Herbal Information Sources

Today I thought I would write about herbalism. And I realize there is so much information out there that you might like to know what sources I use and my process for researching them.

I have several rules of practice when looking for information on herbs. First, I google medicinal uses for….(insert herb here) I look at no less than 15 sites if the herb is new to me. Then I look for what the herb contains, not just its uses. When I begin to see the same information being repeated, that is the information I then write down. After that, I go to my books, and for a new herb, I use no less than eight. Then when that information matches up with what I found online, I enter the matching information into my herbal journal confident in what I have found.

Why do I do all of this? Because herbs are medicine and chemicals just like a prescription.

My number one rule is “Do your own research”, even if a trusted friend gives you good information. Two herbs are responsible for this rule, Kava and the mint family of which there are 7000 species. Kava is listed as harmless and non-toxic, yet if someone has liver issues it can cause them harm. In the mint family of 7000, if someone is allergic to one of them, they are likely to be allergic to all of them. Almost every herb has some indication like this and it takes deep research to find it at times.

I also look at what an herb contains and I find words like saponins, flavonoids, or rutin. I look them up too so I know what they are and how they interact with the body. I look at the actions and find words like depurative, vulnerary, and diuretic, and look them up too. All for the sake of safety and being confident of what I am using.

This resulted in my creation of an herbal glossary I keep for my own use and teach my students. You will find that glossary on my blog at http://catginacole.com/a-little-herbalism-for-your-day/ It is an excellent example of the types of words to look for. I also created the glossary because I discovered herbalism has its own language and the glossary became the key to understanding it.

I do have several friends I have come to trust over time to converse with about herbs, they are: Kathleen Crochet Stursa- Herbalist, simpler, and Gardner extraordinaire, Ruth Overholser-Owner of Lady Thyme Herbs in Cave Junction Oregon, Janice Patterson Sidel-Owner of the Dancing Gypsy in Klamath Falls Oregon, Erika Fortner- Owner of Queen Meb in Portland, Katrina Rasbold- Owner of Crossroads Metaphysical Store in Shingle Springs Ca. These ladies really know their stuff and if the research fails, I can always count on them.

There are two links I use the most, they are Web MD and VeryWellHealth.com I also watch Suzan Weed on YouTube and a few others on occasion. I look at many other links as well but these are the most used.

There is nothing like finding a good herb book with special nuggets of information. When you buy one, check the glossary, index, and bibliography. This will tell you exactly how good the book really is. Here is the list of my current herbal books.

Practical Herbalism by Frtichey

The Good Herb by Judith Benn Hurley

Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs

The Consumers Guide to Herbalism by Steven Kirch

Magic and Medicine of Herbs by Readers Digest

The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs by  Sarah Bunny-Barnes and Noble

Magic with Incense and Powders by Ana Riva

Medicinal Plants of The Pacific Northwest by Moore

Petersons Guide to Medicinal Plants & Herbs

Todays Herbal Health by Tenny

The Herbalist by Joseph E Meyer

I also have assorted books on aromatherapy and oils and am always looking for more! Feel free to share your favorites with me by leaving a comment and happy herbing!

Tarot Trance, The Fool

A note about trancework. Anything that occurs in trance falls under the category of UPG-Unverifiable Personal Gnosis (knowledge) This means it is personal to you and not verifiable by other means. Each of us have our own unique events and ways of doing them. Most of mine are done while awake and sitting up, only a few are done while sleeping. So, the following is my personal gnosis.

I have been a psychic my whole life and I am used to my head being full of thought and sound. In 2018 I received a traumatic brain injury in a car accident. After the accident, my brain was completely quiet. I could not even hear my own thoughts before I said them. The irony is how hard we try to quiet our minds in meditation. But this was almost surgical and quite distressing.

Then my gal pal Phaedra Bonewits whom I had been training under, gave me a task. I was not to just meditate on each of the major arcana of the Tarot but deeply trance on each of them. This accomplished many things, and it brought back my psychism enough for me to begin my journey back to being the psychic I had been my whole life.

This tarot trance begins with the fool card. On this day I was not feeling well and was going back to bed and about to put the work off again. But last minuet I decided to grab the fool card and focus on it as I drifted off. I looked very closely at every small detail. I had to force myself to keep my focus and not let my mind wander. I looked hard at all the colors, the position things were in, the scene, and took it all in.

What I see is, the “fool” does not have a care in the world and is actually taking in the splendor. He has a look of “I have arrived and look at this splendid place” to him. There is no impending doom or fear of falling off the cliff. I reflect on how I think the label of the fool is misleading. He is not a fool at all, just a traveler. The dog has led him to this place and is also happy.

Then I fell asleep and became the fool and was on a small hill above a coastal village near the sea. As is typical of my dreams there were two of me. One the fool, the other also a fool aspect who was not as happy but seemed stronger than the original fool. Yet I am observing them both from a distance in my lucid state. Perhaps this is what Carl Jung meant when he says that dreams are aspects of the self.

As I ponder this a disagreement breaks out with some folks from the village that had arrived to see what we wanted. They were arguing about the dog, who they felt needed protecting. At the same time, an amazing sword appeared in the hands of the stronger fool aspect. It was bright silver, very strong, yet could fold when not in use.

Just then I noticed an orange color like the sun appear in the sky, which was partly obscured by the clouds. As I watched I began to see it was somewhat square and seemed to be a signal we were running out of time. In my mind, a voice said, “It’s coming let’s go!”

We shambled down the rough hillside over rocks and mud toward the village near the sea. When we reached the level ground we could see the village was spread out and primitive. As I,-the fool, took in the splendor of the village,  much like what is shown in the card, my stronger aspect had made it to the sea wall at the water’s edge. He was now involved in another dispute among the village elders there. They were rejecting him and denying him access to whatever was coming.

As I,- the fool, made my way to them, a huge fog rolled in. I remember thinking “What is this fog, I can’t see a thing!” Yet the orange square in the sky was coming closer and getting larger.

Annoyed with the fog and lack of clarity, and the confusion, the fool aspect stood tall. He lifted his chin, closed his eyes, opened his arms, and pushed out his chest towards the fog. This made the fog retreat, revealing that the orange square was a sail. The sail was so large and glorious it took my breath away, no one had seen the like and size before. The ship was just as fantastic and breathtaking. The dog became joyous and began jumping and barking like he was saying this is it! And I was excited too!

I then noticed the stronger aspect of the fool began to walk up the boat ramp with the sword in hand. He held it up, and said, “This is mine!” The elders of the village said, “The sword disagrees.” As they directed our attention to the sword, it folded up, became dim, and would not work for the stronger aspect as he struggled to try and re-open it. Once he gave up and handed it to the fool, however, it became bright and unfolded with all its strength and glory. The elders seemed to approve and allowed the fool and the dog to get on the ship. Then the cat jumped on my belly and woke me up!

Sorry folks, not all trances are complete stories. This is why I now do most of my trances sitting up in a closed room. But do not worry there are many more such fantastic tales to come, so stay tuned to see what is revealed in the next blog entry.



For many Magical practitioners, winter is, the dark time, and full of shadows. Seasonally we have only one winter, but it has occurred to me that according to our modern calendar, winter actually comes twice a year. In January most of us are deep into winter, then it comes again at the end of the year.

Winter brings in the new year and also ends the year. In the fall we see the slow onset of winter as it darkens and blankets the area for the rest of the season. In spring we see the slow recession of its grip and see the hope of spring arrive. Winter shows us the very cycle of “Life, Death, and Rebirth”

Many of us get snow which can lift our spirits. It is cold, it is crisp, it is fresh and it changes the way everything looks, smells, and sounds.

Magically what is snow? Snow is white, the color of purification and clarity. Snow has a way of purifying the air as it pushes all the dust and pollution back into the Earth. To me, that is the air getting cleansed and charged. Because cold crisp fresh air is invigorating, and easier to breathe, everything just feels lighter in a dark season and lifts my spirits too.

Snow is a combination of elements. Snow begins as water. Water is H-2-O, which gets so frozen in the atmosphere it becomes crystalized and falls to the Earth, where solids belong. These crystals bring all the purity and cleansing we know clear crystals to have to Earth with them. Later, they provide nourishing water that brings forth our spring.

Snow also gives us stillness because it seems to make everything stop. Snow dampens sound and stifles movement. This dampens the usual noise we are so used to hearing and gives us cause to listen and notice things. In this way, snow creates a liminal space. This makes it easier for those of us who can, to notice and communicate with the darkness and shadow of the season.

Most think of liminal space as crossroads, thresholds, portals, doors, walk through trees, the beach, and more. The liminal space that snow creates is not often spoken of. It is a liminal space of time. It creates something similar to what many feel when they walk into a church, where all the buzz of the world and time stops. There is only you and your soul. This is why so many do shadow work in this liminal time.

The darkness gives us space enough to let go of what is not useful, apply acceptance and awareness, put your fear aside, gather your strengths, grab your courage in spite of fears, and gain faith in our own ability and that of our divine. We do this shadow work so we can be ready to step across the threshold into a whole new year of the unknowable when spring comes.

When a magical practitioner finds a dark shadow in themselves or others and there is snow on the ground, you can place it in the snow to first freeze it and render it powerless, then to be purified by the snow, then to dissolve as the snow melts.

That kind of shadow work and dark magic is the lighter side of working “Dark Magic and Shadows. The lighter stuff is what prepares us for the real stuff to come. When we clean up our personal shadows, we are better prepared to face any other shadow that may come, not only in life but in Magic.

A Magical practitioner who faces their own shadows and has no fear of them will be able to face the more surprising darker things one encounters in Magic. On occasion, a “dark thing” will pop up in meditation, or a dream or astral travel. Even when working with deities or spirits we sometimes encounter dark stuff. Our shadow work allows us to face them and build skills to handle them. Make no mistake dark things exist in all facets of life and Magic.

It is the job of the Magical practitioner to be able to identify the dark, then decide how best to proceed. Either with protection, engagement or to provide accurate information to others.

There are many definitions of Dark Magic as there is with any type of Magic and discussions on White or Dark Magic and the ethics of it all. I am not here to debate that or give you a set answer to that. What I will and can say, is that Dark Magic exists whether you believe in it or not.

The power comes from acknowledgment. For example, there is an individual whose name I never say. I never say their name because I do not want any acknowledgment of any kind to lend power to them or to create an energetic link back to me. This is knowing darkness is there, but not acknowledging it. This is a type of magical defense, like putting up a shield. Belief is power and any power can be a spell or a protection.

This allows for us Magical practitioners to be aware and knowledgeable but not engage in anything we do not choose to. Yes, we can choose to accept what we experience or reject it, good or bad, either choice is a Magical power.

I have had plenty of occasions to walk among the dark shadows and to do dark magic. Being able to work dark magic and having it available when the need arises is a defense to the dark arts. I find it allows me to walk the light as a better protected and confident Magical practitioner.

So do not be afraid, to look into the shadows or dark magic and come to know them. Just because you look or know and are able does not mean that is where you will reside nor does it make you a dark practitioner, it makes you wise, protected, confident, and capable.

Cinnamon, A herb for the Season

Cinnamon is the bark from the lauraceous tree. While the tree is of the moon the herb is of the sun. Once I began researching cinnamon, I was surprised at the qualities of this un-assuming herb in my kitchen! It has many medical qualities. It is a great anti-fungal and antibacterial herb that makes a nice non-toxic bug repellant when sprinkled in kitchen cabinets. In large amounts, it even keeps away fire ants as long it is freshly applied around their mounds.

Cinnamon can be a lady’s best friend. A tea made with honey and cinnamon powder taken regularly arrests the advance of old age keeping the skin soft and reducing wrinkles!. For this take four spoons of honey, one spoon of cinnamon powder, and three cups of water and boil. Drink one cup per day. I have used cinnamon honey tea to reduce overall inflammation in the form of one cup each morning for a month with good results.

Cinnamon helps with fatigue when made with half a teaspoon of honey in a glass of water sprinkled with cinnamon around two or three in the afternoon when your energy is the lowest. If taken daily at the same time you will see an increase in your energy in about a week.

Cinnamon is high in antioxidants and the oil has anti-microbial properties. It also has manganese, fiber, iron, and calcium. Several studies show it may help type two diabetes, lower cholesterol, and blood pressure. For blood pressure, I make a tincture of cassia sticks. I break them up roughly and place them in a small jar with three ounces of 100 proof vodka. I place them in a dark place and shake now and then for 4 weeks.


This makes a strong tincture, no one should be on other blood pressure medicines if they are using this tincture. Dosing is one or two DROPS per day NO MORE and use for only 1 week at a time NO MORE. I have seen this tincture misused and drop a person’s blood pressure to dangerously low levels.

In powdered or stick form, culinary amounts of cinnamon are non-toxic, however, the oil is different. On the skin, it may cause redness and burning. If you were to ingest the oil, which is not a thing to do, it can cause burns on your lips, in your throat, and esophagus.


Chinese herbalists mention cinnamon as early as 2700 B.C. as an herb and treatment for fever. Later it was the Greeks and Romans that adopted cinnamon as a spice.

In the seventeenth century, Europeans considered cinnamon primarily a kitchen spice, but they used it to mask the bitterness of other healing herbs. There is a sound reason for flavoring toothpaste and mouth wash with cinnamon because it is a powerful antiseptic that kills many decays and disease-causing bacteria, fungi, and viruses.

Cinnamon does more than add flavors to cakes and other high-fat deserts, the herb helps break down fats in your digestive system, possibly by boosting the activity of some digestive enzyme. I think cinnamon is my newfound friend!

Cinnamon is certainly an herb for the season, but few of us think of it in magic. As we approach winter it is time for new beginnings. A time to take a look at what our harvests have brought us. It is a good time to clean and clear out the old to make room for the new. As you do the cleaning and clearing think of ideas, plans, and good fortune you hope to draw to you in the coming year.

The following spell courts the favor of the Kings of four winds. For this spell, you will need to ascertain North and South and so forth.

The four winds were given magical names by the ancient Greeks—Boreas, Eureus, Notus, and Zephyrus. In some circles, they are known as the four guardians. It is these forces together with those of the elemental spirits of Air, Water, Fire, and Earth, that are called upon to carry your desired goal to the four points of the universe.

The spell is designed to be performed outside because you would not want a child or pet to lick up the cinnamon and get harmed. For this spell you will need:

A quarter Tsp measuring spoon

2 small dishes for powdered cinnamon

A small rock or dish of dirt to represent the earth

A white or red candle and holder to represent fire

A feather to represent air

A shell or dish of water to represent water

2-Tsp powdered cinnamon

To set up a proper place, cast a circle of protection as you create your sacred space. Arrange your items on your altar or table and light your candle. Take up one dish of cinnamon, and think for a moment about the four kings and what they mean to you. Then raise up the dish and say Oh great Kings of the Elemental quarters I make this offering to you in gratitude for all you do and have done. After you cast a pinch of cinnamon in each direction, say, Great King of the ( say direction here, north, south, etc) I ask you attend my working and accept my offering so mote it be.

Take the second dish of cinnamon and visualize the achievement of your goal in fine detail. Hold the herb to your mouth being careful not to let it touch your lips, and breathe on it gently, like an exhale to charge the spice with your goal.

Next, put a ¼ tsp in your hand and turn to the North and say; King Boreas of the Northwind, by the powers of Earth, I call on you and ask that you carry my desire to your realm in the Northern Quarter, that you may lend your great power toward my success. Now gently blow the herb from your palm in the direction of the North., and say So Mote it be. Do not blow on the cinnamon too hard or it will get in your eyes and that will be painful.

Take another ¼ of cinnamon into your hand and turn to the East and say; King Eureus of the East wind, by the power of the Air I call you and ask that you carry my desire to your realm in the Eastern quarter, that you may lend your great power so toward my success, then blow a quarter of the herb to the East from your palm and say So Mote It Be.

Put another ¼ tsp of cinnamon in your hand and turn South and say; King Notus of the South wind, by the power of Fire, I call you and ask that you carry my desire to your realm in the Southern quarter, that you may lend your great power toward my success. Blow a quarter of the herb to the South from your palm and say So Mote it Be.

Turn to the West with another ¼ of the cinnamon and say; King Zephyrus of the West, by the power of the Water, I call you and ask that you carry my desire to your realm in the Western quarter, that you may lend your power toward my success, blow the final quarter of the herb to the South from your palm and say So Mote it Be.

Now face the altar and raise your hands and voice and say Oh great kings of the quarters may you accept my offering and my works, thank you for your presence and power as you safely return to your realms with my desire. Then say so mote it be. Leave the items there and let the candle burn down all the way, making sure it is safe from pets and kids, or you can take the candle in and let it finish burning indoors.



(1)Catanna.com/yule spells


(3) alchemy-works.com/herb-cinnamon

(4)hub pages.com/hub/cinnamon


(6)healing herbs, by Michael Castelman

(7)spells by Mathew Green

8) web MD

Samhain 2021

This year for Samhain our group did something a bit different. After being restricted from many group activities over the last year or so because of covid, we were itching to celebrate with the greater Pagan community again. So yesterday on October 30th we decided to attend a small, first annual, Witch festival in Albany Oregon that was coordinated by The Wild Witches of Willamette’s, Jan So, and others. Their group is based out of Salem Oregon.

When I arrived I was warmly greeted by Jan So. My friend Catt Foy, Author of Rune Stones and Their Interpretations, and three other books, and purveyor of the Psy Cards, was also there and we had a pleasant but short visit as she was already heading home when we arrived.

Soon the rest of our coven arrived, George and Anwyn Leverett, Priest and priestess in their own right and owners and creators of Altarwind Music. They are the only ones making Hurdy Gurdies in the USA currently.  George and others make them in his shop and Anwyn tunes them and is a true beauty. George had brought with him a 3 string Hurdy Gudy of his own design, so as we crossed the street and enjoyed the vendors he played music for us. People were fascinated by his Hurdy Gurdy.

Also in attendance was Chase Doney, leader of the Moon Tribe, priestess in training, and student in our Coven of the Rising Phoenix, looking stunning as usual.

Also in attendance was Co-High Priestess and teacher of the Coven of the rising Phoenix, Phaedra Bonewits. She has a very long Pagan history back East, starting with being 3rd generation Lodge initiated Garnarian, The Witches of Greenfield, Co-Author of Real Energy, and Widow, of Isaac Bonewits, and much more. If you wish to see her full bio it is available on google.

At the Witches Fair and Gathering Festival, there were many lovely vendors, belly dancing, and more. One of the vendors was a young gal whose artwork I saw in a Pagan group, Eva Marie Shaw. I was so impressed with her work I connected her to the Green Egg Magazine run by Oberon Zell, for whom I write articles. One of her works will be in their next issue. It was a pleasure to meet her in person and purchase some of her work myself. In all, it was a lovely time!

As we headed South, we stopped in Eugene to drop by Catt Foy’s home to celebrate her purchase of the rental home she has been living in for the last 7 yrs. She almost lost it due to covid rules. It was a hard fight after the death of her husband, but she and her friend Shawn Guerro prevailed and they sign the papers on the house soon. Our coven held a small blessing ritual for them in her back yard under her amazing tree which I led. It was the perfect ending to a perfect day.

What is Witchcraft, Magic and Psychism?

What is Witchcraft?

That is a question that continues to be hotly debated on social media. There is a lot of “who gets to decide that and why?” type of questions that go along with it too. The answer also depends on culture, pantheon, and personal beliefs. So, you may be asking why bother to attempt to answer such a question?

Well, as a Leader, Elder, Author, Priestess, and practicing Witch for over 50 yrs, and because I am in about 40-50 “witch” groups on social media, I see many looking for direction and firm answers. This is my attempt to answer some of these questions in bulk.

I will begin with an analogy. If you fill a glass half full of water then pour in oil and keep pouring in oil, eventually the oil will push all the water out of the glass. All that will remain is oil.

Meaning a thing still has to have the basics that identify it as what it is, in order to still be that thing. The word Witchcraft brings some negative things to mind thanks to hundreds of years if not thousands of years of people saying it is working with the devil or evil. Witchcraft can be a big scary word but in fact, it is very simple.

Witchcraft also has basics that identify it as Witchcraft. Witchcraft is generally defined as a nature-based religion, that uses magic and psychic skills to be in tune with nature and the world.

A practitioner of the craft may invoke an element or God or Goddess or attend a ceremony or ritual that is magical or work them on their own. Witchcraft is the practice of what the practitioner believes to be supernatural skills and abilities, such as the casting of spells and the performance of Magic.

My family tradition defines Witchcraft as one that uses Magic and Psychism to work with all forces of nature, energy, spirit, and deity. In our tradition, a Witch is also an herbalist and healer that employs all wise craft.

Conversely, a Witch can be any denomination they please. They are only limited by the beliefs they choose to practice. This means a Christian witch only practices within the confines of those beliefs and a Pagan Witch, or Buddhist Witch only practice within the confines of their belief set.


Paganism is a big umbrella that covers a wide variety of beliefs. Just like the umbrella of Christianity covers being Catholic, Lutheran, Baptist, and more. Being a Pagan does not mean one is a Witch.

Pagans love nature and this planet. Many feel at one with it and are very in tune with the cycles of the seasons. They often find joy in the small things the planet has to offer such as a bird singing or a honeybee, and it brings them joy and knowledge.

Summarily, not all Pagans are Witches, not all Wiccans are Witches, not all Witches are pagan, and not all Witches are Wiccan, but all Witches practice Magic. Practicing Magic is one of those things that identify Witchcraft as Witchcraft.

WICCA (Greek derivative for wise one)

Wicca is often defined as contemporary witchcraft and is recognized as a religion. I do not think there is one finite definition for Wicca. The definition I give here is a conglomeration of definitions. However, it is frequently characterized by the worship of deities called gods and goddesses. It contains the belief in the superiority of the mother goddess, who represents nature, emphasizes harmony with nature, and tries to appeal to this harmony.

Wicca uses ceremonies, rituals, and amulets, and more for those who are also Magical practitioners. There is a belief in life after physical death known as the life, death, and rebirth cycle. The harm none and rule of three-fold are part of their precepts. They practice reverence for the earth, the wheel of the year, planetary consciousness within their system of Magical practices. Some, but not all, of what Wicca practices are also identifiers that make Witchcraft, Witchcraft.


Neo-Paganism is an eclectic modern movement that began in the ’60s that is primarily concerned with revived and reconstructed pre-christian nature religions and mystery traditions. It draws its base from a wide spectrum of people, who may or may not be Wiccan. Many Neo-Pagans are interested in the occult revival, environmentalism, mythology, spiritual awareness, and comparative religions.


So, what is Magic? Magic is the application of the will or manipulation of natural but hidden forces like energy,  the spirit of something, deity, and other spirits, the elements and more, to affect change using means not understood by science.

Magic is the ability to effect change in accordance with one’s will by invoking things outside of the five physical senses. Such changes are accomplished through ritual, spells, energy work, and more, in which cosmic powers, deities, or other non-physical beings or the forces of nature are invoked.

Magic is using one’s higher state of consciousness and will. To do this we utilize psychic skills that use the energy emanating from our body and from things outside ourselves to manipulate and interact with other energy patterns according to our will. Most of us call this manifesting. Manifesting is an identifying part of magic but not the sum total of Magic.

One identifier of magic that makes Magic, Magic is the belief that Magic is both real and possible. This involves the idea that the physical world is only part of all reality. Another is the belief that humans have more than just five senses, there are psychic senses. It is by means of these psychic capacities the realms beyond the physical are often contacted. It is believed that these psychic senses are innate in us all and can be reawakened.

Another identifier of Magic is that thoughts are a tool to be used. Thoughts are real and have power. This is a fundamental of Magic because the mind is the power of Magic. To have great strength of will and focus is most important for a person doing magic.

Magic will be powerful or feeble in proportion to the energy, willpower, and focus used by you. Magic is what we do with what we sense. Spells are Magical and used in Witchcraft, but you could not do them without being able to tap energy and vibration. Magic happens for three reasons, what you think say and do.

Think, Say, Do

Thought becomes visualization, focus, an idea, or a goal. To say is incantations, mantras, chants, spells, songs, or poetry. To do is, burning a spell and sending it off, committing a spell to any element to carry it to the cosmos or gods. Dancing, singing, putting something on an altar, lighting a candle, incense anything you do to affirm the idea or goal supports this aim.

Spells are much the same, with them you decide on a goal, they are the art of aiming. You aim at the goal with your will then you send it by using the ways described above, but it needs to be sent to be effective, sending is the do part.


Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that studies the first principles of being, identity and change, space and time, causality, necessity, and possibility. It includes questions about the nature of consciousness and the relationship between mind and matter.

I add this topic because magical practitioner’s use metaphysical means as tools in their Magic and Witchcraft. As you can see from the definition the metaphysical by itself is not Witchcraft or Magic.

Metaphysics includes meditation, mindfulness, and any means that help clear and build one’s consciousness. It is a practice of the mind in an effort to make one more calm, focused, and spiritual. All of these practices are tools that help one build a strong mind that can be used in Magic, Witchcraft, and Psychism.


Many psychic skills are used in Witchcraft and Magic. Some folks have the ability to sense energy or deity and other things happening around them. They feel it and know it is there. This is often referred to as intuition. I believe it is part of the clairvoyance and clairaudient skills. To sense clearly allows you to be aware of your surroundings.

We all vibrate, vibration is energy. People and the earth are vibrational energetic entities. To feel the vibrations around us and be able to use it, absorb it or send it, is Magic and a psychic skill combined.

Psychism itself is the ongoing study and practice of all things psychic. So, let’s look at what some of the psychic skills are.


Clairaudience is the hearing of sounds, music, and voices not audible to normal hearing. It can manifest as an inner sound or inner voice that is clearly distinguishable from one’s own inner voice. The voice may be unknown but perceived as coming from a certain spiritual source, sometimes receiving important or useful information from the other side, or hearing vibrations of events past or future like an echo.


Clairvoyance is the perception of objects, events, or people seen visually in your mind’s eye. It is clear seeing. This kind of seeing may manifest in the internal or external visions or the sensing, of images. It appears to be a general ability among humans. In its highest form clairvoyance is the viewing of non-physical planes, the astral, the etheric, and spiritual worlds of which there are many.


Those with Clairsentience can feel psychic stimuli in their bodies. It might be a gut reaction like getting punched, or it may be felt in other parts of the body. This type of skill is often accompanied by anxiety or is mistaken for anxiety because there is a great compulsion to respond to what is being felt and what is being felt is not always easy to determine quickly.


Precognition is described as the prior knowledge of events. A precognitive will know that the phone is going to ring and who is on it, or that a certain event is going to take place, minutes, hours, or days before it happens. Precognition shows up often in daily life and in dreams.


Tarot, crystal ball, tea leaves, runes, or any other form of divination can act as a pump to prime your already natural ability. The archetypal characters of the Tarot get into the subconscious mind and wake it up, which in turn enhances our psychic perception. The eventual course of study and practice of Tarot will lead us into our own psychic ability.

The skills I have mentioned have been considered Magic by many, to separate the two is a splitting of hairs. The difference is that psychic skills and metaphysical skills are tools we use in Magic and Witchcraft. We use them to build a strong mind as we develop our will and focus and practice our Magic.

For example, if you want to send a thought or energy to someone, that is magical, but you use telepathy, and meditational focus, as the tool to send it.

These are all skills that we can build up with practice, it will only make our Magic stronger and open up the ability to sense things around us. You need only to pay attention to the feelings you get when it is a psychic moment and note the difference when it is not. The more you pay attention to what is either magic, witchcraft, psychism, or metaphysical, the more you will know the differences and they will become stronger tools for your use.

Book List

Many times, I have been asked to suggest books to seekers. So today I thought I would post a list for your use. Most of these books are in my library and well used by me and my students. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

Rune Lore, by Edred Thorsson

Real Magic by Isaac Bonewits

Real Energy by Phaedra and Isaac Bonewits

The Magic Power of Witchcraft by Gavin and Yvonne Frost

The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley

Wicca A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner, by Scott Cunningham

The Art and Practice of Clairvoyance by OPHEIL

ESP Beyond Time and Distance by T.C. Lethbridge

The Third Eye by T. Lobsang Rampa

A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

Second Sight by Judith Orloff, M.D.

Dreams Your Magic Mirror by Elsie Sechrist

The Anatomy of Witchcraft by Peter Haining

Journeys Out of The Body by Robert A. Monroe

The Intuitive Way by Penny Peirce

How to do Psychic Readings Through Touch by Ted Andrews

Astral Travel by Gavin and Yvonne Frost

The Psychic Sense by Edgar Cayce

The Donning International Encyclopedic Psychic Dictionary by June G. Bletzer, Ph.D.

Grimoire For The Apprentice Wizard by Oberon Zell-Ravenheart

Circles and Ceremonies by Oberon Zell

Telepathy by Sybil Leek

Psychic Skills For Magic and Witchcraft by Cat Gina Cole ( now available for pre-order at Llewellyn.com)



All Hallow’s Eve

What makes this time of year so special to us Witches? Well, it is the one holiday we can come out of the woods so to speak, and be our witchy selves, among other things.

Over time and history, the Christians have helped make this our holiday by pandering about evil and spreading their myths about what they think we witches do on this day.

Hallows Eve began in Ireland the word Samhain pronounced Sow-win, is a Gaelic word. All that we have come to know this holiday as, and all the various ways that we celebrate it, are a mix of many traditions and myths that became blended over time.

In my family tradition of Hedge Witchery, Samhain is the time to bring in the last harvest and get ready for winter. We celebrated and remembered our ancestors through seances, Ouija boards, dumb suppers, and flying. Well, three of us did.

In my family, it was an interesting mix. Bringing in the harvest from the garden, caring for the animals, and getting ready for winter was a matter of course for us all.

The rest, was something mom and I would do only at grandma’s house, because we three witches, kept our practices separate from the rest of the family. I think my brother was a bit more tuned in to us than he let on. My dad knew of my mom’s practices but did not like having it around. Yet my father saw spirits and dreamed of ghosts, and I remember the tales of his dreams he would tell at this time of year.

Grandma’s house would be full of candles lit for those who were no longer present, set in the windows so they could find their way to her. The table all through October would have an empty place setting, 24/7 so the spirits would feel welcomed anytime.

What we now call a “dumb supper” was held at midnight on the 31st. The Séance, the tarot, or the Ouija board were part of the event prior to dinner depending on what grandma felt was right, something I only got to attend a few times when I was older.

For us, it was not as ritualized as it now is. We comfortably chatted about those who were gone prior to sitting down. Once the candles were lit and the lights turned off, we sat in the dark and Grandma would speak of the dead as we ate quietly. After a bit of quiet, grandma would ask what and whom we felt, and we would compare our input.

Part of our work when done, was to express gratitude for their presence and closing of the veil. The ritualized part we participated in was the clean-up. We cleared the table, washed the dishes, blew out, and removed the candles. We washed the table and put on an everyday tablecloth all with reverence and a focus on letting go of the spirit. This work all was part of closing the veil. Then we would sit for a few and talk about everyday stuff before going home.

Nothing will match the environment at grandma’s home. I continue this tradition in my own way. I set out my ancestor altar with the family photos, light candles there, and set a plate on the bookshelf in my living room. I then invite my ancestors and let them know they are welcomed. On the 31st at midnight I sit before the altar contemplating and talking to my ancestors.  All while smoking some Mugwort then go to bed, for some good old-fashioned flying with my ancestors.

Since my blog allows comments, I would love to see your comments on how you celebrate Samhain, have a blessed day!


Miner’s Lettuce, A Beautiful Herb

MINER’S LETTUCE -Claytonia perfoliata


Miner’s lettuce is a fleshy hairless annual. It is a slender taproot, that can grow up to 16 inches in height. The leaves are a slight oval basil rosette to triangular, growing on long petioles. It has two stems that fuse into a round disk below a small white to pinkish flower, and they bloom from January to July. The petals are notched with an oval seed pod that has a three valved opening from the tip, and the seeds are black and shiny, similar to a poppy or mullein seed.

WHERE FOUND, miners lettuce is found in the moist shady places of the forest, and disturbed sites, as long as it is shady and cool they will be sweet. If they are in the hot sun, they will be bitter. Their range is California to B.C. they can be highly variable in size and leaf shape depending on the region in which they are found.

Miner’s lettuce is found in the wild more often than it is cultivated. Miners Lettuce is crisp with a sweet flavor and is used in both fresh and cooked applications.


USES; The Shoshone applied a minors leaf poultice for syphilis and rheumatism. This plant was also used to soothe sore eyes and improve vision. It is used as a laxative, for cuts, as a diuretic, and even as an aperitif. Its stems and leaves placed on cuts after the blood is washed away help speed healing. Miners Lettuce has been used as an antioxidant, for heart disease, and as a potherb. This herb is well suited for both raw and cooked applications such as steaming, boiling, stir-frying or sautéing and is great in salads.

The flowers, leaves, and stems are all edible and can be cooked with other delicate flavors. The leaves will keep 3-4 days when stored in a sealed container with a damp paper towel in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.

MINERS LETTUCE CONTAINS; iron, beta carotene, it has a high content of vitamin C, Omega 3, and protein.

ACTIONS; antioxidant, anti-rheumatic, laxative, antiseptic, prevents scurvy, blood purifier, spring tonic.

Miner’s lettuce gets its name from California during the Gold Rush. The miners needed a source of vitamin C. The gold miners quickly discovered from the Native Americans that Miner’s lettuce could be consumed both raw or cooked to prevent scurvy.

Today Miner’s lettuce is used as a source of food for animals. In the wild it is a grazing source for gophers, flocking birds, quail, and doves. Miner’s lettuce is used as a spring tonic to cleanse the body. It is a purifying green that fortifies and filters out blood and lymph systems and is full of omega 3.

The Chlorophyll it contains is an antioxidant-rich nutrient and the omega 3, acts as an anti-inflammatory that counteracts the pro-inflammatory effects of LA omega-6 fats and their derived oils we get in so many other foods.

I collect it and use it in salads, it has a very nice taste to it. I also use it as a tonic. To make a tonic stuff a clear jar full of the herb and fill with water and leave it in the sun to warm for the day. Then strain and refrigerate and drink as often as you like. It is a great way to get extra vitamins and clean up your system.

When collecting Miners Lettuce in the wild I leave some of the plants behind and use scissors to cut it rather than pulling up the roots. I find this plant to be one of the more beautiful plants in the forests and cheerful to look at and really enjoy the bounty this plant has to offer.

A Family Trained Hedge Witch-The Elements

A Hedge Witch and the Elements

I think many have the idea that a hedge witch is someone who lives and breathes herbs, or is simply a kitchen witch. In my family tradition, a hedge witch is someone who lives and works with the elements and psychism daily. My family tradition defines witchcraft as being able to work with all the forces of nature, those in the real world and those not in the real world.

For those that follow my blog, you will remember my entry titled Weather magic with clairvoyance in time and space. In that entry, I described how I built my relationship with the Element of Air. In this entry, I will further elaborate on that experience by stating I believe the direction and the element are separate things. The direction of East is the realm where the Element of Air lives. This precept is fundamental to how I work with the elements.

First of the elements as we walk the circle is Air.

So, what is Air? Breathing, or weather? Certainly, those are its most basic functions, however, the air has components. These components are part of air yet much more than just basic air. The components of Air are; the wind, a storm, lightning, weather, and the atmosphere, and each has a different function, action, reaction, and spirit. Each has a different feel, different energy, different smell. Each reacts differently when you speak to them or ask something of them, and some may even make requests of you in return.

Other aspects and components of Air are flight, levitation, psychism, invisibility, thought and sound, intellect, energy, intent, dreams, and my favorite, the astral planes.

The element of Air is the breath of life. When we are born the first thing, we do is gasp for breath, without it, there is no life. As without so within, meaning if the planet is not able to breathe it will not survive either.

East, the realm air lives in and is guarded by, is the place of dawn, it births a new day for us each time the sun rises, this makes it the realm of light. For me, its ritual tool is the wand. We wave it in the air and direct energy and use it to send energy and intent. Wands are typically wood, meaning trees that create oxygen and live in the sky. So this makes sense to me.

Next, as we move around the circle is Fire.

The Element of fire lives in The Direction of the South, it is the place of heat volcanos, deserts, and the sun. The Direction of South is the holder and guardian of the flame and the flame is the spark of life.

Many of us think of actual fire when we address the South and the Element of fire. Many forget the greatest fire our planet experiences, the sun. The sun is the fire that keeps this planet going. Without the sun’s heat, we, the plants, and animals could not live.

At Imbolc, the sun heats the earth just enough that the plants hidden in the earth quicken just a little. The energy of the quickening can be felt by those who are sensitive to it. The energy of the quickening is an energy of expectation, pregnancy, and re-birth. This energy is put forth by all living things, and we feel it as the hope of spring and the spark of life.

Each flame or fire transforms the things it burns to nutrient-rich soil through the ash it creates. The sun then turns into new growth. As the sun rises each day after a fire, we again see the dawn of a new day and feel its promise. This makes Flame and the sun, the actuators of rebirth. When you think of it the act of rebirth is both destruction and creation. Flame is transformative, for no one, no thing, is the same after being touched by flame. It is cleansing and purifying and like our sun it is both creator and destroyer, giver, and taker.

We humans would not be here today without either. We usually think only of what flame takes from our lands and not what it gives back. There are components of flame too, dryness, heat, intensity, stillness and sudden and fierce movement, blasts of energy and heat. All things that occur before a fire or during very hot sunny days.

In my practice, the athame is the tool for fire. The Athame is created by fire, a sword or knife are often used in an act of passion, destruction, or creation, and all are attributes of flame and the realm of the South.

Our hearts are the fire within us. Our hearts drive our passion, our desires. It drives our will to live, and each has a different spirit and energy that can be felt, noticed, watched, and interacted with. We consider something is alive when we can hear its heartbeat. Like the sun our heart warms us. It is the engine of our bodies, as the sun is the engine to our planet. Our hearts drive our energy, it gets our blood pumping like the sun does for the planet in the quickening, making fire the spark of life. Again, as without so within.

Following around the circle we are now in the West, which is water.

What do most of us think when we think of water? Drinking it, a river, the ocean, emotions?

Ever consider how we carry water with us every day? And I do not mean in a plastic bottle. Our very bodies are 2/3rds water and so is our planet, again as without so within. Water in my tradition is the great nourisher of our bodies, our planet, and our very souls.

Ever notice how sitting next to running water soothes most people? That is water soothing our souls. We are carried in water for 9 months in the womb and our planet cannot flourish without water. In short, we cannot live or come into the world without water.

Water is the birth of all living things. Our bodies die without water, this makes it the nourisher of our bodies. Water is also for cleansing and not just in the spiritual sense. We use it to clean all the time without a thought.

Water purifies and dilutes, which is what it does as we sit next to it and feel soothed. It dilutes our stress, purifies our thoughts calms our passions. Water represents the waves of our emotions, our tears, our moods, and holds our soul.

Water gives us rain, nourishing the planet. It provides fog and humidity which in its way also provides water to nourish the planet in which we live. Fog, humidity, rain, and ice are all parts of water. All with a different job to do and each has a different energy and spirit, different actions, and reactions within our atmosphere. Each of them can be worked with if one pays attention and builds a relationship with them.

The realm of the West is the place of thresholds, liminal space. Liminal space is the between spaces and places. The West and Water both, are the dark realms, not just because of the depts of the oceans but because that is where the sun sets each day. In ritual, the tool for water is the challis, the bowl, and any vessel holding the water or drink to be used.

The last element in the circle is Earth.

Earth is the mother of our bodies she is the great provider of all. Earth is both life and death in the great cycle. Without Earth there is nothing. No plants, no food, no place to live, no air, no fire, no water, no us, for she holds it all. We are born here, it is the home of our bodies and she provides our very way of life in all aspects.

She is the great womb from whence all things are born. Including the other elements. There is no breathable air or atmosphere in space, no fire or flame except the sun, and no plants or animals. All those things may exist on another planet but not so much in space itself. As a hedge witch, I see the other elements as parts of the earth, individual, but parts just the same. The Earth provides the plants, which provides oxygen, Earth holds the water, also partially made of oxygen, Earth and her natural cycles, of heat and cooling help, provide rain, ice and all-weather. She provides what fire burns. Without her gases, there is no atmosphere it is her breath and ours, as without so within.

Like any mother, she provides all that we, her children need. She allows us to live on her, to flourish, or run rampant. She has her way of telling us she has had enough to by using her elements of storms, fires, floods, drought, or famine to speak to us if we listen.

Daily she gives us hints as to what the weather will be like. She tells us what needs to be watered, or tended to, her children the plants are signaled by her to show us their needs we can see when a plant begins to droop or turn brown. Animals are signaled by her to show us their needs for food, water, or shelter. The land talks too, is it dry? does it need to be fed? tilled or raked? All signaled by her if we watch, listen to feel, and speak to her.

The Great Mother also takes all our woes, our energy our garbage, and our bodies back into her and turns it back into something full of life for she is the great regenerator of all things, the place of life and death and everything in between. Earth represents stability, home, hearth, health, and prosperity in all aspects of life and for all living things.

The realm of the North is the realm of creation and destruction, home of the gnomes, home to all things ice, all things magnetic, home to fluctuating energies, and is the gateway to the cosmos. The tool I prefer to use in ritual for North is the staff. It stabilizes us as we walk on the earth, it is born on the earth and holds and directs earth energy.

In ritual as I begin calling the elemental quarters, I draw up the sacred connections I have with each one. I draw their awesome powers within me till they vibrate then I begin my vocal call to them loaded with those vibrations. I let those vibrations channel through any tool I may have in my hand as well.

Such are the relationships, I as a hedge witch, hold with the elements. Their realms and their tools are alive and a way of being. They help me live with the forces of nature each day. They make it possible to call them on a moment’s notice if there is a need. I remain aware and mindful that each element and each realm is symbiotic to the other. For one cannot exist without the other, just like in our bodies. We and the elements have symbiotic need of each other as is represented in the saying, As above, So below. As without, So within, So the universe, So the soul.