I share a very small room with my sister, and obviously don’t have much room for an altar. I use most of my space for my Hellenic shrines and altar. I keep my witchy stuff on my shared bedside table. Here is what I use, and how I store/display it. This is element based, but you can use it however you like.
Small Himalayan Rock Salt Lamp - This is a tool I use all the time. It detoxifies my room, and cleanses the space. I feel so much more at ease with it on, like it’s washing everything away!
Crystals - You might want to move these or switch them out depending on what spell you’re doing, as all energy contributes to the working, but while you’re in your room, or even while you’re away, you can leave these here to represent Earth.
Salt - Little packets of salt work, or you can place a bowl with some salt in it on your altar. I use my rock salt lamp.
Dirt - A literal baby jar of dirt works, or you can put a plant on your altar if it’s by a window. I have a succulent!
Earth Imagery - A mini globe would be pretty cool! Or even a little eraser or what not. Having an actual picture of the Earth would be amazing, especially if the clouds were visible, and maybe if it had the sun in the background. Then it could be all encompassing of the elements.
Herbs, Flowers, Plants, etc - As with the crystals, you may want to change these out or put them away during spells, or switch them out. However, they would look really cool as you went with the seasons!
Fossils - I think fossils are awesome Earth representations. They have been in the ground for a very long time! I used to have some really cool fossils I used to represent Earth on my altar.
Tree Slice - Have you ever seen those little wooden slices that come from a tree stump? The ones that definitely had huge roots? Those would be perfect to represent Earth!
Birthday Candles/Tea Lights - You can colour code! These are great for short workings, or even to call the elements. To make these stand up, place them in a bit of clay and let it harden.
Matches - Double whammy here- light your candles and have a representation!
Ash - I used to have volcanic ash, which was perfect. It got spilled, but for the while that I had it, it was awesome. Collect ash from incense, a fire, etc, and use it (just wait for it to cool!!!)
Charcoal - I always thought charcoal looked kinda witchy. I think a dish of it would make a good rep.
Charred Wood - If you have a bonfire, or just so happen to light a piece of wood on fire, you could let it cool and use it for your altar.
Lamp - If you have a secret altar, a little lamp could be an inconspicuous representation for fire, as it does produce light and heat.
Lantern - You can buy super cute mini lanterns at the Dollar Store. I love them, but haven’t gotten one yet. I think they would be fun to use for Fire.
Glass of Water - You can use whatever type of water you’d like; moon water, rose water, purified water, gem elixir; take your pick! Just make sure it doesn’t get moldy and stay moldy. Change it out each day/week.
Sea Shells - You can get these in super small sizes! Or, you can get them big and bulky.
Sea Glass - These little stone-like fragments are so pretty! They look just like crystals, and can be found on the beach or in the store!
Sea Salt - Sea Salt could work to represent Water, especially if you pour it into a seashell or add in sea glass to it. It could be like a little potpourri of water related objects!
Rain Cloud - You can create clouds out of things like stuffing for toys, cotton balls, and sometimes led lights. It could be a fun project, or you can buy one of them off of etsy.
Mermaid Image - I have a mermaid book mark made of metal, and it sits with my other water-related objects. I feel like it adds that feel of majesty to my water representation.
Drift Wood - This is so pretty! The pieces are smooth, have a fun shape, and definitely capture the essence of water!
Sand - If you go to a beach, collect some sand, and place it somewhere on your altar! Be sure to put it in a bowl, though, because it is hard to clean up.
Sea Weed - You can hang this somewhere, or put it directly on your altar. Either way, it looks great.
Coral - If you find some coral, you can place it on your altar. It looks so neat!
Starfishes/Sand Dollars/etc. - These are a little harder to find on the beach, but if you do, place them on your altar.
Wind Chimes - These add a little decoration to your altar, as well as give you an air representaiton. You can even listen for the tinkling of bells to see if any fae are around!
Bells - If you ring a bell, it disperses stagnant energy, and helps to cleanse a space. Having one on your altar is a great way to keep it fresh!
Feathers - This is a pretty obvious one, an oldie but a goodie. If you have some feathers, you can use them, but make sure there are no laws against collecting them in your area. Alternatively, you can use fake ones from a craft store.
Empty Glass or Bottle - Air is all around us. Use that to your advantage!
Dandelion Puff - This is what I immediately think of when I picture the wind. You can collect some puffs and put them in a glass.
Bird’s Nest (fake) - You can buy or make a fake bird’s nest. They look pretty real, and have this awesome rustic naturey vibe to them!
Leaves - They were once high in the sky! Collect them during the fal season or after a storm.
Incense - Another well-known one. You can burn this and use the smoke.
Tornado Making Jar - You know those little jars that you can shake up, and they make a tornado? Those would be a fun water-air duo!
Small Jewelry Box - This can store crystals, herbs, essential oils, etc. I use to use mine to cleanse my crystals becuase it played music!
Multi Colour Light-Up Candle - I found mine at Five Below! It lights up in tons of different colours, but is pretty large. However, it takes up a lot less room than a bunch of different coloured candles.
Your Wand - Having your wand on your altar makes it a sacred, special tool. It will be charged by the witchy items you have there, and will feel natural inn the environment.
A Mini Besom or Real Besom (Broom) - I use a paintbrush as a mini besom, as I can’t have real one. However, it would be nice if I did, and I’d keep it near my altar!
Your Grimoire/Spellbook/BOS/etc - If you aren’t hiding it, you could keep it on your altar!
A Fire-Safe Dish or Cauldron - If you water scry, burn things, or just like to include your cauldron in your spells, you can keep it on your altar.
Incense Tray - Incense can’t be burned without somewhere to place it. Keep your incense holder handy!
Altar Cloth - This ties everything together! It can be switched out for sabbats/festivals/seasons/spells.
Chalice - I’m not Wiccan, but I use the chalice in my workings every once in a while, usually for water-related magic. You can get these beautiful metal ones at antique stores, or regular old wine glasses at the dollar store!
Mortar and Pestle - For practical use and an awesome vibe! You can keep this near your herbs.
Coloured/Enchanted Salts - They display beautifully,and are really good to have on hand.
Spirit Vessels - These can go in their own little corner if you like. They could also be the center of your altar, especially if you work mainly with spirits.
Tarot/Other Cartomancy Cards - Find a nook for your cards to be kept safe and clean. They will be charged by the other objects all around it, which makes it an awesome idea to have on your altar.
Scrying Mirror - Make this the main attraction, or perhaps just a piece of the puzzle. If you have an ornate mirror, it could be a very drawing part of your altar!
Crystal Ball - Like the scrying mirror, it could be a background piece or the focal point.
Runes - If you cast runes, you can keep your bag or box of them on or near your altar.
Other Divination Tools - You cans store these, or just la them throughout your altar. Whatever you choose, having your tools close by will be awesome!
Twig Shapes - You can make sigils out of twigs and hot glue! Add a ribbon or piece of twin in the shape of a loop, and you can hang them above your altar as decoration and as a little energy booster!
Circle (Embroidery Hoop) - I know most people use salt to cast circles, but I actually use an embroidery hoop. I cast one around myself, and one around the items I am working with (ex: what’s in the hoop).
Knife - If you use a ritual or practical knife in your workings, it’s good to have on hand. I can’t have one, but I like my wand better anyway, personally.
Fae Garden - You’ll have to have plenty of sunlight near your altar for this one, but it will definitely be fun to have some Fae living on your altar!
Spell Supplies - Random bits and bobs, like egshells and ribbons, can be kept on your altar as well.
athame is a black handled blade, similar to a dagger used to invoke, cast circles and channeling energy.
bells are used to cleansing at the beginning and end of a ritual.
besoms are used for spiritual and psychical cleaning.
candles contain all the basic elements of the world — air, earth, water, fire. earth is the dry wax. water is the melted wax. the flame is obviously fire. and the air is smoke.
cauldrons or mortars are used for brewing potions, burning herbs, incenses, oils, etc.
censers are used for holding incense.
chalices are used to hold liquid offerings.
crystal balls are used to scry.
crystals are filled with energy. which makes them epic for spell work.
grimoires. it’s where you put your witchy experiences, your research. all the things you have learned about magick.
herbs have magical properties for healing and spells.
jars. it’s pretty obvious — you can contain your crystals, herbs, etc in them.
pendulums are sharp crystals hanged by a chain for asking yes or no questions.
pentacles are commonly a centre piece for altars.
runes are crystals with symbolic alphabets on them that are used for divination.
sigils is a symbol created for specific magical purposes. so, they are powerful if you know what you want out of them.
staffs are used as a larger wand.
swords are used as larger athames.
tarot cards and or playing cards. a simple card reading can tell you about your past, present.. and future and how you can shape it.
tea and coffee are often used in the witchcraft community. they are energy manipulating drinks.
wands are used by a witch pointing the wand and directing all energy towards the subject at the other end. it is viewed as an extension of the witch’s energy. it is extremely helpful in long distance spells.
your local library is bound to have some non-fiction witchcraft books. not really a tool but it’s definitely a resource.
Bells might just be the earliest form of superstitious practise that I remember. My baba attached three sakura-patterned suzu bells on my schoolbag as a kid, purportedly for good luck and protection from evil spirits – and Japan is far from the only place to have associated bells and bellringing with mystic practise. They’ve been used worldwide to ward off evil and carry messages – and in a more metaphysical sense, sound is the movement of energy through substance. Sounds have the potential to work powerful magic.
Here are some of the ways I’ve found utilising bells to be helpful to my craft. While I’m more likely to use traditional suzu type bells, your own background, path and culture will likely have its own types of bells – and as ever, bells can be ornate antiques or they can be a bottle cap in a tin can, as long as they’re used with intent.
🔔 As with so much of the craft, if you’re new to the witching bell, it’s a matter of exploration and experimentation. Get a “feel” for what works for you and the specific bell you’re using.
It’s good practise to ensure that the bell itself is cleansed, warded and protected – you don’t want anything nasty tapping into that power. All witching tools can do as much harm as good, intentional or accidental.
A good way to begin incorporating bells into your craft is infuse them into any typical ritual that you’re comfortable with, or even just a prayer or moment of contemplation at your altar if you have one.
🔔 Give the bell a soft ring while focusing on the energy it’ll ripple and move, try to track the movements it creates and what it touches. The tone it’s sending out.
The most primal and versatile use of the bell – and what many of the below come down to – is simply another manner of physically channelling energy, giving it shape and direction.
“Passive” bells such as windchimes or small bells attached to belongings you don’t want disturbed are a starting point. They will scare off some forms of spirit all by themselves, especially if appropriately blessed, charmed or enchanted. Or cursed.
🔔 Gently tolling can draw energy into a ward or circle you are forming and enforce its protective properties, or for a simple cleanse, letting the sound travel to every corner of the area you are protecting. It’s a little more “cutting” than a smoke or incense cleansing, which I view as more “gentle” forms of cleansing. Both have their uses.
🔔 Harder tolling is, in my opinion, one of the most powerful ways in which to enforce a banishing – however, it’s best to you know what you’re doing with the bell before you go bashing it about.
Bells can have quite the effect on your perception and awareness. Ringing and then stopping, listening to the silence left in its wake, can bring you new perceptions or make things you’d previously missed obvious. Let it attune your mind and senses to something new, whether that’s in your thoughts or something with a little more presence. Visualise travelling with the sound, taking heed of the energies it touches and disturbs. Take note of the echoes – you’ll learn what they mean with experience.
🔔 A set of windchimes can let you know if something is passing through or if there’s some unusual energy afoot – and, yes, it may also just be letting you know that it’s a particularly breezy day, but that’s witchcraft for you.
🔔 This can be as simple as calling good energies to witching tools, spell jars, tarot decks, crystals, altars and shrines, your favourite teddy bar, anything at all.
🔔 With spirit work, it can truly help to magnify your “calling”. This can range from gently bringing your latest offering to the attention of your friendly neighbourhood house spirit – all the way to trying to catch the attention of something more. Be mindful, however. As I said, I consider bells pretty powerful tools and a call that’s too loud is not good spirit work practise for the spirit worker’s own sake. It can really help coax something out of hiding if you’re gentle with it, though.
Some use bells to mark the beginning and end of a ritual, and I’ve read that in Wiccan practise an altar bell can be used to invoke the Goddess, although as a non-Wiccan, I’ll welcome corrections on that if I’m wrong.
In my experience, very simple forms of communication via bell work a lot better than anything too complex – “come here” and “stay away” have already been covered, and other than that they can serve as greetings or signals of a start or end of some practise or ritual, the opening or closing of a door, etc.
🔔 They can also serve as a warning or a litmus test regarding spirits, a signalling of your presence and awareness, lack of fear, or willingness to defend – but be prepared to deal with whatever responses these garner.
🔔 Bindings are where you most often see that famous (clockwise) circular motion of the bell, embodying the meaning of the spell. This can be a simple binding to seal a spell or charm or enchantment, or a spirit-binding.
🔔 Personally, spirit-binding is something I do as little as possible simply due to my beliefs holding the autonomy of spirits in very high regard. However, sometimes situations arise that call for it, and I’m aware that not all bindings are unwilling. Far from it – and some spirits are dangerous when unbound.
🔔 As an animist (believing that all things, including inanimate objects, contain a spirit of their own), I consider gently nudging a spirit back into its physical form a sort of semi-binding, and that can be useful.
I’ll leave you all with a note that I am an urban apartment-dwelling witch through and through, so I understand that we can’t all be jangling away at all hours. I myself have a glass windchime in my front window that makes a distinct but muted sound when disturbed by passers-through, and highly recommend wooden ones also. I also only use my small and relatively quiet suzu bell for my crafting – one given to me by my baba herself.
Feel free to add any of your own findings, and happy tolling.
Full Moon Clarity Tarot Spread
1: what’s been hidden
2: what’s ahead for you
3: what’s influencing you
4: what’s led you to this point
5: what’s left for you to do
This spread is to help use the full moons light to illuminate some questions you may have been having and what you need to keep in mind for the coming cycle!
This is just a quick easy spread you can do every full moon. Keep track of your progress and see how it connects for your year, January’s full moon is the perfect time to start and a good opportunity to get your baseline done…that way you can only improve.
Folklore: First cultivated and used in the East, Cinnamon was burned to purify the temple. It also promotes health, vigor and libido.
Main magickal uses: Clairvoyance, consecration, divination, energy, good luck, love, money, passion, peace, prosperity, protection, psychic development, success Other magickal uses: communication, happiness, harmony, healing, inspiration, knowledge, meditation, purification, spirituality, tranquility, wisdom Lore: Paul Beyerl suggests that cinnamon be paired with tourmaline for best effect. Cinnamon is important as a purification incense in China. Do not use externally on the body, as it irritates the skin.
Protection The sun is typically seen as representing male or active energy and since cinnamon is a sun-related ingredient it is thought to be useful in protection magic. For a simple cinnamon protection amulet, tie nine cinnamon sticks together and hang the bundle above your door to protect your home from from unwanted people and energies. Laying cinnamon sticks along your window sill will serve the same purpose.
Prosperity Financial and personal prosperity are also related to the sun’s active energy. Cinnamon sticks combined with other “prosperity” ingredients such as whole cloves, ginger and orange sections can be used as a simmering potpourri to help boost your efforts in job hunting, getting a raise or making general improvements to your financial status.
Love Because of its hot, fiery nature, cinnamon is a natural ally for love and sex magic. Try turning up the heat in your love life by grinding cinnamon sticks into a chunky powder and burning the powder as incense along with equal parts of red sandalwood and myrrh. Or simply place a stick of cinnamon under your lover’s pillow and see what happens.
SPELL: Money Talisman
YOU WILL NEED:
Three Cinnamon sticks
One dollar bill
Cinnamon or basil oil
On a Friday during the waxing moon, assemble all your ingredients at dusk. Take the candle and rub (prosperity, basil, or cinnamon) oil into it while focusing on your bills and debts being paid, see them being paid, picture your self writing checks and smiling all the way to the bank. Light the candle and take the green cloth, add the pumpkin seeds, Cinnamon sticks, and the dollar bill and fold three times, tie with ribbon. Chant while you work and focus on money coming towards you;
Dollar bill, work your will. Pumpkinseeds do your deeds. Cinnamon sticks, do the trick, Bring needed money & bring it quick
Repeat three times burn candle for nine minutes. Keep Talisman near your wallet or purse, and bills to be paid. Expect money to come, know it will and it shall be.
I can think of no tool in a witches’ arsenal which requires more finesse than the mortar and pestle. So often people will pick one up, looking forward to pounding and grinding, not realizing it takes so much more than brute force. Resins will gum up, herbs will be stirred with little to no effect, roots will refuse to powder, all causing a great deal of frustration to those who so looked forward to using this marvelous set. But here’s the secret to using a mortar and pestle: brute force is rarely ever needed, and will not work well in most cases.
Working with resins, herbs, spices, flowers, and more can be maddening with a mortar and pestle, as each of these requires different ways of grinding and working. You cannot approach each the same, as each is entirely different. Simply pounding away at everything will not produce the fine powders so often hoped for. In some cases, a powder is simply not attainable. But, with a little patience and cunning, the tool will serve you well. But before we get to any of that, it’s important to note that if you’re having excessive trouble with working with a mortar and pestle, and the set came from a specialty occult shop, it might just be best to toss it aside. Most of the time these sets are too smooth, not having what it takes to actually grind the materials down. A mortar and pestle made for culinary use is usually the best way to go. Such sets are generally not expensive, and will last you a lifetime.
With that in mind, left’s get right to it! Below are a few examples of the different grinding methods I use.
Resins- Resins can be notoriously difficult to powder properly, often succumbing to the friction between the mortar and pestle and gumming up. Even pounding the resinous chunks too hard will result in sticky pieces. When it comes to tree resins, you must consider what it is you are grinding. Don’t pound the chunks with all your might, or try to grind them with force. No, resins require a delicate touch. Use the pestle to gently hit the chunks until they crack apart. Then use the pestle smoothly, gently, with patience. Resins will take time to powder, giving you plenty of chance to focus your will as you work. Before you know, the gently circular grinding motion will produce a fine powder for any use. Be aware, though, that you cannot use one technique for all resins. Copal powders easier than Dragon’s Blood, which powders far easier than Myrrh.
Dried Herbs and Flowers- Another example of a place where brute force will not serve you, though dried herbs and flowers are much more forgiving. Rosemary, jasmine, lavender, and vervain are all good examples here. Simply stamping at these will not be enough. Often times it takes a gentle grinding of these ti create a suitable material for a powder. Some dried herbs, like mugwort, simply will not powder, whereas Jasmine flowers will be reduced to a fine powder in mere seconds. As with resins, take your time. Be gentle. When you grind dried herbs, you’re either working with botanicals you have dried yourself, or that come prepackaged. If you’ve dried them yourself, you’ll have a much easier time. Prepackaged herbs, while useful at times, are very difficult to grind down any further than the state in which they are purchased. It’s possible to do though with yet more patience.
Dried Roots, Barks, and Berries- Don’t let anyone tell you these are easy to grind because holy mother, that is a lie. Dried roots, bark, and berries are prbably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to grind in my life, and these botanicals are some of the only ones where brute force is your friend. Each of them requires a great deal of power to break down. However, once you’ve pounded them apart, the force is no longer needed. You’ll still have to give it some welly, but it won’t require near as much effort once you’ve broken the materials down. Mandrake root is a good example of this. When dried, mandrake becomes wood-like. It’s very difficult to break down. However, once you’ve got it worked down, you can powder it as you would anything else. Other roots are not so forgiving which is why, if you pull your iwn roots, I encourage you to slice the root pieces into disks. These are much more managable than even small pieces, as the larger surface area gives you more to work with. Bark should be handled much the same. As far as berries, you have to be sure they’re comoletely dry before attempting to work then down. Some berries are far easier to powder than others. Juniper berries (not being real berries) will give you hell. But, as always, keep your patience. It will serve you well.
Fresh Botanicals- This is where you’ll want to forget about powdering. When it comes to fresh botanicals, it’s often only feasable to draw out the juices via stamping and bruising of leaves and flowers, or making a paste by the addition of warm water. Roots will create a paste of their own, as will mucilagenous plants like aloe-vera and marshmallow. Berries will simply muddle down. If you’re trying to get seeds from fruits or berries, you can use a mortar and pestle to (gently) muddle the materials, then add water. After some time, the seeds will sink to the bottom while the body of the fruit/berry floats. Using fresh botanicals in a mortar and pestle can create a great poultice, as well as helping release the volatile oils and constituents of a plants for an infusion or decoction.
However you choose to use your mortar and pestle, remember that it will take time to really understand the tool, and longer to get the hang of it. However, the nortar and pestle is, I feel, and integral part of witchcraft practice. One can learn so much from working their botanicals down, smelling them, hearing them, feong what it takes to break them down, and more. While the mortar and pestle have a great deal of uses beyond just grinding, it’s a great place to start. Happy grinding!
It’s no secret, I have a strong connection to spiders, and as such, find myself working with strings, thread and yarn often. Knitting, braiding, macrame – it’s something I get from my grandfather, I imagine, who had countless books on knots and his own penchant for cordage. Of course, his stemmed from being bedridden with a broken back in his formative years. I was lucky enough to pick up the hobby without being confined.
This particular project came out of the blue. One day, having yarn and a large portrait frame at my disposal (with nails jutting from the back in disarray), I wove myself a web – it was messy, but in time, I found myself repeating the process again and again: without reason. I would simply hang them or stow them away for lack of any use. It was only after a time that I discovered their many uses.
Foremost, they work well as snares for any unsavory spirits, especially when protective charms are woven or placed within them. Feathers, chicken feet, and bones all hold very well, but you can also add in ribbons, strings, beads, whatever works for you. Alternately, they can be used in works of control and binding, imparting subtle or aggressive influence on a situation or individual. Such can be done by fastening a photos and/or personal affects/concerns into the web. Lastly, and my favorite use, is that there is an innate interconnectedness and within can be found the manifestations of one’s destiny. It isn’t necessarily an art that I can describe, but with patience, you may be able to attune to what the web can show you. Trace the strands and follow.
Things You Will Need
Frame – this can really be anything; I’ve used picture frames, embroidery hoops, wreaths, willow rings, though I have found that sturdier, even frames make for a tighter, more uniform web; square or round, either work
Cordage – yarn, twine, thread (though I recommend using cotton, as synthetic is usually too slick to hold with friction), embroidery floss (my personal favorite), etc.
Optional: trinkets, curios, charms, etc.
Secure some anchor strands to the frame. The number doesn’t matter, though the more you use the more intricate the pattern (but the longer and more complicated the process). These strands should extend the diameter and meet at a central point: the first strand is simply secured on both sides, and the subsequent should be looped around the central point so as to have a concrete point to work out from.
Next, cut a long strand. To get an estimate for how long it needs to be, simply wind it over the top of the strands in a spiral of roughly the shame size as you wish to create. You don’t lose much in the process, so there’s no need to allot excess EXCEPT that you’re going to need to anchor the final strand to the frame, as well. Better to have too much than too little.
You will then need to anchor the thread through the center. My preferred method (when using embroidery floss or yarn) is to thread the cord onto a needle (as you would when embroidering – i.e. no need to double it up) and knot the end. Bring this through the center (carefully, to check to make sure the knot catches) and then move out along one the the strands and make another securing knot. This is where you will begin, so go out only so far as you wish the smallest point of the spiral to be. This will vary based on the size of the web you’re weaving.
Remove the needle (you could keep it on, but I find it just gets in the way of things) and move the string over the next strand, then bring it around and under the same anchor. Continue this process, spiraling outward. It can take some time to get the hang of it, and don’t fret if as you go the more central strands develop some slack, as once you’re finished, the threads can be spaced out. It is important, however, to continue the spiral in the same trajectory, even when the strands gravitate toward the center. If you compensate, you’ll wind up with a loose weave. Just continue to follow the growing spiral.
Once you’ve made it to the edge, fasten the strand over the top of the nearest anchor, and you’re done! Voila!
photo: this is just a small (somewhat messy) one I made today, as my others are still packed away, though if you really have literally nothing to do, I’m sure you could find a picture of my giant one in my archive
In witchcraft, a wand is used for directing energy in rituals and spells. It represents energy, power, and fertility, and is used as both air and fire element. Each wand can be as unique as the witch that wields it.
Unlike brooms, wands require very little work put into their production, unless you want to. Some traditions call for a witch to find their wand in a fallen branch and forbid against breaking one off the tree. Carving is optional, as is the choice to embed it with crystals, wrap it with wire, tie with ribbon, carve sigils, etc.
A few possibilities for wands based on wood magic correspondences:
ALDER— Weather magic, necromancy, courage and passion
HOLLY— Purity, sun magic, strength, protection, luck
OAK— Protection, fertility, strength
REDWOOD— “King of trees”, strength, protection, creativity,
ROWAN— Defense, creation, travel
WILLOW— Healing, protection, spirit work
YEW— Strength, change
However, please note, a wand does not need to be made out of wood. A wand can be found in many things and anything that is dear to you. A spoon, a pencil, a wrench, a plastic toy wand. If you can find magic within the instrument, it is a wand.
Hi, lovelies! I haven’t made a witchy post in a little while, and thought that this would be very helpful, especially for baby witches. Here is a list containing a few easy, basic beginner’s herbs to gather for your witch cabinet/magick tool collection! If you do not have access to all of these in their herbal/spice forms, remember that oil is always a good substitute.
Basil:This herb can be used to bring good luck, promote purification, and provide an extra boost in love spells!
Chamomile: This is very similar to how Lavender is used in magick. Chamomile is very beneficial during meditation and in sleep/healing spells, it is also very protective, lucky, and purifying.
Cinnamon: In addition to smelling and tasting wonderful, cinnamon is a great option for wealth, success, and healing spells.
Eucalyptus: So, so excellent for healing. General protection is also a very good use for it!
Lavender: A favorite of nearly every witch I’ve met, and for good reason. A perfect herb for calming, protection, healing, purification, and happiness.
Mugwort: General healing, strength, and protection are all things that mugwort can be used for. Using it as an incense is also effective - it can assist in the strengthening of your divination practices.
Peppermint: It’s not just for having around during the holidays- peppermint is wonderful for boosting your psychic energies and abilities.
Rose: The ultimate in love and romance spells, of course - in addition to protection, luck, and helping your psychic powers grow.
Rosemary: Rosemary is a very good all-purpose herb. It can be effective in all of the following areas: protection, love, purification, mental powers, cleansing of negative energy, promoting sleep, and helping your memory.
Sage: Sage is a staple in nearly every witch’s collection. It is generally used for its strong healing and cleansing powers. It can also be used in spells/rituals that support longevity, fulfillment of wishes, wealth, and protection.
Sandalwood:A wonderful medium for strong cleansing of negativity. Healing, exorcism, dream fulfillment, and spirituality are also great uses of sandalwood.
Bonus: Salt! I use it in nearly all of my rituals, spells, and altars. Salt is an absorber rather than a channeler, soaking in all of the psychic energies surrounding. It is purifying, protective, and healing, a good addition to any general ritual.
Oh, the beautiful working altar! It is a place of magic, with lots of shiny and smelly things on it which make me feel at home. But to the new witch, it can sometimes seem daunting, and even downright scary to look at - almost as if it came right out of some dark fantasy story.
But there’s nothing to be afraid of. Each object on the altar is merely a tool to help visually direct energy. In witchcraft, every tool has its significance and its own symbolism, and it often helps to understand what makes these tools so important. In this series of articles, I will endeavor to lift the shroud of mystery from these tools and assist in helping you understand what each tool is used for, where it comes from, and why we use it.
The Book of Shadows
We’ve all seen various shows that portray witches with various spell books, from the massive tome in Sabrina, The Teenage Witch to the living spell book in Hocus Pocus. It sometimes seems as if the book is as inseparable from witchcraft as the broom, pointed hat, and black cat! However, unlike how they’re portrayed in media, spell books, or Books of Shadows, are unique to each individual, and may have spells, correspondences, references, or may simply be a journal.
Ultimately, the Book of Shadows (hereafter, “BoS”) is a repository of knowledge pertinent to your practice. It’s your reference guide and a measure of your growth as you progress and learn more.
As many experienced witches who teach can attest to, one of the most frequent questions we get is “How to I make a BoS?” or “What do I need to do to get a spell book?” And this question is tricky not because of complexity, but because of its simplicity. So let’s take a look at the different types of BoS, and what could go into them!
Hard Copies, Media Files, and Oral Tradition
Every witch has his or her own aesthetic, preferred method of going about things, and pocketbook. As such, the types of BoS out there vary depending upon the witch! The most stereotypical BoS is the hard copy book. Durable, long lasting, and with a rather gorgeous look, it’s no surprise that from the get go, many of us will reach out to take hold of one of those faux-leather-bound blank journals lining the back wall of Barnes & Noble.
However, when first starting out, jumping straight to these often expensive books is not necessarily practical. The reason for this is that like our practice, our book will likely change and evolve over time to reflect our growth. As such, it isn’t uncommon early on to tear pages out, reorganize, and add pages to incorporate what suits you.
That said, it’s often recommended for the new witch to start simple. And for that there are a couple of options! First is for those who prefer hard copies. In the .gif above, the keen eye might notice that the BoS shown is a simple graph paper notebook. This is not uncommon, and while some may initially fear having a BoS that looks “tacky,” remember that the book will change over time, and as you practice more and find aspects that you know will not be going away anytime soon, you can incorporate them into another more aesthetically pleasing BoS (there’s no rule that says you can’t have more than one! I have several, and for different aspects of my practice).
Far less expensive is the digital BoS. Earlier on, I addressed Technopaganism and how it relates to paganism and witchcraft. In it, I acknowledged that one rather practical aspect to technopaganism is that witches who adopt this philosophy will often set aside files on their devices specifically for witchcraft. For instance, on my computer, I have a folder dedicated to witchcraft, with subfolders that have word files for notes, rites and spells, my blog articles (yes, my articles go in my BoS!) pictures, and correspondences. Though many witches prefer to cast spells and blessings on their BoS and may scoff at the thought of having a digital BoS, remember that in technopaganism, it is not uncommon to bless and cast spells on the device or drive that has the files in question, just as one would bless and cast a spell on a physical book.
Some witches who like the digital aspect even create public BoS’s here on Tumblr! Blogs are often a great repository for spells and notes regarding witchcraft, so it’s good to keep your eyes peeled for a good BoS page!
Lastly, there is another type of BoS that often goes unrecognized and treated less carefully because it’s not a physical object, and that’s oral tradition. Many of our ancient ancestors who did not have a written language passed their traditions, spells, and rites down to one another through strictly oral means. And some who had a written system maintained a mostly oral tradition as well (take, for instance, the Celts and Norse - both had written systems but maintained their traditions orally). The message here is that if you don’t feel that having a BoS is necessary or desired, you are not a lesser witch for it. Even today, some families maintain an oral system, passing their faith and traditions down from one generation to the next with the spoken word.
Compilations, Dreams, and Magic
So we’ve seen the different formats used for a BoS. But… what goes into it? Well, the simple answer is anything you want! And much to the frustration of many new witches, that’s exactly the answer they get. So let’s take a look at what commonly goes into a BoS, and how it can be varied.
Spells: This one’s the most common subject. After all, many witches prefer a repository of their successful spells for future reference. So many include a section in their books dedicated specifically to spells. (If the book were dedicated solely to spells and rites, it is often referred to as a grimoire instead of a BoS, though this is mostly a matter of preference).
Rites: This varies from tradition to tradition, as some partake in full rites whereas others don’t. But a section devoted to rites will likely include rituals for the Wheel of the Year, other holidays and sabbats, esbat (lunar) rites, and even initiation and dedication rites for covens.
Correspondences: If you rely heavily on correspondences, be they for astrology, color, runes, plants, or otherwise, it is often recommended to have a reference or resource where you can look up the proper correspondences for your tradition. As such, many witches who work with such correspondences will have a section dedicated appropriately.
Recipes: Giggle as you may, but kitchen witches often joke about their BoS being a cookbook. And some legitimately have a cookbook as a BoS. Regardless, those who work magic into their cooking may prefer to have some good go-to recipes on hand! Need an example? One of my books is dedicated solely to Foodie Friday recipes, and I do consider it to be a BoS!
Journals: Whether it be a dream journal, or a diary, there are many witches out there who incorporate their journals into their BoS. This has a couple of benefits: the first is that it is an excellent way of tracking growth; the second is that it provides a cross reference, so if you forget something in another section of your BoS, you could have it in your journal. It is also an excellent way of providing a personal narrative regarding your development and relationship to the gods, if that is part of your path.
Notes: Let’s face it, as a new witch (or even an experienced witch), you probably do a lot of note-taking, jotting down new information or spells or philosophies for your craft. The BoS is an excellent repository for these scribbles!
There is plenty more that can be added to a BoS, but these are the most common subjects. Is there a proper order to have in a BoS? Only if you feel you need one. However, for me, I have found that if I were to establish a table of contents in my BoS, it would be rendered null rather quickly as I add and remove subjects. Instead, sticky notes, tabs, bookmarks, or ribbons can be used to separate sections so that you can easily page through your book!
Many new witches might see a lot of those rather gorgeous home-made books out there. Though your book need not be pretty to be functional, it is encouraged to make your book your own. If you’re artistically inclined, bend that toward your book and create a BoS that doubles as a masterpiece! Some will create wood bindings, while others may simply draw and decorate the edges of their pages. It can be as complicated as that, or as simple as adding a ribbon with a crystal on it. The book is yours, so do what you’d like with it!
So Josh, what kinds of BoS do you have?
Well, I have several. The first is my aforementioned digital BoS. Though I don’t use it for spellcasting, it is a backup repository of my notes and articles, as well as a place where I can write out new spells and rites as needed before printing them for coven work (because my handwriting isn’t exactly the easiest for others to read). The second is the aforementioned Foodie Friday Notebook. The notes and recipes that I write down are later shared with all of you, and I keep it all for future reference and for my own work! Third is my coven BoS. This is a hard cover blank journal in which I write down all of the rites and spells that we do together, as well as where I write down any notes that may be pertinent to our practice. Fourth is my personal BoS, which is a faux-leather-bound journal in which I write my finalized aspects to my practice.
It’s likely that I could end up with new books in the future, and my BoS’s will continue to change over time!
How can I make my own BoS?
Use everything we’ve covered above as a guideline in crafting your personal BoS. Remember that if affordability is an issue, you can always start small and later on build up to something you’d prefer. Whether it be a digital file, a spiral bound notebook, or a blank journal, remember that your BoS is your reflection and repository! Treat it with care and as much respect as you would any other tool for the craft!
Hello there my witches and diviners! Here’s an introduction Spread I like to do for New decks so I can get a grasp on them. This is a reprint of the Dalí Tarot Universal deck I got for my birthday.
Shuffle your cards (I’ll usually “bridge” my cards once the entire time I use them, and that’s the first time I use them) cut your deck how you like then make your Spread starting top to bottom, left to right.
1: Please introduce yourself (card the deck thinks of as the best summary of its facets/personality)
2: What’s your strength as a deck?
3: What are your limitations?
4: What can I learn from you?
5: What’s the best way to work with you?
6: What’s the outcome of our relationship?
Please introduce yourself: Knight of Swords.
Majestic and proud and a touch materialistic, the deck likes to think of itself as the “crown jewel” and craves attention and recognition.
Your strength as a deck: King of Coins
Matters of the physical world, whether it’s wealth, health or goals are questions best answered by this deck. Advice and insight into sensuality and the pleasures of life are easily handled by this deck
Your limitations as a deck: Ace of Swords
Deeper matters of the mind, and cleaving clarity may be limited. What this could mean is that the deck, like the sword is a tool, and like the ace represents, only the beginning. The decks job isn’t to discern nuances in emotions or relationships but to show truths. It’s limit is also a strength. The sword is double edged, I may not like all the answers I get.
What can I learn from you: The Lovers
About relationships in all their forms. Relationship with myself, others, romantic, business or otherwise. Life is made up of relationships, and being able to get insight into those as well as strengthening my own relationships is awesome:
Best way to use/work with you: III of Swords.
Asking questions and reading answers with an open mind and an open heart. Don’t let biases shade the answers I seek because each reading is separate and stands on its own not influenced by past readings
Outcome of our relationship: Wheel of Fortune
Balance and natural order will be strengthened and restored when lacking. This is comforting to read because sometimes when using the cards and seeking answers it’s because you feel out of sorts, but the answers and messages delivered will bring you back to base.
Now I know what you might be thinking, “those aren’t exactly the interpretations I have for that/those cards.” This is a personal thing for me, but I always base my intro spread on the meanings the included book/pamphlet have. Think of it as a new phone. You unpackaged it and follow the designated set up directions, then later on you personalize it. Especially with this deck, the imagery is a very important aspect of the cards and their meanings.
At the request of so many followers, I have decided to mock up a little bit of information on Sea Magick and Sea Witchery. This is just a brief overview to give you some information when wanting to research or begin working with the ocean, storms, the tides, and the many creatures associated with the sea.
However, I will caution you that the many sea creatures (especially the Merfolk) are not very forgiving creatures, thus they can be pretty tough to handle for beginner, baby witches. It takes an experience sea hag to get them to cooperate properly, so keep this in mind when studying them.
Once again, this is a brief overview and introduction to my craft and path. if you have any questions, you can direct them to me via PM or ASK.
Let’s get started!
WHAT IS A SEA WITCH?
Traditionally, sea witches are witches who appear among sailors or others involved in the seafaring trade. Sea witches use witchcraft related to the moon, tides, and the weather, and are believed to have complete control over the seas. Many sailors fell prey to the sea witches curse on ships and were finally delivered to the one who rules all. In some folklore, sea witches are described as phantoms, ghosts,or in the form of a mermaid. These creatures would then have the power to control the fates of ships and seamen.
As the name implies, sea witches are believed to be able to control many aspects of nature relating to water, most commonly the ocean or sea. However, in more modern times, sea witches can also practice witchcraft on or near any source of water: lakes, rivers, bath tubs, or even simply a bowl of salt water.
In addition to their powers over water, sea witches could often control the wind. A common feature of many tales was a rope tied into three knots, which witches often sold to sailors to aid them on a voyage. Pulling the first knot could yield a gentle, southeasterly wind, while pulling two could generate a strong northerly wind.
Sea witches often improvise on what they have, rather than making purchases from a store or from another person. Common tools include clam, scallop, or oyster shells in place of bowls or cauldrons. Other items include seaweed, fishing net, shells, sea grass, driftwood, pieces of sea glass, and even sand.
Other types of titles they use are: sirens, water witches, storm witches, and sea hags.
DO SEA WITCHES HAVE CERTAIN PERSONALITY TRAITS?
Eh, there isn’t really a specific type of person the sea calls to, however I have met many sea witches that would be described as walking contradictions. Much like the sea, we can be quite flexible, but also forceful. Moods tend to fluctuate with the tides and lunar cycle. Hags both enjoy and love music and poetry; are quite expressive with their emotions, but also don’t easily award entry into their hearts; and can easily win the attention of a crowd, but then seek solitude in the comfort of their own homes. You would be hard-pressed to find a stagnant sea witch–they’ll always be on the move, searching and discovering. However, be warned: if you fall in love with one you must understand that a sea hag’s heart belongs to the Sea first and foremost, forever and always, and it calls to them over the span of lifetimes.
WHERE DOES THEIR POWER COME FROM?
For the most part, sea witches draw their power directly from the source: the Ocean. You’ll find that many of them, even landlocked sea hags, have trinkets from the shore and enjoy baths, storms, and the moonlight. Of course, there are many different kinds of sea witches all over the world and it really just depends on what seafaring folk culture they subscribe to that determines their power source.
DO SEA WITCHES HAVE SPECIFIC DEITIES THEY WORSHIP?
I am not even lying–there are HUNDREDS upon HUNDREDS of water and sea deities that sea witches call upon for aid and worship. Probably the most popular would be Poseidon, Neptune, Lir, Gong-Gong, Hapi, Sobek,
Agwé, Aegaeon, Delphin, the Gorgons, Samundra, Pariacaca, Watatsumi, Rongomai, Njord, Nix, and even Davey Jones.
One of the beauties of being a sea witch is that you can call on many ancient and powerful deities to aid you in your craft. However, I do advise that you make sure that these deities do not come from a culture/religion/belief system that is closed. You can check out a full list of water/sea/storm deities here.
WHAT ARE SOME TOOLS SEA WITCHES USE?
*TAKES A DEEP BREATH*
Water (salt, fresh, or storm), sand, sea shells and cockles, sea glass, driftwood, ship wood, compasses, maps, mirrors, bowls and chalices, sea weed, sea grass, fish and fish bones, coral, telescopes, sand dollars, pearls, bath salts/bombs/goodies, sea salt, linen, umbrellas and mops, windchimes, ropes, weather vanes, and blood are just some of the few tools we use in our practice.
TELL US ABOUT MERMAIDS!
The Mer or Merfolk are probably one of the more popular topics when it comes to sea witchery. I get questions all the time like “DO YOU TALK TO MERMAIDS?” or “HOW CAN I GET A MERMAID TO BEFRIEND ME?” or “AREN’T MERMAIDS JUST THE COOLEST?”
The Merfolk are an integral part of sea witch culture, but they aren’t the end all be all when it comes to water spirits/fae/demons/entities. There are so many to work with and all have interesting backstories. But let’s talk about the Merfolk for a moment…
Depending to what you school you subscribe to, the Merfolk (also known as mermaids) could be fae, demon, or simply water spirits. Some believe that the Merfolk are a species of kithain (also known as changeling or fae.) Ancient and unknowable, the Merfolk pose something of a problem to both fae and human alike. The arrogance of the mer is tempered only by their truly alien natures. The Merfolk claim that they are the sole legacy of the Tuatha De Danann, the oldest fae on Earth, dreamed long before any human ever set foot on land. When curious people ask how this could be, the merfolk are disconcertingly vague and ambiguous.
As I have stated before on the blog, the Merfolk are certainly an odd lot. The product of a totally alien mindset, the mer are simultaneously deadly, serious and playful, highly ritualized and completely free spirited, repressed and yet libidinous as a drunken prom date. The first thing one will notice about a mer is his incredible arrogance. Of course, as far as they are concerned, they have every right to be arrogant. After all, in their minds, they do rule the world.
Other mythologies tell us that mermaids are the bane of seamen. These half-fish, half-women lured countless sailors to their deaths. Breathtakingly beautiful humans from their torso-upwards, their lower bodies where those of fish, complete with scales. Men find their songs irresistible and follow them willingly into the sea. Mermaids can be caught and held in exchange for the wishes they grant. The males of the species, Mermen, are regarded as vicious creatures who raised storms for the purpose of sinking men’s ships. Occasionally they are successfully courted by human men. The offspring of such pairings are often granted great powers in healing by their mothers.
In short, mermaids are extremely beautiful, temperamental, powerful, and dangerous. They are not to be confused with Sirens, either, and find contempt at the very accusation. I will probably go into more detail about Merfolk magic in a different post.
WHAT ARE OTHER WATER SPIRITS THAT WE CAN WORK WITH?
Again, like the deities, there are so many different kinds of water spirits and this topic in of itself could be an entire article. So, here is a brief list and some traits about my favorites…
In Greek mythology, the Sirens (Greek singular: Σειρήν Seirēn; Greek plural: Σειρῆνες Seirēnes) were dangerous creatures, who lured nearby sailors with their enchanting music and voices to shipwreck on the rocky coast of their island. Roman poets placed them on some small islands called Sirenum scopuli. In some later, rationalized traditions, the literal geography of the “flowery” island of Anthemoessa was somewhere tucked in a cape, with rocky shores and cliffsides.
Sirens were believed to combine women and birds in various ways. In early Greek art, Sirens were represented as birds with large women’s heads, bird feathers and scaly feet. Later, they were represented as female figures with the legs of birds, with or without wings, playing a variety of musical instruments, especially harps.
These are the elemental spirits of water. Their magic centers upon this element, whose course and function they can control. Undines exist within the water itself and cannot be seen with normal human vision. Their homes are typically within the coral caves in lakes or upon the banks of rivers, though smaller undines may choose to live under lily pads. Their appearance is similar to human beings in most cases, with the exception of those living in smaller streams or ponds. Undine clothing is shimmery, reflecting all the colors of water though green is typically the predominant color.Every body of water is home to undines, from ocean waves, to rocky pools, to marshlands, to rivers, to lakes and ponds. Even waterfalls and fountains have an undine living in their midst.
The shapeshifting selkies, who are also known as silkies or roane (Gaelic for seal), occupy the seas surrounding the Orkney and Shetland isles. The exact nature of their undersea world is uncertain, though some believe it to be encased in giant air bubbles. Their true forms are those of faeries or humans, though they take the form of large seals when traveling the through the oceans. In particular: great seals and grey seals are said to take human forms. Older tales tell that selkies are only able to take on human forms on certain nights of the year, such as Midsummer’s Eve or All Hallows.
Occasionally they encounter humankind, sometimes becoming their mates. A human male may take a selkie female as his wife if he finds her seal skin on the beach and hides it from her. In the end she always recovers the skin and returns to the sea, though she may return occasionally to watch over her human family from the safety of the waves.
A human woman may bear the child of a selkie male if she weeps seven tears or seven drops of blood in the nighttime sea. Such relationships are rarely lasting. Seven years hence, the selkie would return for his child, offering the mother a fee for nursing her own babe.
One of the most dreaded and best known of the Irish faeries is the Banshee, properly named the Beansidhe literally, “woman fairy.” The Irish have many names for her (perhaps they feared invocation of her true name may invoke her presence?) They included: Washer of the Shrouds, Washer at the Banks, Washer at the Ford and the Little Washer of Sorrow. The Scottish called her Cointeach, literally “one who keens.” To the cornish she was Cyhiraeth and to the Welsh either Cyoerraeth or Gwrach y Rhibyn, which translates as “Hag of the Dribble” (to the Welsh she sometimes appear as a male). In Brittany her name is Eur-Cunnere Noe.
The Beansidhe is an extremely beautiful faery, possessing long, flowing hair, red eyes (due to continuous weeping) and light complexions. They typically donn green dresses with gray cloaks. Their wailing foretells of a death nearby, though it never causes such a death (which is why they are wrongly feared.)
As her other names might suggest, she frequently appears as a washerwoman at the banks of streams. In these cases, she is called the Bean Nighe (pronounced “ben-neeyah”). The clothing she washed takes different forms depending upon the legend. Sometimes it is burial shrouds, others it is the bloodstained clothing of those who will soon die. This particular version of the Bean Sidhe is Scottish in origin and unlike the Irish version, she is extremely ugly, sometimes described as having a single nostril, one large buck tooth, webbed feet and extremely long breasts, which she must throw over her shoulders to prevent them getting in the way of her washing . Her long stringy hair is partially covered with a hood and a white gown or shroud is her main wardrobe. The skin of the Beansidhe is often wet and slimy as if she had just been pulled from a moss covered lake. They are rumored to be the ghosts of women who died in childbirth and will continue to wash until the day they should have died. The keening music of Irish wakes, called caoine, is said to have been derived from the wails of the Beansidhe.
WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON TO TAKE AWAY FROM THIS?
The Sea giveth and the Sea taketh away. The sea is both mother and reaper, passionate and cold, serene and turbulent, loving and cruel, generous and vicious. And if you meet a sea witch, you’ll know this to be true:
Neither chains of steel, nor chains of love, can keep her from the Sea.