News / Folklore

  • Black Henbane – Herb Lore

    The penultimate plant in this Midsummer collection! I asked my fans on Facebook which plant they would like to see next and most said Foxglove but quite honestly I haven’t figured out how I’m gonna make that yet so I’m going for this one. LOVELY, deadly stinking Black Henbane. This one gets me excited. It is reputedly SO poisonous, the smell alone can cause giddiness. It is not considered truly indigenous to Great Britain, but occurs fairly frequently in parts of Scotland, England and Wales, and also in Ireland, and has been found wild in sixty British counties, chiefly in...

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  • Crabapple – Herb Lore

    So I chose the Crab Apple tree for the next one. In actual fact much (if not all) of the folklore for ordinary apples apply here – which is a lot – but I specify Crabapple as it is the original and only indigenous ancient apple tree of Britain, the wild ancestor from which all cultivated apple species come from. So that seems appropriate to my type o’ thang. Also other cool things about Crabapple is that it is a thorn bearing tree unlike modern apples, and produces beautiful blossoms that smell like honeysuckle. It doesn’t grow very big –...

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  • Willow – Herb Lore

    And so to Willow. A very magical tree indeed. I’m mainly concerned with White willow – Salix alba, AKA Pussy Willow, Saille, Tree of Enchantment, The Witch’s Tree. Willow is also one of the “nine sacred trees” mentioned in Wicca and witchcraft, with several magical uses. In the Celtic calendar the Willow Moon corresponds to April. I was born in April, and this is why I have a tattoo of a willow branch on my foot. True facts. Willows are all about water, so they’re all about the moon and the feminine too.  For example, Hecate the powerful Greek goddess...

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  • Birch – Herb Lore

    The Birch tree is a truly beautiful and very magical tree indeed. One of it’s folk names is ‘Lady of the Woods’, and it’s not much of a struggle to see that being silvery in appearance, it has lunar, and therefore feminine associations. In Tarot Birch corresponds to the Star, and also to Venus in planetary realms. Birch is a tree of strong Druidic Ogham associations and indeed it represents beginnings, and is the first Moon of the Celtic year (24th December – January 21st). It is one of the nine sacred woods of the beltane fire, and one of...

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  • Making the Mandrake

    I had fun making this little chap. I knew instantly exactly how I wanted to create it. I was going to blog this in two goes but life is crazy at the moment so it’s a one hit wonder. Hope you like it! I bought some special silver plated copper wire. It’s 0.2mm thick and to be honest probably slightly too thin to be flexible yet firm enough to be controlled easily. But the stuff I had already was too thick and I ended up with this: Just a bit too chunky. So I made this little wire mandrake frame...

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  • Mandrake – Herb Lore

    This was probably my funniest moment of all Harry Potter films. When they pull the Mandrake out for repotting. Ooo! Mandrake! Squeel! Everyone seems really excited for me to make this one. Whenever I’ve mentioned it on Facebook or to my friends they’re all like ‘Gasp! Madrake! Yea Cool!’ and stuff like that. Atropa mandragora, or Mandragora officinale. Some of my fave folk names include Brain Thief, Hexenmannchen (German: Witches’ Mannildn), Zauberwurzel (Sorcerors Root), Raccoon Berry, Satan’s Apple and Herb of Circe. It has soooo much lore around it. Holla! Mandrake belongs to the Nightshade family and contains deliriant hallucinogenic...

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  • Oak – Herb Lore

    The mighty Oak tree. Quercus alba. The King of Trees (one of them at least), with a long history of folklore throughout Europe. Sacred to Jupiter, Thor, Zeus – all the big guns of the pantheon, and with powers of protection, healing, prosperity, fertility fortune. Traditionally there have been four main uses of oak, and this usefulness reveals why the oak would become so important and sacred. The most prominent use is as a timber tree. Oak was a highly prized timber and was particularly used in ship building in the days of wooden ships, buildings, for furniture etc. The...

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  • Hawthorn – Herb Lore

    To kick off with my first new embroidery project of 2013 I thought I ‘d start a new series of posts exploring some of my favourite folklore and facts about the magical and poisonous plants that are inspiring me at the moment. One of the things about my upbringing that I am most grateful for is that I was taught to recognise trees and birds. This grounding grew into a love for nature and a desire to recognise common British plants, trees and animals. I was surprised when I met my husband that he didn’t know what an Oak tree...

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