Colorful and Cheerful

All the glitter of Christmas is over. The tree and decorations have been taken down. I miss the lights, the holiday colors and greenery of a fresh Christmas tree. Even the trees outside are bare. Nature feels empty. From time to time, I catch a glimpse of a red dot on the treetops, and know it’s my favorite cardinals that are preparing for spring.

This weekend I was cleaning my closet and opened a box to discover a small colorful rug, a gift from my mother, hidden with other memories from Bulgaria. The flowers on it are woven together like a multi-colored rainbow and touched my soul with happiness and warmth.

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Throughout the ages, our mothers and grandmothers have woven the beauty and wisdom of nature into carpets, shirts, and other traditional clothing. Each stitch tells a story or is a code for well-being and health.

Colors play an important role in our lives. Some evoke joy, others nostalgia. Everyone has favorite colors. Every culture has its own meaning about colors, so much so that it would take a whole book to describe them.

Today I’ll tell you about the meaning of some colors in Bulgarian folklore and how you can use them to bring yourself luck. Who doesn’t want luck and good news? We all need them.

White

A white thread symbolizes woman. This is the color of purity and innocence, joy. For the Bulgarian, it’s the color of beauty. In many songs it’s about a white bird, white maiden, white flower, white horse, or white cloud. Festive clothes for christenings and weddings are white.

Newlyweds walk to the new home on a path made from white cloth. The white color of the wedding flag is a symbol of the sun and the purity of the bride. Angels dress in white robes, and priests do also, as a symbol of purity and knowledge. In the past, the color of mourning was white; through this color, mourners joined the world of the afterlife and the souls of their loved ones.

Red

Red, one of my favorite colors, is a sign of warmth, vitality, flame, and the fire of love. It’s the light of the rising and setting sun, fire and blood. The apple in the Garden of Eden is red, Mary is painted wearing a red praying mantle, and a man’s belt is also red as a symbol of masculinity and strength. Women of child-bearing age wear red color in their clothing. Children and grandmothers don’t wear red. The traditional wedding veil is red.

A red thread symbolizes man. Red threads are also used for the new year’s survacha, a ritual object made of a wooden stick. We have more about the ritual in our Light Love Rituals book and how you can make one. It is a fun activity for both old and young.

The red thread has magical power and is used in many Bulgarian traditions and amulets. It’s used to make martenitsi, a gift of friendship that’s worn until the arrival of spring. I love this red and white amulet, and it’s one of the most beloved by all Bulgarians. You can also learn about them in our book Light Love Rituals, as well as how to make one in our children’s short story The Miracle Stork.

Red thread is used to embroider a baby’s clothes. It’s also put in the bride’s bouquet and worn by pregnant women.

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Gold

This color is associated with the sun and the afterlife. In rites, it symbolizes the transition from this world to the other world and vice versa.

Green

Green signifies fertility, health, revival. In the Bulgarian Peperuda (butterfly) ritual, in which they pray for rain, a young girl is dressed in green and paraded around the village. People from each household pour water over the greenery-covered girl and pray for rain.

Blue

This color is the symbol of water and the sky. It’s the color of a glass talisman that protects against evil forces, the “evil eye.”

Black

Black is a heavy color, as well as brown. I don’t like to use them in my paintings. Black is used in black magic and attracts bad forces and unhappiness. When saying goodbye to loved ones, a black ball of yarn is rolled in front of the ceremony to protect the dead person from evil forces.

Amulet for Luck and Happiness

It’s believed that white, red, and blue threads twisted to the left make a strong talisman for good luck, against demons and bad turns of fate. Two people should twist the threads and say twelve times out loud: “God give us luck.” People then wear the twisted thread on the arm as a bracelet until the threads become dirty. At that point, the person throws the threads into a river or burns them and makes a new amulet.

I don’t follow any strict instructions. I like to make up my own ritual. Try it out with a friend or a family member and share with us if it brings you luck.

We wish you a happy and blessed new year. We have so much planned out for the coming year, and we’ll be launching new projects on Kickstarter, so be sure to follow us there. First up will be a book on Magical Healing Trees to complement our book on Herbs. As part of this project, we are working with other authors to create a unique oracle deck. Visit the website we’ve set up for it to find more details: https://storytellersoracledeck.wordpress.com/

Oracle Deck Template passion reveal

Later in the year, we’ll be launching the completed Dragon Village series—plus plenty of goodies to go along with the books—and all new covers! We’re also setting up our website to be able to more easily sell books direct, where we can offer special discounts unavailable on retailers.

Article source: Bulgarian spells and fortune telling (in Bulgarian) by Lilia Stavreva

The Magic of Water

A Bulgarian proverb says: “You can live without bread, but you can’t without water.”

We’re talking about water because today, January 6, is the Epiphany, the day among the Bulgarians when a priest tosses a cross into the icy river water. Whichever of those brave souls that rushes in after it and retrieves it is bound to have a healthy new year. This ritual is part of the Voditsi, a holiday divided into three parts: it starts the day before St. Jordan’s Day, continues with the Epiphany, and ends with Ivanovden on January 7.

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Throwing the Epiphany Cross from the Stavros Bridge (Cross) or Hadjikavur Bridge, Ber, 1908. Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

You can watch the “chilling” event here: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=TrYDDnMFZHc

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Of course, the Epiphany is more than that. It’s a celebration of Jesus’s baptism in the Jordan River. It’s also a celebration of the day the three kings, the Three Wisemen or Magi, visited the baby Jesus in Bethlehem.

Bulgarians revere water and use it in all important rituals, for births, weddings, and farewells to the dead.  Water is even a part of more ordinary events. I remember when my grandmothers or my mother poured a whole cauldron of water in front of me or my brother when I needed to do something important. They used the same words every time that can be translated into a simple “I wish you luck.” The wanted to make sure that everything would flow easily like water. To this day, this ritual has been preserved and is a part of the beginning of the school year, before an important school exam, or before a trip. Its purpose is to bring good luck. The ritual is done with special brass or clay vessels that are decorated with zdravetz, the Bulgarian geranium.

In Bulgarian legends and folklore, every water body, from rivers to lakes to streams, has its own spirit who guards and protects the water. These are places you’ll find all kinds of mythical creatures: nymphs, fairies, and dragons.

At midnight on Epiphany, Bulgarians believe that rivers and streams stop flowing and gain healing powers. Before the cross-throwing, river-jumping event, water is consecrated at the church. People bring this holy water home, keeping it all year to ensure good health. They will also put some of the water into wine to make it strong and keep it from spoiling. Additionally, people take a sip from the water and wash their faces to ensure good health.

After the event at the river, the sick are sprinkled with the holy water in which the cross was thrown. Some people throw three splinters from their Budnik (a ritual piece of tree that is burned on Budni vecher, Christmas Eve) into this the river as a means to remove evil from their homes. The Budnik is an important part of the Christmas Eve celebrations. The tree used for the log is preferably a young, straight oak. It’s cut own in a ritual early on the morning of Christmas Eve. Every part of getting the Budnik is surrounded by elaborate rituals: the cutting, the preparation, bringing the log into the home, and placing it on the fire.

Ronesa’s News

We’d also like to tell you about what we’ve been up to. December was a month to relax, or at least get somewhat caught up on tasks that have gone undone for too long. At any rate, it was a month free of writing. I spent time tracking statistics from our website. We revised it in April of 2017, so data from the time we first published is lost. But from April 2017 until December 2023, we have had visitors to our site from 122 countries! And people have viewed our pages 19,523 times! We thank you for that. So many of those visitors have been you, our subscribers and viewers! And we’ve already gained one new visiting country in January.

Website Visits at end of 2022

We are excited about this growth. Back in 2014 when we first published, the thought of reaching almost two-thirds of the countries in the world would have been a fantasy.

Now, we are back to work and eager to write more stories and produce more nonfiction books for you to enjoy. Our current projects are to finish up the final two books of the Dragon Village series. We’re hoping to launch a Kickstarter campaign on the series in September or October.

Our second, ongoing project will be a book on Magical Healing Trees. We offered a short ebook during our Herbs campaign, but now we will be updating that information with more detail and adding several new trees that have a special meaning in Bulgarian folklore. And we’ll be making a hardcover version of the book. We’re hoping to run that Kickstarter campaign sometime during the March to May period.

Be sure to follow our Kickstarter profile to get notified the moment we launch these campaigns: https://www.kickstarter.com/profile/ronesa-aveela.

As part of the Trees campaign, we are also participating in a Storytellers Oracle Deck project. Here’s our official description of the project:

The Storytellers Oracle Deck is a multi-author project spanning a variety of genres. Each author has designed a card that distills the essence of their book or one of their characters. Put them all together and you have a truly unique Oracle deck that can be used for divination or displayed however you see fit.

Each author will offer their own card plus a two-card starter deck in their Kickstarter campaign. Back as many campaigns as you’d like to assemble your Oracle deck. These campaigns will be staggered throughout the year and on-going into the years to come, resulting in an ever growing, ever evolving deck.

Storyteller Promo Image

You can find the author who are running the first of these campaigns in January below. We’ll keep you updated about all new participants as they begin their campaigns.

I’ve seen some of the cards that they are offering, and they’re really awesome. If you’re an Oracle fan or just want some cool cards, be sure to check out and back these amazing campaigns.

In other news, we have more cool projects we will be working on throughout the year. Vampires will join the Spirits & Creatures collection, although this book likely won’t be completed until early to mid-2024. Plus, we have other, smaller projects we hope to fit into 2023. We’ll keep you posted.

Storyteller Oracle Deck Kickstarters

Here are the first of the Storyteller Oracle Deck projects for you to check out this month. We appreciate you taking the time to visit with our fellow authors. Be sure to follow the campaigns now, so you’ll be notified when they go live. Thank you.

Therena Carlin - 100 Gilded Dragons 1

100 Gilded Dragons Art zine & other fantasy art prints.

Limited edition art zine, gold-foil art prints, & more featuring hand-illustrated dragons! A make 100 project!

January 18 – January 28

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/therena/100-gilded-dragons.

Amy Wegner Campbell - Effigiest

Effigest Illustrated Hardcover: A Weird Western Fantasy

Saddle up for a tale of fierce outlaws, reluctant heroes, loyal pegasi, and magic. (Make 100 Project)

January 10 – January 26

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/legendhasit/effigest?ref=2721t7.

Cara September Echo North - Crossbow University

Crossbow University Series: Books 1-3 Dark, NA, Romance

Additions to Book 1, and Books 2 & 3 four months before available anywhere else! Bonus content only available here.

January 10 – January 29

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/naglenorthpublishing/crossbow-university-series-books-1-3-dark-na-romance.

New Hopes, Fears, and Dreams

The chilly weather has set in in the north. The cold pinches my nostrils, and my cheeks turn pink. But along with the cold, that flame of Christmas magic appears in the eyes of everyone.

I love Christmas. It’s such a festive season, filled with feelings of giving and forgiving.

And the New Year will be knocking on the door soon as well. It’s a time when we once again wish others health and prosperity and dream about happiness and good surprises in the coming year.

We count our blessings and look back at our achievements. It’s also the time when we start wondering what the future has in store for us. We all hope for better lives, to have prosperity, and to be healthy and happy. We wish for global peace and free travel.

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But these last few years have put a damper on hope. Since COVID, many people are afraid to smile and gather with others, but we’re humans and we need to have contacts. And dire predictions about 2023 discourage people even more. For example, Baba Vanga, who has been called the Nostradamus of the Balkans, predicts solar storms, a change in the Earth’s orbit, and testing of bioweapons. Some people believe her, some don’t. In any event she was a great healer and respected fortune teller.

You can learn more about her in our Herbs book. The book has a lot of recipes to help you rejuvenate your body and soul and have a great new year!

A Bulgarian tradition is to put lucky charms in pita bread we make and roll up Bulgarian traditional banitza like our grandmothers and great-grandmothers.

We wish you happy and healthy holidays! May loved ones and good friends surround your table! Thank you for supporting and believing in us!

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What Do Baba Yaga and Santa Have in Common?

November was a busy month and so we didn’t get any newsletters out. We were getting the final touches on our Baba Yaga book so we can send it out the rewards to our Kickstarter backers, and we also attended in-person events, craft fairs, and such. Things have settled down a bit now, thankfully.

Looking back, since December 2020 until December 2022, we’ve published 12 books, averaging 6 books a year; whereas before, our average was one or two a year. Needless to say, we’re a bit worn out and will be taking off the month of December before we start on our next projects.

After that, we’ll get going on finishing the final two books in the Dragon Village series and start doing research on the next book in the Spirits & Creatures series: Vampires! We’re hoping to do a Kickstarter campaign for the complete Dragon Village series in September, so be sure to follow our Kickstarter profile so you’re updated. We want to have the books completed this time before we start the campaign, so we’ll be able to ship them out as quickly as possible.

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https://www.rawpixel.com/image/4021271/photo-image-nature-red-natural

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Back now to the Santa/Baba Yaga connection. In our research on Baba Yaga, we discovered she has an association with mushrooms, in particular fly agaric, Amanita muscaria. It’s believed that this may be the magical food Baba Yaga feeds to heroes before she sends them off on their journey to the otherworld, the land of the dead. This gave them the ability to unlock the keys to eternity as well as allowing him to become part of the world of the dead, to speak and see there in the same manner as the dead.

So, how does this connect to Santa?

It all relates back to Amanita muscaria, that red-capped, white-spotted mushroom. The toxins in it have psychedelic properties, and shamans (in particular those of the Sami people of Lapland) have used it to put themselves into a trance so they can travel to the other side and get advice from the dead. These shamans didn’t just nibble on the mushrooms to get into this state, they also drank reindeer urine, which contained the mushroom’s compounds that were free of toxins. The rein deer ate this mushroom, but filtered out all the toxic elements.

The Amanita muscaria gives one the sense of flying.

Reindeer… flying…

Are you seeing a connection yet?

People believed that those who ate the Amanita muscaria ended up looking like the mushroom: a big, fat person with red splotches. They traveled to homes on a reindeer-pulled sled in winter. And they came down the chimney to enter the house.

Sounding familiar?

These shamans who ate the mushrooms would perform healing rituals and solve people’s problems from the advice the shamans received from the dead. In return, people gave them lots of food, making the fat man even heftier.

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The source of this information about the Amanita muscaria and Santa comes from this great article and video, “How the Psychedelic Amanita Muscaria Mushroom May Have Inspired the Santa Legend of Lapland,” which you can find here: https://www.themarginalian.org/2022/12/02/mushroom-santa/.

And be sure to check out our book to find out more about Baba Yaga.

Equal-Opportunity Witchcraft

October is a month filled with magic that culminates on Halloween, All Hallow’s Eve, when witches, goblins, and other creatures of the night prance about. Although many people see magic as a fun party trick, others take it more seriously. Magic and witchcraft have been around probably as long as mankind has existed and has been perceived differently over the ages and by various cultures.

Our latest book is about Baba Yaga, because she is considered the most powerful Slavic witch. You may think of the word “witch” as applying only to females, but this is incorrect. Men are called witches, too, and practice magic. In Slavic languages, common words for a male witch are ved’miak or vedun, and ved’ma for a female, the root of the words comes from vedat’, which means “to know” and came to be associated with sorcery. Among the peasants, people like these who had supernatural powers were called “people with knowledge.”

But their knowledge was meant to cause harm and misfortune. As a child I heard my grandmother and other people in the village frequently talk about someone using dark magic. People in Slavic villages still perform secret pagan rituals that focus on the four elements: fire, air, earth, and water. In Bulgarian and Slavic folklore there are a lot of rituals for making and breaking spells. There are spells for love, money, health, you name it. We included some in our book 77½ Magical Healing Herbs.

Even when these witches or sorcerers died, they still could inflict harm on people. In such a case, they were called “heretics.”

Today, the word implies a connection with the Devil, although this was not the case for trials for witchery among the Slavs for the most part. This kind of sorcery was not associated with religion. Those who practiced it, instead caused harm to an enemy’s person or property, being accused of causing diseases and famine, and using the forces of nature.

Although these sorcerers looked like their neighbors, they could be found out because they possessed a tail. At least those who were born a sorcerer had a tail. Others who trained to become one could be given a tail that eventually grew on him. Other features that were harder to conceal were his busy eyebrows, his penetrating glance, and his desire to be secretive. He was also a bachelor with a little black book, only this one didn’t contain names of his female conquests… It held magical knowledge about herbs and spells.

We hope your Halloween will be filled with a lot of magic, laughter, and candies. Wear your favorite costumes and please be careful with the spells. We don’t want to see a lot of ugly frogs hopping around after Halloween.

If hear a noise in the sky, look up. Who knows? Perhaps it’s Baba Yaga flying on her mortar, visiting a friend to have some fun.

And don’t forget to take a look at our campaign about Baba Yaga. It’s ending on November 1, so don’t miss this opportunity: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ronesa-aveela/a-study-of-baba-yaga?ref=d97tft

If you’ve never logged into Kickstarter before, you’ll have to create an account. But then, you’ll have access to all the great projects going on every day, not just for the Witchstarter program.

 

Dragon-Repelling Herbs

st demetrius

October 26 is Dimitrovden, St. Demetrius’ Day or St. Dimitar’s Day. This saint is sometimes called the twin of St. George, the mighty dragon slayer. But did you know that St. Demetrius also fought dragons? I bet he never came across Baba Yaga when she was in dragon form, though.

What? You didn’t know she could appear as a dragon or giant snake in fairy tales? She is so huge that when she opens her mouth to swallow the hero, her jaw reaches from the clouds to the ground. Unlike the Bulgarian version of this dragon, this incarnation is always evil. But, there’s no need to worry, unless you’re the hero’s brother. Your sibling may toss you into the dragon’s mouth so he can escape.

In these stories, the dragon is defeated in a couple of ways. One is to toss in so much salt that she has to go to the sea to quench her thirst. Another is to hide in a blacksmith’s shop. When the dragon Baba Yaga arrives, the blacksmith will tell her to stick her tongue through the keyhole and grab the hero. While she does this, the crafty blacksmith will pinch her tongue with red-hot tongs and hold her there while the hero makes his way outside to kill the dragon Yaga.

But there are other ways to defeat dragons. By herbs. A few are used mainly to stop the amorous advances of a dragon, such as Melilotus officinalis (called komuniga in Bulgarian folklore), Gentiana cruciate (called tintyava), and Tanacetum vulgare (tansy). However, if you just want to drive away an angry dragon, such as a Baba Yaga one, you might want to stick with wormwood (Artemisia vulgaris). It’s one of the most effective anti-demonic herbs to protect you from dragons and other evil entities.

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Its greatest magical strength lies in its buds and tips. Hang a bunch of the herbs around the house (preferably in a bedroom or hallway), or burn it as incense for a short time and in small doses. Its smell will drive out every unclean, evil force from your home—whether it’s a spirit or simply anger and negative energy. Another way to drive out evil spirits is to gather wild wormwood on Eniovden (Midsummer’s Day, June 24), make a broom with the stalks, and sweep the unwanted beings from your house. If you can’t harvest the herb on that day, do it when the moon is waning. This is when wild wormwood will be more powerful.

Common methods for applying the herbs include:

  • Wearing them as a small bouquet or corsage. Bulgarians like to include a geranium (здравец, zdravets) among the flowers. Its leaves smell nice and protect against the evil eye, and bring health and strength to the wearer. Men often pin the herbs onto their shirt, while girls make herbal and floral wreaths to wear in their hair.
  • Burning them and spreading the smoke like incense, including burning hay in a field that contains the herbs. The smoke from burning herbs will protect and purify you, and its smell will sicken the dragon so she’ll no longer come near you. It may even kill the dragon.
  • Soaking them in water, then sprinkling the water on the victim or the place where the dragon resides.

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We have more interesting topics like this in our book 77½ Magical Healing Herbs. You can get the book here: https://77-1-2-herbs.backerkit.com/hosted_preorders.

Or if you want to find out more about dragons, check out our book A Study of Dragons of Eastern Europe.

And don’t forget to take a look at our campaign about Baba Yaga. It’s ending on November 1, so don’t miss this opportunity: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ronesa-aveela/a-study-of-baba-yaga?ref=d97tft

If you’ve never logged into Kickstarter before, you’ll have to create an account. But then, you’ll have access to all the great projects going on every day, not just for the Witchstarter program.

The Miraculous Power Locked within Chestnuts

What do you know about Baba Yaga? You’re probably saying she was a witch. But she is more than that. She is a healer who uses nature. We haven’t uncovered any of her secret recipes, but we’re sure she used some like the ones listed below. She loved autumn, so she is sure to have had a supply of chestnuts in her cupboard. You can find out more about her through our Kickstarter campaign: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ronesa-aveela/a-study-of-baba-yaga?ref=d97tft

Baba Yaga Baner 2

I remember as a child walking on the streets of Sofia in the spring under the wild chestnut trees. Their aroma wrapped us like a soft silk scarf. Then, in the fall, their leaves turned golden, and their fruits were falling to the ground. The trees are gone now, but the memories are still alive. When I visited France last October, I walked along Seine River. Chestnuts covered the sidewalk. I saw an old woman picking them up and putting them into her pockets. This remind me of an article I read while we were working our 77 1/2 herbs book about magical healing powers.

If you look at the bold chocolate color of wild chestnuts, you’ll agree that it’s a true symbol of autumn. Oh, you may say, and also Christmas, since everyone knows “The Christmas Song,” which starts with “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire.”

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Image by rawpixel.com: https://www.rawpixel.com/image/2253257/free-illustration-png-chestnut-vintage-shells-curls-illustrated.

The Bulgarian folk medicine name for the fruit is horse chestnut. Petar Dimkov, a famous healer, calls it a natural miracle that has collected energy and life force from the sun. He says the fruits protect people from bad energy, because chestnuts filter out electric smog. If you carry it in your pocket, the fruit will provide you 30 to 40 percent protection from radiation caused by mobile devices. If you carry it in your hand, you can also reduce emotional imbalances, migraines, nervous irritability. Having trouble sleeping? Put chestnuts under your pillow, and you’ll be nodding off before you know it.

Chestnuts have even greater effects when they’re used in herbal recipes. They’re anti-inflammatory and have pain-relieving qualities. This makes them good for arthritis, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, sinusitis, and more complaints. To help with varicose veins, break chestnuts into pieces and put in a container. Pour alcohol over it so they are covered, then let it stand in a cool, dark place. When the alcohol changes color, the tincture is ready to use. Rub a little on your skin every night.

Looking for a solution to hair loss instead? The white part of chestnuts is good for that. Dry the chestnuts, then grind them. Wash your hair with the diluted white powder. This should stop hair loss and even grow new hair.

We have more interesting topics like this in our book 77½ Magical Healing Herbs. You can get the book here: https://77-1-2-herbs.backerkit.com/hosted_preorders.

And don’t forget to take a look at our campaign about Baba Yaga. It’s ending on November 1, so don’t miss this opportunity: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ronesa-aveela/a-study-of-baba-yaga?ref=d97tft

If you’ve never logged into Kickstarter before, you’ll have to create an account. But then, you’ll have access to all the great projects going on every day, not just for the Witchstarter program.

Sources:

Angelova, Iliana. “Петър Димков за ползата от дивите кестени.” [Petar Dimkov on the benefits of wild chestnuts.] https://gotvach.bg/n-114180-Peter_Dymkov_for_the_benefit_of_wild_chestnuts.

Mateva, VILLIES-Violeta. “Рецепти с кестени, които ще ви излекуват и разкрасят.” [Recipes with chestnuts that will heal and beautify you.] https://gotvach.bg/n-77503-Recipes_with_chestnuts_that_will_heal_and_beautify_you.

Sweet Sweet Marsh Mallow

The ancient Egyptians extracted the marsh mallow’s (Althaea officinalis) sap by hand and mixed it with nuts and honey, a delicacy reserved for gods and royalty. The marsh-mallow root was once also an ingredient in the marshmallow treats that we now consume. In the 1800s, French candy makers combined the plant’s sap with egg whites and sugar. And like that, the sweet treat was available for everyone, not just gods and nobility. As demand increased, the labor-intensive process changed, and gelatin replaced marsh-mallow sap.

05A - 58 Althaea officinalis Marsh Mallow a

It has also been used for thousands of years as a folk remedy to treat digestive, respiratory, and skin conditions. Even today, in traditional medicine, the mucilage mixed with water forms a slick gel that coats the throat and stomach to reduce irritation when taken internally, and it soothes chapped skin when applied externally. Boiling the flowers in oil and water and adding honey makes a gargle for sore throats.

It’s also a magical herb that’s burned as an incense to cleanse inside and out. You can gain protection against demons and spells by anointing yourself with oil in which the plant’s leaves and flowers have been steeped. Besides cleansing and protection, the herb is a favorite of benevolent spirits. You can call on them for help by keeping a jar of the marsh-mallow root and a dish of water on your altar. In addition, the plant is associated with deities of love and beauty, making it a practical herb for fertility and attraction spells. If you gather the seeds under a full moon and add them to sachets and love powders, you can fight infertility and impotence. Putting a vase of the flowers on your windowsill will help a wandering love return home. Marsh mallow also has an association with death and rebirth, and the herb is used in rituals for the dead. In addition, it is planted near graves, and its flowers decorate graves to honor the deceased.

Our book 77½ Magical Healing Herbs provides much more information about the magical and healing properties of herbs, the ones used in the Eniovden (Midsummer’s Day) wreath, plus much more… You can get the book here: https://77-1-2-herbs.backerkit.com/hosted_preorders

Herbs Cover Image with Project we Love

Kickstarter

If you’d like to learn more about Baba Yaga, we are running a Kickstarter campaign during the month of October, starting on October 4. This will be part of the “Witchstarter” program that Kickstarter is promoting. Along with our campaign, you’ll find all kinds of witchy items to browse through. We’ll be sharing many of these with you in our weekly newsletter, so be sure to follow along.

You can get a preview of our Baba Yaga campaign here. We welcome your feedback.

If you’ve never logged into Kickstarter before, you’ll have to create an account. But then, you’ll have access to all the great projects going on every day, not just for the Witchstarter program.

Baba Yaga Baner 2 pins

Hawthorn – Protection from Evil Spirits

Bright red hawthorn berries are a sure indication autumn has arrived. This plant has a lot of magical and healing abilities. In Bulgaria hawthorn wood is used for doors and thresholds, in order to protect the house. People also place a twig with the berried below their threshold to prevent diseases from entering. The wood is good for making crosses, and simply having a stick from the tree on your person will ensure you can travel safely at night.

Howthorn

Magical Properties

My grandmother used gloves and a special wooden hook to gather the fruits. She used the branches to make a wreath to protect the house and livestock. I always imagined that little fairies and gnomes hid in its branches, but whenever I looked, the only thing I could find was a bird’s nest.

I’m sure Baba Yaga included them in her magical potions, since she is well-versed in the secrets of the forest. You may think of her only as an old crone who eats children, but she has many faces, and one of those is healer. She is a znahar, a woman who heals and restores life with herbs.

Since Baba Yaga lived in the boundary between the living and the dead, she could use hawthorn to ensure their spirits didn’t bother her. It’s believed that where black hawthorn grows, no ghosts will wander.

She possibly also used the wood to make amulets for the good girls and boys who ventured into her glen in the woods, to make sure they arrived safely back home. Hawthorn should be worn on three particular places on the body: around the neck as a necklace, on the wrist as a bracelet using red thread, metal, or leather, or on the head as a wreath.

An old Bulgarian proverb about hawthorn says:

“On the white in a black hawthorn you will look for a black vein,
In a tree grown on a slope, lies a powerful force.”

Health Benefits

Hawthorn (Crataegus species) has been a remedy for heart problems at least as far back as the first century. It has a calming effect that dilates blood vessels, thereby improving blood supply to the heart and brain. The prophetess Baba Vanga claimed drinking a decoction made from hawthorn flowers four times a year was a way to prevent heart disease.

Likewise, hawthorn lowers blood pressure, calms the nervous system, and improves sleep. The herb was one of my grandmother’s favorite cures. She added a few drops of hawthorn along with some of valerian onto a sugar cube whenever she was stressed or had to endure major challenges in her life. Considering she lived to 99, she was able to successfully overcome these problems with her herbal cures. Hawthorn is also popular for teas, wines, juices, and even snacks.

Always make sur to check with your medical provider before using herbs in your diet or for medical purposes.

Herbs Cover Image with Project we Love

Our book 77½ Magical Healing Herbs provides much more information about the magical and healing properties of herbs, the ones used in the Eniovden (Midsummer’s Day) wreath, plus much more… You can get the book here: https://77-1-2-herbs.backerkit.com/hosted_preorders

Baba Yaga Baner 2 pins

Kickstarter

If you’d like to learn more about Baba Yaga, we are running a Kickstarter campaign during the month of October, starting on October 4. This will be part of the “Witchstarter” program that Kickstarter is promoting. Along with our campaign, you’ll find all kinds of witchy items to browse through. We’ll be sharing many of these with you in our weekly newsletter, so be sure to follow along.

You can get a preview of our Baba Yaga campaign here. We welcome your feedback.

If you’ve never logged into Kickstarter before, you’ll have to create an account. But then, you’ll have access to all the great projects going on every day, not just for the Witchstarter program.

The Power of the Rose

We’ll be launching our Kickstarter campaign for Baba Yaga on October 4. In her honor, we’d like to do a series of posts about herbs. Although you may know her as a cannibalistic witch, she has other characteristics. She was also a healer.

Today, we’ll be talking about roses and rose hips (Шипка).

If you have a cold, cough, or laryngitis, you can add honey to a tea made from rose hips to provide fast relief. This tea is also good treatment for people with cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, or diarrhea. It’s one of my favorite teas. It reminds me of the tea made from hibiscus.

 

Rose Hip Tea

Add 1 cup of rose hips to 1 quart of water and boil for 10 minutes.

Filter and add 3 Tablespoons of honey.

Drink a cupful three to four times a day.

 

Rose hips were also used as amulets to inducing love or protecting a home from evil.

First, the love remedies. Making beads from the rose hips is a way to seduce someone of the opposite sex. Or, if you prefer, you can bathe in the rose petals to make yourself more attractive and desirable. This works especially well for married couples. Your love for one another will become even stronger. The fruits will also protect you against love spells from unwanted admiriers.

If you’re not looking for love, but want to keep evil or negative energy, curses, and the evil eye away from your home, rose hips will do that work as well. The thorns are also especially powerful. By planting a rose bush near your home, you can prevent all kinds of evil, supernatural creatures from entering.

If you need to cleanse the inside of your home, gather a bouquet of rosehips. They’ll absorb all that negative energy and calm your nerves and help reduce any domestic problems. You can even scatter dry twigs with roses on them around your home.

rosehip

Rose Hip Amulet

Dry the fruits and put them into a cotton bag. If you don’t want to carry that, use a scarf of other accessory that has roses, with the fruits and flowers, embroidered on it. But you’ll want to keep it with you for protection.

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We’d love to have you follow our Baba Yaga Kickstarter campaign so you know the moment it launches. You may think you know all about her, but I’m sure we have plenty of surprises that we’ll reveal in our book. We also have some really cool pins and postcards we’ll be offering backers. Illustrations come from Bulgarian artist Alexander Petkov. Click on the link below and set up a Kickstarter account if you don’t already have one.

Baba Yaga Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ronesa-aveela/a-study-of-baba-yaga.

Baba Yaga Baner 2

Article Source: Nikolova, Ani. “Няма да повярвате: Шипката пази от магии и слуги на Сатаната!” December 23, 2020. https://www.topactualno.com/123681/nyama-da-povyarvate-shipkata-pazi-ot-magii-i-slugi-na-satanata/.

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