Monday, February 26, 2024

Magical and Medicinal Properties of Raspberry

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Gender: Feminine
Planet: Venus
Element: Water
Powers: Healing, Love, Protection
Magical Uses and History: The raspberry was among some of the first fruits cherished by our ancestors with raspberry brambles being found at a variety of dig sites across Asia, Europe, and North America, suggesting that it was a staple in our ancestor's diet. While the modern raspberry is said to have moved into western North America via the Oregon Trail, it has naturalized and now grows wild across the continent. Needless to say, it has long been a staple in the human diet, and for a good reason. Not only are the fruits edible and full of micronutrients but the leaves can also be used to treat a variety of ailments, especially those related to the uterus. According to legend, raspberries were originally snow-white, but highly favored by the gods. In fact, the scientific name of raspberries, Rubus idaeus, means "bramble bush of Ida." Supposedly, a nursemaid caring for the infant Zeus pricked her finger on the thorns of the raspberry plant, drawing blood that dripped onto the berries, staining them red. As such, the raspberry is connected to blood, feminine energy, and fertility, which has been supported by folk and modern medicine. Raspberry leaf can strengthen and tone the tissue of the womb, as well as aid in contractions during childbirth and prevent hemorrhaging, increasing the chance of the mother surviving the ordeal. It was also used to increase milk production in humans and goats, as well as reduce period cramping and pain. In magic, raspberry fruits and leaves can be used in fertility spells and rituals, baked into pies or pressed into jam for the same purpose, in protection spells and rituals for women and children or any person with a uterus, or to bring loving, feminine energy to a spell.

By the Medieval period, the raspberry was not only a food staple and a highly regarded medicinal plant, but it had made its way into Christian paintings where it represented kindness, righteousness, and spiritual merit as its leaves were trifoliate, thus representing the trinity. In some cases, the juice was also used to represent blood, its dark, rich color reminiscent of the blood of Christ. By the Victorian period, the raspberry was said to symbolize perfection, sweetness of character, and modesty. As such, raspberries can be used in spells to bring sweetness, kindness, or modesty or to represent blood.

Finally, raspberries have also been historically used for protection, especially for women and children. Not only have multiple cultures used raspberry to aid in childbirth, but the brambles were often placed in homes or near entryways to prevent unwanted spirits from entering the home or birthroom. In Germany, the brambles were used to tame bewitched horses. As such, raspberry brambles can be used in protection spells and rituals, hung in the home or birthing room, or carried on your person.

Raspberry can be used in a number of spells including:
    Fertility Spells
    Love Spells
    Protection Magic
    Banishing Magic

Medicinal Uses: Raspberry has a long and rich history in medicine, most often being used during pregnancy to strengthen and tone the tissue of the womb, aid in contractions, and reduce or prevent hemorrhaging during childbirth. It can also be used to aid in period pain and menstruation. Its anti-astringent properties can also be used to treat diarrhea, leukorrhea, mouth ulcers, bleeding gums, sore throats, and inflammation.

Preparation and Dosage: To create an infusion/gargle, combine 2 teaspoons of dried raspberry leaf with one cup of boiling water. Allow the mixture to infuse for 10-15 minutes. Drink freely or gargle as needed. As a tincture, 2-4 milliliters can be taken up to three times a day. Externally, the leaves can be used in a poultice to treat minor wounds or burns, especially when combined with slippery elm.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Spiritual Activism: Uniting Spirituality and Activism for Transformative Change

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Spiritual activism is a form of activism that is rooted in spiritual philosophies and practices to dismantle oppressive systems. It combines spiritual knowledge and passion with radical real-world action. According to AnaLouise Keating, "spiritual activism is spirituality for social change, spirituality that posits a relational worldview and uses this holistic worldview to transform one's self and one's worlds." On a large scale, spiritual activism works to preserve and heal our planet and the life that resides here, while on a smaller scale, providing an opportunity for us to grow and mature spiritually. 

Spiritual activism is not part of the "Love and Light" movement. In fact, it works in opposition to "Love and Light" which promotes spiritual bypassing. According to John Welwood, spiritual bypassing is the act of using "spiritual ideas and practices to sidestep personal, emotional 'unfinished business,' to shore up a shaky sense of self, or to belittle basic needs, feelings, and developmental tasks." In short, spiritual bypassing is a type of spiritual gaslighting where the individual ignores the "shadow" aspect of humanity in favor of the "lighter" aspects of life and spirituality. Ignoring these problems in an attempt to remain "positive" does two things: it dismisses the experiences of marginalized groups while simultaneously absolving white people of their personal responsibility to combat injustice. I have talked about spiritual bypassing before in The Darkness Within: Is the Love and Light Movement Hurting Us?, and how such beliefs and actions are detrimental to our mental health and well-being. It's important to note, however, that spiritual bypassing upholds also white supremacy, which is in direct opposition to true spiritual activism. (You can read more about spiritual bypassing and how it promotes racism in Unpacking Spiritual Bypassing: Why 'Love and Light' Without Action Can't Dismantle Racism and Spiritual Bypassing: The Work of Anti-Racism in Spiritual Communities.)

Traditional activism is often driven solely by anger and the idea that you have to "beat" your opponent. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being fueled by anger; it's completely justified in the face of oppression. When anger is your only motivator, however, it can lead to burnout and ultimately remove you from the fight, which helps no one. Furthermore, the true goal of activism is to secure lasting change, which often means changing the minds and actions of our opponents, not beating them into submission. In the end, traditional activism is not always sustainable for most activists, but adding a spiritual component can help reduce the chances you burnout.

Spirituality is a search for meaning in an otherwise meaningless world. It can root your activism in purpose, one that focuses on not only changing oppressive systems but also self-care. As I say in my book The Green Witch's Guide to Self Care you cannot fill the cauldron (help the community) if you do not first fill your own cup (engage in self-care). Your spirituality and practice act as the soil in which you can plant your intentions and cultivate them daily in a sustainable and meaningful way. But what does this look like in action?

Action Based on Compassion for Justice
First and foremost, there must be a spiritual motivation in pursuit of justice, and this motivation should be rooted in altruism and the desire to build community while removing oppressive systems. Some spiritual activists argue that our motivation should not be to destroy but to build, but I see the value in destruction. From destruction comes new life; just as a fire destroys a forest, it adds vital nutrients to the soil that allows life to prosper in its wake. I believe the same is true here. To build a better world, we must first destroy the systems of oppression in place that prevent our collective liberation. However, by shifting our mindset away from anger, fear, and despair toward compassion and love, we can be driven by a greater purpose and reduce our chances of burning out. Anger, fear, and despair are the killers of motivation when we rely on them as our only driving force for too long.

Recognition of Interconnectedness and Intersectionality
All living things are interconnected with each other and the nonliving things that surround us. When one group faces oppression, we all do, even if we cannot immediately see it. Our disconnect from each other and the world around us leads many to distance themselves from taking accountability for the suffering they cause, such as purchasing from companies that exploit their workers or the environment. When you dig deeper and seek these connections, you discover what is good for the oppressed is good for us all. As I always say, we are not free until we are all free. Furthermore, we must recognize that activism is inherently intersectional. To care for one oppressive group while neglecting or even demonizing another is to engage in oppression. I understand it can feel daunting to help in all areas. I am certainly not asking you to take up every cause. However, you should be aware of how your actions intersect with other causes and make the conscious decision to avoid helping one marginalized group at the expense of another. Recognizing interconnectedness and intersectionality also includes approaching our 'enemies' with compassion and moving away from the "us vs them" mentality toward the collective "we." When we move from separation to cooperation, we are much more likely to succeed at dismantling oppressive systems. This does not mean you back down on issues because it makes someone uncomfortable. Far from it. Always be hard on the issues, even when they make others uncomfortable, but soft on the people. 

Accountability with Action
There are going to be times when you mess up. I have certainly made mistakes over the years and continue to make mistakes today. Institutional and systemic racism, msyigony, abelism, and homophobia are insidious and sometimes present themselves unconsciously. A large part of spiritual activism, or just activism in general, is learning and acting on new information. You must take accountability for your actions, whether you meant to harm or not. I know we talk a lot about intention in witchcraft, but when it comes to activism, your intention matters far less than the impact your actions have. However, accountability without action is meaningless. Societal-level transformations are dependent on the accumulation of changes happening on an individual level. Engage in regular shadow work and make the inner changes required to better the world.

Willingness to Learn
One of the most important aspects of activism work is an openness and willingness to learn. It is a privilege to be able to look away from oppression, a privilege that has no place in spiritual activism. Shielding yourself from suffering prevents transformation. Not only must you be willing to keep your eyes on real-world events, you must be open to learning how your actions harm others without your ego getting in the way. Listen to Black, Indigenous, and other people of Color (BIPOC). If their words provoke you, stop and reflect on why. Again, engage in the shadow work necessary for growth and change privately. The comment section is not your journal and marginalized groups do not owe you their time and energy. When you do learn something, pay the teacher for their work!

Commitment to Spirituality and Self-Care
Finally, spiritual activism demands commitment to your spiritual journey, which includes radical self-love and self-care. You should engage in your spiritual practice on a regular basis, taking time to pray, meditate, or otherwise connect to Spirit, such as journaling, gardening, mindfulness walks, and forest bathing. Heck, hug a damn tree! Engagement in spiritual practices helps us to recharge and refocus our engeries while combating exhaustion and burnout. Remember, we are trying to build a sustainable practice, one that can catapult society into a better, more inclusive future. We need you.

In the end, spiritual activism is about creating sustainability rooted in justice and compassion. You may notice there is a new page featured on my navigation bar titled "Spiritual Activism." On that page, you will (eventually) find links to articles, books, and other resources, as well as actionable steps you can use in your own spiritual activism. It is time we stop being bystanders.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Book Review: Tarot for the Hard Work by Maria Minnis

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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 am going to preface this review with full honesty. I have not finished Tarot for the Hard Work: an Archetypal Journey to Confront Racism and Inspire Collective Healing by Maria Minnis at the time of writing this review. However, don't let that deter you from reading what I have to say. I decided to write my review before finishing the book for a couple of reasons. First, you all need to pick up the book as quickly as you can, and waiting for me to completely finish it is only going to delay the inevitable. Second, it's going to take me much longer to finish this book than I originally thought because I desire to do the anti-racism work described with fidelity. I have no desire to quickly read and skim the exercises just to get a review out faster. This book and the work therein deserve my time, effort, and action, no matter how long it takes. At the time of this writing, I have officially completed four chapters. I know that doesn't seem like a lot, but I promise it was more than enough to know this is a book everyone needs to get their hands on, whether you practice witchcraft or not. While Tarot for the Hard Work is centered around tarot, the cards are there to support the archetypal journey we must all travel during our anti-racism work; it's not a requirement for the work itself.

Each chapter centers on a tarot card, starting with The Fool (0) and ending with The World (21), and its relation to your anti-racism journey. Each chapter is structured the same way: introduction to the card, its "embodied keywords", how it appears in liberation work, "correspondences for inspiration", how it can show up as both balanced and imbalanced in our lives, self-identifiers, affirmations, magical practices to conjure the card, exercises, goal setting, reflection, and building a toolkit. Each chapter requires the reader to deep dive into their life and practice as it relates to anti-racism and collective liberation. Minnis encourages her readers to have a journal on hand to document their journey, and that is exactly what I have done. Because of the amount of work and reflection, chapters can take days, if not weeks, to fully and faithfully work through. It's not because they are long, but because the work requires your attention and time. The reflection alone often takes me a day or two to fully mull over, not to mention the time spent on the tasks and exercises suggested in each chapter. This is true shadow work being done that doesn't just benefit yourself, but the whole community.

Exercises and magical tasks range from evaluating your racial biases to starting community refrigerators. Other tasks involved watching videos, reading articles and books, or even mustering up the courage to leave a partner who refuses to engage in this work with you. The first four chapters alone have inspired me to take some pretty monumental steps forward on my journey. Minnis definitely called me out in chapter 3, The High Priestess. The High Priestess is my soul card, aka my soul's purpose. According to Minnis, those who embody the High Priestess "disseminate knowledge through language, action, and energy, all in the name of collective healing." I mean...what else am I doing with this blog if not trying to heal the witch wound while helping others decolonize their practice? In liberation work "their power may be quiet, some may say passive. But make no mistake, the High Priestess is undoubtedly an active participant in their world." Sometimes I don't always post about world events or actions everyone can take but trust that I am always working behind the scenes for collective liberation, an end to systemic racism and oppression, and the end of genocide. "The High Priestess is the witness, not the hero. They're the oracle, not the prophecy." But where do I feel called out? The High Priestess is imbalanced when they need grounding, underutilizes key talents, and ignores intuition. My anxiety, especially my desire to avoid confrontation, often stops me from doing what I know I should be doing, and that isn't okay. It's a privilege to be able to walk away, scroll to the next video, or delete a comment and move on with my life. I am not burdened by the color of my skin, but for the majority of the world, that isn't the case. I must leverage my privilege for collective liberation, and that starts with speaking up and out, lifting marginalized voices, and listening instead of leading.

If you have continued to follow me through the years, you know decolonization/desettling, dismantling oppression, and collective liberation are extremely important aspects of my magical practice. I do not take this work lightly and hope that those of you who have stuck around for the last 10 years feel the same way. If you do, Tarot for the Hard Work: an Archetypal Journey to Confront Racism and Inspire Collective Healing by Maria Minnis is a book you need to order right now. I promise it's a thousand percent worth the price tag. I hope that more books like this one will continue to be published. We are not free until we are all free.

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Tuesday, January 30, 2024

How to Enchant Your Jewelry with Glamour Magic For Beauty, Confidence, and Elegance

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Enchanting everyday items is a great way to work magic into your mundane life. Often, these are items you wear on your person every day, such as jewelry, but you can also enchant crystals, makeup, body creams, or clothing items. What you enchant the item with is boundless and should correspond with your needs and even the type of object you are enchanting. Jewelry, for example, is perfect for glamour enchants, as glamours are often used to enhance beauty and elegance, inspire confidence, or even attract a lover. Traditionally, glamour magic is used to change the spellcaster's appearance. This works not by literally changing your face or body, but by changing the way others perceive you. You have probably heard people say that those who exude confidence tend to be more attractive. Glamour magic works the same way, changing your appearance by changing the way you hold yourself and therefore how people perceive you. With Lupercalia and Valentine's Day just days away, what better time to attract a little love and beauty into your life than some glamour magic?

What You'll Need

  • Piece of jewelry, such as a ring, necklace, or earrings
  • Bowl of salt, large enough to place your jewelry in
  • Pink or white candle
  • Rose petals
  • Lavender
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Rose quartz and/or moonstone (chips will work great too)
  • Match or lighter

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What to Do

Begin by cleansing and consecrating your space using your preferred method. If you wish, cast a circle and invite any spirits or deities associated with beauty, love, and confidence. Next, place the candle in the center of your bowl of salt and your jewelry around the candle. For example, if you are enchanting a necklace, make sure the necklace forms a circle around the candle; if you are enchanting earrings place each earring on either side of the candle. Make sure the jewelry is far enough away from the candle that it will not be damaged by the candle wax.

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Once your jewelry is placed in the salt, awaken your herbs and crystals using your preferred method. I like to blow gently onto my herbs and crystals to wake them up as it infuses them with a bit of my energy as well. Sprinkle the rose petals, lavender, and cinnamon in a circle around the candle, and jewelry. Add your rose quartz and/or moonstone to the bowl and light the candle. Hover your hands over the jewelry and say, "With rose and lavender and cinnamon true, I exude beauty and confidence through and through. What others see shall elegance be. Make me irresistible to others, drawing them to me like no other. As I will it, so shall it be." Visualize the jewelry filling with pink light, infusing it with beauty, love, and confidence.

Allow the candle to burn down completely before ending the ritual and donning your jewelry. When you feel the glamour fading, recharge the jewelry by repeating the above ritual, especially during the waxing or full moon.

Why You Did It

Understanding the whys of a spell (or recipe) is just as important as performing it. It helps you understand the process so you can modify the spell or ritual to suit your needs and helps guide you to write your own. It's my intention that by providing these explanations, you can build a better understanding of how spells are written and executed so you can modify and build your own spells (the goal of my Spellcrafting Series). 

This spell begins with placing your jewelry and candle in a bowl of salt. Salt is associated with cleansing and purification, and helps create a clean slate before charging the jewelry with your glamour magic. It also acts as a great stabilizer for the candle and working space for the entire spell, free of outside influences. A candle of either pink or white was used to infuse the spell with beauty and grace, as well as lead to the transformation you so desire. Fire is the element of new beginnings and transformations, and therefore is an excellent elemental ally when doing glamour magic. Jewelry was picked for this spell in particular because jewelry is worn often and associated with beauty and elegance, making it an excellent choice for glamour magic.

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The circle of herbs and crystals was chosen for their associations with beauty, love, and confidence. Rose petals are the quintessential flower of love and beauty, as well as lavender. Lavender is also associated with confidence as is cinnamon. Cinnamon also helps to strengthen the spell and bring luck. Rose quartz and moonstone, like the aforementioned herbs, are also associated with beauty, love, and confidence. They were placed in a circle around the jewelry and candle as circles are associated with wholeness, which is essential to promoting confidence.

Finally, your energy was added to the spell through words, motions, and visualization. Calling upon the elements to hear you make your intention known while hovering your hands over the jewelry and visualizing it filling with pink light binds the spell to you by infusing it with your energy. As you wear the charm, your energy will continue to pour into it, strengthening the bond you share. 

As with any spell, this one is not permanent and will require frequent refreshing. If you wish to break the spell, hold the jewelry in your hand, thank it for helping you, and let it know you release it of its duty. You can also let the spell wear off over time. You may experience some lingering side effects if you do this, but gradually the spell will dissipate. 

Remember to record this recipe in your Book of Shadows or use my Spell/Ritual Worksheet for reference later.


Glamour magic can take practice and starts within. No amount of glamour magic is going to make you confident if you don't put in the work. No matter what, remember you are a powerful witch capable of so much more than you give yourself credit for. May 2024 be your year of transformation.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Magical and Medicinal Uses of Magnolia

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Gender: Feminine
Planet: Venus
Element: Earth
Powers: Abundance, Banishment, Fedility, Fertility, Growth, Self-Reliance, Tranquility, Wisdom
Magical Uses and History: Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus named the famously fragrant magnolia in 1737 in honor of the French botanist Pierre Magnol, who was one of the first to describe Magnolia virginiana, the American species of magnolia known throughout the South. The earliest record of the magnolia (Magnolia mexicana) in the West was Aztec illustrations of the flowers, which were commonly used as a flavoring for a chocolatey, foaming drink known as chocolatl. This gave the drink a spiced, ginger flavor which was often combined with chili to produce a truly warming drink.

Across the ocean in China, the magnolia was highly regarded as a traditional symbol of feminine beauty, purity, gentleness, and nobility due to its stately nature, elegant perfume, and luscious white blooms. During the Tang dynasty, magnolias were planted on the grounds of the emperor's palace and all magnolias were deemed the property of the emperor. To be gifted a magnolia by the emperor was a great honor and was believed to bring luck, prosperity, and happiness. As such, magnolia flowers can be used in glamour spells for beauty, to quell arguments, to promote confidence, to bring abundance, or to bring gentleness to spells and rituals. The flowers also make great offerings to feminine deities and ancestors. In Japan, the magnolia was often used in wedding bouquets, where they represented purity and strength of love while in Europe magnolias were given as a gift to make up for wronging a partner (cheating) to symbolize pure intentions. As such, magnolias are often associated with love and fidelity and can be used in spells and rituals to ensure your partner remains faithful or turned into a talisman to place under or over the bed to ensure marital happiness.

Apart from its symbolism, the magnolia has also been historically used for healing, especially in Chinese medicine where its bark, flowers, and resin were used to treat rheumatic problems, insomnia, anxiety, depression, cough, diarrhea, and a host of other ailments. As such, magnolia can be used in spells and rituals for health and wellness. Despite it traditionally being used medicinally, multiple cultures warn against sleeping under a magnolia, which was believed to bring death due to its powerful fragrance. Even placing a single flower blossom in a bedroom was thought to cause death overnight. Because of this, magnolia flowers and their accompanying scent have been associated with banishment. Use magnolia flowers or essential oil to remove unwanted energies from your home while replacing them with uplifting, loving ones or to hex/curse your enemies. 

Magnolia can be used in a number of spells including:
    Fidelity Spells
    Love Spells
    Glamour Magic
    Banishing Magic
    Abundance Rituals

Medicinal Uses: Magnolia bark contains magnolol and onochiol, two phenolic compounds that act as an anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant. These phenolic compounds have also been shown to reduce stress, thus soothing anxiety and insomnia. The flower buds are natural emmenagogues, helping regulate menstruation and stimulate menstrual flow, and as such should not be used if you are pregnant or wishing to become pregnant. There are many species of magnolia and most, if not all, are edible and safe to use, but always check before use.

Preparation and Dosage: To create a magnolia bark tea, rinse and soak the bark for at least 30 minutes in cold water. Bring the water to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer. cover and simmer for at least 30 minutes. Strain the liquid and drink up to three times a day. If used as a sleep aid, drink 30 to 60 minutes before bed. As a tincture, take up to 2 milliliters a day. If making a tea from the flower petals, pour boiling water over fresh petals. Let steep for 10 minutes before straining. Drink up to three times a day.

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