Witch Musings: Altars

My kitchen altar.

A Witch’s altar needn’t be extravagant – this is my kitchen altar and I’ve intentionally kept it minimal, because I value my table space for cooking and food prep! It has my mortar and pestle, a bowl of sea salt, and some fresh cut herbs in a jar of water. It’s right next to the stove, as a reminder of Mother Earth’s abundance, and the magick and medicine I make with it when I cook or bake food for myself and loved ones.

While there are plenty of active daily practices one can do as a part of their Craft (meditation, prayer, offerings, etc), the altar can bee seen as a “passive” daily practice, a visual reminder of our intention, purposes and values as a Witch.

Blessed Be,

S.

A Witch’s Prayer

Here is a prayer I wrote, which can be spoken during ritual, circle casting, sabats, esbats, meditation — really whenever you like! I personally like to recite this prayer on a daily basis as a part of my morning meditation. A prayer is a spell, and many things can be a prayer – a piece of art, a bouquet of flowers, a bonfire, stargazing, a pot of soup. Use this prayer as you see fit. Blessed be.

Hail Mother Earth,

Hail Father Sky,

Hail the Four Directions –

Ice of the North

Fire of the South

Bright Dawn of the East

Gentle Sunset of the West

Hail Sol – Life Giver

Hail Luna – Queen of Witches

Hail the Shining Ones!

I ask for your guidance, illumination, and protection.

I am within you, and you are within me.

Love under Will,

So mote it be.

Tools of the Witch

The object you see hanging around my neck is a flint striker, which I use along with my magickal knife to start fires for ritual, cooking, dye pots etc. What started out as a somewhat mundane novelty (starting fires with a flint striker is pretty fun) became, over time, a more significantly magickal practice for me. Building the foundation for the fire with paper, kindling, and then firewood – ensuring the structure has good airflow to catch, then creating a small nest of dryer lint at the very center, striking the flint to create sparks – getting the angle and pressure just right to do so, waiting patiently for the lint to catch.. it’s an incredibly meditative process. It has taught me about patience and the importance of good bones. It has taught me about energy exchange and transmutation. It has brought me to experiencing a stronger connection to my ancestors. And there is still more to learn from this humble skill. So now I adorn myself with this flint striker, and feel the true weight of it as a Tool of the Witch. ⚔

Blessed be,

S.

Witch’s Brew: Bath Soak and Herbal Wash

Here is a simple blend of some of my favorite herbs for a bath soak, herb wash, or floor wash. Bathing (including showers) when done with intention, can be a ritual in itself – for purification, grounding, protection, meditation, and dream work, to name a few. Adding herbs to your bathing experience is a wonderful way to set this intention. Here’s an overview of the herbs included in this blend:

Mugwort – lucid dreams, psychic awareness, inner vision, protection 

Lavender – inner calm, peaceful mind, increased awareness, stability, restful sleep

Rosemary – memory, clarity of mind, strength, protection

Juniper berries – good health and energy, purification, protection

Rose petals – love, romance, opens the heart chakra

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It smells amazing.

For this particular blend, I find the best times to use it are just before going to bed, or as preparation for meditation and ritual work. Obviously any time that suits you is great. I have found it to be good for dream work, psychic vision, and grounding. If you are feeling particularly toxic by the end of the day, this is a good choice for “cleaning the day off”! And I recommend trying it at least once prior to meditation, see how it affects your experience.

Here is the recipe and instructions:

Recipe:

1/2 C Mugwort
1/2 C Lavender
1/2 C Rosemary
1/4 C Juniper Berries
1/4 C Rose Petals

Instructions:

If you have a mortar and pestle, grind the herbs a bit to release more of their aroma and oils. If not, I recommend at least crushing the juniper berries with the flat side of a knife (similar to crushing garlic). Combine your herbs in a bowl and mix together well. Store in a jar until ready to use – it is enough for 2 baths or one very potent bath!

When you are ready to use your Witch’s Brew, get a large pot of water boiling. As the water heats, prep your blend. You’ll want a large muslin drawstring bag, cheesecloth, or a clean dish towel. Fill the muslin bag with at least 1 cup of the blend, or, if using cheesecloth or dish towel, place it in the center of the cloth and pull up the corners and sides – use string or a rubber band to close. Once your water is boiling, take it off the heat, add your sachet to the water, and cover with a lid. Let steep 10 min. Get your bath water water running, and, once the brew is done steeping, add it along with the sachet to your bath. For extra detoxification, add 4 cups of Epsom salts to your bath as well.

For an herb wash (if you don’t have a bath tub):

Follow the process above, bring the pot of infused water with you to the shower with a bowl or large cup. Take your shower (I recommend exfoliating too) and at the end rinse your body (and hair!) with the brew using your cup or bowl.

For a floor wash: this is a good one for cleaning your house for protection, love, and good energy.

Follow the steeping process above, add brew to your mop water along with your usual cleaner and 1 cup of sea salt.

Full Moon :::ABUNDANCE:::

A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Gustave Dore (1870)

For this Full Moon, my focus is on :::ABUNDANCE::: 🌙🌙🌙🌙🌙


Imagine you are a night traveler, a figure of the Shadow Realm traversing the Greenwood under a cloak of stars every night, opening your senses as your visibility is diminished, listening acutely for any dangers of beast or man. The night is your home, yet it is a crooked path and the way is often unknown. Then, one night, you begin to notice more clarity in your vision – the stones and foliage around you begin to take shape. Everything takes on a progressively silver hue, and you are starting to see the world around you. Finally, one night you look up and see something that takes your breath away – a giant glowing orb in the sky, radiating light beyond your imagination. Everything is bathed in this glowing light, the path is clear, your step becomes more swift and assured as you can now see the way without doubt. The beauty of the Greenwood around you is remarkable, it is all illuminated now in the generous moonlight. 🌙🌙🌙🌙🌙

This is ABUNDANCE , the light of the full moon reminds us of the generosity of Nature. With ABUNDANCE we are filled with a sense of gratitude, to the point of awe – it is something to celebrate and appreciate. It allows us to see our way more clearly, to walk a bit more confidently, to see the beauty around us, and more of the big picture. And just like the light of the Full Moon ABUNDANCE comes and goes… and with the Dark Moon we are once again turned inward, to rely on more subtle senses and take in the splendour of the stars…✨✨✨


Blessed be,

S.

Charge of the Goddess

There have been many iterations of this, the majority of which originally comes from Aradia (Gospel of the Witches) by Charles G. Leland, but I prefer this version, created by Doreen Valiente. I have put in bold the portion that I recite during my Full Moon ritual.

“Listen to the words of the Great Mother, who was of old also called Artemis; Astarte; Diana; Melusine; Aphrodite; Cerridwen; Diana; Arianrhod; Isis; Bride; and by many other names.

Whenever ye have need of anything, once in a month, and better it be when the Moon be full, then ye shall assemble in some secret place and adore the spirit of me, who am Queen of all Witcheries.

There shall ye assemble, ye who are fain to learn all sorcery, yet have not yet won its deepest secrets: to these will I teach things that are yet unknown.

And ye shall be free of slavery; and as a sign that ye are really free, ye shall be naked in your rites; and ye shall dance, sing, feast, make music and love, all in my praise.

For mine is the ecstasy of the spirit and mine also is joy on earth; for my Law is Love unto all Beings.

Keep pure your highest ideal; strive ever toward it; let naught stop you or turn you aside.

For mine is the secret door which opens upon the Land of Youth; and mine is the Cup of the Wine of Life, and the Cauldron of Cerridwen, which is the Holy Grail of Immortality.

I am the Gracious Goddess, who gives the gift of joy unto the heart. Upon earth, I give the knowledge of the spirit eternal; and beyond death, I give peace, and freedom, and reunion with those who have gone before. Nor do I demand sacrifice, for behold I am the Mother of All Living, and my love is poured out upon the Earth.

Hear ye the words of the Star Goddess, she in the dust of whose feet are the hosts of heaven; whose body encircleth the Universe; I, who am the beauty of the green earth, and the white Moon among the stars, and the mystery of the waters, and the heart’s desire, call unto thy soul. Arise and come unto me.

For I am the Soul of Nature, who giveth life to the universe; from me all things proceed, and unto me must all things return; and before my face, beloved of gods and mortals, thine inmost divine self shall be unfolded in the rapture of infinite joy.

Let my worship be within the heart that rejoiceth, for behold: all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals. And therefore let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you.

And thou who thinkest to seek for me, know thy seeking and yearning shall avail thee not, unless thou know this mystery: that if that which thou seekest thou findest not within thee, thou will never find it without thee.

For behold, I have been with thee from the beginning; and I am that which is attained at the end of desire.”

Blessed be,

S.

Thirteen Goals of a Witch

A useful reference I go back to, any time I feel like I have lost my way a bit on this crooked path…

  1. Know yourself
  2. Know your Craft
  3. Learn
  4. Apply knowledge with wisdom
  5. Achieve balance
  6. Keep your words in good order
  7. Keep your thoughts in good order
  8. Celebrate life
  9. Attune with the cycles of the earth
  10. Breathe and eat correctly
  11. Exercise the body
  12. Meditate
  13. Honor the Goddess and God

Source:

Cunningham, Scott. Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner. Woodbury: Llewellyn Publications, 2019. (First edition, revised)

Blessed be,

S.

Welcome

Greetings, web-traveller, and thank you for stopping by on this tiny facet of a seemingly infinite prism of places to visit. Please, grab a mug of cider and come sit by the fire with me, and we can discuss all things wondrous and wonderful.

My name is Saga Nightryder – I am a seeker, a psychonaut, a traveler of realms, a magician, a creator, a tinkerer and more. Here I will tell you of the things I have learned, the places I have explored, my studies and creations, all on my path to becoming a Witch. Please chime in if you feel so inclined (in the comments below!) – it would make my heart all a-flutter.

The fire glows strong and the stars shine bright, and there is so much to tell…

Blessed Be,

S.