The Magical Cabinet or How do I know if this is still good?

Shakespeare

Oh! Isn’t that a fun rhyme? Doesn’t it just make your little heart beat with Joy? No? okay maybe it’s just me….

Harvest time is just about over. I’ve been drying, chopping, seeding and storing summer’s bounty for a few weeks. My Magical Cabinet is getting pretty full.

When I first started dabbling in spell work and charms, I just loved the idea of dusty little jars filled with herbs and roots and labeled with creepy old English names. I imagined myself working spells by candlelight; grinding seeds with a mortar and pestle while chanting Latin words. I saw myself stirring a cauldron while adding these ingredients, spouting rhymes, feeling the tingle of magic in my bones, divining the outcome through the wafting steam.

Yeah, It doesn’t happen that way and rarely does it happen with such drama.

Just the same, I still love my jars of herbs. I still get a kick out grinding things with the mortar and pestle, sorting seed from petals and filling up my jars for a raining day…These days my jars are bigger and I still can’t rhyme.

After learning what different herbs are good for and testing out a spell or two, I started my collection just to have the collection. I didn’t use half of what I collected and discovered that some of my herbs lost their potency over the years. (I’ll get to that in a second)

So now, part of my spring cleaning routine is to sort through my magical cabinet. I dust the jars, organize them, take inventory and sort through viable plants and roots. Make plans on what to grow for the upcoming summer.

Witches have always worked with plants. They were the healers. In contrast to what Hollywood and bedtime tales have portrayed, Witches were the old wise women living on the edge of the village; keepers of the knowledge of the plants. They were the ones that knew which would heal and which would poison. Which plants would ease pain and which would facilitate labor. Long before men and science took over the medical field, it was witches who people turned to even if they weren’t always called witches.

What did I mean by ‘potency’?

Plants have energetic properties. Edible plants have vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber. Non-edibles have their own energy that aids our intentions during spell work. It’s the energy of these plants that determine their potency. The more energy they retain the stronger their potency.

We have been gifted with this knowledge; It has been passed down from our ancestors, confirmed by herbalist and in some cases scientists. Often times Witches come by their knowledge from their Spirit Guides or memories of past lives or just intuitively by spending time with a plant. There are plenty of books and websites that give a general description of what ailments or uses each plant is good for. Read, learn and trust your gut.

In my experience, living plants have the strongest energy – whether it’s breathing in the negative ions produced by the trees in a forest or eating a salad out of the garden. If it’s possible to use a live or freshly harvested plant, then that’s my first choice. However, it’s not always possible. And that’s where my happy little jars of dried goods come in!

For example, you can’t really stuff a charm bag or poppet with fresh leaves and flowers. It’ll mold. (Of course if that’s your intention then go for it)

Then there’s the fact that I can’t seem to keep basil alive on my kitchen window sill and daffodils only grow for about a month in the early spring.

Fortunately dried leaves and flowers retain a lot of energy allowing us to do happiness rituals in October and money spells in January. Drying is easy and doesn’t take a whole lot of special equipment.

As far as potency goes; Roots and seeds would come in second to live plants on the energy scale of my mind. They have concentrated amounts of all the good stuff that make the plants grow. (Like my technical terms?)

Dried leaves and flowers are just as good and in some cases more appropriate. The down side is they’re more fragile and can break down quicker and easier.

So, how do I tell if my goods are still good?

I’ll give you some guidelines but you’ll have to hone your intuition to make the final decision.

Color – If dried adequately most flowers will retain some of their original color although they all darken somewhat. If your daffodils turn pale white and your roses turn brown, they may be time to add them to the compost.

Some leaves darken right away, some retain their green color. Over time the color changes slightly but for the most part, leaves tend to last longer than the flowers.

Smell – aromatic herbs will retain their smell. It’ll change slightly from the original scent of a live plant but they still have their smell. If it disappears, it’s time to toss them.

Herbs – kitchen herbs, tubers and seeds retain their smell the longest. They can be dried and stored for quite a while. Seed like allspice, anise and coriander, hold onto their smell for a couple years and are best stored in seed form. Roots like ginger and garlic can be dried and powdered for extended use.

What was that about storing?

It’s best to keep your dried apothecary in glass, air tight containers, in a cool environment and away from sunlight. Heat and light will ruin your herbs. I do keep small quantities in plastic zipper bags if I’ve only acquired a small amount and intend to use it in a month. However, plastic is more permeable than glass and will shorten the life of your dried goods.

(I ship all my dried goods in plastic baggies to keep costs down, they are packaged to order and ships with in hours….When they get to you, put them someplace safe or use them within a few weeks )

This is the time of year that I do my second round of cleaning. I’ve been harvesting and drying summer’s bounty for a few weeks now. All I have left in the garden is a few fennel plants that have gone to seed.

My Magical Cabinet is over flowing and all my jars and nice and full so keep an eye on The Mystic’s Haven, I’ll be updating inventory and adding a few new herbs to the shop!

I’ll also be writing up a few posts on specific herbs and how they’re used.

 

 

Uncrossing Spell and Whatnot

17-7-22Uncrossing

By the light of moon’s wane
Cleanse my soul of this stain
Let the spell be reverse
Lift away this dark curse
As I enter sacred space
Return my soul to grace
I forgive what was done
Let the spell be undone
By the dark and the light
Your spell ends tonight

I received an interesting phone call the other day. Big Red’s friend found himself in an interesting conundrum of which he wasn’t familiar. My son listened like a good friend and admitted it was something that would be more up my ally, so they called.

The friend, I’ll just call him The Poet, was informed by his ex that she put a binding spell on him and he wanted to know what to do to take it off. His time with this woman had been chaotic which is why they’re not together but he still wants to have some kind of peaceful working relationship because they have a son together.

Yes, this is more up my ally that Big Red’s. Yes, I’m familiar with binding spells. I’m quite comfortable with magical self-defense and protective spells. However, being as I’ve been practicing as a solitary and pretty picky about whom I let get close, I’ve never had to perform uncrossing spells.

Before I make any suggestions, I asked more questions, I want to get a feel for his beliefs, his understanding and experience of magic. I want to know what he feels about this situation.

Let’s face it, most people are skeptical at best. Hell, I’m skeptical when a non-magical person says they’ve been cursed or they saw a ghost or had some kind of magic work for them. And I’m on the believing side, I’ve had magic work for me, I talk to ghosts and spirits regularly, I’ve known things I have no business knowing. But skepticism is healthy and normal so I really want to know where he’s at and how open he is to any of my options.

I was told the baby-mama confessed she put a binding spell on him to protect him from himself but he feels like it was more likely that she bound him to herself.

The Poet explained that he was seeing someone else when this alleged spell was cast and that new relationship just dissolved for no apparent reason, the two of them just drifted apart.

Around the same time, he ran into an eccentric woman who told him he had a hex on him; she could see it in his aura.

He believes in magic and finds it kind of amazing and scary at the same time.

He’s also walked away from two car accidents in the last month, both times the car was totaled and both times he was traveling with a car charm that I gave Big Red.

(I sprout new grey hair every time I think of my son driving)

He’s taken up a daily meditation practice where he seeks a sense of peace in his relationship with this woman. And this is why I believe his version of the spell.

When we meditate regularly, we open our 3rd eye, strengthen our intuition and find ourselves ‘knowing’ things. Trust that!

I suggested that in his meditations he should visualize the cord connecting them and imagine cutting it. And then imagine the two of them floating away from each other peacefully.

Ideally, we would all do that when relationships end but usually we’re either too sad or too angry to sever those cosmic ties neatly. It’s okay if it takes you months or years to get to that point. When you’re ready, do it!

I had to do some research on the rest so I got back to him the next day.

Most hex-breaking or uncrossing spells involve sending the curse back. A lot of the spells involve mirrors to reflect the effects of the curse back to the sender. The rebound effect is pretty wicked. I didn’t think he wanted that for his son’s mother. Whatever her intentions were, he didn’t believe them to be malicious.

So my next suggestion was a poppet. I like poppets but they required some work. I can only do so much of the magic; he would have to do the rest.

A poppet can act as a stand in for the person in question. In The Poet’s case, it would stand in for him, to ‘catch’ any spells, curse, hexes or negative energy sent in his direction. It would then dissipate the energy. I made the poppet, stuffed it with wormwood and rue to break the binding spell, coffee to neutralized harmful or unwanted energy, and hyssop to ward off negative intentions.

It will be his responsibility to add a part of himself (hair, fingernails, blood, sweat, etc) , sew up the doll, name it and give it instructions.

He’ll keep it hidden until such time as he feels it’s no longer needed. At that point I highly suggest he burns it. I know some practitioners suggesting burying or tossing in a garbage far away from home but I feel like it’s a part of you and you wouldn’t want that in someone else’s hands….

I also suggested a talisman. A talisman is a magical object empowered with a certain intent that helps you keep certain energy about you. It should be carried at all times (or you know, as often as possible) In this case I would keep it simple; I would sew up a little black square of fabric with the fore mentioned herbs as well as gemstone chips. I feel like jet and obsidian to banish negative energy, quarts to amplify the energy of the herbs & stones and rose quartz or rhodochrosite to fill the space with loving intentions.

This could be carried in his wallet or pocket during the day and kept on a bedside table, or under a pillow at night. I would also encourage him to spend some time focusing on his intent; to break the binding spell and repel any other magic sent his way.

Witches can do magic for you, they can cast spells on your behalf but I feel like it works so much better if you add your own intentions and energy. Even if you’re just buying a talisman or gemstone or piece of jewelry, it’s a good idea to set your intentions and charge it with your own energies.

I like using charged jewelry as talisman, it makes it easy to always carry when you need it, but in this case I really want to use the herbs.

Another option is a ritual bath, adding in curse breaking herbs as well as salt and anything else that strikes you as beneficial, like lavender for peace or rose petals to add love to the situation. Imagine the bonds of the curse dissolve as you soak.

Once you feel the curse or hex is lifted, it’s important to set up some protection spells to ward off any future curses.

I’ll leave that for another day.

The poet has options now, and he’s feeling better about the situation. If nothing else, that alone will help to shift his energy and make life better. A magical practice is all about self-empowerment.

Update: August 2018, (one year after the original post): The Poet has peacefully severed the connection with his ex and is in a fresh new relationship with a wonderful and supportive woman.

Disclaimer: Pursuant to the United States Postal Service regulations and other State and Federal laws, I am unable to make any claim as to the effectiveness either magickal or medicinal of any of the products offered through The Mystic’s Haven.
While the products are either traditional or specific to the craft, I am unable to make any guarantees and I’m required to advise they are “Sold as Curios Only”
No herbal product is intended as a substitute for competent medical care. Please see your physician before adding any herbal supplement to your diet.
All information herein is from traditional or historical reference and intended to help you make an informed decision.

For the Love of Daffodils

A few weeks ago I joined a group that is all about learning and making Flower Essence. I love flowers. I keep a garden. I collect plant material for Art and Spells. I knew nothing about Flower Essence but I jumped in feet first!

14-4-22Daffodils

The first flowers to come up in my garden  were Daffodils. Big ones and Little ones. These were the beauties that agreed to lend me their essence. Daffodils are toxic so I didn’t pluck their flowers. I just set my jar of water next to the plant in the bright sun for a few hours.

I buried some banana peels around them first, as a thank you.

When I retrieved my jar of water I felt a surge of cheerfulness. It’s not a common emotion for me. Happy, yes. Content, often.

Cheerful?  ummm…no. Cheerful has it’s own signature.

The water definitely had it’s own vibration and it was a cheerful one 🙂

I also realized after the fact that I collected the essence on 4-11-14. According to Doreen Virtue’s Angel numbers it pretty much says:

“Angels are helping you to keep your thoughts positive so that you only attract your highest and best out comes. “

The one thing I’ve always been bad at is keeping records of  magical workings. I’ve been dabbling for years and I kind of recall the different results, but I can’t be sure on a lot of things  because I didn’t write it down.

So beginning with the Daffodil Flower Essence, I’ve decided to have fun with my research and results!

 I’m keeping records my way. In bold color. With personal drawings and fun quotes and odd facts!

14-4-22DPages

I suppose when I get around to mustering up spells and amulets and magical recipes, they too will be written more artfully than a standard Book of Shadows.

I’m discovering that The Art of Flower Essence is more in the Intuition needed to ‘hear’ the message and ‘feel’ the vibrational energy.

Obviously I got “cheerful’ from them but some of the other  messages were:

  • Shine.
  • Inner Light.
  • No more Doubt.
  • Listen.
  • Know.

These messages correlated with what I researched. Which is awesome but it makes me wonder if I’m only feeling what I expect to feel. So yesterday I was out collecting the dying flower heads for amulets and spells, the hyacinth began to beckon me. Dancing and singing and teasing, I decided to collect the essence before I researched, so as to accurately compare my data with others. I let you know how that worked.

 

And not to disappoint anyone, The daffodils did request their own likeness and I’ve begun and Spirit doll in their honor! I have everything ready. I just need to sit down and do it!

**Update – the Daffodil doll is finished and can be found here!

Although it is the last Daffodil project on my list and I’m not sure if I want to move on just yet.

DaffodilSq