Queen Maeve Tea

Queen Maeve.jpg

A deep and mysterious cup, don’t let it’s light appearance fool you.

A robust black tea base that lends itself well to the fruits of this tea. Elderberries, raspberries, rosehips and hibiscus are blended with a twist of orange, whilst lavender lends a hint of woody herb to ground the tea. You’ll notice a mead-like flavour as you sip this cup.

Many thanks to Julie for helping me create this offering tea blend for Queen Maeve, Who loves fragrant, beautiful and exotic things.

You can find the Unseelie Queen’s blend here, and if you’re looking for Someone else’s blend, check out my Devotional Teas section.
And yes! As you see, you can make suggestions to me about Who you’d like a tea for if I haven’t yet made one, or even a tea inspired by literature/movies/pretty much anything!

Month of Elder

Celtic Name: Ruis (roo-ish)

Latin Name: Sambucus canadenis (for elderberry)

Folk Names: Eldrun, Lady Elder, Ellhorn, Sambucus, Hyldor, Hyllantree, Pipe Tree, Bore Tree, Bour Tree

Dates:November 25 – December 23

Parts Used: bark, flowers, leaves, berries

Medicinal Uses:
The bark of Elder has been used as a purgative when ingested. If ingested in large doses, it is used as an emetic. It has also been long used as a diuretic, and in aiding in renal and cardiac edema (when there is too much water content held between the cells or in body cavities). Ointments made of the green bark will aid with asthma symptoms and croup in young children.
The leaves can be used to make an ointment, “Unguentum Sambuci Viride”, or Green Elder Ointment, which is to be used on bruises, wounds, sprains, inflammation (especially to the hands and feet if exposed to cold and moisture, and as a soothing emollient.
The flowers can be used in a wide array of manners. Elder Flower Water is used as the foundation to eye and skin lotions as it has a mild astringent and stimulant properties. It has been used after sun bathing, and to get rid of freckles as it keeps the skin free from blemishes and fair. The flowers were also employed in bronchial and lung related illnesses such as measles and scarlet fever.Taken as a tea, it helps to bring on sweating and restful sleep to help one who is sick with a cold or flu to quickly get on the road to recovery.
Wine of the berries was used to aid in erysipelas (a deep-red inflammation of the skin or mucous membranes) and rheumatism. A tea made with the dried berries helps to ease diarrhea and colic.

Magical Uses:
General usages of Elder include: prosperity, luck, protection, healing, cleansing, spirituality, sleep, exorcism, Faery magic, and offerings. Wine made of the berries is considered to be a great aid in divination, prophecy and hallucinations. Twigs would be placed in head dresses to allow the seeing of spirits. It is used when one wishes to perform magic involving the Fae or Nature.
Elder has very strong protective qualities as well. If twigs are worn around the neck in a small bag, it is said they will protect from physical or psychic attack. Branches are hung in doorways to keep evil out. To bless someone or something, take the leaves and berries in hand and scatter them to the four directions, then over the person or thing.
Remember when you harvest of any tree or plant, give something in return. It can be an offering, water if the weather is dry, or even cleaning up any trash that has been left around it.

Irish Fairy Tale – The Horned Women

A rich woman sat up late one night carding and preparing wool, while all the family and servants were asleep. Suddenly a knock was given at the door, and a voice called, “Open! open!”

“Who is there?” said the woman of the house.

“I am the Witch of one Horn,” was answered.

The mistress, supposing that one of her neighbours had called and required assistance, opened the door, and a woman entered, having in her hand a pair of wool-carders, and bearing a horn on her forehead, as if growing there. She sat down by the fire in silence, and began to card the wool with violent haste. Suddenly she paused, and said aloud: “Where are the women? they delay too long.”

Then a second knock came to the door, and a voice called as before, “Open! open!”

The mistress felt herself obliged to rise and open to the call, and immediately a second witch entered, having two horns on her forehead, and in her hand a wheel for spinning wool.

“Give me place,” she said; “I am the Witch of the two Horns,” and she began to spin as quick as lightning.

And so the knocks went on, and the call was heard, and the witches entered, until at last twelve women sat round the fire – the first with one horn, the last with twelve horns.

And they carded the thread, and turned their spinning-wheels, and wound and wove, all singing together an ancient rhyme, but no word did they speak to the mistress of the house. Strange to hear, and frightful to look upon, were these twelve women, with their horns and their wheels; and the mistress felt near to death, and she tried to rise that she might call for help, but she could not move, nor could she utter a word or a cry, for the spell of the witches was upon her.

Then one of them called to her in Irish, and said, “Rise, woman, and make us a cake.”

Then the mistress searched for a vessel to bring water from the well that she might mix the meal and make the cake, but she could find none.

And they said to her, “Take a sieve and bring water in it.”

And she took the sieve and went to the well – but the water poured from it, and she could fetch none for the cake, and she sat down by the well and wept.

Then a voice came by her and said, “Take yellow clay and moss, and bind them together, and plaster the sieve so that it will hold.”

This she did, and the sieve held the water for the cake – and the voice said again:

“Return, and when thou comest to the north angle of the house, cry aloud three times and say, ‘The mountain of the Fenian women and the sky over it is all on fire.'”

And she did so.

When the witches inside heard the call, a great and terrible cry broke from their lips, and they rushed forth with wild lamentations and shrieks, and fled away to Slievenamon, where was their chief abode. But the Spirit of the Well bade the mistress of the house to enter and prepare her home against the enchantments of the witches if they returned again.

And first, to break their spells, she sprinkled the water in which she had washed her child’s feet, the feet-water, outside the door on the threshold – secondly, she took the cake which in her absence the witches had made of meal mixed with the blood drawn from the sleeping family, and she broke the cake in bits, and placed a bit in the mouth of each sleeper, and they were restored – and she took the cloth they had woven, and placed it half in and half out of the chest with the padlock – and lastly, she secured the door with a great crossbeam fastened in the jambs, so that the witches could not enter, and having done these things she waited.

Not long were the witches in coming back, and they raged and called for vengeance.

“Open! open!” they screamed; “open, feet-water!”

“I cannot,” said the feet-water; “I am scattered on the ground, and my path is down to the Lough.”

“Open, open, wood and trees and beam!” they cried to the door.

“I cannot,” said the door, “for the beam is fixed in the jambs and I have no power to move.”

“Open, open, cake that we have made and mingled with blood!” they cried again.

“I cannot,” said the cake, “for I am broken and bruised, and my blood is on the lips of the sleeping children.”

Then the witches rushed through the air with great cries, and fled back to Slievenamon, uttering strange curses on the Spirit of the Well, who had wished their ruin – but the woman and the house were left in peace, and a mantle dropped by one of the witches in her flight was kept hung up by the mistress in memory of that night; and this mantle was kept by the same family from generation to generation for five hundred years after.

 

Resources:

  • Image: “The Three Witches from Macbeth” – Alexandre-Marie Colin
  • Tale: Sacred Texts

The Gifts of the Mountain Spirits

A tailor and a goldsmith were journeying together, and as evening approached they heard wonderful lovely music. It was so beautiful that they forgot how tired they were and took longer and longer steps to see who the musicians were. When they listened it was at first like the wind softly blowing in the linden trees along the pathway, then it was as though the bluebells in the meadow were ringing as they nodded in the wind.

The tailor thought about his dear fiancée, whom he had left at home, and sighed because he was so poor that the musicians would not be playing at their wedding dance.

As they walked along the music sounded nearer and nearer, and at last on a hill they saw many small figures, little men and little women, holding hands and dancing in a circle around an old man. They were singing (that was the music), and one after the other they bowed before the old man.

The old man was somewhat larger than the others, had a long ice-gray beard that hung down low over his chest, had a majestic appearance, and was magnificently dressed. The tailor and the goldsmith stood there amazed and could not see enough. Then the old man motioned to them; the dancers opened their circle; and the goldsmith, who was a small hunchbacked fellow, stepped inside. The frightened tailor stayed where he was, but when he saw how the little men and women welcomed his companion, he took heart and followed him into the circle. With the circle now closed, the little people continued to dance and to sing.

The old man took a long, broad knife, whetted it until it glistened brightly, and then shaved off the hair and the beards of the tailor and the goldsmith. They shook with fear that their heads would be next, but the old man patted them friendly on their shoulders, as if to say that it was good that they had not resisted. Afterward he pointed to a pile of coal that lay nearby, indicating to them with gestures that they should fill their pockets with it. The goldsmith, who was greedy by nature, took much more than did the tailor, even though the coal had no value.

Then the two of them walked down the hill to seek shelter for the night, looking back repeatedly at the tiny dancers. The music sounded more distant and more softly. The monastery bell in the valley struck twelve, and suddenly the hill was empty. Everything had disappeared.

Once at the inn the two wanderers covered themselves with their jackets, and because they were very tired, they forgot to take the coal out of their pockets. They awakened earlier than usual, because their jackets were pushing down on them like lead.

They reached into the pockets and could not believe their eyes when they saw that they contained pure gold instead of coal. The goldsmith estimated that his was worth thirty thousand thalers, and the tailor’s fifteen thousand. Furthermore, their hair and beards had been restored as well.

They praised the old man on the mountain, and the goldsmith said, “Do you know what? Let’s go back this evening and fill our pockets clear full.”

But the tailor did not want to do this. “I have enough,” he said, “and am satisfied. Now I can become a master tailor and marry my Margaret. We will manage beautifully.”

The goldsmith did not want to journey onward, and because they had traveled together for a long time, as a favor the tailor spent the day with him at the inn. As evening approached, the goldsmith hung several bags over his shoulders and went back to the hill. He heard the music, as they had before, and saw the little dancers with the old man in the middle. And the old man again motioned to him, shaved him, indicating that he should take some coal. He gathered up as much as he could carry away, hurried back to the village inn, covered himself with his jacket, and could not fall asleep in anticipation that the pockets and bags, now filled with light coal, would be getting heavier and heavier.

But on earth not everything happens the way foolish people think it will. The pockets and bags remained light. As dawn approached he went to the window and looked at each piece of coal. It was ordinary coal, and it made his fingers black. Frightened, he fetched the gold from the previous day, but it no longer glistened. Everything had turned back into coal.

Then he awakened the tailor in order to share his sorrow with him. When the tailor saw him he was horrified. Only now did the goldsmith discover his entire misfortune. His hair and his beard had been shaved off completely, and they never grew back. But the worst thing was this: he had had a hump on his back, but now he had one of the same size on his chest, and would be unable to work.

He recognized this as punishment for his greed, and began to cry bitterly. However, the tailor comforted him, saying, “Since we have been good traveling companions for so long, and since we found the treasure together, from now on you can live with me and share my treasure.”

The tailor soon became a master and married his Margaret. He had many pious children and always enough work; and he is still taking care of the goldsmith with the two humps and no hair.

Sources:

  • http://pitt.edu
  • Emil Sommer, “Der Berggeister Geschenke,” Sagen, Märchen und Gebräuche aus Sachsen und Thüringen (Halle: Eduard Anton, 1846), vol. 1, pp. 82-86.
  • Image: Arthur Rackham