Welcome, lovely witches, to Taurus season. For the next few weeks, we can expect that stabilizing Taurus energy to put a sharp focus on our finances. We are probably going to feel the need to pull back on unnecessary spending, and this is probably a good time to sit down and write a budget. Especially coming right off tax season, if you’re in the States, this might be a good time to revisit your spending and saving habits, maybe go through your bank statements and figure out exactly how much money is going toward things that don’t seem like much but add up. Uber Eats, that one’s mine, I really gotta delete that app. It makes it too easy to just have lunch delivered to my workplace so I just end up working through lunch and paying a ton of delivery fees for the privilege.
Something else that is going to demand our attention will be our relationships in terms of how secure or insecure we feel. Taurus is the sign of security and stability, and if we are in relationships that don’t support that, we are going to really be fixated on that. Which is a very good thing. There’s enough risk in this life without feeling like our own relationships are contributing to it. So whether we want to or not, Taurus season is going to call those feelings forward and force us to take a good hard look at them and decide whether our relationships can, or even should, be saved.
Taurus craves dependability, and it is also ruled by Venus, so it craves beauty and comfort as well. We may feel called to start nesting, so to speak. Me might want to rearrange the house or our rooms or otherwise try to create a comfortable haven that we can retreat to. We may feel the desire to spend cozy nights in, cooking at home and watching movies or reading a good book with a nice cup of tea. I love Taurus season. It appeals to me, I think, as a Libra, which is also ruled by Venus, but also because I do struggle sometimes to reign in spending. Not even on fun stuff like clothes or shoes or whatever. I just want to buy stacks and stacks of books and also every new plant that comes into my favorite nursery, whether I have room for it or not.
What else is coming up? Ahhh yes. Okay, so all the planets have been direct for a good long while, but beginning on April 29th, Pluto goes retrograde. Pluto rules, life, death, and rebirth. It is a planet of transformation. Pluto is like the Death card in tarot; when there’s something we need to let go of to reach our next level, Pluto is there for it. Pluto will be retrograde for five months beginning April 29th and will not go direct again until October 8th. Scorpio in particular is ruled by Pluto as well as Mars, so get ready Scorpio, because you are definitely going to find yourself doing a lot of internal exploration,whether you want to or not.
Pluto retrograde is going to have us all doing a lot of introspection though, a lot of shadow work, it’s going to be an excellent time for personal transformation and moments of deep understanding. And you’ve got about a week before all that starts shifting, so it’s a good time to get your shit together.
And then another couple things to look forward to during Taurus season will be the partial solar eclipse the day after Pluto goes retrograde, on April 30th that immediately precedes the New Moon that evening, which is itself going to herald Beltane the very next day after that on May 1. We will talk about Beltane next week, this is a fun Sabbat that rings in the warmer weather and is sort of the precursor to summer. Whereas Spring is all about Maiden season, Beltane and Litha are deep in Mother season, and that brings in a lot of creativity and fertility of ideas, intuition, compassion, inspiration. We won’t go into all that now, but it is coming next week.
On May 10th, Mercury joins Pluto in retrograde, just for about three weeks, and of course we will talk about that more as it approaches. And then just about a week before the end of Taurus season, we will have a lunar eclipse as well. So, we will talk about all of that stuff as it comes, and it’s going to be a fun several weeks with a lot going on astrologically and we are going to need to prepare ourselves for the potential shitstorm that’s all going to stir up. But it’ll all be fine.
Now originally this episode was going to cover Mercury placements in our birth charts, but I’m going to push that back because of a message I received last Thursday from a witch called Ash.
Hi Eli, I love love love your podcast! I am very interested in witchcraft and have felt called to the path for a long time, I just didn’t know where to start. Listening to all your podcasts has allowed me to obtain more knowledge of the subject. I was wondering if you had any suggestions for spell books?
So I wrote back the longest run-on paragraph ever and I attached a picture of the book I recommended, and of course Instagram deleted everything I wrote and just sent the picture. Which I didn’t realize until the next day. So I tried to rewrite everything to the best of my memory which to be honest was not very accurate, I’m sure. But it did cause me to pause and consider how I format this podcast. I try, for the most part, to give as much information as I possibly can without telling people how they should or shouldn’t do their own magic.
This is not because I’m trying to be deliberately vague or make it hard to know where to start or what to do. This is because, as I’ve said and as I will always say: how a witch does his or her magic is personal and individual and there is no right or wrong way to do it. Consider different closed practices. Voodoo and Santeria are very different in terms of practice, the different deities that are called upon, the different kinds of spells that are done and the materials used, but no one would ever say that one was better than the other or that one was the “correct” way to do magic and the other was not.
Those are both valid and powerful ways of practicing witchcraft. And so is my way, and so is your way. So I do not generally recommend spell books for this reason. A newer witch may find a random spell book and start using those methods and get themselves into a rut in which they feel like this is the way to do magic. And I would hate for a newer witch to have their wings clipped like that. My other issue with spell books is that they very often recommend materials, herbs, or crystals that a witch, especially a newer witch, may not have access to. And I don’t want anyone to feel like they have to buy a bunch of expensive or exotic supplies to be able to create strong spells. Or if they don’t have the means to buy all the kit, they may feel discouraged because they aren’t able to do the spells as they’re written.
And I did do an episode on spellwork, it was actually the very first episode. And I’ve gone back to listen to it to see if there was anything I’d add or subtract or update and I have to say, I still stand by the information in that episode. But the sound quality is kind of ass, and again it doesn’t go into the step-by-step rudiments of creating a spell. So that’s going to be the fine line that I’m going to try and walk today. I’m warning you now, it is so far outside my comfort zone to tell people how to do their magic, but I’m trying to think of it like cooking, or baking. Once we know how to bake something simple like a vanilla sponge cake, we can start making changes and getting more experimental and then we can make chocolate cake or pineapple upside-down cake or a goddamn tiramisu.
But I have actually been asked many, many times how to do a spell, and I’ve always given similar advice as I gave to Ash, but maybe I need to stop being too precious about it and just give some information and let folks either take it or leave it, but mostly just take my suggestions for what they are, which is just a place to start. So what follows is the basic rundown of how I go through the process of spellwork, all the way from inception to cleaning up after I’m done. And just do what you like with this information. So let’s get to it.
Ok, so the very firstest step is to decide what our intention is. Before we ever decide what kind of spell we want to do, let alone how we’re going to do it, before we gather any materials, we need to decide what the purpose of our spell is. What the hell are we doing this for? Once we know that, we can get to work. So once I’ve decided my intention, I’m going to write that down in my working notebook, which is different from my grimoire. Really quickly, keep a cheap notebook to write down your spells as you’re working them. Write down the intention of the spell, what is the purpose? Maybe at the top of the page, I write down, “Two thousand dollars comes to me”.
Then I will do a little meditation on that, and try to see what comes to my own mind. Depending on what our intention is, there may be all kinds of things that come to mind. If it’s a spell to help me sleep better, I might think of your favorite blankie I had when I was a kid, or if it’s a spell to get a new job, I might think of the specific place where I want to work. The reason for doing that is to try and conjure up some of my own correspondences before we consult any books. So if I happen to still have access to my childhood blankie, I could snip off a few threads to add to my spell to help me sleep, or go to the place I hope to work and take a few leaves from a hedge on the property or a small stone. This will help personalize my spell. And I am gonna write all that down.
Once we’ve exhausted our own imaginations trying to think of things, then we start doing some homework. And this is where I’ll finally recommend a book. Two books actually. The first is called Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Correspondences by Susan Kynes, and the second is called Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham. I have mentioned these two particular books many times, because as I told Ash, there is very little work you can’t do with just these two books and I use mine almost daily. So we will look up our intention in the book of correspondences and see what results we get.
I would just look up ‘Money’ in the book of correspondences and there are dozens and dozens of different matches here. Zodiac correspondences for money work include Gemini and Taurus, moon phases recommended are waxing moon or the full moon, specifically the January full moon. Days of the week recommended are Saturday, Sunday, Thursday, or Wednesday, and the planets that align with my intention are Jupiter, Mercury and the Sun. So I will write all of that info down in my notebook and keep that in mind. I obviously can’t and won’t need all of that info, but I may want to wait until the full moon is in Gemini or Taurus if I can, maybe I’ll perform my work on a Sunday, or maybe I will just consider incorporating the planetary symbols into my work somehow.
The book also suggests plant correspondences and there are SO MANY. I won’t even begin to list them but I counted for the purposes of this example, and there are 16 trees, 33 herbs, and 15 miscellaneous plants. We could use any or several of these in countless different ways. So I’ll write down the herbs or plants I have access to that I might want to use in my working notebook. The book also lists 8 different goddesses I might want to petition for assistance with money magic, as well as several different gods. If I think I might want to try and enlist a deity in this work, I would do a little research and take down any notes I think are useful in this effort, such as appropriate offerings, and maybe I’ll consider adding space for this deity on my altar for the duration of this work. I might also choose a deity that I’ve already worked with and with whom I have an established relationship. Just depends on how I’m feeling to tell the truth.
We will also find lucky numbers to correspond with our intention that we can be on the lookout for or that we can incorporate into our spell, for example if we wrote a power phrase we might repeat it a certain number of times, or whatever. There will be color correspondences we can use, we could wear a certain color during our spell or for a period afterwards, we might use a colored candle to match our intention, there are even metals listed that we can wear or carry or add to our spell in any way we choose. And if all that information wasn’t enough, we will even find particular elements (being earth, air, fire or water) that correspond as well.
Now, I am by no means saying that you HAVE to own either of these books, because there are plenty of places online to find correspondences like this. I’m only suggesting that if, IF, you’re looking for spell books for guidance, that these two resources are going to go a long way toward helping folks create their own spells for their own personalized reasons using materials that you choose. And it is a lot easier, in my opinion, to create a spell using these books versus having to scroll through a bunch of different sites and trying to decide if those sources are legit. These particular books are well-vetted and the information they contain is time-tested. And because they aren’t spell books per se, they aren’t limiting, their scope is very wide, and it gives the spell caster so much more creative freedom.
So now we’ve got all this cool information written down in our notebook and we can pick and choose what to include, what to exclude, and start to determine what kind of spell we want to do. Well let’s consider all the variables and we can see how we might use the information we found.
Oh! A lot of witches will insist that you cast a circle before you begin absolutely any kind of work and sometimes that is advisable, if you’re working with deities or spirits for example, it’s a good idea to cast a circle to invite the entities you want and exclude any entities you don’t want. Or if your intention or your spell is specifically geared to ward against evil or negativity that you’ve been experiencing, it’s a good idea to cast a protective circle while you work. But a lot of the time, it’s just not necessary, especially if you keep wards around your home WHICH you should. We talked about them in the protection magic episode. But as far as casting a circle for your spell, it’s something you’ll need to decide for yourself on a case by case basis.
So first things first, we go through our notes and decide what we want to use and what we’re going to leave out. Decide when we’re going to do this work; are we going to wait for a specific moon cycle or day of the week, or what have you? What are we going to say? You can say or not say whatever you want and however you want. It doesn’t have to be poetic, it doesn’t have to rhyme, you don’t need to use archaic language or Latin or Old English. You can just say what you mean. But, if you are poetic, if you are a writer, if you do like to express yourself that way, then please absolutely do.
We can also at this time decide if we want to create a sigil or a symbol to use instead of or in combination with our written words. Sometimes, the act of creating a sigil is basically the entire spell. Working it out, trying different phrases and different formations and meditating on the design until you find one that looks and feels exactly right is the spell work. And then either burning it, or drawing it in a certain place and letting it work is the culmination of the spell. Sigil work can be very powerful, and we did a whole episode on that topic so I won’t belabour the point, but be aware that adding a sigil to any of these other spell methods is a great way to combine and amplify your own message. Again, we are gonna write it all down, refine it. Scribble all in this notebook, its whole purpose is to be a place to make a mess before we finalize it in our grimoire.
And what if we want to light candles during our spell? We should write that down too, so we don’t forget. How many candles? We could certainly use our number correspondence here, if we wanted. We could use the candles to delineate our ritual space. We can just use them to adorn our altar. Or we can make the candle itself be the spell. Now we’re talking about candle magic y’all. If we want to do candle magic for our spell, we will need to choose our candle. We can use a color correspondence, or we can just use a white candle. We need to cleanse it first to get rid of any funky energy and get it ready to receive the energy we want to put into it.
And this is another step that we will use for all kinds of different spell work, we will need to cleanse all our tools and materials. This is one of the first steps of the spell itself. Once we’ve gathered all the items we are going to use for the spell, we need to cleanse everything, this goes for spell jars, witch bags, potions, oils, creating wards, creating charms, all of it. Anyway, we are going to cleanse our materials in whatever way we see fit. Cleansing with smoke is a good method. Light a stick of incense and run our materials through the rising smoke. Super simple. We can use holy water or florida water if we’d rather do that, but it is a little messier. We can use salt as well, but that can require an awful lot of salt to sort of bathe our jar or bag or our crystals, etc. But it’s up to you.
Once we’ve begun the act of the spell itself, we also need to focus on our intention. At every step, at every stage, we want to really direct our focus on the outcome. We can use visualizing, or if that’s not something that comes easily, we can repeat the words we’ve written in our heads or out loud, picture the sigil or the symbol we created if we’ve done that, or keep a drawing of it right on the altar or workspace as a point of focus. This is part of raising the energy we want to direct into the spell.
Anyway, we’ve cleansed our candle and all the herbs and everything else we are going to use in our spell and we are concentrating on our intention. Now we can carve into the wax. We can write our spell into the wax, we can carve a sigil or our symbol into it, we can carve dollar signs or a dollar amount if we’re doing a money spell. And then we can anoint the candle if we want. We can use an oil blend that we’ve made, or we can just use olive oil or whatever. Then we may want to crush up some of those herbs we wrote down in our notes and sprinkle them right onto the wax. The oil will help hold the herbs in place.
We can then light the candle but don’t let it burn unattended. The oils and the herbs may catch, and we don’t want to burn the house down. So if we are doing a candle spell, now is a good time to pay attention to the flame itself. You can learn a lot from the flame. If it burns strong and steady, this is a good sign for the strength of your spell, if the flame is weak or seems to be struggling to stay lit, there may be impediments in the way of your work that you might need to address. If it flickers or jumps, or if there’s crackling or popping, then there’s a lot of energy around your work, and this can be a good sign. Just make sure there aren’t any drafts or breezes that are giving you a false impression.
And you can also scry in the flame; sometimes an image or a shape will appear in the flame itself and you can meditate on that as well and see if any impressions make themselves known to you. You may also see patterns in the way the wax melts, you may see shapes or initials there. Again, write all these things down in your notebook as they occur so that you have a record to review once the work is done. You may not recognize what some things mean while they’re happening, but after the fact, when you’re reviewing all your notes, sometimes something will jump out at you, so we don’t want to forget to write things down, even if we’re not sure that they’re relevant.
If you’re using fire magic to activate your spell, make sure you’re using a fire-safe container to burn all your herbs, hair, scrap of paper, etc. This is when a cauldron comes in handy, but a small pot will suffice. Just be very safe and please take my advice on this last part because it comes from experience, TIE YOUR HAIR BACK. Anytime you’re working with flame, make sure your hair is tied back and your sleeves aren’t too flowy and flammable. Nothing interrupts a spell faster than having to stop drop and roll.
And, look we won’t go through every single method of spell work because we will end up saying the same things over and over, but the basic outline is the same across the board, so for our example, you know, if we looked at all our notes and felt like we should go with the classic spell jar or spell bag. I’m lumping them together because the construction and use is basically the same, it’s just the vessel that is different. Spell jars are also called witch jars, and spell bags are also called mojo bags, those terms are interchangeable. Spell jars are probably the first magic most of us do. Intentionally. We’ve all done magic unintentionally, without realizing we were. Even muggles. Anyone who has ever blown out candles on a birthday cake has practiced magic. But as far as intentional magic, spell jars are an excellent introductory method. So it’s the same as we already said, we gotta find our vessel, our bag or our jar, and then gather our other materials.
If we’re going to do something like seal a spell jar with wax, we gotta make sure we’ve got those materials too before we begin so we’re not scrambling to get what we need once we’ve begun. But if you do forget something, don’t worry, it won’t ruin your work, just go grab it and then return. And then we kind of just use our own intuition to sort of layer those materials in the jar. If the jar is intended to work for ourselves specifically, we may want to include our hair or fingernails clippings or something, sometimes blood. If it’s meant to work for someone else, we will want to try and get a piece of them to include. Sometimes this isn’t possible, but we can substitute a writing sample, something they’ve written. If we don’t even have that, we may just have to include their name and birthday on a scrap of paper and throw that in there too.
It’s none of my business what you do with your magic, but if you do decide to do magic for someone else or at someone else, make sure you protect yourself from rebound. Cast a protective circle on that kind of magic and make damn sure that your wording includes something about repercussions not coming back to bite you. Just be sure about what you’re doing.
And then once the spell is done, your candle has gone out, or you’ve sewn your poppet, or you’ve finished your mojo bag, or you’ve completed your charm, just clean up your materials and put them away. If you’ve got ashes from incense or herbs that you’ve burnt in your cauldron or whatever, save them. I keep a small jar of ashes from spells and once I’ve got a decent amount, I’ll use them to make black salt. We are witches and we try not to waste anything that might be useful. Anything that can be returned to nature, return it. This goes for flowers you may have used on your altar, or any water that you may have used in your work, just release that out in the garden or what have you. UNLESS you’ve used salt. Don’t throw that in the garden because it’ll kill the grass. That goes for salt water too. Salt water can’t be poured on plants because it will kill them.
If there is an aspect of this spell that requires you to go somewhere else after you’ve done the main work at home and maybe bury something, like your spell jar, or if you are working with Hecate or something and need to go to a crossroads and leave coins, don’t worry about being super ceremonial about all that. Just go do it. If we do call a bunch of attention to ourselves while we’re doing that part of the work, it’s more likely someone will notice and go disturb our work or dig up what we’ve buried, and we don’t want that.
And again, write down everything we noticed. Were there any birds or animals out? Did we see someone or something that seemed out of place? Did we notice any repeating numbers? Did we hear a certain song along the way that resonated? Write it all down. And then let it be. Let the spell do the work, expect the results we want, because we can’t approach magic with doubt, only with certainty. And once the results do come, write that down too. Write down how the results came, how long it took, and anything else that seems relevant.
Once we’ve done everything and our work is out there in the universe doing its thing, THEN we can gather all our notes that we’ve been so diligently compiling, and copy it over neatly and nicely into our grimoire. It’s not vital to do this right away, sometimes a spell takes all damn day and we don’t have the time or energy to do a whole grimoire entry afterwards. Just do it when you have the time and inclination.
And that’s my basic method. It isn’t super structured, I don’t do things the same every single time, and sometimes I will get interrupted and have to pause in the middle of what I’m doing, which is not my favorite thing, but it does happen and it isn’t the end of the world and it won’t ruin the work. It’s not a sign from the universe. So please, if you are so inclined, take what you like from all this, leave what you don’t like, add your own flavor, and create powerful magic.
We will talk again next week, I can’t wait to get into Beltane. My name is Eli Ro, and this has been the Middle-Aged Witch podcast.
Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Correspondences by Susan Kynes
Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham