Monthly Archives: June 2013

Winter Wanderings


Yule has passed and now we are held within the silence of winter.

Last Saturday we took the opportunity to walk amongst the fog and shadows and centre

within the cold, deep quiet of our landscape.



I am Old Spider goddess of Micronesia.
I created the moon, the sea, the sky, the sun,
and the earth from a single clamshell.
All the vast and varied universe is present
in the smallest forms of life.
As above, so below.
As within, so without.

Excerpt taken from ‘Goddess Grace’



Enchanted meadows


Noble outstretching


Decaying Underground


As the shadows played against the fog, I looked upon the trees and was moved by their quiet wisdom.  How they have released everything that no longer serves them.  Back to the ground it goes for recycling and renewal.
How they have been left with the absolute necessary, and with that treasure recessed deep into their roots within our Mother Earth.
This season brings to mind the  “four powers of the sphinx”  To Know, To Will, To Dare and To Keep Silent.  In particular, the last of these, Silence.  The attribute of silence has been on my mind recently, especially after having the very unfortunate experience of being forced out of the broom closet by having  my mundane name  disclosed to 6000+  members of my facebook page.
Its not that I don’t like to tell people I’m a witch, most people who know me have probably figured that one out.  Its that I have work, a family, friends and other aspects of my life that  should not be judged by my personal practice.
Most importantly, it should be my choice whether I out myself and no one else has the right to do that.
This then got me to thinking about the lesson of silence, and how those relatively new to the Wheel and who have not done the proper Work and without the proper Guidance can cause great damage to those around them as well as themselves.
So as the Moon of Silence is upon us lets look a little deeper into this power and what it means.
Like all the rules of the Sphinx this one has many layers to its meaning.   And ‘To Keep Silent’ has caused more discussions than the other three rules combined.   On an outer level there is the common sense of just keeping your mouth shut.  Such as in my case where someone tried to harm my reputation.   When you keep silence it protects reputations, teachings, intellectual property of your coven, it protects your from social judgements, repercussions and very importantly, protects the work you are doing from the interference of others.
Taking this lesson within, we recognize the need for actual silence within our practice, such as silent reflection, mediation and prayer.  All vital to our path and self knowing.
Silence in its simplicity will affect you in deep and shifting ways.   Like a murky lake that is filled with muddy water during agitation, silence and stillness helps the mud sink to the bottom revealing a clear and luminous nature.
M La Fura )O(


Categories: The Wheel | 5 Comments

How to wash the dishes like your grandmother | Old-Fashioned Living

I am really interested in doing things the old fashioned way. Herbal medicines. Growing my own vegies, making my own jams and pickles – and now ferments too. What I want to do is connect more with my life and to produce, as much as possible, the things that I then consume. At the moment, I am constantly learning new skills and experimenting, trying to get back to my roots – in the good ways. (Just because our great great grandparents might have been prescribing mercury for syphilis doesn’t mean we should do it.)

But there are some old-fashioned things that I think have some real use, especially in our over complicated society. Walk down an aisle at the supermarket and there are literally walls upon walls of different cleaning products – for the floor, for each different surface, for the dishes, for the dishwasher, for the fridge, for the oven. Look, we don’t need all this stuff, the chemicals, the packaging, the sheer overwhelming multitude.

You want to get back to basics? Here’s a challenge for you. Try washing the dishes as your grandmother and great grandmother would have done. Or like Daisy in Downton Abbey, if that floats your boat. Go to the supermarket and find the most basic bar of household or laundry soap that you can. Not the antibacterial kind, not the fancy fragranced kind, just the plainest, simplest one. It’ll probably be made with tallow. This is ok. Try and avoid ones with palm oil if you can. Velvet soap is a good option if you live in Australia.

To hand wash your dishes, scrape them to get rid of as much grease as possible. Then, place your bar of soap in your sink and start filling it with hot water. The soap will bubble a bit but it’s not like detergent. This is ok too. Take the bar of soap out. As you wash up the water will just turn soapy and grey. Don’t be alarmed – your dishes will still be clean. I was actually surprised at how radical and challenging it was for me to let go of my preconceived notion that if there weren’t masses of detergent bubbles then nothing would get clean… But I persisted and now I’m totally used to it.


If you have a double sink for rinsing your dishes (I wish I did) put a slosh of white vinegar in there when you’ve filled it up, just to help things sparkle. It’s not necessary though. I only add the vinegar for rinsing when I’m using the dishwasher.

What? Dishwasher? Ok, yes, I know my great grandma didn’t have a dishwasher because I don’t think they were even invented. (My parents have a dishwasher, but they’ve never used it, go figure). To me, acquiring a dishwasher for the first time a few months ago has been a huge boon, because I cook – A LOT – and am often the only person actually doing the dishes, because if I don’t there’s just no bench space to work on. This becomes truly dispiriting after a while, so to me the dishwasher is an amazing blessing – and guess what I use in it? Finely grated soap – about a tablespoon per load – and vinegar in the rinse compartment. I have never seen dishes so clean – I’m not kidding.

And what’s more – using a single, minimally packaged product for multiple things creates a big, positive follow-on impact for the environment, as well as simplifying my daily life.

Give it a try, even just for one day? Are you a radical non-detergent dishwasher already and you’re just surprised it took me this long to see the light? Do you have any grandmotherly household hints to share that can help us all get back to our roots?

Verity )O(

Categories: the hearth | Tags: , , , , , | 9 Comments

Tuesday is Herb Day – Tansy


Here’s a herb you might not think about too often: tansy, Tanacetum vulgare. No, I don’t think about it terribly often, either. I have some in the garden, of course, but I don’t use it much. Mainly it’s there to be decorative with its lovely ferny leaves, and the promise of bright buttony yellow flowers – although it didn’t produce any of those last summer, possibly because it was in too small a pot and didn’t have enough room to do its full thing. Also, caterpillars kept eating it. I transplanted it to a larger pot in a sunnier spot and it’s thriving now. See, here it is:

The cutting I took at the time is also doing well, it seems to be one of those plants that is eager to grow just about anywhere. ‘Just put one root into the most difficult spot in your garden, the spot where nothing will grow, and watch it thrive’ says Dorothy Hall in The Book of Herbs.

Tansy used to be eaten in the spring, the leaves being a bitter tonic; made into cakes called ‘tansies’ which according to Mrs Grieve were absolutely chock full of eggs and sugar, so I’m not 100% sure how therapeutic those would have been, but I bet they tasted interesting. The scent of tansy is camphoraceous and strong and the smell will reputedly repel many varieties of insect and pest; crush the leaves to release the volatile oils. The flowers and leaves can also be used to produce yellow (and sis boy also green) dye.

It’s not a herb to be used internally in quantity, although I’m sure the taste alone would ensure that anyway; in small doses it is a useful emmenagogue to help with painful periods. In less cautious, more heroic days tansy was often given to help expel worms, and it is still a useful treatment, but should not be used for more than a couple of weeks. Mrs Grieve reports that it is useful for ‘hysteria’, that interesting and loaded term: to me, it seems that it would be the bitterness that makes tansy suitable for calming down someone in hysterics, the bitter flavour being the herbal equivalent of a slap in the face, putting the sympathetic nervous system back in its place and giving the parasympathetic the opportunity to take charge.

I have also read somewhere (of course, now I can’t find the reference) that tansy has a strong connection to the Divine Feminine, embodied in Christian times as the Virgin Mary, but dating from much earlier: this ties in with the concept of tansy as a remedy for hysteria, and its use as an emmenagogue – some kind of deep connection with the womb, which I think it would worthwhile to explore further.

Do you have tansy in your garden, have you ever crafted with it or explored its uses? I’d love to hear!

Bright blessings

Categories: herb day | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Changes and transformations

Just a little note to let you know that we are in the process of making some changes to the way Lilith’s Herb Garden looks and works… At the moment our shop is in maintenance mode while we tinker away behind the scenes… We’re going to try splitting the Garden into two distinct sides – the Herb Garden, where you will find all the delicious teas and healing ointments, and the Shadow Garden, where we will stock our pathworking balms, incenses, energetic medicines and suchlike.

Here’s a sneak peek at our new look/s:

large banner - herb garden shadow garden label master TAKE 2

We’re excited to feel things coming together a little more cohesively – it’s been a bit of a tricky time, trying to sort out the best approach to the business, not to mention the steep learning curve of using GIMP to design our new logos… (one of my personal headaches!!) But that’s the time of year too, time to dig in deeper and get the foundations and roots sorted during these darkest days, and then once Yule has come and gone, to start to ascend again!

Of course, nothing is final and we will always be ready to change and transform further as we go. However it’s nice to feel that we’re getting over the first run of hurdles, which means we can get back to doing what we are really passionate about – working with beautiful herbs! There are several new teas in the works, including a couple of really delciious chai blends that I’ll be posting about once the shop is open again.

In the meantime, do chat to us on Twitter, check out our photos on Instagram, or email us: lilithsherbgarden (at) gmail (dot) com


Bright blessings on this super chilly Melbourne day ~


Categories: Brewings, Whispers | Leave a comment

Tuesday is Herb Day – DANDELIONS!

There are still a few hours of Tuesday left, so let me rave on at you about dandelions for a bit.

I must be one of the few gardeners in Melbourne actively trying to increase the dandelion population in my garden, rather than attempting to eradicate them. For a long time my garden was, sadly, entirely dandelion free. Then, amazingly, under the thorny shadow of the climbing rose, a single exemplar of the being Taraxacum officinale appeared. I was delighted, checking on it regularly to see when it would flower (a slow process), and then, just as regularly, and even more eagerly, checking to see if the flower had turned into a puffball of seeds that would populate my already (maybe) overcrowded garden with more of its kind.

The puffball arrived. And THEN A POSSUM ATE IT.

However, a few days later, after listening to me whinge about the possums eating my long awaited dandelion puffball, Cath very sensibly just took a seedhead from the massive dandelion that was growing down the lane (that’s the one in the picture above) and blew the seeds all over the spot where I want them to grow. Now I have lots of dandelion seedlings popping up and I am content.

Just what is so good about dandelion?

You can eat the leaves, which are very bitter, especially as they get older, so the young ones are best in terms of palatabiltiy. They are still quite strong and may take a bit of getting used to (I’ll probably have a rant about why people should include more bitters in their diets at another time). I often pick a few to put in a salad or a sandwich amongst the other greens like rocket; you could also toss them into a soup or cook them in amongst some milder greens like spinach or silverbeet.

Because the roots of dandelion grow so deep into the earth, the leaves are rich in minerals like iron and potassium; you can brew them as a tea, which has tonic and diuretic properties (and since diuretics in general can deplete the body of potassium, dandelion is a particularly good choice).

The root is hepatic, which means it acts on the liver, stimulating its function and aiding the body’s natural detoxification processes. Roasted, the root makes a tasty ‘coffee’ which is delicious on its own or with milk and/or spices.

Dandelion is one of those herbs which bridges the worlds. Its taproots go deep, as I mentioned before, and yet its flower is as pure a representation of the sun as you can find. It is sacred to the Goddess Hekate, the Illuminatrix who also walks between the worlds. The seeds are messengers, and will carry your wishes with them as they take to the air.

So next time you meet a dandelion, honour it; there’s more to it than meets the eye and it has many gifts to share with you!

Bright blessings


Categories: herb day | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Let food be your medicine – the gift of meat


Over the weekend I have made oxtail soup. I’ve never made anything quite like this before: roasting the bones, simmering them slowly for a full day, straining the stock, adding soaked barley then simmering again, shredding the flakes of meat from flower-shaped bones, gone so soft that they crumble under my fingers, falling apart having given up all their nourishment into the soup we are about to eat.

Ten years ago I could not have understood how this could have been good for me. Today I don’t understand how I could ever have believed it would not be good for me.

This is not glamorous food; it’s not fancy; it’s not politically correct. It represents yet another turning point in the complicated relationship I’ve had with food throughout my life. For me this path is about true, deep, transformative nourishment: literally from the bones of this animal, this ox, into my bones.

I am grateful for this gift; I’m grateful for the animal that has given its life for mine, for the privileges that allow me to receive the gift and make use of it, for the people who have inspired me to do so, for the capacity to change my thinking and to continually learn better, to work on healing and connecting.

For those of you also interested in exploring the path of traditional foods, I highly recommend the website Nourished Kitchen and the book Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.

Brightest blessings

Categories: Whispers | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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