ETHICAL HEXING: When Love and Light Isn’t Enough


Yes, yes. I know that this post is going to stir the cauldron. I beg you, dear Seekers and fellow Witches, to read this entry in its entirety, with an open mind, and with the tenets of boundaries, equilibrium, and healing at the forefront of your observation. SPOILER: this composition is not about the intent to cause harm, or allowing your emotions to direct what you feel is justified. If you want tips on playing dirty, I am NOT the Witch to ask.

Hexing. That word raises eyebrows and tempers in the occult community, as it usually should. But, I ask you to consider that “hexing” is not a catch-all term for all magick that does not seem, particularly by outward appearance, to follow the Wiccan rede of “Do what you will, and it harm none.” The origins of the word “hex” are defined as follows by the Online Etymology Dictionary…

hex (v.) 1830, American English, from Pennsylvania German hexe “to practice witchcraft,” from German hexen “to hex,” related to Hexe “witch,” from Middle High German hecse, hexse, from Old High German hagazussa (see hag). Noun meaning “magic spell” is first recorded 1909; earlier it meant “a witch” (1856).

“Hex” and “hexing” has gained a negative connotation in the last 100 years in North America thanks to the superstitious misunderstanding of those who practice magick, regardless of their intent or spiritual leanings. Granted, we may never be able to reclaim that word and set forth its true historical meaning, and it does not erase the stigma that hexing, as it is considered today, is a definition purely for those unbalanced
magickal workings motivated by fear, greed, ego, or vengeance.

I offer up for your consideration that there IS such a concept as ETHICAL hexing, and
that there are criteria to be met in order for it to indeed be ethical and righteous. Stick with me here. It’s a complicated set of rules, and requires nothing short of your COMPLETE lack of emotional entanglement in order to be correct and justified. It’s time for us to break apart the catch-all concept of this word, and explore the finer points of magickal balance, protection, and ultimately, the catalysts of healing and resolution that are the rights of every true victim.

Continue reading

Ayahuasca and a Modern Witch

Last fall, I embarked on an authentic Ayahuasca journey with a tremendously caring, exceedingly experienced Shaman from Colombia. For the safety of this sacred experience, which is misunderstood and persecuted by the American government, his name and the location of the ceremony shall be withheld. For more information on exactly what Ayahuasca is, feel free to do an internet search. I will focus on my personal experiences, which were astounding.

My husband lead me to my first Ayahuasca retreat. He was introduced to a world-class Shaman in an act of pure, random serendipity through someone he struck up a converstation with over drinks after a local, unrelated event we attended. He came home from his retreat so very different from when he left. Less afraid, with emotional and physical healing, and with an unshakable view of the oneness of humanity and understanding the illness of society and its illusion of separateness. It was powerful to behold.

I went with him for the next ceremony, two months later. I signed on for all three ceremonies that weekend, and steeled myself to face the discomfort (physically and emotionally) of vomiting, or worse, in front of strangers. I have vast issues with situations that require me to make myself vulnerable in front of people I do not know, and I packed an unnecessarily large amount of extra clothing just in case things got… well… messy.

I was initially made uneasy by the attitudes given off by the American and Canadian “regulars” of the group. There was a shit-ton of “I’m more spiritual than you” vibes that soaked the house and grounds belonging to the person who hosted the retreat. As more people arrived, including our Shaman and his wife and assistants, plus a group of Eastern Europeans who spoke little English, things lightened up a bit. But, as Ayahuasca is a journey of the self, and it is important that you not allow others to color your experience, I chose to remain disengaged with the exception of 2 ladies who had magnificent energy.

The altar was constructed, and the fire built. We arranged our sleeping areas around the firepit. As night fell, the ladies of the group began with a tobacco ceremony, where we puffed (but did not inhale) a sacred tobacco wrapped in corn husk. We set our intentions, and asked for blessings each in turn, and our requests were sent to spirit on the smoke. The men took their turn as well. I had contemplated my intention for weeks, and ultimately settled on physical and emotional healing, as well as an increase or refinement of my metaphysical capabilities, which I turn outward to the service of others. I spoke this to no one, and opted to send a blessing for others in the circle up on the smoke.

Next, in a circle around the fire, we were all given Rapé. It is a fine dust of sacred tobacco and other herbs, and was administered by our Shaman via a small pipe that allowed him to blow it up our nostrils with a fast puff of breath. It is used to open all the chakras to make them ready for healing, it clarifies the spirit, and allows everyone in the circle to begin Ayahuasca on the same spiritual vibration. It felt heavily of mint or menthol, and made my eyes water immediately. Others gagged and coughed straight away, but I was able to keep it in without sneezing. The sensation was a bit intense, but the effects were marvelous. I had an instant crystal clarity in my being and spirit, and my body hummed with the open flow of Chi. I felt as though I had been refocused, and all my senses, particularly my crown chakra and third eye, were alert and tuned in.

Our Shaman comes with a tremendous musical pedigree from his home country. His ceremonies are filled with Colombian folk music of his own composition, and it is a vital part of the ceremony. Known as “icaros,” or medicine music, the vibrations of the music guide the healing, dissipate blockages, and keep the sacred energy inside the circle. He and his helpers played guitar, pan flute, ukelele, drums, and he had several sacred rattles of gourds and cornhusks that he shook over each of us during the course of the night.

We lined up to take the first cup of Aya from the shaman. Men first, then ladies. It was a small soapstone cup, and the taste was awful, but not nearly as bad as I had anticipated. It tasted of dirt, blackened coffee, motor oil, and had chocolate undertones. Ayahuasca is a brew of the Ayahuasca vine, combined with herbs that block the stomach’s ability to neutralize the effects. His assistant gave each of us a bit of water to wash it down, but we were asked not to drink anymore water until we had our first “purge,” by way of vomiting, so as to not dilute the medicine. I sat down on my sleeping bag and waited, anxiously, not really knowing what to expect, but knowing there was no going back from this point.

My wait lasted about 4 minutes before I was overcome with nausea. I quickly made my way to the “purge pits,” three sizeable holes in the earth, lit with candles. Purging in Ayahuasca is a giving back to the earth the pain and ills that are put upon us, or willingly taken on, in the process of moving about our human experience. Aya draws these illnesses out of our bodies on a cellular level, and they are remanded back to the earth to be neutralized. In indoor ceremonies, each seeker has a basin of their own, or a container lined with a biodegradable plastic bag, which is taken away regularly for cleaning and burying by helpers specifically designated for this sacred task.

I knelt before the pit furthest to the right, my ego terrified to vomit in front of strangers, and the prospect of getting it on my clothes. I wretched several times quite hard, and twice barfed neatly into the center of the pit. My stomach had been quite empty, as my nerves forbade me to eat beforehand, so there was not much to bring up. I braced myself for the next round of wretching, because my experiences with flu and food poisoning showed me that the first wave was usually only the beginning, but it never came. I rinsed my mouth out with water, blew my nose, and waited for the visions that often accompany taking the medicine.

Two hours and countless trips to the toilet later, I still felt nothing. Aya’s purging takes place at both ends, and my poor butt was tremendously unhappy. For one who entered the ceremony with an empty digestive tract, I can frankly say that I don’t know what the hell I was passing, or where it all came from, but it was seemingly endless. I trusted no farts that night, and was rewarded with no wardrobe mishaps. And that’s really saying something, considering the queue for the loo was always three people deep. My sphincter is apparently a team player. My guts would continue to gurgle, and sometimes writhe with discomfort through the bulk of the night, but eventually the diarrhea abated.

At one point in the evening, before I finally laid down, I was waiting for the bathroom when an overwhelming sense of homesickness came over me. And it wasn’t a “Jesus, this puking and shitting is no fun and I wanna go home,” type of homesickness, and it did not come from a lack of acceptance or appreciation of the culture I had immersed myself in that night. I was in happy awe of the atmosphere our shaman created, and his love for us that was projected through the ancient ways he practiced, while foreign to me in all my whiteness, was nothing short of divinity manifested. There were no races or religions here, as Aya makes no such distinctions, and so there is no room for them, and you are wise to shed those contexts, even if just for ceremony.

My homesickness was geographically-based. The Colombian jungle atmosphere,  icaros and the palo santo-based incenses caused me to ache for my green mountains, with their clear, cold, rocky streams hidden by the laurels, glacier-smoothed stones, and the sweet, damp aroma of moss beds flecked with pine needles. I understood, in that moment, that I am karmically tied to the region I call home. I draw my metaphysical power from, and work best with the geology of northeastern PA. I am not a jungle, sea, or desert witch. I am a mountain witch, and this time around at least, it is here that I must remain. (Which is great news, because all the things that bring me the most joy are in Jim Thorpe!)

It was bitter cold, and frost was forming on our bedding. I struggled with my sleeping bag, because it was far too cold to take my boots off, in spite of the 3 pair of wool socks I had on. Nonetheless, I did my best to snuggle down, and sipped my water to keep me hydrated. And there I laid, no visions, no light bulb moments. It seemed like hours, and there was little physical comfort to be had. I tossed and turned with muscle spasms and bowel agitation. It was too cold to have my face uncovered, so I kept the blankets over my head, often coming up to gasp for fresh air.

Finally, as I thought I was nodding off into sleep, I began having geometric visions. I literally pinched myself, and no, I definitely was not sleeping. They were sharp line art, ever-shifting and morphing patterns of circles, stars, and triangles in pastels of pink, yellow and blue, with a dazzling iridescent glow of pearly white. I let go of the fears I had of being confronted with the pain of my past. I had worried that, even in a constructive process of healing, that I would be called to revisit the pain of widowhood, emotional abuse by an ex-spouse’s hand, sexual assault, and the myriad of things in which I had not chosen wisely. Aya WILL “drag to to hell,” so to speak, if you must forcibly be brought to this sort of enlightenment in order to facilitate healing. We are, as humans, farcically good at hiding from things and sweeping them under our beds, even though it’s never in our best interest to do so.

But for me, it never came, and I understood that I was MUCH farther ahead in my process of reflection and self-healing than I thought I was. Yay, me! Seriously. I didn’t need to go there, and Aya let me know that my personal methods were doing just fine. It was a relief, and I allowed myself to enjoy the lighthearted visual display she gifted me with.

My visions of kaleidoscopic art faded, and were replaced with candy-colored cartoons. Hello Kitty and Felix the cat cavorted among a fairy-tale landscape, riding their bicycles along a sky-blue stream jumping with happy, shimmering fish. I was keenly aware of my kawaii experience, while many around me were wretching, writhing, and crying out in agitation. Sooo… I take this leap of faith to come to the feet of Grandmother Aya for healing and expansion, and she puts me in the corner to watch cartoons?! I felt like a seven year old who got invited to the most boring birthday party ever thrown. In my irritation, I said, perhaps out loud, “I’m grateful to be here, but where are you? Are you coming to see me, or not?” In a flash, the head of a python met me eye to eye. Her scales were a radiant iridescent white, rimmed, as were her eyes, in a pulsing neon blue. The corners of her mouth turned up slightly, she winked at me, and was gone.

“Ah. So you are indeed here. No worries, I’ll wait my turn. I can clearly see that there are others whose needs are greater than my own, so please forgive my impatience.” If my experience here is meant to be a blissful escape into Candyland, then I must be immeasurably blessed with a fairly uncomplicated existence! I rolled over and dozed off.

It was still dark when I was awakened, hours or seconds later, I cannot tell, by a searing, staggeringly painful burning in my hands and feet. I thought right away that my extremeties had succumbed to the numbing cold, and I curled up into a ball to chafe them to restore my circulation. But, to my abject surprise, they were not cold, and neither was the rest of me. “What the hell is happening to me?”

No sooner had the words entered my conscious thought, I had a KNOWING that hit me like a ton of bricks. There was no need to question it, the information came rushing into my crown like water from a firehose. As a newly-minted first level Reiki practitioner, she was purifying and amplifying my abilities. My hands and feet screamed with the pain of the orange and red fire that shot from them, and the intensity of their light seared my eyes. “YES! My God, yes! I accept this gift, with the joy in knowing how many people I can help! But you must help me learn where to apply it. Please!”

As a Reiki practitioner, I struggled with finding and opening the avenues with which to reach inside the body and apply the flow of healing. My channels were clearly open, and the energy was crackling, but how to transfer it to others in an effective method?

BOOM. Aya whips out a friggin’ whiteboard and draws me a picure! She draws a gingerbread man, outlined in the color-coordinated layers of the aura, red nearest to the body, violet on the outermost ring. Yes, yes. I am very familiar with that. But how do I get in there to do my work?

She shows me one of my most prized possessions. A great big red Webster’s dictionary, gifted to me by my blessed Aunt Nellie on my 12th birthday. It has concave lettered tabs on the edge, so that you can turn to the appropriate section. BINGO! I can stick my hands in your aura, and turn back the layers to reach the area that needs attending to.

Next, she bids me to turn my hands, palms up, and look underneath my fingernails. The space between them and my fingertips opens like a garage door, and I slip my consciousness into the slit of shining darkness that has been revealed. Here, too, I can enter the body and take a look around, and direct the flow of healing directly into the organs and tissues that need care. Holy shit, right? I am over the moon with these abilities, and the potential to turn them outward to the service of others.

I sit up and stretch. Dawn is approaching, and my visions are at an end. I take a sip of water, and rub my freezing face. I feel incredible! All at once, my mouth waters and my stomach lurches. I bolt to the purge area, and without kneeling or wretching, I projectile vomit into the pit. Woof! Woof! My mouth is left with a silvery, sour vinegar taste. Before I could say, “What the hell was that about?” my entire being is flooded with weightlessness and white light. I knew that the majority of my disordered eating habits were in the bottom of that earthen hole, and I went back to my sleeping bag with a completely changed attitude of what I put into my body.

I tried to grab a few moments sleep before the others roused. But, Aya had one more message for me. She told me to go home. “What? But I’m signed up for two more cups this weekend!” “Yes. Go home. You are strong and loved, but this is not your medicine. Your ways will lead you to what you seek. You do not need me today.” Alrighty, then.

At the closing circle of that ceremony, our Shaman, by way of translation through his wife, was delighted and astounded that Aya approved my personal path. It is a blessing granted to very few of those who come to her seeking the answers to their struggles, and a release of that which does not serve them. I left my donation for the next two nights in the kitty, so that someone less fortunate than I could seek healing, and made sure my husband had a ride home. Everyone who attends ceremony must drink Aya, and as I was not to continue, I could not be present. Although, the next night, as I slept, I was aware that my consciousness was with my husband, who had two very long nights ahead of him still.

Ayahuasca is not for the faint of heart, and should only be experienced within the context of an authentic ceremony, and with a shaman who possesses the wisdom that only comes with elder lineage. If you feel that this is a path for you, do your due diligence before embarking. You must be willing to embrace the difficulty that comes with this course of healing, for to struggle against it, without trust and with ego, makes it that much harder to receive what you seek. But for the bravest among us, Ayahuasca can bring you to the feet of Source herself, a shining, expansive blackness, wherein nothing exists but love and truth.

Pendulum Divination: Not Just For Witches!

You do not need to be a self-proclaimed psychic, skilled Tarot card reader, or identify as Wiccan or Pagan in order to tap into the knowledge of the beyond. That’s right! You, in your jammies, nursing that life-giving cup of coffee, can easily lift the veil between this world and the next and obtain accurate answers to your most burning questions.

PENDULUM DOWSING is an ancient form of folk magick found in cultures across the globe. From chakra healings, finding the gender of an unborn baby, to finding water, the pendulum is a powerful communication tool between us and the All-Knowing. It takes but little practice, and delivers a simple “yes” or “no” answer to any question. Here’s an easy to use primer for those of you who would like to learn how to use this amazing method, or who may be having trouble communicating with a pendulum you already own.

Choosing a Pendulum

There are scads of choices when it comes to picking your pendulum. While pendulums with stone or crystal beads and points can lend powerful assistance to your readings by the nature of their metaphysical properties, any style of pendulum will do the job. Choose materials that speak to you, even if you decide to craft your own. One of the oldest recorded forms of a pendulum is very simply a wedding ring tied to a string or on a chain. You can dowse successfully with nothing more than a bit of twine and a symmetrical stone! Whatever you choose, there are a few guidelines: The chain should be very flexible, and the chain or string should be 6 or 7 inches long. Any more than that, and the weight and tension may interfere with the transmission of the energy vibrations from the spirit world. Conversely, if the chain is any shorter, it becomes too sensitive to the nerve impulses from your hand, which can deliver a faulty reading. Moreover, the chain must be long enough to allow the pendulum to pick up momentum as the answer comes through, which is the means of truly identifying the nature of the answer.

The pendulum itself, be it a stone, crystal point, or ring, should be balanced symmetrically, and one inch, or up to an inch and a half long. More than this becomes unweildly, and too heavy to transfer accurate movement. Less, and the pendulum will not have enough weight to gain momentum.

Making the Connection

In order to communicate your questions, and receive the answers from beyond, you must develop a relationship with spirit. This is the point where most “muggles” give up, believing that you must exhibit paranormal abilities in order to reach through the veil. Nothing could be further from the truth! There are several entities involved in communicating with the pendulum, all of which are around each of us, every moment of every day, regardless of our ability to see or hear them with our human eyes or ears. 

The first of these entities are our spirit guides. Yes, you do have at least one! While Hollywood would have us believe that they will appear to us or whisper in our ears, and that you must be a psychic to know them, the truth is that they do not operate out in the open. They are a constant unseen presence, watching out for us, and tugging the strings of time and space to make sure we fulfill our task list for this life. But, it is not enough to ask them to present themselves, or seek them through meditation alone. You must introduce yourself, just as you would to any other person that you need to foster a working relationship with.

Spirit guides need to learn who you are, what your shortcomings are, and how you process the world around you. Without this, they cannot hope to deliver information in a format that you will recognize. Also, their frame of reference is no longer quite human, so we cannot assume that they will understand why we do the things we do. So, find a quiet spot where you will not be disturbed, and speak out loud to them about everything and anything. I pour my heart out to my spirit guides, intimating my deepest fears, my regrets, and my hopes. This allows them to identify the areas in which I require the most assistance, and my choice to make myself vulnerable to them increases their ability to reach the parts of me that have been hurt, and are most in need of sorting out. Chat with them every day! In the car, in those moments just after waking and just before sleep, and in gratitude for the little things. The more they get to know you, the more effectively they can communicate!

The second entity in the chain of communication is Source. The divine consciousness that bore us all knows all things, past present, and future. Hand in hand with Source are the librarians of the Akashic Records, wherein all knowledge is stored for everyone to access. Simply ask that they be present in your reading, and be sure to thank them for delving into such a massive repository for the answers you seek.

And lastly, you must include your higher self. Your higher self, which has purposefully spawned this incarnation, and fashioned this particular aspect of your spirit, is the direct link between you, your guides, Source, and the other side. Your higher self must adhere to the concepts of benevolence, self-love, and love of others, without exception. This means that each question you pose must resonate with those tenets, and your ego must be kept out of the process. Seeking answers with the intent to harm, expose, or to use information as a weapon has no place in this or any divinatory process. Not only will it get little to no response out of your pendulum, it may gift you with an ass-whooping from your guides in order to unfuck your priorities.

I enter this reading with perfect love and perfect trust. I ask that my intentions be purified and aligned with the highest good. I am a clear, perfect channel for the delivery and interpretation of this wisdom. I ask that my spirit guides assist my quest for knowledge, and that the Akashic Librarians access the information of all things past, present and future. I ask for guidance from Source, and I willfully set aside my ego and my limiting beliefs so that I can engage my higher self. This shall be correct and for the good of all.

Cleansing and Charging the Pendulum

All things retain residual energy from previous handlers and their environments. The easiest and most effective cleansers are plain salt (sea salt or table salt,) sunshine, or cold running water. Cover your pendulum in salt for a few hours, leave it on a sunny windowsill, or run it in a clean stream or under your tap. When using water, be sure to give thanks, because our love and gratitude does indeed enhance the purifying and nourishing properties of water. (Consider this next time you drink a glass!)

Next, place the entire pendulum between your hands, and after a moment of silence:

I ask that this tool be the perfect conduit between me and the infinite knowledge of Source. I empower it to serve my highest good, and to help me along my path of growth and enlightenment. And so it shall be this or something better.

Interpreting Answers

Charts and grids abound when it comes to pointing to answers from Spirit. Yes/No charts, ones with signs of the Zodiac, and even the Ouija board with its letters and numbers all have prominence in this task. Unfortunately, they rarely deliver accurate results. (Gasp!) The reason why is simple. You don’t tell a pendulum how to answer you, you ask it to show you. You’re a channel and translator, not a director. You must let go of your need to be in control of the process, and commit to being a cog in the mechanism. Your ego will just have to learn to like it, and you cannot succumb to the sense of power that can comes with knowing things that elude the five senses. This does not make you special in any way, because anyone can do it. What it does make you is a steward of this knowledge, and one who is privileged to communicate with the unseen. Do not abuse it under any circumstances, because you can easily be relieved of it.

Hold the pendulum at the end of the chain, with the point an inch or two above the table. Rest your elbow on the table, make sure your fingers touch no part of the chain except the end, and rest your other hand only on its own side of the area. If your free hand is your left, for example, rest it on your left leg, or flat on the left side of the table. Do not allow it to cross you.

Clear your mind, and steady your breath. Commit to being a channel, not an influence. Pull the pendulum up, and then relax your wrist in order to put it into motion. A pendulum asked to deliver an answer from a point of zero-movement will take forever, and will fatigue your hands. Ask the pendulum, “Show me a yes answer,”  and wait patiently for it to choose a direction and gain momentum. When the pendulum has enough momentum that it would not change direction without your interference, that indicates the true answer. Say “Thank you,” and note the movement that indicates yes. Steady the pendulum, gently flick your wrist to set it in motion, and ask “Show me a no answer,” and again, wait for the pattern of movement. Repeat for an “I do not know or I will not answer” response. Because the patterns will be different for each user, you can see how grids and charts can impose frustrating limits on Spirit’s means of communication.

For me, my pendulum swings in a front-to-back motion for yes, a circular motion for no, and makes little or no movement for I will not answer. 

Testing the Connection

When the pattern of answers has been established, test your interpretation by asking questions only you know the answer to. “Was I born in 19xx,” “Was my Grandmother’s name ____,” but be sure to mix true and false questions. Asking questions that are all true, for example, does not give the pendulum a chance to confirm the pattern of movement for “no” or “I will not answer” responses.

Phrasing is Everything

As any lawyer will tell you, how you phrase a question is directly related to the quality of the answer you receive. Keep your questions only a few words in length, keep them to the point, and keep your preconceived ideas out of it. If you’re looking to unravel a complicated issue, start with simple questions about things that happened in the beginning, and build your subsequent questions from there. Writing your questions down first is key, because it helps clarify your objective, and is a tremendous reference as you move toward understanding the situation. 


Maintaining a clear channel, and communicating effectively with Spirit takes practice. Stress, impatience, and misaligned intent will impede your efforts at every turn, so make it a habit to set aside a few minutes each day to keep your skills fresh. But, sometimes, even with the most careful preparations, we cannot connect. Don’t panic.

Spirit doesn’t have to answer you. I said it. Just like a neighbor is not obligated to answer the door when you knock, Spirit is under no contract to entertain your frivolous questions about winning the lottery, bedding down your crush, or being famous. The pendulum is a tool for enlightenment, not entertainment. Choose your questions accordingly.

Your self-doubt is in the way. Easier said than done, but you have to steadfastly believe in your connection to Source and Spirit. Without faith, Spirit knows you’re either just entertaining yourself, or waiting for some huge burning bush type of sign, which you’ll probably explain away anyhow. To quote the late, great Dr. Wayne Dyer, “You’ll see it when you believe it.” It doesn’t work the other way around.

You’re not walking the talk of your Higher Self. Asking for knowledge in the name of what is good for all, but using it to soothe your ego, or even worse, planning to use it as ammo, is fooling no one but yourself. Spirit and your Higher Self see right through the discrepancies of your intent, and will cut the phone line without haste. Get right and do right.

You’re second-guessing the answers. What the correct answer is and what you think it should be are two very different things. Your perspective is an impediment here. Your point of view on the issue is just a hair-fine thread compared to the massive tapestry of time, circumstances, choices, and free will that actually brought the situation into being. Do not be disappointed when the pendulum does not give you the answer you’re looking for. Use the unexpected information to deepen your line of questioning and gain an expanded understanding of the issue, because clearly, you’ve got the wrong end of the stick right now.

What Can I Ask?

Everything and anything, so long as it comes from an authentic place of good intent and a wish for enlightenent! Enjoy being the student, because you’re definitely going to get schooled! I have used my pendulum to divine the sex of unborn babies, find lost objects, (and people,) sort out the hidden agenda behind a few people who have hurt me deeply, communicate with deceased loved ones, and solve the mystery of the Lizzie Borden murders. (Which was an exhaustive session, with dozens of fiddly details, but absolutely incredible!) What burning questions do you have for Spirit? How will you use the pendulum to help you navigate the waters of your life?

As always, Seekers, my love and blessings travel with you wherever you go! Keep in touch, and share your spiritual adventures by liking me on FaceBook on Instagram and visiting with me at

So Many Magickal Herbs, So Little Space!


Admittedly, I am an herb addict. (Get your mind out of the gutter!) My Witchy cupboard has always overflowed with exotic plants and spices, and I am nearly ashamed to admit how much money I have tied up in spell ingredients that I rarely use. I have raided the spice section of ethnic dollar stores, and traveled 500 miles to visit a particular apothecary in Salem, MA. I am thrilled to have unusual items to add their particular energy to my spellwork, but there are some herbs that always have a regular place in my magick, and I am never without them.

I thought it might be helpful to show you that you can have a fully-equipped spell cupboard with just a handful of simple, inexpensive herbs and spices. Many of our most common ingredients serve several spell intentions, and can be bought inexpensively anywhere herbs and spices are sold, or in your local health food store. It makes no difference in the potency of the spell if the items are organic, but there is an added benefit if they have come from your garden or windowsill. Your energy connection with the plant from nurturing and caring for it, and expressing your gratitude for its life force, deepens your bonds with the earth and always aids any spell.

That aside, dried herbs and flowers are less expensive, easier to store, and have a surprisingly long shelf life without diminishment of magickal energy. You can also do a lot with a little. Larger quantities in a spell do not necessarily increase the work’s potency or success, so there is no need to buy in bulk. Usually, a container the size of a jelly jar will serve you for a good while. In addition, I do recommend storing in airtight glass containers. Plastic has iffy vibes, and will not keep herbs fresh as long as glass. I prefer small mason jars, but glass locklid containers are fine too, just make sure the gaskets are supple and not dried out.

My most-often used ingredient! Use whole or ground, but if you’re doing a spell that involves burning it, ground will go up more easily. Whole clove needs a charcoal disc to burn, because it’s quite oily and resinous. Cloves are potent, so a little goes a long way in tea or food. Stud a fresh lemon with cloves to make a hanging pomander that attracts the powers of both to any area. Smudging yourself with burning clove also helps bring a stop to malicious gossip.
Protection, purification, love, money, stops gossip

Cinnamon is another great multi-purpose spice. Like clove, you can use it ground or whole. Ground burns more easily, and sticks work well on a charcoal disc. Steeping cinnamon in tea paves the way for a day of success and good luck, and gives strength to the drinker, and is an excellent overall health elixer.
Protection, love, spirituality, success, healing, power.

Lavender can be found in any shop that carries loose herbs, and just the smell of it can bring peace and relaxation. It is a go-to ingredient for tea enthusiasts and aromatherapy practitioners alike. It burns easily, and retains its aroma when stuffed into a poppet or mojo bag.
Purification, love, protection, happiness, chastity, sleep, peace, longevity

Basil is one of the best herbs for spells involving money and abundance. Slip whole dried leaves or a fabric pouch full into your wallet, checkbook, or the cash register at work. Steeping dried basil into tea, or chewing the fresh leaves, can aid you in astral travel and accessing the Akashic Records.
Love, money, protection, astral projection.

Bay is perhaps the most potent of purification and protection herbs, and has a pedigree of magickal use throughout the millenia. Steeped into a tea, it can help induce clairvoyant dreams and aid divination. Burned in a censer and used for smudging, it is twice as powerful as sage in clearing incorrect energies and negativity, including paranormal entities. Wishes can be written on the leaves and then burned to deliver your intent to the Universe. A leaf held in the mouth is also said to ward off bad luck.
Protection, purification, psychic powers, healing, exorcisim, strength

Garlic also has a long folk reputation for having metaphysical powers. Vampires notwithstanding, garlic is reknown for its ability to ward off evil of any sort. A clove carried in your pocket on an important day can keep misadventures at bay, and when sprinkled on windowsills or thresholds, incorrect energies may not enter your residence. Garlic also absorbs illness. In addition to making it a regular part of your diet, folklore encourages hanging it in a sickroom, or placing it under the pillow of one who is ill. This garlic must be buried afterwards, however. Do not ingest it, as it carries the illness it was charged to cleanse.
Protection, exorcism, healing, anti-theft

Lemon, fresh or the dried peel, is one of the best cleansing agents known to Witches and housekeepers alike. A mild solution of fresh lemon juice in spring water is excellent for cleansing energies from secondhand goods, either wiped on or by submersion. The same solution can be used to cleanse buildings and vehicles, too, and is most easily deployed in a spray bottle that has been cleansed and charged with the intent of purification. The dried peel is a potent ingredient in love and friendship spells, and is one of the best things to stuff a poppet with for healing magick. Sprouting a lemon seed in the name of a friendship or love affair helps insure healthy, happy growth of the relationship, and its long life.
Longevity, love, purification, friendship.

What are the must-have ingredients in your spell cupboard? Which do you use most often, and in what manner? Does one herb that has the same power as another work better than the other for you? I’d love to hear about it!

Please like and share my FB page @highpriestessbrooke and follow me on Instagram @highpriestessbrooke You can also learn more about my credentials and metaphysical services at While you’re there, subscribe to my FREE weekly tarot outlook, exclusively for members of my mailing list!

Love & Blessings,
Rev. Brooke J Burke, HPs, CHTR, MScB

I’m Not Fat. I’m a Fortress.


This is going to be a very uncomfortable post for me to write. I am rarely vulnerable or candid in the vicious world of the internet. But, I’ll chance it in the hopes that it may help you identify the reasons you may use unhealthy tactics to protect yourself from the awful crap others put on us. Goddess bless, -Rev. Brooke.

I have always been fat, except for one shining moment in my mid-teens. I have danced, unsuccessfully, with every diet known to man. I have lied to get out of social obligations because I am ashamed of my body. I have rejected love, sex, compliments, adventure, and inclusion because my size has dictated my self-worth, and I was only ever as good as my most recent weight-loss failure. There are no mirrors in my house that show anything below my boobs. I wore clothing three sizes too large to hide myself, and then I expanded to fit them. I eat in secret, and am adept at hiding the evidence. I am a wizard chameleon; I can choose to be glamorous and the sought-after belle of any occasion. I have, in all my fatness, literally stopped traffic with my beauty. But then, I can be dingy, nondescript, and invisible. I have had people who have seen me in my glory walk right past me when I do not want to be seen.  Frankly, I’m exhausted from this 40 year game of hide and seek.

How in the ever-loving hell did this get so out of control?!

I am a hard-core student of the Law of Attraction. (‘The Secret’ scratches the surface.) I have manifested joyful work, a healthy bank account, magnificent relationships, and improbable parking spots. Why can I not manifest a skinny waist and wish away this big ol’ donkey butt? I see myself in meditation as a shapely (albeit middle aged,) siren frolicking nearly naked in a waterfall, or wearing the dress I wore to junior prom. I feel the strength and sleekness of my body. So, where is it?

No one likes to revisit an uncomfortable past. We run far and fast from any sort of reckoning that might compound our shame or regrets. We silence it with all manner of distractions. But, herein lies the true work of shedding the load, literally and figuratively.

Authentic LOA training instructs us that we must look back, without judgment or blame, at the situations, circumstances, and choices that brought us to where we are. We must, objectively, and in as detached a manner as possible, simply acknowledge our role, the choices that were available to us at the time, and how we navigated the scenario.

It is not enough to say, “It is what it is,” or to just leave the past unexamined. It is imperative that we take a hard, but unbiased look at where we’ve been so that we can understand how to get where we want to go. Consider your present self to be a third-party observer of your past, because our intent is that you simply realize that your choices, conscious and unconscious, (which do not have to be categorized as good or bad, because they have already been made and it’s moot to label them,) have created your current reality.

Granted, there are things that happen to us that were beyond our control. As children and even young adults, we do not have complete ownership of our lives, nor the tools to control how things affect us. We can easily be victims of the pain that others bring upon us, but this is still not a process to assign blame. We must acknowledge that we were there, in whatever capacity, and observe how those situations precipitated our feelings and behavior. With that understanding, we get a better view of how those events influenced our future, and now present, selves.

Food was comfort and a feeling of power from the time I started grade school. I was outgoing and friendly, but my home life was not perfect. My parents worked long hours in order to make our household a comfortable one, but it meant that I spent no more than three nights in a row in my own bed, and rarely got to spend any time with my mother and father. I never felt unloved, and spending so many years with my great-grandparents is something I would never trade. But being bounced from one place to another left me insecure, and without stability, and my five year old self filled it with all the sweets Gram would give me, and then some. And when my Mom would deny me, because I was already heavy, it created a huge power struggle that would culminate in my future resentment of her semi-absent parenting style.

As I advanced in school, my self-esteem diminshed in the face of torment from other children. (It was the 80’s, and entitled brathood was reaching new heights.) I began binge eating in secret, and withdrawing from activities that used to bring me joy. Then, when I was 11, and horrified by the changes puberty was bringing on, I was cat-called by three grown men as I walked past the gas station on my way to the grocery store. I was too young to know the meaning of their disgusting words, but I did know that my body, which had incited their unwanted desire, was something dangerous and shameful. I doubled down on my eating habits, and never told my mother what had happened, because I was afraid she wouldn’t let me leave the house on my own anymore.

True love struck me at 15. I had a wonderful boyfriend, who was both my best friend and my protector. He loved every centimeter of me, and the pounds melted off in joy and a sense of security. That school year, I spent gym periods in the weight room with my left leg in a cast due to a serious ligament injury. I was lean, strong, and at my most beautiful. I knew it, and I felt it. It did not last long. I was date raped in the mall parking lot by a boy who “just wanted to be friends,” and later sexually assaulted by one of my teachers. Again, my body put me in danger, and I gained 35 pounds before I graduated high school in order to protect myself from any unwanted sexual attention. I ate no regular meals, and existed on Coke, Spaghetti-os, Twizzlers, and bagels.

It didn’t stop there. I dropped out of college because there were good-looking boys everywhere, and it was a total meat market. I went to work in the male-dominated auto industry, and was the brunt of dirty jokes and office gossip on a daily basis. I ate a double cheeseburger and two servings of fries every day when I worked at the service desk of an automobile dealership, and hid candy behind the vast rows of filing cabinets in my office. I drank a six-pack of diet Dr. Pepper every day, and was not upset that my skin looked like a minefield. The uglier, the better.

Fast forward to 2006: My beloved husband, Ray, dies in a motorcycle crash, and I top out at 244 pounds. To my astonishment, when I began dating again, there was a plethora of gorgeous, successful men at my disposal. Flowers, expensive gifts, and gourmet dinners were part of my every day experience. This seemed so weird, and so unnatural, that it must have been a colossal joke. I rejected it all, and married a felon who abused me and used my insecurities as a weapon every single day until I divorced him in 2013. Flowers and fancy dinners were replaced with death threats, gaslighting, broken glass in my skin, and fear-vomiting. I attracted a relationship that affirmed what I believed about myself.

Jesus Christ. How am I still standing? Furthermore, what’s the point?

The point is, my fat will not, and has not, protected me from ANY OF THE THINGS I AM AFRAID OF. Moreover, as a conscious builder of my new life, I have manifested a reality where none of these issues are a threat.

By acknowledging the past, and my role in it, I have found the reasons why I have chosen to insulate myself with excess fat. Unwanted sexual attention, gossip and bullying have all motivated me to build a fortress of flab around me. But I am no longer that fearful, inexperienced girl. I’ve got serious, powerful life lessons under my belt that allow me to accept or reject any single person, situation, or event as it pertains to my particular experience in this realm. Yes, it really is that simple.

Does it mean I’ll never get mugged or assaulted? No, but you can bet your ass that my excess fat keeps me from fucking up a would-be attacker. I remember my scary-strong muscles, no matter how long they’ve been buried.

Unwanted sexual attention? I’ve been around long enough to know when I’m in danger, and when called for, I’m more than mean enough to put any asshole back in his gym locker.

Bullies? Fuck you and your knuckle-dragging tactics. My manifested world is so magical, you wouldn’t know what to do with it even if you had it. Keep drooling, it waters the grass.

And now?

Now that I acknowledge that I have nothing to hide from, and that my present state is simply a hold-over from past choices, food has no power over me. As I pray that my excess weight be released, I bless it, because in one way or another, it served me for the amount of time I thought I needed it. It DID comfort me when I needed to be in control of something. Perhaps it DID insulate me from unwanted attention, and it certainly gave me a perspective that will hopefully help someone else.

“I release my excess body fat, and all the negative emotions it stores. I bless it and the experience it has brought me. I welcome the positive changes that are coming, and I heal myself across all time, space, and dimension.”

Your past it not a scary place. You’ve already been there. Acknowledge it, respect it, and know that there is sacred information to be learned by observing it. It contains the keys to your freedom, and wisdom that you can build your BEST life upon.

Now, excuse me while I manifest a derriere that looks good on a bicycle seat!

Please follow me on FaceBook and Instagram @highpriestessbrooke, and visit for Certified Tarot readings, Reiki, dream interpretations, spiritual counseling, and even marriage officiating!

Our Nation’s Horoscope? Food For Thought.

This article, a worthy read, was written ten years ago for Vanity Fair. It offers up the concept of our nation as a being with a birthdate, and hence, is subject to the astrological attributes of the sign of Cancer. The author makes the assumption that America was born on July 4, 1776, the day which the Declaration of Independence was signed and sealed.

I, on the other hand, take a different view. To me, this concept is comparable to one’s time of birth being the same day as the birth certificate was completed and entered into record. This is rarely the case. I present the notion that our country was born on the first day of concerted bloodshed, the first day that men began sacrificing their lives to be free of British rule. I believe we were truly born on April 19, 1775, the day on which the battles of Lexington and Concord were fought.

Instead of being a Cancer, we may be an Aries on the Taurus cusp. Aries are bold, forward-looking, and trailblazing pioneers. They relish a valiantly-fought battle for the ideals of freedom, personal growth, and fairness. At their worst, they are naieve, aggressive, and have trouble finishing what they start. At their best, usually in conjunction with some objective life experience, they are motivational, generous to a fault, and make worthy leaders.

At the Taurus cusp, we find some bullish, seemingly at-odds qualities that butt heads with the Aries ram. Security, wealth, status quo, and a fear of change are at the heart of Taurus’ makeup. At their worst, they are closed-minded, overly-sentimental, overly-sensitive, and decide to be a cheapskate when they should be buying the best they can afford. At their best, they are deeply loyal, give from a place of love, and stubbornly courageous when the chips are down.

Do you think this sums up the ideals and temperment of our founding and current government? It’s such an interesting concept. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Best Always,
Rev. Brooke

Ayahuasca: My Next Adventure


Great news, fellow Seekers! I will be offline for the next two weeks, and will not be available for tarot readings while I spiritually and physically prepare for an overlapping series of Ayahuasca ceremonies! I have been given the tremendous gift of being able to partake of this ancient jungle-plant medicine with a Shaman who has 20 years of experience and an authentic lineage with Colombian Ayahuasca elders.

Ayahuasca is an underground movement in the USA that is not for the faint-hearted. This brew, in conjunction with its structured ceremony, is a path toward healing that will (if you allow her to work her wisdom,) purge you of your spiritual and physical pains, and put you back in harmony with our oneness and our mother. She can show you your true purpose, and find your complete forgiveness for yourself and others.

Why am I going to drink this awful-tasting concoction and vomit voluntarily and repeatedly? And submit myself to potentially scary visions that require me to completely set aside my rational mind and ego? Because I need to be the best example I can be for Seekers who come to me for help and guidance. I need to be released from the illusion of myself and my societal filters in order to help you serve your highest purpose. Added bonus? In my quest to help others, grandmother Aya will help me heal myself. You deserve the best I can give you, and I deserve it, too! I’m looking forward to sharing my Ayahuasca experience with you, and using it to be of the utmost service to you!

As always, my love and light go with you! Stay in touch with me on FaceBook @highpriestessbrooke and at

LASSO THE MOON: An Easy Guide to Basic Moon Magick


Greetings, fellow Seekers! I was blessed to be joined by many beautiful souls in a remote prayer vigil a few days ago. It was an amazing experience, as always, with palpable energy and positive intentions. We were comprised of several faiths, and I added to the effort with a meditation followed by a spell casting.


It was a hastily planned gathering, but I feel my work was successful. The energy around my altar was literally humming!

I usually prefer to time my personal spellwork, law of attraction work, and manifestation/diminishment meditations in order to take advantage of the energies being offered by the positioning of the planets. This can be a challenge! You can wait years for a particular aspect to roll around, or miss an event by seconds!

Often, when the time comes that we are ready to make a change or have opened ourselves to accept more of the things that nourish us, we’re ready NOW! We’re present and accounted for, so let’s GO! Also, we often decide to put off dealing with an issue until it’s approaching critical mass. So again, we need to act NOW!

The quickest and easiest way to harness the energy of our galaxy and put it to work for you is by using the moon! Incorporating the phases of our moon adds an incredibly powerful punch to your magick, manifestations or diminishments, and can influence the outcome of big choices.

Think about it. Our moon is the closest planetary body to us. It’s so close that it is responsible for the cyclical rise and fall of all water on our planet, including our rivers and streams and within our own bodies. Its powerful presence in our human experience spans science, nature, religion, legend, and dreams.

You don’t need to be a scholar of the stars in order to understand the phases of the moon. You can download an app to your phone that gives you the info, but if you’re going to connect with Lady Luna’s energies, I strongly suggest you go outside and look for yourself.

It’s a no-brainer to see if the moon is full, or new. It’s either a full round orb, or it’s invisible! But what about all the stuff in between? Here’s a simple way to see if it’s waxing (growing larger, heading toward fullness,) or waning (getting smaller, heading for newness or dark.)

Notice Where the Perfectly Round Edge Is.

If the lighted part of the moon’s fully round outer edge is on the right, she’s waxing, or moving from new (dark) to full. If the lighted part’s fully rounded edge is on the left, she’s waning, or moving from full to new (dark.)

There are several easy ways to use the moon and her phases to add extra voltage and dimension to meditation, law of attraction work, and spell casting. It’s wise to compose a few extra lines to include during your meditation or ritual that outline how and why you’re incorporating the moon phase. Remember, spell casting is like writing a contract! Be specific, because there is great power in verbalizing your intent.

1) Do metaphysical workings asking for the diminishment or banishment of something at the full moon. As the moon wanes to new, the thing you’re wishing to be free of shrinks as well. This is extra-potent when done on the full moon nearest the summer solstice. You receive the quick-acting relief of the waning moon, and long-term diminishment from the shortening of the days. It’s excellent for goals like weight loss and putting to bed unhealthy habits or mental attitudes.

2) Spell work for gains, material or intangible, are best done at the new moon. This is also true for situations where more information is required, or truths that need to unfold in order to be seen. Again, make clear your intent to use the waxing moon to lend its growth to your desire. As the moon increases, so will your manifestation. Put it into overdrive on the new moon closest to the winter solstice, and take advantage of the steadily growing energy of the increase in daylight.

3) A bright full moon can be used for metaphysical workings designed to find an answer RIGHT NOW. Call upon her to beam her search light on something that requires immediate understanding, or a misdeed or mistake that needs to be uncovered right away.

4) Use the utmost prudence, and do not violate the tenet of “Harm None” when employing this last tip. The dark moon can be used to obscure things. It is not in the scope of Wicca to cover up your lies or deception, and be prepared for the unpleasant consequences when you are discovered to have done so. However, there may be a time when you are being unfairly scrutinized, judged, or harassed. There may be something belonging to you that another person is trying to get, but is not intitled to. And often, we are pursued by busy-bodies who can never seem to mind their own damn business or stop spreading gossip. The dark moon can hide you by distracting your detractors, placing obstacles on their path, or making a path for you that takes you out of their crosshairs.

Happy moon-gazing, fellow Seekers! Follow me on FaceBook @highpriestessbrooke, and please LIKE and SHARE it with your kindred souls! As always, my love and hopes go with you.
Rev. Brooke

If He Can Do It, So Can You!


A few days ago, I received a message from a gentleman who found my website, He is a retired Christian pastor, and after many years in service of the church and his Christian flock, he finds himself drawn to Wicca as a way to invite balance into his life and that which he turns outward in the spirit of love and fellowship to others.

He lamented the lack of honorship of the divine feminine in his former religious structure. But, he is joyously embracing a new outlook and path of enlightenment that celebrates the creatrix, nurturer, and wise woman inherent in all of us, regardless of gender.

In a society that celebrates the conqueror, the ladder-climber, and the warrior, we tread upon the virtues of forgiveness, empathy, and unconditional love. We lose sight of the fact that we are one, and we are all broken spirits in search of that sacred oneness. We have forgotten that we have been made in the image of our creator, which is in love, connectedness, widsom, and light.

I invite you to “unbreak” yourself. Surrender to the softness and love that never ceases to try to find a way into your life experience, regardless of how you push against it. Where there is fearless love, and faith in its unconquerable embrace, there is safety, nourishment, and kindred souls. And it’s yours to keep if you choose to accept it.

As always, my love and support go with you, fellow seeker. Please help me spread that love and light by liking my FaceBook page @highpriestessbrooke and sharing its content with your tribe, especially the ones that need to hear it the most.


The full moon on August 18, 2016 is going to be a “light bulb” moment for most of us! Not only does it take place in the philosophical, “we’re all in this together,” sign of Aquarius, it’s also an ALMOST lunar eclipse. (Yes, this ‘near miss’ matters.)

As a sun sign, Aquarius is the not-usually-emotional thinker and philosopher. Aquarians are exceptional at cutting straight to the things that we all have in common, and have zero fear of push-back from espousing a rational but far-out concept. They are campaigners for the underdogs, advocates for the marginalized, and have unshakable faith in the good…better…BEST traits inherent in all of us. They recognize the power in numbers, and are exceptionally good at bringing those numbers together on issues that effect our collective good, no matter our perceived differences. They believe; no, they KNOW that tomorrow has the potential to be better for everyone if we find our common ground and get out of our own way.

Perhaps most notably of all the Aquarian traits, is their fearless attitude toward changes in thought, culture, and behavior. They welcome the revolution of evolution.

When the full moon is in Aquarius, she sheds soft, but insistent light on the things that have been hidden regarding our innate behavior as the flawed, beautiful creatures we are. Instead of highlighting the positive attributes we have as humans, she focuses her penetrating rays on the things we all do, but have no reason to be proud of. The full moon in Aquarius forces us to see how our habits, dogma, misplaced priorities, prejudices, and insecurities contribute to the chaos and hate we cry out for an end to.

In other words, she points the finger you’ve been pointing at others RIGHT BACK AT YOU.

She reminds you that you need to thoroughly walk your talk before you can demand the same behavior from others. She reminds you that the only change you have control over is your own. She asks you if maybe you might be part of the problem. She also asks you to do some soul-searching about whether or not you even have the right to make demands of your brothers and sisters. She asks you to consider that someone else’s path may not be the same as yours. She insists that in order to ask for the change, you have to BE THE CHANGE. You cannot ask from someone else that which you are unwilling to give in return.

Does this make you a bad person? Absolutely not. In order to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our status quo, we all place boundaries, pretexts, and fine print around our lives and our choices. The kicker is, however, by limiting the amount of change you’ll tolerate before you feel your personal boat is being rocked, you’re automatically stifling the change that you’re asking for. The Universe does not deal in “ifs, ands, or buts.” If you want it, you have to ask for it, and get the hell out of the way. That includes your own way and everyone else’s. It begs you to examine what good your boundaries are doing, and whether or not they serve your greater good, and the greater good of the whole.

And what about the near-miss of the lunar eclipse?

It’s significant because the potential obscuring of all or part of the moon’s oracular illumination didn’t happen. It means that we could have missed the real issues YET AGAIN, but she’s decided that we’re ready to wake up and take a look at ourselves, regardless of our discomfort. She has faith that we can handle it, and she KNOWS we have the endless potential for love, optimism, cooperation, and empathy.

She’s thrown open the door to your dark, creepy, stale attic of the self, and she’s handed you a broom, searchlight, and an endless supply of garbage bags. Get cracking, Buttercup.

As always, my love and encouragement go with you, fellow Seekers! If you like my irreverent style, please LIKE my FaceBook page @highpriestessbrooke and consider taking a fresh look at a situation, relationship, or coming event with a one-on-one Holistic Tarot Reading! Visit for details! Blessed be, Seekers!