Thursday, April 12, 2018

Hedge Riding Series: Focusing the Mind: Getting Ready to Ride

Hedge Riding Series: Focusing the Mind: Getting Ready to Ride

Prior to hedge riding, there are some steps every hedgewitch should take to ensure they are able to reach the Otherworld with ease. There is nothing more frustrating than attempting to hedge ride and your mind failing you because it is distracted by what you are going to eat for dinner or how much work you have left to get done. So how do you combat the urge to let your mind wander?

There are a couple of techniques you can use to begin focusing your mind; meditation and pathwalking are two such ways. I bet you guessed I was going to go there. Sorry! The best way to begin focusing your mind is through meditation. It is a common misconception that in order to meditate your mind must go blank. The opposite is usually true. During meditation, you hyper focus on one or two things or events. Instead of letting the mind wander to daily tasks, you focus on visualizing that one specific thing or event. Have you ever "zoned out" before? That's essentially what you do during meditation except it is a controlled zoning out. Reaching a quieted state of mind can be extremely difficult for some, especially if you are used to being constantly busy or are ADD/ADHD. This is a problem if you are looking to hedge ride. Your mind must be completely focused on the task at hand, or at least easily controlled if your mind does start to wander. Don't worry, my mind occasionally begins to wander as well, especially if I am under a lot of stress at work or home. So how do you begin meditating?

Hedge Riding Series: Focusing the Mind: Getting Ready to Ride

First, start by meditating for short periods of time, think 5 minutes. As you progress, increase the time to 10, 15, and 20 minutes. Once you can easily meditate for 20 minutes, you are well on your way to hedge riding. One of the simplest meditations to begin with is a 5 minute meditation where you visualize an apple or any of your favorite fruits. To begin, find a comfortable place to sit or lie down. You don't want to be so comfortable you fall asleep, but you also don't want to be uncomfortable so your mind ends up wandering. Once comfortable, close your eyes. Begin visualizing an apple (or whatever fruit you picked). I always start with the apple itself. Is it red, green, golden, or a different color? Is it perfectly round, dimpled, bruised, or oblong? Is it shiny, glossy, or dull like a pear? Are their speckles or stripes? Next visualize the stem. How long is it? Are their leaves still attached? Is the apple on the ground or still connected to the tree. Spend 5 minutes focused on shaping the apple in your mind. Practice this visualization several times before you move on to bigger things. When you have mastered the apple, try visualizing a stream, an entire tree, your home, or even yourself. These visualizations are much larger and should take you between 10 to 15 minutes to completely form. If you are struggling, it could take up to 20.

Once you can easily conjure images in your mind's eye, try picturing nothingness. See how long you can focus on nothingness before your mind starts to wander. Again, start with 5 minutes and work your way up to 20 minutes. This is much harder than visualizing an object during a meditation. This is the quieting of the mind often spoken of in regards to mediation. If you can't do it longer than 5 minutes, don't despair. You are more than capable of hedge riding without being able to quiet your mind for 20 minutes. In fact, hedge riding is much easier to do because you mind is busy processing information during a ride versus trying to remain focused on nothing.

Another technique to get your prepared for hedge riding is pathwalking. Essentially, pathwalkings are guided meditations that take you on a journey of sorts. I STRONGLY encourage all hedgewitches to practice pathwalking. It is one of the closest things to hedge riding without the actually riding experience. During pathwalking, the listener is guided through a visualization or journey. Generally, pathwalking takes between 10 and 20 minutes, although there are guided journeys that last much longer. You can think of pathwalking as being akin to hypnotism. The experience is similar except you are left in control of your mind and journey versus the guide controlling you. Begin with something short, think 10 minutes or so. You can even write and record your own pathwalking journeys if you can't find something you like. For example, you can record a journey through a forest where you take a nice refreshing dip in a cool river, or where you run through a field of wheat on a crisp fall morning. If you wish to find a journey already recorded, check out YouTube. Try searching guided mediation/journey instead of pathwalking. You'll find a slew of wonderful journeys, some of them focusing on ridding you of anxiety or even depression.

Hedge Riding Series: Focusing the Mind: Getting Ready to Ride

Being able to see a journey in your mind's eye is crucial to hedge riding. While hedge riding, your mind and spirit will journey beyond our realm to the Otherworld. You will experience things you never imagined as well as those that are familiar. Unlike pathwalking and meditation, hedge riding is not controlled. What happens to you is out of your control, apart from what you yourself do. You can, of course, decide where to go and what to say, but you have no control over those around you. They will interact with you the same way your friends, family, coworkers, and strangers interact with you. Despite this, hedge riding is still very similar to pathwalking. Mastering pathwalking will allow you to travel to the Otherworld with ease. It will also give you better control over your own actions while traveling. Nothing is more embarrassing than communicating with your companion guides and your mind wandering off and missing their important messages to you. I'm here to tell you, they know that your mind wanders, often times before you realize it has happened. It's rude, like interrupting someone in the middle of a conversation to text someone. However, don't despair when it happens. Ask forgiveness and move on. Focus on staying in the moment. Your guides will forgive you; I promise. It happens to me all the time, and I am experienced.

Remember, focusing your mind is key to hedge riding. If you are unable to keep it focused for long periods of time, you should avoid hedge riding until you have mastered it. Furthermore, if you are stressed, anxious, angry, or upset, you shouldn't hedge ride either. Being overly emotional is potentially dangerous and, let's be honest for a moment, it's hard to focus your mind when you are emotionally unstable. Why even bother? Wait until you are in the right mind set, then contact your guides for assistance if you must. If you are inexperienced, spend the next couple of weeks preparing your mind to travel. You have some time before I delve into actually hedge riding, so use this time to practice. Good luck!

Keep an eye out for upcoming posts, including:

Hedge Riding Series

Focusing the Mind: Getting Ready to Ride
Preparation + Hedge Riding Sachet
Hedge Riding Etiquette: Do's and Don't's of Interacting with Spirits
Hedge Riding Safety Tips: Staying Safe Outside Our Realm
How to Hedge Ride + Flying Ointments
Seeking Your Animal Guides + My Animal Guides
Developing a Relationship With Your Spirit Companions
After You Hedge Ride: Coming Back to Earth
My Hedge Riding Experiences

Looking for more information on hedge witches? Check out my posts on the topic:


Thursday, March 29, 2018

Herbarium: Daffodil

Magical and Medicinal Uses of Daffodil. Includes FREE BOS page!
Gender: Feminine
Planet: Venus
Element: Water
Powers: Fertility, Love, Luck
Magical Uses and History: Sometimes referred to as the "flower of March," daffodils are a marked characteristic of Spring, making them a symbol of fertility and new life. However, it is not only their blooming time that earns them their symbolism. Daffodils belong to the genus Narcissus, a name most people are familiar with. According to Greek mythology, Narcissus was a handsome, young man who was completely infatuated with himself. Upon seeing him, the wood nymph Echo fell deeply in love with him. Being who he was, Narcissus paid her no mind and she withered away. When Nemesis/Venus heard of Echo's fate, she led Narcissus to a river where he caught a glimpse of his own reflection. Narcissus fell deeply in love with his reflection and refused to leave the water side. Scared he would waste away, the other gods turned him into daffodils. In other accounts, Narcissus drown while trying to hug his reflection, and daffodils sprouted on the shore line where he fell.

The daffodil appears in other folklore as well, representing a faithful lover, or even a self-centered one. Furthermore, the daffodil was commonly used in Victorian Flower Language to represent love. In some recounts, the daffodil is the flower Hades used to distract Persephone before stealing her away to the underworld. In some Middle Eastern traditions, the daffodil is considered an aphrodisiac. Either way, the daffodil has strong connections with love, making it the perfect flower to use during love spells and rituals. Wearing a daffodil close to your heart is said to attract love, but be weary of what kind.

Because the daffodil is one of the first flowers to bloom in the Spring, it also has strong associations with fertility. A bouquet of daffodils in the bedroom increases fertility. Furthermore, daffodils can be used during fertility rituals to increase the spells potency. Bouquets can also be placed on a Spring altar to represent the Wheel of the Year.

Daffodils are also associated with luck. Seeing the first blooming daffodil of Spring is said to bring the viewer good luck. However, seeing a daffodil growing alone is said to bring the opposite. A daffodil can also be carried or worn for good luck and fresh daffodils in the home are said to increase abundance.

Because of its association with Hades, the daffodil is sometimes associated with the underworld and death, making it a perfect flower for funeral arrangements to honor the deceased.  

Daffodil can be used in a number of spells including:
     Fertility Magic
     Love Spells
     Luck Magic

Medicinal Uses: Daffodils are highly toxic and should not be used medicinally. In fact, biting down on a stem can cause chills, dizziness, and even fainting. Despite this, some people still use the daffodil to treat colds, asthma, and whooping cough. Again, daffodils should not be used to treat any ailment as they are highly toxic.

Preparation and Dosage: Please do not consume or use daffodils in anyway as they are highly toxic. Have fun looking at them, but don't use them as a medicinal herb.

 

Want to print a copy of this for your Book of Shadows? Click below for your free copy!
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1s--u3dqUjXvq3Irw6X_cqQDgW_xF3pcl/view?usp=sharing

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Ostara 2018 Altar


Happy Ostara/Spring Equinox, witches! May the coming Spring bring the fruition of your desires. I set up a small altar to honor the coming Spring and our Mother Earth as she springs back to life. Because Ostara is an equinox, a day where day and night are equal, I made my altar equal in weight. Both sides have the same number of items and while they are slightly different, they are weights roughly the same, bringing equality and symmetry to the altar which is indicative of this sabbat.



Like last year, I placed a rabbit and a slew of eggs on my altar to represent fertility, new life, and new beginnings. You can't have a Spring altar without a rabbit. They are the most prominent symbol of the season. The ceramic eggs on either side were made by my mother when I was little. The large, blue marble egg in the center was handed down to me from my grandmother. Because of their family roots, these eggs hold tremendous love and power. Every time I look at them I smile. The egg holder is new this year. I picked up this gorgeous gem at Target a couple weeks ago for a dollar. The pastel pink of the holder is perfect for this season, as pink represents peace, fertility, and child-like joy.


Around the central marble egg are three crystals: amethyst, clear quartz, and rose quartz. Together these crystals represent peace and balance. The amethyst and rose quartz also represent fertility and love. Clear quartz, on the other hand, is a protector and amplifier of magic, thus creating a potent combination with the rose quartz and amethyst.


In the center is a milk glass vase of silk flowers to represent the rebirth of new life in Spring. March sees the return of many flowers that went dormant during the winter. My yard is full of flowers randomly planted by the previous owner. It is also a mystery each year what will pop up where. This year I am working on transforming my yard into a cottage garden. I can't wait to finish and show you guys the fruits of my labor. Spring is the perfect time for work in the garden as the ground is soft and the soil ripe for planting. The roses to the right on the altar are placed for the same reason as the silk flowers, to represent new life and beginnings. Roses also represent love, something we could all use more of right now.


Finally, I added four candles: 2 white and 2 pink. The white represents purity while the pink represent peace and fertility. Furthermore, the candles represent the rebirth of the Sun, who is reborn today. As He continues to grow in strength, the Wheel of the Year will move toward Beltane and Litha, bringing with Him warm weather and new life.


As always I like to keep things simple. I hope every one enjoys the day and has some good weather. Get out side and enjoy the first day of Spring.


Monday, March 12, 2018

Representing the Elements with Crystals


Generally when people think of crystals they associate them with the element Earth. This isn't incorrect by any means as crystals come straight from Mother Earth, and, therefore, they have a strong Earthly connection, but this isn't the only way to think about crystals. In fact, many crystals are born of Fire, Air, and Water, depending on how the crystal was formed. If you are looking at a new way to represent the elements on your altar, especially if you can't have candles or incense or don't have a lot of space, crystals are a great, smoke-free, flame-free, inconspicuous way to represent all the elements.

Some of these crystals are harder to find than others, so I have made sure to list easy to find alternatives as well. Remember, if a crystal speaks Water to you, but I have it listed under Air, go with your gut. Your associations and correspondences are more important and will make your altar and magic more personal and therefore strong. 

Earth

Earth represents grounding, stability, protection, prosperity, strength, and success. Really any crystal can be used to represent Earth, but if you are looking for specifics feel free to use any of the crystals below.
Black Tourmaline
Moss Agate
Jet
Malachite
Emerald
Peridot
Onyx
Jasper
Petrified Wood
Halite
 
Representing the Elements with Crystals: Earth

Water

Water is the basis of all life on Earth, and with water comes healing, purification, peace, intuition, divination, and emotions. Look for blue and white stones to represent water.
Pearls
Amethyst
Aquamarine
Coral
Moonstone
Blue Agate
Azurite
Chalcedony
Lapis lazuli
Sodalite
 
Representing the Elements with Crystals: Water

Air

Air is associated with thought, reason, intellect, memory, and knowledge. Being associated with yellow, many yellow stones are perfect for representing Air.
Tiger's Eye
Citrine
Opal
Topaz
Turquiose
Mica
Rhodonite
Amazonite
Fluorite
 Calcite
 
Representing the Elements with Crystals: Air

Fire

Finally Fire represents passion, courage, lust, romance, desire, and force. It can both create and destroy. Brightly colored red crystals are prefect to represent fire.
Carnelian
Sun Stone
Red Calcite
Amber
Garnet
Tektites
Fire Agate
Ruby
Red Jasper
Citrine

Representing the Elements with Crystals: Fire

Don't worry if you don't have any of the crystals listed above to represent the elements. There are several crystals that can be used to represent all four, including clear quartz. Clear quartz is am amplifier of all energies and can be used for just about anything. A crystal you may be unfamiliar with, Zeolite crystals, also represents all four elements. Zeolite crystals is crystallized sea water and lava. When it forms it combines lava (Fire and Earth) with sea water (Water) and ash (Air) to form a beautiful crystal. Zeolites include Apophyllite, Scolecite, and Heulandite. If you are limited on space, try using quartz or zeolite to represent the elements.

Representing the Elements with Crystals: All Elements

How do you represent the Elements on your altar?