The morning has dawned stormy, the wind singing a rather discordant but strangely compelling song around the rafters as the rain keeps an accompanying and insistant drumbeat. The cottage is rather chilly this morning, and I am currently sipping a cup of rose tea while I contemplate the list of chores that need to be completed today. I started two 500ml batches of Vervain and Dandelion root tincture yesterday, and intend to complete the labels for Friday’s market today, time permitting. Herbs need to be repackaged, display options considered, and an extensive shopping list of odds and ends needs to be completed. I’m considering driving back across to Lincoln today to run the assorted errands that need to be finished as I’m beginning to have serious doubts that I will find the time on Thursday. I also need to sort out a small jar to soak my mandrake seeds in. I ordered a collection of ten seeds from four different kinds of Mandrake last week and my fingers are itching to get them into the soil and loom over them in a vulture like fashion every day to see if they’ve started to sprout yet. I’ve a whole assortment of other herb seeds to plant as well but I am unashamed to admit that those are currently the most fascinating. They need two weeks to soak in cold water, then need planting in a soil that is three parts compost and one part sand, with more sand putting over the top of the seed. I’ve added links to the list on the right to a couple of fantastic mandrake sites, and a herb seed site for those who want to grow their own stuff from seed.
I’m currently reading my way through ‘Alchemical Medicine for the 21st Century’ by Claire Goodrick-Clarke. Anyone interested in either alchemy or the herbal arts should seriously considering taking a look at this book, as it not only covers a fairly comprehensive and in depth history of alchemy, including a bit on rosicrucianism and theosophy, but also covers a section in depth on how to make spagyric tinctures, the area that particularly intrigues me at the present. I’ve not yet got to the part where how to make the tinctures is discussed, but as soon as I do, I will be having a go at it as the whole book thus far is considerably more accessible than Manfred Junius’s works on spagyric tincture making. Rest assured, the results will be discussed on this blog in great detail. But I digress. By far the best part of the book is the section towards the end, where individual herbs are covered in small, bite sized entries that go far more deeply into the spiritual uses of herbs than many of the rest of my extensive library of herb books has done thus far. Don’t be put off by the discussion of homeopathy if you view that particular branch of medicine with a suspicious eye – if you have any interest in herbs, alchemy or flower remedies, buy this book. You won’t be disappointed.
Another book that I have been working my way through recently is the Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron. I’m already a firm advocate of the morning pages, three pages of longhand writing done first thing in the morning to get all the random thoughts in your head out onto paper. It’s clarified my thoughts and certainly allows for much greater creativity, even if you don’t want to work through the rest of the book. I’ve just gone back to the beginning again, with the intent this time of working through all the chapters and exercises. I’ll report on my progress as I go along.