Kindling the Fire at Home & in the Community

Archive for March, 2012

The Challenge


  “I challenge you, by Mystery and by Majick, to become the person you were meant to be –

            to cherish the sacred earth –
            to honor the blowing winds –
            to nourish the healing fire – 
            to drink deeply of the living waters.

I challenge you to live Life more fully –
   to awaken to the infinite possibilities around you –
      to know that you are the only limiting factor in your life.

I challenge you to free yourself from both nation and race –
   to recognize all humans as your family –
      to know that war is not the answer.

I challenge you to become more aware of the other-than-human beings –
   to share habitat and nourishment with them –
      to acknowledge them as your teachers.

I challenge you to truly view this planet Earth as a living organism –
   to understand that She is divine, as are all living things –
      to find your purpose in relation to Her’s.

   In time to come there will be darkness and dissolution,
   There will be raging anger, pain, and deprivation,
   There will be loss and there will be violent death.

I challenge you to continue in your chosen path, living joyously.
   Be deaf to the words of the unawakened;
      lest they give you unease.
         Let not fear immobilize you,
            nor despair make you weak,

   For the Eternal Ones are with you, now and forevermore.”

Elspeth of Haven – 2004

I found this piece of prose online recently and it resonated with me in such a way that I felt it needed to be shared with others. Sometimes it only takes a tiny spark to kindle the fire in someone elses heart. One tiny ember to do what they already know they are meant to do, but for some reason can’t find the motivation to do it. Or there is always an excuse as to why they haven’t started… or “maybe tomorrow” goes on for days, weeks or months. Well, I challenge you to read these words and to truly understand the meaning of them. Let today be the last day that you say “maybe tomorrow” & start living your path. If we talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk, we are not living our path. There is a difference between studying a path and living one… the choice is yours, which do you plan to do?

Blessings,


Dark Moon: Heart’s Desire

Last night we met for teaching circle where we continued our History of Witchcraft series. This time we discussed the Inquisition & The Malleus Maleficarum. Afterwards we gathered in the circle for our New Moon ritual. I was glad that Rowan prepared a New Moon ritual because the topic for teaching circle was a bit heavy and it was nice to ground & center after what seemed to be an emotional topic for me. I caught myself more than once feeling teary eyed and a bit “dirty”. You know, like I had been walking around in a dusty, windy place and had been perspiring a bit… the dust and grime of that topic seemed to stick to me. I was happy to wash it all off with the New Moon ritual.

What is your hearts most cherished desire? 

That was the focus of our New Moon meditation last night & I thought “That’s simple.” when it was asked of me. We were instructed to write it in the New Moon journals we started in January this year. Even though I was leading the ritual with Rowan, I wanted to participate in the meditation… and so I wrote down “To become a mother, whether by pregnancy or by adoption. That’s my hearts most cherished desire.”

In my former life, when I was married, I tried for several years unsuccessfully to achieve a pregnancy. I underwent extensive infertility treatment, had procedures that determined my fallopian tubes were not blocked, D&C’s to ensure a viable endometrium for the egg to implant to & took Clomid several times. While living abroad I even consulted a fertility doctor regarding IVF and IUI. To this day, I have never been pregnant. My hope is that with the help of modern medicine and a lot of “practice”, that in the future I may get to experience what pregnancy feels like. The odds are stacked against me because of my age (I’m going to be 34 this year) & PCOS is a formidable nemesis, but I’m determined to at least try and see what happens. With a committed & compassionate partner, I’m hoping that when the time is right, all of our determination & “practicing” will pay off. If that’s not in my future, Jay & I have discussed adoption. It’s something I’m very much interested in. I suppose only time will tell. For now, I put my heart’s desire out into the universe and hope to help it manifest someday in the relatively near future.

Music seems to be a focal point of our rituals. It makes sense to me, as I’m a complete music junkie. Fortunately many of the members of our circle are as well. So it seems we always have music to set the mood/tone of ritual. Last night we played the song “Cauldron of Changes” after we finished our meditation. If you aren’t familiar with it, click on that link and listen to it. It’s been one of my favorites for awhile. Catchy little tune. It seemed to help me visualize sending my heart’s desire out into the universe. I imagined that my hearts desire was a bird in my hand… as the music started to reach it’s peak I nudged my little bird to fly away by lifting my hands and after a good nudge it flew, climbing higher until it was so high in the sky that I could no longer see it.

In the past I’ve had fertility spells cast for me, carried crystals infused with fertility blessings & had entire rituals that used the collective energy of the group to send out my wishes into the universe. I think that because I wasn’t with the right partner that none of those things worked. It’s true that “Mother knows best.” as Mother Earth wasn’t prepared to bestow such a responsibility on me knowing that the right elements weren’t in place. Now I know that I’m with the right partner, have had some time to grow and feel truly ready. I’m hoping that someday soon I’ll realize my heart’s desire.

Blessings,


F is for Feathered Friends

It’s no surprise to anyone who knows me that I am fascinated & in awe of most creatures with feathers. However, I have a special affinity for owls and hawks. For as long as I can remember they have been of great interest to me. When I started to study totem animals, familiars & animal guardians I realized that hawks and owls are most definitely totems of mine. Whenever I go on road trips, I always seem to notice hawks gliding on the wind above the vehicle, as if they’re watching over me. Usually it’s red-tails that make their presence known to me.

Probably before I was ever born, my grandma (dad’s mom) has collected Native American artifacts & trinkets. She has a curio cabinet that I watched fill with kachina dolls, soapstone animal figures and arrowheads over the years. In her livingroom she had a glass covered adobe village with tiny wooden ladders & little people dressed in traditional clothing and a number of other collectibles that were always fun to check out. The one thing that has always stood out to me though wasn’t any of those things. It was a painting of red-tailed hawks in flight above a beautiful forest and below the painting was a foot long cut out where a single red-tail feather is housed. Someday, I hope I get to hang that painting in my house. 

Barn owls often find me at night. More than just a few times, barn owls have flown over me close enough for me to feel the air rush by or landed right next to me. When I was living in temporary military housing waiting to move to Turkey in 2005, I saw barn owls 3 times prior to my move. Knowing now what I do about owls and what they symbolize, I should have prepared better for all of the changes that happened in just a short years time. Those owls were letting me know that change was a’coming!

I know that they’re both birds of prey, but even with as close as they’ve ventured, I’ve never been afraid, they have always been a comfort to me. Since I’m not a field mouse or a lizard, I think I’m safe from their razor sharp talons. I feel honored that they always find me and pay me visits.

Red-tail hawks are considered messengers & protectors. The red-tail hawk is known for its ability to soar & glide on the air currents. They are often seen resting on tree branches tracking down their prey. Both of these abilities are significant in that, if the hawk is your totem, they can teach you how to soar to great heights while staying grounded. It’s pretty widely accepted that they mate for life and despite their size, they are occasionally harassed by smaller birds who may want to invade their territories or use their nests. Those with hawk totems are known to be loyal & often deal with people who attack what they don’t understand about you or try to inhibit your ability to soar. What many don’t know about red-tail hawks is that while their beak is obviously a force to be reckoned with, their talons, especially their scaled leg are much more powerful. They are fearless and will take on a poisonous snake without hesitation. Once the snake is in their clutches, the hawk will tear its head off. This quality translates to those with hawk totems. While it’s good to be able to defend yourself, it’s advisable to use your ability to “tear someones head off” selectively. To many Native American tribes it represents leadership, deliberation, foresight & the ability to extend the vision of your life in the same way they extend their wings to a great width.

Owls bring with them omens, mystery & silent wisdom. The owl is a symbol of the feminine, the moon & the night. Because of it’s association to the moon, it also is said to have ties to fertility and seduction. Owls are nocturnal and because of that they have always had a sense of mystery surrounding them, as the night seems to have an aura of mystery surrounding it. To the ancient Greeks, owls were associated with the goddess Athena and were seen as a symbol of higher wisdom. They were the guardians of the Acropolis. No other bird has had so much myth & mystery surrounding it, as the owl. It seems as though every kind of people who have ever come in contact with it have a story about it. To the early Christian Gnostics, the owl is associated with Lilith, the first wife of Adam who refused to be subservient. To the Pawnee, the owl is a symbol of protection. To the Pueblo people, the owl is associated with the Skeleton Man, the god of death & spirit of fertility. To the Ojibwa, the owl symbolizes death & evil. Owls have keen eye sight, even in the darkest nights and can hear just as keenly. Those with owl totems can expect that they are able to hear what others choose not to say & see what is meant to be hidden. The intuitive nature of those with owl totems is often extremely advanced. Something unique to owls is that even with the expanse of their wings, they fly silently. This is something that those with owl totems practice as well. Remain silent & undetectable.

My owl totem is the barn owl so I wanted to talk specifically about them as well. They are known as the great hunters.They have heart shaped faces and their feathers are often primarily solid white. When seen from below, barn owls have a ghostly appearance. It’s because of this feature that the barn owl has earned the nickname of “Ghost Owl”. It also has an amazing sense of hearing, with the ability to use echo location when hunting. This translates to those with barn owls as totems because they seem to be more in tune with their inner voice and the ability to develop psychic abilities such as clairaudience with greater ease.

I find it especially interesting that I have both a nocturnal & diurnal bird totem and that they’re both “birds of prey”. They often hunt in the same fields without infringing on each others territory because they do so at opposite times. The hawk during the day & the owl at night. So unintentionally they work together. I feel like the qualities imbued on me by my bird totems compliment each other and have a significant bearing on how I view those qualities in myself and in others.

Do you identify with any bird totems? If so, do you feel the qualities they are most commonly associated with apply to you? Does that association influence your practices? Inquiring minds wanna know.

Blessings,


Celebrating Ostara

Ostara is named after the Saxon goddess, Eostre (from whose name we get the direction East and the holiday Easter). In common depictions of Eostre, her familiar is a hare & she carries with her a basket of decorated eggs, which she gives as gifts to those who cross her path. This is a time of cleansing, fertility & renewal.  Just as the dawn is the time of new light, so the vernal equinox is the time of new life. Day and night are equal, this is a time of balance, but Earth teeters on the edge… waiting to tilt fully towards the light.

Last night our circle gathered to celebrate the first stirrings of Spring & honor the Goddess Eostre. Although it wasn’t the actual date of the Sabbat, we choose to gather a little earlier to accomodate the availability of our group. It turned out to be a small group this time and was very calming for me. I enjoyed the ritual very much. We decorated the huge oak that stands in the north quarter of our circle, made an offering of spring flowers and stood hand in hand around him drawing on his deep rooted energy. It was so lovely I had to wrap my arms around him and give him a big hug afterwards. Sometimes those stories about us Pagans being “tree hugging hippies” are true. (Hehe!)

We did a few other things like make spring cleaning lists and shared them with each other. Once I started writing things down I began to realize all of the things I need to get done. I’m hoping that writing it down & having a physical list will help me to accomplish the things on it. One of the things I put on my list was cleaning my car out, trunk and all. That might take me until Beltane by itself. (Not really, but it’s a friggin’ mess!) I have been seriously neglecting to take care of my car like I should. The members leading ritual challenged us to get as much of our list accomplished as we could by Beltane. So, if I can clean my car this week & maintain its cleanliness until Beltane I’ll be super proud of myself.

I think it’s good to take an inventory of all of the things you have in your closets, attic & garage around this time then make an effort to purge your home of anything broken, unused, ill fitting or taking up space that could be used in a more efficient way. Spring cleaning always results in me making a trip to the Goodwill to make donations. Chances are if I haven’t seen it, worn it or used it in the passed 6 months… I don’t really need it. I encourage everyone to take this time to do some spring cleaning. Get rid of the old & make room for the new!

As a gift, our ritual leaders gave us herb plants to take home & care for. I ended up choosing rosemary & pineapple sage plants. This afternoon I spent several hours replanting those plants along with the lemon thyme & oregano gifted to my mom and my love in addition to the other plants that found their way home with me from the garden center. Those included an aloe vera, standard sage and banana pepper plants. My porch is starting to look as if a witch lives here.

Tending an herb garden has become a bit of an obsession for me, so having more herbs to care for is right up my alley. In the past I’ve had small gardens, but never had such an inclination to specifically incorporate them into my practices. Many of the herbs I decided to grow this go around, I’ve done so with the full intention of using them in magickal as well as culinary & medicinal capacities. I am looking forward to growing and harvesting my own herbs again after such a long time without them.

Little by little, with the help of my circle and my own conscious decision to make my spiritual enrichment a priority in my life, I feel like I’m finding a balance. What better time to discover that and offer up thanks to the Goddess!? I can’t think of one.

I hope your Ostara was as balancing and calming as mine was.

Blessings,


E is for Essential Oils

In all of the years I have practiced the craft, I have only rarely used the beneficial properties of essential oils for the purposes of magick. Not because I haven’t been interested in them, but because I have always been more interested in herbs and used them in place of where essential oils could be used. When I was about 21 yrs old I became very interested in essential oils and bought several from Aura Cacia, but found that I very rarely used them for magickal purposes. More often than not, I used them in my bath or in potpourri blends as an air freshener. Since then, I’ve not purchased many oils at all (unless you count my extensive fragrance oil collection from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab).

I wanted to explore what makes an essential oil, ‘essential’, what makes them appropriate for magickal purposes and what magickal properties many of the most popular ones imbue.

Essential oils are composed of the concentrated liquid that contains the volatile aromatic essence of a plant. It must be ‘volatile’ in order for our olfactory senses to register the scent. The most common way to extract essential oils is through the process of distillation. This process consists of taking the raw plant (leaves, bark, flowers, wood, seeds or peel) and placing them in the distillation apparatus suspended over water. The water is then heated, steam passes through the plant material vaporizing the volatile compounds. The vapors flow through a coil, where they condense back to liquid and is then collected in a separate vessel. The liquid that is collected is the essential oils of the plant. Since extracting essential oils requires distillation, many of them require a large amount of plant material in order to even fill a small 5ml vial and thus are a bit expensive. The one that comes to mind automatically is rose. Due to the labor-intensive production process and the low content of oil in the rose blooms, rose oil commands a very high price. The flowers are harvested by hand in the morning before sunrise and material is distilled the same day.

There are three main methods of extracting the oil from the plant material:

It takes approximately 60,000 roses to produce just 1 oz of Rose Otto. That’s about two & half dozen roses to make one drop.

Of course, not every essential oil requires so much of a plant, many of them are reasonably priced. All of them can add a special boost to whatever magick you’re working on. Obviously if you’re going to work on spells related to love, rose otto would be complimentary, but it’s only one of several essential oils that can enhance spells that deal with matters of the heart.

So why should you consider essential oils for spellcrafting?

The same reason you would consider using herbs. Working with natural elements can bolster any magickal work because of the inherent properties of the plant you’re using. Like each herb has a magickal property, so do essential oils. After all, they are derived from herbs, fruits & plants. The only difference is that they are the concentrated form. This means that you can use much less to achieve the same goal. Not to mention, they take up way less space! (Always a plus for the witch with limited storage space)

Some ways you might consider using essential oils in magick:

  • Single note focused spells
  • Blended oil spells to address multiple issues
  • To boost the potency of incense blends
  • When crafting candles for ritual use
  • To bless or consecrate tools
  • Anointing circle mates as they enter circle
  • To wear as a reminder of spell intent
Below is a list of oils and their magickal properties:

Basil

Planet: Mars
Elements: Fire
Powers/Uses: Business Success, Conscious Mind, Happiness, Peace, Money

Inhale this spicy scent to clear your mind, refresh your mental connections and reduce mental fatigue.  

This wondrous scent is also great to sniff when you want to uplift your mood. Simply inhale and imagine happy times – your mood will follow. 

To increase business success – place a few drops in a diffuser or in the money drawer. 

To attract more money – inhale while you imagine your pockets bursting with cash, you writing checks with ease to pay your bills and you living a stress free life. 

NOTE:  This oil can be very irritating to the skin, do not apply directly. PLUS – can be toxic if ingested. 

Bay

Planet: Sun
Elements:  Fire
Part Used:  Essential Oil, Fresh or Dried Leaves
Powers:  Psychic Awareness and Purification

For psychic awareness, put a few drops on a cotton ball.  Sit comfortably in a chair or on the ground.  Relax your body and push the busyness from your mind.   

Inhale the scent.  Visualize your conscious mind letting go of your psychic mind.  Allow the odor to engulf your mind and body.

Once you’ve made a connection between the two halves of your mind, discover what you need to know.  

Benzoin

Planet: Mercury
Elements:  Air
Powers:  Physical Energy, Magical Energy, Conscious Mind

Inhale this warm, vanilla-like scent to give your physical body an extra boost during times of exertion or when you need a few extra moments of energy. 

By sniffing this scent, you will also produce a larger reserve of magical power since increasing your physical energy automatically produce this result. 

The scent of benzoin also stimulates the conscious mind. 

Bergamot

Planet: Sun
Elements:  Fire
Part Used:  Essential Oil
Powers:  Peace, Happiness, Restful Sleep

This oil soothes frazzled nerves and over stressed bodies.  It is uplifting to our inner self or soul.

Inhale the oil, with or without visualization, to relieve depression and the tension of every day life.

At night, inhale the scent to produce a restful, relaxing sleep.

Black Pepper

Planet: Mars
Elements:  Fire
Powers:  Mental alertness, Physical energy, Protection, Courage

Sniff this powerful scent for when you need to sharpen your mental faculties and energize the body.  It is also beneficial when you need to stay awake – especially when driving.

For protection – place two drops of oil onto a cotton ball.  Strongly visualize a psychic force surrounding you so powerful (like a mini tornado), that it knocks away all incoming negative energy.  Merge and solidify this scent and visualization into your conscious mind for 15 to 30 seconds.   Repeat once a day for a week.  When danger threatens – recall the scent and the visualization.

Cardamom

Planet: Venus
Elements:  Water
Powers:  Love, Sex

Inhale this luxurious scent to increase your sexual appetite.  

For love – inhale and visualize yourself in a mutually beneficial relationship.  It’s important to create this image in your conscious mind to allow cardamom to stir your unique energies.  After you inhale – put the thoughts aside to allow your charged power to go out and do its work.  

Let cardamom’s spicy scent clear your conscious mind to new heights in unexpected ways.

Cedar

Planet: Sun
Elements:  Fire
Powers:  Spirituality, Self-Control

This wonderful woody scent is excellent to promote spirituality.  Inhale the soothing aroma before any religious rituals to strengthen your connection with the Divine.

You may also inhale the scent to bring yourself into balance.  Smell the fragrance and visualize yourself as centered, calm and in control of your life. 

Chamomile
(AKA: Camomile)

Planet: Venus
Elements:  Water
Part Used:  Fresh or Dried Flowers
Powers:  Chastity, Protection, Love Divination, Sleep

At night, take a few deep whiffs to induce sleep.  

During the day, smell to promote peace and to remove the effects of stress and tension.

For meditation – if you have trouble slipping into the proper state, smell chamomile to reduce tension and facilitate meditation. 

Cinnamon

Planet: Sun
Elements:  Fire
Powers:  Physical Energy, Psychic Awareness, Prosperity

Inhale the warm, sweet and spicy scent with the imaginative view that you have a strengthen physical body.

You may also inhale, with the proper focus and visualization, to tap into your psychic mind.

This same scent can be inhaled to increase your financial base or you can dress a green candle and burn it for the same results.

NOTE:  This oil can be very irritating to the skin, do not apply directly.

Cypress

Planet: Saturn
Elements:  Earth
Powers:  Easing Losses, Healing

Inhale the oil to find strength and comfort through transitions of all kinds – especially through the loss of friends, loved ones or the endings of relationships.

Place a few drops on the bedding of your dog to “banish” the fleas (never add the undiluted oil directly to their skin).

Eucalyptus

Planet: Mercury
Elements: Air
Powers:  Health, Purification, Healing 

Inhale the fresh, healthful-like scent to maintain or regain your health.  

Add a few drops to a diffuser or potpourri simmer to purify – heal – a room or house of negative psychic energy, particularly when people have been engaged in emotional, physical or mental abuse.  

You can also smell the crushed fresh leaves or fresh seed pods to induce health and to speed the healing process.  A vase of leaves is helpful in a sickroom.

Frankincense

Planet: Sun
Elements:  Air
Powers:  Spirituality, Meditation

Inhale to achieve a heightened sense of awareness of the spiritual realms or to deepen any religious experience.

The aroma also helps to reduce stress and tension by pointing out that our lives revolve on many realms – not just the physical.

The scent also calms the physical form and awaken the higher conscious.  Use before meditation.

**Word of caution – placing undiluted Frankincense directly on your skin can cause irritation**

Fennel

Planet: Mercury
Elements:  Air
Powers:  Longevity, Courage, Purification 

To inhale this scent is said to increase one’s lifespan.

In order to get a boast of courage, smell the oil and imagination yourself having that courage already.

For purification, whiff the scent as you imagine your inner self being purified. 

Freesia

Planet: Venus
Elements: Water
Powers:  Love, Peace 

Inhale this light, sweet scent while imagining yourself in a loving relationship.  Let the scent mix with your own energies, and allow a transformation to occur in you that will have you be a person who is willing to become involved in a satisfying relationship. 

This wonderful energy transforms doubts about the possibility of love into positive, life attracting energies. 

If tense, sniff the fragrance and allow the knots in your body and the frazzle in your mental state to unwind. 

Geranium
(AKA Rose Geranium)

Planet: Venus
Elements: Water
Powers:  Happiness, Protection

Place a few drops on a cotton ball and inhale when you are weak and most likely to get ill.  As you inhale the aroma, visualize peace spreading through your body as it dissolves depression and uplifts your world weary soul.

To help gain control over your own life and/or to guard your home against  outside negativity – place a few drops in a diffuser to allow the scent to spread throughout your home.

Ginger

Planet: Mars
Elements:  Fire
Part Used:  Fresh Root, Essential Oil
Powers:  Magical Energy, Physical Energy, Sex, Love, Money and Courage

Inhale before magical rituals of any kind while you visualize the scent stimulating your physical body, to excite muscular contraction which will produce bioelectrical energy.

Inhale and visualize to promote courage, confidence, aggression (needed for self-survival), purification and success on all levels.

Because of its vibrate scent – it is best not to inhale before you go to bed, that is unless you plan on being up most of the night!

Honeysuckle

Planet: Jupiter
Elements:  Earth
Powers:  Weight Loss, Psychic Awareness, Prosperity

To help you lose weight – sit back and imagine the way you will look after you lose the weight.  Intensify your imagination while you inhale the sweetness of this oil.  

Whenever you feel the urge to cheat on your diet or to ignore your exercise routine, once again inhale the scent with proper imagining.

You may also sniff this fine scent to strengthen your psychic awareness.  Sit quietly and allow the scent to lull your conscious mind into letting go of your psychic mind.

Hyacinth

Planet: Venus
Elements: Water
Powers/Uses: Overcoming Grief, Love, Peaceful Sleep

If you are battling grief, inhale the aroma as you imagine yourself as a poised and confident person. Do this 3x a day until the grief has dissipated.  

Can be used in spells & sachets to draw love to you.

Use the scent to ward off nightmares. Drop off to sleep smelling the aroma and no bizarre dreams should disturb your rest. 

Hyssop

Planet: Jupiter
Elements:  Fire
Powers:  Purification, Conscious Mind

Hyssop is deemed to be scared to the gods and goddess of ancient Greece.

Inhale the sharp scent for purification.  Or, place a few drops in a bowl of water and leave it in the home to purify the surroundings.

Sniff to heighten your spirituality prior to all religious rituals or ceremonies.  

You can inhale to clear your head and strengthen the mental process. 

Jasmine

Planet: Moon
Elements:  Water
Powers:  Love, Peace, Spirituality, Sex, Sleep, Psychic Dreams

With visualization, use in love rituals, either by inhaling or by anointing candles to enhance a current relationship or to draw one to you.   

Simply inhale the soothing scent to lift your spirits, remove depression, still nerves and silence worries.  

To induce sexual desire in both yourself and/ or your partner, inhale the aroma with visualization to stimulate the mental, emotional and physical responses needed to have a fulfilling sexual experience.

The uses for Jasmine far outweigh the heavy price tag for pure essential oil.  

Juniper

Planet: Sun
Elements:  Fire
Powers:  Protection, Purification, Healing

Inhale and visualize to detoxify the body and for internal purification. The scent can also be used for helping you to eat correctly, exercise and think positive.  

Place in a diffuser, to purify your home and to protect it from negativity.

For individual protection – inhale and visualize its energies guarding you from danger and negativity.  

Lavender

Planet: Mercury
Elements:  Air
Powers:  Health, Love, Celibacy, Peace, Conscious Mind

Take a lavender bath once a week to induce health maintenance – add nine drops to your bath water while you visualize good heath.

Lavender is associated with spiritual love as its power seems to lie in that it can reprogram our conscious mind on the way we think about love via our chakras.  Inhaling this scent with proper visualization lets you send out signals to others on your need for love.

Inhale to induce peace and put depression at bay.  It also calms stormy or uncontrolled emotions by centering and controlling our conscious mind with a shot of reality.

Rub on the temples to rid yourself of a headache.

Lemon

Planet: Moon
Elements:  Water
Powers:  Health, Healing, Physical Energy, Purification

Inhale this uplifting scent to activate the body and dispel sluggishness.  Smell first thing when you awaken as an aromatic substitute for a cup of coffee.

Inhale to maintain health as an add on to conventional medical treatment.  Visualize its energies strengthening your body as well as your mind.  For an illness – feel the fragrance fighting off the infection.  For a wound – visualize the scent encouraging cell growth and the resultant healing.

Drop a few drops into a diffuser to fill your home with vibrant and pure energy.

Lemon Balm

Planet: Jupiter
Elements:  Air
Powers:  Peace, Money, Purification

Inhale straight from the vial, or place a few drops on a cotton ball to help relieve depression and calm raging emotions.

Most money problems are the direct result of our own poor decisions.  Keep this in mind as you inhale the scent while visualizing yourself allowing money back into your life.  This works by removing  the blockages we either consciously or unconsciously set up in our mind and energy field.

Use this crisp and clean scent during a weekly personal purification ritual.

Lemongrass

Planet: Mercur
Elements: Air
Powers/Uses:   Psychic Awareness, Purification

Inhale this intense lemon scent, combined with your imagination, to stimulate your psychic awareness.  

Use for personal purification rituals or spells, but be careful if you intend to apply this oil directly to your skin as it can be irritating if not diluted first. 

Lily

Planet: Moon
Elements: Water
Powers/Uses: Peace, Painful Relationships, Feminine Spirituality

To heal from a broken heart – inhale the scent while imagining yourself as a happy, well-adjusted person who can get along just fine in life without your ex partner.  

Place a few drops ion a diffuser to invite peace into your space. 

To connect to the Goddess within and above – sniff the aroma while seeing the feminine part of you come alive, active and allowing you to take control of your life. 

Lime

Planet: Sun
Elements: Fire
Powers/Uses:   Purification, Physical Energy, Protection

Inhale this full-bodied, sharp scent to energize and revitalize the body.

Place a few drops in an diffuser for all-over home purification.

Dap a few drops on your body  while imagining a wall of safety around you for personal protection.

Marjoram

Planet: Mercury
Elements: Air
Powers/Uses:  Peace, Celibacy, Sleep

The aroma of marjoram causes a relaxed state – just as if you had taken a sedative. It’s useful to help with anxiety, grief, love (obsession) and any heart wrenching emotional reaction.  

Marjoram can help lull you into a restful sleep. Inhale straight from the vial or place some drops into a diffuser. 

Inhale a small bit of marjoram before you start a ritual. It helps to connect the conscious and psychic minds.

Neroli

Planet: Sun
Elements:  Fire
Powers:  Purification, Joy and Sex

Self-purification:  Inhale while you visualize the scent burning away negative thought patterns, harmful habits and other misuses of your energy and mind.

Joy:  Simply sniff the scent to lift up your spirits and temporarily settle emotions.

Sex:  Inhale while you visualize your physical, emotional, spiritual, mental and psychic connection with the person you will be intimate with.  Not an aphrodisiac, but calms the conscious mind and smoothes the path to mutual satisfaction.

Nutmeg

Planet: 
Jupiter
Elements: Fire
Powers:  Physical Energy, Magical Energy, Psychic Awareness, Money

Inhale this warm and stimulating scent prior to any magical activity that requires a tremendous release of bioelectrical energy. Visulaize the scent mingling and enticing your own preparation for the magical act at hand.  

Smell and visualize money coming into your life. Or tap into the scent to tap into your psychic mind.

*NOTE:  Nutmeg can be toxic in large quantities.  Do not inhale for long periods of time, or add to bathwater.

Oakmoss

Planet: Jupiter
Elements: Earth
Powers:  Money

Add a few drops of this oil to a sexual inducing blend to give it an earthy scent.

Inhale the scent, with the use of your imagination, to increase cash flow and to expand upon personal prosperity.  As you smell the scent, imagine yourself with the extra cash and/or more prosperity. See the image – feel the emotions, live the moment. 

The oil, as well as the herb, seems to be soaked with money energy. 

Orange

Planet: Sun
Elements:  Fire
Powers:  Purification, Joy, Physical Energy, Magical Energy

With proper visualization:  Whiff from the bottle, place a few drops on a cotton ball or in a diffuser for self-purification, for transforming depression into peace – even happiness – and to produce an increase in bioelectrical energy for both physical and magical tasks.   

Too much orange oil can cause an overwhelming desire to sleep.  

Palmarosa

Planet: Venus
Elements:  Water
Powers:  Love and Healing

Inhale during love-attracting spells while you visualize the outcome you desire.  Make sure you focus your intent and remember to bring no harm to none.

This oil also speeds healing when used with visualization and of course, proper medical treatment.  Smell the scent at least once a day while you visualize your body in a healthy, healed and whole state.

Pennyroyal

Planet: Mars
Elements: Fire
Powers/Uses: Physical Energy, Conscious Mind, Protection, Health

If suffering from gout, rub pennyroyal on the affected areas 3x daily.

Mix with wormwood oil and inhale the combination to prevent seasickness during travel. 

Sniff pennyroyal to clear the cobwebs from the conscious mind as well as strengthen it and to still dizziness. 

Take a whiff or two of the oil for protective purposes. As you inhale – imagine yourself being protective from what worries you.

Peppermint

Planet: 
Mercury
Elements: Air
Powers:  Conscious Mind, Purification

Breathe in the vibrant scent to awaken your conscious mind and/or to halt negative thoughts.

Inhale as you imagine in your mind’s eye for self-purification or place drops in a diffuser for all-over home purification.

Do not use before bedtime unless you prefer not to sleep!

Pine

Planet: Mars
Elements:  Air
Powers:  Healing, Purification, Protection, Physical Energy, Magical Energy, Money

Pine is a wonderful aroma that can speed the healing of your physical body.  Inhale in conjunction with treatment or place a few drops in the sickroom.

For purification, especially during the winter months, inhale and enjoy.  Better yet, grab some pine needles – crush – and enjoy the fresh and vibrant scent.  

Inhale the scent as you visualize money being drawn to you.  See – feel – hear what having the money can do for you and release those thoughts into the Universe. 

Plumeria

Planet: Venus
Elements: Water
Powers/Uses: Peace, Love

To stamp out fear and depression – inhale this sweet, lemony scent as you imagine yourself  with a peaceful attitude. 

Place a few drops in a diffuser or in a spray bottle w/spring water and spritz rooms to manifest loving relationships.

Rose

Planet: Venus
Elements:  Water
Powers:  Love, Peace, Sex, Beauty

Put a few drops in a diffuser to spread loving energy throughout your home.  The scent will calm domestic problems and instill peace and happiness.

Inhaling the scent is helpful to the psychological impotence in men and may increase sperm count.

Inhale the scent and visualize its energies leading you into a mutually satisfying emotional relationship.

Rosemary

Planet: Sun
Elements:  Fire
Powers:  Longevity, Conscious Mind, Memory, Love

Smell the scent while you visualize a long, healthy life.

When you need to clear your conscious mind – inhale the scent.  

Place a few drops on a cotton ball and keep it next to you when you are studying and have to memorize the material – sniff often.  When you need to recall, smell the oil again and the information will make itself available.  

Rue

Planet: Mars
Elements: Fire
Powers/Uses: Calming Emotions, Conscious Mind, Health, Hex-Breaker

This somewhat foul smelling scent has been used for centuries to calm raging emotions such as: jealously, depression, love-obsession, anger, hatred, bigotry and frustration.

This scent can also ease the pain of broken relationships and ease the sting of unrequited love. Take a whiff of the oil and push the thoughts from your mind.

If you receive too much psychic information or feel that a hex has been placed on you – smell rue and it will shut down the psychic receptors and push away any hex.

Sniff rue once a day to maintain good health. 

**Pregnant women SHOULD NOT use this oil or herb**

Saffron

Planet: Sun
Elements:  Fire
Powers:  Conscious Mind, Physical Energy, Magical Energy, Money

Smell its powerful aroma in the morning to kickstart your body and energize your soul.  It’s a wonderful pick-me-up for the day’s activities.  

With the proper imagining of prosperity and abundance, sniff the scent and let what you desire be drawn to you.

Dap some of the oil on our neck and wrists prior to magic and let its energies give you a power boast in manifestation.

Sage

Planet: Juniper
Elements: Air
Powers/Uses: Memory, Conscious Mind, Wisdom, Money, Purification

Place a few drops in a diffuser for all over home purification. Add a couple of drops to boiling water and pass stones/crystals through the stream for cleansing and purification.

For prosperity manifestation, inhale the scent while you imagine what money can bring you in your life. Do not imagine money – rather what it can pay off and what items it can bring to you – make sure you feel the emotions associated with this.

Place a few drops on a cotton ball and inhale prior to taking a test or some other mind bender. This same wondrous scent can also be inhaled prior to studying for accelerated retention.

Sandalwood

Planet: Moon
Elements:  Water
Powers:  Spirituality, Meditation, Sex, Healing

Inhale the fragrance before a religious ritual and/or meditation to create the proper mood.

With proper visualization, the scent of sandalwood can be used to stimulate sexual activity.  In cases of emotional or mental sexual dysfunction, this aroma can effect a cure.

To speed healing, add a few drops to your bath water and visualize its aroma and energies doing their work.

Spearmint

Planet: Mercury
Elements:  Air
Powers:  Healing, Protection During Sleep

Inhale the fresh scent of spearmint and couple it with your imagination of a fit/healthy body in order to speed up the healing process. 

Take in the scent as you fall asleep and imagine it wrapping you with protective energy.

It is also helpful and refreshing to the bereaved.

Star Anise

Planet: Jupiter
Elements: Air
Powers/Uses: Psychic Awareness

This essential oil is excellent for heightening psychic awareness and/or waking your dormant psychic abilities. 

Before you do a reading, cast a spell or dispense healing, inhale this licorice scent while you quiet your mind. 

Allow the energy of the star anise to enter your conscious mind, soothing it, to awaken your sleeping psychic abilities. 

This oil can bring forth an explosive amount of psychic awareness which can lead to headaches and increased dreaming. 

Use it with care. 

Thyme

Planet: Venus
Elements: Water
Powers/Uses:  Courage, Conscious Mind, Health

To instill courage – inhale thyme as you imagine yourself full of courage and being able to face the situation or person without fear.  

Place a few drops in a diffuser to ensure that your household is full of energy to revitalize health. 

To stimulate the conscious mind, inhale the sharp scent. But be warned that it has been known to prevent sleep, so make sure that you use it at least 3 hours or more before bedtime. 

Note: Thyme can be toxic – pregnant women should avoid this oil. 

Vanilla Absolute

Planet: Venus
Elements:  Water
Powers:  Sex, Love, Physical Energy, Magical Energy
Positive Qualities:  N/A
Imbalances:  N/A

Inhaling the warm aroma of vanilla will produce a sexual arousal when accompanied by proper imagination/visualization.  In a broader sense, this wonderful aroma can be sniffed to manifest a loving sexual relationship.  It appeals to both men and women. 

This scent produces bioelectrical energy which can be channeled into physical exertion or magical rituals.  Sniff prior to making the extra effort.

Vetivert

Planet: Venus
Elements: Earth
Powers:  Protection, Money

For personal protection, inhale the aroma while visualizing a protective field sealing you from negative energies.    For your home, place a few drops in a diffuser or potpourri simmerer and visulaize. 

This scent is great for the manifestation of increased money in your life.  Simply visualize this needed change as you inhale this rich scent.  Use it to anoint candles, money or charms for the same outcome. 

Yarrow

Planet: Venus
Elements: Water
Powers/Uses: Psychic Awareness, Courage, Love

To hone in on your psychic awareness, sniff this full-bodied scent while you imagine your conscious mind quieting down. This allows psychic communication to take place without hesitation.  

Inhale the scent while you imagine yourself filling up with courage. Then go face your daunting situation. 

Yarrow magnifies love of self and others so it is great to use in love-attracting spells. 

Ylang-Ylang

Planet: Venus
Elements: Water
Powers/Uses:  Peace, Sex, Love

Wear or inhale it’s soothing scent prior to anything nerve-wracking like job interviews or public speaking.   

Ylang – ylang also helps to calm anger and all negative emotional states, transforming such blackness into positive, white light manifestation. 

Inhale the scent or apply it to your wrist, ankles & temples to create sexual desire. It’s a wonderful oil to help one overcome sexual problems.

You can also use this scent to attract love!

This, of course, is not the definitive list, but just an example of some revised info that I’ve complied (courtesy of Allie Theiss). You may find that some of these oils can be used for other purposes and that’s great. Use them as you see fit. As soon as finances allow, I intend to start purchasing essential oils for the purpose of using them in magickal work. Currently I only have lavender & eucalyptus. I purchased them years ago for help with insomnia & decongestion purposes, however, I’ve also used the lavender in spellcasting.

Which essential oils do you think every witch should have on hand? What ways have you used essential oils in your practice? Do you have favorites that you find yourself using often?

Cautionary disclaimer: Essential oils are concentrated and should not be applied directly to the skin in their undiluted form. Some can cause severe irritation, provoke an allergic reaction and, over time, prove hepatotoxic. They must be diluted with passive carrier oils before topical application. Water cannot be used in this case as all essential oils are not miscible with water. Essential oils should not be used with animals, as they possess extreme hepatotoxicity and dermal toxicity for animals, especially for cats. Instead, essential oils should be blended with a vegetable-based carrier oil (as a base, or “fixed” oil) before being applied. Common carrier oils include olive, almond, hazelnut and grapeseed. Ingestion is NOT advised. Please use caution and common sense when using essential oils at all times. If you are pregnant or nursing, use of essential oils is not recommended.

Blessings,


D is for Desiderata

“Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.”

(1927 poem written by American writer Max Ehrmann)

That poem has always been a part of my consciousness for as long as I can remember. As long as I’ve been able to read, I have known this poem. It’s one of those unusual things in my childhood that left an impression. A long lasting impression. You might wonder why a school-aged child would be reading such an advanced piece and the truth of the matter is that it was an unavoidable focal point in my dining room for years and years. Written in beautiful cursive script on the clock covered in sunflowers… there it was just waiting to be read. So I obliged.

It told me a lot about the ideals & values of my parents. As I grew older, it helped to remind me of my own. When I started to write poetry and journal, I’d often reflect on that poem. It has been with me for so many years now that its meaning in my life surely surpasses the original intent of the author. And it resonates with me more today than ever.

I wonder if Max Ehrmann was a Pagan at heart. It seems as though his philosophy on life is a reflection of so many Pagans I know. There are so many worthwhile messages in this single poem. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read it, but I always found a message I needed to hear. It helped to let me know that no matter what life dealt me, I was equipped to handle it. When I read it, I see these messages today:

  • Take comfort in silence despite turmoil and noise around you.
  • Don’t bow down to others, but be nice.
  • Be honest.
  • Listen.
  • Even dull & ignorant people deserve to be heard.
  • Avoid loud/obnoxious people, you don’t need their drama.
  • Don’t compare yourself with others, be happy with yourself.
  • Enjoy making plans & achieving goals.
  • Stay interested in your career no matter what it is.
  • Be cautious, but open.
  • Be authentic.
  • Don’t pretend to care for someone if you don’t.
  • Believe in love.
  • Respect the wisdom of experience.
  • Respect the innocence of youth.
  • Nurture your spirit and be strong if you face hard times.
  • Do not worry or fear unnecessarily.
  • Be gentle to yourself.
  • You are a part of the universe.
  • Even if things seem unsure, they are happening for a reason.
  • Be at peace with the creator/God/Goddess.
  • Life is worth it.
  • Life is beautiful.
  • Be cheerful.
  • Be happy.

Certainly these are messages we all need to hear and be reminded of. It seems too easy to focus on the negative things about life. Especially when we’re going through something rough. Woe is me is so much easier than brainstorming solutions or “looking on the bright side”. This poem challenges us to look at the positive things about life, reminds us that everything is connected and does so in such a soothing way that by the time someone finishes reading it they should feel counseled and relieved. I know I do.

Blessings,


C is for Creating Sacred Space

Creating sacred space is something that each individual must determine for themselves. For some people it may be a small corner of their bedroom used specifically for meditation or daily devotion and for others it may be a circle of stones to sit inside of at their favorite clearing in the woods, a familiar place on the beach where they are close to the ocean or their living room floor. Creating sacred space is as individual as each practitioner is. There is no specific place you have to be, no specific tools you must have with you, no special words you have to say. It is any place you choose to tap into the energy of the divine. While an obvious sacred space may be your altar, there are numerous spaces inside & outside of your home that can be transformed into someplace where you can invite the divine to visit and commune with you.

You may choose to listen to music to get you in the right head space or you might just close your eyes and listen to the sound of nature around you. You may need a visual marker indicating your space… draw a line in the sand, gather sticks or stones to mark your circle, use candles or place elemental associations in the direction you associate them with. If you don’t need a visual marker, you might choose to simply envision one, that’s fine to. Do whatever makes you feel as though your space has been prepared. It is, after all, YOUR sacred space that you’re creating.

For me, I like to use sea salt & water that has been blessed with an incense of some kind to cleanse the area. Generally I walk the circle, stopping at each direction to acknowledge the elements and ask their protection. Sometimes I use a sage smudge stick and other times I may blend my own incense to use. If the mood strikes me I may mark the circle with visual cues, but often times I merely walk the space and cast a circle of protection around me sprinkling the water & smudging the circle along the way. My usual mantra when casting is “Keep that which is needed within and that which is not without.” I try not to define energies as simply good or bad because I draw from all sorts of reservoirs. For me, it isn’t about good or bad, if my intent is to remain protected while within the circle, I invite the protection of those deities and elementals that feel compelled to protect me, whoever they may be. My desire in casting is to utilize only what I need and leave the rest. Usually I do this until I feel compelled to stop, which is often after 3 or 4 turns around the circle. Since I enjoy the ceremonial aspect of ritual, that is how I typically do things in group ritual or if I am outdoors. Although I don’t feel it’s necessary to have blessed salt water and sage or other incense, it does help to transfer my thoughts from mundane thinking to magickal thinking.

For me, magick seems strongest when all of my senses are engaged. When I am in the comfort of my own home, my preparation is much less formal. It may consist of listening to meditative music, burning incense or lighting a candle… generally I do this at my altar. On occasion, if more space is needed, I have used the space of my bedroom or living room floor. If you don’t have the time or the inclination to carry out all of the pomp & circumstance, you can create a sacred space simply by meditating on the area being free from all influence & casting a protective barrier around yourself. Let’s say you’re at work and need to be discreet, the ability to mark or create a circle is obviously not ideal… a small corner of your desk or maybe even the window sill can house a few trinkets that you feel help create a sacred space for you. Maybe a candle, stones, sea salt or a small container of blessed water, animal spirit guides, incense or a small plant or vase of flowers. Be creative and use what suits your needs.

There are no rules to how you create a sacred space. I personally don’t even do it the same way every time. As the space I’m working with changes, so do my practices. On the rare occasion that I find myself IN a sacred space that required nothing from me, but to be in it… I may only say a prayer to my patroness, Brighid, as an offering of thanks. This happened to me walking in Muir Woods earlier this year. It was magical, serene & gave me a sense of being amongst the Gods. No creating was necessary, they created it for me.

I offer a few suggestions, but they are not the only ways in which to accomplish it… you will have to figure that out for yourself. So experiment with different ways to create a sacred space and find the ways that work best for you. In my opinion, with any practice of witchcraft, it is best to have these 3 things: flexibility, creativity & clearly defined intent. The rest is whatever you decide to make it.

Here’s to creating sacred spaces wherever you may roam!

Blessings,