To Form an Incense Cone

  1. Dissolve gum arabica in water, approximately one part powder to two parts water.

  2. Allow the material to soak for approximately three hours.

  3. In the meantime, pulverize the herbal material to be used until it is finely powdered (using mortar and pestle or other grinding tool).

  4. Mix this powder into the liquid until it can be shaped into small cones.

  5. Allow to dry completely in a warm area.

Casting Spells by Burning Herbs

Magick spells are cast by burning herbs (incense), thus releasing their magick power into the atmosphere (fumigation).

One of the most ancient methods of casting spells is consciously, carefully and deliberately  burning herbs. This method incorporates all four primal elements into one spell. By applying the power of fire, herbal power (which has been nourished by Earth and by water), is transformed into smoke (air) and dispersed into the atmosphere to provide magickal solutions and fulfill magickal desires. If you burn incense on a metal pan or burner, then you incorporate what many consider to be the fifth element, metal, into your spell as well.

Modern incense frequently taken the form of sticks and cones, which require a little technical know=how. However, incense is an ancient, ancient art. If cave people had the technology to create fine, viable incense, of course you do, too. The material original incense was loose dried herbal material, ground and powdered. Most magick spells assume incense will be in this form.

Mortars and pestles are ancient magickal, medical and culinary tools. They may be used to break down and blend herbal material. Once upon a time, incense was created by repeated grinding with a mortar and pestle, and then sifting with a sieve (also an ancient magick tool). However, if you desire the fine powder that many spells specify, a coffee or spice grinder, particularly an old-fashioned manual one, can make life easier.

If you prefer stick incense, blanks may be purchased and doctored to your taste.

Drying Herbs

Hang herbs upside down in small bunches, so that they are not too crowded. Professional herb dryers, resembling horizontal ladders, can be used, or attach bunches to a wire hanger. Allow herbs to hang in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight until dry.

Casting Spells Using Dried Herbs

The most prevalent ingredient of magick spells are processed herbs, especially dried plants and oils. Drying plants preserves them for extended use, allowing you to work with  plants out of season and those that cannot be grown in your personal region. Dried herbs from all over the world, representing many magical traditions, may be purchased from herbal suppliers.

Dried herbs are frequently sold already chopped up, cut or powdered. As this frequently needs to be done before spellcasting purchasing herbs in this form can be a real-time and effort saver–with one caveat. Leaves and blossoms, even chopped, other remain easily distinguishable. Peppermint doesn’t smell like vervain or hibiscus, for instance. Roots on the other hand,  other the most magickally potent part of a plant,  once chopped or powdered, are fairly indistinguishable from  each other. It is not uncommon for unethical or ignorant vendors to substitute one  root for another. If you are looking for a distinct root, say High John the Conqueror, for whom this is a common problem, buy the whole root and ground and powder it yourself, even though this can be difficult.  It is the only way to guarantee that you are receiving what you want, the only way to maintain control over what may be a pivotal ingredient. Familiarize yourself with herbs. Know what they should look like and what they should smell like, and you will be less likely to be fooled.

If you grow plants or have access to fresh plants, it’s extremely easy, virtually child’s play, to dry them yourself.

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Forever Changed

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Forever Changed

Chicken Soup for the Soul: New Moms

BY: Michelle Sedas

The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.

On March 9, 2004, the day my first child was born, I became forever changed. As I held my newborn baby, I recalled a moment, nearly two years before, when I was hospitalized for a second time in my life for depression. As I stood waiting to be discharged, I vowed to get better, to never return physically or mentally to that place. It was on this day that I made a promise to myself to do whatever it took to overcome this debilitating illness so that I could one day be a depression-free new mom.

As I built my new life, I went to counseling, twice a week at first, and less frequently over time. I worked on my counseling exercises at home. I read uplifting books, exercised, ate well, and began to interact again socially with others. I started a new, part-time, low-stress job where I felt I was making a difference. Months later, to my delight, I became pregnant. And for nine months, in preparation for first-time motherhood, I continued to improve upon my mental state of mind.

Then the day came when my baby, Diego, was born. It was like a scene in a movie. The doctor set him upon my chest, and I looked in awe at this tiny creature who moments before had been nicely snuggled within my warm womb. I soaked up his essence, the tiny fingers and toes, the soft, damp skin, and something inside of me clicked. My old self faded away, and a new person emerged: “Michelle the Mother.” At that moment, I knew in my heart that those turbulent, depressed years were in the past. I was now a mother, responsible for taking care of a helpless, innocent baby, and I wholeheartedly accepted this job. My focus was now on providing the most wonderful environment I could for this precious one that God had entrusted into my care. I knew then that I would love this baby with all of my heart and soul, and that I would continue to keep my mind healthy so I could be the best mother possible for him.

As the days passed, I sang him made-up songs. Cheerfully, I woke up in the middle of the night to feed him. I gently rocked him when he cried (which was often!). I had fallen completely in love with my angel. Many of my family and friends saw the change within me. My mom said my face looked different. I “glowed.” “Michelle the Mother” was a title that suited me well. But as much as motherhood had changed me, and as happy as I felt, I knew that I was predisposed to postpartum depression. I vigilantly kept a check on my state of mind, doing whatever I could to stay healthy, allowing me to remain a depression-free new mom.

Becoming a new mother has proven to be the most positive, life-altering experience of my existence. While there are times when those clouds of depression still threaten to overwhelm me, my love for my children propels me forward. My two angels have rekindled my inner light and left me forever changed.