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Tuesday, November 22, 2022

2022 Holiday Gift Guide for Witches and Pagans

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And so it begins, the holiday season! If I am being completely transparent, the last few weeks (since my last post) has been very difficult. My partner was suspended from work, my mom has fallen ill, a student I taught passed away suddenly, my publisher had massive layoffs and I am not sure my next book is being published (surprise!), my dad's truck was hit by a massive rock that narrowly missed him, and I was hit by a large piece of metal on the highway which broke my windshield. Everyone I know personally has been having similar occurrences in their own lives. I know this is very likely due to the eclipse earlier this month and that all of astrology is saying great change right now, but it's hard to keep my chin up right now. Needless to say, I am excited about the holiday season because there is nothing like twinkling lights, warm cocoa, and a balsam candle to raise my spirits. 

I actually began decorating for Yule a couple of weeks ago and in my depression have decided that I needed another $500 worth of pink, green, and gold Yule decorations, including a massive new haul of bottle brush trees. I don't know what it is about bottle brush trees, but they bring me so much joy. My collection currently boasts 72 trees which I have joyfully placed in almost every room in my home. I understand that may seem like too many, but I assure you I need 100. Haha! Currently, the two bedrooms in my home are devoid of decorations, so I believe we must remedy this situation with more bottle brush trees. I swear I don't have a problem.

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday just around the corner, it's time for this year's Holiday Gift Guide for Witches! This year's list is very different from what I have done in the past. It features 15 gifts, 9 stocking stuffers, and 5 DIY gift ideas that are sure to please the witch in your life. I've even included some free gift ideas that can be found almost everywhere for those of you struggling. I know current times are tough for many of us and the best gifts are not the ones that come from the store but the ones that come from the heart. I own many of the items on this list. For those I do not, they come from a brand I trust or highly reviewed and recommended by other witches. I prefer handmade small businesses over large corporations, but you will find a couple of Amazon items on this list because nothing can beat their two-day shipping. If you are running out of gift ideas or don't even know where to start when it comes to the witch in your life, this list is for you. Heck, this list is even for you witches that aren't sure what you want!

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.

Gift Ideas

1. Green Witchcraft Tea Recipes by Autumn Willow

Yeah yeah yeah, shameless plug, but can you blame me? I am super proud of this book and if the witch in your life is anything like me, they take tea pretty seriously and are likely looking for more recipes and spells utilizing tea. Green witchcraft is all about the power of plants and natural magic—and tea is an essential element of the green witch’s practice. This book combines the timeless ritual of making tea with a collection of spells to help you create restorative, healing, and empowering brews that hone your magical practice. Go beyond other witchcraft books with: A lesson in witchcraft—Explore the philosophies of green witchcraft and tea magic, and discover how they keep you connected to the earth and your sense of self. Your witchy kitchen—Learn the magical properties of individual flowers, herbs, and spices, then find step-by-step guidance on using them to brew powerful teas and tonics. Spells for every intention—Find recipes that are sorted by their desired result, from love and friendship to bodily health and spiritual growth. Heal your body and mind—or just host a magical tea party—with Green Witchcraft Tea Recipes. You can pick up a copy for $10.99 on Amazon!

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2. Spell Candle from Vintage Chic Cauldron

Back in September, I had the pleasure of reviewing one of Samantha's amazing teacup spell candles. Her beautiful work currently adorns my bookshelf, sitting elegantly atop a stack of my book! The magic that radiates from it is one of a kind and one any witch would be happy to receive. There are a variety of candle options available in her shop right now all for under $30. She also sells bath salts, witch balls, witch bottles, charms, and talismans so there is sure to be something the witch in your life will enjoy.

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3. Back Flow Incense Burner from Lucky Incense

This is another product I had the pleasure of reviewing this year. I love incense and have always wanted a backflow incense burner. The physics behind it is fascinating and creates a magical environment perfect for offerings, spell work, and air freshener. Lucky Incense offers a variety of beautiful incense burners featuring animals, mythical creatures, natural environments, and even celestial bodies. Prices vary by size but range from $20-$300. If a backflow incense burners aren't your witch's style, they also sell an array of stick and cone incense holders, as well as incense for every occasion. The incenses are all lightly scented and won't overpower you or your home, unlike other brands on the market. 

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4. Wild Witchcraft by Rebecca Beyer

Wild Witchcraft by Rebecca Beyer is one of the best books I read on witchcraft this year. It is full of folklore, herb craft, herbal remedies and recipes, and how to live more sustainably on our planet. Learn how to cultivate your own magical garden, begin your journey with folk herbalism, and awaken to your place in nature through practical skills from an experienced Appalachian forager and witch. Witchcraft is wild at heart, calling us into a relationship with the untamed world around us. Through the power of developing a relationship with plants, a witch—beginner or experienced—can practice their art more deeply and authentically by interacting with the beings that grow around us all. Bridging the gap between armchair witchcraft and the hedge witches of old, Wild Witchcraft empowers you to work directly with a wide variety of plants and trees safely and sustainably. With Wild Witchcraft, Rebecca Beyer draws from her years of experience as an Appalachian witch and forager to give you a practical guide to herbalism and natural magic that will share: -The history of witchcraft and Western herbalism -How to create and maintain your own herbal garden -Recipes for tinctures, teas, salves, and other potions to use in rites and rituals -Spells, remedies, and rituals created with the wild green world around you, covering a range of topics, from self-healing to love to celebrating the turning of the seasons -And much more! Wild Witchcraft welcomes us home to the natural world we all dwell in by exploring practical folk herbal and magical rites grounded in historical practices and a sustainable, green ethic. A copy of this amazing book will set you back $14.99, but is well worth the price! If you are interested in reading my full review, you can find it here.

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5. Willow Wand from Avalon by Wessex Wisdom

Every witch needs a good wand so why not pick up this one from Wessex Wisdom for the witch in your life? Each wand is hand-whittled using willow gathered locally and finished with a beeswax coat from a local beekeeper. Ruled by the moon, the Willow gives the power of eloquence, prophecy, and inspirational skills through meditation, with a great effect upon the vision-producing subconscious. It has healing properties, and is also a tree of fertility. Each wand is as unique as the wood it was carved from and runs about $40.97.

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Photo from Wessex Wisdom

6. The Witches' Sabbath by Kelden

This is another book I absolutely loved and if your witch is into spirits, folklore, hedgecraft, hedge riding, or astral travel, this is an important book for them to have. Take flight for a mesmerizing exploration of an event long shrouded in fear and mystery―the Witches' Sabbath. Kelden presents an in-depth examination of the Sabbath's historical and folkloric development as well as its re-emergence within the modern practice of Witchcraft. From discussions on the folklore of flight and the events of nocturnal gatherings to enchanting rituals and recipes, you'll find everything you need to not only understand the nature of the legendary Sabbath, but also journey there yourself. Offering impressive research and compelling stories from across Europe and the early American colonies, this book is the ultimate resource for discovering an oft-misunderstood and overlooked aspect of Witchcraft. Pick up a copy for just $16.99.

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7. The Modern Witch Tarot

The strength of traditional tarot symbols combine with diverse bodies, up-to-the-minute fashion, and the strength and power of twenty-first-century witchcraft, where we make our own magic. The 78 cards of the tarot deck are rich with meaning—archetypes like The Magician, The Empress, and The Chariot reflect our lived experience and are a mirror into the ways in which we interact with the world. Acclaimed artist Lisa Sterle takes these symbols into contemporary life with vibrant art that celebrates the diversity, excitement, and energy of the new kind of magic that is happening in this world. The Modern Witch Tarot Deck is the answer to your questions about the past, the present, and whatever the future may hold, and its empowering messages will help you take the next step toward whatever you desire. This deck is wonderfully inclusive, high-quality, and beautifully detailed. It would make the perfect addition to any witch's tarot collection and costs only $21.99!

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Photo from Amazon


8. Kitchen Witch Half Apron

If your witch works their best magic in the kitchen or spends time wildcrafting and gardening, they are certain to love this beautiful half apron from Tamed Wild. I am a huge fan of everything produced by Tamed Wild, including their subscription box, but this is one of my favorite items yet. Designed for collecting and holding all of your herbs, flowers, spoons, and spells, this half apron with our herbal design is a much-needed tool for wild harvesting and kitchen witchery. At only $12, who can pass on it?!

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Photo by Tamed Wild


9. Norse Fur Altar Cloth

Every witch needs a good altar cloth. They pull an altar together, enhance the sacred space, and even lend energy to the spells and workings performed at the altar. While many witches may prefer the flat surface of fabric, I find an authentic, ethically-sourced fur to be the most powerful. As someone whose ancestors hale from Sweden and the northern reaches of Scotland, furs have always spoken to me. These beautiful Norse-inspired, fur altar cloths from Pagan Treasures Studio are sure to delight the heathen witch in your life. The one features below is my favorite, featuring the magical stave in the center of a runic circle on rabbit fur, representing victory, protection, luck, and connection with the divine. Each design is hand drawn and painted on pelts ethically sourced from food production and hunting and most cost no more than $30 plus shipping. If fur isn't your witch's thing, you can also find candle holders, candles, tiles, and even moon water.

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Photo by Pagan Treasures Studio


10. Witchy Mystery Bag Advent

Still not sure what to get the witch in your life or looking to help them get started on their witchcraft journey? Then this is probably the option for you! This mystery advent calendar by The Third Eye Vision Co is filled with lots of witchy items from herbs and spell bottles and spell candles, ritual bath salts, witch balls, crystals, and more. Each box is different and intuitively selected for every order with items ranging in price. You can even request items to be for a specific intention or purpose! Each item is wrapped in kraft paper and labeled with a number for the order to open them on which day. There are two options available: 12-day and 25-day. Currently, The Third Eye Vision Co suggests ordering the 12-day advent if you are looking to surprise your witch this holiday season it will not arrive on time for December 1st. However, why not extend the holiday into January to continue the magic? The 12-day advent runs about $63 while the 25-day advent costs $125.

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Photo by The Third Eye Vision Co


11. Pentacle Tobacco Pipe

While this gift might not be for everyone, it certainly has its place. Traditionally, blends of smoking herbs were burned and inhaled to reach an altered state of consciousness, allowing the witch to commune with spirits, the divine, and the dead. If burning loose incense isn't your witch's thing or they prefer good, sweet tobacco, then this is the perfect gift for them. Each pipe is one of a kind and hand wood burned with love and intention and features a beautiful pentacle, a protection symbol featuring the 5 elements: Earth, Air, Water, Fire, and Spirit in perfect harmony. The pipe alone will set you back about $40, but you can opt to get a gift box upgrade for a few bucks more that features a pagan-themed high-definition print, hemp wick lighter, and a set of pipe cleaners. You must be at least 21 to purchase this product. I suggest purchasing the gift set as well as some smoking blends from The Poisoner's Apothecary!

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Photo by Earthen Hearth



12. We Are The Weirdos Mister! Ouija Planchette All Sign

Every witch loves The Craft, so why not surprise your witch with this adorable ouija planchette sign featuring one of the most iconic lines from the film? This cute little witchy decor piece is the perfect addition to your occult art collection or your witchy vibe home. The planchette-shaped wooden sign is 12 inches tall and 9 inches wide (the widest part of the planchette) and painted in black with white painted lettering and sealed with a light top-coat of acrylic sealer. A complimentary hanger has been attached for your hanging ease! At only $35, this sign won't break your budget.

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Photo by Writing On The Wall Design



13. Apothecary Jars

There is nothing quite like a witch's love of a good jar! This set includes 15, 5oz glass jars with cork lids, a cleaning brush, a chalkboard pen, and 40 black labels, which is more than enough to get the witch in your life started on organizing their herb collection. They can also be used to create spell jars, hold sun and moon waters, and so much more and they only cost $15!

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Photo from Amazon


14. Sacred Luxury Skull Candle Set

Embrace the darkness with these beautifully detailed gothic skull candles featuring both a human and raven skull. The black crystal cut glass jar is adorned with black obsidian crystals for protection and rose petals, crafted as a witches cauldron. Shine a light on your darker side. Each candle is made with premium quality black wax and the finest jasmine, rose, and orange blossom essential oils. This candle set is perfect for spell work or to bring a touch of mystery and magic to your home. The set costs just over $30, but is sure to please.

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Photo from Amazon



15. YinYang Tarot

Last, but certainly not least, is the YingYang tarot deck. This unique, Indie tarot features adorable black cats, or as my partner likes to say, little darknesses. Gaze into the eyes of these mystical felines and find out what's in their minds. Yinyang Tarot (BLACK) is a perfect tarot for animal lovers, as well as for all ages. This deck of 78 cards with artwork that is both elegant and cute features Black Cat of the day. It is a unique deck that includes both a general reading and an animal-specific reading. This deck is much more expensive than The Modern Tarot, but if your witch loves black cats, then it's well worth its $70 price tag. Tevada is an authorized reseller of this deck, which is difficult to come by.

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Photo by Tevada



Stocking Stuffers

1. Earings from Silver Cryptid Co

These beautiful, handcrafted earrings make a perfect stocking stuffer! Steph is a Latina earring designer and artist who creates witch and pagan-inspired earrings. A pair of earrings run between $17 and $126, but most fall around $35 a pair. This Friday (11/25/2022), Steph will be launching her Longest Night collection and offering some amazing deals! Between 10am and 11:59am Central, get 40% off your entire order! You can also get 10-20% off after noon on Friday. Unfortunately, she no longer offers clip-on backs so I can not partake in her earrings, but if the witch in your life has their ears pierced, I am sure they would love a pair.

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2. Perfume/Cologne from Black Baccara

This is my favorite perfumer out there by far. "Black Baccara features the olfactory art and mixed media works of artist Kalliope Amorphous. Founded in 2010 as an extension of her work in experimental and conceptual art, Black Baccara is a one-woman operation where each perfume oil is carefully crafted by the artist from beginning to end. From the initial aromatic concept, to the label design, to the final boxing, each perfume is created and hand-poured by Kalliope in either her New York City or Rhode Island studios. Black Baccara blends are unique, complex, original mixed media recipes created by the artist in small batches using the finest perfumery materials to create an evocative sensory experience." My partner and I order scents from Kalliope all the time, and with her ever-evolving collection, there is sure to be a scent the witch in your life will love. Her perfume oils make the perfect stocking stuffer and cost between $15 and $35 depending on size. I personally prefer roller ball bottles as it makes it easier to distribute the scent, but not all perfume oils are available in that size. Unsure what to get? I suggest trying my favorite Midnight Mass or my partner's favorite Baron Samedi.

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Photo by Black Baccara


3. Full Moon Bath Bomb Set

Every witch loves a nice, warm bath every once in a while, especially a ritual bath. These handmade and swirled bath bombs recreate the Full Moon in a beautiful way. Each bomb contains sodium bicarbonate, citric acid, salt, corn starch, sunflower oil, mica for some shimmer, and light fragrance and won't leave you or your bath feeling greasy, oily, or dry! The set costs just $12 and is the perfect addition to your witch's stocking this holiday season.

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Photo by Tamed Wild


4. Ouija Board Infinity Scarf

I don't know about you, but I am a little obsessed with the ouija board. They are just as iconic as the witch's broom and the perfect tool for communicating with the beyond. No, ouija boards are not evil nor are they capable of opening portals to hell or whatever it is movies keep trying to say. Ouija boards are just another divinatory tool, like tarot, runes, or pendulums. Use wisely and they are a fantastic tool! This beautiful infinity scarf features this iconic witch symbol. It's made from 100% cotton flannel and measures roughly 35 inches long when laying flat. It's long enough to wrap around twice and will keep your witch warm this winter season. Pick up your handmade scarf for just $23!

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Photo by Bliss Creative Crafts


5. Crystal Car Vent Clips

I am obsessed with crystals. Part of this is because I have a degree in geology, but the other part is totally because I am a witch. Every witch loves a good rock so why not bring that magic in your vehicle? Lero Lero Custom offers a variety of crystal vent clip options so your witch doesn't continue to lose their crystals in their car. They offer a variety of options including smokey quartz, black tourmaline, amethyst, selenite, clear quartz, lace agate, fluorite, rose quartz, and more to bring protection, happiness, or luck to those within. You can purchase individual clips or sets for between $7 and $40. Just make sure you order the correct clip for the vents in your witch's car.

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Photo by Lero Lero Custom


6. Apothecary Labels Digital Download

Not only do witches love jars, but we also love labels, especially witchy labels! This digital download goes perfectly with the apothecary jars featured above and features 449 herbs, spices, salts, fruits, and nuts labels with their meaning and correspondences. This digital bundle is more expensive than some at $37, but nothing matches its size and quality. Being a digital download, you will need to print and cut out the labels prior to use. If you have a Cricut or Silhouette, this job will be easy. If not, there is nothing quite as meditative as cutting out labels!

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Photo by Magik Charms


7. Vintage Witchcraft Stickers

In the same realm as labels come stickers! Stickers are a great way for the witch in your life to express themselves by decorating their tumblers, computers, phones, and more. These vintage witchcraft stickers can also be used to decorate your Book of Shadows or Grimoire and come in 15, 30, 50, and 100-piece sets for between $5 and $20. Order now though to ensure they arrive on time for this holiday season!

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Photo by Lotus Leaf Altars


8. Quoth the Raven Incense

Last year I featured Sea Witch Botanical's Hermitage Incense on my list. It's still my favorite incense of all time, but this one is a close second. Quoth the Raven incense from Sea Witch Botanicals features a sultry blend of orange, cinnamon, and clove essential oils. It pairs best with deep dark secrets, the glow of yellow street lamps through the rain on your window, or the scratching of a quill pen across an eager page. Use this incense when you need to connect to your personal power & confidence. Release boredom and self-doubt while you feel the flame of passion & inspiration radiate from within. These incense come in a pack of 20 for $12 or 50 for $24.

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Photo by Sea Witch Botanicals


9. Hematite Bracelet

Hematite is a powerful crystal, used for both grounding and protection. These unique properties make it perfect for everyday wear. It helps us to feel grounded and stable, allowing us to access the parts of our mind more in tune with logic and practical thinking. Like a magnet, hematite pulls out any negativity or toxicity you may be harboring in your energetic field, keeping you safe not just from the outside world but also from your own self-limiting thoughts. It has a hardness of 5.5-6.5 which means it can scratch and break if hit against a hard surface, so take care while wearing it. This bracelet from House of Intuition is the perfect addition to your witch's stocking at just $18.

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Photo by House of Intuition



Finally, found items always make wonderful gifts! Ideas include acorns, pinecones, bones, feathers, seeds, shredded skin, rocks, and fall sticks. Always be sure to ask before taking and leave an offering of water, spit, or hair behind as thanks.


No matter what you decide to get your witch this holiday season, make sure the items are chosen with love and they are sure to be surprised. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season!





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Thursday, October 20, 2022

How to Manifest Your Dreams by George K.

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Do you want something in your life so badly that you could taste it? We all have goals and aspirations, whether they are for a new car, a larger home, or a job promotion. The problem is, sometimes, our dreams seem unattainable. We may feel like we’re stuck in a rut and that our wildest dreams are nothing more than pipe dreams. But what if I told you that you have the power to manifest your dreams into reality? Although you will feel it is too good to be true, it's not.

What Is Manifestation? and How To Manifest Dreams Your Dreams?

Manifestation is the belief that by focusing on positive or negative thoughts, one can bring about positive or negative results. This is because our thoughts and feelings attract experiences into our lives.

In other words, if we want to manifest our dreams, we must believe they're possible. We must also take steps to make them a reality.

You can manifest your dreams by following these simple steps:

1. Get Clear On What You Want
The first step to manifesting your dreams is understanding what you want. What dreams do you have? What do you long for? Write it down and be specific. Give as many specifics as you can so that you can visualize them.

Include the address, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the square footage, etc., for instance, if you want to buy a house.

By doing this, you are creating an image of your dream in your subconscious, channeling your mind to act toward achieving it.

2. Visualize It Happening
When you have a clear idea of your desire, start visualizing it. Close your eyes and visualize yourself driving your dream vehicle or living in the house of your dreams. Feel the sun on your skin and the wind in your hair.

Picture yourself at your dream job or taking that long-awaited vacation; you will really feel the emotion of achieving your goal. Your chances of realizing your dream are improved by a visualization that is as vivid and realistic as possible.

3. Believe It's Possible
This step is key to manifesting your dream because, without belief, manifestation is impossible. You have to believe that what you want is within your reach truly. That may mean changing your mindset or letting go of some limiting beliefs.

But once you truly believe that anything is possible, your brain starts channeling your actions toward your dream. Hence, manifestation will become easier and quicker.

4. Get Rid of the Doubts
Once you've decided what you want and started believing it's possible, get rid of doubts or negative thoughts about achieving it.

Doubts will only hold you back from manifesting your dream into reality! So whenever a doubt pops up (e.g., "I'm not good enough," "This will never work," etc.), counter it with an affirmative statement like, "I am capable," or "I will make this happen."

5. Take Action Steps
Just because you're focused on positive thoughts doesn't mean your dream will automatically become a reality—you also need to take action to make it happen!

Figure out what concrete things you can do to achieve your goal (e.g., if your goal is to get a promotion at work, talk to your boss about what you need to do to make that happen). And then take those action steps!

The more consistently you take action, the more you will solidify your belief in yourself, and the closer you'll be to manifesting your dreams into reality!

6. Release it to the Universe
The most crucial step is likely this last one. Once you’ve taken all the steps to achieve your goal, it’s time to let go.

If you really want something, you should send it out into the universe and let the universe take care of the rest. Your dreams will materialize in due course, so let them go into the ether and have faith in them.

It may sound like a leap of faith, but believe me, we are all connected to one another and some greater power.

And so, by releasing your dreams into the universe, you ask for guidance and support in making them a reality. Be patient, as things take their time. And have faith that, eventually, your dreams will come true.

Conclusion

Dreams and Mythology have long been interpreted for their hidden meanings. The power to manifest your dreams is within you—but only if you take action toward making them happen.

So, what's stopping you from manifestation? The answer is quite simple—you. If you want to receive guidance about your dreams, it starts with having an open mind and being willing to grow.

***





George K. is an independent researcher and avid writer interested in the meaning and symbolism of myths and dreams. A contributor to multiple blogs and magazines, he has gained the ability to ground complex topics in simple and applicable terms. You can find him at DreamsAndMythology.com or on Instagram and Pinterest @dreamsandmythology




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Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Magical and Medicinal Uses of Vanilla

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Gender: Feminine
Planet: Venus
Element: Water
Powers: Love, Lust, Wealth
Magical Uses and History: Vanilla, which is derived from three species of orchids that produce a fragrant cured fruit, has a long and rich history in Central and South America before it became widely popularized through colonization. Records indicate the first civilization to use vanilla or xanat (nectar of the gods) was the Totonac peoples of eastern Mexico who used it for medicinal and religious purposes. According to legend, Tenitzli III and his wife, which in some stories is the fertility goddess Xanat, were blessed with a beautiful daughter. She was so beautiful that her parents decided she could not marry just anyone and instead dedicated her life to Tonoacayohua, the goddess of crops and subsistence. She grew up in the temple, spending her time bringing offerings to the goddess. It was during one of her trips from the forest that a young man, in some recounts a prince while in others a commoner, caught sight of her and instantly fell in love. Each day the young man returned to watch the princess walk through the forest until one day she stumbled upon his hiding spot. Upon meeting him, she fell in love and desired to be with him. This is where many stories begin to differ. According to one legend, the princess, in a fit of despair at not being able to be with the man she loved, transformed herself into the orchid with a sensuous flavored fruit to express the depths of her love. In other stories, the young lovers ran off together and were later found and killed by the priests of Tonacayohua. Their still-beating hearts were removed and taken back as an offering to the goddess while their bodies were thrown into a ravine. Shortly after their deaths, a strong bush and later a dainty orchid bloomed where their blood had been shed and when the flowers died, a sweetly perfumed pod was left behind. No matter the story, vanilla is deeply associated with love and passion and therefore can be used in love spells and rituals, recipes, incense, and more, especially if you are looking to ignite passions.

When the Aztecs conquered the Totonac people in the 1400s, they claimed vanilla for their own. It was used almost exclusively by Aztec nobility and in ceremonial rituals where it was combined with cocoa and honey, a drink known as xocolatl or the first hot chocolate. In 1518, Cortes landed off of the Mexican Gulf Coast where he was welcomed by the Aztecs. During their first meeting, Aztec emperor Montezuma shared xocolatl with Cortes and the Spanish conquistadors who were enthralled that such a small pod added such flavor and aroma. They nicknamed vanilla vainilla, Spanish for "little pod," and took it back home with them where the vanilla and cocoa mix became a favorite among the Royal Court and nobility. As such vanilla is associated with wealth, largely due to its difficulty to grow, and therefore can be used in wealth and money spells to 'sweeten,' especially when combined with honey.

Medicinally, vanilla, both scent and flavor, helps reduce stress and anxiety, boosts happiness, and promotes hair growth. Use vanilla in spells to bring happiness and health or in glamour spells and rituals.

Vanilla can be used in a number of spells including:
    Love Spells
    Money Magic
    Healing Spells
    Passion Spells
    Happiness Magic
    Glamour Magic

Medicinal Uses: Vanilla is naturally rich in vanillin, a phenolic compound that is antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective. It can be used to boost your immune system, reduce sugar consumption, treat psoriasis, and reduce stress. Vanilla is naturally relaxing, having been shown to reduce the startle reflexes and even sleep apnea in adults and reduce crying in infants. It is this calming relaxation that many rely on to soothe an upset stomach, indigestion, nausea, and even vomiting. Its also considered a mild aphrodisiac and therefore can be used to boost sexual desire.

Preparation and Dosage: Internally, vanilla can be taken as an infusion or tincture and is best combined with cinnamon in both cases, although it can be taken alone. To create an infusion, combine 1/4-1/2 inch of vanilla bean split lengthwise with 1 cup water. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Drink up to three times a day. You can also use vanilla-infused tea leaves for similar benefits. As a tincture take 2-3 drops daily.


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Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Magical and Medicinal Uses of Star Anise

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Gender: Masculine
Planet: Jupiter
Element: Air
Powers: Divination, Healing, Luck, Protection, Psychic Powers
Magical Uses and History: Star Anise, not to be confused with anise seed, is native to Southern China and northern Vietnam and did not make it to Europe until the 17th century. This means that while star anise has a long and rich history in Eastern medicine and occult practices, it's relatively new to European witchcraft. In traditional Chinese medicine, star anise is classified as a warming yang and therefore is used to dispel cold and regulate the flow of Qi that has been disrupted by pain or the common cold. It was also believed to ward off evil and bring good luck to anyone who found the spice with more than eight pods in a single star. These beliefs followed star anise to Europe, where its star shape and medicinal uses quickly associated it with protection and healing. It was used to treat a number of ailments, including cough, colic, digestive upset, and respiratory infections. In modern witchcraft, star anise is said to resemble the five-pointed pentagram making it a powerful protective symbol. As such, it can be hung in the home, carried on your person, or used in spells and rituals, whole or burned, for protection, or used in healing spells and rituals.

Star anise, unlike anise seed, has a sweeter, milder flavor, which likely lends to its association with sweetness and good fortune. It was often carried for good luck or kept in a wallet or purse to draw money toward the owner. As such, it can be used to sweeten spells, bring good fortune, attract money, or generally empower spells.

Finally, star anise is associated with divination and astral travel. The origins of this are unclear, but star anise is often burned, simmered, or diffused to enhance psychic awareness, promote prophetic dreams, or reach an altered state of consciousness prior to hedge riding or other astral travel. The smoke can be used for scrying and the seeds are sometimes used as a pendulum.

Star Anise can be used in a number of spells including:
    Protection Spells
    Healing Spells
    Dream Magic
    Divination
    Luck Magic
    Money Spells
    
Medicinal Uses: There are several varieties of star anise, such as yellow anise, swamp star anise, and Japanese star anise, that are toxic. For that reason, be mindful of what you are purchasing and only purchase food-grade star anise from a reputable source. Star anise contains shikimic acid, a chemical compound that is the primary precursor of Tamiflu, and flavonoid anethole. This makes star anise naturally antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal, and therefore it can be used to treat mild flus, colds, bacterial infections, and fungal infections. Star anise is also an expectorant and therefore can be used to treat respiratory tract infections, bronchitis, and coughs by helping to remove mucus and congestion. It also aids in digestion, reduces gas, prevents and heals stomach ulcers, and soothes an upset stomach by reducing stomach acid secretion.

Preparation and Dosage: Internally, star anise can be taken as an infusion or tincture. To create an infusion combine 3-4 star anise pods with 1 cup of boiling water. Infuse for 10 minutes. Drink up to 3 times a day. Star anise combines well with cinnamon and honey for treating both respiratory and gastrointestinal issues. As a tincture, take 1-2 milliliters up to 3 times a day.


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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Review: Spell Candle from Vintage Chic Cauldron

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A couple of weeks ago, Samantha from Vintage Chic Cauldron reached out to me, asking if I would be interested in trying one of her witchy charms or candles. I immediately responded with a resounding yes, and told her I would love one of her teacup spell candles. If it isn't apparent, I love tea and all things tea. I love tea-inspired magic, even more, so much that I wrote an entire book about it! Samantha sells an assortment of items, including witch bottles, charms, witch bells, witch ladders, spell candles, spoons, and custom services for all your witchy needs. Her assortment is absolutely stunning and potently magical as she crafts the items with intention, using the best ingredients, moon phases, and energy for the job.

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When my candle arrived last week, I was blown away by the craftsmanship and beauty of it all. Samantha did not disappoint and this is honestly one of the best gifts I have ever received since starting this blog. First, the package was carefully packaged to ensure it arrived in one piece. Because of the nature of the candle and the vintage tea cup that was used, it had to be packaged carefully with bubble wrap, so not very eco-friendly, but the cup was undamaged and the spell ingredients remained intact. Decorating the top of the candle is a small herbology spell book, handpainted resin witch boot with dried flowers, tarot card, resin black cat, quartz, lavender, rose, allspice, and pink and gold glitter. Each of these items was specifically chosen for their magical correspondences or to better connect the spell to me. For example, the herbology spell book was added because I have a deep love for and knowledge of plants and their folklore while the lavender was added for peace and tranquility. The candle was poured into a beautiful teacup featuring pink roses and gold leaves and embossing. Samantha asked me about my color choices and did not disappoint with the color combo. My entire house is pink, green, and gold so this candle matches beautifully and I can't wait to display the cup.

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With the candle came a complete set of instructions and a breakdown of the spell components printed on aged paper. This particular custom candle was created with the intention of drawing blessings to my home and life and was poured during the three days surrounding the last Full Moon. Each ingredient's magical correspondences and intentions are clearly explained, allowing novice witches to learn in the process. The instructions are clear and Samantha is sure to offer a variety of suggestions, whether you wish to burn the candle or not. I love that these candles don't have to be burned to be effective. Instead, they can be used as a decorative charm. I would suggest charging the candle each Full Moon if you intend to use it as a charm, which is not mentioned in the instructions. Something else to note is that you should remove the larger items on top of the candle before burning as well as they are a fire hazard. A blow drier or heat gun will melt the wax enough to safely remove them prior to burning. You can sit them beside the candle while it burns, either in a single sitting or multiple, to lend their strength to the spell. 

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I love the thought that went into creating this candle and I am thoroughly impressed with the final product. Just handling the box I could feel the magic within and when I finally unwrapped the candle, it felt warm to the touch, despite the packaging being cool. As an additional bonus, Samantha included a beautiful Halloween/Samhain-inspired tea candle featuring a bat, pumpkin, and orange glitter. I can't wait to include this candle on my Samhain altar this year. 

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If candles aren't your thing, Vintage Chic Cauldron features a variety of other products that are sure to delight and inspire. There really is something for everyone and I encourage you to check out what Samantha has to offer. Her items are reasonably priced, but please remember that handcrafted items will be more expensive than mass-produced items and one of the easiest ways to fight corporate capitalism is to support small, handmade businesses like Vintage Chic Cauldron. You can find Samantha's shop on Etsy.


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Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Mabon/Fall Equinox Altar 2022

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The Fall Equinox, also known as Mabon, is the second harvest festival celebrated sometime between September 20-23. This year, the Fall Equinox falls on September 21nd. Sometimes referred to as Pagan Thanksgiving, this is a time of abundance and celebration. Fruit and vegetables are rapidly ripening in the fields, leaving us with more food than most of us can eat. Grapes, squash, peppers, potatoes, sweet potatoes, figs, carrots, and a host of other fruits and vegetables are ready to be picked and canned for the long winter ahead. This overabundance was something to be celebrated, with the land and Sun being thanked for the bounty our ancestors received. Offerings were often left to the spirits of the fields and agricultural deities in thanks as a bountiful crop now meant our ancestors would be able to eat through the winter months. If the crop failed, so too would the family come winter. Much like Thanksgiving celebrated in the United States and other countries, this is a time to be thankful, count blessings, and give back to those in need. If you are looking for some pagan-friendly charities to support, check out my list here

This year's altar sticks to the general theme of the sabbat, from abundant harvests to general prosperity to the beginning signs of fall. This altar is simple yet effective and is designed to honor the Earth and Sun and ensure the abundance continues for a few more weeks.

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1. Harvest Candleholder with Green Candle- This harvest candleholder has graced my Mabon altar for several years now and for a good reason. It represents the bounty of the season with its pears, apples, grapes, and berries aplenty. The earthen tones and colorful leaves represent the beginning of Fall and the changing of the seasons as the Wheel turns. This year I put a green candle in it to represent abundance, specifically agricultural abundance. It also works to sympathetically encourage the continued growth of the crops lest harvests do not last through the Winter months. Green also represents the Earth and the gracious gifts she bestows upon us during the harvest, for without her nurturing soils, we would not have nutrient-rich foods. (Where did I get it: Goodwill & Dollar Tree; Cost: $3)

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2. Leaf Candle Holders and Golden Candle Holders with White Candles- The leaf candle holders are an ode to the season and the changing leaves that herald Fall. Their orange color represents attraction. In this case, it is used to attract the Sun and keep Him burning bright within the sky for a little while longer so the rest of the crops may ripen. In conjunction with the candles, which represent the Sun who is slowly waning in the sky, they work together as a sympathetic form of magic. Furthermore, having two of them represents balance as during the equinox both day and night are balanced. (Where did I get it: Dollar Tree 2017; Cost: $5, $1 each)

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3. Wooden Acorns- These lovely wooden acorns were gifted to me a couple years ago by my mother, who found them while out thrifting. It's not often I pull them out, but I am always excited when I do. Acorns symbolize success, good luck, and prosperity, themes associated with Mabon. They also represent the Oak King, who is slowly dying this time of year. (Where did I get it: Gifted; Cost: Free)

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4. Citrine, Hematite, and Carnelian- Citrine and Carnelian represent the Sun, strength, and vitality, working to lend their strength to keep the Sun full in the sky so we can reap the last of the crops before winter. Hematite represents balance and is naturally grounding. Mabon, like Ostara, is an equinox, meaning day and night are equal. (Where did I get it: Metaphysical Stores; Cost: ~$6)

5. Deer Antler- The deer antler represents the masculine energy and the power required to finish plowing the fields and bringing in the crops. It also represents the promise of regrowth and new beginnings; just as the deer sheds its antlers the Earth sheds her green and sleeps for the Winter, only to be reborn in the Spring(Where did I get it: Found; Cost: Free)

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6. Sunflowers and Grapes- The sunflowers represent the Sun. Most sunflowers are blooming at this time, and when done, will produce hundreds of oily black seeds which provide valuable food for animals and humans alike, especially in the coming winter months. These unique flowers follow the Sun throughout the day and are thought to lend Him strength through their movements. Grapes are beginning to be harvested during this time and represent abundance and fertility. While grapes are more deeply associated with Mabon, their inclusion here is to ensure a continued fruitful harvest later in the season. (Where did I get it: Dollar Tree; Cost: $2)


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TOTAL COST: ~$16



Like my other altars, most of the items I use are found, made, or purchased for around $1, although if the items must be purchased by you, then the cost will be higher. I hope you find this sort of breakdown helpful, especially for those of you looking to create Instagram-perfect altars on a budget! The most expensive items are crystals, which can be found cheaply with imperfections at many online retailers.

Did you do anything special for Mabon this year? I plan on enjoying lunch with friends and watching a movie with my partner. 



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