Everyday Witchcraft: Simple Steps for Magical Living

Fun, simple, and easy ways to integrate your spiritual beliefs as a Pagan with your everyday life.

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Deborah Blake

Deborah Blake

Deborah Blake is the author of Everyday Witch Book of Rituals (Llewellyn 2012), Witchcraft on a Shoestring (Llewellyn, 2010) as well as The Everyday Witch A to Z Spellbook (2010) and several other books. She lives in a 100-year-old farmhouse in upstate New York with five cats who supervise all her activities, both magickal and mundane.

Making a Joyful Noise: Drumming & Chanting

There are many ways to celebrate your spiritual path, whatever that may be. But virtually every society has used some form of music as a part of their communion with deity, from Buddhist chants to hymns sung in church. For Pagans and witches, making a joyful noise and sending it out into the universe often involves chanting or drums or both.

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Broom Magick for Spring Cleaning

When I sat down to write my latest book, The Witch’s Broom, I suddenly realized that there were a lot of ways to use a magickal broom that I hadn’t been utilizing. Mind you, I’d been doing magickal spring (and fall) cleaning for years, but my main tools had been the basics: salt and water and a sage smudge stick. Which worked just great, don’t get me wrong, but there is something quite fitting about using the magick of a broom to clean and clear the energy of your house, especially after a long winter.

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  • Deborah Blake
    Deborah Blake says #
    You have my sympathy, Bobbie! I am allergic to lots of plants, including some great magical herbs like Yarrow. You can use lemon
  • Bobbie Hughes
    Bobbie Hughes says #
    What if you are alergic to sage I cannot eat it or touch it or even smell it what else could I us.

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Spring has Sprung: Time to Reboot!

You know how sometimes you have a problem with your computer or some other electronic gizmo, and you can fix it by simply turning it off and on, or unplugging it and plugging it back in? Don’t you wish it was that easy to reboot our own lives? I know I do. Of course, life doesn’t exactly work like that. But there are times when it is easier to give the process a jump-start, and this is one of them.

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Getting Through the Long Winter: Spirit, Spells & Sharing

Winters are often tough, but this one has really been a challenge for many of us. Much of the US has dealt with long stretches of bitter cold and winter storms bringing snow and ice as far south as Texas. On the far western side of the country, there are droughts and winds instead. Outside the United States, the weather has also been extreme, although not always cold. It’s the beginning of March, and I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to feel like this winter is Never Going to End.

Of course, there are plenty of practical things that can help you keep going: exercise, rest, and of course, lots of chocolate. But if those aren’t working for you this year, I’ve got a few ideas for how to cope, using spirit, spells, and sharing—hopefully one or more of these approaches help you make it through until the spring comes.

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The Price of Water

What is the price of water? At my house recently, it was $2,400—a rather large sum of money to deal with a rather small problem (tiny iron bacteria in my 340 foot deep well, which while harmless to humans, make the water smell and taste bad, and build up gunk inside pipes and appliances, all while staining everything it touches a charming reddish-brown). The money was to treat the water and then filter it.

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  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    My well cost me almost $10,000. I haven't paid a water bill since moving out to the country. After 10 years, I'm probably almos
  • Deborah Blake
    Deborah Blake says #
    Some of those solutions only work if you live in the country with no nearby neighbors :-) However, things like using low-flow toi

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Imbolc: Light in the Darkness

Most folks know February 2nd as Groundhog Day, when a furry critter is hauled out of a hole to predict the length of time remaining until spring, based on whether or not he sees his shadow. Of course, for us witchy types, the 2nd is Imbolc,a quarter-cross holiday (midway between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox) that celebrates the first stirring of life under the quiescent earth. Along the way, the day also transmuted into the Christian Candlemas.

What do all these holidays have in common? They are focused on that small light in the midst of the winter darkness. For many of us, winter means cold and dark. Think how much more impact that had on our ancestors, whose only light came from candles, lanterns, and the flames of their fires. By the beginning of February, the food they'd fought hard to preserve for the lean winter months was probably starting to run low, and it may have seemed as though spring would never come.

My cupboards are full, but I know exactly how they felt!

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Quick and Easy Daily Divination

Fast and Easy Daily Divination

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  • Cynthia Savage
    Cynthia Savage says #
    I'm doing this, in a way, with my next two ski trips as I've hit a plateau. I'm putting raidho on one ski and wunjo on the other t
  • Deborah Blake
    Deborah Blake says #
    What a great idea! Let me know how it goes!
  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward says #
    I woke up this morning thinking I need to step up my divination education, and found this post with my morning coffee. I have a s

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New Year, New Altar

It's always a good idea to start the new year out right. I like to have my house reasonably clean, but this year I took that a step further and dismantled, cleaned, and rearranged all three of my altars.

Needless to say, not everyone has three altars (or even one--if you don't have one, this might be a nice time to create one as a spiritual center to your home). But if you have even one, it is a good idea to periodically clear and cleanse it--nobody likes a dusty altar--and check in to see if it is still what you need in its current incarnation.

My main altar, in the dining room/office, gets cleaned pretty often for the most part, since I use it the most. I did, however, find that the top section was dusty and that some of the items that had been living up there no longer seemed right for the space.

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  • Deborah Blake
    Deborah Blake says #
    Hope, This sounds like a great idea! Deborah
  • Hope M.
    Hope M. says #
    How timely! I am currently in the middle of a rather ambitious altar redesign project. my altar is in a small temple space that

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Creating a Focus Board for the New Year

Some people do New Year’s resolutions every year—a list of promises to themselves, usually involving dramatic changes in behavior that seldom last past the first few days of January. There’s nothing wrong with making resolutions, if doing so actually works for you, but if it doesn’t, here’s another suggestion.

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  • Deborah Blake
    Deborah Blake says #
    Hi David, welcome to the wonderful world of witchcraft! It can certainly be confusing when you start out. You can contact me on Fa
  • david appleton
    david appleton says #
    Ms.Blake, I am so new to all this and do not know where I am or what im doing. All I know is whats in my heart. I have just joined

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A New Broom Sweeps Clean

There’s an old saying: A new broom sweeps clean. This refers not only to the fact that brooms wear out (especially the old style besoms made of twigs), but also that it is a good idea to replace your brooms every once in a while, since they get worn out energetically as well. Folk lore tells us that you should never move an old broom to a new house, lest you carry old troubles from one place to another. So it makes a certain amount of sense that even if you don’t get a new place, you might want to consider periodically getting a new broom. [Hint: Samhain is a great time of year to get a new broom, since it is the start of the new year...]

Recently, I got three. 

No, I don’t have a huge house (it is actually pretty small). The three brooms all have different purposes, and two I hadn’t had to begin with. And one was a gift from a witchy friend.

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Fast and Easy Protection Work

I think it is natural to feel a little more vulnerable as winter approaches. The nights grow longer and the days colder, and some echo in the back of our ancestral brainstem tells us that soon food with be scarce and predators will prowl. (Which explains why I suddenly want to eat lots of fattening comfort foods. Thank you SO much, hindbrain.

This makes the fall a perfect time to do some fast and easy protection magick. You don’t have to do long and complicated rituals, or even be a full-time full-on practicing witch. Folks have been doing this kind of work forever.

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  • Jennifer Tindell
    Jennifer Tindell says #
    Thank you!

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Spiritual Fall Cleaning

Yes, you read that right—I said FALL cleaning. I know we usually talk about spring cleaning, and in fact I have written articles and given classes that focus on what I call “Spiritual Spring Cleaning.” But in the last few years, I find that I am more likely to do my big cleaning and clearing push in the fall instead.

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  • Deborah Blake
    Deborah Blake says #
    Ooh, I love the idea of baking bread at the time you're cleaning! And then eating it afterward, of course :-) Samhain is a great
  • Emily Mills
    Emily Mills says #
    My hubby and I had the urge to do a major fall cleaning the evening before Mabon/ Alban Elfed. We cleaned while I had a loaf of gl
  • Deborah Blake
    Deborah Blake says #
    Exactly, Molly!

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Celebrating Summer

Remember when summer was a time to relax and enjoy life? Nah, me neither. I think that the idea of summertime as a fun and laid-back period dates back to school vacations when we were kids. Most of the adults I know spend most of their summer busier than ever. I know I am, with garden and yard work thrown in on top of all the other things I usually do, and the shop I run inundated with tourists.

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5 Minute Rituals for the Summer Solstice

Happy Summer Solstice, all! (Except for my southern hemisphere peeps, of course, who are just entering their winter period.) I will be celebrating tomorrow evening with a ritual and BBQ/feast with Blue Moon Circle, but I'll also do something today to observe the occasion on my own.


The Summer Solstice, also known as Midsummer or Litha, is the official first day of Summer. It falls on or around June 21st, and is the longest day of the year, with the most light and the least amount of darkness. The energy of the sun is at its height now, and the crops are growing fertile in the fields. Life is filled with life and light and growth. I like to use this day to tap into the abundant energy and use it for positive forward movement. But I also believe this is a good time for celebration and appreciation of all the good things we already have in our lives. A mini spiritual vacation for the soul, if you will.

Here are a couple of 5 minute rituals you can use to celebrate the marvelous energy of summer, if you don't have the time or inclination to do something more complicated.

Sit outside (or in a sunny window or patch of floor). Close your eyes and feel the heat of the sun on your face. Visualize the light of the sun as golden rays, carrying with them energy, prosperity, abundance, and the potential for growth on every level. Open yourself to all that potential, and draw it into yourself until you can feel it overflowing from every pore. Then say thank you, and open your eyes, moving onward into summer.

Find a piece of summer fruit--a handful of berries, sweet cherries, or a nice juicy peach. Visualize that fruit as a concentrated holder for all the joy and potential of summer, and eat it slowly, being mindful of the gifts that the summer can bring.

Happy Summer Solstice to you! And don't forget to look for the supermoon on Sunday.

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  • Mary Newell
    Mary Newell says #
    Thank you it does really help
  • Emily Mills
    Emily Mills says #
    I love this! I just charged a peach in the sunlight and shared it with my husband.

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Unity

We live in a world that is filled with people disagreeing with each other. Intolerance abounds.

I had two young women come to me recently (completely separate from each other) asking if they could join my coven. They were seeking solace and new families, because their own families had kicked them out because of their Pagan beliefs.

Our government is so divided, and most of the citizens of the USA with them, that absolutely nothing is being accomplished besides blame and finger-pointing and demonizing of the other side.

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  • Naya Aerodiode
    Naya Aerodiode says #
    Anymore, I have resigned to just accepting "Pagan" to mean "anyone and everyone who says they're Pagan." But I like the chaos the
  • Deborah Blake
    Deborah Blake says #
    THIS: For me, it's more important that we support one another in our individual quests than it is that someone else believes the e
  • gary c. e.
    gary c. e. says #
    re: "For me, it's more important that we support one another in our individual quests than it is that someone else believes the ex

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Magick for Personal Gain?

Someone asked me the other day whether or not it was acceptable to do magick for personal gain. This is one of those topics that can be hotly debated in Pagan circles. Wiccans sometimes say no, that there is something intrinsically flawed with the idea of using the powers of magick to say, win the lottery. (Hell, if that worked, there’d be a lot more rich Pagans out there.) Traditional Witches often used magick to get what they wanted. So what’s the answer?

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  • Deborah Blake
    Deborah Blake says #
    That's exactly how I look at it. I often say, "For the good of all, and according to the free will of all," just to be on the safe
  • D. R. Bartlette
    D. R. Bartlette says #
    Great post on a great topic. I've been practicing and studying for some 27 years now, and I was originally taught not to take mone
In Times of Horror, Joy and Love Must Triumph

I turned on the TV yesterday to watch Doctor Who with my early dinner, and got the Boston Marathon bombing instead. Like most other folks, my first reactions were horror and sorrow, and a feeling of frustration that there was nothing I could do. And fear, of course.

I asked myself the same questions many other people were asking, in Boston and across America: Is no place safe? What kind of world do we live in now? Who could do such a thing? How do we live our daily lives in the face of what seems like one catastrophe after another?

I don't have any brilliant answers to those questions. I'm not sure anyone does. But here are a few of my thoughts, in no particular order:

Find out the facts, and then turn off the TV/computer/iPad -- we help no one by letting ourselves feel overwhelmed and traumatized by the constant bombardment of horrific pictures by the news.

As much as possible, don't let a disaster elsewhere sidetrack your own life. Yes--sometimes we need a day to regroup (I didn't get much done last night). But after that, don't focus on the tragedy unless you have some personal involvement in it. We "win" against terrorists and all others who create mayhem by getting on with our lives with as much grace and dignity as possible. Every moment of joy is a gift we give to ourselves and to others.

When disasters are caused by people (as opposed to hurricanes and other acts of nature), it can be easy to feel as though All People are Bad. The truth is, most people are pretty wonderful. More people ran towards the explosion, to try to help, than ran away. There were heroes everywhere. We cannot let a few evil people change how we view the world.

If you are feeling the need to do something positive to counter the bad stuff, by all means, do SOMETHING. You can donate blood or money. You can pray or light a candle, if those are things you are comfortable with. What you do doesn't have to be in any way connected to the disaster. I fully believe that every good thing counts in some way. So do something nice for your family, your friends, your neighbors. Volunteer at a shelter. Feed the poor. Hell, feed the birds. Whatever makes you feel like you are making a difference, no matter how small.

What's important is to meet negativity with positivity. Every time someone acts out of hatred, I do my best to be even more loving. For it is in our coming together that we triumph, and in our love that we overcome hate.

Lots of love to you all on this difficult day.
Deborah 

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Let's Be Foolish
Happy foolishness! Today is April Fool’s Day, well known for pranks and trickery and general silliness.
 
No one really knows how the day originated, although the most popular theory claims that it came about when the Gregorian calendar took over from the Julian calendar in 1582.  According to this theory, some people didn’t get the message about the change, and tried to celebrate New Year’s (previously observed on April 1st instead of January 1st) on the wrong date. These poor folks were teased for being “April Fools.”
 
Other theories suggest that April Fool’s Day was derived from the Roman holiday of Veneralia, which celebrated the goddess Venus. According to Barbara Ardinger, “to the Romans, it was All Fools Day. They spent the day doing foolish things and playing pranks.” 
 
It is also possible that there is an association with the Spring Equinox, when Mother Nature is known for playing her own tricks.
 
Still, whatever its origins, whether you call it All Fools Day or April Fool’s Day, it gives us the opportunity to indulge our playful side. But I look at it as a time to be more serious as well. (Reverence and mirth, after all, are at the core of all we do.)
 
Let’s take a look at my favorite Fool, The Fool card from the tarot. This card is number 0; either the beginning or the end of the Major Arcana cards, depending on the book you are looking in. Since all things are circular, maybe he’s both!
 
The most common representation of The Fool is as a young man with his possessions hanging in a bag on the end of his staff, cheerfully preparing to step off the side of a cliff. His little dog dances gaily at his feet.
 
Popular tarot expert Mary K. Greer, in her book Tarot for Yourself: A workbook for personal transformation, gives the following as some possible interpretations of The Fool: “Leaping off into some new phase of life. Free-spirited. Carefree. Being open to experience. Acting on impulse without thought or plan. Spontaneity. Childlike enthusiasm. Innocence. Lack of inhibitions. Footloose and fancy free. Being silly. Frivolity. Trusting in the universe. Experiencing life in the here and now—from moment to moment. Optimism.”
 
Doesn’t that all sound wonderful? Who among us wouldn’t like to have a little more of those qualities in our mundane lives?
 
So today, on All Fool’s day, let’s resolve to let ourselves be foolish. Let us live a little more freely, be open to what the universe has to offer and put aside our fear of change, even if just for a day.
 
What do you dream of doing? What would you change about your life if you could gather up your courage and take that leap of faith? Is there something you’ve been longing to do, but have held back from out of a fear of looking foolish?
Well, today’s the day! Make a wish list for yourself of all those dreams you keep in that dusty, “I just don’t dare,” corner of your mind and heart.
 
Do you want a new job or a new career? Have you been pining for the guy next door, but lacking the courage to ask him out? Is there a writer or an artist, a singer, actor or comedian inside you, longing to be brought out into the shining light of day?
 
Today, on All Fool’s Day, why not pick one of the aspects of The Fool and make it your own? Choose to be more spontaneous or optimistic. Take a leap of faith. Trust in the universe to help you make your dreams come true.
 
And if things don’t work out the way you’d hoped, and you make a fool of yourself, so what? At least on April Fool’s Day, you’ll have plenty of company.
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  • D. R. Bartlette
    D. R. Bartlette says #
    Great post on April Fool's Day! I'm glad you brought up The Fool...most people just see it as the meanings you posted, a good omen
  • Deborah Blake
    Deborah Blake says #
    I'm glad you liked it! The Fool is one of my favorite cards :-)

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Spiritual Spring Cleaning

 

Spiritual Spring Cleaning

 

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Spring Forward: Time for Change

Anyone who has ever read one of my books (or articles, or talked to me for more than five minutes) knows that I believe that spirituality isn’t something that should be limited to a few special days of the year. Like most witches, I celebrate the full moons and the Sabbats (the eight holidays of the Pagan Wheel of the Year). But I also try to find ways to turn days not usually used for religious practice into an excuse for stretching my spiritual muscles. This kind of thing doesn’t just work for witches, either. Anyone can do it.

 

Take tonight, for instance (or tomorrow at 2 AM, if you want to get technical). For most of the United States, this marks the time change, when we move our clocks for Daylight Savings Time. Since this can be confusing, at both ends of the year, people often remember with this mnemonic device: Spring forward/Fall back.

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