The sea hag for me embodies all the earth’s elements, unified into a beautiful whole. She has ocean water in her veins, sandy beaches at her feet, and abundant plant life to play with, from seagrass above water to the kelp forests offshore. She works with animals, from the mammals and fish swimming in the ocean to birds like osprey and seagulls and a myriad of shoreline critters. She can create fire with driftwood and conjure magic that sparkles like sea spray in the sun.
She also has an exceptionally powerful connection with the moon, as the ocean tides are a constant reminder of our celestial goddess’s pull on the earth, including the water in her own body. The face of the ocean mirrors back the phases of the moon, creating beautiful reminders of the cycles of our lives.
The term hag has often been used as a form of disparagement, to refer to an ugly old witchy woman. I prefer Sharon Blackie’s idea of hag as a term of empowerment and affirmation. She speaks about the second half of life being one of the most powerful and beautiful times of life, if we allow it—a time where we come into the full knowing of who we are and what we are about, unafraid to use our powerful, wise voices. Gone are the days of being a caretaker, of conforming to the stereotypical idea of what we should be or look like. Instead of declining into old age, now we can get our “hagitude” on and choose to be our most powerful authentic selves!
In my opinion, this hagitude is not only for women in their later life. I view it as an aspect of the feminine archetype, one that all humans can embody as part of the makeup of who we are. She is that part of you that is wise, centered in your knowing of who you are despite what society’s norms may say. She is connected to the elements and channels the magic of the universe.
Often the business of living can tear us apart, disconnect us from our true miraculous essence. In our growing wisdom as we get older, we can choose to own and make peace with all the different aspects of ourselves. It feels to me that this is what true wisdom is, becoming whole and accepting ourselves in all our glorious messiness. Hagitude, for me, embodies this. Thank you, Sharon Blackie!
Throw a sea-witch gathering with serious hagitude for your nearest and dearest! For this salty spread, I had the privilege of being able to set the table on the beach itself, but if you do this, be sure to check the tide schedule. If you’re not near a coastal area, find a river or stream or even a beautiful pool. A water witch can work with her favorite element in all its forms.
To achieve this look, I layered multiple cloths, starting with a base cloth of white, then a layer of sand-colored linen and mosquito netting over that, swirled messily like sea foam. I used a hanging netting like you would use over a bed and hid the canopy and rings under the decor in the center.
The ocean’s offerings made up much of my tablescape. I found an unusual-looking long piece of driftwood for the center and then used beach rocks to build areas of differing height.
Then I found lots of seaweed to drape around. Now before you say “ugh,” fresh seaweed actually doesn’t have a strong scent at all. Dried ropes do, however, so I don’t recommend using them! After that, I brought out my myriad shells, some of which are coated with gold sparkles, and set them on absolutely everything. I found some beat-up pedestal candle holders at the thrift store and glued shells and pearls to them. The distressed look of the holders evoked a coral-reef feeling that came to life with the shells. To suggest ocean bubbles, I used clear and pearl essence Christmas balls ordered from Michaels piled together in groups around the rocks and nestled in the driftwood. Take the top hanging part off, and point that end down. You could even glue them together in clusters if needed, but make sure to use clear drops of glue so it doesn’t show.
Have fun and create little nooks and crannies as you would find in an actual rocky coral-reef area. I found clear glass terrarium pebbles at the dollar store and sprinkled them everywhere for lots of sparkle. I also added some watery-looking fake flowers I found at Michaels, which gave the effect of an ocean plant and will be something I can reuse for other projects later. I filled old wine bottles partway with sand and pearls and covered them in dripping wax. Then I brought out all my beautiful crystals. Some crystals, like selenite and calcite, will dissolve in water, so be careful not to get them wet. I used my crystal balls for an even more magical atmosphere.
If you want your table to reflect more of a woodsy river feeling, eliminate the seaweed, shells, and driftwood and go for more pebbles and rocks and moss-covered branches. You can even tuck in some wildflowers and ferns and have gazing bowls of water set here and there. If you’re in the South, a wonderful way to get a swamp-witch feel is to add in strands of Spanish moss hanging from upright branches. I almost added them to my table to evoke seaweed, but the fresh kelp was perfect. Using a color palette that reflects the look of the environment you’re in adds to the beauty. For a woodsy decor, choose shades of forest and moss greens and brown and caramel colors of rich earth and tree bark.
For party favors, I wanted gifts that could be used as part of the gathering or for personal full moon rituals:
Wishes Provide each guest with a small, corked bottle and a piece of paper. Invite them to write their wish on the paper, scroll it up, and pop it into the bottle. And then, as they hold their intention in their heart, they immerse the bottle in ocean water to “cast” the wish into the universe. They can later set the bottle on their altar at home. I added dry sand and a little glitter into the bottle for a magical feel.
Sea Salt Body Scrub
This is a heavenly concoction made with simple healthy ingredients. It is made entirely by your intuition, so don’t worry about measuring. In a large washable bowl, combine large chunky sea salt and dried edible sea kelp crumbled into small pieces. Mix with small amounts of coconut oil and add a few drops of essential oil like lavender and vanilla for a sweet smell or eucalyptus for a refreshing stimulating feeling. Find a beautiful bottle or a short mason jar and decorate the outside with shells, pearls, or beach glass.
Crystal and Driftwood Magic Wand
I glued a selenite rod to a narrow piece of driftwood and then wrapped the crystal to the wood with sinew and a few shell beads. You could use almost any crystal, as long as it is long, narrow, or pointy. Again, keep in mind that crystals such as selenite and calcite dissolve in water, so be sure not to get them wet. Clear quartz crystal is a perfect choice if you have some. I used an inexpensive wood burner to “carve” mystical symbols on the wood for added mystical potency and beauty.
I also had collected some precious hag stones, also known as adder stones, which were perfect gifts for a sea hag party. These are stones or pebbles with naturally occurring holes in them and are purported to have healing and magical properties. There’s a tradition that says if you look through the hole, you can see fairies and peer into magical realms. The stones can easily be strung onto a necklace with beads or shells for an even more beautiful offering.
Other favor ideas:
• Shells filled with wax and crystals buried inside for magical candles.
• Essential oils for anointing that reflect the environment you’re in. Use sage or eucalyptus for the bracing ocean scent, or florals for the woods.
• River stones or shells that guests can write their wishes on and cast into the water as part of the party activities. Use clams and sand dollars for ease of writing, and be sure to use water-soluble markers.
Whether you call yourself a witch, wizard, hag, or some other mystical name, channel your magical self, connect with the water, and welcome your wise powerful self to the party of life.