Monday, October 29, 2018

Book Review: The Holy Wild by Danielle Dulsky

Book Review: The Holy Wild by Danielle Dulsky

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
A couple of weeks ago Dulsky's publisher reached out asking if I would like to read and review a copy of her new book The Holy Wild: A Heathen Bible for the Untamed Woman. Of course I jumped on the chance to read a new book, and I am sure glad I did. First of all, I loved this book and it couldn't have arrived in my life at a better time. There have been a lot of transitions and heartache in my personal life over the past year, and this powerful book has given me the strength to continue forward, recognizing I am leaving an old garden to start a new one.

The Holy Wild is broken into five parts centered around the elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Ether (spirit). Within each section, Dulsky begins with stories (verses) using the Triple Goddess archetype to enhance the lessons, providing feminine archetypes many are familiar with within each section to teach the lesson. Many of her feminine archetypes are Christian-based, which didn't bother me, but may bother some. Dulksy's goal of using Judo-Christian feminine archetypes is to rewrite their stories as heroines who cast aside their patriarchal bonds to reach their higher selves, which resonated with me because I, like many other witches, was raised in a Christian household. I was able to connect to the stories of Lilith, Salome, Mother of Babylon, and Mary Magdalene on a very deep level, recognizing when I had experienced similar instances within my own life. This made Dulsky's words resonate loudly, encouraging me to seek out the Divine Feminine within my self, cast aside the patriarchal bonds that are still present in my own life, and work through some of the pain and hurt I have held onto.

Book Review: The Holy Wild by Danielle Dulsky

After the verses, Dulsky provides a series of rituals and magical spells centered around the lesson and element that the reader can perform to reach the same transformation. Each section has several rituals and spells that can be performed, and Dulsky makes sure to make the reader aware not all rituals need to be performed, and while some are for groups and others for solitaries, they can all be easily adapted to the needs of the reader or readers. One of my favorite rituals was in the water section where Dulsky suggests performing a Sadhana, a 13-day ritual of self-reflection. This is something every single witch should practice frequently throughout their life, especially as we enter periods of change. I thoroughly enjoyed the rituals, but this is not something you embark on during your first reading. I strongly encourage other feminine witches out there to read through the entire book first. Then, on the second read, begin working through the rituals and spells. This is my plan, as it can be daunting to try and tackle both the reading and rituals at the same time.

It is important to note this book is written for women, both cis- and transgendered. Dulsky attempts to say the book is for all pagans, but I can't imagine a man reading this and getting much out of it other than an understanding of the struggles women face on a daily basis and throughout history. I wish I could recommend this book to all witches, but I simply can't because the content is very specific in its intent to help women become their true, unbridled selves. Overall, I thought it was a fantastic, empowering read. If you are going through a rough patch or just feel stuck in your current garden, I encourage you to pick up a copy of Dulsky's The Holy Wild: A Heathen Bible for the Untamed Woman today. You won't regret it.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

House of Rituals October 2018 Unboxing

The latest House of Rituals unboxing video. This box was really wonderful!

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Thursday, October 18, 2018

3 Ways to Honor Your Ancestors at Samhain

3 Ways to Honor Your Ancestors at Samhain

The veil is thinning; can you feel it, witches? If you haven't already, this is a great time to hedge ride for any reason whatsoever and is the easiest time to cross the veil as the veil is already thin. So if you haven't tried it yet, go ahead and give it a shot. My complete guide to hedge riding can be found here.

With the thinning of the veil, spirits are able to easily pass into our realm, which means your ancestors will likely show up to visit come Samhain. It is during Samhain that many witches honor those who have since passed on. I currently have my Ancestral Tree set up in my living room, and I'm looking forward to honoring those who have crossed the veil this Samhain. How exactly do I plan to do that? Well, there are three simple ways you can honor your loved ones this Samhain!

1. Set up an ancestral altar. This is kind of an obvious one, but a great idea nonetheless. Your ancestral altar can be as simple or as ornate as you wish. The purpose, however, is to guide your ancestors home during Samhain and honor their passing. In the Mexican tradition, this altar is called an ofrenda, which is Spanish for "offering." Ofrendas are generally ornate, having multiple levels to honor the saints, deceased relatives, and to offer food and drink to the departed souls coming to visit. A candle for each loved one is placed on the ofrenda to guide them home. The same can be done for your ancestral altar, but on a smaller scale. Feel free to place pictures, candles, flowers, food & drink, or even favorite possessions of your loved ones on your ancestral altar.

2. Hold a Dumb Supper. Okay, the name sounds sketchy and totally disrespectful to your ancestors, but it is quite the opposite. The "dumb" in this case refers to silence. While the history of the Dumb Supper is highly debated, I believe its a fantastic tradition and a great way to celebrate your ancestors. During a Dumb Supper, no guest is to speak. The area should be cleansed and a circle cast if you so please. At least one chair should be set aside for the spiritual guests. Be sure to have a plate of food at each spirit chair for your ancestors to enjoy. Since it isn't feasible to have a chair for every ancestor or loved one you wish to honor, a tea light candle for each one can be used to honor them. As guests enter, they should stop at the spirit chair and offer a silent prayer. Guests may wish to bring a private note on which their message to their loved ones is written. Once the meal is complete, guests should find the candle associated with their loved one, silently pray on the message they wish to send, then burn the message in the flames. As guest silently leave, they should silently say goodbye to the spirit chair. Once the ritual is complete, talking may commence once more. Most witches tend to serve seasonal food items such as squash, pumpkin treats, apples, and hearty soups during the dinner, but any type of food is fine. You may wish to cook an ancestors favorite meal!

3. Write them letters and bury them. This is a great way to magically connect with your ancestors in a nontraditional way. This simple ritual can be performed on Samhain or the days prior. Simply light a small candle for each ancestor you wish to contact, ask them to join you if they can, and begin writing your letters. Anything you wish to write is perfectly fine. You may also wish to include your own intentions for your life in the future and ask your ancestors for aid in fulfilling these intentions. Once you are done, bury the letter someplace important to you, your ancestor, or your intentions. I realize not everyone can easily access a favorite place visited by their ancestor, but an important place to you is just as powerful.

For more information, you may wish to check out these other resources.
Ancestral Altars and Rituals, Sarah Anne Lawless (I saved much of her work as PDFs)
The Day of the Dead Ofrenda, May Herz
A Feast with the Dead, ThoughtCo.
Five Ways to Honor Your Ancestors, Daniel Foor
The Importance of Honoring the Ancestors, Obara Meji

Monday, October 15, 2018

Magical Properties of Yew

Magical Properties of Yew

Friday, October 5, 2018

Crystals for Surgery Recovery

Crystals for Surgery Recovery

On Monday I underwent an outpatient surgery for endometriosis. I've never had a "real" surgery before with the closest thing being having my wisdom teeth removed when I was in high school. Needless to say, I was frightened and extremely anxious. I have had multiple anxiety attacks over the past couple of weeks leading up to the surgery and my biggest fear was that the doctor would cut me open to find nothing was wrong with me, that the pain I have been experiencing since I was 14 was all in my head. Thankfully that wasn't the case. In fact, he found a lot more than he expected, including significant scarring around my colon and intestines. The scar tissue was so bad that my intestines had fused to the wall of my abdominal cavity and the mass was unmoving, meaning regular function was inhibited. He approached my mom before removing it, asking if she was sure I had never had another abdominal surgery. She assured him I had not, that this was the first. He said the next possible source of the scarring was an infection, so he went looking for what he thought was the source: my appendix. Thankfully that little organ is perfectly healthy, but we aren't sure exactly what caused the issue. I have a feeling I know what caused it, and I plan to discuss it with my doctor next week at my post-op appointment.

The past couple of days have been extremely rough. I am allergic to opiates which means I am stuck with tramadol, a synthetic opiate to treat mild pain, and Advil. However, I have been using some magical means to speed up the healing process as well: crystals. Here are three crystals I have been relying on this week to speed up the healing process.

Crystals for Surgery Recovery: Bloodstone

1. Bloodstone: Bloodstone, so named after the red flecks of "blood" throughout it, purifies the blood and stimulates the immune system, thus aiding in a speedy recovery, especially after surgery. It can ward off flu, colds, infections, inflammation, and helps revitalize the body after an injury. Furthermore, bloodstone is known for its grounding and cleansing properties, helping to ward off negativity and anxiety while your body recovers. Simply place this stone near the incision site to benefit from its healing vibrations. Do not place the crystal directly on the wound(s). This can cause more harm than good.

Crystals for Surgery Recovery: Lapis lazuli

2. Lapis lazuli: This brilliant blue crystal is known for easing pain, boosting the immune system, and purifying the blood. It is also known for lowering blood pressure and easing inflammation, making it the perfect crystal to use after a surgery. Lapis lazuli also encourages you to take charge of your life and helps to focus the mind, allowing you to focus on healing and living your best life in the future. Like bloodstone, lapis lazuli can be placed near the incision site to aid in the recovery process.

Crystals for Surgery Recovery: Amethyst

3. Amethyst: Amethyst is believed to ease inflammation and boost the immune system as well, thus helping to aid in recovery. Furthermore, amethyst is known to help skin conditions, meaning it can be used to reduce scarring and aid in the healing of open wounds and incisions after surgery. This purple variety of quartz is also calming, allowing the user to relax during the healing process and sleep if need be as it wards off insomnia. Amethyst can be placed near the wound, on your forehead, or next to your bed to aid in recovery.

I have been using these three crystals the majority of the week, and they have brought a comfort nothing else has been able to provide. I hope that none of you ever have to have surgery, but if you do, know these crystals will work with your body to heal quickly.

Please note that crystals and magical healing methods SHOULD NOT replace any treatment your doctor has prescribed. You should follow your post-op care instructions to the letter. I do NOT suggest using herbs to aid in the recovery process as many of them can and do interfere with prescribed medications. If your symptoms worsen, you begin to run a fever, or the pain becomes worse, call your doctor immediately. Magical methods can be used to enhance your recovery process, but should not replace them.

What crystals do you turn to in your time of need?