Botanical Anthology

Beltane Floral Incense

This blog post is a little something different: an excerpt from the spring edition of Botanical Anthology!

This plant centered digital publication is packed with seasonal crafts, recipes, foraging tips, articles, & more. Click here to learn more about the digital edition, or click here to check out the print edition.

Carrie Tuttle is an environmental educator, mom, and poet. She has been weaving magic into her home via kitchen and garden witchery for 30 years. She lives in Wyoming with her family, pets, and gardens.

Fires of Beltane Loose Floral Incense

By Carrie Tuttle

Beltane is a glorious celebration of fire. Translated roughly as bright fire, the day falls at the halfway point between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice. Here we find a day associated with bonfires, feasting, and the fertility of the land beneath our feet. Beltane, or Mayday, is awash with flowers. In Gaelic lands, and in modern Paganism, it is celebrated with a flower wreathed Maypole, floral wreaths for the May Queen and celebrants, as well as decorating homes and sacred places and spaces with spring florals.

For many this is a time of year when spring begins its raucous state of growth; a riot of flowers, lengthening days, and getting our gardens underway. One practice to honor this day, and its connection to fire and growth, is through the crafting of ritual incense. The use of incense is common in ritual and dates back thousands of years to ancient Mesopotamia, where the burning of herbs and resins facilitated sacred communication with the gods. In addition, it is believed that the healing elements of herbs can be transferred through their burning as well, leading many to blend their own healing incense. 

Using a loose incense allows the crafter to use dried flowers and herbs in their whole form, without having to pulverize, mix and add a binder; required in the blending of stick and cone incense. It is a simple and quick way to craft incense, and involves only the herbs and a source of heat, such as a charcoal disc or electric incense burner.

The Beltane incense below was crafted with following herbs for their corresponding symbolism: 

Lavender: love, luck, grace, and connection to ones higher self

Apple or crabapple twigs: beauty, health, fertility, and harmony

Rose: romance, passion, rebirth, renewal

Jasmine : sensuality, positivity, connection to the divine

Mugwort: dreams, protection, self-love, magic

You may also add other herbs from your local environment, or from your gardens, as it enhances your connection to the land, and to your personal practice. Just be sure to look into their properties, as you don’t want to burn anything that could be toxic.

Blending these dried herbs together to burn is its own wild alchemy, because as you blend you put your intentions for this fiery holiday into work. You may imagine the correspondences as you blend each herb, or add your own magical intent. 


3 tbsp jasmine flower

2 tbsp lavender

2 tbsp mugwort

1 tbsp  roses 

1 tbsp  apple twigs, cut into ½ inch bits


Mix well, place in a jar and label. 

Burn over a charcoal disk or in your outdoor Beltane fire of choice. 


The batch makes approximately ½ cup  of the incense blend.

Increase the batch size to use in a bonfire or to give as gifts.

Botanical Anthology Folklore Hygge Recipes

Juniper Folklore

“The odor of burning juniper is the sweetest fragrance on the face of the earth, in my honest judgment; I doubt if all the smoking censers of Dante’s paradise could equal it.”

—Edward Abbey

Happy (belated) New Year!

Today, my wildlings are back at school, and I am celebrating the beginning of the new year with a simmer pot containing dried juniper berries, pine needles, orange slices, cinnamon, rosemary, and cloves. (You can read more about it on my Instagram post HERE.)

Did you know I wrote an article all about juniper folklore for the recent Winter Botanical Anthology? I’m case you missed it, and because juniper is such a lovely botanical for this time of year, I thought I’d share that article with you here today!

Though it’s perhaps not the first evergreen one thinks of in connection to winter, juniper has a long and storied history that often ties it to the colder parts of the year. 

Juniper represents hope and warmth, thriving in overwrought soil where other trees can’t. It is symbolically, elementally, and astrologically associated with fire, ruled by the Sun and closely tied to Mars. Juniper also symbolizes eternal life.

The juniper tree’s berry-like cones and twigs provide food for animals, often the only available winter sustenance. They offer culinary and medicinal uses for humans, and there are many ritualistic applications for juniper’s wood and berries, as well. It is quite interesting how juniper’s folk associations mirror its medicinal uses.

The age-old use of juniper medicinally for healing, relieving stagnation, and protection from diseases probably stems in large part from the berries’ diuretic and anti-inflammatory properties. One of the most pleasant ways to administer these medicinal benefits came in the form of gin, the juniper berry liquor that dates back as far as the 11th century, as well as medicinal juniper twig beer. 

In accord with these historical medical practices, juniper was—and still is—used in folk practice for protection. For disease, poison, plague, spirits, demons, and especially thievery, juniper has been a potent ward. 

Often, smoke and charms are the vehicle by which juniper performs this protective service. Many cultures, including ancient Greeks and Egyptians, used juniper incense in this manner. Various types of protective amulets and charms were made from juniper berries, as well. The trees have even been long used in some places as Yule or Christmas trees or greenery for some added protection.

The Scottish have a long-standing winter tradition. The day after Hogmanay, the celebration of New Year’s eve, women would perform a saining, a smoke cleansing of the entire house with smoldering juniper branches. The aromatic smoke was carried and dispersed throughout the house for blessings, purification, and protection for the coming year; the same was performed through barns and to purify livestock. 

Several species of juniper are also native to the Americas, as reflected by juniper’s presence in many indigenous Americans’ traditions and tales. Among those, the Hopi, Navajo, Blackfoot, and Seneca tell legends surrounding the tree or its berries. A Seneca tale involves junipers and other evergreens standing up to old man winter so spring may return. 

While winter persists, perhaps juniper is a plant to explore a deeper relationship with. Whether it’s branches in greenery that decorates the home, fragrant incense, or even a sip of gin, inviting juniper in is a way to connect to this plant’s long history.

Botanical Anthology

Winter Botanical Anthology

I am proud to say that the winter edition of Botanical Anthology, a plant-centered, seasonal digital publication with over 45 articles from 30 contributors, is available for purchase!

I am so excited for this beautiful publication to be out in the world, and so proud to be a part of it along with so many creative contributors. This issue is gorgeous and bursting at the seams with lovely, cozy, healing, creative, and meaningful ways to tap into the spirit of the winter season. I personally can’t wait to dive into all the inspiring lore, wisdom, recipes, rituals, crafts, and more.

In the winter edition, you’ll find articles, recipes, and ideas to help you:

*Sip on immune tea, miso broth, wassail + gingerbread golden milk

*Learn how to make ghee, gluten free sourdough and activated nuts

*Whip up hand sanitizer, a warming foot bath and body butter

*Forage wintergreen, raspberry stems and chaga

*Develop rituals + routines for the season ahead while listening to a winter playlist

*Weave wreaths, make trinket dishes + draw narcissus

*Celebrate Winter Solstice, Midwinter + Valentine’s Day with simple observances

And so much more!

I contributed five pieces to this edition, including an article about immune-boosting herbs with a tea recipe, a piece about the folklore surrounding juniper, a deep-dive into a few winter deities and their plant associations, and a review of one of my favorite books about tea. I so enjoyed writing these articles, and I hope you get a chance to read them!

The Botanical Anthology is a seasonal digital magazine for plant and nature lovers with articles to help you incorporate herbs into your home apothecary, kitchen, foraging, crafts, and wintertime celebrations. It was founded by the Plant Wonder Collective, a group of like-minded plant lovers from a variety of backgrounds and walks of life who each have unique perspectives and approaches to share. Nurture your mind, body, and spirit through the winter season with the words and ideas from our hearts to yours!

Until 12/15, grab your copy for $20 and receive the bonus evergreen booklet. Download instantly and dive right into the 150+ pages of plant magic!

You can get your copy of Botanical Anthology here!