spiritualism

Domestic Garden Witch: When Eggshells Grow

So maybe you’re a college witch with limited space and money, limited to the one window in your dorm. Or, maybe you’re a witch without extensive backyard space who wants to start up a magical garden. Perhaps you’re a kitchen witch who wants the freshest herbs right at her fingertips.

For many witches, having a garden seems to be a bit of a no-brainer. After all, plants and magic go hand-in-hand. Plus, when thinking of a witch, it’s hard not to think of a cottage in the woods with a little vegetable garden out front. Unfortunately for the majority of us, our cottage in the woods is a tiny flat, and our garden out front is a windowsill with limited space.

This is when it comes time to embrace your craftiness and bring your garden indoors! Not only does it place your garden in a convenient location, it also allows you to freshen the air, recycle what would otherwise harm the earth, and embrace your witchy green thumb!

Eggshells for the Garden Witch

The kitchen witch has eggshells piling up on the counter, dried and ready to be ground up for use in protection powders. The garden witch looks at these shells and thinks, “Oh! Fertilizer!”

But if you’re limited in space and have to keep your garden limited to your windowsill, you may find yourself looking at those eggshells and saying “Oh! New pottery!” Not only is creating an eggshell planter a very green practice, but it’s also creative and makes transplanting much easier if you end up having a larger garden later on!

The Container…

Simple enough, you just need mostly intact eggshells. In the picture above, the eggshells are kept in the carton, but I’ve seen eggshells set up decoratively, such as with this picture:

The core of this post is clearly the eggshells, but you can arrange them in whatever way saves space or is aesthetically pleasing!

Carefully fill the emptied eggshell with potting soil. Make an indent in the soil with your finger, and carefully add your seedling before adding a final layer of soil and watering. If you plan on keeping the plants in the eggshells instead of transplanting, you could also carefully poke holes in the bottom of the eggshells so that your plants don’t get over-watered.

How Can I Witch This?

Eggshells alone are extremely protective, and providing your plants with that energy is beneficial. Around Ostara, use died eggshells! Not only will the shells have protective energy, but you’ll be able to use color correspondences and whatever symbols you used for the rite.

Draw symbols or runes of growth, protection, and strength on the shells in order to encourage your plant’s growth!

Bonus points is if you grow protective herbs in the eggshells!

May your harvests always be fruitful!
Blessed Be! )O(

The Domestic Garden Witch: Gardening Without Plants!

So maybe you’re a college witch with limited space and money, limited to the one window in your dorm. Or, maybe you’re a witch without extensive backyard space who wants to start up a magical garden. Perhaps you’re a kitchen witch who wants the freshest herbs right at her fingertips.

For many witches, having a garden seems to be a bit of a no-brainer. After all, plants and magic go hand-in-hand. Plus, when thinking of a witch, it’s hard not to think of a cottage in the woods with a little vegetable garden out front. Unfortunately for the majority of us, our cottage in the woods is a tiny flat, and our garden out front is a windowsill with limited space.

This is when it comes time to embrace your craftiness and bring your garden indoors! Not only does it place your garden in a convenient location, it also allows you to freshen the air, recycle what would otherwise harm the earth, and embrace your witchy green thumb!

Sand and Meditation

Something that often does not cross an individual’s mind when they hear the word “garden” is the thought of a garden without plants, especially where witches are concerned. After all, witches are sometimes known for the sheer amount of herbs and plants they collect (hell, my boyfriend sometimes criticizes the quantity of herbs I have - not my practice, mind you, just the fact that I have over thirty varieties of herbs in large quantities in my witchy drawers). But gardens take all sorts of shapes and sizes, including that of the zen garden, Japanese rock garden, or meditation garden.

Unlike planted gardens, these are minimalist creations designed to help induce meditative thought and relaxation through the use of flowing patterns and stone placement which often are likened to mountains or islands rising up from the sea. They are generally designed as large features which are raked into different patterns each day, but are easily adaptable for the small amount of room our domestic garden witch might have!

Creating Your Garden

As with any indoor garden, perhaps the first thing to look into is the type of container in which you’d like to keep it. In this case, a dish that is wider than it is tall is recommended. Choose either rounded shapes or rectangular shaped dishes that are shallow yet deep enough to hold sand.

Fill this dish with sand - white is traditional, though colored sands can be found in local craft stores or dollar stores - until it is about half full. Select visually appealing stones and set them on the sand.

With a utensil, trace ripples into the sand - flowing lines reminiscent of water are traditional.

If you feel that you want a bit of plant life, small air plants are definitely helpful. Remember to design your garden based on simplicity. Use natural themes and variations in your design to provide an aesthetic that you find appealing.

Tools of the Rock Garden

Typically when you think of a desktop zen garden, you might envision one of the little kits that you can get as a novelty gift at Barnes and Noble. In these kits, there is of course a couple of little rakes - one for smoothing out the sand and one for providing the patterns.

We’re witches on a budget, though, so let’s take a different approach - one similar to what’s pictured above. While it is completely reasonable to use a fork or a pen to make the patterns, you can take bamboo skewers or chopsticks and turn them into rakes using wire. Using these, you can smooth out the sand and rake patterns into it each day or as often as the whim takes you.

How Can I Witch This?

Unlike all of the gardens I’ve written about thus far, this is a garden whose only maintenance depends upon what you need from a meditative standpoint. Its design is not only decorative, but spiritually functional. If you’re a witch who is still fairly closeted and can’t have an altar, gardens such as these make for excellent substitutions, as they can form a sort of sacred space in which you can meditate and focus your intent.

If you’re a crystal witch, these sand gardens are a dream come true! Instead of placing stones, arrange your grids in the sand and use the rake or skewer to draw patterns in the sand to help focus the energy of the stones in your grid!

Draw sigils in the sand based on your intent and either wipe them away with the rake, or incorporate those sigils into the design of the ripples!

Sands come in various colors and grades. Play around with options for your sand! For cleansing, use a fine black sand. For empowerment, use a fiery orange or red. For healing, use white or light blue! The possibilities are near endless!

Of course, I can’t leave out my fellow kitchen witches! Salt is a key feature of the kitchen witch’s lifestyle. So much so, in fact, that in some circles it is believed that it is bad luck to run out of salt. For this reason, you can replace the sand with salt! This has a couple of benefits: first, it’s inexpensive. Second, it acts as a constant cleanser - much like a quartz cluster or a rod of selenite. When the salt has become to crusty to rake into appealing patterns, it has done its work! Dispose of the old salt and replace it with a new batch! (Do not pour the salt outside! This is harmful to the environment! Instead, find a safer way to dispose of the salt - I usually use the salt to clean out my mortar and pestle, then dissolve it in the sink to drain away).

If you use salt in place of sand, you can take the crystal grid concept a step further! Place the crystals in your “salt garden” and rake as you would if it were sand. This provides a way to cleanse your crystals in a way that is also visually appealing!

Consider different ways to make this plant-less garden a magical addition to the dorm or coffee table!

And may your harvests always be bountiful!
Blessed Be! )O(

Mugwort Wanderings on Forgotten Paths


It is on these cold days, where the dim light grows ever stronger and the woods seem to sigh in the evening’s early twilight, that I find myself thinking about the edges of the landscape. That subtle form that is just beyond our reach, just outside of our touch. Those moments we linger at the edge of a glade, or near a fallen tree in the bracken. Hearing the silence that is full of noise, a quiet rush of unexpected sounds hiding under the frequencies of our breath, behind the rustle of the leaves, taunting us from the treetops and river’s edge like a youthful lover.

The walks I take are often accompanied by my pipe. Full of some herbs gathered here or there depending on the time of year (and never tobacco). One herb that I find helps me come closer to the landscape’s edge is Mugwort (artemisia vulgaris).

A timeless herb used by men as far back as we have stories to tell, mugwort is mentioned by name in the Nine Herbs Charm as a favorite of Odin. Listed in herbals since the dawn of printing, mugwort is a versatile herb whose uses range from beer flavoring to medical treatment. But I find that a pipeful of mugwort is a perfect harmonizer with the natural landscape. It has a mild calming effect that syncs ones thoughts to the rustle of the trees, the conversations of the birds and the yawning decay of the forest floor.


“Remember, Mugwort, what you have revealed,
What you set out in mighty revelation,
‘The First’ you are called, oldest of herbs,
You have might against three and against thirty,
You have might against venom and elf-shot,
You have might against the darkness that fares over the land.”

- 'The Nine Herbs Charm’, from the Lacnunga

The entheogenic uses of mugwort are reported as early as Pliny, and throughout Europe its fame as a curative, spirit ward, and tonic are well known. It is in its chemical similarity to its cousin, wormwood (artemisia absinthium), that we find its power. Thujone, an active ingredient that affects the cannibinoid receptors in humans is the culprit responsible for much of the activity reported in absinthe, as well as in mugwort. Little surprise that absinthe was marketed under the title “the Green Fairy”.

There is quite a conscious connection between the shifted paradigm of thujone and the folklore of that land of the sidhe. Mugwort is not strong as far as contemporary entheogens go, but its understated effect is belied by its ability to tune one’s thoughts directly to that shimmering field of energy we stumble upon in forest and seashore. It is a key, able to open the doors in the landscape, for those who seek to walk on the other side of the mirror, so to speak.

After a pipe of mugwort on a winter’s day the landscape opens up, reveals itself like a crack in the world. The birds and trees telling a story, the ferns and fungi preparing a path on which to explore that vast terrain of myth. The sky itself seems to laugh as you glide along, footsteps a drum rhythm beating the skin of the world. A brightness in the air, followed by a listless energy and a desire to explore.

It fades, as all things must, after a short while. We find ourselves once again on this side of the hedge, the sounds of the world familiar again and full of nonsense and pomp. The whispers of the woods having moved on, seeking others who stumble on its forgotten paths.


youtube

I set up a webcam (only 480p, sorry, it’s old), and I’m livestreaming my birdfeeder right now!

I’ll be doing this all afternoon, and I’ve already gotten a few finches! ^_^

(Warning: I’ve left the mic on so you can hear the birds, but you may also hear me playing Stardew Valley, or watching Critical Role, or talking. Haha.)

Edit: Not many birds today, unfortunately! But I’ll keep this going until it gets dark out, and try to start it up again tomorrow.

4

Harry Houdini vs. the Ghost Whisperers,

Today it’s not uncommon for popular magicians to devote their time debunking woo peddlers and bullshit artists like psychics, faith healers, quack doctors, and others selling fakery in order to make a quick and easy buck.  Some examples that easily come to mind are magicians such as Penn and Teller and or course James “The Amazing” Randi.  The tradition of magicians debunking con artists goes back to the legendary Harry Houdini, who in the 1920′s made it a personal crusade to shut down spiritualists who claimed to be able to communicate with the dead.

In the late 19th and early 20th century spiritualism was reaching the height of its popularity.  Spiritualists claimed that they could communicate with the dead, often through a ritual called a seance. People would sit around a table in a dark room with a medium, and during the seance odd events would happen. The table would move without any noticeable force acting on it, weird sounds would be emitted from the walls, sometimes strange lights and apparitions would appear, or people could feels phantom objects brushing up against them. The medium would then convey a message from a dead loved one, and with all the paranormal things that occurred a client, who often paid a large sum of money, was left doubtless that the whole event was legit. As a result, spiritualist mediums became superstars of the day, and thousands of people believed that they were the real deal.

Harry Houdini despised mediums, recognizing their fraudulent methods as mere tricks and carny trash. Houdini himself once dabbled in spiritualism, but quit when he found using trickery to take money from grieving people extremely distasteful.  Houdini was also a grieving man who had a close relationship with his mother who passed away in 1913. It angered him to no end that such flim flammers, con artists, and frauds were preying upon innocent people who just wanted to talk to their loved ones again. Thus, in the 1920′s Houdini set out on a personal crusade to expose the mediums as humbuggery. 

Thus in the 1920′s Houdini cut back on his magic and escape acts and being hosting special shows where he would expose mediums. He did this by offering a cash prize if any medium could prove that their claims were true.. Often the medium would come on stage in front of an audience, demonstrating his or her powers and creating wondrous supernatural feats.  Houdini would then come on stage and replicate those feats with equal of even better quality, then reveal how they were done. It was through this method that Houdini was able to debunks dozens of popular spiritualist mediums, as well as other tricksters like Jaquin Argamasilla, a Spanish man who claimed he could see the numbers on dice through a box with his “X-ray eyes”.

Unfortunately Houdini’s crusade against the mediums cost him one of his best friends, author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who was a passionate believer in spiritualism. Doyle believed that Houdini was a genuine medium who was using his powers to eliminate his competition. 

Today in celebration of Houdini’s crusade, magicians often hold mock seances in honor of Houdini.  Houdini’s offering of cash prizes would also become inspiration for James Randi’s “Million Dollar Challenge”, which is offered to anyone who has paranormal or supernatural claims. No one has every successfully claimed the prize.