Check out what’s cooking at Moody Moon’s for this Mabon festival season. Click on the photo to land on the product description page.
New this year! Mabon festival incense.
Also available, fall festival incense.
Last week, I enjoyed the simple pleasure of gathering my own drinking water from a famous spring in West Virginia.
Turning the spout until it sprayed lush, cool spring water into my glass jugs reminded me very much of the ritual spigots by the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, where I stood just a few years ago.
It got me thinking about water and its role in spiritual life.
From the immersion rituals of Hindu deities to the baptismal rites of early Christians, every major religion in the world uses water as a holy symbol of purification. Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Shintoism, Taoism and Buddhism all use water as a key feature in their cleansing rites.
And so do you.
Whether you dipped your toes in a cool brook, rode the waves past the breakers on a crystalline coastal shore or floated lazily on an inflatable pool chair with a refreshing cocktail, you probably enjoyed water’s gentler side at least once this summer.
Perhaps you’ve even, at some point in your life, endured water’s less compassionate side. Both life-giving and life-taking, water also carries the power to destroy. Floods, tidal waves and water-borne illness erase whole civilizations thoughtlessly. This duality of creation and destruction, life and death, beauty and ugliness, is a common theme in all the elements. Earth, fire and wind all have the same power in different forms.
But unlike the other elements, water bears the power to transmit energy. The lifeguards at the beach don’t rush everyone out of the ocean at the first sign of lightening for nothing. Electric currents shoot through water at the literal speed of light.
So let’s talk a little about how to use water in our rituals. Most of us incorporate water into our cleansing, purification and moon rituals.
But few us of think about where it comes from, and how to work with it according to its source.
Spring water: Best for new beginnings, inspiration and creativity spells.
Rain Water: Best for house cleansing, moon rituals and garden blessings.
Ocean Water: Best for power rituals, love spells, sea magic and to honor sea deities.
River Water: Best for banishing (sending things “down the river”)
Well Water: Best for rituals involving the mysteries, “earthy” matters and finding lost objects.
Waterfall Water: Best for “leaps of faith”
I love spell boxes. Whether yours look artistic, expressive and beautiful or more like a 3rd grader’s craft project, spell boxes are easy to personalize for your purpose.
This full moon, start a spell box, but don’t finish it until the next full moon.
Start by picking a (realistic) goal. Something you can reasonably accomplish in one moon cycle. Modest weight loss, new job, starting a new hobby or deepening a skill you already have. Whatever.
Get a box. I’m a fan of the small wooden ones available at most craft stores for about $1. Like this one.
But you don’t even need to go that far. A shoe box will do.
Decorate the box. Don’t be shy, now. Really abuse it. Carve symbols in it. Scar it with a wood-burning tool. Glitter, paint, stencils, super-glued seashells. Pick stuff suited to your endgame. Choose appropriate color(s) and symbols.
Bless that bad boy. Nothing fancy. A little sprinkling of spring water and some salt will do.
Spend the next month searching. For herbs, stones, words, and symbols to add to your box. You can either start with a list of things to look for or simply improvise. You’ll be amazed when an idea strikes you. Here’s a sample list for a success spell.
*10 of Pentacles tarot card
Remember it is a work in progress. The joy is in the journey, and all that. Take your time. If not this moon cycle, than the next. Make it part of your Esbats until you get what you want.
Wait. What’s Florida Water?
Florida water is a traditional American cologne water recipe adopted by southern practitioners of the hoodoo and voodoo tradition to cleanse the home and use in ritual.
You can put it in a spray bottle as a spiritual “disinfectant,” anoint doors and windows with it, use it in place of holy water or pour it into a bowl and place it on the altar for offering.
There are dozens, maybe hundreds of recipes for florida water.
Rather than give you a straight up recipe, I’ll show you how to customize it according to what you have on hand.
Despite the name, it is not a water-based potion.
Most people use vodka to steep the herbs and flowers.
I recommend the cheap stuff. As cheap as you can get. Bottom shelf. I’ve tried top-shelf vodka to make this, and it’s just a waste of top-shelf vodka. In my opinion, it really doesn’t make much difference in the final result.
Choose at least two items from each group:
4 parts fresh mint
4 parts fresh basil
4 parts fresh rosemary
3 parts rose petals (fresh)
3 parts jasmine (dried or fresh)
3 parts lavender (dried)
2 parts lemon peel
2 parts orange peel
2 parts lime peel
1 part allspice berries
1 part cinnamon sticks
1 part cloves
Put the vodka on low heat. Add the dry ingredients and allow them to simmer for 5-10 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients. Simmer on low for an addition 40 minutes.
And there you have it! Blessed be!
After toiling all spring in my garden, I finally have a chance to sit back and enjoy the fruits of my labor.
I made these little signs for my backyard herb garden and sprayed sealer on it to weatherproof it, but I’m still not sure if they’ll hold up. We’ll see!
Medicinal & ritual herbs are in the backyard, but I keep kitchen herbs on the front steps, where they are more accessible.
I try to grow a new herb every year. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. This year, I am growing stevia. So far, it’s been pretty easy.
This book made my summer reading list this year. Somehow, I ended up on this publisher’s promo list of bloggers. They occasionally send me review copies. I really enjoyed this one, which is a nice introductory primer to wildcrafting. It’s really helped me a lot on my nature walks.
I consider the woods near our house an extension of my garden. I collect firewood there, and I use references like the one above to identify various plants for ritual and medicinal purposes.
This is my new favorite, in season right now. I first noticed it growing wild along highways and roadsides. It’s called Chinese Trumpet Vine.
Medicinally, it supposedly makes a good blood tonic. I probably won’t use it that way. But it might make an appropriate offering to Chang’e.
Back in my own garden, the perennial flowers have done well this year. Foxglove quickly became my favorite flower of the last few years, except I can’t seem to keep it alive! I buy a new one every year anyway because I love having it so much. Associated with fairies and hallucinogenic flying ointments (don’t try it! it’s poisonous!), foxglove has a special place in the heart of any garden witch.
I just started growing scotch broom a few years ago. Ruled by the element of water, scotch broom can be used in banishing rituals and purification. Gather a bouquet and place it near the front door for protection. The Goddess Tree has a nice little article about it here.
Have you been reading tarot for a while? Are you at a comfortable level of fluency with the cards?
You might be ready to start reading tarot professionally. But before you do, take a moment to do a quick personal inventory.
1. What are your ethics? While everyone is different in this respect, I think it’s important to establish some firm boundaries for yourself and be open about them with your clients.
Personally, I don’t like the word “psychic,” because for me, it has too many connotations that I’m not prepared to identify with.
I also like to explain ahead of time that reading tarot is about showing people their options, not telling them how to make decisions. It’s important to me to empower my clients rather than leave them with a feeling of dependency.
What standards will you set for yourself? If you haven’t thought about it, it’s time to get those squared away before you book your first session.
2. How comfortable are you with discussing the intimate details of someone’s life? When I first started reading professionally, I was astonished by how forthcoming strangers were with me. They discussed extremely private parts of their lives, including combat experiences, extramarital affairs, and mental health problems. If you are squeamish about the idea of addressing topics like these, reading is not for you.
3. Can you keep a secret? See #2. Nothing will ruin your reputation faster as a reader than dishing the details of a client’s private life. Be honest with yourself: are you a gossip? There are worse things to be, but if this is a weakness for you, consider another line of work. You can really do damage to peoples’ lives this way.
That being said, I always warn first-time clients that if they disclose plans to hurt themselves or others, I will tell someone.
4. How judgemental are you? Compassion and a non-judgemental attitude are absolutely essential to the art of reading for a bunch of reasons.
First, if you’re quick to jump to conclusions, it tends to cloud your intuition.
But more importantly, humans are incredibly adept at reading subtle, non-verbal cues. If you’re judging someone for sleeping with multiple partners, blowing her inheritance on foolish expenditures, or lying to her boss, she’s more likely to pick up this than you think, and you may not even know it.
5. Know when to part ways. Tarot reading is a very personal affair. Not all clients will be good fits. If you sense you’re not really helping someone, don’t continue to take her money.
This is particularly true with the Tarot Addict. While good readers will undoubtedly build up a regular clientele, there is a difference between a loyal customer and a junkie. If you have someone who calls you every time they need to make even minor life decisions, becomes anxious if you are unable to see them, or starts to become obsessive, do the right thing and let them go.