The veil is said to be thin during the time of Beltane and Samhain making it a good time to connect with spirits and departed family. Dreams are one of the ways to do that and so it was included in an Herbs of Samhain workshop last week. Please do a little additional research to what is included in this post and find your best combination of herbs. A good nights sleep has a different purpose from more vivid dreaming and herbal effects will differ from person to person.
Let’s start with an easy way to iron a pillow together and then we will move on to herbal options.
They allow themselves to be turned and ironed with a pretty good chance of getting things even.
The green boxes and black cat crossing would fall into that category.
The night sky with stars is best measured and marked/pinned to ensure accuracy.
Give yourself a seam of at least a 1/4 of an inch, 1/3 if you feel the need for more leeway.
Fold over the seams and press with a hot iron. Ensure the corners are not overextended. Refold and reiron any corners that have inside sections visible on the outside.
Cut a thin strip of iron on webbing, slightly narrower than the width of your seam. We used Pellon Wonder Web. You make have a different brand where you live. It is a fusible material that says it is washable and drycleanable.
This will act as glue when ironed between two pieces of material. When using webbing, the iron temperature should be set to the lowest temperature with steam your iron has.
An ironing cloth that can be moistened is also needed. A tea towel will do the job when we reach that stage.
Place the strip of webbing on just over half of the seam. The reason for just over half (1/8 – 1/16 of an inch) is so that when the material is folded in half and ironed, the webbing will go right into the corners and not leave a tiny section open where the herbs can fall out.
Fold the material over, adjust position and check the corners. When happy with the position, cover with a damp cloth and iron for 10 seconds. The cloth will be dry and the seams glued together. Time and pressure are important for a good seal.
Let the pocket cool down before continuing.
I was looking for a simple way to create pillows for people who were not feeling comfortable sewing.
Sewing will last longer but since these would be filled with herbs and will need to be renewed every so often, the webbing made an excellent, quicker and in some cases neater, secondary option.
These pillow do not need to be thick. In fact they are better thinner as slipped inside a regular pillow, they will not feel bulky and uncomfortable.
The stuffing used was old fashioned cotton batten collected from pill bottles over about a year but it is possible to find alternate option in a fabric store.
Ensure that the cotton batten is worked out to the corners of the pillow and that the filling feels evenly dispersed.
When satisfied, bring the open edges of the fourth side together.
This may take a little extra manouvering as the material is no longer flat and the top side will need to be pulled over to align both edges.
Lay the webbing betweenhe seams, cover with the damp pressing cloth and firmly iron 10 seconds to seal. Done!
When adding the webbing, do so in the space between the lines, leaving the outside section, closest to the edge of the material open and available for threading the ribbon through.
Start by folding and ironing the side seams and then folding over the drawstring section. This will give clean enter/exit edges for the ribbon.
When adding the webbing for the side seams start it at the outside black line and end just over the halfway point.
Follow the instructions above and finish by running two rounds of ribbon, in opposite directions through the open sections at the top of the bag. Cut to desired length and knot. Fill and hang in an appropriate location, close to the pillow being slept on.
No Sew Sleep/Dream Pillow from My Kitchen Wand
Mugwart, Rosemary and Yarrow are all herbs associated with Samhain.
Mugwort is on the left and is considered a magical herb that supports visionary states via dream or trance and can also help with sleeplessness, nightmares and the anxieties they cause. It can also be used, combined with Wormwood in the cleaning and consecrating of sacred tools. This would be a good time to share that I have seen several times pictures of Mugwart, shown on the internet that are in truth Wormwood. Both plants are from the Artemisia family. Wormwood is entirely silver in colour while Mugwart had red stems, green top leaves and silver underneath. Be sure you know what you are collecting.
Folktales suggest mugwart in shoes can defend against weariness. Using it in incense, mugwart is said to act as protection, both to the building itself and to any wards. That element of protection is helpful also when lucid dreaming.
Mugwart’s association with divination and dreaming has written references that go back to the eight hundreds. It has been suggested that combining mugwort with rosemary will aid your dreams in becoming more interesting. Commonly available in Europe, it may take some searching in North America.
As with all foraged plants, take only what you need, leave enough so that the plant can recover and hold gratitude in your heart as you cut away parts of the plant.
Rosemary is the plant in the middle of the above picture. Rosemary, as the saying goes, is useful for remembering and connecting to ancestors. It was also used as an aid for vivid dreaming. Ancient Roman students would wear rosemary in their hair to aid in learning and today it is being studied in Japan for those same qualities. As with Elder, it is a traditional funerary incense; burned in the homes of those who have passed and placed in coffins and pyres to honour the power of death as the great renewer of life, highly appropriate for the themes of Samhain. Including small amounts of rosemary may have a clarifying effect on your dreams.
Yarrow was often used in the treatment of battle injuries but for our purposes it can be used in workings related to healing, love, and courage. It aids in inducing prophetic dreams on the subject of future marriage mates. As a staple of folk magick from ancient times, it is known throughout the world as an herb of divination, a messenger of both good and bad as well as a talisman of courage and protection. Additionally yarrow aids in sleep.
Sleep is a time to file away the events of the day, to process and cope with the issues of the psyche. Dreaming can help process issues which in turn helps life be a little more balanced.
The combination used for these pillows as mugwart, yarrow, rosemary, catnip, lemon balm, rose petals and calendula. The mixture was about 25% percent each of yarrow and mugwort with the remains herbs coming in at about 10% each. Two to three drops of lavender essential oil was added to each pillow as we were out of dried flowers.
Other additions that support sleep are chamomile, hops, oat straw, passion flower, skullcap and valerian. It may take a little trial and error to locate the combination that works best for your purposes.
With different herbs these pretty pillows can also be created to support mood or confidence, calm and de-stress or hold herbs that bring protection or patience. A small amount of material and herbs that could also make a very personalized Yule gift for some special.