Sunday, March 29, 2015

Magical and Medicinal Uses of Mugwort

Magical and Medicinal Uses of Mugwort. Includes FREE BOS Page!

Folk Names: Artemis herb, Artemisia, Muggons, Old Man, John's Plant
Gender: Feminine
Planet: Venus
Element: Earth
Powers: Astral Projection, Prophetic Dreams, Protection, Psychic Powers, Strength
Magical Uses and History: Mugwort is a member of the Artemisia family, a family of botanicals named after Artemis, protector of women, fertility, creativity, witchcraft, and psychic ability.  Due to its association with Artemis, mugwort was often used to aid in childbirth and relieve womanly problems but was also thought to cause hemorrhaging if used too often. Mugwort is deeply associated with midsummer and St. John's Day, from which it derives many of its folk names. During midsummer celebrations in Germany, mugwort was fashioned into a girdle to protect against bad luck, witches, sorcery, and the Evil Eye. On the night of Midsummer, the girdle was tossed into the fire to burn away all ill will and bad luck, particularly disease. It was also common to find mugwort hung in houses or placed in sheds on Midsummer's Eve to protect people and livestock against evil spirits, witches, and faeries, especially in England. Furthermore, a "coal" of mugwort, which likely refers to a dead or rotten root mass, was dug up at midnight on midsummer and used as a protection amulet for the rest of the year from a number of diseases. Across the way in France, mugwort was harvested and worn during midsummer to protect against aches and pains.

Apart from its use in midsummer celebrations, mugwort was generally used throughout the year for protection. It is one of the herbs featured in the Anglo-Saxon Nine Herbs Charm, where mugwort is said to aid in protecting against illness, disease, and venom. As such when carried on your person it is through to guard against harm by poison, wild beasts, or sunstroke. In Belgium, a potion of mugwort was given to those suspected of being bewitched and a cross of mugwort was made for general protection. Sometimes these mugwort crosses were hung in barns and henhouses to protect milk and eggs from being spoiled by witches. Some folklore also suggests that a decoction of mugwort picked on Midsummer was applied to the utters of cows barely producing to remove witch curses. In Germany, mugwort was placed under the pillows of the sick to heal them and protect against further illness. However, if the person could not sleep it was an omen of death. Due to its general protective abilities, mugwort can be used in much the same manner today as it was used historically. Hang mugwort in your home to protect against negativity, bad luck, and ill will and prevent unwanted guests from entering your home. Use mugwort in protection spells and rituals, or create a wash to wipe down entryways and floors for the same purpose. It can also be burned to cleanse and protect your space.

Apart from its use in protection magic, it was also used by travelers to increase stamina and prevent aches and pains. Roman soldiers placed mugwort in their shoes to protect their feet against fatigue. If you wish to use mugwort for this purpose, pick some leaves prior to sunrise while saying "Tollam te artemesia, ne lassus sim in via." Scottish folklore also attributes mugwort to good health. In a folktale about a mermaid watching a funeral procession, the mermaid is quoted saying, "If they eat Nettles in March and drink Mugwort in May, so many fine maidens would not go to clay." Both nettles and mugwort have natural healing abilities and are full of vital nutrients, so it comes as no surprise that such a combination was believed to prolong one's life.

There is some folklore that suggests mugwort can also be used in love spells. Widows were said to wear sprigs of mugwort to attract new love, while other folklore suggests young maidens placed sprigs between their breasts to attract a suitor. In Ancient Greece, mugwort was used to gain love and friendship, sometimes being hung in the bedroom to ensure a happy marriage.

Finally, mugwort is deeply associated with dream magic and astral travel. Mugwort is a mild hallucinogenic when smoked or applied to the skin and therefore can be used to induce an altered state of consciousness prior to astral travel or hedge riding. Mugwort is a common ingredient in modern flying ointments for this reason, and some sources suggest mugwort may have been used in historical flying ointments as well. As a tea, mugwort relaxes the nerves and opens the third eye, making you more open to receiving messages from the Otherworld. It also stimulates dreams and aids in falling asleep, so it can be used during dream recall. 

Mugwort can be used in a number of spells including:
     Astral Projection
     Dream Magic
     Protection Magic
     Love Spells
     Hedge Riding

Medicinal Uses: Mugwort can be used where ever a digestive stimulant is needed. When taken internally, it stimulates the production of bitter juices while also providing carminative oil. The volatile oil in mugwort, which contains cineole and thujone, has a mild nervine action that can aid in depression and easing tension. It can also be used to aid in menstrual flow although it can cause severe uterine contractions so women who are pregnant or wish to become pregnant should NOT take mugwort internally. Furthermore, children should not take mugwort. As a rule of thumb, if you are not old enough to menstruate, you are not old enough to ingest mugwort.

Preparation and Dosage: Leaves and roots can be harvested between July and September and dried. To create an infusion, pour one cup of boiling water into 1-2 teaspoons of dried herb and infuse for 10-15 minutes. Drink up to 3 times a day. Mugwort is very bitter, so you may want to sweeten it with honey. For a tincture, take 1-4 milliliters up to three times a day. Do NOT use mugwort essential oil, often named "Armoise." The volatile oils are extremely concentrated and not safe for use. It is potentially neurotoxic.

Want to print a copy of this for your Book of Shadows? Click below for your free copy!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Dream Magic: Introduction

Dream Magic: Introduction

Because dreaming comes so easily, many people believe dreams are unworthy of our attention. For the witch, however, dreams have great significance. It is our ticket to understanding not only ourselves, but the world around us through the use of our own brain. Have you ever heard the phrase "I need to sleep on it?" You probably have, but what does it mean?

Our brains are constantly at work, even while we are asleep. However, while we sleep our brain isn't just sending us meaningless information. In fact, it is processing all the day's events and problem solving. Sometimes we don't see or understand small details of the day, but our mind has picked them up and processed them, and it uses these missed details to piece together a better understanding of our lives. Often times "sleeping on it" leads to a solution or new outlook on a problem. This is why dreaming is so important, not just to witches, but to everyone. Dreams are not something that happen to us, but instead something we do.

Many occultist believe dreams are messages from other realms or spirits attempting to communicate with us. As a scientists and a witch, I am hesitant to believe this, but I am open to the possibility all the same based on my own personal experiences. My best friend passed away while we were in high school. I dreamt several days before her death that she was going to die. I ignored it, writing it off as nothing but my mind playing tricks on me; I was mistaken. I don't blame myself, but since that day I taken my dreams very seriously. Dreams are not harbingers or death or a sentence of inevitable doom. However, they tend to carry warnings and messages of protection. A week before I got married my best friend visited me in a dream, telling me she missed me, that she would be present on my wedding day, and that she hoped my marriage was everything I had hoped for. It was wonderful to see her, and the day of my wedding her mother brought a framed photo of her for our Best Man to walk down the aisle. It was a blessing to spend my wedding day with her.

Dreams allow us to do more than just solve problems, answer questions, and visit those from beyond. They also allow us to work through past-life regressions, heal, see the future (more than likely based on those missed details from the day), replenish our psychic ability, strengthen personal power, and even cast spells and astral project. I'm not going to lie; I am pretty good at astral projection, but it takes lots of practice and caution. I'll cover this in a later post.

If you receive enough sleep each night, you should have roughly five dreams. "But I don't have dreams, let alone five!" you say. I am positive you do; you just aren't trained to remember them. Very, very, very few people don't dream due to head injuries or other problems. Most of us, however, do dream but we only tend to remember the bad dreams, usually because they wake us up. Certain herbs, such as mugwort, can coax your dreams out of the shadows. There are several other techniques you can use to hence remembering and dreaming, but I will discuss this another time.

Dreams cannot always be taken literally. Our dreams are fluid and often hallucinatory, making them full of secrets, private languages, and jokes. They can be a source of joy and elation, transcendence, or even terror. Suppressed memories often emerge in dreams, so be cautious. Nightmares are often a signal that something is out of sorts or that you are encountering a potentially dangerous situation. Usually embedded in these dreams are clues and hints for preventing or remedying the situation.

In later posts I will cover mugwort, dreaming techniques and tips, and astral projection. I hope this post has been enlightening and helpful.

How do you read your dreams? Do they mean something different to you?

Want to read my other posts on dreams? Check them out here!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Knowing Thy Craft

List of Books and Blogs for Witches and Pagans


Unlike many other spiritual paths, paganism and witchcraft, although not a religion, have no one book to guide us. This can make it increasingly difficult for new witches and pagans to get started. With all the information floating around out there, it can be overwhelming to newcomers. Where do you start?

I always, always, always suggest books first. While the Internet is a great thing and blogs like mine are becoming an increasingly valuable resource, there is a lot of misinformation floating around. Yes, some books contain this same misinformation, but books are generally written by witches and pagans who have been practicing most of their lives. They are extremely well versed in their craft and have extensive tested knowledge and wisdom to share. Furthermore, they often contain very accurate correspondences, ritual guides, spells and outlines, and other pertinent information for beginner witches.

In today's post, I would like to share my library with you. Mind you, my collection is small. I tend to buy what books call to me when they call. Let's just say, it's not often I feel the need to buy a book about my craft. My list here is in alphabetical order. I have labeled my must haves and ranked each with stars (5 being the highest and 1 the lowest).

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.


Crystals for Beginners: A Guide to Collecting and Using Crystals and Stones by Corrine Kenner (****)- This short, comprehensive guide is a great introduction for any witch interested in using crystals in their magical practice. The only downside to this book is there are no pictures of the crystals in question, making it hard to identify crystals you may already have or encounter during your practice. You can read my full synopsis here.

Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham MUST HAVE (*****)- Every hedgewitch needs to know the magical uses of herbs. There is no better book on the market regarding the magical uses of herbs. This is a must-have in EVERY witch's library.

Garden Witchery: Magic From the Ground Up by Ellen Dugan MUST HAVE (*****)- Flowers, trees, and herbs are part of every hedgewitch's repertoire, making this wonderful little book a must have. Dugan covers everything from herbal correspondences and flower language to practical growing advice and magically planning your garden. While there are undertones of Wicca, the book is not pushy with the subject. It is easy to read, delightfully engaging, and full of useful information for both beginner and advanced witches. Read my full synopsis here.

Hedge Riding by Harmonia Saille (****)- This is a must have for any hedgewitch, but I did not list it has a must have because other witches and pagans won't benefit from its contents. Harmonia has done it again. This short book is a great introduction to hedge riding, how to do it, and the different realms hedgewitches travel to when hedge riding. It's easy to read and understand and great for any level hedgewitch. Read my full synopsis here.

Hedge Witch: A Guide to Solitary Witchcraft by Rae Beth (***)- I was really hoping to like this book more than I did. This is NOT a guide on hedgecraft, but instead solitary Wicca. Beth gets most of the history of hedgecraft wrong and the rituals are very complicated and too formal for most hedgewitches. If you are into the Wiccan rituals and are more experienced, this is the book for you. The trance or meditation exercises are totally worth reading. They were very well explained and easy to follow. No matter where you stand on the meditation scale, these exercises are great for everyone. This is written in letter form, so be prepared to organize the book with sticky notes. You can read my full synopsis here.
Hedgewitch: Spells, Crafts, and Rituals for Natural Magic by Silver RavenWolf (***)- While I know there is a lot of controversy surrounding Silver, I have always loved her writing. This book is no exception. This is a workbook. You work through several lessons over the course of days, weeks, or months depending on your choice, and slowly build your witch's cabinet while exploring some aspects of hedgecraft. This is to help experienced witches or those who are already familiar with the craft. This is not for beginners, even if she says it is.

Hedge Witchcraft by Harmonia Saille MUST HAVE (*****)- While this book is a very short and basic introduction to hedgecraft, I believe every witch should read it. Why? Because it is the most accurate book on the market regarding what a hedgewitch is and what they practice (unless I decide to write my own book. Haha!) It provides a wonderful list of trees and herbs hedgewitches commonly use, a description of the sabbats according to one hedgewitch, and explains the elements. I really enjoyed this book and wish that it was longer! Read my full synopsis here. PS: You may see on the Amazon reviews that I ripped someone a new one. If you are going to review a book, at least know what you are talking about people!

Magical Housekeeping: Simples Charms and Practical Tips for Creating a Harmonious Home by Tess Whitehurst (****)-Whitehurst is a master when it comes to creating a harmonious home. She mixes many ancient traditions, including Buddhism, Feng Shui, witchcraft, and more to help you make a happy, prosperous home. This is again for more experienced witches. This is not a guide on the craft but an addition to it.

Practical Shamanism: A Guide for Walking in Both Worlds by Katie Weatherup (***)- I really wanted to enjoy this book more than I did. However, Part I is worth purchasing the book for. Weatherup gives complete instructions in Part I on how to journey, and her interpretation of entering the Otherworld was actually beneficial to me as a hedge rider. Parts II and III were less enjoyable and vague. This book is great for a beginner, intermediate, and advanced witches interested in shamanic journeying or hedge riding (they are both very similar). You can read my full synopsis here.

Sabbats: A Witch's Approach to Living the Old Ways by Edain McCoy (****)- McCoy covers all the pagan holidays in order in this wonderful book. She covers their history and lore, rituals, spells, traditions, crafts, and recipes. This book is a stunning compilation of knowledge and a great introduction to the holidays you can celebrate to honor the god and goddess or, in my case, the earth and nature. Some of the lore may be questionable.

The Complete Herbs Sourcebook by David Hoffman (****)-This is not a pagan book, although it contains strong pagan undertones, but I use it every time I write an Herbarium post. Hoffman explains the uses of herbs in medicine, even breaking down how they chemically react in the body. His entire book is easy to read and understand. He also provides information on harvesting, drying, and storing herbs, as well as the best methods of making infusions or tinctures. Hoffman's book is a wonderful addition to a witch's library, especially if you plan on using herbal remedies.

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Wicca and Witchcraft Second Edition by Denise Zimmermann (****)- There is a newer edition out, but I haven't read it. This may seem like a really odd book to appear here, but Zimmermann provides a lengthy history of witchcraft and paganism, great correspondence lists, a brief overview of the sabbats and the deities, and guides to spell work and rituals. She even includes spells you can reference and change to suit your needs. The self-dedication/initiation in this book is also very beautifully written and serves as a great reference for writing your own or using if you aren't creative. This was one of the most fascinating books I ever purchased on witchcraft. It is a wonderful learning tool.

The Magical Household by Scott Cunningham and David Harrington MUST HAVE(*****) - Easy to read and full of ancient folklore and tradition, this is a must-have in any hedgewitch's library. It covers everything from protection and cleansing to indoor gardens and moving. If you are not superstitious I suggest you pick a different book. Read my full synopsis here.

The Modern Guide to Witchcraft by Skye Alexander (****) - I didn't label this a must have for a couple (maybe insignificant) reasons, but I strongly recommend it. Easy, fun, and accessible to read for beginners and experts alike. This is an introduction to witchcraft, not Wicca, and includes accurate correspondences, spells, and explanations on a variety of topics. Skye does a great job introducing the craft and will inspire even the oldest witches to get out there are cast a spell or two! Read my full synopsis here.

The Sacred Round: A Witch's Guide to Magical Practice by Elen Hawke (***)- This book is said to be for advanced witchcraft, but there is nothing advanced about it. Instead, this book is a continuing introduction into Wicca and is full of misconceptions and false statements regarding witches in general. While the statements generally apply to Wiccans, it is important to note not all witches are Wiccans and vice-versa. However, there are some lovely sabbat rituals in the book that everyone can benefit from ready. Read my full synopsis here.

The Way of the Hedgewitch by Arin Murphy-Hiscock MUST HAVE(*****) - This is a wonderful introduction, although it focuses more so on hearthcraft than hedgecraft. It outlines deities (if you are into that), home magic, rituals, and recipes all hedgewitches should know. I have mentioned this book in previous posts, including my home protection ward and threshold protection spell. As I stated, this book is more about hearthcraft than hedgecraft, but it a must have in any hedgewitch's library.

The Witch in Every Woman by Laurie Cabot (***)- This is a very empowering book for women, especially those who are unsure of themselves. Cabot empowers women to reawaken their "magical nature through the feminine to heal, protect, create, and empower" by presenting a series of Celtic goddess short stories and lessons accompanied by her own thoughts and feelings. While slightly hetero-normative and dated, the book is a worthwhile read, but not a must-have for all witches. Need some empowerment? Unsure of yourself as a woman witch? Then this is the book for you. Read my full review here.

To Ride a Silver Broomstick by Silver Ravenwolf (**)- Like Teen Witch, some of the history, lore, and techniques are questionable. This book has worked for many and while I think that's great, I would be careful if you are interested in this book. I gave my copy to Goodwill. However, it is a series of lessons designed to help you work through the craft. Silver has a way with words so the book is enjoyable and easy to read. I do not suggest this book.

Teen Witch by Silver Ravenwolf (*)- This was one of the first books I turned to when I wanted to learn about Wicca and witchcraft. I do not recommend this book. While Silver means well, the book attacks Christians yet makes Wicca out to be like Christianity. Much of the history and techniques are questionable as well.

Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner by Scott Cunningham (****)- I don't practice Wicca anymore, but if you are interested, again Cunningham takes the cake. This is a great introduction to Wicca, but also a great introduction to how to set up a ritual, how to perform spell work, and how to track your growth through the use of a Book of Shadows. Even if you aren't interested in the religious part of it, I still suggest reading this book for his expert knowledge on witchcraft.

Witches, Midwives, and Nurses: A History of Women Healers by Barbara Ehrenreich and Deidre English MUST HAVE (*****)- Okay, so this isn't strictly about witchcraft. Instead, it is a feminist piece from the 70s, but it is wonderful all the same. Despite some slight inaccuracies, this book gives a compelling rendition of women as healers through the ages. Witches, especially hedgewitches, were and are traditionally healers, making this book an excellent addition to any pagan library. When I finished, I felt compelled to buff up on herbal remedies and add some new information to my ever-growing library of healing. This book also put many historical events into perspective for me, giving me a much better understanding of where we began and how much things have changed over the centuries. Read my full synopsis here.

Your Book of Shadows: How to Write Your Own Magickal Spells by Patricia Telesco (***)-  I both loved and hated this book. The first chapter or two are definitely the best parts and worth reading if you get your hand on a copy. They provide wonderful insights into creating your own BOS/grimoire and provided me with some fresh ideas to get started. The rest of the book, while useful, is a basic introduction to Wicca. If you are new to the craft, this book would be a MUST HAVE. If you are an experienced witch, such as myself, only the first chapter would be particularly useful. Read my full synopsis here.


There are also some online sources I would suggest apart from my own blog of course.

Penniless Pagan is another great blog for witches and pagans alike, whether you are starting out or advanced. It is especially useful if you are short on cash or don't believe your practice should cost money. Michaela is a wonderfully hilarious blogger who knows her craft well.

If you are more into cottage witchery, T.C. from The Witch of Lupine Hollow is the blogger for you. She is a wonderful writer, blogs often, and is a huge supporter of other bloggers.

Mark over at Atheopaganism is for those who, like me, don't believe in deities. He updates often and there is a great discussion taking place every day on the Facebook page.

You can't go wrong with Llewellyn Worldwide. They sell a variety of pagan, Wicca, and witchcraft tools and books. They also have wonderful articles that I have referenced before.'s Pagan and Wicca section is very well put together and very accurate. A great resource for history, lore, and correspondences.

Pagan Bloggers is a new blog database with excellent posts from a variety of pagan. (I hope to be an author there in the future.)

Patheos Pagan, like Pagan Bloggers, is a blog database with content from a variety of pagans around the world.

With knowledge and practice come wisdom. If you are new or even experienced, learning more about your craft is the best thing you can do. Remember, your mind is a garden. Nurture it.

I will be updating this list as I find more books I think you should read and blogs I find useful.
Hedge Witch by Rae Beth
The Magical Household by Scott Cunningham and David Harrington
The Modern Guide to Witchcraft by Skye Alexander
Hedge Witchcraft by Harmonia Saille
Hedge Riding by Harmonia Saille 
Your Book of Shadows by Patricia Telesco 
Garden Witchery: Magic From the Ground Up by Ellen Dugan
Witches, Midwives, and Nurses: A History of Women Healers by B. Ehrenreich and D. English
The Witch in Every Woman by Laurie Cabot 
Practical Shamanism: A Guide to Walking in Both Worlds by Katie Weatherup 
The Sacred Round: A Witch's Guide to Magical Practice by Elen Hawke