Category Archives: Grimoire

Witchcraft: Meditation for those who have never mediated…

Have you ever tried to meditate and you just can’t seem to get the hang of it? Maybe you took a yoga class or two and at the end you just can’t seem to listen to the teacher and turn your brain off. Maybe you were recommended it by your friend Stacy who went gluten-free by choice last year and only eats vegan bacon even though she’s not vegan.

Or maybe, you’re like me, who just jumped head first into witchcraft and now, you’re stuck trying to figure out how to meditate since it seems like EVERYTHING runs off meditation (and intention, but whatever.).

But you’re sitting in your dark room, struggling to grasp this concept and you just can’t.

So how do you meditate?

Extended meditation, which is what a lot of these mediation gurus and yoga teachers are talking about, takes practice. Like a lot of practice.

So don’t expect to just slip into this trance as soon as you start saying gibberish words you think someone says while meditating.

My favorite way I’ve seen to help facilitate mediation is to sit and begin to image a color growing in your center (where ever your center is, whether bellybutton, heart, head, or ass). The color can be whatever color you like. Some advise white light or a warm color, but I say just pick your favorite or whatever you feel like today.

With each breath, let the color grow, like a flickering flame. Let the color extended through your body slowly. When it finally reaches the tips of your fingers and toes, imagine gathering up the color.

With an exhale, release the color into the world. Imagine it floating through your space, over you, covering everything. Then just breath for a bit in your space. When you feel like the color has faded, leave the space.

Now, I know that meditation is supposed to be clearing your mind and thinking of nothing in that moment, but sometimes you need something to get your brain started on the right track. And especially when you’re so stressed and overwhelmed, you can’t always just quit thinking or acting to just sit for a minute and breath.

Why is meditation so important for witchcraft?

Well, if we power the spell by setting intentions, think of meditation as a way to process the intention before hand. You don’t dump straight crude oil into your car. You have to refine it first to get the best product for the spell. Just like you don’t just eat a tea bag when you want some tea. You have to make sure the water is boiled and safe to drink.

So we meditate to make sure that what we bring to the table for a spell is what we want to go into a spell. If we mix up our thoughts and feelings with spell, we may have something that can go awry or just fizzle out completely. So we clear out mind and heart of everything that isn’t pertinent in that moment, so that the spell knows exactly what’s what.

So meditation and intention go hand in hand. You need both to work big spells and to make sure that you’re not letting your own feelings get in the way of the spell.

Tarot 101: Two of Pentacles…

As we move right along through the Tarot, the Two of Pentacles is our card of the day to take a deeper look at. The Pentacles represent materialism, or material wealth. The Pentacles are often used to represent money. Twos in Tarot represent balance and relationships. Pentacles also represent Earth and, in reference to time, represent years.

Two of pentacles

When we look at the card, we see a young man in bright colors juggling two coins. The coins appear to be attached by the rope. Behind him, a rough sea with two ships, but the sky is clear.

From here, we can divine that if the card comes up, maybe someone is weighing the options available to them. Maybe these decisions are difficult, judging by the rough seas behind the man, but maybe which ever decision is picked, the outcome will be positive because the skies are clear.

Two of pentacles, reversed

When the card is reversed, we can see the young man, seemingly unsteady as he juggles his decisions. He is still weighing his decisions carefully, but seems to be contemplating the heavier of the two.

When this card pops up in a reading, we should take into account that allow the Two of Pentacles is strongly aligned with finances, it can also be in reference to a business relationship or decisions in relation to work.

So when this card pops up, we should keep a few things in mind:

  • Twos represent relationships and decisions
  • Pentacles represent material wealth
  • Pentacles are aligned with Earth
  • Pentacles in reference to time align with years

Witchcraft: altars and sacred spaces…

Do you need an altar? Why would you need an altar? What is an altar? So-and-so said I need one? What do I even put on an altar? What do you mean I need to dedicate my altar? What does that even mean? How do I-

Take a deep breath. Good? Okay, here’s the dirty truth of altars…

They’re completely optional and really only necessary if you decide to pursue paganism and/or Wicca in addition to witchcraft.

So why are altars pushed for so hard in the community? Well, many witches are practicing pagans or Wiccans. So for them, an altar is completely practical. But what about those that aren’t pagan or follow more mainstream religions or have no gods?

Well, that’s the cool part about witchcraft. If you want to make an altar, go for it. Make it in your dining room, in a sunny corner of your office, or your bedroom closet. Hell, there’s a shit ton of ideas on Pinterest for shoe box and mint tin altars.

So what’s the purpose of an altar?

For those who practice in accordance to the old religions or in correlation to deities, an altar is a sacred space to honor those deities and spirits. For many of the old religions, there are no longer any physical sacred spaces, like churches, for people to worship at, so many create small scared spaces for their own private practice. Cultures across teh world have kept shrines and altars in their homes for their gods; Ancient Greeks, Romans, Chinese, and Japanese families kept shrines to various gods in their houses and pertaining to their professions (i.e. gods devoted to harvest for farmers. and gods devoted to fair seas for fishermen).

So what about if you follow mainstream religions or have no religion?

For those following more monotheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, etc), there’s no rules against having a shrine to your god in your house is there? Many people have things already, like crucifixes, or holy texts. An altar in your house could just be a safe and honored space to store your holy texts or to meditate.

And for those of us who are not dedicated to a god or religion, well, an altar is just optional really.

Do I have an altar?

Not really. But I do have a space reserved just for my witchy needs in my office. I can push it back into the closet and out of sight if my in-laws decide to drop by unannounced (like they always do). I don’t consider it an altar or a sacred space, but I do consider it a reserved area.

Like, that area is only for witchy supplies and storing my cards and journals and incense (no crystals yet).

What tips do I have for little newbies to set up their own altar/sacred space/witchy corner?

Once again, as with all witchcraft, first make sure this space has the intention of being your corner, your altar, your sacred space. If you’re closeted and setting up in a shoe box or in the closet itself (lol cause you’re in the closet already, get it?), then reserve that space just for that. Meaning, your shoebox holds nothing but your witchcraft supplies, your deitiy dedication, your Book of Shadows/ Grimoire. Don’t use your space for anything but your craft and worship.

Now, I understand working and living in a small space so maybe some area has to be multipurpose. So maybe make your altar travel-sized or easily collapsible if it’s in the spare room so you can pull out the Murphy bed for guests staying the night, or make it easy to move if floor space is limited, like in a dorm room.

What are things I have on my sacred space?

For me personally, I have just a little space on the top of a steamer trunk/coffee table in my office. I use it to hold my incense, journal, and Tarot cards. I also use the space as a writing table to write here, do school work, and meditate. But the corner remains as only used for witchcraft. The rest of the tabletop I cleanse with smoke to create a space when I do large readings (or with a Lysol wipe if my cats have decided to walk all over it).

Now, I understand multipurpose, so when I do need to get into the trunk itself (I keep blankets in there for easy access), I store all my stuff in a basket and slide it into the closet.

All my herbs stay in a kitchen cabinet, because the last thing I want to explain to my mother-in-law is why I have black pepper and basil leaves just hanging out in my office. There’s just no way to explain that away, considering the kitchen is a good 4 doors down from the office.

What if I am practicing paganism/Wicca/religion?

Then start looking at Pinterest my friend! There are so many ideas and absolutely gorgeous pictures of other witch’s altars and how they dedicate their altars. There are so many ideas of how to fit an altar into a shoebox or how to dedicate to your deities or how to even just construct a space that fits with your preferred style, like minimalism or traditional (read: hoarder-style old timey) witchy.

There’s no wrong way to do an altar. Just so long as it works for you and you feel like it’s a space where you can meditate, grow and worship as needed.

Witchcraft: moon phases…

Oh the moon. Probably the most popular celestial body. (unlike the sun, which can’t catch a damn break). She controls the seas, protects us from asteroids, and illuminates the nights. What would we do without the moon?

For witches in almost every domain of practice, the moon is a sacred body and we do our best to honor her. So the phases of the moon are a big deal. But for little beginner witchlings, like myself, diving into the use and worship of the moon is daunting. There’s just so MUCH.

So where do you even begin?

The easiest thing to understand about the moon is the phases.

You know what the moon phases are. We’ve all grown up watching the moon transition like clockwork; waxing, full, waning, new. We’ve all stayed up late on summer nights and seen the full moon illuminate the landscape.

So breaking down the moon phases is an easy enough task.

New moons are when the moon is turned away from us (you all know your science class lectures about how the moon reflects the sun, blah, blah, blah.)

Waxing is the moon growing from new into full.

Full moon is self-explanatory.

Waning is the moon transition from full to new.

In witchcraft, we attribute the moon phases to not only the 3, but to certain times.

The major phases of the moon coincide with the Maiden, Mother, Crone. In witchcraft, this woman/women are the representation of the witch and the witch’s journey. Waxing crescent is the Maiden, Full is Mother, and Waning crescent is the Crone.

The phases of the moon coincide with timing as well.

The new moon is used as a time for beginning spells revolving around new projects, as well as focusing on the self and recouping your own strength and energy.

The waxing moon is for attraction spells, usually money or love spells. The waxing moon is used for attraction because the moon itself is getting bigger and bigger and more. Therefore, attracting.

The full moon is the prime time for witches. Not only does each full coincide with something pertaining to the month it occurs in (Corn moon for August, e.g.) but the full moon itself is a revered as being as much of a power source as the sun. Full moons can be used for charging decks and crystals (especially those sensitive to extended sunlight), as well as making moon water, an energy charged water used for most everything in witchcraft from light cleansings, to even making tea or bath water. The Full moon is used for so much in the craft, including cleansing yourself and restoring your own energy. (moonbathing anyone? You know, instead of sunbathing?)

The waning moon is used for banishing. It’s the opposite of the waxing moon. As the moon shrinks, it is losing. Therefore, banishing.

No matter what the moon is doing, you can always sit and meditate under her light. The moon is as steady as the sun and is a great place to jump into witchcraft if you’re already lost.

And the best part about the moon and her energy? You don’t even need an actual spell to just sit and appreciate her beauty and energy. You can just sit and relax, meditate, and enjoy the gentle, loving light.

Witchcraft: intention…

Intention is everything. No matter what you start in witchcraft, you read ‘intention this’ and ‘intention that’ or even just ‘setting intention’.

What is intention?

It’s exactly like what it sounds like.

Intention, or intent, is what you want the spell to do for you. Each spell requires an intention to work. It’s like the battery for a toy. If you don’t put the right battery into the toy, it won’t work.

So how do you set intention? Well, that’s the hard part sometimes.

You have to know exactly what you want when you set an intention. If you’re working a spell for say, attracting money, then you have to be clear with what you want.

But this doesn’t answer the question, of what intention is. I know when I first starting diving in, every time intention came up in a spell, I would scratch my head and wonder what they were talking about.

From what I can gleam, intention is the energy you put into the spell itself. Of course, some spells need other energy to work, like celestial lighting or fire. But you have to put your own energy into the spell so that the universe knows who’s putting that energy out there.

So intention is just basically the energy you assign to a spell to make it work.

How do you actually set intention?

Depending on the spell, it’s easy enough to set intention. Most spells have incantations to set the intention (or the incantation is the spell itself).

Other times, when you cast the circle (which I’ll get to in a later post), you meditate and cast the energy from yourself for the spell. Which is the hard part. Because you really have to focus

Why is intention so important for witchcraft?

Intention is important because it’s the force behind an action. If you’ve taken a mindfulness course or have even just heard about mindfulness (the new craze), then you’ve heard about how just acting a certain way and putting certain thoughts into those actions can help you be more productive, more capable at handling stress, etc.

Witchcraft is the exact same thing as mindfulness but with a little more oomph behind it. Mindfulness itself has only been around for a couple years now, but witchcraft is eons old. Witchcraft intention is setting your thoughts and emotions on one track and using that energy to drive a reaction.

So how does the intention in a spell work?

Remember how I said intention is like the battery of a spell? The intention is the direction you move the spell. It’s the battery that moves the spell along.

And I can hear you, just like I myself said not long ago “that doesn’t make any sense! how does intention work! Like work-work!”

So hears the breakdown. Imagine that the spell is a train. The destination is the reason for the spell. For this example lets use a common money spell to attract wealth. The train is set towards Wealth. But the train can’t move down the track without fuel. Your intentions are the coal for the train to move (or steam or gas or whatever). You meditate on the feeling on wanting wealth, of attracting wealth, of being wealthy. You figuratively put that emotion on the train. The train now has fuel for the journey down the track. So how do you get the train moving? You do something like charge the spell with something else, like crystals or fire. Those are the engine to process the intention-fuel. Now the train can move down the track and take you to Wealth.

I know this is confusing and a strange topic. Believe me. As much as I love science, physics is not my forte and intention is reminiscent of physics. Just because you cannot see or measure the force, the force is still present. Like gravity. You may not have tools readily available to measure the force of gravity, but gravity is still a force acting on you, whether or not you can see or measure it. Same thing goes for intentions.

Just because you can’t see or actively feel the energy in intentions, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

Witchcraft: horticulture for the black thumb…

Are you like me and kill every plant you come in contact with?

Tried literally everything from fake plants to cacti?

I am honestly the worst at plants. I think it’s because for most of us that grew up with pets of some sort, it’s easier to care for pets than it is plants. Pets move and will engage with you when they are hungry. Plants just sit there, converting carbon dioxide into oxygen.

So of course, I’m trying out growing plants once again to see if maybe as I’ve aged, I’ve gotten more proficient at caring for plants.

I can already see some of you going, ‘what does this have to do with witchcraft?’

So let me explain. Many parts of spell work rely on plants in one form or another. Some call for specifically grown plants that you ‘should’ have in your garden. So what do I do since I am 1) a poor college kid and 2) a minimum retail worker and 3) closeted witch?

I of course buy all my herbs dried from the seasoning section at the grocery store. Not only would I know that herb plants would die in my care, but I also know that the region I live in is very harsh on many nonnative plant species and those plants require a lot of dedication and attention. So if you’re a stay at home parent or retired, then go for the multitudes of plants all around your house.

Another issue I have is space and funds. I can’t afford to buy the things I need for plants and I have even more limited space for plants. Not to mention that any plants I bring into my house have to be both cat and dog friendly.

So what about my other witchlings out there with blackthumbs like yours truly? What advice would I give you, one beginner to another?

If you want to give growing your own plants a go, just take a few things into consideration; pets, plants, place and space. As in…

  • Do you have any pets that may have an adverse reaction to certain plants?
  • What plants are you specifically trying to grow yourself and do you have the skill needed to care for them?
  • Does the place you live have special requirements for growing season (how dry is it, how wet is it, will the plants need to be potted, is it too sunny, is it not sunny enough…)
  • Do you have enough space for that plant, whether in your apartment window box or your garden or your dorm room desk?

And for those like me who know that plants would be a bit of a waste of money and energy, what should you do?

I buy my herbs when I have some spare change, and if I have to, I’ll get the fresh stuff from the produce section. But honestly, most spell work is about intention alone. So if you can’t afford fresh cinnamon sticks harvested straight from the garden, then just use some off brand ground cinnamon you have in your spice rack.

Witchcraft is all about finding what works for you. If this means that maybe you have to cut corners to work within your limited budget (like me) then make sure you’re just not shortchanging yourself. Be thrifty with your spices but not your intention. And above all, if it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.

And if you want to give indoor plants a go, there are tons of websites and blogs out there that have listed hearty houseplants that can stand up to a shitty plant parent.

Tarot: Questions to ask at a reading…

This is probably the most important step when consulting a deck.

What the hell do I ask?

First things first, are you asking for yourself, or are you reading for someone?

I think the easiest way to determine what questions you can or cannot (more like shouldn’t) ask is based off of what kind of reading is happening?

If you are the one doing the reading, then I would say, you can ask any question TO YOUR OWN DECK THAT YOU ARE READING FROM IF YOU ARE READING FOR YOURSELF.

If you’re the reader and asking for a client or someone else, then ask only questions you are comfortable asking.

Think of Tarot like a spiritual Google. You can ask Google whatever you want. However, there are some things you won’t get any answers for (like winning lotto numbers or when you’ll die). There are some things you don’t want to know from Google (like cheaters and such). So how do you know what kind of questions to ask then?

Easy. Ask questions about…

  • where is my career headed
  • is my life balanced between family and aspirations
  • what needs to happen from me for a certain result
  • what am I not seeing about a situation
  • what aspect am I not seeing in this relationship (can be romantic, familial, or platonic)
  • what do I need to move on from
  • yes or no questions (not in depth answers but easy enough to read)
  • where is my life going
  • what options should I consider
  • out of my options which is better
  • what do I need to focus on in my life
  • is this option a good option for me

The most important thing about a Tarot reading is that you’re not trying to get all the answers to the universe. You’re working on getting answers about yourself.

Remember that some things are left up to chance and shouldn’t be rushed. If you’re worried about meeting someone or if your wife is going to leave you or if you’re going to lose your job, should you really be getting a Tarot reading instead of fixing the problems you already know about?

Tarot 101: Two of Swords…

The Two of Swords is an interesting card. In Tarot, twos are used to represent choices and decisions. Swords, for me, represent fire and thoughts.

Two of Swords

So what can we see in the Two of Swords? A woman sits on a bench, blindfolded. Behind her is a sea or a very large lake, maybe. It is night time. She holds two swords upright. These are very large swords, as they extend past the border. She holds these very large swords easily.

So what does it mean? The blindfold reminds me of Lady Justice, who is blind but finds the truth. So she must being trying to find the truth or find an answer. Both swords like similar in size, color, and heft. If this card represents decisions, then the swords are the decisions or choices themselves, and they are similar choices.

But we have to remember that the setting is still night time. So perhaps these choices are not about the easy things in life, maybe these choices are more difficult.

Two of Swords Reversed

So what about when this card comes up reversed? The moon looks like it is just rising at this point, so maybe this is still about difficult choices, but it is the start of difficult choices. Both choices are still equally aloft, so both choices, while difficult, are both viable options.

Depending on the reading and the question asked, this card can mean weighing options carefully and determining whether the choices are equal or whether the choices available are difficult choices.

So when this card is pulled, remember the basics.

  • Twos represent decisions
  • Swords represent fire (air in conventional interpretation) and thoughts
  • In reference to time ,Swords refer to days (fire) or weeks (air)

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Intro to Witchcraft: Incense…

God I love incense.

I feel like incense is one of those things that every witch loves passionately and lately, it’s been getting a bad wrap from those moms. You know, the ‘Gregory doesn’t need vaccinations, I have essential oils and gluten-free pasta’ moms.

But for witches, incense is like… my jam.

Incense is used to bring fire into a spell or ritual, safely (cause you can’t logistically have a bonfire in your living room). Then, the fact that each scent has it’s own alignments.

Like, every one secretly loves incense and lighting shit on fire. It’s something in our primal caveman brain.

So what do you need to get started with incense?

Nowadays, most stores are carrying incense (for those Karens out there).

So you can trek down to local grocery and pick up some sticks and light up.

Here are some of my go-to flavors I love to have around the house.

  • Lavender – I mean, duh. Any witch worth their salt keeps some lavender around the house in one form or another. Incense is one of the easiest form to keep around and light up when you need it. Lavender is used for promoting peace and calming, whether through aromatherapy or through potions (i.e. some Celestial Seasonings Lemon Lavender Lane tea, which is also my jam).
  • Sage – While not a traditional sage bundle, I keep a couple sticks around to help with quick, on-the-go cleanings. Like, when I need to sequester myself away and recharge, I can sit in my office space and light up some sage, and create a space just for me to recharge my energy.
  • Lemon – I just really love citrus. Citrus, especially lemon and orange, always makes me feel like something is clean and fresh and bright. Lemon incense is good for luck and success.

Now a few things you have to know about incense.

You can’t just light it up like a blunt and start smoking.

Okay, you can, but you need a little something extra.

Just like with candles, you have to watch incense around small children and animals, and you should never leave it unattended for extended periods of time (if you have to leave for a moment to get your cup of coffee, then cool, but don’t light it then go out partying with your friends all night).

If you do have to leave (emergencies happen, no biggie) then make sure to put out your incense. You can put it out by dunking the tip in water, wetting your fingertips and squeezing the tip (like an old-timey candle), or mashing the tip, like a cigarette butt, into an ash tray or the incense holder ash groove.

Lavender and cats don’t mix. If you have cats and want to burn some lavender incense, just be aware they cannot breakdown certain aspects of lavender and it can cause moderate health issues, like nausea and vomiting. When I want to burn lavender incense, I seclude myself in my office away from my cats and my cats’ food with an open window and the fan on. I make sure the room is completely clear of smoke before allowing them back into the room.

There’s no right way to pick incense. Of course, there’s some traditional flavors everybody swears by, but honestly, if a certain scent gives you a headache or brings bad memories to mind (cinnamon is my bane, if you know what I mean), then don’t try to make it work. There are always alternatives you can use, and you can always tweak a spell to work for you. Maybe lemon doesn’t bring to mind wealth, but pine does (you know, pine trees are green, money is green), then focus on the intent instead of the community.

So here’s a quick breakdown of the most common incense flavors.

FlavorAlignmentUses (rituals, rites, and spells)
AmberFire and Airwisdom, truth, love and desire
Cinnamonpersonal power, protection,
inflaming passion,
countering love spells
CitrusLemon for confidence, good luck and
goal accomplishment
Orange for joy, good fortune, prosperity,
and marriage happiness
Dragon’s
Blood
FireThe coffee of incense: because of the
rarity and power, it adds a kick
to any spell work, esp. useful in love
magic, protection, and oath-making
Evergreenwisdom, cleansing,
protection, money magic
FrankincenseThe stand -in: because of the commonality
works for most spell work, including
setting sacred space, offerings, and
purification
HoneyIdeal for works for drawing prosperity
wealth, and luxury
JasmineThe MoonFor New moon and Full Moon rituals,
encourages prophetic dreams and
spiritual magic
Lavendercleansing for the home, body and mind
useful for healing and meditation
Patchouliattraction magic, like money spells
Raincleansing, healing, relaxation,
esp. good for ‘clean slates/fresh starts’
and calming anger
(Fresh Linen scent can be used in a pinch)
RoseVenuslove incense: attracting and keeping love, usher in romance and self-love,
can also open the heart
Sandalwoodonly for benevolent works; cannot be used
to curse or compel, used to consecrate, heal,
removing negativity, , bringing peace,
wishes, bless altars and ritual spaces
Vanillacalming an area, promoting mental and
physical arousal, stimulate good luck
happiness, prosperity, and knowledge-seeking

Incense is a great way to jump feet-first into witchcraft. It’s pretty affordable, and even if you spend too much at first, there’s no way you’ll burn through 50 sticks of incense super fast.