Monday, August 29, 2016

Magical and Medicinal Uses of Bay

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

Folk Names: Baie, Bay Laurel, Daphne, Sweet Bay
Gender: Masculine
Planet: Sun
Element: Fire
Powers: Healing, Protection, Psychic Powers, Purification, Strength, Wisdom
Magical Uses and History: Bay is a fairly common herb used in witchcraft. It was perceived as a symbol of immortality by the Ancient Greeks and Romans where it later became a symbol of nobility and victory. The leaves were worn on the brow of every triumphant Roman general as he rode his chariot through the city in celebration. It is believed this tradition stems from Apollo, one of the many gods associated with bay. There are many speculated reasons for this, the first being because of his conquests in the natural world where he would deflower a virgin then turn her into a flower or tree as a symbol of his victory. Other myths suggest bay became associated with high achievements after Daphne, a nymph and from which the plant derives its Greek name dhafni, fled from Apollo's advances after he was struck by Eros's love arrow. Drunk on his victory over the great serpent Pytho and driven mad with desire from Eros's arrow, Apollo chased after Daphne who had no wish to be married. Right before being captured, Daphne turned into a bay tree. Other stories suggest Daphne was turned into a bay laurel by her father to protect her from Apollo. Either way, Apollo, enamored with its beauty, claimed the laurel as his own and designated its leaves to only be given to those most worthy. He took the laurel back to Delphi, where he had just killed Pytho, and erected his own temple, and created the Pythian Games (named after Pytho) where bay laurels were awarded to the victors. Even today Grand Prix winners are given bay laurel wreaths to celebrate their accomplishments, just like the winners of the Pythian Games and Olympic games of old. As such, bay can be used in spells to ensure triumph, worn during an athletic event to ensure victory, or used in spells to bring strength and courage.

Despite the downfall of Asclepius, who was struck down by Zeus while wearing a crown of bay leaves, bay is traditionally viewed as having protective powers, especially against lightning. It was hung in Roman homes to protect those within and is commonly used in protection spells and rituals today. It was such a popular protective herb that even the Ceasars decreed it so, and used it to protect against accidents and conspiracies during their reign. Later, herbalist Nicholas Culpeper claimed bay would protect against witchcraft and the devil. It can be worn as an amulet to ward off negativity and evil or burned to purify your home and prevent poltergeists from working any mischief. A sprig is often used to sprinkle water during purification rituals to add an extra punch. While a healthy tree grants protections, a withering or diseased bay laurel tree is considered a sign of disaster to come.

Furthermore, bay is said to have prophetic or psychic properties, allowing the famous Pythia, Oracle of Delphi, and the seer of Apollo, to see into the past, present, and future. Delphi was said to chew on the leaves or burn the branches to inhale the smoke while inhaling geothermal fumes in order to reach these trances. In large quantities, bay is a narcotic and stimulant, so it makes sense it was used to reach an altered state of consciousness. Use in bay brews or burn as an incense to induce a prophetic state or place beneath your pillow to induce prophetic dreams. Bay can also be burned to aid in hedge riding and other forms of astral travel or to enhance spirit communication.

Bay is also associated with wisdom and poetry, other attributes of Apollo, and hence where the name Poet Laureate and even baccalaureate (laurel berries) comes from. Like victorious commanders, poets and doctors were said to wear crowns of bay laurel to improve brain function, promote wisdom, and enhance memory. Have writers' block? Burn bay to enhance your creativity and dispel writers' block.

Bay can be used in a number of spells including:
     Protection Magic
     Prophetic Dreams
     Healing Spells
     Creativity Spells

Medicinal Uses: Bay leaves can be used either in whole leaf form or as an oil to treat a variety of ailments. The leaves can be used as a diuretic or to induce vomiting if something toxic has been consumed. It is also commonly used as a tea to settle upset stomachs, irritable bowel syndrome, or to help lessen the symptoms of Celiac disease. Bay leaf essential oil can be mixed with a salve and applied to the chest to alleviate respiratory conditions such as coughing, wheezing, bronchitis, or asthma. Inhaling the vapors has a similar effect. Bay also works as an anti-inflammatory to reduce joint swelling and can be used to lessen the symptoms of arthritis. Finally, bay has been connected with lower blood sugar and is often used to treat/manage diabetes.

Preparation and Dosage: Bay can be taken internally as an infusion or cooked within food. To make an infusion, pour a cup of boiling water onto 1-2 teaspoons of dried leaves and let infuse for 10 minutes. Drink this solution up to three times a day. If using bay leaf oil, please follow the directions listed on the box/bottle. Each one is different and therefore should be treated as such. Externally Bay Leaf oil can be mixed into a salve and applied to the chest overnight.

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Sunday, August 28, 2016

New Grimoire

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Well, I finally found a book I would like to use as a Grimoire. Originally I was going to make my own, but after watching several videos on book making, researching supplies, and looking at other Grimoires and Books of Shadows I decided it was best I purchase something already bound. I had toyed with the idea of using a three-ring binder or making a book with removable pages so I could move things around as I needed, but I felt like I would begin to lose things if I used these methods. Making a book with removable pages is also fairly time consuming, and time is something I do not have a lot of especially right now.

After watching a video the other night where a fellow witch showed off her handmade Grimoire, I felt the urge to start looking for mine own. Finding and starting a true Grimoire has been on my list of goals for this year, but the timing hasn't felt right. However, after seeing her beautiful artwork I felt inspired to start my own.

I spent sometime browsing on Amazon looking at blank books when an idea hit me. Why not purchase a large sketch book? The pages are blank and heavy enough to paint on if I desire. They are acid free so I don't have to worry about it breaking down in my life time and relatively inexpensive. Low and behold I found a large 600 page sketchbook for just $25 on Amazon. Kind of hard to beat, don't you think?

I am very excited to start work on my Grimoire although I probably won't be able to spend much time with it until October where I have a week off. Being a first year teacher and a student is hard work and much of my time has been spent working, even while I am home.

I am still planning out sections so if you have some suggestions or tips please let me know. I want to get it down and in an order I like before I start because once I begin, that's it. I'd also love to see your BOS's and Grimoires if you would like to share them with me.

Happy crafting!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Book Review: Hedge Riding by Harmonia Saille

Book Review: Hadge Riding by Harmonia Saille

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.
Harmonia needs to write more books on hedgecraft, that much is for damn sure. She is one of the first authors to write on the topic extensively (well -ish because her books are WAY too short in my opinion) and gets it right. More often than not, hedgecraft is confused with the practices of a kitchen or hearth witch. Yes, we share many things in common, but the main difference is hedge riding and the stress we place on divination. Harmonia's book Hedge Riding covers the topic of hedge riding quite well, although, like her last book, she could have written a lot more. Her book gives a basic introduction to the art of hedge riding while comparing it to meditation, pathwalking, and astral projection. While these activities have similarities, they are distinctly unique. To learn more, please read my post Meditation, Pathwalking, and Hedge Riding: Making Sense of It All for more information.
As always, let's start with what I did not like. I did not like the length. That's a given. I also did not like that the content wasn't covered in enough detail to walk away with a firm understanding of how to hedge ride. If you are familiar with pathwalking, which many may be, jumping to hedge riding isn't much of a stretch, but for those new to the craft, this book will be difficult to understand. It is by no means for a novice hedgewitch. That's pretty much it for what I didn't like.

Book Review: Hedge Riding by Harmonia SailleWhat I did like was that it accurately addressed the practice of hedge riding for experienced witches like myself. Harmonia also does a great job describing the different parts of the otherworld in a way all readers can understand. She even makes note that how you sort through the information she presents is completely up to you and that you should make it your own. Like her last book, Hedge Witchcraft, this is written from her perspective of her craft which makes the book relatable. Furthermore, seeing her step by step process regarding hedge riding makes some of the details clearer than if she had just listed the steps. She also leaves subtle warnings throughout that hedge riding can be dangerous and to take precautions. There are at least two chapters then deal with safety when hedge riding. The first covers entering an altered state of consciousness without the use of drugs and what you should bring with you and why, while the second chapter deals with proper preparation and etiquette once you enter the Otherworld.

I give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars because there are some parts that are slightly unclear. This is the book is clearly intended for experienced witches and some of the content would be unfamiliar to new or novice witches. However, for someone like myself, this book was an amazing addition to my collection.

Have you read anything wonderful lately?