Apr 29, 2016

Wards and barriers

     "You shall not pass!!!"  
     That’s what Gandalf said, then he drove the bottom end of his staff into the narrow rock bridge in the cave, and prevented some kind of ancient, fire demon from following and killing the members of the fellowship of the ring, in the Lord of the Rings movie.

     He literarily prevented that demon from proceeding, he blocked his path. He cast what we would describe as a ward, in magick. He broke off the rock bridge and plummeted alongside the demon in the precipice too, but that’s beside the point lol.

     So can one magicakally prevent one from entering a specific place, most notably and most often this place being one’s home? The answer is absolutely. All sort of traditions and magickal paths have their ways of doing this and we shall discuss a few in today’s post.
A Witch's knot charm/symbol/ward

     A very informative and trustworthy site on Wiccan and Celtic magick defines ward as a shield anchored to a physical place.  [1] Furthermore, it’s stated that unlike the shield, the ward is powered by the Earth, and its energy rises from it, as it were, and I find all that to be pretty illustrative of a typical ward. A different article, though describes it as a “psychokinetic shield” that deflects energy. [2] I have two issues with that; if it was psychokinetic it would deflect more than just energy, it’d deflect matter as well, and a ward does not just deflect energy anyway. It can turn away people, or animals, or spirits too.

     A protective magick circle, as used in Ceremonial magick is yet another example of a magickal ward. So it’s indeed a form of shield “anchored” to earth, or even emanating from the Earth, and a magickal boundary set to keep something out. Behind the yellow line, sort of say.

     Clearly, the best time for setting up magickal wards are days and hours of Saturn, a planet ruling boundaries (setting or breaking and transcending the same)  and mystery, or wondrous works, among other. Materia magicka correspondent to the planet is thus also used commonly for setting up the magickal wards.

      It’s also important to notice the selective nature of the wards; they are set up with an intention to keep something specific out, not just pretty much anything, which means, if you cast a protection spell to keep people with specific type of intentions or aims outside of your home, such will be repelled, but it won’t stop other people from coming around. This is quite useful, and is sometimes even cunningly used to test someone’s true intentions and to tell apart friendly people from the “snakes in the grass”. Now let’s proceed with few examples, meant to keep evil people, spirits and similar out of someone’s home.

     Traditional Balkan witchery spell for keeping evil people away
     Get a new, unused knife, preferably one with the black handle. During the waning phase of the Moon, bring some water to the boil and add some red chili peppers, and salt in it. Dip the knife in it three times, saying something along these lines:

As the Moon wanes, and as this blade cuts,
So will you N.N. stay away, and be cut away
From this home, and this place
And will not enter this dwelling. Amen

     Place it on a napkin or a paper towel and allow it to air dry. When it does, find a way to hide it somewhere around your front door doorstep ( or if it’s a specific room, in front of these room’s doors ), pointing outwards and normal ( under 90’ angle ) to the door’s plane. You can for example place it under the rug or doormat etc. Next to it, or somewhere on the doorframe also place a sprig of Basil, wrapped around the base with a red yarn or thread. Most people like to hang this little sprig just above the doors.
     The person who you don’t wish to enter your home, should not be able to, after you’ve done this.

Herbal wards

     Many herbs, when placed in jars, vials, or hung about the place are effective wards against bad people and evil spirits.

     Dill for example, when hung above the doors, with the clear intention to do so, is said to keep both bad people and evil spirits away from your premises.

     Similarly, St. John’s wort, picked on Midsummer, is widely believed to bar the entrance to a home, or a room, to even powerful evil spirits and demons.

     Fennel, a “cousin” to the Dill, was once placed in keyholes to keep the Ghosts out, and nowadays an infusion or a floorwash is used to keep the intruders out. [3]

     Hawthorn branches in front of doors and windows of the home, were used in Balkans to prevent a vampire from entering given home. [4]

     Major Celandine keeps the law away from your property, and when used properly will make police evade your place in a wide circle. Elderberry flowers and boughs can also do the same.

     A friend of mine told me that If I want to stop someone from coming around, or entering my home all I need to do is place a personal concern of theirs, or a name paper lacking the previous, in a small vial along with Black seeds, Red Onion peels and Rose thorns, and fix this to my front doors. She said: “Even if they come around, they won’t go pass the doors, in fact they’ll soon leave, probably complaining about some feeling of unease”. I tried this one, and it worked wonders when I did.

Hoodoo’s Red Brick

     One of the most powerful wards against  bad people, or people who wish you ill is the Hoodoo trick with the red brick dust,  popularly referred to as the “reddening” . It’s tad more elaborate then what you’ll commonly be advised; which is to just sprinkle the dust in front of your doors, but when done properly it works wonders.

     The place that one intends to protect should be thoroughly cleansed spiritually beforehand, and in Hoodoo this is usually done with a floorwash containing powerful cleansing and protective ingredients. This part of the ritual is according the tradition done a little before sunrise, and without uttering a single word.

     A good, traditional floorwash that can be used here is made by combining:  Household Ammonia, Saltpeter, and Epsom salts in a wash, but the most traditional wash used is actually one’s own first morning urine, dissolved in some water. [5] This makes sense being that the Household Ammonia is often used as the replacement for the urine in Hoodoo formulas and tricks.

     Some Hoodoo authorities suggest this should be done on specific days; namely: Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. [6]

     Having done that, one proceeds to lay a line in front of their doors, with the red brick dust powder. You can conceal the line later with, let’s say a doormat, but this is not necessary and  more often than not, not done.

Icelandic “Hurðstoðva” ward, to prevent a specific person from entering your home
     The following spell makes use of a specific “galdrastafir” , an Icelandic written charm/sigil, which is etched into Rowan wood, or wand, and then one is to walk thrice around their home with it clockwise, and three more times in the opposite direction, wraps the wand with some thistle leaves, and then places it above the doors. This is said to prevent the person from entering your home. I know very little of trolldom, but during the walking part I’d use some words of power which mention the name of person in question to focus the spell/ward, and attune it to their energy. Or place it alongside their name paper, photo, or some bodily concern.

      The original instructions are as follow:

     “Hurðstoðva - Doorstopper. A galdrastafir to hinder someone from entering your house. If there's a person you do not want to enter your home, edge this stafir into a rowan-wand. Do this as the sun is on her highest, and proceed to walk sunward around your house tree times, followed by tree times withershins, while holding the wand in which you are laying the spell. To prime the spell, bind the wand in thistle leaves, and place it above your door.” [7]

     Some wards to keep the evil spirits outside

     Some evil spirits more than others, are bent on gaining entrance to your home and wreaking havoc in it. The wards used to keep them out may vary slightly depending on a specific spirit, but are often in form of charms, herbs or written inscriptions. Following are some examples of such:

·         St John’s wort, particularly that plucked on the Midsummer, in noon, placed in a jar and then hung by the door or windows will ward off evil spirits. I usually read the Psalm 90th over such charm.
·         Two Hawthorn branches, placed and tied one over another so that they form a Cross, and secured with a piece of natural, red yarn which was soaked in Holy water from the church, shall prevent all sort of malignant spirits gaining entrance to a dwelling, if it’s hung by the door lintel, or secured above the doors. It can similarly be placed above one’s bed, besides it or carried on person ( a small charm ) to protect from all sort of disembodied spirits and even the malevolent fairies.
·         Alder is said to ward the “unseen” threats, including evil spirits. A piece of wood can be carried in a charm bag for example
·         A witches knot charm, carved into doors, windows, or written on paper, preferably in Dragon’s blood magickal ink, will keep the evil spirits, hags and curses at bay ( see the image at the beginning of the post )
·         Charms carved from the Jasper stones are hung by the door to repel ghosts and evil spirits, particularly the evil trickster sprits. In China, these charms often take  the form of a dragon
·         Bloodstone is carried as a pendant, or in a charm bag to keep away evil spirits and demons and prevent them from affecting on
·         Salt is a powerful ward for all sort of ills, including the evil spirits, and salt circle is a brilliant example of such. Read Psalms 29th, 40th and 90th over some salt and then sprinkle it around your home, or object or person you wish to protect in a clockwise circle. Similarly, praying the 18th Psalm over salt makes it a good ward against the robbers and thieves.

NOTE: This article was written and composed by myself, hence If you wish to use any parts of elsewhere online, add the credits; Shadow of the Shadows magick place, Shadow-333@hotmail.com or a direct link to this post


[4] Jasna Jojic Pavlovski “Magija Biljaka”
[6] Acc. to; same as under [5]
[7] Retrieved from:  http://seidr.hekse.dk/#post6   and used here for explanatory and  educational purposes without ill will

IMAGE CREDITS: The Witch’s knot picture  is from http://www.examiner.com/article/the-witch-s-knot and digitally edited by myself,  used here for illustrative and explanatory purpose without any ill
The “Hurðstoðva”  galdristafir image was drawn and edited by myself 

Apr 28, 2016

The magick of spring flowers

NOTE: My apologies. This post was due for the early March but sadly I was very busy ... so here it's now, hope it still comes handy

     The springtime is practically at the doors already. We’ve been getting a lot of rain lately, here in the Eastern Europe, Mediterranean part, where I am in particular, and those days a week when we’ve been blessed with a clear sun spell, one could see all these beautiful, ephemeral wildflowers, the harbingers of spring.

     Beautiful to the eye to many surely, but some people know there is more to these little members of plant’s kingdom than what meets the eye. Which people one may wonder? Witch people indeed ;)  You see, most of the spring flowers have some use in magick and divination, some are of particular utility, and rarity, and are pretty much available for a very short period of time, If You are the one to collect your own magickal herbs. And why shouldn’t you be? It deepens your connection to the nature, plants and spirits associated with these, it’s a good discipline exercise, and lends additional power to your works of magickal herbalism. And saves you some money for those herbs that you cannot find near you, those exotic and/or rare ones.

     The ephemeral spring flowers are often small, colorful and often enticingly pungent, because these plants finish their lifecycle for a few months tops, and require to draw attention of the pollinators, least they pollinate via anemophily . They are sort of “pioneers” during the spring, when it comes to plants that appear, especially among the angiosperms ( Magnoliophyta ), and appear before the other plants that await for more consistent, stable conditions. So they embody the principle of action and bravery quite finely, and are in general symbolic of awakening of the nature, hope and resilience. They are omens of the arrival of the “light half of the year” and happier, leisure times, which come as a proper blessing after the long, dark, introspective period that winter can be.

     Hence I decided to write a little piece, hopefully a practical one too, on how to make a best magickal use of some spring flowers, timely. I will be discussing those that are either found commonly throughout the Europe as autochthonic flora elements, or those with a cosmopolite distribution, as it would take more time and a lot more space to go into more detailed lists of species and their usage. So the common, available ones, you probably have growing in your own yard, or that park nearby, and those you might have passed by without as much as a second glance many times by now.

     So without any further ado, let start.

Daisy ( Bellis perennis )

     A common little flower from the Asteraceae family, also known as “English Daisy”, “Common Daisy” or “Lawn daisy” , with two type of lowers in its inflorescence ( pesudanthium, composite flower head ); the white, marginal male flowers, and the yellow, centrally positioned female flowers.

     It’s a common, worldwide spread custom to pick the white flowers to determine if a lover loves you or not. It’s a “Loves me, loves me not” type of divination, where the answer which appears when the last white flower is plucked from a given flower-held is held to be the truth.

     It’s a Venus and water correspondent plant, and sleeping with it’s roots ( or a whole ) plant under pillow is said to bring an estranged lover back.

     It’s “relative” Ox eye Daisy ( Leucanthemum vulgare ), which is sometimes  confused with the Common Daisy, is said to give extra power to the spells.

Buttercup ( Rannunculus arvensis, R. ficaria, R.spp )

     Buttercups are plants from the Rannunculaceae family, and of the genus Ranunculus. These are commonly used in a folk divination, where they are placed bellow one’s chin, a freshly plucked yellow flowered specimen, that is, and observed/gazed. One watches the petals and if they see a reflection of their chin or face in them, their lover is madly infatuated with them. People also gaze into the yellow petals of the flower to get a glimpse of how their “true love” looks like.

Violet ( Viola odorata )

     This rather well-known, beautiful zygomorphic flower, with purple ( or very rarely white ) petals, has a beautiful, sweet, intoxicating perfume.
     But this perfume, as well as the plant are quite repellent to the evil spirits. The flowers protect from the wicked spirits, and the leafs were worn in a green sachet to help cure wounds, and prevent evil spirits from making them worse [1] It’s used in Hoodoo and Santeria bath formulas that serve to repel evil ghosts and stop them from influencing someone.
     Hoodoo people also wear a Violet leaf in their shoe for seven days to help them find a new lover, because it’s auspiciously shaped like a heart. [2]

      Violet flowers are ingredient in the Obitsu Hoodoo powder, a powder used to uncross someone, while also protecting them from harmful magick, particularly   those type of spells done with the help of evil spirits. The formula is as follows:

Obitsu powder

Combine and pulverize

·         *  Jasmine flowers
·         *  Violet flowers
·         *  Lemongrass or Citronella

Herb Robert ( Geranium robertianum )

     The plant known as Herb Robert ( Geranium robertianum ),  from the Geraniaceae family is a common pioneer species on devastated lands, especially those forest habitats “cleared” by the fires. This it represents hopes and new beginnings, but also healing. It’s a herb that is in Traditional Balkan witchery believed to be able to bestow health upon the sick, and magickally help curing any kind of illness. It was often placed in a pan with spring water for this purpose and left outside, on the night of the full Moon, to “absorb” the energy of Moon and stars. In the morning the resulting liquid was used to wash the patient’s hear of afflicted body parts, or used in healing ritual.

     Leaves crushed, and bruised onto skin will repel mosquitos, although will also leave one with a bit of an odor. To some unpleasant (reminiscent of burning tires) yet to others perfume like, smelling kind of like roses. You can carry some in a blue sachet bag, along with Rose hips, and Anemone flowers,  a piece of Garnet, and optionally smallest chunk of Camphor, to preserve health, restore it if lost,  and protect from sickness.

Saffron (Crocus spp.)

     Unlike the domesticated Crocus sativus (fam. Iridaceae), which normally flowers in the autumn, most Crocus species that grow in wild flower in spring. In magick a whole variety of species can be used. The stigma’s are collected and used for magickal spells and formulas. They have to be handpicked, and there’s only 3 stigma’s per flower, hence why the Saffron as a spice is so expensive.  The domesticated species ( Croscus sativus ) has sterile reproductive elements and is reproduced via bulb division/propagation.
     It’s use in love and money spells if well known, and it’s said to draw the riches even when used in the smallest amounts. It’s also said to “inflame the heart with love” or even lust.
     Combined with the Frankincense tears and burnt as an incense it’s said to be   excellent for “bringing light into dark spaces” and lifting the spirit. It’s also believed to help see the truth in the situation by heightening psychic powers. [3]

     As a Solar and Fire plant, it’s very powerful and illuminating. You can make it into a “Enhancing powder” ;


·          * Powdered Frankincense resin
·         * Saffron powder
·          * Cinnamon powder
·         *     Chamomile flowers powdered
·          * Epsom salts and Cornstarch mixture as a base

     Sprinkle to enhance spells and rituals, particularly those of a fire magick type. Toss a bit on the incense, dust a candle with it, or throw into the flames alongside a paper with petitions, symbols, use in cauldron waters etc.

      Chickweed ( Stellaria media )

     Chickweed is a small herbaceous green plant from the family Carryophylaceae, with somewhat inconspicuous yet beautiful white flowers. It’s common in the deciduous woods.
     “Carry or use in spells designed  to attract love or maintain a relationship. “ [4] It can be used in spells to inspire someone to express their love towards the user, if they feel reluctant to do so. One can simply enchant the plant and have them hold it. It will open their heart and mouths.

Bluebell ( Hyacinthes non-scripta, Hyacinthes spp. , Campanula rotundifolia, Campanula spp. )

     Another “spring bloomer” the Common Bluebell is actually not a true Bluebell at all! Bluebells are the plants from the Campanulaceae family, mostly the genus Campanula (common in Europe is Campanula rotundifolia, for example) . Common Bluebell, as known in England and USA, is actually from the Amaryllidaceae family. The two are very distant, taxonomically speaking,
     It matter little though, for the folklore associated with both groups seems to be pretty much exactly the same.
     It’s a fairy flower, and in UK its presence indicated that the forest where it grows is ancient. It’s not advisable to pick it, even though people do so to hang it on strings during the Midsummer to attract the Fae (fairies).  Hearing the Blubells ring was considered to a death omen, and the forest where it grew in abundance is said to be under the influence of fairy spells. [5] Folk say that Far love to wear the flowers as hats which is often said about the Digitalis flowers as well .
     It is also used in truth spells…  Enchanted and given to someone to hold, with any excuse, is said to force them to tell the truth no matter what.

     It’s commonly grown in gardens, as an ornamental plant, so outside the UK, it’s pretty safe to pick it, without endangering the populations. It should not be ingested though as it contains alkaloids.

Daffodil ( Narcissus poeticus )

     Another bulbous, beautiful perennial from the Amaryllidaceae family. Often thought ( erroneously ) to be named after the mythical figure Narcissus, but had actually been named so before the myth’s discovery. It’s also the flower mentioned in the Persephone myth, the one that distracted her, enabling Hades to  kidnap her.
     It’s associated with peace, hope, self-love, rebirth, resurrection, renewal and the new beginnings, and worn in a pocket near the heart is said to confer a cheerful disposition and optimism to the wearer. [6] Some also say that worn like that, brings luck.
     It’s also a flower used in funerary rites, and a suitable Ostara  altar decoration/offering and symbol.

Magnolia ( Magnolia grandiflora, Magnolia spp. )

     This ancient shrub/tree from the Magnoliaceae family blooms in early spring, so even though it’s not herbaceous, nor small and gentle, it can be seen as an ephemeral being that it finishes blooming, pollination, and forms a fruit, all during a relatively short period  of few months.
     It’s a Venus and water plant particularly famed for ensuring conjugal fidelity, when the leafs are placed bellow bed, or sewn into mattress.
     You can enchant a leaf and place it over the Book of Shadows, to prevent others from reading it.

Lilly of the Valley ( Convalaria majalis )

      This beautiful, white flowered herbaceous plant, flowering in May, is a symbol of purity, humility and spirituality. It’s in the family Asparagaeceae, possibly the only species of the genus.
       Among many other magickal uses, the flowers of this plant augment and amplify the beneficial spiritual work greatly, which is probably why they are an ingredient in the New Orleans style “Holy Spirit oil”, reportedly of the following formula:

  • Lilly of the Valley
  • Hyssop
  • Basil
  • Lavender
All combined in a base of “pure Oilve oil from Israel”  and used “for highly positive works and to summon helpful spirits” [7]

Snowdrops ( Galanthus nivalis )

     This early white-flowering plant, from the Asparagaceae family, often appearing and flowering through the snow, is a symbol of hope, comfort and purity.
     It’s associated with  and symbolic of the Candlemas andImbloc  and those picked on the Candlemas  day are believed to be imbued by miraculous power.

     You can get a dry, pressed flower, place it in the Psalm Book on the page where 23rd  Psalm is, read the psalm and add a heartfelt prayer for help with some situation, or problem that seems hopeless or  unsolvable  to you. Then procced to also read the Psalm 42nd , place the Psalm book with the flower bellow your pillow, and place a glass of fresh water next to your bed. Go to sleep and 
record any guidance or symbolic dreams that you receive.

NOTES: This article was written and composed by myself, so if you desire to use any parts of it elsewhere online, you may do so but provide the credits:    Shadow of the Shadows magick place, Shadow-333@hotmail.com or direct link to this post


[1] acc. to Cunningham, Scott in; “Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs”
[4] As under [1]
[7] Formula retrieved/quoted from : http://www.examiner.com/article/the-art-of-conjuring-oils-and-potions-part-3 for educational and explanatory purposes, without any ill will 

IMAGE CREDITS: Photo showing Buttercups was taken by myself