I don’t know why exactly, but spring makes me think of Earl Grey tea. Maybe it’s the citrusy bergamot, or the fact that I’m just more in the mood in spring than any other season to drink black tea…it’s more stimulating than caffeine-free herbs, but lighter than coffee. Maybe flowers and tea parties just make me think of spring? I don’t know, but let’s go with it!
In that spirit…I decided to make a lavender Earl Grey teacup candle to welcome Ostara. To me, Ostara, or the Spring Equinox, is the true start of the new year: the awakening. What better way to brighten the sweet first morning of spring than lighting this candle to add to the warmth of the sun, and enjoying a mug of Earl Grey tea?
The essential oils I chose to scent the candle with do have associations that fit quite well with the spirit of the occasion:
Lavender- love, protection, calm, peace, insight
Bergamot- happiness, harmony, love, courage
Benzoin- purification, prosperity
Cardamom- creativity, strength, focus, healing
Benzoin oil imparts a warm, creamy vanilla-like scent which reminds me of adding milk to tea, and cardamom adds a tea-like quality. I also topped the candle with amethyst, quartz, lavender buds, and a bit of actual lavender Earl Grey tea.
Here are the instructions, in case you’d like to make one of these sweet candles yourself!
This Ostara season I’m planning to enjoy this little candle with tea and shortbread cookies with the two of my three children that actually like tea. (Two out of three isn’t bad, and he will still eat the cookies!) —cookie recipe soon to come.
I am so proud to say that I’ve written a recipe ebook! It is available for purchase now in my Etsy shop, HERE.
The Spring Tea Booklet contains 20 tea recipes based on the season, nature, nature-based festivities, folklore, art, cozy aesthetics, and more! It also includes tips on tea-making and sourcing herbs and ingredients.
Lovingly created, written, photographed, and designed by folk herbalist Anna Reisz (me!!), this tea recipe booklet is a cozy and magical way to ground into the season. These recipes are approachable and perfect for anyone, from beginners to experienced tea blenders. Draw on the inspiration in these pages to create teas for self care, parties and special occasions, gifts, and more.
Spring Full Moons (3 recipes) Persephone Ace of Wands Robin Cottagecore Anne Shirley Element: Air Spring Equinox Light Academia Spring Forest Intention: Creativity Spring Zodiac Signs (3 recipes) Beltane Brigid Beatrix Potter Spring Dreams
I am grateful to anyone who considers taking a peek at this creation that I am proud of and considers purchasing a copy. This cozy herb thing is something I do because I love it, and I am so happy when others think it is pretty cool, too. Your support helps me continue to be able to do this—learning, creating, and sharing.
Also known as Candlemas or Midwinter, the first of February has long been a traditional time to celebrate the hope of winter’s end. The days are getting longer, the sun is beginning to return, and it’s time to start thinking about the seeds to be planted in spring (both literal and metaphorical). Traditionally, Imbolc was a feasting occasion and marked the lambing time, too. Nearing winter’s end the vegetable stores were dwindling, so foods involving milk, butter, and baking staples are customary.
It’s also a time to honor Brigid, who holds dual status as a pagan deity and as a Christian saint. She opens the way for spring’s return and is a fire and hearth goddess, among her many other associations. Brigid is also linked to fertility, inspiration, and poetry—all befitting the eager looking forward toward spring.
I decided to follow the Imbolc tradition of making a sweet celebratory baked good full of the dairy goodness traditionally associated with the occasion. I chose to make blackberry lemon poppyseed muffins specifically due to the ties between seeds and Imbolc, lemons and the sun as a symbol of the day, and blackberries and Brigid, to whom they are sacred. I also added cardamom as another seed connection (and because I adore it and add it to baked goods every chance I get).
This batch is delicious but turned out a bit…well, “rustic-looking!” Still, I think that is well within the spirit of the occasion. A couple changes I’d make the next time I make a batch of these include: use fewer blackberries (the recipe below is adjusted for that) and cut them up, bake a little longer, don’t do the 5 minutes at a higher temp at the beginning that the original recipe called for, and maybe consider larger muffin tins. (I’m far from an expert baker—so you get a realistic picture of the process here!)
To celebrate the winter solstice and Yule, I have made some special candles to help mark the occasion as my family and I make (and eat!) cookies and read books about the solstice. Although it is the official beginning of winter, it is also the darkest night—and the light of our candles reminds us that the warmth of the sun shines through and will strengthen with each coming day. It is how people have long gathered their courage to face the winter’s cold: the returning of the light offers hope.
For my Yule Forest candles, I combined beeswax, a bit of coconut oil, and essential oils for a natural scent option. (Make sure you do your due diligence in choosing ethical essential oil companies to buy from 💚). Here are the scents I chose, along with their symbolic attributes:
Here are the directions for making the candles if you’d like to make some, too!
Making 6 candles:
We will enjoy the gentle light and wintry woods scent of one of these candles (I made 6 so I could gift the others to loved ones) while munching on chai snickerdoodles and reading. The pictured books (Goodbye Autumn, Hello Winter and the winter story from Little Witch Hazel) are a couple of our favorites to welcome the solstice.
The Autumn Botanical Anthology digital magazine is available TODAY! To celebrate, I’m giving you a sneak peek at one of my articles from the publication below. But first, I must tell you a bit about this magazine I am so proud to be a part of!
This labor of love is a seasonal, plant centered digital magazine bringing you over 45 articles from 30 contributors to incorporate autumnal herbs in your apothecary, kitchen, harvests, crafts, and fall celebrations.
Until 9/28, grab your copy for $20 and receive the bonus cinnamon booklet. Download instantly and dive right into the 150+ pages of plant magic!
Now without further ado, here is one of my articles!
Roasted Roots: An Herbal Coffee Tradition
Herbal coffee is a tradition that can be found, with a little digging, in many family histories. It was once common practice to replace or mix ground coffee with the roasted roots of plants like dandelion, chicory, and burdock. Not only did these easily-foraged plants make coffee go further, but they also cut some of the bitterness in the flavor. These roots also provided a nutritious and grounding alternative ingredient or replacement for coffee without the unwanted side effects of caffeine. Additional spices can be added to the mix for flavor and further health benefits, as well.
Here is a closer look at some of the ingredients you might add to your own roasted root blend.
Strong liver, gallbladder, + kidney support
Vitamin + mineral rich
Supports heart + balances blood pressure
Vitamin + mineral rich
Supports liver + stomach
Kidney + liver support
Anti-inflammatory • Antioxidant • Detoxifying
Antibacterial + antifungal • Skin clearing
Blood sugar regulating
Synergizes other herbs
Heart + blood pressure support
Blood sugar regulating
Digestive support • Circulation stimulating
Blood sugar regulating • Analgesic
Antimicrobial + antifungal
Antioxidants • Supports brain health
Warming + drying
Allspice, cardamom, cloves, fennel
Promotes circulation • Immune support
Soothing • warming • uplifting
When cooler autumn days make you long for more cups of cozy hot coffee, consider instead roasting and brewing up this alternative herbal blend. Get creative and formulate your own flavorful blend! Or to get started, here is a simple and tasty recipe to try.
1 part dandelion root
1 part chicory root
1 part burdock root
½ part cinnamon chips
¼ part cacao nibs
¼ part allspice
Preheat oven to 375°.
Spread dandelion, chicory, and burdock roots in a thin layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 10-15 minutes, stirring once or twice to prevent burning. Roast for a shorter time if using a dark or nonstick pan.
Allow to cool.
Mix in cacao nibs, cinnamon chips, and allspice.
Grind in a coffee grinder and brew as you normally brew coffee. Approximately 1 heaping tablespoon of the mixture makes 1 strong cup of herbal coffee.
Opt for a coarser grind if brewing with a French press.
If using pre-roasted chicory root, add it when mixing in cacao, cinnamon, and allspice.
This blend may also be mixed with coffee, using your desired ratio (50/50 is recommended), to reduce bitterness and caffeine.
Spring is finally upon us, Herbologists! In the Northern Hemisphere, the vernal (spring) equinox and the sabbat of Ostara fall on March 20th (while it’s Mabon in the Southern Hemisphere). This is a time traditionally associated with rebirth, creativity, growth, renewal, planting seeds, new beginnings, and balance. Many of us feel a renewal of our creative energy (follow-through is another story in my case, though!) and we are inspired to begin gardens, clean the house, or begin new projects and routines.
Ostara / the spring equinox feels much more like the beginning of the new year than January 1st to me, and I know some traditions view it as such. As the earth begins to warm and come alive, our energy tends to rise and rhythms return to more activity and excitement. It’s certainly a busy time of year!
In honor of the changing of the season, I am going to share a few low energy Ostara / equinox activities I am planning, as well as some spring herbal tea recipes I’ve developed. Hopefully this helps spark a few cozy, simple ideas for you, too!
Spring Simmer Pot
My kids enjoy a good seasonal simmer pot, so I am planning a spring-y one to mark the occasion. We’ll use ingredients like dried lavender, rose, eucalyptus, rosemary, and lemon to fill the house with a floral, herbal scent to welcome in spring.
If you haven’t made a simmer pot before, it’s pretty simple: choose your ingredients (plants, flowers, fruits, spices, etc.), add to a pan on the stovetop and cover the ingredients with water, simmer as long as you like, and add more water as needed so it doesn’t dry out and burn. This will fill the house with a clean, sweet scent (in the case of these floral and spring-y herbs) and all the cozy spring vibes to put everyone in the spirit of the occasion.
It is too soon where I live to begin planting this year’s garden yet, but my wildlings and I are all chomping at the bit to begin. So instead, I’m planning for us to discuss and begin planning our little container garden together. This will inevitably turn into an art project with my kiddos as they will want to illustrate their ideas! And perhaps we will start some seeds in the kitchen window sill, too.
Drinking seasonal teas is a wonderful way to literally welcome a new season in! On that note, I’m going to share a few of my favorite tea blend recipes in honor of the energies of Ostara and the spring equinox. Herbs can support us through this big transition in a big way!
The first recipe I’m sharing is one I simply call Ostara Tea. It contains herbal allies for gentle warming, grounding, immune support, and a sense of peace and calm.
1 part Chamomile
1 part Elderflower
1/2 part Ginger
1 part Green Rooibos
Citrus (peel / slices) – optional
Next up is the Inspired Spring tea blend for calm creative energy. It combines herbs that help with stress, boost your brain function, and provide calm balance. In this season of new directions and new leaves, this can be a great ally!
1 part Tulsi
1 part Linden
1/2 part Fennel
1-2 parts Spearmint
1 part Ginkgo
Finally, we have Springtime Sleepies, to help you wind down after a busy spring day so you can rebuild your energy reserves for the next day of springtime activities.
1 part Passionflower
2 parts Chamomile
1 part Rose
1/2 part Lavender
1/4 part Cardamom
So, those are a few of the simple ways my family will be ushering in Ostara and spring! Do you mark the spring equinox? How do you like to celebrate this season?
Hey there, Herbology Faeries! Since spring is almost here, I thought I’d share a new herb profile today about the herb I most associate with early spring: nettle.
Nettle, or stinging nettle, is a sign of early spring because in many places it flourishes during this time. Nettle is also a beneficial spring ally in aiding with seasonal allergies, nourishing and toning body systems after the winter, fighting inflammation, and much more. Folk traditions see nettle as a protective ally, helping with not only healing but also courage and banishing, and it’s not hard to see why when you encounter its prickles!
I know there are many who forage fresh nettles in the spring. There are many benefits to consuming local, fresh nettles. That said, not everyone has local nettles available or are not able to get out there and brave the stings to collect them fresh. That’s okay—high quality dried nettle can be purchased from small online apothecaries or Mountain Rose Herbs.
Nettle is a salty, slightly bitter, cooling and drying herb. It is nutrient dense, full of fiber, iron, calcium, and magnesium. Not only is nettle used to support allergies and to nourish the body, but it’s said to aid menstrual issues, eczema, fatigue, arthritis, and more. It’s a wonderful herb to consume daily as a holistic health aid for maintaining energy and health. The main safety considerations with nettles are the stings if you are working with fresh nettles (use gloves and blanch the leaves before consumption), and the diuretic effect the herb has—you might need to adjust your intake based on how strongly this affects you.
I do drink nettle in tea—it goes well combined with herbs like mint and rose. I am also intrigued with the idea of using nettle as food! You see many instances of this online: nettle pesto, nettle soup, even dried nettle used in baking. I am experimenting with using nettle in homemade ramen recipes for a salty, mineral-y kick and added nutrition!
Here is a simple springtime tea recipe featuring nettle, to get you started with this wonderful ally!
Daily Nettle Boost:
• 1 part nettle
• 1 part tulsi
• 1 part peppermint
• 1/2 part rosemary
This can be hot-brewed by the cup if you prefer it in small doses. You can also hot or cold brew it in a larger batch in a glass jar. If cold brewing, the longer you let it brew, the more helpful constituents will be infused into your tea. I’ve run across some sources that say you should hot brew nettle and let it infuse for 4+ hours to reap the full benefits, but I prefer my nettle a bit weaker and more palatable than that—to keep me coming back to it!
Have you tried nettles? How do you like to prepare them, or how do you think you would like to if you’re new to them?
It’s been awhile, but I am back! I unintentionally took a break from this blog as well as theherbologyfaerie Instagram account during the seasons of Yule and Imbolc, as other life things came to the forefront. It appears that my waning here coincided very appropriately with winter.
I am the type of person who hops from hyper-focus to hyper-focus, with extreme tunnel vision on the thing I’m in the midst of. (Hello, neurodiversity. I’m sure if you’re reading this, there is a good chance you relate!) I am working on not exactly breaking that pattern, because I recognize it is part of who I am, but on loosening the tightness of its grip on my psyche, if that makes sense. I am trying to breathe more, to strike a better balance, and to let go of holding onto things so tightly.
Right now that means coming back to this space and allowing this creative outlet to be just that once more—a place to express myself and share what I have to share without pressure or expectations. A hobby can be a hobby. I think many of us lose sight of that in this influencer, Instagram, Etsy age.
Waxing and waning and wintering periods are all a natural part of life. I’m so glad I’m cycling back to this space! I have many things I want to share here, so stay tuned if you’d like to walk this path with me.
It’s only a few days until one of my favorite sabbats: Samhain, aka Halloween! I have been very connected to this special day since I was a child, and I now love sharing Halloween with my own little wildlings. It’s that time we invite the spooks and specters in. We celebrate the connection we all feel to the shadows in a way that is steeped in tradition, which makes it feel cozy and safe. It’s our metaphorical way of preparing for the approaching sleep and death in nature that winter brings.
All that said, I have a few simple and cozy ways I’m planning to celebrate the approach of Samhain this week, which I’m sharing here today!
My family and I plan to celebrate Halloween together in kid-friendly fashion this weekend. We will watch some not-so-spooky Halloween movies, paint and carve pumpkins, and (safely and with precautions) trick-or-treat. I also plan to brew up some spiced apple cider on the stovetop for us to share, infused with those autumn spiceswe love and enjoy!
I learned about the Irish tradition of baking barmbrack for Samhain this year, and I am planning to bake some for my family! I want to see if it’s a tradition we’d like to incorporate in the years to come, as I have a strong connection to my Irish heritage.
Barmbrack is a sort of cross between bread and a cake, baked with dried fruits and grounding autumn spices and eaten with butter. It’s a harvest season favorite and is traditionally baked with a little surprise hidden inside—a coin or a ring wrapped in parchment paper as a good luck charm for the person who finds it in their slice! You can find various recipes online, but HERE is the one I’m planning to try.
Cleaning & Clearing
The approach of Samhain has me feeling the need for a bit of a cleaning and clearing, for both practical and psychological reasons. As winter and the holiday season approach, it’s a good time for me to tidy up and de-clutter. I also notice that I’m needing to sort of reset my perspective, or clear out some stale and stagnant energy, as autumn deepens toward winter.
The physical act of tidying up the house is straightforward enough. It’s not my favorite job, but I’ve come to enjoy it well enough when accompanied by audiobooks or podcasts. But each day this week while I work on the cleaning, I plan to choose a candle, incense, or simmer pot with intention and use it to sort of sweep away the proverbial cobwebs, paired with open windows when it’s not raining.
I am excited to brew a few tea blends this week with Samhain in mind. Traditions across many cultures relate this time to remembrance of ancestors passed and introspection or even divination. I plan to spend some quiet time with some steaming pots of tea brewed to those ends. My grandma passed away a year ago on October 27th, so she will be very much on my mind this week (and during this week for the years to come), which ties right in.
This is one of my favorite parts of the year! I’ve always loved it and felt like it was MY time: my birthday on the 21st, the autumnal equinox / Mabon (falling on the 22nd this year), and “Hobbit Day” aka Bilbo and Frodo Baggins’ shared birthday on the 22nd—which to me counts as a holiday itself! But this post is about Mabon, the sabbat marking the beginning of fall and the autumnal equinox on the wheel of the year (in the Northern Hemisphere).
Mabon begins the wind down of the harvest season as autumn starts in earnest and winter approaches. It is an age-old tradition to celebrate this time, which is associated with giving thanks to the Earth for her life-sustaining abundance, the balance of light and dark, and preparing for the colder and darker winter months ahead.
This is such a busy time of year! It can be difficult to pause and reflect with a slower perspective on this seasonal turning. But I have a couple of simple, cozy plans for enjoying and marking this week with my family.
My kids actually have a “virtual learning” school day on Wednesday, and it’s supposed to rain all day, too! So it seems the perfect time for a simmer pot. This simple-yet-magical act will set a cozy autumn mood for the equinox.
It’s pretty simple: choose aromatic autumn ingredients (I’m using apple slices, a bit of lemon peel, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, anise, and allspice), add to a pan on the stovetop and cover the ingredients with water, simmer as long as you like, and add more water as needed so it doesn’t dry out and burn. This will fill the house with a delicious scent and all the cozy autumn vibes to put everyone in the spirit of the occasion.
Pumpkin and Apple Treats
This is such an obvious one, but of course baking favorite apple and/or pumpkin treats is a simple and almost necessary part of a cozy Mabon. (If you are able and if you like apple or pumpkin!) And of course you can totally buy them and skip the diy portion, if you need to or prefer to. The point is, apple and pumpkin are quintessential to the autumn season!
I will likely bake pumpkin muffins for my birthday treat and the autumnal occasion. I have been using the same tried-and-true recipe for something like 13 years now! It’s simple and delicious. (Check it out here!)
I have yet to decide if I’ll bake any apple treats, too, but I’ll at least be making hot spiced cider and apple spiced tea quite a lot this week and through the season ahead! My birthday gift from my parents was a collection of new autumn mugs, which I plan to put to good use!
Speaking of those mugs, my hobbit-herbalist heart is ready to start brewing up some grounding, earthy, spicy, immunity-boosting chai. I am in the middle of writing a blog post all about this, so I won’t share too much about it now. But, whether you like to make chai from scratch or order a piping hot cup from a coffee shop, this is a great time to think about warming up with chai!
Okayyy…actually, I can’t help sharing one chai tidbit. I was turned onto adding astragalus to chai for an immune boost by Rosalie de la Fôret in her book Alchemy of Herbs and now I rarely make chai without it. Many of the botanicals in chai help boost immunity already, but astragalus adds a sweet and simple way to kick that boost up! I highly recommend trying it (and checking out Rosalie’s book).
We are lucky to have a nice apple orchard not too far from us. Due to Covid, we have yet to take our boys there, and our older daughter hasn’t been in a few years. So, we are very excited to hopefully take them over the weekend to enjoy the woods, the animals (it’s a pretty amazing little orchard), and the apples! I can’t wait to restart this autumn tradition.
So, those are a few of the simple ways my family will be celebrating Mabon! Do you mark the autumn equinox? How do you like to celebrate this season?