Thursday, November 14, 2019

To Keep Silent...Or Not

To Keep Silent...Or Not

I've sat on this post for quite some time, wondering if I should send it out into the world or not. However, in light of some recent posts and discussions I have seen floating around social media and the oh so lovely Tumblr, I felt the need to publish it now. One of the most famous sayings in witchcraft, also known as the Witch's Pyramid, is "To Know, To Dare, To Will, To Keep Silent." While largely used in Wiccan practices, there is a lot of truth in this saying and it's great advice for all witches. It's our duty to learn, study, and practice, to take chances, and to bring about the change we desire in the world. However, I have a slight problem with the last part, or more precisely, I have a problem with how it has been interpreted in modern times.

"To Keep Silent" holds great weight in the magical community, and rightly so. Originally it was advised that all witches keep silent about their work and those in their coven. This was to avoid persecution and even death. History has not always been kind to witches or those perceived as such so partaking in true magical workings was a dangerous task indeed. Ousting yourself or others could have resulted in death by hanging, burning, drowning, or beheading, depending on the time and place of the "crime." It made sense that witches would tell each other to keep their traps shut! I would too if I feared death; I am particularly afraid of being burned alive. Unfortunately, some of these witch-hunting practices still exist today and still result in the death of men, women, and children around the world. In fact, Nigeria is known for accusing young children of witchcraft and leaving them to die, forcing them to endure exorcisms for days on end, and sometimes outright murdering them. While most modern societies have moved away from such actions, we aren't completely safe from retribution either. Telling others you or a friend is practicing witchcraft could land you or your friend in some pretty hot water with family, friends, and employers. I've mentioned it a dozen times that I live in Georgia. Georgia isn't known for being very accepting, voting to ban abortion, gay marriage, and to get rid of work protections for LGBTQ+ workers. We also recently revoked the right of transgender students to use the bathroom of their associated gender. Needless to say, it isn't always the most accepting of other faiths and practices either, which is really sad. When I started practicing witchcraft 16 years ago, I was shunned by my friends, told I would be burned at the stake, and that I didn't have a place "here." I'm one of the lucky ones though. I had a really awesome close-knit group of weirdo friends and the most loving and supportive parents anyone could ever have. But not everyone has these luxuries, so keeping silent is important in that it keeps people safe.

To Keep Silent...Or Not

Furthermore, "To Keep Silent" is about inner silence. Think meditation; calming that raging storm within and wielding that energy to manifest something else entirely. This isn't always an easy task. It's also not easy to remain silent when you feel compelled to speak, but sometimes not saying anything is more powerful and meaningful. To me, this is the most important aspect of this saying, to master your voice and inner thoughts so you can quiet the mind and choose your words carefully. This doesn't just help us in our day-to-day relationships but helps to focus our spellwork as well. I can't tell you how many times I perform a spell or ritual with no words at all. I let my energy do the talking.

Many modern witches, however, interpret this phrase to mean keeping your magical workings and spells a secret and cite telling others as a reason your spells may not work. As a practicing witch of over 16 years and a witchcraft blogger for over 5 years, I can see very little merit in this claim. Now I didn't always feel this way. In fact, when I first started practicing in high school, I kept everything hush hush. I never told anyone about my spells and rituals and I refused to share my magical spaces with anyone else. I still don't practice magic with others for a variety of reasons, but I'm obviously much more open about my practice now, and share a large amount of my spell work with you guys! I was afraid that if I spoke about my magic it wouldn't work because someone else doubted it. I handed over my power to others out of fear. As I got older, I started to realize I didn't care what other people thought anymore. And after my divorce two years ago, I really stopped caring and realized that my entire life I had been handing my power over to others. If I have learned anything on this hell of a journey, it's that I am the master of my own story. I do not believe that any person, witch or not, has the power to fuck up my spells, and I'm not going to give anyone that power anymore either. You see, something only has power and influence if we give it that power. I'm sure there are tons of people out there that hate me; I know I'm abrasive and sometimes rude and that doesn't earn you very many brownie points in society. But here's the thing, not a single spell I've cast in the past 5 years of blogging hasn't "worked." In fact, they all have worked better than I expected! So come at me, bro! When we stop giving our power over to others, they stop having influence over our lives.

To Keep Silent...Or Not

I understand this saying and belief is at the foundation of many a witch's craft. That's fine. I am not asking you to change. In fact, if it is working for you, keep it up! To each their own! However, I would ask that you ask yourself why you believe your spells won't work if you show or tell others about them. When we are able to turn inward and truly reflect on our practice and habits, we sometimes find they are rooted in fear, trauma, and self-doubt.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Herbarium: Magical and Medicinal Uses of Jasmine

Magical and Medicinal Uses of Jasmine

Gender: Feminine
Planet: Moon
Element: Water
Powers: Happiness, Love, Money, Prophetic Dreams
Magical Uses and History: Jasmine, often referred to as the Queen of the Night or Moonlight on the Grove, is well known for its delicate scent. The name jasmine originates from the word Yasmin which means gift from God and refers to its scent. Unlike many other plants, jasmine blooms only at night, hence the nicknames, allowing the petals to preserve the scent from the heat of the sun. As such, jasmine became deeply associated with the Moon, lunar magic, dream magic, and purity. Historically, jasmine graced the gardens of Middle Eastern palaces and has been hand-picked for oils and teas for centuries.

Jasmine's scent is so prized that its flowers are harvested to create oils to be worn to attract love, lust, and happiness. However, it takes roughly 3,600,000 delicate, jasmine flowers and a considerable amount of time to create just 1 pound of jasmine absolute, thus lending to a hefty price tag of around $5,000. If the flower is bruised or damaged, it will not yield the desired scented oil. As such, it is known as the "King of Oils" and is therefore associated with money and prosperity. To afford jasmine oil was a sign of wealth and prosperity and traditionally only royalty or clergy could afford them. Because of this, jasmine became associated with goddesses, especially the Moon, and can be used to invoke or honor goddesses associated with the Moon, love, and sexuality. Today, jasmine oils on the market are considerably cheaper but significantly diluted. Jasmine oil can be placed on your pillow to induce restful sleep and prophetic dreams or used to anoint candles and objects during prosperity spells.

Apart from oils, jasmine has historically been used in teas. In China, white or green tea leaves were picked and placed in jasmine gardens to dry. After the tea was dried, it was packed with dried jasmine blooms to help preserve the flavor. The tea was drunk to relax the nerves, induce prophetic dreaming, and for other divination purposes. In some cases, it was used to induce love in the drinker or happiness, depending on the spell cast.

To attract love, jasmine flowers can be added to sachets and other spell work, worn as a perfume, or woven into garlands to be worn in one's hair to attract a lover. Traditionally this was done during the spring and summer months on a Full Moon, meaning the Full Moons between Beltane and Litha are perfect times for jasmine love magic. The goddess was called upon and asked to help love bloom, just as the jasmine flower blooms under the Moon. Furthermore, the dried flowers can be carried in your purse or pressed into a wallet to attract money and prosperity or burned for the same purpose. The flowers can also be burned to induce sleep and to aid in journeying, especially hedge riding or other forms of astral travel.

Jasmine can be used in a number of spells including:
    Love Spells
    Prosperity Spells
    Dream Magic
    Psychic Development
    Happiness Charms

Medicinal Uses: Jasmine can be used to calm the nerves and treat mild anxiety, depression, and insomnia as the scent is naturally uplifting and calming. A study published in the Journal of Health Research found that inhaling jasmine oil caused participants to feel more positive, energetic, and even romantic. Furthermore, it is often used to relieve indigestion, stomach cramps, and inflammation as it is high in antioxidants and is able to inhibit the growth of several types of bacteria that cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Preparation and Dosage: To create an infusion, combine 1 teaspoon of dried flowers or dried jasmine flowers with green/white tea with 1 cup of boiling water. Infuse for 5-10 minutes. Drink up to three times a day. Jasmine essential oil drops can be diluted into bath water or added massage creams and oils to induce relaxation and reduce inflammation of the muscles. Add 6-8 drops per bath or 1-2 drops to massage oils and creams. Never place essential oils directly on the skin without diluting first as this can cause serious skin reactions. If you are pregnant or breast-feeding you should avoid jasmine. While it is generally deemed safe, all medical sources suggest pregnant and breast-feeding women avoid it.

Want to print a copy of this for your Book of Shadows? Click below for your free copy!
Magical and Medicinal Uses of Jasmine

Thursday, November 7, 2019

November Full Moon Worksheet

November Full Moon Worksheet

This month's Full Moon falls on the 12th and falls in Taurus. This Full Moon will bring about the culmination of all of your hard work over the past year. Your goals will start to be met and, despite the recent changes, you'll begin to see some stability in your life. Like everything month, this Full Moon worksheet includes all the usuals, from a release and cleanse box to a tarot spread. The tarot spread is designed to help you identify where you should continue to focus your efforts and what the end result will look like to help keep you on track for achieving your long-term goals.

November Full Moon Worksheet


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, November 4, 2019

Samhain Altar 2019

Samhain Altar 2019

Ah, Samhain...Every witches favorite time of the year! At Samhain, the Wheel of the Year begins anew. The life from the previous year is dying off or going dormant to give way for new life next Spring. Samhain is a time of reflection, rest, transformation, death, and spirit communication. As the veil is thinnest during this time (as at Beltane), communication with the Otherworld is easy. Our ancestors travel forth, offering us guidance and love as we continue our journey through life. Taking these themes into mind, I created a simplistic altar to honor this communication and transformation.

1. Roses- Scattered throughout this altar are dried roses for remembrance. I know for some roses on a Samhain altar might be a little weird, but roses are perfect for a Samhain altar as they are associated with remembering those that have departed and new beginnings. Furthermore, they are dried, representing death and the eventual decay of all things, even the most beautiful of us. They tie this altar together, letting my ancestors know that they are missed and honored on my altar.  (Where did I get it: My Garden; Cost: free)

Samhain Altar 2019

2. Fox Skull- If you keep up with my blog you know that one of my animal guides is a fox, Meka. Not only does she act as my guide, but she also aids me in communicating with other spirits. She was present during my Fruit of the Underworld ritual I performed Samhain night and with the help of Obsidian, ferried my ancestors into our realm for communication. She is present on this altar for the same task and also to represent death. Skulls are traditionally associated with Samhain and communing with spirits, making the fox skull a perfect addition. (Where did I get it: Gifted; Cost: Free ($30 from unknown Etsy seller))

Samhain Altar 2019

3. Obsidian- Obsidian is formed quickly from magma when it reaches the Earth's surface. Because of this, it has been traditionally associated with the Underworld and death gods and goddesses such as Hades. Furthermore, it's shiny black color has associated it with the Underworld as well, with some peoples believing the shadows reflected in its glass are spirits. I placed obsidian on my altar for the same reason I used it in my Fruit of the Underworld ritual. It's deeply associated with death, protection, and transformation, and can be used to communicate with spirits easily. It being an arrowhead and black also lends to its protective properties, keeping me and mine safe during communication rituals. (Where did I get it: I honestly have no idea where this came from, but I am assuming a subscription box. Cost: ~$2)

4. Black and White Candles in Holders- Traditionally, lights were lit to help guide spirits to the right home on Samhain night. These candles are my representation of this old custom. There are two white and one black. The black represents the past where my ancestors reside, while the white candles represent the present and the future. I have them pillared with the future candle being the highest because it is yet to come, the present candle being in the middle as it is occurring now, and the black candle is the lowest as it has already come to pass. The black also represents the dead and the Underworld and its flame is used to communicate with the dead during a ritual. (Where did I get it: Dollar Tree; Cost: ~$4)

Samhain Altar 2019

5. Pomegranate- If you couldn't tell, I had a bit of a theme this year with the pomegranate. The pomegranate is considered the Fruit of the Underworld, being the fruit that Persephone ate to ultimately bind her to the Underworld for half the year. Because of this, it works well on a Samhain altar. Furthermore, its deep red-colored juice looks like blood, symbolizing the blood of our ancestors and our connection with them. (Where did I get it: Grocery Story; Cost: $1.50)

TOTAL COST: ~$7.50-37.50

Samhain Altar 2019

Like my other altars, most of the items I use are found or purchased for around $1, although if the items must be purchased by you, then the cost may be higher. I hope you find this sort of break down helpful, especially those of you looking to create Instagram perfect altars on a budget! There is no reason your altars have to cost a fortune, so why not save some money and use what you may already have?

How did you celebrate Samhain this year? Let me know in the comments below. I performed my Fruit of the Underworld ritual, spoke with my ancestors, and got some great advice for how I can move forward. It was a good talk and I'm glad I was able to do so.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Fruit of the Underworld Ritual: A Ritual to Connect with Your Ancestors

Fruit of the Underworld Ritual: A Ritual to Connect with Your Ancestors

I'm sure you are feeling the veil between worlds thinning as Samhain approaches. This is the perfect time to work with spirits and travel between realms. This ritual is designed to open the doors between our realm and the realm of our ancestors to communicate with them this Samhain.

What You'll Need

  • Pomegranate (sliced open)
  • Black Candle
  • White Candles
  • Obsidian
  • Mugwort
  • Charcoal
  • Hot Plate (for charcoal)
  • Lighter/Match
  • Notebook/BOS

What to Do

Begin by cleansing your working area with the method of your choice. For this ritual, I chose to use cedar because it works to remove negativity but also invites good spirits. This step is very important this time as you will be inviting spirits into your sacred space and its only proper (and smart) to invite them into a clean home. After you are certain your sacred space is cleansed, feel free to call quarters and cast a magical circle. I encourage you to take the necessary precautions and protect yourself in whatever way you see fit during this ritual.

Fruit of the Underworld Ritual: A Ritual to Connect with Your Ancestors

After you are certain your space is clean, charge the obsidian with your intent. Hold it in your hand, close your eyes and say,

"I charge this obsidian to bridge the gap between our realm and those of my ancestors. May it act as a conduit so my ancestors may speak their truth on this night. May it act as a door and a guiding light for those I seek. Aid in my message so they may understand me and that I may understand them in return."
Fruit of the Underworld Ritual: A Ritual to Connect with Your Ancestors

Put the black obsidian directly in front of you or hold it during the ritual. Extract three pomegranate seeds and eat them while saying,

"Fruit of the Underworld and blood of my ancestors, help bridge this realm with the Land of the Dead. May the living and deceased freely communicate this night."

Next, place the black candle on the left of your altar or work surface, the white candle on the right, and the remaining pomegranate halves in between them (black candle, pomegranate, white candle). Light the charcoal and when the coal is hot, place some mugwort on it. Then light the black candle and the white candle. Move the black candle to the right of the white candle while saying,

"On this Samhain night, when the veil is thin and the spirits come forth, I call upon my ancestors. I seek guidance as the Wheel of the Year comes full circle and the Earth rests. I call to thee, the honored and well-intended ancestors of my family line, to join me here and now at my altar to guide me on my path. Accept this offering of fruit along with my love and deepest gratitude. May it please you."

Bow your head and allow them to partake in the offering. Sit quietly and listen for any messages they may have for you. You can do this by closing your eyes or staring into the flame of the black candle. Write down anything you see or hear during this time. Some things may not make sense right now, but write them down anyway.

To close the ritual, thank your ancestors for coming and ask them to leave by saying,

"Thank you, ancestors, who came to commune with me this Samhain night. I offer my sincerest thanks and hope the offering was to your liking. You may depart and return to your resting places. Do not linger. Obsidian, black as night, guide the souls who were called today back home. This Rite is now closed."

Snuff out the candles and leave the offering on your altar overnight. The following morning place the pomegranate outside for the wildlife. They will appreciate your gift. You may feel exhausted after this ritual. Ground and center yourself and eat something before taking a shower. Dead spirits often leave behind a "heaviness" that should be washed away. Cleanse your space with your preferred method then shower to remove anything remaining on your person. After our shower or bath, spend some time analyzing what you wrote down during the ritual.

Why You Did It

Understanding the why's of a ritual are just as important as performing it. It helps you understand the process so you can modify the spell or ritual to suit your needs and helps guide you to write your own.

Let's start with the first step, the obsidian. Obsidian is a volcanic glass that has cooled so quickly crystallization is unable to occur. It has a long and rich history throughout a number of cultures around the world, but one thing it has in common is its association with the Underworld. Because of its shiny appearance which reflects the shadows of the objects and people that stand before it, the peoples of ancient Mexico named it ixtli after the god Tezcatlipoca ("smoking mirror"), believing the shadowy reflections were connected to the afterlife and second sight. Furthermore, it originates from magma deep within the Earth, further connecting it to the Underworld. Because of these features, obsidian is the perfect crystal to act as a bridge between our realm and the Land of the Dead, as it is naturally and magically connected to the Underworld. To add to this, obsidian is also associated with protection. Historically, obsidian was used as spearheads and arrowheads as it is relatively brittle and therefore easy to shape. And being black, a color traditionally associated with protection, grounding, and banishment, adds to its use in this ritual as the obsidian is not only used to pull spirits to our realm, but also to banish them back to their's at the end of the ritual. All in all, it is the perfect crystal for the job!

Fruit of the Underworld Ritual: A Ritual to Connect with Your Ancestors

Next, we come to the star of the show from which this ritual is named, the pomegranate. It doesn't play a super big part in this ritual, but it is essential as it helps open you to receive messages. You are probably aware of the story of Persephone and Hades, but if you are not, I encourage you to go read it. To give you a brief summary, Hades steals Persephone away to the Underworld where he finally convinces her to eat some pomegranate seeds. This binds her to the Underworld until Zeus is able to strike a deal between Hades and Demeter, Persephone's mother, so that Persephone will spend half the year with her mother and half the year with Hades. As a result, pomegranates are strongly associated as being the fruit of the Underworld and eating them is said to connect you to that realm and aid in spirit communication. They are also associated with blood and therefore death because the fruit "bleeds" when you cut into it. In general, it makes for an excellent offering to the dead as well.

Mugwort is a traditional herb associated with spirit communication. The smoke is a mild entheogen and helps induce a trance-like state. As such, its the perfect herbal incense to use during spirit communication and won't cause a traditional "high" that could make communication difficult. Furthermore, smoke is associated with air and communication so that your messages can travel to your ancestors and their messages to you.

Fruit of the Underworld Ritual: A Ritual to Connect with Your Ancestors

The black and white candles represent the Underworld (black) and our world (white). This is a symbolic representation as black is associated with death and white with life. When you move the black candle to the right of the white candle, you are pulling the Land of the Dead to the present realm and bridging that connection.

Looking to break this spell? Unfortunately, this isn't a spell to be broken. There is nothing to break. However, if spirits linger, ask them to leave and cleanse the space again.

Remember to record this ritual on your ritual/spell worksheet and have a wonderful Samhain! How do you plan to celebrate this year?