When I first started practicing Rootwork and Vodou, I was very “we are the world.” I’d never been one to make sweeping generalizations about race. (One example is, Don’t Believe the Hoodoo Hype written back in December 2014)
Time and experience have changed my mindset in many ways. Where I once believed that there was hope in changing the minds of hearts of ignorant people, I now see that the vast majority of ignorance cannot be changed.
Often, I see it in whites who try to join African practices/traditions/religions, and often I see it in Black folks who have been brainwashed by the extreme religious right or Black militant thought processes that are damaging to the very people they are trying to help (especially damaging to Black women). Most of these people, Black and white, cannot change, nor do they want to.
When it comes to signs, it’s easy to fall into the habit of moving so fast in our day-to-day as to miss them completely. The subtleties go completely unnoticed by us and when we’ve asked our guides and guardians for answers, we start to feel like we’ve been abandoned.
Those with more experience that have had the opportunity to form stronger bonds with these beings may be brought to notice these small cues quite easily, but the rest of us are simply not there yet. How we respond to this differs from witch to witch. When it comes to recognizing signs, I like to follow the approach of Signe of Walking With Trickstersand “troubleshoot” the situation using her Rule of Three:
“If something happens more than three times in a row, I will tentatively assume that it is not a perfectly ordinary event and consider investigating it further. Less than three, and it’s not worth paying attention to.”
For me, there are exceptions to this such as when you get an intuitive pull about something and that’s a skill I have had to learn to trust over time, but this rule applies to my practice 9 times out of 10 as I am still developing my intuition.
Unfortunately, there are those that feel the need to overcompensate.
Signe refers to them as “fluffy bunnies”—witches who presume every single thing that happens to be of magickal or divine significance. I wish I couldn’t say I knew people like this, but I can. However, this goes beyond bashing those still working on developing their intuition. There are very real dangers to misinterpreting or forcing signs and messages from the divine.
The Dangers of Forcing Signs
It may seem quite humorous at first, but forcing yourself to see signs that aren’t there can come with a great deal of consequences. When we talk about “signs”, we mean to say messages from higher beings, mystical cues from our guides, or even hints from the Universe itself. These messages are what we use to reaffirm that we are on the right track in the various paths in our lives, tracks that will lead us to serve our highest good. When we force ourselves to see signs that aren’t there, we run the danger of mistaking these cues and either continuing to make destructive decisions or beginning to make them.
Not to mention the disservice you are doing to your intuition!
Believe it or not, just because someone forces signs in their life doesn’t mean that they entirely lack intuition. Actually, this is most likely an indicator that this person believes that they lack it and so they try to overcompensate by forcing themselves to believe in signs that aren’t actually there.
Intuition plays an important role in all forms of magick, especially divination, and doubting in it can only cause harm to you and your spiritual path.
Trust me, I know it’s hard to feel powerless—especially as a witch. But that doesn’t mean you have to shoehorn signs into your life to feel that power. Practice tuning your intuition. When you have a strong instinct about a person or situation, trust in it.
Don’t be so caught up in the fake signs that you don’t notice the very real ones.
This is a question that I get quite often, and for good reason. There are tons of videos and blog posts about “Witchy Materialism” and similarly fancy-sounding titles for the culture of consumption we’ve built around witchcraft, so I’m not going to preach that here because I seriously ain’t got time for that.
This post is meant to address the reason I think the question of whether or not you need tools to be a real witch still persists even with all of these resources out there, and it goes on beyond the ‘witches wanting pretty things’ like so many of them suggest.
What Is A “Real Spell”?
My favorite description of spellcasting is the one that views magick in terms of probability. The way it’s described, the energy we send out is used to tilt the scales in our favor to make us more likely to reach our desired goal. Under this explanation, correspondences do not make or break your spell—they can merely bring you closer to its achievement.
Because the herbs, crystals, candles and other tools many of us do use carry their own energy, they can increase our chances of a successful spell.
BUT, this energy can also be pulled from nature or raised from within yourself. It simply take practice. The problem is everyone wants results, but few want to put in the effort needed to reach them—and some people simply don’t have the mental, emotional, or physical resources necessary to put in that work.
So, we get questions from newer witches, dabblers, or those testing the witchy waters like, “What’s a real spell for_____?”
What’s really being asked is, “What are the correspondences for_____?”
To reiterate: the use of correspondences do not determine the validity of a spell. But the reality is so many witches think that they do. The only thing that makes a spell “real” is its existence. A spell from Charmed can be considered real if a witch uses it in real life.
You only need your will, intent, and some deal of resourcefulness to cast a successful spell.
***Be VERY cautious when experimenting with herbs, they affect our biology just as chemicals do and can be harmful if improperly used! Many of them are NOT fit for human consumption or topical use and can be FATAL. Always research any new herbs you wish to use to make sure they are SAFE.***
Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham: Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs is a treasury of herb wisdom and lore from the Old and New Worlds. This comprehensive guidebook has all the information you need to practice magical herbalism. Tap into the power of plants and watch your magic blossom!
Dr. Edward Shook’s, Famous Course in Herbology: This book promises to give a concise, yet comprehensive treatise on Medicinal Plants, their use and their compatible combinations. It represent years of painstaking accumulations of data based upon practical experience by Dr. Edward E. Shook.
The Garden’s Unseen Magickal Forces: There are unseen forces working their magic in your garden! Have you ever printed a photograph when your ink cartridge is out of yellow ink? Have you ever had pumpkin pie without spices, or unsalted, unseasoned soup? These examples are analogous to the massive void left when a very small component is missing.
You’d be surprised how many free books there are online. Older titles have become public domain naturally throughout time, whereas newer books are usually added by wonderfully kind souls that make their private collections available to those who know where to look (thanks to all of you, and also, please marry me).
I didn’t know where to look online until after enrolling in college a few years ago—I’m sure y’all know why (textbook prices had my eyes rolling to the back of my head)—but now I have an entire list of free book archives and digital occult libraries that I have access to wherever there is a Wi-Fi connection.
It’s surprisingly easy, you just need to use the search term ‘PDF‘.
That’s it. You’re done.
I’m 100% serious.
If you find yourself looking for a book but aren’t at the current financial capacity to buy a physical copy, always ALWAYS type it’s name in a search engine followed by ‘PDF’ first.
Even if you are unable to find that exact book, you will most likely fall upon similar titles which can only add to your collection. Try typing the subject matter followed by ‘PDF’ too! (Ex. Google Search ‘Candle Magick PDF’) This way you can even happen upon personal essays, studies done by university students on the topic, and various websites with valuable insight.
This week we are honored to have a very special guest writer (and co-conspirator of mine), Raven Cagedbird Martin, talk to us about emergency grounding spots for grounding on-the-go!
When it comes to life’s curveballs, most of us are no mere strangers. This means we often have to handle stress in ways that can be uncomfortable and overwhelming. This is where grounding comes into play.
Grounding is a method of gathering one’s energy (often by way of making a physical connection with nature, also called “earthing”) and bringing one’s self into a relaxed state of mind.
Last week, a close friend of mine who is also a healer in training, called me in a panic. She was walking around Chinatown in Manhattan trying to figure out how to get grounded and back to her mental safe place. She told me she was feeling anxious and energetically insecure.
We do energy work on each other often, so when she called me, I knew she needed space held for her to even her mood and her personal field. I told her to take several deep, diaphragmatic breaths so I could focus on grounding her until she could find a place that felt safe enough to hide out for a few minutes.
My skin was rippling.
“Is there a Temple nearby?”
“Huh,” She asked in an adrenaline drenched stupor.
“Girl, pay attention to my voice. Find a Temple or a park.”
“I’m in Chinatown, there isn’t one nearby!”
“Okay, just… find a tree.”
“There isn’t one.”
I focused for a second, considering the places where she could go. She would need somewhere stable, preferably without a lot of people nearby.
Many places could fit the bill:
Plants or Flower Nurseries
Hug a Tree
By a body of water
Gardens or Farms
I stopped and gently reminded her to make sure she was going somewhere where it felt good energetically at all times. If you don’t feel good walking in the door or walking up to whatever place you find, leave and find somewhere else…