Gathering the oak scree

This is the time of year, Honorable Shamans and Fellow Pagans everywhere, when we collect the Oak Scree and Cypress needles for the next 12 months of smudging. One of the tennents of the Earthways Shamanic Path, is to go out into your lands and find the magic that dwells there, and honor it.

oak thingsFor us here in Southwest Florida, following this path means we do not use white sage for smudging.  It doesn’t grow here, and sage shouldn’t be used for “every” ceremony or occasion.  Instead, we collect the tree flowers or tree leaves/needles that have fallen off the trees around us, locally.   The challenge is to gather enough for the coming year.  How much do we need?  How often would you like to smudge yourself? !  Right, it is hard to know how much to gather.

The Live Oak trees only produce their scree at this time of year.  (December to January.)  I like to collect it from trees that drape over parking lots, or sidewalks, since that makes it easier to collect the scree, when it bumps up to a curb.  Live Oak Scree has a very simple smell when burned.  It burns FAST, you will need a lot.

Cypress Tress, on the other hand, drop their leaves/needles a couple of times a year.  They can be gathered directly under the trees.  I like to collect a pinch here, and a pinch there, so as not to dig holes around the trees.  The leaves/needles smell good when dried, and again, burns fast.

I also use rosemary and a few other locally grown herbs, to add  to my smudging blends.

Look around where you live, and where you go out into the wilderness, and see what grows that you can harvest, safely and legally.  Learn what poison ivy and other poisonous plants and trees looks like and do not use any parts for smudging.  Also, know what plants are protected species and do not harvest them.

And while smudging, share your Peace with Our Earth.

Join Whale Maiden in the discussion at the Earthways Shamanic Path – Facebook Group

(c) 2015, Whale Maiden, all rights reserved

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Heading Into Fire Season

We are heading into Fire Season here in Southwest Florida.  How can I tell?  In the past two weeks, the day time temperature has hit 80 degrees every day.  It is Hot.  People are talking about how hot it is.  The psychological shift that year-rounders under go, to cope with the extreme heat we know is coming, is underway. 

It isn’t Humid yet.  (Humidity is the province of Rainy Season.)  It is Dry and Windy.

The Yellow Blossom Trees are coming into bloom.  {I’ve got to get a good picture of them THIS year!  I think I missed them last year…}

And, the Live Oak trees have flowered and dropped their seeds.  I call this stuff, ‘oak skree.’  I’ll post a photo of it, in a moment.  I gather this stuff in broad daylight and put it into whatever container I have when I see it.  Sometimes I gather it in an empty to-go drink cup; this time I gathered it into an empty bag from Wendy’s Drive Through.

I use oak skree  ceremoniously, the way some people use Sage, (*) but you have to watch out because oak skree burns FAST.  It is not a lazy, meditative smudging tool like Sage is!

(*) see “Uses of Sage,” in the next post.