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Friday, May 16, 2008

Séance Pt 1

Séance Part 1

We are all familiar with the old stereotype of a séance –a darkened room, people holding hands in a circle around a crystal ball, lots of good spooky fun.

But this is of course a stereotype. It is not completely inaccurate –many Spiritualist séances of a century ago did look and feel a lot like that. But today a real séance is likely to be a lot more mundane, with few if any aspects of the old stereotype present.

The term “Séance” is French and means “a sitting” –in the sense that one “sits” for spirit communication. Actually today “sitting” is the more common term for the practice, but we will use séance here because everyone immediately recognizes its basic meaning.

In a séance we seek to communicate with spirits –either the spirits of people we have known, spirits who are in need, or Spirit Guides who are there to aid and guide us.

Obviously this practice is based upon the belief in the immortality of the soul, and the ability of the living to develop the psychic abilities to communicate with the spirits.

A séance works through the clairvoyance of the sitters. It works best if at least one is of the sitters is a developed medium, but all people have and can develop clairvoyance. We have conducted weekly séances during the course of which people who had no previous experience of clairvoyance became quite skilled at receiving messages.

Whenever several people are together they amplify each other’s abilities. A developed clairvoyant will amplify the abilities of anyone working with them.

Spirit messages are received when the medium is in trance –either light trance in which the medium retains consciousness, or deep trance in which the medium looses consciousness and has no knowledge of what is happening.

A séance can be conducted with only the medium(s) in light or deep trance, or with everyone present in light trance, depending upon the people’s abilities.

Although the term “séance” was popularized by Spiritualists, the practice of receiving spirit messages is quite ancient, having been practiced by many ancient peoples through a variety of techniques.

Conducting a séance

To conduct a successful séance, or any kind of spirit work, it is absolutely essential to have the right attitude. The emotional and spiritual vibration are of paramount importance, and if they are off then nothing will work correctly.

Working with spirits is not a game, it must be taken seriously and engaged in for the right reasons –a genuine desire for communication, for personal spiritual growth and understanding.

It is not “spooky” or “scary” and should never be practiced with that expectation or desire –because the universe will tend to give you what you ask for. If you are looking for a scary experience you may get one even if only because it is the only one you are in a state to receive.

One also should refrain from being judgmental or skeptical during a séance. It is fine to analyze and even be skeptical of the information received AFTER the séance is over, but it is important to avoid this DURING the séance as it will tend to shut down the process.

Nor should you ever work with spirits while intoxicated, as this will both tend to warp any communications you receive and may also offend the Spirits. Some people do like to take a small glass of beer or wine before sitting for spirits, but just enough to relax slightly, never enough to intoxicate.

Instead have a reverent attitude and positive expectations. It is the spirits own decision whether they speak to you or not. Be respectful and remember that the spirits are not there to serve you, though your Guides are there to help you –your Guides being those spirits who are your specific guardians and helpers.

Generally however if you are drawn to spiritual work it is because your Guides have drawn you.

It is best to conduct a séance in a fairly quiet and peaceful atmosphere where there will be no distractions. A skilled medium can communicate anywhere regardless of what is going on, but beginners can be easily disrupted.

The stereotype that a séance must be conducted only in a darkened room is rather silly and always was. However some people are more able to relax in low light, and relaxation is important to the process, so you may prefer to eschew really bright light –though for an advanced medium this is irrelevant.

One should avoid having too much metal around as metal tends to conduct energy and may tend to absorb the energy needed for communication. Some people go so far as to remove metal jewelry, though this is not really necessary.

It is good to light one or more candles, as these will augment the natural energies. It is also good to create energy constructs to act as batteries for the same reason –imagine four columns of white light in the corners of the room, and a ball of light at the center. Advanced energy workers can refine this to personal taste, perhaps creating energy constructs specifically suited to the energies of the participants.

Many people imagine that they need elaborate protections to conduct a séance. This is not so. You should ask your Guides to admit only appropriate spirits who wish or need to communicate, and they will see that this is the case. Having asked your Guides to do this you should have trust in them and know that only those spirits they have approved will speak.

It can be good to cense (“smudge”) the space where the séance is to be conducted with cleansing herbs such as sage or rosemary. This will help to cleanse the energy of the place.

It is good to pray and meditate at the opening of the séance to establish a spiritual tone. It is also good to make a statement of purpose stating that you have come together to speak with the spirits and are willing to speak only to spirits of good will or who are in need of your help.

The séance should begin at the time that has been set for it. If a series of séances is planned, they should ideally be set for the same hour each time. This builds a pattern for both the sitters and the spirits, and is more important (especially when learning) than one might think.

Once the séance begins it should not be interrupted –very like a ritual. Interruptions will break the mood and make the process much harder. Phones should be turned off, and people should not be coming and going from the room.

People should think of the bathroom BEFORE the séance –though allowances should of course be made when necessary. The “potty dance” does not help build concentration for anyone.

A séance will work best when conducted by people with an established relationship: either pre-existing or built up over the course of several séances. Successful séances can and are done with strangers, but tend to have less striking results because the rapport is less. Receiving messages in this way is a skill which is built up through experience.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Spell Writing Pt 5

Spell Writing Part 4:
Lay Out and Composition

Lay Out and Composition

For the purposes of this lesson we will carry out the writing of a Prosperity Pouch Spell. In composing or laying out a spell, I like to think of it as writing a recipe for change. Spells are a lot like recipes. They contain a list of ingredients and steps for preparation and execution. For a magickal spell, our first thought is our intention. With this in mind you might like to think of a title for your spell. However, at this time, your intention is most important. The title can simply be your intention. If your spell intention addressed prosperity, you might simply call it ‘My Prosperity Pouch Spell’ or even include your name ‘Lynda’s Prosperity Pouch Spell’. Consider continuing without choosing a name. Often a name will come to you while you are writing the spell.

Next, you will want to date your spell by simply entering the date you wrote it or began writing it. As you are the one who created it, you alone know when it came into being, whether it is the day you first thought of it, or the day you actually sat down and began writing it. The choice is yours.

Then, state your purpose in a brief phrase. For instance, ‘A spell for a prosperous change written by Lynda’ or simply ‘A prosperity pouch spell written by Lynda’. You just want to write something to comment on the intention of the spell. If you are writing a spell for someone else, then you might want to say something like ‘A prosperity pouch spell written for a friend’. What ever the case may be, statement of purpose will make it easier for you to identify a spell when you are looking for a spell to use.

In spell-writing it is important to determine the timing related to your spell. Here you will enter the time of day, day of the week, planetary hours, moon phase, tidal movement, or what ever other timing information you choose to use, if any. Also included here will be exact dates the spell will cover. For instance, if the spell will last seven days, then you will enter the beginning date and the ending date, including month, day, and year. Again, it is up to you how many of these correspondences you will use, or if you choose to use any at all.

A point to consider when writing a spell is setting the location. Where you perform the spell may take some planning. If you choose to perform your spell outdoors, such as at a park or at the seashore, you will need to take into consideration the other ingredients. You won’t want to try to light candles at a park if there is a fire danger warning in effect. You would not want to attempt to keep a candle lit on a windy beach. For this you might like to use a jar candle or even an oil lamp. If you write a spell that is to be cast outdoors you will need to make sure that all and any ingredients that you may place out in nature are ecologically safe. For instance, if your spell involves leaving an offering to Deity or nature, you would want to leave something like flowers, herbs, or natural objects. You would not want to leave plastic or imitation flowers. When spell casting outdoors, be prepared to pack out all waste and trash. If others before you were not as thoughtful, bless Mother Earth by picking up after them. Another point to consider is privacy. If you are sure that there will be no unexpected visitors, you can pretty much perform your spell as you choose. Ideally, this is what we all would like in an outdoor setting. However, if your location is a public beach or park, you will want to be discreet and try to find a private place. Always be sure to carry out anything you carried in; never leave trash or anything harmful to nature. This is why I like to stress the use of only natural ingredients for spell workings. Always leave the area better than you found it.

Lay Out and Composition

Another important step in the process is to enter the supplies you will use in the spell. You will want to list the ingredients and the amounts or numbers needed. If you are including one of each item, then you will want to list it that way. It is important to remember that numbers play a very important role in spell-writing and working. Numbers have magickal meanings and these meanings are often interpreted differently depending upon who is doing the interpretation. Use your intuition. Listen to your inner self and start there. You can use the common magickal meanings attributed to numbers, also. The choice is yours. If your intuitive powers are strong, then listen to them. There will be a list of number correspondences in a later lesson. You will also want to list anything you will need to perform the casting of this spell. You should list all ingredients as well as all tools needed. An example of items to list here would be herbs, oils, incense, stones, candles, magickal or ritual tools (chalice, cauldron, athame, etc.), pouches, pen, paper, matches, cords, mixing bowls, water - anything you will use for or in the spell.

One of the most creative parts of spell-writing may very well be your incantation or spoken charm, or any spoken words. These are usually spoken at specific intervals of the spell-working. You will need to compose the charm or incantation and determine when it will be spoken. Most are usually spoken or chanted when the ingredients are being blended together or put together. For instance, if you are putting together a magickal pouch spell using an herb, an oil, a stone, a pouch and a candle as your ingredients/ supplies, you might want to begin combining the herb, stone and oil by mixing them together in a bowl. While you are mixing you will be chanting the incantation. It might be something like:
“Herbs and stone and oil combine,
Let prosperity be mine!”

You will need to determine the number of times to repeat the chant by determining the magickal number to match the intention. There may be more chants or incantations included in a spell, in fact there may be many, however for the purposes of this basic course, we will simply include one. We covered writing your own charms and incantations in Lesson 4.

Basic Spell Writing
Lay Out and Composition

A major step that makes your spell working flow smoothly is called ‘procedure’. These are the step-by-step instructions on how to carry out the spell. You will begin at the first steps. The instructions might read like this:
“At your altar or sacred space, place your pentacle disk in the center with the mixing bowl in the center of the pentacle disk. Light the green candle. Place the herbs and stone in the bowl, add the oil by drop. Mix them together. Repeat the following incantation three times:
‘Herbs and stone and oil combine,
Let prosperity be mine!’
Now take up the pouch in your receptive hand (left hand for right handed people) and with your power hand (right hand for right handed people) pick up the magickal mixture of herb, oil and stone, and place it into the pouch. Empower the pouch and its contents by sending your energy from within you, and into the pouch through your power hand.”

Determining the steps in the spell requires a lot of thought and consideration. How you accomplish this is a matter of thinking the process through as if you were actually working the spell in your mind. It is sort of like trying to find your path in unfamiliar territory. You will probably make a few false starts until you come up with your procedure. When you get to the point of describing your procedure, you will already know what type of spell you are writing. In the case of our example ‘Prosperity Pouch Spell’ we knew we wanted to make a pouch that could be carried or worn. With that said, we then knew it would require ingredients and those ingredients would have to be empowered and combined so we chose to use the mixing bowl to mix the ingredients and the charm spoken as we mixed and empowered, followed by placing the ingredients into the pouch.
Next comes the closing. At this point, for this particular spell, we have pretty much finished our spell. All that is left now is to close it and this is simply done by extinguishing the candle and speaking a closing. Your closing can be anything you wish to state. You may simply want to say ‘So mote it be!’ or ‘Blessed Be’. In keeping with magickal ethics, the Rede, the Law of Three, and Karma, I always like to end by including the following or similar words:
‘With harm to none and for the highest good of all concerned,
So mote it be!’
In perfect love and perfect trust, we thus seal the spell and send it on its way into the Universe and into the hands of the Goddess and God.

As an option, you may wish to include an entry titled ‘Further Instructions’. In the case of the sample spell, it would give instructions on how to use and maintain the pouch. It can be very confusing if after working a spell you are unsure about how to deal with what it left over. This section will tie up any loose ends by explaining any details not mentioned in the actual spell. This is the perfect place to mention what to do with any libations (drink, liquid, etc.), herbs, incense or other items that may be left over from the spell casting. Whether they should be cast to the wind or buried or whatever needs to be done, this is the place to explain it.

So, we have gone through the steps of writing and laying out the spell. Let’s see what it will look like when it is all written out. We will use Lynda’s Prosperity Pouch Spell as an example.

Lynda’s Prosperity Pouch Spell
A prosperity pouch spell written by Lynda
Timing: At Noon during the time of the Full Moon.

Date of Creation: Jan. 1, 2004

Supplies Needed:
A pinch of goldenseal herb
A drop of cinnamon oil
1 small Aventurine stone
A small pouch to be worn or carried on person.
1 green candle
Your pentacle disk
A small mixing bowl or shell

Location: At home: at your altar or other sacred space.

‘Herbs and stone and oil, combine
Let prosperity be mine!’

Procedure: Prepare your altar or sacred space.
“At your altar or sacred space, place your pentacle disk in the center with the mixing bowl in the center of the pentacle disk. Light the green candle. Place the herbs and stone in the bowl, add the oil by drop. Mix them together repeating the following incantation three times:
‘Herbs and stone and oil combine,
Let prosperity be mine!’

Now take up the pouch in your receptive hand (left hand for right handed people) and with your power hand (right hand for right handed people) pick up the magickal mixture of herb, oil and stone, and place it into the pouch and seal or close the pouch.” Empower the pouch and its contents by sending your energy from within, and into the pouch through your power hand.
Closing: Now extinguish the candle and finish by saying:

‘With harm to none and for the highest good of all concerned,
So mote it be!’
It is done.

Further Instructions: The pouch should be worn or carried as needed to attract prosperity. The contents of the pouch may be refreshed or replaced as needed or desired.

As we see here, our spell is complete and as such can be worked at the proper time, as needed.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Spell Writing Pt 4

Spell Writing Part 4:
Magickal Properties & Correspondences

Magickal Properties and Correspondences

In this lesson we will cover the basics of correspondences. Correspondences are magickal properties related to spell ingredients and timing, etc. It would be a tremendous undertaking to try to list all the correspondences or properties of all spell ingredients in one place. So for the purpose of this basic course, I will list enough to give you a list that you can work with as you begin to write your spells. As you become more familiar with writing spells, you will begin to collect more and more information on correspondences and will find your basic lists growing.

There are an unlimited number of ingredients you can include in your spells, far too many to list here. We will include some basic herbs, oils, stones, and other correspondences. By using these lists you will be able to write your own basic spells. Each will be listed by intention.

Note: When working with stones, clear quartz crystals may be used in place of any stone and can be included in any working to add its power to the energy of the spell and its ingredients.


Herbs: Agrimony, cloves, mullein, mustard seed, sweet pea, tea (black or green tea), yarrow.

Stones: Agate, amethyst, aquamarine, bloodstone, carnelian, red tourmaline, tiger's-eye.

Oils: Cedar oil, clove oil, ginger oil.


Herbs: Beech, cinnamon, clove, vervain.

Stones: Amethyst, aquamarine, fluorite labradorite, sapphire.

Oils: Cinnamon oil, honeysuckle oil, jasmine oil, lemon oil, mint oil, orange oil.

Good Luck

Herbs: Allspice, bayberry, cabbage, caraway, heather, moss, parsley, peony, poppy,
star anise, strawberry, vanilla bean, violet.

Stones: Amber, amethyst, aventurine, apache tears, jade, lepidolite, tiger’s eye, turquoise.

Oils: Orange oil, pine oil.


Herbs: Azalea, catnip, cherry, geranium, hawthorn, lavender, saffron,
St. John’s wort, violet, witch grass.

Stones: Amethyst, chrysoprase, yellow zircon.

Oils: Apple blossom oil, basil oil, lavender oil, sesame oil, tuberose oil.


Herbs: Allspice, angelica, apple, bay, blackberry, cedar, garlic, sandalwood, rosemary.

Stones: Agate, bloodstone, coral, hematite, holey stones, jasper, pink tourmaline,
rose quartz.

Oils: Camphor oil, coriander oil, cypress oil, eucalyptus oil, myrrh oil.

Herbs: Avocado, cardamom, carnation, coriander, frangipani, ginger, jasmine,
rose, tomato.

Stones: Calcite, beryl, moonstone, pink tourmaline, rose quartz, sapphire, topaz.

Oils: Cardamom oil, coriander oil, ginger oil, jasmine oil, rose oil.

Magickal Powers

Herbs: Alder, galangal, marigold, mugwort.

Stones: Bloodstone, garnet, quartz crystal, malachite, opal.

Oils: Allspice oil, dragon’s blood oil, ginger oil, vanilla oil.


Herbs: Almond, buckeye, comfrey, dill, garlic, honeysuckle, oak moss, tonka bean,

Stones: Aventurine, coal, calcite, goldstone, jade, mother of pearl, salt, opal.

Oils: Allspice oil, basil oil, bergamot oil, cinnamon oil, cinquefoil oil, patchouli oil, pine oil.


Herbs: Bay leaf, bergamot, cloves, cinquefoil, dragon’s blood (resin), geranium, juniper, rosemary, St. John’s wort, Spanish moss.

Stones: Emerald, hematite, moonstone, holey stones.

Oils: Cypress oil, juniper oil, patchouli oil.


Herbs: Alfalfa, almond, elderberry, mistletoe, musk, parsley, peony, poppy, tulip,

Stones: Aventurine, bloodstone, chrysoprase, mother of pearl, olivine, ruby, sapphire,tiger’s eye.

Oils: Almond oil, cinnamon oil, peppermint oil, patchouli oil.


Herbs: Clover, honeysuckle, peony, rowan, strawberry.

Stones: Amazonite, chrysoprase, malachite.

Oils: Ginger oil, oakmoss oil, sunflower oil, verbena oil, vertivert oil.


Herbs: Bodhi, lemongrass, sage, sunflower.

Stones: Coral, chrysocolla, jade, sodalite, sugalite.

Oils: Almond oil, lavender oil, peppermint oil.

Magickal Properties and Correspondences

Color Correspondence Table

White: All purposes, peace, purity, protection.

Black: Banishing, banishing negativity, absorbing negativity.

Red: Energy, strength, passion, courage, protection, self-defense.

Pink: Romantic love, friendship, peace, compassion.

Orange: Energy, courage, success, willpower, imagination.

Yellow: Intellectual pursuits, confidence, travel, communication.

Green: Healing, money, wealth, fertility, jobs, growth, luck, abundance.

Blue: Healing, patience, happiness, wisdom, psychic abilities, tranquility, changes.

Purple: Power, spirituality, meditation, magickal powers, deep healing.

Brown: Stability, pets, grounding, strength.

Tidal Correspondence Table

High Tide: The water is at its highest level. This is the optimum time to perform all typesof magickal spells.

Ebb Tide: The optimum time to perform banishing spells to send off the unwanted with the receding tide.

Low Tide: The water is at its lowest level; the optimum time for introspection and going within.

Flow Tide: The tide is ‘coming in’ or rising. The optimum time for performing
manifestation spells, spells to bring in or draw.

Lunar Correspondence Table

Waxing Moon: Optimum time for manifestation spells, spells to draw your desires or goals.

Full Moon: Optimum time for all magickal spells and workings, the time of greatest power.

Waning Moon: Optimum time for introspection and magickal spells of banishing
negative or harmful energy.

New Moon: Optimum time for new beginnings.

Days of The Week Correspondence Table

Monday: Psychic abilities, peace, healing, fertility.

Tuesday: Passion, courage, protection, strength.

Wednesday: Wisdom, divination, studies, travel.

Thursday: Money, prosperity, luck, wealth, success.

Friday: Love, romance, friendship, beauty.

Saturday: Family and home, transitions, new beginnings, banishing.

Sunday: Healing, power, success, protection, vitality, vigor.

Time of Day Correspondence Table

Morning: New ventures, new beginnings, success, jobs, healing, purification.

Noon: Power, strength, energy, courage, protection, prosperity, money, luck. Add extra energy and power to spells.

Evening: Banishing, getting rid of unwanted or negative energy.

Night: Love, divination, magickal power, psychic abilities.

Element Correspondence Table

Earth (North): Grounding, money, jobs, possessions, prosperity, manifestation, growth.

Air (East): New beginnings, communication, study, learning, wisdom.

Fire (South): Courage, creativity, passion, protection, strength, banishing, energy, will power, change.

Water (West): Purification, love, psychic powers, dreams, divination, peace.

In this lesson I have attempted to give you the basic information on magickal properties and correspondences. At this point, by using the tables and the information in the previous lessons, you should be able to sit down and write a spell of your own. Do not limit yourself to these short tables. There is a wealth of information to learn in regards to magickal properties and correspondences. The lists of herbs, stones, oils, and other spell ingredients are as limitless as the imagination. It is a wise witch who listens to his/her own intuitive voice when laying out a spell. If you sense the need to use a certain ingredient in place of one traditionally used, then do so. It is by listening to our higher selves that we truly begin to learn and grow as witches.

Summary and Closure

In this course we have covered the very basics of writing a spell. By following these guidelines and applying our Wiccan principles to our workings, we are sure to create spells that will enhance our lives and light our paths to becoming balanced and powerful witches. I wish you success in your magickal endeavors.

Blessed Be,
Moonraven (Rev. Teri Ott)
1st Degree Priestess Correllian Tradition
1st Degree Mentor
1st Degree Senior Mentor
aka Marina Seabourne Writer and Sea Witch.

Spell Writing Pt 3

Spell Writing Part 3:
Intention & Magickal Ethics

Your first steps in writing or creating a spell come with your very first thoughts or desires about bringing about change. This can be a thought as simple as a wish or inner comment about something you would like to see, do or have. Magick is the act of manipulating energy to bring about positive change in one’s life. Our Correllian teachings tell us that our thoughts and emotions have a direct effect upon the energy around us. Once a thought or desire comes into our mind it will either take seed and grow in intention toward a magickal outcome, or it will simply depart, maybe to return again as a memory, or be forgotten. It is our desire that determines the path the thought or intention will take. It is the depth of our need or the strength of our emotional tie to the thought that empowers it toward fruition.

A thought that grows in intention toward a magickal end will have roots in our mind and heart. These are the seats of our thoughts and desires, respectively. At this point we must make a decision as to whether or not our desire is one we truly would like to bring about in perfect love and perfect trust. Whether our desire will be ethically correct is a choice each of us must make. Whether or not we wish to accept the responsibility of our actions is a decision that must be considered with seriousness.
Intention and magickal ethics go hand in hand and are the solid foundation that all magickal spells are built upon. When used as a first step, they are the balance that is needed to insure a well-grounded and stable spell.

Since you are reading this, you are interested in learning to write your own magickal spells and bringing about positive change in your own life. That being the case, be prepared to accept the responsibility involved in proceeding with spell-working.
We do this by considering the foremost concepts in Wiccan literature, the first of which is known as ‘The Wiccan Rede’ or simply ‘The Rede’ and the second known as ‘The Law of Three’ or ‘The Law of Threefold Return’.

The basic and foremost teaching of the Rede is simply ‘…As you harm none, do what you will…’ We must always consider these words when we first begin to entertain the idea of spell-working. It should always be our intention to cause harm to none. Period. Many ask how we can live without harming anything or anyone. We are discussing intention here. When considering the working of magick and manipulation of the energy around us, we must consider our intention first. The Rede teaches us to harm none. As such, we must consider if our intention is directed toward harming anyone. Is our spell directed negatively toward anyone or anything? As spirit creatures and children of the Goddess and God, we are each granted free will. We must insure that our workings will not directly affect the free will of another. One technique we might use in this respect is to never direct a spell toward another person without that person’s consent. No matter how positive our intentions are, we should always, when possible, get permission from the person before working a spell on their behalf.

The Law of Three works in almost the same manner as Karma. What we send out is what we will surely see return to us a multiple of times. To continue to send out the same energy is to receive the same in return until we have learned what we must from it. If we send out harmful or negative intent, we must be prepared to deal with it when it returns to us as many times as it takes for us to learn from the experiences. To follow the Rede is to insure that what returns to us is positive and enlightening. When we abide by magickal ethics we are creating a balance between our magickal efforts and nature.
When we are prepared to accept the responsibility for our magickal intentions, and when we have determined that our intent is in compliance with the main concepts of magickal ethics, then we are ready to proceed with the creation of our spell.

Banishing and Manifesting

As part of our discussion on intention, we will discuss the two major types of spell-workings to consider when writing spells. These are banishing, sending energies away or getting rid of, and manifesting, bringing energies in or creating. It is important to determine what we are trying to accomplish with our spell and considering these two categories will help us to begin.

Spells to manifest are simply spells that we use when we wish to bring something into our lives or create a positive thing or change. Spell types used for these purposes are wishing spells, attraction spells, spells that are written for the purpose of bringing something or some positive energies into our lives. We are letting the Universe know that we are open to these energies and ready to bring the desired outcome into our lives. These types of spells are usually worked when the moon is waxing or growing larger in appearance and approaching fullness or when the moon is full, also when the tide is coming in, or approaching or at high tide. The energies we are working with are those of a drawing nature and intended to bring or create.

Spells of a banishing nature are simply that. They are intended to banish or get rid of situations, bad habits, negativity and the unwanted from our lives. Examples of banishing spell intentions might be losing weight, banishing negativity, or shedding a bad habit. By banishing we are sending away undesired energies. We are letting the Universe know that we are no longer in need of these energies. Spells of the banishing type are usually worked when the moon is waning or growing smaller in appearance, or when the tide is receding or going out or at ebb. The energies we are working with are those of an expelling nature and intended to rid or send away. Banishing spells can be different from other spells as they tend to be action spells. By action, I mean they are spells that call for acting out or speaking the intention and usually focus on the spoken charm, timing, writing the intention on paper, burning, candles, etc. A banishing spell can even be written in such a way that you would “act out” the actual banishment. As an example, let’s say your intention is to leave behind or banish an old habit. You could write a spell that would require you to actually “step away” from your old habit. You might write words such as “I now leave this old habit behind!” and as you speak this charm, you actually walk forward one step, literally out of the old and into the new. Many banishing spells don’t include actual ingredients. In spells such as these, extra energy will be added by matching correspondences related to timing, candles and colors, elements and directions.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Spell Writing Pt 2

Spell Writing Part 2:
Energy & Timing

We have learned from our First Degree studies that everything in existence is composed of energy. All that exists vibrates at different frequency levels. As we consider the seven levels or planes of existence, we see that the highest vibrations exist at the highest level, or Deity, and the lowest exist at the lowest level, that being matter. We now see that a Spirit being will have a very high frequency of vibration and a stone will vibrate at a very low or subtle frequency. A good way of relating to this concept is to consider radio waves. They travel in an up-and-down roller-coaster type of movement. Higher frequency vibrations make the waves closer together and very steep. Lower frequency vibrations make the waves further apart and more like gentle slopes.

So what has all this to do with magick? Well, our First Degree lessons teach us that magick is the manipulation of the energy around us to bring about change in our lives. Each ingredient that we include in our spell-working will have an effect upon that energy, sort of like ripples in a pond. Each stone, herb, color, incense, or oil that we include in our spells, will bring its particular properties or energy to that spell. How much of an effect is determined by the number of ingredients we use and their properties. We also know that thought and emotion have an effect upon energy. Thought and emotion, like spirit, vibrate at a higher frequency than physical things such as stones and herbs. Proper timing can also boost the intensity of a spell’s energy. The greater effect we have upon this energy, the more power we will be introducing into our spells. That is why it is important to understand the concepts of energy and timing. We must also remember that any spell, regardless of how long it is or how many ingredients are involved, is nothing more than words written on paper if we do not do the visualization and personal energy work involved. The power of the spell is relative to the amount of energy we put into it. We must empower the spell and all the ingredients to our intention. As we have learned from our First Degree studies and exercises, we must practice and exercise our psychic muscle to become powerful witches. Yes, the ingredients we use do bring their properties to our spells, but the more personal energy we pour into the spell, the more power it attains and the more energy it has when we send it out to the Universe, the more successful it is apt to be. It is of vital importance to every witch to practice and become skilled at visualization and raising power. Diligent practice of your First Degree exercises is the beginning. As this course deals with the writing of spells, as opposed to the working of spells, we will leave discussion of raising power to future courses.

Timing is a matter of determining the proper time of day or night, season, hour, moon phase, or even tidal motion for performing a spell for a particular intention. There are mountains of information on magickal correspondences for timing to be found on the Internet as well as in books. In our final Lesson of this course, we will deal with the basic lists of timing correspondences as well as correspondences for all ingredients, which you can add to your personal Book of Shadows as a start. With time you will collect more and your lists will continue to grow.

To address the issue of how to incorporate timing into our spells we need first to consider the intention. As with each ingredient, we want to look for the correspondences or properties of each spell, and determine which period of time, or phase of the moon, or tidal movement we would like to use for our purpose. If the spell is of a banishing nature, or one of getting rid of something such as a bad habit, then we would consult our lists of correspondences for the best time and ingredients to include in our spell working to achieve that goal. As you can see, when we begin to work at gathering together our thoughts and ingredients for spell working, we are actually involved in a research type of project. As with all things magickal, the most important factor is first determining our intention or goal. What is it that we want to bring about with our spell? By answering this question first, then we can begin to lay out our map of accomplishment. Spell-writing can actually be thought of as making a map. Your intention is your starting point. Your ingredients and timing are steps on the map and your goal is at the end. By thinking about spell-writing in this manner, we can lay out a blueprint or recipe for successful spell-writing and a successful spell-working.

Another important point to consider in relation to timing is the length or duration of the spell. Will the duration of the spell be the length of time it takes to cast the spell? Or will the effects of the spell continue on for a week, a month or longer? We must determine how long the actual spell will last. Length or duration refers to how long the spell itself will continue working after you have finished casting it. Spells written to last more than the usual time it takes to cast as spell will need to be determined using basic number correspondences. This means finding the number of hours, or days, etc. that the spell will continue. For instance, if the intention of a spell is protection, one might write a spell that would include lighting a white candle for 7 minutes, reciting a spoken charm 7 times and doing this each day for 7 days. On the seventh day the spell is completed and ended.

It is important to remember that what you choose to include in your spell and how long it will last is totally up to you. If you want to write a spell that incorporates wishing on a full moon, then so be it. Your major ingredients would be determining when the next full moon will be and the words you will speak or think. If you want to write a candle spell for love, then you need only determine the color of candle you will need, and what you want to say. How and what you include is up to you. If you wish to only use your personal energy as the sole input of energy for your spell that is your choice. Including more ingredients is a matter of bringing in energy or power from our environment.

Spell ingredients such as stones and oils, and anything you might choose to include, can be powerful not only as ingredients, but these items themselves can be further empowered or charged by you, to bring additional energy into the spell. How much effort you put into your spell determines how powerful it will be. This has nothing to do with which ingredients or how many ingredients are used. I have written very successful spells and worked them and simply thought a desire from deep within my soul. No ingredients were used, no special ingredients, just deep intention. On the other hand, one of my most powerful spells included an extensive list of ingredients and was worked over a period of 30 days. So how do you know what kind of spell you need? By using your intuition and your own basic wants.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Spell Writing Pt1

Spell Writing Part 1:


The American Heritage dictionary defines incantation as ‘ritual recitation of verbal charms or spells to produce a magic effect.’ It is a Latin derivative, which means ‘to enchant.’ When we include a spoken charm in a spell we are, in a sense, adding a means of enchantment, a way to send our magick out by speaking a chanted charm. Any words we may speak from the heart will send our energy out with the spell. It only adds to the harmonious energy of the spell if we can arrange those words into a pleasant-sounding rhyme. We often find that rhymes are easily committed to memory and can be very useful in creating spoken charms, which can also be used as positive affirmations. Affirmations themselves can be a form of spell-working that can have a powerful effect. Powerful words or phrases used in spoken charms can send their energy into a spell and work as excellent correspondences; they are a form of spoken ingredients in spells. It is not my intention to teach a course on writing poetry or prose. This is simply a short lesson on composing a spoken charm that can help to empower any spell.

The important part, as mentioned, is the intention. Think about your intention. Begin to feel what you are thinking about. If you are focused on bringing prosperity into your life, then begin to feel the desire for it. Begin to visualize your intention as already in effect. Form a picture in your mind of your intention as having already manifested. How strong is your intention or desire for the outcome? Where do you sense it? Is it just a thought? Do you feel it in your heart? By locating the seat of your desire, you can begin to sense your creative urges kick in and this is what we want to tap into.

Writing is a means of expressing what is in your heart and mind. It is a means of putting into words what you are feeling on a cellular level, so to speak. It is the tool we use to capture ideas and feelings that come from within. It is a means of interpreting what we experience with our senses. Our emotions find release in the writing of words. When we experience a desire to create a spell addressing a specific intention, we should listen to our heart and let it speak to us. Write down any thought that comes to your head. Be creative.

A rhyming dictionary can be very helpful in finding words that will rhyme to produce a rhythmic or musically flowing effect. A Thesaurus can be an excellent source for words that relate to or describe one another. Selecting words that express your feelings can be a powerful part of spell-writing. Words that flow in a melodic or rhythmic nature can add an extra boost of energy to a working. I have always been taught that melodious and rhythmic spoken charms or incantations are like music to Spirit. I feel that incantations that rhyme have a flowing vibration and can be very powerful to use in spells.


Once you are ready to begin to create the spoken part of your spell, you will be very familiar with your intention. By this time, it has been growing in strength and power with each thought you have given it. With your intention in mind, think about how you are going to bring it into form. Think about the method or magickal technique that you will be using and include this in your charm. If you are using a simple candle spell, you might focus the intention upon the candle and make reference to it. For example, you might say something like this for a money spell:

“Candle flame strong and bright,
Draw money to me on this night.”

Use simple words that say what you want. The phrases can be repeated as a chant and will form their own rhythm in the repetition. The charm itself can be as long or short as you choose. I would suggest you keep the charms short to begin with. This makes it easier to remember and you will be less likely to make mistakes that can break the rhythm if you are chanting the charm. Your charms can express the nature of your spell whether it is a solemn working or one of lightness and joy. It is important to sense the spell and let your creativity flow from it. Take into consideration the time of day and use it as you write. You may want to include the ingredients you are using in the wording of the charm. For instance you might want to include the herbs, stones, or oils by name and include their magickal properties and how they will affect your intention. Your wording may stress your need and may be in the form of a request for the power of the magickal ingredients’ properties to boost the energy of your spell.

Another method of boosting the power of your charm is to determine the number of times to repeat the charm. Numbers have a magickal property of their own. By matching your intention with the magickal properties of numbers, you can add extra power to the chant as well as to the entire spell. As part of your magickal education I suggest taking the Numerology course offered by to help include numbers in your spell writing.

Whatever method of writing you choose to create your spoken charm, remember that you will do well to memorize the charm and know it before performing your spell. This is important because you will be able to speak the charm from your heart and will be able to speak it without reading it. As you speak a charm in this way, from your heart, it is rising from within you on a cellular level and coming out with your breath, much like the technique used in magickal breathing. When using charms in this manner, it is much more beneficial if we have committed the charm to memory and can speak it from within and not by reading what was written on paper. Once you have written your spell and committed it to paper, you will find that most of it is committed to your memory as well.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Faith Healing

Adapted from Life After Death, by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 2007).

Faith healing brings together three domains, Akasha: Pure consciousness (God), a subtle event (prayer), and the physical body. The light so often seen by those who are healed is a subtle energy, which can also be perceived as an electrical or nervous charge in the body, a seizure, rapture or dizziness. In her book, The Healing Touch of Mary, Cheri Lomonte recounts the following story.

Dawn J. was a devout Catholic who as a young woman had prayed for a vision of the Virgin Mary. Soon after she left her parents’ house, she experienced an actual visitation. This created a sense of awe and humility; she hardly felt worthy to behold the Mother of God in the flesh. But Dawn came to feel that she had been chosen as a messenger.

Soon thereafter she was asked by a coworker to help with a personal matter. The co-worker was worried about his wife, who had begun to visit a house in the Bronx where a statue of Mary had begun to spontaneously exude scented oil. Dawn agreed to intervene and paid a visit to the house. When she walked in, however, she was greeted by the powerful scent of roses, and when she was shown the small statute, exuding a continual stream of oil, she became convinced that this was a genuine miracle.

Subsequently she paid several visits to the house, each time experiencing a divine presence in the scented oil. On one visit the woman of the house told her that the walls and furniture had now begun to exude oil, which she wiped up with cotton balls. Dawn was given a bag of these to take home. Sometime later she hears that the friend’s 3-month-old baby was gravely ill with spinal meningitis and had been hospitalized in intensive care. Dawn felt a strong impulse to use the holy oil as a health and she took an oil-soaked cotton ball to the hospital and gently stroked the baby’s spine with it. She left, and the next day was informed that the infant was out of danger. The doctor considered the recovery miraculous. Dawn attributed it to the healing touch of Mary.

The three domains of consciousness don’t merely overlap; they are actively involved with one another. The physical plane is represented by the statue, the oil, and the baby’s body. The subtle domain is represented by the vision of Mary, Dawn’s faith, and the divine presence felt in the oil. The domain of pure consciousness is represented by the divine itself.

My purpose here is to open the possibility that there is a unifying principle, the Akashi field, that embraces a wide range of phenomena.

Life After Death by Deepak Chopra

Source: Faith Healing

How to Make Your Own Rose Water

Adapted from Rosemary Gladstar's Herbs for Natural Beauty, by Rosemary Gladstar.

Rose water is used in cosmetics for its lovely scent, but also because it has light astringent properties. As the gentlest of all astringents, rose water is often used as toner for fair and dry skin.

You must be careful when purchasing rose water to buy only the 100 percent pure form. Often what is available in pharmacies and even some natural food stores is synthetic rose oil and water with preservatives added. Pure rose water is the distilled water of roses. It is usually made by stream distillation, and it smells heavenly and tastes delicious.

Availability: Besides health food stores and herb stores, you can often find rose water in delicatessens; it is used as a flavoring in fancy Greek pastries, puddings, and cakes.

Rose Water, Method No. 1

This recipe is the more traditional way to prepare rose water. Though it’s a little more involved, its fun to do and the results are outstanding. You can make a quart of excellent-quality rose water in about 40 minutes. However, if you simmer the water too long, you will continue to produce distilled water but the rose essence will become diluted. Your rose water will smell more like plain distilled water, rather than the heavenly scent of roses.

Be sure you have a brick and heat-safe stainless steel or glass quart bowl ready before you begin.

2-3 quarts fresh roses or rose petals
Ice cubes or crushed ice

1. In the center of a large pot (the speckled blue canning pots are ideal) with an inverted lid (a rounded lid), place a fireplace brick. On top of the brick place the bowl. Put the roses in the pot; add enough flowers to reach the top of the brick. Pour in just enough water to cover the roses. The water should be just above the top of the brick.

2. Place the lid upside down on the pot. Turn on the stove and bring the water to a rolling boil, then lower heat to a slow steady simmer. As soon as the water begins to boil, toss two or three trays of ice cubes (or a bag of ice) on top of the lid.

3. You’ve now created a home still! As the water boils the steam rises, hits the top of the cold lid, and condenses. As it condenses it flows to the center of the lid and drops into the bowl. Every 20 minutes, quickly lift the lid and take out a tablespoon or two of the rose water. It’s time to stop when you have between a pint and a quart of water that smells and tastes strongly like roses.

Direct Source: Rosemary Gladstar's Herbs for Natural Beauty

Post Source: Green Living

Monday, April 28, 2008

Animal Herbology

Introduction to Animal Herbology

Herbal medicine is gaining popularity in Western culture. Those of us who use herbal remedies in our own lives, are also apt to use natural remedies to enhance the health of their pets. Herbal medicine is a very useful adjunct to traditional veterinary medicine, however, it is not without its own risks. Herbs that help in humans do not necessarily have the same effect on animals. And more importantly, some herbs that are safe for human consumption may kill or injure our pets. Therefore, it is essential to seek qualified professional assistance from professionals well versed in animal herbology and dosages.

I can’t stress too strongly that use of herbs or any other medical procedures on your pets without clear knowledge of what you are doing puts the lives of your animal friends at risk. Herbal and vitamin supplements can be of remarkable assistance in a well managed therapeutic regime, but you MUST make certain that you inform your veterinarian of any herbs, vitamins, or other supplements that you have administered to your pets, AND you must know what you are doing. When in doubt, speak to your veterinarian.

A note about birds: If you have pet birds, you are likely already aware how careful you must be regarding what medications are administered to them. Sometimes, even licensed veterinarians are unaware of what substances can be fatal to birds. For your bird’s health, please seek a qualified AVIAN veterinarian for advice. For safety’s sake, do not use any of the following herbs in this lesson, unless they are specifically noted as safe for birds.

This lesson is meant to supplement knowledge you have already obtained through other appropriate studies. It is not meant to in any way be a complete guide to a subject as complex as herbology for animals, so it will definitely be necessary for you to do your own research as well.

Please also be aware that even though the following herbs are mentioned in this lesson as having been used in animals with therapeutic effect, natural does not necessarily mean “safe.” It is important to purchase your herbs from reputable sources with standardized strength. It is also necessary to understand that animals, like humans, can have unforeseen allergic reactions. Whenever you administer medications of any sort to your pet, it is necessary to watch them carefully afterwards for any symptoms.

Herbs That Should NOT Be Given To Pets

Certain herbs should never be given to your pets, as they are toxic. These include:

White Willow Bark (Salix alba) – Similar to asprin, toxic to cats.


One of the most common uses for herbal supplements in both animals and humans is to stimulate the immune system. Keep in mind that in certain cases, such as auto immune disorders in which the body essentially attacks itself, immune system stimulation is exactly the opposite of what you want to be doing. It is important to be certain of what the problem truly is before treating it.

If, after a proper diagnosis, you wish to assist the immune system of your pet, there are several supplements that can be used:

Shark Cartilage: Shark cartilage is a traditional Chinese remedy that contains mucopolysaccharides and carbohydrates that stimulate the immune system. It can also be used as an anti inflammatory that helps with issues such as arthritis or other types of joint injuries.

Echinacea: The purple coneflower, echinacea augustifolia, and echinacea purpurea are the species of echinacea most often used as a herbal remedy. Echinacea stimulates the immune system via several different methods, and is a highly useful herb that can be used in cats, dogs, and birds. It should generally be used in conjunction with drugs prescribed by a veterinarian. Be certain to inform the veterinarian if you are using echinacea for your pet, since it could be a concern during anesthesia and recovery. Echinacea should NOT be used if your pet is suffering from lupus, tuberculosis, connective tissue disorder, FeLV, FIV or FIP. Do not continue use beyond 6 to 8 weeks, as the immune stimulation actions fade over time. You can restart therapy after a “rest” of approximately 4 weeks.

Alfalfa: Alfalfa sprouts contain many vitamins and minerals, and is generally a nutritional herb, but is also said to stimulate the immune system. Alfalfa may be used in birds.

Brewer’s Yeast: Also said to stimulate the immune system.

Seaweeds: Certain types of seaweed, such as Kelp, Kombu, Nori, and Undaria protect against some bacterial agents, as they stimulate the immune system. They have been used in birds. Be aware that Kelp should not be used in animals with autoimmune thyroid disorders.


As always, serious injuries should be seen by your veterinarian. For minor wounds, you can use the following herbs:

Lavender Oil: After thoroughly cleaning the wound, one drop of lavender essential oil will assist in healing. Lavender oil can also help burns heal.

Tea Tree Oil: Tea tree oil can be used after thorough cleaning as an anti microbial agent. It can also be used to bring a cyst to a head. One drop is all that is necessary. After the cyst is brought up and drained, use a drop of lavender oil to aid healing.

Aloe: Fresh Aloe gel is very useful for all animals including parrots. An additional bonus is that Aloe gel can be used as an effective pain reliever for the owners of parrots who may occasionally receive a “love bit” that is overly enthusiastic.

Epsom salts: Soaking itchy paws and abscessed nail beds in 1/2 cup epsom salts per gallon of water for 10 minutes, 2x per day will help draw out infection and relieve itchy feet.


Peppermint: Digestive difficulties in dogs can be treated with peppermint (mentha piperita). It is necessary to make sure that there is no underlying problem such as accidental poisoning or eating something they shouldn’t have.

Catnip and Catmint: Getting peppermint down a cat might be a challenge, since they generally don’t like mint taste. Catnip and catmint are both useful for nausea in cats. Again, make sure that your cat hasn’t gotten into something she shouldn’t have.

Ginger: Ginger works in animals the same way it does in humans. It can be used to help with gas, diarrhea, and car sickness. It can also be used as an anti-inflammatory. Ginger can be used with parrots.

Slippery Elm: Slippery Elm bark is a digestive aid for pets with nausea and constipation. It can also be used as a cough suppressant. Slippery Elm can be used with birds for coughing and vomiting, and in animals including birds externally for bites, boils, or abscesses. If a parrot is bitten or scratched by a mammal, even if it looks superficial, bring it to a veterinarian immediately, as a course of antibiotics will likely be necessary due to the parrot’s lack of natural defenses to pasturella bacteria.

Acidophilus: When antibiotics are used to treat your pet, they can kill “good bacteria” living in the gut, allowing “bad bacteria” to build up and cause problems such as gas or diarrhea. These good bacteria can also be killed by stress and illness. Acidophilus is a powdered form of the useful bacteria, lactobacillus.


It is natural to get discouraged when your pet is in pain, and to attempt to use your own remedies, however, it is important to let your veterinarian know of your concerns, and let them know you are treating with natural remedies.

Dandelion: Useful in treatment of arthritis. Can be used with birds.

Perna Mussels: These muscles contain glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) that assist in building cartilage and bringing down inflammation. The mussels also contain glucosamine, which is a precursor to GAG. The perna mussel also includes a type of Omega-3 fatty acid that reduce pain and help anti inflammatory action.

Glucosamine and Chondroitin: These products are useful for both humans and animals, however, it is necessary to be very careful with figuring the appropriate dosage for pets. They can take human grade pharmaceutical glucosamine and chondroitin, however not in the same quantities as humans do. Animal supplements often are augmented with absorbic acid to help with its uptake in dogs. Special animal dosages are available through your veterinarian, or over the Internet. These compounds help to heal cartilage and reduce pain in hip dysplasia. They also assist with the pain and joint damage of arthritis in both dogs and cats. If the dosage is too high, dogs may vomit or get diarrhea. It then becomes necessary to reduce the dosage. Glucosamine and chondroitin are safe for long term use, and can be used with other drugs and vitamins.

Yucca: The yucca plant can be used to reduce pain and soft tissue swelling with minimal gastric side effects. It works by increasing the circulation in the damaged tissue, so that waste build up is reduced.


Chamomile: Because its sedative power is mild, it is useful for birds in stressful situations.

St. John’s Wort: Yes, animals can suffer from the same types of nervous disorders as humans, including obsessive/compulsive behaviors, depression, and mood swings. St. John’s Wort (hypericum perforatum) has been used to treat compulsive licking in dogs, aggression, separation anxiety, feather plucking in parrots, and neural disorders. Do not use St. John’s Wort with other antidepressant drugs. Also, do not use St. John’s Wort with animals who spend a lot of time in the sun, as large doses can cause photosensitivity.

Bach Rescue Remedy: Rescue Remedy is a combination of flower essences that can effectively be used to treat temporary anxiety, such as going to the vet. Be sure to let the vet know you’ve given this to your pet.

Ginkgo: Ginkgo is said to increase the blood flow to the brain. Humans have reported increased memory and brain function from use of Ginkgo. Animal herbalists have been using it to treat cognitive dysfunction in older animals.


Eyebright: As its name implies, eyebright tea can be used as a wash for eye irritation in all pets including birds.


Warm about one tablespoon of olive oil, and add two drops of tea tree, one drop of lavender, and one drop of chamomile. Drip into and around the ear. Do not use with parrots.


Cayenne: Cayenne is the active ingredient in capsaicin. It is useful in all animals as a treatment for sinus congestion. Recommended for use in parrots as they love its taste.


Animals, like humans, can build up toxins in the colon and filtration organs. A mild course of detoxifying agents, such as those listed below, can be useful in treatment of other disorders.

Garlic: The anti-oxidant, antifungal and anti-parasitic properties of garlic are useful detoxifiers in all animals including birds. Garlic given to parrots should be fresh garlic, not powder. Do not use for long periods of time, as it could cause anemia.

Cinnamon: Cinnamon is a mild antifungal and anti-bacterial. It can be used on parrots.

Aloe Detox: Aloe Detox is a commercial product that is made by a company called Naturade. It has been credited with saving many parrots through detoxifying the liver.

Milk Thistle: Milk thistle seeds contain silymarin, an antioxidant that protects and is said to regenerate the liver. Very large dosages can cause loose stools.


Ginseng: Both Panax ginseng and Panax quinquefolius have been used to treat animals with extreme weight loss from chronic conditions such as cancer and leukemia, chronic infections, nerve disorders, and anorexia. It is said to enhance the release of insulin, so that the glucose levels in the blood decrease. Ginseng CAN cause increased blood pressure, may contribute to low blood sugar, and may pose a concern during anesthesia and recovery.

Essiac Tea: Essiac tea is said to be a natural cancer treatment, consisting of various herbs including burdock root, sheep sorrel, Turkish rhubarb root, red clover, slippery elm, and sometimes other herbs. There are several manufacturers of the product. It has been used for cats and dogs.


Use of non-stick cookware can be fatal to parrots. If the cookware is overheated, it can release polytetrafluoroethlyene (PTFE) gas that is rapid working and lethal. All species of birds can be affected. The only clinical sign of this poisoning generally occurs when the bird drops off its perch. Although this is not a herbal issue, it is an important safety consideration if you keep birds.

Herbal products to avoid use of with birds include:

Ma Huang
Life Root


We have a special obligation to our animal friends, to take as good care of them as is humanly possible. This includes proper veterinary care, as well as alternative medical care when warranted, in conjunction with medical professionals. Herbal remedies can be very useful, but you must do your homework. If in doubt, ask a professional.

Written by:
Rev. Mikki Barry
Master Herbalist
Global Institute For Alternative Medicine

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Aroma Families

The Aroma Families

When choosing oils for your starter kit, you may wish to include a representative from each of the aroma families. Those listed below here are the most popular essences used in aromatherapy. The asterisk indicates the least expensive oil, and the five asterisk the most expensive.


Bergamot **


Roman Chamomile***
Rose Otto*****
Ylang Ylang**


Roman Chamomile***
Clary Sage***


Tea Tree*


Black Pepper**




Juniper Berry**

Suggested Starter Kit

For your first aromatherapy kit, I would like to suggest this all-purpose starter kit. It covers most needs in health and home.

Bergamot, geranium, lavender, eucalyptus (or tea tree), coriander, frankincense, patchouli and juniper berry.

The Basic Essentials

Here is a list of the most basic of the Essential oils, there are quite a few, so I have just included the basics to begin with. Please refer to it, when you are trying out different blends. When blending oils, remember that each oil has its specific properties, but they will also enhance each others properties.

The Oils

Basil For study and office work

Bergamot Uplifting, skin active

Cedarwood Relaxing, warming

Clary Sage Uplifting and inspiring

Cypress Astringent, tonifying

Eucalyptus Clarifying, antiseptic

Frankincense Soothing, comforting

Geranium Balancing, harmonizing

Juniper Invigorating, cleansing

Lavender Soothing, calming

Lemon Refreshing, uplifting

Lemongrass Tonifying, cleansing

Marjoram Sedating, comforting

Orange Refreshing, enhancing

Patchouli Relaxing, sensual

Peppermint Cooling, invigorating

Rosemary Invigorating, warming, good for study

Sandalwood Strengthening, fortifying

Tea Tree Antiseptic, cleansing

Ylang Ylang Relaxing, sensual

Carrier Oils or the Massage Medium

By adding your chosen Essential oils to a massage medium, you can create individual aromatic blends that are not only effective for body, mind, and spirit, but you will also create your own personal blend, that will make the blend that little bit extra special. Do not make the blends too strong, and always use carrier oil, by using carrier oils, they are the ideal bases for massage and tactile therapies. You can buy specialty carriers from your local pharmacy, just ask and they will be all to glad to help.

Sweet Almond: Light, fine, odorless oil containing natural vitamins. Most commonly used for massage.

Peach Kernel: Fine quality oil, rich in vitamins and ideal for facial massage.

Olive: Renowned for its warming qualities to the body. Good base oil for general massage.

Macadamia: Extremely high in vitamins A, I and U. This, I am proud to say, is a true Australian oil with its warm nutty aroma is an excellent body oil to nourish and moisturize the skin.

Avocado: Highly penetrative oil, rarely used on its own. Rich in Vitamin A and E, excellent for dry skin. This oil can also be combined with Essential oils, as this too is very rich. So use it wisely.

Wheat germ: High in Vitamin E, this oil is an excellent anti-oxidant to help preserve your blended oils.

Jojoba: This oil is a natural fluid wax, non greasy. Does not turn rancid and is quickly absorbed by the skin, moisturizing. This oil is great for a base in treating eczema.

Can I Make Essential Oils at Home?

Can I Make Essential Oils at Home?

Now, you may have wondered how essential oils are produced and whether or not you can make them at home.

The production of essential oils is a rather complicated process which usually requires specialized equipment and LOTS of plant materials. In the case of the production of rose otto, or rose essential oil, it takes about 2,000 pounds of roses to produce one pound of essential oil.

Although home distillation kits are now available, and you probably can find a few sources through the internet, they are fairly expensive and, for most people, making their own essential oils takes too much time, money and effort to make it worthwhile.

Processes of Extraction from Plants

There are many complex processes for extracting the oils from plants, depending on the herb. For this course, we will only discuss the primary processes of extraction. The two main methods used for extracting essential oils from plants are:

* steam, water or dry distillation or
* simple expression or pressure, (that is, the squeezing of the skin of an orange, for example)

Steam Distillation

The majority of oils such as lavender, myrrh, sandalwood and cinnamon are produced by steam distillation. This process isolates only the volatile and water-insoluble parts of a plant.

Essential oils are usually liquid, but can also be solid (orris root) or semi-solid according to temperature (rose or oakmoss). They dissolve in pure alcohol, fats and oils but not in water.

Unlike plant oils, such as olive oil, essential oils evaporate when exposed to air, leaving no oily residue behind.

I have seen where someone spilled German Chamomile, also known as Blue Chamomile, on a white shirt and within an hour or so; the stain was gone because the oil had evaporated. Other oils, such as patchouli or sandalwood may leave some slight discoloration.
Steam distillation does not leave chemical solvent residues

Cold Pressing

Simple expression or pressure is used to extract essential oils with this method. Basically, this involves squeezing of the skin of an orange, lemon, lime or grapefruit, for example.

Pick up a lemon, an orange and a grapefruit at your local grocery store. Slice the skin off of each of these fruits. Squeeze the skin
between your fingers, folding it over itself. You will see a small spurt of oil and the scent of the fruit will be magnified.

Here in essence, is the essential oil of these citrus fruits. And speaking of citrus fruits, this is a good time to consider the healing qualities of one of the freshest, and relatively inexpensive, essential oils you will find.

Take out your notebook and bottle of sweet orange essential oil. Put one drop on a tissue paper and inhale its scent. (Inhaling directly out of the bottle may be too intense.) Before you read further, consider the following questions and note your responses in your notebook. Be sure to list the full name of the essential oil as well as the day and date of your notations.

Now, consider the following: How were you feeling before you sniffed the oil? How are you feeling now that you have sniffed the oil? Do you like the scent? Why? Why not?

Once you have written down each question and your responses, continue reading.

Sweet Orange, Citrus sinensis

It’s not surprising that sweet orange essential oil is known as an antidepressant. Its fresh, bright scent is uplifting and cheering for most people. It is also helpful in relieving nervous tension and stress.

Diffused into the air, it can not only alleviate mild depression, it can help in dealing with colds and flu, bronchitis and chills
Whatever the plant and however its essential oils are extracted, aromatherapy probably has found some use for the concentrated energies of its oil.

Found in Various Plant Parts

Unlike fixed oils, essential oils are volatile. This means they evaporate rapidly at room temperature, whereas fixed oils, such as vegetable or motor oils, are more stable. Chemically, essential oils consist of a complex mixture of 30 to 100 or more compounds.
The oils themselves are found in various plant parts. Peppermint, patchouli, basil and geranium oils are derived from their leaves and stems. Clove oil comes from flower buds. Jasmine, rose and tuberose oils are derived from the open flowers. Essential oils are also derived from the seeds, wood, bark, roots, needles and skins of various plants.

The following essential oil is derived from the fresh or partially dried leaves and young twigs of a tree.

Take out your notebook and bottle of eucalyptus essential oil. Put one drop on a tissue paper and inhale its scent. (Inhaling directly out of the bottle may be too intense.) Before you read further, consider the following questions and note your responses in your notebook. Be sure to list the full name of the essential oil as well as the day and date of your notations.

Now, consider the following: How were you feeling before you sniffed the oil? How are you feeling now that you have sniffed the oil? Do you like the scent? Why? Why not?

Once you have written down each question and your responses, continue reading.

Eucalyptus globulus, Eucalyptus spp.

The essential oil is produced by steam distillation from the fresh or partially dried leaves and young twigs. The Eucalyptus tree is tall, at times growing more than 300 feet high. Young trees have round bluish-green leaves whereas the mature trees develop long, narrow yellowish leaves, creamy-white flowers and a smooth, pale grey bark often covered with a white powder.

Generally speaking, I've used Eucalyptus globulus in cool mist humidifiers (the manufacturers will NOT recommend doing this, by the way) by putting 10 to 15 drops in the water catch. I've also put 5 to 10 drops in a candlelight diffuser or potpourri pot...where you add water, add the essential oil and then light the tea light.

Eucalyptus is an excellent expectorant. Which means that, if you are congested, you may find yourself “coughing up a lung” along with a lot of phlegm!

Known for its use as a nasal and lung decongestant for colds and flu, Eucalyptus also inhibits proliferation of the cold virus, Patricia Davis in Aromatherapy: An A-Z says, "Eucalyptus used in air sprays or any form of vaporization during epidemics, will give a good measure of protection from flu and the infectious illnesses of childhood."

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Essential Oils

How Do Essential Oils Work?

Essential oils work in many ways. Scientists have been especially interested in how fragrances can trigger memories and in how pheromones--fragrant, hormone-like substances, influence physical attraction.

The nose connects to the olfactory bulb, the only place in the human body where the central nervous system is exposed directly to the environment. The cells of the olfactory membrane are literally brain cells.

Fragrant substances, like most essential oils, pass on to the limbic system without being registered by the cerebral cortex. Even before we become aware of an aroma, our subconscious reacts to it.

How Can We Use Essential Oils?


Massage is one of the more popular ways to use essential oils. Because they are so concentrated, it's usually best to dilute (almost always) essential oils with a neutral carrier oil, such as sweet almond, jojoba, coconut or olive, to avoid irritating the skin.

Even such oils as lavender, tea tree, sandalwood and rose should be diluted before use on the skin because undiluted use may lead to sensitization and the inability to get the healing benefits of those oils when they are most needed.

When working with essential oils, keep them away from the eyes and mucous membranes.

Because people's associations with oils and scents vary, always allow someone to smell an oil first before using it in a massage. If someone has a negative reaction to an oil's scent, you are better off finding an oil with similar properties that is more to their taste.

Because skin types and chemistries vary, you must watch carefully for adverse reactions.
There are many benefits to massage, including relaxation of the muscles and movement of the lymph fluids.


Inhalation of essential oils can be both a simple and fairly complex process. Special (and expensive) electronic aromatherapy diffusers will spread a scent throughout a room. A few drops of oil placed on a clay light-bulb diffuser will also do the job.

Using candles scented with essential oils can release the aromas into a room as the flame warms the wax, which in turn moves the fragrances into the air. Scenting the water in potpourri pots with essential oils is another way to gently lighten up a room.

By using a sprayer you can disinfect or perfume a room very quickly. Fill a spray bottle with water and a dozen, or so, drops of your chosen oil(s). Shake the bottle and then spray. As essential oils do not actually mix with water, make sure you shake the bottle to blend it (temporarily) before spraying.

Even putting a few drops of essential oil in a humidifier can do the job.


A few drops of an essential oil in bath water, just before you step into the tub, can do wonders for your mood. Bathing with essential oils gives you a double benefit--contact with your skin and inhalation of the scent as it rises from the water.

Because essential oils are not soluble in water, that is, they do not mix with water, it's best to add your essential oil to milk or a carrier oil before adding it to bath water. The last thing you want to do is put sensitive body parts on top of undiluted essential oils floating on top of your bath water.

Hand or Foot Baths

If you're going to perform reflexology on someone, soaking his or her feet or hands in a bowl of warm water scented with the appropriate oils can be very relaxing as well as antiseptic.

Again, use only one or two drops of essential oil dispersed into warm water. Check the water yourself to make sure that it is not too hot before allowing your subject to put his or her hands or feet in the soak.

Dispel Headaches

Both the inhaled scent and physical application of lavender essential oil (three drops of the essential oil to a 1/2 teaspoon of sweet almond or olive oil) to the outside of the sinuses and forehead can also help dispel headaches. Use only a finger's dab of this blend to apply to your sinuses and forehead. Repeat, if necessary, in a half hour or so.

Others find inhaling peppermint oil to be indispensable to ridding themselves of such pain.

Sweet Dreams

I also know many people who burn lavender stick incense at night to help them sleep peacefully.
The herb itself has been burned in rooms where a woman is going to give birth. More than one midwife wears lavender oil to set up soothing and calming energies.

• Store essential oils in a cool, dark place
• Always keep out of the reach of children and away from any pets.
• Avoid using directly or near the eyes or mucous membranes. Use whole milk or vegetable oil to help flush out any essential oil that might have splashed into the eye. Remember, essential oils are NOT soluble in water, so water is not the best medium for removing them. If problems persist, seek medical assistance as soon as possible.

• Do not use the same essential oil every time, whether for skin application or inhalation. Rotate your essential oils to avoid becoming sensitized and to avoid overexposure to any one essential oil.
• Remember, just because an essential oil is derived from a plant, it cannot be used in the same way as the plant. (Herbalists will note similarities with the use of many essential oil as to traditional uses of herbs, but essential oils and the herbs themselves are NOT interchangeable.)
• If you develop a skin rash, stop using it right away.
• When working with essential oils, make sure you have adequate ventilation. Open up windows, put on the exhaust fan. This is especially important for practitioners, who will tend to be exposed to essential oil fumes more than the average individual.
• Do not use essential oils internally UNLESS you get much more training!
• Always dilute essential oils before using them on the body.

If making a one-ounce massage oil blend,
remember the following:

• 1 oz. equals approximately 30 ml
• 1 teaspoon equals about 5 ml
• 1 tablespoon equals about 15 ml or 1/2 ounce

*One percent essential oil in a one-ounce blend would be about 10 drops.
*Two percent essential oil in a one-ounce blend would be about 20 drops.
*Three percent would be about 30 drops.

Because essential oils are so concentrated, it's usually best to dilute (almost always) them with a neutral carrier or base oil, such as apricot kernel, jojoba, coconut, emu or olive, to avoid irritating the skin.

Even such oils as lavender, tea tree, sandalwood and rose should be diluted before use on the skin because undiluted use may lead to sensitization and the inability to get the healing benefits of those oils when they are most needed.

Carrier oils are referred to as such because they carry the essential oil onto the skin or in the product that they are used in. Different
carrier oils offer different properties and the choice of carrier oil can depend on the therapeutic benefit being sought.

Carrier oils are generally cold-pressed vegetable oils from the fatty portions of the plant. Cold pressing means that no external heat has been used while the seed is being pressed.

The following essential oil is often used in “sensual” massages because it has a reputation as an “aphrodisiac.”

Take out your notebook and bottle of patchouli essential oil. Put one drop on a tissue paper and inhale its scent. (Inhaling directly out of the bottle may be too intense.) Before you read further, consider the following questions and note your responses in your notebook. Be sure to list the full name of the essential oil as well as the day and date of your notations.

Now, consider the following: How were you feeling before you sniffed the oil? How are you feeling now that you have sniffed the oil? Do you like the scent? Why? Why not?

Once you have written down each question and your responses, continue reading.

Patchouli, Pogostemon cablin

Many people think of patchouli as a "hippy's herb" from the 1960s. During that time of "love fests" and heavy use of marijuana, patchouli incense was often burned to cover up the scent of the burning drug. Then a lot of people who weren't using drugs found they liked the scent.

But most people don't know that patchouli was rather popular in the 1860s as well. In the 1860s, Britain imported cashmere shawls from India. The shawls were packed with patchouli leaves to discourage moth infestation.

British merchants found that if they had cashmere shawls that were not packed with patchouli leaves, that they could not sell them. However, once they scented the shawls with patchouli, they did sell.

In addition to being known as an aphrodisiac which heightens sensuality, this relaxing scent is also known for its antidepressant and antiseptic properties.

Patchouli essential oil can help prevent viral infections and aid in the healing of wounds. The oil used to treat yeast infections both in the mouth and the vagina. As pointed out above, it is used in Asia as a moth repellant.

Anxiety: Clary Sage, geranium, juniper berry, lavender, lemon balm (Melissa), neroli, Roman chamomile, rose otto, sandalwood, sweet marjoram, ylang ylang

Mental Fatigue: Clary Sage, juniper berry, rosemary

Relaxing: Chamomile, lavender, lemon balm (Melissa), geranium, neroli

Uplifting: Clary sage, eucalyptus, juniper berry,

Euphoric: Jasmine, sandalwood, ylang ylang

Muscle aches: Birch, eucalyptus, juniper, rosemary

Respiratory problems: Eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint, pine, spruce

Depression: Basil, clary sage, geranium, lavender, melissa, rose, ylang ylang.

Headaches: Eucalyptus, lavender, lemon balm, peppermint, Roman chamomile, rosemary

Insomnia: Roman Chamomile, lavender, neroli

Friday, April 25, 2008

Origins of Aromatherapy

Origins of Aromatherapy

The use of fragrance goes back thousands of years. Originally, people used herbs, and the oils derived from them, directly as a part of their spiritual or religious practice, and often, more indirectly as medicines.

Aromatherapy and More
It is relatively simple to burn the actual herbs themselves, when using the herbs as incense. Or to release the scent of the herbs, by pouring boiling water over them, to produce a tea, infusion, tisane or steam inhalation. If a plant grows in your locality, you can probably prepare it for these types of use.

However, the use of essential oils is more complicated because one doesn’t just use the raw herb itself.
In most instances, the ancient world's use of botanicals did not include the use of actual essential oils. Rather, instead, many of the ancients used fats and oils infused with plant materials.

The Term "Aromatherapy"
In the 1900s, a French chemist, Professor Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, is credited with coining the term "Aromatherapy." His family owned a perfumery business. As he defined it, aromatherapy carries a somewhat narrow definition in the respect that it only includes essential oils, not other botanical products, which may or may not be considered a formal part of aromatherapy.


"To reach the individual we need an individual remedy. Each of us is a unique message. It is only the unique remedy that will suffice. We must, therefore, seek odiferous substances which present affinities with the human being we intend to treat, those which will compensate for his deficiencies and those which will make his faculties' blossom."
--- Marguerite Maury. "The Secret if Life and Youth".

Aromatherapy is a multifaceted healing art, which uses the essential oils of plant and trees to promote health of body and serenity of mind. Although the roots of this beautiful therapy are ancient, I have set out to prove that the basic principles on which aromatherapy is based are no less valid today.

Aromatic plants have been used by humankind since the dawn of history. There is evidence that over some 4,000 years ago, the Ancient Sumerians made use of the scented herbs such as cypress and myrrh, while in the 1870's George Ebers discovered a 21 meter scroll of papyrus that listed over 850 Ancient Egyptian botanical remedies, dating from about 1500 BC.

Ancient Greek Physicians such as Hippocrates and Galen interpreted the microcosm of the human being according to the Elements of Fire, Water, Earth, and Air, while the masters of the Chinese tradition saw five elements at work. In either case, they employed a rich and varied language of Nature - not to describe their observations as fixed phenomena, but like the physicists of today, to use these concepts to expose the dynamic force that masquerades as matter.

Aromatherapy also has a few intriguing diversions, such as the art of natural perfumery, the making of cosmetic lotions and potions, and an exploration of sensual aromatherapy - for those wishing to enhance their love life through the alchemy of fragrance and the magic of touch.

Practices such as these were the beginnings of a tradition that embraced not one but several civilizations, and developed hand-in-hand with systems of science and medicine that were based on both empirical knowledge and informed intuition

By applying traditional wisdom to aromatherapy, we can avail ourselves of a corpus of knowledge that is immediate and profound, practical and intuitive. And through contributing to the synthesis of East and West, we can expand our awareness both of the human spirit and the plant essence.

War Time Uses of Essential Oils

Gattefosse experimented with essential oils on wounded soldiers during World War I. His work showed that essential oils, rather than chemical antiseptics, detoxified wounds and sped up healing.

His own personal experience with the healing properties of lavender made him a fan of that oil. He accidentally burned his hand in his laboratory when an experiment caused a small explosion. After he applied lavender oil, the pain ceased and (according to aromatherapy legend) the skin soon healed, perfectly cured.

This seems the perfect place to discuss one of Gattefosse’s favorite oils and a few of the ways you can best use it. Of course, we are talking about Lavender essential oil.

Take out your notebook and bottle of lavender essential oil. Put one drop on a tissue paper and inhale its scent. (Inhaling directly out of the bottle may be too intense.) Before you read further, consider the following questions and note your responses in your notebook. Be sure to list the full name of the essential oil as well as the day and date of your notations.

Now, consider the following: How were you feeling before you sniffed the oil? How are you feeling now that you have sniffed the oil? Do you like the scent? Why? Why not? Once you have written down each question and your responses, continue reading.

Lavender, Lavendula angusifolia

An antiseptic essential oil, lavender has found its niche in the treatment of burns, whether as a result of a kitchen or camping accident, or spending too much time at the seaside or hiking in the mountains.

Just a couple of drops of lavender essential oil mixed into a teaspoon of aloe vera gel makes a soothing, antiseptic and pain relieving lotion which not only relieves the pain of a burn, but also speeds up the healing process.

A few drops in a tea light diffuser at night before bedtime can help an insomniac relax and have sweet dreams.

Lavender essential oil also has a reputation for helping stressed out individuals calm down and take life a little slower. In essence, it helps them to stop and smell the flowers.