An Alternative to Smudging

This post originally appeared on Patheos Pagan

Blessing and purifying with burning herbs, resins, or the various forms of incense is a centuries old ritual practiced by many cultures and spiritual traditions. It is used for practical and medicinal purposes as well as spiritual.

In my eclectic practice of witchcraft, I follow some traditions of the Ojibwe people (my matrilineal heritage). I was taught the way to smudge and gifted with sage and an eagle feather by a local elder. The sage we use isn’t really sage at all. It’s part of the mugwort family, artemesia ludvocana, and grows wild and plentiful. I have never been told that the use of sage or calling the practice smudging is the rightful domain of indigenous North Americans. I was not warned never to share the practice with others. …

This post originally appeared on Patheos Pagan

We never know when tragedy will strike unexpectedly. We like to believe that if we did, if we had some warning, we could prevent it. As witches, we invoke favor or craft spells to put protections on our loved ones and when there’s a close call, a near loss, we take it as evidence that our witchcraft is working, that our deity or deities are well pleased with us.

And then without warning, all our crafting, all our honoring of spirits or deities, suddenly fails us, and we wonder why we have been forsaken. …

There is a Difference

There’s an old joke about a person seeking directions who asks, “How do I get to Carnegie Hall?” The answer is, “Practice.”

Regular practice is the key to becoming proficient at any skill. Even a savant able to play violin by ear still requires regular discipline to become a virtuoso. He or she must practice, practice, practice to create muscle memory, and must play a wide selection of music to develop a feel for effective tempo, crescendo, diminuendo and so much more.

The same is true for witchcraft; if you want it to work consistently, you have to develop a regular habit of study and practice to hone your skill. And while the purest practice of witchcraft is not a religion and does not require working with deity, it does share one basic tenet with religion — regular practice not only increases skill, it also strengthens your belief. …

Simple Witchery for the Equinox

I have to be honest, Spring Equinox, or Ostara, is one of my favorite observances in the wheel of the year; today I know that spring is finally springing forth — despite the fact that snowflakes are falling as I write this and there’s still quite a bit of snow on the ground in my realm.

It has been thawing, and sometime today, I’ll get my baby blue Volkswagen Beatle (Blucy) out of the garage and go in search of puddles to race through — blasting a CD of (what else?) the Beatles’ Here Comes The Sun .

A Dark Moon Releasing Spell in 7 Simple Steps

Magic attuned to the phases of the moon can be particularly effective. As the moon increases, work spells of attraction for abundance, love, good health or anything you desire to increase. The Full moon is a potent time for divination, communication, and deeper connection to your magic. As the moon wanes, work on decreasing and releasing that which no longer serves you.

The dark moon is a perfect time for spell crafting with the intent to rid yourself of bad habits, grief, anger, a failed love — whatever you wish to pour out, dissolve and release.

There is some confusion as to when the dark moon occurs because it’s interchangeable with the new moon phase, when there is 0% illumination. Check out Moon Giant for a great visual on moon phases. …


March 20 is the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere this year. Official spring not withstanding, the weather in March is usually a mixed bag. Depending on where you live, it could be warm and sunny one day, and blowing up the worst winter has to offer the next. No matter the weather, March definitely brings thoughts of spring.

When I was a child, the grounds outside the Old Main building of our local university had settled into a bowl. Each spring when the snow began to melt, the water runoff collected in the little basin, freezing overnight. Every afternoon the warm sun melted more snow, leaving several inches of water on top of the mirror-ice base. Walking home from elementary school, I’d cut across that campus to ice surf, running as fast as I could then sliding across the smooth ice, sending up a fin of water in my wake — sometimes on my feet, sometimes on my seat, always soaking myself in the process. …

Willow Rose

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