The Hawstead Echo builds on my longstanding research into a series of unusual C17th hand painted devotional panels, using them as the basis for an imagined alternate world, where politics and lifestyle resemble much of our own contemporary experience, with a crucial difference - in Hawstead magick is commonplace, utilitarian and everyday, albeit not everybody agrees on how it should be used.
The first edition of The Hawstead Echo is currently in production. It features news, lifestyle and current affairs from across the Hawstead & Holy Mound Region. It carries pieces on the highly controversial new Vow Share rulings, Shared Intelligence, Challenging the Sky Rodders, a feature on Dandelions, Memory Theatre from The Ravenwood Players, news on the winner of The Junior Flying Cup, enrolment for a new Folk Academy course on Symbols & Rituals, and much more.
A Focus on Dandelions
The Dandelion - otherwise known as Swine's Snout, Priest's Crown, Blowball, and Telltime - is well known as a staple food and beneficial folk dose. Magickal uses include divination, wishes and calling spirits, all under the watchful gaze of its deity Hecate. Across time we have worked this humble plant - known to the Elders as Taraxacum Officinale - to aide the liver, gallbladder, urinary and digestive systems. We also use it to cleanse the skin, both inside and out. But how much do we know of this everyday herbals journey? And how did we come to be such friends?
Across eons our mutual sympathies with the Dandelion have long made us strong. We honour the plant in our Spring and Summer festivities, and in turn the herb reminds us that the way forward is open – Telltime grows where we need them too, often directly outside our homes, between the very stones we walk on as pathways. The flowers declare themselves as bright yellow beacons, reminding us there are alternatives ways to consider our routes, from A to B.
As any parent knows, Blowballs aide our psychic powers. Many of us remember well a cup of hot Dandelion brew left by our childhood beds, to call spirits towards us across the night. And also recommended for older folk who have lost their enthusiasm for food - the bitterness of its sap and leaves stimulates stomach acid, bile and pancreative juices. Perhaps it is this that also makes the plant such a favourite of the Elders, given their staunch promotion of the Humours.
Across the ages the herb has accumulated many names: Swine's Snout for the unopened flower; Blowball and Telltime for the seed heads; and Priest's Crown for the stem, once the seeds have started their own onward journeys and left their mother plant be.
This Dent de Lion is known in many languages, owing to the layered rows of yellow petals the flower manifests. With the Lion being the astrological sign of Leo, the Dandelion’s link with the Sun is certainly strong, even though Jupiter is assigned its care-planet. Any coincidence then that these important herb flowers open and close with the rays of the Sun?
Do you have a favourite Dandelion linctus or preparation to share? Send us your recipes and we will print a selection in a future Hawstead Echo for all to see. Praise be.