Alright, here it is! You’ve waited long enough. The journey was long and, at times, hard, but was ultimately one of the most rewarding things I have done in a long time.
I was lucky enough to get word that a house we would be working at had a ton of Iris Germanica roots (Iris Root, Orris Root, or Queen Elizabeth Root to you magical practitioners and witches) that needed to be pulled and chucked. The owners had loved them, but they had overtaken the entire garden and needed to be gone. When I arrived I marveled at how many of them there actually were. Thanks were said to the roots, hours in the sun were spent sweating, digging, and pulling. When I was done I found myself with a giant sack filled with more roots than your average human could lift by themselves. I divided the roots in half (thankfully, the amount that we ended up taking was a LOT of work) and we left the other half of them out for passers-by to take. They were gone within the half hour.
I pulled the half sack, which weighed in at about 30 pounds, into the house and began to plot our attack. The roots were then placed on some newspaper on the workshop table for initial look-over and decision making.
We made a game plan and dove in! Sara and I both grabbed our trimmers and gloves and got to work. First we had to remove all of the green leaves and cute little rootlets. This took a long while, but we had so much fun talking to the roots, getting them nice and sheared, and watching the raw root bucket get piled up.
After that was done we had a drink! *WHEW* It took a while to get all of those roots cleaned up. We put all the dry dirt, leaves, rootlets, and debris back into the main bag and inspected our raw root bin. Both cats were very inquisitive as to the huge lump of “outside” we had brought in with us that day. We then laid out the trimmed-up roots so that they could dry out a bit more and rest before we skinned them, trimmed them, and divided them up into dry-able parts.
We quickly fell into a slumber after that much work. Seriously, it took about 4 hours of continuous trimming to get them to be as neat as in the picture above. Local IPA’s and Apfel Schnapps helped. Good music as well. The next day I began the long process of skinning/peeling the roots to get through the tough skin to the rooty-goodness underneath. I used my scalpel-sharp Exacto blade set. Over the next two weeks, each day without fail, I would grab a few handfuls of roots, peel them up nicely, chop them into different sized slabs, and place them into our dehydrator. The dehydrator is an amazing tool and proved it’s usefulness and strength to us by running and drying out these roots, in intervals, but always on, for two straight weeks. Night and day we had the scent of drying roots flowing around our home. Divine!
One thing that we made certain to attempt was the act of cutting a small hole very carefully into the tender roots. We are hoping to make successful Queen Elizabeth Root Pendulums. You can use any Queen Elizabeth Root for divining of a spiritual nature. We had our fingers crossed that they would come out alright and we’re very pleased with the results:
We are thrilled with how the pendulums turned out. Some were more perfect than others, but they are all powerful divination stations. We had remembered to talk to them, offer our thanks, and let Queen Elizabeth know how wonderful she was for helping us out and giving us such a perfect bounty. Working with the roots, from start to finish, helped tune me into them like nothing else had before. The experience gave us both such a new found appreciation for this powerful root. It was a way for us to be one with the roots, take the things that we had learned, and apply it to work done with her in the future.
One surprising thing to come from the entire undertaking was a little gift given to us by the Queen Elizabeth Root herself. Out of all the pounds of roots that were pulled, some were re-planted, some were left on the sidewalk in a sack for someone to take and re-plant, and the others were taken home with me for this project. Willy-nilly like, with very little regard for what went where as such. Think of our surprise when we found a guest among all of the weird shaped roots (one was shaped exactly like a lobster/shrimp, one was like a huge butterfly) in the form of our Queen Elizabeth Poppet! She wanted us to find her and work with her. She was cleaned off and trimmed up a bit, but wanted to be left as intact as possible. We have her on a throne of rocks overlooking our workspace now—she’s watching me as I type out this post, in fact! The spirit of the Queen Elizabeth Root was, and still is, very much present for our endeavors.
After the last batch of the roots were dried out, we jarred them up for safe keeping. We ended up with a giant gallon-plus canning jar of large and medium root pieces, the 11 pendulums, and a little more than 12 ounces of root powder. The amount of things we can use these for is immense. They do have that amazingly pleasant smell of soft summer earth, buttery roots, and light purple, powdery, sweet aroma to them, however they will reach their full scent potency in about a year. They are still very useable right now, very powerful already, and maturing perfectly.
This is just one of many first steps Sara and I are taking to make sure that we can use the most amazing and personal ingredients we can. To make sure that when we have things fully up and running, we will have a working knowledge of as many magical and herbal tools available to us all. Having a strong base to stand on is a main concern of ours. First help yourself (to knowledge) and then use that to help others.
***This blog post was brought to you by Chai Lattes, Nikon Cameras, the continuous musical loop of Jah Division, Lagunitas IPA, and the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot deck…although not in that order. Also I thank ALL of you who follow me on Twitter @JosephMagnuson for slightly nudging me to post more. It’s working you so-and-so’s.***