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Thursday, March 21, 2019

Spring Equinox Altar 2019

Spring Equinox Altar 2019

The Spring Equinox is the first day of spring, represented by fertility, new life, and new beginnings. The Sun is growing in strength and Mother Earth is waking up after a long slumber. Life is returning and with it comes flowers, bees, rabbits, birds, eggs, and eventually fruits. With these themes in mind, I designed a much simpler altar, using items I already had around my home.

Spring Equinox Altar 2019


1. Silk Flowers- The flowers flanking the altar represent the first flowers of spring and thus new life. The pinks and purple symbolize love and harmony, as the equinox is characterized by equal day and night. I would have liked to include fresh flowers this year, but the daffodils are done blooming at this point in Georgia, another symbol of spring. (Where did I get it: Dollar Tree 2017; Cost: $1 each)

Spring Equinox Altar 2019

2. Ceramic and Marble Eggs- Eggs are predominate symbols of Ostara and the Spring Equinox. They represent fertility, new life, and new beginnings, again characteristics of spring. These particular eggs have been on my altar each year. My mother made the ceramic eggs and my grandmother passed the marble egg down to me. She used to collect eggs. The greens, pinks, and blues are also associated with spring, adding to the overall spring theme.  (Where did I get it: Free; a gift from my family. These could easily be replaced with plastic eggs for $1; Egg holder: Target 2018; $1)

Spring Equinox Altar 2019

3. Tree Agate, Quartz, and Rose Quartz- The tree agate, one of my new crystals, symbolized new life. It gets its name from the tree life pattern that forms across the surface, making it associated with plants, gardening, and abundance. The rose quartz represents love and patience which leads to new life. The quartz simply amplifies the magic of the altar. (Where did I get it: Purchased at various metaphysical stores; Cost: $5) 

Spring Equinox Altar 2019

4. Ceramic Rabbit- This rabbit has shown up on my altar every year as well. I absolutely love him! Rabbits, due to their rapid breeding, are strongly associated with fertility, new life, and new beginnings. They are also one of the first animals to appear in the spring, making them considered the harbingers of spring. (Where did I get it: Hobby Lobby 2017; Cost: $3)

TOTAL COST: ~$10

Spring Equinox Altar 2019

Like my other altars, most of the items I use are found or purchased for around $1, although if the items must be purchased by you, then the cost will be higher. I hope you find this sort of break down helpful, especially those of you looking to create Instagram perfect altars on a budget!

How did you celebrate the Spring Equinox/Ostara this year?

Monday, March 18, 2019

March 2019 Full Moon Worksheet

March 2019 Full Moon Worksheet

This month's full moon is on the 20th, which just so happens to also be Ostara! This months worksheet centers around both the full moon and Ostara, making it the perfect companion to conduct your very own short sabbat/full moon ritual. It includs an introduction to what this moon is bringing, sections to write down what you intend to release and cleanse, a tarot spread with a place for your notes, and any thoughts or intuition you receive while communing with the moon through meditation or hedge riding! This worksheet is completely free and can be easily printing and added to your Book of Shadows!

March 2019 Full Moon Worksheet

CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR FREE COPY

Looking for more free worksheets? Why not get your free copy of my spell/ritual worksheet to write your best spells and rituals yet?

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Egg Prosperity Spell

Egg Prosperity Spell

With Ostara right around the corner, what better ingredient to use than an egg in spell work? Eggs have been associated with creation, new life, and rebirth for as long as humans have recorded history. This makes sense if you think about what an egg actually is. It is a large cell that, if fertilized, will turn into a genetically unique offspring. The largest egg in the world is an ostrich egg. Yes, that entire ostrich egg is a single cell. My high school students are always blown away when I tell them this. How can something so large be a single cell?! But I digress. The point is, an egg is a new life or at least will give way to new life under the right conditions. Spring is when many organisms, plant and animal alike, begin reproducing. Combine this with life coming back after a long nap, and the association of eggs with new beginnings and rebirth is a given.

This spell, however, is designed to bring you prosperity, whether it be financial or otherwise, by working with the magical properties of the egg. It is a rather simple spell and can easily be performed with children on Ostara.

Egg Prosperity Spell

What You'll Need

  • An egg or eggs if making more than one
  • biodegradable sachet
  • pyrite
  • mint
  • marker, dye, and other tools to decorate the egg

What to Do

Begin by cleansing, charging, and/or blessing your items. Whatever method you chose is up to you. Personally, my go-to is sage, because I have a ton of it, or blowing on an object and imagining all the residual energy blowing away with it. After the items are ready to go, write, draw, or otherwise decorate your egg with your intent: prosperity. I chose to draw a rune in gold on my egg to represent prosperity, as seen below. Other color choices are green, orange, or violet. You can dye the egg a solid color, draw sigils or money symbols, or even decorate the egg with stickers representing prosperity. Whatever you chose will work as long as the intent is there.

Egg Prosperity Spell


After the egg is decorated, place it along with the pyrite and mint into the biodegradable sachet. The sachet I am using is one that commonly comes in my Tamed Wild subscription box (formally known as House of Rituals). This is a great way to reuse packaging and be environmentally friendly. When all the items are placed in the sachet, hold it in both hands and imagine it filling with gold and green light. Say,
"With egg for new beginnings adorned all in gold [you can insert your own color here, but it may not ryhme]
With pyrite for wealth and mint for fortunes untold, 

I open myself to wealth beyond measure,
And accept the Universe's treasure."
Once the spell is done, find a safe place in your garden, preferably by a plant also associated with prosperity and abundance, and bury the sachet. While the pyrite will remain, the other items will biodegrade, the egg providing food for the plants nearby. Be sure to watch the plant throughout the growing season. Prolific growth and flowering is a sign your magic is working. If the plant withers, dies, or otherwise fails to thrive, there may be something blocking the magic from working. You should revisit the spell after determining the roadblocks.

Why You Did It

For this spell, while simple, there are a couple key ingredients and steps. Why the egg? I mentioned in the introduction that eggs are representative of new beginnings, rebirth, and creation. This opens the pathway for new opportunities that were abundant in nature to enter your life. Decorating the egg filled the egg with the type of new beginning you were seeking. Gold and green especially are the colors of money, while violet is commonly associated with wealth because it was a difficult color to produce in fabrics, thus only the wealthy, more specifically royalty, wore the colors, giving it its association with abundance.

Pyrite and mint are also strongly associated with abundance and prosperity, pyrite for being gold and mint because it's prolific in nature. If you have ever grown mint you know it will take over your garden, yard, and the entire neighborhood if you let it, thus earning its association with abundance.

Egg Prosperity Spell

Charging the completed sachet with gold and green light, again colors of prosperity, and a short incantation stating clearly your intent infuse the magical object even further. By burying it in the garden you can observe the magic at work using the nearby plants as a guide. This is a pretty long-standing tradition for these types of spells.

If you wish to end the spell or break it, simply dig the sachet up and thank the Universe for all your received. Declare the spell complete and dispose of the items. You can keep the pyrite, but be sure to cleanse the object to release its original charge.

As always, remember to record your spell in your Book of Shadows or use my spell/ritual worksheet to keep track of the spell, especially where the sachet is buried.

How do you bring prosperity and abundance to your life? If you tried this spell, let me know how it worked in the comments below!

Monday, March 11, 2019

Spirit Work for Ostara

Spirit Work for Ostara

Ostara falls on March 20th this year, marking the first day of Spring. I can't wait! I hope with it comes sunnier days, moderate temperatures, and less rain. I am so over the rain, as is most of North Georgia due to flooding. Ostara is by far a fertility Sabbat, focusing on new life and Spring begins and the Wheel of the Year turns once more. Eggs, rabbits, and seed sowing are characteristic symbols of this Sabbat. With these symbols and themes in mind, here are three ways to communicate with spirits on or around Ostara.

1. Perform egg divination. 


Egg divination is commonly referred to as oomancy, and since Ostara's main symbol is the egg, what better way to commune with spirits during Ostara than using an egg to predict future events? My favorite oomancy tradition comes from Nordic traditions where only the egg white is used. Focus on your question and once the question is firmly in your mind, carefully pierce a fresh egg and blow the egg white into a clean glass of water. If you don't know how to blow an egg, simply crack the egg and separate the yolk and white before pouring the white into the glass of water. Allow the mixture to sit undisturbed for until the following day. The egg white will have formed patterns in the water that can be interpreted.

2. Build a relationship with a plant spirit.


If you have ever tried to grow plants, you may have noticed you are really good at growing certain plants, but not so much others. For example, I can grow rosemary, lavender, sage, tomatoes, and salvia without problems, but basil and larkspur?....Basil and larkspur hate my guts. I don't know why! I've done everything to grow them, but nothing works. I have tried communicating spiritually, tending to them, singing, leaving them alone completely, trimming them, not trimming them, planting them with companion plants, watering them, not watering them...Nothing works and I have yet to truly figure out why. They aren't my plants I guess. But the others I have a very strong relationship with. Spring is planting time, so why not get to know the plants in your garden or try to figure out which plant is your plant ally?

Spirit Work for Ostara

With a journal or you BOS in hand, sit near the plant you wish you communicate with. Ground and center then close your eyes and reach your energy out toward the plant. See if you can feel it's energy. Make note of any sensations you feel and images or colors you may see. Continuing with your eyes closed, say the plant's name three times. This is essentially like knocking on the plant's door and letting it know you want to communicate. Then introduce yourself and state your purpose. After you have gotten the plants attention and introduced yourself, you can begin trying to communicate with it. Here are some examples of questions you may wish to ask to open up a line of communication easily:
  • How are you?
  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What do you need to be healthier? Do you need more or less water? What is your favorite type of nourishment?
  • Are you receiving too much or too little sunlight?
  • Do you have any pests? If so, what can I do to get rid of them?
  • Do you like music? If so, what kind of music do you like?
  • Is there anything else you would like to tell me?
Be sure to ask one question at a time and be patient when waiting for a response. The plant may answer by speaking to you in your mind, showing you images or colors, or through feelings. Continue speaking with the plant until the conversation ends normally. Give the plant thanks for speaking with you. Ask if there is an offering it would like for the time it has spent working with you and close the door. If it asks for an offering, be sure to give it what it asked for to the best of your ability. Usually, they are for water or maybe even a precious stone. You never know! Continue to communicate with the plant regularly to build a strong relationship with it. Not only will you benefit by having a happy plant in your garden, but you will likely gain a powerful plant ally, willing to protect or assist you in magical workings.

3. Connect with the Earth through earthing.


Earthing has become increasingly common in the witch community. There is a lot of confusion as to exactly what it is, but simply put, earthing is connecting with Mother Earth. Grounding is centering and balancing your energy as in bringing it back to Earth. It is not a direct form of communication with her. Earthing will help ground you, but the purpose isn't just to ground, but also open a line of communication between you and our Mother Earth, whether it be to receive healing energy or ask questions. Furthermore, grounding can occur anywhere, whether you are in contact with Earth (soil, grass, rock, etc) or not. Earthing, however, can only occur if the person is directly touching the Earth, as in the soil or grass outside. Spring is a great time to get outside and reconnect with our Mother Earth after a long winter indoors. Find a safe place to walk barefoot and spend time feeling Her energy flow into you. I honestly prefer somewhere muddy. I like my feet to sink into Her as I concentrate on soaking in Her loving energy. If you can't find a safe place outdoors to go barefoot, untreated topsoil works just as well.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Book Review: Botanical Folk Tales of Britain and Ireland by Lisa Schneidau

Book Review: Botanical Folk Tales of Britain and Ireland by Lisa Schneidau

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

If you are just starting out on your witchcraft journey, you should always read as much as you can, especially when it comes to folk tales. Much of modern magic is based on folklore that has been passed down for generations, allowing you to garner a better understanding of current practices and correspondences. If you are looking for a book to start with on plants, look no further.

In Botanical Folk Tales of Britain and Ireland by Lisa Schneidau, you will find 39 folk tales regarding the plants and herbs of Britain and Ireland that she tracked down from locals, history books, and folklore archives. The tales are centered around the Wheel of the Year, beginning with Mid-Winter and ending with Fall, so it focuses on plants that are active during those times of the year, making it easy to determine which plants you can work with during the different sabbats. Each tale is beautifully written, easy to read, and based off many sources according to Schneidau. Unlike some other folk tale authors, Schneidau lets the reader know when the story is her interpretation or a combination of tales, allowing you to judge the writing critically through knowledgeable eyes. These tales can easily be read as a bedtime story to children or used to help you develop your correspondence and plant histories for your grimoire. At the end of the book, she includes a wonderful list of further readings, giving you the opportunity to continue your studies should you wish.

Book Review: Botanical Folk Tales of Britain and Ireland by Lisa Schneidau

If I am honest, there is nothing I can really complain about regarding this book. It is exactly what I expected, with a bit of witchcraft used as the framework. My only complaint is I wish she would have included sources for the tales. I am assuming some of them came from books she suggests her readers look into, but I am not 100% sure. For a hedgewitch like myself, whose tradition is largely based on folklore, I highly recommend this book. While it isn't "local" witchcraft, it's important to recognize the role of these tales on American culture. For European-Americans, which includes myself, this explains many of the stories I heard growing up, giving context to what I already know about plant folklore. Even if you are not  British, Irish, or European-American, it will still be beneficial for you to read, as many modern witchcraft practices are largely based upon European traditions. Overall, I give the book 4.5 stars. I hope you guys enjoy it as much as I did!

Thursday, February 28, 2019

5 Unsuspecting Tools of the Hedgewitch

5 Unsuspecting Tools of the Hedgewitch

Witchcraft has its own set of "tools" or magical objects that are often employed during spells and rituals, including brooms/besom, wands, athames, chalices, etc, to enhance the magic performed. Lists of these tools are found in every book on witchcraft or Wicca, a flood of blog posts, and a large number of Pinterest boards. However, there are many tools witches often use that are not talked about. Here are 5 unsuspecting or little talked about tools of the hedgewitch, tools I commonly use every day in my practice.

1. Poetry. This is a pretty big one for me. First, poetry offers us melodic ways to cast our spells. They teach us how to organize and memorize spells in an easy yet beautiful format. Poetry is extremely easy to memorize, just like a song, which is why so many witches create rhyming spells or spells with iambic pentameter. You don't always want to carry your Grimoire or BOS into a ritual and it's much more powerful to have a spell memorized so you can speak it with conviction during your spell or ritual. Furthermore, poetry offers us some amazing magical correspondences. For example, my favorite poem is The Poison Tree by William Blake. Because of this poem, I associate apples with revenge and death. Another favorite of mine is The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. For me, the albatross represents innocence, patience, and purity. The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe is also a favorite of mine and as a result, I associate ravens with death, remorse, and lost love. Whatever the poem, you're going to find some pretty powerful correspondences that speak to you as well as an understanding of how to construct your spells if you use and read poetry.

2. Science. This may seem out of place for some of you. How in the world can magic and science coexist? Thankfully, the Hermetic Principles do a pretty good job of explaining the connection between science and magic, which has been covered numerous times, including by myself. Either way, magic works within the confines of our physical world, so understanding physics and chemistry will give you a pretty good understanding of energy, motion, and ingredient reactions. You construct better spells and perform stronger magic when you grasp scientific principles. Furthermore, science offers us a slew of correspondences. Garlic, for example, is well known in the medical community for being antibacterial and antiviral. In the magical community, we associate this with protection because garlic literally protects you from infections! Water is a know purifier, hence why we associate it with purification and renewal, while certain flowers are the first to grow in spring, making them associated with rebirth. Lions represent strength because physically they are strong, being able to take down prey larger than themselves, such as the water buffalo. Science offers us a greater understanding of our world and therefore a better understanding of the magic we perform. The two cannot be separated, and they shouldn't be. If you have to ignore science to perform magic, you may not be doing anything other than lying to yourself. Many of the correspondences you read in a book are based on science, and it's important you know WHY the correspondences exist if you are going to use them or write your own.

3. Tackle Boxes. Alright, so moving away from literature to more practical everyday objects. I have a lot of tackle boxes. I mean...like 4 or 5. I use them to organize crystals, herbs, and other smaller magical objects I collect, like acorns, petals, insect parts, and feathers. This is a valuable organizational tool for witches, so utilize them. You can purchase some at Dollar Tree, Walmart, or Amazon for next to nothing. In Dollar Tree, they tend to be sold near craft items and school supplies, although you may need to check with a store associate. You don't need "witchy" bottles or chests to organize your supplies. Modern tackle boxes are just as useful.

4. Scrapbook Supplies. I freaking love scrapbooking supplies, and I mean LOVE them. I had to stop going to craft stores because I was buying scrapbooking supplies faster than I could use them. I used to be super into scrapbooking. Now I am super into using my scrapbooking supplies for magical purposes. I use the papers to write spells, using colored papers or patterned papers to enhance the magic. For example, I use green paper for money spells, while rose floral papers get used in love spells. Furthermore, scrapbooking supplies are an excellent way to work with your Grimoire or BOS. You can decorate pages with papers, stickers, stamps, and so much more. Go wild and crazy! Seriously! I find it boring to spend time just writing and drawing. I plan on including many more pages in my Grimoire in the future that incorporate the supplies I already have. It is a great way to fill your magical book with your own power and personal creativity.

5. Calendars. I talked about all my calendars in one of my first posts of the year, so it shouldn't be a surprise they made this list too. From almanacs to personal planners, calendars play a role in helping us keep track of astrological events, major holidays, and our personal lives. They allow us to better plan spells by allowing us to work with the moon cycle, days of the week, or times during the day. Calendars also allow us to plan future spell work so we have everything we need when the time comes. If you are planning an elaborate ritual, you are going to need to set apart time to write the ritual and purchase any items you may not have. I also keep track of my goals, blog posts, hedge riding dates, and sometimes even my dreams. I make constant little notes off to the side in all my planners/calendars. It can be something as simple as how I'm feeling or more complex, like a premonition or omen or synchronicity. Keeping a calendar is like keeping a journal, at least for me. Mine is an integral part of my magic practice, and it should probably play a role in your magic as well.

So there you have it! Some may be unfamiliar or shocking, while others you may already be using. Help me add to the list. What are some unsuspecting or little mentioned tools you use in your magical practice?


Thursday, February 21, 2019

Bone Magic Series: A Brief History of Animal Remains in Magic

A Brief History of Animal Remains in Magic

Animal remains have traditionally been used in witchcraft and other magical practices since the dawn of man, whether it be through animal sacrifice, bone divination, spirit summoning, or for protection from evil spirits. Our ancestors had to make do with what they had, which meant animal remains were often used for magical and mundane purposes. The complete history of animal remains used in magical practices is far too vast to cover in a single article, so my goal here is to cover the basics, specifically animal sacrifice and bone divination. While many other animal parts have been used in a variety of way, these are two are the most important animal remain uses in regards to this series. Without a brief history, the use of bones in your magical practice will seem disconnected. Let's get started, shall we?

The term sacrifice derives from the Latin sacrificium, which is a combination of the words sacer and facere. Sacer means something set apart from the mundane, while facere means "to make." In other words, sacrifice means to make something secular or profane, specifically for something spiritual or supernatural. Sacrifices can take many forms, one of which includes destroying what you are sacrificing, whether through burning or slaughter. In the case of animal sacrifice, the animal is "liberated" of life which is then made available to the deity. At the time when animal sacrifice was most common throughout cultures around the world, food was scarce, making an animal sacrifice a true sacrifice in that they were giving up perfectly good food that could be the difference between starving or surviving the winter months. There have been a variety of theories as to why animal sacrifice arose, including that by Sir Edward Burnett Tylor in 1871. Tylor proposed sacrifices were originally a gift to the gods to secure favor (source). William Roberston Smith, however, proposed that sacrifices were originally conducted to bring groups of people closer together, as a way for them to commune with each other and their deity (source). Later, Sir James George Frazer, the author of The Golden Bough, suggested sacrifices were performed as a magical ritual in which the slaying of a god was performed as a means of rejuvenating the god (source). Think Oak vs Holly King. Whatever the reason, most people agree that animals were sacrificed as a tribute of some form to a deity for the betterment of the clan or tribe. The earliest known animal sacrifice is from Ancient Egypt, dating between 4400 to 4000 BC. Animal remains, especially of sheep and goats, have been found buried in their own graves, while gazelles and other wild animals have been found buried at the feet of humans, likely as a sacrifice to those who died or as a tribute to bring with them to the afterlife (source). Later, Egyptian animal sacrifice became restricted to livestock, such as sheep, cattle, and pigs, each with set rituals and rules describing how the animal was to be sacrificed (source). By the end of the Copper Age (3000 BC), animal sacrifice is seen across the world, particularly in Gath, Sardinia, and Crete (source). Many cultures sacrificed the entire animal, but the Greeks tended to eat the edible parts, leaving the remains in honor of the deities. After the animals were sacrificed, the entrails were often read by a haruspex, a person trained in the art of divining from animal entrails known as haruspicy. This tradition is directly derived from Etruscan religion and the method continued well into the Middle Ages. Thomas Becket even partook in the practice, seeking a reader prior to a royal expedition against Britanny (source). According to Walter Burkert, ritual animal sacrifice of livestock may have developed as a continuation of hunting rituals. As humans moved away from hunter-gathers toward agriculture, domesticated animals likely replaced wild animals as tribute (source). As for Anglo-Saxons, the most common animal sacrifice was blót, the term for "sacrifice" in Norse. These sacrifices included livestock and even human prisoners and were made to honor any Norse deity, the spirits of the land, and even the ancestors (source). Animal sacrifice is still practiced today in a variety of cultures, including some forms of Hoodoo and in parts of Africa. In West Africa, the Talensi people have a shrine, Tongnaab Yaane for the deity Tongnaab where animals are still ritually sacrificed today to gain favor for fertility, stability, and prosperity (source).

Bone Magic Series: A Brief History of Animal Remains in Magic

Apart from animal sacrifice, the parts of animals, especially domesticated ones, have been used for divination purposes. As mentioned above haruspicy, the reading of animal entrails was practiced well into the Middle Ages. The practice is first mentioned in the Book of Ezekiel 21:21, "For the king of Babylon standeth at the parting of the way, at the head of two ways, to use divination; he shaketh the arrows to and fro, he inquireth of the teraphim, he looketh in the liver." (source). Babylonian clay models of sheep livers dated between 1900 and 1600 BC suggest animal livers, specifically sheep, were commonly used as a divination tool. The clay models are believed to have also been used during divination by Mesopotamian priests and seers looking for information about a person's illness (source). The most well-known form of animal remains divination is "throwing the bones" or bone divination. Bone divination, especially scapulimancy and plastromancy, was practiced by cultures around the globe. Plastromancy is the use of turtle shells dor divination while scapulimancy is using the scapula or shoulder-bone of an animal. Oracle bones, as practiced in ancient China during the Shang dynasty, used the plastrons of turtles and the shoulder-bones of pigs and oxen to answer questions regarding future crop planting, weather, military endeavors, and the fortunes of the royal family. The question was carved into the bone or shell in oracle bone script, a specific language for this type of divination, and then intense heat was added using a metal rod until the bone or shell cracked. The reader would then read and interpret the crack patterns (source).

Bone Magic Series: A Brief History of Animal Remains in Magic

Scapulimancy, the reading of the scapulae or shoulder blades of animals, was more common throughout the rest of the world, particularly in Europe. Historically, sheep and ox are the preferred bone source, but deer and pig scapulae are known to have been used during the Korean Protohistoric Period between 300 BC to 300/400 AD (source). In Europe, scapulimancy went by many names, including Slinneanachd in Scotland. Chaucer mentioned the practice in the Parson's Tale (1395) where he described the divination using "the shoulder-bone of a sheep." Gerald of Wales, in Journey Through Wales (1188) wrote:

"A strange habit of these Flemings is that they boil the right shoulder-blade of rams, but not roast them, strip off all the meat and, by examining them, foretell the future and reveal the secrets of events long past. Using these shoulder-blades they have the extraordinary power of being able to divine what is happening far away at this very moment. By looking carefully at the little indents and protuberances, they prophesy with complete confidence periods of peace and outbreaks of war, murders and conflagrations, the infidelities of married people and the welfare of the reigning king, especially his life and death."
 
There is further mention of bone divination in Ireland, as recorded by Drayton in his Polyolbion, as described below:

"A divination strange the Dutch-made English have
Appropriate to that place (as though some power it gave),
By th' shoulder of a ram from off the right side par'd,
Which usually they boil, the spade-bone being bar'd,
Which when the wizard takes, and gazing thereupon,
Things long to come foreshowes, as things don long agone."

This passage is very similar to that from Gerald of Wales, both of which describe using a speal bone to divine the future. Other methods have also been recorded, including by peering through the semi-transparent bone as a form of scrying or grinding the bone into a power, dissolving it in water, then drinking the liquid (source). Yuck! This practice of shoulder bone divination as described in the passages above continued through the nineteenth century in Europe. By the mid-nineteenth century, however, the shoulder-bone began being used in love divination to reveal a future spouse or persuade a reluctant lover (source). During the Renaissance, scapulimancy was eventually classified as one of the seven "forbidden arts." (source). Despite the change in European magical circles, scapulimancy continued to flourish among Native American tribes across North America. Like early European and Chinese peoples, Native American tribes, including the Algonkian and Innu, would heat the scapula until cracks formed. However, they relied heavily on caribou, deer, rabbit, and very seldom sheep scapula's to determine where they should hunt, instead of foretelling their futures, commonly referred to as the "shoulder-blade path" (source, source, source). They also used beaver tibias and bear patellas to determine hunting success while fish mandibles and clavicles were thrown to answer yes (teeth upwards) or no (teeth downwards) questions (source). There are dozens of other bone divination practices used by Native American peoples that survive to this day. I suggest reading through Naskapi: The Savage Hunters of the Labrador Peninsula by F.G. Speck to learn more.

Bone Magic Series: A Brief History of Animal Remains in Magic
From Source
Throwing the bones is a more modern Hoodoo practice with traditional roots in African culture, especially among the Zulu, Swazi, Xhosa, and Ndebele traditions in southern Africa. African practices mingled with those of Native American and European to become the tradition we see today. Hoodoo bone divination usually includes chicken or opossum bones mixed with shells, pebbles, dice, or other found objects (source), but I will touch more on this in a later post.

While not every witch today uses bones in witchcraft, there is no denying their historical use. From sacrifices to divination, animal remains have been used by magical practitioners around the globe and for many of us, they still play a crucial role. We use them to work with animal spirits, as a spirit vessel, to summon mythical creatures, incorporate them into ritual jewelry, craft ritual tools, aid us in shapeshifting, divining the future, and even in tinctures! The purpose of this series is to get you started on your journey with working with animal bones and other animal remains in your practice.

Again, this is by no means a complete history. Honestly, I didn't even put a dent in the vast amount of research available in books and online, but hopefully, this is enough to pique your interest and garner a better understanding of the topics we will be covering in the future. Until next time!

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

Bone Magic Series

Introduction
A Brief History of Animal Remains in Magic
Types of Animal Remains and How to Use Them in Magic
How to Ethically Acquire Animal Remains
Cleaning and Preserving Animal Remains
Working With the Spirits of Animal Remains: Crossing Over & Contracting
Feeding Your Bones
Throwing the Bones + Build Your Own Bone Tarot


Monday, February 18, 2019

Herbarium: Wormwood

Magical and Medicinal Uses of Wormwood. Includes free BOS page!
Gender: Masculine
Planet: Mars
Element: Fire
Powers: Love, Protection, Psychic Powers, Spirit Communication
Magical Uses and History: Artemisia absinthium, commonly known as wormwood, derives its name from the goddess Artemis and from the word absinthum meaning "unenjoyable," referring to its bitter taste, as found in the old proverb, "As bitter as wormwood." The common name, wormwood, however, comes from its historic medicinal use of curing intestinal worms. Fun times!

During the 19th century, wormwood was used to flavor absinthe which is now banned due to its toxicity but is still used to flavor vermouth. However, absinthe, an alcoholic and highly-addictive drink, was commonly associated with love, and wormwood is still used in love potions today. Wormwood also appears in old love charms, as seen in the charm below:
"On St. Luke's Day, take marigold flowers, a spring of marjoram, thyme, and a little Wormwood; dry them before a fire, rub them to powder; then sift it through a fine piece of lawn, and simmer it over a slow fire, adding a small quantity of virgin honey, and vinegar. Anoint yourself with this when you go to bed, saying the following lines three times, and you will dream of your partner "that is to be.":
"St. Luke, St. Luke, be king to me,
In dreams let me my true-love see."
(Found in Folk-Lore of British Plants, Article VI, by James Mason in The Dublin University Magazine: A Literary and Political Journal, Volume 83 page 181)
In Russia, wormwood was commonly used to protect the wearer from Rusalki, water spirits who roamed forests and rivers with sharp claws and an hate for humans. Furthermore, Thomas Tusser, in 1577, wrote the following poem regarding wormwood's use in protecting against fleas and lice:
"While wormwood hath seed get a handful or twaine
To save against March, to make flea to refraine:
Where chamber is sweeped and wormwood is strowne,
What saver is better (if physick be true)
For places infected than wormwood and rue?
It is a comfort for hart and the braine,
And therefore, to have it, is not in vaine."
Today, it can be carried for protection against vengeful spirits, bewitchment, and harm in general, or hung from the rear-view mirror of your car to protect from accidents. Wormwood also has a strong association with snakes, as it is said that it was the first plant to grow from the path of the serpent as it exited the Garden of Eden. According to Culpepper, wormwood could be used to treat snakebites, as well as bee, wasp, and scorpion stings.

Wormwood is burned or worn to increase psychic powers or to summon spirits. According to Cunningham, it can be mixed with sandalwood and burned in a graveyard to summon the spirits of the dead. Wormwood is also used as an offering to spirits and can bind them to our realm if you know what you are doing.

Wormwood can be used in a number of spells including:
     Divination
     Love Spells
     Spirit Work
     Hedge Riding
     Protection Magic

Medicinal Uses: One of wormwood's common names is green ginger, a name it was given as an allusion to its medicinal properties in common with ginger. Historically, wormwood has been used to treat a host of ailments, many of which have been vindicated through science. Its best use is as a bitter for digestive issues, including indigestion, gas, bloating, and worms, particularly roundworms and pinworms. It can also be used to reduce fevers and fight general infections, the same way ginger can be used.

Preparation and Dosage: Wormwood can be taken internally as an infusion or tincture. To make an infusion, pour 1 cup boiling water over 1-2 teaspoons of dried herb and leaves. Allow it to infuse for 10-15 minutes. Drink up to 3 times daily. For a tincture, take 1-4 milliliters of tincture up to three times a day. Externally, wormwood essential oil, if properly diluted, can be used as an insect repellant. Do not take wormwood oil internally. Wormwood is toxic, and should not be taken for more than 2 weeks at a time. Wormwood has been historically used to induce labor and as an abortion drug, so pregnant women who wish to remain pregnant or women attempting to become pregnant should not use wormwood. If you develop any of the following symptoms, reduce or discontinue use of the herb: nausea, vomiting, insomnia, excessive thirst, restlessness, vertigo, dizziness, trembling, numbness of the extremities, delirium, paralysis, convulsions, and/or seizures. As always, consult your doctor before using herbs.


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

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1zn3hmLYgjNHOY2zPBOXkGFbF0NHGNdgf/view?usp=sharing

Thursday, February 14, 2019

February 2019 Full Moon Worksheet

February 2019 Full Moon Worksheet

This month's full moon is on the 19th and if you are trying to plan a magical year, what better way to help you get started than this full moon worksheet specifically designed for the upcoming Snow Moon? It has everything you need to conduct your very own short ritual, including what this moon is bringing, sections to write down what you intend to release and cleanse, a tarot spread with a place for your notes, and any thoughts or intuition you receive while communing with the moon through meditation or hedge riding! This worksheet is completely free and can be easily printing and added to your Book of Shadows!

February 2019 Full Moon Worksheet

CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR FREE COPY

Looking for more free worksheets? Why not get your free copy of my spell/ritual worksheet to write your best spells and rituals yet?

Monday, February 11, 2019

Magical Floorwash for Cleansing Your Space

Magical Floorwash for Cleansing Your Space

Washing your floors seems like the least possible magical thing you could ever do, but magical floorwashes are an integral component of many magical traditions, including Hoodoo. The combine the physical housecleaning with spiritual and magical work, effectively allowing you to kill two birds with one stone. Take about a time saver! Furthermore, they are a very discreet way to practice magic without anyone knowing, so if you are still in the broom closet, magical floorwashes may be a powerful way for you to cast spells without anyone knowing!

While any liquid used to clean a floor is referred to as a floorwash, in this context I am referring to the final rinse of already clean floors, the rinse that is allowed to remain on the floors until it air dries. This allows the magic to radiate into the surrounding atmosphere. Floorwashes can be used for protection, cleansing, prosperity, and even romance. Since I have been focusing on house cleansing and space clearing lately, I thought I would share two recipes that will enhance your house cleansing rituals.

Post-Cleasning Ritual Floorwash

This floorwash is to be used after you have performed your Deep Cleansing Ritual. Remember, your floors should already be clean. Consider this is the final step in the ritual.

1. Combine a teaspoon cascarilla powder, 1 cup vinegar, a teaspoon of salt, and warm water together in a bucket. If you don't have cascarilla powder, crushed eggshells will work just as well. Simply place them in a small strainer and place in the bucket of water.
2.  Place your hands over the bucket and imagine it filling with white protective light. Whisper your intent into the water.
3. Wash your floors, imagining all remaining stale or negative energy leaving the house.
4. Allow the floorwash to air dry.


Angelica Floorwash

This floorwash uses botanicals, specifically angelica which is cleansing and protective in nature. It packs a strong punch and can be used to cleanse your home anytime. 

1. Make a strong infusion using dried angelica and hot water.
2. Strain the herbs and combine the infusion with 1 cup vinegar and 1 teaspoon salt in a bucket of warm water.
3. Place our hands over the bucket and imagine it filling with white protective light. Whisper your intent into the water.
3. Wash floors normally, imagining all remaining stale or negative energy leaving the house.
4. Allow the floorwash to air dry.


And there you have it! Two simple, discrete recipes to cleanse your home. I plan to post more magical floorwashes in the future. I love how easy and discrete they are.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Deep House Cleansing Ritual

Deep House Cleansing Ritual

Spring cleaning is about to begin if it hasn't already. In my house, spring cleaning started on Imbolc and boy am I feeling good about it. There are few things I love more than a clean, organized home. While there are tons of blogs and even an entire Netflix series out there to help you clean and organize your home, no matter what time of year it is, there aren't too many focusing on the witchy side of cleaning.

We all know that you need to routinely cleanse your home and self, especially before and after working with spirits. Its common courtesy to make sure your guests have a "clean" space to visit and its common sense to make sure those guest leave completely when you ask them to. Sometimes you cleanse because things just feel "heavy" or the vibrations in your home are just off. This is usually the type of cleanser I am. When my home begins to feel heavy or I notice I have no energy or motivation, I realize its time to cleanse everything and raise that vibration through the roof! But let's be honest here; when was the last time you completely and thoroughly cleansed your home and I mean deeply cleansed your home? Mine was when I moved into the home a couple of years ago. Yeah, it's been a while, and it has probably been a while for you too.

While routine cleansings are great and work really well, energy sometimes gets trapped under furniture that never moves, behind the fridge, or in a closet you rarely open. It's important to make sure that every so often you get rid of the stagnate energy hiding around your home. This is where this ritual comes in. This Deep House Cleansing Ritual is designed to remove any and all stagnate or negative energy from the home and leave it feeling light and airy. You'll feel the effects immediately.

Deep House Cleansing Ritual

What You'll Need

  • Image or representation of a scavenger animal, such as a vulture, coyote, or raccoon
  • 1 white tea light or small white candle in a holder
  • 4 quartz crystals
  • 1 malachite crystal
  • 3 amethyst crystals
  • 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary (or some dried to spread around)
  • 5 fresh sage leaves (or some dried to spread about)
  • Sage bundle
  • Bowl of salt water
  • Salt (and lots of it)
  • Matches/lighter 
  • Broom 

What to Do

Begin by completely cleaning your home from top to bottom, and I mean cleaning. Get underneath furniture, clean out that closet of yours you never open, and vacuum up all the cobwebs in the corner of that guest bedroom you forgot you had. You want to make sure you stir up all the energy in your home. If you don't have time to clean or your home is already pretty clean and well-organized, go ahead and vacuum or sweep to get any debris off the floor. When you are done cleaning the floor, walk around your home clapping, especially in places that you don't visit often, behind doors, in room corners, and under furniture. Between sweeping and clapping, you will have stirred up the energy in your home enough for this ritual to be effective.

Once your house is cleaned or you have finished stirring up the energy in the home, set up an altar in a central place, such as a living room or kitchen table. It will need to be off the floor and large enough for you to display your items and encircle it in salt. Place the image of the scavenger in the center with the candle behind/above the image. Around the image and candle, place your quartz crystals facing outward at each corner. In front of the image (South) place your malachite while filling in the other cardinal directions with amethyst. Place 4 sage leaves next to the quartz at the corners and 2 sprigs of rosemary on the left and right side (East and West). Encircle the entire altar in a ring of salt.

Deep House Cleansing Ritual

After your altar is set up, invoke the spirit of your scavenger to help clear all negative and stale energy and aid in your ritual to completely cleanse your home. Say,
"Spirit of [animal name] I invoke thee to cleanse the negative and stale energy from my home. I ask for your aid as I perform this cleansing ritual. I empower thee with quartz, amethyst, and malachite, to bring purification, balance, and prosperity to this home. With rosemary and sage, I empower thee with purifying energy and ask that these plants protect my home and those within it. So shall it be."

Light the white candle and say,

"By this candle, I begin this ritual to purify and cleanse my home. When the candle is snuffed out, the ritual is done and no negative energy shall remain."

Next, begin spreadly salt all over your floors. If you have carpet, baking soda should be used instead. It doesn't matter which direction you move, as long as all the floors are covered. Once complete, begin sweeping (or vacuuming) from the Northwest to the Southeast. As you sweep chant,

"With this broom, I sweep away all negativity. Only happiness and positivity remains." 

Deep House Cleansing Ritual

When you are complete, you should have nothing but salt and maybe a small amount of debris. Flush this down the toilet, imaging all the negativity flushing with it. If you vacuumed up baking soda or have too much debris to safely flush, throw the remains in the garbage and remove it from your home.

Next, place the last leaf of sage and sprig of rosemary in your bowl of salt water. Using the rosemary, asperge (sprinkle) the water counterclockwise around your home while chanting,

"By water and earth I cleanse this home. Only love and happiness may enter here."

Next, light your sage bundle and smoke cleanse counterclockwise around your home while chanting,

"By fire and air, I cleanse this home. Only love and happiness may enter here."

When you are finished, spend some time meditating in front of your altar. Feel how light and airy the home now feels. Allow the candle to burn out on its own and thank the animal spirit for aiding in your cleansing ritual. You will likely wish to bathe at the end of this ritual to remove negatively that may have latched on to you.

Why You Did It

Why was this ritual set up the way it was? This is something I decided to do for each of my spells and rituals posted on this blog because I felt a lot of times we find a spell online and go through the motions without really understanding why it was done the way it was.

Deep House Cleansing Ritual

So why the scavenger altar? First and foremost, scavengers are natural cleaners; they come through and pick up all the "rotten garbage" and dispose of it so the ecosystem can remain healthy. Without scavengers, there would be an increased risk of contracting a potentially deadly pathogen. Because of this, they are strongly associated with cleansing, which is perfect for a cleansing ritual. On my altar, I have a coyote skull as my centerpiece, but a picture, drawing, statue, or plastic toy will do the trick just as well. The white candle above the scavenger image is for cleansing and purification as white and fire are both cleansings in nature. White reflects all light, thus removing all energy from it, while fires often rip through a landscape destroying everything in its wake to allow new beginnings. The candle was also used to activate and close the spell once the altar is set up. The quartz crystals around the scavenger image are for cleansing and purification, as well as to amply the effects of the spell. Amethyst is a balancing crystal while malachite is used to bring prosperity (being green and all), both energies you want to remain in your home when you are done with this ritual. Sage and rosemary are both strongly associated with purification and cleansing, partly due to their strong aromas and their antibacterial tendencies. The entire altar was in the center of a ring of salt, as salt is purifying and cleansing, this association coming from its use in drying and disinfecting wounds and traditional folklore saying ghosts and demons cannot cross a line of salt. We placed this altar at the center of the home or in a room frequently traveled because this area is the heart of your home and where any cleansing journey should begin. The magic and energy in that space are usually already high, and the scavenger spirit can use that energy to boost the power of the ritual.

Deep House Cleansing Ritual

The salt on the floor was used for the same reason as the salt around the altar. Sweeping with salt is a folkloric tradition said to remove negative energies and purify a place. As you swept or vacuumed, you did so from Northwest to Southeast to banish the negativity from your home. If you used a broom to do this ritual, you increased the spell potency because brooms are closely associated with cleansing and purification because of their cleaning nature. By flushing the salt down the toilet or discarding them outside the home, you made sure that the energies you were banishing were not welcome back. Coming behind the sweeping with the sage and rosemary salt water and sage smoke further cleansed the home by invoking the elements to aid in the cleansing process. As mentioned before, salt, rosemary, and sage are all heavily associated with cleansing and purification. Water is known as the great purifier as it washes everything away, while Air is able to stir up negative energy so it can float out of the home. Walking counterclockwise was done to banish the negative energies from the home.

Deep House Cleansing Ritual

Looking to break this spell? Unfortunately, this isn't a spell to be broken. Once you have cleansed the negativity from your home, it will not be welcome back. However, if you are looking to get rid of the scavenger spirit, simply thank it and ask it to leave. Feel free to leave an additional offering if you do not feel the herbs were enough.

Remember to record this ritual on your ritual/spell worksheet and have fun cleansing your home this Spring. I hope it brings you as much joy as it brings me!


Monday, February 4, 2019

Imbolc Altar 2019

Imbolc Altar 2019

Imbolc is the first of the fire festivals symbolizing the gradual rebirth of Spring. The cold winter months are behind us and there is a ting of warm weather in the air. If you live in the South, it is already beginning to look and feel like Spring. For Imbolc, I kept my altar simple and elegant, welcoming the Maiden and the Sun back from their long slumber.

Imbolc Altar 2019

1. White Candles with candlesticks- The white candles represent the Sun who is continuing to grow in strength during Imbolc. Furthermore, the candles act as sympathetic magic to quickly usher the Sun's return to power and the end of long, dark winter months. With the Sun comes sources of food and milder weather and the end of sickness, something our ancestors relied heavily upon. White also represents the purity of the Maiden who is replacing the Crone as the dominant female aspect. (Where did I get it: Dollar Tree; Cost: $1 for 4 votive candles, candlesticks $1 each)


Imbolc Altar 2019

2. Mangano (Pink) Calcite and Moonstone- Mangano Calcite is one of my favorite crystals. In fact, I loved it so much I went out and purchased more recently. The beautiful pink and white swirls are commonly associated with birth and healing, common themes as the Earth is reborn during Spring as the Sun regains his power. Mangano Calcite is also associated with self-love, inspiring us to take time to care for ourselves as we too shed our winter blues. Like Mangano Calcite, Moonstone also represents rebirth and transitions, as Winter slowly fades to Spring. (Where did I get it: Purchased at a metaphysical store; Cost: $5 for all three)

Imbolc Altar 2019

3. Salt and Bay Leaves- I loved The Witch of Lupine Hollow's mini Imbolc altar and its representation of Spring, so I decided to include one in this altar. The glass candle holder is gold at the bottom, representing prosperity and the Sun. The salt symbolizes snow while the bay leaves represent the plants that are determined to break through the snow and ice to reach the Sun. "Life finds a way." The candle again symbolizes the Sun the plants are desperately trying to reach (Where did I get it: Dollar Tree; Cost: $1 for a set of two pillar candles, $1 for a candle holder, $1 for a jar of bay leaves, $1 for salt)

Imbolc Altar 2019

4. Roses- The roses represent the love between the Earth and the Sun. Without the Sun, our Earth wouldn't have any life to be reborn with each turning of the Wheel of the Year. Furthermore, they represent the love among living creatures, that contributes to the rebirth of Spring. These same roses were on the Imbolc altar last year as well. I love roses and all they represent, so any excuse to pull them out is a good one. (Where did I get it: Found; Cost: $0) 

Imbolc Altar 2019

TOTAL COST: ~$13


Like my other altars, most of the items I use are found or purchased for around $1, although if the items must be purchased by you, then the cost will be higher. I hope you find this sort of break down helpful, especially those of you looking to create Instagram perfect altars on a budget!

How did you celebrate Imbolc this year?