Enchanted Living: What is WytchWood?
Christina: We created WytchWood in 2019 out of the love for nature and the old ways. In fact our motto is “Derived from nature, Inspired by witchcraft.” We offer various witchy wares and handcrafted goods with a focus on botanically infused pure Vermont maple syrup. We believe there’s a lot of magic and lore in tree blood and that it can be used in any kitchen witch recipe or as part of your rituals.
EL: Who is WytchWood?
Christina: I’m a native Vermonter with magical roots in green and forest witchcraft. I’ve always been drawn to the energy of the forest and her inhabitants. After spending over a decade working in naturopathic medicine and herbalism I’m excited to bring that knowledge into our infusions.
Ben: I have a mixed Norwegian and Scottish background but grew up on the rural outskirts of London, England. My practice is more shamanistic—I call on Norse gods and spirits to aid me and others—and am excited to bring my knowledge of mythology, animism, and heathenry to WytchWood.
EL: What is so magical about maple syrup?
Christina: As with everything in life, maple syrup holds energy. Trees are inherently grounding and rooted in nature, and we believe that as you consume maple syrup you are also getting some of those benefits. Consuming the energetic wisdom held in the tree blood can only be a magical experience. It’s important that in comparison to other sweeteners, it’s very minimally processed, sustainable, environmentally friendly, doesn’t harm other animals in its manufacturing, is not mass produced, and supports small business.
Ben: To us, it is as natural as water, and due to the fact that it is produced by living trees grounded deep into the earth, it is so much more a beautiful thing than what is made by the hands of men. It has a deep and profound meaning, which is why it is so good for rituals, rites, incantations, chants, invocations, spirit walks, trance work, and spells.
How did you guys get started making your own?
Christina: I grew up in Vermont and have always enjoyed pure Vermont maple syrup. My family home has many acres of maple trees, also known as sugar bush, that our neighbor taps to create maple syrup. I was performing a bath meditation one day when I had a eureka moment: that we could take something so natural, so organic, so pure, and imbue it with magic to aid people in their daily lives. In late 2019, Ben and I carried out a test run of our pioneering magical creation, and it sold out in a matter of days.
EL: Each of your syrups is associated with a god or goddess. Can you talk about that?
Christina: We wanted to invoke a strong feeling of empowerment and association with our flavors. Having a god or goddess, a pagan celebration or folklore icon brings a certain energy to every bottle that otherwise it wouldn’t have. We are the only and original witchcraft maple syrup company. We started our 2020 Summer collection with a handful of gods and goddesses that inspire us in our personal magic, like Hecate, Odin, Circe, and Freya.
EL: How did you come up with your various flavors?
Ben: Well, we had to dig into the lore to find something in nature that represented the divine or spiritual aspect on the front of the bottle. Something that accompanied the intention placed within the syrup. As part of our autumn launch we’re offering a syrup based on the voodoo Haitian god Baron Samedi, and we blended organic mango and spicy habanero, both foods of Haiti as well as popular offerings to the Baron. Our focus is to invoke magic in our customers and inspire them to push their own boundaries in their kitchen witch recipes. We are pioneering a new way to enjoy maple syrup.
EL: We understand you use syrup for more than pancakes. What are some of your favorite uses?
Christina: Maple syrup is so versatile! We are coming out with a Magick of Maple cookbook with Imana of Magical Food Department (who took the photos here) to show how it can complement many different recipes. We also believe that our blessed maple syrup allows us to constantly imbibe a sacred substance that cleanses us internally on a spiritual level—like sage and mugwort do to our external environment when we hallow a circle. Our favorite use would be within a ritual, as a libation to the deities and spirits that aids us on our quests or with our intentions.
EL: And what are some of the lesser known benefits of maple syrup?
Ben: What many people don’t know about maple syrup is that it is considered a health food and quite nutritionally dense. We don’t recommend guzzling a gallon of syrup, of course, but even athletes are using small amounts to provide energy to their workouts. It’s full of minerals, and not only is it high in antioxidants, but every spoonful offers nutrients like riboflavin, zinc, magnesium, calcium, and potassium.
EL: What are some of the rituals you perform with the syrup?
Ben: We use a lot of Norse magic in our rituals, so Odin and Freya get used a lot. Odin is very esoteric and represents ecstasy in Norse trance work. I pour our Odin syrup into a bowl and place it by my feet to allow the smell to rise up into my nostrils while I work myself into a trance state. I may have incense burning also that would complement it but not mask it, such as cedarwood. I can even use it combined with the ash of my last ritual to paint runes and sigils on my body to help further declare my intentions when going on the spirit walk or to send out my fylgja (animal spirit) to source knowledge.
Christina: Libation is also a great way to use the syrup in rituals. It’s a great way to attract divine energies and spirits to your magic. For a more witch-based ritual, we would pour it into a chalice, receive some ourselves, and then place some form of plant into the mix and also some ash from the firepit of our last ritual (or another ritual where we had similar intentions). If there is a particular food that you wish to offer—for example bread for Lughnasadh—then you can coat the bread with the syrup, partake of some yourself, and bury the rest in the ground as an offering. At Samhain you can use it to dress your ritual candles. There are many ways a witch can utilize it. All you have to do is match the intention with the deity or aspect. We feel blessed to share this syrup with our customers and to watch them use it in new and unique ways.
Learn more at wytchwood.com and on Instagram @wytchwoodshop.
FREYA’S LOVE SLICES
by Imana Grashuis, Magical Food Department
A gorgeous raw breakfast bar infused with WytchWood maple magic.
Prep time: overnight
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Makes: 9 bars (about 1 inch)
Magical Equipment: food processor or blender. Regular cake tin (10 inches by 3.5 inches), spatula, fine grater, and cling film.
Fig and date base:
½ cup dried figs
¾ cup pecans
½ cup medjool dates (pitted). If you can’t find medjool dates, add ½ tablespoon of water to make them juicier ½ teaspoon ground gingerbread spices
2 tablespoons shredded coconut
2 tablespoons flax seeds (ground)
pinch of salt
Extra: Roll the base into bliss balls for a quick snack.
Cashew creamy layer:
1 ½ cups soaked cashews (overnight)
½ cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
¼ cup Freya’s maple syrup
Zest of 1 lemon and the juice of half
¼ cup defrosted blueberries (natural food coloring), to give the layer an enchanting purple blush
Extra: Decorate with fresh fig slices, Freya syrup, and optional edible flowers.
• Line your cake tin with cling film and set aside.
• Blend all the base ingredients until fully combined. Press the base into the bottom. Put in the freezer. Meanwhile you can get on with your creamy cashew layer.
• Add all the ingredients for the creamy layer and keep blending until a beautifully silky and creamy mixture appears.
• Slather the creamy layer onto the base and slide back into the freezer for two hours. Take out 15 minutes before serving
• Decorate with fresh fig slices, Freya syrup, and optional edible flowers.
• Enjoy the magic
Additional information: You can freeze these slices for up to three months. Defrost whenever you crave these beauties and enjoy.
Follow Natalia Swiarder @Nataliaswiarderphotography. Follow Imana Grashuis @magicalfooddepartment.