Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Spell & Ritual Worksheet/Log

When casting spells and performing rituals, it is extremely important to keep a detailed record of what you did, including the purpose, timing, ingredients, and even what you did with the spell remains. Why should you keep such a detailed log of your magical workings? Well, first of all, keeping track of your spells allows you to reflect on your successes and failures as a witch. If a spell is particularly successful, you may wish to use it again in the future. If a spell fails miserably, looking back at what you did may give some insights into where you messed up so you can improve. However, one of the most important reasons to keep a detailed record of your magical workings is in case the spell backfires or you wish to reverse it. Sometimes spells come back and bite us in the ass or have unintended results. Having a detailed record of your magical workings allows you to easily reverse the spell. This won't, of course, reverse the damage, but will at least allow you to stop it from harming you or others further.

There are tons of free Book of Shadow ritual logs floating around on the internet, but none of them included everything you should write down regarding your magical workings, or at least didn't prompt you to write down specific details. Furthermore, almost every book I have read has failed to mention everything you should write down. For example, I've only read once that you should write down what you did with the spell remains. Seriously? Witches, that is extremely important information to keep! I'm surprised this isn't more widely known or thought about. I've also failed to see most sources ask you to keep track of unusual occurrences before, during, and after the spell/ritual. A lot of times there are omens that show up around spell work that will give you some major insights into the success or failure of the spell. And finally, almost no one mentions creating a loophole to break/reverse the spell. This is another important aspect to keep track of. If you are performing magic you should always build in a failsafe. Sometimes you may do everything right, but the spell still ends up backfiring. A loophole allows you to stop the spell in its tracks, especially if it is having unintended consequences.


Every free spell and ritual log/worksheet has always been missing something, until now! I present, free of charge, my complete spell/ritual worksheet!  

This worksheet includes:
  • Ritual name
  • Purpose/Goal
  • Date, Time, Moon, and Length
  • Ingredients
  • Deities
  • Instructions (actions and words)
  • Unusual Occurrences (before, during, & after)
  • Where are the Spell Remains
  • Loophole to Break Spell
  • Notes/Result

All of this on a beautifully designed vintage, floral print! Download your copy today and begin logging all your spells and rituals completely.


GET YOUR FREE COPY HERE.

 

Thursday, June 7, 2018

DIY Summer Solstice Sun Wheel

 DIY Summer Solstice Sun Wheel

I am excited to share this wonderful craft with you today! Every year I look at possible decorations and crafts for the Summer Solstice, and every year I see beautiful sun wheels. Last year I actually bought some supplies to make a sun wheel, but never got around to it. Well, this year I decided enough is enough; I am going to make that darn sun wheel!

Sun wheels are usually equal-armed crosses within a circle. They have been used by a variety of cultures, including the Celts and Vikings. Sometimes referred to as Odin's Cross, the sun wheel is believed to invoke power, fertility, life, abundance, and peace, attributes often attributed to the Sun. The four equal divisions in the sun wheel represent the four seasons (spring, summer, fall, and winter) as well as the four directions (North, East, South, and West) and the solar calendar marked by the 4 solstices/equinoxes. However, modern pagans have begun using the traditional God's Eye to make images of the sun, thus we have developed a modern version of this ancient symbol to invoke the same powers.

DIY Summer Solstice Sun Wheel

To make this modern version of the sun wheel, you will need a couple of items, including:
  • 4 branches of the same length
  • yellow, red, orange, brown yarn, string, ribbon, twine, or raffia
  • scissors
  • sage

For this particular project, I used branches from my Weeping Willow. It lost two very large limbs this year due to storms, which I figured I could use for some project eventually. Sure enough, I found a use! Willow trees represent love, tranquility, protection, and growth, all of which correspond to the meaning of a sun wheel, making Willow a great choice for my project, even though it is usually associated with the Moon. You can also use Oak, Birch, or Ash. From one of the limbs, that is miraculously sprouting roots and growing in my brush pile, I snipped off four branches of equal width. Because the limb is still somehow alive, I thanked it for providing me with the cuttings. I used my gardening shears to clip them off and then clip them to equal lengths. I stripped off any small side branches and leaves and brought them inside. If you are using dead or fallen branches, be sure to check them for pests. You may wish to bake the branches in the oven for 10 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit prior to completing this project. That should kill off any possible insects that may be hiding in the bark.

DIY Summer Solstice Sun Wheel
Crystals to increase the potency of my spell.
Next, cleanse all your items with the sage or any other type of cleansing herb. This gets rid of any energies your supplies may have picked up, especially if you bought anything from a store. Once the items are cleansed, you need to secure your four branches together with some twine. I began by wrapping two branches together at a time to make an equal-armed cross. Once I had two crosses tied together, I combined them to make my wheel or base for the different yarns, twine, ribbons, and raffia to thread through. This doesn't need to look perfect; however, you want to be sure the branches are secure and will not move. Securing the two equal-armed crosses is by far the toughest part of this entire project.

DIY Summer Solstice Sun Wheel

DIY Summer Solstice Sun Wheel

Now that the branches are secure, start threading your yellow yarns, twine, ribbons, and raffia through the branches. I secured the first line by tieing it to the twine used to secure the branches. I found that wrapping the raffia around a section several times produced a more cohesive look and gave me thicker sections faster. Don't worry about what the back looks like; focus only on the front. Alternate between colors and textures to make your own unique design. I picked up my ribbon, yarn, and raffia from my local Dollar Tree. Double check how many yards of each you are purchasing though because I ran out of the orange yarn within seconds and didn't have any more on hand to make a larger section of it. The twine I purchased from the gardening section of Michael's Craft Store, although I am sure there is twine available at the Dollar Tree as well. As you thread the materials through the branches, visualize the sun and all its strength pouring into your sun wheel. You may even wish to chant a litter mantra as you work.

DIY Summer Solstice Sun Wheel
Back: You can see where I tied the knots as I thread the materials.
Once you are finished, place on your altar, hang it up or otherwise display it for all the see. If you wish, you can charge your sun wheel in the sun. Don't leave it there too long, however, as the colors will fade quickly.

DIY Summer Solstice Sun Wheel

DIY Summer Solstice Sun Wheel

DIY Summer Solstice Sun Wheel

And there you have it! A beautiful sun wheel for this Summer Solstice. You'll see mine appear again on my Solstice altar in a couple of weeks. Until then!



DIY Summer Solstice Sun Wheel: See the complete directions on flyingthehedge.com

Sunday, June 3, 2018

House of Rituals May 2018 Unboxing


Thanks for watching my first video ever! Unfortunately it cut my brief introduction out. Oh well! I recorded this darn thing 3 times before I could get a video that actually worked. Keep an eye out for more videos in the future!

Friday, June 1, 2018

Herbarium: Yarrow

Magical and medicinal uses of Yarrow. Includes FREE BOS page!
Gender: Feminine
Planet: Venus
Element: Water
Powers: Courage, Exorcism, Love, Protection, Psychic Powers
Magical Uses and History: Oh yarrow! This may be one of the most under-appreciated herbs in a witch's cabinet because of it's lack of culinary uses, but the medicinal and magical uses of yarrow date back from 60,000 years. One of the earliest known uses of yarrow was discovered in 1960 in a Neanderthal burial site in northern Iraq. The large clumps of yarrow pollen found there suggests the yarrow was not placed there by accident, but instead deliberately by the Neanderthals. We are unsure as to whether or not the Neanderthals were aware of the healing properties of yarrow, but we do know they took the time and care to bury their fallen companion with love, thus strengthening the association between yarrow and love.

Yarrow also has ties to Greek mythology, its Latin name being Achillea millefolium, which derives from the famous Achilles. According to the myths, Achilles learned the healing properties of yarrow from the Centaur, Chiron, who used it to heal Achilles after his mother tried to burn him alive for being the unlucky seventh child. Achilles later uses yarrow to heal Telephus, the son-in-law of King Priam, who tripped over a vine and was accidentally wounded by Achilles. Achilles scraped some rust from his spear and from the rust grew yarrow, which he used to treat Telephus's wounds.

In medieval England, the herb was known as both Militaris and woundwort for its healing properties. There are some accounts of the name "yarrow" originating from the Anglo-Saxon word gaerwe, which translates to "to repair." Nicholas Culpepper described medicinal uses of yarrow in his 1649 book The Secrets of Wildflowers stating that "an ointment of the leaves cures wounds, and is good for inflammations, ulcers, fistulas, and all such runnings as amount with moisture." One specific folklore remedy says to pull the leaves from the plant with your left hand while saying the name of the ill person. Contradictory to its healing properties, yarrow was at one time thought to bring sickness, earning the name of Mother-die and Fever-plant. Furthermore, yarrow was also thought to cause nosebleeds, which contradicts its actual blood clotting nature. According to Lightfoot's Flora Scotica from 1777, "The common people in order to cure the Headache do sometimes thrust a leaf of it up their nostrils, to make their nose bleed." There is also mention of this in the 1878 Folk Lore Record in regards to young girls being in love:
Green 'arrow, green 'arrow, you wears a white bow;
If my love love me, my nose will bleed now;
If my love don't love me, it 'ont bleed a drop;
If my love do love me, 'twill bleed every drop.
Apart from its medicinal uses, yarrow also has a long and rich magical history. In some spells and charms, it earned the name "devil's nettle" because it was believed to be used in evil spells and rituals. Despite this early negative connotation, yarrow is often used for protection, being hung above doors or a baby's cradle to keep evil at bay. Wearing yarrow is also said to protect the wearer while holding it can bring courage.

Yarrow is also said to increase psychic powers and has traditionally been used in China and England for divination. In China, the stems were used for casting, while in England young women would sleep with yarrow under their pillows to dream of their future husbands. Furthermore, dreaming of yarrow is said to mean that good news is on its way. To increase physic powers, drink a tea infusion of yarrow prior to physic work.

Finally, yarrow can be used to ensure a long, happy marriage. Carrying yarrow is said to bring love and friendship while hanging a bunch of dried yarrow over a bed or used in wedding decorations is said to ensure a love lasting at least seven years.

Yarrow can be used in a number of spells including:
     Divination
     Love Spells
     Protection Magic
     Luck Spells

Medicinal Uses: Due to high levels of iron, calcium, potassium, and other trace minerals, yarrow has a reputation to lower blood pressure, reduce fevers, and relieve diarrhea and indigestion. It can also be used as a urinary antiseptic to treat cystitis or externally to heal wounds. For fevers, it combines well with elderberry flower, peppermint, cayenne, and ginger. For raised blood pressure, it can be paired with hawthorn and mistletoe. It can also be used for reducing menstrual bleeding and can help regulate menstrual flow.

Preparation and Dosage: Internally- Yarrow is most commonly taken orally through an infusion or tea. To create an infusion/tea, pour a cup of boiling water over 1-2 teaspoons of dried herb and allow to sit for 10-15 minutes. Drink up to 3 times a day, or if combating a fever, drink once every hour. For a tincture, take 2-4 milliliters three times a day. If you wish to create a potent flu remedy, mix 1 teaspoon yarrow leaves and flowers, 1 teaspoon dried elderflower, and 1/2 teaspoon dried peppermint, and one cup of boiling water. Allow to steep for 10 minutes. Drink up to 3 times a day. Externally- The herbs used to make an infusion/tea can be placed on minor cuts and bruises to aid in healing. DO NOT USE IF YOU ARE PREGNANT OR BREASTFEEDING.


Want to print a copy of this for your Book of Shadows? Click below for your free copy!
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1KcPGhJb6dAWWP-8Bzzsip1eEYr4R1WQs/view?usp=sharing

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Hedge Riding Series: Preparation + Hedge Riding Sachet

Hedge Riding Series: Preparation + Hedge Riding Sachet

After you master the ability to focus your mind, you are ready to begin hedge riding. However, like any journey you take, you must make sure you are prepared prior to leaving. Just like you would pack a suitcase with clothes and toiletries to travel across the country, you must also make sure you are prepared to journey into the Otherworld.

Protecting Yourself

Prior to hedge riding, it is important to make sure you are properly protected, and I don't necessarily mean through circle casting. I have never in my entire magical life cast a complete circle. It just isn't my thing. I prefer to let my energy flow freely, but I understand the importance of circle casting and the benefits of doing so. I, however, choose a different method to concentrate my energies and keep myself protected. As you will be traveling to the Otherworld, where there are both positive and negative entities, it is important to take proper precautions. You don't jump into the car for a road trip without making sure to buckle up first! Apply the same logic to hedge riding. While I have had only one negative encounter, it is better to be safe than sorry.

There are several ways you can protect yourself prior to entering the Otherworld. My preferred way is to envision myself surrounded by golden light. This is a technique I actually learned from Silver Ravenwolf years ago. I know, I know, the dreaded Silver Ravenwolf. However, this particular method of protection always stuck with me and she wasn't even mentioning it as a means of protection. In fact, she was using it as a way to cleanse yourself, but when I tried it, I felt it act exactly as she described a magical circle, so I decided because I could easily summon this "shield" and felt more comfortable with it, I would use it instead of the proverbial circle. I just can't wrap my mind around casting a circle up against a wall, but that's just me. Anyway! This golden light can stick to your skin, or be envisioned as an oval or egg-shaped shield around you. If you prefer, cast that magical circle.

In addition to visualizing a protective shield, you can carry a protective amulet or hold a crystal. Great protective crystals for hedge riding include my all-time favorite black tourmaline which protects against negative energies, especially those at a lower frequency; labradorite, which guards against psychic attacks and fixations; staurolite, which protects against unwanted spirits and attachments; and finally spirit quartz or just plain clear quartz, which both increase your natural defenses.

However, the best form of protection in the Otherworld is your animal guide. We will talk more about meeting your animal guide and developing a relationship with them later, but having them with you at all times in the spirit world if a must. They will inherently keep you safe and defend you no matter what the cost.

Preparing to Ride

Once you are protected, it is time to prepare for your ride. Begin by making sure you are in the correct setting. Is your environment conducive to hedge riding? You will require peace and quiet for your journey away from the daily distractions, especially that damned cell phone of yours. I find it best to hedge ride when no one is home. You may even need earplugs to block out that blasted dishwasher or fridge hum. I lock my cats out of the room because they tend to want to try and bring me home instead of helping me travel deeper. I know it makes Jane, my kitten, nervous when I leave. She tends to paw at my face, attempting to keep my firmly grounded instead of traveling too deeply into the Otherworld. I appreciate her concern, but it is very distracting.

Make sure where ever you are going to ride is temperature controlled. You don't want to be too hot or too cold. Either will disrupt your ability to stay focused. Furthermore, decide if you are going to sit or lie down. You need to be comfortable enough to relax, but not so comfortable you fall asleep. You'll also need to decide if you want to wear clothes or not. I love to hedge ride in a warm bath surrounded by candles and crystals. I also enjoy hedge riding at night while laying in my bed with the full moon coming through my window. It depends on my mood and time of the month, but I strategically plan each ride and ensure I am comfortable prior to traveling.

You may also decide to light some candles and incense. There are several scents that can help you reach an altered state of consciousness, including the famous mugwort. There are even some incense blends on the market named "astral travel." While I haven't personally used this blend, I have a feeling it is likely effective in setting the mood to travel to the Otherworld. Much of the principals of astral travel apply to hedge riding, so any incense or herb for spiritual travel should work. Other than mugwort, I find cinnamon incense helps me travel fairly well. You may find lavender or orange blossom helps you travel. Sometimes our personal correspondences are more important than what a book says it is.

Hedge Riding Series: Preparation + Hedge Riding Sachet

Finally, decide whether or not you will use shamanic drumming, a rattle, or chanting to aid in your travels. I prefer shamanic drumming. I find that if I just have to listen to the drums instead of actively participating in the drumming, rattling, or chanting, I am able to reach an altered state of consciousness must faster.

When everything is all nice and set, be sure to ground yourself. This helps to ensure you have one foot firmly placed in our world so you can easily find your way back. I find the best way to ground is to either stand barefoot in the yard or hold my black tourmaline tight, envisioning my connection to Mother Earth through the roots in my feet (or hands if I am holding a crystal).

Hedge Riding Series: Preparation + Hedge Riding Sachet

Setting A Course

Are you protected? Comfortable? Grounded? Great! Now let's set a purpose. Why are your going on this journey? When you hedge ride, you should always have your purpose firmly set in your mind. This will help you remained focused on your intent and give your animal guides or spirit guides a heads up that you are coming. Are you wishing to have a question answered? Repeat the question several times in your mind. Looking to grow spiritually? Concentrate on the growth you seek intently. Always make sure you ask your guides to meet you in the Otherworld when you arrive. Again, they are needed to protect you, and will likely have the answers you seek or at least know where to find them.

You can hedge ride for a variety of purposes, including divination, healing, spell work, knowledge, or meet with your ancestors. I find healing and knowledge to be the two main reasons I hedge ride. Occasionally I go seeking answers, but usually, these answers, while masked as divination, are actually to help me heal from past injuries and hurts. Hedge riding is a great way to heal yourself, especially from emotional injuries. Remember, you must learn to heal yourself before you can heal others. My favorite way to heal myself is to swim in the lake inside of my Garden. The cold water is refreshing and filled with magical healing properties. If I hedge ride in the bath at home, it doesn't matter how hot the bath may be when I enter the pool in the Garden, my whole body feels the cold shock. Sometimes it is hard not to be shocked back into our realm. It is truly invigorating.

While hedge riding is great for healing, it can't fix everything. If you broke your arm, I'm sorry but you need to go to the hospital all the same and have a doctor set the bone. Furthermore, it is unwise to hedge ride if you are sick. Stay at home and take care of yourself on in our realm first. There is nothing worse than a fever induced hedge ride. Trust me...I am ashamed to say I did this once, but in all honesty, it was completely accidental. However, in some cases, it is okay to hedge ride while ill. If you are suffering from allergies or a simple cold, feel free to travel on. Furthermore, many people find hedge riding while fighting cancer to be beneficial as well. It's a great way to deal with the emotional stress, but only if you are feeling up to it. Use common sense.

To aid in spell work, you can focus on things like increasing protection, strength, or even to seek help to overcome an obstacle. Being around your guides is enough to give you a sense of purpose and drive. If you are looking for knowledge, seek out your guides for answers. Again, they will either know the answer or know someone who will. Keep in mind that our guides do not communicate the same ways we do. You may notice they never actually speak to you, but instead show you a variety of images. This is why it is so important to write down your journeys so you can interpret the meanings when you come back to Earth. You may need to hedge ride a couple of times before the answer becomes clear enough for you to understand. Be patient. The answer will come in time.

Creating A Hedge Riding Sachet

One of the items you will likely wish to create solely for hedge riding is a hedge riding sachet that you will carry with you each time you ride. Historically, medicine men and women carried medicine bags, which usually was a drawstring bag with a variety of items for a variety of purposes. Written in the thirteenth century, Erik's Saga, of which two versions are preserved, Hauksbók and Shalkholtbók, there is mention of a such a magical bag. In this story, a priestess named Völva carries a skin pouch full of magical items. You too can create such a bag. The items contained within can be used for protection, aiding in hedge riding, grounding, or for luck. You sachet is designed for you, by you for whatever purpose you deem. It can also contain items to represent the elements or your animal guides to increase your connection with them. My bag is a compilation of items, some of which hold great meaning to me. Any item that is important to you will increase your magical workings, no matter what the item.

Hedge Riding Series: Hedge Riding Sachet

So, how do you make a hedge riding sachet? Start with a bit of cloth or a drawstring bag. Recently I was given a pouch in one of my subscription boxes that I decided would be my new sachet bag. Before I used a plastic baggie and then a piece of fabric. It is really whatever works for you.

After you have figured out what you are going to use to store your items, begin deciding what you wish to include in the bag. You can include herbs, crystals, features, runes, jewelry, pictures, coins, small trinkets, amulets, or anything else you can think of. Whatever you put in the bag should be kept private. DO NOT LET ANYONE TOUCH YOUR ITEMS. Every item should be cleansed and charged prior to entering your sachet. Furthermore, do not let these items touch the ground. Preferably leave them in the bag, on the cloth, or in your hand or on your body in some way.

In time, your sachet will become increasingly powerful. You may add or remove items as you see fit.

Looking for ideas? Here's a peek inside my hedge riding sachet!

Hedge Riding Series: Hedge Riding Sachet Contents

My sachet includes:
Black Tourmaline: protection and grounding
Clear Quartz: protection and amplification of magical workings
Amethyst: enhancing psychic awareness and balance
Pentagram: protection
Feather: aid in flight and connection with one of my animal guides
Traveler's Loose Incense: contains copal, mugwort, damiana, calendula, and jasmine to aid in hedge riding. I use it as a nosegay prior to riding.

I am adding and subtracting from my sachet as I feel the need. This is a living entity, so as you grow, so will it. It can include ANYTHING you desire, so make it personal!



Interest in the rest of the series? Make sure to keep an eye out for upcoming posts!

Hedge Riding Series

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

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


Monday, May 28, 2018

Beltane Altar 2018

Hey everyone! I apologize for being absent most of the month of April and May. A lot has happened over the past couple of weeks that has left me without a computer or too darn exhausted to blog. Don't worry; I am fine and things are fine; just a lot going on in my work and personal life at the moment. However, I found some time to put together a lovely Beltane altar to honor this fire festival, the peak of Spring, and the coming of Summer. Without further ado, let's take a peek at how I honored our Mother Earth and the Sun for this sabbat!

Beltane Altar 2018

Like last year, I decided to use reds and whites for my altar to symbolize both the masculine (white) and feminine (red), since this is a sabbat which celebrates both, especially in regards to sex. In the center are my silk flowers in red and white, an equal number of each to show the equality of the masculine and feminine during Beltane.

Beltane Altar 2018

Encircling the altar is ivy, representing the masculine Oak King, who is growing in strength, luck, and, of course, fertility. You can't have a Beltane altar without some fertility symbolism. Entwined in the ivy are a variety of candles in whites and reds symbolizing the strengthening sun, as well as some lanterns for the same purpose. I love the little lanterns. I purchased these last year from Target in the dollar section. Can't get much better than that! I think the Dollar Tree has these throughout the year as well, so if you are looking for a pair, see if you can't find them at your local dollar store this year.

Beltane Altar 2018

Beltane Altar 2018

In the center I set up a crystal grid around a center candle to promote strength, love, and joy by using carnelian, rose quartz, and citrine. I absolutely love using crystal grids to enhance the magic of my altars. Crystals are truely one of the best magical gifts Mother Earth provides us, and I can't imagine having an altar without them.

Beltane Altar 2018

Beltane Altar 2018

Beltane Altar 2018

I hope everyone had a wonderful Beltane this year. I apologize again for my long absence and promise a slew of posts to make up for it.

Beltane Altar 2018

May the coming months be filled with warm weather, bountiful gardens, and magic!


Thursday, April 12, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interest in the rest of the series? Make sure to keep an eye out for upcoming posts!

Hedge Riding Series

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

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


Thursday, March 29, 2018

Herbarium: Daffodil

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Ostara 2018 Altar


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



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


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


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


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


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


Monday, March 12, 2018

Representing the Elements with Crystals


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

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

Earth

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

Water

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

Air

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

Fire

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

Representing the Elements with Crystals: Fire

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

Representing the Elements with Crystals: All Elements

How do you represent the Elements on your altar?