The Great Glyph of the Sidhe

The prompt for this reading came from one of my Discord servers and is as follows:
What’s a symbol you’ve felt really strongly to when it comes to your craft. Like a rune or tarot card or sigil or so?

I considered mentioning the Hanged Man and the Ten of Swords here as a response to this question. But I went with something from my early childhood instead.

SidheSpiralThis is the Spiral of the Sidhe (aka the Great Glyph of the Sidhe).

It was introduced into mainstream by an archeological writer named John Matthews in his 2004 book “The Sidhe: Wisdom from the Celtic Otherworld” who has written that it was given to him by the Sidhe as a symbol of welcome and a bridge between humanity and the world of the Sidhe.

Since this publication, it has popped up in a number of places, such as on the back of the cards in the Tarot of the Sidhe deck and being featured prominently in the Moon Oracle of the Sidhe.

Interestingly, I don’t know where I first saw this glyph, but I suspect that it was not through John Matthew.

I have been drawing this symbol all of my life, first as a child in the dirt and then incorporating it into spells and rituals as I got older. As I was born in 1988, I can’t imagine that I saw this symbol through John Matthews influences… and I have absolutely no idea where it came from to take up its place within my life.

I would be remiss not to note that the Great Glyph of the Sidhe looks a lot like what I understand to be one of Reiki’s most powerful symbols, the Cho Ku Rei. And yet, the Cho Ku Rei does not create the tightening tug in my solar plexus that the Sidhe spiral creates each time I see it.

A side note on John Matthews – I can’t say that I’ve ever read any of John Matthew’s books, although from looking through those he’s written, I don’t think I would necessarily consider him an authority on the Sidhe and the Fae. His writing is eclectic at best and seems to wander here and there and everywhere on an array of (seemingly unrelated) topics.

#31DaysofWitchcraft Prompt 18 (non)VR to Heather Carter

Heather Carter on YouTube put together a series of prompts titled #31DaysofWitchcraft that she’s been working her way through since the beginning of May. I really like this idea, but I can’t handle the responsibility of any more daily posts, so I thought that for the next little while I would do one (or a few at a time) for the end of week “My Pagan Perspective” posts and work through them a bit at a time.

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18. Do you use herbs and/or crystals in your personal practice? Is so, which are your favourites? And why?

I already wrote about the most commonly used crystals in my practice, so I figured that I would use this prompt to now focus on the most commonly used herbs and plants in my practice.

I would like to focus first on the why part of this question, though.  I use herbs and plants in my practice in much the same way I use crystals. To enhance my intentions, enhance the energies I’m working with, or guide those energies to strengthen their purpose.

Spellwork is like any task.  Say you want to hammer in a nail.   You can use a rock…. or you can use a hammer.  Both will work, but the hammer will be much more efficient and much easier to use.  In this analogy, the nail is spellwork… and the hammer is the crystals and herbs used in that spellwork.

Here is my “short list” of the “herbs” I use on a regular basis in my path and practice. Not an exhaustive list, but my go-to herbs most of the time.  I have included what I most often use these herbs and plants for, but keep in mind this is my personal most common uses for each plant and in no way is anywhere near the full scope of that plant’s uses in in spellwork and ritual.

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The following herbs and plants are those most commonly used in my practice as a whole (and are non-edible either because of toxicity or personal allergies)

Alder – Strength, Protection, Self Confidence, Bravery
Aloe – Peaceful Energy, Soothing, Home Protection, Luck, Lunar Magic, Silencing Rumors
Birch – Energies of Potential and Renewal, Psychic Protection, Purification
Buttercups – Reminiscence, Self Worth, Innocence, Self Love, Inner Child Work
Cascara – Releasing Spiritual or Emotional Constipation, Money Spells, Legal Matters
Cedar – Perseverance, Fortitude, Protection, Cleansing Negative Energy, Warding
Columbine – Love Magic, Life Path Work, Inner Truth Work
Douglas fir – Healing Magic, Ancestral Work, Grounding, Grounded Progress
Fern & Fiddle-heads (various) – Protection, Invisibility, Good Fortune, Exorcising Evil Spirits
Fireweed – Easing Anger, Restoration, New Beginnings, Breaking Up Spiritual Blocks
Foxglove – Protection, Love and Sex, Fertility, Psychic Warfare
Hemlock (various) – Fostering Sexual Impotence, Purification Rituals, Protection During Astral Travel
Hoya – Wealth, Protection, Inward Exploration, Future Sight
Ivy (various) – Self-Love, Cleansing Negative Energies, Abundance
Juniper – Clear Sight, Warmth, Hope, Love and Sex
Maple – Spiritual Healing, Intellectual Pursuits, Bindings, Abundance, Communication
Marigold – Healing Depression, Cleansing, Good Health Spells
Nasturtium – Encouraging Tolerance, Creativity, Independence, Free Thought
Oak – Longevity and Immortality, Wisdom, Personal Power, Protection, Doorways
Peace Lily – Harmony, Comfort, Platonic Love
Pine – Wisdom, Longevity, Healing, Protection, Purification, Banishings
Poison Ivy – Protection, Defense, Repellent Magic
Rhododendron – Intellectual Pursuits, Sussing Out Enemies
Slippery Elm – Silencing Rumors and Lies
Spruce – Resilience, Rebound Defense Spells, Spirit Communication
Stinging Nettles – Uncrossing, Dispelling Negative Energy, Purification, Willpower
Sweetgrass – Attracting Positive Energy, Purification, Cleansing Out Negativity, Spiritual Healing
Tansy – Longevity, Intention Setting, Invisibility, Curse Protection, Safe Travels
Thistle – Protection, Ancestor Magic, Boldness, Self Growth, Uncrossing
Various mosses, lichens, and liverworts – Attentive Understanding, Clarity, Abundance, Harmony

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Also, as a lot of my practice is focused on and included in food, here is a go-to list of the herbs and plants that I commonly use in my general practice as well as my kitchen witchery.

Basil – Peace, Happiness, Protection, Prosperity
Bay – Uncrossing, Employment, Protection, Prosperity, Psychic Boost
Blackberry – Protection, Prosperity, Healing
Chamomile – Healing, Gentle Energy, Harmony, Breaking Curses, Unraveling Unfamiliar Spells
Chili Pepper – Uncrossing, Banishing, Love, Protection
Cinnamon – Energy Boosting, Intention Boosting, Abundance, Prosperity
Cloves – Silencing Rumors and Lies
Dandelion – Healing, Divination Boost, Protection, Encouraging Smooth Cycles
Garden Sage – Protection, Purification, Healing, Cleansing, Luck, Wisdom
Garlic – Healing, Luck, Dispel Negative Energy, Thief Warding, Repel Harmful Spirits
Ginger – Protection, Sex Magic, Prosperity
Lavender – Cleansing, Clarity, Relaxation, Healing Relationships, Releasing Negative Emotion
Lilac – Energy Boost, Balance, Romance, Metaphysical Doorways
Mint – Resolving Misunderstandings, Prosperity, Lessen Accident Proneness
Mugwort – Dreams, Psychic Boost, Protection, Purification
Orange Peel – Prosperity, Success, Positivity
Oregano – Comforting Warmth, Protection, Purification, Vitality, Peace
Pansy – Gentle Energy, Love, Kindness, Self Love, Bright Ideas, Happiness
Raspberry – Protection, Love, Kindness, Youthfulness, Creativity
Rose (incl hips) – Health, Love, Anticipation of Love, Abundance, Emotional Healing, Secrecy
Rosemary – Warding, Purification, Protection, Psychic Cleansing, Repels Negative Energy
Shepherd’s Purse – Healing, Protection, Healing, Renewal Magic
Thyme – Loyalty, Luck, and Dispelling of Grief, Nightmares, Depression, and Negativity

As mentioned previously, these are far from the only herbs and plants that I use in my practice, but they are the ones that I use most often. Nor have I listed all of the possible uses for each plant, just the what I most commonly use them for.

Herbs and plants have a wide variety of different uses to boost spellwork, divination, intention setting, and other purposes.  I use plants and herbs, as well as crystals, daily in a variety of different ways.

I think it’s important to stress, though, that I have training as a botanist that allows me to handle a lot of dangerous plants much more safely than the average person, and that there are a handful of dangerous and even deadly plants on the list shared above that I do not recommend being used by those without the training and knowledge to do so safely.  Without the proper training and care, one could very easily end up not just hurting themselves, but possibly killing themselves, a loved one, or a beloved pet by accident.  It’s always important to research plants used in any magical working thoroughly before jumping in with both feet.

#31DaysofWitchcraft Prompt 12 & 13 (non)VR to Heather Carter

Heather Carter on YouTube put together a series of prompts titled #31DaysofWitchcraft that she’s been working her way through since the beginning of May. I really like this idea, but I can’t handle the responsibility of any more daily posts, so I thought that for the next few weeks, I would do one (or a few at a time) for the end of week “My Pagan Perspective” posts and work through them a bit at a time.

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12. Do you have a separate witchy name? Why, or why not?

My “witchy name” is the same as my online name.  It’s Twist the Leaf.

This name comes from a line in a ritual that my sister and I wrote together as children.

To be fair, when I first came online, I used just “Twist” and then “Twist the Leaf” for circles and pagan events and activities.  But over the years, the two have melded and I now use Twist the Leaf in most places, and “Twist” as the shortened version here and there.

As for why.  My mother used to take my sister and I to a lot of Wiccan functions, and having a “witchy name” was all the rage in those circles.  I chose my “witchy name” initially in order to finally get them to stop pestering me about choosing one, but over time it’s become… more than that.

I no longer go to those events and haven’t for… at least fifteen years or more. Other than my sister (and our mentor recently as she’s been living with us for a bit now), my practice is primarily solitary.  But the name has stuck, and these days it seems that I’m actually more comfortable being called Twist than I am called by my birth name.

13. Do you write your own spells, use pre-written one or do a mix of both?

I write my own spellwork, or at times work on it together with my sister.

This falls back on the way we were raised. To be honest?  I don’t spend a lot of time reading pagan/wiccan/witchcraft books.  This isn’t how I learned my craft.  Because of this? Although I knew that published books had spells in them, I didn’t realize these were actually spells people used.  Like, letter for letter and word for word, used like a recipe to bake pastry.  This realization that people actually do that was baffling to me.

My sister and I were taught to write our own rituals and our own spellwork.  We were taught that it is a part of the process of casting a spell to do the work behind the spell, which includes doing the research to know what elements to include in the spellwork, and constructing the spell and wordwork ourselves.   I guess that because of this, I assumed that the spellwork in published books was there as a “jumping off point”?  You know, providing ideas and examples… but not there to be used as-is.

#31DaysofWitchcraft Prompt 4&6 (non)VR to Heather Carter

Heather Carter on YouTube put together a series of prompts titled #31DaysofWitchcraft that she’s been working her way through since the beginning of May. I really like this idea, but I can’t handle the responsibility of any more daily posts!  This is my Part 2 of answering her list of questions.

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4. What is your favourite element to work with? How do you work with it?

It’s probably not at all surprising to hear that my favorite element to work with is the earth and the green that grows from it.   This is very much based on the soil and the green and the cycles of life and decay that these go through together.  It is especially true of damp soil, such as that found here in the rainforests of the Pacific Northwest.

It is very common for me to incorporate soil and plant matter into my spellcraft.  Not just in the use of herbs as incense, but in the actual mixtures and crafting of my spells.  I connect very strongly with plants and their energies help to amplify my own in spellcraft, so this only makes sense.   Some plants I grow on my balcony for this purpose, others I forage from the forests and other natural places near where I live.

I also often use the act of planting, as well as established live plants in my rituals.

6. Do you incorporate environmental consciousness and sustainability into your craft?

Absolutely.  Especially because I incorporate the earth and those things that grow from it so heavily in my craft, it’s extremely important to me that I don’t cause harm in my actions.  As I have an education in botany and horticulture, I’m more than a little knowledgeable in plant care and how to forage what I need without harming the earth and environment in doing so, and how to provide offerings that both protect and assist the earth in staying healthy and thriving.

I do not use items in my craft that are endangered, and I grow many of the plants I use most heavily myself rather than buying from an outside source that may (or may not) have good foraging/growing/gathering practices.

I feel that, especially if someone is practicing an earth-based religion, it’s important to consider your effect upon the earth and do those things in your power to foster the health and well-being of the earth and environment you have influence over, rather than taking it for granted.