Community, Guest Posts, Healing Plants

Guest Post: Jess Schreibstein of Witchin’ in the Kitchen

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A Rhubarb Vanilla Cordial by Jess Schreibstein of Witchin’ in the Kitchen

Many moons ago Sarah, Rhae, and I discovered there exists a very special coven of likeminded witches right here on the Internet! For some reason the thought hadn’t even crossed our minds, as blogger newbies, and making the connection with Jess was the most pleasant of surprises! We adore her blog and are so inspired by the beauty of her work. Not only does Jess witch it in the kitchen but she also is becoming quite the herbalist, spins yarn, paints and illustrates wonderful images, brings together the DC community through food swaps, even works behind the scenes for NPR, and is an all around beauty. It is almost as if I made her up!

But folks, she’s real! And this earth goddess works in divine timing and has brought us the perfect recipe for TODAYS Summer Solstice—a rhubarb vanilla cordial!

and check out her blog, I just know you’ll adore her!

rhubarb vanilla cordial for the summer solstice.

The first time I woke up for sunrise on the summer solstice was eight years ago in Glastonbury, England. If you’re caught up on your Arthurian legends, Glastonbury is no other than the mythical island of Avalon, home to pagan priests, priestesses, and a center of magic and healing. And with its majestic abbey ruins, bubbling spring water Chalice Well, and otherworldly Tor, the town surely makes a compelling case to its claim. But the ruins weren’t what convinced me – it was the intense energy of the place, the lucid dreams, the deeper knowing. My mother and I had come to England in celebration and in pilgrimage, and Glastonbury was our final destination.

We rose at 3 am that morning and set out on foot in the dark. We were headed for the Tor, a hill that rises prominently from the low-lying meadows of Somerset. At the peak is a lonely tower, the remains St. Michael’s Church. As we climbed the hill, the sky began to brighten and we could see deep, horizontal terraces carved into the sides of the hill like claw marks. The cause of these terraces remains a mystery, but on that morning, conjectures of a labyrinthian procession of pagans circling the Tor at dawn, candles held aloft, seemed as compelling a theory as any.

When we reached the summit, we stood on a solitary island in an ocean of blue mist that completely obscured the countryside. We were joined at the top by other worshippers, some of them white-robed Druids holding incense and hailing the rising sun. The daylight slowly burned away the mist and revealed trees, lush green slopes, and other white-clad druids scattered at our feet, all chanting towards the east. When the sun finally appeared, the grass and mist refracted the light like a prism.

Since that day, I’ve risen before dawn every summer solstice to greet the sun on its longest lifecycle of the year. This year’s summer solstice coincides beautifully with a supermoon, creating an intensely powerful time for us to speak to our truest yearnings and craft them into being. This June moon is also known as the “Mead Moon,” a time for revelry, play, being fully vested in our community and the earth, and expanding the borders of our consciousness. It’s a time to dance with our wild selves. And of course, this can be spurred along with the aid of mead, or alcoholic ferments, and the mind-altering states they can induce.

I myself am not much of a drinker, but lately I’ve found myself drawn to making my own alcohol infusions, including limoncello and this rhubarb vanilla cordial. When infusing a fruit or herb in alcohol as a cordial, the full energy and medicinal properties of the plant are captured and are then ingested. When making the cordial during an energetically-charged time, such as the intersection of the summer solstice and full moon, the medicine of the brew is amplified.

This rhubarb vanilla cordial uses the last of the spring’s rhubarb and transforms the liquid into a vibrant pink. The vanilla bean isn’t necessary if you don’t have it, but it mellows out the tartness of the rhubarb in a wonderful way. Begin the brew now – setting it in the sunlight during the solstice and the moonlight during the full moon – and enjoy the cordial, chilled in small glasses, with friends in the peak of summer.

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