SOCIAL MEDIA

Monday, October 14, 2019

*CLOSED* Birthday Giveaway October 2019

Birthday Giveaway October 2019

So...my birthday is on the 20th and I wanted to do something for my readers to celebrate it and all the amazing things that have been happening here on the blog. I still can't believe this blog is 5 years old! It feels like just yesterday I was piecing together posts and struggling with photoshop to make banners. Anyway, this giveaway is HUGE and perfect for witches looking to grow their magical stores. All you have to do is follow me on Instagram and like the giveaway post! Super simple! Giveaway closes Saturday, October 19, 2019 at 11:59am. All entries must be entered prior to the deadline.

Birthday Giveaway October 2019

Giveaway Includes:
+Wooden Moon Box
+Vial of Yarrow Flowers
+Cinnamon Cone Incense
+Bound Grimoire
+Samhain Candle
+Loose Mugwort
+Frankincense & Myrrh Cone Incense
+Charcoal
+Selenite Wand
+Tea Candle (Fire element)
+Vial of Mixed Herbs (Earth element)
+Star Anise (Air element)
+Shell (Water element)
+Two Barred Rock Chicken Feather (from my chickens)
+Altar Tile
+Amethyst
+Five Clear Quartz Points
+Dyed Quartz in Necklace (purple)
+Sage Bundle
+Wheel of the Year Altar Cloth

To Enter:
+Follow @flyingthehedge on Instagram
+Like my giveaway post

Rules and Conditions:
+Must be 18 years or older
+U.S. Residents Only
+Entires must be completed by October 19th, 2019 at 11:59pm
+One grand prize winner will be selected at random using a random number generator and notified via tag and DM on October 20, 2019.

This promotion is in no way sponsored, administered, or associated with Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Blogger, Tamed Wild, HEM, or Modern Magix. By entering, entrants confirm that they are 18+ years of age, release Instagram of responsibility, and agree to Instagram's terms of use.


Birthday Giveaway October 2019


Good luck!


Thursday, October 10, 2019

October Full Moon Worksheet

October Full Moon Worksheet

This month's Full Moon falls on the 13th! What a magical day! Falling in Aries, this Full Moon may trigger a personal or relationship crisis, but will also provide opportunities to transform, grow, and find happiness. Expect there to be explosive and destructive behaviors, followed by optimism and open-mindedness that will help you and your loved ones navigate what has been brought to the surface. This month's Full Moon worksheet includes all the usuals. The tarot spread is designed to help you identify those potentially destructure behaviors and how to overcome them.

October Full Moon Worksheet

CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR FREE COPY

Looking for more free worksheets? Why not get your free copy of my spell/ritual worksheet to write your best spells and rituals yet?

Monday, October 7, 2019

Magic of the Crossroads

Magic of the Crossroads

Crossroads show up a lot in witchcraft, especially hedgecraft. It's a liminal space; an in-between; a place where the veil is often thinnest. While many people think of a crossroads as only the intersection of two roads, crossroads take on a myriad of forms, such as a place where land and water meet like the beach, where a field turns into a forest, or even a doorway. Crossroads are any place that two different environments meet or intersect, but is technically neither extreme. Its almost as if crossroads elude categorization. A doorway is neither in nor out of the home, while a crossroads is neither of the roads that intersect at that point. As a hedgewitch, I exploit these liminal places and the magic they can be utilized for. The rituals and magics performed at crossroads can be divided into two categories: 1) activities in which an individual sought help or protection and 2) activities in which the liminal point was exploited.

History


Historically, crossroads have shown up across multiple cultures for thousands of years, most prominently Graeco-Roman myths. As mentioned in the introduction, crossroads are technically not either extreme, which led to the Greeks and Romans, as well as many others, to associating special traits with these places. Furthermore, crossroads were viewed as the beginning of something, such as a journey that often begins by leaving through a door. Because it was associated with the beginning of a journey, protection rituals were largely performed at crossroads to protect travelers. Many of these rituals for protection involve the goddess Hekate, who is associated with crossroads for a myriad of reasons. Early rituals involved invoking Hekate for protection from spirits and shrines, known as hekataia, were historically erected at crossroads and even around doorways and gates. Some research suggests that these hekataia were regularly fed with offerings the night of the new moon (likely dark moon) which is also a liminal time during the phases of the moon (source, source). Like Hekate, Hermes filled a similar role, providing protection for travelers. Shrines known as herms were also erected at crossroads location, and many myths mention Hermes aiding people in transitions. Similar practices show up in India where the god Bhairava is said to guard the crossroads and stone phalluses and statues of eyes are often erected at such sites to honor him.

Other Graeco-Roman crossroads rituals fall under the second category mentioned above: exploitation of the magics of the crossroads. Sources cite that the remains of home purification rituals were often left at crossroads, a tradition that is still alive and well today. There are some that suggest this tradition likely arose because crossroads did not technically belong to anyone and therefore were appropriate places to leave refuse, including the remains of anyone who committed parricide. According to Plato, officials were to execute the parricide, carry his naked corpse to an appointed crossroads outside the city, and throw rocks at his head to purify the city. Afterward, the corpse was to be carried to the boundary of the state (another liminal place) and thrown out, unburied.

Apart from dealing with "waste," crossroads were used for magical purposes as well. Wax figures were often left at crossroads to perform different magics, including love spells. Other manuscripts mention writing a spell on a three-cornered sherd acquired at the crossroads then hiding it there again. The belief was that the spirits that resided in these liminal places would carry out the spells work. Other spells include women in labor wearing an amulet that contained herbs grown at a crossroads and burying frogs there as a precaution against fever. Crossroads, likely because waste was often disposed of there, was associated with disease, so appeasing the spirits of crossroads was believed to prevent such diseases (source).

These practices were so engrained in Greaco-Roman culture that the festival, Compitalia or the Festival of the Crossroads, was celebrated annually to honor Lares Compitales, the household deities of the crossroads. During the festival, small shrines were erected at the crossroads and families would feast. Woolen dolls (family members) and balls (slaves) were hung on the shrines (source, source). Sacrifices of honey-cakes were made in the early years, but later an oracle demanded that in order for the health and prosperity of each family to remain, the heads of children should be sacrificed to Mania, the underworld goddess, also associated with crossroads and liminal places. Brutus, who later ruled over Rome after overthrowing the Tarquin line of kings, used a verbal loophole to subsitute "heads" of garlic and poppies instead (source).

In the 11th-century, a homily called De Falsis Deis mentions that a god, Mercury or Odin, was also honored at the crossroads by the early Anglo-Saxons. According to the homily, there was a man named Mercury who was deceitful and cunning. The heathens renowned him as a god and honored him with sacrifices at the crossroads, "all through the devil's teaching." This is likely where the modern idea that you can meet the devil at the crossroads arose. Modern English translations of the homily also state, "This false god was honored among the heathens in that day, and he is also called by the name Odin in the Danish manner." It is plausible that this reference is to many different deities, all associated with the crossroads in some respect, whether it be for protection or spellwork (source). Other Anglo-Saxon stories relate to the standing stones erected at crossroads across the British Isles. Originally thought to only mark borders, some folklore suggests witches and Fae could be trapped and prevented from entering our world through liminal places if stones were placed there. Examples include Canrig Bwt, who sleeps under a stone in Northern Wales at Llanberis who fed upon the brains of children, and a nameless witch under the stones at Crumlyn, Monmouthshire (source). The Welsh, like many others, believed that every crossroads was inhabited by spirits. Early English and Irish would often bury the bodies of the unconsecrated or those that committed suicide at crossroads, a practice that continued until at least the 14th century until it was abolished in the early 1800s. No wonder they are haunted!

Germanic folklore mentions that you can become the servant of Der Teufel at crossroads to achieve your heart's desire. Der Teufel is considered by Christians to be the devil. To become his temporary servant required a small sacrifice, but later morphed into the permanent selling of your soul. Germanic folklore also mentions on Walpurgis Night that witches would meet at the crossroads, likely to consort with the devil (source).

In Brazilian folklore, Mula-Sem-Cabeca, a Headless Mule, is a woman cursed by God for her sins, usually sexual in nature. From Thursday's sundown to Friday's sunrise, she is cursed to turn into a fire-spewing headless mule, which runs through the countryside setting it ablaze. The transformation is said to occur at the crossroads (source).

In modern Western folklore, the crossroads has come to be associated with demons and brokering deals. The 1926 story Faust features this legend where the main character summons the demon Mephistopheles at a crossroads. It also is a common theme in 20-century blues songs, such as Sold It To the Devil and Crossroad Blues. The myth has also been further perpetuated by the TV series Supernatural, which I adore.  No matter where we look in the world, crossroads have deep magical roots and have long been viewed as liminal places. I've only mentioned a handful of the dozens of legends, myths, and folktales from around the world. Owlcation has a great article that covers more and offers some great further readings on the topic.

Modern Magic


Crossroads still play a prominent role in many magical traditions, including hedgecraft, traditional witchcraft, Hekatian witchcraft, and Hoodoo. Often times, spell remnants are left at the crossroads. It is considered a neutral way to dispose of spell remains, such as left-over candle wax, ashes, and even ritual bathwater. While this is a fairly common practice, I encourage you to be aware of the nature of the remains you may wish to leave there. Please be mindful of littering and the potential ecological effects your spell remains may have on the environment. I discourage you from disposing of many candle waxes are crossroads, and if your bathwater contained perfumes, synthetic chemicals, and soaps, that you should avoid throwing those out at the crossroads as well. Letting the water drain is a perfectly acceptable way to dispose of ritual bathwater.

Crossroads are also a great place to perform a ritual to learn a specific skill. There are specific Hoodoo rituals detailing this process, however, they usually include bringing the item you wish to master to the crossroads for three or nine specific nights/mornings. On the last visit, the Man in Black is said to arrive and ask for your item. Should you give it to him he will show you how to properly use the item and when you get it back, you suddenly are gifted with talent.

In hedgecraft, the crossroads is exploited as a liminal space to travel to the Otherworld and communicate with spirits. It is a great place to work with local spirits, Fae, or to hedge ride. These are the areas I tend to sit in when I am looking for something more or wish to remove a blockage. If you are feeling stuck and unsure which path to take, try the spell below from Monica Crosson.

"Decorate your altar with Hecate's symbols, including keys, black dog figures, poppies, and hazelnuts. Light a black candle for the wisdom of the crone and say:
Hecate of wisdom and revealer of insight,
I come to the crossroads on this night.
Illuminate the path that is right for me,
As I will it, so mote it be.
Close your eyes and picture yourself at the crossroads. Let the torch of the crone illuminate the path that is right for you."

Looking for another crossroads spell to remove blockages? Try Tarot Pug's spell found here.

There are numerous ways you can use the crossroads in your own practice, from communing with deities to working with spirits. These liminal spaces offer so many excellent opportunities for magic, many of which are not even mentioned here. However, be mindful that crossroads are not just physical places, but times as well, such as the Dark Moon, dusk, dawn, Samhain, and Beltane. Use these places and times to seek protection, commune with spirits, honor your ancestors, leave offerings for a deity, remove a blockage, dispose of spell remains, banish negativity, set goals, seek guidance, or any other magics you deem appropriate to be performed at a liminal space. How do you use liminal places or crossroads in your practice? Leave a comment below!

Friday, October 4, 2019

Reel Magic: Magical Movies and Shows

Reel Magic: Magical Movies and Shows

I watch a lot of movies and TV shows. Apart from reading, movie watching is probably my number one hobby. I love getting lost in stories, magical worlds, and the lives of others, both on a page and on the big screen. October is the perfect time to enjoy some movie watching, especially spooky, magical, and witchy themed movies. It is the spookiest month after all. So without further ado, here are my top choices for magical movies and TV shows to enjoy this October.

1. The VVitch: A New-England Folktale


Ready to live deliciously? This movie is a masterpiece. Written and produced by Robert Eggers, this 2015 film follows a family in 1630s New England as they move out into the country after the father has a religious disagreement with the town. They move to the edge of a forest and strange things begin to happen. The shots are beautifully dark and the story thrilling. It's considered a horror flick, but I'd consider it more suspenseful. The ending shot is absolutely stunning and makes the whole movie worth it in my opinion.

2. The Halloween Tree


This is a Cartoon Network/Hanna-Barbera movie based on Ray Bradbury's book and always gets me ready for Halloween. I grew up watching this film every October and when it stopped airing, I started hunting it down on Amazon and YouTube. The film tells the story of a group of trick-or-treaters who learn about the origins of Halloween while they try to get their friend's soul back after it is spirited away for stealing a pumpkin from the pumpkin tree. Leonard Nimoy plays the role of Mr. Moundshroud, who guides the children on their journey. Ray Bradbury even narrates the film. For those of you with little witchlings, this is a great way to teach them about the best holiday ever.

3. Sleepy Hollow (Tim Burton version)


Can someone make me all of Katrina Van Tassel's dresses? They are some of the best costume dresses ever, especially the one she wears at the end. Plus she's a witch, so what's not to love about her? Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow is a unique take on the Headless Horsemen folktale and includes science, witches, magic, and lots of extremely fake blood. Tim Burton always uses extremely red fake blood as symbolism in all his films and I love it. There are so many great actors and actresses in this movie and it is perfectly dark.

4. The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Netflix Series)


Get over the controversy witches because this show is riveting. I loved every minute of it. It's filled with magic, witches, snarky comments from Aunt Zelda, and just enough suspense to keep you on your toes. This remake of the TV show is based upon the comic and does the comic such justice. It even has a Christmas special you can watch in December so you can continue the witchy October celebrations on through December.

5. Stranger Things (Netflix Series)


This may seem a little odd on a list of magical movies and TV shows to watch, but hear me out. The Upsidedown is an excellent metaphor for the Otherworld. The Otherworld runs parallel to ours, just like the Upsidedown, and it's very possible there are places like the Upsidedown within the Otherworld. Stranger Things follows a group of kids, a police chief, and Winona Ryder (haha!) as they battle against creatures from the Upsidedown to save their small town. If you haven't seen it yet, be prepared for the emotional rollercoaster you're about to jump on. I guarantee you will get attached to all of the characters. I keep coming back to rewatch it and you will too.

6. Howl's Moving Castle


This animated film is my absolute favorite Miyazaki film, followed closely by Spirited Away (which also contains witches and magic and is also on this list!). Howl's Moving Castle is set in a time where both magic and modern technology exists together. It follows the story of a young woman named Sophie who is turned into an old woman after she scorns a witch. To break the curse, she must break the curse of a famous wizard, Howl, who gave his heart to a fire demon. It's such a beautifully animated film that everyone in the family can enjoy all year around.

7. Spirited Away


Another Miyazaki film, this coming of age story tells the tale of Chihiro who enters the world of spirits after her parents are turned into pigs. Full of magic, dragons, spirits, and witches, this is a great film to watch any time of the year and is perfect for the little witchlings. It too is stunningly animated and I love the representation of spirits and offerings in this film. Based on my experiences, it's pretty accurate.

8. Penny Dreadful


This TV series takes place in Victorian England and is supposedly based on Penny Dreadfuls. I'm here to tell you it isn't but is instead based on gothic novels written during the Victorian period, including Dracula, Frankenstein, and A Picture of Dorian Gray. Side note, the most famous penny dreadful, which were short stories you could purchase for a penny, is Sweeney Todd, who is not in this series, unfortunately. It's filled with suspense, magic, witches, and magical creatures. Eva Green is a force to be reckoned with in this series. Furthermore, this series contains one of my favorite scenes in cinematic history which you can find here. As a fellow scientist, Dr. Sweet spoke to my soul in this scene and I will never forget his line, "If only we would stop and look and wonder. Wonder..." I deeply connected to this entire series, and believe its a beautifully magical series. It's another emotional rollercoaster so be prepared. There is so much more I could say about this series, but you'll just have to watch it to understand my love for it.

9. The Addams Family (1991)


What isn't there to love about this film? It's not very magical, but it still has big witch vibes. I want a love like Morticia and Gomez Addams. Plus they've raised two, healthy, aware children. What isn't there to like about this odd family?! I haven't seen the animated film out now, but I'm sure its cute for kids.

10. Practical Magic


Yeah, I included it because how could I not? It's one of my favorite witchy movies and it deserves its place on this list. Need I say more?

Edit: I need to throw out the TV mini series by Cartoon Network, Over the Garden Wall. If you have not seen this wonderfully spooky animated series, you need to get on that. The music is absolutely beautiful and the animation is stunning. The story is thought provoking, cute, yet also very creepy. It'll totally get you ready for Halloween.

You may notice several famously witchy movies are not on the list such as Hocus Pocus, The Witches of Eastwick, The Witches, Halloween Town, Nightmare Before Christmas, and a slew of others. They are all amazing movies to watch during October; they just appear on every witch movie list imaginable. I wanted to offer some other movies and TV shows that are often overlooked to spice things up. Have a movie you love to watch that isn't on the list? Drop the name in the comments below!


Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Book Review: What Is Remembered Lives by Phoenix LeFae

Book Review: What Is Remembered Lives by Phoenix LeFae

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

If I am honest, I am still on an ancestor kick. I am currently on the lookout for a good altar to set up in my library and when I saw What Is Remembered Lives by Phoenix LeFae on NetGalley, I knew it would be right up my alley. Unfortunately, I have a lot of mixed feelings about this book, and not all of them good. I'll begin with what I didn't like.

While reading through the Table of Contents and the background information on the author, there were a couple of red flags that popped up. These included cultural appropriation and her largely Wiccan background. Now I have zero issues with Wiccans. It isn't my practice but based on the title, I was hoping for a different take on working with deities, ancestors, and the fae. However, I was pleasantly surprised that Wicca was only really present in the rituals mentioned in the book, and those are easily changed to fit your own practices. The cultural appropriation, however, was less forgivable. As I began reading, my fears were almost snuffed out by her having part of a chapter dedicated to cultural appropriation where she discussed close cultures and cultural theft. However, on the very next page, she starts culturally appropriating from Hindu and Native American cultures. Each of her rituals mentions smudging, with complete disregard for Native American culture. Every time she mentioned smudging in her rituals, I cringed. I can forgive someone who doesn't know any better, but after you clearly discuss cultural appropriation then steal from closed cultures anyway, you have no excuse. There are some Voodoo practices and deities mentioned in the text as well, but LeFae claims to be initiated into Voodoo, so I can't knock her there if she is really initiated.

There were also a couple minor issues that really bothered me. First, her use of the term Godd. Originally she did this to use a gender-neutral term for the deities, and I loved it, but there were several areas where it seemed she forgot that she was using Godd instead of God and Goddess. It seemed she more often than not forgot to use Godd when talking about goddesses. This made the use of Godd seem insincere and contrived. Second, she dedicated very little of her book to ancestor work. It was a little disappointing. The vast majority of the book is working with deities, which is fine, but I was hoping for more on ancestors and fae.

Other than the above-mentioned issues, the book is overall a great read. I know it seems like I hated the book, but I didn't. There are a lot of really wonderful rituals and spells included throughout that are worth purchasing the book for. LeFae begins with a great grounding ritual and dedicated several chapters on how to connect with deities, ancestors, and the fae in a deeper, more meaningful way. For those looking into hedge riding, her pathwalking rituals are a great place to start. Furthermore, she breaks down finding your astral garden/office which she refers to as a Place of Power. No matter what you call it or how you imagine it, its all essentially the same thing. If you are struggling to travel to the Otherworld, her pathwalking ritual to reach your "Place of Power" may help you hedge cross. Her deity rituals were beyond beautiful. They all included pathwalking rituals that can be read and recorded for solitary practitioners or used in group rituals. The deity rituals were by far my favorite part of the book and her view of deities was different from what I am used to. LeFae seems to view deities more as spirits that rose to "power" through belief. I rather like this idea of deities. Furthermore, she mentions multiple different ways to work with different deities, depending on the magic you wish to sew. The rituals focused on actual magic, instead of just meeting with a deity.

While her ancestor section was rather short and lacked in rituals, it provided excellent information on the different types of ancestors and briefly how you can work with each. Her list of potential Mighty Dead to work with was fantastic and was essentially a short history of magical figures that have shaped modern neopaganism. I'll be honest; there were people and stories mentioned in this chapter that I didn't know or hadn't heard. I also loved that she mentioned that a lot of the fantastical initiation stories were likely made up, but that those fantastical stories were needed in the beginning to bring validity to the Craft. I agree with her in this regard and love her rational approach to the world and working with spirits.

The final section covers working with the Fae. She is sure to mention that the Fae include a large range of spirits, most of which are local. I am a huge supporter of practicing local witchcraft and working with the spirits of the land. When you are in tune with the spirits that live around your home, you'll notice that your magic will benefit as a whole. The spirits around you want to help you. I'm glad LeFae made this connection and encouraged her readers to reach out to these spirits and develop a practice that involves them. Furthermore, she provides a practical list of "rules" on how to work with the Fae, including being clear in your intent and not thanking them for their help verbally, but instead with offerings. Furthermore, she mentions the use of iron around Fae and how this folklore likely originated. My experiences have been rather similar to those of LeFae in that I haven't found iron specifically hurts the Fae, but out of respect, I don't bring it around them if I can help it. Overall, they dislike man-made things and prefer natural items.

All in all, this book is worth the purchase and worth the read, if not just for the lovely pathwalking rituals and guided meditations. To any witch or hedgewitch looking to expand their spirit working practice, this book offers some great suggestions, rituals, and information about a variety of ways to work with all sort of amazing spirits. I encourage you to recognize the cultural appropriation and modify those practices in your own Craft. I am of the mind that we can appreciate a book and author while recognizing their flaws. Her book will be available October 8, 2019!

Have you read anything great lately? Have a book you want me to review? Please leave a comment below!