My Adventures in Making Corn Husk Paper

The Herb Society of America Blog

By Angela Magnan

Corn husks for papermakingAfter watching a video online about making paper from corn husks, I thought it would be fun to try. I had never made paper before, but the video made it look easy. Don’t they always?! I first made some using the husks from six ears. After it didn’t really go well, I bought a book with more detail and tried again. 

But like many DIY projects that I try for the first time, or even the second, making paper out of corn husks reminded me that watching a video is no substitute for a detailed book, which in turn is no substitute for experience. It also reminded me that when trying something new, I should perhaps follow the directions. 

Corn husks and stalks are some of the many plant materials commonly found in home gardens that can be made into paper. Grass and leaf fibers are some…

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Honoring the Ancestors of the Bardic Arts: Tools, Techniques, and Legacies

The Druid's Garden

Shoemaking Hammer with Spirit

Browsing an antique store a year ago, I found a wonderful shoemaking hammer.  It was an interesting shape, and when I held the tool, I could literally feel the connection this tool had had with its previous owner. Whoever had owned this tool had used it well–the handle was worn, a piece of old, soft velcro partially worn off where someone had placed it for a firmer grip. I could sense the resonance of craft and skill in this hammer. I held the unique hammer in my hand, and turned it a few times, knowing that this tool would find a wonderful home in my art studio.  But more than that, this tool had a bardic ancestral connection to one of the primary bardic arts  I have been pursuing for some time: leatherwork.

In Druidry and broader neopaganism, we often focus on the ancestors in three…

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Not Just for Teatime: The Herbal Significance of Camellias

The Herb Society of America Blog

By Matt Millage

It never ceases to amaze me how much tea is consumed daily. An estimated 2.16 billion cups of tea are drunk every day around the world, which puts it Panda_Tea_Green_Teasecond only to water in most consumed beverages (DeWitt, 2000). I, myself, have become a tea drinker over the years, and as a plant nerd, I wanted to know more about how the tea leaves were farmed. What I ended up learning is that while tea (Camellia sinensis) is by far the most well known and widely used product of the genus Camellia, it is by no means its only contribution to the herbal marketplace.

Some of you may know the genus Camellia for the wonderful ornamental show that it puts on from fall through spring. Camellia japonica and Camellia sasanqua have been putting on shows in USDA hardiness zones 7-9 for decades, if not…

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The Stag

secretsoftheserpent

The symbol of the stag is very interesting to me.  This symbol in the Arthurian legends sends the knights off on a spiritual quest.  It is the symbol of Pan and Cernunnos.  In China the stag is the symbol of the God of Immortality, Shou-hsien.  In Native American legends the stag symbolizes the Spirit World. The Hopi cut the image of their Sun god from a piece of deerskin.  Why is the symbol of the stag so important that it represents Gods and Spirits?  I found the answers I was looking for in Egypt once again.  

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New Moon in Scorpio Lunar Report | Welcoming in Winter

New Moon in Scorpio Lunar Report | Welcoming in Winter
New Moon in Scorpio Lunar Report | Welcoming in Winter

This new moon in Scorpio kicks off a month of transformation. Scorpio is the psychic of the zodiac, and there is a lot happening in this sign this month.

Then moon in Scorpio can help awaken your innate psychic abilities. The first Quarter moon in Pisces will further enhance your psychic abilities and increase your sense of inner knowing. Venus moves into Scorpio this month as well which will deepen your emotions and sensuality.

We have a powerful full moon eclipse in Gemini this month as well which will have us looking within and without for new answers and truths… thenn the last quarter in the sign of Virgo might have us tending to our homes, clearing out the clutter and preparing for winter.

The nights are growing longer, and the days are growing colder and shorter as those of us in the Northern Hemisphere move into the months of winter.

This Cold Moon Cycle brings us some clarity and insight about ourselves and others, while also preparing us as we travel towards the colder darker months, preparing for a rebirth.

Read original article at: Spirit de la Lune ~ New Moon in Scorpio New Moon Report|Welcome in Winter

Yellow Knight: Thoughts On Eating A “Deadly” Mushroom

To determine whether a mushroom is edible or not, time is one factor worth considering. 

A mushroom that has been eaten for centuries with few adverse events reported is a mushroom that most people would consider to be edible. 

On the other hand, a mushroom with a centuries-old reputation of being toxic is certainly a mushroom whose edibility should be called into serious question, even in modern times.

But not all mushrooms fit neatly into those two categories.

Take the Yellow Knight, for instance. 

The Yellow Knight is a wild mushroom that had been safely eaten for centuries.  In the 1990s, however, consumption of the Yellow Knight suddenly and unexpectedly became linked to multiple human poisonings.  Some of these poisonings resulted in death.

During a recent walk through a pine forest, I encountered the infamous Yellow Knight mushroom.  After careful consideration, I decided to harvest the mushroom and cook it, and in the following video I explain why I would do such a thing.

If you are interested in learning more about a common yet controversial fall mushroom, check out the brand new video!

Deeper into the forest full of Yellow Knight mushrooms, this wildflower was blossoming under red pine trees.  Known as Yellow Ladies’ Tresses, this orchid is involved in a tangled web of specialized relationships.  Check out this recent Instagram post to learn more.Click to view post

Thanks for reading and watching, and thanks for your continued support!

-Adam Haritan

HSA Webinar: Enhancing Brain Health using Natural Botanicals

The Herb Society of America Blog

Sponsored by The Herb Society of America’s Long Island Unit

by Jen Munson, Education Chair

Nootropics is a trending topic. Nootropics (pronounced noh-a-trop-iks) includes drugs, supplements, and plants that may improve brain function. According to Allied Market Research, a market research and advisory company, brain enhancing supplements made up $3.50 billion in sales in 2017 and is projected to grow to $5.81 billion by 2023. Unfortunately, it’s an industry that is rife with misleading ingredients and marketing.

True nootropics should aid natural cognitive function, support and protect brain function, and be non-toxic to the user. The properties and constituents of nootropic herbs have demonstrated numerous benefits. Using medicinal herbs to enhance brain health is nothing new; in fact, many have been used safely and effectively for thousands of years. 

Some brain boosting herbs can be readily found in the garden. Although rosemary has been symbolically used to represent remembrance, it…

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Self Publishing Your Own Tarot or Oracle Deck: Printers, Marketing, Layout and More!

The Druid's Garden

The Plant Spirit Oracle Book and Deck

Some time ago, I offered insight into how to create your own oracle or tarot deck for your own purposes. I promised a follow-up article that explored the world of self-publishing and had a recent request for this information, so here it is!  This article starts where the last one left off–I’m not going to talk about creation, intention, or media in this article but rather share the aspects of taking something that you have already created (or are in the process of creating) and sharing it with the world.  While there are certainly a number of considerations at play, creating an oracle or tarot deck that you release to the world can be a fantastic experience.  I realize a lot of people don’t need this information, but I’d like to put it out there for those who might find it helpful in…

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Three Things I Would Tell My Younger Self

secretsoftheserpent

If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you tell yourself?  Im not talking about going back and giving yourself winning lottery numbers or telling yourself something is going to happen so prepare for it.  I mean advice to help yourself with the things you have learned over your life.  I don’t know if my younger self would listen because back then I knew everything, but here are 3 things I would tell my younger self.  

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The Energies of November 2020

Good Witches Homestead

The full moon on October 31st brought the intensity of the energies last month to a head and neatly ushered us into November where the drama and energetic intensity look set to continue for at least another couple of weeks.

Negotiating high energy intensity can certainly bring its challenges but this particular energy flow is also replete with purpose and opportunity. The universe really does have our backs and is providing everything that we need to move gracefully through this period of change and transformation.

We just need to go with the flow and stay awake, aware and on purpose as best we can.

More Transformation

The astrology of 2020 has been both unusual and exciting, a situation created in part by the on/off conjunction of the two heavy weight planets, Jupiter and Pluto in Capricorn.

November 12/13th will see the third and final meeting of these two highly influential…

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