Ivy Skin Tightening Wash

English ivy (Hedera helix) is used in commercial bath preparations and massage creams. At home, the primary cosmetic use of ivy is in the treatment of cellulite, the orange peel appearance of skin that dimples thighs and other body parts.   It can also be made into a facial wash that will tighten the skin. The recipe below can be used for either purpose.

The Recipe

2 tbsp dried ivy leaves, crumbled

2 tbsp water, boiling

3 tsp rosewater

1 tbsp linseed

Pour the water over the leaves and infuse for 2 hours.   Strain, warm the rosewater in a double boiler.   Turn off the heat.   Add the linseed, leave 2 hours.   Strain and combine both liquids.   Pat on the skin of the face and neck.  Leave 15 minutes.   Rinse off with clean water.

CAUTION:

For external use only.    Ivy is mildly toxic when eaten and can cause vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhoea.   The berries are more poisonous than the leaves, but both contain toxic saponins.    Contact with ivy can cause skin reactions in those who are sensitive.  

© Anna Franklin, from the forthcoming Hearth Witch’s Kitchen Herbal, Llewellyn, 2023

Eat Your Marigolds!

The pot marigold is so called because it was added to pottage (a kind of stew), not because it is grown in a pot. Calendula petals have been used for culinary purposes since ancient times. Their use was certainly documented in ancient Rome, while Culpeper (1616 –1654) explained that it was common to dry and store the petals for winter use, when they were added to soups, stews and porridge.

The petals have long been used as a cheap substitution for the very expensive saffron. Certainly, all the bags of ‘saffron’ I saw in the souks of Egypt were marigold petals!

Marigold petals add colour and flavour to rice, chowder, custard soups, cream cheese or yogurt dips and potato salad. Add them to baked goods and egg dishes or use as a garnish for salads and vegetables. They can be candied, made into wine, vinegar, marigold buns, or added to cordials. Historically, marigold petals were used for colouring butter and cheese. To give up their colour, they must be bruised and finely chopped.

Marigold Curd Cheese

1 litre whole milk

Pinch salt

1 tsp vinegar (or vegetable rennet)

1 tbsp. marigold petals

Pour the milk into a pan with the petals and salt. Bring to the boil, take off the heat and stir in the vinegar. Leave it to stand for 10 minutes. The mixture will curdle, the curds rising to the top, and the whey (the watery part of the milk) sinking to the bottom.  Set a muslin cloth over a bowl and use a slotted spoon to scoop the curds into it. Tie up the corners, suspend it over the bowl and leave to drip for at least 4 hours. Unwrap and put into a covered dish in the fridge. Will keep for 3 days refrigerated.

Marigold Butter

70 gm fresh petals

100 gm butter or margarine.

Combine the ingredients and spread on scones, bread etc. Will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days.

Marigold Wine

1 litre/ 2 pints of marigold petals
225 gm/ 8 oz raisins
1.1 kilo/2½ lbs sugar
1 orange
4 litres/ 7 pints water
Yeast and nutrient

Put the petals, the juice and zest of an orange into a brewing bin. Heat the water and stir in the sugar until it has dissolved. Pour it over the petals. When the liquid has cooled to lukewarm, add the yeast and nutrient. Cover and stir daily for 4-5 days. Strain the liquid into a demijohn and add the raisins. Fit an airlock and leave to ferment out. Strain into a clean demijohn and leave for 6 months. Bottle.

CAUTION:

Make sure you correctly identify your plant as Calendula officinalis, the pot marigold as other types of plants that are called marigold can be toxic.  Preparations of calendula flower are considered safe for most people, but to be on the safe side, do not take internally if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, for two weeks before surgery, or if you are using prescription sedatives.

© Anna Franklin, The Hearth Witch’s Garden Herbal, forthcoming, Llewellyn, 2023

Plant Spirits

THE ROOTED PEOPLE

We’re surrounded by plants wherever we go, and we depend on them to provide the oxygen we breathe and the food we eat, but this is only a tiny part of their role in the ecosystem. 

Plants are linked to the living Earth from which they spring.  Each plant is a living teacher and must be approached as an individual spirit, a vital life force which may become your ally if approached with love and respect.  Witches utilise plant spirit powers, but to capture these without alienating or dissipating them is not simply a matter of walking three times around a tree and saying ‘can I have a branch’ and leaving a coin in return.  When properly approached they may share something of their life force, their spirit. 

Sometimes a plant or tree will call to you, and you should listen and trust your instincts.  Every plant has a role, a place within the great pattern.  Accept any insight that is given to you, no matter what the circumstances.  If the plant is approached with love and trust, its force will harmonise with you and share its secrets.  If the plant is taken with the wrong motives, if it is mistreated or misused, it may cause discomfort, mislead or seek to gain control of the you. 

The life force – or spirit – of the plant is more important than any ‘active ingredient’ in magical work.  Spend time with your plants, noting where they live, in sun or shade, on chalky soil or sandy soil and so on, their growth habits, when they flower, and when they set their seeds.  Note the shape of the leaves, their texture and colour, and their taste, if edible. 

In this way you will begin to learn from the plants themselves.  It is a knowledge that cannot be bought, and which cannot be learned from books, but only by doing.  Allow yourself to trust your inner wisdom.

Communicating With Plant Spirits

Choose a plant to try to communicate with, perhaps one you are specifically drawn to.  Contemplate its colour and shape.  What is it that attracts you? How does it feel to the touch? What is its scent like? Take your time and gently feel your way with this.  Be grateful for the time you spend with your plant and come to appreciate it more.  Try sensing its aura, its spirit.  Try sending it feelings of love and gratitude.  If you open your heart, you may find the plant spirit responding, and begin to communicate with you.

Anna Franklin, The Hearth Witch’s Garden Herbal, forthcoming Llewellyn, 2023

Hate Your Horsetail? Think Again!

It’s great for your skin and hair. Horsetail contains a large amount of bioavailable silica, which the body uses to build and maintain healthy collagen, connective tissue, and skin. It also contains smaller amounts of bioavailable calcium and other minerals such as potassium, manganese, sulphur and magnesium. It stimulates hair growth and shine, boosts collagen and skin elasticity. It is a healing astringent when used in the bath, creams and lotions.

Try a rinse of Horsetail Infusion for hair shine and strength, or massage Horsetail Tincture into your scalp to promote hair growth. You could mix a few drops of tincture with coconut oil and brush it through your hair, leave it for 2-3 hours and wash out as a split ends treatment.

Dab Horsetail Infusion onto weak and split nails to strengthen them and help remove ridges.

Horsetail is good for reducing cellulite. Add the infusion or a few drops of horsetail tincture to your bath.

Horsetail Tincture

Horsetail stems

Vodka (or brandy)

Put the stems and vodka into a blender and whizz them up. Pour into a clean glass jar, label and place somewhere cool and dark for 4-5 weeks, shaking daily. Strain into clean dropper bottles. Label. Store in a cool dark place for 2-4 years.

Horsetail Bath

1 litre water, boiling

100 gm fresh horsetail

Pour the water over the herb and infuse for 60 minutes. Strain and add the liquid to a warm bath and soak for aches, pains, rheumatism and gout.

Horsetail Foot Rub

100 gm fresh horsetail

100 ml rubbing alcohol

Put the herb in a jar and pour over the alcohol.  Infuse for 3 weeks, shaking daily.  Strain into a clean bottle.  This is good and cooling to rub onto sore and sweaty feet.

Horsetail Skin Toner

Horsetail stalks, fresh

Witch hazel

Put the crushed stalks in a jar and cover with witch hazel.  Leave 2 days and strain.

Horsetail Nail Oil

Handful of fresh horsetail, crushed

Grapeseed or almond oil

Put the horsetail into a glass jar and cover with the oil. Fit the lid. Leave in a cool dark place for 2 weeks, shaking daily. Strain the oil into a clean jar and label. using a cotton pad, rub this into dry, flaking nails daily to strengthen them.

© Anna Franklin, from the forthcoming Hearth Witch’s Garden Herbal, Llewellyn, 2023

Eat Your Clover!

Both red clover and white clover are edible.  Clovers are high in protein, contain trace minerals, beta carotene, plus vitamins B and C.  The leaves have a grassy taste, and the flowers are sweet if picked on a sunny day. 

The flowers can be made into herb teas.  They are lovely added fresh to a salad, especially potato salad.  You can freeze the blossoms in ice cubes to jazz up drinks and cocktails.  The flowers of red clover make a lovely wine.  Clover flowers (red or white) can be dusted with flour and pan fried in oil to make a crispy snack.

The leaves can be added raw to salads or cooked in soups, stews and sauces. 

The seeds can be soaked and sprouted.  A flour can be made from the dried, ground up flowers and seed pods.  Sprinkle this on cooked food. 

Clover Tea

4 to 6 clover flowers

250 ml/ 1 cup boiling water

Pour the boiling water onto the flowers.  Infuse 10 to 15 minutes and strain.  Drink hot, with a little honey if liked or try cooling, adding mint sprigs and ice cubes for an iced clover tea. 

Red Clover Wine

2 litres/ 2 quarts red clover flowers

4.5 litres/1 gallon water

3 lemons

2 oranges

900 gm/2 lb.  sugar

Yeast

Put the flowers in a brewing bin and pour over the boiling water.  Add the juice of the oranges and lemons.   Cool to lukewarm (20 degrees centigrade/ 68 degrees Farenheit) and add the started yeast.  Ferment for 5 days, strain into demijohn and fit an airlock.

Clover Flour

Pick as many white clover flowers as you would like.  Dry them thoroughly, preferably in a dehydrator.  Grind them up in a coffee grinder or pestle and mortar.  You will be left with a gluten free flour that tastes like peas.

© Anna Franklin 2022, from the forthcoming Hearth Witch’s Garden Herbal, Llewellyn, 2023

The Lore & Magic of Lilacs

(Syringa spp.)

Planetary ruler: Venus

Element: water

Magical Virtues: renewal,apotropaic, warding, banishing, death and mourning

The sweet scent drifting across the evening air in the garden tells me that my lilacs are starting to bloom – a brief gift, as they only flower for two or three weeks.   To me there is something in it that stirs the blood, for the lilacs are a sign of renewal and the year opening up, and the perfume carries with it the promise of things to come – the drone of humming bees, lazy, balmy days and the taste of heady, lilac wine. 

Lilacs (Syringa spp.) are found in old gardens all across Britain, America and Europe, so we think they have always been with us, but both the common lilac (Syringa vulgaris) and the smaller Persian lilac (Syringa persica) were only introduced into northern European gardens in the sixteenth century from Ottoman gardens, and the name lilac comes from an Arabic word lilak, which means ‘dark blue’.  The plant was certainly not known by the Celts and Greeks, despite what I occasionally read on the internet, and even in sixteenth century Europe it was a rarity, though the English herbalist John Gerard was able to obtain some specimens and wrote about them in 1597.   Lilacs quickly became immensely popular and were carried by colonists to the Americas in the eighteenth century. 

The genus name, Syringa, comes from the Greek word syrinx, which means a ‘pipe,’ referring to the pith-filled stems – pipes and flutes used to be made by hollowing out the stems of wood or reeds, and our word ‘syringe’ (another hollow tube) comes from the same root.  The botanist Carl Linnaeus bestowed the genus name on the plant, based on this attribute of pith-filled stems, in 1753.  Sadly, it doesn’t come from an ancient association of lilac and the Greek nymph called Syrinx, transformed into reeds to save her from the amorous attentions of the god Pan, from which he created his famous Pan pipes, the syrinx[1]  This story refers to reeds, and there is no ancient association of Pan, Syrinx and the lilac.   It turns out that the lilac is not good for making flutes either as the limited size of the shrub makes it only suitable for making very small woodwork projects, and even then, the wood has a tendency to twist and crack as it dries. 

The lilac has heart shaped leaves, and this, along with the sweet scent, associated it in Victorian flower lore with love.   In the Language of Flowers, by which sweethearts could pass coded messages to each other, the giving of a lilac was meant to be a reminder of an old love; widows often wore lilacs.   In modern lore, each lilac colour has its associations.   According to the International Lilac Society: white is purity, innocence and childhood, violet is spirituality, blue is happiness and tranquillity, a pale purple is first love, magenta is love and passion, pink is love and friendship, and a dark purple is for mourning. 

However, the older folklore is somewhat different.  In Britain, taking lilac flowers indoors was considered unlucky, and to ‘take death into the house,’ from its association as a funeral flower; [2] since strong scented flowers and herbs were often used to cover up the scent of death.  The colour purple associates it with mourning.

It was used for apotropaic (evil repelling) purposes in many places.  In Bulgaria it was included in wedding bouquets to protect the bride and hung above Russian cradles to safeguard infants.  [3] In New England, lilacs were planted to keep evil away from properties, or used to drive out ghosts.  

Lilac is used by modern witches for warding magic.  To protect your home, plant a lilac near your door, place vases of lilac flowers in the windows, or use Macerated Lilac Oil as a protective barrier smeared around the beading of your window frames.  To prevent negativity entering your door, scatter lilac petals on the doorstep. 

Just as the energy of spring drives away the gloom of winter and brings regeneration to the land, the spring-blooming lilac drives away negative energies, replacing them with the power of renewal and new beginnings.  When you are trying to shake off situations and feelings that drag you down or hold you back, the energy of lilac can help.  Take Lilac Flower Essence, or a cup of Lilac Tea, to unblock stuck energies and shake off your hibernation, and move into new growth and self-realisation.  

Lilac Tea

2 tsp fresh lilac flowers

250 ml/ 1 cup boiling water

Pour the boiling water over the flowers.  Infuse 15 minutes, strain and drink, with a little honey if desired.  This makes a good after dinner digestive.

Macerated Lilac Oil

Pack a glass jar with lilac flowers.  Cover with vegetable oil (sunflower, olive etc.).  Leave to infuse for 2-3 weeks, shaking daily.  Strain into a clean bottle.  You can make the scent stronger by infusing the oil a second, third and fourth time.  Use as a facial, body or hair oil or add to any of your home-made bath or skin recipes that call for a carrier oil. 

Lilac Flower Essence

Gather a few mature flowers.  Float them on the surface of 150 ml spring water in a bowl and leave in the sun for 3-4 hours.  Make sure that they are not shadowed in any way.  Remove the flowers.   Pour the water into a bottle and top up with 150 ml brandy or vodka to preserve it.  This is your mother essence.   To make up your flower essences for use, put seven drops from this into a 10 ml dropper bottle, and top that up with brandy or vodka.  This is your dosage bottle.  The usual dose is four drops of this in a glass of water four times a day.  When making flower essences it is important not to handle the flowers – it is the vibrational imprint of the flowers you want to be held by the water, not your own imprint. 

© Anna Franklin, The Hearth Witch’s Garden Herbal, forthcoming, Llewellyn, 2023


[1] Ovid, Metamorphoses 

[2] Jaqueline Simpson & Steve Roud, A Dictionary of English Folklore, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2000

[3] Zoja Karanović and Jasmina Jokić, Plants and Herbs In Traditional Serbian Culture, Handbook of folk botany, University of Novi Sad, Faculty of Philosophy, online at https://www.scribd.com/document/353639787/Zoja-Karanovic-Jasmina-Jokic-Plants-And-Herbs-In-Traditional-Serbian-Folk-Culture-I-pdf, accessed 10.9.21

Spirits of the Garden

The spiritual and physical are not separate but indivisible, the one a reflection of the other.  Our gods and goddesses represent the diversity of the natural world, indwelling divinity present in all things, a life force that suffuses the whole of nature.  When you stand in your garden, you stand on the body of Mother Earth, not a commodity, but a sentient being who sustains us and nourishes us. 

Thinking this way is alien to modern Western materialistic society, but it is nothing new; it has been how humankind has thought and behaved throughout much of its history, and how indigenous cultures still think and behave.  Nature spirits have had a variety of names in different times and places, but they have been acknowledged in every part of the world at one time or another.  They are the spirits who inhabit and protect the natural world, causing plants to grow and flocks to multiply.  The ancient Greeks, for example, had nymphs who were believed to live in and care for rivers (potamids), running water and streams (naiads), lakes, meadows, mountains (orestiads or oreads), oak trees (dryads and hamadryads), ash trees (meliads), flower nymphs (anthousai) and the sea (nereids or oceanides), to name just a few.  The belief that everything has spirit is called animism. 

In these times of ecological crisis, we need to listen to indigenous ways of relating to nature, as we begin to recognise the interconnectedness of all life we need to work with nature, in balance, rather than against it.  Acknowledging the sacred within everything means that we must treat all space as sacred space, and all beings as equal.

It is important to build up a relationship with the place that you work, and the spirits that inhabit it, over time.  It will gradually become more and more powerful, and you will gain the trust of its spirits.

As we humans moved away from our close connection to the Earth, we lost our link with nature spirits.  We forgot how to see them, how to contact them, and how to treat them.  Stories of them persisted, but they lost their awesome status; we diminished them, in our imaginations, into the cute Tinkerbell-type fairies of nursery tales.  But make no mistake; those fictional creatures that appear in storybooks and cartoons, the tiny, tutu-skirted, gossamer-winged beings of Victorian fable are far from the truth – real nature spirits are natural energies, primal expressions of the life force of the Cosmos. 

It was once the custom to honour these guardian spirits with offerings and seasonal rituals.  As long as this happened, the spirits would remain friendly and beneficent.  If they were neglected or offended, they might take their revenge.  Sometimes, neglected spirits drift away, and when this happens the land becomes spiritually (and sometimes physically) barren. 

In order to gain the friendship of your garden spirits you must take certain steps.  You must treat them with respect and prove that you are worthy to have a relationship with them.  However, you cannot make them obey you at will.  They are not there to teach you as you demand, and certainly not to serve you and grant your wishes.  They simply exist and have their own objectives and schedules.  They appreciate being treated with consideration.  To form a bond with them means to participate in an equal exchange.  You can achieve this reciprocity by protecting the environment of your garden, not poisoning it with toxins, leaving the last apples on the tree for them and fallen leaves on the ground.  There are ancient ways of making offerings to the spirits that surround us; though in practice, the food and drink we leave is often eaten by the wild animals, it is understood that the spirits first take nourishment from it.  It is best to leave a small uncultivated area in the garden for the free ranging of the Nature Spirits.  If you can make this private, it is a good place to mediate and to contact them. 

The Anima Loci

The garden has its own soul, or Anima Loci (‘soul of place’), its essential personality.  I believe this evolves from the matrix all that has lived there, the people, animals, plants, and spirits, and events that have happened there.  It is not fixed but continues to grow.  When the Anima Loci is recognised and acknowledged, its power awakens. 

Choose a quiet place in the garden and open your heart to its soul.  Speak quietly and ask for its help to make the most of your garden as a place of beauty that humans, plants, animals and spirits can share.  When you are planning changes in the garden, when you are planting, weeding and pruning, ask it to oversee the work.   

Gods of the Garden

The Gods are present everywhere, and there are some that take a special interest in gardening.  As well as having a shrine to the archetypal Lord and Lady, depending on what path you follow, you might like to have a special shrine to the Green Man as the spirit of vegetation.  Many Pagans have sculptures and masks that represent him, a face surrounded by leaves, and in the mediaeval period in England they were often an architectural feature on buildings, including churches.  Many mythologies have a vegetation spirit, a god who represents growth in spring.  I put out my Green Man masks in the garden every spring to call the spirit of vegetation back to the land and ask for his blessing. 

Shrines in the Garden

To remind us of the sacred in the garden, it is good to have some small shrines to its deities and spirits.  I have a God and Goddess statue in the garden, a representation of a water nymph by the pond, and a place to make offerings to the Anima Loci.  I put out Green Man masks, to represent the spirit of vegetation, in the spring.  Shrines become places to make offerings, connect with the gods, work magic and meditate. 

Condensed from © Anna Franklin, The Hearth Witch’s Garden Herbal, forthcoming, Llewellyn, 2023

The Lore & Magic of Clover

THE LORE & MAGIC OF CLOVER (Trifolium spp.)

Planetary ruler: Mercury

Element: earth

Associated deities: Aphrodite, Freya, Hathor, Venus.

Magical virtues: luck, visionary herb, Beltane, faithfulness, love, fairy contact, abundance

My lawn is full of clovers, and I make no attempt to weed them out, because they are so beneficial.   The bees adore them, and honey made by bees feeding on clover is delicious.  It attracts many beneficial insects including parasitic wasps that kill aphids and other insects that can destroy the vegetable garden. It is wonderful for nitrogen fixation, pulling in atmospheric nitrogen and storing it in its roots.  When the plant dies, nitrogen is released back into the soil as food for surrounding plants.  This is not a modern discover, from the seventeenth century, farmers added red and white clover to their fields to feed them.  This, and the fact that clover makes good hay, gave rise to the phrase ‘be to in clover’, meaning abundance. 

This little plant, often regarded as a weed that grows in many a lawn and roadside verge has more than its fair share of folklore.

St Patrick used the clover to explain the three in one nature of the holy trinity.  The threefold shape of the clover leaf was used to represent the Holy Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit).  In Christian lore, Eve took some four-leaf clover with her when she was banished from the garden of Eden as a reminder of her happy time in paradise.  However, its reputation as a plant of luck and prosperity is most prevalent in Celtic countries, and it is likely that some of its lore may predate Christianity altogether. 

Clovers generally have three leaves, and four leaves are rare, so just finding one might be considered extraordinary luck.  Four is a number of balance – four directions, four elements, four seasons and so on.  One traditional rhyme associates it with four common aspirations:

One leaf is for fame,
And one leaf is for wealth
And one for a faithful lover,
And one to bring you glorious health
Are all in the four-leaved clover.

Otherwise, the four leaves are taken to represent faith, hope, love, and luck.  For Christians, the four-leafed clover represented the cross, and possession of one would protect against evil spirits, the attentions of fairies, witches and ill luck.  Maybe before the advent of Christianity, it was a solar cross, a symbol which dispelled evil in ancient times.

Clovers were used in love magic. According to popular folklore, place a four leafed clover under your pillow to dream of your perfect partner.  If you are seriously looking for a partner, place a clover leaf in your shoe, the first man you meet will be your destined lover.  Or pin the clover to your door, and the first unmarried man that passes will be yours.  Scatter in front of a new bride for luck and protection. 

If we are to judge by fairy tales, clovers were much loved by the fairy folk.  According to one story, a milkmaid accidentally picked a four-leaf clover with the grass she used to soften the weight of the pail on her head.  When next she looked at her cow, she saw dozens of fairies milking it.  In many documented recipes, a salve of four-leaf clover was said to open the Sight and allow a person to see fairies and spirits. 

Clover is protective, a holy herb that shielded against dark forces.  There is an old rhyme that runs: Trefoil, vervain, St John’s wort, dill/Hinders witches of their will.  In Cornwall, a four-leaf clover is said to bring back a real child stolen by the pixies, by placing the clover on the changeling.

It is said that snakes will not go where clover grows.  The related shamrock was said to have been planted in Ireland by saint Patrick who expelled all the snakes from the island, a metaphor for overcoming the power of the Pagans.  Shamrock means small clover, though it is not a clover at all, but an oxalis. 

The word clover is possibly from the Latin clava meaning ‘club’, the three knotted club of Hercules, the symbol in the suit of clubs in playing cards. In Anglo Saxon it was called cloeferwort (a wort is a medicinal herb).

MAGICAL USES

Clover is a visionary herb, and may be employed in teas, wine, incense, salves and potions to aid access to the spirit world, especially for fairy contact at Beltane, a doorway between the seasons, and at the great fairy festival of Midsummer.

Consecrate the ritual pentacle and copper tools, such as herb knives, with clover infusion or oil. Use clover oil, incense and infusion in rituals and spells for increase, earth, abundance and prosperity. Carry a clover for luck.

According to an old spell, to stay young gather dew on May Day dawn.  Steep in three clover stalks in it, out of the sunlight.  The next day rub some of this water on your face, and every subsequent day until it is used up.  (it’s worth a try!)

Use in incense, spells, herbal talismans, as an anointing oil for spells of rituals of love, and the goddess of love.

© Anna Franklin, The Hearth Witch’s Garden Herbal, forthcoming Llewellyn, 2023


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Eat Your Weeds – Clover

Both red clover and white clover are edible.  Clovers are high in protein, contain trace minerals, beta carotene, plus vitamins B and C.  The leaves have a grassy taste, and the flowers are sweet if picked on a sunny day. 

The flowers can be made into herb teas. 

They are lovely added fresh to a salad, especially potato salad. 

You can freeze the blossoms in ice cubes to jazz up drinks and cocktails. 

The flowers of red clover make a lovely wine. 

Clover flowers (red or white) can be dusted with flour and pan fried in oil to make a crispy snack.

The leaves can be added raw to salads or cooked in soups, stews and sauces. 

The seeds can be soaked and sprouted. 

A gluten free flour can be made from the dried, ground up flowers and seed pods.  Sprinkle this on cooked food. 

Red Clover Tea

4 to 6 flowers red clover flowers

250 ml/1 cup boiling water

Infuse 10 to 15 minutes and strain.  Take 3-4 cups a day, or when you are having a hot flush.  You can take 5-6 weeks for acne, constipation, eczema, psoriasis, swollen glands, coughs and bronchitis.  

White Clover Tea

4 to 6 flowers white clover flowers

250 ml/ 1 cup boiling water

Pour the boiling water onto the flowers.  Infuse 10 to 15 minutes and strain.  Drink hot, with a little honey if liked or try cooling, adding mint sprigs and ice cubes for an iced clover tea. 

Red Clover Wine

2 litres/ 2 quarts red clover flowers

4.5 litres/1 gallon water

3 lemons

2 oranges

900 gm/2 lb.  sugar

Yeast

Put the flowers in a brewing bin and pour over the boiling water.  Add the juice of the oranges and lemons.   Cool to lukewarm (20 degrees centigrade/ 68 degrees Farenheit) and add the started yeast.  Ferment for 5 days, strain into demijohn and fit an airlock.

Clover Flour

Pick as many white clover flowers as you would like.  Dry them thoroughly, preferably in a dehydrator.  Grind them up in a coffee grinder or pestle and mortar.  You will be left with a gluten free flour that tastes like peas.

Offering to Mother Earth

We should remember that we are dependent on Mother Earth for all we have and give thanks. In particular, it seems fitting to begin work in a garden with an offering to Mother Earth, but whether you have a garden or not, you can do this as often as seems fit. 

Sit or stand in the garden with a jug of wine.  Open your senses to its sights, its smells and its sounds.  Take your time.  Now go deeper.  Sense the life there – the plants and animals – and how it interconnects.  Go deeper.  Feel the life stirring in the earth, the source of all things.  Feel the energy of the Goddess moving through it.  Say:

Mother Earth, you are life, you are abundance,

You produce all in Nature, you produced me, your child.

You are first in all things, you surround me;

You are beneath my feet.

You give me the food I eat, the water I drink.

From you comes all I see, all that breathes.

Pour the wine on the earth (this is called a libation).  Say:

Mother Earth, I give thanks for this place,

For the sun and the wind, the rain and the land.

Mother Earth, I give thanks for all that lives here,

The winged creatures, the crawling creatures,

The flying creatures, and the four-legged creatures.

Mother Earth, I give thanks for all that grows here.

Blessed be.

Spend as long as you wish reflecting on this.

© Anna Franklin, 2022