Traditional Witchcraft

American Traditional Witchcraft

In general, the techniques described here are from Traditional Witchcraft practices. These are generally taught and learned through direct instruction, rather than textually. We maintain uniform praxes because we want everyone to be on the same page when working together. Rather than having long invocations to memorize, we find that knowing a few simple physical motions (and perhaps an occasional spoken charm or two) allows us to sync our work together, and that when words are needed, they come from the heart and do so much more readily after doing these exercises.

We may not always use every one of the following techniques, but a general ritual would include at least some of them in more or less this sequence:

1. The Witch’s Sight – A type of grounding and centering exercise, which happens after a signal to begin from the ritual leaders.
2. Laying the Compass – Similar to, but not the same as, casting a circle. Used to open ritual space.
3. Tapping the Bone – Ancestor contact is established, and the gateway between worlds is opened.
4. Treading the Mill – A method for opening up trance states for witches in ritual.
5. Ritual Trance/Possession – A segment of ritual in which magic is performed or spiritual wisdom received; one or all participants may experience trance and/or possession, depending on the particular ritual.
6. The Houzle/Red Meal – The time for presenting offerings, sharing food, and communing with the Dead.
7.Walking Out/The Crooked Path – Exiting the ritual space and leaving the Underworld, using a very simple technique.

Other techniques may be taught or used during particular rituals, including, but not limited to:


We treat fairy tales and folklore like mines of rich magical lore. We see that there are lots of deeply-embedded layers of magical technique, encoded mythology, and just plain old wonder in them. To that end, we often incorporate storytelling into our gatherings. We especially focus on regional folktales from our part of the country and Old World fairy tales like the ones found in the collections of the Brothers Grimm.

Otherworld Journeying

Part of the Hedgewitchery experience is journeying (spiritually) to the Otherworld—also sometimes called the Underworld, Elfhame, etc. We do this work so that our Initiates can gain new experiences with new magical entities as well as developing strong relationships with the spiritual world. We work magic in the Otherworld sometimes in order to affect our world, and we may find we connect deeply to some spirits there—such as a fetch or familiar spirit.

Guided meditations, light trance, and hypnotism are usually the methods employed to reach the Otherworld, but for some members, other techniques may be attempted as well.

Folk Magic

In general, the emphasis in Hallowed Moon is on doing magic, especially folk magic, in one’s daily life. We draw from myriad traditions when doing magic, many of them New World, and many Old World. Some of the systems we work with include:

Hoodoo – An African-American based folk magic system which can be found throughout the American South. It emphasizes practical results, and includes spells for things like getting more money (Attraction and Gambling mojos), improving relationships with others (Sweetening Jars), and getting rid of troublesome people (Hot Foot Powders).

Southern Conjure – Magic which is very similar to hoodoo, but with a slightly broader scope. It includes elements of magic found in the more mountainous areas of the South, like the Ozarks and Appalachians. Work to control others (Command & Compel), magic performed in cemeteries (Graveyard work), and divination with playing cards all mark this particular system (though there is some overlap with hoodoo even in these areas).

Pow-wow – Also called Braucherei, this is the system of magical healing which comes from the Pennsylvania-Dutch communities. Using written and spoken charms and prayers, a worker in this tradition is able to help fix problems like bruises, sprains, small wounds, and burns. There are also livestock cures and anti-theft spells regularly included in this practice.

Curanderismo/Brujeria – These are Mexican-American folk magical systems which tackle two sides of everyday problems, with Curanderismo focusing more on healing, spiritual cleansing, and blessing and Brujeria working to undo hexes, reverse misfortune, and occasionally battle against negative magic being used against a person. Egg cleansings, smoke fumigation with sacred herbs, and doll or talisman work are all fairly common in these traditions.

Roma/Gypsy Magic – While most of our Romany influence comes through our divination techniques, there are also candle-burning rituals and some charms (such as Evil-Eye pendants) which will appear from time to time in our work, and which descend from the Roma and their magical traditions.

Techniques from these folk magical systems will be taught over time through various workshops (usually held at Full Moons) and during one-on-one instruction sessions.


All initiates of Hallowed Moon are expected to be proficient in some form of divination. Some of the various divination techniques we encourage are:

Reading Playing Cards – A standard 52-card deck can be used to do very effective divination; techniques vary, and often have some connection to Gypsy or Roma methods.

Cowrie Shells – A method favored by some who lean towards African Diasporic magic (like hoodoo) which involves casting small shells and interpreting how they land.

Tea/Coffee Reading – Another Roma technique which appears in many cultures, this method involves drinking the steeped beverage and then interpreting the patterns formed by the dregs on the bottom and sides of the cup.

Dowsing – A method that can be done with a forked stick (to find water, oil, treasure, etc.) or using a pendulum to get “yes” and “no” answers, as well as a reveal other hidden secrets.

Palmistry – This technique relies on studying the lines of a person’s hands in order to uncover their potential future and reveal traits about themselves they may not have been aware of before.

Tarot Card Reading – One of the most common divinatory methods, and still a good one. This involves reading a set of cards consisting of richly metaphorical images and using them to uncover potential problems, solutions, and future events.

Other methods (ceromancy, augury, etc.) may be considered, too, but should be approved by the group leaders or Initiates before a course of study is undertaken.


One skill we use involves the creation of magically charged written figures, or sigils. There are lots of techniques for crafting these, and they often depend on the context in which they are being formed or used as to how they appear in the end. These symbols can be used to enhance magical workings, invite entities to interact with us, or simply to focus us during ritual.

The Holy Tides

Winter solstice      “Fallow Tide”
Mid-Winter            “Cleansing Tide”
Spring Equinox     “Growing Tide”
Summer Solstice   “Burning Tide”
Mid-Summer        “Reaping Tide”
Autumn equinox   “Gathering Tide”
Mid-Autumn         “Scourging Tide”