|The thin rivers signal a drought for those who rely on the glacial waters... all of us here in the shadow of the mountain.|
|no metal in this work, no iron near my altar. these herbs don't care for cold metal.|
Lupine is a deceptively simple flower that seems weak and pretty at first gaze but reveals itself as something wise, otherworldly, fairy-- something else. While little lore surrounds lupine, it is a flower of love's expression and the sacred roads of the land. Ellen Dugan says in her green magic book, Garden Witch's Herbal; "in the language of flowers, lupines symbolize imagination and voraciousness. Magical uses include increasing your personal power and attraction." I wholeheartedly agree with this assessment after working with my own wild mountain lupine, it holds the essence of bewitchment in it.
Bunchberry is a relative of dogwood and it's flower is added to a different libation for the animal spirits (along with snow-berry, holly berry and ivy berry, tasty good spirit food). All of the mountain flower herbs are under the guardianship of Venus and water, and most under the virtue of moon; meaning that each has compatible spirits all being feminine in nature and loving in virtue. Most of them were known to the local indigenous tribes as having healing, feminine qualities. Western Corydalis, a sister to the bleeding heart, who never grows too far downhill of hearty and fair corydalis- it is strong Venusian herb of desire (particularly in its glorious but hard-to-find blue form) and its root was harvested to make a marital talisman while the leaves will go into the elixir and the petals to powder. Elderberry was introduced (as far as I know), but it is a glorious herb, loved by fairy and guarded by a powerful old witch, so in the pot it goes! Elder gives me the impression of being more of an exorcist than anything else, capable of driving bad things away with its spirit. The smell of the leaves alone certainly drives things away...
Not pictured is red paintbrush flower and vanilla leaf flower (a known spirit food of the Skagit), gathered for a totally separate work. It too will be mashed, torn, shredded but blended with spring water from up slope to make a tonic. It grows plentifully among the corydalis scouleri, bleeding hearts and avalanche lily on the banks of the three major rivers on the pass.
The cool, hearty flowers of the mountainside are delicately clipped from their stalks and hung to dry for the powdering in another moon or so. The leaves are placed in the clay medicine pot while the waters of Takoma, the light of the dead and the spirit vessels stand in attention, readied for our working. As the ice cool glacial water is poured over my hands, the green spirit will be violently ripped to the surface, a sacrifice of plant blood to make aqua viridis to feed the green spirits. Gnashed and torn, under the influence of prayer and will, their essence will permeate the waters that are mother to their blood and feed many medicine spirits for a couple days if stored right. The resulting liquid when strained and fed some local rain water is a beautiful emerald green and is used as a wash for the medicine skull, a libation to the green spirits, and used with a bit of elder wine to feed the local nature spirits (or fairy, to some), so that everyone gets a share of the spring harvest.
|a little goes a long way|
|aged fragrant clover beeswax produced at a local apiary in a different region of the Cascades and a base of joboba/sweet almond.|