Monday, January 7, 2013

Bayberry

This weekend, as I walked through my garden to determine what needed to be done before spring planting, I noticed that my wax myrtles were loaded with fruit.  In spite of losing two or three during the drought last year, I still have a lot of wax myrtles and as with every other plant in the garden (oak to citrus) these guys produced like wild this year.

Wax myrtles are known by several names:  Candleberry, Tallow Shrub, Waxberry, and most commonly, Bayberry.  They thrive in coastal gardens as large shrubs, or in my case small, ornamental trees and wildlife loves them.  In colonial times, the discovery of bayberry wax was a welcomed change from the rendered fat commonly used for candles, and because bayberry wax burns with a pleasant, almost smokeless flame, they were preferable to smokey grease lamps.

The downside to making bayberry candles is the effort involved.  The berries themselves are tiny (about 1/8 a centimeter in diameter) and somewhat labor intensive to harvest.  Mostly I just rolled the clusters off of the branches, but there were a lot of clusters on a lot of branches.  Moreover, it takes five to fifteen pounds of bayberries to make one pound of bayberry wax.  I'll be honest here, I may have gotten all of a pound and a half of berries before the shine was off this little adventure.  When all is said and done, I may get enough wax for a tealight, but it will be the most magickal tealight I've ever made for I plan to visualize the heck out of my intent while I am rendering the wax.
Bayberry can be used for spells involving luck, money, healing and stress relief.  In the language of flowers, bayberry signifies instruction.  Since I save most of my spell work for special occasions, I'll keep the candle (or hopefully candles) I make for the next full moon or Imbolc and use them for blessings.
If you're desperate for bayberry candles, but don't have the time or berries to make them, here are some links to buy:
http://www.isabellacatalog.com/p/Hand-Dipped-Bayberry-Tapers-6.cfm?tid=708032027 
http://www.capecandle.com/bayberry-candles.aspx

No comments:

Post a Comment