Friday, April 15, 2016

M is for Mugwort...

Dear Littler B,

Here we are half way through the A to Z Challenge and I am actually TWO days ahead with this letter. Imagine that. Queen of procrastinators has gotten a jump on a deadline for two days in a row! I couldn't have done it without the help of my best friend and some powerful medication prescribed to the man who will be your husband to lower his blood pressure and deal with all of the happy horse pucky side effects of his stroke I told you about in Message of Love I also thought getting ahead a few days will allow me to pack and move into the car as our only option due to our FUND RAISER not going the way we hoped it would.

So here we are midway with...

 is for Mugwort

Origin & Identification

Mugwort is also known as a form of Artemesia (No not Micky D's Nonna). I am making that known now because of the first "Practical Uses" thing I mention below.

Mugwort will be easy for you to identify because you will grow it for a period of time. Since you are not to 2003 yet, lets get on with it.

This plant grows from Canada to Florida so it will be easy to find for you when you are not buying it to plant in the garden. You can also find this plant in Africa, Asia and Europe.  The leaves are unique and almost can be said to resemble elongated oak leaves.  If you flip them over however they are a MUCH lighter shade than the green of the top of the leaves. 

If you are looking to mix it in with your garden (which I know you will) keep in mind it can get up to 6 feet tall and 18 inches around. Make compensation for that. It will also flower from whites to brown (not that color coordinating is your thing, but someone else might trip on this letter and want to try it)

Practical Uses

This plant is in the same family as wormwood (which are both strains of the same family you will grow). These are the strain of plants known to be the active ingredient in the alcohol absinthe. You know what that means my dear sheltered younger me. HEADS UP! CAUTION! I'm glad you won't learn about this until after 1998 because it is NOT something for those who are pregnant. The reason for this is that it increases blood-flow, especially to the uterine area.

By Eric Litton - Own work,
CC BY-SA 2.5,

Mugwort is known in China, Japan and Korea to be an anti-herpetic. (Don't worry, I didn't know what that was until I looked it up. Essentially it means NO HERPES (ala Eddie Murphy, simplex 10 or otherwise.) They also use it to flavor foods, wonder if that's where the phrase "they be trippin" came from? You might not have heard that one yet, but hang tight a few years and you will.

Not only is this an ancient Asian medicine for herpes, they were known to put it on acupuncture needles to aid in healing because of the moxibustion. They even process and use it in Japan in varying levels shown below for various chronic issues such as pain.

Like another herb mentioned in a letter a few days ago, I will bet you didn't know that before hops this was an active ingredient in beer made by the Native Americans? Imagine that night of holy creeping drunk?!?!

Metaphysical Uses of Mugwort

Mugwort is a feminine herb, associated with the planet Venus AND the Earth. It also has a dual goddess representation in Artemis and Diana.  Most prominently it is known for it's ability to open your Psychic Powers, Prophetic Dreams, and Astral Projection however being aligned with Artemis is also known for protection and strength. Heads up - knowing you will eventually follow the Druid path - Mugwort is one of the 9 herbs... nuf said to entice you to research.

Another SPOILER ALERT: You will be very broken hearted and souled by
Isaac's passing and will LOVE Phaedra for the amazing woman she is.

This one is a dangerous herb for you and even though you are great at growing it, I advise you use with caution. You are going to try it in tea form as well as smoking it once for meditation purposes in circle.  It is known for promoting lucid dreams because it opens the mind. You already have VERY LUCID dreams and have since you were young to the point that sometimes (as in fiction) you don't know which is more real. Add an herb like this and you are in for a doozy of a night - believe me. You haven't been there yet, but I have and you are going to regret it at times.

Can you say Mugwort Tea???? One time in circle and meditation group courtesy of a very wise woman Robin Rose Bennett (You are going to come to know and love her very much as your teacher!!!) a friend saw the embodiment of Eponia with her horse head shaking back and forth in an almost epileptic pace. This, I am guessing is the version of a bad meditation "trip" lol. (I told you many letters back, lol is my current decade's acronym for Laugh Out Loud)

Inicio projecao If you are not ready for a deep, peyote type spirit journey - don't try it. I will say however that there are times you are going to need this to find a higher understanding and purpose. Just don't do it alone. Drink the tea in a group, get understanding with someone you trust. It will open many doors into understanding for you, however it will scare the piss out of you at the same time.

I am actually going to end this letter here because I don't want to encourage you to try this one until you are really ready.  I hope I've given you enough to be curious and not enough to be too curious. I know at least you are not a risk taker and have never even tried marijuana or anything more potent that a fuzzy navel that one time.

Coming at you with feet firmly on the ground,

Bigger Little B

As usual I enjoyed the music of my play list with a special emphasis on Lennon & Maisy

Thursday, April 14, 2016

L is for Lavender...

Dear Littler B,

I can not believe this but I am actually a day ahead on getting this letter to you. Although you and any others will not see it until my tomorrow 4/14. This means I can have quite a bit of breathing room to type this one out. I owe this all to the help of my bestie in getting data for the last two days and giving me a jump. You really are going to have amazing friends when you get to be me.

Well, I suppose I will jump right into today's A to Z Challenge letter to you by letting you know that

is for Lavender...

Origin & Identification

Lavender comes in many forms and you, yourself over the years will plant several varieties. This plant is so familiar to so many that it is even used as a color in the spectrum (a pale purplish).  Lavender grows in a short shrub like form and has skinny shoots that flower at the tips. It is said that the colors of the flowers can be anywhere from a purple/blue to yellow, though between you and when you become me we have never actually seen a yellow lavender. Because of the wide use of this herb you will find it is often grown on farms.

It likes temperate climates (or warm to you and me) which is probably why the plants here in Tennessee seemed to have done better than those back home in New Jersey, however Mom has a green thumb and grows some AMAZING ones in New York. Last visit we even took several bags of clippings.

It's a funny note - even now - 25 years away from when I was you I have chosen so many pink & purple things to write about. I promise you I am no "girly" then you are. Wonder if it means something subconsciously? Moving on...

Practical Uses of Lavender

This herb is a VERY aromatic herb and when you get to be me you will know that there are two distinct smells that are ever present in our home along with patchouli and rosemary. When I am in a house I will always plant this near my door and often be seen running my hand through it just to have the scent on me. It might be because of mom's fascination with the scent for as long as I can remember.

Lavender is known for it's calming effect on the body and mind and is most commonly used for its fragrance in soaps, bath soaks, air fresheners and potpourri.  You can however also find lavender along with chamomile for calming, soothing and sleep teas like I make.

Soaking in it is almost a nightly occurrence here in 2016 due to the fact that yes - you've gotten old! It helps with stress and muscles so the products you see here from my amazon affiliate program are a staple in 2016 you's bathroom.

One of the amazing soothing properties of this herb make it a mandatory in your home from the time you are you until you are ancient like me. When having an anxiety attack, pouring the essential oil on a cloth and holding it near your nose breathing in and out will reduce the anxiety enough to get it under control.

One of my favorite uses for this herb is cooking thanks to a dear old friend of mine who used to make lavender sugar and lavender shortbread cookies. I've included recipes for them below. If you have never tried, DO IT! (I know you will in many years thanks to her but try to find it before then, you will love it!

Recipe for lavender sugar by About
Click on the link above for her expertise. NONE of this is mine I promise. I am not original in any way. None of that has changed over the years, I can only take info and make it better. Maybe I should have stayed working with BASF.

1 tbsp of lavender flowers
2 cups sugar
(I know my friend added a full vanilla bean for hers so DO IT!)

Lavender Sugar - (c) Elizabeth LaBau
(c) Elizabeth LaBau
  • 1 tbsp culinary dried lavender
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
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  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 2 cups Lavender Sugar
1. Place the dried lavender in the bowl of a food processor and blend it for 10-15 seconds to chop it into small pieces.
2. Add 1 cup of granulated sugar to the processor and blend well, for 15-20 seconds, until the lavender is finely ground and mixed into the sugar.
3. Whisk the lavender sugar together with the remaining cup of sugar until the lavender is well dispersed.
4. Store Lavender Sugar in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 6 months.

Recipe for lavender shortbread cookies can be found here at my friend James Beard's site he's a local boy, you'll like him. You truly have to try these culinary delights! Or, you could be lazy (like I know you are) and just try something like what my friend made (lavender shortbread) through my Amazon Affiliate program here:

Metaphysical Uses

As ironic as this seems because it has such a calming effect - lavender is actually a masculine herb associated with the planet Mercury and the element of air. It is known for it's properties of love, protection, sleep, chastity, longevity, purification, happiness, and peace.  For these reasons it is obvious why I include this herb in love sachets, dream pillows that I sew and use the essential oil in my massage oil.

When getting ready to perform anything that will require heavy spiritual work, a cleansing bath is usually in order to help you step out of the mundane to the magickal. Having a calming, cleansing bath with lavender is often good for that, run the hot water and drop in a sachet that includes lavender along with any other herbs pertinent to the working you are about to do. This will often level your energy, put you in the moment and promote focus on what you need to do.

Many cultures have their own history with lavender (such as in the Renaissance period, mixed with rosemary to promote chastity). Today's letter I am going to focus on the Feng Shui bit a little since you are going to do a lot of chakra work.

Purple or Lavender is known in the shakra as the color for the Crown. This is anything obviously to do with the head (technically just above the head at about 6" or so if you think of it on an aura-ish)

Any time you need to work with anything relating to the consciousness or mind, you will call on the crown chakra, being present or moving beyond present into the akashic field. Just face it, anything to do with controlling or allowing the release of control of your physical mind - lavender is the way to go.  I have the amethyst chakra wand below to help me in times like these (on loan to me through bestie as well as my rose quartz one broke in half).

Ok, enough about me, I will leave you be since I am so anxious about tomorrow that I experienced it today. That is good though, it shows signs of healing from Message of Love and the fact that in just days I am going to have to lose my home because we didn't come even CLOSE to our goal...and figure how to move everything including a husband post-stroke.  I am trying not to live in the past. Again, I will take little victories.

Calmly yours,

Bigger Little B

Music that kept me company...

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

K is for Knit Bone...

Dear Littler B,

Hi there from  April of 2016. I am working on getting this letter to you before sundown today so that I can say that that the letter K in the A to Z Challenge was actually met on time. I am making no promises however.

Today, just so you know...

 is for Knit Bone (Comfrey)

Origin & Identification

Knit bone, otherwise known as comfrey is one you will become very familiar with for the wrong reasons. In planting your first herb garden you are going to quickly find out that it will grow, and grow and grow. The leaves of this plant take over like you wouldn't believe. It is hardy so it is going to grow well in NJ where you are now in the late 80s. You will be lucky however because this is a perennial plant (as defined by "
perpetual; everlasting; continuing; recurrent.") so not only will it take over, it just won't go away! BONUS! ha ha  When they say it is a "showy plant", they really mean it.

I've thrown this one at you under it's folk name Knit Bone because of its practical uses (You can read below for those) and quite honestly because I needed a K that fell in the feminine side of the spectrum.

Knit bone has black, turnip-like roots and LARGE, hairy broad leaves. Use your gloves when you harvest or prune because those hairs are really annoying to sensitive fingers and skin! It grows tiny bell-shaped flowers usually cream or purplish, (yours will be purple) and may be striped. While is native to Europe, grows in damp, grassy places, and is locally frequent throughout Ireland and Britain on river banks and ditches. I believe this is why Lake Hopatcong was the prime location for this plant to do what it was best at and become a space hog in the garden.

Knit Bone / Comfrey prefers cool climates but full sun. I wonder if I had planted in a not so sunny section of the garden might this one have not taken over? The soil needs to be rich, but obviously its not picky. WARNING: Fertilize only once in a while if at all. Some day if I find all my photo disks I will show you how that garden took over my yard. You will love and hate it at the same time. Or, more likely I will wait and let you get to the year 2003 and make your own mistakes there to learn from.

Practical Uses of Knit Bone

Purple short leg cast
By Pagemaker787 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0
via Wikimedia Commons
They say that Knit Bone can be used internally, however I strongly suggest you dont. Its uses externally are so plenty that taking it in is really not necessary.  In the current "pharmaceutical age" we live in, the United States has actually banned ANY internal use of this herb. Err on the side of caution and like Nancy Reagan once said "Just Say No!". (Although where you are it might seem completely unbelievable but here in 2016 they have finally started rolling out medicinal and recreational marijuana - so who knows who to believe)

Now, what it can do for you topically is amazing.  I have known people with deep bruises who applied this leave straight to their leg, alternating leaves for three days and the bruise was gone. I was amazed at what I saw.  It is known to be an astringent, reduce inflammation and control bleeding so it sure did it's job! It also is known to make cells grow faster and heal breaks, wounds and burns quickly and leave only small scarring hence the name "knit-bone".  It contains a substance known as allantoin which causes this effect. 

Metaphysical Uses

Knitbone is a feminine herb, aligned with the planet Saturn and the element water (quite possibly why it is a water hog).  It is a sacred herb to Hecate and is used in workings dealing with any of the powers of its alignment as well as safety during travel and money.

Besides the plethora of magic caused by it's practical uses and those mentioned above, it is also said to use in protect against theft. I will say in all the years I had this herb growing near my front door I never had a problem with theft, however I can't say as I had anything worth stealing.

Putting knit bone in your luggage prior to travel will help make sure your luggage doesn't get lost.
As it is associated with travel you can also add it hanging from your mirror or placed under your seat to protect your vehicle and those within it. I once saw in Laurie Cabbott's shop in Salem a "Star in a Jar" to hang from the rear view mirror that had on it something to the effect of "may this star in a jar protect you whether near or far". When placed in an apothecary jar like the one below and hung from the mirror with some knit bone it would be ideal for this purpose.

Knit bone burned with mugwort aids in divination and concentration and can be used by itself or in together for letting yourself get out of and heal from unhealthy relationships. (Yep! Used it there!) When used in a bath after ritual for an hour it can relax and cleanse, especially after the draining it gives you when being used in healing work.

Enough writing and arming you for the day with the letter K! See you tomorrow for (SPOILER: L is for Lavender)

Sending you healing,

Bigger Little B

Again thanks to the bestie, enjoy the following for a Healing Soak:

Knit Bone (Comfrey)  healing poultice (tea)
  °Bring a quart of water to boil. Turn off the heat.
  °Add 2 large fresh Comfrey leaves or 1/4 cup of dried leaves.
  °Cover pan and let the leaves steep for at least 20 minutes. 
  °Strain and use for a soak.

Use for as long as you can tolerate it. Soak the affected area for at least 15-20 minutes.  Dry the area and cover with Comfrey salve. Bandage. Repeat at least 3 times a day.

J is for Jobs Tears...

Dear Littler B,

We are really getting through these letters quickly aren't we? I may be running a day late for this letter, but that is an improvement over 3 days late as the others have been. Yesterday was a run around day for me going to human services, housing authority about the situation at hand (SEE HERE) and the engineering department about the sidewalk that caused Toby to be somersaulted from his wheelchair the other day.  Without further ado, I am going to get on to my A to Z Challenge while I still have the ability to do so and while I still have an apartment to do so from.


is for Job's Tears

Origin & Identification

While Jobs tears are a South Asian grass, it has been brought into the lower United States successfully to be used mostly ornamental in gardening.  Guess what, you are in luck because in the year you are reading this letter it is known in New Jersey because it is a "wetland" plant. Go get some!!!  It is also known as the Chinese pearl barley or Cox. Jobs Tears grass is mostly grown as crops in Asia in areas where rice does not grow well.  Like marigolds, this plant once planted the first time will drop seeds and grow itself year after year in the right conditions.  The stalks can get to be about 3' tall.
Photo by Kurt Steuber taken from

The seeds by the Cherokee were known as "Indian Beads" or "Corn Beads" as the plant in the family as the standard corn we eat here in the United States.  The seeds dried are hard, small and round known to be used... well that's the next section.


Practical Uses of Jobs Tears

A lot of the folks here in the lower 48 use Jobs Tears mostly for making jewelry due to the seeds of this plant being spherical and dried become very hard and have a surface similar to a porcelain. You can find craft items on sites like Amazon and Etsy with all sorts of things from rosary beads to necklaces to purses.

If you've been reading my letters and know why we are trying to save our home I would love it if you could check out some of the amazing products through my Amazon Affiliate connection!

While these seeds are ideal for handmade projects in the decorative sense, some would never know how very many health benefits this grain fits in, including aiding the spleen, stomach, lungs, liver, and large intestine.  It is said that consumption of this grain may block cancer growth cells (Do your own research! Don't only go on mine via WebMD on this one!).

Jobs tears powdered or boiled, are used to create a drink in Korea named yulmu cha and in China as yi ren jiang and is consumed for its medicinal properties.  It is known to lower cholesterol, treat arthritis and toxoplasmosis.  Believe it or not, because of the fiber of this plant it also is known to treat in obesity because it is said to decrease how much fat and cholesterol the body absorbs.

Lucky for you, your bff there is a recipe for you below to try out!

Metaphysical Uses of Jobs Tears

Unfortunately this plant has winded up with no gender that I could find so it falls outside of our m/f lineup. Ironically, this seed is known by the name Job with a reference to Job from the bible. Job is known for his patients and never giving up and having faith that his needs would be met. Lucky for you this is the spirit that is ingrained more in you than any other (well maybe second to love).

I use it so much it would be wrong of me not to steer you to it.(as much as it would be wrong not to steer you to my Cunningham bible. You will own several over the course of the years because you will give yours to several people. Here - buy one here each time you pass yours on:

Jobs Tears are used for healing, wishes, and luck. In your life you are going to have a LARGE stock of these.  It is said that if you take Jobs Tears and throw them over your left shoulder while making a wish. It is best if you do so into a well hence "wising well" (DO NOT LOOK BACK), your wish will be granted within 7 days. Generally when used, I use in a combination of 3 and 7.  I also use them consistently in lucky mojo bags. Keep a good portion of these on hand at all times. Do more research, try and perfect.

As far as wishes go, I think just writing about this has granted one of mine. I put my foot down with Toby. After a month in the hospital and rehabilitation after his stroke he is leaving dishes on the counter above the dish washer. According to him he "can't put away the clean dishes". I firmly said "why not?" and reminded him that he is able and was taught how to do that in the hospital. I then pulled a Shawshank reference and he has now filled the dishwasher. I will take small victories.

Another tip for you, PAY ATTENTION!!! Jobs tears strung on a necklace and worn around your neck will help alleviate toothache. (reason 1 you will love). Made into a rosary, you will have this area covered, though you know better than to wear them as jewelry.

I guess that's about it for this one and now I move onto your K!  Enjoy your day, depending on which one it is - I know I did!

Wishing you wonders,

Bigger Little B


Job's tears and Red Bean Soup

Job's tears - half cup
Red beans - half cup

Optional ingredients can include 
Pumpkin - to treat stomach pain, constipation or diarrhea
Soy bean - to treat water retention in lower legs and feet 
Pear - to treat cough
Lotus seed - to treat insomnia

1. Rinse all ingredients and put in a pot with adequate water. If using a slow heat cooker start off the cooking with boiling water
2. Bring to a boil and lower to medium and cook for one (1) hour or to desired softness.
3. When ready to eat, add honey or organic sugar to taste if preferred.

Monday, April 11, 2016

I is for Irish Broom...

Dear Littler Me,

Well, I think this is a good sign. I am up to your letter based on the letter "I". This letter was due 4/11 which happens to be today! Could this mean I am actually caught up for a moment? It amazes me just as much now to have this feeling as it did when I was you and would feel that WHEW feeling.  I can't promise it will last, even for days but for right now I will revel in the moment.

As you know in the A to Z Challenge that we joined the topic is herbs so...

is for Irish Broom

Origin & Identification

Irish Broom, otherwise known as broom, systisus scoparious and many other names grows commonly in southern Europe, United States along the east coast and in the pacific north west. Broom is generally bushy and grows as rod like green twigs that reach between 3 and 5 feet, with small leaves. When it flowers, they are yellowish butterfly shaped. In the New Jersey area where you are it will usually bloom around May or June. I know you have seen it often over at the beach. 

Practical Uses of Irish Broom

Broom has been used for a variety of medicinal reasons. One of them in (larger doses) according to is as an "emetic". Yes, educated though I may be, I had to go look that one up.  Essentially it means it was an olden day Ipecac, FUN! (Psych!)  It used to be used in place of hops as the intoxifiying agent in beer. Any of you that read this other than my younger self may want to note that it is POISON (Sytisus scoparius) at certain levels.

It is also important to note that anyone with bee allergies should avoid because this plant is literally BURSTING with pollen so attracts bees galore.

While not useful due to its size as lumber, the fibers are fine enough to be used in making things such as paper and cloth. The young leaves also can be used to make a green dye.

When the plant is no longer flowering, the rods and twigs of this plant (also known as besom) are harvested and dried to be bound to make the hand made household "broom" .

You can find some interesting information about this herb at

Metaphysical Uses for Irish Broom

Broom is a masculine herb associated with the planet Mars and the element Air.  It is known for its metaphysical powers of purification, protection, divination and to be used in work requiring the wind. (ie winds of change). Broom has long been used to remove and keep evil away from a dwelling or area.

The Broom or Besom have long been one of the most important tools to those who follow the old ways. Known for purification and protection, it is one of the tools often used to cleanse an area to create sacred space. Creating a besom is something most natural folk accomplish along with their other frequently used tools. The best time of the year to do this is during the new year or celebration of Samhain (nearest full moon to Halloween to those unknowing of the pagan traditions).


(unless you happen to be sitting on it while on a 747)

During the Samhain holiday after the creation of your besom, leave it outdoors with the bristles up  under the full moon to "catch" the power of the moon.  When brought inside the broom should be hung with bristles down to let out the energy absorbed during the energy from the Samhain charging slowly through out the year.

How I pay the bills

I guess I would be remiss if I failed to mention the theories behind the flying on a broomstick myth. There are many stories about the connection to flying and broomsticks. The most widely accepted is that there was a "flying oil" or herbal mixture applied to the handle of the broom that contained psychotropic extracts. (ie. henbane or broom etc), a primitive LSD if you will that when contact made with the skin between the legs made those taking part in this type of ritual feel like they were flying.

Brooms have long been an important part of many cultures. The Romany, African, Welsh and Irish have a ceremony included in a wedding called "Jumping the Broom" which in went hand in hand with each others pure intention of commitment to protect and love each other. Someone referred to it as "sweeping away" their single life and jumping whole hardheartedly into the commitment of the new married life. My dear younger me, study this meaning because you, yourself will be doing it in 2009! Check out Larry James' site to get some more on Jumping the Broom. Fun stuff!

Jumping the Broom2011
By George Lyle [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Traditional Irish Broom Dance

I hope you have enjoyed a little more information today. I know I have been lax in the information I could provide you with, however my real goal is to give you a little to make you hunger for more! RESEARCH! You wouldn't believe the things you will learn! Signing off for now.

Still not flying on a broomstick,

Bigger Little B

H is for Heather...

Dear Littler Me,

Hello again from 2016! Continuing on with my #AtoZchallenge Saturday's letter for you was H. It may be Monday now and I am two days behind in getting these letters to you but I am still getting them to you.

This is no different than you are back there in 1989 and you know it so, yeah I guess that is something that never changes. Only you could live 3 houses away from school and still be late every morning. Though I will say in defense of the me that you become, my reasons for being late are much much better.

I will say I have figured out a way to get a little bit of a jump on these letters by creating the skeleton of each letter up to Z. This should enable me to be that much closer to getting them out on time. Cross your fingers kid. So, knowing I am in the middle of a whole lot of chaos, I will get right down to your lesson for the day. Irony is that H landed on a day I was teaching you about a feminine herb (bet you didn't catch that in these letters - that I have been alternating male/female!). Irony being that that is the name of your best friend then and now. Makes for the picking of our H easy!

is for Heather...

Origin & Identification

Heather, or Calluna is widely found in Europe and parts of Asia Minor (the peninsula that you can find parts of Turkey), though it has been successfully brought to North America and other locations. It grows best in sunny areas that drain well and have an acidic soil.  Heather was originally very disliked due to it's propensity to flourish in untended and unkempt areas, people believed this was a plant to be associated with the poor and lower class. 

Believe it or not, this is a plant that actually thrives in poor soil and with little to NO tending at all. Knowing several people with this name I can definitely say that their ability to make amazing situations come from little to no resources do pride to the characteristics found in this name.

It is a plant that grows low and shrub like and flowers on (lightly hairy) stalk type shoots.  It usually does not get more than 2 ft tall. The flowers are generally shades of white to purple, the latter being the most common in wild versions of Heather. this plant actually blooms twice a year, both in the early summer and early fall.

You probably already knew this but Heather is the national flower of Scotland.

Practical Uses of Heather

Outside of the beauty this plant provides, Heather is widely known in Scotland and other areas to be an important nutrient source for grazing livestock. There are some drawbacks however as there are some conditions related directly to this grazing plant when not used in balance such as Heather Cling and Heather Blindness.

Over the millennia this plant has been known for many medicinal and practical uses. In the past it was used in treatment for urinary tract infections and kidney related issues (including kidney stones! You will need to know this later on in life!!!)  It can also be used brewed in a tea for treatment of diarrhea. Brewing a much stronger tea or steeping a strong bath will aid rheumatism and gout because of its ability to reduce uric acid. BONUS - Heather tea is also good as a mild sedative to use for helping you sleep!

Want to try some? You could always help me pay my bills by checking out some of my Amazon Affiliate links here:

If you are going to use this plant as an ornamental / garden enhancement here is a heads up. It is a hardy plant because of the fact it does not have to fight other plants for space. It is known to emit a toxin to any other plants around it so that it can take over.  Hmmmm, I should have seen that one coming. It's a natural "I'm the boss" plant. ha ha. 

Metaphysical Uses of Heather

Heather is a feminine plant associated with the planet of Venus and the element of water. It is also associated with the winged goddess Isis. (Here is a little known fact to stick in your cap for later. Two of the most prominent and influential women in my life are those with this flowers namesake which is why I wear to this day a ring on my index finger of Isis.)

Heather embodies the magical properties of protection, rain making, luck. Coming from an area that was predominantly Celtic the folklore and mythology of this plant could be written in the size of War and Peace, I will try to condense it the best that I can.

Being the "boss" plant it is good for use in bringing peaceful resolution to situations. In using for protection, carrying heather helps ward off violent crimes and rape. (though I would be remiss not to suggest carrying mace or a taser as well).  Burning heather wrapped with fern outside will conjure rain.  Heather is also known to be used in communing with spirits and conjuring ghosts.

White heather is said to be the rarest, and to the Scots it is considered the luckiest plant on earth. (4 leaf clover to the Irish).  The story as told by Scottish at Heart goes:

"Legend has it that in the 3rd Century AD, Malvina (daughter of the legendary Scottish poet, Ossian), was betrothed (engaged to be married) to a Celtic warrior named Oscar.
Tragically (but not unexpectedly!), Oscar died in battle, and when Malvina heard the news she was heartbroken. The messenger who delivered the bad news, also delivered a spray of purple heather that Oscar had sent as a final token of his undying love for her.

It's said that when Malvinas' tears fell onto the flowers in her hand, they immediately turned white, and this magical occurrence prompted her to say
'although it is the symbol of my sorrow, may the white heather bring good fortune to all who find it.' 

I think that is enough to work with today so I will leave you to go let you know about Irish Broom.  Sending love, luck and protection through the years to you (and notice I didn't mention rain - we've had enough of that over the past few days!)

Sincerely thankful for the Heathers in my life,

Bigger Little B 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

G is for Garlic...

Dear Littler B,

Hey there little girl. It's me / you as usual with a little bit of wisdom carrying on where I left off. I am so glad that the letter G from the A to Z Challenge has landed on the Friday that my challenge from Crazy4Blogging weekly challenge is due.

What kind of self respecting Jersey Girl would you be if Garlic wasn't the practical/mystical herb that is addressed in conjunction with the "5 things about me". Heads up all, this one has a lot more links in it due to my love of the subject. Within this post about garlic, you will have to find the 5 things Easter eggs. They shouldn't be too hard to spot though. I will summarize them all at the end though to prove they were all there.

I am not quite sure why someone would want to know even 2 things about me, however these letters are going to you, dear younger me so I am sure there are AT LEAST 5 things you want to know and more probably millions of "about mes" that I have yet to address even up to this point. So, hold on to your hat, here comes...

is for Garlic...

Ok kid, by now even at your age of of 16 or 17 (what ever year it is when this gets to you) you should know what garlic looks like. There is an advertisement right now for a tabasco sauce named Franks Red Hot that uses a slogan that fits here for you.

They even have shirts and aprons with the slogan that I SO WANT!

Origin & Identification

Allium sativum Woodwill 1793.jpgGarlic has long been used as a spice in cooking (as you know being in a predominantly Italian area) and its use has been known for over 7,000 years believe it or not. While it is native to Asia, it also grows wild in many other countries including Italy, France, Africa, Egypt, United States and Mediterranean areas.

There are many types of garlic but at the local A&P grocery store the most common for you is going to be the typical California Garlic which grows like a potato, onion or shallot with the actual gorgeously ambrosia like bulb or "fruit" in the ground. The stalks from the ground will get about 3-4 feet high and blooms in either a white or purplish flower that almost resembles a clover.

Practical Uses of Garlic

There are so may practical uses for garlic it is not possible in a day to list them all. I will be completely honest right now in letting you know that I am totally obsessed with garlic (yes this letter is to you my dear younger self so you already know this). Garlic adds a unique flavor to cuisine from Italian to my absolute favorite type of food, Indian.  It was said somewhere (that I completely forget) that garlic maintains the ability to arouse 5 of the 6 flavors detectable by the human tongue, those being bitter, salty, sweet, pungent and sour.

Medicinally garlic is known to aid in cardiovascular diseases. Regular consumption of garlic reduces cholesterol by reducing the bad LDL and increasing the good HDL.  Some studies believe it may also help in reducing blood pressure.  The USDA has a whole nutritional breakdown on their website but I found this one on WikiPedia that sums it up beautifully.

Taking garlic has been proven scientifically to prevent and or reduce the length and severity of the common cold. (helps with the flu as well! BONUS). It has also been known to be used as an aphrodisiac. I think that last reason is enough to enjoy a clove once in a while! Garlic can be taken in a pill form supplement, used in cooking from bulb/clove form, used as garlic powder (mandatory on Jersey pizza though in TN, it seems they have never heard of this) or garlic salt. You can even get garlic in liquid form.

Gets no better than me eating real Jersey Pizza - @ Ron's Landmark, Netcong NJ 11/15

Once upon a time many years ago before I was married, I actually went on a garlic themed date to a restaurant in New Jersey called the Garlic Rose Bistro. I strongly suggest anyone in that area - go. Outside of NJ, it is worth the pilgrimage. Every item on the menu is garlic themed from appetizer to garlic ice cream for dessert.  Here are a few links through my Amazon Affiliate connections.


Metaphysical Uses of Garlic

Now that we know there is so very much I can say about garlic, let's get into the metaphysical side of garlic. Garlic is a masculine herb which is associated with the power planet Mars and the element Fire.  Any time you are looking for that strength and fighting spirit or are putting together a lusty piece of work, garlic is a readily available and versatile go to.

It is known for the aspects of protection (yes, just like in those cheezy vampire movies), lust (of coarse with an aspect of Mars - YEAH GIRL to all us Scorpios!), Anti-Theft  and exorcism.  Being the kitchen witch that I am, making a decent power-filled gravy is one of the first things I taught my children in their early education.

Garlic for it's protection powers has been known to be carried by sailors to avoid wreckage. In ancient days soldiers would carry for protection, while Roman soldiers would eat it prior to battle for courage. Due to it's healing aspects, rubbing a freshly peeled clove on a part of the body with a particular ailment and then throwing in running water to cleanse the body of that ailment.

Brides have carried it on their wedding day to invoke protection and lust.

While I am not a fan in any
way of horror movies, I AM a passionate fan of Vampire stories (only second to time-travel).  No matter which side of that fence you are on, most everyone knows the old string of garlic bulbs around the neck to protect against vampires. The same type of protection when hung at a front door will protect the home itself.

An interesting note on garlic is that it also is one herb associated to Hecate. Gifts of garlic can be left at a cross-roads at night when invoking assistance or protection. (HIGH CAUTION - do your research before invoking someone as powerful as Hecate!).

Lustily still a Scorpio,

Bigger Little B

Cheat Sheet 5 Things

1. Though I have had many views of my letters, I am one of those who are uninterested in my thoughts and ideas.
2. Absolute favorite cuisine is Indian, Chicken Tikka Masala baby!
3. Halloween baby - SCORPIOS RULE!
4. HATE horror movies
5. Passionate about vampire stories, particularly Anne Rice.