Thursday, May 26, 2016

Recent Purchases

Last Friday I visited a local metaphysical store I have never been too. It's actually right down the road from where I currently work (at least until the end of June) and it is a shame I didn't go sooner. The shop is incredible! From the front, it looks rather small, but once inside it opens up into multiple rooms, many dedicated to a particular path or item. I spent roughly an hour looking around, but I could have spent all day.  Overall, it was an excellenet experience. I picked up a couple random items while I was there. Some rose, lemongrass, and frankincense & myrrh incense, and a green a blue candle. Nothing too fancy. I also purchased a gorgeous fox mug. I wasn't going to buy it, but it called quite loudly to me. I couldn't leave without it.


I've also purchased a couple pagan books including two on hedgecraft and one on tarot reading on Amazon over the past week. One of my spiritual goals is to learn tarot so I figured I had better get started learning about it. There will be a book review or two coming within the next week or so. I always get excited when I purchase new supplies and books, especially those related to my craft.

Have you guys purchased anything new lately?

Monday, May 23, 2016

10 Herbs Every Witch Should Have

While you don't need any tools, herbs, or crystals to perform witchcraft, there are some herbs that can enhance your spells and rituals greatly. There are more than a few herbs out there to choose from, so how do you figure out which ones you should keep on hand? Lucky for you, I have done the heavy lifting. Below is a list of 10 herbs every witch should have. Each of the herbs come with suggested alternatives, so if you are unable to find one them or you find the herb doesn't resonate with you, feel free to grab the alternative instead. Please note that the alternatives may not have the exact same magical properties as the original herb, but share many features in common. I suggest researching each to find what works best for your needs.

10 Herbs Every Witch Should Have

10 Herbs Every Witch Should HaveMugwort: This is an absolute MUST have for any witch, especially hedgewitches, due to its unique properties. No other plant has a stronger connection to witchcraft than Mugwort. It is one of the most commonly used herbs in any spell or ritual making it the number one herb to have on hand. Mugwort aids in strengthening psychic powers, prophetic dreaming, and astral projection and can also be used for protection and healing. Use it during rune casting, tarot, palm, tea leaf reading, or any other form of divination to increase your psychic awareness. To learn more, read my Herbarium: Mugwort postSuggested Alternative Herb: Marijuana or Tobacco or Skullcap or Wormwood.

10 Herbs Every Witch Should HaveSage: Of course, sage made the list. How could sage NOT be on the list? Sage is used in a variety of rituals and spells and is probably the most commonly used herb in witchcraft. There are several species of sage, but white or desert sage tend to be the go-to for most witches. However, wild desert and white sage are being harvested at alarming rates and are part of a closed culture and therefore not available for all witches. Use regular kitchen sage to cleanse and purify magical tools, runes, oracle cards, crystals, your home, you name it. Sage can also be used to banish negativity and attract positive energy and vibrations. Sage is also used to enhance learning, knowledge, and wisdom, and is believed to be an anti-aging elixir.  To learn more, read my Herbarium: Sage postSuggested Alternative Herb: Angelica or Bay or Dandelion Leaf.

10 Herbs Every Witch Should HaveBay: Bay leaves come from a shrub, often mistaken as a tree, from the Mediterranean regions of Europe. It is a very common staple in most spice cabinets, and its magical uses are just as versatile. It is often brewed in a tea to enhance clairvoyance and wisdom or induce prophetic dreaming. Bay is also wonderful for protection spells and purification rituals, making it as versatile as the crystal quartz. Some witches write wishes on bay leaves and burn them to help them manifest. Whatever you use bay for, it is a must-have in any witch's cabinet.  Suggested Alternative Herb: Angelica or Camphor or Sage.

10 Herbs Every Witch Should HaveRosemary: "Always throw spilled salt over your left should. Keep rosemary by your garden gate. Add pepper to your mashed potatoes. Plant roses and lavender for luck. Fall in love whenever you can." If you haven't seen or read Practical Magic then this quote doesn't mean much to you, but if you have, you know exactly what I am talking about. Everyone else, FOR SHAME! Go correct the problem and come back when you are done. Rosemary is another staple to any witch's cabinet as well as most people's spice cabinet. It is used for protection, purification, healing, and love. As Sally said, plant it by your garden gate or front door to protect your garden/home and attract love. It works great with lavender as well. To learn more, read my Herbarium: Rosemary post. Suggested Alternative Herb: Frankincense

10 Herbs Every Witch Should HaveLavender: Of course next comes lavender. Plant it for luck, combine it with rosemary to attract love, burn it to bring peacefulness to your home, or place it under your pillow to aid in prophetic dreaming. Lavender is an extremely common herb and is used in a variety of magical rituals and spells. Furthermore, the medicinal properties abound, making it an important addition to your magical cabinet. To learn more, read my Herbarium: Lavender post. Suggested Alternative Herb: Rose or Chamomile.

10 Herbs Every Witch Should HaveClove: While I personally don't like cloves, they are commonly used in prosperity and luck spells, making them essential to have on hand. Furthermore, they can be burned to cleanse objects, people, or rooms and increase positive energy. Cloves are also used for protection and mental clarity. Because it is so versatile, many spells and rituals call for cloves and it is great to have on hand in case of a medical emergency such as a toothache! Suggested Alternative Herb: Chamomile or Lavender or Cinnamon.

10 Herbs Every Witch Should HaveCinnamon: Mmmm cinnamon. I do enjoy the smell, but not the artificially flavored treats like gum. Cinnamon is used to enhance spirituality, success, luck, and prosperity and can also be used in healing and protection rituals and spells. It is basically a go-to for most spell work, making it a wonderful addition to the list. Many witches will wear cinnamon or hang it in their homes, especially around Yule, to attract love, money, and prosperity and protect their home and body. Furthermore, cinnamon has great health benefits and is used in most herbal remedies to treat colds and coughs. Suggested Alternative Herb: Dill or Clove

10 Herbs Every Witch Should HaveDandelion: Of all the herbs on the list, I think dandelion is my favorite. It is bright, cheery, fragrant, and incredibly versatile. Furthermore, dandelions are one of the first flowers of spring, making them extremely important to bees. I don't know about you, but I have a thing for bees, and considering their current decline, allowing dandelions to grow in my yard is beneficial to everyone. Dandelion leaf can be used during divination practices, especially those involving the dead, as well as for healing, purification, and removing negativity from your home. The root is also used in divination and spirit calling. As a hedgewitch, dandelion is important to bridging the gap between our world and the spirit world.  Suggested Alternative Herb: Mint or Mullein or Rose Hips.

10 Herbs Every Witch Should HaveThyme: Thyme is another herb common in most kitchens due to its culinary uses, but it also is great for most magical workings. It attracts loyalty, affection, and good opinion from others, making it great for spells and rituals regarding relationships, especially new ones, and interviews. Furthermore, thyme can be used to attract good health, luck and money, banish negativity and purify your home. To learn more, read my Herbarium: Thyme post. Suggested Alternative Herb: Magnolia Flowers or Sweet Pea. 
10 Herbs Every Witch Should Have
Mint: To some, this may seem slightly odd to include on the list. Mint doesn't often appear in spells and rituals, but it should. Mint promotes energy, clears the
mind increases communication, and stimulates the senses. These properties, which are well known and well documented, are why mint should play a bigger role in witchcraft. It is perfect for eating or smelling before performing magical workings to get you "in the mood." Mint also attracts money and business, draws in good spirits, and protects your home.  Suggested Alternative Herb: Oregano or Peppermint or Tangerine.

So that is my list of 10 herbs I think every witch should have. Did I leave off an herb you use often? Disagree with something on my list? Feel free to add your suggestions in the comments!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Book Review: The Modern Guide to Witchcraft by Skye Alexander

Book Review: The Modern Guide to Witchcraft by Skye Alexander

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.
It has been a while since I have written a book review, hasn't it? I purchased The Modern Guide to Witchcraft: Your Complete Guide to Witches, Covens, & Spells by Skye Alexander back in January and started right away. However, it got set aside when I decided to purchase a whole bunch of fiction books too. Habit. A bad one. An addiction really. Anyway, I finally finished, and I have to say, I really liked this book. I give it 4.5 stars. Why not 5? Well, I don't believe this is a MUST have book, although I do think it should be on your shelf. It, like most books, is an introductory guide to modern-day witchcraft and much of the information is covered in other texts as well.

Book Review: The Modern Guide to Witchcraft by Skye AlexanderSo let's talk about what I didn't like before delving into all the great things about it. First of all, I'd take the history with a grain of salt. I'm no expert on the history of witchcraft so I can't say for sure how accurate the information is in this book, but Skye is a reputable author and I assume she has done her homework. However, always take caution when it comes to a history lesson.; just a general rule of thumb. There isn't a bunch of history in this book as its focused on witchcraft today so you don't have too much to worry about in that regard. Second, she lumped hedgewitches in with kitchen witches, a mistake many authors seem to make that drives me INSANE! Hedgewitches and kitchen witches are NOT the same things, although she does mention shamanism and trances, common practices in hedgecraft. This is part of the reason it has 4.5 stars. As well written and researched the book is, this section is false. There is also a section on "spirit" animals that bothered me. She has written a book on spirit animals, but I am not so sure she knows what she is talking about, at least not in this book. She makes it seem like you can pick your spirit animal to aid in certain magic, but in most traditions, the animal picks you and stays with you; it doesn't change because you are casting a protection spell instead of a love spell. Some people have more than one, while others spend much of their lives searching for their one. I'd ignore that section if I were you. Furthermore, Alexander refers to magic using the antiquated idea of black and white magic, which is rooted in racism. Brandy Williams does a great job explaining this issue further, with some wonderful additional reads sprinkled throughout her post. And finally, she suggests at one point to appease an undine to "pour [perfume] into a stream, lake, or other body of water." Please do not do this...

So what did I love? Well, almost all of the book really. It is very easy to read, fun, and accessible to everyone. Unlike many other books on witchcraft, this is not a book on Wicca; this is very simply witchcraft, although some reviewers have suggested it is Wicca in disguise; I strongly disagree. She does mention some of the different paths around the world and encourages readers to experiment and find the path that works best for them. Furthermore, she makes it very clear that magic comes from within you and not from some outside force. Other authors suggest running out and buying a metaphysical store, but not Skye. She provides overviews of some common ritual tools and correspondences of different crystals, herbs, trees, and times, but makes it very clear magic can be performed anywhere by anyone with absolutely nothing. I couldn't agree with her more.

The spells and rituals in Part II are easy to perform and great for beginners and experts alike. Within these sections, she provides ways to make the spells and rituals your own, something other authors don't always encourage. Remember, witchcraft is what you make it. There are no rules other than to be clear and concise in your intent. Furthermore, she encourages readers to do a lot of self-reflection before performing spells to ensure the correct intent is there. For example, in the prosperity spell section, she asks the reader to complete 9 sentences, sentences that are specifically designed to define your ideas about prosperity and what it means to be successful. Every spell section begins with an activity like this one which I think is great, especially for beginners.

Overall, I suggest everyone, new or old, pick up this book. It isn't perfect, but to be quite honest with you, it made me feel proud to be a witch. Maybe I'm just crazy.

Have you read anything lately that you would recommend?

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Resolution Check-In

So it has been a good four months and I wanted to update everyone on my goal progress and fill you guys in on some really great news.

Spiritual Goals
To achieve my overarching spiritual goal there were a couple of things I wanted to work on:
     - Read and Review a Pagan Book (hopefully 3)
     - Create and Compile Grimoire and BOS
     - Set up Altar
     - Learn Tarot
     - Cast Runes Once a Week
     - Build Blog

After much deliberation, I removed casting rune once a week because, well, I still can't find all my pagan supplies, including my runes. There is still a large portion of the house packed in boxes because we are still working on the house and there is no point in unpacking everything until we are finished. Casting runes is also something that I shouldn't start until I have my altar set up.

I have yet to create and compile a physical Grimoire and BOS, set up my altar, or learn Tarot, but I am working on reading two pagan books at the moment and building the blog. Since January, my number of views has sky rocketed. I have spent more time strategically planning blog posts to attract more readers and have done a pretty good job of posting 4 times a month. I am slightly behind on posting 4 times a month, and I am currently at 31.2% complete. I have been sketching some watermark ideas and working on a contest to do later in the year.

Overall, my goals are progressing slowing in this category, but progressing nonetheless.

Home Goals
I had two home goals this year:
     - Remodel the Kitchen
     - Start a Garden

However, due to the changes in our financial situation, these have been put off until further notice. We won't start out garden until next year and the kitchen remodel probably won't start until next summer either. However, we are working on getting our office set up so at least we are doing something! We are also having to put money away to replace my shower, another unexpected expense. My shower floor cracked (we still aren't sure why) and the entire thing is going to need to be replaced. At least I will get to design it myself!

Here is a look at what we are doing so far in the office. I am very excited. Hopefully I'll get some more done this weekend or next. Its been several weeks since we started and due to our schedules and both of us getting sick, we have fallen behind.

Knowledge and Financial Goals

For my knowledge goals this year, I only have one: read 12 books; 1 pagan, 1 nonfiction, and 10 books of choice. I have read 13 books so far, all of them fiction. I am working on a pagan book right now, two actually, and have yet to pick out a nonfiction to read. I have uped my goal to 24 books this year since I am reading so many so quickly.

Financially we have put away a small chunk of change and are slowly paying down the credit cards. However, much of what we have been doing is preparing for me to go two months without a pay check. My job ends on June 24th and we have to make sure there is enough money put away to cover a couple of months. Furthermore, I've recently had some wrenches thrown into our finaicial goals; I am losing my financial aid for my Master's degree for two semester. This was no planned for in the least. In fact, we planned my classes in such a way that I wouldn't lose my financial aid, but something came up and things changed, much to my displeasure. So now, I not only have to be out of work for a couple months, but I also have to come up with $5k to pay for classes this summer and next we don't have. Oh the joys of life!

However, it is just money and we always manage to find a way.

Health Goals
This year I have three health goals:
     - Reduce Body Fat to 15%
     - Exercise 4+ Times per Week
     - Complete the I Quit Sugar Challenge

I completed the I Quit Sugar Challenge.  Unfortunately I did not lose any weight like I had hoped, but I did reset my cravings. In the past 3 months, I have only had 4 sodas, all of which was when I was sick. I came down with bronchitis three weeks ago and pop was the only thing that would break up the mucus. Disgusting I know.

As for exercising, I am slightly behind because I have been so busy and got sick. However, I am currently at 25% of my goal and I should probably be closer to 32-33%. I am losing body fat despite being ill so I am happy about that. I am hoping to reach this goal before the end of summer.

Career Goals
And this is where we have lots of news to share! This year, my career goals were pretty simple:
     - Get a Teaching Job
     - Research Starting an Etsy Business

I haven't started researching an Etsy business although I have been thinking about what I would want to sell if I started one. I did, however, find a teaching job. Yesterday I signed my contract and I am now the new biology teacher at a high school near by. I am very excited to start this fall. Thank you to everyone who prayed, sent well wishes, and worked some magic for me. It is much appreciated and knowing my hard work is paying off feels wonderful. It is because of this job, however, that the extra wrenches have been thrown into our financial goals. I have to complete my coursework minus the student teaching portions prior to starting the job, but it is worth it in the long run.

While some of my goals have changed and other remain incomplete, I feel very accomplished so far this year. Here's to opening the last half of the year is just as productive! How are your goals progressing?

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Happy Beltane!

Wishing everyone in the Northern Hemisphere a Happy Beltane!

I apologize for not posting as often as I have. Things have been incredibly crazy lately and I have some wonderful news to share with you soon.