the element of air stands out from the other elements.
all of the other elements; earth, fire, water, are all visible, and touchable (dont burn ya self lol)
air however, is only visible as it shakes the tree tops, and turns the leafs rustling into music
as such, people often have a harder time finding ways to incorporate the element of air into their craft.
here are a few easy and simple ideas for that;
🍃this can be done everywhere, on your way to work, or in the comfort of your garden;
notice the way your lungs expand with each breath. visualize the pure air, cleansing your body and mind of all troubles bothering you. this is very effective if you´ve had a particularly bad day at work or school, and have no way to leave the situation making you uncomfortable
🍃notice the sound the leafs and grass makes, as they are touched by the wind
really tune into the sound. hum along to the breeze (the little folk really enjoys this as well), if you want to, you can even make a little song out of the melody. i used to this a lot when i were a child. you really get in contact with your inner child.
🍃dancing. yes it sounds silly and it sure is! (this is also something the faery folk likes), but feeling the way the wind touches your body, and letting it sway you is both fun and a very good way of bonding.
🍃on car rides, particularly hot days, sticking you hand out the way and notice how the wind braids itself around your fingers, now try moving your hand and fingers in different ways, it is a really good calming method, if you´re feeling annoyed as well.
🍃opening your windows, and letting new air in. sit and notice how the atmosphere slowly changes.
🍃if it´s a stormy day out, i like to visualize the wind going trough me, encouraging bravery and strength, this always makes me feel very powerful, and witchy
🍃doing spells in stormy weather, particularly ones for strength, courage or curses is a super good way to get you in the mood, and gives an extra energy boost to the spell
Bolotnitsa (rus. болотница “the swamp maiden”) — an evil spirit of the swamps. Unlike rusalkas (russian water spirits, analog of mermaids) bolotnitsa was alomst indistinguishable from mortal women (in other words, she had, hmm, flesh. I just can’t come up with any English word describing an evil spirit, which is not exactly the spirit but some sort of zombie). She was traditionally pictured as an unbelievably beautiful dark-haired woman sitting on enormous water lily with her legs under her. In this way she was hiding her frog (or sometimes goose) legs. If any misfortunate soul dared walking near the swamp, bolotnitsa did her best to persuade the person to come near the water by cries for help, pleas, words of kindness. If person couldn’t resist bolotnitsa’s charm and stepped into the water, she strangled and drowned them immediately.
Would you happen to have any suggestions on books about witchcraft written by a black author?
Yes I do! Here are a few that I own and/or have read and loved. What makes me love all of them is that they all start with a preface/mention throughout the book that they know everyone will consume these books and try to practice these spells, but the knowledge is still and always will be BLACK AF, rooted deeply in Blackness, and will NEVER be divorced from Blackness:
Rootwork: Using the Folk Magick of Black America for Love, Money, and Success by Tayanna Lee McQuillar: This one is good for quick and dirty spells, which are my fave. I love rituals, too, but I never have time for that lol.
The Village of the Water Spirits: The Dreams of African Americans by Michael Ortiz Hill with Mandaza Augustine Kandemwa: This book is a perfect example of how spirituality is a major theme of Black lives and how “witchcraft” as a term does such a poor job of describing or defining what we do. Like this book is not directly about witchcraft, but it is tho. Very well done, sourced, and researched.
Sticks, Stones, Roots, & Bones: Hoodoo, Mojo, & Conjuring with Herbs by Stephanie Rose Bird: This one is a really good hoodoo source. The spells in here are a little more advanced and she really knows her stuff.
Many poets, and all mystic and occult writers, in all ages and countries, have declared that behind the visible are chains on chains of conscious beings, who are not of heaven but of the earth, who have no inherent form but change according to their whim, or the mind that sees them. You cannot lift your hand without influencing and being influenced by hoards. The visible world is merely their skin. In dreams we go amongst them, and play with them, and combat with them. They are, perhaps, human souls in the crucible–these creatures of whim.
Nature isn’t just the beauty of the moon or the wonder of the new shoots that grow, the beauty of animals, trees and stars.
Nature is the cancer that killed your loved one (made so exhausted, so pain-filled, so scared), the chemical imbalance in your brain causing your depression, the plague that wiped out 1/3 of Europe or more. The genetic mutations that make so many people’s lives short, excruciating, exhausting.
Nature is the fury of the elements, the wild fires, hurricanes and tsunamis that have killed millions of people. Nature is the drought that makes the crops fail and takes the lives of Africans slowly, painfully, year upon year.
Nature is the meaninglessness of death. Nature is the piglet that was accidentally crushed by its mother, the baby elephant rejected to die alone, the walrus pup that dies because there was no ice block near enough for it to rest upon.
Nature is not forgiving. Nature is not kind. Nature is not fair.
Life giver. Death bringer. To truly love nature you must face the truth eye to eye and accept all of it. Can you?
from books, articles, tumblr posts, videos, sermons, podcasts…
about nature, yourself, life, dreams…
work through spiritual questions
what do you believe about: divinity, death, your purpose, your values, nature….
create chants, spells, songs…
plan your garden or yard
use it like a diary - write about your personal life
draw, doodle, paint, collage…
make goals & track progress
record family/friend stories
describe spiritual experiences or places
There is no wrong way to do this!
I know many folk aim towards One Finished Book of Knowledge, but… I am partial towards a messy, developing, work-in-progress sort of journal. A place where I work-out and record thoughts and questions, where I can see my own developing search for answers and understanding evolve in messy words, jotted thoughts, doodled-drawings and lengthy notes. My way may not be yours, but I wish you well with whatever style of spiritual journal you begin.
I have found the practice of journaling incredibly helpful in all areas of my life - and I reckon spiritual journals are helpful to other folk too.
Can’t get enough of this album lately. I know Om started out as a stoner/doom band, but honestly I feel this category would be an insult to this album, since it features so many progressive, psychedelic and folk/world music elements!!!
It’s both relaxing and exciting at the same time. The drums are absolutely exquisite and I feel that every song has a good combination of atmosphere and attention to detail.
Plus, to all my fellow goths out there - some songs might remind you of earlier Sopor Aeternus, more the reason to give this album a listen!
We get a lot of asks from brand new witches requesting resources or guidance on ‘where to start,’ and finally decided to write a single post that condenses our ideas and advice in one convenient place. This isn’t the be all/ end all of witchy resources, but it’s a place to start!
First off, the big question:
Who Can Be A Witch?
We run into this one a lot. And the absolute final answer from both Mme Hearth Witch and EstFortis is that as far as we are concerned…
A witch is a witch regardless of gender, ethnicity, ability, sexual orientation or any other limit that people try and place on the craft. It is a practice, witchCRAFT, and not a religion. Therefore it should not be gatekept like many religions can be.
That said, many folks include spirituality and religion as a part of their path. It’s important to note that certain traditions and cultures within the umbrella of witchcraft will have guidelines and it is important to be respectful of that.
But it is not required, and many witches are firmly in the atheist or agnostic categories.
You are also 100% allowed to just decide you are a witch. As said, witchcraft is not a religion, so unlike initiatory traditions (Wicca and Druidism come to mind) you want to be a witch, be a witch!
There are no special powers, no birthright, no requirement of a family lineage.
Alright, so now that we have that sorted out… Our advice.
1. Read it all. The good, the bad, and the wtf?!
Reading only things you’re inclined to agree with means you often aren’t reading with a discerning mind. You trust the author/source and you take it all in like a sponge. Now, there’s a time and a place for that kind of teaching, but there is always space for discernment,
Which brings us to the bad and the wtf. Keeping your reading options open means you’re going to expose yourself to many different ways of thinking. I can think of no greater approach to a witchcraft practice than this. You’ll learn what sort of things don’t resonate with you, and how to pick gems out of otherwise second-rate material. And all the while, you’ll be defining exactly what it means to you to be a witch.
2. Learn to cleanse
We don’t just mean showers, although those are great, and you can totally do magic in the shower. We mean from a magical standpoint.
Ever walk into a room and just feel your mood/emotions take a nose dive? Like, the tension, stress and gloom is almost physically palpable? On the flip side, have you ever entered a space and immediately felt relaxed? These two situations demonstrate some of the most mundane magic we can imagine. While the latter is desirable, and the goal of hearth witches like MmeHW and EstFortis (and other kinds of witches too, but your witch mums are big fans of hearthcraft, lol), the first is a something we want to deal with.
Even if the energy levels haven’t reached peak doom and gloom we can still address it. And it’s preferable to deal with it early and often, instead of letting it build anyway!
There are a few different ways to go about this, but we’ll cover a few. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and part of being a witch is to figure out what works for you :)
It’s basically impossible to magically clean a space that is physically dirty and cluttered. While magical cleaning can help clear some negative energy and give us a push to tidy up, a “proper” cleansing requires a space free from cobwebs and clutter.
Smoke Cleansing or Recaning
You may come across this practice under the term smudging however smudging is term from a closed practice belonging only to Native American people. When studying and practicing, be wary of cultural appropriation, and when it doubt, do your research.
Smoke cleansing is often done using sage, however there’s no need to limit yourself. Some alternatives are:
Rattles can be great when the energy of an area is making you feel antsy. Or if the energy feels very stuck. A lot can be used as a rattle: some popcorn seeds, beans, etc in a glass jar makes a simple one. Or you can get more elaborate and make something special. Bells also work in much the same way as rattles!
If you want one example of how exactly to cleanse an area, EstFortis’ method is outlined here.
3. Learn to shield/protect
Again, this is an area where there are so many different ways to go about it. But here is Mme Hearth’s favorite technique:
Starting at your core, visualize energy coming from the earth and wrapping around you.
Move your hand up your body, as if you were zipping yourself up. That energy still flowing around you, sealing yourself off from “outside”. Continue until the energy has moved over your head. I shake my hand a bit, to release the extra energy, and proceed with my day, wrapped in my little snug cocoon of energy.
4. Cultivate a daily practice
Witchcraft doesn’t exist solely in the big elaborate rituals, or a life which resembles a #witchaesthetic post on instragram. Indeed, it rarely looks like that. There’s a time and a place to bust out the big guns, but both of us here at Witch Mums have found that a daily, meaningful practice that incorporates witchcraft into our daily lives rather than being “other” has been the best way to establish a long term practice. A fancy grimoire and altar are all well and good, but not if they never get used because it takes too much effort.
Little things like the daily shower magic mentioned above, or decorating the house seasonally and making an effort to eat seasonal/local food can do a lot to help a person feel more “witchy”.
Take a moment in the morning to set an intention for the day. Reflect on the energy of the day before you sleep. Make note of the phases of the moon and align to do lists and tasks to match the energy of the lunar cycle.
5. Question everything
Even this post. Skepticism is the corner stone of any solid practice. Before you include something in your practice, give it a think. Spend time considering WHY you want to include it, and what it means to you. Don’t just add things because you read about it and they sound cool. While this is easy to do, especially in the early, excitable days, it’s not a great way to develop a meaningful practice in the long run.
And it’s worth mentioning here again, be wary of cultural appropriation. Just because you read about a practice somewhere, or see it… doesn’t mean it’s right for you to adapt that practice into your beliefs. There’s being an eclectic witch, and then there’s being part of the oppression of poc around the globe. Be the first, not the second.
We hope this helps. We’re always willing to answer specific questions of course, or go deeper into any aspect of this. But as a general “Where do I start learning to be a witch?” this covers most of it.
Summary of an
overheard conversation from a coffee shop that I thought was
interesting. It took place between an older black man and his white
Black Man: … Okay, another thing-
Why is it black guys only get cast as good guys?
White Man: Haha, wait, you want
more black people to be cast as bad guys? Anyway, that’s not true,
I’ve seen black bad guys In movies.
Black Man: No it is true! It is.
Name me one black supervillian, can you name me one right now?
White Man: Uhhh….
Black Man: See, there it is, you
can’t even name one!
White Man: Haha I bet I could
name one, but I’d need a minute
Black Man: No, see, it’s like,
people are afraid to cast a black guy as a villain, because they
don’t wanna say “black guys are villains” and then have everyone
up their ass about killing the guy at the end. But see, that’s messed
up because, that’s just less work for all the black actors out there.
Isn’t nobody gonna be mad if like, some black dude was cast as the
next ‘Darth Vader’ or some shit like that, I know a ton of black
dudes who’d be like “Oh shit, yeah, check it out, the mother
fucking new Darth Vader is a brother!” Who doesn’t want to be Darth
White Man: Aaah I see what
Black Man: Right?
White Man: So you’re saying
like, liberals in Hollywood are going out of their way trying to
protect black people in stupid ways, and they’re actually making
things worse at times.
Black Man: Exactly! Exactly, and
it’s like, you can feel all of Hollywood, all of the media trying to
tip-toe around you and shit, like, you can feel people “trying not
to offend you” in the dumbest fucking ways, man. And they’re
missing the bigger point-
White Man: Which is?
Black Man: The bigger point is-
Black dudes don’t need to be treated special. You don’t have to try
not to kill motherfuckers in a movie if they’re black, especially if
that means you’re gonna end up putting less black people in the
movie. You just have to like, make an attempt, to see that they’re
included. That’s it-
White Man: I see-
Black Man: -That’s all. Because
there are black villains in real life.
White Man: Right.
Black Man: And white ones, and
Asian ones, and everything else. So go ahead on, and throw that shit
in there, put in your bad guys of the various races, just make sure
that ALL you’re showing of any one race isn’t just as villains or
something. Like you don’t want it to be where like: the only Chinese
dudes you ever see in a movies are, like, bank robbers or some stupid
shit like that.
White Man: Yeah. I know we’ve
seen that problem before in movies, where like one race is always
cast a certain way, and it may not necessarily even be a cultural
stereotype, it’s almost like a movie convention. Things like the
“Magical Black Man” or whatever-
Black Man: Right, mhmm, the
“Magical Negro”, yep that’s a thing. That came out of voodoo
White Man: Out of voodoo?
Black Man: Yeah, back in the
slave days, when slaves were coming over from Africa with African
religions, then slowly mixing Christianity into it, it made a
different type of worship. That’s where black people starting getting
that reputation as “all spiritual” and shit like that, it’s
because slaves were throwing in all that “African mysticism” and
shit into their Christianity. So that Magical Negro thing is a bit of
a stereotype from black culture, that’s why people are mad. It’s
like, the helpful Black Servants that’s all ‘deep and spiritual’ is
helping White Folks, some people see it as a remnant from those
White Man: Oh wow.
Black Man: That’s
just the most negative viewpoint of it though, I’m not saying that’s
what I believe. That’s just what the people that hate that character
the most think. Personally, I just think it’s one of those things
that started happening in movies, like everything else. Someone saw a
magical black person the first time it was done, and was like “Okay,
that worked in that movie, I’ll put that in mine.” And so on. Maybe
at some point too, people started to be like “Oh! I can squeeze a
black person in this movie! I’ll get this shit made cause the troupe
works, and I’ll get extra points for squeezing a black person in
White Man: Hahaha
Black Man: Yeah, but that whole
magical Nergo thing dosen’t really bother me, as long as there are
other roles too. So long as black guys are getting the villian roles
too, they can keep the magical negro role, that’s alright with me.
(beat) I’ll tell you what does get me though, is these
superhero, Sci-Fi, fantasy movies.
White Man: What
like the Avengers?
Black Man: Yeah Avengers, Hunger
Games, fucking, Avatar and whatever, all that.
Avatar had Zoe Saldana in it, she was co-starring.
Man: Well, Avatar maybe was a bad example-
Hunger Games too, I’m not saying there couldn’t be even more
black people represented, but I think there was a whole village that
was almost exclusively black in that movie, so you can’t say they
weren’t represented at all.
Black Man: Yeah… well
you might have me on that one. I guess some is never enough you know,
more black people, load em up!
White Man: Hahaha, just
the whole cast just-
Black Man: Haha sure, I
wouldn’t mind seeing that a time or two outside of a Tyler Perry
movie. But it doesn’t need to be all black, all the time, other races
are good too, I like watching white people on screen. Lots of great
white actors- love Bruce Willis and shit-
White Man: Haha, I’m just teasing
Black Man: I guess what I was saying with the
superhero/sci-fi thing, and I can’t really think of a good example,
so maybe it’s not as common as I thought, but it’s where people have
some rationale for why all the people in a movie would be white. For
example, you might have a movie about Superheros, and someone will
come out like “Well, they’re all from this certain fictional
country, which is mostly white” And I’m like “It’s fictional!
It’s a location you made up! Can you not make up some black people in
that country?” It’s like, you can have people leaping over cars, or
space aliens blowing shit up, but a black guy in a space suit would
rip you out of the movie?
White Man: You know, you’re
right in that I think I’ve heard logic along those lines before, but
I’m having trouble thinking of an example.
Yeah, well anyway, more black Darth Vaders, that’s the main