Earth Magick: Getting Back To Our Roots

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The ways of true magick are revealed within us, and within nature . . …. I’m not entirely certain why, over time, we have complicated things with elaborate rituals incorporating items and tools that can only be found within New Age and Metaphysical shops. If you recall our history, such places and items weren’t available. During the days of the witch hunts, witches certainly didn’t hand out calling cards to attract those seeking their help and services to them, nor did they advertise in the local paper. Instead, the true witches would pass an acorn to others to make themselves known without being persecuted.

It was these men and women who understood that the secrets of magick were written in meandering streams, in the rushing waters of the river, in drifting clouds, whispered by the cool summer breeze and echoed through caves and rocks and forests, felt within the blades of grass and in the eyes and presence of the animals…..not within mass produced books and expensive paraphernalia.

My shop owner friends are probably going to hate me for this post, and even as a shop owner myself, I am still quite passionate about this subject. The fact is that those of us who walk the path and live our present lives in the ways of the Old are a dying breed.

It is mostly our own fault. Other traditions have made their ways more available to the outside world, where the path of the Traditional Witch has continued to be shrouded in secrecy for the most part. Sure, there are books out there anyone can pick up and learn from, but you will be hard pressed to find them in most of today’s shops which focus on the lighter aspect of magick.

The Old ways is a practice that has typically been handed down from one generation to the next, unless you have been fortunate enough to find an able teacher with a willingness to take you under their wing. We don’t usually advertise our services, instead, we spend our time writing our thoughts, clearing our minds, communing with plants and animals, tending to our gardens, taking in the environment around us and making use of the items nature herself provides for our magickal workings. We’re a rather reclusive bunch, but the ways of the witch… the ways of Old, are not lost to the rest. There is no secret formula, no magic potion. By working in harmony with nature, we can transform ourselves, our lives, and our world.

I was fortunate enough to have come from a mixed bag of magickal nuts. My mother and the women in her family were practitioners. My mother’s father was Native American and my father’s mother was a Hungarian Gypsy **Cringe** ….But I was equally as fortunate to have had two wonderful (and very strict) mentors that guided me throughout my path, one of which forced me to take my books and cast them into the fire. I loathed her for this at first, but looking back in retrospect, I not only understand why she made me do it, but I appreciate it. For you could own a dozen or more books on herbs but never really know them until you have searched for, picked, felt, smelled or tasted them for yourself. Believe me, if you have picked a specimen during a walk in the woods and have spent hours researching it based on description alone, you will remember that plant, as well as its medicinal and magickal uses always.

The more time you spend out in nature, the more you will come to realize that there is a higher intelligence at work—from the “animal spirits” to the Nature Spirits of Element Forces that can both be invoked and evoked, and on to the Earth Energies that can be called into the Witch’s mind and body.

Some would have you believe that Nature or Earth Magick is a class of magick unto itself, residing somewhere between Folk Magic, Practical Magic, and Ceremonial Magick, when the truth is that it was the original way, and for thousands of years, the only way, and while the world of Nature has been a resource for all kinds of magick, it can also be credited (solely in my opinion) to having  given birth to the various traditions we have amassed in present day.

But where does one begin??

herb foraging

By putting down your books and vowing to use them for nothing more than reference.  By growing your own herbs and vegetables and in the spring, making it a daily practice to take time out in nature. Collect one specimen of a plant you are unfamiliar with that has caught your interest (be sure to look up the poison ivy plants first and stay away from those!). Collect natural things you find such as feathers, acorns, pine cones. The latter two were the first items in my herb collection, and today I have literally thousands of dried herbs, petals, buds, leaves, barks and roots both common and rare in a large hutch I have designated exclusively for housing them.

herbs

You will very likely find things you may not expect to stumble upon, such as bones, antlers and skulls from animals long deceased, fur from animals that have shed, as well as old glass medicine and liquor bottles, or a fallen branch that has twisted itself in such a way it tickles your facy. So bringing a large bag or basket, several zip-lock bags and a pair of gloves would be a great idea.

Spending Time Out In Nature

Shamans particularly, understood the desire and importance  to create a unity of being with nature. I can tell you with certainty that there is nothing, and I do mean nothing, that can put your position in this world in better perspective than being out in nature, and being a part of something so grand that you realize you are nothing more than a speck of sand among a vast beach. I take every opportunity I can get to put myself in this position, to be humbled, to allow whatever is burdening me to be taken away with the winds from atop of Acadia mountain  or with the rushing waters of the Housatonic river (shown below) or by feeling the energy that pulsates through a tree. The magick in it all is there and it’s real. This is what those before us understood, and what so many of us today, with knowledge and answers so readily available at our fingertips thanks to modern technology, has failed to grasp and maintain….

acadia

river

Instead we run to the books and Facebook groups and message boards. I cannot tell you how many people come to me and ask me for the answer to a question they could so easily look up or otherwise discover on their own. How are you to learn if someone is always there to answer the questions for you? Sometimes, I can’t decide if we have grown complacent, lazy or truly just don’t know any better because we have become accustomed to having instant gratification without all of the work. I recall when there was no such thing as Google or the internet. I had to go to libraries and seat myself quietly and inconspicuously in a corner to do my research (because “Occult shops”– and that’s what they were called back then–were far and few in between)… we had to grow our own herbs or find them within the wild or search the world over for a shop that sold them–by black and white photocopied mail order pamphlets where the pictures of the herbs were more often than not hand-drawn. Some book stores had a “New Age” section–tucked away somewhere in the very back of the store. The selection was often slim, and you waited to be certain there would be no other customers on line behind you when you made your purchase.

At least once per week, so long as the weather permitted, I would gather my supplies (inclusive of, but not limited to: candles I hand-dipped on my own, as well as holders, incense made from the herbs I gathered, dried and blended by myself as well as the charcoal to burn it with, matches, a libation (I was underage and will freely raise my hand and admit to rummaging through my parent’s liquor cabinet when they weren’t home….sorry mom, but the spirits enjoyed the spirits!, {Now I either purchase it or make my own for such occasions} ) and whatever else I needed for my task at hand. I’d then walk a mile or so into the woods behind my parent’s house, and sometimes would sit there taking in my surroundings for so long, before even performing any ritual or spell, that deer would pass through or the sun would set and nighttime would fall. Today, the mentality for practice seems to be: Google, light a candle, imagine, recite, done.

This practice may work splendidly for the modern-day witch, but by doing so you have robbed yourself of the very connection with the magick that surrounds you, the magick of nature, the magick of the earth, and by extension you have perpetuated a practice, a tradition that it seems so many today seek and simply can’t find because they are running to the search engines to find it, when all the while they need look no further than their own back yards.

Each morning, set aside some time to sit outside or near an open window. Close your eyes and focus on nothing more than the sounds around you, the smells that waft in the breeze and the warmth of the sun on your face. What do you hear? Are there crows calling in the distance? Is a car driving by? Are there tree frogs singing? Do you smell the ice as it melts slowly from your roof top? Do you feel the chilling breeze of winter or the cool breeze of spring? Even if only for a few moments, this is how we begin to connect to the magick around us, and once we have gained a firm grasp on the energies that encircle us each day, and by making use of the natural resources given so freely of nature that we begin to harness its powers.

Working with Herbs

I said earlier that the best way to learn about herbs, flowers and plants and their medicinal as well as magickal uses was by foraging for them yourself. There isn’t much this beautiful earth of ours does not privide, including the plants we need for simple home remedies. An important part of learning Earth magick is by learning how to create naturally healing salves, balms and other non-toxic concoctions for every day living. Below is a super easy recipe to start with for treating poison ivy (You know, just in case you didn’t take my advice about getting familiar with this plant before going gung-ho into the woods 😉 ) :

(Click the photo below)

herbal poison ivy remedy

Earth, or Nature Magick stretch far beyond just the four elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water (although it’s a good place to start to understand how nature really works). It is the energy that runs through the trees (you can actually feel it when you touch the bark of an old one), the collective memory of stones, in the song of a morning dove, in the dew on a blade of grass. There is no substitute for closing your laptop, stepping outside and embracing nature fully. When you have made a regular practice of this, Nature will provide you with all the magickal tools you will ever need, including the inspiration to write in your own words spells and rituals…… so put the books down, roll up your sleeves and go out side and get your hands good and dirty 😉

Photo Credit: (Top photo) by Anina Salling Photography

http://thelivingwiccan.tumblr.com/

DIY Vintage Apothecary Spice Bottles: http://homemakerchic.com/2012/07/01/diy-vintage-apothecary-spice-bottles/

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About krystalmadison

Known as "The Witch of Sleepy Hollow", as a child, Krystal knew that there was more to this physical existence where black and white exist, that there was a gray area many still could not see. But she could. Even as a young child, Krystal was able to see and communicate with those who have crossed over, but at nine years old, a near-death experience thrust her head-first into a world that would make her realize that we really aren't alone. Visions became clearer and made more sense, the spirits that roam the earth would begin to seek her out to relay a message to a loved one she was simply walking past in a super market. She understood even then, that there was more to this life than just existing and believes that we don’t have to live with all the limitations we place on ourselves, nor fear our own mortality. A 10th generation natural born witch with close ties to Salem and New Orleans, Krystal comes from a long line of magickal roots, with grandparents who were Native American and Gypsy, and a mother who was a Santeria Priestess. In May 2012, she founded The Pagan Circle, an online social media community that has grown to 23,000 members world-wide. In May, 2013 the Pagan Circle website was launched. On November 15, 2012, she founded Pagan Parents Online, another social media resource for Pagan Parents. In May 2013, she launched Enchanted Hollows, an online store dedicated to offering hand-made, old-world alchemical and magickal products and in 2014, Deja-Vuduu. Her published works include articles and features in Inner Realm and Wisdom Magazines, and she has made appearances on Darkness Radio, Z-Talk Radio, HEX Education,30-Odd Minutes and other media outlets. Regularly volunteering her time to the Pagan Community, Krystal is also an Ordained Minister and High Priestess of the Raven's Wing Coven in upstate New York, and founder of The Council of the Serment Sacre' (Sacred Oath) the Corvin Method of Witchcraft, and Festival of Witches in Sleepy Hollow, New York as well as playing host to the weekly radio show, "Good Morning Goddess", and Nocturnas Paranormal Radio on Blog Talk Radio. You can visit her on her websites at: http://www.krystalmadison.com http://www.festivalofwitches.com http://www.hudsonvalleybeltane.com
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3 Responses to Earth Magick: Getting Back To Our Roots

  1. Lorraine says:

    Krystal i am so glad I found you💗 it is so refreshing to find someone who explains & loves Witchcraft the way that you do. Blessed Be my sister )0(

  2. Kayla Wilde says:

    This is a beautiful post! I completely agree with every word you have typed here. Thank you.

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