Note: I know I promised a recipe from the Gather Victoria E-Cookery book (it’s coming!) but I thought I would share this Patreon post from last year first. I think it’s perfect for celebrating the seasonal medicine and magic of the Autumn Equinox.
I love creating seasonal Tea Wreaths woven with herbs and wild botanicals that embody the energetic principles at work in the heavens and landscape -like the Venusian Tea Wreath pictured above. It not only casts a beautifying spell over the front door – it brews up afterwards into a fragrant pot of rejuvenating magic.
Wreaths are time-honoured symbols of the cycles of the seasons and the great wheel of the year. Hung on doors and over doorways during sacred holidays they were magical talismans which invited prosperity and abundance in – and kept negative forces out. In many Slavic countries wreaths woven with ribbons, sheaves of grain and field flowers ensured a rich and prosperous harvest and are still a central feature of the harvest festival known as Dożynki, which originally occurred roundabout the time of the Autumn Equinox. The grain from the wreath is set aside for next year’s sowing and is invested with the power of new life.
Venusian Tea Wreath
On the Autumn Equinox we enter the astrological house of Libra (balance) and Venus, the planet of the goddess of beauty and love, returns to rule the earth. So this wreath is woven with Venusian herbs and plants such as the last of the rose, wild marjoram, lemon balm, mint, the last of the goldenrod, wild alfalfa, crabapples and rosehips. It yields a deeply nourishing, deeply relaxing and deeply restorative aromatic brew. Indeed the action of “tonics” could be described as Venusian, as this category of herbs helps balance all major organ systems of the body. Magically Venusian herbs work with the energies of attraction. Although each herb has its way of yielding its power, their common thread is that they assist us in materializing what we love, helping bring our desires into being.
Aside from the Venusian Wreath which I usually make to adorn the front door, I also create smaller tea wreaths to hang inside on door handles, cupboard doors, etc. (No point parsing on magic, I like to be thorough.) So I made Wild Forest Tea Wreaths and Mini Wild Marjoram Wreaths, for indoors.
Wild Marjoram Mini Wreath. After casting its magic on my cupboard door, this little mini-wreath will be tossed whole into the teapot.
While we don’t often think to make a tea with it, I love Wild Marjoram ( Origanum Vulgaris) for its sweet fragrance, delicious resiny depth and minty overtones, not to mention its many nutrients and health benefits. It is the main ingredient in the renowned healing Lativian Tea and still used as a folk remedy to maintain optimal health. Brimming with potent antioxidants it helps to relieve inflammation, provides support for the cardiovascular and nervous systems, soothes headache, eases muscle pain, and its sedative properties help aid restful sleep. Magically, this herb of Venus symbolizes joy. Long used in love potions, it is said to banish sadness, bring good luck, good health, promote psychic dreams and provide protection.
Wild Forest Tea Wreath
Woven from the long sinewy vines and ruby red leaves of the Trailing Blackberry then adorned with touches of hawthorn berries, rosehips and salal leaves, this Wild Forest Tea Wreath was inspired by what I found on a forest walk. Trailing Blackberry Leaf tea is considered a strengthening tonic for women by the Coast Salish, and salal leaf is used as a medicine for coughs, colds and digestive problems. Rosehips and hawthorn berries are both highly nutritious plants filled with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, flavonoids and are renowned supporters of the heart emotionally, physically and magically.
Common Ground Bounty Wreath
Last year I did a Herbal Tea Wreath workshop and tour of the James Bay Common Ground Herbal Garden, hosted by the marvellous Pause: Gatherings for Women. This wreath is inspired by the herbs and berries like rosemary, fennel, salal, chokeberries and huckleberries I found growing in the garden – all of which were free to harvest!
Making Autumn Equinox Tea Wreaths is easy, creative and fun. No matter which herbs, plants or theme you choose for your wreath, I think it’s our intentions to align with the energy of the season that matters most. The Autumn Equinox is one of two times during the year when night and day are equal in length, i.e. an excellent time to affirm balance and harmony. And as a turning point in the wheel of the year, it is also the perfect time to turn something around in your life. It also is a time for celebrating the fruits of the harvest, to dive deep into ourselves to get rooted for winter – and make a warm cup of tea!
To make a Tea Wreath Simply begin by going into your garden or taking a forest walk. Gather up a few of whatever seasonal herbs, fruits and berries you choose. All of them should be edible. You’ll need some plants with long pliable stalks for a base, like fennel, wild marjoram, mugwort, wild alfalfa or vines such as trailing blackberry or hops. These you twist/braid/weave together, and shape into a circle. You can use floral wire to help bind and tuck everything together (it’s easier) but I managed to weave these wreaths without. It’s up to you.
Then take berries, rosehips, crabapples and tuck their stems into your woven base. Pick it up and make sure all is secure. Re-adjust as necessary. Hang on your door. Once dried, just crumble the leaves and greenery off! Toss the berries, fruits, leaves and greenery into a teapot and you’re set to go. And meanwhile, brew up a pot of fresh Marjoram Tea with your leftover clippings. Rejuvenating magic indeed!