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Articles — beginner

The no-nonsense smudging guide: Easy tips and tricks for clearing your space

Michelle Gruben beginner herbs incense magic protection

The no-nonsense smudging guide

Freshen up your life with the cleansing power of herbal incense! Smudging questions are some of the most common ones we get around the shop, so I’ve put them together in little bundle (heh). We cover why and when to smudge, some popular smudging herbs, and other questions people ask about smudging and space cleansing.  Skip to the bottom of this article for a sample smudging ritual that is easy to do and suitable for most situations.

What is smudging?

Abalone shell with White Sage

Smudging is the practice of spiritual cleansing...

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Gemstones and their meanings: 40 stones for magick and meditation

Michelle Gruben beginner crystals materials

Gemstones and their meanings

Looking for stones for your magickal toolkit? Here’s a crash course in 40 of the most commonly available crystals and gemstones. Working with crystals can improve your personal energy, amp up your spellwork, and help you create the life you desire. This handy guide will help choose the right crystals for you, whatever your goals might be.

After you’ve read these crystal meanings, I encourage you to spend some time gazing at and handling your crystals. Crystals are a hands-on, eyes-on, heart-on hobby. One of the best ways to study them is to visit...

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What's up with energy play? Six secrets of fun and consensual energy sharing

Michelle Gruben beginner energy

Sharing psychic energy

Energy play is the voluntary exchange of subtle energy between two or more people. It is usually—but not always—accomplished through physical contact. Energy play is quite common within magickal groups. I personally began actively seeking out partners for energy play sometimes in my mid-20s, and have had many interesting conversations on the topic. (The best bits of which, dear reader, I am eager to share with you.)

Most people in metaphysical communities are familiar with some variety of subtle energy technique or modality. Reiki and yoga have helped to mainstream the concepts of energy exchange,...

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The eight Sabbats: Witch's holidays

Michelle Gruben beginner festivals pagan wheel of the year wicca

The Eight Sabbats: Witch's Holidays

Modern Pagans celebrate eight major holidays throughout the year, known as Sabbats. They are based on pre-Christian customs related to the movement of the sun. Most are related to the Celtic agricultural festivals that have given them their names.

Of course, now we know that the sun doesn’t actually move around the earth. And lots of Pagans live far away from the places where our food is grown. But the Sabbats are still a meaningful way to connect with the cycles of the seasons and of human life.

The Pagan Sabbats include the...

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Representing the Elements on a Pagan altar

Michelle Gruben altars beginner elements pagan symbols tools wicca

Connecting to the powers of the Four Elements is a foundational practice for many Pagans. Earth, Air, Fire, and Water move through us and inspire us. As ideas, they help us to make sense of and to describe a complex world. Even the simplest of Pagan altars usually have some representation of the Elements.

The Four Elements

Some Pagans have specific ritual tools consecrated to each one of the Elements. (The Wand, Cup, Disk, and Sword are the canonical tools of the ceremonial magician.) Others take a more spontaneous approach,...

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