Harlow opens the the Grimoire with a nod to her grandmother's kitchen, where she was first introduced to tea as healing agent. She reminds us that herbal brews, like the more traditionally considered potions, spells, and magic, are tools and thus an extension of our personal power. “The Great Wisdom that may be taught within these pages is but the root that transforms a simple hand’s gesture into a powerful tool that handles a teacup. It is the greatest of virtues to see the larger realm of magic within the homeliest of recipes.” After a brief look at what tea is, the reader is told how to prepare herbs for use, and what tools we might expect to use.
With that, we dive right into making teas, divided into categories. The first group of twenty-six are Tea Remedies, where we get such recipes as Happiness Tea (Red Clover, Lavender, Marjoram) “to fill the heart and space with needed happiness. Especially favored when shared to others with Lemon slices;” Sleep Tea (Elder Berries, Passion Flower, Thyme, Valerian Root) “to promote restful sleep. If you wish for prophetic dreams, add Rosebuds;” Tarot Tea (dried Cherries, Vanilla Bean, Peppermint, Black Tea) “drink to sharpen the senses during tarot card readings. Use a whole Vanilla Bean …slicing halfway down its stem …as a stirrer” and many, many others. Next we have teas relating to the moon, like Blue Moon (Mugwort, Goldenrod, Blue Mallow, Mullein, Honey) “ideal to drink during a powerful Blue Moon. For it instills wisdom, money, divination, astral travel, courage, banishing, fertility, healing, health, love, prophetic dreams, prosperity, protection, enhancing psychic powers, and strength.” A total of six recipes. We then have Horoscope Teas for each of the zodiac signs, followed by a section of nine Sabbat Tea recipes. Her recipes are intriguing.
At this point the book goes into new territory, and Harlow describes what she calls Blooming Teas. These go beyond typical tea blends in that they visually represent a spell coming to fruition. "To create a blooming tea, you'll gather a bundle of young tea leaves and tie them together with a beautiful floral assembly. This is then bundled into a small ball and dried to contain its shape. Upon brewing, the ball unwraps—literally “blooming” as it brews—revealing the majestic nature of the tea. The result is a lovely and magnificent display of magick manifesting before your eyes."
After a brief look at how to do tea divination we come to a section on Potions, which are similar to the teas, but the ingredients are steeped in alcohol for for one to three weeks before being consumed. Here we are given ten recipes such as the Solar Potion (Tequila Silver, Limes juice, Honey, Sea Salt) “for solar rites and sabbats. To manifest abundance, healing, protection, and love.” And the Protection Potion (Bourbon, Blueberry bourbon, Blueberries, sliced Lemons, Cloves, Honey, Water) “drink or serve to manifest a circle of protection around the person.”
Next we look at how to Empower Our Tea, and finish Herbal Preparations: decoctions, oils, tinctures, vinegars, and more.
With more than 70 recipes and filled with enchanting full-color illustrations, A Tea Witch's Grimore is a lovely book in so many ways, I'm really glad to get a review out in time for gift-giving season.
~review by Lisa McSherry
Author: Susana M. Harlow
Red Wheel Weiser, 2023
pp. 208, $16.95