This is some bath magick that you can tailor to you. Make sure you have the basic materials but because this magick is specifically made to make you feel better, change some herbs up or you know, whatever.
Do your thing.
Rowan’s, “Bathe Me the Fuck Better” Bath Spell
You Will Need:
As many candles as you want (I chose six, and had red, white and blue ones. Not because I am a mad patriot but because they’re associated with health, love (of self), and cleansing.)
Filter paper to make a lil’ bag out of (if you don’t have this to hand, you can chuck the stuff into the bath water as long as it’s safe to do so).
A small elastic (rubber) band to tie the bag off with.
A bath full of favourably temperatured water.
Smoky Quartz, Clear Quartz, Rose Quartz (you can have some of those, all, or one).
Pink Himalayan Salt.
To make this easier, prep your bag before you run and intend on getting into, the bath.
Open your filter paper and place the salt in the centre first – remember that you’re going to seal the bag with a rubber band, so leave room around the edges.
Then add the rose petals and lavender buds into the centre of your little salt pile.
Lastly, add your crystals and then seal the bag by pulling all of the edges upward towards each other, and tying the band tightly around the neck you should have.
Once your bath is run and you’re prepped, you may want to do this optional step:
To add an extra oomph, pass the baggy through the smoke of your favourite incense. Mine, in this case would be vanilla.
Place your candles around the edge of your bathtub, and as you begin lighting them, repeat this phrase (you can do this aloud or in your head) until each candle is lit and flickering deliciously:
“By the warmth of the flame, I am cleansed. By the crackling of the fire, I thrive once more. Et sic factum est, et semper erit.”
Now place your bag into the water and climb in. Allow the troubles of the day to melt away as you soak amongst the flames.
Trees are important in magick, and in paganism. They are often symbolic, and have inherent magickal correspondences and powers that were used and revered by ancient Celtic people and Druids.
Alder (Aldus Glutinosa):
This tree is sacred to the Druids and is associated with protection and oracular power. You can use Alder to draw Air spirits to you, by binding shoots of it together and creating a whistle.
The wood is oily and water resistant, and thus can be used to make various tools for magickal workings, such as wands.
Known as “The Lady of the Woods”, Birch was used to bestow fertility upon cattle and newlyweds. Cradles for newborn children were crafted from the wood.
Element: Air and Water
Magickal Associations: warding, banishing, courage, healing, new beginnings, purification, protection, creativity, renewal, fertility and birth.
Ogham Letter: 1st consonant, “Beith”.
Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa):
Known as “The Mother of the Woods”, Blackthorn is associated with introspection, whilst also being associated with the strength of fate and outside influences in our lives.
Element: Earth and Fire.
Magickal Associations: purification, protection, combating fear and anger, death, curses, Samhain.
Deities: The Morrigan.
Ogham Letter: “Straif”.
Elder (Sambucus canadensis):
Elder was used by Druids to both bless, and curse.
It is said that when one stands beneath an Elder at Midsummer, they are more likely to see the Fae. Wands crafted from Elder have the ability to drive away evil spirits and thought forms, – so do whistles or flutes made from it.
This tree is oft associated with Goddesses of Earth and Motherhood, or deities with a Mother aspect to them. Elm was used in tool crafting due to its resistance to splitting, and because it adds stability to magick.
Magickal Associations: balance, love, protection, psychic power, crossroads. the Fae.
Hawthorn (Crataegus oxyacantha):
It is said that the Fae are particularly fond of Hawthorn, and wands made from the wood are supposed to be wands that contain much power.
The Tree of Immortal Wisdom, Hazel is sacred to the Fae and a wand made of this wood can be used to draw them to you. In Celtic mythology, the Salmon of Knowledge – [click here to learn more about this] – is said to eat the 9 nuts of poetic wisdom dropped into its sacred pool from the Hazel tree growing beside it. Each token of wisdom consumed became a spot on the Salmon.
Magickal Associations: manifestation, spirit contact, protection, prosperity, divination, dreams, wisdom and knowledge, marriage, fertility, intelligence, inspiration, poetry, the Fae.
Ogham Letter: 9th consonant, “Coll”.
Holly (Ilex aquifolium):
Holly is primarily associated with the death and rebirth aspects of Winter in both pagan and Christian lore.
Magickal Associations: Lughnasadh, protection, prophecy, healing, animals, sex, vulnerability, good luck, and consecration. It is also said to have the ability to enhance other forms of magick.
Ogham Letter: 8th consonant, “Tinne”.
One of the Druidic sacred 3 (Oak, Ash and Thorn), the leaves were burned to purify the atmosphere, and listened to and observed by Druids and Priestesses for divinatory messages.
Oak has been considered sacred by myriad cultures, but it was held in particular esteem by the Norse and Celts because of its size, longevity, and acorns.
Magickal Associations: Litha, protection, strength, success, stability, healing, fertility, health, money, potency, and good luck.
Also known as “Witchwood” and “Mountain Ash”, the Rowan was sacred to the Druids and the Goddess Brigit. It is a very magickal tree used for wands, rods, amulets and spells, and runes were carved into sticks made of the wood.
Magickal Associations: Imbolc, divination, astral work, strength, protection, initiation, healing, psychic work, spirit work, psychic powers, personal power, and success.
Ogham Letter: 2nd consonant, “Luis”.
Willow (Salix babylonica):
Groves of Willows were considered to be magickally potent that priests, priestesses and myriad types of artisans sat among them to gain eloquence, inspiration, skill and prophecies.
Deities: Cerridwen, Brigid
Ogham Letter: 5th consonant, “Saille”.
Yew (Taxus baccata):
Yew was used by the Irish to make dagger handles, bows, and wine barrels despite all parts of the tree being poisonous bar the skin of the berries. The wood and/or leaves were laid on graves as a reminder to the spirit of the departed that death is the path to rebirth.
Element: Earth and Water.
Magickal Associations: enhances magickal and psychic abilities, induces visions. Transformation, reincarnation, eternal life and immortality, death, rebirth, change and regeneration.
“Can I ask about the whole issue with smudge sticks?”
This issue with smudge sticks is a little bit complex, but I’ll try my best here.
If you strip it down to the bare bones, the issue is cultural appropriation if the term is used by someone outside of the Native American culture and community.
Cultural appropriation is the act of stealing something from a closed culture or religion and using it without the proper knowledge or consent. It is very damaging to the people you are taking from; it disrespects them, their culture, their heritage and can often contribute to erasure.
The reason why there’s an issue surrounding the use of the term “smudge sticks”, is down to the fact that unless you are Native, have been taught by someone from that culture, or have been adopted into it through marriage, adoption or otherwise, you have no right to practise this ritual.
And there is the other issue.
Smudging is not what many of us are lead to believe. You may see lots of people saying “yah, justspreadthesmokefromthesagethroughyourhometocleanseitofnegativeenergy!” and that’s fine. But that’s not smudging. That right there, is smoke cleansing. You can do it with any cleansing herb.
Smudging is a ritual that unless indoctrinated into Native culture, most of us know nothing about.
TL;DR By claiming we are smudging when really, we’re smoke cleansing, we are stealing, spreading false information, contributing to the erasure of cultural practises and being massive bumholes.
If you’re going to cast a hex, jinx, or curse of any kind take precautions regarding yourself.
You may want to do this by:
Cleansing yourself pre and post casting.
Protecting yourself pre and post casting.
Have a reversal or curse removal method (a spell, ritual, etc.) on hand or in your grimoire/BoS/notes – just in case.
Both cleansing and protecting can be done in any way you see fit, e.g., a cleansing bath [an example of an all-purpose cleansing bath], a sachet carried on your person; a small ritual or spell; by using/anointing yourself/your tools with an oil; you can cast a circle; enchant jewellery or wear an amulet/talisman with the required properties.
But why should I do this?
Curses are a magick in a category of their own, but that does not mean they are exempt from the regular magickal fuckery.
By that, I mean that curses can backfire, and they can go wrong.
I’m not saying that they will certainly go horribly wrong, but in this instance it is always better to be safe than it is to be sorry.
Cascarilla is a powder made from eggshells that can be used in chalked or loose form.
It repels negative energy and is a potent cleansimg and protecting agent that you can make quite easily at home.
Cascarilla can be used to make circles outside, – remember that you cannot use salt to create circles outdoors. Why? Salt may kill plantlife and decimate or alter the established ecosystems.
October is almost Octover, and that means that Hallowe’en and indeed Samhain, draw near.
Samhain/Samain, pronounced ‘sa-win’, ‘sow-in’ – with the ‘ow’ pronounced as it is in ‘cow’ – or ‘shah-vin’, is a Gaelic festival that marks the end of the harvest season and the onset of the ‘darker half of the year’. It begins at midnight on the 31st of October and celebrations often run into the 2nd of November. It is regarded by many pagans and witches as the end of the year itself.
Historic Samhain Traditions:
As at Beltane, bonfires are lit during Samhain at high points, such as hilltops and around them rituals would take place. It was said that a force-fire, – a flame created using friction – also known as a need-fire, was the traditional method of lighting these bonfires. It has been said that fire is a form of sympathetic magick, used often to imitate the Sun during this darker half of the year and that within the flames, there were cleansing and protective powers – something that remains a widespread belief to this day.
During this communal ritual, people would take flames from the bonfire and use them to relight the hearths of their homes. This simple practise was said to bind the families of the community together, aw.
These bonfires were also used in divination and divining rituals.
In the Gaelic regions, during household festivities many rituals took place that were intended to divine the future of those gathered, for example, apple bobbing! Yep, you heard me. Bobbing for apples is in fact a very old divination game. How? Well, when young unmarried people try to bite into an apple floating in water or hanging from a string, it is said that the first person to bite into the apple would be the next to be allowed to marry.
If you didn’t already know this, let me tell you that apples are strongly associated with ancestors and the Otherworld.
Click here for more about the history of Samhain.
Let’s talk (quickly) about the thinning of the Veil, a.k.a., the liminality of Samhain:
You’ve probably heard the whole “the barrier between our world and the spirit world is weaker” spiel, yes? Well, it’s true. Samhain is a liminal time, and that means that the barriers separating the world of the living and of the dead and other spirits, can be crossed more easily than at any other point in the year.
It is said that spirits/entities known as the ‘aos si’ can slip from the Otherworld and into ours, be it through a summoning or of their own will. During Samhain, to appease any aos si that have come into our realm, we leave libations for them. This is often in the form of food and drink, such as a small portion of a meal or half a up of wine.
Due to this strong connection with and to the dead, Samhain is a time for honouring those who have passed. It is widely believed that the spirits of loved ones may revisit their former homes seeking hospitality from those within and to provide this, places were set at the dining table or by the hearth to honour them. This is often done in the form of a ‘dumb supper’, which is a silent meal during which you set a place for any visiting spirits, and invite lost loved ones to join you.
Red, brown, gold, black, yellow and orange.
Herbs & Stuff:
Rosemary, Mullein, Rue, Mugwort, Calendula, Tobacco, Apple Leaf, Sage, Wormwood, Tarragon, Bay (Leaf), Almond, Hazelnut, Garlic, Hemlock, Mandrake Root, Chrysanthemum, Cedar, Pine Needle, Pennyroyal, Pumpkin, Sandalwood, Yew.
Lanterns, candles, acorns, bats, bones, black cats, photos or memoirs of passed loved ones, Jack o’ lanterns (either pumpkins or turnips), crows, ravens, corn dolls and corn stalks, cauldrons, scythes, spiderwebs, masks, mirrors, oak leaves.
Food & Drink:
Apples (and dishes with apple in), meat dishes (at Samhain, because it begins to get cold, animals were slaughtered for food as the meat could be better preserved during Winter), potatoes, corn, nuts, turnips, pumpkin (and dishes with pumpkin or roasted pumpkin seeds in), mead, cider, mulled/spiced wine, tea.
Things to do: Divination! Divination! Divination!: scrying, tarot reading, rune casting, pendulum reading, etc., holding a dumb supper for your dearly departed and/or ancestors, consulting and/or remembering the aforementioned, lighting a bonfire, looking into a past life recall, leaving offerings for ancestors, spirits and/or faeries, cooking, feasting, mumming/guising (a.k.a., wearing a mask or costume).
Samhain is a time for transformation; for ends and beginnings, so any work pertaining to those is totes apropes for this time. You may also want to work with spirits, deities and do some protection and warding.
Okay, so this is going to be a long text post so I recommend that you sit your cute butt down and get comfortable. You may want to make some tea or grab some kind of nourishment before you get comfortable because you are going to be here for quite some time.
People don’t go and find witchcraft, it comes and finds them.
– Terry Pratchett (Wyrd Sisters)
I have started this post with a quote by the wonderful Terry Pratchett because I feel that it sums up rather well the point I wish to make.
The reason I chose that particularlineis because it resonates quite deeply with me and from conversations with other witches, with them too. Witchcraft isn’t usually something people (and this includes myself) actively get involved with. By that, I mean that it is quite unusual to meet someone who has made a choice to become a witch. Most of us feel something within ourselves for some time, and cannot put a name to it until the world of witchcraft is opened to us.
I have found that for a lot of us, our paths begin when we stumble upon a book or an article of some kind and as we read, our eyes grow wide with wonder and our hearts begin beating a little faster as a sense of belonging and oft homecoming fills our beings. Our eyes scan the lines quicker and quicker and every bit of intrigue is amplified as we absorb everything and anything that we can.
Some witches are born into witchcraft or magickal practises and they’re known as hereditary witches as the path they walk is one long established by their families. I love that and I think it is a wonderful thing to create a tradition that can be adopted by generations to come. How lovely, no?
Even so, hereditary witches take time to discover themselves and their chosen path because no one comes pre-programmed with the knowledge of their craft. Throughout our entire lives, we learn. We take some information in and discard other pieces; we weed out problematic authors and beliefs and we form our own opinions as we go.
When we find our craft, we find our home.
Of course, that article or mysterious book is merely the beginning of a lifelong journey and that sense of something bigger than us; that,… awe, never really abates. Every new tidbit brings us joy and excitement, no matter how small it may be.
Onto My Journey into Witchcraft:
My journey into witchcraft is one that I assume many witches can identify with and it begins with my Mama. Her name, is Victoria and she is the daughter of a devout Catholic – my Grandma, Mary.
My Mama is a Kemetic pagan and used to practise witchcraft when she was younger, before I was born and when I was very young. She used to hang sachets on the front door to protect us, and on the night before our (my younger sister and I) first day in the latter half of primary school, she placed a small rose quartz crystal beneath our pillows to draw love and friendship to us.
I was exposed to witchcraft at a young age, and thus it has never been something that I have feared. Instead, it has always intrigued me and I have always had a love of the occult; of paganism and magick and the supernatural, – of all things strange and dark and wonderful.
Years and years ago, I found a box with a red folder and some little packets in it under my Mama’s bed. The packets were herbal sachets and within the folder, was absolutely lots of pieces of paper with spells on them! Love spells, protection spells and potions galore! There were instructions on how to astral project and how to mix and use flying ointments. Mama told me that I could take the folder and read through it, so I did. Well actually, the first thing I did was organise all of the papers. My Mother has terrible document keeping skills, let me tell you that much. It was a mess.
Not long after pilfering the folder and retiring to my bedroom to scour through it all, did something start within me. I know it sounds melodramatic, but it’s almost as if something woke up. I can’t really explain it without it sounding like either poetic drivel or a badly written scene out of a YA novel.
My Mama gave up practising and settled on soft paganism instead. She is still a Kemetic pagan, and has charms and beliefs pertaining to that, she just chose not to practise witchcraft anymore. I understand why. She had myself and my sister to care for full-time, as I developed type 1 diabetes at 3 years old and spending time and money on magick was no longer an option.
She did, however, encourage me when my interest piqued during my early teens as did my Grandma. I thought she would be somewhat disapproving of the whole venture as she was a devout lifelong Catholic but,… she wasn’t. She pushed me to read up on anything and everything I could find and she would stay up until the early hours of the morning discussing it with me. She would quiz me on crystals and ask me about herbal remedies and teas. She watched me do simple candle magick by the fire and she pushed me to be the best witch I could be.
During high school was when I discovered Wicca. I read up on it, liked it and investigated it further. For a while, it seemed to be my thing but… soon afterwards, I realised that Wicca is quite a strict religious system and as I got a little older, the constraints appealed to me less and less. It didn’t feel right just having a God and Goddess (at this time I hadn’t truly figured out my pagan path) and trying to find a coven seemed like something I didn’t want. I also didn’t like the hierarchical mechanics of it either, as strange as it sounds.
After some soul searching, I came to the conclusion that I am not Wiccan, nor am I a specific type of witch. I am an eclectic solitary secular witch. I practise a craft that I have forged as my own and I do it alone and without the inclusion of any deities. Once I decided this, all seemed to fall into place. My love for all things strange and magickal made sense; a feeling of being incomplete dissipated. My love for the darkness and for stormy skies and dense forests made sense; my affinity for learning became relevant and significant and I had found myself. I have found the best and truest version of who I am and this version is my favourite so far.
Wicca served as a gateway into the craft I love and practise to this day and although I no longer am Wiccan, or really ever was, and there are some things I don’t agree with within the faith, I’ll always be grateful for the world it opened up to me
Witchcraft has brought happiness, confidence and belonging into my life and filled a void that I never thought could be rectified.
As the late and great Terry Pratchett said it would, witchcraft found me.
The 13WitchesRunes differ from the ElderFutharkRunes you see so commonly in their origin, and in that the WitchesRunes are not an alphabet. They cannot be used for writing or for documentation. I’ve covered how to use these runes in magick and/or rituals in a previous post that you can find here.
When you cast WitchesRunes, you can do it as you would with any other runic instruments: using a cloth or whatever surface you prefer, gently throw or drop the runes from your hand or their bag. You may then interpret how they land. This means that you interpret the meanings of the runes that land with their symbols facing upwards only (I’m going to put the divination meanings a little further down), and that you pay close attention to the Eye. If the Eye is amongst those that showed themselves, you may want pay extra attention to any runes that it is facing.
As they are a divination tool, you can hold them/their bag and ask a question, then pull one rune from the set and interpret that in the context of your query.
Meanings of the WitchesRunes When Cast:
The Sun: the start of something new and new beginnings/fresh starts. Justuce. Good decisions, good news, good health and vitality. Healing.
The Moon: transition and change.
Flight: movement and travel of all kinds (naturally!). Communication, information and social networking.
Rings: situations and circumstances that connect people. The combination of elements to form something new. Meeting those we share interests and commonalities with; mutual interests.
Romance: love and relationships, especially with deep emotional connections. Soul-mates and matters relating to. Harmony in relationships and loving/being in love with someone who loves you back – mutual and reciprocated emotion.
Woman: traditional female abilities and characteristics, such as healing and being a healer. The home and hearth, creativity, nuturing and caring. Maternity.
Man: traditional male characteristics. Such as taking action, being a father and protecting loved ones; being a provider. Empowerment and confidence.
Harvest: blessings of investing in yourself and your abilities and then reaping the rewards and seeing the ‘fruits of your labour’. Providing for yourself; self-employment and education.
Crossroads: this signifies the many ways to reach the same place or goal; the making of a major life decision. Not knowing what to do next. Feeling stuck. Being afraid of moving forward in life.
Star: you can take this as a green light to go forth after whatever it is you want. Could signify your purpose in life (for this, look at the runes closest to the Star). Being an inspiration for others and being yourself; being accepted for who you really are. Ultimate freedom.
Waves: being moved emotionally, physically and spiritually. Signifies a deep connection to the spiritual world. Can be suggestive of something being out of your control or of insecurities. The need to connect to your life and being in the flow, or being overwhelmed.
Scythe: sudden changes and abrupt endings; making a final decision and/ or completing something. Walking away from something or someone for your own good – cutting ties. Can suggest danger.
Eye: lifting of the ‘veil’ – the Otherworld. Seeing in every form, in all of its meanings. Focusing on something (for this, look to the runes facing the Eye). Growing and developing psychic abilities. Bearing witness.