10 Ways to Use Dandelions in Witchcraft

While you’re weeding your spring lawn, pull these little beauties up and throw together some magick.

10 ways to use dandelions in witchcraft

Use them in sun magick.  A bright, yellow, full-sun flower makes a cheerful addition to any solar or daylight ritual.

Include in creativity and inspiration spells.   Dandelions begin to come up just as the winter fades completely, symbolizing hope and and new beginnings.  Include dandelions in spells to jump start projects or break a creative block.  

Press them in your Book of Shadows.  Dandelions wilt quickly, but they press well!   Press between the pages of your Book of Shadows or journal to infuse it with positive solar energy.

Add them to little wildflower bouquets for woodland spirits.  Planning an outdoor ritual this spring?  Gather dandelions and other wildflowers as an offering to the woodland spirits.

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Use them in spells for bravery and courage.  The word “Dandelion” comes from the french word dent-de-lion, meaning “tooth of lion.”  Use them in mojo bags for confidence, bravery or courage.

Include in wishing spells.    In many regions of the United States, people remember as children finding dandelions after they’ve gone to seed and blowing on them whilst making a wish.  Adapt this charming tradition to a wishing spell for a nostalgic ritual.   Makes a lovely feature in children’s spells and rituals as well.

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Make a divination tea.  Boil dandelion leaves and roots into tea and drink it before reading tarot or other divination practices for keen insight and clarity.

Pile them on your Beltane altar.  Dandelions brighten any springtime altar, but especially Beltane!  Put them in a vase with fresh rainwater

Drive out dark energy or spirits.  Bring bouquets of dandelion into the home to dispel dark thoughts and negative spiritual energy.

Ring spell candles with them.  Arrange dandelions around the base of an altar or spell candle to welcome happiness and playful joy into your circle.

 
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Pagan Parenting: The First Year

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Like everyone else, the moment I saw that second pink line, I knew I stood on the brink of complete transformation.

Very soon thereafter, I began to think deeply on how I planned to introduce and cultivate a spiritual life for my child.  .

Something about the label “pagan” made me uneasy when applied to my child that never made me uneasy as applied to myself.  It’s not really a word I identify with, but more of a shorthand that roughly describes the same spiritual “neighborhood” I live in—the way people who live in Tyson’s Corner just say they live in DC because no one knows or cares where McLean, Virginia is and it’s just easier to name a close-enough place.

But I felt more sensitive about labeling my child this way.

So I decided to focus on what I call “natural” parenting.  If you are interested in taking your baby down a more progressive, integrated spiritual path, but you think it’s too early, think again!

There are lots of ways to begin.  Here are some ideas that worked for me.  Obviously, your mileage may vary, but I hope to at least inspire you.

Spend time outside.  Developing a connected relationship with nature never comes too soon.  Don’t just strap your baby in a stroller and keep him there.  Find a sunny spot in the grass and let him roll around (avoid commercial lawns, which tend to be loaded with pesticides).

Work on your “psychic” connection.  Or whatever you want to call it.  The first year makes a great time to promote your unspoken bond because . . . well, babies don’t talk.  Once they learn, their thoughts are, in many ways, limited by the constraints of language.  Lay your baby on your chest and synchronize your breath to hers.  Try baby sign language.  When she’s crying and you don’t know why, stop, think, and pay attention to her cues.   Sometimes, just “listening” to my baby’s non-verbal signals surprised me with insight!

Try mommy & me yoga.  So many benefits come with some quiet, physical closeness.  Mommy & me yoga classes are playful, meditative and fun.   And if your little one freaks out, everyone in the room will understand, which takes the pressure off “controlling” his outbursts.

Include your baby in your rituals.  Try something simple at first.  A smoke-free smudge, or just bring her out under the full moon and let her enjoy the experience.

Celebrate the Sabbats together.  Try to celebrate the Sabbats on her level (see Baby’s First Mabon).

Make a “sweet dreams” sachet.  All first year parents await the night when baby lets them sleep through it!  Try filling a sachet with sleep/dream herbs and/or calming gemstones.  Hang it over the crib securely out of reach.  It can’t hurt!

Bless your baby’s blanket or lovey.  Anoint them with a diluted blend of olive oil and light essential oils for protection.

Try making your own baby care products.  Be sure you really know your herbs and oils, that you are extra cautious about common allergens and whatnot.  But making your own natural baby products connects you to what you put on your baby’s body.

Focus on natural or organic solids.   Have you ever gone in the baby food section at the grocery store and looked at the ingredients in Gerber Graduates?  I was stunned to learn that it’s even legal to market foods so loaded with preservatives and artificial ingredients to young children.  Regard your baby’s body (and your own!) as a temple.  Choose simple, natural foods to introduce.  Even if you don’t have time to cook every day, it’s almost as easy to cut up an apple as it is to pop something in the microwave.  The beauty is, they don’t know what junk food is, so they don’t miss it!

Finally, celebrate that first year with an outdoor cake smash!  We didn’t do a party, which seemed to me like it was really for the parents.  Which is fine!  But the idea of planning, making favors, invitations, ect didn’t do anything for me or my husband.

I wanted to do something to mark the occasion, so naturally, I consulted Pinterest and decided nothing seemed to have more potential for a crafty little witch than a cake smash.

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You can use herbs in the cake that have meaning to you, or decorate it with whatever happens to be in season to honor The Wheel of the Year.

I chose blackberries for their protective properties.

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I love having a spring baby, and I recall noting what wildflowers were in season when he was born last year.  I feel nostalgic now seeing them come back, and I think it might be nice to teach him that when he sees those things, it’s a “sign” that his birthday is coming.

Common grape hyacinth is one of my favorite wildflowers.

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Wild violets can even be candied and put into cakes and cookies.

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I also love tulips (we even named our dog after them!) and I plant them everywhere in the fall just so we can watch them come up now.

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The Role of Fire in Witchcraft

Inspired by the success of my post, The Role of Water in Witchcraft last summer, I decided to continue it as a series for each element.

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One of my earliest memories takes the form of my mother allowing me into the kitchen to watch her make dinner.   Sternly, she instructed me “Not to touch that stove, little one.”

Naturally, the moment she turned, I place my hand unflinchingly on the hot surface, giving myself a ripe little burn and a lifelong lesson about fire:

You really shouldn’t touch it.

Like all the elements, fire bears both creative and destructive force.   Simultaneously dangerous and beautiful, our respect for fire usually begins the first time it burns us!

And yes, I got a nasty burn that day.  But my mother used it to create a hot meal for us.

Same flame, same day.

I chose fire for this season because I strongly associate it with winter.  In the darkest, coldest months, fire provides warmth and light.

Let’s go over different kinds of fire and some creative ways to use it in spell craft.

Candle flame.  Easily the most convenient, common fire tool in ritual, candles are an ideal, all-purpose source of fire perfect for altars.

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Bonfires encourage groups to gather around it, making it an extremely effective focal point for group rituals and coven meetings.  Ideal for “going big” in rituals evoke empowerment or for burning spell elements in banishing rituals.

Hearth fires warm the home and create a cozy, holiday feel.  Perfect for enjoying a winter Sabbat like Imbolc or Yule.  Or, get creative and charge it with passion herbs for a date night at home.

Sparklers.  Remember how magical it was to hold one in your hands as a child, making streaks of light across the summer night.  Use sparklers to bring that same feeling to a moon ritual or night spell.

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Torches (as in the sticks with fire on the end of them, not flashlights) look a feel very ceremonial.  These are ideal for rite-of-passage type ceremonies, particularly involving the transition to manhood, or the ascension to a clergy position.

Lanterns work nicely for spring and midsummer festivals, anything involving faeries or woodland spirits, and garden blessings.

Flash paper is available at theatrical supply stores.  It’s usually used for stage magic, but it’s also great fun in spell casting!  Write spells or symbols on them and up it goes–in a flash!

Hope some of these ideas inspire you to use fire in more creative and fun ways during your rituals.  Blessed be!

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Make a Winter Hair Wreath

Most people associate the beloved hair wreath with Beltane or Litha, but I was inspired by the winter foliage to do one for Imbolc (and then I dragged a poor model out into the cold to pose in it.)

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If you’d like to do the same, here’s how!

You will need:

An embroidery hoop.  I’ve seen other people use wire, an old hanger or other bases, but these seem to work best for me and they are fairly cheap.  Available at any craft store.

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Thread.  Any thread will do, but I like a neutral color or green.

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Some natural foliage.  You can use fake flowers, too, but I think natural looks best for pictures or a one-day event.  I just looked around the landscape until I spotted some color.  The leaves and berries from this holly bush were perfect.

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From there, it’s very simple.  Take a section of the greenery and hold it firmly between your thumb and fingers.

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Then wind the thread around the bunch and the embroidery hoop securely.  Keep going, adding sections of greenery as you continue all the way around.  Don’t worry about getting it perfect or even.  A little wildness makes it look more natural.

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I like to save the colors for last so they stand out on top.

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And there you have it!  Gorgeous.  Everyone at the Sabbat circle will want one!

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Belly Dance for Pagans: The Art of the Goddess

Sometimes slow and sensual, sometimes upbeat and rhythmic, the mesmerizing art of belly dance continues to captivate me a full 10 years after I first discovered it.

I want to talk a little bit about what belly dance offers the modern pagan in particular, and why taking up this dance style compliments neopagan spirituality so well.

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Belly dance celebrates the divine nature of womanhood.  While many dance communities place high value on youth and specific body types, belly dance respects the beauty in every stage of life. Although the “triple goddess” theme is not a concept in belly dance, it’s easy to see the correlation between belly dance’s respect for the sacred feminine in all its forms, from young girlhood to full pregnancy and even well into the crone years.

Belly dance is perfect for covens.   Raising energy with belly dance in a circle is super fun!  Try “passing” the energy from one person to another, like a “wave” at a baseball game, but with shimmies or hip circles.

Belly dance is perfect for solitaries.  Belly dance is performed in groups (as in American Tribal Style), but it is also a solo art.  Solitary practitioners benefit from the opportunity to develop a unique belly dance style and have something to share at festivals or private parties.

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Belly dance is culturally eclectic.  While many people commonly believe that belly dance originates in the Middle East, no one actually knows from where what we call “belly dance” today descended.  Modern belly dance may incorporate flavors of hip hop, ballet, Bollywood or African dance.  This openness to enrichment of the belly dance vocabulary makes it uniquely adaptable.  Egyptian witch?  Try an Egyptian style belly dance.  I’ve even seen blends of belly dance with Celtic dance or Thai.

The belly dance community is generally pretty damn welcoming.   No one will whisper about you showing up to a halfa in a midriff just because you don’t have Kate Middleton’s stomach.

You’ll find a lot of pagans.  Especially in the tribal belly dance community.  It won’t take you long to run into a few “of your own.”

You’ll probably dig the wardrobe.  Chances are, there’s already something in your closet you can wear to a belly dance party or class.  I don’t know why there’s so much overlap but . . . there is.

Well, there you have it.  A few of the many reasons to make this the year you learn a beautiful new form of expression.  Blessed be!

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Natural Healing for Coughs & Colds

Cold and flu season makes for busy herbalists!

I’ve been playing around with natural cold and flu remedies for a few years now, and I’ve finally worked out a few recipes I love based on classic natural healing ingredients.

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A few tips:

Use high quality ingredients.  As with cooking, your final product is only as good as your ingredients.  Local honey, first rate herbs and pure, medical-grade essential oils make for the best options.

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Don’t play around.  Know your body, and know your herbs.  You can overdose on natural ingredients, and you can certainly have allergic reactions to them.  Always start with the lowest recommended dose and work with a qualified herbalist if you’re still new to the art.

Try recipes one at a time.  Don’t mix two different cough remedies to treat one cold.  You’ll get sick again eventually!  It’s easier to figure out what works best if you tweak one recipe at a time.

Okay, here we go.

Honey, Ginger & Whiskey Cough Syrup

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*1 tbsp ground ginger
*1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
*4 Tbsp Honey
*1 shot top shelf whiskey
*splash lemon juice

Blend well until ginger is dissolved and black pepper is evenly distributed.  Shake or stir before each use.

Take 1/2 tablespoon every 3 hours.

Lavender Peppermint Sinus Headache Compress

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*15 drops peppermint essential oil
*10 drops lavender essential oil
*2 cups hot (but not scalding) water
*washcloth

Gently stir essential oil with water in a bowl.    Soak washcloth in the solution, then squeeze out excess water.

Lie down and apply compress to your head for sinus headache relief.

Eucalyptus Muscle Soak for Body Aches

*15 drops Eucalyptus oil
*1 cup Epsom’s salts

Fill a bathtub with hot (but not scalding) water.  Add oil and salts and stir gently with your hand or a wooden spoon before climbing in.  Relax.

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What’s new at Moody Moons?

Check out what’s new at Moody Moons, plus a few items to make your Yule season a little warmer . . .

Click on the photo to follow the link for product description.

Fresh from the workshop!  Egyptian goddess oils.

Cleopatra oil.

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Nefertiti oil.

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Yule Loose Incense Blend.

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Enchanted Winter incense blend.

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Looking for a natural gift for him?  Try all natural rosemary deodorant.

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Feel free to just browse.  Moody Moons has loads of gift ideas for all your pagan-minded friends and family.

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