Hello There

My thoughts about Traditional Witchcraft, Wicca, cooking, gardening, and anything else that catches my fancy.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

New Garden Sign

My new garden sign came in the mail yesterday, and I thought I would share it really quick. Yes, it's kind of kitschy, but who says I have to be serious all the time? I love anything to do with Witches, and of course I love gardening and herbs, and when I saw this, I knew I had to have it.

Sorry for the poor quality pic; I had to use my cell phone. You can see one of my owl salt and pepper shakers next to it.

In other news, my health has been pretty bad the past couple of weeks, hence no new postings. I will try and get something more in-depth up soon, though.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Twilight Images

Just thought I'd share these two pics I took whilst on one of my evening rambles. It gets quite dark on my street, due to all the trees, and it looks rather like a spooky, haunted house scene. Note the mistletoe growing on the old, raggedy tree....wish I had a scythe long enough to cut some down.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Van Van Oil!

Since I had a lot of free time today (and, well, everyday) I thought I'd mix up my first batch of Van Van Oil. If you don't know, Van Van's a traditional Hoodoo condition oil used to attract luck, money, and love and repel evil magic and ill fortune. The recipe I got came from Judika Illes and uses essential oils instead of powdered botanicals, so not sure how traditional that part is. However, I've used the time-honoured ingredients and I'm quite pleased with how it came out.

I used the following:

1oz/1tbs. Sunflower Oil
1oz/1 tbs. Jojoba Oil
2 drops Palmarosa essential oil
2 drops Citronella essential oil
2 drops Vetiver essential oil (this stuff is very thick and hard to get out of the bottle)
4 drops Lemongrass essential oil

The recipe also called for Gingergrass oil, but I couldn't find any and thought I'd try and get by without.

I mixed the base oils in a small, cobalt blue dropped bottle, and then added the essential oils drop by drop, swirling the bottle after each addition. The final result smells quite strongly of the Lemongrass, but that's what you want. I took a few pics of the process; but only two really turned out properly so I'm going to share them here.....

Above, you can see that my work table really is a WORK table; messy, but then again it's not there to look pretty

Above, the finished result. I like to use cobalt bottles, because they keep out the light (which can degrade essential oils)

Hope y'all like!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Yes, Magical Tools are Sacred Items

One of the casualties of the anti-Wicca fad currently sweeping the occult world (or at least, the vocal members of it) seems to be knowledge and use of magical tools, their history, and importance. I've pointed out previously that many of the people I've come across who declared themselves "traditional witches" didn't seem to actually know much about Witchcraft; all they knew was that they didn't want to be "Wiccan" and so went about making up something as far from Wicca as you could get. With this rather strange goal in mind, the use of time-tested tools as wands, crystals, and symbols has been attacked by these people as being "New Age" or "something Wicca made up," though of course, this couldn't be farther from the truth. Likewise, I've also seen people claim they "just grabbed a stick from the ground" which they "threw in the garbage" when they were done using it as a wand, because after all, it's "just a tool" like a screwdriver. But is this really the case?

In short, no. At no time, and in no magical tradition that I know of, are magical tools treated in such a manner, nor are they considered simply something lifeless that you could use and then discard. Far from being a "New Age" fad, the idea that the implements wielded by the Witch, magician, or shaman were sacred, magical objects is incredibly, incredibly old. Wands, thousands of years old, have been recovered from the burial sites of ancient Witches or shamans, wands that were obviously made with great care (in one case, out of elaborately shaped metal) and which were carried as a sign of the bearer's position and magical powers. Moses carried a magical rod which enabled him to work miracles, or so the Bible claims. The magical textbooks of the Middle Ages are full of references to complex procedures needed to make the wizard's ceremonial items, and who can forget the old tales of Circe turning Odysseus's men into pigs using her wand? In every culture, at every time, the tools of the Witch have been treated with great care and reverence, and in some cases were even feared. There is a story of a male Witch who carried a Blackthorn rod, which he used (supposedly) to curse those who angered him. When he was caught and burned, the rod was burned with him, so greatly did the people fear its powers.

The use of pentacles, magical altars, knives, and other ritual regalia is not something "new" nor is it something that originated from Wicca. Indeed, Wicca drew upon Ceremonial Magic, which is very old indeed, in crafting the rituals and tools of the Wiccan Witch. In what is called "Traditional Witchcraft" (which is not nearly so different from Wicca and some would claim) it is clear that, though often-times simpler than the tools used by the (usually wealthy) magician, village Witches made us of a variety of items such as the wand, the cauldron, the broom, the knife, and others. Again, many of these items were crafted by hand and were treasured by their owners. Far from throwing "any old stick" in the garbage when done, Witches would seek out special trees that were held to contain great power, such as the Hazel, the Rowan, or the already-mentioned Blackthorn. They understood, too, that the more something was used, the more power it retained, and it seems clear that certain special items were passed down from person to person over the years.

While it is true that a tool by itself will not work magic, it is not true that the tool has no inherent virtue. It seems unfortunate to me that so much magical wisdom and history are being ignored as part of the anti-Wicca backlash. Indeed, a lot of what I'm seeing passed off as "Traditional Witchcraft" would be closer, in fact, to "Something I Made Up Off The Top of My Head, As Long As It's Not Wicca." If none of the magical laws and traditions mattered, they would not have survived as long as they have, and there is no reason to re-write the book when the one already written is more than sufficient.

If you carefully choose your tools, and either make them yourself or have them made for you by a skilled craftsperson, and then treat them as the sacred items they are, they will give you a lifetime of power and can only gain in strength and potency. They act as a bridge between you and the unseen world, and can focus your energy (and add their own) above and beyond what you might accomplish alone. If, however, you grab "any old stick" from the ground and then throw it away after use, you're sending out a message that your Craft, quite literally, is garbage and that you don't have the dedication to spend the time and effort needed. Also, you miss out on the thousands of years of tree lore available to us, and on the chance to form a relationshipwith the various spirits present in Nature and Her her creations.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Stocking The Witch's Cabinet

My order from Mountain Rose Herbs arrived, and boy, am I happy! When it comes to herbs and oils, "less is NOT more" seems to be my motto, and since "natural magic" or Green Witchcraft seems to make up the bulk of my practice, I'm constantly experimenting with various herbal recipes, ointments, and such. In my package, I got loads of essential oils, two kinds of tea, some dried herbs, Epsom salts, cocoa butter, some fragrance oil, and other bits and bobs. Let me share some pictures with you, to give you an idea of the awesome amounts of nifty things that came yesterday:

Most of the bounty is shown above

This fragrance oil is 100% natural, and smells amazing. Kind of like a spicy, musky, sexy incense

Some assorted essential oils. Ignore the dusty tablecloth!

Copal resin, and some awesome teas! Can't wait to try them....

Much of my Witchcraft is beginning to overlap with natural/herbal medicine, so I'm working hard and learning more and more about the medicinal qualities of herbs and remedies. I've found that when you combine high-quality herbs, with magical intent, you can get the best results. Check back to see the various oils, incenses, and potions I turn all this stuff into!