Instead of making 5 different posts, I decided I’ll combine my elemental entries into a single post for easy reference. Forgive me because I’ve lost count of how many challenges I’ve done this round.
Of the Element Water - Water in Divination and Dreams
I started with the element water for a couple reasons: (1) I am a Scorpio and therefore a water sign (some have heard me use the term “spicy water”); and (2) I’ve always been drawn to water. As I started doing research into water magic, I was surprised to learn that water has a strong connection to divination and dreams. So, I decided to attempt to focus on the water that appears in my dreams and determine what it is trying to tell me.
I have always thought about water as representing potential and persistence. After all, a single river created the Grand Canyon! In the dream I remembered that I am using for this entry, I was sitting under a weeping willow atop a hill. At the bottom of the hill was a calm, clear river filled with lots of fish of vibrant colors. There were many animals at the water drinking, at peace with one another.
Clear, calm rivers in dreams can indicate happiness and satisfaction in life, that things are going well - you are in a calm and peaceful state of mind. It is also believed that seeing neither the beginning nor the end of a river represents the neverending journey of self-discovery and being at one with your destiny.
This interpretation fits perfectly with where I am at with my journey. While I am still working on myself and know my journey will never be over, I am at peace with who I am and what my powers/skills are.
Of the ELement Air - The Magic of Incense
I use incense as a representation for air quite often. Not only does it smell lovely, but different incenses have different properties. The use of incense has been recorded in some of the oldest documents known to humankind, with ancient Egyptians using it in their homes and villages and Babylonians writing about its using around 3100 BCE.
For this entry, I decided I wanted to attempt to make my own incense cones. So I did my research as any good witch does and found you need the following:
- dried aromatic herbs that have a nice aroma when burned (I chose cinnamon)
- a base to help the incense cone burn (i.e., pine, sandalwood, clove - I chose clove)
- a binder to hold the cone together (i.e., guar gum, xanthan gum, makko, marshmallow root, honey - I used marshmallow root and honey from a local bee farm)
- mortar & pestle (an old coffee grinder works as well)
- old piping cone tip for frosting (the smaller the better)
To make the cones, I started by adding 3 tsp. cinnamon and 3 tsp cloves (after grinding in the mortar & pestle). I then added 1 tsp marshmallow root and mixed. I slowly added 1 Tbsp. water, stirring as I added. I then added 1 tsp of honey and combined until the mixture would hold together well. I then would push the mixture into the cone tip, making sure it is nice and stuck together. Using the toothpick, I made a hole at the “bottom” of the cone (to ensure it will burn evenly), then tapped the cone on the table 3-4 times to remove it from the tip. I placed them spaced out on a cookie sheet.
One of the few times I was thankful for the Texas heat was when it came to drying the cones! I placed the cookie sheet on the dashboard of my jeep over the weekend while we were out of town (2.5 days at ~102F). I then transferred them to an airtight container. I now have my own cinnamon and clove incense cones!
Of the Element Fire - Using Basil and Bay to Improve Divination Skills
We all associate candles with the element fire. But did you know that different herbs are associated with the element as well? Since I have cats and rambunctious dogs, I tend to not use candles in my magic if I can avoid it and use herbal replacements are representatives instead. Some of the plants associated with fire are so because of their color, flavor, or even because of how they look. Many are were actually used in the fire-lightening process in older times.
- attraction, love, relationships, sex/sexuality
- AKA: sweet basil, common basil, St. Joseph’s wort, Tulsi basil, holy basil
- spicy and strongly flavored
- Ancient Roman writes claimed that basil would only grow well if the person planting them cursed and swore as they sowed the seeds
- It is sometimes burned during wedding ceremonies
- In parts of Sicily, a centuries old tradition sees young couples giving each other courting gifts of potted basil and cucumbers on St. John’s Day
- divination, dreams, psychic abilities, banishing, protection, love
- AKA: bay tree, poet’s laurel, sweet bay
- In Greek mythology, the Naiad nymph Daphne turned into a laurel tree to evade Apollo; the laurel became sacred to Apollo, with priestesses of Apollo burning bay leaves as part of their divination and trance work
- Daphnomancy is the practice of burning bay leaves as a form of pyromancy or divination; crackling, bright flame is a good omen; sputtering, sullen or dying/dead flame is seen as a bad omen
- It is thought that if you put bay leaves and rose water under your pillow on Valentine’s day, you will dream of your future spouse.
I used these two herbs to create an infused oil that I will dress candles to use during divinations. The bay laurel will aid in divination while the basil aids in attraction. The oil has to sit for several week but here is my planned process once it is ready:
Dress three gold candles in the oil infused with both bay and basil. Have the candles burning whenever I perform divination. These candles can also be used in the practice of lychnomancy (divination with flames of three identical candles arranged in a triangle).
Of the Element Earth - Plant Magic: Making Medicine
As a green witch, to be able to source and create effective remedies in my own home is very empowering. I have created many a “cocktail” for various ailments since I began my practice. By far my most used is Elderberry tincture, used for colds, flus, congestions, etc. It is “simple” to make, just take a bit of effort.
- fresh or dried elderberries, roughly chopped
- Vodka or other high-proof alcohol
- pint mason jar (or other jar with tight lid)
- dark amber dropper bottles
- Fill the jar about 1/2 full with the elderberries.
- Cover the elderberries with alcohol, making sure the contents of the jar are completely covered.
- Screw the lid on tightly and shake the jar. Place in a cool, dry location away from light. Allow the extraction to occur over the next 6-8 weeks.
- Give the mixture a gentle shake every couple of days. If the solvent level appears low at any point, add more alcohol to cover the elderberries.
- Once the tincture is ready, line the funnel with cheesecloth and place the tip of the funnel into the neck of a dark amber bottle. Pour the tincture into the cheesecloth-lined funnel, pressing to make sure all of the liquid makes it into the bottles.
- Label the tincture with the contents, date of productions, recommended dosages, and suggested usages. Store in a cool, dry place away from light.
Recommended dosages (sublingually):
- sick adults (>12 yo): 2 dropperfuls, up to 3 times a day
- non-sick adults (>12 yo) that might be exposed: 2 dropperfuls, once per day
- sick children (5-12 yo): 1 dropperful, up to 3 times a day
- non-sick children (5-12 yo) that might be exposed: 1 dropperful, once per day
- sick young children (1-4 yo): 1/4 to 1/2 dropperful, up to 3 times per day
- Not recommended for <1 yo or any child <5 yo that is not sick.
Elemental Mastery - Connecting with the Elements Tarot Spread
I was trying to think of a way to incorporate more than one element into a challenge entry in a different way than what I already accomplish daily. Look no further than my favorite tarot spread site, Emerald Lotus! She created a Connecting with the Elements Tarot Spread and I was immediately drawn to it! So, without further ado, here are my results!
- An element I should spend more physical time with: 2 of Coins - earth; trying to find balance in all areas of my life which will allow me to flourish and progress along my spiritual path; there is more to life than material wealth and beginning to appreciate a balanced mind/body/soul. I completely agree with my cards here! I need to spend more time with earth.
- An element that I could learn something from right now: Rev. 3 of Cups - water; trust my instincts about people; be discerning of which practices I take one and only use what works for me and what I consider ethical, Don’t go against my own morals! Again, the cards are right! I need to learn to control my emotions and not let them “get the better of me”
- The element I should connect with to feel grounded: Ruler (King) of Swords - air; I can learn as many spiritual practices as I like but at some point I just need to start putting all my knowledge into practice and follow my heart instead of my head; now is that time - stop thinking it and start doing it! This is an interesting one for me. I usually feel more grounded with earth or water so I’ll have to try connecting with air and see what happens.
- The element I should connect with to feel inspired: The Star - spirit; I am very in tune with the spirit world; my psychic development will improve in leaps in bounds; great time to get involved in energy or healing work. Well if that isn’t my higher self/ guides calling me out I don’t know what is, lol.
- The element my spirit wants to be nurtured by: 7 of Coins - earth; reap what I sow - everything I give our, will come back time three; approaching a spiritual crossroads and have a decision to make about which direction to take next on my spiritual path. Goes along with the response to question #1.
- A message from the elements: Rev. Wheel of Fortune - spirit; use this time to deepen my connection to my higher self; don’t resist the changes that the wheel brings and I will come out a more connected spiritual person.
Earth (2): ultimate feminine energy; nurturing and stable, connected to the Goddess; full of endurance and strength
Spirit (2): Bridge between the physical and spiritual; aether; both nothing and everything at the same time; stillness and movement; believed by the Greeks to connect to intuition and spirituality
Water (1): feminine energy, connected to the Goddess; healing, cleansing, purification; passion and emotions
Air (1): communication, wisdom, powers of the mind; carries away your troubles, blows away your strifes