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 Broom: 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.

Continue reading

Advertisements

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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!

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Full Moon January 1st 2018 in Cancer

Moon Magick January 2018

January 2018’s Full Moon is on Monday, January 1st at 9:24 PM EST; this Full Moon ends the cycle that started on June 23rd 2017 with the New Moon in Cancer. The Moon moves into Cancer at 3:10 AM on Monday January 1st, and exits Cancer at 5:46 PM on Tuesday January 2nd. This information is also detailed in my January 2018 Cosmic Concerns post and as in list below.

January 2018 Full Cold Moon Timing

  • January 1st, Monday: Moon enters Cancer 3:10 AM, Full Moon at 9:24 PM
  • January 2nd, Tuesday: Moon void-of-course 5:46 PM
  • January 3rd, Wednesday: Moon enters Leo 2:23 AM

I recommend doing your Full Moon ritual on the evening of January 1st, after 9:24 PM is ideal, but any time during the day is fine. You can do your ritual any time on January 2nd before 5:46 PM as well. Regardless, to charge items, they should sit out on the night of the 1st. January’s Full Moon is also a Supermoon, which will provide an extra dose of energy to your magick.

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 January’s Full Moon

The two most common names for January’s Full Moon are the Cold Moon and the Wolf Moon. The name Cold Moon comes from January being one of the coldest times of the year; the name Wolf Moon is related since this is the time of winter when food is running low and wolves are growing hungry. Another name for the January Full Moon is the Moon After Yule, since the January Full Moon always occurs after the pagan holiday Yule, but before Imbolc, the next Sabbat on the pagan calendar. This Moon is occasionally called the Snow Moon, but that title usually refers to the February Full Moon. The message of this Moon is that we are in the heart of winter and must survive. This indicates a time of patience and hibernation.

Continue reading

Simple Sage Spell for Eliminating Everyday Negativity

Simple Sage Smoke Spell

There was a time in my life when there was a lot going wrong; not anything that was significant on its own, but lots of little things that added up to a bigger picture. The ‘run of bad luck’ that magickal folks are always a little suspicious of, shall we say. I worked on protecting my home multiple ways, which worked very well, but I also needed to work on myself.

While I believe there is absolutely a time and place for healthy negativity, I found myself thinking negative thoughts almost constantly, dwelling on things long after they were resolved, and finding a lot of negative things being attracted to my life. Along with a serious energy cleaning and protection work on my home, I started using this daily sage spell, and it worked wonders. Eventually the odd ‘coincidences’ went away, and the run of ‘bad luck’ ended. I hope that you will find it helpful as well!

Simple Sage Spell for Eliminating Everyday Negativity

Supplies:

  • Cauldron or fire-proof container
  • Lighter or matches
  • Sage bundle or loose leaves

Continue reading

Book Review: Yule by Susan Pesznecker (Llewellyn’s Sabbat Essentials)

Yule by Susan PeszneckerLlewellyn’s Sabbat Essentials series contains eight small books, one for each Sabbat in the pagan Wheel of the Year. The author varies by the Sabbat with no author having more than two books in the series. Yule: Rituals, Recipes, and Lore for the Winter Solstice was penned by Susan Pesznecker and is one of the best books in the Sabbat Essentials series.

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 immediately.

The Old Ways section is extremely interesting and has a lot of helpful information. The section covers the origin of December as a month, the Yule log, traditional festivals, the gift giving tradition, the solar new year, as much more. The New Ways section discusses basic activities, different traditions in their modern form, and details important correspondences and activities. This section also addresses the living vs. artificial tree debate that seems to be an inevitable part of the pagan household, as well as what to do when only one half of a couple is pagan. Happily enough, so many ‘Christmas’ traditions are actually pagan in origin that you can openly celebrate Yule and still stay in the ‘broom closet’ without a lot of effort.

Continue reading

Full Moon December 3rd 2017 in Gemini

December 2017 Full Moon in Gemini

December’s Full Moon is on Sunday, December 3rd at 10:47 PM EST; this Full Moon ends the cycle that started on May 25th 2017 with the New Moon in Gemini. The Moon moves into Gemini at 4:21 PM on Saturday December 2nd, and exits Gemini at 2:13 PM on Monday December 4th. This information is also available in list form in my December 2017 Cosmic Concerns post.

Importantly, Mercury, which is Gemini’s ruling planet, goes Retrograde just before the Full Moon at 2:34 AM EST on Sunday the 3rd. Because of that, I recommend doing your Full Moon ritual on the evening of December 2nd after 4:21 PM. You can do your ritual any time on December 3rd if you choose, of course. Regardless, to charge items, they should sit out on the night of the 2nd. December’s Full Moon is also a Supermoon, so enjoy the extra close Moon time.

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 December’s Full Moon

There are many names for December’s Full Moon, but the most common is the Cold Moon and Long Nights Moon. Native Americans called it the Cold Moon for obvious reasons; the December Full Moon shines down on some chilly weather. Additionally, some Native American tribes called it the Long Nights Moon because it’s the time of the year when the night is the longest. For modern people, winter can be anywhere between somewhat inconvenient and quite enjoyable, but traditionally winter was a time of extreme danger through which survival was not guaranteed. The message of December’s Full Moon, grounded in this tradition, is that the winter has arrived and it must be endured.

Continue reading

Book Review: Llewellyn’s 2017 Witches’ Companion

Llewellyn's 2017 Witches' CompanionAfter I enjoyed last year’s volume so much that I was looking forward to reading the 2017 installment of Llewellyn’s Witches’ Companion: An Almanac for Contemporary Living; apparently the reviewing part just took a little while. However, my goal was to get this review up before the end of the year, and I did, but expect a review of the 2018 edition much sooner next year. This is the 9th installment in the Witches’ Companion series, and it has a very lovely urban witchcraft themed cover illustration. Can we get a foldout poster? The Companion series is a set of interesting articles, ranging between 8 to 13 pages long, that take up debates and interesting issues in the pagan and witchcraft community, and explore them in a well-written and thoughtful way. Not all of the articles will resonate, but the wide variety of articles means that something will almost certainly interest you, and you might learn about something you have never considered before. It’s also diverse enough that an eclectic pagan witch, like myself, will feel welcome. Instead of speaking in endless generalities I’ve decided to give more information and specific reviews of my favorite articles, just like last year. They are reviewed in order of appearance in the book.

“The Dark Aspects of Bright-Siding” by Charlie Rainbow Wolf

This article discusses a concept known as ‘bright-siding’ ie: always looking on the bright side of things despite that facts that life isn’t always so sunny. This article addresses the many downsides of having a relentlessly positive attitude, including the ways that it can lead to failure. This article is definitely worth a read, and a lot of it can be applied to non-magickal folks. I am decidedly not a ‘look on the bright side’ kind of person, and it’s nice to see someone extolling the virtues of this view. Everything in moderation, though, of course. If you don’t like this article you can read “Good Vibe Badass” in this same annual instead for the positive side of positive thinking.

“The Dark Goddess as Initiator: Reading into Fairy Tale and Myth” by Jane Meredith

I absolutely love fairy tales and teach them in my classroom whenever I can, so this article resonated with me. It explores the way dark goddesses appear in myth and fairy tale, and offers a lens through which to re-interpret them, not as ‘bad women’, but as dark goddesses. The article sets up a much more interesting reading of these characters, not viewing the young princess as opposite the ‘bad’ queen, but seeing them as connected and existing on the same path. This was my favorite article in the collection.

Continue reading

Book Review: Practical Protection Magick by Ellen Dugan

Practical Protection Magick by Ellen DuganI picked up Ellen Dugan’s book, Practical Protection Magick: Guarding & Reclaiming Your Power, over a year before I read it, then once I did read it, months passed before I wrote this review of it. I’m not sure why it took me so long to get around to reviewing this book because my views of it are, on the whole, quite positive (you all know how critical I can be of witchcraft books), and I think it deserves a spot in the library of anyone who is interested in the subject of protection magick.

Practical Protection Magick was published by Llewellyn in 2011 and has kind of a ‘look how witchy I am’ style cover, which I hope won’t deter you from reading it. In the introduction Dugan explains that this book on protection magick and psychic self defense exists in the ‘middle ground’ between so-called white and black magick. A lot of purists don’t believe in protection/defense magick, while others don’t feel comfortable with this, shall we say, shadier side of the magickal path. That’s partially because, as Dugan points out, witches either like to consider themselves invulnerable, or pretend that no one in our community is sketchy (yeah, right). The book contains information, spells, and exercises divided into nine chapters that include four elemental-themed (Earth, Air, Fire, and Water) chapters, amongst others. The level of this book is definitely intermediate, though there are things in here that both beginning and advanced witches should find helpful.

I really enjoyed Chapter 1: “Psychic Awareness and Witchery,” which includes a self-assessment to help one determine what their psychic strengths (and, by association, their weaknesses) are. The four types of psychic strengths analyzed are clairvoyance, clairaudience, empathy, and intuition. Most witches consider themselves to be one or more of these things, but having a survey to take and analyze was very helpful. The results that I got provided me with some interesting insights. The section that follows discusses strengths and weaknesses of each type, which I found extremely informative. Chapter 2: “Knowledge is Power (Air)” also begins with a self-reflection; a series of questions to help the reader understand their own magickal background. This is followed by an exploration of psychic attack, including how to notice it, symptoms of it, how to deal with it, and a section on different types of hauntings.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Full Moon November 4th 2017 in Taurus

November’s Full Moon is on Saturday, November 4th at 1:23 AM EST; this Full Moon ends the cycle that started on April 26th 2017 with the New Moon in Taurus. The Moon moves into Taurus at 5:46 AM on Friday November 3rd, and exits Taurus at 4:49 AM on Sunday November 5th. This information is also available in list form in my November 2017 Cosmic Concerns post.

I recommend doing your Full Moon ritual on November 3rd after 5:46 AM, or any time on November 4th to work with Taurus energy. To charge items, they should sit out on either the night of the 3rd (recommended) or the 4th if you wake up super early.

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 November’s Full Moon

There are many names for November’s Full Moon, but the two most common are the Beaver Moon and the Mourning Moon. The Native Americans call it the Beaver Moon either because it was the last chance to put out beaver traps before everything froze or because this was the time beavers were actively preparing for winter; they also called it the Frost or Frosty Moon. The November Full Moon is called the Mourning Moon in the Pagan tradition, which represents the death of the old god (as in elderly, not as in past) and the mourning is of him by the goddess. This can also represent Demeter mourning Persephone as she spends her time in the underworld, since this is the Full Moon after Samhain and the Day of the Dead, or the beginning of winter’s shorter days meaning the loss of precious sunlight. Regardless of what you call it, the meaning of the November Moon is that winter is imminent and we must finish preparing for it.

Continue reading

A Witch’s Guide to New Moon Magick

This post is meant to be used as a companion to my New Moon posts. Additionally, I wrote a Witch’s Guide to Full Moon Magick post. Hopefully, with these posts combined, you’ll have the tools you need to conduct your esbats. Witchcraft is very personal, so pick and choose things that you like to do, test it out, change it, and find something that works for your Craft.

What is New Moon Magick?

A New Moon, in the literal sense, is the phase in the moon’s orbit around the Earth wherein the moon is ‘invisible’ to us here on the planet. This is because the Earth is blocking the light from the Sun from reflecting off of the Moon as it normally does. The moon will appear dark during the New Moon, which occurs every 28 days.

Magickally speaking, New Moons are used for setting intentions with a manifestation point at the next Full Moon which happens about two weeks later. Also, and way more importantly, there is a second, larger manifestation at the Full Moon that happens around six months (six lunations) later in the same sign. For example, if the New Moon is in Scorpio, there will be a Full Moon in two weeks in a different sign, and six months later there will be a Full Moon in Scorpio that completes the lunar cycle.

The New Moons is an opportunity to set intentions and put into action things that really matter, and that you truly feel are beneficial to you as a person. Also, since the cycle won’t be complete for six months, I believe it’s important to do a little divination as well.

Continue reading

A Witch’s Guide to Full Moon Magick

I’ve been writing Full and New Moon rituals for witches for over a year, but I have also been wanting to change how I write them for just as long. A lot of Full Moon and New Moon rituals that I write have a lot of the same components to them and, because of that, I’ve decided to take the framework I use and make a basic Full Moon Esbat that can be used any time. Witchcraft is very personal, so pick and choose things that you like to do, test it out, change it, and find something that works for your Craft.

What is Full Moon Magick?

A Full Moon ends a lunar cycle that last roughly six months (aka lunations) long. A New Moon is the beginning of the lunar cycle and each New Moon occurs in a specific sign of the zodiac. Two weeks after that New Moon there is a Full Moon in a different sign, but six lunations (months) after that there is a Full Moon in the same sign as the original New Moon. That Full Moon is the end of that lunar cycle. While New Moons are used for setting intentions, Full Moon are manifestation points. Full Moons are an excellent time for cleansing, charging, reflection, and spell work, all of which will be explained in more detail below.

Be aware that a lot of people do Moon work without being witches at all. Ezzie Spencer’s Lunar Abundance practice has nothing to do with witchcraft and is closer to The Secret. This guide, and all of my Moon Magick posts, are based on my own practice of witchcraft; while they can probably be used by anyone, they are designed specifically for witches. Hopefully, this guide can be used by any denomination of witch, but if anything feels like I’m excluding anyone, please leave a comment and I will do my best to remedy it.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading