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Sunday, October 18, 2020

Book Review: Hoodoo Cleansing and Protection Magick by Miss Aida

book review, hoodoo, witchcraft, witchy, occult, protection, cleansing, spiritual, pagan, neopagan, magick, magic, spells, rituals, spirit work, witchy book review

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. I was provided a copy of this book for an honest review.

A couple of months ago Weiser reached out to me to review another book, Hoodoo Cleansing and Protection Magick: Banish Negative Energy and Ward Off Unpleasant People by Miss Aida. I was honored to be given such an opportunity and happily agreed to read another book on the topic of Hoodoo, despite it not being my practice. Let's just say that life lately has gotten in the way of all things witchy, and it took me a lot longer to finish this book than normal. For that, I sincerely apologize. However, it wasn't such a bad thing that it took me a while to get through this book, as it allowed me to digest all the details and given thought and consideration to the practices outlined in the book.

Again, I want to make it abundantly clear I am not a practitioner of Hoodoo. I do not have extensive knowledge of the practice apart from what I have read so I cannot speak to the accuracy of the book, but I can say Miss Aida, a Cuban-born practitioner, speaks with authority and from experience, which to me far outweighs extensive historical research supporting her claims. Furthermore, she is a nurse and has a degree in science, which means she supports ruling out the ordinary before turning to spiritual causes of disturbances, illness, and disease. Hoodoo Cleansing and Protection Magick covers a variety of topics from general cleansing and protection to how to deal with different spiritual entities and how to find authentic professional help. The rituals and spells are clearly outlined, explained, and supported with anecdotal evidence and experiences. Reading the experiences of others is something I thoroughly enjoy and it gives me the opportunity to assess the validity of one's writing. You would be surprised how much of a person's energy and life comes through in their writing and I can safely say Miss Aida is no liar. I found that the section on how to find a true, professional, spiritual worker, and when you should seek professional help, was some of the most useful information in the book. As witches, we like to think we are capable of doing everything on our own, but there are a lot of times where that isn't the case; either we don't have enough experience or the entities are too powerful for a single person, especially a person without the skills or knowledge to take on such a being. Furthermore, I loved the curse positive language of the book. Miss Aida makes it very clear that cursing is a natural part of our world, but you should be cautious when doing so as in all things. I loved her honesty about her own hotheadedness and that she can be spiteful. I found a lot of what she said sounded like it came from my own mouth. To add to it, she encourages her readers to take precautionary measures, avoid retaliating when you do not know the source of the curse so you don't hurt an innocent person, and when in doubt, do nothing because like all magic, the curse will eventually dissipate. 

Despite the practices in this book being closed to me, there are some great nuggets of information that can be used by anyone, no matter their cultural background. It is the foundations of magical practices that ring true throughout every culture in the world, and Miss Aida's experiences and advice are extremely helpful in setting those foundational practices of protection and cleansing. For an experienced witch such as myself, this book was a great reminder that I need to practice protection and cleansing daily, not just when I feel like it or when I "remember." Her words are encouraging and remind the reader that having a consistent daily practice, even a simple one, is best practice. When we become lazy in our magical workings, allowing our guard to drop, that is when negativity can creep up on us, wreaking havoc in the life we meticulously sought to protect. Furthermore, Christianity, from which many of the prayers and spiritual entities are from, is open to all and therefore easily incorporated into our practices. I know that many witches come from Christianity and no matter what your personal feelings may be on the topic, the prayers are there for you to use when needed and the angels will gladly help you in your magical workings given that you develop a relationship with them first. For some, this may make your practice more comfortable and "real" in that it pulls from your past experiences. There is absolutely nothing wrong with pulling from your previous religion in your craft; in fact, I highly encourage it because you already have a connection with the practices.

The only issue I had with the book was the use of white sage and smudging. However, because I am not a member of this closed culture, I cannot and will not pass judgment, but I did want to make it known to all my readers that I found some of the language to be personally problematic.

Whether you are a practitioner of Hoodoo, a new witch, or an experienced witch, I highly recommend Hoodoo Cleansing and Protection Magick: Banish Negative Energy and Ward Off Unpleasant People by Miss Aida. As in all things, remember that not all the practices are open to you if you are not from the culture, but that doesn't mean that you can't learn from the lessons and develop a better spiritual practice. Hoodoo Cleansing and Protection Magick: Banish Negative Energy and Ward Off Unpleasant People by Miss Aida is available now.



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Monday, October 12, 2020

Elemental Magic: A Complete Guide to Air Folklore & Correspondences

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I know it's been a while since I posted anything in this series and I apologize. I've been spending more time working with the other elements before moving on to Air for a variety of reasons. However, I am not ready to tackle Air, the element of wisdom, communication, reasoning, logic, and breath. It is the perfect element to work with during the fall months because this shifting of the seasons often requires us to look inward and assess our situation; to take a deep breath and let go of what no longer serves us; to communicate our truths, even if it's just to ourselves; to set a new path for the future. After working with the previous elements, you have likely changed and need to communicate this new self with others and maybe even to yourself, especially through journaling. In some cases, you may need to spend time figuring out your new truths. I know I have changed and its time to make that self known. In today's post, I will discuss the element Air, from his history to his correspondences to how he works with the other elements.



Much of the folklore associated with Air encompasses weather magic and the wind itself. In Greek mythology, the Anemoi were the four winds, each of them corresponding to the four cardinal directions. They were the children of Eos, goddess of dawn, and Aeolus, Keeper of the Winds. The first of the sons was Boreas, the god of the north wind and bringer of cold winter air. He is often depicted with a beard in a short, pleated tunic and said to have a violent temper. When Orithyia, a princess of Athens, refused to marry Boreas, he stole her away to marry her in the clouds where they later had two sons and two daughters together. From then on, Boreas was seen as a relative by marriage and they called upon him for protection when attacked by neighboring kingdoms. In 480 B.C. Boreas supposedly sank 400 Persian ships that threatened the Athenians. A cult was established as gratitude for his help and he was routinely called upon to strike down enemies. Boreas's Roman equivalent is Aquilo and according to Virgil, Now had the sun rolled through the year's full circle, and the waves were rough with icy winter's northern gales" thus associating Aquilo with the winds of Winter. The second son, Zephyrus or Zephyr, is the god of the west wind. He is the gentlest of the winds, blowing in Spring and warmer weather. Zephyrus appears in a number of stories, each one often depicting a different lover both male and female. His amorous relationships make him a fertility god, which makes sense since he is said to bring in Spring, the ultimate icon of fertility. The god of the south wind, Notus, is associated with the hot, desiccating winds of Summer that blew in after the Summer Solstice. It was him that brought late summer storms, destroying crops in his wake. And finally, there was Eurus, god of the east winds, who was believed to be responsible for the turbulent winds during storms at sea. Seafarers would often try to appease Eurus to ensure a safe trip and would place protection charms on their ships to ward off ill will.

Aeolus, however, was just as famous as his four sons. In Homer's Odyssey, Aeolus provides Odysseus and his men shelter for a month before providing them with a gentle westerly wind to carry them home to Itcha. As a parting gift, Aeolus gives Odysseus an ox-hide bag of all the winds except the west to ensure their safe return home. Upon approaching Itcha, Odysseus becomes overwhelmed with tiredness and falls asleep. Out of curiosity, his crew opens the bag, releasing the destructive winds of the north, south, and east, which blow their ship away from Ithica and back to Aeolus. At this point, Aeolus refuses any further help, believing their voyage to be cursed. This tradition was continued by witches and sorcerers throughout Europe would be commissioned to capture winds in bags and tie the bags closed using a series of knots. The winds could be controlled by sailors by loosening or tightening the knots.

In other traditions, Air is deeply associated with breath, the life-giver. In ancient Greece, this breath of life was referred to as pneuma, which later became translated into soul or spirit. I'll address pneuma in more detail in later posts, but I wanted to mention it here because, without breath, life ceases to exist, and as such a number of superstitions arose around breath. For example, when passing by a cemetery one should hold their breath to avoid breathing in the spirit of someone who recently passed. In multiple cultures around the world, we see tales of the night hag, a demon who sits on your chest and steals your breath away, a phenomenon now referred to as sleep paralysis. For centuries in England, it was believed cats should suck an infant's breath away, causing the baby to die. In 1791, a jury in Plymouth, England convicted a cat of infanticide while in 1929 in Nebraska, a supposed doctor claimed to have witnessed a cat "lying on the baby's breast, pay on either side of the babe's mouth, the cat's lips pressing those of the child and the infant's face as pale as that of a corpse, its lips with the blueness of death." This idea persists even in modern times, despite their not being any evidence that cats suffocate babies in this way. However, the idea that breath is linked to life is an important one, giving Air its association with life and death.

In modern times, Air is often associated with wisdom, logic, and knowledge, although where this originated from is largely undocumented, at least I couldn't find any folklore associated with it. Knowledge is often linked in folklore to the cauldron, which is a symbol of Water, not Air, so if you happen to know where this tradition originated from, please reach out to me. 



Below is a quick correspondence guide for water, including a free printable page for your Book of Shadows!

Gender: Masculine
Planet: Mercury, Jupiter
Time: Dawn
Season: Spring
Direction: East
Tarot Cards: Wands (or Swords depending on the tradition)
Zodiac: Gemini, Libra, Aquarius
Symbolism: Intelligence, wisdom, knowledge, logic, thought, communication, truth, inspiration, intuition, memory, creativity
Symbols: Feather, wand, staff, incense, censer, pen, broom, bell, sword, sky, wind, clouds, breeze, breath, wind chimes
Deities: Zeus, Aradia, Nuit, Thoth, Urania, Cardea, Enlil, Kheoheva, Merawrim, Shu, Arianrhod, Hermes, Morrigan, Mercury, Aeolus, Boreas, Zephyrus, Notus, Eurus, 
Nature Spirits: Winged fairies, sprites, spirits, sylphs, zephyrs
Colors: Yellow, gold, white, light blue, pastels
Food and Drink: Beans, lentils, leafy greens, toast, cabbage, grains, carbonated beverages, popcorn, tofu, vinegar, rice cakes, puffed rice, dates, lingonberries, chickweed
Herbs: Bergamot, lavender, marjoram, peppermint, sage, dandelion, bluebell, clover, frankincense, primrose, lemongrass, pine, aspen, yarrow, violets, vervain, myrrh, dill, anise, aspen
Crystals and Gemstones: Amber, topaz, citrine, jasper, agate, pumice, alexandrite, amethyst, fluorite, mica, clear quartz
Animals: Birds, flying insects, spiders, bats





How does Air work with the other elements?

Air with Fire: Air can breathe life into Fire, helping the flames grow and spread, or Air can snuff Fire out when removed or if blown too hard. 
Air with Water: Air can hold Water in the form of humidity or clouds, blowing Water around the world.
Air with Earth: Air can erode Earth and carry particles of it away, while Earth can remain steadfast, even in the toughest of winds.



Your task for the next week or so is to track your local wind patterns. This can be done with a weather vane, windsock, or by licking your finger to feel which way the wind is blowing. If there is a particularly windy day, which many of us experience during the Fall months, stand with your face toward the wind, close your eyes, and lightly meditate with the breeze. Record these wind patterns along with any weather details, signs, symbols, or messages received while meditating with the wind.

In the next post, I will breakdown my findings and walk you through an inclusive Air connection ritual to deepen your connection with this lovely element.


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

Elemental Magic Series

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Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Whirlwood Magic Wand Review

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Just over a week ago, Garrison, from Whirlwood Magic Wands reached out to me about reviewing some of their wands. Not going to lie, I was jumping up and down when I read the email. Heck yes, I would love to review some magic wands, especially hand-carved ones! And I do not regret it one bit. These two wands are probably two of the most beautiful wands I have ever seen and they feel so comfortable in my hand.

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The first wand, which is my absolute favorite, is the Valentus wand. It's carved from a high-density hardwood, but feels as light as a feather. The intricate details of this wand are incredible and I love that it looks like a flowering tree branch. It sits perfectly in my hand and after working with it a bit over the weekend, it is great at directing energy. I am so glad I picked out this wand and could feel it calling to me through the computer screen. I know that probably sounds weird, but its the truth.

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wand, magic wand, witchcraft, witchy, witch wand, hedgewitch, hedge witch, wicca, wiccan, magic tool, magic, magick

The second wand is the Luna Chamber Magic Wand, which is part of their Harry Potter series. These wands come with a secret chamber that you can place small items. It comes with all the items to imitate the cores found in the wands in Harry Potter, but I prefer to use the chamber for other magical objects to enhance my spell work. For example, this chamber would be great for placing herbs and crystal chips to add an extra kick to your spells or the wand can be used as a spell chamber. If you are using the wand to cast a circle, try adding clear quartz to the want to amplify your power or if you are looking to banish energies, try adding smoky quartz or black onyx. This wand is slightly heavier, but still rather light and like the Valentus, sits really well in my hand. I didn't work with this wand too much over the weekend, but it has powerful positive energy radiating from it and I look forward to using it in the future.

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wand, magic wand, witchcraft, witchy, witch wand, hedgewitch, hedge witch, wicca, wiccan, magic tool, magic, magick

Overall, I am thrilled with these wands and think you witches will adore them too. Their regular wands are all very decently priced at just $30, while the chambered wands are more expensive at $70. Each wand is handcrafted and therefore unique to others carved in a similar style and because they are hand-carved, each one is infused with the creative energies of those doing the carving. They both come with beautiful velvet pouches to keep them safe and away from other energies when not in use. Much of Whirlwood's business comes from festival sales, and with many festivals closed across the country due to COVID-19 they have lost a revenue stream. It's important, now more than ever, to support our small businesses. If you are in the market for a wand and have a bit of money to spare, I highly encourage you to check our Whirlwood Magic Wands.

***
Like I do with the subscription boxed, I thought I would include a pros and cons list for these wands as well to give you a better breakdown.

Pros:

  • Everything comes in eco-friendly packaging, which I adore. Two boxes and some tissue paper is all the packaging used for the wands, which was enough to deliver it safely and all easily recyclable.
  • The item quality is great and the wands are handmade. Each wand is individually carved from the highest quality woods.
  • They are lightweight which is perfect for magical workings. You don't want anything too heavy in your hands when directing energy.
  • Each wand comes with a velvet pouch. These pouches are a great way to protect the wands from residual energy when not in use.
  • All the wands are reasonably priced. The regular wands at just $30 while the chambered wands are $70, a fair price for a hand-crafted wand.
  • They are a small business. I fully support small businesses and find the quality and care is always so much better than big-box stores and mass-market items.
  • Fast shipping! The wands were here within a week of being ordered and shipped which is freaking awesome!

Cons:

  • The chambered wands are somewhat expensive. While $70 may be a lot for a wand to some people, they have other options available.
OVERALL: 5 out of 5 stars 

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Monday, September 28, 2020

Harvest Full Moon Worksheet

Note: This post contains potentially problematic practices or language, cultural appropriation, or misinformation. I have been working diligently to decolonize my practice, for which you can learn more about in my article Decolonizing Witchcraft: Racism, Whitewashing, and Cultural Appropriation in Witchcraft and How to Decolonize Your Practice. I believe in documenting my journey in witchcraft and that my readers can learn from my mistakes, so the posts will remain as a learning opportunity.

harvest moon, full moon, esbat, ritual, witchcraft, moon magic

The Harvest Full Moon is the Full Moon that falls closest to the Fall Equinox or Mabon. This year, that Moon falls on October 1st, but other times it falls within September. Because it can fall in either month, I made this worksheet separate from the months, allowing it to be used whenever it is needed. The Harvest Moon is usually the moon that marks the last of the crops being brought in for harvest. While some crops may still be harvested after the Harvest Moon, they are on the decline. This is a time for taking stock of what you already have and replenishing your stores, whether this be physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually. Shift your focus to hearth and home, spending time to prepare for the Winter months by removing clutter, cleaning, and stockpiling. 

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 Harvest Moon, as it is based on the correspondences of the moon itself and not other astrological events. The tarot spread for this month features 6 cards focusing on removing clutter from your life.

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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?


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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Mabon Altar 2020

Autumn Equinox, altar, sabbat, Mabon, August Eve, witchcraft, witchy, hedgewitch, pagan, neopagan, wiccan, wicca

Happy Mabon, witches! Mabon, also known as Pagan Thanksgiving, is the second harvest festival and is a celebration of the bountiful harvest coming in. The Autumn Equinox marks the first day of Fall and from this point on, the days will grow ever shorter and cooler and the crops in the field was steadily decrease until there is nothing left. But for now, there is more than enough to go around and save for the coming Winter months. In honor of the abundance of fruits and vegetables and the turning of the Wheel toward Fall, I incorporated earth tones, fruits and vegetables, and antlers to thank the masculine side of nature for fertilizing the crops and ask for its continued strength for the remainder of the year.

Autumn Equinox, altar, sabbat, Mabon, August Eve, witchcraft, witchy, hedgewitch, pagan, neopagan, wiccan, wicca

1. Harvest Candleholder with Red Candle- This beautiful harvest candleholder represents the bounty of the season, full of grapes, pears, squash, and the remainder of the berries. The earthen tones and colorful leaves represent the beginning of Fall and the changing of the seasons as the Wheel turns. The red candle represents the masculine energies of the Sun and the passion that created the crops we are now harvesting. It also works to sympathetically encourage the continued growth of the crops lest harvests not last through the Winter months. (Where did I get it: Goodwill & Dollar Tree; Cost: $3)

2. Deer Antler-  The deer antler represents the masculine energy and the power required to finish plowing the fields and bringing in the crops. It also represents the promise of regrowth and new beginnings; just as the deer sheds it antlers the Earth sheds her green and sleeps for the Winter, only to be reborn in the Spring. (Where did I get it: Found; Cost: Free)

Autumn Equinox, altar, sabbat, Mabon, August Eve, witchcraft, witchy, hedgewitch, pagan, neopagan, wiccan, wicca

3. Leaf Candle Holder with White Candles- The leaf candle holders are an ode to the season and the changing leaves the mark so many areas of the world at this time. Furthermore, having two of them represents balance as during the equinox both day and night are balanced. The candles represent the Sun who is slowly waning in the sky.  (Where did I get it: Dollar Tree 2017; Cost: $3, $1 each)

Autumn Equinox, altar, sabbat, Mabon, August Eve, witchcraft, witchy, hedgewitch, pagan, neopagan, wiccan, wicca

4. Green Aventurine and Rutilated Quartz- In the center of the altar are three crystals, two green aventurine and a rutilated quartz. Green aventurine is a crystal of balance and prosperity, both characteristic of Mabon. The rutilated quartz, on the other hand, is a protector as well as a stone to facilitate change. While the seasons are changing, so to are our lives. This crystal is designed to ease this transition and protect us through the changes while easing anxiety. (Where did I get it: Metaphysical Stores; Cost: ~$8)

Autumn Equinox, altar, sabbat, Mabon, August Eve, witchcraft, witchy, hedgewitch, pagan, neopagan, wiccan, wicca

5. Drinking Horn- On the right of the altar is a drinking horn, a symbol of feasting, joy, and merriment. Mabon is a time of celebration, the wine flowing and spirits high. (Where did I get it: Goodwill; Cost: $1)

Autumn Equinox, altar, sabbat, Mabon, August Eve, witchcraft, witchy, hedgewitch, pagan, neopagan, wiccan, wicca


TOTAL COST: ~$15


Like my other altars, most of the items I use are found, made, 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 Mabon this year? Unfortunately for me, I lost my grandmother yesterday afternoon and will be celebrating quietly at home with my family. I am thankful for the time I was given with her and for the continued love and support from my family and friends during this trying time. I hope that the rest of you are able to celebrate in whatever way you see fit, or at least eat a hearty meal!


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