Is It My Intuition? 5 Ways To Tell

One of the most challenging and important lessons I’ve had on my path as a Witch is deciphering whether messages are coming from my intuition vs something else- like my emotions, ego, or personal bias. In my early days of exploration, it was hard to find any information on this, but thankfully now more folks are sharing what has worked and what hasn’t from their experiences. I don’t feel there are hard and fast rules on this, so no matter what it will take some practice and learning about yourself. But I can share some things I’ve learned for myself along the way that may help you on your journey!

  1. Know Yourself

This is probably the most important, but it takes time. We are all unique in our experiences, personal history and socio-cultural conditioning. What works for one person, won’t necessarily work for another. We can learn from others, but we ultimately need to put our learning into practice and figure out what is true for us.

Some folks are more visual, others physical, others auditory. Intuition can come through different channels. Also, how we process information can help us understand how we might experience our intuition. Some folks are quick to sense information through instinct and shoot from the hip with confidence. Some folks distrust their emotional and intuitive instincts and try to keep a more logical point of view. Some folks are sensitive and sponge-like, easily overwhelmed by the impressions they get and may have a hard time verbally expressing themselves or discerning what’s what.

The confident person may jump too quickly to assume the message they are getting is intuition rather than emotion or ego. They are quick to trust their instincts but may not notice where the instinct is coming from. They may need to slow down and get more curious- where did this message come from?  Does it sound tinted with my own personal feelings, biases or desires? Or does it sound like a different voice than my own? Taking a step back to sense the bigger picture can be helpful.

Someone who prefers to take an objective point of view may be too much in their head and override their intuition for fear of sounding too subjective or emotional. They may question or analyse their intuitive feelings to the point where it becomes diluted or they lose their grasp on it altogether. They need to practice getting out of their head and trusting their ability to feel and sense a message knowing that feeling something doesn’t necessarily mean it is emotional.

Someone who is quite sensitive and sponge-like may get overwhelmed by all the information they are receiving- intuition, emotion, the energy of others, etc. They may get lost in all they are feeling and need to work on grounding themselves in their body and the tangible world in order to decipher what’s what. Boundaries are key.

We can experience all of these scenarios at some point. I have!

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • Remember being a child. Did you receive any premonitions or a sense of what was really going on with someone or something? Remember how that felt or showed up for you.   
  • Think of a past experience as an adult of receiving an intuitive hunch about something or someone that turned out to be true- One of those ‘I knew it!’ times. What state were you in when you received the hunch? How/where did you feel it in your body?
  • Think about a time when you kicked yourself because you felt an intuitive hunch about something but instead followed the logical choice or someone else’s opinion and regretted it.  What happened between the intuitive feeling and the regretted action?

The more you understand how your intuition speaks to you, and what tends to stand in its way, the more you’ll be able to tell if what you’re feeling is your intuition or not.

2. Create a Grounding & Centering Ritual

Our intuition does not tend to come through clearly when we are in a heightened emotional state.

This is one thing I have found to be true for me and others on this path.

When I’ve been feeling really down, angry, or anxious, I’ve wanted to figure out what my intuition was saying about the situation. However, when I tried to do this, it always felt like my intuition was garbled or simply not available, because my emotions were in the foreground.  My messages felt like they were what I wanted to hear and the ‘voice’ I was listening to sounded too much like my own thoughts and feelings in that moment.

In a heightened emotional state, it is better to simply be with our feelings and let them flow. Cry, talk to a friend, clean, write, paint, exercise, or cuddle with a pet. Our feelings are always valid. They need to be heard and expressed. However, they aren’t necessarily the best drivers of action. I don’t feel this means we can’t seek solace in our Tarot cards or other intuitive tools, it just means that our ability to interpret their messages may be off, so it may be best to follow the meanings from a book or let a friend read them for us, which only works if we are open to what they have to say.   

When we are in a less emotional state- still feeling and thinking things, but not overwhelmed, it can be a great time to practice a ritual that grounds and centers us. We can go back to this ritual when our emotions are heightened to help calm us down. If we practice it regularly, it can become the foundation for getting us into a deeper, more receptive state for accessing our intuition.

Here are some suggestions for creating a grounding & centering ritual:

  • Doing some yoga and/or breathing exercises
  • A nature walk
  • Meditation
  • Burning some herbs while saying a prayer or invocation to the divine
  • Playing an instrument, singing, dancing, writing or other form of expression
  • Making a cup of tea and sitting in your favourite chair while gazing out the window
  • Taking a salt bath
  • Lighting a candle while setting an intention

Repeating an action like the above examples becomes a ritual when you do it regularly. It becomes a practice when you use the ritual to deepen your ability to be in a clear, receptive state in which your mind, body and emotions are in harmony. If you practice asking your intuition for insight while in this state, it is more trustworthy and can come through more clearly.

You may feel messages coming through without an emotional reaction or attachment. It might come ‘out of the blue’ or feel like it is coming from outside of you, even if it is felt in your body. This can be a sign that it is intuition.

3. Listen to the Body

The body never lies, as they say. However, the body can give us messages from different parts of ourselves. Bodies are complex beings that hold past trauma, ancestral wounds, cultural conditioning, our emotions and more. Deciphering its messages takes time and practice.

The body however, is a valuable tool in understanding how our intuition speaks through us by knowing what our intuition vs emotions feel like. This is why grounding and centering rituals as discussed above are so important. Being in our body helps us feel the difference between our intuition, hunger, desire, or emotions.

Next time you are hungry, tired, in pain or low energy, notice what these states feel like in your body. Where do you feel it? Does your beathing change? How do your muscles react? How does this sensation affect your thoughts and feelings?

I have noticed that when my intuition speaks, there is a feeling of ‘rightness’ and ‘yes’ experienced in my body as expansion and lightness in my heart and sometimes a little flutter in my solar plexus or sacral centre. My breathing slows and I feel at peace and in tune with the universe. This feeling tells me I am on the right track.

When I am in an emotionally anxious state, my solar plexus tightens, my shoulders rise and my breathing shortens. My thoughts start to race and I feel alone. This feeling tells me there is a personal issue to sort through.

When I am feeling hungry, my stomach growls and I become mentally fixated on food. If I try to ignore it for too long, I can become agitated and tense. Everything feels tainted with irritability. This is getting hangry, and it purely physically driven.

Your intuition will probably not feel the same as a bodily need or emotion. But it takes time to decipher the difference and how that feels for you in your unique body.

4. Trust Yourself!

This has been the hardest one for me. I am one of those people who second guesses herself, who kicks herself later for listening to logic or popular opinion instead of what I felt was right.

With time and practice, I discovered that when I followed what I thought I ‘should’ do, things turned out badly and when I followed what I intuitively felt was right, even when it went against the grain, things ultimately turned out well.

I always thought that others must know better than me and my own feelings couldn’t be trusted. But over time, my experience showed me otherwise.

Countless times in life, when it came to the little things such as taking a certain route somewhere, eating a certain food or finding a gift for someone- my inner guidance led me in the right direction. Every time I failed to listen, I would experience a negative consequence. Every time I listened, I experienced a positive one.

In life’s bigger decisions, like deciding on the best ways to parent my daughter, buying a house, continuing or ending a relationship- I listened deeply to my intuition. I took the time to ground and centre, listen to my body, and followed the same feeling I had with the smaller decisions. No regrets so far. (Except the times I didn’t listen!)

If you’re a self-doubter or second-guesser like me, it can be helpful to go back into your memory to figure out when or how you started to doubt yourself. What did peers or authorities tell you that left you feeling inadequate? Are these things true or relevant now?

Trusting ourselves is takes practice, like working a muscle over and over.

The more you practice trusting yourself instead of doubting yourself, the easier it will be to make intuitive decisions.

5. Practice, practice, practice.

As stated above, hearing our intuition is a bit like working a muscle. We need to practice. It is not an overnight feat. Sometimes it works instantly, in a flash. But being able to rely on it takes time.

So, start small. Take time to reflect on each of these 5 suggestions. Do some self-reflection. Get a grounding and centering practice going. Notice what gets you into a receptive, intuitive state. Start becoming more aware of your body’s signals and what they mean. If you have already done those things, then begin to practice with smaller, less consequential decisions- finding a parking spot, choosing a gift for someone, finding an approach for a situation at work, then try it out.

Over time it will get more obvious.

It is also helpful to value your intuition more. We are conditioned to devalue the less logical aspects of ourselves. Remember your dreams and write them down. Let yourself play and wonder like you did as a child. Entertain the idea that mermaids and unicorns might exist. What possibilities lie just outside of our usual frame of reality? How can we open more to all life is offering us?

We are more than our physical reality. We are connected by the web of life. The more we practice sensing and experiencing our interconnectedness with all life, the easier it is to tap into the wisdom of our intuition.

Do you practice listening to your intuition? Do you trust it? What helps you get into a calm and receptive state in order to hear it?

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As a Witch who makes her home and practice in Tkaronto (Toronto) Ontario, I deeply thank the original stewards of this land: The Mississaugas of the Credit, Mississaugas of Scugog, Alderville, Hiawatha & Curve Lake; The Chippewas of Beausoleil, Rama & Georgina island, the Haudenosaunee and Wendat nations. I acknowledge the resilience of the First Nation, Inuit and Metis people who live and work here in the present, in a system of inequity and oppression. I am working on uncolonising my own practice, amplifying Indigenous voices and supporting Indigenous communities in whatever way I can.

Why Lammas is Important + 5 Ways to Celebrate!

What is Lammas?

Lammas (called Lughnasadh in Gaelic and Gwyl Awst in Welsh) is the season of First Harvest, where we take stock of our achievements and growth that has transpired this season. It asks us to cultivate gratitude, appreciation and share our gifts.

This Pagan celebration is rooted in historic agricultural communities throughout the UK and Europe. It begins the time of harvesting grains- such as wheat, oats and barley as well as vegetables and fruits.

The Irish God Lugh (akin to the Welsh Llew & Gaulish Lugos) is commonly celebrated at this time as he is a sun God associated with the grain harvest and smithcraft. He is the original Jack-of-all-trades who can be called upon for support in skill and crafts of all kinds. This time of year historically held markets for artisans to share their wares and the food harvest with the community. This tradition continues to this day through farmer’s and artisan’s markets.

This season of Lammas spans the sun’s journey through the signs of bright, sunny Leo and crafty, earthy Virgo. Both these signs fit perfectly with the energy of Lugh. When creative energy flows into practical channels, it becomes a perfect formula for abundance of all kinds- if we harness it!

Discernment & Sacrifice

From the Wisdom of the Cailleach Oracle
by Jane Brideson

As this season progresses, a bittersweet note arrives, as the nights grow longer and cooler, and we are reminded that fall is coming. We must discern what will support and sustain us into the months ahead and what no longer serves us on our journey.

The abundant Mother of summer hands us the sickle to collect our harvest. We must decide what we are taking with us into the future to sustain us and acknowledge what needs to be left behind.

We may find ourselves at some sort of crossroads in our lives during the next six weeks as we realise that the current abundance is limited and we must plan for future scarcity. What is sustainable? What cannot be carried into leaner months? Is there something we need to let go of? It is a time to reflect on what we’ve learned from the year and prepare for the next.

Moving between the Physical & Spiritual Realms

I admit that for a long time, I found Lammas to be the most ‘boring’ of the sabbats and soon discovered some other witches felt the same. Sometimes I didn’t even celebrate it, but I reveled in the more mystical or playful sabbats of Samhain, Beltane and the Solstices.

I feel part of the reason for this may be that Lammas is the most earthy, practical and humble of the sabbats but we tend to celebrate Lammas in early August, while the sun is still in dramatic, playful Leo. We just might find it a bit too serious or boring when the sun is shining bright and we’re in the mood for fun! But by mid-late August, the sun enters pragmatic, humble, Virgo and Lammas’ energy begins to resonate more. We’re able to get on board with organising our lives and facing the reality of reaping what we’ve sown.

I’ve also noticed that a lot of us drawn to Witchcraft are not always the most practical folks and so seek the craft to ground us. Perhaps the earthy, pragmatic energy of Lammas is a medicine many of us need for balance?

Our magickal practice after all, is supposed to be rooted equally in the earth and unseen realms. Our role is that of midwifing creation between the two. We need to understand the gifts and limitations of both.

The Importance of Lammas on our Magickal path

What helps me see Lammas through a more magickal lens is in seeing it as part of the full cycle of life-death and rebirth.

In the Wheel of the Year, Lammas’ polar opposite is Imbolc, in early February. At that time we are celebrating the hope of new life and feeling the first creative stirrings and visions for the year ahead. Imbolc is a very spiritual, visionary time where we prepare a path of physical manifestation for our dreams. It involves spiritual cleansing and resourcing as we harvest inspiration from our dreams and prepare to manifest them into the physical world.

In this way, Imbolc is very much like Lammas. We are clearing what no longer serves us and harvesting our energy to help prepare for the path ahead. We must discern, envision and plan.

Now, at Lammas, we harken back to Imbolc and ask ourselves: Has our vision manifested how we wanted it to? What have we learned from our experience? What can we share or create from it?

Imbolc paves the way from the spirit realm to the physical. Lammas paves the way from the physical realm towards the spiritual again. We take what we’ve learned and derive meaning from it. We compost our physical harvest into new gems of wisdom that fuel our dreams and creations for next year.

How do we want to enter our dreaming time? What beautiful resources do we want to take with us to prepare our mind, body and spirit for the journey?

From the Wisdom of the Cailleach Oracle
by Jane Brideson

I think of Lammas as a time to gather, collect, harvest and create all that inspires us of this physical world to take with us on our spiritual journey into autumn. It’s like packing for an adventure. But the trip we are about to undertake is an inner one, towards the Source of Life within, where new dreams are born.

When framed in this way, I see the importance of Lammas- how this is about more than just grains and gratitude. It’s about preparing for our dreaming journey, collecting the physical resources we will need to sustain our spirit on its way into the mystery. Packing for a trip can be tedious at times, but it is also filled with the excitement for the journey!

What do you wish to pack for your journey into the unknown?

How can we celebrate Lammas?

Lammas loaves- plain and gluten-free + harvest bottles 2019

There are many ways to celebrate Lammas/Lughnasadh and here I will suggest a few simple ideas that can be done on their own or incorporated into a bigger ritual:

  • Visit a farmer’s market or artisan market: Support your local artists and farmers! Work done at the hands of skilled folks is what makes the world go round. Knowing the source of our food and wares keeps us connected and in relationship with the earth and each other. Acknowledge the circle of life, the interdependence we have with one another and the earth.
  • Create something! If you are crafty, find a little project that inspires you! If you are not really a hands-on crafty person, perhaps you are inclined to sing, write, dance or do some other form of self expression that channels the energy that’s manifested for you in the last few weeks. Share your gifts with the world!
  • Cultivate gratitude and show appreciation: Take a moment to reflect on what you feel grateful for in your life- The people, places and things that support you. Then, think of a way to physically show thanks. This can be through an offering to the earth, a note of appreciation to a friend or loved one, a special gift or spending time with someone you haven’t made time for in a while.
  • Bake bread or cook a meal with local ingredients: The tradition of baking bread with the first harvest of wheat has been a common way to celebrate Lammas (which is derived from ‘Loaf-Mass’ in old English). Make some homemade bread (there are some great gluten-free recipes out there), or a meal with some local veggies or bake something delicious to share with friends and family!
  • Reflect on your journey over the last 6 months. Think about what you’ve manifested, what you want to bring forward in the months ahead, what to leave behind. Use the following questions to journal:

What am I grateful for?

What have I been working on/investing my energy into?

 What have I accomplished in the last 6 months?

What have I learned from my toils?

What is no longer feeling sustainable?

What sustains me?

What type of abundance do I desire to cultivate more of in my life?

What is one step I can take towards cultivating that abundance in the coming weeks?

What do I wish to pack with me on my upcoming spiritual journey?

You may also wish to celebrate this season in a small witchy gathering, like my Hearthfire Circles! In our upcoming First Harvest Circle, we will discuss the themes of the season and craft some abundance spell bottles filled with herbs, crystals and intentions to support our journey forward! Contact me if you are interested!

Wishing you abundance in health, creativity, love and all that nurtures and sustains you in this beautiful season.

Blessed Lammas/Lughnasadh!

xo

Serena

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As a Witch who makes her home and practice in Tkaronto (Toronto) Ontario, I deeply thank the original stewards of this land: The Mississaugas of the Credit, Mississaugas of Scugog, Alderville, Hiawatha & Curve Lake; The Chippewas of Beausoleil, Rama & Georgina island, the Haudenosaunee and Wendat nations. I acknowledge the resilience of the First Nation, Inuit and Metis people who live and work here in the present, in a system of inequity and oppression. I am working on uncolonising my own practice, amplifying Indigenous voices and supporting Indigenous communities in whatever way I can.

Summer Solstice Reading: Step Into the Light

As we arrive at the year’s peak of light, the Earth Mother blooms and pours her cup of abundance our way. The sun radiates its healing light upon us too, illuminating the dark recesses of our psyche and heart, urging us to release our burdens and receive the gift of love available to us now.

We are asked at this time of year to remember how to lighten up, to listen to our childlike wisdom and let ourselves receive the nourishment the Earth Mother offers us.

It’s been a heavy past two years, which can perhaps make some of us a bit slow or unsure of how to embrace lightness at this time. It’s ok to not feel celebratory, super social or ready to shine just yet. On the solstice, the sun moves into the sign of Cancer. This sentimental water sign urges us to embrace all the feels, to be gentle with ourselves and practice receptivity. We can allow ourselves to receive the nourishment we need now, in order to shine our light once Leo season comes.

Generally, this part of summer lends itself to emotional cleansing and renewal, caring for ourselves and loved ones, exploring our past, family, lineage and creating a sense of being at home within ourselves and around us.

Once the sun moves into Leo, later in July, we will be invigorated with some extra bold, confident fire energy to help us shine. Even though we have more hours of sunlight now, Leo season will likely turn up the heat and make us feel more expressive in a few weeks. We can use this time to explore what aspects of ourselves wish to come into the light and remove blocks to their expression.

As we enter this potent time, you may find that anything that was hidden or unclear becomes illuminated. This is a wonderful time to getting to the truth of things. To uncover your own truth, to align with your authenticity, to see in others that which you maybe turned away from or chose not to see before. Illumination can be challenging. But it is only when we are willing to see, that we can move forward in alignment with who we truly are.

Is there an aspect of yourself that you normally keep hidden that is wanting to step out into the light, even just a little bit? Are you dealing with some fears or past traumas that are blocking you from fully being who you are? Do you often feel insecure around expressing yourself? Then you may wish to check out my summer solstice reading below- Step Into the Light.

This is a short reading to help illuminate an aspect of you that is wanting to shine or come out into expression. You can use this spread with your own chosen deck, or see if my reading for you below resonates!

Here is my summer solstice ‘Step into the Light’ reading for you below, dear reader! I used the Gentle Tarot by Mariza Ryce Aparicio-Tovar. The interpretations are by me with some quotes by the author.

Here is the spread:

Step Into the Light Spread with The Gentle Tarot
  1. Self: This position describes an aspect of you that wishes to come into greater expression.
  2. Inner Truth: This position describes something that influences this part of you and is only known to you, and not necessarily to others. It relates to the Self card.
  3. Outer Truth: This position describes the expression of the Self card. It shows what influence hinders its expression, or how this part of yourself is coming out.
  4. Light: This position is the gateway towards shining your light. It gives advice on how to bring the Self card into expression in a healthy way.  It relates to the Outer Truth card, and gives insight on how to shift into healthy expression.
Self: Four of Wands

Self- Four of Wands: You have been working hard on your vision and set the foundation- good work! At this point in your journey, you deserve to relax and enjoy life a bit more! This card is about celebration, harmony and reveling in the beauty within and all around you. It is also associated with coming home to oneself and being with family and friends. Yes, this is a very summer solstice-y card, and invites you to shed the weight of the last 2 years and acknowledge all you’ve been through. You are ready to let go of striving and to get into a more relaxed mode of being. Take your shoes off, untuck your shirt and let your hair down. Be confident in the foundation you’ve laid. Allow yourself to coast, to keep things a little lighter, simpler and more enjoyable from now on. No need to be anything but your comfy, satisfied self.

“Spread your wings. There is celebration and excitement in the air! Break free of whatever is holding you back and reclaim your resolve. The four of wands invites you to take a moment to enjoy the satisfaction of new feats in your life.”

Inner Truth: The Hierophant

Inner Truth- The Hierophant: Spiritual wisdom, your spiritual practice and learning are very important to you. You may keep this part of yourself hidden sometimes, for fear of perhaps not being knowledgeable or acceptable enough in the eyes of society or because you don’t feel you can be an authority on spiritual matters. You may feel called to explore the spiritual practices of your lineage, or ancient knowledge that you keep privately to yourself. Your spiritual life nourishes and supports you and will help you to relax into your authentic self. Letting go of striving can become a spiritual practice for you. Giving yourself some space to rest and receive can support your spiritual studies. Honour your ancestors, elders or teachers that have brought you to where you are today.  Your inner wisdom and spirituality strengthens you and wants to come out.

“Seabirds are ancient. The wisdom in their movement and in their eyes feels older than the millennia countable on our fingertips. Only until we honor our ancients, can we truly know who we are and live a life we love.”

Outer Truth: Nine of Thunder

Outer Truth- Nine of Thunder: The full moon depicted in this card is much like the summer solstice in that is illuminates the hidden and brings things to light. You may be feeling a bit overwhelmed at this time- your mind may be racing, you may feel anxious or having trouble sleeping. This is because a lot is coming up at once and demanding to be released or expressed. Events from the past and fears of the future may be affecting your ability to relax and express yourself. Take your time and calm your mind. You may be thinking the worst, making things appear worse than they truly are. You don’t have to express everything you wish to right now- you can take some time to slow down and process. Write down your thoughts and feelings. Sort through what is true and what is simply fear. Write down all the ‘what ifs’ and then with a clear mind, release the ones that hold no real weight (which could be all of them!).

There are things that we may never fully understand and ultimately we need to accept what is and reconcile things with ourselves. Feel the feelings and cry the tears, but come back home when you are done. Those hard feelings need tending to.”

Light: Flower of Thunder

Light- Flower of Thunder: Another thunder card! This card shows us the way forward towards healthy expression of the Self and reminds us that the way through the overwhelm and anxiety is through strength, objective clarity and sound judgement. The beautiful eagle encourages us to take an objective point of view- pull back from the details for a moment and see the big picture. She balances her mind and heart and expresses herself with clarity and authority. Your fears of expressing yourself must be evaluated rationally and compassionately- are they based in fact? Do you need to perhaps set some boundaries with others in order to be yourself fully and enjoy life? This card says to express yourself truthfully and unapologetically. Remain true to who you are and express the wisdom and depth you’ve been developing behind the scenes. Others will take you seriously if you do. Carry yourself with conviction and others will respect you.

“She embodies truth, honesty and surviving through life’s heartaches and headaches. The energy of this card in one of bold, clear communication coming from an experienced, loving, powerful heart.”

Conclusion:

You are fully supported by the ancient ones, the ancestors and the Earth Mother. Relax and let your hair down. Honour the tender feelings that hold you back from simply enjoying life and let them go. It is safe for you to simply be, to honour how far you’ve come at this point. Relinquish the need to be perfect or let your fears and anxieties prevent you from expressing your truth. Your spiritual wisdom flows through you. Express yourself with conviction and authority. You are enough. Simply being is enough.

Summer Solstice blessings my friends!

I look forward to seeing you at our Summer Solstice Circle, for a reading or 1 on 1 session soon!

Xo

Serena

Receive first dibs on events, new products & my FREE ebook- The Witches’ Wheelby signing up for my newsletter below!

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As a Witch who makes her home and practice in Tkaronto (Toronto) Ontario, I deeply thank the original stewards of this land: The Mississaugas of the Credit, Mississaugas of Scugog, Alderville, Hiawatha & Curve Lake; The Chippewas of Beausoleil, Rama & Georgina island, the Haudenosaunee and Wendat nations. I acknowledge the resilience of the First Nation, Inuit and Metis people who live and work here in the present, in a system of inequity and oppression. I am working on uncolonising my own practice, amplifying Indigenous voices and supporting Indigenous communities in whatever way I can.

Valuing Our Inner Healing Work in a Capitalist World

We live in a world where our value is measured by tangible, visible results- such as wealth, status, beauty and social media followers. Inner healing work- which primarily happens on the mental, emotional and spiritual levels, can often be some of the most challenging work we do, the most rewarding work we do and yet also the least visible and least valued.

If you are healing your childhood wounds or ancestral trauma, doing your shadow work, or living with chronic illness, I see you. If you are raising the next generation in the ways you wish you were raised or if you are helping others heal- I see you, too. Much of this work does not offer an immediate, tangible reward for our efforts. Nor can it always be translated through social media or necessarily even talked about with friends or family.

It is an act of deep courage and rebellion to heal. Colonial, capitalistic, patriarchal powers don’t care about our healing, wellness or wholeness. They only see our productive value in how well we keep the machine going. It takes a ton of energy, time, and persistence to heal the past, care for ourselves and move forward in new ways.

To let go of old stories, old selves and re-create ourselves anew is a big deal.  To go through the fires of transformation and rise from the ashes is an incredible accomplishment. These experiences that empower, strengthen, and heal us can change the entire trajectory of our life.

Our inner healing work might be the most important work we ever do. It’s the work that will matter on our death beds and the work that will reverberate through the world when we leave. What we do to liberate ourselves also liberates the generations to come.

For those of us who are parents, it is often our children that mirror to us the emotional work we need to do. Our efforts to change the patterns that affected us growing up are part of our own healing journey. We do our best helping our children grow up and we hope that in their adult years the results of our efforts might be seen. Parenting is often an invisible labour, but one that transforms lineages past and future.

Sometimes healing is noticed as subtle a change in behaviour, as a new inner lightness or deeper self-awareness and acceptance. Sometimes we have brilliant revelations or make huge steps forward. Yet, often these changes are noticed only by ourselves or those very close to us. It is important that we recognise and value how far we’ve come. It is important that we revel in the beauty of our inner growth and the enjoy the fruits of our labours.

My Healing Journey

My experience of personal healing was spurred in large part by raising my daughter, as well as my experience living with chronic pain from endometriosis.

Many years of therapy, natural medicines, surgery, medications and spiritual healing helped me process and release deep layers of pain. Self-healing became central to my life in my 20s and 30s, even though I wanted to just get on with a career, or distract myself with fun, my body wouldn’t let me. It just was not in the cards for that to be my focus. My healing had to come first, and much of it came through being a mom and having chronic illness.

I have been called to process the pain of my female child-bearing lineage, to heal through layers of sexual shame and trauma, to un-do ancestral Catholic guilt, to heal my childhood, reclaim my body, my independence, develop my Inner Mother while mothering my daughter and dealing with the many ups and downs of marriage that come along with it.

I am still doing much of this work, as healing often goes in a spiral form, and I come around to new levels of the work as time goes on.

Even though I have done and continue to do a lot of this work, I often go through bouts of self-criticism, where the internalized judge tells me I have done nothing of value. That because I have focused so much on healing, I now don’t have ‘a real job’, and I am somehow a lesser being. That there isn’t really something visible or tangible to show for it all.

Some days, I really struggle with feeling like I don’t make an impact. Alot of what I do in a day (aside from when I see clients) doesn’t give me a sense of having accomplished anything even though I am very busy working behind the scenes for my business, doing my spiritual-emotional healing or nurturing home and family.

This is all due to social conditioning, the capitalist mindset of what has value and meaning in this world.

Motherhood, emotional labour & boundaries

Mothers are still not recognised or valued for the important work we do- both on the inner levels and the contribution to humanity. On the surface, much of what a mother does looks mundane, small, and meaningless. Yet, all of those actions, including the invisible work, determine the future. Raising the next generation is no small task.

The other day, despite all my usual flea-prevention efforts, I spent 4.5 hours dealing with an infestation. I was cleaning every crevice of the house, doing endless laundry, bagging blankets and stuffed animals to control it. The house looked clean but exactly as it did the day before. If I hadn’t told my husband about it when he came home from work, he wouldn’t have noticed that I’d done anything. Thankfully, I’ve gotten the fleas under control, but it was a reminder of how invisible many of my daily tasks are.

Like many moms, and because I am a healer type, I tend to carry the emotional labour and mental load in my family and life in general.

Some days are all about helping my daughter get through a tough time, dealing with the psyches of my loved ones, healing our family dynamics or battling my inner demons.

As a nurturing type of person, I enjoy giving this energy and supporting my loved ones and friends emotionally. I know that it is much needed in this world. However, in our society, the burden falls particularly on women and feminine folks to care for the mental, emotional and physical well-being of others, often at the expense of ourselves. Emotional labour is often expected of us, rather than an option and is present in families, intimate relationships and workplaces.

This has often made me angry and this anger supported me in creating boundaries.

A lot of my healing journey has been about accepting the nurturer I am, but also training this part of me to have boundaries.

Sometimes we need to ask ourselves: Do I need more space and time to myself? Do I need to delegate? Do I need to communicate more clearly what is and isn’t ok for me now?

Sometimes we need to take a moment to recognise how important our behind the scenes work is. Just because it isn’t seen or valued, doesn’t mean it isn’t important. I would argue that it is essential. All our inner work ripples out into the world around us. All those small, undervalued actions make up the bigger picture. They help love and humanity thrive. Eventually, tangible changes are visible. It just takes some time to see it.

Measuring Success & Making an Impact

How do we measure success when it comes to our inner healing? How do we know if all the invisible emotional and spiritual work we are doing is making the impact we want it to- on the world, for future generations?

Some of it will always be impossible to see or quantify. But I believe our presence and energy makes ripples through the world, and this cannot be entirely seen. We touch the lives of those around us simply by existing. Just walking down the street, being ourselves, radiating our unique vibe, can be felt by those around us and makes a difference.

One time, I was underground on the subway platform, and I briefly caught the energy of this woman standing a couple metres away. Something about her made me think she was an older university student, (I have no idea if this was true) and it woke up this unconscious desire in me, this new sense of direction I didn’t realise was dormant within me.

About a year or so later, I decided to go to school for social work in my mid-thirties. I realized after I had graduated that my energy had changed and vibrated in a similar way to that woman on the subway.

She had awakened within me a whole journey without even making eye contact, or speaking to me. Just by existing.

You never know how your energy might affect others.

Reflect on your internal, invisible accomplishments

Think about a year ago, three years ago, ten years ago. What is different now? How have you grown? What have you survived? What small everyday things have slowly produced results? How has your inner work changed how you navigate life?

I find it helpful to make a list of my accomplishments- ones that maybe only I can appreciate as a result of my inner healing or the small acts of nurturing nobody notices.  

Below is my current ‘invisible accomplishments’ list, to remind myself that what I do matters:

  • My daughter is living and breathing, expressing herself in ways I didn’t feel I could.
  • My body now has the ability to do more than it used to.
  • I now have a deepened self-awareness and ability to care for myself.
  • I know what healthy boundaries feel like.  
  • I am less or no longer triggered by things that used to trigger me.
  • I am becoming more accepting of myself and ok with who I am every day.
  • I am able to publicly be a witch and not afraid to say I read tarot cards and do spiritual healing for a living.
  • My partner and I are still happily married after many years and ups and downs.
  • My garden is growing medicines and beautiful flowers, thanks to my care.  
  • My home is keeping us safe and nourished, thanks to my care.
  • Our family and cats are healthy thanks to my support and care.
  • Our family can laugh and joke every day, even on the bad days.

If you feel called to, try making a list for yourself!

You are sacred, and everything you do matters. You touch people’s lives around you in significant ways- even if you don’t know it or see it. You are creating a ripple effect around you and through your lineage.

We are intricately woven into the fabric of all life- through the land, sea, sky and stars. We are part of everything around us. We live and breathe in cycles of life, death, rebirth and becoming. We matter in this human life, and make a difference simply by being.

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As a Witch who makes her home and practice in Tkaronto (Toronto) Ontario, I deeply thank the original stewards of this land: The Mississaugas of the Credit, Mississaugas of Scugog, Alderville, Hiawatha & Curve Lake; The Chippewas of Beausoleil, Rama & Georgina island, the Haudenosaunee and Wendat nations. I acknowledge the resilience of the First Nation, Inuit and Metis people who live and work here in the present, in a system of inequity and oppression. I am working on uncolonising my own practice, amplifying Indigenous voices and supporting Indigenous communities in whatever way I can.

What is a Hearthwitch? + Tips for Sacred Housekeeping

What is a Hearthwitch?

A Hearthwitch is a home-centered Witch who focuses their energies on creating sacred space and weaving the magickal into the mundane. They do not usually feel the need to equip themselves with fancy tools or do elaborate rituals and like to get creative with what they have in their own kitchen or garden.

They like to craft things for the home, such as candles, sewing projects, witchy home décor, protective amulets or anything that enhances daily living or serves to create sacred space.

Many think hearthwitches need to live in a little cottage in the country, but you can be a hearthwitch anywhere, including the big city. Urban hearthwitches have to contend with the energetic challenges of scarce wilderness, noise, construction and many humans in close vicinity. For us urban witches, our craft is a little different than countryside witches, but no less powerful.

my hearth

Hearthwitches share some qualities with Kitchen Witches, Green Witches and Hedgewitches, and these can sometimes overlap within the same witch. Their practices all carry an earthy, folky quality, including a love of using herbs in cooking or medicine making.

Hedgewitch is a term sometimes used interchangeably with Hearthwitch, although Hedgewitch can also refer to a Witch who spends their time ‘flying the hedge’, or walking in the liminal realm, traveling in spirit. They can do this through entering a trance-like meditative state, seeking guidance from the spirits, and bringing back those messages to the earthly realm.

I personally identify as both a Hearthwitch and a Hedgewitch, as I spend a lot of energy on keeping my home and garden with spiritual intent and sensitivity, as well as journeying into the liminal realm to gain insight on my spiritual path.

For me, being a Hearthwitch is also a path of embodying and radiating a sense of being at home within oneself and tending one’s inner flame of spirit, which I call the hearthflame within. For me, Hearthwitchery involves developing the ability to create a sense of home wherever I am and share that with others.

This means that I not only prioritise keeping my home in a sacred way, but I tend to my body and spirit with a similar reverence. My path involves embodying the divine feminine, an energy of inner groundedness and radiance that comes from tending my hearthflame within and without.

How did I become a Hearthwitch/Hedgewitch?

My path to hearthwitchery was a reluctant one, at first. In my early twenties I started to identify as a Witch but wasn’t quite sure what type of Witch I was yet, as this takes time and experimentation to discover. I never would have thought at the time that being a hearthwitch would appeal to me, as I wasn’t the most domestic person, nor did it sound very exciting!

I joined covens and read a ton of books, learning about all kinds of witchy perspectives and paths. I felt like I could go in several different directions, but soon I got pregnant and became a mother, which narrowed my options.

As anyone who’s had a baby knows, life gets suddenly quite mundane. Housekeeping becomes everything. Besides caring for an infant, there’s constant laundry, cooking, cleaning, and endless chores to stay afloat.

I felt as though my magickal practice was slipping away, as it seemed I never had time for rituals or anything more than the odd prayer before passing out, exhausted. Thankfully a witch friend at the time introduced me to the book ‘The Way of the Hedgewitch’, which gave me hope that I could still lead my life in a way that was a realistic blend of my beliefs and my new home-based lifestyle.

The book revived my spirit and grounded me in a way of living that became habitual over the years, especially since I have been working from home all this time. I still recommend this book for anyone interested in hearthwitchery, as it will not only help you bring magick into your housekeeping chores but also feel more deeply nourished and revitalised when you’re at home.

Creating Sacred Space & Weaving Magick into the Mundane

Firstly, I feel that the word chores can bring up really bleh feelings, so why don’t we change them to housekeeping rituals?

In our housekeeping rituals, we keep in mind our goal- To create a sanctuary, a sacred space, a dwelling for the divine- which nourishes us and our loved ones.

So, our housekeeping rituals become an act of service- in my case, to the Goddess in her many guises, as well as to my spiritual well-being.

The Greek goddess Hestia or Roman Vesta is a goddess specifically of the Hearth, and she was honoured in many ways, including by the Vestal Virgins who tended her flame in ancient temples. But, you don’t have to honour any specific deity to be a Hearthwitch.

Housekeeping rituals can be a service to your own soul as well as whatever you feel is divinity. It is about creating a space that allows the divine energy of the universe to flow through it. It is about grounding the sacred into one’s abode.

From the Goddess Oracle deck by Marashinsky & Shanto

I have taught a hearth magick workshop on how to make your home a sacred space and weave magick into the mundane. I am thinking of offering it again in the near future, so if you are interested, let me know!

Here are 10 ways to bring more magick into your home:

Start the day with a land-honouring grounding practice. I do a smoke cleansing ritual to the spirits of the land I live on, the Indigenous peoples of this land, my ancestors, and give thanks for being able to make my home here. You may wish to acknowledge the 4 elements, or create a daily ritual that grounds you into the place you live, its history and people.

Sanctify the hearth of your home and spend time there daily to replenish. The hearth of your home is the sacred power spot or energy centre of the home. It is different for each dwelling, but it is the place that you feel most relaxed, nourished and grounded. Often, if you have people over to visit, they naturally gravitate to this area. Once you have located this area, sanctify it by cleansing and blessing it, creating a altar there, decorating it in a way that honours its spiritual essence and tend it with love. Spend more time there, doing things that nourish your soul or make you feel good.

Surround yourself with colours and textures that speak to your soul rather than the latest fashions. Use natural fabrics and items in your décor, like found rocks, homegrown herbs, art you’ve made or creations that hold meaning for you. A hearthwitch’s home is soul-nourishing and meaningful, and that may or may not follow the decorating trends of the moment.

Set up a kitchen altar. Regardless of whether the kitchen is the hearth of your home or not, you are likely going to be spending significant time there. Having an altar with beautiful, inspiring objects, seasonal flowers, candles and other items that speak to your soul will help take the edge off those long hours cooking and cleaning. It will serve as a reminder of the sacredness of the work you are doing, and infuse it with positive energy.

kitchen altar

Keep a balance of elements in each room. Earth, air, fire and water are best balanced in harmony in each room. You can represent each element through the colours you use, such as warm colours for fire, light colours for air, blues for water and earth tones for earth. Represent the elements with items such as candles, incense, feathers, bowls, flowers, shells, etc. Each room will have a unique elemental requirement based on its purpose, but that is a whole other topic, so just try to have a general elemental balance.

Listen to the house itself and honour it like a living being. My house’s personality is like a classy elderly woman with low tolerance for clutter and a need for quiet. She is discerning as to who she will let in, isn’t fond of parties, loud noise, or chaos. She is over 100 years old and the floors are very creaky, full of dents and character, but charming. Her and I get along quite well, except I find her standards for cleanliness a tad oppressive. She reminds me that she has only lived this long because of her high standards and she rewards our hard work with her safety and comfort. She also encourages spiritual work and attunement to higher frequencies, but she won’t let us get too ungrounded. The garden has made her very happy. Your house has a personality too! Every house has its unique vibe and will encourage its stewards to live a certain way. If you work in harmony with your house, it will take care of you. Take time to get to know them and what their needs are.

a bit of my front garden

Think of clutter as negative energy. Because it is. It can create stagnation, clutter in the psyche and hamper the energy flow in your home. As much as decluttering can be annoying or exhausting, your home and psyche will be much freer and healthier when de-cluttered. That isn’t to say its a problem to keep meaningful, beautiful things around you, and you don’t need to be a minimalist! Keep whatever serves your happiness, but get rid of anything that is never used, collecting dust, broken, or saps your energy.

As you are cooking, try saying a little prayer or giving thanks to all the people who made it possible for each ingredient to make it to your table. Try stirring or frying loving intentions and wishes into your food. When I am stirring a pot, I stir clockwise to put out a wish or intention into the food. I don’t necessarily have a rhyming charm to say, I just speak from the heart, often silently, sending my love into the food.

Think of the more thankless chores as nurturing actions. Things like doing the dishes, folding laundry and picking up after kids can be really thankless, as the results are only experienced for mere seconds sometimes. Remember that every dish washed is in service of nourishing someone with food, every shirt folded is to keep someone warm, and every toy picked up is both an accident prevented and an example/teaching to your kids for the future. Life really is in the details and I believe the little things DO matter- especially when we see them as the building blocks of the goal and the big picture.

Make your workspace a sanctuary. Whether you work from home or at an office, it can be very beneficial to bring some good vibes to your desk and workspace. Crystals, candles, aromatherapy sprays and inspiring images can all help boost your mood and productivity. One of my fave ways to absorb negative vibes and keep a nice workspace in a non-obtrusive way is through using salt bowls. They not only help cleanse the energy but also represent earth and water. Add to your desk a tealight candle and a little feather or cute image of a bird, and you’ve got all the 4 elements covered!

Salt bowls

Take time to enjoy your space! Commune with the divine regularly. Let it be your temple. My current home is a bit high maintenance, so sometimes when I am feeling exhausted, I realise it’s because I forgot to actually enjoy the sanctuary I’ve created and take some time to simply BE in it, and let it serve its purpose.

What do you do to create a feeling of sanctuary or soul-nourishment in your home?

How do you feel about cleaning and other housework?

If your current home was a person, what would they be like?

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As a Witch who makes her home and practice in Tkaronto (Toronto) Ontario, I deeply thank the original stewards of this land: The Mississaugas of the Credit, Mississaugas of Scugog, Alderville, Hiawatha & Curve Lake; The Chippewas of Beausoleil, Rama & Georgina island, the Haudenosaunee and Wendat nations. I acknowledge the resilience of the First Nation, Inuit and Metis people who live and work here in the present, in a system of inequity and oppression. I am working on uncolonising my own practice, amplifying Indigenous voices and supporting Indigenous communities in whatever way I can.

Tending to our Inner Hearth + Meditation Video

What does ‘coming home to oneself’ mean?

What does it feel like to truly belong and dwell within our physical body?

What ignites our inner fire, the central core of our vitality and wellbeing?

These are questions I contemplate regularly, but especially around the time of Imbolc and early spring, when we welcome the return of the light around us and ignite our inner spark of inspiration within.

As a work-at-home mother with a history of severe chronic pelvic pain, my healing journey has led me to spend a lot of time trying to feel a sense of belonging in my own body, while also creating a nourishing home for myself and family. This also coincided with my path as a Hearthwitch, tending to my inner Hearth as well as the Hearth of my home. I unwittingly became a keeper of the hearth- within and without.

The Hearth of the Home

The hearth is traditionally where the fire is lit and is a place for cooking, nourishment, gathering and belonging. Before electricity, the hearth was a central source of sustenance and therefore was the centre of the home.

Modern houses with fully equipped kitchens are still often built with fireplaces inside, which is a testament to how important the hearth is to our sense of being at home- physically and emotionally.

Just think of how much we love to have campfires in the summer. Even though we have electricity, our primal instincts crave the warmth, gathering and sense of ‘coming home’ that sitting around a campfire brings.

This isn’t to say that to feel at home, one needs a fireplace or a firepit. Every dwelling has a spiritual centre- a hearth in which people feel drawn to gather, to feel nourished, to settle. This can even be the corner of a small bachelor apartment or room. It is important though, that in order to truly feel nourished by the hearth that it is tended to and taken care of.

As a Hearthwitch, keeping my home is a sacred practice. I have a fireplace in the living room which serves as the sacred hearth of our home. The entire home is designated as sacred space, and I tend to each room in this way, but the living room is a point of gathering for sacred ceremonies, so I pay special attention to the energy in that space. It has strong healing energy that helps restore us at the end of a long day, even if we are just watching Netflix. Its energy always helps bring us deep within ourselves, feeling safe, held, and supported.

Just like in a house, there is an energetic hearth within each one of us, which allows us to feel at home within ourselves, wherever we may be. Just like the hearth in a house, it requires tending.

In one’s own abode

Yoni mudra

The energetic hearth within is connected to our womb space and pelvic bowl.

The sacral chakra resides in the pelvic bowl and is named ‘Svadhisthana’- meaning ‘in one’s own abode’.

I love the feeling this depicts, the feeling of being truly at home within oneself and one’s body. I resonate with its connection to the pelvic bowl- the womb being the first home each of us experienced before we were born into this world.

In my womb healing journey I explored the depth of my triggers and wounds that lay in the pelvic bowl, physically and energetically. It took years of unraveling the emotional and energetic blockages to create a sense of comfort being in the body I have.

I can now say that I mostly feel at home in this body, even when it is uncomfortable, and alongside medical treatment, much of this has had to do with tending my inner hearth. The process of learning how to truly dwell ‘in my own abode’, in a metaphorical sense.

What is the Inner Hearth?

Like the warm flames of a fireplace, this is the part within us that lights up with excitement when we are passionate about something, the place we feel our inner spark or desire to create something, the place we feel alive, with warmth, passion and vitality.

It is also the feeling of being comfortable and at home within ourselves. Sometimes the hearth flames run hot and high when we are feeling very passionate, sometimes they are gentle low flames or glowing embers when we are feeling calm, comfortable, warm and radiant.

Our Inner Hearth can be felt in many ways and many areas of the body. It isn’t limited to the pelvic bowl. You may feel this sense of ‘home’ and warmth in your abdomen, heart, or even in your head.

The Irish Hearth Goddess Brighid is sometimes depicted with flames coming out of her head, associated with inspiration and spiritual connection. So, we are not limited to feeling our inner hearth within our core- the head or crown centre may also light up when we are feeling inspired with new ideas or spiritual awareness.

From the Goddess Oracle by Janto-Marashinsky

Where in your body do you feel a sense of being settled, centered within, and at home in yourself? What activities help bring you into this state of being? What makes you feel you are no longer at home within, or outside of yourself?

When we Leave Home

It is important to note that trauma and wounding can make it challenging to feel at home within our body. Dissociation is a normal trauma response and many of us have reasons why we cannot really feel at home in our body. Honor yourself, your unique body and history. As I mentioned, my healing journey has been about healing these wounds, which has taken years. Feeling outside of my body was the norm before that. It can be helpful to work with a therapist or trauma-informed embodiment practitioner to help heal.

If you are an empath, a sensitive person or a bit of a people pleaser (as I have been much of my life), you may notice that certain people or activities pull you out of your sense of ‘home’ within. For instance, if you work with people closely, you may find yourself jumping out of yourself to attune to their needs, communication style, or rhythm of doing things. Many of us do this unconsciously, and often do it to meet others where they are at in order to help them, or get closer to them. Perhaps, whenever you fall in love you become whomever the other person wants you to be or sees you as, instead of dwelling within yourself.

These are just things to notice and recognise. Cultivating a healthy sense of self, boundaries and inner awareness are all part of tending the inner hearth.

Inner Hearth Meditation

I created this meditation to support my inner hearth and yours. It serves to re-ignite your inner strength, passion, inspiration and light you up from the inside. It is especially helpful if you feel down, heavy, uninspired, unmotivated, scattered, ‘outside yourself’ or if you simply want a pick me up. Try it out!

May you thrive and glow with the strength of your inner light,

Xo

Serena

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As a Witch who makes her home and practice in Tkaronto (Toronto) Ontario, I deeply thank the original stewards of this land: The Mississaugas of the Credit, Mississaugas of Scugog, Alderville, Hiawatha & Curve Lake; The Chippewas of Beausoleil, Rama & Georgina island, the Haudenosaunee and Wendat nations. I acknowledge the resilience of the First Nation, Inuit and Metis people who live and work here in the present, in a system of inequity and oppression. I am working on uncolonising my own practice, amplifying Indigenous voices and supporting Indigenous communities in whatever way I can.

Beyond Smoke Cleansing: 10 Powerful Ways to Clear Your Energy

We live in energetically heavy times. Carrying stressful thoughts and emotions can contribute to illness and challenge our mental health. Whether these energies stem from within us or our environment (or both), ritual cleansing can be an important part of our energetic hygiene, especially for the sensitive among us.

Burning plant matter such as resins, leaves, bark and flowers with specific properties to clear the negative energy from a space is done in many cultures all over the world and has been for a long time. This can be a desirable and effective way to clear the vibes around us and in our space. I love smoke cleansing, but it’s not the only effective method!

In recent years smoke cleansing has become ultra-popular in mainstream culture. Specifically, the appropriation of Indigenous smudging took the world by storm and has had serious consequences, such as the over-harvesting of white sage and palo santo, as well as furthering the harmful cultural genocide of Indigenous people that began with colonization and continues today.

Thankfully, many pagans are now learning about this and are instead learning the smoke cleansing practices of their ancestors using other herbs & methods, or perhaps respectfully learning the teachings behind smudging from Indigenous folks (when/if offered), learning about colonization and supporting these communities. Many Indigenous folks believe smudging should be a closed practice and that sage should never be bought or sold, only gifted or grown/harvested oneself. I feel it is important to listen to and respect these voices, even though not everyone feels the same. (Indigenous folks are diverse, not a monolith). You may wish to listen to Revolutionary Mystic’s take on this here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRu8UWr8KpI

In all this smoke, we can forget that there are plenty of other ways to cleanse ourselves energetically! There are many places and times when smoke may not be accessible, nor even the most effective way to transmute negative energy, so let’s explore some other amazing options…

Sound:

Sound is vibration and a very powerful energetic purifier. Really, any instrument can be used to shift one’s own energy or the energy in a space. Even recorded music has an effect. When you are feeling heavy or down, find a song that can help you feel better. Put on your favourite album. Or, if you enjoy making your own sound, you may wish to try drumming or chimes. I especially love Koshi chimes and find them to be very useful at shifting my energy and the energy within my space.

 

Koshi Chimes- Earth

Breath:

We always have breath with us, and it doesn’t cost us a thing. If you are feeling stressed or angry, take a moment and inhale through the nose, and exhale through the mouth. Try blowing the air out like you are blowing out birthday candles.

You can take this a step further with visualization. Imagine you are inhaling clearing, white light and exhaling out black smoke.

Speaking of sound, allowing sound to come out is very helpful! Try inhaling through the nose and exhaling a big sigh. Then on the next exhale try letting the most natural sound come out, even if it’s a nasty growl or sounds a bit monstrous!

Movement:

Our body usually holds onto negative energy, so moving it helps to move it out! Walking, dancing, or a vigorous workout can transmute anger, rage, depression or hopelessness.

If you are frustrated working from your desk, you can lift your arms over your head as you inhale, then as you exhale, lower your arms down, blowing out the mouth like in the breathing exercise above. Add sound. Notice how you feel.

A Bath or Shower:

As an empath and watery soul, water seems to be my preferred element for cleansing. If you’ve had a long day working with people, being in a crowd, or feeling a buildup of toxic emotion, a shower or bath or a swim in a lake can be extremely soothing and purifying. I like to add Epsom salts or sea salts to my baths for extra cleansing power.

*Sidenote: Whenever we resource something from the earth to energetically cleanse, I feel it is important to thank the spirit being- the spirit of the water, plant, rock, etc. for its help. So, while a regular shower or bath can clear us energetically, it becomes much more powerful when we add prayer, intention and gratitude. We connect to the element in relationship. This is the difference between a mundane activity and a ritual.

Aromatherapy Spray:

My sprays!

This is my favourite alternative to smoke cleansing, and why I sell my sprays! I was trained in aromatherapy, so I understand the energetic and chemical properties behind the essential oils and how to blend them. I list a few of my favourite essential oils and their properties here. Sometimes, I find my sprays make a stronger impact than smoke cleansing, perhaps because essential oils are more concentrated, or perhaps because water is more dense and makes a stronger impact on my sticky aura that picks up everything around it.

Sprinkling Water:

Like smoke cleansing, this is another cleansing ritual that has been done in different religions and cultures all over the world. I am not sure of its exact origins, and there are difference nuances to how this is performed culturally. But it is common in pagan practices to sprinkle a space to cleanse it and around ourselves reciting a little chant or prayer. Sometimes it is as simple as saying ‘I cleanse myself and my space with the power of water’. Sometimes saltwater is used.

Drinking enough water in your day can really help the body purify and therefore affect your energetic health too! It is important to connect with the spirit of the water, and the source of the water if possible as well, giving thanks.

Steam pot:

Similar to a spray but without the cost and concentration of essential oils, you can boil herbs, roots, and fruits on the stove and let the steam flow around you and through the house. This will give it a wonderful smell (assuming you boil wonderful smelling things). This is nice to do when ill, and if you boil herbs or bark you can drink as a tea, even better! When ill or feeling low, I like to make either cedar tea or a mix of garden sage,rosemary, thyme and lemon. Cinnamon is nice too! The possibilities are endless.  

Besom/Broom:

homemade wheat besom

A housekeeping tradition found all over the world is to clean one’s space with a broom. Traditionally, in the UK a broom was called a besom, and made of tied birch twigs to a larger branch handle made of ash, hazel or chestnut. Eventually, broomcorn came into use, which is the material we typically see in regular brooms today.  

The broom/besom is also used as a sacred tool for energetic cleansing. It can be used to sweep negative energy out of a room, or off oneself. I use a small besom for personal sweeping, and I also fashioned one of wheat and other dried flowers and herbs. I sweep my body lightly from head to toe to remove negative energy.

The Earth:

Wherever we go, we walk on the earth. The Earth can help transmute negative energy. This practice is best in a place where the earth is happy and doing well, so if you’re living downtown in a large city, find a healthy, decent sized park rather than bothering a poor lone tree in the concrete jungle.

Let the earth know you are looking for a good place to transmute negative energy. Wait until you find a place that seems to be inviting you to it. Be patient, my urbanite friends, this may mean a longer walk or a bit of a trek. It could be a tree that draws you, or a patch of grass or sand. My fave local spot here in Toronto is the sandy water’s edge on Lake Ontario, but you may have another spot you like or a large tree in a park who doesn’t mind grounding your energy.

Birch is a lovely friend who helps me feel clearer

When you find your spot and the tree or earth says it will help you, simply sit and place your palms face down on the earth and imagine any negative energy flowing out from your hands, feet and the base of your spine, into the ground to be transmuted. If appropriate, you may wish to lay on the ground or sit with your back up against a tree. Breathe in the energy of the earth or the tree. Exhale any negative energy out. When you feel more balanced, thank the earth.

I always leave an offering if I am asking anything of a tree or the earth. You can leave herbs, safe food for local animals, or Sema (tobacco) if that is your tradition. Give thanks.

Wind, Rain & Sun:

Wind– When you are outside on a windy day, ask the wind to take your stressful thoughts away. Combine it with the breathing exercise above.

Rain– If it is raining, allow the water to help cleanse and refresh your mind and heart. Imagine each drop capturing your stresses and washing them away.

Sun– When the sun shines, lift your gaze to the sky, open your heart and ask the sun to purify you. Feel its warmth penetrating any negativity and transmuting it into love.

The elements are always here for us, all around us, part of us. Sometimes we just needs to remember to take notice, receive the Earth Mother’s gifts and give thanks.

There are many other ways I haven’t even mentioned to clear energy. What methods do you use? Which ones do you feel like trying?

May your energy be bright and clear this full moon and may all that needs to be released, go with ease.

Niagara Falls Rainbow

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As a Witch who makes her home and practice in Tkaronto (Toronto) Ontario, I deeply thank the original stewards of this land: The Mississaugas of the Credit, Mississaugas of Scugog, Alderville, Hiawatha & Curve Lake; The Chippewas of Beausoleil, Rama & Georgina island, the Haudenosaunee and Wendat nations. I acknowledge the resilience of the First Nation, Inuit and Metis people who live and work here in the present, in a system of inequity and oppression. I am working on uncolonising my own practice, amplifying Indigenous voices and supporting Indigenous communities in whatever way I can.

9 Ways to Protect Your Energy- For Sensitive Souls

During the winter season, the darkness and cold means we are vulnerable not only to harsher weather and viruses, but also negative energies. When we lack Mother Earth’s abundance of medicines and the sun’s warm rays to nourish us, we need to shield ourselves energetically and feed our hearts and souls with some extra love and care!

What is Negative Energy?

Negative energies can come in the form of harmful thoughts, emotions, intentions, rogue entities and spirits. We can essentially pick up these energies just as we can pick up viruses from one another. We also can send these energies to others- either consciously or unconsciously. Sometimes energy isn’t necessarily negative at first, but if it collects and stagnates it can become harmful. Energy must continuously flow so it doesn’t get stuck.

Much of how we pick stuff up and carry it has to do with our energetic immune system, which is similar to (and linked to) our physical immune system.

Energetically, our thoughts, feelings and emotions are intimately tied to our body. Generally, feeling emotionally low can increase our likelihood of feeling physically ill, and vice versa. So, it is important to take care of one’s body and health as a form of energetic protection.

Empaths, Sensitives & Intuitives

It can be hard for the sensitive among us to live in this world. For years we grow up thinking something is wrong with us, that we are flawed or weak or somehow less capable than the average person, when really, we are processing a ton more information on more levels and this requires an extra level of personal responsibility and self-care.

You may be an empathic person, which means you pick up others’ emotions easily and may carry them as your own. You may feel easily overwhelmed when with other people and burnout when in a crowd. It is important if you are an empathic person to create and maintain emotional boundaries and learn to strengthen your inner sense of self to prevent sapping your energy or forming co-dependent relationships.  

You may be energetically sensitive person and find that you feel the vibes in a place or coming from people very easily. You may be more sensitive to your environment than most people, responding strongly to stimulation like noise, light and activity. You might find that you are sensitive to the energy around you, but it isn’t necessarily on the emotional level, like with an empath.

If you are an intuitive person, you may be empathic and/or sensitive, but you also are attuned to the spirit world. Perhaps you see or sense entities and spirits of those who have passed on, perhaps you are psychic and see, hear or feel things others cannot. With this added layer of awareness comes an added vulnerability to ill-intentioned spirits, so protection becomes very important.

Energetic protection is important for everyone, but it is especially for sensitives, empaths and intuitive folks. It is also important for those of us living in big cities surrounded by lots of people, or those who work with people in vulnerable situations or life and death situations.

Being Responsible With Our Energy

Almost everyone at one time or another has felt negative emotions or had negative thoughts about someone else—it is human nature. But as we grow in self-awareness, we need to be careful of how we direct our energy because our thoughts, feelings and intentions affect our environment. We can often reach another person with our thoughts and intentions, causing actual physical illness or make them feel unwell, anxious or depressed. It is very important that we not only protect our own energy, but that we be aware of how our thoughts, feelings and intentions affect others. If we feel strong hate or anger towards someone, sometimes it can help to write down how we feel and then burn the paper afterwards, asking that the energy be cleared with no harm to anyone.

 It is important that we continuously work on our own healing so that we are less likely to direct blame and hatred onto others and instead tend to our own unhealed wounds, trusting that this will be much more effective than lashing out.

Shielding and Inner Strength

When it comes to energetic protection, I feel it is important to protect ourselves as well as our home space. Living as a sensitive, intuitive and empathic person means that energetic health becomes a lifestyle built on habits.

Protection is a combination of shielding negativity as well as cultivating inner strength, positivity and power in oneself.

Shielding habits are about warding off negative energies, kind of like wearing a mask to prevent viruses from entering. Cultivating inner power and strength is akin to taking care of your body and immune system so that if a virus enters, it can be transmuted more effectively.

Energetic Protection Habits:

There are many ways to protect ourselves energetically against all forms of negative energy. The things in this list are habits I try to keep regularly, as part of my personal energetic hygiene.

Being an empathic, sensitive or intuitive person can be a lot of work simply to maintain oneself! Its ok if you don’t do any or many of these things, even just trying one of them can make a difference.  I don’t do all these things every single day, but they are part of an ongoing rotation and used on a regular basis:

  • I call on my spirit allies and guides to be with me.

I call them and feel/envision them there with me when I am in a dicey situation or place. I have one in particular that comes to my side and works very well at deterring negative energy coming from people in my environment with harmful or dangerous energy. I also call on Cerridwen, the Goddess I work most with, as she has a very protective presence.

  • I visualise an egg or orb of light all around me that is sealed with a protective black smoke.

I know some people imagine an egg of pure white light, or a colored light or substance that they resonate with. I found the light wasn’t enough for me, but when I imagine black smoke swirling around the egg of light, I feel better protected. I have done this in public situations where I felt unsafe, and it works pretty fast to move the negative energy away from me.

  • I do a grounding practice.

This is part of my daily energetic hygiene, so it is always done before I leave the house or do anything important. I do a grounding meditation to connect with the earth, sea and sky, to feel the divine in my body.  I connect with the land I live on, its ancestors and give thanks. I smoke cleanse with herbs I grow in my garden and hold a local rock in my hands and place it on my heart to feel my rootedness to this land. Being grounded is essential to being protected. Having a relationship to the land ensure you will be looked out for and be in tune with the ebb and flows of energy in the environment.

  • I wear a lot of black and crystals! (I know its a cliche, but it works)

I wear black pretty much all the time. Black is a strong protective color that helps to ward off negativity.

I also like to wear colors that help to strengthen my inner power and vitality. For some folks that might be a bright color, but for me it is black again, as well as purple or plum or green.

I also like to wear protective jewelry. I have different symbols I wear that I charge with intention. I also wear crystals, such as obsidian, onyx, black moonstone, smokey quartz, auralite, labradorite, selenite and others that help ward of negativity. I also like to wear crystals that ground and energise me, such as ruby, garnet and black tourmaline.

  • I use plant medicines

I like to carry cedar or spruce in my purse when I go out to protect me and my belongings. I have a little leather pouch I put plant matter in.  

I create aromatherapy sprays using essential oils that carry qualities that I wish to embody and surround myself with. If I need to stimulate my sensual side, I might use rose, orange or geranium. For calming, lavender or chamomile. If I want something more shielding, I might use a blend using evergreens and cloves, or if I need grounding, I might wear patchouli.

I like to drink nettle tea when I am feeling my power is a bit low or am vulnerable. It is very nourishing to the blood and due to its prickly nature, has a protective energy. Ginger tea is also a good one to strengthen one’s inner fire.

There are many ways to use plant medicines, including teas, salves, ointments and tinctures to help strengthen your immune system and protect energetically.

  • I prioritise exercise, sleep and eating well

I fuel my inner vitality with exercise, nutritious food and enough sleep. Exercise that includes physical strengthening and core exercises is especially helpful in creating better boundaries for empaths. I make sure to exercise daily, as I easily become ungrounded if I don’t. I eat intuitively and do certain cleanses and take vitamins as needed.  I am a night owl, so going to bed early is challenging for me, but I always aim for 8 hours sleep.

  • I feed my heart & soul

One way I feed my heart and soul is by simply listening to their whispers and feelings. My heart is nourished by spending time with my pets and loved ones, listening to music, dancing and writing. My soul is nourished with walks in nature, spending time near water, communing with the Goddess at my altar, and doing devotional practices, crafts and rituals.  

The Beach, Toronto
  • I work on keeping healthy boundaries

If we find ourselves habitually drained after an interaction with someone, it might be an alarm bell to place better boundaries for ourselves or distance ourselves from them. It might mean that we need to limit our time with them, say no to some of their requests, or explain that we only have so much energy today and can only handle ‘a’ or ‘b’ but not ‘c’ at this time.

A lot of us are spending more time online on social media, so it is important to place boundaries in this setting. I have been unfollowing people I need to distance myself from, leaving groups I don’t like, deleting accounts that I don’t use and focusing my energies on the connections that nourish and inspire me or challenge me in growth-oriented ways.

I find that boundaries are also about keeping my inner power strong, so this means that I need to take regular time out to be alone so I can re-align with my own energy. I find that throughout the day, I need to check in with myself because I tend to get too involved with others’ emotions and issues.  

Taking a 5-minute break to just check-in with yourself- in mind, body and emotions can help keep you centered within.

  • I do regular energetic cleansing
My besom

Every day I smoke cleanse and/or use my besom (witch’s broom) to clear my energy and my space. I always open a window and pray and give thanks to the spirit of the plant medicines for transmuting the negative energies that may have clung to my aura or are sitting in the space.

I take regular salt baths. I alternate between using either epsom or sea salts and essential oils in a nice hot bath. I find this is especially helpful for the empathic part of me, because water resonates with the emotional body and this is where the gunk can collect energetically for empaths. Water helps the emotions to flow and clear beautifully!

I take a shower after spending a lot of time in public around a lot of people and I just want to clear the day’s energetic debris.

How do you protect yourself as an empath, sensitive or intuitive person? What do you struggle with?

What strengthens and nurtures you in body, mind, heart and soul?

It has taken me my whole life to figure out the unique needs of my nervous system and energetic constitution, with lots of trial and error! Some of what I suggest may work for you and others won’t. We are all unique. Experiment and see what works for you.  

One thing I have learned is that protective habits are best weaved into one’s lifestyle. When they become part of our daily routine, we have a good foundation to stand on when things get rocky in our lives. Picking one thing and sticking to it can make a bigger difference than doing several things irregularly.

May you be well-nourished and protected in the weeks to come my sensitive soul!

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As a Witch who makes her home and practice in Tkaronto (Toronto) Ontario, I deeply thank the original stewards of this land: The Mississaugas of the Credit, Mississaugas of Scugog, Alderville, Hiawatha & Curve Lake; The Chippewas of Beausoleil, Rama & Georgina island, the Haudenosaunee and Wendat nations. I acknowledge the resilience of the First Nation, Inuit and Metis people who live and work here in the present, in a system of inequity and oppression. I am working on uncolonising my own practice, amplifying Indigenous voices and supporting Indigenous communities in whatever way I can.

Hearth Magick for Wintertime

During the warm half of the year, we are blessed with Mother Nature’s blossoming abundance, color and the sun’s shining rays to support our health and wellbeing.  Our vitality is stronger, our energy flows outward with more ease. The earth offers us a constant stream of protection, nurturance and healing energy. 

Now that we stand in the peak of darkness, the naked trees reach starkly into the grey sky and the earth beneath us is resting. Like the earth, we must conserve our energy and protect our self and space. This time of year belongs to the Hag of Winter, the Crone and Elder, awakening our strength, perseverance, and the wisdom that comes with aligning with our priorities and honoring our spirit.

Personally, I feel more at home during this time of year than in the warm months. Maybe it’s because I’m an introvert, or because I grew up in the cold, windy prairies in Winnipeg- aka ‘Winterpeg’!

I enjoy the darkness that comes with the winter season, because I like retiring into night mode. I also love when the sun sparkles on the snow, the hushed quiet of the woods, the squeaky sound of crisp snow underfoot, snuggling up with blankets and slippers with hot tea in front of the fire… I feel more connected to my intuition and spirit at this time.

Winter willows

But it is true that this season requires more diligence on an energetic level. Not only do we need to conserve our energy, but we need to protect it and our space as well. Many of the trees and plants that normally protect us are dormant or conserving energy too. The harsh weather can bring power outages, unsafe road conditions, hazardous ice, and on a social level general grumpiness, exhaustion and viruses. Basic travel and living take more work.

If you are sensitive & empathic, living in a busy city, being surrounded by people constantly means picking up on others’ difficult emotions that tend to surface this time of year. Also, the stark realities of life cannot be hidden beneath pretty flowers.  Many folks are unhoused, in poverty, isolated, struggling, and the reality of systemic oppression and its effects are inescapable. It is a time where we may need to check on our neighbors more and keep a sense of community as well as keep ourselves safe- physically and energetically.

With all of this in mind, I thought I’d share some simple ways to protect your home and energy during this time. My approach to Hearth Magick is pragmatic, as well as multi-faceted. I find that tackling an issue from as many angles as possible yields the best results, so I do pretty much all of these things regularly as general winter hearth maintenance. I am assuming you’ve got basics covered, like locks on your doors and windows (and maybe an alarm system & security camera, depending on your ‘hood), heating, a roof over your head and nourishing food on the table. I am also assuming your space isn’t haunted by strong negative entities.  

The home and self are connected energetically. One affects the other.

Clean and Clear

Clutter doesn’t do us any good. It’s a great time to clean out our closets and release anything that is taking up space that is not useful or making us happy. Clutter creates stagnant energy in the home and in turn, in our own energy. Give away the clothes you don’t wear, let go of things you don’t use anymore. Clear your shelves, cupboards, drawers, and of course your altar or your hearth.

Clearing your space energetically is also very important. This could entail washing your floors and counters with some of your favourite herbal infusion, essential oil, or adding a prayer or intention to your regular cleaning.

You may also wish to try smoke cleansing by burning herbs or incense or spraying the space with an herbal infusion or essential oils.

My ‘Pure Yule’ Hearth Mist

You can try creating a nice steam air purifier by boiling herbs on the stove, which is great for combating dryness from the heat and spreads good energy from the herbs. It also doubles as a tea. I do this with cedar, or sometimes with cinnamon, cloves and ginger. These are protective of self and space as steam, while helping to support the immune system as a tea.

Simplify Your Life

Do you have people or activities in your life that drain your energy? Have you overcommitted yourself? This is the time to set some boundaries. Say ‘no’ to that person or extra thing. Or, set up something that works better for you. Delegate. Take charge of your schedule as best as you can and see what is unnecessary. Focus on the priorities and keep it simple. Otherwise, you may burnout.

Let There be Light

This is the time of year when lights make a big difference in our mood and energy. Do you have any particularly dark areas of your home? These are areas where energy can hold negativity. Light them up! Whether it’s adding a strand of twinkle lights, a salt lamp or candles to your décor, sources of light can help prevent negative energy from stagnating in areas of the home, as well as in your mind and heart. Switching some of your bulbs to full-spectrum lighting to imitate the sun can also be helpful, especially if you are affected by SAD or need a mood boost.

The Fire Element

Flame of my hearth

Do you have representation of the fire element in your home? Lights, as mentioned above count. However, other representations may be warm colours- reds, oranges, golds and yellows. You can wear them or bring more of them into your space, by adding a throw pillow, blanket or candles in these colors.

What about fiery activities? Any vigorous, playful or transformational activity can bring the energy up in your home and self! Things like lighting candles while you relax, cooking and baking your favourite foods, exercising, dancing, listening to energetic music, eating spicy foods, hot drinks and taking hot baths, all help to build up your inner fire and vitality, increasing self protection.

Indoor Plants

The color green is something I desperately miss by the time March rolls around. Psychologically, when we see green we relax, because it is an indication of fertility and life around us, ensuring our survival. In winter, we are lacking this!

My home is old and dark, a bit like a cave, with not many places for plants to thrive so, I invested in a garden window. Since filling it with indoor plants, I’ve noticed a huge difference in my winter wellbeing. The plants give me hope and have added a very positive energy into the home which in turn brings positivity into the residents and protects the space.

My garden window- with a little cat bed included.

If you are someone who kills any indoor plants they own or live in a basement apartment you may wish to try plants with very low light requirements. I have found Spider plants to be particularly adaptable. They clear the air, are low maintenance and reproduce abundantly, so if you mess up with one (and it has already grown some babies), you can try again by rooting and potting the babies. The trick is not to overwater. If you have bright light, air plants or Aloe Vera are also wonderful choices!

Evergreens

I love evergreens! The land always takes care of us with her medicine. Evergreens are a source of vitamins, minerals, anti-viral properties, and energetic protection and strength. They are also strong transformers of negative energy. Juniper, Spruce, Pine, Cedar, Fir and Yew are what I consider wise Crone/Elder trees that take care of us in the northern climate.

If it’s Yule season, you’ll probably see an abundance of evergreen clippings and decor to purchase in local grocery or plant stores. These can help protect your home on the outside and the inside (the real ones, not the fake ones!).

One thing I learned from Indigenous community members is to hang cedar above my doorways to protect from bad energy. I also put it under my mats, over and around windows and keep other evergreens around the house all winter long. I also sometimes put some in my purse for protection while out.

Anything with needles usually has a protective quality. I sometimes keep evergreens by my bed to protect me while I sleep. If you’re not into live indoor plants, keeping evergreen cuttings around the house is an alternative.

Working with plants is much more effective when we cultivate a relationship. It is easy enough to do this on a walk. Find a nearby park, hug an evergreen, stand with your back against them, feel their energy and receive their wisdom. Thank them. They each have their own unique personalities. I have learned and received so much wisdom, love and protection from evergreen beings.

Salt Bowls

Salt bowl with evergreens

Salt is the master remover of bad vibes. One of my favourite ways to use salt in a space is to fill up a bowl with it (I use sea salt) and add a crystal and some herbs on top. Not all crystals do well sitting in salt, as their energy can drain. I usually opt for quartz and amethyst, which seem to do fine, but I play around with other ones. I’ve made some mistakes and learn as I go.

As for herbs, you can add which ever ones would support energy clearing, such as lavender, mint, garden sage, rosemary, evergreens, etc. But really, just the salt is what matters most. Place the bowl wherever you feel excess energy needs to be absorbed, such as an office desk, bedside table, the dining room table or near an entranceway.

mirrors on my porch

Mirrors & Sparkles

Never underestimate the power of a mirror. Mirrors reflect energy back to its sender. Sparkly, reflective surfaces can all do this to varying degrees. You can ward of bad energies coming at your home from a certain direction by decorating your yule tree with reflective, sparkly decorations and placing your tree in the window facing that direction.

Or, you can purchase a mirror or make a mirror-faceted decoration and place it either in a window or outside your home near the entrance as a deterrent to ill-intentioned visitors.

Essential Oils

Another favourite plant medicine is essential oils. Yes, they are more expensive than dried herbs, but the reason for this is that they are very potent and concentrated. Dried herbs are wonderful and can be worked with too. I find in urban areas where we have far less nature and far more industry and pollution to counteract, the concentrated plant energy can be very helpful. It is best to ensure you are buying pure essential oils from a reputable source. If the price is too good to be true, then it is probably not pure and cut with some other oil. I cannot advise using these for the purposes below.

*It is important to note that essential oils are flammable and must be handled with care. They can also be toxic to humans and pets if ingested. Follow the advice of an aromatherapist or the product maker. 

Using essential oils in your space is pretty simple. You can put a few drops in a bowl of water, as the oil sits on the surface and naturally diffuses through the space. Or, if you have a forced air heating system you can place a few drops on a Kleenex or strip of paper and place it in the intake vent so the scent and vibes flow through the house. You can also put it in an output vent to diffuse quickly through the space.

peaceful lavender

My favourite trick is to place a few drops on a Kleenex and place it inside the bag in my vacuum cleaner. Whenever I vacuum, the scent and energy flows through the house.

My fave oils for winter and what they’re good for:

Lavender: Antidepressant, helps with tension and headaches. Relaxes the mind and aids sleep. Has antiseptic properties. Brings peace to a space. Blends well with most other essential oils.

Orange: Antidepressant, uplifts mood and invigorates the mind, sensual.

Black Spruce: Antiseptic, antibacterial, antiparasitic, kills most pathogens in the air. Great for when illness strikes in the home. Energetically refreshing, grounding and protective.

Geranium: Antidepressant, immune booster, excellent deoderiser, uplifting, regenerative, sensual.

Eucalyptus: Antibacterial, Clears airways, clears mind, helps breathing during colds/flu. *Avoid during chemo, high blood pressure, epilepsy or severe asthma.

Clove: Antibacterial, analgesic, antimicrobic. Energetically cleansing, warming, strengthening and protective. *Avoid if pregnant

The oils above can be combined in many variations and work together well. You can also use any of the oils above in a warm bath. Simply mix 7-10 drops of the essential oil with about a teaspoon of vegetable glycerin and add to a bath. You may also wish to add 1-2 cups of either sea salt or epsom salts to help neutralise negative emotions or energies you’ve picked up in the day.

I hope some of these suggestions appealed to you and feel like something you might want to try for yourself! If you have any questions about them, feel free to contact me!

Happy Yule/Winter Solstice/Alban Arthan/Holiday that you celebrate!

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As a Witch who makes her home and practice in Tkaronto (Toronto) Ontario, I deeply thank the original stewards of this land: The Mississaugas of the Credit, Mississaugas of Scugog, Alderville, Hiawatha & Curve Lake; The Chippewas of Beausoleil, Rama & Georgina island, the Haudenosaunee and Wendat nations. I acknowledge the resilience of the First Nation, Inuit and Metis people who live and work here in the present, in a system of inequity and oppression. I am working on uncolonising my own practice, amplifying Indigenous voices and supporting Indigenous communities in whatever way I can.

What is a Witch?

I have been asked by folks- how do you know if you’re a witch? What defines a witch vs a spiritual person who’s into herbs, nature, crystals and energy?

This is a very good question! I don’t have a definitive answer, simply because I don’t feel I have the right to tell someone else whether they are truly a witch or not. But, I can tell you a bit about my experience and share some thoughts about it that may help you define it for yourself.

The Witch As Archetype

The definititon of what a witch is can vary from person to person and culture to culture. It has changed over time as well. It is interesting to me how witchcraft comes and goes in popularity. But overall, it seems to be steadily rising and gaining acceptance in dominant culture, which I feel reflects peoples’ need to feel empowered and connected to something deeper and meaningful in their relationship to the material world, self and others.

Some of us have grown up pre-Harry Potter era, where fairytales and myths depicted witches as dangerous, child-eating, power-hungry, jealous and ugly-looking older women who were always up to no good.

However, there are also expressions of the playful, sweet, mischievous and even housewifey witches, such as in the show Bewitched.

As a teen in the 1990s we had The Craft, Charmed, Practical Magic, Buffy and Sabrina which catered to an audience our age, emphasizing the rule-breaking, adventurous, non-comformist aspect of the witch archetype.

Scene from the 1996 movie The Craft

The witch archetype seems to encompass a variety of expressions of ‘female’ power- She can be seductive, maternal, dangerous, non-conformist, with the ability to both heal and destroy. She can be old or young. Witches aren’t limited to the woman-identified, either. There are male, non-binary and trans witches, it can be an identity for anywhere on the gender spectrum.

The witch can change their reality at will, and either work in harmony with the forces of nature or discover the consequences of working against them.

Ultimately, it seems the archetype of witch has much to do with power. Specifically, the power to transform, create and destroy. Culturally this has been associated with the feminine, and a cultural fear of the feminine- in the form of women specifically.

The witch as an archetype challenges us to take charge of our reality and empower ourselves. In a society where some are automatically given more power than others, it is often those with less power who find solace and strength in the witch archetype- because they can identify with having others’ fears projected onto them, and strive to defy the suppression and oppression that is set against them.

Fear of power

my cauldron over the fire

Because of the history of the witch hunts, and the patriarchal/colonial agenda to strip women in particular of their power in society, there is a general fear in us, especially those who identify with the feminine- of our own power.

This may mean we don’t trust our intuitive senses, our body’s natural cycles or our ability to heal, create, or transmute energy.

We may fear and suppress our own inner wisdom and authority so as not to threaten the status quo. We may remain small and invisible and silent for fear of being cast out, or taken down by those who feel threatened or jealous.

There is a sort of silent agreement that gets passed down through generations of women that in order to survive, we must stay small, be good, tow the line. That looks different depending on the generation and culture you grew up in. But in essence, it is the same message.

Many of us are carrying a fear that if we reclaim our intuitive, creative wisdom and power, we will be met with abandonment, ostracization or even death. If we come out of the broom closet and call ourselves a witch- because we embrace the liminal, magickal lifestyle, we fear that on some level, we are threatening the status quo and death could result.

Myself and likely other folks following a pagan path feel need to break from these generational narratives that are no longer sustaining us, nor the generations to come. This takes lots of time, sensitivity and patience. For many witches, this is a big part of what the path demands from us.

Fear of power is also sometimes the reason folks choose not to identify as a witch, because it is loaded with projections and generations of this fear and they just don’t want to carry that. This is valid. But it can also be the exact reason one chooses to call themselves a witch, as an act of reclaiming and redefining for oneself who they are. In redefining the meaning of witch-by living it on one’s own terms, one can transform the baggage behind the title for the generations to come.

What does the word witch conjure in your mind?

Depending on the environment you grew up in, you may have a vastly different idea of what a witch is compared to someone else. Take a moment to reflect on what comes to mind when you utter the word witch?

Often, it is a combination of representations of the witch archetype you’ve been exposed to throughout your life.

If you are a spiritual, nature-loving, magickal person who is wondering whether you should call yourself a witch or not, there are a couple questions you may wish to ask yourself:

What does the word ‘witch’ mean to me?

What aspects of my associations with ‘witch’ do I embrace or feel uncomfortable with?

How would I define the word ‘witch’ for myself?

And finally:

How does my spiritual practice and lifestyle resonate with my definition of a witch?

What led me to identifying as a witch

Me in a pointy witch hat in Salem, MA

I had always been a sensitive, intuitive child, naturally talking to invisible spirits and listening to the wind and trees as friends. I sensed the power in crystals and rocks. I had a strong ‘knowing’ of what was going to happen sometimes, and easily felt the hidden truth in people and situations. I felt the presence of ancestors and guides around me. I wished upon stars and dandelions, looked for 4 leaf clovers and lucky pennies.

As I grew older, I became obsessed with tarot cards and astrology. I believed in the power of visualization and intention. Through my mind-body studies I discovered the power I had to heal and transform my body, my energy and how to manifest my intentions.

But it took me some time to identify as a witch. To me, being a witch was a lifestyle. There was a structure, purpose and commitment to it.

In my teens and 20’s I started unpacking some of the Catholic beliefs from my childhood. At 13 I refused to go through my confirmation, and that felt really good to me, because I felt no connection to the church. As time went on, I realised that I felt more connection to a Goddess presence than a God one.

I didn’t feel a connection with one particular goddess but started praying to ‘Goddess’ and feeling what that meant to me. I grew that relationship over time. It has gone through many forms. I now acknowledge some of the gods as well and generally consider myself a polytheist, but still tend to favour the goddess in many forms. Deity however, may or may not be part of a witch’s path, as we are all unique.

I knew I had a deep connection to the land around me, but I wasn’t very intentional about it, more just open and sensitive to it. So, I started cultivating an intentional relationship with the natural world around me, bringing offerings and talking to specific trees regularly, listening to what they have to say about themselves, life or my concerns.

I started celebrating the solstices and equinoxes and cross-quarter days, learning of the traditions behind these celebrations.

It was when I started purposefully observing and celebrating the witches’ sabbats, communing with the moon and land intentionally and regularly, that I started to feel I was a witch. A big piece was doing rituals. Even simple ones, such as daily smoke cleansing or preparing a healing bath. The difference was that I was doing these actions with awareness and appreciation of the energy of each herb, oil and current moon phase while weaving that with my intention to create a specific energetic quality. I was co-creating reality with the world around me.

Also, for me, embracing all of the aspects of the archetype of ‘witch’- all the shadow parts and fun parts- was empowering and strengthening to my sense of witch self.

I reclaim and embrace the word witch as my own. My inner cackling hag, seductress, mischief maker, raging feminist, green eyed monster, as well as my medicine making, nurturing, healing, and creative witch are all parts of me that I accept.

Some witches do a lot of spellwork. Some do none. When I do formal rituals and spells, it is usually to heal myself around challenging situations in my life.

 Mostly, I weave magickal intentions, words and rituals into the rhythm of my daily life. This is part of why I consider myself a Hearthwitch, as I tend towards the less glamorous, more folky type of witchcraft, centered around my home and inner hearth. I also have called myself a Womb Witch, as much of my practice centered around my own womb healing for some time. I follow my intuition and value the freedom to follow the beat of my own drum.

Many diverse pagan paths

There are many pagan paths that honour nature, energy and magick in different forms, and not all Pagans consider themselves Witches. Some are Druids, Warlocks, Wiccans (Wicca is a specific modern Pagan religion), Heathens, Priests or Priestesses. There are Folk Witches, Green Witches, Grey Witches, all kinds of witches under the witch umbrella. Some may be a combination of these, some prefer to call themselves Pagan or simply spiritual. There are folks who combine christianity with paganism as well. Some prefer the community spirit of temples, churches and covens, while others prefer the freedom of being solitary.

Here are some take aways:

You don’t need to call yourself a witch to be a magickal, spiritual or nature-loving person.

In calling yourself a witch, you are not bound to any narrow definitions or archetypes from pop culture or myth.

There are many diverse pagan paths and titles- you may feel something else is more suitable for you.

Reclaiming the word and title of witch can be an act of empowerment and intergenerational healing.

As this interesting article by Time magazine states:

This is also why being called a witch and calling oneself a witch are usually two vastly different experiences. In the first case, it’s often an act of degradation, an attack against a perceived threat.

The second is an act of reclamation, an expression of autonomy and pride. Both of these aspects of the archetype are important to keep in mind. They may seem like contradictions, but there is much to glean from their interplay.

The witch is the ultimate feminist icon because she is a fully rounded symbol of female oppression and liberation. She shows us how to tap into our own might and magic, despite the many who try to strip us of our power.

We need her now more than ever.”

I hope that gives you some ideas to consider. What do you think about calling yourself a witch?

May your path be lit with the wisdom, wit and curiosity the witch is famous for.

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As a Witch who makes her home and practice in Tkaronto (Toronto) Ontario, I deeply thank the original stewards of this land: The Mississaugas of the Credit, Mississaugas of Scugog, Alderville, Hiawatha & Curve Lake; The Chippewas of Beausoleil, Rama & Georgina island, the Haudenosaunee and Wendat nations. I acknowledge the resilience of the First Nation, Inuit and Metis people who live and work here in the present, in a system of inequity and oppression. I am working on uncolonising my own practice, amplifying Indigenous voices and supporting Indigenous communities in whatever way I can.

Why I started The Cauldron Goddess

Perhaps you’re like me and have felt kind of isolated and alone in your path as a witch, a pagan or spiritual person. Perhaps you are still in ‘the broom closet’ and not sure about being open about who you are yet. Maybe you’ve been out of the closet for a long time, but the path’s been super lonely or challenging.

Or perhaps you don’t consider yourself a witch at all, but your sensitive spirit comes alive in nature, and you wish to delve more deeply into that nourishment you receive when you slow down and connect to the cycles of the seasons, the celestial bodies, the earth, air, fire and water, the animal beings of the planet.

You perhaps know you are intuitive but sometimes don’t trust this part of yourself.

Maybe you are feeling some uncertainty or are going through a transition and wish for some guidance from your higher self.

Whomever you are, welcome and thankyou for coming by for a visit!

Things have been isolating in general over these long months of pandemic crisis. Many witches, pagans, and spiritual folks don’t have churches or temples in mainstream society. We are forging our paths and communities without much social support, in many ways, our very existence goes against the grain of colonial, patriarchal culture.

I am mainly a solitary witch, and happy being so, but sometimes, it can get a tad lonely. Even though I am in a big city where lots of other witches live, each of us has our unique path. Even if we are part of a group, our spirituality tends to be a very personal, individual thing. Some of us thrive when we are free to follow the beat of our own drum. Some thrive when in community. Some of my biggest lessons have been about the strength and empowerment that comes with forging my own path, and participating in community endeavors in small doses.

There is a fine line between solitary and lonely. It’s ok to dance that line sometimes, I feel it is part of the journey.

Truthfully, when we are on this path, we soon discover that we are never really alone. We are surrounded by allies and friends in the trees, rocks, animals, sky beings, ancestors, and spirit guides that surround us.

Even though I am solitary, I hold small community gatherings- the Hearthfire Circles– and try to attend events as well. As an introvert, I often find large events overwhelming, so I prefer smaller ones. The urge for community is often a strong desire in us witchy people and this exists alongside a need for solitude- to commune with nature, do our internal work and to rebuild a relationship with Spirit that is free of doctrines that do not resonate with us.

Part of why this urge for community it strong in me, and I feel in many other spiritual folks, is that we remember the old ways singing in our bones.

On a deep level, we remember living in sustainable community structures- in sacred connection with the land and each other-in reverence for all life. We remember the ways of folk magick, land-based practices that honour the cycles of the moon and seasons. We wish to return to more authentic, meaningful connections with others and ourselves. Perhaps we wish to revive the traditions of our ancestors- or at least, reclaim them in a new form that honours the present reality and the future we wish to create.

Our current culture under colonial, white supremacist, patriarchal capitalism can make creating a life like this quite challenging.  

There are layers of oppression that have wounded many generations of us that takes a while to unpack and heal, and there are many obstacles in the fabric of our modern culture that makes us choose between the survival of our body or the survival of our soul. It also emphasizes the survival of some folks at the expense of others.

‘Community’ now is a word used rather loosely. It can pertain to one’s Instagram following, Facebook group or membership to a corporate entity. These are fine ways to connect, but they often lack the depth, intimacy and real-life energetic exchanges between people that we instinctively crave. We are also contending with barriers such as white supremacy, patriarchy, cis-heteronormativity, and all the ‘isms’ pervading not only the mainstream but pagan spiritual communities as well.

My wish, my motivation behind my spiritual practice and The Cauldron Goddess, is not only to reclaim my own power as a witch and wise woman, but to help others do the same. I wish to be part of the change I wish to see in the world. It’s kind of a big ask sometimes, but the path demands that we stay awake and aware of the world around us, and the power of small steps to eventually make big impacts.

I feel that my own practice, my writing and both my in-person and online work are some of those small things that can send magickal ripples out into the world.

Pandemic Burnout & Nourishing the Spirit

Over the pandemic, like many of us, I experienced recurring burnout. It was my constant companion, with peaks and valleys of anxiety and depression. I am privileged enough to have been able to see an amazing therapist through it whom I’ve been seeing for many years now, and I’ve had the freedom to do the healing work necessary to cope.

A lot of old patterns and stories were triggered this year, and I have been releasing them and healing them ongoingly.

What I realised over the pandemic is how essential my spiritual practice is to my own wellbeing and how necessary it was that I nourish my spirit in order to be be present for my family and clients.

My witchcraft practice reminds me that I am not alone, that I am part of the sacred flow of life around me. It also teaches me to honour my sensitivity and protect myself energetically when the world around me becomes too much.

Nourishing my soul had taken a backseat to duty for too long. Instead of heeding the call of my spirit, of taking time to process who I was and what I really needed in the moment, I continued to prioritise work, duty and the mundane without the magick. I was scraping the bottom of the bucket to the point where nothing was left for my clients, my family, myself, no one.

Prioritizing my spiritual practice has become a lifeline, and so re-centering my energies onto the things I love and bring me joy- witchcraft, writing, tarot and my circles is how I am filling up my cauldron again.

Ultimately, The Cauldron Goddess is for me- a way to keep my energy focused on what nourishes me, and in turn I hope it be a source of support for you too.

Womb Healing

My background and experience is in mind-body therapies and womb healing work.

For most of my adult life, I have struggled with endometriosis and this set me on a long journey of healing in mind, body and spirit. For the last 5 years, since my surgery, I have been gratefully pain-free and slowly rebuilding myself a new life that finally doesn’t centre around chronic pain. With my newfound energy, I did some things that were on the backburner during my 20s and early 30s.

I got a driver’s license, went to college, started working out and eating some of the foods I enjoyed but couldn’t eat due to my condition. I traveled and started to work with womb healing clients 1 on 1 in a deeper capacity because I had the energy and experience to make a difference.

Until that energy bottomed out.

At first I thought it was just the pandemic and all the personal challenges that came with it. But it slowly became clear that it was more than that. I knew my soul was urging me to move on from focusing on womb health. The time had come to shift into focusing on my spiritual life more.

Womb wellness was always a part of my life, and always will be. But I’ve been changing, my path has been changing, and my work has to change with it. Cerridwen called me. My spirit called me to focus on my sacred craft and practice. The cauldron, which among other things is symbolic for nourishment, containment and the womb, was calling me to explore it in new ways.

My womb space healing work continues now, just in a different, more expansive form. The Cauldron Goddess is an extension of this work, but with a focus more on the spiritual aspect. It is now in a form that can benefit anyone with or without a womb, with or without a womb health issue. It is about nourishment, self-care, and soul-care. All of which benefit the womb space, if that is something you need.

But I am moving beyond the physical womb itself to focus on nourishing the spiritual womb, the inner hearth.

The Cauldron & The Hearth

My intention is to  create an energetic hearth with this blog and offer my services as a cauldron of nourishment for your soul.

This has been my practice as a Hearthwitch over the years- creating a sense of nourishment, safety and sacredness within my self. This then naturally extends to my home, family, clientele and community.

Taking the role of sacred space-holder, of empathetic listener and intuitive guide is my pleasure and passion. This role is nourished by my own spiritual and creative practices.

I have basic counselling, trauma and social work training that I feel is an important asset to what I offer as spiritual healing facilitator and tarot reader. I strive to create that safe cauldron for you to tune into your own intuition and self-healing abilities.

I will be sharing about topics like Tarot, witchy healing tools, sacred crafts, navigating the transitions through life-death-rebirth cycles, and all things related to my path as a hearthwitch, womb witch and devotee of Cerridwen- Goddess of inspiration, transformation and Mother of the Cauldron.

This isn’t my first blog, nor will it be my last. Its purpose is both a hearth for my thoughts, feelings and personal journey as well as a cauldron of teachings, tools and inspiration for your own journey. My hope is that in reading this, you will feel less alone, and more inspired!

So, come and sit down by the hearth with me, relax and nourish your intuitive, creative, nature-loving, witchy soul.

If you’re feeling comfortable, please reach out and connect with me for a reading, come to a circle or sign up for the Cauldron Collective newsletter below, and you’ll receive The Witches’ Wheel– a free ebook with info on the Witches’ sabbats and moon phases with affirmations and journal prompts for your own practice.

xo

Serena

Receive first dibs on events, new products & my FREE ebook- The Witches’ Wheelby signing up for my newsletter below!

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As a Witch who makes her home and practice in Tkaronto (Toronto) Ontario, I deeply thank the original stewards of this land: The Mississaugas of the Credit, Mississaugas of Scugog, Alderville, Hiawatha & Curve Lake; The Chippewas of Beausoleil, Rama & Georgina island, the Haudenosaunee and Wendat nations. I acknowledge the resilience of the First Nation, Inuit and Metis people who live and work here in the present, in a system of inequity and oppression. I am working on uncolonising my own practice, amplifying Indigenous voices and supporting Indigenous communities in whatever way I can.