If you grow your own herbs, you’ll want to learn how to dry them to preserve their freshness and enjoy them through the winter months. If you follow the techniques described here, your dry herbs will last for months to come.
By Tammi Hartung
Despite its name, the maned wolf is not a wolf at all, nor is it a fox, coyote, or dog. It is the only member of the Chrysocyon genus, making it a truly unique animal, not closely related to any other living canid. One hypothesis for this is that the maned wolf is the last surviving species of the Pleistocene Extinction, which wiped out all other large canids from the continent.
oh my gosh
and it’s really tall. lol.
Even more fascinating about the Maned Wolf is their vocalization, called a roar-bark. And they aren’t kidding, they sound like a cross between a lion and a rottweiler.
Chrysoscyon, you beautiful beast, I adore you.
The Use of Flowers in Folklore and Magic
Flowers have a long and complex history in human cultures that’s so vast and expansive it’s hard to cover it all.
Marigolds are sacred to Indonesian deities, Water Lilies and Verbena were sacred to the Egyptians, as well as Lotus flowers, which also had a role as sacred flowers in several Asian and South Asian spiritualities. In Japan, the Cherry Blossom is symbolic and represents Mortality. The age old tradition of “Hanami”, or picknicking under the Cherry Blossom trees, is still a tradition practiced in Japan today. Verbena, too, was sacred to the Greeks as well. Faerie Slippers, Blue Bells, and Foxglove are thought to be sacred or highly admired by the Fae.
The Victorian Era gave rise to “The Language of Flowers” or Floriography. During this era each flower was given a meaning meant to convey hidden messages about one’s feelings for another. Both the color of the flower and the flower itself factored largely into what message was being sent. For instance, a Red rose may convey romantic love, but a yellow one symbolized a cherished friendship. Likewise, yellow Carnations symbolized disdain of someone, but a white carnation symbolized that the sender thought the person was sweet, or lovely. Anemones and red carnations when sent with Red Roses could mean a romantic love between two people that was forsaken, or not highly approved of and that the sender was heartbroken that they could not be together. It is believed that Floriography developed out of the already existing folkloric meanings of flowers and evolved heavily during the Victorian period.
There are also several omens or superstitions surounding flowers. A Bridal Wreath Bush blooming out of season was considered bad luck, but blowing on a Dandelion while making a wish was thought to make the dandelion seeds carry your wish to the heavens. There was another old lore that stated blowing on the seeds of a Dandelion three times would tell you the time of day by how many seeds were left in tact and yet another Dandelion lore tells that the direction the Dandelion seeds fly when blown will tell you the direction in which to seek your love and fortune. It was also thought that yellow flowers would bring you back luck, as would carrying May flowers around the house- what exactly is meant by “May Flowers”, however, is a bit unclear. Hearkening back to Floriography, during the Victorian era it was believed that keeping flowers that symbolized Death, Loss, Depression, and other similar concepts in the room of an ill person would make them die faster or make them more ill. Other superstitions included the idea that if spring blooming flowers re-bloomed again in the fall, then the coming Winter would be a harsh one. Myrtle growing in your yard was said to bring sickness, trouble, and death to your family so long as it grew there, Tuberoses were unlucky, Ferns brought sorrow and those who accepted them as gifts were thought to be cursed to never settle down in life, and Sunflowers grown in the back yard would bring your family good luck.
An old form of flower magic, perhaps, is a bit of lore that tells if you write your troubles on a piece of paper, hide it into a bouquet, and toss it into the grave at the next funeral you attend. Supposedly if you do so then they will trouble you no more (presumably because they followed the poor unfortunate soul whose grave you threw them into).
Flower producing plants also have a wide range of medicinal properties that range from healing to poisoning and sometimes fulfilling both. Their medicinal uses are so vast, however, that it’s impossible to cover them in a short article such as this.
Like everything else, they can also be used in divination. Floromancy (divination through the “feelings” or “emotions” of flowers) and Anthomancy (divination through Flowers) are two such method that use flowers. Flowers are also a common theme in many Oracle decks, including decks that are based on Floriography. As for their appearance in things such as Dream Interpretation and Tasseography, their symbolism can be as varied as their Floriography counterparts.
They’re also used in a wide range of crafts ranging from wreaths, to hair adornments, and their dried counterparts are often ingredients in spells. Their magical uses for such things vary greatly as well depending on the flower (and sometimes even the portions used), and are much different than their interpretations used in Floriography.
The Use of Feathers in Folklore and Magic
Similar to Bones, Feathers were most commonly used as talismans and hair adornments.
In some cultures, finding a feather meant that your most recent prayer would be answered. In others, finding a feather on the ground shortly after the death of a loved one was often taken to mean that the person who recently passed away was thinking about you. The feathers of Crows, which are notoriously symbolic of Death and Change in most cultures, were sometimes carried or worn during mourning in an effort to help one let go of the pain and move on.
In Naval lore, particularly that or the British Women’s Royal Navy, Wrens were said to protect against shipwrecks and drowning, and their feathers were often worn as talismans to prevent against such things. It was common custom during WWII, though the practice was said to have originated before or during the Boer War, to present a white feather to a man who escaped or fled from the draft, showing that you found them cowardly or dishonest and disloyal. Split Goose feathers were symbolic of protection and it’s said that anyone in East Anglia who wore was was automatically to be granted help and protection under the Fenmen. The feathers from Raptors and other Birds of Prey were usually ranked among the most valuable of feathers to some Native American Cultures, whereas in some Amazonian cultures others were considered much more valuable.
Because of the eye-like pattern on the tail feathers of Male Peacocks, they’re commonly associated with darker things such as imminent death and the Evil Eye in most Mediterranean cultures. Opposite to the Mediterranean associations, however, Peacock feathers represented Good Luck, Patience, and Kindness in Indonesian and South Asian cultures, and in Roman mythos the feathers of Peacocks symbolized the Vault of the Heavens and the All-Seeing knowledge of the Gods. Sewing a Swan’s feather into the pillow of your spouse was used as a charm to ensure that they would remain faithful in the marriage, whereas Pigeon feathers placed under the pillow of the dying was believed to prolong their pain and suffering.
Feathers are seen as symbols of Flight, Travel, Swiftness, Cunning, Communication, Wisdom, Spirituality, and Spiritual Power, and the feathers of specific birds may mean certain things as well. For instance, the feathers of Blue Jays were said to bring light into darkness, and those of Robins were said to do the same whereas the feathers of Kingfishers were said to ward against Negativity and bring one Good Luck and Health.
Colors are also a major component in the effectiveness and use of feathers, with White feathers being associated with love, peace, and good luck. red feathers symbolizing courage, danger, or strength, blue feathers symbolizing communication, so on, and so forth.
In Tasseography readings the symbol of a feather often means an artistic or mental block, lack of concentration, and instability, but In Dream Interpretation, feathers symbolize travel or the ability to move freely in life. Augury (divination through observing the behavior of Birds), Alectryomancy (divination by observing which grain pieces of letters in a circle a rooster crows at or eats), Apantomancy (divination through chance animals you encounter), and Orinithomancy (Divination by studying omens and symbols associated with Birds), are all divination methods that may involve birds in their live states, whereas Spatilomancy (divination through skin, bones, etc) may sometimes include the use of feathers in the collection of items to be read.
Similar to bones, they were also commonly used components in earlier Witch’s ladders, Spirit Bottles, to create Fetches, and other things.