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Book Review – Goddess Power by Isabella Price

April, 2019

Book Review
Goddess Power
Awakening the Wisdom of the Divine Feminine in Your Life 
by Isabella Price

This
is a beautifully written and well-researched book of Goddess history,
or *herstory*, if you will. Ms. Price’s love for her subject shines
through in every word.

It is a culturally diverse chronology of Goddess myth, lore and magic, beginning with the prehistoric and neolithic Goddess figures that have been found in chapters on Inanna and Ishtar, Isis, Minoan Crete, Yoruba, Shaktism and both the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdelene.

Ms.
Price speaks of the different cultures and their Goddesses, including
the myths about them. She tells of Goddess symbols and their
meanings.

This
book is full of wisdom and in-depth feeling, rich in the information
that it gives us, both historical and mythological.

As
a daughter of the Goddess, I can honestly say that I loved this book
and look forward to sitting with it again and again.

For
women who are yearning toward an undefinable *something*, this book
could be what you are seeking; and for those already on the Goddess
path, there is always more to be learned.

Goddess Power: Awakening the Wisdom of the Divine Feminine in Your Life on Amazon

***

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 [email protected]

My
Name is Isis on Amazon

Review of The Closet Pagan Etsy Shop & Interview with Owner Anna Pierce

April, 2019

The
Closet Pagan

Bright
Blessings!

I
was tickled pink when I got this lovely bundle in the mail to review!

I am so happy to share what The Closet Pagan has available, and I am confident you will find something you’d love to have!

Owner, and craftsperson Anna Pierce is a gifted jewelry maker, and she knows her stuff about what stones have which magical attributes, and she makes spell kits as well.

She
shipped me, as pictured, two different necklaces. One with crystal
ball smoky quartz, and the other with the mysteriously beautiful
bloodstone. She also sent single amazonite and fancy jasper stones,
and had them all put together in a gorgeous black silky drawstring
bag complete with a lovely ankh charm.

On review of her etsy page, I found lots to love. From silver charm necklaces, to crystal grid boards, and protection kits, this gal is stocked up with things every Witch and Pagan is sure to love. Even better, the prices are quite reasonable!

I
was lucky enough to be able to have a short interview with Anna as
well!

The
Interview

Saoirse– Bright Blessings, Anna! What beautiful products you have! I got the smoky quartz crystal ball necklace, and bloodstone necklace, and the fancy jasper and amazonite crystals. Such beautiful, thoughtful offerings! Thank you! Tell me the meaning behind all the stones from your own interpretations, and the magical and or healing properties you ascribe to them.

Anna- The meaning behind the stones: Well, the smoky quartz, and bloodstone are some of my favorites. To me, they represent great emotional healing properties such as calming ones mind, and relieving stress. Of course, all of this I believe, is from the power of suggestion, but it’s something that can make you feel great while rocking a cute piece of jewelry. 

Saoirse– Tell me how you got into making jewelry and spell kits? What made you decide to do an online shop? Do you have a brick and mortar shop customers may visit, or is it all online?

Anna- My shop is online on Etsy only. I’d love to one day have a brick and mortar shop, but unless I win the lotto, I don’t see it happening any time soon unfortunately. How I got into jewelry making and spell kits: Well, I really love the idea of unusual items and products to make you feel better. Spell kits/ornaments stuff I make I like to use as my own home decor and wanted to share my interests with anyone who would appreciate them. The jewelry making, I picked it up as a hobby then decided to just take a leap and go for it. ?

Saoirse– What is your personal spiritual and or magical path, and how does your merchandise support you in that?

Anna- I consider myself a Pagan Eclectic Witch. I am not a Wiccan, and do not follow any kind of “Witch’s code.” My merchandise supports in the fact that I have a bunch of different styles and try to keep it simple. 

Saoirse– What power is there in personal adornment with magical materials like oils, and jewelry, in your opinion?

AnnaI believe it’s all the power of suggestion, and the energy you send out onto the Universe. 

Saoirse– What are your personal favorite things to make, and what are your personal favorite materials to use, and why?

Anna My personal favorites to make are the ornaments and spell sets, because I can offer a variety of different items in one grouping. 

Saoirse– Tell me about something extra special you have made, and how, and why it is meaningful to you?

AnnaSomething extra special? I suppose that’ll have to be the Winter Solstice ornaments I made, because it allowed me to fill the bulbs with beautiful flowers to decorate your home or holiday tree. When making them I send out good energy into the Universe. 

Anna also had this to say:

I
have a passion for creating new things. I love filling my little
mid-century house with candles, crystals, salts, and the funky unique
things I find. And, I love crystal and gemstone jewelry. I started my
shop to sell some of the things I love most: crystals, salts, herbal
blends, Wiccan and Paga
n
decor, and items honoring positive emotional and spiritual bonds with
nature. Some of the things I sell will be unique, one-of-a-kind
items, handmade from upcycled materials. Other items, like salts or
herbal potpourri, will be handmade in small batches. I love making
simple, timeless jewelry designs with raw and polished gemstones,
gemstone beads, and various gemstone crystals. I hope people feel a
positive healing connection to the items in my shop. It is my wish to
make other people’s lives a bit better, a bit happier, a bit more
grounded to the earth and nature, with the items I create and the
customer service I offer.”

Anna is a real person, and is not just looking to earn money. She encourages people to reach out to her through her Instagram, and she loves people to tell her about themselves. She is very relatable, and tries to inspire whenever she can.

Here is the link to her Etsy shop:

www.theclosetpagan.etsy.com

You can follow her on Instagram @TheClosetPagan

Happy shopping, and 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
.

Retha’s Crystal Reflections

February, 2019

Crystals
For Self Love & Drawing Love Into Your Life

Well
its February & we know what that means….love, hearts,
chocolates and…..crystals!! Crystals are an amazing tool to use
yourself if you are focusing on self love, and great for gifting to
loved ones as well. There are crystals for drawing love of all kinds
into your life. I feel its important to not get caught up in just
relationships & partnerships on Valentine’s day. Not everyone is
currently in a relationship, and some are not able to spend the
holiday with their partners. None of these people should  be
left out. Love is for the self first & foremost so lets celebrate
that. And if you are blessed enough to have a partner to celebrate
with, then share the love by gifting them a love crystal. Read on to
find out my top picks for crystals to bring love of all kinds into
your life.

Morganite
is a stone that just oozes love in my opinion. Its gentle, soothing
and feels like a warm embrace. This is a stone of divine love in fact
and therefore vibrates strongly with a beautiful love energy. This
stone is a heart and higher heart (thymus) chakra crystal. Its potent
for helping romantic partnerships. It helps you to respect both
yourself and others. It enhances patience. Its a great crystal for
women as it helps them to see and appreciate both their inner beauty
and their strength from within. It also helps to connect with divine
feminine energies. Morganite assists in connecting with the angelic
realm. This crystal holds the vibration of divine love. It doesn’t
get any better than that!

Pink Danburite is one of my very favorite crystals. So I may be a bit biased here. Danburite is amazing in so many ways, but pink Danburite has all the properties of Danburite but with a good dose of heart opening added in. Pink Danburite gently, but powerfully, opens the crown chakra and then links and attunes it to the heart chakra. It activates higher consciousness from a heart based perspective. The pink variety of Danburite is a heart chakra and higher heart chakra stone. It increases acceptance of ones self and others. It brings emotional healing and releases fear, grief and anxiety. Brings in the energies of serenity and peace. It resonates with angelic realms and brings harmony from that realm down into your heart….um yes please!  This stone helps the heart to resonate with divine love, which also promotes self-love. We can all use more self-love in my opinion.

Ruby.
Say the word and it makes one think of love. And passion. Ruby is a
very powerful love stone that opens and activates the heart chakra.
It actually protects the loss of heart energy. It helps us to connect
to others and helps us to be more emotionally aware. It dissolves any
emotional congestion and balances the emotions. Ruby has an intense
energy that stimulates loving emotions and passion. It amplifies
energy, drive and success. It helps you see and open yourself up to
divine love. It makes you see the true nature of love. Ruby helps you
to become a vehicle for divine love to flow through to others. Ruby
brings bliss and love. 

Green
apophyllite. I have a real thing for this crystal. When I hold this I
immediately feel so comforted and loved. Green apophyllite cleanses
and balances the heart chakra. In fact it is said that all one needs
to do is be in the presence of this crystal to cleanse and balance
your heart. This crystal helps you to connect to mama Gaia. It
balances the emotions with gentle, loving energy. Its a very healing
stone. It helps you to let go of harbored resentments and heals a
jaded hurt heart. It brings clarity to situations and decisions of
the heart. Green apophyllite helps you to forgive and to release
emotions that no longer serve you. It helps you to reach a meditative
state and enhances spiritual growth. It infuses you with spiritual
love and light and opens you to beings from the higher realms. Most
importantly, this crystal opens your heart to joy and love and
enhances your ability to receive all the good things in life;
friendship, marriage, children, abundance of all things, and love.
Sounds like heaven.

Pink/purple Lepidolite is such a workhorse and should be a staple in everyone’s collection in my view. Usually when you think of Lepidolite, you think of an anxiety or stress relieving stone. It contains lithium in it so it is for sure a great stone for this. But for me it is much more than just that. Before we can invite all the things we seek into our lives, we first need to learn how to cope with and treat our discomforts. We must be healthy mentally and spiritually in order to both love our self and to love others. This stone is your new best friend. This stone opens and releases pain and suffering layer by layer. It helps you overcome emotions that keep you from doing what you want in life. Wow….that is the real deal. That cuts right to the chase doesn’t it? Its our fears and limiting beliefs that hold us back from our hopes and dreams. Start releasing it! What are we holding onto it for? Holding onto a fear becomes a self-fulfillling prophecy. We make the very things we fear come true by sending so much energy to them! Crystals are tools, our allies in becoming more happy and complete beings. I truly believe that. My life has been so enriched by working with crystals, meditating and getting in touch with my heart space. Lepidolite helps you find your emotional center. It balances emotions and mood swings. This stone opens up your heart to love and a nurturing vibration. It helps remove the worries and fears. It dissolves energy blocks in all the chakras, making way for happiness and love to dwell. Calm, tranquility and bliss….yes I’ll take that please!

Rhodochrosite
is a stone that really screams heart to me. Its such a gorgeous shade
of pink one can’t help but think of love when gazing upon it. And
rightly so, this stone encourages you to reach a state of joy,
happiness and love. It aids in emotional healing and encourages you
to love yourself. It can stimulate your inner child and promote a
childlike joy in your life. It can bring forgotten memories to the
surface in order for healing to occur. Rhodochrosite is a powerful
heart chakra stone. It vibrates to the energy of love. In this case
it focuses on the energy of love directed at the self. Its a very
active stone that helps you to heal especially if you suffer from low
self-esteem. Self-love is what it’s all about friends. 

Ahhh
rose quartz. Probably the one love stone most people are familiar
with above all others. Its easily accessible and inexpensive and
therefore the first recommended stone when wanting to draw love into
your heart or life. And just because its such a common crystal, that
by no means makes it any less powerful or special. Its a perfect
stone for someone new to working with crystals and those very
experienced alike. Rose quartz is a very high vibration stone. It is
a heart chakra and higher heart chakra stone. It’s a stone of
unconditional love and infinite peace. It helps you to open your
heart so you become receptive to love. It teaches you how to love
yourself and encourages self-forgiveness and acceptance. It invokes
self-trust and self-worth. Rose quartz is an emotional healer. It
draws love to you and supports love in an existing relationship, by
restoring harmony and trust. It promotes receptivity to love and
beauty of all types. If you need some love, call on Rose quartz. 

I
hope this sparked some interest in working with some of these love
crystals. Whatever type of love you want to attract, I’m sure one of
these will be more than up to the task. I hope whether you celebrate
Valentine’s day or not that you make bringing more love into your
life a priority. And if you do celebrate V-day, crystals are the
perfect way to spread the love. 

Crystal Blessings

Sources:

“The Encyclopedia of Crystals” by Judy Hall

Encyclopedia of Crystals, Revised and Expanded on Amazon

www.healingcrystals.com

www.crystaldictionary.com

www.healingwithcrystals.net.au

***

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
[email protected]
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

Book Review – Naked Tarot: Sassy, Stripped-Down Advice by Janet Boyer

November, 2018

Book Review

Naked Tarot: Sassy, Stripped-Down advice

by Janet Boyer

 

 

I am so excited to share Naked Tarot: Sassy, Stripped-Down advice by Janet Boyer with you all. Naked Tarot is published by Dodona Books, Winchester, UK and Washington, USA, an imprint of John Hunt Publishing LTD., NO 3 East Street, Alresford, Hampshire S024 9EE, UK. It is available in paperback and digitally, and since I am reviewing a digital version, I can’t describe the physical book. But no worries, Naked Tarot has 451 pages chock-full of valuable insights into the Tarot cards, all presented in an easy-on-the-eye typeface in a style that is irreverent and fun!

I read the Forward, written by Craig Conley, author and creator of the Tarot Of Portmeirion, and instantly smiled. Eight Implications of Nakedness lets us know what we are in for, and it’s all good, even if you are squeamish about getting nekkid. The Introduction, written by Boyer, gives the framework of the book and some biographical information. Boyer, who also has an incredible amount of Tarot knowledge and experience, holds true to the title of this book and presents herself and her life experiences without shields, and with naked honesty. The book continues with an overview of the Tarot and of divination. Boyer also talks about ways to use the Tarot, methods for reading the Tarot, reversals, correspondences, Tarot suits/elements, and even things to consider when choosing a deck. I love her description of the Tarot as offering Who (the Court Cards), What/How (the Minor Arcana), and Why (the Major Arcana) with regard to our readings and the messages of the cards. All of this information without a single image, just lots of easy-to-read and understand text.

The section devoted to each card contains a Stripped Down Overview (describing the personality of the card), a whole paragraph of Keywords, several Personifications and Embodiments (OMG, one suggested personification for the Page of Wands is Tigger; how perfect is that?!), as well as a Quote, a Challenge, a Gift, suggested Occupations/Vocations, a list of correspondences, a Writing Prompt, and on and on. Then there is the Naked Advice section, which contains Career, Romance, Parenting and Spirituality interpretations, as well as a list of Recommended Resources, and a suggested spread. In her card descriptions and extensive correspondence lists, Boyer uses current and up-to-date movie and book references and people, both real-life and imagined, who we all know well.

I particularly like Boyer’s treatment of the Court Cards. She treats each of the 16 Court Cards like individual persons, and even offers Nicknames for each, and the way to His/Her Hearts and MBTI/Keirsey personality descriptions.

At the end of over 400 pages of useful and fun information about each of the 78 cards of the Tarot, Boyer offers six sample spreads with interpretations, as well input and comments from some of the seekers. The book ends with an extensive bibliography, and a list of recent bestsellers from Donona Books.

Naked Tarot is a must-have, whether you are a new reader just dipping your toe into the Tarot ocean, or an experienced reader with a lot of esoteric information and reading experience in your tool box, or if you fall somewhere in between those extremes. This is not a dry list of correspondences and brief descriptions of interpretations that don’t seem to relate to current life. There is nothing stuffy or intimidating about this book; it is accessible to all and full of lots and lots and lots of useful information offered in a manner that is easy to connect with and remember, even though there are no card images.

I never expected to recommend a digital book on the Tarot, but this is one that you absolutely must have on your e-reader. Get the paperback too if you need to work with paper; you won’t be sorry. You will use this book, again and again, and the thoughtful insights and reader-friendly card descriptions and information will bring a new spark to your work with the Tarot, whether professionally or personally.

Naked Tarot: Sassy, Stripped-Down advice on Amazon

***

About the Author:

Raushanna is a lifetime resident of New Jersey. As well as a professional Tarot Reader and Teacher, she is a practicing Wiccan (Third Degree, Sacred Mists Coven), a Usui Reiki Master/Teacher, a certified Vedic Thai-Yoga Massage Bodyworker, a 500-hr RYT Yoga Teacher specializing in chair assisted Yoga for movement disorders, and a Middle Eastern dance performer, choreographer and teacher.  Raushanna bought her first Tarot deck in 2005, and was instantly captivated by the images on the cards and the vast, deep and textured messages to be gleaned from their symbols. She loves reading about, writing about, and talking about the Tarot, and anything occult, mystical, or spiritual, as well as anything connected to the human subtle body. She has published a book, “The Emerald Tablet: My 24-Day Journal to Understanding,” and is currently working on a book about the Tarot, pathworking and the Tree of Life. Raushanna documents her experiences and her daily card throws in her blog, DancingSparkles.blogspot.com, which has been in existence since 2009. She and her husband, her son and step son, and her numerous friends and large extended family can often be found on the beaches, bike paths and hiking trails of the Cape May, NJ area.

The Emerald Tablet: My 24-Day Journal to Understanding on Amazon

Notes from the Apothecary

November, 2018

Notes from the Apothecary: Fenugreek

Hailing from Western Asia, Fenugreek is an odd tasting herb with some interesting history. Seeds have been found in archaeological digs dating back to 4000 BC and were even found in the tomb of Tutankhamun. Called Greek Hay, Bird’s Foot and Sickly Fruit, the herb is considered to be a bit of a panacea, being a tonic for everything from abscesses to kidney problems.

 

The Kitchen Garden

Fenugreek is an annual herb which means it grows, flowers and seeds all in the same year and does not return the following season. The plants can grow to two feet tall and has little white or yellow flowers. It’s a pretty but unassuming addition to any herb garden

You will find Fenugreek in Indian shops under the name Methi in either seed or leaf form. It’s widely used in cooking, particularly in Eastern dishes. By itself it has a bitter taste, particularly the seeds, but within a dish it adds levels of depth which can’t readily be described. The seeds are high in protein, calcium, fiber, iron and various other essential minerals so make a great addition to your diet. It is possible that if you have a nut allergy, you may also be allergic to fenugreek so approach with caution if that is the case.

The greens are highly nutritious and can be eaten fresh or used dried as an herb. The seeds can be sprouted in a little water and the sprouts are tasty and very good for you.

 

The Apothecary

One of the most common uses of fenugreek is as a galactagogue. This sci-fi sounding word means an herb that promotes and boosts breast milk production. When my own milk supply was depleting due to my youngest weaning, I took a couple of teaspoons of fenugreek seeds every day and it seemed to help. It’s most palatable to make a tea out of them, which you can sweeten or add other herbs into in order to make it taste a little better. I ate the seeds straight down and they are bitter!

Other modern-day uses for fenugreek include relief for digestive issues, increasing libido and even fighting baldness.

Recent research has shown that fenugreek may be useful in sufferers of diabetes, but this research is ongoing. It may also be useful for relieving menstrual cramps and the symptoms of menopause.

 

The Witch’s Kitchen

Cunningham tells us fenugreek is a masculine herb, but look at all the medical uses that relate specifically to women’s issues such as breastfeeding and the menopause. If the plant is indeed masculine, then it’s a great example of how men and women need to help each other out, rather than bemoaning our differences. This male plant is definitely a feminist!

The plant is associated with Mercury which links it to communication, and also wealth and commerce. Fenugreek is therefore useful when crafting spells to do with business, jobs and joint ventures.

In Judaism, fenugreek is eaten during Rosh Hashana and is associated with increase. This is more about increasing our own talents and skills rather than the increase of wealth, but they can be closely linked depending on how you look at it.

Fenugreek is known as a ‘lucky legume’, as it is a member of the bean family and provides protection and attracts luck.

 

Home and Hearth

Scatter fenugreek seeds around the threshold to your home to ensure any who enter can only speak the truth.

Carry a pouch of fenugreek seeds in your pocket when attending an interview or important meeting to ensure you speak your mind. Just be sure you have nothing to hide, as you may be compelled to be honest about things you didn’t want to reveal!

Steep Fenugreek seeds in boiling water then add this water to whatever you use to clean your house with. This will attract material wealth into your home.

Combine fenugreek with alfalfa to craft oil or powder which will attract money. Just be on the look out for mischief, as Mercury is known to play pranks and cause messages to be mixed or muddled.

 

I Never Knew…

In ancient Egypt, a paste made of fenugreek seeds was used in the embalming process of dead bodies.

 

Image credit: Fenugreek from the Vienna Dioscurides, public domain; Freshly Sprouted Qasuri Methi by Miansari66; Junge Pflanzen des Bockshornklees by Yak

***

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 Ancestors and 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

Notes from the Apothecary

October, 2018

Notes from the Apothecary: Mandrake

As we approach Samhain, I like to examine an herb or plant that has particular links to the season. Last year I explored the magic of the pumpkin, an obvious choice for the Halloween season. This year I wanted to dive deeper into folklore and magic, and the mandrake has been my mystical plant of choice.

Immortalised by J. K. Rowling in the Harry Potter series as the shrieking stars of herbology, the image of the human-like root screaming actually goes back to at least the 12th century. A medieval manuscript describes how the plant ‘shines at night like a lamp’ and that iron must be used to circle the plant to prevent it escaping, although the iron should never touch the plant. Other texts note that a dog must be used to pull the root up which, let me tell you, does not end well for the dog. Surrounded by magic, mystery, myth and superstition, this plant has a rich tradition of medicinal use and is a popular tool of modern witches and magical practitioners.

The Kitchen Garden


The true mandrake, mandragora officinarum, should never be eaten. It is hallucinogenic and narcotic, and can cause unconsciousness and even death. Sometimes people use bryonia alba, the false mandrake, as a substitute for mandragora. This plant is also highly poisonous. Another substitute is American Mandrake, which is poisonous in parts. Basically, if you come across anything purporting to be mandrake, don’t eat it!

The plants are beautiful, with springtime flowers of blue and white, and summer fruits sometimes known as devil’s apples. It needs really well drained soil to support those enormous roots, which can grow up to four feet in length. It also needs warm conditions and a good bit of sunshine to thrive, and a good quality compost for nutrients. Grown the plant well away from anywhere children and pets have access to. They can be grown from seed, or by separating the tubers.

The Apothecary

Six cures are described in the mediaeval Harley manuscript. One was for headaches and insomnia, whereby a salve of mandrake leaf juice was plastered to the head. Another was for earaches, and the juice was mixed with oil and poured directly into the ear. Another was a remedy for severe gout, but as it was administered in wine, I’m unsure how effective this would have been! Mandrake was also recommended for epilepsy, cramps and even colds.

Dioscorides, in his materia medica, also advised the plant was used to help insomniacs, but also that it seemed to have sedative and even anaesthetic properties. He did point out that ingesting too much was deadly!

Mrs Grieve states that the leaves are harmless and cooling and used to soothe ulcers, while the root and its bark is a strong emetic.

The Witch’s Kitchen

There is a belief that the mandrake only grew under the place where someone had been hanged. This gives it a dark association with death, possibly criminal activity, but also the oddly positive aspects of corporal punishment: law, order and justice. Called ‘little gallows man’ in Germany, the mandrake can be a symbol of ridding yourself of something you no longer need; of doling out ‘punishment’ to the things in your life you wish to drive away from you.

Dioscorides believed the root could be used in love potions.

The human like shape of the root speaks of transformation and hidden things. The mandrake reminds us not to judge a book by its cover, and that things are not always how they seem. We should always look twice, or as Terry Pratchett wrote, we should open our eyes, then open our eyes again.

In folklore, the cry of the mandrake caused either madness or death. Mrs Grieve writes that small doses of the root were used by ‘the Ancients in maniacal cases’, again connecting the root to madness and states of disconnection between the body and mind. Historically it was used to cure demonic possession, indicating it could be used to heal a disconnected body and mind, so there appears to be a contrary nature to this plant.

Mandrake can be used in any magical working to increase the potency of the spell, and in particular to increase psychic powers and prophetic magics.

Home and Hearth

Place a dried mandrake root on your mantelpiece to bring prosperity and joy into your home. Place a piece of mandrake on top of money, so a spare change pot or money box, and more money will enter your life. Hang one above the door to prevent demons or people with negative intentions from entering. Always keep out of the reach of children or pets!

I Never Knew…

As recently as the nineteenth century, mandrake roots were still being sold in Europe as charms to increase the libido.

*Images: Mandrake (Mandragora officinarum) from Tacuinum Sanitatis manuscript (ca. 1390), public domain; mandragora autumnalis, copyright tato grasso 2006 via Wikimedia Commons; folio 90 from the Naples Dioscurides, a 7th century manuscript of Dioscurides De Materia Medica, public domain.

***

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 Ancestors and Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways.

 

A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors

Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways

Seeing the Signs

August, 2018

A Morning Walk and the Cosmic Hello

I take several walks a day. Part of this is because I don’t own a car so my legs are my primary source of transportation. Sometimes I am merely walking a few blocks to the bus stop to catch a bus to some other destination. Sometimes I am walking up and down Bailey Avenue, the main drag near my home, going to the few shops that remain in this benighted neighborhood, buying the items that I need to complete a meal or to fix something in the home. Sometimes I just need to get out of the house.

Walking is a way to exercise. It’s a way to calm a manic mood or to bring me out a depressed disposition. Walking is a form of meditation. I focus on my breathing and stay centered within each step. Because of my arthritic knees, I cannot and do not distance run but I do sprint across the many cross streets. Movement feels so good.

This morning, I went to Family Dollar. Family Dollar is where I go when I need to go to the supermarket but I don’t feel like spending twenty minutes on the bus getting there and back, not counting the time I’m waiting for the bus. I can get bread and milk and other basics at Family Dollar but not fresh produce. They just remodeled the store near me and it would have been great if they had added a produce department. This neighborhood could really use something like that.

I came out of Family Dollar with my milk and bread and chocolate and toilet paper in my canvas bag and started walking home. It had been raining earlier but the sky was clearing and it was warm and windy. I was walking south and the wind was blowing into my face. From way down the street, I could see a white feather floating on the breeze. It fluttered this way and that. I watched it approach me. It looked like it was coming directly to me. It flew up the street – this lone white feather – and landed at my feet.

If it hadn’t been so windy, I would have taken a picture of the feather at my sandal-clad feet with their red-painted toes but I was afraid that the wind would blow the feather away so I quickly picked it up and put it in my bag and continued on my way home.

When I got home, I took a picture of the feather.

Notice that my feather is white with a black tip. A friend who saw it told me that it fell from my guardian angel’s wing – “Angels wear white!” They do? Really? I thought they dressed in the colors of the rainbow. My feather is white with a black tip because it isn’t from an angel’s wing, it’s from a seagull’s wing. When it gets stormy around here, seagulls come in from the lake shore and fly over the city and suburbs. I knew it was a seagull’s feather as soon as I saw it.

You would think that with all the books and notes I have on divination that I would have something about feathers. Only one book – Discovering Signs and Symbols by Kirsten Riddle – mentions anything at all about feathers and it’s about the “Feather of Maat” and advises the reader on how to cleanse their aura using a feather. She writes, “…take a feather and waft it around your silhouette, making short, sharp movements to brush away any stagnant energy.” (Riddle, 34). What great advice! And how easy is that? There’s also a “Feather of Maat Ritual”.

When I first read this, I thought that it was rather general and that it really didn’t have anything to do with my particular feather but it could be argued that it was the goddess Maat who directed that feather to me – does my aura need cleansing? I would have never thought about this on my own. I mean – this is how the Universe works.

I did look online for “what is means when you find a feather”. I found a lot of “fluffy bunny” stuff. Honestly, most of what I saw online I wouldn’t share with you readers or anyone else. But I did find this one site that I did find informative and thoughtful: http://www.nataliakuna.com – there’s a page dedicated to “Feather Signs & Colour Meanings”.

Natalia writes, “When a feather actually [l]ands at your feet, it is traditionally seen as a positive omen that your calls have been heard and answered.” I thought about the feather landing at my feet and I wondered – which one of my prayers have been heard and answered?

She also says that it’s a “Cosmic Hello”. I really like that.

And she mentions recognizing the bird that the feather is from. Just like I instantly recognized the feather! For instance, seagulls represent freedom. So now I am thinking about how this feather – that literally landed at my feet – is giving me a message of freedom? Right now it seems like I am less free than ever with all my family commitments and obligations. But who knows? Isn’t this the point of divination? To trust in the signs that we see?

After cleansing my aura, I put the feather on the dream-catcher that hangs over my bed. Here’s what that looks like:

The only other thing I need to do now is research the Goddess Maat. I have never had much to do with her but perhaps she is calling to me. At any rate, it can’t hurt to find out who she is and what she may want with me.

Until next month, Brightest Blessings!

Discovering Signs and Symbols: Unlock the Secrets and Meanings of these Ancient Figures

References

Riddle, Kirsten. Discovering Signs and Symbols. London: CICO Books, 2015.

Natalia Kuna. “Feather Signs & Colour Meanings”. http://www.nataliakuna.com/feather-signs–colour-meanings.html.

***

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.

 

 

Notes from the Apothecary

March, 2018

Notes from the Apothecary: Dill

Feathery and fragrant, the herb dill is so much more than just a flavouring for fish dishes or pickles. This magical herb has been used for centuries as a medicine, and as a potent tool for magical practitioners. From a muscle toner for Greek athletes, to a medicine for treating boils, this versatile herb is truly fascinating.

The Kitchen Garden

You can find dill growing wild, so if you manage to harvest a few seeds, or purchase some from your local supplier, you could cultivate a little patch of dill yourself. It likes loose soil with good drainage, and you can plant the seeds directly where you want the herb to grow, ideally in a sunny spot. It’s an annual or biennial, which means that at most each plant lasts two years, or two growing seasons. However, it self-seeds, which means that you should get plenty of fresh seedlings the following spring.

The delightful, tiny yellow flowers are a real draw for bees, butterflies and other essential pollinators, so planting dill will definitely increase the number of visitors to your garden. Conversely, dill helps repel aphids and other pests, making it a great companion plant to cabbages, lettuce and many other food crops.

If you don’t have a garden, or quite frankly, the time and energy to grow herbs, dill is widely available at grocery stores as well as herbal retailers.

For culinary purposes, it’s normally the leaves that we’re talking about. Small amounts of leaves can be cut from each plant, so that you don’t kill the plant by harvesting. If you have more leaves than you need to use immediately, put some in a sandwich bag and pop them in the freezer. Don’t forget to label them!

Dill leaves can be added to salads, cheese (such as cottage cheese), soups and other foods as a garnish and to add flavour. Leaves or seeds can be added to a bottle of vinegar to create a unique, flavoured condiment.

The seeds are also used, primarily for flavouring the liquid that pickles are soaked in. Hence the term ‘dill pickles’.

These are but a very few of the culinary uses of dill. It is used all over the world in dishes from curry to crayfish. Because of this, it is relatively cheap, and very easy to get hold of.

The Apothecary

Charlemagne had dill tea made available for his guests who dined with him, to aid their digestion and prevent hiccups. It has been used as a ‘gripe water’ for infants, helping relieve colic and gas, but obviously don’t feed herbal remedies to children without consulting a pediatrician first.

It is normally the seed of dill that is used medicinally, as it has high amounts of the oil anethol, or anethole, also found in anise and caraway. Mrs Grieves recommended it as a stimulant and for easing stomach issues, flatulence and simply as an aromatic.

Modern research has found that the active oil has antimicrobial properties, which are effective against some bacteria, fungi and yeast. It’s even been found to be effective against salmonella in some instances.

It can also be used as an insecticide, which probably explains why it’s effective at repelling certain unwanted critters in our gardens.

Wash your hands after handling dill and don’t use the oil in massage. It causes photosensitivity so can lead to burning. Don’t take if pregnant or breastfeeding, as it can affect the uterus.

The Witch’s Kitchen

Mrs Grieve notes that during the Middle Ages, dill was used by magicians in spells and in charms against witchcraft. If this is true, we can surmise that there is a protective aspect to dill, particularly against supernatural or magical attack. Dill can be used in a poppet to provide protection to the person you are visualising. You could carry a sprig to ward off negative intentions towards yourself, or sprinkle some seeds around yourself and visualise a wall of light rising up from the seeds, protecting you from all harm.

In the bible, the Scribes and Pharisees are berated for paying a ‘tithe’, or tax of rich goods, but neglecting their morals and ethics. One of the items in the tithe is dill, along with mint and cumin, so we can assume that dill was very valuable. This can be translated magically into using the herb for money spells, perhaps a little in your purse to protect your existing funds, or used in a little pouch with other herbs to draw wealth towards you.

Both Culpeper and Cunningham assert that the plant is ruled by the planet Mercury, which one can also extend to include the god the planet is named for. This reaffirms the wealth and money connection, as the Roman god Mercury is strongly connected to financial gain, especially commerce and trading. He is also associated with eloquence, so dill could be used to help you find the words you need in a tricky situation. Linking the two, a charm made with dill is ideal for a sales person, as it will boost the holder’s communication skills and promote wealth coming to them.

Cunningham also states that placing dill in the cradle protects a child, which most likely links back to the herb having been used in children’s medicine for centuries. A sachet under the mattress where the child cannot reach it, or even under the bed or cot itself would be best for safety.

Home and Hearth

Sprinkle dried or fresh dill leaves or seeds around the boundary of your home to keep out unwanted visitors or negative energy. Walk widdershins (anti-clockwise) whist doing this if you feel there is an existing energy you need to banish. Walk deosil (clockwise) if you are wanting to boost the current mood or atmosphere in your home. You can boost the power of this simple spell by adding elemental energies, if appropriate to your path and beliefs. Sprinkle water, salt for earth, carry a candle for fire and walk the boundary again holding a lit incense stick to represent air. Don’t try and carry them all at once! Juggling candles and incense might seem impressive but actually it just leads to burnt fingers and clothing. If you are not mobile, hold the dill or have it near you, and visualise your energy surrounding your home or sacred space.

Once a year (I would do this at Imbolc as I have the idea of early spring cleaning firmly ingrained in my psyche) sweep the boundary and refresh your protective ward.

I Never Knew…

There is a superstition that burning dill leaves will cause thunderstorms to clear up.

Image Credits: Anethum graveolens by Forest and Kim Starr via Wikimedia Commons, copyright 2007; Dill seeds by Arto Alanenpää via Wikimedia Commons, copyright 2008.

***

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 Ancestors and Pagan Portals: Celtic Witchcraft.

Follow Mabh on TwitterFacebook and her blog.

For Amazon Information Click Images

November Correspondences

November, 2017

 

(Free Graphic from https://www.vecteezy.com)

 

The name is derived from Novem, the Latin word for nine, as November was the ninth month in Rome’s oldest calendar.

 

THE SNOW MOON

 

The ninth month in the old roman calandar.

 

In Celtic traditions it is the beginning of the new year, considered a month of beginnings and endings.

 

Astrological Signs: Scorpio, Sagittarius.

 

Nature Spirits: Banshees and other beings who carry messages between worlds.

 

Herbs: Ginger, hops, wormwood, hussop, patchouli, mugwort, nutmeg, star anise.

 

Colors: Black, white, purple.

 

Flowers: White lily, dahlia, chrysanthemum.

 

Scents: Rosemary, dragons blood, lilac, pine, wisteria.

 

Stones: Topaz, obsidian, onyx, Apache tear.

Trees: Pine, cypress, yew, elder.

 

Animals: Bat, wolf, sow, dog, snake.

 

Birds: Owls, raven, falcon.

 

Deities: Astarte, Calleach, Cerridwen, Circe, Cybele, Freyja, Hathor, Hel, Holda, Horned God, Kali, Maman, Nepthys, Sekhmet

Samhain Correspondences

October, 2017

(Digital Downloadable Samhain Print & Samhain Gift Set available for purchase by Moonglow Magic Shop on Etsy)

 

Other Names:
celtic ~ Summer’s End, pronounced “sow” (rhymes with now) “en” (Ireland), sow-een (Wales) – “mh” in the middle is a “w” sound – Greater Sabbat(High Holiday) – Fire Festival Oct 31-Nov 1(North Hemisphere) – Apr 30-May 1 – The Great Sabbat, Samhiunn, Samana, Samhuin, Sam-fuin, Samonios, Halloween, Hallomas, All Hallows Eve, All Saints/All Souls Day(Catholic), Day of the Dead (Mexican), Witches New Year, Trinoux Samonia, Celtic/ Druid New Year, Shadowfest (Strega), Martinmas or Old Hallowmas (Scotttish/Celtic) Lá Samhna (Modern Irish), Festival of the Dead, Feile Moingfinne (Snow Goddess), Hallowtide (Scottish Gaelis Dictionary), Feast of All Souls, Nos Galen-gae-of Night of the Winter Calends (Welsh), La Houney or Hollantide Day, Sauin or Souney ( Manx), oidhche na h-aimiléise-the night of mischief or confusion(Ireland), Oidhche Shamna (Scotland)

Rituals:
End of summer, honoring of the dead,scrying, divination, last harvest, meat harvest

Incense:
Copal, sandalwood, mastic resin, benzoin, sweetgrass, wormwood, mugwort, sage, myrrh or patchouli

Tools:
Besom, cauldron, tarot, obsidian ball, pendulum, runes, oghams, Ouija boards, black cauldron or bowl filled with black ink or water, or magick mirror

Stones/Gems:
Black obsidian, jasper, carnelian, onyx, smoky quartz, jet, bloodstone

Colors:
Black, orange, red

Symbols & Decorations:
Apples, autumn flowers, acorns, bat, black cat, bones, corn stalks, colored leaves, crows, death/dying, divination and the tools associated with it, ghosts, gourds, Indian corn, jack-o-lantern, nuts , oak leaves, pomegranates, pumpkins, scarecrows, scythes, waning moon

Foods:
Apples, apple dishes, cider, meat (traditionally this is the meat harvest) especially pork, mulled cider with spices, nuts-representing resurrection and rebirth, nuts, pomegranates, potatoes, pumpkins, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, roasted pumpkin seeds, roasted pumpkin seeds, squash.

Goddesses:
The Crone, Hecate(Greek), Cerridwen(Welsh-Scottish), Arianrhod(Welsh), Caillech (Irish-Scottish), Baba Yaga (Russian), Al-Ilat(persian), Bast (Egyptian), Persephone (Greek), Hel(Norse), Kali(Hindu), all Death & Otherworld Goddesses

Gods:
Horned Hunter(European), Cernnunos(Greco-Celtic), Osiris(Egyptian), Hades (Greek), Gwynn ap Nudd (British), Anubis(Egyptian), Coyote Brother (Native American), Loki (Norse), Dis (Roman), Arawn (Welsh), acrificial/Dying/Aging
Gods, Death and Otherworld Gods

Herbs and Flowers:
Almond, apple leaf , autumn joy sedum, bay leaf, calendula, Cinnamon, Cloves cosmos, garlic, ginger , hazelnut, hemlock cones, mandrake root, marigold, mums, mugwort (to aid in divination), mullein seeds, nettle, passionflower, pine needles, pumpkin seeds, rosemary (for remembrance of our ancestors), rue, sage, sunflower petals and seeds, tarragon, wild ginseng, wormwood

Animals:
Stag, cat, bat, owl, jackal, elephant, ram, scorpion, heron, crow, robin

Mythical Beings:
Pooka, goblin,medusa, beansidhe, harpies

Essence:
Magick, plenty; knowledge, the night, death & rebirth, success, protection; rest, new beginning; ancestors; lifting of the veil, mundane laws in abeyance, return, change

Dynamics/Meaning:
Death & transformation, Wiccan new year,wisdom of the Crone, end of summer, honoring, thinning of the veil between worlds, death of the year, time outside of time, night of the Wild Hunt, begin new projects, end old projects

Work:
Sex magick, release of bad habits, banishing, fairy magick, divination of any kind, candle magick, astral projection, past life work, dark moon mysteries, mirror spells (reflection), casting protection , inner work, propitiation, clearing obstacles, uncrossing, inspiration, workings of transition or culmination, manifesting transformation,creative visualization, contacting those who have departed this plane

Purpose:
Honoring the dead, especially departed ancestors, knowing we will not be forgotten; clear knowledge of our path; guidance, protection, celebrating reincarnation

Rituals/Magicks:
Foreseeing future, honoring/consulting ancestors, releasing the old, power, understanding death and rebirth, entering the underworld, divination, dance of the dead, fire calling, past life recall

Customs:
Ancestor altar, costumes, divination, carving jack-o-lanterns, spirit plate, the Feast of the Dead, feasting, paying debts, fairs, drying winter herbs, masks, bonfires, apple games, tricks, washing clothes

Element:
Water

Gender:
Male

Threshold:
Midnight

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