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Practicality, Tips and Tricks


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#1 Whiterose

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 10:03 PM

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Being a witch is not easy, actually its alot of work. Many of us have learned the hard way the tips and tricks to make life a little easier. Since alot of us have been around the block a time or two with witchcraft, I thought it would be a good idea to start a thread on practicality, tips and tricks and have everything in one place for easier reference. I have learned valuable tips and tricks from many of you on the site and actually have figured out a few of my own the hard way. So for those of you who have random tidbits of everyday wisdom, here is place to put them.


A couple things I figured out during my 12 or so years of practising:

-Do not store salty water in a corked bottle, the salt will corrode and decay the cork and make the whole thing go to shit.

-Used dryer sheets are an easy and disposable way to clean up candle holders after spells.

-When labeling bottles and jars, use paper and scotch tape instead of fancy, expensive labels. The glue, over time on the labels with turn in to something the strength of super glue and will be a bitch to remove if you want to use the container for a different purpose. Vinegar or alohol will dissolve it, but its a pain in the ass. Paper and scotch tape is for one, cheap, and two, very easy to remove with out 15-30 minutes of scrubbing off adhesive.

-Do not burn tapers in a glass holder, it will shatter.

-Do not roll your candle in oil and herbs like it says in the Wicca books, when you light it you will have BIG fire.

-Do not put loads of an herb on a charcoal block, you will get lots of smoke, and be choking and coughing as you try to quiet the screaming smoke detectors. A little goes a long way lol.

-Cats love the energy created by spell work. Either lock them out or have the burning things away from cat tails.

-Fancy ritual capes will, inevitably, catch fire or collect spilled wax. They just get in the way, save yourself the headache and just skip the cape. If you want to be fancy and mysterious, wear a mask.


I will probaby think of more but that is all that comes to mind right now. Some one care to chime in?

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#2 Michele

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 10:24 PM

After Xmas sales at craft stores have great clear glass Xmas-tree balls on sale real cheap. Wonderful to fill with your choice of things and hang over windows and doors as protections. Halloween craft store stuff is great, too.

Protect your entrances (including mirrors). Don't wait until you find out WHY it's suggested.

If it's creeping you out, stop. It's not you being chicken; there's a problem.

Label all things containing body fluids you wouldn't want your teenager to drink. Label anything you make becuase 6 months later you won't remember what you put in it. Label teeth and hair and birthday candles, too (whose they are).

Keep your children's birthday candles for workings and mark the age and name (if you have more than one kid).

M

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#3 The Exile

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 10:30 PM

.

Never let a busybody woman near your house. Had to kick one out that barged into the house.

.

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#4 Whiterose

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 10:43 PM

After Xmas sales at craft stores have great clear glass Xmas-tree balls on sale real cheap. Wonderful to fill with your choice of things and hang over windows and doors as protections. Halloween craft store stuff is great, too.

Protect your entrances (including mirrors). Don't wait until you find out WHY it's suggested.

If it's creeping you out, stop. It's not you being chicken; there's a problem.

Label all things containing body fluids you wouldn't want your teenager to drink. Label anything you make becuase 6 months later you won't remember what you put in it. Label teeth and hair and birthday candles, too (whose they are).

Keep your children's birthday candles for workings and mark the age and name (if you have more than one kid).

M



Great suggestions about the mirrors and labeling! Both are something I am very familiar with. :atoast:

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#5 Stacey

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 02:17 AM

If you live in a hot clime, keep your candles somewhere dark and cool otherwise they melt.

Want a besom but can't afford a fancy one? Wait til the after Halloween sales and buy a toy one, dress it up with a stick from outside.

If you have cats, watch them around your altar, especially if they like water.

Tealight candles are a great substitution if you don't have proper candles.

White tapers are good for just about anything, don't fret if you don't have a proper colour for workings, white covers everything
.

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"The mind is not a book, to be opened at will and examined at leisure. Thoughts are not etched on the inside of skulls, to be perused by an invader. The mind is a complex and many-layered thing." Severus Snape - HP and the Order of the Phoenix

#6 Stacey

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 02:19 AM

-Do not roll your candle in oil and herbs like it says in the Wicca books, when you light it you will have BIG fire.


I've done this and not had a fire, however I used minimal oil and finely powdered herbs, chunky herbs would probably be an issue though.

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"The mind is not a book, to be opened at will and examined at leisure. Thoughts are not etched on the inside of skulls, to be perused by an invader. The mind is a complex and many-layered thing." Severus Snape - HP and the Order of the Phoenix

#7 Archabyss

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 06:04 AM

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.

Never let a busybody woman near your house. Had to kick one out that barged into the house.

.

Learn that some people are nosey to get one up on folks by having something to hold over them, some friends aren't friends.

Charity shops are great for finding bottles for things or other items. And strangely wedding shops like confetti have sales of useful items.

No matter where you buy stuff, charity shop, witch shop or supermarket, remember to cleanse the items before use. Even if people aren't up to something the item could have something attached you don't want.

If you aren't a hundred per sure on what you have picked from the wild, then don't use it.


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#8 Wytchywoman

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 08:47 AM

If you do or write a spell that requires candles burning down, stay away from the long tapered ones unless you are prepared, willing, or time allows you to sit there for hours monitoring it. Otherwise, stick with small candles, tea candles, birthday candles, etc. will work just fine.

Think outside the box. You may want to do a spell but not have all the items on hand for a spell. Create your own version of a spell, work with what you do have on hand, even selecting items that might not commonly be used for whatever sort of thing you doing, but in that moment it might feel right and strong for you to use for that particular thing.

Anything to do with burning something, make sure you are doing it in an area that the fire is well contained. I have heard of some who, in their zeal to do a spell, didn't consider this, burnt something for the spell, and thus wound up burning their hand and a mark on the floor. Always have a thing of water on hand to extinguish the fire just in case.

Keep a grimoire. If not for nothing, at least to record magical properties of various items such as herbs, gems, incense, etc. This provides a quick cross reference for when you are sorting out ingredients you might want to use for a spell. Make sure to have a table of contents, and titles and pages numbered. This saves time of thumbing through the book trying to find where things are written.

The more spells you do, the more proficient you become with it. Practices makes masters. So do not be disheartened or discouraged if you are just starting out on spells and many seem to not work, just keep at it, it will improve. Also, some times if you are doing a spell that requires more urgent results, you might need to do more than one.

Don't do a spell when you are feeling drained of energy. For obvious reasons, this isn't a good idea.

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#9 Athena

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 09:11 AM

If you keep a book of shadows or grimiore keep it in a very safe place away from where others might find it, there's nothing worse than trying to explain to a court that no its not a journal.
Put dates on labels that way you know if it's spoiled.
Freezing plants you might need that are seasonal is a easy way to keep it available regardless of season.
Write clearly with a sharpy or other non removable ink that won't fade.
Cleans your home several times a year, I do it with the change of seasons. Weird things can sneak in.
Keep your tools clean and stored safely, so others don't "barrow" them and they are ready at a moments notice if needed.
Always remember magic can act in ways you don't think of so be prepared for the unexpected , do your best to keep things simple so
Unexpected results are much less likely.
Know exactly what plants and other materials your working with you never want to work with plants and minerals you don't know about. You could get yourself in serious trouble
Don't get sucked into the commercialization of new age shops most tools you can make yourself and will then have a bond with it.

Edited by Athena, 17 September 2012 - 09:15 AM.

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#10 Pikkusisko

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 10:27 AM

Always test a bottle/jar with water before using, especially if it's an old one. It goes without saying how it feels to find your work is leaking through a hairline crack; especially if it contains some rather potent stuff.

Keep a collection of basic backup items; plain candles, salt, vinegar, jars/bottles, plain string etc. If you've found you've run out of your favourite supplies you certainly don't want to find yourself without. You never know when you'll need these.

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#11 Whiterose

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 12:15 PM

Always test a bottle/jar with water before using, especially if it's an old one. It goes without saying how it feels to find your work is leaking through a hairline crack; especially if it contains some rather potent stuff.

Keep a collection of basic backup items; plain candles, salt, vinegar, jars/bottles, plain string etc. If you've found you've run out of your favourite supplies you certainly don't want to find yourself without. You never know when you'll need these.



To add to this one:

-You don't need oodles of exotic herbs. Sometimes, what works best is right on the spice rack in the kitchen.

Some things I have learned from the wonderful people on this site:

-If you make a lot of brews, you should have a quick reference book or herbal in your own hand with the recipes, properties of the brew and how long its good for, especially if you don't put dates on the label. You don't want to be in to your craft about 15 years down the road and think " what was that recipe for mom's cream again?" Then looking around at all the herbal volumes you have collected over the years which take up half a bookshelf. Searching through all of those for one recipe wastes alot of time and I'll be damned if mom remembers what went in to it lol.

-Dates, as was said, and latin names are handy to put on labels. Sometimes you forget what the exact plant was that you put in. "Was that german or roman chamomile I used?"

- Try to get tools that can be used several different ways. It saves money, time and space. Also the tools will become more special to you as you will be handling them and using them more. To me, my kitchen utensil are more special than my fancy dancy ritual things from the new age shop. The kitchen tools have energy, the new age tools are dead because I don't put energy in to them because they are not that useful.

-Fancy grimoires are pretty but really impractical. Don't try to start out filling up a huge leather bound because about 2 years down the road you will want to add stuff that just wont fit where you want it too. Use a binder or notebook or several or computer untill you have a good basis of the info you want in it. Then write it and leave "note places" to add to it for future use. A good book goes through much editing and many revisions so don't be discouraged.

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#12 Archabyss

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 12:34 PM

If like me you try out others recipes then mention that on the label too. I have ended up with three
similar jars all with the 'same thing' but made with three recipes. Ok so with a bit of effort you could
pinpoint which is which but properly labelling goes a long way!

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#13 Aloe

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 12:43 PM

If you spend a lot of time at creeks, rivers, and lakes, take some bags or other containers with you for nature finds. I always come home from these places with snail shells, hagstones, feathers, snakeskin, etc.




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#14 ejfinch

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 12:52 PM

If you spend a lot of time at creeks, rivers, and lakes, take some bags or other containers with you for nature finds. I always come home from these places with snail shells, hagstones, feathers, snakeskin, etc.





Good advice. I keep plastic bags and ziploc baggies in both vehicles and the saddlebags on the motorcycle. :yes:

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#15 Mountain Witch

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 12:57 PM

Save various sized bottles & jars not only from the kitchen but from cosmetic use, as well. A sample perfume vial is perfect for a one-use oil mixture; face cream jars hold powders, etc. Empty essential oil bottles (usually 5mL or 10mL in my case but some are one ounce) are good for more-than-one-use oil mixtures. (I probably have one of the largest collection of used bottles & jars ...!) Isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol will clean out most any residue, then either run it through the dishwasher or wash with detergent & hot water.

When making up a vinegar concoction, don't use a metal lid on your jar while infusing. The vinegar fumes will eat the metal. Trust me on this - I've had metal flake into a potion. I put a piece of plastic wrap over the top of the jar, then loosely screw the lid on over that. That keeps the lid intact and I can still shake it without spilling.

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#16 TabathaAnn

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 01:35 PM

-Fancy grimoires are pretty but really impractical. Don't try to start out filling up a huge leather bound because about 2 years down the road you will want to add stuff that just wont fit where you want it too. Use a binder or notebook or several or computer untill you have a good basis of the info you want in it. Then write it and leave "note places" to add to it for future use. A good book goes through much editing and many revisions so don't be discouraged.


Wow.. This whole thread is a wealth of information!

Here are my few tips (I'm still green in many ways!):

I make reference sheets and get them laminated. For example, a list of herbs often mentioned in recipes/spells/potions, etc. are not able to be grown in my climate. While I order some, and have found creative ways for growth for others, I also make a reference guide of plants/herbs that are found down here with similarly known properties. Local botanicas are a big help for this. I get the one page reference sheet laminated it so if there are spills, I just wipe it off.

As for a Grimoire, I am actually working on a Grimoire closet. I plan on posting all the details at some point, but here is how I organize a part of it:

* A journal for categories (Herbalism, Spellwork, Divination, etc. [I just started using Smash books, based on something I read here]) - Here, I record what I did by date. And within in, I reference the Spell Names and other notes. For example, if I was doing a cleansing, in the Grimoire, I would record the date, then I would state what work I did by title and category ("Good Fortune - Open House: Spellwork"), any deviation ("Changed wording of second line to ....."), overall experience, put in a picture maybe. Actual spells, instructions for charms, potions, etc. can all be found in index card holders per what is referenced.

* Index Card Holders by category – to hold spells, instructions, etc. in an easy to find format. For example, within the Spellwork bin, Index box for Hexes & Curses, Protection & Reversal, Household, and Reaching Goals. An example ofan Index Card Structure would be:


SpellName DateAdded

Category/Purpose




WrittenSpell

References:Spell Resource, And Ingredient Resource (In the Herbalism & MagicalIngredients Bin).

On the back of the card would be a list of all dates the spell has been used and acouple words on the success or variations. A star would indicate more details in the Smash book.


So, whether I look at something in a journal, or on a card, they always refer back to each other.

A lot of people might think this a bit anal, but for me, I always know where I will find things, never worry about running out of space, or leaving out something important.

Additionally, there is no one source or book that has everything. Also, it enables me to create a system of information. And it will be passed down to my daughter when she is old enough. Along with all the other systems I have for managing a household. :-) I do have a graduate degree in project management and as a profession, so doing things organized is my area of expertise. :)








Edited by Aaval, 17 September 2012 - 05:27 PM.

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#17 Phoenix

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 03:43 PM

If you are planning to carve a candle, don't buy the cheap ones that are white in the middle. When you carve, the color on the outside can chip and fall off, destroying your carving.
Never use an essential oil 'neat', unless you know for sure it's okay. Some, such as orange and cinnamon, will set you on fire! If you are going to store spell, ritual material on your computer, always have a backup copy. If you are burning something in your cauldron indoors, place something between it and the floor. I once melted a hole through the carpet without thinking.

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#18 Aurelian

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 03:54 PM

Use gloves when handling baneful substances! Careful what you burn too, or you may be in for a very nasty surprise that may in fact kill you.

Witchcraft may not be punishable by law where you live, but threats and psychological intimidation very likely are.

Beware when hiking around the mountains looking for a ritual space, you don't want to get shot by people guarding a pot grow. Seriously, it's a problem where I live LOL

Umm, when doing certain sort of things, you may very well want to have someone keep a lookout.

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"The truth about the world, he said, is that anything is possible. Had you not seen it from birth and thereby bled it of its strangeness it would appear to you for what it is, a hat trick in a medicine show, a fevered dream, a trance bepopulate with chimeras having neither analogue nor precedent, an itinerant carnival, a migratory tentshow whose ultimate destination after many a pitch in many a mudded field is unspeakable and calamitous beyond reckoning." - Cormac McCarthy

#19 Wytchywoman

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 05:33 PM

When I use a grimoire to write things down in, such as magical properties of items etc., not only do I number the pages and have a table of contents like I mentioned above, but I also like to leave a couple of pages blank (but numbered as well) after each subject just in case I find something about that subject that I wish to add in that area later down the road. This helps keep things tidy, organized and so that you don't wind up with all kinds of the same subject scattered all over the place in the book. Makes life easier for me when I go to look things up.

Avoid buying pre-made oils and mixtures that you find at witch shops that are labeled for certain purposes (love, success, etc.) After all, you don't really know exactly what is in the ingredients, whereas if you concocted the oil yourself, you'd know exactly what you put in there, and know for sure whether or not it is workable, and be able to control the potency of it better.

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#20 Archabyss

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 05:54 PM

If you must buy a oil from a store premade then remember the cheaper the price the cheaper the ingredients in it and cheaper the quality same goes for cheap herbs which are no good for anything but throwing.
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