do you have any good herb replacements for alder? (it's being used because of the properties that make it commonly used in both music and wind-whistling magic, and i have no way to get alder.)
This is a bit of a tough one to answer since I don’t know how you might be applying the herbs when you sub them for alder in your practice–are they being burned? Ingested? Applied topically? Used as a wand? I’ll do my best to give you some general options, but feel free to make a more specific inquiry. Musically inclined uses for herbs are few and far between, so this is mostly regarding the wind-whistling.
Other woods may be more accessible than alder (Alnus spp.). Elder (Sambucus spp.) is a similarly-named wood that shouldn’t be confused with alder, but it shares many of the same properties. The name latin name sambucus comes from a wind instrument traditionally made with elder wood, and it is associated with both music and wind. Elder can be very toxic if handled incorrectly, so you should take care if you use it. Poplar (Populus spp.) has properties regarding speech, language, and wind that you may also find useful.
Popular/generally agreed on herbs for air and wind-calling are anise seed, pansy, saffron, lavender, lemon verbena, heather, mint, and lungwort. Lungwort may be swung around the head or tossed to encourage winds. Not all of these are edible, so please research before you use them internally or externally!
And now, a recipe! This is a modification of a storm-calling/storm-singing brew I have used on occasion. The major changes are some swapped herbs and different intent/natural energy in the water, so it may take a little preparation and waiting for the right weather if you don’t have everything on hand. It is quite flexible with herb proportions, so don’t worry if you only have a little bit of mint or something, just sub in some more of another ingredient.
A brew for wind and storm and voice
- Lavender, a few ounces of culinary grade.
- Mint (or, if you’re a little strapped for fresh herbs, a mint flavoring)
- Elderberries. A spoonful for a more tea-like broth, or 1 cup per 3 cups liquid for a rich syrup. This is used symbolically as a connection to the elder tree and its properties, as described above. Do NOT eat the berries raw, as they are only safe once cooked.
- One to three cups intent-specific water (more below on this)
- Sugar or honey to taste; 1:1 ration to the water for a thick, sweet syrup to add to other beverages, and less for a standalone tea.
- OPTIONAL, depending on intent: Bee pollen, ice cubes
The first step will likely be to fetch or prepare your water. In my original recipe, I use storm water; for a wind-specific brew, wait for an especially blustery storm or drizzle before collecting it. Alternately (especially if you want warm, summer winds), collect wind in a bottle and submerge it into a bowl of your water, allowing it to bubble up and aerate the liquid. The slower the better with the latter method (and it can be used for things other than water!); experiment with bottle angles and partial capping to see if you can get it to infuse gradually over a night or two.
Next, combine your herbs and berries with your water and sugar.
FOR COLD WINDS: Add more mint, use white sugar, and place ingredients in fridge or cool place with ice cubes instead of water. Allow the ice to infuse cold into the other components and allow the mix to cold-brew overnight. You will still need to heat this if you use elderberries; if desired, create and freeze an elderberry tea in place of ice cubes, so you will not need to reintroduce heat after the cold-brewing process. Otherwise, heat the mixture thoroughly, and reduce on a simmer.This is perfect for a brisk, refreshing wind in the summer, or powerful winds in the winter. Best drunk or applied cold!
FOR WARM WINDS: Add more lavender, and use honey instead of sugar. If you have time, I recommend steeping the lavender and honey together in a cozy place for a few weeks beforehand. Combine your base ingredients and get it to a brisk simmer to extract all the herbal essence. Reduce. After cooling, add bee pollen and allow to rest in the sun before using.This is best for strong summer winds, and a warm breeze on too-chilly spring and fall days.
FOR POWER: Add more elderberry. Make a syrup instead of a tea, using lots of the berry for a dark, rich brew. I would personally recommend using storm water AND aerating the water for some extra kaboom; if possible, create the potion on a day that’s already windy/stormy, and cool the syrup outside as the wind howls. Sing to it or play music if you’re comfortable–stuff with heavy drums and monotone vocals is my fave for big moody weather feelings.
if a tea, drink shortly before attempting vocal, whistling, or wind magic. Drink hot if working vocally to loosen your voice. If a syrup, add to water or another beverage, or apply to your lips. You can also take it as a thick tonic. I would recommend clearing your mind and meditating on the potion’s purpose before consuming.
I hope this is useful! Followers, feel free to chip in; wind and music magic are not generally my arena, so if anyone can help this anon, I’m sure they would appreciate it!