Tag Archives: pagan

Keeping Busy While Stuck At Home – Social Distancing and Witchy Crafts


Social Distancing. Self-Isolation. Quarantine. Whatever you call it, most of us are stuck at home for the foreseeable future.

At the beginning of the month, my kids both had colds, and as the panic over Covid-19 was ramping up, I made an effort to not add to the problem, and decided to keep them home a couple of days until their coughs and runny noses subsided. They were better by the weekend, and I was happy to be able to send them back to school on Monday. Then, on Sunday night, the province closed all public schools. All this is a long way of saying, that in my house, we are on day 15 of social distancing isolation.

These days, most businesses are closed for the next couple of weeks, and we are in the middle of what would have been spring break, so the schools aren’t putting anything out until April to help with the kids education. And since we are doing our part to help #flattenthecurve or #plankthecurve or whatever the hashtag is now, we are finding creative ways to keep busy that involve less screen time, and thus, less fighting.

Continue reading Keeping Busy While Stuck At Home – Social Distancing and Witchy Crafts

Mindful Witchcraft on a Budget — Say No to Dollar Stores

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

Witchy Wednesday – Divination

Today’s Witchy Wednesday catchup (or YouTube Pagan Challenge Off YouTube), is about divination.  Do you use it, and if so, what types?

Divination is one of my favourite tools in the Witch’s arsenal.  I have tried my hand at most kinds.  The ones that I have developed a talent for are dream interpretation, tarot, dowsing, and scrying.

As a kid, I had wicked nightmares paired with sleep paralysis.  I also grew up knowing that prophetic dreams run in my family, so when I was about 12 or so I decided that I would take control of the runaway train that was my subconscious mind, and I studied lucid dreaming.

The first part, of course, was to be able to take control of nightmares.  It’s not an easy skill to master, but it does work.  My key was always “pinch me”, since I don’t feel pain in dreams, it helped alert my conscious mind that what I was seeing and experiencing wasn’t real.

I kept a dream journal for a while, but I find that with dreams, the message is something that is pretty immediate, and once deciphered, is really no longer relevant, so I fell out of that practise.

My mom had a tarot deck while I was growing up, and since I was always a bit of an art nut, I was drawn to cards with pictures on them.  It has taken me a while, but I feel I know them pretty well — upright anyway.  This year I am learning reversed card interpretations as well.

I don’t have a lot of things that I collect anymore — when I was little I collected all kinds of bits an bobs, but being a bit of a nomad in my adult life has necessitated that I have considerably less stuff.  Tarot decks are really the only thing I still collect outside of photographs.  Here are some of my beloveds (not all, because some were still packed from our trip when these photos were taken):

© Andrea Crossett

This is my Robin Wood tarot deck.  An oldie, but still a classic, and I love it.  Very similar imagery to the Rider-Waite, but with a bit of a Pagan twist.

© Andrea Crossett
© Andrea Crossett

This is the Sacred Circle tarot.  This was my very first deck, and while I never really connected to the images in the cards, I hang on to it for sentimental reasons.

© Andrea Crossett

This is the DruidCraft tarot.  Also one of my favourites.  Alas, it isn’t used as often as I would like because the cards are gigantic.  The art is still beautiful, though, so that makes up for it.

© Andrea Crossett

This was my second ever tarot deck, The Pagan Tarot.  The images are very different from the Rider-Waite, and tell the tale of a modern Pagan/Wiccan seeker’s journey.  This deck makes me feel very nostalgic about my own beginnings as a young Pagan.  While I don’t connect well to the court cards, I still use it roughly once a week or so.

© Andrea Crossett

And here is one of my absolute favs (tied with my mom’s old deck), the Shadowscapes tarot.  The artwork is amazing, and the cards are shockingly accurate.  I had been following this artist for years before she started work on her deck.  I remember the announcement when she began work on it and the year I spent on the edge of my seat.  I use this deck almost every day.

The other two techniques for divination I use are dowsing with a pendulum, and scrying.  For scrying I usually use water in some form, be it condensation on a window or a glass or a dark bowl of water.  I’m a bit out of practise, but the more often I meditate, the easier it is.  I have a small piece of labradorite that has some beautiful patterning that I will be making use of as I get back into the practise of scrying.  It’s set into a pendant, so it is also travel sized!

My first pendulum was a “toy” that my mom helped me to make when I was about 10 years old.  It was a lead fishing weight on the end of a piece of white string.  It always worked for me, and it was usually pretty accurate.  Great for an either/or type question or decision that needs to be made.

My current pendulums are crystals of varying sizes and a lovely handmade one that is made from a seashell.  The lead one has been passed  on to my daughter.  She is still a little young for it, but she likes to have something special that is just between her and Mommy.

Next week, or this week if I find the time, we are talking about spells.  Until then, folks!  Cheers!

Witchy Wednesday – Altars

Altars?  Do I have altars??  Not as such, no.

I’ve never really been one for a lot of pageantry in my path.  I meditate anywhere I can be alone for a few minutes.  With two kids under 5, a lot of times that means in the shower.

I have few tools.  I spent my twenties moving nearly as many times as there were years.  You end up with a lot less stuff that way.

I do have a little set up on my desk at the moment. It isn’t much, but it gets my stuff out of storage.  Despite the fact that we will probably be moving in a year, I have reached the limit of my tolerance for ‘living on hold’.  I want my house to look like a home — even if that means that I have more packing to do when the time comes.


Left to right: a multi-purpose white candle (try to ignore the monitor glare).  Sometimes for purposeful work, sometimes just because I like to have a candle burning while I write.

My wand that I made when I was in my early twenties from a stick that I had found when I was about ten, and had kept for all those years because it looked like a wand.  It needs a little repair work.  The moonstone base fell off a few years back and was lost, so I need to source a new cabochon that will fit.

Under that is my pentacle that was made for me by my good friend Mattie.  It’s one of my most favourite pieces.  If you can’t read it, the inscription reads: “Thee I invoke by the moonlit sea by the standing stone and the twisted tree.”


Next is a spiral sun cut into a branch circle necklace.  It’s a pendant that I bought from an artisan shop on Granville Island in Vancouver.  It reminds me of all the times we used to go down there just to window shop, or to visit the little pagan store that was down on the waterfront.  I think I bought one of my tarot decks from there.  And a pendulum.  Can’t remember which ones, though.

Then there is a fairly large chunk of amethyst.  Amethyst is my birthstone.  This was originally my brother’s.  I don’t remember if he gave it to me or if I helped myself to it, but it’s mine now.  Haha.  Siblings, eh?

The little bowl in the back is my ceramic cauldron bowl that I bought just a few months back from Chapters.  It was on sale, and adorable so I grabbed it.

Inside it is my little writing companion — a little pink owl stuffie.  My son found it in the parking lot of the grocery store last year, I think.  After it had found its way to the bottom of the toy box, I rescued it.  The kids still play with it off and on because it’s “Mommy’s Hootie”.  Thus, when they are playing pets and I don’t have one, they go and find him for me.

Hootie is sitting on a bit of sari silk that came in the most recent package I got from India.  The pieces are small, but I am sure I will think of something to use it for.  It’s just too pretty to throw away.


Inside the cauldron bowl are mostly pendulums.  Amethyst, quartz, carnelian, and a seashell one that was a gift from another friend during a craft swap.  There is an Ohio quarter that I found on the floor of my office one day.  At the bottom are a couple polished stones: amethyst, rose quartz, smokey quartz, and orange calcite.  There is also a pendant (my most recent purchase from India) of labradorite.

And then beside that is a little cone incense burner that I bought way back in the day from a little pagan shop that is in what used to be a 19th century prison in, I think, Coquitlam.  I don’t really use cone incense because the smell is way too strong for me, but I am hoping to be able to rig it up to use it as a charcoal warmer for dried herbs.

That’s all that I have right now.  My chalice in the process of being repaired.  Once I am finished with that I will probably bring it up here.

I do want to set up an ancestor altar.  I will need a floating shelf for the wall first, but I have an idea of how to set it up.  I am also in the process of building a travel altar as part of a craft along with a handful of friends from Facebook. That will be a fun one to unpack when I am finished with it.

If I have my tripod by then, I will probably make a video of it.  We can test my video making abilities.

Until next week, folks – I believe the next question up is about the Wheel of the Year.


Witchy Wednesdays – In or Out of the Broom Closet

Way back in the early days, I wrote a post regarding my thoughts on the Broom Closet generally, but I don’t think I have ever really written about it from my own perspective before.

I tend to waffle back and forth between being in and out depending on the situation I find myself in.  I think that the concept of the broom closet is a little different for us in Canada.  There is considerably less religion pushing here, and most folks tend to just leave it as something that isn’t really brought up in polite conversation.

I grew up on the west coast, but in a small town where everyone belonged to one of our three churchs, the kingdom hall or the sikh temple.  Now that I think about it, that is an awful lot of religious buildings for a town of less than a thousand people.

My mother was brought up in the United Church, but went to a Catholic high school.  My father was an atheist, and after my parents split up, and we moved back to Canada, I think it became important to my mom that we have some manner of religion in our upbringing.

As with many small communities, the town we moved to was not terribly welcoming to outsiders. The minister from the Baptist Church was the first to arrive on our doorstep to welcome us to town and invite us to Sunday services.  We went as a family for a while, but the teachings didn’t really jive with my mom’s beliefs and after a while it was just us kids who went – more for community involvement than anything else.

Anyone who has had dealings with Baptist Churches can probably tell you how pushy they can get — especially with strong-willed girls who have no adults around to back them up.

I can remember the fights and the pressure from neighbours to shut up and learn my place, but I can also remember that grounds were so beautiful and the back field was surrounded by old forests.  I can remember watching the moon rise over the barn-shaped building one winter afternoon while I was supposed to be rehearsing for the Christmas play.  I remember skipping home in my pretty white dress under the warmth of the late spring sun.  I guess we remember the good parts a little easier when there is enough space between us and the hurt feelings.

After a particularly nasty Sunday school session when I was about 12, I refused to go back again.  My brothers kept going for a while, but that tapered off as we settled into a religionless life.

As I have mentioned before, I came to the Craft during a time when it was stepping into the mainstream as cool.  My mom had concerns regarding the Satanic Ritual Conspiracy crap that for some reason still refuses to die amongst the townspeople where I grew up, but she read the cards, taught me to make my first pendulum (which I have since given to my daughter), and believed in palmistry and various other New Age techniques, so there wasn’t a lot of pressure on me to hide what I was reading about and learning.

Once I was out on my own, I had no restraints at all, and I tended to hit both ends of the scale of *really* in your face and out, and *so deep in the closet you would never guess in a million years*.  I think it had a lot to do with my own confidence in my practises and beliefs.  In the end, I tend to believe that it really isn’t anyone’s business what I do.  I like my privacy, but I don’t want my kids to feel pressured to hide what we believe.  In Canada, I can have the best of both worlds, and I feel pretty lucky that I don’t have to choose one way or the other.

If I don’t want anyone to know about my path and my beliefs, I just don’t bring it up.  However, if you really wanted to know, all you need do is plug my name into Google, and it will bring you to this webpage.

So, am I in or out … the short answer, I guess, is yes.

Spiritual 2016 – Animism

This article has been a long time in the making.  I’ve worked the words and ideas over and over in my mind, trying to decide what perspective I want to write from.  Do I want to just write an article that explains what animism is?  Do I want to compare and contrast it with other forms of belief in modern Paganism?  In the end, I decided that I would come at it from the perspective of my journey, and the role that animism has played in my life.

Like many Pagans, I was something of an earth child growing up.  I loved to play outdoors (or at least I learned to love it since ‘pouring rain’ was the criteria under which we were allowed to come inside and bum around during the day).  I loved walking through the small wood near my house, swimming in the river, and wandering sandy beaches whenever I got the chance.  I even found a secluded pathway that lead to an old, overgrown rail track that took me to and from school.  The solitude of nature helped me to relax and recharge when being around people proved to be too much.

Later, I became an avid gardener, growing berries, flowers, herbs, and even trees in the backyard.  My first tree that wasn’t from a nursery, was a clipping of my neighbour’s huge weeping willow.  I remember that I had heard that they were planning to sell the house and would be cutting it down to improve their property value.  I was heartbroken, and I had my brother sneak over and grab a twig.

It flourished under my care, and I was so proud.  I loved it so much that I took it with me when I moved out.  Unfortunately, attacks by unhappy felines proved to be too much for the little thing (though by then it was roughly five feet tall).  I still miss that tree.

Over the years, I have had oaks, chestnuts, and pines (all that were lost during various moves – the people who moved in after we left must have thought we were a little crazy to have potted trees on the porch).  Today, I have an avocado, spruce, ivy, and little lemon sprout that is about the hardiest little plant I have met in a long time.

My ability to help plants grow has always been an indicator of my own inner wellbeing.  Our move away from the coast definitely wreaked havoc with my green thumb, and has taught me not to take growing for granted.  Keeping plants alive and thriving is a lot more work when you can’t count on the air to help keep the soil and leaves moist.

Outside of my various gardens, I have felt the warm, welcoming energy of many forested areas.  I have known the calming and grounding energy of trees who taught me not to worry about conflicts and stresses that are so fleeting.  I have felt the pulling energy of a gemstone in the palm of my hand.  For me, animism was never a belief.  It was a fact of life.

In the early years of my practise, I struggled to find a place for myself on the pantheistic/polytheistic scale.  I have seen the Wheel of the Year tale expressed in so many beautiful ways, and I have seen calendars from ancient times revived and added to modern lives.  I don’t think I ever really came to a solid decision one way or the other.  I do tend to believe that there are many gods.  I can also accept that there is one overarching unknowable force that connects all parts of the universe – like a giant etheric web.

The mythos of the Star Goddess satiates my desire for an origin story of the universe.  The deities of Feri tradition have a pull that speaks to the part of me that is so easily distracted by vibrant colour and catchy music (call it Fetch or Younger Self or Inner Child or whatever you like).  The gods of my ancestors also hold a strong place in my heart for leading me to Paganism in the first place.

But through all my meditations and contemplation, I have found only bread crumbs – bits and pieces that have led me to new places and new ideas.  To paraphrase fellow blogger Alison Leigh Lilly,

“Sometimes they linger beyond the limits of our ordinary experiences, leaving only footprints and snapped twigs as traces of their presence.”

The fact that I have never been drawn to a patron, for a time, gave me the same feeling of being an outsider that I had when I stood outside of the Baptist church of my youth – a strange mixture of sadness at not belonging, and the exhilaration of freedom.  And as I did then, I chose freedom.

My worldview can allow for everyone to be right without contradiction.  I like the idea that “there are many paths up the mountain”.  It allows for a harmony among faiths that is so important in our world today.

Since the new year, I have been re-reading some of my classic Pagan books to see how my views and opinions have changed over the last 15+ years.  One thing that I was pleasantly surprised to see was an animistic interpretation of some of our mythologies.  In Starhawk’s Spiral Dance, the twenty year edition notes contain a lovely interpretation of the three gods of the Star Goddess creation story:

“Today, I interpret the three aspects of the God as embodying the three great strategies that life forms on this planet have developed for getting energy: fermentation, photosynthesis, and respiration. The Green God represents the plant world […] The Horned God represents the animal world […] And the Blue God is the third force that breaks patterns of duality, the fermenters who release energy by breaking apart old forms, the fungi that aid in the process of decay.”

The Greenman and the Lord of the Hunt are easy to visualize as representations of the plant and animal worlds.  The Peacock God as fungus was somewhat less so for me.  The Blue God had always in my mind represented that part of youth that is showy and playful.  I have a two-year old son, and he is constantly running around laughing and dancing and showing off to make others smile and laugh.  This is the image I see when I think of the Blue God.  How could that energy be encapsulated in a mushroom?


It would seem that playfulness can be found in the world of fungi after all.

The purpose of mythology is to help us explore sacred truths.  I am interested now in seeing if I can identify the personification of the natural world in other myths.  I might take that approach with the Wheel of the Year stories this year.  Or I may just sit back and see what comes to me.

One of my few new year’s resolutions was to add more green to my life now that the children are a little older and can mostly be trusted not to touch things when they are told not to touch them.  Just having a couple of plants in my office already adds to my enjoyment of being in this room.  The key for me will be not going overboard – I have self-control issues when spring starts to show its face.

I promised my daughter that she could have her own plant to take care of this year as well.  She is very excited.  Flowers, plants, and bugs are her most favourite things.  I don’t think I had a favourite bug when I was her age, but for her, butterflies and ladybugs are magical – she builds little houses in the yard for the ladybugs she finds wandering about.

Sitting here watching the snow fall outside of my window has me longing for the earth to wake up.  It is cold today, but I can feel that subtle prickle on the breeze on the days when the temperature rises to within a few degrees of zero.  The days are growing longer, and spring is on its way.

Life and Time

She changes everything she touches.  Everything She touches changes.

This chant has been on my mind lately.  And the “She”, to me, is Time.

This post has been in progress for a while now.  I have been thinking about where I began on this path so many years ago, what I wanted from it, what I hoped to find in the online Pagan community, what I wanted from life in general, and how all that differs from where I find myself now.

Earth Day
(Photo credit: AlicePopkorn)

I think it safe to say that I have moved pretty much completely out of the “Maiden” phase of my life (if you subscribe to such a theory).  I don’t go looking to be different, to carve out my identity, to find a place and a path that is just the perfect fit.

I’ve done that.  For years I did that.  Even when I first started trying to make my own way, I was still searching.  Still hoping for someone to tell me I was doing it right.  Trying so hard to live up to some imaginary standard.  Am I eco enough, am I liberal enough, am I honourable enough, am I artistic enough, am I enough?  It gets to the point where you feel like you’re drowning.

And then, as they say, Life Happens.  Things change, and you find yourself without the time to worry about such things.  My life smashed my thumb with a hammer and brought me back to hyper focus.  I could no longer force myself to care about the things that used to occupy my mind in my youth.

I lost all interest in the things that made the Pagan Community tick.  Aside from the constant fighting and outrage over the misrepresentation of the week, the addiction to study and record keeping lost its lustre for me as well.  My sought after project, creating a big book of shadows to pass down to my children, became less and less important once my children actually arrived.

These days, I’d rather capture their smiles with my D80 while running in the sunshine or run with them, than think about herbal remedies or crystal healing.  When my baby is cutting a tooth, I reach for the gripe water – the same brand that my mom used when I was a baby.  When my little girl scrapes her knee, polysporin goes on the bandage.

There are no poultices or potions.  The only thing I still really make myself is hand lotion.  The only remedy I really use is honey for a sore throat.

Does this make me less a Witch?  Does the lack of a practise or the lack of a solid theology make me less of a Pagan?  Does it matter to me any more?

The last one I can answer: Nope.

The practises I used regularly in my youth can still be called on when needed.  I can still move energy through my body with a single breath.  I use it when I need it (and with a teething baby, trust me, it’s needed).

These days I don’t like to think in terms of differences.  I like seeing how many “New Age” practises have been accepted into the mainstream, and just are generally accepted parts of life.  I like thinking about people as fundamentally the same.  We all think, we all feel, we all need.

La luce calda del tramonto (The warm light of ...
La luce calda del tramonto (The warm light of sunset) “Earth Day” (Photo credit: fabry … )

So where does that leave us?  This blog has evolved slowly over the years, and will probably continue to do so.  I have been thinking about what it would take to finish the Wheel of the Year page.  And whether I should keep it as a reference.  Beltane is coming up.  Hopefully, we will be done with snow by then.  We’ll see.  I have a new book I’m reading for an Animist Book Club dealie.  Keep ’em peeled for a post on that.

I may or may not post more on FB.  I am tending to prefer IG for my social media right now.  Now that it is starting to get sunny and warm, I will have more to post.  I’m also going to start-up the 52 Weeks of Calgary BP again.  Stay tuned.

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Handmade Wardrobe: Part The Second

English: Bee during Spring Season on a Plum tr...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is the part where I daydream of spring and green and lovely light dresses and enjoying the sunshine without need of a coat.

Once again, I spent the spring equinox watching yet another layer of snow fall from the sky.  The Equinox used to be one of my favourite holidays.  These days, it just reminds me that we still have about 6 more weeks before spring is anywhere close to arriving.

Continue reading Handmade Wardrobe: Part The Second