Wreaths are time-honored symbols of the cycles of the seasons and the great wheel of the year. This Venusian Tea Wreath is woven with herbs and wild botanicals that embody the energetic principles at work in the heavens and landscape this season. It will not only cast a beautifying spell over the front door – it brews up afterward into a fragrant pot of rejuvenating magic.
It is inspired by Slavic tradition where wreaths woven with ribbons, sheaves of grain, and field flowers are still a central feature of the harvest festival known as Dożynki, which originally occurred roundabout the time of the Autumn Equinox.
According to Barbara Ogrodowska author of several books on Polish folklore, the wreath symbolizes a rich harvest, the prospect of wealth, and is saved for the following year’s sowing period to bring fertility to the new crops. Hung on doors and over doorways these wreaths were magical talismans which invited prosperity and abundance in – and kept negative forces out.
This tea wreath also draws on the old magic of astrological herbalism. The Autumn Equinox marks the appearance of Libra in the astrological calendar, along with her ruling planet Venus. Both contain the principle of balance (Libra with her scales) and Venus with her two appearances in the wheel of the year, at the Vernal Equinox (Taurus) and again at the Autumn Equinox (Libra). During autumn she oversees the harvest of golden grains, red apples, ripe berries, gourds, and herbs, fulfilling the promise of the new life she planted in spring.
This is why this wreath is woven with the last Venusian herbs and plants of the season, such as the last of the rose, wild marjoram, lemon balm, mint, the last of the goldenrod, wild alfalfa, crabapples, and rosehips. And it yields a balanced, deeply nourishing, deeply relaxing, and deeply restorative aromatic brew. Indeed the action of “tonic” herbs 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 love, beauty, and attraction. Although each of these herbs has its own unique way of expressing its power, they generally 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 tea with it, Wild Marjoram ( Origanum Vulgaris) has long been used 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 is 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 headaches, and 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, and 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 rosehips, and salal leaves, this Wild Forest Tea Wreath was inspired by the land I live on, the home and territory of the Coast Salish Peoples. On a forest walk, I found trailing blackberry leaves which are considered a strengthening tonic for women by the Coast Salish, and Salal leaves which were used as a medicine for coughs, colds, and digestive problems. Rosehips were also used in teas. These nutritious “fruits” are filled with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and 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 marvelous 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 intention 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 small bunches of rosehips 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. Meanwhile, brew up a pot of fresh Marjoram Tea with your leftover clippings. Rejuvenating magic indeed!