I’ve never been one to drink or smoke weed. However, I have been smoking herbs for years. While herbs can produce a hallucinogenic or sedative effect, they are not as strong as other drugs. That makes them ideal for a lot of people who don’t want to feel high but want some assistance in magic.
Herbal smoking blends can aid magic in many different ways. They can enhance psychic vision, induce trance states, promote sleep, and relax the body. Herbs are also cheaper and more accessible than other smoking ingredients.
In this post, I’ll talk about some magical smoking herbs and how you can use them for spirit work. I will not mention weed, tobacco, or other drugs because I don’t have experience with them. I’ll dive into correspondences first; then, I’ll discuss blends and uses for anyone who wants to try herbal smoking.
Chamomile: Chamomile frequently appears in tea recipes to improve sleep and dream work. In smoking blend, it also enhances prophetic dreams and divination. Smoke it to induce vision and bring about clarity during times of spiritual confusion.
Many like chamomile in smoking blends because it is gentle and has a nice flavor. The ancient Egyptians associated it with the Sun God Ra, but others associate it with the Moon for its dream enhancement.
Coltsfoot: Coltsfoot is a common base for herbal blends because of its neutral flavor and relaxation effect. In magic, people burn it to induce visions. This not only helps divination, but also wealth and business spells where you can use some prophecy.
Coltsfoot is also a love charm and works in Venus magic.
Damiana: Although damiana is a well-known aphrodisiac in its native country of Mexico, it also aids spirit work. When burned, damiana sharpens one’s psychic vision. Any kind of spirit work that includes visions–such as psychic dreams, scrying, and astral travel–can benefit from damiana. So can any magic associated with Venus.
Damiana works as a base for smoking blends. It is also a mild hallucinogen. However, hallucinations tend to occur around 200 mg, so you’d have to smoke A LOT for these health consequences.
CAUTIONS: Can affect blood sugar levels.
Lavender: Lavender is a well-known magic ingredient that promotes sleep, calm, and love. In smoking blends, it relaxes the body. Since lavender is associated with the element of air, its smoke can also help people see ghosts and other spirits.
Lavender is also used in glamors. Smoking it can make you appear more attractive and help you feel joyous. Many love adding lavender to smoking blends simply for its smell and flavor. It is governed by Mercury and assists with purification and protection rituals.
Lemongrass: You might have heard that lemongrass tea can progress psychic powers; smoking it can do the same. Since this plant is ruled by Mercury, it improves psychic skills from divination to glamors.
Lemongrass has a slight lemon smell that makes it relaxing, and it can even help people sleep. I often include this herb in blends for flavor.
Marigold: Marigold, also called calendula, was well-known in ancient rituals. It appears in Dia de Los Muertos, on the altars of Hindu deities, and in Aztec and Mayan ceremonies. In smoking, it has a sweet citrusy flavor that relaxes the body.
In magic, it promotes spirit sight and visions. It is known to produce clearer and less frightening visions. Smoke it prior to trance work and scrying. Like rosemary, marigold is a fire herb associated with the Sun.
Mugwort: Mugwort has many uses for a spirit worker; magicians drink it as a tea before divination and wash divination tools with it. When smoked, mugwort can aid psychic workings, induce lucid dreaming, and help hedgecrossing. As a hallucinogen, it has a long history in spirit work and is associated with the Moon.
Mugwort can give you the “burning” feel in your throat. To prevent this, dampen it a bit before smoking.
CAUTIONS: Can cause nausea and is toxic in excessive doses. Do not use if you are allergic to daisies.
Mullein: Mullein is a mild sedative that many people smoke to relax their lungs. Magic-wise,its smoke is said to summon the dead; the Romans used them to make torches during funeral processions. Because it has the nickname “graveyard dust,” many people falsely claim that it is a substitute for graveyard dirt. (To be clear: it is not.)
Mullein is often hung, carried, or put in pillows to dispel evil spirits. In smoking, it calms and centers the spirit, which can help you with astral work, prophetic dreams, and divination. Practitioners debate over which planet rules it; Agrippa said it was Mercury, but Culpeper claimed it was Saturn.
Because mullein has little effect when smoked and a gentle smell, many use it as a base. It works well with any herb on this list and has few side effects.
Passionflower: Passionflower has a fantastic flavor and sedative effect. Unlike similar herbs, it can produce a “high” in large enough amounts.
Magically, passionflower aids sleep and brings peace. Many place it around the home to relieve troubles, and you might feel calmer after smoking it. Ruled by Venus and water, passionflower is a great addition to almost any smoking blend.
Rose: Although many label rose as “the love herb,” it has many other magical properties. Its soothing scent can relax people and relieve headaches. In teas and smoking blends, rose induces prophetic dreams.
Rose can be smoked before bed or before a ritual that requires a calm head and concentration. It’s a water herb associated with Venus.
Rosemary: Rosemary is a common incense in magic. Many burn it prior to magic to purify the area, but it can also boost divination. If you want an answer to a question, burn rosemary and inhale the smoke. The herb will grant you psychic clarity. The ancient Greeks associated rosemary with memory and would toss sprigs into graves. Using it in spells might improve your memory.
Rosemary is often paired with juniper for a purification incense, but I don’t recommend smoking juniper. The berries are incredibly oily and produce a lot of smoke! However, you can combine rosemary with other cleansing herbs prior to rituals. It’s a fire herb governed by the Sun.
Spearmint: The scent of spearmint increases psychic powers and intuition. It is a popular smoking herb for its flavor and ability to relax the lungs.
Spearmint can pair with any spirit work blend, but it also supports meditation, healing spells, and love spells (hence its association with Venus and water). If peppermint is too strong for you, try this.
Wormwood: The smell of wormwood is said to increase psychic powers. Many budding magicians carry or wear it for this purpose. Burning it attracts spirits, including the dead. The ancient Egyptians created inks with wormwood and wrote to the deity Bes as a form of divination.
Wormwood also has a protective element, especially when combined with mugwort. It is ruled by Mars.
CAUTIONS: While wormwood is not hallucinogen, it can be toxic in large amounts.
Three Herbal Smoking Blends
Anyone with the proper knowledge of herbs can create a smoking blend. But I have a few personal recipes to get you started.
I divided these blends into “parts” instead of grams and teaspoons because I don’t know how you smoke herbs. You can adjust the measurements to your smoking device.
Advice for Creating Herbal Smoking Blends
If you want to create your own blend, here are some tips.
Did I Miss Anything?
Is there anything else people should know about herbal smoking blends? Do you have a favorite ingredient that I missed? Let me know in the comments below!
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Last summer, I wrote a post about how to choose a Pagan deity to worship. This week, I’m doing the reverse: what to do when a deity chooses you.
Perhaps a deity popped up during divination. Maybe you keep seeing signs associated with a deity. Or maybe you feel suddenly drawn toward a deity, despite not knowing why.
What do you do now? I’ll answer based on my experiences and shared experiences from others.
Ever since I started posting about Hades worship on Tumblr, I’ve received messages similar to this: “Hades is reaching out to me, but I’m not a death witch, and I’ve never had any significant experiences with death. Why me?”
I can’t answer that. The Gods and Goddesses think in ways that are beyond our comprehension.
That said, deities are more complex than many of us realize. For example, Hades doesn’t just aid with funerals and grief. He also governs justice, fair treatment, the fear of mortality, wealth and finances, fertility of the earth, and major life transitions. There could be a reason why you need this deity or vice-versa. But you won’t know until you start studying/working with Them.
You Can Say No
For some reason, many authors don’t mention that you can say no. A deity might invite you to work with Them, but it’s just that: an invitation. You may politely turn it down if you are uninterested or not ready. Even in Paganism and witchcraft, relationships are a two-way street. You won’t be punished or screw up cosmic law by declining.
In the same vein, some deities enter our lives momentarily. A God or Goddess might work with you for a while and then withdraw. If this happens, don’t panic. It’s normal. If you want to continue the relationship, then They will likely come back later.
If You Want to Proceed
One more thing. Notice that I have been saying “working with a deity” instead of “worshiping” throughout the post. Many practitioners will work with deities–pay respects, ask for support, and harness Their power for spells–without worshiping Them. If this sounds like you, then these tips still apply.
Study the Deity
Like I mentioned before, deities are more complex than most people believe. If you only know the deity through myths, then you do not know enough to start working with Them.
The ancients treated Gods and Goddesses differently than the myths did. After all, myths are only stories, and even some Pagans didn’t believe they were real. So if you really want to know who the deity is, research how the ancients worshiped Them.
Don’t know where to start? Here are some ideas:
If you want to worship this deity, then also research modern worship. Modern practitioners often tweak ancient rituals to be appropriate for the 2020s. You could get some creative ideas from them.
If you're approached by a minor deity, these might be harder to research. Check out this post for more guidance.
Decide How to Reach Out
These answers will help you decide what to say (or ask) when you first approach the deity.
When You Reach Out
There is no “right way” to reach out to a deity, as long as you’re respectful. That said, I know that many practitioners worry about being disrespectful. So I will give you an example ritual to introduce yourself to a deity. Feel free to adjust if appropriate.
If you're struggling with prayer--how to do it, what's appropriate, etc.--then this post might help you.
What Happens Afterwards?
What should you do after reaching out? I cannot answer this for you. That would defeat the purpose of establishing your own relationship with the deity.
You might not have received an answer after that ritual. Be patient. You might want to repeat divination (similar to how you do it with spirits), or you may wait for signs. If you don’t know whether something is a sign, read this post.
I hope this helped you start a relationship with a deity who reached out. If you have any other tips or experiences you want to share, please comment below!
Herbs for the Dead
When I was 16, I got my first job at my hometown’s new spice and tea shop. During training, a corporate representative showed us every spice, herb, and tea, and what it is used for. Customers usually came in with cooking or health questions, and we had to know the answers. Although I was trained in magic at the time, I never imagined that this knowledge would benefit my Craft.
This is a long-winded explanation for “I used a lot of herbs in witchcraft.” However, I’m not alone; herbal grimoires and encyclopedias are prominent in the occult community. Today, I’m going to discuss how herbs can aid death witchcraft.
How To Use Herbs in Death Witchcraft
Herbs have been ingredients in necromancy, ancestor work, and other forms of magic for thousands of years. They have multiple uses–I’ll give you an abridged list.
Herbs and Correspondences
Here, I will list herbs that I frequently use in death witchcraft, along with their correspondences. Correspondences stem from a mixture of personal experience, historical use, and folklore. Note that I will not mention trees here; I have already covered trees in another post. I will not mention cooked/baked foods like bread, but I will cover naturally-grown foods like fruits and vegetables.
How Do You Use Magic Herbs?
Have you ever used herbs in death work? Did I miss any noteworthy herbs or plants? Let me know in the comments below!
Is Meditation Necessary in Witchcraft?
Proponents argue that meditation has upgraded their Craft or that they cannot imagine magic without it. Opposers claim that meditation doesn’t work for them, and they practice fine without it.
Both sides make valid points. For beginners, this debate is especially confusing, so they often ask content creators for their opinions. I’ve received dozens of messages asking about meditation.
Here’s what I think:
People Are Hyper-Focusing on One Specific Practice Instead of Observing the Bigger Picture.
What do I mean by that?
Meditation is one example of the broader magical practice that I will call trance work. Trance work is intentionally entering a trance to calm the mind and emotions.
Meditation is one method of trance work, and it does not work for everyone. To put this into perspective, imagine if someone argued that every magician must use tarot cards. In doing so, this hypothetical person is ignoring all other methods of divination: scrying, runes, pendulums, osteomancy, etc.
As a community, we would benefit more from discussing trance work instead of arguing about meditation specifically.
What’s the Point of Trance Work?
Trance work intentionally dulls the mind. Emotions will relax and stabilize; intrusive thoughts will occur less frequently. While in a trance, the magician is more susceptible to receiving messages from spirits and deities. Trances are especially important in spirit work. Witches use trances to communicate with spirits, receive visions, and hedgecross (travel to another spiritual domain).
If you’re familiar with psychology, this might remind you of mindfulness. I would say that mindfulness is the halfway point of trance work. Mindfulness practices (including meditation) assuage the body to calm a person’s emotions. Trance work doesn’t just calm people down–it also slows your thoughts.
To be clear, you can still think during a trance. And this state is temporary. But if you’ve ever performed magic and wondered, “Is that my thought, or a message from something?” then you might benefit from trance work.
Magicians use a trance to prevent themselves from interrupting their own experiences. It decelerates anxious thoughts and doubts and allows them to just experience the moment. After the spell/divination/hedgecrossing finishes, they can interpret what happens.
What Methods Can You Use Besides Meditation?
That being said, there are some mild hallucinogens and herbs that can contribute to a trance state. And smoke was not the only method. Let’s explore a few others:
Be VERY careful with essential oils; I’ve heard horror stories of people feeling delusional from soaking in wormwood oil or something similar. Always do your research beforehand.
Returning from a Trance
As long as you’re not using hard drugs, everyone’s trance goes away eventually. But it might take a little bit. Personally, I have found that deep trances for hedgecrossing take longer to end, and I might spend a while “coming back to the room.”
If you want to speed up this process, use a grounding technique. Any method of grounding will work, but here are some ideas.
What Did I Miss?
What do you think about meditation in magic? Is it necessary? Are there other methods of trance work that I forgot about? Please let me know in the comments below!
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When most people discuss ancient Greek funeral rites, they often talk about Charon, the river Styx, Hades and Elysium. Many remember that people would put coins in the deceased’s mouth for Charon. But ancient Greek burial was much more complex than that.
For instance, Charon did not appear as a major Greek figure until around 500 BC. Before then, Hermes brought the dead to Hades. The earliest mention of placing coins in the deceased’s mouth was Aristophanes’ The Frog (450 BC). On top of that, Elysium (Paradise) did not rise in popularity until the 5th and 4th centuries BC, and it was only in certain religious groups.
If you pull from ancient Greek sources to work with the dead like I do, you’ll want accurate information. I have spent a long time researching ancient Greek burial rites. To save you some time, I’ve written an abridged version of what their funerals might have looked like. I’ll include sources at the end, too.
Views of the Afterlife That Many Don’t Discuss
Before I jump into ancient Greek funerals, I want to include certain perceptions of the afterlife that many other authors gloss over. According to Robert Garland, a historian and professor of Classics at Colgate University, the Greek view of death was much less uniform than we believe. Ideas of the afterlife varied by culture and city-state, especially during the Classical Era (500 - 323 BC).
According to most sources, when a person died, their spirit (psyche) left the body. Unlike other cultures, the body was no longer important to the spirit. The psyche either left through the mouth or through an open wound, if applicable. Homer mentioned a spirit from the heart (thumos) and viral spirit (aion), but these had no further role and were hardly ever mentioned.
As many know, the Underworld (often just called Hades) was surrounded by rivers. Although the most famous river is Styx, the Underworld actually had five rivers, as per The Odyssey and Aeneid: Acheron (the river of woe), Cocytus (the river of lamentation), Phlegethon (the river of fire), Lethe (the river of forgetfulness), and of course, Styx (river of unbreakable oath by which the Gods took vows.
However, a river was not the only way to get to the Underworld. Other sources mentioned souls going over the edge of Okeanos, the Western Sea. In many myths, people entered Hades through a cave. Oracles governed specific areas that connected to the Underworld. If a soul’s body was not buried, it could not enter Underworld, so the Greeks would even bury their war enemies.
Before Charon came onto the scene, Hermes escorted souls from Thanatos (the God of death) into Hades. Later, some believed that Hermes brought the souls to Charon, who guided them from there.
Souls had a neutral, calm existence in the Underworld. Many believed that they were happy with rites and funerals, but other than that, they had no contact with the living. However, during certain feasts and festivals, the dead were said to join the living and eat designated meals, similar to many modern-day feasts of the dead. When they did speak to the living (such as through necromancy or oracles), they conveyed wisdom relating to the future, past, or present.
With these facts in mind, let’s move onto ancient Greek funerals.
Burial or Cremation?
During Greece’s early history, most corpses were cremated. By 1100 BC, however, most Greeks switched to burial. Athens was the exception.
If corpses were cremated, they were still buried in simple, rectangular pits or placed in urns.
Historians received most information on Greek funerals from Attica, between the 8th and 4th centuries BC. These were rather lavish, and some families could not afford all of these steps. Even so, the ancient Greek funeral was divided into three stages.
Prothesis - The Laying of the Body
Side note: the Greeks considered anything that was in contact with a corpse to be “tainted.” That included the house and its water. A fresh bucket of water was placed outside the door for visitors to “cleanse themselves” after paying respects. I'll expand upon this later.
Ekphora - The Funeral Procession
Afterwards, on the second and third days, the mourners had a feast of the dead called perideipnon. They would return to the house with drinking, merriment, and libations to the Gods.
After the Burial
Because deaths (and births) were considered “polluted,” the ancient Greeks would cleanse themselves after these events. This act of purification was called lustration.
Since the prothesis occurred in the home, all areas of the home--including the water--were considered polluted. A “clean” bucket of water remained outside for visitors to wash their hands. After the funeral, the home was washed with “new water,” usually from an ocean or spring. In Argos, mourners even put a “new fire” into the hearth.
Other lustrations included: fumigation (often with sulphur or incense), rubbing oneself with clay, or “washing off” with animal blood. These were not exclusive to funerals, however.
Cemeteries were said to be slightly polluted. Ghosts were said to hover near the burial site. If one wanted to communicate with the dead, they would go one of the Underworld entrances mentioned above, or to the ghost's burial site.
What Can Practitioners Take Away from This?
After years of digging into ancient Greek funerals, I’ve pulled together correspondence lists that relate to that culture. If your Craft or faith pulls from ancient Greece, these might be useful to you.
Offerings for the Dead
Libations are usually poured downward into the earth or another container.
Keep in mind that these are not the only offerings for the deceased. They are just options that I took away from the sources in "Recommended Reading."
To Honor or Heal the Dead
For Spiritual Protection
Did I miss anything? Can you recommend other sources to people? If so, let me know in the comments below.
I’ve never been keen on astrology. I never knew what a moon sign was before people started asking me about mine on tumblr. Ironically, my Catholic parents are more into it than I am and they often send me horoscopes.
Even so, I incorporate the moon phases into my practice. New moons and full moons are common spell days for me. Even if people don’t practice magic, many like to do something to honor these days, such as taking a bath during the full moon.
When I journal about the moon phases, I often run into blogs that go incredibly in-depth into astrology. Not just what sign we’re in, but where Pluto is, and how close Saturn has come, and which constellation is influencing the season. There is nothing wrong with this practice; plenty of magicians adore complex astrology. It’s just not my cup of tea.
So this post is for people who are not super interested in astrology. You can use the moon phases to your advantage without memorizing the correspondences of each planet. Even if you only work with full moons once in a while, you might benefit from these tips. And since the October full moon lands on the 20th, this is the perfect time to start planning.
What Do People Do during Each Moon Phase?
Before we dive into the tips, let’s discuss what each moon phase means. To be clear, the moon isn’t physically changing; its position to the sun changes, which is what makes it look different from Earth. Most of astrology is based on how planets and natural satellites appear to us. For example, retrogrades occur when a planet appears to move backwards, due to an illusion.
The moon is associated with the subconscious and magic almost universally across folklore. It illuminates aspects of ourselves that we might not otherwise pay attention to. Like the tide, energies ebb and wane with the moon, which is why many people cast spells during certain phases.
I have a moon phase mini-zine with bullet point correspondences for each phase. But here is a more in-depth version of that.
DISCLAIMER: Since this is directed toward people who are not super into astrology, I will not be going into crescent, quarter, and gibbous phases. I don’t personally follow those, and they can get a little too complicated for some people. However, I will discuss waxing and waning phases.
The new moon occurs when the moon looks black or invisible. Many consider this to be the start of the moon phase.
Because of this, new moons are associated with beginnings. If you want to change an aspect of your life, such as wake up earlier or eat healthier, the new moon might be a great time to start.
Magic-wise, new moons will amplify any spell that puts projects in motion. Money and job spells fit well here. So do rituals that will enhance your psychic abilities. For spirit workers, this is the ideal time for banishings and divination.
If you have a long-term spell that you cast over time--for example, one where you have to light a candle every day for a week--perform it on the new moon. It will grow in power with the moon phases.
Remember what I said about the moon and our subconscious? Despite having little light, the new moon illuminates the “darker” aspects of our subconscious, such as emotions and biases that we otherwise do not face. You might want to practice shadow work or journal.
The waxing moon looks like the moon is “growing.” It develops from a new moon into a full moon. When the moon looks like a crescent, it’s called waxing crescent; when it passes the halfway point, it’s waxing gibbous.
The waxing moon expands whatever you started during the new moon. During this stage, many people work on self-improvement, whether that be a work project or a personal goal or passion.
If you casted a long-term spell on the new moon, it will usually finish during the waxing or full moon. Otherwise, money and attraction spells will gain power here.
For spirit workers, you might want to practice your psychic abilities during this period.
The full moon is famous for helping any spell. Why? Because the moon is at full power, which means that many other energies get amplified. Spirits become more active during this period, and your intuition might sharpen.
Full moons are perfect for single-night spells. You can do anything from protection to love spells to cleansing. Personally, I tend to get a lot of success in spirit work and divination during a full moon.
Another aspect of the full moon that many people forget about is self-care. Because the moon is sending you power, this is the perfect time to recharge. Bath and shower spells are especially popular during full moons, or you can relax with an old-fashioned Netflix binge.
If the waxing moon is “growing,” then the waning moon is “shrinking.’ The moon’s power is ebbing during a waning moon, especially the last quarter moon (when it’s half full).
This is the time to cool down from all the magic you might have done during the new and full moons. Waning moons usually occur at the end of the moon, when many students and employees feel exhausted.
I view the waning moon as a spiritual cleaning time. Cleansing, meditating, and other stress-lowering practices can recharge you. Work on removing anything that isn’t helping you, whether it’s an emotion, a habit, or even clutter around your home.
If you have long-term spells that are still going during this period, bring them to a close before the new moon.
Tips to Make the Moon Phases Simpler
This might seem like a lot of information because it is. But I have some tips to make the moon phases feel a lot less overwhelming.
Plan what to do beforehand. For the new and full moons, try to research them beforehand. I usually write about them in my prayer journal a few days before. This time, I started a week before to provide an example for this blog post.
Use this as a brainstorming period. What kind of spells work best during this period? Do you want to cast a spell here, or would you rather practice self-care or do something simpler like make moon water?
Remember that you have wiggle room. Because moon phases change slowly, the full and new moons continue for two to three days. If you forgot about the full moon until the last minute (we’ve all been there), relax--you have time.
Don’t feel pressured to perform rituals at night. Many people cast their spells at night when they can see the moon phase. While this does feel magical, you do not have to practice at 10 p.m. The moon will still be full even if you cast a spell during the day. Personally, I tend to practice magic in the mornings because I’m not a night person.
Look up the full moon’s name. Every month, the full moon has a different name and meaning. Most have multiple names. This October, the upcoming full moon on October 20th is called the Hunter’s Moon, Blue Moon, Dying Grass Moon, and Sanguine Moon.
All of these names came from somewhere. If you understand the meaning behind the name, then you’ll get a better idea of what to do on the day.
If you want to, look up the current astrological season. The current astrological season (for example, we’re in Libra right now) can supply some information about the full moon. You do not have to be an astrology expert to gain information from what is currently happening in the stars.
Are there any retrogrades going on? Any planets you like to focus on? If you want to dive a bit deeper, do so. Everyone approaches astrology differently.
You do not need to work during every moon phase. Did you miss this month’s new moon? Don’t worry about it. You are not a failure if you miss a moon phase or choose not to practice magic on these days. Everyone needs a break, and sometimes life gets in the way.
Although moon phases play a significant role in peoples’ crafts, they are not a requirement. You do not need to follow the moon phases to practice magic. You also do not need to be an astrology expert.
Everyone’s craft is different. If you’re not interested in casting a spell during the day of Mars in the hour of Saturn, don’t. Your spiritual practice should be fun and rewarding. Work to make it that way!
“Types of Witchcraft” lists are one of the most popular witchy articles online. I can see why; many magicians who are just starting out want to learn what to study. Many more benefit from having some type of label.
My issue with these lists is not that they exist--it’s that they are always incomplete. In this post, I’ll explain the most popular controversies with these lists, and how new practitioners can approach them.
This might seem like a long list, but read between the lines. Why is sea witch mentioned but fire and other elements are not? Why is spirit work not mentioned? Hedge magic and divination are methods of spirit work, but spirit work overall seems to have been ignored.
There are also a lot of vague terms on these lists that I don’t understand. Hereditary witch makes sense I guess, but it does not clarify what they practice. It only says that they were taught by a family member, so it’s strange that that is on most lists. I’ve also seen vapid terms like “basic witch” (what does that even mean?)
The most comprehensive list I’ve found is this one on tumblr, which includes 99 types of witchcraft. And I’m sure that some magicians still didn’t find their practice on the list.
So why are these lists so popular, and how did so many types of witchcraft come to be? That’s what I want to explore in this blog post.
The Origin of Witchcraft “Types”
Later, these two words split and began to mean different things. Witchcraft became a secular (albeit still spiritual) practice that many people in Europe and America used to describe any type of magic. This is not true, by the way; magical practices like alchemy, chaos magic, and Hoodoo are not witchcraft. My own magic teacher absolutely refused to call herself a witch!
Despite this, practitioners wanted a way to distinguish their crafts from one another. The earliest form of this I could find is the division between white and black witchcraft/magic. Although these terms have been thrown around for centuries, they skyrocketed in popularity during the ‘80s and ‘90s. Witchcraft authors pushed the term “white witch” to prove that they weren’t evil.
Many people in the community, including myself, do not like these terms because of the obvious racial implications and inherent “we’re better than other practitioners” mentality. So we got more specific. Kitchen and green witchcraft quickly became mainstream. These focused on herbs and plants and had a lot of historical backing due to folk magic and ancient herbal medicine.
With the rise of the internet, people have had an easier time coining terms for their crafts. If they didn’t find a label they liked, they made one themselves. Urban witchcraft, tech witchcraft, pop culture witchcraft, and so on. Personally, I didn’t find the phrase death witchcraft until 2015, and few people were using it.
Controversies with Witchcraft Types
As you might imagine, not everyone in the occult community likes these terms. Specifically, most people in traditional and ceremonial magic communities will not use these labels. Many have brought up valid arguments against these terms that I want to discuss.
Their main argument is that people don’t need a label to practice magic. More accurately, opposers say that new practitioners waste too much time looking for a label when they could just start studying.
This I agree with. Nobody needs a label to practice magic, and newbies should not feel pressured to pick a witchcraft type just to start. However, many people benefit from a label. We want to clarify what we focus on in our craft, and plenty of people feel proud of their witchcraft type.
The other argument is one I’m less keen on. Many claim that witchcraft types “put people in a box.” In other words, if someone pursues sea witchcraft, then they will automatically miss out on other types of magic (like spirit work, divination, etc.) in the process.
This argument makes sense on paper, but not in practice. In my 13 years of practicing, I have never met anyone who clings to one type of magic. Studying magic automatically leads you to different fields. Green witches often end up researching animism and spirit work. Cosmic witches frequently encounter alchemy, which also relies heavily on planetary associations. Crystal magic has deep roots in divination, which guides crystal witches to spirit or deity work.
When I meet someone who says that they’re a water witch, I assume that water magic is their main focus. I do not assume that they only work with water and also, fuck candles.
That said, I believe peoples’ main concern is for beginners. Many worry that beginners will feel limited or pressured to research only one type of witchcraft. This is what I want to address next.
So What Is the Solution?
Do magicians need to be a “type of witch?”
That said, if they want a label to describe their craft, they can use one. You can even use multiple. I’ve met people who practice multiple types.
Are these terms inherently negative?
No. But people can approach these terms in a self-sabotaging way, specifically by limiting their Craft through labels.
How should new practitioners approach these terms?
View them as options. Read them as inspiration. Remember that you do not have to be a “type” of witch. In fact, you don’t have to be a witch at all.
If you want to practice magic, write down a list of topics you want to explore. Are you interested in spirit work? Ancestors? Which element fascinates you the most? Have you always been fascinated in herbal remedies, crystals, or tarot? Do you want to research magic associated with your culture or heritage?
The more you research, the more you’ll learn what you enjoy. After a while, you can take on a label if you want to.
What do you think about witchcraft type lists? Do you like or dislike these terms? Let me know in the comments below!
I used to write in my Pagan journal every day. But since I have started working on my Etsy full time, I dropped the habit. I want to introduce prayer journaling into my new schedule, so I decided to write down several prompts in case I run out of ideas.
These prompts are not specific to any one deity or religion. I hope they inspire you to connect with your Gods.
For those who need advice on Pagan prayer, here is the blog post for you: If You're Struggling with Pagan Prayer, Read This.
What Is Pagan Prayer Journaling?
Pagan prayer journaling is any kind of writing or drawing that relates to your Pagan practice. You can write down notes while studying your deities, or you can thank the Gods for anything. You can even draw or write a letter to your deity.
Your Pagan prayer journal has no guidelines. You don’t have to make it look Pinterest-worthy unless you want to. You don’t even have to write in it; you can draw instead! This is why I love Pagan journals. They encourage people to expand their daily practice, but do not pressure them to write about something they don’t like.
If you want to start a Pagan journal, all you need is a journal. The type and design are entirely up to you. Read the prompts below and try one or two each day. Keep track of which prompts you enjoy or dislike. Over time, you will develop a daily habit that will keep you connected to your faith. If you need more information on creating and maintaining a daily practice, read this blog post: How to Practice Magic or Paganism Every Day Specifically.
These are journaling practices that you can do on any given day, or daily if you choose.
For a Pantheon/Religion:
These prompts can help you learn about a religion/pantheon or explore your own beliefs.
For One Specific Deity:
Whether you are studying a deity, hoping to work with one, or enhancing your daily practice, these prompts can help you. For those working with minor deities, go here: How to Worship Lesser-Known (Minor) Deities.
These are prompts for holidays such as Sabbats, harvest festivals, and even national/Christian holidays.
Moon Phases and Astrology:
If astrology contributes to your practice, check out these prompts.
Tell Me about Your Journaling Experience!
Do you use a Pagan prayer journal? What do you write about? Do you have any other ideas for journal prompts? Let me know in the comments below!
Since autumn is rapidly approaching, I am refreshing my home protection spells. I do this every year before Samhain, when I perform my most elaborate spirit work.
Protection spells, also called wards, are essential for any magic path, but especially spirit work. Have you ever heard about ouija board sessions gone wrong? Or poltergeist hauntings? Or a long streak of bad luck? Wards prevent those from happening.
If your wards are strong, you won’t have to worry about spirits following you home from a graveyard or hexes reaching your family.
Here are three protection spells that have aided me in the past. As with my post Three Death Witchcraft Spells to Heal the Deceased, I will list the ingredient correspondences at the end of the article. I recommend reading that list; spells always have more power if you understand the purpose of the ingredients.
Note: These are NOT banishing spells. They are not appropriate for someone who is currently being haunted. Wards are specifically performed to prevent attacks, not end them.
Candle Protection Spell
Candle spells are the most common form of wards I see. I believe that candle magic is popular because it is so accessible. Similarly, I have developed one that involves equally accessible ingredients: cooking herbs.
You will need:
Mix equal parts of dried dill, oregano, and parsley. If they are not already in small pieces, use a mortar and pestle to grind them.
Anoint your candle with the protection oil. Lay the dried herbs out on a paper towel, and roll the candle over them while it is still wet with the oil. The oil will stick the herbs to the candle.
Light the candle, and burn it until you can do it no longer. I created my other two protection spells while the candle was burning.
NOTE: Keep a close eye on the flame. As with any herb-covered candle, the fire could spread to the dried herbs and quickly burn out of control. Keep a glass of water nearby.
Protection Oil for Windows and Doors
When I was first learning witchcraft, my magic teacher showed me how she rubbed oils on her window and door frames. This is not a new concept; many cultures, from the ancient Egyptians through the Middle Ages, rubbed oils on doors and windows.
More commonly, people would hang, plant, or scatter herbs near their doors for protection. Oil blends are easier because they are subtle and can work in any home, including college dorms and apartments.
Clean and consecrate your container. I used a vintage perfume container that I found at a thrift store. You can cleanse the vial through many methods, from crystal charging to moon water. Personally, I consecrated it with myrrh incense.
Combine the oils with two parts rose geranium, one part lavender, and one part frankincense. For example, if you use two drops of rose geranium oil, pour one drop of lavender and frankincense oils. I did ten drops of rose geranium and five drops of the other two.
Leave it on your altar overnight to charge. I placed mine on a wooden Goddess symbol. If you perform this spell during a full moon, you may charge it with the moonlight. Do NOT charge it in sunlight; the light will degrade the oils.
The next morning, take your oil vial outside with a cotton ball. Place the oil on a cotton ball and rub it along your door and window frames. If you live on the second floor or above, you may do this inside.
Try to rub the oil on all four corners, if possible. You do not have to cover entire doors in oil. A little bit goes a long way.
Refresh this spell every six months.
Graveyard Dirt Protection Powder
Graveyard dirt has many magical properties, which you can learn more about in the post Magical Uses for Graveyard Dirt. One of its properties is protection, especially when it’s from the grave of a loved one (such as Goofer Dust in Hoodoo).
Use some from a reliable spirit whom you’ve worked with before, such as an ancestor. Think of it this way: which spirit do you want guarding your home?
This is a warding powder made with graveyard dirt.
Ask the spirit’s permission to use their dirt in a protection powder. When you have permission, combine the dirt with black salt (not cooking black salt--witches’ black salt. Learn more in the next section).
Add juniper berries and grind in a mortar and pestle. Pour two to three drops of patchouli essential oil, and mix. Keep this powder in an airtight glass container.
Scatter the powder around your home, especially the front and back doors. If you live above-ground, spread the powder along window sills and balconies.
Why I Chose These Ingredients
For More Protection, Check out These Posts
Which protection spells have you done in the past? How often do you need to refresh them? Have any not worked? Let me know in the comments below!
Since I had just moved to a new state, I had no idea where this grave was. I looked up some cemeteries on Google maps, and I spotted a forested cemetery with a review that said it was “supposed to be haunted.” That seemed like a solid choice.
When I drove to the cemetery, I couldn’t see it from the road. It was concealed by an abandoned chapel; I would not have noticed it had I not researched the cemetery. Shaded by trees, covered in moss, the cemetery was palpable. It was the first time I felt spooked by a graveyard.
Then, I found it. The gravestone belonged to Sarah Odell, and the cemetery was called Odell. This was her cemetery; she wanted me to know where it was.
Scrying can have some fantastic results. There are many methods of scrying and a vast array of visions to experience, which I am going to cover here.
What Is Scrying?
Scrying, sometimes called “seeing,” is a form of divination in which someone peers into a vessel and interprets visions that they see. Scrying does not require one to be a medium or clairvoyant. Like other magical practices, it simply requires the right method.
Although scrying is often associated with future predictions, it can reveal many other things. Insights into yourself, messages from spirits or deities, and sights into other realms are all on the table.
There are many ways to scry. Here, I’ll list a few of the most popular methods.
Types of Scrying:
Preparation: The Most Important Step
I know people usually skip over the “prepare” step (and I do too), but if you do not take time to do this, scrying will not go well.
Scrying doesn’t happen every time someone looks into a vessel. If that were true, everyone would have visions whenever they roasted marshmallows. The power does not lie in the vessel; it is in the magician and how they prime themselves.
Most people scry in a self-induced trance state. Author and blogger Katrina Rasbold phrased it as, “Make your mind as blank as possible.” Scrying works best when the mind is not plagued by impatience, anxiety, or expectations.
I like to smoke an herbal blend before scrying (my favorite is mugwort, damiana, and lemongrass). But you don’t have to use hallucinogens. Meditation clears the mind and can enhance spirit work. Others use music, chants, prayers, visualizations, yoga, and even dance.
You might need to experiment with a few of these methods to learn what works best. If you also practice spirit work, the preparation is similar, in my experience.
Tips for Successful Scrying
Scrying sounds simple: You just stare into a vessel and let visions come to you. But if you’ve ever tried it, you know that it’s not so easy. The mind can get distracted by the reflection, impatiences, or doubting whether your visions are real.
The best scrying advice I ever received was from the old tumblr user ofwoodandbones (oh how I miss them). To paraphrase: “You are not looking at the vessel; you are trying to look through it.” The reflections, lights, and shadows are just the surface. Your visions lie beyond it.
Here are some tips for scrying that I’ve gathered over years of experience:
What Will You See?
As with every form of divination, you should not expect to see something while scrying. Your visions could be anything from spirits reaching out to future predictions to answers for your questions.
The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn describes three levels of scrying, and I believe that these spell out what kind of information you might receive.
The first is “Scrying with the Spirit Vision.” These visions explain something about your inner self. For example, it might be a symbol of a situation you’re struggling with or a message that a deity has for you.
The second is “Traveling in the Spirit Vision.” During this stage, scrying transports you to a different area, whether physical or spiritual. You might see the dead in the afterlife, or you could see a nearby location that you must visit.
The third is “Rising in the Planes.” This is an insight into your spiritual process. Scrying might reveal symbols, spirits, deities, or actions that you should look into to excel in your Craft.
That said, no book or organization can interpret your visions for you. Only you can discern what your divination means and how you can use it.
Scrying requires a “clear mind” and plenty of mental and spiritual preparation. Instead of focusing on the reflection, practitioners must relax their eyes and allow visions to come to them. The more you practice, the better you’ll get.
Have you ever scried before? Has any method worked or not worked for you? Let me know in the comments below.