It’s finally that time, magical ones….the Season of the Witch! And what better way to celebrate it than by falling into a spellbinding book? Here are our top recommendations for little witches, all orderable through powells.com.
Six Seasonal Foods For Spells and Rituals
Mabon is a harvest festival, a celebration of the abundance of late summer. Many know it is a pagan Thanksgiving, and a day to give thanks for all we’ve received. It takes place on the Autumn Equinox, a time when day and night are of equal lengths. It is a celebration of balance between light and dark, summer and winter, life and death. Mabon occurs when the leaves are changing color and the world starts to wind down in preparation for winter. We mark this day as sacred because it represents a key transition in our lives. After this day, we will begin to turn inward and stay indoors more, but on Mabon, we celebrate the last of our external bounty: friends and food.
This year, Mabon takes place on Wednesday, September 22nd, 2021.
Because this is a harvest-centric holiday, the best ways to celebrate Mabon all revolve around food and nature’s bounty. With each key fruit, vegetable, crop, or plant, we can create a ritual to celebrate the turning of the Wheel of the Year. Here are six foods to use for your Mabon celebrations, and six ritual activity ideas to do with kids.
A key symbol of the bounty of Fall, apples are considered to be sacred and deeply magical by many cultures. In fact, they contain a hidden pentagram inside. They are associated with the underworld, the turning of the Wheel of the Year, and abundance in all forms.
Activity: Go apple picking. If you’re able to pick your own apples, go to an orchard and gather your own! If not, apples from the grocery store or farmer’s market will do just fine.
Perform an apple spell. Cut an apple in half horizontally to expose the concealed star inside. Remove the seeds and place them in a bag, which you can hang as a good luck charm. Eat the apple together, expressing gratitude for its sweetness (and for the love you share with each other).
As a crop that ripens in late summer and fall, in many cultures, corn is inextricably tied to the arrival of Autumn. It is hearty and nutritious, and has innumerable uses, both medicinally and magically.
Activity: Make a corn dolly. Corn husk dolls are a craft traditionally made in Autumn, originally made to represent the spirits of the corn and give these harvest deities a body to inhabit until the next harvest season. They are made from corn husks, twisted and tied into the shape of a body. Some corn dollies are very simple, while others made by artisans are intricate and complex. Here is a simple video tutorial for how to make one.
A warm, comforting, nutrient-dense fruit, Pumpkin is an ideal food to enjoy as we head into colder and darker days. The Jack-O-Lantern originates from the belief that carved pumpkins can ward off evil spirits on Halloween night. That being said, they can be used for this purpose at any point during the season.
Activity: Perform a pumpkin seed ritual. Cut open a pumpkin and scape out the insides, saving the seeds. Separate them from the stringy flesh and wash them. Lay them out on an oiled baking sheet. Sprinkle them with herbs and magical intentions to keep you warm and happy throughout the darker half of the year. Cinnamon for warmth, salt for protection, brown sugar for kindness. Bake them at 350°F for 25 minutes, stirring once or twice throughout the baking process. Save the seeds to nibble on when you are in need of comfort.
What to do with the body of your pumpkin now? Try carving it with protective symbols or sigils, and lighting a candle in it during your Mabon dinner. Or, you can stuff it with yummy food like stuffing, vegetables, or meat, and bake it for a savory meal.
When we think of leaves changing color, maple is usually one of the first that comes to mind. Maple trees are prominent in various folktales and are known to repel evil spirits. Also known as “the giving tree,” Maple generously offers us its sweet syrup, the “blood” of the tree.
Activity: Go for a nature walk in an area where trees change color, taking in all the sensory details of Autumn. What does the crunch of the leaves sound and feel like beneath your feet? What color are the leaves on the trees? When they fall, is it slow or fast? Which trees change color first? Do any trees stay green all year long? Consider leaving an offering of water (or breath) for the trees, and thank them for all they provide.
If you can’t go for a nature walk or you want to work more directly with the magic of maple, try incorporating maple syrup in your spells. To connect with the spirit of the forest, simply eat a teaspoon of maple syrup while intending to take in the wisdom of the tree into your own body. If Kitchen Witchery is your style, you can achieve the same effect by intentionally adding maple syrup to food. You can also add a drop to any spell for protection, or trace some along your front door as a house blessing.
A magical fruit associated with the underworld, Pomegranate is an Autumn symbol because of the legends tied to it. After the goddess Persephone was persuaded by Hades to eat six pomegranate seeds, she was forced to stay in the underworld for six months each year (the time period between equinoxes). At Mabon, we eat pomegranate seeds to honor the sacred darkness of the underworld and its associated powers of transformation. As we head into the winter, we know we will be changed by springtime. Thus goes the blessed cycle of life.
Activity: Perform a pomegranate intention-setting spell. Write down six wishes or intentions that you’d like to bring with you into the winter. These can be for friendship, luck, prosperity, health, or whatever you want. Cut open a pomegranate. Pull out a seed as you read each intention, and then chew and swallow each one slowly, letting the sink into you. After you’ve eaten six seeds and read your six intentions, leave the pomegranate as an offering on your altar or at the base of a nearby tree.
No grain is associated more with harvest festivals than wheat. Considered the most sacred of all grains, wheat has long been a staple of many western diets because of its high carbohydrate and protein content. Wheat can be stored for relatively long periods of time, making it an ideal food to stock up on before winter. Magically, it represents abundance in all its forms.
Activity: Bake bread. Make any kind of bread you like, and try kneading it with magical intention. Carve a pentagram of magical symbol onto the top before baking. When finished, leave a small offering of flour on your altar as a symbol of gratitude for the bounty and richness of summer. Note: If gluten-free, substitute grains works well for this ritual too!
Want to introduce your children to the basic concepts of witchcraft and magic? C Is For Coven is a sweet primer for little pagans and witchlings. The perfect way to start ’em young, it introduces key magical concepts in a way that is accessible, positive, and altogether enchanting. An excellent conversation starter for magically curious kiddos, it introduces practices like “Drawing Down The Moon” and lesser-known words like “besom” in short, approachable sentences, making this an ideal entry point into the world of paganism. What elevates this book beyond a typical alphabet board book is the quality of the writing, which is poetic and luminous. This is a book that begs to be read aloud, re-read, and savored at bedtime.
The art is just as enchanting as the writing. The pastel illustrations convey the proper amount of wonder for the luminous world of magic that exists at our fingertips, for all of us to tap into. The illustrations depict a diversity of witches, a reflection of the broader witchcraft community. Witches of all stripes will see themselves in Stein’s empowered, strong witches. The book practically radiates with loving intention and light magic. Each page is a mini love spell of sorts: for kids and the magic they hold. This book is much a gift for children as it is for the adults who will share it with them. A wonderful gift for a witch of any age, C Is For Coven is a must-read for pagan parents and kids, or anyone who wants to tap into the wonder and magic of witchcraft.
C Is For Coven is written by Andrea Stein, founder of Moondust Press, the imprint is dedicated to creating resources for children being raised in homes practicing alternative spiritualities, breaking down stereotypes about witchcraft and Pagan practices in children’s literature, and providing needed diverse representation. Check them out here.
Ostara is an ideal pagan holiday to celebrate with children. A pagan sabbat that takes place on the Spring Equinox, many of its key symbols and celebrations center around activities that kids love: things like egg decorating, exploring, planting seeds, and connecting with cute baby animals! Here are ten super fun Ostara activities for little witches:
- Learning About The Lore of Ostara: Most kids know about the Easter Bunny, but most are not familiar with the story of its pagan origins. Ostara (and Easter) derive their names from the Germanic goddess Eostre, who represented spring, the dawn, fertility, and new beginnings. It is said that when she came across a wounded bird whose wings were frozen by the snow, she took pity on him and turned him into a rabbit. She let him keep his ability to lay eggs, though, and so he decorated them and gave them to the goddess as a gift of gratitude for her kindness.
- Dyeing Eggs: Kids can celebrate and honor the goddess Eostre by dyeing and decorating their own colorful eggs. To infuse even more witchery into the practice, try painting or drawing sigils, pentagrams, and other magical symbols on them. You can use color magic to decide which hues to use, and you can even make your own natural dyes to color them with!
- Go For A Spring Walk: Spring is an ideal time to go exploring. Signs of new life, like flowers and baby animals, are beginning to pop up everywhere. Make it a scavenger hunt and try to see how many different types of new flowers you can find, and you can even practice floromancy, or the art of using flowers for divination, with the flowers you come across! Many witches believe that each flower has special meanings, and when you see a particular flower at the beginning of spring, it can give you a sign of what is to come.
- Plant Seeds: Spring is the time to plant seeds, both physically and metaphorically. Gardening with kids teaches many potent lessons about how to nurture and be patient. Plus, it’s super fun to get your hands dirty and poke the seeds into new little holes in the ground. Make it a ritual and practice saying blessings or spells as you plant the seeds, infusing your witch’s garden with magic.
- Make An Ostara Altar: Spring altars are so easy and fun to make. Gather some fresh flowers together, or buy some from the grocery and arrange them on the altar. Try incorporating other Ostara symbols like eggs, rabbit and chick figurines, spring goddess representations, and seeds into the altar, and let the little witchlings continue to add to it as they come across new items that might be a good fit. Because Ostara happens in the spring, the season associated with the direction of East and the element of air, try incorporating these elements into your altar as well by positioning the altar to face East and adding symbols of air like incense, feathers, chimes, and bells.
- Explore Rabbit Magic: Bunnies are one of the key symbols of Ostara because they are associated with fertility and abundance. Spring is a time when everything is starting to grow, and the prevalence of new baby bunnies running around only serves as a reminder of this. If you can, go to a wildlife area where rabbits live and see if you can watch some. Leave out an offering of some lettuce for rabbits, or if there are no physical buns nearby, leave it out for the rabbit spirit who can visit you wherever you live. Buy or make plush rabbits and other rabbit representations and place them around your house as reminders of prosperity, growth, and soft fuzzy bunny love.
- Bake Hot Cross Buns: A pagan tradition long before they were an Easter one, this delicious bread was inspired by the Sun Wheel, a symbol of perfect balance at the equinox. They are super delicious, fun to bake, and relatively simple to make…the perfect baking activity for kids! There are lots of different recipes, but we particularly love this recipe that includes little bunnies poking out from between the buns.
- Spring Cleaning: Because spring is a time of new beginnings, it makes sense that it’s a good time to do a good deep house cleaning! Go through your things and see what you no longer use or need, and practice offering gratitude for each item as you pass it along. Scrub those floors, and dust all of those long-neglected corners! In addition to doing a physical cleaning, try doing an energetic cleaning too. Burn cleansing herbs in your space and use your intention and imagination to visualize any stale or negative energy leaving your house. Try sprinkling some salt around the windows and doors, hang fresh protective herbs in your home, and plant herbs like rosemary or lavender at your front doorway.
- Connect With The Fairies: Spring is a time when the fairy world becomes more active. The fae love greenery, flowers, and color, so it makes sense that they begin to appear more and more often as the natural world begins to swell and blossom. This is a great time to try making a fairy garden or house for nearby wee nature spirits. You can do this in the base of a potted plant, in your backyard, or at the base of a tree in a nearby park.
- Egg Hunt: This classic spring scavenger hunt activity does not have to be reserved only for Easter! Similar to the Easter Bunny, it also has pagan origins. You can infuse some magic into it by filling plastic eggs with fortunes, spells, and intentions instead! Alternately, you can leave trinkets like stones or figurines in them, or healthy snacks like nuts and seeds.
Happy Vernal Equinox, little witches! We hope you have a most magical Ostara.
This post was originally published on the Seagrape Apothecary Blog.
When I think about all the magical tools that support me through the dark season, the most potent ally I can think of is chamomile. A common herb often found in calming tea blends, chamomile is an ideal herb for witches because it is gentle yet powerful. Yes, the tea can certainly be very helpful for anxiety and insomnia, but on a magical level, there is so much more to it.
Chamomile is an herb of the sun. It’s gentle warmth is akin to the sunlight at dawn, or a gentle flame, rather than a raging fire. Magically speaking, chamomile is a guiding light. It has been a popular ingredient in folk magic and spells for centuries, because it nurtures and protects, while also amplifying magical energy and psychic abilities. Paradoxically, because of its association with the sun, it increases vital energy, but because it is also associated with the element of water, it can aid in dreamwork and other intuitive practices.
Chamomile is, according to herbalist Rosemary Gladstar, “a healing wonder” (A Beginner’s Guide To Medicinal Herbs ). Used as a treatment for a variety of health issues since ancient times, it also has strong healing associations, which is yet another reason to work with it during cold and flu season (not to mention during the Covid-19 pandemic). That’s not to say that it can necessarily cure or heal any of these things, but when it is incorporated into a spiritual practice, it has the powerful ability to support us on the physical, mental, and spiritual level.
Paul Beyerl writes about Chamomile in The Master Book of Herbalism: “It is found throughout ancient Egyptian medicine where it was dedicated to the Sun god for its curing powers. Much of its lore comes from the position it holds in the garden, for it brings health to the other plants in the gardens and is said to cure nearly any plant that it grows next to” (80).
I started working closely with chamomile when I realized that on a spirit level, it is deeply nurturing and supportive. It was literally begging me to work with it, and once I made conscious efforts to bring it into my daily life, I realized just how powerful it can be. I always keep some close to me, whether it be in a sachet in my pocket, in a dish by my bedside, or in an essential oil blend I apply to my throat before a long day at work.
So, what is the best way to start working with chamomile? When you first decide to form a relationship with any herb, it’s a good idea to do a meditation with it. Chamomile is ideal for tea meditation. Here’s how to do it: As you sip, breathe, and close your eyes. Say hello, either silently or aloud. Then, imagine if the chamomile started talking to you, drifting up through the steam to whisper messages in your ear, what would it say? Do you notice any phrases, images, colors, or feelings coming to you? These things will tell you a lot about the spirit of the plant. Write down any observations in a journal, and do your best not to edit. Just write down anything that comes into your mind.
After you’ve done your meditation, here are some other ways to develop a relationship with chamomile:
- Grow it. One of the best ways to form a relationship with a plant is to care for it and literally help it to exist in the world.
- Place it around your house in sachets, bowls, or jars. I keep a little dish of chamomile next to my bed, and I run my fingers through it every night, waking it up between my fingers and asking it to protect me during sleep.
- Bake with it. Chamomile adds a lovely aromatic quality to cookies, cakes, and breads.
- Take baths with it. Sprinkle some loose flowers in the water, or steep a tea bag in the hot water.
- Carry it around with you in a sachet.
- Burn a little as incense. Scott Cunningham says in his book Magical Herbalism that it “induces sleep if burned” (147).
- Use the oil or tea to anoint ritual objects like scrying mirrors.
- Wear the essential oil. Try dabbing a little on your solar plexus to increase your sense of personal power, on your third eye to increase psychic awareness, or any other part of your body that feels right.
- Wash thresholds and windows with chamomile tea to add magical protection to your home.
- Draw chamomile flowers in your journal or sketchbook.
Want to try some of Little Witchery’c chamomile-infused products? Head to our Etsy Shop to check out our:
- Sunshine In Winter Bath
- Little Witch’s Bedtime Blend
- Soothe Yourself Blend & Bath
- Inner Child Bath
- Dream Oracle Blend
Intention is a word that gets thrown a lot in the witchy world, but sometimes it can be hard to know what it exactly means. Undeniably, it’s essential for magic, living at the core of most spells and rituals. It’s the fuel that powers our spells and workings. It’s 90% of what makes magic work.
It’s no surprise that if a spell doesn’t work, it’s probably a good idea to re-examine your intention, and maybe even re-define for yourself what intention really means. If you want to write your own spells, intention is even more important to have a working knowledge of.
The definition from the Macmillan Dictionary: : a plan in your mind to do something.
My definition: an aim or goal you hope to accomplish through magic.
Intention is the thread that connects every element of your spell, from the incantation you speak, to the candle colors you choose to use, to the moon phase you plan to perform the spell under.
Some ideas on how to infuse intention into your daily life and magical practice:
- Figure out your desired outcome. What EXACTLY is it you want? Is it specific or broad? Does it come with stipulations or parameters, or are you more open to whatever the universe thinks is best for you?
- Formulate your wording carefully. Words are powerful and slight wording differences can be hugely influential on our spells. Fill your intention with words that are powerful, active, and clear.
- Write it out. First try writing it out in your journal or personal book of shadows, and then when you have it finished, you can write it and put it on your altar or use it in your spellwork.
- Visualize the outcome clearly. What does it feel, taste, sound, smell, and look like?
- Focus on abundance. Cultivate a feeling of already having your desired outcome, rather than on a feeling of lack or wanting. If you infuse your spell with feelings of neediness, that’s what you’ll get back… more neediness.
- Let it go. Concentrate your intention while working your magic, and then let it leave your mind. Let the magic do its work without obsessing or dwelling on your want.
All that being said, intention alone is not enough. While you definitely need gas to drive a car, the gas is pretty useless without the car to power. Just the same, you need to have an action and a physical object to infuse with intention, in order for the intention to have a vehicle to work through. It’s okay if the tangible object is only your body, but it needs to be something.
It’s also important to note that our true intentions in life are not always what we think they are. Through therapy, self-reflection, and shadow work, we can learn to uncover the true underbellies of our motivations, which will only help us to be more magically powerful.
Intention is not the law of attraction. It’s not saying that whatever you think is going to become true. It’s saying that if you want to get somewhere, and you start taking steps to do so, you’d better know where it is that you’re going!
Intention means that what you think affects your actions, which affects your life and your magic. The best part is, by setting an intention, you get to choose!
Our bodies are inextricably tied to the cycle of the moon. For thousands of years, human beings have noticed how the moon affects ocean tides, and on a much smaller level, how it influences the water in our bodies. Simply paying attention to how your body, mind, and spirit feel at certain times of the month can tell you a lot about the moon’s effect on you. Do you tend to have trouble sleeping at the full moon, or you want to stay home more often at the dark moon? Start journaling, perhaps in your personal grimoire or book of shadows, to track these changes for easy reference later.
Traditionally, the moon was associated with feminine energy. It was deeply connected to intuition, dreams, water, psychic knowing, and receptivity. Because so much of contemporary witchcraft is influenced by the concept of the divine feminine, it makes sense that witches tend to venerate the moon.
The moon doesn’t only affect our bodies: it influences everything on earth, including your spellwork. That’s why it can be a wise idea to plan your magical timing for days when the moon’s phase can aid your witchery instead of hinder it.
Dark Moon Magic: What most people refer to as the new moon is actually the dark moon, the time when the moon is completely hidden and the sky is dark. This is a good time to do inner exploration and shadow work. It’s a quiet, internal time. Explore hidden parts of yourself that you don’t normally pay attention to, either through meditation, trance, journaling, or divination.
The Waxing Moon: At the new moon, when just a sliver of the moon has reappeared and it’s starting to grow, this is a potent time for planting seeds, both literally and metaphorically. Think deeply about the goals you want to accomplish and the dreams you want to nurture and grow in your life. Write these intentions down, and visualize them coming true. What does your dream smell, taste, sound, look, and feel like? What are you wearing and who is there with you? Be as specific as you can. Imagine that as the moon gets bigger and brighter, so are you. The light is building, and along with it, your magic and intentions intensify.
Full Moon Magic: At this time of the month, the moon shines brightest, and its effects can be felt most strongly. At the full moon, everything is intensified: emotions may run high, magic may feel more potent, and psychic information may come to you more easily. The full moon can be used for basically any time of magic, but it is a particularly good time to work manifestation magic. Just as the moon is sending out it’s maximum amount of brightness into the world, you too can send out your desires into the universe with these intentions.
The Waning Moon: This is the ideal time to do cleansing and clearing magic. It’s a blank slate, and a call to let go of anything that’s not serving you as you move into the new moon cycle. Do some gentle introspection through journaling or meditation, ask yourself what is blocking you? While imagining your blocks falling away, take action: soak in a cleansing bath with epsom salts, say “No” to things that don’t resonate with you, and slow down if your body wants you to. This is a good time to clear space, both in your physical space and in your mind. Listen closely and the moon’s intuitive guidance will help you to understand what you need to release.