If you’ve been following me, you may know that my grandfather died quite recently. It was my second familial death in four months, with the first being my great aunt. Although these deaths were hard, I’m no stranger to experiencing the loss of a loved one. If you’re reading this, chances are that you’re familiar with it, too.
I receive a lot of questions about what to do, magic-wise, when a loved one dies. Many of these messages sound urgent--people are eager to communicate with their loved one, especially if they pass away unexpectedly. In this post, I hope to answer some questions on what you can do after someone you know dies.
The Mundane Comes First
This probably goes without saying, but the funeral and your family always, always come first. If you were close to this loved one, you’re probably involved in their funeral and honoring their will. These projects take time, but they’re essential for both the deceased soul and the people grieving.
The funeral helps the deceased to wrap up any loose ends they had in life. Many people receive signs from their loved one during this period, such as messages in dreams or specific picture frames falling off the shelves.
If you haven’t received any of these signs, don’t worry. You aren’t doing anything wrong. It’s actually quite common for souls to not contact the living right after dying. Why? Keep reading.
Don’t Expect to Communicate with the Dead Right Away
“Is it too early to contact my dead loved one?” is one of the most common questions I receive. I’ve also seen a lot of practitioners fearfully warn against communicating with the soul soon after death, as if something bad will happen if you do.
Technically speaking, you can communicate with your loved one soon after death. Some older occult works advise that necromancers perform a ritual within a week of the death. In their eyes, the soul will remain close to the body within this time, which makes for an ideal communication session.
However, in my experience, most souls do not contact the living soon after death. I’ve read message upon message asking why a loved one won’t respond, and what the practitioner is doing wrong. Chances are, you’re not doing anything wrong. Most souls prefer not to communicate within weeks, months, or even years after their death.
Think about death as a major life transition (despite how that sounds like an oxymoron). If you moved to a different country, you’d likely take a while to adjust. You’d have to learn a new routine, a new home, and possibly a new language. That major transition could consume your life for a while after the move.
Death is the same way. Your loved one may take a while to adjust to their new state. They may want to wrap things up in their life before they respond to magicians. Some may never respond to magicians--that is entirely their choice.
As a death witch, you should honor your loved one’s choices in death. Be patient. Don’t keep bugging them to respond if they’re not ready yet. As a general rule, most necromancers don’t contact a soul for around six months to a year after death. Although there are some exceptions, expect to receive few messages in between that time.
So What CAN You Do?
Being unable to contact your loved one can hurt. You’re grieving, after all. You may want to help your loved one feel safe and happy, or you may fumble with your own emotions. Fortunately, death witchcraft isn’t only about talking to the dead. It’s about helping, honoring, and caring for the dead, even if you don’t receive any message from them in return. Here are some things that you can do to support your loved one beyond the veil.
Erect an Altar
In my opinion, building an altar for your loved one is one of the most important steps that a death witch can take. The altar continues the soul’s memory just by existing. It contains any tools or memorabilia you need to contact the soul, and it’s where you can perform most of your rituals.
If you already have an altar for the dead or your ancestors, give your loved one a special spot. You can provide a picture of the person or an object that represents them, such as their old jewelry or even their funeral pamphlet. These objects will serve as a taglock to connect you with your loved one during rituals.
What else can you put on the altar? Anything that represents your loved one or furthers your magic. If you have their graveyard dirt or ashes, keep them in a container at the altar. If you write a letter or make a candle for your loved one, you may keep it on the altar. Include a space to give offerings. Appropriate magic tools, such as an obsidian scrying mirror or tarot deck, may also be stored there.
If your loved one was religious, include some items to represent their faith, not your own. For instance, my great aunt Mary was a nun, a sister of Saint Joseph. So I included a Saint Joseph votive and a rosary on my ancestor altar. Even if you don’t agree with your loved one’s religious views, it’s important to honor them. Although I’m Wiccan, I give my ancestors Catholic offerings because I love them and want to make them happy.
Speaking of Offerings…
Never underestimate the importance of offerings. They not only nourish the soul, but also prove that you are thinking of your loved one. Offerings establish a connection between the two of you, even if you can’t receive their messages quite yet.
As I mentioned before, make sure that the offerings for your loved ones honor their religious beliefs. Rose quartz wouldn’t be an appropriate offering for my grandfather since he never believed in crystal healing. But lighting my Saint Joseph candle and offering red wine--which he drank every night--would be appropriate offerings.
When in doubt, here are religion-neutral offerings that you can give: water, bread, wine, honey, milk, and rocks (not crystals). I will write in-depth about offerings in a future post.
Personalized offerings, such as writing a letter or providing their favorite food, also work. If you’d put the object on their grave, it’ll likely make an appropriate offering.
These gifts will relax your loved one in death. It’ll calm them, help them pass on, and remind them that you won’t forget their legacy. Offerings can also help you sort through your grief.
What to Do If These Things Aren’t Enough
If you’re a magician, you’re probably a “doer.” Sticking to prayers and belief isn’t enough for us; we want to push the forces of nature with our own hands. Offerings may scratch this itch for some time, but after a while, you’ll want to perform a ritual.
Although I recommended waiting to contact the dead, nothing is stopping you from trying. You can always try divination to see if your loved one is willing to talk. But don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t work; they just aren’t ready yet.
If you want to be more proactive in helping your deceased loved one, I recommend a love spell. No, not a spell to make them fall in love with you--a spell to send healing and love to your loved one in death.
When I performed this spell in February, it encouraged communication between me and my lost loved ones. Even my great aunt Mary responded to my ritual, which is highly unusual given that she died in November.
You will need:
Here’s what you do:
This ritual is just an idea. You can change it to suit your practice if you wish.
Although most people can’t communicate with their deceased loved one soon after death, they can connect in other ways. You can build an altar, give offerings, and perform a spell for the newly deceased soul. Remain patient and focus on mundane tasks first, such as attending the funeral and tending to your living loved ones. If you give the soul time, you’ll be able to communicate eventually.
I’ve received a lot of questions from new Pagans asking how to pray. In response, I think it’s natural for many Pagans--myself included--to Shia LaBeouf it and say, “just do it,” without any detail. That makes sense, right? Just talk or think or write to your Gods.
But for many new Pagans, prayer is not natural. We all come from different backgrounds; some aren’t used to praying without a holy text, while others have never prayed at all. To top it off, no one wants to feel dumb by talking to nothing. Practitioners want to ensure that the Gods will hear them and that they don’t say anything wrong.
To (hopefully) make up for all the times I answered “just do it,” I’m giving you all a comprehensive discussion about Pagan prayer. Newbies may use this post as a guide, while experienced Pagans might find some new ideas here.
The First Time Will Always Be Awkward
If you feel uncomfortable praying, you’re not alone. When starting out, prayer always feels awkward. Beginner Pagans may experience waves of doubt about whether they’re actually speaking to Gods or not.
Know that almost every Pagan, whether new or experienced, has felt this way. If others can overcome it, you can too. Here are some tips to relieve the awkward feeling.
First, use a method that feels most comfortable. If you feel nervous when talking out loud, don’t do it. There are plenty of other methods for prayer that I’ll dive into soon.
Second, create an anxiety-free setting. To do this, you’ll need to identify what you’re worried about. Do you doubt whether the Gods will hear you? If so, start with an offering; They’ll definitely pay attention then. Do you not want to look like an insane person by talking to nothing that’s visible? Ensure that you’re alone, and play music to cover up your talking.
My final tip is a reminder: prayer relies on faith. None of us began praying knowing that the Gods will respond, or even that They’ll listen. We had to believe that They would. In a sense, beginning to pray is a test of your faith. Trust that the Gods will deliver.
Talk, Write, or Think?
Before we consider what to say, I want to cover some methods of prayer. When many people think of praying, they may picture worshippers speaking, chanting, or singing out loud. You may certainly use these methods if you’re comfortable with them.
But you never have to chant loudly to be heard, You can mutter, whisper, or even mouth the words. The Gods are everywhere, and in a sense, They are within us. We don’t have to yell or sing as if They live on the floor above us.
Similarly, thinking prayers is quite common. By sending prayers through your thoughts and energy, you can contact the Gods in any situation, no matter who is nearby. This doesn’t mean that deities are constantly reading your mind; rather, you mentally ask that They listen by thinking “Hey, [deity]” or “My Gods, please listen to me.”
My personal favorite prayer method is writing. It’s more proactive than just thinking, and you don’t have to struggle with the awkwardness of speaking. Writing leavings a physical offering, almost like a divine letter. You can create a trail of letters to reference later by making a prayer journal.
How to Remain Respectful
When I receive questions about prayer, many people wonder what to say. Pagans don’t have a Bible to spell out worship for them, and this could spark some anxiety in those who don’t want to say something “wrong.” On that note, it’s very difficult to pray “wrong.” The Gods rarely get offended, and if They do, you can always assuage Their disappointment through an apology and offerings. Deities only ask for respect. If you worry about remaining respectful, then you’re already respectful enough to not offend your Gods.
Another common prayer topic is how to speak. Do you recite ye olde texts? Do you remain formal, as if conducting a job interview? Or can you remain casual and admit, “things suck right now”?
At the start of my worship, I only recited written prayers--ritual chants recorded by authors like Cunningham and Valiente, designed to formally evoke the Gods. While those provided some memorable rituals, I stopped repeating them quickly. Once I realized that I could talk to the Gods casually and without consequence, I never turned back.
There are some perks to speaking informally. One is that it encourages people to remain honest. When we talk formally, we may sugar-coat certain topics or avoid them altogether. Trust me; honesty gets you far with the Gods. In my experience, deities view honesty as a sign of faith and humility.
Another perk is that you can feel more “you” with the Gods. You don’t have to monitor or second-guess what you say all the time. In this sense, you may grow closer to your deity and feel less awkward.
However, informal speaking relies on improv. You may not have a structure or plan while praying, and some worshippers may not like this. If this is you, I recommend reciting written prayers. You can find Pagan prayers on any social media and through many historical texts. For instance, Hellenic polytheists may want to read Delphic Maxims, and Wiccans may reference Doreen Valiente’s poems through the Doreen Valiente Organization.
One more thing. Many people have asked if it’s appropriate to give the Gods nicknames or titles like “Mom” or “Dad.” Personally, I think it depends on the deity. Some are fine with it; others prefer a more formal tone. As long as you’re being respectful, it’s alright. You’ll know when you cross a deity’s line.
What Do You Say?
The short answer: anything. You can say whatever you want as long as you’re not insulting, bribing, or disrespecting the Gods. In my experience, when most people ask about what to say, they’re usually wondering how to begin the conversation.
The hardest part of prayer is starting it. No matter which tone you take, no matter which written chant you have on hand, starting off can be nerve-wracking. I’ll give you some recommendations for beginning your prayer. Of course, you don’t have to pick one of these; they’re simply examples to get you thinking about how you want to open your prayer.
Again, beginning a prayer is the hard part. Afterward, you can tell the Gods whatever you want. Thank Them for things; ask for help; or simply tell Them about your day. Never bribe or try to guilt-trip the Gods. They are greater than you, after all.
Tips to Pray Consistently
As with most religions, prayer is an essential aspect of Paganism. Establishing a regular prayer routine will build your relationships with the Gods and help you feel more grateful and supported throughout life. Here are some tips to make regular prayer easy.
You can pray through speaking, singing, whispering, writing, or even thinking. As long as you remain respectful, it doesn’t matter what you talk about or how you choose to do it.
Have faith that the Gods will hear you. Try to make prayer a regular routine. As long as you love your Gods, good things will come.
Of all the questions I receive from readers, this one is by far the most common: is it a sign?
By “sign,” I don’t mean stock market predictions or an indicator of disease. We’re talking about religious signs--messages that deities send when They’re reaching out to someone. Signs could be a dream, or a vision, or a suggestion brought up through divination.
Before we continue, I want to define what “sign” means in a religious sense.
What Is A Sign?
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a sign is an object, quality, or event whose presence or occurrence indicates the probable presence or occurrence of something else. Or, it could be a miracle regarded as evidence of a supernatural power.
When I receive questions about signs, they don’t usually indicate a miracle in the biblical sense. Most of them are, at first glance, everyday occurrences. A person could be followed by a certain animal, encounter a myth about the deity, or hear a song that reminds them of the God/dess.
I’m not trying to suggest that these are “wrong” interpretations. In modern religions, many believe that deities don’t have to miraculously heal people or turn water into wine to prove that They exist. And I agree. When Gods send a sign, They usually aren’t trying to prove Their existence. They’re attempting to reach out to someone personally, which leads into my next point.
I can’t confirm or deny your signs for two reasons. First, signs are inherently personal to the individual. A dream could have profound significance to you, but when you relay it to someone else, they don’t understand the impact because they haven’t had your experiences. Second, “casual” signs--ones that aren’t miracles or otherwise unexplainable--are far too easy to debunk. Seeing a raven on your porch could be a message from The Morrigan, or it could be that a raven decided to land on your porch.
It's Okay to Doubt
In the Pagan sphere, many say that “If you doubt it, it’s not a sign.” I heavily disagree.
I would never, under any circumstances, discourage doubt. Especially in religion, doubt is healthy. It forces you to double-check your experience and ensure that this religion/deity is for you. New practitioners, in particular, don’t know what to look for when it comes to deities. Who could blame them for remaining a bit skeptical?
In my mind, a sign will remain a sign whether or not you doubt it. If you aren’t sure whether your experience is a sign, keep reading. We’ll figure it out together.
Strategically Doubting the Sign
Let’s return to the original question: is it a sign? While I can’t answer this question for you, I will give you techniques to decide for yourself.
Contrary to popular belief, if you want to confirm the sign, you need to doubt it. You’ll have to test it. When deities reach out, They tend to be obvious and persistent. They’ve been doing this for thousands of years, after all. They know how to grab someone’s attention.
My strategies can be broken down into two questions:
To illustrate what I mean, I’ll include examples of my signs from Ninhursag (Sumerian Goddess) back in November 2019.
Is It Specific?
“I’ve been running into dogs multiple times a day for the past week. Is this a sign from Hades?” This is an example of a generic occurrence, not a specific one. Why? For one, it’s common. A lot of people own dogs, and it’s likely that people encounter dogs every day without realizing it.
More importantly, this isn’t specific to Hades. Yes, dogs are one of Hades’ symbols. But they’re also a symbol of Ares, Bau, The Morrigan, Set, and Fenrir. If it is a sign, how do you know that it’s Hades? Why wouldn’t it be any of these other deities?
In my early years, I may have defended this by saying it’s the worshipper’s intuition. Yes, intuition plays a strong role in deity contact. But during my path, I’ve mistaken my strong emotions for intuition. I interpreted common animals and flowers as signs from a God because I wanted them to be signs. That’s not intuition; that’s confirmation bias. Our desire to work with deities and connect with Them could cloud our judgement.
As you begin to work with a deity, you’ll understand Their language. You may pick up on signs that you missed before after you know how They communicate. Usually, deities send multiple signs to a worshipper They really want to work with. That’s why it’s okay to wait--or even ask for--a specific sign.
Here’s an example of specificity. During a scrying session, I saw my spirit guide take the form of a fox. My spirit guide is not a fox, so this is unusual. The fox ran through a marshland of reeds, which is a vision I had seen before with this spirit guide. It represented the Sumerian underworld.
Afterward, I researched any connection between a fox and the Sumerian afterlife. In one myth, Ninhursag’s lover, Enki, lay dying. Their child asked a fox to fetch Ninhursag and bring Her to Enki. This story connected death, the fox, and Ninhursag in such a specific way that I thought it had to be Her delivering a message or my spirit guide leading me to Her.
Can It Be Repeated?
At this point, I wouldn’t blame some readers for thinking that I’m treating this more like a science experiment than faith. This step is where faith comes into play. To confirm a sign, you have to trust that a deity can repeat the sign--and will repeat it if you ask Them to.
Why do deities send signs in the first place? It’s to catch a person’s attention. If you wanted to talk to someone, would you shoot them a text, or would you place a specific plant along their route to work? Probably the former. Unless you knew someone really well and established the whole plant code beforehand, they probably wouldn’t pick up on the randomly-placed hydrangeas.
Although deities don’t text, They’re usually just as obvious while trying to gain someone’s attention. With some exceptions, most won’t drop one sign and say “take it or leave it.” They want you to notice. They want you to reach out to Them. That’s why signs can be duplicated.
Here are two methods to do so.
If you’ve ever wondered why divination is so prevalent in the Pagan community--this is why. Divination is designed to answer your questions. If you experienced what might be a sign, confirm it through divination. If you received a possible sign through one form of divination, use another method.
Once your sign is repeated through divination, it’s a fairly safe bet. This is especially true if you use more than one method to back up your experience.
After my scrying experience, I tested Ninhursag’s message with my rune set. I received the rune algiz (sometimes called elhaz) that looks like someone stretching their arms upward. Algiz portrays Yggdrasil, a tree that connects the divine to worshippers in Norse mythology, and it mirrors how priests called down the Gods. Those were both convincing symbols to reach out to Ninhursag.
If you have a divination tool, use it. Ask if X deity is reaching out to you. Ask if your sign was divine. Ask if you have any other responses from said deity. If nothing else, having another source confirm your experience will be reassuring.
Respectfully Asking for More
“Have you tried talking to the God/dess?” is something I’ve written a surprising number of times. If you have little experience in speaking to Pagan Gods, this probably isn’t your first instinct. Throughout the community, we hear so many stories about Gods “choosing” people or calling to them through dreams and symbols. But those stories aren’t’ rules. You don’t have to be “chosen” or receive a grand vision to have a fulfilling relationship with the Gods.
Think of it this way: If a God wants to talk, They’ll be pleased that you responded. If you texted a friend, would you ignore their answer once they responded? Probably not! Trust that the Gods want to communicate. This is what faith is all about.
So how do you politely ask for more? Begin by opening up about your struggle. Perhaps you want Them to choose you, but you want to be absolutely sure. Perhaps you never considered this deity before and want more clarity for why They sent signs. If you’re respectful, I doubt the Gods will be disappointed about your honesty.
Afterward, you may politely ask for another sign. Make it something reasonable and specific. For instance, you may ask for a similar dream to the one you had before. Maybe you’ll ask for a certain song to come on the radio or something to come up in your research. Just something that’ll say that the deity heard you.
Also, give the Gods a time limit. My recommendation is a couple of weeks. It’ll alleviate anxiety on your part.
Here’s an example with Ninhursag. After my scrying and rune reading, I asked Her for another sign. I requested that someone would bring a non-breakfast pastry into work by Thanksgiving. Since the holiday was coming up, few people would want to bring pastries into work because they’d be busy cooking for their families. It was possible, specific, and give Her a reasonable time frame.
I asked this on November 24th. On the 29th, my coworker brought in cookies. I had forgotten about it in the meantime, but when I saw those cookies come in two days before Thanksgiving, I knew it was Ninhursag.
What happens if the deity doesn’t follow through? It’s not the end of the world. Review your request; was it too specific? Did you have the right deity? Did you allow for a wide enough time frame? Was that deity disappointed? Remember: a deity’s disappointment is not the end of the world. You can always right a wrong by putting more care into your practice.
I hope this article has helped you. Have you ever received a sign from a deity? If so, what was it? Tell me your experience in the comments below! I’d love to read them!
When I first began studying Wicca in my high school bedroom/attached laundry room, I immediately ran into tea magic. And I felt psyched! I worked at a spice and tea store and was hired for my knowledge of teas. I had tried every flavor from green pineapple tea to caramel blueberry pie white tea, and to think that I could drink a cup as a spell...Well, it sounds too good to be true.
I’m sure that others have had a similar experience. Tea magic is everywhere from YouTube videos to blog posts to social media. That’s why I must painfully admit that it is faulty.
Looking back a few years, I don’t resent myself for writing about tea magic on Tumblr. I love tea. I love the idea of tea magic. The simple solution of (1) brew a cup, (2) stir in your intention, and (3) drink is like a life hack.
But eventually, someone told me something that made my heart fall into my stomach: How come most people drink tea and receive no magical results?
“It’s the intention,” was my kneejerk reasoning. But is it? I can’t count how many times I sat with a cup of raspberry oolong and thought, “I want this paper to be gone.” I used to brood over Irish breakfast tea and wish that I would move to a different town. Is that really different from intention? It’s the same method: brew, stir, imagine your goal. And yet nothing happened. I wasn’t actually doing anything to change the tea.
Brewing tea isn’t inherently magical because people already do it all the time.
Non-witches don’t get a new job offer every time they drink a cup of Earl Grey. (If they did, they’d probably stop drinking Earl Grey.) If tea magic really works--which I believed that it did--it wouldn’t produce fantastic results through the brew-intention-drink method. And why would we practice magic if not for fantastic results?
I remember resisting this idea at first. I felt like I was being robbed of a quick, easy magical ritual. But in reality, I was on my way to learn more effective tea magic that I will now share with you.
What's Wrong With Most Other Methods
Whenever I read a blog post about tea magic, I often see the word “meditation” or “meditative” thrown around. Because that’s ultimately what their tea rituals are: meditation. You brew the tea, sit with it quietly, taste it, smell it, and let your mind rest. It’s a wonderful mindfulness practice. But is it magic?
Before I continue, I won’t discount meditation in magic. It’s an important tool to clear your mind and prepare you for rituals. It has can important place in magical ritual. But just meditating isn’t casting a spell. Meditating won’t give you a significant other or keep robbers out of your home. It just won’t.
So how does throwing tea into the mix change that?
Unless you charm it--unless you make the tea magical--it’s no different than a non-spiritual person meditating with tea. The same goes for tossing tea into a bath or adding it to a recipe.
If you benefit from meditating with tea every day, do it. I would never discourage a legitimate self-care routine that improves peoples' days. But let’s not kid ourselves, either. Meditation and mindfulness are research-backed, scientific skills. They’re not the same as magic which, by definition, cannot be scientifically explained.
Please view this post as an opportunity to enhance your current tea magic. I’m not saying “get rid of it;” I’m asking you to reconsider, to make your tea rituals more powerful and less reliant on chance.
Tea in Magical Folklore
It’s no secret that tea has been used for centuries, having first been recorded in China around 350 A.D. Since then, the lines between medicinal use and folklore have blended together. For instance, the ancient Chinese would drink tea as an antidote for poison. This is likely because tea flushes out the toxins of nicotine quickly. When people felt soothed and heightened awareness while drinking tea, they likely experienced a meditative moment or great social interaction.
I’m not discarding tea’s symbolism, though. Tea culture appears in several countries across the world and is used to pay respect or come together. For instance, in Tibet, tea-drinkers would receive barley wine as well. They would dip their finger in the wine and then flick it away three times before drinking the tea. This symbol of restraint served as an offering to Buddha, Sangha, and Dharma.
Ancient Egyptian papyri, including the Ebers papyrus, listed the medicinal uses of herbs in tea. These doctors were usually priests who believed that spirits blocked channels in the human body. They accompanied tea with rituals to heal their patients.
While examining historical accounts, I divided tea into three uses: divination, offering, and what I call "spell support." I’ll explain the last term when I get there.
You’ve probably heard about tea leaf reading before. Also called tasseography, the practice tells your fortune through wine sediments, coffee grounds, or of course, tea leaves. Tea leaf divination first appeared in Scotland and the United Kingdom after the Dutch brought tea from China.
In the Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology, J. Gordon Melton details that the diviner pours the tea without using a strainer. Whoever’s fortune needs to be told will drink the tea, but not all of it. After swirling the cup around, the diviner will read the shapes in the tea leaves. This is either done through a fortune telling cup or, traditionally, by reading the shapes from the outside in. The outer rim depicts the near future, while the middle illustrates the far future.
In my opinion, tea is one of the best drinks to use as an offering. It is highly customizable, and I’ve found that certain deities and spirits enjoy different teas. However, don’t be surprised if an entity doesn’t accept tea and prefers a glass of wine.
Still, you may choose your offering tea based on the folklore and correspondences that are associated with each. I will list all of these below.
If you want to learn how to give tea as an offering, read this blog post.
“Spell support” is a term I use to describe using tea in magic. In essence, the tea itself doesn’t do much. But when you combine it with ritual, it will produce results. Hence, the tea acts more like a spell tool than a spell within itself.
So how do you transform regular tea into magical tea that produces results? Essentially, you need to combine ingredients to make your own tea. Usually, magicians use this enchanted tea to enhance divination, spirit work, or another larger ritual.
Recipes for magical teas are the best tip I’ve seen so far. The problem is that most magical tea recipes look like this:
Notice that there are no correspondences, so you have no idea why each ingredient was chosen. There are also no instructions. From this guide, we can imagine that the magician just throws each herb in and brews it. But how is that different from the average Joe making a custom cup? How is it magical?
If we really want to create a magical tea, we need to charm each ingredient. Herbs are just herbs until you infuse them with energy; then, they combine to lend you power for your future endeavors.
Here’s how you do it. First, acquire your ingredients (a guide is below) and understand why you’re using each one. Grab a sachet or tea strainer to put the ingredients in. Before you place it in, hold it, and infuse it with energy.
There are several ways to do this. One is to chant: repeat your intention over and over, and don’t be afraid to whisper, yell, or laugh. For examples of this kind of magic, read Magic Rituals without Tools.
You may also breath quickly for ten seconds (don't hyperventilate) before releasing a long, slow, laughing breath onto the ingredient. This is called the Breath of Fire. You can learn more about breath in magic through this post.
Do this with each ingredient before steeping. As the tea steeps, continue. Talk into it. Dance around. Enter a trance state that will throw energy everywhere to fully charge the drink.
Yes, this is more complicated than just steeping a cup of tea quietly. But it should lend you better results.
As a disclaimer, this method will likely not work for bigger results such as relieving your debt, changing the weather, etc. For grand spells, you’ll need a stronger method and more energy. But this may work to increase your divination effectiveness, lend you better spirit communication, give you better luck, heal you faster--the possibilities are truly endless.
Legends And Correspondences For Different Kinds Of Tea
Luck - Faith - Strength - Clairvoyance - Protection - Energy
Chinese folklore tells many versions for the creation of black tea. Almost all stories tell of a tea farmer whose tea leaves became ripe when soldiers raided. The tea was left to oxidize longer, and the farmer decided to sell it anyway. Out of pure luck, tea drinkers and traders loved it. Read the full myth here.
Because black tea has a long oxidation period, it may be used in spells requiring patience, luck, faith, or low-working magic. Its high caffeine amount (47 mg on average, still less than coffee) makes it ideal for increased alertness for divination. With its high antioxidants, black tea protects against numerous diseases, which is why I listed it for strength and protection.
Examples: Breakfast tea, Earl Grey, Assam, Ceylon, Darjeeling, many Chais sold in the West
Healing - Clairvoyance - Divination - Happiness - Awareness - Protection - Offense
Green tea is believed to originate in Xing Yang Mao Jian, China, which is where its legend originates. According to the tale, the residents of the area fell to a strange disease. A girl sought treatment from an elderly man, who gave her a healing tree and told her to bring it back within 10 days. When the girl became too weak to travel, the spirit of the tree transformed her into a bird, and she delivered green tea to cure her people.
Green tea’s healing effects have been backed by science. According to studies, green tea lowers the risk of several diseases, including cancer, diabetes, and heart illness. It also aids neurotransmitters to help people concentrate and improve their mood. Plus, the antioxidants in green tea protect your brain and body from future diseases.
Green tea has less caffeine than black tea, except for Matcha, which has significantly more.
Examples: Matcha, Sencha, Jasmine, Gunpowder, Dragonwell, Genmaicha, Hojicha
Love - Divine Intervention - Mercy - Protection - Healing - Strength
Since oolong is partially oxidized, I often call it a mix between green and black tea. The legend of oolong teas surrounds a temple of Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy. This temple fell into disrepair, and a poor farmer noticed it everyday on his way to the fields. Despite having little resources or money, the farmer took his broom and incense to the temple and cleaned it. That night, Guanyin visited the farm in a dream and directed him to a cave. There, the farmer found an oolong tree, a treasure which he sold to his neighbors.
Oolong is clinically proven to promote tooth and bone health. It also aids the brain, heart, and skin--even relieving eczema in some studies. Don’t be surprised if oolong teas contain more caffeine than you’d expect.
Examples: Milk Oolongs, Formosa, Wulongs
Immortality - Healing - Benevolence
The legend of white tea mirrors green tea’s in some ways. In the Fuding county, near Taimu Mountain, a woman named Langu searched for a way to cure her neighbors. While taking refuge in a cave, she found a silvery tree in bloom. She made white tea from these leaves to cure the epidemic. On top of that, Langua received immortality for her kind-heartedness, and she is now looked upon as a Goddess.
Before the buds and leaves of this tree fully open, they are plucked.
White tea gets its name from the plant’s silvery-white hairs. As with many teas, white tea’s antioxidants may guard the body against diseases. As the myth predicted, studies show that white tea may prevent skin aging. It may also fight against Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, insulin resistance, and osteoporosis.
Examples: White teas come in many flavors and are usually labeled as such. If you like bold, fruity or floral teas, this kind is for you. It contains some caffeine.
Herbal tea is made from herbs and flowers which have not been fermented or oxidized. Hence, there is no one legend for this kind of tea; you’ll have to look up the folklore behind the herbs used.
Most herbal teas have no caffeine with the exception of Yerba Mate (which has an interesting history--I recommend looking it up). I will not give you correspondences, because I want to encourage you to research herbal folklore yourself.
Examples: Chamomile, Peppermint, many “Bedtime” teas, Eastern Chais, Rooibos, Hibiscus
For more legends about tea, read this amazing article!
Tea magic is far more complicated than stirring and thinking about your intent. It requires the careful research of folklore and infusing the tea with energy. This can be done through magical breath or spiritual aid. Teas are also not recommended for strong, long-time spells such as relieving debt. Remember, the more you wish to gain, the more work you’ll have to put into a spell.
What are your thoughts on tea magic? Do you agree with my assessment? Please comment below.
I'm not fond of the term "spirit guides" because it implies some special status that every magician needs. Depending on how you define the term "guide," every spirit can guide you in some way. Here, I define a spirit guide as a soul who can lead you to answers, messages, or pathways you were previously unable to reach. Although some people assume that they can only have one spirit guide, rest assured that most spirit workers contact multiple. Here's how spirit guides help you in death witchcraft.
Although spirit guides are often over-emphasized in generic spirit work books, they're frequently overlooked in necromancy. In death magic, spirit guides can lead you to the afterlife, connect you to other souls, and deliver messages from other entities. They may aid you in certain divination techniques such as scrying, or they may appear in your dreams to point you in the right direction.
Finding your spirit guides takes time. Although many authors write rituals to summon your spirit guide, I personally don't like these. I think that calling out "who's my spirit guide?" to the void is a perfect opportunity for spirits to take advantage of people, especially new practitioners. Don't force it. Guides always come as you expand your craft.
If you are interested in death witchcraft or necromancy, start how most of us did: by contacting souls through divination, graveyard dirt, or bones. Over time, you'll find a soul who is willing (often eager) to show you secrets and paths you never dreamed of. You don't require a spirit guide to practice; you just need yourself.
How do you know if a spirit is your guide? Figure it out yourself. Is the entity reliable? Have they answered your questions correctly? (Asking them something you already know is a good way to verify divination.) Do you have good reason to trust them? Have you worked with them before? Often, a spirit becomes your guide before you even think to apply the label. As with all things spirit work, let this happen organically. Your death will flourish from it.
Witchcraft generally divides ancestors into two broad categories: the Beloved Dead and the Mighty Dead. For this post, we're going to focus on the Beloved Dead, which are familial ancestors.
Who are the Beloved Dead?
The Beloved Dead are what most people think of when they hear "ancestors": family members who have long since passed. Although the Beloved Dead are often called the "ancestors of blood," they don't require blood relations. Familial dead also include adoptive families and in-laws. After all, family is family.
Some people divide the Beloved Dead into subcategories, such as the Ancestors of Milk and Honey (in-laws). For this post, I'll refer to all of them as your familial ancestors.
What if I don't know my ancestors?
If you don't know your ancestral line, don't fret. In my experience within the community, most witches ask ancestors to come to them. You don't need to have met your ancestors, or even know their name, to work with them.
Ancestors can be contacted in two ways: communicating with specific souls, or calling out whoever wishes to respond. I'll cover both of these methods later.
On Abusive Ancestors.
When discussing ancestor work, one of the main topics that pops up is abusive family members. In fact, this is one reason why people contact the Beloved Dead: to achieve clarity and healing for previous trauma.
If you're going to contact abusive ancestors, keep two things in mind: (1) the dead may carry their attitude with them, BUT can also receive clarity in death; (2) you don't HAVE to contact them. Communicating with rude or uncooperative spirits is emotionally taxing. Don't risk your health or happiness over it.
Sometimes, an ancestor may turn out to be rude, manipulative, or stubborn. Don't feel the need to continue with this soul. You are never obligated to heal or put up with taxing spirits. If a relationship turns too sour, don't hesitate to contact a different ancestor.
What if my ancestors have a different religion?
This is one of the most common questions I receive about ancestor work, and it's a valid concern. Most new spirit workers worry that their ancestors won't cooperate due to religious differences. While this is sometimes the case, I've learned that many souls--even hardcore Christian souls in life--are surprisingly lenient in death.
When I first worked with my grandfather, a devout Catholic, he was more than happy lend me graveyard dirt for my magic. To him, it was like giving me a sweater when he was alive. He felt happy to give his granddaughter presents again.
As you can probably tell, my ancestral line is Irish Catholic. While some of them refuse to partake in witchcraft, others gladly participate once they learn that it's for my own protection, healing, profit, etc. My main piece of advise is this: Don't decide whether or not they'll participate before they do.
How to contact the Beloved Dead
You have a closer link to the Beloved Dead than any other ancestor. As such, they're fairly easy to contact (in comparison to other spirits).
Much of spirit work requires a physical link to the soul, and ancestor magic is no different. One option is to use your ancestor's graveyard dirt (sometimes called ancestor powder). If you have your ancestor's ashes, these work similarly. Another option is to use family heirlooms. Old photographs, books, tea sets, clothes, furniture--any heirloom should do the trick. You'll have an easier time signaling the Beloved Dead if you have a direct link to their soul.
If you own some of these, harness their energy before communicating with the Beloved Dead. For instance, focus on the energy while calling your ancestors to you. I highly recommend using these objects during divination. If you know your ancestor's name, call it out, and clarify "of the ___ family" (to prevent souls of the same name from arriving). If you don't know their names, ask for an ancestor of the ____ family to come. Evoke the Beloved Dead through a ritual with offerings and, of course, adequate spiritual protection.
If you don't have your ancestor's heirlooms or graveyard dirt, you can achieve this without them. A piece of yourself--such as a hair clipping or finger nail--can go a long way. Remember, you're blood-related to the Beloved Dead.
Offerings For The Beloved Dead
Offerings vary depending on ethnicity and culture. Some general offerings include dark bread, cakes, wine, tobacco, milk, water, candles, stones, flowers, artwork, letters, or items that represent their religious faith. Well-fed ancestors are more likely to repay you, whether that be through protecting their offspring, increasing your luck, advising your craft, or pouring their power into your spells. If you can, maintain regular offerings for your ancestors.
But why should I do this?
First and foremost, contacting the Beloved Dead unites you with your family line and traditions. If you feel disconnected from your culture or ethnicity, you may want to work with the Beloved Dead. In America, many descendants of immigrations feel stripped of their ancestral roots. The Beloved Dead teach you how to reconnect with them (as well as the Mighty Dead).
Second, ancestors are more likely to help you than other spirits. Powerful, well-known spirits have a lot of people knocking on their door, but few practitioners are summoning your great-grandmother. Your familial ties guarantee that you already have something in common. The Beloved Dead can become valuable allies and guides for your craft.
Third, the Beloved Dead are easier to contact than other deceased souls. There's a higher chance that they'll respond and get along with you. Finding physical links, offerings, and tools is relatively simply compared to most of death witchcraft. If you're a beginner spirit worker, consider working with the Beloved Dead.
Consider this post to be a primer, one that will kickstart your work with the Beloved Dead. To learn more, research more ancestor sources and your culture's funerary traditions.
This past Saturday, I turned my neat witchcraft cabinet into an explosion. I dug through all the shelves and boxes and threw away at least 40% of it. The next 20% or so I set aside for donating/selling, leaving me with less than half of what I started with. Why did I do this? Contrary to popular belief, I haven't lost my mind again.
Why I Threw Out Supplies
Earlier this week, I spoke to a friend who gave away many of their witchy possessions. They did it for a different reason--they contemplated leaving the craft, and then changed their mind--but still said that they felt oddly refreshed having fewer tools. After this conversation, I remembered how I used to practice back in my closeted days. I used to keep all my possessions in one box. Whenever I wanted to practice, I would take tools out of the box, and stuff them back in afterward. It sounds hard, in theory. But I practiced more often in those years than I do now.
Don't get me wrong: magic tools are fantastic. But there's something about having a few go-to items that streamlines your practice. You don't have to stall by debating over which tool to use. You have one wand, one divination set, one offering bowl, one altar--just grab your tools and go.
In sorting through my belongings, I realized that I had plenty of tools I would never use. I've never been one for tarot decks, yet people gifted them to me; so I set them aside for donating. I saved numerous jars that I never put things in. For some reason, I kept remnants of spells that already finished. These things crowd your space. And when you're looking at a messy shelf or box, you're more likely to feel stressed out, which inhibits you from practicing.
Why I Reorganized
For this section to make sense, I have to explain how my supplies were set up. I live in a small apartment with my fiancé, so we don't have a lot of room. Because I had so much witchy stuff, I stored supplies in multiple areas. But most of them were in a cupboard, packed into multiple shelves and boxes, that was half-hidden behind my work desk. Not only were these supplies hard to reach, but they were also impossible to see. I couldn't just grab a couple of supplies and practice like I wanted to.
In order to rearrange my belongings, I have to weed out the junk. Once I finished, I had about 40% of the supplies I used to have. So I did two things: (1) I made all supplies visible and easy to reach; (2) I kept all of them on the same shelf, including my altars.
Instead of placing my tools back in the half-hidden cupboard, I put them on a bookshelf and moved the books to the cupboard (how often do you take books off your shelf, anyway?) I place my two main altars--a Wiccan altar and another for Hades--on top of the shelf. All of my supplies stayed underneath, so I can easily reach down and grab whatever I need.
I also organized my tools more efficiently. Here's how:
Do I still have a lot of witchcraft supplies? Yes. But it's all stuff that I actually use. Having them easily organized and accessible will not only push me to practice more often, but it'll also relieve a lot of my indecision. If you're feeling sluggish in your craft, I recommend cleaning out your altars and supplies.
Happy belated Lammas of 2019! This year, July's Super Black New Moon occurred the day before Lammas, and these two days could not have fit together better.
If you haven't noticed, I haven't posted in a long while. Recently, my life has become unbalanced and hectic. This month signals the hottest point of summer; it's the period where many of us feel like the heat will never end. Couple this month with a new Mercury retrograde, and suddenly you're grappling with impatience and frustration.
Throughout the month, I've been prayer journaling to work through my consistent impatience. The topic of gratitude popped up within the last week, and I was surprised to learn that both the new moon and Lammas emphasize this idea as well. Gratitude is the quality of being thankful and appreciative for what you have.
If you cringe a bit at the concept of gratitude (likely from New Age spiritual overuse), I don't blame you. But know that practicing gratitude is heavily backed by research.
Here's my point: If you want to feel happier, you should be practicing gratitude. But how do Pagans incorporate gratitude into their worship? For this post, I'm going to use the recent new moon and Lammas as an example.
Lessons from the New Moon and Lammas
As many witches know, the new moon signals a beginning: the ideal time to embark upon new journeys and hobbies. This year's Super Black New Moon enhances these energies. This moon phase encourages two perspectives at once. One is a positive outlook on the future. As the new moon develops into waxing crescent and gibbous, so too will your energies grow. Waking up early will grow easier; a tough work project will slowly crawl toward its end; the hottest month of the year will cool down. When we envision "beginnings," we see ideal opportunities. Pain does not last, and if you've been experiencing several hurtful days in a row, know that they will eventually end. After all, life constantly changes, just like the moon phase.
The second message of the new moon is a focus on the present. The beginning is now. If you want to become an avid reader in the future, you won't become one unless you have that goal today. This isn't to say that the now is always positive. If you're struggling with rent, summer heat, and a slimy coworker all at the same time, the present feels like a bad omen. But remember: the new moon is a beginning. Today is a beginning. Not only do we have the opportunity to change things, but we have the resources to enact these changes. Remember this, because this idea from the new moon bleeds into Lammas.
Lammas, also called Lughnasadh or the Grain Harvest, is the summer harvest festival. In Wicca, harvest is one of the Greater Sabbats, or the most important of the Celtic festivals. Why? Because it signals a time of abundance. Although we may feel like the Earth is wilting in the heat, it's actually producing more than it's taking away. Vine vegetables, like tomatoes, corn, squash, and cucumbers are ripe for the picking. Grain sprouts during this holiday, and tropical fruits grow plump. In fact, the ancient Celts celebrated this abundance by cutting the first grain and sharing bread with their community.
However, the tale behind the name Lughnasadh grants us a perspective on the holiday that many Pagans don't know. Most understand that Lughnasadh derives from the Irish God Lugh, a master craftsman and just king. But do you know why Lugh designated the holiday? It was actually in honor of Tailtiu, wife of the last Fir Bolg High King of Ireland, Eochaid mac Eirc. Tailtiu cleared all the plants and plains of Ireland so that its people could grow crops. After she finally died of exhaustion, Lugh established a harvest festival in her honor, including funeral rites and games.
Lammas and gratitude go together like grain and sunshine. During the harvest, we celebrate the Earth's ripeness, and all who have sacrificed their hard work to feed us. We couldn't eat without farmers and butchers. They couldn't provide food without the Earth. Grains can't grow without the sun. And the sun and Earth cannot work in harmony without the Gods.
Remember this lesson from the new moon: We have the opportunity to create a new beginning. And from Lammas, we know that we have everything we need to do so. We are alive. We are fed and sheltered. The Gods gave us an entire Earth to pull from and celebrate. What's there not to be grateful for?
How to Practice Gratitude in Paganism
When I learned all these lessons from the new moon and Lammas, I realized that I had been perceiving my life in detrimental way. It's so easy to envision the future negatively when your past and present have been difficult (to say the least). Not only does the "everything sucks" mentality not reflect reality, but it also omits every blessing we have. We take the sun and the crops for granted almost every day. These are both products of the Gods, and when we recognize that, we grow closer to Them.
Needless to say, when we rehearse what we're grateful for more often, we'll feel less hopeless about our lives even during rough times. But how do we do that? Over the past two weeks, I've been rehearsing methods to incorporate more gratitude toward the Gods. And I'm ready to share some of those methods here.
As a disclaimer: I'm Wiccan, so all my examples will have a Wiccan tone. Please change them in a way that suits your own religion.
TAKE MORE BREAKS. At work, I tend to let deadlines determine my schedule. I consistently think, "I'll take a break later, and push through now." By the end of the day, I'll be worn out, hungry, and left with a mind full of "fuck fuck fuck let this be over soon please fuck." That sucks. And I know I'm not the only person who does that.
When I started taking more breaks--say, a couple 10-minute breaks instead of one 30-minute one--my day felt phenomenally better. Breaks encourage gratitude because you're focusing on your needs now, not when you finish. If you have trouble sticking to set times, schedule alarms that will force you to step away from your work desk or studies.
I recommend walking outside for your break. You can soak in all that the Gods offer and recite a gratitude prayer, which is my next tip.
RECITE A GRATITUDE PRAYER. Remember when I mentioned that repeated affirmations make people happier overall? Thanking the Gods acts as an affirmation because it reminds us of what we have.
In order for your prayer to work, it has to represent something you actually believe. For example, saying "my day is great" might not make you feel better if you know that your day has been frustrating. But reciting "the Gods have blessed my day" helps more, because no matter how your day has felt, the Gods have likely gifted you nourishing food, nice weather, good sleep, etc. It also encourages us to know that a higher power is on our side.
Make your prayer short and sweet. You don't have to memorize it, but you might want to write it down somewhere. I kept mine on a phone note that I always kept open. That way, whenever I unlocked my phone on my break, I'd see it. You can also set the prayer as your lock screen,
I made mine a poem, because rhymes and meter make verses easier to memorize. Mine is based off of one of Scott Cunningham's example prayers, but revamped (let's face it; he wasn't the best poet, bless his soul). Here is mine:
"Divine Mother, Father Divine,
Blessed am I,
to share my day with both of You."
See how short this is? It makes life a lot easier to only recite three lines rather than a page. Also, you can change any line you want. For instance, you can say "Blessed am I / to share my meal with both of You." Or, you can switch it from Wiccan deities to your own. I'm only listing my prayer as an example, or hopefully inspiration.
If you need more inspiration, look up historical prayers, such as Delphic Maxims or magical chants that correspond with your religious views.
JOT DOWN YOUR THANKS TO THE GODS. In the past, I've mentioned Pagan prayer journaling and using this topic as a potential prompt. But you don't need to have a "Pagan prayer journal" to do this; you can simply have a gratitude journal. Again, science proves that writing down what you're grateful for lifts your overall mood and outlook on life.
Every night, I like to write down five things I'm grateful for in my day, bullet-point-style. But you don't have to limit yourself to five; you can do one, or ten, or however many you want. Writing one thanks to the Gods is better than none.
You can begin with, "Dear Gods, Thank You for ___." Or possibly, "Dear ____, I am grateful that You gave me ____ today." As with all prayers, don't feel constricted by formal speech. Thanking and praising the Gods is effective in any language.
These are all the tips I have for now. This is a longer, more in-depth and personal post than I usually write, so please let me know if you enjoyed it (or even made it this far). And as always, message me about any topics you'd like me to cover. Best of luck to you and your path.
In the death work community, most people emphasize gathering graveyard dirt and bones. Yes, these tools are significant: they connect us with the deceased when we're outside of a cemetery. But in my practice, I rarely collect graveyard dirt when I visit the dead's resting place. Instead, I practice other forms of devotion, spirit communication, and magic.
I don't recommend packing up grave dirt during your first trip to the cemetery for a couple of reasons:
On my tumblr, I've received a lot of questions about how to contact the dead in a cemetery without using a divination vessel. Like any method of spirit work, this connection with the deceased develops through practice. The best way that I can answer this question is to respond with what I, personally, do in graveyards. Every death witch practices differently. Hence, this post is just here to give you ideas about how to advance your death witchcraft.
When I enter a new cemetery, here's what I'll do.
While we're talking about cemetery trips, here are some etiquette/safety tips to keep in mind:
I hope this post inspires you to view cemetery visits as more than a way to gather tools. These visits allow us to communicate with the dead, advance our abilities, and build a reliable reputation with the spirits. I wish you best of luck in your path.
I highly recommend practicing ten minutes of witchcraft a day. Only ten minutes: don't pressure yourself to work above that (at least not yet).
I can already predict commenters arguing that this approach is lazy. I beg to differ. When you're lazy, you decide to do nothing because practicing too much effort. Performing magic ten minutes a day is doing something, even if you don't want to do it. That's the opposite of laziness. It's dedication.
Before you decide that ten minutes doesn't add up to anything, let's lay down the math.
10 minutes x 7 days a week = 70 minutes. That's over an hour of practice each week.
10 minutes x 7 days a week x 5 weeks = almost 6 hours of honing your magic skills.
Ten minutes isn't too much pressure. It doesn't intercept too much of your day. It's doable. It provides enough time for practice and reflection. And putting in the time lends you the motivation to continue the habit in the future.
Here's how to employ the ten-minute practice.
I've been applying my scrying skills using the ten-minute practice and I've already noticed an improvement. I hope this post motivates you to tackle your witchcraft goals.