So Many Magickal Herbs, So Little Space!

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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.

CLOVE
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 www.wiccanhighpriestess.com 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

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I’m Not Fat. I’m a Fortress.

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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!

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