A Ghostly Tea

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Lindsay Luna is an agrarian witch, living in the heart of the Pacific Northwest with a wild crew of boys and furred and feathered friends. Former proprietress of Altar & Leaf and Danmala Teas, Lindsay creates spaces for magical folks to gather and learn in community on her family’s farm, as well as blending seasonal teas for the Hagfoot Hidden Market during the dark season. Follow her on Instagram @hagfoot and follow the farm @gattheratthestudio

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This writing is adapted from Lindsay’s Ebook, The Heart of Blending: Autumn and the images belong to Lindsay. The Heart of Blending is being published in our quarterly print publication and here on The Archives on a monthly basis. Please enjoy these lovely rituals and recipes.

When the October mists roll in I can be found between two worlds preparing for the harvest feast and guiding the apparitions as they come like a plumes of smoke from the incense burner.

The veil is waning and I can feel it in my bones. As my own mortal body becomes a gateway for those who have passed on.I have become used to this eerie aperture as the years have passed, lasting the entire dark half of the year.

So...Let's hone our necromancy skills.

Mourning Tea Ritual

I often find that when I sit down for tea ritual I am not alone. There is a gathering of souls that circles round and sips their tea as reverently as I.

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In those hushed moments of the early mornings, when twilight is just beginning to dance across the sky or in the late evening when the earth is cloaked in midnight velvet. We can feel the presence of our guides most profoundly.

I wake before dawn just to sit among them. Whether we choose to cross the threshold of communication or not, my guides are present. Providing comfort just as warm as the cup in my hands.

The following ritual is for honoring and giving thanks for those who have gone before us. Whether they are our relatives, lovers, friends, teachers or pets.

We can give thanks to the lessons we have learned from, the gifts we have received from them, and maybe receive communication back. This is not meant to be a way to call in the dead - this is a gratitude ritual.

Used with an open mind and an open heart, communication with the other side is possible, but it doesn't always happen.

Remember that if you ask for a sign, it may not come during ritual; it could come at another time, and be as subtle as a special feather found on a walk. Just be aware and watch the world around you. Signs from those who have passed are often very subtle and will have meaning to only you.

Gather the following items:

  • A picture of an ancestor or memento of your heritage

  • An object that best represents your spirit guides,

  • Tealight

  • Herbs of Dead: Rosemary, Thyme, Bay Leaf, Lemon Balm

  • A cup of tea for you and one as an offering to your ancestors.

I recommend performing this ritual near a window. Windows are magical in their own way. It allows for a shift in perspective. Seeing through a veil of sorts as - one world looks in and another looks out.

If you have pictures of those you want to give thanks and honor to, that is helpful, or you can hold an image of them in your mind. Lighting a candle is also often helpful with focusing for meditation. If you wish to make an altar, keep it simple. Add a few dried botanicals. I like to add a sprig of fresh rosemary for remembrance. If you are a bone collector- add bones, feathers, etc. Pick a time that you will not be disturbed, and a quiet place to perform the ritual.

The Ritual

The candles are lit, come inside. Have a seat by the fire and sit for a spell as I start the kettle. I have a story to share…

Let’s take a moment before the kettle sings, sit in stillness and see what it brings.

Fill your body up with breath.

Belly, lungs, open your chest.

Pause and then release. Slowly dear, there's no hurry here.

Take this moment to give peace and thanks.

The kettle’s ready and the waters hot, fill your cup with all you've got.

Steep your herbs and let’s breathe again. We are taking a journey as the veil thins.

Honor the past, and the dearly departed. Light a candle to guide the brokenhearted.

Now stir in some honey to renew the sweetness of life. Lift the cup to your lips and draw in the spice.

Let the flavors of the season wax on your tongue. Dance and sing for autumn has begun!

When you have completed giving thanks to the people (or pets), you wished to include in the ritual, sit quietly for a while. Give thanks for the protection you were given during the ritual, and then blow out the candle.

Giving thanks to our ancestors and teachers is something we can do everyday, not just once a year on Samhain. But on the night that the veils between the worlds are thinnest, it is a good way to show our appreciation for those who have gone before us, and will be there to show us the way when we cross over.

Seasonal Blends

These seasonal blends work well in the Mourning Tea Ritual, or simply as joyful blends for the chill days ahead, while the veil thins.

Remembrance Steep

2 parts Rosemary

2 parts Lemon Balm

2 Parts Cinnamon

1 part Thyme

1 part Sage (culinary, not white) 1 whole Bay Leaf

Add ingredients to infuser and steep with freshly boiled water for 5-8 mins. Strain and sweeten to taste with honey.

You can double this recipe and set up a dumb supper tea setting to honor the ancestors and your dearly departed. I occasionally will also set aside a tumbler of uisce beatha (Irish Whiskey) for my ancestors.

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Queen of the Ghosts

The moon is my mother. She is not sweet like Mary.

Her blue garments unloose small bats and owls.”

― Sylvia Plath

3 parts Yunnan Gold Tea leaf 2 parts Cinnamon chips

2 parts Coconut slivers

1 part Carob

1 part cocoa nibs

1 part Cornflower .5 parts Cardamom .5 Vanilla Bean

Tip: Try this one as a tea latte and ghostly apparitions may appear.