Category Archives: Spirit

Journey through witchcraft and meditation.

Hidden uses for your herb garden

Recently, I signed up for an herbalist course online through Groupon. One, to get closer to nature but also to head in the direction of a more natural medicine cabinet. So many of us use chemical compositions from the pharmacy shelves to help cure common colds or a skin rash when we can just as easily turn to Mother Earth. We have been provided such a wide variety of natural cures in our own backyards, it would be a shame to let them go to waste. Of course, modern medicine has its place and there’s a reason we developed it, but there are many instances in daily life where herbalism can assist our healing and help promote a healthier lifestyle. 

Many of these herbs have medicinal and spiritual purposes that are miles long, so I just listed the ones that I felt most relevant. It’s amazing all the various uses for these common kitchen herbs aside from making our dinners more delicious. It’s always important for me, personally, to have representation of the four elements in my sacred space. Herbs are a wonderful way to honor the earth. 

The herbalist course was a great beginners introduction into herbal medicine. Another great source, as always, are our beloved books. The first herbalist book I picked up was medicinal, Herbal Remedies by Andrew Chevallier, and it’s a great source with easy to identify photos and references. If a plant has even a shred of medicinal uses, it’s in this book with an instruction on how and when to use them. 

Spiritually, my favorite that I’ve picked up is the Green Witch by Arin Hiscock-Murphy. I stumbled upon several reviews on pagan instagram accounts and blogs, and it’s currently a favorite among the community. I loved it because it helps establish the mindset and lifestyle of a green witch beyond keeping a simple herb garden. I picked up Hiscock-Murphy’s trilogy of pagan books and they are all fantastic. 

These are the six herbs that I landed on after doing my research. Not only are they the most used herbs in my kitchen, but they all have amazing medicinal purposes that I had no idea existed before embarking on this journey. I have been using white sage smudging sticks to cleanse sacred spaces or new apartments that I moved into for over a decade, but I was amazed to learn that the additional herbs that had been sitting in my space cabinet all along could enhance my craft as well. I got a bit of a late start in planting these herbs with the shelter in place orders, but since I’m working with an indoor garden, I don’t have to worry too much about the weather outside. I just have to worry about keeping my cat from eating them when they sprout. 

The best thing about these six herbs, they all require similar sun light each day as well as similar watering schedules. Since I’m keeping these plants indoors and the ceramic pots I picked up were on the smaller side (four inches), I only put a few seeds in each pot. Plenty of seeds left over in case some don’t sprout or if I have to start over for any reason.

Rosemary

Culinary– Rosemary is one of the most versatile herbs, used primarily in pork and chicken dishes, as well as potatoes. One of my personal favorites is in bread, dipping oils, and herbal butter. Rosemary is also a great addition to soups, salads, and surprisingly desserts. 

Medicinal– Rosemary essential oil is commonly used for stress relief, anxiety, aches and pains. Rosemary tea also has all the same benefits and is incredibly easy to make by steeping rosemary leaves in hot water for about ten minutes, strain and drink up. 

Spiritual– Rosemary represents cleansing and purification, it can be used to make smudge sticks alone or mixes with sage. Burn a few leaves to purify your space before meditations. 

Basil

Culinary– Basil is good for tomato base sauces, making pesto or eating raw in caprese, salads and pizza. If it’s Italian cuisine, basil is the perfect spice. 

Medicinal– Basil naturally boosts the immune system and promotes healthy liver function. It can also relieve stress and lower cholesterol. Basil tea can help calm nerves and settle the stomach. 

Spiritual– Basil symbolizes luck, peace, protection and success. Plant this in your garden to bring prosperity to your home. 

Cilantro (Coriander)

Culinary– Cilantro is the perfect addition to salads, wraps, sandwiches, guacamole, salsas and most Mexican cuisine. It can also be used to elevate rice, chicken and seafood. 

Medicinal– Cilantro is an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, as well as a sleep aid. 

Spiritual– Coriander is the seed of the cilantro plant and has its own spiritual uses. Coriander oil can be used to bless candles and put in a satchel above your bed for a peaceful sleep. 

Parsley

Culinary– Parsley is a rich, versatile herb that can transform salads, soups, sauces and Mediterranean dishes. I put parsley in the majority of dishes I make. Used fresh or dried, it’s the perfect elevation of flavor. Parsley can also be used in dipping oils and herbal butter. 

Medicinal– Parsley reduces inflammation and assists in cleansing the liver. It can also be used to strengthen the immune system, aid digestion, and is rich in Vitamin K and C. 

Spiritual– Parsley is considered the herb of the dead, used in ancient cultures to honor those who have passed on. 

Sage

Culinary– Sage marries well with pork, poultry, sausage, and seafood. I also put a bit of sage in homemade alfredo sauce, which surprisingly is the perfect addition. 

Medicinal– Sage helps when dealing with digestive problems. It can also assist to relieve stress, lower cholesterol levels, reduce hot flashes and night sweats. Sage can be used as an essential oil or drank as a tea made from sage leaves using the same method as making rosemary tea. 

Spiritual– Sage represents purification and protection. White sage smudge sticks can be used to cleanse a meditation area or your entire house, just make sure to open up a window or five depending on the size space you’re working with. Other herbs and flowers can be tied into a smudge stick to assist in cleansing negative energy. 

Oregano

Culinary– Oregano pairs well with chicken, beef, and pork. It’s another herb that is made for Italian cuisine, especially pasta and pizza. Bread, dipping oils, and herbal butter. 

Medicinal- Oregano is great for promoting respiratory and immune system health. Oregano is also rich in vitamin K, iron, magnesium, and a great source of fiber and antioxidants. It helps reduce inflammation and ease minor aches and pains. 

Spiritual– Oregano can assist to calm nerves and grant clarity and courage. Oregano can be added to charms and meditation to invoke joy and promote letting go of old habits or lovers. It’s also a great addition to a herbal protection sachet or an herb infused bath. 

Herb garden photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels.

10 ways to celebrate earth day at home

Today is the 50th year anniversary of Earth Day! On this day in 1970, one of the most overlooked holidays (in my humble opinion) was born. Now, over 190 countries around the globe take part in honoring the Earth, which is incredible, but there is still plenty more we can do this day and the other 364 days in our year. Earth Day offers an endless list of ways to celebrate and especially now, a time to reflect on how our own actions affect the planet we call home. 

One of the hardest things to do as humans is to look inward and recognize that we are part of the problem. Whether it’s accepting blame for hurting someone’s feelings or recognizing that we have made mistakes that cause serious ramifications, the truth is we are all human and all of us trip sometimes. It’s not entirely the mistake that we should linger on, but what we can do to correct it. Now that we are all staying home for the time being, it means most of us are not only stuck in the couch, but also stuck inside our heads. While that can be a scary thing, it’s not always a bad thing. We need to reflect on ourselves from time to time. Just like we call our friends and family to see how they’re doing, we need to ask ourselves those same questions. Are you okay? How are you sleeping? What can I do to help? 

That last question echoes and I decided one of the steps my family and I can make this Earth Day is take that one extra step to caring for our beautiful planet. We may all feel stuck at home, but that doesn’t mean we can’t step out into the fresh air and take a moment to appreciate nature. Side note, isn’t it amazing to see the planet healing while all of us cut down on waste and pollution? We are already doing so much for our health and environment by staying home but since it’s Earth Day, we can always take things a step further in the right direction. This year, my family is keeping it simple. We picked up trash around our neighborhood.  

It’s mind blowing how much trash ends up littered on the side of the road or in public parks. Just our neighborhood alone, trash always gets caught in the fence that separates our back yard from the small creek running through base. Cleaning up after ourselves is completely free and a great way to honor our Mother Earth, not just today but every day. This was also a fantastic learning experience for my nearly three year old daughter. This simple act not only teaches our children to simply not litter, but to teach them that we only get one planet. The energies that flow through us are the same energies that flow through the streams and the breeze that rustles through the trees on a warm spring day. When we take care of the planet, we take care of ourselves. 

1: Pick up trash.

2: Go for a walk.

3: A day of no driving, no pollution. If you are an essential worker and have to work on Earth Day, commit one of your days off to stay home or walk rather than go for a drive.

4: Make a donation to a charity dedicated to sustainability or animal preservation.

5: Recycle.

6: Invest in reusable bags for everyday shopping instead of using plastic. This includes the plastic one-use produce bags at the grocery store. 

7: Invest in reusable metal or silicone straws and reusable storage bags to reduce plastic waste going into the oceans and landfills. 

8: Subscribe to paperless bill pay/online payments.

9: Don’t leave the water running when washing hands or brushing teeth. We can potentially waste gallons of water by letting the tap run when we aren’t actually using it. 

10: Unplug electronics when not in use. It’s easy to forget about those small kitchen appliances sitting on our counter. Leaving your toaster plugged in all the time actually uses up energy even when you aren’t making delicious toasted snacks. This goes for phone chargers and other power cords around the house as well.  

BONUS for those who practice the craft: 

Earth Day is also a great time to gather elemental representation for your altar or meditation space right in your backyards or local parks/trails that are currently still open to the public. Stones and dried flowers are perfect to showcase earth. Bird feathers for air, and if you live close to the ocean, a small vial of sand and a seashell are classic representations for water. Fire is a bit harder to scrounge up in the wilderness but a simple candle is always a good choice. These are just a few items on a long list of options for your sacred space, and the most obtainable items I was able to obtain when enjoying Mother Earth this specific holiday. 

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Park bench photo by Kaboompics on Pexel.

Wood Light Vacation Picnic photo by Pixabay on Pexel.

Intro

Hello and welcome to the Mystic Quill! In this very first post I wanted to explain my intentions and where I am at the beginning of this journey. My why and my how. Why did I decide to start a blog focused around my spiritual voyage as a pagan and how I walk my own unique path. 

The main thing that attracted me to witchcraft was the freedom. The ideology that there is no set of rules, no idea that you have to practice a certain way to be a witch. It’s all in your intention. Good or bad intentions is what makes the person rather than how you fit into a cookie cutter mold. The very idea that the magic comes from you. Not the herbs you use or the crystals you have, whether you have certain items placed on your altar just right. And while all those things definitely have their own vibrations and their own meanings, the true power comes from the user. Magic is in our hearts and our souls, our energies. Witchcraft, to me, is about being able to tap into and being sensitive to the energies that flow through all living things. The same energy that flows through you and I is the wavelengths that connect the animals, trees, and the stars in the night sky. The moon that gives us the tides illuminates our path amidst the darkness.  

It’s really a beautiful thing when you think about it. That we are all connected to each other and the world we live in. That mindset really makes you appreciate the earth we live on and all the beings we share it with. It makes you protective over it, wanting to do everything you can to help preserve our home. Once you feel that shared vibration, you can never look at a blade of grass or a small squirrel the same again. That is the calling that I felt to the craft and that is why I have stayed so long. The forest is my church, the animals are my congregation, and the moon is my communion. 

I was raised Catholic, just like many generations in my family before me, and I had a great childhood. But once I became a teenager, a lot of the things I was being taught felt off to me. I didn’t feel it in my heart. Now, don’t get me wrong, many people live their lives perfectly content in Christianity and I’m truly happy for them. My path is different than theirs, one isn’t better than the other, they just aren’t the same. Life is all about doing what is best for you, what you feel is right for you in your own heart. That is what led me here and that is what brought me to starting this blog.

Earlier this month I posted a meme on Insta, this one here:

I was expecting anything but the responses I got from women on my personal page. Everything from hearts to clapping hands emojis. Various messages of support and how they felt the same way. It was really uplifting and made me realize this topic is something that interests more people than I first believed. I brought up starting a blog to document my own journey with witchcraft and everything that I still have left to learn and the ones I did speak to were supportive and enthused. So I figured, “Damn, if they are here for it then so am I.”

As a writer, I wanted to create a space where I could express myself in my beliefs and document my trek but also somewhere that I could publish my thoughts. And although I typically write novels and I do have some projects that I am in the process of self publishing, I wanted to combine my passions. Writing, witchcraft, and self care. Or as I will be referring to them in each post: mind, spirit, and body.

So here we are. While there is quite a bit that I have already learned (which I will cover in future posts in an organized fashion, I hope) there is still so much that I want to explore and open myself up to. Life is a voyage, all about navigating rough seas and taking the time we have in calm waters to be thankful for what we have. I’m excited to be able to share this portion of my story and hopefully hear about yours too.

Milky Way Galaxy photo by Miriam Espacio on Pexel.