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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Witchy Wellness Healing Altar

Your altar is your sacred work space, a place imbued with your personal pagan power. I recommend starting with a flat surface, at least two feet across each way for the four directions of the compass. Perhaps you have a favorite antique table, at once simple and ornate. I have set up my altar to face north, long believed to be the origin of primordial energy. North is the direction of midnight, and an altar oriented in this fashion promises potent magic. 

Find a pure white square of fabric to drape over your table, just touching the floor. Take two candles in matching holders and place them on the two farthest corners. Place your incense burner exactly in the middle. If you don’t have favorite incense yet, start with the ancient essence of frankincense. Select objects that appeal to you symbolically to place on your altar. I have a candlestick of purest amethyst crystal, my birthstone. When I gaze on the candle flame refracted through the beautiful purple gemstone, I feel the fire within me. This inculcates your altar with the magic that lives inside you, that lives inside all of us, and magnifies the ceremonial strength of your workspace. You should decorate your altar until it is utterly and completely pleasing to your eye. After you’ve been working spells for a bit, an energy field will radiate from your altar.

Fireplace altars today hearken back to this earliest custom. Home and hearth have primal appeal to the comfort of both body and soul. If you have a fireplace, it can become the very heart of your home. The fireplace is also one of the safest places of the ritual work of fire keeping. Sanctify your fireplace with a sprinkling of salt, and then set it up as an altar to the four seasons. Like the Vestal Virgins of old, you can keep a fire burning in a votive glass holder in the back of your fireplace and have an eternal flame. The fireplace can be your simplest altar and a reflection of the work of nature. If you don’t have a real fire in your fireplace, you can place in it beautiful sacred objects—pretty rocks, feathers, seashells, glistening crystals, beautiful leaves, and anything representing the holiest aspects of the world around you. Let nature be your guide.

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    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.  


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