The Blank Canvass: Traditional Witchcraft for Urban Living
For witches and pagans living in our towns and cities, winter is a blank canvass at which we can stand and stare in order to appreciate Nature’s art as she begins to add her colours in spring … and summer … and autumn. Winter isn’t about bare bones because now we learn to see shapes and subtleties that we miss when leaves cover bare branches and flowers are in bloom. The setting sun of the late afternoon offers a divinatory opportunity when starlings coming home to roost create those wonderful swirling patterns in the sky.
Winter city gardens are more than likely to display the remnants of last summer’s pot planting but in the sheltered cracks and crevasses it is possible to find a first snowdrop; or a tuft of new chickweed with its apple-green leaves and tiny white flowers that appear throughout the growing season. Flowering all year, round this straggly little wildflower can be found growing on disturbed ground, close to walls and on cultivated ground.
Used culinary and medicinally, chickweed is excellent raw used like sprouts, eaten in sandwiches, wraps, etc. and of course it’s a great base for salad. It’s also great cooked and makes a good substitute for spinach. Chickweed is cooling and drying so it has a long history of use in treating skin afflictions like acne, eczema, psoriasis, rashes, minor burns, boils, cuts, and insect bites. It’s also good as a compress for soothing hemorrhoids and varicose veins, while a compress, tincture, or fresh juice is used to draw out splinters.
Our blank canvass also offers the chance to find those hidden places within our urban environment in which to seek out those little bits of magic that we miss during the hustle and bustle of finer weather; hidden gardens, riverside walks and private corners that we can retreat to at any time for a moment of peace and tranquility away from the busy streets. Even old buildings like pre-medieval churches – or ruins of such – can offer a step back into our pagan past, which is alive and well and living in our towns and cities.
Traditional Witchcraft for Urban Living is published by Moon Books – www.moon-books.net ISBN 978 1 84694 978 4 146pp Price: UK£9.99/US$16.95