet.
- Incense: Carnation, cedar, cinnamon, copal, fir, frangipani, frankincense, myrrh, pine, rose, rosemary, sandalwood, tangerine, thyme, vervain, violet, wisteria.
- Oils: Carnation, citronella, geranium, lime, musk, orange, tangerine, ylang-ylang.
- Foods: Hot and spicy foods, corn, dark breads, tomato and red vegetable juices.
And now it is Midsummer! May you cherish the special moments of your life, honoring them as Divine gifts. May the love you have for family and community be paramount today, and may you see in the eyes of your mates, children, family and friends that spark of eternity that is a part of each of us. Celebrate!
Blessings of the Sun King and the Queen of Summer to you!
The night has a thousand eyes,
And the day but one;
Yet the light of the bright world dies
With the dying sun.
– William Bourdillon
The Twilight of the Celtic Gods
by John Patrick Parle
The Milesians, according to myth, were the first Celts to settle in Ireland. This group was named after the eight sons of Mil (some texts say King Milesius); these Gaelic peoples, the myths report, came to Ireland from Spain. Ironically, the first phase of the diminishment of power of the Celtic gods came with the arrival of the Milesian Celts themselves. And, as might be expected, the second phase came with the arrival of St. Patrick. But elements of the Gods and Goddesses still remain in the Celtic mind as part of a folk-culture that bids many to dare not offend the fairies of the mounds or be outwitted by a cornered Leprechaun.
Ancestors of the Gaels
According to the Lebor Gabala in the Book of Leinster, there were 36 generations stretching from the Biblical Adam (via Seth) to Mil, and after, to the Milesian Celts. (The abundant influence of the Irish monks, working as scribes, can be clearly seen in this genealogy.) The bard-author of this myth states firmly that these earlier generations were "our ancestors." They were the Gaedels (sometimes spelled Goidils), or as we say, the Gaelic Celts.
The Gaels trace their mythic lineage to one Fenius Farsaid, a sort of king of Scythia, a territory in what is now southern Russia, near the Black Sea and Caspian Sea. According to the monk-inspired twist in the myth, Fenius was descended from Noah, through Japeth. And Fenius was active in helping build the Tower of Babel. When the dispersal of the 72 world languages occurred, Fenius was quick to found a great school of these languages in Scythia. (An ironic bend to this myth is that some historians believe that the Indo-European family of languages, of which Irish Gaelic is one, came originally from this region of the world.)
Pharaoh in Egypt was deeply enthused about learning all the languages, so he bid Fenius Farsaid and his son Nel to settle in the land of the Nile. Nel fell in love with pharaoh’s daughter, Scota, they married, and had a son named Gaedel Glas, whose chief role in Celtic mythology is having invented the Irish Gaelic language. The author of the myth also makes it clear that the armor and vesture of Gaedel Glas were all green in color.
The generations passed until Eber Scot, the great grandson of Gaedel Glas, got into difficulty in Egypt, was forced to leave, and thus his people began a period of travels lasting three hundred years. The mythic ancestors of the Gaels first went back to Scythia, but things did not work out there over the long run. Then a druid named Caicher had a vision. He announced: "Rise, we shall not rest until we reach Ireland." But the Gaels had never heard of a place named Ireland. Caicher assured them that it was very far away, and that it would be found only by their descendants.
According to the myths, the Gaels resided a long while in their boats in a place called the Macotic Marshes. (Speculation: what may really be meant here is an area around the Maeotic Sea, an ancient name for the region in the northern part of the Black Sea, adjacent to what was once Scythia.) This dark period was not to last forever.
Brath, a descendant of Eber Scot, urged his fellow Gaels to move on and explore. They left the Black Sea region, entered the Mediterranean, and landed for a while in Crete, and then for a while in Sicily. Finally, under Brath’s leadership they travelled westward until they reached Spain, where they wished to form a colony. Through a series of mythic battles, these Celtic Gaels gained control of Spain from the Iberians, and set the stage for fulfillment of the druid Caicher’s prophecy.
So the legendary story of the Gaelic Celts involved many generations, including the direct line of Fenius Farsaid, Nel (husband of the Egyptian Scota), Gaedel Glas, Eber Scot, and Brath (and many members in between). As the story proceeds, the myths tell us that Brath had a son named Breagon, who built an enormous watchtower on the northern coast of Spain (in a town he called Braganza or Brigantia, depending on what text you consult). Many feel that this tower was in the Galicia region of northern Spain, where Celtic culture still thrives today.
King Breagon, as some call him, had two sons: Ith and Bile; Bile had a son named Mil (or King Milesius, for whom the Celtic Milesians were named). Mil had eight sons, including Eber, Eremon, and Amergin the White Knee, a bard with druidic powers. It is these last three generations that in quick succession bring forward the story of conflict between the Celts and the Tuatha Dé Danann, the gods and goddesses of Ireland.
Milesians versus the Gods
One winter evening, Ith the son of Breagon stood on the watchtower and looked across the seas from Spain. He saw a land that sparked his curiosity. Ith wished to give the territory closer examination. He set off with thrice thirty warriors to this new land, which was Ireland.
The rulers of Ireland were now the Tuatha Dé Danann deities who had wrested control of the Isle from the Fir Bolg peoples and the Fomor giants. The tripartite kingship of the gods was now in the hands of Mac Cuill, Mac Cecht, and Mac Greine–these were sons of the god Ogma, and grandsons of the Dagda. When Ith arrived with his warriors, he spoke of Ireland in glowing terms, full of praises of the new land. The three kings of the gods considered this as a sign that the newcomer might try to possess the island, so they had Ith killed.
When news of Ith’s murder reached the Gaels in Spain, his nephew Mil rose up in anger and spoke his determination to even the score. So, the sons of Mil gathered a force of three score and five ships and sailed to Ireland,landing on the day before Beltaine, on the 17th day of the moon, in the year 3500 of the world. Amergin was the first to step off the ship, and plant his right foot on the Irish soil. Immediately he burst into an exposition of poetry, saying: "What land is better than this island of the setting sun?" The Celtic Milesians concurred that this would be their new home. But first they needed to contend with the Tuatha Dé Danann.
So the Milesians marched towards Tara, the seat of power of the gods. On their way, they met Eriu, one the deity queens, the wife of Mac Greine. She welcomed the warriors, and prophesied that Ireland would become theirs and that their race would be "the most perfect the world has ever seen." She then asked the Milesians to name the island after her, and Amergin consented to do this. Hence, Ireland’s name in the genitive Gaelic form is to this day "Erinn."
Once the Milesians reached Tara, the gods complained that the Celtic warriors had taken them by surprise. Amergin agreed to be fair and honorable, and concurred with a plan where the Milesians would embark on their ships once again and go a distance of nine waves from the shore. Upon returning to the land, the gods would then be ready for battle. This the Milesians did, but the gods raised up a powerful druidic wind, preventing the Milesians from reaching the shore.
Amergin’s voice then grew powerful. He proceeded to invoke the Land of Ireland itself, a charm higher then the gods. He bellowed: "I invoke the land of Eriu! The shining, shining sea! The fertile, fertile hill! The wooded vale! The river abundant, abundant in the water! The fishful, fishful lake! I implore that we regain the land of Eriu, we who have come over the lofty waves…" The incantation worked, and the Land of Ireland forced the druidic wind to die down. The Milesians landed and defeated the gods in two battles, the last in an area south of the present Tralee. The three kings of the gods were killed, and the Celtic Milesians gained control of Ireland. This is only partially true though, for the Tuatha Dé Danann retreated below the earth, continued to exert a strong influence, thus becoming the gods and goddesses of the Celtic Irish.
The New Order
The notion of a people defeating their own gods in battle, and reigning victorious in some way over them, is not a regular theme that one sees in the mythologies of the world. Why it happened this way in Ireland, or why the Celtic myths of Wales show humans leading successful raids to the Underworld, is not altogether clear. In the case of Ireland, though, it was not a complete victory.
The deities selected the god Dagda to be their new king, and he set about the task of giving each member of the Tuatha Dé Danann a fairy mound of their own, places where there would be "inexhaustible splendor and delight." In these sidh fairy mounds, the Celtic deities would engage in perpetual feasting, and never would a cauldron or drinking horn be dry. The Dagda chose the most elaborate mound for himself, at Newgrange (sometimes called the Brugh-na-Boyne; even so, his son Angus in a bit of chicanery tricked the Dagda, and took occupancy of the Newgrange sidh for his own).
The Milesian Celts, though now governors of Ireland, came to believe that the assistance of the gods and goddesses was necessary for living on the Isle. Charles Squire quotes an ancient tract from the Book of Leinster to this effect:
"Great was the power of the Dagda over the sons of Mil, even after the conquest of Ireland; for his subjects destroyed their corn and milk, so that they must needs make a treaty of peace with the Dagda. Not until then, and thanks to his good-will, were they able to harvest corn and drink the milk of their cows."
Hence the Celtic gods found their place within the Irish surroundings, and had a honorific role, even if their abode was below the ground.
Though the myths report that most of the gods remained in Ireland after the Milesian conquests, some gods left for the Otherworld of the West, the vast uncharted expanses of the Atlantic Ocean. Chief among these expatriate gods was Manannan, son of Lir the sea god. The Otherworld territories across the ocean had a number of names in myth: the Land of Promise (Tir Tairngire in Gaelic), the Plain of Happiness (Mag Mell), the Land of the Young (Tir-non-og), the Isle of the Women (Tir inna mBan), and others. In one myth, Bran the son of Febal (not to be confused with the Welsh Brân the Blessed) takes a voyage to the Otherworld of the West and meets Manannan, who extols the paradisiac quality of his adopted lands in the Atlantic. In another legend, an Irish king named Breasal voyages across the Atlantic and founds an island of magic that is visible only once every seven years. This legend spread around Europe, and medieval cartographers began placing the island on the western edges of their maps, calling the isle Hy-Brasil (a variant of the Gaelic words). One account is that when European explorers, who were well-familiar with these maps, reached South America they named the area Brazil, thinking they had reached Breasal’s Island.
With the coming of the Milesians a new form of Celtic myth arose. Oral legends of the new kings and their successors became standard practice, and the monk-scribes later wrote down these chronicles, the work of what became known as the annalists. To begin, there was the story of the first Milesian king of Ireland. Eber and Eremon, sons of Mil, divided Ireland between them after the conquest, Eber ruling over the south, and Eremon over the north. But quarrels soon began, battles commenced, and Eber was killed. Eremon then became the first Milesian Celtic king of all Ireland.
These kings of the annalists are quasi-historical, and more emphasis in the annals is placed on heroic humans and their feats. Although these myths show the humans interacting with the gods on occasion, the Celtic deities assumed roles that became smaller and smaller in the texts of the new stories. Some kings merit mention. Tigernmas reigned about a century after Eremon, and legends say he was the first on Ireland to make ornaments of gold and to dye clothing. According to the stories, Tigernmas disappeared with the majority of Irishmen while worshiping a god named Cromm Cruaich. Conchobar was said to have lived about the time of Christ and was well known in myth; his rule in Ulster was the centerpiece of that cycle of legends. Conn of the Hundred Battles has high king sometime around 180 A.D., and his grandson was the illustrious King Cormac the Magnificent. The great grandson of Conn was Cairbre, who was said to have lived in about 280 A.D.
Another descendant of Conn was perhaps the first truly historical king of the lot: Niall of the Nine Hostages (379-404). He began the famous Ui Neill dynasty. Also, during Niall of the Nine Hostage’s reign, an event bearing a great impact on Celtic mythology happened: a Christian boy named Patrick was captured in a raid on Britain, and brought back as a slave to Ireland. The boy was to become a saint.
Saintly Legends and Pious Stories
The stories of Ireland in the fifth century are full of miraculous ordeals between St. Patrick and the druids; spiritual trials abound. Then there are the legends of Patrick driving the snakes out of Ireland, and explaining the Christian Trinity by way of a shamrock. A clever tale has St. Patrick raising the Celtic hero Cuchulainn from the dead, who then attests to the truth of Christianity while standing before high king Laogaire the Second. The once skeptical Irish monarch immediately converts.
In another story, the Fenian hero Ossian returns to Ireland after staying in the Atlantic Otherworld for three hundred years. Having been at the Land of the Young during this sojourn, he has not aged a bit. But everywhere Ossian looks in Ireland, things have changed. It is now the age of St. Patrick. Men no longer look heroic, and when he asks about Finn and the Fenians, people tell him that these were folks who lived long ago. Upon stepping off his fairy horse and touching the ground of Ireland, the years return to Ossian, and he becomes a haggard old man. St. Patrick takes Ossian to his house and tries to convert him. But Ossian wants no part of an eternal life where there is no hunting, no wooing of women, no enjoying the tales of the Celtic bards.
A different story has the four children of the god Lir returning to Ireland after their centuries of journey as swans. Everyone they once knew is gone. St. Caemhoc greets them, and converts them to the new faith. As soon as holy water is sprinkled on them, they changed back from swans into real people. But they are very old, and St. Caemhoc gives them a Christian burial when they pass on.
The stories of the Christian saints are full of legends, like the one where St. Columba was the first person to have seen the Loch Ness monster. And although every honest Irishman knows for certain that Irish monks were the first Europeans to have ventured to America, the modern mind is apt to quarrel with the story of St. Brendan.
According to Proinsias Mac Cana, the "Navigatio Brendani" (Voyages of St. Brendan) became Ireland’s "greatest single contribution to medieval European literature." This ninth century work took its form in Latin and in numerous vernacular translations, and spread across Europe, such that there are about a hundred old manuscripts of the Voyages of St. Brendan still in existence. The story goes that St. Brendan (circas 484-578) was born in Tralee, Ireland, and presided over a monastery at Clonfert in County Galway. He and his monks got into their coracle boats and crossed the Atlantic to discover a marvelous land in the Western world. Medieval map-makers placed Brendan’s Isle in this area, and Mac Cana suggests that this may have influenced explorers like Columbus to risk the Atlantic journey. An example of how myth may have influenced reality! Slán agat. Go n-éiri an bóthar leat!
Sources And References:
- Charles Squire, Celtic Myths and Legends. (New York: Gramercy Books, reprint in 1994.) Much thanks for the information in this volume, for it was the foremost source for these articles.
- Proinsias Mac Cana, Celtic Mythology. (New York: Bedrick Books, 1985.)
- Lebor Gabala Erren (The Book of Invasions) from the Book of Leinster. (Irish Texts Society, translated in 1939)
- Simon James, The World of the Celts. (London: Thames and Hudson, 1993.)
- Barry Cunliffe, The Ancient Celts. (London: Penguin Books, 1997.)
- Gerhard Herm, The Celts. (New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975.)
- Georges Dottin, The Civilization of the Celts. (New York: Crescent Books, 1970.)
- British Broadcasting Company, The Celts. (Six hour videotape from the BBC television series on Celtic culture, presented by Frank Delaney, 1986.)
- Courtney Davis, Celtic Mandalas. (London: Blanford, 1994.)
- Tom Kelly, Legendary Ireland. (Dublin: Town House, 1995.)
- Peter Berresford Ellis, A Dictionary of Irish Mythology. (Oxford University Press, 1991.)
- Thomas Cahill, How the Irish Saved Civilization. (New York: Doubleday, 1995.)
- Sidney Lanier editing Sir Thomas Malory, King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table. (New York: Grosset and Dunlao, reprinted in 1950.)
- Robert MacNeil et al, The Story of English. (New York: Viking Press, 1986.)
- Encyclopaedia Britannica (2000 on-line edition and 1998 and 1966 print editions).
- World Book Encyclopedia (1980 print edition).
Ostara, or Spring Equinox, also known as Spring Rites and Eostra’s Day, marks the first day of the Spring season. Winter gives way to the new growth and first blooms of the year. The Goddess stretches and awakens, causing the Earth to burst forth with fertility and greening land. The God matures and walks among the fertile land, relishing in his new age.
On Ostara the days and nights are equal, as the light begins to overtake the sleepy winter darkness. The Goddess and the God drive the wild creatures to reproduce and live! Ostara represents a time of new growth and new beginnings. A time for all to look forward to new ideas, new jobs, and new goals. Plant a garden, or plant the seeds for your future in a Sabbat ritual. This is the time to move into action!
Based on the Pagan Goddess Eostra, the Goddess of fertility and growth, this ancient, Teutonic holiday was adopted by the Christian movement as the rebirth of Jesus Christ, and was renamed "Easter".
Rituals: Plant a seed (represents a new start or want in your life). Bring flowers to your altar, thanking them for their use in your ritual. Make a mixture of freshly picked herbs, flowers, and vegetables.
Celebrations: Ostara, Spring Equinox, Easter, St. Patrick’s Day, Vernal Equinox, Oestara, Eostre’s Day, Rite of Eostre, Alban Eilir, Festival of the Trees, Lady Day, Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Nawruz (Persian New Year), Good Friday, Day of Blood, Black Friday, Hilaria, the Day of Joy, Passover, St. Joseph’s Day, Maimuna, Palm Sunday, Pask, Maunday Thursday, Dymmelsonsdagen, Strinennia, Maslenica, Shrovetide, Krasnaja Gorka, Radunica, Nav Dein (Day of the Dead), Velykos
Flowers: Snowdrop, Violet, Anemone, Crocus, Jonquil, Jasmine, Hyacinth, Daffodil, Narcissus
Herbs: Yellow Dock, Wood Betony, Broom, Irish Moss, High John Root, Ginger, Cinquefoil, Sage, Rose, Jasmine, Strawberries, Acorn, Celandine, Daffodil, Thyme, Dogwood, Easter Lily, Crocus, Iris, Honeysuckle, Tansy, Violets, Broom, and Jonquil, Marjoram
Animals: Snake, Ram, Bull, Boar, Cougar, Hedgehog, Lark, Rabbit, Unicorns, Rabbits! (yep the Easter Bunny is Pagan!), Cougar, Sea Crow, Sea Eagle, Hedgehog
Goddesses: Cybele, Artemis, Inanna, Isis, Athena, Virgin Mary, Astarte, Minerva, Morrigan, Luna, Eostre, Ostare, Ostara, Ostern, Eos, Eostra, Eostre, Eostur, Eastra, Eastur, Austron, Ausos, Aphrodite, Demeter, Hathor, Aurora, Ishtar, Kali, Blodeuwedd, Gaia, Hera, Venus, Persephone, Kore the Green Goddess, Ahtene, Black Isis, Hecate, and the Morrigan.
Gods: Attis, Tammuz, Osiris, Dionysus, Orpheus, Christ, Robin of the Woods, Pan, Cernunnos, Narcissus, the Green Man, the Great Horned God, Lord of the Greenwood, the Dagda, Thoth, Odin, Mithras, Adonis, Aries, Mars,
Symbols: Eggs, the Hare, Fire, Dawn, Grain, Basket, Verba, Leprechaun, Shillelagh, Tauatha De Dannan, Snake, Shamrock, Four-Leaf Clover, Resurrection, Youth, Morning Star
Zodiac Signs: Aries, Taurus, Gemini
Colors: Red, Lemon Yellow, Violet, Pale Green, White, Pale Pink, All Pastels, Grass Green, Robin’s Egg Blue, Gold
Stones: Rose Quartz, Aquamarine, Moonstone, Bloodstone, Amethyst, and Red Jasper
Time of Day: Dawn
Foodstuffs: Hard boiled eggs, Honey Cakes, First Fruits of the Season, Nuts, Seeds, Leafy Veggies, and of course Chocolate! Cheeses, Ham, Sprouts, Fish, Honey, Butter, Hot Cross Buns (No they didn’t have chocolate back then but it’s become a grand novelty these days!)
Drinks: Anything you can whip up from the seasonal fruits and berries.
Mythical Creatures: Merfolk and any other Air or Water beings.
Plants & Trees: Roses, Strawberries, Seasonal Fruit Plants, Violets, Honeysuckle, Easter Lily, Dogwood, Daffodil, Iris, Irish Moss, Jonquil, Apple Trees (blossoms specifically), and Alder. Juniper, Willow, Alder, Tulips, Violets, Fresh cut grass, Lemon Grass, Sunflower Seeds, Rose Hips, Acorns, Vervain (most of these herbs can be found in a local store or occult shop)
Incenses would include: Jasmine, Rose, Sage, African Violet, Strawberry, Apple Blossom, and Honeysuckle.
Celebrating: Fertility, rebirth
Symbols of the Day
- Lilies – These beautiful flowers were a symbol of life in Greece and Rome. During the Ostara season, young men would give a lily to the young woman they were courting. If the young woman accepted the lily, the couple were considered engaged (much like accepting a diamond ring from a young man in today’s society).
- Lambs – This fluffly little mammal is an eternal symbol of Ostara, and was sacred to virtually all the virgin goddesses of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. The symbol was so ingrained in the mindset of the people of that region that it was carried over into the spring religious rituals of the Jewish Passover and Christian Easter.
- Robins – One of the very first birds to be seen in the Spring, robins are a sure sign of the fact that warm weather has indeed returned.
- Bees – These busy little laborers re dormant during the winter. Because of this, the sighting of bees is another sure sign of Spring. They were also considered by the Ancient peoples to be messengers of the Gods and were sacred to many Spring and Sun Goddesses around the world.
- Honey – The color of the sun, this amber liquid is, of course, made through the laborious efforts of the honeybee. With their established role as messengers to the Gods, the honey they produced was considered ambrosia to the Gods.
- Faeries – Because of their ability to bring blessings to your gardens, protect your home, and look after your animals, it is beneficial to draw faeries to your life. Springtime is the quintessential season to begin drawing the fae again. You want to be sure to leave succulent libations or pretty little gifts for them. Some ideas for libations or gifts are… honey, fresh milk, bread, lilacs, primrose blossoms, cowslip, fresh berries, dandelion wine, honeysuckle, pussy willows, ale, or shiny coins.
- Equal-armed Crosses – These crosses represent the turning points of the year, the solstices and equinoxes and are often referred to as ‘Sun Wheels’. They come in many forms such as God’s eyes, Celtic crosses, Shamrocks, Brigid’s crosses, 4-leaved clovers, crossroads, etc.
The Pagan Culture Center
Rites Of Spring: General Associations & Correspondences by Melissa Wiltcher
Sacred to Aphrodite, Venus, Cupid, and Bacchus. Used in rituals to honor the Goddess. Represented joy to the Romans. Rose flower tea induces prophetic dreams if you drink it at bedtime. Rose petal and hips are used in healing spells and mixtures. Rose petals sprinkled around the house calm personal stress and household upheavals.
Generates positive energy and dispels negative energies. Used as a tea it is a useful magical tonic. Aids those afraid of the dark, prevents nightmares, and protects against the evils of the night. Sew into a sleep pillow for these purposes. Carried to attract love. Protects soldiers in battle. Scattered about the home it brings happiness.
Sacred to Apollo. Leaves can be used as amulets or in amulet bags for protection. Protection, purification, exorcism, prophetic dreams, strength, protects against poltergeists and lightning. Attracts love.
Love, protection, healing, sleep, chastity, purification, and peace. The oil is worn to attract the opposite sex. The flowers are put in sleep pillows, purification and peace incenses. Used in healing mixtures. When combined with rosemary it was believed to preserve chastity.
Sacred to Bacchus, Indra, Soma. For rituals to increase creativity or to ensure a long life, this herb is indispensable.
Faery Dream Pillow
Created by Moon ©1998-Y2k
- Velvet, velveteen or satin fabric
- White or silver thread
- Rose Petals
- Fresh bay leaves
- Milkweed pod – silky tassels
Cut out two squares of fabric approximately 6 inches square. Sew around three sides of the squares with the thread.
Mix in a bowl:
- Rose Petals (two parts)
- Primroses (one part)
- Bay leaves, fresh (one part)
- Lavender (one part )
- Milkweed pod silky tassels (two parts)
Turn the pillow inside out so that the seams don’t show, stuff the pillow with your herb mixture. While you are stuffing it, say something like:
Flying to and fro,
Secret Faery pod,
Where wishes grow & grow.
Whisper and chant
Our happy magic charm,
Hung in the garden,
Keep us safe from harm.
Sew up the end so that the herbs stay in the pillow. You can then decorate the pillow if you want with lace or silk, or embroider with designs, etc. Take this pillow to bed with you at night and put it under your pillow. This not only smells great but will help you to have dreams of the fey.
Note: After six months these pillows may lose their "fresh" scent. You can reuse them by emptying out the old contents and refilling them with new herbs.
Magical Associations from Full Moon Herbs
Making A Faery House
from Lady Domnu
- Craft glue or hot glue
- Flat piece of wood
- Shale, flat stones or river stones in proper scale to size you want
- A crystal
Pick out the flat stones to make the sides of the house. Using the flat wood as a base, glue the stones on the wood. Be sure to leave a door opening for the Faery to enter. I like to leave a good inch or so border of wood base showing. When you have the sides of your house done put on your roof. I like to use twigs then place moss on top of that. After you get this done start decorating the house and wood base with the acorns, pinecones, pebbles, etc. in a pleasing manner. You can place some items inside the house if you like. These I don’t glue down. I attach the crystal above the door. You can use glue but I like to use floral wire wrapped around a section and then use that to attach it to one of the roof twigs. Give the house a day or two for the glue to set up. Do Not use paint on the house!!!!! Sometimes I will even place a trinket (Faery love bright and shining things) in the house. Don’t use iron or nickel as these repel Faery. When ready, place the little Faery home somewhere in your garden or flowerbeds. Call out and let the Faery know that this is a place for them. I like to place some milk or honeycakes near the home. Don’t do this if you’re concerned about attracting animals.
Now you have a special place for your Faery friends to visit. You can put as many of these around as you like. I usually keep two or three around.
As I did for Beltane, I now do for Midsummer – but further in the future, so if you see something you like, you actually have time to make it…LOL I am going to do a non-vegetarian meal today, and a vegetarian menu next Tuesday.
So…Eat, Drink & Be Merry!
from Llewellyn’s Witches’ Calendar 2000; written by Breid Foxsong
- 1 quart dry cider (hard or alcohol-free)
- 3/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup sliced citrus fruits
- 3 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
Combine in a container just large enough to hold everything. Seal and refrigerate, shaking or stirring daily for five days. Strain before drinking.
Old Fashioned Root Beer
From Excellent Recipes for Baking Raised Bread, from the Fleishman Company, 1912.
- 1 cake, compressed yeast
- 5 lbs, sugar
- 2 oz, sassafras root
- 1 oz, hops or ginger root
- 2 oz, juniper berries
- 4 gallons, water
- 1 oz, dandelion root
- 2 oz, wintergreen
Wash roots well in cold water. Add juniper berries (crushed) and hops. Pour 8 quarts boiling water over root mixture and boil slowly 20 minutes. Strain through flannel bag. Add sugar and remaining 8 quarts water. Allow to stand until lukewarm. Dissolve yeast in a little cool water. Add to root liquid. Stir well. Let settle then strain again and bottle. Cork tightly. Keep in a warm room 5 to 6 hours, then store in a cool place. Put on ice as required for use.
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon marjoram
- 1 teaspoon basil
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 small Serrano peppers
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 small purple onion, diced small
- 1 small red bell pepper, diced
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped small
Stir together the thyme, marjoram, basil, and olive oil. Stir in the lemon and lime juice. Remove the seeds from the Serrano peppers, and mince the remainder. Stir in the minced Serrano peppers, purple onion, red pepper, and cilantro. Allow to sit for at least half an hour before serving to blend flavors.
- 1 large cucumber, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1/2 pt plain yogurt
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- Chopped fresh mint
- Dash olive oil
Place the cucumber and yogurt in a liquidizer and blend until smooth. Add the oil and seasoning and blend a little more. Chill in the fridge. Garnish with the fresh mint to serve.
Green Nations Herb Bread
- 1 c white or wheat flour
- 2-2 1/2 cups assorted grain flours of your choice (or more white/wheat flour if you wish)
- 1/2 to 1 cup assorted herbs
- 2 T sugar
- 1 1/2 t salt
- 1 1/4 oz yeast (1 pkg.)
- 1 1/4 c milk
- 2 T vegetable oil
- 1 egg
In a large bowl combine 1 c flour, sugar, salt and yeast and set aside. In small saucepan heat milk and vegetable oil until lukewarm. Be careful not to get your milk and oil too hot or it will kill the yeast. Add egg and warm liquid to flour mixture and mix well. Allow to sit for 3-5 minutes. With wooden spoon stir in herbs and remaining flour to make a soft dough. Turn dough out onto lightly floured board. Knead until smooth and elastic, adding more flour if needed. Dough should be elastic without being overly sticky or stiff. Place dough in warm greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover; let rise in warm place, free from draft, until doubled in bulk, 45-60 min. Punch down dough, knead and place on a pizza pan or cookie sheet, cover with a tea towel and allow to rise again to double it’s size. If you feel fancy sprinkle sesame, poppy or dill seed on top before baking. Heat oven to 400 ° and bake for 35-40 minutes or until done. Serve this bread warm with butter and honey.
What herbs you use depends totally on your personal tastes. Some suggestions: powdered rosemary, parsley, basil, cumin, coarse cracked black pepper, fennel, dill, dried and powdered radish tops, flaked dried carrot tops, nettle greens, calendula petals, finely ground dandelion greens, and thyme.
- 2 Tablespoons Grated Orange Rind
- 3 Tablespoons Powdered Sugar
- 1/2 cup Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
- 1 Tablespoon honey
Combine the orange rind, powdered sugar, butter and honey in a small bowl and blend until well mixed. Chill slightly and serve with Green Nations Herb Bread, scones or biscuits.
Herb Roast Chicken
From Red Deer & Elenya @ University of North Carolina
- 1/2 cup Dry white wine
- 1 Lemon (juice of)
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon Dried oregano
- 4 pounds Chicken, quartered
- 1/2 cup Olive oil
- 1/2 cup Tomato sauce
- 1 Onion, minced
- 1 Green pepper, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon Garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Cumin
In a shallow dish combine wine, lemon juice, garlic, 1 /4 teaspoon oregano and pinch of salt. Add chicken, turning to coat well and marinate for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350° F. In a saucepan combine remaining ingredients and 1/4 teaspoon oregano and bring to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes. Put chicken in a baking dish and top with sauce. Bake for 1-1/2 hours, or until done.
- 1 lb. Mushrooms
- 2 T. Butter, melted
- 1 C. Cream
- Fresh thyme, parsley, garlic, rosemary, or other herbs of your choice
- Salt and pepper to taste
Clean but do not peel the mushrooms. Pat dry with a paper towel. Place them in a single layer in a buttered baking dish and dribble the melted butter over them. Bake at 400° until soft (about three minutes). Pour the cream over the mushrooms and turn the oven to 250° so the cream does not boil. Sprinkle with your choice of fresh, chopped herbs and a dash of salt and pepper before serving,
The sudden appearance of wild mushrooms and their rapid growth were once believed to be a sign of magic. Campestri Agaricus (meadow mushrooms, those white caps commonly purchased in the produce section of the grocery store) growing in a circle were thought to be faerie circles where those wonderful, immortal creatures danced. Mortals were warned not to enter such a place or to fall asleep in a faerie circle because they were believed to be gateways to Faerie. Mushrooms in Cream honors the Fey Folk. Unless you are an experienced mushroom hunter, it is best to use mushrooms purchased through your green grocer. I like to use crimini mushrooms, who are in reality, portabellos picked before they reach mature growth stage, large cap size. When picking through the mushroom bin on the produce aisle, always look at the under side of the caps and choose mushrooms whose gills have not yet opened.
- 1 (3-oz) package strawberry flavored gelatin
- 2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
- 2 cups vanilla ice cream
- 1-1/4 cups boiling water
- 1 (9-inch) prepared graham cracker crust
- whipped cream
- walnut halves (optional)
Dissolve gelatin in boiling water and gradually add ice cream, stirring until melted.Note:If pie is to be chilled 3-4 hours before serving, increase to 1-1/2 cups water. Chill until thick but NOT set (15-25 minutes), and then fold in strawberries and pour into pie crust. Chill until firm; garnish with whipped cream and walnut halves. A very yummy summer treat….and you can substitute sugar-free gelatin. Be sure to keep it refrigerated! Garnish with whipped cream and walnut halves.
Makes 1 – 8 or 9 inch pie.
Summertime Magickal Spells For Witchlings
From Baby Magic by Vidar Andrewson – Mind Fire
Decide what rituals are suitable for your child’s age and which ones are too much for them. I have tried to make them as simplistic as possible.
- Bubblemagic: Have you ever blown bubbles when you were a child? This rite is quite simple but will work if the right mindset is in order. First go out into nature, on a hill, in a field etc on a windy day if possible. Tell your child to make a wish and blow the bubbles. When they blow the bubbles their wishes are put inside the bubbles and carried up to the Gods & Goddesses. There the bubbles pop and the Gods & Goddesses will see their wishes and grant them. Explain to them that sometimes the bubbles will pop before getting there, due to being attacked by Loki’s forces who take the form of bugs, birds, crosswinds, people and other things. If they say a little prayer before the bubbles are blown to ensure a safe journey of the bubbles to the Gods & Goddesses then that will help them do beginning invocations.
- Kite Magic: Hand make a kite with your child(ren) doing most of the work. On the kite write messages of what they want, wishes. The message can be anything they want the Gods(desses) to hear. It can have a poem written on it, or a request or a simple happy birthday to the God during Yuletide for the beginning of our year. The thought being that the higher the kite goes it gets closer to the realm of the Gods and they can read it easier. If the kite string ever breaks and the kite is lost maybe the Gods have decided to keep the kite? Don’t lie to them but let their imagination decide what happened to the kite. If you lie to them they’ll never believe you again or will have doubts about what you say in the future.
- Balloon Magic: Write on a piece of paper your wishes, a song, poem or whatever you want the Gods(desses) to see. Roll up the paper and insert it into a balloon. Inflate the balloon with helium and let it fly on the end of a string <but don’t let it fly away because balloons are not environmentally friendly>. A good variation to this would be to put a handful of birdseed inside the balloon so that when it pops the seed will feed the Goddesses children, the birds.
- Water Magic: Work together to make a boat made of wood or out of scraps of wood. Fill the boat with fish food and a leaf that your kid has written his/her wishes onto. Before your child sends the boat into the water have them say a prayer of what they wish and that in exchange for granting their wish they have fed the Goddesses children, the fish.
- Magic with Fire: You will need to supervise your kids with this one. Have them write down everything that makes them mad onto a piece of paper and then have them toss it into a fire. If they want wishes to be granted by the Gods(desses) have them write, or draw a picture or what they want on a piece of paper and toss it into the fire. Tell them that as the paper gets burned up it turns into smoke and is carried up to the Gods and then magically turns back into a piece of paper and lands on their alter where they read it.
- Home For the Faeryfolk: If you have access to a forest this one is cool. Go out to the forest and assist your child in building a home for the faeryfolk there. Don’t use two-by-fours but branches instead. Make it as elaborate as you wish. Tell your children that sometimes the faeryfolk take on the form of animals and will move into the home you’ve built for them. To lure them into the home put a variety of fruits and vegetables inside and a note to them stating that you’ve built this home for them and if they wish they can grant you your wishes. When the winter snows start piling up they will be very happy you’ve built them a home and stocked it with food. They may feel grateful enough to grant you your wishes. There is also a post on making Faery Furniture here.)
These are only a few of the spells I am working on. feel free to use these and pass them around. Permission is granted to put these in publications as long as credit is given to me
by Eileen Holland, © Eileen Holland, Open Sesame
Alder – Alder is a charm against malevolent fairies. Water sprites are said to protect alder trees, so be cautious of cutting one down. Clethrad is an alder fairy known to us from mythology.
Apple – Fragrant apple bark can be added to incense that is burned as an offering to the fae on Midsummer Eve. The fruit or bark of apple trees can be used in fairy magic, especially for love spells. Apples are suitable offerings to the fae.
Ash – Ash trees are believed to provide protection from fairies, who are said to be unable to harm anyone standing in the shadow of an ash tree. Placing ash berries in a cradle is said prevent fairies from taking the baby and trading a changeling for it. (Also see Hawthorn)
Birch – Ghillie Dhu, a Scottish fairy who wears moss and leaves, is said to live in birch thickets. According to the Hanes Taliesin, from the 13th century Red Book of Hergest: "On a switch of birch was written the first Ogham inscription in Ireland, namely seven B’s, as a warning to Lug son of Ethliu, to wit, ‘Thy wife will be seven times carried away from you into fairyland or elsewhere, unless birch be her overseer."
Blackberry – It was taboo to eat blackberries in Celtic countries – a cause des feés – because of the fairies.
Blackthorn – Blackthorn trees and shrubs are said to be held sacred by fairies. The Luantishees are blackthorn fairies, who guard the trees. November 11 is their festival.
Bluebell – Some consider bluebells the most potent plant for fairy magic. Fields of bluebells are said to be so dangerously enchanted by fairies that a child who wanders into one may be held captive there by the fae. Adults who enter bluebell patches may become so enchanted that they are unable to leave until other humans come to lead them out. Plant bluebells to attract fairies to your garden. They are said to be called to their midnight revels by the sound of bluebells chiming. If you hear a bluebell ringing, this indicates the presence of a malicious fairy.
Clover – Fields of clover are believed to attract fairies. A four-leaf clover is said to provide protection against the fae, and to be able to break fairy spells and glamours. Wearing a four-leaf clover in your hat supposedly grants you the power to see invisible fairies, as does anointing yourself with an ointment made from four-leaf clover, or carrying a charm made of seven grains of wheat and a four-leaf clover.
Cowslip – Cowslip blossoms are said to be loved by fairies, who use them for umbrellas, and protect the plants. Shakespeare had a fairy say of cowslips:
"And I serve the Fairy Queen,
To draw her orbs upon the green.
The cowslips tall her pensioners be,
In their gold coats spots you see:
Those be rubies, fairy favors:
In those freckles live their savors.
I must go to seek some dewdrops here,
And hang a pearl in every cowslips’ ear."
"That they do dwell within the cowslips hollow is truth for I have seen them fly out in intoxicated abandon."
Cowslips are used in fairy magic. They are considered helpful in finding fairy treasures, and keys to unlocking the secret location of hidden fairy gold.
Daffodil – Daffodils are useful for evoking fairies and elves.
Dogwood – Pixy Pears is one name for the tree’s fruit.
Daisy – Daisies are used in fairy magic, for working with elves or fairies. Putting a daisy chain on a child is said to prevent fairies from beguiling the child and carrying her or him away.
Elecampane – Elfwort and Elf Dock are folk names for elecampane, an herb whose roots are used in fairy magic. Scattering the root about is said to attract fairies to your home, and growing elecampane is said to attract them to your garden.
Elder – Elder trees and bushes are said to protect fairies, especially at night, from negative energy and from people and entities who would do them harm. It was a British belief that placing a child in an elder wood cradle could cause it to be pinched black and blue by fairies. Elderberry wine is considered fairy wine. Drinking it is said to enable you to see fairies. Add dried elderberries to an incense mixture that you burn to attract fairies to a gathering.
Fairy Wand – Fairy Wands (Dierama pulcherrima) are associated with Titania, Shakespeare’s fairy queen. They are used magically to call upon the fae for help.
Fern – Ferns are favored by pixies, who are said to sometimes be found near them.
Fig Tree – The Apsaras, also called Sky Dancers, are fig tree fairies (devas) ho are known to us from Hindu mythology. They bless humans at important stages of our lives. They also sometimes seduce scholars and scientists, and sexually exhaust them so that they will not discover things which are better left alone. Evoke the Apsaras for blessings, sex magic, and for good luck and protection for gamblers.
Flax – Purging Flax (Linum catharticum) is also called Fairy Flax.
Forget-Me-Not – Forget-Me-Not flowers provide protection from fairies. They are said to help to unlock the secrets of the fae, and pave the way to fairy treasures.
Foxglove (*Poison) – Folk names for foxglove include Fairy Thimbles, Fairy Glove, Little Folks’ Glove, Fairy Fingers, Fairy Petticoats, Fairy’s Cap, and Fairy Weed.. Foxglove is strongly associated with fairies, who are said to wear the tiny flowers as hats and gloves, and to leave their fingerprints upon the flowers. Foxglove is used in fairy magic, and for the evocation of elves or earth elementals. The leaves are said to grant release from fairy enchantment. Planting foxglove is an invitation to fairies to enter your garden. Wearing foxglove is a charm to attract fairy energy. The juice of the plant is said to be effective in breaking fairy enchantments.
Grass – Small fairies are said to ride bundles of grass as horses.
Hawthorn– Hawthorn, also called Whitethorn and Fairy Thorn, is the thorn in Oak, Ash, and Thorn. A grove comprised of those three trees was believed to be the perfect habitat for fairies, and an excellent place to catch sight of them. Pixie Pears is another name for hawthorn berries.
Heather– Heather stalks are said to provide food for fairies. A field of heather may contain a portal to the Fairy Kingdom.
Holly – Holly berries are said to be a fairy favorite.
Hollyhock – Fairies are said to love hollyhocks, especially pink ones.
Lavender – Elf Leaf is another name for lavender, which is used in elfin magic.
Lilac – The scent of lilacs is said to attract fairies to a garden.
Mistletoe – Adding mistletoe to a fairy spell on Midsummer Night’s Eve makes the spell more powerful.
Morning Glory – Plant morning glories in your garden to keep away hostile fairies, especially nocturnal ones.
Mushrooms & Toadstools – Mushrooms and toadstools with knobbed caps are said to be used as stools and umbrellas by small fairies. Some of the folk names for various types of fungi reflect this belief: Fairy Club, Elf Cap, Pixie Hood, Dryad’s Saddle, Elf’s Stool, etc. A circle of mushrooms on a lawn is called a Fairy Ring, Fairy Circle, Fairy Dance, or Fairy Court. Fairy rings were believed to be places of dangerous enchantment that formed where fairies danced.
Nut Trees – Nut trees provide homes for the Caryatids, who are nut tree nymphs or fairies.
Oak – In British folklore ancient, hollow oak trees that stood in old sacred groves were often believed to be the homes of elves or fairies. Such trees were called bull oaks in England, and bell oaks in Scotland and Ireland. You were supposed to turn your coat or cloak inside out to neutralize their magic:
"Turn your clokes
For fairy folks
Are in old oaks."
Any oak tree may provide a home to fairies, elves, or other such beings. Dryads are oak tree nymphs. (Also see Hawthorn)
Orchid – Hammarbya paludosa is called Green Fairy Orchid.
Pansy – Plant pansies to attract fairies to your garden. Oberon, the fairy king, used pansies in his love potion
"Yet marked I where the bolt of Cupid fell.
It fell upon a little western flower;
Before, milk-white; now purple with love’s wound-
And maidens call it Love-in-idleness.
Fetch me that flower, the herb I showed thee once.
The juice of it, on sleeping eyelids laid,
Will make a man or woman madly dote
Upon the next live creature that it sees."
"A Midsummer Night’s Dream"
Peach – Some consider peaches to be fairy fruit.
Pear – Japanese pears were called Fairies’ Fire in the old Language of Flowers.
Pearlwort – Placing a spring of pearlwort above the front door is said to prevent fairies from stealing any member of the household away.
Peony – Peonies are a charm to bring dreams of fairies.
Primrose – Primroses were considered fairy flowers in Ireland and Wales, where they were believed to grant fairies the power of invisibility. Eating primroses is supposed to enable you to see fairies. Hanging a spray of primroses on your door is said to be an invitation to the fae to enter your home, and to draw fairy blessings; but scattering primroses outside your door is said to keep fairies away by making a barrier that they cannot cross. Touching a fairy rock with a primrose posy that contains the right number of blossoms (try five) is said to open the way to Fairyland and fairy gifts. Be cautious though, for using a bouquet with the wrong number of flowers is said to bring certain doom. Use primroses for fairy magic. Plant primroses in your garden to attract fairies to it. Be sure to take good care of them though, for allowing primroses to languish or die is said to earn you the enmity of fairies.
Ragwort – Ragwort stems are said to be used as horses by tiny fairies.
Rose – Cultivate roses to attract fairies to your garden. Rose petals can be used in fairy magic, especially for love spells.
Rosemary – Grow rosemary, or place fresh sprigs of it about, to keep malicious fairies away. Burn dried rosemary as incense to attract the fae.
Rowan – The presence of a rowan tree in the yard or garden is said to provide the home and family with fairy blessings, and the protection of the fae. Rowan is also believed to provide protection from fairy spells. Rowan was once used as a charm to prevent fairies from spoiling butter as it was churned. In Scotland, the smoke from fires kindled of rowan wood was used to protect cattle from malicious fairies.
St. John’s Wort – St. John’s Wort is said to offer protection from the fae, and from fairy spells.
Thistles – Thistles are also called Pixies’ Gloves, because the fae are said to use the tiny flowers as gloves.
Thorn Trees – All thorny trees, such as blackthorn and hawthorn, are said to serve as meeting places for fairies. Kindling a fire of thornwood atop a fairy mound is said to force the fae to return a stolen child.
Thyme – Thyme is associated with fairies. Wearing a sprig of wild thyme, or essential oil of thyme, is said to help one to see fairies. If you place springs of thyme on your closed eyes and sleep upon a fairy mound, this will supposedly guarantee your seeing fairies. Dried, powdered thyme, sprinkled on doorsteps and windowsills, is an invitation to the fae into your home. Wild thyme, gathered from the side of a fairy mound, is especially potent for use in fairy magic.
Violet – Violets are sacred to the Fairy Queen, and may be used in fairy spells.
Willow – The wind in the willows is said to be the whisperings of a fairy in the ear of a poet. Heliconian is a willow fairy who is known to us from mythology.
Wood Sorrel – Wood sorrel is used in fairy magic, and for the evocation of elves.