Increasing and honing your intuition isn’t a simple or quick task. It requires dedication and consistent practice. However, there are steps you can take to make things a bit easier to practice that intuition of yours.
Children tend to have very good intuitions but as they grow older, it tends to wane. The same is true for people who take a step back from practicing their intuition. It can stagnate and grow weak. It’s just like the physical body. As a child, you might not have thought anything about sprinting down the street or being particularly flexible. As an adult, it’s less likely that you’ll be able to do what you so easily could as a child without continuous practice.
Write your dreams down
Writing your dreams down can help boost intuition. Many times, premonitions or psychic impressions come to us via dreams. Dreams also provide insight into subconscious thinking and the self.
Try to also record your first thoughts when waking up. This is a difficult habit to get into for some and for others, it’s great to do alongside journaling.
Write down your predictions
Simply writing down things you think (or intuit) might happen is a great way of tracking how often you’re right on these things. It’s similar to testing your psychic awareness with ESP cards. This another journaling technique, but you can also just do it every-so-often and leave that document in a notebook to be discovered later. It’s definitely a long-term test, but it’s one I use often with great results.
Stretching the senses
Sit quietly and extend your senses, trying to hear and sense what’s going on in other rooms and beyond the confines of your home. This is remote viewing, when it’s practiced at a decent range, but mostly it’s just practicing extending your energy and psychic awareness. Think “spider sense”, if that reference is meaningful to you.
A test to see how accurate your sense is needs a second person or camera to record the direction you’re sensing in, so you can validate what happened.
Third-eye Opening Meditation
Meditation is often used for many things and there’s a lot you can get out of it. A third eye opening guided meditation or one that focuses on your intuition is a great and relatively easy way of practicing with a bit of guidance. Repeat your chosen meditation every day or at least consistently to get good results.
Herbal or Crystal Support
There are herbs, incense, scents, and crystals to support intuition. The following is a wide variety of ingredients and tools that can be used to assist, attune, or increase your psychic awareness or intuition. This is not a completed list, especially the crystals section.
Some of these ingredients can be used as a tool, just held or kept nearby, while others might be used topically or even consumed. Everyone will tolerate these ingredients and tools differently, so be sure to check to see which ones are helpful to you.
NOTE! I’ve marked some of the more dangerous or potentially illegal ones with an asterisk *. DO YOUR RESEARCH BEFORE USING!!!
For some people, they can see or sense spirits easily but not other forms of energy – or vice versa. Someone might be particularly skilled at working with faeries but struggles to read the energy in an item. Or they might have no difficulties what-so-ever in reading the future, but they’re blind to spirits.
If you’re able to work with some sort of spirit, deity, or being, you may be able to ask for guidance in sensing other forms of energy. This will largely depend on your relationship, but it’s something to explore.
Familiars and Constructs
A Familiar, as I defined them, is a being who makes some sort of agreement or contract to work alongside or serve you. This is a spiritual bond and may feel destined.
A Construct, as I defined it, is a being whom you create to serve you. If handled poorly, Constructs may go rouge and become malicious spirits. Older Constructs may developed self-awareness and become spirits or familiars.
Now that the terminology is out of the way, these beings may be able to lend extra boost in power or assist in seeing or sensing what you cannot. They also can warn you, like your intuition would. By using their perceptions alongside your own intuition, you can verify what your intuition is saying. Assuming this sort of verification is meaningful to you.
Divination is a way of tapping into your intuition. By practicing your chosen divination techniques routinely, you’ll increase your intuition.
This is especially true for divination techniques like scrying, where your intuition and second sight is what’s showing you the future or what you want to see.
There’s a lot of different way to increase your intuition, but the most useful method is consistency and practice. Few people can master a new musical instrument or get a super-fit body in a single day and the same is true with intuition.
If you’ve picked up a beginner’s witchcraft book, especially an older book, you’ll often find these long lists of items for you to acquire as you start your magical or pagan practice. But how much of it all do you really need?
First, let’s cover the basics –
You can absolutely use stuff you already have for magic, just make sure you’re not mixing the bowl you eat your cereal in with the bowl you worked non-edible herbs in, for safety’s sake.
You don’t need the super expensive or specialty stuff right away. Yes, they’re pretty, support artisans, and may be made a certain way that helps increase your practice, but you don’t need them to start. Wait a bit and see if you’re even going to use that item at all. Instead, swap in with a more common items for now – like a $10 hardware store broom rather than the $300 hand-made besom. You can always upgrade later.
Used goods store and discount dollar stores can be extremely useful. Cups, glasses, jars, candles, incense, craft supplies, paper, bowls, and more can be purchased cheaply here and that allows you a bit more freedom to play with items that you think you might need but aren’t sure of.
Still, the lists are often useful because they’re a combination of commonly used items and items the authors probably use themselves. It’s a good thing to look at them because you can see how different people use different things to reach similar results.
When you get lists like this (or you’ve written down lists of stuff you’d like), break down those lists of things you want into five categories: necessities, ritual items, spell items, aesthetics, and miscellaneous.
Necessities are things like lighters, a fire proof bowl, a jar, a candle holder… You get it. It’s stuff that, for most people, you’ll just need. If you don’t work with fire, you won’t need that fire-related stuff, but by and large, 95% of us use the same kind of necessities.
Ritual items are objects used for rituals or worship. This could be an idol statue of your goddess or it could be a veil to use during ritual ceremonies. You may have nothing in this category, depending on your practice, or you may have a lot of stuff. Try and keep this list short when you’re starting out. Sure, you’d love to have a beautiful altar for your deity, but do you really need that expensive hand-carved ritual bowl right now? Probably not.
Spell items are objects used for spell casting. This could be rosemary and bay leaves. It might be a mortar and pestle or herb grinder. It could be materials for a poppet. It could be a box of candles. It depends on your spell casting style.
Aesthetics are just that – things you have because they are beautiful. Typically these are items that are expensive or something that’s just pretty. This isn’t to say they don’t have a use! You may have some beautiful objects that are just pretty but are also useful in your practice. I like to think of this as a “if I never had this, would I miss it?”
Miscellaneous is a category for things that don’t fit anywhere else. Your miscellaneous category might not match anyone else’s. Maybe you want a besom for cleansing, but that’s not a spell or ritual task for you. It’s not a necessity – you could do without it – but you want it. It takes some thinking. It may also be things that aren’t “necessary”, but are just plain useful.
My practice consists of a lot of things so my personal list of things is going to be wildly different from other people’s. This is my list below and a little later in this post I’ll give a recommended list.
Necessities – Lighter or matches, stoneware bowl, bells, paper and ink, knife, water, thread and ribbon (all colors), sea salt
Spell items – bones or hair, blood, sharp scissors, jars, candles (all colors), iron or metal, herbs and similar, sewing needles and fabric, honey
Aesthetics – Most besoms, scarf or veil, cauldron, baskets, ritual clothing
Miscellaneous – Most crystals, beeswax, sand, brooms (not besom), wands, stirring spoons, mortar and pestle, divination tools including tarot decks
My items are a bit odd for some. For example, I heavily use bells in my daily magical practices. I use a specific set of scissors for my practice and a few different kind of knives. A regular stoneware cereal bowl often doubles as a candle holder during spells – I rarely use traditional candle holders in spell work because of this.
You’ll see the usual accompaniments of a besom and cauldron are in the aesthetics category. I don’t use them much. My cauldron is actually really handy when I need a fireproof bowl or a bonfire, but I also have a firepit and metal trashcan. I’d never miss it, if I didn’t have it. I use a veil for divination purposes, but I don’t need it. Same thing with most rocks and crystals. They are in my life and I love them, but I don’t use them as others do. Divination tools aren’t spells for me but they aren’t rituals either. They exist in some weird third space for me.
Whereas my ritual category is pretty basic, but I including cleaning supplies in addition to cleansing supplies. I keep a tiny broom, dusting clothes, sacred waters, and dustpan for cleaning the shrine areas exclusively. Usually it’s just for dust and incense ash, but I like the feeling of even ordinary actions like sweeping can be made sacred this way. It’s all about honoring those there, even the mundane cleaning bits. But, that’s just me and it’s part of my private spiritual beliefs.
Of course, I can define my practice’s items easily because I’ve been at it for over quarter a century. And it does fluctuate over some years as I get into certain hobbies or try new ways of using old tools. If you’re new to practicing, it may be difficult to define these categories or know exactly what you’ll use. It’s still a handy technique, especially if your budget is a concern or you’re trying to keep your materialism to a minimum.
And, since this question you probably want to know, this is my recommended list for beginners of most practices:
Stoneware bowls or baking dishes
Tealight candles and matches or a lighter or LED candles
Glass jars or bottles with lids (or cork that fits the jars / bottles)
Embroidery thread, twine, or ribbon
Most of these items can be purchased at a used goods store or discount dollar stores. The rest should, ideally, be acquired from independent small businesses. Check your kitchen cabinets for herbs or spices and neighborhood sidewalks for rouge flowers. Books can often be borrowed from the library, some even accessible online through your your library.
Take your time gathering things. It’s part of the journey to your witchcraft practice.
So you found a spell you like, but it’s not perfect. Maybe it uses an ingredient that’s rare or expensive in your neck of the woods. Maybe it asks you to go out and stand in the moonlight and there’s been nothing but snow and rain for weeks. Or, maybe, it’s just not fully clicking for you.
There’s lots of reasons why a person might adapt a spell or ritual. It’s usually for ingredient based reasons, but just as often it could be due to timing or personal practice choices.
But adapting a spell is a fine line. If you adapt something too much, it’s not the same spell. If you swap out an ingredient, you may change the way the spell works. Analyzing spells is something you figure out how to do as you gain experience and knowledge with spell casting. It’s hard to adapt a spell when you might not have the basic knowledge to do that. An experienced witch probably will make changes on the fly, using what’s in their cupboards and their knowledge from research and experience. Others might have to pause to double check something or they might even skip a few ingredients by double up the purpose of an ingredient.
In short, adapting spells can be really easy – but it can be a challenge too. It’s okay if it’s a challenging or daunting task for you! It really is. Because spell casting is a lot like cooking and baking.
If you think of a spell like a recipe, then it may take some of the pressure away from having to “get it right”. Cooking and baking is relatively subjective – things need to turn out a certain way to be properly edible and taste good, but not everything is going to taste great to the same people. Spells are a lot like that. You may learn that you just don’t click with herb based spells or anything that asks you to start a fire is a no-go. And that’s okay! Know your strengths and boundaries. It’s a good idea to push those boundaries and strengths sometimes, but you don’t need to do it all the time.
It’s okay to hold back from adapting a spell or even doing a spell, because you’re not sure of the changes that need to be made. I’m in the camp that says try your adaptations anyway. Take notes on what you changed.
Of course, there’s always some folks out there that say a spell should be used exactly as written. There’s certainly a reason for that. Spells are written with specific intentions in mind and omitting an ingredient or altering a process may change the entire intention of the original spell – even if the person adapting it doesn’t know that. The more complicated the spell – or the more often it deals with spirits – the more likely it is that the process and ingredients are very intentionally chosen. Adaptations and substitutions may cause the spell to fail or not work as intended.
I’ve written spells that have very clear instructions to them because the process, while simple on the surface, was written very intentionally as part of the ritual. The steps aren’t there for the end goal, they are part of the end goal. It’s like a recipe – you need to prep the vegetables properly to really get the flavor you want out of the dish in the end.
I’m still, by far, in the camp of adapting your spells. If a verse in a spell doesn’t seem natural or comfortable, I’ll change it. If I’m doing a complicated ritual, I’ll either take it apart to see exactly how it works or I’ll try it as written and make adaptations for future usages.
It depends on how much experimentation you do with your magic. If you’re looking for a simple grab-and-go spell (and absolutely no judgements here, if that’s your jam), then use what’s written or adapt on the fly. It’s your magic, your practice, and your results. Do what works best for you.
Rootandrock’s musing post got me thinking. I have several clients that come to me in need of an unhexing, counter-curse, or exorcism. I almost always recommend a cleansing because that helps open oneself up and clears out the muck. Sometimes though that isn’t enough and an uncrossing is needed.
What is an uncrossing?
Rootandrock said it best but essentially sometimes we are so use to living with the bad stuff that even when it’s going we don’t know how to live without that bad stuff so we keep repeating the same patterns and behaviors we were doing before – and essentially creating our own bad stuff all over again. This cycle must break. This is what an uncrossing does.
I tend to like to combine unblocking spells and techniques as well, as many of my clients want to be able to reconnect with the spiritual. Unblocking is just like it sounds – breaking the blockages are typically caused by too much negative crap in your life weighing you down and making you feel fuzzy. Sometimes they’re caused by curses or spirits. Realistically, unblocking spells are a subcategory of uncrossing techniques but that’s not really the point here.
So how do you do the thing?
I always recommend a deep cleaning of the house and your living and working spaces (including your car!) during deep cleansings. The same goes for uncrossings. This isn’t just sweeping and mopping the floor. Change the atmosphere of your living and working arrangements as best you can to help yourself.
This doesn’t have to be an expensive process. Just burning a scented candle, baking a delicious dessert, opening up the curtains and letting in a lot of natural light would help. Rearrange rugs, art on the walls, and/or furniture. Clean out your cupboards and get rid of anything you don’t routinely use (especially if it’s unhealthy) if you can. Focus on areas that you first see when you walk into a room – counter tops, tables, chairs, the floor. Sort though your closet and donate what you don’t need (or refashion it).
For those of you who want a more permanent solution or can purchase things, add mirrors opposite of windows to extend and expand the natural light of the room and increase the size of the room. Have a different set of curtains, blankets, rugs, and even pictures to rotate in and out seasonally.
Why do this? It shakes up the energy of the room. Many magical practitioners don’t do this often if they can help it because it messes with the energy of a room. I did it just the other day – rearranged every corner of my house – and my servitors and spirits grumped about it for half of the next day. It also breaks up routine and adds something new to your life without having to do something.
I’m stuck! Having trouble doing this? Is your house too cluttered? Afraid that it would take too long or is a hopeless cause? Are you simply not able to get up the energy to do this? Check out Unfuck Your Habitat (especially if you don’t have the energy or your home is too cluttered) and HabitRPG (for you gaming type).
How do you do it? I use to be a huge mess until I was seriously shamed by an aunt as a kid. It made me want to show her I could be better than she expected. Since then I’ve been pretty neat. I burn incense and candles to change the smells of the room. In the summer I put away my rugs and comforters and leave the windows open to let air in. In the winter, I put down lots of area rugs, double up on curtains to keep the warmth in (and let the act of pushing those curtains aside to let in precious light feel all the more important), and lay on blankets in both size, warmth, and texture to give the room a better feel. I also find getting things off the ground helps with cleaning. Another huge thing I do is Do-It-Yourself projects. I’m a big DIYer and I love repurposing things. I find creating and making things for yourself lets me learn new skills, build a solid connection with whatever I’m making, and learn to love it (and myself) more. Every time I get a compliment on something I’ve made, I feel awesome.
Take a vacation
I don’t just mean book a cruise to Bermuda. Even taking a Sunday afternoon to sit or walk through a large park and breath in the fresh air is enough. Leave your cellphone on silent and maybe bring a sketchbook or a book to read. Combined with a spa day (even at home spa treatments) and a luxurious breakfast, fresh and crisp lunch, and satisfying dinner this can replenish you. The most important bit is to break your cycle.
If you’re a super busy officer worker and you live your life by a strict schedule, don’t schedule a thing during your vacation – go with the flow. If you’re the opposite, keep a strict schedule and have some sort of reason to keep to that schedule. Breaking your cycle of bad behavior is key. It will not be easy. You’ve formed habits and connections with these bad behaviors. You’ll have to actively work to change them.
Why do this? Routine is easy to follow. When the routine is broken, we begin to look at the whys, hows, and whats of things. This is important. If you continually have no energy and change your diet accordingly, but never do anything with the potential new energy, you’ll feel restless and caged. Similarly, if you do the same workout routine three days a week, you’ll never work out or strengthen other parts of your body. Change things up and inspire yourself. Decompress and stretch your body and spirit.
I’m stuck! Set up a reward/punishment system. For example, I use HabitRPG for a reward/punishment system to keep myself on track. If I’ve done something really good, I’ll make a special dessert for myself or buy myself something. If I’ve done something bad, I do something I don’t like such as weeding the garden, an hour at the gym, etc. (Although, this means I cement the idea that those activities are “bad” – so there’s inherent flaws in the system.) If the reward/punishment system doesn’t work for you, or you can’t think of a good enough threat, rope in a friend or set up alarms on your computer/cell phone to pester you to break the routine.
How do you do it? I take a roadtrip. This happen every couple of years, but a roadtrip gives me hours of just me by myself and lets me decompress. If that doesn’t work or isn’t available, I go to the ocean. It’s an instant fix. I don’t live by a schedule or routine so forcing myself to adhere to one, even if only for a few weeks, is a huge change.
Stop buying things/start buying things
This obviously will only apply to some of you.
I know when I’m broke, I spent absolutely zero money on anything. That keeps me home and stressed due to lack of money. To break this cycle I save even as little as 50 cents a week and buy myself something – a new shirt, a coffee, whatever. It brings a little bit of pleasure and makes everything that much more special.
When you’re a materialistic person and buy a lot of stuff – stop. There will always be sales and you’ll probably be able to find whatever you want to buy on Amazon or eBay at a later date. Stop trying to fill the hole in yourself with stuff. If you go out a lot, stay in and try a new recipe or bake a frozen pizza or something. Change up your life.
Why do this? We live in a very instant, very demanding, very materialistic world. Switching off your impulse to buy things (or to hoard what little money you have and have the lack of ability to buy and keep up with the impulse buys) creates a new change in behavior at what is now a fundamental level of society – money and how we spend it. As mentioned above, it creates the break in behavior and allows you to evaluate how, what, what, and when you’re doing something.
How do you do it? I hoard money. When I have it, I spend it. I’m not a saver. However, because I am my own source of income, I hoard my money now and dislike spending it unless I have a cushion to fall back on – which is rare in this economy. So every couple of months I buy something new. New fabric or yarn for a piece of clothing I want to make, a new pair of shoes, pick up a new hobby, or join a club or event.
This one’s a bit harder and would be if you seriously need some uncrossing. Changing you is the hardest part. There will always be bits of you that will never change. However, it can be a superficial change. Get a new haircut, buy, make, or restyle a new wardrobe, toss clutter that has sentimental value but things you wouldn’t miss (let’s be honest, there’s stuff most of us keep that might remind us of an event or thing but isn’t the only thing we have from great grandma – that’s what I’m talking about). If you can’t toss it, box it up and stick it in a closet. If you don’t miss it or think of it by the time you rediscover the box again, get rid of it. I pretty much only keep awards, yearbooks, etc or things I can use again (theatre programs I’ve designed as a part my resume). Change your style, if possible, or the way you walk, talk, or act in public. Again, this will not be easy and will be a difficult choice to make.
Why do this? If you’re so caught up in muck that you can’t break free, shed your skin and start anew. It sounds as harsh as it’s meant to be. This potentially is the most difficult advice I could offer because it requires you to discover a new you. It’s more than a breaking of the cycle – it’s breaking the old your and birthing a new one.
How do you do it? I’ve only done this a few times and each time it was making a truly difficult choice to modify my behavior. One time it gained me friends and a whole new lifestyle. Another time was to break the toxicity that lifestyle contained. I regret neither but it was hard at the time to deal with the overwhelming new situation – breaking through my shyness and expressing my opinions to strangers and then to break away from fair-weather friends and toxic situations. (And no, I know not everyone can remove themselves from toxic people or situations but it you can do so.)
Magical and spiritual measures:
Petition an entity, join a new religion, or become a follower of a new deity.
Sometimes we need help. Petitioning a deity or joining a new religion is a great way of getting a helping hand. It’s not just deities but also spirits, saints, and other beings. This is a very common practice but if you aren’t doing it or haven’t in a while, it may be time to give it a try.
Working with these beings can be as simple as asking for a blessing or sign and then receiving it. Ask for guidance or a path to follow, the power and strength to succeed on that path and finally the physical, mental, and spiritual health and will to do so.
Any deity or spirit can be a source of help but the following are especially known as potential sources of unblocking and uncrossing assistance or to see a better way of dealing with the problem (just be wary of cultural appropriation):
Papa Legba (source 1)
Ganesha (source 1)
Hecate (source 1)
Ogun (source 1)
Yemaya (source 1)
Anubis (source 2)
Dosojin (source 2)
Akasagarbha or Kokuzo (source 2)
Lubana (source 2)
Sarutahiko (source 2)
Why do this? As mentioned, sometimes help is needed. Perhaps you need someone to throw you a floating device when you’re drowning. It’s not weakness to ask for help.
I’m stuck! If you’re not getting answers when petitioning a specific deity, send out a general, universal distress call but be VERY sure to read all the fine print before agreeing to anything. Please also remember that a deity can be communication with you without you directly hearing their voices or receiving a obvious sign. Deities can live within the everyday – you just have to find something that strikes you as meaningful.
What do you do? I’ve worked with a malevolent spirit before as well as two Norse deities indirectly and pop culture entities. The deities and pop culture entities were gentle guidance in an off-hand manner – I found solace in their stories than them as beings. The spirit and I came to an agreement of sorts but that’s not really a story I want to tell. I don’t tend to turn to deities when I’m in trouble. I’m independent, however I’ve taken a lot of inspiration and guidance from the aforementioned. I literally could not say where I would be without the pop culture entities. I never worked with them as spirits or deities but their stories helped create the person I am today.
Typically divination is used to diagnose a problem but it can also be used for insight to figure out way around a problem. Meditating with the meaning of a card or using the card’s deep meaning to help you understand a way out of or through your problem. Some cards can be used to progress through the problem (the Tower for example is a personal favorite). Some people even use cards in spells. If you do you can literally choose cards from your current status moving in realistic steps towards your uncrossed goal.
Why do this? Primarily, it helps identify and offers solutions to the problem. As a secondary measure it can be used directly to affect change on yourself as a spell.
I’m stuck! Get a reader to do a reading for you. In fact, ask a few different readers for advice, if you can. There are plenty of people that will give a free reading. Try it yourself, if you’re able. Find people use use different techniques if you’re only selecting tarot cards.
What do you do? I’m a seer so I do divination daily. However, I’ve used the aforementioned spread to work through a problem and help write a spell for change. (I personally don’t like using my cards in spells as it adds energy the cards don’t need.)
Chakras and Reiki
I’m not trained in Reiki (although I know the basic principles, premises, and techniques) and there’s a lot of information out there. I recommend seeking out a certified practitioner. I can name a few very good ones for you. Otherwise, Google is your friend. Reiki is a defined practice with a specific education, rankings, and certified teachers and practitioners. The theory of of Reiki is more widespread but actual Reiki is pretty defined.
You can also cleanse your chakras and enable you to move forward. There’s a variety of ways to do that and, again, I recommend a certified Reiki practitioner or taking a Reiki class.
Why do this? Cleansing the body and chakras is a good way of resetting and refreshing the body. Reiki can also heal you which would be ideal for those with bodily afflictions.
I’m stuck! Please seek a certified Reiki master.
What do you do? As mentioned I’m familiar with Reiki as a practice so I usually do a session for myself. If I really needed a cleansing or assistance, I would contact one of the Reiki masters I know and have them assist.
Astral Uncrossing and/or Spiritual Uncrossing or Meditation or Shadow Work
This is especially useful it you’re being afflicted by a spirit or entity. You must first cross into the astral/fade/spirit realms, find the source of the negative muckery, and destroy it. Sometimes this will involve diving deep into the afflicted person’s psyche and spirit to rid them of the affliction. If you’re doing this on yourself, you’ll have to either lucid dream or meditation to achieve a deep enough state to rend yourself apart, rid yourself of the negativity, and patch yourself up. This is similar to Reiki’s techniques and . It’s not unlike Reiki in a cleansing but instead of energy, it’s more forceful and takes place either in your mind or in the astral. it can be very harsh and cautious must be made of clearing out too much negativity too soon as you’ll need to recover.
For meditation and shadow work, you’ll need to dive into yourself in a deep meditation state an discover the parts of you that are “bad” or “negative” and either come to terms with them or change them in ways to better yourself.
Why do this? This is, as mentioned, useful for when this is a state afflicted on you or it has set deep inside of you. This is excellent for people who are powerful spirit workers or are more powerful in their mind or in the astral than elsewhere.
I’m stuck! Some practitioners may assist you in this. Guided meditation may also be useful.
What do you do? Depending on the circumstances I either tear into the issue in the spirit realms or use my Mind Room (read: Mind Palace) to clear out the junk and fix myself.
Select Spells and Techniques
These are spells and techniques used specifically for uncrossing and unblocking. If you haven’t already tried a cleansing spell or technique, try that first.
Uncrossing Oil (source 1, page 1056-1057)
Essential oil of hyssop
Essential oil of angelica
Essential oil of frankincense
Pinch of sea salt
Pinch of black pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Sprig of rue
Sliver of fresh garlic
Section of broken chain
Castor oil and jojoba oil base
Add ingredients. The chain and angelica are the most important elements. Angelica has photosensitive properties so be careful of the sun if you use it on the body.
[Crown’s Notes: You can absolutely mix this spell up. I use different oil bases and herbs in my recipe.]
Crown’s Too Heavy a Cross Spell
Make a cross with two sticks and some twine. If you’re really burdened, add more sticks. Really pour your problems into the sticks as you make it. Douse is in Uncrossing Oil (recipe above). If there’s a specific area being affected, brush the over the area. Envision your negative energy and experiences as you set it on fire and watch it burn.
Scents and materials to use:
Benzoin (burn as needed to remove blockages)
Citrus (as described in the cleansing post, but all the citrus scented or flavored things! watch for the sun and photosensitivity)
Vetiver (boil, steep, let cool, add to bathwater for nine consecutive days)
Devil’s Shoestring (boil, strain, let cool, pour over yourself, air dry, for seven days)
Larch (burn to unblock yourself)
Peridot (charge and carry)
Sardonyx (charge and carry)
Quartz crystal (charge and carry)
Frankincense (burn as needed)
Rosemary (charge and carry or burn as needed or add steeped liquid to bath water)
Wahoo bark (infusion)
OK! I’ve done an uncrossing. Now what?
How do you feel? Better? No different? Either can be true and if you feel don’t feel different that doesn’t mean it isn’t working. Your next steps could be any of the following:
Protection and warding spells (for you and your home)
Financial assistance spells
Binding and banish spells (if a person or entity is involved)
When new witchlings come around, I almost always get asked this. And it’s a super fair question. Do you need a cauldron? What purpose does a modern cauldron serve? It is just aesthetic or is it actually useful?
I’m not going to dig into the actual history of the cauldron like I normally would. There’s been numerous books written on the subject, easily found via your local internet search engine, online marketplace, bookstore, or library. Plus, the Great Wise Man Google can always lend a helping hand with your research.
I’m going to tackle the actual everyday usage of such an item.
A cauldron is a cooking pot, often with a half moon handle. Sometimes it has a lid and feet on the bottom. It was often set directly on the fire or on a hook suspended over a fire to cook in. Styles vary depending on age, region, and manufacturers. It’s essentially a cooking pot or stock pot, the same kind you use to make soup in.
There’s a similar looking cooking vessel known as a Dutch oven that’s primarily used to bake in these days. It’s used as a casserole dish. Historically, it was used to do everything a cauldron can do. The shape is very similar and you could easily confuse the two in some designs. Other similar cooking pots are potjie (which looks very similar to a cauldron), a testunabe, a chugunok, a sač, and the variety of Korean sots, to name a few.
I own several traditional cast iron cauldrons. Some very small and fit in my palm. Others larger, about the size of a medium soup pot, I suppose. I’ve been on the look out for one of those really big ones, but they’re hard to come by. The one time I found one, it was quite expensive and I was traveling. The expensive wasn’t as big of deal as the travel was. I wasn’t going to haul a seventy pound cauldron half the size of me through Boston, onto a train for the hour commute home, then into my car for the half an hour drive home. I just didn’t have that in me that day and, honestly, I don’t regret not buying it.
Anyway, cast iron is great – if you can properly take care of it. Every few months I have to go in and mess with my cauldron’s cast iron coating because many of them are antiques and thus neglected. I have one cauldron I’ve been trying to remove rust on for over ten years. I do, actually, know how to properly care for cast iron. I use cast iron in my everyday cooking and it’s like having a pet. You have to take care of it properly to keep the seasoning in pristine shape, making the cast iron itself easy to use.
But cast iron is great because it retains heat very well, making it lovely for burning things like incense, herbs, and candles. Because of the typically porous nature of a cast iron’s coating, some modern witches use it to grind herbs in. (Unless, of course, your cast iron seasoning is so good it’s smooth) It’s also heavy which means it’s not likely to get knocked over easily. And it looks so witchy and great.
It’s also heavy, hard to clean, and often difficult to store due to the weight and sometimes greasy coating it may have due to being poorly maintained. Smaller cast iron cauldrons are much easier to store and are actually pretty great to keep around. Plus, they are not subtle if that’s something you’re aiming for. Acids, such as fruit and citrus, can also immediately ruin a cast iron’s seasoning, even returning it to the base metal.
Of course, not all cauldrons these days are cast iron. Many are aluminum or metal alloy. That isn’t to say these are necessarily bad, just that they’re different. You’re not working with cast iron, so clean up and heat conductivity may be different. Also, it’s not iron, so magically it is different. Be aware of this when choosing cauldrons.
I like dutch ovens and stock pots for actual witchy related cooking in the house. I usually aim for steel, glass, ceramic, or enamel coating cooking vessels when I’m doing witchy stuff and even then it depends on what I’m doing. I choose a more modern equivalent of a cauldron, even though I have direct access to open flame cooking (fire pit, grill, stovetop) to use my traditional cauldron, because they’re often easier to clean and save time. Plus they usually fit on the stovetop better.
So, if you’re going to use a cauldron for actual cooking, I’d recommend going with a more modern option for ease of use. Don’t make your life harder than it needs to be. You can also use a rice cooker, or slow cooker instead of a dutch oven.
I’d like to throw in here that there are definitely ritual and religious reasons to have a cauldron for some people. I’m definitely not knocking that or saying that you should sub out your religious item for a more modern version. I’m talking about the more secular usages and everyday functionality in this post.
If you are using a cauldron for ritual or religious purposes, then you need to weigh your decisions on whether to actually get a cauldron on a personal level. Is it symbolic? Is it a vessel of a deity? Is it what is being asked for? Is it described specifically in texts? Does it need to be functional? Is there a better or more historical option that the cauldron itself has been substituted for by modern practitioners because it’s something they probably already have? Make sure you break down your usage and figure out if you need a cauldron specifically or if any type of bowl will do.
If you’re using it to burn incense or candles and so on. It’s actually a really good choice. As said, it retains heat well, making it not great if you’re in a rush to put stuff away quickly, but otherwise it’ll keep incense going for a decently long time. That being said, you can same the same thing about a thick ceramic bowl or glass casserole dish.
But the real question is this: do you NEED a cauldron?
I say no. Unless you’re using it for specific religious reasons, there are plenty of other vessels out there that will do the job just fine. A mortar and pestle or herb grinder can grind herbs better than a cauldron (I bring this up because I see a lot of people grind herbs in their mini cauldrons) . Any number of cooking vessels are more functional in a modern kitchen than a traditional cauldron, especially for actual food and drink prep. If you already use what you got, you might not need to store yet another item, which is good if you’re short on space.
Of course, if you want one, get one! I have a habit of always picking up cauldrons when I see them, but I really don’t think modern magical practitioners NEED one, unless it’s specifically called for in a religious sense. Use what you got and see what happens.
If you’re a newbie starting out, I’d say hold off on the cast iron cauldron unless you find one at the flea market and instead head on over to your local secondhand store and pick up a pretty casserole dish or cooking pot. You can always upgrade later. Unless, of course, you’re using it for specific religious purposes. Then it’s up to you to determine how necessary a cauldron it for your religion.
I’m very much a spontaneous kind of spell caster. I rarely plan out full rituals, but when I do, prep is an important step.
One of the steps that’s easy to forget to do is eating before the ritual. Truthfully, if you’re going to be using your own energy for a ritual (rather than channeling fully from elsewhere) you should be eating something both before and after the ritual. So you have a lot of energy to start with and to restore the energy you consumed during the ritual.
So an hour or so before the ritual, these are what I reach for:
Fresh fruit, such as strawberries, apples, oranges, bananas, raspberries, blueberries, pomegranates, and grapes
Fresh vegetables, such as cucumbers, tomatoes (yes, yes technically a fruit), carrots, broccoli, radishes, and celery.
Fresh salad, usually with lots of variation but not as much salad dressing, cheese, meat, or croutons as I might normally like.
Seeds and nuts, like sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, honeyed peanuts. I try to keep the amount I eat on the smaller side here, as sometimes too many nuts and seeds can feel heavy.
A small sandwich or wrap, heavily on the vegetables and flavors. Think afternoon tea sandwich size.
Fruit juice, often watered down
Sweet alcohol, fruit-based alcohol
Wine or harsher spirits. I usually go with this when I need to jump directly into some sort of alternative stage of consciousness or drop inhibitions (ie feeling self-conscious) as quickly as possible.
As you can see, I tend to reach for fresh foods before a ritual, usually light on meat and bread. I’m not particular when it comes to my diet – the only thing I really steer away from is organ meat and diary – but I like to go with a light meal usually paired with tea or sweet alcohol before a ritual.
I find this helps keep the energy up and still allows me to move freely during a ritual – very important with how I tend to cast rituals – and not weigh me down. They also can usually be consumed while I go over my ritual notes or do other prep work before the ritual.
This isn’t to say that you MUST eat one of these foods before a ritual. It really does depend on a person and their personal taste. Let your body guide you to the best choices for you.
It should be noted that, for some rituals, I will intentionally skip this step. I won’t eat before vigils for example where I need to do a lot of spirit work and often do trances during that time. I will often skip food beforehand when I perform oracles or medium work. I personally find that I work better that way, but it’s not something I recommend without knowing exactly how to fast safely.
That being said, I do recommend to try and ensure that you’re taking care of yourself before your rituals as much as afterwards and consider trying different food combinations to see what gives you the best results with your magical and spiritual work.
Enchanting can be one of the easiest ways of adding magic to anything. It’s super low key, can be done in public in front of people, and only requires a few moments of sitting quietly or murmuring to yourself to make it work. My style of enchanting does lean heavily on energy manipulation. If you’re new to energy manipulation, you should be able to follow along with this fairly easily, but skilled manipulators will have an easier time with it.
This enchantment is for warmth and health. The same technique can be adapted to any kind of enchantment and this enchantment can be added to just about anything. It’s great on coats, socks, favorite hoodies, and bath towels.
01 Clean and Cleanse
Whether you’ve dug your scarf out of the back of a drawer or you’ve purchased it new, you’ll need to wash the scarf and cleanse it.
Make sure to look at the washing instructions of the scarf’s material. Some materials really shouldn’t be washed in a machine. If it needs spot cleaning, then VERY lightly mist it with some cleansing water or flick the water at it using your fingertips.
If you’re washing it in a machine, add a bit of cleansing ingredients such as a bit of salt or an herbal potion. Or you can enchant your laundry soap to cleanse. If you don’t have cleansing ingredients like that, you can use moon water as well. Why? Well, if it’s a new scarf or hasn’t been recently washed, it simply needs to be washed. That scarf probably has dust on it and scarfs tend to be by your mouth. Now-a-days with masks, this is less true, but it’s still something to be concerned about.
As for cleansing, I like to have things lightly cleansed while cleaning them and lightly cleansed while working in a new enchantment. It also helps shake up the stagnate energy in an old scarf and breaks up the energy from a store / warehouse and anyone who might have potentially been touching the scarf.
The aforementioned cleansing water works well, but you can also do smoke cleansing (which has the bonus of aroma), sounds such as bells, or even letting the scarf soak in a few hours of sunlight.
02 Enchant it
Take the scarf in your hands. I like to lay it across my palms so my fingers can run across it, but whatever feels best for you. Feel free to move your hands around. You want to cover the whole length of the scarf.
Spend a few minutes centering yourself and gathering your energy. When it feels like you have excess energy in your core, push it towards your hands (or it may gather there naturally). Slowly drag or wave your hand over the scarf, letting the energy seep into the weave of the fabric or to coat the material, like liquid seeping into the fabric.
Now either speak, say, or think of how warm you’ll want to feel, how safe, how healthy. Envision the happiness you’ll feel when you wrap this warm scarf around your neck or a loved ones’ neck.
When you think you’ve done enough, then you’re done! It really is that simple. When you hold it, it might not feel any warmer instantly, but the warmth should seep into your bones over time.
I like to go the extra step and repeat the warming thoughts when putting the scarf on.
Ideally, you should renew the enchantment every so often. At least every year, but you can do it as often as you like. The more you do it, the stronger the enchantment becomes.
So, you made some witchy friends and you’ve been invited over to their place. Great! (Although, visiting people? In this day of social distancing?)
Still, there’s a certain social etiquette to visiting people’s houses, especially when one of you (or both of you) are magical practitioners or pagans. Actually, these are pretty good rules to follow when visiting anyone that has a lot of spiritual energy or religious beliefs.
01 Don’t touch
There are obviously things you’ll need to touch. Door handles, floorboards, cups or plates given to you, couches, and so on. But walking up and messing with someone’s altar or workspace? No. Just no.
Truthfully, I don’t even like touching empowered things that I’ve been invited to touch that aren’t mine. I don’t like to touch items in stores because it’s weird. And I dislike the feeling of energy dredges that some items pick up when they aren’t cleansed regularly. (Although this is more of an issue in stores than it is in people’s homes.)
Energy transfer is one of the reasons that touching another practitioner’s stuff is a major no-no, but there are others. You don’t know the spells and rituals that item have been present for and it may be harmful for you to touch it. For example, I have several items in my home that could be dangerous or just not a good idea for anyone else other than myself to touch. Not even my brother, who lives with me and is a practitioner, himself should touch those items. And there are some of his items that I can’t touch.
You also have to consider respect. It’s disrespectful to move around someone’s altar or workspace. They probably had it set a certain way for a very certain reason and even if you put it back exactly where it was, there’s still a sense that something’s been messed with.
I’ve had to strip whole shrines then scrub and cleanse them because they were touched. And I once had to toss a complicated embroidered poppet spell I was in the middle of making because someone else touched it and messed up the spell’s associations. Just cleansing it wouldn’t work since it was completely ruined, so I disenchanted it and tossed it.
02 Don’t mess with their spirits, ghosts, familiars, servitors, deities, or entities. And that includes summoning yours.
Some houses have spirits and ghosts living in them. And the residents are okay with living beside them. And other people have spirits or entities around for their practice. Don’t mess with them. Just let them be. It may not be your jam, but going around and cleansing people’s homes of spirits just because you think they’re not good for them is just plain rude – and possibly dangerous if they’ve a connection or relationship with that spirit.
The obvious exception would be a place of harm. If you’re being attacked by a spirit while visiting someone’s home, obviously cast some defensive spells to ward them off – or offensive, if you need to. But also tell your host. Sometimes, they can just tell the spirit to knock it off and they will.
Summoning your own familiars, servitors, spirits, and so on is also asking for trouble. They might get caught in your host’s spells or fight with your host’s own spirits. I once had to stop two of my own servitors from tearing into a visitor’s familiar because they thought the familiar was invading. So be careful on summoning your own helpers.
03 Don’t go casting spells all willy-nilly.
This goes back to the energy thing from before, but there’s another reason. Some practitioners have spells to ward off magic cast by someone that isn’t them. There’s no reason to expect that doesn’t include yours. You might have your spell bounce back on you.
04 Take care when eating food or drink prepared by your host
There’s always a danger when visiting a fellow practitioner that you’ll be consuming enchanted food or drink. This isn’t always a negative thing. It could be to promote health or good cheer. If you don’t want to consume enchanted food, make sure you talk about that before hand. Many times food is enchanted during the preparation, so saying “I won’t eat this fancy pie you made because you enchanted it” will probably disappoint your host – or you, if you’re bringing it.
If you’re really concerned about this, ask. Sometimes just simply asking in a polite and friendly way can do wonders.
05 Host gifts
Host gifts are old fashioned and rather formal these days. They’re pretty good for magical practitioners though. The act of hospitality is an ancient one and rife with magical intentions and meanings. Bringing a little something, like food or a protection charm, can really bring a lot of great energy with you when you enter the home. Plus it can a lot of fun.
Depending on your host, there are a bunch of other things to consider. Communication is key with any relationship, so make sure you talk to your witchy friend about these things when you iron out the details. And have fun! It’s hard to find friends in this field nearby, so enjoy the friends you gain.
Witches and plants go hand in hand. (Generally, of course. I’m not the boss of your craft, but, you know, it’s generally a thing.)
But gardening is expensive. So expensive. You wouldn’t think nature, the thing we live on, in, around, and with would be difficult to acquire, but it is. You can easily drop hundreds if not thousands of dollars a year on gardening – just indoor gardening. Never mind external gardens.
And witchy plants? SO MUCH MORE EXPENSIVE. Either you need to safely wildcraft them (and some of those plants shouldn’t be removed from their environment if you aren’t 1000% sure you can handle them, because the plants need all the propagation opportunities possible) or you buy those plants. Buying seeds can be a few bucks here and a few bucks there, but there’s always a good chance that your plant won’t grow. Then you’re out a few bucks and all you have is a jar of failed dirt. Buying live plants is a better middle ground, but plants do experience trauma so you still have a risk of them dying.
Aside from the expense of the actual plants, you may need to purchase soil, soil additives (because soil is not the same everywhere and some plants are unhappy without certain soil), pots and planters, plant trays and moving wheeled platforms for larger pots, plant food, and possibly plant lights or a water system. That’s for indoor plants. Outdoors? That’s a whole different expensive level.
So, here’s some witchy truths and tips for indoor gardens.
You will fail. Plants will die. You may feel like a murderer. It happens to us all.
Google plant care for your plant. It may just save your plant’s life.
Ask fellow gardeners and witches for advice. This is something all of us do in regards to plants so many are quite happy to talk about it.
It’s better to have one healthy plant than six unhealthy plants.
Plants do not always smell good. Some plants smell like ass and others will smell like death, piss, or onions. The prize may outweigh the cost, but not always.
You will have bugs. Even indoors, there will be bugs.
Sometimes the organic or better quality stuff isn’t best. Think before you buy stuff for your garden. You organic soil may sprout mushrooms that kill your plants (true story) and you may find that a clear vase of water with a handful of rocks is better for a plant than a specific growing pot. Trial and error helps here, but don’t sink a ton of money on something without trying to more common stuff first.
Many, many, many plants are invasive. Mugwort, mullein, chamomile, and mint are common invasive plants used in witchcraft. I recommend googling before purchasing or at least googling before planting in the ground for all plants. Some plants spread like crazy and will destroy your garden if giving the chance.
Annual means that it grows for less than two years and will need to be replaced, most lasting a single season. Perennial means it comes back again and again. Some perennials self-sow so you may get a perennial plant to come back, just not the same plant as before.
Keep an eye on how warm your plants can get. Too much heat will kill them, but so will too much cold. It may be best to put a plant on a table near a window than in a cold window sill, even if the window gets better light.
Not all plants are pet-friendly. Google may tell you if a plant is toxic to animals, but a better bet is to just keep them out of a pet’s range.
Plants do weird shit. Expect to be surprised.
Where to get your plants
Grow from seeds
Get a cutting or live plant from a friend
Grow them from kitchen scraps
Buy a live plant at a store or nursery (online or local)
Wildcraft one (so long as the population of said plant is super stable)
Check the clearance section of a store or nursery
I’ll be honest. I normally search the clearance section of stores first for plants to rescue. Normally these are plants that are growing weirdly, need transplanting desperately, or simply look unhealthy. And they may be all of that! But they’re usually really cheap so I tend to rescue them first and foremost.
I can, have, and do grow plants from seeds. I usually keep my plant purchases to a minimum from seeds, merely because I don’t have space to give lots of plants a head-start indoors. (Most of my growing space is a single large window where all the indoor plants live during the cooler months). I normally harvest seeds from foods I’ve consumed (like avocado or lemons), but I also buy seeds from Baker’s Creek (rareseeds.com). They sell heirloom vegetables seeds as well as flower and herb seeds.
My favorite (and cheapest) suggestion is to grow plants from fruits and vegetables you already have purchased. I’ve gotten ginger, scallions (green onions), potatoes, sweet potatoes, celery, garlic, and pineapples from kitchen scraps. Root vegetables and plants with bases like celery are easier to re-grow, in my opinion. A quick google search of ‘food you can re-grow from kitchen scraps’ will yield good results.
Some of my best plants I get from nurseries. Yup, they’re more expensive (but not much more, to be honest, then home improvement stores), but they’re way happier plants. And you can get some beautiful selections you might not get elsewhere. Plus, you’re supporting a local small business, which is always a good thing to do. Two years ago, my household scored black petunias (actually a very dark purple) at a nursery whereas we had never seen them before. My preferred nursery is owned and operated by a single woman and conveniently is a few houses down from my preferred farmer’s market. I just have to remember to grab some bug spray before going and I’m a happy witch.
I rarely get plants in other ways. I sometimes will transplant a wild plant to save it from becoming someone’s lawn clippings (like I did with my bittersweet nightshade) and I’ve gotten plants from other people, but largely, I acquire my plants in the above ways right now.
Planting and grow your plants
Following your plant’s care recommendations, provided by google, is best. Seriously. Each plant will require a learning curve.
My favorite pots for growing are a large clear glass jar and some cheap clay pots. I do have plastic ones, but I tend to only use them for very, very large plants. Ceramic pots are great too and I use them often. I skip concrete planters – they’re very heavy and I’ve had them crack in the New England cold winters. Who knew? Most of the time though, you’ll find a lot of my water-based plants growing in recycled olive or jam jars. I love the eclectic look of the different pots and jars, but if you like things more streamline and uniform, pick something that’s netural and available widely in a variety of sizes.
You can also use a double pot system. Plant your plant in something that might not be pretty, but you can place inside something that is pretty. I do this with plants that haven’t outgrown the pots they come in. Grow pots are cheap plastic and aren’t great, but sometimes moving a plant isn’t the best idea. I often just leave plants alone until they need some attention. I’ve done best at keeping things alive when I work in this manner.
I use decent but not stellar soil for my indoor plants (and I skip the organic stuff after a mushroom episode). I use dollar stone china plates for the bottom of my planters when I can’t find a real one to fit. Driveway gravel is great for draining rocks for the bottom of my planters, but it can be a bit sharp for some delicate rooted plants.. I dig using my hands and end up with dirt everywhere. I water as needed (unless the plants are liars) and feed them as often as I dare.
Working outdoors is a whole different game. There I have shovels, trowels, work gloves, clippers, shears, scissors, ladders, and every other thing under the sun. I use decent soil to bolster the land as needed or dive for gardening tomes to help balance the PH in the soil. I use mulch and large brim hats and consider the merits of growing compost and curse my yard’s poor dirt.
How I set up my pots generally follows like this:
I pick a pot about slightly less than twice the size of the pot the plant currently is in. If it’s a seed, then I use a very small pot about six inches tall and three inches wide. If the plant is very root bound (as in the roots are all tangled together inside the pot), I’ll upgrade to a larger pot.
I put a small layer of driveway gravel at the bottom of the pot. This is so the water doesn’t sit on the roots or soak the soil too much. If your pot has holes at the bottom (and you have a plant liner tray) then you can skip this step, but I generally always use the gravel. The gravel is somewhat pointy so be aware that it may damage very tender roots, so handle with care. I add more gravel if I’m planting something that needs drier soil, like a succulent or cactus. Some water plants are anchored by gravel and use smaller rocks for additional root assistance.
Then I put a little soil in, just enough to cover the rocks (or more if the plant is short but deep roots or it’s a seed)
I pull the plant out of the pot it’s already in, shaking some of the soil from the roots. If the plant is a seed, just plop it in the soil and plant according to recommendations. If it’s very root bound, you may end up spending several minutes loosening up the soil between the roots so the plant can have more room to grow. Be careful not to break the roots or any stems when handling the plant. Be gentle.
Then I pad the sides of the plant with soil, layering on more and more until the roots are completely covered and the plant is well secured.
Sometimes I add rocks at the top, but that’s largely depending on how much I want or need to protect the plant from soil erosion by water.
Then I drizzle water on the plant until the soil is wet. Finally, the plant can be placed happily in where I want it to go. I’ll add watering and feeding times to my calendar, as suggested by plant growing guides, and call it a day.
I won’t cover planting outside right now, because it’s a super large topic and the advice will vary depending on soil type, weather, climate, sun/shade ratios, wind, what’s already growing, wildlife, and how much time you have to devote to it all.
My general advice for outdoor gardeners is to do a soil test, then you’ll have a general idea how much work you’ll need to do to adjust to plants. That being said, it may be easier for you to simply grow in containers than in the ground, especially if there’s a lot of trees, roots, shade, or something buried in the ground, like a septic tank.
Take photos and notes of the areas you want to grow in for at least a week at various times of the day. I just leave a little notebook in the window closest to that area and take notes and a photo every time I walk by. This will help you determine how much sun, wind, and shade that area gets at various times of the day. It also may tell you what wildlife is nearby.
Armed with that information, you can start planning a garden. Again, this is a huge topic, but I typically suggest raised beds, because they’re just so much easier to take care of and work with.
Now, if you have specific plants you want to grow in a specific area, then do a test. I plant my desired plant in a container and place it in a spot where I’d like to plant it in the ground in the future. It helps determine whether or not the plant will survive there. There’s no guarantee even if all this is done. Some plants just don’t do well in certain soils. You’ll have to risk failure to succeed.
You’ll also want to keep in mind how much a plant will grow and how invasive it’ll be. Mint, for example, grows easily in containers, but shouldn’t be planted in the ground or it’ll take over the whole yard. Ground cover can be useful, but sometimes it’s impossible to get rid of later and becomes a nightmare. Do your research before you plant something with a reputation of being invasive in this manner.
Adding some magic
Magic can be added to any part of the routine.
When selecting plants, I seek out the ones that are calling for help or seem to want me specifically. I listen to what the plant wants and that’s how I get many of my plants to do well. This is an animist’s point of view, of course, but I find that it really works well.
You can plant by the phases of the moon and some people do really well with it. I have a theory that if you have a lot of water on the property, planting by the moon works better, but I don’t have near enough data to really propose this seriously right now.
Water can be enchanted with the power of the sun or moon. You can also used infused water, like a tea or water from making pasta to water plants with. This will largely depend on the plant itself. For example, I use nothing but clear, clean filtered or purified water for my indoor bamboo. If I use anything else at all, it dies rapidly and it very difficult to save. Google will, yet again, be your friend.
What you fertilize your plants with can also be enchanted. Rose, according to some gardeners, like calcium so planting a hank of your hair alongside your roses is good for them. I’ve tried eggshells, but I didn’t notice any changes with my rose bush, but I think that’s largely due to the location rather than the plant itself. Once you figure out what weird things you can fertilize your plants with, the magical connections should come quickly after that.
Of course, you can additionally enchant the soil you plant in with enchanted water, carefully made compost, or enchanted draining rocks with sigils painted on them in environmentally friendly paint.
Pots are probably the easiest to enchant. You can draw or paint with environmentally safe paint on the outside and inside of the plant to encourage grow and health in the plant. This can be as simple as a sigil or written word or as complicated as an intricate painting. The choice is yours.
Placing decorations inside the pot is also useful. This can be done by placing a tiny statue in the pot with the plant in a manner where the plant won’t be crowded. I’m plotting to turn the soil around my palm plant into a tiny fairy cottage, lacing each item I acquire or make with spells for prosperity, abundance, and household happiness and health.
There are many other ways to enchant your gardening too. Garden tools can be enchanted for strength and to be rust-proof. Gloves can be enchanting to keep the hands safe. Support for plants can be soaked in enchanted water.
Don’t forget that you can simply verbalize spells by talking to your plants. There’s some research to support that plants like being talked to nicely and sweetly and that backs up my experience nicely. (The only plant I ever struggle with is a climbing rose I’ve named Diva and she’s the most prickly thing I’ve ever met. She gets me every time, no matter what I’m doing.) I like to hum or sing-song to my plants as I work on them, if I’m not just straight-out having a one-sided conversation with them. I get some strange looks, especially from my brother, but I don’t mind.
It’s a rare magical practitioner that hasn’t had to adapt a spell at one time or another. Usually it’s for personal practice reasons or ingredient reasons, but it can simply be that it’s too cold to walk outside or they just don’t like the spell’s steps or wording.
Adapting spells can be really easy – but it can be a challenge too. It’s okay if it’s a challenging or daunting task for you! It really is. Spell casting is a lot like cooking and baking; for some people, it’s easy to moderately okay and for others, it’s a daunting task.
Cooking and baking are relatively subjective. Things need to turn out a certain way to be properly edible and taste good, but not everything is going to taste great to the same people. Spells are a lot like that. There are some things that just won’t work quite as well for you as for others and some ingredients (like some foods) that you just don’t want to work with.
Like a recipe, there’s a way of approaching a spell that you need to adapt. Here’s how.
Step One: Read & Analyze
Read through the spell completely, including any notes the author or other practitioners may have made. Take notes yourself as needed, marking what things you’d need to purchase or procure in some manner. Also know any timing events that need to be marked on your calendar (such as the next full moon).
If you plan on making any adaptations, write it down clearly. You’re swapping this ingredient for that. If you don’t know what ingredient to swap something for, then you need to really sit down and analyze that spell. What purpose does that ingredient serve in the spell? If you can’t see an obvious reason, it’s probably best to assume it’s there for a correspondence reason. To help with that, check out correspondence charts.
How this compares to a recipe: When you make a new dish, it’s always a good idea to read through the recipe. It may need a special pan you don’t have or an ingredient that’s not listed in the ingredient list above. It may need the butter or eggs to be room temperature or it could be the baking is thrown off on cold days. There may be a reason that ingredient is specific to the recipe – without it, the puff pastry won’t rise or the chemical reaction you need for the yum factor doesn’t happen. Research helps mitigate this before you’re elbows deep in ingredients and realize you’re up a creek without a paddle and a storm is brewing on the horizon.
Step Two: Double check that you have everything
There’s little reason to try a spell or recipe when you’re missing half the stuff – it’s not the same thing at that point. You may be able to create something wonderful, but it’s a brand new spell or recipe. Not the same thing. That’s not a bad thing! Just make sure you write it down. But if you’re intention is to cast a specific spell, be cautious of exchanging too many ingredients or you’ll wind up with something different than the original intention.
That being said, I’m firmly in the camp of winging it. If you want to try and spell and need to adapt it, do it. Take notes on what you’ve changed (in case it works better than the original spell or goes terribly wrong), but try it anyway.
Step Three: Make your changes
Now’s the time for the adaptations. You’ve taken your notes and you have a good idea of what you want to do. Now to make the changes.
Sometimes swapping an item can be easy. You need something to represent luck, well, here’s four other herbs that do exactly that. When things have symbolic meanings or magical correspondences, they can often be easily swapped.
But not always. If you really want to be diligent, a quick google search with the ingredient plus something like “folklore” or “magical correspondence” can lead you to why that ingredient is considered lucky. This may be critical at times. Sure, an herb might be lucky, but only for gamblers. That isn’t going to help too much when you want luck taking an exam.
You also have to be aware of herbal associations. Some spells, especially the edible kind, have herbal combinations meant to do something actually physical to the body. It’s not symbolic in meaning, but science. So you can’t just swap in something with a magical correspondence when the concoction is herbal medicine in nature. Plus, herbs can be dangerous – they can counter to one another, they can react with medication or current medical conditions, and they can be toxic. So you have to be very careful when doing something that’s meant to be consumed.
Now for some people, they stay away from herbalism and stick with magical correspondences only. That’s perfectly okay! But be aware that many herbal connections come from herbalism. Even the weird ones. So knowing why something has that association may be important.
And none of that may matter at all. People can work intuitively with ingredients and make up their own correspondences and associations. That’s a great way to go about it too.
You also have to consider the purpose of the item in the spell. Swapping a red candle for a white one is easy since white is seen as a universal color or something of a blank slate. But when you start thinking, “well, I don’t think this makes a good candle spell. What if I skip the candle?” And for some spells, you can absolutely do that. The candle is superficial or is being used as a focus object (ie, something to look at and hold) For others, the candle is being used as a conduit (ie, the spell verse might have “as this candle burns”) or the candle has a practical purpose (ie, burning a piece of paper with writing on it). It’s harder to swap out items that are practical or are a conduit.
In short, there can be more to adaptations than just “this is the ingredient on the list that I have”.
Step Four: Do the spell
Go for it. Just try the spell. When you’re casting, you may need to change things up on the fly. Maybe the candle won’t stay lit or your neighbor is being nosy. Maybe the dog starts barking because she needs to pee or your phone goes off non-stop with notifications. Sometimes the wording is just plain weird and doesn’t work for you.
Adapting on the fly happens. Finish the spell. Even if you lose momentum or the build up of energy. Even if you feel rushed, judged, or things get weird. Finish your spell. Not finishing it can lead to weirdness and energy drains, at the least.
Use the words that work best clearly for you. Yeah, that old timey wording looks great, but if you’re not feeling it, use your plain ol’ normal words instead. Speak or think honestly and clearly when you need to make wording changes.
Step Five: Record
You’ve been taking notes all along. Now record what happened. How’d the spell casting go? Over the next few days and weeks, you’ll probably begin to see results. What are they? How do they meet your expectations? Do you think your adaptations changed how the spell worked?
As you progress with your practice, you may find that you don’t want to, need to, or like to write things down. I’ll be honest, as someone who spends a LOT of my time writing, I rarely write down the spells I routinely do or do off the cuff unless it’s really good. Mostly, I write down stuff I’m tinkering with. That’s my personal preference. You don’t need to have meticulous records, but they very much help.
I know a lot of this advice sounds like “just write it down!” and, honestly, keeping notes as a beginner can be really key. I am well-known for winging it in just about all my personal spells, but I take notes for myself on spells I’m working on. It can really help, especially when you’re doing an important working or you’re making adaptations.