These days I consider myself a solitary witch. In the past I have been a part of covens and unofficial groups, and both have their positives and negatives. But can you work solely as either a community or solitary pagan, and what are the benefits and downsides of each path?
I was inspired to write this having just returned from a UK festival, where I attended the closing ceremony in the healing meadows on the last evening. It was a beautiful little ritual, focusing on sending gratitude out for what we had received that weekend. It was a great experience, to be there with like-minded people, and to feel the energy being raised. This is definitely the first 'bonus' to working with a community rather than working solitary; that sense of belonging, of knowing there are people out there who have the same beliefs as you, as well as the fact that it can make our workings more powerful.
There are also a lot of learning to be had from the community. One group I joined for a year or so was primarily a wiccan group. Whilst wicca was the path that first led me to the pagan community about 20 years ago, I soon moved on to other paths. A lot of wicca can only really be experienced in a group, especially when it comes to ritual (such as calling down the God and Goddess into representatives within the circle). A lot of these were practices I hadn't been able to experience working as a solitary witch, and it was great to get to finally try them out and see them in action. Even down to the books that others write, their own blogs and workshops, having a community to learn from really enhances our own practices. It really is true that you can never know everything there is to know when it comes to witchcraft!
These essentially sum up the main benefits of group working within the pagan community. Learning from others, new experiences, hanging out with like-minded people and increasing the power of our magick are all great reasons to work within a community. However, there are also downsides to working in a community that can make solitary working more appealing to many.
One of the drawbacks of many groups is that they will already have a very defined way of working which may not suit your own personal style. The wiccan group is a great example; whilst it was very beneficial to try these new ways of working, it really wasn't for me. Another group I joined called on deities in our rituals that I had never worked with or didn't feel any connection to, which meant that often I didn't feel I got as much out of these rituals than I would have if I had done it solitary.
Another aspect of community working where solitary may be preferable is the element of responsibility to the group. Some groups expect you to turn up to every ritual, donate towards ritual tools, and provide lifts to other members. This is fine for a lot of people, but if something unexpected crops up, it can leave you feeling as though you are letting everyone down. I remember during one stint in a group I was a part of I was having a really difficult time of it at work. It eventually resulted in me quitting my job and taking three months out of work to recover from the stress it had caused me. I'm the type of person that needs to just retreat into myself when I'm in that sort of state of mind, so I missed a couple of rituals. When I returned, someone in the group asked me where I had been, and I told them I had been struggling mentally and needed some time to myself. Their response was 'well, if I was feeling like that then I would want to be around friends'. I mean, yes it was nice that he referred to us as 'friends' but that comment rubbed me up the wrong way. First, it felt like it was invalidating the way I handled my mental health by insinuating I was managing it 'wrong', and second it just made me feel guilty - like I was effectively 'abandoning' the group. I didn't stay long after that. I'm sure that the majority of groups out there are much more accommodating, but the fact of the matter is that many groups don't see themselves as a 'casual affair' and can expect a lot from their members.
Whilst groups can be great for meeting more experienced practitioners and learning from them, not everyone is as they seem. People can lie about their experience for clout and to make themselves seem more experienced than they are, and this can sometimes be dangerous. There is already a lot of misinformation out there, and the last thing we need is more of it from those exaggerating or straight out lying about their own experiences. Then there becomes the issue of 'worshipping' our leaders. I recently learned of the term 'BNP' - Big Name Pagans. I know some of those who would be considered BNP's in the community through my own practices and writings, and most of them are lovely people who absolutely deserve to be held in high esteem for their knowledge and contributions to the community! But it can also lead to competition - those who are desperate to be in that persons inner circle. At best, it is attention seeking and annoying. At worst it is detrimental to the group as a whole as they will happily put others down to elevate themselves up in the eyes of those they adore.
Then there are those who just don't really deserve the BNP status (at least in my eyes). Those who have appropriated aspects of other practices to make their own work more popular, those who treat paganism as a marketing practice, those who have other beliefs, etc., that just shouldn't be encouraged (such as anti-feminist or BLM views). This can start getting a bit murky when anything other than magickal related practices are shared. There are two examples I can think of that have happened in recent months from those considered; the first was when a member of UK parliament suggested a curfew on all men following the murder of a woman by an off duty cop. This was an obviously ridiculous request, and was supposed to highlight how terrible it is that when a woman is murdered by a man, we tell woman not to walk alone late at night, not to wear anything 'provocative', etc., - effectively punishing women for the fact that some men can't control themselves. And it worked - suddenly men were in uproar about the notion that they might have to change their behaviour when it wasn't their own, personal fault! One pagan did a whole video rant about it, and I just and completely missed the point. They were exactly the sort of person that video was aimed at, and yet wasn't properly aware of the situation to be able to educate their followers.
The second example is actually related to the above instance. In the wake of the murder, protests and vigils were held. The police did not handle it well, and there was a huge outcry. The day after this happened I saw a different pagan share out a post on social media which was along the lines of 'ignore all of the nay-sayers, there are those quiet people that still support you' (aimed at the police). To some, this came across as belittling the experience of those who had been mistreated by the police at the protests as well as the woman who was murdered.
I feel like I've rambled a little bit here, but to summarise; there are many benefits to working in a group as opposed to learning solitary. Those include meeting like-minded people, learning new things, and having a support network. However, there are benefits to working solitary as well - these include being able to tailor your practice to your own beliefs, not feeling 'indebted' to any sort of group, and also avoiding the weird dynamic can occur when people start to worship group leaders and such. There is nothing wrong with respecting someone for their experience, but when these people start to become speakers for topics unrelated to witchcraft that they aren't so knowledgeable in, it can cause more harm than good.
The Maidens of the Well are a type of water spirit that appear in Celtic myth and legend and are most notably associated with the Grail mysteries. They first appear in a 13th century poem titled The Elucidation. Whilst the author of the poem is unknown it is believed to have been written as a prologue to Chretien de Troyes' Perceval, le Conte du Graal.
In this poem the Maidens of the Well would appear out of wells to give food to travellers, and offer them drink from their golden cups. They were described as joyous, beautiful women who would make sure that travellers were well look after on the road, giving them a place to rest until the were full enough to carry on their journey.
However, when King Amangon happened upon one of the maidens he abused the hospitality offered to him by raping the maiden and stealing her golden cup. When the King's men saw what their king was doing, instead of stopping him they followed suit and forced themselves on the maidens. As such, the maidens retreated, never to be seen or to offer their hospitality again. The land that they once occupied became a barren wasteland, and all those who had participated in the abuse of the maidens met a dreadful end.
Then along came King Arthur and a band of knights under his charge decided that they wanted to restore the wells and their maidens, and protect the maidens from anyone else who may wish harm upon them. They searched the land and eventually came across a group of maidens, but it transpired that these were not the well maidens the knights had been searching for. The knights promised to protect these women as they had aimed to do the maidens of the wells, and soon a battle ensued between them and a group of those who had come looking for the maidens. The knights of King Arthur won, and it transpired that these maidens were in fact descendants of the well maidens, and as such the knights of Arthur had fulfilled their promise.
There is a lot more to the tale than this, especially in regards to it forming part of the Grail mysteries, but I have to be honest - the Grail mysteries have never really been something I have been too interested in. However, there tends to be a wealth of information and other water spirits woven in with the Grail mysteries, and that I do find fascinating.
The well maidens are not completely lost. They represent hope, hospitality, generosity, abundance, the element of water, the land, and sovereignty. Leave offerings of food and drink at wells to show the maidens that there are still those out there who honour their spirit and appreciate their hospitality, or gifts of fresh flowers and other such offerings . Unfortunately there aren't too many natural wells left in this country, so you can always use a little statuette of a well to leave offerings at if you wish to work with the maidens of the well.
One of the 'non-witchy' facts about me is that I have a post-graduate diploma in information management. A large part of this based on how to properly research subjects and topics, and I eventually went on to get a job advising others how best to perform research. I love learning and researching new subjects, and whilst I say this is a 'non-witchy' fact, it has actually really helped me in my pagan studies over the years.
When I first started practicing witchcraft, the internet wasn't readily available in most homes, and mobile phones were those big chunky things that you only saw in movies (showing my age). My research was basically limited to a Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia CD and the small local library. One of the great things about the internet is that it has allowed so much information to be so readily available - simply hop onto Google, enter a search term and you are guaranteed hundreds, if not thousands of resources! Unfortunately, one of the not-so-great things about it is how much of that information is utter bullshit.
I was doing some research earlier for my latest book and came across an organisation - a specific 'temple' to a Goddess (which I won't name), based on myths and legends from a particular culture. And for a cool £1,000 a year you could train to become a priestess in this particular temple - neat huh? Except the 'ancient Goddess' they worshipped has never, ever existed in any of the mythos they were drawing from and seemed to be completely made up by the founder. They spouted a load of fantastic sounding information about how they also worshipped some very specific figures from history and then completely fabricated 'facts' about these figures that never appeared in the mythos they were aligning with. And those that weren't fabricated were just wrong! These are figures I personally work with and have done a lot of research into - the whole thing was actually kind of offensive. The worst part was that they actually had a pretty decent website, a physical location, and plenty of other training courses that looked intriguing. To anybody 'new' coming in, I can see how they would be fooled by this temple.
There is a huge problem within the pagan community when it comes to the spread of misinformation. Unfortunately this isn't a problem unique to the pagan community, but it is one we should be aware of. At best, this information is just wrong, and at worst it can be downright dangerous. On a practical level, most of us work with herbs, oils, and crystals, and not all of them are fit for human or animal use. Misinformation in this area has in the past caused death. On a more spiritual level, many of us work with deities and spirits, and not all of them are sunshine and rainbows. Getting involved with a spirit you don't fully understand can have some very undesirable consequences.
Whilst there is a lot of information out there which is just factually wrong, there is another grey area which can be a very interesting line to tread. This is the line between 'fact' and 'experience'. If I were to say that the Goddess Nantosuelta is often associated with the bounty of the harvest because ancient artefacts depict her as holding a cornucopia, then that is fact. If I say that the Goddess Nantosuelta wears a red dress because that is how she appeared to me in meditation, that is my experience. What is my experience might not be your experience. However, my experience shouldn't become 'fact' purely on the basis of my say-so. It may be a fact for me personally, but that doesn't mean it will be for you - Nantosuelta might come to you in a blue dress! Unfortunately there are a lot of writers out there who will misrepresent experience for fact to the extent that it becomes deliberately deceptive and misleading - I'm thinking of one particular book on Irish tradition which was released last year which got absolutely trashed after the author presented everything in the book as 'fact'. When a number of people in the Irish pagan community came out to highlight the discrepancies and falsehoods in this book, the author doubled down by saying that this was her 'experience' of it. And that's absolutely fine! But don't misrepresent your experience as fact, as this is how untruths get spread.
So, what can you do when you are conducting your own research to ensure that the sources you are using are true and factual? How can you tell if what someone is writing is based on empirical, evidenced fact, or whether they are writing from personal experience? Here are my top two tips. I was aiming to write more, but actually they can all be pretty much summed up by the two below.
1. What are the writer's credentials?
For example, if they have been practicing for five years but list themselves as 'Priestess of Hekate, Keeper of the Isle of the Hedgemaze, Oracle of the Sacred Potatoes, Watcher of the Snakes Supreme, and Third Level Initiate in the Temple of Dipshittery,' then I would be wary. Most titles worth earning will take years of practice and finetuning. Anyone can go on Udemy these days and take a 2 week course and qualify as a Reiki Master - that doesn't make them credible.
If you are on their website, take a look at their 'about' section. Do they list who have they trained with, if anyone (and remember, just because they haven't trained with anyone or might not have any titles doesn't make their information less valid)? Do they list any of their resources or inspiration (I find anyone who mentions Robert Grave's 'White Goddess' as a resource very difficult to take seriously)? Have they written any other books or articles that have been published by reputable sources or do they have support from others in the magickal community? Putting a writers name through Google - especially if you add words such as 'controversy' or 'bad review' to your search - can often bring up some very telling information!
2. Do they cite their resources, and if they do, can you locate and read those resources yourself?
It is amazing the liberties that some people will take, trusting that no-one will actually bother to fact check if they drop a source in there. In relation to my own research earlier with the temple I mentioned above, they stated that according to a certain ancient text there were 9 figures known as 'the 9 X's', and their Queen was 'figure X who is better known in history as figure Y'.
Luckily I have read that ancient text and knew right away that was bull - the author never referred to them as 'the 9 X's', and the whole 'Queen X is better known is history as Queen Y' is complete conjecture. Scholars and historians debate whether Queen X is the first incarnation of her name which inspired other tales of women with this name, but there is zero evidence to be able to state that Queen X went on to become the figure Queen Y. Absolutely none.
If you have read something that sounds plausible but there are no sources listed (I'll admit, I hardly ever list resources), then do a bit of research and see if you can find anything to corroborate this information. Ideally, you should be able to find other websites, books, articles, etc., that agree with that information. However, be cautious; look out for articles all coming from one website on the same subject (when I was researching a particular water spirit I found five articles giving the same background information on her - however, it turned out they were all from the one website. I couldn't find any information elsewhere on her). You want to look for different and independent resources to cross-reference your information with.
Also look out for repetitive information. Many websites will lift and shift information from others onto their own. If you are searching for a description of the Goddess Brigid, and you can only find three websites which say 'Brigid was a purple haired, yellow eyed vixen with a penchant for the strange and unusual' all using those exact words then chances are they have just copied each other. Unless you can actually trace these claims back to a source, I would be very suspicious about accepting them as fact.
Make sure that you are evaluating the sources themselves. You may have five separate sources that all say one thing, but if they are all from tumblr then again, it can be difficult to know where that information originated. Online resources such as the Royal Britannia are very useful, as are museums and local history societies. You can usually tell the validity of an author by their previous titles and reviews from other authors, especially those considered 'experts' in a particular sector.
This method is also good for helping establish what might be fact and what might just be a practitioners experience. Remember, experience isn't lesser than fact and it shouldn't be disregarded, but fact and experience are two different things.
Yes, research can be long, and sometimes boring. But please don't just read something on Pinterest and take it as gospel. Developing our learing and our understanding is an extremely important aspect of our spiritual growth, as is sharing that information with others. If you do struggle to find sources or aren't sure on the writer's validity, then you don't necessarily need to completely disregard it - it can still be useful, and it doesn't mean it isn't true! But it is suspicious, so take it with a pinch of salt, and be open to be corrected if it does turn out to be less than true.
I also refer to this spell as the 'speed up a situation' spell. It can help when there is something which is blocking progress, or if you are waiting on a decision which needs to be made before you can proceed. It works especially well when used to remove smaller blockages and inconveniences rather than large or more permanent issues - for larger issues, you may wish to repeat this spell over a longer period. Essentially, this is a great little spell to use when you just need to give something a 'nudge'.
All you need is some ice and a bowl - that's it! If you would like then you can also use representations of whatever your situation is to help you focus on your intent. For example, if you are waiting on a decision as to whether your offer has been accepted on a house, then you may want to have a door key present or a picture of the house by the side of the bowl as you perform your magick. This isn’t necessary though, and I have performed this spell successfully just using the ice and my own visualisation.
Place the bowl in the middle of the space you will be working in, along with any items you have gathered around it. Place the ice in the bowl - I just use a few cubes from the ice tray in the freezer - sit, and wrap your hands around the bowl.
Meditate on your situation; what exactly is it that you need to get moving? Are there any particular blockages that need to be removed? Or maybe things are just generally moving a bit slow? The ice will represent whatever that blockage or obstacle is, so make sure you really focus on the ice working as a symbolic representative of the issue at hand.
When you feel ready, say:
‘This ice represents [insert your situation here]
As it melts, so shall that which holds it back.
Any blockages shall be removed,
And a resolution will come soon
Begone all that stands in my way!
Bring me my answers without delay!’
Meditate for a bit longer and visualise any blockages melting away as the ice itself melts inside the bowl. Trust that progress will finally being made on whatever it is you are casting this spell for. I personally like to repeat the chant over and over to help raise power and direct that towards my goal.
You don’t need to wait for the ice to melt. When you feel you have done enough, you can just leave the ice to melt. Once it has you can simply pour it down the sink to dispose of it, or even just leave it to evaporate (I only use three or four ice cubes when I am performing this, and if I leave it overnight the water tends to have evaporated before I can pour it out).
Brigit is a deity I have to admit, I haven't worked with much. This may seem odd as my path is hugely influenced by Celtic practices, and so I was very intrigued to give Mael Bridge's A Brigit of Ireland Devotional a read. For those of you who don't know Mael, she is the founder of a group called 'Daughters of the Flame', who since 1993 have been tending the perpetual flame of Brigit (there is more information about the significance of the perpetual flame within this book). The connection Mael obviously has with the Goddess Brigit is inspiring no matter which deity you work with.
Many who know of the Goddess Brigit will also know of Saint Brigit of Kildare, who is one of Ireland's patron saints. Many believe that Saint Brigit is associated with the Irish Goddess Brigit and that the Saint replaced the Goddess as Christianity grew in Ireland. Some even believe that Saint Brigit was a follower of the Goddess Brigit, whilst some argue that Saint Brigit never physically existed. Christianity and paganism have often had a strained relationship, and it can be hard to reconcile the two, but this is one of the strengths of this book. It takes the Irish Goddess Brigit and Saint Brigit and shows how these two aspects of the same deity can work together to create a figure who can be loved and honoured by all in the modern world.
A Brigit of Ireland Devotional is a unique view into the historically complex but well loved figure that is Brigit through poetry written by the author. It provides a great mixture between historical fact with an extended glossary, pronunciation guide, resource list and bibliography in the book, and the authors own experiences and interpretations. I can't say I've ever read any other book like it - it's honest, inspiring, and very moving.
I'm a very quick reader, and it really doesn't take me long to finish a book. Ever since I was a kid people have been amazed at how I could just devour books! But this book was different; I found it impossible to read each poem without stopping to read it again and soak up the message it delivered. The imagery Mael evokes is enchanting (I especially loved Your People in this regard). It is difficult to read them and not feel the presence of Brigit around you, even as someone who doesn't really work with her all that much (the poem Why I Tend Your Flame is another which I feel deserves a mention in this regard).
I honestly can't find the words to really convey just how beautiful this book is, and how powerful a devotional it is to Brigit. All I can say is read it for yourself - you won't be disappointed. Poignant, raw, and incredibly emotive, this is a must-read for all those who have even a passing interest in Brigit.
For more information on Mael and her work, or to purchase the book yourself, please check out the links below:
Buy the Book:
Paperback: Indiebound - Independent Bookstore Finder
Book Depository: Pre-Order
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More From Mael:
Blogs: brigitssparklingflame.blogspot.ca/ and stonebelly.blogspot.ca/
One of the practices I incorporate into my workings is using shells in traditional crystal grids to aid in healing. As a water witch, I love using shells in place of crystals. Below is one I designed for renewal and regeneration after a particularly difficult week at work.
At the centre is a starfish which is known for regeneration. From each point outwards we have some clear quartz crystal to help direct energies, and some blue glass pebbles to help connect with water energies.
Around this we have some cockle shells, to bring contentment and also self-love, as often times difficulties can impact our sense of confidence and self-worth. We have a clam shell to represent grounding and help us find our place in the world, and a limpet shell to help us let things go so we can focus on that renewal. You will also see some more crystals dotted in there; a blue and a green aventurine crystal to bring calm, and the turquoise to again represent water energies and also bring hope.
Finally on the outside we have four small whelk shells, and these are there to help point the energies 'outwards' (or towards the self). I have heard whelks referred to as 'the bullies of the sea', and so they can also represent strength or helping us overcome adversity, as well as bring guidance and inspiration.
This grid brings a subtle yet noticeable energy. It can help us accept that we may be going through a difficult time, but this time right here, right now is for us. We can let go of our worries, let go of our fears, and just enjoy this small period of peace. As it helps us let go, it brings a message of hope; that things will get better, and that we have the strength to overcome any obstacles that life throws at us. It is quite an uplifting and inspiring energy coupled with a peaceful calm; I could have sat there for ages just soaking up its energies! This really is a great grid to help you relax and unwind, let go of negativity, and build the quiet strength you need to face these issues later on. It is definitely one of my favourite grids to use - I hope you enjoy it too!
I love guided visualisations; as some of you may know, I have taught guided visualisation before and love coming up with my own. However, good ones can be hard to find, which is why I was very excited to receive a copy of Lucya Starza's latest book Guided Visualisations.
The first thing that Lucya does is explain the difference between meditation, guided visualisation, pathworking, and journeying which is very welcomed - it can be very difficult, especially for newcomers, to work out how these differ! It is a great explanation, and really sets the practitioner up for the visualisations to come.
The majority of this book is filled with guided visualisations written by the author. I personally prefer books that just get straight into it - I'm not a big fan of pages and pages of waffle - and luckily this book does just that. In terms of value for money, this book does more than deliver with the amount of visualisations for you to try.
What really makes these visualisations great is that they actually have magical purpose. It is easy to find visualisations to help you relax and find inner-peace, but finding visualisations with a magical or pagan spin on them is surprisingly difficult. Again, this book does more than deliver. It contains a different visualisation for each of the main sabbats and the four elements among others, and are suitable no matter which path you follow. A personal favourite from this section is the Winter Solstice Eve: Past, Present and Future visualisation, which uses Dickens famous ghosts of past, present and future from 'A Christmas Carol' as inspiration.
Which leads me onto another aspect of this book which again makes it a great read - these visualisations are truly creative. Lucya herself has plenty of experience in teaching guided visualisation and writing her own visualisations for her students, and her skill and talent in doing so is obvious. Each visualisation is carefully written to ensure that the reader gets something out of it, such as 'The Magic Mirror in the Enchanted Tower' which involves questing to find a magic mirror that can be used for scrying, or 'the seeds of love' which is centered around love and the cycles of life. The amount of care and attention the author has poured into these visualisations is evident, and there is truly something for everyone in this book.
Finally, there is a whole chapter on writing your own guided visualisations which further demonstrates Lucya's skill and knowledge in this area. After reading it, I was psyched to go away and write my own again! It also helps us as practitioners recognise what a 'good' guided visualisation looks like, which is definitely appreciated.
This book is suitable for both beginners and those who have been practicing visualisation for a while. I truly believe that visualisation is an underrated skill, and I know a lot of the witches I have mentored in the past have been put off because they find it difficult. It does take some practice, and if you find that you are one of those who struggles with it then I very much recommend this book as a starting point. These visualisations are definitely a huge step up in terms of their quality and creativity than many I have come across, which is why I also believe that those more experienced in guided visualisation would get a lot out of it too. A fantastic book and great value for money!
If you want to find out more about Lucya, check out her blog here: www.badwitch.co.uk
Or her author page here: www.johnhuntpublishing.com/moon-books/authors/lucya-starza
*Note: At the time of writing, Amazon was offering this book at 15% off - click here to see if the deal is still on.
I have been lucky enough to be given the chance to review Harmonia Saille’s latest book Magic for Hedge Witches. I have read and enjoyed her previous books, so I was intrigued by the author's latest offering and keen to give this one a read too.
The first thing that struck me was just how much information there is in this book. Full of anecdotes, practical exercises, and information from a range of sources, this book is perfect for anyone who is looking for a hands-on approach. Whilst the author herself has described this as a ‘short guide or introduction’, this book feels like so much more thanks to the wealth of knowledge included. As someone who has been practicing witchcraft in one form or another for the past twenty years and has read a lot of ‘introduction to...’ books, Magic for Hedge Witches really does stand out from the rest. And yet despite all of the information in this book, it is clear that we are just scratching the surface of the author's knowledge and experience with hedge magic.
With all the different topics covered in this book it is difficult to just pick one or two to talk about. However, one section which really stood out to me was the section on sourcing old spells. One of the reasons many people are drawn to witchcraft and magic is a yearning to connect with a time where it feels like nature was more revered and magic a part of everyday life. Trying to live a magical life in the 21st century can be difficult, especially when so much of it feels so far removed from nature (it can be difficult to feel a connection to the earth when I’m sat on the 11th floor of a concrete tower block in the middle of London). But in this section Harmonia does a fantastic job of showing us how we can take spells and charms of old and rework them to make them suitable for modern magic without losing any of their connection to their origins. This blending of traditional practices and folklore with the modern is prevalent throughout the book in a way that is genuinely inspiring.
Another section which really interested me was the section on witches bottles. It includes several witch bottles you can try making yourself, including a scrying bottle As someone who practices scrying, I love the idea of a scrying bottle, and this whole section is again another example of how this book successfully blends more traditional magic with our present day.
Other topics this book touches on include the magic of trees and other ingredients which can be found in nature, candle and colour magic, runes, the elements, animal symbolism, ritual, magical space...the list goes on. And of course, a section on magic in hedge riding. I wasn’t kidding when I said this book is packed full of information!
Whilst this book is titled hedge magic, I believe that anyone who feels a connection with the natural world and uses that as a focus for their magic would benefit from this book. It is one I can see myself going back to time after time with its useful information on various correspondences, such as herbs, days of the week, and moon phases. It is expected that this book will be published in Spring 2022, so if you are interested then keep an eye open for pre-orders. As you may have guessed from my extremely positive review, I loved this book, and highly recommend it.
If you want to find out more about the author or check out her previous books (again, I highly recommend them), then follow the links below:
Links to previous books:
Not going to lie, I've had a really bad week. I made mistakes at work which I haven't made in three years of being in this profession, and it's just been....challenging.
Today I did a cleansing shower using some cleansing and purifying salt scrub I whipped up, and then listened to my favourite sound bowl meditation to help clear and align my chakras. A pretty standard routine, until I got to the solar plexus chakra. Then I felt it - this huge, stabbing feeling of fear. It was completely unexpected! Why in the solar plexus chakra?
The solar plexus chakra is the seat of our personal selves. Our personal power emanates from our solar plexus chakra. It governs our confidence, clarity, ability to take responsibility for our actions, and how comfortable we feel in ourselves and our opinions. When this chakra is firing on all cylinders it can bring self-assurance, self-discipline, and independence. The solar plexus chakra is concerned with our identity, helping us find ourselves and understand our what drives and motivates us.
Confidence in oneself is an incredible thing. It almost sounds easy to just 'be confident', in what you do, but I'm sure we've all experienced those feelings of self-doubt. The little voice that tells you that you aren't good enough at what you do, you aren't pretty enough, nobody cares what you have to say, etc. They can creep in, and if left, can fester and severely impact the way in which we view ourselves. Especially in a world where we are often judged on what we bring to it.
The fear of failure or fear of not being good enough is something that everyone experiences at some point. Whether that isn't being good enough to fulfil your parents expectations, or to find a partner, or to be successful in your chosen profession, it is almost unavoidable to most. Even when we are on top, the feeling that this can't last forever and something must go wrong at some point can be persistent.
This is the fear we feel in our solar plexus chakra. Those insecurities, that doubt, can eat away at it. The chakras are all connected, and when one is blocked it can affect the others. For example, the sacral chakra is associated with our place in the world; if we aren't even sure of our place within ourselves, how can we be sure of our place in the world outside of ourselves? The heart chakra is associated with compassion, but insecurity can keep us from feeling compassion for ourselves and the position we are in, and we can beat ourselves up over the smallest of things.
This fear can be difficult to overcome, and it can take a great amount of work, especially if you have been carrying those insecurities around for a while. Many people can go years and years without confronting or working on overcoming these feelings. As I meditated on this fear and where it came from, I realised that my bad week at work was the source of it. The mistakes I made had shaken my confidence, and I wondered if I was indeed cut out for the role I have, or if I was even any good at my job - maybe I had only got to where I was through sheer dumb luck?! Am I going to be able to deal with the fallout when I head back into the office tomorrow, to pick up where I left off before the weekend and turn it around? I seriously doubted my ability to do so.
But my meditation on the solar plexus chakra helped to reflect on it rationally. Three years without making these mistakes? That's pretty good going! They were bound to happen sometime, and mistakes always will. What matters is how we respond to them. We need to be able to pick ourselves back up and say to ourselves, 'what can I do to rectify this, and how can I ensure it doesn't happen again in the future?' Again, sometimes this can be hard as it requires us to admit that we were wrong, but the solar plexus chakra can help us find the courage and confidence we need to do this and move forward. Mistakes will happen, but let's change our perspective; yes, they can be difficult, and the fallout can be big - I'm talking fired-from-your-job or partner-breaks-up-with-you levels of fallout - but they can also be a chance to learn. If everything went perfectly all of the time, we would find it much more difficult to learn, grow, and improve ourselves. So take a deep breath, and ask yourself; what can I learn from this experience?
Ultimately, this is where the solar plexus chakra can help us. Rather than leaving all of the doubt and insecurity to settle within ourselves, we need to confront it. We need to have a dig around and find the root of these feelings so we can dispel them once and for all. When we work with our solar plexus chakra, we can find the confidence we need to accept ourselves as we are and embrace the weird, wacky, and flawed aspects of our personality. Working on these will ultimately help heal our solar plexus chakra, and through this chakra we find the strength we need to heal. Again, this isn't always easy, but below are some ways in which you can start the healing process. There are many more out there, and they may not work for everyone so don't feel disheartened. Facing our fears can be a lifelong challenge - if it is one you are about the embark on, then I wish you all the best! You've got this.
I'm sure that most of us dream of living in a house in the forest or out by the coast, and spending our days speaking to the plants and animals, whipping up potions, and generally living our best witchy lives. Unfortunately, that is a far cry from reality for many of us. The day job is a necessity - something to keep a roof over our heads, and make sure we can afford that pack of tarot cards that caught our eye as we were browsing online! For a lot of us, the 9 -5 is something we have to live with.
However, there is no reason you can't bring a little bit of magick to your workspace. Remember, witchcraft is best when it becomes a lifestyle, not something we do in the spare hour we have in the evenings. Now, I'm not saying you need to wear a pentacle in front of your office mates or tell them not to worry about that looming deadline because your animal guide told you it would all work out. But there are some things you can do to help bring witchcraft with you into the office.
Of course, it very much depends on the type of job you work and the environment you work in. I am fortunate enough to work from home. Some of the tips I'm going to write below I couldn't imagine doing in an open plan office! Some people won't use a computer in their job. So, work with what you've got, and see if you can think of anything based on the below that you could incorporate into your routine.
1. Cleanse your workspace with salt water. Work can be stressful, and negative energies can build up. Take a little bit of salt water in a spray bottle, and use it to wipe down your desk whilst affirming that all negative energies will be removed. Watch out for electricals though!
2. Keep a piece of citrine on your desk. Citrine brings abundance, whether that be more clients or more sales, etc. Citrine is also quite a joyful stone, giving you the motivation you need to deal with those difficult co-workers with a smile on your face.
3. Make yourself a 'success spray' to aid you when you have an important day. I spray it on myself as a part of my morning ritual if I have a big release coming up at work. You can find the instructions for making one if you check out one of my most recent instagram posts (@thecottagemysticwitch)
4. Write mantras, sigils, symbols, etc., on sticky notes and stick them to your computer
5. Listen to witchy themed podcasts, audiobooks, talks, etc., on your commute or as you work
6. If you're lucky enough to grab a seat on the train or bus, spend five minutes meditating to or from work
7. Keep a mini altar on your desk if you can. I have a shell and some clear quartz and blue quartz crystals on my desk as I tend to work with water energies, to remind me to connect to them throughout the day
8. Sit at your desk, or even take yourself off to the loo's for a few minutes to visualise and manifest your intent. I've successfully recovered lost items, and more, just by popping to the loo's to perform some visualisation for a couple of minutes each time at various points throughout the day!
9. Incorporate a bit of kitchen witchcraft and experiment with food or teas throughout the day which can help. For example, anything with peppermint tea or peppermint chocolates can be used as a pick-me-up, rosemary biscuits can be used to help bring focus, anything with cloves in can attract money, etc.
10. Draw symbols or sigils on yourself, or stitch them into your clothing discreetly to keep their energies with you
11. Enchant more discreet jewellery, such as a locket, and wear it at work
12. Say a prayer or an incantation before sending an email to ensure a speedy reply, something along the lines of 'I send this email to find its way, and will receive a reply by the end of the day'. Visualise whoever you have sent the email to reading it, and realising it is important, and responding with urgency
13. Make some crystal water with a crystal that suits your intent, and take it with you to drink throughout the day
The Weekly Witch:
Once I week I talk about something 'witchcraft' related I have done with my week. How we incorporate witchcraft into our every day lives is always a topic that has interested me, so I wanted to start this blog to explore it further!