Category Archives: Working the Roots

Petition for the day: What you need, what you want, in due time.

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Well, I just wanted to say THANK YOU!!! You have stood by me by helping me with two men who, as you said, “undeserving of my awesomeness”! And you were SO RIGHT!

I honestly believe that the work you have done moved in a different direction and brought D___ and I together! I could not be happier right now! 

The kind words above were written by a dear client of mine, someone who is lovely, intelligent, and vibrant and who knew that she was amazing–but she did not get quite how amazing she was. We worked on a variety of love and friendship angles over the years and though the work almost always had good movement there was an essential ingredient missing–it came up in her cards and I wrote it out to her–she needed a partner who truly and completely GOT her awesome and made her feel cherished and adored. That was the missing piece of magic. She listened and as you can all see from the quote above, she found him! As much as I like happy endings that is NOT the reason I wanted to post this today, I wanted to share it with everyone because when we create and participate in ritual and ceremony there is this sense that if we do not see the results we wanted in the timeframe we planned we have wasted our time and our money. Of course you want to work with an ethical worker, but assuming you are I offer up this petition:

May there be patience…with yourself and with your prayers.

May there be trust that all prayers are heard, and though the responses are many and varied, and though we do not always understand them, there is much of value in every answer and in every time.

May we have the clarity and wisdom of vision to see that, the strength of voice to speak it out, and the gravity of heart to follow our own blessed paths in perfect love and trust.

And so it is.

 

Many Branches: Something Witchy this way comes with Sarah Anne Lawless

Many of those in my audience already know our latest guest in the Many Branches series–Sarah Anne Lawless. She is an occult author, witch, herbalist, and artist living in the Pacific Northwest. Her blog is well known in the Pagan community and beyond. Her knack for crafting a brilliant flying ointment is one that I can personally attest to, and her devotion to her Gods is inspiring. Please give her a warm welcome!

bio-pic-2In her own words: A professional artist, writer, and herbalist, Sarah’s work has been published in various books, magazines, and online in The CauldronHex MagazineWitches & PagansWitchvoxSerpent Songs, and Hoofprints in the Wildwood. She is a carver, painter, and illustrator working in the mediums of bone, wood, ink, and paint creating original artwork, talismans, and ritual tools. Sarah is an animist, initiated witch, and wortcunner with a love of otherworldly beauty, folklore, mythology, poisonous plants, wildcrafting, wild places, and bones.

Find Sarah on the web at:

her website: sarahannelawless.com

Facebook: Black Arts Foundry

Twitter: @forestwitch

 

In the occult and magical community you are known for making excellent spiritual products, your writing, and your fine artwork, but you are also one of the few voices out there talking about working with animals and zoological talismans in an ethical and sustainable manner. This subject is a bit controversial but one that I think the magical community needs more familiarity with. What led you to begin working with animals and animal parts in a ritual setting?

For me it started with collecting feathers and escalated from there and I’ve found that others who consider themselves bone collectors often say the same thing. Taking home a feather you found on a forest walk isn’t really so far off from taking home a sea-washed bone or a small skull picked clean by scavengers. Once people find out you’re a bone collector they will suddenly start calling you about bones, feathers, or dead animals they found and ask what to do with them. Then people will start showing up on your door step with boxes of bones and any friends that hunt for food will start giving you bird feet, wings, and sometimes even organs that they don’t want to waste. Often people don’t want to use or give me the animals they find, they just want to know how to bury it safely and give it a respectful send off to the spirit world. A bone collector can find themselves taking on the role of an animal funeral director.

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I think the reason why many find my use of animal parts in magic controversial is because, though the use of zoological remains is still common in modern rootwork and the magical traditions of Central and South America, it is not common in modern witchcraft despite all the documented historical links and traditions. Many people are so far removed from nature, husbandry, and dirty hands-on folk magic that they find the use of zoological remains to be appalling and unethical without trying to first understand the context and history. Many assume that bone collectors such as myself are actually killing animals to use their parts in magic when this is very much not the case. You can find hearts, tongues, and feet at the butcher and you can find bones, skulls, teeth, claws, and hides from taxidermists, tanners, farmers, or hunters who don’t like to waste any part of an animal that’s been hunted or raised for food.

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Another reason I think this practice is controversial is because many people assume you are using a dead animal’s parts solely for cursing and other black magics, when again this is simply not the reality. Indigenous cultures who’ve held onto their animistic beliefs and traditions use animal parts in a sacred manner – they are used to better connect with animal spirits and the whole of nature itself. Feathers are often used to fly prayers to the spirits so they may hear them. Teeth and claws are used for protection against harm and to give one strength. Organs are more often used for healing and offerings than anything else – anyone with a grandmother who still buries dead fish in the garden for the fertility of the plants may best understand this. In rural areas of North America you can still find farmers hanging deer antlers or bull horns over their barn door. They may have forgotten why, but once upon a time it was the belief that doing so would protect your livestock and also ensure their health and fertility.

Modern butchery and hunting practices are wasteful and unethical for treating animals as soulless resources. By doing this work and using animal remains in a sacred manner in our spiritual traditions, we make those animals sacred. By showing them respect even in death, we make their lives have the same value as our own.

 

You are well known for crafting various flying ointments, often using ancient recipes. Why flying ointments and when did your love affair with them begin?

I first took notice when nightshades I had not planted started to grow in my garden plots and containers. Instead of weeding them, I researched them and became fascinated. This led me to growing other varieties like henbane, belladonna, datura, and brugmansia. I had a lot of fresh plant material on hand and at the same time I realized that no one I could find was making and using flying ointments today. Considering that flying ointments were one of the very few genuine direct links to the ancestral magical practices of preChristian Europeans, it puzzled me greatly that modern witches and pagans weren’t using them. Later I discovered this was largely due to fear of the plants as governments had been churning out frightening propaganda against them for centuries and our modern governments continue to spread the fear through misinformation. Tales of wild hallucinations and near death experiences come mainly from youths not seeking a spiritual experience, but who simply wanted to get high and who used these plants without research, proper preparation, and with no regard for dosage. They were using these sacred plants at a toxic level instead of in the much safer ways our ancestors would have and have consequently given these plants a much maligned reputation.

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I mainly work with plants in the solanaceae (or nightshade) family. Though many would believe we no longer use them today, the constituents of these plants, such as atropine, are actually considered “core” medicines on the World Health Organizations “Essential Drug List.” Aside from the nightshades’ long history with witchcraft, they are also some of the oldest and most potent medicines used by humanity. How could an herbalist fascinated with ethnobotany not fall in love with plants that were both powerful spiritual allies and incredibly potent medicines? Though my original intent was to use the solanaceae and artemisias for spiritual purposes, the more I worked with these plants, the more I found people came to me for their medicinal uses as well.

And so, after A LOT of research and careful testing, I started to make ointments with the plants I grew along with dried European mandrake roots. I found them to be very useful in aiding in dream work, spirit work, and trance work along with being excellent topical pain killers for relieving migraines, sore backs, and other muscle and joint pain. I started making them for shamanic and pagan groups who wanted to use them for rituals and ceremonies and I started bringing them to my own rituals and teaching workshops on these plants. With all my experience, I learned that much of the fear and propaganda surrounding nightshades and flying ointments is simply not true and that those of us who have learned their history and proper preparations should pass on our knowledge so it is not lost to future generations as it has been to generations past.

 

A lot of folks in the magical community struggle with that to call themselves. You have referred to yourself as an animist, witch, and spirit worker. What do those words mean to you and what is your advice for someone who has not figured out what the right title is for their work and beliefs?

When I call myself an animist, I am referring to my religious philosophy just as others would call themselves a polytheist or a monotheist. I do not worship gods, but instead see all things, all of nature, as being imbued with spirit, anima, life force. Interacting with and honouring the local animals, plants, rivers, lakes, mountains, forests, and larger land features is what matters most to me in my spirituality – the local spirits, great and small. Within animism there is also room for ancestor reverence and so I also honour those who have come before me, both my own blood ancestors as well as those who lived upon this land long before I was born. Animism is believed to be one of the oldest forms of spirituality in human history and still permeates surviving forms of folk magic, folk religion, and common superstitions.

When I call myself a witch I am referring to the practice of witchcraft, not a religious path. It is the folk magic I do, the early modern witchcraft lore I study, and the rituals I put into practice.

When I use the term spirit worker, it is to reference my work with spirits, both is in this world and the other worlds of folklore. It is my dream work, trance work, and the rituals I perform to interact with spirits – usually plants, animals, or ancestors.

I don’t personally believe in putting too much stock in labels and finding the right one as everyone has their own definition of a term, some using the archaic meaning and some using a modern derivative. It is far too easy to waste a lot of time trying to find a label that fits all we believe and do, when we could instead spend that time actively practicing and developing our own beliefs to suit our individual spiritual needs. I think it is a better use of our time instead of trying to fit into a role someone else has defined and be constantly fretting over it.

I wrote a whole article tackling this subject last winter as it comes up over and over again in spiritual communities: “Ducking Pigeonholing.”

You art is gorgeous, tell us a bit about how you got started and what your current favorite artistic project is?

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Thank you! I got started in art at a young age. I was always drawing and painting. I took art classes in every year of school because it was something I always enjoyed. I had a lot of support from family who kept me well supplied with paper, ink, and paints. I even used to illustrate stories I wrote and bound them into little homemade books. Today I’m lucky enough to be in a position to get paid for my art and to illustrate the writings of others as well as my own. Falling more under the umbrella of a folk artist, I’ve been able to explore just about any medium I’m interested in – woodcarving, bone carving, pyrography, textiles, calligraphy, and jewelry to name several.

Right now I have a bit of an obvious obsession with drawing plants and skulls. I hope to do more pieces with plants and animals native to my beloved Pacific Northwest in the near future.

If you could give one piece of wisdom to my readers today, what would it be?

Don’t be afraid to chase your dreams and passions so you can live your life in joy and wonder, but at the same time be honest with yourself about how you’re going to pull it off in a practical manner.

Taking it Personally–How to work with Personal Concerns in Magic

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A lock of hair from Napoleon Bonaparte sold for 14K at auction–wonder who will be working with that?

One aspect that many different folk magic traditions have in common is the use they make of personal concerns such as hair, nail pairings, and bodily fluids. These concerns are worked with in a number of ways for both benevolent and malevolent purposes and though folk magic traditions are making somewhat of a comeback, there is still much confusion around what a personal concern is and how we can work with them in our practice.

Personal concern is a term used in ritual and folk magic and can indicate any number of items including:

  • blood
  • menstrual blood
  • umbilical cord
  • placenta
  • sexual fluids
  • waste products like urine and feces
  • finger or toenail clippings
  • hair
  • bones
  • pubic hair
  • sweat
  • saliva
  • worn, unwashed clothing
  • picture of the person
  • handwriting from the person

In some cases legal documents and business cards may also function as personal concerns

The idea behind the personal concern is that of sympathetic magic, specifically the subset of sympathetic magic known as contagious magic which holds that “things once in contact with one another continue to exert an influence on one another after they have been separated” (James Frazer, The Golden Bough). In other words the concern you have (either from yourself or from the target of your magical work) is a concrete, often DNA laden, tie that binds the person it represents to the magic that you are performing on their behalf. Or to put it more simply, items like a bit of hair and nail pairings are magical because they have an element of our bodies and spirit in them even though they are no longer attached to the physical body itself.

A quick survey of anthropological discoveries assures us that our ancestors knew what many of us are now only remembering-that personal concerns were *the* essential and primary ingredient in many magical workings. Doll babies unearthed in Annapolis, Maryland, dating back to slave times in the US, are stuffed with the hair of plantation masters; effigies from Europe to Africa are “loaded” with hair, nails, and in some cases the blood of the person for whom they are meant to work. In 1654 an English cunning woman named Anne Green “saw no illogicality in claiming to have cured a headache caused by bewitchment through boiling a lock of the client’s hair in urine and then throwing it in the fire–believing that the maleficent spell would have been destroyed along with the hair and urine” (Cunning Folk and Familiar Spirits, Emma Wilby).

Strong taboos against ingesting blood, leaving hair and nail clippings out for anyone to pick up, and allowing strangers or potential lovers access to one’s unwashed clothing or used bath water are found in many cultures. In Mexican folk magic traditions new mothers will often take a part of or the entire placenta of their baby and bury it at the base of a strong tree confident that as the tree grows and matures so will their child. My grandfather–a half Irish, half Cherokee plant man–took the first lock ever cut from my head and kept it in his wallet until the day he had a massive stroke. When I asked him why he told me it was to “keep me close and protect me” as his Cherokee mother had done for him.

 

Why did personal concerns go out of vogue in magic?

In Europe when Christianity, especially protestant Christianity, began replacing indigenous folk magic traditions the emphasis on personal concerns began to wane as the power of prayer, right living, and intentional petitioning of saints, angels, and the Blessed Virgin replaced older forms of sympathetic and contagious magic. This is not to say that the use of personal concerns in magic faded completely–I believe it has never done so–but it did begin to give way to the power of the mind and suggestion.

The advent of New Thought traditions in America and popularization of “oriental” and eastern techniques of meditation and concentration further eroded the use of personal concerns as “mind over matter” became the accepted mantra. Humanists like William James ushered in the era of Psychology and the relationship between will and results focused power, including magical power, in and around the mind. An emphasis on the practitioner’s intention and ability to “visualize” strong results from their work was and to some extent continues to be seen as the most important aspect in magic making. Interestingly in many magical communities to this day it’s held that your intention is the most critical component in successful spell casting-more so than any specific ingredient you might use, charm or incantation you might utter, prayer or offering you might make and of course more than any tangible and personal link to the individual(s) you may be trying to influence.

Gerald Gardner, influenced by Aleister Crowley and other Victorian era mages, did mention personal concerns, especially sexual personal concerns from time to time. The sense, however, one has from their writings is that personal concerns were seen as transgressive and powerful due to their taboo nature as opposed to vital ingredients in any successful magical art.

 

Personal Concerns in magic today

As folk magic traditions experience a bit of a renaissance the need for personal concerns in ritual work is becoming more acknowledged. It is still an issue that causes confusion and discomfort. Many people find the idea of working with a personal concern—especially someone else’s—to be disconcerting for a number of reasons. In some cases the practitioner may feel that possessing something so personal is a transgression of their own ethical or moral codes and in those cases I can only say that perhaps no magic should be performed. More frequently the mage may feel a bit squeamish especially when handling some of the more biologically charged concerns such as urine, semen, vaginal fluid, or blood. I encourage my students and clients to treat personal concerns with the same level of respect and practicality that they treat the precious roots and herbs some magic calls for. A basic working knowledge of biology and especially how proteins decompose over time is necessary for correct usage. When working with volatile personal concerns it may be wise to wear gloves. If you are not sure that a person’s personal concern is “safe” health-wise then do not work with it.

 

Significance of Specific Concerns

As with everything there is always the question of what the BEST personal concern is and of course the answer varies depending on what it is that you are trying to do. Here is a useful guide:

  • Placenta and umbilical cord are typically used to bless and protect both mother and new born child.
  • Hair from the face or head can affect the head (thoughts, ideas and speech) as well as the heart (emotions, desires) and can be pulled from a brush, picked up by running a piece of tape along a pillow, or pulled from a razor. Hair from the genitals is typically used in love and romance work.
  • Fingernails affect the hands which in turn can alter our ability to work, to possess skill, to gain in prosperity, to heal and to harm. Fingernail pairings from filing or cutting nails with scissors work well.
  • Toenails effect the feet and in many cultures the feet are believed to be one of the most vulnerable parts of the body–taking in whatever they walk over be it good or ill.
  • Saliva is worked with to effect someone’s ability to speak, and to make kisses especially sweet…or sour. An excellent way to get a sample is by cutting a few bristles off a used toothbrush.
  • Urine is often seen as one of the most vital bodily fluids and may be used to mark off territory or dominate while feces is almost always used for baneful magic and cursing work but in some rare cases may be used for benevolent, usually healing, purposes.
  • Blood of course is one of the oldest magics but working with blood need not take us immediately into the realm of sacrifice and slaughter. Magic around women’s menstrual cycles is ancient and profound as we can see because so many taboos exists around moon blood.
  • Bone calls up the spirit of whatever animal-be it beast or man-it came from.
  • Sexual Fluids are used in love, romance, and sex magics.

Sacred Artists NOT Scam Artists–How to Hire an Ethical Spiritual Worker

 

It’s not enough to wish and hope that you get an ethical spiritual worker–it is up to you to get educated!

It’s that time of year again. No, not Mercury in Retrograde, not Yuletide, and not my birthday. It’s the time of year when scam artist spell casters start coming out of the woodwork, and I hear story after story from clients who have been scammed out of hundreds or even thousands of dollars and even more stories of near misses.

People who misuse the magical arts as a way to scam the innocent and naive are at the top of my personal evil eye list. I take issue with them not only because I often find myself cleaning up the emotional, financial, and magical messes they leave behind, but also because, for an easy score, they undo the fragile in-roads into acceptance and belonging that the Sacred Arts community has been steadily making through collective dedication to ethical practices, transparent policies, and above all, professional integrity.

So…in the spirit of public service and protecting the innocent, here is my handy list of what to look for when hiring an intuitive reader and/or magical worker to attend to your situation(s). While these guidelines and landmarks will not absolutely 100% protect you from the shysters that are out there, they can, when followed, give you a much better chance of finding an honest and ethical worker.

1.) Know your budget for magical work BEFORE you contact a worker. Please do not spend your last penny with a spiritual worker in the hopes that you will have greater prosperity. That road will only lead to sadness and ruin.

1.) Do NOT ever, ever, ever, tell anyone who is going to read for you or possibly perform magical work on your behalf that you are “desperate” or “will do anything” or will “pay anything.” Seriously people. You could not mark yourself out as a more easy target if you painted a big bullseye on your forehead. If you are truly experiencing any of the aforementioned feelings, I would go a step further and say that unless you have a trusted associate who does this kind of work, you might want to take a step back, engage in some grounding and prayer, and proceed when you are more level headed.

2.) Typically, not in every single situation, but usually, a person who offers to perform ritual/magical work on behalf of others will require an intuitive reading first.

These readings often serve multiple purposes. In the various traditions I have been trained in they are considered de rigeur because:

  • the intuitive reading allows the querent to tell their story and not only gives the worker valuable insights but also helps the client arrive at useful information themselves during the process.
  • the intuitive reader allows the worker and client to determine if they do and can have a good working relationship together. This is so important, especially if considering hiring someone to do ritual or ceremonial work on your behalf.
  • the intuitive reading allows the worker to assess the situation and determine if ritual work is an appropriate means of addressing the client’s concern. Websites where you can just buy a spell and have someone else perform said spell for you without any kind of diagnostic session are not to be trusted.

 

3.) Pay attention to your worker’s testimonials page–are the testimonials up to date? Are there pictures? First and last names? Also, note what the testimonials say as well as what they DO NOT say. For instance, is someone really good about about getting back to clients but curiously missing testimonials indicating that their work actually works?

4.) Look for a “No Guarantees clause.” This clause is a legal clause and is actually found in most boilerplate client contracts–whether you are working with a ritualist or a web designer it does not matter. It is standard operating procedure for any professional to have a no guarantees clause somewhere in their literature. The gist of a no guarantees clause is that the professional you are hiring promises to do the work they have been hired for to the best of their ability but they cannot guarantee a successful outcome. Spell casters and magical workers who promise money back guarantees and/or 100% success rates should be approached with great caution and skepticism.

5.) Note what frequency/method of contact the worker prefers and agrees to BEFORE rendering payment.

6.) Note what kind of follow up or feedback you will receive during and at the conclusion of any work BEFORE rendering payment.

7.) Note if there is an unbiased mediator or third party you may appeal to if something comes up during your work that concerns you. For instance, I am a founding member of AIRR (the Association of Independent Readers and Rootworkers), and clients who patronize members of AIRR have recourse to the Ombudsman (full disclosure: that office is currently held by me) if they experience either failure of contact or failure of delivery with one of our workers.

8.) Make sure that a clear agreement is in place directing your worker on details such as adding more work to the situation without first speaking to you, sourcing rare/expensive ingredients/or engaging in any other activities that might run up your bill.

9.) Ask what kind of client contracts the worker expects you to engage in BEFORE rendering payment. A contract is a clear and simple way to make sure that you and your worker are on the same page.

In closing, I would like to point out that people have sought out spiritual aid for their situations for centuries…and just as long as there have been people looking for magical aid there have been unsavory characters willing and able to take advantage of the gullible. Many people are more than willing to testify that with the assistance of intuitive readings and careful ritual work they experience deeper meaning, successful resolutions to difficult life situations, and abundant blessings in their lives. If you would like to work with a professional in these areas there are plenty of good people out there who really know their stuff, but it is up to you to be an educated, thoughtful, and careful consumer!

For further reading I recommend this page at the AIRR wiki.

 

Many Branches: Plant Love with Kiva Ringtail Rose

DSCF5129Herbalist, author, and wild creature, Kiva Rose lives in a canyon botanical sanctuary within the Gila Wilderness of New Mexico. She is also the co-director of the HerbFolk Gathering, held each September in the mountain Southwest, is co-editor of Plant Healer Magazine, and maintains an herbal blog, The Medicine Woman’s Roots.

Find Kiva on the World Wide Web:

Plant Healer and The HerbFolk Gathering
The Medicine Woman’s Roots Herbal Blog

 

 

Who/What is a Plant Healer? Why this term instead of a term like Herbalist?

A Plant Healer is anyone who works with the plants for the purpose of healing. We chose this term in part because of its simplicity and because of the way it keeps the focus on the plants themselves. I am an herbalist because I love the plants, and feel called to matchmake between plants and people, hopefully facilitating new and deeper relationships among humans and herbs that brings healing for us, as well as inspiring us to take better care of the earth in the process.

One of the many contributions you have made to the plant loving community is a return to the notion of “folk herbalism”. How is folk herbalism different from what might be considered more “mainstream herbalism”, what are folk herbalists bringing to the table that has been missing in the community?

Basically, folk herbalism is technically defined as herbalism being practiced by non-professionals or lay people, often utilizing regional or handed down knowledge and perspectives. However, given the wide range of practitioners that currently identify as folk herbalists, I think it makes sense to broaden the definition to include professionals and non-professionals alike who practice an herbalism not currently accepted as valid by the Western biomedical industry and our culture in general.

Folk herbalism has always been here, and has long been represented by an incredible spectrum of practitioners. I personally use the terminology because I value both inclusivity and diversity within the healing community. I especially like the fact that folk herbalism embraces such a wide range of ideas and practices without insisting upon a false or forced homogeny.

You run a clinical practice, care for a beautiful wilderness area in Southern New Mexico, teach, write, publish some of the finest books and magazines on the plant path, and organize festive conferences and weekends of education for plant healers, you are also a mom and devoted partner…how do you do it all and what are your personal favorite herbal allies?

Thank you, Bri! I’ve found that it’s my nature to cycle through focusing on what most interests me at the time, and I find that working on so many projects allows me to move from seeing folks to creating art to writing to land restoration to teaching to solitary and family time in a way that allows me to feel both fulfilled and to keep many projects going at once. Also, my wonderful partner, Jesse Wolf Hardin, does an enormous amount and keeps everything on track and on schedule!

Many of my absolute favorite plants are from the genus Salvia, I adore all that I’ve met thus far! I’m very blessed to have two native species growing right here in the canyon where I live and many more nearby. Working with the less well known Sawtooth Sage, Salvia subincisa, was a profound experience in my early herbal studies. While I don’t know of anyone else working with this plant, it is a profound relaxant nervine that is specifically indicated when tremors are present with anxiety. It’s also a wonderful ally for those who have such sensitive nervous systems that even Lemon Balm can seem too stimulating. Back when I was first studying and practicing herbalism, I was also recovering from many years of insomnia, addiction, and abuse and dealing with a very fried and overstimulated nervous system. The Sawtooth Sage helped to heal my nervous system and allowed me to sleep and relax in ways I hadn’t experienced in decades. I especially like it combined with our local Skullcap for tension, anxiety, and insomnia.

In 2013 you launched the Bramble and Rose–a wonderful shop where folks can order perfumes, elixirs, balms, and oils, tell us about the Bramble and Rose and what inspired it?

Originally, The Bramble & The Rose was created as an outlet for my passion for creating botanical perfumes and body products, and my desire to share the medicine of aromatics with a wider audience. As time has passed, I’ve slowly been expanding it into a more complete woodland apothecary that includes elixirs, bio-regional incense, bitters blends, and certain single herbs abundant in my area. I’d been asked for many years to make more of my herbal preparations for sale, so I’m happy to fulfill this desire from the community while sharing many of my favorite plant allies!

Part of the profits from The Bramble & The Rose go to paying for the materials used to create the herbal formulas I provide to local clients in my tiny mountain village at little or no charge.

If you could give one piece of wisdom to my readers today, what would it be?

To keep your work at its foundation, and to focus on not straying from the source that ignited your passion to begin with. To work as healers of any kind we need to avoid being drained by what we do, and a bit part of that is being able to receive vital nourishment from the earth and work at a roots level. I know that, for me, it’s very easy to get caught up in what needs to be done, and to neglect the simple, sensual delights that first drew me to herbalism. By remembering to play with the plants, experiment with new remedies, and spending wordless time on wild land, I am sustained and replenished in a circle of healing I am honored to be included in.

Find Kiva on the World Wide Web:

http://planthealer.org - Plant Healer and The HerbFolk Gathering
http://bearmedicineherbals.com - The Medicine Woman’s Roots Herbal Blog

Make Mercury (Retro) work for you!

 

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Mercury in Retrograde is here! It’s that crazy time of year when the wee planet Mercury appears to be going backwards in its elliptical orbit. It is not actually retrograding but from our vantage point it sure looks like it! And Mercury in Retrograde is probably THE most infamous astrological event because Mercury is a small but mighty planet–he rules, among other things, our ability to communicate clearly, think smart, make good deals, and the general area of technology. When a retrograde happens to say the least, it is easy for things to go on the fritz!

Mercury in retrograde is actually a time of year that I really typically enjoy. I mean sure, there is always a repair that has to happen or a technical snafu, but I go into the season EXPECTING those events. If you are like me there is always a project or two that you started that is still hanging around in a half completed state. While Mercury retrograde is not a great time to begin new projects it is a superb time to bring old projects to a close. Paying attention to the zodiac sign that the retrograde occurs in brings a certain level of nuance to each retrograde phase. Consider what particular sets of strengths and weaknesses the sign Mercury is transiting brings to the cosmic table and then think about ways to practically maximize the benefits in your own life.

While traveling during retrograde is not the best idea, considering the way we travel-and if you are a frequent traveler-organizing and streamlining the process for yourself is a great way to take advantage of this time. In fact, the simple rule of thumb is that any activity that begins with an “re” is an appropriate retrograde activity, this includes: reassessing, remembering, recollecting, repairing, responding (to letters and emails), reorganizing, and reconciling!

Always exercise common sense during a retrograde-a bunch of my lovely lady clients always feel the need to start pressuring their significant others into stronger commitment or marriage. This is probably not the best time to do that since feelings can get hurt and intense conversations can go south quickly. Back up your computer, make sure your phones are charged and plugged in.

If you start to feel itchy, twitchy, unfocused, or like you might bite someone’s head off–take a breath, go for a walk, clear your head and then return to it. Pick an organizing/cleaning/de-cluttering project a few weeks before the retrograde actually hits and you will be in awesome shape!

Encounters with AIRR: Dr. Johannes

Though I have only met him in person one time, Dr. Johannes always stands out to me as bringing the best qualities to light both as a root worker and a person. I know him to be incredibly honest with his clients and never willing to allow people to think that magic alone will see them through. His knowledge and scholarly interest in various kinds of folk magic is impressive in breadth and scope, and he also is one of the few members of AIRR based in Europe! Please give him a warm, Milagro Roots style welcome!

JohannesWhat is your philosophy on magic and root work?

Magic, root work, and spells, like any other kind of medicine, requires more than a pill. It requires a person able to give an accurate and proper diagnosis. Seeing the clients situation and the right keys to deliver what they want is crucial to successful spells and remedies. Spells without divination is often like shooting in the dark.

What are your favorite types of cases and why?

My favorite types of cases are study spells for kids and un-crossings. I cannot help but love the result when a kid, suffering from various difficulties suddenly get a kick out of learning and are able to pick up knowledge with joy. The reason why I love un-crossings is the immense gratitude I get from people whose lives have been a mess due to crossed conditions and the joy they express when curses are removed and their lives are changed.

If you could give prospective clients one piece of advice, what would it be?

My advice would be to twofold – first: think about what the next step would be if a spell is successful. Let´s say you get your cheating ex. back due to a reconciliation spell. Or you get that raise due to a money drawing spell. What it the next step? Will that ex stay for long? What will you do with the money? Never assume anything about the future. Plan it. This requires good guidance, so praying for such guidance should be a habit. The second is to always follow the advice of your root worker if you have been given baths or things to do yourself. Never compromise with a ritual. If you do not want to rise at sunrise to do that bath or if you do not want to get your hair wet then your work is weak and so is your desire. We all know that clients like that are the most likely to mess up a spell. It is like a sick person eating candy instead of the given medicine.

Find Dr. Johannes on the World Wide Web:

Website: www.therootdoctor.se
Facebook: therootdoctor.se
Trolldom Facebook Group: Traditional Nordic Folk Magic
Blog: trolldomhoodoo.blogspot.com.

Blessed New Moon in Aquarius!

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Blessed New Moon in Aquarius guys! If you missed the latest edition of Milagro Roots News or for some weird reason are not subscribed then you have not heard me wax eloquently about how awesome this New Moon is. It is especially great for deep and fast insights into your networks (both for business and pleasure), how you connect with people, and how you communicate ideas. The New Moon is in the sign of Aquarius AND it is well aspected with Aquarius’ ruling planet Uranus so these insights are of the flash of lightening brilliant variety as opposed to gradual or subtle.

Por example: I had a killer dream last night that re-affirmed some biz decisions I have already made and left me with a mean and lean priority list. So…the moon is New at 3:40pm central standard time but the vibe is here right now! Be open to the fresh insights, I would recommend traveling today with a blank book or recording device of some kind, and give yourself some extra space and time this afternoon to really appreciate those flashes of golden insight!

And if you would like to work the the moon on a magical/ritual level then this excerpt from my upcoming Star Magic class will be of interest:

In Magic-The moon can be used to consecrate any object, talisman, or spiritual product with the qualities of fertility, magic, intuition, coolness, objectivity, artistry, and inspiration. In Eastern systems it is also equated with the mind or pure intellect. Work with the New Moon to plant seeds for your newest project or desire (or your physical garden), and work with the waxing moon on things you wish to have grow and strengthen. Work with the Full Moon to celebrate completed projects, increase fertility of all kinds, honor love and romance, and divination rituals, and work with the waning moon whenever you need to let go of/banish things. Finally, work with the Dark Moon (the phase right before the New Moon), for baneful work.”

 

 

New Year Prosperity: tips and tricks to spruce up your pocketbook

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We are still in January and for many of us there is still a strong drive to create lasting prosperity in this New Year, yes? The trick, of course, is knowing how one might best go about creating that prosperity. Here are some of my favorite tricks and tip to feather your nest and, maybe, if you are lucky, discover a golden egg!

1.) New Year=New Wallet. If last year’s cash flow was not all it could have been, why don’t you spend some money on getting a brand new wallet? Your wallet or billfold is the home where your money lives–you want it to be a home fitting for lots of cash, right?

Choose a color that is traditionally associated with prosperity and abundance like green (for money cash and growth), red (for power and authority in the world of personal finance and beyond), royal blue (the planetary color associated with abundance creating Jupiter), or yellow/gold (for um, more gold!)

2.) Dress 3 $100 bills with a prosperity enhancing sachet powder and place them in your wallet. When we carry larger bills like Benjamins or even $50′s, we are less likely to break them which translates to less likely to spend on frivolous items.

3.) If possible, get a wallet that has a change purse and use your change frequently–leave it as tips, hand it out to panhandlers–moving change in and out of your wallet keeps the current of money moving in your life.

4.) Take all non essential cards, especially credit cards out of your wallet for daily use. If you don’t have access to your cards you can’t use them. Bam!

5.) Put a tiny lodestone in your wallet to attract and draw more money.

6.) Put a tiny piece of iron pyrite in your wallet OR a piece of real gold. Even a gold earring will work because like attracts like.

7.) Sprinkle sassafras and cinquefoil (five finger grass) in the area where your paper money goes–a pinch works great. Sassafras has long been worked with to make each dollar stretch and cinquefoil is believed not only to bless all that your five fingers do but also to encourage others to favor you.

8.) Choose one area to work on when it comes to financial health. Do you need to draw more in the way of income or lower existing debt? Make a plan of action that includes PRACTICAL steps for you to do. Dedicate a section of your home to this work and only this work.

9.) If you are currently looking for employment make sure you read my tips on Job Getting–they really do work!

10.) If you have not already done so, download the Magnetizing Manifestation phone fest. It’s free and full of more useful information on attracting abundance big time!

Psst! Want to learn more about how to work with planets like Jupiter to increase your prosperity and financial health? It’s your lucky day because I am teaching a class  in February that will answer that question and many more. Head over here to check it out and register!

 

Encounters with AIRR: Devi Spring

What is your philosophy on magic and root work?

devi-springI believe that magic needs be healing at its core – it should be bringing and reestablishing harmony and balance. You can certainly attract or redirect a certain force towards yourself using rootwork, but you need to be properly prepared to truly receive the blessings in order for them to take root and manifest.

Most clients that come to me wanting to change something about their lives – more luck in love, increasing their financial security, greater mental/emotional happiness – have experienced a certain undesirable condition for some time, and under repeated circumstances over a long period of time. So I feel a greater portion of magical work should be focused on identifying, acknowleging, and then working to heal the things within yourself that is allowing the unwanted patterns to recur within your life. Very often by changing a core belief, altering habituated reactions and approaches, or finally facing a trauma that has caused a soul-deep injury with associated armoring, the whole energy around a situation and person will dramatically shift finally allowing the positive manifestations they have been long hoping for.

So my approach to magic and rootwork is very much based in personal healing and empowerment of the client. I do my best to listen between the lines of the problem clients are presenting to me, for what the deeper issue at work is. I imagine that my extensive background as a Usui Reiki Master has colored my approach, as in that healing work the headache a client comes in with is very rarely the actual problem – it may be the perpetual stress from work, or supressing the pain stemming from a toxic relationship that is causing the headache. I would, of course, treat the headache to relieve the immediate discomfort, but I would need to identify and begin to work to untangle and heal the root cause of the headahes so that they would not recurr. It’s the same in my rootwork practice.

Crafting balance and harmony within the client themselves is my primary focus. If I can facilitate their personal healing journey, often the negative condition will clear itself. While they embark on the core work of personal change, I work with them to help alleviate the symptoms and negative effects of their current condition, helping to attract the types of energies & good fortune they want to start claiming. Spiritual cleansings, uncrossings, and road openings are always a big part of this stage of things. I am there to help guide the deeper healing processes as we clean the slate and make way for new abundance.

What are your favorite types of cases and why?

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Until a client is in a place where they are ready to do make the personal changes that will permit the more sweeping shifts in their position, I find magic can often bring only temporary changes.

I work best with clients who are willing and able to be proactive in the work – setting time and energy aside to do the work that is indicated for them, really taking control of their lives. I love crafting custom items like fixed oil lamps, bottle spells, mojo bags, conjure packets and the like that clients then take on and use to start shifting things within their lives and themselves. It’s so enjoyable for me working Spirit into those items, knowing someone with great resolve and in a place to really utilize them well is going to be receiving the Divine blessings that they can help provide. While these fleeting windfalls of good fortune are valuable, they are unable to really anchor into a person’s life for the long-haul. So my favorite types of cases involve clients who have come to that place where they are truly committed to making a change in their life. They can listen and hear the information that the divinations, and my own intuitive advice brings forward to them, and are willing to take steps to begin doing the deep work. We can then both follow and rejoice in the impressive shifts that begin occuring!

I also really enjoy being able to introduce clients to spiritual allies, such as saints and archangels, that will have their back and aid them going forward. Learning how to develop a relationship with a spirit, and to be able to reap the benefits that such a relationship brings, is a wonderful boon. Coaching people through that process, especially when a spirit has communicated to me that they specifically are eager to aid a person and have a spiritual partnership with them, is extremely rewarding. As often as possible, I do my best to forge a new spiritual support system for my clients, to really give them the best chance at long-term success and truly meaningful spiritual empowerment.

If you could give prospective clients one piece of advice, what would it be?

Look at how you can craft greater balance and peace within yourself, and you will find that the outer manifestations of that in your life as a whole will begin to increase exponentially. Invite Divinity to aid and support you in those efforts, and you will be blessed even further.

 

Find Devi on the World Wide Web:
queenofpentacles.net = my etsy store front where all reading and product sales are done

http://queenofpentaclesconjure.com/ = my main informational website (look for a major overhaul in 2014!)

queenofpentaclesconjure.blogspot.com = my blog with lots of practical work and articles on magic and rootwork

@HoodooDevi = my Twitter account with lots of personal quips, as well as sale annoucements