Bell Cleansing New Year Spell (Spell Saturday)

Happy new year!

I don’t know about all of you, but sometimes a cleansing is exactly what you need to start the new year fresh. If you don’t get the chance to do a cleansing before the turn of the calendar year, that doesn’t mean all is lost. Just do it now (or as soon as you can).

What you’ll need:

  • A bell with a good, clear, pleasant sound

Ideally, you should use a bell made from materials appropriate to cleansing and then blessed. But not everyone’s sinking their cash into a bell unless they really want to. I find this type of cleansing works perfectly well using any kind of bell, even a bell sound from your phone. My only real qualifications is that the bell has to sound clear and pleasant to you.

Once you’ve acquired your bell or bell sound, go to each door of your house, including the front and back door, and open them all.

Standing on the threshold of the door, start by ringing the bell and “chase” the old year out of the house. Move in a flowing motion through each room of the house, ringing the bell as often as you like.

I usually do three times for ever space I enter and I usually start with rooms to the east of my house, but the flowing motion of the rooms is more important than the actual direction for this spell.

With each ring of the bell, say “I chase you out [year]!” But you can also say something like “Begone [year]!” and “Get out [year] and take the baggage with you!” You can also say things like “Leave ill omens!” or “I cleanse this room and my luck.” Whatever feels best for you. Go with your instincts here.

As you leave each room, shut the door behind you firmly. Chase the old year out the back door of your house. Stop at the threshold of the door and shut it without stepping outside.

Notes:

  • If you live in a home with only one door, then chase the new year out of the front door, but make sure you make a complete circle of the house first.
  • If you live in a home with a fire escape rather than a back door, you can safely use the fire escape as a “back door” instead of the front door, if you prefer.
  • If you have more than two doors, then the final door of the spell should be the one furthest from the first door of the house.

First Days, a New Year’s Week Tradition

Have you ever heard of the ritualized idea that what you do on the first day of the new year will continue on for the rest of the year? If you spend a lot of January first sleeping or arguing, the rest of the year will contain that.

I first heard of this from my friend Ginandjack. Eventually, I changed the tradition to a week long ritual of sorts. I LOVE the concept of it and I find that it really does work. Here’s my eight day long ritualized tradition.

December 31st, Day of Regret

  • Do things I don’t want to do in the new year but absolutely must get done.
  • Reflect and journal as needed
  • Divination for lessons learned, if needed
  • Clean the entire house
  • Food shopping
  • Settle debts, return borrowed things, lend things out as needed.
  • Schedule or pay bills early if possible
  • Contact people I want to see LESS of next year

January 1st

  • Do only the things that you want to spend most of the year doing.
  • Life a healthy lifestyle.
  • Do things that I want to encourage more of moving forward
  • Do not spend money (unless something MUST be paid for today and cannot be paid for earlier)
  • Eat foods that are considered good luck such as long noodles, circular foods, and so on.
  • Avoid doing chores such as laundry, dishes, and so on (unless necessary)
  • The first “random” song I hear during the New Year (ie, not one I know is coming or expect during New Year celebrations) can be taken as a prophecy.
  • The second song I hear should be one I choose that I want to be thematic for the upcoming year.
  • Divination is king
  • Visit or talk to people I want to see more of. (Sometimes I’ll bring food or salt with me as a New Year’s Luck Gift)
  • Nothing leaves the house (items)
  • Do not lend or borrow anything out.
  • No tears or you may cry for the rest of the year.
  • Wake up and get moving early (for me) in the morning.
  • Make bread
  • Make offerings
  • Watch the sunrise
  • See midnight in my region
  • Start routines I want to continue

January 2nd

  • Pay bills or schedule bills
  • Buy things I want to spend money on this year (vegetables or fruit are a great example), if I want to or need to. I prefer to try going to entire week without spending any extra money, but that’s just me.
  • Accomplish tasks I want to do more of, but don’t necessarily feel are as important as the things I wanted to do yesterday. An example might be I read a book yesterday and watched TV today)

January 3rd-7th

  • Continue what I’ve already started
  • Keep doing tasks I want to do more of during the year, but didn’t get to the days before.
  • Hop back on the bandwagon for things I intend to do everyday or on a schedule but already missed a day.
  • Remember to live my best and most healthy for me lifestyle

Obviously, this is a lot to observe and some of it requires prep. For example, if I intend to do New Year’s visits and bring gifts, I will actually prep them on the 31st and leave them in my vehicle or put them in a gift bag which clearly indicates what it’s intended purpose is. All of those items are things I won’t want back – like tupperware and so on.

I have noticed that the order in which I do things matter. For example, one year I decided to wait until the fifth day of the year to pay all my bills (my bills are all due at the middle or end of the month). For the rest of the year, I almost never paid the bills earlier than the fifth and a few times only just remembered to pay them before the due date. I normally always pay them on the second, so this was an odd change for me. The next year I switched back to paying them on the second and the other eleven months followed suit.

I also like to make sure I’m making changes from my previous routine if I decide I don’t like that routine. A good example would be changing to “work from home” clothes rather than just straight up pajamas or wearing the kind of style that you prefer rather than what’s “easier” (like you prefer cottage core but your easier style is sweat and a tee).

There are, of course, some things that I’d like to do more of but can’t. Swimming is one of my most favorite things in the world to do. However, I don’t have access to a pool in the colder months so I sometimes but on a bathing suit and listen to a water based soundscape for a while or I’ll take an extra long bath. If it’s warm enough, I’ll even drive to a beach and stick my feet into the freezing water.

(Did you know Rhode Island, where I’m from, does a polar plunge each year? A polar plunge which is when people go for a swim on the first of the year. Spending the first of the year on a beach is always nice. It’s a life goal to participate in that one day).

I know a lot of people do the first day of the year thing, but I like to extend it for the full week, to get any new routines off to a good start. Plus, then there isn’t as much guilt if you skip something due to lack of time or energy or whatever.

Anyway, that’s what I like to do during the first week of a new year. I find the tradition does tend to represent the rest of the year, but maybe that’s just me. What do you all think?

Hello 2018!

Welcome to 2018! How are you spending your first day of the new year?

2018 new year

I always spend my first week of the new year doing exactly what I want the rest of my year to be like. So the last days of the year are flurries to try and get stuff like laundry out of the way so I don’t have to do it often during the first week of the new year. Instead, I’ll spend time with my family, write, divine, visit spirits, and talk to friends. I’ll play video games, bake and cook, and work out. I make it a point to do the things I love and want to do more of during this time.

I have several goals for the new year, some of them more personal like baking and cooking more a week to more grand things like launching a witchcraft 101 course or publishing another novel.

Yeah, you read that right. A witchcraft 101 course and another novel. More on both of those at a later date.

Anyway, I’m not big on resolutions so I’ve started to pick words or themes to define my new year. For 2018, I’ve selected Empowerment. I don’t want opportunities handed to me, I want them to be forged. I want others to feel powerful and strong too. This is something I want to share with the world.

Empowerment also is a great word for witches because it indicates using magic to create our own future with our own hands. I want to do that with 2018. I want to make it my year because I have the power to do so.

If you want to make it your year, here’s a selection of spells you can use to do just that:

 

I hope your 2018 is a wonderful year filled with many great and wonderful things. Happy new year!

Goodbye 2017!

I don’t know about you but I’m really happy to show 2017 to the door. I had a great year but it’s been SO FREAKIN’ BUSY. I’m so ready for a fresh start.

While I’ve spent the last few days finishing up business and setting up the things for next year. I figured set up a rock solid January rather than randomly posting throughout December.

Quickly, so you can get ready for your new year’s parties, here’s some highlights for 2017 for This Crooked Crown.

Pros:

  • Published my first novel Spirit Walker
  • Published the free online sourced correspondence lists.
  • Fantastic solar eclipse
  • Won a Camp NaNoWriMo and NaNoWriMo (meaning I wrote two books)
  • New eyeglasses & met some fitness goals
  • Got a new monitor and hard drive for the shop
  • Renovated my mom’s kitchen
  • Had some really great spells, crafts, and baking results.
  • Read so many books.

Cons:

  • Absolutely terrible year socially and politically in my part of the world. (Elsewhere wasn’t haven’t a fantastic time either)
  • Broke my schedule for posting online
  • Had to push back a major thing for the third time.
  • Wasn’t able to put out a few projects I wanted to complete.

 

So it’s actually been a pretty good year on the surface for me but there’s a lot of back end stuff that didn’t happen. That being said, I expect that 2018 will be far better as several projects are coming to fruition there.

Before you go, here’s some last minute witchy ideas to ring in the new year:

  • Use a sugar or salt scrub to “wash away” the old year and enter the new year with “fresh skin”.
  • Wear a color that represents what you want the new year to be like tonight. Wear sexy red pajamas to bring more sex or romance into your life. Wear black and blue to protect yourself or green and gold for wealth and prosperity.
  • Make the first meal you have in 2018 something that you want to eat all year. So if you plan on hitting the gym, snag a celery stick instead of a chip for that first bite.
  • Stir your drinks towards you to bring things towards you after midnight but stir away from you before midnight to send things away.
  • Spend the first day of the new year how you want to spend the rest of the year, if you can.
  • Set up full moon rituals in advance, rolling them together so each full moon has a little of that newness power to it. The first is also the first full moon of 2018.
  • No special someone to kiss in the new year? Place that first kiss on a pet, platonic consenting friend, or on an idol for your deity or spirits.
  • Ring a bell at midnight to dismiss the old year (and all its negativity) and bless the new year.

Happy new year! I’ll see you tomorrow in 2018!

5 More Ways to Bewitch Your Holiday Shopping

We’re back for round three of the Bewitch Holiday Shopping. Check out Bewitch Your Holiday Shopping and Bewitch Even More of You Holiday Shopping for more tips. Well, here’s some more.

01 Enchant Your Soles

If you aren’t already doing this, then this is the chance. Enchant the soles of your most comfortable shoes with a guiding spell. Ideally, the spell should lead you towards the things you’re looking for.

02 Clear Mind

Have you ever been shopping, with a list of things to get, and about halfway through you’ve completely lost your head? I do all the time. I’m easily distracted so I usually loose my head halfway through a shopping list unless I have few errands or a very strict list.

Get a glass or plastic bottle, or even a ziploc bag, and put a quartz crystal, rosemary, citrine, apple slices, coffee, and cinnamon. Eyebright, green tea, or gotu kola are good additives too. Carry this with you when you go out to keep yourself focused.

03 Money Savings

Want to save some extra cash? Carry some basil, clover, and mint in your wallet or purse. When you add them to your wallet or purse, envision putting money into your walet instead of herbs.

04 Make and Pack a Snack

Making granola bars is actually extremely easy. You just need the ingredients, a dish, a bowl, a spoon, a knife, cling wrap, and a fridge. The ingredients are usually peanut butter, oats, honey or agave, and additives, like diced chocolate or nuts. There’s TONS of recipes for granola bars so do a quick google search for a good recipe that you like. Once you have a recipe, you can start the magic.

As you stir the ingredients, say, sing, speak, think, or envision you having fun and getting your goals accomplished in your shopping trip. When you spread out the granola, pat it down and pack it in nicely. As you pat it down, think of you patting your full wallet at the end of the trip. Chill the granola for at least an hour before cutting. Store in a plastic bag and carry with you when you go out.

05 Protect Your Purchases

Theft of items from vehicles is really common during the holiday season. There’s so many expensive items being bought that are desired under the tree. So it’s really important to protect your purchases and vehicle. Place protection charms, amulets, and spells over your vehicle and purchases. THe best way to make sure that your stuff’s protected is to set up a spell ahead of time. Maybe the spell’s been cast and every time you relock the door, the spell gains strength. There’s a lot of things you can do and it’s definitely something to consider, depending on what you really want to use on a daily basis.

So what do you think? What witchy techniques do you use to make your holiday shopping easier?

Witchy Shopping Gift Guide

Wondering what to get your witchy pals for Yule? Need to grab some gifts for your coven or are clueless about what to place under the tree for that crazy new age boho hippie aunt? Or maybe you have a little spare cash to get yourself a gift from Santa. Almost all of these gifts are perfect year round so refer back to this list and these shops for Beltane or your bestie’s birthday.

I’ll be honest, many of these items are customized or made to order. They’re all indie artists or small businesses from around the world, including shops in New England.

Under $10

Bunny and Bird Tarot Deck Bag

Tumblrite Cracked Amethyst is known for their decks and art but they also make deck bags. I highly recommend grabbing the Amethyst Oracle deck while you’re there because it’s amazing.

Skull and Succulent Enamel Pin

If you haven’t seen Evil Supply Co. I don’t know what to tell you but you’re missing out. They started as a stationary company and have expanded to mugs, pins, and shirts. They’re also responsible for an incredibly popular tumblr blog. If you read my tumblr blog, you’ve seen Evil Supply Co’s work. I recommend them entirely and I actually had a hard time to find something that wasn’t under $10.

Winter Court Tea

Dryad Tea sells loose tea blends by the ounce. Inspired by fairies, books, and musicians (such as pagan musician S.J. Tucker and Jim Butcher’s Dresden series), these teas are great for fans and practitioners alike. Be sure to check out the shop fo the whole selection.

Horn Hair Comb

Hair is often considered sacred within various religions and practices. Horn combs help distribute your hair’s natural oils an can help reduce static in your hair. This comb is handmade in Vietnam by local artisans there and sold by those same artisans. Plus, you can get this comb for under $10 – including shipping. Pick up some other horn jewelry as well. Remember, horn was a traditional crafting material so it can make a lovely offering or representive piece to the gods.

Brass Die

A solid brass die hand made in Poland and reconstructed from an actual historical find in Lowick, England. The rest of Sulik’s shop is full of treasures hand crafted after actual archaeological and historical finds. Perfect for your reconstructionist pagan friends, LARPers, or board game fans.

Under $15

Magician Tarot Card Necklace

Made of brass, this necklace is perfect for your card slingin’ buddies. It can be personalized. Check out the other shop items as there’s lots of other tarot card goodies, Soloman seals, and other pagan symbols to adorn yourself with.

Pastel Skull Candle

You totally read that right. Soy candle made in your choice of scent and color. You can grab a matte black or plain ivory white if you’re feeling less pastel. Grab a larger skull for your ancestor altar too.

Mandrake Enamel Pin or Krampus Holiday Enamel Pin

I couldn’t decide which one to showcase so you get both! The Krampus and the adorable mandrake come from New England neighbor The Bower Studio in Massachusetts. Check out the shop for beautiful plantable nature art prints and cards. There’s also scarves and other goodies. If you’re in Pulham, Mass. check out their store since they’re herbalists too!

Meditating Do Not Disturb Door Hanging Sign

Have you ever shared a house with someone and you’re trying to meditate and they either knock or just barge right in, completely ruining your mood? Yeah me too. Hang this sign up to let people know to come back later. Check out the shop for more signs like yoga, reiki, or praying in progress. Ther’s also “don’t let the cat out” which for anyone with indoor guests and lots of visitors. All perfect for shared spaces.

Under $20

Crystal Grid Board

Double sided birch cystal boards are perfect for your crystal loving friends. Also check out the shop’s large boards, altar pieces, and crystals.

Moon Phase Mortar & Pestle

Hand painted triple moon mortart and pestle. Ceramic mortars and pestles are great because they’re easy to clean. They’re also accessible and good for most grinding purposes.

Salem Witchcraft Trials Candle

Burke & Hare Co is a Rhode Island local like myself and makes fantastic occult inspired candes. Burned At the Stakes, oujia board, death tarot card, and other delightful candles. Definitely check them out if that’s your thing.

Petite Water Moon Lights

OK, these are actually $20 but they are waterproof, LED glowing lights. So tiny and cute and shaped like the moon. ALSO for all you Welcome to Night Vale fants, the same shop TheCloudLady has hanging glowing cloud lights so you can hail the Glow Cloud.

Divination Classroom candle

Frostbeard candle company specializes in creating soy candles to mimic book lovers’ favorite settings. Harry Potter fans will adore Divination Classroom, Headmaster’s Office, and Wizardy Buttery Drink among others. There’s many other lovely scents and they’re all made in small batches in Minnesota.

Under $30

Wooden Magic Wands

Gray Magic might be the next Ollivander’s. The wands here are so beautiful, each unique with such character. Oh, and they’re handmade and WOOD, making them absolutely perfect for magic. One of a kind too which makes them very special.

Tabletop glass fireplace

It’s pretty much a Sterno gel fuel but with a great wooden and glass base as well as sand and lava rocks. Great for when you want a fire but don’t have the space for a fire pit or firepace. Remember your fire safety!

Pressed Flower Pendant

This artisan makes really beautiful earth pressed glass, crystal, metal, and earth-based jewelry. It’s actually very fairy tale forest feeling. Delicate, refined work. Perfect for your green witches and crystal hoarders. But there’s something nature inspired for just about everyone.

Scrying Mirror Grimoire Bookmark

Lovely metal bookmarks that are perfect addition for your grimoire. Pewter, glass, brass, and onyx are combined to create something worty of touching your sacred grimoire.

Under $40

CinniBird

This is a tiny handheld device that allows you to create elaborate designs with powdered spices. It’s suppose to be used for making fancy lattes or baking but let’s be for real here – it is literally perfect for witchcraft. Make a sigil out of powdered cinnamon for money or draw a middle finger with cursing powder as a less-than-subtle fuck you curse.

They also have another device called the HocuSpoon on the same website that uses stencils to create images with powdered spices.

DIY Coffee Reading Kit

Tea leaf divination, or tasseomancy, is well-known but you can divine with coffee grounds too. This DIY kit allows you to do just that. Coffee not your thing? There’s lots of DIY kits from Arterno from DIY soap, lip balm, tea, mugs, and more.

Map Cuff Bracelet

Perfect for urban practitioners and witches who work with the local environment. I can definitely see using this bacelet to connect to your homeland or a sacred place where you’ve had amazing experiences in.

Clear Quartz Mini Skull Pipe

Smoking herbal blends is very common in new age practices. If that’s your thing, then you may want to pick up a crystal pipe. Rose quartz are the most popular but there’s a lot of choices of there to choose from.

Under $50

Corked Constellation Ceramic Jar

This is a beautifully created ceramic jar with zodiac constellations on it. Witches love jars so a jar is always a beloved gift. These jars, and the rest of the shop for that matter, are perfect for someone who is looking for a special altar plate or a jar to hold something treasured.

Persephone Pomegranate Seed Earrings

Sterling silver pomegranate seed earrings are absolutely beautiful way to honor Persephone, the dead, and the realm of spirits in general. This shop has fantastic fairy tale and elven inspired jewelry.

Deer Antler Hair Pins set

Hand made brass hair pins turn you into a wood nymph. Their shop had beautiful brass jewelry, hair pins, and spoons inspired by forests in the Ukraine.

Japanese Koi Statement Necklace

Painted and gold, this layered wood necklace is beautiful. The rest of Birch Please is gorgeous too. Seriously, I absolutely love this jewelry artisan. Check out the florals or the adorable Axolotl necklaces too.

Under $100

Moon Phase earrings

Shout out to local Rhode Island artistian jewelry maker AlmanacForJune, these sterling silver set has four adorable post earrings. Match your jewelry to the moon. Also check out the rest of the shop for more moon phase goodness and other new age-y preciouses.

Urin the Gingerbread Mandrake Root Plush

The Beast Peddler sells adorable stuffed mandrakes and other familiar friends. Some of these plushes are seasonally based like this mandrake root and there’s also clothing for your new companion. Each one of a kind, they go fast so be sure to check out their tumbr and social media for posting updates so you can acquire a new friend.

ASK the Cards leather tarot card holder

If cloth isn’t good enough for your cards, or you spend a lot of time travelling with your cards, a hevy duty pouch is a must. This leather tarot card holder has a locking clasp to keep your cards nice and safe and can be customized to add a belt loop or colors as desired. Check out the shop for other deck holders like this one or some unique belts, purses, or other oddities.

Irridescent Stain Glass Aura Quartz Crystal corner piece

Deck your halls with stain glass crystals for the corners of archways and we-never-close-this-door-why-do-we-even-have-a-door-here places. Check out the shop for different colors, spider webs, or moon phase garlands of glass. They’re absolutely beautiful.

$100 +

Moth Wing Cape

Costurero Real creates beautiful butterfly wing capes, velvet capes, skirts, deer antler headbands, and more. I actually selected one of the more expensive items in their shop. You can find some beautiful items here for under $40 but they’re well-known for their butterfly capes.

Folium Oak Wood Pendant

Hand-carved from wood. I can’t even with this artist. I’m convinced they’re actually some sort of tree spirit come to grace us with beauty. Definitely one of a kind.

Crystal Ball Necklace

Quartz crystal balls are lovely for scrying so this necklace not only doubles as a beautiful jewelry piece, it’s also a really low-key divination tool. Perfect for diviners on the go or witches still in the forest (not public or out with their practice).

Diarn Xaghnis

Beautiful hand made wire jewely made with unbeleivable skill. Lunarieen makes so many beautiful pieces worthy of queens.

Hobbit Hole

Ever watch or read Tolkein and think, “damn, I wish I lived in a hobbit hole”? Well, now you can. Kind of. With this kit, you can build your own playhouse, shed, workshop, or chicken coop shaped like a hobbit hole. For about the same cost of a regular shed (or slightly more), you can build your hobbit hold complete with round door and windows. I’ll be honest, I’m eyeing one of these for myself down the road.

Hope the list helps give you some inspiration for your gift giving! Oh, and don’t forget to pop into my own shop This Crooked Crown for one of a kind charm bottles among other magical goodies.

79 Tips, Tricks, & Spells for Halloween 2017 + Sale!

Bonfire by This Crooked Crown

Happy Halloween! Happy Samhain!

I hope you have some amazing plans this Halloween! I don’t personally celebrate Samhain but Halloween is my household’s favorite holiday, hands down. We have as much stuff to decorate for Halloween as we do Yule and it’s not enough.

I’m having a pretty low-key holiday myself. A fabulous witchy dress and hat, of course, but otherwise it’ll be filled with baking, some woo stuff, and passing out candy. It’s sort of a relief to have a quiet holiday. It’s been a crazy couple months and I just got back from a work vacation this weekend. I’m actually super happy to simply have electricity as many people nearby don’t.

Side story: I thank the dead for the fact that I usually have power when my neighborhood doesn’t. My house is, for some reason, on the same power grid as the funeral home across the street and no one else is? So while our power flickered, we didn’t lose it despite the massive storm that took out power for a good portion of our city.

Anyway, what I love about blogging around this time is EVERYONE is posting about spirits. It’s great. I can pick up all sorts of new tips and folklore that way. It’s also prime time for magical rituals and spells. This roundup guide offers tips, tricks, and links on what you can do to to make your night a little more magical.

 

Halloween 2017 Pin

Before you start

Before you get started with your spooky or woo related shenanigans, there’s probably some steps you need to take. My top seven tips and tricks for making contact or dealing with serious spell casting follow.

  1. Make a snack or meal to consume after your working. Carb-y food or sugar-y food is ideal. I typically grab a thick slice of hearty bread or some pasta when I need carbs and a big bowl of fruit and chocolate bits when I need sugar. Make both ahead of time.
  2. Drink water on hand. Getting thirsty during a working is the worst, especially if you’re chanting. Be well-hydrated before you start and make sure you hydrate afterwards. If you’re using alcohol to induce a trance, make sure you have water on hand after your session to hydrate.
  3. If it gets weird, get out. If you’re ghost hunting, contacting a spirit, or any other activity, you can probably leave right away. Thank any spirits for their attention and get out. If you’re in the middle of a spell, quickly but thoroughly finish it and leave the area immediately. Drink some water, take a bath, cleanse yourself, then go do something totally and completely mundane.
  4. Trance safely. Before you use any entheogens, psychedelics, or other trancing method, make sure that you write down what you’re taking and how much. Write down why you’re taking it. Leave a small sample of the consumable along with these notes. This allows emergency medical services to treat you quickly and accordingly if something goes wrong. It also allows you to recreate the circumstances again if you have a good experience that you want to replicate.
  5. Don’t go alone. If you’re doing an outside ritual, traveling, or ghost hunting, go with someone else. Bring a friend who can chill while you do your thing nearby if they’re not willing to lend a hand. Solitude more of your thing? Then make sure to text a friend where you’re going or when you’ve left. There’s a lot of people out there on Halloween and accidents are very common. Be safe.
  6. Practice fire safety. Candle magic is incredibly popular and common. However, practitioners can get carried away. Make sure that you’re practicing fire safety. If you have more than 5-7 candles going at once, keep a fire extinguisher or similar items on hand.
  7. Keep pets indoors. This is more of a Halloween-centric tip than a general one but with so many people out and about on Halloween, it’s a really good idea to keep your pets indoors during this time. I recommend keeping pets inside during outdoor rituals anyway – a dog barking during your chant can really break the mood.

Following those tips can help you out immensely, especially if things get weird and/or powerful. Another good idea is to go armed with lots of information. Here’s a bunch of posts that can help. I’ve also added some posts geared towards “new year” because for some people, they start or end their magical year on Samhain.

 

 

Hearth by This Crooked Crown

Constant vigilance!

Protecting yourself from dangers while cast spells or contacting spirits is important – but it can also be a hindrance. If you’re protected from spirits, then spirits will have a more difficult time communicating with you.

I do recommend protection spells but it’s not a requirement. I don’t use them on myself personally 99% of the time and never when I’m working with spirits or casting spells unless I feel like I’m in danger from something. But, uh, I’m reckless so it’s probably best to not be me and to cast some protection spells before you go out and about with your shenanigans tonight.

Candle Smoke

Getting in touch with a spirit

Getting in touch with spirits can be difficult, especially if you’re not use to it. Samhain often is said to be a thinning of the veil between the spirit realms and the physical world. While the veil between the worlds happens multiple times a year, this one’s pretty consistent.

The following posts should give you some tips to make contact to a wide variety of spirits and beings. They’ll also help you have a good experience and offer some pretty good advice too.

 

Spell and Herb Candle by This Crooked Crown

Spells to cast

You can cast any spell you want any time you want, according to my practice. Here’s a good long list of spells you can give a try.

 

For All Sorts of Money Powder by This Crooked Crown

Cleansing time!

Cleansing yourself after powerful magic or spirit contact is recommended but, again, not a requirement. I often recommend it especially if you’re dealing with multiple energies, like doing group tarot card readings or going to a haunted place with many spirits. It’s also just a good idea in general.

A Cleansing Ritual For House & Home (Spell Saturday #35) – A walking cleansing ritual for your house and physical spaces.

The Curse & Blessing of the Sun (Spell Saturday #49) – A spell that can be used as a curse or as a blessing, using the power of the sun.

 

Cleansing & Cleaning 101 – Because cleaning is a form of cleansing too!

Cleansing Yourself – Post on various methods to cleanse yourself from baneful energy, static energy, or other unwanted things.

Crown’s “Fuck All the Things!” Cleansing and Banishment [tumblr repost] (Spell Saturday #14) – Two spell variations used for cleansing and banishing both spirits and humans.

Simple Water Glass Cleansing for the Witch on the Run – A very simple but effective way to calm and cleanse the self with just a glass of water.

Uncrossing Oneself – Sometimes we repeat baneful or static patterns that are harmful to ourselves. Uncrossing is breaking that cycle.

 

Wheel of the Year wikipedia

Whew! That was a lot of links. I should be back to regular blogging in November. My burn out has abated so I’m back to writing, full-steam ahead. Which is good because NaNoWriMo is less than 24 hours away.

Speaking of writing, if you haven’t, go pick up my novel Spirit Walker. It’s about astral travel and revenge.

One last thing before I let you get back to your candy and binge-watching Hocus PocusThis Crooked Crown is having a 10% off flash sale. Today (10/31) only. All readings and items in the shop are on sale, including the new reading Taming Your Inner Demons.

Happy Halloween & Samhain!

 

 

 

 

Fire’s Vessel [Spell Saturday #60]

This is a spell and ritual to invite the energy of fire into yourself, at the cost of pushing down your connection to other elements. This can be used temporarily or repeated for a more long-term effect.

You might cast this spell as part of a summer solstice or fire-based festival. Or you might do it to gain motivation and keep procrastination at bay. Or you might cast it to gain confidence, courage, and a bit of recklessness. Why you’d do this is up to you.

What happens to the other elements? They’re suppressed a bit so other aspects of your personality and magic might not be as strong during the duration of the spell. This is why the spell has a time duration built in, to avoid long-term or weird side effects.

Fire's Vessel by This Crooked Crown

What you’ll need:

  • A live flame from a candle, fireplace, bonfire, etc.
  • Representation of wind/air
  • Representation of water
  • Representation of Earth

 

At sunrise, light your fire. Set up the element representations around you in a circle. You should be sitting or standing in front of the fire.

Meditation or simply sit quietly thinking about the elements and how you interact with them. Once you think you’re ready or you find your thoughts drifting away entirely or you have nothing else to think about, get ready to begin.

Take a deep breath and say,

“As the sun rises, I become the vessel of fire

I am fire

Free, brave, and wild

I am fire

Bold, strong, and true.”

Now push aside the elemental representations of air, water, and earth.

“Beneath my skin, air, water, and earth will live

But my blood will be fire

Until the sun sets in the my sky.”

Pass your hand from east to west.

“As the moon rises, my fire will bank

My elements will reset.”

You can now blow out the candle and put it aside for solar worship, fire element representation, or to repeat the spell.

Notes:

  • While this spell is written for the classical four element believe, it is completely adaptable to whatever element system you use (assuming you use fire and need the spell at all).
  • Use whatever representations for the elements that you like. Air might be a feather or an empty glass. Water might be a glass of water or collected tears. Earth may be garden soil or stones. You get the idea.

The Awakening Spring Ritual

On my personal spiritual calendar, I have a long festival called “The Awakening”. This is a ritual performed during that time which is used to call up the spring.

 

Let me quickly explain something. While I do have a full spiritual calendar and perform spiritual duties and rituals, they’re not the same thing as my witchcraft. My witchcraft is secular in nature. It stands alone and apart from my spirituality. A ritual of this nature isn’t witchcraft for me (but it might be for you.) That’s probably a bit confusing but I’ll go more into my secular witchcraft vs spirituality in a later post.

 

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Tulips!

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Planning the Awakening Ritual first requires a look at the calendar. The ritual always starts on March fourth but I’m not super strict with my calendar. Since this year the fourth was a bitterly cold day below freezing I pushed the ritual back two days to the sixth where the weather was suppose to be sunny and above freezing and the Moon would be in Gemini (my Sun Zodiac Sign). I hoped the weather would be a bit warmer but I have to compromise in some places usually.

Next I gathered up the items that remind me of spring. This takes quite a bit of running around and preparation on my part. Fresh flowers are an absolute must. Melted snow is also a requirement, gathered back during the last snowstorm. Clean, cool, clear water is collected from a local stream but I also used bottled water and purified tap water too.

 

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Pretty pink roses!

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Fragrant floral tea, handmade juice, pitchers of lemonade, milk, and that clean drinkable water are served alongside a fresh salad, a thin green soup, mountains of fruits and vegetables, and freshly baked bread. Small cakes, shortbread tea cookies, honey, and fruit smoothies are laid out for the taking. Flowers and scented candles are table decorations. Bright, cheerful instrumental dancing music plays throughout the ritual.

A spring dress or robe is also selected in a light or pastel color. Sandals or flat shoes are selected but ditched at the first available moment. Typically, the ritual is held outside under the bright sun but if that’s not possible, an indoor picnic occurs instead. In either case soft blankets and numerous pillows offer comfort and rest. Space is left for dancing and singing.

 

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Close up ♡

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Spirits are invited to join in the festivities, if they wish as are humans. Offerings taken from the food and drink are for all to enjoy, whether human or otherwise. Most often though, the ritual is merely held within the company of servitors.

Table or ground serves as the ritual space. A plate of fresh greens and a cups made from the skin of fruits are used to serve the season of spring its own offering. The food served to spring is only made of ingredients that wildlife can eat. Spring is treated as an honored guest and is amused by singing, dancing, and storytelling. When the chill of evening starts, a hole is dug in the garden and the offerings given to spring are buried in it with a sincere prayer for spring’s growth and blessings to the participants.

 

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A little breath of spring on this super cold day.

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During the rest of the festival, spiritual cleansing and cleaning of shrines or ritual spaces takes place. Shelves are scrubbed with blessed water and new items may be procured as needed.

Most of the festival is actually taken up by journeys to each and every local land spirit and giving them offerings from the feast. This can be somewhat arduous because you have to hope the food doesn’t spoil before you get to hike out to some distant rock cropping to leave the offering.

Some of these journeys are rather long. I’ve even gone as far north as New Hampshire to make these offerings and sometimes as far as New Jersey or even western Connecticut. Each offering is something like a business meeting and wake up call. Negotiations made be made as needed but usually it’s just a simple hello.

At the end of the Awakening Festival, I bring it all back with a smaller feast that’s more akin to a tea party back home. It’s a good time but is the first big festival of the year so a lot of work goes into it.

Book Review: When Santa Was A Shaman by Tony van Renterghem – 4/5

When Santa Was A Shaman by Tony van Renterghem – 4/5 – You should be reading this

WARNINGS: None? Olde Religion conflations (but not really?)

The word “Gypsie” is used but refers to the Romani people specifically, supports them as a people, and mentions the oppression they suffer. “Shaman” as a word and concept discussed heavily. Racism and cultural appropriation are discussed heavily throughout the entire review but it’s subject material more than criticism. This book is good for soft polytheists. Hard polytheists like me probably will have a tough time with it.

When I picked up this book at the library, I expected a book describing various myths and stories about Santa and then disassembling and examining them. That’s not what this book is. This book is, without a doubt, a text presenting a singular theory. While written for a larger audience, this book is an academic at heart so plan accordingly. There’s a lot of stuff packed in these pages. I was disappointed that the book was no what I expected – I kept thinking it would suddenly start breaking down Santa Claus myths but it didn’t. Still, it’s a good bit of academic detective work and work a read. Especially if you’re into Herne the Hunter or you’re a soft polytheist or divine archetype believer.

This review is a hot mess and I think that reflects my feelings on this book. Rarely am I so conflicted with a book. Usually, I’m pretty decisive when it comes to these sorts of things. I’m perfectly able to say “I like this book despite X things”. I’m more on the fence about it because I like what the book does but I’m not sold by the theory so I have a hard time with it. This review is scattered, bouncing around with topics, and overall is a mess.


 

First, let me cover some basic info. I don’t usually review history books. Modern history and comparative religions isn’t actually my cup of tea. Prehistory, folklore, and death rituals were always my area of study. I majoring in archaeology and folklore in college. So I avoid getting into these sorts of discussions because they’re not my forte nor do I want them to be. I am perfectly aware that I do not possess the right kind of background knowledge to have a complete discussion on the origins of Christmas. I don’t have any Christian background so I cannot possibly offer a comparison. I freely admit this. It’s not something I want to study. Other people actually like and know this stuff, so why not let them make informative posts?

Now, I am NOT a fan of comparison religion studies. Or, what I mean is I don’t like seeing deities compared point by point to each other. Like Odin and Jesus being compared. Yes, they are comparable, but they’re not the same entity to me so it irks me to see them compared this way. Like comparing fruits or something. “Hey, you hung on a tree and you hung on a dead tree! You’re the same!” You rarely get actual contrasts with these studies too. I’ll be flat out honest: this is because I’m a hard polytheist.

That being said, I picked up this book on a whim at the library and thought, hey, let’s review it. So here it is. You’ve been warned.

Next, I have so many mixed feelings about this book. At first, I was surprised and liked it, then I was iffy. At some points I was actively unhappy with it., and now I’m back to “ehhhhh, maybe????” In fact, I went through all those emotions in the first chapter. Why? I’m not sure. It’s a mix of reasons.

This book is written by a man from the Neatherlands, who moved to the US and worked as a historical researched for Hollywood before moving back to the Netherlands. (I’ll come back to his origins later) So he’s a historian but not an academic one. Normally, that doesn’t bother me. Getting college degrees is super expensive and taxing so lots of people are experts on stuff but don’t have that piece of paper to prove it. Not a big deal to me. But he’s an actual badass. WWII vet, escaped from Nazi’s after being condemned to death, traveled the world. That kind of badass. I mentioned this specifically because the author does reference his own knowledge and experiences.

This book is also published by Llewellyn which has a not-so-great history of publishing rubbish. It was published in 1995. Additionally, and this is a more personal pet peeve, there aren’t any footnotes. There’s a bibliography but nowhere does it tell you which information came from which book. This is problematic because some of the course material of this book has been discredited or more evidence has come to light. Without footnotes, you can’t weed through which material is still good.

The other issue with older books is that things were adopted via cultural appropriation or there’s some sort of racist undertones of something, that at the time was part of normal society. Don’t mistakes my meaning here – just because something was OK in the 1950s doesn’t mean it was OK then and doesn’t mean it’s OK now. Just because you didn’t know what you were doing is wrong doesn’t mean it isn’t wrong. Live and learn from your mistakes. Try to do better.

Finally, this book uses the word “shaman”. Let me talk about the word “shaman”. It’s a word that originates from the Saami people (BTW, they’re from the same world region as the Neatherlands). It was used by anthropologists as a catch all for primitive magic workers or religious leaders. It should not be used this way. The Saami people are still around and, more importantly, each group of people that “Shaman” is attributed to have their own word for practitioners. Use that word.

There’s also an underlying level of racism attached to the word “shaman”. It rides the line of the “noble savage” trope and “magical savage” trope. Both of which are so racist that it makes my stomach turn. These tropes rely on the idea that “savages” (I.E. anyone NOT a Victorian anthropologist) are uncivilized and White Man has to civilize them – often forcibly and often at the cost of the POC’s original culture. This works with the second trope as well. Because POCs are somehow “lesser” (read: “savages”)  their religions and cultures, especially their magical practices, are more magical. Because they’re less “civilized” and “closer to nature” or some other made up bullshit like that. Which then means that White Man are superior in some way because they’re not as close. Or, the reserve is suggested – the culture in question is spiritually greater because they’re not technically greater (but there’s still generally the idea that the culture lacks something, as a whole).

All of the above said, the word “shaman” is being used in an anthropological sense, not as a catch-all or buzz word. It means a magical practitioner. It means a priests of a culture’s religion. It means a spiritual leader. I’m still not happy with it’s usage but it’s the same unhappiness I have when I read anthropological texts and they use the word. So, I’m not happy but most people wouldn’t see this as an issue at all.

But there’s some weirdness here I can’t quite identify. It reminds me strongly of some of my older anthropology texts, without the overt racism. It’s not quite glorification of paganism either. It’s… I don’t know. Maybe it’s because many ideas are presented as the Sole Source for something and generally speaking, especially with ancient beliefs, there isn’t a singular source. But at the same time, the author doesn’t present everything as a singular source. It’s sort of a “there’s lots of things here and they all don’t have the same origin but the heart of the matter is the same”. He fully acknowledges that cultures help develop religions. There’s a slight bias again Christianity, perhaps, but maybe more of the style of religion that Christianity has rather than Christianity itself.

But, this book doesn’t really specify any specific tradition. It kind of covers the Christmas gambit. It also separates out pagan practices from Christian ones and makes a distinction between Xmas tree and Christmas tree – one being Christian and the other not.

I think part of my dislike comes from the “this is where this ancient idea came from, without a doubt” statements made. It’s a mistake commonly made by writers who want to present ideas to the general population rather than academics – simplify things so readers get the information without realizing that we know relatively little for certain. Read an academic paper and you’ll find a lot of “we believe”, “we think”, “the evidence suggest”, “therefore” scattered throughout. Because there’s probably going to be evidence later on providing either more context or disprove the theory. Scientists are usually OK with saying, “this works, we don’t know why, but let’s run some tests to figure out why” whereas most of the populace just wants concrete answers.

There’s the idea of Olde Religion mentioned. But it’s weird. He fully acknowledges the religions aren’t all the same but he tends to group all pagans together. Which, you know, isn’t right. I think he’s aiming for soft polytheism and archetypes with this idea rather than saying all pagan religions everywhere are the same or are one religion. But “the pagans” is a term used freely throughout the book and I’m not sure if it’s intended to be a way to talk about those who worshiped pagan religions or a united people under one pagan religion. I think the Olde Religion refers to the local pagan religion but it’s not explicitly stated to mean that so… I don’t know. I think my conflict would be resolved if the author simply wrote “Olde Religions”. Adding that plural ending would have made all the difference to me.

This comes apparent when he discusses in brief major cultures like the Celtic. The Celts weren’t really a wholly united people (neither were the Norse until much later) so by his own presented logic there’s going to be differences in religion. And there were. Regionalization of religion, even the same religion, is definitely a thing. Not often acknowledged but it’s a reality we have to face.  But when discussing the Greco-Roman he says Herne is now Pan and that’s just… ugh. What? There’s a LOT of research on Greece and Roman religions (which aren’t the same) and while there is some mixing among the cultures you can’t just say one god is the other – unless you’re going with soft polytheism and an archetype belief. Which is fine (not my thing but I get it). It’s just presented in a weird way.

Herne the Hunter is presented as a major figure and the source of Santa. I do see the connection but let’s cover some real talk here. Herne the Hunter is first written of in Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor as a spirit that haunts Windsor forest. (The author states the Shakespeare connection himself). Given he probably existed as a oral legend previously, he’s still not this hugely ancient figure. He’s certainly not universal. He’s a folk legend from England. But he was popular, especially with the Victorians. He’s linked to a crapton of other deities though – Cernunnos, Odin, Pan, and so on. Pretty much any horned deity. Let me be clear. I have no problem with Herne being considered a deity or being worshiped as a deity. I have no issues with him being an archetype or an epithet of another deity. I have minor issues with Herne being presented as a individual ancient deity because the evidence doesn’t support that. So when the author uses Herne the Hunter as his base for a horned deity, it makes me frown unhappily. It fits with the soft polytheism ideaology being presented though.  (BTW, Gaia isn’t mentioned to the same extent as Herne the Hunter but the author kind of presents her as a general archetype too and I make frowny faces at that as well).

 

Sexuality is handled in an interesting way in the book. The author goes out of his way to state that he uses the term man as a universal general term rather than devoting everything immediately to the masculine. But he does it to avoid the awkward he/she. In the rendition about the discovery of fire (page 8), it was a young woman who touched it first before dancing with it then presenting it to the eldest male. Though afraid, the eldest male was not “to be outdone by a mere girl” and that prompted him to utilize the fire. Then the two of them had sex because fire is sexy. Like any study of culture and religion, sex is discussed in terms of symbolism and so on.

As a side note, the information on STDs isn’t fully accurate. It’s mentioned in a single paragraph on page 66. Syphilis, for example has origins of around Columbus’ time and the origins might go back further, being conflated with cases of leprosy. New evidence suggests even older origins, if I recall my readings right. In historical context, some group it along with smallpox and the bubonic plague in terms of deaths. There’s lots of misinformation on sex out there. Let’s not spread any more of it, OK? OK.

Fire is a repeating theme in the book and is covered consistently. Through fire, the importance of plants were examined (since you burn wood and plants to create fire)

As to the subject matter itself? I think most readers who have done research on the origins of Christmas (or read posts and/or rants on the subject) will be aware of a some of the knowledge. I think. The information isn’t basic or everyday knowledge but if you’re interested in the subject, you’ll probably be aware of a good portion of the material. Some of the specific rituals and tidbits of knowledge are more obscure. The author dug into a lot of academic sources so sometimes the material may seem a bit dense to a casual reader. But anthropology is my field of study so maybe I’m bias?

Anyway, part one covers the history of Christmas in general. Part two actually talks about Santa. Kind of. I picked up the book because of the potential for study on Santa (who is something of a god-hero for me). Santa is presented here as having origins of the Shaman and here specifically but that isn’t explicitly stated until page 93.

Once we do start digging into Santa himself, it gets to the meet of things. There’s a breakdown of various Santa Claus like figures across the world. But the chapter ended far too quickly for my liking. The library copy of the book has a delightful foldout for “The Family Tree of Santa Claus” breaking down various related individuals to the Santa Claus myth.

The later chapters follow the fictional story of Bjorn which illustrates much of what was being previously discussed. A lengthy conclusion wraps everything up nicely. I quite liked the commentary on magic, as a definition. The conclusion is a commentary. It summarizes things and goes more into personal beliefs of the author.

The rest of the book consists of a glossary, bibliography, index, credits, and so on.

Overall, this book read more like an academic text written for a wider audience. It wouldn’t be out of place in an anthropology class as topical reading. It’s definitely something of interest to read if you’re looking for a more academic text without digging through academic papers. That being said, be aware that academic texts present ideas and theories to an audience. They are suppose to present a theory that follows the evidence at hand. That’s what this book is doing.

Is it a text looking at folklore and stories of Santa Claus and examining them? No. That’s what I expected and that’s definitely not what I got. That being said, this book wasn’t a waste of time and offered a great deal of information and insight into this theory. I liked the book and I do recommend it if you want a more academic reading about the origins of Christmas and winter rituals.

If you’ve stuck with me this far, I’m SUPER impressed.  This review was probably a bit tough and technical to get through. Gold star for you!