witch

Notes from the Apothecary

March, 2019

Notes from the Apothecary: Witch Hazel

Witch Hazel is the name for six types of hazel-like flowering tree or shrub. Four are native to North America, with hamamelis virginiana being the most commonly used. The hazel part of the name refers primarily to the leaves, which are very similar to those of the Hazel. The ‘witch’ part isn’t as magical as we might hope, sadly. It comes from the Old English word wice which means bendy or pliant, and presumably refers to the twigs.

The Kitchen Garden

Witch hazel is grown either as a decorative plant or for its medicinal qualities. It has strange, curling yellow to orange flowers which brighten up the winter and early spring. You might notice that flowers will appear while fruits are still present on the tree from the previous season, something that can also occur with fruit trees such as apple.

The medicinal witch hazel is generally made from the bark or leaves of the tree. If you have a small shrub in your garden, it’s better to use the leaves if appropriate. Stripping the bark off a garden shrub is likely to kill it. Witch hazel can grow into a fifteen-foot high tree though at which point asking permission for a little of the bark is probably okay.

The Apothecary

Witch hazel has a position of pride as one of the only complementary herbal remedies that also has some FDA approval, although retailers and manufacturers have to be careful about the claims they make about its effectiveness. Witch hazel contains flavonoids, tannins and a volatile oil with astringent actions: it pulls flesh back together (somewhat) to stop bleeding. This is why it’s so good for cuts and grazes.

Witch hazel is probably one of the first natural remedies I remember being given, with the possible exception of placing a dock leaf over a nettle sting. My parents would soak a cotton wool ball in witch hazel water and place it over bruises, scraped knees; whatever the injury of the day was. Later in life, my friend recommended it for ‘down there’ after my first child arrived, to help with the healing of the wounds. Some in a maternity pad seemed to help, and was certainly soothing, if nothing else. Obviously, always check with a doctor before self-administering any medication.

Native Americans have had a multitude of uses for witch hazel. The Potawatomi steamed the twigs during a sweat lodge to ease muscle aches. The Osage used the bark for sores on the skin. The Iroquoi made a tea which they used to ease the symptoms of dysentery, which makes sense when you think about the high amount of tannin in the plant.

It’s also been used as a treatment for piles, with some treatments involving injecting the herbal tincture into the affected area. Don’t try this at home!

The Witch’s Kitchen

There’s some delightful folklore associated with witch hazel. It’s worth being cautious that any folklore you find isn’t actually referring to standard Hazel though. This is of particular note with European folklore, as hazel is associated with wisdom and magic, but it’s not witch hazel, as witch hazel is native to North America and didn’t arrive in Europe until probably the 18th century.

Witch hazel twigs have been used for divination, again, like the common hazel. They are used for finding water or treasure, and as such, have a place in any magical ritual or spell to do with finding things.

Witch hazel is also used as a catalyst for magic, to increase occult powers or a connection to the other-worldly. It’s also associated with protection from evil and negativity, and for mending hurts as well inside spirit and soul as well as the bumps and scrapes it heal outside the body.

Home and Hearth

Witch hazel is a folk remedy for snake bites, and a modern remedy for insect bites. As such, it can be said to ‘take the sting out of things.’ Take this literal meaning and make it metaphysical, and use the plant to take the sting out of something that is bothering you or causing you heartache.

If you are lucky enough to have access to the flowers, place some on your altar or in your sacred space. If you can’t get flowers, use some store-bought witch hazel. Dap some on your palms (patch test if you have never used it on your skin before, allergic reactions aren’t fun!) and adopt a meditative pose with palms reaching towards the sky. Visualise the witch hazel soaking into your skin, coursing through your veins, gripping the source of your agony and carrying it to your lungs.

Take a deep breath in through your nose, if you are able. Then breath out the hurt, breathe it all out. Imagine the witch hazel in your system like a friendly cleaner, taking all the toxic self-doubt, intrusive thoughts, anxiety, and depositing those feelings in your lungs aaah, a physical mist you can simply breathe out. You can use a candle or artificial light to help focus your mind, or you can simply close your eyes and let the power of your imagination connect you to the healing power of the witch hazel.

I Never Knew…

Due to its astringent properties, witch hazel can be used as a skin toner, closing up pores and making the face seem smoother.

Images credits: Hamamelis Virginiana, public domain, and Hamamelis Virginiana flowers by H. Zell, copyright 2009 and shared under this license.

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About the Author:

Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.

She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestorsand Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways.

A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors on Amazon

Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways on Amazon

Wreathing the Wheel

March, 2019

March

I’ve been working with astrology a lot in my craft lately, and it’s starting to work its way into all my designs! Here, I’ve added the planets associated with each day of the week in a flow of stardust — this is pretty, but it’s also a way of labeling the days and reminding me of the planetary associations.

This March, the full moon is on Ostara, the Vernal Equinox. It brings with it a great potential for manifestation of personal works. To harness this power and celebrate the season, I’m making a renewed effort to spend time on my garden. My husband and I moved a little over a year ago from a large house that had a lot of garden space to a townhouse with fairly little garden space, and I haven’t done much with it yet. I brought several potted houseplants and a few garden herbs, a few of which are in the ground already — carnation, spearmint, rosemary, and valerian — but there’s room for plenty more

At right, I’ve made a detailed listing of the plants I’m growing or planning to grow, with notes about what type of soil they need, how much sun they should get, how often they should be watered, how large they are likely to get, and any other care information that seems relevant. There are a few spots to add plants, but since I don’t have much space, I’ll probably do so slowly

At left, I have a log to track my progress and schedule important dates, and a small map of my garden in the middle of the spread. Because I have such little space, I have to have the plants spread out into several different locations, and it’s important that I don’t confuse them. Some of the plants I’m growing need to be treated carefully and grown inside a terrarium due to their toxicity; some will do better outside than in. In this case, organization is extremely important!

The final step in this process is to carry the theme forward through the rest of my journal so that I can return to this intention on an appropriate schedule and don’t forget what I’m doing or get lost in my plans. With most of these plants, weekly observation should be sufficient for me to determine their needs, but there is still quite a bit of work to be done to get everything set up, and I’ll need to be very careful when I’m starting my seeds. I can’t wait to see what grows!

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About the Author:

Sarah McMenomy is an artist and witch. Her craft incorporates herbalism, spellwork, trance, divination, auras, and more. Her work can be found at https://sarahmcmenomy.tumblr.com

Witch & Popcorn

February, 2019

Bright Blessings film lovers!

I’m reviewing a new show instead of a movie this time.

This show has made quite a stir on Netflix this week, and people are either celebrating it, or upset by the hosts suggestions. There seems to be no happy medium response. People either love this or hate it.

I watched a few Episodes of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.

Let me begin by saying I freaking LOVE this!

Smart business lady Marie Kondo hails from beautiful Japan, where she single-handedly started an organizing business based on clean, minimal living, only owning things you get a lot of use out of, and teaching a lifestyle of keeping things neat, in their place, and clean.

While I’m not going to have 30 books or less, as she recommends, nor will I fold every article of clothing I own into tidy origami-like parcels, as a witch, I appreciate her attitude, and approach.

The first thing Marie does when she walks into a house, after meeting the homeowners, is ask permission to “get acquainted with” the house. She then kneels, and looks to be meditating, and soaking in the home’s vibes.

If that isn’t magical practice, I don’t know what is.

The next thing she has the homeowners do is take stock of every item they own, and purge as much as possible. There is a lot of tears, a bit of tantruming at times, and a lot of resistance from some homeowners. They want an immaculately clean home, but they want it stocked full of junk, and things they squirreled away for years they forgot all about. In the end, the clients always say their whole lives are changed by the purge, reorganizing, and change to a lifestyle of cleanliness and simplification.

It’s just throwing things out, and reorganizing, right?

Well, it’s more than that.

Getting rid of things that are not useful, and are eating up space that could be better used otherwise frees up not only the space itself, but the energy. Every item we use, touch, and keep retains energy and memories. While some of us are consciously aware of all that, some people are not, but they still are not immune to the effects.

Some call clutter visual noise, but have you ever had a toxic roommate or live in lover and once they and all their junk was gone, you felt like the weight of the world had been lifted from your home and heart? Things hold energy.

The thing I saw in common of all the clients in the episodes I watched was they grumbled their house was not big enough- and stated they needed more storage space, but Marie knew better. She knew they had too much stuff!

She made them pile their clothes on top of the bed, and thin out as many clothes as possible before they did anything else. I think she gave them a week to do all of that. People had entirely forgotten about all of the clothes they owned. They said they never even liked certain articles of clothing, and seeing the mountain of clothes horrified them. One client remarked she was ashamed of herself for being so greedy about clothing when there are people who don’t have hardly any clothes.

Marie, in magical fashion, had people hold each belonging and only keep what “sparked joy”. She expected them to feel the vibes off things and keep only the things that had good vibes. Basic energy 101! She then told them to thank the object for allowing them to use it before discarding.

The process took forever with some people, but she taught them energy and appreciation for objects.

Magic!

Marie might not identify as a witch, but she knows about moving energy and all about psychology. The initial shock of the mountain of clothes was all she needed to get people’s attention and wake them up.

I’m not saying there was no pissing and moaning from some clients after the realization. I’m saying it was the stab in the rear end they all needed to see they had done this, and they needed to dig their way out. One client aggravated me with her whining so much, I had to watch that episode over the course of two days, but in the end she did a great job and got with the program.

Our homes are supposed to be our sanctuaries, not places that exhaust us. When we junk up our homes, we are constantly swamped in the sea of trash, and it soaks into our bodies, minds, and spirits.

Purging helps us focus on what we want and need in our homes so we can control the focus of energy and the feel of the home.

I always wonder why so many people cannot understand this.

I am reminded of my first marriage. My ex husband collected junk- or just shoved everything in drawers and never bothered to take care of, or clean anything. He owned empty cardboard boxes from things he no longer owned, and even empty plastic bags that had been in the boxes he no longer had from things he also no longer had. He owned expired turtle wax and tried to fight to keep it. He had hundreds of empty wire hangers from dry cleaners in the trunk of his car which he refused to part with, and he cried when I threw them out. He owned broken golf tees he stated had no sentimental value, and he even had undeveloped photo film he said he had no plans to ever develop, but wanted to keep- because it was HIS. He had a three bedroom, two bath house with a full basement, and it was not large enough to house all of his junk and collection of thousands of books, CD’s, Cassette Tapes, eight track tapes, VCR tapes, and DVDs- a collection that was steadily growing. He did not understand that libraries are good places to nab media and books, and less is more. He owned books that were molded, having been rotting in the damp basement for over a decade, and had books he had never read, but continued to buy more.

His was an extreme case, and his inability to change his compulsive shopping and accumulating damaged our relationship. We were not married long enough for me to find out what his psychiatric issues were. I do not miss living with him. He found somebody who was okay with his lifestyle, and I am thankful he moved me out of the mess.

Getting out of that trash heap was a breath of fresh air for me. I can only imagine how awful people who have done this to themselves felt before Marie helped them.

On the show, Marie takes people who don’t show psychiatric problems. These just have a lot of unnecessary crap. They make excuses, and Marie does not buy it. She goes in every week for about a month, and teaches them how to clean out the whole house. By the time it is all done, the homeowners have done all she says, and my OCD is appeased.

I will say this show gives me appreciation for The Queer Eye. Somehow, the Fab Five manage to guide the people they are making over to NOT descend into self-pity, but they prod them to organization. I respect Marie’s philosophy that they homeowners will do their own organizing, and it serves to ensure they know how to keep it that way. There is just so much whining and complaining from some of the clients, you might want to slap them. They made the mess, they clean the mess, and Marie makes sure they do.

I am also appreciating the Hoarders shows, as the clients often are very open about their psychiatric issues that lead them to let their homes go to seed. The home is an outward manifestation of what is on the inside. And these organizing shows take the outside, use it to illustrate what is going wrong, and set the outside right first as a way to start inner work.

As magical practitioners, we know all too well that what we surround ourselves with influences us. If we are surrounded by repressed memories and buried pain, or even good memories, manifested by things we chose to keep although it is useless- we are working bad juju on ourselves.

Get rid of it.

Now.

Marie Kondo’s show might be viral right now, and she might be all the rage currently, but her approach, her attitude, and her techniques are old magical practice every witch can do without any spellwork.

Let’s just refer to this as space clearing on the mundane level, and it’s just as important as ritual banishing, and mundane house cleaning.

A good watch.

Happy Viewing.

Blessed Be!

***

About the Author:

Saoirse is a recovered Catholic.  I was called to the Old Ways at age 11, but I thought I was just fascinated with folklore. At age 19, I was called again, but I thought I was just a history buff, and could not explain the soul yearnings I got when I saw images of the Standing Stones in the Motherland. At age 29, I crossed over into New Age studies, and finally Wicca a couple years later. My name is Saoirse, pronounced like (Sare) and (Shah) Gaelic for freedom. The gods I serve are Odin and Nerthus. I speak with Freyja , Norder, and Thunor as well. The Bawon has been with me since I was a small child, and Rangda has been with me since the days I was still Catholic. I received my 0 and 1 Degree in an Eclectic Wiccan tradition, and my Elder is Lord Shadow. We practice in Columbus, Ohio. I am currently focusing more on my personal growth, and working towards a Second and Third Degree with Shadow. I received a writing degree from Otterbein University back in 2000. I have written arts columns for the s Council in Westerville. I give private tarot readings and can be reached through my Facebook page Tarot with Saoirse. You can, also, join me on my Youtube Channel.

Book Review – The Green Witch: Your Complete Guide to the Natural Magic of Herbs, Flowers, Essential Oils and More by Arin Murphy-Hiscock

February, 2019

Book Review
The Green Witch: Your Complete Guide to the Natural Magic of Herbs, Flowers, Essential Oils and More
by Arin Murphy-Hiscock
Published by Adams Media
Copyright 2017
Pages: 235

If you are starting down the path of a green witch, you will appreciate this complete introduction to the natural magic of herbs, flowers, essential oils, gems and more.

This book is a slightly edited version of her book, “The Way of the Green Witch: Rituals, Spells, and Practices to Bring You Back to Nature,” published in 2006, also by Adams Media.

The information is easily understood and put into practice.

Arin Murphy-Hiscock describes the path of a green witch as “intensely personal,” driven by individual strengths and talents, and aligned with the climate of the geographic location and the energy of that environment. That makes each path individual, as green witches seek harmony between nature and humans in an ongoing celebration of life.

“The practice of the green witch doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, fancy tool, or complicated rituals. Perhaps more than any other path of witchcraft, the path of a green witch rests on your philosophy of living and how you interact with the world around you,” Murphy-Hiscock states.

“Like kitchen witchcraft, green witchcraft emphasizes practicality and everyday activity. There are no special words, no unique prayers, no uniforms, no holy texts, no obligatory tools, and no specific holidays … unless you create them for yourself. While the green path is very much the art of daily practice, it isn’t set apart as sacred. It recognizes the sacred in everyday life. The path of a green witch is sacred – very much so – but not isolated from the secular. The secular life itself is what is sacred to the green witch.”

Green witches descended from folk healers and practitioners of folk magic: the village herbalists, midwives, healers and wise women. The book explains the differences between other practices, noting a green witch opens to nature’s energies and works with them subtly, rather than other practices where energy is raised, directed and released.

The book touches on ethics, personal energy centers, making a home a sacred space, environmental energy, the power of the seasons and astrological influences. There are pages covering the magic of trees, the energy of flowers, powers of herbs, and using stones and crystals. One chapter covers gardening and another is on healing.

Some recipes are provided for incense, spell bags, teas and foods, and suggestions for ritual are also included.

It is well written and informative, and while it is not in-depth enough for the advanced practitioner, new seekers will find it a valuable foundation of knowledge.

Many of those leaving comments on Amazon noted the book covers nature’s magic in an inclusive manner, so those of any faith, culture or tradition can embrace the practice and experience a deeper, more magical connection with nature while moving through daily life.

The Green Witch: Your Complete Guide to the Natural Magic of Herbs, Flowers, Essential Oils, and More on Amazon

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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.

Interview & Review – Laura Tempest Zakroff: Sigil Witchery

February, 2019

A Book Review

Sigil Witchery

(An interview with Tempest follows this review.)

It was very serendipitous that as this book was coming up for review, I had just registered to take a workshop with Tempest based on this very book.

The word “sigil” means “seal” or an action/word of a spiritual nature. I would hazard a guess that most of us have seen sigils that mean specific things, written and drawn by others.

Tempest brings sigils to us in a more personal way, with the sigils drawn by us, to have meaning to us, specifically. She simplifies it for us, while never detracting from their power.

Before doing this, she gives us a brief history of what she calls “making marks”, discussing the paintings, symbolism and markings of previous civilizations, which are still so important to us today. Tempest does on to explain the differences between sigils and signs, seals, designs, etc.

There are sections on the basic shapes used in sigils and their meanings, adding directions, letters and numbers, how to use the elements in our sigils and how they work.

There is space for us to create our own symbols for specific words that Ms. Zakroff has listed for us, thus building our own library to make our own custom sigils. She gives guidance on designing our own, what tools we can use, why we should craft our own sigils. She offers us suggestion sigils and a gallery of her own custom sigils.

We don’t have to be “high magicians” to utilize the power of sigils and the how-to’s are all right here, in an informative, friendly, easy-to-read-and-relate-to manner.

As one who has never given much thought to sigils, on their own, this book has tempted me to not only think about it, but do it.

Interview With Laura Tempest Zakroff

Susan Morgaine (SM): Hi Tempest – it was so nice to see you while you were on tour.

So, belly dancer/performer, event producer, artist, witch, author and teacher. That is quite impressive. I knew you primarily as a dancer and performer when we met many years ago, and it wasn’t until I saw the logo for Waking Persephone that I realized you were an artist, as well

SM: How did you start and what did you start with, realizing it was most probably a circuitous journey? Please only respond with what you are comfortable with sharing.

Tempest: I definitely started with art, going back as early as age 3. By first grade I was taking formal art classes on a regular basis – all the way through high school. Then for college, I graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design. I discovered modern Witchcraft and Paganism in my teens, and got into dance in my college years. When I moved to California in 2001, dance and Pagan stuff pretty much took over my life. I didn’t have much room or resources to make the kind of art I had been doing in school, so art took a bit of a backseat. It manifested through my costume designs and creations, graphic design, and some small drawings and paintings. When I moved back to the East Coast in 2007, I started working as a fashion jewelry designer. I did that until mid-2012, when it was time for drastic life shift. In that process I moved to Seattle and began working for myself full-time in all the things I do (dance, design, art). Sometimes I feel frustrated that I didn’t just keep going with the fine art out of school, but I realize I wouldn’t be where I am now, on this path – if I had.

SM: What was the impetus behind the idea of Waking Persephone. I know there were several years here on the East Coast; are you continuing it on the West Coast?

Tempest: I co-produced Gothla US from 2008-2010 – which took place in California. It was supposed to switch coasts, but that didn’t happen. Which was frustrating because most of my east coast, home-base students couldn’t afford to attend it. So much work and the people I worked the closest with couldn’t participate. I also had a vision for something that encompassed more, without stylistic labels – to bring in more ritual/sacred dance, more artistry, more diversity. That became a reality first in Tapestry Dance Retreat (2011) and then Waking Persephone the following Spring. We did 2 years in Providence, and 3 more years in Seattle. At this time, I’m not producing any events, because I needed to focus on my art and writing, but when the time comes, something will probably emerge again. Producing events takes up so much time and energy. I transformed that time and focus into something else. Since the last WP in 2016, I’ve written 4 books, published an anthology, and pushed my art deeper.

SM: When did you realize your were a Witch? It’s so interesting to hear about other’s spiritual journeys.

Tempest: I was at odds with the Catholic Church since my youngest days. I got sent to the principal’s office at age 6 because during a field trip to the church, I insisted on sitting where the priests and altar boys did (like my brothers!), and couldn’t understand while girls weren’t allowed. So much doctrine that made no sense – I felt that God was more present in nature and everywhere around us. I discovered that there were other options to the Abrahamic religions in my mid-teens – that Witchcraft and Paganism was a thing. The realization that there were names for what I believed and felt, and that other people saw the world similarly was a huge revelation.

SM: What made you decide to start to write, and then to follow that with teaching?

Tempest: I’ve been writing for a long time – in high school I was the editor of the literary magazine. At RISD in 1997, I got involved with Crescent Magazine – where I became an associate editor and had regular columns. I started up a website on Modern Traditional Witchcraft around then as well. Around 2000, I started offering Witchcraft classes – and kept that up until around 2005 or so. Then I burned out on being a public Witch, and retreated to a solitary path for almost a decade. After getting my life reset in 2012, I ventured out of my cave a bit with renewed focus and purpose. I started up a blog (which moved to Patheos in early 2016 I think), began teaching again and toyed with the idea of finally writing a book. In the Fall of 2015, I was offered the contract to write “The Witch’s Cauldron” for Llewellyn. It was a wonderful way to just dive right in, and was really well received. So from there, I wrote “Sigil Witchery” – after folks taking my workshops asked why I hadn’t written a book yet on it. And well, it’s just kept going from then.

SM: I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to take your Sigil Witchery workshop (which is reviewed somewhere else this month in Pagan Pages). What did you learn from your travels and sitting with/teaching so many Witches and Pagans around the country? I found it fascinating to see, on Instagram, the sigils you created with each workshop.

Tempest: No matter where folks are located or what path/label they use – Witches/Paganfolks have so much more in common than not. The community (or whatever we wish to call it) is incredibly diverse, but we share many beliefs and loves, as well as fears and concerns. There is so much potential in recognizing our collective power and connections.

SM: So what is next on the agenda for you, Tempest? Any sneak peeks?

Tempest: A. I’m finally working on an oracle deck! The tentative title is “The Liminal Spirits Oracle” and it will be out via Llewellyn I believe some point next year 🙂

You can reach/follow Tempest at the following:

Owlkeyme arts – Design & Fine art by Laura Tempest Zakroff | Seattle, WA

www.owlkeyme.com

Mago Djinn – Modern Folk Wear

www.magodjinn.com

Author Site – www.lauratempestzakroff.com

Sigil Witchery: A Witch’s Guide to Crafting Magick Symbols on Amazon

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About the Author:

Susan Morgaine is a Daughter of the Goddess, Witch, Writer, Teacher, Healer, and Yogini. She is a monthly columnist with PaganPages.org Her writings can be found in The Girl God Anthologies, “Whatever Works: Feminists of Faith Speak” and “Jesus, Mohammed and the Goddess”, as well as Mago Publications “She Rises, Volume 2, and “Celebrating Seasons of the Goddess”. She has also been published in Jareeda and SageWoman magazines. She is a Certified Women’s Empowerment Coach/Facilitator through She is the author of “My Name is Isis”, one in the series of the “My Name Is………” children’s books published by The Girl God Publications. A Woman International, founded by Patricia Lynn Reilly. She has long been involved in Goddess Spirituality and Feminism, teaching classes and workshops, including Priestessing Red Tents within MA and RI. She is entering her 20th year teaching Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, being a Certified instructor through the Kundalini Research Institute, as well as being a Reiki Master. She is a member of the Sisterhood of Avalon. She can be found at https://mysticalshores.wordpress.com/ and her email is MysticalShores@gmail.com

My Name is Isis (Volume 4) on Amazon

Review – Witch Coloring Book: A Coloring Book for Adults Featuring Beautiful Witches, Magical Potions, and Spellbinding Ritual Scenes by Coloring Book Cafe

February, 2019

Review

Witches Coloring Book: A Colorful Book for Adults Featuring Beautiful Witches, Magical Potions, and Spellbinding Ritual Scenes

by Coloring Book Cafe, 2018

I recently received this awesome coloring book to try out & review. It is a book of 24 single sided coloring pages, and it has 2 copies of each picture (48 pics total to color). This is great because if you mess up or if you and a friend want the same picture to color you have a spare! It is 8 by 10 inches so standard size for a coloring book.

The title is Witches and appropriately so. This book is filled with all things witchy themed, cauldrons, cards, black cats, potions, candles, etc. I love it! I am an avid colorist and a witch so this is my favorite kind of coloring book! I only had time to complete 2 pages so far, but I am looking forward to finishing them all!

The paper quality is great and the images themselves are beautifully drawn and printed. I used colored pencils and a little gel pen on mine, but any markers would work with this paper.

This coloring book is available on Amazon for $7.99. I highly recommend this coloring book to anyone that is interested in coloring and also likes witch or occult themed pictures. It would also be fun for anyone around the Halloween season. I have thoroughly enjoyed this book so far! Here are my 2 completed pics I’ve been working on this month. 

I personally know many people who would love this coloring book and if you are into the witchy look or looking for gorgeous pics to add to your grimoire or book of shadows I think you will be very happy with this book. I think I’m going to frame a few and hang them on my wall, that’s how much I love these images!

Thank You to Coloring Book Cafe for sending me a copy to review!

Witch Coloring Book: A Coloring Book for Adults Featuring Beautiful Witches, Magical Potions, and Spellbinding Ritual Scenes on Amazon

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About the Author:

Retha N. Lent has been married for 17 years to her husband Mark & they have four cats that are their life. She lives in Norristown, Pa. Retha has her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Behavioral Counseling Sciences from Drexel University. She is the owner of “Retha’s Crystals” & sells sterling silver unique crystal jewelry & specimens on her FB business page. She has a FB group for her customers and those interested in learning more about crystals & all things magical called “Retha’s Crystal Circle“. She is also an advisor in the Sage Goddess Affiliate Program. She has her Holistic Healing Certificate and Pillars of Priestessing certificates from Sage Goddess. She is also an Ordained Pagan Minister from the Universal Life Church. Retha has a passion for crystals, nature, astrology, working with moon cycles, ritual practices, tarot and oracle cards, runes, essential oils, herbs, manifestation work, ancient cultures, magic & music. Her favorite place is New Orleans, La. Retha has an extensive personal crystal collection and loves sharing her love of crystals with the world. She has been a practicing pagan since she was 16 years old. 

You can reach her at rethalent@hotmail.com or on her business page on FB: https://www.facebook.com/Rethas-Crystals-197411227666484/

Or in her FB group:

https://m.facebook.com/groups/1960619300929876

Her Sage Goddess affiliate link is:

www.sagegoddess.com/ref/84/

Or follow her on Instagram at @spookygirl16

Witch & Popcorn

January, 2019

Bright Blessings Film Lovers!

This month, I am reviewing Fullmetal Alchemist, a Japanese live action film based on the Manga books, of the same title, written by Hiromu Arakawa.

Here is the trailer for this film.

The film is all about magic, and science, breaking the rules, and the consequences of doing so.

The film follows the lives of brothers Ed and Al, beginning when they were small, and learning Alchemy on their own. Their mother dies unexpectedly, and they try to bring their mom back to life using the little skills they have learned. This was forbidden, and both boys knew this. It could not end well, but these were kids, and they wanted their mother back, so they disregarded the rules, and did the operation to bring, or “transmute” a human anyways.

The operation fails, it costs them both dearly, and they both spend years tying to get back what they lost due to the consequences. Al is taken away to a place called The Gate of Truth. Ed finds a way to go there to try and get him back, and is only able to bring back Al’s soul, and loses body parts in the process. He is told not to come back for Al until he has the fabled Philosopher’s Stone. Ed figures out how to use Alchemy to put Ed’s soul into a metal robot, and vows to find the Philosopher’s Stone and get both Ed and his own body parts back. A metal arm and leg are fashioned for Al, and he later becomes known as The Fullmetal Alchemist.

Fast forward years later, Al and Ed are professional Alchemists, working with the government, and Ed gets a lead about where to find The Philosopher’s Stone, but unfortunately, people keep telling him it doesn’t exist. Undeterred, and determined, he continues his search, which leads him to meet the people with the knowledge.

He discovers, however, he and his brother were not the ONLY ones transmuting both human bodies, and human souls, and the horrors Al and Ed discover almost destroys them, and all the people they hold dear. They discover The Philosopher’s Stone is not what they expected, and using it would be more than breaking rules. It would mean something terrible.

The film ends with the brothers making an unexpected decision, and a sequel is due out sometime in the future.

As practitioners of magic, we can identify with some of the points made in the film.

There is a time to break the rules, and a time to keep them. Magic is a practice of harmonizing with Nature. If doing something goes against the Natural Order of things, or is otherwise unethical, it should not be done.

It is unwise to do magic when you are grieving. Strong emotions interfere with the ability to reason, and acting on your emotions might cause you to do something you later regret.

Things are not always as they seem. Brothers Al and Ed discover this over and over in the film. From who they can trust, to what an item truly is, things seem to constantly change, and the brothers have to keep their wits about them, and pay close attention constantly. Belief does not equal or create Reality. It creates perception, and perception can be false. Magicians and Witches are experts at enchantment, and illusion. Be aware.

Sometimes, we have to listen to what people say when they are trying to warn us. At one point, a character tells Al, “Play with the Devil, and you’ll end up in Hell!”, and Al replies, “I’ve already been to Hell.” He did not realize he was being told to avoid the very thing he was driven to acquire. Had he listened, things would have been better.

All in all, this was a good film. I always love to see Manga brought to live action. They managed to maintain the flavor of Manga with the dramatic costumes, character acting, and special effects. The action scenes did not fail to please, and the sets were gorgeous.

It’s a good work of fiction to read or watch, and I recommend the film.

Happy Viewing!

***

About the Author:

Saoirse is a recovered Catholic.  I was called to the Old Ways at age 11, but I thought I was just fascinated with folklore. At age 19, I was called again, but I thought I was just a history buff, and could not explain the soul yearnings I got when I saw images of the Standing Stones in the Motherland. At age 29, I crossed over into New Age studies, and finally Wicca a couple years later. My name is Saoirse, pronounced like (Sare) and (Shah) Gaelic for freedom. The gods I serve are Odin and Nerthus. I speak with Freyja , Norder, and Thunor as well. The Bawon has been with me since I was a small child, and Rangda has been with me since the days I was still Catholic. I received my 0 and 1 Degree in an Eclectic Wiccan tradition, and my Elder is Lord Shadow. We practice in Columbus, Ohio. I am currently focusing more on my personal growth, and working towards a Second and Third Degree with Shadow. I received a writing degree from Otterbein University back in 2000. I have written arts columns for the s Council in Westerville. I give private tarot readings and can be reached through my Facebook page Tarot with Saoirse. You can, also, join me on my Youtube Channel.

Magic at the Hearth Excerpt from The House Witch by Arin Murphy-Hiscock

December, 2018

Magic at the Hearth

*Excerpted from The House Witch by Arin Murphy-Hiscock

 

 

 

In hearthcraft, magic is a way of consciously drawing on the energy of the spiritual hearth to enhance the activity you are engaged in. In many paths magic and spiritual practices are separate, but in hearthcraft the magical activity both supports and draws from spiritual activity. As so much of hearthcraft revolves around love, nurturing, and protection of what you consider sacred, positive goals can be the only ones envisioned.

 

Another way of looking at magic within the context of hearthcraft is as transformation of some kind, a task performed with the intent to weave together energies in order to initiate some sort of spiritual transformation, rejuvenation, or growth. With that in mind, this chapter looks at kitchen folklore and customs and the energies associated with the equipment found and used in the kitchen.

 

Kitchen Folklore

 

One of the fun things about doing research into home-based customs is discovering the traditions and folklore associated with domestic activity. Here’s a series of domestic customs you can use to help enhance your awareness of the spiritual nature of your activity.

 

  • Stir the contents of pots and bowls clockwise to attract positive energy, or stir counterclockwise to banish things. Use one or the other according to the needs of your home or family at the time.

  • Pass items at the table in a clockwise direction to maintain harmonious energy there.

  • If you wish to clear the house of negative energy, clean it beginning at the back door and travel through it room by room in a counterclockwise direction until you reach the back door again, then sweep or mop out the door and off the doorstep.

  • To attract positive energy, clean items in a clockwise motion. is includes dusting, mopping, and scrubbing as well as wiping counters and washing dishes.

  • Draw a spiritual symbol that has meaning to you (either cultural, religious, or designed by you) with salt water on the windows of your house and on the front and back doors. Paint these symbols with clear nail polish if you want something a little more permanent.

  • If you wish to further connect your cooking to your spiritual hearth, draw a spiritual symbol on the inside of the pot or bowl before you use it. A stylized flame is a good basic image to use.

  • Empower your laundry detergent for purification of any negative energy clinging to clothes. Water has a natural purification effect, but empowering the cleaning substances you use boosts that natural effect. Do the same for your household cleaners.

  • Running out of salt is said to be bad luck for the posterity of the home. Keep a small packet of salt somewhere to ensure there will always be salt in the house. (This may be one of the origins of the custom of bringing a bottle of wine, a loaf of bread, and a box of salt to a housewarming.)

  • Hanging braids or wreaths of garlic, onions, or hot peppers will keep your kitchen free of negative energy. Compost them every fall and hang new ones. Never eat them!

  • Hanging bunches of dried Indian corn attracts prosperity and abundance.

  • Leave an onion or clove of garlic outside below the kitchen window to absorb any negative energy trying to enter the home. You may leave them around the doors to the house as well. Place a new one there every month, or more frequently if the old ones decay faster.

 

The House Witch: Your Complete Guide to Creating a Magical Space with Rituals and Spells for Hearth and Home on Amazon

 

*Copyright © 2018 Adams Media, a division of Simon and Schuster. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

 

Review of Arin Murphy-Hiscock’s The House Witch

December, 2018

Review of Arin Murphy-Hiscock’s The House Witch

 

 

I received a “review copy” of The House Witch: Your Complete Guide to Creating a Magical Space With Rituals and Spells for Hearth and Home by Arin Murphy-Hiscock just before the Thanksgiving holiday. This handsome book is published by Adams Media, an imprint of Simon and Schuster, and is the twelfth book by Arin Murphy-Hiscock. On Simon and Schuster’s author website for Arin Murphy-Hiscock, you can find all the titles of her other published books. Some were known to me and some were not. Some, like Birds: A Spiritual Field Guide, I had borrowed from my local public library and had on my “to-buy” list. So naturally I was elated to get The House Witch. I immediately cracked it open and wrote my name and the date on the inside cover.

But the demands of the Thanksgiving Holiday – cooking the meal and getting together with family in town for just a few days – meant that I wasn’t able to sit down and give The House Witch a good read. And then I caught my son’s cold. Sick and miserable, I gave up. I took a box of tissues and curled up on the couch under a hand-crocheted afghan for several days in a state of semi-slumber.

When I did finally get back to The House Witch, I was delighted, as I knew I would be. One my very first impressions was, “Gee, I wish there had been books like this back when I was first getting into witchcraft and wicca!” In the 1970’s and 1980’s, there were only a few books out on the subject and most of them – like Starhawk’s The Spiral Dance – were geared toward the large group or the coven but very rarely the solitary practitioner. Not until Scott Cunningham published Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner in 1988 that you started to see more attention paid to the solitary witch. While The House Witch is not specifically written for the solitary witch, it addresses the many concerns of those of us who practice alone – whether we live alone or with other people.

I was born in May, under the sun sign of Taurus, my moon in Pisces, with Cancer rising. Issues of home and health and happiness have always been forefront in my spiritual practice, so it is natural that I would gravitate toward creating and maintaining a beautiful home, even if that home is a tiny apartment in a poverty-stricken neighborhood in a rust-belt city. Because of my wonderful grandmothers, I was always aware of the magic in everyday things but many people – especially those born after, say, 1980 – do not have the benefit of the wisdom of their elders. On page 17, Murphy-Hiscock lists four steps that anyone can learn to “recognize the magic” as she terms it, reminding us to keep things simple and always to focus on what we are doing in the house. These steps are: live in the moment, be aware of your intent, direct your energy properly and focus on an action. Anyone who has studied any kind of meditation, magical instruction or spiritual path will recognize these steps. So just what does all of this have to do with the home and the hearth? Murphy-Hoscock writes,

“Opening yourself to the simplest of tasks and allowing them to inspire you with some insight or wisdom, or even a

moment of peace, illustrates that the Divine can whisper to you in the oddest of unexpected places. Hearthcraft is

about communing with the Divine through everyday tasks, not through complicated formal ritual.” (page 19)

She talks about home as sacred space. One thing she mentions is the removal of shoes in cultures such as Japan and other parts of Southeast Asia; I don’t allow anyone to wear shoes into my apartment and I am always amazed – when I watch TV, for instance – and I see people, not only with their shoes on inside their homes but also on the furniture!

When I was growing up, I always lived in houses that had fireplaces and we usually had a fire most winter evenings, so the idea of a hearth and a hearth fire is not unknown to me – one of our houses actually had a giant hearth built into the wall surrounding the fireplace! But since I have left my parents’ house, I have never lived in a house with a fireplace, much to my great sadness. I consider my hearth to be my kitchen oven or perhaps a meditation candle. However, when I was sick a day ago, I had some split pea soup and freshly baked bread and lay down for a nap. I could feel the warmth of the soup and bread in my belly and it occurred to me that my hearth fire was inside of me.

With this in mind, the “Bank Your Inner Flame” ritual on page 45 makes perfect sense. I had a wonderful warmth inside of me and I needed to be able to hold onto that warmth. It wasn’t just the soup and bread – it was the sense of being safe and secure in my own home. I love the word “smooring” – I love anything Scottish and Gaelic – I added it to my list of cool words and then I copied the “smooring prayer” (page 46) into my personal prayer book.

This book is filled with jewels.

There is a chapter on “The Magic of the Cauldron” in which she talks about how to find and care for a cast-iron cauldron. “Hearth and Home Deities” is just what it sounds like – a chapter of gods and goddesses of the home and hearth. The next chapter is about the kitchen as a sacred space – something that not many people even think about seriously nowadays. If your idea of cooking is opening up a box of prepared food and popping it into the microwave – or even using something like Hamburger Helper – then I would give Chapters 6, 8 and 9 a very close reading. As I already stated, Chapter 6 is about the kitchen as a sacred space. Chapter 8 is “Magic at the Hearth” and Chapter 9 is “The Spirituality of Food”. included!!!!!

Other topics in this fabulous book are “Using Hearthcraft to Protect Your Home”, “Herbs, crafts, and other Hearth-Related Magic Work”, and a chapter of various spells, rituals and blessings. Quite naturally, there is an appendix and a bibliography that have quite a bit of information in them as well.

In the “Postscript”, Arin Murphy-Hiscock writes, “Several times as I was writing this book, my thoughts moved faster than my fingers, and as a result ‘hearth fire’ very often came out as ‘heart fire.’ I wonder, at times, if my subconscious was trying to tell me something.” (page 247). I do not wonder at all. This book most assuredly set my heart on fire. In this rich season of Yuletide joy, when all of us decorate our houses with festive lights and traditional ornaments that may only have meaning to our loved ones alone, The House Witch: Your Complete Guide to Creating a Magical Space With Rituals and Spells for Hearth and Home by Arin Murphy-Hiscock is a book which brings together all the spiritual and happiness that home and hearth can represent. I highly recommend it for anyone on any spiritual path.

References

Murphy-Hiscock, Arin. The House Witch: Your Complete Guide to Creating a Magical Space with Rituals and Spells for Hearth and Home. NY: Adams Media, 2018.

The House Witch: Your Complete Guide to Creating a Magical Space with Rituals and Spells for Hearth and Home on Amazon

***

About the Author:

Polly MacDavid lives in Buffalo, New York at the moment but that could easily change, since she is a gypsy at heart. Like a gypsy, she is attracted to the divinatory arts, as well as camp fires and dancing barefoot. She has three cats who all help her with her magic.

Her philosophy about religion and magic is that it must be thoroughly based in science and logic. She is Dianic Wiccan and she is solitary.

She blogs at silverapplequeen.wordpress.com. She writes about general life, politics and poetry. She is writing a novel about sex, drugs and recovery.

Wreathing the Wheel

December, 2018

As an eclectic witch, one of the most transformative practices that I’ve adopted is the practice of setting intention. At its root, intention is a really basic method of manifestation: make a plan, then execute the plan. But as I’ve explored the idea of intention over time, I’ve come to see a beautiful effect that results from the ongoing process of self-examination. It’s not just the external result of manifesting my dreams, but a reminder to check in with myself and make sure I’m on the right path. After all, if I can’t answer the question, “What’s my intention in doing this?” for any given action I am taking… then why am I even doing it?

It is in the spirit of setting intentions, and thoroughly understanding those intentions, that I started bullet journaling. While I keep a separate grimoire (and have kept other books of shadows), my bullet journal is the place where my magical life intersects with my daily life, and I put some of the spiritual concepts that I’m working with into practice. In this monthly column, I’ll be exploring various methods for working craft into bullet journaling to help track astrological transits, green ally work, Tarot journaling, celebrating the Wheel of the Year, working with associations, artistic exploration, and more.

 

Monthly Spread for December

 

 

I like to illuminate my monthly spreads with images of plants that are associated with the nearest major sabbat, and the season in general. I gravitate towards plants and natural objects that are native to my own area, as a way to bring the outside in. So for December, the plants that I chose to draw in my journal were pine, ivy, and holly. I like to use the information in Llewellyn’s Complete Book of as a jumping-off point to get started with these associations, but it’s good to remember that associations aren’t set in stone, and can easily be changed to accommodate your own hemisphere and biome.

The next thing that I do when building my monthly spread is add the phases of the moon and the full moon’s name. I also record each month’s Tarot card, which I drew in my whole-year reading at the beginning of the year, so that I can reflect on the role that this card plays in my life and how it fits in with other themes and experiences that I’ve encountered during the year. In keeping with the occult tradition of associating moon values with the left side of the body and sun values with the right side, I track the astrological transits of the sun and moon through the month, with the moon transits in the lower-left corner of each day, and the sun in the lower-right corner. This December, the winter solstice falls on the day before the full moon; at the same time, the sun enters Capricorn, and the moon enters Cancer. The darkest night of 2018 will be filled up with the light of the full moon.

I’m calling this column “Wreathing the Wheel” in an effort to remind myself that this project is about more than just to-do lists and chores. Instead, it’s an opportunity for me to acquaint myself intimately with the cycles of nature, immerse myself in intentional thinking, record and study associations, and deepen my divination practices. This is a bit like the process of making a wreath: you find a solid base, and then weave together plant allies, ribbons, and baubles until you’ve got something that looks alright. While I realize that not everyone is as artistically inclined as I am, I would encourage any journaler to embrace the creative side of bullet journaling, not to impress anyone, but as a way to celebrate the passing of time, allow awareness to manifest as creation, and decorate the days that we’re given.

***

About the Author:

Sarah McMenomy is an artist and witch. Her craft incorporates herbalism, spellwork, trance, divination, auras, and more. Her work can be found at https://sarahmcmenomy.tumblr.com

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