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 nannies 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.

Charged Waters: Flower WatersRose 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.

Charged Waters: Holy 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 further 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.