Saturday, June 30, 2018

Hedge Riding Series: Hedge Riding Etiquette: Do's and Don't's of Interacting with Spirits

Hedge Riding Etiquette: Do's and Don't's of Interacting with Spirits

Once your mind is ready to travel and your bags are packed, you are set to ride! Or are you? Not quite! There are a couple of things I need to get through in regards to etiquette and safety, then I promise you will be on your merry way to the Otherworld.

When you travel to the Otherworld, there are a number of spirits, angels, ancestors, and other other-worldly beings you will encounter, and as with every situation, there is proper etiquette to be taken when interacting with these spirits and beings. Here is a complete list of the do's and don't's of interacting with spirits.

Don't's

Don't consume excessive amounts of alcohol prior to communication. I considered adding "don't use drugs" to the list as well, but because many legal plants help induce an altered state of consciousness, I decided to leave it off the list. Alcohol, however, is a depressant, thus slowing your reaction time and thought process, making focusing on the journey difficult. If you are able to successfully travel while completely smashed, you leave yourself open to spirit and energy influences that can bring you more harm than good. A good rule of thumb is to only travel with a clear mind. This ensures your safety.

Don't hedge ride when you are ill, anxious, depressed, or otherwise mentally and/or physically unwell. Like excessive alcohol consumption, traveling while your body and mind are unwell leaves you susceptible to unwanted entities and energies which can cause you to become sicker.

Don't take your animal and spiritual guides for granted. Your animal and spiritual guides, once you meet them, will bend over backward for you. That does not mean, however, that you can use them and take their power and wisdom for granted. If you mistreat your guides they will leave you. They are not your slaves, so do not treat them as such. In fact, no being you meet in the Otherworld HAS to help you, even if you ask nicely. Just like you can refuse to help someone, they can too. Respect their wishes and feelings as you would anyone else.

Don't speak first when meeting light beings, e.g. deities, angels, and other archetypes, in the Upper Realms. Many of these spirits and beings are significantly older than we are and follow ancient etiquette rules that "child" do not speak to their "elders" unless spoken to. Acknowledge their presence, but wait for them to speak.

Don't be afraid. While there are beings that can hurt you, especially in the Middle Realms, being fearful increases your risk. You know the saying, "Animals can smell your fear?" Spirits can too. Fear is a magnet. Furthermore, fear clouds your mind. It turns us into sniveling fools, which is the last thing you want to be while traveling in the Otherworld. Stay calm and focused, and you should have no issues.

Don't pry or continue to question once you have received an answer. If a spirit gives you an answer to a question, thank them for the answer and move along, even if you don't think they answered your question. More than likely they did; you have to figure out what it means.

Don't be rude or disrespectful. This is a given, I hope. Treat every spirit you meet with respect. Once you establish a relationship with your animal and spiritual guides, it will become more obvious what you can and cannot say and do with them, just as you build a relationship with your friends. Rocar, my raven guide, is very sarcastic, temperamental, and condescending. Because I have built a relationship with him, I can treat him the same way he treats me. It's our way of showing the other we love them. I cannot, however, do the same with my fox guide, Meka. She is much more formal and full of grace.


Do's

Do set a purpose for your journey. Why are you traveling? Do you have a specific question in mind?
Do protect yourself. Prior to riding, make sure you have taken the proper precautions to keep yourself safe. Put up wards, cast a circle if you want, have your hedge riding sachet, or whatever else you feel you need to keep safe. You don't want to bring anything back with you!

Do ask questions, but respectfully. The whole purpose of hedge riding is to seek guidance, wisdom, and healing. This means you need to ask questions of the spirits you meet there.

Do greet your guides at the beginning of each journey. The very first beings you see in the Otherworld should be your animal guides. Greet them when you arrive. They came because you called.

Do say goodbye. When you are ready to leave, tell your guides goodbye. It's the polite thing to do!

Do say thank you. Sometimes you will hear that you shouldn't thank certain spirits or beings in the Otherworld. I have found that it is safer to give a respectful thank you and move on. Do not be profuse in your thanks; many of them don't like to be fawned over but do appreciate acknowledgment for what they have given you. Sometimes your thank you can be a smile or a nod.

Do ask your animals guides if you can ride them before you do. I doubt you want someone jumping on your back and yelling "giddy up!" Your animal guides want the same respect. There will come a point in your relationship where you no longer have to ask, but until then, make sure you have permission first.

Do trust your gut. If you get a bad feeling about something, trust your gut; it isn't lying. Sometimes negative spirits will present themselves as beautiful, friendly beings and after a while, something will seem off. Pay close attention and will any negative spirits away by telling them to go away.

Do close the door when you are done. Let everyone know you are done riding and close the door you created between our world and the Otherworld. This ensures the uninvited do not come back with you and helps cut the cord between you and the Otherworld, making it easier to come back.

Do ground and center before and after riding. Grounding and centering prior to riding puts you in the correct mindset while doing so afterward brings you back fully to our reality.

Do write everything down. When you are all done, make sure you record your ride. There are many messages you likely received that will need interpreting. Writing it down helps you remember important details and allows you to revisit the messages regularly.

Do practice. Hedge riding and communicating with spirits is NOT easy. It takes time, energy, and practice. You may feel physically drained after the first couple of rides. That's normal. Once your mind and body get used to riding, those feelings should go away. The first couple of rides you may not do much. Sometimes it take multiple rides to even access the Otherworld. However, once you enter for the first time, it should be easy for then on out.

Most of these should be common sense, but there is no way I would send you out on your own without stating the obvious because while I may think they are obvious, some of you may not think so. In the next post, I will discuss hedge riding safety in more detail to ensure all of you are safe prior to riding. I have already touched on some of this in my preparation post but would like to give you some specifics as well. We are almost ready to ride!

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

Hedge Riding Series

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, June 28, 2018

A Summer Solstice Dinner Party 2018

A Summer Solstice Dinner Party 2018

This year to celebrate the Summer Solstice, I hosted a dinner party and bonfire with my friends and neighbors. I am the only witch in my friend group, but everyone loves free food, companionship, and bonfires, right? Roughly 15 people attended and thankfully the majority of the food was eaten or taken on the road.

We began the night by enjoying a delicious feast I prepared myself. Yes, I cooked all of the food.

A Summer Solstice Dinner Party 2018 Menu

Menu:

Cheese, Crackers, and Smoked Salmon
Nonalcoholic Raspberry Mango Sangria
Seasonal Fruit (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and sliced peaches)
Strawberry Shortcake with Homemade Whipped Cream
Cucumber Dill Salad
Deviled Eggs

A Summer Solstice Dinner Party 2018

A Summer Solstice Dinner Party 2018

Recipes

Nonalcoholic Raspberry Mango Sangria

1 cup chunked mango
1 cup raspberries
1 bottle Welch's Sparkling Grape Juice
1 cup Cran-Raspberry Juice
3 cups Ginger Ale

Place mango and raspberries into a pitcher. Slowly add juices and ginger ale. Gently stir. Allow to chill for 3-4 hours before serving.

A Summer Solstice Dinner Party 2018: Nonalcoholic Raspberry Mango Sangria


Cucumber Dill Salad

2 cucumbers, thinly sliced
1 bunch dill, roughly chopped
2 tbsp white wine vinegar

Mix cucumber, dill, and white wine vinegar together. Chill for 1-2 hours before serving.

A Summer Solstice Dinner Party 2018: Cucumber Dill Salad


Strawberry Shortcake with Whipped Cream

For cake:
2 boxes yellow cake mix (+ ingredients on box)
1-pint strawberries, quartered

For the whipped cream:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Bake yellow cake according to directions in round cake pans (yield 4 cakes). Allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours. Mix heavy cream with sugar and vanilla and beat with an electric mixer until medium peaks form. Layer cakes with whipped cream and strawberries.

A Summer Solstice Dinner Party 2018: Strawberry Shortcake with Whipped Cream

***

Once more people arrived, we started the bonfire and enjoyed each other's company. We were graced by the presence of my new grey fox, who has taken up residence in my backyard. I am pretty sure its a female. She tends to only come out at dusk and does not hunt long, which leads me to believe she may have newborn kits tucked away in a den.

A Summer Solstice Dinner Party 2018

As the sun began to set, the fireflies danced around us, providing the perfect ambiance to our fireside chats. My best friend and her husband stuck around later than the others, and we ended the night contemplating time, our existence, and dreams magic. It was a lovely conversation and very thought-provoking.

Despite not seeing them, I could feel the presence of fairies in my garden. I am sure they enjoyed the dying embers of the fire when we returned to the house for the night. Overall it was a gorgeous night with great friends and good food.

I hope everyone enjoyed the Summer Solstice this year, or Winter Solstice if you are in the Southern Hemisphere.


Monday, June 25, 2018

Midsummer Altar 2018

Midsummer Altar 2018

I hope everyone had a wonderful Summer Solstice (Winter Solstice if you are in the Southern Hemisphere). We threw a small party with lots of seasonal foods and a bonfire, which I will post about later. For my altar this year I combined sun imagery with candles and crystals to honor the longest day of the year. So let's break down my Midsummer/Litha altar for 2018.

Midsummer Altar 2018

1. Sun Wheel- Represents the Sun, which is most prominent on the Summer Solstice, masculine energy, light, and fertility. It is on Litha that the Sun is strongest, providing the Earth and all her life with an abundant energy source to grow and thrive. (Where did I get it: I made it; Cost: Under $5)

Midsummer Altar 2018

2. Lanterns & Candles- These represent the Sun, masculine energy, passion, and light. Midsummer is the last of the fire festivals, making candles a must on any Litha altar. (Where did I get it: Dollar Tree 2017; Cost: $4)

Midsummer Altar 2018

3. Antler- Represents the masculine and fertility, as well as the connection between our realm and the Otherworld. (Where did I get it: Found; Cost: $0)

Midsummer Altar 2018

4. Sun Plate- This, of course, represents the Sun, masculine energy, and fertility. (Where did I get it: Dollar Tree 2017; Cost: $1)

Midsummer Altar 2018

5. Crystals- On this altar, there is malachite for growth and fertility, carnelian for strength and to represent the sun, bloodstone for fertility, strength, and abundance, citrine for abundance, and clear quartz to amplify the magic of the altar. (Where did I get it: Purchased from metaphysical stores or received in subscription boxes; Cost: Unknown)

Midsummer Altar 2018

Midsummer Altar 2018

6. Ivy- The silk ivy represents wealth, abundance, and fertility, as well as the Sun (Horned God) who is strongest on the Solstice. (Where did I get it: Dollar Tree 2017; Cost: $1)

7. Skull- The animal skull is there to represent the masculine, and it provides a place for spirits to reside as well as enhanced spirit communication. (Where did I get it: Found; Cost $0)

Midsummer Altar 2018

TOTAL COST: ~$15-20

You may have noticed I set this altar post is different from those in the past. I decided to break them down in a simpler fashion than before to make the post more manageable. Furthermore, I added where I acquired the items found on my altar and how much each item costs. Most of the items I use are found or purchased for under $1. The crystals are the only items that I have acquired from various sources and cannot give an exact value for. I hope this set up is more helpful to those looking for low-cost ideas or the reasons behind certain items being placed on different sabbat altars. If you like this setup, please let me know in the comments, and I will continue to provide such breakdowns.

How did you set up your altar this year for the solstice?

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