Thursday, January 28, 2021

Honey & Lavender Imbolc Posset Ritual

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At Imbolc, we celebrate the slow return of the Sun and Spring. It marks the mid-way point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox and is deeply associated with the lambing season, which is where the name Imbolc may originate. Depending on the source, Imbolc may be from the Old Irish for "in the belly" which refers to the pregnancy of ewes and as such the production of milk, from Old Irish imb-fholc which means "to wash or cleanse oneself," or from the folk oimelc meaning "ewe milk." No matter the actual etymology of the word, Imbolc is known as both a celebration of lambing season and milk and ritual cleansing. This honey and lavender posset combines both of these celebrations into one delightful dessert recipe.

What You'll Need

  • 4 cups heavy or regular whipping cream (I am using Silk Heavy Cream to make this vegan which did not sit up very well)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon lavender + 1 teaspoon for garnish

What to Do

Bring the cream and honey to a boil over medium heat. Stir continuously for 3 full minutes in a clockwise direction. As you stir, visualize the milk and honey mixture filling with purifying golden light while chanting, 

"With golden honey, shining like the Sun,
This spell of cleansing and celebration is begun.
Milk so white and pure,
Cleanse my soul so I am no longer unsure.
Bring me serenity and clarity,
Your warmth soothing all insecurities.
Honey and milk combine,
To honor the union of the divine.
May the Sun return and heat the Earth,
And from His rays, we shall witness rebirth."

Remove from the heat and add the lemon and lime juice. Stir to combine. Place the 1 tablespoon of lavender into a tea ball and submerge it in the mixture. Stir clockwise while saying,

"With citrus and lavender purple,
Awaken dear Sun so life may come full circle."

Allow the lavender to steep for between 10 and 20 minutes string occasionally. The longer the lavender is allowed to steep, the stronger the flavor. When it's time, remove the tea ball of lavender and pour the mixture into small ramekins or custard dishes. Top with the remaining lavender and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Chill for at least 2 hours in the fridge or in the freezer for 30-40 minutes until it sets. When it's ready, enjoy by yourself or with friends. Remember to leave some for the Earth and genius loci as an offering.

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Why You Did It

Understanding the why's of a ritual are just as important as performing it. It helps you understand the process so you can modify the spell or ritual to suit your needs and helps guide you to write your own.

For this spell, we only used a couple of simple ingredients to make a fantastic cleansing dessert in honor of the season. First, honey, being golden in color, is associated with masculine solar energies and warmth. By combining with milk, traditionally associated with Earth and feminine energies, we are creating a union between two heavenly bodies or divine beings, depending on your beliefs, to represent rebirth and renewal. Both rebirth, renewal, milk, and honey are central themes and feast foods of Imbolc. Furthermore, milk and honey are known for their healing properties. Honey is naturally antibacterial and aids in treating bacterial infections. Milk, vegan or otherwise, is full of vital nutrients that help stave off infections and prevent brittle bones. Together they help cleanse the body and prevent illness as well as boosts your stamina, which is needed after a long rest, and reduces insomnia.

Lemon, like milk and honey, is also antimicrobial thus increasing the healing and cleansing properties of the dessert. The bright yellow color is also associated with the Sun, adding additional solar energies to the spell as a way to encourage the Sun's return through sympathetic magic. Furthermore, lemon is associated with purification and rejuvenation, making it the perfect addition to an Imbolc spell. The lime, being green, is representative of Earth, which is just beginning to wake during Imbolc, hence the lesser amount. 

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Finally, we have lavender. Lavender is the culmination of the fruits of the Sun and Earth's labors, the rebirth of life. While it's not the first flower to bloom in the Spring, it does bloom earlier than many, dotting the landscape with beautiful purple hues. Lavender is also associated with love, being used by prostitutes to attract customers or by young women to attract a future husband. Because Imbolc is lambing season and the beginning of the union between Sun and Earth, it seems only fitting to use lavender in this spell to represent the love that creates new life.

Wish to break this spell? There is nothing to break in this spell, so just leave it be. You can always throw the posset out instead of eating it if you decide you don't want to cleanse yourself and celebrate the season.

Remember to record this ritual on your ritual/spell worksheet and have a wonderful Imbolc! How do you plan to celebrate this year?

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Monday, January 18, 2021

Hedge Riding Tea to Aid in Reaching an Altered State of Consciousness

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I think by now it's pretty obvious I have a thing for tea. I think most witches do, partly for the experience and flavor, and partly due to the magical and medicinal properties that come with it. Tea is a great way to use herbs in your practice with many of them offering so much more than their magical correspondences. Tea magic is incredibly simple and can be used to manifest and banish pretty much anything if done correctly. However, tea also heals and relaxes, and, depending on the recipe, can be used to help you reach an altered state of consciousness required for hedge riding. Use this tea recipe below to help you do just that!

Hedge Riding Tea

1 tsp dried lavender 
1 tsp dried rosemary 
2 tsp dried mugwort honey or another sweetener to taste 

Begin by grinding the dried herbs together. Place in a tea ball and combine with 1 cup hot water and sweetener. Let steep for 10 minutes, stirring clockwise occasionally. As you do so, chant "draught of night, bring me flight." Consume prior to hedge riding. 

Lavender helps you relax and be open to traveling, rosemary enhances memory to help you recall the journey and improves circulation, allowing the herbs to work faster, and mugwort is a known mild psychedelic that will help you reach an altered state of consciousness. Mugwort is the key ingredient here. This isn't the best-tasting tea in the world, but it works.

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Let me know if this tea works as well for you as it does for me in the comments below!

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Monday, January 11, 2021

Reader Question: How Do I Know If My Journeys Are Real?

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"How do I know if my hedge riding journeys are real?"

This is a fairly common question I am asked as a hedgewitch in regards to hedge riding. Hedge riding is the act of reaching an altered state of consciousness to travel to the Otherworld to work magic, perform healing rituals, complete soul work, divine the future, and communicate/mediate with spirits. During this process, our senses are flooded with images, information, sounds, and smells, and it's not surprising that some people, especially the skeptical, feel as if it were all just in their head, that none of it was real. It is perfectly okay to question your journeys; in fact, I encourage you too. It is through critical analysis of our experiences that we are able to decode the messages the Universe is sending us and evolve spiritually. 

So how exactly do you know if your journey is real versus an active imagination? There are a couple of things that separate hedge riding journies from visualization, pathwalking, and meditation. First, you lose control of the journey. During the beginning of hedge riding, while you are attempting to reach that altered state of consciousness, you have control over the visualization. However, once you pass over into an altered state of consciousness and enter into the Otherworld, the visualization is no longer in your control. You are unable to control the actions of others and how the surroundings respond to you, just like you don't control other entities within our plane of existence. For example, I have encountered a number of spirits in the Otherworld, each vastly different from the next. When I encounter these spirits, they act of their own free will. What they say and do is completely beyond my control. When something disturbing happens within the Otherworld, I can't simply will it away like in my nightmares. I cannot change a scary beast into a fluffy bunny. I also cannot control how the environment behaves. I cannot will it to be day time or night time; I cannot will the rain to stop and for the sun to beam down, just like I can't on Earth either. This loss of control of the narrative is the key difference between hedge riding and an active imagination. If you believe you are hedge riding and you find yourself in control of forces outside of yourself, that's an indicator that you are not in fact hedge riding. However, as I mentioned before, you have control in the beginning, as you enter into the Otherworld and reach an altered state of consciousness. I always have control of the beginning of my journey, but when I 'pop' through to the Otherworld, that control vanishes.

Second, time does not behave the same way it does within our realm. Sure during visualizations and pathwalking you can speed up events, but that's the key here; you are doing the speeding up. Within the Otherworld, time behaves however it sees fit, completely beyond your control. Sometimes it slows down, dragging similar to the way 2020 lasted 50 years. Other times it speeds up, with you able to live several lifetimes in a matter of minutes. I have had experiences last hours in the Otherworld, only to come out of my journey 20 minutes later in our world. I have to say, the lifetimes spent within the Otherworld are some of the most powerful journeys, ones I have been unable to achieve through mediation or pathwalking. So, if you have control over the flow of time in your journey, then it is unlikely you are hedge riding.

The last sign that your journey may or may not be real is more difficult to explain. It's based on how you feel afterward and everyone always feels different. So for this, I can only speak from my experience and you will have to determine what differentiates hedge riding journeys from mediation and pathwalking for you. First, when I meditate, visualize, or pathwalk I am often feeling light and relaxed afterward. The only time I ever feel particularly tired after such work is if I was already tired. All the meditation did was relax me further. After hedge riding, however, I often feel very, very different. Sometimes I am utterly exhausted. My muscles ache, my body is stiff, and I am out of breath. Other times I am exhilarated, my heart, and mind racing. Very rarely do I come out of a journey relaxed and at ease. Of course, this is just me, so you need to find your difference.

I have to say though, the biggest question isn't always, "Was my journey real?" but "What did I learn?" Maybe you didn't technically hedge ride, but did you find the answers you were seeking? Isn't that really what matters in the end? One of my favorite interactions from Harry Potter, apart from the Always scene, of course, is the conversation between Harry and Dumbledore at King's Cross Station purgatory. Harry asks Dumbledore, "Professor? Is this all real, or is it just happening in my head?" to which Dumbledore responds, "Of course it's happening inside your head, Harry! Why should that mean that it's not real?" This is how I try to live my life as a hedgewitch. Even if it is all just in my head, it is very, very real to me and that's all that matters. Just because someone else doesn't believe it is, has no impact on how my hedge riding journeys have affected me. The same applies to you. It's hard to let go of our ego and our need for approval from others, but part of our spiritual journey is to do just that. I promise you it will open you up to so much more.

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Thursday, January 7, 2021

Magical and Medicinal Uses of Catnip

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Gender: Feminine
Planet: Venus
Element: Water
Powers: Abundance, Beauty, Cat Magic, Fertility, Love
Magical Uses and History: Catnip is probably most well known for its ability to seduce our feline friends, hence the name "catnip." However, many of the plants belonging to the catmint genus Nepeta are also well-loved by cats. Due to this property, which only affects about 2/3 of cats and is believed to be hereditary, catnip can be used in any magical workings dealing with cats, cat deities, or feline animal guides. Use it to bring feline-like agility and stealth to a spell, call upon cat deities, or as an offering to cat spirits.
The name Nepeta is believed to come from the ancient city of Nepete or Nepeti where large amounts of catnip were cultivated for teas and herbal remedies. Like other mint-related plants, catnip grows prolifically so it can be used in spells for abundance or even fertility, as not only does catnip reproduce quickly but so do cats.

Apart from attracting cats and abundance, catnip was also historically used in love spells and rituals, although the reasoning for this correspondence is unclear. It may be due to the frenzied nature of cats after coming into contact with catnip, as catnip mimics cat pheromones. Some folklore suggests that holding catnip in your hand until warm then holding someone else's hand will ensure friendship for as long as the catnip remains safe. It can also be used in sachets for love, especially when paired with rose petals.

Finally, catnip can be used in glamour and beauty magic. Medicinally, catnip has anti-aging properties, make it perfect for spells related to beauty.

Catnip can be used in a number of spells including:
    Abundance Spells
    Beauty Magic
    Glamour Magic
    Love Spells

Medicinal Uses: Apart from its anti-aging properties, especially at treating fine lines and wrinkles, the leaves and flowers can also be used to treat colds, flu, and even bronchitis as it helps loosen congestion due to its anti-catarrhal properties. It can also be taken internally, such as in a tea, or treat an upset stomach, flatulence, diarrhea, and colic, or as a sedative, especially in children. 

Preparation and Dosage: Catnip can be taken internally in a variety of ways, most predominantly as an infusion or tincture. To make an infusion, pour one cup of boiling water over 2 tablespoons of dried catnip and allow it to infuse for 10 to 15 minutes. Drink up to three times a day. If taken as a tincture, take 2-3 milliliters up to three times a day. Topically, catnip can be used to create a vapor rub salve especially when mixed with eucalyptus and thyme. 

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

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Friday, January 1, 2021

The Best Crystals for New Year

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Welcome to 2021! The new year often prompts us to look inward and inspires us to make changes. What better way to help you with your goals than a bit of crystal magic? These crystals will help you cleanse the previous year, especially after what 2020 has thrown at us, and set and maintain goals for the future. No matter what kind of goals you set or your budget, there is something for everyone. I tried to make the list a decent size, so hopefully, there is something on the list you can use to help you without breaking the bank!

Remember, when in doubt, the magic comes from within you. You don't need crystals to cleanse the previous year or set and maintain your goals. Heck, take a shower to cleanse yourself of 2020 and write your goals on some paper and hang it somewhere you will see them every day. These are also powerful spells and extremely practical. However, if you are like me and love working with crystals, try these crystals out for size!

Crystals for Cleansing to Previous Year

Renewal - Mental Clarity - Calm
Fluorite is a great crystal for cleansing and removing the previous year. It absorbs and neutralizes negative energy and anxiety, bringing calm and peace. Furthermore, it is able to clear confusion, increases concentration, and allows you to make wise decisions. Fluorite can be used to both clear the previous year and help you set goals for the future.

Black Tourmaline
Cleansing - Clearing - Grounding
Black Tourmaline is my go-to crystal for anything regarding cleansing, clearing, grounding, and protection. It is a powerful protector during hedge riding, which I often do to figure out new goals, and great at absorbing negative energy and clearing the way for the future. Use black tourmaline in your New Year rituals to let go of 2020 and set your goals for 2021.

Clear Quartz

Healing - Purification - Clarity
Clear Quartz is pretty universal and can be used for basically everything. It magnifies your intentions, clears the mind, amplifies your energy, and brings things into focus, thus making it the perfect crystal to cleanse yourself of the previous year in preparation for the next one.

Emotional Balance- Inner Peace - Clarity
Sodalite is a great balancing stone while simultaneously bringing clarity and inner peace. It also encourages rational thought, allowing you to work through the trials and tribulations you have endured the previous year while enhancing your self-trust and self-esteem. Sodalite is also the crystal of communication, allowing you to communicate your intentions in the coming new year.

Smoky Quartz
Transformation - Grounding - Balance
Like clear quartz, smoky quartz is able to amply energy, but it's also great at cleansing negativity and purging you any lingering negative effects from the previous year. Leave that trauma behind with smoke quartz and let it cleanse you for the future.

Intuition - Balance - Optimism
Above all else, amazonite is a soothing stone, calming the brain and nervous system simultaneously. Furthermore, it is a known balancer, which is great for entering a new year. It alleviates worry, fear, and emotional trauma, much needed after the year 2020 has been. 


Balance - Focus - Transformation
Malachite is a wonderful crystal for a multitude of reasons. It's great at bringing prosperity but is also capable of balancing your mind, helping you focus on your intentions, while also purifying your energy. These properties make it great for letting things go.

Balance - Optimism - Grounding
Hematite is a powerful grounder, allowing you to release negative energies and any thing else that may be holding you back. Use hematite during your rituals to cleanse the previous year and to help you focus on the future.

Crystals for Goal Setting, Perseverance, and Growth


Manifestation - Prosperity - Happiness
Citrine is a powerful energizer and opens your intuition. It also raises your self-esteem and therefore your confidence, allowing you to conquer all. When you are starting to lose focus on your goals and falling off the horse, use citrine to help you get back on track.

Lapis Lazuli

Renewal - Spiritual Awakening - Inner Strength
Lapis lazuli is a beautiful crystal and great for removing blockages. If you feel yourself getting stuck while trying to achieve your goals, turn to lapis lazuli. Furthermore, it helps with spiritual awakenings making it perfect for such goals. 


Destiny - Transformation - Strength
Oh, moonstone. Another one of my favorite crystals of all time. Sometimes referred to as the stone of destiny, moonstone helps you figure out the future, strengthen your resolve to get things done, and transform your life. It enhances your intuition and promotes inspiration, making it the perfect stone for goal-setting. Furthermore, moonstone is great at soothing anxiety and removing fears so hopefully, nothing will get in your way.


Motivation - Confidence - Rebirth
Carnelian is another motivator and can be used much the same way a citrine. However, carnelian also dispels apathy and promotes positive life choices, so if you are feeling particularly stuck or have made health-related goals, carnelian is your best friend.


Creativity - Inspiration - Self Discovery
The beautiful sheen of labradorite is known to spark creativity and inspire even the most stubborn of minds. It is the perfect companion for goal setting and discovering which path you should take forward to be your best self. 


Discipline - Breaking Addictions - Focus
Amethyst is particularly powerful in promoting discipline and focus while also helping your break any addictions. If you are trying to stop a habit, use amethyst to help you do so. Furthermore, amethyst is great for spiritual growth and astral travel making it a great crystal for these types of goals as well.


Courage - Hope - Energizing 
Garnet, with its blood-red color, is a great energizer but also grounding. If you feel yourself starting to slip on your goals, especially if you are losing hope or are fearful of taking the first steps, give this crystal a try.

Tiger's Eye

Courage - Strength - Calm
I consistently use Tiger's Eye to help me meet my goals when I feel myself starting to lose sight and willpower. Tiger's Eye helps you find your personal power and strengthen your willpower, helping motivate you to achieve your goals. 

And there you have it, 14 different crystals for cleansing the previous year, setting goals, growing and persevering. I wish you all the best in 2021!

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