Flower Magicks

Summertime Litha Flower Blend

As many of you have seen on Instagram, I’ve been collecting and drying summer blooms like crazy. One of my favourite summertime practices is to mindfully harvest flowers and leaves to use through the year in teas, spells, incense, and offerings. This means that my altar space is loaded with hanging bundles of plants, leaving it a little crowded and chaotic. But it’s the best kind of chaos.

I’m often asked exactly what flowers I choose to dry, and the honest answer is that I generally collect a little bit of everything. You see, over the years, I have learned that the most potent ingredients for your practice are the ones that grow where you live. Of course, I still order the things I can’t find locally from my favourite witchy shops, but the majority of the botanicals you see me use are those that I’ve hand-harvested with care.

A few of my go-to magickal plants are:

White Clover – facing and overcoming fear, intuition, supports through change

Red Clover – financial spells, good luck, good health, protection

Pineapple Weed/Wild Chamomile – lifts mood, calms worries, helps with women’s cycles

Daisies – inner child work, simplifying and gaining clarity, new beginnings/opportunities

Forsythia – energizes and awakens the mind, positive shift in mindset, peaceful thoughts

Crabapple –  love (particularly self-love), connection with the Otherworld, divination

Wild Mint – good luck, mental clarity, attracts money

Red Sorrel/Sheep Sorrel – clears a space after conflict, matters of the heart, recovery from illness or trauma

Lilac – protection from wayward spirits, exorcism of negative influences from life, attracts joy

Dandelion – psychic energy, divination, calling upon the ancestors

Spruce Tips – protection of the home, strengthening spiritual practice, divination and intuition

Fir Tips – new beginnings, manifestation energy, communication

Strawberry – romance, finding solutions to challenges, fertility of all kinds

Raspberry – protection (particularly for mothers and children), divine feminine, business matters

Violets – transformation and change, calm anger and frustration, speaking truth

Yarrow – setting boundaries, courage, shield against external energies/influences

Tansy – used for spells intended to have long-term effects, honouring passed loved ones, protection from injustice

Most of these plants grow nearly everywhere in North America, and can be foraged easily. If you intend to use any of them in teas or to take them into your body in any way, please make absolutely sure that you have correctly identified the plant using at least three credible sources. If you’re in doubt, just dry and use in spell jars, sachet, or other non-edible workings.

Later this week, I will be including links to some of my favourite witchy businesses along with a free email reading for my wonderful subscribers. Make sure you sign up so you don’t miss out – in it, I’ll also be offering an exclusive flower magick treat in my shop, only available through a secret link!

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Celebrating Litha

Litha – also known as Summer Solstice, Midsummer, and Alban Hefin – is the longest day of the year, and is celebrated between June 20th to 22nd each year. In 2020, it lands on June 20th.

For some traditions, this is the end/beginning of the year, and is a wonderful time to reminisce about the lessons you’ve learned since last Litha. The energy around this occasion is one of a warm and sunny vibe, when we find it easier to be optimistic, have fun, and otherwise enjoy life.

Many feel motivated, inspired, and excited to be creative, make changes, and work toward their goals. We see hints of validation that our efforts are showing potential for success, which boosts our confidence and drive even more. 

For others, this season can feel overwhelming, exhausting and even stressful, particularly those who struggle to keep up with high energy people and experiences. If you find yourself in this category, you may like to dive deep into your meditation practices, take vacation time away from the world, and adopt a healthy self-care routine. 

If you’d like to hear more about Litha, head over to your favourite podcast player and subscribe to the Tarot Coven Podcast. We’ll be releasing a special bonus episode all about the Summer Solstice, and how we love to observe it.

In other exciting news, Stonehenge will be live streaming the Solstice on Facebook, from sunset through to sunrise – I will definitely be tuning in! 

I’ve curated some details about the associations of Litha, as well as some ideas on ways to celebrate with rituals and activities – I hope they get your creativity flowing, and that you find joy in this beautiful season! 

Symbology
Sun, seashells, feathers, fire, butterflies, bees, candles, wands, fairies, flowers, forests

Practices & Rituals
Storytelling – share tales from your family’s (or culture’s) history
Faerie magicks – leave out a small bowl of milk and honey
Feasts and gatherings – this year, try meeting virtually to celebrate
Make sacred tools from items collected in nature – especially wands
Divination – excellent time for forecasting the dark half of the year, through to Yule
Refresh your altar and set new intentions 
Burn /discard spellwork from Yule – final release of the energy, workings are complete
Study the mysteries of herb & crystal magicks
Collect herbs to store for your practice
Shake a few drops of dew from your collected herbs into a glass of water to sip from

Crystals
Jade, emerald, tiger’s eye, amber

Herbs
Chamomile, Thyme, Mugwort, Rose, Sunflower, Calendula, Lavender, Rosemary, Mint, Fennel

(other sacred plants for non-edible use – ivy, holly, marigold, mistletoe, iris, daisy)

Incense
Sandalwood, Frankincense, Myrrh, Oak, Fir

Altar
Add fresh flowers or potted plants, holly, oak, shells, ivy, flower chains, and any other collected items. You may like to leave an offering of some shiny coins, small sweet cakes, candy, or even a splash of wine for the Faeries.

Colours
Gold, red, white, orange, yellow, blue, green

Food & Drink
Citrus, any fresh fruits and veggies
Mead, wine, ale
Add edible flowers to salads, drinks, and desserts

Faerie Queen Litha Beverage
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp honey
1 cup cold water
1 sprig rosemary
7 lilac blossoms 

If lilacs aren’t available, substitute any edible flower in bloom where you are

Deities

Cerridwen – The day of Cerridwen and her cauldron – she is keeper of the cauldron of inspiration (Awen) – holds the knowledge of all that was, is, will be. Goddess of many things, including prophecy, wisdom and transformation

Holly & Oak Kings – Details can vary, but essentially, the Holly King (ruler of the dark half of the year) defeats the Oak King (ruler of the light half of the year). They battle again at Yule, when the Oak King wins and brings the dawn of the light half of the year.

Sol/Sun – illumination, inspiration

Minerva – goddess of wisdom and enlightenment

Blessed Litha!

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The Wheel of the Year Spread

In the most recent episode of the Tarot Coven ‘Cast, my dear coven sisters were discussing the creation of card spreads. As always, their insight and wisdom is sure to inspire anyone to dive deep into their practice and create! (Listen to the episode here.)

I had been planning to create a simple spread based on their advice, but the Universe beat me to it. During dreamtime a few nights ago, I was pulling cards for myself and laying out a simple-looking spread with very deep and detailed prompts. When I woke up the next morning, I was excited to try it out and make notes while it was still fresh on my mind. 

And so was born the Wheel of the Year Spread. 

I hope it inspires you, and helps you on your journey of growth and self-discovery!

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5 Steps to Create an Altar

For some, the altar is the center of all their magickal power. For others, it’s more of an optional piece of their spiritual practice. Still more aren’t interested in altar work at all. No matter where you fall on this scale, the important thing is that you’re honouring your own preference. But never feel as though you need an altar; if it’s forced, it won’t hold power for your practice. 

Personally, I keep several altars, each with its own significance; one is dedicated to observing the Wheel of the Year, another is my “working” altar, where most of my manifestations and workings take place, and the third is an outdoor altar, tucked away in a grove of fir trees, where I go for quiet and contemplation. 

If you’ve been guided to create your first altar, or simply to seek out ideas and inspiration for your existing one, here are five steps to get you started:

1. Choose the space/placement

This will vary from person to person – some traditions have strict guidelines about how, when, and where to set up your altar space, right down to the orientation and materials it’s made from. You are free to be as elaborate as you like. I would suggest starting simply with a small set up in whatever space feels comfortable to you. Over time, you’ll figure out your preferences, and make shifts accordingly.

Note: If you plan to burn incense, use essential oils, light candles, or use smoke bundles, make sure your space has good ventilation, and won’t pose any safety hazards with an open flame.

2. Choose what to include in your altar.

This will depend on several factors; if you’re setting an altar space in honour of a specific deity, you’ll want to use symbols and offerings associated with them; for a seasonal altar, you can collect natural gifts from the Earth, and incorporate them in your design as the Wheel turns; for a ritual or ceremonial altar, there is a good chance that you’ll want symbols of each of the elements, a working candle, specific crystals, and incense. 

Get a good idea of what your intentions are, then collect the elements that resonate most. If you follow a specific tradition, you’re sure to find some good references in any books or other resources for your chosen path. If all else fails, Pinterest holds a wealth of inspiration!

Note: It is a great idea to have a notebook, journal or binder near your altar, so that you can make notes as you work. There’s nothing worse than losing your train of thought as you dash around looking for some paper and a working pen.

3. Prepare the space and tools.

In order to start with a completely clean slate, it is important to cleanse not just your soon-to-be-altar, but also everything that will be added to it. If possible, open up nearby windows to let the air refresh the room, and consider lighting a candle, incense, or essential oil mister to clear out any remaining energy. If these aren’t options, a spray bottle filled with salt water can be used to spritz a little magick into the atmosphere.

Continue by wiping down the area, as well as each of the elements that will adorn it with a clean damp cloth. To add more punch, drop three generous pinches of salt to a bowl of warm water, as well as three drops of your favourite purifying essential oil (Rosemary is my go-to!). I also love to place a carnelian crystal into the water, then let it sit in the Sunshine for a few minutes to charge up.

For items that can’t get wet, set them in a bowl of salt, hold them over a candle flame, or pass them through the smoke of a cleansing incense stick or smoke bundle. 

4. Setting up your altar.

Now comes the fun part. Start arranging your elements on your altar. I generally suggest starting with an altar cloth, if you have one. And by altar cloth, I mean table runner, scarf, old pillowcase, scrap of pretty material – whatever is pleasing to your eye. Of course, this is completely optional, but with the amount of (messy) magicks I work, the surface of my altar needs the protection. 

Start with the larger/most prominent items, then work your way into the smaller details and decor. Follow your intuition at first, but also keep in mind that the space should be visually pleasing. It doesn’t need to be Instagram ready, but it should be something that you enjoy looking at – this will ensure that you actually want to spend time in it. 

5. Consecrating and dedicating the space.

Once your altar is set up to your liking, and you’ve tidied up the surrounding area after the creative process, it’s time to dedicate your sacred space. I like to take my time with this step over a small pot of tea, and really pour my energy into the altar.

Because the Tarot is so close to my heart, I sift through one of my decks and pick out cards that I feel embody the intentions I hold for the space, and place them in various places on my altar. Other options are to write down your intentions in a journal or on loose paper, speak them into the atmosphere around the altar, or simply sit quietly and meditate on them.

Remember to hold gratitude for the blessing of having this space, and for all of the tools that have been provided to you for your practice. Remain humble, yet recognize that you hold full domain over it, and everything that dwells there. Set boundaries about what energies you will allow in the space, and those that will not be permitted. You may even like to ask for the lessons you wish to learn with your spiritual practice, which could give you a themed lens to look through with future contemplations and reflections. 

A few extra notes:

Resetting the Energy.

Over time, the altar will build up energy from the rituals, spells, ceremonies, practices, prayers, and all other sacred activities performed within the space. You may notice that the results of your workings aren’t as potent, that you’re not feeling “into” your practice, or simply are sensing stagnancy when at your altar. 

When this happens, refreshing your altar may be the key to reinvigorate the space. To do this, simply clear off the surface, discard any completed spells, debris, dust, spilled wax, and all other tired remnants left behind.  This is a great time to switch it up, add new elements, and/or remove old ones that need a break. Once the space is empty, just follow the steps outlined above – this is also effective if you wish to shift the intention you had set during a previous dedication that is no longer resonating. 

Travel/Mobile Altars.

If you travel often, or you find yourself wanting to take your practice to the park, beach or any other open space, you may like to consider a travel altar. You can purchase complete kits from many pagan shops, or create your own. Just find a container that fits in your purse, pocket, glove compartment, or suitcase, and fill it with miniature elements to use when you set up your sacred space.

Here are some ideas:

  • Match, birthday candle, or wood ash in a vial to represent fire.
  • A doll-sized cup (or shot glass), small shell, or water in a sealed vial to represent water.
  • Small crystals, a coin, or soil in a vial to represent earth.
  • An incense cone, feather, or a dandelion seed in a vial to represent air.

Inconspicuous Altars. 

Unfortunately, it is a sad reality that some witchy and pagan folk feel the need to keep their practice undercover. In some situations, it would be downright dangerous for them to openly practice. If you feel that you are unable to create a full-blown altar, but still want to have a sacred space, consider these alternatives:

  • A special reading nook, where you can sip magickal teas and journal.
  • Arranging standard home decor items on a shelf to include symbols or colours of each of the elements.
  • Creating centerpieces for your dining or coffee table to reflect the turning of the Wheel.
  • Hanging a collection of symbolic art on a wall.
  • Arranging your desk or office space with art, items, or colours that are meaningful to your practice.
  • Growing houseplants sacred to your deities.

I hope this has inspired you to create (or update) your personal altar; I would love to see your set up! 
Share photos of your altar with me on Instagram, or tag me in your post (@tarot_and_thyme).

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Forest Contemplations | September 21

The slow and gentle inhale of the Goddess as she prepares to serenade us with explosions of autumn shades brings a reminder of the transitional energy of this magickal season. Our journey evolves as we grow stronger and more brilliant, learning to recognize our own potential, as well as the necessity to change and release tired cycles and excess burdens that have outlived their usefulness. Embrace the opportunity to recalibrate your vision to better suit these shifts, and incorporate the lessons you’ve learned since you last evaluated your goals. Prepare for a period of dormancy, making use of the coming dark season for rest, contemplation and study. Soon enough, the light will return, offering the illumination of the path ahead. ✨

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Card Reading ~ March 9

Today’s cards are all about some tough love □ A belief that you can not escape the cycle of lack, depression and victimhood is exactly what is holding you back. Of course, past (and current) experiences of hard times will affect you, and will play a part in how you move forward, but until you change your behaviours and thought patterns, you will not be able to improve the situation. Own your mistakes, focus on creating stability through self empowerment, and stop giving your power away through guilt, frustration and anger ~ a codependency has been formed, because it is always easier to blame another person, situation or experience for your hardships, actions and feelings. This habit enables you to ignore the part you have played, and avoid facing your own shadow. You can not control anyone or anything, except for yourself and the way you react – own that. You are independent and you have the means and the strength to make positive changes. Acknowledge your dreams and aspiritions, set goals, then take steps every day toward them. **You will not achieve these goals overnight**. This is a lifelong journey, and you have much to learn before you will be ready for success – but you must understand that the real gift is the adventure you embark upon in order to get there. Each tiny step will inch you forward, and when you look back on this time in the future, you will find that you’ve overcome mountains without burning yourself out. Stop trying to force things to happen ~ your tunnel vision of ego, self-pity and fear causes you to miss opportunities for growth and learning. You’re stronger than you think you are ~ don’t spend another minute hiding from your own power.

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On Learning the Tarot

There will always be debate about the “true” meanings and techniques when dealing with the Tarot. There are fundamentalists who claim to have authority in this domain, and they can be quite intimidating. I urge you to decide what works for you, and honour that. Personally, I place more value on experiential knowledge than on anything I read in a book. I know what works for me, and I urge you to actually *use* the Tarot, and rely on your own intuition and inner knowing to guide you. Of course, books and lectures are excellent sources of wisdom, and should never be disregarded. Particularly if you are just beginning, it is helpful to find a solid foundation on which to build your skills. Use these resources as your starting point, then dive deep into your own journey. Explore every avenue you find to learn what each card whispers to your spirit. Hold on to what resonates, and let go of anything else. You are a unique, one-of-a-kind being, so your relationship with the cards will be equally unique and one-of-a-kind.

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Two of Cups

The Two of Cups is one of those cards that means something quite different to me than what is considered traditional. I see it more as a warning card, to advise against giving in to pressure or expectations of others, to not allow yourself to be forced into a decision or obligation, and to avoid jumping into a relationship or commitment too quickly. ​For most others, though, this card represents balanced relationships, positive new partnerships, and agreeable contracts. It could also represent meeting someone new with whom you form a heart-centered bond.

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Right vs Happy

Monday morning well-being tidbit for your consideration: “Do you prefer that you be right or happy?” ~ ACIM

On many occasions over the course of our lives, we will find it impossible to be both at the same time. True strength is the ability to forego debate and defense, and to accept that the other party will never concede or agree that you are correct.

Move on, and exert your energy elsewhere. Their lessons in humility and integrity will come in their own time, without your help. Smile and detach from the situation. Then, consciously choose your own peace over your ego’s desire to feel superior.

Your time is much better spent nurturing the relationships that add joy to your day. Doing so can inspire a ripple effect of positivity that will radiate from you. This will empower others to echo this higher vibrational state.

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Card Reading ~ July 11 Earth Magic

Music is key today ~ allow yourself to sing, dance, chant and hum as often as possible. Enjoy your favourite songs and artists, and consider what it is that stirs you as you listen to, sing along with, sway to, or even create music. Music is a powerful healer, each note, tone, lyric and melody vibrates at a unique frequency – when combined, those vibrations form a specific dose of spiritual medicine, and when it resonates in your heart or mind, it is a signal that your Spirit is attuning in order to meet your unique needs. Give yourself permission to heal through the amazing Magick of Music today! ???

A post shared by Tarot & Thyme (@tarot_and_thyme) on Jul 11, 2017 at 6:19am PDT

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