Friday, June 17, 2011

Spices Part II

So many, many spices full of so much magical potential.  It's been hard to pick just a few of these to write about each time.  Of course, it does keep you coming back too. ;)

Bay leaves were burned at the Oracle at Delphi to induce visions in one of Apollo's priestesses.  Today they are more commonly found in your stockpot. Bay leaves are protective , purifying and healing.  Drop some into your favorite soup recipe when you and your family are under the weather.

Lemon Balm attracts love and bees.  Helps with magical healing ceremonies and inspires success.  Drop a leaf into your ice tea or add some to a summer bouquet and take it to work for a little inspiration to succeed.

Celery Seed, delicious in stuffing or tuna salad, increases mental powers, inspires lust (who knew, right?) and strengthens psychic abilities.

Thyme is so common and so easy to grow.  Around here, it's a frequent landscaping plant.  Thyme is used for healing and to induce sleep (funny how those two activities often go hand in hand), but it also increases psychic powers and can be used to purify the energy of a space, much like sage bundles are.  Tuck a twig into your broom before you start sweeping to banish bad energy.

Pepper was once so precious that the world fought over control of its trade.  Now it's pretty common for most of us.  Sprinkle a little pepper around the house to protect against spirits or exorcise a ghost.  Or, like the beloved children's poet, Shel Silverstien wrote, "Always Sprinkle pepper in your hair".

Happy  kitchen witching!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

13 Common Household Fortunetelling Tools and Methods

Here is another great post that I found on Temple Illuminatus.  The author, Lady Wisdom, has graciously allowed me to re-post here.  I think these are excellent information for the witch in all of us.  If you'd like to contact the author, email her at

13 Common Household Fortunetelling Tools and Methods

1) A needle and thread.
Did you ever do this to determine the sex of a baby in a pregnant woman? Thread a needle with at least 6 or 8 inches of thread and hold the end of the thread above a reclining momma to be’s belly. The needle will begin to move. If it moves in a circle, it’s a girl in there. If it swings back and forth in a straight line, it’s a boy.
This simple pendulum will work for divining yes or no answers as well. For me, the line is a “no” and a circle means “yes”, but it’s best to see how a pendulum will work for you by sounding or testing the pendulum. Holding it again by the end of the string with the needle above your opposite hand ask it to show you yes, then no.

2) Almost any pendant type necklace may be used the same way. Try using a piece that is special- a gift from a loved one or an heirloom.

3) Dowsing for lost items.
Use any wire coat hanger for this. Some people say a plastic hanger will work, but I don’t seem to be able to connect with plastic. I like to straighten the hook first, but if you’re in a hurry, (you know; when you’ve misplaced your car keys and are late for an appointment) don’t bother. Hold the coathanger loosely by the points (where the shoulders of a shirt would rest) with hook or straightened hook pointing in front of you. Focus on the lost item as you walk around the house with your dowsing hanger. The end will point you in the direction of your lost item.

4) Bibliomancy, Chartomancy or Stitchomancy.
Pick up a book; any book. As your question as you open the book at random and read the passage or paragraph of the first word or line to catch your eye. It is your answer.

5) Cromniomancy
This is a form of divination that has been historically practiced across Europe, Asia and Africa. There are a number of ways to do it and all you need is a couple of onions and a knife or pointed tool. Having trouble deciding between 2 lovers or 2 or more courses of action? Inscribe an onion each with the name or choice and place them on your altar or a kitchen basket. Watch them for a few days. Whichever one sprouts first and most is the one that indicates your answer. Cromniomancy may also be used to check on the health and well being of distant loved ones. Inscribe an onion with your loved one’s name and again watch for the sprouts. Fat healthy and numerous sprouts are a sign of your loved one’s good health and well being.

6) Marbles, buttons or colored glass globs.
Choose 4 items of identical or very similar shape and size, but 2 each of different colors and place all 4 in a closed container like a bag. Assign a value of yes and no to each color. Meditate for a moment on your yes/no question. Pull 2 items from the bag. 2 of the same color is a firm yes or no, while one of each is a maybe or unclear/unknown answer.

7) Scrying with water method #1 (for any of the water methods one may use tap water, spring or rain water (I love rain water), sea water or water left under a full moon to charge.)
Choose a bowl without decoration. A single, solid color is best. Glass or ceramic is good and so is wood. Fill it with water and gaze into it past your reflection while concentrating on your question or the person you wish to divine.

8) Scrying with water method #2
Take a small mirror without an enclosed backing on it. Pour enough water on the mirror to wash across it. Discern your answer there.

9) Scrying with water method #3
Ice scrying. Use an ice cube. This method is much like crystal gazing. You can also freeze water in a bowl for a larger scrying surface.

10) Scrying with fire method #1
A candle flame is small, but serviceable.

11) Scrying with fire method #2
Be careful with this one. A cast iron pan or dutch oven may be placed on a fireproof surface. Choose a pot with a tightly fitting lid or have some baking soda nearby to extinguish the fire if needed. Pour a half cup of rubbing alcohol into the vessel and light. (Some folks say that 151 Rum or other strong spirits work well. Ol’ Auntie doesn’t drink these days, but when I did I would have called that alcohol abuse! Hee hee) The smokeless blue flames make for very meditative and trance inducing scrying.

12) Scrying with fire method #3
Hold a piece of parchment (or copier paper) above a candle flame, close enough to become discolored with soot, but not close enough to burn. Discern your answers in the smokey sigils left on the paper.

13) Ol’ Auntie’s Random Handful Tried and True method of divination for any situation.
Got pasta? Macaroni, shells, spaghetti. Beans? Dried pinto, lima, split peas or lentils. A pinch of thyme? A handful of sand or dirt in the garden, the shed hair pulled from your own hairbrush or your dog brush… you get the idea. Toss it. If it’s a lively sort of material like dried beans you might want to toss it on a big platter or cookie sheet. I use this one often while cooking as I toss a couple pinches of herbs into the pot. Check out the shapes, the symbols that your toss makes. if you have trouble visualizing or telling your stories from the shapes, take a piece of paper and write words or symbols on it and then toss. See where things land. Get your answers.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Cranky, tired, or downright mean?

I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning, and I've been snapping and snarling since.  A walk in the sunshine just made me crabbier, because everything looks so, well, cheerful.  Days like this, I know I need to take a minute and re-balance. This is my daytime ritual for dealing with this overabundance of meanness.

Start with an orange (or orange juice or orange oil).  The scent of citrus helps improve mood, so take a whiff. Breathe in deeply and slowly.  Do feel the tension easing?

Now that you've loosened up a bit.  Close your eyes, take deep, slow breaths and picture your root chakra, which should be red.  Imagine long, thin, quick hands picking out any debris or discolorations in your root chakra.  Once you've done this.  Flood your chakra with red light and adjust it's size to a comfortable level (I like mine to be about the size of a large naval orange).  Repeat this process with all of chakras- the orange sacral chakra (below your navel above your pelvis); the yellow solar plexus (between your ribs); the heart chakra is green or pink); the blue throat chakra, the violet third eye and finally, the white crown.  All of these should be adjusted to the same size after cleansing, don't worry about fitting it all inside your body, either.

The finally step, is to surround yourself with a thin, reflective bubble of crystalline energy, that protects you from further imbalances for the day.

Once you get used to balancing your chakras, this entire process will take only a couple of minute, so you can repeat it anytime you need.  I find this is a great way to keep my cool when I get in this sort of mood.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Superstitions, nursery rhymes and folk tales

If you are of English descent, or grew up in the United States, you are probably familiar with both Grimm's Fairy Tales, the collected fairy tales of Charles Perrault and Mother Goose.  These old pieces of folklore preserve tidbits about life, as it was, generations ago; and along with little glimpses of life in the past, small magical charms and omens are saved too. I thought I'd share some of my favorite "witchy" nursery rhymes.

Folk omens abound nearly everywhere in the world.  This rhyme, that is still frequently quoted, ties the day of a child's birth to future traits.  This is one of several versions.

A Week of Birthdays

Monday's child is fair of face,
Tuesday's child is full of grace,
Wednesday's child is full of woe,
Thursday's child has far to go,
Friday's child is loving and giving,
Saturday's child works hard for its living,
But the child that's born on the Sabbath day,
Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay.

In a time when most people's livilihoods were tied to the seasons, the planting and harvests.  Little rhymes and traditions about the meaning of weather during a particular time or the succession of flowers blooming in the spring were a way of predicting the future season's outcome.

March Winds

March winds and April showers
Bring forth May flowers.

Did you know you can predict the future by sneezes?


If you sneeze on Monday, you sneeze for danger;
Sneeze on a Tuesday, kiss a stranger;
Sneeze on a Wednesday, sneeze for a letter;
Sneeze on a Thursday, something better.
Sneeze on Friday, sneeze fro sorrow;
Sneeze on Saturday, joy tomorrow. 

This is a bit of folk magic that lives on in nursery rhymes.  May 1st, also known as Beltane or May Day, was once an important holiday about fertility.  This charm involves dawn (a time for renewal, newness and beauty) with the ancient and well known celebration of the earth's fertility.

The First of May

The fair maid who, the first of May,
Goes to the fields at break of day,
And washes in dew from the hawthorn-tree,
Will ever after handsome be.

This rhyme is thought by some feminist scholars to preserve, via a process of historic preservation called palimpsest  some of the beliefs of a once thriving goddess tradition.  A cock horse can be equated with that ancient magical household tool, the broom.  Once you get that image in your head, it's not hard to see the witches riding to Banbury Cross to see a shining goddess riding a white horse on her seasonal journey through the land.  Other scholars attribute the poem to a young lady riding in the May Day parade or to Lady Godiva.

Banbury Cross

Ride a cock-horse to Banbury Cross,
to see an old lady upon a white horse.
Rings on her fingers and bells on her toes,
She shall have music wherever she goes.

Think back to your childhood.  What other pieces of preserved folk magic can you find?  I know these are some of my fondest memories of childhood play.  I even used by nursery rhymes as spells when I was pretending.  Maybe, it's no accident I believe in magic, huh?