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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New Moon February 15th 2018 in Aquarius

Aquarius - Urania's Mirror

The February 2018 New Moon in Aquarius occurs at 4:05 PM EST on Thursday, February 15th. However, the Moon goes void-of-course at the exact same time, meaning you will need to observe this Full Moon sooner rather than later. The good news is that the Moon is in Aquarius all day February 14th, and it enters Aquarius at 10:11 AM on Tuesday, February 13th, so it will essentially be in Aquarius for two full days. This gives us plenty of time to work with this New Moon. This information is also detailed in my February 2018 Cosmic Concerns post and is listed below.

New Moon February 2018 Timing

  • February 13th, Tuesday: Moon enters Aquarius 10:11 AM
  • February 14th, Wednesday: Moon is in Aquarius all day
  • February 15th, Thursday: New Moon at 4:05 PM, void-of-course 4:05 PM, enters Pisces 9:42 PM

Practically speaking, all this means you can do your New Moon ritual after 10 AM on the 13th, any time on the 14th (recommended), or before 4 PM on the 15th.

The two week manifestation point for this New Moon is on Thursday, March 1st 2018 with the Full Worm Moon in Virgo. The six month manifestation point is on Friday, July 27th 2018 with the Full Moon in Aquarius. This New Moon marks the end up the Lunar Year, with the Lunar New Year occurring on February 16th and the year of the Dog. 

My guide, Witch’s Guide to New Moon Magick, can be found on the site here; this post is a companion to that guide. If you’re new to Moon magick that’s a great place to begin.

New Moon in Aquarius

Aquarius is the eleventh sign of the zodiac, a Fixed, and an Air sign that is ruled by Uranus and Saturn. Aquarius is associated with social justice and responsibility. They are the zodiac’s rebel, and enjoy being unique and different. An Aquarius is more likely to have a lot of casual friendships, rather than a few deep ones, because they are a very social sign. Because of their confidence, they are able to make friends easily and are passionate about causes they believe in. No one loves a conspiracy theory more than an Aquarius, but maybe this is because they’re usually ahead of their time. Aquarius might be the water bearer, but any Aquarius would say that what they really carry is the truth! Saturn was the original ruler of the sign, but Uranus was also assigned to Aquarius after its discovery. This New Moon ushers in the Lunar New Year and is also a Solar Eclipse, which will give an extra boost of energy to your magick.

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13 Magickal Ways to Fill a Notebook

Open Books

I absolutely love blank books, and am pretty much always looking for an excuse to use them. Luckily, witchcraft lends itself to the hoarding of notebooks, blank books, planners, and what not. Here are thirteen magickal uses for notebooks so you can hoard away.

13 Magickal Ways to Fill a Notebook

1. Animal & Nature Sightings Journal – Animal sightings are a type of divination/sign in and of themselves, but I often forget to include them in my magickal journal. You can keep a diary of just animal sightings, or include when you see certain flowers, plants, or compelling clouds. To take it a step further you can press flowers and record where you collected them, then add magickal correspondences and uses.

2. Astrological Correspondences – The correspondences between the 12 signs of the zodiac and the planets is extensive, and could easily fill a notebook. There could be a page for each sign with its information and correspondences, a page for each planet and its movement and magickal information, and a section that cross-references the two sections (ie: what Mercury in Scorpio means). There can also be information on planetary retrogrades, and a calendar that covers as much or as little of the information at you like.

3. Book of Shadows/Grimoire/Magickal Journal – This is the obvious choice, of course, and my article on Starting You Grimoire and/or Book of Shadows is my most popular post. A magickal journal is a must-have for a witch, in my opinion. Magickal journal is an all-purpose magickal use for a notebook, and a lot of the items on the list can be added to a magickal journal, too.

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About the Witch: My Witchcraft Story

Hello all! I hope that you are all having a wonderful and magickal year thus far. I thought it would be a good idea to take a moment and introduce myself to new readers of Astra Anima. What better way than by telling the story of my own magickal journey?

About the Witch

Meet the WitchI’m Brigitte, the magickal writer behind Astra Anima, and an eclectic pagan Taoist witch. I was raised in an Eastern religious tradition (my father moved toward Buddhism as I moved toward Taoism), but even though I was brought up in those traditions, I never felt like I completely fit in. Still, my ideas about life, death, and ‘the Universe’ are very much informed by Taoism, so I’m include it in my official witch title at the moment.

I became a witch when I was in 8th grade (so about 13 years old) and met my best friend who became my first coven leader. We were in a coven for the next six years that eventually grew to have four regular members and, at the largest ritual, a total of about a dozen people. This is where I learned a lot of my pagan witchcraft foundations as we celebrated the Full Moons and Sabbats. I remember sitting in her bedroom with a copy of Scott Cunningham’s Earth, Air, Fire, Water taking copious notes in a cheap spiral notebook. We would sneak into the local park or clamor over the chain link fence behind her house into the scraggly the woods for our Esbats. There was one Sabbat we did at the beach where our grill was pulled into the ocean; I will always remember her chasing it into the water, dodging the hot coals that floated out as she retrieved it.

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Book Review: Brigid by Courtney Weber

Brigid by Courtney WeberBrigid: History, Mystery, and Magick of the Celtic Goddess by Courtney Weber was published in 2015 by Weiser Books. I picked it up in 2016, but only got around to reading it recently. The book is divided into ten chapters ranging from about 15-30 pages each. I picked this book up off my shelf as Imbolc loomed large over the horizon. Having already read a couple of books on the Sabbat itself, I decided to learn more about the goddess associated with it: Brigid.

On the whole my feelings about this book are positive, but I did struggle to read it at points, and for multiple reasons. I found myself getting a little bored at parts, forgetting what I had just read, or letting my eyes flit around the page. I started out really enjoying the book, but early on, the author confides that the book is part of a ‘deal’ that she made with the goddess. Forgetting the deal and not holding up her end of the bargain, the author says that Brigid became cold and vengeful, culminating in the priestess doing Weber’s dedication hitting and berating her. Finally, a friend channels Brigid who, again, vengefully leaves the newly-pregnant woman with twins who resemble the goddess as punishment for the friend’s resistance. There’s something about 1) speaking the mystical aloud, and 2) this vengeful idea of Brigid, that cooled me on the book somewhat. I’m all for warrior goddess – all for them – but the idea of Brigid as petty and cruel over what amount to human error or misunderstandings just doesn’t resonate with me. Also, as witches and pagans we all have unusual mystical experiences, but when they’re stated aloud they lose something to me. I feel like the author’s personal stories about Brigid were a roadblock to me fully appreciating the book, and the research that went into it. All that being said, there’s quite a lot of good in the book as well, so let’s get to the content of the book itself.

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Indie Oracle Deck: “Supra” Oracle by Uusi

Supra Oracle by Uusi

Uusi is an independant tarot and oracle card maker extraordinaire, and their latest release is the “Supra” Oracle, which include 56 unique cards. From their website:

“Supra” is an oracle deck loosely based on Jungian psychology and how it mingled with Gnosticism. We loved the melding of physics, psyche and ancient knowledge in Jung’s practice that inspired an artistic leap at the dawn of the 20th Century in how Man relates to the world around him. It was a process of soul making in an era of growing preoccupation with the Machine and a return to our mystic roots that nourish and enliven our essential selves – our individual identities – within the immeasurable expanse of the cosmos.

With a world very much in play and running more and more at a machine’s pace, we need objects and practices that ask us to stop, to reflect, and above all to allow us time to be human – to listen to what is in our hearts as much as what is in our minds.

I am very intrigued by the idea of a Jung-inspired oracle deck, and the archetypes are pulled from various (presumably Western) traditions. I believe the aim of this oracle deck is to sort of mimic a sort of collective unconscious and to pull advice from that system of “mystic roots”. My first reaction is that this deck would be potentially very useful for shadow work.

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Weekly Witch Question #3: Witches in the Media

Welcome to the third installment of the (Bi)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 discussed here inspires you, respond in your own magickal journal (a prompt can be found at the bottom of the post). This week’s question addresses how witches are presented in popular culture, which, in turn, influences how non-magickal people view us.

Question 3: Are there really witches like the ones portrayed in popular media (e.g., Macbeth, Salem Witch Trials, Halloween, etc.)?

30 Rock Witch Undertones

The short answer is no, witches are not like the way we are portrayed in the popular imagination. To illustrate, I’m going to take a moment to address a few of the major ones and add a notable example to the list.

Macbeth: The Macbeth witches are based mostly on other people’s portrayals of witches from that time period; the 2018 Witches’ Companion published by Llewellyn actually has an article about them specifically. The witches three seem to be an adaptation of the three Fates (Greek) or the Norns (Norse) that rule over people’s lives.

Salem: The people who died in Salem weren’t witches at all. The Salem witchcraft trials were one of the last gasps of witchcraft persecution, a European import. There’s a trend at the moment to declare oneself a “descendant of Salem” aka a witch. I find this obnoxious for a few reasons: first, as stated, the people who died in Salem weren’t witches. The other is that I’m an actual descendant of Salem, specifically one of the ‘bad guys’, Cotton Mather. I really do have Salem in my blood; if you don’t, then please don’t buy a shirt pretending to be like me.

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Late January 2018 Magickal Link Roundup

Late January 2018 Witch Links

It’s time for another magickal link roundup wherein I have compiled this fortnight’s best resources from around the witchy web. Today is also the Full Blue Supermoon in Leo with an eclipse visible from some spots around the globe. If that seems like a lot – it is – this Full Moon is the manifestation for the August 2017 New Moon in Leo that caused solar eclipse. Thank you to everyone who has been checking out the post of the last few days!

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

~ Late January 2018 Magickal Link Roundup ~

Astrology & Numerology

The New Age of Astrology by Julie Beck on The Atlantic – Honestly, the article was kind of cringey and hard to read for me, because it largely focused on why people (or the author) thinks astrology is nonsense. Really, though, the more I’ve learned the more about astrology, I’m surprised at how accurate it is. How we all feel so unique, special, and self-determining and … well, we aren’t, that more than you’d think is in the stars. I do think it’s good to see how the muggles feel though, and if you can get through this read, you will get some information on the current modern perspective on astrology.

Tarot & Divination

A Full Moon in Leo Tarot Spread on Labyrinthos Academy – A four-card courage themed tarot spread for the January 31st 2018 Full Moon in Leo.

What’s Old is New by Barbara Moore on Llewellyn Unbound – It starts with information on a new book, but what I like about the post is at the end: a tarot spread from a 1955 magazine. The spread is pictured and is an interesting variation on a simple yes/no reading.

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Magickal Journal Ideas for February 2018

Magickal Journal Ideas for February 2018

Below I’ve have a list of topics to pack your magickal journal, grimoire, or book of shadows over the course of February. There are both prompts and correspondences below. Happy journaling!

Activities/Prompts

Imbolc Offerings: February 2nd is Imbolc, the pagan festival honoring Brigid that became the Christian holiday Candlemas. Consider making an offering to Brigid or adding information on Imbolc or Brigid to your grimoire. Offerings include candles and milk since Imbolc means “Ewe’s milk” or “of milk” in Gaelic. Journal about your offerings and, if you asked for something from Brigid, reflect on how it manifests.

Groundhog’s Day: February 2nd 2018 is both the pagan holiday Imbolc and the secular holiday Groundhog Day. One of my personal traditions is watching the Bill Murray movie “Groundhog Day” either on the 2nd or the closest day that I’m alone. The tradition of this holiday has pagan origins, and the movie itself addresses karma and reincarnation as much as a popular movie possibly could. If you choose to watch it, reflect on its spiritual meaning in your magickal journal.

Lunar New Year: Often referred to as Chinese New Year (though China is not the only place that celebrates it), the Lunar New Year is the day after the New Moon in Pisces, the last sign of the zodiac. For 2018 the Lunar New Year is on February 16th which is a Year of the Dog. I posted ideas on how pagans can celebrate the Lunar New Year a while back, but some small things that can be done are wearing red, cleaning the house, and reflecting on the previous year. If you follow a lunar calendar, this New Year may feel more ‘natural’ than the solar one on January 1st.

Resolution Reflection: If you set New Year’s Resolutions at the beginning of the year, February is a natural point to reflect on them. Ask yourself what’s working and what isn’t, consider writing a revised list, or breaking larger goals down into monthly goals.

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Cosmic Concerns: February 2018

Cosmic Concerns February 2018

This list of February 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, February 2018

10th: Venus enters Pisces 6:20 PM
17th: Mercury enters Pisces 11:28 PM
18th: Sun enters Pisces 12:18 PM

Moon Cycle, February 2018

13th: Moon enters Aquarius 10:11 AM
15th: New Moon in Aquarius 4:05 PM, void-of-course 4:05 PM, enters Pisces 9:42 PM

Note: There is no Full Moon in February 2018

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Simple Brigid Candle Blessing Spell for Imbolc

Burning Candle Flame

This simple candle blessing spell can be used as a part of your Imbolc ritual or as a simple Imbolc ritual in and of itself. You can bless a single candle or a large number of candles, just change the wording accordingly.

Brigid Candle Blessing Spell for Imbolc

Supplies:

  • Candle(s)

Directions:

Cleanse yourself and your candle(s) using your preferred method. If blessing a large number of candles, casting a circle is suggested. Hold the candle in your hands, or hold your hands over the candles, and say:

“Brigid bless this candle bright,
Shelter me within its light,
Home and hearth, the things I see,
Brightest blessings come to me.”

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Full Moon January 31st 2018 in Leo

Full Blue Moon in Leo January 2018

January 2018’s Full Blue Moon is on Wednesday, January 31st at 8:27 AM EST; this Full Moon ends the cycle that started on August 21st 2017 with the New Moon in Leo. If you remember that New Moon was a solar eclipse, hence this Moon is a lunar eclipse. The Moon moves into Leo at 1:53 PM on Tuesday, January 30th, and exits Leo at 5:59 AM on Thursday, February 1st. This information is also detailed in my January 2018 Cosmic Concerns post and as in list below. January’s second Full Moon is a Blue Moon, an eclipse, and a Supermoon, all which will provide an extra dose of energy to your magick.

Some people are referring to this Full Moon as a Blood Moon, but this is a bit misleading. Some people call any Moon with red hue a Blood Moon, which is going to be the case with any lunar eclipse; however, Blood Moon is the name of October’s Moon. For clarity, I don’t use the two terms interchangeably, but some do. You will find a lot of people kind of freaking out about this Full Moon, but there’s no need. There’s extra energy, yes, but these events (solar and lunar eclipses) happen every year, and are not the huge deal that some people are making them out to be.

January 2018 Full Blue Moon Timing

  • January 30th, Tuesday: Moon void-of-course 11:40 AM, enters Leo 1:53 PM
  • January 31st, Wednesday: Full Moon at 8:27 AM
  • February 1st, Thursday: Moon void-of-course 5:59 AM, enters Virgo 2:13 PM

I recommend doing your Full Moon ritual on the evening of January 31st; shortly after 8:27 AM is ideal, but any time during the day is fine. You can also do your ritual any time on January 30th after 1:53 PM as well. Regardless, to charge items, they should sit out on the night of the 30th.

My guide, Witch’s Guide to Full Moon Magick, can be found on the site here; this post is a companion to that guide. If you’re new to Moon magick that’s a great place to begin.

About a Full Blue Moon

Since January already had a Full Moon on the 1st, the January 31st Full Moon is a Blue Moon. The energy of a Blue Moon combines with the energy of that’s month Full Moon – in January’s case the Cold Moon. A Blue Moon happens when a month has a second Full Moon, something that happens roughly every 30 months. What’s interesting about this year is that we will have two Blue Moons, of which this is the first. The expression “once in a Blue Moon” indicates rarity, and the second Blue Moon of 2018 really will be unusual!

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Eight Imbolc Season Celebration Ideas

Imbolc should be my favorite Sabbat because I work with Brigid, the goddess honored on Imbolc, but I have dropped the ball several times. Last year, for example, we moved right before Imbolc, and everything we owned was boxed up, including a box of handmade candles that we blessed (I hope Brigid forgives me for that mess).

Below are ideas for solitaries, pairs, families, and covens, as well as many that would work with multiple configurations. Some require a little preparation or shopping, so I wanted to post them early enough that you can incorporate them into your Imbolc preparation. Remember, though, Imbolc is a six week long season and not just one day.

Note: If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere you will be celebrating Lughnasadh.

1: Altar Decoration: White and red are traditional colors associated with Brigid, who is said to have drank the milk of a white, red-eared cow. You can also decorate your altar with a solar theme, since Brigid is a sun goddess. Animals associated with Brigid include the cow, boar/pig, and fox.

2. Brigid’s Cross: The first craft that one of my witch friends and I ever did together was make Brigid’s Crosses, so this craft will always be extra special to me. It’s a relatively simple craft to complete and can be made as inexpensively as you like; I use green pine needles that I find on the ground. They should be hung over doors for protection all year, then burned on the next Imbolc after your new ones have been made. Directions can also be found easily online (this website is one example).

3. Candles: Brigid is associated with candles, so this is a perfect time of year to make candles, bless candles, or prepare spell candles. A candle blessing that I wrote for Brigid can be read here. Red, orange, and yellow are colors associated with the sun, so they are ideal to work with. Tealights can have sigils scratched into their surface easily with a toothpick, and larger candles can be decorated solo or by a coven. Stock up on yearly chime candles, and bless them all on Imbolc. If you’re feeling crafty, Imbolc is a perfect time to learn how to make your own candles.

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Book Review: Imbolc by Carl F. Neal (Llewellyn’s Sabbat Essentials Series)

Imbolc Llewellyn Sabbat EssentialsLlewellyn’s Sabbat Essentials series contains eight small books, one for each Sabbat in the pagan Wheel of the Year. The author varies by Sabbat with no author having more than two books in the series. Imbolc: Rituals, Recipes, and Lore for Brigid’s Day was written by Carl F. Neal. Neal is not an author with whom I am familiar; researching him it appears that his area of expertise is incense.

The standard sections in the Sabbat Essentials books are: Old Ways, New Ways, Spells and Divination, Recipes and Crafts, Prayers and Invocations, Rituals of Celebration, Correspondences, and Further Reading. There is also a Series Introduction that is the same in all eight books, so I won’t review it aside from saying that it is worth reading over annually. It also has two really beautiful Wheel of the Year illustrations, one for the Northern Hemisphere and one for the Southern Hemisphere, which is worth copying into your Book of Shadows.

The Old Ways section is as interesting as always, and contains a lot of helpful information about the history of the Sabbat. The section discusses what winter meant to people throughout history, and why that meaning makes Imbolc so important. Roman, Egyptian, Native American, and Asian traditions are discussed, as well as Celtic traditions and the goddess Brigid. The New Ways section discusses the difficulties of the Sabbat, and Brigid’s importance to Imbolc as well as modern paganism. Secular holidays are examined, and there is a brief examination of activities that can be done during the Imbolc season. Both of these section are quick overviews.

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Weekly Witch Question #2: Spells

Welcome to week two of the (Bi)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. This question is another very common one that you will get asked after revealing that you’re a witch.

Question 2: Do witches cast spells? What sort of spells? Can they hurt people by casting spells? Is casting spells dangerous?

Yes, witches cast spells, but it would probably be more accurate to say that witches work with magick. Spells are of an almost infinite variety, but can truly be ‘for’ anything. Releasing negative energy, protection (both physical and non-physical), prosperity and abundance, love and self-love are some of the larger categories. However, it can be extremely specific: a spell to help you find your perfect home at the perfect price, a spell to make sure your baby is born safe and healthy, or a spell to ensure that a loved one recovers from a hospital stay are all spells that can be performed. There’s also weather magick, herbal magick, candle magick, and pretty much magick and witchcraft for every part of life including techno magick that uses technology. Other witches exclusively perform divination, so even though they don’t cast spells, they still work with magick.

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Hematite and Carnelian Crystal Grid for Depression

Crystal Grid to Fight Depression

Depression is one of the ‘invisible’ diseases that is becoming more common every year. I’ve had multiple requests to make a depression grid, or to discuss what crystals are best for treating depression, but I’ve been hesitant to do so because what I want people to use to treat their depression is therapy, not crystals. However, I’ve had enough requests that I feel that this is a ‘call’ and that I should answer it.

This crystal grid uses carnelian, hematite-included quartz (also called harlequin quartz), and clear quartz to help dispel the effects of depression. This red grid is meant to ‘light the fire’ necessary to take the next step in treating depression. Personally, I highly recommend finding a qualified and sympathetic therapist; I say this as a person who has gone to therapy themselves, it was one of the best decisions I ever made in my life. Please understand that this crystal grid is an aid meant to supplement – not a replacement for – proper treatment.

These are, by no means, the only crystals that can be used for this grid or for depression. In my research, however, I found that many of the crystals specifically assigned to depression were extremely rare. As a rule I only use/recommend crystals that I consider reasonably affordable.

Supplies:

Carnelian x4
Quartz generator crystal
Crystal grid base
Hematite included quartz points x4

Before you begin, cleanse the crystals and the grid using your preferred method.
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