SOCIAL MEDIA

Friday, April 29, 2022

Beltane/May Day/Spring Equitherm Altar 2022

Beltane, altar, witch, witchcraft, May Day, witchy, wicca, wiccan, pagan, neopagan, occult, spring equitherm

Beltane, May Day, or the Spring Equitherm falls directly opposite of Samhain on the Wheel of the Year, making also a very liminal time. Unlike Samhain, however, Beltane tends to bring forth more earth and land spirits, such as faeries, gnomes, and dryads, that wake with the Earth. Traditionally, Beltane is a fire fertility festival, with participants partaking in such activities as dancing around a May Pole, coupling, May marriages, crafting flower crowns, presenting neighbors with flower bouquets, driving cattle through bale fires for purification and protection, and, of course, feasting. Rituals were often performed around large fires to draw forth the Sun and ensure a prosperous harvest. Beltane marks the beginning of Summer for many cultures, and is a time when the Sun lies with the Earth and nourishes Her with His rays. Flowers are in full bloom, trees are leafing, and baby birds are hatching. This sabbat is deeply associated with fertility, strength, life, sex, love, and passion. With these traditions and themes in mind, I created an altar using mostly items I found in my own backyard that symbolizes the season.

Beltane, altar, witch, witchcraft, May Day, witchy, wicca, wiccan, pagan, neopagan, occult, spring equitherm

1. Ferns, Blackberries, and Fleabane- Ferns, blackberries, and fleabane are associated with protection, prosperity, and luck. Since this is a liminal time and spirits walk among us, its always a good idea to have a little extra protection, especially if you plan on conducting any spirit work during this sabbat. Furthermore, Beltane is a time of prosperity and abundance, and rituals were often conducted to ensure the coming growing season would be plentiful. The yellow centers on the fleabane also represent the Sun who is returning to full strength, the white petals representing the purity of the union between Earth and Sun. (Where did I get it: Found in Garden; Cost: Free)

Beltane, altar, witch, witchcraft, May Day, witchy, wicca, wiccan, pagan, neopagan, occult, spring equitherm

2. Magnolia Leaves- Magnolia trees are an icon in the South, their waxy leaves remaining vibrant even during the cold of winter. They represent healing, fertility, and vitality, and are said to increase psychic abilities. I placed them on my altar to represent not only the vitality of the land, but also as an ode to winter and the Holly King who defeated this time of year. (Where did I get it: Found in Garden; Cost: Free)

Beltane, altar, witch, witchcraft, May Day, witchy, wicca, wiccan, pagan, neopagan, occult, spring equitherm

3. Bumble Bees- The bees, which are technically carpenter bees, represent the feminine, fertility, teamwork, growth, and sweetness of life. Bees are hard at work pollinating flowers, building hives, and making sweet honey. Bees are also representative of the Sun, making them a masculine aspect as well. This duality represents the union between both the masculine and feminine to bring about life at Beltane. I picked up both of these beautiful carpenter bees last April while out for a walk with my partner. I could hear them calling to me to be brought home instead of being left for the ants. They have held up extremely well over the past year and I look forward to using them on future altars or in future spells. Don't ignore the gifts the Earth provides. (Where did I get it: Found; Cost: Free)

Beltane, altar, witch, witchcraft, May Day, witchy, wicca, wiccan, pagan, neopagan, occult, spring equitherm

4. Rat Skull- Rats are associated with fertility, as they breed quickly and early like rabbits, as well as luck, innocence, ingenuity, quickening, change, and death. While death isn't often associated with Beltane, it does mark the death of winter and a time when communication between the living and dead is made easy due to the thinning of the veil. My partner found this skull near a gas meter while conducting a turn on and excitedly brought it home as a gift. He knows me so well. (Where did I get it: Found; Cost: Free)

Beltane, altar, witch, witchcraft, May Day, witchy, wicca, wiccan, pagan, neopagan, occult, spring equitherm

5. Quartz, Amethyst, and Red Calcite- The raw quartz, which I found a couple of years ago and is often featured in book pictures, represents balance, clarity, and vitality, while the amethyst represents transformation. The amethyst also represents dreams and psychic awareness. Since Beltane is a liminal time and spirits are extremely active, this is a great time for spirit work. The amethyst is there to aid in this communication. Red calcite, on the other hand, represents the Sun, vitality, confidence, strength, and increased energy, all themes associated with this sabbat. (Where did I get it: Found & Metaphysical Boxes; Cost: ~$7)

Beltane, altar, witch, witchcraft, May Day, witchy, wicca, wiccan, pagan, neopagan, occult, spring equitherm

6. White Candles in Golden Orange Candle Holders- The candles and candle holders represent the Sun and are a form of sympathetic magic to continue drawing the Sun's strength and ensuring He continues to shine and bless us with a bountiful harvest. As a gardener, I can do nothing without the warming rays of the Sun. (Where did I get it: Doller Tree; Cost: $3)

Beltane, altar, witch, witchcraft, May Day, witchy, wicca, wiccan, pagan, neopagan, occult, spring equitherm


TOTAL COST: ~$10


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!


Do you have any magical plans for Beltane this year? I plan to spend more time in my garden laying new mulch, weeding, and enjoying what the Sun has to offer.



If you liked this post and would like to support future content, please consider leaving a small tip in the jar. 


Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Book Review: Spirit Work by Sirian Shadow

spirit work, spirit communication, spirits, divination, book review, witch, witchcraft, wicca, wiccan, pagan, neopagan, witchy reads, witch book

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.

Late last month, I was approached by an author about a book review. Normally when I am asked, it comes from a publisher or marketing team, so I was pleasantly surprised when presented with such an opportunity. I was even more excited when I learned the title and content of the book: spirit work. Uh heck yeah! That is totally up my alley and one I know many of you, dear readers, would be interested in. Spirit Work: A Guide to Communicating & Forming Relationships with Spirits by Sirian Shadow is a short non-denominational guide to working and communicating with spirits, a guide that belongs on the shelf of any witch interested in spirit work.

The book is relatively short at only 136 pages but is chock-full of useful information. The book begins, as most books do, with a short introduction. In this introduction, Shadow makes it abundantly clear that this book is based on his personal experiences and that no two witches will have the same experience. I strongly believe this is an important statement to include in an introduction. If you have been following the blog for a while, you know I love nothing more than a well-researched book with plenty of citations. However, I also enjoy books written about the experiences of other witches. Our personal experiences are often more telling than a historical book and are just as valid. With that being said, Shadow does have a comprehensive bibliography to substantiate his practice, but it doesn't define his lived experiences.

The following chapters cover everything from describing spirits, energy, and magic, how to develop your psychic senses, how to give and gain consent, the problems of light (good) and dark (evil) thinking, an overview of spirits, protection methods, energy work, accessing the spirit realms, how to communicate and developed relationships with the spirits you encounter, divination methods, and the difference between invoking and evoking. Shadow includes excellent meditative and pathwalking exercises, ones that could help you if you are struggling with hedge riding. He also informs the reader that meditation is not about silencing your mind. I 100% agree and the misconception that meditation is prevalent in the spiritual community, especially among new practitioners. Some of my favorite sections, however, discussed demons and protection methods. Demons get such a bad rap due to Christianity and modern media. These spirits, while often trickery, are not inherently bad. In fact, very few spirits are. Shadow discusses this in his book in great detail, and I think more witches, especially those who don't practice spirit work need to hear this. Furthermore, when it comes to spirits, not too terribly much protection is needed because, as I said, most of them aren't harmful to begin with. Again, the idea that spirits are out to get you is also a misconception spread by those with little knowledge of real spirit work. That doesn't mean that spirit work is completely safe, but if you go in with clear intention, firm boundaries, and an open mind, you'll be fine. Shadow also reiterates the power of the word 'no.' Remember witches, no is a complete sentence and one of the most powerful spells you will ever mutter.

Finally, I loved Shadow's neutrality when it came to different practices. He mentions that what works for him is just one of many methods and briefly mentions the debate on open versus closed windows when cleansing as an example. This is such a heated debate in the spiritual community and it really doesn't have to be. If you believe the spirits and energy is trapped by a closed window or door, then open them when you cleanse. If you are like me, and recognize that energy and noncorporeal spirits can pass through windows and doors without them being open, then you don't have to open the doors. A large part of witchcraft is mental and your beliefs are valid either way. 

I greatly enjoyed this book, although I do wish it was longer and more in-depth. This book, however, is a great introduction and should be followed up with more advanced books for those seeking more information on certain topics. Despite loving the book, there was mention of using Palo Santo for cleansing, which is environmentally unsustainable and culturally appropriative, and chakras. Shadow actually mentions chakras multiple times and while Hinduism isn't closed, its practices are limited to those who practice Hinduism. You should also keep in mind that the western occult version of chakras is a complete bastardization of the original belief system. There is also a single use of the word 'spirit animal' in reference to animal guide, but everywhere else Shadow uses non-appropriative terms to describe animal guides.

If you are interested in getting into spirit work, or just looking to learn more, I encourage you to check out Spirit Work: A Guide to Communicating & Forming Relationships with Spirits by Sirian Shadow.


If you liked this post and would like to support future content, please consider leaving a small tip in the jar. 

Friday, April 22, 2022

Silver Cryptid Co Product Review

earrings, product review, witch, witchy, witchcraft, witch life, occult, pagan, neopagan, cottage core, gothic, tarot, wicca, wiccan

Update: Silver Cryptid Co now offers clip-on earrings. When ordering, select "clip-on" under backing. This is a great addition to her shop and as a result, I have personally ordered three pairs of earrings for myself. They are comfortable, but like all clip-on earrings, require some getting used to. Long-term use will leave your ears slightly sore to the touch, but I managed to wear them for 8 hours straight with no ear pain until removing the earrings and even then it was only if I touched my ears. 

If I have said it once, I have said it a dozen times; I love supporting small businesses. It's a great way to keep money in the pockets of individuals instead of large corporations, and you know that what you spend helps feed a family. No more funding corporate welfare, am I right? Anyway, when Steph, a Latino earring designer and artist behind Silver Cryptid Co, reached out asking me if I would like to review her earrings, I couldn't pass up the opportunity.

I would like to preface this review by letting you know, dear reader, that I do not have my ears pierced. I know, I know. I do, however, have a large number of friends with their ears pierced, and upon Steph's approval, passed the earrings on to a friend who absolutely adores them. With that being said, the testimony to how they feel while wearing them is my friend's opinion. The design, construction, and packaging review is my own. So let's dive in!

earrings, product review, witch, witchy, witchcraft, witch life, occult, pagan, neopagan, cottage core, gothic, tarot, wicca, wiccan

The package arrived while I was out of town last week in Savannah, so it was a wonderful surprise to find a small purply-blue package waiting for me on the kitchen table. The box is beautifully designed with the Silver Cryptid Co logo and design, so if you are looking to surprise someone in your home with a gift, you are going to want to make sure you get to this one first or send it to another family member. 

Inside, the contents were delicately packaged in ecologically-friendly packaging. Steph uses tissue paper and crumpled paper to secure her earrings and ensure they arrive in good condition. I know for many people packaging is an afterthought, but it's important to me that what I order produces as little non-recyclable waste as possible. I am an environmental science teacher after all. With that said, the packaging paper can be thrown into my compost pile or recycled with my plastics. It can also be reused to package other gifts or pieces given to my cats as a new toy. Yeah, Charlie loves bits of paper. The earrings, which were secured in tissue paper, came with a thank you card, sticker, and a small piece of selenite. The selenite is a wonderful touch and was not expected. I love receiving surprises, but by no means expect them as this expectation has led to small businesses unnecessarily stressing themselves to try and draw in customers by offering free items, such as crystal confetti. This is a harmful practice, especially when those extra gifts are not sustainably sourced. With that being said, I am happy to have an additional piece of selenite, packaged and sent with love.

earrings, product review, witch, witchy, witchcraft, witch life, occult, pagan, neopagan, cottage core, gothic, tarot, wicca, wiccan

The earrings themselves, which were a total surprise, are absolutely stunning. I love the sun and cup design, an ode to the cups suit and the Sun card in tarot. The intricately cut triple moon on the cups adds an extra magical touch to already magical earrings. The brass cups are offset nicely by silver suns and rings above them. The color combination works well and makes them versatile enough to wear with just about anything. Tarot card t-shirts seem to be a hot item at the moment and these would match such attire perfectly. They are very well made, dangle beautifully, and are light, so your years don't feel weighed down after hours of wear. My friend wore these with her gauges and they fit perfectly. While stiff while attached to the card, the earrings flow nicely and do not get hung up on themselves while going about your daily life.

earrings, product review, witch, witchy, witchcraft, witch life, occult, pagan, neopagan, cottage core, gothic, tarot, wicca, wiccan

Seph of Silver Cryptid Co has a large assortment of occult- and witch-inspired earrings, including such themes as cottage core, gothic, and mother nature. I love the universal planchette and Artemis mushroom earrings as well and know that you are likely to find something you or the witch in your life will love just as much. furthermore, all the earrings are fairly and reasonably priced and you would be helping support a Latino artist in the process.

earrings, product review, witch, witchy, witchcraft, witch life, occult, pagan, neopagan, cottage core, gothic, tarot, wicca, wiccan

You can pick up your earrings online at Silver Cryptid Co and follow Steph on Instagram at @silvercryptidco. If you sign up for her newsletter, you can receive 15% off your next purchase!



If you liked this post and would like to support future content, please consider leaving a small tip in the jar. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Book Review: Brigid's Light, Tending the Ancestral Flame of the Beloved Celtic Goddess

Brigid, St Brigid, goddess, folklore, folk magic, book review, witch, witchcraft, wicca, wiccan, pagan, neopagan, witchy reads, witch book

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.

Despite being busier the heck in my life, I have had time to read some pretty good books lately, the first of which is Brigid's Light: Tending the Ancestral Flame of the Beloved Celtic Goddess edited by Cairelle Crow and Laura Louella. This book is comprised of a series of short articles, spells, poems, and stories written by some wonderful, well-known witches who work with Brigid. The book is an ode to Brigid, not a definitive guide to working with her so if that is the sort of book you are looking for, this is not for you.

The book is divided into six parts, each part discussing different aspects of the goddess, including Her many faces, Her representation in nature, rituals and prayers, and her role in life and death. Each author contributed multiple entries for the book, which is clearly outlined in the Table of Contents. I enjoyed reading through the articles discussing people's different experiences with Brigid, how they honor her, the spells and rituals that use that include her, and the seasonal recipes for Imbolc.

Due to the nature of the book, there isn't too much for me to discuss without discussing each individual entry which is simply too much and not within the scope of this review. With that being said, I enjoyed it overall. There are bits of history and correspondences tucked away within the stories and practical lessons to learn throughout. Because people are speaking from personal experience, it was easy to connect with the authors and see a side of Brigid you might not see on your own. However, this means the book is not a guide to Brigid and how to work with her. I was hoping, based on the title and summary, that there would have been more practical application articles for working with Brigid and less poetry. It felt like there was a poem every other entry with no context. I would have enjoyed these entries more had I understood the reason behind writing or including them. In some cases, the poems are adapted from entries by Alexander Carmichael, who collects prayers written about Saint Brigid. These prayers give us valuable insight into the history of Brigid and her many faces.

As I mentioned, I overall enjoyed the book. I felt it did justice honoring Brigid and preserved some of her history, love, and devotion within its pages. I wish I could provide you with a longer, more in-depth review, but that simply isn't possible with such a book. If you are unsure whether or not this book is right for you, I encourage you to view the sample pages released on Google Books. This is a great way to figure out whether or not the book is for you prior to purchasing. Brigid's Light: Tending the Ancestral Flame of the Beloved Celtic Goddess edited by Cairelle Crow and Laura Louella is available now.

Until next time!




If you liked this post and would like to support future content, please consider leaving a small tip in the jar. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Magical Properties of Bloodstone

bloodstone, traditional witchcraft, trad craft, cunning folk, witchcraft, crystal magic, witch, wiccan, wicca, pagan, neopagan, occult, gem, stone


If you liked this post and would like to support future content, please consider leaving a small tip in the jar. 

Monday, April 18, 2022

Spellcrafting Series: What to do with Spell Remains

spell remain, spell disposal, spellcrafting, spells, rituals, witchcraft, pagan, neopagan, wicca, wiccan, witchcraft, spell writing, magick, magic

Now that you've cast your spell, what should you do with all the stuff leftover? Unless it's built into the spell, which it should be, witches often overlook proper disposal, and sometimes this can come back to haunt you. Knowing what you did with the remains of a spell can potentially help you later if you need to break said spell. Proper disposal can also be used to enhance the spell itself, such as casting items into a river to banish or freezing to halt something. In today's post we will dive into a number of disposal methods that you can build directly into your spells and rituals to enhance your magic and ensure success. This list, of course, is not exhaustive but is more than enough to get you started. When necessary, I have also included safety information, particularly for methods that require you to dispose of your remains directly into local ecosystems. And remember, always follow local and state rules and regulations for proper disposal methods and don't trespass.

When Is a Spell Complete?

Before we dive into the disposal methods, however, we need to discuss the proper time to dispose of spell remains. The answer to this depends entirely on the spell. Most container spells will be 'disposed' of prior to them coming to fruition, while a candle spell will be 'complete' after the candle has burned out. Even still longer spells that require working over many days, weeks, or moons until the intention is realized will rely on your intuition to know when they are complete. For those longer spells and rituals that require constant attention, you don't want to dismantle the spell until the very end. Trust your intuition. It will tell you when the spell is complete and it's time to dismantle or dispose of your spell remains. As mentioned earlier, sometimes the disposal method is part of the spell, so you won't actually be dismantling it prior to disposal, especially in cases where you are burying a spell jar.

Disposal Methods

Burning
Burning can be used in a couple of ways. First, burning can be used to release or banish. Burn in a cauldron, stove, fire pit, or otherwise heat-safe dish, and scatter the remains away from your property if looking to banish or release. Fire, when combined with wind, can be used to bring swift action and send your message quickly to the Universe. Scatter the ashes close to home, especially in your garden or plants, if you are working spells for abundance or success, petitioning spirits, or even sex magic (heat things up, am I right?). 

As always, exercise caution when burning materials. Work in a well-ventilated area, have a fire extinguisher, water, or baking soda at the ready, and don't burn anything that is potentially toxic or explosive such as plastic, jars, aluminum, treated wood, polystyrene foam, dryer lint, rubber, glue, or inked cardboard.

Burying
This disposal method relies heavily on your intention for the spell and is probably the most diverse method. To draw things to you, you'll want to bury your spell close to you. To drive things away, you will want to take them away from your property. Below is a list of possible sites and the intentions associated with them.

Front Door or Yard: Bury here for protection or to draw something to you. This method is especially potent for prosperity, abundance, and success spells.
Back Door or Yard: Bury here to maintain something or keep things the same.
Cemetery: This location is most often used in banishing spells, but can also be used in spells that require ancestral help or for bindings. Be mindful of the rules in cemeteries and be sure to show the utmost respect to those laid to rest.
Construction Site: This is best for hexing and cursing because as the building is built, the spell will constantly be 'hammered' into the ground.
Crossroads: This is generally considered a neutral location to dispose of the spell remains you don't know what to do with. Remains can also be buried here that are involved in prosperity, abundance, success, cursing, hexing, chord cutting, banishing, starting a new skill, or spells involving Hekate or other crossroads entities.
Someone Else's Yard: Remains buried here are associated with spells to impact the person who lives there, usually a curse or a healing spell. If buried near their front door, this will strengthen the influence.

Despite this method being versatile, it's also one you need to be the most concerned about. Remember to follow city and state guidelines, don't trespass, be respectful of the spirits that live there, and do not dispose of anything that could harm the environment. Avoid disposing of salt, plastics, synthetic candle wax, and artificial perfumes and soaps.

Compost
Because this is keeping the biodegradable remains on your property, this is best for spells related to protection, success, abundance, and maintenance. See the 'Burying' for more details.

Trash
This is best used for spells that are sending something away, cursing, or hexing. You want to dispose of the remains away from your home, usually as quickly as possible. The 'nastier' the disposal method, the stronger the curse or hex. You can even dispose of spell remains in a port-a-potty as long as they can be easier pumped and disposed of.

If your spell remains are not environmentally friendly, you will also want to dispose of them in the trash, despite your intention. See the note below for more details.*

Water
Water is great for releasing, cleansing, healing, fertility, and abundance spells. As the water flows, it washes away what we no longer desire and empowers the spell to bring what we want. Water is also often used in cursing and hexing, especially if it involves banishing. Hex tablets were historically found around hot springs and other water sources. Flush remains down the toilet, as long as they are safe and won't clog your pipes, to flush things out of your life, especially people. I flush salt used in cleansing rituals in my home to flush the unwanted energies out of my life. The ocean tides, on the other hand, can be used to bring things back to you, as they return on the tides.

Wind
Throw your spell remains, if they are light enough and eco-friendly, into the wind to send your intent out into the Universe, blow things away from you, or even blow things to you. If you are banishing, dispose of the remains away from home. If you are drawing to you, dispose of them close to home, preferably on your property. Be mindful that what goes up must come down. Don't throw potentially heavy or harmful remains off of balconies, buildings, mountainsides, or bridges. 

*If you are unable to use any of these disposal methods and are concerned that throwing the remains into the trash will hinder your spell, follow up the disposal with a petition or offering to whatever spirits and energies you called upon for assistance. This will ensure that despite 'improper' disposal your spell still works the way you intended. However, the idea that spell remains must be disposed of in a way that helps the spell is a very privileged mindset and sometimes environmentally harmful (this is also a colonizer mindset). In very rare cases have I seen any of my spells hindered because I threw the remains in the trash when I should have buried them. So go with what feels right to you, and be mindful of how you are impacting the local flora and fauna with your choice.

Sometimes, spell remains can be reused and you don't need to dispose of them at all. Crystals, glassware, drawstring bags, cups, and small trinkets can be reused in most circumstances after thorough cleansing. You don't want to reuse candles (they should be allowed to burn all the way out anyway), herbs, incense, or other 'disposable' items though, at least in most cases. I sometimes only use a candle for its wax, and will alter reuse the candle for a similar purpose. However, this is not advised for baneful spells, including hexing, cursing, return to sender, binding, or banishing spells. You want to dispose of the spell remains properly, most often away from you and your home in a 'disgusting' manner, such as throwing them in the garbage. 

***


This week I'd like you to think about an upcoming spell or two that you would like to perform. Jot down some potential disposal methods, making sure to list the pros and cons of each method. Are there any ingredients in the spell that could be potentially environmentally harmful? What if you want to break the spell later and need the remains? Do you have to dispose of the remains at all or can you reuse them in future spells? These are important questions to answer and ones you will want to record when you finally write and cast your spell.

If you liked this post and would like to support future content, please consider leaving a small tip in the jar.