I only had tickets to one day of the Coven of Gaia festival this May… and guess which one it rained on! Despite the showers I had an absolutely incredible time at the workshops. One of these days, I will be able to attend a few rituals too!
It rained basically all day but it didn’t dampen our spirits. We made our way round the workshops (I will pop some things I learned from them down below!) We went for small wanders in the woods in between, took some photos and absorbed all the good vibes. The woods are so stunning – particularly at this time of year.
In the end, I only bought a few things which is SO unlike me but it was getting SO muddy by the time we managed to get round everything and I made sure to do the ‘making’ workshops where you got to take things home. Got my classic bottle of mead, a decorative potion bottle and two Litha candles though!
So… here are some bits and pieces I learned how to make and do at the festival! The name of the coven I learned from is written in each title. As good witches do, I wanted to pass this knowledge on to you!
Making a Litha Incense (Coven of Gaia)
We made a traditional incense which I will burn during Litha (when we celebrate the summer solstice). It was so fun and engaging and Julie (the mother of Coven of Gaia) told us lots of correspondences and uses for other items. You will need:
- St John’s Wort
- Pestle & Mortar
- A small bottle or jar
- Candle (Fire)
- Salt (Earth)
- Other incense or charcoal smoke (Air)
Grind up the frankincense and herbs in your pestle & mortar and you’ve created your incense. When you’re choosing how much of each item to add in, just keep sniffing it to make sure it’s nicely balanced. Once we were done, we called upon the spirits of the East (Air), South (Fire), West (Water), North (Earth) and passed our mixture over each of the elemental items we gathered, to purify and imbue them with positive energies.
Making Black Salt (Black Hat Coven)
As part of the protection workshop I did, we made black salt. A staple for protection rituals and preparations for spells. To make some, you will need:
- Black Pepper
- Cauldron / Fire Charcoal
- Incense Ash
- Rock salt (Undyed preferred)
- Egg Shells (Optional)
- Pestle & Mortar
- A small bottle or jar
- A sticker or tag
Grind up 1 part pepper, ash, charcoal and egg shells to 4 parts salt (approximately) in your pestle and mortar. While doing so, focus your intent on the thing you want to protect and make sure to grind clockwise. Once you’re ready, keep your jar of black salt and write on the tag what it is you want to keep safe.
Making a Litha Flower Crown (Coven of the Moon and Tide)
We made flower crowns using synthetic flowers so it will likely be slightly different if you want to go natural! But I was so happy with mine and also adorned it with pine cones! You will need:
- Gardening wire
- Wire cutters
- Flowers, pine cones, leaves (synthetic or real
Firstly fold the wire so it’s doubled up and measure it round your head, making sure it fits all the way. Now, start to twist the wire round and round (this will make the gaps which you can then thread your flowers through to pin them in place). I put all mine at the front like a tiara, but others put them all the way round their crowns. There are no wrong answers! Pick flowers that are in season or choose coloured fake flowers that correspond to your feelings this summer.
Making Witch Bells (Black Hat Coven)
Finally, I made some fantastic witch bells which was such a great experience and one I will likely do again in the future. You hang witch bells by your door to ward away negativity. Here’s what you need:
- A wooden, plastic or metal ring
- Ribbons and wool yarn in whatever colours you wish
- Charms and trinkets that represent you
- Metal bells
It’s as easy as tying your items onto strings and ribbons, and then hanging them from your ring! You can add whatever you want onto your witch bells really – I opted for classic black and white ribbons for protection and clarity, some black salt and herb bags I’d made, charms given to me at the workshop, a cinnamon stick and a white feather than presented itself to me on the floor – clean as a whistle amongst all the mud! Bound to be lucky.
Thank you so much to all the covens and solitary witches and pagans who shared their knowledge with me this weekend! Overall, it was an incredible experience – a festival filled with like-minded people and such excellent vibes. Bring on September!