Witchcraft didn’t come from your Grandmother! (Well, most of us anyways)

Can I rant?

This will be short and maybe not so sweet.

I am so sick of the “About” sections of witchcraft blogs where the author tells everyone a load of bull, including my favorite- “My GRANDMOTHER taught me”…..

What-the-fuck-ever. No one believes you. Let’s just get that out in the open.

Why is it always someone’s grandmother? Why not their dad, their cousin, their mom, or their aunt? Why is it that a grandmother only teaches her grandchildren? Because this is bullshit most of the time!

For anyone who honest to goodness was actually taught by their very own grandmother I applaud you and hush my foul mouth. For all you fibbers- take that shit down, it makes you look stupid.

In my own personal situation, my grandmother did not teach me witchcraft. She may have done a few things unknowingly (and not thinking it was witchcraft) in front of me, but she was most definitely not trying to teach witchcraft. I’ve heard a lot from her, while I was eavesdropping and not minding my business, about attempting séances when she was a kid with her sisters, dowsing for water, using a pendulum to determine the sex of a baby, and using herbs to heal.

My mother would’ve grown another head and bit mine off before teaching me witchcraft. She knew about blowing in a baby’s mouth to cure thrush, she knew about smudging, and no one I know could match her power with herbs, but she would’ve never called it witchcraft. I had no family members claiming to know magick, yet I picked up on magick from them.

My biggest spiritual and magickal inspiration growing up has to be from my sister who’s only five years older than me, and with the same amount of experience as me. She was pulled to it, and told me right away, and we just kind of did this together.  It does not make it any less mysterious, special, magickal, or amazing that it did not come from my grandmother.

Admit it, maybe you are one hell of a witch, but you learned it from delving through a bunch of books. Maybe some were corny, some were scary, and some were awe inspiring powerful. Or maybe you learned it from someone unexpected. That is pretty cool.

I can admit where I learned it and be proud. A bit of watching and learning, and a bit of partnering up with my sister to learn something. In my area of Kentucky, what we see as magick growing up came in the form of “old wives tales”, and that shit is strong magick!

 

©2017 Tabatha Land. All rights reserved.

Advertisements

On Sages and Smudging

     Dried herbs have been burned for ages to rid people of negative energies, to cleanse the sacred space of our homes, and perfume a divine temple as offering to Gods and nature deities. We burn sage on Samhain as a gift to our beloved ancestors. Our ancestors burned dried sprigs of sage and other herbs in their temples and during rituals. My European ancestors burned many different herbs in their practices, and though I prefer the smell of white sage, I do not think this was on hand in those locations. Those ancestors most likely burned common garden sage and a variety of other herbs. 

Sage_plant_in_Castel_Beseno

Salvia officinalis

      I prefer to grow everything I use. Would this deter me from smudging? Not at all. Common garden sage grows like wildfire here in Kentucky. There’s no struggle. Salvia officinalis makes itself at home here because it is at home. If you are working with more of a European type of magick then I’d even recommend using common sage. 

     This woody herbaceous plant is a member of the mint family Lamiaceae. It is a perennial salvia with soft, almost fuzzy, grey-green leaves, and an amazing smell soothing to even walk by. I just love eating it. 

Cut sprigs of sage in the garden

     I read somewhere in an article awhile back that smudging with common sage was unsafe. Nowhere in the article did they bother to give any scientific proof of this. I totally disagree. Smudging with any herb can be unsafe if you aren’t taking the proper safety precautions as far as ventilation and fire safety. Common sage isn’t any more harmful that white sage. If you have scientific evidence and results proving otherwise I’d be delighted to read it. 

     In my opinion the smell is quite nice. My sister on the other hand detests it. She prefers white sage. I do agree that white sage smells better, or maybe I’ve grown accustomed to it because I didn’t know I could use common sage, I’m not sure. But in my magick I’m not so much concerned about the smell as I am the power. 

     There are so many ways so use common sage (Salvia officinalis ) in both natural medicine and in witchcraft, but focusing on smudging with it common sage is perfect for clearing negative energy out of your home and ritual space. If you are experiencing overwhelming emotions, perhaps you are dealing with grief or loss, and having difficulty in grounding yourself  then this is the sage to burn. When asking for answers to a specific question or path to take I feel this sage is great to burn during your magick.

 

     In the United States, sage is also the name commonly used for a group of native plants called Sagebrush. It is most often found in the western region of the US.  Sagebrush is in the genus Artemisia, in the daisy family Asteraceae, and it is not a member of the common culinary sage family, and not a salvia. Some of the species included are protective and dreamy mugwort, demon dispelling  and spirit-working wormwood, and cleansing big sagebrush. When burned they smell shockingly similar to marijuana. They are spiritual, powerful, and medicinal. I love all of these. When doing ritual and magick more closely associated with my Native American heritage I gravitate towards these. 

     Desert sage (Artemisia tridentate), is excellent for the purification of spirit entities,  removing negativity, psychic work, and house blessing rituals. I use this sage to purify ritual tools and to clear a space after rituals. You never know what spirits are going to leave behind. It is also very helpful during divination.

     White sage (Salvia apiana) is an evergreen shrub in the Lamiaceae family and another in the genus salvia. The white sage bundles we so often see in occult shops have probably come from California where it comfortably grows. In the area I am located at in Central Kentucky white sage is not going to be growing in the wild (to my knowledge), as it prefers a dry environment and well drained soil more like sand. We experience sub-tropical weather here and it is often humid, and what some would say is a bit on the smothering miserable side of humid in the summer. Generally our soil is rich.

     This is excellent to burn when preparing for any type of ritual. Most people prefer it’s fragrance over all others. I think it leaves a note of eucalyptus and hint of rosemary in the air, but some would disagree. White sage makes a perfect base to built incense upon as so many herbs work well with it. Use sprigs of loose white sage to protect rituals tools wrapped in cloth.

The three sages mentioned here are only a small list of the countless powerful choices. There are numerous plants to choose from when smudging and exciting creative combinations when blending herbs. It’s important to research each one before your ritual and magick. I wouldn’t just grab any smudge bundle and light it. Personally, I feel it’s greatly beneficial to choose the perfect one and properly thank the plant it comes from for the power it will provide you.

Some great combinations are:

  • white sage and sweetgrass
  • white sage and cedar
  • common sage and rosemary
  • common sage, rose, and juniper
  • desert sage and lavender
  • desert sage and mugwort
  • desert sage and white birch

     Don’t be afraid to try something new. Your magick depends on you making the best choices.

©2017 Tabatha Land. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

Oh Belladonna…

I can hear Stevie Nicks singing Bella Donna in my head and I catch myself smiling.

I wish Stevie was a witch. Of course, I was disappointed to discover that she wasn’t.  I always had this idealized image of her, like the American Horror Story version of her in Coven, and I was sure the Bella Donna she sang of was the belladonna growing in my garden.

In her words:


Bella Donna’ is a term of endearment I use and the title is about making a lot of decisions in my life, making a change based on the turmoil in my soul. You get to a certain age where you want to slow down, be quieter. The title song was basically a warning to myself and a question to others. I’m thirty-three years old, and my life has been very up and down in the last six years.
~Stevie Nicks, Rolling Stone, 1981

The white outfit I’m wearing is the exact opposite of my black outfit on Rumours. Over that it says, ‘Come in from the darkness…’ [which is] the dark side of anyone, the side that isn’t optimistic, that isn’t strong. I’ve got to become stronger because I am very sensitive, and everything really touches me.
~Stevie Nicks, Rolling Stone, 1981

I need to do this to fulfill myself as a writer. I mean, it says, ‘come in out of the darkness.’ That’s saying, save yourself and come back. And it’s a serious thing. I had to do that to do the LP. I had to stop being crazy, or it wasn’t going to be done. Bella Donna was serious ~ I was not talking about a beautiful woman. I was talking about a beautiful woman becoming old and not beautiful. And skinny and too tired, the woman disappears.
~Stevie Nicks, High Times, 1982

This is sort of…the end of a dream. We practiced for like four years to do that. Thank you girls.
~An emotional Stevie after singing the song Bella Donna in concert, 1981

The song Bella Donna is about getting a little bit of my normal life back.
~Stevie Nicks, Everything You Wanted to Know About Stevie Nicks, 1985

Does finding out Stevie Nicks isn’t a witch singing about belladonna ruin this for me? No way! I’ve loved both her and this song since I was a little girl. Eventually I had to grow some belladonna for myself.  It just seemed to call to me.

Many people cannot get their belladonna seeds to germinate or they only get a small percentage to develop. It’s possible that their patience wears thin. Waiting for them to have their cold time in the fridge, or sowing before winter, is no fun. But, if you can force yourself to wait you can grow magic.

When I grow belladonna nearly every seed germinates and develops into a sturdy seedling. I feel like they want to be with me and that they know just what to do.

It won’t be long now before my poison garden of atropa belladonna,  daturas (innoxia, stramonium, brugmansia), black henbane, mandrake, and hemlock is flourishing and awaiting to do their magic.

©2017 Tabatha Land. All rights reserved.

Bittersweet Dream Tea

I am not a morning person.

Anyone who knows me will tell you my entire life I’ve had my days and night mixed up. I feel sorry for my mother having to deal with me during school years. Mornings don’t happen willingly, I don’t function well (any) before noon. But my husband and son are just fine with them and I’m doing my best to keep up. My best just sucks.

So, almost three hours of kicking and throwing the pillow around with miserable insomnia would guarantee I’d be in the cupboards searching for relief. One can only hoard pins and plan on Pinterest for so long. Eventually I had to do something productive or I was going to wake my sleepy husband.

I raided the kitchen and pulled out some goodies-wormwood, mugwort, valerian root, and yarrow….oh this was going to taste horrible. So I added some chamomile flowers to keep from gagging. I’m not too creative when I’m irritated and under pressure to sleep. Pulsed them all in a coffee grinder, filled a small mesh tea ball and steeped my herbs for 8 minutes.

The taste was extremely bitter. B.I.T.T.E.R. ohhh lawwwwddd. Wormwood is the absolute worst tasting thing. I doused the teacup in honey and made it a bit more palatable. (I should’ve just threw in a bag of sugar.)

After a half cup of tea I began feeling a little tingle in my face. This stuff works fast.

But beware, don’t go overboard, or you’ll get sick and have plenty of crazy hallucinations.  Even without drinking too much you are going to have visions. And that’s just fine with me, and sometimes that’s the reason to drink it.