Herbs gathered Midsummer and Midsummer Eve

I hope you had a great Midsummer! I celebrated with some sweet white wine infused with lemon balm–very tasty.

I had a note in my Black Book to harvest waybread (aka plantain) on Midsummer Eve for particular potency, and for once I actually remembered to harvest an herb at the right time. I got a lot of good-sized leaves. It grows in one section of my garden that has the right combination of partial sun and a bit compacted soil, which it seems to like (which makes me wonder if that is not part of what contributed to the Natives’ name for it, Englishman’s footprint.

valerian root tinct

Fresh valerian root tincture

On Midsummer itself, I harvested and dried catnip, spearmint, cinquefoil (that volunteered in a pot from last year), tansy, a tiny bit of feverfew, and some fleabane. Last year I had tons of feverfew; this year, one plant. go figure. Viridarium Umbris says that fleabane smells bad, but I think it smells really good. It dried very nicely too.

These jars, by the way, are from Weck. I bought them for canning, which I don’t have much time for nowadays. I love their shape, so I thought I might as well use them for ritual stuff. They aren’t cheap, but they sure are nice, and I find they can well also.

Speaking of smells, I worked with some fresh valerian root today because my neighbor’s dog jumped over my fence and trashed some it. So I dug up the broken one and harvested the root. It’s best to harvest roots in the fall, when the plant is dying back, because that’s when it has stored the most energy and goodies, but the plant was damaged and would not have done well.

I had a note to harvest valerian as well and decoct the fresh as opposed to the usual dried root according to VU for use in clairvoyance  and prophecy. That makes me think it would go well with a tincture of clary sage. I planted a number of clary sages last year, but it looks like only one of them made it through our very cold winter, and that one is pathetic looking. I have been meaning to buy some plants to make up for it but haven’t gotten around to it. Mountain Valley Growers has them (they also have dittany of Crete); although their shipping is really expensive, their plants are fine quality. At any rate, I decided to take advantage of the busted valerian and decocted part and tinctured part in 95% grain alcohol.

cauldronThe decoction took place in my new small cauldron, which I got off rubylane.com  I’ve found some good stuff on there and some junk.The first cauldron I bought off there cracked as soon as I put it on the burner. The second had a couple tiny scratches in the porcelain which exposed the steel, and that would have contaminated all my work with Mars energy, which I didn’t want, so that’s a soup pot now. Then I saw this, which is not your typical cauldron, but then, I am not your typical witch. I like flowers and plants, and I like German stuff, and this has both. Plus I liked the shape. It’s porcelain coated steel, so it’s energetically neutral. I also ordered a much larger pot new which is porcelain-coated cast iron; it’s green, which to me suits a green witch. It will be handy for making ablutions.

The grapevine wands are drying nicely. They’ve got a few nubbins from where tendrils came out. I’m thinking of hollowing those out and putting small cabuchons in them. Not sure which stone.

Meanwhile, waiting on Azoetia and hoping it comes out in the next week or so.

2 comments to Midsummer

  • faustianbargain

    harry..have you tried richters herbs? they are canadian, but shipping wont be as bad as it is from california. i am from california and mountain valley growers is $$$ even for me!

    enjoyed seeing all your artwork. so lovely. take care!

  • herbalwitchcraft

    Hi, Faustian,
    I have tried Richter’s Herbs. The problem is that they can take 6 months to ship and the last order I placed with them for live plants, they had only 1/3 of the plants I ordered in stock. The rest they wanted to give me a store credit for, and when I said I wanted a refund for that, they told me the customer service person wasn’t in on a regular basis and I would have to try to catch her when she was. I called several times and then got her and got a refund, but I didn’t like the whole deal. The plants they sent me were fine.

    Mountain Valley Growers has very pricey shipping, but their plants are the highest quality I have seen for shipped plants and they have various unusual things. They pack those herbs like glass. I order from them every year. 🙂

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