#30DaysMagicalRoots Challenge Days 18 & 19

Day 18: Elemental Magic
Spend some time today working with and acknowledging the elements of your practice. Do you honor the Land/Sea/Sky elements, or the elements of water, fire, air, and earth, or something else? WHY do you work with those elements and what have they brought to your life?

If you couldn’t tell by now, my two favourites as far as elemental work and magic goes are water and earth. I have, however, certainly been working with a lot of fire since starting my tea shop, and air of course for inspiration. I very much like balance, so even though I am most comfortable with earth and water, at least for myself, I know I need to work with air and fire as well. In fact, the last couple of years have been very air and fire-intensive.

The other element that I feel strongly connected to is spirit, or what I like to think of as love. The thing that connects us all, that’s in us all, that we are all a part of. Every thing. I’ve also been thinking of spirit as simply connection.

I feel spirit most when I allow myself to be authentic with another person, when I allow myself to speak straight from the heart, to emit an openness and truth that we are often not taught to share. I feel this when I am overwhelmed with emotion when interacting with not only people, but animals, or even a place.
I know that pleasantries help us avoid conflict, but to always wade in the shallow end doesn’t allow us to really connect to each other and see our higher selves, who are connected by this human experience, connected by our very existence in this universe.

This idea of spirit and connection has allowed me to be much more compassionate and understanding with people. And with myself.

Day 19: Sacred Space/Circle Casting
How do you create sacred space for yourself? Do you cast a circle every time you work a spell? Or do you have a dedicated space that you practice in? Take some time today to settle into that space and enjoy its sacredness.

How I create sacred space changes a lot for me each time I do it, though it usually involves one of or more of a few simple actions. The first is to clear a space with incense. I will walk around the room I am going to be in whilst performing

The first is to clear a space with incense. I will walk around the room I am going to be in whilst performing magick or just connecting with my gods, or meditating.

The second thing would be asking the four corners of the earth to aid and protect me. This is something I do when I want to do some serious ritual or magick. This can also be asking the elements to aid and protect me. This would involve the incensing of the room, as well as salting, asperging, and carrying a flame around the room to not only help in cleansing, but infuse the room with each element’s energy.

For serious work, I will formally invite my gods in. It may be all of them, or it could be just one, depending on the work to be done.

Finally, I will create an astral boundary around the room, though I usually like to do the whole house. This comes from a combination of my own energy, as well as earth energy, and if I’m working with my gods, a bit of theirs as well.

 

Sitting in sacred space feels similar to sitting in spiritually cleansed space, in that it’s warm, and seems to flow easily. However, there is something more to a sacred space, something tingly, something that feels like home. Perhaps it is that we are more in tune with who we are outside of this body, this human life. I’m not sure, but it’s certainly different and lovely!

 

Why not give this #30daysmagicalroots challenge a whirl? You can find it on Plentiful Earth

Advertisements

#30DaysMagicalRoots Days 8 & 9

Whew! What a busy week! A few days of solid preparation before the craft show, then the craft show, then decompressing after the craft show… All of that with a visit to family as well. Just busy! So I’ll catch up today with the Magical Roots challenge in a couple of posts.

Day 8: Meditation
Write a short meditation to practice on a regular basis. (Bonus if you record an audio version of this and share it!)

This is a meditation I’ve done before on quite a few occasions. Its purpose is to clear out a lot of my brain chatter so that I can focus better on whatever task I have at hand. I’ve used it before writing (anything, really), singing, being with people, journeying to Otherworlds. Pretty much any time I need some clarity and not be bogged down by the plethora of thoughts that like to fill up my head.

Clear Out Unhelpful Thoughts Meditation

Sit with your feet flat on the ground, eyes closed

Slow your breathing then begin to either breathe very deeply on each breath or perform the 4 in, hold for 4, 4 out, hold for 4 breath. Repeat until your heartbeat slows, and you get that tingly feeling; then continue to breathe deeply at a natural pace.

Imagine yourself walking a forest path. You can hear water flowing beside you to the right, but you can’t quite see it through all the lush foliage and well-established trees lining the river.

Keep walking until you find a little clearing between the trees. You can see the water now, from the path, flowing swiftly over well-rounded, and colourful stones and larger rocks.

You now walk to the water’s edge. You see there’s actually a bit of a dock that sits atop the water. Lay down on the dock with your head just above the water. Slowly let what hair you have dip into the flow, let it float beside your head, following the  current. Continue until the back and top of your head is submerged.

You can feel now that not only is the water cool and refreshing to touch, but it also seems to be taking away some of the stress and tension attached to your hair, wanting to pull more from the crown of your head.

Slowly allow the water to seep into your skull, and wash through all the nooks and crannies that need clearing out. The stress and fear that doesn’t help you, or hinders you from doing things you need and want to be doing. The sluggishness of procrastination, the random things that seem to fill your head whenever you want to really focus on an important project or issue.

The river seems to run as swiftly as it needs to, with as much force as it needs to in order to carry away the thoughts that don’t serve your purpose well.

You stay here, allowing the river to pull out all the hindrances in your head until there is nothing left but a cleared mind ready for whatever task you want to set it to.

Thank the river for its help. I like to imagine offering a leaf, stone, feather, or another natural gift.

Slowly open your eyes, breathe deeply to focus on your body once more and anchor yourself in our world. Now get to focusing on that task!

 

Day 9: Daily Practices
What are some quick & easy practices you can incorporate into your daily life to help you connect with your Craft and your Gods? You can find some ideas here: Ways to Live a More Magical Life and here: 15 Ways to Do Witchcraft Every Day

These are some of the daily practices that I’ve done in the past. And actually, doing this challenge has made me see that I actually do more than I think I do on a daily basis!

Stir love and luck into the food I feed my family.

Thanking the spirits of the food I eat for sustaining me.

Wish safe travels on my husband-man whenever he leaves, usually asking my gods, but also the universe.

Light candles for others to focus my well wishing upon them everytime I look at the candle.

Feel for the energies and spirits of any natural place I visit, usually saying hi, and complimenting the beauty I see.

I sing songs to Lake Huron when I visit the beach. I’ve done this with other bodies of water, but I visit Lake Huron the most, obviously 😛

I also sing songs to forests, and other natural places, actually.

Yep, in going over the things that I still do regularly, I am more active in my witchiness than I thought! ❤

 

You can follow along with the #30DaysMagicalRoots Challenge over at Plentiful Earth!

Making all the art

The inspiration bug has bitten hard over here. Not only for paintings, but I’m feeling the need to make music wash over me again. I’m focusing more on the paintings at the moment, but I have been recording snippets of melody and even lyrics now and again.

It’s funny that I used to think I SHOULD only focus on one or two things, and now I’m like, YAAAASSS, all the things, all the time. I’ve even been planning a couple different meads.  And also (see I told you I just wanna do all the things), I’ve been feeling a very strong pull back into witchcraft, which has fallen very far off to the side in the past few years.
I suppose now’s the time to do things since once the holiday buying season ramps up, I’m not going to have time for anything at all.

But let’s talk about the paintings because I haven’t shared them with you here yet. I currently have 4 that have been printed and are ready to ship when I get the proper sleeves for them, they’re my Elemental Goddesses.

 

Even though I wanted to start putting these up in the shop earlier, turns out I didn’t plan for the extra matting around the prints, and now I have improper sized plastic sleeves to ship the prints in. Sigh.

The reason why I’m waiting to fix that issue is that I am currently in preparations for my first craft market next month, so I’m waiting for funds to be replenished first. However, I’m excited to see what a market is like on the selling side of things!

Lastly, I just finished Her last night, is my Star Goddess. I really loved painting Her, and I think when I order prints, I’m setting one aside for my own wall. Also, nebulas are so fun to paint!

Water – TPE

We are beings of water, but do we really honor it as element, physiologic need and the beginnings of our lives as humans? How do you honor water? How will you ensure its ebb and flow?

This week’s prompt is all about water, an element and substance I well love.

As a physiological need, I feel that those who have the power to control how it is used are being completely driven by what kind of money they’ll make from it now (hello, capitalism, you little shit). Case in point, California, a state which has been suffering from drought going on its fifth year (if it keeps up over this coming summer), has been a water source for bottled water companies.

How is this sustainable?

Water is being leached away from an already very dry area, there is no giving back, which is making the drought worse. I just. Can’t. Even.

Why is it that people never remember any important lessons, or apply actual intelligence in planning for the future? Why is it that we seem to only selfishly think about ourselves and what will gratify us right now? And in this case, it’s money. It usually is these days.

We’re not necessarily hurting the Earth, She can survive without us quite well, but we most definitely are destroying the future for our descendants as well as other non-human creatures and plants who also live here with us.
And for the thing we need the most of, we do a shitty job of ensuring it will be renewed sustainably in the future.

Ok, let’s move on to the more personal thoughts of water. I don’t particularly like to dwell on terrible things for overlong.

Water to me is just as powerful as the forest. Those are the places that resonate with me, and where they meet each other is truly a magickally powerful piece of land for me. I very much miss living on the lake as when I did when my family first moved to Ontario when I was a child. That was my favourite place, will likely remain my favourite place till I die. It didn’t help that the town is highly influenced by its Scottish heritage, which calls to me too, though I digress.

The water there was a powerful place, no matter if I was at the beach, or visiting small streams that ran through the town. That’s where I went to be alone, to contemplate, to lose myself in emotions when they boiled over, to enjoy myself swimming with my sister and friends. Every day I was at the beach if the weather allowed it. Even when it rained, I couldn’t keep away. I would go down, walking along the pier and marvel at the storm clouds moving out on the endless expanse of water.

I am pulled to the water, as though a place of rest, a place of joining with it on this plane and others. It is a beginning and an end for me. We are water, most of our bodies are made of water, and to ignore this, to ignore our complete reliance, to ignore that we are submissive to it, is folly. It may seem gentle, yet it can easily overcome and swallow us down into its depths. Depths we still have no idea how far down they reach.

In this, I see where we have linked water to emotions. We express feelings welling up, boiling, we release water from our eyes when they become too much. It is because we are water that those emotions move through us in crashing waves, or gentle drops. Our bodies are naturally attuned to water, to the energies of it.
Yet we abuse it.

Now I realize those who are reading this blog are likely of a more nature-friendly (at the least) bent. So the we is not necessarily you and me, I know, but you and I do need to fight against those who truly do abuse water, and all other resources we require to live and enjoy life. I do what I can in my small way. I refuse to buy bottled water. I sign what I can in petition against corporations or entities that would abuse water and harm ecosystems, and in the future, our own children and their children.

Water is essential. Without it, we would not exist as we do, or be able to survive overly long.

My Magical Place

I want to share a few pictures of my favourite place to go when I need to do some magick. It’s off the trail I frequently ride on. I’ve been going here since I was 15 or 16; it is an incredible place of power. When you walk in off the trail, you go down a short, gravel hill between an ash tree and another (I can’t remember). When you get to the bottom, there is a little stream on the right that flows down to the river in front of you between two very large black willow trees. I think willow may be my tree, seeing how it has played a prominent role throughout my entire life.

I laid down in what seems like a perfect place to rest between four of the willow on the right’s large, strong main limbs. My head leaned back on one of them, and I could look up into her swaying branches and leaves above. Right now, there are little white fluffs of willow seed floating around in the air, making it that much more of a visually magical place. The sun dances between the leaves, and when you close your eyes, the shadows and light play across your eyelids, almost like the sun reflected on water.

I met with her spirit, she showed me some things that are bound to pass for me, and I made some magick with her help.

2014-06-16 14

 

This is my view if I turn my head to the left, laying in her arms. The trees and wildness speak to me. There’s a reason why I’m a Forest Witch. My magick is strongest with the trees’ guidance, and beneath their bodies swaying in the winds. I get to this point on the trail, and the farther I go in, the more I feel home, feel free, and feel the thrum of all that lives around me.

 

2014-06-16 141

On the way back, I take a picture of what I believe to be mullein (and after some Googling, find that it is). It’s the only one I could spot on the entire trail, so I may have a better look next time I go.

June 16

 

And now for something completely different (not really, as my garden is a magical place too), here is one of a few pea pods I harvested yesterday 🙂
They were sweet, delicious, and I cannot wait for more! Once harvesting gets underway, I will be a busy bee preparing all these vegetables for storage by freezing and canning.

2014-06-16 162

PBP – Hellebore

Hellebore, image found here: http://www.broadviewgardens.co.uk/

Hellebore, image found here: http://www.broadviewgardens.co.uk/

Please note that hellebore is quite poisonous and should not be used by those who haven’t knowledge of how to work with poisonous herbs.

Latin Name:
Helleborus niger (black hellebore is the traditional magickal herb, called black for its roots, as the flowers are usually pink or white)

Common Names:
Christe Herbe, Christmas Rose, Winter Rose, Melampode

Parts Used:
Root, rhizome

Image from Botanical.com

Image from Botanical.com

Medicinal Uses:
Please do not use hellebore for medicinal purposes, the following is a recounting of historical medical practices concerning the herb.

Hellebore is a severe purgative, emmenagogue, and anthelmintic (rids the body of parasites), but is an extreme narcotic.

Previously employed quite frequently to treat dropsy and amenorrhoea,  as well as proved useful in the treatment of hysteria and nervous disorders. It was generally used in tincture form, but applying the tincture to the skin proved a violent irritant. 

Since it is so poisonous, foxglove and dogbane were used more often as they weren’t nearly as poisonous as hellebore.

Magickal Uses:
Associated with Saturn, Mars, and the element of Water.

Was once used to bless cattle against evil spells and baneful influences. In fact, there was a specific ritual performed whilst digging the roots, the details of which have been unfortunately lost with the passage of time.

An ingredient in incense meant to consecrate talismans of Saturn. It was, according to Agrippa, used as well to raise spirits of Mars.

Scatter hellebore that has been powdered in front of you as you move and you will be invisible.

At one time used to induce astral projection (but not recommended as again, very poisonous), along with exorcism rituals. It is also employed for banishing and necromancy.

Photo by  Archenzo Moggio.

Photo by Archenzo Moggio.

The Month of Alder

Latin Name
Alnus Glutinosa(Black Alder found in Europe)

Common Names
Scottish Mahogany, Irish Mahogany, King of the Forest, Tree of the Fairies

Celtic Name
Fearn

Dates
March 18 – April 14

Constituents
Between 16-20% tannins in young shoots and the bark of the trees. The bark also contains phenolic glycosides, lignans, emodin, and triterpenes. The leaves contain flavonoid glycosides, specifically hyperoside, and resin.

Medicinal Uses
As an astringent, tonic, antiviral (especially for herpes), haemorraghic, antibacterial, emetic, vulnerary, febrifuge, anti diarrhoeal, lymphatic, and possible anti inflammatory.

The leaves were traditionally added to a bed to treat rheumatism. They are just as easily added to a duvet for the same effect.
They are also used to treat inflammation and burns, especially inflammation of the breast.

As an astringent, it is used to treat bruising, swelling, mouth ulcers, and sore throats. It is also used to combat eczema, acne, and impetigo. The cones are used to treat heamorrhage and haematuria.

Can be used to cleanse the blood and tissue, and well treats rhinitis.

The whole plant is used to be rid of fleas in the house.

Associations
Moon, Mars, Fire and Water, lapis lazuli, amethyst, ravens, hawks, seagulls, purple, Odin, Bran, King Arthur, Apollo, Astarte, Aphrodite, Pan, Lugh, Orpheus, Branwn, Arianrhod, fox.

Magical Uses
As it is associated with both the Moon and Mars, and Water and Fire, there is the obvious connection with balance between the emotions and with actions. It’s also used when you need to face all that you’ve avoided recently.

Because of it’s fantastic dyeing properties, it has strong associations with spinning and fabric making.

Making whistles of the shoots is quite easy as the pith of a shoot is simple to push out, making it possible to create Panpipes with the shoots and cutting them at different lengths, then tying them together. This holds great sway over the four winds and Air Elementals, in fact, “whistling up the wind” is said to have started with Alder whistles.

Because it is a tree that allows access to the faerie realms, it is not good fortune to cut one down, as it is a charm against malevolent fairies. Water sprites are said to protect the tree, so again, be wary of cutting it down.

A really fascinating property of the tree is because of its love to be near water (you’ll find them growing near rivers/streams), when the wood is emerged in water, it does not rot, in fact, it becomes incredibly hard, almost as hard as ebony.

Cicely Mary Barker – The Alder Fairy

Phew!!

Wow, the past week has been awesome, busy, and tiring in the best of ways! First, I was asked by my coven to be to help in a public ritual for Imbolg this past weekend. It was amazing! The use of music and pre-recorded bits sounded fantastic and added such impact to the whole thing! Unfortunately, I called water a bit too well, and the toilet flooded. Such is life as a witch. Time for honing in on the energy flow!! In the end, there was some really awesome energy built up for the God to bring us a boon. Even my non-pagan partner had a good time at his first ritual. Needless to say, we were exhausted (me up until Wednesday!), but it was that blissful, post-sex sort of exhaustion 🙂

Then on Tuesday night, the 101 class had our final class/ritual. It went well, and I’m so happy for us, and sad that we won’t be meeting every week anymore; it was a good group, and some interesting conversations ensued. I’m especially thankful for my teacher, she is just amazing, and I am so happy to have met her!

Wednesday night… the best night of the week… I was dedicated into a coven! It was such a lovely ritual, and I’m so happy that I get to circle with the wonderful people in it. The HPs is in fact my 101 teacher, and I just cannot tell you how elated I am that I get to circle with her, but amazing people I have met through her. Sigh… I am feeling so much love!! Which is in fact a very appropriate feeling as Valentine’s day approaches!

In other, awesome, but not as awesome news, I have knitted my first pair of socks (pictures will come). They turned out pretty well, but I’ll also have to hone that skill as well! Everyone’s getting socks for Yule this year!! Lol.

Homemade Mead!!

I finally went out and bought some honey to make me some mead! No, I don’t have the fanciest equipment, but the recipe I found was for beginners (like me!) I tried going to a place I know that sells carboys yesterday (I was thinking that they’d probably sell rubber stoppers and air locks as well), but apparently they’ve gone out of business since the last time I went there! 😦 Oh well, I ended up doing what the recipe said to do with water jugs. I was only going to do one, but the big jug of honey had enough for two one gallon jugs. So the first one is just the recipe without anything else in it, and the second has a couple allspice pods and a clove. I think what my plan is going to be is to make two gallons a month (if I can keep it to that little, lol!), and make plenty of different blends and such of fruits and herbs and spices.

So it’s been about 24 hrs, and the yeast activated right away when I first mixed everything up. I put them in the tub last night to make sure there were no explosions, but the balloons seem to be doing a wonderful job at slowly letting the gasses out while not letting anything in! Everything is just bubbling away and smelling delicious already!
I’m so excited, I don’t know how I’ll be able to wait until they’re finished in six months!

The first pic is right after everything was mixed, the second was today after taking them out of the tub.

 

 


Irish Fairy Tale – The Horned Women

A rich woman sat up late one night carding and preparing wool, while all the family and servants were asleep. Suddenly a knock was given at the door, and a voice called, “Open! open!”

“Who is there?” said the woman of the house.

“I am the Witch of one Horn,” was answered.

The mistress, supposing that one of her neighbours had called and required assistance, opened the door, and a woman entered, having in her hand a pair of wool-carders, and bearing a horn on her forehead, as if growing there. She sat down by the fire in silence, and began to card the wool with violent haste. Suddenly she paused, and said aloud: “Where are the women? they delay too long.”

Then a second knock came to the door, and a voice called as before, “Open! open!”

The mistress felt herself obliged to rise and open to the call, and immediately a second witch entered, having two horns on her forehead, and in her hand a wheel for spinning wool.

“Give me place,” she said; “I am the Witch of the two Horns,” and she began to spin as quick as lightning.

And so the knocks went on, and the call was heard, and the witches entered, until at last twelve women sat round the fire – the first with one horn, the last with twelve horns.

And they carded the thread, and turned their spinning-wheels, and wound and wove, all singing together an ancient rhyme, but no word did they speak to the mistress of the house. Strange to hear, and frightful to look upon, were these twelve women, with their horns and their wheels; and the mistress felt near to death, and she tried to rise that she might call for help, but she could not move, nor could she utter a word or a cry, for the spell of the witches was upon her.

Then one of them called to her in Irish, and said, “Rise, woman, and make us a cake.”

Then the mistress searched for a vessel to bring water from the well that she might mix the meal and make the cake, but she could find none.

And they said to her, “Take a sieve and bring water in it.”

And she took the sieve and went to the well – but the water poured from it, and she could fetch none for the cake, and she sat down by the well and wept.

Then a voice came by her and said, “Take yellow clay and moss, and bind them together, and plaster the sieve so that it will hold.”

This she did, and the sieve held the water for the cake – and the voice said again:

“Return, and when thou comest to the north angle of the house, cry aloud three times and say, ‘The mountain of the Fenian women and the sky over it is all on fire.'”

And she did so.

When the witches inside heard the call, a great and terrible cry broke from their lips, and they rushed forth with wild lamentations and shrieks, and fled away to Slievenamon, where was their chief abode. But the Spirit of the Well bade the mistress of the house to enter and prepare her home against the enchantments of the witches if they returned again.

And first, to break their spells, she sprinkled the water in which she had washed her child’s feet, the feet-water, outside the door on the threshold – secondly, she took the cake which in her absence the witches had made of meal mixed with the blood drawn from the sleeping family, and she broke the cake in bits, and placed a bit in the mouth of each sleeper, and they were restored – and she took the cloth they had woven, and placed it half in and half out of the chest with the padlock – and lastly, she secured the door with a great crossbeam fastened in the jambs, so that the witches could not enter, and having done these things she waited.

Not long were the witches in coming back, and they raged and called for vengeance.

“Open! open!” they screamed; “open, feet-water!”

“I cannot,” said the feet-water; “I am scattered on the ground, and my path is down to the Lough.”

“Open, open, wood and trees and beam!” they cried to the door.

“I cannot,” said the door, “for the beam is fixed in the jambs and I have no power to move.”

“Open, open, cake that we have made and mingled with blood!” they cried again.

“I cannot,” said the cake, “for I am broken and bruised, and my blood is on the lips of the sleeping children.”

Then the witches rushed through the air with great cries, and fled back to Slievenamon, uttering strange curses on the Spirit of the Well, who had wished their ruin – but the woman and the house were left in peace, and a mantle dropped by one of the witches in her flight was kept hung up by the mistress in memory of that night; and this mantle was kept by the same family from generation to generation for five hundred years after.

 

Resources:

  • Image: “The Three Witches from Macbeth” – Alexandre-Marie Colin
  • Tale: Sacred Texts