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Tarot beginner? Straight answers to 9 newbie questions about the cards

Michelle Gruben beginner tarot tools

Hand holding Tarot cards

Interested in getting started with Tarot? You’re in for a remarkable journey. When used intentionally, Tarot has the power to teach you about yourself, reveal hidden knowledge, and totally change the way you look at the world.

As an avowed Tarot nerd, I sometimes forget what it’s like to be brand new to the cards. I’m often at a loss for words when I try to talk about Tarot to absolute beginners. This article is all about getting back to the basics of Tarot.

The following questions come from customers (and strangers) who have...

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A Witch's glossary of herbs

Michelle Gruben beginner herbs materials spells tools

Holding a bunch of pine needles

A handy key to the herbs of witchcraft. Each of the herbs listed has its own character and magickal properties. They are revealed to the Witch through study, meditation, and practice.

For this glossary, we’ve limited the description of each herb to a few words. Many herbs have their own articles with more in-depth information, in case you wish to learn more.

Here are the suggested meanings and uses of some popular ritual herbs:

Agrimony – ancient herb of healing, restoration, and benevolent protection (full article)


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Rare occult herbs: Mandrake

Michelle Gruben herbs materials

Whole Mandragora officinarum

Mandrake is an unassuming little root with a formidable reputation. It is considered one of the most mysterious and potent of all magickal herbs.

Mandrake was probably first adopted by magicians because of its psychoactive properties and its occasional resemblance to the human body. It is still used in countless magickal spells and charms. This article will help you sidestep the hazards of Mandrake and get in touch with this amazing plant.

There are (at least) two distinct plants that produce roots called Mandrake, so we’ll consider them each separately.  (The ritual uses and correspondences...

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Magickal properties of Bearberry

Michelle Gruben herbs materials

Dried Bearberry leaves

Bearberry is a small shrub, a member of the Heather family. It is a low-growing plant with leathery, evergreen leaves. Sometimes called “Yukon Holly,” Bearberry grows across much of the Northern hemisphere. It prefers cold, mountainous climates and rocky soil. 

Bearberry produces small, edible berries that may be red, purple, or black depending on the variety. As you may have guessed from the name, the berries are a favorite food of foraging bears. Bearberry’s Latin name (Uva-ursi) literally means, “bear’s grape.”

Bearberry is available in dried form (usually wildcrafted) for ritual use. For medicinal purposes,...

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Wicca questions answered: Basic facts about Wicca and Paganism

Michelle Gruben beginner pagan wicca

Goddess shrine in a garden

Curious about Wicca and Paganism? You’re certainly not alone! In my almost 20 years as a practicing Pagan, I’ve met lots of people who want to learn more about this small-ish, little-understood religion. Some are interested in joining Wicca (or another Pagan tradition). Some just want to better understand their Pagan friends and neighbors.

Like many Pagans, I started my training under Wiccan teacher before moving onto my own personal path. I’m not a Wiccan myself, but I attend Wiccan rituals and count many Wiccan folks among my friend. This article is my...

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