Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Magical Plants of Aelfheim

Last week we took a walk across the rambling acres here at Aelfheim to see what we could see.  We made some really cool discoveries on our walk.  I was very curious what kinds of plants were growing out there in the meadow, having left my magical garden behind at our old home at Oak Path, it's good to know what's available in your own back yard.

You can see the house, or just the roof, waaaay in the distance. Those dead trees or
"widow-makers" will have to come down this fall.
And quite a back yard it is!  This is the view of the house from the back edge of the property!  So when I say I don't know what I've got growing, I mean it!

As we walked along, I took photos of the various wildflowers I saw, knowing what some were, counting on the photos to help me identify the rest.  I'll post some from time to time, along with their magical uses. I wonder if you'll find any of these magical plants growing in your garden?!

Wild Rose, we missed the bloom, but the rose hips are lovely.

I already knew there are wild roses that grow in the area, so I was delighted to find this wild rose complete with rose hips!  Wild roses are a favorite faerie flower, full of energies of healing, love, protection and warding.  Rose hips are associated with Venus, and are the fruit like seed pod that remains when the petals are dropped.  Magically they are great for relieving stress, bringing love, and peace.
Black Eyed Susan

These wild growing black eyed Susan's were a delight to discover!  They stand for justice in the language of flowers and they are also great for energy shift work such as clearing away bad habits, unwanted emotions, powering away that which is not serving you on your spiritual journey.
Pokeweed, not quite ripe, but it's interesting looking, isn't it?

My mom easily identified Pokeweed growing in the meadow. This is a favorite of local birds, the berries are purple when they are fully ripe, and the juice makes excellent magical ink.  They are very aggressive plants from what I've read, and will take over if you're not careful.  It's great magically for breaking hexes and curses, exorcism and basically any banishing of baneful energies.  It's a toxic plant, although from what I've read, parts of it can be eaten if properly prepared.  I'll pass on that though and stick to magical uses.
This one is charming, it's called Partridge Pea

This sweet little plant is called partridge pea, I love it's fern like leaves.  Apparently, it's pods are a favorite of bobwhites, quail and doves. It's magical properties include perseverance, reaching your goals, and healing.

These are just a very small handful of the magical plants that I've discovered so far in the meadows of Aelfheim. Some of the others I have yet to identify, and some I know very well, but need to get photos. I hope you've enjoyed these and I'll post more in the future.

Working with plants magically is one of the oldest form of magic, its a tradition honored in this
mortar and pestle trivet.  If you love it, it's available here: MickieMuellerStudio


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Welcome to Aelfheim!

I've been so busy with unpacking and catching up on art deadlines and articles for Llewellyn annuals, that I haven't had much of a chance to introduce you to my new magical place other than in a few photos on twitter and instagram.  This is Aelfheim!  We moved on August 17th  to this magical 3 acre parcel of land in the Meramec Valley, Missouri, and I must say, now that I live here, it's even more enchanting that I ever imagined!
Sunlight filtering through the oak trees in the morning, the view from my new studio window!

Why Aelfheim you ask?  Well, it's Old Norse for Elf Home, which seemed appropriate.  It was actually my clever husband Dan who first suggested it.  Aelfheim is one of the nine worlds in Norse mythology, and is the home of the "Light Elves." Often the Light Elves are credited with offering inspiration for art and music, much like the Greek Muses.  According to legend, the magical dwelling was given to the God Frey as a gift when he cut his first tooth, Frey has been the ruler of Aelfheim ever since.  We also see this land in Scottish legend as Elphame as a land of Faerie Folk described in the ballad of Thomas the Rhymer and the modernized Elfland or Elvenland. Our spelling of this old name of the land of Elves and Faeries is meant to honor the various cultural incarnations of this land of legend.

Even though our land is in the country, it's technically part of Sullivan Mo, which was originally named "Mount Helicon" by the postmaster in 1856.   Mount Helicon is the mountain in Greece which is the mythical sanctuary for the Muses!  I should find much inspiration here between the Muses and the Light Elves!

There are some really cool aspects of this land we've come to call home.  One of my favorite is what we have come to call "The Compass Points Oak" or "Four Trees"  It's an oak that was once cut down to the stump. It grew four new trunks, each one matching up to the four cardinal points of the compass.
Compass Point Oak Trunks

  This is an amazing tree, or trees, when you stand in the middle of it, it feels simply amazing!
Compass Point Oak, standing in the middle, looking up!

We also found a really cool twisted oak at the edge of the property, one of the trunks is partly hollow. We were delighted to find this really unique tree!
Our twisted oak

I've counted 22 oak trees just in the front yard, and amongst those oaks mushrooms of all varieties have been popping up ever since we moved in!
So many trees, I can't even get them all into this shot!

You can't walk through them without looking down so you don't step on them! I need to pick up a few books to learn how to identify mushrooms.
The herb garden will probably go right near that big window.

I think I'll be planting an herb garden close to the  house in the front, I've found a spot that seems to get lots of sun, and the soil has lots of limestone in it here, so it should grow great herbs, but around those trees, I won't plant much except perhaps add some ferns or blue bells near the trees.  It's very shady there and I want to honor the faeries that apparently live there by not putting in beds, they've got a lovely place already!

So do you want to come inside?

Come on in!

Here is where we eat, this sweet nook is right off the kitchen and has a wonderful view!
Want to join me for a cup of tea?

I love the open floor plan, you can see the kitchen on  the other side of the
bar, and the dining nook is back there to the left.  Willow and Garfield love all the windows!
My new studio, where the magic happens!  I still have lots to unpack, but I've got everything I need out
to finish up Mystical Cats Tarot and start my new book illustration job for
Llewellyn, and get some new statuary designs going for my friends at
Sacred Source...whew, I'm going to be busy, good thing it's a great work space!
Another really important room, if you order anything from our Etsy shop, this is where it gets printed,
heat pressed and shipped, this is the (temporary) Mickie Mueller Studio Workshop!
Eventually this will be a guest room and the workshop will be moved... the barn you see on the right of the house.  We'll be building a nice room inside the barn
for all of our workshop equipment that we use to make items for our Etsy shop.  We're very
excited to have more room to work!

That's the tour for now!  I have so many photos of some of the plants growing wild around the property that I need to identify. Everything is always changing, something new blooming, something else growing seed-pods, and so many interesting frogs, lizards, and other critters that also call Aelfheim home, but those stories will wait for another day.

Thanks for dropping in!


Mickie Mueller