February 16, 2019 at 06:00AM by CWC Rose quartz is the coconut oil of the crystal world—pretty much every wellness-obsessed gal has it somewhere in her home. No, it’s not just because she needs something millennial pink to compliment her monstera plant and macramé wall hanging. Ask any gemstone expert, and they’ll tell you that rose […]
I believe that when one dies, they pass beyond the veil. They may come back in a different lifetime. They may stay beyond. They may be stuck, a spirit on earth. They may stay on earth because they’re nosy as hell, before moving on. This belief system doesn’t make it any easier on me when I lose a loved one. My husband’s grandmother died January 27, with the viewing on January 29.
We traveled from the Sunshine State to Wintry Pennsylvania. Living on a homestead, I was up at 4 AM on Sunday, only going to bed at 11 PM on Monday. We drove straight to Pennsylvania Sunday night and arrived Monday morning. We were met with the warmth of family.
When a loved one is lost, it is difficult to both say goodbye and move forward. Moving forward, in my opinion, is a matter of mindset. Being aware that the loved one does not want you to be stuck in despair. Moving forward takes active willpower. No ritual in the world is going to help you move forward if you don’t truly want to move forward. There are several ways of saying goodbye and honoring a loved one though.
Party Like It’s 1999.
We did this as a family. Granny wanted a party and she got one after the viewing. We enjoyed bar food (I. LOVE. CHICKEN. WINGS) and drinks. The waitstaff met our disgraceful dirty jokes with grace. There was laughter and love. And repeating of the word “fuck.” Granny would have been proud.
Light a Candle
It sounds funny, but this is my favorite solo way of saying goodbye. When someone passes, especially when it’s their time (Granny told everyone it was going to happen mere hours before it did), I fell like simplicity is best. I’m a lot more extravagant during Samhain or when I’m calling upon help from my ancestors. Personally, I lit a white candle because Granny would not have wanted black. I set one of her rings by the candle. I mediated. I told her I loved her and let the flame die on its own.
If you’re needing more than a candle to say goodbye, you could build a mini shrine. the shrine can include the candle of choice, as well as photographs, small possessions that belonged to the deceased, letters, incense, and food offerings (or drink). You can keep a shrine up for as long as you need. Many can keep up portions of a shrine, like pictures, for a few years.
You can visit the deceased’s site of rest. Granny was cremated, but her urn is buried with her husband. If you’re able to visit, this is the perfect time to speak to a dead loved one.
Even if you cannot visit a grave, you can still communicate with the dead, even if you fail they don’t respond. Some people call upon loved ones by scrying into a bowl of water, or a dark mirror. Others simply sit in a comfortable position and think about their loved one, or call upon them, before entering a meditative state.
These methods aside, just a quick thought in your day about your loved one is still acknowledging your love and appreciation of them. When you’re reminded of them throughout your day-to-day activities, just say hi and tell them you love them.
This recipe is adapted from Rosemary Gladstar. It’s used when you’re experiencing constipation and you’re obviously looking for relief.
If you want to order herbs, I always recommend Mountain Rose Herbs. If that’s not possible, I also recommend using the links below.
- 2 parts Yellow Dock Root
- 1 part Dandelion Root
- 1 part Licorice Root
- 1/2 part Ginger Root
- 1/4 part Orange Peel
- Mix all of the ingredients together to create a herb blend.
- Decoct 1 tablespoon of blend per cup of hot water for 30 minutes.
- Strain and drink 3 cups per day as needed.
Out of everything in this recipe, yellow dock is probably the most potent. If you find the actions of this recipe working too well, consider using less yellow dock.
Following the herbalist path? Click here to see where I go to continue my education.
There is a difference between a medicinal tea and a beverage tea. When making a beverage tea, I’m looking at flavor. When making a medicinal tea I’m looking at how I can harness the healing powers of the plant I’m using to my benefit.
When I’m trying to make a medicinal tea for cold and flu season as a preventative or if someone suddenly gets a stomach bug I have a different process and sometimes different equipment I use to get the full benefits of the medicinal plant or food that I am using.
A medicinal tea can be flavorful at times, but taste is obviously not the driving factor. And sometimes what is created, even with added flavors, is downright awful.
When making a tea for medicinal purposes, I recommend making at least a quart at a time (unless more than one person in the household needs it). Making a cup at a time is a waste as this is not the fastest process. Most teas can be kept at room temperature for a day or two, but I do recommend refrigeration. Our house personally loves cold tea anyways (even some of the herbal blends), but it does last longer in the fridge. If the taste is off or you see bubbles forming at the top, toss it and make new tea if needed.
Medicinal teas actually have different terminology for the methods of making it. The method you use is dependent upon the parts of the plant you use. Let’s explore the art of infusions and decoctions. Both are simple, but more time-consuming than heating water and steeping herbs for five minutes.
When making an infusion, you are using the leaves and/or flowers of a plant. This is a gentler process than a decoction, which is important in not destroying the enzymes, vitamins, and essential oils of the plant. Steeping a plant in boiling water (or heated but NOT boiling in some cases), is an infusion. Making a tea, or infusion, for beverage purposes is fairly quick, as most blends call for a five-minute steeping time. Making an infusion for medicinal purposes is quite a bit longer. To make an infusion:
Put 4-6 tablespoons of dried herb (6-8 tablespoons of chopped fresh herb) into a quart jar.
Pour boiling water over the herbs, filling the jar. Steep for 30-45 minutes, covered.
Decoctions are what you make if you’re using the bark or root of a plant. For decoctions, you want to simmer roots or bark in already boiling water. Bark and roots take a little extra elbow grease to get the full benefits. To make a decoction:
Put 4-6 tablespoons of dried root/bark (6-8 tablespoons of chopped fresh root/bark) in a small saucepan with 1 quart of cold water. Bring mixture to a simmer on low heat. Cover and let simmer for 25-45 minutes. For a stronger decoction, simmer for 20-30 minutes then put into a quart jar to infuse overnight.
The process really is simple, but it does take time. Time is the biggest struggle because we’re all very busy. I try to take a proactive step because of this at certain times of the year, especially flu season.
Do you have any favorite blends you enjoy using?
Following the herbalist path? Look here to see where I turn to continue my education.
Grounding. This is something that is both very basic and very imperative. I was pretty young when I first learned about grounding, though it wasn’t called that when I was told about it. I was basically being told to calm the hell down and that I’ll feel better once I do. And you know what? She was right. I feel very deeply, and always have. I have this uncanny ability to be calm on my exterior though. Internally, I hate it when people cry and still cringe when strangers open up to me. I become very nervous easily and can feel painful scenarios–especially emotional ones–up and down my spine like nails on a chalkboard.
Hand me a chicken whose eye is infected with pus needing to be drained and I jump into action, focused on the task at hand. Lead me to the goat who needs help giving birth and I’m ready. Find me a goat who is depressed because her best friend just passed away and I’m internally falling apart.
We all gather up many different types of energy throughout the day. Sometimes we don’t even notice it. Even if you’re not doing any rituals, spells, or anything magical at all, you still gather energy, and some of it can be negative and draining.
Grounding is when you balance yourself out. It sounds simple, but it can be difficult in today’s society where we’re expected to always be on the go. It’s very difficult for many to shut out the outside world and focus on ourselves. That’s difficult even for people who don’t practice witchcraft.
I recommend learning to ground yourself before practicing any magic. You can still pick up energy from practicing the craft and not being able to ground can lead to feeling drained and unbalanced.
Some signs that your energy may be unbalanced include:
- Forgetfulness (especially when this isn’t a normal trait for you)
- Constant fatigue, though unable to sleep
- Feeling generally… bleh
- Lack of focus (again, especially when this isn’t a normal trait for you)
- Feeling out of touch with everything around you
There are so many ways to practice grounding. I’ll tell you my favorite form last.
I also find running to help, too. Not everyone is a runner. I do sometimes have an excess of energy I need to expel. My homelife and worklife can both require quite a bit of physical energy from me. I also practice yoga. Even then, sometimes I want to go for a run rather than walk. Walking or running, being in nature while you do this is key. Even if being outside is not your favorite thing, I still recommend it. Especially during your favorite season. I love going outside all year long, with my favorite time being autumn. However, the need to hibernate hits m hard in the winter time and I avoid the cold at almost all costs. I am lucky in that I can go outside and hang out with my dogs, donkeys, or goats. This is very grounding for me as I have a strong connection to my animals. We have a very small wooded area in the back of our house that pulls me sometimes. Sometimes I let it pull me. I’ve encountered snakes, crows, lizards, frogs, and all sorts of birds. I even have a tiny stump for an altar where I leave offerings. I also wildcraft blackberries, pepperweed, and goldenrod in my tiny wooded area, depending on the season.
Find a place outside you enjoy. It could be a patio or porch. It could be a garden. If you don’t have a lot of outside personal space, set up bird feeders and bird baths with a sitting area (if your yard doesn’t have enough room for walking). If you’re out there enough, a little bit of nature will get used to your presence.
Still want to go for a walk? Find a local nature trail or park you can visit.
Not my favorite way to ground, but this is important as a lot of rituals and spells call for you to do this anyways. One form of visualizing I like to do is when I take a shower or bath. I visualize the water washing any bad energy or blockages off me.
You may find you like crystals, you might not. I greatly enjoy crystals, but I have a nasty habit of surrounding myself with crystals that heighten awareness. There are crystals out there for grounding, I just don’t have any. I really should though. Some great, common crystals for grounding are: hematite, smoky quartz, and black tourmaline.
Playing in the Dirt
I did this all the time when I was a child. This was my ultimate form of grounding as a young child who spent many moments outside observing nature in the backyard. The title says it all. Do something in the dirt. I used to love to dig my hands in the soil and feel it fall through the cracks of my fingers. I loved the smell and texture. The worms and creatures residing underground did not bother me, though I’m sure I bothered them. Now, as an adult, my form of play is in planting and working in the garden or with our homestead crops. I won’t lie though. I still smell the dirt and let it fall through my fingers.
This is my favorite form of grounding now and sort of stemmed off–for me at least–from playing in the dirt. I love going outside barefoot. Not around the donkeys. Their hooves hurt if they accidentally get you. Not around the chickens either. They try to peck the nail polish off toes. It’s both annoying and surprisingly excruciating. When you root yourself outside you start with all the energy built up internally, near the top of your head. You imagine all that energy moving downwards, collecting more energy in your body as it moves down. Ball all that energy up. Move that ball of energy down through your feet, into the earth. Find the earth’s energy. Gather that energy into a ball and evenly distribute it back into your body. This technique relies pretty heavily on visualization.
- Spirits and Entities
- I find that being too grounded can hinder connecting with an entity. Even though my last entity encounter from a ritual was uninvited and knocked the ashtray off our fridge I still enjoyed our brief meeting and dismissal. My last entity I encountered while in astral travel was a real asshat though and gave me about a week of real eye opening nightmares. I know when I’m dreaming, so he lost the element of surprise there, but when I showed hesitation in working with his alarming mood swings he threatened my family. To cut off ties, I did a banishing and stayed grounding for a week to rid myself and my house from him.
- Sweet Emotion
- Most spells and rituals feed off your emotions. Many times, you have to feel quite strongly to help get your intentions across, though you still must do so carefully as emotions are messy little things. If you ground before a spell, it might not work. Ground after the spell, though the spell itself should feel realising after it’s done. But not before.
- Astral Traveling
- If you’re grounded, you’re probably not going to go anywhere. Which can actually be nice. Traveling can bring back little nasties sometimes, though you can meet some pretty cool entities along the way. Astral travel is not to be taken lightly.
I don’t find that grounding hinders day-to-day things like using your intuition. I find that grounding can help let go of some energy that is hindering me, but it doesn’t shield me from acquiring new energy, both good and harmful, even later that day. So, if you’re extremely emphatic, you may find yourself still attracting other people’s energy. You need some blocking and shielding techniques to reflect some of that negativity off during the day, which isn’t exactly the same as grounding.
So grounding is important, but when you do it is just as important. If you’re working with any magic, you may find it to be hindering, but it is a great tool to use after you work with magic or if you’re feeling a little off balance. Thank you very much for reading. Leave comments if you’d like to share anything or ask questions.
Some books to look into: