Thursday, May 17, 2018

Medicinal Uses of Dandelions


It’s that time of year again: as far as the eye can see, pretty yellow flowers blanket the ground. Some say dandelions are noxious weeds, but to me they are a harbinger of warmth, summer and sunshine. Children make wishes on their fluffy seeds before blowing them into the wind, and weave them into chains and crowns.  Also, the leaves, roots and flowers all have medicinal properties that have been documented for centuries. What's not to like? Before you grab the herbicides like so many generations before us, read along to learn the wonderful health benefits of the common dandelion.

Make a Tea to Detoxify: Dandelion leaves are what is called a “diuretic”, which means they help remove excess water from the body. A diuretic can ease many kinds of bloating whether from p.m.s. or due to high blood pressure. Dandelion leaf tea is known to increase bile production and to flush out the liver and kidneys. It increases urine frequency, hence removing toxins from the body. Dandelion tea is a great addition to a full body cleanse or to boost your liver function. To make a tea, pour boiling water over a handful of fresh dandelion greens and let steep for 10 minutes. Sweeten with honey if you like before drinking.


Roast up the Roots: Dandelion roots contain inulin, which is a prebiotic beneficial to gut health. Inulin aids in relieving constipation, helps nutrient absorption in the intestines, and creates healthy flora in the gut. The root can be roasted in the oven and then brewed like coffee for a healthy, tummy-friendly drink. To roast the roots, first make sure they are clean. Chop them up into 1 cm. pieces, and spread evenly on an ungreased baking sheet. Put in a 200 degree oven for half an hour or until fully dried. Grind in a coffee grinder, and put in your percolator just like coffee.


Put Them In Salad: Many people don’t realize that dandelion greens are a healthy and tasty salad ingredient, and are even becoming available for sale in more commercial grocery stores all the time. Dandelion greens can be eaten raw just like spinach, or added to stir fries. These greens are high in potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, and calcium, as well as being loaded with fibre like all your favorite leafy greens. Just make sure you harvest them in early spring, as the greens turn bitter once the plant flowers in the warm weather.


Treat Skin Conditions: The milk, or sap, of the dandelion is the white liquid present in the flower’s stem. Squeeze some of this milk onto eczema or fungal rashes to help clear them up. This has also been found to be effective treatment for acne. Dandelion milk has properties that inhibit infections in pimples, and the vitamin C can reduce the appearance of scarring. **Do not get Dandelion milk in your eyes!** You can also make a facial steam of dandelion flowers to help with acne and oily skin. Pour boiling water over a bowl of dandelion flowers, cover and let brew for 8 minutes. Then cover your head with a towel to create a tent, and hold your face over the steam for 10 minutes for an all natural at-home facial treatment.

***It is important to keep in mind that if you have plant allergies, are pregnant or nursing, are currently taking medication of any kind, or have other health issues you must check with your doctor before using herbal products like dandelion.


Harvesting


If you are harvesting dandelions to consume, make absolutely certain the area has not been sprayed with herbicides or pesticides. Gather them from an place removed from heavy traffic, urban fumes and pollution. Also make sure that no matter what part of the plant you are using, wash it thoroughly with cold water first.


To harvest leaves, cut them in early spring. Hang them upside down in a dry dark place away from light, until they are crumbly. To store, wrap them in paper towel or a paper bag, and then place in a sealed jar. The paper will absorb any access moisture and prevent mold. The best time to eat fresh dandelion greens is when they first grow in spring; as summer and fall seasons progress, their leaves become extremely bitter and don’t taste very nice.


When harvesting the root, it is best to use the second growth in the fall, as these roots contain more inulin than their spring sisters. The dandelion root is called a "tap root", which means it is long and deep. Tap roots can be challenging to remove from the earth, and require digging. You can buy special tools just for this purpose, such as a Fiskars. The roots will have dirt clinging to them and will need to be scrubbed with water thoroughly before use.


Gather the flowers when they are in full yellow bloom, and dry them by hanging just like the leaves, or else by laying them on dry paper in an undisturbed dark place until crisp.



Monday, February 6, 2017

Teaching Kids Witchcraft - An easy spell for children.


Recently my daughter and two young nieces banded together, asking me to help them perform a "good luck spell".

This was a tough one for me.  On one hand I was really excited for the opportunity to share this fun experience with them, but I also felt hesitant; I think it is important to allow kids to discover their own path, without me dumping all my brews and grimoires under their feet to distract them. My own daughter is almost 8, and up until recently she hasn't had much interest in my shop or what I do.  She has seen me smudging the house and using incense.  She knows I love crystals, nature, rocks, plants and the earth. I do simple guided meditation with her.   That's about it though.  She has never -- until last week -- given a thought to spells and witchcraft.

The three girls had been poking around my website and wanted me to explain all my witchy products to them. I had a distinct feeling that witchcraft was a fad among their friends (we've all been there, some of us just never outgrew it).  However since they were looking to me for answers, I decided to indulge them. I think it is healthy for them to experiment with different things, to learn, do research and use their own critical thinking skills in the end to find their own way.  To do so, they need information. 

In this blog post I'm going to share a basic easy spell to do with children, one that I feel simply demonstrates the important parts of magic -- visualization, feeling and intent -- in a way that is easy for them to grasp.  The subject is "good luck" , which is a nice way to steer the attention of the spell away from tangible items like money, popularity, control or other superficial things.  I wanted to show them that witchcraft is not all showing off and scaring your enemies; it is about harnessing positive energy and drawing it into your life and to those around you.   This spell gives them a taste of witchcraft without being too heavy or serious, and shouldn't incite any unrealistic expectations.  It does involve candles and incense, so I do not recommend doing this with children under 8.  Please always be safe!

The first thing I did was get permission from the children's mother.  Seriously. Don't go performing witchcraft rituals with children without their parents' consent (<--- is it me, or does just that sentence sum up how strange my life is?). First of all, just the misunderstood word "witchcraft" upsets some people.  A lot.  Secondly,  it's a respect thing: think of how you'd feel if your child came home from a friend's house where the parent had indoctrinated them with a strange religion without  your consent.  That would be weird and disrespectful.  Don't be that parent.

Before beginning our good luck spell, I asked each of the kids to think about what "good luck" meant to them.  What did they see in their mind?   One said she saw a 4 leaf clover.  One saw herself riding a wild horse and having fun.  One saw herself at a birthday party.  I asked them how they felt when they thought of being "lucky" and they said happy, excited, and hopeful.  I then told them that during spell casting, the most important ingredient of all, more important than candles, herbs, or pretty tools, was THAT FEELING.  That you could have no materials at all, but if you have THAT FEELING, you can do a spell.  THAT FEELING is your intent.

Materials:
Parents' permission
Green votive candle - one for each participant
A stick of incense
4 locket necklaces.  These are available in every shape, size and color you can imagine. Dollar stores even have lockets in various shapes, there's no need to spend lots of money.

We sat in a circle.  I lit the incense and each of us had a lit green candle sitting in front of us, along with a locket.

One at a time, each girl walked the perimeter of the circle deosil (clockwise), holding the smoldering incense stick.  As she made a circle of smoke around us, she recited, "I cast this circle with love and goodness in my heart.  Only good things may enter here." 

Then, we sat down and joined hands inside the circle.  I asked them to close their eyes and imagine their "lucky" image, and to feel the happiness and excitement that went with it.  We did this for a minute or two.  Then, we held our joined hands above our heads.   I told them to see a great big green and pink bubble above our hands, filling with the lucky, happy feelings we were making.  We envisioned pouring those happy feelings out of our hearts, through our reaching hands, and right into our bubble.  There was a lot of smiling, reaching and hand wiggling during this, which is great, because they were raising energy!  Then we all pretended to blow the bubble up and away.  I explained that we had raised lucky energy using our feelings and sent it off into the universe.

Next, came the little ritual part.  As each girl blew out her candle, she caught some of the smoke from it in her locket and closed it up tight, thus catching the "luck" in the locket, and creating a lucky amulet to wear.

Then we all said together, "Blessed be!"

Afterwords, we repeated the simple circle casting.  One at a time, each girl carried the incense stick widdershins (counterclockwise) and recited, "I cast this circle into the universe to do my bidding, with love and goodness.  The circle is open but never broken.  So mote it be!"

That was it.  It was short, easy and no one got bored or fidgety.  They also had a locket keepsake to remind them of feeling blessed or lucky.

When teaching children about witchcraft, I think it is important to focus on the theory of witchcraft, such as the earth and cycles of nature, the power of thought and emotion, and basic energy raising (like the bubble) before trying to teach any spell casting. At the very least it will teach them to respect and appreciate our planet and nature.

And remember, children are fickle so if they lose interest don't force it.  Let them develop their own little personalities which may, or may not, be witchy!

**Please remember, do not leave children alone with the lit candles or incense even for a second.  I cannot stress this enough.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Creative Ways To Use Magickal Oils


Magickal Oils by White Moon Witchcraft


Essential oils have been used for centuries in medicine and magick. Smell is one of our most powerful senses: it can trigger long forgotten memories, change our moods, uplift or depress us, and even have physical effects on our health and well being.

Essential oils are fairly easy to find and purchase at most health food stores or metaphysical shops. When you are using them for magickal purposes, it is important to buy true essential oils derived from plants and resins, not synthetics or “fragrances” made from chemicals. Synthetics carry no magickal properties whatsoever because they do not contain any of the actual plant. To make sure you are getting true essential oils and not synthetics you must research the company that made them. Visit their website and poke around to find out where their oils come from and how they are processed. If you can’t find the information, send them an email and ask.

You may be familiar with using magickal oils and already have some favourites. You can use them blended together in a “perfume” for a magickal goal or use them one at a time. Here is a brief list of some magickal goals and corresponding oils that I have found work well for me and smell nice too.

Money – Peppermint and cinnamon

Peace – Lavender

Love – Rosemary and Ylang-Ylang and Rose (although real rose oil is incredibly costly – if you didn’t pay a pretty penny for it, it probably isn’t real).

Self Confidence – Ginger

Sex – Patchouli

Health – Sandalwood

Spirituality – Frankincense

Happiness – Orange

Protection – Clove

There are multitudes of fun ways to use magickal oils in our daily lives. Here are some of my old stand-bys:

-Put a small amount of the chosen oil on your fingertips, and then braid it into your hair. As you do so, visualize your goal as if you already have it (money, relationship, etc.). As you “bind” the oil into your hair, you are drawing to yourself the properties of the oil you have chosen. Tie the braid with an elastic and leave in until it falls out on its own or you feel finished with it.

-Put a few drops of oil on the blades of your ceiling fan to spread the chosen energy throughout your home.

-Add some drops of oil to a scentless body lotion, and wear daily. This turns ordinary mundane hand or body cream into a magickal tool.

-Dip a cotton ball in some oil and place it in the fan of your vacuum cleaner (the spot where you can feel the air blowing out) to spread the power of the oil all over your house. I like lemon for this because it is spiritually cleansing. If you are cleaning the house prior to hosting a get together or party, try using orange or lavender to promote feelings of contentedness in your guests.

-Put some drops of oil onto ordinary paper. When it dries it will leave a scent. Rub it onto letters and resumes. Love letters can be scented with Rosemary or Ylang-Ylang, resumes and job applications with cinnamon and cloves. Don’t drip oil directly onto the letter, as it will leave an unsightly stain. Obviously this doesn’t work for digital communications, but every once in a while in this modern paperless age an old fashioned letter can make a big statement.

-Add a couple of drops to your dish water, so the energy can absorb into your skin while you work.

-A few drops in your laundry will infuse your clothes with your chosen intent. When you wear those clothes the oil can work its magick whether it is to draw something to you or to keep something away.

-For Protection, draw a pentacle on your windows with your finger and some clove oil. Leave it for three days and three nights, then wipe clean.

-Douse a cotton ball with ginger oil, and keep it in a little airtight jar that can fit in your bag. As needed, discreetly sniff it when you need a little confidence or courage. There are also diffuser pendants made just for this purpose, that double as beautiful jewelry. A diffuser is a cage-like pendant in which you can keep your cotton ball of oil, so you can sniff it easily whenever you need to.

– Before going out to party, put a drop of Ylang-Ylang oil in each shoe to attract a mate (just a little! It can be sticky!). Likewise you can do this before work with money attracting oil to ensure you earn lots of cash.

-Put some on the threshold of the entry to your home to attract any of the aforementioned energies into your home.


*I originally wrote this for pagan pages in 2011

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Fire Banishing Spell

There’s no denying the hypnotic, mesmerizing power of fire, whether in the gentlest candle flame or in the terrifying destruction of a forest fire. Of the four elements, fire is the most volatile and fast-acting. Its effects are often permanent and dramatic on the physical plane and the same can be said for when it is used in magick. The element of fire encompasses passion, determination, action, success, anger, sex, big changes and fast transformation.

You don’t need to have access to a bonfire to harness the energy and spirit of fire in your spells and rituals. Most of us have to make do with candles, and this is fine: a small flame can pack just as much energetic punch as a large one, so long as your intent and belief are strong.

Think about it. Fire is truly amazing. It can turn wood into ash, water into vapour, paper into a whirl of smoke. It can make things disappear, when looked at this way. It is a natural fact that a forest or prairie grows faster and lusher than ever after it has been consumed by a large-scale blaze. For this reason, I feel fire is perfect for use in banishing and purifying all types of negativity, be it bad habits, self-defeating thoughts, harmful relationships, obsessions, stress, or even negative people that keep popping up in your life. Ridding yourself of these things clears the way for personal growth. Here is a simple spell using a candle flame to banish negativity.

You will need:

-a black or white candle (I prefer black for banishing, white for purifying… it really is your own preference).

-a small twig about the size of a pencil stub. Some trees with a history of being connected with banishing and purifying are Lilac, Peach, Pine, Cedar and Birch. If you can’t find any of these, any twig will do in a pinch.

-A small piece of paper. 

-A fire-proof dish (Cast iron is good).

-A bucket of water for safety!!!!

This ritual is best done during a full moon, or just after. Then as the moon continues to wane and decrease so should your problem.

Before you begin, decide what you would like to remove from your life.  It can be any influence, energy or thought you’d like to stop experiencing.

When you are ready, do your usual circle casting or call upon deities if you wish, depending on your beliefs.  Light the candle and spend some time feeling its heat with your hands, appreciating its powerful bright light in the darkness. Note how it melts the wax and consumes the wick. Know that it has the same ability to transform and cause change in your life. Respect it and acknowledge its power. Once you feel you have achieved an understanding for the fire, take your twig and dip it into the candle flame. Allow it to burn for a couple of seconds and then blow it out. When all the embers are dead, it will be blackened with soot. Using the black soot like ink, start to write out the word, phrase or a symbol of that which you are letting go of. You may choose runes, a simple drawing, a personally designed sigil or initials.  If your black “pencil” runs out, dip it into the flame again, blow it out, and continue until you are finished. Draw with power and feel what you are doing. Pour your problem into the drawing and paper. Dump the negativity into the symbol until you are cleansed and empty. Do this as long as you wish, until you feel the heaviness begin to lift or your focus starts shifting. 

When you are done, extinguish the stick thoroughly.  Then, light the paper carefully on fire with the candle (you may want to use tongs to protect your fingers). Set the paper in the fire proof dish to burn. As the fire consumes the paper,the symbol and all the energy you transferred into it, know that the spirit of fire is also consuming the problem and rendering it powerless. Symbolically, your problem is going up in smoke. Burn the remainder of the stick in the dish as well.

You can either let the candle burn out on its own now, or over the duration of the waning moon light it for a while each night and pour your negatives into the fire until the new moon. You can bury what is left, compost it, or otherwise dispose of the candle stub at this point.

In my experience this is an empowering and transformative ritual, which helps with personal growth and inner strength, and helps cleanse out lingering grievances from the past.

Bright and fiery blessings to you!

***PLEASE exercise caution and common sense when using fire.  I can't stress this enough!  Don’t wear loose clothing. Keep fire away from flammable items and surfaces. Keep a bucket of water and a fire extinguisher nearby. Don’t leave a candle or any flame unattended, ever. Use a sturdy candle holder and a flat surface.  Make sure your fire proof dish is large enough and safe for your working.  Fire can get out of control within just one second of carelessness!

*I originally wrote this in 2011 for Pagan Pages.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Winter Banishing Spell

The autumn harvest time is over, Samhain has passed, and the cold weather has started to settle in in earnest. It’s time to cozy up indoors, and also naturally a time of retreating into ourselves. The dark months are a time of reflection, the lengthened nights urging us to draw back, “hibernate” and think about our lives. The darkness of winter encourages us to look into our own shadow, and face things we perhaps were able to overlook amidst the harsh glare and activity of the bright warm months. The recent harvest isn’t just the physical bounty of the earth but also a harvest of our own achievements and experiences, both good and bad. Early Winter is the ideal time to have a good hard look at what we have created over the past year and is a great time for cleansing our minds and spirits – specifically, banishing or cleansing away that which no longer serves us.

This simple purification working is appropriate for the coming dark months, or even as a new year’s ritual.

For this spell you will need:

-A jar or bottle with a tight lid. It can be as plain or fancy as you like, chosen for its color or shape, or even a clean jam jar will do.

-Melted snow. Gather the snow in a bowl and let it melt, until you have enough water to fill your bottle or jar. . I recommend using snow because it comes straight from Nature, out of the sky and into your jar. However, if there is no snow where you live, you can use rain water or tap water if you have to.

- A handful of pine needles. Evergreens and Pine are said to have cleansing, purifying properties and are easily found around your home or in a park. Pine also signifies fortitude and resilience, both qualities we need to be strong enough to say good bye to the old and bravely welcome the new.

-A small peice of paper that will fit inside the jar.

-A white candle

-A pencil or washable marker.

You can integrate your own rituals into this spell if you like: set up your altar as you normally would, cast a circle, call upon deities, or any other personal touches you like.

When you are ready, think about your current life and what things you’d would like to change. Consider your experiences from the past year, and what you have learned from them. Has anything happened that you need to let go of? Perhaps there are situations you wish turned out differently and you are hanging onto resentment. Maybe you have a case of the coulda-shoulda-woulda’s. Whatever it is, it is sapping your energy and it’s time to let it go. Write the issue down on the paper with your pencil or marker. Get as specific and detailed as you want. If you feel passionate enough about it to fill up an entire page with ranting about your mother in law, go ahead.  Pour the negative feelings into the paper like a stream of murky light and see it leaving your body. Then view yourself as free and clear of these issues, living happily and moving forward. Then roll or fold the paper up, put it in the bottle and recap it tightly.

Put the bottle somewhere you will not see it much, like the cellar or far in the back of a closet. Leave it there for exactly one year. The ink will disappear and blur, the purifying snow water and cleansing pine erasing the unwanted, unneeded hindrances. (This is why it is important to washable ink or pencil, it wears away easier)

Next year on the same day retrieve your bottle. Shake it up and see how the paper has changed: the writing should be gone or blurred, and the paper may even have changed form into mush. Have the long-term nasties you put onto your paper also deteriorated, disappeared or changed? Even better is if you’ve forgotten what you’d written at all -- the problems have been solved successfully if that is the case!.

At this point, dump the contents of the bottle into a lake or river or compost them and then send the bottle to be recycled. Do not keep or reuse the bottle. Express your gratitude to nature, the universe or your deities. Think about the positive changes you have made in a year, how much you have grown, and how far you have come. Then walk away and call it done.

*I originally wrote this article in 2011 for Pagan Pages.




Monday, May 4, 2015

Witchcraft, Ethics and Etsy. Is "selling" spells online unethical?

Prosperity Spell
www.WhiteMoonWitchcraft.etsy.com
A few weeks ago, I was contacted via my etsy shop, by someone claiming to work for the Huffington Post.  They were requesting I join them via webcam for a live podcast about the ethics of selling witchcraft-related products online.  At first I thought it was spam, but I looked into it and found it was in fact happening - in an hour.  Since I had a rambunctious 5 year old with me and because I didn't feel that one hour was ample time to gather my lifetime of spiritual beliefs to present to a firing squad,  I politely declined to participate.

I did, however, watch the podcast and it made me really think about witchcraft and marketing, what I do for a living and why, whether or not it is "moral", and why there is so much disagreement within the community on the topic.

I feel that my business, both on and off of the Etsy platform, is perfectly ethical and moral.  If I didn't, I wouldn't be doing it.  Many people think it is wrong to "sell" witchcraft, most of whom are self proclaimed witches, Wiccans, Pagans, etc.  Go to any forum or facebook page in the community, and you will find people arguing over ethics and what is "allowed" in witchcraft.  This is utterly ridiculous to me.  There are no rules except the ones you make yourself, for yourself.  The only so-called rule in witchcraft is that you have to live with what you send out into the universe.  (As you can see, I'm not a Wiccan.  When I refer to "witchcraft", I am not talking about Wicca. The difference between the two is a blog post for another day).

Many modern books on witchcraft claim that to sell or profit from your craft is wrong and will result in some kind of karmic punishment.  Since these books are a resource to many people just starting to learn about witchcraft, there are many individuals out there who believe that selling your witchy services or products is a huge no-no.  I don't share their belief.  I mean, if you feel like you need a book or leader to tell you what you may or may not do, then that is your prerogative. But I suggest you remember these same teachers profited profoundly by selling witchcraft, by writing books about it.  The same books advising the reader how wrong it is to profit off of our craft.  Don't get me wrong, I have learned tons from these writings, but that bit of advice appears hypocritical to me.

What authority says that selling witchcraft products is wrong?  Why?  Who's making these rules?  Unlike many spiritual groups, we don't have some judgmental god telling us right and wrong. At least, I don't.  We do not get a printed list of THOU SHALL NOT'S.   Personally, I think if you require this in your spirituality, than witchcraft isn't right for you.  Witchcraft doesn't have rules.  You make your own, and you deal with the consequences.

There are many witchcraft based shops on Etsy that are really
wonderful, run by people who put their heart, soul and spirit into what they do.  I'm one of them.  I can't see any harm in that.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Will Power Amulet

Lately I've felt like my will power is lacking.  I really want to be healthy, happy and energetic.  However, indulging in certain things like junk food and wine, procrastinating, and lounging around on the couch aren't really in sync with that desire.  I do pretty well at maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but there's certainly room for improvement.  So I decided to make myself an amulet to strengthen my will and self control, and to help me keep working toward my various goals for my inner self.

I decided to use lodestone and citrine together.  Both are associated with will and strength, as well as success and determination.  I had two lodestones that I bought 15 years ago (time flies, am I really that old???) and could never find a use for.  Funny, all this time later all of a sudden I realized I needed them, and there they were, tucked in the back of a drawer, waiting.  Crystals have a funny way of popping up exactly when you need them.  The citrine I took from my stash in a mason jar that I use for crafts.  I chose two pieces at random.  I couldn't decide which of the two lodestones I wanted, or which of the two pieces of citrine was right, and so I started out with both, and figured my intuition would let me know which to use as I went along.

First they had to be cleansed.  I put them in clean water, in my special tea cup kept just for this purpose.  I put them out on the porch in the sun, and left them out over night.  There was a huge rainstorm, and so they got soaked with rain too, which is of course a great thing, having been purified directly by nature.




Next I left them out in the hot sun for a full day.  I believe that the sun cleanses as well as charges stones with their innate properties.
 As you can see, one of the citrine has a lot of imperfections.  Many people think that if  crystal or gem has any impurities that it renders them useless, but this simply is not true.  This theory crossed my mind, but my gut told me that this is the right one so I stuck with it.  It's imperfect just like me!


Once the stones were cleansed, I needed to attune them with my own energy.  I slept with them in the chest pockets of my pajamas  and carried them with me for a couple of days.  Then, I used some black wire to bind them together and make a pendant.


 The pendant I made is meant to be worn inside my shirt, against my skin.  I made the chain the right length that the pendant lies direction over my solar plexus, which is where my third Chakra is.  This yellow chakra is the home of will power, life force, vivacity, manifestation and self esteem, so it just seemed appropriate.  Citrine in particular really resonates with this energy center.

You can make gemstone amulets yourself even if you are not particularly crafty.  They don't have to be pretty to work, they just have to be meaningful!  An easy way to wear stones is inside a bundle of cloth or a wire cage, available at gem stores and metaphysical shops.  Tuck them inside your shirt, or even just carry them in your pocket.