A Rainbow Charm to Find an Unexpected ‘Pot of Gold’

Despite the presence of "Wee Highland Beasties" in the foreground, this picture was taken in Enumclaw, Washington.

Despite the presence of “Wee Highland Beasties” in the foreground, this picture was taken in Enumclaw, Washington.

I gotta fess up:  I’m pretty darn sure I found the original version of this in one of those obnoxious “spells for every day of the year” type books.  But this one made me laugh and it stuck in my mind…and since I live in the Pacific Northwest, I get ample opportunity to practice it.  And you know what?  Not long after I do, I usually come into a small chunk of money I hadn’t anticipated receiving.  It’s never been much–$10 to $50–but usually enough to treat myself to something fun.

Whenever you see a rainbow in the sky, grab up a golden dollar coin or a few pennies and go outside.  Face the rainbow and hail it by saying something along the lines of “Rainbow, rainbow in the sky, your pot of gold do I espy, so bring it to me on the sly.”  Raise up a bit of energy by chanting the rainbow’s colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet) and clapping your hands, dancing, or spinning in a circle with increasing speed until you can’t go any faster.  Throw the coin(s) into the air and again hail the rainbow and say “Rainbow, rainbow in the sky, your pot of gold do I espy, so bring it to me on the sly.”  Watch the rainbow fade, then return to what you were doing.

The rainbow’s crafty leprechauns  will soon throw a little unexpected money your way.

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A Traditional Bees-in-a-Bag Prosperity Charm

A man capturing bees in a bag.  An illumination from the "Book of Hours"

A man capturing bees in a bag. An illumination from the “Book of Hours,” c. 14th century.  The full illumination shows the man capturing three bees, but I couldn’t find a great image of that.

I occasionally search for oddments related to bees and witchcraft, and a bit of my web-trawling over the weekend yielded an interesting spot from the Witchcraft Museum in Boscastle, Cornwall.  One of the items they have on display is a charm taken from a house in Dawlish in Devon, England.  In physical form, it is a faded blue drawstring bag that contains the bodies of three dead bumblebees.  The Witchcraft Museum calls it a charm for prosperity as the Dawlish bag was hung in the best room of the house, and they market a similar version in their gift shop, though this one uses ceramic coins shaped with a relief of a bee, and promise it will “bring health, happiness, and sweet good fortune.”

Now, the Museum doesn’t cite any sources for why they believe the charm to be a prosperity one, and modern witches might question the prosperity association altogether since the bag the bees were found in was blue and we now tend to correlate green with prosperity.  It might be that blue cloth was costlier in times gone by; after all, bright blue colors in cloth were harder to create prior to the creation of synthetic dyes.  Woad and indigo plants were pretty much it for creating blue, and both have their drawbacks.  Creating a consistent blue with woad is incredibly tricky, and–as anyone who has owned a pair of blue jeans can attest–indigo is highly prone to wash-out fading. I can see how one would associate blue fabric with prosperity.

As for the bumblebees, their inclusion might have something to do with folklore tales stating that if a bumblebee is buzzing in your house, it should not be let out again as it brings luck.  Perhaps the owners of the Dawlish charm kept the bodies of their luck-bees after they died for good measure?  Similarly, there is a folk belief that finding a bumblebee in one’s house means that someone would soon visit.  Perhaps that is why the charm comes with the admonition to hang it in the best room of the house; after all, that is ostensibly the room in which one would entertain guests.

In addition to these links between bumblebees and luck there might also be a special connection between bumblebees and witchcraft, too.  In her book The Sacred Bee, Hilda Ransome relates a story of a Lincolnshire witch who employed a bumblebee as a divinatory familiar, and Helen Creighton relates a story in her book, Bluenose Magic: Popular Beliefs and Superstitions in Nova Scotia, of a man purported to be a wizard who killed a cow by sending a snow-white bumblebee to land upon it.  There might also be connections between bumblebees and “mad honey”, or honey made from the nectar of rhododendrons.  Rhododendrons create a series of toxins known as grayanotoxin, and a very little bit of it can contaminate honey and cause poisoning.  It’s rarely lethal in doses found in honey, but it will sure make you feel ill.  Unfortunately for the bumblebee, it loves rododendron blossoms and anything with a fat, cave-like blossom.  They are also predominant pollinators of two plants strongly associated with witchcraft:  foxglove and wolfsbane.  Perhaps there may have been a folk belief connecting witches to collecting bumblebee honey from these toxic plants?


At any rate, I can see taking a page out of the Museum’s book and crafting a bee prosperity bag.  It’s probably best to spare the lives of real bumblebees and opt for something else, be it little jewelry charms or stamped bits of clay or pebbles you paint to look like bees or clay you shape yourself.  Personally, I’d opt for a green bag, and I’d probably throw some herbs into the mix and a few other sympathetic tricks…but it’s a nice idea with some decent tradition and folklore to back it up.

Witch Balls: The Prettiest Spirit Traps Around

In yesterday’s 366 work, Roderick asked us to make a Witch Bottle, which is basically a concealed bottle with something to attract the ‘evil spirits’ and negative energies out to get you, your family, or your property, and then something to hold the spirits and energies in the jar and dissipate them.  In traditional magic, a person’s urine, blood, hair, and other odds and ends were used as the attractants, and pins, broken glass, rosemary, and red wine worked to fasten or impale the spirits, dissipate their energy, and drown them.

There are lots of variations on this charm, and a far more attractive one is the Witch Ball.  These are hollow glass balls with strands of glass caught inside, and they are meant to be hung in the windows of one’s house.  Like the bottle, the Witch Ball is a countermagical trap that operates on a theory of attract and hold.  In this case, malevolent spirits and energy are attracted to the shiny ball and its bright colors, then get looped about and caught in the net of glass strands within the ball.

Witch Ball

A rather lovely Witch Ball

Witch balls rather give me a feeling of hope when it comes to witch/mundane relations, since these balls weren’t used against witches.  Instead, the general populace actively sought out witches  to enchant these balls to increase their potency against evil, which means they thrived in areas where witches weren’t thought to be horrible, malevolent hags.  Traditionally, the witch balls were green or blue in color, but this might simply be a default, since most silica impurities will result in glass with a green or blue cast.  These days, witch balls are found in just about every color of the rainbow.

My housemate, V., is very fond of Witch Balls.  She displays a large one in her front window, and lines the bottom of her windowsill with a collection of solid glass spheres a friend of hers makes on his off-hours at Central Glassworks in Centralia.  Her influence is rubbing off on me.  A few months ago, I was browsing in the downtown Olympia store Compass Rose and saw that they had several smaller Witch Balls for sale.  I chose one on a whim and hung it in the window right next to my bed.  For now, I just enjoy the colored glass, but in the near future I think I will work a protective charm on the ball.  When I get a place of my own, I think I might adopt V.’s practice and get a few more larger ones to put in the main windows of my living space.  I really enjoy what I’ve seen on Iron Elegance‘s website, and they also offer several more economically priced “second quality” balls, too.  That certainly helps when you’re purchasing a quantity of them!

My own witch ball and the random collection of items I've put in the window with it.  To be honest, the collection's mostly developed out of color merchandizing more than anything else.

My own witch ball and the random collection of items I’ve put in the window with it, including my African Violet Maury.

A Penny Prosperity Charm

There’s a use for them after all

According to the entry on copper in Scott Cunningham’s Encyclopeida of Crystal, Gem, and Metal Magic, copper can be used to draw money to a person.

To this end, he notes that United States copper pennies–especially those minted in leap years–have “long been place in the kitchen to attract money to the household.”

I think that’s a rather lovely idea.  The kitchen is basically the modern day hearth–the place of home and of domestic prosperity–so it makes sense to focus some prosperity work here, and really, how much space or effort would it take to maintain a jar of copper leap year pennies in the kitchen?

I guess the biggest issue is knowing which pennies to save.  According to the US mint, the metal content of pennies has changed historically.  They were pure copper from 1793 to 1837.  From 1837 to 1857, they were bronze (95% copper, 5% tin and zinc).  From 1857 to about 1864, the pennies were 88% copper and 12% nickel (giving them a whitish appearance).  They went back to the bronze (95% copper, 5% tin and zinc) between 1864 to 1962, with a year in 1943 where pennies were mostly minted in steel to direct copper to the war effort.  In 1962, the bronze alloy changed to 95% copper and 5% zinc, and it remained that way until 1982 when the composition radically changed to 97.5% zinc and 2.5% copper.

So should you wish to take on this prosperity charm, you’ll have to content yourself with mostly copper pennies, seeing as you’d be darn lucky to find a pre-Lincoln penny in circulation these days.  But from 1864 to 1982, the copper content was decent (excepting 1943).  Seeing as it’ll probably be really rare to find a penny older than 1940, there’s only a handful of years to watch out for:  1940, 1944, 1948, 1952, 1956, 1960, 1964, 1968, 1972, 1976, and 1980.

If this is an idea that really floats your boat, I’d recommend writing these dates down on a card and slipping that into your wallet.  Whenever you do your change purge, see if you’ve got any good pennies.  Put them in your kitchen jar, then divert the rest to your “Coinstar” jar.  After awhile, you’ll probably have a usable stash.

Day 126: Summer Solstice’s Meaning

Roderick introduces a very odd working with a very odd introduction.  I’m not really sure what the relevance is between the two.  At any rate, he does point out that the Solstice can be upsetting in a way:  as midsummer, it is symbolic of coming to a midpoint of one’s life.  In other words, it’s all downhill from there, and it forces one to consider his or her own mortality.  Of course, this can manifest in the frenetic activity of a midlife crisis, or in the doldrums of despair.  Or, we can just keep on trucking like the sun does:  it does not try to turn back time or change; it just keeps shining.  Therefore the sun “teaches us to acknowledge and surrender to a natural progression that cannot ever be changed,” and Roderick asks us to open our own consciousness to living fully in each moment.

Which is all well and good, but I have no idea how it relates to this working, which is to create a house blessing.

Practice:  Solar Magic House Blessing

What you’ll need:

  • A page of blank white paper
  • A red pen
  • A ruler
  • Chamomile essential oil (optional)

Today, bless and energize your home with the sun’s “magical square,” also called the planetary kamea by the ancient magus Cornelius Agrippa.  The kamea is meant to mathematically represent the spirit or the energy of the sun (or of other planets or spiritual powers).  By creating the solar magical square and by placing it over your doorway, you assure the strength and vitality of the sun to permeate your home and life.

To begin, take out a blank piece of paper.  Magical squares are traditionally engraved on never-before-used parchment paper, but most magical practitioners agree that regular blank white paper is effective.  Use a ruler or a straight edge to create an equal sided square.  Inside of this square create six equally spaced rows and six equally spaced columns, so that you have 36 smaller squares within the larger square.  Fill the squares with the numbers as shown below.

Cut out the suqare and rub the edges of the paper (rubbing clockwise around the edges) with chamomile essential oil.  Hang this over the front door of your home.

The Solar Kamea

This is what Roderick would have me make.  As best as I can tell, this grid of numbers corresponds to the sun because Agrippa said the number 6 had some resonance with the sun.  The numbers 1-36 (whose sum is 666) are each arranged on the square so that the sum of each row, column, or diagonal adds up to 111.  Apparently the square is even more powerful if the numbers and lines are inscribed in a magenta or purple and the background is yellow.

I’m sure there’s something kabbalah-connected with this square, I just have no idea what it is, and I don’t have the time or the desire to research this right now.

I can't believe I did this.

At any rate I did end up making the kamea.  I anointed it with cedar oil as I had no chamomile and cedar is also a pleasant-smelling solar oil (and far more pocketbook friendly).  I hung it over my door.  In fact, I taped it to my smoke alarm.  I think I’ll probably reconfigure it so that it lines the inside of the smoke alarm, as this isn’t exactly a terribly attractive thing to stare at.

I can’t believe I ended up making this.  It seems so silly and pointlessly esoteric.  Maybe if I understood a little more about why this is supposed to be solar…but this has at least three symbols of separation from the primary association.  Too abstract for me.

Day 112: Beltane, Traditional Flower Charm

Stand over a shrub that is close to either your home or your place of business.  Begin strewing yellow flower petals over the shrub, using your right hand.  As you do, say:

Gracious goddess, mighty god,
Unite the cauldron and the rod,
You who rule the changing world,
Be your power in me unfurled.

Now close your eyes and imagine some desired outcome in your life or in the life of someone close to you.  Leave the bush now.  The charm is complete.

Well, we’ve had a couple of frosty mornings, and there’s nary a flower to be found anymore.  Even my hearty graveyard rosebushes have dropped their last blooms.  And we’re deep into a spat of cold, cold rain which really didn’t help my visualization skills.  But I did bundle up into a raincoat and stand by our rosemary bush, say the charm, and visualize myself finishing my papers for the term.  And finishing the chicken coop, because the chickens have found the only square foot of dry ground in the whole yard, and they’ve crammed themselves deep into it.  Poor birds.