Middle Earth Magic: Inspired Ideas and Seasonal Spells for Your Enchanted Life

I grew up on a farm in West Virginia and learned much about herbs, trees, animals, gardening, foraging  and so much about nature. I incorporate this wisdom I learned from elders in my family into my spellwork. When I finally left the farm, I majored in Medieval Studies, my attempt to emulate my idol, J.R.R. Tolkien. All these influences led me to my own blended brew which I call "middle earth magic," containing a mix of the modern and the time-tested "old ways." 

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Cerridwen Greenleaf

Cerridwen Greenleaf

    Cerridwen Greenleaf has worked with many of the leading lights of the spirituality world including Starhawk, Z Budapest, John Michael Greer, Christopher Penczak, Raymond Buckland, Luisah Teish, and many more. She gives herbal, crystal and candle magic workshops throughout North America. Greenleaf's graduate work in medieval studies has given her deep knowledge she utilizes in her work, making her work unique in the field. A bestselling author, her books include Moon Spell Magic, The Book of Kitchen Witchery, The Magic of Gems and Crystals and the Witch’s Spell Book series.  She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.  
Holy Smoke: Sacred Wood and Herbs for a Happy Home

I heartily approve of the Danish tradition of hygge which is a lovely form of self-care togetherness. The Scandinavians integrate hearth fires into this custom so we’ll take it one step further by adding sacred herbs on top of the wood for a cleansing, purifying and therapeutic twist to hygge home fires. You can either bundle the herbs together with string or lay them on top of the unlit wood. I do both and speak this spell before lighting the fire in your fireplace or firepot.

 Warmth and love, heart and heat,

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Planting Peace of Mind: Gardening Wellness

I tell people that gardening is my therapy and they always think I am joking but I am not. It is an enormous source of peace in my life. Pulling weeds and plant tending is very positive way to handle nervous energy or upset. It also helps me work out problems.  I will come back in after a wild and weedy session and feel calm and in control. Bringing together the divine with the beauty of the plant kingdom can bring great pleasure to your life. Gardening is also very calming and, after the work is done, you can enjoy the fruits of your labors. Sometimes, literally if you have fruit trees and berry bushes. A green thumb is hardly necessary to create your own secret sorcerer’s plot. I am an advocate of garden statuary and, if you were to come over for a sip of tea and garden gazing with me, you will see an altar adorned with deities and a few carefully placed statues, What seems sacred and inspiring to you and is pleasurable to your eye will certainly do nicely but even if you have a deck, a fire escape or sunny windowsills, you can create your own sanctuary, indoor gardening can absolutely fulfill the desire for an otherworldly aesthetic.  For a truly witchy garden, it will come as no surprise that many of these plants love shade, or look best in the moonlight.  The rare art of magical gardening serves to put you in closer touch with nature, which is essential to pagan’s horticulture and is an amazingly peaceful pursuit, and working directly with the earth and her plants and flowers will teach you the secrets of our Great Gaia.  Tending and growing these herbs and flowers will usher you into a very specialized world.  From this vantage point, you can dry herbs to make special teas, potions, tinctures, and flower essences that are uniquely healing and magical.

 

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The Healing Power of Flowers: Floral Essences Energies

Many of our favorite flowers have distinctive healing energies; which can be captured in water. A key difference is that flower essences minister to the emotional body while essential oils treat the physical body. However, vials of a multitude of these are available at grocers, pharmacies and new age shops. Bach Flower Remedies are doubtless the most popular and are seemingly everywhere with a recommended dosage of 3 to 4 drops taken via the bottle dropper under the tongue 2 to 4 times a day. I suggest not using more than 2 different floral waters at any given time for full effect. Flower essences are typically ingested directly via the mouth or by way of adding a few drops to a glass of water. They can also be dropped onto linens such as your pillow case, a sachet, or into your bath. They can be applied directly to the pulse points such as temples and wrists. These floral essences are also different from essential oils in that they do not carry the scent of the flower. It takes a single flower to make an essence whereas essential oils rely on a significant amount of the plant. Here are some essences that are good for emotions:

Passion Flower connects us to our higher self and connects to the divine

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Jewelry Magic: Crystal Amulets to Protect Yourself

The term “amulet” comes from the Latin word meaning “defense.” Indeed, amulets are a way to protect yourself that dates back from the earliest human beliefs. Pliny himself subscribed to the use of amulets and wrote about three common kinds used by the Romans of the classical age. A typical amulet of that era was a bit of parchment inscribed with protective words, rolled up in a metal cylinder, and worn around the neck. Evil eyes might be the most global of all amulets, the belief being that they could ward off a hex by simply reflecting it back to its origins. Phallic symbols have always been popular, too, coming in the shapes of horns, hands, and the phallus, of course. Some amulets were devoted to a specific god or goddess, and the wearer of such a piece would be protected by that divine entity.

 The peoples of the Mesopotamian plain wore amulets. The Assyrians and Babylonians favored cylindrical seals encrusted with precious stones. They also loved animal talismans for the qualities associated with different animals: lions for courage, bulls for virility, and so on. The ancient Egyptians absolutely depended on their amulets for use in burial displays, and we can see many preserved in the cases of today’s museums. To make their amulets, the Egyptians employed a material called faience, a glazed composition of ground quartz that was typically blue green in color. Wealthier denizens of the Nile, royalty, and the priestly class wore precious and semiprecious gems and crystals as amulets. Lapis lazuli was perhaps the most revered of these and was worn in many shapes, the eye of Horus being the most significant religious icon, followed by the scarab symbolizing rebirth; the frog, symbolizing fertility; and the ankh, representing eternal life.

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AstroGemology: Soul Stones for Cancerians

Cancers are ruled by the Moon, so it is appropriate that moonstone is the precious soul stone for the individuals born in the first half of this sign. The most priceless of moonstones is adularia, named after the place it was first discovered—Adula, Switzerland. Moonstones have an opalescent sheen reminiscent of the Moon in the night sky. Adularia was special to early Europeans who believed it could improve the memory, help stop seizures, overcome a broken heart, and foretell the future. Wearing moonstone jewelry will put Cancers in tune with their lunar-influenced changeable natures, giving them strength and the wisdom of intuition.

 

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House Magic: Palm Leaf Protection Rite

This simple ceremony blesses your home with the power of the sun and the protection of the palm leaf. Essential elements for this ritual are a palm leaf or front, incense, cup of water.

Take your palm leaf outside on a sunny day. Cast your sacred circle. Light the incense and pass the palm leaf through the smoke, saying:

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Bright Blessings! A Celtic-inspired Midsummer Ritual

June is summer reaching its full glory. There have been many rites around the world to acknowledge the longest day of the year. The Japanese climb Mount Fuji at this time, for it is free of snow during two months in the summer. The Native American tribes of the Southwest and Great Plains hold ceremonies to honor the life-giving sun. Incan, Mayan, and Aztec midsummer rites honoring the sun gods were among their most important ceremonies. Here is a midsummer ritual my group has celebrated joyfully for years. 

 Essential elements for a Celtic-inspired Midsummer ritual are a wooden wheel, fallen branches and firewood, multicolored candles, multicolored ribbons, food and drink, and flowers for garlands. This ritual should be performed outside, ideally on a hill or mountaintop, at dusk. Call the local fire department to verify the fire laws in your area. You will likely need a special permit to light a bonfire, and certain areas may be restricted. Always clear the grass and brush away from your fire area, and make sure to dig a shallow pit into the ground. Circle the pit with rocks to help mark the edge of the fire pit as well as to contain the accidental spread of fire. Have a fire extinguisher, a pail of sand, and water bottles nearby in case the fire gets out of control. One person not directly involved in the ritual should be on hand to watch the fire at all times. Make sure the fire pit is far enough away from surrounding trees and other landscape features to allow for a group to dance around it.

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