Monday, January 21, 2019

Herbarium: Crocus

Magical and Medicinal Uses of Crocus. Includes FREE BOS page!

Gender: Feminine
Planet: Venus
Element: Water
Powers: Love, New Beginnings, Visions
Magical Uses and History: Crocuses are one of the first flowers to bloom in the spring, shortly after Imbolc in most places, making it the perfect representation of new beginnings. They are often placed on spring altars during Imbolc or Ostara, bringing a burst of color to the home or altar.

The name Crocus comes from the Greek krokos, Hebrew karkom, Aramaic kurkama, and the Arabic and Person kurkum, which means yellow or thread, presumably after the saffron spice that is often obtained from the Autumn Saffron Crocus, although the petals are usually purple or blue. This spring flower is native to Mediterranean regions and has been used for centuries, leaving behind some rich history. According to Greek mythology, Mercury creating the flower from Europa's Son, Crocus, whom Mercury accidentally killed. Another Greek story tells the tale of a youthful Crocus falling in love with Smilax who later rejects him. Distraught, Crocus begs the gods for help who take pity on him and turn him into a crocus plant. Crocus turns fickle when Smilax falls in love with him, rejecting her, resulting in the gods turning her into yew.

The first record of crocus coming to England was in the sixteenth century when it arrived in Queen Elizabeth's court from the Middle East. It became a favorite of Shakespeare, Francis Bacon, and the herbalist John Gerard, and later a favorite in Victorian flower language. In Victorian flower language, the crocus meant cheer and gladness, likely due to spring crocuses often being yellow. It was also believed to bring love and was often sent to a lover.

In ancient Egypt, crocus was commonly burned in a censer to see a vision of the thief the may have robbed you. Today, crocus incense can be used during divination to receive messages from the Otherworld.

Crocus can be used in a number of spells including:
     Divination
     Love Spells

Medicinal Uses: While saffron has medical uses, the flower itself does not. It should never be consumed, especially spring crocuses. However, the seeds of autumn crocus contain colchicine which is the active ingredient in prescription medication for gout and Mediterranean fever but should not be used to treat either of these unless under the guidance of a medical practitioner.

Preparation and Dosage: None. This plant is toxic, especially in high doses and should not be used without the guidance of a medical practitioner.


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Magical and Medicinal Uses of Crocus. Includes FREE BOS page!

Thursday, January 17, 2019

January 2019 Full Moon Worksheet

January 2019 Full Moon Worksheet

This month's full moon is on the 21st and if you are trying to plan a magical year, what better way to help you get started than this full moon worksheet specifically designed for the upcoming Wolf Moon? It has everything you need to conduct your very own short ritual, including what this moon is bringing, sections to write down what you intend to release and cleanse, a tarot spread with a place for your notes, and any thoughts or intuition you receive while communing with the moon through meditation or hedge riding! This worksheet is completely free and can be easily printing and added to your Book of Shadows!

January 2019 Full Moon Worksheet

CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR FREE COPY

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Monday, January 14, 2019

5 Crystals for Hedge Riding

5 Crystals for Hedge Riding

If you haven't noticed yet, I kind of have a thing for crystals, with that background in paleontology and all, so it should come as no surprise that there are some crystals I love to use during hedge riding. I mentioned during my Hedge Riding Series that I have a hedge riding sachet, a small bag that contains a series of items that helps me during my hedge riding journeys. I mentioned some of the crystals I keep in that sachet, and I would like to expand on that topic today. My hedge riding sachet is ever changing; I add and remove items frequently based on what I am trying to do, but it always contains crystals.

Usually, I preface articles like this with a statement that you don't need any items but yourself to hedge ride or perform magic. This is the one time where I am not going to say that because crystals are an important aspect of hedge riding. Not only can they help you reach an altered state of consciousness, but they also help ground your body and soul to our plane before, during, and after hedge riding. Now, you don't have to have every crystal on this list, nor do the crystals you choose have to be limited to this list. There are dozens of crystals that can help you on your flights, and you should always pick crystals that speak to you, even if a book doesn't mention they can be used for traveling between the realms. Correspondences should partly be based off your intuition, not just what some book or online article says. This list contains the five crystals I work with the most during hedge riding, in no particular order.

1. Labradorite: Until polished, labradorite is a fairly dull, unsuspecting crystal, but once polished it takes on a rainbow of colors. Labradorite was once believed to be frozen fire that fell from Aurora Borealis, thus associating it with the heavens and astral travel. It acts similarly to amethyst in that it can open you to psychic visions, but unlike amethyst, it can be used as a gateway to past lives as well. In Norse mythology, the rainbow bridge, Bifrost, was the gateway to Valhalla, which is sometimes symbolized by this crystal with rainbow hue, thus allowing you to travel between lives while hedge riding. I use this crystal when I am seeking answers from my past to gain insights into my future.

2. Amethyst: So I talk about amethyst a lot too...I know, but this stone is so versatile, plentiful, and cheap! I'm all for saving money when it comes to witchcraft. Amethyst is a great stone for hedge riding and has been regarded for hundreds of years as the crystal of psychics. I place amethyst on my forehead during hedge riding to help open my mind to psychic visions during my journeys. This crystal is commonly found in my hedge riding sachet, especially on days where I am finding it difficult to concentrate enough to hedge ride.

3. Selenite: I'm sure many of you have this crystal laying around, as it's commonly used to make crystal wands. Selenite is clear, striated gypsum named after Selene, the Greek goddess of the moon. Due to this connection to the moon, selenite can be used during hedge riding to "reach the stars," particularly when traveling to the Upper Realm of the Otherworld. Furthermore, selenite is known for its calming properties, allowing you to reach an altered state of consciousness by quieting the mind. Even better, selenite filters messages, due to its striated nature, thus allowing you to connect to your higher self and the spirit realm, especially angels. I use selenite when I am traveling to the Upper Realms or when I am having trouble hearing the messages the spirits are trying to send me. Sometimes I even use selenite after hedge riding to help me make sense of the messages I received. This isn't found in my hedge riding sachet too often, but it is almost always on my altar waiting for me to get back from a journey to aid in my understanding of the things I saw and heard while away.

4. Iolite: This deep violet crystal was commonly used by the Vikings as a navigational tool because it could be used to filter sunlight, allowing them to look at the sun without damaging their eyes. Because of this and its brilliant color, Iolite is a great stone for hedge riding. You can use it as a navigational tool on your spiritual journeys and facilitate spiritual visions. Depending on how it is cut, Iolite can appear yellow or clear as well, so don't worry if you find it in colors other than blue-violet. I use Iolite when I am seeking to travel to new places during a journey. I tend to stick close to "home," but there are times I wish to explore deeper into the Otherworld so I make sure to take this crystal with me to help me navigate uncharted territories.

5. Black Tourmaline: I talk about this crystal the most, probably because it is my favorite crystal of all time. I really should modify my 10 Crystals Every Witch Should Have post to include black tourmaline instead of obsidian. When I first got this crystal, the moment I touched it I felt an instant connection. The love and protection that radiated from it were overwhelming. I often find myself looking for it in times of stress because it's so calming. While I know it sounds strange to some, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this crystal loves me deeply. But I digress. My black tourmaline is the one thing in my hedge riding sachet that never changes; it is always in my bag. Before I ride I take it out and ask it to keep me safe while I hedge ride. I place it on my chest during my journeys and when I come back its the first thing I touch to ground myself. Black tourmaline is known for keeping you safe physically, emotionally, and spiritually, making it an amazing hedge riding companion crystal. There are other crystals that you can use for protection and grounding during hedge riding, so if black tourmaline doesn't speak to you like it speaks to me, find one that does. Other great options include jet, onyx, obsidian, and hematite.

As I mentioned before, this is by no means a complete list, just my five favorites for hedge riding. For those of you who hedge ride, what crystals do you like to bring with you? Please leave your suggestions in the comments below so we can grow this list to help other witches on their journeys!

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Bone Magic Series: Introduction

 Bone Magic Series: Introduction

This year I have two series planned, one about the spirits of each sabbat and the other about bone magic. Traditional witchcraft and hedgecraft often incorporates the use of bones and animal remains, whether it be shells, feathers, fur, or any other part of an animal, in spells and rituals. This series will focus on all zoological or animal remains, although bones will be heavily focused upon within the series. It is important to keep in mind that you do not have to work with animal remains to practice witchcraft. However, many witches have found the use of animal remains deepens their craft, and I have to admit, there is something magical about using practices similar to those our ancestors used to use, especially when you're a hedgewitch like myself.

What are zoological remains? Zoological remains refer to preserved body parts of an animal. I'm usually just going to refer to them as animal remains, but realize some of you may prefer the term "zoological" because it separates the animal from the remains. Examples of animal remains include bones, feathers, antlers, horns, shed skin, claws, whiskers, teeth, fur, hides/pelts, wings, fat, preserved organs, and even blood. These remains are carefully harvested and preserved, often times with the animals spirit still intact and attached to the remains. However, not all remains will contain the animal's spirit. There are cases where you will come across remains that the spirit has left. These make great homes for spirits you summon to our realm, but more on that later.

The use of animal remains in witchcraft is based on the ideas of animism, the belief that all things, living or nonliving, have a spirit. Animism is the underlying theme of witchcraft, so it should be no surprise working with animal remains is based on a belief in animism as well. If an animal's spirit has chosen to remain with its remains, the spirit can either be helped to the Otherworld or you can contract it to help you in your magical workings. Helping a spirit cross over is relatively simple, but contracting a spirit is a little more complicated. The spirit will only remain if it receives something in return, while the witch has the opportunity to gain a powerful spirit alley, each spirit with its own talents and abilities. During this series, we will delve into how to release a spirit and contract a spirit to work with you.

Bone Magic Series: Introduction

I realize the use of animal remains may bother some witches, especially those that abide by the Wiccan Rede and/or the "harm none" mentality. If you don't wish to work with animal remains, you are by no means obligated to. However, I would like to mention that all remains should be acquired ethically. Killing an animal for the sole purpose of harvesting its remain for magical use is wrong unless of course, its a ritual custom passed down from your ancestors or part of your modern cultural heritage. For most modern witches, animal sacrifice is frowned upon, even if you are practicing traditional witchcraft.

For this series I will cover a variety of topics regarding animal remains and bone magic, including a brief history of animal remains in magic, different types of animal remains and what they can be used for, how to ethically acquire remains, methods of cleaning and preserving remains (specifically bones), how to contract a spirit or release it, how to feed your bones, and how to create your own bone tarot. I hope that you will join me during this series and keep an eye out for upcoming topics!


Interest in the rest of the series? Here's what's to come!

Bone Magic Series

Introduction
A Brief History of Animal Remains in Magic
Types of Animal Remains and How to Use Them in Magic
How to Ethically Acquire Animal Remains
Cleaning and Preserving Animal Remains
Working With the Spirits of Animal Remains: Crossing Over & Contracting
Feeding Your Bones
Throwing the Bones + Build Your Own Bone Tarot