Elemental Combinations

I don’t really use elements in your traditional ritual set up. I do sometimes use them but it’s often in a more alchemical way than an earth-air-fire-water way.

One of my favorite ways to use elements is to combine them.

A good example of elemental combinations is an air plant. An air plant largely lives on air (with the occasional misting of water) but it’s still a plant so it’s an earth element. That’s three associations (air-water-earth) to deal with for one tiny little plant!

But elemental combinations are actually a really smart way to help set up an altar or a spell on the go. You can just roll with it. Instead of packing a ton of ritual items, you can just pack one or two herbs and that can suffice. It helps if you travel a lot, do a lot of on-the-go rituals, or need to be low-key.

It can also lend a lot of strength to ritual magic. By adding extra fire in a ritual, you’re creation more power so speed things along and adding passion or anger.

Elemental combinations also have the benefit of being dual purpose so you can bring two different energies into a spell at the same time. Need both fire and water? A dried water plan may be the best way to go – just burn it with a candle.

One thing to consider when doing elemental combinations is how they affect one another. Fire and water obviously don’t mix unless you want to destroy the fire or evaporate the water. Similarly, air and earth don’t always get along either. They can change one another though. Air (and water and fire) can all move earth by force. Wind can blow soil, erosion can destroy shorelines, and fire burns through the ground when it can. However, earth can strength air by tunneling it through canyons and caves, water seeps into the ground so it can spread everywhere, and fire lives on wood and natural gases for decades. Similarly, air can strength fire to an uncontrollable level or it can blow a flame out.

In general, all the elements can strengthen and weaken one another, when used in the right balance. You just have to stop and think about how an element functions and what kind of action you want it to perform.

When you combine multiple elements, make sure you’re keeping them in the balance you want. If you only want a little earth, then pick something with a less strong earth element. In my air plant example above, earth is the weakest of the elements because while an air plant is a plant, it isn’t planted in the soil. Water actually is actually stronger with an air plant because you do need to water air plants as needed. Air, obviously, is the strongest of all for an air plant.

Of course, the thing with element associations is that they are NOT universal. Asian occult systems have a lovely elemental system that includes the very combination I’m expressing here in a different way – but they use five elements: earth, air, water, fire, metal. Every practitioner will need to rely on their cultural or traditional folklore in addition to their own personal associations.

Want a quick way to look up correspondences? Check out my online sourced correspondences list.

Does this post look familiar? That’s because some of it appeared in this post from 2017. I’ve expanded upon it here to get further into details on how elemental combinations work.


Witchcraft 101: Adapting Spells

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.

The first stop in adaptations is to a correspondence chart or list of some kind. I have one available here, which is sourced and ever-growing.

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.

Hope that helps! Happy casting!


Handwriting as Sympathetic Magic

Sympathetic magic is the umbrella term for magic spells or techniques that a person or thing can be affected through their name or an object that represents them. The most common form of this is poppet magic.

There’s two facets of this type of magic. The first is imitation, such as that of a poppet, where the object is created to imitate the target. The second is contagion or contact, where the object has been touched or comes from the target, such as hair or a shirt.

These terms originate from Sir James George Frazer of The Golden Bough fame. But sympathetic is a fairly worldwide phenomena and has been evidenced since prehistoric times. Archaeologist and anthropologists are studying modern hunter and gatherer peoples to partially inform over the actions of previous hunter /gatherer peoples. In short, there is a theory that some cave paintings are linked to sympathetic magic or were at least created by magicians and/or shamans in trance states (where they probably would be working sympathetic magics).

As said, poppets and hair are the most common forms of sympathetic magic, but there are many others. The soil from a footprint, someone’s pillow case, a shirt, fingernails, blood, skin, a favorite book, urine, underwear, jewelry, eyeglasses, and so much more. Pretty much anything can be used in this fashion. Including handwriting.

While the lore behind names carries a great many magical rules, such as don’t share your name with spirits. In fact, the fear of someone’s name being used against them magically is one of the reason magical practitioners take on false or magical names. Other reasons include anonymity, safety reasons, initiation rites, and magical ritualization (ie, the shedding of the modern self or of the mundane skin for magical acts), among others.

Handwriting is a very weird and rarely used magical component, but it can be so incredibly useful – and dangerous.

Think about it: you write your name out and your signature is your key and gateway to a great many things. You sign contracts, you sign checks, you sign a variety of things to something as being true. As recognizing it as something you’re agreeing to. It is the very essence of magic, in its own way. If someone has your signature, then it’s proof of your agreement. It’s held as a representation of you, in the mundane world. So your signature is as good as your hair or blood in the magical world. And it can be attached to any kind of spell and used against you.

Makes you think twice, doesn’t it?

Digital signatures should be counter in this, assuming that the signature is true to form. (Or as true as possible) Digital signatures are notoriously hard to get accurate compared to pen and paper signatures, so it may be that you’re automatically safe simply because you can’t actively replicate your own signature digitally.

Of course, you still wrote it and it was still accepted as a signature, so it could probably be still used against you, even if the affect isn’t as strong.

On the same vein of thought, handwriting is uniquely personal. You can probably tell who’s who just from the handwriting alone. This was especially true in the days before computers. It’s so personal that handwriting, such as a handwritten note, can be used in place of hair or a poppet in a sympathetic spell.

It has a variety of usages when one starts thinking of it, including but not limited to the following:

  • Love letters can be used in any number of love spells, including marriage, drawing a certain person towards you, or fidelity charms.
  • A signature or letter can be used to protect someone.
  • Career or success spells can be done by signing your name as the new title you want to achieve.
  • Write your name with your partner’s surname to encourage a relationship or even marriage. (Never thought that kind of school daydream doodling would come back at you like this, did you?)
  • If a patient writes down their symptoms, the written notes can be used in healing spells.
  • A landlord may use a handwritten note or contract to get rid of a renter who refuses to pay.
  • An IOU can be used to compel a repaying of favors.
  • A businessman could use a handwritten contract or signature to get rid of a bad client.
  • A customer can get back at a bad sales agreement or business by a mutually signed contract.
  • The signatures on a badly negotiated contract can be used to fix or create a new contract.
  • A vast number of curses.

So how can you protect your signature or handwriting? There’s a few ways.

First, you can take on a magical name, one that you use exclusively in dealings with the magical world. Like an online handle. You’re known by that and that alone. Sign magical dealings with that name. It’s still you, but there’s a degree of separation that might help mitigate magical spells against you.

You can also purposely write differently than you normally do when dealing with magical things. A good example would be writing a note to a fellow magical practitioner. Maybe you change how you write a few letters, just enough so that it throws off the sympathetic magic and disrupts it.

You can also consider writing in anti-magic ink. Essentially, this is handmade ink created with anti-magic or anti-witchcraft properties. Anything written in this would work like normal ink, but if used in a spell, the ink should counteract or at least mess up the spell in question. Of course, that holds true for your own spells, so be aware of that.

It’s something to think of. Magicians and practitioners tend to do a lot of handwriting, as part of our crafts and practices. It may be a good idea to keep track of how you write or who you share your handwriting with.

It’s also a good idea to think of how you can use your handwriting to represent you. Maybe writing out those affirmations will have more meaning that simply saying them aloud. Maybe you can write yourself a better, happier, healthier future. It’s worth exploring.

Heat Magic

Heat magic is a form of magic using heat as a conductor of or influence to spells. In short, it’s hot as balls, so might as well cast some spells.

Heat magic is, for real, any time you work magic invoking or using heat as an element within the spell or working. So if you’re using the heat of a flame in a spell, that’s both heat and fire magic. It can be really useful, which I’ll talk about a bit later.

First, let’s talk about heat, in general. (Warning for casual and probably ill-explained science ahead). When we’re talking about how hot it is for our bodies in regards to the weather, we’re actually not just referring to the temperature. I mean, yes, we do say “how hot is it out there?” And we know from the number thrown at us that it’s hot. But, heat doesn’t exist alone, so there’s some other things you need to calculate.

We also need to factor in the sun’s brightness (because standing in bright sunlight is nice for about 5 seconds until it’s not) You also need to calculate the wind’s strength and where that wind’s coming from and how hot the wind is (because hot, stale wind on your face is just gross is like the earth’s breathing on you.)

You also need to add in the most important thing: the humidity amount. Humidity affects humans because we cool our bodies by condensation (we sweat). When it’s hot and dry, the water joins the air and goes on a wonderful journey that is Somewhere Else beyond your body and you’d care more if it wasn’t so bloody hot. That doesn’t happen when the humidity is high. When the humidity is high, there’s so much water grossness in the air, it’s like a swamp. Seriously, imagine a swamp – that’s what the air is when it’s humid out. It can make a cooler temperature in general, so much more miserable and hot, because there’s so much humidity in the air.

Additionally, one must remember that we acclimate to our regions and environments. So while someone in South Cali is like “110 today? Huh, it was hotter yesterday” and sneers at someone in New York is complaining about the 90 degrees in their area, one must remember that 1) the regional weather is not the same, so it might actually feel like 110 in New York, even if the weather app says otherwise. 2) While it might be normal for South Cali to experience that kind of heat, but it may not be in New York. People aren’t prepared for unusual weather patterns in their regions. This is why, when it snows in Florida, people lose their damn minds. And 3) people have different needs and therefore some people get more uncomfortable in certain kinds of weather than other people. And 4) that mocking people for complaining about the weather, a thing we all experience, is pretty fucking shitty among strangers on the internet. So let’s ease up people.

(By the way, all of the above, also hold true for cold temperatures. Just an FYI).

How you imagine heat will change depending on what kind of heat you’re accustom to. In Rhode Island, we have high humidity regularly pretty much all year long. It often rains and the humidity  stays right where it is, which is a kick in the teeth, let me tell you. It’s like “oh, it might rain today! Yay!” Thunderstorms rolls in for forty minutes, spitting warm water at you, then rolls out. “Oh, it made no difference at all, except it’s wet now. ” It’s fun.

When I imagine heat, I imagine it in three ways. Heat from fire and ovens, which is smoldering and directionally hot. Another is from heat in general, like standing in the sun and soaking in that warmth like a cat. The third is humid warmth where everything is a hot soupy swamp and no amount of iced coffee can help it.

Depending on your goal, pick a day embodied by your form of heat magic. Healing spells I’ll use sunny days, but I’ll reserve high humidity days for curses or spells that need extra energy.

Why heat magic? Well, it’s as natural as it comes. It’s a form of nature and weather. Controlling fire is one of the key discoveries of humankind, so working with fire magic is a good way to connect to older energies or ancestor worship. It’s also super low-key and needs no tools. You don’t need a cup of water like you might with water magic or a handful of dirt like in earth magic. You just need to open a window or step outside. (And then be miserable because HOT). It’s also a good way to work regionally within your practice, because your weather is localized to your direct environment.

Heat magic can be used in the same way you might use magic during a storm. You can simply cast the spell on the heat-soaked day. You can also use the heat as an ingredient, by “capturing” the heat in a jar (it will literally be a jar of air). It can be invoked (IE “by the heat of the day”.  It can be directed, like opening up an oven, and saying your spell with the heat blasting your face.

There’s lots of ways heat magic can be useful. You might have already given heat magic a try, by using the heat from a candle in a spell. If you haven’t, see what kind of spells you can come up with that might use heat magic. Who knows, you may find a new favorite spell medium and if not, at least you’ll have something else to do when it’s too hot to move or care.

7 Magical Things to Do When You Want Love (But Don’t Want Romance)

Valentine’s Day is almost upon us. Even if you don’t pay any attention to this couple-centic holiday, many pagan related festivals also focus on love (or sex). But what about the times in between?

Have any of you ever been at a point in your life when you’re ready to encourage new love into your life but you don’t quite know how to do that? Or you’re not really ready to dip your toes into the dating pool? It could also be that you just don’t have a ton of love in your life and you want more of it. You could be single and actually really love being single but that doesn’t mean you don’t get lonely occasionally. Or you might be asexual but that doesn’t mean that you don’t want love or cuddles sometimes. Love is not a singular thing but a many branched tree and many times there’s lots of branches that are forgotten or ignored.

Whatever your reason may be, there’s a lot of reasons why people may want love but aren’t willing to ready to dive into the big stuff like formal spells or dating apps. This is a list for people in those in between places that’s not here or there.


7 Magical Things to Do When You Want Love (But Don't Want Romance)


01 Take a luxurious bath with all the works

This is commonly seen as a self-care or self-love tactic (and you’ll be seeing a lot of those as well here) but it’s also super good when you want to attract something to you.

Specifically, this would be the reason you break out the fancy candles and the soaps that you never use. Make up some salt or sugar scrubs or buy some. Make sure that you’re alone, if possible, and you’re ready to dedicate some time to this.

You may also want to find some music or white noise soundscapes to add in. This is a personal choice. Maybe you want some sexy musics or your favorite tunes. Maybe you want to set the mood for yourself with music that reflects the kind of love you want to experience or you feel a spiritual connection to a song or type of sound and want that to play while you’re bathing. Reading a book or scrolling through your feed or watching a movie while you’re in the bath is always an option.

Before you set up the bath, however, take a shower. Wash off the old you before you set up the bath. During that time, focus on cleansing and rejuvenation techniques and spells. Meditation is also a good choice during the shower portion. Then ready the bath right after that.

The purpose of taking a bath like this is to not only give yourself some primping and care, but also to wash away all the old gunk that might be attached to you. The bath gives you a chance to bring up a little luxury, glamour, and more positive aspects of yourself that you’ve forgotten. You might not ever remember or need to wear your jasmine perfume but you can bath in jasmine scented soap and get the same effect, even if all you do is crawl into a pair of sweats afterward and binge watch Netflix.


02 Keep some of your hair

People have a thing about hair. Some people find it really gross. Others find it extremely attractive. And some folks don’t care either way. Only some hair is considered socially unacceptable on certain bodies and some hair is considered unacceptable at all times, even though it naturally grows?

It’s kind of weird to me since our hair is typically some of the cleanest parts of the body because we often use very harsh chemicals on it. (Plus, so long as you have access to a good diet and water, your hair often maintain itself in non-extreme temperatures without any chemical cleaning agents at all.) The hair on your head is probably cleaner than your hands, for example. It’s weird.

Hair, however, is an incredibly traditional ingredient in magic, especially love magic. Next time to get a haircut or trim, keep some of your hair if you can. Wrap it in a red cloth and put the whole bundle in a box. Keep the box somewhere safe where no one else may run across it but it’s still close and accessible (under the bed or in a bedside table is a good place)

Before you tuck that box away though, put in some love-drawing ingredients. It may be rose quartz or dried rose petals. (Some coins wouldn’t go amiss either, I’m sure.) The idea is that the box holds a part of you. It’s you, so treat it carefully and with love. Add items to the box that you want to bring into your life and keep it safe.


03 Tell the birds

Do you live near trees or often see birds nearby? Tell the birds what you’re looking for when it comes to love.

This can definitely be something that makes the neighbors think you’re an odd duck, but it’s definitely something that will work. Tell the birds, who are often chatterboxes and knowledgeable in folklore, about what you’re looking for. Afterwards, look for that same bird species as a sign or omen of potential love.


04 Tell the wind

Telling the birds might give you omens and signs of when potential lovers are nearby, but telling the wind can bring you even more peculiar things.

On a windy day, go outside and whisper the kind of love you’re looking for. Be specific as you’d like. Tell the wind how you’d like to spend a windy day with the love you’d like to have. For example, if you want a platonic cuddle buddy, then describe how on a windy day you’d curl up together and watch Practical Magic and eat brownies.

The thing with telling the wind what you’re looking for versus the birds is that birds only bring local and potential love. The wind may bring you a best friend that lives across the world that you’ll only ever get to have video chats with.


05 Pick your love song

Have you ever heard a song that’s just exactly the kind of love you want to experience? Or maybe it’s a song used during a scene where the characters share the exact kind of love or relationship you want to have. It might be a song classic or it could be something a Disney song. It could be instrumental or it might be from a musical. Whatever your song is, you probably have on in mind.

Use that! Pick your song and play it whenever you feel lonely. Make a whole playlist if you want. Play the song or songs before you head on when you’re feeling up to meeting new people or want to find love.

Love songs are often used for just couples. Pick a song that represents the love you want to feel and use that like a blanket of comfort and warmth. This is officially permission to listen to cheesy love songs just because you like them.

Can’t think of a song? You can write one or use a poem which you stick to music.


06 Grow a Plant

Flowers are often gifted as presents during this season but buying yourself a plant and reading up on how to love and care for it is pretty amazing. It’s saying, “I want you to live and be happy so I can live and be happy.”

The more you care for a plant, the more it cares for you. Tell your plant what you want from a lover (or your life in general) and care for the plant as best you can.

It can be any kind of plant you want, from a big leafy palm to a delicate orchid. It’s up to you. Pick something that you find interesting or pretty and just pick one. Focus on learning everything you can to take care of that plant.

As it grows, it should allow you to share some of the love bottled up inside of you. Sometimes we have too much love in our bodies for the amount of love we are allowed to share. This is an excellent way of sharing that love without getting weird looks.


07 Carry your tears and heartache

This one is tricky but it’s really good for when you’ve been hurt a lot by love and want someone who understands.

Get a small bottle or locket that you can carry with you. Whenever you cry or feel terrible because you’re lonely or want love, hold the bottle or locket, open it up, and let your tears fall onto it. Tell your hurts to the charm, pouring your heart out. Be as honest as you’d like to be. Cry over your ex. Complain about how you can never find someone who wants what you want. Express yourself.

Just be sure to tell the bottle or locket not just how sad and cruel the world is, but also what you want to feel when it comes to love. Add in some self-love for yourself too. Go ahead and flatter yourself. Tell all those things to this object and carry it with you everyone. You’ve poured out your heart and soul to this thing and and it will look for someone who will mimics what you want in life.

This doesn’t have to be a bottle or locket but it could be a necklace, pair of earrings, a handbag, a journal, etc. It should be something you can hold.


There’s lots of other things you can do. The thing is to think about what you want to be feeling and experiencing. If you want someone to come over and hang out, cuddle and play video games, then look for that. Adapt spells for that. Love doesn’t just have to be about sex or romance. It can be a lot of things. Allow yourself to feel love, in whatever form you need.




Pop Culture Spells Are Real Spells

I’m sure you’ve heard it before. “That’s not a real spell” or “You can’t use that spell from Charmed” or my personal favorite “You need to use a spell from a real spell book not one that you made up or stole from TV.”

Some of my followers are laughing. You should be. The sad part is I’ve actually been told these things by other witches. I’ve heard them from actual people actually saying and believing this.

So I’m going to say this straight: this kind of thinking is illogical, infuriating, and bullshit.

Candle Smoke

Someone had to write those spells. Even in your precious “real spell book” (whatever that means because what separates a spell book from other books except intent and instructions?). I’m not even going to touch the fact that some actually people believe you shouldn’t write your own spells (or that you need a particular skill level or talent for it). Nope, I’m not going there. But I will go to that place where I can rant about the other stuff.

I’ve used spells from all sorts of places. TV shows, movies, books, poetry, video games, songs, instrumental music, even humming. I’ve used it all. None of the spells have failed because they were written for a video game. None. If they failed it was because a) Turning into a dragon is a bit out of reach at the moment (but who knows in the future?) b) I didn’t actually put effort into the spell and/or was just fooling around c) I didn’t power or empower the spell properly (look, unicorn horn and dragon teeth are kind of hard to come by, OK?) d) spells sometimes fail.

Let me give some examples of the cool shit I’ve done with spells from media forms:

  • Hair support spell – TV, slightly altered to turn from a curse into something more useable on myself
  • Attraction spell – a mix up of two songs with selected and slightly altered verses.
  • Short-term construct (created familiar) – song, verbatim
  • Mirror scrying spell – children’s book
  • Curse – based on a curse from a spell book, re-adapted for my novel, then re-adapted to be less vicious and used in real life.
  • Protection spells – general idea used by thousands of media forms AND witches
  • Harvesting spell – humming
  • Blessing for the dead – movie
  • Water boiling – a play
  • Annual festival ritual opening – poems
  • Annual festival ritual closing – anime / manga
  • Healing spell – Disney movie
  • Faerie conversation opener / spell – video game

All of these, by the way, worked as they were intended to. All of these were used in the same year.

Spell and Herb Candle by This Crooked Crown

Why is a spell written for a video game is less… whatever than one written by a magical practitioner from a hundred years ago? Why are words of a dead person considered more valid? They aren’t casting the damn spell. You are. So it doesn’t really matter where the spell came from because you’re casting it. You. You can turn anything into a spell. Even humming.

(The only exception I’ll make is if the spell itself is a living spell that gains power the more you use it. But that’s the only exception and I’ve never actually seen a spell like that in any books or ever used as an argument so we’ll put that exception aside.)

I really don’t understand the logic of a person who says “that’s not a real spell”. When they are asked to explain why that example isn’t a real spell they never say “because there’s no vocalizations, so it’s really just a working” (which, in my opinion, would be a valid argument and then the word choices would change for the rest of the discussion appropriately). They never say that. They just say “you can’t use a spell from Final Fantasy! You just can’t.” When asked to further explain, they’ll simply keep saying “Because it’s not a real spell.” It’s a circle of fallacy.

What people mean when they say something’s not a real spell is that it was not written by a practitioner for a practitioner to be used as a spell. That’s what they’re saying. And that’s bullshit. It’s also poisonous thinking.

No spell is valid until you do the spell and verify it for yourself. I don’t care that Sparkly Pony Butt the Greatest Witch There Is says the spell works. You. Didn’t. Do. The. Spell. If you didn’t test it, then there’s no it’ll work just because Sparkly Pony Butt says so. If you do the spell and it does work? Great! Even if the spell doesn’t work, that doesn’t mean the spell still isn’t valid just because it didn’t work for you. You are one person. You can’t invalidate an entire body of work just because it didn’t work for you. You might not like Game of Thrones but that doesn’t mean it isn’t valid entertainment to other people, right?

For All Sorts of Money Powder by This Crooked Crown

On that idea, you can’t invalidate a spell from some media form just because it was written for a character. The character used it, didn’t they? The spell most likely worked for them too. So… why can’t it work for you? What? Because magic is different from their fictional world? The results might be less flashy and different but you’ll probably still get results. Using media forms for spells is brilliant. I’ll give you some example:

You broke up with your now ex-lover. You really still hate that asshole. They cheated on you, kicked your dog, shit in your cornflakes, called your art ugly, whatever. You want to curse them. Your ex-lover once charmed you by reading their favorite poem to you. Use that poem against them. Curse them by turning that poem into a weapon. Don’t change the words, change the intent of the words. Make it so every time that ex-lover utters a line from that poem they become entangled further in the curse. Make it so their shoelaces are never tied, their bread will always spoil, they’ll develop an uncontrollable bladder, or they’ll feel your heartbreak every time they read that poem. Every. Time.

Another example: You ran across an amazing healing spell in a video game. It is literally the most beautiful thing you’ve read and it strikes you in ways you can’t quite articulate. Use it. You feel a connection to it. That person you’re healing doesn’t care where you’re getting that spell from. All they care about is their flu going elsewhere.

Example Three: You’re watching Doctor Who and the Doctor said something that struck a cord. After thinking about it a little, you realize you can make it a spell. You’re excited and tell your Whovian friend who says you can’t use it (the the snarkiest way possible). The Doctor doesn’t believe in magic and blah blah blah. Now you’re a little heartbroken. Re-watch a couple of your favorite episodes (I’d avoid Doomsday) and do it anyway. Also yes, your Sonic Screwdriver can be your wand. Ignore anyone who says otherwise.

Example Four: Harry Potter. Use it. Love it. Ignore assholes who make snide comments. They aren’t on the Quidditch team and they’re just jealous. Seriously though, Harry Potter is often cited as an inspiration for many. Some of you probably came to magical practices from Harry Potter. Why shouldn’t a spell from the series be used as well? You might not be able to make something float as well as Hermoine, but you could probably use Wingardium Leviosa to lighten a heavy bag or box.

Pop Culture Spells Are REAL Spells by This Crooked Crown

Words are just words until they are given meaning. Given intent. We are the ones that ascribe emotional meaning and intent to words. Because words are just words, you can give them any intent you want. Turn that blessing into a curse, if you want to. It doesn’t matter what others say. Your spells are valid for you. They don’t need to work for anyone else. They just need to work for you. Tweak that song verse to fit your desires. Make it your own. And use it.

You’re a witch. Manipulating shit to our wishes is what we do.

Adapted from my original tumblr post here.

7 Tips to Get Your Life Under Control So You Can Get Back to the Magic

We’re all busy, right? We’ve all got a ton of things on our minds and it gets to be so hard to keep track of stuff. It’s even harder to fit in spiritual practices and make time for witchcraft.

I recently experienced this myself. I took on a lot of projects for This Crooked Crown on top of some personal projects for my own practice. Then Life reared its head. Family needed medical procedures or were sick (everyone’s OK! No worries), birthdays kept on coming, and the upcoming spring’s always a busy time with the ongoing Secret Future Plan project we’ve got going. Plus there’s the regular stuff to do too – readings, writing posts, taking photos, answering questions, and so on. There’s just a lot of stuff happening. I couldn’t keep up. It happens. Who’s got energy to cast a spell when you’ve been go-go-go all day?

I started going to bed with stress headaches and woke up with them too. That’s when I decided enough was enough and I was going to start managing my shit better. Here’s what I did.

7 Tips to Get Your Life Under Control So You Can Get Back to the Magic

01 Write down everything you’ve got going on 

This is absolutely the number one thing I recommend. It really drives home how busy you are and lets you see what’s happening so you can start prioritizing better. You may even decide to put something on hold for a while until some other project or situation can be finalized before taking up the reins again.

I wrote down everything I was thinking, doing, and feeling. It included little stuff like a mobile game I super enjoy playing daily to big years long projects that move slowly but surely. I also included stuff like stress about politics, birthdays, and personal worries or frustrations.

Then I numbered them three times. The first time, I numbered how important they were to me. This is kind of eye opening. You’ll really begin to see what’s important to you right now. Then I numbered them according to due dates – what needs to be done when – so bills or shop orders. The final time, I numbered them in order of priority to me or others I actually care about – a friend’s birthday, for example, might be more important to me than some due date for a thing I don’t really want to do.

Now do a comparison of the numbers. You can get as mathy as you’d like with this and figure out averages or whatever. I kind of just looked for similar numbers. If I listed a lack of spiritual connectivity as personal importance to as five but on the priority/due dates they were eleven or twelve, then that’s an area I need to focus on temporarily to feel personally satisfied but not dive into a major project for. So I might do a longer meditation session to help balance that out and get some more immediate results.

Make sure you look at how important stuff is to you and how you rate it as a priority. It might be that you’re ignoring your health or self-care in order to get shit done. it could also be that you want to accomplish something because you’re excited about it but it’s not actually all that important. Could your attention and energy be spent elsewhere or do you want to follow that excitement and allocate whatever time and energy you have left after you do that?

Also look at what numbers keep coming up or coincide with those items, especially if you’re into numerology. See if there’s a correlation with your divination readings in what cards keep coming up or if there’s some numerical importance attached to those numbers. Look at numbers that have huge discrepancies – or items you forgot to number. Those things may need some attention.

Now go through that list one last time and number how you want to proceed, taking in all that data. Using those numbers, write out a to do list with at least one actionable step you can take to start on that immediately. So if a birthday is your number one concern, write something like “research birthday gift” or “go out on Tuesday and buy present”.

It’s kind of a pain but this process can be really eye opening, especially if you remember to include things that aren’t just your daily to do or mundane but spiritual stuff as well. Maybe replacing that broken altar bowl doesn’t seem important but it might be weighing on your mind more than you know.

How to make this magic: Honestly, this technique is pretty eye-opening. I would use magical ink or paper or a language to write the list one last time in order of how you want to proceed, like a to do list, to ensure that you can accomplish what you want to accomplish.


02 Turned off the electronics early

I’ll be honest. I’m definitely one of those “turn off tablet/phone/computer/TV, roll over, go to sleep” kind of people. I don’t necessarily want to be. In a dream world and life, I wouldn’t even have a TV or computer in my bedroom. But since this isn’t a dream world, I have a ton of electronics in my sleeping area. And it’s a bummer.

Once I started going to bed with stress headaches – and waking up with them, I immediately stopped using electronics actively before going to sleep. Instead, I turned everything off but my tablet and read an fiction-based e-book until I found a physical book I wanted to read. I still woke up with stress headaches but I felt immediately less stressed and slept better.

There’s some scientific data to back this up but I know personally that turning my brain off from TV and instead letting my brain imagine stories before going to bed is better for me personally. Also look into blue light filters. I noticed my eyes hurt far less when I use blue light filters at nighttime.

It’s hard, I know. But give turning off your electronics ten minutes before you go to sleep a try.

How to make this magic: Putting sigils on your phone case for energy boosting is a great idea during the day to give both you and the phone a helping hand. Removing that phone from your hand at night allows you to have less energy and, thus, sleep much easier.

Aroma stimulation may also be useful. For example, I know it’s “no electronics time” and/or bedtime when I use lavender scented products. For me, lavender is used for quiet time. You might have a different scent that triggers this so do a little research to figure your own “shut off” scent.


03 Changed your rooms’ atmosphere and energy

Our rooms have their own atmospheres and energy. Right now, I’ve stacks and stacks of books everywhere for research projects. It reminds me of my college days where I was super stressed and sick all the time. Once I identified that as a contributing factor, I swapped out some things to shift the room’s energy – and my associations – to something else.

I picked fire, wind, and light as an energy to focus on. I used citrus scents, made sure to work in brightly lite rooms, and put on wind and bell soundscapes. My stressful associations shifted away and I felt far more productive and accomplished.

I also changed out my bedding, picked up lightly about the room, and rotated some decorative pillows and throw blankets to give a subtle change. I also throw open a window for a little while to air the place out.

As a bonus, changing up the lighting, scents, and sounds can immediately affect your mood.

How to make this magic: Color symbolism helps here, but so do scents and so on. Magical correspondences are your friend here. Ringing a bell can also dissipate clustered energies.


04 Dressed to boost your mood

Ten years ago, I scoffed at wearing sweats and casual tees on a daily basis. Now it’s my go-to when I’m in a time crunch and spending the day typing on a computer.

It makes sense. Ten years ago I was super active and busy – places to go, things to do, out before the sun rises and home at the witching hour. So I had to dress appropriately for those things. Since I work from home and my only co-worker is a cat, wearing sweats and a worn tee isn’t going to make a difference in what I do.

Except it kind of does. I started to put on non-lounge clothes in the mornings. It helped, most of the time, and kept me from glancing longingly at my video game consoles. Did it make me more productive? I don’t think so, but I felt more productive and put together. I felt more of a person and less like a cat pretending to be a person, so it has to count for something.

How to make this magic: Color symbolism and recognizing what outfits make you feel good about yourself is a huge bonus here so keep an eye on that. You can also individually enchant your clothing or other items for magical boosts as well.


05 Started work before you’re actually awake

The first thing I usually do in the morning depends on whether or not I woke up with or without an alarm. If I work up with an alarm, the first thing I’m doing is turning off that alarm on my phone which inevitably means I’ll check my notifications. If I woke up without an alarm, I’ll meditation for a few minutes, do some light yoga, and grab some breakfast.

But when I’m in a crunch, the first thing I do is crawl over to my desk and start typing. Usually, this happens when I have a reading queue a mile long and a post needing to be published in three hours. If I start working the moment I’m conscious but not yet awake, then I’m less likely to get distracted before half finishing whatever I needed to do.

When I do get distracted, I’m way more likely to want to finish whatever I was doing because, well, it’s probably almost done anyway.

Don’t get me wrong – this is a terrible thing to do routinely to yourself. It may start you associating work with lack of sleep (even if it’s true) and get you thinking bitter, dark thoughts against your work. It also doesn’t guarantee good work, especially with less intuitive projects. Remember to edit and review before you hit that send button if you work in this state. A metaphor that made sense at five a.m. might not make sense at eleven a.m.

How to make this magic: Cast a magnetic-style charm to one of your desk items, like your computer mouse or a sticker on your laptop. This allows you to feel “drawn” to use an item, even subconsciously.


06 White noise generators or instrumental music

I love white noise generators. I use them ALL. THE. TIME. Literally, all the time.

White noise is a great way to get your brain to productive mode without dealing with silence or hearing too much conversation and becoming distracted. I found that if I changed out what kind of sounds I listened to, I could get shit down. When I want to work, I put on video game instrumental soundtracks (no joke! Try the Skyrim soundtrack next time you’re knocking out a boring typing project).

White noise is not a one-size fits all kind of thing. Once you get into it you realize different people find different white noise better than others. For example “brown noise” rather than “white noise” is more comforting to me – think thunder rolling over the roaring ocean rather than rain. So if you’ve tried white noise generators before, try it again but try different tones and pitches to see what works best for you.

I highly recommend the free website mynoise.net. I’m not an affiliate of the website. I just really, really love it. I also use a playlist on Spotify (I have a premium membership I share with other folks so no ads) and the app Insight Timer which is a meditation app with a community who offer white noise meditation tracks for free.

How to make this magic: Use the sounds to your advantage. I’m spiritually attached to the ocean and water in general. So my go-to sounds are all water based. If you’re attracted to the wind, they have generators and soundscapes like that too. Fire? Done.  Earth? Yup, that can be handled too (forest sounds, cave sounds, farmland sounds, etc). More urban? Crowded cafe sounds are really popular. Use what makes you feel rooted and at home.


07 Meditation

When I was younger, I never meditated. It just wasn’t me and not something I wanted or needed to do. I knew what I wanted to do and I usually had a schedule of things to do in my head. As an adult, I have a ton of stuff going on too but now I’m often pulled in so many directions I can fail to prioritize what’s actually important to me. Meditation helps me ease that.

Meditation is also my go to when I have a super long to do list and I want to figure out what I actually want to do that day. My to do list might be twenty items long but meditation gives me a moment to breath and think “OK. What’s actually important here? What can I do now for others, now that I’ve done something for myself?”

Guided meditation can be really helpful for folks who have brains that don’t like to shut up or want to achieve a particular goal. Others may do better with simple quiet meditation. It’s a personal taste sort of thing. Even a few minutes helps.

How to make this magic: Meditation is often used in magical practices but there’s a lot of guided meditations out there that can be used to achieve particular goals or help you release a lot of negative emotions. Try out some and see what proves to be helpful to you.


So that’s what I did to get my to do list down to a minimal amount. They’re simple techniques, to be sure, and you’ve probably heard them all before. That’s kind of the point. They’re stuff you’ve heard before because they work. Don’t knock them until you try them.

I know January was really hard for a lot of people. I saw a lot of people struggling with some drama and nonsense during all of that time. It can be really difficult to dig yourself out of a hole spiritually in order to really get back on track so early on in the year. Just remember that each day is a chance to start fresh. Each month is a new beginning. You can always start again. Don’t give up and remember to give yourself a chance to breathe!

Grimoire or Book of Shadows 101


Grimoire and BoS 101


Grimoire, Book of Shadows, Book of Secrets, Book of Spells… Magical research is often collected into a book (or two) and is known by a specific name. There isn’t a universal name that is correct for your book. You can name it whatever you want! Although “grimoire” isn’t a technically accurate name for my magical research, I use it as it feels best to me and my personal practice. For this post, I’m going to use BoS to refer to this book, whatever you may call it. BoS is often an abbreviation used within the community so it’s probably already familiar to you.

Let’s clear away some of the nonsense right now. You can have a BoS in a notebook. You can have a BoS that is completely digital on the computer or a website. You do not need to have a super pretty book or even have one book – you can have multiple! And you are not bound to that singular book forever. You can fill a book, decide to retire it, and get rid of it, if you so choose.

The sacredness of the Book of Shadows stems entirely on two things – one, Wiccan covens often have specific  rituals written down in their BoS and those books contain their secrets and initiations rites. The books are secretive and sacred because they need to be, as part of the initiation religion. The second reason why magical books have this air of sacredness is because books are, historically, expensive.

Books aren’t commonplace historically. Your average person rarely owned a book except for the Bible. Literacy wasn’t commonplace until public schools were more accessible and even then, many PoC were banned from learning to read. (In fact, in the US, literacy rates between PoC and white people didn’t equal out until 1979 and PoC still suffer from lack of opportunities for education even today.) The rest of it comes from the fact that education was commonly given to the wealthy. You can look through numerous historical household records and find years worth of expenses – but never once is a book mentioned. Even if a person did read well, there was no guarantee that they would read for pleasure.

The most learned men, until recent history, were clergy. Secular scholars were something of a rarity through much of history. So it isn’t surprising that there’s this idea that books are sacred because, for a long time, they were. Families may only own the Bible. It is literal a sacred book. Plus, as said above, until fairly recently in human history, vast majority of the world didn’t have access to literacy or books. Books could also be poorly translated or contain so much academic wording that the average person would struggle to read it (something that holds true even today.) Information was passed down through word of mouth and if it was written down, things often got left out. This is true for just about everything. I’ve personally have three different recipes written by my grandmother for the same dinner roll recipe. Some of those recipes are just a list of ingredients – and none of the recipes have the same ingredients on the list yet all are titled the same. None of the recipes produce the rolls from my mother’s childhood. If that can happen just passing down a family recipe from grandparent to grandchild, imagine what trying to write down family lore would be like?

Suddenly, the lack of magical books and the sacredness of the written historical rituals we do have becomes extremely important. Books are fragile things. They can be easily destroyed. Technical information can be extremely difficult to copy down correctly by memory. Those are the practical reasons why the BoS gained many of the sacredness it has and why it’s so commonplace within the witchcraft community. It’s why the BoS has names like “book of shadows” or “book of secrets”.


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Behind the scenes: Casting magic

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ANYWAY, none of that gives you the information you need to actually create a BoS.

In order to create a BoS, you need to write or record information you want to keep on hand. That’s it. You don’t NEED to have a dedication. You don’t NEED to have a correspondence chart. Would that help? Sure, if it’s useful to your practice.

The best way to start of BoS is to get a blank journal that you like and can take some damage. So while a school notebook is perfectly acceptable (and I had one as my first BoS as a kid myself), having something that can take some candle wax spilling on it is ideal.

Don’t be afraid to mess up the BoS. I, like many of you, fear messing up a beautiful new journal. But, uh, you bought it for that purpose? If you don’t like how it turns out, you can always rip out the page or cover it with white out.

Binders are actually incredibly common for modern practitioners. It may not be pretty but it sure it handy.  Using a binder allows you to print out spells or resources from online, or type them up and print them out. It also allows you to remove stuff from the BoS without damaging the BoS itself. Plus, tabs. Tabs are great things.

Scrapbooking books are also useful for BoS. I’m very fond of the post-style binders or scrapbooking books because it allows you to remove things like a binder but still have that book feel.

Of course, lots of people also use folders on their computers, information saved to their cloud drives, or private blogs to organize their BoS too. Some people have huge Word documents and others have a neat tumblr blog filled with spells.

As said before, you can also organize things by separating your BoS into different books – one book for dreams, another for spells, a third for divination, etc.

Try different systems until you get one to work for you. If you’re not much of a recorder when it comes to data, that’s OK. Some people just work best off the cuff.


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Behind the scenes: recipe researching

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So if the actual physical form of the book doesn’t matter, what does matter?

The information has to mean something to you.

It’s fine to copy things down or take notes for the sake of learning, but what’s the point of writing down a whole bunch of stuff in your BoS if you’re not going to use it? It may be a good idea to keep a separate section, notebook, etc on research that you might want to look back on later but don’t use in your day to day practice.


An index is your best friend.

An index is a list of subjects that are contained within a book that lists where you can find those subjects by page. It’s like a table of contents on steroids. And it’s an amazing thing that you’re probably not using.

Your homemade index is probably not going to contain every page a subject is listed on unless you’re super organized or diligent. And if you’re setting up your BoS now, you can plan so you won’t need an index. But for those of you who started a BoS without a plan and are sick of flipping through a hundred pages for that luck spell you KNOW you saw just last week, then you need an index. Take a weekend, write out what pages you can find what information on, and stick that at the front of the book.

Indexes, weirdly, come at the back of the book. Which is super illogical to me because, uh, shouldn’t they all be at the front of the book? So you don’t have to keep flipping to the back of the book to look up something? Do yourself a favorite and put your index at the front of your book. Help your future, exhausted, “I’ve been done with this shit for three hours and just want to go to bed” self out. Not that I’d know that feeling from experiences or anything. Nope, not me.


This a labor of love

Writing in your BoS probably won’t be your favorite thing to do. This is especially true if you’re worried about aesthetics. It’s a time consuming task and one that will require consistent and diligent work to be actually useful.

If that’s not your thing, that’s OK! You’re the one who gets to decide how you use that BoS. But if you want it to be indispensable, you’re going to need to put some serious time into it.


Space for you to add notes and grow

Most importantly of all, you need to be able to take notes on the information you have written down. Maybe you learned later on that that cool piece of trivia is actually related to some folklore. You might want to add that folklore in but alas! You didn’t save room. Now you’ll need to either add a page or make a note to look up a different page to get your information.

Additionally, your practice will likely grow and change as you grow and change. Your BoS will reflect that over time as well. Make sure there’s enough room to grow or that you’re willing to put your BoS aside and make a new one if the time comes where it no longer serves.



Of course, you do not need a BoS. You just don’t. My grimoires are spread across a dozen books and, honestly, I barely touch half of them. This is largely because I often make up my spells at a drop of a hat. I don’t really plan out much of my spells so I don’t really need pages upon pages of spells.  Do I have them, sure. But they’re not necessary for me.

Maybe you’re the same. Maybe you’ll find that your BoS isn’t useful to you or that you would be better with a journal style rather than a textbook style BoS. You BoS has to be useful and suit you.

That’s it. That’s all you need! Good luck to the new witchlings out there! And for you old hats, maybe it’s time to dust the cover off that BoS and take a gander at it, hm?



Links for more reading:

Cornell has a over 3000 books from the time of the Inquisition on witchcraft. http://ebooks.library.cornell.edu/w/witch/index.html

I happen to have some online posts on hand regarding household purchases for the 1850-1870s. Keep in mind that the term “dime novels” stems from literally paying a ten cents for a small novel, something that started in 1860. To keep things in perspective, you could buy a pound of granulated sugar or a yard of bleached shirting fabric for the same dime in 1860. Your rent for a four room tenement was $4.45 in 1860.



Elemental Combinations

I don’t really use elements in your traditional ritual set up. I do sometimes use them but it’s often in a more alchemical way than an earth-air-fire-water way.

One of my favorite ways to use elements is to combine them. A good example is an air plant. An air plant largely lives on air (with the occasional misting of water) but it’s still a plant so it’s an earth element. That’s three associations to deal with for one tiny little plant!

But elemental combinations are actually a really smart way to help set up an altar or a spell on the go. You can just roll with it. Instead of packing a ton of ritual items, you can just pack one or two herbs and that can suffice. It helps if you travel a lot, do a lot of on-the-go rituals, or need to be low-key.

Elemental combinations also have the benefit of being dual purpose so you can bring two different energies into a spell at the same time. Need both fire and water? A dried water plan may be the best way to go – just burn it with a candle.

Of course, the thing with element associations is that they are NOT universal. Every practitioner will need to rely on their cultural or traditional folklore in addition to their own personal associations.


However, correspondence charts are super helpful, especially when they’re well-researched. To that end, I’m happy to announce that I’m releasing online correspondence charts for free to you all.

These are heavily researched with sources. As in, you can look up where each correspondence comes from right down to the page. Right now, we’re starting with herbal correspondences because I have hundreds readily available but stones, metals, and other correspondences will come along in time.

I’m super happy to finally be sharing this with you. Keep an eye on the correspondence charts because they will constantly be updated. I will eventually create a downloadable PDF with all the correspondences but for now, it’s online only. Enjoy!

Starter Plants for a Witchy Garden

Starting a witchy garden? Or maybe you’re just trying to add more magic to your cooking with fresh herbs? It can be so hard to know which plants to start with and which herbs to keep on hand.

Starter Plants for a Witchy Garden by This Crooked Crown


This “must haves” for your practice is going to vary wildly. It’s even going to vary on what purpose you might have for those plants. Are you keeping them around for their herbal benefit or magical?

Many people try out green or kitchen witchery only to run away from it or struggle with it. This largely comes from difficulties in knowing complimenting flavors and tastes (remember to taste your food when cooking folks!) and accidentally killing your plants.

I get you. I really do. I have a light green thumb – I can keep things alive but sometimes they just kick the bucket. My best plant right now is my aloe which I leave alone and it’s happy.  When it comes to kitchen witchery, rest assured, I’ve made plenty of stupid mistakes there too. I’ve heard the song of the fire alarm plenty of times.

Knowing what to start with and what to try is super difficult, especially when you’re just starting out. Here’s some tips for you new witchlings (and maybe a gentle reminder for us old-timers)


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Kiki avidly watches birds and squirrels.

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Start small

Those big beautiful gardens you see on Pinterest? Yeah, they’re not created in a single season or even a single year. Same thing with indoor gardens. Pick a plant or two tend to them. If they’re still alive and kicking a few months later, add on another plant. Plan for what you want. This also allows you to save up money for garden because it is not a cheap hobby.

If you have such a black thumb that you can kill off a plastic plant, rest assured that you’re not without option. You can use fresh spices. A farmer’s market is your best friend. Some farmer’s markets operate all year around and others are only seasonally. Check out your local ones and see what they offer.

Protip: Take a day and visit both your farmer’s markets and grocery stores. Sometimes farmer’s markets actually partially stock from farmers that also sell to your grocery stores. Or you’ll find that you don’t like that specific potato sold at that farm or discover that while the grocery store is cheaper then farmer’s market tastes better. Figure out where’s the best places to get certain things and you’ll save yourself the heartache of “aw, the radishes are so much better at this farmer’s market!”.


Growing versus buying

If you’ve been to online communities you may have run across the idea that plants you grow are more useful than buying herbs. This is only kind of true. (If you’re making a face, keep reading.)

My experience is this: If you’re a spirit worker, the plants you grow develop bonds and relationships with you because you’ll probably talk to that spirit. That plant will be infinitely more powerful – but probably only for certain things. You might discover that the plant you grow is really only good for protection spells. It’s not really going to help you with a luck spell.

But the same fresh or dried herbs you get from the market or store? Those babies can be used for anything they’re associated with rather than being shoehorned into whatever the plant wants to be used for. So they’re infinitely more useful even if you can’t control their quality.

That’s the other main argument: you can’t control the growing conditions, ethical conditions, and quality if you buy. This it true so I highly suggest to look into farmer’s markets to circumvent these things. You can also quickly google on your phone farms the food comes from to see how controversial or unlikable they are. You might be the weirdo standing there for five minutes staring at a head of cabbage but isn’t that better than working with something you don’t agree with?

Growing is, of course, cheaper except for the initial investment. But growing also requires a lot of…



I feel like a broke record but research your stuff! This is especially true if you’re growing things. Just some simple research in how certain plants grows (or even that specific breed of plant) can entirely change how I care for a plant.

Research can also change how and why you grow a plant. I don’t use a lot of lavender in my practice but I do for my herbal medicine. So I’d rather grow it outside and harvest it than keep it inside. I use citrus in my craft for cleansing and for my herbalism. I grow mini trees in pots. Same thing with peppers. I grow them in pots so I can have fresh peppers for protection spells and curses.

Research can also tell you on whether or not you actually need a bunch of that plant. If you never use mint in spells but for rare occasions and never cook with it… then why are you growing it? Why waste that time? So what if everyone recommends it or uses it in their spells? YOU don’t and that matters. Develop your own list and needs for what you use in your practice. look through your spells and decide for yourself.



Those are some super basics. Ready for my go to list of plants for basic witchcraft?


Sex or sexual attention,  soothing fights between couples or family, dieting or fasting, health and healing, the home, sympathy, harmony, increasing money, good luck, to curse others, fire element, fertility, weddings, romance or romantic love, for attractiveness, exorcism or banishing.

Lemon Balm

For improving memory, easing depression or grief, lifting one’s spirits, for romantic love or romance, for clairvoyant dreams, health and healing, and youthfulness.


To see ghosts or spirits, to attract men (especially sexually), for women’s strength or sexual attractiveness, to calm, to calm nerves or anxiety, against unwanted sexual attention, fertility or childbirth, for sleep, healing and health in general, air element, divination, purification or cleansing, for sex or sexual attention, easing depression or grief, relaxation, and for romantic love or romance.


For increasing money, prosperity, wealth, trade or increasing business, dieting or fasting, cleansing or purification, clairvoyant dreams, divination, relaxation, easing anxiety or nerves, health or healing in general, for improving memory, air element, for sex or sexual attention, romance or romantic love, and creating change or a catalyst.


Protection, peace, harmony, romance or romantic love, sex or sexual attention, soothing fights between couples or families, for newlyweds, for weddings, for women’s sexual attractiveness or strength, for sleep, healing or health in general, attuning or aiding psychic powers, for clairvoyant dreams, divination, clairvoyance or second sight, and against or wards off negativity, bad luck, spells, curses, or malevolent spirits.


Cleverness or mental clarity, focus, for confidence, against thieves or trespassing, for courage or against fear, purification or cleansing, improving memory, against nightmares, for rejuvenation or power / energy, youthfulness, women’s strength or sexual attractiveness, for beauty, for physical strength or endurance, romance or romantic love, to attract friends, healing or health in general, exorcism or banishing, protection, protection at sea, to invoke the sea, against unwanted sexual attention, boosting the five senses, clairvoyance or second sight, and against or wards off negativity, bad luck, spells, curses, or malevolent spirits.


Wards off fatigue while traveling, victory, to win a battle or overcome an enemy, ease depression or grief, for courage or bravery, wards off fear, wards off nightmares, healing or health in general, for sex or sexual attention, to see faeries, funerary rites or to send off the dead, purification or cleansing, hex / curse breaking or spell breaking, for rejuvenation or power / energy, clairvoyance or the second sight, and against or wards off negativity, bad luck, spells, curses, or malevolent spirits.


Youthfulness, prosperity, wealth, trade or increasing business, health or healing, for improving memory, easing depression or grief, and earth element


Youthfulness, to know or enter the underworld or land of the dead, for romance or romantic love, for sex or sexual attention, water element, relaxation, for happiness or joy, for success, for gardening success, for rejuvenation or power / energy, health or healing, to use in place of a poppet or for image magic, and wood can be used to create magical tools.

Mugwort and/or Wormwood

Divination, scrying, to strengthen divination tools, for magic mirrors, for clairvoyant dreams, clairvoyance or second sight, to see ghosts or spirits, to contact or manifest spirits, air element, health or healing, for protection while traveling, wards off wild animals, wards off fatigue while traveling, and purification or cleansing.


Divination, clairvoyance or second sight, attuning or aiding psychic powers, romance or romantic love, for weddings, health or healing in general, sexual prowess or fertility, water element, for fair weather, for courage or bravery, wards off fear, for wisdom, purification or cleansing, for rejuvenation or power / energy, exorcism or banishing, and against or wards off negativity, bad luck, spells, curses, or malevolent spirits.

Peppers in general

Protection, against envy or jealousy (both directed at you and your own), exorcism or banishing, for curses or hexes, and fire element.


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My grapes are ripening nicely.

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What did you notice about that list? Most of the list can be bought in stores or probably grows locally to you. All of it can be eaten (but please check your allergies and health warnings first!) It’s an excellent start and it covers a lot of things you might be trying to do.

(Side note, my list is from various numerous sources. Too many to list in a blog post. If you want to know where I got a piece of lore from, drop me a line and I’ll give you the source.)

Also, every single one of those plants can be grown in pots at least for a few years. Yes, even apples. There’s some intrepid farmers that make dwarf apple trees but you’ll probably do much better just planting it in the ground. Cayenne peppers, lavender, and roses will need fairly large pots in order to thrive (and do yourself a favor and put them on little rolling plant trays). Most of the rest can be kept in your standard windowsill.

Again, what you grow or keep around entirely depends on your personal practice and needs. Good luck with your gardening!