Switching over to Blogger

Hi All,

Just to let you know I am switching over entirely to Blogger for blogging from now on as it suits my style so much better.

Here’s the link:
https://wysewitchuk.blogspot.co.uk/

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The Wild Merman of Orford

Kneelers (8)

“Men fishing in the sea caught in their nets a wild man.” Ralph of Coggeshall

The beautiful Suffolk seaside town of Orford boasts the stunning sands of the Ness, a fine Mediaeval castle and the ancient tale of a Wild Man or Merman. Tales of Wild Men exist the world over, from the Himalayas are the tales of the Yeti, in Arctic Scandinavia is the Snömannen and in Scotland there are tales of the Fear Liath. Such Wild Men are usually associated with remote, mountainous areas where many mythical creatures, both big and small are still said to live.  Others are thought to be apparitions of the Wild Men of the Woods, akin to the ancient archetypes of the Green Man, the Lord of the Wildwood, Robin Goodfellow or Robin of the Green. What makes the Orford Wild Man different is that he came out of the sea.

The coastal areas of East Anglia are rich in myth and folk magic. Over the years many villages have been lost to the sea and many of their church bells are still said to sound, calling spirits or lost sailors to their deaths. Many strange and eerie things have been pulled from the waters around East Anglia, such as strange and interesting fossil remains from when there was once a land bridge rather than sea between East Anglia and Europe where exotic and now extinct creatures roamed freely. In times past these fossils were thought to show the existence of monsters and dragons.

In the late 12th century, sometime between 1167 and 1187, during the reign of Henry II, fishermen from the port of Orford brought up from the sea a very strange catch indeed. In one of their nets they found not a catch of fish, but a very strange looking man. A Chronicler of the time, Ralph of Coggeshall, recorded this strange event in his Chronicon Anglicanum. He noted that the Wild Merman “Was naked and was like a man… covered with hair and with a long shaggy beard.” What is missing from Ralph’s description is the presence of the classic fish tail that would usually be associated with Mermen; in fact Ralph later refers to the man as having feet. Artistic representations of the Wild Merman, which were created after the event show him as having webbed hands and feet and then in more recent times he has gained the classic fish tail (or even two fish tails).

The fact that the man came from the sea and could swim would have no doubt scared the people of the time. To the superstitious Mediaeval mind the sea was something to be revered and feared. Those who worked on the sea at the time could not swim and made no effort to learn, because those who could swim were considered to be in league with the Devil, which is why many believed in “swimming” Witches. At the time some believed that the Wild Man was the Devil himself, others that he was a French spy, some said he was the spirit of a dead fisherman who was lost at sea, but the idea that lingered in the imagination and legends of the locale was that he was a Merman because he was dragged from the sea.

The Wild Merman was taken into St Bartholomew’s Church in Orford, where Roger recorded that he “showed no signs of reverence or belief.” Then the mysterious Wild Man was taken, and imprisoned in Orford Castle by the custodian Bartholomew de Gladville. Anxious to learn more about where the Merman had come from and who he was, he was repeatedly questioned. The Wild Merman could not speak words; only communicate via grunts and other “strange” noises. De Gladville even had the Merman tortured to try and make him speak, it made no difference. His lack of speech reinforced the idea that the man was wild and not of this earth.

At no point is the Wild Merman described as violent, in fact he seems to have been very mild-mannered. When it came to feeding the man from the sea Ralph wrote, “He eagerly ate whatever was brought to him, but if it was raw he pressed it between his hands until all the juice was expelled.” While many Mermen and mermaids are said to be most active at night, under the light of the stars and the silvery moon, the Wild Merman “Sought his bed at sunset and always remained there until sunrise.”

The Wild Merman was eventually allowed to return to the sea, guarded by three nets and watched by guards from the castle. The nets proved useless as the Merman escaped them easily. However he returned with his guards several times before getting fed up with the situation and escaping for good. The Merman of Orford was never seen again, though some say his ghost haunts the castle.

The legend of the Wild Merman of Orford has been carefully tended and passed on along the Suffolk Coast. Church fonts in the area often feature wild men type figures, perhaps in remembrance of him. Prayer mats in St Bartholomew’s Church in Orford still show the Merman and one local fishing company proudly displays his image as their logo, though he has gained the classic fish tail of the merman. As a child I visited Orford and was fascinated by the legend of the Merman. I used to gaze out to sea in the hope of seeing him or one of his descendants and on my most recent trip to research this article, again I looked out over the still blue waters for a sign of him…

Sources:
Wild Man of Orford by Allan Drummond with woodcuts by James Dodds
Suffolk Tales: Wild Man of Orford Pt.1by Shirley J. Bignall
Chronicon Anglicanum by Ralph of Coggeshall

 

The Flowering Blackthorn

BlackthornFlower 2018 2

Like its lighter and beloved sister, the Hawthorn, who is said to rule over the light half of the year, Blackthorn has long been associated with Faeries, Witches and Magic. Blackthorn is often considered a darker, more sinister tree than its sister and it rules over the darker winter months for this is when it is in its element. At the start of winter the Blackthorn produces its wonderful deep blue/purple/black sloes and as winter ends the trees explode in ghostly white blossom. With its rich nectar and pollen, it is a lifesaver for many foraging insects, like bees, for whom there is little else at that time of year. With its shrubby and dense nature, along with the Hawthorn, Blackthorn is a vital component of hedgerows which provide refuge and food for many birds, insects and small animals as well as the Fae.

The contrast between the dark thorny stems and the beautiful white flowers is stark, rather like the contrast between the light of the moon and stars and the darkness of the cosmos. In moonlight the flowers seem to even radiate their own silvery light. Blackthorn is a tree of duality as it is linked with both healing and death. Parts of the tree were used to treat fevers, make a strong red dye, make a healing tea, or flavour gin. Its thorns were used to make weapons such as the Irish shillelagh (‘cudgel/walking stick’) which was also used as a weapon and pins of slumber – blackthorn thorns coated with poison. It was on one such pin of slumber that Sleeping Beauty pricked herself and promptly fell asleep for a hundred years. Interestingly the average lifespan of a Blackthorn is also said to be around a hundred years…

Folklore tells us that a particular type of Faerie is linked with the Blackthorn – the Lunantishee. The name refers to Luna – the Moon and the Shee – an Irish term for the Faeries. The Lunantishee are said to worship the moon and dance around their host Blackthorn tree or bush by the light of the full moon. The best description of the Lunantishee comes from The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries by W.Y. Evans-Wentz; in it an Irish farmer called Patrick reported “The Lunantishee are the tribes that guard the blackthorn trees or sloes; they let you cut no stick on the 11th of November [old Samhain], or on the 11th of May [old Beltane]. If at such a time you cut a blackthorn, some misfortune will come to you.”

With its five petalled flowers, so reminiscent of the Pentagram of Wicca and Witchcraft, the Blackthorn is a tree of the Goddess in her darker forms such as Ceridwen who brewed the magical herbal potion of inspiration or Awen in her giant cauldron and the Cailleach, a Faerie Queen of Winter, who is said to have a transforming staff of Blackthorn with which she blasts the land of all life at Samhain. To bring Spring Brighid (some say that Brighid is the Summer face of the Cailleach while others see than as two separate Goddesses who each rule a half of the year) touches the land with her own staff of Hawthorn or Birch, which brings the land back to life. At this point not even the dark, wintery Blackthorn can fight the return of Spring and it flowers, even before it comes into leaf.

Witches wands and staffs were traditionally said to have often been made of Blackthorn and it does produce a gorgeous fine grained, yet tough and hardwearing wood. Major Thomas Weir, A Scottish Witch burned for his craft in 1970 famously had a staff of Blackthorn, carved with a Satyr’s head, which he could use as a broomstick to fly through the air. His staff was burned alongside him and allegedly performed “rare turnings” as it burned. His ghost is still said to carry the staff as he haunts the West Bow district of Edinburgh.

The smell of Blackthorn flowers is quite potent and supposedly brings about desire, as with Marmite people seem to either love the smell or despise it. Along with Hawthorn flowers, Blackthorn flowers were placed in bridal bowers because of their associations with fertility. When steeped in water or boiled down into a concoction the flowers have traditionally been used to make healing tonics, mouthwashes, gargles for those with coughs, colds or tonsillitis, perfumes, eye washes, as well as for their diuretic and laxative properties.

The Blackthorn reminds us of the natural cycle of life, death and rebirth. The flowering of the Blackthorn is a magical and blessed sight and rebirth after the death and darkness of winter. It reminds us of hope, of the light in the darkness, of the light of the stars that guide our way, the light at the end of the tunnel and of nature’s power of transformation. Like the Blackthorn we too long to blossom and come out of our wintery indoor shells as the world around us starts to brighten and warm up.

If you would like to know more about the Blackthorn or about Faeries and Trees, please do check out my book – Faerie Forest: An Exploration of the Folklore and Faeries Surrounding Seven Magical Trees.

If you would like to grow your own Blackthorn in your garden, and it is a great addition for any Nature Garden, the Woodland Trust sell Native British Blackthorns, all sourced and grown in the UK, and your purchase will support their invaluable work – http://www.woodlandtrustshop.com/products/222-blackthorn-trees.aspx

 

 

The Magic of Mermaid’s Purses

Mermaids Purses

On my recent walk along the seashore, along the long line of detritus washed up by the stormy waves of winter, I could not help but notice the sheer number of Mermaid’s Purses that have washed up. They were everywhere I looked, at least one per each square metre on average. Some were spread out while others were huddled together in clusters.

I love the name Mermaid’s Purse for it conjures up images and stories of the maids of the sea, who are clearly lacking pockets in their scaled, fish-like bottom half. Mermaids love their beauty; they are well known for combing their long hair for hours on end as they gaze at themselves in silvery, moonlike mirrors. When not in use clearly the maids of the sea need somewhere safe to put their mirrors, combs, salves and other bits and bobs hence the nickname of Mermaid’s Purse. The scientific name for these is Chondrichthyes which just isn’t as enigmatic.

Mermaid’s Purses may well be used by Mermaids to carry their valuables on their travels, but they begin life carrying a far more precious cargo for they are the egg sacks of various species of fish including skates, chimaeras (including the sinisterly named Ghost Shark and Spookfish) and oviparous sharks (such as the Catshark, which is also really confusingly known as the Lesser Spotted Dogfish).

Leathery in appearance as a result of the fact they consist of collagen protein strands, these peculiar beauties are usually rectangular in shape with horns or tendrils at each corner by which they were originally attached to kelp forests or the sea floor. Some purses house multiple eggs, while in the case of rays or skate, there is one egg per sack.  Sacks contain yolk on which the baby survives before its ready to take on the world. Some Mermaid’s Purses are washed up long after their original inhabitants have grown up and left the safety of the sack while others – often due to storms and human action – wash up with their inhabitants, sadly dead, still inside. Personally I prefer seeing the empty sacks and wondering what their inhabitants are up to now in the vast seas.

As a Sea Witch I view Mermaid’s Purses, like other natural objects that wash up on the shore, as gifts from the sea. As one gift always calls for another, in return it is polite to offer a reciprocal gift to the sea in terms of an offering or by collecting harmful human rubbish from the seashore.

For the Sea Witch a Mermaid’s Purse is the marine version of the chicken’s egg that can be used in magic for its symbolism of fertility, birth, rebirth, growth and development. While Mermaid’s Purses can and do wash up on the shore at any time, I’ve noticed where I live that there are two big influxes each year, one in late October and the largest in March – around the time of the Spring Equinox / Ostara / Eostre which further connects these egg sacks to the fertile energies of Spring.

If you are looking to develop new skills or develop your existing skills, say for divination, then placing dried Mermaid’s Purses near, around or on your divination tools and books on the subject can help you to grow your skills.

Dried and empty Mermaid’s Purses can be placed on your altar as a reminder of your constant spiritual growth, or sewn up in in magic bundles along with relevant plants such as hawthorn, poppy, rose, red clover and wheat for fertility magic. Some Sea Witches place a Mermaid’s Purse in the base of a pot before adding compost when repotting plants so that it will fertilise the plant as it decomposes. Due to their nickname Mermaid’s Purses can also be used in wealth charms and to dream of them is said to portend a little windfall.

As Mermaid’s Purses once protected the growing young and are from the salty sea, they can also be used for protection magic, for example burying four purses, one at each corner of your property, to invoke protective energies. In meditation and magic Mermaid’s Purses can connect us to the species from which they came – to the various skates and sharks and their ‘medicine’ and wisdom, to the magical Mermaids who use them a purses and to the mysteries of the oceans.

As Mermaid’s Purses once protected the growing young and are from the salty sea, they can also be used for protection magic, for example burying four purses, one at each corner of your property, to invoke protective energies. In meditation and magic Mermaid’s Purses can connect us to the species from which they came – to the various skates and sharks and their ‘medicine’ and wisdom, to the magical Mermaids who use them a purses and to the mysteries of the oceans.

As a Power Animal / Totem / Spirit Animal the Sharks – even the little ones – teach us about survival, independence, adaptability, unpredictability, fearlessness and overcoming our fears, embracing challenges, learning to appreciate our alone time, keeping ourselves active and protection. The Skate’s lessons are adaptability, gracefulness, finding balance in our lives and between ourselves and others, embracing life for all its good and bad, and going with the flow.

The Mermaid’s Purses that I saw en masse and are pictured here are from members of the skate family. If you are fortunate to find Mermaid’s Purses near you and you are curious about which species it is from there is a handy online identification guide from the Shark Trust – https://www.sharktrust.org/en/eggcase_species.

Mermaids Purse Brown

 

 

The Bee in Folklore & Mythology

bee on yellow (1)

(Originally written for the Bumblebee Conservation Trust)

The bee features as much in folklore from around the world as it does in our gardens in summer time. Yet, in this article, I can only scratch the surface of this vast body of information. Bees show up in human art forms almost as soon as mankind learned to create them; they are depicted in ancient rock art from around the world, for example from the Palaeolithic in Spain and from the Mesolithic in India and are mentioned in some of the earliest forms of writing in the world. Bees crop up everywhere from poetry to prose and even in our everyday sayings: we can be as ‘busy as a bee’, we ‘make a bee-line’ for things, we can get ‘a bee in the bonnet’ and the term ‘bee’s knees’ now famously refers to something fabulous, although originally it referred to something small and insignificant.

Bees are linked with magic, love, industriousness and creativity. The mere presence of bees on a farm or near a dairy or factory was said to improve the productivity. Bees create honey, create noise, pollinate, and the Queen Bee who births her subordinate bees, is the epitome of creation itself. And, if you think the use of the term ‘honey’ in terms of love is something from the age of pop songs, think again, the Sumerians and Egyptians were doing it in poetry around four thousand years ago! Bees have also been used as a kind of love test: there was a custom in Central Europe of Brides to be walking their partner past a beehive or nest to test the future faithfulness of their husband to be – if they were stung it was curtains for the marriage idea…

To the Vikings mead, made from honey, was one of the main ingredients, along with the blood of Kvasir, of the Mead of Poetry, a magical brew that could give the gifts of wisdom and poetry and immortality to anyone who drank it. In many parts of the world bees are considered to be able to grant the gifts of poetry, eloquence and song to mankind. To the Greeks they were the ‘birds of the muses’. Widespread throughout the British Isles is the belief that bees buzz or hum a special hymn at midnight on Christmas Eve (1) and in the Irish poem, King & The Hermit, dated to the seventh century, bees are ‘the little musicians of the world’. Bees are also credited with understanding many languages.

In Ancient Egypt, the bee, in particular the honeybee, was one of several royal symbols, and was used consistently for over four thousand years. The bee represented the Pharaoh’s sovereignty over Lower Egypt and the Pharaoh was often referred to as ‘He (or She) of the Sedge and Bee'(2). To the Ancient Egyptians, the Pharaoh was a God King, and this association between Bees and Deities seems to be as old as religion itself. Bees were supposedly born from the tears of the Sun God, Ra. The Temple of Neith, The Goddess of the Night, was known as ‘The House of the Bee'(3) and the sanctuary of Osiris, God of the Underworld and Death, was The ‘Mansion of the Bee'(4). In times past many people were convinced that the Queen bee was in fact a King. If a swarm of bees settled on a person it was believed they would attain leadership or even kingship. In Poland, Michel Wiscionsky was chosen as King because bees landed on him during the election.

In Ancient Greece the priestesses who attended the Goddess Demeter were known as Melissae meaning ‘bees'(5). This name of Melissae for priestesses is also used by several modern Goddess groups to honour bees and their Goddess as their ‘Queen Bee’. The original Melissa was a Greek Nymph who came to care for the infant Zeus, shielding from his father Cronus who intended to eat every one of his offspring. As punishment for protecting Zeus, Cronos turned Melissa into an earthworm; later the adult Zeus took pity on her and changed her into a bee. The Ancients had several Bee Gods and Goddesses, such as the Lithuanian Bee Goddess Austeja and her husband the Bee God Babilos, the Roman Goddess Mellonia and the Slavic God Zosim; bees were also associated with other Deities such as Artemis, Aphrodite, Brighid, Rhea, and Vishnu.

Bees of all kinds were thought to have special knowledge and the ability to tell or see into the future. In Greek mythology the God Apollo was taught how to see into the future by the Thriae: the three pre-Hellenic Bee Goddesses, Melaina, Kleodora and Daphnis(6).

According to folklore from Britain and Ireland, if a bumblebee buzzes around your house or at your window, it brings news that a visitor will soon arrive (7), and the bumblebee is even supposed to tell you the visitor’s gender; if it has a red tail (like the Early Bumblebee or Red-tailed Bumblebee) the visitor will be male, if the tale is white (as with the White-Tailed Bumblebee, Heath Bumblebee or Garden Bumblebee), the visitor will be female. However if anyone killed the visiting bumblebee, the visitor would bring nothing but bad news (which serves them right)!

Bees symbolise wealth, the wealth of knowledge or the wealth of good luck as well as meaning wealth in the financial sense. In Wales it was very lucky if bees of any kind set up home in or near your home, as they were said to bless it with prosperity. Finding a bumblebee on a ship is good luck. Should a bee land in your hand then it allegedly means that money is coming your way. According to Irish and British folklore, you must never buy bees with normal money, only with gold coins (8), although, if possible, it is best to barter over them, so as not to offend them, or to receive them as a gift, so that no money changes hands at all. If a single bee enters your house it is traditionally a sign of good luck coming to you, usually in the form of money(8), but to have a bumblebee die in your home brought bad luck and poverty.

Even in modern folk magic bumblebees serve as a as a charm for health and wealth. Bee stings were said to treat the pain of rheumatism and arthritis (something modern science is investigating), and honey has been used in folk magic to treat just about any and every ailment mankind has ever been known to suffer with. The Witchcraft Museum in Boscastle retails a charm, promising health, happiness and good fortune that features three ceramic bumblebees in a blue pouch(9) – this is a vast improvement on the old folk charm it is based on, found in Dawlish, that sadly featured three dead bumblebees in the bag. Bees have long been associated with witches and witchcraft: one Lincolnshire witch was said to have a bumblebee as her familiar animal(10), another witch from Scotland allegedly poisoned a child in the form of a bee, and in Nova Scotia a male witch was accused of killing a cow by sending a white bumblebee to land on it(11).

Omens have been read in the flight of bees, as well as the flight of birds, for centuries. When bees swarm it is usually considered an ill omen. If bees swarmed onto a dead or rotten tree, it was said to portend the death of one of the family who owned or lived near the tree. When bees become lethargic it augurs misfortune and if they are busy buzzing away then they augur good fortune. Many ancient writers, like Aristotle and Pliny, considered bees to be able to predict the weather. There are many traditional rhymes in German, French and English that describe how they allegedly do this.

A traditional rhyme tells us :
When bees to distance wing their flight
Days are warm and skies are bright
But when their flight ends near their home
Stormy weather is sure to come.’

Another rhyme, probably the best known of all, tells us :
‘A swarm of bees in May
Is worth a load of hay;
A swarm of bees in June
Is worth a silver spoon;
A swarm of bees in July
Is not worth a fly.’

If a bee buzzes over a sleeping child in its cot it is said to portend that the child will live a long, happy, healthy and prosperous life and if the bee touched the child’s lips it would be a great poet according to Greek folklore. If a bee lands on your head, folklore suggests that you will be successful in all your endeavours! There is an odd belief that virgins can pass through a swarm of bees without being stung(12) and if bees nested in the eaves of a house it was said that the daughters of the house would never marry.

Bee dreams have a myriad of meanings depending on what the bees in your dream are doing. If they swarm, it suggests that you will be overwhelmed or experience bad luck. To dream of being stung is to be betrayed by someone you know. However if you dream of bees happily buzzing, then the dream augurs good fortune for the day ahead.

Like butterflies, bees are symbols of the soul and its ability to pass or fly between worlds in Egyptian, Greek and Celtic mythology. In one Ancient Egyptian ritual in The Book of Am-Tuat, the voice of the soul is compared to the humming buzz of bees and in another ritual, Kher-Heb, the soul is referred to as ‘going about as a bee, though seeest all the goings about’(9). There are also stories, especially from Germany, where the souls of the sleeping, leave their bodies in the form of the bee that flies from the mouth, and should the bee be trapped or waylaid, then the soul is unable to return to the body. Bees also offered protection for the soul. In the Ancient Egyptian ceremony of the Opening of the Mouth (where the soul was released from the body) there is the line ‘The bees, giving him protection, they make him to exist’(9).

Bees are also linked with fairies, partly due to their winged nature, but also thanks to the 16th century Italian poem, Orlando Furioso, by Ludovico Ariosto, which features a good fairy with the very apt name of Melissa. From the Isle of Man comes the tale of a group of fairies who, as they flew about, made a noise similar to that of a buzzing bee. Bees, like fairies, are often considered guardians of the natural world, because of their vital role in the pollination of many plants.

Speaking to a bee, either a honeybee or bumblebee, harshly was thought to drive it away, as was swearing (8). Bees had to be spoken to in very specific ways. ‘Telling the Bees’ is an old English folk custom where honeybees are treated like members of the family and kept up to date with all the goings on. Many of us are familiar with the tradition of telling the bees when someone in the family, especially the bee’s primary keeper dies, but traditionally all family news, including births, marriages, etc., and even news about visitors, was told to the bees as a courtesy. There is a caveat to this, you had to be careful who told the bees what; for example only the Bride should tell the bees of an upcoming wedding and not anyone else, no matter how well intentioned they were. It was believed that failure to tell the bees of important news would result in them flying away, dying or stopping honey production. In both Britain and America, honeybees were even invited to Weddings (13) and Funerals (14), and it they didn’t make it, then food and drink from the wake, or a piece of Bridal cake was left by the hive.

This idea of telling the bees goes much deeper than news of births, marriages and deaths. It harks back to the idea that bees are messengers to the divine or to other realms. In many parts of Britain Bees are known as ‘The Little Servants of God’ or ‘The Small Messengers of God’ and this idea of bees as messengers dates back to Greek mythology where a Dryad once sent a message of love to Rhoecus. In Welsh folklore, bees, like man, were considered the only creatures to have come from Paradise and were seen as especially beloved by God.

People have long shared their lives with bees and talked with the bees, perhaps in the hope that the bees will pass their concerns on to a higher power or take their worries away, or perhaps it is just that in talking to the buzzing bees one cannot help but be cheered up by them…

Sources:
(1) Ransome, H. (1986). The Sacred Bee in Ancient Times and Folklore. New York: Dover. Page 229.
(2) Allen, James P. (1999). Middle Egyptian: An Introduction to the Language and Culture of Hieroglyphs. New York: Cambridge University Press.
(3) Lesko, B.S. (1999). The Great Goddesses of Egypt. University of Oklahoma Press. Page 48.
(4) Lichtheim, M. (2006). Ancient Egyptian Literature: Volume III: The Late Period. Los Angeles: California University Press. Page 121.
(5) Gimbutas, M. (1974). The Gods and Goddesses of Old Europe: 7000 to 3500 BC Myths, Legends and Cult Images. London: Thames & Hudson. Page 182.
(6) Pausanias. (2012). Pausanias’s Description of Greece. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Page 239.
(7) Newell, V. (1971). Discovering the folklore of birds and beasts. Oxford: Shire Publications. Page 15.
(8) Simpson, J. & Roud, S. (2000). A Dictionary of English Folklore. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 
(9) http://www.museumofwitchcraft.com/
(10) Ransome, H. (1986). The Sacred Bee in Ancient Times and Folklore. New York: Dover. Pages 224-5.
(11) Creighton, H. (1968). Bluenose Magic: Popular Beliefs and Superstitions in Nova Scotia. Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson Press.
(12) Hole, C. (1945). English Folklore. London: B. T. Batsford.
(13) Horn, T. (2006). Bees in America: How the Honey Bee Shaped a Nation. Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky. Page 137.
(14) Dundee Courier. January 23, 1950.

4 Crystals for the Spring Equinox / Ostara / Eostre / Alban Eilir

The Spring Equinox is a time of balance and enlightenment, literally and figuratively. The dark nights have been receding and the light days have been growing in length which has led in turn to the growth and greening of the plants and trees.

Many crystals and stones, like the plants around us, thrive on the increased light and fertile energies that surround us in Spring.

  1. Citrine

     Citrine Cluster

With its golden yellow hue Citrine epitomises the warm glow of the ever increasing Spring sunshine to which the plants and flowers lovingly respond. Citrine has the optimistic energy of Spring and all the potential it promises. It has the bright energy of golden daffodils which cannot fail to cheer us up even when the Spring showers are pouring down. If you are looking to bring light, brightness and joy into your life Citrine is a charming choice that will inspire and illuminate.

Just as nature bursts forth so dynamically at this time of year, Citrine can really help us get back the spring in our step, filling us with energy, improving our esteem and encouraging us to express ourselves. After being cooped up over Winter some people, like the bulbs below the earth, cannot wait to get out into the open air and feel the sun on them once more and Citrine is a great ally for all those who feel that way.

You can find some gorgeous examples of Citrine stones and jewellery here – http://amzn.to/2IfU8OD

 

  1. Fluorite

Fluorite

This gentle gemstone is full of the energies of Spring and of blooming flowers – thanks to the Faeries who so lovingly and tenderly care for the beautiful blooms. If you can find a Fluorite that mixes green with purple in its colouring, it will work wonders for anyone who grows, arranges or keeps flowers, who works with aromatherapy oils, or who is hoping to ‘bloom’ in their own way.

We can all ‘bloom’ in many different ways, for example when we come of age, develop in confidence, increase our skills, find our centre, or find our place in this world. Fluorite and the Spirits and Sprites associated with it are very keen for us each to blossom and bloom in our own unique way. Like every flower human beings require careful tending in order to bloom, our confidence and esteem – like flower petals – can be easily crushed or blown away by harshness from others or our environments or by negative thoughts from ourselves.

Fluorite teaches us to not only be careful with our own blossoming but to actively encourage others sensitively and caringly so that we might encourage others to blossom beautifully too. Bi-coloured Fluorite is especially powerful at the time of the Spring Equinox. When placed around flowering plants or aromatherapy oils Fluorite and the attending Faeries can help them to last longer.

You can find some lovely examples of Fluorite stones and jewellery here – http://amzn.to/2HkRLc0

 

  1. Merlinite

Named for Merlin, the fabled magician and adviser to King Arthur, Merlinite is a stone of magic and mystery. As a form of dendritic chalcedony it is black and white in form and is a reminder of the balance of light and darkness at the time of the Equinox, when both the day and night are of equal length. The veil between our world and the Otherworld or Faerieland is said to be at its thinnest at liminal or in-between times such as at the Equinoxes, Dusk and Dawn. When the veil is thinnest magic is also said to be at its most powerful. Merlinite epitomises that liminal energy and can connect us to that liminal space and time whenever we call upon its help acting as a key between worlds and to the realm of magic.

Merlinite connects past, present and future, connecting us to our ancient ancestors, to the here and now and to the generations yet to come. We too must find a balance within ourselves between the light and the dark, between our past and our future for we are at our most potent and powerful magically when we are at peace and in balance with ourselves and the universe.

Many magical acts involve shedding what is no longer of use and then bringing in that which we seek. We must shed the old to bring in the new. Decluttering and Spring cleaning are very popular around the time of the Equinox as we seek to find or create balance in our homes and in turn the state of our homes is symbolic of the state of our inner selves for many of us also like to engage in emotional or psychological Spring cleaning around the same time.

In many ways Merlinite is a crystal form of the Yin Yang symbol showing us how two seemingly opposing or aspects can in fact be complementary to each other and interdependent upon each other for their existence – after all we cannot have shadows without light to cast them. If you are seeking balance try holding two Merlinite tumblestones, one in each hand, and meditating on bringing balance and harmony to yourself and your life.

You can find some magical examples of Merlinite here – http://amzn.to/2G9IDYe

 

  1. Tree Agate

Tree (1)

Just as the trees are coming back into leaf and in some cases into blossom, Tree Agate also comes back into its creative power. With its balance of dark green and light white markings in many ways Tree Agate exemplifies the balance of the dark of the night and the light of the day that we get at the time of the Equinoxes.

Tree Agate likes to remind us to find a balance between our needs and the needs of the trees and the planet as a whole, encouraging us to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle and to cut back on waste by composting, re-using and recycling wherever possible.

If you are looking to encourage your plants, your projects, your circle of friends or any part of your life to grow, especially as the days and nature will continue to grow into Summer, then Tree Agate is a great stone to work with. You can place tumblestones of Tree Agate around your plants to help them grow, near or around your cash book or petty cash tin to grow your wealth, place one in your purse to help you to grow your wealth and keep hold of more of it as you go along in life, or place several around your phone or address book to grow friends or contacts or place them around your college notes and books to grow your knowledge.

As Tree Agate helps us to connect to the ancient Dryads, the Ghillie Dhu, the Skogsrå and other Faeries associated with Trees and Plants, we can also call on their help if we wish to grow and develop anything in our lives or a part of ourselves. Faeries of all kinds are keen for us to continue to grow and develop in life, we may grow up, but we never stop growing who we are and gaining wisdom with age.

You can find some gorgeous examples of Tree Agate here – http://amzn.to/2FtERaY