Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Witchy Words New Year Articles Survey Giveaway!


Items include:
The Return of the Dead by Claude Lecouteaux
The Tradition of Household Spirits by Claude Lecouteaux
Large Purple Pentacle Altar Cloth
Sage and Rosemary Bundle
HEM The Moon Incense Cones
Goddess Statuette and Tea Light Candle Holder
Nag Champa Incense Sticks
The Sun Brigid Oil (1/2 fl oz)
TheWitchery.ca Frankincense Resin
Brass Candle Snuffer
Alchemy& Ashes Frankincense Myrrh Vanilla Cold Process Soap (6.5 oz)
Frankincense and Myrrh Resin Incense (3/4 oz)
Pentacle Wood Ornament

One lucky winner will be selected on New Year's day!  The more you help on the survey, the more likely you are to win!


International Shipping Available
ONE ENTRY PER PERSON.
Multiple entries will be disqualified.
This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook, Tumblr, Blogger, HEM, The Sun, TheWitchery.ca, Alchemy & Ashes, or Claude Lecouteaux. In registering, you agree that you are providing your information to the owner of Witchy Words and not to Facebook, Tumblr or Blogger itself. This information will only be used for this giveaway and deleted once the giveaway ends.  You will not receive any mail or advertisements outside of this. Thank you!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

13 Essential Gemstones Series: Amethyst


In this series, I will be exploring 13 common minerals and gemstones used in the Craft, dissecting their meaning from science, history, culture and my own experiences.  

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Amethyst



Color: Purple/Vioilet
Appearance: Translucent, glass-like with imperfections and fractures.
Hardness: 7. It can scratch glass and be scratched by steel.
Other Notable Qualities: Amethyst is a type of quartz denoted by its color.


Scientific Correspondence:
Cosmic Energy

While quartz often represents cleansing and purification, the same cannot be said of amethyst.  A violet variety of quartz, Amethyst gets its color thanks to a combination of irradiation and iron impurities.  Radiation is, of course, the transmission of energy and iron is most commonly a working metal, common to our earth's core because of its mass production from high-mass stars.  In this case, scientifically, amethyst can be said to be a stone capable of lending its user cosmic energy from the stars.


Historical Correspondence:
Spirituality - Offering

Because of amethyst's grape-like color, Greeks associated it with wine.  According to lore, a beautiful maiden was on her way to Diana's shrine when she crossed the path of an angry wine god named Bacchus.  In an effort to avenge himself over an insult, he claimed that the first person he ran across would be devoured by tigers and that just so happened to be this maiden.  Diana came to the maiden's rescue, protecting her by turning her into crystal quartz.  Ashamed of his cruelty, Bacchus poured wine over the stone as an offering, which gives the quartz its purple color.  This maiden's name?   Amethyst.  The word amethyst comes from the Greek word amethystos - a- meaning "not" and "methyo" meaning "intoxicate."  As such, Greeks believed that the stone protected the owner from persuasion and drunkenness, wearing and adorning goblets with the stone.

From this story, we see that amethyst begins as crystal quartz, similar to its actual chemical composition.  As quartz, it represents protection.  However, when Bacchus pours wine over the stone to give it its purple color, it turns it into the amethyst we know and gives it a different meaning: An offering to divinity or spirits.  In this context, amethyst can be used to deepen that connection with your patron deity or to assist you in veil-crossing/hedge riding.

This interpretation is further emphasized by its context to other religions and cultures.  For Egyptians, amethyst was called Hemag and was listed in the Book of the Dead as a stone that should be carved into a heart-shape for burial.  Hebrews found it important to spirituality as it was the ninth stone in the breastplate of the High Priest and the twelfth foundation stone for the New Jerusalem.  In fact, many Eastern cultures also use it as a connection to worship, meditation or spirituality and it is a common stone for rosary beads today.  Thus, amethyst could also be associated with general spirituality and meditation.



Cultural Correspondence (USA/Midwest):
Inspiration

In modern times, and particularly in the US, amethyst is most commonly used in jewelry.  The birth stone of February and the state stone for South Carolina, mined amethyst is typically polished and set into rings, necklaces, lapel pins and headdresses, or turned into beads with similar purpose.  The stone can also be set into vases and ornamental displays around the home.  Many crafters as well as big-name jewelers use amethyst because of its radiant violet hue and durability, making it a stone of inspiration for creative endeavors.


Sigil to Invoke Amethyst


Utilize this sigil as a way of invoking the properties of amethyst if you have none available to you.  You are welcome to print this sigil, place it in a grimoire, use it on a spell or put it in your blog with proper credit.  Do not claim this sigil as your own.

References
Mindat.org: Amethyst
Minerals.net: Amethyst
Crystal Vaults: Amethyst
Causes of Color: Gemstone Colors from Defects
Sciway: South Carolina State Gemstone - Amethyst
International Gem Society: Amethyst Symbolism
Gemological Institute of America: Amethyst History and Lore
Jewelry Shopping Guide: Amethyst

**Images of the gemstone were found via a search labeled for reuse.
If you would like an image removed or credited, please let me know.**

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Previously
Clear Quartz
Amber

Coming Soon
Bloodstone
Carnelian
Citrine
Hematite
Lapis Lazuli
Obsidian
Rose Quartz
Selenite
Tiger's Eye
Turquoise

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Winter Solstice / Yule: Ten ideas for solitary witches!


Below are ten crafts, altars, spells and ritual ideas for solitaries that either I personally or other covens have done throughout the past five years.  Enjoy!


ONE
Decorate
Many of the same decorations used by mainstream religions during this timeframe either originate or can work for the solstice!  To see the way I've decorated my home in the past, you can find pictures here, here and here.


TWO
Yule Tree Blessing
Chant a blessing for your Yule tree before lighting it up the night of the solstice, much like I did with my previous circle in 2014.


THREE
Prosperity Ornament
For full instructions on how to create this, click here!


FOUR
Yule Log
Burn a Yule log topped with your favorite herbs for good luck and prosperity in the upcoming year, similar to what I did in 2012.


FIVE
Alternative: Mini Yule Logs
If you don't have a fireplace or fire pit, you can create mini Yule logs out of dried sticks bundled with herbs, like what I did in 2014!  These can be burned in a cauldron or fire-safe bowl - just remember fire safety!


SIX
Wild Hunt Offerings
Set out an offering of raw meat, bread and milk to the Wild Hunt, which passes by during the darker nights of the year.  Read more about this in my ritual from 2017!


SEVEN
Light Candles
To honor the longest night and welcome the coming of the sun, light candles around your home like my previous circle did for our 2015 ritual!


EIGHT
Goal and Release
Write down on individual pieces of paper a series of goals as well as things you'd like to release in the upcoming year.  Store them in separate boxes and check on your progress next Yule!  Circle of Fountains did this as a running theme for several years.


NINE
Ring in the Sun
Honor the first light after the longest night by ringing bells at dawn the morning after!  We mildly altered this to fit for ritual in 2014.


TEN
A Toast to the Sun
Toast the first light of the sun following the solstice with a glass of orange juice, like Circle of Fountains did in 2014.

Whatever you choose to do, I wish you a warm solstice full of laughter and joy!