SOCIAL MEDIA

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Herbarium: Magical and Medicinal Uses of Basil

basil, herb magic, witchcraft, herbal remedies

Gender: Masculine
Planet: Mars
Element: Fire
Powers: Astral Travel, Exorcism, Love, Protection, Wealth
Magical Uses and History: Basil's history dates back over 5000 years, beginning in India before moving west into the Mediterranean where it became a staple herb in culinary, magical, and medicinal practices. Sweet basil, along with other basil and mint plants, belongs to the genus Ocimum which is derived from the Greek meaning "to be fragrant." This is exceptionally true of the basil plant, which is often described as being very fragrant. The word basil itself, however, comes from the Greek word for "king," thus associating it with wealth and royalty. Basil can be carried in your pockets to attract wealth or kept in cash registers or grown by the door to attract business. However, basil is more commonly associated with love than wealth and royalty.

Holy Basil, which is highly revered in India, is a sacred Hindu herb and is believed to be a manifestation of the Goddess Tulasi. According to legend, the god Vishnu disguised himself as Tulasi's husband to seduce her. When Tulasi realized she had been unfaithful to her husband she killed herself. In some stories, Tulsai was a mortal named Vrinda who threw herself onto a funeral pyre after her husband's death. In both cases, her burnt hair turned into Holy Basil (Tulsi). In both stories, Vishnu ultimately defied Tulasi's wishes to die and declared she be worshiped by wives and would prevent said wives from becoming widows. As such, Holy Basil is the symbol of love, fidelity, eternal life, purification, and protection. Often times people swear over basil bushes to ensure they will tell the truth during court hearings.

My favorite myth regarding basil, however, comes from The Decameron. The story of Isabetta (sometimes referred to as Isabella or Elisabetta) is a tragic one that begins with Isabetta, who comes from a wealthy family, falling in love with a lower-class man named Lorenzo. When Isabetta's three brothers discovered their love, they lured Lorenzo into the woods where they killed and buried him, telling Isabetta that Lorenzo had gone away on business. That night, however, Lorenzo visited Isabetta in her dreams, informing her of her brothers' deceit and asked that she give him a proper burial. Struck with grief, Isabetta dashed away into the forest with nothing but a knife to dig up Lorenzo's body. When she realized she had no way of doing so with just a knife, she cut off his head and snuck it back home where she buried it in a pot of basil. Every day for one hour she would cry over the pot, watering the basil with her tears. When her brothers discovered the pot contains Lorenzo's head they stole it away to hide the evidence of their murderous deed. Isabetta, realizing her Lorenzo was gone forever, dies of a broken heart shortly after. John Keats later retells this tale in a 63 eight-line rhyming stanza which is absolutely breathtaking. It was so loved that painter William Homan immortalized the story in his famous painting Isabella and the Pot of Basil (1868). Needless to say, basil is strongly connected with love and fidelity, and in this case with easing sorrow and grief, especially when attributed to the loss of a loved one.

The association of basil with love became so strong that men began wearing basil in their hats when they were ready to seek a wife. Women would give sprigs of basil to their love inserts to solidify the relationship and was even used to divine future lovers. Two fresh basil leaves were placed upon a lump of hot coal. if the leaves remain falt and burn quickly, it is said that the relationship will be harmonious, but if they crackle or move slightly, then the relationship will be plagued with quarrels. If the leaves fly apart, the relationship will eventually end. To ensure your partner is faithful, sprinkle basil over their heart while they are asleep. Concerned they may be unfaithful? Hand them a sprig of basil and if it withers quickly, they are likely being unfaithful.

In other parts of Europe, however, basil became associated with the Devil, death, and witches. Some folklore suggests that basil belongs to Satan and therefore you must curse the soil before you plant basil in order for it to grow properly. This might explain why I can never grow basil... It is believed the French idiom, "semer le basilic" which means "to sow the basil" comes from this belief and refers to ranting. This may have arisen from the idea that basil was sacred to the dead and was often placed in the hands of the deceased in order to secure safe passage to the Underworld. As such, basil is seen as protective and can be placed around the home to protect against evil and harmful spells. In some folklore, basil is strewn across the floor as a protection charm because where basil lives no evil can live. In Greece, Basil leaves were burned to oust witches. While the leaves were burning, a name of a suspected witch was called out. If the leaves hissed in response, it was believed that the person was, in fact, practicing witchcraft.

However, the most pertinent use of basil in hedgecraft is for flying. Accordingly to legend witches would drink a concoction of basil oil or an infusion of basil before embarking on astral travel. This is referenced over and over in multiple magical sources, but I can't find where this belief originated, so if you can point me in the right direction, please do! Either way, basil is associated with flight and is used by some witches to aid in hedge riding. It is known that during the time of the Tudors, small plants of basil were given to guests as a parting gift, likely to aid them in their travels. As such, basil could be used to aid in traveling, both within the physical and metaphysical realms.

Basil can be used in a number of spells including:
    Protection Spells
    Love Spells and Rituals
    Psychic Development
    Hedge Riding
    Money Magic

Medicinal Uses: Sweet Basil is commonly used to stimulate and soothe the stomach and intestinal activity, stomach cramps, nausea, indigestion, gas, and bloating. Due to its fragrant nature, it has also been used to cure bad breath. Topically, the juice from the leaves can be used to speed the healing of infected cuts, insect bites, and stings. The leaves can also be rubbed against the skin to repel insects. Holy Basil, on the other hand, promotes healthy uptake of sugars by the body and has been found to be beneficial in the early stages of diabetes. Holy Basil is also used to treat coughs and bronchitis and lowers blood pressure and cholesterol.

Preparation and Dosage: Sweet Basil and Holy Basil can be taken internally by eating the leaves straight, cooking the plant into foods, or through an infusion. To make an infusion, combine one cup of hot water with 5-10 fresh leaves. Allow the leaves to infuse for 10 minutes. Drink up to three times a day. Externally, the juice from the leaves of Sweet Basil can be used to treat insect bites, stings, and minor cuts. To make a poultice, grind a handful of fresh sweet basil leaves and apply directly to the wound. Holy Basil should not be used to treat diabetes alone and you should consult your doctor before taking.


Want to print a copy of this for your Book of Shadows? Click below for your free copy! This particular plant profile is 2 pages due to the length of the content.

basil, herb magic, witchcraft, herbal remedies


Monday, January 20, 2020

Meet the Hedgewitch

Considering how much the blog has grown over the years, especially recently, I thought it would be beneficial to introduce myself a little better. For the most part, I haven't really done so!


So, hello! I'm Willow, the author and creator of Flying the Hedge. I am 31 years old and have been practicing witchcraft in some form since I was 15. I knew from a young age that Christianity didn't feel right, but I wasn't sure what did. My parents weren't very religious and allowed me and my younger brother to explore anything and everything we wanted without judgment unless of course, it was deliberately destructive and illegal. By the time I reached high school, all my friends were getting heavily involved in Youth Leadership and other Christian groups and tried to get me involved but it always felt forced and weird. I went to church maybe two times as a kid other than when I was baptized. It wasn't something my family ever did, and I had a hard time trying to fit into the church community as a teenager. That's about the time I started exploring the entirety of the local bookstore and wandered into the New Age section.

I spent a lot of time reading in middle and high school, mostly books about faeries and magic, and as I was reading over the titles in the New Age section I stopped and was like, "Wait, this is real? I can be a witch?!" I bought several books that day including Teen Witch by Silver Ravenwolf, Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, The Element Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells, and a couple others I can't remember and no longer have. When I set all the books on the counter at checkout, the woman behind the counter gave me and my then-boyfriend a curious look, shook her head, and rang up the books. I spent the next several nights devouring the books. This was the most exciting thing to ever happen to me. You see, I grew up in the woods seeing spirits and talking with them; feeling the land breathe between my toes. I knew there was magic in the woods around my home, but I was always told I just had an active imagination. It was a relief to know there was something of value in what I had grown up seeing and believing. However, when I started to tell others that I was Wiccan, things became a little hostile.

You see, I live in Georgia and Georgia is not known for being very inclusive, especially if you aren't a white, Conservative, Christian. I remember during a class discussion a student decided to announce to the class that I should be burned at the stake for being a witch because I didn't agree with his interpretation of some scene in Alias Grace. Most of the class laughed, but I remember how isolated that made me feel. I was already different to begin with, and being a witch made things worse. This sort of stuff was pretty commonplace, but I brushed it aside and wore my spirituality with conviction.

I continued to practice and study, doing small magical workings here and there but nothing of any real substance. By the time I made it to college, I knew I was a witch, but I wasn't sure Wicca was right for me. It felt like rebranded Christianity. That's when I found The Way of the Hedgewitch and dove in deep. Now Murphey's book is not really about hedgecraft. It's more about rebranded cottage witchery, but it got me exploring hedgecraft in earnest. And that's when everything just...clicked. I didn't have to believe in deities. I didn't have to do elaborate ceremonial magic. I didn't have to believe in a bastardization of karma or the 3 Fold Rule. This...this felt right. This felt like my true self and I have never looked back. In college and for about 2 years or so afterward, I just sort of dabbled in hedgecraft. I was dating a man that would later become my husband that didn't support my spiritual beliefs and that made it difficult to want to practice. When we first got together, he seemed supportive, but as our relationship progressed, he made a point to comment to others behind my back about how he didn't believe such nonsense and not to lump him in with me and so on. Basically, he was calling me crazy to all my friends and family and trying to boost his esteem in the eyes of others. Shortly after we got married, however, I decided it was time for me to come back to the Craft in full force.

In 2014 I created this little blog without any real idea as to where this road would take me. I knew I had information to share (I had been studying for years!) and I wanted to share it. The past 5ish years have been an incredible journey, not all of it great. I've been sick, had surgery, battled depression and severe anxiety, dealt with an unemployed spouse, went back to school, switched jobs, moved every other year, bought a house, was mentally and emotional abused, bought my first car completely on my own, graduated with a Master's degree, got divorced, met someone new, changed my hair color, and so many other things.


When I got divorced in 2017, I felt like my life was over. Despite all of his flaws, I loved that man with everything that I was. A part of me still loves him and I know that that will probably never change, no matter how much the rest of me hates him and what he did over our 8 years together. But I was wrong about my life being over. The best part of my life was yet to come. While I am still struggling with several emotional issues, mostly anxiety now instead of depression, my life has never been better.

I currently live in a beautiful little home outside of Atlanta that I am constantly changing with my incredibly loving and patient boyfriend, three amazing cats (not familiars), and two fabulously sweet chickens. I enjoy blogging, reading, playing World of Warcraft, running, and honing my craft as a hedgewitch. Outside of this blog and witchcraft, I teach environmental science to a group of pretty incredible juniors and seniors. For those of you reading for a while, you know science is an important part of my practice and that's because I am a scientist at heart. I hold a Bachelor's in Biology with a minor in Geology. I originally wanted to be a paleontologist, but the Universe had other plans for me. I know I am exactly where I need to be, doing exactly what I need to be doing.

Oscar Wilde

Jane Austen


Charles "Charlie" Dickens

Anne Boleyn and Jane Seymour

So there you have all my amazing animals. Haha! I have a post planned for some time this year diving deep into my cats and why they are not familiars, so I'll tell their story then. Today is about me!

Despite all the changes in my life over the past several years, I can honestly say starting this blog was part of what kept me sane. I absolutely enjoy researching, writing, and sharing my knowledge with all of you. It definitely keeps me sane and gives me the opportunity to express my creativity. I have a lot of amazing content planned for you guys this year, including a new series called Elemental Magic as well as several amazing posts inspired by the survey results covering a variety of topics. Shout out to all of you amazing witches that filled out the survey. It was incredible to read through everything and I can't wait to get started!

I know 2020 is going to be a great year. Here's to hoping we all have a good one!


Sunday, January 19, 2020

Flying the Hedge Joins Ko-fi



Hello, witches!

In a previous post, I mentioned how costly it is to run my blog, from both a monetary and time perspective. After talking with a co-worker and seeing several of you asking how you can repay me for my work, I decided to set up a Ko-fi account. Ko-fi is essentially a virtual tip jar where readers can help support the blog through small donations, just $3.

I will never charge my readers to access my blog. I will never start a subscription service; I will never offer high priced courses; I will never sell worksheets or spells or rituals or anything else, with the exception of a possible book. Yeah, I am still working on it.

I am a firm believer that access to knowledge should not be gated with a price tag. I recognize that we live in a world where money is not evenly distributed and that some people live in essentially education deserts (much like food deserts). There are no public libraries. There is limited or no Wi-Fi access. Knowing this, I can't bring myself to gate my knowledge.

With that being said, I also believe in compensating people fairly for their work, and I personally like to support my fellow bloggers through likes, shares, comments, affiliate link purchases, and even tipping them, whether it's through Patreon or Ko-fi or another service.

If you would like to help support the blog, feel free to click the link below or to the right on the sidebar. Any and everything helps and will go directly to helping me continue to provide quality content. If money isn't an option, likes, shares, and comments go a hell of a long way and are extremely appreciated.



I absolutely love blogging about hedgecraft, and even on my worst day, I can't imagine ever really giving it up. You guys are the reason I love it so much and reading all the kind and amazingly supportive comments on my survey brought me to happy tears. Know that I appreciate every single one of you that reads my blog.

Thank you for everything!

Monday, January 13, 2020

2020 New Year Ritual

ritual, witchcraft, new year, tarot, spell, hedgewitch

Every year I take a slightly different approach to releasing the previous year and welcoming the new one. Unlike years in the past, however, I decided not to make resolutions this year. Blasphemy, I know. I'm just tired of it and the work I feel that comes with it. Don't get me wrong, I have long-term goals and things I want to accomplish during my short life here on Earth, but I don't want to make resolutions any longer. I do, however, want to get a glimpse into what 2020 holds for me and make plans accordingly. That is where tarot comes in, with a bit of hedge riding thrown in for clarification.

To begin this ritual I took a nice warm shower. Showers are a really great way to quickly wash away negativity, the past, or whatever else you are trying to release. Unlike baths, showers move the energy away from your quickly instead of having you marinate in it. I'm sure that's exactly how you want to view your cleansing baths. Haha! During my shower, I visualized and reflected upon 2019. There were a lot of really great and a lot of terrible things that happened in 2019. Most of the bad happened right at the end of the year too, making it a little more difficult to remember all the great things that occurred. However, it's really important to remember the good over the bad and be grateful for those wonderful things. As I reflected on the good and bad, I let the stress of the bad and all the anxiety they caused wash down the drain. I didn't let the memories of those events go, however. Each anxiety-inducing, tear-jerking, scream-at-the-world moment is a moment to be learned from. You don't want to wash them away, never to think of them again. It's those moments that make us stronger.

After my shower, I added some items to my altar, laid out some candles and roses, and drew a salt circle on my bedroom floor. My altar was still adorned for Yule, but to it I added a dragonfly to aid in spiritual communication, amethyst to increase my psychic abilities, and howlite to bring clarity and insight. I also added a cup for juice and a slice of bread as an offering to the spirits helping guide me during this ritual.

ritual, witchcraft, new year, tarot, spell, hedgewitch, altar

In my circle of salt, for protection, I added 12 tea light candles, one for each month. In between each candle, I placed a rose for protection. While most people associate roses only with love and happiness, they are also potent and fierce protectors (think thorns). Once my circle was drawn and set up, I added my tarot deck of choice and an incense burner filled with mugwort incense to induce visions and increase psychic awareness and asked the spirits to join me in my ritual to provide guidance for the upcoming year. When ready, I sat down in the circle facing north and lit the first candle.

ritual, witchcraft, new year, tarot, spell, hedgewitch

As the first candle burned, representing January, I began shuffling my deck until my intuition told me it was enough. I then spread the cards, hovering my hand over each until I felt compelled to draw a card representing January. Once the card was drawn, I began writing in my journal everything that came to mind while looking at the card. I stared into the candle flame, asking for guidance and clarification, and finally closed my eyes and entered into a moderate trance where I could receive any other messages the spirits needed to give me. I'm not so great at reading flames and smoke, but I am really good at receiving messages while in a trance. I wrote down everything and anything that came to mind, no matter how outlandish or simple it seemed. When reading, I moved to the next candle, repeating the same process until all the candles were lit, 12 cards were drawn, and my notes were taken.

When this initial reading process was finished, I picked up the guide book that comes with this tarot and began adding to the meanings I had associated with each card. For the most part, my previous notes were spot on and I'll have you know this is the very first time I have worked with this unconventional deck. However, the guide offered some questions that prompted me to look deeper into the messages, instead of just what was on the surface. When I felt I had divined all possible messages, I thanked the spirits for their help and invited them to partake in the juice and bread.

This was a very long ritual; I think it lasted almost 2 hours. Needless to say, I was super tired at the end of it and went outside to ground myself and feel the cool air on my face. I drank a glass of water and ate some food to help ground me as well and provide some much-needed energy.

ritual, witchcraft, new year, tarot, spell, hedgewitch

Overall it was a fantastic and informative experience. I am still working out some of the details, but for the most part, I have a wonderful foundation to work with. Each month, I am drawing the card I originally pulled during this ritual and placing it on my altar, so you will likely see theses in my sabbat altars. By doing this, I get to see the card every day so it can remind me of my focus for that month. I was originally going to put together a little book or piece of artwork reflecting my entire year, but after thinking on it for the past 2 weeks, I decided the best way for me to be reminded of my path was to place the cards on my altar so they are the first and last thing I see each day.

So what does the year have in store for me? This is just a brief synopsis that I have put together and is by no means complete.

January: Integrity- stay true to myself and my beliefs; speak with conviction; I will be challenged this month and much decide if I should continue certain relationships (this is already happening and I am struggling to make a choice...that's the Libra in me)
February: Self- focus on self-love and self-care; its okay to be alone; chase dreams; break free from labels and chains; be wary of being too selfish
March: 6 of Earth- lead by example; give more than I take; take care of business now; have the strength and courage to persevere

ritual, witchcraft, new year, tarot, spell, hedgewitch

April: Abundance- hard work pays off; windfall; new beginnings; give back to the community and to others
May: 2 of Fire- two heads are better than one; work together to accomplish big things; change is coming but with that change comes growth; there will likely be a power struggle this month; someone will come to help me overcome obstacles likely in the form of a spirit
June: Destiny- changes are in full force and it's going to get rough; time to break the chains and remember my dreams; ancestral healing; remember that no matter what life throws at me, I can handle it

ritual, witchcraft, new year, tarot, spell, hedgewitch

July: 2 of Earth- balance (finally!); new beginnings; joy; compromise; remember to ask for help when needed; someone from beyond wishes to help me
August: Emotions- change is difficult; heed the message behind the emotions I am feeling and address them; remember this too shall pass; remember to laugh
September: Love- learn to love myself and others more fully but do not let love break you or control you; remain realistic, but open; pursue passions; ask "is this love or is this infatuation?"
October: 2 of Air- remember to keep learning; lessons repeat themselves until we learn them; possible loss; visit from a spirit

ritual, witchcraft, new year, tarot, spell, hedgewitch

November: King of Earth- passion and richness; pay it forward; don't be lazy or misuse power; life is meant to be enjoyed
December: Healing- to be human is to be wounded; do not allow my pain to hurt others; shift attention and do not dwell on the past any longer; forgive (chord cutting ritual); possible illness

The resounding message is loud and clear: 2020 is going to bring about significant changes in my life and I have a feeling I know what they are related to. I know that I need to make a choice, or rather, several choices, that will define my future happiness and success. These choices and changes are going to be difficult, but worth it. They pertain to things I have been thinking about a lot lately, and I need to stop thinking about them and just do them.

ritual, witchcraft, new year, tarot, spell, hedgewitch

At the end of each month, I plan to go back and reflect on the card I drew and how it corresponded with that month and see if there are any additional messages I ignored or failed to act upon. I want to use these cards to grow and live my best life. That's not always going to be easy, but I know its worth all the work.

What did you do this year for your New Year Ritual? Did you gain any insights into what this year holds for you? Are you excited? Anxious? Ambivalent? Let me know in the comments below!


Tuesday, January 7, 2020

January Wolf Moon Worksheet

full moon, magic, witchcraft, wolf moon, moon magic

January's Full Moon is often referred to as the Wolf Moon or Cold Moon, depending on the culture. The Native Americans commonly referred to it as the Wolf Moon because the wolf howls picked up during this time as it is the beginning of mating season. Furthermore, the wolves often moved closer to human encampments while looking for food, making their howls louder and easier to hear. As for the name Cold Moon, it was so named for it being winter and freaking cold, at least in the Nothern Hemisphere. This moon is commonly associated with spiritual and physical release and decluttering, and self-reflection. Being those of us in the Northern Hemisphere are often stuck indoors during this time it is a great time to grow spiritually through reading, practice, and meditation.

This month's Full Moon worksheet contains the usuals of my past Full Moon worksheets, including a to release and cleanse section, a box for your intuition, and a tarot spread. Unlike past worksheets, however, this one can be used every January, as it is based on the correspondences of the moon itself and not other astrological events. The 5-card tarot spread for the January Wolf Moon is designed with release and self-reflection in mind. What is holding you back? How can you overcome it and heal? What should you nurture now so you may be successful later?

full moon, magic, witchcraft, wolf moon, moon magic

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, January 6, 2020

To the Isolated Witch, I See You

My original post for Monday can wait until Tuesday. I was going to design a Full Moon worksheet that could be used every year instead of just in 2020, but before I got started on its creation I sat down to read some of the survey results. If you haven't taken the survey I would love for you to do so. I am going to keep it open a bit longer to get a better idea of what you guys want, but there was a response at the end that really punched me in the gut.

The final question in my survey asks, "Is there anything else you would like me to know?" Many of the responses were thanking me for my work, which I greatly appreciate. You have no idea how much it means to me that my blog is enjoyed and appreciated, especially on a day like today when I was contemplating quitting. It costs me a lot of time and money to run this blog and as a teacher, I don't make a lot of money nor do I have a lot of time. But hearing the appreciation makes it all worth it. There was one response, however, that stuck out from the rest. It read, "I feel very isolated, surrounded by loved ones who don't get it or who actively dislike my beliefs."

I see you.

I hear you.

You are not alone.

Please reach out to me. Please send me an email or a private message on Facebook. I want to be your friend. I want to talk to you and support you and give you the love you deserve. No one, and I mean NO ONE, should ever feel isolated and alone because of their beliefs.

The witch community can be a fickle one for sure and often times a power struggle. I know and because of it I have distanced myself from it without actually leaving it. I definitely live that hedgewitch life, preferring to reside on the edge of things, still part of the community, but far enough away to be alone. But I am not a fickle friend. I show up, and I want to show up for you.

So to the isolated witches of the world, I see you practicing alone in the dark. I see you scrambling to hide crystals and candles so that friends and family won't judge you. I see you sitting quietly or standing boldly as someone you love and cherish criticizes your beliefs. I see you crying in the bathroom, wondering if it's worth it. I see you contemplating faking it to appease others. You. Are. Not. Alone.

Stand tall, even when you feel like crumbling.

Connect with others online and find friends. I want to be your friend.

When it doubt, read mythology and folklore and scientific books on herbs and crystals because no one can dispute your learning history, cultural traditions, and science.

I see you, even if others don't.