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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Angelica Root:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Groovy Green Craft Practitioner Series: Shepherd’s Purse or St. Jame’s Wort

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.

An ever-present resident in most fields, in and around Detroit, is the indomitable Shepherd’s Purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris). You may often walk across it when traipsing through a field in search of bottles to clear, or when laying back in the grass and watching the clouds. Children often see it near “itchy” patches of straw-like greenery. The cheery little pouchettes announce its presence loud and clear to those who know what they mean. Seen as a weed, it is found year round. It has multiple uses for the cook, the curer, and the cunning person.

 

 

Atlas des plantes de France. 1891

 

This green resident is a member of the mustard family. That family is everywhere, and is beloved and hated by landscapers and gardeners, depending on whether they are wielding a pitch, or salad, fork at the time. As an addition to the seasoning stores, it offer an unusual bite to dishes that is just unidentifiable enough to add an interesting stimulation to the palate.

When the seeds are ripe they have a fiery bite that can be utilized as a ‘wild pepper’ – StarChild

This member of the mustard family can be eaten raw or cooked. Add to salad, but do so before it bursts forth with flowers. Believe it or not, it will taste a bit like radish. So you could add it to the cream cheese in your cucumber sandwich spread to go with the dill. Just remember,  it contains alkaloids and glucosinolates, so do not try to make it a daily food. Try a tasty Korean dish called Naengi Muchim here at Walk the Peninsula’s blog.

As a side note of extra coolness for any young gardener’s into that sort of thing, it actually is a predator of sorts, as its seeds are photocarnivorous.

For our healers among us, this is a member of the Cruciferae family known to help with hemorrhages in its powdered form. Seek out training from a competent and experienced teacher to learn the proper applications of this herb so you can add it to your cache of remedy options.

“The decoction or infusion can be used in cases of hematuria, hemorrhoids, chronic diarrhea and dysentery. Cotton swabs dipped in the infusion and inserted into the nostrils have been used to stop nasal bleeding. Its anti-inflammatory actions are helpful in relieving pain in cases of rheumatism” – Home Remedies for you

Image: Alexandra Volovenco Pixabay

As always, use caution and good sense before you just go around applying any herb to anything. Don’t you have any home training? You do not just go shoving things into your face. Lord and Lady love a duck. That also goes for your Lady Garden. Pregnant persons mustn’t mess about with this lovely long leaved legend.

Do your research. Dr. Paul Haider – Master Herbalist has a good column on this plant’s uses at Om Times.

*Remember when I said you can find it near itchy plants? Well, some folks have been said to use it to help with our old friend Poison Ivy’s gift. Just saying, pay attention to where nature stocks Her cabinets.

Magickally, I suspect our good cousin the Doctrine of Signatures has been at play a bit.  It’s traditional usage to protect against poverty and use for employment might be attributed to its purse-like seed pockets being so close to purses. It is also said to help protect against maladies that induce bleeding, which is interesting since it has styptic qualities. Mother’s also can include it to help protect children against sickness during the year.

Gather the plant on a Thursday for this purpose, then, if you are doing your money making Macarena. Because it has a rosette at its base, I suggest dividing it for drying. The paper bag method, hanging from the hanger in a sunny window, would yield very good results.

Enjoy this song Shepherd’s Purse by MIKIKO A-LA-MATA.

 

 

Crisp Citrus Herbs: Citrus in your Cooking

There are a many ways to give a crisp citrus herb flavor to any cooking you are doing. The first thing to do, is to find herbs have a citrus component to them. This is commonly misunderstood, it doesn’t mean that they have orange, lemon or lime flavor in them, but that they can emulate the taste of these sharp flavored fruits or provide a similar flavor.

If you do not know where to start, looking for crisp citrus herb, the quickest and fastest way to start is to let your fingers do the walking and get online.

If you look for crisp citrus herb itself, you may find that its is used for body washes and body lotions so you may have to look a little deeper to find what you are looking for. All this means is you expand your search to something like this: “Crisp Citrus Herbs recipes”

Image source: pexels

Some Herbs That Give a Citrus Flavor

1. Lemon Grass

This is one of most well known herbs that can provide with a lemon edge with out the sharpness of that actual lemon. Due to the acid in an actual lemon, it can curdle some dishes, so lemon grass is a good option.

2. Lemon Pepper – Not so much a herb but more of a spice which goes really well with grilled fish other similar dishes. Mixes well with black pepper.

There are also other combinations and other spices, which can help to provide citrus edge. This are lessor known ones like: Lemon Verbena, Lemon Balm, Lemon Basil, lemon thyme and Thai lime.

There are certain dishes that are going to work better with a citrus flavor than other dishes. Fish dishes are the best when it comes to using citrus.

The herbs that provide the citrus flavor compliment all the methods of cooking fish. This includes baked, grilled or even pan-fried. These lemons like flavors will, enhance the natural taste of the fish and give it a new edge.

Poultry is another dish that works well with a crisp citrus herb. Chicken works well, and in fact, a common Asian dish is honey lemon chicken, in which the opposite flavors of sweet and sharp work well together.

As with using any type of herb or spice like this, the best school of thought is that its designed to enhance the taste, meaning that it should be used in moderation. It should add to the flavor of the food and not override the natural taste of the meat item.

 

 

Article Source: Articlelogy.com

So you want to become an herbalist

I have studied herbs, plants, spices, trees, etc. ever since I learned how to read. When I started my path in Witchcraft in 1984, I knew right from the start that herbs and such would be a big part of whatever path I was going to end up on. My grandmother was the first person from which I learned about different plants their many uses.  As well as those  called “weeds”.

Herbalism

 

Some were just recipes, and others were ways to heal the body. I read anything, and everything, I could find about natural healing and ways to use herbs in spells.  I also read about other things such as incenses, oils, vinegars, cooking, etc. About 2 years ago I decided that I wanted a degree in herbalism. Much to my surprise, I found out that there is no such thing in the United States.

There is no official certification or license for you to become an herbalist in the USA…. it means if you have a another license, such as LMT, or Naturopath, you may be able to qualify for Continuing Ed credits (CEU’s), and that the school has met certain standards by whatever accrediting agency it belongs to http://herbalistpath.blogspot.com/2008/02/there-is-no-official-certification-for.html)

So what now? Well, some of the best and well-known herbalist are self-taught. Most of the pioneers in the field learned from people and the plants without a certificate.

Juliette Levy, Rosemary Gladstar, and Susan Weed to name just a few. Their certificate programs are very expensive.  And frankly, the certificates you can earn really do not hold any credit or merit in the US.

As far as doctors’ concerns, they either are totally behind the idea of natural healing, or totally against it. Either way, I always say if this is a path you wish to follow there are many cautions along the way.  You have really got to study and keep lots of notes.

If you are doing this to take natural remedies for yourself, please talk with your doctor, an established herbalist or even your pharmacist first. There are many herbs that can cause adverse reactions when you are taking medications. Prescribed medications and even over the counter things such as aspirin and even antacids can cause you serious reactions with certain herbs, plants and even foods.

 

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If you want to become the local herbalist who helps out other people with your knowledge, then I must caution you even more. Telling others what herbs to use and how to use them is very tricky, as well as very risky. You need to know that persons entire medical background.  You also need to know any allergies they may have, any medications they are currently taking, occasionally and also in the future.

Even using some of the safest herbs can pose a dangerous undertaking. It is quite possible to create more harm than good.  If you have someone take a tea with chamomile in it to a person who is allergic to ragweed, this can actually cause anaphylactic shock. Also, people who take blood thinners such as Warfarin or Coumadin would need close monitoring while taking this with chamomile.

So if this is something that you feel you are ready to try I say go for it! Just remember that this is not just a simple

“I can just get 1 book and have all the info I need

kind of path. You are going to want to read everything you can find. This includes books that have herbal information like properties and uses.

Books on aromatherapy, magical herbal uses, essential oils, home remedies and the list goes on and on. There are tons of websites where you can find information, as well as blogs, and even certificate programs if you really want to go that route.

This is a path that I have walked for the last 31 years.  I can honestly say I learn something new every single day.

If you are a person who loves to learn and wants to be in touch with nature, this is an amazing path that any form of paganism or any other religion can follow. Learning about the many uses in nature also adds to the knowledge that we need to spend more time protecting her (nature)  and all that she has to offer us.

So, the next time you are out on a hike or just taking a walk through a park, take the time to look around and get to know what plats, trees and animals are around you. Take a notebook with you and a camera. Write down the different things you see and take pictures.

If you are not sure what a plant or tree is look it up. Research it and find out the many different uses for it. This is the best place to start your walk down this path.

Learn what you have locally in your home town. Even if you live in the city, there are always parks or sanctuaries nearby. Check them out. You will be so glad you did.