Sacred Trees in the Americas – Eastern Sycamore (Plantaus Occidentalis) – Magic, Medicine, Ecology and Uses

The Druid's Garden

The glorious sycamore tree! The glorious sycamore tree!

Here in Western Pennsylvania, we have a wonderful set of scenic rivers that lend themselves to kayaking, whitewater rafting, and overnight kayak camping trips. This is one of my favorite pastimes, especially as climate change has had the tick population skyrocket in the last 10 or so years and pushed us into more heatwaves. One of the quintessential features of our waterways here are the Sycamore trees. Sycamores are easy to spot even at a distance: the mottled bark, dark on the bottom and giving way in patches to light white tips; the craggy and interesting growth formation, making the trees appear whimsical and distinct. As you kayak through many parts of Western PA on our larger rivers, you will encounter these little islands that are held there by many old, weathered and small sycamores.  As you drive through the countryside, you will find many river…

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Druid Tree Workings: Principles for Establishing Deep Relationships with the Trees, Part I

The Druid's Garden

Trees provide an abundant amount of resources…shelter, food, fire, friendship–but they also as this blog has shown, can work various forms of magic through their energetics, through their lore, through their divinatory meanings.  They are some of the most kind, giving, and accessible beings on the landscape, and certainly a place to not only begin a nature spiritual practice but deepen it over time. As I’ve written on this blog, working with the trees must be a matter of exchange–honoring them, treating them as elders, listening to their stories and songs–and if you want to work tree magic, this magic requires us to be in a sacred relationship with the trees.  I’ll be doing a short series on how to establish, maintain, and grow relationships with plants and trees.

Powerful Chestnut Tree bearing nuts!

In this first post of this new series, we are going to focus on the concept…

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A Prescription For Swans (new video!)

The arrival of spring can easily be seen on a lake.

Melting ice, blossoming poplars, and migrating waterfowl are among its most faithful signs.  Like an unerring calendar, the lake reminds us that the darkest days have expired and a season of growth awaits.

While walking the shores of a local lake one chilly morning, I observed and heard several signs of spring.  One sound in particular, emanating from the center of the water, caught my attention.

As I approached the sound, its intensity changed from a periodic “coo” to a chorus of whistles.  Too early for spring peepers and wood frogs, I thought to myself, but not too early for something else I had hoped to find.

Tundra swans.

I peered through the cattails and alder shrubs to confirm my hunches.  The icy lake hosted hundreds of tundra swans that had stopped for a visit on their journey to the Arctic.  With a camera in hand, I decided to document the experience while musing on the subtle power of swans to heal.

If you’re interested in seeing tundra swans up close, check out the new video!

Less vocal and numerous but still a sign of spring’s impending arrival are these diminutive diving ducks.  Have you seen any buffleheads this year?  To read about my recent encounter with a small flock, check out the latest Instagram post!Click to view post

In case you missed it, here’s a recent interview I did with The Mushroom Hour podcast.  In this interview, we discuss many topics including nature connection, reciprocal living, and supporting land conservation trusts.  You can listen to the interview through one of the following links:

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

-Adam Haritan

Calling All Artists and Designers

The Herb Society of America Blog

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The Herb Society of America
is Seeking Design Art!

Organizers for the Virtual Educational Conference and Annual Meeting of Members (EdCon) to be held June 10th – 12th, 2021, invite artists and designers of all ages and abilities to submit artwork for consideration for the 2021 EdCon logo. The theme is, of course, HERBS!

To enter the contest, participants must:

  1. Choose a theme, and create a design. The theme should reflect a combination of herbs and pollinators. Herbs may include native plants, trees, and bushes. Pollinators may include native bees, honey bees, butterflies, moths, birds, bats, flies, beetles, etc.
  2. Art is often best rendered with strong lines and minimal color to facilitate replication on posters, printed materials, and tote bags. You are welcome to design on your computer or directly on paper.
  3. The design must adapt well to electronic (ideally .jpg or .png format) and print media…

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Justice

secretsoftheserpent

One of the subjects we all seem to agree upon is the need for justice. Problem is that everyone has a different view of what they think justice means. Whatever moral principal each of us believes is what we call justice. We have social justice warriors today who advocate justice with great passion, but they have no definition. All justice is social. Even Socrates stated….

“justice if only we knew what it was”.  

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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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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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Sylum Charity: Music for Relief — Sylum Clan

The Western United States and Canada typically see wildfires each year, especially between August and  November. In 2020 “Above Normal significant fire potential is expected across much of the Great Basin, northern California, Pacific Northwest, and northern Rockies.” According to the National Interagency Fire Center’s (NIFC) National Interagency Coordination Center (NICC) – the body that coordinates wildfire resources across…

Sylum Charity: Music for Relief — Sylum Clan

Deepening the Wheel of the Year and Wildcrafting Druidry

The Druid's Garden

What is amazing about this wonderful planet we live on is the diversity of ecosystems, weather, climate, and life.  This diversity, however, can be challenging for those looking to adapt druidry or other nature-based spiritual practices to their practices.  Particularly challenging is the concept of the wheel of the year, especially if trying to apply the wheel of the year in a non-temperate climate setting. Thus, today’s post extends some of my earlier discussions about wildcrafting your own druidry, which include developing your own wheel of the year; in considering the role of observances, activities, and rituals; and in developing distinct symbolism for your work.  I’m going to continue this discussion today by talking about a further way to work with a seasonal approach from a wildcrafted and observational way and continue wheel of the year development!  So let’s get going!

The Wheel of the Year and Why…

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