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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Angelica Root:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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