Saturday, 30 May 2009

Craft of the Wild Witch

Over the course of my journey so far I have read many pagan, wiccan and witchcraft related books. Some I have learnt from, some I have thought were utter tosh, and many were disappointingly similar to hundreds of others. I dare say that I will also read many more in the coming years, but the one thing that I can say for all of the books I have read is that they have taught me something about myself. Even the books I have really disliked have shown me, without a shadow of a doubt, what I don't believe and agree with.
Books have an amazing way of delivering both informative and useful things and evoking in us strong feelings and forcing us to question ourselves and our system of beliefs. As someone who has studied and read A LOT about religion and philosophy I love this aspect of books, I love to be challenged mentally and have found my system of beliefs has grown stronger and more developed as a result.
There is one book, however, that has had a greater impact on me than any other. It is one that I acquired fairly recently compared to most of my books, but the second I started reading it, it felt like I was welcoming back an old friend into my life. Many of the commercial books I have read, even those written for a solitary worker, are often written from a more wiccan point of view. And while I do not have an issue with this, I have always known that this is not the route for me. So I have learnt my craft from my guides, my intuition and myself, often coming under scrutiny and finding prejudices that state I cannot be a true witch if I am a) not tutored by another or b) not born into an hereditary line of witches. Then I found "Craft of the Wild Witch" by Poppy Palin and it restored my confidence in my methods and direction. It focused me once again after a considerable amount of 'thinking time' and since reading it both my craft and my power (which, in my view ultimately stems from confidence and intent) have never been stronger. It is a book I would heartily recommend to anyone interested in/practicing natural witchcraft, looking for something different, individual and non-wiccan.

28/05/09 post - Books

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Salt Dough - the witches friend

Salt dough, what a great and versatile medium for all manner of spells, charms and devotional items, small statues, offering bowls etc as well as a fantastic way to ground yourself and connect to the earth. It is easy and very cheap to make, non-toxic and fun for adults and children. You can colour the dough, add herbs and spell items, draw into it, scent it and paint it once it has hardened, the possibilities really are endless. Above are some goddess tokens I made out of basic salt dough (recipe below) to which I simply added some herbs; jasmine, rose and larkspur, for the triple goddess, adding a hole for threading something through to hang them. Once baked and hardened I added embroidery floss (which comes in so many colours you are bound to find one that's right) and hung them - six in total, three of each - around the garden as offerings. The dough, herbs and thread will decompose naturally and they are harmless which is particularly important when you have kids running round investigating things like I do. It is also a nice idea to add in seeds for wildflowers or such so that when the offering weathers away, the seeds drop and grow into something new and encourage wildlife into your garden.

Salt Dough Recipe:

10 oz plain flour
10 oz salt
1/3 pint lukewarm water
1 tbsp vegetable oil

Mix the ingredients into a dough adding more water/flour and salt to form into a plyable dough that is neither too sticky or dry. Once you have made your creations bake on gas mark 4 for 1 hour (for larger pieces) or for smaller pieces on the lowest setting until hardened and slightly coloured.

*****
This is a fantastic recipe for homemade 'playdough', it too is non-toxic and, as long as it is kept in an airtight container, stays fresh and useable indefinitely. It is great if you don't want to keep your creations, just play with a thick medium, it's relaxing, grounding and fun to use and kids love the stuff, so why spend a fortune buying pricey commercial products when you can make it yourself easily, simply and at a fraction of the cost:
1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup salt
1 tbsp cream of tartar
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup water
food colouring of your choice.
Mix the ingredients together adding the food colouring a bit at a time depending on the colour and strength of colour you want. Now heat gently in a non-metallic pan and as you stir it you will notice it thicken and begin to form a dough. Pull it together with your wooden spoon and once the dough has formed remove from the heat and leave to cool. Store in an airtight container and have some fun!

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Weekly Wisdom

As I write this (and tuck into a few Ferrero Rocher - just to get them out of the house you understand) I have every good intention to start really trying to lose weight tomorrow. It's been four months since I gave birth to baby number two and it's high time I made a sustained effort to shed the baby weight. I may not have put on the five stone I did with my first child, but there is still a lot there to shift, and what better time to start such a venture as the new moon?

As I worked in the kitchen earlier I remembered a plaque that my nan used to have in her kitchen, the diet themed quote being this weeks little pearl of wisdom. The plaque itself pictured a cartoon hippo with full makeup on in a dainty ballet dress and shoes with the words:

"A minute on the lips, a lifetime on the hips"

a popular dieting phrase and one that i think we can all at some point see both the truth and therefore the humour in. So let it into your life with it's funny fat ballet dancing hippo to brighten and inspire your lifestyle, not necessarily to diet (I hate both the word and the concept) but to remind us that our bodies are our temples and deserve to be treated with respect, love and humour. They do a good job after all and are what we make them to be, in their multitude of beautiful shapes and sizes )O(

Friday, 22 May 2009

More Garden Pics

I don't know what the flowers in the above picture are, if anyone knows please do tell. They appear every year in purple/blue, white and pink :)




Purple DMs

A gratuitous picture of my new purple DMs for all to bask in their purple glory. After wearing them for a couple of weeks they are now finally broken in and lovely and comfy to wear.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Slacking Off

Well, it's been a hellish week all in all capped off with 2 migraines in 5 days and a general inability to shift the headache. All in all I have had little time to update my blog, but hopefully, now I'm feeling a little better things will be picking up again soon. I took some nice new garden picks to share with you all in the next day or so and I have been working on my dress for the last couple of days so will soon have some pics of that to share too. So it looks like I will be playing catch up as I have a few things to add including a fab recipe for homemade "playdough" :)

Fingers crossed the bunk beds are now due to arrive on Saturday morning - guaranteed (like we haven't heard that one already) and I'm going out with my hubby, for the first time since having baby number 2 in January, on Saturday evening. Mum's coming down to babysit and stay the night and we are going to a comedy night locally headlined by one of my favourite current comedians, Michael McIntyre, which should be a good evening out.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

If it can go wrong, it will go wrong.

In Sunfire's post about Mercury Retrograde (this weeks pagan prompt) she wrote "Normally, Mercury going retrograde brings to life Murphy's Law: If it can go wrong, it will." It is this that made me look back over the past week's issues, all of which have occurred so far during the Mercury Retrograde and find a certain truth in this statement.

Issues that we believed long dead have resurfaced over the last couple of days, one with a year and a half long battle with an electricity company, another with a 2 month wait for a seemingly non-existent bed that we ordered missing yet another delivery deadline, money troubles of our own with customers not paying on time (leaving us financially in the schtuck), and a surprise migraine coming on this afternoon. If it has ever felt as though we are taking one step forward two steps back, it is now. It has been rubbing off on those around us too as redundancies are occurring (hardly surprising in the current climate I know) and illness has been taking hold.

As many seem to be feeling at this time, my creativity seems to have diminished radically, particularly as far as writing is concerned, and I have found myself looking at all aspects of my life and trying to find and create order, whether it be by having a massive sort out and houseclean, or sorting through my sketchbook and organizing my work catalog. In themselves these activities of course are useful and important, but why now? What is spurring me on to forsake the doing and return to the planning? Mercury Retrograde? Quite probably, as I always find I return to this state of mind when I have a roll of stresses and things not going to plan.

I guess the only good thing is that things can only get better, and a lull in inspiration and creativity is always followed by a massive boon in it further down the line.

Topic inspired by

14/5/09 post- Mercury Retrograde

Weekly Wisdom

This is one of those classic quotes that, once you've heard it stays with you always because it is just so good to remember. It is one of my favourites and always reminds me to live in the present and not dwell on the past or worry about the future. It has been around for a long time in one form or another, as to it's true origins? I don't know, so if anyone knows where it comes from please share. It has been around and repeated so much that I wouldn't be surprised if it's true origins had been lost, as is the case with many poignant phrases:

"Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift.
That is why it is called the present."

Monday, 11 May 2009

Toby Cat

I had been reading a magazine that had an article on pets, our relationships to them and our spiritual connection with them and thought I would share the story of how my cat Toby came to our family. I have connected very deeply with my cat, I believe that it was the right time for me to take on an animal and that, when he came to us, he was just what we needed in our lives.

It was just over 3 years ago that I began having strange dreams about a tabby cat in need of help. Every night for a week I saw this cat in my mind sitting by our shed, looking thin and dirty and asking for help. Imagine my surprise then when I opened my front door to be greeted by that scene. It was as though I was dreaming again. This poor female cat came to me, I fed her and comforted her in her appalling state. She had no collar and very little energy, she had obviously not eaten in a long time, so we took her to our local vets. They checked her over and scanned for a microchip.....nothing, but they also couldn't take her in, so we decided to look after her for a little while. After bathing her for two days straight (which was a mission in itself), grooming her and feeding her she was finally looking better. We killed her fleas and gave her worming treatments and then we started to look for her owners. Three weeks later we had had no success.

We were just about to give up when, out of the blue we had a phone call from a woman who had by chance seen our ad in last weeks paper just as she was about to dispose of it. She had recently moved and the cat had been missing for nearly three months. She had assumed it dead until she had seen our ad. Needless to say the cat had become a part of our family, so I was upset to see her go. For a couple of nights I dreamed I was out walking around calling for her to come home. On the third night she came when I called her in my dream and told me that she was home now. She thanked me for my help and told me that there was another cat waiting for me, a black kitten called Toby. The next day we came across an ad for black kittens desperately in need of a home. One picked us from the off and he has been with us ever since.

Coincidence? I don't believe in coincidences.

I believe that the first cat came to us to remind us what it is like to have an animal around the house again and prepare us for Toby's arrival. We hadn't had any pets in a long time after I was devastated that we had to rehome our last ones when we lost our home and I had not wanted to get any more in case it happened again, even though I love cats and have always owned them or had them around me. Now, I wouldn't be without Toby. He comforts me when I am sad or unwell.....he was practically joined to me while I was pregnant with Ethan last year and when he wasn't with me he was out hunting bringing back birds and mice that he would carefully lay at my feet in the mornings. In my mind he's my cat and in his mind I'm his human :)

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Weekly Wisdom

Inspired by some words of wisdom this weekend that came to me at the most fortuitous time and had a great impact on me for very personal reasons I thought I would share them with you all. Hopefully they will inspire and counsel further, and hopefully this may become a weekly 'feature' to my blog.

First is DOVE

This morning I came down stairs to be greeted by the word DOVE spelled out on the fridge, the bird of peace spreading stillness and hope to all. This was particularly fitting with regards to personal happenings my end over the last few days. I had written it while I was on the phone to my mum Saturday evening and it hadn't even registered, not until the next day when it really did it's job to bring peace to my heart and soul.

Second is UNITY

Advice and inspiration from the fey, this message came about as I revamped and prayed at my faery altar, again very fitting for my own reasons and a great reminder that working together is far better than working in friction with each other, which in turn also brings peace.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Divination - Voice of The Soul.

Over the years I have tried many forms of divination, cards, scrying, pendulums - pretty much anything I could get my hands on and my preferences have changed as I have changed and developed.

I used to use the tarot a lot and made many accurate readings for both myself and my friends, however, over the last year or so I have felt the imagery seems almost dead to me. It doesn't speak to me as it did before and even though I have been using it for 8-9 years. Instead now I have found the runes have been calling me and since making my own set, which took a good while and a lot of personal effort, they feel like a part of me (pictures here). Something which I never felt with my tarot cards in the same way. I would definitely recommend that if you are 'into' runes it is well worth making your own set out of wood (it's hugely satisfying and you really connect with the energy behind each symbol). I also use oracle cards, the deck I have had the longest is my 'Good Witch, Bad Witch' deck and I have had a lot of success with these, more recently I have acquired the 'Green Man Tree Oracle' cards and I am still getting used to these. Interestingly it was connecting with my runes that led me to discover this deck and they evoke strong feelings in me when I work with them.

I think the most important thing, with any form of divination, and which took me a good long while to realise, is not to try to 'learn' their meanings, as a tool that is right for you will speak very individually to you. It is hard and a little scary at first to set aside that book that comes with a divination set, but ultimately a reading is far more successful if it is intuitive. But where does this information come from? In my view, when using a tool for divination you are using it to connect to your higher-self/soul. Opening up a your psychic channel, which in turn I have found then comes more in to play throughout your everyday life as well. In practicing divination in many forms I have found my spiritual voice coming through daily for both regular more mundane reasons and when I have been working the craft (creating spells or recipes), even with my creativity as it inspires and guides my work. I can truthfully say that whenever I recognize that voice it is always right and always voicing what is best for me, even if I don't want to admit it at the time, and believe me I have made the mistake of ignoring it's advice before.

Topic inspired by:

7/05/09 post - "Divination/Guidance"

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Teething Trouble

It's been a rough old day for us today, mainly because our little boy Ethan, whose 15 weeks old, has started teething :( He woke at 3:15am this morning and has been screaming in pain since, sleeping only when he has exhausted himself right out. Thankfully he has settled well to bed and with any luck we'll have a couple of better days ahead of us. I just hate that there is so little I can do to help him. Our daughter was never that aggro when her teeth were coming through....or at least she didn't 'complain' as much about it....looks like he is fitting well into his masculine role at an early age huh!? Joking aside though I hope that we have a better night tonight :)

On a lighter note I ordered a pair of fab purple Dr Martin Boots yesterday and I can't wait to get them. I love DMs, I had a black pair that I wore until they literally fell apart, and this time, short of finding a cow print pair I thought purple was the way to go. I will be posting a picture of them when they arrive, so all can bask in there purple leathery glory.....lol.

Monday, 4 May 2009

How does my garden grow?

Here we have some more spring pictures from our garden:



And these are my seeds, the three potted herbs were planted a couple of weeks ago while the small seedlings at the bottom were sown just a week ago. From left to right they are cucumber, tomato and lettuce.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Faery House


As planned I went to the garden center - in the rain - and bought some bird houses. The one I had originally seen was there, though a little expensive for my meager finances, so I settled on these ones, which were both cheaper and I think a bit nicer looking as they are a bit more natural. The next question was how to open them up a little. The rectangular one was a no go, due to the way it had been put together so I have put it up in the ivy in the garden, where I know a lot of birds nest every year.

The round one was a different story as I managed to remove the two panels that made the wholed entrance so that I could access the inside. I then took the small circular wood perch that was fixed to these panels and attached it to the middle of the inside to make a little table.

So what would be the best 'furniture' to go inside? There isn't much space in there so I made little cushions from fabric scraps I had, stuffing them with a mixture of herbs that the fey like. A small rose quartz crystal and a diddy little wall hanging made out of a pressed jasmine flower and leaf and some of my homemade paper and voila, interior decor faery style.
I also made some silk taffeta curtains that, when undone work like a door and used shiny sequin strings to hang from the roof, finally placing it in the long grasses at the foot of our tree.

Needless to say my daughter loves it, so much so that she decided to make a miniature letter to go inside for the faeries (that's the white mini envelope you can see in there). She drew some little pictures for them and I made the envelope and sealed it with a forget-me-not.

A Blessed Beltane

Happy Beltane Everyone!
I always gain an incredible amount of peace from setting up and decorating my altar for the seasons and festivals. I gather what I can from nature and around my house and love to create a seasonal space while I think about the time at hand and what it means to me. As I tie ribbons and sometimes charms to a special stick I found while out walking I count my blessings, of which I am thankful to say there are always many, and I let go of the things that have been troubling me. My heart lifts and at that moment in time all the things that have been on my mind and bothering me are no more, taken from me and cast to the universe I find peace and a certainty that they will sort themselves out, as most things do.
And so I wish you all a Blessed Beltane and remind you not to forget the things you have to be thankful for and to place the things that are troubling you into the hands of the universal energy, particularly if there is nothing you can do about them. This is, after all, not a time for worry, but instead for celebration.
)O(

Friday, 1 May 2009

Twitter.....

Ok, just a note to say I'm now on twitter - I've only been there a couple of days and am still trying to get used to it but feel free to follow me and I will do the same to you......now that makes me sound like some kind of stalker, lol. I'm still not sure what to make of the whole twitter thing, but that's probably because I don't now anyone on there yet. There's a link in my sidebar, see you there?