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Thursday, August 29, 2019

Living the Mother/Father Aspect When You Aren't a Parent

Living the Mother/Father Aspect When You Aren't a Parent

If you haven't read it already, I encourage you to read my article Should We Rethink The Triple Goddess?, which not only applies to our concept of the Triple Goddess but also the Triple God or Holy Trinity if you will. Both consist of three phases; three phases I don't believe work well in witchcraft as you'll find if you read my previous article on the subject. However, no matter how you look at it, whether you support three or four phases, the second is always a parental archetype: Mother and Father.

In today's world, more and more young adults are choosing not to have children. I am one such witch. In fact, I had surgery last year to remove my tubes, making the permanent choice to not birth a child. On discussion boards and forums I come across more and more witches choosing not to have children and wondering how the Mother and Father aspect fit into their lives. Many argue it doesn't, and such gender roles, especially for women, are outdated, rooted in patriarchy, and transphobic. I see where they are coming from. The original concept of the Triple Goddess and the roles of a woman are dated, rooted in patriarchy, and pretty transphobic, but that doesn't mean we have to look at them that way today. Much of what witchcraft practitioners are doing now is fighting gender stereotypes, reclaiming divine power, and throwing patriarchy and toxic masculinity out the window. These are great things we are doing, so why not do the same for the aspects or phases of both women and men?

Here's the thing; despite its history, the Mother and Father aspect have never been solely about childbirth and child-rearing. I know from the outside that's what it looks like. Heck, that's the first thing everyone thinks of when you hear the words "mother" and "father." It isn't wrong to associate children with motherhood and fatherhood, but there is so much more to it than just children. In fact, you can transition into the Mother and Father aspects without ever having children, despite the idea that you have to to fill those roles.

The Mother and Father phases are about actualizing your ego. By this I mean you transition from being self-serving to recognizing your strengths and their ability to help others. For both women and men, the "parental" stage of their life is transitioning their focus from only on themselves to others. They are willing to make sacrifices for the greater good, at least within their own families, if not in their community as well. Furthermore, it is a time for women and men to bring forth creation, but that doesn't necessarily mean life. This is a time when women and men take the dreams of the Maiden and Stag (or Warrior if that's what you prefer) and manifest them into reality. They mean so much more than popping out a couple of screaming kids and raising them for 20 years.

So how can you live this phase without children? Begin by serving and caring for others, whether it be a significant other, your community, or society as a whole. Your actions can be as small as caring for your SO when they are sick, bringing flowers to a grieving neighbor, or picking up trash along the sidewalk or as large as running for public office, joining the Peace Corps, or starting a non-profit, and everything in between. For me, this meant becoming a teacher. Despite not having children of my own, I help raise about 200 every year just by being their science teacher. I make a huge difference in many of these kids lives. I'm a shoulder to cry on, a friend to laugh with, an enforcer of boundaries, and an ear to listen with. If that isn't living the Mother aspect, I don't know what is!

Next, begin manifesting those dreams. As young adults, we often have great plans, but no idea how to implement them. As we grow older, we develop the skills necessary to complete our goals, but often forget to come back to them. Write them down in a journal, BOS, on a sticky note on your mirror, or create a vision board to help remind you that you have a (possibly outlandish) goal your younger Maiden/Stag self wished to accomplish. Transitioning into Mother and Father isn't about growing up and losing your inner spark. It's the exact opposite. The Maiden and Stag teach us the beauty of play; the Mother and Father teach us how to use play to further our lives and the lives of others. Chase those dreams your younger self had. Manifest them into reality.

And finally, bring forth creation through art, music, dance, writing, poetry, and the like. Create beautiful masterpieces without a care for what others may think. Sing like no one can hear you and dance like no one is watching. When you release your inhibitions, you release your soul. This is the true meaning of the Mother and Father aspects.

For those of you currently in Mother/Father without children, how do live the aspect? Please share in the comments below.


Monday, August 26, 2019

Book Review: Honoring Your Ancestors- A Guide to Ancestral Veneration by Mallorie Vaudoise

Book Review: Honoring Your Ancestors- A Guide to Ancestral Veneration by Mallorie Vaudoise

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. I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I've noticed that as I have become more experienced in the Craft, I have turned away from reading and purchasing "spell books." It's not that these books aren't good; its that the information is often the same every single time, and I am tired of reading about moon phases, the elements, the Wheel of the Year, and all the other introductory stuff that comes with it. Besides, I like writing my own spells so much more. So lately I have been reading books that introduce different practices within the Craft, whether it be death rituals from around the world, incorporating Druidism into hedgecraft, or in this case, ancestor veneration. Ancestor veneration has become more of an interest of mine as of late due to my experiences as a hedgewitch. I most often work with my animal guides, but find myself wanting more. Furthermore, I wish to develop a more daily-type of practice, although a very simple one. I would like this daily practice to focus on hedgecraft and spirit work, and Honoring Your Ancestors: A Guide to Ancestral Veneration by Mallorie Vaudoise has given me soooooo much to think about!

I am absolutely in love with this book. It's practical, easy to read, and relatively short. The few spells and rituals are thought out and their inclusion is important to the lessons taught in each chapter. When I read new books, I often leave a lot of the text with the book, taking only bits and pieces of new information and ideas as I find them. This book, however, I took almost all of it with me and left very little, if anything, behind. Vaudoise, a spiritualist of Italian descent, speaks from her personal experiences with her ancestral veneration practice and how she has used a combination of practices sacred to her family and ancestors to determine how to honor them. Her advice is practical and applicable to all those interested in ancestor veneration, whether it be to aid in your spellwork or to bring you comfort.

Each chapter ends with some questions to be answered in a journal, Book of Shadows, or just thought about. The questions are thought-provoking and guide the reader in beginning their own ancestral veneration practice. I felt some of the questions were...blah, so I didn't answer those. I guess the answers felt obvious to me or as if the answer didn't apply to what I was wishing to do. Vaudoise makes it clear you should take what you want and leave the rest. I appreciate her candor and her encouragement to create your own practice. It was her candor and honesty that I loved most about this book. She mentions how when she first started out she bought tons of ritual tools and supplies, only to never use them in her craft. I remember being guilty of this. Actually, I still am. Haha! I often buy witchy things because I like them, not always because I will use them. The majority of my magic uses nothing or very little items. I related to Vaudoise draw to folk magic and simplicity, and appreciate that her book took the same approach. On top of all this, her book is well researched and uses science to support her practice. Anything that includes science, and does so correctly, scores loads of points with me.

If you are interested in working more with your ancestors as part of your practice, especially if you're a hedgewitch, this book 100% gets my approval. Honoring Your Ancestors: A Guide to Ancestral Veneration by Mallorie Vaudoise will be available September 8, 2019. Looking to find out more about Mallorie Vaudoise? She is also the author and blogger behind ItalianFolkMagic.com.


Thursday, August 22, 2019

Bone Magic Series: Working With the Spirits of Animal Remains: Crossing Over & Contracting

Bone Magic Series: Working With the Spirits of Animal Remains: Crossing Over & Contracting

Now its all well and good to find or purchase animal remains, especially bones, but what happens to the spirit of the animal that originally inhabited those bones, and may still be inhabiting them? Should you help the animal cross over? Contract it? Leave it the hell alone? These are the questions you need to ask yourself and the animal spirit you encounter. Each spirit is different and therefore no two experiences will be the same.

You will most often encounter an animal spirit attached to their remains if you come across the bones in the wild. Unfortunately, animal spirits tend to vacate bones handled by large suppliers, even those I mentioned in my previous post How to Ethically Acquire Animal Remains. Of course, this isn't always the case, but from my experience, purchased remains tend to be spirit free. So what should you do when you come across remains in nature? First, approach the remains with the utmost respect, just as you would human remains. Remember, this was a living creature with its own hopes, dreams, and fears. Close your eyes and open yourself to any spirit that may still be hanging out in the remains. If after a few minutes, nothing speaks to you, the animal spirit has likely moved on. If you choose to take the remains, thank the animal, even though they are not there for other spirits are watching you, for the gift and treat the remains with care and dignity. You may wish to leave a bit of yourself behind as thanks. Strands of your own hair, a drop of your blood, or some of your saliva are all acceptable offerings.

If the animal spirit still resides within the remains, you have one of three options: help the spirit cross over, contract the spirit, or leave it be. With the proper protections in place, open up your thoughts to the spirit and ask what it would like. If the spirit tells you to bugger off, thank the spirit for its time and move along. Do not come back to the remains later in hopes that the spirit has moved on. It told you no; accept that answer. Just like you have bodily autonomy (or should), so do animals. You have no rights to any of its remains, especially once it has told you no. If the spirit wishes for your aid in crossing over, ask it how best you can help it transition. Depending on how the animal lived and died, they may be extremely fearful, angry, or sad. Listen to what the spirit has to say and try your best to help guide its soul into the other world. So how exactly do you go about doing this?

There are lots of guides online that all suggest different methods. I prefer to simply listen to the animal spirit tell its story. Sometimes that's all the animal needs to do and they will cross over once their story is over with. For those particularly resistant animal spirits, ask them if you can help guide them toward the light. If they say they need the assistance, sit next to the remains and ask if you may touch them. If the animal says yes, place your hand gently on the remains (unless it's a freaking opossum then don't freaking touch it), close your eyes and call upon your guides to aid you in helping the animal spirit cross over. If the animal does not wish to be touched, simply hover your hand over the remains. Enter into a meditative state and visualize a golden orb of light surrounding you and the animal spirit. This golden orb of light, as you focus on it, will engulf the animal spirit, pull it from the remains, and gently carry it into the Otherworld. Ask the wind and rain to wash away any resentment, fear, or inhibitions and say something like, "May your spirit find comfort and joy on the other side. Go swiftly and safely into the great beyond." The two times I have done this, Meka, my fox animal guide, has come to comfort the animal spirit and aided in their transition. Your animal guides will likely do the same, although you should be cautious if your animal guide is a predator and the animal spirit crossing over is a prey animal. They may be scared of your guide and refuse to leave. Use your best judgment. For some reason, no animal I have encountered, living or nonliving, has been afraid of Meka. Her heart is so absolutely pure and comforting, that everyone feels at ease around her. I would never ask Rocar to assist in a crossing over. He is too abrasive and obnoxious.

If the spirit wishes to remain and doesn't ask you to leave it alone, ask it if it would like to work with you in your magical workings. If it agrees, offer the spirit a contract. Your contract is to protect you and the spirit and make it abundantly clear what each of you should expect from the other. It sets boundaries and rules, as well as lets the spirit know what you will be offering it in return from its services. Sometimes a spirit may want to come home with you simply to be with you and yours. All it wants is a loving home and in return will watch over you and your family. Other times, the spirit will be more demanding. It's okay to negotiate, but be firm in what you will and will not do. Begin with a verbal contract and upon returning home, write the contract within your spirit journal or Book of Shadows. Sign and date and be sure to read it to the spirit and accept their "signature." Their signature can be a "verbal" agreement or you can use a pendulum or tarot cards to exact a yes. For example, 2 out of 3 upright cards indicates a yes while the pendulum swinging to yes or in whatever direction you have determined as yes means, well, yes. Below is an example of what your contract could look like:

"I, [insert name here], enter into an agreement with [name of the animal spirit or species if not given]. In exchange for magical assistance, spiritual advisement, and enhanced magical perception, I offer [insert offering agreement here]. In order to fulfill this contract, [name of the animal spirit/species] shall not require more than what was originally agreed upon without negotiating and shall only work in my favor and for the highest will. Failure to do so will result in the termination of our agreement." (modified from Devon Hunter's The Witch's Book of Spirits.)

Finally, ask if you may take its remains back with you to your house and if it has a particular bone it wants you to take with you. This bone will be the house for the spirit and usually animal spirits prefer their skull, although not always. I have read from other witches that their animal spirits preferred toe bones, teeth, or ribs over the skull. Take only what the animal spirits says you may take. Again, bodily autonomy. Respect the spirit's wishes. Before you clean the remains, ask the spirit if it's okay. I have a coyote skull that has not been cleaned because the coyote said no. Perfectly fine with me.

Working with animal spirits is such a delight. They bring a power to your magic like no other. They are often kind and generous as well as loving and protective of the witches that care for them in death. Remember to always be respectful and in return, they will be some of your best magical allies. Honor your agreement and be sure to offer them what they wish in return. Coyote is happy to sit on my bookshelf among my favorite books, wanting nothing more in return than a prominent spot to watch the going on's in my home. He has been my longest animal spirit companion, going on 10 years, and I enjoy just looking at him among my books when I sit on my emerald green couch to read a good book. Sometimes I even read aloud to him. Have you contracted an animal spirit or helped one cross over? Tell me about your experiences in the comments below.

Interest in the rest of the series? Here's what's to come!

Bone Magic Series

Monday, August 19, 2019

Herbarium: Magical and Medicinal Uses of Goldenrod

Magical and Medicinal Uses of Goldenrod

Gender: Feminine
Planet: Venus
Element: Air
Powers: Divination, Love, Money
Magical Uses and History: Goldenrod is a hearty wildflower found in many parts of the world. It usually blooms in late summer, spreading rapidly and attracts birds, bees, and butterflies plenty, lending to its association with prosperity and money. Folklore suggests that if goldenrod suddenly springs up in your yard that prosperity and money will soon follow.

According to other legends, goldenrod stems have been used as dowsing rods. The flower is said to bob when the seeker points the stem in the right direction. Furthermore, by wearing goldenrod flowers it is said you will cross paths the following day with your future lover. If you are looking to seal the deal, offer them some goldenrod tea. The dried leaves and flowers can be burned to enhance love spells and increase intuition during divination magic.

Goldenrod contains about 7% rubber naturally. Thomas Edison, through experimentation, bred goldenrod that grew about six feet tall and contained 12% rubber. The tires on his Model T Ford were subsequently made with goldenrod rubbed and Edison, Ford, Firestone, and Washington Carve teamed up to experiment further to increase rubber content and create tires made fully of goldenrod rubber. Unfortunately, synthetic rubber hit the scene soon after and the project was dropped. However, because of the high rubber content, goldenrod can be used in bouncing back spells, whether it be to reflect someone's actions back at them or to help you bounce back from a loss or grief.

Goldenrod can be used in a number of spells including:
    Divination
    Money Spells
    Prosperity Magic
    Love Spells

Medicinal Uses: Despite its association with allergies, goldenrod pollen is not carried by wind and therefore not often the cause of allergies. Goldenrod, however, is an anticatarrhal, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and a diuretic. It is often used to treat upper respiratory catarrh and influenza, especially when paired with echinacea, cudweed, or pokeweed root. It can also be used in a poultice to heal wounds, and as a gargle to treat laryngitis and pharyngitis. Being a diuretic, dried goldenrod can be used to flush the kidneys and bladder to help pass stones. Historically, Native Americans used goldenrod tea to relieve cramps and other pain caused by inflammation and chewed the root to relieve toothaches, sore throat, and mouth sores. After the Boston Tea Party, American colonists realized that had lost their favorite drink. Shortly after they discovered that goldenrod leaves made an excellent tea, and soon it came to be known as Liberty Tea.

Preparation and Dosage: To prepare a tea, pour a cup of boiling water onto 2-3 teaspoon fulls of dried herb and allow it to steep for 10-15 minutes. Drink up to three times a day. For a gargle, combine 2-3 tablespoons of the dried herb with one cup of boiling water. Allow to steep for 10-15 minutes and gargle up to three times a day. The gargle may be swallowed. If taking a tincture, take 2-4 milliliters of tincture a day. The tincture can also be used as a wound wash to prevent infection and speed healing. Fresh herb can be chewed briefly and placed on a wound to speed healing as well (aka create a poultice).


Want to print a copy of this for your Book of Shadows? Click below for your free copy!
Magical and Medicinal Uses of Goldenrod

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Guest Post: 3 Ways To Develop & Deepen Your Psychic Abilities

3 Ways To Develop & Deepen Your Psychic Abilities

Guest post by Shale Green from Witchcraft Way.

Intuition is a strong ally in connecting with the physical world around you. It's possible to deepen that connection and branch into the metaphysical world as well by opening up your psychic abilities even more.

It's important to exercise your third eye just like you would any other part of your body in order to keep it in tip-top shape. In order to further develop your connection to your sixth sense, you have to give yourself time to focus your energy on it.

Here are 3 effective methods that will help you to develop your psychic abilities on a daily basis. These will work for those who are walking a new path as well as you seasoned witchy goddesses alike.

1. Meditate

Meditation is a key part of keeping yourself grounded and deepening your connection to your psychic abilities. You may want to spend 15 minutes a day meditating to help raise your body's natural vibration. These periods of meditation can be done solo or you can use guided meditations to help you better set your mind on your goals.

Another effective way to meditate is to take a walk through nature. Being surrounded by nature will aid in relaxing your body and mind. You can employ some practices of mindfulness meditation by focusing on the way your body moves when you walk or by counting your breaths.

Spending a few minutes each day focusing on your third eye can do wonders for deepening your connection to it and even help it open more. Focus your mind and energy on the spot just above where your eyebrows meet and imagine your third eye opening up. It's natural to feel a tingling sensation when you put so much concentration into it.

2. Journal Writing 

Writing things down is a good way to better connect to them and put them in the forefront of your mind. When you spend the time to handwrite, you can better focus on what it is you need to focus on. By writing down things you need help finding clarity on, you put more energy into those things. This can result in bringing you the answers you seek.

A good practice in developing your psychic abilities is to keep a journal or list of the symbols you are given. By recording what a symbol means to you when you see it, you can more easily understand messages.

You can also ask your spirit guides to give you certain symbols, such as what you might receive if love is involved. Maybe it's the image of a heart or a warm tingling in your chest. By learning about how things are communicated to you, it will be easier for you to interpret what you receive.

A dream journal is another good way to help deepen your psychic abilities. Messages can easily come through your dreams, so you should write down any significant ones you have. You can also write down how you would interpret it before seeking other sources to find out what it means.

3. Practice 

As with anything, practice makes perfect. The more you use your psychic abilities, the better you'll be at utilizing them. Don't be afraid to get things wrong every now and then, you probably just don't know what something means yet. Practice regularly on willing friends and family to give your abilities a stretch.

You can spend some time in an antique store or somewhere similar where a lot of pre-owned objects are present. Walk around the store and focus on how you're feeling. What energies are around you? You may be drawn to certain objects and be able to find out more about them or the person that owned them.

Using old photographs is a good way to exercise your abilities as well. Find pictures of people you know little or nothing about. Spend some time with each picture and try to feel out anything you can about the people in them. Write down whatever you receive in case you can have someone verify it later.

Don't Get Discouraged 

Just like any skill, getting more in tune with your psychic abilities takes time and effort on your part. You should do your best to devote a little bit of time each day to deepen your connection to any ability you’re trying to enhance.

Don’t give up on yourself easily. You may not see the small changes as they happen, but when you look back you will start to notice how far you’ve come. The energy you spend on yourself will pay off in the end.

Shale Green is a green witch, born under Pisces, and a seeker of the mysteries of nature. He currently spends his time writing and being in the woods. Find more from Shale at WitchcraftWay.com and on Instagram

Monday, August 12, 2019

August Full Moon Worksheet

August Full Moon Worksheet

This month's full moon is in Aquarius on the 15th and is opposite Venus. This means that you should expect strife and drama in your relationships. Work and home are likely going to oppose each other, so this is a time to be patient and understanding, recognizing that this too shall pass. Work with the Full Moon's energy to find and target these problem areas so you and your loved ones can work through these stresses together. This month's worksheet contains a three-card tarot spread to help you figure out your feelings, your partner's feelings, and how these feelings are affecting your relationship. As always there are also sections for what you want to release and charge, and any intuitive thoughts you receive during the Full Moon.

August Full Moon Worksheet

CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR FREE COPY

Looking for more free worksheets? Why not get your free copy of my spell/ritual worksheet to write your best spells and rituals yet?

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Lammas Altar 2019

Lammas Altar 2019

First of all, I apologize for this post being late. School has started back and I have been planning, teaching, and sitting in meetings every day! Yay being back to work. Haha! Lammas begins our season of harvest, being the first of the harvest festivals. Summer is not quite over yet and the fruits and vegetables are riping quickly. In some parts of the world, wheat is being harvested and set aside to make flour and bread for the upcoming winter months. Summer squash, zucchini, peaches, and grapes are also being picked, especially here in Georgia, and prepared for small feasts. The Earth's bountiful harvest is beginning and the Sun is still bright and powerful in the sky. However, this harvest we begin to see the changes as the days grow ever shorter and the evenings begin to cool. This is a great time to thank the Earth and Sun for all they are providing us with while still spending time outdoors, soaking up the last of the rays before Winter comes calling.

Lammas Altar 2019

1. White Candles & Candle Sticks - The 4 white candles represent the Sun in all his glory, an obvious fire symbol. The two white candles in the red and clean glasses, red also being representative of the Sun and strength, smell of vanilla, a feminine scent representative of vitality and passion. Mother Earth is working tirelessly with the Sun to provide us with the grains, fruits, and vegetables we are harvesting this season. (Where did I get it: Dollar Tree; Cost: $1 for 2 pillar candles, candlesticks $1 each, jar candles $1 each)

2. IvyThe silk ivy represents wealth, abundance, and fertility, as well as the Sun (Horned God) who is helping the plants grow in strength and ripen fruits and vegetables. It encircles the candles and the other components of the altar to symbolize how the Sun and Earth work together to provide life. (Where did I get it: Dollar Tree 2017; Cost: $1)

3. Plastic Grapes- Grapes are often harvested at this time, some being turned to wine while others are enjoyed as a snack or paired with cheese and crackers. The red grapes represent the first of the harvest crops as well as the feminine and blood, the "life-giver." (Where did I get it: Dollar Tree 2017; Cost: $1)

Lammas Altar 2019

4. Moss Agate- Moss agate is a wonderful crystal as it attracts abundance and prosperity thus aiding in plant growth and guaranteeing a healthy, bountiful harvest, which is so important during a harvest festival. There are three of these crystals encircling the flowers to represent the Sun, Earth, and Moon and how the three work together to bring life into existence. (Where did I get it: Metaphysical Store; Cost: ~3)

Lammas Altar 2019

5. Marigolds and Black-eyed Susans in a Mason Jar- My garden is in full bloom, covered in Marigolds and Black-eyed Susans. I took some fresh cuttings from my garden to represent the bountiful harvest from the Earth at this time and bring some of my garden into my home. Being yellow in color, both of these flowers also represent the Sun, who lends his strength to help my garden grow. (Where did I get it: Target or My Garden; Cost: Free or $0.50 for mason jar)

Lammas Altar 2019

6. Antler- Represents the masculinity and fertility, as well as the connection between our realm and the Otherworld. I always like to put something on my altar to connect with the spirits. It is placed behind the flowers to show how our world and the Otherworld are parallel to one another, connected by those of us who travel between the worlds. (Where did I get it: Found; Cost: $0)


7. Wheat- Lammas is first and foremost a bread holiday and you can't have a Lammas altar without wheat somewhere on it. I placed three sprigs of wheat to represent abundance and the central focus on this holiday. (Where did I get it: Dollar Tree 2017; Cost: $1)


Lammas Altar 2019


Lammas Altar 2019

TOTAL COST: ~$10.50

Like my other altars, most of the items I use are found or purchased for around $1, although if the items must be purchased by you, then the cost will be higher. I hope you find this sort of break down helpful, especially those of you looking to create Instagram perfect altars on a budget! This altar is slightly more expensive than some of my others, but mostly because it's pretty full!

How did you celebrate Lammas this year? I ate a peach. For real, that's what I did. It was my first day back to work and all I wanted to do was sit outside with my chickens and eat peaches, so that's what I did! Haha!