Heather 2024

By S.F. Skyheart - June 19, 2024
Heather 2024

According to the Celtic Tree Calendar, the day before the Summer Solstice (Midsummer or Litha) is called the Day of Heather.

Heather is an evergreen shrub that grows in dense clusters close to the ground. Heather has gray-green stalks with broom shaped branches and tiny, needle-like leaves. It flowers from late June to September, with bell-shaped blossoms most often in a pale purple color, but can be white. 

It is native to Europe, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, and the Azores, and was introduced by world travelers to North America, Australia, New Zealand, and the Falkland Islands. It is usually 8-20 inches tall, and is an extremely cold-hardy perennial, surviving severe exposure and freezing conditions, as well as grazing and even occasional light burning. It dominates the landscape of most European heaths and moors (floodplains), but can be found in bogs and woodlands as well. New Zealand has had to take actions to curb its overgrowth as an invasive weed within its protected national wilderness and park areas. It is a reliable food source for a variety of wildlife including sheep, deer, willow grouse, red grouse, heather beetles, and small emperor moths.

In folk medicine, heather was used in a tincture to dissolve stones in the gallbladder and kidneys, and as a topical treatment for insect bites and stings. In traditional Austrian medicine, it is made into a tea for kidney stone and urinary tract infections. It was once widely used to tan leather and dye wool yellow. In the Middle Ages and even into the 1700s, it was combined with malt to make gruit, a flavoring mixture added in the brewing of heather-beer and ale. More recently, heather honey has become a highly valued product from moorland and heathland areas, because of its strong taste and thicker, jellylike texture.

In Scotland, white heather is regarded as lucky, often sold as a charm or included in bridal bouquets. It is believed that Queen Victoria spread this tradition from the royal Scottish castle Balmoral to England. Its stalks are also used in sentimental Scottish handmade jewelry. Heather has long been used for besoms (brooms) for energetic and actual cleaning.

Considering its ability to survive extreme cold and grazing mammals, and its uses for good fortune, energy clearing, and protection, Heather ultimately reminds us that no matter what is happening in our lives, we will likely survive and be protected from harm. On this day before the summer solstice, it is wise to take time to cleanse our spaces, perhaps with a broom of heather, and to organize any cluttered areas, with the intention of clearing any stuck or stagnant energy. It may also be good to keep heather in the bedroom to help manifest new opportunities.

Do what lights you up,

See also: 

Heather: Ur
Heather: Uraz
Heather: Golden apatite
Heather: frog
Midsummer 2024
Hazel June 13 - July 10
Apple June 13 - July 10

Cancer 2024
Celtic Tree Months

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Windy City Witch: Cancer
Windy City Witch: Summer
Windy City Witch: Midsummer

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