Saturday Spellwork: Blessing Moon Hyssop Spell

July is the season of the Blessing Moon – this year, 2017, it appears on July 9 – and it’s a time in which our gardens are abundant and fertile. We’re watching the orchards and fruits trees ripen, the vegetables and herbs blossom and bloom, and our fall crops are rapidly growing towards the sunny sky. It’s a good time to do magic that focuses on counting our own good fortune – this simple spell uses hyssop, which is associated with not only purification, but with abundance and blessings.

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You’ll need some fresh hyssop leaves, and a cup of consecrated water. Go outside after the full moon has appeared in the evening sky.

Hold the cup up to the moon, closing your eyes, and think about all of the blessings you have in your life. Consider your good fortunate and abundance – not just of material things, but your spiritual bounty as well. Crush the hyssop leaves into the water, saying, I am blessed, I am fortunate, I have abundance in my life. New journeys begin with a single step, and I move forward each day. I count my blessings, I count my fortune, I count my abundance.

Count off all of the things in your life that you consider a blessing. Do you have good health? A loving home? Friends who always have your back? A career you love? Once you’ve finished enumerating your good fortune, offer the cup the the moon once more, and then pour the hyssop water on the ground at your feet. Take a few minutes to bask in the moonlight, considering your good fortune once more, before you go indoors for the night.

Note: A variant of this working appears in The Good Witch's Daily Spell Book.

Saturday Spellwork: Honey Jar

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I’m a big fan of any kind of magic that involves stuff you already have around your house, and I find a LOT of magical whatnots in my kitchen. I always have honey on hand because (a) it’s freakin’ delicious and (b) it’s good for you, from a health perspective, to eat locally sourced honey.

It’s also really good for magical stuffs.

Binding

You can use honey to bind things together – after all, it’s all kinds of sticky – so why not incorporate it into a bit of binding magic? Bind a couple of poppets together with a layer of honey between them to sweeten the relationship, and then wrap them in a cord to hold them in place.

Sweetening Jar

In some magical traditions, the honey jar is used to sweeten someone’s disposition. Got a cranky landlord or that one coworker who’s really salty? Can’t get your significant other to stop being a Negative Nancy? HONEY JAR!

There are a number of different methods for this working, but this is the one I’ve found most effective – feel free to play around and modify it until you find the one that works best for you.

Put a photo of the person whose personality needs some assistance into the bottom of an empty glass jar. Next, you’ll need to do a bit of creative writing – in some traditions this is called a petition. Write on a piece of paper what you want to see happen – it can be simple, but it should be specific, like Mary will stop being rude to her coworkers or Bob will feel happier about his life and quite complaining about things he can’t control. Fold the petition paper up as many times as you can, folding it towards yourself, and when you can’t fold it any more, place it in the jar.

Pour enough honey in to cover the photo and jar completely, and then cap the jar. Light a candle in an appropriate color – yellow for persuasion, for instance, or light blue for patience and understanding – and place the candle on top of the lid. Let it burn down so that the wax runs down onto the jar, and allow the flame to burn out on its own. Once it’s all melted and extinguished, bury the jar (with the wax still on it) somewhere that it won’t be disturbed.

 

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Saturday Spellwork: The 9 Herbs Charm

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About a thousand years or so ago, some clever soul sat down and wrote, in Old English and Latin, a collection of folk medicine, charms, and prayers. Later named the Lacnunga by a nineteenth-century editor, this text included what has come to be known as the Nine Herbs Charm.

In addition to referencing Woden himself, the Nine Herbs Charm lists – wait for it – nine different medicinal herbs, which translate into the modern mugwort, betony (although some scholars say it’s cockspur), nettle, plantain, thyme, fennel, crabapple, lamb’s cress (or watercress), and chamomile (mayweed).

Ben Slade over at Heorot has a great translation of the text, so I won’t rehash it here, but suffice it to say that this was considered some pretty powerful healing magic. Essentially, a practitioner would sing a chant calling out the names of these nine herbs and their various attributes, and then crush them into a powder. This powder could then be used in a salve which was applied directly to the patient in an effort to heal or stave off infection and illness.

So… how do we, as 2017 practitioners, translate an early Anglo-Saxon charm into healing magic? Here’s what I’ve come up with, and it seems to work pretty effectively. I’ve used this healing salve on my skin for a number of purposes – and it also works well as a massage oil, if you’ve got someone who likes you enough to give you a rubdown.

You’ll need

Equal parts of dried:

  • Betony
  • Chamomile
  • Crabapple
  • Fennel
  • Mugwort
  • Nettle
  • Plantain leaves
  • Thyme
  • Watercress

1 Cup coconut oil

1 – 2 oz shaved beeswax

Cheesecloth

Directions
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Use your mortar and pestle to blend all nine herbs together into a fine powder. Combine the powdered herbs with the oil, and place them in the top pot of a double boiler (if you don’t know how that works, here are the basics). After the water in the bottom pot has come to a boil, reduce it to a simmer, and let the herbs infuse into the coconut oil for about an hour.

Place your cheesecloth over a bowl, and CAREFULLY pour the herb-infused oil into it, so you can strain out the herbal residue. Then place the beeswax in a pan, over a VERY low heat, and slowly pour the oil from the bowl on top of the wax. Once it’s all melted together and smelling amazing, pour it into a mason jar and refrigerate it for about half an hour just to firm it up. Now you’ve got a magical healing salve that you can use for any number of purposes!

Note: the amount of beeswax you use will determine how creamy or firm your salve is. I like mine easily spreadable with a couple of fingertips, so I use slightly less beeswax. If you want your salve harder, use more.

Saturday Spellwork: Coffee Spell to Change Your Luck

So I know this is technically Sunday, but honestly, I had this post scheduled to drop yesterday… or at least I thought I did. Instead, I actually had it set to drop on June 10, 2018, and when it didn’t appear in my feed… well. There it is. Anyhoo —

This is a simple spell that you can use to change your own fortune – and let’s face it, we’ve all had some runs of bad luck, where it seemed like nothing would ever get better. It does, eventually, but using a bit of magic is a great way to move the process forward.

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You’ll need a cup of unused coffee grounds, a clean washcloth, and a green ribbon, because green is associated with luck. Put the coffee grounds inside the washcloth and tie it up in a bundle, securing it with the ribbon so the grounds don’t come out. Go take a shower, and use your handy dandy coffee bundle to scrub yourself from head to toe. As you do, say, Bad luck goes down the drain, wash all my bad luck away. Brand new fortune come to me, good luck is all my life will see.

After you’ve given yourself a good scrubbing, wait until you see the last of the coffee grounds go down the drain before you get out. And yeah, you’re going to smell like coffee, but who doesn’t love that, amirite?

Note: A variant of this spell appears in The Good Witch’s Daily Spell Book – go pick up a copy!

 

Saturday Spellwork: Protection Magic

Protection magic is right up there with love magic and money magic, as far as Stuff People Ask About the Most. I thought I’d share with you a few of my favorite basic protection magic workings. Play around with them and see which works best for you!

Witch Bottle or Witch Bag

The idea behind this is to not only protect yourself but also send back the negative to who or whatever is being sent at you. To make a witch bottle, get a small glass jar with a lid. Fill it halfway with sharp rusty objects like nails or razor blades, pins, needles. When it is halfway full, there are two things you can do, depending on whether or not you are easily repulsed or not. One is to fill the remainder of your bottle with your own urine. Some folks are grossed out by that, and if you’re one of them, whatevs – fill it with salt instead of urine. Sea salt works best, but in a pinch regular old table salt is fine. Cap the jar, and seal with melted wax. I like red wax best but you could probably use black, because it’s good for banishing negativity. Dig a hole in the ground, at least six inches deep, more if you have time, and bury the jar. The further away from your home the better ~~ maybe even drive out in the country to bury it somewhere isolated.

The witch bag is similar, only you wear it on your person (so don’t pee in it). Use a small cloth pouch, and instead of sharp objects, put small items such as stones (lodestone is good for drawing positive energy to you) or agates, which bring good luck to a home, or turquoise. Fossils are great too if you can find a small one. Also include some dried herbs such as rosemary, basil, or dill which have protective properties. Tie the bag shut (preferably with red yarn) and either carry it in your pocket or wear around your neck.

House Protection: Stake Out Your Turf

Get a handful of iron stakes, like railroad spikes or something similar, and engrave messages on them. Make the messages something to the effect of “this is my turf and nasty things will happen if you do not respect my turf,” though you should capture this in words, runes, or sigils of your own design. Drive these into the earth along the boundaries of your turf.

Amulets

Amulets are protective devices that can either be worn on your person or placed in your home. I make amulets out of Sculpy clay, carve symbols in them, and then bake them. You can use protective runes as symbols, or create sigils of your own design. This is nice for kids, because they look cool. In the absence of clay, you can use stones with naturally made holes, which are considered magickal anyway. You can use hazelnuts strung on a cord, or pieces of hazel wood with holes drilled in them. Also, around your home, mistletoe can be used to guard against hostile spirits.

Spells to protect kids

Believe it or not, teddy bears are considered luck-bringing talismans for kids. You can increase a bear’s influence by saying a protective chant over it before tucking the kid into bed at night. The one I use with my little ones is a bit silly but they seem to like it: “Power in this teddy bear, chase the bad things out of there.” Sounds goofy, I know, but guys, it’s effective. Another ideal spell with kids is a kite spell. If it’s windy out, buy or make a kite with the child. Have the child tell the kite what is bothering him, or what makes him anxious. Take the kite out and fly it, and as the kite dips and sways it will release the child’s problems to the element of Air, which will carry them far away.

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Blend a Batch of War Water

In some magical traditions, war water can come in very handy in spellwork. It’s one of those magical ingredients that I don’t have call to use very often, but when I do, I like to have it already prepared and ready to go.

Sometimes called iron water, water of Mars, or rust water, war water is designed to impart the attributes of Mars, the Roman god of war… who is associated with (wait for it) iron. It’s found in many types of folk magic, primarily those with European roots, but it also appears in Conjure and Hoodoo. Cat Yronwoode of LuckyMojo says, “In the hands of African-American folk-magicians, it became a tool for laying tricks against an enemy by means of hostile foot track magic, causing “poisoning through the feet” and making everyone in the household quarrel and fight one another.”

There are a ton of recipes out there for war water, and you’re certainly welcome to play around with the different methods. This is the version that I personally like to use, but it’s not universal or required that you do it this way.

BASIC WAR WATER RECIPE

First, leave a mason jar or other container outside during a thunderstorm, and collect as much rainwater as possible. Bonus points if this happens at night, or if you can do it on a Tuesday, which is associated with Mars.

Next, add some iron nails – I like to use cut ones, because they rust faster – and leave them in the water for about a week. For the love of Pete, don’t use those crappy galvanized nails you bought at Home Depot. Use iron. Keep the jar in a cool place, out of the sunlight.

After the water has turned a nice murky rust color, remove the nails, and add other vile goodies like sulfur, urine, vinegar, or lead paint chips. Strain the whole collection into a bottle and cap it tightly (especially if you decided to use urine) and keep it refrigerated until you’re ready to use it.

BUT WAIT, HOW DO I USE IT?

Any way you like! Use war water:

  • To banish negativity by sprinkling it around your home and property
  • To protect yourself or a friend from psychic attacks by adding Black Salt to it
  • To banish an enemy by writing their name on a coin, dropping it into the war water, and burying the bottle somewhere far away
  • To reverse a hex or curse by washing your hands in it (leave out the urine if you’re using it for this purpose, please)
  • To cause conflict in someone’s home by pouring it on their front steps

See? All kinds of useful applications! Make up a batch, and figure out the best way to use it in your own magical practices.

 

Saturday Spellwork: Get Your Mojo Back

We’ve all experienced it – especially those of us who work in a creative field like writing, art, music, and so forth. Sometimes, the muse just goes away. Whether it’s writer’s block or whatever, we occasionally feel like we JUST CAN’T EVEN, because we’re not motivated, we question our skills, or we have lost our mojo. This spell is designed to help restore that creative spark and get you back on track.

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Keep in mind that this is a spell that’s fairly freeform, and so there’s a lot of wiggle room here. Consider it a basic template, and tweak as needed – I originally wrote it for someone who was a singer, and having issues with finding his voice again after a long period of devastating personal problems. So, it’s written in that context, but you can make adjustments as you need to.

I thought about doing a healing spell to get rid of the cracking, squeaky voice, but it occurred to me that it’s part of the body’s natural process. I didn’t think eliminating it would be beneficial. Then I hit on the idea of hurrying the process along, and encouraging the new, confident voice to come and replace the one that had surfaced as a result of insecurities and low self-esteem.

A general note here about spellwork ~~ I don’t purify my space ritually, I just clean it, because I keep my home designated as sacred space. I don’t cast a circle, but I do lay out my Elemental Stones in my work area, which often times is my kitchen counter. When I am done, I don’t have a formal “I’m All Finished” ritual, I just clean up my stuff. If you want to do any of those things, go for it. This is just the basic spell itself, not the preparation.

First, find small things that represent the quality of the new voice you would like to have. For example, a scrap of paper with lyrics to your favorite song, or something that makes you feel like singing ~~ sand from your favorite beach, a token of someone you love, a rock from your favorite mountaintop, etc. Each piece should represent some aspect of what you see your voice becoming.

When you have them all, bind them together with knots in a cord. You could use dark blue cord to represent changes, or green to symbolize regaining something that was lost, or a combination of the two. Maybe even add light blue, which can be used for healing. I like to use braids when I’m doing cord magick, because honestly, they look cool.

While you are tying the knots into the cord with your items, visualize your old unpleasant voice leaving your body, and the new, strong one, developing and taking over once more. You could even say a few words, over and over again, as you are knotting, such as: “Awkward voice, harsh to hear, be gone within the season near. New voice stable, of one full grown, bloom within me as magic is sown.” Obviously, you don’t have to use these words, but maybe something along those lines. It doesn’t even have to rhyme, but I like words that do.

Since this is a constructive spell, I would do it under a waxing moon rather than a waning moon (I find that I like to do destructive stuff under a waning moon, seems to work better). You don’t have to wait until midnight, but I’d recommend going out when the moon is at its highest, or at least centermost, point in the sky. Light a dark blue candle, again, this symbolizes change. Drip a glob of wax on each knotted item in your cord, again repeating the words you used while knotting.

When you are finished, take the whole thing and hang it in a place personal to you ~~ your room, your locker, etc. Make sure that whenever you see it, you acknowledge its presence.

Image via Canva

 

Saturday Spellwork: Words Matter

One of the things I always try to stress to people when they’re working magic is that words matter – and by this, I mean you’ve got to be REALLY specific. As an illustration, let me share with you a story from my own checkered magical history.

Way back when, in the days when I was too young to know any better, I decided that a recent speeding ticket would be the target of my witchy wisdom. I had gotten the ticket quite justifiably, because I was flying down the highway well over the legal limit when I got popped. I’d been traveling from Ohio to South Carolina, and there’s a stretch of I-77 in West Virginia that is just beautiful. It was a bright sunny morning in the mountains, I had the windows down, Guns ‘N Roses cranked in the cassette player, and was paying absolutely no attention at all to my speed, when I heard the bloopBLOOOOP of a siren… and sure enough, right behind me was one of West Virginia’s finest.

So, yeah, the speeding ticket was justified, I totally own it. Unfortunately, I was also flat broke, so when time came to pay it a few weeks later, I was all HELL NAW and decided I just wasn’t going to. I was 19, cocky, and dumb, so I decided that in order to make this $164 problem go away, I would turn to the recently discovered world of magic.

In all of my 19-year-old wild and crazy heavy-metal-punk genius, I cast a perfectly magnificent spell….

asking for “truth and justice to prevail.”

Boy, did it EVER. In addition to the original $164 fine, I also got a letter telling me I had to pay to get my license reinstated, because the state of Ohio suspended it when I failed to pay my speeding ticket. I also got slapped with two bills I had defaulted on in another state, because somehow the collection agencies had found me.

Yep, truth and justice sure as hell did prevail.

Speeding ticket:  $164
Past due phone bill:  $91
Fines from some other crap I forgot to pay:  $389

Learning the value of wording your spell properly:  Priceless.

Words matter. THINK about what your intention is. Remember the old adage about being careful what you wish for, because you just might get it? Intent and purpose are everything, so be deliberate, be focused, be specific… and be careful!

Basic Sigil Construction

Sigils are a great way to identify your intent when you’re working magic. A sigil is simply a symbol of your purpose – for instance, you could use a heart to identify love, or a dollar sign to indicate money. Those are the easy ones – and certainly, there are a floppity-million other symbols you can use. If you want to do the standard issue symbols, pick up a copy of Raymond Buckland’s Signs, Symbols, and Omens – it’s chock full of great suggestions.

That being said, one way to connect your intent to your working even more effectively is to create a unique symbol of your own. This sort of “locks the magic in,” or at least, it does in a number of modern magical traditions. The very act of creation is part of the magical process.

So, I thought I’d share my tried-and-true method of sigil construction. This is a pretty bare bones method, but it works. It’s a great way to create a symbol that’s unique to you and your purpose, and you can utilize it for ANY magical working at all.

Let’s say you want to do a working for love. Start by taking a piece of paper and writing the word love on it, like so:

Next, eliminate the consonants, so what you have left is this:

For the final step, take these remaining letters, and combine them to create a single symbol that you can use in your workings:

When you use it, even if someone else sees it, you’re the only person who knows what it means.

Okay, let’s do another one, that’s a little more complicated – how about protection?

Just like before, we’re going to eliminate the vowels. There are also two letter T’s, so we’re going to get rid of the second one. Ditch any duplicate letters, so you get this:

 

 

 

 

Then, for the last step, we’ll combine these remaining five letters into a single symbol:

It doesn’t look like much of anything, except maybe Tolkien’s Tengwar script, or perhaps the symbol for a musician formerly known as something else. But you know it means protection… and that means you can write it, draw it, or paint it anywhere you like, and no one will ever know.

 

Saturday Spellwork: The Speed Bump Saga

I’m a big fan of using mundane stuff in spellwork, because there are always things around your house that you can finagle into a magical application. If you’re a parent, especially, I guarantee you that there are plenty of kids’ toys that are going to come in very useful at some point. To illustrate this, I’d like to share a tale from about fifteen years ago, when my twins (who are now high school juniors) were toddlers, and we had a fairly impressive collection of Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars.

At the time, I lived on a one-way street in a residential area, and because it was the connector between a large public park and a main artery, we occasionally saw cars going the wrong way. There was one local teenage driver in particular who not only went the wrong way A LOT, but he did it at about 55 mph. I repeatedly asked the police to stop him, but because he did it at varied times, they really couldn’t help.

So….. magic.

I got a length of Matchbox track, and labeled it with my street’s name. I put little piles of gravel to represent speedbumps at intervals, created several other obstacles, and then I got a red Firebird toy car to represent Jason (that was speed-racer’s name). I also got a toy cop car. Then I put a mirror at the end of the street.

I drove Jason slowly down the street, hitting every possible pile of gravel. I did this with appropriate “Ouch! Yikes! %$#!” When “Jason” got to the mirror, the cop car drove up behind him to dispense justice. There was a little more to this than that, but that’s basically it in a nutshell.

What happened, about ten days later: Jason came flying down the street the wrong way one afternoon as I sat on my front porch. Suddenly, for no discernible reason at all, he slammed on the brakes. He then lost control of his car, and slammed it into a lightpole directly across the street from my house, severing the lightpole at the base. Jason backed up, turned the car around, and raced away in a cloud of dust.

Aaaaaaand he left his license plate embedded in the light pole… which the neighbors and I happily gave to the nice policeman who came to take the report.

The cop came by later and told me that when they went to pick Jason up, he told them he had slammed on the brakes because he got confused and thought he was on the next street over — which has speed bumps.

  • Toy cars: $6
  • Mirror: 99 cents
  • Stopping a douchebag from running over neighborhood kids: priceless.

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