Pop Culture Paganism: Part 1 Loona’s Story

There seems to be a theme of people who have issues with the idea and the concepts of Pop Culture Paganism.  Many of these people have issues claiming that it makes pagans look bad, is full of fakes, and playgans.  Often those who cry out against pop culture paganism claim that those who would use Pop culture symbols in their worship and practice are lazy, have a lack of knowledge of the ancient traditions, and they often claim that there is an inability to tell the difference between fiction and reality.

For people like me this is often highly insulting.  Many of us are educated in our paths and practices.  We simply like to use the modern images from pop culture to connect to the Gods and spirits of our path.  These modern images are powerful tools for reaching the various spiritual forces out there.  These modern images can be useful in relating to beings that many people may never have heard of without the use of pop culture.

I do not identify as a Pop culture pagan.  However I have used popular culture in my path and my practice.  I see the dangers and I see the benefits of working with Pop Culture images.  This is the first in a series of posts talking about the subject.  I figured before I got into the meat of the issues around pop culture paganism it would be a good idea to start with my own experience with the use of Pop culture symbolism.

I started my path with Pop culture Paganism. It was a combination of the Disney Hercules series and Sailor Moon combined with reading the Greek and Roman Myths and books on Wicca. Now keep in mind that I was about 9-10 when this started but I still feel that this is an important thing to share.

As a child and teen these images resonated with me and helped me relate to an connect to the various Gods and spirits in the world. These images to me were gateways to the power within the Gods. Before starting what i thought was Wicca I often spoke to the Muses of Greek Myth. Originally I thought of them as angels to God, but that changed when I read the myths and realized that people believed them to be Gods originally. (I saw the movie Hercules first, then I saw the cartoon Hercules series and then the live action Xena and Hercules series). Still those images provided me a tool to connect to the power of the Gods.

I didn;’t quite understand Polytheism at the time. So for me they were “Gods” but under the main God who was the father of Jesus. You could say I was exploring my understandings within the religious framework I had been exposed to. Still to talk to an communicate with those Gods I was drawing on the image found within the Disney Movie Hercules and the Hercules Cartoon series I watched every Saturday Morning. When I spoke to Zeus or Hera or even Hades I used the images of those Gods from the source I most recognized.

When I started to explore Wicca and Paganism I understood they were not servants of one Larger God but were Gods in their own right. So I dropped the frame of Christianity and continued to speak to those Gods and work with them. I still used the images from Disney. I was now 14 and questioning religion and spirituality.

At the same time I was starting to watch the anime Sailor Moon. As the story progressed and I looked at the Sailor Senshi I saw the properties of the Roman Gods within the Senshi and I was able to find a way to focus and connect with a Moon Goddess. I knew that the image wasn’t the Goddess but it was a tool to help me focus and connect.

I used the images of Queen Serenity from Sailor Moon to connect to the moon Goddess Selene. I knew that the image I was using to connect to Selene wasn’t actually Selene, but it helped me connect to and focus on that divine presence. I had no other image or idea to connect with, so the image of Queen Serenity helped me relate to her.

17 years later and I still can find images in pop culture useful in connecting to Gods and spirits.Today when I call on Thor I occasionally use the image from the Marvel movies to connect to that energy. Again I know it is not Thor but it helps me focus and reach the actual Thor. The same goes for Loki and Odin. I use my knowledge of the lore to connect to the Gods I am trying to connect to. The image I use just happens to come from Modern Popular culture. I still use Norse Rituals to honor those Gods. I simply have a modern image of the Gods I use to connect with.

Today when working with the Moon Goddess Diana I still occasionally use the image of Queen Serenity. Most often I use that as the gateway to get to the other images I have of a Moon Goddess. These images are tools to help connect to the divine forces and nothing more or less.  They are just like the tools used in various spells or rituals.  They are props to help get into the right mind frame and connect with the energy you are working with.

In essence there is nothing wrong with using the images from popular culture in your work. If they help you connect with spirit and the universe than they are a tool for you. The danger comes when you start to claim that these pop culture figures and images are the same as the ancient Gods. Anyone who truly respects Gods as individuals would never say that. They would however more than likely admit that the images can be powerful tool to connect to the Gods they represent.

Priesthood and Witches Mental health and Magic

We live in a world where often concepts of the mind and soul are ignored.  Where mental health issues like Depression and Anxiety are ignored or made light of.  As a society we are told that its “all in our heads” or that “it will pass”.  We are expected to be able to just laugh and smile at everything.

To those without anxiety disorders, clinical depression, or any other number of mental health issues it makes no sense why a certain song can bring us to our knees or cause crippling panic.  It looks like we overact to every little thing for no reason or for the smallest most insignificant of reasons.

These people don’t realize that there is an intense battle going on within our minds every day. Its expected that everyone gets sad so you will just power through it.  When a person says that certain activities like going shopping make them panic they can get laughed at or told to just “buck up and do it”.  Those who live with mental health issues often wish we would just snap out of it.  Who wants to feel paralyzed by crippling anxiety and depression?

Those without mental illness may be able to meditate, be in nature, do yoga, exercise etc to work out depression and anxious feelings.  Which is good for them, they don’t realize that  it may not work for those with actual illnesses not just situational depression or anxiety.  Many of us try to be in nature to relieve our depression.  We may try exercise and meditation.  It doesn’t always work, and sometimes the depression and anxiety can be so overwhelming that we can barely get out of bed, let alone do anything physical like exercise!

One of the many reasons why people dont get help for mental health issues is the stigma that they are crazy or that they feel they should be able to control all of their actions without the aid of medication or therapy.  They believe that it should be possible to just shake off the depression and anxiety.  They believe that since everyone gets sad and anxious and still manages to go to work etc they should be able to do it as well.

The above meme is dangerous.  It gives people who would seek help a bad idea.  At the same time when those who would seek help (therapy, medication etc) many people reply that they should spent more time in nature.  That medications are poison and should be avoided.  Often times people highlight the fact that several of these anti-depression medications have side effects that include suicidal thoughts and worsening of symptoms.  To those uneducated in medicine it seems silly to take something for depression and anxiety that could make you feel worse.  Memes liks this go around promoting this dangerous attitude.

 

Likewise you get those people who claim that herbal supplements, crystal therapy, Reiki, and prayer were all that they needed.  That if you were in tune enough with your spirits and the spiritual forces of the universe you would not have these very real health issues.  These people argue that if you were truly a witch and truly a member of the priesthood your connections to the spiritual world would make you healthy and secure in your health.

Mental health issues are not something to make fun of.  Nor are they something to state is all in the head or a result of spiritual work and awakenings.   Mental health issues can strike anyone of any religion, spiritual path, race, and walk of life.  Mental health and mental Illnesses exist everywhere.  No one person is more susceptible to mental illness than anyone else (except those who may have a family history, but that goes for any medical condition that can be hereditary).

There are those who believe that if you do work with spirits and are attuned to nature you will develop depression, anxiety, and other issues as a result of the spiritual work you have done.  They attribute issues like anxiety, depression, Schizophrenia etc to being awaken to the worlds state.  They believe that these illnesses are gifts from spirit to see the world and be able to help heal the world.  They treat the illnesses as if there was no problem with them at all.  That your spirits will care for you, and you should live with the illness.

All of these attitudes are very dangerous.  They do not count for the fact that these are very real illnesses.   They do not account for the fact that with these illnesses there are very real chemical imbalances in the brain which need medication to be corrected.  They do not account for the fact that these illnesses present very real disabilities, disabilities that can make a person go from being productive and useful to curled up in a ball cringing at every little thing.  Mental Illnesses are very real and cause very real problems in life.

These problems can not be fixed with simple prayers and crystal charms.  These problems can’t be fixed with a spell and herbal teas.  These problems have no single simple solution.   Mental health is a complex issue that impacts the mind, the body and the spirit.  This complex relationship makes it impossible for there to be a quick and easy fix.

It can take years for an individual to find the proper treatment for themselves and their particular illness.  Some of these treatments may include different types of therapy (Cognitive Therapy, Behavioral Therapy, Exposure Therapy, Etc) along with medications.  Sometimes several therapies and medications will be used at the same time.  Until all parties involved believe that the best treatment possible has been reached finding the perfect treatment takes trial and error as well as time an effort.  Everyone involved needs to be doing their part otherwise the treatments don’t work.

So what about those who have an aversion to prescription medications but would like to treat with herbal supplements and natural medicines?  There are hundreds of memes going around that discuss the virtues of herbal medicine.  Some of them list herbs others list various natural remedies to treat depression and anxiety.  What’s wrong with using some of these remedies?

If you have access to a Naturopathic Doctor and pharmacy for Herbal prescriptions than go for it.  A naturalpathic doctor is the only one who could safely prescribe you medications for your illness.  Other than that unfortunately i have to say you have to see a doctor and get on prescription medications.  These medications can and do save lives.

I’m not saying that herbal medicines aren’t useful or effective.  I’m saying that if you are going to go that route you need to understand that there is a lot to look at.  It is better to work with a trained professional in herbal remedies and natural medicine than experiment on your own.  I’m also saying that these remedies work best in trained hands and in cooperation with trained medical professionals.    If you use herbal remedies and folk medicine let all your health care providers know.

Those are steps that you can take to address the physical and mental aspects of Mental Illnesses.  How are you going to address the spiritual aspects of the illness?  This is where some people have issues.    They aren’t really sure how to deal with the spiritual side of mental health issues.  Once they have chosen to deal with the mental and physical aspect of the health issue, sometimes they can have difficulty finding ways to address the spiritual aspects of the illness.

Many pagans and witches believe in true holistic health.  They believe in a connection between the mind, the body, and the spirit.  Mental health impacts the mind, the body, and the spirit together.  So it makes sense that there would be treatments spiritually for mental health issues..  For the treatment of mental health issues the alignment is no different.  The use of therapy and medication treats the mind and the body.  The treatment for the spirit is very different.

 

Spiritual work is an important part of maintaining mental health.  It can be a powerful partner in treatment of mental illnesses.  Performing rituals, casting spells, and going to powerful church services can leave a person invigorated, feeling powerful, and cleansed.  It can be a way to connect with yourself and be motivated beyond anything you had before.  Spiritual work absolutely plays a part in healing mental health issues.

This is where spiritual work comes into play.    Treatments like Reiki, Soul Retrieval, Chakra Alignment, and Sweat Lodges are all spiritual work designed to heal the spirit and align the mind, body and spirit.  Aromatherapy and crystal elixirs would be a useful one to include with spiritual treatment.  These wok on the mind and the spirit together while Chakra alignments and sweat lodges combine the physical and the spiritual.  Reiki does all three in one.

None of these practices should be done without the practices of modern medicine and therapy.  Spiritual treatments are designed to be used along side of modern medicine.  Those are treatments and practices that can attune to the spirit and heal the spiritual aspect of the illnesses. They are used with the modern medicine and therapy to create an approach that is holistic and will heal you completely.  Modern medicine, therapy, and spiritual work together provide a holistic health plan allowing you to become your best self.

Even knowing that spiritual work can be useful maintaining it can become difficult.  The spiritual side of things can be very hard to deal with when you are at your worst.  It can be the best thing for you, but it can become the hardest thing for you to deal with. At times mental health issues can be overpowering where even the most devout priest or active witch can be paralyzed to the point of no practice.

Often times in these situations the witch and or priest may know that doing cleansing work and prayers could be some of the most useful things to help break the cycle, yet they are paralyzed  and can not get themselves to do the needed work.  For people in this situation the statements about faith and depression can cut deep and deliver a sense of failure as a witch and or as a priest.

This is where your spell casting and ritual work can be useful.  Doing a spell and ritual to break the blocks keeping you down can invigorate your spirit and release the mind.   Spells that would be good here are cleansing, protection, and self love work.  These spells boost positive energy in the spell casters life.  Starting with a few simple spells or rituals is an excellent way to get back into the swing of things.

Altar set up for healing work

This will allow you to be more open to the regular daily practice ( if you are looking for a good guide line to developing a daily practice check out :Starting a Daily Practice ).  Through the use of a Daily practice and spiritual hygiene (protection and cleansing, blocks and filters etc) one can treat and realize that your spiritual practice can be helpful tool rather than a hindrance in your mental and spiritual health treatment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fighting for Your business rights an interview with Lila ElWood of Wild Witchery

Many pagans think about running their own business.  They often dream about providing products and services for their faith community.  These products and services run from workshops and teaching to creating ritual tools and items for the religious practices.  Many of them don’t ever believe that someone would want to cause them stress or ill will.  When that trouble does come how does a small business protect themselves and manage to stay afloat?

I interviewed Lila Elwood one of the owners of Wild Witchery to find out more about her battle and how this has impacted them going further.

Loona Wynd: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your Business?

Lila Elwood: I have been a practicing Pagan for about 25 years now. On my mothers side of the family we are Iroquois and I was raised in native tradition. By the time I was 12 European Paganism/Witchcraft piqued my interest and I started down that path with no regrets.

I attended American University where I received my BA in Religious Studies-concentration on Ancient Mediterranean Religions with a minor in Ancient History of the same region. I am married and have 2 children and currently live in Yorktown VA- where our Business Wild Witchery is based out of.

We are primarily an e-commerce business specializing in creating Ritual Oil Perfumes, Candles, Bath & Body, Skincare, Hand Wrapped Amulets & Crystals. I have been making these items inside and out of Business for about 10 years now.

Loona Wynd: What inspired you to start Wild Witchery?

 

 

Lila Elwood: I had a business prior to this called Lady Leigh’s Apotheca, which was primarily an apothecary & didn’t focus too much on the metaphysical side, but offered similar items: bath and body, aromatherapy perfumes, plus teas and healing items. But I wanted to focus on the metaphysical. I wanted to offer really great products that were infused with Magick because i believe every aspect of your life has the ability to be infused with magick and sacredness- right down to the soap you use, lotion or perfume you apply or the jewelry you wear.

My friend now business partner and I had been talking about/dreaming about having a metaphysical shop together as our skills complimented each other, she focuses on crystals and jewelry and i on the herbal/bath body aspects. So this time last year we just went for it and started laying the foundations of what Wild Witchery now is.

Loona Wynd: You claim that you and your partner received a Cease and Desist letter. What was it for and about?

Lila Elwood:Yes, My business partner & I received a letter via email claiming  copyright and trademark infringement on 2 of our products, Amatus & Yule Ritual Perfume Oils. The letter demanded that we stop selling these items, remove them from all social media & pay the complainant $5,000 + their legal fees potentiallyThe letter also claimed issues with “Trade Dress”

Loona Wynd: Can you explain what they meant by “Trade Dress”?

Lila Elwood: I wasn’t sure what this was either until talking with our lawyer, it is the look and feel of the product.

Loona Wynd: Did they give you a further explanation about what it could entail? Feel and look of a product could cover a lot of things.

Lila Elwood: The complainant feels that our products look the same as hers – we DID at one point, use the same cap style on our bottles as theirs, and we also tie ribbons around our bottles to fill in void space. However, the bottles and caps we buy are available through multiple suppliers that sell to the public, and there are MANY other business’ who also use this same bottle/cap style for their ritual oils and perfumes as well.  in recent months however, the complainant has changed their cap style and discontinued use of the ribbon so really, there should be no conflict with this.

Loona Wynd: What actions have you taken to defend yourself and your craft?  It seems something named after a holiday such as your Yule Perfume Oil couldn’t be trademarked as holidays are open to anyone who follows those traditions, and there are many religious traditions which celebrate Yule.

Lila Elwood: We did a lot of research as to what constitutes trademark/copyright infringement. While the complainant holds NO federally registered trademarks/copyrights, they are alleging these charges based on seniority. They came out with these products first – which the law allows – sort of.

Common Names do not count in the eyes of the law – and as we all know, Yule is a common word/name/a holiday in our spiritual tradition. Many Pagans also make use of other languages when naming their products, i have half a dozen products named in various languages, which is how Amatus, which means Beloved in Latin, was named. Yet, it is uncommon enough to be misconstrued as trademark infringement.

After consulting with our Lawyer we agreed it was probably best to discontinue the use of the name Amatus, so we have removed our Amatus line from our Website and Etsy.

Yet there is another well known business who is selling a ritual oil using the same latin name as one of the complainants products of the same nature! But we want to keep the peace.

However we will NOT be doing the same with Yule. Yule is a sabbat and it belongs to everyone. No one person can trademark our holidays and the products we create inspired by those holidays.

We gathered examples of other Yule Ritual Oils from other Pagan businesses as evidence that we, nor the complainant are the only ones marketing a Yule Oil Blend

Loona Wynd: Is the Amatus line going to be discontinued completely or are you thinking about renaming it?

Lila Elwood:  We will simply rename it and re-release it.

Loona Wynd: What is the next step for you in this fight?

Lila Elwood:  Our Lawyer will be offering the complainant a settlement we discontinue the use of Amatus. But that’s it. Examples of other Yule oil products will be included in defense of out product & other business’ right to create sabbat oil blend, and we will not be paying them any money. We just released our Ostara oil so we’re honestly waiting on the other shoe to drop to speak!

Hopefully, that is the end of it. We do not want a huge dispute. We’re a micro business, small fish in the pond compared to the complainant who compared to other business’ in our niche, is a large corporation.

Loona Wynd: Given the small size of your business it must have been a shock to receive the letter. What went through your minds?

Lila Elwood: I was SHOCKED. I panicked, they were demanding $5,000 from us, we’ve made just under that amount in sales- not being that familiar with the law, I thought this was a formal lawsuit. i was envisioning us having to close up shop, being bullied out of business by the larger corporation

My business partner was not as shocked as i was. In hindsight we should have seen this coming, we had noticed in recent weeks personal friends of the complainant liking some of our social media statues and asking to join our Facebook groups.

Loona Wynd: So they had spies?  Friends checking you out and seeing what you were about?  Are any of those people still in your groups etc?

Lila Elwood: It kind of seems that way to us.   we never admitted these people to our groups and they have been blocked on social media

Loona Wynd: Are you taking any actions to protect yourself in the future?

Lila Elwood: Protection- YES! Our lawyer has implored us to trademark the names of our products – at least at the state level. In VA it costs $30 to trademark a product within state lines. My partner was apprehensive to go this route with trademarking the names of our holidays, and i agree with her, they belong to the community. However, the lawyer has assured us we do not have to enforce these trademarks, but they are there for if/when another situation like this comes about.

Loona Wynd: What advise would you give other small businesses should they receive a Cease and Desist letter or any actions along those lines?
Lila Elwood:  If you receive such a letter, research and consult with a lawyer, absolutely. Don’t Panic! It is not the end of your business, and don’t give in. Consulting with a Lawyer or having a lawyer draw up paperwork is not as expensive as you’d think. It cost us $250 to employ the help of a lawyer. But also, i do suggest researching the name you’re considering. We did not do that because we figured “we’re small & no threat to anyone” & also because we were naive thinking that no one would take issue with our business.how wrong we were! So research unique names, if a business is offering a similar product named the same thing, move on to the next name, no matter how perfect it was. And definitely look into getting state trademarks on the names of your products, if only for your protection.Loona Wynd: Is there anything else you would like to say about this situation or add?

Lila Elwood:  It is my opinion that the complainant is trying to corner the market on the type of items that we offer and is trying to scare the small business’ who offer similar items out of business. We all have a right to be here, we all have a right to create magickal products and market them – which certainly includes sabbat products named after the sabbats. To think you are the only person who has rights to these names and holidays makes you arrogant. Live and let live.

It seems like no matter what we do in this world there is always someone who will try to rain on your parade.  This author firmly believes that if you want to run a business you should try and go for it.  Live for your dreams and follow your path.  Don’t let yourself get discouraged.  Learn from articles like this and take their advice.  There is room for us all as we all have something different to offer.

If you would like to support and see the products and services provided by Wild Witchery: Wild Witchery

Patheos Problems and Confusion about the Future

There are many websites out there which provide bloggers like myself with a place to write and provide their information.  One of the best well-known is the website is Patheos.    Patheos built its website around the philosophy of having a space to “host conversations on faith”. They different channels on various Christian paths (Catholicism,  Eastern Orthodox, Mormons, and Progressive Christianity) as well as a channel for blogs on Islam and Judaism.  They include a place for Hinduism, Buddhism, Spirituality, and finally Paganism for religious blogs.

Source: pexels

In general the idea behind a platform for multiple religions and spiritual paths sounds great.  For the past several years it has been a place for people to find good blogs.   In the realm of Paganism one of the most important ones is the Pagan Leadership blog.   It was a popular blog for event planners and teachers.   Today if you go to Patheos the Pagan leadership blog is listed as an option to read.  Once you click on the link the blog is not available.  You get this image:

The Pagan leadership blog will not be the first blog on Patheos to be removed.  I expect more pagan blogs on Patheos to be deleted and more authors blocked from accessing their accounts.  This is due to the new leadership at Patheos.   One author has already been blocked from their account while the blog is still open for reading.

Back in September BN media,  who also own the website Beliefnet, bought Patheos.  With the new ownership comes a new contract for the bloggers of Patheos.  Many of the authors worry about having their content edited or removed together.  This new contract supposedly allows for more direct editing and censorship of materials within the blogs.

It’s not an unreasonable fear either.  The new contracts prevent the bloggers from posting disparaging comments on any related company.  Some authors have spoken to the lawyers regarding the new contract and the words about disparaging comments.  The contracts are apparently not clear on exactly what constitutes a related company.

Another blogger from Patheos named Pat Mosley went into further detail about how he felt there were additional issues with the support of BN media and Affinity4 through writing at Patheos.  Pat Mosley writes about his concerns with writing in support of LGBTQ when the company you write for may not support the LQBTQ community as much.

“Writing in support of Queer people is pointless if the site that publishes you is funding* the fight against our lives at the same time. While I appreciate the efforts to renegotiate the contract, I cannot in good conscience continue to allow my work to be associated with Patheos. I am grateful for the editorial and reader support I have earned through my work there, however, this is the necessary end to that chapter of my life as a writer.

I hope that other writers of conscience will join me in refusing to create content that produces profit for the men who also direct a major source of funds for right-wing politics. I hope Patheos readers will join me in a general boycott of the website, and in encouraging their favorite bloggers to migrate somewhere with better ethics.”Pat Mosley What happened at Patheos

Suffice to say for the pagan bloggers at Patheos there is substantial confusion about who they can and can’t talk about as well as if there will be higher editorial control over nonpolitical content.  There are several authors who are leaving Patheos because of the new contract and some are staying where they are.

screen capture: patheos cover image

 

Jason Mankey (one of the bloggers at Patheos) wrote an extensive post on his position related to the new contracts and the confusion.  This quote comes from his blog that covers his stance on continuing to work at Patheos and his thoughts on the ability to write disparaging remarks.

“A few of the provisions in that contract have been taken radically out of context (at best). The most contentious provision is the one that’s being the most distorted. It asks writers not to write despairingly about Patheos or its “affiliate partners.” In this case the affiliate partner is Beliefnet, and nobody else. Such provisions are common amongst online entities. The Huffington Post is not going to host an article that says negative and untrue things about the Huffington Post, and not surprisingly, either is Patheos. Patheos Pagan Update

After reading that blog by Jason Mankey I asked him a few specific questions about the contract situation and if he had any concerns going forward.  Here is the interview

 

Loona Wynd: Do you believe there is any validity to the “outrage” some of the articles related to the new contracts (John Halstead’s. Pat Mosley’s and Peter Dybing being the three that I have read) ?  If so what do you see as the actual problem?
 
 Jason Mankey: I think much of it’s overstated (at best).  When dealing with a business it’s always best to be cautious, but many of the outrages simply aren’t true.  I also don’t think Peter’s article was all that incendiary.
Loona Wynd: Do you have any fears or concerns going forward with Patheos?


 Jason Mankey: No, and Beliefnet stepped up when there were concerns with the contract.  They revised the contract, specifically addressing many of the concerns the writers had.

Loona Wynd: Do you have any words of comfort for readers of the various Pagan Blogs on Patheos?

 Jason Mankey: Some blogs are leaving, many more are staying.  This is an adjustment period but Patheos Pagan will survive.  And just like before, our writers are free to write about whatever they want.  The contract just asked them not to write disparagingly about Patheos or Beliefnet.  That’s pretty standard for contracts.  I don’t think you can write an article at the Huffington Post and say “Huffington Post is the worst thing ever” and have it stay on that site.   Much of Patheos is overwhelmingly liberal when it comes to content, that’s not going to change.

Loona Wynd: Any idea why the Pagan Leadership blog is no longer available to the public?

 Jason Mankey: I don’t think it ever was available to the public.  It was an experiment with a paid blog from many years ago.

Loona Wynd: will you be signing the new contract and continuing to write for Patheos?

 

Yes.

Patheos Pagan writers are open to write about political topics and anything else.  They always have been and always will be.  We’ve never done much editing at Patheos, and certainly not of content, and certainly without the author’s knowledge.  Usually editing is about fixing a typo or perhaps removing a picture that breaks a copyright.  If we were going in and radically altering people’s content everyone would hear about it!  It’s hard to keep information away from people.  In the last four months one post has been deleted from the site, and that was because it contained many untrue allegations.

For the moment it seems like Patheos is going to remain open to Pagan blogs and Pagan spirituality.  My advice is to archive the blogs that you read regularly.  We do not know how long the blogs will remain up if the author does not sign the contract.  Read them now while you can.

 

 

 

 

 

Witches Red Salt: Powerful Love Charm

Witches Redsalt:
A traditional Witches Love Charm

 

With tomorrow being Valentines day alot of people are thinking about love spells and love charms.  Love magic can be effective.  It can be used to attract a long term relationship, a sexual relationship, friendships and more.  Like with any spells love spells need to be made very specific.  You may find that if you target an individual that the relationship is not a healthy one and they end up being obsessive or controlling.  This is why it is best in love spells to gear them towards a specific type of person (meaning qualities, interests etc) rather than an individual.

With this in mind one of the most powerful love charms out there is Witches Red Salt.  Witches Red Salt is an herbal charm that is made out of roses, sea salt and other herbs associated with love such as cinnamon, dragons blood, and Apples (the peel or flower would be best here).  The goal of the Red Salt is to attract love first other additions depend on the individual witch.

Now that we know what Red Salt is used for let’s make an All Purpose Red Salt.  This witches Salt will ensure fidelity, attract love, happiness, and friendship, all things that are essential in a healthy relationship.  Once we have the Red Salt made we will take a look at how you can apply the red salt in a spell.  The first part of the entire process is the crafting and charging of the Red Salt.

The act of making the Red witches salt is a spell in itself.    When you are creating the salt you are directing, manipulating and focusing various energetic forces into the salt.  You are working with the energy of the herbs and your own emotional energetic forces to create an item used to direct those energetic forces for a change in your life or the life of another person.  You are effectively working a spell through the process of making the Witches Red Salt.

Crafting the Red Salt

Materials:

4 cups Sea Salt *Any salt will work.  Sea salt is best.  Kosher salt works as well.  Pink Himalayan salt will add to the spell from its color.  (Salt is used to cleanse and remove blocks in the way of attracting love)
1 Cup Sugar (to sweeten them to you)
1 Cup Red Rose Petals (for love)
1 Cup Dried Apple Peels (Love)
1/4 cup Catnip (Happiness)
3 Tablespoons Dragonsblood (lust and love)
2 Tablespoons Ground Cinnamon (lust and love)
1 Tablespoon Ground Allspice (Fidelity)
Red Candle (for love)
Green Candle (For the herbal spirits)
White Candle (Spiritual force in general)
Mixing Bowl
Mortar And Pestle
Rose Quartz (self love and friendship)
Jar or Container with a lid to store your salt in

Spell:

On your altar place the three candles in a triangle with the white at the top point and the red and green at the bottom point.
Place the mixing bowl in the center of the candles
Around the Mixing bowl lay out the Rose, Apple Peels, Catnip, Dragonsblood, Cinnamon, and Allspice.
As You light each candle state:

“I call upon the spirits of the herbal Green
The powers from the worlds unseen
Lend me your blessings on this night
Bring me the powers of love shining bright
Empower this charm today
Bring us love which will stay”

Next you take the  Salt and pour it into the mixing bowl
Pick up the Rose Petals and Hold the Rose petals over the candles.
As you hold the rose petals over the candles feel the powers of the spirit awaken.
Thank them silently and put them into the Mortar and Pestle.
As you grind the Rose petals into the finest powder that you can  see love surrounding you.
Feel the energy of love flowing from your hands into the salt
Once the Roses are ground add them to the red salt
Stir the roses into the salt clockwise once again visualizing love.  See the salt covered in a bright red light that is warm and welcoming (Red being love, desire and passion)
Take the Apple Peels and repeat the process using the Mortar and Pestle.
Once the Apple Peels are ground add them into the salt again stirring clockwise visualize the red light
Take the Catnip and awaken it as you did with the Apple Peels and Rose.
Once again grind the Catnip into as fine of a powder as you can and add it to the salt stirring clockwise
Awaken the Dragons blood, and add it to the salt followed by awakening the Cinnamon, and Allspice together.
Next add the sugar
Now that all the herbs are combined continue to stir the Red Salt together.
As you stir the salt visualize the salt glowing with red light.
While you stir and blend chant the following chant five times:

“Love come to me
One that freely loves me
Bring a lover that’s true
Open me to a love that’s new”

Once you feel that the energy has reached its max potential place your hands over the salt and draw a pentacle and a heart sealing in the energy
Pour the Charged Salt into your jar or Container
Cover With the lid and place the Rose Quartz stone on the Lid to continue to charge the Salt
Extinguish the Candles

The red Salt is now ready to use.  Simply take out a small amount as needed for spell and ritual work.

Working With Red Salt

Now that we have made the red salt it’s time to talk about how we can work with the witches salt. It is important to remember that witches have always been very practical.  They worked with what they had on hand and when they could.   Working with red witches salt is designed to be practical and easy.

Working with red salt is fairly easy. The salt is already charged and ready to go.  You can simply use the red salt as it is.  That’s right.  Since the red salt is already charged all you need to do now is give it a specific direction to work in.  You can sprinkle the red salt into your shoes with the intent to attract love with each step.  Just sprinkle the salt and say your intent for love.    If you are the type to be a little more formal with your application of powders the following two spells are more structured ways to use the sprinkle in your shoes trick.

Walk to manifest Love
Materials:

Red Salt
Your Shoes
A piece of Paper with your petition written on it

Spell:

On the paper write out your desire to have love.  Be sure to include any specific desires and qualities about the type of person you are looking for.  Things like hobbies, music, general interests, etc as well as personality traits (supportive, strong, good with animals etc) down
Once the paper has been written on sprinkle a little bit of the Red salt over the Paper and state:
“”May every step I take this day bring true love my way”. ”
Fold the paper towards you with the red salt and place in your shoes.
Then as you walk every day the energy in your steps will activate the salt.
Your walking ever day will attract the energy that you are sending out through your steps.

Dancing for Love
Materials:

Red Salt
Your Shoes
A piece of Paper with your petition written on it

Spell:

On the paper write out your desire to have love.  Be sure to include any specific desires and qualities about the type of person you are looking for.  Things like hobbies, music, general interests, etc as well as personality traits (supportive, strong, good with animals etc) down
Once the paper has been written on sprinkle a little bit of the Red salt over the Paper and state:
“Every move I make tonight brings a lover that is right”.
The more you dance the more energy you will gather and direct.
The salt will act as a focal point directing the energy from dancing and the salt into the earth through your feet.

There are other ways that you can sprinkle witches salt and form a love spell.  Many men and women use lotions and colognes or perfumes to male ourselves feel good about ourselves and to feel attractive.  You can use red salt to strengthen the feelings of attractiveness when you work with those products.  The goal in this application is to maximize how you feel attractive so it gains the attention of those who you are attracted to.

Makeup and Lotion Attraction Spell
Materials:
Red Salt
Lotions and or any Beauty supplies (this includes hair styling supplies as well as makeup and colognes)

Spell:
Gather all of your Beauty Supplies together
Envision yourself in a pink (for self love) and red (for general love and attractiveness)
As you pick up each item see a red and pink light entering the items until they glow.
Once they are glowing pick up the red salt and sprinkle it over the item stating
“Love come to me freely
One who accepts me
A love that’s meant be”

Now these items will be charged for the next month for both self love and romantic love.
Simply use them as you would normally.

Notes:
Repeat the spell once a month to keep the items empowered
Perform the spell as needed when items are replaced

These spells should help you get started.  Working with witches salt can be as simple or as complex as you would like it to be.  The charm is powerful and ready to use.  Be wise.  If you are unsure about performing a spell or working do a reading and look to find out if its a good time to do the spell.  If its acceptable to perform the spell get to work.  If not do a reading and you’ll find out what you can do instead.

If you do not want to make your own, of if you can’t find the supplies there are many places you can find Red Witches Salt
Try:
Mystic Echoes Red Witches Salt
Arte’s and Crafts Hoodoo Powders and Salts

For supplies Try:
Mystic Echoes Herbs and Curios
Arte’s and Crafts Apothecary
3 Crowsmagick Herbs, resins, and Roots

Best of luck finding love.

Joie Grandbois: Participant in Portland Maine’s Woman’s Rights March

Joie Grandbois is one of the members of the Maine Pagan Unity Day Association and is on the board of directors.  She participated in the Woman’s Rights March in Portland Maine.  This is her experience and reflection on the March.

Q:Can you tell us a little about yourself and why you participated in this march?

A: My name is Joie and I live in Portland, Maine. I am partially self employed as a performer, artist and teacher but I also work part-time as a paralegal and research assistant. I have many fears and concerns regarding the actions of the new administration.

As a woman I worry about my reproductive rights being taken away, as a non-traditional worker who has health insurance through the ACA which is under threat of repeal and as a member of a community that is made up of a diverse group of LGBTQ people, immigrants, women, minorities and other who are greatly at risk from the promised policies of this administration.

I could not in good conscience stand aside and do nothing. I do make calls to my representatives and voice my concerns in other ways as well, but sometimes it is important to physically stand up and be counted. To be a part of a strong visual representation of those who are not in agreement with the way things are heading.

Q: Can you tell us a little bit about your experience at the march? How many were there and how you felt while you were there?

A: I marched in Portland. When I was there I guessed that there must be a couple of thousand at least but then the Portland Press Herald said it was over 10,000!!! It really was awe inspiring to be a part of such a large slice of the community all coming together. It was a little overwhelming but in a good, good way. At the end of the day I felt so hopeful. Just knowing I was not alone meant so much.

Q: That’s amazing.  Can you tell us about the sign you were holding?

A:Sure. I carried a sign that had the names of several friends who could not be a part of the march. Some were disabled, others were fighting the flu, a couple had to work or had other obligations. It felt good to be able to help them be a part of the march even though they could not be physically in the space a that time.

Q: Have you been involved with any other political movements like this?

A: I was pretty heavily involved with the peace movement leading up to the Iraq war. I was very active with Peace Action Maine and Bridges for Peace (we did vigils on bridges across the state on Sundays). I have helped organize buses to DC for national marches and helped organize several other local protests and events.

I stepped back from organizing for a time as I, like many activists, started to become a bit burned out. I am still pretty active on a personal level. I’m one of those folks who calls and emails my representatives and I often show up for marches and protests of causes I support. I think as a citizen it is important to make your voice heard in as many ways as possible.

Q: I was there in 2004 when Michael Moore was supposed to visit and hold a rally for peace and voting.  That was the first and only time I have been able to be active.  It was an experience still hearing him from the conference call they had.    What advice would you give to people who want to get involved but are not sure how to?

A: There are a lot of resources out there for finding out when actions are taking place. Facebook groups, peace organizations, women’s health groups, LGBTQ organizations, group for people of color, immigrants and so many more. Deciding what you want to support can be a bit overwhelming particularly when there are so many worthy causes and actions to support and we all have only 24 hours in the day.

It also means taking a look at yourself and seeing what you are capable of. Some of us are able to take part in direct action activities like the Greenpeace activists on the crane in DC today and others may find calling their representatives or showing up for a march to be more in line with what they are capable of doing.

There is no action too small really. Any action is better than nothing. I would suggest attending an organizing meeting for the particular issue you are interested in. Bring a friend if you are worried about going alone – when I went to my first protest I had a tiny little sign made from a pizza box top. It had a peace sign painted on it and I was sooooo nervous. I just felt like I had to do something and I heard about this protest outside of Senator Collins office. When I arrive folks were friendly and welcoming. It was a small step but every first step generally is.

I would also remind folks that activism can be a heady thing. It is easy for it to become all consuming; it is exciting and a relief to finally feel like you are doing something. But remember to take time to regenerate and rest too. Burn out is all to common in the activist community and I think even more so for women as we are culturally conditioned to be caretakers.

I am remember now too, when I think of being an activist. I was one of those kids in my high school who was boycotting Coca Cola and other companies to pull out of South Africa when apartheid was still in effect. I have always considered my self a feminist since I was very young. So I have been politically active and aware for much of my life. I think maybe because of that was easier for me to take a stand on things.

For others who are new to the idea or who have only recently had their eyes opened to the troubles of the world it can be an overwhelming thing – there is SOOOO much to be fixed.

Q:  Do you think these marches and protests are going to have any lasting effect? If so how do you think we can ensure that they are successful?

A: Hmmmmmmm….yes I do. Maybe not on their own, though the images of the marches from around the world and the sheer numbers are crazy impressive, but I think it inspired a lot of people to get involved. There are a lot more folks coming out for this than I saw at peace events in 2003. I think you are seeing a lot of folks who have been pretty comfortable with things; we do tend to live in bubbles.

Sometimes it takes something becoming personal to spur someone to action – it would be nice to have everyone instantly empathize with each other issues but that sadly isn’t always the case. It can take having something personally impact someone or someone they love to inspire them to act.

My hope is that whatever brought people out to the marches this weekend, that they connected with others, that they have begun to see that issues like fighting racism and sexism, reproductive rights, protecting the environment, healthcare, equality, LGBTQ rights, etc. are all connected. We need to stand up for each other if we are going to make an impact.

We need to show up for each other. I think at least a few people likely made that connection on Saturday and will take steps to stay active.
So that is my long winded way of saying yes, I think the marches will have a lasting effect in that it showed people they do have a voice. Hopefully on they keep using

Q: Is there anything next on your agenda to continue this work?

A: For me it is continuing to make my voice heard by calling my representative in the state legislature and congress. It is showing up for events as much as I can. It is also doing things like building community, reminding folks they are not alone in this, and also remembering to celebrate the victories when we have them and to use those victories as foundation to work towards more. And it is a lot of one on one, face to face conversations. We need to continue to connect. Social media is great for organizing, but we need to go deeper than that and start more human to human conversations.

Q : Thank you for your time. Is there anything else you would like to add?

A : I’ll add that we all need to take a look at our lives and see where we can make changes. I think that one thing Saturday showed us was that while we all feel we are just one person, when we all come together we can really make our presence known. There are other ways we can do this – by being careful where we spend our money for example.

Are you spending it locally when possible?

Are you supporting companies that are doing good things for the communities they are in and the environment? You may show up for environmental protests, but what are you doing in your own life to support that.

You may be all for equality, but have you looked at what ways you benefit from inequality?

Do you come from a place of privilege?

We think of activism as something we do “outside” ourselves – we make calls, we march, we post on Facebook and Twitter, but it also has to include a deep look inside ourselves and at our lifestyles. We are after all the only thing we really have any control over and if we don’t work to change ourselves our impact on that which outside of us is reduced. Integrity means something….

Trite as it may sound, we do need to be the change we want to see in the world.

 

 

Ritual Baths- Above and Beyond Cleansing

In Wicca and other forms of religious witchcraft it is common to take a ritual bath before you enter the ritual space.  This is to cleanse you and prepare you to interact with the God and Goddess.  This practice varies from a light sponge bath wiping down the body to coven members sharing a tub with individuals taking a quick dip in and out, to simple washing of the face, hands, and feet with a basin of ritual water.  No matter the style of ritual cleansing all of the above examples are types of ritual baths.

Magically baths can be used for so much more.  You can use them to cleanse and remove things from your life.  You can use them to prepare for sacred spaces and rituals.  Baths are very powerful in that tool and have been used that way for a very long time.  However there is much more than can be done with a magical bath.  Magical baths can be used to open roads, bring money, bring love, heal, and protect.  Soaking in a bath of herbs is one powerful way to get magical energy to surround your entire body mind and spirit.

The first thing you need to know is that you do not need bath tubs to work with magical baths.  Not at all.  You just need to have a basin to stand in and a bowl of water with the herbs. You can use a sponge bath or simply pour the water and herb mixture over your body from head to toe.  The important thing is that you physically touch the herbal mixture in some way.  If you have a shower stall you can work ritual baths.  You can do a sponge bath from head to toe or you could tie the herbs in a bit of cheesecloth and hang that over the shower head so that the charged water comes through and touches your skin.  You have options.

Now that we have that cleared up its time to talk about the different ways you can use baths.  Full immersion baths or the shower method are excellent for cleansing and removal.  So let’s start with a good cleansing bath.  A ritual bath needs just the herbs and the water to contain them.  You can use soap and water in a cleansing bath if you would like, but just having the herbs is fine.

Cleansing Ritual Bath

Materials:

5 Bay Leafs
1 Tbs Rosemary
1 Tbs Hyssop
1 Tbs Rue
5 White Sage Leaves
2 Bowls
1 cup
(Optional: Soap and or normal bathing supplies)

Ritual:

Take the herbs and mix them in a bowl.  As you mix them pray over the herbs.  Ask that their spirits and the spirits of your ancestors cleanse and clean you of any negativity.   See them radiating power.  Know that their energy together will bless you and remove everything that does not serve your highest need.  Add enough water to fill the bowl with the herbs about half way

Pour the bath water or fill the tub.  If you are standing in your shower either tie the bundle up in cheese cloth or have the basins of water ready.  Add the herbs to the water.  Stir the water clockwise visualizing them full of a white cleansing light.

Now begin to pour the water over your body starting from your head to your toe using the cup.  Always go from top to bottom when doing a cleansing or removal.  Never cross back up or you could cross yourself up (hex yourself and loose the cleansing work you are currently doing).  As you pour the water over your body a chant like “water wash away, water cleanse today” is important.  It continues to charge the water and the herbs while reminding your spirit and mind about the work going on.

As you soak in the bath  (or pour the herbal bath over your body) you should be sensing and feeling anything that doesn’t serve your highest good being forced into the water.   When you feel as if all of the stuff has been removed from your body stand up.  Pour the other bowl of water over your body to rinse off any residual energy from the water.  This will leave you feeling light and clean.

The water in your mind should have a gray or black appearance to it when you pull the drain.    That darkness is the negativity you are cleansing from your body.  Watch it go down the drain and feel yourself lighter and freer.  Towel dry off again from head to toe to seal in the cleansing you have just performed.  Once dry go about your day as planned.

That cleansing bath was one example.  Before you can do any work to bring good into your life you need to remove obstacles from your life.  That is what cleansing work is for.  Cleansing work opens the way for you to succeed in other areas of life.  A common area people are looking for help in is love.  A love bath is something that could benefit someone looking for love.

 

Love me sweet Bath

Materials:
Rose Petals
1 Tbs Honey
1 Tbs Lavender3 Tbs Sugar
2 Bowls
1 Cup

Ritual:
In the first bowl mix the rose petals, honey, lavender, and sugar.  As you mix the herbs pray over them and see them filled with a red light of love.  Feel and know that you are a person worthy of love and are open to love.  Remember to pray to the herbs for assistance in love.  Be sure to be specific about the type of person you want and the type of relationship that you want.

Once you are sure that the mixture is charged add the water to the bowl and begin to fill the tub. Fill the bowl with water about 3/4 of the way.  Once the tub has started to fill to a nice level (for me about 1/4 of the way is enough to start soaking but use your judgement) step into the tub and rub yourself down from head to toe with the hot water.  As you run the hot water over yourself see yourself in love and being loved by another person.  Visualize that person holding you and caressing you lovingly.

Now start to pour the love bath mixture over your body beginning with your head ending with your feet.  Use the cup to gently buy accurately pour the water over your body.  As you wash yourself with the bath chant something along the lines of “Love be new, love that’s true”.  See yourself in a lasting relationship.  Feel yourself full of love and all the happiness associated with it.

Once you have completely soaked in or covered your body with the love bath mixture take the other bowl of water and slowly rinse off.  If you are in a tub now is the time to pull the drain.  See the water returning to the earth sending your desire for love into the center of the earth.  See your love energy and the water bath combining as they flow down the drain into the earth.

Any water and herbs that remain in the bath mixture pour outside your front porch and if possible at a cross roads.  This will send your desire for a relationship out to the entire universe.

As you can see cleansing is one example of baths and love work is another.  There are many more ways to work with ritual baths out there.  Simply use your imagination and get to work.  If you don’t feel like making your own baths there are some excellent sources of precharged ritual baths out there.  We recommend Mystic Echoes

Mystic Echoes: Mystic Echoes Ritual Baths

 

 

Conjure for the Holidays

Ah the holidays.  Its a time for joy and love.  Its a time that is meant to be full of happiness and good will towards others.  This time of year is as full of goodwill and love towards your fellow man as it is jealousy and fear.  From neighbors who are jealous of you to those troubling family issues that seem to come up around the holidays energy of jealousy and anger spread as rapidly as love and joy. A lot of the jealousy issues raised during this time are unconscious so it is important to keep up your protections.

In addition to what ever protections you typically have around your home this time of year you can add extra protections through your holiday decorations.  That’s right your wreaths, the bells, and the crystal balls on your holiday tree can be protections.  These protections are excellent in that they can be hidden in plain sight which makes them even more effective.  So lets take a look at a few of these decorations.

Lets start with the wreath.  Wreaths are in a circle which is unbroken.    Most wreaths are made out of evergreens.  Most evergreen trees have symbolism of prosperity and wealth or succsess.  So the wreath itself represents unbroken prosperity and succsess.  Many wreaths have tinsel or glittering ribbon as decorations.  Those glimmering ribbons distract any ill intent or spirit that is sent your way.  Add a pair of nails in a cross buried in the center of the wreath and you have excellent protection.

Christmas and Yule trees are very popular.  Tinsel is a common decoration like with wreaths the tinsel distracts the ill intent of any spirits that could be sent your way.  Many craft stores sell clear glass balls that can be decorated with symbols of protection (depending on your path which symbols are important to you) and filled with herbs protection, luck, prosperity, etc.  Adding bells to your tree will invite positive spirits and blessings and warn you if there are negative spirits or energy it will banish them from the area.

Finally cinnamon brooms can be hung to invite prosperity and succsess.  If you add red ribbons it will bring protection your way as well.  Hang it over your door or the door to your business or office to bring succsess and prosperity through the new year. Adding bells or chimes will add additional protection and blessings.

I hope that you will take this article and use it to spark some Yule or Christmas holiday traditions.  Let the decoration for the holiday and the setting of the decorations with the protections and blessings become a ritual in and out of itself.  By letting your family join in the setting of the decorations everyone adds their energy, their desires, and their will to the home.  The decorations and the magic within them will truly reflect the whole home.  Brining the whole family together is really what the holidays are all about.

May you have a blessed Holiday!

Happy Yule

Merry Christmas

~Loona Wynd~

An Introduction to Practical Herbalism

There are many images associated with magic and witchcraft.  One of the most common ones is that of the witch in their garden or the woods gathering an assortment of plants for their work.  Today magical herbalism remains one of the most actively practiced magical and spiritual practices.  This is one of the practices that can be found across cultures.  It unites many forms of magical practices and cultures.  The more one studies and explores magical herbalism the more one realizes there is to know.

Like any field of magic there are no shortages of specific areas of study.  There are many different ways that you can practice herbalism and be a magical herbalist.  From hanging herbs and decorations around the house, to health remedies, tinctures, incenses, baths, and the food that you eat, magical herbalism is one of the most simple and effective ways of working magic there is.

Before we get into several different practices and herbs that you can work with its important to know what sort of tools you will need.  In general for magical herbalism there are not too many tools needed.  Scissors and a knife for harvesting are among the

Magical Herbalism is the most practical of all the arts out there.  What is more practical than adding a little magic into the food that you eat?  Through the art of kitchen witchery instead of sending the magic out towards the universe you are sending the magic into yourself.  You become the portal for your magic to manifest.   In kitchen witchcraft you have all the tools you need right in your kitchen.  From the herbs you will use to the tools to work your spells everything you need is right there.

In fact most magical needs can be met with only the herbs and spices that we use in our daily food.  Lets take a look at a few of the common spices found in many kitchens and their properties.  Aside from Salt, Pepper, Sugar, and Oil there are several herbs and spices that are found in most kitchens.  These spices are just as effective in magic as herbs like Frankincense or Myrrh and are often times not only more affordable but also easier to obtain.  Most of these can be found in your spice cabinet or fresh at the grocery store.

Common Kitchen Spices and their Magical properties

Allspice: Money, Luck, Healing

Basil: Love, Exorcisms,Wealth, Astral Travel, Rituals for the dead, House blessings, Ancestral work,Invoking Dragons, Protection, Attract money

Bay Leaf: Protection, Purification, Psychic powers, Strength, Wishes

Black Pepper: Protection, Exorcism

Cayenne Pepper: Fidelity, Hex breaking, Protection, Removal

Cinnamon: Sexuality, Lust, Wealth, Money, Consecration, Purification, Love

Garlic: Protection, Exorcism, Lust, Antitheft

Nutmeg: Gambling luck, Money, Fidelity, Prosperity, Luck

Oats: Money

Oregano: Keeps away the law, Joy, Strength, Vitality

Parsley: Underworld workings, Ancestor veneration, Healing, Fortune, Success, Lust, Protection, Purification

Rosemary: Cleansing, Draws the aid of spirits, Love, Mental focus, Protection, Lust, Exorcism, Healing

Sage: Spell Reversal, Guarding against the Evil eye (White sage): Cleansing, Purification, Make Sacred

Salt: Purification, Protection

Sugar: Attraction work (to bring something to you love, money luck etc), Favor gaining, “sweetening those”

As you can see there is a lot that you can do with the spices we use to flavor our foods and with items easily located around the house.  Do you need to cleanse your house you can burn white sage or culinary sage for that effect.    If you are trying to draw some customers to your business you could create a mixture of basil, sugar, and cinnamon to sprinkle around the registers or you could simply write your wish for customers and sales on the back of a bay leaf and place that in your register.  A good protection mixture would be Black Pepper, Cayenne Pepper, and Garlic powder and you could use that on your meats or veggies empowering you to feel more secure and safe.

 

Since we took a look at the spices we work with let’s take a look at some of the fruits and nuts found in our diets for further ideas.

Common Fruits and Nuts

Almond: Money, Prosperity, Wisdom

Apple: Love, Healing

Banana:  Fertility, Potency, Prosperity

Blackberry: Healing, Money, Protection, Return evil, Exorcism

Blue Berry: Protection

Lemon: Purification, Love, Friendship, Justice

Lime: Healing, Love, Protection

Nuts: Fertility, Prosperity, Love, Luck

Orange: Love, Divination, Luck, Money

Peach: Love, Exorcism, Longevity, Fertility. Wishes

Pear: Lust, Love

Pecan: Money, Employment

Pineapple: Luck, Money, Chasity

Raspberry: Protection, Love, Good luck

Strawberry: Love and luck

So now that we have some of these fruits lets look at some options for spells.  Lets say you wanted to increase some customers at an event or sales at work.  During your lunch break you could eat a fruit salad made up of a mixture of  Almonds, Bananas,  Orange, Pineapple, and Pecans.  Add cinnamon and sugar for further boosts.  If you like apple pie and want love you could make an apple pie and empower it with your desire for love.    If you want to cleanse and protect yourself a smoothie of Blueberry, Blackberry,Lemon,Lime, and Raspberry.  It is very simple and effective for you to work with these fruits.

Now there are many other plants that a person interested in magic can use.  The ones that we find in the kitchen and grocery store are only some of them.  The rest of them are outside in the wild or in our gardens.  The world of plants has much to offer.  So let us continue our journey and take a look at some of the plants in our gardens and in the wilds that we can work with.

  Many of the common weeds that we encounter on a day to day basis actually have several magical properties.  Learning which plants are local to you is a powerful way to work magical herbalism.  It’s easy to find a local guide-book with full color photos and identification.  The national Audubon society often creates several different books for each region.  These books are a must have resource for those interested in harvesting plants from the wild.

Wildcrafting is an excellent way for you to not only connect to the land that you live on but with the spirits of the land and the animals.  By learning which trees and plants are native to your area you can cultivate relationships that will last for a very long time.

Wildcrafted Magical Herbs and their associations

Black Eyed Susan: Cleansing, Releasing, Grounding, Integration, Mediumship, Connecting with the dead

Cedar: Healing, Purification, Money, protection

Cloves: Psychic abilities, Astral Travel, Protection, Exorcisms, Love

Crab-apple: Fertility, Healing

Cramp bark: Protection, Luck

Dandelion (flowers,leaves,and roots): Purify, Manifest Wishes, Enrich, Money

Daisy: Lust, Love

Goldenrod: Money, Divination

Goldenseal: Healing, Money

Mugwort: Strength, Psychic powers, Protection, Prophetic dreams, Astral projection

Mullein: Courage, Protection, Love, Divination, Exorcism

Nettle Leaf: Protection, Exorcism, Healing, Jinx breaking, Lust

Oak: Protection, Health, Money, Healing, Potency, Fertility, Luck

Pine: Remove evil, Money, Cleanse, Healing, Fertility, Protection , Exorcism

Plantain: Healing, Strength, Protection

St. Johns wort: Health, Protection, Strength, Love, Divination, Happiness

Skullcap: Love, Fidelity, Peace

Willow Bark: Love, Protection, Healing

Wormwood: Psychic Powers, Protection, Love, Calling Spirits

Yarrow:Psychic development, Courage, Love, Exorcism, Protection

Yellow dock: Money draw, Attract Customers, Love Draw

Many of the plants listed above are considered to be weeds to most modern gardeners.  In fact these wild plants and flowers are some of the most powerful plants known to witches.  These plants could be living right outside your door.  All you need to do now is gather them and start working with them.  With these plants you have a lot of different opportunities for different works.  Want to enhance your psychic abilities gather some catnip and mugwort to burn as an incense or drink in a tea.  Want to feel protected?  Carry an acorn in your pocket for protection.

Aside from working with the herbs in your kitchen cabinet and that grow wild many witches grow herbs in garden outside or in pots ins their home.  When you grow the herbs you work with in magic they have a deeper connection to you than plants in the wild you gather or get in the store.  These plants rely on you for all of their care and needs.    The following list contains plants commonly grown in gardens for witchcraft.

Common Grown Plants

Aloe Vera: Protection, Peace in the afterlife, Prosperity, Success, Love

Catnip: Love, Beauty, Happiness, Cat Magic, Break Spells, Fertility, Psychic powers

Calendula/Marigold: Money, Prosperity, Health, Psychic Development, Protection, Prophetic dreams, Legal matters, Psychic Powers, Healing

Chamomile: Protection, Luck, Money, Sleep, Peace, Purification

Echinacea: Strengthen spells, Offering to spirits

Ivy: Protection, Healing

Jasmine: Love, Money, Prophetic Dreams

Lavender: Love, Protection, Purification, Happiness, Peace, Healing, Meditation, Psychic abilities

Lilac: Exorcism, Protection

Lilly: Protection, Breaking Love spells

Lilly of the Valley: Mental Powers, Happiness

Morning Glory: Happiness, Peace

Orchid: Love

Orris (Orris Root): Love, Protection, Divination

Pansy: Love, Rain magic, Divination regarding love

Peppermint: Purification, Love, Healing, Psychic powers

Peony: Protection, Exorcism

Primrose: Protection, Love

Rose: Love, Psychic Powers, Healing, Divination regarding love, Luck,  Protection

Snapdragon: Protection

Spearmint: Healing, Love, Mental Powers

Tulip: Prosperity, Love, Protection

Most every plant can be used for magical and spiritual work.  It is up to you to find which plants resonate best with you.  Here are a few examples of things you could so. So lets say you live in an area that has a poor reputation, and you have a yard.  One thing you might want to do is plant some flowers for protection like, Lilac, Peony and Snapdragon outside.  Inside you could grow some Aloe Vera for protection.  If you want peace in the home growing Lavender and Roses is a good idea.

Of this list some plants like Lavender, Spearmint and Peppermint can be easily grown inside in a pot.  Other plants like Lilacs require space outside. It doesn’t matter if you grown the herbs outside or in pots, these plants will be your allies for a long time to come.  If you raise them, talk to them, and show them love these plants will respond and shower you with their powers.  Learning about the plants through growing them and gardening will not only connect you with their spirits but also with the spirits in nature and with the tides of nature.

It has been my hope that though this article you have gotten some ideas of some plants you can work with that are commonly found in the grocery store, your gardens, and in the wild.  You don’t need to work with the exotic herbs like Dragon’s blood, Myrrh, or Frankincense to be a magical herbalist.  You can just work with what you have on hand and you will be a success.  Now if you want to work with some of the traditional herbs like Frankincense, Myrrh, etc there are plenty of places online where you can find them.

Here are some shops that you can visit to obtain herbs for magical and spiritual workings:

http://mysticechoes.storenvy.com/

https://3crowsmagick.com/

http://artesandcraft.com/

www.originalbotanica.com

A further list can be found at http://paganbusinessdirectory.com/businesses/magickal-supplies/

For further reading on the topic these  books are recommended:

The Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham

Hoodoo Herb and Root magic by Cat Yronwode

Mastering Herbalism by Paul Husson

A Compendium of Herbal Magic by Paul Beryl

 

 

 

 

Racism within Conjure and Hoodoo

Over the last few years it has become more and more common to see groups holding discussions about Hoodoo and Conjure.  A practice that was once never considered by witches to be associated with witchcraft of any kind has can now be seen on witchcraft forums, in witchcraft shops, and even in books on witchcraft and magic.  The thirst for knowledge of more practical and indepth traditions has brought this tradition out of the shadows and into the public eye.  Even shows like Supernatural show elements of the Hoodoo work in their show.

This new popularity has come with its fair share of problems.  One of the main ones being racism and accusations of cultural appropriation by non blacks who study,practice, or are interested in Hoodoo and Conjure work.  It is not uncommon to hear and see people on forums discuss how only Blacks or those who have African American heritage should be allowed to practice.  Other people believe that it is the last part of the African American identity to be appropriated into white culture.  In order to understand why this is a problem you need to understand the history of Hoodoo and Conjure.

Hoodoo and Conjure were founded by slaves during slavery.  It was created to keep them alive and hold on to their identity and ancestral heritage.  It was their only tie to their African heritage.  Hoodoo is a combination of the African traditional beliefs concerning Animisim and Herbalism, Native American Herbalism, and Christianity.  The slaves hid their use of ancestral wisdom through the use of bible verses, prayers, and Saint work.

This is the main reason why there are so many domination works as well as keep away the law spells.  It isn’t because Hoodoo workers are dominant people.  No.  It is because when a slave felt abused their only way to get back was through the practice of conjure work.  The law keep away work is traceable to protecting slaves that ran away from their owners.  Hoodoo and Conjure are all about survival plain and simple.  It is easy to see why people argue that Hoodoo and Conjure belong only to African American’s.  Yet this ignores a key component: what happened after slavery was abolished?

As the slaves became free and moved they were able to interact with other people and other areas.  This is why in some areas you find elements of Hex signs (Pennsylvanian Dutch folk magic), Quabblah, Strega, and more.  These were all poor minority communities.  They worked together to be able to survive.  They depended on each other and the practical use of magic when needed.  For years Hoodoo was only practiced in these small communities and passed down through family lines.  Hoodoo has always adapted to the world and cultures to survive.

As Hoodoo has become more popular in the magical and spiritual communities more and more non African Americans are looking to learn about the practice.  It is not common to find that there are those who feel Hoodoo and Conjure work should only be practiced by African Americans.  Those same people often accuse those interested in Hoodoo and Conjure of cultural misappropriation.  If you take the fact that historically white people have romanticized and cherry picked aspects of cultures and magical practices that appeal to their desires it makes sense that there are those within the practice of Conjure that feel it should be kept within the culture and within family lines as it has been traditionally

It is not racist for those within the practice and culture to say that no they do no want to teach or share this information.   People within a tradition or style of working have the right to tell people that they do not want to teach them.   Hoodoo for a long time was the only thing that belonged to the Black Americans.  It is their right to protect and preserve the tradition as they see fit.  If an individual doesn’t want to teach or share information that is completely up to them.

Many of the issues around racism and cultural appropriation within the practice of Hoodoo or Conjure revolves around protection work and the use of hexes or curses.    Many of those who are starting to have an interest in folk magic traditions come from a Wiccan or Wiccan influenced background in magic.  This transition is often difficult because of the vastly different approach to ethics between Wicca and Hoodoo and Conjure work hold very different sets of ethics.  Wicca and many forms of modern witchcraft the ethical practices revolve around the concept or practice of harming none.    Hoodoo and conjure however do not hold that same stance.

So how does one who is interested in Hoodoo and conjure work go about learning the practice without being accused of Cultural Appropriation?

There are few things that a person can do. The first thing is to be respectful and understand the Hoodoo and Conjure is not witchcraft.   You also have to understand that the Bible and the God of Christianity are central to the practice of Hoodoo and Conjure. Often times you see that the main issue is that witches will work spells they find on Hoodoo websites but remove the references to God or Jesus and substitute one of the many Pagan Gods to suit their specific needs.    This is not respectful.  That is cultural misappropriation.

If you remove the Bible and God from Conjure the work is no longer Hoodoo and Conjure.  The work becomes something else.  While you may be able to call it based on or inspired by Hoodoo and conjure it is not Hoodoo or Conjure.  You don’t have to be Christian to be a Conjure worker.  You just have to be willing to work with the powers of Conjure which include the Bible, Jesus, God, and the Holy spirit.  If you can not respect that part of the tradition and practice then you should find a different practice.

It is not racist for Conjure workers to say that anything without the Bible or God is not Conjure.  It is racist to remove those aspects.  It is not problem to work conjure if you are white or a witch.  It is a problem if you decide to start removing key components of the practice to make it more sanitized for your practice.  Conjure workers don’t care who you worship.  They do care that the practice is preserved.  To do that people need to learn Conjure and Hoodoo as it is practiced and not make modifications.

If a person can be respectful of the history of conjure, honor the ancestors of conjure, and work the spells using the Bible and God then they are more likely to get information and possibly find a teacher.  The best way to find a teacher and learn this culture and practice is to join those discussion groups on Facebook and other websites and prove that you are true to your desire to learn Hoodoo and Conjure.  Respect that Conjure work is as much a way of life as it is a system for working magic.  If you can manage to respect those facts about Conjure work then you are not racist nor appropriating the culture.

There are those who feel that anyone not Black can never understand or appreciate the pain and sorrow of the ancestors of Hoodoo and conjure.  That they have no idea about the hardships of slavery or the life that Black American’s may face.  While there are things that white men and women might not fully understand, they can show empathy and sympathy.  One way that healing over the past of slavery can continue is for white men and women to practice Conjure and set up altars to honor the ancestors of conjure.  Show respect to those who have come before you and show that you are remorseful for the actions of the past.  By taking those actions you not only align yourself with that culture but you also are showing the spiritual force behind conjure that you respect everything they went through and honor their sacrifices.

Only through acknowledgement of the horrors of the past can racism be eliminated.  Only by respecting the differences in the paths out there can we really understand our own path.  By respecting Hoodoo and Conjure as their own unique paths and not a part of Western Occultism or witchcraft we can establish dialogs between practices, share information and preserve the knowledge of many paths.