Tuesday, July 8, 2014

st. joan's wort & bumblebees

Honeybees, bumblebees, wasps and other tiny winged-creatures are drawn to her and St. Joan's wort calls to me as well, she always does this time of year. A connection with the plant spirits in the garden is important to me so at the very least, I try to spend a few moments with a plant before I request and harvest any parts. Sometimes the time runs longer and almost always it does with St. Joan's Wort . . . after walking a circle in the Buddha garden to acknowledge the four directions, I settled in cross-legged on the ground just inches from her golden flowers. I breathed slowly and deeply, the pollinators were mesmerizing, and after a while I tasted a leaf and then a flower. When the connection felt right, I picked enough flowers to fill a small jar, then I filled the jar again with vodka. The jar was capped and left with Buddha for one complete turn of the earth -- my medicine-making ritual complete on a waxing half-moon in Libra, the sign of balance.

A healer of the skin among other things, and specifically burns, St. Joan's wort is also known as St. John's wort, Hypericum perforatum -- but Joan knows more about burns than John according to my herbal tradition, thus the name. Normally, I make an oil for salves with the flowers, but this year I decided on an alcohol tincture to be used almost homeopathically -- by the drop rather than the dropperful. I am anxious to begin to use tinctures in a more energetic way, rather than by volume.

There have been so many bumblebees this year -- and while sitting with the St. Joan's wort I saw they were flying in and out of the base of Buddha's tree stump. A bumblebee nest! Look at the one's pollen baskets, she's just gorgeous.

You can see in the photo how St. Joan's wort flowers turn the vodka red almost immediately. The same goes for the dye-pot. To test it out and not wanting to use too many more flowers, I picked a quarter ounce for the dye-pot. After a simmer, the flowers were strained out and a tiny piece of unmordanted wool went in for a second short simmer and left in the dye-pot for a time. Another turn of the earth and I have a nice little mauve cloth for a future moondala. A while back I experimented with the flowers in a silk bundle, a totally different outcome.

It rained and hailed again last night -- we thought it was the loudest storm in a long time and the dogs barked and howled on top of it all. With all that moisture there is so much going on in the garden today, I can't stay inside a minute longer. Wishing you a wonderful week -- full moon on Saturday!


Ms. said...

I'm back from Massachusetts and so pleased to be back looking in on you dear winged one. I no longer have a garden but wish I did...I would definitely be planting this blessed Wort with abandon. For now, I content myself with looking.

Nancy said...

Everything looks so delightful over at your place! And the bees...so hard to photograph. These pics are great!

Nat Palaskas said...

St. Joan's Wart sounds magical. I will get some to plant in my garden next summer. I would love to dye with them to get that lovely mauve color like yours. I enjoy reading about your ritual with plants before you harvest them! Hugs Nat

Kathy -MIQuilter said...

Wonderful post Peggy. Perfect fabric for your next moon.
I'd love to hear more about what you will use your St. Joan's wort tincture for.