Friday, May 22, 2015

Book Review: Hedge Witch by Rae Beth

Book Review: Hedge Witch by Rae Beth

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I have decided to add a new series to the blog: book reviews. Each of these reviews will be summarized in my Knowing Thy Craft post, but here you will find a more in-depth review of each pagan book I have read recently. Wednesday, I finished reading Rea Beth's Hedge Witch: A Guide to Solitary Witchcraft. I give this book 3.5 stars. I went back and forth between 3 and 4 because there are some really beautiful rituals and visualization exercises, but there are some very obvious errors as well. Let's start with the bad.

Book Review: Hedge Witch by Rae BethThis book is written as a series of letters from an experienced witch to her two apprentices, although part II of the book is written entirely to Tessa, her female apprentice. At first, this was difficult to get used to. This is by no means set up as a normal guide, and you are going to need a pen and some sticky notes to help organize the book if you plan on using it later. I marked each section that was important to me, such as each Sabbat ritual and some of the visualization or as she calls it "trance" exercises. If you are looking for an easy guide, this is not it. It claims to be written for beginners, but it is not. The rituals are complicated and very formal. There is no explanation as to why certain things are done, nor are there lists of supplies needed at the beginning of each ritual. The rituals are for intermediate to skilled practitioners, not beginners. Furthermore, this book is about Wicca, not hedgecraft. A hedgewitch is not a solitary Wiccan and Wiccans are not the only witches as Beth seems to believe. Furthermore, hedgewitches are not overly formal and do not create and execute formal rituals like the ones found in this book. Rituals, if performed, are simple and honor the Earth, deities (if you believe in them), nature, and the changing seasons. One thing she does get right about hedgecraft and hedgewitches is that the tradition is based on the old wise woman or man who lived on the edge of town, by the hedgerows. They were healers and earth lovers who worked magic out of their home and gardens. The book claims to contain spells and herbalism, but the only spell is a love spell, which let's be honest, it typically found in juvenile witchcraft books.

On to the good. The rituals are very beautiful, although after reading them you are going to have to plan them out yourself. As I mentioned, there are no lists of supplies or outline of what you will be doing beforehand. She simply jumps right into it. The little bit of history at the beginning was informative and well written. It provided me with some new information. She also has a letter dedicated to dealing with the questions from non-witches. They are wonderful suggestions! I plan on using some of them in the future. However, the best part of this book is the visualization or trance exercises. She gives a very beautiful guide to follow to initiate yourself as a witch, meet your spiritual familiar, meet the Triple Goddess and the Horned God, and how to ask questions, heal yourself and others, and seal your aura. If you need help with visualization or are unsure how to do it, this is a great book to read.

As I said, I give it 3.5 stars out of 5 because the rituals and visualization exercises are wonderful, but the format and misinformation were unhelpful, not to mention it was not a book about hedgecraft

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Element: Water

Magical properties and correspondences of water.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Invocation of the Sun King

Invocation of the Sun KingApart from Samhain, the Summer Solstice, or Litha, is my favorite holiday. Beltane follows very closely (if isn't tied with Litha), although I was unable to celebrate it this year. There is something about fires, warmth, outdoor festivities, and fresh summer blueberries and watermelon that excites me beyond belief and fills me with strength. Furthermore, my depression vanishes during these couple of months, giving my body and mind a break. The Horned God coming into his brightest moment as the Sun, is also intriguing. I've mentioned several times I don't believe in the literal existence of the deities, but their metaphorical existence is very powerful, and their stories hold great meaning in regards to the changing of the seasons. I don't mind celebrating the holidays with them in mind. It brings something special to them in my opinion. Plus, who doesn't love a good story?

In honor of the Solstice quickly approaching, and that fact that The Pagan Experience post for this week is on deities, I have decided to write an invocation to the Sun King. Feel free to use this in your rituals, prayers, or whatever this sabbat.

I call upon thee great Sun King,
Shining bright for all to see.
I invoke your power on this night,
To infuse this land with all your light.
Come to me, where your praises are sung,
To your altar where flowers are hung.
By the sun kissed meadows and distance moors,
I invite you to my welcoming shores.
On this night, I call to thee,
To bring about peace and harmony.
As you warm the summer air,
I sing to you your golden prayer.
Oh brightest of gods, on you I call,
Bring blessings to thy creatures all.

So this is the first time I have written an invocation. I look forward to being able to use it myself this year. It took a lot more effort than I thought, but it may be related to my husband playing Halo in the other room and my wish to join him!

Do you invoke the Sun King during the solstice? What invocation do you like best? I'd love to hear from you!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Element: Fire

Magcial properties and correspondences of fire.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Magical and Medicinal Uses of St. John's Wort

With Midsummer quickly approaching, I wanted to cover some of the herbs used to celebrate the sabbat. St. John's Wort is probably the most famous of these herbs.

Magical and medicinal properties of St. John's Wort. Includes free BOS page!

Folk Names: Amber, Goat Weed, Sol Terrestis, Tipton Weed
Gender: Masculine
Planet: Sun
Element: Fire
Powers: Divination, Happiness, Health, Love, Protection, Strength
Magical Uses and History: St. John's Wort, the name of which comes from the St. John the Baptist, is the most famous of the Midsummer herbs, although its history hasn't always been kind to witches. During the Burning Times, St. John's Wort was held to the mouths of accused witches in an attempt to force them to confess. Despite, this the herb is still favored among witches for its protective properties.

The herb is most often gathered on Midsummer and worn to ward off mental illness and cure depression. Forgot to collect on Midsummer? Don't worry, Friday works just as well. St. John's Wort is also dried over the fires of Midsummer and hung in windows to ward off ghosts, necromancers, and other evil spirits as well as protect the family from fire, lightning, and misfortune. Burning it in the fires of Midsummer will also banish any unwanted spirits and demons. Its ancient name Fuga Daemonum (Scare Devil) and its Latin name Hypericum ("over" and "apparition") attest to its usefulness in driving away evil.

Furthermore, unmarried women can place any part of the herb under their pillow to assist in prophetic dreams about their future husband. This would have been nice to remember in high school. It can also be used during a ritual to detect any other witches who may be looking in on you and your work.

St. John's Wort can be used in a number of spells including:
     Protection Spells
     Dream Magic
     Prophetic Dreaming
     Banishing Magic

Medicinal Uses: Taken internally, St. John's Wort acts as a pain reliever and sedative, making it great for anxiety, tension, rheumatism, sciatica, shingles, and menopause. It has also been proven to be effective in treating mild depression. As a lotion or oil, it works as an anti-inflammatory and aids in healing. It can be used to treat wounds, bruises, varicose veins, mild burns, sunburns, and rheumatism.

Preparation and Dosage:  Internally St. John's Wort can be taken as an infusion or tincture. To make an infusion, pour one cup of boiling water over 1-2 teaspoons of dried herb and allow to infuse for 10-15 minutes. Drink up to three times a day. For a tincture, take 1-4 milliliters up to three times a day. Externally it can be used in a lotion or an oil. To make an oil, stuff a wide-mouthed jar with stems and flowers of herb and cover with pure olive oil. Sit in a sunny window, shaking it a few times a day, for six weeks. It should be bright red when done. Apply a few drops to afflicted area or bandage. On a side note, St. John's Wort can be used to make dye. The flowers make yellow and the stems make red dye. Do NOT take if you are pregnant. Also, it can render birth control ineffective so be careful.

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

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Correspondences: Colors

Magical correspondences of colors.

Because light is energy and our ability to see colors is dependant on this energy, colors carry considerable weight in witchcraft as they really do have their own unique energies. The energy of each color, depending on the light-wave vibration, has an effect on the human body. They have been scientifically proven to affect our moods, actions, and to aid in healing.

While working a spell, working with specific colors can help you focus your intent and energy while also adding to the energy of the spell. Colors can be used in every aspect of magic and is quite easy to include. Using a candle in your spell? Match the color to your intent. Making a  dream pillow to aid in divination? Choose a color associated with divination. However, don't get hung up on the details. Say you can't find a green candle to work your prosperity spell. Use a white one instead. Colors are only meant to aid you, not hinder you.

Of course, colors have multiple associations, but the most powerful ones are the ones you associate them with. You may not like the color red because someone who picked on your constantly always wore a red jacket. Your feelings about a color trump any other magical properties because you bring the energy you associate that color with into your magic, whether you know it or not.

Below is a list of colors and their correspondences. I firmly suggest you write down your first reaction to each of the colors below before adding the traditional associations to them. You may find you see considerable overlap, like green being associated with money, but you also may find some colors have a stronger negative or positive association to you personally.

Magical Association
Divination, banishing, absorbing negative energy, protection, binding
Truth, tranquility, protection, hope, honor, change, psychic ability, Element Water
Stability, integrity, justice, sensuality, endurance, animals, concentration, grounding
Vitality, strength, success, action, courage, confidence, God
Vision, neutrality, absorbing negativity
Abundance, success, prosperity, growth, healing, fertility, employment, luck, jealousy, Element Earth
Insight, vision, change, flexibility, psychic abilities
Intuition, change, spiritual healing, vitality
Courage, ambition, pride, energy, enthusiasm, friendship, communication, success, opportunities
Compassion, tenderness, harmony, love, affection, romance, spiritual healing
Growth, self-esteem, psychic ability, insight, inspiration, success in business, spirituality
Sexual love, lust, passion, strength, willpower, courage, energy, anger, Element Fire
Spiritual truth, intuition receptivity, psychic ability, stability, balance, mysteries, Goddess
Creativity, discipline, self-knowledge, spiritual awareness
Success, intuition, self-improvement, spiritual awareness
Cleansing, purification, purity, tranquility, protection, peace, healing, truth, divination. *Can be used in place of another color as it reflects all light
Joy, vitality, communication, intelligence, study, persuasion, charm, creativity, Element Air

How do you incorporate colors into your home and magic? Do you find it adds to your magic? Do you dislike any particular colors?

Friday, May 8, 2015

Magic All Day Long: What time of day should I perform magic?

Magic All Day Long: What time of day should I perform magic?

Different parts of the day have different magical energies. You have probably noticed this without even realizing it had anything to do with the natural energies associated with the position of the Earth and Sun. While you can perform magic whenever you feel like, it will be amplified if you practice certain magic during certain times of the day.

Morning Magic: Sunrise
The Sun is up and so are you! You may notice first thing in the morning, even if you are a late sleeper, you awake "fresher." Well, so is your energy and that makes it the perfect time to work magic to start something new, especially regarding school and business. This is also a great time to dispel or banish negativity that is lurking around you and yours, including addictions, bad behaviors, bad habits, and bad feelings. If you work magic outside, like I often do, I find working during sunrise best. It is cool, the animals are just waking up, and you can use both the energy of the sun and the moon.

Midday Magic: Sunshine
During the middle of the day, the Sun reaches its peak and is therefore is strongest. This is a good time to call upon its strength and work on magic to overcome weaknesses, gain inspiration and insight, or ask for guidance. Feeling tired? Ask the sun to lend you strength.

Evening Magic: Crepuscular Light
As the light fades and the evening draws near, we often feel tired and cranky after a long day. I find meditating during this time is best. Focus on breaking up bad routines, banishing bad habits, relaxing, and boosting your will power.

Nighttime Magic: Resonating in Tune
Most people perform magic after the Sun has set as they are better able to feel the energy of the Moon. This is a great time for divination, working with psychic energies, and issues involving love, lust, and beauty. It is also a great time to reflect upon the day if you haven't done that already. Night offers a time to gain clarity of the days events.

As I said, you can perform magic whenever you feel the need. The time doesn't really matter, but most witches find working in the morning or night is best. I'm not going to lie; there is something about working magic in the middle of the night while all the world sleeps that is magical in itself. However, I find working at sunrise to be the most magical of all; it feels like coming home. Not many people realize how thin the veil between the worlds is as the sun rises and the moon sets. At sunrise, you can pull energy from both the sun and moon easily. This is also the best time to work fairy magic.

My magic is always stronger in the morning than it has ever been at night. This may also be because I heavily identify with the wild, fiery Sun instead of the calm, mysterious Moon. The Horned God, even though I don't believe in his actual existence on Earth, has always drawn me close to his breast; the Mother Goddess has always just smiled down upon me and let me run free. I guess I should say I believe these two exist in my mind alone. They are wonderful archetypes that help guide my work and focus on mind on my magical intentions. I thank them for that. But I digress.

Find what time works best for you. For many of you, it is going to be night because that is the only time you have, especially if you are a teen living under the roof of non-Pagan parents.

For those of my more experienced readers, what time do you do magic? Do you feel the timing makes a difference?

Monday, May 4, 2015

Seven Days of Magic: The Magical Correspondence of Each Day of the Week

magical correspondences, weekly magic, magick, magic, witchcraft, witch, spell, ritual, pagan, wicca, wiccan, astrology, correspondences, grimoire, book of shadows

In many pagan traditions, the days of the week play a very important role in effective spell casting. For example, wealth and abundance spells are always performed on Thursday as it is associated with riches and desire. Of course, not all traditions follow this rule, but you might be surprised at how much it helps. Documenting the day of the week each time you perform a spell may shed some light on the connection between the type of magic you are performing and the day of the week.

Below I have summed up the correspondences for each day of the week and given a brief history of how it got its name.

Magicl Correspondences: Days of the Week

Taking its name from our closet star, the Sun, Sunday is the best day of the week to work magic involving fathers and other authority figures such as your boss. It is also a good day to work on questions regarding leadership, money, prosperity, and power.
     Color: Yellow, gold
     Planet: Sun
     Deities: Brighid, Helios, Ra, Apollo
     Crystals: Quartz, diamond, amber, carnelian
     Herbs: Marigold, sunflower, cinnamon
     Associations: Success, promotion, fame, wealth, prosperity

This day of the week is dedicated to the moon, in which it gets its name. This is a great day to work with moon energy, especially if it is a full moon. Divination and prophetic dreaming are best performed today. It is also a good time to work magic focusing on mothers, nurturing, fertility, woman issues, and growth.
     Color: Silver, white, light blue
     Planet: Moon
     Deities: Thoth, Selene, Diana, Artemis, Luna
     Crystals: Pearl, opal, moonstone
     Herbs: Wintergreen, catnip, comfrey, sage, chamomile, mint
     Associations: Illusion, glamour, sleep, dreams, fertility, insight, peace, beauty, women's mysteries

The name Tuesday comes from the Germanic God Tiu, like the Roman god Mars, is associated with war. Like Monday, it is full of male energy, but focuses on the more raw nature of the male aspect; think courage, success, war, and lust. This is a good time to deal with issues of violence, competition, conflict, endurance, and survival.
     Color: Red, orange, black
     Planet: Mars
     Deities: Lilith, Mars, Aries, Morrighan, Tiwaz
     Crystals: Garnet, ruby
     Herbs: Thistles, holly, coneflower, cactus
     Associations: War, conflict, courage, victory, rebellion, success, protection, strength

This day of the week gets its name from Woden's Day, an Old English name. It is a direct translation of the Latin term mercurri dies, "day of Mercury." When they translated the day, they changed to god Mercury to a local god, Woden, so people would understand. This is a great day to work on communications, thought, wisdom, self-expression, and the arts. Also a good day for divination.
     Color: Purple, orange
     Planet: Mercury
     Deities: Odin, Woden, Hermes, Mercury, Athena, Lugh
     Crystals: Adventuine, agate
     Herbs: Aspen, lilies, lavender, fern
     Associations: Business, communication, debt, the arts, transportation, fortune, chance, creativity

Taking its name from the Norse god Thor, this is a great day to work magic regarding growth, expansion, prosperity, business, abundance, and success. See my prosperity candle magic spell.
     Color: Royal blue, green, purple
     Planet: Jupiter
     Deities: Thor, Zeus, Jupiter, Juno
     Crystals: Turquoise, amethyst, lapis lazuli
     Herbs: Honeysuckle, oak, cinquefoil
     Associations: Honor, loyalty, harvest, prosperity, abundance, wealth, healing

Friday comes from the Old English name frigedaeg, which comes from the Norse goddess Frigga. Frigga, like Venus, is associated with love, making this a great day to focus on romance, passion, fertility, and friendship.
     Color: Pink, aqua,
     Planet: Venus
     Deities: Freya, Venus, Aphrodite
     Crystals: Coral, emerald, rose quartz
     Herbs: Strawberries, apple blossoms, feverfew
     Associations: Love, birth, romance, fertility, passion, friendship, pregnancy

Deriving its name from the god Saturn, this is a great day to use divination and psychic abilities. Furthermore, its energies will aid in magic concerning the elderly, end-of-life issues, death, and binding spells.
     Color: Black, dark purple
     Planet: Saturn
     Deities: Hecate, Saturn,
     Crystals: Apache tear, obsidian, hematite
     Herbs: Thyme, mullein, cypress
     Associations: banishing, protection, wisdom, cleansing, spirituality

Of course, you can do any type of magic on whatever day you please, but as I said, you may find certain spells work better on other days. Just keep track to see if they do. If you are looking for any particular ideas of what magic to perform on these days, check out Llewellyn's article, Magic, Seven Days a Week by Ellen Dugan. It too gives you a rundown of each day and a beautiful list of simple spells you can perform each day of the week.

I hope this has been helpful! I added some free BOS pages containing this information below for your pleasure.

How do you utilize the days of the week in your practice? Have you found it enhances your magic and/or success?

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

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Astral Projection: What It Is & How To Do It

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.

I would first like to apologize for being gone so long. Things have been very busy in our home, and I have been rather sick. I went to the dentist yesterday to have a root canal finished up only to find out that the tooth is still infected despite antibiotics, and two other teeth had become infected. So now I am on really strong antibiotics and steroids, and I believe they are working. I still feel like I was hit by a bus, but at least my teeth don't hurt. But anyway!

Astral Projection: What It Is & How To Do It

Since I have already covered what dream magic is, how to stimulate dreams, and how to promote prophetic dreams, I'd like to talk about astral projection. First and foremost, astral projection is NOT something to mess around with. Do NOT attempt astral projection while under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or pharmaceuticals. If you are sick, weak, frail, or have suffered sexual abuse or post-traumatic stress, you should also NOT attempt astral projection. Astral projection is potentially harmful and can lead to soul loss so please, please, please exercise caution.

While sleeping, our soul becomes liberated, allowing us to journey if we so wish. Astral projection reaps the benefits of the dream-state while also retaining memory and control of the experience. It's easier said than done. The soul often resists traveling, especially if any consciousness remains, and for a good reason. I'm going to say it again, astral projection is dangerous. Not only could you potentially lose part of your soul, but sometimes things can come back with you.

According to some, during astral projection, our body and soul stay connected with a thin silver cord. This allows you to confidently travel with the assurance that the cord will lead you safely back. Usually, the return to your body is effortless. As you naturally awake, your soul and body are automatically re-joined. However, if you are awakened abruptly, you may feel a jolt, or a moment of shock, panic or disorientation. In extreme cases, soul loss can occur.

Astral projection normally occurs while you are asleep. However, experienced witches like myself are able to travel while awake using lucid dreaming. Some find it extremely challenging to astral project, while others find it natural. I have never had an issue projecting. In fact, I started as a kid before I even knew what it was. I used to lay in my bed or sit by the creek and just go places. As an adult, I normally only astral project to check up on family and friends I am worried about. I very rarely travel for fun any more, not because it isn't enjoyable, but because it takes a lot of energy. If you are projecting while asleep, you may find you do not wake well rested. It's because you used a considerable amount of energy going for that soul walk. As a child we have endless stores of energy, but as an adult these stores are drained quickly through the stresses and challenges we face everyday. So pace yourself and take the same precautions to protect yourself as you do in your day to day life.

There are many different ways to begin traveling. The best way to start is to hone your visualization skills. Lie down, shut your eyes, and relax in your bed. Now imagine yourself standing at the foot of your bed, exactly as it is, looking at yourself. Repeat this often until you are able to completely visualize the space. After a while you will be able to start walking away from your self, each time further and further away. To do this while sleeping, which is honestly so much easier since the soul has no inhibitions, visualize where you want to go. Form a compete imagine in your mind of where, when, and who you wish to visit. What do you look like? What are you wearing? What do they look like? What are they wearing? Is it night, day, morning, afternoon, evening? Is is hot or cold? What season? Pay attention to all the details; nothing is too much. Now charge yourself with a mission and go to sleep. Keep practicing and keep a record of your attempts. This takes time so don't give up.

To enhance your astral projection abilities you can place live mugwort around your bed or a yellow gemstone in your hand or Third Eye chakra. Jasper also has a strong association with astral travel, so either sleep with in under your pillow, on your chakra or cast a circle of jasper around you while you sleep. Grinding cinnamon, mugwort, and sandalwood into a fine powder and mixing it with arrowroot powder before sprinkling on your sheets will also aid in astral projection.

Have you ever used astral projection? How long did it take you to begin traveling? Anything negative ever occur? Good? To those of you who have not yet traveled, I wish you the best of luck. Stay safe!