Monday, September 16, 2019

Herbarium: Frankincense

Magical and Medicinal Uses of Frankincense

Gender: Masculine
Planet: Sun
Element: Fire
Powers: Exorcism, Protection, Spirituality
Magical Uses and History: Frankincense is probably one of the most famous "herbs" out there, simply because it is mentioned as one of the gifts given to Jesus on the day of his birth by one of the Three Kings. Unlike other herbs, frankincense is a resin, dried tree sap that is harvested from an adult tree and later burned. Frankincense has been widely traded for about 5,000 years and therefore permeated into cultures around the world. The Babylonians, Assyrians, and ancient Greek and Romans were known to burn frankincense during religious and spiritual rituals, while the Ancient Egyptians burned it at sunrise to honor the sun god Ra. It was even ground up and used as an eyeliner, embalming "fluid," and to treat a large variety of different ailments, including halitosis, hemlock poisoning, wounds, and to repel insects. The Ebers Papyrus mentions frankincense among its over 1,500 entries, citing specific medicinal uses of the resin.

Because the resin was difficult to obtain and highly sought after, it was seen as a symbol of wealth and therefore was prominently displayed by royalty. This explains why it was gifted to Jesus, the son of God, and why the entire temple of Queen Hatshepsut is adorned with sacks of frankincense. However, once Christianity took hold, frankincense was ultimately forbidden for its association with pagan worship. Later the resin was picked up by the Catholic church who incorporated its use into specific rites.

Historically, frankincense has been used for a variety of magical rites, including honoring different Sun deities, creating sacred space, space clearing, and general protection. Frankincense is often burned as an offering to the Sun at Yule, as he is reborn at the Winter Solstice and will continue to grow in strength as the year progresses.

Frankincense has strong space clearing and purifying tendencies, making it more potent than sage for clearing space. It's so strong, in fact, that is can be used during an exorcism to remove unwanted spirits from a person, place, or thing. Simply burn the resin and use the smoke the same way you would use sage. Frankincense essential oil can be used in a similar fashion. For protection, dilute frankincense essential oil in a carrier oil and anoint your self or draw protection symbols above or on windows and doors. It can also be placed in protection sachets or used in protection spells.

Frankincense resin can also be burned during hedge riding and other forms of astral travel to help reach an altered state of consciousness, focus the mind, and open spiritual doors by increases psychic awareness. Essential oils can also be used to anoint your Third Eye. Because of its long history as an offering, frankincense is the perfect gift for spirits or for use during spirit work. In some traditions, such as Hoodoo and rootwork, frankincense is used to anoint petitions.

Frankincense can be used in a number of spells including:
    Spirit Removal
    Ritual Cleansings
    Protection Spells
    Psychic Development

Medicinal Uses: There are several varieties of frankincense and the one commonly used for medicinal purposes is commonly known as Boswellia or Indian Frankincense. This highly prized medicinal plant has been used to treat arthritis, asthma, bronchitis, dysentery, and fever because of it's anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritic, and antiseptic properties. In aromatherapy, frankincense is commonly used as an expectorant and to treat anxiety. The volatile chemicals found in the oil help to clear the nasal passageways and lungs of mucus, while several studies have shown reduced anxiety when the oil is vaporized or the resin is burned.

Preparation and Dosage: Frankincense is most commonly taken in capsule form, which can be purchased at most herbal shops. To make a poultice, combine frankincense resin with oregano and warm water and apply to the cut or bruise up to three times a day. To create a paste, grind resin into a powder and combine with aloe to form a thick paste. Apply to cut, bruise, or insect bite (or joints to treat arthritis) up to three times a day. Small pieces of resin can be chewed on to treat mouth infections and stimulate the digestive system. In essential oil form, it can be heated in an oil warmed and breathed in to help clear the lungs. Frankincense is known to thin the blood and should not be used by people who are pregnant, nursing, or on blood thinners. Furthermore, frankincense oil is known to cause skin irritations in many people, so use caution when handling the oil and always dilute it before applying to the skin. (This is a very limited list of uses.)

Want to print a copy of this for your Book of Shadows? Click below for your free copy!
Magical and Medicinal Uses of Frankincense

Friday, September 13, 2019

Just Say No Candle Spell

Just Say No Candle Spell

Telling people no is one of the things I struggle with, and I know I'm not the only one. Part of it comes from being a people-pleaser, as many Libras are. I enjoy making others happy, and I'm also extremely competitive, so when I see an opportunity to get ahead, I often jump on it, even if it isn't something I can actually manage at the time. This simple spell is designed to help you find your voice and say no when you need to. No in and of itself is some pretty powerful magic and knowing when to say no is freeing. You are not obligated, at any point, to say yes to anyone, especially if you are already hesitant to do so.

What You'll Need

  • Blue candle
  • Black candle
  • Sodalite
  • Black Tourmaline
  • Two strips of paper
  • Pen
  • Firesafe dish
Just Say No Candle Spell

What to Do

This spell can be performed on the Full or New Moon.

As always, feel free to cleanse your items and charge them if you feel inclined. You may also cast a circle, call quarters, and ask for any divine assistance before beginning this spell. I didn't do any of these for this particular spell, except cleansing the items before use.

When you are ready, sit the blue candle on the left and the black candle on the right. Light both candles at the same time. While the candles are burning, hold the sodalite in your hand and begin charging it with your intent: to increase truthful communication. Once you see it filling with blue light or it feels warm in your hand, place it in front of the blue candle. Next charge the black tourmaline with your intent: to banish your inability to say no when you need to. Note that I didn't say banish your ability to say no all the time. Saying you want to banish all unwillingness to say no all the time is potentially dangerous. Instead, you want to only say no when you need and should to keep you safe and well. When you see it filling with black light or it feels warm in your hand, place it in front of the black candle.

Just Say No Candle Spell

Next, on one strip of paper write what you want to do: Increase communication. Phrase your intent in a positive light such as "I will communicate my true feelings" or "I will openly communicate with others and say no when needed." On the next strip of paper, write what you are wishing to get rid of: you inability to say no when you need to. Again, phrase this in a positive light. "I banish my inability to say no when I should" or "I banish my inability to communicate truthfully when needed."

Just Say No Candle Spell

Finally, burn the first strip of paper about open communication in the blue candle flame and the banishment strip of paper in the black candle. As they burn, see yourself standing tall and telling others no when they ask too much of you or you are unable to fulfill the task they wish you to complete. Say aloud,
"I will openly communicate with others and banish my inability to speak truthfully and say no when needed. This is true until I ask for it to be undone. And so it is."
And that's it! You can allow the candles to burn down the strengthen the spell or snuff them out if you are short on time. Dispose of the ashes by strewing them into the wind and leave your crystals sitting out on your altar for a week or two to help remind you of your intent.

Just Say No Candle Spell

Why You Did It

Candles can be used in some of the most powerful spells, and are pretty cheap to acquire. For this spell, I went with blue and black because the spell is about communication and banishment. Blue is the color of communication as in the wind that brings messages. I'm sure you have heard the whispers carried on the first cool breeze of Fall or the first warm breeze of Spring, celebrating the changing seasons. Black is the color of banishment as it is the absence of all light. It is the ultimate remover.

Our crystals correspond with the candle color. Sodalite, being blue, is a crystal of communication. It also promotes truth and harmony, both aspects we need if we wish to openly communicate our feelings with others and say no when we need to. Black tourmaline is grounding and protective, as well as a great stone for banishment. It helps remove roadblocks that keep you from your best interest, and therefore a great crystal to use in this particular spell.

Just Say No Candle Spell

The intentions were written and burned to help release our intentions into the universe through smoke, which is representative of the element Air, and then the ashes disposed of using the wind (also element Air) to further communicate our message. Air is the element of communication and by burning and throwing your ashes into the wind, it will help carry it to the spirits that will be helping you on your journey

To break this spell, light a single white candle and say,
"I no longer wish to communicate openly with others. I ask that the spell be removed. And so it is."
And, as always, remember to record your spell in your Book of Shadows or use my spell/ritual worksheet to keep track of the spell.

What do you do to help you say no? Any nonmagical tips and tricks? Please comment below!

Monday, September 9, 2019

September Full Moon Worksheet

September Full Moon Worksheet

This month's full moon is in Pisces in the early morning of September 14th, meaning you can totally celebrate it on Friday the 13th! Spooky! Emotions may run high, as Pisces is a water sign, but this month's Full Moon should bring about the culmination of all your hard work over the past 6 months. This moon is considered the Harvest Moon, the moon closest to Mabon. The moon is known for illuminating the harvest and as such will illuminate all your hard work and the fruits of that labor. Be aware that people may be slightly more sensitive over the next two weeks, and approach situations with gentleness, kindness, and patience. This month's worksheet contains a five-card tarot spread to illuminate how things are changing for you and what effects that will have on everyone. As always there are also sections for what you want to release and charge, and any intuitive thoughts you receive during the Full Moon.

September Full Moon Worksheet


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

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Reader Request: Womanhood Initiation Ritual

Womanhood Initiation Ritual

Earlier this week I asked my readers what they wanted me to write about. I have some of my usual posts lined up for later in the month, but wanted to know what you witches really wanted from me. I got answers and ideas across the board, and promise I will cover as many of them as I possibly can. Some may take a little longer to answer, like the person waiting since January for me to post about office magic, but I promise, I am getting there. Haha!

So the first post I want to cover because it seems the most time-sensitive comes from a reader via Facebook: "Humm.. what am I about to pick up I need help with... initiation rituals. I need something for a serious, not tv stupid menarche party for my Tinkerbutton. I've got her fabric pads. I've got her a tree of life necklace, we've had loads of talks! Now I'm just waiting for aunt flow to show! Lol"

What a wonderful suggestion! After doing a bit of research, and I mean deep digging research, there isn't a whole lot available for women regarding initiation rituals. The whole "Period Party" is as close to modern initiation into womanhood as we currently get, and it's pretty exclusionary as not all women have periods! Because of this, I wanted to write an initiation ritual that all women could use, whether it be when they start their period, when they turn 16, have their first baby, or transition. I didn't want to leave anyone out. Simone de Beauvoir said in best in The Second Sex, "One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman."

This particular ritual is best performed on the Full Moon when the Divine Feminine is strongest, but any important day will work as your Divine Feminine is strongest within yourself. So if your period begins in the middle of the Waxing Moon, go with it. Your official transition date is the New Moon? Do it! Pick a day that works best for you.

What You'll Need

  • white veil or shroud
  • table to sit objects on
  • red candle
  • lighter/matches
  • a bowl of purified water with a pinch of salt
  • red apple
  • knife/athame
  • a chalice of red wine or juice

What to Do

This ritual is best completed with at least 2 people but can be modified to do alone, on the Full Moon or any other special occasion. Begin by cleansing, charging, and/or blessing your items. Whatever method you chose is up to you. Personally, my go-to is always sage, because I have a ton of it. I also really enjoy blowing on an object and imagining all the residual energy blowing away with it. Prior to the ritual whoever is being initiated should take a purifying bath or shower. Once cleansed, they should either dress in all white or wear at least a white veil or shroud for the beginning of the ritual.

Womanhood Initiation Ritual

When ready, lay out the objects on the table with the candle at the top center, the bowl of water to the left, the chalice of red wine/juice to the right, and the apple in front of the candle. Then create sacred space in whatever way you wish. Feel free to cast a circle and call quarters, but do not invoke any deities at this stage. Skip that step for now. Once sacred space has been established light the red candle and invoke the goddess Artemis by saying,

"With this red candle, I ask Artemis, Goddess of Sovereignty and Young Women, to join our ritual to bless this young woman as she transitions into womanhood of her own volition. May you watch over us all and bring strength and courage as we march forward into the future."

This can be said by the initiator if working with more than one person or by the initiate if alone. Next, bless the water. The initiator should hold their hands over the bowl and say,

"I bless this water in the name of Artemis, Divine Huntress and Protector of Young Women. May it be cleansed and purified in Her name."

Dip 2 fingers into the blessed water and place your fingers on the initiate's forehead. The veil or shroud should still be covering their face at this time. Say,

"With this water, I cleanse and purify [insert name here] before me. May she be blessed by Artemis as she transitions from a child into womanhood."

Next, have the initiate pick up the knife and apple. Then the initiator says,

"The blade symbolizes the last roadblock between [insert name] and womanhood. The apple represents the Divine Feminine, the Forbidden Fruit, the life-giving gift of women. By cutting through the apple, [insert name] will make the final transition into womanhood."

The initiate should then cut the apple in half while saying,

"I break the chains of childhood and recognize that now I am a woman. I accept my Divine Feminine and vow to honor her daily. I will allow no one, including myself, to devalue me. I will stand tall as I walk this path and ask that Artemis continue to bless me in the future."

Womanhood Initiation Ritual

Lift the veil and allow the initiate to take a bite from one half of the apple. The other half should be given to Artemis as an offering. Next, the initiator should dip 2 fingers into the red wine and place them on the initiates forehead, now uncovered, and say,

"With this red wine, I anoint [insert name] with the life-giving gift of women. May it spark creativity, strength, and perseverance."

Finally, snuff out the candle and say,

"We thank you, Artemis, for your grace and protection during this initiation ritual for [insert name]."

Remove the sacred space and go party! This is a time to celebrate!

Why You Did It

For this spell, I drew heavily on mythological representations of women from the red candle to the red apple to the chalice of red wine/juice. Let's begin with the veil. Veils are commonly used to represent a transition from one life to another. During a wedding ceremony, the white veil represents purity prior to the transition into marriage. In the case of this ritual, it means the same thing, but not in a patriarchal sense. Children, by definition, are pure beings. The veil represents that purity, not that it suddenly goes away when one becomes a woman, but instead, it changes form, which is represented by the lifting of the veil. The lifting symbolizes the transition from childhood to womanhood.

Next, we have the red candle. Candles, in general, attract spirits and deities which is why there is a candle in the first place. It's red to symbolize blood or menstruation. I mentioned in the introduction, however, that just because a woman doesn't menstruate, it doesn't mean she is less of a woman. The candle allows us to symbolically represent blood and menstruation, the life-giver of all animals, even if the soon-to-be-woman is not menstruating or cannot menstruate.

If you have been following my blog for any period of time, you know that I don't believe in any deities, but I felt compelled to include Artemis into this ritual based on her mythology alone. One of the most famous initiation rituals for young women involved the Cult of Artemis at Bruaron. Furthermore, Artemis is said to rule over all biological transitions of women, from before puberty to the first childbirth, which makes her the perfect goddess to invoke when we are talking about initiation into womanhood.

Next, we have the blessed water, later followed by the red wine/juice. The blessed water acts as a final purifier before the transition into womanhood. At the same time, it blesses the soon-to-be-woman with the blessing of Artemis. The now woman is finally touched with the red wine/juice, which also symbolizes menstruation and the life-giving properties of blood. This is the finally blessing of Artemis and is meant to infuse the now woman with a "woman's life force." Women, by nature, have the ability to bring forth life, but that doesn't always mean bringing about a child. It also means creating artwork, poetry, businesses, and the like. Basically, anything that involves the act of creating. The water and red wine/juice are presented in a bowl and chalice respectively, again symbolizing the "womb" or life-giver, even if you don't physically have one, you still have a location for creation. Both of these were touched to the forehead or third-eye to awake the innate Divine Feminine all women possess.

And finally, we have the red apple, the ultimate symbol of womanhood in my opinion. Again, the red symbolizes blood and the shape of an apple conveys the womb, but it is the Biblical tale of the apple that resonates with me. I don't care what your current beliefs are, the story of Eve plucking an apple from the Tree of Knowledge is known around the world, and still holds sway within the witch community. Eve taking a bite of that apple was the ultimate act of rebellion; it was her initiation into womanhood, despite the Bible framing it as a sinful act that led to the downfall of man. Screw that! It was a woman taking possession of her Divine Feminine. The act of slicing and biting into the apple recreates this act of rebellion, solidifying the transition into womanhood. I knew the moment I was asked to write a womanhood initiation that I had to include the famous apple as the final act. There was no avoiding it.

Unfortunately, this is not a spell you break. However, you can choose to no longer recognize the initiation. Simply light a black candle, thank Artemis for her grace, and let her know you no longer wish to recognize the initiation. Make sure you leave Artemis an offering when finished. And, as always, remember to record your spell in your Book of Shadows or use my spell/ritual worksheet to keep track of the spell.

Have you been initiated into something before? How about womanhood? Share your stories in the comments below, and if you tried this ritual yourself, I would love to hear how it went!

Monday, September 2, 2019

Apothecary: Yarrow Salve

Apothecary: Yarrow Salve

This year, my yarrow has grown and bloomed multiple times. I actually have three different types in my yard: pomegranate, yellow, and white. All of them are beautiful and the white yarrow in the backyard has started growing outside of the planter, which is totally fine with me, although the guy that mows my lawn mows right over it. Oh well!

Yarrow can be used for a variety of medicinal purposes, but today we are going to focus on how to make a yarrow salve. This salve is perfect for cuts, scrapes, bruises, bug bites and stings. Do not use this salve for burns as the oil will trap the heat.

Yarrow Salve

1 1/2 cups olive oil
2 cups yarrow leaves and flowers, roughly chopped
1/4 cup beeswax pellets (more if you want to produce a thicker salve)

Begin by gathering and cleaning your yarrow. Be sure not to confuse yarrow with hemlock, which looks very similar. Here is a great video helping you identify each plant. If you are unsure of what you are picking, order some yarrow online instead. Once the yarrow is dry, remove the stems and flowers and roughly chop. Place the chopped yarrow in an airtight container and cover the yarrow with olive oil. It should take around 1 to 1 1/2 cups to completely cover the yarrow. Seal the container and allow to infuse in a cool, dark place for about four weeks (1 month). This is a great salve to begin on the New or Full Moon.

After the mixture has infused for at least four weeks, strain the leaves and flowers from the oil into a saucepan. Add the beeswax and heat the liquid until the beeswax completely melts. Once completely combined,  pour the oil mixture into a sturdy salve container. I prefer glass as the plastic chemicals are not able to infiltrate the mixture if you use glass. However, if you go with plastic, choose a container with sturdy, thick sides, as the plastic will melt when you had the hot oil to it. Allow to sit, either at room temperature or the fridge, until the mixture as solidified. Use as needed. This should keep for about 6 months to a year, especially if you keep it in the fridge.