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“Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee

With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade,

And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten,

And drank coffee, and talked for an hour.

Bin gar keine Russin, stamm' aus Litauen, echt deutsch.”

~TS Eliot – The Wasteland

Summer - 2010

The Summer Solstice did not find me in the woods as I expected. Instead, I was locked in a heated battle with criminals.

Normally, I am sheltered from such riff raff. Being a Hedge Witch, I keep most people at a controlled distance. This keeps my energy strong, focused and balanced. It’s an Emerson thing – Self Reliance. I don’t mingle with society because people, even good people, drain energy. And negative people suck like vampires.

But people entered the picture when one of my relatives decided to play social worker. He opened up his home and his life to create a half-way house for junkies, drunks, street people, mentally disturbed individuals, and anyone with a hard luck story.

I did warn him that though his intentions were well meaning and honorable, he simply could not allow that much negative energy into his personal life and still maintain balance. Chaos would ensue. It was inevitable.

But, my warning fell upon deaf ears. When people are centered, and their home is filled with positive energy, they tend to feel strong and invulnerable to negative forces. It’s hard to envision chaos when everything is going well. It’s just one of those lessons learned from the harsh teachers - Life and Experience. It’s a Saturn thing.

I knew it was coming. As sure as if the Tarot had told me. The wounded people he was trying to heal were above his pay grade. It would take more than a group hug and unconditional love to help some of these people.

I cast an All Seeing Eye on the situation, and learned more than I could have imagined. And, as the Eye kept me informed, the situation got worse.

Little by little, my cousin lost control of his house, and the group hug turned into a head lock. They turned his home into a den of thieves. And, when I came and got in their way, one guy threatened to murder my cousin in an effort to extort money from me.

Seasoned criminals know the ropes of crime. The threat was done in such a way that the police could do nothing. So, I scooped up my frightened family member, and took him to my place. And I got to work.

As I began to collect the needed plants and supplies, he asked what I was doing. “Crafts”, was my reply. “Crafts” is the family code word for “Hedgewitchery”. He smiled, nodded, and said “Good, I need all the Mo Jo you can give me.”

But I was way beyond working a little Mo Jo, now. At this point, dangerous people weren't just screwing with my cousin, they were threatening him and me – big time.

Dusk came with the promise of a thunderstorm. Perfect.

The broom and athame were put to work. The cauldron came forth. The elements were called. The Candle was carved. Trees and plants were summoned. Sigils were invoked in oak. Symbols were drawn into Hallowed sand from family graves.

My husband walked into this scene and said “Wooooe, what’s going on?!”

I stood there, holding a bound and burning scroll, and replied, “Nothing.” Which is family code for “Nothing you need to know about or be responsible for.”

“That looks serious, Forest … and kind of dark. Be careful.”

I tossed the last bit of the smoking scroll into the cauldron, pointed at my cousin, and said to my husband, “The guy who threatened to kill him is leaving now. As in cease and desist and disappear. And all of his ilk that are infesting that house are leaving too. Period.”

I looked at my cousin for a response. “That works for me”, he said.

“Fine, then grab that broom and sweep this smoke into that storm.”

My cousin did so and after that, I was entirely on my own. Just me, the spell, and that storm. I was in the zone.

Storm clouds gathered, as smoke billowed from my cauldron, and the power of the spell rose with the wind.

Lightening flashed, thunder roared, and the energy infused the intention of my rhythmic chant beneath the dark, stormy, sky.

The rain poured down, and joined with blessed water of the Full Wolf Moon.

The scented energy of the wet earth under my bare feet rose all around me as I stood on the bank of the creek, and cast the spell into the rushing water. The hungry hunt was on!

Then the gate was closed – with powerful forces of spirit and nature guarding it.

And that probably should have been the end of it, but that was just the beginning.

The morning light found me binding a corn leaf poppet. A costly spell that I do not recommend. Corn has a strong spirit that is tangible. It can be heard and felt. One visit to a corn field at night will cure any doubt about it.

If murder and extortion had not been the threat. If there had been physical means by which I could resolve the threat, I would not have made a poppet. But a death threat was on the table. The police were useless. Giving the extortionist money would only draw the criminal element in closer.

And all of those excuses make me sound like a pre-teen dabbler. I am seasoned enough to know that just because you CAN work a spell, doesn't mean you SHOULD work a spell. But, Alas, I wanted this dangerous drug addict stopped dead in his tracks.

This was a choice for which a price is paid. Though poppets can be employed for much darker purposes than binding, binding is bad enough. Used in a binding spell, a poppet robs an individual of free will. It has the power to alter perception and restrict actions. These are crimes against the spirit of mankind. There is a price for committing them, even against hostile criminals.

By instinct, and I always follow my instincts when it comes to my craft, I entrusted the poppet to the protection of a beloved pine tree. It is one of two pines that are nearly identical. They stand side by side with limbs touching – as if they are holding hands. I call them The Sisters.

I told no one about the poppet. I simply stood by and watched as all the spells took affect. The following day, my cousin rented a new house. Nobody noticed as he loaded his possessions into a u-haul and drove off. The criminals had scampered away like cockroaches. Mr. “your money or your life” found himself butting into the obstacles of the poppet, which rendered him unable and unwilling to pursue his threats.

The entire situation was resolved in three days.

And my actions seemed so justified. I had used my craft to protect myself and my family from harm.

But, soon thereafter, I discovered that my cousin had not learned any lessons from his experience. His experiments in philanthropy continued. Within two weeks, a new homeless stranger was sleeping on the couch. I couldn't decide if I wanted to smack my cousin for being stupid, or hug him for having such a compassionate heart.

Then, a few weeks later, an entire family of vagrants moved into his living room. In total, there were seven of them ranging in age from infant to 50. The room gave off a “seasoned shysters” vibe as they lounged on the furniture looking like they owned the place. And there stood my cousin with “easy mark” practically tattooed on his forehead.

But by then, I was done being the dog on my cousin’s fool card. I wouldn't protect him from his precipitous folly. Nothing could come of it but a big fat five of swords. My cousin is like a cat lady that takes in more cats than she can properly feed or care for. I’m not scooping that litter box.

Meanwhile, I discovered that my beloved pine tree was horribly infested with pineapple aphides. From top to bottom, she was suffering with what amounts to countless, festering pustules filled with parasites.

I was mortified - I knew what had caused this horror. The other Sister pine was completely untouched – not a bug on it.

Protecting the poppet had drained the tree’s energy, and left it vulnerable to the infestation.


Anything putting out that much negative energy must be ended.

I apologized to the Sister Pine, and I thanked her. I did what I could to combat the infestation – Nine Garlic cloves, and an onion to address the bad energy issue, Neam Oil for the aphids. And, though I feared the consequences of what might happen, I undid the poppet with an apology to the universe, and the acknowledgement that I do not have the right to do this. If it isn't good for a tree, it isn't good for me.

And I spent all of July and most of August regaining balance.

It was a Saturn thing.

Oh well, Autumn is nearly here. I look forward to the Equinox.


"When your head and your heart disagree,

Follow your heart. "

~ Mom