Monday, 17 October 2011

Fairy Rings

Last Friday, I was journeying to school and decided to quickly visit the library on the way. As I walked over some grass, I noticed that I'd gone straight through the centre of a Fairy Ring. It was a perfectly formed ring of mushrooms.

(This is also scientifically called "Marasmius oreades" when fungus developes under the wet soil and the ground needs nurtients. For more info, click on Fairy Rings at the Mushroom Expert site.)

In folklore, these fairy rings are said to contain magical powers. They were created by fairies, pixies, elves or witches. It was caused by fairies and pixies dancing over the ground, forming a ring of mushrooms. In Scandinavia, the elves were responsible. In Germany, witches made spells on the earth to cause the rings. As I have done walked into a circle of mushrooms, "Others tell tales of these rings transporting people who mistakenly walk into their circle, taking them to far off places or strange lands." Page source. However, some said that it was "bad luck" to enter a fairy ring!

Entering a fairy ring, according to European folklore was extremely bad luck. They were guarded by huge toads that would curse anyone who entered the circle. Other superstitions were that, if one entered a fairy ring, soon they would lose one of their eyes. Other stories warned young girls against touching the dew inside a fairy ring; if it got on your skin, it would develop into skin problems. Almost all European folklore has a warning against entering a fairy ring because the fairies could kidnap you as soon as you stepped into one. Or the fairies might wait until you were in bed asleep, and slip a changeling into your place. Many tales also tell of people who have stepped inside fairy rings and were never seen again, or of others, who have gone inside one only to be driven insane by the music of the elves that they could hear once inside. Several other legends say that stepping into a fairy ring would allow one to see fairies and elves, but would also make the person prone to their deceptive illusions as well. (Author - FairyLore)

Strange. On the day that I entered the ring of mushrooms, my friend had to finish work early for a failed eye and needed to see a doctor. At the weekend I also discovered some pretty unpleasant things had been happening in the past. I also fell out with people and almost got bitten by a dog! Is any of this true or am I reading too much into the folklore myths?

There is more folklore about Fairy Rings here:

Fairy Rings: Nature's Magical Mushroom Circles from Environmental Graffiti.

Fairy Ring - Wikipedia

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Poisonous berries and things

(Sorry but this might be a case of Lycanthropy, given that I was affected by the full moon last night in a bad way. I kept falling out with other people over subjects on food!)

It's that time of year also when we move closer to the darker season. The days shorten. It feels colder and it's getting colder and colder. There are also many colours in the gloom that look pretty in the woodlands, forests and gardens. However, some is totally poisonous and must be avoided.

Now here is a few of those Autumn plants and fruits that should not be eaten.

Wild mushrooms = Some look edible, and some look juicy and rich. However DON'T eat them! Please do not eat them even if you feel tempted by looking at them. Carefully, using gloves, pick off and chuck away any wild mushroom that you find growing in your garden or wherever children are playing (playgrounds, parks, lanes, walkways and even the yard). Once you pick these wild mushrooms, get rid of them so these are out of anyone's reach.

Roses and fallen stff from trees = Prune the rose bushes otherwise it would give off a dirty look and make the sourrounding soil a bit nasty. Clear away fallen leaves, berries, sticks and other foliage from trees that land around your house for some of these could be, or would get, quite toxic.

Wild berries = Some are unedible and quite toxic even though some are used in herbal remedies, medicines, food conserves and ingrediants. Yet there are those berries which cannot and shouldn't be eaten raw. Now here is a list of these colourful and pretty poisonous wild berries:

1. (Hawthorn) These tiny red berries are used in making wine and jam but they're not pleasant to eat raw. Some of them have a bitter taste and others may cause pain. Not to be eaten, and those with a heart disorder should not really consider touching them as raw berries.

2. (Honeysuckle) Avoid eating the seeds of these red berries.

3. (Yew berries) These berries are lethal and highly poisonous. 

4. (Black Bryony) These pretty clusters of bright red berries are extremely poisonous and should not be consumed at all.

5. (Bittersweet) Grown in groups of oval shaped berries, these are also called "Woody Nightshade" and they are really poisonous.

6. (Spindle) The Autumn grows such cute pink berries that are really very poisonous and deadly.

7. (Holly) The luscious looking rubylike berries with the prickly leaves are poisonous and must not be eaten.

8. (Butcher's Broom) Red berries grown among a stabbing prickly plant mustn't be eaten. These are poisonous to humans.

9. (Ivy) A bunch of small black berries are very bad and must not be eaten by anyone.

10. (Tutsan) Part of the St John's Wort family genus, these berries are used in medicines but they're not edible and mustn't be eaten.

11. (Lilly Of The Valley) Red berries grown from this plant are very poisonous.

12. (Black Nightshade) This changes from green and black, and they shouldn't be consumed.

13. (Deadly Nightshade) Extremely toxic black berries.

14. (Dogwood) These black berries are unpleasant tasting and it's advisable not to eat them.

15. (Herb Paris) Poisonous black berries.

Thanks to the helpful information out there. There is more to be found here:
Safe Gardening
Berries - Food School
Wiki list of poisonous plants

Also Potatoes "also produce berries after flowering.These berries contain a very deadly alkaloid poison and have been in the past responsible for a number of fatalities.The berries appear after flowering in clusters on a short stalk. Each cluster contains an average of six berries.Small, shiny, and green, the berries have a five lobed calyx and are topped by a short stalk." Source.

In my garden there is a sprig of orange berries that fell from a climbing tree next door. These orange berries might be Rowan. I still make sure that no one eats them because they're wild and raw, containing toxins (regardless of the fact these berries are used in food and medicine). I pass a lot of brightly coloured berries and they look like sweets... be warned.

Books on this subject : "Poisonous Plants in Great Britain" by Fred Gillam. "Poisonous Plants: A Guide for Parents and Childcare Providers" by Elizabeth A. Dauncey. "Wicked Plants" by Amy Stewart.   

Monday, 3 October 2011

Opal - Wolf of October

The birthstone of October is an OPAL. It's considered lucky to wear an opal if you were born in this month.

For those who were born in the month of October the Opal is the traditional birthstone. The October birthstone poem reflects some of the properties with which the Opal is associated -  hope, innocence and purity. The Traditional Metaphysical Properties for the October Birthstone Opal are happiness, faithfulness, loyalty and confidence. The healing properties of the October birthstone are reputed to be effective for health problems relating to the eyes and eye infections. The Opal is also used to enhance visualization, imagination, dreams and healing.

For more about the birthstone.

And  "Combined with modern techniques of polishing, doublet opal produces similar effect of black or boulder opals at a mere fraction of the price. Doublet opal also has the added benefit of having genuine opal as the top visible and touchable layer, unlike triplet opals."

"In the Middle Ages, opal was considered a stone that could provide great luck because it was believed to possess all the virtues of each gemstone whose color was represented in the color spectrum of the opal. It was also said to confer the power of invisibility if wrapped in a fresh bay leaf and held in the hand."

Opal information

The Opal is a gift also.

Opal Gemstone

Opal Healing and Magic -
"Opal talisman boosts foresight. According to some legends Opal's wearer can telepathically influence other people - if not for his own profit."

You can also find other October birthstones - "here"

October is a very interesting time, when the gates of this world are open to spirit realms and other dimensions, as they say. The threshold of the spirit realm comes down and this is a time when people are more sensitive to magic and visualising entities or experiencing supernatural forces. I'm going by the general view here. I personally think this isn't the only time of year but during the Autumn season, October is filled with celebration and feasting of the dead, in honour of ancestors, in recognition of the psyche and psychic abilities. Halloween comes by the end of the month, when the season is nearing the darker period of the year and Winter gets closer. Halloween is followed by other rites and rituals of the dead (not to mention the dressing up!)

The "Opal Wolf" is the special October birthday person of the month of October, whether is is those born under Libra (23 September- 22 October) and Scorpio ( 23 October - 21 November).

October born Libra people are balanced but scatty.
October born Scorpio people are loyal but frosty.

(These are just my own observations of people I knew born under these starsigns. Also it's combined with reading materials. This is not an assumption on each individual.)