The Joy of Hex–a workshop in March

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I’m going to share my hexes and banes materials with my online Appalachian Folk Magic students and it got me thinking I’d like to offer that workshop again for those who missed it. Here are the details–Willful Bane: the History, Techniques and Ethics of Hexing… doesn’t that sound like fun? Intriguing? Saturday, 3/16, 2-5, in Asheville. I’ve learned many things from several traditions since I’ve been researching as well as practicing AFM. I’ll share that, we’ll dive into history, legend, techniques and–perhaps most important–ethics. Yes, there will be chicken feet! Registration required because I want to keep the group small. $40 at the door. $35 if you pay before 3/13 either by sending a check or through my PayPal account. Come learn about the joy of hex…

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Strange and Gnarly Roots

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Lawsy. I will never live long enough to write all the books and stories and poems I want to write. Plus the witchery, gardening and rabble-rousing. Plus reading. I’d cut out the sleeping time but I love sleeping too much.

I’m headed to Britain in July and early August and am trying to get myself organized for the trip. I’ll get accommodation and book my flight soon but for the moment, I’m still trying to figure out exactly where I’m going.

I’m backtracking, you see. I’m trying to trace the origins of Appalachian folk magic (AFM)–Hillfolks’ Hoodoo. I’m going to spend time in the borderlands between England and Scotland, visit friends in Scotland, hop across the sea to Ulster and then finish up presenting at the Glastonbury Goddess Conference.

I wonder if I’ll get any writing done there or if I’ll make a million notes and write when I get back? I’ve gotten the adapter for my netbook so I’m going to attempt typed notes for the first time, instead of volumes of scrap and text.

Old dog, new tricks.

One of the books will be a sequel of sorts to my first book and that will be the backtracking part. Another book in the queue is “Brigid of the Veil: Remembering How to make a Good Death.” I’ve promised my friend Alan that I’ll do a young person’s book on AFM. I want to do a small flipbook that is blessings and healings in the first half and when you turn it over, the back half is hexes and banes. There’s a Goddess worshiping curriculum that could easily be a text- and work-book.

Is it any wonder I can’t keep up with my dear blog? Please bear with me, gentle reader.

The Joy of Nettles

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Several friends are complaining of general lethargy–of not feeling quite right–of having no energy.

I reckon we all need a nice spring tonic and it is almost time for the joy of nettles. Stinging nettles. Beautiful nutritious nettles.

They are monstrous and terrible weeds that will sting like a jellyfish if you are not careful and respectful. You can wear rose gauntlets and long sleeves and long pants and she will still find a way to give you a little jab that soon grows to a burning, itching wound. (Those stings are actually quite invigorating and healthful or so I have heard. I like to avoid them, if I can.)

I prefer them as soup and as a tisane. Once they are cleaned and boiled the little sharp barbs are neutralized and a cream of nettle soups is delicious. Mmmmm. My favorite, though, is to let it steep or poach for a couple of hours and then remove the weed from the water and keep it in a big mason jar in the fridge as a tea. I take a glug of it every time I open the fridge and drink it down pretty quickly.

Nettles will give you more energy, help detox your liver, good for your kidneys and delicious. But be very careful as you harvest her. Have some respect. Be nice to her and she’ll reward you richly, greenly.

Winter to Spring and Back To Winter…then Spring

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Here in the highlands of the southern Appalachian mountains we are used to an exuberant weather situation at this time of year. There is almost always a nice thaw around Imbolc and that’s when I put the first batch of onion sets in the ground. In fact, I should be doing that right now, instead of writing in my blog.

Yesterday–if you follow me on Facebook, you know this already–I picked a batch of winter-over greens and vegetables and we had a lovely rich salad at our noon meal–corn mache, creasy greens, carrots, spinach, chard, kale. They were wintered-over with small row covers that are miniature hoop houses. I am careful about when to cover and when to open, so those rows are uncovered today for this bright sunshine and will be fine in the chill nights this week. I did have to water them, though.

I noticed that a row of spinach germinated in the late autumn but didn’t really thrive. I’ll go out today or tomorrow and rake that area up and replant. I had a huge crop of spinach last year–we’re still eating the abundance of that crop–for which I am very grateful.

Lately the world has been such a difficult and complicated place that I find myself practicing some homely self-care. Started pruning back the apples trees yesterday, am conjuring up an embroidery project that I need to get started soon, did a pile of ironing on Monday. There’s so much that we can grieve and be angry about and much of it we can have little or no effect on. That’s the time when I focus on small miracles of smooth napkins and fresh baby greens, good hydration as well as a nice cuppa coffee in the morning.

Preserving one’s sanity is as important as changing the world, sometimes. Don’t you agree?