Do you like nasturtiums? I LOVE nasturtiums. They are one of my favourite plants. I love the way they grow all over things and the way their flowers are so bright and colorful. I love the peppery taste of the leaves and flowers, and that you can eat every part of the plant. I love the fact that they have such an unlikely-seeming botanical name… NOT Nasturtium officinale as any sensible person might think, but Tropaeoleum majus (N. officinale is actually watercress! Go figure. But at least I can remember it).
I planted quite a lot of nasturtium seeds in one of my garden beds a few months ago, not expecting them to do much as it’s in an area that gets almost no sun in the dark half of the year. Naturally, every single one germinated and the bed is now a riot of nasturtium leaves, some almost the size of plates (although no flowers have appeared as yet). They are so rampant they are even overshadowing my horseradish and I needed to do something to cut them back a bit. But there’s only so many leaves that I can put in a salad… Salads which I am pretty much the only person in the household to eat… And then I came across a solution: nasturtium pesto
I made a few alterations to the original recipe (I didn’t have any walnuts), and I can vouch for its deliciousness. So here’s my take on it:
2 cups (tightly packed) freshly washed nasturtium leaves
2 cloves garlic
1.5 cups (NOT packed) coarsely grated pecorino cheese (or Parmesan)
Salt, to taste
Place the first three ingredients in a food processor and blitz together. Add olive oil in a stream and keep blending until you have a smooth-ish paste – I didn’t really measure but I imagine I used at least half a cup. Taste and add salt if you like. Scrape into a clean jar and cover with a layer of oil to help keep it fresh. Cap tightly and store in the fridge. Or, fill an ice cube tray & freeze, popping the little blocks out into a freezer bag for longer storage.
Let me know if you try it, or if you have any other unusual pesto recipes, or if you love nasturtiums too!
On Saturday I caught the train down to Sandringham to attend the Sacred Fires ritual held by Tina from the Covenant of Hekate. It was a cool yet intermittently sunny winter’s afternoon, not raining (miraculous!) nor too windy – in fact a perfect day. The tide was high and there were many gulls – especially once they realised there was food on the altar – but few people outside or circle.
There were nearly twenty of us in the circle, I think; mostly women, a few men. We each spoke briefly about our connection with Hekate. The most common theme seemed to be that she has made herself known at the dark times in our lives, offering her light to illuminate and guide us when we have lost our way. For myself, it is comforting to know that she is there holding the lantern and pointing the way, even though I can see only a very short way along the path beneath my feet.
We called on the goddess with praise for the blessings that she has poured into our lives, and each lit a candle to represent her bright fire. We shared food and drink and offered libations to the ocean, which were hungrily investigated and snapped up by the seagulls floating on the high tide below the rocky altar. Many of us had brought items to be consecrated to Hekate – jewelery, tools, amulets – and Tina helped us to bless them with all four elements.
As a solitary practitioner I really appreciate the chance to attend a ritual of this sort, particularly because Hekate is a new goddess in my life and this helps me to understand some if her many different facets, and also because Tina always puts so much effort into creating a welcoming, beautiful circle. There was ceremony, there was laughter, there was reverence and a real sense of power. I came away feeling revitalized, inspired and connected – and what more can you ask of a religious ceremony, whatever your denomination?
Thank you Tina.
My journey last year was one of deep changes and initiation. The challenges helped to shift and sort me in ways deep and knowing. Facing many fears and death allowed me to achieve an inner strength and calm… and with that came the warrior spirit.
Facing these challenges was a very different experience to the challenges I faced when I lost my father as a young woman of 17. Of course, in one instance, I was but a girl and in the other, a woman… and so I could be of great support.. already a mother, a wife and a practitioner I could give myself entirely to her… not needing anything from her… just giving was incredibly healing .. instead of needing the support a child would naturally require.
As every birth is different, every death is different. And here, the lessons were completely different. The loss of a parent at such a young age left me wounded, the loss of my mother helped heal those original wounds.
The two experiences were worlds apart… a full 28 years and a Saturn return apart, no less. But symbiotic and cyclical. A turn within my karmic wheel. The final turn being when I face my old friend, Death..
And so now I find myself in a position where what once may have been a fear or concern is now nothing but a waste of precious energy and time, leaving me either bored or amused… but not occupying much space before I put my efforts into what is truly worthwhile.
Today Cath made our Horned God ointment – prepared during the solar eclipse, with the sun and new moon in Taurus.
A little bundle of snake skin, wood betony, willow, patchouli and oak moss was placed within the infused hellebore root oil, then blended with with bee’s wax and mugwort infused oil. The hellebore root was black, but surprisingly the infused oil was quite light in colour and fragrance.
Here are the balms, not yet set.
This ointment can be used for underworld workings or shape shifting magic. It is also protective and may help you to avoid unwanted attention.
And the final product with pathworking tunnel… Down the rabbit hole we go…
I went walking barefoot in the park today. Not something I do very often, but I felt inspired; it was a lovely autumn afternoon and not too cold or too wet, at least not in the sun.
More and more leaves have drifted down from the trees, some of them are completely bare now and the grass – which is green again thanks to rain and cooler temperatures – was thickly carpeted with the fallen. There haven’t seemed to be many acorns this year – or perhaps the birds just got them all early. I’ve got a couple to carry around with me for luck, though.
I visited some of my favourite birch trees and sat with them for a while. A gardener on a ride-on mower was roaring about in the background. It wasn’t windy. I love how the light gets old so early in the afternoon at this time of year; as if it’s thicker and richer from being poured into fewer hours of the day. The are still bits of leaves and dry grass stuck to my jumper from when I lay in the ground.
I’m off to harvest some holly tonight. The berries are perfectly ripe, so shiny and such an amazing scarlet.
On Samhain Cath and I got together for some magickal crafting… We made three different ointments: Dark Goddess, with infused oils of hemlock & dittany and patchouli essential oil – so earthy and deep; Third Eye, with infused oil of mugwort and essential oils of basil and frankincense – rich and heady to open you up to the astral realm while keeping you protected and grounded; and Hedge Riders’, with infused oils of hemlock, dittany & mugwort perfect just on their own for helping you pass the boundaries of everyday existence. Don’t they look delicious?
Then there were the ritual soaps, made with coconut & olive oils and delicious scents – one for the Goddess (rosewood and lavender and patchouli in that one), one for the God (full of bright masculine citrus oils and oats), and one for general cleansing (with infused mugwort oil, sandalwood and rosemary essential oils).
We’re excited to be debuting these items at the market this Saturday. Any leftovers will go into the shop so keep an eye out!