Monday, February 19, 2018

Hedge Riding Series: Realms of the Otherworld

Hedge Riding Series: Realms of the Otherworld

Now that you have some sense of what hedge riding is, it is time to discuss the realms of the Otherworld. When hedgewitches hedge ride, they travel to the Otherworld to communicate with spirits, animal guides, and/or ancestral and spirit guides, or simply as a form of relaxation. To be honest, sometimes I travel to my Garden to get away from the stresses of day-to-day life. It is incredibly beautiful and relaxing there.

While not all hedgewitches will enter the Otherworld the same way, many believe it contains three realms that can be accessed through the World Tree, known in Norse mythology as Yggdrasil. Why the World Tree? Well, most of us can easily envision a tree, making travel easier. Second, the World Tree connects to all three realms. It reaches deep into the Earth, allowing access to the Lower Realms, is present within the Middle Realm with its trunk, and reaches into the sky allowing access to the Upper Realms. The World Tree is typically considered to be an Ash that stands close to the hedgerow, the thin veil between our world and the next, making it easily accessible to those who know where to look.

Hedge Riding Series: Realms of the Otherworld
"The Ash Yggdrasil" (1886) by Friedrich Wilhelm Heine
In Norse mythology, there are nine total realms: three Lower, three Middle, and three Upper. If you would like to incorporate all of the realms into your practice, go right ahead. I prefer to use a simpler model, focusing on one of each: Lower, Middle, and Upper. However, if you would like to learn more about Yggdrasil, check out the following links:


The Lower Realm

The Lower Realm is where I visit most often, existing close to our own realm. The Lower Realm is wild, with unsullied terrain and life. I have, however, found a house once on a cliff side overlooking an ocean. The house resembled that of the mansion in Practical Magic, but it did not feel safe and inviting. In fact, it felt forced and out-of-place. I have avoided that area ever since. Other than that, the Lower Realm is a beautiful, rustic land that can be every season at once or none at all. I have encountered high mountains, vast deserts, lakes and rivers, dense forests, open plains, and frozen tundra while visiting the Lower Realm and encountered a number of animals while there.

Hedge Riding Series: Realms of the Otherworld

The Lower Realm is where I have met both of my animal guides, Meka and Rocar. If you are looking to meet and communicate with your animal guides, the Lower Realm is where you should travel. It is uncommon to meet them else where, especially in the Middle Realm. You can also meet ancestors, spirit guides, wise women and men, nature spirits, and faeries in this realm.

The Lower Realm is sometimes referred to as the collective unconscious, a reservoir of accumulated knowledge that has been passed down from generation to generation. This is where I travel to seek advice, look for archetypes, seek hidden messages, and ask questions of those who live there. Furthermore, it is easy to access and relatively safe in comparison to other realms.

Below the Lower Realm is the Underworld, a place I have not visited as of yet. It isn't that this realm is dangerous per say, but more because I have no desire to go there. Shamans, who tend to do psychopomp work, are more likely to travel to the Underworld in Shamanic Journeying than hedgewitches are during hedge riding.

The Middle Realm

The Middle Realm is located at the trunk of the World Tree and is our world with a spiritual overlay. This is where your Garden exists, a spiritual safe haven if you will. However, I almost never travel outside of my Garden when visiting the Middle Realm. This is by far the most dangerous realm to visit as it is essentially our realm, but with spirits roaming the streets as well. Be careful of anyone you meet while in the Middle Realm. They are often deceitful. If you meet an animal while visiting, do not let it convince you it is an animal guide, unless it finds you in your Garden. Ask for it to visit you in the Lower Realm. If it truly is an animal guide, it will meet you there without hesitation. Despite this, the Middle Realm is a great place to travel forward and backwards in time regarding your own life and that of your ancestors. If you are looking to evaluate your past choices or contact your ancestors, this is the realm to do it in.

Hedge Riding Series: Realms of the Otherworld

If you are inexperienced, I do not suggest travel into the Middle Realm in current time. However, traveling forward and backwards tends to be relatively safe, especially when meeting ancestors because they have your best interest at heart. When traveling back and forth through time, make sure your intent is well stated, so you don't end up getting lost, or worse, running into some less-than-savory characters. If you do, make sure you stay calm and follow some simple etiquette tips to be discussed in a later post.

The Upper Realm

Honestly, I don't spend a lot of time in the Upper Realm either. I prefer the Lower Realm or my Garden because they are where I feel most at home. However, you may find the Upper Realm the most inviting. This is a magical realm, where the Sun is always brightly shining and the landscape is perpetually in bloom. There are blue-green waters, lush tropical forests, and cloud forests aplenty in the Upper Realm. Honestly, the golden-glow is a little too bright for my tastes. It is in the Upper Realm that the "higher" spiritual beings dwell; think angels, goddesses and gods, and other spirit-like beings (ancestors, guides, etc). Your animal guides can easily follow you here. I have seen lots of birds in this realm as well, including golden eagles and hawks. I have also seen griffins soaring overhead in the Upper Realm.

Hedge Riding Series: Realms of the Otherworld

If you are seeking divine knowledge or healing, the Upper Realm is the place to go. You can also meet your spirit guides in the Upper Realm, the wise women and men of the past sent to guide you through this life.

This is of course only a simple look into the realms of the Otherworld. Furthermore, each person experiences them slightly differently. That's the wonderful thing about our mind and the Otherworld. It tries to present itself to us in a way we can understand, making it accessible to all those wishing to travel.

Keep an eye out for upcoming posts, including:

Hedge Riding Series

What is Hedge Riding?
Realms of the Otherworld
Focusing the Mind: Getting Ready to Ride
Preparation + Hedge Riding Sachet
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:


Friday, February 16, 2018

DIY Self Love Witch Ball

DIY Self Love Witch Ball

Witch balls have a pretty long and rich history. Originally assumed to be less-than-friendly, modern witches use witch balls as a form of decorative magic. That's right, witch balls are usually prominently displayed in the witch's home or garden to bring about whatever magic they infuse the ball with. This is generally protection magic, but witch balls can be used for any magic you want.

With Valentine's Day under our belts, I decided to honor myself as well and put together a witch ball for self-love. After celebrating everyone else we love in our lives, why not celebrate ourselves as well? This simple witch ball is designed to be a constant reminder that you are enough, even when you do feel like it.

DIY Self Love Witch Ball

Supplies:
Clear, glass/plastic ornament
Small chip of rose quartz
Small pearl
Dried rose petals
Dried lavender
Heart-shaped charm
Twine
Small piece of paper
Marker/Pencil/Pen
Scissors

DIY Self Love Witch Ball

Directions:

Begin by cleansing all the items and charging the crystals with your intent.

Next, gently place the rose petals and herbs into the witch ball. As you do, visualize your intent.

After adding the flowers, place your rose quartz and pearl into the witch ball. If you are using a glass ornament as I did, you may notice it is not a perfect opening, so test to make sure your crystals will fit prior to beginning. I brought the ball with me to the metaphysical store to ensure the rose quartz was small enough to fit through the opening. If you are using a plastic ball you may notice you can fit large sized items into it because it has some give to it. If you are able, place a heart charm inside the ball as well. I couldn't get my charm to fit, so I set it aside for another spell.

DIY Self Love Witch Ball

On the piece of paper, write an self-love affirmation. I went with " I am enough. I am loved. I am beautiful." These are things I struggle with daily, so I felt they were three of the best affirmations to include in my self-love witch ball.

DIY Self Love Witch Ball

Finally, seal the ball and wrap the top with twine. If you'd like, add a heart charm to the twine prior to wrapping. To secure the first end of the twine, slightly open the top of the witch ball and place a small bit inside. Secure the top and the twine should remain snug. When you are done wrapping the top, you can tie it off, tuck the twine, super glue it, or even seal it with wax. Finish it off with a piece of twine to hang it up or place it in a holder.

DIY Self Love Witch Ball

Place in an area where you will see it daily to remind yourself that you are enough.

DIY Self Love Witch Ball

While the magic seems rather simple, this is a very powerful tool, especially because you made the item and are displaying it as a constant reminder. Sometimes we cast a spell and forget about it because there is nothing left behind in the physical world to remind us of it. Not the case with the witch ball.

DIY Self Love Witch Ball

DIY Self Love Witch Ball

DIY Self Love Witch Ball

How do you show yourself some love?


Monday, February 5, 2018

Imbolc Altar 2018

Imbolc Altar 2018

Last week was Imbolc (Feb 1 or 2 depending on when you wanted to celebrate). Imbolc, sometimes referred to as Candlemas, is a festival of lights. Candles are typically placed on altars and around the home to usher in the coming Spring, representing the young Sun who is growing in strength to bring new life to Mother Earth.

To celebrate this year, I took a minimalist approach to my altar. I decorated using candles, dried roses, crystals, and some incense. Nothing too fancy.

Imbolc Altar 2018

Most of the altar is covered in white candles to represent the growing Sun's power as the Wheel turns towards Spring. The candles also work sympathetic magic by encouraging the Sun to continue to grow in power and bring Spring sooner. We have all had enough of the cold by now, I am sure, and I am personally ready for the Spring breezes and flowers to bloom in full.

Imbolc Altar 2018

The roses and rose scented incense represents love, both passionate- and self-love. I decided to go with roses instead of the traditional white flowers because I wanted to represent the love between the Earth and Sun. Without the Sun, our Earth wouldn't have any life to be reborn with each turning of the Wheel of the Year. Furthermore, I wanted an altar that I could easily keep up through February, our month of love.

Imbolc Altar 2018

Finally, in the center I constructed a crystal grid of clear quartz crystal, rose quartz, and carnelian. The clear quartz is there to amplify the magic within the altar, while the rose quartz represents love and carnelian the Sun. Simple, yet effective. In the center of the grid is a single white candle, again a work of sympathetic magic to bring Spring to us faster. 

Imbolc Altar 2018

Imbolc Altar 2018
Imbolc Altar 2018

How did you decorate your altar this Imbolc?


Thursday, February 1, 2018

Authentic Witchcraft: Common Misconceptions in the Craft

Authentic Witchcraft: Common Misconceptions in the Craft

Last November/December, Witch Way Magazine was asking readers, "What are misconceptions about witchcraft that you can't seem to escape?". Of course there was a flood of answers (307 comments within a few minutes), some completely valid and some that weren't actually misconceptions at all, rather personal differences within the craft. This got me thinking about being "authentic," a term we use a lot in the spiritual community and, strangely enough, in education as well. If I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times: witchcraft is personal and driven completely by the witch. So why is it, when asked about misconceptions, we end up focusing on personal beliefs rather than overarching misconceptions of witches themselves? I want to address differences in personal beliefs that are often stated as misconceptions and actual misconceptions facing witches in hopes that we all have a better understanding of each other.

Misconceptions About Misconceptions

One of the first comments that popped up was one of the most common, "That I worship the devil." Lots of likes and cheers all around for that one. Well that's all fine and dandy that you don't worship the Devil, but did you know there are a large number of witches that do? That's right, there are witches out there right now that have Satan, the Devil, Lucifer, the Fallen Angel as one of their deities. To say that all witches don't worship the Devil is an erroneous statement, one I actually made quiet often when I was starting out because I was told in almost every book I read that witches don't believe in the Devil. These same authors go on to explain how the Devil was born of the Pagan horned-god and blah, blah, blah, blah. A story we have all been told a thousand times and a story we often repeat ourselves in defense when we hear such statements from others. The overwhelming majority of witches feel the way the commenter did above. Most witches don't worship the Devil, but to say none of us do is actually a misconception in and of itself. If you want to include Lucifer, maybe the Tom Ellis version (so hawt), then go right ahead. If you don't want to include him, recognize that other witches do and it doesn't make them any more or less of a witch than you are. Furthermore, just as some witches believe in the Devil, some are Satanists as well. These terms are not mutually exclusive as many people would like to believe. Again, nothing wrong with being a Satanist who also practices witchcraft. Witchcraft is awesome! Everyone should practice it. Maybe we would all get along better if we did.

Many of those that commented on devil-worshiping also included animal sacrifice in their comments. Again, more cheering and applause all around. This may be true of your form of witchcraft, but there are still witches practicing today that ritually sacrifice animals or use animal blood during rituals. Generally this is a cultural difference. What you have to understand is witches can be found all over the world, from the US and Britain to the Amazon Rain forest to the shrub lands of Africa. Not all of these cultures view animal sacrifice negatively. Personally, I would never sacrifice and animal. Heck, I don't even eat meat, that's how much I value an animal's life, but not everyone feels the same way you or I do about animal life. Most witches in America and Europe don't sacrifice animals. Instead, we make sacrifices in other ways (symbolically), such as the offering of food, handmade goods, animal hair/claw, or even a pin prick of your own blood. However, it is false to claim all witches do not sacrifice animals.

While it wasn't explicitly commented on, I have found that many witches will claim we don't collectively participate in black magic. Ummm? Excuse me, but I do, and you probably do too without even realizing it. Black magic isn't evil magic. In fact, black magic is subtractive, meaning you are taking something away instead of giving something. Banishing magic is considered black magic because you are working magic to remove something. It is unfortunate that other cultures and religions have misrepresented this concept, turning black magic into something it isn't. Furthermore, many witches do curse and hex, without remorse, but more on this later. If you want to banish something, go right ahead and embrace the black magic. If you don't want to banish anything, fearing that you could screw things up even more, then so be it. To each their own!

True Misconceptions

So what misconceptions are "true" misconceptions about witches? Well, almost everything else you can think of. We aren't like the witches and wizards of fantasy worlds aka Harry Potter, Practical Magic, or Buffy. Do I love Harry Potter? Fuck yeah I do! Slytherin all the way, but I'm not casting Lumos to light the hallway; I am hitting the damn light switch.

By far the one that bothers me the most is if you are a witch you are either Wiccan or follow the Wiccan Rede. This is probably the biggest misconception about witches out there. When you tell someone you're a witch, most jump to "Oh! So you are Wiccan." When I say no they stare at me blankly. Some witches are even guilty of this one. Not all witches, my self included, are Wiccan. Many witches do not follow the Wiccan Rede or the Three Fold Law. When I first started out, every book I read referred to both of these. The longer I practiced, however, the more I understood that the world is not so black and white; there is a shit ton of grey in the world. It is the grey areas that demand we judge each situation differently. If someone tries to rob me, I am going to stand up for myself; I will fight back. If someone attacks me using witchcraft, I will fire back. I have no problem cursing and wishing ill on someone who has hurt me or my family. It's pretty obvious if you are a member of any pagan community on social media that not all witches understand this concept. Every single time someone asks about cursing or revenge, there are a slew of love and light witches to tell them how wrong they are, blah, blah, blah. Again, authentic witchcraft means practicing the witchcraft you feel most comfortable with. If you want to curse, go right ahead. If you want to live by the Three Fold Law, embrace that light. Do what works best for you!

Another misconception that gets me regarding witches is we must be mentally ill. This actually appeared a couple times in the comments on the Witch Way Magazine post. I'm not going to lie, there is some truth to this, but not entirely. I have found that a lot of witches are mentally ill in some way. Witchcraft gives us an outlet and a sense of control over our lives, something we don't feel we can find in another "religion." I know witchcraft has help me overcome serious depression and anxiety. Even if witchcraft isn't "real," it is real enough to give me a sense of purpose and control over my life I felt I was lacking. However, there are mentally ill individuals in every religion and practice and to assume all witches must be mentally ill is inaccurate and honestly disrespectful. It's in the same vein as telling someone who is gay or transgender they must be mentally ill. We are just different; that doesn't mean something is wrong with us.

The last misconception I want to address is this idea that we all have to love black and dark things. Ummm, no. Have you seen my blog?! It's pink, green, and grey! Nothing dark about this damn thing, and there is nothing that states that witchcraft has to be all black cats and dark colored robes with magic being performed at midnight. If black is your thing, then go for it! Many witches love the gothic look and prefer the mystery dark colors adds. A lot of blogs out there follow this same idea, using dark colors and night skies as their layouts. However, an increasing number of blogs, retailers, and subscription boxes are taking a lighter approach. I like bright colors; they make me feel good, so I use them in my magic for the same purpose. My witchcraft is bright, colorful, and very "girly." There isn't a specific look or criteria for being a witch. The "You don't look like a witch," misconception is prevalent both in and out of our community. While many witches embrace the darkness, not all of us do; it doesn't make you any more or less of a witch. Furthermore, many witches take a very traditional approach to the craft, using antiqued paper and dark colored bottles in their work. I covered my Grimoire in floral colored fabric. I use bright pinks and greens to decorate the stark white pages. It is just as magical as the antiqued burned pages with Old English lettering. Witchcraft is what you make it, and the more personal your craft, the more effective your magic. If you want unicorns and roses, use them! If you want black cats and mugwort, go for it. Whatever makes you feel good and your magic strong.

Authentic witchcraft is the most powerful magic out there. When you embrace your personal tastes, beliefs, opinions, and morals, your spells and rituals are infused with a piece of yourself, making them more effective. Furthermore, it is important to recognize that your witchcraft is what works for you, it may not work for everyone. Avoid making general claims about witches and instead speak for yourself. You'll avoid the drama of passing on incorrect information and people will appreciate your authentic candor.

Authentic witchcraft is the most powerful magic out there. When you embrace your personal tastes, beliefs, opinions, and morals, your spells and rituals are infused with a piece of yourself, making them more effective.

I know I didn't address all the misconceptions plaguing witches out there, especially hedge witches. There are a lot and it's hard to cover all of them in one post. If there is something bothering you, feel free to comment below.

Keep it real, witches!


Monday, January 22, 2018

Hedge Riding Series: What is Hedge Riding?

Hedge Riding Series: What is Hedge Riding?

This year I decided to cover hedge riding in an eleven part series in an attempt to clear up some misconceptions about hedgewitches while providing practical advice for novice witches or those seeking a new path. As a hedgewitch, hedge riding is a large part of my practice, as is working with my animal and spiritual guides. Not only does each ride give me valuable insight, but I often finish feeling invigorated and relaxed. Nothing quiet soothes my depression and anxiety like visiting my animal guides, Meka and Rocar. Because I have found these experiences so valuable to my practice, I felt compelled to tell my story in hopes of helping witches around the world. While many people will call themselves a hedgewitch, not all of them are 'true' hedgewitches in that they practice the main feature of hedge witchcraft, hedge riding. Most people are unfamiliar with the terminology hedge riding, but not the concept of traveling to other realms.

What is Hedge Riding?

The 'hedge' in 'hedgewitch' and 'hedge riding' has multiple meanings, the most prominent being the boundary separating the our world from the 'Otherworld.' The hedge also represents a physical and psychic protective boundary, thus separating spirit from human. Hedgewitches are said to hedge ride or 'ride the hedge (fly the hedge in my case),' meaning hedgewitches routinely cross the veil into the spirit otherworld. But what exactly is hedge riding?

Simply put, hedge riding is a spiritual journey into the otherworld realms, the collective unconscious. It is shamanic and seidh in nature, but with some stark differences to separate the three. Seidh involves communication with the spirit by a group of people using an oracular. Generally, hedge riding is solitary in nature, making it perfect for any witch who is unable to find others or doesn't wish to work with other witches. However, there are some hedgewitches that work in groups, using the opportunity to share stories and gather more insight into the meaning of their journeys. Sometimes having a second set of 'eyes' on the subject brings light to things you may not have considered before. While hedge riding also has many features in common with shamanism, unlike shamanic journeying, hedgewitches usually do not engage in psycho-pomp work. Instead, hedge riding is used for healing, to search for knowledge, divination, or assistance in spell work. Furthermore, hedge riding is also very distinct from meditation and pathwalking. Unlike meditation or pathwalking, hedge riding is not controlled and the witch physically leaves our realm to travel to others; the traveler does not determine what will or will not happen on the journey, just as you don't control what does or does not happen on your drive to work. While you can control your personal actions, you cannot control the actions of the beings and abiotic factors (weather, day, night, etc) surrounding you. You can read more about the differences between meditation, pathwalking, and hedge riding in my other post Meditation, Pathwalking, and Hedge Riding: Making Sense of It All.

Simply put, hedge riding is a spiritual journey into the otherworld realms, the collective unconscious.

To hedge ride, the witch must enter an altered state of consciousness (ASC). This can be done using a variety of techniques, including drumming, dancing, chanting, flying ointments, or mind-altering drugs. Today, many hedgewitches, including myself, do not condone or support the use of drugs to reach an altered state of consciousness (ASC). It is too dangerous, not only in the short-term while traveling, but also long-term as many mind-altering substances impact the body negatively. Flying ointments are thusly named because they allowed the witch to enter an ASC and thus fly or hedge ride to other worlds. While many ointments used in the past are no longer safe, there are some that can be safely used today to help induce an ASC.

While hedge riding is making a comeback, the practice itself is actually quiet old. Originally, hedgewitches were the cunning people or wise folk who lived on the outskirts of town, by the hedge. There is no central dogma for hedgewitches, but much of what hedgewitches practice are based on historical texts with modern interpretations and adaptions. However, there is one text in particular that gives particular insight into hedge riding, The Havamal.

There are two different translations of verse 156 of The Havamal in the Poetic Edda of the 13th century that talks explicitly about hedge riding:
I know this the tenth:
If I see the hedge-riders magically flying high,
I can make it so they go astray
Of their own skins, and of their own souls.
Nigel Pennick (Havamal, Complete Illustrated Guide to Runes, 2002)

A tenth I know, what time I see
House-riders flying on high;
So I can work, that wildly they go,
Showing their true shapes,
Hence to their own homes.
Henry Adams Bellows (Hovamol, verse 156, The Poetic Edda, 1936)
Both translations are a charm that can either cause the hedge rider to show their true self and return home, or cause the rider's spirit to separate from their physical body. Either way, these charms tell us that hedge riders traveled or flew to otherworldly realms, usually in another form.

While meditation and pathwalking are safe practices, hedge riding is not. Because your spirit or soul physically leaves our realm to enter that of another, there are risks involved. Not every spirit or entity you meet is there to help you. In fact, there are many that wish you harm. Taking the proper precautions will ensure your safety. I'll cover how to safely travel later in the series. Because of this, hedge riding is not for the novice or anyone unable to focus their mind for long periods of time. However, you shouldn't fear hedge riding. It is wonderful to experience and will aid any witch in furthering their magical path.

Hopefully I haven't scared you off, but instead peeked your interest! So what other topics can you look forward to in this series?

Hedge Riding Series

Realms of the Otherworld
Focusing the Mind: Getting Ready to Ride
Preparation + Hedge Riding Sachet
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, January 18, 2018

Herbarium: Orange Blossom

Magical and Medicinal Properties of Orange. Includes FREE BOS page!


Gender: Masculine
Planet: Sun
Element: Fire
Powers: Divination, Fertility, Love, Luck, Money
Magical Uses and History: Try as I might, there is very little recorded history regarding the orange. Eight magical books and several dozen websites later and all I could manage to pull up regarding the history of the orange is its movement through the world from India. However, one source suggested during the time of Shakespeare, many people carried "pomanders," which consisted of a hollowed out orange filled with herbs and spices to create a scent box. This isn't at all surprising considering the hygiene of the time period. Despite the lack of history, there are many magical uses for the orange.

One of the most prominent uses of the orange is in love spells.  According to one myth, Gaea gave Hera a garden full of "golden apples" as a wedding gift. These "golden apples" have been interpreted to be oranges, thus associating oranges with love and marriage. The dried flowers, peels, and seeds can be added to love sachets while the flowers are often added to wedding bouquets to encourage marital bliss. According to one spell, the orange blossoms added to the wedding bouquet should be saved and burned along with a piece of paper containing the names of the couple. The ashes are then placed in a red bag or small bottle with a piece of true silver and stored in a safe place to protect and preserve love and marital harmony. Furthermore, bathing in an infusion of orange peels is said to increase one's attractiveness.

For prosperity magic, orange peels can be added to spell mixtures, incense, or powders to increase the potency of the spell. The Chinese have long regarded the orange as a symbol of luck and good fortune, so carry them on your person to uplift, energize, and bring good luck.

For divination purposes, when you eat an orange, you can think of a yes-or-no question you want answered. As you eat the orange, count the seeds. An even number means yes while an odd number means no. Thinking of changing plans? Drink a glass of orange juice to increase intuition. Orange juice can also be drunk in place of wine, especially if you are underage or abstaining from alcohol. This tradition began sometime around Henry VIII's reign, although the history is a bit fuzzy.

And finally, due to its association with the Sun, place oranges on your Yule and Litha altars to symbolize the return of the Sun at Yule and his rise in strength at Litha.

Orange can be used in a number of spells including:
     Divination
     Love Spells
     Money Spells
     Luck Magic

Medicinal Uses: Due to its high level of vitamin C and low cost, oranges were often packed on ships to prevent the crews from developing scurvy. High amounts of vitamin C and potassium have also led to its use in preventing cancer and stroke, especially in women and young children. However, citric fruits, like oranges, make you more susceptible to sun burn, therefore increasing your risk of skin cancer if consumed in excess. Orange is also used to prevent heart disease, treat anemia, reduce inflammation, and as an antimicrobial.

Preparation and Dosage: Internally- Drinking orange juice, especially if mixed with blackcurrant juice, reduces inflammation. Drink a glass up to three times a day. To create a tea, add 1-2 tsp (4-6 grams) of dried peel to a cup of hot water. Brew for 5 to 10 minutes. Drink up to 3 times a day. For an infusion, add 1 tsp (2 grams) of dried peel to a cup of water. Allow to brew for 10 minutes. Consume up to 3 times a day. Two to three drops of oil (if marketed for consumption) can be taken daily as a dietary supplement. Externally- Rub diluted orange oil on sore joints to reduce inflammation. Be aware the using orange oil increases the risk of sun burn, so use with caution. Inhale orange oil to reduce anxiety and uplift your mood.


Want to print a copy of this for your Book of Shadows? Click below for your free copy!
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1D9Z3_ymbniK4lXykrJyuvxsUGx0fXh0J/view?usp=sharing

Monday, January 15, 2018

Freyja Box Review: December

Freyja Box Review: December

So, this 3-month subscription box, Freyja, was given to me as a gift for Yule this year, and both me and my boyfriend were pretty disappointed with it right from the start. First, the box is supposed to ship on the 20th each month, and they didn't end up shipping until January. He messaged them several times trying to figure out what was going on (he ordered December 2nd), and never received a response. When the box finally arrived, it came in a standard USPS flat-rate box, which is fine, but all the items barely fit and the box was slightly damaged. Third, the box is Yule-theme, which is also fine, if Yule hadn't already passed. In fact, shipping on the 20th would have meant the boxes wouldn't have arrived by Yule in the first place, so maybe the box from November would have been better suited for Yule? However, despite this, the box did come with some great little items.

Freyja Box Review: December

The first item I pulled out was a small Winter Solstice Soap bar. The packaging says it contains goat milk and pure essential oils, but there is no mention which essential oils it contains. It does have a hint of evergreen and some other solstice smells, but I am unable to accurately identify them. There is no mention where this item came from.

Freyja Box Review: December

Freyja Box Review: December

The second item I removed was some read Mala beads. These came in a plastic bag that said they were made in China, which is pretty disappointing, but they are nice all the same.

Freyja Box Review: December

Freyja Box Review: December

Next was one of my favorite items, garnet. With the small crystal came in information card explaining some of its uses. While the card mentions garnet was used during Winter Solstice rituals, there is no indication as to how it was used.  Underneath the garnet was some frankincense-myrrh incense cones by Hem. I love Hem incense and look forward to using this in upcoming rituals.

Freyja Box Review: December

I then removed my very favorite item from the box, a candle snuffer. Up until now, I didn't own one and would snuff candles out using fingers or a plate. Having a snuffer is an excellent addition to my collection. According to this sticker, the snuffer was massed produced in India.

Freyja Box Review: December
Freyja Box Review: December

Finally I removed a set of three candles, red, gold, and green. They each smell like scents common to the season, but I can't accurately identify any of them other than the green as an evergreen scent. Each votive candle came in its own holder, which is nice considering most other boxes provide a candle and no holder. Despite their scents, these candles can be used for rituals other than Yule.

Freyja Box Review: December

Freyja Box Review: December

Overall I was not very impressed with this box for a variety of reasons. There is no information card on how to use the items, only one item is potentially supporting a pagan business while others are mass produced in foreign countries, the box was late and slightly damaged, no help from customer service was given, and I do not believe the contents of this box are worth $28. We shall see how the next two boxes go, but as it stands, this subscription box leaves a lot to be desired. If the next box is just as disappointing, I will go ahead and give my full synopsis, and move on to another box. Box of Shadows has stepped up their game tremendously, and I would like to review it again.


Monday, January 8, 2018

Full Moons and New Moons of 2018


Yeah, yeah, yeah! We already had one full moon this month, but that doesn't mean it's too late to figure out the rest of the year. As witches, the moon cycle is pretty important to our magical workings, so it's good to know when that moon is gonna do its thing! Please not that all of these dates are in Eastern Standard Time (EST). If you would like to find the exact dates and times of the full and new moons in your area, please go to Time and Date.



Full Moon 2018 (EST)
Date
Name
January 1
Wolf Moon
January 31 (Blue)
Snow Moon- Lunar Eclipse
March 1
Worm Moon
March 31 (Blue)
Pink Moon
April 29
Flower Moon
May 29
Strawberry Moon
June 28
Buck Moon
July 27
Sturgeon Moon
August 26
Corn Moon
September 24
Harvest Moon
October 24
Hunter’s Moon
November 23
Beaver Moon
December 22
Cold Moon


There are two blue moons this year, January 31 and March 31. This means there are two full moons in a month.  Double the magic! There is also a lunar eclipse on January 31st, so be on the lookout for that. The eclipse will change the magical workings for that night, so make sure you align correctly.



New Moons 2018 (EST)
Date
January 16
February 15
March 15
April 15
May 15
June 13
July 12
August 11
September 9
October 8
November 7
December 7


I searched for the new moon names, and unfortunately came up empty. Oh well! Maybe one of you will know the names. I would sure like to know, so please feel free to share in the comments or send me an email. I found one site claiming to have found the New Moon names, but after doing some digging, the names were incorrect.

I hope everyone has a wonderful 2018 and that it is full of magic!