magickal symbolism of the thistle

Thistle is a flowering plant that you don’t see a lot of in magickal workings, maybe because its not as flashy as the rose, or as straightforward as some of the well-known herbs.

But, if you think about it, the thistle is the perfect element for protection, love, and strength spells.

This prickly flower, its leaves and stalk covered in biting spines, is topped with a beautiful bloom beloved by bees and butterflies, as well as Aphrodite herself, and even attributed to the love of the Virgin Mary.

In some earlier Christian mythology of Europe, the thistle was seen as a ‘gift of the devil’ due to its thorns and its general recognition as a weed by many farmers. Despite its difficulty in removing from crop or pasture-land, thistle is also the national flower of Scotland.

However, its symbolism is as a flower that is barbed or prickly, but underneath all that has a soft, kind heart. I don’t know about you, but that speaks to me. What it says really is ‘If you can withstand my outer armor, you can experience my inner warmth and love.’ That’s the most Cancer thing I’ve ever heard lol.

Thistles are also considered protective and cleansing, so consider using them in your spells or workings that involve those, as well.

Here is a summary of thistle’s correspondences:

  • Element: Fire
  • Zodiac: Sagittarius (I would, however, argue that it has many properties of Cancer, and you would not be wrong in using it in this way if you intuitively sense this)
  • protection, love, cleansing, banishing, passion, romance, strength
  • healing ancestral trauma or working with ancestors, particularly the roots
  • plant them in a bee/butterfly garden (just beware, they can quickly take it over and are difficult to control as well as painful to try to remove)

a candle spell for courage

This is an easy candle spell (most candle spells are) for courage in any situation.

Whether you want to ask for a promotion, go skydiving for the first time, or move across the country to a totally new place, courage is something that we sometimes struggle with, because of self-doubt, and our inner voice that talks us out of things we truly want.

What You Will Need:

  • At least one, but up to 3 of these dried herbs, about 1-2 Tbsp worth: fennel, borage, thyme, rosemary, st johns wort, nettle
  • Olive oil, about 1/2 tsp
  • a red candle and something to light it with

What You Will Do:

  1. Start out by cleansing yourself and your space however works best for you.
  2. Gather all your items into one location and cast a circle if you wish.
  3. Holding the candle in both hands, center and ground yourself, then meditate as long as you need to visualize what kind of courage, when and how you will need it and use it, and what you need the outcome of the courageous actions to produce.
  4. Transfer all of that visual intent and will to the candle energetically. Once it feels ‘full’, rub the outside of it in the olive oil.
  5. Roll the candle in the herbs to coat the outside of it as thoroughly as possible.
  6. Place it in a stable base or candle holder and light it. As you light it, remember your intent and why you need this courage. Say out loud:

Brave is my heart

Brave is my mind

I have the courage to act

and the courage to win

by this flame I call my courage up

as my will be done

7. Let the candle burn down all the way. If you have to leave and cannot monitor it, snuff it out, then re-light when you return and ensure it burns safely.

a quick guide to drying herbs and flowers

It’s getting to be about that time of year to start harvesting and cutting the plants from your garden, or perhaps you’re wild foraging things to take home and use.

First things first, always use either a plant identification manual or get trained in plant identification before harvesting plants that you will be consuming in any way. There are some plants out there which are poisonous to people and/or animals.

Drying Flowers

When we cut flowers for the purposes of drying them, we usually want them to retain their color, aroma, and botanical/medicinal/magickal properties.

Cut the stems to no shorter than 6 inches in length. Tie the flowers in a bunch or hang them individually. They should hang upside down. Don’t dry them where they will be exposed to sunlight. A dark, dry room is the best, such as a basement or interior windowless room.

Flowers usually need to dry for about 3 weeks.

Drying Herbs

Herbs may require some additional work on your part. Depending on the moisture content, you may be able to air dry them, but if they have a higher moisture content like those in the mint family (including basil, spearmint, and lemon balm, as well as garlic or chives), you will do best to dry in an oven or dehydrator.

Herbs are best cut in the early morning, as that is when their essential oils are most potent in their leaves.

To air dry, bundle a few stems worth together and tie with string, floss, or twine. Hang them upside down in a dry area away from light. Herbs with lower moisture content will dry faster than flowers, and can take just a week, but possibly two, to fully dry out. Some sources recommend placing a paper bag over them as they dry. I find this is optional.

To oven dry or dehydrate, set your oven for low heat (~150F) and leave the door open. The herbs can be placed on a cookie sheet and you’ll let them sit in the open oven for a few hours (usually not more than 4). Dehydrators work much more quickly and you may only need 1-2 hrs on a medium heat setting. Check them about every 30 min to see how much the leaves crumble. If they crumble very easily, they are done.

Drying Other Plants

This is kind of the catchall category for other stuff you might harvest or forage that you want to dry and use. It might include tree leaves, weeds of various kinds, or shrubs (the non-fruit parts).

Depending on whether you want them to retain their vibrant hues of greens or other colors, either place them in sunlight (this will dry them faster, but fade the color) or away from sunlight (they won’t fade as much).

If you want your leaves flat for whatever reason, press them in between pages of a book. This method will take a week or more. You may need to check on them from time to time to make sure they are drying out appropriately.

You can also dry these through the same methods as flowers or herbs, mentioned above, but due to the wide variety of plant types and moisture content, plan to check on them semi-often to ensure they are drying out.

how to make a magickal oleum

An oleum is just a fancy word for an oil used for ritual purposes. They are different from infusions in that they are heated to incorporate the properties and components of the plant matter in them, rather than left in a warm location for weeks, such as with an infusiono.

And they are ridiculously easy to make.

What You Will Need:

  • about 1/2 – 1 cup base oil (if just making for yourself, you don’t usually need more than 1/2 cup)
  • about 1-2 tsp of each herb, plant, resin, or other ingredients of your choice
  • a pot, but a double boiler works for this too
  • a stovetop
  • a wire mesh strainer or cheesecloth
  • a clean bowl or glass measuring cup (easiest to get something with a pour spout)
  • a funnel (preferably glass, but silicon or plastic will be ok in a pinch)
  • clean glass bottles with lids or droppers; preferably dark glass to limit how much light gets to the oils inside

What You Will Do:

  1. Bring your oil to a soft rolling boil on the stove.
  2. Add whatever ingredients you have chosen.
  3. Turn the heat down to low and let simmer for 20 min.
  4. Remove from heat and strain into a clean glass measuring cup or other clean bowl through the solid out with a fine wire mesh or cheesecloth.
  5. Let the oleum cool for about 5 min. Pour into the glass bottles using the funnel.
  6. Label them however you prefer and store away from direct sunlight or heat. These can keep for up to a year if you keep them away from sun.

What type of base oil should you use?

Because this will be an oil that you heat up or boil to create it, you will probably want to choose a base oil that is more stable at higher temperature.

Avocado oil has the highest smoke point of most oils you’ll be able to get ahold of, so it makes a great base oil for ritual oleums.

Olive oil also has a decently high heat stability, at least enough to withstand boiling and not break down. Olive oil is also considered sacred in many spiritual belief systems, which is why I tend to lean toward this as my base oil.

Coconut oil can be an option if you use some that is fractionated, which means it remains liquid at room temp, unlike most other coconut oil which is solid at room temp. If your ultimate goal is to create an oleum that is more solid, then you can certainly go with standard coconut oil, though.

Regular old vegetable oil is also very heat stable and if you are on a budget, you can go this route. It’s usually made from corn in the US.

Canola has essentially the same effect as vegetable oil for these purposes and is also affordable.

Any other plant-based oils may not be ideal for high heat (boiling) and I would avoid using them, as they have a higher likelihood of going rancid.

As I stated before, I lean toward olive oil because it has a pleasant aroma, and its magickal meaning is important to me. I find it makes a great oleum, and its vibrations are higher and much more pleasant to me than the vegetable oils.

magickal properties of rosemary

I love this evergreen herb for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that its also the namesake of one of my grandmothers, which in turn became my middle name.

Rosemary is a powerful cleansing herb that not only removes negative energy or entities, but also fills the energetic void with its own uplifting and powerful high vibration energy. You can plant it around your porch or doors, or make a spray or herb bundle to burn and get the same effect.

Part of its protective and purifying properties are because of its magickal symbolism, linked to Venus, the Virgin Mary, and even Jesus Christ. It also contains a high level of the phenolic compound camphor, which is a strong purifier of spaces and deterrent for all manner of negative energy and spirits.

It is also an astringent herb, and makes a good tea, a toner for your skin, or additive to your cleaning solutions.

Rosemary can aid in psychic development, dreaming, and even in preventing nightmares. Dream pillows made with lavender, mugwort, and rosemary are common for aiding healthy, restorative, and psychic sleep.

Correspondences of Rosemary:

Associations: dreaming, purification, cleansing, protection from unwanted spirits, love, fertility, memory; linked to Venus, and later, the Virgin Mary

Planet: Venus, also the Sun, as it later became associated as a masculine herb

Element: Fire

Chakras: solar plexus, heart, third eye

how to make a magickal floor wash

This is probably one of the simplest things you can do as a witch, especially if you are just starting out, but lots and lots of seasoned witches use this in their practice, too.

Floor washes probably fall somewhere in the Kitchen Witch category, but by no means do you need to define yourself as a Kitchen Witch to do this.

I think virtually every culture I’ve met a witch from has some variation of magickal floor wash, which tells me the ancestors were certainly onto something.

What is a magickal floor wash?

Just in case you’re still wondering what I’m talking about, magickal floor washes are mixtures that you put together to wash, mop, scrub, or otherwise apply to your floors to act as a spell.

So, instead of lighting candles, calling the corners, reciting incantations, or making crystal grids, you’re putting symbolically meaningful herbs or plant extracts together with other substances to create a spell that you apply to your floors (or walls, or furniture, or whatever) to yield the results you want.

I feel like I should interject here that floors seem to be the most effective place to apply these and my guess is that this is because symbolically they are a foundation for the rest of our physical life. We literally live on top of them, so whatever we apply to them, affects every part of our life.

I mentioned floor washes a little bit in my post about spiritual cleansing for your home, but protection and cleansing are not the only things that floor washes do.

A magickal floor wash is simply the carrier for your intent, and your intent could be anything. Here are some suggestions for things to create floor washes for:

  • prosperity (financial, or otherwise)
  • love
  • happiness
  • protection
  • deterring negative or malevolent spirits
  • fertility
  • luck
  • wisdom
  • health
  • banishing
  • washing away bad habits

and I’m sure you can think of others.

What You Will Need:

  • water, probably between 2-3 liters, or almost a gallon; any kind will do, I use distilled water so that plant extracts aren’t muddled but I’m also super weird about water in general so it probably doesn’t matter what kind of water you use
  • salt (this is optional, but if you’re doing a banishing, removal, protection, then salt may be recommended)
  • herbs, flowers, plants of your choice corresponding to your intent for the spell
  • essential oils if you prefer to use those
  • a big ass pot on the stove
  • a mesh strainer
  • a clean glass mixing bowl
  • a clean spray bottle or bucket

How to Make a Magickal Floor Wash:

  1. Pour the water in the pot and bring it to a boil. Add your plant matter. Reduce heat to a simmer and let simmer for 20 minutes.
  2. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Pour through the strainer into the clean glass bowl. If you don’t have glass, metal is okay but may leach a bit of ions into the formula, which may not matter much with a floor wash. If plastic is all you have, its okay, but not ideal due to plastic retaining the scents and compounds of whatever you put in it that’s hot.
  3. If you are adding any other water-based ingredients like Florida water or plant extracts, now is the time to add them.
  4. Add any essential oils you want to add at this point. Take strained plants and dump them in your garden soil, at the base of a tree, or a compost pile.
  5. I like to give it all a good stir and while I’m doing that, I’m visualizing all my intent (whatever emotion or outcome I want to happen) flowing down my arm, through the spoon, and into the mixture. Sing, hum, play music, whatever you want, but stir all that good emotion and energy into your mixture.
  6. Once the liquid has cooled enough to handle, pour it into the spray bottle. Shake well before spraying to make sure any essential oils that settle out are re-combined.

If you have carpeted floors in some or all of your living space, you can do a couple of things. Vacuum them first, then either spray the solution and let it sit and dry on them, or spray it on the carpet and use a steamer to run over it, then spray another layer that you let dry.

Suggested Combinations for Floor Washes:

If you need a few to get you started, here are some go-to mixtures for me (any plants can be dried or fresh, your choice):

To Attract Prosperity or Money

  • 2-3 Tbsp basil, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp mint (any kind you want)
  • 2 tsp cinnamon (ground or EO)
  • 1/4 cup chamomile flowers

To Attract Love

  • 1/4 cup rose petals or buds
  • 2-3 Tbsp jasmine buds
  • 1-2 Tbsp coriander
  • 1-2 tsp minced or chopped ginger

To Protect from Negative Energy

  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup carnation buds
  • 1/4 cup hyssop
  • myrrh (usually 5-10 drops EO works better than the resin here)
  • optional: a few Tbsp Florida water and/or salt

To Bring Happiness to a Home

  • 2-3 Tbsp rosemary
  • 1/2 lemon, sliced (you can use lemon EO as well)
  • 2 Tbsp marjoram
  • 1-2 tsp ginseng diced, minced, ground, or otherwise

how to balance your natal chart elements

I mentioned in my book review post of Spiritual Protection by Sophie Reicher some things I had intuitively been doing to offset a really strong lack of earth element in my natal chart.

I figured this is something that might not be intuitive to everyone, and I had promised to follow up with a post that gave some tips for balancing your elements, should you happen to have one or more that are lacking.

First, if you don’t know how your elements are distributed in your chart, get a free natal chart done here.

Once you have entered your information and generated your chart, look in the tables below the chart itself, for a super handy visual that breaks it down for you. It will look like this:

Now, look at the left hand column “F, A, E, W” which represent, you guessed it, the element signs: Fire signs, Air signs, Earth signs, and Water signs.

Do you have any of those rows empty or very few compared to the others? My example above is a perfect illustration of what you might see with just one element lacking, Earth in my case. Notice how there’s lots of Water, and Fire and Air are pretty moderate, but one lone little Chiron in Taurus to represent Earth.

As I have expanded my spiritual and magickal path through life, the deeper I go into this, the more it becomes evident to me that this imbalance affects me in various ways. One thing I started doing that I now look back on is I have been grabbing certain crystals or stones to carry with me in my pocket or purse, or just on my desk and from time to time I touch them, or hold them while briefly meditating.

This helps to pull me back to ‘Earth’ so to speak and keep me better grounded, since the characteristics of this element do not always come naturally to me.

Balancing Your Natal Chart Elements

So, here’s where we start working on ways to add back in those elements which we lack.

Fire

The lack of Fire element in your chart can show up as lack of assertiveness and perhaps struggling to find and express your creativity and passions. It might also present as lack of initiative or drive.

Here are some ways to add more Fire to your day to balance you out:

  • burn candles often, especially near you; they can be scented or unscented and they don’t have to have any special magickal significance other than they represent fire
  • drink herbal tea made with these herbs: calendula, dandelion, basil, angelica, hawthorn, nettle, rue, rosemary, any other red or orange blossomed plants (please consult a trained herbalist before consuming any plants you are unfamiliar with)
  • carry or wear jewelry made with these stones or crystals: carnelian, dragon stone, citrine, red jasper, red agate/fire agate, red aventurine, yellow aventurine, tiger’s eyes, garnet, yellow and orange calcite, yellow or bumblebee jasper, yellow or orange quartz, yellow sapphire, sunstone
  • wear brightly colored red, orange, or yellow clothes, shoes, or other accessories to bring some fire to your wardrobe
  • if you can’t burn an actual candle at work or home for some reason, get some of the electric tea lights or even a strand of fairy lights to string up and add some sparkle to an area you spend a good deal of time in
  • cook with more spices, especially the fiery peppers higher in capsaicin, an ingredient that creates the ‘heat’ you taste in spicy food; these include paprika, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne, but also red/green chiles, tobasco, bell peppers, and then all the spicier peppers from jalapeños to Carolina reapers. (please use caution and common sense when consuming spicy foods; if you are not used to a lot of spice, introduce these slowly and in small amounts based on your personal tolerance; capsaicin in larger amounts than you’re used to creates irritation in mucous membranes)
  • take acting classes or join an improv group; you can also resolve to stand up for yourself, set strong boundaries, and speak out more often
  • experiment with various creative hobbies; if you don’t know where to start, wander around an art or craft/hobby store and see what grabs your attention

Air

Air is the element of the intellect, thought, words, and communication. If you lack Air in your chart, you may be more prone to close-minded thinking patterns, might find it hard to express yourself through written communication, or may find it difficult to learn languages, even including those which are native to you.

Adding more Air element to your day might look like some of these:

  • burning incense, if you can do this where you live or work
  • turn a small fan on near where you spend more time, especially if you can have it gently waft essential oils associated with Air element like: peppermint, lemongrass, and lavender
  • dab a bit of those essential oils on your temples, neck, or wrists (dilute them if needed before applying to your skin)
  • carry or wear jewelry that contains any of these crystals: sapphire, smoky quartz, tourmaline, topaz, rhodonite, lapis lazuli, amethyst, peridot
  • practice deep, rhythmic breathing exercises
  • drink herbal tea made with any of these herbs: lavender, peppermint, elder flower, thyme, wormwood, mugwort, comfrey (please consult a trained herbalist before consuming any plants you are unfamiliar with)
  • write in a journal or even just a private blog daily to improve your written communication
  • join a writers group, especially one that helps with writing prompts to allow you to develop this skill further
  • take an online course; you can find many free ones here

Earth

A lack of Earth element in your chart might leave you feeling flaky, unstable, or trouble holding onto or managing money smartly. You may also be prone to jumping from one new idea to the next without seeing them through (for me this manifests as starting many things and finishing few).

You can add more Earth element to your day with any of these following ideas:

  • walk barefoot outside (if safe to do so) for at least a few minutes a couple times a day; this helps you absorb the negative ions from the Earth, which send happy balancing waves throughout your body
  • center and ground often throughout the day (hint: the book I mentioned at the beginning of this post, Spiritual Protection by Sophie Reicher, has an excellent simple technique for this that I really like, and it doesn’t take a lot of time to do)
  • keep rocks nearby you, or crystals such as: agate, jade, tourmaline, nephrite, turquoise, quartz, onyx, malachite, jasper
  • wear earthy colors such as greens, browns, tans, and neutral or natural dyes/undyed textiles
  • get help with financial planning or sign up for apps that help you track your spending and create a budget
  • dab a drop or two of these essential oils on: patchouli, vetiver, cedar, or pine (dilute them if needed before applying to your skin)
  • drink herbal tea made with any of these herbs: pennyroyal, black cohosh, slippery elm, sage, horehound (please consult a trained herbalist before consuming any plants you are unfamiliar with; some of the ones mentioned here should never be used during pregnancy)
  • either eat more salt (work with a qualified healthcare practitioner to determine your safe daily intake levels of salt) or keep a bowl of salt at your desk or nearby where you spend a good deal of time
  • keep a salt lamp near you while you work or sleep

Water

Water feels like home to me, obviously if you look at my chart, its my whole foundation. It is the element of emotions, empathy, and love.

But a lack of Water in your chart might manifest emotionally as lacking or having trouble experiencing empathy, being emotionally cold, closed-off, trouble accessing or interpreting yours or others’ emotions, and, some people will even say you could feel chronically physically thirsty because of this lack.

Here are some ways to add Water element to your day to help you even this out:

  • drink more fluids (this one seems obvious, but I meet so many people that just don’t do this)
  • take herbal or magickal baths weekly
  • do a daily ritual cleanse with a bowl or sink, washing your hands and/or face, adding essential oils if desired
  • essential oils associated with Water element include: jasmine, chamomile, spearmint, ylang ylang, sandalwood, and myrrh
  • keep a bowl of spring water on your desk or nightstand
  • these crystals have Water element properties: blue lace agate, amazonite, aquamarine, aventurine, blue chalcedony, chrysocolla, agatized coral, red coral, emerald, sea shells of all varieties, lepidolite, opal, prehnite, quartz, blue sapphire, tourmaline
  • drink tea often; using these herbs, which are associated with Water element, can further enhance this: burdock, valerian, echinacea, chamomile, and roses (please consult a trained herbalist before consuming any plants you are unfamiliar with)
  • play background noises with waterfalls or running water sounds while you work or meditate

plant a goddess garden

I’ve been thinking about this topic for a while because I love planting things and I love the concept of planting things specifically for a particular deity, goddess, or just all of them. Creating a welcoming environment for your favorite goddess(es) through the use of nature seems exceptionally appreciative and grateful, IMO.

And, most deities have specific plants they are connected to in some way, or specific colors they resonate with best, so its pretty simple to put together some basic garden plans based on one or more goddesses (and yes, technically you could do this for a god or a deity that is not gender specific).

Indoor or Outdoor?

Before even selecting plants, determine where this garden is going to exist. If you do not have the ability to plant something outdoors, but you do have some space inside, even if you think its small, it still counts, and, while I can’t speak for a particular goddess, most seem to be receptive and appreciative of humans planting things in their honor, especially if you show that some thought has gone into its design and selection.

The biggest thing with indoor vs outdoor is the lighting. If you have the ability to set up sunlamps on your plants all day, then I wouldn’t worry about the question of full sun vs partial sun vs partial shade vs full shade (and yes, technically partial sun and partial shade are not the same thing).

Usually, if you’re indoors, a south-facing window will get what’s considered full sun in most locales, but other things might affect that, like outdoor trees blocking the rays to your window, or tall buildings obscuring sunlight from that spot, so you’ll need to determine this by watching that spot or even taking pics of it throughout the course of a day to see how much light actually filters in through your chosen location.

Make note of how many hours of sunlight your chosen spot gets. Here are some basic guides for hours of sunlight:

  • Full sun is 6+ hours of light, but might be more like 8-10 if you’re growing veggies
  • Partial sun is 4-6 hours of light
  • Partial shade is at least 2, but usually not more than 4 hours of direct light
  • Full shade is 2 or less hours of direct light per day

Your chosen space, depending on how big it is, might even have zones where parts of it are full shade and others are part sun. I have a spot in my backyard where I’m planning my goddess garden and I took pics of it every 30-60 min during a day to determine which parts fall into which category, so I could more effectively choose plants.

Make note of that.

Which Plants Should You Choose?

Here’s the fun part! Regardless of whether indoor or outdoor, you want to first look for plants associated with your chosen goddess(es) and make a list. It can be as long or short as you want. Don’t forget to include a wide variety, not just flowering plants. Think herbs, shrubs/small trees, medicinal roots, and so forth.

Once you have your list of associated plants, dig into what color spectrum your chosen goddess(es) resonates most with. Which of the plants on your goddess-specific list also fulfill color correspondences? Make a note of those as 1st choice plants.

Are there other plants that were not on your original list that do match the color correspondence of your goddess(es)? Consider including those, as long as you can’t find any reason why that goddess(es) would not like that plant.

Cross off any plants that just aren’t going to work with the given light situation. Trust me, if you don’t have full sun, don’t try to grow a full sun plant in partial shade. You’ll get frustrated and it won’t thrive.

Also, do some simple googling to find out if a plant you’ve selected can be grown indoors/outdoors. Some plants even if they get full sun inside are really meant to be outdoor plants and may be very care intensive or difficult to grow indoors, and vice versa. If you’re a skilled horticulturist and have access to a greenhouse and stuff like that, go for it, though!

Now, you should have a narrowed down list of plants that match the lighting conditions and the location, as well as the goddess(es) plant and color associations.

In my backyard garden, I made a list of these plants that I wanted to grow in a garden I plan to dedicate to multiple goddesses, but its primarily designed for Freya and Hekate, as those were the two I was most heavily working with at the time:

  • black columbine
  • garlic (flowering)
  • bluebells
  • orange columbine
  • mint
  • lemon balm
  • scarlet pimpernel
  • rue

Plan It!

Scribble on a piece of paper the rough shape of the space you’ve got and anything else in the space structurally that’s part of it. This is sort of like your floor plan (or ground plan).

On your floor plan, make note of the spots that have different lighting conditions, if they do.

Indicate how big in feet or inches the space is, and roughly scribble in bubbles or shapes of where the desired plants will go.

This can be as simple as a couple of pots on your windowsill to a complex landscaped plot on your land. Don’t overthink it, put it down how it speaks to you. You can always change it if needed.

Below is what my scribbled out plan looks like:

seriously, your scribbles do NOT need to look like a really professional design, as long as you can read it!

Now, if you’re working this goddess garden into a space you plan to spend time, you can also consider things like seating and access. I plan to eventually put some nice cushioned outdoor chairs into mine where I can sit and read, enjoying fresh air.

One other thing to have on your mind at this point is pets. If indoors or outdoors, be cognizant of whether your chosen plants are toxic to dogs or cats. Just because they are doesn’t mean you can’t have them, but if you have a pet that will definitely sample your plants, then its best to leave it out. Neither of my dogs have any interest in eating or tasting my indoor plants, so I don’t worry about it there.

Also, if outdoors, will your plants be left undisturbed enough to grow. I have two dogs, one of which is fairly destructive just because he’s big and loves to run around, trampling whatever happens to get in his way, so some pretty fencing around my goddess garden is going to be a requirement for me.

You may also have pests like rabbits or other rodents that will dig up any bulbs or roots you plant, so consider some animal-safe deterrents for pests.

Plant It!

Okay, so this post isn’t going to go into detail about starting from seeds vs already sprouted or grown plants. You can decide what works best for you and your space, as well as your experience and comfort level with plants and gardening.

But the key is, follow through on your design and then follow through on the upkeep. Plants need to be cared for just like any other living being, and, if you’re like me, you may find they really do have personalities and characters that you’ll start to become familiar with (I promise talking to your plants isn’t as weird as it sounds).

I look at a goddess garden like this: if you are dedicating a space to a deity or spirit, care for it as if they actually live there all the time, and keep it neat, beautiful, inviting, and above all else, loved. If you can realistically only do this for a couple of plants right now, that’s completely fine!


One more thing. If you’re going the indoor route, I cannot recommend enough the app Planta (looks like its only available on iOS right now). This was a game changer for me to remember when to water my indoor plants. A year ago, I had like dozens of plant deaths under my belt for the simple reason that I would just forget or it wasn’t a priority.

I now have dozens of happy thriving plant citizens in my home, and I give almost all the credit to this app (some credit needs to go to one of my ancestors who was a legit world-renowned botanist who I have been working with and welcoming into my home).

Planta is geared for already established plants, so if you’re growing from seed, you’ll need to wait til they start to germinate a bit, but after that, enter each plant you have, pics of it, and the app will give you tons of detail, watering schedule, etc.

It also even adjusts watering frequency by time of year and the available light conditions where your plant is, as those will affect if your plant needs more or less water.

I use the free version which is really all you need for watering schedule, but if you’re someone who wants all the extra info like reminders of when to fertilize and when to repot, etc, there is a version you can pay for monthly.

They do also have settings for outdoor and indoor/outdoor, which I think are also part of the premium paid version.

a quick guide to protection magick

This post is, as the name implies, all about protection. there could be many reasons right now why you may feel that you, a loved one, or just some people in general, need protection.

Protection spells for the home, your vehicle, your physical person, or a group of people are some of the most trending things online in the magickal community at the moment, and for good reason.

First, there’s social unrest. there’s no better way to say it. people are (rightfully) upset about police violence against people of color, and they’re marching, protesting, and voicing their concerns as Americans with rights guaranteed by our constitution.

So, perhaps you yourself are protesting, perhaps a friend or family member is, or perhaps you want to make sure the protesters out there are protected. this is one scenario I’ve seen often.

Another reason is the spiritual awakening and stirring up of the other side of the veil through more contact from the human realm, more energy poured into requests and spell workings, and even just because right now, a number of astrological events are going on that are making it easier for entities, both benevolent and potentially malevolent, to contact and interact with our world.

This might leave you feeling vulnerable to some of those energies, especially if they are unwanted. Even if they are wanted or at least neutral, this can still leave you drained and in need of some basic barriers.

So, let’s get down to the basics of protecting yourself, your property, and other people.

Personally, I usually like to build or design my own spells and rituals, as the more personal you make something, the more energetically invested you are, and the more likely it will be to be successful.

If you prefer to just read some words that someone else wrote and light a candle, that’s okay, but if they’re not your words and don’t resonate strongly with you, or are difficult for you to envision, they may not yield the results you want.

What I’ve put together here is a quick reference to tools such as deities, colors, crystals, plants/herbs, and other items that are commonly used in protection magick, so that you can pick and choose what you think will suit your needs best for your particular request.

Deities Associated With Protection

Regardless of which path you follow, its likely you’ll encounter a variety of deities, beings, or spirits that are or can be petitioned to provide protection for a variety of people and/or objects. This is not an exhaustive list, but I’ve tried to include the most common ones you’ll come across with established histories.

  • Akewa (S. America): protector of women, especially from patriarchal systems
  • Ancestors (yours!!): possibly one of the most important and first sources you should consult if this is protection associated with yourself or a relative/loved one
  • Apollo (Greek): protector of the young
  • Artemis (Greek): protector of unmarried young women
  • Athena (Greek): originally a protectress of Athens, some invoke her for protection outside of that city
  • Aziri (Africa): protects women from abusive men
  • Banba (Irish): goddess of protection
  • Bast (Egyptian): General protection, protection of women and children, but can be specific to those fighting wars or battles, too
  • Bishamon-Ten (Japan): protector of human life, chaser of demons
  • Brigid (Celtic): Especially for young people/youth; healing matters, especially for women
  • Chun T’i (Chinese): protects against war
  • Diana (Roman): protector of witches
  • Durga (India): protection, triumph of good over evil
  • Empanda (Roman): a goddess of general protection for those in need of it
  • Esme (Welsh): general protection
  • Faumea (Polynesian): protection goddess
  • Freya (Norse): may be invoked for protection by her Valkyries;
  • Frigga (Norse): protectress of women and children
  • Gordafarid (Persian): protector of women, female bravery
  • Green Tara (Buddhist): for spiritual and physical protection; for strength, for fearlessness, and for overcoming danger
  • Gyhldeptis (N. American): protectress of the people
  • Hebat (Mesopotamia): protection of women during war
  • Hestia (Greek): protection of the home
  • Horus (Egyptian): god of protection and war
  • Inanna (Sumerian): protection of her followers
  • Ishtar (Babylonian): protector of women, particularly those who have been wronged by men
  • Isis (Egyptian): protector of marriage and love
  • Juno (Roman): protector of women (also attributed as Hera, Greek goddess)
  • Kuan Yin (Buddhist): Healing; she is also the patron protector of women, children, artists, and those who are imprisoned
  • Lama (Mesopotamian): personal protection
  • Maahes (Egypt): devourer of the guilty and protector of the innocent
  • Mama Quilla (Incan): protectress of married women from harm
  • Michael, archangel (Christian/Hebrew): physical and spiritual protection
  • Minona (W. Africa): a protectress of women
  • Oya (Yoruba): protectress of women
  • Pellonia (Roman): a goddess who protects one from their enemies
  • Pinga (Inuit): goddess of protection
  • Princess Liễu Hạnh (Taoism): protector and emancipator of women
  • Shakti (Hindu): protection and banishing
  • Shekinah (Middle Eastern): protects humanity from evil
  • Soteria (Greek): deliverance from harm and protection/safety
  • Tawaret (Egyptian): protection from evil, protection of pregnant women
  • Thor (Norse): protector of the common man
  • Uni (Etruscan): protection of women from harm
  • Vishnu (Hindu): god of protection, especially vanquishing evil
  • Yemaya (Yoruba): Protection, especially of women

Colors Associated With Protection

The most commonly used color in protection spells, such as for candles, is black. Black has long been associated with protection spells and magick. White can also be used in protection magic, but is more commonly used for cleansing (negativity, harm, pain, etc).

Orange can be used to encourage power, both emotional and physical.

Grey can be used to bind negative people or influence.

Color associations can also be specific to the deity with whom you are working, or could be for offerings, as well.

Crystals Associated With Protection

  • obsidian
  • smoky quartz
  • clear quartz
  • amethyst
  • black tourmaline
  • fluorite
  • jet
  • kyanite (blue)

Plants and Herbs Associated With Protection

  • angelica
  • anise
  • basil
  • bay leaves
  • carnation
  • cedar
  • chamomile
  • cloves
  • comfrey
  • coriander
  • dragon’s blood
  • fennel
  • ferns
  • garlic
  • hyssop
  • lavender
  • lilac
  • mandrake
  • mistletoe
  • mullein
  • myrrh
  • nettle
  • oak
  • parsley
  • pepper, black
  • periwinkle
  • rosemary
  • rue
  • sage
  • St John’s wort
  • sandalwood
  • thyme
  • witch hazel
  • wormwoood
  • yarrow

Other Associations

  • graveyard dirt, esp from graves of your ancestors
  • sea salt
  • Florida water
  • thorns
  • frankincense resin
  • myrrh resin
  • moon water
  • crystal-infused water
  • vinegar
  • sigils
  • imagery/symbols

Now, all that being said, you still need to put things together in such a way that makes sense for what you are asking, in other words, your specific outcome.

This could be assembled as a jar spell, it could be simply a candle you light and talk with a deity or ancestor, or it could be any number of other rituals or spells where you apply your intention and will toward your intended outcome.

And, I will also add here that when working with a deity or specific entity or spirit, regardless of color associations, plant associations, etc of protection, its usually best to have other or additional candles or items specific to that deity as well. So, if you’re working with a deity that resonates best with blue candles, include both a black candle for protection as well as a blue candle for your deity, got it? Similar for any other correspondence element.

Hopefully this gives you plenty to start with!

6 amazing facts about ginseng

yesterday i put this rad ‘superhuman soap’ made with uber amounts of ginseng up in my shop (psst you can still probably grab a bar or two if you missed it), so i thought i’d follow that up with some info you might just not know about ginseng.

first, i love ginseng. i’ve said it before and i’ll say it again, ginseng is one of those ‘miracle’ plants that i recommend almost all of my patients take in my clinical practice. there are just so many fabulous reasons to incorporate it into your life, besides just in soap form (but shameless plug, you can buy it in soap form and it smells amazing, with subtle notes of chamomile and clove underlying it).

anyway, here are some things you might not know about ginseng:

its a really strong antioxidant

antioxidants are compounds in plants that scavenge free radicals. free radicals are things we don’t want, but are normally exposed to constantly, either through:

  • just regular cellular metabolism that generates free radicals as a type of ‘waste product’
  • to normal liver detoxification that generates free radicals as intermediate compounds in the process of detoxifying other things
  • or even in the form of various pollutants and toxicants, which are all over our modern homes, air, vehicles, food, cleaning products, skincare, etc etc.

antioxidants grab those free radicals and prevent them from binding to our cell membranes, our DNA, and even other nutrients we need to stay healthy.

it increases the lifespan of your cells (and maybe also you)

if you want to go down a really neat science rabbit hole someday, look into the subject of telomeres. there are the little tales on our chromosomes that, the more our cells divide as we age, these chromosome tails shorten and eventually, they are short the chromosome can no longer divide correctly, the cell either becomes cancerous and is destroyed by other cells (hopefully) or it just dies.

ginseng is one of only a handful of compounds (the actual compounds in ginseng are polyphenols called ‘gensinosides’) that are known to prevent telomere shortening, but also, in some cases, lengthening of telomeres.

a ton of studies have been done in certain populations, such as the blue zone in Okinawa where there are more than the average number of centenarians, and one of the factors attributed to their unusually long lifespan is greater consumption of ginseng, among other foods.

it enhances memory

ginseng, particularly the panax ginseng variety, is commonly prescribed for aging individuals who are experiencing declining cognitive function, including memory loss.

ginseng has been used in asian populations for centuries for its ability to enhance cognitive functions such as focus, memory, and even learning tasks. its been widely studied for its impacts on neurocognitive and neuroprotective mechanisms.

it increases alertness and focus

one of my favorite things about adding ginseng to tea i drink in the afternoon or evening is its subtle yet potent ability to keep me alert and wipe away the 5-o-clock sleepies, while not keeping me from falling asleep later at night, like caffeine later in the day tends to do for some people.

this may have to do with similar pathways in the brain that ginseng impacts in aging populations for tasks like memory and cognition, as it has the effect of increasing alertness and focus overall.

it may enhance sexual function

this is something it has been used for in traditional chinese medicine (TCM) for millennia, as it is thought to improve endocrine function in the sexual hormone cascade.

it restores deficient ‘qi’ or ‘chi’

this is also something pratitioners of TCM have used it for, as this herb is remarkable at restoring and balancing the vital life force of the human body when used regularly.

as you can see, the name Panax, the generic name of ginseng, may be truly accurate, as it stems from the roots ‘pan’ (all) and akos (cure), translating to literally ‘cure all’ or cures anything, which many practitioners of ancient chinese medicine believed.

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