A Disclaimer: I am one person and my opinions (which I have in abundance) may not reflect the opinions of other witches, in general, or other people who call themselves hearth witches. In fact, they probably won’t, because I’m an asshole. I have a bizarre sense of humor that doesn’t convey well in text and I rant about shit I don’t like. A lot. If you don’t think you can handle that, maybe don’t read anything I write. Ever.
Protecting the Home, Protecting the Family
Let me preface this post by saying, I am exhausted, so probably nothing I write here is going to make sense to anyone but me. Also, that has just been my luck lately, but we’ll see how it goes anyway.
If you read my blog, you’ll know that I do a lot of stuff to protect my railroad cottage. Not just because I live here, but because I literally use my house as a symbol of my household and family. So, in a witchcraft sense, protecting my home is protecting my family. And, because that’s the witchcraft I write about most on my blog, that’s what I get a lot of questions about (spirit work aside, because that’s what I get the most questions about).
So, this post is going to be about various ways to protect your home and (hopefully) prevent nasties from creeping inside.
Rule Number One: Keep a Clean House
I know that sounds really boring. I know you’re like, “Emma, that is not witchcraft. Those are chores and I hate you. Did my mom put you up to this?” But, actually, there are two good reasons that’s Rule No. 1:
- It’s not easy to cleanse a house that isn’t clean. Part of protecting your home is being prepared to go into battle for it. Now, witchcraft is known to make a house a little cluttered. If you’ve got ribbons falling out of your sewing box and stockpiles of tea on your counter. Don’t worry. You’re normal. But it’s possible for a house to be both cluttered and clean.
- Cleaning a house regularly is a fantastic way to magically take ownership of the property—which I’ve discussed here.
Obviously, I’m not saying you’re house has to look like something from Good Housekeeping. My own cottage has four rooms and is home to more than four people. It’ll never be as neat as we want it to be. But’s it’s clean. And that’s what matters.
Rule Number Two: Good Fences Make Good Neighbors
I’m not talking about real fences—but those too. I’m talking more about magical boundaries. Like a witch fence. This can be set up in or outside of ritual, using a real fence, other objects, or using visualization.
So, let’s talk about putting up this fence, huh? The method I use is, of course, the “Gross Method”—and, by gross, I mean no one wants to do it or talk to me they’ve found out I’ve done it. It uses a pre-existing fence to create the boundary, which means that what you’re actually doing with this method is enchanting or reinforcing your standing fence. It’s supa supa easy. Like really, children could do if you let them. Only probably don’t let them because it’s probably a health hazard.
- For this method, you will need 1) a fence, 2) something to mark your stake-points with, 3) some bodily fluids—i.e. menstrual blood, piss, spit, sexual fluids, etc., 4) your bad ol’ self
- Step One: Walk around your property and decide where you want your stake-points to be. I refer to them as stake-points because what you’re actually doing is kind of like putting up a magical tent rather than a fence. These are the strength points of your enchanted fence. You’ll want at least one in every corner of the existing fence. Mark these places. You can do this by scratching or painting on the fence, tying something to the fence, or sticking something in the ground there. In my case, I used the support posts for my pre-existing fence as my stake points, so I didn’t have to mark them because I knew where they were.
- Step Two: Collect fluids. (Unless you’re using spit, which you have.) You can water any of these fluids down if you need to—except probably spit.
- Step Three: Using a paintbrush, herbs, your hands, a spray bottle, or whatever, apply the fluid to the INSIDE of your fence where your neighbors won’t be touching. As you do, visualize the stake-points linking together as they’re placed. I tend to visualize something like a barbed-wire fence going up between my stake-points, but white light works too if you’re into that. **If you’re going to forget, mark where you started.
- Step Four: When you’ve completed the fence and connected your last stake-point to your starting point, visualize the tent going up. In my visualization this is something like a deer-skin version of a Circus tent, but I am a legit freak of nature, so your probably wont be.
- Now, you can be done here, or you can write something to say to tweak the spell to your style. If you have Property Spirits that you work with, you may also want to ask them to guard the fence at this point.
Rule Number Three: Gardening = Ammo
While we’re still outdoors, let’s talk about ‘defensive gardening’. One of my favorite things to do with my garden is to reinforce my boundaries by planting protective herbs. Not only does it add punch to your enchanted fence, but it provides ammunition should you need to banish something later.
This can be done directly in the ground, in hanging planters at/on your stake-points, in windowboxes, in planters by the door, etc.
Some good protective herbs to start are:
- Roses (thorny for offensive magic, rosehips for defensive magic)
You may also want to include banishing plants
As well as flowers, trees, and shrubs to the same effect (like holly, cedar, etc).
Rule Number Four: Wards/Wardings Aren’t As Hard As They Sound
Come with me to the porch and let’s talk about wards! *runs to the porch, points at wards* Wards are awesome! There are so many different kinds and they can range anywhere from decorative to practical to invisible!
When you’re warding your doorway, like a lot of witchcraft, intent is super important. Really, it doesn’t matter what kind of ward you use as long as you have the intent. And, with the bucket load of types of warding, you should be able to find one to fit your needs.
My favorite way to ward a door or window is with a decorative ward, which was something we did in my family for years and then I finally saw it outside of our house in an Ellen Dugan book (which I bought JUST for that reason). This one isn’t mine, but it’s a good example of one:
These hang above doors and windows to ward off evil, ill will, etc. and can be made out of dried flowers and herbs (like above), fabric (such as a warding banner), carved into the wood above a door, or any other way you prefer.
I usually go with the pictured method. Typically I
- Start with a base. For year-round wards I like to use wheat and dried grass (which you can find at a craft store—but not Hobby Lobby, because they areevil).
- I face half of my base one way and half the opposite way—so that the cut ends are together and you have the awesome wheat/grass/evergreen ends facing out. Over lap the two halves a few inches and tie them together. (I usually use twine for that, but you can use whatever you like.
- Next, go you your second layer, which is the actual warding part. For this, my favorite things to use are lavender (which grows wild in the neighborhood I work in), and rosemary. But there are plenty of other possibilities, too—sunflowers, rose, baby’s breath, holly, pine, mint, etc. These can be tucked into the tie you’ve already made, glued on, or tied on separately.
- To finish mine off, I usually add a bell, to symbolize a signal, which sort of makes the ward into an alarm. Sometimes, when trouble is around, I’ll hear a bell even though it’s not ringing. Sometimes it actually rings.
- The ward can go above your door, window, fireplace, or anywhere else you feel you want to hang it.
Of course, there are a lot of other ways to ward your doors and windows.
- With energy and visualization.
- With water or oil (drawing protective symbols on them with the water/oil)
- Warding Wreaths
- Other hangings (like photographs of deities or saints, Brigid’s crosses, horseshoes, strings or bells)
- Salt lines and brickdust (I tend to mix these together)
- Hanging herbs by or above the door (I typically dry my herbs next to the door so I never have a shortage of door-based protection)
The most important thing is that you make your intent clear. Whether you want to ward off evil spirits or unwelcome mortal visitors, make your intent clear. If you need to do this by putting your warding into a big ritual, do so. If you need to activate your wards out loud, go ahead.
Rule Number Five: Everything You Need to Strengthen Your Protection is On/In You
- Menstrual Blood
- Sexual Fluids
- and so onThese are all totally useful supplies for witchcraft in general and for protection in specific. A touch of one of these on a window, door, doorknob, etc is fantastic for strengthening a boundary and clearly marking your territory to anyone who might wander inside. Surface cleaning with remove germs, but not the intent or the warning.
Rule Number Six: Never Let an Outsider Make Your Forget Whose House This Is
The conviction of ownership is pretty important to home protection. Don’t let an intruder scare you into believing that they own your home. They don’t. It’s yours. The people inside it are yours.
WHY MAKE TINCTURES-
Tinctures are some of the most magical herbal medicines, and very easy to make. Soaking the herbs in strong alcohol for a few weeks brings out the herbal properties in full force. The shaking everyday helps to break down the cell walls and draw them out. Tinctures are basically really really strong teas. Instead of drinking a quart a day, you can take a dropperful three to six times a day instead. But they taste a whole lot worse. You can make them with alcohol, apple cider vinegar, or veggie glycerin (I will be talking about alcohol, but that is just a preference. They last almost indefinitely this way while they others expire sooner). DO NOT GIVE AN ALCOHOLIC AN ALCOHOL-BASED TINCTURE! It is a small amount, but it still heavily affects them.
Another reason why to make/take tinctures is since they are in an alcohol (or other base that is not water) it takes only about 5 minutes for the medicine to get into the bloodstream and start taking effect. tea takes about half an hour.
There are two methods, the Simpliers and the more precise one. The precise one tries to recreate the tincture the same way every time, and I think takes away the individuality of each time. But some people prefere that. Simpliers is a whole lot easier and involves no math.
You can make them with just one herb, or with multiple.
HOW TO MAKE AN HERBAL TINCTURE-
YOU WILL NEED:
- Herbs. Any amount will do, you really don’t need much unless you are doing a large batch as presents or something. Since they are so powerful, and you use so little at a time, they usually last awhile unless you are on a regimin.
- Alcohol. You want a 100 proof brandy or vodka. Don;t get flavored, that’s stupid. Trust me it will not make them taste better.
- A wide-mouthed glass jar with a tight-fitting lid
- A small bottle with a dropper. Not totally necessary, but the normal way they are sold and administered. A 1/8 teaspoon is about the equivalent for dosage if you cannot get one.
- Optional- a stone or some other small special memento to put on top. Doesn’t really do much unless you believe in crystals holding energy and healing, which I somewhat do, but this is what I was taught.HOW TO:
- Put the herbs in the jar. They do not need to fill it my any means.
- Pour in alcohol, stop when it is about an inch or two above the herbs. Sometimes they float and this can be a little harder to tell, but if you have an eye for how much herb was in there before you added the alcohol you can guess.
- Put the lid on, leave in a cool dark spot OUT OF DIRECT SUNLIGHT for 4-6 weeks
- Shake vigorously everyday. Several times a day if you want. Dance with it. Think good thoughts.This energy you put into it now will be returned to your body (or whoever you give some to) when you use it. Herbal medicine is a relationship: Treat the herbs well and they will treat you the same back.
- When the time is up, strain and bottle. Take with love.
Here are 7 herbal approaches to consider the next time you need some stress relief.
A great many people choose some form of herbal remedy as a calming or reviving supplement.
St. John’s Wort (hypericum): You’d be hard pushed not to find this old favorite in most health stores. The medicinal properties of St. John’s Wort have been known of for centuries. In some people it helps lift low mood and may be especially helpful when anxiety is linked to depression. It still isn’t clear how St. Johns Wort works, but the action is likely to involve some alteration in the balance of neurotransmitters thought to be involved in anxiety and depression.
St. John’s Wort has been exposed to some critical scientific examination. It’s probably fair to say that the evidence for its effectiveness is very mixed. Various placebo trials suggest that, at most, its effects may be minimal. There are also side effects, the most common of which are fatigue, increased sensitivity to light, upset bowels and dizziness. It can also react with other drugs and can’t therefore be taken alongside prescribed SSRI antidepressants.
Ginseng: Often used as a restorative for flagging levels of energy, it is also taken to induce feelings of relaxation and general wellbeing. There are various types of ginseng and all sorts of claims as to its effects on a variety of health conditions. It too has side effects. Pregnant women are urged to avoid its use and, somewhat ironically perhaps, it can actually increase levels of agitation, nervousness and insomnia. It also has drug interaction effects so shouldn’t, for example, be used by anyone taking medication to thin the blood or affect the heart rhythm.
Oatstraw: Is used as a tonic and also to enhance feelings of relaxation. People who stand by its use say it benefits both anxiety and depression. Oatstraw may be taken as a tea and is claimed by some to have additional beneficial properties such as easing the effects of arthritis and enhancing sexual functioning.
Lemon Balm: This common garden herb is said to increase calmness and even improve memory, according to researchers at Northumbria University in the UK. Lemon balm also has the effect of increasing the activity of acetylcholine, an important chemical messenger linked to memory, the level of which is reduced in people with Alzheimer’s disease. Lemon balm increases levels of the inhibitory brain chemical GABA that dampens down anxiety, so it may be useful for things like exam stress. The suggested daily dose is around 650mg, three times daily.
Chamomile (camomile): I’m partial to a cup of chamomile tea myself. Not only does it taste nice it is also said to have properties that help reduce anxiety and promote sleep. Unfortunately, the National Institutes of Health warn that its reputation as a gentle medicinal plant is not entirely warranted. They point out that many people have allergic reactions after coming into contact with chamomile preparations and a few have even been life threatening.
Reishi: Sometimes described as the mushroom of immortality, reishi is considered to lower blood pressure, boost energy and promote restful sleep. It has also been used as an immune stimulant by some patients with HIV or cancer as a number of its polysaccharides, such as beta glucans, have demonstrated antitumor and immunostimulating activities.
Guarana: Is a climbing plant of the maple family. Its fruit, about the size of a coffee bean, actually contains at least twice to three times the amount of caffeine in coffee. Its main purported effects are to increase energy levels and improve the stress response. In Brazil, the extract is found in cans of soda. It is also used as an infusion in tea and also pops up in some herbal slimming pills due to its appetite suppressing properties.
The evidence as to its positive effects is mixed but its side effects are better known. It has been found to interact with certain drugs such as MAO-inhibitors and can increase the risk of bleeding if taken alongside anticoagulants. It is also possible to overdose on guarana and signs include vomiting and stomach cramps.
Read more http://prafulla.net/medical-and-health/7-herbal-remedies-for-stress-infographic/?fb_source=pubv1
Ajos Sacha - A magnificant forest vine native to the Amazon rainforest. This incredible plant helps clear the body of impurities acts as a gateway into traditional Amazonian shamanism practices.
Ajos sacha has a taste similiar to garlic and is sometimes known as forest garlic, fake garlic and wild garlic. It is an extraordinary plant and has a profound detoxing effect on the body and mind!
hand held vegan potpies for dinner tonight!
I have been a little stressed about eating (or not eating) real meals while hanging out with my dad at the hospital this week so tonight I made a batch of these little guys that can be eaten on the go. The crust is crescent roll dough (most brands are vegan even when they are ‘butter’ flavored) with the seams pressed together and then pushed into a muffin tin. The filling is onions, carrots, corn, broccoli, and morning star chick’n strips all cut in to little pieces and smothered in a simple almond milk pepper gravy. They were really simple to make and one of the most satisfying meals I’ve had in a while.
Oh goodness. What a delicious recipe!
Oh thank you! This message seriously made my night. :)
I haven’t been on much recently. I’ll put some extra effort into stepping it back up. Have a wonderful day/night!
Tinctures: The Basics
When making a tincture you are drawing the qualities out of the herb and into the liquid menstruum. These not only digest more rapidly into the physical body when used, but are an ideal way to preserve herbal components for long periods of time.
Menstruum: Menstruum is a term used in reference to the solvent in which the herb is drawn into. Acceptable menstruums are: pure grain alcohol at least 75%, vinegar, glycerol, and distilled water. These are in order from the most to least effective.
Alcohol: The most effective menstruum because it extracts alkaloids and volatile oils as well as breaks down most medicinal resinous materials. If you use an alcohol menstruum that is over 100 proof you will need to add distilled (non-chlorinated) water to balance the menstruum. Alcohol based tinctures should not be used by pregnant women, children, individuals with liver problems, or those suffering from alcoholism. Alcohol based tinctures can be stored from 2-5 years in a cool dark place.
Vinegar: Vinegar menstruums are effective at extracting plant alkaloids but they are not very effective at extracting acidic qualities from herbs. Apple cider vinegar is the most commonly employed due to a slight benefit in flavor, and the notable healing benefits it holds on its own. Vinegar based tinctures have varying shelf lives.
Glycerin: Glycerin is not a very effective solvent for oily or resinous material. It does however have more extracting potential than water. It is sweet, and often used in tinctures for children. NOTE: Glycerin for tinctures is not ‘sugar water’ it is usually vegetable based and can be purchased at pharmacies, whole food stores, or online. When stored in a cool dark place glycerin based tinctures can keep for up to two years.
Distilled water: Herbal tinctures made with distilled water are the weakest of the tinctures. They do hold merit however, particularly for those who cannot ingest the other menstruums. The tincture will take longer than the rest, and it will need to be refrigerated for storage. The maximum life of a water based tincture is six months. Never use tap water, this has chemicals in it that will harm your product. DISTILLED WATER.
Light and heat: Some herbals will instruct you to prepare your tincture in a source of light or heat, while others say to prepare in a dark cool environment. I go by the dark environment rule unless an herbal preparation gives direct instructions otherwise. In other words, 90 percent of the time you will be preparing your tincture in a cool dark place. Note however that some herbs benefit from the heat and you should notate this in any recipe that you may be using.
The moon: Herbal tinctures should be started on a new moon and completed on a full moon.
Basic instructions for herbal tincture
Fill sterilized mason jar 3/4 of the way with well minced herb of your choice.
Slowly pour the menstruum of your choice over the herb, gently swishing it around as you go so as to allow it to settle. Continue to pour your menstruum until it rises above the herbs about an inch. There will be some room left in the jar, the herbs will expand slightly so this is necessary.
Store the jar in a cool dark place for at least 2 weeks. Woodier herbs will require a longer period of time. Also, if you are using distilled water the guideline is usually four weeks.
Gently swish the tincture daily, enough to move things around slightly.
Pour tincture through a non bleached cheese cloth to strain the herbal pulp. Gently press the pulp at the end to get the last little bits from them.
Pour the tincture into dark colored bottles, seal, label with the date and the herbs used, and store in a cool dry place.
NOTE: Be sure to know the herb that you are tincturing, read up on it well and become familiar with the properties of the herb, guidelines, and dosage recommendations.
NOTE: Always check tinctures before using: this includes checking the labeled date, and type of herb, and freshness. If the tincture has discolored or smells funny do not use it even if the date is within an acceptable time frame. It is better to be safe than sorry.
NOTE: This is a basic guideline, some herbs have a dichotomy of their own and will vary from the guide. For instance some woodier herbs take up to six weeks while others can be tinctured within the two. For the most part this guideline will serve you well. Use it as a reference but always do further research on the herb you are using in order to ensure the best end result.