Sunday, September 28, 2014

Autumn Decor

I love decorating for autumn more than any other time of year. Unfortunately, I have very few decorations because this is also the time of year when we tend to have less money to spend. Despite the financial hardships, I have been lucky enough to acquire some beautiful decorations, many of which were made by my own mother over the past three and a half decades.

This is my full mantle decoration. The newest additions are the spider web garland from Target for $1 and the small glass jar with stopper on the right, also from Target for $1. The painting above the mantle is one of mine from several years ago.


The ghost with the pumpkin head is a clay figurine my mother made for Halloween the year I was born, 1988. This will be its 26th Halloween!


This raven plate I picked up last year at the Country Living Fair for $2. I hope to score some more decorations when I attend later this year!


This gourd was painted by my mother in the early 2000s in the classic Halloween style. Most of her decorations for the Halloween season are similar in style. I am envious of her decorations, but with time I too hope to have a large collection.

 

The witch candle holder was once my mom's, but she passed it on to me last year. The cookie jar is new this year. I bought it on Friday at Goodwill for 99 cents. Can't beat that price! I loved that it was black and white and went well with the candle holder I already had.

 

This clay witch was also done by my mother in 1990, the year my brother was born. It is celebrating 24 Halloweens this year. I tried to get two of these witches from her, the other of which was holding a bowl of worms, but she would only part with one. I picked the skull witch, but I would have liked to have had the bowl of worms witch too because I remember watching my mother make that witch on the butcher block when I was a kid. I made a bowl of worms from clay that day too to copy her.


 

This is our side table decorated with a candle and gargoyle from the Dollar Store and a card my mom made us for Halloween last year. I wasn't kidding when I said many of my decorations were made over the years by my mother. I also have a large clay pumpkin by our front door that my mother made in 1988 as well. My grandmother sent it to me when she moved saying she had no room for it in her new apartment. I am thankful for it and use it as a candy bowl on Halloween.

So far this is the bulk of the decorations I have up in the house. I hope to acquire some more items this year. Keep an eye out for upcoming Halloween crafts and pumpkins. I plan to make a new Halloween tree this year as I had to discard my old one, and the details will be coming soon!

Have you started decorating for Halloween?

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Hedge, Hearth, Green, Kitchen … I’m Confused!

I shared this article on the blog's Facebook page and I wanted to share it here to for those of you who are not following us yet. Walking the Hedge wrote a wonderful article explaining the difference between a hedgewitch, greenwitch, hearthwitch, kitchenwitch, cottagewitch and others. It is very concise and a great read for anyone confused as to what the differences are. You can find the article here.

I hope this article clears things up. If you still have questions, feel free to ask in the comments, on Facebook, or via email.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Herbarium: Thyme


Folk Names: Common Thyme, Garden Thyme
Gender: Feminine
Planet: Venus
Element: Water
Powers: Courage, Healing, Health, Love, Psychic, Purification
Magical Uses and History: Thyme's reputation as a healer and protector dates back thousands of years to the time of the Romans. The Romans believed that eating Thyme before or during a meal would protect you from poison. This made it a favorite herb of emperors for obvious reasons. It was even believed that taking a bath in warm water and thyme would stop the effects of poison. Today, many people take a magical cleansing bath composed of marjoram and thyme to ensure all sorrows and ills of the past are removed from the person.

Due to its healing and purification properties, the Greeks burned it in their temples to purify them. Because of this, many people today still burn thyme before a ritual.

Thyme is also associated with courage and bravery. Roman soldiers exchanged sprigs of Thyme as a sign of respect. This association persisted into the Middle Ages as a traditional gift offered to men going to war. Smelling Thyme, fresh or burnt, will give you courage and attract good health.

When the Black Death struck in the late 1340s, Thyme was used to heal blistered skin as it contained thymol, an antiseptic. Using Thyme in healing spells will amply your magic.

Thyme can also be placed beneath your pillow to ensure a restful night free from nightmares. It can also be worn in your hair to make you irresistible. Furthermore it is said to allow the wearer to see fairies, a belief propagated by the Victorians.

Thyme can be used in a number of spells including:
     Love Spells
     Healing Spells
     Courage Spells
     Protection Magic
     Purification
     Sleep Spells
     To attract Fairies

Medicinal Uses: The leaves and flowers of Thyme are often used to aid in sluggish digestion and for its antiseptic properties. It can be gargled as a mouthwash to treat laryngitis, tonsillitis, and coughs. It can also be taken to treat asthma, bronchitis, and whooping cough as it works as an expectorant to reduce unnecessary spasms. Externally it is used to treat wounds, burns, and sores.

Preparation and Dosage: The leaves and flowers should be collected between June and August on a dry day. Leaves can then be dried. Thyme can be taken internally as either an infusion or tincture. To make an infusion, pour a cup of boiling water onto 2 teaspoons of dried leaves and seep for 10 minutes. Drink or gargle with this solution up to three times a day. As a tincture, take 2-4 milliliters up to three times a day. Externally use a Thyme infused lotion on infected wounds or soak bandages in a Thyme infusion before applying to wound.

 



Want to print a copy of this for your Book of Shadows? Click below for your free copy!

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0KnNmfNfzc8bTEta1c5R0RIRW8/edit?usp=sharing

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Finding and Storing Crystals


Most witches believe that you don't find a crystal or stone; it finds you. Most often this is done in stores, but some are found in riverbeds, quarries, forests, beaches, or even rock & mineral shows.

When you begin looking for crystals, you need to pay close attention to which ones attract you most strongly. You can do this by simply holding the crystal and feeling its energy or by meditating with the crystal. Because they have been around for hundreds of years, some crystals' energy is extremely low; it can take time to receive a message. Other times you will know instantly if a crystal is right for you. Furthermore, you may walk in looking for quartz, but walk out with amethyst. Sometimes the crystal calling you is not actually for you, but someone you know. You'll know very quickly if this is the case because you will feel the need to give the crystal away. You may also leave empty handed, finding no crystal in the store that speaks to you. I have walked out of stores empty handed several times. Don't be deterred if you don't find what you are looking for during your first trip. It is best to find magical tools, including crystals, that resonate with you as these will bring about the most powerful magic.

If you're looking for crystals, you needn't find the prettiest or even the clearest, unless you intend to use the stone for scrying. Crystals with cloudy "ghosts" or other mineral inclusions carry more powerful energy than those without. Again, buy the crystal that feels right to you, even if its "cheaper" or "uglier" than the others. A cheaper/more expensive stone you can't relate to is not worth the money.

Once you have purchased/found your crystal, you will need to cleanse it. Crystals are extremely sensitive to energy, and each person that touches them affects them. You don't want someone else's negative energy hanging around your crystals. Once cleansed, store your crystals in a cool, dark place away from others. You can keep them all together or divide them up; its up to you. No matter how you store them, you will still need to periodically cleanse them because they soak up the energy around them.

I have my crystals stored in glass jars in our spare bedroom. Where do you keep yours? Where is your favorite place to find crystals?

Monday, September 22, 2014

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Mabon Dinner Party

Last night I threw a small dinner party to celebrate the coming of Fall. I honestly can't wait for it to arrive and the weather to cool off. I know that Mabon is officially September 23, but I am not throwing a party on a Tuesday night. No one would come.

Unfortunately I didn't photograph any of the food or the night's festivities. I had all the intentions in the world of laying out my gorgeous spread of fall foods (all vegan except the cheese platter I put together), and photographing it for your food porn pleasure, but I got so caught up in my dinner guests that I forgot. I apologize for that, but I will tell you we had a mushroom and leek nut loaf, sweet potato souffle, lima beans, mixed green salad with cranberries and pecans dressed with balasmic fig dressing, and a dutch apple pie. Of course fall beers were served along with red wine. We finished the night off with a hilarious game of Cards Against Humanity.

It was a wonderful celebration with friends, even though none of them are pagan or really knew what I was celebrating. In October, I will share some of these recipes with you so you can enjoy them at Samhain or Thanksgiving if you celebrate.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Mabon and keep a look out for my post on my fall decorations!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Recipe: Spiced Pumpkin Muffins

Its not quite fall yet, but it sure as hell feels like it in this house. I have started cooking and baking again, something I loathe doing in the Georgia summer, and I have about 20 pumpkin spiced candles burning. I can tell that the days are shortening and the heat is starting to subside. I am beyond happy. Fall is my favorite time of year by far. I wish I lived somewhere with milder summers. I think I would be much happier living in the Northeast, preferably Maine. But I digress. Today I would like to share my Spiced Pumpkin Muffin recipe. I made a batch over the weekend and they are oh so good.



Ingredients:
     3 cups all-purpose flour
     1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
     2 teaspoons baking soda
     2 teaspoons baking powder
     1 teaspoon salt
     2 cups sugar
     1 can pumpkin puree
     Egg replacer for 4 eggs (or 4 eggs)
     1/2 cup water
     1/2-3/4 cup oil.
     Half a bag of chocolate chips

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Beat together sugar, egg replacer, pumpkin, water, and vegetable oil until smooth.
  2. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Gradually beat into sugar mixture making sure there are no lumps. Fold in chocolate chips.
  3. Fill lined muffin tins 3/4 of the way and bake for 16-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Enjoy!
This makes between 20 and 24 muffins. When it comes to the oil, you can reduce it depending on the consistency of your mixture. If you put in part whole wheat and part all-purpose flour you will need more oil than if you just use all-propose.

I hope you enjoy the recipe and have a fantastic fall! We are having a dinner party tonight to celebrate Mabon early!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Magical Correspondences of Crystals


Crystals and stones each contain an energy all their own. Their energy can be used for youself or to enhance your magic. To enhance your magic, use a crystal whose magical properties match your magical intent. Remember, you need to cleanse, charge (in moon- or sunlight), and empower your crystals before using.


Crystal or Stone
Magical Properties
Agate
Courage, strength, love, and protection
Alexandrite
Luck, love, spiritual transformation, and joy
Amazonite
Success, joy, self-expression; awakens the heart and throat chakras
Amber
Changes negative energy into positive energy. Protection
Amethyst
Courage, psychic energy, dreams, healing addictions, peace, happiness, love; opens crown chakra
Apache’s Tear
Protection, luck
Aquamarine
Courage, purification, peace, psychic awareness, self-expression; balances all the chakras
Azurite
Psychic energy, dreams, divination, healing, concentration, transformation
Beryl
Energy, love, healing, psychic awareness, protection especially from weather and water
Bloodstone
Courage, strength, victory, wealth, self-confidence, success in business and legal affairs; helps regulate the first four chakras
Calcite
Centering, grounding, purification, money, peace; calms fears
Carnelian
Courage, sexual energy, verbal skill, peace; alleviates jealousy, apathy, fear, and rage
Celestite
Verbal skills, healing, compassion, calming; aids in growth
Chrysocolla
Wisdom, peace, love, communication, vitality
Chrysoprase
Prosperity, luck, happiness, friendship, protection, healing
Citrine
Psychic powers, protection, creativity, sexual energy; helps deflect nightmares
Clear Quartz
Intensifies energy, protection
Coral
Protection; helps resolve conflicts
Diamond
Courage, strength, healing, protection
Emerald
Prosperity, dreams, meditation, love, peace, balance; opens heart chakra
Fluorite
Balances/stabilizes relationships
Fossil
Aids in exploring past lives; connecting with Ancestors
Garnet
Strength, healing, protection, purification, compassion; opens root and crown chakras
Geode
Fertility, childbirth, meditation, dreams, astral travel
Hematite
Grounding, calming, healing, divination, intuition; aids in restful sleep
Herkimer Diamond
Enhances psychic abilities and clairvoyance
Infinite
Helps in communicating with angels
Iolite
Establishes accurate visions
Jade
Healing, protection, wisdom, prosperity, love, long life, fertility, peace
Jasper
Healing, protection, health, beauty, energy
Jet
Protection, breaking hexes; dispels fear
Kunzite
Creativity, balance, communication, grounding, relaxation
Kyanite
Balances energies; aids in meditation
Lapis lazuli
Courage, joy, love, fidelity, protection, healing, beauty, prosperity
Lepidolite
Peace, spirituality, luck, protection, psychic ability, emotional balance; deflects nightmares
Lodestone
Cleanses crystals and aligns their energy; balances chakras; removes obstacles
Malachite
Power, energy, protection, love, peace, success in business, gardening
Marble
Protection, dream recall, meditation
Meteorite
Enhances work with spiritual and celestial beings
Moldavite
Psychic abilities; helps balance emotions
Moonstone
Grounding, love, divination, sleep, gardening, protection, youth, harmony, peace, travel
Obsidian
Grounding, divination, protections; deflects negativity
Onyx
Emotional balance, self-control, binding, protection strength
Opal
Beauty, prosperity, luck, power, psychic abilities, emotional balance
Pearl
Peace, serenity; manifests the truth
Peridot
Protection, prosperity, sleep, health, emotional balance, intuition
Rhodochrosite
Energy, peace, calm, love, emotional balance; balance root chakra
Rhodonite
Peace, memory, mental clarity, confidence; opens crown chakra
Rose Quartz
Love, peace, happiness, healing
Ruby
Prosperity, power, courage, integrity, joy; deflects nightmares
Rutilate Quartz
Intensifies and quartz energy; enhances communication
Sapphire
Psychic abilities, inspiration, love, meditation, peace, healing, power, prosperity, protection
Smokey Quartz
Healing, altered states, absorbing energy; dissolves negative energy
Sodalite
Healing, meditation, wisdom, calm, grounding, stress reducer
Sugilite
Eliminates negative energies; creates love and harmony
Sunstone
Protection, energy, health, passion, sexuality
Tektites
Enhances any energy field; enlightenment
Tiger’s Eye
Courage, prosperity, protection, energy, luck, judgment and common sense, honesty, divination; eases depression
Topaz
Protection, healing, prosperity, love, emotional balance, tranquility, creativity
Tourmaline
Love, friendship, prosperity, business, peace, sleep, energy, courage, protection, inspiration; opens the third-eye center or the sixth chakra
Turquoise
Courage, protection, prosperity, luck, friendship, healing, communication, happiness, emotional balance, astral travel’ strengthens all the chakras
Unakite
Enhances personal power; changes negative energy into positive energy
Zebra Stone
Promotes physical energy
Zircon
Protection, beauty, love, peace, sexual energy, healing, alertness, balance

As you can see there is quite a lot of overlap between crystals, so if you are unable to find one, you can sub in another.

Later I will post how to find and store your crystals.

Do you use crystals to enhance your magic? Which crystals do you work with most?



Want a copy for your BOS? Download a copy here!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Breaking Spells


Think another witch has cast a spell on you? Break it with this simple spell.

Tie a know at each end of a silver cord. As you do, visualize the first knot representing you and the second the witch you cast the spell. Cut the cord in the center while visualizing the spell breaking and chanting the following:
"From you to me this spell I break,
This was not right for you to make.
Its intention I will abruptly end,
And back to you the spell I send.
This is my will, so mote it be."

Good luck! Hopefully you never have to use this, but just in case.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Empowering Crystals

I have just started really giving crystal magic thought and would like to share what I am learning with you. Within the next week I will post a brief guide to crystal correspondences along with an accompanying free printable BOS page. Last week I posed how to cleanse crystals since I have found many people don't know how or that they should. Today, however, I would like to address empowering or charging crystals with you magical intentions.



This is actually very easy and simple. You can empower crystals with your magical intent, whether that be to draw things to you--money, love, or luck--or keep things away. To do this, pick a crystal to match your magical intent, cleanse it, then charge it by chanting the following:
"This crystal I hold with intentions clear,
To contain the magic within it sphere.
Make it last and hold it long.
Enhance the magic, make it strong."
Envision your intentions infusing into the crystal and coming to pass while you chant. When you are finished, use it for whatever you needed it for or just carry it with you. Told you it was easy.

You can use this same technique to charge just about any magical object you use by simply changing the word "crystal" to that of the object you are using. However, I use a different chant for potions simply because I like chanting "Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble," but you can use this for potions as well and even when you are cooking.

Do you use crystals in your magical workings? How?

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Raven

"Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
"Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou," I said, "art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore--
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!"
Quoth the Raven "Nevermore."
                                                                 --The Raven, Edgar Allen Poe
The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe is my favorite poem, followed closely by Blake's The Poison Tree. Ravens also happen to be my favorite animal and one of my totems. Today I would like to touch briefly of their magical meaning and give you a Raven Invisibility Feather Spell.

Ravens have a long and rich history. Like many birds, they are seen as messengers between this world and the next. Odin kept two ravens named Thought and Memory as messengers as did Apollo. If a raven appears in your life, turn your focus inward as ravens symbolize change. However, the change ravens bring are generally meaningful and revelatory. Ravens are very perceptive and will only visit those who should expect change. If you are struggling to realize what should change, you may need to change the way you are looking at the problem or yourself.

Apart from being messengers, ravens are also considered powerful teachers of the magical arts. This is part of the reason I am drawn to the raven. I'd like to say I picked the raven, but in reality it he picked me. I have had an extremely strong connection to them since I was a small child. He has been an incredibly great teacher and when I have struggled, he has pointed me in the right direction. Just as ravens can mimic the calls of other birds and animals, we too can learn to understand the meaning in various symbols and messages that surround us. As a totem the raven teaches and reveals magic within.

If you dream about a raven it generally means big changes are coming or an end to a phase or habit in your life. It could also mean someone is taking advantage of your misfortune as ravens eat carrion or will steal food from others. On rare occasions it can signify an impending death.

Spirit Symbols:
Introspection, Self-knowledge, Magic, Creation, Wisdom, Truth, Answers, Messages, Secrets, Change, Instruction


This spell does not actually make you invisible. Instead it promotes the inability of others to see you as in they will be more likely to look past you or allow you to go unnoticed. However, this can aid in invisibility during astral projection or other times where you walk in between worlds.
  1. Find a raven feather freely given. This means capturing a raven and taking its feathers will not work. You must find it on the ground.
  2. Charge the feather with your desire.
  3. When you wish to be invisible hold the feather in your hand.
In order for this to work you must be very still, quiet, and discreet. With practice this spell can be extremely effective.

Have you used the raven in any of your magical workings? What totem animals do you use?

Monday, September 1, 2014

Grimoire vs Book of Shadows


In passing conversation the other day, I was asked what the difference between a Grimoire and a Book of Shadows (BOS) is. Most witches keep a BOS, but not a Grimoire. A BOS is a witch's personal book of magic; a diary of magic if you will. It includes records of all magical workings, dreams and their meanings, rituals, etc. If the witch does not also keep a Grimoire, it can also include spells and other magical information needed to perform magic. Its always a good idea to keep records of your magical workings. This will not only help you progress as a witch by seeing your power grow, but will also allow you to see what works and what does not work for you.

A Grimoire is like a BOS, but not as personal. It holds information about rituals, spells, potions, and how to prepare magical tools. It also contains lists of correspondences and magical properties of herbs, gemstones, food, colors, etc. Basically, it contains all your magical research. It does not contain personal information or records of magical workings.

Most witches keep just a BOS. I am personally in the process of transferring to two separate books. I'd much rather keep all my research in one book and my thoughts and feelings in another book. In doing so I can keep my personal information from others while still sharing my research.

If you wish to start a Grimoire, I suggest using something with removable pages. This way you can add and remove pages as you need them instead of taking your entire book into a ritual where it may be damaged. This also allows you to easily move pages around if you decide to reorganize it. Some people keep their BOS and Grimoires on their computer. I find this cumbersome when I wish to perform magic, but it may work for you.

Remember, your BOS contains very personal information. It is a sacred object and should be treated as such. Honor it by giving it its own special hiding place where others will not be tempted to mess with it. Bless it and protect it. It is only for you and whoever you authorize to see it. You need to be sure that whoever does see it won't disclose its contents to others or harm you or the book. If someone makes you uncomfortable, do not show it to them. This is just another reason I suggest keeping two books. Others like to see your research, not so much your personal thoughts. Keeping a Grimoire and a Book of Shadows is the best way to do this.

I hope this clears up any confusion you may have. Do you keep just a BOS or a BOS and Grimoire?