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Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Bone Magic Series: Throwing the Bones + Build Your Own Bone Tarot

Bone Magic Series: Throwing the Bones + Build Your Own Bone Tarot

Bone throwing is one of the oldest forms of divination and can be found across multiple cultures throughout history. Because of this, there are multiple ways to practice throwing the bones and ways to interpret their meanings. If you come from reading traditional tarot or runes, you may find bone throwing frustrating and difficult. Unlike other forms of divination, throwing the bones is highly intuitive and bone sets are extremely personalized; no two sets or readers will be the same. Because of this, it's a highly effective form of divination, whether you are reading strictly for yourself or others.

What is Used in a Set?


There are a variety of ways to set up your "bone tarot" set depending upon the tradition(s) you may prescribe to or lack thereof. Most sets consist of bones, shells, stones, and small curios such as dice, coins, or other little trinkets while some are composed only of chicken bones, sometimes even painted to have different meanings. What the set is made up of is completely up to you and, honestly, not very important. However, the meaning behind each item and the item's relation to each other is important. How did they fall? Where are they located? Are they touching each other? How far apart are they? Together, the set works to answer the question the caster has asked of it.

How Do You Read Bone Tarot?


Again, there are multiple ways to read bones. You can work heavily with your ancestors for a more interpreted reading, relying on them to bring you inspiration while reading the bones. Others with a more scientific mind rely on a more analytical approach, connecting meaning to the pieces based on science and their placement on the cloth. Others still work with the spirits that live in the individual objects, listening to them as they whisper back details. Personally, I like to use a combination of these methods, using my prescribed meanings and the spirits to guide my interpretation of the reading. When you are first starting out, you may find a more analytical approach to be best, because its more like traditional tarot in that the location is associated with a specific question, body part, or event while each piece of the bone throwing set is also prescribed a predetermined meaning, such as a wing bone meaning travel. When it doubt, go with your gut.

Despite the different ways to read bones, many practitioners use some similar techniques. To begin with, a question is always asked. Bone throwing can provide a narrow or wide perspective, depending on the situation, and therefore the question needn't be perfectly worded or specific. Most people find asking a question about something that is weighing heavily on you that you may or may not be able to completely put into words is best. However, if you come with a specific and perfectly worded question, bone throwing will still work just fine and allows for a more focused reading. Once the question is asked, the reader shakes the bone throwing set and casts them. Where you cast them is up to you. Some cast on a hard surface or on a fur or cloth with nothing on it; others on a cloth with designated regions; while others still cast in a design drawn in the dirt. Again, where you cast is entirely up to you. I have thrown on cloth with designated regions and on blank surfaces. I like both methods and choose a surface based on the type of question I am asking. For vaguer questions, I prefer a mat with designated regions. This allows for a more focused reading. If my question is more specific, I tend to ignore the designated locations and focus on proximity and reading left to right. Once the bones are cast, they are analyzed and meaning is prescribed to their placement to offer insight into the question asked. Remember to record all your readings in your journal or Book of Shadows. Sometimes it takes a little while for the full message to come into view, so return to your notes for a couple of days after the reading and add to your notes.

Once cast, there are many ways to read the bones:

Left to Right- The bones are considered on a timeline from left to right, with the bones on the left representing the past, those in the middle the present, and those on the right the future or possible outcomes.
Distance from the Reader- Those closest to the reader represent the past, middle present, and those furthest away represent the future or possible outcome.
Non-Linear Orientation- The items are not read in a linear sequence, but instead interpreted as a whole based on their placement on the surface and to each other. This relies more heavily on spiritual guidance.

Of course, these are only a couple of ways to read and by no means the only ways. I encourage you to use your intuition while reading and change up how you read based on the questions being asked.

How to Construct a Bone Set?


Want to make your own "bone tarot?" Creating your own set is pretty fun, but a little time-consuming. Sure, you can buy a set online, and this is a great place to start, but building your own will create a stronger connection between you and the bones. I've talked to other witches who began by buying a set and removing the items that didn't resonate with them and incorporating items into it that did. There is no right or wrong way to do this, and I am still building my own set!

When you begin creating your bone set, start by setting the intention that you are open to receiving objects for use in divination. Then begin going through items you may already have. Check junk drawers and other places you stash random objects. If there is something small that you've never quite been able to let go of, it may be something that belongs in your bone throwing set. Remember, not everything has to be a bone! In fact, you don't need bones at all if that's what you want. Buttons, crystals, small pieces of driftwood, bottle caps, dice, small carved figures, pieces of cardboard tags, seeds and beans, and a variety of other small objects all work! If it speaks to you and feels right in your set, then its meant to be. However, I do have a couple of things you should keep in mind.

First, you should have an object that represents you. Generally, this object is slightly bigger than the others. Next, the items in your set should mean something. Think about tarot and rune meanings. There is a card or rune that represents health, wealth, love, family, etc. You want a set to have the same sorts of representations so you can get a good reading. I also suggest you add objects that mean yes and no, evil, and decision (a coin is great for this), but you don't have to have these things.

Below is a list of items you may want to include in your bone tarot and some possible meanings for those objects:

feather- flight, travel, communication, messages from the dead
coin- yes/no
wishbone- luck, prosperity, good fortune
skeleton key- transition, open doors, opportunity, crossroads, decisions
quartz point- amplification, positivity, protection, versatility
amethyst- soul, afterlife, psychic ability
fossil- past, ancestors, perseverance
claw- past, present, or future depending on the size
white shell- purity, hope, innocence
curved bone- yes/no
sors bone- fate, destiny, external influences
human finger- singling out an issue
white river rock- purity, innocence, food intentions
black river rock- banishment, bad luck, evil
barnacle- smothered, overwhelmed, chaos
alligator claw- luck, prosperity, opportunities, success
penis bone- love, fertility, luck
coyote bone- trickery, apprehension, fooled by appearances
bean- growth, fertility, opportunity
buckeye nut- abundance, fertility, luck, achievement, employment
hag stone- protection, spiritual transformation, messages
dice- numbers
button- connection, bonds
tooth- communication, truth, lies, rumors (depending on how it faces)

This list is just to give you some ideas and you should prescribe meaning to your objects based on your intuition. As you gather items, spend time holding them and meditating on them to figure out their meaning. Be sure to keep your notes on each item in your Grimoire or Book of Shadows. Items can be removed or added as you see fit, but always write down what you have removed or added an object so you know what you set contains and the meanings of each object. But overall, have fun with it and practice often. Its a truly magical experience to work with a bone tarot set and will flex that intuitive muscle.


And that concludes my series on Bone Magic! I hope this series has been informative and has inspired you to work with animal remains in your practice. Maybe you'll start constructing your own bone throwing set or set out to find your first animal skull. However you decide to work with animal remains, remember to keep their spirits in mind. Always treat them with respect and honor your contracts with them. Your magical practice will surely benefit.

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

Bone Magic Series

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!