Practical spells and folk magic penned by...a Roman Catholic nun? A surprising book filled with rituals, spells, and prayers combines “Catholic Magic” with Wiccan, Jewish, Native American, and Buddhist influences.
Sister Karol Jackowski began her life as a Roman Catholic nun in the 1960s before moving to New York City in 1990 to finish her PhD in theology. Since then, she has encountered a variety of other spiritual and religious traditions in the Big Apple. Whether it was joining in the Solstice rituals of her Wiccan neighbors or celebrating Hanukkah with her Jewish friends, Sister Karol came to recognize commonalities: ritual, prayer, and the celebration of life cycles were at the core of each practice.
In the first half of her Book of Spells, Blessings, & Folk Magic, Sister Karol discusses the “divine, primitive, soul impulse” towards prayer and ritual, while the latter half includes a series of practical spells, spirit prayers, and blessings from several different traditions. The 258-page new edition (published by Red Wheel/Weiser) is “every denominational” – rather than “non-denominational.” Its approach to spirituality and magic is not only inclusive, but all encompassing. From a Catholic "Three Kings House Blessing” to a New Job Spell and how to create a home altar, there’s a little bit of magic for everyone.
“There are as many paths to God as there are people who walk this earth, and not all of them lead to church,” Sister Karol writes in the book’s preface. But one thing that permeates most world religions and individual faith practices is “ritual as a prayerful activity” – as well as repetition as a sacred ingredient in both prayer and magic. It’s in this place of soulful stillness that we can “hear our best self,” Sister Karol writes. “We entered this life well-equipped spiritually, knowing we were never alone. We saw how thin the veil is between this world and the spirit world, and how easily accessible it is when we pray; the door to the spirit world opens and we enter.” Abracadabra.
Sister Karol describes prayer and ritual as “the soul’s ticket to entering all of life’s mysteries lies.” When we remain open – calm, still, and centered – the door to the Divine opens. Whether you’re calling upon angels or deities, Mother Mary or the Great Goddess, divine intervention occurs when we mix “matters of the heart with spiritually charged rituals,” says Sister Karol. That’s when and how we make magic.
From the burning of spell candles for three, seven, or nine days to the Catholic novenas, repetition is also present in nearly all magical practices. And like these repetitive rituals, Sister Karol’s Book of Spells, Blessings, and Folk Magic can be re-read countless times. It’s a great companion to any magical library – one that you may turn to for a simple Full Moon Holy Water Blessing, a Money Magic Spell, or a even a Pet Blessing any time of the year.
To purchase the book, please visit Red Wheel/ Weiser here.
Are you a water witch? Author Annywyn Avalon’s new book Water Witchcraft: Magic and Lore From the Celtic Tradition focuses on the ways we can work with water spirits and examines the magical differences between lakes, oceans, rivers, and wells – all within the context of Celtic mythology and folklore.
Many of us are intuitively drawn to water. Sometimes it’s an instinctive pull towards the seaside edge or the rippling hush of a riverbed. The thundering crash of waves both excites and calms us; the deep hollow of a still lake incites a sense of mystery. We go to the shore to find peace, introspection, and renew our bond with the earth. It’s also a powerful place for witchcraft.
Water is an essential force in all our lives – one that we depend upon for survival. Cleansing, nurturing, and calming, each body of water also has its own spirit, its own distinct energy. Learning about the magical properties of water and the spiritual forces at work can also help us create our own magic.
Here, Enchantments highlights Annywyn Avalon's very practical Water Glyph Meditation from her 2019 book, Water Witchcraft: Magic and Lore From the Celtic Tradition published by Weiser Books.
Water Glyph Meditation, by Annywyn Avalon
"Now that you have a general understanding of water magic and some of its basic tools and practices, it is time to begin attuning your energy with that of water. Start by gathering drinkable water in a sacred vessel. Place this vessel in your lap or on your working space. Ground yourself (see chapter 2) and sit in front of your newly created and consecrated altar. Read through this visualization a few times to become familiar with it. Then close your eyes and complete the visualization.
Sit facing your altar; then take your hands and make the alchemical glyph for water. You can do this by placing your thumbs together and touching at the tip. Place your index fingers together, touching at their tips and point- ing down, then curl your pinkie, middle, and ring fingers together into a fist. This will create a downward-facing triangle that, throughout the Western Mystery Tradition, is used as the alchemical symbol for water.
Once your hands are in position, close your eyes and begin to visualize water—your favorite body of water, rain, or a bath. Let your mind wander for a while and let the spirits guide you across different bodies of water— lakes, oceans, rivers, or streams.
Once you feel as if you have a strong image and feeling of the water, hold that vision in your mind. Visualize the water crashing over you and cleansing you. Visualize your heart center being cleansed of heavy burdens. Visualize the water washing over your body, covering all of you.
When you are done, let the water begin to swirl in front of you in your mind’s eye. Let it create a floating, shining ball of water and let this shining ball start to form a downward-facing triangle—like the glyph you are making with your fingers. Make sure that the point is at the bottom. See this glyph in watery blue.
Holding this triangle in your mind, begin to connect with the water energy. Let the triskele symbol—the three-armed spiral (see Figure 1)—begin to form in the center of your triangle, each spiral representing water in one of its forms—liquid, gas, or solid. Let the triangle pulse and the triskele swirl in your mind’s eye. Talk to the water; feel the water and try to feel what it is communicating to you. When you are finished, bring your focus back to the triangle. Ask if there is anything that water would like to teach you. Then wait and listen.
When you are finished, see the water glyph and triskele move toward the bowl of water in front of you. Let the watery glyph begin to pulsate on the surface of the water; let the triskele swirl. Let the glyph merge with the water in the vessel. It becomes small and then dissolves into it. When you are satisfied, slowly open your eyes, lift the bowl to your lips, and sip in the water that is now charged with the alchemical glyph. As you do this, allow your spirit to merge with the spirit of water and become one with it." –– Annywyn Avalon
Adapted, and reprinted with permission from Weiser Books, an imprint of Red Wheel/Weiser, Water Witchcraft by Annwyn Avalon is available wherever books and ebooks are sold or directly from the publisher at www.redwheelweiser.com or 800-423-7087.