potions

Book Review – Of Witchcraft and Whimsy: A Beginner’s Guide to Basic Witchcraft by Rose Orriculum

November, 2018

Book Review

Of Witchcraft and Whimsy: A Beginner’s Guide to Basic Witchcraft

by Rose Orriculum

 

 

Of Witchcraft and Whimsy: A Beginner’s Guide to Basic Witchcraft is a great book written by Rose Orriculum. It is tagged as a beginner’s guide to witchcraft, however, after reading it, I feel that anyone could enjoy the contents of this book regardless of where they are on their magical path.

The book begins with a chapter on the “basics”. This tends to be the run of the mill basics but Rose is honest and open. She makes it a point to let you know that witchcraft is not a certain way. She makes it feel open and inviting. This would be a great read for someone who is on the fence about joining the magical community.

One of my favorite chapters is Potions. This chapter is about infusing your hot chocolate, coffee, & teas. Rose makes magic so simple that you can incorporate potions into your daily life.

The book goes into detail regarding the seasons and how you can celebrate them. One of my personal favorites from her collection is how you can use a snowman as a poppet. What a grand idea. Especially since it would allow families to do the act together.

At the back Of Witchcraft and Whimsy, Rose has included many of her own spells, glamours, bindings and curses.

Rose Orriculum has such a way with words and spells. I enjoy her work and cannot wait to see what else she comes up with. To learn more about her, check out my interview with her in this issue!

 

Of Witchcraft and Whimsy: A Beginner’s Guide to Basic Witchcraft on Amazon

Book Review – Love Magic: A Handbook of Spells, Charms, and Potions by Anastasia Greywolf

August, 2018

Book Review

Love Magic: A Handbook of Spells, Charms, and Potions”

by Anastasia Greywolf

Published by Wellfleet Press

Copyright May 29, 2018

Pages: 256

This book is marketed to “help readers navigate through their amorous adventures,” such as people hoping to “catch that person you’ve been secretly in love with for the past five months” and to help when “an unrequited crush is not getting your subtle hints.”

In her introduction, Anastasia Greywolf, a practicing witch and herbalist and a founding member of the Coven of the Moonbeam Ravine, states, “Whether you want to find ‘the one’ or simply make your pets love each other, get rid of a bad date or set yourself free from a bad energy of a relationship from the past, you’ll find the magic to make it happen in these pages (check the back for a full index of spells). From more than a dozen contributors, they draw from a variety of traditions and spiritualities.”

Some of the magic is traditional while most is modern.

I agree with Greywolf that “of all the mysterious forces in the universe, love may be the most powerful” and “love is hard to control.” I don’t agree that all the incantations, concoctions and charms offered to harness it are necessarily proper. Yes, love spells have been around “forever.” However, if something interferes with a person’s freewill, warning bells go off in my head.

For instance, there is a “Sisterhood Spell for Female Friends” contributed by Susan Adcox. Noting you “can never have too many sisters of the heart,” she offers a spell to make a relationship with a casual friend or acquaintance grow into something more. It involves burning a white candle and saying, “Bound by choice and not by blood, Be for me a sister good. Share the joy, halve the pain,
Our love will ever wax, not wane.”

While it seems harmless, my ethics would keep me from doing it because it’s trying to get someone to be a good sister. Rather, I would find another way to address the situation. If I was shy or too intimidated to approach the person, I would do some magic to bolster my self-confidence and courage. I would also recognize that this woman may not choose to be a close friend for any number of reasons that may very well have nothing to do with me. Not knowing the person well, there could be something about her behavior that would make not being close to her actually be for my highest good and greatest joy.

There is much to consider when doing a spell, and those involving others require the most thought and experience, which is why I caution people not to just pick up a book and follow some instructions without thinking through every detail and possibility.

A traditional spell Greywolf offers is “To Marry Whomever You Choose.” It reads, “To make the person you love want to marry you and ensure a union, the solution is simple. Obtain the heart of a chicken and swallow it whole.”

Other than being extremely squeamish about swallowing a chicken heart whole, I am also extremely squeamish about making a person love me. There are at least half a dozen ways I can see this go sideways.

The same goes for the spell “To Get a Marriage Proposal” contributed by Luna Eternal. Among other steps, it has the reader repeat three times,”With the love that is ours / I call upon this ancient power / Engagement is what I seek / Proposal is what you offer to me / By the power of three times three / As I will it, so mote it be!”

I see this as a form or manipulation. I also recognize my bias comes from how I practice and I acknowledge not everyone walks the same path the same way.

Spells can be found in the book that do not reach into someone else’s space. The “Pre-wedding Bath,” submitted by Jill Robi, is one of those. It calls for lighting pillar candles on each corner of the bathtub, adding certain essential oils to the water and floating rose petal upon it while envisioning “the best version of your special day, pulling positive energy into yourself, and projecting that into the universe.”

Robi’s “Wedding Sachet,” and Greywolf’s spells “To Cure Pre-Wedding Jitters” and “For Bandaging Past Wounds” are but three more examples.

I appreciated that along with steps to take “For Courage to Break Up With Your Lover,” contributor Aoife Witt wrote, “Important note: Most of us dread breaking up with a significant other. If the reason you are nervous about initiating a breakup is because your significant other may become violent, you may do this spell but please do not rely on it. Go to a safe place, and call the proper authorities.”

Among the more interesting spells I found in the book was this one to love yourself.

 

The Narcissa”

by Hollen Pockets

This is a spell to fall in love with yourself. Perform in times of need.

Take a rock and break your mirrors. You don’t need them right now.

Keep the rock and break your scales.
Take some scissors and snip your measuring tape. Keep the scissors and cut your hair, no mirrors needed. Speak the words: It doesn’t matter. It will grow.

Go for a long walk or get out of the house in whatever way you can. Use your body. Count the beats of your great heart.

Find a reflective pool. If needed, fill your favorite bathtub and look into that.

Speak the words: I have all I need.

Smile at your reflection, blurry and imperfect in the reflecting water. Smile and smile and smile.

 

For readers who want to craft their own spells, or modify one from “Love Magic,” the lists of colors, stones, herbs, essential oils and flowers found at the back of the book are helpful. There is also a section on love omens – from apples to wishbones – along with the meaning of various birds, a list of lucky days, and information about how each phase of the moon relates to love magic.

As with everything in life, it is wise to take what you need and leave the rest. I hope you will do so with this book as well as all others that show up on your path.

Love Magic: A Handbook of Spells, Charms, and Potions

 

***

About the Author:

Lynn Woike was 50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before she consciously began practicing as a self taught solitary witch. She draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae, Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can follow her boards on Pinterest, and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.

Book Excerpt – Love Magic: A Handbook of Spells, Charms, and Potions by Anastasia Greywolf

July, 2018

Book Excerpt

Love Magic

A Handbook of Spells, Charms, and Potions

by Anastasia Greywolf

 

Whether you’re hoping to catch that person you’ve been secretly in love with for the past five months, or perhaps an unrequited crush is not getting your subtle hints, the one true adage is that love has no rules and sometimes needs a little help or gentle nudge. To help readers navigate through their amorous adventures, Love Magic makes love of all kinds as easy as simply knowing the right words. Inside, readers will find timeless incantations, mystical concoctions, and homemade talismans that will help them harness their inner love powers to:

Attract love

Find out you who you’ll marry

Become a better lover (or make your mate one!)

Keep your love going strong

Bring good fortune to your beloved

End and forget about a love

In addition to traditional spells, Love Magic includes spells from:

Susan Adcox, Gemma Aronson, Jennifer Boudinot, DY Edwards, Elisia G. of Ancient Nouveau, Greta Goldbart, Gabriel Grey, James Benjamin Kenyon, Suzanne Lareau, Savana Lee, Josephine Preston Peabody, Hollen Pockets, Calyx Reed, Jill Robi, Elisa Shoenberger Jeanne de la Ware, Marguerite Wilkinson, Des D. Wilson, Katriel Winter

Here are a Few Spells From the Book:

 

To Find Love in the Summer

by James Benjamin Kenyon

How beautiful the summer morn,
With billowy leagues of wheat and corn!
The shining woods and fields rejoice;
Each twinkling stream lifts up its voice
To join the chorus of the sky;
O beautiful unspeakably!
In the dry cicada’s notes,
In the thistle-down that floats
Aimless on the shimmering air,
In the perfume sweet and rare
Of the sun-steeped, dark-leaved trees,
Dwell the year’s deep prophecies.
Hark! the clangor of the mills
Echoes from the drowsy hills.
The foamy clouds, the smiling dale.
The dimpling waves, the laughing flowers,
The low, faint droning of the bees.
Mixed with sweet twitterings from the leas,
Conspire to charm the magic hours.
Under a spell the spirit lies;
Sundered is sorrow’s misty veil;
Today life is a glad surprise,
A tranquil rapture, fine and frail.
Wherein to joy-anointed eyes
The old earth seems a Paradise.

 

To Help Bond You With Someone

TRADITIONAL MAGIC

To make a romantic partner feel bonded to you, use this Gaelic charm. Keep a sprig of mint in your hand till the herb grows moist and warm, then take hold of the hand of the woman you love, and she will follow you as long as the two hands close over the herb. No invocation is necessary, but silence must be kept between the two parties for ten minutes, to give the charm time to work with due efficacy.

 

To Make Love Last

TRADITIONAL MAGIC

Love will last forever with this charm. Take a bay leaf and split it in half. Kneel with your beloved in front of a red candle. Kiss one half of the bay leaf, then press the other side to their mouth to kiss. They should repeat the same process with the other bay leaf half. Tie the two halves together with one strand of hair from each of your heads. Place it in a green sachet and bury in your yard or another place that has meaning for you.

 

If you have enjoyed these spells, you will certainly enjoy the many this collection book contains!!

Love Magic: A Handbook of Spells, Charms, and Potions

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

September, 2017

The Good Witch’s Guide: A Modern-Day Wiccapedia of Magical Ingredients and Spells”

 

 

by Shawn Robbins and Charity Bedell

Published by Sterling Ethos

Published: 2017

Pages: 305

 

Rituals, History, aromatherapy, crystals, candle magic, spiritual alchemy, potions, tinctures, herbs and recipes are just some of the topics covered in this hardcover book that’s approximately six inches by six and a half inches. It’s an inch thick and just feels good to hold.

 

As a “Wiccapedia,” it covers all the topics you need to know, and then offers lists for additional reading and reference materials.

 

The section on herbal folklore includes information about botanicals for health and healing, and passes along an old but potent charm. The chapter on aromatherapy explains how to use essential oils both for health and in magick, offering dozens of recipes. In presenting crystals, their properties are explained, along with instructions for using them to make waters for balancing chakras, and for relief from everything from asthma to stress.

 

Practical magick covers spells for mind, body and spirit. There’s a housecleaning incense spell, a healing poppet spell, money spells, and spells for protection and for love. Twenty-three pages focus on candle magic while forty-seven pages are dedicated to teas, tinctures and tonics for health and magick. A chapter offers ways to cook up some magick – literally – with recipes for soup, bread, Yule shortbread cookies, Imbolc cake and more.

 

The book introduces readers to a variety of tools and topics, helping them make their own magick, and it makes a reliable reference source as well.

 

Shane Robbins is a psychic and a paranormal researcher whose grandparents immigrated from Russia and Hungary with bottles of botanicals and the knowledge of herbal healing. Her grandmother’s tea cured the polio she contracted from one of Salk’s first vaccines. That changed her life, and set her on a course to teach holistic medicine and healing. Robbins put her research and extensive knowledge into this book.

 

Charity Bedell has been practicing witchcraft for seventeen years – a journey that began when she was given a copy of Silver Ravenwolf’s “Teen Witch” on her thirteenth birthday. Her witchcraft now is wild and free, incorporating shamanic techniques, prayer, meditation, trance work and offerings to connect to the spirits of the land. Bedell is committed to the Temple of Witchcraft traditions. A lifetime of herbalism and alternative healing practices also stretch back to her youth.

 

Each woman has written other books before this. Coming together, their aim was to inspire and empower readers, giving them a vast collection of information. The new as well as the seasoned witch will find knowledge of value. My copy has the corners of several pages turned down.

 

 

 

 

***

 

About the Author:

 


Lynn Woike was 50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before she consciously began practicing as a self taught solitary witch. She draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae, Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can follow her boards on Pinterest, and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.

 

 

One Witch’s Wanderings

December, 2012

Magickally Potent Potables

 

At this time of year, I love warm beverages. In addition to being delicious, they’re good on the throat and warm in the belly. They’re full of healthy stuff to enjoy on a cool autumn night.

 

One of those classic images from witchcraft is of the witch, leaning over her cauldron, stirring the brew inside.  Given what she’s usually wearing – warm weather clothes – I guess that perhaps she’s making something warm to drink on this chilly evening.

 

One by one, she’s gathered the fruits from her kitchen herbs from her cabinet, measuring and preparing them.  She blesses each, each its own unique spirit, grown from the body of Mother Earth, nurtured in the soil from seed to leaf to fruit.  She describes to each component its purpose, then adds it to the pot.

 

She’s whispering her intent over the herbs and roots she added to the pot.  Over and over she chants a short, hypnotic-sounding rhyme, stirring deosil or widdershins, depending on her intent. On the surface of the swirling fluid, she watches her dream manifest.  As it solidifies in the potion she brews, she knows that she will soon take that vision into herself, and make it a part of her reality.

 

————

 

Heart of the Hearth mulled apple cider potion:

 

This formula is one I like quite a bit. The ingredients blend together to make a warm, savory and sweet beverage that is a perfect firelight indulgence.  I love to drink this on chilly nights as a way to bring in some of that fire and sunlight energy into these long, dark nights.  I have a tendency to want to hibernate in the wintertime, but snuggling under covers with a book doesn’t get much done, though.  So, this potion brings a little warmth, a spark of the hearth fire into my being, to give me a bit of energy and enthusiasm during the dark days.

 

Ingredients

 

½ gallon unfiltered apple cider

10 cloves

pinch ginger, or fresh sliced if possible

one orange (sliced)

1 tsp nutmeg

3 cinnamon sticks

 

Magickal symbolism:

 

Apple: (Venus) (Water) – Love, immortality, sacred to the Isle of Avalon.

Clove: (Jupiter) (Fire) – Draws money, removes negative vibrations, purifies

Ginger: (Mars) (Fire) – Power, good health, success

Orange: (Sun) (Fire) – Good fortune and luck

Nutmeg: (Jupiter) (Fire) – Good luck, prosperity, draws money

Cinnamon: (Sun) (Fire) – Protection, stimulating, good health and energy

 

This recipe is heavy on the fire symbolism, but all of that powerful, active energy is balanced out by the base of this recipe – the cooling and sweet waters of the Goddess, present in the apple cider itself. Thus, there is a nice balance of yin and yang in this recipe, blending together the active and the receptive into the mix.

 

The process:

 

  1. Make sure your stove top is clean and free from clutter.  Put a few candles on the stove top and around the kitchen.  Light the candles and turn out the rest of the lights.  Put on some music if desired.
  2. Ground and center.  If you desire, ritually purify the area with salt water and/or incense.
  3. Light the burner, saying, “Creature of Fire, create my desire!”  Take a moment to recognize that this heat source has the power needed to transform your mix of ingredients into a powerful potion.  Start out on medium, and reduce the setting to simmer after a few minutes.
  4. Put a saucepan on the stove and pour the apple cider in.  As you do, speak a few words from your heart, thanking the spirit of the apple and extolling its virtues in your potion.  I say something along the lines of: “Thank you, spirit of Apple, for bringing your loving and magical presence into my potion. May you nourish my soul and body.”
  5. Add each other ingredients, likewise thanking the spirit of the plant and describing its virtues.
  6. Stir the potion.  The potion should warm for a good ten or fifteen minutes.  As it warms, stir it periodically slowly and deliberately.
  7. All of the ingredients besides the apple cider are based in the element of fire.  So, as you are stirring, imagine seeing warm, lapping flames in the pot, feel the warmth of the sun around it. I see in the surface these warm embers of energy stirring into the cider, making the perfect potion to refresh and recharge.  You may chant something rhythmic and let that rhythmic chanting help charge the potion with the powers of elemental fire, or you may wish to ad-lib your specific intent, speaking the power into the potion as you stir, stir, stir the cauldron.
  8. When the cider is sufficiently warm, tap the stirring spoon three times on the edge of the pot and say, “So mote it be.”
  9. Pour through a strainer and serve warm.
  10. Thank the spirits that be, and blow out the candles.

 

But the magick is not over yet.  It’s not just in brewing the potion that we’re making magick – it’s in drinking it, too.  Sit down in a comfortable spot – in front of your altar, perhaps – and light some candles.  (Do not burn incense, though, as the scent will possibly distract from the flavor of the potion.) Get into a receptive frame of mind.  Be ready to imbibe the magick you poured into the potion.

 

First, smell the potion.  Open your nostrils wide and take a deep breath of the aroma.  Feel the warmth of the steam in your nose.  Let the scent fill you, through your nose, down to your lungs, and from there, permeating to every cell in your body.

 

Take a sip.  Let the taste linger on your tongue.  Enjoy every nuance. Feel the warmth, the textures, the flavor landscape.  Swallow it, and feel the warm liquid roll down your throat, your esophagus, and into your belly.  Let that warmth fill your being, starting in your belly, and radiating outward into every cell in your body.  Feel the warmth and the power of the potion infusing into your very energy pattern, giving it that energizing fire that you stirred into the potion.

 

Take each sip with this level of mindfulness and sensory awareness, making sure to finish the potion before it gets cold.  When you are finished, say, “So mote it be,” give thanks to the spirits that be, and blow out the candles.