Blog Archives

Let’s Talk About Stones: Fancy Jasper

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This stone is great for grounding and meditation, as it’s thought to bring a sense of wholeness to the bearer.

Fancy Jasper is sometimes referred to as “the rain bringer”. Some believe that rubbing the stone brings a healing, cleansing rain.

This type of Jasper comes in a variety of colors and often has beautiful swirls inside.

-Ck

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Wiccan Wednesday : A Tale of Door-to-Door Religion

Let me preface this post by saying: today I do not look pretty.

I don’t mean that my mascara is smeared or that my outfit is unflattering. I mean that I look like something that crawled out of a swamp in a Jim Henson movie.

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For one thing, I’ve been working furiously to prepare for this weekend’s craft fair. My hands have cuts from wire ends, my fingernails are broken and jagged, and the tail end of a ball of twine is dangling from my sweatshirt pocket.

For another, I spent a sleepless night on the couch, binge watching reruns of Hell’s Kitchen. My stomach and I often have disagreements over my meal choices, and last night was a rough one.

Because of my evening’s activities, my hair is loose and wild, my eyes are packing heavy bags, and my leggings-and-torn-sweatshirt ensemble is less than flattering.

So when the doorbell rang this morning, I was inclined to ignore it.

I hunkered down on the sofa, hoping that the people outside would decide I wasn’t home and wander away.

Assassin, of course, had other plans. She chose that moment to poke a paw through the curtains, creating the illusion that a person was peeking out.

I heard someone outside say “hello!” and the doorbell rang again.

There was no escaping now. So I zipped up my tattered sweater and tentatively pulled the door open.

Outside were two friendly ladies holding a collection of pamphlets.

“Oh,” they both said, taking in my appearance. Though, to be fair, it may have been more than my Fraggle Rock hair that threw them off. “We thought you spoke Spanish,” one of the gals explained.

I blinked. “I do not.”

“Do any of your neighbors speak Spanish?”

“I have no idea,” I admitted. I haven’t lived in the new house for very long, and I’ve hardly taken a poll of the neighborhood.

And with that, the first lady was done with me. She stepped off the porch and the second gal stepped up to the doorway.

She gave me a smile and brandished her pamphlets.

“We’re coming around your neighborhood today to talk about our religion,” she told me.

“Oh,” I said. “Well, I’m not actually…” I trailed off. I didn’t want to outright offend these smiley women who had braved the Oregon rain to come to my door. But I wasn’t sure how to say “I’m not interested in hearing about your religion and your god, so please get off my porch” in a gentle way.

“That’s okay,” she quickly said, opening one of the pamphlets. “We’ve listed several passages from the standard bible that we feel will help you understand what we stand for. Because we all believe in one creator, right? And we all believe in good, right?”

“Sure,” I agreed. “But I don’t actually use a bible.”

“Oh?”

“No, I’m a wiccan.”

“Oh.” The ladies exchanged a quick look. “I don’t actually know a whole lot about your religion,” the gal at my door admitted.

To be honest, at this point I was anticipating the worst. I was expecting to be lectured about the dangers of hell, or least to hear about the virtues of jesus.

But I was surprised.

“Wiccans are very close to nature, right?” She asked.

I agreed.

“We aren’t so different,” she decided. “Nature, to us, is a representation of the creator.”

I nodded, surprised by her answer and the change in her tone. She no longer seemed to be reading from a script. Instead, she seemed genuinely thoughtful.

She wished me a good day with a smile, keeping her pamphlets to herself. Then she and her companion carried on down the road.

And so, my slightly rambling point is this: none of us are so different from each other.

We all have our own path, we all see goodness in our own way. But we all see it. We are all just trying to live in the best way we know how. We’re all just trying to do right.

I’ve had people come to my door with fliers for religion in the past. I’ve had people hand me pamphlets, ignoring the fact that their god and mine are not the same.

But this was the first time that someone has come to my door with the intention of teaching me about their beliefs, only to realize that we already share values.

And it was a much more pleasant experience. Definitely for me, and probably for the ladies at my door.

Wouldn’t it be easier if, instead of standing alone and screaming about our differences, we took a step back and realized our similarities?

-Ck

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Litha – the Summer Solstice

Summer Solstice (c&h)

The longest day of the year goes by many names. But whether you call June 21st Midsummer, Litha, or even Beltane (as some covens do), today is a fabulous day to celebrate.

For Wiccans, Litha is celebrated as the height of the Sun God’s strength. After Midsummer the god weakens and begins to die (to be reborn again at Yule), but today he is strong and powerful. We may light bonfires or candles to commemorate as sun sets and the shortest night begins. In lieu of bonfires, some people prefer decorate their home in sunflowers to represent the Sun God’s warmth.

Love and fertility are also important themes at Midsummer. Dropping a Chamomile sachet into a bath is a great way to cleanse negativity, while attracting love into your life. Some people also choose to jump over bonfires for purity and luck (which is totally dangerous. If you choose to be ridiculous and jump over a bonfire, don’t try to blame your burnt off eyebrows on me).

Even if you aren’t Pagan, Midsummer is still a magical time. The longest day of the year is a perfect time for Barbecues, hikes, and trips to the beach.

Stay safe out there, no matter how you choose to celebrate!

 

-Ck

Friday the 13th AND a Full Moon?

 

Awesome!

People tend to think of Friday the 13th as being bad luck, but for many Wiccans, it’s a blessed day.

Wiccans celebrate 13 Esbats (or lunar Sabbaths) every year. When the moon is full, we honor the Goddess by meditating, cleansing ourselves and our homes, and performing rituals. Because of these Esbats, the number 13 represents the Goddess.

Today is a great day to focus on everything the Goddess represents – healing, growth, unconditional love, strength, joy, grace, and intuition.

Because of the power of the full moon, rituals performed tonight will be especially effective. Especially those which focus on uplifting your spirit by embodying the qualities of the Goddess.

-Ck

 

Let’s Talk About Stones : Serpentine

Serpentine (c&h)

Serpentine is also known as New Jade.

This stone helps to balance emotions and smooth turmoil. It’s thought to assist meditation, especially when meditating on finding inner peace.

Serpentine is also a protective stone. It’s supposed to ward against disease and poisonous creatures.

Plus, holding Serpentine against your skin is thought to help with stomach pain, cramps, and indigestion.

-Ck

Happy Ostara!

Have a wonderful Ostara weekend!

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Let’s Talk About Herbs : Cloves

cloves (c&h)

Cloves are great to have around the house. Not only do they smell amazing, but they can help out in times of trouble.

The smell of cloves (hung up or burned as incense) is supposed to drive away hostile energy, purify a room, and attract riches.

Carrying cloves is thought to bring comfort to the bereaved.

-Ck

 

Let’s Talk About Herbs : Garlic

garlic sprout (c&h)

Garlic can be used for so much more than just chasing away vampires.

This stinky herb is great for protection. Hanging dried Garlic over your door is thought to protect the home from negative energy, robbers, and illness. Biting a Garlic clove is supposed to chase away demons, and wearing a necklace of cloves is thought to protect against physical injury.

Rubbing a clove of Garlic over an injury, and then throwing the clove into a river, supposedly brings speedy healing. If you’re worried about contracting Hepatitis, wearing thirteen cloves for thirteen days is supposed to protect you from this disease (though, nowadays, it’s easier just to get the shot).

Tucking a clove under a child’s pillow is thought to keep them safe from night terrors, while rubbing a little Garlic on the inside of a cooking pot blesses and protects the food (and adds a little flavor).

Eating lots of Garlic is also rumored to be good for your love life. Apparently, it triggers lust, not only in the eater-of-the-Garlic, but also in their date.

On top of all of this, Garlic is super easy to grow. Just buy a head at the store and leave it in a cool, not-too-sunny place for a couple of weeks. Suddenly you’ll have these little green shoots (called Garlic Sprouts). Break apart the head and toss any cloves that are funny colors or squishy. Set the rest of the cloves in a shallow container (flat ends down), add just a little water, and leave them in a sunny place. Soon they’ll grow roots and produce more shoots.

garlic sprouts in cup (c&h)

You can trim these sprouts and use them like you would chives. They have that awesome Garlic flavor, but they don’t make your breath stink.

Make sure you change the water every few days and toss any cloves that start to look icky. The cloves will produce sprouts for about 3 months. Once the shoots brown and dry up, toss the cloves and get some more.

-Ck

 

100th Post – How To Set Up Your Altar

Boy, I don’t know about you guys, but this whole Mercury in Retrograde thing has really hit me hard. Not so much in my day-to-day life luckily, but my creative life has really suffered.

For the last several days, I’ve just been unable to be artistic and fun. It’s all bad.

Honestly, I must have tried to start this post a dozen times. And every time the photos I took were grainy and boring, the text I wrote was bland and repetitive, and my heart just wasn’t in it.

Today, I woke up determined to FINALLY write this post. I decided that maybe if I tried something a little different, it would spark my creative side.

So instead of the normal photos that accompany my posts, today my friends, you will have drawings – in crayon, no less. Because, really, it’s impossible not to have fun when drawing with crayons.

In my last post (which feels like it was a hundred years ago, I know), I asked what you wanted to see. And two-thirds of you voted for a Wiccan How-To.

So today, we’re going to talk about how to set up an Altar.

altars (c&h)

(Please, keep in mind that this is how I – as a solitary Wiccan- set up my altars. This post is intended only as a jumping off point. There’s no right or wrong, here.)

Now, a good altar needs three things : 1. A representation of Spirit, 2. A representation of your intention, 3. A representation of yourself.

spirit (c&h)

For most Wiccans (and, really, for most people of any religion), Spirit is involved in everything you do. I’m not talking about a big ol’ guy with a long white beard, here. I’m not even talking about a specific deity. I’m talking about the over-arching idea of a higher power – however you choose to see it.

When looking for a way to represent Spirit on your alter, you should find something that speaks to you. It doesn’t matter what it is – there’s no wrong answer here – as long as it’s meaningful to you. You could use a statue of a deity, a branch of a tree you really love, a painting which moves you, or even a certain color candle.

intention (c&h)

Really, there are only two types of altars – permanent altars and temporary altars. A permanent altar is set up in a designated space. It might be a portion of a bookshelf, an end table, it might even be hanging on the wall. A permanent altar never (well, rarely) moves. A temporary altar is one that you set up for a short period of time.

Both types have their purpose. A permanent altar is usually created to bring something to a household (like love, protection, or respect). Temporary altars are most often used for rituals or holidays.

If you’re having a hard time finding something to represent the intention of the altar, just ask yourself “Why am I making this altar?” Is it to celebrate a holiday? Seasonal herbs or fruits are a great way to show that (think pumpkins at Samhain and pine boughs at Yule). Is it to honor a loved one who has passed? Photos or mementos (like jewelry or letters) are perfect. Or maybe it’s to bring a little extra love into your life? Rose Quartz, pink candles, or dried flower petals are decorative, as well as meaningful.

you (c&h)

There are lots of different ways to represent yourself in your altar. Many people consider actually standing at the altar to be the representation (this works best for temporary altars, since you usually take it down when you’re finished standing in front of it). In a permanent altar, it’s best to leave a small trinket or symbol among the other items. You know, since you have a life, and won’t be standing in that corner of your living room 24/7.

Whatever you choose, just be sure that it’s meaningful to you.

alter before (c&h)

Pink scarf + Photograph + Votive holder + Stone beads (Rose Quartz and Aventurine) + Tea light candle (in silver, to represent the Goddess) + End table …

 

alter after (c&h)

… = Finished Altar!
Lay the scarf down as an altar cloth, set up the photo, fill the votive holder with stone beads and place the tea light on top. Ta Da!

You may also want to use an altar cloth. Altar cloths are great because they add visual depth to your altar, protect the altar’s surface (that table or shelf you’re using) from things like wax and scratches, and they can be used to represent the different aspects.

For example, your grandpa’s old handkerchief might be perfect for that memorial altar.  A piece of fabric, printed with a pentagram, might be exactly what your protective altar needs. You might even use a strip of lace for your love altar.

Like I said, there’s no wrong way to make an altar. Just pick things that you love and have fun.

-Ck

Ps – If you’re looking for a good book on altars, check out Altars : Bringing Sacred Shrines Into Your Everyday Life by Denise Linn. It’s full of beautiful pictures and great ideas.

Let’s Talk About Herbs : Sage

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Sage is used for all kinds of awesome things.

It’s a protective herb. Burning Sage in a home will cleanse and bless the space.

Carrying Sage is thought to promote wisdom. Carrying the leaves in a sachet or in your pocket is supposedly the best way to bring a little wisdom to your life.

Writing a wish or intention on a Sage leaf and sleeping on it is thought to make the wish real. If, however, you haven’t dreamed of your desire within three days, you’re supposed to bury the leaves and try again.

Apparently, there are a few rules when it comes to gardening Sage. Filling an entire garden plot with this herb is considered bad luck. It’s best to plant Sage beside another magickal herb.

Evidently, it’s also bad luck to plant your own Sage. I’ve read that you’re supposed to have a friend or family member plant it for you, but to me that sounds kind of hard to accomplish… Maybe if you offer to do the dishes or something?

Ck