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Friday the 13th full moon is so rare, it won’t happen again until 2049

~*Samhain Magick*~

Samhain Divination

Seeing the Future at Halloween

In many agricultural societies, a popular pastime at Samhain was that of divining the name of one’s future lover. Some revealed a face, others an initial or even a full name. These traditional methods were practiced in rural societies for centuries. You can use them today for your own divination.

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Apple Divination

Apples have always been popular tools for foretelling the future. There are a number of traditional methods in folklore for seeing who one’s lover might be.

  • Peel the apple, keeping the peel in one long piece. When the peel comes off, drop it on the floor. The letter it forms is the first initial of your true love’s name.
  • Wait until midnight at Samhain, and cut an apple into nine pieces. Take the pieces into a dark room with a mirror (either hanging on the wall or a hand-held one will do). At midnight, begin eating the pieces of apple while looking into the mirror. When you get to the ninth piece, throw it over your shoulder. The face of your lover should appear in the mirror.
  • If a girl has more than one potential lover, peel an apple and pull out the seeds. Place a wet seed on your cheek for each boyfriend. The last one left stuck to the skin represents the suitor who is the true love.

Water Divination

Water has always been known for its magical properties, so it’s only natural to use it for divination workings. Try one of these on Samhain night.

  • At midnight on Samhain, go to a lake and gaze into the water. You should see your lover’s face reflected in the lake before you.
  • Fill a cauldron with water, and then light a candle. Drip the hot wax into the water, and see what shape it forms. The shape will indicate the profession of your future lover.
  • Find a moving body of water like a stream or river. Select a piece of wood to represent the person you wish to be your lover, and throw it in the water. If it floats downstream, he will be true and constant. If the wood gets caught up on the bank, or sinks, your lover will be unfaithful.

Food Divination

There are a number of divinations that use foods, baking and cooking as their focus. Some of these are still practiced today.

  • Scottish Bannock Divination: in Scotland and northern England, a girl would bake a bannock cake in the evening. In complete silence, she walked to her room and placed the bannock under her pillow. Her dreams that night would show her the face of her lover, and in the morning she ate the bannock.
  • To find out if you’ll find love in the coming twelve months, separate an egg and drop the white into a glass of water. If it sinks immediately, love is forthcoming. If it floats on the top of the water, you’ll spend the next year alone.
  • Take two nuts, one for yourself and one for your lover. At midnight on Samhain, place them on a grate over your fire. If they burn well, you’ll have a long and happy relationship. If one nut pops or burns, it means one of you will be unfaithful.

Make a Witch Bottle

The witch bottle is a magical tool that has been reported in use for centuries. In early times, the bottle was designed as a way to protect oneself from malicious witchcraft and sorcery. In particular, around the time of Samhain, homeowners might create a witch bottle to keep evil spirits from entering the home on Hallow’s Eve. The witch bottle was usually made of pottery or glass, and included sharp objects such as pins and bent nails. It typically contained urine as well, belonging to the homeowner, as a magical link to the property and family within. In 2009, an intact witch bottle was found in Greenwich, England, and experts have dated it back to around the seventeenth century.
Around the Samhain season, you may want to do a little bit of protective magic yourself, and create a witch bottle of your own. The general idea of the witch bottle is to not only protect yourself, but send back the negative energy to whoever or whatever is sending it your way. You’ll need the following items:
A small glass jar with lid Sharp, rusty items like nails, razor blades, bent pins Sea salt Red string or ribbon A black candle
Fill the jar about halfway with the sharp, rusty items. These were used to deflect bad luck and ill fortune away from the jar. Add the salt, which is used for purification, and finally, the red string or ribbon, which was believed to bring protection. When the jar is halfway filled, there are a couple of different things you can do, depending on whether or not you’re easily repulsed.

One option is to fill the remainder of the jar with your own urine – this identifies the bottle as belonging to you. However, if the idea makes you a bit squeamish, there are other ways you can complete the process. Instead of urine, use a bit of wine. You may wish to consecrate the wine first before using it in this manner. In some magical traditions, the practitioner might choose to spit in the wine after it’s in the jar because — much like the urine — this is a way of marking the jar as your territory.
Cap the jar, and make sure it’s sealed tightly (particularly if you used urine – you don’t want any accidental spillage), and seal it with wax from the black candle. Black is considered handy for banishing negativity. If you’re having trouble finding black candles, you may want to use white instead, and imagine a white ring of protection surrounding your witch bottle. Also, in candle magic, white is typically considered a universal substitute for any other colour candle.
Now – where to stash your bottle? There are two schools of thought on this, and you can decide which one works best for you. One group swears that the bottle needs to be hidden somewhere in the home – under a doorstep, up in a chimney, behind a cabinet, whatever — because that way, any negative magic aimed at the house will always go straight to the witch bottle, avoiding the people in the home. The other philosophy is that the bottle needs to be buried as far away from the house as possible, so that any negative magic sent towards you will never reach your home in the first place. Whichever one you choose, be sure that you’re leaving your bottle in a place where it will remain undisturbed permanently.
If you do believe someone may be trying to harm you or your family with malicious magic, be sure to read about Magickal Self Defense.

~Samhain – The End of Summer, The Third and Final Harvest~

Generally it is celebrated on October 31st but some traditions prefer celebrating it on November 1st. Regardless of the path/tradition it is a time to pause and thank for all that we have harvested this year, be it the fruits of our physical labour or our spiritual labour, and give thanks. Because, like during Beltane, the Veil between the Worlds is at its thinnest, it is a favoured time to do divination and spirit work.

Picture courtesy of:  http://wilhelmine.deviantart.com/art/Samhain-Altar-2009-143250744

Traditionally for Samhain we carve pumpkins (turnips in Scotland)), we leave an extra chair at the table and a plate of food for the spirits of our ancestors, we light candles and leave them on the windows to help guide lost spirits. There are many activities to do during Samhain and usually they are path specific like for example burrying apples along roadsides and paths to guide lost spirits or provide for the ones that have no one else to provide for them. Samhain is Re-Birth through Death. Leave the past behind, let it go and celebrate a fresh beginning. Make a list of what you wish to shed and let go of and burn in your bonfire or in your cauldron. Make a list of what you wish to manifest during the next year and keep it safe in a secrets box. Samhain allows you to come to terms with your past and leave all regret and mistakes behind, planning the best for the future. The bonfire was actually called ‘bone fire’ and the leftover animal bones from the Samhain feast were thrown into a fire and the next day retrieved to check for signs of what the future might bring. Foods traditional for this Sabbat are pumpkins, gourds, turnips, corn, beans, wholemeal breads, seasonal fruit, poultry, beef and pork dishes, nicely seasoned with thyme, rosemary and black peppers. It’s a good time to bake bread, cakes and cookies – especially treats for the little ones like these cranberry-pumpkin cookies, marzipan fingers or yummy truffles. Absolutely mouthwatering! YUM!! Colours that correspond with Samhain are the ones you usually see in Nature at this time: black, brown, marroon, deep red and orange, purple and the herbs connected with this Sabbat are usually mugwort, mullein, allspice, wormwood, catnip, nightshade, oak (bark and leaves), sage and straw. (Please remember that these can vary slightly according to each path/tradition).

~The Life of the Witch~

Just wanted to share this beautiful video here with my friends and followers, I hope you enjoy watching it and listening to the lovely Enya…..

Music: Caribbean Blue by Enya.

Video

Hedgewitchery ~ My Path

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Hedgewitchery, or Hedge craft, is a kind of combination of Witchcraft and Shamanism. This Path is based on the Traditional Witchcraft and Cunning Folk traditions of Europe from ancient to modern times. It is something of an “eclectic” tradition, but just how much so depends on each individual practitioner.
The shamanic aspect being the most important, in fact to call oneself a Hedgewitch is to call oneself a shaman, without having to steal a word from another culture. With herbalism, healing, and a deep love for, and understanding of Nature added to the mix.
Hedge craft is loosely based on the old wise women (and men), cunning folk, herbalists, faith healers and actual witches throughout history.
If you think “Hedgewitch” and picture the strange lady who sold herbs and magickal charms, acted as midwife and healer in the ancient times, you are not far off. Nor are you far off if you picture the wise sage who would cast bones to divine the future, or journey in the otherworld to heal members of his or her community.
Throughout history “medicine man” or “wise woman” type traditions have risen and fallen all over the world. These kinds of traditions never truly died out, and in recent years, more and more modern people in the Western world are turning to them and adapting them to modern times. Modern Hedge craft is the study, adaptation and practice of these ancient nature-based, spiritual and healing traditions in our modern lives.
Most Hedgewitches look to their own heritage to find inspiration, lore and knowledge.
While most study the traditions of their own ancestry, some may be drawn to the traditions of other cultures. Or they may seek to learn from other cultures to gain a better understanding of their own heritage, as well as a greater respect for others.
Hedgewitches are not opposed to the study of modern tradition as well, for they strive to bridge the gap between old and new. To blend old traditions with a modern lifestyle in a workable and practical manner is a hallmark of Hedge craft.
The word “Hedgewitch” is, as far as we can tell, a fairly modern term. Though its true origin may never be known, it likely comes from Great Britain and may have started to be used in its English form only within the last 100 to 150 years. It is, as far as we can tell a “modern Anglo-Saxon” word.
“Hedgewitch” most likely comes from the Saxon word haegtessa, which translates to “hedge-rider”. The Old Norse lay Havamal refers to “hedge-riders, witching aloft”.
Although Hedgewitch is a modern word, that does not make it illegitimate, just a modern word, for a word does not have to be old to be legitimate. English is still a young language; it is changing and growing all the time. Our ancestors had their own names, in their own languages, for such traditions. Hedgewitch is for our culture, in our language.
The basic modern definition of Hedgewitch would be comparable to another ancient culture’s definition of wise woman, cunning man, medicine man, shaman, herb or faith healer etc.
There is a fair bit of variation in spelling, such as “hedge wytch”. A few other names often used for this Craft: Hedge-Rider, Night Travellers, Myrk-Riders, Gandreidh (wand-rider), Cunning Folk, and Walkers on the Wind.
For the Hedgewitch, “the Hedge” is a metaphor for the line drawn between this world and the next; between reality and dream, between the Upper, Middle, and Lower Worlds. In short, the Hedge is what many Pagans refer to as the Veil.
It is also simply the boundary between civilization and the wild.
This concept of a boundary hedge in a spiritual and magickal sense is from the European (especially British) tradition of hedge laying. Going back even to the Iron Age, the European landscape has been crisscrossed by hedgerows. Hedgerows are carefully grown and landscaped intricate layers of plant-life. These often-large rows of shrub, bush and tree were boundaries for farmsteads, pastures, villages, ditches and such. Often, at the very edge of a human settlement there was a sturdy hedgerow keeping the wilderness and wildlife out of field, pasture and garden.

Crossing a hedge often meant crossing a boundary of some sort, such as walking into the wild, going from wheat field to cow pasture, or entering another person’s property. A hedgerow is not just a boundary but is also a protective home and shelter to all kinds of wildlife, such as rabbits and birds, as well as providing shade and acting as a windbreak. Hedgerows were also very important in keeping the herds in and the predators out, as well as marking the territorial boundaries of human settlements. Often berry and fruit bearing trees and shrubs are grown in hedgerows, making them a source of edible and healing plants for both animal and human alike.
The more one learns of the tradition of laying hedgerows and the tradition of Hedge craft, the more the use of “hedge” for this Craft becomes clearly appropriate.
Throughout history and in many cultures the “Hedgewitch” (wise woman, cunning man, shaman etc.) lived at the edge of the community, often amongst the outlying hedgerows. They scratched out a living through herbalism, understanding nature, prophecy and divination as well as magick and healing. They served the community in many ways including but not only; midwifery, healing, protection spells, house blessings, crop and livestock blessings, through the selling of magickal charms and even curses.
A “Hedgewitch” might sell one member of her community a small curse or ill-wish one day, and then charge its victim a fee to break the curse the next. Therefore, people who followed such traditions were respected, and likely a little feared, because of these abilities, and because they had such a close relationship with nature and the spiritual world.
In modern times, a Hedgewitch is usually (but not always) found outside the city, perhaps on an acreage or farm, often practicing by herself or within the family. They work much as the Cunning Folk of old, helping neighbours, friends and family with ailments, shamanic healing and even blessing the odd field. Hedgewitches will work a lot in cultivated fields, gardens and farmsteads, but often prefers time spent in the woods and other wild areas.
A Cottage/Hearth witch, Green witch or Kitchen witch works mostly in her garden and in her home. Hedgewitch will practice largely in the home as well, but will likely spend more of her time gathering her herbs and practicing her craft in rural or wild places than many other Witches. A Cottage/Hearth witch, Green witch or Kitchen witch may use some trance or shamanic techniques in her practise, but has probably not have received the call from her spirits to Shamanize. A Hedgewitch has “fire in the head” also commonly known in this Path as the Cunning Fire.
Although many of the traditions that a Hedgewitch draws from have changed, after all lore is lost and knowledge changes over the centuries, you will find most Hedgewitches prefer to practice as close to traditionally as possible but still in a manner practical for these modern times. Hedgewitches are very adaptable. You may find a Hedgewitch casting an old-fashioned prosperity or fertility spell on a modern tractor as a favour to a neighbour, for example.
Hedgewitches use herbs and herbal concoctions known as flying ointments, as well as shamanic techniques such as drumming and meditation, to induce altered states of consciousness. They work with familiar spirits, their ancestral dead, plant and animal Totems and the like, to assist in their Otherworld work.
Hedgewitches often refer to shamanic journeys as “Walking the Hedge”, “Riding the Hedge”, “Oot and Aboot” or “Crossing/Jumping the Hedge”. They also have a tendency to spend much of their lives with one foot on either side of the Hedge, which makes them eccentric to say the least.
A Hedgewitch walks freely into caol ait (Gaelic), the “thin places” between one world and another. More experienced Hedgewitches learn not only to find such places, but how to use them effectively and how to open them even when the Hedge, or Veil, is at its thickest between the high days.
Spirituality in Hedgewitches varies and depends on the individual; usually they look to their own heritage and ancestry. The only tradition Hedgewitches typically follow is a reverence for Nature, though some may come from a more formal Pagan path originally.
Some Hedgewitches will also practice a form of Traditional Witchcraft, such as those based on the work of Robert Cochrane, while more and more Wiccans are also taking up the work of a Hedgewitch. Hedgewitches commonly do practice some form of Paganism, but many make no claim to any practice but that of Hedge craft or Hedge riding.
The main distinction between Hedgewitchery and other forms of Witchcraft is that Hedgewitches often have less interest in the religious/ceremonial aspects of coven or group Witchcraft, having an individual and often unique way of relating to life, spirituality, magick and Creation.
A Hedgewitch is less likely to perform scripted magickal workings, preferring the freedom and joyfulness of spontaneous workings that come from the heart. For the Hedgewitch there is no separation between normal life and their magickal one, for their normal life is magickal.
They avoid complicated, ceremonial, scripted and formulated ritual, practicing an earthy and simple form of ritual and magick. Some Hedgewitches do not cast Circles in a Wiccan sense, and may either have other methods to mark sacred space, or not bother at all. Hedgewitches believe that all space is sacred.
Hedgewitches do whatever comes natural to them; they follow their instincts, and their heart.
They do not typically follow one particular moral code, but rather their own personal ethics and often some version of the credo to “do only what is needed” and/or “Know Thyself”.
Hedgewitches walk the Crooked Path, the Path that winds and twists its way between the right-hand and left-hand Paths. Hedgewitches walk all borders, and prefer the grey areas, having little interest in all black, or all white, magick or spiritual workings.
Most use few synthetic objects in their spells and rituals. Their tools are typically very practical, such as a walking stick, often they will use a stang, or even pruning shears, and their tools are hand made by them as much as possible. Most Hedgewitches use only what is needed, meaning they do not clutter an altar (if they should use an altar at all) with items that will not be actively used during a working or rite.
Hedgewitches usually study herbalism, wildcrafting and wortcunning with gusto, as well as seeking knowledge and understanding of the ways of Nature. Such as the cycle of the seasons and the wildlife and plant-life in their area.
Hedgewitches may know how to grow herbs in a garden, but are more likely to study where and how they grow in the wild and how to gather them. They usually have a great deal of lore on trees and plant life, animals and the wilderness in general.
Healing, divination, the use of trance inducing herbs and all manner of fertility and shamanic rites are also a part of this Path.
Hedgewitches tailor their Path to suit themselves, some may focus on herbalism, others study midwifery, some may practice something like reiki, they may focus on animal husbandry, and others may be well versed in healing with crystals. Many Hedgewitches may choose to be a jack of all trades, but a master of none.
While Hedgewitchery is typically a solitary path, this is not always so. Even the most hermit-like Hedgewitch can still be found at the odd local Pagan event. While others may even belong to a Coven, Kindred or Grove.
Hedgewitches are unlikely to become involved with Witch Wars within the community, and depending on the individual’s personality are more likely to prefer maintaining friendly relations with the majority of the Pagan community. Some may have friends or domestic partners who follow another Pagan or Heathen path, and they will often happily join in any ritual or activity if invited.
Also, some of their practices, especially the shamanic ones, require a trusted friend or group to watch over their body while their soul is elsewhere.
While most Hedgewitches may just be plain old rebels and rabble-rousers, this is after all, an Outsider Path.
The daily spiritual practice of a Hedgewitch will be adapted to her individual abilities, interests and life style. One Hedgewitch may start mornings offering up prayers of thanksgiving to the different goddesses as they collect eggs from the chicken coop. Another Hedgewitch may spend her mornings in quiet meditation on her patio; sipping tea and watching the deer graze in her lawn. A third Hedgewitch may say a quick prayer at the household shrine before racing off to work. The forth Hedgewitch spends the day fasting and preparing for a rite and a trip across the hedge that night.
Some people may prefer rural and/or wild settings and be a little wild themselves. They may be looking for a tradition that is adaptable and practical, one that combines “old school” Witchcraft and a modern life, a tradition that adds a focus on European-based Shamanism and the practical application of folklore to the mix.
They may be looking for a tradition that leans heavily on natural magic, understanding the Land and the practice of healing lore. They may want a tradition that focuses on personal experience, experimentation and doing-it-yourself. They may wish to blaze their own Path, like the Cunning Folk of old. They may have that Cunning Fire burning in their head, heart and soul.
They may just be ‘Hedgewitches’.

Snowy Lane outside my house.

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