I will admit it, when I was younger, I loved the dollar store as much as anyone. I could buy all manner of home decor that I never would have been able to afford elsewhere. These days, they have whole aisles dedicated to candles, incense, offering dishes, jars, herbs, just about anything a thrifty witch (or a broke witch, we’ve all been there) would need.
But with the rise of climate change, and our consciousness that the earth really is in trouble, has come the idea of zero waste or low waste and just generally being more mindful of how we live our lives. Thus, is the dollar store really the best place to source your spell materials and tools anymore? Was it ever? Continue reading Mindful Witchcraft on a Budget — Say No to Dollar Stores→
I have seen *so* many videos on this lately. Luckily, most of them appear to be older, so maybe it was just a meme-type thing, but the truth of the matter is, there is only 1 sign that you are a witch. Ready for it?
You practise witchcraft.
That’s it. The end. You can’t really be a witch and not know it. Just like you can’t really be a carpenter and not know it. The word is a descriptor of an action or a trade. It’s something you know you’re doing.
Until you hit that point, you are a Seeker. And there is nothing wrong with that. Being a Seeker is the best! Everything is new and magical and filled with enchantment. Not that I’m saying that that feeling fades with time necessarily.
Even for me, 25ish years later, the spring time feels like life and magic, journeying, and meditation feel like home; but there are few things that carry the same trepidation and exhilaration that venturing down a new path does. It’s incredible. And it should be enjoyed for as long as possible.
In the beginning, having a name for your path can feel like the most important thing in the world. How can you have an legitimacy if your path doesn’t have a name? Let me ask you this: does the tree outside your window have a name? Does the bird flitting about the branches? Do they need one to exist?
Don’t be so quick to slap a label on something that is developing and growing. I can count on one hand the number of times that someone in real life has asked me about my religion, and more often than not, they ask if I attend church. My response is simply, ‘No, we don’t go to church.’ Another perfectly valid answer would be: ‘Sorry, I don’t discuss religion. It causes too much friction.’
Back in the day, our parents and grandparents held to a strict rule of ‘no discussing politics or religion at the dinner table.’ I, personally, pull that into my own life as often as possible. We very much don’t need to know every detail of our neighbours’ business, and they don’t need to know every detail of mine.
I have tried many times over the years to get myself motivated and into that New Year spirit at the end of December — and for a couple of days (maybe a week), it works. I feel energized and ready to get back into doing new things and cultivating projects and ideas and fun and art and et cetera.
Then, in a couple of weeks, when the holiday decorations are down and it’s still frozen, snowy, and dark, the feeling fizzles. Right around Quitters Day (which is the day that people are most likely to give up on their New Year’s resolution) — side note: That’s also the day that I remember that I was supposed to *make* New Year’s resolutions to start with. I’m not very with it in the winter.
There are a lot of reasons for this. For one, when I was growing up on the west coast, January was winter’s finally gasp, and by mid-February, spring had begun (I miss that so much, I can’t even say). These days, living in southern Alberta, January is still a frozen wasteland reminiscent of the ice planet Hoth. The knowledge that it will stay that way until roughly May is not the most motivating of thoughts.
Also, and this is from decades of living as a Pagan, January isn’t really the start of the year. Depending on your tradition, our year starts in March. At the beginning of spring, when winter is finally really over and you can wake up with the sun and it isn’t 9am already.
Ostara for 2020 is on March 19th. Thursday is not the most convenient day for a holiday, but I digress. Spring is coming! I can finally feel it in the air (despite the fact that it is currently snowing outside my window). The sun is warmer and the critters are coming out of hibernation, and I finally feel … awake. I feel renewed. I feel energized.
Now, I will be honest, I haven’t done a lot to mark the holidays the last few years. Things have been tough and changing, and my focus has been elsewhere. This year, the feeling of wanting to get back into a celebratory year has been growing. Maybe it has to do with my recent birthday, maybe it’s just that I want to find my way back to being myself.
The point is, this year we are celebrating. We are celebrating spring, and green and growing things. We are celebrating the turning of the wheel and all the wonderful things that life has to offer.
In dark times, we need celebration and love and happiness more than ever. So I am switching off the news, and living closer to the earth this year. Even if it is under 3 inches of new snow.
What do you do to celebrate the Wheel? When does your ritual year begin? Leave a comment and let’s chat about new growth and new life.
Well, maybe not shattered, but definitely startled, and a little upset. This morning, while moving some stuff to our new house, my new hawk’s eye pendulum fell off the counter and broke. The crystal broke, and the beaded section holding the hamsa at the other end broke as well.
For the first few moments all I could do was stare. I didn’t know what to think. It wasn’t that far down, and I couldn’t believe that the whole thing had just broken.
What now? Do I replace it? Do I try to fix it? I have only had this pendulum for about two weeks, and already it was one of my favourites. And now it was just … gone.
The break was clean, I could fix it. But the question was, should I? For most of my life, I have heard that once a crystal is broken, that’s it for that job. Then it moves on to some other purpose, either given back to the earth or utilized for some other project.
It can still be used as a pendulum in it’s current … shortened state. It will still work just as well, but at the same time, I know I could fix it because the break was so clean (I am thinking it was an existing imperfection that allowed for the break).
Another issue to consider is that with both protection symbols breaking in the same moment, I cannot ignore the possibility that the fall and the break were the protection symbols doing their job. This is a new house with no protections built in as in my old house. I haven’t even had a chance to do a new house cleansing yet.
The practical side of my brain says that I am overtired, and jittery from lugging boxes, and what I really need is to chill and meditate a little. If we go the protection route, then the stone was likely protecting me from myself.
I still don’t know what I am going to do. There is an epoxy that I can buy that will fix the pendulum like new. Or I could buy a replacement crystal point. I will definitely need to meditate on it before I do anything.
Since I’m not really a youtubey person, I doubt I will be participating in the Pagan Youtube Challenge, but I did write a blog post about the first topic a few years back: ‘How Did You Find Your Path?’
I still don’t really do labels so far as my path goes. Maybe with everyone doing these videos, I’ll finally finish my own list of Witchy Questions. Maybe update it a bit so it goes to 52 weeks instead of 44.
In the wake of all the horror that is going on in the world in recent weeks, I have been feeling a need to go back to a place of comfort and strength. For me, that is my spiritual practise.
I will be taking up a few projects that I have been wanting to work on, but haven’t for whatever reason. One being the creation of devotional dolls. I have troubles finding adequate altar statuary, and I’ve been drawn to create my own for a while now (more on that later).
Another new project for the new year will be a revival of sorts of the Pagan Blog Project. The main difference in my reimagining for 2016 is that rather than a study and teaching article project, I want to focus more on inclusion and sharing. In the wake of such an enormous upsurge of xenophobia, I want us all to share of our paths: Pagan, Polytheist, Christian, Muslim, Atheist, Buddhist, Hindu, and anyone else who wants to join in. I want us to share the beauty and the wonder we all find in the spiritual aspects of our lives. If you have no spiritual aspect to your life, what does fill you with a sense of wonder and hope?
The project is tentatively named The Spiritual A-Z. It will be bi-weekly (because the weekly nature of the PBP was always a bit too much for me to keep up with), starting with A which should be published on or around January 15th (that’s when mine will show up here).
My goal is for us to link each other’s posts at the bottom of the each article. To help facilitate this, I am going to post a ‘Links Here’ page on the Monday before each article is to be published – for January that will mean that the link post will go up on the 11th, and the article itself will be posted on the 15th.
That’s about it so far as guidelines go. Everything else is up to you. If you want to use the article as a way to study your own practises, go for it. If you want to write weekly, do it! If you fall behind, no worries.
Please comment below if you are interested in participating. All are welcome.
Another new thing will be that this blog will be getting a shiny new domain. I finally bit the bullet and bought my own. I’m going to have WP deal with all of the stuff and things, so it should go pretty seamlessly. Cross your fingers.
I am still grinding away at my NaNo project. Some days, it is the only thing that keeps me sane and away from the interwebs. It looks like I am still on track to finish by the end of the month, but won’t be halfway through the story, so I am needing to keep up a pace of 1200 words a day to finish hopefully by the end of January.
I have been having a ridiculously difficult time writing this post. Well, writing any posts at all, really. I have been dealing with a hefty case of the winter blahs, and it has been sapping all of my ability to brain.
I have moments of clarity and inspiration, but by the time I find a pen to write it down, it’s gone. Free writing/word association has helped a bit with getting the thoughts out of my head, but beyond that, stringing two thoughts together has been a bit of a challenge. This is a difficult time for me as I still feel that energizing push to travel new paths and learn new things in honour of the new year.
The sunshine of the last couple of weeks has helped to lift the winter fog. And while it may be a coincidence, I am also going to credit the coming of the Lunar new year. Yay, Year of the Ram and the season of Pisces!
It’s been more years than I would like to think since I have worked on advancing my own path. For some strange reason, inspiration tends to strike at right about the same time that I start considering joining teaching traditions. It would seem that well travelled, nicely groomed and cared for trails generate a “run off and do my own thing” response in me.
Finally, I have settled on exploring the concept of sacred sound – be it chanting, singing, drumming, mantras, etc. I am interested in delving more deeply into the assorted vibrations that echo through the universe and create change in the world. I have found a couple of books on Amazon that I am going to be reading through. If I find them useful, I may review them here. I haven’t written a book review in a good long time.
I am excited for the warming weather, and the promise of the coming year. Cheers all!
Beltane will be upon us soon, and in Calgary, we are grateful for the snow finally melting, and the first little shoots of green grass making their way to the surface. The only flowers available were grown in green houses. Local flowers are still tiny seedlings waiting in nurseries and garden centres for their new homes.
For us, Beltane is the true beginning of spring. And in the name of spring, a thorough cleaning/cleansing of the home is in order. Since our new place is still coasting on the pre-move-in professional clean, I mean to finally finish unpacking, and run a smudge stick around the entrances and exits.
Our move to a new townhouse has returned me to container gardening. I am hoping to grow tomatoes, beets, lettuce, sage, strawberries, and a few other fruits and flowers. I am all about maximizing the growth possible in a small area this year, which will entail quite a lot of research on my part.
Like Imbolc, Beltane is a fire festival; and with the returning warm weather, bonfires are almost a required part of the celebration. Of course, if you are like most people and do not live where you can build a bonfire, an outdoor fire pit, or even a candle on your balcony will do the trick to honour the fire component of the holiday.
Deities associated with Beltane are typically fertility deities – Cernunnos, Hera, and Pan, to name a very few; as well as virginal sovereignty goddesses such as Artemis, Flora, and Blodeuwedd¹.
For me, the goddess who occupies my thoughts at this time of year is the veiled White Goddess – the mysterious May Queen. In a previous article, I explored her identity as Guinevere from the Arthurian cycle.
This year, my thoughts turn to white flowers, nectar, honey, and the pollen gatherers, bees. With honeybee populations declining all over the world, and harsher, longer winters expected to become the norm, it seems appropriate to dedicate a portion of our spring celebrations to these key members of the natural world. Driven by scent and movement, bees communicate with each other through dance. The possibilities for ecstatic ritual and connective meditation are endless. Think wordless communication, interconnectedness, sweetness, and joy.
Many Beltane celebrations include the ribboned maypole dance. Folks of all ages can get in on this time old tradition, but it is especially joyous to get kids involved in the dancing and spinning. This Backyard Maypole can be made of varying heights so that adults can easily get in on the action.
The bonfire festivities traditionally begin at sunset on May Eve. The fires of Beltane were symbols of purification and prosperity. Cattle were driven between the fires, and youths jumped the flames and coals as the night wore on. As a fertility festival, any children conceived on May Eve were considered a gift from the gods.
For those who awaken at dawn on May Day, folklore says that bathing one’s face in the morning dew of Beltane will restore beauty and radiance.
Beltane decor is centred around spring. That surging, warming, tingling energy that makes you want to skip like a school girl the minute you step outside your door.
For crafts and decorations, think flowers, butterflies, ribbons, bells, bright colours and anything that speaks of the vibrancy of life. May baskets are a tradition that your kids can get in on. Weave a simple paper basket, fill it with flowers and leave a lovely Beltane surprise for your neighbours.
Wear flower crowns in honour of the May Queen. Use silk flowers for a sturdier, timeless vibrance; or real wildflowers if they are available. A bit of needle felting or even just a couple of pompoms and a glue gun can add lovely, fluffy honeybees to your crown.
If you are looking for a more subtle craft for your celebrations, woven lavender wands are a traditional tool for Beltane. Add tiny silver bells to the ends of your wand’s ribbon for a delightful faery call that will keep your little one busy for hours.
If you have the garden space to have a butterfly garden, a fun May Day activity for kids is to give them each a handful of wildflower seeds, have them make a wish and then blow the seeds from their palms over the tilled, moistened earth of the new garden. My daughter had a great time with this last year.
Bubbles are also a great way to spend an hour or so on a sunny Beltane afternoon.
Food for Beltane is centred both around fertility and the first fresh produce available. At this time of year, I want my meals to be lighter, fresher, and filled with more leafy veg.
After a long winter of heavy starches and root vegetables, Beltane marks the time of year to lighten up and get ready for summer foods. Apricots, artichokes, asparagus, chard, spinach, leeks, chives, strawberries, and sprouts of all kinds become available in the spring.
A nice light zucchini watercress soup, or a creamy spring onion soup are a great start to a Beltane meal. The warmer weather makes me want to get out and start using the BBQ. With a long winter waiting just around the bend, we want to extend patio season as much as we can.
Desserts are one of the best parts of the meal, if you ask me. One of my favourite desserts is a simple strawberries and cream. I recently challenged myself to make whipped cream with a hand whisk. 12 minutes from liquid to stiff peaks. It was not easy, and my arms were really achy, but it was the best whipped cream I have ever tasted!
Citrus and spring fruits are great flavours for cakes, ice creams, mousses, and tarts. Try these Honey Grilled Apricots for a light, easy Beltane dessert.
If you are in a baking mood, cupcakes or single serving bundt cakes (click the image above for the recipe), are a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth.
As you might have guessed, Beltane is the time for love and fertility magic. But if you’re not into adding literal babies to your life right now, fret not. Fertility magic can be used for many aspects of life, from your career to your garden.
Beauty and love charms are potent at Beltane. They can be as simple as charging and wearing rose quartz to bring love into your life, or elaborate as a ritual to cleanse oneself of your personal baggage.
Like Samhain, Beltane is a time of the year when it is said that the veil between worlds is thinnest. Divinations are commonly performed to get a peek at the coming season. Keep your desires and questions clear in your mind as you draw the cards, drink your favourite seasonal loose leaf tea, or gaze into the flames.
Robin’s Egg Blue
After a winter that seemed, at times, that it would never end, I am so happy to see the sun and warmth return. That gratitude, joy, and hope for the coming growing season is what I want to imbue into my May Day celebrations this year.
There is a lot of work to be done before the hot weather gets here, but I am ready for it.