Crystal forms: A variety of curio magic

Crystal forms: A variety of curio magic

An assortment of Crystal types and forms

Crystals are simply larger and more defined pieces of minerals. They are often polished and tumbled for sale and decorative pieces. Most of the ones you find for sale at metaphysical shops are likely tumbled and polished. Raw crystals like the ones above are the ones that you can find yourself when you visit a local quarry or dig site. In these locations you will be able to find stones yourself in their natural environment. When you pull them from the earth yourself you have a closer connection to them and can feel their natural power more easily.

Crystals are natural curios regardless of the form. Crystals come from the earth and are natural items. While humans have shaped them and formed them for us to collect, play with, enjoy, and work with they are still gifts from the earth. They grew deep within the earth and are the bones of this planet. They are very powerful natural curious for this reason.

shapes, sizes,and forms of crystals
Crystal forms
shapes, sizes,and forms of crystals

In the above photo you can see several different forms of crystals. There are small totem stones, you have a crystal mala bracelet, angel carved crystals, shaped animals, hearts, raw, tumbled, skull, spheres, towers or wands, pendants and a pyramid. All of these different forms provide many different ways to work with crystals. By combining the shape of the crystal with the properties of the crystals you can find unique ways to work crystal magic that suit your personal body and style.

Raw and Tumbled

Raw crystal curios

Raw and tumbled stones and crystals make the best talismans and charms. They are easy to carry and to create into jewelry. For many stones and crystals the tumbled varieties are readily available and less expensive than working with a pyramid, sphere or object in that manner. Small tumbled stones and raw stones are easily obtainable. Which means depending on the stone obtaining what you need for the work can be done.

When it comes to crystal magic the best way to work with them is to carry them as a talisman or amulet. A Talisman is typically a piece of jewelry that is worn or a stone carried that has a symbol or phrase inscribed on it describing the magical use. Talismans are typically for draw something to you. An amulet is typically an item worn or carried to ward off something. Both talismans and amulets are used for protection. One tends to be more about removing it the other is more about preventing it from getting there to begin with.

Two of the best examples of stones carried as charms for protection come from warriors. Both of these stones were associated with blood and bleeding. The first is Bloodstone and the second is Hematite. Two very different stones that share a common historical use: Protection from bleeding or excessive wounds on the battlefield.

Hematite is a stone that has associations with blood and protection in battle. The name comes from the Greek word for blood. It has been used as an amulet against bleeding, and so is known as the “blood stone”. Many people believe that Hematite is actually the original stone referenced when folklore mentions “bloodstone”.

Blood stone was historically carried by warriors in battle. It was thought that it was a charm that would protect against bleeding in battle. Which is why warriors wore it or carried it for protection. Occasionally it was worn as a pendant hanging over the heart chakra to cleanse the blood and protect from wounds.

In the case of both Hematite and Bloodstone they are both working as protection charms. Bloodstone worked more of preventing and removing so it was more of a talisman while Hematite was more of an amulet designed to try and ward excessive or unnecessarily wounds and fights in battles. Both stones worked to protect the warriors and both stones dealt with blood.

Amethyst, quartz, Hematite Hanging Pentacle charm

Today wirewraped crystal gifts have become very popular. They are made with crystal chips or small raw or tumbled pieces. Witches by knowing the properties of the crystals can create charms that are hidden in plain sight. They will be able to place the decoration on the wall or in the window to catch the light and the properties of the crystals will be brought into the home. Creating powerful subtloe natural magic.

The above photo is a crystal sun catcher in the shape of a pentacle made out of Hematite, Amethysts, and quartz. Hematite isused for protection and grounding. Amethyst is used to promote peace and protection. Amethyst being an empath’s stone is also one used for healing and working out emotions. Quartz is also a good one to have in the mix. Quartz provides power to all other stones and is a good overall energy stabilizer.

When the person who bought this pentacle hangs it in their house they will be bringing the energy of those crystals into the home. The shape of the pentacle ensures protection as it is a protective symbol. The way the crystals are aligned balances the energy of the three crystals in a repetitive pattern so that none of the energy overwhelms each other and they all work in harmony for the purpose at hand. Now all they have to do is charge the crystals like they would with any other crystal item. once it is charged and dedicated by hanging the crystal on the wall they bring that magic and energy into their home.

Mini prosperity and succsess grid

Raw and tumbled stones are also the corner stones of grid work. Crystal grids are a way of laying our crystals in a pattern that sends out your intent and desire into the universe. Most crystal grids are more complex, the one above was a simple one created for one day. The Aventurine stone was the anchor or core for luck, prosperity and succsess. The five citrine tumbles were arranges around the center piece in a star or pentacle pattern to direct the desire for sales and succsess into the universe through the directions and elements. Citrine was chosen for its money, luck, and prosperity properties.

Wands

Wands of crystals and stones

Wands are actually a new thing in my life and in my practice and I have to say its a new way to look at one of the most common tools in witchcraft and magic. Wands are the most common tool in magical traditions and practices. Wands are used to direct and raise the energy manipulated for the spell at hand. Wands are tools traditionally made out of wood and fashioned with crystals feathers etc. Crystal wands allow us to work with crystal energy in spells by directing the energy trough that crystal.

A Selenite wand is good to banish and remove energy. I use it regularly to wipe myself down after a day of high anxiety. The properties of selenite are clarity and dispelling negativity. Its an excellent stone to use to work with banishing and removal work. My wiping myself down with selenite after work is an example of banishment and removal work.

An Aventurine tower held over a money incense as it burns would be a great way to work with the energy of the wand. The wand will absorb the energy from the incense, add its own energy to the blend and then direct it out into the universe amplified and further charged. As seen in the grid photo posted earlier the wands also can work effectively as core components of grids. This allows them to direct the energy from their root (bottom) to the universe up through their tip. They in the end focus the energy of the other crystals from one point into the universe to create your change.

An amethyst wand would be a great way to direct specific healing energy. Simple hold the crystal wand over the area with the specific ailment and direct the energy through the Crystal into the area. The point of the tower will provide pinpoint accuracy to the area. The energy channeled will also be charged by and effected by the energy of amethyst infusing any healing energy with amethyst healing and protecting properties.

One thing wands are really good at is directing energy long distance. Lets say you have a friend that is feeling depressed and you want to help them heal and feel better but can’t travel to them. A Rose quartz wand with lavender and catnip incense burning and a photo of your friend combined together can make an effective love and healing spell. You’d burn the incense and chant something about love and healing for your friend then take the Rose quartz wand and direct the energy of the chant, the incense, and your mental/emotional energy at the photo of your friend sending it into the universe towards your friend.

The more assortments of wands you have the more opportunities you have to work crystal magic. You can work with many different wands until you find the right crystal wand for a specific task. You may even find that some crystals dont work well for you in a wand form but they do work in tumbled or shaped or other forms. The crystals will speak to you.

Totem Stones

Totem crystal collection

Many people work with animal symbols within their spiritual practice. These totem stones and soapstone or gemstone animals are tools that can be used to call upon animal energy and powers. The shape and image of an animal can be a powerful way to connect with that animal when physical contact or items are not possible.

By carrying those stones with you in the shape of an animal or with the engraving of an animal you have that energy with you. Not only that but you also have the combined power of the stone with you. Its a double wammy. Great way to create charms and talismans with very few tools.

So if you have an Unakite totem stone with a dolphin carved into it you not only have the power of the dolphin in your hands but also the power of Unakite as well. In this case the symbolism of dolphins can be protection, rebirth, and renewal. The stone Unakite encourages psychic visions and the development of the third eye. Unakite is a powerful healer too. Unakite helps balance emotions, it can help with sleep, stress and healing addictions. With these two sets of symbolism there are a few different things that we can have here.

For someone trying to overcome and addiction they could carry the stone to help balance their emotions, relieve stress, and protect them self from the addiction. The healing of the addiction will also lead to renewal. They would simply need to create a dedication spell for this purpose. That spell should include herbs to heal for strength and for power. Lavender, Woodruff and Rosemary would help in this working.

For someone who is still developing their psychic abilities the protection and rebirth aspects of the dolphin can be of help while the Unakite stone itself can help them deal with the new information and regain balance. As with the above the person carrying this stone would now need to create a dedication spell or ritual for the purpose of strengthening their psychic abilities and providing a new start. Here I would recommend using herbs like Frankincense, Mugwort, and again Rosemary.

Lets take another stone and animal combination. Red Jasper is a very common stone. Red Jasper is known for dream work, sleep aid, and protection, Eagle is a popular bird to call on for spiritual aid. They bring independence, vision, strength, power, and freedom. Here are a few different combinations here.

Lets say you feel that you need more insight and are looking for dream wisdom. By sleeping with a Red Jasper Eagle totem stone under your pillow you can call upon the eagles vision for insight and you can call upon the Jaspers properties for dream work and sleep aid. Together you have a sleep magic dream work charm. As with the Unakite an actual spell to dedicate and charge the stone would be required. Chamomile and lavender with rosemary or ginkgo would work well in this spell.

Eagles are strong and powerful. Lets say you aren’t that physical strong but want to feel more confident. Red Jasper is a stone of strength and protection. It will bring you protection energy and build your confidence. By charging this crystal in a spell calling upon the animal and stone spirits you can create a charm to carry for protection that fits in your pocket. In the charging process I’d personally add Dragons Blood, Frankincense, and Nettle Leaf for additional energetic and spiritual protection.

Skulls

Crystal Skulls

In witchcraft communities you will find a lot of people who love their skulls. Many witches wear skulls in various jewelry and there are those who have skulls on their altars. Skulls are powerful symbols for many cultures. For many witches skulls are a symbol of the powers of death and rebirth and decay. Witches dont see death as a bad thing. Its seen as part of the life cycle. For many death is not an ending but the start of something new. For other witches death is the end of this life but not our full journey.

For most witches skulls are symbol a symbol of the dead and of our ancestors. They provide us a way to connect with our ancestors. Some witches use animal skulls on their altars to represent the God and some use human skulls to represent ancestors. Most of these skulls are resin or made out of clay/ceramic. For those who want to have a skull on the altar but dont want ceramics or resin and a more natural material crystals provide that opportunity.

Skull shapes crystals offer us a unique way to work with the dead. The skull shape due to its symbolism allows us to call on ancestral powers and properties fairly easily. Like with the totem stones crystal skulls would retain the properties of the crystals that they are. They also gain the additional property of being able to connect to the dead and be used to channel ancestral energy.

A quartz crystal skull is a great addition to an ancestral altar. Quartz crystals are good all purpose crystals. They also empower and power up any and all other magical workings. So with a quartz skull on your ancestor altar any workings that you do with your ancestors is automatically amplified. Quartz skulls also hold energy so it can be charged with the energy of your ancestors and brought with you so that you can take their energy any where with you. To charge a quartz crystal Frankincense and Copal are good for generic all purpose spiritual cleansing and workings.

An Opalite Skull would also be a great addition not only to an ancestor altar but a working altar as well. Opalite is a highly spiritual stone and is great for communication, meditation, and all around healing. Opalite can also help us be successful in business. By placing the Opalite skull on the ancestor altar it opens your communication with the dead making it easier to let them teach you and help you in your life. Magically lets say you had an ancestor who ran their own successful business and you want to do the same. When you do a spell or working to help with your business succsess add the Opalite skull into the working. This will allow you to call on that ancestor, their wisdom and the energy of the crystal at the same time. To add further assistance I’d add herbs like Cinequfoil, Cinnamon, and Dragons Blood.

Obsidian Skulls are probably some of the most popular Skulls out there. They are Black, which is a color associated with the dead and underworld as well as death and they are simply beautiful. Obsidian is also a very protective stone. Its great against psychic attacks, removes negative energy, grounds, and protects. IN many traditions the first spirits that should be called on for protection magic or any magic is our ancestors because they will answer before any other spirits will answer. An Obsidan Skull allows for that instant connection to ancestor energy and protection. To charge it I would run it through an incense that is a combination of Wormwood, Dragonsblood, Basil, White Sage, and Frankincense.

Conclusion

These are just a few of the many different shapes and forms that crystals can take. There are many other shapes and forms that haven’t been mentioned that all have their own unique properties and benefits. Let these styles, shapes and ideas be another way for you to begin your journey into the world of crystal and gem magic.

Crystals Galore Magic In Store

Crystal Magic

Introduction

When people think of witchcraft it is very easy to associate the practice of witchcraft with herbs and candles.  People have images of witches standing over cauldrons mixing herbs and other natural curious.   There are lots of images of a witch tending her garden using these herbs for charms and works.  Witches, herbs and magic all seem to fit together to form a pretty picture.   Its easy to believe that witches only deal with herbs and animals as that is what we have recorded in myth and lore.

What you dont often see in the media or hear about in public  are witches who delve into the other gifts of the earth.  Natural curios involve more than found animal parts, finger nails, and hair.  Natural curious refers to gifts from the earth.  Things that nature gives us.  One of the gifts that come from deep within the earth are gems, crystals, and minerals.  These are the “bones” of the earth.  These are what form the very ground that we walk on.

One of the benefits to working with crystals in magic is that they are reusable. Once a spell has manifested you can simply cleanse the crystal and use it again in another type of working. Herbs can only be used once. Once the incense has been made the herb has been used and its energy has been spent. Crystals however are reusable. Simply set them in the earth and they will recharge and gather energy again. Cleanse them between uses and you can use each crystal in a different working.

Like with herbs there are many different ways that you can work with crystals. The most common ways to work with crystals is to carry them as a charm or use them in mojo bags or charm bags. Jewelry is another common uses. Crystals are often worn in jewelry form as powerful talismans and amulets. Other people use crystals as decorations in their home and have the effect work that way. Over the last few years more and more people are learning about Crystal grids which is another form of crystal magic. Finally crystals are able to be used in washes and elixirs just like herbs.

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Crystals and Me

Sample of a crystal collection
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Before I ever began practicing magic and witchcraft I had a fascination with crystals.  I can remember as a child when my parents and I found a natural quartz quarry on a hike by our camp.  I remember being the one to spot the disrupted ground and differences.  My dad explained what it was and we stopped to take a look.  I remember the joy of finding the quartz points and the gems in the ground.  It was a wonderful experience and every time I touch quartz I am brought back to that childhood experience.

My collection of crystals developed and grew from that day forward.  I gathered a lot of Mica, Amethyst, Smokey Quartz, and Clear Quartz.  These were all readily available and around me.  My favorite gifts at museum gift shops were the little tiny boxes of stones and crystals.  Most of them were typically a dyed agate, but they were still crystals and fascinated me.  There was something there I couldn’t quite place it.

Crystal magic was actually the first area of magic and witchcraft I ever explored.  I wasn’t sure what to do with herbs when I had them.  At the time I used premade stick incense for my rituals and spells and simple white candles.  Crystals I knew that just by holding them or carrying them with me I could use and work with their energy.  It seemed natural, plus it reminded me of a more direct connection to the earth.

My collection was small at first.  It consisted of only five or six small pieces.  There were three that I worked with more than any others though.  These three were the ones that essentially taught me the first and most basic way to work with crystals.  Carry them as a natural charm.  It was simple and effective personal magic.  Those three were Rose Quartz, Hematite, and Amethyst.

I use rose quartz for self love and self esteem to help heal and alleviate depression.  When I was depressed I would hold it and try to feel myself align with the energy of the crystal.  When I needed a little self confidence I would fondle the stone and hold it close to myself.  For me simply by holding the stone I was able to transfer its energy to me to have it cause an impact in my life,

Amethyst was one I carried to help develop my psychic abilities.  I’ve always been hyper sensitive to emotions and energetic fields.  When I first started to learn to read cards and energy I scared myself with my accuracy.  There are still times when I get uncomfortable with how accurate my intuition is and the information I get from a reading.  One of the ways I dealt with this was carrying amethyst.  This helped me not only have clear readings but be comfortable with my spirit and with my abilities.

Hematite was an important one for me.  One of the first things I was taught to do in magic is have a protection charm.  Hematite is a stone that has protection qualities. I carried it with me as protection charm.  Hematite is also a grounding stone.  When engaging in  meditation and doing magic it is essential to ground after work.  Hematite helps provide a grounding point.   I also found that with my day to day life wearing a hematite bracelet or piece of jewelry helped me focus much better on every task I was doing.

Those three examples are just the way my exploration of crystal magic started.  When I was in college I had no way of working magic aside from pen, paper, and crystals.  I used an assortment of stones to lay out my circle an create my sacred space.  Most of these stones I had no identification for.  I just got them because I knew they were to be used.  They became a symbol of my circle.  Laying them out for ritual in the circle became my circle casting instead of using candles and incense I laid out rocks and sprinkled water

Reiki altar and crystal healing altar

Today my collection has grown substantially.  I no longer collect just tumbles for use as holding charms and talismans.  I collect many different shapes, sizes and styles of stones and crystals. I’m learning more about crystals and their roles in the magical and spiritual universe.  I’m exploring the differences between tumbled, and raw.  They all have different and unique properties.

I have a healing altar set up that is basically all used for crystal work. Crystals have become a central component of my Reiki and Intuitive healing work. I always knew they would be, but now I have them set up and ready to work with. I have a set of chakra stones and wands for dealing with clients and customers and a set for myself and my loved ones. The only thing remaining are a few wire wrapped tools I need to make using crystal chips and wire wrapping together to make. Which I will do in a bit, I just needed to see everything together first.

I’m actively working with every stone and crystal in my collection. I have them all around me. There are some on my desk, some on the book case, and some in the bedroom. I have some on different altars and some set aside in storage waiting for their purpose and specific use. Frequently I will change the ones on my desk out so that new energy can come into my life and more work can be done. Some will never leave their specific locations like my Obsidian Scrying sphere. That belongs on my working altar. Other stones like the merlinite and rose quartz spheres may not be there for ever. They may be there for a time and then rest while another stone takes their places.

Bones of the Earth: Crystals as Natural Curios


Raw crystal curios

When natural magic is discussed it is often mentioned that natural magic is the use of objects from the natural world to create changes in ones life. Its easy to think of things like flowers, trees and roots when it comes to natural magic. However natural magic includes a lot of other items called natural curious. Most commonly natural curious in spells are often things like animal parts easy to find (shed skins, shells, hair, nails etc). The magic of our ancestors was simple and practical. So its easy to see why items like crystals and semiprecious stones might be passed over in favor of things like dog fur, snail shells etc depending on the need at hand.

The power of stones wasn’t fully ignored though. In Hoodoo earth or dirt is used in many different spells and rituals. Dirt is nothing more than very fine stones and rocks composed of minerals and metals. Quartz is likely found in many piles of dirt in many locations across the world as it is the most common crystal in the world. Likewise various forms of mica can be found in dirt all over the world. Dirt and crystal magic is not that far removed.

Dirt is not the only way that crystal magic was found across the world. One of the most basic crystals n the world is salt. It is found everywhere is is a central component in life and magic. Salt is often a part of herbal magic as it is used in cooing and as a flavoring etc but salts are crystals. If you work with salts in magic you work with crystals.

Salt is a crystal. Salt is a natural curio that is present in basically every culture across the world. Salt is a very potent magical ally and one that should not be ignored. Salt crystals are used to bless water and make holy water through ritual actions in many traditions. Salt is such a unique crystal that it is used to cleanse and clear other crystals. This powerful magic is an example of crystals being found everywhere everyday without realizing it.

In other cultures crystals were carved and used as charms. Crystals have been carried as amulets and charms for an extended period of time. One of the possible origins for the idea behind jewelry is magical work. Amulets and talismans are commonly worn. This would make them easy targets to craft spells with or around. Egypt is famous for their jewelry and use of charms.

Choosing your crystals

So before you can start to work with crystals you need to actually choose and find the crystals that work for you. The best way to do that is to physically hold them in your hand. Pick them up and hold them. They should feel right in your hand. You will know it. You just “have to have” this stone. If it doesn’t feel right away then feel around and pick up a few other stones of the same type and see if any of them give off any feelings. You will find the ones meant for you.

Many of the ones seen in the photos posted today I bought online through a group that does shows two times a week. With those stones since I can’t physically hold them I do focus on the photo of the stone. I look at it and see what I feel from it. Sometimes I know right away. Others I need to come back to after a while before I say yes or no. When I dont have a chance to get that stone, I know that it was meant for someone else and that the right one will come to me at some point in time.

Finally you can also shop by specific need. This is how many people buy herbs and other supplies. If you have a specific issue you are dealing with like anxiety for example you can search for stones known to work with and help deal with that issue. When it comes to Stones and anxiety there are a few different approaches. You could choose stones like Hematite or Onyx to ground and center or you could choose a stone like Amethyst to soothe emotions and provide emotional stability, for a third option there is also Chrysocolla which is known to ease fear and anxiety. All of these stones would work well as an amulet to help ease anxiety. I personally carry or wear hematite often and just received a Chrysocolla mala bracelet which I am going to be wearing daily to help with anxiety.

Crystals to start with

Before we go on to cleansing, dedicating and starting to work with the stones I thought it would be a goo idea to start with a list of a few stones that I recommend to start your collection with. Like with all forms of magic it is important to know that not every stone will work for everyone and not every stone here will be one that you end up working with or have in your collection. This list here is to give you a list to look for and start exploring with.

Amethyst


Magical properties: Courage, happiness, peace, love, protection, spirituality, psychic development
Healing properties: Encouraging sobriety, aids sleep, helps break addition, cleanses auras

Clear Quartz


Magical properties: Energy Booster
Healing Properties:aids focus, promotes harmony

Flourite

Flourite is one that comes in many colors and each has its own properties.
Magical properties: Promotes order and reasoning, Stabilizing, Mental powers. Conscious Mind, Absorbs negative energy
Healing: Concentration, Assists in processing information,

Hematite


Magical properties: Grounding, Protecting,
Healing Properties: Anxiety relief, Sleep aid

Lapis Lazuli


Magical properties: Healing, Joy, Love, Fidelity, Psychic abilities, Protection, Courage
Healing Properties: Depression relief, Headache relief, Immune booster, Insomnia relief, Stress relief

Moss Agate


Magical properties Gardening, Riches, Happiness, Long life, Fertility
Healing Properties: Depression relief, Immune Booster

Obsdian


Magical properties: Protection, removing negativity,
Healing Properties: said to benefit the stomach, intestines, muscle tissue

Cleansing and dedication

The last thing you need to do before you start working with crystals is to cleanse and dedicate or charge them. Both of these practices help you connect with and create your crystal magic and or crystal healing. They connect you to the stones and the energy allowing the two of you to bond and create a relationship.

The cleansing aspect is very important. This removes all the energy from those who have touched and or played with the stone and leaves it pure for you and the stone alone. There are three primary methods of cleansing stones and crystals. Each of these methods provides a way to remove the excess energy on the crystal letting the crystals pure power seep through.

You can bury them in the ground and or place them on a large bowl or plate of sea salt which will cleanse and clear them. As the crystals are on the plate or in the ground visualize and see all energy that should not be there returning to the earth. You may want to say a statement like I cleanse this stone on this day only its perfect energy shall stay. I recommend leaving it in the salt or buried for 24 hours.

Next we have the smoke cleanse. This is where you use an herb like white sage, Pine, of a cleansing incense mix. By passing the crystal through the smoke of the incense you remove all of the energy that should not be there. It is an earth, air, fire, and possibly water cleansing (water come in if a resin is used like Frankincense, Myrrh, Dragons Blood or Copal for example). As with the earth and burial cleanse you should say a statement of intent etc through the process and use visualization.

Finally there is literally a ritual bath cleansing option. This is not an option for all stones. Some stones like Selenite, Flourite, Labradorite etc are water soluble. This means that they can dissolve in water. For these stones the best best is to dust them off completely with a moist cloth and then use the burial or smoke cleanse method. For all other stones this cleansing does two things. It physically cleanse and it spiritually cleans. In this case the physical act of washing the stones and removing the dust etc cleanses the crystals. By adding essential oils like Lemon Grass or Pine and herbs like Basil and Angelica Root to the bath you can create a powerful cleansing bath that removes the physical dirt and the spiritual contaminants. As you wash these stones an affirmation like wash away negativity today only blessings stay will charge the cleansing and clear the energy away.

Once the stones are cleansed you need to charge or dedicate your stones. Its the last step in getting them to work with you. Which ritual action you take depends on the stone and how you are going to work with them. Dedication is a long term one or single specific job ritual set up. Charging your stones is more for stones what you will use in different workings over and over again. They both have the same purpose: Telling the stone what job you are doing to do.

If your stone is going to have one specific job all the time then you want to dedicate the stone. It has one job and will always be used for that one job. The more you use it for that job the stronger your relationship with that crystal will get. This is where anointing them with oils or incenses related to specific tasks is appropriate. For example my Obsidian sphere is for scrying and psychic development together. So it is on my working altar. Before I use it for the first time I will create a ritual where I call upon Gods and spirits to bless the sphere for scrying. I’ll activate the spirit in the crystal at the same time. Then periodically I will rededicate and renew and power up the sphere to renew its energy and power sources.

If you are going to be using the crystal in multiple works you will want to charge the stone for the first job and then cleanse after that job is done and charge it for the next one. This is generally how I work with most of my stones. I’ll put them out for the work at hand. I’ll hold them each and tell them what their task is for that specific time. Then when its done I cleanse them and set them aside so they can be ready for the next use.

The world of crystals and stones is so brilliant and full of wonders. We are still learning about new crystals and finding new crystals all the time. We do not know everything abo0ut this planet yet. May this blog inspire you to start working with your own crystals to create a life you desire.

Resources for Crystals:

I have personally bought from each of these vendors

Heartlink Gems: https://www.facebook.com/heartlink11/

Ellie’s Treasures: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1949559788599116/

Phoenix Rising Apothecary: https://www.facebook.com/PhoenixRisingApothecary/

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.

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.

Book Review: The Good Witch’s Guide : A Modern Day Wiccapedia of Magickal Ingredients and spells

Written by: Shawn Robbins and Charity Bedell, pub 2017 Sterling Publishing Co. 305pp

The Good Witch’s Guide is not your average, everyday introductory or advanced peep into the Craft. To be honest, owning quite a few of these guides, myself, I was used to the standard Wiccan/Witchcraft encyclopedia reference materials. Most of them, I find, are stuffy, and to be clear, I’m not a huge fan. When I cracked open this book, I was expecting this to be just another reference guide, however; I found myself pleasantly surprised. This book is a real page turner.

The Good Witch’s guide is full of wonderful spells, incantations.

There is a guide to crafting your own personal Magick and yes, stones, essential oils, colors and herbs.

It has everything from Witchy Wisdom, rituals and formulas, spirituality, folklore, health and health remedies.

Of course, there are sections dedicated to candle Magick, brewing your own potions, tinctures and salves.

This book is jam packed with all kinds of recipes for Sabbats and special occasions.

Want to know how other Witches are casting their own versions of these spells? There’s even a section dedicated to that!

There are tons of traditional spells that are tried and true and all of the “how-to’s” that go along with them.

In this authors humble opinion, this may very well become the definitive guide for all who take the time to read it. The Good Witch’s Guide is a pleasure to read for the Beginner in the Craft all the way to your most Adept Student. It can be used strictly as a reference manual or can be read cover to cover without the monotony of other reference guides.

On a more personal note, this is one book is one that I will cherish and read again and again!

Laurie Bates
Falcon Lunafyre

https://www.amazon.com/Good-Witchs-Guide-Modern-Day-Ingredients/dp/1454919523/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1495484984&sr=8-1&keywords=A+Good+Witch%27s+Guide

Groovy Green Craft Practitioner Series: Star of Bethlehem or Nap-at-Noon

DISCLAIMER:  ALWAYS USE CAUTION WHEN IDENTIFYING PLANTS. USE YOUR FIELD GUIDES AND LEARN YOUR LATIN NAMES. WHEN IN DOUBT, FIND AN EXPERT. NO ARTICLE IN THIS SERIES IS INTENDED TO GIVE MEDICAL OR ANY OTHER ADVICE IN THE HEALING ARTS OTHER THAN THAT OF A LAY PERSON.

Behold, the star that shines among the verdurous landscapes of Spring. The eyes shall be gladdened when they espy the tiny visitor that frustrates gardeners, but THIS graceful sweetheart has hidden qualities. We are talking about the Star of Bethlehem or Nap-at-Noon ( Ornithogalum umbellatum). A gentle bulb which loved being here in the United States so much, it escaped private gardens and went wild. Why play a bit part when you can be your own star, right?

Some folks think the bulb on this is delicious, but they are brave of heart. As a matter of fact, they should make sure they have a sound heart. This plant can affect it.

The bulbs apparently are edible though they contain heart stimulants with a digitalis-like reaction. Another possibility is that it follows from an ancient belief that doves were of a single sex and produced milk to feed their young; thus bird’s milk meant “a wondrous thing.” – University of Arkansas System,Division of Agriculture | Agricultural Experiment Station

 

By Björn S… (Garden Star-of-Bethlehem – Ornithogalum umbellatum) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
You will delight in seeing its six white petals that end in points like rays. A green stripe runs along their underside.  A member of the lily family, it captivates the eye. Simple, yet elegant, it is also INVASIVE.

 

Let us be clear. DO NOT PLANT THIS PLANT IN THE WILD. IT WILL NOT LEAVE. IT WILL ENDANGER OTHER SPECIES. THIS PLANT IS SOMETHING OF A STONE COLD BI***..

Star-of Bethlehem is non-responsive to several herbicides. Research studies at Purdue University found that paraquat provided 70 to 78% control. –https://www.na.fs.fed.us/fhp/invasive_plants/weeds/star-of-bethlehem.pdf

No one wants to deal with what will happen when you release invasive species into an ecosystem. Do no be a part of that jerky nation. I WILL judge you, and you will  not be able to share my corn bread.

I am not sure if I would share my cake either, since the petals of this flower are used to bake bread. No, I will not give you a recipe for that. Don’t roll your eyes at me, they might stay that way.

Some folks find that they enjoy nibbling on the bulbs that are fully cooked. I said fully cooked.

Let’s  look at that again: FULLY COOKED.

Raw bulbs have nasty side effects such as … death. Ok, so there is stuff that happens before that degree. Toxicosis is not cute. That whole excessive drooling, violent vomiting, swollen lips, tongue, throat and skin irritation is a real bummer. Not to mention the fact that not being able to breathe is not in fashion on beautiful spring days, Darling. Curiously, though, people do take the plant for treatment of congestive heart failure, according to the folks over at WEbMD.

Jan Kops – www.BioLib.de

Seriously, this plant contains alkaloids and cardenolides which are not our friends. Your children, you, and your animals could suffer if they eat this plant. Such a pretty little poison.

But to be candid, that is a real possibility if you mess around with this plant. It is not a ramp, but folks do try to think it is just because it has a bulb.

(See, this is why we cannot have nice foraged things.)

Ok, healers, I did not forget you were reading along, fingers poised on your pestles. Simmer down a bit and watch this lovely little video on its potential. In a plant essence, it is used for the uplifting of the despondent and those in grief, shock, or recovering from an emotional upheaval. It can bring gladness. It sure did for the Crusaders when they had to dry and eat them in a bout of starvation. Even Rosemary Gladstar trusts the qualities of this uplifter. (Yes, I made that word up. So what.)

Now, let’s talk a bit of the ethereal thing called magick. If you have been paying attention, you know what the properties and fok thought is about what qualities this plant has as a healing agent for emotional upset. Perhaps a candle made with the flowers, or a powder made from the petals might be used. I do not recommend burning.

The real thing you need to remember is that it is primarily good at addressing trauma of the mind and heart. A healing poppet might be useful. Or perhaps a gentle wind and ribbon wind catcher with the stems woven in and enchanted. It is really up to you.

I would venture to say that perhaps this resilience is tied to the plants seemingly stubborn ability to not be removed or stamped out of existence. The spirit of defiance is strong in this one. May that spirit of defiant joy be with you as well.

 

 

Groovy Green Craft Practitioner Series: Eyebright or Euphrasia officinalis

DISCLAIMER: ALWAYS USE CAUTION WHEN IDENTIFYING PLANTS. USE YOUR FIELD GUIDES AND LEARN YOUR LATIN NAMES. WHEN IN DOUBT, FIND AN EXPERT. NO ARTICLE IN THIS SERIES IS INTENDED TO GIVE MEDICAL OR ANY OTHER ADVICE IN THE HEALING ARTS OTHER THAN THAT OF A LAY PERSON.

Let us take a moment to feast our eyes on a lovely plant spirit known as Eyebright, or Euphrasia. Now, normally, this is where I put the officinalis on the end of the plant’s name. But in this case, I am going to pump my brakes a bit, because something a little different is going on here in Michigan. For foragers, it is important to know what we are looking at and identifying.

Eyebright has as its genus the word Euphrasia. But in Michigan, unless it was planted specifically, you probably (I said probably) will not find the officinalis epithet being appropriate to what you will find commonly growing.

I SAID PROBABLY. STOP CORRECTING ME. I CAN HEAR YOU, YOU KNOW.

What you will more likely encounter is Euphrasia Stricta. You will usually find these more along the upper peninsula. This is its glamour shot below.

By Bernd Haynold (selbst fotografiert – own picture) CC BY 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)], 

 

Notice how it has the same petal shapes as its cousin, but is not quite the same in stature. Look closely. The plant does not  stand the same way as the officinalis.

This is a fairly easy species to identify, with glabrous leaves and with more definite (almost hair-like) bristle tips on the teeth of the leaves and calyx than the other two species, although the bristle tips are a little less pronounced than on some Ontario material. The plants often present a rather “skinny” aspect, with longer internodes and smaller leaves than other species, and a close look reveals to the naked eye a somewhat bristly aspect from the prolonged teeth. – Herbarium University of Michigan

This plant is one of the stand by herbs for eye issues. Indeed, you will need a good set of peepers to find it. Check along areas like old railway paths, meadows, pastures, roadsides, etc. Think travel, for this plant has traveling shoes and is trekking on down from Canada to us. You will catch the flowers begin to appear usually around July.
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:246_Euphrasia_officinalis_L.jpg
This sweet thang grows to about a half a foot high. It is also parasitic, as it grows  and depends on nutrients from the roots of other plants. You will notice its pronounced resemblance to an eye. Yep, our old friend the Doctrine of Signatures rises up again to lead us. The bloodshot eye appearance is kind of a clue to how it may be employed.
This is not really a kitchen herb. Although traditionally, it has been ingested in wine. I am NOT telling you to go get drunk and think that you can avoid a bloodshot eye hangover by combining them. You are not slick. I WILL make fun of you.
But if you are determined to just cram things into your mouth, then you can add the greens as a bitter addition to salads. Just a few. If you find you do not like them, then that is fine. That is what you get for putting everything in your mouth.
You can blend it in milk and apply it to irritated eyes. Learning the different ways of preparing the herb in common household blends and compounds is always a useful skill. Milk, oil, butter, and fats have been used this way for centuries, and the pantry stands ready to be used to its full glory as we re-embrace the old ways.
DO NOT PUT THIS ON YOUR EYES IF YOU HAVE CONTACT LENSES IN. I SHOULD NOT HAVE TO TYPE THIS, BUT I LIVE IN PURE PAGAN MICHIGAN. SOMETIMES WE GET WATER IN OUR EARS AND IT MIGRATES TO OUR MINDS.
For the herbal healer, you just hit the next best thing to commercial drops when it comes to soothing. Once, when visiting a remarkable herbalist in Hemlock, Michigan, my eyes were almost sealed shut from an extreme allergic reaction. With permission, she made a soothing poultice of eyebright and within an hour, I had relief, reduction in swelling, and the banishment of my redness.
She also gave me some to take home. Since I have chronic asthma, it was more than courtesy. This herb is also commonly used to help with bronchial issues. I will never forget this experience. Which is rightly so, since eyebright contains flavanoids and beta-carotene which help with the memory.
Here is an excellent suggestion from “A Modern Herbal” ‘s site.
An infusion of 1 OZ. of the herb to a pint of boiling water should be used and the eyes bathed three or four times a day. When there is much pain, it is considered desirable to use a warm infusion rather more frequently for inflamed eyes till the pain is removed. In ordinary cases, the cold application is found sufficient.
The word  euphrosunee,  means joy and gladness. It calls back to the happy little bird, the linnet. Folklore says that the bird cleaned its eyes with the plant, and the Greeks took the hint. After all the nights of wine like most of the ancient world, I am sure they were really happy for anything to clear up morning-after eyes.
The eye is suggestive of life, of divinity, of intellect, piercing acuteness (acies); and again, of truth, of joy, of love: but these seem to have been disregarded, as being mere indistinctive accidents, and the primary idea which, by the common consent of almost all nations, has been thought most properly to symbolise this organ is a spring—fons, πηγή. -, Notes and Queries, Number 193, July 9, 1853 A Medium of Inter-communication for Literary Men, Artists, Antiquaries, Genealogists, etc
For the magician, this ties in smoothly. Why? Because this herb is often used to see accurately into a situation. It is also used to aid clairvoyance and divination. Used as an incense, it can assist the Seer in their pursuit of knowledge.
I said knowledge, not wisdom. You can see stuff and not understand what you see. You can see bamboo and sugar cane all day, and not have the wisdom to know which tastes better, OR, which one to NOT set on fire. Just saying.
It can also be brewed as a tea to aid in this. But before you start guzzling eyebright expresso shots, make sure you are not allergic to it first. You could experience swelling, constipation, and other nasty things. Do some research before you start using it, like any other plant in this series.
Using it as an herbal powder will also garner positive results. Do this to dress an candle. Or even add to a lamp. Be imaginative. Be safe. Be blessed. I am rooting for you.
I hope you comment about your experiences with this plant below. I am always excited for feedback. Please do.
I’ll keep an eye out for you.
Please enjoy “Angel Eyes” as performed by Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra (Ol Blue Eyes).

Groovy Green Craft Practitioner Series: Common Lilac or Syringia

DISCLAIMER: ALWAYS USE CAUTION WHEN IDENTIFYING PLANTS. USE YOUR FIELD GUIDES AND LEARN YOUR LATIN NAMES. WHEN IN DOUBT, FIND AN EXPERT. NO ARTICLE IN THIS SERIES IS INTENDED TO GIVE MEDICAL OR ANY OTHER ADVICE IN THE HEALING ARTS OTHER THAN THAT OF A LAY PERSON.

This article will talk about that beautiful and fleeting bloom that graces the garden in clusters of heavenly hues known as the common lilac or syringia (Syringa vulgaris). This flower means a lot to me, as it is one of my quintessential flowers for mourning. Indeed, I lost my Grandmother this last week as the sea of its colors are flooding the Michigan landscape. She was 100 years old, so I shall take a special moment to write on this flower in memory of her. We shall all wear purple in her memory, as she was our queen.

Jacob Sturm: Deutschlands Flora in Abbildungen (1796)

The lilac is identifiable by its cluster of blossoms, four petals each. A common folk belief among those from Ukraine and Russia is that if you find a lilac with five petals, it is very lucky, like a four-leaf clover. There are many hybrids, but all belong to the Syringa family.

Common lilac (Syringa vulgaris), as the name implies, is the best known of all the lilacs in the United States. This shrub can be as tall as 20 feet, and the flowers are fragrant and usually lilac-colored,although they can be of other hues. Leaves are somewhat heart shaped and smooth. –

For the graceful gourmand, this is the time to gather your fleeting flowers. A simple sugar made from the bruised petals is a wonderful treat for spring teas. Lilac butter on scones is tasty, as well. But I believe that for many, the syrups are the best known.
Pexels -Valeria Boltneva
For the more adventurous, might I suggest a little bit of a nip? Holly and Flora have an intriguingly easy recipe for a drink called Lilac Haze. Imagine a spring mixer with this unusual refreshment. Perhaps it could be the highlight of the Mother’s Day afternoon brunch.
Those who know me personally, know I make herbal honeys. It is a sweet way of remembrance of springtime. I shall make a honey for my Grandmother to remember her, also. I shall also include it in what I place in her coffin. Sweetness among the sorrow. Here is a simple recipe at Feral Botanicals.
True story: Grandma was a bit of a germ free person. You had to wash your hands all the time, boil her water before she drank it, and so on. However, when my daughter, Brenna, gave her an orange mint honey she made as a gift, Grandma stuck her finger right in and ate it. She doted on her great-granddaughter that much. It was her favorite gift from us. So honey shall be my gift to her. She was very fond of honey. She even used to feed a pet Raccoon from its own honey pot, as a child.
My honey jars – Kenya Coviak, All Rights Reserved

 

For our healers, the lilac has been said to be a good massage oil infusion. Especially for those prone to redness. It allegedly also helps with rheumatism. Making an infused oil would be a great addition to your healer’s kit. But remember, always check for allergies. There are other uses as well, and a naturopath could be a source of training in these.
Lilac leaves can also be used for fever treatment and numerous children diseases, liver congestion, weak digestion and diarrhea, cough, bronchitis, increased body temperature, kidney stones, high blood pressure. – Health Tips Source
Ok, now folklore is out there. It is not hard to find the story of Pan chasing a nymph named Syringa who changed herself into the lilac. She was not having any parts of Goat God Boy. When he thought he was grabbing her, he wound up holding a bunch of reeds. 
He sighed then, and when the sound of it merged with the wind in the reeds, it made music. Hermes suggested he make an instrument, and this became what we now call the Syrinx, or Pan pipes. You probably have guessed what hollowed out wood is traditionally used for them by now. Yep, the lilac. You can also carve other things out of lilac wood, you know.
Here is a sweet article on the lilac by Olga Ikebanova at Frangrantica.  It is not surprising that in aromatherapy, the scent of lilac is also used to treat depression. It is often through stories and allegories that we remember the properties of a herb, flower, plant, or tree.
Let us speak of magick now. This is an interesting plant. On one side of its story, it is used for flirtation, beauty, and love. On another face, it is used for protection and banishment. Still another property is that of transitions from life to death, remembrance, and dealing with ghosts. This sweet shrub is truly a precious gift.
Jennifer Shepherd at the Lipstick Mystic shares some useful insights in the use of this shrub for protection of the home. I know a witch who planted it specifically at her home due to a ghost problem, so it seems to be a tried and true measure against unwanted energetic invasion. It can also be made into a wreathe for a ward (that is my suggestion).
Because my Grandma was a lover of dolls, I shall share with you an activity for this flower. Take it as you will. I give it freely here, in memory of her.
Gather up two pillow cases full of the flowers. From one, boil the blooms until they reduce to half in a large pot of water. Then use this liquid to dye a white pillow case. The color will surprise you.
Reserve a small saucer of the flowers from the other pillow case to make into an oil. Fill a small glass jar with them and cover with grapeseed oil, or some other oil without a heavy scent. Let sit for about 2 weeks. OR place into a double boiler on low for a few hours until the scent is strong in the bottle.
Next, dry the other blooms until brittle. Do this in brown paper bags. That way the moisture will wick away.
Now, get out your sewing kit. cut a simple doll pattern from half the pillow case, a front and back, and sew it together – leaving the top open. Stuff the doll with the dried flowers, which you will scent also with the oil.
Make an apron, or dress, and a bonnet for it from the rest of the pillow case. Now give it to a child, or keep it yourself. This is a good protection against unwanted dreams. It is also a pick me up from sadness. Enchant as you would any other object, with good energy and wishes.
Here is a lovely rendition of a “Lilac Wine” cover performed by Miley Cyrus.
This piece is dedicated to the memory and life of Earlene Bentley North-Horner (1917-2017).

Groovy Green Craft Practitioner Series: Boneset or Sweat Plant

DISCLAIMER:  ALWAYS USE CAUTION WHEN IDENTIFYING PLANTS. USE YOUR FIELD GUIDES AND LEARN YOUR LATIN NAMES. WHEN IN DOUBT, FIND AN EXPERT. NO ARTICLE IN THIS SERIES IS INTENDED TO GIVE MEDICAL OR ANY OTHER ADVICE IN THE HEALING ARTS OTHER THAN THAT OF A LAY PERSON.

Something is quietly growing in your fields right now, Michigan. It is slowly greening and popping and getting stronger. Tiny leaves of one of the most bitter plants are expanding and reaching towards the sun so that they might one day turn into common Boneset, or Sweat Plant (Eupatorium perfoliatum). If you have ever had it, you know what it tastes like. If you ever do, you will not forget.

By Bigelow, Jacob [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0) or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Migrants from the South recognized this familiar plant when they hit the lands up here as one of the plants they grew up knowing (and dreading). Those nearer to the wild places will be able to remember where the patches are from last year, it is a showy flowery resident. A perennial, it is part of the Sunflower family and seems to bring the heat of the sun to the body by sweating out sickness and fever. Actually, it is a great big ol’ girl.

Our cooks will have to sit this one out, as it is not what you would serve at an afternoon brunch. Actually, you would not serve it as a food at all. Especially since ingesting it raw in large amounts can cause serious problems. Those with liver issue should steer clear of this plant unless under a doctor’s care.  This plant has sesquiterpene lactones,and  polysaccharides and flavonoids. Though it is not a rule, per se, do not go gobbling it down for more than 2 weeks at a time.

You will not see it bloom until around July, but it is good to remember where you see it for next year. The florettes are identifiable by

large, numerous, white or purple flower clusters, which appear at the ends of the branches, are comprised of 10–20 florets (small flowers). Boneset has a faint aroma and a very bitter taste. – Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine

 

Our healers will make be able to make use of it for pain relief. Of course, they will only do this if they are versed in its usage.

Richard Whelan gives a great insight into its usage insofar as dampness in the body in his article in his piece regarding it as a medical herb. It is already bitter, no need to add bitter regret to its employ. Don’t be a goose.

The butterflies will love you if you grow this plant. Your arthritis will, too. Your taste buds will not. Did I mention it is bitter?

*Pssst. It is bitter. Just saying.

You can find a great recipe for a tea at Alchemy Works here.

Speaking of alchemy, you can use it for great magicks. Fending off evil, and breaking curses is really up this plant’s alley. Think of it as a Daisy Death Dealer of Doom to hexes. It is great in a wash, and even more long-lasting in a pouch spell. Personally, I like to fume a room with it and then do a wash, but that is just me.

Here is a great song to think of when you look for her, “Fever” by Peggy Lee.

 

 

Groovy Green Craft Practitioner Series: Puttyroot Orchid or Adam and Eve root

DISCLAIMER:  ALWAYS USE CAUTION WHEN IDENTIFYING PLANTS. USE YOUR FIELD GUIDES AND LEARN YOUR LATIN NAMES. WHEN IN DOUBT, FIND AN EXPERT. NO ARTICLE IN THIS SERIES IS INTENDED TO GIVE MEDICAL OR ANY OTHER ADVICE IN THE HEALING ARTS OTHER THAN THAT OF A LAY PERSON.

I had to debate with myself on the ethics involved with covering this plant in this series. Because, truly, many people do not have any sense of propriety and stewardship when it comes to our tender plant people. They will rip and pillage and leave nothing behind in their lust for acquisition of materials. So it is with great caution that I discuss our friend, the Puttyroot Orchid, or Adam and Eve root (Aplectrum hyemale).

This orchid is lovely, and modest, and has a long history with foragers, friendly healers, and casters. The roots are edible, so there is a strong appeal to try them.

Potato-like roots/corms boiled and served with butter” –   J.D’s Wild Edible and Medicinal Plants & Fungi

But I urge caution and reserve. Why? This plant is endangered in many areas in the United States, and once you eat it, you have removed another from existence. So make sure that you don’t take the only one in the area if you happen upon this lovely.

Also, this is a survival food. It is not popcorn. It is not a snack.

Barnes Dr Thomas G, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Identifying it will have to wait til later in the year, unless you are very observant. You will only see the flowers emerging, the leaves will not have their usual appearance. The old leaves are nice and brown right now.

But if you are fortunate to be in the right areas, usually near a wood-line, you will find them.Puttyroot has a very unique kind of appearance with veins that run lengthwise and have a silver hue in the fat leaves. The blooms soon will be adorning the stalks with a pleasing combination of tiny bursts of yellow and magenta. These altogether sweet appearances of color are not easy to see against the leaf fall.

In ideal conditions, Puttyroot sends up a single striped, accordion-pleated leaf in late fall, about 3-8 inches (.75 – 2 dm) long and 1-3 inches (.25 – .75 dm) wide. The leaf dies back by the time the single flower stalk blooms in May or early June.  The flower stalk height can vary from about 6 to 20 inches (1.5 – 5 dm). – The Natural Web

This plant is better suited to what its common name would imply. Macerate it and use it as a putty to mend things. Stick some broken pots together. Stick some other natural materials to mend with this stuff.
Since you probably found a broken glass in the woods from horrible people who leave their stuff everywhere anyway, try to fix it with the glue this plant can make. Then remove the glass. Remove the glass anyway. Don’t be trifling.
For our remedy slingers, train with an herbalist and learn how to prepare a tea for migraines.  Or maybe you will learn how to work on boils. You know, stuff you can use instead of trying to find a reason to eat everything you read about in a series.  Even better, perhaps you can use the plant’s legendary property for eloquence to explain to the DNR officer why you are digging up his woods?
Now, here we come to the section that most folks will know about if they practice herb magick. Yep. Adam and Eve root is used in magical herbalism. The most common use is for relationship spells. It is a drawing plant and usually is sold as an oil or as a powder. It is very rare to find a good intact root. This is part of the plant that makes up not only herbalism in general, but are very important to Appalachian and African American practices.
A flora of North America : illustrated by coloured figures, drawn from nature v. 2, 1822
If you would like to explore more about Appalachian magic via a reputable presenter, I suggest Becky Beyer. You can link to a podcast here at “Appalachian Plant Lore with Becky Beyer” on  New World Witchery to hear her talk about it. I do recommend you get out there and get your hands dirty, though, just to become a real practitioner. But don’t be irresponsible and greedy and  part of the group of folks endangering the plant.