Love Yourself

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, which can be a complex emotional event for some. While I have read cynics speak of Valentine’s Day as a holiday created by Hallmark to sell more cards, the truth is far more complex. I have never really looked into the history of Valentine’s Day until right now, and it seems that there are a few different stories. It might have started as the Roman festival Lupercalia. This fertility celebration was held around the same time as Valentine’s Day is now and has the obvious fertility connection, but there is no proof beyond that of the connection (as far as I can tell). Saint Valentine himself didn’t seem to have many connections to romance, but he did have connections to Spring. Perhaps this is what led to the connection to romance in the 15th century. A bunch of seemingly innocuous events and a few nudges from card makers later, here we are with the big celebration of romance that is modern day Valentine’s Day.

I’m not here to talk history, though. Instead, I’ve been thinking of how to turn this whole Valentine’s Day into something that everyone can dip into, whether single or not. There are so many different types of love. Romantic love. Familial love. Divine love. Today, I want to focus on a type of love that many of us struggle with: Self love.

I’m not talking about a narcissistic obsession with self, but instead loving and accepting yourself. Josh and I both like to compare it to the love of your child. If you are a parent, you love your child. You want them to grow into their power and become the amazing person that they are meant to be. That doesn’t mean accepting bad behavior, selfishness, and cruelty. You see their weaknesses and try to help them grow out of those weaknesses. You also see all the amazing things that your child brings to the world and you do your best to nurture those amazing things.

If you can do that for your child, why can’t you also do that for yourself?

There are a lot of excuses for why, of course. Cultural baggage. Childhood baggage. Personal baggage. I know that it can be difficult. Sometimes, we need a little help.

To find a little support in this process, I have a suggestion. Why not try a little bit of natural magic?

I’m going to be upfront about this. While I have tested out many different amulet recipes to a whole range of successes and failures (aka learning experiences), I have not tested out this one. So, if you are up to a little experimentation, try this out with me. I’m going to lay out a very basic recipe to try out. Take it and play with it a little. If you work in a magical tradition, work that into it. If you have personal amulet making techniques that you like, try it out.

The first step is to pick a Friday to make this amulet. When making amulets, I try to keep moon cycles and astrological influences in mind. While it won’t make or break an amulet, it can be helpful to ride helpful energetic tides.  You can even do it the day after Valentine’s Day, if that sounds like something you want to try. Astrologically, it’s not a bad time to try it out. The moon is on the way to full in Cancer. Venus is hanging out in Capricorn. The astrological currents shouldn’t mess with the work.

When you are ready to make the amulet, you’ll need a red circle of cloth about 4 or 5 inches in diameter. Make sure it’s made of natural fiber, such as cotton, wool, or silk. I find that material from plants or animals hold energy far better than synthetics. Draw the rune Mannaz on the outside of the to-be amulet. This rune means “man,” but it is also used to mean “self.”

The next step is to get a stone. I suggest getting a piece of rose quartz. It’s a nice stone that has a history of being used in works of love and the heart. While there are other stones that related to the heart and love, but this is a good one for gentle self love. As you place it there, tell the stone why you’re putting it in there. Tell it you are putting it there to be the heart of this self love amulet.

Now, for the herbs. When making these amulets, I like to use three herbs together. The first herb will not surprise anyone who has done any work for me. It’s my favorite green ally, lemon balm. I often refer to this plant as the rose quartz of herbs. It’s calming and great for the heart. As you add this herb, talk to it. Let it know that you are adding it to support your heart in love.

Next herb is rose. Rose petals are beautiful, and they are flowers of Venus. They are classic for love magic and this is no exception. If you can get pink rose petals, even better. As you add the petals, tell them you are adding them to love yourself with strength and balance.

The final herb to add is St. John’s Wort. St. John’s Wort has a long history as a medicine and magical herb, so it will be perfect for your amulet. As you add this herb, tell it that you are adding it to banish the negativity in your heart.

If you are a Reiki practitioner, you can write the Reiki symbol and the emotional healing symbol on a small piece of paper to put in the mix as well. If you aren’t a Reiki practitioner, don’t worry about it.

Gather the ends up, making a little bundle. Take a green string (again, natural fibers) and tie the bag shut. If you have a way you’d like to bless it, try it out! Extra work is not mandatory, though. You can call it good once you tie it shut. Keep the new amulet on your person. When you need a little more self love, put it to your heart. Focus on the energies of the amulet working with the energies of your heart center.  See how that feels for you.

If you’re crafty, you can also make a more complex bag. You can try sewing something together using red (or pink) fabric and green thread. You can get creative with its appearance with beads and tassels. You can turn it into a necklace that hangs perfectly at your heart. That part is up to you, your ambition, and your creativity.

Let me know if you decide to make one. Send me photos of your creation. I love to hear people’s experience in the work.

With that, I wish you a happy Valentine’s Day. May you feel deeply loved.


Be well


  • The Green Mountain Mage

Planets and Constellations

We are embarking on an experiment in magic today. In fact, this experiment is the reason why I’m posting on Wednesdays. It goes back to the idea of working with the energetic currents that naturally happen around us every day.

Magic and astronomy have gone together hand in hand for a very long time. The idea that different sorts of energetic currents moved around our planet (and us) at different times is an old one that more than one tradition has tried to develop a language for. One of the ways that people could tell where our planet was in it’s cyclical currents was watching what stars we are facing from where we are standing on this big hunk of space rock that we are travelling around the sun on. A common language that people use now a days for these currents is the language of astrology.

Before we continue much further, I’d like to make something known. I am not an astrology expert. I wouldn’t even go as far to say that I know it all that well. I do know enough to experiment with it in my magical practice, though. It is this knowledge that I am sharing.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a bit, you will already have noticed that I use astrological terms when talking about the esoteric uses of plants. Lemon balm’s correspondences are Jupiter in Cancer. Plantain’s correspondences are Mars in Capricorn. You may have wondered what planets and constellations have to do with plants. When I speak of these celestial bodies in reference to energetic properties, I’m referring to the energetic currents associated with these planets and constellations. Each of the planets known to Babylonian and Greek astrologers millenia ago and the twelve constellations of the zodiac represent a certain energy. If you don’t know these correspondences, here are some charts that I stole from the internet.

Planetary_Astrology_For_dummies
Zodiac_Astrology_For Dummies

That’s actually what a lot of astrology is all about, as I understand it. The popular pigeonholing of someone due to their sun sign is talking about the yearly energetic current that someone was born into. The constellations that we use to describe this was where the sun was approximately hanging out in the sky about 2,200 years ago. While the sun no longer is in the constellations due to the wobble of the planet, we still use the constellation’s names in describing the energetic currents that happen at that point of the year. Presently, we are in the astrological sign of Cancer. Though the sun nowadays is actually hanging out in Gemini, the current of the year remains the same. We’ve called it the Sun in Cancer 2,200 years ago, and we’re sticking to it.

When getting into astrological birth charts, they are a lot more complicated than one’s sun sign. They cover where the moon was, where the planets were, and other astronomical events at the point of your birth. While fascinating, that’s not what I’m covering today. Instead, I’m talking about charting these energetic currents and trying to ride these currents to be more successful at whatever you are trying to do.

Magically, a good way to do this is to pay attention to where the moon is hanging out in the sky. As I write this, the moon is in between Pisces and Aries at a point that astrologers refer to as “Void Of Course.” Not the most auspicious time, this should have a bad effect on intuition. It’s not a good time to do something magical. It would be better to wait for the moon to go into Aries tomorrow. Not to say that one can’t do something magical, just that it would not be as easy as it would be to wait for a better time.

The other planets in the sky also move through these different points of the sky, and mark movement of energetic currents. The theory is that they are reflecting solar currents flavored by the planet, subtly coloring the energetic movements on our planet. I’m sure you’ve heard of the dreaded “Mercury Retrograde.” That’s when, due to planetary movement and perspective, Mercury moves across the sky in the opposite direction as everything else. While it might be sending vibes of botched communication, it certainly is not the game changer that a lot of people try to make it. When it comes to planetary astrology, though, I usually don’t pay too much attention. They’re pretty far away, so I imagine that their effect is pretty subtle indeed. The moon and the sun, on the other hand, affects us in so many ways, astrology aside. I find the idea that their position in relation to us defining subtle energy shifts intriguing.

This brings us back to the beginning of this blog entry. Why Wednesdays? Well, someone noticed a long time ago that there are seven planets in traditional astrology (the Sun, the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn) and there are seven days in our week. It was only a matter of time until someone assigned a planet to a day. Wednesday happens to be the day assigned to Mercury. While the week seems to be an arbitrary human construct that divides the solar year pretty well, who am I to argue with tradition? Let’s try this experiment out. Will blogging on Wednesday be better at communicating than a Friday (the day of Venus) or Saturday (the day of Saturn, which is not the best choice for communication)? Let’s find out.

Talking about using astrology as a way to follow energetic currents, I will be expanding on that theory and how to use it during my upcoming Amulet Making Workshop. It will be on Sunday (can you guess that day’s planet, and what kind of amulets will be made then?) July 15th from 1 pm to 4 pm. If you’re interested, email me at greenmountainmage@gmail.com and I can tell you more.

Finally, have a fun (and relatively safe) Independence Day (for those of us who live in the United States). Don’t let the void of course moon mess with your intuition too badly.

 

Until next time

 

-The Green Mountain Mage

A Little Tree Magic

I’ve recently been pondering my role as a mage in the Northeastern corner of the US. Every teacher that I have had the honor of learning from seems to eventually break down this work to relationship, with myself, and the world around me. As I deepen my work with the subtle world around us, I am constantly reminded that I receive certain responsibilities with knowledge.

This really began hitting me as I was driving through a few towns in my area, trying to experience and describe the vibes of these places. While there can certainly be wild variances in the feel of a town from one end to the other, I usually generalize from the town’s center and go from there. There are a few local towns that have quite the oppressed, unhealthy feel. There are a lot of things that play into it, including economic shifts, lack of jobs, the struggle of smaller brick and mortar retail, and drug issues (which are all interrelated). It feels as if the energy of place helps keep the town there, though. Some places, despite the obstacles I just described, seem to be thriving. Is the general feeling that the people of a certain town, mixed with landscape and the ways land energy move throughout the town play a role in sustaining a town’s depression?

There is one town in particular (the name isn’t really important) that, every time I drive through, I think “Damn! This place needs some major juju fixing.” It feels like this immovable heaviness that is way bigger than me, a problem that I can’t address on my own. As I was driving through that town, I was wondering how I could potentially nudge the town’s energy flow in a healthier direction.

Then, I remembered something that I read in “Natural Magic” by John Michael Greer. It was specifically a quick sentence tucked away in the part discussing the magical uses of Oak. He suggests placing an amulet or talisman beneath the roots of an oak tree you are planting. The idea is that the oak will then help with the work, exuding that energy as the tree grows. In this way, it continues its work long after the magician has died, assuming the oak is allowed to live out its years.

I can’t imagine that the magic exuded from this method is acute. Instead, I would imagine it as a slower working, gentle yet patient. The same way the energy of place seems to work. Imagine a grid of these magic trees planted throughout a place that seems to hold heavy, dark energy. Would trees planted with amulets created to change the energy it interacted with to healing energy effect the people around it?

To answer these questions, and to try and lift some of the heavy energy that is certainly not healthy for my neighbors, I propose an experiment that I need a little help with. I would like to create a sort of grid of these magically charged trees, especially in the local towns that need it. Do you live locally, and want to have one of these trees on your property? I would be more than happy to create an amulet to bury. All it would take from you is buying a tree, waiting for me to make an amulet and bring it to you, and letting the tree grow for as long as you are able.

I plan on experimenting with starting oaks from acorns. Once they mature to a point where I can transplant them, I will happily donate the tree, along with the amulet. Until then, you will have to supply your own tree. It would also be interesting to try out other trees besides oak, and see how the energetics of different trees interact with the amulets.

I wouldn’t be planting anything until the Spring, so you have about half a year to consider it. I feel that this might be a good way to do good work for the area. Worst case scenario is we plant more trees, which is still a great outcome. We might just change any oppressive vibes that might be lingering about, though, and that is good work.

If you don’t live close to me, or you want to do your own magic, play around with this work yourself. Make and bless an amulet for healing, abundance, love, or whatever you think your space needs a little more of. Plant it with an oak. See if you have any differences blossom around you. Like I said, worst situation is that you will have a lovely tree for shade and wildlife habitat.

 

Until next week

 

-The Green Mountain Mage

Amulet Making: 101

This Monday, I plan on having my Protection and Prosperity Amulets up on the website, ready to go. It’s been a long time coming. Creating amulets is actually what really pushed me to creating Green Mountain Mage.

When I refer to amulets, I realize that some may not know what I’m talking about. The amulets that I make are meant to bring about a change in the wearer through a variety of means. Metaphor. A physical reminder to your brain to correct your actions to bring about a desired effect. A focus point. An object infused with a certain type of etheric energy to help guide the wearer’s etheric energy in a desired direction.

As for the amulets for the store, I’ve almost finished making my first batch. Actually, the bags themselves have been ready for a while. The materials were chosen. The runes hand embroidered into the front, my mind focused on stitching in the energies and purpose of the amulet to be. The prayer braid created for a drawstring, woven together with more concentration on the purpose and energy I’m trying to create. The herbs and stones picked out and ready to be put into the bag.

Then, the blessing part itself. I bless the space I’m working in, call to the corners, to the elemental energies. Call to the heart of the planet. Call to the Solar powers. Call to the Creator. Focus that all into the amulets I’m working on. Voila! Ready to go!

I’ve always enjoyed making things like this. The creation of an object with the intention of directing the more subtle universe around it puts me into a meditative state. It’s a little selfish, in that I find it relaxing for me, a great way to connect to the energies I’m making manifest. It’s a ritual of its own.

Each herb I work with has a planetary and zodiac correspondence that I keep in mind when formulating an amulet (or powder or incense, for that matter). Mix that with traditional uses, and the general feel of the plant, I can usually come up with a group of herbs and objects that work well together towards the intended point. Not that I’m adverse to using tried and true formulas. I can usually mine something good from one of the books that I cite at the end of this entry. Eventually, though, it comes to a Mage’s tastes, as well as what plants he or she works better with in general.

Let’s take my Protection amulet as an example. I start with old fire blankets my friends and I have used as safety when fire spinning (for those of you who don’t know about one of my favorite pastimes, click HERE to find out about my fire troupe). Red is a powerful color, and, having been used to keep my friends and I safe in its previous life, it already has meaning a a force of protection.

I then take orange embroidery thread, and start stitching in the shape of the protection rune Algiz. The orange furthers the solar/fiery color scheme. As I embroider, with every stitch, I visualize an energy of protection flowing through me, through the needle, and getting caught in the thread. Perhaps use a protection mantra to help with focus. Same for when I sew the bag together and hem the top. Same for when I braid the drawstring. This is what I refer to when I say that I’m doing something “with intention.” I’m using my actions as a focus for whatever “vibe” I’m trying to work with.

Now for the filling of the amulet bag. I start with a nail. Preferably iron, if I can get it. If not, it’s okay. I bend it into a circle. Drop it into the bag. Take a small piece of paper. Jot down a few more protective sigils. Fold it up, and put it in the circle of the nail.

Now the herbs and salt. I don’t always use salt for amulets, just (so far) the Protection Amulet. Salt has quite the historical use is protection and banishment magic, and I felt that the Protection Amulet would be remiss without it. Its use still echoes in the superstitious act of throwing salt over your shoulder when you spill some. Being Sea Salt, it also has earthy and watery qualities, desired aspects to balance out all the fire qualities of the herbs. Salt will also absorb etheric qualities of mixed herbs, which bring us to the three herbs of the amulet.

The number of herbs isn’t random. Three is a magical number. So, most of the amulets I make have a triad of herbs. The nail, the salt, and the herbs also make a triad, as well as the three sigils inside.

First is Angelica. It’s astrological correspondences are the Sun in Leo. That alone is very fiery, protective, and cleansing. In Christian lore, it has a connection to Archangel Michael (hence the name of the plant), and was used for dispelling all sorts of bad juju.

Then there’s St. John’s Wort. Another plant with its place in Christian mythology, and its astrological correspondences being the Sun in Leo, with its place in history as a medicinal herb also used for protection and cleansing.

Finally, to both empower and support the general energy of the amulet, as well as balance all that fire with its Venus in Gemini, I add Vervain. Vervain has a more pagan reputation, being connected to the Ancient Druids. It also has a history of being used for protection (amongst a host of other things).

Mix it all together in ceremony, bless it, and we get a Green Mountain Mage Protection Amulet.

Now, you may be asking what this is meant to protect one from, exactly, and how it does this. That is a great segue into my next post, where I will tackle the daunting project of defining my understanding of magic.

 

Until next week

 

- The Green Mountain Mage

 

Ps- If the subject of amulet making interests you, allow me to suggest three books. They are what I have drawn a lot of my information and inspiration from.

 

“Natural Magic” by John Michael Greer

 

“The Master Book of Herbalism” by Paul Beyerl


“The Complete Book of Incense, Oils, and Brews” by Scott Cunningham