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Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Spellcrafting Series: Recording Your Spells

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So you have written your spell, cast it, and disposed of the spell remains. Now what? You need to record it! 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, allowing you to troubleshoot potential pitfalls, a topic that will be covered at the end of this series. 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.

How and where you record your spells is entirely up to you, but it should include the following basic information:
  • Ritual or Spell Name
  • Purpose/Goal
  • Date, Time, Moon, and Length of Spell
  • Ingredients
  • Deities or Spirits Called Upon/Worked With
  • Actions Performed and Words Spoken
  • Unusual Occurrences Before, During, and After
  • Spell Remain Location
  • Loophole to Break Spells
  • Results
You may also want to include additional notes including any messages received during the work. Again, this information will allow you to track your successes and failures, break spells if needed, and ultimately grow as a witch. Witchcraft is a craft, not a religion, and takes continuous practice to master. Recording your spells promotes such growth.

Most witches record their spells and rituals in a Book of Shadows, which is a journal of a witch's journey. If the spells are particularly successful, they are then transferred to a Grimoire, which is a book of knowledge and spells. However, not all witches keep both a Book of Shadows and a Grimoire or even call their journals/books by such names. There really is no right or wrong way to record spells other than that you are keeping track. With that being said, not all spells have to be recorded. Sometimes we work quick little spells throughout the day for protection, luck, relieve stress, or even jinx. These quick little spells, rituals, and prayers needn't be recorded, but you are most certainly welcome to record them if you remember them.


A couple of years ago, I put together a free Spell & Ritual Worksheet/Log that includes everything you need to record. You can snag your free, printable copy here.


***

For the next spell you cast, practice writing everything down. Find a system that works for you and run with it. Be open and willing to change this system, and recognize that as you grow as a witch, what worked originally may not work any longer.


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Monday, May 9, 2022

Magical Properties of Sunstone

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Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Herbarium: Magical and Medicinal Uses of Purple Deadnettle

purple deadnettle, herbalism, herbal remedy, magic, witchcraft, herb magic, green witchcraft, hedgewitch, herb magic, herb magick, magick, magic, occult, wicca, wiccan, pagan, neopagan

Gender: Masculine
Planet: Mars
Element: Fire
Powers: Courage, Happiness, Healing, Prosperity, Protection, Resilience
Magical Uses and History: Purple deadnettle is a perennial 'weed' commonly found across the United States and Eurasia. Its scientific name, Lamium purpureum, is derived from lamia meaning 'gaping mouth' or 'throat,' a reference to the shape of the flowers and their long, hollow stalks. Other translations suggest it means 'the purple monster,' again a reference to the shape and color of the flowers that adorn this plant through the spring and summer months. Despite sharing a common name with stinging nettle, the two are unrelated with purple deadnettle belonging to the mint family. Like other mints, purple deadnettle very quickly takes over an entire field if given the chance, and therefore can be used in spells related to resilience, courage, and prosperity. Other folklore, however, suggests that a field being overtaken by purple deadnettle was a punishment for the unrighteous and the sign of a sinner, although I cannot find the exact origins of this idea.

Despite the possible association with sinning, purple deadnettle is also called purple archangel, which refers to its blossoming around May 8th, the day dedicated to the Archangel Michael. As such, it can be used for protection (especially for firefighters, officers, soldiers, and paramedics), to call upon Archangel Michael, or to dispel negativity. Its early spring blooming time is not only associated with Archangel Michael but also with merriment and cheer. It is one of the first flowers to bloom in the spring, signaling that winter is gone and warmer weather is on its way. This was cause to celebrate and purple dead nettle was often burned to lift spirits, clear away negative energy, and cool heated tempers.

Finally, purple deadnettle has historically been used to stop bleeding, soothe skin wounds and burns, purify the blood, cure insomnia, reduce period cramps, and treat inflammation. This means purple deadnettle works well in healing spells and rituals, especially those targeting the aforementioned ailments. 

Purple Deadnettle can be used in a number of spells including:
    Protection Spells
    Happiness Spells
    Healing Magic
    Prosperity Magic

Medicinal Uses: The leaves and flowers of purple deadnettle are known to be astringent, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, diuretic, diaphoretic, and purgative. Its leaves are commonly used to treat external wounds and cuts in much the same way as you would use plantain or yarrow. As a tincture or tea, it is used as a mild laxative as well as for its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, especially in treating throat infections. Taken internally it can also help relieve allergy symptoms. However, because it is a mild laxative, the dosage is extremely important and purple deadnettle should not be taken by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. 

Preparation and Dosage: Purple deadnettle can be taken internally as an infusion or tincture. To make an infusion, combine 1/2 cup fresh leaves or 1-2 tablespoons dried leaves with 1 cup hot water and steep for 10 minutes. Drink up to three times a day. As a tincture, take 3-5 drops up to three times a day. Externally, purple deadnettle can be used as a poultice or salve and combines well with lemon balm and yarrow.


Want to print a copy of this for your Book of Shadows? Click below for your free copy! 
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Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Book Announcement!

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After a lot of hard work behind the scenes for the past several months, I'm so excited to finally announce that I have a new book coming out, Green Witchcraft Tea Recipes: 60 Magical Brews for Love, Healing, and Growth. Green witchcraft is all about the power of plants and natural magic—and tea is an essential element of the green witch’s practice. This book combines the timeless ritual of making tea with a collection of spells to help you create restorative, healing, and empowering brews that hone your magical practice. 

Go beyond other witchcraft books with: 
  • A lesson in witchcraft—Explore the philosophies of green witchcraft and tea magic, and discover how they keep you connected to the earth and your sense of self. 
  • Your witchy kitchen—Learn the magical properties of individual flowers, herbs, and spices, then find step-by-step guidance on using them to brew powerful teas and tonics. 
  • Spells for every intention—Find recipes that are sorted by their desired result, from love and friendship to bodily health and spiritual growth. 
I would love you to support my book. You can pre-order your copy here.

Stay tuned for sneak peeks in the coming weeks! I’m so excited!

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Monday, May 2, 2022

Book Review: The Modern Craft edited by Claire Askew and Alice Tarbuck

cultural appropriation, decolonization, intersectionality, ethics, witchcraft, witch, wicca, wiccan, pagan, neopagan, inclusive, occult, book, book reivew, the modern craft, witchy book review, witchy, witchy reads


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.

This is the second book I have read lately that is composed of a series of essays from numerous witches and pagans, and I have to say I am enjoying hearing from a number of voices in a single book. The Modern Craft: Powerful Voices on Witchcraft Ethics edited by Claire Askew and Alice Tarbuck is a radical collection of essays on the ethics of witchcraft. Essays include such topics as decolonizing your practice, practicing witchcraft while disabled, gender-fluid hierarchies, cultural appropriation, and the problems found in online witchcraft communities. Essay contributors largely belong to marginalized groups, their voices being amplified in this publication, and include such witches and pagans as Lisa Marie Basile, Lilith Dorsey, AW Earl, Iona Lee, Simone Kotva, and Briana Pegado.

Since this is a collection of essays, each chapter or essay deals with a different topic centered around ethics, inclusivity, and intersectionality. This is the first book that has come across my shelf dealing specifically with these issues, issues that desperately need to be addressed in our community if we want to continue to be able to call ourselves welcoming and open to those in need. Witchcraft and magic have traditionally been used by the marginalized to attain some control over their life situations, fight injustice, and otherwise make life easier. If we, as a community, want to continue this tradition, we need to recognize that cultural appropriation, white supremacy, homo- and transphobia, and ableism have no place here. It feels like every day we are fighting a new battle, but it's one we need to continue to fight. This book is a great place to start if you are just coming to witchcraft or are looking at ways to make your own life and practice more inclusive.

The first essay introduces the concepts of what is a witch, the language we use to describe witches and witchcraft, the historical implications of these words, and how language can help marginalized groups because witchcraft is an act of rebellion. This essay will certainly pump you up and get you ready for the coming essays. This is followed by an essay on practicing witchcraft while poor. This is a topic near and dear to me because while I certainly grew up with enough, I have not always had enough as an adult. Furthermore, constantly participating in capitalism degrades our environment and disconnects us from the world around us. You do not have to purchase expensive herbs and crystals to practice witchcraft. You can create your own correspondences and use materials you find and they will work just as well if not better than ones imported from far-off lands. I felt this essay paired well with the final essay on practicing witchcraft while disabled. The final essay, however, takes a different approach than the others. While the vast majority of essays are guides, the final one is written as a day in the life of. It was really eye-opening as an able-bodied person to see how those with a disability that limits mobility celebrate and practice witchcraft and paganism. Reading this essay made me rethink some of the spells I have written, and how I can make future spells more inclusive to those lacking the means or ability to practice as I do.

There are several essays addressing LGBTQIA issues, such as transitioning and using ritual to aid in this process, finding LGBTQIA friendly deities, raising non-binary children in witchcraft, rethinking masculine and feminine, and trans-exclusion in the occult community. As someone who has volunteered at LGBTQIA homeless shelters, mentored LGBTQIA youth, and worked to create a safe and inclusive environment in my classroom (of which I currently teach at least 2 transgender and 6 queer students), these essays really spoke to me, especially the essay discussing trans-exclusion. So many people attempt to use 'biological' sex to dismiss transgenderism without having any idea what they are talking about. As a biologist, I can tell you biological sex is so much more complicated than X and Y chromosomes and the idea that science is being used to be exclusive is disgusting.

Other essays include online occult communities and the problems associated with these groups (why I am no longer a member of many of them), how to decolonize your practice and the word shaman, the ethics of animal sacrifice and how racism has been used to distort actual African traditional religions and practices, cultural appropriation, the ethics of witchcraft capitalism and ecology which dives into the ethics of the crystal industry and potential alternatives.

While I took extensive notes on each essay, my thoughts and feelings simply cannot be summed up in such a way as to make a great blog post. Instead, I encourage you to purchase and read this book yourself. Hopefully, you come out the other side more empathic and open to changing your own practice. I cannot recommend this book enough and highly encourage you to pre-order your copy of The Modern Craft: Powerful Voices on Witchcraft Ethics edited by Claire Askew and Alice Tarbuck now. with that being said, I did have one issue. One author said that white sage and palo santo were the same things (not true) and that palo santo is better because it's sustainably harvested from dead trees (both true and not true). I feel like this mistake was a big oversight on the part of the editors, but its easy to overlook in light of the rest of the book.

Until next time!

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