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Jenna Fox is employed as a writer and educator described by her community college students as “sympathetic, but with a blunt sense of humor.”  As a queer adult adoptee, reuniting with her biological family has helped her reclaim the ancestral witchcraft practices of tarot and folk herbalism native to Scandinavia, the British Isles, and Czech/Slovakia. You can listen to her podcast Leo Rising: Living Tarot & Creative Intuition, on any major podcasting app. To schedule a tarot reading with Jenna, reach out on Instagram @leorisingtarot or her website: www.leorisingtarot.com.

 


Is  the white sage used for smudging practices actually endangered? Is using white sage, or palo santo, as a practice, actually engaging in cultural appropriation of spiritual traditions that are not my own?  If you run in New Age spiritual or witchy circles, you’ve probably at least encountered the practice of smudging with white sage, if not encountered these two questions.

What if I told you there was a way to embrace smoke cleansing that was rooted in traditional European folk medicine/witchcraft ancestry, that was both sustainable and not appropriative? Wouldn’t that be lovely?! And what if it was as easy as going to your local grocery store? Would you be into that? Who wouldn’t want to jump on this easy, sustainable and conflict free form of spirituality?

So, a few years ago, a trusted witch friend from high school posted on Facebook about her practice of smoke cleanings (smudging, without that label) using traditional European herbs, and I was intrigued. I love the practice of burning sage, but hadn’t thought deeper about the fact that many tribes were criminalized until the 1970’s for these very same spiritual practices.It seemes wrong that my 20-something spiritual white girl body was able to do these practices without a second thought about the bigger picture. The more I sat with my friend’s words, the more I was impacted by the colonial mindset that had permeated my spiritual practice of smudging.

And thus, entered my experiment with “returning to my roots.” There are many herbs that were used in ancient and medieval Europe for the same spiritual and practical purpose that white sage and palo santo are used by new age spiritual communities today. And so I began my own practice of tying and burning herbal bundles that my witchy ancestors would have used. Some grocery store versions are:  

  • Garden or cooking sage
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme

Yes, just like the song! Cheesy, but maybe the hippies were on to something…

Below I’ve outlined a step by step guide for tying your own herbal bundles from ingredients easily found in grocery stores. And for those that are more foraging inclined, herbs like mullein, lavender, or mugwort were also traditionally burned to clear spaces of negative energy.

Step 1: assemble materials. I use cotton twine for “sausage making” found on Amazon, scissors, garden sage, and rosemary.

 

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Step 2: Identify size of herb bundle that you want to make. Remember, it shrinks when it dries!
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Step 3: Tie a knot at the bottom of the bundle, begin winding the twine around the bundle, tightly packing the herbs together.

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Step 4: Once you’ve wound all the way to the top of the bundle, wind back down and tie off at the end. Leave some room on the string to hang it to dry.

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Step 5: Hang to dry in a sunny window. I choose my kitchen window because blinds are so handy for hanging. It take a week or two to get fully dry!

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Once they’re dry, they can be burned just like a white sage bundle. Make sure to have a bowl/dish below the bundle to catch any ash, and don’t leave unattended!

There are so many different traditional herbs that can be used for this spiritual smoke cleansing practice, so feel free to experiment (but do your homework and be safe!). I’ve found this practice of connecting with my ancestry, rather than just easily adopting a spiritual practice that comes from a different lineage, to be really rewarding for me. Not only do I feel more connected to my lineage, I also feel more connected to the plants. There’s something amazing about the smell of sage and rosemary lingering on my fingers for hours after I’ve tied my last bundle, and the reward I feel when I take one of my dry bundles and light it to clean my house. Short of growing these herbs myself, I’ve had an intentional hand in the tying, drying, and frying of them, which leaves my house smelling great and feeling light and free.

 

Happy Super New Moon babes!!

This cycle the New Moon falls in the sign of Gemini, the sign of the Twins. This sector of the zodiac represents duality; our subconscious shadow vs our conscious ego.

For today, it’s important to set an intention to carry for the next 29.5 days, where halfway through it will manifest, and for the continuation of the cycle you will sit with your magick, revise, and revisit.

And that’s what Co-Creation is all about! It’s half trust, half commitment. What can you be committed to changing or improving for this cycle? And what kind of magick will support you?

For example, for this moon cycle I’m going to be committed to healthy eating and intentional nourishment. I recently moved my scale back into my bathroom and since I’ve had creepy negative ED whispers from my shadow!

So part of my ritual was to move the scale back under my cabinet and remove my trigger. And purchasing gorgeous raw fruits and veggies to replenish my body from a place of love. I’m committing to replacing bad eating habits with better ones, and leaving the rest up to Universe!

So what’s your intention, and what’s your portion of the work? How can you symbolize this in a ritual setting? What part of your truest desires can you take responsibility for?

Stay committed, and stay witchy ( *)

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witchywisdoms.com

Welcome back to the WAYIYJ Podcast!!!

Season 3, Episode 9 is live!

I’m coming to you today with Dana Suchow, activist behind Do the Hotpants, to talk about being vulnerable! We discuss how your brand evolves with you, fear behind vulnerability and growth, and allowing space for others.

Find her on:

Listen up and stay witchy ( *)

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Tune in below and on iTunes, and be sure to subscribe and leave a rating!!! ( *)

Theme song by Cody Valentine

Spirituality and Sexual Assault: The Literal Mind Fuck

Kristen Johnston was recently on my favorite podcast (you guessed it, What’s the Tee?) and she mentioned an article by Nancy Colier. In this article, titled “Letting Go of Toxic People: When Staying in it is Not More Spiritual,” she details the immense pressure we put on ourselves to be open and forgiving to those that have wronged us, for fear that we have not achieved a heightened sense of spirituality.

When it comes to certain trauma, like abuse, we are taught that forgiveness will set us free. And when we still have emotional responses to triggers or actually seeing our abuser, it’s possible to feel that we actually haven’t forgiven at all.

However, these emotional responses are a product of our reptilian brain, the oldest and most basic part of our brain that is only focused on survival. While you can decide on forgiveness in your prefrontal cortex, your reptilian brain may not follow suit. And that is ok. In fact, the forgiveness we practice should be turned towards ourselves. Rather than pushing the limits of our instinct to be “higher” and more “elevated,” we should accept ourselves for what just is.

If you have experienced this kind of immeasurable betrayal, as pictured in the Ten of Swords, forgiveness is not something that just happens because you decide so. There is a natural ebb and flow to healing, and while self exploration will help move things along faster, you cannot cut corners on healing from trauma. This is because new questions arise every day, concerning what you did to deserve this kind of treatment. And the answer is nothing. The answer is forgiving yourself for every feeling and honoring your emotions. THAT is where the spirituality lies.

As the Five of Cups suggests, it is time to move on and forgive. But the only person you owe that to is yourself. And in time, once you’ve accepted your space and have healed properly, you may forgive your abuser. But, as the article above stresses, you don’t need to push yourself in that direction. Your fight/ flight/ flee responses will always try to protect you, and they don’t need to be shamed. Suffering through these responses by being around your abuser, just to prove you’ve forgiven them, is not helping anyone.

So, forgive from afar. Protect yourself and honor yourself first. You don’t owe anyone contact if it doesn’t serve you. Remember that, and stay witchy ( *)