My daughter loves making perfumes and potions. I can clearly remember my own potion phase. I reckon it’s probably etched on my mum’s memory too- I’m sure it was she who emptied out the stinky rotten rose petals once the potion was forgotten.
Below is a story and an activity you can share with children: making potions that are practical and powerful. Making magic meaningful.
We all have our own special magic and we all have the power to change things for each other, just by being ourselves. Sharing love and kindness, can bring space to things that might feel stuck or painful.
Beltane is a time of rising juices. Everything in the land feels potent and fertile. Here is a Beltane story to share with children. About love and the magic of presence. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did when it arrived.
Once upon a time there was a woman who lived in a crooked little cottage. She had a crooked little nose and two crooked little eyes and when children walked past the crooked little cottage, sometimes they felt scared of her crooked face and crooked house. Sometimes because they were scared and no one had taught them about kindness they said unkind things like ‘witch!’ Sometimes the grown-ups who hadn’t learnt to be kind and learnt to be brave also said ‘witch’ as they passed her crooked cottage.
Now you might think that this made the woman sad, but the woman had learnt to be kind and had learnt to be brave and best of all, she knew that she WAS a witch. Her mama had been a witch, her grandmother before her, all the way back to the times before people started to be scared of the power of women who knew. All the way back to the times when women like her had been called wise, not witch.
Today as the woman sat in her garden she was thinking sad thoughts, not because of the children who passed but because her mother had died. She now lived alone in her cottage. As she thought sad thoughts, she remembered that she knew she was never alone as she could talk to the plants and sometimes, if she REALLY listened, they would talk back. As she sat in her garden, appreciating the plants and the beings who looked after them, she felt the sun on her face and she started to appreciate the warmth of the sun after a winter of sadness. The sun warmed her face and her skin, all the way into her bones. She felt herself relax…
As she sat there loving the sun, she began to appreciate the flowers that were beginning to bloom and then the insects that had emerged after their winter hibernation. She began to listen to the birds singing happily to each other. She remembered the sound of her mother’s voice singing her favourite song. After a while there was no more space for sadness, there was only warmth, relaxation and appreciation.
Just then a man was walking down the road. This man had been travelling and was tired. He was so tired and his feet hurt. But as he walked he heard a wren sing and that drew his eyes to the hawthorn buds that were soon to pop and bring forth their beautiful white blossom. He saw the insects on the plants by the road and then he started to feel the warmth of the sun on his face. The sun felt so good, he realised how long he had been feeling tense in his shoulders and he let his bag fall to the ground.
He rested for a while by a wall, feeling peaceful and happy. When he looked up, he saw he was leaning on a wall outside a crooked cottage and outside it stood a woman, holding a cup of coffee. ‘I made this for you,’ she said. ‘Would you like to sit here and rest a while? You look tired. You look like you have come far.’ The man had come far and he did wish to sit for a while in the beautiful crooked garden, outside the crooked cottage. As he sat, he and the woman began to talk. They spoke about their lives and the things that they loved. The woman shared with the man what she knew about plants and magic. The man opened his bag and showed her his own magic. ‘You know how to make medicines that will help people and heal their hearts. I too make medicine.’ He took out a small bottle which seemed to be filled with shining powder. ‘In this bottle I have put kindness and prayers, wishes and hopes and dreams.’ The woman took the bottle from the man’s hand and brought it to her face. As she undid the stopper she felt everything he had said. His beautiful dreams seemed to flood out of the bottle and wrap themselves around her heart like a blanket of feathers.
The man stayed in the crooked cottage for a few days but too soon it was time for him to leave. When he was gone the woman found that she did not miss him. Instead the woman now felt him everywhere. In conversations she had, in the funny things she now said to the children who passed. And in the bottle. She began to make bottles of her own, mixing her own medicines with hopes and dreams but mostly, with the new feeling she had, the feeling of love.
As the years passed the face of the woman began to take on more lines, each one speaking of wisdom she had gained, adventures she had had and places she had been.
One day as she knelt, tending to her dandelions, something made her look up. And there was the man. With his rucksack. ‘I was in a far land and and I received a bottle,’ he said ‘A bottle which contained medicine and when I opened it I felt my heart surrounded by a blanket of warm feathers. Your bottles have travelled all over the world and everywhere they go they help hearts to feel safe to open.’
The woman picked up her rucksack which was packed ready and shut the door of the crooked cottage. She took the hand of the man and closed the gate behind her. They walked down the road together sharing songs they had learnt along their way, feeling the warmth of the sun on their faces and the sure solid ground beneath their feet.
Sharing Magic Bottle Making with Children
- Circle round and/or snuggle up
- Tell the Magic Bottle Story (stories are far more magical told rather than read. Make it your own story…)
- Elicit from the children what kinds of unwellness people they know might have. Invite the children to think of anyone who might need help/ prayers/ magic/ love to heal their bodies, minds and/or hearts.
- At this time of year (late spring) there are an abundance of wild plants with which we can make our potions. Always be sure to gather only as much as you need, a leaf/ flower here and there. I teach the asking of the plant, listening for an answer and deeply thanking after a harvest has been made. If you think that’s odd, my friend’s mum sneaks up on her foragings to retain the full magical potency! Respect for all life feels more important now than ever, however children learn that is valid.
- Prevent stinky mush by sterilising containers. Small, clear, glass bottles work really well.
- Make real tinctures and perfumes with real plant-medicines and essential oils. Here is a wonderful resource with recipes available: http://www.sensorysolutions.co.uk/blog.html
- Once the tinctures/ perfumes are made, have the children hold the bottles and give the contents the person-specific blessings for wellness.
- Add glitter, ground mica or small chips of crystal for added magic
- Make labels with one word which most conveys the healing gift you are wishing to impart.
- Give the gifts with love!