Quick Post about the Afterlife…

Posted June 29th, 2012 by HelenScott

Though summer isn’t a time I usually think about change, I’ve been contemplating death, which is the ultimate change. Always, around the Summer Solstice, my “Medium Sense” starts tingling and I begin to see spirits more often and in mass quantity. I blame it on the imbalance of the sun and the moon that causes the shift of perception, and makes the veil between the spiritual and physical realm thinner….though I don’t understand it….I’ve come to except it.

As an eclectic Wiccan (I use this term loosely), I have no specific belief in an afterlife… only that there is one. Every religion has its own idea of what happens when you die…and so do those who pass over. It’s hard to find two spirits that experience the same thing when they pass on and I’m starting to believe that you see what you want to see…and you experience what you want to experience (whether it be heaven, hell, or rebirth)…but that’s just based on MY experience.

Lets talk about “The Final Resting Place”… which is the most common afterlife belief. Whether it be the Christian Heaven, the Islamic (post-judgment day) Heaven, The Maksha in Hinduism (which is a little more complicated than the other two…but still considered the final resting place), The Judaism Heaven (in some beliefs), The Halls of Valhalla, Summerland, or The Underworld (or Hades). It’s all a singular place of rest, where the soul can finally be at peace (or in torment…such as Hell), though the original book in the most popular religions don’t really describe what the heaven is. You’ll find in each religion there are different sects that believe in different things… and reasons why they believe in those things.

But my favorite one… though I don’t believe this myself..and doesn’t really fall in line to my personal experiences.. is from Upanishadic Hinduism… where you continue in the cycle of Karma until “Maksha”, or freedom from this cycle…at which point you wake from the dream of separateness and realize this whole time you’ve been a part of  Brahma (or God). I like the concept that individuality is illusionary… and that we’re all the same… and we’re all a part of something bigger and better.. it’s a beautiful belief.

Then there’s always the counterpart of the “Heavens”, which is the “Hells”. I don’t really believe in a hell, mainly because of all the entities I’ve communed with never have mentioned it. I think if you fully believe you’re going to hell… you will, but I don’t believe in a vengeful God…and I especially believe that your soul is a clean, pure, entity and the “Evils” or “Wrongs” committed in the physical realm do not pass on to the spiritual…  

..okay devil’s advocate… we’ve all heard of vengeful wandering spirits who hurt others and haunt buildings etc etc etc… those are spirits who didn’t pass into the spiritual realm…but are stuck in the physical (let me rephrase: STUCK…and probably confused and angry) for whatever reason are still with us… they are not the spirits I’m speaking of…but moving on…

So I guess what I’m trying to say is find the afterlife you like the most… though no one on this side of the veil is absolutely, positively sure where they’re going when it’s time to pass on… it’s better to believe… then not…

Faery Garden

Posted May 17th, 2012 by HelenScott

Hello Spring!! (Who am I kidding, we live in Texas…. hello summer)

It’s just the right time to start planting in the garden… except when you live in an apartment, like myself, and there’s no garden… then you plant in pots… but it’s time none the less.

My live-in-mate has always been interested in the ‘F’ word…. no not that ‘F’ word, this ‘F’ word: Faeries. I don’t say that word myself, and I don’t allow it in the house. I see the ‘F word’ people as mischievous, , tricksters, and dangerous… though I respect them and their existence, I just don’t want them in my house.

I recently realized the best way to keep them out of my house is to invite them into my garden. One specifically made for them. “What garden Helen?? You live in an apartment!”… As an apartment witch, I’ve learned to work around these things… I don’t need a garden to have a ‘F word’ garden….

So, first things first….
You need an area to plan your special garden.
If you have a house and/or a backyard, start by clearing the area of twigs, leaves, rocks, and foreign matter (ex: trash). Next, pull all the weeds out of the area. Once that’s prepared, grab a pencil and paper and sketch the shape of the area, and from there start to brainstorm how you’d like your garden to look.

If you live in an apartment, like myself, you want to find a container that would be well suited to plant in and will fit in an outside area (like a patio). I like the idea of garage sale-ing (sailing lol) to find a used bird bath, large pots, hanging planters…basically anything that’s functional and can hold soil.
Next, buy some potting soil and fill the container until the soil is about a half-inch away from the top of the container. Do not pack the soil, we want it loose for our plants. Now, start planning your garden.

Some ideas to help plan:
1. Fae people like really good smelling flowers, such as: dianthus, mullein/verbascum, morning glory, st. bernard’s lilly, and marigolds just to name a few. I suggest looking up the meaning/uses and toxicity of the plants you plan on planting you garden. 
2. They also like a place to rest, so plan on having a small house, bench, or a little hammock where they can sit and enjoy the area.   (Houses are probably the best choice, since they like to hide).
3. Offerings. If you plan on attracting, and keeping the fae in your garden you’ll need a place to put offerings. They are usually attracted to sweet cake, and fruit. Plan on having a small plate, stone, or slat of wood to place these offering on.
4. Stone walkways, little ponds, and bells/chimes are optional and will definitely give your garden some ambiance but aren’t necessary. You decide what else you’d like to place, and remember more isn’t always better, sometime more is just more.
5. Mushroom ring. Also optional, but supper cute!! I really like this idea because mushroom circles are still magical to me, and always make me think of the ‘F word’.

**Rosemary makes great minutre trees, and are really easy to trim…if you’re going for the miniture garden look**

**Blue polished rocks make great fake streams and ponds**

**Seashells are great for small offerings**

I’m going to leave you with some ideas for you garden.

 

 

 

Overcoming Criticism with Intelligence

Posted February 16th, 2012 by denwagh

As someone whose religion, beliefs or faith differ from the society norm, we as Pagans (be it Wiccans, Druids, Buddhists, etc) face a lot of criticism. Most of this is passive and we may not notice it but on occasion it is in your face in the form of debate, accusations or just plain fanatical screaming.

The later happened to me a few years ago in Deep Ellum when a Christian street preacher of about nineteen years old saw the pentacle I wear around my neck. Instead of ignoring him or telling him to go away with colorful language, I engaged him and used his own turf to prove the point that perhaps he should be studying his religious history rather than screaming at “heathens” on a street corner.

If you’ve read my bio, you know I was raised in the Lutheran Church and broke away later in life, with a firm understand of the Christian faith and having read it’s book many times. While I don’t agree with many of the teachings (and do agree with others), I do retain much of what I learned and can still quote Christian scripture when needed.

The young man spun on me as I passed him and to my back yelled, “You openly wear the sign of the believers of Satan!” This is what opened the discussion you see below. This is from memory but it’s fairly accurate and the Bible versus quoted I remember exactly as I wrote about the event in my personal journal and use it now as reference to write this.

ME: “Don’t you as well believe in Satan?”
SP: “Yes, but I do not worship him as you do.”
ME: But you said “believers” not “worshipers”.
SP: “You know what I mean”
ME: “I really don’t, but I’d be interested in hearing what your opinion of someone you met thirty seconds ago based on a symbol around his neck is”
(I really don’t think the kid was ready for a confrontation as he paused and looked caught off-guard at this point and I had to coax him into replying)
SP: “You wear a pentegram which represents Satan”
ME: “Actually, this is a pentacle, not a pentagram but they are often confused. This symbol pre-dates Christianity and symbolizes the four elements and the body or in some religions, the spirit. Did you know that the pentacle was inscripbed on King Soloman’s ring and in Hebrew scripture was the most important seal amulet of the 7 Seals?”
SP: “You are lying”
ME: “Why would I lie about something like that when you can simply research it to prove whether it’s false or not? I encourage you to look it up. In addition the pentagram was associated with the five wounds of Christ, and because it could be drawn in one continuous movement of the pen, the Alpha and the Omega as one.
SP: “…”
ME: “I don’t expect you to take my word for it but please do research it.” I am pagan, I don’t believe in Satan therefore would not worship him. I believe in spirit, and that the earth itself lives. I believe in “Do what you will but harm none”. I also believe in acceptance of others as you should as well based on Exodus 22:21 found in your Bible you have there”
SP: (gets out his Bible)
ME: Don’t worry about it, the passage is “Do not mistreat an alien or oppress him, for you were aliens in Egypt” I am an alien to you yet you oppress me rather than witness to me. Shouldn’t you, based on your beliefs, be trying to witness your Lord’s word to me?
(At this time there are 4 or 5 people standing around listening)
SP: “Yes, we are taught to witness to non-believers”
ME: Does your particular denomination of Christianity teach you to scream heathen at everyone you see who is wearing a symbol that you don’t understand?
SP: “No”.
ME: “Pull out your Bible there and read Matthew 7:5 to me and then Luke 6:31.”
SP: (Reluctant, as by now he clearly realizes that I am not some dumb kid with jewelry from Hot Topic..”)  He reads the passages.
ME: “Does it sound like you are judging me? And as well, doesn’t that last line sound a lot like my belief of “Do what you will, harm none?”
SP: “Yes I am judging you and perhaps I got a little carried away”
ME: “There is nothing wrong with letting your beliefs ignite you. I learned that when I was still a Christian Youth Minister and it is something I carry today.”
SP: “You were Christian?”
ME: “Yes. For most of my adult life”
SP: “Why did you leave?”
ME: “That is a long story, but if you would like to hear it, give me a call”

I left the debate and he went about his business. In the end, he did call me about two days later. He was apparently very new and his denomination of Christianity was one I knew to be very “vocal” in the street preaching scene. I told him my story and gave him some references to consider for religious history.

As Pagans we have enough social issues without creating more by publicly yelling at another person whose views don’t match ours.. Instead, and in my opinion, “killing them with kindness” is the way to go.

Imbolc

Posted February 2nd, 2012 by HelenScott

Well, Imbolc is almost here…hence the post.

Lets talk about an easy way to celebrate this holiday, by making an alter. Not everyone has a standard, everyday alter, but a make shift (or non working) is just fine. If you’re not burning any candles or incense, a bookshelf always works and so does a small wall shelf.  A mantle over a fireplace, and even a fireplace or hearth will work if you are burning anything (I use a small bedside table…).

So.. a bit about Imbolc:

  • Marks that spring is coming (not to get mixed up with the Spring Equinox)
  • Halfway between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox
  • It’s a festival of Hearth and Home
  • Celebration of the lengthening days, and the early signs of spring
  • Possible predecessor to the North American Groundhog Day
  • Colors: Red (sun) and White (snow), and the color green (new growth).

 

Some decide to celebrate Brigid on this day (it is St. Brigid’s day)

Notes:

  • Classic triple goddess
  • Known for healing and the craft
  • Honored with a sacred flame at her sanctuary at Kildare Ireland
  • Connected to sacred wells and springs

Okay, before you start saying ‘St. Brigid? Isn’t that Christian?’, know that the Catholics converted this Goddess into Christianity because of the love of her followers in Ireland.

 

Moving on…

Lets talk about the alter, here are some ideas:

  • Cauldrons or Chalices: Brigid is connected to sacred wells and springs
  • Anvil or Hammer: Brigid is the goddess of smithcraft
  • Corn dolls are popular
  • Animals: cows, sheep or swans
  • A goddess Statue
  • Book of poetry, or a poem you’ve written (Brigid is the patroness of poets)
  • Faeries, in some traditions (Brigid is the sister of the Fae)
  • Healing Herbs, connected to healing rites
  • Lots of Candles or a cauldron with a small fire in it.
  • Brigid’s cross

 

Here’s a picture of my alter:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recently I’ve been living my life by a short phrase: “Keep it simple”, and it has definitely taken a lot of stress off. So my alter is very simple and to the point, but I’ll explain a few things.

Alter Cloth: I made this (I’m kind of addicted to sewing), it’s green (but looks blue in this picture) and it’s my fall back alter covering, I have a few more but this is one I use for more of a general, non working alter. Green is easily worked into any ritual, or alter setting and most Holidays have green as a staple color.

The Candles: I love love love these types of candles. You can find them at the dollar store…they always have red and white. They’re hard to knock over (I have two cats) and they last for a very long time.

Glass of Rocks: In Ireland Brigid has sacred wells and streams, this is to represent this aspect of her. I am also a water sign, so it allows me to connect on a different level with this holiday. (There’s little water so my cats don’t try to drink out of it)

Incense Burner: For burning incense (self explanatory)

Plant: Some sage I grew during the spring, sort of an offering. It’s sitting on top of a fire resistant burner, just incase I decide to burn it later.

Chalice: Again, representing an aspect of Brigid

The Bell: To ring for protection and cleansing

Animals: I have two elephants in the middle, umm… no other reason except I love elephants… and they represent good luck… so good luck for the spring I guess… and the white sleeping cat because cats are my power animal.

Triquerta: It’s the pagan trinity symbol, not just for the Triple Goddess but for protection. (You can never have enough protection)

 

So, I hope this has helped you decorate your alter. I hope you have a wonderful and safe Holiday. Happy Imbolc, and happy St. Brigid’s Day!!

 

 

February….

Posted February 1st, 2012 by HelenScott

And the wheel has turned to February….

 

 Happy February Everyone!!
I feel like time is already flying by me this year, and I definitely haven’t achieved the goals I set out in January…so I’m continuing my goal from last month to post on DIY projects and house crafting (even though this post has neither…)

Lets talk a bit about February…
It’s named for Februum, which is the Latin term for Purification. Little do we know, February was the month for the ritual Februa (held on the 15, or full moon) in the Roman Calendar (think of Februa festival as spring washing or spring cleaning). It’s the shortest month of the year, this year being a leap year (which is lucky?? Right?) so there are 29 days this year.

February Birthstone: Amethyst
“If the February born shall find
Sincerity and peace of mind
Freedom from passion and from care
If she the Amethyst will wear.”

February is the time for a little holiday I celebrate, Imbolc.
I will be following this with a post about Imbolc Alters (very shortly).

References:
www.wikipedia.org

Working in the Kitchen: Part 1

Posted January 12th, 2012 by HelenScott

So…working in the kitchen…

Up until two years ago I didn’t really cook, and I minimally baked (and I prefer baking). When I started picking up cooking on a regular basis, I started looking into a cook book that also incorporated the craft. During my search for a beginner book everything led me to Scott Cunningham’s ‘Wicca in the Kitchen’. It’s a basic beginner encyclopedia on standard food used every day…and it has some great recipes!

I’m going to share some insights and inserts from his book.

“Our lives still contain vestiges of these earlier practices. Prayer (or “saying grace”) before meals is perhaps the most common. It is popular not only in Christianity but also in many other religions. The urge to give thanks for food prior to eating has its origins in the Pagan sacrifices common in ancient Egypt, Sumer, Greece, Rome, and many other cultures. Portions of the food were burned of placed in offering bowls. The food now is just simply blessed.”

Food is something that’s not often mentioned in most craft books. Cunningham considers food the ‘untapped source of power’, and after reading his book and considering what I eat, and how much I eat, it’s very easy to incorporate the meaning of food into my everyday.

Cunningham’s tips in practicing food magic:

  1. Decide what you wish to change about yourself.
  2. Select foods that contain energies suitable to your desired change.
  3. Choose foods that you enjoy.
  4. Prepare the food with visualization
  5. Attune with all food prior to eating
  6. Visualize as you eat
  7. Accept the energy that the food offers to you
  8. Give the food time to do its work

“As long as you eat with purpose and visualization, magic will be at work.”

In the craft the tools you use are always important, and that is the same in the kitchen. You should pick your cooking materials like you pick a wand, candles, or a broom. Using your intuition and a few helpful tips you can get yourself a great set of cooking utensils.

“Cups, bowls, and pots are certainly receptive; they contain. As implements related to the element of water and to the earth’s moon, they possess loving energies and recall the loving cups – trophies – still awarded to exceptional individuals and teams.”

Remember: Your materials don’t have to be expensive…second hand stuff works just as good as new! When you bring new (or used) materials into your house to craft (or cook) remember to cleanse it, and handle it frequently. By cleansing the negative vibes away, and replacing them with your (hopefully) positive energy, you’re setting yourself up for a successful kitchen experience.

When cooking, it’s suggested to not cook or store your food in plastic or aluminum. Ceramics, glass, enameled metal, or stainless steel are the best choices, though if these are unavailable to you don’t let it stop you from working.

 

There will be a follow up to this blog with a Money Soup recipe. So stay tuned.

 

 

 

Reference:

 

Cunningahm,Scott. “Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Wicca in the Kitchen”. 2003. Llewellyn Publications. St. Paul, MN. (5,14,19,29-31).

Tarot 101

Posted January 3rd, 2012 by denwagh

As pagans we are often exposed to many types of divination. In my experiences, the only type of divination that ever called to me had been Tarot. The history of Tarot is complicated with many opinions being voiced and argued. If you are looking for a history, I highly recommend visiting http://www.tarothistory.com/

This entry will be extremely basic and is for those who have never seen or touched a Tarot deck but are interested in this type of Divination.

The Decks:

Most Tarot decks consist of 78 cards: 22 Major Arcana, and 56 Minor Arcana cards. The Minor Arcana consist of four “suits”, just like a deck of regular playing cards.

 

The four suits are:

Pentacles (or Disks or Coins). These tend toward material world things, money, work, success, etc and is ruled by Earth.

Wands (or Staffs) tend to be based in more spiritual realms and is ruled by Fire.

Cups, deal with emotional issues, or issues of the mind and is ruled by Water.

Swords, tend toward self-image, ego, perception, observation and is ruled the realm of Air. 

An easy way I’ve found to remember these is:

  • Pentacles: I think of these as coins. Coins = Material Things = Man Made = Earth
  • Wands: I think of these as “sticks” like kindling . Sticks = Fire = Smoke which rises to the spirit.
  • Cups: Cups is pretty easy, Cups hold Water, tears are Water, emotions can cause tears.
  • Swords: Swords are used by knights who are perceptive and observant and they slash through Air.

This may make sense to you or it may make none at all, use what works for you to remember the basics about the suits.

When starting out, I highly recommend making your life easy, and getting the person to ask you a question out loud. Both parties should focus on the question while you shuffle the cards. As you get more experienced or confident with the cards, you won’t care if they ask a question, but repeating the questioner’s question out loud yourself does seem to assist the divination process.

This worked fine for me the first year I read Tarot but as I continued to get more comfortable with the cards I no longer needed to ask a question. I am also an extremely aware empath which makes reading come more naturally to me and probably why Tarot called to me above all other forms of Divination. Again, use what makes you comfortable.

At the end of the day, Tarot is a system that allows you to get a good feeling or direction of the answer to a question or a situation. It is not a magic answer system but more of a suggestion system. The better aquainted you become with your deck, the easier it will be to understand meanings that come about during a reading.

As you progress you will also come to identify with a card or several cards that seem to represent yourself. Other Tarot readers might be able to peg “your card” as well. I’ve had this happen on several occasions when I’ve met other readers and gotten to know them. My card for example is the King of Swords and I relate to a few other cards as well, mostly in the Swords deck.

This covers the Minor Arcana. In future postings I will cover the Major Arcana, Protecting your deck both physically and spiritually and give some simple example spreads to use as you learn Tarot.

 

In the Kitchen: Hot Tea

Posted January 3rd, 2012 by HelenScott

In my last post I promised to bring you home workings, so I thought I’d start off in the kitchen. Now this is a redone post from my secondary blog (I know it’s kind of cheating), but it has such good information I thought I’d share it here.

I don’t know about where you’re located, but it’s rather cold here (for the most part, it was in the 60s this weekend but it was 30 degrees this morning), and when the temperature starts to drop I like to enjoy hot beverages.

Hot tea has been around for hundreds of years (first recording of tea drinking is from the 10th Century, B.C). It’s been used as a medicine, relaxation technique, and a tool for divination. It is the most common and widely consumed beverage in the world.

A few tools you may want to consider owning before you start making your own tea:
Tea Ball
Tea Kettle
Tea Pot
Mug, or Tea Cup

Here are some tea recipes to help colds, fight headaches, and to just enjoy during this winter season.

 

Sage Tea

Sage has been used as a fever treatment, cough reliever, and wound healer. You can use sage tea this time of the year to not just fight colds, but lift your spirits and allowing you to focus on projects as we head into the winter season.

(WARNING: Avoid sage tea when pregnant.)

½ cup dried sage leaves
1 cup boiling water

Add the dried sage leaves to the boiling water.
Cover tightly and steep for 15 min.

(Note: Sage tea can be poisonous if drank in excess, so I suggest keeping it to two cups a day)

 

Chamomile Tea

Chamomile is a flower that, when dried, produces a tea that is said to help cold congestion, relieve digestion problems, and cool headaches.

 

2 teaspoons dried chamomile flowers
2 cups boiling water
Let steep for 5 minutes. (I usually steep the tea in the tea pot)
You can get pre-dried chamomile flowers from most metaphysical shops, herbal shops, and online. Now, there are some specific tea shops that will also sell organic teas already prepped in bags, but I would double check make sure it’s actual chamomile flowers and not just flavored.
You can also dry your own flowers, but make sure you do it about a week in advance. Dry time differs depending on weather and atmosphere.
If you buy or dry in a large amount, make sure you have a glass or ceramic air tight container to store it in.

 

‘”Spicy Tomato Tea: The #1 Remedy to Cure Severe Sinus Congestion”

By: Jean Woolhiser
From Earthclinc.com

It works fast (in most cases) and tastes great! These ingredients are well-known serious herbals for their medicinal properties… Used together they do wonders for sinus/ear infections, colds, coughing and sore throat. We’ve even found it to kill flu germs and strep throat (with no antibiotics).

TOMATO TEA RECIPE
2 cups V8 Juice
2-3 cloves Garlic crushed (use more if you can)
2 T Lemon Juice
Hot Sauce (the more the better, so as much as you can handle)

Mix and heat in a pan or in the microwave. Sip slowly and re-warm as needed to get the full effects of the fumes. Let it sit in the back of your throat to bathe it. Suck the fumes through your sinuses and also down into your lungs. It’s all natural and healthy, so drink as much of it as you want or need until you are SURE the infection is gone. This is past the time when you “feel better.”

This appears to be the best recipe, but people often don’t have the right ingredients. Don’t let that hold you back. Use whatever you have available. Below are some substitutes that may not work as well or as fast, but will still help. I’ve listed them by their likely effectiveness:

Substitutes:
V8 Juice – tomato juice, vegetable juice, canned or fresh tomatoes crushed, tomato soup (if really desperate, try another kind of fruit juice, vegetable soup or even chicken soup . you’re aiming for high Vitamin C content)
Garlic – garlic in olive oil, dehydrated garlic, garlic salt (aiming for the strong anti-bacterial/fungal effects)
Lemon Juice – Fresh lemons, bottled juice, limes, lime juice, oranges, frozen lemonade
Hot Sauce – ANY kind of hot sauce works, fresh hot peppers, cayenne pepper, dried pepper flakes (if really desperate, try horseradish, black pepper or even mustard . you’re aiming for the highly anti-bacterial/fungal properties of capricin which is found in hot peppers, and its effectiveness at clearing out the sinuses.)

Notes:
1. Capricin (found in hot peppers) is actually soothing to the stomach. In addition, it’s a pain killer (good for sore throats), and is also one of the main ingredients used in herbal recipes for killing fungal infections like Candida, which is closely related to all kinds of physical problems we have, including allergies.
Excellent candida test: http://www.mall-net.com/cgibin/quiz4.cgi?quiz=crook.qa.
Interesting fungus killing pages: http://www.mall-net.com/mcs/#Treat.

2. You can add Worcestershire sauce and celery salt to make it taste just like a bloody mary mix.

3. Drink it just because it tastes good, and you probably won’t get an infection in the first place. ‘

 

‘Magical Teas
By: Lady Moon Willow
From:wicca-chat.com
Blend the teas for a recipe in a plastic baggy or a glass jar, then measure out one tablespoon per cup of tea. A small two cup teapot will take two tablespoons of tea. If you are like me, however, two cups of tea equates to three because I prefer my tea with lots of milk. Because the tea base is black tea leaves, the addition of milk and a sweetener makes for a very flavorful beverage. Unless you are making tea for a crowd, you really do not need more than one or two tablespoons of tea at any one time. Store in a closed jar in a cabinet away from light.
Tea for Divination:
1 tablespoon China black, English breakfast, or Irish breakfast tea
2 teaspoons lemon balm
1 teaspoon eyebright
1 tablespoon mugwort
1 tablespoon rose hips’
My next two blogs will also be in the kitchen, so get your chef hats and aprons ready!!

Happy January!!

Posted January 2nd, 2012 by HelenScott

      January is the first month of the year in Julian and Gregorian Calendars. It consists of 31 days, the first of which is celebrated (in the West) as New Years Day. (Which I’m sure, most of those reading this are aware of…continuing on….)

January comes from the Latin word ianua, meaning door, for January is the door of the year. Some say that January is named from the Roman God of Doors (and beginnings and endings, because that what doorways represent), Janus. He is depicted with two faces: one looking forward, into the future, and one looking behind, into the past.

Later, Janus was made into a martyr by the Roman Catholic Church, and was known as St. Januarius.

“January Birthstones

By her in January born
No gem save garnets should be worn;
They will ensure her constancy,
True friendship, and fidelity.

Modern: Garnet/Zodiac (Capricorn): Ruby”

Oh, January. For the majority of people living in the Northern Hemisphere, January is a time of bitter cold and deep winter.
This is the time of year you’ll usually find me inside. It’s not that I don’t go out and play, (and I have to leave to go to work) it’s just few and far between. So, I spend the majority of my time practicing my craft inside and that means research!

I currently am living in an apartment, and am not blessed with a fire place, which means the majority of my work done at this time of the year is in the kitchen or kitchen table. (I’ve gained the nickname kitchen witch, instead of hearth or hedge witch…since I’ve neither, lol)

I spend a lot of time baking (usually breads, and desserts) and making homemade crafts (besoms, candles, alter clothes and my recent project, soap).

This month I’ll be sharing what I’m doing in my own craft. Please feel free to ask questions and give constructive comments!

References:
www.lifeinitaly.com

www.wikipedia.org

Llewellyn’s 2012 Magical Almanac: Practical Magic for Everyday Living. Llewellyn Worldwide Ltd. Woodbury, MN.(2011)

Cleansing for the New Year

Posted December 28th, 2011 by HelenScott

Protection is a major importance to me (which I’ve harped on in past blogs), not only of the physical nature but of the spiritual. So naturally I take a lot of magical efforts to protect my house. I have a broom above my door, a sachet on the knob, and various other items around my house.

During the week of New Years, which is next week, I take the time to put my Holiday decorations away, clean the whole house and then do a good magical cleansing. This is important to me because it allows the house to start fresh in the coming year and it rids the place of bad vibes from visiting guests and the new items we’ve received as gifts. I suggest performing a cleansing at least every three to six months. This is just a suggestion, there’s no strict time table here but I believe that one knows when it needs to be done and I do it on a schedule for preventative measures (more or less).

Before most cleansing rituals it’s suggested that you take a cleansing bath/shower prior to working, but I think that depends on the situation and the state of the practitioner. It’s nice to take a bath/shower to clear the mind and body of negative energies, but, remember, you should know yourself and where your energy and head is. If this beneficial to you, do it… I just don’t see it as a necessary step in EVERY cleansing ritual.

My Cleansing Ritual:

Supplies:
Sage Stick (or Smudge Stick)
Holy Water

Instructions:

I like to start with the sage at the far most back of the house/apartment and work toward the front door. It’s important to remember that Mirrors and Faucets needs to be cleansed, as well as windows and doors/door frames. Some claim that these are entrances for bad energies and spirits, though there are a lot of different theories on this, I like to cover my bases.

I light the sage (it’s good to keep a lighter on you during this, depending on how dry the sage is, it may not stay lit) and walk through the house drawing protection symbols in the air with the smoke from the sage and saying “Sage, cleanse this house”.

I then open all the windows in the house (turning off the heater/ac prior to) to allow the negative energy to escape. With the windows open I sprinkle the holy water on the base boards (a spray bottle works well for this) and on mirrors, windows, faucets, and door frames. (Again, starting at the back of the house and moving toward the front door)

When finished, I say:

“This house is cleansed, so blessed be.”

If you don’t fancy this, it’s always good to come up with one of your own.

Here are some other useful items/spells (to help you protect you and your house) from a few of my favorite books and authors:

Dragonbane Protection Oil:

“Protection oils are used to anoint candles, talismans, windows, doors, favorite objects, and so on to enhance the purity of vibrations. This one is best made on the dark moon.

Supplies: 1 dram bottle; sweet almond oil; 3 drops amber oil; 1 drop jasmine oil; 7 drops dark musk (plain musk can be substituted); 5 drops rue oil; 3 small pieces dragon’s blood resin; 1 pinch coarse sea salt.

Instructions: Fill dram bottle halfway with sweet almond oil. Add each oil, shaking gently to mix well. Add Dragon’s blood resin and sea salt. Shake to mix. Charge. When anointing an oil, you can use the following spoken charm:

Spirit to oil, oil to candle, candle to flame,

Flame to smoke, smoke to spirit.”

(RavenWolf, 40)

The following is a list of protective herbs taken from Scott Cunningham’s “Magical Herbalism”, the full list can be found on page 50.

Angelica
Ash twigs and leaves
Basil
Dill
Elderberries or leaves
Fern
Flax
Mistletoe
Mugwort
Rosemary
Rowan
St. John’s Wort
Vervain

Here are a few suggestions if you wanted to use crystals for cleansing:

Onyx
Halite
Spinel
Pyrite
Sulphur
Peridot
Emerald
Blue Quartz
Sapphire

References:

Ravenwolf, Silver. “Silver’s Spells for Protection”. Llewellyn Publications. St. Paul, MN. (2000)

Cunningham, Scott. “Magical Herbalism”. Llewellyn Publications. Woodbury, MN. (2008)

Lilly, Simon. Lilly, Sue. “The Essential Crystal Handbook”. Duncan Baird Publishers. London, UK. (2006)