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The spruce family is a family of particular warmth - drawing their warming powers into the white nights of the midnight sun and mild summers of the high north. Norway Spruce are sentinels that envelope their network of companions in a blanket of protective, feminine energy. A lymphatic, respiratory and immune system healer. Often used, alongside birches, for maypole traditions. A ballast of light in the darkest times.

Latin: Picea abies, meaning “fir-like”

Properties: Poultice for chronic and acute wounds, stimulates interior and exterior circulation (treating nerve pain, revitalizing skin, increasing blood supply and acting as an expectorant), high in Vitamin C, long living, evergreen, wind resistant and fast growing.

Companions: Porcini, Yellow Fly Agaric, Solomon’s Seal, Wild Ginger, Spikenard, Lactarius and Agaricus.

Wild endive, lion’s teeth, clockflower, worm rose, butter flower, the devil’s milk bin, blow-ball, telltime and the priest’s crown. Sometimes loved, sometimes loathed, but always there when you need them most. A healer of soil, a stimulating tonic for the listless - their basal rosettes form a brooch on the sidewalk. It’s golden hues are sympathetic to the jaundiced and stagnant, and they bring levity and motion to our most languid systems. They keep local and seasonal time and are one of the many earth clocks. Just like their astrological counterparts, Leo’s, Dandelions are as generous as they come.

Latin: Taraxacum officinale, roughly meaning “bitter herb of the apothecaries.”

Properties: Tonic for the liver, promotes lymphatic motion, alkalizes the body, stimulates insulin production, high in Vitamin A + C and minerals, stimulates appetite and digestion, cooling, drying, bitter and diuretic.
Companions: Apples, peaches, strawberries, cherries, tomatoes, pollinators and runner beans. Dandelion makes for a great companion plant on fruit orchards. They naturally produce ethylene gas, which helps fruit ripen early and evenly, and they enrich the surrounding soil with important minerals and nutrients.

A drop of blood in the fallow, food for the farrow, rose of the sallow. A cherry in the dunes. Radishes are a cooling plant that symbolize vitality, renewal, strife and wind. Watermelon, Black, Easter Egg, Daikon, Green Meat, Perfecto and White Hailstone are just a few of our favorite varietals. Listen carefully and you can intuit all the gifts she has to offer. The spring thaw mirrors itself in radishes nature as the cooling, water-bearer. She is said to sweeten the blood, quicken the spirit and soothe the nerves.

Latin: Raphanus sativus, meaning quickly appearing, cultivated root.

Properties: Radishes are a blithe vegetable, rarely suffering from blights or pests. One of the quickest producers of the spring, but has a very lengthy season of viability depending on the species. A burst of light in the white season, radishes contain Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Potassium, Phosphorus, B Vitamins and lots of trace minerals. Juice from the earthstone is a potent remedy for all of the stone ailments (i.e. gall, kidney and bladder) and quickens the homeostatic reflex, allowing the body to heal itself more quickly.

Companions: Its sympathetic nature can readily be seen in its diversity of visual harmonics. Planted alongside cucumber and squash, radish helps to repel their biggest threats. Nasturtium, alliums, marigolds and the umbellifers form vital pheremonic allegiances, protecting your garden from bugs. Sweet peas and pole beans will enrich your soil with nitrogen, helping your radishes thrive. Under no circumstances should radishes be subject to the presence of hyssop - their only true antagonist.

Recipe (enjoy with side of raw radish)

Glasswort is and acts as a medium. A means of transmission, a channel, a liminal state, a container, an environment. A sympathetic vessel, a palette, a mirror - it centers itself in giving and receiving. In this it is both lost and found. Here it finds purpose, but not meaning. It transcribes and is transcribed in the process. As a lens, it brings those around it into focus yet cannot see itself. The soda ash from incinerated glasswort is used to make glass, valued for its crystal clear color. Sympathetic to the season, their stems take on rich purples, reds and pinks moving into leaf season - dappling the marshes like mome raths. You may also know it as swampfire, sea bean, samphire or pickleweed.

Latin: Salicornia depressa, roughly meaning depressed salt horn/branch

Properties: A member of the goosefoot clade, Glasswort is equal parts vegetable, herb and spice. Much like oysters, kelp and other aquacultures - seabeans are a purifying force both within and without. As a halophytic plant (salt-tolerant) that can thrive in saline wastewater, it has the dual value of being a nutritious, commercially-valued vegetables and also treating wastewater from commercial fishing or shrimp operations. Glasswort is a vitamin and ionic mineral powerhouse; it is rich in calcium, iron, iodine, magnesium, copper, potassium, fiber and Vitamins, A, B, C + D. It is also very high in protein for a vegetable. You can find this small, bush-like succulent in the middle + lower levels of salt marshes in May-August in New England. Virginia Glasswort is widely distributed, from the coasts of FL to PEI in the Atlantic and from CA to BC in the Pacific. It is lovely raw, pickled, as a seasoning or cooked as a vegetable.

Companions: Glasswort seeds are a vital food source for passerine birds and geese. It also provides a safe-haven for insects and snails, such as the marsh periwinkle and western pygmy blue, during high tides.The endangered salt marsh harvest mouse relies exclusively on Glasswort for its habitat and primary food source. They eat pickleweed and climb on top if its sturdy leaves to forage more efficiently.

Summer’s currency whorled in the peat moss. Turmeric dancers. The type species, the golden standard. Both yolks and yokes are rooted in the bestial. There’s a certain wild joy in the washes where water goes to rest, and the crow flies over the white oak tree. Here, the blades are mere wrinkles; here, time slows and smells of apricot.

Latin: Cantharellus cibarius, roughly meaning culinary chalice.

Properties: The chanterelle is a cosmopolitan mushroom that occurs nearly worldwide; known as the pfifferling in Germany, the girolle in France and the gallinacci in Italy, it is beloved everywhere it occurs. It’s becoming clearer to science that there are many cryptic cibaroid species hiding within the “golden chanterelle” species complex. Golden chanterelles are one of the few mushrooms that have had no changes to their original latin binomial since it was assigned in the 1800’s. Like their illuminating star, Cantharellus sp. provide high amounts of Vitamin D and quicken the vision with carotenoids.

Companions: Chanterelles are ectomycorrhizal with numerous hardwoods and coniferous trees; in these alliances, the chanterelles and trees exchange nutrients that they can’t synthesize on their own. In the eastern United States, chanterelles associate heavily with Quercus species, but they also find kinship with the dark, witchy hemlock forests of New England. Other companions include: beech, birch, eastern white pine, balsam fir and sphagnum mosses. Care should be taken to avoid poison ivy, as they’re often in cohabitation.

The forbidden fruit, the sister sun. A language of lust ripening as the sun stretches past its zenith. Inherently feminine in nature, the tomato is associated with Venus, Aphrodite and Hera. Like the great yew, the sentinel of immortality and death, the tomato is dichotomous. A foil to the largely toxic Nightshade family it belongs to, the tomato transmutes the toxic into the edible with its fruit. Originally thought to be poisonous, and even hallucinogenic, tomatoes were long considered a corrupting influence in Europe. A drop of sun under the shade of night, tomatoes can be used in place of other apples, earthapples and nightshades in witchcraft to ward off evil and malice.

Latin: Solanum lycopersicum is a combination of both Greek and Latin, roughly meaning Persian sun wolf, or wolf peach. The wolf etymology comes from the fact that many members of the nightshade family are poisonous and “persic.” or peaches, were thought to originate from Persia at the time.

Properties: Pinnate, hairy leaves with 5-9 leaflets; flowers with five petals. Fruits ranging from green, to orange, to yellow, to red, to purple. All parts of the plant, other than the fruit, are mildly toxic, but the leaves can be used in perfumery. Originally cultivated and treasured by the Aztecs and Incas, where other nightshades, like potatoes, were a critical staple in the diet. Tomatoes contain all four major carotenoids, bringing lycopene into focus in particular, which has the highest antioxidant activity of all.

Companions: Many of tomato’s culinary companions are its spiritual allies as well. Basil will help repel harmful flies and worms. Asparagus will help clear the soil of root-knot nematodes attracted to tomatoes, and tomatoes repel asparagus beetles with a chemical called solanine. Nasturtiums are a self-sacrificing companion which keep black flies and aphids busy, so its companions can thrive. Mints, alliums and amaranth will also help with natural pest control. There’s a great deal of harmonic interference between brassicas and tomatoes, so they will stunt each other’s growth. Sympathetic to the rosehip, another red earth stone, tomatoes can protect roses from black spot disease.

Saw-stalked maple. Sister shag. Her secret isn’t safe in an ivory purse; there’s a certain mapley dew that rolls off her lance-shaped leaves and catches in the soft valleys of her voice. Like a honeyguide, a red squirrel shows us exactly when and where we should unwrap her husk. About when it’s time to draw the drapes — when the last trees are felled for winter; here, we get a glimmer of spring. Like sap weeping from the maple in early March, Shagbark Hickory drupes are buttery and sweet. These stores of fats and sugars are often held for 5 years before there’s a banner year, and this energy is clearly transmitted by the fruit they bear.  

Etymology: Carya ovata, roughly meaning egg-shaped nut with connotations of exultation or praise. Carya comes from the pre-Classical ‘Nut Tree Goddess.’ 

Properties: A tree in the walnut family that is present in most of the eastern US, with the exception of the Gulf’s coastal plains. Unlike pecans, the shagbark hickory is self-fertilizing. Hickory milk was a significant food for the Alongquin who used it to make corn cakes and hominy. Its wood imparts wonderful flavor to smoked meats, and the bark can be boiled to create a maple-like syrup. Hickory nuts are also a great source of healthy fats, trace minerals, antioxidants and B Vitamins. Using the doctrine of signatures, or the sympathetic connection between a plant’s physical qualities and its healing properties, we can infer a number of things about hickories.They symbolize patience, as they are very slow growing and require great stores of nutrients to fruit. Hickories also have connotations of release, rebirth and resurrection. Like the snake, the hickory sloughs off its old skin with time. As a deciduous tree, it loses its flowers, leaves and fruit each year. Hickory wood is an ideal construction material for tools such as axe handles, bows, looms and spokes because it is highly flexible and strong. 

Companions: Hickories are an important food source for squirrels, foxes, bears, rabbits and bobwhites. Their loose bark also creates a nesting habitat for the Indiana Bat. Although they serve the same culinary purpose as pecans, even the largest of trees produce unreliable crops making them unsuitable for commercial orchards. However, hickories and pecans can hybridize and a few “hican” varieties are commercially propagated. I often find choice edible boletes, such as: Hemileccinum hortonii, Tylopilus alboater and Boletus separans in association with oak and shagbark hickories. 

There’s a lightness to the margin where light pools in your velveteen hairs. And how the felted feathers spill from the wounded wood in autumn! Oh, and what is a wound but a chance to heal? In her you can see a slow, enveloping primacy that rings like cut crystal across a pond. Sometimes I even see myself reflected in her. Satin shelves and soft fractals. So teach me to answer questions with questions. Let me find strength in softness. Let me be porous like wood.

Etymology: Trametes versicolor, roughly meaning the thin, multi-colored one.

Properties: T. versicolor is a cosmopolitan, saprobic to weakly parasitic, white-rot fungus found in forests all over the globe. It’s cap colors are variable, ranging from blue to brown to green to gray, but it often has a color and shape reminiscent of a turkey’s tail. These distinctive colors are determined in part by the mineral content of the wood they are decaying, and they can be used to create natural dyes with blueish-green hues. The texture of turkey tail is similar to suede, and its flesh is tough and fibrous. The surface of the mushroom is covered in a fine, velvet-like texture and the bottom has minute pores. It has a long history of use in traditional medicine and is known affectionately as yun zhi in China and karawatake in Japan. Their polysaccharides, polyphenols and flavonoids are purported to be immunomodulatory, anti-tumor and antiviral. A comforting, brothy tea reminiscent of aged puerh can be made from the boiled flesh. 

Companions: Turkey Tails are partial to hardwood hosts throughout their range, but can be found associated with conifers from time to time. As early colonizers, they pave the way for a wider variety of wood-rotting fungi to take hold in novel environments. They are powerful decomposers of lignin, so they help to create the nutrients and space needed for new growth in a forest. Through decomposition, T. versicolor helps create habitat for cavity nesting birds and bugs. While they are considered inedible for humans, turkey tails are an important food source for fungus moths, gnats and maggots. 

Community Supported Audio

Community Supported Audio

A monthly mix series we curate with rotating sound designers, musicians and artists. Featuring Jan Julius, Galen Tipton, Jan Julius, Giant Claw a Read More