Magick With Essential Oils

I know I wrote a brief post on essential oils and magick;

Which is this post right here

But seeing how this is a subject I’m extremely passionate about, I want to write more about it.

I was actually introduced to aromatherapy and essential oils over four years ago when I was in massage school, one of my classes went into detail about essential oils and the fact that we learned how to make salt, sugar, and coffee ground scrubs which made me fall in love with the subject even more. To this day, I use essential oils for everything from cleaning, de-stressing, treating colds, treating sore muscles, and for general wellness.

A year or two later, I started to add essential oils to my magick practice, from simple ways such as anointing the oil with candles to wearing perfume blends which I wear for attracting money and protection. Oil’s are actually one of the main ways I practice magick now next to working with candles. It’s simpler to cast my intention to the universe while anointing with the oil on certain areas of my body, including drawing symbols. Not to mention a good majority of the time they smell wonderful (except for Valerian… yes there is an essential oil version for the infamous “poop root” because I actually have it).

Don't ask, I'm trying to figure out a blend so I can still use the chemical compound without the smell.

Don’t ask, I’m trying to figure out a blend so I can still use the chemical compound without the smell.

As we know, oils are found in many traditions and practices, not to mention newer traditions are adapting to add essential oils. Even more adding floral waters such as rose water for my ancestor altar ( to honor my great grandmother and her love for roses) to Lilac water for spring renewal and honoring the incoming of Midsummer. It’s rare for me to even use fragrant oils anymore, although I do use a small amount for certain things around the house. Of course after smelling pure lavender essential oil for so long, I can’t stand the synthetic version now (this goes for the majority of the scents in the market now.)

It’s hard to put into words to how I really use essential oils in magick, I guess I’ll see where this takes me in the matter of time.
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Wellness Wednesday: Aromatherapy

Welcome to the second post of Welless Wednesday! Where each week we’ll be looking into ideas on what to add to your health regimen good for your mind, body, and/or spirit.

This week, I want to take a further look into adding essential oils to your routine, I’m a huge advocate of using Aromatherapy in as many areas of my life as possible and have been for the past four years. I’m also working on my Aromatherapy certification to be a certified Aromatherapist so lately have been studying essential oils on a deeper level. Here we’ll do what we did last week with what it is, what are the benefits and of course the cost factor. So let’s get started!

(Author Note: This is not an end all and be all guide, in fact this plus all the Wellness Wednesdays to come will be just a general overview with basic guidelines and suggestions based on personal experience. I encourage everyone to do their own research on what’s best for you and you alone. You know your own body, you know what you can and can’t handle, plus when in doubt talk to a qualified health practitioner.)

What is Aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy is the use of scents and oils to treat conditions of the mind, emotional issues and physical issues if applied topically. It has been used for thousands of years in one way or another, I personally seen it as an extension of herbalism seeing how the oils is the essence extract of the plants themselves. The difference is the plants are in a much more concentrated so in the terms for aromatherapy, “Less is more”.

What are the benefits of Aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy is another type of wellness with multiple benefits, the majority of oils are anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, Sedative, Stimulative, warming, cooling, and the list goes on and on. Aromatherapy is a study of it’s own, but for a good starter kit I would advise these following five oils to get you started;

Lavender: The number one go-to oil used to help with burns, cuts, insomnia,repealing insects and is one of the most abundant oils processed to date.

Lemon: Often pressed from the rind, great for a natural energetic boost, can be combined with white vinegar for cleaning and is said to help with morning sickness in pregnant women (through inhalation)

Peppermint:Another oil good for nausea, headaches, clearing sinuses, calming muscle inflammation and I can attest that it does repel spiders.

Eucalyptus:Good for cold, flu and general immune booster.

Tea Tree: Good for fungal infections such as athlete’s foot, repelling lice, also commonly found in most natural hair care products

Beyond that, there are at least 300 different types of essential oils, although only half of those are good for therapeutic use. Oils can be put in a good variety of products such as lotion, massage oil, soap, and used in place of cleaning supplies.

The best thing to remember is to always dilute your oils, they are extremely potent. I would also like to bring up how there are certain companies out there that give the a-ok to consume essential oils, I will be honest about this, I highly advise against it unless you are seeing a qualified doctor, natural path practitioner, aromatherapist, herbalist, or any other qualified health practitioner. I do not care how “pure” certain companies claim their oils to be, they are still potent due to the distillation process of the oil seeing how oils are again the essence of the plants themselves (Not to mention only a small amount of oils are approved for consumption). I also advise against using certain oils if you are allergic to the plant, the oils are still the plant.

The Cost

Oils can cost as low as $3.99(usd) to as high as a couple hundred, depending on the oil and on the brand. If you are looking for a good starter set you are going to spend at least $30 to $50 (or if you go the Young Living or DoTerra route, as high as $150 for a 10 piece starter kit of 5mls), but I personally see it is well worth it and as stated before, a few drops go a long way with essential oils. I have used several different brands of oils and I would recommend the following;

Aura Cacia
Natures Alchemy
Aromatics International
Eden’s Garden
Mountain Rose Herbs

Now this is my own opinion and based on my own experience, there is are a ton of different brands and brands that even I have yet to order and try. I personally say, “Research, research, research!” Find what you like the most and see how well they work for you.

Enjoy the rest of your, next post is about adding teas to your routine.

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Magick Monday: Make and Break Your Luck

A photo of one of the many four leaved clovers I've have found over the years.

A photo of one of the many four leaved clovers I’ve have found over the years.

Welcome back to another post of Magick Mondays! Where each week we go over easy ways to add a little bit of a magick touch to every situation.

Luck is an interesting concept, some people believe in it while others don’t. Luck is a lot like magick in many ways since it can go either way, especially since a good amount of time it’s based on how the person views their own luck. Often when something seems to be unlucky it ends up being a blessing in disguise which is often revealed after the fact. A good example of this happened to me five years ago where I ended up pregnant at 20, especially being unmarried and at a dead end job at the time all I could think of was, “Oh shit”. Ironically I was thinking about going to school for massage therapy at the time before the pregnancy which it did light the fire under my ass to get that started. Most of all I got out of an abusive and very toxic relationship which he did everything he could to demotivate me from pursuing my career for reasons I do not know to this day. To be honest, I don’t care now since I have a rapidly growing career, a very intelligent and healthy child, and my situation is going to get better and better.

So the first step to changing your luck is changing your mindset about the situation, I know that sounds like an extremely cheesy piece of advice and I’m well aware that it doesn’t apply to every situation. What I want to say is it’s a great way to retake control of your situation (although be advised this that it’s best for your situation and how you react, not others out of your control). I’m serious though, if you want to change your luck mindset is the key. That’s like with any magickal spell and situation.

Now I know what you’re thinking, “Where’s the magick in this post?” Well I’ll tell you the first part is about intention and focus which is the key to any spell work.

Now as you know…there are thousands of lore on good luck charms, every culture and tradition has their own form of a good luck and success charm. From the fable rabbit’s foot to the four leaf clover, a lot has to do what will get the user into the mindset of success and know good luck will always come their way. I’m fortunate and blessed that I find four leaf clovers a lot of the time (I’ve found close to 600 in the past four years) so each time I find a few I often give one or two to others around me while I keep a few for myself in my wallet. My philosophy is often “luck is best spread rather than hoarded”.

Of course, anything can be turned into a good luck charm, one of my favorite ways for turning even a piece of jewelry into a good luck charm is to take cinnamon, clove and allspice, crush all three in a powder and set your piece over night to charge. It’s a good way to take a favorite piece of jewelry and turn it into a quick charm but also it smells extremely wonderful.

Have a favorite way for changing your luck? Feel free to share, I would love to hear about it!

Until next time, look out for next week’s Magick Monday!

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Tales of The Macabre: The Return of the Hooded Specter

Hello and welcome to another one of my friend’s Tales of the Macabre, featuring another friend on her side of the story. It sends chills up my spine just hearing about it, hope you enjoy!

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Book Review Saturday: New Orleans Voodoo Handbook by Kenaz Filan

Welcome to another weekly sect to Tales of a Backwoods Witch, which involves book reviews. Books I have personally read and digested the information ranging on topics from magick, religion, alternative health, energy work, and many more in-between. Some of these books I have solid books of while others are on my kindle, not to mention each post will have links where you can purchase the book (Via publisher sites and Amazon) along with a link to the Author’s personal blog, web site, and social media access points if any. Not to mention my goal is to get out there that there are more publisher websites other than Llewellyn where you can find books pretaining to these topics, especially on magick (although I will still post about books I have read published by Llewellyn). So without further ado, welcome to this week’s book review;

(Note, these are also books I have personally bought or have requested from the publisher’s themselves, not downloaded a PDF form for free on a pirating page. I encourage everyone to support your authors and buy their books if they truly interest you.)

New Orleans Voodoo Handbook by Kenaz Filan

Where to find the book

Destiny Books/ Inner Traditions

Author Playgrounds
Revealing the Arcana
Kenaz Filan

I will admit, I am a huge history buff, especially on area’s such as New Orleans. At the time I bought this book I thought is was going to be an actual “How to” book on explaining the well known practice of New Orleans Voodoo. Much to my surprise, while it wasn’t a book like that, it was something much more.

New Orleans Voodoo Handbook is a great way to get to know the history and origin where New Orleans Voodoo practice came about and how it has evolved into what it is today. From the timeline to when the crescent city was found to how it evolved after hurricane Katrina, giving a great example on how the city itself is a survivor. It talks about past and present sites, places with possibly the most activity and lore around it. Super great if you’re planning a vacation and want the whole magickal tour, including involving events that happen certain times a year such as Mardi Gras and St.John’s Eve.

From a few other reviews I have read, the biggest complaint was this is not a typical “How to” book, meaning no direct formula’s and rituals to do certain things. This is one of those books where you need to “read in-between the lines” meaning reading the stories very carefully. The one that caught my attention the most was the section dedicated to Papa Le-bas (or Papa Legba) was the entities he is identified under, how they were called and what offerings they are given. Obviously it was not in the typical “On a certain night under this moon phase you bring this, that, and those.” You have to read the story involved to really get the feel.

All and all, it really covers a nice section of history, culture, places, religion, practice and a little bit more in-between. It does involve a good further reading section but a perfect start to get your feet wet.

Until next week, be on the look out for the next book review!

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Wellness Wednesday: Massage

Welcome to the second weekly post series called Wellness Wednesday! Each week, we’ll be discussing different things to add to your wellness regime, whether best for the mind, body and/or spirit. Each post will be discussing benefits, how often, and of course cost. You ready for this?

So today’s first post, I’ll be discussing something I am the most familiar with, seeing how this is something I myself do for a living, today I will be discussing about massage.

(Author Note: This is not an end all and be all guide, in fact this plus all the Wellness Wednesdays to come will be just a general overview with basic guidelines and suggestions based on personal experience. I encourage everyone to do their own research on what’s best for you and you alone. You know your own body, you know what you can and can’t handle, plus when in doubt talk to a qualified health practitioner.)

What is Massage?

Massage (or Masomyology) is known as the manipulation of muscle tissue. While twenty or so years ago, most considered it a luxury where as today it has become more of a health necessity. Massage comes in many styles and modalities considering there are over 200 known modalities with more coming on the scene each year. While often the tool of choice is good old fashion human hands, today there are many other tools such as hot stones, crystals, trigger point tools, and other nifty gadgets to enhance the session so that the therapist doesn’t put an over use on their hands.

What are the benefits?

Massage has a huge amount of benefits from increasing circulation to pain relief. Depending on the modality given, one may use one or many modalities together to get the best results of each session. A few examples of some more  well known modalities include;

Swedish: A modality  best known for increasing circulation and the relaxation response of the parasympathetic (or rest and digest response) nervous system. Often a great intro for those who are completely new to massage in general, but also used to give general tissue warm up before diving into deeper work. Swedish can often get a bad rap as I know a few who coin the term “fluff and buff” as  known for the therapist to do super light work only (often found in more spa-like settings, but in the end it is really up to the therapist). Swedish can go from light to firm depending on client preference.

Deep Tissue: Often combined with Swedish, Deep Tissue tends to be deeper and more detailed work used to release the muscles. Depending on the therapist’s style and training, a good majority of the time a client may feel a bit of pain and soreness, but in the end it’s more about the client’s pain tolerance. It’s also normal to feel a bit sore after a session of deep tissue but often soreness tends to subside after a day or so depending on the client’s water intake and also depending on the type of work the therapist has done. The best results I often tell my client to reduce soreness after a session is a good Epsom salt soak that day or within a few days after the massage, although nothing beats good old fashion water.

Hot Stone: The use of heated stones to enhance a massage session. Hot stones in general are often used as an add-on or can be a complete session on their own. Using heat to help relax the muscles and the stones themselves can be tools used to give the therapist a chance to do deeper work. I’m well aware of incidents where clients have been burned by hot stones but when prepared and done right the stones should feel like the heat from a warm shower. Which when it boils down to it, it’s more on how the client responds.

Those are often the three most popular modalities most people opt for but other ones include Prenatal (massage for pregnant women), Myofascial Release (The release of the fascia around the muscles), Lymphatic Drainage (work of the lymph nodes to decrease swelling), and the list goes on from there. Other ways sessions can be enhanced with aromatherapy (more on this topic next week), cold stones, trigger point tools, salt or sugar scrubs, and other spa-like treatments. Also a therapist can combine energy work such as Reiki, Polarity Therapy, Quantum Touch, and Chakra Balancing (Special Note: Please ask your therapist if they even do energy work before assuming it’s going to be automatically part of the session, I personally add energy work but I know many therapists who look at massage as strictly on a muscular manipulation level. I’m also well aware on most views these therapists have on energy work).

How often should I get a massage?

This is the one question that I get asked so often by my clients, especially new clients. I will be honest, I personally base my recommendation of how often based on how the intro-massage goes. A good majority of the time most clients are best for a massage every four to six weeks, some I see for the usual hour while others for 90 minutes to two hours. Sessions that often involve treatment for specific goals such as releasing a frozen shoulders and helping out with tight hips are often best for once a week until results of improvement are showing then slowly making way towards maintenance work to get up to the every four to six weeks goal. Some cases such as clients I see for chronic pain management or clients who work a highly stressful or physically demanding job I see as often as once a week or two times a week. As most cases go, majority of recommendations are based on therapist observation but it is up to the client to follow through with those recommendations.

The Cost

Now here is the number one reason why most people tend to not get massages as often as they should, the cost factor. While it is true that most hour massages can cost between $50 to as high as $200 for an hour (this depends on where you schedule your massage too, high end resorts can cost pretty high just because most people like to splurge on their vacations). There are places who often offer a introductory price such as franchises or even independent contractors themselves. Sometimes schools offer clinics for students at an extremely discounted rate but this is often so students can get their required amount of massages for their training. Some places will run groupon specials as well. The general rule for most therapists is they often charge a dollar a minute and for therapists who do mobile services or house calls will charge a bit more to add on gas costs. Also, as tempting as it maybe to just go to places who offer discounts only, if you do find a therapist you extremely like and is doing an awesome job with your treatments then by all means don’t be afraid to come back to that therapist and pay full price for the service they offer. Not to mention most therapists will run specials or offer packages of paying for so many massages up front (that’s if you’re going to the therapist themselves, rules are different if seeing the therapist through an establishment they do not own such as franchise or a place with set prices.)

Also is time an issue? Think of one hour activity you can go without for an hour a month and replace that time with a massage. A very simple but very effective tip.

I really hope you enjoyed this first Wellness Wednesday post and I look forward to post more in the future. Next post will be about Aromatherapy and simple ways to add essential oils to your life.

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Magick Monday: Awaken your Scents

Welcome back to another post of Magick Monday, where adding a little bit of magick to your everyday life is as easy as 1,2,3!

Scent plays a huge role in just about every magick tradition out there. From the use of oils to make perfumes to burning plants for incense. I have yet to run into a tradition that doesn’t have a signature scent that is well known for and often used in spell work, especially if that plant is the only thing they have access to in their region. Today we are fortunate to have access to all kinds of plants and the fact that certain plants who’s place of origin used to reside in other countries were brought over and adapted to our introduced environment (United States speaking).

The essence of scents often resides in the essential oil of the plant, hence why there are many oil-based adaptions to using plants in certain things such as floor washes. Essential oils are the essence of plants that are extracted in their purest forms (which is why I have no issues substituting herbs with oils) although being that pure essence they tend to be much stronger than their physical herbal host. Also note that some plants contain less oil than others which is why some oils are much more expensive than others and also why some plants have no essential oil form at all. Being said, I personally believe that when you read a spell and it calls for herbal ingredients which if you don’t have on hand you can substitute with the oil version and vise-versa.

Scents also play the role in getting into the “magickal state of mind”, especially speaking when burning incense, anointing with an oil, cooking with certain ingredients and using general scents for the home. This is my favorite part where magick meets science, plants often have different properties and purposes whether they’re a sedative, stimulant or in-between. It’s often noted that most, if not all, plants involved with getting people into the “alpha” or meditative state of mind are more on the sedative side of the spectrum of scents. The purpose is to not only to getting the person into the state but also relax and destress the person to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous involved with getting the person set and ready for ritual. For some it’s often a much more complicated process (or as complicated as you make it) but I know plenty of practitioners who often set the mood by smell alone.

I also realize this is why some people will have different oils and scents from another person, seeing how I know that not everyone likes a certain scent (especially if that scent has a bad memory attached to it). When doing public rituals please be aware that not everyone will be in love with your ritual scent or what you use to purify yourselves with before entering a circle, believe it or not not everyone is actually a fan of sage. Plus take care for people who are very scent sensitive as well. (The same goes to the person who has those issues, you know what you like and what you can handle, ask the ritual presenter if it’s ok that you can purify yourself a different way. Nine times out of ten they will not give you an issue. Also if the incense used during the ritual becomes too overwhelming most presenters do not have an issue with you cutting out of the ritual or backing out before the ritual starts. You are responsible for your needs.)

So magick is as complicated or as simple as you make it. I will say that scents is my favorite way to go. 😉

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