Saturday, March 18, 2017

Spring Equinox Altar 2017

Spring Equinox Altar 2017

Ta-da! For the first time since I was in high school I have an altar. It has actually been quite the experience and I am very happy to have sacred space again, in a room where I can shut the world out. I am very happy to share my Spring Equinox/Ostara altar with everyone today.

Spring Equinox Altar 2017

You may notice it is very simple. I don't like clutter so a simpler altar is perfect for me. I placed a statue I picked up from Goodwill several years ago to represent the Maiden or a young Mother Earth. Again, I don't believe in any deities, but I think a little personification of our Earth is great. I adore this statue of a young woman in a flowing dress dancing with her tambourine. She is the epitome of new life.

Spring Equinox Altar 2017

I picked two cream colored candles in crystal holders to represent rebirth and the birth of the Sun. Cream and other pastel colors are commonly used this time of year and I felt the cream also matched my decor better than green or white. In between my candles is a milk glass vase full of silk flowers. I picked creamy pink flowers to represent renewal, rebirth, and new life. Plus I like the color pink, especially which this table.

Spring Equinox Altar 2017

In front of the candle and vase of silk flowers are two speckled eggs. My mother actually made these eggs out of clay before I was born. I am so thankful to have them and use them on my altar to show new life. Eggs are one of the most famous icons of the Spring Equinox and Easter. It is around this time of year that many birds begin building nests and laying eggs which is why I also have a nest, bird, and marble egg on my altar. Again representing new life, renewal, rebirth, and fertility. On the far right is a new terrarium I bought for my altar that is currently filled with eggs as well. You really can't have too many eggs, I swear.

Spring Equinox Altar 2017

There is a white rabbit representing fertility and new life. Rabbits, like the eggs, are famously used at this time of year as well. Rabbits are notorious for breeding rapidly, often producing several litters in a breeding season, hence the phrase "Breeding like rabbits." My favorite rabbit joke actually comes from Zootopia when Officer Judy Hops tells Nick Wilde her family is good at multiplication.

Spring Equinox Altar 2017

Placed right in the middle are three beautiful crystals: amethyst, rose quartz, and clear quartz. These are for peace, love, and protection. Plus their beautiful pastel hues compliment the arrangement nicely.

And there you have it! My 2017 Spring Equinox altar!

Do you have an altar? How do you decorate it for Ostara? I would love to see what you have set up!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Mastering Your Grimoire: Writing Your Dedication

Mastering Your Grimoire: Writing Your Dedication

Over the past week we spent time laying out our grimoires and developing a rough draft for our table of contents. There are several really great resources out there to help you figure out how to organize your grimoire. Upon doing some research, I decided to use LaPulia's Book of Shadows as a guide. Now this is a Wiccan book and therefore many sections or pages wouldn't be included in my book, but it is a really great, comprehensive table of contents. Their Traditional Witchcraft Grimoire also has some really great ideas that I will be using as well. Another great resource for organizing your grimoire is The Dance at Alder Cove's table of contents. This list is pretty comprehensive as well, providing you with some ideas if you aren't sure where to start.

Mastering Your Grimoire: Writing Your Dedication

Right now I have only organized and planned a couple sections. The reason for this is that planning too far in advance and jumping around while working could come back to bite you in the butt if you are working with a bound book where you can't easily move pages. This is what I am working with and as I work on a little bit at a time I have already found myself moving things around. The current sections I have planned are listed in order below:
Title Page
Table of Content
The Craft (section title)
     Dedication
     Blessing
     Pentagram
     Witch's Creed
     What is a Hedgewitch?
     13 Goals of a Witch
     Self Dedication (to the craft)
Basics of Magic (section title)
     What is Magic?
     Magical Theory and Technique
     Grounding and Centering
     Energy
     How to Direct Energy
     Meditation
     Pathwalking
     Hedge Riding
     How to Hedge Ride
     Ways to Reach Altered State of Consciousness
     Three Realms of Otherworld
     Hedge Riding Prep and Etiquette
     Animal and Spirit Guides
     My Guides
The Elements (section title)
     Earth Intro
     Tools of Earth and How to Use with Other Elements
     Earth Correspondences
     Air Intro
     Tools of Air and How to Use with Other Elements
     Air Correspondences
     Fire Intro
     Tools of Fire and How to Use with Other Elements
     Fire Correspondences
     Water Intro
     Tools of Water and How to Use with Other Elements
     Water Correspondences
     Spirit
Sabbats (section title)
     Wheel of the Year (picture)
     About the Wheel of the Year
     Samhain Introduction
     Samhain History and Lore
     Samhain Traditions
     Samhain Correspondences
     Samhain Plants
     Samhain Recipes
     Samhain Crafts
*I have not finished my Sabbat planning because I am not sure how many recipes and crafts I would like to include at this time.
As I mentioned in Organizing Your Grimoire, you should have made room in the first couple pages for a dedication and a blessing, which you can see I did. One of the first things to put in your book is your dedication. Now this isn't a dedication to the craft, but a dedication to working on your grimoire and continuing to learn. Your Self Dedication will be your dedication to the craft. The dedication featured within the first page or two is basically a promise to yourself, the deities you believe in, and your grimoire that you will continue to learn and grow as a witch.

During the next two weeks write your dedication and decorate the page(s). Begin your rough draft on a separate sheet of paper. If you are working with a digital format, work right in your book. Spend time reflecting on what you want to say. It can be in the form of poetry or prose; whatever speaks to you. I prefer poetry so my dedication is written in such a format. Are you going to ask the elements for guidance in the creation of your grimoire? Air is associated with wisdom, fire with inspiration, water with justice, and earth with patience. What about any deities? Apollo, Euterpe, Bragi, Kvasir, Brigid, Sarasawti, Tir, Seshat, Al-Kutbay, Nabu, and Nidaba are all gods and goddesses of writing and poetry from various traditions. Requesting their aid in the assembly of your grimoire would be wise if you follow their tradition. Are you going to dedicate the grimoire to one of these deities or just Mother Earth? What would you like the pages to be filled with? Why do you want to complete your grimoire? Remember to refer back to your Mapping Your Magical Path for guidance in the creation of your dedication.

Once you have written your dedication and are happy with it, transfer it to your book in your best handwriting (or type, print, and paste it). Then proceed to decorate the page. Feel free to use symbols associated with inspiration and writing such as the rune Ansuz or the sun. Prefer more natural symbols? Draw Begonias to encourage deep thoughts, Black-Eye Susans for encouragement, Irises for inspiration, or Hazel and Maple for wisdom. Be sure to fill this page with your energy. As you work, envision your energy filling the pages. The color of your energy is entirely dependent on your personality. Mine tends to be green and gold and occasionally pink, yellow, or gray. Funny how these are the same colors I have used to decorate my entire home and my grimoire.

How did you end up organizing your grimoire? Share below in the comments, email, or through Facebook. And good luck writing your dedications!



Mastering Your Grimoire Series Posts:

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Hedgewitch vs Kitchen Witch

This is one of the most common misconceptions regarding hedgewitches. Most people believe a hedgewitch is the same a kitchen witch or green witch. Not true. While they have many things in common, they are not the same thing. Hedgewitches are also not solitary Wiccans as many books express. We are a unique breed of witches characterized by hedge riding, astral travel, and divination work. Enjoy witches!
Hedgewitch vs Kitchen Witch

Monday, March 6, 2017

Herbarium: Rose

Magical and Medicinal uses of Rose. Free BOS page!

Gender: Feminine
Planet: Venus
Element: Water
Powers: Divination, Healing, Love, Luck, Protection, Psychic Powers
Magical Uses and History: "...That which we call a rose. By any other name would smell as sweet." -Juliet, Romeo and Juliet.

The rose has a long and rich history throughout much of the world. Because of its bitter-sweet paradox of thorns and sweet smelling blooms, the rose earned its romantic associations. Love is both bitter and sweet, making the rose a perfect representation of it. The Greeks believed red roses were dyed by the blood of Aphrodite, Goddess of Love, after she cut her foot while running to attend the wounds of Adonis. Other myths suggest Cupid, God of Love, splashed white roses with his nectar thus turning them red. Either way, red too has strong associations with love and romance. Roses are commonly worn or used to during love spells to increase the power of the spell. Rose water and petals can be added to love baths to attract love and romance, while rose hips can be strung into a necklace to attract love. Want to find your true love? Drink rose tea prior to bed to induce prophetic dreams. You can also take three (or more) green rose leaves and write the name of your lovers on each. The one that stays the green the longest is said to be the one.

Rose is also a plant of valor and protection. During the War of the Roses, both houses, Lancaster and York, adopted red and white roses to represent their houses. The red rose ended up later becoming the emblem of England. Rose petals and hips can be carried as a personal protective charms. In fact, they were often included in posies to ward off the Black plague. Rose petals around the home can calm personal stress and soothe household problems as well.

Want to attract faeries? Plant roses in your garden. Some believe roses grow best when stolen, but I wouldn't support such a thing.

Rose can be used in a number of spells including:
     Love Divination
     Healing Spells
     Luck Magic
     Protection Magic
    
Medicinal Uses: Rose is a natural anti-inflammatory and astringent. Rose water is most commonly used as a skin toner and can be used to heal burns, mouth ulcers, chapped hands, and puffy eyes. Rose hips, the fruit of the rose, can be used as a mild laxative to ease constipation and milk gallbladder, kidney, and bladder issues. Furthermore, rose hips are one of the best natural sources of vitamin C, helping the body's defense against infections such as colds.

Preparation and Dosage: Rose petals are commonly used to make rose water while rose hips are brewed to make teas and syrups.  Externally- For minor burns, ulcers, and chapped skin, and puffy eyes apply rose water liberally with a cotton ball. Internally- Rose hips can be brewed into a tea, syrup, or tincture. To brew rose hip tea, put 2 1/2 teaspoons of cut hips into one cup of water. Bring the water to a boil and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Drink as needed. Like rose hip tea, rose hip syrup can be taken as needed. For tincture, take 2-4 milliliters up to three times a day.

 

Want to print a copy of this for your Book of Shadows? Click below for your free copy!
Magical and Medicinal uses of Rose. Free BOS page!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Mastering Your Grimoire: Organizing Your Grimoire

Mastering Your Grimoire: Organizing Your Grimoire

Last week I challenged you to find a place to work on your grimoire. To work on my grimoire, I went out a bought a desk...finally. I have been looking for a desk for my bedroom to use as an altar/magical space for months. Originally I wanted to find an old antique one and paint it and stain the top, but after searching for several months for something in my price range, I didn't find a piece I liked very much. I sent out a request to the universe to help me find a desk and low and behold, Aldi's ad featured a desk for just $50...and it wasn't bad looking either! I picked it up this morning and spent the afternoon putting it together. Then my lazy butt took a nap. Ha ha!


Its a nice little space with some storage and a nice place to work on my grimoire privately. Where did you pick to work on your grimoire?

Now that you have your book, you have decorated it, and found a place to work on it, it is time to start organizing it. Yes, I know we still haven't blessed it. Trust me, that is coming all in due time.

Over the next week spend some time thinking about how you want to set up and organize your grimoire. Use questions 3-8 on Mapping Your Magical Path to help guide your creation of your Table of Contents. I suggest working on a separate sheet of paper and jotting down the sections you believe your grimoire should have. You are going to want your title page, dedication, and book blessing to be in the first couple of pages. Most witches, especially hedge, green, and kitchen, are going to want a section for herbs. Kitchen witches will also want a section for kitchen magic and recipes. Wiccans will want a section for ritual tools, ritual structure, and circle casting. Other general sections you may want to include are the sabbats, the elements, correspondence charts, and a brief introduction to your path or magic.

After you have picked some sections, begin ordering them. For example, an introduction to the craft and your magical path should probably be in the beginning. Spells will need to be toward the end, as in most books. This will also be a section that grows as you grow, so having it toward the end with pages you can still work with allows you to accommodate growth.

After you have picked out a rough outline for the order of your grimoire, begin labeling pages, if you have a bound book that is. You don't want to work too far in advance in though. Plan out just the first couple of sections. I suggest the use of sticky notes. Simply write down on the sticky notes what you want your page to be and stick it in the book! I suggest planning out at least the first three sections. The reason you shouldn't plan further is in case you make a mistake or want to change something as you begin to work. The sticky notes allow you to easily move pages around and rework information as you work on your grimoire.

Planning out your grimoire should take a bit of time and it will likely change as you begin working. That's okay. Work on a rough craft this week so we can begin our pages next week!



Mastering Your Grimoire Series Posts:

Monday, February 27, 2017

Mastering Your Grimoire: Picking Your Space

Mastering Your Grimoire: Picking a Space

I apologize for not getting this posted yesterday, but I was still working on decorating my own grimoire and wanted to make sure I could show you pictures. I am looking to add a clasp of some sort to "lock" it, but I have figured out what I want to do yet. It is as complete as it can be at this time.





I would really, really love to see what you guys have created over the past week. Please share your grimoires in the comment section, on my Facebook page, or on Instagram using #masteringyourgrimoire.

Now that you have decorated your grimoire and hopefully connected with it on some level, its time to find a place where you are going to work on it all the time from here on out. This can be a desk, kitchen table, the floor, or within your sacred space. Work wherever you feel most comfortable. Many people believe that you need to work on your grimoire only in sacred space, preferably inside of a magical circle. The reasoning behind this is that while you work on your grimoire, you generate and emit energy. This energy is usually very potent and can attract unwanted guests. I never cast a circle when I perform magic, but that's just me. However, I have set up a protective ward around my house which acts as a permanent magical circle that I redo/improve every couple of months. I believe this is enough protection for me, but I am also not very ritualistic or into high magic. If you are more ritualistic, then you'll want to cast a circle every time you work on your book from here on out and you are going to need a space where you can write, paint, type, or whatever you need to do to complete your grimoire.

There are several things you should consider when picking out a space to work on your grimoire. It needs to be an area where you have a surface to work on, an plenty of it if you are getting crafty. It needs to be private so you can work in piece and infuse your book with ONLY your energy. You may also want a space with a window or that is well ventilated if you are working with certain chemicals. Make sure this space can also accommodate not only your craft items, if you are crafting your grimoire, but also incense and candles. Incense and candles help set the mood and help to infuse your book with magical energy. If you are turning this into a ritual, you'll want an alter space as well to place images of your deities and the elements.

This week attempt to find the perfect place to work on your grimoire. You may need to try several locations before one feels right. Bring your grimoire and sit in the space and meditate. Mentally record any feelings you have while in that space. If it just doesn't feel right, try another location. You may be surprised where you end up. No matter how much you may want to work on it in your office, your book may tell you your living room is a better space. Listen to it. We are trying to build a book on our craft that we have a deep connection with. You cannot do that if you do not listen. Reflect back on your questions for Mapping Your Magical Path. Use them to help guide you in your decision making. If you need to work outside, do it!

Remember, share those grimoire pictures! I would love to see them and I am sure others would appreciate the inspiration as well!


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Tarot Deck Blessing


I recently purchased my very first tarot deck; scandalous that I didn't own one before, I know. However, when it comes to magical objects, I tend to take my time. I want something I feel connected to. I absolutely love this tarot deck, but I have to be honest, since purchasing it I haven't done much with it. I want to change that now. That starts with cleansing and blessing my tarot deck to prepare it for use.

Any object, especially those that change hands often such as those in a store, picks up energy from its surroundings. Sometimes that energy is wonderful, other times not so much. When you first purchase, receive, or find a magical tool, the first thing you should do is cleanse the item, ridding it of any residual energy, and bless it, thus infusing it with your own energy.

There are several ways to quickly and easily cleanse a tarot deck, or any magical object for that matter.
  1. Sage smoke cleansing: Light up some white desert sage, and wafted the smoke over the object, imagining the item being rid of any energies it may contain. If you want, say a chant while you cleanse such as "Rid this (item name) of bad luck; clear it of all pride and muck. Let the energies be released; fill it now with love and peace."
  2. Moon light cleansing: Place the object outside or in a window where it will receive at least 6-12 hours of moon light. The moon is a powerful cleanser, especially for objects associated with the feminine or divination. 
  3. Salt cleansing: Salt cleansing relies on the grounding properties of the element Earth to cleanse and purify objects. Simply sprinkle the object with salt or draw a salt sing around the object. Allow to sit for about 8 hours.
I picked sage smoke cleansing to cleanse my tarot deck. Its quick, easy, and I enjoy the smell of white desert sage. What witch doesn't?!

Now to bless the deck! This ritual is best performed during the full or new moon. You will need a quiet place, your tarot deck, a white candle, and some yarrow incense or dried yarrow with a charcoal burner.

In your quiet place, light the candle and the incense/charcoal. Hold your deck in your hands and close you eyes. In your mind's eye, picture you deck being filled with bright white and gold light. Hold this image for at least a minute. If you want repeat the following phrase several times: "I bless this deck that I hold near, to enlighten and empower the noble Seer. Bring strength and guidance to those in need; so I will it, so mote it be."

Once you have infused your deck with your energy and blessing, pass it through the yarrow smoke. As you do so repeat, "Yarrow with your mighty powers, enhance my decks physic powers." Yarrow increases physic ability, making it the perfect herb to use to enhance your tarot deck. Once you have finished, sit quietly with your deck and meditate over what you hope to accomplish with it. When you feel ready, snuff out the candle and safely put away your tarot deck. After a cleanse and blessing, your deck should be kept in a protective bag or box out of hands that touch. They will easily pick up energy from others when handled or left out. You will need to cleanse them often, especially after using with another person.

And there you have it! Your deck is now cleansed, blessed, and ready to be used. Do you have a tarot deck? If so, how did you cleanse and bless it?