Self Care

Top 3 Herbs for Your Winter Bodycare Routine November 20 2022, 0 Comments

Here at Spirit Haus Botanicals, we don't subscribe to the notion of oil-free skincare.

Here's why:

Soaps and other lathering cleansers can strip our skin of the oil that it naturally produces, leaving our largest organ to try and repair itself. Each time we strip the oil away, our skin over-compensates for the lack of protection by creating even more oil than is necessary.

This puts us in a cycle of being tight and dry, followed by an oil slick. But if we provide healthy oils for our skin, we can reduce the need for it to produce excessive amounts of its own.

Sunflower oil is our favorite base oil. Not only is it lightweight, unscented, and easily absorbed, it has a very high concentration of linoleic acid.

Linoleic acid is an essential omega–6 fatty acid, which means the body cannot make it on its own and it must be consumed or absorbed through the skin to get into the body.

It is thought to support natural exfoliation, which allows healthy skin shedding and renewal, helping to keep pores clear and complexions bright.

Products containing linoleic acid are even recommended for acne-prone skin. Research shows that acne sufferers have a lower concentration of linoleic acid on their skin's surface (which could be contributing to clogged pores)

A few of my favorite plants to infuse into oil for topical use are:

Calendula, Rose, & Rosemary


Image by Chandan Chaurasia

Calendula officinalis 

is second to none when it comes to soothing and calming skin inflammation. As the first medicinal plant I fell in love with, calendula is extremely gentle yet quite potent, with resins and terpenes that have shown strong antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory actions.

Gentle enough for nipples and diaper rash but potent enough for traumatic injuries, there aren’t many skin ailments that don’t cause me to reach for calendula.

Find Calendula-infused herbal skincare here

Photo by Sindy Strife

Rosa spp.

Highly regarded for their beauty and aroma, roses also hold strong medicinal value. The petals are rich in compounds that have shown to be highly anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, analgesic, and astringent.

On average, rose hips contain about 500mg of antioxidant vitamin C per 100g. That’s ten times as much as in oranges, which contain about 50mg per 100g. Due to our low storage capacity of this water-soluble vitamin, a regular and adequate intake is required.

Our Rose Hip Extract can be applied topically or taken internally for a super antioxidant and antiinflammatory boost

Find Rose-infused herbal goodness here


Photo by Kody Dahl

Salvia rosmarinus
or Rosmarinus officinalis 

Promising research shows that Rosemary oil can be as effective as the active ingredient in Rogaine at regrowing hair after 6 months of use. (source)

Rosemary has also been used to strengthen circulation. We've seen it used to keep hair follicles from being starved of blood supply, dying off, and falling out.

Carnosic acid, an active ingredient in Rosemary, healed tissue and nerve damage in one study. This ability to heal nerve endings may rejuvenate nerves in the scalp too, in turn possibly restoring hair growth.

Applying fats like castor oil to the hair on a regular basis helps lubricate the hair shaft, increasing flexibility and decreasing the chance of breakage (source)

Find Rosemary-infused herbal haircare here


To learn more about how to incorporate medicinal herbs into your routine, or how to grow, harvest, and make medicine out of up to 70 medicinal plants, check out my Rootcraft Herbalism Courses!

Adaptogenic Herbs: What's All the Hype About? November 09 2022, 0 Comments

I love working with adaptogens during the Autumn transition.

Remember when we used to have Autumn??

autumn trees and sun

Photo by Erik Witsoe

What ever happened with that? Here in the PNW we went straight from 80 degree weather through October, to snow in November!

After having a wet Spring that lasted until June, it's clear nature is struggling with handling transitions smoothly lately.

winter snow evergreens sky

Photo by Ian Schneider

Guess what that means...
It's okay if you are too!

This time of year can be so challenging for regulating our moods.

Autumn is the time when I start thinking about all the stressful self imposed or societally "deadlines"... Holidays. Family. Goals I set for the year... 

On top of that, the days are now shorter, it's dark out, and seasonal affective disorder and depression starts looming its ugly head.

That's where ADAPTOGENS come in to play.

Adaptogens are herbs that help our bodies and minds manage the stress response.

Photo by Annie Spratt

Now, that doesn't mean they BLOCK the stress response or delete the things in our life that are stressful...

But adaptogens have shown to smooth out the highs and lows that come along with stress. Over time we can see a normalization of stress hormones and a generally decreased predisposition to stress.

Are adaptogens a new discovery?

Well, the term "adaptogen" is relatively new, but the plants have been worked with (especially in many parts of Asia) for ages.

The term adaptogen was coined in 1964 by soviet scientists who were seeking out plants that could produce an increase in physical performance and resistance to stress. These qualities were highly sought after beginning in WWII and after, in attempts to improve stamina and vitality, especially of Russian soldiers and athletes. 

They ended up performing thousands of studies and clinical trials on several plants with a long history of traditional use in the area. These plants showed the ability to increase the body’s general capacity to withstand stressful situations, therefore guarding against diseases that are caused by over-stress. 

Hmm can't imagine why they'd want that! Could it be they were concerned for the health and wellbeing of their soldiers and athletes? Or was it more likely nationalism and the military industrial complex...

Photo by Emma Simpson

The ultimate goal with these herbs is typically to:

1. Reduce stress reactions during the initial alarm phase of the stress response
2. Prevent or delay exhaustion
3. Provide some protection against long term stress. 

Adaptogens are not known for blocking the stress response, but rather smoothing out the highs and lows that come along with it. Over time we can see a normalization of stress hormones and a generally decreased predisposition to stress.

Three qualities that contribute to a plant being considered adaptogenic are:

  1. Showing non-specific activity.
    It increases the body’s overall ability to resist any physically, chemically, or biologically harmful agents (not just certain ones)
  2. Having a normalizing influence
    It can increase or decrease the function of a system, organ, or process that is over or under active as needed, bringing it to a more ideal level no matter the original state. 
  3. Being innocuous
    It doesn’t cause harm or influence normal body functions more than is required to return balance.  

Photo by Loic Leray

There are a number of possible biological processes by which they may do this, the most likely of which is by altering hormone function of the pituitary-adrenal gland axis. Our adrenal glands—small organs located above the kidneys—help us manage stress by producing hormones like cortisol. When we are stressed and our adrenals are stimulated to secrete cortisol, this impacts countless bodily functions in nearly every system of the body down the line such as: 

  • Increasing in the blood glucose levels, 
  • Regulating blood pressure, 
  • Regulating metabolism,
  • Enhancing the brain's use of glucose, 
  • Controlling sleep and wake cycles
  • Suppressing inflammation
  • and increasing the availability of substances that repair tissues. 
  • Cortisol also curbs functions that would be nonessential or harmful in a fight-or-flight situation, such as digestion.  


This stress response helps to keep us alive in acutely stressful situations, such as emergencies, physical attacks, natural disasters, or other times where our lives are in danger. 


When we experience chronic or long-term elevated cortisol levels, however, this begins to wear on the numerous bodily systems that cortisol affects. The immune system, nervous system, cardiovascular system, endocrine system, musculoskeletal system, respiratory system, and reproductive systems all can suffer from prolonged exposure to stress hormones. 


Photo by Max van den Oetelaar

When not to work with adaptogens 

It is important to note that, while adaptogens have developed a reputation in modern use with situations of recovering from exhaustion and burn out, the original studies and intentions for working with adaptogens had the goal of improving performance under unnaturally excessive loads of stress. 


Now, we may look at this and think “my life has unnaturally excessive loads of stress, and I’d like to be able to manage it without succumbing to the diseases associated with that lifestyle”, because, after all, we live under capitalism and must survive. 


On top of that, most of us carry around residual and/or unprocessed trauma that activates the body’s stress response as well.

  • Race,
  • gender,
  • sexual orientation,
  • physical ability,
  • socioeconomic status,
  • and the intersections of all these various identities can add to the mix.

Those with marginalized identities navigate daily microaggressions (subtle, indirect, or unintentional discriminations) as well as systems of oppression that increase stress levels that can impact health.

Image of adaptogenic Tulsi Ocimum tenuflorum

Taking all that into account, we can ask ourselves:

Do we want to treat ourselves like soviet soldiers?

Should we be expected to "tough out" abusive, oppressive, and/or exploitative conditions just because we have adaptogens at our disposal? 


Adaptogens should never be employed as a justification to continue burning the candle at both ends.

We can’t simply start popping ashwagandha and expect ourselves to be happier with a work/life balance that isn’t serving us (whether that is due to our own choices, societal expectations, one of the numerous reasons listed above, or, most likely, a mix of all of these things). Adaptogens should always be incorporated into a holistic approach to managing stress, including taking appropriate rest and setting boundaries with our time and energy. 


As tonic herbs, adaptogens are best worked with consistently over a period of several weeks, usually in tincture form. Some adaptogens, however, have shown to function immediately before a stressful situation to help regulate the body’s response. 

Photo of adaptogenic Schisandra Schizandra chinensis 


Some of the most popular adaptogenic herbs are:

  • Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) [find it here]
  • Ashwagandha root (Withania somnifera) [find it here]
  • Schisandra berry (Schizandra chinensis) [find it here]
  • Tulsi leaf & flower (Ocimum sanctum) [find it here]
  • Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) [find it here]
  • Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus)
  • Rhodiola Root (Rhodiola rosea)
  • Korean ginseng (Panax ginseng)
  • American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius)
  • Dang shen (Codonoposis pilosula)

To learn more about herbal actions such as this, and to learn how to grow, harvest, and make medicine out of up to 70 medicinal plants, check out my Rootcraft Herbalism Courses!

Links to studies that have been performed on adaptogens:




Menopause trial:
Hepatoprotective animal study:
Neuroprotective in vitro study:
Neuroprotective research review:
Russian research findings:


Why We Should Ditch the Essential Oil Fad for Flower Essences April 05 2021, 1 Comment

Hey crystal, plant, and woo-woo lovers!

If that's not you that's okay, you can still hang out! I'm just assuming if you found this, that that's what you're into :)

Anyway, why aren't you using flower essences instead of essential oils?

It strikes me as odd that essential oils are so popular in the spiritual community, when their production and usage is anything but holistic. I'm not here today to talk about the "medical" uses of essential oils, this is going to be about their use in emotional, spiritual, and energy work. 

yellow forsythia flower blooms

First off, their production is unsustainable. Countless acres of soil depleting monocrops are grown and natural habitats are wiped clean due to the fact that it takes sometimes 10,000 pounds of raw material to produce one pound of essential oil. 

On top of their wasteful production, they are by definition a stripped down isolate of a plant's complex synergistic system. Synergy means that all the different chemical constituents of a plant somehow work together to produce an effect greater than one would expect based off of adding up the individual parts on their own.

When you strip out the essential oil constituent from this system, all of that is quite literally going into the garbage. 

Now, theoretically these producers should be obtaining plant hydrosols as a biproduct. Whether those are put to use or not is unknown by me, seeing as they're not nearly as trendy as essential oils are. But hydrosols a much safer and more holistic alternative to essential oils, and they smell just as good (albeit less intense) while maintaining more of the plants integrity.

purple rosemary flower blossoms

Lastly, essential oils are just unsafe. They should never be used undiluted and, in my professional opinion, should never be smoked in a vape pen or used internally (sidenote: nothing dilutes oil besides more oil, not even an entire tub of water).

They are being marketed to be used in these ways by MLMs and their untrained representatives who claim that theirs are safe because they are "therapeutic grade". Purity means nothing when a "pure" oil can cause serious chemical burns just as much as an "unpure" oil can. 

Even just diffusing them or misting them on furniture because they smell good can be extremely dangerous for pets, children, and people who are pregnant or nursing. 

But I digress. I'm here to talk about flower essences!

yellow brassica flower blossoms

Flower essences are liquid extracts of flower vibrational energy that are used to address emotional imbalances and mind-body well-being. They're like crystals and plants combined, and no, they're not a replacement for your medications.

They are however, dilute herbal infusions prepared from pristine garden blossoms. In fact they're so dilute that I'll come right out and tell you, if you had them tested in a lab they probably wouldn't detect any physical evidence of the plant at all. So like, the opposite of potentially toxic essential oils.

And yet somehow, people have been reporting good experiences with them since the 1930's.

purple violet viola flower blossoms

You might know, my background is in the hard sciences and research. My degree is in biology. I'm a skeptic and I want evidence. But at the same time, to pretend that modern science can understand everything in our universe is just self righteous and disrespectful to nature.

That said, to make them, the fresh, dew-filled blossoms are gathered in the early morning and infused by the warmth and light of the sun.

This process creates an imprint of the unique energy pattern of the flowers into the water, which then embodies the healing archetype of that particular plant.

This is combined with the intuition of the crafter, who connects with the plant as the essence is being made. Very small doses are taken orally over a period of about a month, and they can also be used topically in creams and sprays. 

purple rosemary flower blossoms in water flower essence

Putting the flowers in water is easy, but personally, it took *several years* of working with plants for me to feel connected enough to begin this energy work.

I've been over here growing a line of my own to offer you that aren't mass produced like commercial ones are. I believe there has to be something lost when you're producing enough flower essence to be shipped to every single health food store in the "western" world. 

You'll be able to find mine in the Spirit Haus Botanical Essence Collection in the April 16th update! 

yellow dandelion flower blossoms and flower essence bottle

What do you think? Do you work with flower essences already? Would you consider making the switch from essential oils? 

The Wheel of the Year: How Our Self-Care Changes Throughout the Seasons January 20 2021, 0 Comments

If you follow me on social media, I can only assume you may be a little confused by the wide range of content I've shared since reopening this apothecary in September.

You may be wondering, "Wait, is this a gardening page now? Wasn't it a self care page? And an herbal product page? And a witchy page?"

The answer is YES to all of them. And I'll explain why I won't narrow it down to just one of those topics:

The basis of all of my content and offerings is the Wheel of the Year.

What I'm trying to share with each of you is how life changes alongside nature. And I don't mean how our wardrobes change... I mean changes in what is available and abundant in nature to call upon either physically in our health and bodycare, or symbolically in our (call it what you will) internal work, emotional self care, and/or shadow work.

So yes, in the Autumn and Winter you saw more content focused on internal work, as nature was going to sleep for the season. We used a lot of evergreens and dried warming spices and we let go of a lot that we didn't want to bring into the new year, both physically and emotionally. This was Mabon, Samhain and the Waning phase of the year.

Late winter/early spring (like now) you're seeing me share ways to plan and prepare for the return of the sun and Spring. I'm planting seeds, propagating plants, and setting goals. What's done is done and we begin the work to manifest our own prosperous year. This was Yule, the New Moon, and the upcoming Imbolg.

In the Spring and Summer we're going to experience so much fresh growth and later have so much to harvest. So you'll see a lot more fresh herbal extracts and flowers available. Our personal energy will mirror this by feeling more external, taking action and reaping the benefits of all the hard internal work we did all winter. This will be Ostara, Beltane, Litha, Lughnasadh, and the Waxing and Full moon phases of the year.

My monthly Self Care ritual kits attempt to be the epitome of these phases. I do them monthly rather than seasonally because these changes don't just occur suddenly every 4 months. All 8 Sabbats throughout the Pagan Wheel of the Year celebrate a different aspect, and the remaining 4 months I choose to honor the lunar cycle associated with that time of the year. They include tools and information to get to know each of these phases better and connect with them in an empowering and meaningful way.

While I feel torn to choose a direction to focus the content I share with you, that wouldn't be authentic and, to be honest, I think it would be kind of boring. I don't advocate trying to feel and act the same all year round, so I'm not going to pretend Spirit Haus Botanicals can either.

So while some posts you see may seem hyperfocused on one aspect of a this all encompassing concept, know that it all stems from this core value.

Letting Go: The Glorious Autumn to Winter Transition November 11 2020, 0 Comments

Recently, on the shop's instagram, I made a bit of a switch in gears with the sudden onslaught of body care offerings after quite some time of being more spiritually ritual focused...

Traditionally, I like to wait until we're more into Winter to bring in the "body" aspect of our mind-body-spirit self care rituals, and I'll explain why.

Stay with me here...

Winter is ruled by the Water element, represented by our emotions and heavy with introspective Yin energy. Winter can be a dark and emotional time for a lot of folks so I often try to balance it out with some spicy Fire and some grounding Earth. Earth is represented by the physical body and the material world, keeping us present in reality rather than drowning in our thoughts and emotions. THAT'S where the body aspect comes from (there will also be a lot of Fire in the December Yule Kit so don't worry)

I think I just got excited to get these gift sets launched for y'all in time for the holidays!

But to stay on the original course following the Wheel of the Year, we're still in the waning part of Autumn, letting go of thoughts, habits, patterns, and relationships that no longer serve us. Speaking of which, how are those November Waning Moon Banishing kits going??

So, until Yule, days continue growing shorter, darkness continues growing longer, and we welcome the death of the year for its own sake as well as for the sake of welcoming and embracing her rebirth in Spring. What if we tried to find beauty in these endings, rather than seeing them only as a means to a new beginning?

Hang tight I'm almost to the best part...

Don't get me wrong, new beginnings are usually the best (or at least the "not worst") part of endings. But perhaps finding some beauty in endings themselves can help ease our fear of them if we learn to embrace these transitions with the same grace that nature does each Autumn and Winter...

We don't see her grasping at her falling leaves in a desperate attempt to maintain the appearance of a prolonged Summer.

We don't see her apologizing for not having buds and blooms.

She boisterously exclaims "look at my gorgeous leaves of red and orange tumble!"

Not blossoming. Not green.

But awe inspiring in their grace and vibrance. They know it is their end, yet they don't hesitate. She knows the frost will weigh heavy on her branches and the wind may cause some to break. And she accepts the challenge, knowing that she has grown all year in preparation, sending down deep roots and trusting her strength to hold fast.

And yes, Spring will come again. But with such a display of strength and resilience, maybe we won't need to feel so desperate for her arrival.

So hold fast my friends. We may have a bumpy road ahead but we're now well seasoned (pun intended, or is that just where the phrase comes from?) and fortified to withstand any storm that can be thrown our way. Literally and figuratively. 


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My Ultimate Witchy Book Recommendations October 28 2020, 0 Comments

This was an Instagram post that I was NOT expecting to turn into an entire blog article until I ended up writing so much that it wouldn't fit on a single post!

Witch With Me is hosting a #witchwithhalloween Mini-Challenge and today's prompt was: Books

I'm a research and information black hole. There's no satisfying my craving for information. So as much as I often wish I lived in the "old country" or in the Roaring 20's or 1800's New Orleans, the privilege of living in the Information Age is not lost on me. 

Without further ado, let's jump right in:

1. Jambalaya 

This book called to me during my first trip to New Orleans. I wish I could remember the shop name because it was so much more authentic than a lot of occult shops there, and didn't have bad vibes like others. The book is a blend of memoir, folk wisdom, and Afro-American beliefs written by actress, storyteller, and priestess Luisah Tesh. With VooDoo and Voudoun not being my culture, I am careful to respectfully learn about it while not attempting to appropriate or call upon their traditions in any way. 

2. Religion and Healing in America

This was assigned reading way back in my undergrad days. I think it was a biomedical ethics class? It touches on how religious views have both conflicted with and worked alongside medical practice throughout history. It would probably benefit me to re-read it again, knowing what I know now!

3. Drunken Botanist

by Amy Stewart "explores the dizzying array of herbs, flowers, trees, fruits, and fungi that humans have, through ingenuity, inspiration, and sheer desperation, contrived to transform into alcohol over the centuries." I couldn't describe it any better myself and as a bartender of ten years this combines two of the things I've spent a lot of time pondering!

4. Spiral Dance

by Starhawk is very near and dear to my heart. I don't even remember what called me to buy it or where I got it from, probably a New Age Bookstore in Portland. I've opened it up a thousand times without thinking and each time it's when I've been searching for answers. Several times over the years when my spiritual practice has been lacking, I'll seemingly out of the blue decide to start reading it again and am reminded that it wasnt a coincidence. That my intuition is always looking out for me. The musings in the book delve beautifully into the how and why of Earth centered and goddess religions, putting into words the feelings I've always carried so deeply. It was first written in the 70's, when Neo-Paganism and goddess traditions we're beginning a rebirth, so be sure to get the later versions with commentary that adjusts with the times.

5. Paganism: An Introduction to Earth Centered Religions

by River Higginbotham and Joyce Higginbotham is everything you want an introductory Pagan book to be. I picked it up originally when I was becoming curious about what Paganism was and why it was always demonized in movies when, to me, it just sounded like they worshiped nature and Christianity was threatened by this (spoiler: I wasn't wrong). I still find myself going to back to it to look things up so many years later.

These last 3 books didn't make it into the photo because I forgot they were on my kitchen table haha.

6. Grimoire for the Green Witch

by Ann Moura is one that I'm still exploring. Personally I feel everyone should make their own Book of Shadows, but so far this is a thorough reference for ritual work, spells, and divination.

7. Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs

was written in 1985, and is a compilation of really cool history and lore that folks couldn't just find on the internet at the time. It's an A-Z book that is sometimes lacking on plants you'd think there'd be a ton of info on, and surprisingly thorough on plants you'd least expect. Basically this is the book all the first Green Witch blog posts had to use to list correspondences.

8. The Green Witch

by Arin Hiscock-Murphy is a *beautiful* book, however I haven't spent much time with it since it definitely has more of a beginner vibe. For that reason I do recommend it for a starter guide to the "Natural Magic of Herbs, Flowers, Essential Oils, and More"


What books do I need to add to my collection??

Let me know in the comments below!


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Regarding The Witchy Elephant in the Room... October 15 2020, 0 Comments

“Can someone purchase your products if they aren’t a witch? I don’t want to be disrespectful.”

Someone asked me this recently and I LOVE questions like this. Why? A lot of reasons.

1. Because I never would have thought someone would be thinking it

2. It takes a lot of guts to ask something like that and I have mad respect for that.

3. It gives me a chance to learn about how my work is being perceived.

4. It's also a trip to be asked this because I only "came out of the broom closet" publicly in August of this year, so it still feels weird even openly acknowledging my spirituality. 

Anyway, the short answer is: you definitely do NOT have to be a witch, Wiccan, or even spiritually inclined to use my products. I apologize if I’ve made anybody feel that is the case (I’ll admit I use a lot of #witchy hashtags but that’s not meant to exclude anyone, just extend my reach).

The long answer is: some of my creations (like the Spirit Bottles) may certainly seem silly if you aren’t witchy or Pagan, but for goodness' sake: I started the entire shop in 2011 by making Pitty Party Deodorant... Hardly spiritual >D

Back then, I grew the line for a few years to incorporate as much of what I had learned in my postgrad studies in Herbalism and Holistic Nutrition as I could, mainly focusing on what herbs could do for the physical body.

But after reading Staying Healthy With the Seasons by Elson M. Haas M.D. I became completely enamored with the concept of helping people adapt their lifestyle to coincide with the seasonal changes in nature. I read about other traditions as well, and the more I learned about seasonality in wellness the more I realized how much this resonated with ancient Pagan cultures and the Wheel of the Year. Then seeing how the elements Fire, Earth, Air, and Water correlated perfectly with the seasons and the plant medicines I was already using was what really sealed it for me. It's like my intuition was way ahead of me, and my brain just had to catch up.

So when you see me talking about the Pagan Sabbats like Mabon and Samhain, it’s not to teach you about witchcraft or religion. It’s to shed light on how ancient cultures lived in such a way to celebrate nature while simultaneously living at her mercy year-round. The symbolism involved in the endless cycle of death and rebirth in The Wheel of the Year provides a profound sense of appreciation and respect for every moment we have.

So do you have to be a witch to use my creations? Definitely not. Everything you choose to bring into your life is what you make it. If it’s a pretty candle that smells good and makes you smile, then that’s all it is. If that same candle is a tool someone else uses in practicing magick? Then that candle is magick. Other makers may feel differently, but that's my stance in my shop.

There’s nothing secret or taboo about a bath or a cup of tea. And it’s even pretty mainstream these days to practice breathing, meditating, and setting goals for how you want your life to be. In witchcraft we just call it grounding, setting intentions, and manifesting.

At the end of the day, all I really want is for y’all to have the best tools possible to create your own self-care rituals, however they may look. To find small, mindful habits you look forward to that are completely self-loving and soul nurturing, and then getting as into it as you are comfortable with.

Some folks can dedicate a whole day every week to self-care (I can hear the collective “HA”). Others (the ones who just laughed) just barely have time to put on their deodorant, but if you actually look forward to it, that’s still self-care! Rituals can be sneaky like that.

So find little things that feel good to you and you look forward to, then make them a habit. That’s your #radicalselfcare.


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Apples: Boring? Or Universal Embodiment of Life and Death? September 29 2020, 0 Comments

When I first started seeing “apples” on recommended lists of autumnal offerings I thought, and I quote, “BORING”.

Apples are ubiquitous. We take them, we leave them. We don’t think about them, they’re apples. They’re just there. Sure, we like them. But we don’t pay them any mind… THEY’RE APPLES. 

How can they be associated with the Autumn Equinox and Samhain? With the death of the year? They’re so sweet and unassuming. Sure they’re harvested at this time, but that’s not enough of a qualification to be considered “the food of the dead”.

I’m gonna need to see some credentials. 

Turns out, apples have a long history in folklore of being associated with immortality, death, and love.

The first stories that come to mind to many are, of course, the poison apple the Evil Queen offers to Snow White; and, obviously, the Forbidden Fruit in the Garden of Eden that resulted in the banishment from the garden of eternal life and perpetual damnation of women thereafter. More on that later…

Maybe apples aren’t so boring. Or, perhaps apples simply bore the brunt of this responsibility due to the fact that as late as the 17th century, the word "apple" was used as a generic term for all (foreign) fruit other than berries. Even potatoes, or pomme de terre in french, translate to “apple of the earth”. Or, perhaps still, due to the fact that “mălum”, a native Latin noun which means “evil”, and “mālum”, another Latin noun borrowed from the Greek word for apple, are so easily mistaken for one another. 

This is one explanation for how the unnamed Forbidden Fruit became portrayed as an apple... 


...Yet another explanation is the influence that apples from Greek and Norse mythology had on biblical translations. No matter how you slice them, apples have been used throughout history to represent immortality. 

Gods across Greek, Roman, and Christian belief systems are said to have to bestowed apples that granted immortality upon Earth as a gift, warning mortals that they must not be eaten; dangling the allure of eternal life in front of them only to promptly take it away in order to display the futility of attempting to attain god-like status. The Golden Apples, Forbidden fruit, and immortality, belonged to the heavens; and the god(s) easily took these gifts back. 

In Celtic mythology, possession of the Silver Bough, an apple branch that bore flowers, buds, and ripe fruit simultaneously, allowed the posessor to enter the land of the gods. 

In Norse mythology, Iðunn, keeper of apples and granter of eternal youthfulness, is abducted from Asgard and her absence causes the gods to grow old and grey. Similarly, when Thiassi stole Iðunn's apples and hid them, the gods grew old; they only regained their youth when Iðunn found the stolen fruit.


There lies an example of the eternal balance offered by nature. We cannot discuss eternal life without discussing death. Life, eternal or temporary, is a gift and we must treat it as such. As often as apples appeared as symbols for immortality in ancient lore, they also appeared in tales of death. 

Not only do apples have life sustaining flesh, but that flesh protects seeds that contain toxic arsenic.

Perhaps that is why Guinevere, the wife of King Arthur, was condemned to be burned as a witch after she gave an apple to St. Patrick just before he died. 

In Celtic traditions, apple trees grew in the underworld where they provided food for the dead during the bleak winter before resurrection by the goddess Olwen in the spring—a story similar to the Greek myth of Hades and Persephone.

Apples also symbolized the Norse goddesses Freya and Hel, queen of the Underworld.

In Wiccan traditions, Samhain altars are often piled high with apples, as they also considered apples a food of the dead. Apples are also buried on Samhain, the day marking the death of the year and the time at which the veil between the living and dead is thinnest. This offering is made to nourish and sustain the souls that have crossed over, until they are reborn along with the returning light of the new year in Spring. 

Celts also associated apples with rebirth and buried apples in graves as food for the dead. This practice dates back over 7,000 years in Europe and West Asia, where petrified remains of sliced apples have been found in tombs from 5,000BC.

More recently, colonial culture led to apples being depicted as a symbol of the land where white men lived. Sioux author Zitkala-Sa portrays how colonizers promised that if she came with them, she would find apple trees with fruit growing so close to the ground that little girls like her could reach right up and pick it.

This red apple became a symbol of the world that white men and women lived in, and the resulting death of indigenous people and culture. 

As far as I can tell (and someone please correct me if I'm wrong) we don't see apples often in North or South American indigenous mythology since apples were brought during colonization, long after the majority of indigenous mythology had been established. 


In Greek and Roman mythology, apples were associated with the goddesses Gaea, Artemis/Diana, Hera/Juno, Athena, and especially Aphrodite/Venus. Aphrodite and Venus, the Greek and Roman goodess(es) of love, beauty, pleasure, passion, and procreation, is/are associated with apples. Apples’ robust, juicy, ripe flesh makes them the quintessential fruit to represent fertility and the female womb, as they are essentially big ol' ovaries that envelop and protect the tree’s seeds: the future of that tree’s life force. “Fruit of my loins” can be taken quite literally here! 

Apple trees are not typically stingy with their production, either. A single semi-dwarf apple tree can produce up to 500 apples per year, for 15 to 20 years! Certainly berries and other small fruits may produce as many, if not more. But when you compare the size, apples provide a much more bountiful and life sustaining harvest. This is what brought the apple to be a symbol for abundance. 

Apples prefer growing in a cooler, more moist climate than is generally available in regions like China, so they used to be imported from Korea and Japan. This made them an exotic luxury that was considered a symbol for peace and beauty. 

In some cultures, it was customary on one’s wedding night for the bride to eat an apple, ensuring sexual desire, fertility, and abundance within the marriage (as though two people weren't involved in those aspects of a relationship, and that responsibility lay solely on her shoulders)


There is a belief that one way to discover the first letter of your true love's name is to peel an apple with a knife, keeping it as long as possible and in one piece. When the piece breaks off, toss it to the floor and observe what letter it most closely resembles. You can also say each letter of the alphabet as you are peeling and if/when it breaks off, the letter you were on is the first letter of your love's name. Sticking an apple seed on your forehead and reciting the alphabet was used the same way. The seed should fall off at the initial of your beloved. 

Cut an apple in two and count the number of seeds... If they are even, you will soon be married. If one of the seeds is cut it may be a stormy relationship. If two are cut, widowhood is foretold. But if an uneven number of seeds are found, you will remain unmarried in the near future.

In Austria, throwing apple seeds into a fire while reciting, “If you love me, pop and fly; if you hate me lay and die,” is an apple variant on “He loves me, he loves me not.”

Hold an apple in your hands until it is warm, then give it to your intended. If they eat it, your love will be returned.


“To banish illness, cut an apple into three pieces. Rub each piece onto the affected part of the body, then bury the pieces during the waning moon.”

“Before eating any apple, rub it to remove any demons or evil spirits hiding inside.” 

“Unicorns live beneath apple trees and you might see one if you quietly go to an apple orchard on a misty morning.”

I’ve struggled to find history and lore regarding apples in Japanese, South American, Polynesian, Indigenous, African, Indian, Caribbean, and Middle Eastern traditions, just to name a few (basically everywhere else in the world aside from Europe).

Admittedly, this is yet another Eurocentric summary of apple symbolism. I am a practicing Pagan with undergrad level education in Greek mythology, so my realm of personal expertise is not all encompassing (I'm an herbalist, not an historian or anthropologist). As much as I would like to elaborate on other cultures, I simply lack the education, experience, and, well, culture to do so.

I’ve included what little information I did find, but it’s important that these stories are carried on as well, not only for Google’s algorithm, but for the preservation of these ancient cultures that are just as important as European ones.

If you have stories from your culture to add, please share them in the comments!


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7 Reasons Licorice Root is the Ultimate Guide Herb September 24 2020, 0 Comments

Originally written by me, Jovie Hawthorn Browne, for Witch With Me

Having fallen out of popularity in its true form in mainstream culture, “Licorice” has become almost entirely associated with the polarizing anise-flavored candy. But before you make any decisions, let’s take a look at what real licorice is and why it’s so useful. 

Licorice Root, Glycyrrhiza glabra and Glycyrrhiza uralensis, has a history of over two thousand years of recorded use as a potent medicinal plant for a multitude of conditions. The oldest records of its use date back to ancient Assyrian, Egyptian, Chinese, and Indian cultures. Large quantities of licorice root were even found in the tomb of King Tut (1356 to 1339 B.C.E.). Its use in Traditional Chinese Medicine dates back to 190 AD, and this was where it earned the title of “guide herb”. Here are 7 ways Licorice Root has been used as a powerful plant ally:

~As a Sweetener~

1. The word licorice is derived from the Greek word glukurrhiza, meaning “sweet root”. Due to its glycyrrhizin content, which is thought to be 30-50 times sweeter than sugar, licorice root has long led the way as a sweetener; first in beer, then in confectionaries by the 13th century. Since modern licorice candies don’t contain the herb at all, our association with licorice flavor actually comes from the anise and fennel that is used instead. 

~In the Garden~

2. Licorice is an amazingly beneficial companion plant in the garden. As part of the legume family of plants, it is a nitrogen fixer, as well as a dynamic accumulator, guiding nutrients from deep at the tip of its roots to more shallow depths so that they are available for other plants nearby. It provides food and shelter for beneficial insects and wildlife, and helps control erosion. Licorice root can easily be grown from divisions or root cuttings planted 1 to 1-1/2 feet apart, or you can sow seeds outdoors in spring or fall. You’ll want to wait to harvest it until after 2-3 years of growth. 


3. Both Eastern and Western medicine have long documented reports of successfully using licorice root for its immune, liver, digestion, respiratory, antiviral, and antimicrobial benefits. Chinese medicine uses it as a  “guide herb,” combining it with other herbs in a single prescription to enhance the effectiveness of the other ingredients, generally raise Qi, reduce toxicity, and improve flavor. It has a particular affinity for dry coughs and flu symptoms affecting the throat and lungs, and has been shown to be as good as codeine for unproductive coughs by helping to guide out phlegm. It also raises blood pressure and has estrogenic qualities.


4. Licorice Root is associated with the planet Mercury, which rules communication & movement of thought, since Mercury was said to be the messenger of the gods. Mercury also rules the sixth house, which is the house of health. This corresponds pretty directly to licorice’s role in supporting the immune and respiratory systems, as well as its role as a guide herb if we look at the way it's thought to command and direct other herbs that are taken in conjunction.

5. It is also associated with Jupiter, in that it is used as offerings on altars or burned in religious ceremony. In ancient times, rites of passage weren’t complete without an herb from the Jupiter spectrum – that’s why licorice root was buried in tombs in ancient Egypt.

~Magickally ~

6. In modern times, in its most broad capacity, licorice root is used to heighten power in spell work, guiding the other elements of the ritual to higher effect.

7. When it comes to conjuring, it’s a very assertive plant. Hoodoo practitioners have used licorice in commanding, mind-altering, and control spells for generations. Both European lore as well as Hoodoo traditions believe that licorice root guides lust, love, and fidelity magick work (likely due to its estrogenic qualities and ability to raise blood pressure). Simply drinking the tea may even act as a stimulant between two lovers. Add it to love sachets that you or your beloved carry, chew on it for sexual potency, or sprinkle it in the footprints of a lover to guide them away from wandering. 


While licorice root has very low toxicity, you should avoid using it internally (or even chewing on it) if you have high blood pressure or are sensitive to estrogen. Prolonged use of large amounts can cause decreased potassium levels.


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Herbal Liqueur Spotlight: Liquore Strega & Italian Witchcraft Lore September 11 2020, 0 Comments

The Legend

Liquore Strega, an Italian digestif distilled from a secret recipe of around 70 herbs and spices, has been produced out of the same factory in Benevento, Italy since 1860. Amazingly, the distillery is still run by the original Alberti family and is now in its fifth generation.

The city of Benevento claims to be an ancient site of witches’ rites. Witches from all over the world are said to have gathered at night around a magical walnut, where they created a magic potion that forever united couples who consumed it. 

As legend has it, Giuseppe Alberti, a spice merchant, was out gathering herbs for his elixirs with his father when he came upon a witch trapped beneath a fallen tree branch. He and his father helped her, and as a reward, she bestowed upon them the secret formula for this magical liqueur. The only condition was that they never reveal the recipe to another living soul. To this day, only two people alive know the secret formula for Strega, which is the Italian word for "witch". 

The Liqueur

With so much mystery surrounding the formula, what we do know is that of its 70 herbs and spices, it incorporates Ceylon cinnamon, Florentine iris, Italian Apennine juniper, and Samnite mint, which grows along the riverbanks in the whole region. The liqueur gets its characteristic yellow color from the precious Saffron that is added to the herb distillate.

We also know that it is aged in ash barrels over a long period of time to ensure a perfect blending of the different aromas. The resulting distillate is 80 proof, making it as strong as any standard spirit like vodka or gin. Only after the aging process is the liqueur bottled and distributed all over the world.

The classic and dreamlike label of Strega depicts both a hooded crone possessing a broom, as well as an ensemble of sparsely clad women, raucously dancing hand in hand with satyrs in the forest. 


Based on Strega's lore of being a magic potion that forever united couples who consumed it, and knowing that the liqueur's recipe incorporates saffron to create its distinctive color and flavor, we're going to take a closer look at saffron and its uses. 

Saffron, likely the most precious and expensive spice sold on the planet, is deep yellow in color and pleasantly sweet in flavor. It's made from the dried stigmas of the Crocus flower, which originates in Southwest Asia and can be found in some parts of Europe. Though it is said to grow well enough in most gardens, each flower only contains 3 stigmas, thus requiring over 75,000 flowers to make a pound of saffron. Harvesting is done entirely by hand during only one magical week per year. It's for this reason that saffron can be found for no less than $500-$5,000 per pound! 




Saffron's History

The Greek legend of Crocus and Smilax details not only their love affair, but also explains the vivid color and magickal effects of the crocus flower that gives us saffron. The story goes like this: "Crocus, a handsome and virile man, fell in love with a nymph named Smilax. During a brief period of idyllic love and passion, Smilax, flattered by his amorous advances, was under the spell of his devotion. But soon Smilax became bored by Crocus’ attentions. After he continued to pursue her against her wishes and became obsessed with her, Smilax bewitched him, transforming Crocus into a saffron crocus flower. With its bright orange stigmas, it is said this remains a symbol of Crocus’s undying passion and eternal flame of love for Smilax."^




It's no wonder the witches of Benevento incorporated saffron into the love potion thought to have become Strega! 

Not only does saffron's story date back to ancient Greek times, but we see its use dating back 50,000 years to prehistoric sites in Iran, where cave wall depictions contained saffron-based pigments. 

Saffron's Modern Use

Of course, saffron's use extends far beyond that of ancient history. Western use primarily associates it with traditional cuisine, lending its distinctive color and flavor to Italian risotto milanese, French bouillabaisse, Spanish paella, and Indian biryanis. 

Medicinally, it has been used for a broad variety of conditions, including coughs, colds, stomach ailments, insomnia, depression, fever, heart trouble, and fertility. Ancient healers Galen, Pliny the Elder, and Hippocrates touted saffron as a panacea-like herb.

It is still thought to be effective for these ailments, but, realistically, has become too expensive to be worth using in any sort of effective quantity. Adding to its price and scarcity is the fact that climate change and overproduction of monocropping pose a significant threat to the future of the crocus plant. For that reason it's important to research the source of your saffron, should you choose to explore its benefits more closely. 

Magickal Use

Fortunately, for magickal use, one can get away with using the smallest amount of saffron for just as much benefit as more. For that reason, I recommend using Strega! You not only get the benefits of saffron, but also the symbiotic benefits of all the other 69+ herbs in its formula. If we imbue saffron's associations onto Strega, we see that they are associated with:

- The Fire element & Leo
- Eos: Titaness and the goddess of the dawn
- Venus: Roman goddess of love, sex, beauty, & fertility
- Aphrodite: Greek goddess of love, sex, beauty, & fertility
- The Sun & the planet Mars. 
- Wealth, power, and rarity.
- Powers: Love, Healing, Happiness, Lust, Strength, and Psychic Powers

If it isn't clear by now that saffron is a powerful ingredient in rituals and spells for passion, love, lust, and fertility, then I didn't do my job. It can used straight or diluted with moon water to anoint candles and sigils, but be aware that it can stain. 

Due to saffron's high value and rarity, it is an excellent offering for any deity and is a traditional ingredient in crescent moon cakes made in honor of the Phoenician Goddess Ashtoreth.

Add it to your bath to channel the Fire element, drawing passion, strength, and intuition.

Drinking saffron infusion is thought to enhance psychic abilities. If you're using Strega in its place, however, I urge just the smallest amount (1 ounce or less depending on your alcohol tolerance). While some traditions call for intoxicants in order to channel other realms, I personally feel that alcohol intoxication threatens a genuine connection to the higher self. 


I formulated the Scarlet Enforcer for the Spirit Haus. Light and herbal yet still potent and spirit-forward, it is a delicate but strong slow-sipper, versatile enough for any time of year.

1 1/2 oz Gin
1 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth
1/2 oz Liquore Strega

Add contents to a glass stirring vessel, add ice, and stir for 15-20 seconds. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with fresh mint in spring and summer, or a star anise pod in autumn and winter. 

If using for ritual purposes, replace the gin with plain water or moon water if that's in your practice. Otherwise, enjoy heartfully during some much deserved "me" time, or with your sweetheart to see if the legends are true! 


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Autumn Equinox: How to Celebrate Mabon's Harvest & Ground For Winter September 08 2020, 0 Comments

What is Mabon?

Mabon is a celebration of the Autumn Equinox and occurs over Sept 21st to Sept 29th in the Northern Hemisphere. The days have been growing shorter and, on the Equinox, are exactly as long as the nights. Days will continue to grow shorter and nights longer through the season.

"As a holiday, Mabon represents the time of honoring the dead, visiting burial sites, giving thankfulness for the end of the harvest season and the bounty it provides. These are the themes of closing, letting go, and remembering. For the year, the harvest, and for those who were lost to land of Avalon during the year.

Although many view the Harvest season as a celebration of life, it is also a celebration of death. The bounty you gather from your garden provides nourishment for you, family, and friends. But it is also the death of those plants and vegetables which have been harvested from that garden. Thus Mabon is a celebration of the cycle of life."
- Magickal Winds


What Does It Mean?

Personally, I love incorporating the seasons into my day to day life. And sales of Pumpkin Spice Lattes tell me that a lot of you do too! So let's look at how we, as humans, can follow nature's lead through this time.

Autumn is associated with the Earth element. We can remember this if we think of how, after we've harvested the final fruits of the summer, nature begins pulling its energy down into its roots, grounding and protecting itself for the coming winter. No more flowers, no more fruits. Leaves are falling, nature is preparing to go dormant with all of its energy is moving into the ground.

Summer, which ends at the Equinox, is associated with the Fire element. It's Fire is seen metaphorically as we're all taking trips, getting outside, and bursting with extroverted energy (or Yang as it's called in Chinese medicine). It's also seen quite literally, as seen in the wildfires that inevitably ravage some locations at this time every year. 

Normally, I like to pre-emptively balance Autumn's Earthiness by using the Fire element series in the shop. It can prevent excessive sluggishness and depression from developing by the time winter comes along (or excessive Yin energy). That just doesn't make sense to me anymore, as the skies above the entire west coast of the US already burn red and rain ash. So now we're calling to Autumn's Earth to show up and tame Summer's Fire. To pull that wild passion down to the ground, down to the physical presence that we all hopefully come to after a meltdown: that "woah, I can't believe I got that carried away but I feel a lot better now and I'm ready to stop and analyze what just happened." 

Sound familiar? 

So let's all spend this Mabon to follow nature down into the Earth, humbling ourselves and giving thanks for nature's bounty, friends, family, hearth, and home. If you'd like some tools to amplify this intention of gratitude and grounding, check out the Mabon Self-Care Kit. 

"The Time of Change is upon us again –
the Equinox comes, the Wheel turns…
The Goddess and the God prepare for
Their journey to the Otherworld,
as the Earth and all of Her children
prepare for the Time of Quiet and
Reflection that lies ahead…
May we use this Autumnal period
to seek for the strength and power within
to assist us on our own quests for
vision, feeling, and peace…
May we see and feel the presence of
the Goddess and the God within, though
without, the Earth begins Her slumber…
Keep us in Your light…
Who Was Mabon?"
-by Dana Corby

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Buddleja | Butterfly Bush: Graceful Transitions with this Resilient Flower September 05 2020, 0 Comments

Oh so lovely Buddleja, often called Butterfly Bush, while revered by butterflies, bees, and other pollinators, is actually cast as a noxious weed here in the US, despite her prominent beauty and lingering soft honey aroma. 

The same qualities that categorize Buddleja as a weed, however, can also be seen as positive attributes in energetic qualities: It is highly resilient and adaptable to many environments, growing and spreading rapidly, even in earth that doesn't seem conducive to growth...rubble, cracks in's even been called the "bombsite plant" because it was the first plant to grow where bombs fell in London during the Blitz^.

These enduring qualities translate seamlessly into Buddleja's beneficial properties. Energetically, her gentle resilience lends well to use in courage, endurance, breaking barriers or patterns, the hope of freedom, and rebuilding, all while maintaining grace and poise. Meditate or pray with the flowers, keep a sachet under your pillow, use it in rituals, or on your altar as an offering. "Empty-nesters" may find comfort in Buddleja's presence during that particular transition.  

Medicinally, Buddleja has traditionally used for inflammation, rheumatism, and skin conditions. It also offers protection from UV damage and is particularly protective for mature skin*. Infuse dried flowers into oil to make a skin defensive salve or liniment with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties. 


Due to Buddleja's wildly prolific nature, many regions in the US require that non-sterile varieties not be planted. But if non-sterile plants already stand, it's best to remove all of the flowering or seeded heads each August (in the northern hemisphere) before they can be spread.

What better excuse to make your own Buddleja concoctions for your Mabon festivities! 




*Raja S and Ramya I: A review on ethnopharmacology, phytochemistry and pharmacology of Buddleja asiatica. Int J Pharm Sci Res 2016; 7(12): 4697-09.doi: 10.13040/IJPSR.0975-8232.7(12).4697-09.


6 Ways to Use Echinacea That Aren't a Cure For the Common Cold August 25 2020, 0 Comments

Echinacea I dried from the garden is looking mighty moody today and I love it. Can you even with that color?

A History of Indigenous Use 

The name Echinacea comes from the Greek word echinos, a word used to describe the nature of a hedgehog or sea urchin (referring to the bristly, pokey cone at Echinacea's center). This North American native plant, also called coneflower, has been used extensively by indigenous populations for all manners of ailments. In Western tribes like the Ute, coneflowers are associated with elk and called "elk root," due to the belief that wounded elk seek them out as medicine. Roots were used as traditional healing herbs by many tribes, especially in the Great Plains and Midwest, to treat many types of swelling, burns, and pain. Coneflower has also been chewed ritually during sweatlodge ceremonies and is considered one of the sacred Life Medicines of the Navajo tribe.

red and white flowers in tilt shift lens

Echinacea in Modern Use/Misuse

With such a purposeful history, it's unfortunate that echinacea got broadly promoted as a "cure for the common cold" by the masses. While it has been shown to increase T-cell counts and stimulate the immune system, it is not an antibiotic or antiviral that attacks pathogens, as it's been painted to be. The truth is, there is no one herb that is perfect for everyone. Especially if it isn't used properly. Herbs aren't like drugs where you take them to get rid of a symptom, causing wild side effects in the process. Herbs work with your own body's chemistry to restore balance so that it can do the work on its own. They aren't a bandaid or a cure-all. 


TV doctors and supplement companies would like us to believe that a single herb will work for everyone in order to get sales. But since all herbs aren't for everyone, if it doesn't work for you then you're naturally led to believe that herbs in general don't work. Echinacea is just one herb that can be used to bolster the immune system, but many herbalists are more inclined to work with plants like elder, astragalus, turmeric, yarrow, and many others, depending on the individual. Hardly any herbalists I've spoken with during COVID have been recommending Echinacea for herbal toolboxes.

red-petaled flower

That said, if we do think about echinacea solely as an herb with constituents that can help bolster our immune system, we can find other ways to use Echinacea if we look deeper at what our immune system actually does. In it's simplest form: It protects us from pathogens that wish to do us harm. For that reason, I'm personally more inclined to use echinacea in its whole dried flower form as a protective energy. Her cones are shockingly spiky and her petals dry to an elegantly intimidating shape and hue, lending to her forceful presence.

Here are 6 ways to use Echinacea that aren't for the cold or flu:

+Echinacea is associated with the Earth element, lending a grounding and protective energy. Carry the dried root or flower during meditation to assist with spiraling, uncontrollable thoughts.

+Carrying Echinacea is thought to provide inner strength during trying times. Keep a small jar or sachet of it in your bag, pocket, or office drawer during these times. 

+Keep echinacea in a jar near your front door or on your nightstand to shield from negative energy. 

+Grow it around the house or cut it for a vase to draw prosperity into the home and protect the family from suffering from poverty. 

+Use it as an offering, to a loved one you wish to protect or in your spiritual practice for place spirits and river Gods/Godesses.

+Including Echinacea in any ritual use is thought to increase effectiveness. It has been used historically as a tool to add powerful strength to rituals used in money, fertility, and abundance.


What has been your experience with Echinacea? Do you take it when you feel a cold coming on? Let me know in a comment below!

purple flower in brown clay pot

Persons with allergies to other members of the Asteraceae family should exercise caution with Echinacea, due to the presence of Echinacea pollen. We recommend that you consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.

How to Harness the Moon's Reset Button [A 5-Step Ritual] August 17 2020, 0 Comments

Hours, days, weeks, months, and even years seem to be passing by faster and faster, don’t they? How many times have you not realized that a conversation you thought happened yesterday actually happened a week ago? That the friend you thought you hadn’t seen in a month has actually been away for a year? Time sneaks up and escapes us when we aren’t looking. But nature provides us with markers for this passage of time. Reliable markers that have existed since the earth was born.

If we can take moments to be mindful of these markers, maybe we can slow time down a little and squeeze out a few more precious minutes. Not literally, of course, but the more we’re on autopilot the more our minds let the forgetful things slip away. If nothing stands out as worthwhile then nothing gets saved. If we draw our attention to nature’s regular and consistent markers of change, perhaps it won’t all blur together as much.


A Constant Cycle of Renewal

Let’s take a look at what these markers of time are, so we can more clearly see the numerous ways nature’s cycles offer us a chance to achieve an end and begin anew…

The daily rising and setting of the sun.
The monthly waxing and waning of the moon.
The yearly passing of the seasons.
The birth, life, and death of an individual.

From a single day to an entire lifetime, nature is in a constant cycle of rebirth. We only get one life as far as we know, but each morning that we wake up we get to start a new day. Each spring when the snow melts we get to start a new year. And each month the sky becomes dark during the New Moon is no exception to this rebirth. It’s a chance to reflect upon our recent lessons, but more importantly, it’s a chance to set new intentions and goals for the coming cycle.

The New Moon

The moon has 8 phases, each one with its own specific energy to call upon and draw from. As you learn to bring your awareness to each of them, or at least a couple of them, you’ll feel time in a different way. Much like living with the seasons, you’ll naturally come to a flow that allows your own personal energy to move in cycles, with energetic times and restful times. We weren’t designed to be go-go-go all the time. I’ll get into each of the 8 phases in future posts, but for now, let's start at the beginning.

The New Moon occurs when the sun and moon come into alignment in the sky. This actually results in us not seeing the moon at all on Earth, giving us dark nights with only the brightly contrasting stars popping through the black sky to light our way. When this happens, energetically, it’s time to find stillness and plant new seeds of desire. During the New Moon, you are given a chance to breathe new life into any areas of stagnation or places where you would like to impact positive change. This time for rest and reflection is the perfect opportunity to practice a simple ritual to turn inward and examine what you want to call into your life.

A Simple Ritual

Your New Moon ritual doesn’t have to be elaborate or dramatic unless you want it to be. There’s no right or wrong way to pay respect to your plans and dreams, only what feels powerful to you.


This is an important step and physical representation of the blank slate the New Moon is giving you. I highly recommend taking part in all of the following if you have the time, but if not just choose one:

  • Taking a bath with candles, salt, and calming herbs like lavender, rose, calendula, and yarrow.
  • Sweeping the house, finally folding that laundry, doing the dishes,
  • Smoke cleansing your space or yourself with dried herb bundles.


Offer a destination to any wild or spiraling energy that is causing you racing thoughts, anxiety, or stress.

  • Call upon a source of energy that you connect with the most. A diety, spirit guides, angels, the Earth, the tides, the elements, the directions, etc.
  • Practice yoga or a meditation where you visualize yourself with roots that send any unruly or negative energy deep down into the Earth, through the layers, into the core, and then draw positive energy back up through your feet again.


Write down the things that you wish to call into your life. Self-love, a new job, a new outlook, financial stability, a romantic relationship... Focus on the positive things you wish to begin, rather than the negative things you wish to avoid. Be detailed and specific. Conjure what seems out of reach and create the vision.


Now speak these dreams aloud as if they are already in your existence. Take note of the feelings that come up when you say them aloud. This is not just throwing a penny into a wishing well. As you write these dreams and wishes down and speak them aloud, you are committing to do your part to make them a reality. Light candles and add a symbolic act to make your intentions concrete.

  • If your wish was to ignite your creativity and intuition, burn a piece of paper with your idea written on it.
  • If your wish was to put yourself out there more in business or love, tie your wish to a paper balloon and release it.
  • If you have several intentions, meditate on each one as you focus each on an individual bead. Give each intention it’s own bead and tie them one at a time onto a string to make a bracelet or keychain.


Now sit quietly, follow your breath, and visualize your life as it is now, except that your desires have already come to fruition. Resolve yourself to be open to these energies coming into your life, along with any other lessons in growth you may need along the way.

Find ways to keep these intentions at the forefront of your awareness. This is a very important part. Put your written intentions in a visible spot on your mirror, at the front door, or in your wallet. Put your beaded keychain you made on your keyring. Make notes about your progress. At the full moon, find ways to take action on those intentions and celebrate any progress.

End your ritual with a showing of gratitude to whatever energy source you called upon. Acknowledge and be grateful for all that you have right now at this moment in time, all that you have been given in your life to make it this far, and all that you will receive for the rest of your life. Blow out any candles that are still burning and find a home for your new intentions where you will be reminded of them until the full moon.

Sign up below to join my mailing list and receive tips, tools, and rituals for each of the moon's 8 phases, as well as shop announcements & discount codes! 



You can shop our growing Ritual Collection for items to incorporate into your practice! 


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How to Live Seasonally With the Elements October 08 2015, 0 Comments

Some of you may be wondering what our products called Air, Water, Fire and Earth are all about. 
"A deodorant that smells like water? A tea that tastes like Air? Uh, awesome..."

To get a better understanding of what these elements mean in regards to our products, lets first start by looking at what the elements traditionally represent. 

In astrology and Pagan traditions, the elements Earth, Water, Air, and Fire are used to relate to a particular function of the self:

Earth represents the physical body and matter
Water, our emotions
Air, the mind and intellect
and Fire, the spirit and intuition. 

Elements are also connected to astrological signs,
Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn are Earth signs
Pisces, Scorpio, and Cancer are Water signs
Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius are Air signs
and Leo, Ares, and Sagittarius are Fire signs.

We've attached elemental varieties to our deodorants, teas, fragrances, raw balms, and soaps. 

Does that mean you are only allowed to use an item that is of your sign?

Certainly not!

While many people I meet do happen to prefer the variety tied to their own sun sign, many others are drawn to their opposing element, which can bring balance. For example, Fire and Water are opposing, as are Fire and Earth, Earth and Air, and Water and Air. That would leave matching signs to be Water and Earth or Fire and Air. There really are hundreds of potential explanations as to what will draw you to a scent, including the possibility that it has absolutely nothing to do with astrological sign! 

So what plants do they use already!

Well, since Earth represents the physical, it is a very grounding and practical element, bringing us back to reality. For this reason we have used deep, sturdy herbs and roots such as dandelion root, sage, and clove.

Water, being tied to the emotions, is sensitive and inward. These items, like taking a swim, are fresh and cooling. Invigorating herbs like peppermint and rosemary are balanced with calming herbs like lavender and oatstraw so as to stimulate creativity but not to cause turbulent waters!

Air, being connected with the mind and intellect, is innovative and full of ideas. It's herbs are sweet and soft, with crisp notes like lemon and vanilla to inspire, balanced with calming herbs like lavender and chamomile to keep focused and not let thoughts run in circles or flit about. 

And finally Fire, the element of spirit and intuition, is passionate about life and acts on it's gut. Its herbs are spicy and warming with lots of ginger, balanced with soft herbs like catnip and vanilla to prevent overheating. 

What's the point? 

Why bother matching nature's elements to body care products? 
If we can bring a little bit of mindfulness to the way we treat our bodies, maybe that can translate to how we treat our whole being and those around us. Taking the time to build a personal ritual into your daily routine gives you the opportunity to slow down and think about what feels good to you, both inside and out. Maybe you wake up feeling excited but scattered, or calm but depressed. Maybe an invigorating ginger spray or tea sounds agitating today. Or maybe a grounding soap sounds boring. Having the tools from nature to bring balance to those feelings can offer peace of mind, body, and spirit. 

Shop element products here.

For a definitive reading on the subject of astrology I encourage you to read  "The Astrology Bible" by Judy Hall. 

Spring || Ostara April 07 2015, 0 Comments

Spring // Wellness // Seasonal // Detox // Outdoors 

Organic // Vegan // Ethically sourced

Spring is the time of year when things get moving again. We're no longer burying ourselves under blankets & bon bons for our winter slumber.

Similarly, nature is no longer hibernating under blankets of snow while stockpiling energy for the impending growth spurt... 

For this reason, spring is the best time to support your detox organs and get that stagnant energy moving. The liver & muscles will need special attention during this time, to support healthy movement & elimination. Your skin will go from needing extra moisture from winter dryness, to extra healing from its increase in activity. 

(by helenaljunggren)

The Spring Collection is a bundle of the best herbal and holistic practices for nourishing and toning the body's major elimination organs: the liver, skin, kidneys, lungs, & colon.

The liver filters the blood, either destroying toxic molecules we've absorbed through our food and environment, or converting them into particles that can be removed from the body by the kidneys, colon, lungs, & skin.

Symptoms of a sluggish elimination system often include lack of energy, acne, indigestion, headaches, constipation, poor sleep, muscle stiffness or cramping, poor blood clotting, & more.


It is important to remember that no organ works alone in daily detoxification of our bodies. The liver, kidneys, lungs, skin, and colon all need strengthening and support. You can tone the liver all you want but if the increased amount of filtered toxins have no way to exit the body then they keep cycling through the blood and tissues, causing even more damage!


The Air element is associated with Spring and the astrological signs Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius



Get your Spring Collection here

Supplies are limited. 


Autumn || Mabon September 01 2014, 0 Comments

Autumn // Wellness // Seasonal // Large Intestine // Lungs // Metal // 

Autumn is associated with the metal element in Chinese Medicine, which is characterized by expansion, contraction, and transformation {think about what metal does when it gets hot or cold} on physical, emotional, and spiritual levels. For this reason, the organs associated with Autumn are the lungs and large intestine, due to their own expanding and contracting nature. This makes Autumn a great time for detoxification by supporting and toning these organs which are imperative for toxin elimination.

You’ll see nature pulling it’s vitality down into its roots after it provides us with it’s final fruits of the year. This makes Autumn the ideal time to harvest and use root medicines, since that is where the plants energy is being stored for now. This allows us to get rid of any residual excesses from Summer’s Yang, and prepare our bodies for the calmer and quieter Yin of Winter.

Saatchi Gallery, London © Jorge Mayet 2008


Autumn is associated with the Earth element, and the sun signs Libra, Scorpio, and Sagittarius. As we begin grounding down into the earth for the coming months, this season’s kit will bring balance with Fire, to warm and enliven the senses, preventing congestion, worry, and depression that can come from “burying” oneself excessively in Earth.

Give your body what it wants to stay well this Autumn & make sure to enjoy the fruits of the harvest!

Get your Autumn Wellness Bundle here


photo via tumblr


Seasonal Wellness Subscriptions January 11 2014, 0 Comments

Seasonal Wellness Subscriptions

We are excited to announce that as of Spring 2014 we have expanded our medicinal line and introduced many of these new items via our seasonal bundles.

What does this mean?
Basically, you can choose to receive a generous package from us for Spring, Summer,  Autumn or Winter which will include much of what you need to support wellness and happiness for that specific season. 

You can also purchase a full year subscription at a discounted rate and we will send you all three bundles over the course of the year.

For example,

Spring is the best time for our bodies to cleanse and rejuvenate after a long winter's hibernation {or, more often, long winter's holiday-stress-and-over-eating!} Our livers need extra support during this time. It's also the time that we are peeling ourselves out from under our wool and parkas to get back outdoors, tending to our gardening, hiking, and other favorite activities. Our muscles and skin will need some extra love as we put them back to work. 

Our Spring bundle will include medicinals and body care items to support the body's own internal processes {such as our liver support tincture & detox tea} as well as external treatments to nourish {such as the hard working skin salve & muscle/joint rub}. You can expect 8-10 full sized items per shipment.


You can still look forward to seeing our infamous grooming products as well as tried and true herbal remedies that have been used for ages but are new to our shop. You can trust that it will all still be vegan, eco-friendly, and as organic as possible. Our seasonal and annual subscriptions will make a great gift for someone in your life who is trying to transition to a healthier, natural, toxin free lifestyle.

We will be posting detailed listings on the site for pre-order as the bundles become available. New medicinals will be available individually as well. You can look forward to the first subscriptions going out March 20th, the first day of spring!