Tools of the Craft : The Besom

Brooms are everywhere this time of the year. Black ones. Orange ones. Black and orange. Brooms with lightening bolts on the handle. You name it and you can likely find it on a besom. Other than the pointy hat, few other things identify witches as well, witches other than this universal accessory. Brooms have played an integral part in modern witchcraft and occult history. In fact, it would be hard to locate a circle anywhere this time of the year where a broom wasn’t somewhere to be found. It’s not just for sweeping the front porch anymore, at least not these.
As I said, brooms come in all sizes, shapes, textures, and patterns. Traditionally brooms were created from an ash or hazel (depending upon which was readily available in the area), sometimes willow, and birch branches or an herb called…you guessed it!….broom. Broom in it’s natural habitat of England, Scotland, parts of Asia, and warmer climates of Europe, has many uses, making brooms is just one. This bitter tasting herb grows as a shrub and can be used as both a toxin and a medicine. As an herbal treatment for bladder and kidney problems, and as a diuretic broom is used in conjunction with other herbs usually as an infusion over the course of a week or two until it is ready to be mixed into a potion. Unlike most herbs, this one is better taken with alcohol as it is very bitter and has an unpleasant scent after it dries and is boiled down.
The herb itself is very tall almost three feet high, woody with long tangling twig like stems, and grows in unlikely places. The rougher the terrain the happier this particular herb is. In fact, it will grow on rocky mountains in poor soil with little rainfall. This made it ideal for using as a tool or utensil for cleaning as well as magick.
Constructing brooms (besom) is pretty simple really. All that is needed is a long stave of either hazel, ash, or willow, willow twine, and long twiggy broom. The broom is connected to the stave with the willow twine and voila a besom is born! Of course the use of said besom isn’t always so simple.
Besoms were used, and still are, to clean the space for circle, to sweep away stagnant energy, as a protective barrier, to welcome guests, as a marital fertility aid (jumping the broom), and in some cases as a form of circle casting itself. Besoms placed near doorways welcome guests and ward away negative spirits. Sweeping the doorway, porch, and front of the home prevented energy from gathering and remaining there to cause problems later. In some cultures, sweeping of one’s feet meant the person in question would either get pregnant, go to jail, or get married. In other cultures it’s a way of removing the last bits of energy after shaking it loose with the besom.

Other lore regarding the besom include never sweeping with a broom while a deceased family member is in the home. A broom that suddenly falls from a door way announces company on the way. Brooms placed over the door protects against fairies and imps. Never bring old brooms into a new home and never burn a broom. Both are very bad luck.

 

The Welsh gypsy practice of jumping the broom is said to bring the newly wedded couple good fortune and many children. In parts of Africa sweeping over a man’s feet is said to bring on impotence. Of course, one can’t mention brooms without the practice of riding one.

 

The Dark Ages brought mountains of superstition regarding witches and devils. One is said to be the consort of the other and riding a broom was a reward for carrying out the devil’s work on Earth. I strongly suspect that should a Witch be able to actually get a broom to sweep his or her floor on its own, much less fly, there would be mass conversions. Certainly modern television witches have no problem twinkling their noses to a spotless home. However, Dark Age witches probably used a salve called flying ointment which was used to dress the broom for ritual use. This ointment consisted of a fatty base in which essential oils and herbs were mixed and then used to dress the broom from tip of the stave to the joining of the herb. Herbs such as wolfsbane, hemlock, henbane, and Nightshade were used and still are as a basis for charging these brooms. Charging is the practice of imparting energy onto an object so it become personal and receptive to the individual’s will. The first mention of flying ointments in conjunction with brooms and their use could be as early as the mid 1400’s.
The besom itself is a work of symbolism. It represents the union of the God and Goddess, a holy marriage, that revitalizes the Earth. Brooms may be created on May Day (Beltane, Belteanne, Beltaine, Cetsamhain), but not purchased on this day. To do so is said to sweep away friends and family and prevent visitors from returning.
Today modern witches still use the besom as an altar adornment, to sweep away negative or stale energy, and to recharge the energy in a space. They are used to cast circle, to mark the barriers of a circle, cleanse and consecrate the circle, and to prepare for smudging. Non-witches also use the broom to scent their homes, adorn their doors, and decorate their homes. It’s unlikely any of us witchy folk will be saving gas and riding our brooms any time soon, but the tradition and lore still live on.

Crystal Grid Basics

Crystal grids are all the rage in the metaphysical and natural sciences world. Scientists are beginning to explore these simple crystal patterns as a means of healing and exploring the Earth’s natural energy grids. Crystal grids are part applied science and part intuition. They work with the Law of Attraction and the natural ley lines in the Earth.

Ley lines are bands of geomagnetic energy that stretch across the globe usually beginning and ending in a mountain or hill source. Where you find ley lines you will usually also find a location of water. The Earth is naturally embraced within a magnetic field. This magnetic field can be used as a guideline for planting strong crops, finding healthy water,

Archeoastronomy, and geosciences. The ancient civilizations of the Mayans, Incans, Aborigines, Celts, Sumerian, Babylonian, and Chinese, knew of these ancient lines of energy and used them to construct sacred spaces, to conduct rites of worship, for healing, and energy work.

The Law of Attraction states simply that your thoughts translate as energy. That energy is released through intentions. Speaking or sending positive thoughts yields positive results. Speaking or sending negative thoughts yields positive results. This is a mixture of perception and belief. If you believe your life is negative it is. By keeping your thoughts positive you emit positive energy, as your thoughts and perceptions are nothing more than energy. The energy is reflected in the vibration of the energy field around your body. In terms of science, the Laws of Thermodynamics may be applied, which states simply that energy can neither be created nor destroyed but it may change form and it may be transferred from one thing to another. In this respect the energy you create with the Law of Attraction (using thoughts and perception as forms of energy) may be transferred to the crystals using the First Law of Thermodynamics. When you charge your stones this is what you are using.

By using natural laws of energy and using sacred geometry, you can create a simple, beautiful, and powerful crystal grid to attract abundance, healing, love, and tranquility into your life.

Sacred geometry applies within the shapes used for constructing pieces of spiritual art, buildings, shrines, temples, churches, and so forth. This is a very ancient form of mystical science which gives the vibration of a form a number, the number of which is applied to a specific spiritual attribute. Ideally the form should connect and be made of equal parts of the same number. Using crystals with a specific vibration is also important as this determines the frequency that your grid will emit. With the aforementioned science in mind, use this as a determining factor for your crystals:

* All things are energy in one form or another. The crystal you are holding is created from the same exact energy that also created you. All energy is derived from a central source, however or whatever you determine that source to be. Therefore you and the crystal already have an energetic connection.

* The same energy that connected you and the rock is also the same energy that connected other people, things, and creatures in the world. You are already a part of their lives by collective consciousness, and also a part of the stone. Creating and sending energy through an extensive length is space is positive through this collective connection.

* Crystals have their own energy. The numerical values of their name is not their frequency. Their vibrational frequency (harmonics) is measured by the density of the crystal which is reflected within the color, structure, and weight of the stone. Note the weight difference and intensity of color in a piece of tumbled clear quartz, rose quartz, fancy jasper, and hematite. Structural differences may add to the energetic qualities of the crystal and function, but doesn’t really affect the actual harmonics of the crystal that much.

You can use pre-set crystal grid kits or you can create them yourself. You may also use as a center stone a crystal generator, points, balls, pyramids, or merkaba. These are all used to collect, cleanse, and magnify the energy used with the grid. Use what you are drawn to, what you like, and what connects with your purpose. Excellent general use stones include clear quartz, selenite, jaspers, amethyst, aegerine, agates, moonstone, and river stone.

The Magickal Child, Creating Effective Thoughtforms

I suppose by now it would be fair to assume Mama Gaia is mightily unhappy. The Northwest is burning, Texas, parts of Tennessee, and Louisiana are having flooding issues, monsoons are hitting parts of Asia hard, earthquakes are hitting the Southwest, and Florida, the Leelands, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and accompanying islands are getting slammed by Irma with Jose following up a bit too closely. This is accompanied by prayers, positive vibes and more than a little fear. But it’s also accompanied by weather magick and a big aspect of that is creating and sustaining effective thoughtforms.

A thoughtform is a carefully crafted package of energy that is triggered by a specific switch (timing, contact, or energy level) and may be an integral aspect of shielding as well. If you are not familiar with effective grounding, centering, shielding, and visualization skills this is not something you may want to attempt, nor should you.

Thoughtforms may be created during intense rites, sex magick, ecstatic worship, or deep meditation in which the energy package is given a specific purpose and also a trigger that will cause it to activate and de-activate and dissipate. This package may take on any form that is easy for you to work with. If you are comfortable working with dragon or unicorn energy, go for it! These magickal children are not limited by either physical plane nor the laws of physics any more than any other form of energy. Physical laws do not apply to them.

Begin your rite as you would any other rite. Be in a state of mind that allows you to separate from limiting scenarios and physical law. Before your rite you should gather items together that represent what you wish to achieve, what form you wish your thoughtform to take, exact details of your creation, and then set your triggers and exact details of your goals. It should have a trigger that releases it back to the Aether as well.

The latter is very important because without it it will keep going and without a goal once the one it was created for is completed, it could cause a bit of mischief. Because these packets of energy have no particular morality or charge, merely a purpose, they will grow unattended and unreleased according to whatever charge feeds it. This is why it is very important to both give it a specific purpose and a trigger that dissipates it.

You will want to raise a great deal of energy and if you are working solo there’s a lot of ways to achieve this. You may work with others through your online groups (only those you trust!), dance, drum, sing, trance, or through masturbation. All of these are perfectly reasonable and effective ways of raising a great deal of energy alone. If you are working with a group you may opt to leave out the latter option, but be sure everyone is on the same page and working as one unit. For that reason alone, this type of magick is well suited for solitary practitioners.

Now that you have safely set up your ritual you need to create details. These details allow you to easily visualize your creation. If you wish to create a sigil that embodies this working, do it.  Visualize the color of the energy you are working with. If I wanted to create a dragon, imbued with ice for instance, I would use the rune Isa, which literally means “ice”. This rune slows things down. I would resource my vast love of dragons and pull something white, silver, and gray. I would imbue it with freezing breath and chilling scales tipped with ice and I give it the elements of Sky and Sea (Air and Water). It would have a very fluid body type, very lithe, and be suitably airborne when necessary. Its purpose would be to deflect and hopefully diffuse and when the energy level of its target drops below a 3 it would be triggered to diffuse and return to the Aether. I would then give an offering, blessings, and close my space.

Other sources of inspiration could be forms of High Magick, Low Magick, sigils, cultural and ancestral lore.

Keep in mind you may set a specific time on these but the most effective magick takes time to craft and may take some time to fully manifest. These specific forms of magickal children can be very draining so you either want to keep the goal to the point or you want to give it less energy intensive tasks and a quick dissolution timeframe.

Self-care is also important as you are essentially attached to your creation while it is active. You will need to imbibe on living prana through raw fruits, vegetables, edible flowers, and herbs, walks outside, and clean beverages without the additives. When your thoughtform has dispersed you should feel less tired and more balanced.

As I’m loving the energy and coolness of the beautiful Harvest Moon, I hope whatever you choose to manifest this evening works in your highest good.

Hurricane Harvey Flint (Genesee County rescue team) mobilizing tonight

Ryan LoRee, Candidate for Michigan House of Representatives, 50th District, is kicking into action with the Hurricane Harvey Flint (Genesee County rescue team) in putting some made in Michigan compassion to work. He, along with a volunteers of determined folks with boats, supplies, and other items, are heading out this evening to put the rotors to the road. Hurricane Harvey has devastated Houston and surrounding areas. These Michiganderns have answered the call.

The situation continues to deteriorate. The flood waters show no sign of relenting, and rain continues to drown the urban centers and rural areas with devastation. Water rescues by law enforcement, the Cajun Navy, and the National Guard forces are happening, but the task is monumental.

National Guard Bureau Official Briefs Reporters on Harvey Response

The volunteers on this mission from the Midwest are moving out tonight. With goals and guts, they are traveling to Texas with bootstraps firmly pulled up and ready to roll. But, one thing.

They need your help.

We are assembling a recovery team to head down to Texas. We are looking for rescue equipment, medical supplies, Pet food, canned foods, water bottles, GAS CARDS ect… Please let me know if you can be of any assistance? The team we have assembled is very trained and proficient in rescue operations. Thank you for your support and please let me know if you can help!!!!

Local Witch, and Leader, HPS Morgana Moonwater gave PBN News the heads up that this was going down. To her, big thanks. Keep up the good fight for the true and right.

On the list of items needed, they include

  • Baby Formula
  • Medical Supplies
  • Pet Food
  • Canned Foods
  • Solar emergency blankets
  • Flares
  • GAS CARDS
  • Gas Cans
    Etc…

In addition to those listed above, there is a major need for blankets, pet food, and sanitary supplies. Gas cards to get there make it possible. Food cards to major stores are also something you might wish to donate.

public fundraiser image

As of two hours ago, they released this statement from the team, via LoRee’s fundraiser FB page:

We have aquired a 24ft Airstream to take on the trip. We are expecting to leave by at the latest 7pm. If anyone has artistic talents and would like to make signs from home we can collect and stick them in the widows with your messages!!! Thank you all for your support and encouragement. Please share this to at least 5 friends. This will be one of the main sources we pull from for resources.

Donate to their mission by visiting

Hurricane Harvey Flint (Genesee County rescue team

on Facebook. Let’s make it happen people. If not you, who? If not now, when?

Apple Magick

You really can’t think about the Autumn months without the scents of apple pie, pork roast and apple, meat pies, lovely apple and cinnamon candles coming to mind. It instantly evokes a feeling of nostalgia, warm blankets, crackling fires, County fairs, and Mom’s warm apple cider. Just the sight of a fresh ripe apple in the farmer’s market makes my heart skip a beat! This is without a doubt the start of the holiday season. For Pagans it is the last of three Harvest seasons (Lughnasadh, Mabon,Samhain), each representing a different aspect of both physical and spiritual harvests. These three celebrate the bounty of hard work, of things coming to fruition, and our energies winding down with the cycles of Mother Earth to rest until the next planting season.

But most importantly they celebrate the bonds of family from birth to death and rebirth. Lughnasadh, Mabon, and Samhain all celebrate the people in our lives that have passed on into the Summerlands. While the Harvest begins at Lughnasadh in gathering early Summer fruits but also begins the second planting season for Autumn. The celebration of these days are marked with fruits, vegetables, family gatherings, and remembering family waiting on the other side. In fact, Samhain was often called the Feast of Apples.
The apple, next to the pumpkin and turnip, is the most recognizable as a symbol of the season. It is also sacred to many deities across the world, especially those dealing with love, sex, marriage, and death. Apples belong to the element of Water and many of the deities associated are gods of passion, emotion, and the ebb and flow of life.
It’s said that Zeus gave his wife Hera a tree that grew golden apples for a wedding gift. Hera, being the goddess of marriage, gave these apples as gifts to the gods and sometimes mortals as blessings on their unions. The Atalanta is said to have been distracted by three golden apples thrown down in a race with her suitor, who received the apples from Hera. The Trojan War is said to have been indirectly started by a golden apple of discord presented to Paris by the goddess Aphrodite. Hercules retrieved the golden apples of immortality in a quest for the Golden Fleece.
In Scandinavia the apples of perpetual youth were protected by Indunn in Asgard. These apples were said to keep whomever ate one young forever. Gna, the messenger of Frigga, gave an apple to King Rerir who shared it with his wife who then bore him a child. Frey sent 11 golden apples to Gerda as a marriage gift. The goddess Freya is said to have an orchard of apples with magickal powers. At Yule she brings bags of apples to children.
Apples are also associated with the Blue Hag of Winter, the Cailleach Bhera, Cerridwen, Babd, the MorRhiaghan, Morgan Le Fey, Vivienne, Diana, Eve, Lilith, Athena, Flora, Pomona, Venus, Apollo, Aillin, Zeus, Dionysis, Olwen, and Chango. The goddess Pomona, a wood nymph of whom pommes (the name for flowering fruits) is derived. In fact the Feast of Pomona is held between November 01 and November 03.
Apples are used as offerings, wards, divination tools, blessings, in dream magick, for prophesy, in the crafting of tools, statuary, runes, charms, and as spell components. Fertility and love spells incorporate the apple and peeling an apple in one strip is said to have the initial of the first name of your future spouse. Slicing an apple in half reveals a pentagram that may be used as a ward or to bless tools. Apple branches make excellent wands and runes. Apples sliced in half or in thin slices and strung as a garland protect against negative energies and baneful spirits and invite love, prosperity, and health into the home. Potions made with apple bring love and health. Poppets made with apples may be used to draw love into your life.
In divination apple blossoms signify temptation, better things to come, a new chance. Runes carved into apple branches to make the Ogham tie strongly with relationship readings, may be used for love charms and protection and health charms for the family and home. Quert, also spelled Ciert, signifies the necessity of choice on the physical plane. On a mental level it shows many doors open for greater knowledge and self discipline. Spiritually this stave shows a need to choose a path and complete it before moving into another part of your journey. Peeling an apple in one strip is said to reveal the first initial of your future spouse while dreaming of apples signifies. Dreaming of apples signifies prosperity, health, and impending love. If you are already married it could signify temptation or a renewal of your current love. Bobbing for apples or twirling a rope with apples were both ways to predict impending marital status and bliss.
Apple blossoms may be used in fertility, prosperity, temptation, and divination spells or as an incense for love or divination during readings. Fruit may be used as offerings, incorporated into the Mute Dinner, and as parts of charms. Apples are also known as the food for the dead and many tales of the Underworld and Summerland. Pomegranates (a kissing cousin of apples), is associated with the goddess Persephone/Proserpina. The fruit is said to soothe their souls and keep them in the Underworld while they await their loved ones. In Celtic lore, Fae were said to offer apples to humans so they would remain in the Otherworld. The greatest of all realms, the Isle of Avalon where magick is said to originate and the Druids were said to train Priestesses and Priests of the Goddess and Her Consort, is also referred to as the Isle of Apples. The root for Avalon is Afallon, which has its root in the Welsh word for apple.
Apples are not only used for magick and divination but also have many positive health benefits as well. Green apples are known to relieve migraines and red apples eaten grated is known to relieve diarrhea. Eaten whole, tangier apples can ease constipation, and apple wine has many mystical as well as healing properties. Apple cider vinegar is a well known for its anti-bacterial properties and during the Plague walls and floors were often washed down with it to prevent other outbreaks. From a magickal perspective, washing the doors, windows, porches, walls and floors are said to keep evil spirits and baneful magicks from entering the home. Apples are very good for detoxing the body, liver, brain, and joint health as well as for treating gout, rheumatism, high blood pressure, and migraine headaches. Some say even the scent of a green apple begins to soothe their pounding head. Apples with honey was used to treat heart ailments in the old days and warmed apples soothe a sore throat and increase the appetite in people who are ill. An application of apples sliced and chilled directly to the skin is said to heal skin inflammations and inflammations of the throat.
Crab apples are a member of the apple family but unlike larger species, they can be extremely tart. They represent the Maiden at Beltane and the Crone at Samhain. Crab apples grow in clusters and are about the size of a quarter to a half dollar. These wee apples are usually grown for the honey that can be cultivated from the blossoms, but they are also stewed for a garnish (much the way cranberries are) and made into jellies and jams. Making a ring of crab apples with your intended love’s name carved into them is said to draw the person to you. The apples are then buried after the fact.

Othal is the New Black

Over the years I have had both the pleasure and amusement of watching symbols from many paths become mainstream, even fashion accessories and when followed with knowledge it’s a good thing. In a society filled with cultural appropriation this is nothing new for Pagans and Heathens. While it sometimes can prove to be just more of the same old, it’s a gradual sign of society becoming more tolerant despite outward appearances. I would love to see these trends come with information, but baby steps.

I have to constantly remind myself that our Nation is, comparatively speaking, very young. It still has some growing and maturing to do and that process is always accompanied by growing pains. Somewhere between the trendy New Age flavors in fashion today, someone got it very wrong. I, like millions of others in our country, was absolutely horrified to see symbols I hold very dear to my heart being waved as a symbol of hate and dissension. As Neo-Nazis and other like-minded groups marched through Charlottesville I couldn’t help but have a cold dread pour into my blood. A chill of foreboding perhaps, or just the utter horror of the situation on my screen and what this could mean for our family. Our baby steps sometimes cause us to stumble, fall, and get stuck in a bad, dirty place.

One of the more prominent symbols was the Elder Futhark Rune, Othal (Othala), a rune generally referring to lineage, ancestry, or something being inherited. The rune itself is a beautiful symbol of pride in one’s family, but it is also pride in the ties between our ancestors and the very land we walk on.

Othal (Othel, Othala) belong to the Aett of Tyr and is one of the runes found in the Elder Futhark, but not in the Younger Futhark. Its appearance also connects with another symbol used very often by another religious group, the Icthys. Both symbols resemble the fish and both reflect abundance but that is generally where the connections end.

Othal is derived from an Old Norse word odal connecting it to family and specifically genetic family with the natural connections between people of the same tribe. It may be first applied to ancestry or lineage and secondly to the land of the tribe. Germanic tribes and Anglo-Saxon tribes had two very different perspectives of tribal laws regarding land. In Celtic and similar tribe perspective tribes owned the land collectively and shared responsibility for the land. In Germanic perspective the individual owned the land and was singularly responsible for the upkeep and prosperity of the land. The Goths also adapted this symbol as a symbol of sovereignty connecting to divinity, specifically divine sovereignty.

Othal is a connection to each other, to the land, to our ancestry. It is the rune of abundance and of honoring our ancestors and lineage. It is not a rune of hatred and dissension. Even merkstave (if you choose to use reversals), the rune can be read as a lack of generosity, empathy, or appreciation for the land or family. It rather denotes a Scrooge character in which selfishness, greed, and lack of understanding eventually results in loneliness and loss of humanity.

In this perspective, Othal is exactly what needs to be invoked right now. Our society, our world, could use a little more nature, a little more kinship, and a lot connection to the land. Perhaps this was just the sneakiness of Loki tricking people into searching for exactly what they need hidden and disguised as chaos. Of all the symbols to become trendy, Othal is one of the best and brightest to use on the world’s runway.

Interview with Charity Bedell, Author of The Good Witch’s Guide: A Modern-Day Wiccapedia of Magickal Ingredients and Spells

I recently had the opportunity to virtually interview Charity Bedell, co-author of  The Good Witch’s Guide: A Modern Day Wiccapedia of Magickal Ingredients and Spells.  I asked her five questions about  this resource-filled book.
 Question 1:  One of the things I found intriguing about the book is the way it is organized. Instead of breaking it into 2 parts of Healing and Magical, its organized by separate sections then within those sections into Healing and Magical applications. Why did you choose to organize it this way?

The most important thing I want people to get out of this book is that the available  healing practices and the magical practices around herbs are deeply connected.  They have always been connected.   This truth was well-known in the ancient world.  They really believed that physical ailments were caused by magic and spirits as well as by physical conditions.  So for the ancients they needed to be able to treat the mind, the body, and the spirit all at once.,

The chapter on potions goes into this a bit more.  In that chapter I explain how remedies like Four Thieves Vinegar, Fire Cider and Carmelite water were used in medicine and in magic.  By knowing the medicinal properties of the plants we can learn several of the magical values of the plants.  Magic and medicine are connected.  They work in connection to create a better life for us.

To illustrate what I am talking about lets talk about one of my favorite spices.  Cayenne Pepper.  Cayenne pepper when combined with Arnica in a salve makes a powerful pain relief and arthritis relief salve.  Cayenne pepper is rich in capsicum which contains the chemical Capcasin.   This is a chemical found in many over the counter ointments for arthritis relief.

Cayenne Pepper also works well as an expectorant.  When used in cooking if someone with congestion eats Cayenne pepper the mucus will dissolve and they will be able to breathe easy.  The mucus will break up and be removed from the system.  It is also an anti irritant, which allows cayenne pepper to soothe throats and coughs and colds from allergies.

Magically Cayenne pepper is most well-known for being a protective herb.  It’s known to be good in removal work. This herb gets a bad rap for being used in hexes and cures specifically its known for being a key ingredient in Hoot Foot Powder.  However Hotfoot powder is not a curse so much as it is a removal work.  While the powder will cause an individual to move away, that is all the powder will be good for   If used with justification hot foot powder will cause an individual to move out of their home, job, etc.  Though you need to be careful as hot foot powder can last longer than intended and may cause the target to remain in motion unable to stay established for a long period of time.  This is why it should be avoided.

So what we see here is that the expectorant and the anti-irritant medicinal properties give way to protection and removal work.   Further looking at the herb will allow you to have insight into Cayenne pepper.  One magical property of Cayenne pepper is sexuality and lust.  This comes from the fire aspect and spice nature of the herb.  In order to understand the whole herb you need to look at the entire picture.    Only by looking at the entire picture of the plant (medicine, lore, history and magic) can one really understand how the herb works.  The more we see the connections between the mind, the body, and the spirit the more whole we can become.

Question 2:  In each section you’ve provided instruction to cleanse required objects and items of residual energies prior to use in the applications. How much importance is placed on this step and would failure to do so weaken the application?

I’m going to address this question in two parts.  First, you have the physical cleaning aspects and then you have the spiritual and energetic aspect to the cleansing process.  Both parts are important to the process.  They are both essentially to having clean and sanitized materials to work with.

The first one is practicality.  You need to at least wash your spoons, bowls, blenders, etc between each item you make.  This prevents cross contamination.  It makes sure that only the herbs and items used for that particular product or item are going to be in the items made.   It also ensure that your items are sanitized for the next use.  You want to make sure that any of the medicines made are made on clean and sanitized surfaced.  So not only the objects made need to be cleaned but the space as well.

The second point deals with spiritual hygiene.  When we are dealing with products for magical work and spiritual work we need to make sure that there is no energetic residue.  That we are set up only for the work at hand.  All emotions and all thoughts and energy for each items magical purpose must be focused solely on the individual item at hand. Any other thoughts, energetic forces and concepts can interfere and cause problems.

This does not mean that you need to do an additional cleaning with the materials.  Not at all.  That wouldn’t be practical.  You can simply add prayers, burn incense, and direct energy within the physical cleaning of the materials and space to energetically cleanse them as well.  That’s all you really need to do.

Let me explain.  The addition of prayers and ritual work removes psychic and spiritual residue.  This allows and ensure that only the magical and spiritual energy for the product being created at hand is there.  The visualization, the incense, candles, and energy work all make the physical act of cleaning into a magical cleansing.  For many who practice folk magic this is how they clean their house.  There is no difference to them between the magical and the mundane.  It is simply how life is lived.

 This simple cleansing ritual will allow you to physically clean the items you used to create your products but also spiritually cleanse them as well.

Materials:
Lemon Scented Dish Soap
Lavender Essential Oil *Use Diluted Oil Only (Medicinal properties: Antibacterial, Antiseptic Magical properties:
Protection, Purification)
Lemon Juice & Essential Oil * Diluted Oil Only ( Medicinal Properties: Natural Antiviral   Magical properties: Purification,
Pine Essential Oil *Use Diluted Oil Only( Medicinal properties: Antiseptic properties magical properties:Protection , Exorcism )
New Sponge (To be used only for making these products magical and or medicinal)
Ritual:
Fill the Dish Pan or Sink with Hot water
As the Sink or Bin fills add 1 drop of each of the above Essential Oils
Add The dish soap
Place your materials to be cleaned in the Basin or Sink
Visualize the Bin filled with a white light removing all energy that was there previously
Begin to scrub and wash the items used
As you wash the items direct the physical energy of cleaning them into them.
See the energy on the object as rust being removed by your physical efforts.
As you wash them state:
“Water cleanse and Clean
Remove that which is unseen
All that does not serve move away
Ready to serve on this day”
Once they have been washed and soaped up it is time to rinse the items.  As you rinse them state:
“Water Water Wash away
Water Cleanse on this day”
Let them dry.
As the objects dry see them enveloped in and radiating a pure white light.
Once they are dry you are free to use them again.
Question 3:  One of the sections in the book defines types of spirituality and philosophies. How important is it to follow a spiritual/philosophical path?
We are all on some sort of path in this life.  We all have different philosophies.  I do not think it is required to follow an established path out there unless you as an individual is called to a specific tradition or practice.  I do think that we should study and explore and read about different paths and philosophies and develop our own unique paths.  My own path is eclectic.  My beliefs and philosophies have come from an exploration and study of many different paths and beliefs.

By reading and exploring many other paths we can ask our selves what we truly think about things in this world.  We can question what we believe about the after life, the nature of life, magic, etc.  To me it doesn’t matter what you believe or what you practice.  What does matter is that you have an outlook on the world around us.

If you are working magic and spiritual paths you need to have some sort of view on the universe.  To me it doesn’t matter if you believe that all Gods and Spirits are aspects of the human mind created by humanity over eons or if you see them as physical beings.  They are both philosophies and both views that guide you and your practice.  Religion and exact beliefs don’t matter,  Your relationship with the universe and the forces that govern them is all that matter,

Even atheists can practice magic and have philosophy and spiritual experiences.  It’s all about your connection to the universe and how you understand the world to work.  Science has philosophy as does religion.  They are just different ways of looking at the world.  They don’t even have to be opposites.  In the end all that maters is that you have a view on life.  You don’t have to call it spiritual.  Many don’t view magic as spiritual but psychological.  These are just about making connections, reaching and understanding of the world we live in.  Call is psychology, call it belief, call it spirituality or religion it doesn’t matter.  They are all tools through which we view and understand this world we live in.
Question 4:  Balance, intent and mood–most people don’t give this any conscious thought but it is a common theme throughout the book as part of the process. How important are they are part of the focus?

I’m going to again address this in two parts.  Since this book deals with both remedies and magic/spiritual work it seems fair t address this from both points.  Intent is involved in both the remedy aspect and the magical aspect.  Intent allows us to define what exactly the work at hand is and how we are going to address it.  Intent allows us to plan out our attack on the problem to create the change regardless of it being a remedy or a magical project.

First let’s look at the remedy component.  When you are creating a remedy for the flu you would want to include herbs that address the entire situation.  When it comes to the flu there are two common methods a tincture or a syrup  You would choose herbs like Elder Berry(fever reduction. immune booster, and natural antiviral), Echinacea (natural antibiotic and immune booster) and Cinnamon (anti-inflamatory).  Boil them and make a syrup base with honey (Natural antibiotic) and you have a home remedy for the flu.  Each of the ingredients were chosen to create a blend that dealt with all aspects of the intention-curing the flu.
Now on to the role Intent plays with magic.  When it comes to magic intent, mood, and emotional state are important. They all have an effect on what is going to happen.  Many people will tell you that all magic is intent but that is not the case.  Intent is simply part of the process.  It is what charges and gives the spell form.  Your intent guides you and helps you plans the spell including exact desires, any blocks in the way and related items.

When you cast a spell and create objects for magical use they are going to serve a specific purpose.  That purpose is the intent behind the work.  You need to make sure that when you are working on an object (say you are making an oil for a peaceful home) you want to ensure that the only thoughts in your mind while making that oil are ones of a peaceful home.  You can use any thought that brings out that image (happy holidays, beach visits, content faces over dinner etc) but the focus still needs to be on the aim or goal at hand.

Your intent drives what items you use for the object at hand.  Once again going with the peaceful home with that being your intent you would need to use that as a base for herbs and items to use in the product.  Chamomile, Lavender, and Rosemary would all be good for this work. I’d personally add in angelica root as well for a bit of protection.

The choice for these herbs was also based on the medicinal properties as well as the magical properties.  By choosing herbs that we know have a soothing and peaceful nature we know that a peaceful atmosphere will be obtained.    This is why peace is often a magical and spiritual property of herbs used for anxiety, stress relief, and sleep aid.

Lets take a look at each of these herbs to examine further why they are important.

Angelica Root:

Medicinal:* do not use if you are diabetic*: Colds, Phlegm reduction, Flu, Fever reduction, Expectorant,
Magical– Angel work, Protection, Hex Removal, Exorcisms, Health, Meditation,Divination
Chamomile:
Medicinal – Insomnia, Sleep, Anxiety, Stress, Fever, Arthritis, Pain relief, Indigestion.

Magical – Protection, Luck, Money, Sleep, Peace, Purification

Lavender:
Medicinal – Anxiety relief, Headaches, Antidepressant, Tension relief, Stress relief, Antibacterial, Antiseptic, Disinfectant, Indigestion, Irritable bowel syndrome

Magical – Love, Protection, Purification, Happiness, Peace, Healing, Meditation, Psychic abilities

Rosemary:
Medicinal – Focus, Memory, Concentration, Blood pressure, Circulation, Antiseptic, Antidepressant, Indigestion

Magical – Cleansing, Draws the aid of spirits, Love, Mental focus, Protection, Lust, Exorcism, Healing, Herb of a good home

So intent plays in how you plan your magical working.  The intent here is a happy home.  There are many things that go into the creation of a happy and peaceful home.  You need to account for emotional well-being, financial well-being, health, and over all wellness.  You want to be sure that any negative energy is not able to stick around and that healthy and beneficial energetic forces stay.

Angelica Root offers protection.  It will also remove anything you deem that does not serve.  Do in a happy home or peaceful home oil this herb would protect from that which causes discord and remove that which discord.  It also brings in peace through the healing of angelic forces.

Chamomile is a flower influenced by the sun.  That means it is good for prosperity. So when used in a happy and peaceful home oil it will ensure that there are no real financial issues.  This also falls into the stress reliefs aspect.  One of the major stresses in our homes is financial stress.  The protective aspect of Chamomile also protects finances and from that stress.  The other aspect of being a solar herb is that Chamomile is a mood up lifter.  By relieving stress you create a sense of peace and tranquility.  You also have the cleansing aspect which helps maintain the peace.

 

Lavender is a love herb.  So it helps bring love into the house.  It also brings peace so you know everyone is at peace.  Love and peace are essential for a healthy and happy peaceful home.  Also this would be the key component as peace is in the properties.  This will bring peace.  If there are arguments this herb will help calm things down and soothe an individual.  Lavender is really powerful for this.  Anything dealing with homes, relationships, and peace should include lavender.  The medicinal virtues of stress and anxiety relief will also be in play.  They will be magnified by the Chamomile.

Rosemary is a herb sacred to the home.  One of the spirits it is sacred to is Mother Mary.  In several traditions she is a patron saint of the home.  So Rosemary is sacred to her and used to bring about a peaceful and sacred home.  This is also a love herb.  More specifically this is about family love.  So this ensures a strong bond of family love.  This herb is cleansing as well.  You often see it in smudge bundles with Lavender.  The two together keep and area cleansed. The antidepressant and memory aspect here work in connection with peace, protection, love and cleansing to create a home full of happy memories.
Only by fully examining the intent behind a spell or object can you create the most effective spell or ritual for change.  When you gather and combine all of these energetic forces into one you can fully charge your oil for the spell or ritual use at hand.  Intent builds up the emotion and images, but it is the combination of the direction and manipulation of those energetic forces towards your ideal goal that create the charged spell item.
Question 5:   I like that in Part 3 there is a section that mentions diet. How important is diet or dietary considerations during times of magical preparation?
With everything we should strive to be balanced.  I personally wouldn’t eat to heavily for magical work. I also wouldn’t eat anything with too much sugar in it.  My energy for ritual should be balanced.  A little sugar for quick energy and some protein for longer lasting energy.  Both together also are very grounding. Ritual work where an invocation to the Gods has been given I will eat to ground after the ritual and to partake in their blessing.  In general unless one is fasting for cleansing rituals I see no reason to severely change your diet.  Just be mindful and eat in moderation and a balanced diet.  On the sabbats enjoy a feast.  On Esbats enjoy a munchies, sweets, and appetizer type spread.  The rest of the time just be yourself and do the best you can to eat healthy.
You can follow Charity Bedell  on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/LoonaWynd/
Lenore Sagaskie is a writer and artist living in self-imposed exile in Michigan.
You can follow Lenore on Facebook and on Twitter @Lenorewrites

Book Review – The Good Witch’s Guide: A Modern Day Wiccapedia of Magickal Ingredients and Spells by Shawn Robbins and Charity Bedell

 

 

Available at Amazon.com

The Good Witch’s Guide is truly what it sets out to be: an excellent reference guide for skilled practitioners, novices or those just beginning to take interest in the magickal arts. The book is well-organized, insightful and provides explanatory summaries within each section that provides clarification of purpose.

The Good Witch’s Guide is broken into three parts, the first of which is Ye Olde Witch’s Wisdom, Rituals and Formula’s. This part of the book gives a brief history of the folklore, aromatherapy, and use of crystals and gemstones. I like that this part of the book explained the “doctrine of signature” which is thematic in traditional folklore. I found the essential oil list comprehensive; the chapter provides a list of common ailments, points of improvement and essential oils that are recommended to provide relief. The essential oil section is also divided into healing and magickal and provides several recipes for each. Required items that many of these recipes call for are easy to locate.

The chapter, Crystal Power, provides information on charms, elixirs, and explains chakra balancing in a concise manner. The chapter also provides a list of crystals and gemstones and their applications as well as recipes for healing and magickal applications. The list provides a great number of commonly utilized crystals and gems.

The second part of the book, Spirit Spells and Spirituality, outlines the importance of well-being and visualization. I absolutely love the spells for well-being and self-love. The focus segues into spells that can be utilized to heal others such as the Healing Poppet Spell. The section then transitions to cleansing, protection and magical spells. Chapter 5 covers candles, their colors and uses.

Chapter 6 has spells for health and also some for removing fears and phobias. The section is rounded out with a section that defines types of spirituality and philosophies. I like that it gives a brief summary of those listed without a bias toward one or another. “A Good Witch’s Guide” encourages and promotes self healing in daily life and encouraging use of healing of others and then extend it outwards to include wildlife and the environment. It contains a gentle reminder to be kind, be mindful and act with love.

The third part of the book, DIY Brews and Potions, continues to remind the reader to look in your kitchen and your yard for sources for herbs and plants. As well as defining animism, this section contains a terminology of infusions, decoctions and tinctures. A list of common herbs and uses for them includes information on possible prescription drug interactions, information that is vital to all practitioners. As a kitchen witch, I really appreciated Chapter 8, Kitchen Witchware: Cooking up Magick. There are several recipes that are definitely going to be incorporated into my repertoire!

The A to Z of Health Remedies is a nice addition to the appendix. I enjoyed seeing remedies from other practitioners. The Good Witch’s Guide also provides a great resource list for supplies and also a recommended reading and reference material list.

I enjoyed The Good Witch’s Guide. It is a good read. The book provides a summary explanation, directions for self use, healing, magick and then encourages focus outward to use the knowledge to benefit others and the environment around us. Throughout the book there is significant emphasis on cleansing the items you work with of residual energy as well as a focus on energy, mood and intent. These things are very important to keep in mind whether you are creating an essential oil for a ritual bath or baking a loaf of bread for a family dinner.

I appreciated the liked that the format of the book was user-friendly. Each of the three sections is broken down into healing and magickal applications and each of these sections lists herbs, spices, plants, supplies uses in either application. I also liked that the authors encourage the practice of “look in your spice cabinet” and also to look for plants, herbs in your environment.

I recommend The Good Witch’s Guide: A Modern-Day Wiccapedia of Magickal Ingredients and Spells to anyone who is interested in learning or continuing to seek knowledge with healing lore or has an interest in the arts. Rating: 5 stars

 

Lenore Sagaskie is a writer and artist living in self-imposed exile in Michigan.

You can follow Lenore on Facebook and on Twitter @Lenorewrites

It is time to Stand Against Hate!

Anyone that knows me will not expect many comments from me on political or social issues.  It isn’t that I do not care or that I do not keep up with what is going on.  I am just usually busy marketing community projects and my own business and keep my political views to myself.  This week I do not feel that I have the option to keep going with business as usual.  This week has shown us something more horrible than anything I could ever imagine happening in the United States.   This week something has happened that requires every American, every Human to stand up and say “NO!” to.

Last weekend, people calling themselves the Alt-Right, White Nationalists, Ku Klux Klan, White Supremacists, Aryan Nation, etc. gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia under the guise of protesting the removal of a Confederate statue with their hate-filled chants, violence and horror.  One of those people decided to drive their car into a crowd of people with the intention of hurting as many as possible.  One young woman was killed and many more were injured.

You would think that would be the worst of it.  You would think that all our leaders would put aside  their differences and come together to assure the country that this is not acceptable.  Our leaders would stand together and assure us that the evil that showed up that day was not welcome here and all that is possible would be done to protect the country from this evil.  Assure the world that this is not representative of what is in America at its heart.   For the most part, that did happen.  Until we got to the President of the United States.

Our President, the leader of the free world, the Commander in Chief of the United States Armed Forces, stood in front of the cameras and told us that there was violence on both sides.  He told us that the counter-protesters brought clubs to the protest and implied that “they started it”.  He even went so far as to say that there were some “very fine” people on both sides.  ………..  Let that sink in for a moment.  Very fine people marching under swastikas and confederate flags.  Very fine people carrying torches and chanting hateful rhetoric.  Very fine?????!!

So here I am.  What can one person do? Many would say nothing.  I’ve been told by some that there isn’t anything you can do about it so just ignore it.  I just can’t.  Not this.

So here I am standing up and saying “NO!  THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE!”

America was founded by immigrants.  America went through a long and bloody history to learn that equality has no color.

Perhaps the good people of America have become complacent.  Perhaps we have looked the other way too often when confronted with the ugliness of racism and hate.  We cannot do that anymore.

Stand Against Hate!  Do so in your own way but step outside the comfort zone and stand up.  I pledge to Stand Against Hate when I see it.  I pledge to show everyone that I will not participate or ignore hateful rhetoric.   Do not allow the hate to become comfortable.  Do not fight hate with hate.  But do not allow people to get away with posting or saying or doing hateful racist things.  Force them back into the shadows.

Click here to add Stand Against Hate to your profile picture on Twitter or Facebook.

There are many other ways to stand up against hate.  Consider donating to organizations that protect our liberties such as ACLU or organizations that work to identify hate groups such as Southern Poverty Law Center.  If you cannot afford to donate show your support on your social media.  Speak out when you see hate.  Contact your representatives in government and make it clear that you will only vote for people that stand firmly against hate.  Tell them you will not vote for people that do not call out those in power that support hate.

For quick reference here is a link to the directory of the House of Representatives with their phone numbers.   https://www.house.gov/representatives/

Here is a link to the directory of the Senate with phone numbers.  https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/

Burgers and bigotry

This morning, as I was contemplating how to best core and store my apples for the freezer, I scrolled through my social media and was appalled. My cousin-in-law posted that she and her sisters were assaulted at McDonald’s last evening in the parking lot by racist neighbors. As is perfunctory with this ilk, they made sure to call them the pernicious word “N*****r”. One of the young women was only 17, an early age to begin to taste the sourness of life.

My family, on both sides, contain numerous living proofs of the power of love existing across color and creeds. The shades are as varied in any meadow garden planted by Gaia. So when I hear some reprehensible nugget of soiled humanity has taken to inciting his fellows into attacking anyone, especially family, I get heated.

I seem to stay heated, lately. It must be something in the weather that is agitating me, such as the putrid smell of hatred mixed with tiki torch oil. The kind carried by small people with large egos and strident voices. That smell is the kef that rises like steam from the killing fields during strangulation of spiritual truth. The hounds of chaos are calling.

 

Image: Kevin-Finneran public domain

But underneath, the call of Spirit calls louder.

 

If you deflesh humans, there is a distinct layer of red reality underneath. That red is blood. Blood is life. That blood is connected to the life forces that run through every living thing. It does not change when it is placed in a vessel with brown skin. It does not change when it courses through veins in alabaster skin. It does not alchemize to something else when it resides in yellow, tan, red, or ebony skin. Because it is deep within the living host.

Humanity is a living host of spirit and life. We must look deeper to get beyond the wrappers in which we live. Culture and classism, race, religion, or any other division is only an accident of placement … genetic or regional. As a society, this charnal pit of conflict is the last gasp of an unevolved era of backward reactionary fear based wickedness.

All the altars in the world cannot light the flames of righteousness in one person’s heart if they are not lit in compassion and with the hand of those who will not be cowed. For every screaming chant of the wicked, an equal chord of good and power must counter and overpower it. We are the hidden children in plain sight, you and I. Those who keep the vigils, the chants, the sacred secret ways and places that do not change with the cults of men. It is time to be hidden no longer.

The Divine is calling its firebrands. The human soul burns brighter than any torch of human making. Let us heed the call to witness the truth.