Grandma’s Cottage Witch Ear Medicine

Some of my favorite witchy tips and tricks come from old world grandparents, who seemed to live more magickal lives filled with garden tending and home cooking. This is my grandma’s super simple recipe for ear medicine. I have no idea where she got it from, for all I know it was a 1950s homemaker’s book, but we’ve used it our whole lives, and you know what? I’ve never had an ear infection. Not one, ever, in my whole life. Plus, this recipe makes years and year’s worth of ear medicine for about $5.

As kids we would use this formula when we got out of the pool to prevent swimmer’s ear. To this day, if I start getting a twinge in one of my ears, I use a few drops (once or twice a day, depending on the severity of the earache) and within a few days it’s all better. I think I have to say that this old school formula isn’t a substitute for medical advice, so this is not a substitute for medical advice.

Supplies:

– Brown glass bottle with dropper
– Rubbing alcohol
– White vinegar

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Book Review: The Witch’s Broom by Deborah Blake

The Witch's Broom by Deborah BlakeLlewellyn’s Witch’s Tools series contains six small books, one for each of the major tools in witchcraft (athame, book of shadows, broom, cauldron, mirror, and wand) though I hope more are forthcoming. The author varies by the book with no author having more than two books in the series at the moment, similar to the Sabbat Essentials series. The Witch’s Book of Shadows: The Craft, Lore and Magick of Broomsticks is first book in the series and was written by Deborah Blake. While I enjoyed this book more than The Witch’s Book of Shadows, I didn’t think it was nearly as good as The Witch’s Cauldron. This is the third book I’ve read in the series; three down, three to go! Something interesting that I just noticed is that the praise for the book including on the inside cover is all from Llewellyn authors, seems like they would have a lot of motivation to provide positive reviews, and smacks of quid pro quo.

The book has also had its cover changed as the series is being revamped, I am happy to have a first edition (third printing) copy, so I have the original cover (above). The current cover can be seen below. The books in this series are presented as a guide to the major tools in witchcraft, including uses, history, folklore, notable references in myth, a craft section, and various spells. The Witch’s Broom is broken into nine sections to cover these topics, with guest blurbs and “broom lore” interspersed throughout. In the other two books in the series that I’ve read, I noted that the guest author sections were somewhat disruptive because the author wasn’t credited until the end of their article. Happily, in this book, the author is credited at the beginning of their section, which I found much easier to read. The chapters are number on the index, but not on the chapter pages, so if I mislabel any, forgive me now.

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Book Review: The History of Witchcraft by Lois Martin

The History of Witchcraft by Lois MartinOriginally published in 2002 as part of the Pocket Essentials series, I recently finished reading the 2016 edition of Lois Martin’s The History of Witchcraft. More appropriately, this book could be called A Brief History of Witchcraft Persecution by Christians Mostly in Europe and Great Britain. I believe it’s very important for modern witches to try and understand our history, and not only rely on pagan writers to inform us of our past. This is because writing history and writing spirituality are rather different pursuits. While I am extremely interested in learning about the history of witchcraft, this book is very much focused on people, who probably weren’t witches, being killed by Christians. The introduction – the first words of the book are “Harry Potter” – mentions that this is not a book about Wicca, and the author uses Wicca as synonymous with “modern pagan witchcraft,” which is mostly because the book is written by a historian. It’s not really an issue because the book focuses primarily on persecution.

One of the important things that modern witchcraft writers have not helped with is perpetuating the myth of ‘the burning times’ when millions of witches were alleged to have been killed. I’m also reading Silver Ravenwolf’s book Halloween right now, and she throws out that very same, inaccurate statistic. I believe that Martin’s book, and others like it, give more accurate counts because this was something of which the people involved were likely to keep track. Christian (lumping Catholics in here) ‘judges’ who sentences alleged witches to die were not ashamed, and records were usually kept of the charges, tortures, confessions, and punishments.

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Book Review: The Witch’s Mirror by Mickie Mueller

The Witch's Mirror by Mickie MuellerLlewellyn’s Witch’s Tools series contains six small books, one for each of the major tools in witchcraft (athame, book of shadows, broom, cauldron, mirror, and wand) though I hope more are forthcoming. The author varies by the book with no author having more than two books in the series at the moment, similar to the Sabbat Essentials series. The Witch’s Mirror: The Craft, Lore and Magick of the Looking Glass is third book in the series and was written by Mickie Mueller. I am happy to say that I enjoyed this book very much, maybe even as much as my other favorite from the series: The Witch’s Cauldron.

The books in this series are presented as a guide to the major tools in witchcraft, including uses, history, folklore, notable references in myth, a craft section, and various spells. The Witch’s Mirror is broken into nine sections to cover these topics, with guest blurbs interspersed throughout. This book has my absolute favorite cover of all the books in the series: a tattered looking crow peering into a magickal mirror, wherein the reflection of a beautiful, witchy crow appears! Talk about life goals. I’m sure you remember my complaints about the changed covers, but in all honestly, the cover of “The Witch’s Mirror” was why I bought the entire series.

As for the book itself, it starts strong with Chapter 1 “Mirrors in History, Tradition, and Lore” which explores where mirrors came from, how they’ve changed through time, and deities associated with the mirror. There’s also “mirror lore” in this chapter and sprinkled throughout, almost all of which revolves around concerns about spirits of people getting trapped. Maybe it’s my renewed interested in history, but I found this chapter really interesting. Chapter 3 “Which Mirrors for Witch’s Mirrors?” was another standout; I wouldn’t have thought there was that much to say about mirrors, but there really is. Shapes, concavity, backings, and traditions are all covered in detail. I appreciate that Mueller goes into which shapes are best for which type of magick, it’s a helpful touch and it doesn’t feel like filler. Mirror washes are also discussed here, as well as in other chapters where specific recipes are given.

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A Witch’s Guide to Magickal Blogging Part 4: Post Planning and Editorial Calendars

Domed Skylight

Welcome to Part 4 of A Witch’s Guide to Magickal Blogging. This post will cover how to use an editorial calendar to plan posts. This is the last installment in my four part guide to magickal blogging; I hope you enjoyed it.

Planning Posts for Your Magickal Blog

Step 1: Why Have an Editorial Calendar?

In order to explain why you should have an editorial calendar at all, I’m going to use myself as an example. For a while I posted when ever I had an article finished, then it was about once a week, then for a while I alternated between Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday and Monday/Wednesday/Friday posts. I found that M/W/F worked best for me: it was versatile, and people don’t seem to be online that much on the weekends. I also never, ever publish posts right after I write them. Usually they’re written weeks or even months in advance. That’s because it’s just me here, I have no editorial team (or proofreader), and that creates a few issues that the editorial calendar helps with.

The first issue with being a solo blogger is that I’m a typo monster, I find typos in old posts all the time. Tip: If you see that an old post is suddenly getting hits again, open it up and proofread it; I always seem to find something that I want to change. Second, and I’m going to blame my Scorpio Sun/Virgo Moon combo for this one, I’m a mean reviewer. It’s that Scorpio sting, coupled with Virgo’s perfectionism, I’m telling you. I’m naturally a hyper-critical perfectionist, and I’ve had my critical chops cultivated by my education and profession (I teach writing and literary analysis). Because of this, I write my reviews ages before I post them, then I go back and take out most of the unnecessary snark, then I re-read it again before it’s published. All told, my posts go through an average of a dozen revisions each, with some posts getting over two dozen edits. Perfection, go!

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Baby Room Blessing Bottle

Hand Holiding Baby Foot

A witchling will be among us soon, and so I was honored when I was asked to contribute to the protection and blessing of the baby’s room. This blessing jar is based, in part, of the House Blessing Potpourri recipe found in Halloween by Silver Ravenwolf. I’ve obviously made a lot of adjustments, but that article is what sparked my idea, and credit should be given when due.

This list below has a decent number of items on it, but you can either pick and choose, or see the second set of directions for a simple blessing jar ingredient list. This is because the jar really doesn’t need to be elaborate, but I love to go all out with baby stuff, and I have a lot of herbs and crystals on hand. Many of the herbs and crystals have overlapping properties to them, and this is because the jar is specifically to bless and protect a baby’s space.

These directions can also be adapted for a child, an adult, or a household. This jar would make a lovely gift for expecting parents, even if they aren’t pagan or witches.

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Book Review: The Witch’s Cauldron by Laura Tempest Zakroff

The Witch's Cauldron by Laura Tempest ZakroffLlewellyn’s Witch’s Tools series contains six small books, one for each of the major tools in witchcraft (athame, book of shadows, broom, cauldron, mirror, and wand) though I hope more are forthcoming. The author varies by the book with no author having more than two books in the series at the moment, similar to the Sabbat Essentials series. “The Witch’s Cauldron: The Craft, Lore and Magick of Ritual Vessels” is sixth book in the series and was written by Laura Tempest Zakroff. I am happy to say that I enjoyed this book far more than The Witch’s Book of Shadows, which is the only other book in the series that I have read thus far.

You may notice that this book looks different than the others in the series, and that is because Llewellyn decided to change how the covers looked before the publication of this installment. All of the covers are going to be changed as they are reprinted, so if you like the original covers, buy the first five books as soon as you can. By the by, I know this because of an Amazon comments conversation with a Llewellyn rep that I jumped in to because I really do care that much about book covers.

Strange as it may sound, I really love the original covers; it was the cover of “The Witch’s Mirror,” which features a tattered crow looking at a magickal, beautiful version of itself in a mirror that made me pick up the first book. Alas, the eternal bane of book collectors is the non-uniform set, which seems to be part of our destiny. The original cover, for the record, is super cute; I put it below so you can decide for yourself, but I like it much better than the final release version of the cover above.

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Book Review: Llewellyn’s 2017 Magical Almanac

Llewellyn's 2017 Magical AlmanacLlewellyn’s 2017 Magical Almanac: Practical Magic for Everyday Living is one of the publisher’s annual offerings and contains a series of interesting articles geared toward pagans and witches. It is Llewellyn’s longest running annual and is similar to the Witches’ Companion, though it differs in some key ways.

The Almanac is divided into four sections: Earth Magic, Air Magic, Fire Magic, and Water Magic. In the center there is an Almanac Section that has information on Moon signs, Sabbats (Northern and Southern Hemisphere), and a calendar that contains Moon information and various festivals. The Elemental Magic sections are filled with 8-9 articles each with a total of 35 articles in this edition. Each article has a different author and are around 5-10 pages long apiece. There are many different kinds of articles, not all of which work for me, but there’s plenty to like. Below are my favorite articles from each section along with some information about them. At the bottom you will find some issues and concerns, along with my final recommendation.

Earth Magic

“Luminous Labyrinths” by Natalie Zaman

This article discusses labyrinths, but also provides a lot of practical activities. There’s a guided visualization, a May Day labyrinth, and a tabletop version, all of which look intriguing. If you’re looking for something a little different to add to your coven’s celebrations, there are a lot of ideas here.

“Ten Essential Herbs” by Deborah Blake

Just a continuation of my Deborah Blake obsession; seriously, though, she pretty much always writes excellent articles. Frankly, the longer you’re a witch, the simpler your craft tends to get, so Blake’s list of essential herbs and their uses is very helpful. Many herbs have multiple purposes, and a lot of these are ‘catch-alls’ that can be found in any kitchen. All of them are affordable, as well, which is always a plus.

Honorable Mention: “From Care to Karma” by Hannah E. Johnston whose food blessing we used for our Thanksgiving.

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Book Review: Llewellyn’s 2018 Witches’ Companion

Llewellyn's 2018 Witches' CompanionLlewellyn’s 2018 Witches Companion: An Almanac for Contemporary Living is the 10th installment in their Witches Companion Series, which started in 2008. Per usual I absolutely love the cover and want to have a backyard and then make that crescent moon flower bed. For those new to the series, “almanac” is a bit inaccurate, as the book is really just a set of short articles with a calendar in the back. My reviews of the 2016 and 2017 installments are on this site (click years to view). The articles range between six and twelve pages long with the average article being ten pages, very digestible if you are looking for a book to pick up and read casually. They’re divided into four sections: “Community Forum,” “Witchy Living,” “Witchcraft Essentials,” and “Magical Transformations.” The final section has a calendar from September 2017 through December 2018 that has the same information as Llewellyn’s Witches’ Calendar and Witches Datebook in a monthly grid format. Per my tradition I will be discussing my favorite articles below.

“Exonerating the Warlock: A Brief History and Revision of a Misunderstood Term” by Storm Faerywolf

I love linguistics and revision, so there was no way I was going to be able to resist this article. While ‘witch’ is a catch-all term with no gender, it can feel like there’s no term for witches who identify as men. In this article Faerywolf (I can’t with the name, I’m sorry) talks about how he identifies as a Warlock. The term, which means “oath breaker” is often not used or frowned upon, and the author argues for an attempt to reclaim it. I wasn’t completely won over, but I do admit that the umbrella term ‘witch’ doesn’t work for a lot of people, including my own partner.

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A Witch’s Guide to Magickal Blogging Part 3: Tips and Tricks

Welcome to Part 3 of A Witch’s Guide to Magickal Blogging, post three in a four part series meant to help you take the steps you need to in order to start writing your magickal blog. This post will cover tips and tricks for taking your magickal blog to the next level, taken from my decade-long blogging journey. Part 1 and Part 2 can be found here.

Magickal Blogging Tips and Tricks

You can read about riding a bike, but the only way to really learn how to ride one is to actually get on a bike a pedal. Blogging is much the same way; you can theorize about it all day long, but you won’t know what you’re doing until after you’ve already started doing it. Once the basics are in place and you’ve started your blog, it’s time to get into the nitty gritty and go over some helpful hints, tips, and tricks.

Consistency: Consistency in what and how you write is huge, and this can only happen over time. The idea of consistency will trickle down to every part of your blog from your writing style and post structure, to use of categories and tags, to you posting schedule, to when and how you write. This this is rhythm that you hit as a blogger that can only happen over time.

Categories & Tags: These may seem silly, but nothing lets me know that a blog is a hot mess like a list of 500 tags. You may think the purpose of tags are to get you search results, but that is not the case: the purpose of tags is the help your reader navigate your website. When you think about tags in this way, the way you use them will change. Categories are for posts and is set while you are writing.

Drafts Posts: I have a technique that really works for me, which is having a ton of draft posts. I’ll get an idea for an article, a list, or a spell, and I will start the post and save the draft. Sometimes it has all of 100 words in it, but it’s saved. Then, during the 75% of writing sessions where I’m not inspired, I’ll open one of the incomplete drafts, re-read it quickly, and start adding to it. I’m actually adding this draft posts idea to a post that was in drafts because I woke up and had no idea what to write. This method works super well for me, and maybe it will work well for you too. Regardless, experiment until you find a system that works.

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Book Review: The Magickal Family by Monica Crosson

The Magickal Family by Monica Crosson“The Magickal Family: Pagan Living in Harmony with Nature” by Monica Crosson was published in early October 2017. It caught my eye, but I didn’t read it for a new months because I assumed there wasn’t much that I would be able to get from it. We have a teenager who is magick-curious, but that’s it. However, my coven mate will be having a witchling soon, so I decided to get her this book for Yule. Of course, book nerd that I am, I couldn’t just wrap it without looking through it first, and before you know it I had read the whole thing. Even though this book does have a lot to do with raising Pagan children, an opportunity that our magickal household has missed out on, I still found myself getting a lot out of this book. It’s an excellent read, both informative and extremely engaging, and full of good ideas. While a lot of it works for families with witchlings, this book could also easily be used by adult witches without children, since there are a lot of ceremonies and magick for adult life events too (handfasting, recipes, cottage witchery).

The book is organized into two parts and has a total of fourteen chapters. Part 1: “Family Magick” has six chapters and is more general, while Part 2: “Family Sabbat Celebrations” covers the eight Sabbats in the Wheel of the Year.

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Guide to Llewellyn’s Pagan and Witchcraft Annuals

Ever since I was a baby witch, even before I worked the counter at a local metaphysical shop, I have been a Llewellyn fan. They’ve been publishing books for our magickal community for decades, and they have their annuals perfected. Even with new magickal publishing houses brings excellents texts to the market, you cannot get away from Llewellyn. There are quite a few annuals, too, so I thought it may be helpful if I listed them and explained their contents and uses to you all.

These annuals release in the summer, usually in very early July, but there’s often a sale in June on Amazon. This list covers Llewellyn’s witchcraft and paganism annuals, not their astrological ones, which may be a separate post at some point. They are listed in alphabetical order, and all covers open larger when clicked.

Llewellyn's 2017 Herbal Almanac Llewellyn's 2018 Herbal Almanac Llewellyn's 2019 Herbal Almanac

Herbal Almanac – The annual Herbal Almanac is perfect for green and kitchen witches, or anyone who is intrigued by our plant friends. It’s a series of articles written by various authors, but all of them are about plants and herbs. Topics include planting, gardening, cooking and home remedies, and poisonous plants. This annual has been published since 2000 and the covers are very clean and attractive. Unlike the other volumes here, many non-magickal folks read this annual.

Llewellyn's 2017 Magical Almanac Llewellyn's 2017 Magical Almanac Llewellyn's 2019 Magical Almanac

Magical Almanac: Practical Magic for Everyday Living – This annual, published since 1990, is organized in sections by element: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. It’s similar to the Witches’ Companion in that in contains a series of short articles, but they are paired with specific elements (though some don’t match their element as well as others do). The articles are not connected to specific dates, so, aside from the calendar section, it can be read any time. The calendar section, located in the middle of the book, covers Full Moons, New Moons, and holidays, both modern and traditional. The vibe of this book is different than the Companion in a lot of ways, and I would say that the Almanac is more pagan and practical with its emphasis on activities and education, whereas the Companion mostly deals with philosophical issues or current debates within the witchcraft community. I find that the Magical Almanac is a lot more accessible to newcomers, as well. The covers have always featured a magickal creature of some kind, and a best-of collection was published in 2015. A list of all Magical Almanacs is on Goodreads here.
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March 2018 Announcement

Dark Purple Flowers

Hello all, I have an announcement for March 2018, which is that I’m going to be writing a bit less this month. I have had way too much going on in my personal life at the moment, including almost $6K of unexpected expenses in the past three months from which I’m reeling, plus I will have to buy a new car very soon.

On top of it I’m dealing with a chronic illness that’s spawning little mini-illnesses, and just so I get the message, a (probably mentally ill) neighbor screamed at me yesterday for seemingly no reason. As I pulled my daily tarot card – reversed Wheel of Fortune, shocking no one – I realized that I just need to make this announcement.

I have a decent amount of content finished or mostly finished, so I’m dropping down to one post a week for March, and then I will reassess.

I hope your lives are better than mine! and, if not, I’m here for you.

PS: Edited this because I just remembered I have some people I know IRL who read this, so …  y’know.

February 2018 Magickal Link Roundup

Tea with Lavender Buds

It’s time for another magickal link roundup wherein I have compiled this month’s best resources from around the witchy web. Normally, this feature would be bi-monthly, but since February was a relatively quiet month in the cosmos, there weren’t many links to share around the halfway point.

Below you will find the my favorite links from around the magickal interweb from February 2018. If you have a favorite witchy post/blog/product to share, please feel free to post it in the comments.

~ February 2018 Magickal Link Roundup ~

Astrology & Numerology

Chinese Astrology: 2018 Tibetan and Chinese New Year of the Earth Dog on Mystic Mama – While Mystic Mama is a pretty good site, I have to say that I cannot stand these clunky post titles, it’s a strange pet peeve, but it’s nagging at me. I think it’s because I’m an English teacher by trade, and the titles read like they were written in another language and run through Google Translate. Regardless, this article is similar to the one below, various perspectives on the new Lunar year in Eastern astrology.

Chinese Astrology: Year of the Yang Earth Dog 2018 on Forever Conscious – As we exit the year of the Fire Rooster, this post gives an idea of what to expect during the upcoming lunar year.

February Numerology: Building Foundations for Love & Life on Astro Style – The monthly numerology report is always interesting, and I’ve found it to be generally accurate. My January report was correct, and I’m finding this monthly numerology report to be one of the best things this site produces.

Year of the Earth Dog: Your 2018 Chinese Horoscope on Astro Style – Their twist on this month’s common theme: what does the Year of the Earth Dog hold?

Tarot & Divination

Seventh Sphere Tarot de Marseille Deck by Labyrinthos Academy – This is a new release indie deck for February and is a stylistic companion to their Seventh Sphere Lenormand deck. The cards look really beautiful, my only complaint about collecting indie decks is the price: this one is $50 before shipping. (I still want it though.)

Tarot Birth Cards: Discover Your Inner Self on Biddy Tarot – I’m definitely interested in trying this out.

Moon Magick

A Free Moon Magic Coloring Page Set on Coloring Book of Shadows – You have to sign up for an email list to get this set, but they look pretty cute. I’m already subscribed, but haven’t gotten anything, so maybe you need to re-subscribe to get it? Update: Yes, you do.

Witchcraft & Paganism

A Druid’s Meditation Primer on A Druid’s Garden – This post goes into three different types of meditation, different types of breathwork, and includes three meditation exercises for the three phases of Druidry.

Love Potion Tea Recipe on The Witch of Lupine Hollow – I’m sure you all know I’m very against love spells, but this tea is for opening your heart up to love, a nice twist on a common witchcraft request. This blog always has interesting seasonal tea recipes, for the adventurous amongst us.

I hope you find these links helpful for you magickal doings. I very much enjoyed compiling them, and hope you find these resources useful, too. I will be back in March for another link roundup.

Blessed be, friends!

Image Credit

Stock image by Brigitte Tohm via Pexels

Cosmic Concerns: March 2018

Woman Face Silhouette

This list of March 2018’s astrological events is for witches and pagans who are interested in what’s going on in the cosmos. All times listed are in EST (Eastern Standard) and should be adjusted for your own time zone. Please note that this list is not even close to being exhaustive, but compiled by me to list events that are of magickal importance. This information is great to copy into your magickal journal if you maintain one; if you are looking for something more extensive my Guide to Lunar Trackers is on the site here. I hope that you find it helpful; blessed be!

Planetary Movement, March 2018

6th: Mercury enters Aries 2:34 AM; Venus enters Aries 6:45 PM
8th: Jupiter Retrograde 11:45 PM (until July 10th 2018)
17th: Mars enters Capricorn 12:40 PM
20th: Sun enters Aries 12:15 PM
22nd: Mercury Retrograde 8:19 PM in Aries (ends April 15th 2018)
31st: Venus enters Taurus 12:54 AM

Moon Cycle, March 2018

1st: Moon enters Virgo 12:57 AM, Full Moon in Virgo 7:51 PM
2nd: Moon void-of-course 6:50 PM
15th: Moon enters Pisces 6:12 AM
17th: New Moon in Pisces 9:12 AM, void-of-course 9:12 AM, enters Aries 2:57 PM
30th: Moon enters Libra 1:52 PM
31st: Blue Moon in Libra 8:37 AM

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Bullet Journal Tarot Tracker

I started testing out a bullet journal (bujo) system in November 2017, and switched to using it officially (aka formally replacing my planner and BOS) in January 2018. I knew that I wanted to start tracking my daily tarot card pulls in the bullet journal because I feel that practice is the only way to really learn the cards well. I searched a bit online, but couldn’t find a tarot tracking system that I liked. After some frustration (and a lot of erasing), I ended up making my own.

Bullet Journal Tarot TrackerI use the Leuchtturm1917 dotted A5 notebook in gold from the metallic 100th anniversary edition of notebooks. I’m noting this because I’ve heard online that the grid in this edition is slightly different than their standard notebooks.

You can see the blank tarot tracker to the left; I’m quite proud of it. I used a very simple version for a few months, but wanted something a little more fun and graphic looking. I used this tracker throughout January and it worked very well.

Each card ‘box’ is three squares wide by four squares tall. There’s a two square space in between each row, and a one square space between each column. The key box is ten squares tall by seven squares wide. This layout has enough space for the key and 32 card boxes, more than enough for every month. The extra card box can be used as an ‘oops box’ if you mess a card up enough that you want to rewrite it. Alternatively, you could use it for a monthly card, or leave it off entirely.

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A Witch’s Guide to Magickal Blogging Part 2: Finding Your Voice

Geometric Stained Glass

This post is a continuation of the Witch’s Guide to Magickal Blogging, a four part series meant to help you take the steps you need to in order to start writing your magickal blog. If you haven’t read Part 1: Where to Start yet, please head on over there now. Part 2 covers finding your voice as a magickal author including tips for making the leap from wanting to write a blog to actually writing one.

Step 1: How to Find Your Voice

Even if you’ve written before, your voice as a witchcraft and/or paganism writer is likely going to be different. ‘Voice’ is essentially your style as a writer and covers things like formality of writing, tone, punctuation, etc. Some authors use a lot of personal anecdotes, and others speak factually; some use evidence or sources, while others don’t. (I do suggest, if you want to have a credible site, give sources of information at the bottom of your posts, just so your readers know you aren’t making up information.)

The only way to find your voice is to start writing and publishing posts. This is so hard to do, and I get it, but you have to take the leap. You’ll risk publishing posts that you aren’t completely happy with down the line, to which I say: welcome to blogging. No one is 100% happy with every post they write. There are some posts that I feel aren’t my best work, and they end up being popular, while other posts that I adore are barely ever viewed. There’s never going to be a perfect overlap between writer and audience, and that’s okay.

Luckily, when your blog is in its infancy, not many people will be visiting it anyway. For example: The first year I wrote this blog it was viewed a total of 400 times; the second year I wrote this blog it was viewed 6,000 times. A huge improvement! While I was sad that no one saw my writing that first year, now I’m glad that no one did, since my articles weren’t consistent at all.

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Book Review: Basic Witches by Jaya Saxena and Jess Zimmerman

Basic Witches Book CoverBasic Witches: How to Summon Success, Banish Drama, and Raise Hell with Your Coven by Jaya Saxena and Jess Zimmerman was published in 2017 by Quirk Books. I pre-ordered the book because it’s illustrated by Camille Chew, whose work I’ve followed for a bit. I’m so excited that she’s getting magickal book illustration gigs, so I actually bought this book to support her. It’s very modern and ‘hip’ looking, designed to attract, presumably, young women. The color scheme of the book, especially the internal illustrations which don’t have any gold, is exactly the same as the Little Paper Forest Zodiac Deck that I just reviewed. The book itself is hardcover with gold foil details (all the yellow parts shown are metallic in person), and a much appreciated ribbon bookmark built in. It’s divided into seven sections with illustrations throughout, some of which are very funny. Every chapter ends with a set of spells related to the content that was covered therein.

The book is meant to be tongue-in-cheek, in part, and absolutely not for real witches. At the beginning of Chapter 1 the authors define “a witch” as any woman who is rebellious: “For our purposes witchcraft means the kind of mundane pursuits that might once have resulted in accusation: … not caring what men think, … and just knowing stuff” (15). They continue, “If you speak when you’re told to be quiet … you’re practicing witchcraft” (15). Then I put the book down for four months.

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Weekly Witch Question #4: Man Witch

Welcome to week four of the Weekly Witch Question! This feature was inspired by a massive list of questions that my dad sent me about witchcraft. The phrasing of these questions were adjusted, if they were changed at all, for clarity.

Feel free to ask any questions about witchcraft that you may have, and, if the question inspires you, respond in your own magickal journal (a prompt can be found below). This week’s question addresses men in witchcraft.

4. Can a man be a witch?

Absolutely! Witchcraft is for everyone, regardless of gender identity, including if they reject gender altogether. Terminology is where it get a little sticky. The term ‘warlock’ which means “oath-breaker” was/can be used for witches who identify as male, but this is also considered to be a pejorative by some. This debate is taken up in the 2018 Witches’ Companion in the article “Exonerating the Warlock: A Brief History and Revision of a Misunderstood Term” by Storm Faerywolf. I’m not sure how Storm identifies, but for another perspective on the debate, that’s the article I recommend. This all seems simple enough, but things get complicated when we start to talk about gender.

Comme des Garcons Fall 2012

What is this? A witch.

Witch is a gender-neutral term and can be used by anyone who considers themselves to be a witch. However – and it’s a big however – the term “witch” is generally considered to be a ‘feminine’ term. Just like “purse” or “whore” the term “witch” is associated with women, and when indicating that it’s associated with a man, “man purse” and “man whore” enter the vernacular. (The title of this post is to poke fun at this, “man witch” it not a term anyone is using.) Since things that are coded as female are then devalued and read as ‘not masculine’, the association between witch and woman is problematic, specifically because it hurts recruitment. Many men interested in witchcraft end up instead in paganism (in general), Druidry, or Satanism rather than witchcraft. Even when pagan men work with magick they are hesitant to call themselves witches.

Looking at pop culture, for example, the most well known male witch in the world is probably Harry Potter, but within that story, male witches are called “wizards”. No magickal modern man that I know calls himself a “wizard,” or a “sorcerer” for that matter, since both of these terms are associated more with fantasy novels than magick. “Mage” has similar issues, as it evokes the feeling of choosing a character class in a fantasy video game.

So, while men are absolutely welcome in witchcraft, we have a real hurdle to get over when it comes to “witch/craft” and gender issues. If there are any magickal men out there reading this, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

For your magick journal: What terms have you seen used for a man who is a witch? If you are are man and a witch, what do you call yourself? Do you think that the term “witch” is always going to be associated with women? How do you feel about that?

Image Credit

Comme des Garcons fashion via Vogue

Indie Deck Review: Zodiac Cards by Little Paper Forest

Zodiac Cards by Little Paper Forest

I have been a fan of Nikkie Stinchcombe, also known as Little Paper Forest, for some time now, so in October 2017 when she announced that she was starting a zodiac illustration project, I was rather excited. I had planned on posting about the project when the last illustration was completed, but she implored the internet to leave the pictures alone, since they were still being revised. Then, in late January 2018, Stinchcombe announced that the illustrations were being made into tarot-style cards, and I immediately hit “add to cart.”

Zodiac Cards by Little Paper Forest

The cards feature feminine interpretations of each sign of the zodiac, plus Ophiuchus, the so-called 13th sign. Many of the figures feature looks from high fashion/couture, such as Iris Van Herpen, who I adore. I also like that the cards have a uniform color scheme of black, grayscale, and bluish-lavender. It’s unusual and very pretty. This is a more modern deck, in lines of a Labyrinthos Academy, more than a Lo Scarabeo, for example.

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