By Ana Vice
The mandrake is a notorious (albeit highly poisonous) plant of ancient origins with distinct features. Mandrakes commonly have a short stem bearing a tuft of oval leaves and these leaves form a rosette at the base of each plant. The flowers are bell-shaped and consist of five petals, usually purple or yellow in color, and its fruit is a fleshy orange berry. Mandrake roots are long, thick, and forked – which is often why they are described as human-like. This human resemblance ties back to the idea that when uprooted, the mandrake will "scream."
Some of the earliest accounts of the mandrake date back to ancient Mesopotamia circa 2000 BC (BCE). Long ago in the Middle East, the mandrake was used for both medicinal and magickal purposes. Some surgeons were said to have sedated their patients prior to surgery using the mandrake root. Ancient Arabs called mandrake the Beid el Jinn, or the Eggs of the Jinn (Jinn are dangerous spirits in Islamic mythology and not to be messed with). The mandrake is also mentioned in the Bible (Genesis 30:14, Genesis 30:16, and Songs of Solomon 7:13).
It’s important to note that mandrake is a member of the nightshades, as well as a hallucinogenic and narcotic alkaloid. Nightshades are in the Solanaceae family and there are over 2000 species (herbs, fruits, roots, or vegetables). They contain the alkaloid solanine, which is toxic in high concentrations. Some have been used medicinally for centuries, such as Black Nightshade or Bittersweet Nightshade and some are used in cooking (like tomatoes, potatoes, bell peppers, goji berries, tomatillos, and eggplants, just to name a few). However, nightshades such as mandrake, henbane, and belladonna are poisonous and can be deadly if ingested by humans or animals.
Mandrake is connected to Circe, as depicted in Homer’s Odyssey. Circe was the daughter of Helios (The Sun God) and Perse (a sea nymph) and she was skilled in both herbalism and transformation. As an enchantress on the Isle of Aeaea, Circe used her talents to transform people who offended her or meant her harm into animals. Mandrake is associated with Circe because of its soporific qualities and Odysseus used mullein to protect himself from her.
Mandrake is also one of the sacred plants growing in the Goddess Hekate’s garden in the Orphic Argonautica. In this myth, Medea (a priestess of Hekate) makes an ointment from the Plant of Prometheus (Mandrake) and rubs onto Jason’s armor to make him invincible in search of the golden fleece. Furthermore, mandrake has been a traditional ingredient in the flying ointment magickal formula of witches.
The European mandrake (often written about during the Medieval and Renaissance periods) originates from the genus Mandragora. Mandragora grows in Europe, the Mediterranean region, and China. Ever popular in Slavic folklore, mandrake is said to have the ability to open any door, promote good luck, and attract money, in addition to aiding in protection. On the mountain Rtanj, mandrake can be found by the aid of a hedgehog or tortoise. Soldiers would stitch a piece of the lower part of the root into the lining of their military uniforms for protection against their enemies. Mandrake (or Raskovnik in Serbian) has the power to collect negative energy and some believe the upper part of the mandrake root can be put into a red bag and kept hidden in the home to keep a family safe from harm.
Did you know that the Mandrake was said to come in male and female varieties? Pliny the Elder and Dioscorides during the 1st century AD (CE) describe these male and female species in great detail. The female has a heavy scent and appears darker with slender leaves, unlike the broader leaves of the paler, sweeter smelling male mandrake. In addition to protection the mandrake has been used for fertility and love magick.
The desire to create artificial life is not a new concept. Mandrake has been associated with the concept of the homunculus (Latin for "little man" and the diminutive of homo or "human being"), as described by Paracelsus. According to alchemical philosophy, the mandrake acts as a homunculus and can be sealed in a bottle to serve or represent a magician themselves. Because of this the magician (or alchemist) would procure a mandrake root and carefully clean and make it ready to become a catalytic or vessel for magickal purposes. The process was completed by placing human semen into the mandrake for a period of time with an application of heat.
American Mandrake or May Apple grows in damp areas in the Northeastern United States and parts of South Canada. It looks like European Mandrake with its human-like root, but has a leaf attached to a long stem that looks like the palm of a human hand. This is why some call it Witch’s Umbrella.
Witchy tip: Spell for protection, prosperity, and good health: Take a mandrake root (or part of one) and place it in a red cloth or bag. Hide it in the hearth of your home where it will be undisturbed. Otherwise, draw or find an image of a mandrake root and place it above the hearth in your home.
To read more about sacred, magickal herbs, check out our new herbal section here.
By Ana Vice
Discover the mythology and power of the sacred ash tree.
The ash tree, called uinseann in Gaelic, is often linked to the Vikings, but also has its place in Ancient Celtic folklore and was once sacred to the Druids. It appears as the letter Nion or N (a.k.a. Nion, Nuin, Nin) in the Celtic alphabet (called the Ogham) which was used for divination. Ash trees are giant trees capable of growing over 180 feet tall. Because of their height, the Druids saw the ash tree as a bridge between worlds. Due to their height, Ash trees are prone to getting struck by lightning, which is why they tend to be connected to the elements of both air and fire. The Celts also made their spears from the ash tree and believed the spears to be infused with magic.
Did you know that three of the five sacred trees of ancient Ireland were ash trees? Bile Tortan, Craeb Daithi and Craeb Uisnig are their names. You can also listen to more about these magnificent trees in John William's The Five Sacred Trees: Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra). According to Welsh Mythology, the ash tree is associated with the trickster Gwydion (God of Magick and Poetry). In some mythologies he carries a staff (or wand, in some versions) used for enchantment and transformation.
Gwydion has a sister nammed Arianrhod (Goddess of the Moon and Stars; her name translates to Silver Wheel) and they were very skilled magicians. Some literary scholars say that they represent archetypes for Merlin (others think Myrddin Wyllt) and King Arthur's half sister Morgan le Fay (Morgan y Dylwythen Deg in Welsh).
For the Norse, the ash tree (aka ask) represents the Yggdrasill (a.k.a. World Tree) of Norse lore. Odin (Óðinn, All-father) and Thor (Þórr, God of Thunder and Sky) were said to possess magickal spears made of ash tree wood. In Norse mythology there is a story of how Odin sacrificed himself to himself in order to perceive the mysteries of the runes. He achieved this by hanging himself from the Yggdrasil tree and stabbing himself with his spear. He hung there for nine days and nights without food or drink. On the brink of death, he perceived the secrets of the runes. The Elder Futhark is the oldest known runic alphabet, dating back to the time of the German Migration (or Völkerwanderung) around 350-500 AD. In Norse mythology, it is also believed that Odin created the first man from the ash tree.
The poetic Anglo-Saxon word for spear was aesc. The Vikings were also referred to as the Aescling or ‘“Men of Ash.” The Gaels thought of the ash tree as protective. Of the five legendary guardian trees of Ireland, three of them were ash. Ash is also the second most popular tree growing near Irish holy wells, and on the Isle of Man ash trees were said to keep the water springs purified.
According to ancient Greek mythology, the Ash Tree Nymphs (a.k.a. Meliae), Erinyes (Furies), and Giants were said to have been created by bloodshed that fell to the earth when, in an effort to gain power over his father Uranus, the Titan Cronus castrated him. The Furies and giants would later play a role in avenging Uranus (Oranus, The Sky) for what happened.
To be more specific, the Meliae were the Oread-nymphs of the ash tree. Gaia (Gaea, the Earth) had been impregnated by the blood of the castrated Uranus. The nymphs became the wives of men of the Silver Age and became mothers of those of the Bronze Age (which was considered the third generation of mankind). The nymphs nursed their sons with the honey sap of the ash and armed them with spears crafted from ash tree wood. In some versions of this story it is the Ash tree, and in others it is the Mountain Ash (i.e. Rowan Tree).
Poseidon (God of the Sea, Storms, Earthquakes and Horses) is also linked to the ash tree. He is another son of Chronos and brother to Hades (God of the Dead and Underworld) and Zeus (God of Sky, Thunder, and Ruler of the Gods and Goddesses of Mount Olympus). According to Greek myth, Poseidon could utilize the power of water to create large tidal waves. A lesser known connection is with horses. Centaurs were considered to be in his realm as well.
For divination, you can make a set of Elder Futhark runes by painting red acrylic onto ash tree wood pieces. You can find and use a mature dry branch and saw it into disks or use a wood etching tool to carve runes directly onto the wood.
To read more about the herbal magick and herbal spells, check out "10 Herbs for Purification, Protection, and Exorcism" here.
By Ana Vice
Here, we discuss the spiritual benefits, rituals, and folklore associated with ten sacred herbs.
As you may have read in part one of our new herbal series, plants can be used in a variety of ways to aid in our spiritual healing. Here, we focus on herbs, trees, and plants that help with spiritual purification, protection, and exorcism rituals.
Before you begin your sacred journey with herbs, please keep in mind that some plants are not safe for ingestion, should be handled with extreme care, and labeled accurately in your working space. For example, Mandrake and Wolf’s Bane are poisonous and Cedar is toxic to cats and dogs. Conversely, some dogs go into a frenzy for anise seeds, much like some cats do for catnip. The herbs listed here are intended for spiritual use. Please use common sense and check with your doctor before ingesting herbs.
Included here are some tips, history, and folklore associated with these 10 magickal herbs – many of which you probably already have in your apothecary or cabinet at home. The rest you can find or order from Enchantments which has a botanica of over 150 herbs for your spiritual needs and rituals.
Anise (Pimpinella anisum)
Anise (Anneys, Aniseseed, and Yanisinit are common folk names) is linked to the planet Jupiter and element of air. Its spiritual attributes are protection, purification, and youth. Seeds and leaves are the most commonly used parts in spiritual work.
Stuffing sleeping pillows with anise can help get rid of nightmares or you can add it to protective baths, incenses, and sachets. Its leaves are also used for protection in magick circle rituals, while anise seeds can be burnt to ward off all evil (including the evil eye). Anise essential oil is excellent for protection or purification, and can be used to anoint candles or used as a floor wash.
Anise, which has a licorice-like taste and smell, is not to be confused with Star Anise. It adds an aromatic flavor to sauces, baked goods, and liqueurs (such as Greek Ouzo and French Pastis), and is often added to teas. As far back as 100-200 BCE in Egypt it was used in food, liquor, and as medicine. The Romans made mustacae with anise, which was a spiced cake popular at feasts (most likely a precursor to what we now call a “wedding cake”) and thought to aid in digestion. Similarly, anise is also an ingredient used in traditional hand-fasting cakes.
Witchy Tip: Try making a small pillow stuffed with anise to put under your head at night to get rid of bad dreams or stuff a small poppet with anise leaves to carry with you for protection.
Ash (Fraxinus excelsior, Fraxinus spp)
Ash (also known by its folk names as Asktroed, Nion, and Freixo) has been associated with the Sun and the element of fire – but it also has a strong connection to the sea and element of water. Its spiritual attributes include protection, prosperity, health and prophetic dreams.
Leaves of the ash tree may be used to put into baths, incenses, sachets, or pillows. Its wood can be used to carve amulets or talismans for protection. Ash tree wood is also good (like willow from part 1 of this herbal series) to use to make besoms (a.k.a. witches brooms). Using a besom while smudging is a great way to purify, uncross, and cleanse your space. Sweep anything malefic, toxic, or negative right out of your home.
To read a full feature on the magickal power and mythology of the Ash Tree, click here.
Cedar (Thuja Occidentalis, Cedrus libani or C. spp.)
Cedar leaves, berries, and twigs are used for a variety of spiritual purposes. Cedar twigs or chips can be burned or directly added to incense. It is said that hanging cedar in the home protects it from lightning. To protect your home against evil, you can carve a cedar stick into three prongs and place the prongs up into the ground near the home. Cedar wood can also be used to make wands, drum frames, and talismans or amulets.
Cedar trees are found in the United States, parts of Europe, and the United Kingdom, but the cedar tree of the UK originally came from Lebanon. Cedar is linked to the Norse God Odin and Summer Solstice, so it’s commonly used during Midsummer festivals. Cedar is also used for smudging before a ritual or tarot reading to intensify the reading. It has been suggested in folklore that Unicorns adore little cedar boxes to hide their treasures.
Some Native American tribes consider cedar sacred and powerful medicine. According to the Creation Myth of the Navajo (Dineh), the cedar was the first tree planted by man in the Third World – they used it to climb to safety during a flood. Cedar also represents the Southern direction in the Medicine Wheel in various Native American tribes.
The Fox tribe (also known as Mesquakie Nation or “Red Earth People”) believed that the spirits of their ancestors lived in cedar trees. The Cherokee (Tsalagi) also believed that spirits lived in the cedar tree. The Lakota (Teton Sioux), part of the Sioux Nation, burned cedar leaves as incense in ceremonies for Wakinyan (a powerful sky spirit known as the Thunderbird in Sioux mythology).
A Cherokee (Tsalagi) tale tells the story of the cedar tree and it goes something like this: The Cherokee people wanted it to always be daytime, so they asked the Creator God Unetlanvhi to make it day all the time. The Creator granted their wish. Some time passed, but this new arrangement was not working out so they asked the Creator for it to always be night. The Creator granted them their request.
During this endless night, many of the people died of starvation since the crops died without the sun. They then asked for it to be like it was in the beginning and the Creator returned the balance of day and night. The weather was good, the crops grew back, and the game animals were plentiful and available for hunting. After this ordeal, the people had changed. They treated each other with respect and compassion. They gave thanks to the Creator for all that had been provided. The Creator accepted this and was joyful to see the people in good spirits again. But for the loss of those who had died, the Creator decided to make a new kind of tree – the cedar tree. The Creator then put all of the spirits of the dead into the cedar tree.
For the Cherokee people, the scent or to look at cedar tree means to ‘look upon your ancestors’. This is one reason why the cedar tree is most sacred to the Cherokee. Some Cherokee carry a small piece of cedar wood in their medicine bags for protection and traditional ceremonial drums are made from cedar wood.
Witchy Tip: Burn cedar chips in a fire safe receptacle (might need self-lighting charcoal) as incense to purify and protect yourself and your home. Add sage to enhance the spiritual work at hand.
Mandrake (Atropa mandragora, Mandragora officinale) Poison
Mandrake (also known as Beid el Jin, Herb of Circe, and Hexenmannchen, Ladykins, and Zauberwurzel) is associated with the planet Mercury and the element of fire. Mandrake’s spiritual attributes are protection, fertility, money, love, and health.
The whole mandrake root, placed on the mantel in the home, will give the house protection, fertility, and prosperity. Mandrake is also hung on the headboard for protection during sleep, carried in a pocket to attract love, and worn to prevent illnesses. Where there is mandrake, demons cannot reside, and so the root is used in exorcism.
To bring to life a dried mandrake root, put it into warm water and leave it to soak overnight. Afterwards, the root can be used for spiritual work. Save the water to be used in a floor wash or spray to be used on windows, doors, and mirrors of your home for protection. The mandrake can also be used as a poppet in image magic. Some people substitute true mandrake root with American may-apple.
The mandrake was also used as an aphrodisiac and said to be protective against evil spirits. However, obtaining it was not easy. Legend has it that pulling up a mandrake root leads to sickness or possibly death (i.e. The Mandrake’s Curse). This was because according to superstition, the mandrake “screams” when uprooted, and so people would tie a rope to an animal and then to the plant and allow the animal to pull the plant up. The magical plant was then sold for a high price afterwards. Mandrake has forked roots that resemble a human body, which can grow up to two feet long.
For a full feature spotlight on the power of the Mandrake, click here.
Frankincense (Boswellia carterii)
Frankincense (aka Olibanum and Olibanus) is often associated with the Sun and the Element of Fire. Its spiritual attributes include protection, purification, consecration, and exorcism. It’s burned as a resin to release powerful and positive vibrations, in addition to having the ability to drive away evil and remove negativity. This makes it useful for uncrossing rituals.
Frankincense can be burned to induce visions and to aid in meditation. It’s often added to sachets for luck, protection and spiritual growth. Frankincense essential oil is also a good all purpose anointing oil.
Along the Incense Road, Frankincense has been used and traded for over 3000 years. The Ancient Egyptians burned frankincense at sunrise to honor Ra the Sun God (Creator and God of Light). They believed that Ra’s role was to sail across the heavens during the day in his barque (boat) called the Barque of Millions of Years in order to bring the sun across the sky.
Everyday Ra emerges from the East riding in his barque and during his journey he must fight the evil serpent named Apep (The Lord of Chaos). Apep is a personification of the very darkest hour of the night. If Ra were to lose this fight, the Sun would not rise. In some versions of this story, Ra (in the form of the great and divine cat Mau) defeats the evil serpent Apep. At the end of the day, Ra is swallowed by Nut (Goddess of Night and Moon). Upon his nightly death, Ra sailed down into the Underworld and the Moon took his place in the night sky, illuminating the heavens.
To the Egyptians, the tears and sweat of the gods could be collected from trees like the Boswellia (where Frankincense resin comes from). This resin could be burned itself or used in incense. There was a level of secrecy about the exact process for making incense, but it is known that it required a certain number of days, symbolic ingredients, and magickal formulas. It has been said that the Egyptian priests believed that they could create the bodies of the Gods by combining resins with herbs, honey, wine, or raisins. Incense was considered a Fragrance of the Gods and often burnt before statues of the Gods at their temples in order to honor them. This is why Frankincense was used as an offering to Ra.
Frankincense was also burnt in honor of Baal (Ba’al), God of Fertility, Sun and Storms to the Phoenicians and the Canaanites. Baal’s parents were the deities El (Supreme God) and Asherah (Goddess of Motherhood and Earth), and he was associated with lightning bolts and bull horns. Frankincense also played a big part in honoring kings, Roman Emperors, and biblical Magis. To this day frankincense is included in incense recipes used by the Catholic Church.
Witchy Tip: Anoint a petition (written intention) and white candle with Frankincense oil for an uplifting purification ritual.
Juniper (Juniperus communes)
Juniper (also known by the folk names Enebro, Gemeiner Wachholder, and Gin Berry) is associated with the Sun and element of fire. Its spiritual attributes are protection, anti-theft, exorcism, health and love. Juniper wood is used to make talismans and amulets, while the berries are good for sachets, incense, oil blends, perfumes, or to fill poppets. Juniper essential oil is often blended with other ingredients for use in protection.
Juniper is used by cultures all over the world for spiritual protection. With its unique aromatic profile –– fresh, woodsy, earthy, with a hint of balsamic –– it was traditionally used throughout Europe as an herb of protection and to keep thieves away.
Mediterranean Witches used juniper to break hexes. It can be hung at the door to keep evil away or burned during exorcism rites. A sprig of the plant can protect its wearer against accidents and attacks by wild animals, ghosts, and illness. Juniper can also be added to love mixtures – particularly the berries – which can be carried to increase male sexual potency.
When burning juniper, the smoke is said to aid in clairvoyance. It also burned for purification when attempting to make contact with the Otherworld at Samhain fire festivals (which mark the beginning of the Celtic Year).
Further away in Central Europe, juniper smoke was commonly burned for springtime cleansing. It was also burned during outbreaks of the dreaded Black Death (aka The Pestilence or The Plague, which peaked approximately around 1347 to 1351 in Europe) and used to smudge households. In Medieval times, juniper berries were used to flavor whisky in Scotland. Meanwhile, in other parts of Europe, some people kept Juniper berries in their mouths to create a “protective aura.”
Witchy Tip: Create a protection incense blend using ground up juniper berries and frankincense resin in order to create a safe and sacred space in your home. Self-igniting charcoal and a fire-safe vessel (such as a witch’s cauldron or porcelain dish) works nicely. A coffee grinder used only for magical workings is a good investment.
Mistletoe (Viscum album, Phoradendron leucarpum, P. flavescens) Poisonous
Mistletoe (also known by its folk names All Heal, Devil’s Fuge, and Witches Broom) is associated with the Sun and the element of air. It is used for spiritual protection and exorcism, in addition to love, hunting, fertility, and health. The wood, leaves, and berries can be used.
Mistletoe was long used for protection against lightning, disease, and misfortune. People also believed that a ring made of mistletoe wood could ward off sicknesses when worn. Put by a bedroom door, under a pillow, or above the headboard, mistletoe is thought to promote restful sleep and good dreams. At Yuletide it is believed that if you kiss your love beneath it you’ll remain in love. Burning mistletoe banishes evil. Some believe if you make a necklace of mistletoe and wear it around your neck you will become invisible.
During Alban Arthan (or the Winter Solstice), the Chief Druid would cut the sacred mistletoe from the Oak tree and not allow it to touch the ground. This is done using a golden sickle on the sixth night of the New Moon after the Winter Solstice begins. The branches would be divided into many sprigs and given to the people to use by hanging them over their doorways as protection against thunder, lightning and to keep away evil.
In Norse Mythology, Balder (God of Joy, Light, and Purity) is one of the Aesir Gods and son of Odin (All-Father) and Frigga (Goddess of Love and Beauty; domesticated form of Freya, some say). Balder’s mother loved him so much that she went through the world to attain promises from the four elements – Fire, Water, Air, and Earth – to do no harm to Balder. Loki (a trickster God of mischief, trickery, fire, chaos, and change) found a loophole, of course, which was Mistletoe. Loki made an arrow from its wood, which was ultimately used to kill Balder. It is believed that Frigga's tears became the mistletoe's white berries. There is another version of the story where Balder is resurrected and because of this Frigga made the mistletoe a symbol of love.
Witchy Tip: Take Mistletoe to stuff a small fabric pillow (you can purchase one or make one yourself) and place it under your pillow to have good dreams and protect you as you sleep.
Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)
Aaron’s Rod, Candlewick Plant, and Graveyard Dust are a few folk names for mullein. It is associated with Saturn and the element of fire. Protection, courage, health, love divination, and exorcism are spiritual attributes of mullein. Mullein is used in Wicca, Rootwork, Conjuring and other spiritual practices.
It is said that wearing mullein instills courage and can provide protection. Mullein stuffed into a small pillow can prevent bad dreams. In India, it is considered a good safeguard against evil spirits and bad magic. People hang mullein over doors, in windows, and carry it in sachets. It can also be used for the banishment of demons and negativity.
It is believed that graveyard dust can be substituted with powdered mullein leaves. Once upon a time, witches used oil lamps to illuminate their spiritual and magickal workings. Mullein smoke can be used to cleanse ritual spaces and any other places where magickal work will be done. Mullein stems were sometimes used as wicks. In Roman times, ladies used mullein flowers to dye their hair yellow. Common mullein leaves can also be used to make dye for fabrics.
Some have found Mullein to be a great and natural way to quit smoking tobacco. It hasn’t been approved by the F.D.A., but many herbalists recommend it as an alternative. Please only use mullein that has been stored properly and that can be used for ingestion (Enchantments does not sell herbs for ingestion, etc.).
Mullein is another herb associated with the Greek Goddess Hekate. When doing Conjure work, mullein leaf is a strange bit of material magic because it can be utilized to summon Spirits but also to send them on their way. It’s mentioned in the conjure stories of old, for its ability to draw Spirits and protect the conjurer. Mullein can also be put into a conjure bag to keep on your person or wear around your neck to provide protection in general.
The Herbal Tarot incorporates mullein into the Four of Swords card. The Herbal Tarot is a Rider-Waite based deck that combines herbalism and tarot. The Four of Swords is a card that can be associated with a need to retreat or attain rest. This could be due to exhaustion, illness, or stress. Being able to recharge and regain inner strength in order to prepare yourself for new goals that are viable is important. Grounding and facilitating appropriate boundaries are key. In addition to its protective qualities, mullein is linked to courage and health. The Four of Swords (in The Herbal Tarot) shows a resting man and a vibrant mullein plant. He has put his sword down and has fallen into peaceful slumber.
Witchy Tip: Make a sachet and fill it with mullein to carry with you for protection.
Sage (Salvia apiana, S. dorrii)
White Sage is also known as Bee Sage or Sacred Sage. Purple Sage is known as Tobacco Sage or Fleshy Sage. Sage leaves are considered sacred to Native Americans. It's commonly used for smudging to purify the mind, body and spirit, and often used in ceremonies having to do with birth and death. It can be put into medicine bags, used as an ingredient in incense, blended into an oil, added to a sachet, or bundled with other herbs and flowers.
A Native American story tells of how a beautiful Indian maiden went to gather prickly pears in the desert. It was late when she was heading home and upon her journey she glanced up at the stars. One caught her eye in particular. It seemed to look down on her. Later that night she dreamt of a handsome young man who lived on the star in the sky. It was love at first sight. The lovestruck maiden went to get the advice of a wise witch woman. Instead of taking her own life to free her spirit so she could join her love in the sky, she took the advice of the wise witch and allowed herself to be transformed into sage. In this form, her love could see her every evening and smile upon her. When he saw this he fell from his star, stardust covered the sage, and the young man became transformed into purple flowers atop the sage plants that were once his beloved. Finally, they could be together always.
Witchy Tip: Take some white or purple sage bundles with lavender and burn it in your home with the intention of purification and well-being.
Wolf’s Bane (Aconitum napellus, Arnica latifolia, Arnica montana) Poison
Wolf’s Bane (also known as Cupid’s Car, Dumble-dore’s Delight, and Monkshood) is associated with Saturn and the element of water. Its spiritual attributes are protection and invisibility. Wolf’s bane can be added to protection sachets to ward off vampires and werewolves! Legends say the seeds can be wrapped inside a lizard’s skin and carried in order to make a person invisible. Wolf’s bane was often an important ingredient in witches' magic ointments. The Greeks referred to it as the Queen of Poisons.
Wolf's bane is used as an analogy for the power of divine communion in Liber 65 1:13–16, one of Aleister Crowley's Holy Books of Thelema. Wolf's bane is mentioned in one verse of Lady Gwen Thompson's 1974 poem "Rede of the Wiccae," a long version of the Wiccan Rede: "Widdershins go when Moon doth wane, And the werewolves howl by the dread wolfsbane."
In his mythological poem Metamorphoses, Ovid tells how wolf’s bane comes from the slavering mouth of Cerberus (the three-headed dog that guarded the gates of Hades). In John Keats' poem Ode to Melancholy wolf's bane is mentioned in the first verse as the source of "poisonous wine" possibly referring to Medea. In the 1931 classic horror film Dracula starring Bela Lugosi, a reference is made to wolf's bane about 53 minutes into the film when Van Helsing informs Harker and the doctor that her room has been prepared with wolf’s bane to protect Mina from Dracula.
Witchy Tip: Try creating a sachet and place a personal item in it to carry with you for protection.
To read part one of our herbal series, click here. To read our entire herbal series, click here.
Enchantments Mixtape No. 2
Curated by Enchantments' Staff
Inspired by the fertile flames of Beltane, our new mixtape is about unleashing your sultry, fiery energy with the affirmation "I feed my sacred fire."
We celebrated Beltane (the festival of fertility, sexuality, and the return of passion and vitality) earlier this month on May 1st. It's a time that marks the midway period between spring and summer, and the blessed union between God and Goddess. Fire is the primary element associated with this festival/holiday, so it's apropos that our new mixtape should follow suit.
Here, we curated a Spotify playlist to keep the flames going all month –– perhaps all throughout the year. Because why let that fiery energy simmer down throughout the month of May? It's a time to celebration new life, the coming of joy, and the abundance of warm summer months. Highlight artists on the playlist include DYAN's "Looking For Knives," The Velvet Underground's "Venus in Furs," Chromatics' "Cherry," The Weeknd's "Wicked Games," Natalia Lafourcade's "Lo Que Construimos," and more.
Enjoy listening and Blessed Be, Witches!
Want to learn more about the sacred Fire Element? Click here to read The Dance of the Flame, Part I.
By Veronica Boscia
The rose, with its soft petals and hard stem covered in thorns, is not only a powerful symbol for love, but it also represents new beginnings, strength, and hope. Here, we discuss the power of this “Queen of Flowers” and ways to use rose in love magick spells.
When we think of the rose, we often overlook its one defining feature: its thorns. Not only do they protect the rose from predators, but they also anchor the plant onto others as it grows. Just as the petals represent the sensual and soft aspects of love, the thorns symbolize boundaries – both of which are necessary to cultivate balance and happiness in matters of the heart.
Associated with Aphrodite (or Venus in the Roman tradition), Goddess of Love, Beauty, and Fertility, the rose represents love in all aspects and the ability to see beauty in all things. According to Ancient Greek mythology, Aphrodite was born from the wild, fertile ocean and when the seafoam of her birth met the shoreline, white roses sprang from the earth.
At the moment her lover Adonis (a young man with “remarkable beauty”) was killed, Aphrodite pricked her foot on a thorn and her blood changed the color of the rose to red. The same flower that appeared at her hopeful birth was now altered to represent her agonizing pain and loss. This is the way of the rose: It symbolizes the balance between birth, death, love, and loss.
Roses are often associated with mother energy and the Divine Feminine. The Blessed Mother Mary (in the Catholic tradition) and Guan Yin (the Goddess of Mercy and Compassion in Buddhism) are also associated with the rose. One thing these Mother archetypes all have in common are their messages of love and compassion and seeing the light in dark times.
In the Tarot, the rose is also associated with balance, new beginnings, hope, and passion. It’s no surprise the rose is featured on the Strength card (which depicts a woman soothing or taming a lion), representing the balance of both serenity and strength. She demonstrates compassion while using her inner strength to calm an otherwise ferocious beast. She has tamed the lion with her loving, grounded energy.
The word chakra is Sanskrit for the “wheel of energy” that runs down our bodies, connecting our physical, mental, and spiritual. The origin of chakras dates back to 800 BCE in India, when they were first mentioned in the sacred texts known as the Upanishads. The heart chakra (or Ahahata) is located near the physical heart and helps us with self-love and love for others. As an energy center, it's also associated with the rose. Meditating on unblocking or clearing the heart chakra can help release feelings of “being stuck” and depression.
Here are some practical tips for how you can use rose in your magickal rituals at home...
Promote calm, loving home vibes.
Sprinkling rose petals around the house can calm you down and “de-stress” and release static energy in your household. Sprinkle rose around your bed for peaceful and loving dreams.
Use rosebuds or leaves for divination.
Phyllorhodomancy is essentially divination through roses or rose leaves. As a kid, we would play the game “He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not,” using rose, which is also a form of divination. If you want to choose between suitors, author Scott Cunningham recommends writing the name of each person on a green leaf (e.g. 3 suitors equals 3 leaves). The leaf that held its color the longest was said to contain the name of the one they were to be with.
Make yourself a cup of rose tea.
Add a teaspoon of dried rose petals (make sure they’re food grade) per cup of water. You can serve rose tea either hot or cold. For hot tea, steep petals for about 5-10 minutes. For cold brew, steep petals overnight. Sweeten with honey or other herbs to enhance flavor.
Whenever you are making herbal infusions it’s important to make sure you are using only ingestible plants. I like to add marigold (known for its anti-inflammatory properties, as well as strengthening your heart) to my rose tea blends. Drinking rose tea can also help brighten your skin, alleviate menstrual cramps, and even boost your immune system.
Drink rose tea before bed to regulate your sleep cycle.
Rose also has the potential of aiding in lucid and or prophetic dreams, as well as astral travel, so you might want to keep a notebook near your bed. Enhance your potion by adding other herbs associated with divination and/or psychic enhancement, like yarrow, marigold, lemon or mint.
Indulge in a rose petal bath.
Taking a bath in rose petals is not only the epitome of self-love and luxury, but you can also distill rose water or add petals to the bath for any love ritual you see fit. Not only will you make Aphrodite/Venus very proud, but roses can be very good for your skin! You could add rose oil or light some incense.
Try a water-based Love Oracle.
Fill a basin with rose water. Write the name of a potential suitor on a bay leaf and add to the rose water. The bay leaf that remains floating is your answer. (Spell taken from Divination for Beginners)
“Yes or No” answer rose spell.
Gather three fresh roses and place each one in its own vase. Label the vases (left to right) with “Yes,” “No”, and “No Answer.” Your question should be about a specific situation or person. The “No Answer” means that it’s not the right time to ask or that you’re asking the wrong question or for the wrong reason. The flower that remains – and lives the longest – is your answer.
“A life filled with love, must have some thorns, but a life empty of love will have no roses.” -Heinz Duthel
For practical rituals to invoke self-love during hard times, check out this story.
By Coleman Drew
For many witches, making magick is all about the timing...
The more you practice the art of magick, the more energetic correspondences you’ll be able to incorporate into your craft. I’m a firm believer in making my magick work for me; if my will is time-sensitive, I find a way to work it right away. But more often than not, I’m able to choose the optimal time & day to aid and assist my magickal wishes.
The more advanced & studied magician considers the very best day of week, season, astrological configuration, planetary hour, and more to assist their practice. For those just beginning their magickal journeys and even for seasoned alchemists, working your spells with the phases of the Moon can prove to be powerfully beneficial.
Our next Full Moon (and last Supermoon of 2020) is May 7th at 6:45am EST. This Moon in the sign of Scorpio – known as the Flower Moon, Corn Planting Moon, Milk Moon, or the Vesak Festival Moon (the festival that commemorates the birth of enlightenment.) – is all about transformation and seeing things clearly. Are you currently lacking clarity? Ending a cycle of some kind? It’s a juicy time to plant new intentions or finish what you haven’t gotten around to. As a Supermoon, the moon's orbit is extremely close to the earth, making it an energetically potent time.
Here are the best times to work your Moon Magick...
The time leading up to the full moon is the perfect time for spells involving growth and manifestation. This time is also quite potent for healing work.
Adding an incantation to your ritual can also help channel and focus your energy: “As the magickal light of the moon grows it aids my will and makes it so!”
The height of psychic powers, a climax, and culmination of energy – a powerful aid for most magick, especially for abundance and fulfillment. Strong energies bloom and grow under the gaze of the full moon.
It’s also a wonderful time to recharge crystals and any other magickal tools that you want to purify in a magickal Moon bath! City Witches never fear, placing your things on a window ledge to “charge” works perfectly.
Try this incantation: “I harness the Moon’s power at its peak, enlightening my path towards all that I seek.”
A wonderful time for cleansing, Uncrossing, banishing, and the completion of tasks. The waning moon is great for finishing forgotten projects, checking off those to-do lists, and honoring the cycles in our lives that are ending. It’s a time to say goodbye, a time to make space.
Incantation: “As the Moon’s light fades and diminishes, so do my troubles to make way for my wishes.”
Some of my favorite Enchantments recipes for moon magick are our Esbat oil and incense blend, which I love to use when charging crystals in moonlight. Our magickal bath blends are perfect for taking a sea salt cleanse in the bath or shower, especially our Yemaya Mermaid Bath: a devotional blend to the Ocean Mother Orisha, which is lovely for healing and fertility. And of course you can always use our Moon oil and incense.
Other Moon Goddesses you may like to work with are: Diana Artemis, Ceridwen, Hecate, and Isis.
How will you unlock the power of the Moon in your next witchy workings? Wishing you all the brightest blessings for this week’s Flower Moon! Merry Meet, dear one.
For more moon-related stories, check out our feature on Hecate, Goddess of the Moon, Witchcraft, and Sorcery.
By Eva Crawford
Our illustrator designed a printable illustration for a meditative, stay-at-home coloring activity.
By Carmen Pouerie
Immerse yourself in magickal water rituals with these sacred herbs, tips, and ingredients.
At Enchantments, we always recommend taking a sea salt bath before performing magick (or for any occasion). Usually a good Uncrossing bath (or scrub) is all I need to feel “back to myself,” but since NYC has been on lockdown and the store temporarily closed, I realized I didn't have any left in the house. When this happens, I normally add a few drops of Uncrossing oil to plain sea salt or Epsom salts, but even my oil vial was empty. This meant I had to improvise – as witches do.
After cleaning my small bathtub, I decided my intention would be purification, healing and love. I focused on this as the tub filled with water and went searching in my kitchen for herbs and items to promote those intentions.
This is what I gathered...
With all my magickal tools in place, I lit incense (Van Van, for this occasion) and tea light candles around the tub. I charged my crystals by visualizing my energy and aura being fused with each one. I then held each herb and said aloud what its job would be for my ritual. I combined the tea and a pinch of all the herbs in a cloth sachet bag and added it to the water. Lastly, I added the sea salt, oil, coconut water and fruit slices (with a bit of juice squeezed out) to the bath.
Now it’s time to create an incantation. Sometimes I use a quote from a book I’m currently reading or a ritual poem from ancient folklore, but for some reason I was feeling something different that day. I went to my playlist on my music app, hit shuffle, and “Alive” by Sia started to play. Perfect! As I sang along with the vocals, I saw my tub as my lifeline. I saw the water as my medicine – meant to cure my spiritual and emotional turmoil. I visualized radiant, rainbow colored light filling my body as I lowered myself into the warm, magickal water.
The circle was cast.
As my anxiety began to melt away, I could let down my psychic protections and feel the energy of my intention enter my aura. I continued to sing, I continued to visualize. I focused on releasing all the negative energies within my psychic body, and as this energy flowed out of me, it would be replaced with my healing intention.
When I’m ready to end my bath and feel relaxed and fully myself again, I allow the tub to empty completely. This ensures that the dirty water that is now holding the negative energies is washed off entirely. I then put out the candles, step out of the tub, and dry off my body as I chant affirmations like “I am safe, I am healthy, I am loved.”
Sometimes it’s good to follow up your water bath with a sound bath or short meditation session to affirm your magickal intention. You can also place your sachet of bath herbs on your altar until it completely dries out and reaffirm your intention each time you look at it. After it dries, empty the cloth bag and re-use in your next bath (up to 2-3 times).
Cleansing is only one step in the process and spiritual hygiene involves more than just purifying yourself and space. I always recommend doing some kind of protection ritual and attract positive energy after you do a cleansing. Candle magick is always a good follow up to bath rituals; in this case, I carved myself a Peace and Protection candle after I was done.
Here are some other ingredients you can add to your bath...
For more stories and tips, here's how to add magick back into your daily routine.
By Enchantments Staff
A new Spotify mixtape curated by your favorite New York City witches.
It's Friday. And while most of us are still sheltering in place, that doesn't mean we can't have a good ole fashioned (solo) dance party, sound bath, or jam sesh to celebrate the approaching weekend –– or to celebrate the fact we survived the week.
Enchantments' staff decided to curate a list of our most played tunes over the last couple weeks and behold: our very first mixtape was born. We're publishing it under the theme "I heal myself through music" and you can also meditate on the custom sigil (see above and below) designed for the same purpose. Pretty apropos right now, eh?
Happy listening, stay blessed, and tune in next month for our a new mixtape (hopefully when we can all roam together out in the world). Until then, click on either image to access the playlist or click here.
To check out our recent stories on rituals, tips, and practical magick guides, click here.
By Ana Vice
The folkloric history and healing powers of sacred herbs around the world.
Part 1 – Herbal Magick: Spiritual Healing and Well-Being
Sacred herbs and plants have been used around the world for their spiritual healing properties for millennia. They’ve been used to invoke love, protection, money, luck, clairvoyance, uncrossing, emotional wellbeing and more, as well as for holistic medicine and aromatherapy.
With the COVID-19 pandemic happening now and many folks losing work, stability in their home life, experiencing disruption in their routines, and in some cases missing or losing loved ones, being able to maintain their spiritual practices in such times of uncertainty and stress is important.
Herbs (any plant with leaves, seeds, or flowers) can be blended for use in oils, incenses, baths, ointments, lotions, soaps, perfumes, teas, tinctures, put into pillows, and more. You can also use sacred herbs to stuff poppets intended for well-being and protection against illness or use them as burnt offerings to deities or spirit guides.
Before working with multiple herbs, it’s important to keep them clearly labeled and separate those not safe for ingestion. Many herbs are poisonous to both humans and animals and should be handled with care. For example, eucalyptus and onion are toxic to cats and dogs. It might be a good idea to make note of this if you have pets. But not to fear, most herbs mentioned in this article are non-toxic and are to be used in a spiritual and magickal context.
Many of you may already have some of these in your magickal apothecary or cabinet – others you can find at your local grocery store or farmer’s market. Enchantments has a botanica of over 150 herbs for your spiritual needs, but please note that they are not for ingestion.
Here are 10 herbs to help aid in spiritual healing and wellbeing –– as well as colorful mythologies and stories associated with each plant.
Apple (Malus domestica)
The Apple has several folk names including Fruit of the Underworld, Silver Branch, or Fruit of the Gods. It is associated with the planet Venus and the water element. You can use apple’s blossoms, seeds, or fruit in your magickal formulas. The apple is often associated with healing, fertility, and love.
Apple blossoms can be an ingredient used in incense or oil blends dedicated to healing. Alternatively, apple blossom essential oil can be used. Similarly, an amulet or poppet can be made from apple tree wood to promote healing and longevity.
For the Greeks, Gaea (a.k.a. Gaia) was the personification of the Earth and considered the Mother of the World. She guarded the golden apples from a “Tree of Life” in the garden of the Hesperides (much like Idun or Iðunn” who guards sacred apples in Norse mythology). In Roman mythology, Venus – the goddess of love, beauty, and fertility – is also associated with the apple.
During Samhain it is tradition is to take an apple and cut it in half and “place” (via intention) any illness or bad habits into it. Next, you put the two parts back together and bury it in the earth. As the apple decays illness and bad habits go away. Another example, which is one of my favorites, is The Isle of Apples found in Avalon in the stories of King Arthur.
Witchy Tip: With intention, try making baked apples, drinking apple tea, or make apple pie to promote well-being. Apples, honey and cinnamon together provide both spiritual and holistic healing properties.
Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum, C. zeylanicum, S. cassia)
A few folk names for Cinnamon are Ceylon Cinnamon, Cassia Bark, and Sweet Wood. Associated with the Sun and the element of fire, cinnamon bark can be used in magickal formulas or ground down to make a powder. Cinnamon is associated with a number of spiritual attributes in addition to healing, such as love, luck, and money.
The scent of cinnamon has an inviting aroma. It warms our soul, ignites our passions, promotes high vibrations, and has the potential to elevate our mood. It can be used in healing incenses, oils, perfumes, and sachets.
Worshipers of Ra (an Egyptian Sun God) used cinnamon as an offering to bring in positive solar energy. The Ancient Greeks also burned cinnamon in their temples and for various ceremonies. Cinnamon is also associated with Oshun, the Yorùbá Orisha and goddess of love, beauty, and fertility. She, like the Egyptian Goddess Isis and Roman Goddess Diana, is known for healing, bringing happiness, and prosperity.
Witchy Tip: Take a white or yellow sachet and fill it with cinnamon sticks and dried orange peel to joyfully lift your spirit and provide a warm healing vibe. Use it as a potpourri or make a small cloth pouch to use as a gri gri (mojo) bag. You can also place a personal item or written intention inside to personalize it.
Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus, Eucalyptus spp.)
Some folk names for Eucalyptus are Blue Gum, Fever Tree, or Woolly Butt. It is associated with the Moon and the element of air. Parts often utilized in spiritual work are the leaves and pods, which are made into an essential oil for healing, purification, and protection against illness.
You can put eucalyptus leaves in sachets or use them for stuffing healing poppets. Eucalyptus essential oil can be used in an aromatherapy vessel for the home to help fight off respiratory illness. Also, it has been said that Eucalyptus branches may be placed over a sickbed to promote good health. Eucalyptus pods can be strewn onto a thread to make a necklace to help soothe a sore throat.
The Aboriginal Australians used eucalyptus to bring down a fever and the plant was also used as an insect repellant, expectorant, mouthwash, and to heal wounds. Eucalyptus was introduced to the rest of the known world sometime in the late 1700s. Since then, it has been incorporated into several spiritual traditions, including Hoodoo.
Witchy Tip: Try anointing a white candle with eucalyptus essential oil and setting an intention for good health.
Horehound (Marrubium vulgare)
Llwyd y cwn, Seed of Horus, and Eye of the Star are all folk names for Horehound. It’s associated with the planet Mercury and the element of air. Horehound is used for spiritual work, including healing and protection.
Named after Horus (an Egyptian God of the Sky, Hunting, War, and Kingship), Horehound is one of the oldest known cough remedies and was likely one of the herbs found in the medicine chests of physicians to the pharaohs. Horus was the offspring of Isis and Osiris. He has the head of a falcon or is sometimes depicted as a falcon. His right eye is the Sun and represents power, while his left eye is the Moon and symbolizes healing.
Legend has it that Horus went through a series of contests and became ruler after winning the final contest against his rival Set (an Egyptian God of Chaos, War, and Storms) where he tricked Set in a boat race and won. There are a few versions of this story that includes a lot of family drama.
Teas can be made with horehound to help soothe a sore throat or cough. Like other herbs, horehound can be used in sachets, incenses, to stuff a poppet, add to a candle ritual, or sprinkled into a bath.
Witchy Tip: Make a loose healing incense blend with horehound leaf and cedar essential oil (which also has healing benefits) added to some wood base, preferably green.
Geranium (Geranium spp., Pelargonium spp.)
Alum root or Wild Cranesbill are two folk names for geranium. It is associated with the planet Mars and the element of water. Geranium flowers can be used for spiritual health, fertility, love, and protection.
Geranium flowers are also used to improve physical, mental and emotional health when worn as a necklace. The flowers can be dried and put into sachets, potpourris, and baths; it’s also frequently used in perfumes. Holistically, geranium has been used to treat anxiety, melancholy, infection, and to diminish pain. Geraniums have a number of health benefits, especially for its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antioxidant attributes.
Red geraniums often are used for healing or protection against illness. For example, Mexican spiritual healers called Curanderos (male) or Curanderas (female) use red geraniums to heal patients from illness. Curanderismo is based on both Aztec and Mayan influences. These ancient cultures believed that there is a fragile balance between nature, health, and spirituality. If any of these one or more of these aspects goes off balance, then illness likely will occur.
Witchy Tip: Make a simple healing bath with sea salt, geranium flowers, and a few drops of geranium essential oil.
Marigold, African (Tagetes erecta, Tagetes spp.)
A few folk names for African Marigold are Cempasúchil, American Marigold, and Aztec Marigold. Marigolds are associated with the Sun and have symbolized the power of healing since the times of the Aztecs.
One of my favorite stories describes the love of Xóchitl (a beautiful Aztec maiden) and Huitzilin (an Aztec warrior). They loved each other so much that when Huitzlin died in battle, the sun god Tonatiuh (who bestows warmth, well-being, and fertility, in addition to being the patron of warriors) heard the Xóchitl’s pleas to reunite them. He wanted to help her and so he transformed Xóchitl into the cempasúchil (marigold) flower. The warrior Huitzlin, according to Aztec beliefs, was then reincarnated in the form of a hummingbird. In this form he could forever find nourishment within Xóchitl (now transformed into a flower). The lovers would be always together as long as cempasuchil flowers and hummingbirds live on earth.
The marigold flower later became the Day of the Dead Flower, because during October 31st and November 1st it is believed the souls of the dead can visit their loved ones. The flowers attract spirits with their vivid color and sweet scent.
The marigold is also commonly associated with Ganesha, the Hindu God of Luck, Wisdom, and Success. In India, marigolds are used to make garlands and decorations for a variety of celebrations, including weddings and festivals. Marigold petals can also be used in sachets, baths, or incense.
Witchy Tip: Try using approximately 2-3 tablespoons worth of dried marigold petals and burn them in a fire-safe dish or cauldron. Make an intention for good health and well-being by visualizing the warmth of the Sun and general positivity.
Onion (Allium cepa)
Some folk names for Onion are Onyoun, Yn-leac, and Oingnum. Associated with the planet Mars and the element of fire, the onion bulb or its flowers can be used for healing, protection, lust, and exorcism.
Onions are also associated with the Moon, Lunar rites, and the Egyptian Goddess Isis. Furthermore, the people of Pelusium in lower Egypt worshipped the onion (in addition to garlic) and did not put it in food. It has been said that onions were also put into the tombs of Pharaohs because they were thought to symbolize the cosmos due to their concentric layers. Generally, onion is believed to protect against illness and improve strength and vitality.
Followers of Hekate (a.k.a. The Dark One) offered deipna (supper) to her at the crossroads at the end of the lunar month when there is the Dark Moon. Food offerings were given to her during ceremonies in order to gain favor with Hekate. Onions are apotropaic like garlic (e.g. ward off evil or anything malefic). Hekate bestows gifts and heals those she favors. As Goddess of the Dark Moon she is likened to the crone aspect of the Triple Goddess and symbolizes the light within darkness that illuminates our path.
Witchy Tip: Try making an onion braid to hang in your home. I prefer the kitchen or a doorway. Use onions with the green tops and about 3 to 4 feet of heavy twine (or colored fabric pieces). As you braid the twine and green onion tops put your intent of well being and protection against illness into the onion braid.
Sorrel Wood (Oxalis acetosella)
Some folk names for Sorrel Wood are Fairy Bells, Sourgrass, and Three Leaved Grass. Linked to the planet Venus and the element of earth, Sorrel Wood is associated with healing and health. Its leaves are used in healing rituals, can be carried like a charm to protect one’s heart, or placed in a sickroom to help with recovery from illnesses.
Sorrel Wood can also be planted in your garden and is associated with woodland spirits, fairies (Fae), and elves. The folk name Fairy Bells comes from the Welsh belief that the tiny flowers on the Sorrel Wood ring happily and therefore call the elves to dance under the moon in merriment. Be cautious though, the Fae are not to be meddled with and should be respected or else strange things may start to happen.
“In the woods the trees are tall, Up and up they tower; You and I are very small— Fairy-child and flower. Bracken stalks are shooting high, Far and far above us; We are little, you and I, But the fairies love us.” –– from The Wood-Sorrel Fairy
Witchy Tip: Take a small bottle with a cap and some leather cord to fasten it. Put some Sorrell Wood inside and wear it against your heart for protection in matters of the heart.
Spearmint (Mentha spicata)
Spearmint, also known as Lamb Mint, Green Spine, and Our Lady’s Mint, is associated with the planet Venus and the element of air. Its spiritual attributes are healing, love, and improvement of mental powers.
Spearmint leaves can be used for healing sachets, incense, soap for baths, or to put in a blended oil for healing. Some people also use spearmint essential oil in aromatherapy for headaches. It can be used to stuff a healing poppet or be used to make tea.
According to Greek mythology, the origin of mint had to do with a Naiad nymph called Minthê from Mount Mintha and adored by the God Hades. Hades’s wife Persephone, however, got very jealous and transformed Minthê into a mint plant. Hades could not change the beloved nymph back and so he bestowed her with a memorable and pleasing scent so she would not be forgotten so easily.
Another story about mint involves Zeus and Hermes visiting a small village. No one would give them food or shelter until an elderly couple named Philemon and Baucis welcomed them into their home, fed them, and took care of them. Before the meal, the elderly couple rubbed their table with mint. After receiving good hospitality, the two strangers revealed themselves to be Zeus and Hermes to the old couple. As a reward, Zeus and Hermes turned the elderly couple’s home into a luxurious abode. To this day, mint is seen as a symbol of hospitality and good health – and you can show your guests they are welcome by using mint in your home.
Witchy Tip: Try using a few drops of spearmint oil in a tablespoonful of water and add to a tea light oil diffuser. Set your intention (e.g. good health and well being) and let the aroma fill your space.
Willow (Salix spp.)
Some folk names for Willow are Pussy Willow, Old Wives’ Tongue, and Ozier. It is associated with the Moon and element water. Its spiritual attributes are healing, protection and divination work. Did you know that the original “aspirin” comes from the willow tree and aids in pain relief?
A branch of willow in the home is said to promote good health and well-being. Burning it promotes healing. The Willow is associated with the Moon, water, the divine feminine, and the Goddess. It is known as the tree of intuition, dreaming, deep emotions, and enchantments.
Willow wood can also be used to make wands or talismans. The Willow is sacred to Brigit (a.k.a. Brigid or Bride) who is likened to the maiden aspect of the Triple Goddess. To the Celtic peoples, she is known as a Goddess of healing (medicine), poetry, metal-smithing, and arts. Some say that her name translates to “the fiery arrow.” Brigit, as a goddess of healing, shared her knowledge of herbs to heal sick folk.
Another Goddess associated with the Willow is the Greek Goddess Hekate who knew the mysteries of the Underworld. As goddess of the Dark Moon (likened to the Crone aspect of the Triple Goddess), Hekate was associated with stormy weather, howling dogs, crossroads, witchcraft, and the Willow Tree.
Witchy Tip: Make a healing poppet out of felt or white fabric. This can be done by sewing a poppet and stuffing it with willow bark that has been ground or broken into small pieces.
Please note: It is important you visit your doctor for any physical or mental illness. The following is based on folkloric and holistic tips, but are not to be used as a substitute for proper medical care. Use common sense and seek the advice of a medical professional before ingesting herbs and/or internal healing methods.
Click here for a recommended book list for further reading on herbal magick. Each book can be purchased at Enchantments.
By Coleman Drew
How paying closer attention to the light can help us infuse a sense of play back into our lives.
Color Me Rainbow
I’ve been a ‘friend of Dorothy’ since I was in utero and always had an affinity for rainbows. I believed my troubles wouldn't be able to follow me if I could only just get over that archway of color and find myself in Oz. Many times over I’ve proudly worn a rainbow as a badge of honor – remembering and celebrating all those LGBTQIA individuals who’ve blazed the trail before us. More recently, though, rainbows have become a daily reminder to bend the light according to my needs.
This past holiday season, while working through my seasonal depression, I found myself daydreaming about ways to make sunlight more meaningful. As a city witch, I find it paramount to continuously cultivate a connection with nature and sometimes that means bringing the natural world into my home – be it with plants, crystals or other elemental treasures. To combat those dark and dreary mornings, I felt the need to honor the power of the Sun.
I’ll hang some prisms in my windows, I thought. Let’s take a page out of Pollyanna’s playbook and use rainbows as a symbol to keep my own ‘glad game’ going. Mind you, this was during the winter, before we would come to understand the extent of our current affairs with the pandemic. In this time of isolation and uncertainty, I am relying more than ever on these simple, yet powerful reminders to help keep me sane and optimistic. (By the way, for all you homebound folks out there needing a fluffy distraction, Pollyanna is now available on Disney+).
A Witch worth their weight in salt does their magickal homework, and for all of us, each practice is unique. While I was letting my inner Hermione Granger run wild with research, I discovered the word prism comes from the late Latin and Ancient Greek word prisma, meaning a ‘thing sawn’. A prism is a glass or other transparent object with at least two surfaces and a specific angle between them – the degree of which determines the way the light’s path bends. Because each color travels at different speeds, when white light passes through a prism, it bends and separates into a spectrum of colors.
A perfect example of a prism in action is Pink Floyd’s 1973 album cover for Dark Side of the Moon. A beam of white light can be seen streaming in from the left, hitting a triangular prism center, and bending into a rainbow of color out the other side.
Soon after wishing for prisms, I rediscovered three in my room! Once again I’m reminded that the power of a clearly defined intention will help us pay closer attention – especially if you let your dreams refocus your eyes on what is right in front of you.
One morning in between wake and writer’s block, a glimmer reflected from my bulletin board caught my eye. I looked up to find a heart-shaped prism from my childhood hanging, seemingly at attention, among the other treasures of days long passed. What a silly place for something meant to catch the light, I thought.
I’d soon find two more prisms in my room, one heart-shaped and another an orb – both lightless and hidden. Gods, what else in my room isn’t living up to its fullest potential? My internal monologue continued as my eyes found my own face in the mirror across from me: No time for a self-crucifixion today Capricorn, we’ve got some f-ing rainbows to hang up!
Boredom will either act as the key to unlocking magickal, creative play (helping us entertain ourselves and discover the world around us) or boredom will shine a mirror on areas that need to be addressed. These are not mutually exclusive, but that's another story, another spell.
I looped the first prism heart around my curtain rod and the effect was immediate. Rainbows were bouncing around my room! I giggled and quickly hung up the others on the adjacent window. I turned to admire my newly revitalized space. The heart-shaped prism cast large streaks of color all around my room, while the orb created smaller, more concentrated rainbows. The effect was utterly enchanting and filled me with glee - which is key to unlocking a sense of play.
Here are some tips on how to create the same magickal effect at home...
Each day, when the sun’s presence activates the rainbows, I am reminded to check-in with myself. Where do I need to bend the light to more colorfully express myself? A quest that began with a way to hold on to the light during times of darkness led me to understand that sometimes, it’s about redirecting the light you already have within.
For more stories on how to practice magick during hard times, click here for Veronica's story on manifesting self-love.
By Veronica Boscia
Tips and rituals to help you practice self-love with magickal intention during difficult times.
I haven't left my house in almost three weeks since the pandemic began. Even on a good day in New York City, it’s not easy to see the stars. But a few nights ago, as I sat on my porch, I looked up and saw a constellation that normally wouldn’t be visible.
I realized at that moment that it’s about balance. It’s about seeing the light through the dark times. It’s about seeing the beauty in all things – even when it’s hard to make out from the shadows.
If there’s ever been a time to practice self-love, it’s right now. It's a time to develop our inner strength and cultivate courage. There’s not much we can change about our current situation, but we can change how we approach it. Stress mixed with uncertainty means it’s more important than ever to be mindful of our energy and ultra-kind in our words.
Self-care is the act of taking care of yourself physically and mentally, but self-love is about loving yourself unconditionally, accepting yourself without limits, and embracing your shortcomings, as well as your strengths. But like many things, it’s easier said than done.
Here are some tips to help you maintain inner strength and cultivate self-love during hard times...
Acknowledge your feelings.
That means all of them. The good, bad, and the ugly – they’re all valid and okay. With each emotion and feeling that arises, embrace the flow and take time to figure out what they’re trying to tell you.
Elevate your thoughts.
Negative thoughts lower your vibration, whether they are directed inwards or outwards. Behind every negative thought is a positive one just waiting to prove it wrong. Try changing a negative thought into an empowering one. For example, if your isolation partner is getting on your nerves, reframe your thinking to reasons why you are happy to have them. Then send them gratitude for being there, for bearing witness with you – send them a beam of light. Remind yourself that your feelings are valid, but they do not control you. Acknowledge the negative thoughts – and then let them go.
Try a writing exercise.
Magick can be very powerful with clear intention and a strong will. Try writing down your spells with those clean hands!
Sanitize with positive intention.
If you have a hard time shaking away negative thoughts, sometimes physical visualization techniques can be beneficial. Try sanitizing your surfaces and washing your hands with affirmations: “I am washing away any uncomfortable feelings. These negative thoughts are only temporary. I let them go and wash them away.” Of course, you can also personalize your affirmations if these don’t resonate with you.
Moisturize with positive intention.
After all that hand washing, remember to moisturize. Many scented moisturizers are made with ingredients with magical properties, so you can literally lotion up with magical intention!
And you probably already have lotions with magical ingredients: Eucalyptus has been used since ancient times in healing and protection rituals, as well as to treat upper respiratory issues. Visualize yourself being completely healthy as you lotion up.
Another commonly used healing herb is lavender, which also helps promote a sense of peace and protection. Wear it knowing you are loved and safe.
It’s okay to indulge yourself a little.
Yes, you deserve to indulge yourself – even just a little. Was there a book you haven’t had the chance to read? Was there a project you wanted to start but figured you wouldn’t have the time? Have you been procrastinating putting away the clothes that accumulated on the chair in your room? (You know you have that chair…we all have that chair.)
Or maybe you want to lay in bed coloring while catching up on your favorite show? Do that! Wanna take a bubble bath in the middle of the day on a Tuesday? Get the bubbles! You can make the most of this time, without feeling pressure to be “productive” all the time.
Give yourself a break, but stick to a routine.
While it's important not to let this pandemic turn us into Uncle Joe from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, it’s also good to give yourself a break. Try to maintain normal hours, even if that means getting up for your daily Zoom conference, getting your work done and then lounging around for the rest of the day.
Check-in with friends and family.
This is the perfect time to get in touch with those you may have lost touch with. Nurture your friendships. Appreciate family time. Try to exercise compassion and understanding, knowing that others might be operating from a place of stress and worry. Remember to place necessary boundaries, but also be kind.
Meditate. Even when it’s not easy to do so.
Relaxing your mind is just as important as relaxing your body. Meditation reduces stress, and promotes a healthy state of well-being. It’s also linked to heightened creativity. Adding meditation to your routine may open you up to new ideas and practices that you can develop over time in the long run. Meditation helps you regain control over your thoughts; it is not about trying to stop them. Allow your thoughts to flow freely and just observe.
Adopt a self-love mantra or chant.
If you’re struggling with inner strength or self-love you can remind yourself each day with positive affirmations, such as: “I am doing my best. I carry strength within me. My kindness and compassion make the world a better place. I deserve peace. I take care of others by taking care of myself. I give myself permission to pause. I say yes to healing.” (You get the idea. But trust me, it works). If any of these raise any doubt, meditate on it and remind yourself you are doing your best.
Limit social media and your news consumption.
The world is already scary enough right now and we don’t have to torture ourselves! Maybe that means just limiting COVID-19 searches to once a day – or on a case-by-case basis. We need to stay informed, but when we are grounded in peace, it’s easier to operate from a place of love.
Remember you’re doing what you can.
Especially now, it’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling like we are not doing enough or that we’re not being productive enough. Aside from essential workers, many of us have found ourselves with a lot of spare time. But think of this time as a free pass to nurture ourselves emotionally, spiritually, creatively and intellectually. The universe has literally put our everyday lives on pause –– It asks us to stay home.
Keep a gratitude journal.
A good technique to do before bed is to either list everything you are thankful for – or, at the very least, jot down three positive things that happened that day. Going to bed with a sense of gratitude can improve your sleep, as well as getting you into a better mindset the next morning.
For more Enchantments’ stories, check out Stacy’s Self-Love Spell here and Carmen's practical guide to keeping a magickal routine.
By Eva Crawford
Want to give your children (or yourself) a magickal project this week? Our illustrator Eva Crawford designed a printable enchanted forest cove illustration for the perfect stay-at-home activity.
By Carmen Pouerie
Whether you're an experienced witch or looking for a way to keep yourself sane during these uncertain times, these tips helped me regain a sense of control.
Being the manager of Enchantments means I incorporate magickal practices into my everyday life. When the shop was forced to close during the COVID-19 quarantine, the disruption to my routine really threw me off balance. After self-isolating for three days (while my partner still had to go to work), my state of mind was dangerously dark. My moods would swing wildly from calm logic – knowing we can and will get through this – to a desperate panic that someone I love might bring the virus back with them.
After a long talk with my therapist, who suggested mimicking normalcy as much as possible, I decided to renew my magickal routine. I also realized that our customers might be going through the same thing, so I put together some tips on how to use our spiritual gifts to manifest peace.
Cleanse. Like water, the air around us can get stagnant with energy.
Cleaning your space, both physically and energetically, really helps clear away the negative energy – especially when you’re stuck indoors for an extended period of time. Say an incantation or sing a song while you’re disinfecting your home (make sure you wipe all door knobs, light switches, cabinet/drawer handles, phones, glasses, and anything else your hand would touch regularly).
Witch tip: Add a splash of Florida water or lemon essential oil to your disinfecting solution with the intention to remove harmful energy from the room or object. Chanting, smudging, and taking sea salt baths are helpful practices, as well.
Create a routine. Magick is all about routines.
Witches of all paths follow different natural cycles as part of their practice. We observe the cycles of the moon, we follow the wheel of the year, and celebrate the Witches’ Sabbaths (Happy Ostara!). It’s important to maintain a daily routine, which can be as simple or complicated as you are able to make it.
Try to mimic your normal day, if you can: Get up out of bed and shower. Open your curtains and make your bed. Try to eat and drink (and also feed your familiars) on a regular schedule. Set reminders on your phone to water your plants, especially when the days start to blend together.
Light a candle or incense daily.
At the shop, we light all the altars and smudge the space with our handmade incense before we open. If you have incense, light some with an intention for the day (lately I’ve been burning Peace, Healing, and Van Van). If you don’t have or can’t burn incense, a small candle can serve the same purpose.
Meditate or visualize for protection and healing.
Set a daily time to center and quiet your mind. We encourage all our staff and our customers to read Denning and Phillips’ Practical Guide to Psychic Self-Defense. The authors use a method of visualizing a “tower of light” surrounding your aura. This will help to strengthen you and establish a system of protection that you can always have with you. You can also meditate back on a time in which you felt really safe and calm to bring that energy around you and change the vibrations in the room.
Make crystal grids for healing.
A crystal grid is the use of crystals in a geometric configuration that can be placed on or around a person, place, or thing to achieve a desired intention. Gather your gemstones, charge them with intention (visualize filling them with your energy, almost like a battery), focus on your desired outcome and place the crystals with intuitive intention. Feel where the crystals want to go.
Once in place, visualize beams of light or energy connecting your crystals together in a web. In The Essential Guide to Crystals, Minerals, and Stones, Margaret Ann Lembo recommends the following gemstones for healing and protection: amethyst, clear or rose quartz, black tourmaline, obsidian, hematite, green aventurine, garnet, selenite.
Listen to your body.
This down time is allowing us to be present with ourselves without the distraction of responsibilities outside of our homes. Sometimes I neglect to eat or drink water while I’m working. Make it a point to eat or drink when your body asks you to. Rest when you’re tired, both physically and emotionally. Take time to yourself when you are overwhelmed. Reach out to your support system when you are lonely. Meet your body’s basic needs.
Practice self-care. It’s not selfish, it’s necessary.
When our physical and mental health is at risk, doing little things to make yourself happy are very important. Now is a good time to care for your body by trying a new skin care item, take long bubble baths, style your hair, paint your nails, etc.
You can care for your mental health by journaling, expressing your thoughts to your family and loved ones (while maintaining social distance), cooking your favorite meal, spending time with your pets, or picking up a new hobby you never had time for. Take time for yourself.
Create incantations and sigils.
Incantations are simply singing your intentions over an object or during an action to achieve a specified intention. While we’re alone, there is no one around to hear our silly little poems or phrases, so speak your intentions aloud. It will help to strengthen it, as well as let you hear a voice that isn’t your TV.
Sigils are magical symbols and can be as simple as a happy face for happiness or as intricate as one of the Seals of Solomon. To create your own, write out your intention in a few words, then eliminate repeating letters. After that, you can attempt to combine all the remaining letters into a unique symbol that is specific to you.
Life is truly magickal and intention is all you need. You have the magick within you. We may not know what “normal” is anymore, but at least we can honor what is normal for us as witches. And I know one thing for certain: I can’t wait to get back to Enchantments and create magick for the public once again.
For more Enchantments' stories, click here.
Stacy’s Candle Spell For Healing
By Head Witch Stacy Rapp
It's time to use our magic to help the world heal. White is good for purity, cleansing, clearing energy, and encompasses all the colors. Blue is good for calming, anxiety release, peace, protection, and communication.
Here's what you'll need:
This is a modification of a spell that was going around the internet about lighting a candle for healing the world.
Dip your fingers in the bowl and use the sea salt water to "wash" your hands as you say:
"I call upon the healing power of the oceans to wash this sickness from the world and to heal all those already sick."
Light the candle and say: "May the Goddess bless and protect all the medical professionals fighting on the front lines of this war. Keep them safe and healthy so they can save everyone."
So mote it be! Blessings to all.
Now is a time to turn inward and focus on healing the mind, body, and spirit. Here, we’ve compiled tips from our in-house witches to help you navigate these uncertain times.
Cleanse your altars, as well as your home.
“Now is an important time to cleanse your home, both literally and metaphorically,” says witch Carmen Pouerie. Since many of us are stuck inside, energy can get pretty stagnant. Clean your space thoroughly using your regular products, paying special attention to your altars. Afterwards, set an intention and bathe your surroundings in the sacred smoke of your choice.
Rededicate or ask your deities/ guides to be closer to you.
It’s a good time to turn inwards and also ask for guidance from our ancestors, spirit guides, deities, angels, gods/goddesses, saints, the universe, etc. Ask them to assist you with raising your vibrations (so you can be truly present for others, yourself, and focus on love/compassion) and ask for protection during these uncertain times. Set out offerings, if that’s in your practice, light a white candle, and talk to them directly.
Create a “wellness station” at home.
Transform a small corner of your apartment/house into a place for reflection, meditation, spells, and turning inward. “Rearrange your furniture (even temporarily, until all this is over) to make space for spiritual healing,” says Amber Snider. “Add a yoga mat (if that’s in your practice), pillows, blankets, candles, and anything else to make you feel cozy. Let this space be a screen-free zone unless you’re using your phone or computer for meditation and visualizations.”
Use cooking herbs with intention.
If you don’t already own a copy of Scott Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, there’s a lot of information already out there on the web regarding the magickal and healing properties of herbs. Each time you use basil, thyme, rosemary, pepper, salt, oregano, and any other herb, focus on the power of the herb to heal and bring that energy into your food (which you then consume into your body). Cooking can become a sacred ritual at this time, especially when done with intention.
Visualizations are key to calming the breath and re-centering yourself.
Start integrating light visualizations and meditations into your daily routine several times a day. “I’ve found I need to take breaks to ground and calm myself. I’ve been imagining that I’m standing under a golden waterfall. I’ll do the exercise with my arms up in the air. At the same time, it helps me calm my breathing,” says Enchantments’ photographer and witch Victor Castro.
Burn incense in your home to uplift your senses.
“Good Earth is super effective, especially since I'm a high-frequency water sign,” says Castro. Other options include House Blessing and any kind of “love” incense to raise vibrations. If you don’t already have these hand-blended incenses at home, you can burn your regular stick incense like nag champa.
Draw daily oracle cards to keep a mood for the day.
Carmen Pouerie recommends drawing an oracle card or tarot card for the day to help your inward focus. This practice can add profound insight into our life and show us what we need to work on, what may be missing, and what we’re not seeing. Use them as a meditation tool throughout the day. Ask yourself: What is this card trying to show me that I wasn’t seeing before? What insights can it offer? What lessons can I gain from it?
Cloves for the cure – even spiritually
Victor Castro says that using cloves during this time has been super helpful for him. “I’ll take the clove in my fingers and crush the bud into powder and tap my forehead and temples with it.” It instantly calms him, he says. You can also add clove to your teas, especially since they’re rich in antioxidants.
A message from Enchantments: With New York State on PAUSE, we must extend our closing to early April. We’re hoping to reactivate online orders by April 7th. This is subject to change as we continue to learn more. In the meanwhile, the Enchantmments coven sends everyone love & vibrational bear hugs.
12 Best Tarot Decks for 2020
By Amber C. Snider, with recommendations by Enchantments' staff
We've rounded up our very favorite tarot decks – perfect for gifting or adding to your own collection.
There are two kinds of witches in the world: those who believe that a tarot deck should be given or received as a gift – and those who don't. Whichever kind you are, we've got you covered with these 12 handpicked beauties; perfect gifting for your astrology-obsessed cousin, art-loving bestie, or even yourself.
Decks are available for purchase at the Enchantments' brick-and-mortar shop or by clicking on the purple links. Happy divining, witches!
Ethereal Visions Tarot –– For your artistic, ultra-creative friend
Drawing its inspiration from the Art Nouveau movement, this beautifully illuminated 80-card deck designed by Matt Hughes is an artistic wonder. Complete with elegant gold foil stamping, the aesthetic harkens back to the “Golden Age of Illustration” and comes with a 48-page booklet.
Game of Thrones Tarot –– For the GOT lover in your life
Game of Thrones may be over, but the legacy of Westeros lives on. Fans of HBO’s mega-hit show will love this 78-card deck, complete with illustrations of your favorite characters. Written by tarot expert Liz Dean and illustrated by Craig Cross, the deluxe deck blends Major and Minor Arcana cards with the deep archetypes of GOT. It also comes with a hardcover booklet that explains both the symbolism and how to use the cards. Who will be the Empress, who will be the Fool?
Image © 2017 Home Box Office, Inc. All rights reserved. Game of Thrones and related trademarks are the property of Home Box Office, Inc.
Otherkin Tarot –– For your mythical creature loving sister (or that cousin who's always talking about their animal spirit guide)
Calling all Otherkin: this sublime, ethereal deck based on the Rider-Waite-Smith system features creatures both strange and familiar. With mythical animal-human hybrids (like a wise old owl as the Hierophant), Otherkin Tarot is a beautifully designed deck with a pastel color scheme that wants to “be left out in the moonlight.”
The Herbcrafter’s Tarot –– Perfect for the kitchen witch in your life
Using herbs as archetypes and the suits as elements, this botanical tarot deck is a great introduction to herbalism and plant spirit magic. The 78-card deck comes with a 124-page book filled with herbal inspiration, and uncovers the symbolism of plants as medicine. The deck is intended to explore the unique, magical messages plants can offer us.
Smith-Waite Centennial Tarot Deck –– For that co-worker who obsessively reads her horoscope out loud in the office
One of the most well-known and popular decks in the world, the Smith-Waite deck is great for both beginners and advanced readers. The Centennial Tarot Deck is a richly illustrated reproduction of the original deck by Pamela Colman Smith and Arthur E. Waite. Includes the standard 78-card set, plus four samples of Smith’s non-tarot artworks.
Spiritsong Tarot –– Perfect for the little wee witch in your life
Spiritsong merges the spirit world and animal spirit guides together to form a whimsical creation that has become a favorite in the magickal community. This award-winning tarot deck by Paulina Cassidy includes 78 Spiritsong animals as “mentors of divine guidance” with designs based on Shamanic and Native American symbolism. It’s a great deck for adults and younger people alike.
The Starman Tarot Deck –– For David Bowie lovers (obviously)
Inspired by David Bowie, this collector’s deck was one of the most “eagerly anticipated tarot kits” of 2018. Designed by Davide De Angelis (who worked on the album art for Bowie's album Outside), this psychedelic deck is a favorite amongst Bowie lovers and weaves together an electrifying fusion of alchemy, sacred geometry, and a vibrant color pattern.
Morgan-Tarot Greer –– For deep, intimately bold souls
The Morgan-Greer Tarot features a bold, jeweled tone color palette with magical imagery based on the Rider-Waite system. The borderless cards feature up-close perspectives in a beautiful and richly saturated design that is meant to evoke an emotional response with each spread.
Tarot Z Deck –– For the undying “Walking Dead” fan (or your apocalypse buddy)
Designed by Alejandro Colucci (you’ve probably seen his work on the cover of Anne Rice books), Tarot Z Deck is a richly illustrated deck with primal, visceral imagery. This 78-card deck is perfect for collectors, those already familiar with the Rider-Waite-Smith tradition, or your favorite apocalypse-obsessed buddy.
Santa Muerte Tarot –– For the edgy Latinx in your life
If you love celebrating Dia de Los Muertos and revere Nuestra Señora de la Santa Muerte, this deck is for you. Designed by Fabio Listrani, the Sante Muerte Tarot features a series of skeleton figures, as well as the Lady of Holy Death herself.
Golden Tarot of Klimt –– For the lusty lovers out there (great as a couples' gift, too)
Gustav Klimt’s vibrant, gold-gilded imagery often evokes a visceral reaction in many viewers. This tarot deck is “teeming with impressions...that recount love, death, sensuality, and regeneration” and is perfect for art lovers and romantic souls everywhere.
The Aquarian Tarot – For the person who never missed a single Ren Faire
One of the best-selling decks on the market, the Aquarian Deck is sure to please nearly all diviners. Combining Art Deco and Art Nouveau styles, artist David Palladini brings the major and minor arcanas alive with vivid, magickal imagery.
Each deck can be purchase at the Enchantments' brick-and-mortar shop located at 424 East 9th street. For our roundup on the best books on Tarot, click here.
By Amber C. Snider
Maybe you really can have it all? We spoke to color magick expert, tarot reader, and medium Sarah Potter on how to visualize your future and manifest your dreams.
Sarah Potter is a woman who knows what she wants, goes after it, and helps others do the same. Whimsical in her fuzzy white winter coat, celestial nails, pink-blonde hair and cherry-red shoes, Sarah is not only a color magick expert, but a friendly force of nature. We get to chatting about how to manifest your dreams – a theme that struck me as apropos for this new decade. (It’s 2020 baby, we have arrived).
“Color is a tool to amplify your intentions. Anything you desire can be manifest – and I feel like people don’t say that enough to each other,” Sarah tells me. She believes we truly can get everything we want in life. But if you don’t know what you want, how do you go after it?
The first step is getting clear about what you truly want. The Universe can’t help you if you’re flipping back and forth between life goals and mindlessly sifting through all the countless options out there. You have to quiet the mind and find that elusive answer within. Defining our desires is half the battle in manifestation – especially because most of us don’t really know what it is we want.
“If you swing really big, you can miss really hard. Taking a risk is challenging. I think the attention that can come from shining so brightly can be uncomfortable,” says Sarah. It becomes even more arduous when we’re energetically blocked in some way (and trust me, most of us are blocked in various ways at different levels). Sarah recommends using color magick and visualizations to release those blocks and raise your vibrations: “It’s such an active energy to get what you want and accept it and feel like you’re the best at something or feel proud of yourself,” she says. You also must believe you’re worthy of the good things to come.
Battling your self-worth
One way to raise vibrations is to stop with the negative self-talk: “A lot of the harshest criticism comes from within. It’s not really the outside world, it’s this striving and pushing ourselves to be better. Right now so much of the wellness industry is about ‘How can I be better?’
But if we’re always pushing ourselves forward, it can also be debilitating. Like, where are we going, what’s the end result? Death? Sometimes you have to stop and enjoy where you’re at right now. Take that moment and appreciate where you’re at instead of ‘Oh there’s so many other places I need to go.’ Constant self-improvement can just be exhausting,” says Sarah.
Ah, the backlash of self-improvement. Plus, there’s the added kickback of comparison with others. There’s always going to be someone out there with more authority, more clout, more glamour, more Insta followers, more money, a seemingly ‘cooler’ life. So how do we get to the core of what we want, rather than what society tells us we should be doing?
“One thing is self-love and self-care,” Sarah says. “A lot of self-care can be read as ‘selfish’, but if we don’t take care of ourselves, no one else will. You have to fill up your cup before you can help others. Raising your self-esteem and your vibrations, and truly loving yourself is a way to do that,” she tells me. “Also just spending time reflecting and mining the depths of yourself to figure [it] out and get to the root of what you want to do, separate from everything else.”
And where does that leave fear? Isn’t there fear associated with actually getting the thing – or things – you’ve always wanted? Sarah agrees: “Everyone talks about fear of failure, but fear of success is just as real. Acceptance, going with the flow, and easing up on ourselves really helps.
Everyone can benefit from reflection and meditation. It might be uncomfortable in the moment, but it’s going to be so much better for my future self. Realize not everything is going to happen overnight.”
Benefits of color magick
As a color advocate, Sarah uses color magick mixed with beauty and self-care rituals to manifest her desires. “Color magick completely changed my life. I live a life that is so beyond my wildest dreams that I never thought was possible. And I did it through the power of color.”
Color is accessible and we deal with it all the time – consciously and subconsciously. “It’s not this intimidating power source that we don’t know how to harness, we’re already using it. For me, the first thing was really amplifying my communication and working a lot with the color blue and activating the throat chakra. That was through a lot of blue visualization.
It was also really figuring out where my blocks were in communication. A lot of these issues we have with love and money, they’re really not about love or money – they’re about communicating our desires. That’s normally where we need to start. I realized my communication skills really needed work and I needed to feel worthy of using this voice,” Sarah adds.
One helpful practice is to “visualize breathing in a blue cloud of air and sending it through your nose and right into your throat and imagining it activating and opening up that chakra point,” she says. “I love lapis, it’s a great crystal to work with when amplifying communication skills.”
It’s okay to take up space
Believing that the Universe will open up to you and support you is radical thinking – but it’s a necessary soul awareness. “I do believe that people want to be helpful and give us what we want, especially in partnerships. Whether it’s a work collaboration or love or friendship or family. People want to be there in the ways we need them, we just have to let them know,” says Sarah.
The Queens of Wands (in the Tarot) makes her way into our conversation on worthiness. “If you look at Pixie Coleman Smith’s depiction of the Queen of Wands in the Rider-Waite deck, she’s taking up a lot of space on her throne. She’s sitting with her legs spread with a fiery, active energy. When she comes up in readings, it offers up this opportunity to [ask]: ‘How do you feel about taking up space? How do you feel about shining really brightly?’ ”
Because the Queen of Wands is the Witch of the tarot and is all about living a creatively fueled life, Sarah says that a lot of people have a hard time with this card. It goes back to this idea of not feeling like they deserve their desires. But you can “follow your passion and make your money through your passions,” she says. “You can take up space, you can ask for what you want, and receive what you want.”
Sarah Potter is available as a tarot reader, medium, and color magic consultant. She also hosts events, workshops, lectures, and facilitates Moon Circles through Spirit House Collective's Brooklyn branch. You can contact her via IG and Twitter @iamsarahpotter.
By Amber C. Snider
Clear away negative energies, purify your space, and relax your mind using sage alternatives.
In her latest book, Sacred Smoke, Amy Blackthorn explores the various ways plants, resins, and flowers form a "connection to the earth under our feet" and how we can use that connection to strengthen our bond with the self, Spirit, and mystical energies around us. In her signature no-nonsense, conversational style, Blackthorn's book opens up new ways of looking at the plant world, while offering practical advice on how to harness their clarifying power.
Smudging has been used as a ritualistic tool for centuries in Indigenous cultures around the world (perhaps even shortly after the discovery of the fire element). But Blackthorn prefers to call the practices within her book "Smoke Cleansing" or "Smoke Bathing" – an important distinction few authors make when discussing this topic – rather than use the blanket term "smudging." She wisely points out that there is "room for respect and growth without appropriation" when using these healing tools.
Here are 10 ways to use plants, resins, and oils to clear out dull, stagnant energy in your home and welcome in abundance – with a few "sage" tips directly from Blackthorn's new book.
Burn Your Own Blends (BYOB)
Making your own incense blends is actually pretty easy. All you need is some colored wood-base (which you can get at Enchantments), a few drops of your favorite essential oils, and herbs. When mixing up your blend, you don't want the incense to be too "wet" or "dry" – so it may take some practice to get the exact measurements down. By using a wood-base incense, you don't need to use charcoal at all – simply touch fire to the incense and stamp out the flame with a spoon.
"When it comes to measuring the results of our intentions, the only yardstick that matters is your own," writes Amy Blackthorn in Sacred Smoke. The power of intention is real – and it makes all the difference in your magickal work.
It's not necessarily about what you use (witches have always used whatever was available to them), but how you use it. And that "how" is primarily rooted in your specific intention and will. As above, so below.
Blackthorn recommends grinding up a bit of clove (yes, you can use the kind you already have in the kitchen) using your mortar and pestle and burning it as a hex breaker. Remember to be specific with your intention.
Pure As Myrrh
Oh, wonderful myrrh. Another fan favorite going way back to ancient times, myrrh is "restorative, attuned to success, happiness, good luck, and increases confidence," according to Blackthorn. It's an uplifting scent that can help restore compassion for yourself and others, too.
"Myrrh is also the guardian of gratitude, so feel free to burn myrrh while journaling a regular gratitude practice to cement those feelings for the long term," Blackthorn says.
One way to enhance your psychic and cleansing/clearing work is to actively utilize your breath. Amy Blackthorn recommends using the sacred "square breathing technique" to help focus your intention and meditation. This basic breath technique involves inhaling in on a four-count – holding for four – and exhaling to the count of four.
"...What we're doing is allowing the brain to relax and find its own rhythm, called a trance state," she writes. By using intentional breathwork while you burn your resins and herbs, you can then use the smoke curls as visual stimuli to invoke a deeper meditative state.
The Power of Scent
There are countless combinations of herbs and plants you can burn to cleanse and clear your space, but of course it helps when the aroma produced is especially delicious. Many people love the scent of lavender and it's often used to calm, soothe, and balance your spirit and body. According to Blackthorn, lavender can also be burned to enhance "divination, clairvoyance, psychic development, and strength." It's associated with "secrets (and their retention), balance, harmony," and more.
Simply add a teaspoon or less of lavender directly onto burning charcoal (in a fire-safe dish or small cauldron) and fill each corner, closet, and cupboard around your home with a touch of smoke. If you're clearing out negative energy (rather than invoking abundance or attracting positivity), keep the windows open and "shoo out" the smoke afterwards.
Ready-Made Magickal Blends
If making your own incense is too much work, you can also pick up ready-made, hand-blended incenses in half or full ounces. Enchantments recipes include everything from House Blessing, Sun, and Happiness to Van Van (a New Orleans blend), Kyphi (and ancient Egyptian formula), Uncrossing, and more.
Burn amber resin for happiness and love, as well as to transform negative energies into positive one. Grind up a bit of resin in your mortar and pestle, and slowly add pieces to your burning charcoal (again, in a fire-safe dish). Amber is particularly good for meditating and enhancing psychic awareness, too.
If resins aren't really your thing, you can also buy amber as an essential or fragrance oil and add a few drops to your soap stone oil burner (remember to purchase separate tea light candles for that) or an essential oil diffuser.
For a chiller mood and little anti-anxiety remedy, burn essential and fragrance oils like bergamot, lavender, and neroli.
Burn some basil to encourage love in the home or as an "offering to Aphrodite and other love goddesses," writes Blackthorn. Mmm, yes, we'll take it – and just in time for Valentine's Day, too.
To purchase Amy Blackthorn's book Sacred Smoke, visit the Enchantments' shop or click here to buy directly from the publisher. Click here for 9 spells to cure the winter blues, and more.
By Amber C. Snider
Plant medicine and herbal rituals for the new year to help you heal and restore.
The holidays came and went, but now you’re left feeling sluggish, unmotivated (despite those #2020goals), and still wondering what day it is. All your self-care and magick rituals are truly put to the test in the month of January, especially after the cheer and hype of the season has died down. But this ‘slow down’ period is actually great for manifesting your desires and intentions because you’re not so distracted and can focus on getting what you want.
But in order to do get your spirit right, you gotta get your body right, too. That’s why we’re sharing some magickal tips and plant medicine elixirs from The Herbal Kitchen to help you heal, restore, and rejuvenate.
Break out the chamomile
Tea time for the win! Chamomile is great for calming the body’s nervous system (especially after a stressful day) and it’s also great mixed with other herbs for an ultra-healing tea blend. Author Kami McBride recommends the following recipe:
Mix chamomile with fennel to help “settle an upset stomach caused by anxiety and exasperated by stress” or try a chamomile-cinnamon tea to “relax the uterus and alleviate painful menstrual cramps.”
Try a “Longevity Elixir”
Kami McBride’s Longevity Elixir is the “perfect after-dinner tea on a cold night” – so if you’re in the northeast right now and officially over these frigid temperatures, this warming concoction may be just want you need. It’s simple, effective, and includes that calming chamomile we love.
Recipe: 2 cups (500 ml) fennel, chamomile, and coriander tea.
1 teaspoon (8ml) nutmeg honey
Warming Winter Brew
“This is a warm, full-bodied tea that has a revitalizing effect on a cold winter day,” writes McBride in The Herbal Kitchen.
1 cup (250 ml) ginger-cinnamon tea
1 teaspoon (7 ml) molasses/treacle
1 teaspoon star anise honey
Chamomile-ginger tea can also help “reduce stress-induced inflammation that causes headaches, heartburn, gastritis, and stomach irritations,” according to McBride. And after all that holiday indulgence, this Warming Winter Brew should offer some much-needed relief.
Soak in a herbal-infused vinegar bath
Give Kami McBride’s “Body and Bath Vinegar” recipe a whirl to help rejuvenate your skin and promote relaxation during winter’s harshest months. After making the recipe (see below), it’s probably best to store the rest in a large mason jar until your next soak (you'll only need one cup per bath). When possible/available, try to use fresh herbs and flowers.
Add 1 cup (250 ml) of this healing vinegar to your bath:
1 cup (96 g) chopped fresh lavender
1 cup (48 g) chopped fresh lemon balm
1 cup (48 g) fresh rose petals
½ cup (48 g) chopped fresh rose geranium
¼ cup (30 g) chopped fresh burdock
5 cups (1 1/4L) apple cider vinegar
*Enchantments herbs are not for ingestion
Add some burdock to your pantry
“Burdock root is a cooling, nutrient-dense herbal food,” writes McBride. “This revitalizing root is teeming with healing properties. Scientists continue to examine its anticancer and antitumor effects,” writes McBride. “[It’s] also known for its aptitude in supporting sluggish digestion and relieving lymph stagnation.”
Consider adding burdock root to your teas, smoothies, salad dressings (herbal vinegar), or your bath.
Power up with flower water
Making herbal and flower water is super easy and it’s a great way to detox after the holidays. We’re especially loving Kami McBride’s suggestion of calendula and rose petal water. Simply fill a pitcher with water and add just a touch of (previously rinsed) calendula and rose petals. “Herbal water is subtle; you don’t need a lot of ingredients. Just a few sprigs of herbs and a few slices or small scoops of fruit will do,” she writes in The Herbal Kitchen.
Calendula (also known as marigold) is an anti-inflammatory and assists with tissue regeneration, encourages a healthy lymph system, and is great for the skin; while rose is an “all-around beauty treatment herb...as well as an effective nerve tonic.”
Recipes published with permission by publisher Red Wheel/ Weiser. You can purchase The Herbal Kitchen by Kami McBride at the Enchantments shop or anywhere books are sold (including the internet).
Editor’s note: These herbal and plant remedies are not substitutes or replacements for proper medical or psychological care. They're meant to add to and enhance your self-care rituals and routines. Also note that Enchantments' shop herbs are not for ingestion, but for magickal use only. Do your due diligence, know thyself (including your allergies), and use only what works for you.