How To Make a Book of Shadows (Grimoire) For the Beginning Witch Part 1

First posted on 26/11/2013 by Isabella via speakingofwitchwands.net

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photography by Ma’iingan

How To Make a Book of Shadows (Grimoire) For the Beginning Witch

by Isabella @TheWandCarver

Looking around the interwebs, I have found a lot of good and useful bits of advice.  Some are a bit advanced, however, for those of you just beginning your practise/path.  As a matter of fact, I find them too advanced for myself and I’ve been a Witch all of my life.  We need not discuss how many years that has been 

By “too advanced”, I do not mean to say that you nor myself would be capable of using these ideas, just that – if I’m honest – I find unnecessary.  However, as I do want everyone to have every idea and possibility to add to their Book of Shadows (BOS) as they feel they should, then later on in this series, we’ll have a look at everything, necessary or not.

My first piece of advice to the Witch on his or her new path is “less is more”.  I’m not saying you need do nothing and it will all magick its way upon you, simply that, don’t try to do or have everything at once.  There is nothing worse than buying shedloads of “tools”, herbs, oils, and the like, then finding that you really didn’t need all of those things.  There are plenty of websites as well as Etsy and Ebay with sellers happy to sell you huge “Witch-y kits”, repleat with altar patens, altar clothes, wands, bolines, athames, candles, herbs, etc. for loads of money.  Just add water and you’re an instant Witch.  No.  The way to begin is the way you mean to carry on.  Start with the basics, don’t worry that you don’t have “everything” that some other Witches may have, and you will find, along the way, what you truly “need”.

The basics – what are they?  I believe a journal or a simple notebook is plenty good enough for the new Witch.  I bought a very nice leather-bound BOS some years ago, and to be honest, it only has a very few pages with entries.  The reason is, is that I only want what I feel is 100% effective in my BOS.  No spell, no oil blend, no information of any kind is written into my BOS until I have proved it to be effective myself.  You could have the most gorgeous BOS on the market, but if it is filled with a lot of useless spells and recipes, what is the point?

This is why I recommend a simple journal or notebook.  Oh, you can tart it up, if you like…use acrylic paints to paint sigils, etc on the outside cover, or stickers.  But here is where you can write whatever you wish to your heart’s content – take notes from the books you read that mean something to you, write up recipes of your own for oil blends or herbal blends, draw pictures of the herbs that you’re studying, clip photos and paste in…whatever you like.  In fact, you can fill lots of notebooks over a course of years with all you’ve learned BEFORE you choose what you have found to be effective.  Then, when you have found what truly works for you, make or purchase the BOS of your dreams and write in it all that you’ve learned.  You won’t have to rely on memory…you’ll have notebooks full of memories!  This final BOS with nice parchment paper pages (and in some cases, Witches will have more than one of these) is the one that is your legacy, the one you’ll hand down to your children or a new Witch whom you have been teaching over a period of time.

Next time, I’ll tell you more about what is in my own BOS, just to give you a starting point – it is NOT the only way to do a BOS, yours will be the way you want it to be.  Thanks for reading and if you find this helpful in anyway, please like and share!  Blessed Be )O(

Note from author – I am cleaning up old blogs and ran across this one. I promised a series but left it, I’m afraid. Perhaps soon I shall do Part 2. Thank you for your patience x

Wheel of the Year ~ Samhain

First posted on 28/10/2013 by Isabella via speakingofwitchwands.net

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photo courtesy of Google images

by Isabella @TheWandCarver

The Yule and Christmas season is coming closely upon us…yes, I know, let’s celebrate Samhain/Halloween first! I’m sure you have all noticed everywhere from department stores to supermarkets are already clearing away the Halloween goodies and quickly placing Christmas and Yule-tide cheer everywhere. Don’t feel too badly for Halloween…in no time, long before you can say “Happy New Year!”, Christmas will be swept under the rug and out will come , of all the silly things, Valentine’s Day gear. How am I to feel good about purchasing chocolates for a loved one when I know that they have been sitting on a shop shelf for nearly 3 months in advance? Sometimes, I am wary of “sell-by dates”. I have been the unhappy recipient of dodgy choccies before..you know the ones with sketchy looking white-ish places on them?

As Pagans/Wiccans/Witches, most of us feel more in-tune with seasons. It is, after all, one of the many things we closely follow and attune to. There is a time for all seasons and this one is NOT Yule. However, we do understand why retailers do this. It is because they must stay on top of the current market and make sure they are first out the gate with all the latest and greatest for the Christmas season. And then on to the next. As an online seller, I have to admit that I feel the “itch” a bit myself…I really have this yen to start marking down prices, rotating adverts on Twitter constantly, and harking my wares to all whom will listen…or read, as it were. And then I say “no”.

Don’t expect great gushing adverts in the next few weeks from Wytchencrafts. Of course, we’ll plie our wares on Twitter, just not in that constant rush of them most of us have become used to from retailers and online sellers. Not to say that we won’t as it more closely nears Christmas, just not now. We’re too busy celebrating Samhain!

Thank you for reading and Blessed Be )O(

Do I Need A Wand?

First published on speakingofwitchwands.net on 21/10/2013 by Isabella

by Isabella @TheWandCarver

The answer is NO!! You do not “need” a thing, apart from a strong desire to learn, a few good books, and a shed-load of intention. The tools of Witchcraft are important, but you do not need them, per se.

However, many young Witches (does not necessarily mean young in age, just young in the Craft) do feel a need to have certain tools to help them, at the very least in the beginning of their Path, to direct their intention more strongly…or as a bit of a “help” in their Magickal workings. I’m no longer a “young” witch (in either sense of the meaning!), still, I will, nearly every time I work Magick, use my wand, altar paten, cauldron, Book of Shadows (Grimoire), and incense burner. I have an athame, but rarely ever use it. I don’t always use my wand, only when I am doing something very, very serious and want all the help I can get. I made my wand with a load of intention and it was, yes, a bit of hard work. You see, I’m a bit of a “luddite” when it comes to making items…I just can’t get the hang of power tools so the knife works well for me. Still, my wand works so well for me…because it is a part of me.

handle of my wand

The handle of my Yew wand with my handmade crow fetish

No, I didn’t use any body parts in the making of my wand, just my will and intention, some herbs in the tip and a powerful crystal. The same way I make bespoke wands for our customers. Of course, one would think that since I make their wand, all my intention will be in their wand and none of theirs. Not true. When I make a bespoke wand, if the customer asks for herbs in the tip, I will send the herbs and the crystal they order to go into the tip so that the Witch his or herself can enchant the herbs they choose, enchant their crystal and put their intention into their own wand. And of course, one almost always cleanses, consecrates, and empowers their tools before using as I would expect many would do with one of our wands. Your wand will well and truly be your own.

Of course, we also make pre-made wands as well, again, the Witch who buys the pre-made wand can certainly put his or her intention into it after cleansing, consecrating, and empowering. Many Witches (including myself when I was young) buy pre-made wands all the time and have great success with them, love them and wouldn’t use anything else. That tells me that they must work,

So, no, you don’t need our wands, or any wand for that matter. Although, if you feel you do, please see what we can do for you as you will no doubt look at many websites for pricing, etc. and please keep us in mind.

Thank you and blessed be! )O(

The Magickal Ash Tree

Originally posted on speakingofwitchwands.net on 07/10/2013 by Isabella

by Isabella @TheWandCarver

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Photo by Damien Gayle, www.dailymail.co.uk

Gender:  Masculine; Planet: Sun; Element: Fire

Sacred to Uranus, Poseidon, Thor, WodenNeptune, Mars, Gwydion

Magickal Powers:  Protection, Prosperity, Sea Rituals, Health

The ancient Teutons regarded the Ash as “The World Tree“, which was their conception of the Universe, and therefore revered as such.

Ash has been used in many magickal ways over the centuries.  Sailors of old carved an equal-armed cross from Ash to carry whilst at sea to protect against drowning.  Ash is used in many sea rituals as it represents the power which resides in water.

The leaves of the Ash can be used to encourage prophetic dreams by placing them under one’s pillow or in a sachet.  The leaves may also be scattered to the four directions to protect a house and/or property.

The Ash tree, as are many trees, is considered to be very protective.  A staff (such as a Shaman’s staff) carved from Ash, placed over a doorway, wards off malign influences.  Ash is also said to ward off snakes, as they will not crawl over its wood.  However, Ash attracts lightening, so please don’t stand beneath one during a thunderstorm!

Ash wands (which we do make!) are often made for healing.  Ash wood is burned at Yule to receive prosperity in the coming year.  Even if you don’t have a fireplace, you can burn Ash chips  from resealable packets which are sold on our Etsy shop  in an incense to achieve the same result.  Ash is also used in poppets for all the various powers it brings.

Many thanks for reading and warmest blessings x

*Some information is from Cunningham’s Encyclopaedia of Magickal Herbs, by Scott Cunningham 1985-97, Llewellyn

The Magickal Oak Tree

First published on speakingofwitchwands.net Sept 2013

by Isabella @TheWandCarver

oaktree

Photo by  Glennie Kindred, www.whitedragon.org.uk

Sacred to Dagna, Dianus, Jupiter, Thor, ZeusHerne, Janus, Rhea, CybeleHecate, Pan, and Erato

Gender:  Masculine; Planet:  Sun; Element:  Fire

Oak was a source of food for early settlers in Britain and revered by the Druids.  The Druids (traditionally) would not meet for rituals unless an Oak tree was present.  Religious articles were often fashioned from the tree and Witches danced beneath it.  A tree as long-lived as the Oak naturally offers magickal protection and if you have two twigs of Oak, bound by a red thread in an equal-armed cross, it would be well for you to hang it in your home.

Oak Cross 3

photo by i.macy

Acorns, of course, have always been used for nature’s help – guarding against lightning strikes, drawing to the bearer wealth, among other things.  But, have you ever considered the magickal power of the Oak bark ?

Oak Bark
photo by i.macy

Logs of Oak were often burned in fireplaces to draw off illness.  Nowadays, not everyone has a fireplace, however, Oak still has a healing property in the bark.  They can be ground fine and used in incense, with the same effect.  Also, in incense to draw money and wealth, protection, luck, fertility, and potency.

Carrying a small pouch of Oak bark in a wallet or handbag draws wealth and adds protection to the bearer.  It can also be used in poppets to effect the properties that you desire for yourself or another.

Thank you for your support and many blessings!

*Some information is from Cunningham’s Encyclopaedia of Magickal Herbs, by Scott Cunningham 1985-97, Llewellyn

The Magickal Cypress Tree

*First posted on speakingofwitchwands.net, September 2013

by Isabella @TheWandCarver

Many of you may or may not be aware of the magickal properties of many trees.  For instance, did you know that the Cypress tree has a “folk name” of “The Tree of Death”?  It is thought to be so because at one time in Egypt, coffins were made of Cypress wood.  However, funnily enough, one of the magickal properties of Cypress wood is longevity!  If one carries it on their person, in a pocket or worn as jewellery, it is said to give long life and protection.  Cypress is also comforting in times of sorrow,  such as the death of a friend or loved one as it eases the mind and allays grief if carried to the funeral.  Many deities hold sacred the Cypress such as MithrasAphrodite, Hekate, CupidApollo and others.

cypress tree
Photo by CP Smith, http://www.geograph.org.uk

Thank you for your support and many blessings!