Monthly Archives: January 2007

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The Power of Sage

Before you read this post any further – stop! Go out to your local metaphysical/new age shop and get a sage smudge stick. Got it? Good, now let’s talk about clearing out some negativity.

Why use Sage?

Sage dissipates negative energy. Use it to clear out residual negativity from situations that occur in the home. This is an Ancient Native American tradition and works beautifully. I personally smudge before any working, just to make sure I’ve cleared the air around me.

All About Sage (from Michelle Chihacou White Puma Klein-Hass)There are several varieties of each genus of Sage that are used for smudging. Salvia, or the herb sage used for cooking, comes in two major varieties: S. officinalis, commonly known as Garden Sage, and S. apiana, commonly known as White Sage. Salvia varieties have long been acknowledged as healing herbs, reflected in the fact that its genus name comes from the Latin root word salvare, which is the verb “to heal” or “to save.”

 

Artemisia is the genus commonly considered “Sagebrush”, and is more common in the wilds in California. There are two major varieties to the Artemisia genus: A. californica or Common Sagebrush, and A. vulgaris or Mugwort.

There are many other varieties of both Salvia and Artemisia, and all are effective in smudging.

Other Herbs to Use

Cedar: For smudging, the best is Western Red Cedar (Thuja occidentalis) and California Incense Cedar (Libocedrus descurrens). Cedar is burnt while praying to the Great Spirit in meditation, and also to bless a house before moving in as is the tradition in the Northwest and Western Canada. It works both as a purifier and as a way to attract good energy in your direction. It is usually available in herb stores in chipped form, which must be sprinkled over a charcoal in a brazier.

Sweetgrass: Very important to the Sioux and Cherokee nations, its botanical name is Hierochloë odorata. In these tribes, the sweetgrass is braided like hair braids. It could be burnt by lighting the end of it, or (more economically) by shaving little bits of it onto charcoal in a brazier. Sweetgrass is burnt after smudging with sage, to welcome in good influences after the bad had been driven out. Sweetgrass is very rare today, and traditional Plains people have been attempting to protect the last of it.

How to Smudge

I personally use a sage bundle and a fire-proof vessel for it. Some suggest using an Abalone Shell but check on this – I have heard that Abalone is sacred to the Great Mother. I just use a ceramic plate.

I also have several gorgeous sage smudging fans which make it easy to direct the smoke around my space. I only cleanse my entire dwelling every six months or so but every time I cast I smudge the altar and any tools I am using.

If you do the entire house make sure to get the smoke into closets and drawers. You may feel a little silly but trust me – in the end it will be worth it.

After you smudge you will want to light a nice incense (sandalwood or lavender) and open the windows to let the negativity out. If you cannot open your windows – just open the front door for about 10 minutes.

I’ve also heard that lighting a white candle to help purify the space following it is a good idea. I always have candles lit anyway.

Keep your attitude very clear and focused – think thoughts of love and joy. Smudging is a powerful practice and makes a deep connected with Gaia (Mother Earth).

Truth or Scare?

I had an interesting email this week from a favorite client of mine. She had been sent a dire list from a friend warning her against the experience of engaging a witch online. In a semi-panic she emailed me to ask me if the following list meant that she unwittingly had made in error in contacting me for spellwork.

Here is the list she forwarded to me:

  1. Do not purchase a spell from a website that sells mojos, amulets and other “cheap and nasty” souviner items.
  2. Never ever purchase a spell form a website that does not have an actual physical address AND telephone contact number.
  3. Do not purchase any spell from any website that does not ask for biological samples. Without this no spell will ever be fruitful. Authentic spell casters will always ask you for biological materials.
  4. Do not ever send cash or western union to any of these cold hearted thieves. The majority are utter frauds.
  5. Do not purchase from any website that has tacky “cartoons” and fancy slide shows or gimmicks to suck you in.
  6. Do not purchase spells that promise LOVE. There is no way known that you can make some one love you. If that were the case there would be no such thing as a broken heart.
  7. Do not purchase any spells from any website that will send you nothing in return. A spell will not work without a talisman. Remember that the circle of energies will not be completed without a talisman.

She wrote, “Is any of the above true? Why does this person state that you require biological materials, talismans etc? What does a physical address prove? Could please look at each point and tell me why or why not he / she / or they are incorrect?”

Since other clients might see a list like this, I decided to post my response to her.

My response:

#1. Do not purchase a spell from a website that sells mojos, amulets and other “cheap and nasty” souvenir items. – I do not sell cheap and nasty mojos or amulets. I hand make everything I sell. I use a variety of items when I create mojos. I know the kind they are speaking of – the kind sold by companies aimed mostly at Latin American markets like indioproducts.com (they sell from $3.95 – $7.95). My mojos are not like these. My mojos are made in accordance with Hoodoo mysteries, a form of magick indigenous to the American South.

#2. Never ever purchase a spell form a website that does not have an actual physical address AND telephone contact number. – This is meaningless as many of the con-artists on the web post a home address and telephone number. I personally would never post that information, as I would have people calling me at all hours. I will call people who are established clients if there is an emergency. Once you place an order with me and get physical results from a spell, you will receive my return address on the label.

#3. Do not purchase any spell from any website that does not ask for biological samples. Without this no spell will ever be fruitful. Authentic spell casters will always ask you for biological materials.- Absolutely 100 percent NOT TRUE. I work with energy – not biology. I don’t need hair or blood or nail clippings. Asking for this is going for shock value. The most I have ever asked for (according to certain spells) is a signature. There is more inherent energy in a signature (and name) than biological material. DNA only tells you about the present incarnation of a person. Since our souls and higher minds are pure energy what point is it to have biological material? I suppose if I really wanted to scare people with my voodoo-ness, I could make them run around getting hairs off their boyfriends sweaters, but I don’t need that for my spellwork.

#4. Do not ever send cash or western union to any of these cold hearted thieves. The majority are utter frauds.- I have International clients who can only send Money Orders or Western Union. Of course I have Paypal available for them (for checks and credit cards), but certain countries cannot use it. I don’t see anything wrong with it unless a spellcaster ONLY takes Western Union or Money Orders.

#5. Do not purchase from any website that has tacky “cartoons” and fancy slide shows or gimmicks to suck you in. – Tacky cartoons? Well, this sounds like a personal opinion to me.

#6. Do not purchase spells that promise LOVE. There is no way known that you can make some one love you. If that were the case there would be no such thing as a broken heart.- Interesting since the author of this list sells love spells and even promises – “Make him or her fall deeply in love with you”. As I say in my blog and in my FAQ and elsewhere on my site – everyone has free will – so there is no way you can manipulate someone to become your love-slave against their will. That goes against the laws of nature. But love does not have to be manipulated – it can be fostered, tended, urged – in many different ways.

#7. Do not purchase any spells from any website that will send you nothing in return. A spell will not work without a talisman. Remember that the circle of energies will not be completed without a talisman.- Pure hokum. You don’t need a talisman. Magick comes from your MIND and SPIRIT. Sure certain things have their own properties and correspondences – for instance Patchouli oil smells very sexy and puts most people in the mood. But do I NEED it to cast a love spell? Is that really a spell? No. It is called “Sympathetic Magick” and certain items are used as SYMBOLS, nothing more. Most of my spells have a physical result but a few have something that is consumed in the casting (like the BEACON OF LOVE and REALITY SHIFT). You cannot see or touch magick – it is energy.

My final thoughts on this:

I’ve been doing this since I was 15 years old and my magick has evolved as I’ve aged. Sometimes I want to perform a high magick ritual with my family on a Sabbat (such as this past Yule), because it is a celebration of nature and the Goddess and God. But when I am a working witch and casting dozens upon dozens of spells per moon phase, I work as a solitary witch, casting spells before my altar, using spells I have been studying or creating or re-creating myself. Magick is a living art form; it changes.

For me witchcraft is not a business alone – it is a CRAFT, first and foremost. It is not my religion since I am Buddhist. But it is PART of my practice, part of my daily life, as it ties me to nature and the worship of the Goddess. Crafting spells and casting them is an art to me and there are many facets to my art – alchemy, herbalism, divination, crystal healing, reiki, meditation, chanting, soul journeys, drumming, root work, High Magick, and many other mysteries that I have studied. In a way it is like asking a painter “How do you paint?” Or a Doctor – “How do you heal?” or a Priest – How do you pray?” I have learned and practiced for many years. It is what I do to make a living. But most of all it is who I am – a witch.