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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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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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

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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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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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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A Witch’s Guide to Magickal Blogging Part 1: How and Where to Start

So you want to start a magickal blog. Great! Now the question is where to begin. You might have a lot of great ideas, but you don’t know what to do with them, or maybe no ideas, but a desire to write. A Witch’s Guide to Magickal Blogging is a four part series meant to help you take the steps you need to in order to start writing your magickal blog. I have been blogging for well over 10 years, so it’s definitely something I feel comfortable talking about. In Part 1 you will take the first three steps, finding out who you are as a writer, exploring what you want to write, and deciding where you want to host your blog. Let’s get started …

Step 1: Who Are You?

One thing that will largely influence what your magickal blog is like is who you are. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you younger or older?
  • Are you an experienced witch or new to the Craft?
  • Do you have a set path or are you finding your way?

Your age means that you will have specific experience that relates to your phase of life. A young witch in college can write study spells, whereas a parent raising magickal children could write about their witchlings. A teenaged college student wouldn’t know about being a magickal parent, nor would the adult with kids know about being a carefree college student, and you know what? That’s a good thing! Your life experiences inform your magick which, in turn, guides your witchy writing.

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Weekly Witch Question #1: The Devil

I’m am very excited to introduce a new feature this week, the Weekly Witch Question! This feature was inspired by a massive list of questions that my dad sent me about witchcraft. This will be a regular feature this year, appearing every other Friday. 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, too. You will also find a question for your magickal journal at the bottom. I absolutely promise you that, if and when you come out of the ‘broom closet’, this question will be one of the first you are asked.

Question 1: Do witches worship the Devil? Do they worship nature?

The Devil Mystic Mondays Tarot

Witches do not worship the Devil, though most people seem to think that we do. The easiest way to describe it is by explaining that witches don’t worship the Devil because the Devil is something that Christians made up; it has nothing to do with us. I would feel comfortable claiming that very few people worship the Christian Devil at all. Some pagans believe that the Christian Devil is based on the Great Horned God, who, with the Goddess, moves around the cyclic Wheel of the Year. He’s born again at Yule, which is akin to the Christian Christmas. However, that’s pagan, and not witchcraft.

While ‘pagan’ is an umbrella term for people who follow an Earth Based Belief System (EBBS) that usually involves the spark of ‘divinity’ in nature; witches do not all fall under this umbrella because not all witches are pagan. Witches don’t actually ‘worship’ anything because witchcraft isn’t a religion. Rather, it’s a practice, a Craft, something you do, rather than something you follow. The only witchcraft religion that is officially recognized by the government (at this time) is Wicca, and many witches and pagans are not Wiccan, myself included. This is potentially changing since there are many types of witches and none of us are afforded with religious protections that come with being an officially recognized religion. In other words, if you’re not a religion you can’t experience religious persecution or discrimination, but many of us do. So while witchcraft isn’t a religion, it gets into a gray area very quickly.

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15 Magickal Self-Care Ideas for Witches

Now that we’re in the dark half of the year, ’tis the season for self-care.

I was very intrigued when the concept of ‘self-care’ came to my attention; I teach all day, which I enjoy, but being around people left me feeling drained (classic introvert). At first I thought that self-care meant laying in bed or hiding in the dark for an entire day, so I did just that, but it didn’t help me feel recharged.

In reality, self-care is more empowering than giving in to your impulse to never move. Self-care means that you need to make yourself a priority and push yourself to take care of yourself. The guiding principle of self-care is, in other words, to do something that fills you back up rather than something that drains you. Below is my list of witchy self-care activities, some of which can be done at a moment’s notice, and others that need minimal magickal preparation.

1. Active Meditation – This is doing something that puts you ‘in the zone’ versus traditional, passive meditation (see #13 below). Active meditation can be anything from art projects to walking the dog, but if you lose yourself in it, then it’s active meditation. Active meditation means that you are lost in the moment, that you don’t feel time passing, and doing the activity that enables it can feel very rewarding.

2. Aromatherapy – I don’t know many witches who don’t have at least a few candles around, and filling your space with fragrance can really lighten a mood. I like seasonal smells since the weather doesn’t change much around here, but you can use any scents that help you feel positive emotions. For a magickal boost, use incense that has been charged or has a specific benefit (ie: lavender to calm). Carve sigils into the candles or write affirmations on them to focus their energy release as they burn.

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Dia de los Muertos for Witches and Pagans

My birthday happens to fall on Dia de los Muertos, which has invited many sugar skull themed items into my house, but I’ve never explored the holiday in much detail. Last year, when I told someone my birthday was on the Day of the Dead, they said, “Oh, November 1st?” I didn’t answer, but thought it was odd.

I did a little research and found out that Dia de los Muertos is, as I has assumed my whole life, November 2nd, but that it was a holiday to honor deceased adults. However, November 1st is also a holiday, Dia de los Inocentes (aka “Day of the Innocents”) designed to honor dead children and infants (angelitos). Traditional gravesite visits are reserved for the 2nd, though the spirits of the infants and children are given 24 hours to return to their families, starting at midnight on October 31st. Decorating family altars is common during this time, and I added photos of both of my grandmothers to our altar on Samhain last year.

Below is a list of Dia correspondences that you can add to your magickal journal, and below that is a list of suggested Dia activities that you can participate in.

Some Dia Correspondences

– Altars (ofrendas, family and public)
– Cleaning and Decorating Graves
– Epitaphs (written for yourself or friends)
– Food (nuts, fruit, or the deceased’s favorite meal)
– La Calavera Catrina (circa 1910)
– Marigolds (the flower of the dead, thought to attract souls to the offerings)
– Pan de Muerto (special bread)
– Sugar Skulls (made only as offerings, not for consumption by the living)
– Water (or alcohol, for the adult departed)

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Tanabata Star Festival 2017

It’s hard to believe that it’s Tanabata once again, the year has flown by. Also known as the Star Festival, Tanabata occurs on the evening of July 7th to celebrate the one night that the stars Vega and Altair can be together. In China this festival is called Qixi Festival or The Festival to Plead for Skills which is held on the seventh day of the seventh month. Traditionally this was determined using a Lunar calendar, but more recently it has been celebrated using the Solar calendar. My Tanabata spell in 2016 was the first spell that I posted online, so it’s a bit of an anniversary for me as well.

Tanabata Spell for Witches

In celebration of that anniversary, the Tanabata Wish Spell that I wrote last year has been completely updated. It has been rewritten in a style that makes it easy to put in your Book of Shadows or Grimoire.

Tanabata 2017 Google Doodle

Stories of Tanabata

Additionally, one of my coven traditions is to tell different versions of the same seasonal story for each sabbat. In that same spirit there are many versions of the folktale “The Cowherd and the Weaver Girl” available; the moving story is the inspiration for Tanabata festivals in multiple cultures.

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Witchcraft Basics: How to Cleanse a Space

Woman Surrounded by Smoke

This guide covers a witchcraft basic: how to cleanse the energy in a space. I created this because a lot of witchcraft writers, myself included, will say “cleanse your space” as though everyone knows exactly what that means. The truth of the matter is that, when you’re a new witch, you have no idea what that looks like! Intermediate and advanced witches will likely not find this guide helpful, but there are a lot of witches who are just starting out who I hope will benefit.

This is my own advice based on my own experiences and practice of witchcraft. There are three basic types of cleansing magick that I cover here: smoke, smokeless, and tool cleansing. I recommend cleansing the home or living space once every lunar cycle on the Full Moon. Cleansing can also be used after a negative energy event, like a fight or illness, or just when you feel that the energy could use a scrub.

Smoke Cleansing

Smoke cleansing is typically referred to as ‘smudging’, though that term has fallen out of favor as it references a specific Native American ritual. That’s a whole debate, however, with some saying that anyone is welcome to smudge who respects to practice, and others saying no do not call it smudging ever. I like to err on the side of caution and call it ‘smoke cleansing’ to be respectful.

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How to Spot Fake Witches Who Just Want to Sell You Something

Every time witchcraft becomes popular (the 70s, the 90s, the 20-teens) there are people and companies who want to sell us something witch-themed. Necklaces, buttons, shoes, and even tube tops emblazoned with the word “witch” suddenly appear, and for the most part, it’s great. However, if you’re actually a witch, sorting out people who are also actually witches from people who never have (and never will) do magick can be rather difficult. I’ll buy my tube tops from anyone (note: I won’t buy tube tops at all for any reason), but magickal supplies I’m picky about. If I’m buying a spell candle, for example, I’d rather buy one from a fellow witch. This is because the energy of a magickal tool is important, I want to support my community, and a witch is going to know what a witch needs.

Additionally, around the same time the tube tops show up, tons of people will crop up to sell classes, pdf files on ‘the divine feminine’, coven memberships, bespoke tarot decks, or a myriad of other magickal (or vaguely magickal) things. Basically, when witchcraft is popular, people who aren’t witches will try to make money off of us, even if that means pretending to be one of us. I thought it would be helpful to post some tips on how to spot phony witches in the wild and, if you choose, refuse to support them. Disclaimer: I’m not saying that non-witches can’t make awesome witchy stuff, but there are a lot of people who are low-key pretending to be witches just to sell to us. That’s worth being skeptical of, in my opinion.

No Experience or Baby Witch Turned Expert

Some people try to sell us witchcraft decor or supplies when they themselves have no experience with witchcraft. The first type will have “Get your witch on!” emblazoning their website, or they may also start posts/social media blasts with “Hey, coven!” or “This goddess/priestess is wearing our new x, y, z,” or something equally pandering. The brand or marketing is ‘witchy’, but the person or people behind is not. The second type are people who may actually be practicing witches … of a year or two. Sharing baby witch opinions/growth/experience? Great. Claiming to be an expert and teacher when you’ve just started out? Nope. If someone is still learning, their advice can be quite bad, and will likely hurt more than it helps. If they’re pretending to be an expert when they have very little experience, you can bet they’re trying to make money, and will almost certainly disappear in a few years when the trend passes.

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Thanksgiving Traditions and Turkey Recipe

We cannot break bread with you. You have taken the land which is rightfully ours. Years from now my people will be forced to live in mobile homes on reservations. Your people will wear cardigans, and drink highballs. We will sell our bracelets by the road sides, and you will play golf, and eat hot h’ors d’ourves. My people will have pain and degradation. Your people will have stick shifts. The gods of my tribe have spoken. They said do not trust the pilgrims, especially Sarah Miller. And for all of these reasons I have decided to scalp you and burn your village to the ground.

My annual tradition is this, what you see above, posting Wednesday Addam’s Thanksgiving monologue online. Then I pop into the kitchen to prep the family dinner, while watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Taking on the tradition alone is something I love. What I don’t love is people’s help. I suppose it’s the Virgo moon I’m dragging around blessed with that makes me unwilling to share Thanksgiving responsibilities. I let people bring booze. Someone always shows up with a store-bought dessert that sends me into a rage spiral (on the inside). I always try to make something from scratch that backfires (candied yams from fresh = crunchy yams and the year that old potatoes made mashed potatoes the consistence of glue) and/or I inevitably forgot to buy something (2015, the year without rolls). My family leaves early, my partner’s family stays the night, and so it goes.

Here’s my tried and true turkey prep that I call …

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Handmade Rose Soy Candle

Astra Anima Rose Scented Soy Candles

My partner and I have been making candles for our magickal doings and I thought you might want to check them out. This candle is rose, made with a classic, red rose fragrance, and I’ve decorated the candle with glitter, rose quartz tumbled stones, and red rose petals (from a bouquet, dried and crushed in house). Rose candles work well for self-love spells and spells for harmony in a relationship or family.

As a witch, I really want to make candles that were witch and pagan friendly, made with cleansed and charged ingredients. We originally sold these at craft shows, but now we make them for ourselves or as coven gifts. We actually have a dedicated scent for each date on Wheel of the Year, as well as New and Full Moon candles. Our families also get Yule candles for the winter holidays, and we have a special Thanksgiving scent, too. People seem to really enjoy getting gift bags when they come over for holidays, and we love any excuse to make stuff. Everyone’s happy!

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