Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Space Clearing Spell


Yesterday I spent most of the day cleaning the house to get ready for the new year. I did a deep clean just as I had a couple months prior. However, this time I hauled off some 4 boxes of stuff to Goodwill and finally finished unpacking from our move over a year and a half ago. I know right? I had three boxes of stuff sitting in the coat closet. I also reorganized most of the house in the process. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted.

Before I did any of this, however, I removed the ward I put up last year. I wanted to make sure that not just the dust and dirt and clutter was leaving the house, but that all the negativity was leaving as well. Remember, wards not only keep things out, but they keep things in too. Please refer to my post on my home protection ward for more details.

Today I decided to cleanse my entire house magically as well. I would have done this yesterday but I just didn't have the energy after cleaning all day.

 

Supplies
     White tealights for every room or area (including halls and stairways)
     Small plate for every room
     Salt
     White Sage Smudge Stick

Directions
  1. Assemble all your supplies in one place. If you want, pray over the items and charge them with your intent.
  2. In the room you are in, place a tealight on a plate and pour a ring of salt around it. Place it as close to the center of the room as you can. Repeat for each room/area of your house. The fire from the candle will burn away negativity while the salt will absorb the excess.
  3. Return to the first room and begin clapping loudly to stir up and unstick any energy in the room. Make sure to pay special attention to corners and dark spots. Repeat for each room/area of your house. This will make sure your candle, salt, and smudge are able to get rid of the negativity that may be lurking out of its reach.
  4. In the first room, open as many windows as possible then light the sage. Walk the perimeter of each room allowing the smoke to dissolve negativity and lift vibrations. Repeat in every room/area of your house. Extinguish the sage when you are done and close the windows.
  5. Allow the tea lights to burn all the way down or for as long as you can. Any left overs can be used when you perform this spell again. Flush the salt down the toilet or pour down the sink. Make sure to wash the plates before using again.
  6. If you feel the need, bathe after the space clearing is complete to wash away any negativity you may have picked up.
I skipped the clapping part today because cleaning also stirs up the energy in a home. This should be performed every couple of months or as often as you feel needed. During times of loss or high stress you may need to clear you space more frequently. Again, if you have a ward around your home, make sure you take it down before performing this.





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2015 Resolutions

https://www.flickr.com/photos/angietorres/I know that New Year Resolutions are over done or cliche or whatever you want to call them, but they work for me. For the most part, sitting down and reflecting on the previous year and the changes I want to make the upcoming year works. Of course I have the goal of working out more and eating right every year, which I am really good about anyway, but reaffirming it as something I want to continue doing keeps me doing it. Its easy to be lazy.

So what are my goals this year? Most of them are trackable, but a few are not, especially those that pertain to my marriage.

So for 2015 I want to:
  1. Exercise 3-4 days per week for 30 or more minutes. I currently workout 3-4 days per week for between 15 and 20 minutes when I am not running. I want to increase this amount to see more results.
  2. Do yoga 2-3 days per week with my husband. This is something we have been wanting to do for a while, and we bought new mats for us both so now we don't have an excuse. Yoga not only strengthens the body but also the mind, something we both need in all aspects of our life.
  3. Meditate 2 days per week. My year is going to be considerably busier than it has been previously. I am hoping meditating will not only reduce my stress but that it will also help me become the person I want to become in my relationships.
  4. Cut sugar. I have a sweet tooth. Fruit is fine; an ice cream is not.
  5. Read at least 12 books this year. I LOVE to read. I usually read at least 12 anyway so I am reaffirming this goal.
  6. Set up a night routine. I want to wash my face, brush my teeth, rinse with mouthwash, and put lotion on my legs before bed most nights. I realize some nights I won't get to it, but I'd like to do it as often as I am able. I am notorious for just taking out my contacts and falling asleep. I need to be better about caring for myself. I preorded E.L.F.s new line of face products and I am hoping the 4 items I picked are the 4 items they release. Having the new wash and creams will help me stick to this goal.
  7. Save $400+ per month. The spring of 2017 I will have to quit my job to student teach. In order to make sure we are okay, we need to put away a large nest egg.
  8. Say "No" and think about me. I am a people pleaser to a fault. Its part of the reason my relationship is suffering. I am unable to say no in most cases, even when saying yes is only going to hurt me and others badly. I'm also notorious for putting everyone else first and forgetting to take care of me. I need to work on this.
  9. Be more in control of my emotions and show my husband the love and support he needs. My emotions can get the best of me. I am very tender hearted and super empathetic. I feel everyone else's emotions so acutely and half the time I have no idea where they are coming from. One of the problems associated with being open to the energies around you. I also need to show my husband better love and support. This is attached to me being able to say no and to think about me. If I can do those things, I can be a better wife.
  10. Track my goal progress. I have some calendars I am going to print to mark off my goals, and I have included in a section in my planner to keep track as well. Hopefully having it multiple places will help me with some of the goals I know I am going to struggle keeping.
You may have noticed there are no goals, other than meditation, that deal directly with my spirituality. This is because my spirituality cannot and should not be defined by how much I do or do not do. I don't want to feel obligated nor put a quantitative value to how much I practice. I practice when I need to and I will continue to do it that way.

So do you have any resolutions this year? I would love to know what they are!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Herbarium: Eucalyptus


Folk Names: Blue Gum Tree, Stringy Bark Tree
Gender: Feminine
Planet:Moon
Element:Water
Powers: Healing, Protection
Magical Uses and History: Eucalyptus is believed to be one of the most useful trees in the world and has been used for a variety of magical and medicinal purposes through the centuries. The Aborigines regard the eucalyptus as a cure-all, using it for shelter as well as medicine.

The leaves can be stuffed into healing poppets and carried or placed under your pillow to maintain good health and ward off evil. To relieve colds, ring green candles with the leaves and pods and burn them until they burn out while visualizing the person being completely healthy. Wearing the immature pods on green thread is believed to heal sore throats.

Eucalyptus can be used in a number of spells including:
     Protection Magic
     Healing Spells

Medicinal Uses: Eucalyptus can be used either in whole leaf form for as oil to treat a variety of ailments. Due to its antiseptic nature whole leaves can used to treat fever, upset stomach, asthma, whooping cough and other respiratory infections, joint pain, acne, and burns. The oil, which should be diluted first, can be used internally and externally to treat these same ailments, along with mouth pain and inflammation.

Preparation and Dosage: Eucalyptus can be taken internally as an infusion or as an oil dilution. To make an infusion, pour a cup of boiling water onto 1-2 teaspoons of dried leaves and let infuse for 10 minutes. Drink this solution up to three times a day. If using eucalyptus oil, please follow the directions listed on the box/bottle. Each one is different and therefore should be treated as such. Externally Eucalyptus oil can be diluted and applied directly to the infected or swollen area or used in a bath.

 



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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Dispeling Sadness

As I mentioned in my last post, things have been pretty abysmal lately. I have been trying to move forward and heal not only my heart, but my body as well. Because I have been so stressed and not eating, I've caught every illness going around this season. Anger and sadness are both like wet blankets; they smother you and your other emotions. If left unchecked they can destroy you.

 

This morning I performed a Dispel Sadness Spell. It is quite simple and can be used for any type of sadness but you need to make sure you are very specific. Please refer to my post on primal language to ensure you do not end up making things worse.
  1. Hold a white candle in both hands while you think of all your sorrows and the causes of them.
  2. Write these sorrows onto a piece of white paper, preferably in red ink but any will do.
  3. Anoint the page with honey and fold it up.
  4. Light the candle and use the flame to burn the note while chanting:
    "I give my sadness to the flames,
      The fire eats my grief and pain."
  5. Bury the ashes when you are done.
Again, make sure you are very specific. Because my sadness is connected to my husband and I don't want to dispel him, I made sure to not say he was the cause of the pain. Instead I said it was his actions and his hurtful words. Magic can work as much for you as it can against you if you aren't careful.

I hope this will help clear some of the sadness in our home and that has been smothering me. We can't move forward together if we can't move past our pain.
What do you do to help manage your emotions?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Some Soul Searching and Aura Repair Tea

So you may have noticed I kind of disappeared off the face of the planet there for a while. Well, things have been less than perfect in my life lately, and by less than perfect I mean that I feel like my whole world just came crashing down. My husband, the man I love and admire above all else, woke up one morning and didn't want to the married anymore. We started therapy, but I believe he is set in his choice to leave. I can't even begin to explain how broken I feel right now and how terrified I am. I'm losing my best friend and partner along with my home. I am struggling to figure out how I am going to manage on my own. Its honestly looking very grim.

With all the stress and anxiety I have caught every illness under the sun. Last week I was running a serious fever and today my throat feels raw from coughing and hacking on drainage. It has been awful to say the least. However, this morning I woke up knowing I needed to make changes.

I very much believe in my horoscope. In fact, it is almost always completely dead on. I don't do the dailies because its just too much, but I love the yearly and monthly horoscopes. It allows me to plan out my year and this past year I was glad I listened. It foretold of a financial problem in the middle of the year and sure enough my husband lost his job. Thankfully I had prepared and we made it out alright. Well I haven't looked at what it has had to say over the past couple of months so I decided to see how the rest of December is supposed to go. Well, what it had to say was powerful.
"Tension in your personal affairs could ratchet up around December 15. This intensity has been brewing since 2012, when these two cosmic heavy-hitters started their tug o’ war—and it will continue until mid-March 2015."

Wow...So Monday night is when things began to get worse and this intensity began in December of 2012.
"Instead of throwing up your hands and not deciding, it’s important to go deep into your roots—where does your background impede you from living your best, healthiest life? You are extra-sensitive to metaphysical and subtle energies, so before you lash out or make a drastic move to amputate someone from your life, look within. As St. Francis wisely said, “You are that which you seek.” You don’t need the seal of approval from a relationship or relative to drawn upon your enormous wellspring of power. You CAN have what you want. The first step is to shut out external chatter and figure that one out for yourself. No one else knows, except you. Take back your agency, your heart, your soul. The next four weeks, reconnect with your past and your childhood; in this nostalgia, you can find gems about who you really are—and what you truly desire."
When I read this I broke down in tears. I needed to hear that I CAN have what I want and that I need to dig deep to decide what I really want from my life and from my relationship. I need to do some serious soul searching. Do I want to save this marriage or let him walk away? I don't have the answer yet, but I plan on meditating on it over the next few weeks.

The horoscope finished by saying I am going to start a new chapter of my life. I am so terrified, but I am trying to be strong. I start my Master's program in the middle of January, and I can only hope that goes well for me. I have reached out to many people and have friends trying to find me a signifiantly better paying job. Please send your prayers, well wishes, and thoughts my way. I really need this to come through for me.

So tonight I am taking a step back; I am going to focus on me and my needs. As a Libra I am notorious for giving to others at my own expense. I can't do it anymore, at least not right now. I am going to take a nice warm bubble bath with Bath & Bodyworks Stress Relief foam while I drink a nice hot cup of Aura Repair Tea. I let this man dampen my spirit and surpress my aura. I need to repair it.

Want to make your own Aura Repair Tea? No problem. It consists of tea leaves, rosemary, lemongrass (my favorite), hibiscus flowers (second favorite), peppermint and mugwort. Each of these herbs is known for thier calming yet uplifting nature. Sipping on this delightful infusion will calm the spirit and repair an aura. This is especially great for after intense spell work or times of great stress. I added a bit of honey to sweeten it and soothe my very raw throat.

I plan on being around more in the upcoming weeks. Ignoring my spiritual path during these trying times is one of the worst things I can do, especially when I have such a wonderful outlet here.

Thank you for all of your support.

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Path is Set

So this week has been...interesting. I've been a nanny for the same family for 2 years, and I love my job, but some weeks are trying. Monday started bright and early (I did not sleep well) and was hoping to nap in the afternoon while the oldest, L, was at school and the youngest, S, was napping. Well, I get a call from Mom saying school was cancelled because low and behold the school had lost power. L refused to nap that afternoon too

Tuesday was great. I took the girls to story time and met up with up the L's best friend W. His mom just had a baby but she brought him out and left the newborn with her mother-in-law. We enjoyed story time and a wonderful lunch afterwards. Mom came home early because she is sick and napped in the afternoon. Thankfully EVERYONE took a nap, including me.

Wednesday the little one was sick with Mom so I was taking care of them both while L was in school. Thursday, W's mom dropped him off to play with L and the two spent the afternoon running circles around the kitchen island singing songs as loud as they could. Made me smile. I know most parents and nannys would have made them hush and stop their running, but I knew they needed it. It was too cold outside to play and they weren't hurting anyone. I am honestly pretty damn relaxed with kids. W's mom told me I'm a pro and having my own children will be a cake walk. I hope so.

Today I went to the dentist to have a root canal, was numbed up, then told the tooth was too infected to do any work. First world problems.

Stressful week at work, but I received some excellent news this week and it is why I am posting!

"Dear Ms. M,
On behalf of all the faculty of the Tift College of Education, I am pleased to inform you of your acceptance into the Master of Arts in Teaching program for Spring Semester 2015. You have met the requirements for full admission, and we commend you on reaching this important milestone in realizing your educational goals. Congratulations and welcome!"

Wonderful news indeed. Tift College of Education is part of Mercer University, a private college, here in Atlanta. We have had a very rough year and a half. I hope this is the light we have been needing.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Charged Waters: Flower Waters

Last week I introduced charged waters and talked about Holy Water. This week I would like to cover Flower Waters. There are a number of flower waters used in a variety of magic, especially rose water. Although some spells demand very specific flower waters, they may be substitute for regular water in many magical workings, especially those for healing and romantic purposes and for inks and incenses.

Rose water is frequently used in Indian, North African, and Middle Eastern cuisine (might be why I love it so much) and is easily purchased at specialty vendors. Sometimes health shops will also carry rose water, so keep an eye out the next time you venture out. However, pre-packaged rose waters vary greatly in quality as there are no set standards. Some contain very little trace of the flower while others are excellent. That being said, fine hydrosols are more popular now and thus more readily available in today's market. Hydrosols may be the best source of rose water.

If you don't wish to purchase your rose water, you can easily make it at home. However, do not use florist flowers as they are more often than not coated with pesticides which can concentrate in the flower water.

There are two methods you can use to make Rose/Flower Water.

Method 1:
  1. Wash and remove petals from roses. Place in a small pot and cover with a quarter of an inch of spring water.
  2. Simmer gently until the petals are limp and pallid. When in doubt simmer longer.
  3. Strain and allow liquid to cool. Refrigerate up to 1 week.
Method 2:
  1. Place washed petals or blossoms in a mason jar.
  2. Cover with boiling water and allow to sit overnight.
  3. Strain and refrigerate for up to 1 week.
Both methods can be used to make any type of flower water as long as the flowers are not poisonous or toxic of course. I will post a more in depth guide in the future.

Rose Water is used for a variety of purposes, including but not limited to:
  • Love Magic
  • Aiding the the awakening of one who has been in a trance
  • Used in a ritual cleansing bath
  • To relieve headaches and bruises
  • Stimulate sexual appetite and enhance beauty
  • Induce prophetic dreams
  • Healing magic
  • Stress relief
I will talk about lavender water in another post, as it is made from distilling instead of boiling. Until then, do you use rose water in your magical workings?

Friday, November 7, 2014

Charged Waters: Holy Water

This week's Pagan Blog Project letter is W, so I thought I would talk about charged waters.

Charged water is very simply water that has been charged with magical power and intentions. However, not all charged waters are really water. Some are alcohol-based as the roots of perfumeries and liqueurs lie in magical potions and brews. Alcohols commonly used include aquavit or whiskey (which derives from the Gaelic for "water of life") and vodka. Vodka is most common because it has little to no scent. Rubbing alcohol is avoided as it typically has a very strong aroma.

From: https://blackcatsandbroomsticks.wordpress.com/2012/08/29/blessed-moon-water/There are several types of charged waters including the infamous Holy Water, Rose Water, and Florida Water. I'll talk about Holy Water as it is probably the most familiar, yet misunderstood of charged waters. Many assume Holy Water indicates Church-blesses water only, but this is an oversimplification of a complex subject. The Roman Catholic Church did not in fact invent Holy Water, but instead adopted it from earlier pagan customs. Holy Water is a crucial component in magical workings, although how it is made varies greatly between traditions. It can refer to:
  • Church-blessed Water
  • Jordan River Water
  • Modern Wicca claims it to be either spring water with salt added or more personal recipes as decided by the coven or witch.
  • According to Pow-Wow traditions, it is water with salt and vervain added.
  • Some believe water charged by the Full Moon or a lunar eclipse is holy.
  • Balinese tradition has a variety of recipes including one that involves unripe coconuts or bamboo. Sometimes ocean water is used.
  • British folk traditions say that rain falling on Holy Thursday (Ascension Day) can be used as Holy Water. Other sacred days may be substituted, such as the Summer Solstice, May Eve, New Year's Day, Samhain, a saint's day, or even your birthday.
Balinese Holy Water, Church-blessed Holy Water, and Wiccan Holy Water are all consecrated via ritual. It is the ritual itself that activates the water. Other traditions say no ritual is needed because the sacred, magical power of Holy Water is innate and that a ritual can interfere with its power. So, depending on what you believe, Holy Water can be easily obtained through collection or involve a complex ritual.

Holy Water is used for a variety of purposes, including but not limited to:
  • Altar cleansing and blessing.
  • Healing spells. Holy Water is believed to be capable of magically transmitting physical relief for headaches and tensions when used in a compress or massage.
  • Cleansing and purification for both an individual and sacred space.
  • Cleansing and empowering magical tools and materials.
  • And of course, exorcisms and banishing spells.
I personally use ocean water as my holy water. Why? Because it contains salt, a natural purifier of negativity and "disease." I collect ocean water in a glass jar whenever we visit the ocean. I try to do it in the moon light to futher charge the water, but I find water collected at high noon is just as powerful. Its really a personal choice.

Do you use Holy Water? If so, which tradition do you identify with the most?

Monday, November 3, 2014

It's Your Future

In my opinion, tomorrow is the most important day of the year in the United States. It's not a holiday or a famous person's birthday or an honorary day; its voting day. I encourage each and every one of you to turn out to the polls tomorrow and cast your vote if you haven't done so already. I cannot stress how important it is for you to do so. My husband routinely tells me that the system is corrupt and our voices are being lost in the storm so why continue screaming? One voice may not breech the storm's howling winds, but millions will. When we rise up together, for whatever the cause, our voices will be heard and change will come of it. Abolitionists, feminists, and environmentalist are shining examples that when we work together for a just cause, we can accomplish wonders.

I don't care what your political views are. You may think President Obama is the worst thing to happen to this country; you may think he is the best. Whatever your views, please go express them tomorrow; please help us move our country forward. The loud minority in the United States is out voting the silent majority. Do something about it tomorrow.

If you don't know where to vote Google has made it simple. Please click here to find your local voting place. Not registered? Click here to do so. Voting is the best way to turn your political views into a reality. Even if you "lose" this year, do not become jaded. Big change takes a long time. And remember, your vote is your voice and you are not screaming into the storm alone.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Halloween Party

This year we didn't do a whole terrible lot for Halloween. I feel guilty, but seeing as to how busy we have been and how broke, I know I shouldn't. However, we were invited to a friends Halloween party and we had a blast! It was a costume party of course so we went has Mr. and Mrs. Fox from the Fantastic Mr. Fox!




We had a great time! I wish my husband had let me paint his face, but he would not. Such a party pooper!

I hope everyone had an eventful yet relaxing weekend!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Vampires

In the spirit of Halloween I thought I would write this Pagan Blog Project post about vampires. No undead spirit retains as much fascination from the living as vampires. Many understand vampires to exist somewhere between the living and dead, but are they tortured souls or rewarded ones?

Interpretations differ between cultures and myths, but the one quality universally accepted is that they suck vitality from others, either in the form of blood or sexual energy. The most famous vampires, including Bram Stroker's Dracula, Anne Rice's Lestat, and Sheridan Le Fanu's Carmilla, are all blood suckers. Some vampires kill their victims by draining all of their blood quickly while others prolong the process. Others still use the blood as merely a means to drain the victim's life force. However, vampires such as Lillith and her daughters, Herodias and her daughters, La Diablesse of the French Caribbean, and the Karina, drain sexual vitality from their victims. This is often done through sexual intercourse, whether physically or through dream hauntings. Many of today's portrayals of vampires combines the blood-sucker with the more ancient incubus/succubus (drainer of sexual vitality).

So how does one become a vampire? Well, there are many different traditions citing very different causes.
    https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode
  • Inadequate/improper funeral rites
  • There is a contagious quality to being a vampire. Once attacked by a vampire you either become one yourself or die.
  • In Transylvanian folklore, illegitimate songs, born outside Church-sanctioned marriages are doomed to become vampires.
  • Some spirits are believed to be innately vampiric without rhyme or reason.
  • Other traditions claim those born on Christmas Day are potentially future vampires.
  • And my personal favorite is from Ukrainian folklore. According to this legend a vampire is the inevitable result of sexual relations between a witch and werewolf.
Some of these are much crueler than the others if you consider the implications. I am curious to know how many people killed their illegitimate sons out of fear.

Of course among the legends are many antidotes. These traditionally include bells, bright light or sunlight, garlic, onions, and silver bullets or bullets made from melted down bells. Crosses and Holy Water is still up for debate. These do not appear in any traditions prior to the Church introducing them and many believe them to be Christian propaganda. Of course there are always spells to repel vampires.

The Gypsies of India suggest wearing a charged and consecrated iron ring set with pearls to ward off vampires. After an encounter they say to cleanse the ring in incense smoke. Wearing dried peppermint around you neck will also ward off vampires. You can mix it with dried garlic to make an even more powerful ward. However, my favorite is the idea that vampires are OCD. Supposedly if there is fishing net, or in our case modern screens, over your windows the vampire will compulsively count all the knots or holes before entering. The idea is that he/she will either be so distracted they get caught in sunlight or they give up and move to another home.

If you are daring you can try to capture a vampire in a glass or metal bottle like a genie. Don't use plastic as they can presumably bite through plastic. This works like a fly-trap. Place some kind of tempting food in the bottle. Set the bottle out and wait. You will know you have caught a vampire when you observe a bit of staw or fluff within the bottle. Seal the bottle securely and toss it into a fire to destroy the vampire. This spell of course only works on a vampire who is understood to have once been a regular human.

So this Halloween, take solace in the fact that you very likely have screens on all your windows and simply putting out some peppermint and garlic or having some bells on hand will keep you safe. And remember witches, don't do anything naughty with a werewolf else you could create your own little vampire.

I hope everyone has a wonderul Halloween. May your ancestors be with you.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Hustle and Bustle

So it has been an extremely busy time in our house the past couple of weeks. October always seems to bring on the endless activities. With fall festivals, parties, my birthday, and random projects for work, we rarely have a moment to catch our breaths until the New Year.

Monday was my 26th birthday. Yes, yes, I am 26 and honestly feeling like I am finally pulling up my roots and moving forward with my life. I have felt so stuck since I graduated from college in 2011. I am finally going back to school to get a Master's in Secondary Education. It is not my first choice however. I went to school for avian paleontology. I wanted to study the origin and evolution of birds from dinosaurs. Sadly, the field is extremely small and when I say small, I mean there are only two people in the United States that I could work with on a graduate level and some 800 students applied for those 2-5 spots. I just can't compete despite my many accomplishments, including being a published scientists. I am very proud that my undergraduate research was published and hoped it would be enough for any graduate program, but sadly it wasn't. So, I have finally decided it is time to move beyond my dream to something more tangible. I decided if I can't be a paleontologist, I might as well teach it, so I am going to become a high school biology teacher. I went to an orientation/Q&A this morning and the program's dean, admission counselor, and one of the teachers absolutely adored me. They went on and on about what a wonderful teacher I am going to be and the dean said she was thankful I was turned down by other graduate programs. For the first time in 3 years I finally feel like I am worth something. I can't even begin to explain how much it meant to me to hear someone tell me they want me in their program; that I am valuable and have something worth sharing with the world. I cried when I got in the car because I was so overwhelmed. I have been rejected from graduate programs 10 times. That is 10 times I was told, "Sorry, you aren't good enough for us." Ten times I felt worthless, like a failure, like wasted space. I have spent the past three years angry with myself. Well, I am done feeling this way. I am not not a tree; I am going to move forward.


This isn't going to be an easy process, but I think I will be happy with it in the long run. Biology teachers are highly sought after and with a Master's I should make very decent money. I will be able to move where ever I want in the country or even outside of it, have the same holidays off as my children if I decide not to home school, and get to teach my favorite subject in the entire world.

Needless to say, I have been busy. I haven't even bought pumpkins, let alone made a Halloween tree to set up an altar to honor the dead. I would feel guilty, but I don't. I had to focus on me for once and what I needed to do in order to feel alive. I am sure my deceased friends and family will understand and forgive me.

I plan on posting next Friday for the Pagan Blog Project and hopefully an addition post sometime next week; on what I am not sure yet, but I will figure it out.

I hope that everyone is enjoying this lovely fall and doing well!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Recipe: Brown Sugar Acorn Squash

Today I would like to share one of my favorite fall side dishes, Brown Sugar Acron Squash. It is simple and easy to make, requiring only four ingredients!


Ingredients:
     1-2 Acorn squash
     4-8 Tablespoons of Earth Balance or Butter (enough to coat)
     4-8 Tablespoons  brown sugar (enough to fill)
     Pinch of salt

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut your acorn squash in half and remove a small slice from the top and bottom if the halves do not sit evenly on the baking sheet. Remove seeds.
  2. Coat the inside of the squash with Earth Balance or butter, forming a layer about 1/4 inch thick. Fill with brown sugar.
  3. Bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes or until squash is soft. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. 
  4. Scoop out the contents from skin and mash in a bowl. Mix in a pinch of salt. Serve warm.


This makes an excellent side dish to any fall inspired meal with its rich and sweet flavor. Acorn squash was one of my favorites as a kid, and I cook it every fall for me and my husband. If you have a larger family, you may consider cooking two squashes, but one should accomadate 2-4 people just fine.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Uninvited Banishing Spells

 

With Halloween around the corner, scary movies are flooding the theatres and the television. I don't know if any of you guys have seen the previews for Ouija, but it got my thinking about the Uninvited. The whole premise of the movie is that some teenagers use a Ouija board to communicate with the dead and all hell breaks loose. I can't even begin to tell you the number of times I have overheard people talking about summoning spirits, demons, etc using any and all variety of methods. In fact, the daughter of a close family friend admitted to her mother that she was summoning spirits in an attempt to help them pass over. She was dabbling, as most people who talk about this sort of thing are, and her mother noticed very marked changes about her daughter. She asked me what I thought (she is a pagan Christian and clairvoyant), and I looked at her and told her that B had invited something in that she had not intended, something very dark.

Unfortunately, this is a very common occurrence when people dabble and/or misuse magic. In many cases, it is easier to summon than to banish. Always keep this in mind when summoning anything, especially if it is malevolent. However, it can even happen to the most skilled practitioner. So for this week's Pagan Blog Project post I would like to cover how to get rid of the Uninvited, both physically and metaphysically. Sometimes a guest overstays their welcome, a neighbor moves in that is completely awful, or you have accidentally let in something malicious.

Depending on what you need, there are several ways you can handle this problem. Banishing powders are very common in dealing with people. My favorite is based on an old Hoodoo recipe. To make Hoodoo Vanishing Powder, simply combine black pepper, cayenne, salt, and sulfur and grind into a fine powder. Visualize your intent while grinding to infuse the powder.

Banishing powders can be sprinkled on the clothes, especially shoes, of the person you wish to leave, under their bed, on the ground where they will walk over it, or used to enhance other banishing spells including banishing oil. Remember, powders are intended as a subtle form of magic so less is more. You don't want it to be obvious what you are doing. Also keep in mind that if you sprinkle this on someones clothes, you could cause an adverse reaction, so the bottoms of shoes is safest.

Of course this is only one powder recipe. Mixing any of the following herbs will produce a Banishing Powder:
     Angelica
     Asafetida
     Basil
     Bay laurel
     Citronella
     Cloves
     Cumin
     Devil's bit
     Dragon's blood
     Elder
     Fleabane
     Fumitory
     Garlic
     Heliotrope
     Horehound
     Juniper
     Lovage
     Mistletoe
     Mullein
     Mugwort
     Nettle
     Oleander
     Pepper (both black and cayenne/hot chili)
     Yew

Growing these plants in quantity around your home will also discourage uninvited guests and can be used in your Poison Garden (to be talked about on a later date).

To make a Banishing Oil cover your banishing powder in Castor oil and shake vigorously until well combined. If the oil is too thick you can thin it with jojoba oil.

 

All of the above methods are generally used to banish people, not spirits. If you have accidentally let spirits into your home, whether malicious or not, there are several ways to handle this. A general word of caution; if you wish to practice malevolent magic, know that it attracts the attention of equally malevolent spirits, whether you want them or not. Once present, they often become bored and restless, causing destruction and grief in their wake. The best option for banishing spirits is to contact a knowledgeable professional, but I understand not everyone can or are comfortable doing this. When all actions must be taken into your own hands, the Spirit Banishing Bell and Incense Spell is extremely potent. Burn benzoin, frankincense, and juniper as a triple threat and for tripe protection. Evil spirits cannot abide any of these fragrances, let alone the combination and should leave. Ringing an iron bell while the incense burns will increase the effectiveness of this spell as it disturbs most malicious spirits. Make your intent known by commanding the spirits to leave and never return.

I hope none of you ever have to use any of these spells, but in case you ever do, do not do it maliciously. These are also not intended to use all willy-nilly because you can't get along with someone. These are for extreme cases only so please exercise caution and your best judgement.

Have you ever had to use a banishing spell? If so, for what?

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Herbarium: Sage

Folk Names: Garden Sage, Red Sage, Sawge
Gender: Masculine
Planet: Jupiter
Element: Air
Powers: Immortality, Longevity, Protection, Purification, Wisdom, Wishes
Magical Uses and History: Sage takes its name from the Latin word salvare which means "to save." This is a very fitting name due to its healing properties. The Ancient Greeks and Romans ate Sage to improve the mind. Carrying Sage on your person is said to promote wisdom. The Romans also believed eating Sage would protect pregnant women, increase fertility, and extend life. To extend your own life, eat Sage everyday in May, for:
He who would life for aye
Must eat sage in May.
The Egyptians also believed Sage increased fertility and women would drink sage juice before lying with their husbands to ensure conception.

Sage is also a powerful protector. Wearing a horn full of Sage will protect you from the evil eye while burning it will dispel negative energy and cleanse rooms and objects.

If you desire to make a wish come true, write your wish on a Sage leaf and sleep on it for three nights. If you dream of your wish, it will come true. If you do not, bury the Sage in the ground to prevent harm coming to you.

Be weary if you wish to grow Sage in your garden. It is bad luck to plant Sage in your own garden and a stranger (or someone not living in the home) should be found to plant it for you. Furthermore, a full bed of Sage is bad luck so make sure the plot is home to other plants as well.

Sage can be used in a number of spells including:
     Protection Magic
     Healing Spells
     Fertility Spells
     Purification
     Luck Spells
     Attract Wisdom
     Immortality Magic

Medicinal Uses: The leaves of Red Sage are often used to aid inflammation of the mouth, throat, and tonsils as its volatile oils are soothing to the mucous membranes. It can be used internally as a mouth wash to treat gingivitis, inflamed tongue (glossitis), and other mouth inflammations including mouth ulcers. It can also be gargled to treat laryngitis, pharyngitis, and tonsillitis. Furthermore, it reduces sweating when taking internally. Externally it is used to treat wounds. Do not take Sage if you are pregnant or wishing to breastfeed. When taken internally, it can reduce breast milk production and stimulate the muscles of the uterus.

Preparation and Dosage: The leaves should be collected shortly before or just at the beginning of flowering (May or June). Leaves can then be dried, but not above 95°F. Sage can be taken internally as either an infusion, tincture, or gargle. To make an infusion, pour a cup of boiling water onto 1-2 teaspoons of leaves and let infuse for 10 minutes. Drink this solution up to three times a day. As a tincture, take 2-4 milliliters up to three times a day. To make a gargle put 2 teaspoons of dried leaves in 1 pint of water. Bring to a boil, cover, and let stand for 15 minutes. Gargle deeply with the hot deep for 5-10 minutes several times a day. Externally use Sage in a compress to treat open wounds.

 



Want to print a copy of this for your Book of Shadows? Click below for your free copy!

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0KnNmfNfzc8Wk50bjVmQXEzZzg/view?usp=sharing

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Making Crystal Tinctures and Extracts

 

Normally when I talk about tinctures and extracts, I am referring to herbal mixtures and remedies. However, it is possible to make tinctures and extracts from crystals for both medicinal and magical purposes. I'm not going to touch on any of these uses today, simply explain how to make them.

To make a tincture or extract, cleanse (both physically and magically--best option is to run it under water) and charge your crystal. If you plan to ingest your tincture or extract please make sure your crystal is nontoxic. Many crystals, including aquamarine, emerald, and tiger's eye, are toxic when soaked in alcohol, water, or oil. You can find a decent list here.

Once your stone is cleansed and charged, soak the crystal in alcohol, water, or oil for 2-4 hours in sun light. If your stone will fade in sun light, you can use moon light instead. Remove the crystal and store the water in a clear glass jar. If you soaked your crystal in water pour in 1/4 cup of distilled vinegar or Vodka to prevent algea growth if you do not plan to use your extract immediately.

If you still wish to use a toxic crystal you can use an indirect method. Simply place the crystals in a small bowl within a larger bowl full of alcohol, water, or oil. The vibrations will enter the liquid but the toxins will not.

With preservation (alcohol or vinger) your extracts can last up to two years if using internally or 6+ years if using externally. Tinctures will last up to 6+ no matter their use as they are made from alcohol. Oils should be used within weeks to prevent them from going rancid.

Crystal tinctures and extracts are very simple to make. However, using crystal tinctures and extracts for medicinal purposes is not so simple. I have never personally used crystals for medicinal purposes, but I plan on learning how to use them in the future. Until then, please consult Google and its infinite wisdom with caution.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Three Tricksters

Last week several people wrote about their totem animals for the Pagan Blog Project. Since none of them mentioned mine, I figured I would cover them. I call them the Three Tricksters because each of them is known as a "trickster" in many traditions due to their cunning and ability to quickly adapt. My three totems are the Fox, Raven, and Raccoon.

The Fox

The fox has a long and rich history. It is often associated with the "dark" side of magic and seen as a bad omen in many traditions. In some Native American traditions, the fox represents the practice of dark sorcery and the manipulation of magic. Despite this, the fox is revered for its witty and quick intelligence. It is a great teacher, providing guidance on swiftly handling obstacles, adapting, and quick thinking. The fox can also help you see through deception and aid in dream work.

The Raven

Throughout history the raven has been associated with both positive and negative aspects. The most common aspects are magic, personal transformation, intelligence, adaptability, prophetic insight, and death. The raven is present in many shamanic traditions as the totem animal of choice for those who use magic. Furthermore, ravens are great teachers for guiding you through adversity, difficult situations, and transformation. It also aid in magical workings.

The Raccoon

The history of the raccoon is not as rich as those of the fox and raven, but it is also often associated with the trickster. In some Native Americans traditions it is associated with shape shifting, disguise, dexterity, and ingenuity. Like the raven it can aid in personal transformation and adaptability. Furthermore, the raccoon is a great teacher in problem solving, ingenuity, and exploration. It can also aid you in undertaking new experiences and calming you in stressful situations.

I hope this has been useful and if you are looking for more information, there are many helpful websites out there, including Spirit Animal Totems, Spirit Animal Info, and Shamanic Journey. This, of course, is just a breif introduction to each of the animals.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Autumn Decor

I love decorating for autumn more than any other time of year. Unfortunately, I have very few decorations because this is also the time of year when we tend to have less money to spend. Despite the financial hardships, I have been lucky enough to acquire some beautiful decorations, many of which were made by my own mother over the past three and a half decades.

This is my full mantle decoration. The newest additions are the spider web garland from Target for $1 and the small glass jar with stopper on the right, also from Target for $1. The painting above the mantle is one of mine from several years ago.


The ghost with the pumpkin head is a clay figurine my mother made for Halloween the year I was born, 1988. This will be its 26th Halloween!


This raven plate I picked up last year at the Country Living Fair for $2. I hope to score some more decorations when I attend later this year!


This gourd was painted by my mother in the early 2000s in the classic Halloween style. Most of her decorations for the Halloween season are similar in style. I am envious of her decorations, but with time I too hope to have a large collection.

 

The witch candle holder was once my mom's, but she passed it on to me last year. The cookie jar is new this year. I bought it on Friday at Goodwill for 99 cents. Can't beat that price! I loved that it was black and white and went well with the candle holder I already had.

 

This clay witch was also done by my mother in 1990, the year my brother was born. It is celebrating 24 Halloweens this year. I tried to get two of these witches from her, the other of which was holding a bowl of worms, but she would only part with one. I picked the skull witch, but I would have liked to have had the bowl of worms witch too because I remember watching my mother make that witch on the butcher block when I was a kid. I made a bowl of worms from clay that day too to copy her.


 

This is our side table decorated with a candle and gargoyle from the Dollar Store and a card my mom made us for Halloween last year. I wasn't kidding when I said many of my decorations were made over the years by my mother. I also have a large clay pumpkin by our front door that my mother made in 1988 as well. My grandmother sent it to me when she moved saying she had no room for it in her new apartment. I am thankful for it and use it as a candy bowl on Halloween.

So far this is the bulk of the decorations I have up in the house. I hope to acquire some more items this year. Keep an eye out for upcoming Halloween crafts and pumpkins. I plan to make a new Halloween tree this year as I had to discard my old one, and the details will be coming soon!

Have you started decorating for Halloween?