Monday, February 17, 2020

Herbarium: Magical and Medicinal Uses of Feverfew

feverfew, herbal remedy, magic, herb magic, green witchcraft, kitchen witchcraft, witch

Gender: Masculine
Planet: Venus
Element: Water
Powers: Protection
Magical Uses and History: Feverfew is aptly named for one of its many uses, treating fever, but has historically been used to treat a variety of ailments including inflammation, menstrual cramps, toothaches, arthritis, vertigo, spasms, labor pains, insect bites, and the plague. The Ancient Greeks referred to feverfew as Parthenium supposedly because it was used to save the life of someone who had fallen from the Parthenon during its construction in the 5th century BC. As such, it is believed that carrying feverfew, along with hyssop and rosemary, will protect the wearer from accidents. Parthenium, however, also means "girl" which may allude to its traditional use for treating female complaints. By the 18 century, it became known as "medieval aspirin" for its use in treating headaches.

In the late Anglo-Saxon period until the 20th century, feverfew was used to treat elfshot or flying venom, a medical condition described in Wið færstice (an Anglo-Saxon medical text), that was caused by invisible elves shooting invisible arrows at a person or animal thus causing shooting pain in a localized area of the body. Its likely this pain was arthritis, a stitch, or muscle cramp. According to Wið færstice, feverfew along with red nettle and waybread could be combined to create an elfshot charm to cure the ailment. First, feverfew, red nettle, and waybread were boiled in butter while saying,

"Loud they were, lo, loud when they rode over the mound.
They were fierce when they rode over the land.
Shield yourself now that you may escape this evil.
Out, little spear, if herein you be!
Stood under linden, under a light shield where the mighty women readied their power and their screaming spears sent.
I back to them again wills end another,
a flying dart against them in return.
Out, little spear, if herein it be!
Sat a smith, forged he a knife, little iron-strong wound.
Out, little spear, if herein it be!
Six smiths sat; war-spears they made.
Out, spear, not in, spear!
It herein be a bit of iron, hag's work, it shall melt.
If you were in the skin shot, or were in flesh shot,
or were in the blood shot, or were in bone shot,
or were in limb shot, may your life never be torn apart.
If it were Aesir shot, or if it were elves' shot,
or it were hag's shot, now I will help you.
This your remedy for Aesir shot; this your remedy for elves' shot;
This your remedy for hag's shot; I will help you.
It fled there into the rest had it.
Whole be you now! Lord help you!
Then take the knife; dip into liquid."

Then a knife was dipped into the liquid and the mixture was likely rubbed on the afflicted area. All three of these herbs have spearhead-shaped leaves, likely a form of sympathetic magic. Either way, feverfew earned a reputation for being medicinally and magically valuable as a restorative and protective plant.

In medieval Europe, it was commonly planted in cottage gardens to protect the inhabitants. When the plague hit, people made sure to plant feverfew around the perimeter of their house to prevent the plague from entering. It is possible feverfew prevented plague-ridden vermin from entering the property which in turn kept the occupants safe. Today, feverfew is commonly used in protection magics and placed in protection sachets or planted around the home for the same purpose. It can also be used in baths or as a tea to break hexes and curses.

Feverfew can be used in a number of spells including:
    Protection Spells
    Breaking Hexes

Medicinal Uses: Feverfew is primarily used to treat headaches and migraines and is commonly taken at the first sign of pain. However, it may also help relieve arthritis when caused by inflammation, menstrual cramps, painful periods, and even dizziness and tinnitus. However, feverfew should not be used if you are pregnant as it can stimulate the womb. The leaves may also cause ulcers in sensitive people. Furthermore, it has blood-thinning qualities and should not be used by anyone currently on blood-thinners or undergoing surgery in the near future.

Preparation and Dosage: Feverfew can be taken internally one of three ways: chewing the leaves, infusion, or tincture (pill form is also available). It should be noted the leaves taste awful and can cause mouth ulcers so it is suggested the leaves are taken with food to reduce the effects. The most common way refers to the elfshot charm above: eat 3-5 fresh leaves on buttered bread daily to reduce headaches and migraines and prevent sores. To create an infusion, combine 3 tbsp fresh feverfew flowers and leaves or 3 tsp dried feverfew with one cup boiling water. Allow to steep for 20 minutes. Add honey to taste and drink 1/4 cup every 30 minutes until symptoms subside. It can be combined with lemon balm, skullcap, and chamomile for an even more powerful headache infusion. If taking a tincture, take 1-2 milliliters of tincture up to three times a day at the onset of symptoms. Externally, feverfew can be made into a salve and used to treat arthritis pain topically.

Want to print a copy of this for your Book of Shadows? Click below for your free copy! This particular plant profile is 2 pages due to the length of the content.

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Thursday, February 13, 2020

Meet the Hedgewitch's Cats and Why They Aren't Familiars

I adore animals and have been deeply connected with them from a young age. It's part of the reason I gave up eating meat as well. I just couldn't bring myself to eat the same creatures I loved so much. I've had many companion animals over the years, from frogs to hermit crabs to turtles to hamsters to chickens. However, my absolute favorite animal companions have been my cats over the years, and I have been privileged enough to have shared my time with several. At the moment, I have the joy of tending to three, beautiful grey cats that I adore beyond measure. I'd like to introduce you to them today and discuss why my cats, while great, are not familiars.

Oscar Wilde

Oscar is my big love machine who spends most of his time giving me kisses. When my husband left me in 2017 he took both of our cats with him. He had them for 2 years before we met, so technically they were his, but I will never forget how empty I felt losing my two cats of 8 years. I honestly think that was the worst part of everything that happened. Two days later my mom and dad took me to a pet adoption event at a local pet store. My dad said that if I had something to love I would have a reason to continue living. I was in a really dark place and my parents were legitimately concerned that I may take my own life. They weren't wrong. I did not want to adopt a new cat. I did not want to be responsible for another life when I couldn't care for myself. But I went and I am glad that I did.

When we arrived, we headed straight back to where the cats were, tucked away from the dogs and much of the noise. They had a lot more cats than normal that day and while most people were crowded around all the kittens, I caught sight of a scrawny, beat up, grey-haired cat with so much love in his eyes. He tried desperately to get everyone's attention, but he wasn't a kitten. He was scared up, ear torn, eyelid mangled so it's always showing, stitched on his stomach from a fight, undernourished, prickly to touch, and FIV positive. I looked at that cat and placed my hand against the cage and knew, this cat was waiting for me. He was here today for me and no one else.

I still went around and visited the other cats, my parents thinking I would want a kitten instead of an adult cat, but I kept looking back at Oscar who was watching me. After talking to all the kitties, because who can pass up loving on all of them, I went straight back to Oscar and said "This is my cat. I want this one." Again, my parents thought I would want a kitten and were shocked I settled on this "ugly" cat. The rescue let me open the cage and hold him and he meowed and purred at me the whole time. My parents fell in love too because what wasn't to love about this sweet boy?

I think the rescue was surprised he was adopted so quickly. They said they had picked him up off the street 2 weeks prior and that he was in rough shape. Before I could bring him home he needed to have his stitches removed, but other than that he was good to go. I picked him up later that day and he spent the next several weeks following me around talking to me about everything he had been through and how thankful he was. I had to move his food bowls into rooms with me so he would eat and drink because he only wanted to eat and drink if I was in the room.

Slowly he put on weight, his fur softened, his scars faded, and he settled down. I wake up every morning with him resting on the pillow above my head giving me kisses. Every. Single. Day. He loves giving me kisses and snuggling and being part of the family and he loves his grandparents too. Everyone loves coming over to see Oscar because he is so friendly. You'd think after going through so much he would be untrusting, but he is the exact opposite.

You see, I knew the moment I saw him from across the store that he was meant for me. I felt it in my chest and the pit of my stomach. It was a warm, comforting feeling. Bringing him home saved my life and I saved his. I've never had a cat as amazing as Oscar, and everyone he has ever met dotes on how sweet he is, how they didn't like cats before they met my Oscar. The vet's office eats him up every time I bring him in. He is so easy going, except when I run the vacuum and loves sleeping on all of my chairs and couches and eating lots of kitty treats. If I associated him with anything magical it would be the element Earth for he is grounded, stubborn, and my rock.

Jane Austen

I adopted Oscar in June of 2017. That same December a couple of days before the end of the semester, a small grey kitten wandered up to the courtyard of the school I work at and some students found her playing in the bushes. She was playful and sweet and the students, not knowing what to do, brought her to the English teacher across the hall from me. They knew she loved animals and had taken cats before that had wandered up to the school. She called me over to see it before her daughter picked it up to keep it at home for the day. One of the girls that found the kitten wanted to keep her but needed to ask her parents first. I loved on that little kitten all the way up until she was taken away and told my coworker that if the girls couldn't take her, I would. I had a place for her at home and knew my big, loveable Oscar would love a sibling.

Needless to say, the end of the school day came around and the kitten ended up going home with me. She rode in my lap the entire drive home, purring up a storm. I didn't tell anyone what I had done until I was almost home. I called my mom and said, "Guess what I got today!" She rattled off a couple of things school-related and when I finally told her I had picked up a kitten, she was flabbergasted and asked if I was sure. Of course, I was sure! Like Oscar, this small kitten was meant for me; she had told me so. The Universe knew I wanted and needed another cat and sent me one. Then she asked if I had told my boyfriend, who she knew was sleeping at home with Oscar. Nope...I hadn't said a word to anyone; I had just done it.

When I arrived home, I gingerly carried this tiny kitten upstairs and into my bedroom where my boyfriend was, low-and-behold, asleep with Oscar tucked under his arm. I sat down on the bed which awoke them both and I said, "Look what I got today." Miles squinted at me, looked down, blinked a couple of times, and when it finally sunk in I was holding a kitten his eye grew big and he scooped her up. Oscar was less than happy with me, but after about a week the two of them were inseparable.

When I brought her home, I wasn't entirely sure Jane was a girl. I was hoping she was a boy and that I would get to name her Charles Dickens, but alas the vet confirmed what I already knew; she was, in fact, a girl, so Jane Austen it was, named after my one of my favorite authors. If you haven't noticed there is a theme here...

Jane is inquisitive, playful, intelligent, and vocal. Out of all three of my cats, she puts the boys to shame when it comes to outwitting them and problem-solving. She keeps me on my toes and I am constantly having to introduce new toys to keep her occupied. While much smaller than her brothers, she is the queen among cats, and they follow her lead wherever it may take them. Despite her inquisitive nature, Jane is also a lap cat. She will spend hours sitting on my lap while I am on my computer or reading a book but is wary of being pet without her consent. She is also incredibly respectful and is cautious not to disturb my stuff, no matter how tempting it may be. She always wants to partake in my magical practice, but I am sure to keep the cats at a distance when burning incense to keep them safe. Instead, she usually sits outside my door, waiting patiently for me to finish. She is my sweet girl, and most certainly a gift. Jane is my Fire, full of passion and love.

Charles "Charlie" Dickens

I know you're not supposed to have favorites, but I definitely have a favorite and its Charlie. If you were to ask me why, I wouldn't be able to fully explain it, because I'm not really sure why I am so drawn to Charlie, but I am. He is also the weirdest cat I have ever owned. If I didn't know better, I'd say he was probably a dog in another life.

After getting Jane, I quickly realized that my plan to give Oscar a sibling had somewhat backfired. Jane was full of energy and Oscar wasn't. While he loved cuddling with his baby sister, he wasn't very interested in being attacked, chased, or otherwise bothered by this rambunctious kitten. That's when I realized I needed a younger playmate for Jane, which was perfectly fine with me! I don't particularly like even numbers, and knew that three cats was probably best for me. Everyone tried to convince me I didn't need any more cats, but deep down I knew there was one last cat that was supposed to be in my life right now. So I waited...somewhat patiently...for the right cat to come along. I knew that when the Universe was ready, I'd know.

About 6 months after bringing how Jane, another co-worker, sent me pictures of a bunch of kittens her friend had found under their porch. Low and behold there was a little grey and white kitten among the litter. I looked at his tiny face and knew at that moment this was the cat I had been waiting for. My boyfriend was completely against getting another cat, but when I showed him the picture of the kitten he looked up at me and said "Yeah...this is your cat." A couple weeks later, after he had been fixed and healed and grown a little more, we made the hour trip to pick up this adorable little furball. The family had aptly named him Ash, for his grey color, and he weighed less than 2 pounds. When I picked him up he hissed at me. I gave him an inquisitive look and he immediately settled down and started purring. I told him his new name was Charlie and kissed his little forehead. I fell in love with him instantly and haven't stopped kissing him and holding him since I brought him home. I know he did too.

We made the drive back home, Charlie sleeping peacefully in my boyfriend's lap the entire drive. I was anxious to see how Oscar and Jane were going to respond to be bringing home yet another cat. I was most worried about Oscar after how he reacted to Jane, but when we finally arrived home, Oscar surprised me. Both Jane and Oscar were asleep on the couch in the basement. I slowly sat next to them and let Charlie walk over to them. Charlie sniffed Oscar and immediately began purring as loudly as a train. Oscar sniffed Charlie back and started purring and cleaning Charlie. It was the most amazing thing ever; instant love between the two of them. Oscar and Charlie cuddled on the couch most of the afternoon, Oscar guarding and protecting him from Jane, who was less than happy with the stranger.

Like Oscar had with her, it took Jane about a week to settle down and accept Charlie into the family, but once she did, they were the greatest of playmates. Charlie gave Oscar a cuddle buddy and gave Jane a spunky playmate. And for me, it gave me the biggest momma's boy in the world. He completes our little family and my heart couldn't be more full.

Charlie is my Air as he is extremely talkative but yet so flighty, his head always caught up in the clouds. He loves sitting in windows, watching the birds, insects, and wind blow through the trees. If we close a door, he cries incessantly until we let him in. Heck, sometimes he just cries because I'm not giving him enough attention. When I am on my computer, I have to pull an extra chair up as close to my chair as possible for him and him alone to sit in, otherwise, he cries. He has the loudest purr in the world and follows me everywhere, especially into the bedroom, office, or kitchen. He loves standing in the sink or shower, especially after the water has run, just to watch it drip down the drain. He also insists on putting all of his cat food into the water bowl before eating it and even places his favorite toys in the water bowl. Maybe he was also a fish in another life. Finally, he enjoys chewing on fingers, toes, pillows, and my expensive velvet tufted chairs, much to my annoyance, and we have yet to figure out why. Trust me, I've talked to the vet at length about this because he is ruining $250 dollar chairs! He is extremely quirky, to say the least, but I love him to death, even if he ruined my expensive furniture.

Why Aren't My Cats Familiars?

First of all, I don't believe pets can be familiars, which may ruffle some feathers. Familiars are spirits and my cats are not spirits. They are very much alive and remind me of that daily from the howling for food to the stinky poops in the litter box every morning. Spirits do not need to eat or use the bathroom, and therefore my cats are not familiars. Historically, familiars, also called familiar spirits, were shapeshifting spirits that aided witches in their magical practices. They would sometimes take an animal form, usually to "hide" or blend in. However, this was not the true form of the familiar, and even still they didn't need to "eat" in a traditional sense. Their eating took the form of feeding off of energy, whether it be the witch's energy or the energy of others. Either way, the familiar was not laying around eating cat treats all day and throwing his toys in the water dish.

However, I do believe my cats are magical companions. Jane most certainly is, with Oscar being a respectful watcher, while Charlie is just destructive. Everything is a game to him and that's fine. Jane recognizes there is energy in the objects I own and that I am able to manipulate this energy and as a result, she treats my magical tools with deep reverence. As I mentioned, she is exceptionally preceptive and smart. She puts the other two to shame. Do I ever involve them in my magical workings? Sometimes. If I am burning a bunch of incense, I try to keep my cats out to keep them safe. However, tarot readings, some hedge riding trips, and other general workings, I often let my cats wander in and out as they please. Despite Oscar's ambivalence toward magic, he is interested in hedge riding, mostly because I think he worries about me. I truly believe he can feel me move between realms, and often lays next to me to keep my body safe. If I travel too far, I often feel him licking my face or hair to get me to return. Oscar helps with my return journeys more often than not and does a fabulous job of it. I wouldn't trust anyone else to do his job.

So do I view my cats are familiars? Definitely not. Do I communicate with them and involve them in my magical work? Yes and yes. I love the relationship I have built with these three little buggers and I am glad I get to walk this life with them by my side.

Do you involve your pets in your magical workings?

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Monday, February 10, 2020

5 Witchy Books for Winter

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I love a lot. I think I have made that pretty obvious on the blog over the years. Books are one of the best ways to learn and grow, apart from actually doing what it is you are learning about, of course. Reading is also an excellent escape, one that I find myself turning too more often lately as the winter blues continue to set in. I've always been a devoted, passionate reader. Well, that's a lie. When I was in elementary school I struggled with reading and reading comprehension, but no one really knew why. I was a brilliant kid and extremely creative, but I struggled with reading. It wasn't until I had a teacher sit down with me and teach me a "new" way to read and look at the world of books that it finally clicked. From that point on I devoured as many books as I could. Every Christmas I had several books on my wish list. I went to Barnes and Noble and Borders religiously. I checked out books from the library and otherwise surrounded myself with all the books I could get my hands on. Not surprisingly, I surrounded myself with folklore and fantasy books. They were a great escape and the closest I could get at the time to reading about things I experienced as a child. It wasn't until high school that I finally started purchasing New Age books, and it wasn't until my senior year that an art teacher, of all people, realized I had a learning disability that hindered my ability to read and understand language. Like I said, I was brilliant, later labeled as gifted, and was able to compensate for my learning disability my entire life. But I digress. The point I am trying to make is that books are amazing and you don't have to be a good reader to enjoy a good story.

I've been mulling this post over for quite some time and decided today is the perfect time to discuss a couple of my favorite witchy books and the tea I like to read with them. Again, I love tea about as much as I love books, if not more. Because I love books so much, I broke the post down into seasons. Expect to see a Spring/Summer list in May and a Fall list in September. There are just so many books that I couldn't pick just a few.

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.

1. The Silver Witch by Paula Brackston- Most people know Paula Brackston for her book The Witch's Daughter, which is probably one of my least favorite of hers. However, I adore The Silver Witch. Both female leads are strong, independent women who don't need a man to come along and save them. I think this is part of the reason I loved the book so much. Brackston is a gifted writer and always tells a beautiful tale, especially the parts that take place throughout history. In The Silver Witch, Brackston tells the tales of two women: Tilda, a modern-day artist who recently lost her husband, and Seren, a witch and shaman who lived during Celtic times. Their fates are intertwined and together they must face down a great evil. Seren is by far my favorite witch in all of Brackston's books. She is strong, independent, elegant, and full of love and surprises. She is such a fierce character, one I identify with greatly. Being a shaman, Seren is also able to communicate with the beyond to receive messages and I loved how Brackston portrays her character in this book.

I suggest sipping a strong Darjeeling tea, which is also suggested on page 39, while enjoying the book cuddled up in a nice, fluffy blanket.

2. The Winter Witch by Paula Brackston- Yeah, another Brackston book, but I really enjoy her writing style. This story, aptly named, follows a young witch named Morgana. Unlike everyone else in town, Morgana does not speak and is sent off to wed a local herder she barely knows. However, some force is dead set on destroying Morgana's life and she must work to lift the curse threatening her new life. While the lead woman of this book is sometimes frustrating at times, I found the romance beautifully enchanting. I also loved how Brackston incorporated local Welsh myths of wishing wells into this story.

I suggest drinking Winter White Earl Grey by Harney & Sons with a splash of milk and sugar while reading this lovely tale. I'm not really sure why, but London Fog always reminds me of the moors and warms my soul on cold winter nights.

3. The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab- I recently finished this book (like within the first 3 days of 2020 starting), and was instantly in love with the characters. The Near Witch tells the tale of the small town of Near where the inhabitants tell the tale of the Near Witch singing in the wind. When a stranger shows up in town and children begin to go missing, the townsfolk blame the newcomer while Lexi, a young girl who lives with her mother and sister on the edge of town, suspects the Near Witch may be behind it. Lexi is a headstrong tomboy who isn't afraid to get a little muddy to save her little sister's life. She teams up with the ashy newcomer, Cole, to find the children and clear Cole's name.

I suggest an earthy, smoky tea such as Black Cask Bourbon by Harney & Sons. I suggest this because of Cole's smoky past and because bourbon reminds me of windy moors. This tea is full-bodied and sure to warm you up.

4. The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson- The Snow Queen is a Danish fairy tale from 1844 and has been the inspiration for many a tale since then. In fact, Disney's Frozen is one such take on this tale. This story tells the tale of Kai and Gerda, two children who live next door to each other in a small town. They grow up hearing the tales of the Snow Queen and one winter the queen whisks Kai away. The town believes Kai dead, but Gerda, determined to get to the bottom of his disappearance, sets off to find him. Its a beautiful story and available for free online.

I suggest pairing this tale with a peppermint tea. Peppermint always gives me the "chills" and goes well with this story.

5. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis- Yeah...the man was a Christian and the whole series is about it, but that doesn't mean we can't love it all the same. In my opinion, this is a pretty darn pagan book! If it's not up your alley, try His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman which was written in response to C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia and it about "killing God." Either way, both books are full of snow-filled adventures that are great for both young and old. I adore both stories and if reading them isn't in the cards this winter, the movies are fantastic as well. His Dark Materials was also recently turned into an HBO series, with The Golden Compass premiering as season 1. Be prepared though. The TV show is not for young children.

I suggest pairing this book with Harney & Son's Chocolate Peppermint tea. Chocolate and peppermint always remind me of Yule and winter and magic and goes well with both of the stories listed above. And if tea isn't your thing, a warm cup of hot chocolate is just as magical!

witch, books, reading, winter, witchy, witchy reads, occult

And there you have it, 5 witchy books for winter that are sure to get you through these final chilling weeks. Is there a witchy book you enjoy reading in the winter? Have a tea you think pairs well with one these books? Let me know in the comments below!

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Monday, February 3, 2020

February Snow Moon Worksheet

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February's Full Moon, referred to as the Snow, Ice, Quickening, or Hunger Moon, is filled with uncertainty but hope as well. The nights are still long and cold and for many, cabin fever is beginning to set in. Furthermore, February is the last stretch before fairer weather arrives, and our ancestors were cautious of their winter stores making it until Spring. Despite the concerns, hope is present in the new life forming beneath the surface. Seedlings began to sprout under the snow's surface and baby animals grow within their mother's bellies. February is a great time for re-evaluating our past and setting goals for the future.

This month's Full Moon worksheet contains the usuals of my past Full Moon worksheets, including a to release and cleanse section, a box for your intuition, and a tarot spread. Unlike past worksheets, however, this one can be used every February, as it is based on the correspondences of the moon itself and not other astrological events. The tarot spread for this month features 6 cards specifically designed to help you figure out what seeds to plant this month.

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

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Thursday, January 30, 2020

Imbolc Altar 2020

Imbolc, altar, witchcraft, sabbat, Candlemas, St. Brigid's Day

Imbolc, also referred to as Candlemas or St. Brigid's Day, is the first of the fire festivals, with candles being used as sympathetic magic to hurry the Sun's return. This is the final yawn before Spring returns and with it plentiful gardens, full bellies, and warmer temperatures. Imbolc is a time of reflection, transformation, and new beginnings, and symbolizes the light at the end of the tunnel. As the Wheel turns, we continue to see the days becoming longer and the nights shorter, while the first buds of spring pepper the trees and flowers began to peek through the snow. For this year's Imbolc altar, I wanted to represent these themes with candles, crystals, and herbs.

Imbolc, altar, witchcraft, sabbat, Candlemas, St. Brigid's Day

1. White Candles- As I mentioned in the introduction above, candles are traditionally used on Imbolc to coax the Sun to return sooner. This is a form of sympathetic magic where like attracts light. The white represents purity and new beginnings, as Imbolc is a symbol that new life is right around the corner and that changes are on the way. The white also symbolizes milk, the staple food of this sabbat. Ewes begin lactating during this time, providing a much-needed protein source for our ancestors. In fact, this celebration of ewe's milk was so important that Imbolc was named after it, coming from the Gaelic word "oimelc" meaning "ewe's milk." (Where did I get it: Dollar Tree (2018-2020); Cost: $1 for each candle holder and $1 for all the candles)

Imbolc, altar, witchcraft, sabbat, Candlemas, St. Brigid's Day

2. Rose- Roses are a symbol of love and devotion. If you follow the Wheel of the Year as a love story between the God and the Goddess, you are aware that their love brings about the rebirth of the Sun, the ultimate symbol of love. The Goddess begins to wake after having given birth to the Sun, the rays warming the Earth and fertilizing it so that seeds may grow. I placed the roses on my altar, not for the God and Goddess, but to represent the love between the Earth and the Sun. Without the Sun, the Earth would not grow and without the Earth, there would be no seeds to germinate.  (Where did I get it: My Garden; Cost: Free)

Imbolc, altar, witchcraft, sabbat, Candlemas, St. Brigid's Day

3. Fulgurite, Amazonite pyramid, and Mangano Calcite:  Fulgurite looks a little weird on this altar, but I promise you it fits right in. Fulgurite is lightning fused sand and represents transformations and changes. Furthermore, fulgurite of purification, release, intuition, creativity, sexuality, and inner power. It is a powerful representation of Imbolc, although not necessarily the pretties. In the middle of an Amazonite pyramid with the elements written on each of its sides. I turned it so that Fire faced forward, a nod to Imbolc being a fire festival and as a form of sympathetic magic, calling upon Fire to bring the Sun's warming energy. Amazonite also represents healing and balance, as the Sun and Earth heal and grow into their power and the days and nights become more equal. Finally, one of my favorite crystals of all time, mangano calcite. I don't know about you, but this crystal's magic is so potent. Every time I see it my heart is filled with peace and joy. It vibrates with a soft, soothing love, one that last's for an eternity, the perfect crystal to symbolize the loving relationship between Sun and Earth.  (Where did I get it: Fulgurite from Of Moth and Moon (Etsy), Amazonite and Mangano from a subscription box; Cost: $6)

Imbolc, altar, witchcraft, sabbat, Candlemas, St. Brigid's Day

4. Snakeskin- Wrapped around the candles is a park of a snakeskin I found last summer in my yard. Snakeskins represent transformations and new beginnings, that we are able to shed old habits and form new ones. What better item to place on an Imbolc altar than a snakeskin? (Where did I get it: My Yard; Cost: Free)

Imbolc, altar, witchcraft, sabbat, Candlemas, St. Brigid's Day

5. White Sand and Bay Leaves- Bay leaves in salt or sand is a popular way to represent Imbolc as it symbolizes the first leaves popping up through the snow. This year I used white sand, which can be reused year and year instead of salt. The white sand represents both the Earth and the snow that is covering it, while the bay leaf represents the first plants emerging for the soil. Bay leaves are also used to carry wishes, and in this case, they are carrying the wish that Spring will arrive quickly. In front of the bay leaves is a candle, again working as a form of sympathetic magic. I placed two on my altar this year for balance and used these beautiful iridescent candle holders I purchased over the weekend from the Dollar Tree. (Where did I get it: Dollar Tree 2020; Cost: $1 for sand, candle holders $1 each)

TOTAL COST: ~$13-15

Imbolc, altar, witchcraft, sabbat, Candlemas, St. Brigid's Day

Like my other altars, most of the items I use are found or purchased for around $1, although if the items must be purchased by you, then the cost may be higher. I hope you find this sort of break down helpful, especially those of you looking to create Instagram perfect altars on a budget! There is no reason your altars have to cost a fortune, so why not save some money and use what you may already have?

Do you have any plans for Imbolc? What about a favorite Imbolc food? Let me know in the comments below! I plan to enjoy the weekend cozied up with a good book, hot tea, and lots of candles.

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Monday, January 27, 2020

Elemental Magic: Introduction to the Elements

magic, elements, earth, air, fire, water, spirit, witchcraft, witch

Well, the survey results were pretty clear regarding which topic you guys wanted me to talk about in more detail: The Elements. One of the biggest issues with most modern books on witchcraft is that they gloss over the Elements, giving a brief overview and their correspondences, then never returning to them with more detail. How have the Elements been used historically? How can one connect on a deep spiritual level with each element? How can the Elements be used in witchcraft in a meaningful way that enhances a spell's potency, instead of just throwing them in because their correspondences align with the spell? These are questions this series will help to answer.

The plan for the next several months is to dive deep into each element and how you can use it more effectively in your spellcraft. For each element, I will discuss their history, correspondences, tools, and how they work with other elements, as well as provide you with a ritual designed to specifically connect with that element with alternative methods for those without access to certain materials or limited mobility, and finish with spells and rituals that incorporate that element in a positive, enriching way, with a full explanation of course. I plan to work heavily on my Grimoire pages during this series and will hopefully be including my work in these posts as well.

But what are the Elements? There are four basic elements: Water, Earth, Fire, and Air. For many of us, we include a fifth element that pulls everything together, and I'm not talking about a beautiful weapon with orange hair designed to save Earth from impending destruction. I'm talking about Spirit or ether. Honestly, you could think about Spirit has a weapon against impending destruction if you like. Its the human spirit that has gotten humankind through more than one rough patch. Its the human spirit that has driven innovation, exploration, and discovery. It is also the human spirit that drives kindness, passion, empathy, and love. Spirit is the magical fountain within each of us; our individual source. Within Spirit, all the basic four elements come together to work in harmony with one another.

In most if not all traditions, each element is associated with very specific correspondences and used in specific ways based on their nature. Water is traditionally associated with healing, emotions, and intuition. It is sometimes referred to as the element of movement, as water is constantly in motion, and is often used in spells for cleansing, purifying, clarifying, and healing the body and mind, but is also destructive and deadly. Water can take life just as easily as it gives life. Earth, also known as the solid element, is the element of stability, grounding, endurance, abundance, and even stubbornness. Earth is often unyielding, but other times light as a feather and easily moved. It is from the Earth that plants grow and thrive (with few exceptions, think mistletoe), providing an abundant life source of food. In spellwork, Earth is often used for grounding and centering, to make a spell stick, or to bring abundance and prosperity. Fire, on the other hand, represents passion, enthusiasm, love, and transformation, and is vastly unpredictable and volatile. It is often used to spark innovation, increase vitality and vigor, as well as speed up a spell, or during transformations. When used properly, fire is a potent ally in spellwork. Finally, there is Air, the most elusive of the elements as we cannot easily see it. Air is the element of communication, knowledge, and wisdom, but can be flighty and a bit ditzy at times. Air is often used in spells to carry messages, especially to the Universe, spirits, deities, and our ancestors, through the use of incense. Air is also used in spells to aid in communication between two parties on our plane of existence and to bring wisdom to a spell.

For this series, I will be starting with Water, which asked to be first because it is associated with healing and starting over. What better element to begin the new year with? Plus, emotions have been running high, relationships have come crashing down, and everyone is at their wit's end. I think some serious healing is in order. I will follow Water with Earth, as life is returning in the Spring and early Summer months. After healing, we all need a little grounding and Earth will help us do just that. Next, I will cover Fire, as the Summer Sun is beating down passionately on the Earth, bringing with it plentiful gardens, beach bonfires, and the longest day of the year. Once we have healed and recentered, its time to start anew and fire will help with this transformation. As the year begins to wane, I will delve into Air. Communication and lightheartedness are important during the early Fall months as we shift gears for Winter and return back to jobs and school after Summer fun. Air will help us communicate our new selves and ideas to others. Finally, I will end the series with Spirit, helping you connect to the magic within yourself. Winter is the perfect time for shadow work, reflection, and spiritual growth and it only seems fitting that we end with ourselves. By the end of this series, I hope that not only will you have developed a relationship with each element and a deeper understanding of how to use each, but that you will have transformed through their ritual use. 2020 is a year of healing and transformation, and what better way to do it that through the elements?

I look forward to walking this road with each of you and seeing where it takes us. While I have a general outline of the series to come, I am going to let intuition guide me, so keep in mind some of the outline may change as we proceed.

Interest in the rest of the series? Here's what's to come!

Elemental Magic Series

Introduction to the Elements
Water Folklore & Correspondences
Connecting With Water Ritual
Water Spells and Rituals
Earth Folklore & Correspondences
Connecting With Earth Ritual
Earth Spells and Rituals
Fire Folklore & Correspondences
Connecting With Fire Ritual
Fire Spells and Rituals
Air Folklore & Correspondences
Connecting With Air Ritual
Air Spells and Rituals
Spirit Folklore & Correspondences
Connecting with Spirit Ritual
Spirit Spells and Rituals
Putting It All Together

Looking for more information on the elements? Check out my posts on the topic:

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Thursday, January 23, 2020

Herbarium: Magical and Medicinal Uses of Basil

basil, herb magic, witchcraft, herbal remedies

Gender: Masculine
Planet: Mars
Element: Fire
Powers: Astral Travel, Exorcism, Love, Protection, Wealth
Magical Uses and History: Basil's history dates back over 5000 years, beginning in India before moving west into the Mediterranean where it became a staple herb in culinary, magical, and medicinal practices. Sweet basil, along with other basil and mint plants, belongs to the genus Ocimum which is derived from the Greek meaning "to be fragrant." This is exceptionally true of the basil plant, which is often described as being very fragrant. The word basil itself, however, comes from the Greek word for "king," thus associating it with wealth and royalty. Basil can be carried in your pockets to attract wealth or kept in cash registers or grown by the door to attract business. However, basil is more commonly associated with love than wealth and royalty.

Holy Basil, which is highly revered in India, is a sacred Hindu herb and is believed to be a manifestation of the Goddess Tulasi. According to legend, the god Vishnu disguised himself as Tulasi's husband to seduce her. When Tulasi realized she had been unfaithful to her husband she killed herself. In some stories, Tulsai was a mortal named Vrinda who threw herself onto a funeral pyre after her husband's death. In both cases, her burnt hair turned into Holy Basil (Tulsi). In both stories, Vishnu ultimately defied Tulasi's wishes to die and declared she be worshiped by wives and would prevent said wives from becoming widows. As such, Holy Basil is the symbol of love, fidelity, eternal life, purification, and protection. Often times people swear over basil bushes to ensure they will tell the truth during court hearings.

My favorite myth regarding basil, however, comes from The Decameron. The story of Isabetta (sometimes referred to as Isabella or Elisabetta) is a tragic one that begins with Isabetta, who comes from a wealthy family, falling in love with a lower-class man named Lorenzo. When Isabetta's three brothers discovered their love, they lured Lorenzo into the woods where they killed and buried him, telling Isabetta that Lorenzo had gone away on business. That night, however, Lorenzo visited Isabetta in her dreams, informing her of her brothers' deceit and asked that she give him a proper burial. Struck with grief, Isabetta dashed away into the forest with nothing but a knife to dig up Lorenzo's body. When she realized she had no way of doing so with just a knife, she cut off his head and snuck it back home where she buried it in a pot of basil. Every day for one hour she would cry over the pot, watering the basil with her tears. When her brothers discovered the pot contains Lorenzo's head they stole it away to hide the evidence of their murderous deed. Isabetta, realizing her Lorenzo was gone forever, dies of a broken heart shortly after. John Keats later retells this tale in a 63 eight-line rhyming stanza which is absolutely breathtaking. It was so loved that painter William Homan immortalized the story in his famous painting Isabella and the Pot of Basil (1868). Needless to say, basil is strongly connected with love and fidelity, and in this case with easing sorrow and grief, especially when attributed to the loss of a loved one.

The association of basil with love became so strong that men began wearing basil in their hats when they were ready to seek a wife. Women would give sprigs of basil to their love interest to solidify the relationship and was even used to divine future lovers. Two fresh basil leaves were placed upon a lump of hot coal. if the leaves remain falt and burn quickly, it is said that the relationship will be harmonious, but if they crackle or move slightly, then the relationship will be plagued with quarrels. If the leaves fly apart, the relationship will eventually end. To ensure your partner is faithful, sprinkle basil over their heart while they are asleep. Concerned they may be unfaithful? Hand them a sprig of basil and if it withers quickly, they are likely being unfaithful.

In other parts of Europe, however, basil became associated with the Devil, death, and witches. Some folklore suggests that basil belongs to Satan and therefore you must curse the soil before you plant basil in order for it to grow properly. This might explain why I can never grow basil... It is believed the French idiom, "semer le basilic" which means "to sow the basil" comes from this belief and refers to ranting. This may have arisen from the idea that basil was sacred to the dead and was often placed in the hands of the deceased in order to secure safe passage to the Underworld. As such, basil is seen as protective and can be placed around the home to protect against evil and harmful spells. In some folklore, basil is strewn across the floor as a protection charm because where basil lives no evil can live. In Greece, Basil leaves were burned to oust witches. While the leaves were burning, a name of a suspected witch was called out. If the leaves hissed in response, it was believed that the person was, in fact, practicing witchcraft.

However, the most pertinent use of basil in hedgecraft is for flying. Accordingly to legend witches would drink a concoction of basil oil or an infusion of basil before embarking on astral travel. This is referenced over and over in multiple magical sources, but I can't find where this belief originated, so if you can point me in the right direction, please do! Either way, basil is associated with flight and is used by some witches to aid in hedge riding. It is known that during the time of the Tudors, small plants of basil were given to guests as a parting gift, likely to aid them in their travels. As such, basil could be used to aid in traveling, both within the physical and metaphysical realms.

Basil can be used in a number of spells including:
    Protection Spells
    Love Spells and Rituals
    Psychic Development
    Hedge Riding
    Money Magic

Medicinal Uses: Sweet Basil is commonly used to stimulate and soothe the stomach and intestinal activity, stomach cramps, nausea, indigestion, gas, and bloating. Due to its fragrant nature, it has also been used to cure bad breath. Topically, the juice from the leaves can be used to speed the healing of infected cuts, insect bites, and stings. The leaves can also be rubbed against the skin to repel insects. Holy Basil, on the other hand, promotes healthy uptake of sugars by the body and has been found to be beneficial in the early stages of diabetes. Holy Basil is also used to treat coughs and bronchitis and lowers blood pressure and cholesterol.

Preparation and Dosage: Sweet Basil and Holy Basil can be taken internally by eating the leaves straight, cooking the plant into foods, or through an infusion. To make an infusion, combine one cup of hot water with 5-10 fresh leaves. Allow the leaves to infuse for 10 minutes. Drink up to three times a day. Externally, the juice from the leaves of Sweet Basil can be used to treat insect bites, stings, and minor cuts. To make a poultice, grind a handful of fresh sweet basil leaves and apply directly to the wound. Holy Basil should not be used to treat diabetes alone and you should consult your doctor before taking.

Want to print a copy of this for your Book of Shadows? Click below for your free copy! This particular plant profile is 2 pages due to the length of the content.

basil, herb magic, witchcraft, herbal remedies

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Monday, January 20, 2020

Meet the Hedgewitch

Considering how much the blog has grown over the years, especially recently, I thought it would be beneficial to introduce myself a little better. For the most part, I haven't really done so!

So, hello! I'm Willow, the author and creator of Flying the Hedge. I am 31 years old and have been practicing witchcraft in some form since I was 15. I knew from a young age that Christianity didn't feel right, but I wasn't sure what did. My parents weren't very religious and allowed me and my younger brother to explore anything and everything we wanted without judgment unless of course, it was deliberately destructive and illegal. By the time I reached high school, all my friends were getting heavily involved in Youth Leadership and other Christian groups and tried to get me involved but it always felt forced and weird. I went to church maybe two times as a kid other than when I was baptized. It wasn't something my family ever did, and I had a hard time trying to fit into the church community as a teenager. That's about the time I started exploring the entirety of the local bookstore and wandered into the New Age section.

I spent a lot of time reading in middle and high school, mostly books about faeries and magic, and as I was reading over the titles in the New Age section I stopped and was like, "Wait, this is real? I can be a witch?!" I bought several books that day including Teen Witch by Silver Ravenwolf, Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, The Element Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells, and a couple others I can't remember and no longer have. When I set all the books on the counter at checkout, the woman behind the counter gave me and my then-boyfriend a curious look, shook her head, and rang up the books. I spent the next several nights devouring the books. This was the most exciting thing to ever happen to me. You see, I grew up in the woods seeing spirits and talking with them; feeling the land breathe between my toes. I knew there was magic in the woods around my home, but I was always told I just had an active imagination. It was a relief to know there was something of value in what I had grown up seeing and believing. However, when I started to tell others that I was Wiccan, things became a little hostile.

You see, I live in Georgia and Georgia is not known for being very inclusive, especially if you aren't a white, Conservative, Christian. I remember during a class discussion a student decided to announce to the class that I should be burned at the stake for being a witch because I didn't agree with his interpretation of some scene in Alias Grace. Most of the class laughed, but I remember how isolated that made me feel. I was already different to begin with, and being a witch made things worse. This sort of stuff was pretty commonplace, but I brushed it aside and wore my spirituality with conviction.

I continued to practice and study, doing small magical workings here and there but nothing of any real substance. By the time I made it to college, I knew I was a witch, but I wasn't sure Wicca was right for me. It felt like rebranded Christianity. That's when I found The Way of the Hedgewitch and dove in deep. Now Murphey's book is not really about hedgecraft. It's more about rebranded cottage witchery, but it got me exploring hedgecraft in earnest. And that's when everything just...clicked. I didn't have to believe in deities. I didn't have to do elaborate ceremonial magic. I didn't have to believe in a bastardization of karma or the 3 Fold Rule. This...this felt right. This felt like my true self and I have never looked back. In college and for about 2 years or so afterward, I just sort of dabbled in hedgecraft. I was dating a man that would later become my husband that didn't support my spiritual beliefs and that made it difficult to want to practice. When we first got together, he seemed supportive, but as our relationship progressed, he made a point to comment to others behind my back about how he didn't believe such nonsense and not to lump him in with me and so on. Basically, he was calling me crazy to all my friends and family and trying to boost his esteem in the eyes of others. Shortly after we got married, however, I decided it was time for me to come back to the Craft in full force.

In 2014 I created this little blog without any real idea as to where this road would take me. I knew I had information to share (I had been studying for years!) and I wanted to share it. The past 5ish years have been an incredible journey, not all of it great. I've been sick, had surgery, battled depression and severe anxiety, dealt with an unemployed spouse, went back to school, switched jobs, moved every other year, bought a house, was mentally and emotional abused, bought my first car completely on my own, graduated with a Master's degree, got divorced, met someone new, changed my hair color, and so many other things.

When I got divorced in 2017, I felt like my life was over. Despite all of his flaws, I loved that man with everything that I was. A part of me still loves him and I know that that will probably never change, no matter how much the rest of me hates him and what he did over our 8 years together. But I was wrong about my life being over. The best part of my life was yet to come. While I am still struggling with several emotional issues, mostly anxiety now instead of depression, my life has never been better.

I currently live in a beautiful little home outside of Atlanta that I am constantly changing with my incredibly loving and patient boyfriend, three amazing cats (not familiars), and two fabulously sweet chickens. I enjoy blogging, reading, playing World of Warcraft, running, and honing my craft as a hedgewitch. Outside of this blog and witchcraft, I teach environmental science to a group of pretty incredible juniors and seniors. For those of you reading for a while, you know science is an important part of my practice and that's because I am a scientist at heart. I hold a Bachelor's in Biology with a minor in Geology. I originally wanted to be a paleontologist, but the Universe had other plans for me. I know I am exactly where I need to be, doing exactly what I need to be doing.

Oscar Wilde

Jane Austen

Charles "Charlie" Dickens

Anne Boleyn and Jane Seymour

So there you have all my amazing animals. Haha! I have a post planned for some time this year diving deep into my cats and why they are not familiars, so I'll tell their story then. Today is about me!

Despite all the changes in my life over the past several years, I can honestly say starting this blog was part of what kept me sane. I absolutely enjoy researching, writing, and sharing my knowledge with all of you. It definitely keeps me sane and gives me the opportunity to express my creativity. I have a lot of amazing content planned for you guys this year, including a new series called Elemental Magic as well as several amazing posts inspired by the survey results covering a variety of topics. Shout out to all of you amazing witches that filled out the survey. It was incredible to read through everything and I can't wait to get started!

I know 2020 is going to be a great year. Here's to hoping we all have a good one!

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Flying the Hedge Joins Ko-fi

Hello, witches!

In a previous post, I mentioned how costly it is to run my blog, from both a monetary and time perspective. After talking with a co-worker and seeing several of you asking how you can repay me for my work, I decided to set up a Ko-fi account. Ko-fi is essentially a virtual tip jar where readers can help support the blog through small donations, just $3.

I will never charge my readers to access my blog. I will never start a subscription service; I will never offer high priced courses; I will never sell worksheets or spells or rituals or anything else, with the exception of a possible book. Yeah, I am still working on it.

I am a firm believer that access to knowledge should not be gated with a price tag. I recognize that we live in a world where money is not evenly distributed and that some people live in essentially education deserts (much like food deserts). There are no public libraries. There is limited or no Wi-Fi access. Knowing this, I can't bring myself to gate my knowledge.

With that being said, I also believe in compensating people fairly for their work, and I personally like to support my fellow bloggers through likes, shares, comments, affiliate link purchases, and even tipping them, whether it's through Patreon or Ko-fi or another service.

If you would like to help support the blog, feel free to click the link below or to the right on the sidebar. Any and everything helps and will go directly to helping me continue to provide quality content. If money isn't an option, likes, shares, and comments go a hell of a long way and are extremely appreciated.

I absolutely love blogging about hedgecraft, and even on my worst day, I can't imagine ever really giving it up. You guys are the reason I love it so much and reading all the kind and amazingly supportive comments on my survey brought me to happy tears. Know that I appreciate every single one of you that reads my blog.

Thank you for everything!

Monday, January 13, 2020

2020 New Year Ritual

ritual, witchcraft, new year, tarot, spell, hedgewitch

Every year I take a slightly different approach to releasing the previous year and welcoming the new one. Unlike years in the past, however, I decided not to make resolutions this year. Blasphemy, I know. I'm just tired of it and the work I feel that comes with it. Don't get me wrong, I have long-term goals and things I want to accomplish during my short life here on Earth, but I don't want to make resolutions any longer. I do, however, want to get a glimpse into what 2020 holds for me and make plans accordingly. That is where tarot comes in, with a bit of hedge riding thrown in for clarification.

To begin this ritual I took a nice warm shower. Showers are a really great way to quickly wash away negativity, the past, or whatever else you are trying to release. Unlike baths, showers move the energy away from your quickly instead of having you marinate in it. I'm sure that's exactly how you want to view your cleansing baths. Haha! During my shower, I visualized and reflected upon 2019. There were a lot of really great and a lot of terrible things that happened in 2019. Most of the bad happened right at the end of the year too, making it a little more difficult to remember all the great things that occurred. However, it's really important to remember the good over the bad and be grateful for those wonderful things. As I reflected on the good and bad, I let the stress of the bad and all the anxiety they caused wash down the drain. I didn't let the memories of those events go, however. Each anxiety-inducing, tear-jerking, scream-at-the-world moment is a moment to be learned from. You don't want to wash them away, never to think of them again. It's those moments that make us stronger.

After my shower, I added some items to my altar, laid out some candles and roses, and drew a salt circle on my bedroom floor. My altar was still adorned for Yule, but to it I added a dragonfly to aid in spiritual communication, amethyst to increase my psychic abilities, and howlite to bring clarity and insight. I also added a cup for juice and a slice of bread as an offering to the spirits helping guide me during this ritual.

ritual, witchcraft, new year, tarot, spell, hedgewitch, altar

In my circle of salt, for protection, I added 12 tea light candles, one for each month. In between each candle, I placed a rose for protection. While most people associate roses only with love and happiness, they are also potent and fierce protectors (think thorns). Once my circle was drawn and set up, I added my tarot deck of choice and an incense burner filled with mugwort incense to induce visions and increase psychic awareness and asked the spirits to join me in my ritual to provide guidance for the upcoming year. When ready, I sat down in the circle facing north and lit the first candle.

ritual, witchcraft, new year, tarot, spell, hedgewitch

As the first candle burned, representing January, I began shuffling my deck until my intuition told me it was enough. I then spread the cards, hovering my hand over each until I felt compelled to draw a card representing January. Once the card was drawn, I began writing in my journal everything that came to mind while looking at the card. I stared into the candle flame, asking for guidance and clarification, and finally closed my eyes and entered into a moderate trance where I could receive any other messages the spirits needed to give me. I'm not so great at reading flames and smoke, but I am really good at receiving messages while in a trance. I wrote down everything and anything that came to mind, no matter how outlandish or simple it seemed. When reading, I moved to the next candle, repeating the same process until all the candles were lit, 12 cards were drawn, and my notes were taken.

When this initial reading process was finished, I picked up the guide book that comes with this tarot and began adding to the meanings I had associated with each card. For the most part, my previous notes were spot on and I'll have you know this is the very first time I have worked with this unconventional deck. However, the guide offered some questions that prompted me to look deeper into the messages, instead of just what was on the surface. When I felt I had divined all possible messages, I thanked the spirits for their help and invited them to partake in the juice and bread.

This was a very long ritual; I think it lasted almost 2 hours. Needless to say, I was super tired at the end of it and went outside to ground myself and feel the cool air on my face. I drank a glass of water and ate some food to help ground me as well and provide some much-needed energy.

ritual, witchcraft, new year, tarot, spell, hedgewitch

Overall it was a fantastic and informative experience. I am still working out some of the details, but for the most part, I have a wonderful foundation to work with. Each month, I am drawing the card I originally pulled during this ritual and placing it on my altar, so you will likely see theses in my sabbat altars. By doing this, I get to see the card every day so it can remind me of my focus for that month. I was originally going to put together a little book or piece of artwork reflecting my entire year, but after thinking on it for the past 2 weeks, I decided the best way for me to be reminded of my path was to place the cards on my altar so they are the first and last thing I see each day.

So what does the year have in store for me? This is just a brief synopsis that I have put together and is by no means complete.

January: Integrity- stay true to myself and my beliefs; speak with conviction; I will be challenged this month and much decide if I should continue certain relationships (this is already happening and I am struggling to make a choice...that's the Libra in me)
February: Self- focus on self-love and self-care; its okay to be alone; chase dreams; break free from labels and chains; be wary of being too selfish
March: 6 of Earth- lead by example; give more than I take; take care of business now; have the strength and courage to persevere

ritual, witchcraft, new year, tarot, spell, hedgewitch

April: Abundance- hard work pays off; windfall; new beginnings; give back to the community and to others
May: 2 of Fire- two heads are better than one; work together to accomplish big things; change is coming but with that change comes growth; there will likely be a power struggle this month; someone will come to help me overcome obstacles likely in the form of a spirit
June: Destiny- changes are in full force and it's going to get rough; time to break the chains and remember my dreams; ancestral healing; remember that no matter what life throws at me, I can handle it

ritual, witchcraft, new year, tarot, spell, hedgewitch

July: 2 of Earth- balance (finally!); new beginnings; joy; compromise; remember to ask for help when needed; someone from beyond wishes to help me
August: Emotions- change is difficult; heed the message behind the emotions I am feeling and address them; remember this too shall pass; remember to laugh
September: Love- learn to love myself and others more fully but do not let love break you or control you; remain realistic, but open; pursue passions; ask "is this love or is this infatuation?"
October: 2 of Air- remember to keep learning; lessons repeat themselves until we learn them; possible loss; visit from a spirit

ritual, witchcraft, new year, tarot, spell, hedgewitch

November: King of Earth- passion and richness; pay it forward; don't be lazy or misuse power; life is meant to be enjoyed
December: Healing- to be human is to be wounded; do not allow my pain to hurt others; shift attention and do not dwell on the past any longer; forgive (chord cutting ritual); possible illness

The resounding message is loud and clear: 2020 is going to bring about significant changes in my life and I have a feeling I know what they are related to. I know that I need to make a choice, or rather, several choices, that will define my future happiness and success. These choices and changes are going to be difficult, but worth it. They pertain to things I have been thinking about a lot lately, and I need to stop thinking about them and just do them.

ritual, witchcraft, new year, tarot, spell, hedgewitch

At the end of each month, I plan to go back and reflect on the card I drew and how it corresponded with that month and see if there are any additional messages I ignored or failed to act upon. I want to use these cards to grow and live my best life. That's not always going to be easy, but I know its worth all the work.

What did you do this year for your New Year Ritual? Did you gain any insights into what this year holds for you? Are you excited? Anxious? Ambivalent? Let me know in the comments below!