Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Eve Magick



I'm a firm believer in sympathetic magick.  We start learning about it as kids--"step on a crack, break your mother's back, step on a line, marry Frankenstein," (walking on old sidewalks is still an adventure for me), and some of us carry it well into adulthood.  Plant, color and day correspondences, voodoo dolls and effigies, fetishes...these are all examples of sympathetic magick.  So many things we do as pagans have an "if/then" quality to them, and New Year's Eve traditions can be the toughest of all.  On some level, it's hard not to believe that everything you do on New Year's Day doesn't, in one way or another, affect the rest of your year.  Consequently there's a lot of pressure to get your ducks in a row (so to speak) before January 1st.
For me it starts with completing projects.  This weekend has been a frenzy of dealing with all of those little things that build up around the house over the course of the year--piles of filing, unfinished projects, boxes of stuff that have not seen the light of day in ages.  I have an afghan that I've been working on for the better part of the year which I've been rushing to finish (done and done!).  Looking around the house I found three separate coin jars that we counted out and packed into coin rolls to take to the bank today.  $173.50 in loose change just sitting around the house over the last year will now make it's way into the kids' college funds (chaching!).  My refrigerator is now cleaned out and stocked with healthy foods and beverages (and champagne).  And of course, Goddess willing, my house will be clean.  All of these things, to me, create a sympathetic magick--an uncluttered and stress-free New Year's Day equals an uncluttered and stress-free New Year.  And, frankly, there is no greater motivator to get it all done than the threat of having to do housework on New Year's Day while nursing a champagne hang-over.
Have a happy and safe New Year's Eve.
Mrs. Smith

Friday, December 28, 2012

Frumenty Fusion Soup

It is cold and wet and generally unpleasant outside today.  On days like this (assuming I'm not working) I love to sit by the fire under an afghan and read cookbooks.  This morning's cookbook was one I hadn't opened in a while, The Wicca Cookbook by Jamie Wood and Tara Seefeldt.  While I'm not Wiccan myself, I do love pagan cookbooks--they read like a yummy Book of Shadows and this one doesn't disappoint.
In The Wicca Cookbook is a recipe for Frumenty which peaked my interest.  Frumenty was a popular Medieval dish similar to porridge.  It could be served sweet like we serve oatmeal, with fruit and nuts, or savory like a rice dish with milk and egg stirred in.  Reading over the recipe, with the nasty weather outside, I thought how wonderful it would be as a soup--kind of a Medieval beef and barley/pho fusion with a little egg drop thrown in for good measure.

Frumenty Fusion Soup

3 T olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 cups beef broth
1/2 cup bulgur wheat
salt and pepper to taste
1 large egg, beaten

In your favorite soup pot, saute the onion in the olive oil over medium heat until translucent.  Add the broth and bring to a boil.  Stir in the bulgur wheat, cover and simmer over low heat for about 30 to 40 minutes.  The bulgur should be just chewy enough.  Before serving, stir the soup to get a nice cyclone going, and gently drizzle the beaten egg in.

I like to serve mine over a bowl of greens, like spinach or kale.  If you really want to go fusion, add a tablespoon of sambal to give it an Asian heat.

The Wicca Cookbook: Recipes, Ritual and Lore


Friday, December 21, 2012

The Yule Log Incident



Years ago we had the driest holiday tree I've ever seen.  Even before Yule, the tree definitely had a brownish tinge--seriously, I suspect the only reason it had any green on it at all was due more to the dye the tree farm sprayed on it than to the amount of chlorophyll in the needles.  We barely plugged in the lights for fear of burning down the house.  Anyway, after the holidays, we couldn't get that poor tree out of the house fast enough.
As it happened, we had just built a fire pit on our property that year, and were well on our way to becoming screaming pyromaniacs.  What better way to dispose of the holiday tree than to officially christen the Pit?  Armed with a pair of branch loppers we stripped the noble fir of it's branches, creating a pile of kindling three feet high.  The trunk itself was too thick for our meager tools, so we set it aside.
As the sun set New Year's Eve, we started our fire.  At first it burned merrily, warming us against the icy December night.  Then someone added the first dried tree branch.  "WHOOMP!"  The thing practically exploded, it caught fire so quickly.  The novelty was too much for our champagne-addled brains to handle--we had to have more!  Soon, people were removing layers, the fire was so hot, and I was looking nervously around for the garden hose, lest this crazy fun get too out of control.  Fortunately we soon ran out of holiday tree to burn and people settled down to stare at a once again merrily burning fire.  The next day we were left with a sooty mess, and a scorched holiday tree trunk (some optimistic soul thought we could burn it down from one end like a match).
For the next eleven months the trunk rested peacefully beside the fire pit.  Then, with the coming of the new holiday season, inspiration struck.  Yule Log!  We cut the trunk into more manageable pieces, and saved the largest to burn as our Yule log on the coming Winter Solstice.  The log wasn't huge, but it ended up being the most perfect, longest burning Yule log we'd ever had.  Thus began our family Yule tradition.
Wishing you the Merriest Yule.
Mrs. Smith

Wednesday, December 19, 2012



Only two more days 'til Winter Solstice and so much left to do.  I need to haul the Yule log (really a Yule trunk, but that's another story for another blog) out to the fire pit, tidy up said fire pit for the enjoyment of Pagans and Christians alike, bake up a mess of ginger snaps and my own Solstice shortbread cookies, and string up yet more holiday lights to light the way on this, the longest night.  Whew.  And lest I forget, a trip to the liquor store for mulled wine fixings and a bottle (or four) of my favorite mead...though, now that I think about it...I may save the liquor store until the last minute.  I would hate to be tempted with so much to do.

Mrs. Smith

Monday, December 17, 2012

How Do Pagans Protect Their Children?



How do Pagans protect their children?  We childproof cabinets, keep our candles high and in fireproof holders, we teach them the power of 911 and when to use it.  We tell them to look both ways before crossing the street.  We cut their food into bite-sized pieces, we tell them not to go anywhere with strange men and we put charms on their windows and in their backpacks.
 
And we pray.  We pray to the Goddess, we pray to the gods, and when we get really scared, really really afraid for our babies, sometimes we revert to our religious roots and pray to the Christian God to watch over our children.  Anyone, any god, please keep our children safe.  Where the safety of our children is concerned we are shameless, as any parent would be. 

The world can be a frightening place.  There are things out there out of our control.  I find that I'm less frightened for myself or my spouse than I am for my children because they are the thing I hold most dear.  So I pray for them every day, and I pray for those who lost children and loved ones in Connecticut's recent tragedy.

New Moon Tarot Spread


 

I really enjoy my Tarot deck...not so much for telling fortunes as for a meditation tool.  Since it's the New Moon, and a time of new beginnings (and since I was growing bored with my go-to spreads) I decided to hunt down a new reading.
On tarotforum.net I found this gem:

***3***                  
***2***             
***1***              
***0***     
       
3--What will illuminate the dark path.  The key in the night
2--What will begin to show, to arise
1--What lays in your dark depths.  What is unseen.  What we stumble against.
0--Yourself.  Shadow card, from the base of the deck.

Good readings
Mrs. Smith

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

In Praise of Ginger

Ah, Flu Season, my ancient enemy.  We meet again.  Yep, a flu-bug has made it's way into this household, though thankfully it seems to be a mild one.  Still, it's time to whip out Mom's old bag of remedies.  I have no problem with OTC medicines--frankly, decongestants are my best friend this time of year, but when it comes to keeping the flu-beast at bay, I am a firm believer in Hippocrates:  "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food."  No, I don't plan to fry up a big batch of Sudafed (maybe topped with Vicks Vaporub?).  Instead, I'm going to visit my standby, all-purpose remedy--ginger.   
 
Ginger root is the rhizome of the ginger plant (zingiber officinale) which thrives in damp tropical climates.  It's a lovely plant that's easy to grow either in pots or in most southern gardens, and you can start it from the ginger you buy in the produce section at you local grocery store if you choose well.  If harvested regularly, it is moderately well-behaved and quite lovely.  In the witch's garden it is said to bring prosperity, love and success.  When used in witchcraft it adds a certain "umph" to most spells it is added to.  Ginger roots that resemble the human form are said to be very powerful tokens.
Ginger is truly the wunderkind of the medicinal plant family.  It has antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiviral, anti-everything properties.  I could fill pages with it's uses, but since you have access to the same information I do, I'll move on.  It's wonderful in both sweet and savory dishes and during the holiday/flu season, ginger is the perfect spice to add to most any dish or drink.  As I write this I am baking up a batch of spicy ginger snaps which are smelling up my house quite nicely and which I will force upon my sick offspring with a cup of warm honey-ginger tea to help him sweat out his fever.  Later I will probably add some to the chicken soup I make for dinner so everyone can benefit from it.  So if you feel the sniffles coming on, or even if you don't, head for that neglected hunk of ginger sitting in the back of your fridge and enjoy.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Heaven and Hearth

As I was looking through my witchy library, I came across this gem from 1997 which is, hands down, one of my favorite books on folklore.  "Heaven & Hearth, A Seasonal Compendium of Women's Spiritual & Domestic Lore" is a delightful reference book, for Pagan and Christian alike.  It is full of traditions, recipes and poetry, mostly from northern Europe, all laid out in a manner perfect for those of us with short attention spans.  It's an excellent "pick-up" book--you know, the kind of book you can pick up and put down dozens of times and still enjoy it every time.  My own copy of "Heaven & Hearth" stayed out on the back porch for over a year where I could enjoy it with my morning coffee (needless to say, it is looking a little ragged).  Elizabethan poetry and traditional folk medicine go hand-in-hand with lyrics to long-forgotten folk songs and old wives' tales.  The snippets on folk cures found throughout each chapter are fabulous considering that many of the herbal remedies are still in use today.  I totally recommend this book as a gift this holiday season, either for yourself, or any earthy lady in your life.



Wednesday, December 5, 2012

St. Nicholas' Eve

Tonight is St. Nicholas' Eve, traditionally a night when little European boys and girls would place their shoes by the fireplace in hopes that St. Nicholas will leave them a little sumthin'sumthin'.  St. Nicholas was originally Nicholas of Myra, a 4th century Greek bishop.  During his life, he was known for putting coins in people's shoes, thus starting the tradition as we know it.

While I recognize that this is not a pagan holiday, I'm all about getting the kids into the Yule spirit, and I love the wacky traditions surrounding the season.  Here we mostly just do small toys and/or candy in whatever shoes the kids leave out and hope that the dog doesn't find it first.  The gold coin candy is extremely popular chez moi, but more for the novelty than the taste.  I'll...I mean St. Nick will fill my shoes with Ghirardellis, thank you very much. 


The Magic of Soup

Soup has always been a magickal food for me.  It nourishes the body, comforts the soul and even the simplest soups require your energy in preparation, even if it's just opening the can.  With Autumn's colder weather here, I tend to go a little soup-happy and I see no reason not to take this food that will nourish my family and give it a little magickal *umph*.
As I write this article, I'm gnoshing down on one of my favorite soups, the Broccoli-Basil Soup from the Cowgirl Chef's self-titled cookbook.  It's fast, easy and a great way to choke down a crapload of broccoli.  Anyway, it got me wondering about the magickal correspondences of the ingredients:

Broccoli--Strength and prosperity
Basil--Love, money and protection
Shallots or onions--Protection, stability, prosperity and moon magick
Salt and pepper for cleansing and purification

All of these together sound like the makings of an excellent meal for work-related magick, or a date-night meal to strengthen and protect the relationship. 

With intent any soup can be made magickal while preparing it, even if it just focusing on opening opportunities or minds while using the can-opener, undoing a bad influence while you stir the soup widdershins or adding positive energy while stirring clock-wise.  The Internet is lousy with websites listing the magickal correspondences of you ingredients.  Have fun with it.


Monday, December 3, 2012

When Life Hands You Lemons...

This morning bit.  Everyone was bickering, shoes were lost, homework was eaten, breakfast was not.  Part of it was the usual Monday morning blahs, but there was a little bad energy going on here (most likely carried in with the clutter of a camping trip) that didn't help matters at all.  Time for a cleansing!

With the moon waning, it's the perfect opportunity for spells of undoing, as in undoing the clutter and bad energy that has trickled back into my home over the weekend.  Realistically, it would help if I started with a clean house, but it's Monday and I'm grumpy, and I have to clean anyway, so I make the cleaning part of the spell.  With each room I clean I place a lemon half in a corner, asking that the lemon absorb any negativity in the room.  Fortunately for me, I have a prolific lemon tree and so I may use a whole lemon per room, just to be thorough.  This evening, I will dispose of the lemons and replace them if the house still feels "blah."  Once the energy in my home feels balanced, I generally light a stick of incense (or two, or three) and ask for blessings on the house.  While I would love to have the energy and drive to do a full-on, circle-casting, sky-clad cleansing, this one usually keeps my home feeling welcoming and warm.

Blessed be.



Thursday, November 29, 2012

iPagan

artwork by Dan Reynolds
I missed the full moon.  That's a bummer, because full moon meditations and spells are my favorites.  I feel a sense of balance and peace after them that centers me for the rest of the month.  But, as often happens, day-to-day distractions make it easy to forget to make time for worship.  Even more so when, like me, you would rather practice alone, and there is no alone place to be found (maybe I should keep an altar by the toilet?). 
I've debated setting a reminder on my iPhone, but it doesn't seem right somehow--like a metaphysical cheat.  Still, inspired by this train of thought, I looked to see what apps are available to the practicing witch.  I searched under "pagan," and sure enough, there was an app for that. 
I was surprised at first to find anything at all, let alone over 80 apps.  They have EVERYTHING, from various Books of Shadows, to Tarot guides to god and goddess dictionaries.  I felt like a kid in a candy store (or a witch in an herb shop).  But that still doesn't answer the question, is it OK to incorporate technology into your practice?  Hmm.  Food for thought.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Holiday Shopping for the Pagans in Your Life


Whatever your religious bent, the winter holidays are just around the corner, and pagans are just as susceptible to commercialism as the next guy.  Besides, who doesn't love giving (and getting) gifts?  Here's an idea list for that special pagan in your life--


Jewelry's nice, and pagan jewelry can be found all over the Internet.  A charm might make a good choice since some of us don't want to flash our pentacles at PTA meetings.  One cool alternative I found was this fabulous locket--I wonder if you could keep a photo in it as well, or maybe a tiny spell?

http://www.gaelsong.com/product/146734/Pagan_Jewelry



Candles, candles, candles--There's not a pagan I know who isn't the Fire Marshal's worst fear, and they can be found ANYWHERE.  You could go the extra mile and spend on a specially blessed organic beeswax candle, but most witches I know like to anoint their own.  Small tea lights work well for day-to-day practice, or for general ambiance, colored tapers or votives are perfect for candle magic.  Include a cool candle holder and you will be golden.  I would hesitate to choose scented candles for other people--smell is such a personal thing...

Books are always welcome, but you really need to know your pagan's preferences before you go shelling out at the local B&N.  For example, I lean toward Celtic paganism in my beliefs and am fairly conservative in my practice (an it harm none and all that).  Joseph H. Peterson's Grimorium Verum would probably creep me out as a gift.  I'd obsess over what kind of witch you think I am (are you a good witch or a bad witch?), and I'd be afraid to get rid of it because, well...I am pagan and a certain amount of unhealthy superstition goes with that.  A better book gift would be a gift-certificate to their local bookstore or better yet, used bookstore.  I've found some of my favorite occult books at Half-Priced Books. 

I drool over the hand-tooled leather bound journals I often see in occult shops, but if your pagan is a vegetarian or vegan, this may not be the right choice.  Still, journals can be found in many styles and shapes--there's bound to be one out there.

Herbs are a great choice.  Whether used in cooking or in spells, the gift of a lovely, green, growing thing is always thoughtful. In the Victorian language of herbs, here are some meanings for the most basic herbs one can find at any nursery:

Oregano--joy
Parsley--festivity, joy and victory
Rosemary--remembrance
Sage--long life and good health
Sweet basil--best wishes or love is near
Thyme--happiness  and courage


A selection of incenses is thoughtful, but as I said earlier, scents are a personal thing so know your pagan well.  Ask the shopkeeper what their favorites are if you have doubts.  My local witch shop turned me onto this brand, and I have yet to experience an overwhelming smell.
incense--http://www.ramakrishnanandastore.com/index.php


I don't know a pagan who doesn't have a crapload of chotchkies around their home, many of which can be discreet and charming.  I have a collection of glass balls scattered around my living area which I  like to charge during full moons, and often use for meditation.  Small statues work as well.

Handmade gifts are always nice too, but that's between you and your skills.

If none of these individual ideas seem right for the pagan in your life, might I suggest a gift basket incorporating several small items?  Happy Yule and safe shopping.








Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Garlic



I've got a sudden craving for garlic.  Is it because everyone in my house seems to have a cold?  Possibly.  Is it because I have a sudden (Twilight-inspired) desire to keep vampires away?  I don't know, maybe--but not the nice, pretty, sparkly ones, just the mean ugly ones.  Is it because I recently purchased a three-pound bag of peeled garlic?  Busted.  I don't know what came over me, but looking at this huge bag makes think I'd better start cooking.

Garlic is a wonderful plant for magickal purposes.  It can be used in spells of protection, purification, and healing.  It is used to ward off negative magic and energy.   Garlic is excellent in spells involving Moon magick and those invoking the goddess Hecate.  Nutritionally, garlic is an excellent source of manganese and a good source of selenium, B6 and Vitamin C.  With all of this (as well as a three-pound bag of the stuff just sitting in my fridge) there is no excuse not to use it in all of my savory dishes to give them a nutritional and metaphysical boost.

In order to use the maximum amount of garlic, I've decided to roast it and make roast garlic soup.  It's wonderful, and perfect for a Full Moon celebration.  Originally, I found this recipe on the epicurious website.  I had duck stock, so I used it instead of the chicken, and I used more garlic than the recipe called for since, hey, I had it on hand.   The lemon seems like a random idea, but trust me--it's worth it.
For the original recipe go here:
http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Roasted-Garlic-Soup-with-Parmesan-Cheese-100669

Roast Garlic Soup
  • 26 garlic cloves (unpeeled)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
  • 2 1/4 cups sliced onions
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 18 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream

  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 2 ounces)
  • 4 lemon wedges


Read More http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Roasted-Garlic-Soup-with-Parmesan-Cheese-100669#ixzz2Co0fJpS6
  • 26 garlic cloves (unpeeled)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
  • 2 1/4 cups sliced onions
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 18 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream

  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 2 ounces)
  • 4 lemon wedges


Read More http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Roasted-Garlic-Soup-with-Parmesan-Cheese-100669#ixzz2Co0fJpS6
26 (or more) cloves of garlic, peeled
2 T olive oil

1/4 stick of butter
two medium onions, chopped
1 1/2 t fresh thyme
18 garlic cloves, raw
3 1/2 cups of duck stock

1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
4 lemon wedges

Preheat oven to 350F.  Roast the 26 (or more) cloves of garlic with the olive oil in foil for 45 minutes to an hour (the cloves should be browned.)
Later:
Melt the butter in a large sauce pan.  Saute the onions until translucent.  Add thyme and raw garlic cloves and continue to cook a couple more minutes.  Add the duck stock (or chicken, if you must) cover and simmer about 20 minutes, until the garlic is soft.  Add the roasted garlic and then puree the soup until smooth (I used a puree wand and it worked like a charm).

Serve with cream and Parmesan with the lemon wedge on the side.  Don't skip the lemon!






Sunday, November 18, 2012

Air Filter Purification Spell


There must be something in the air this weekend.  I'm feeling crazy nesty.  Maybe it's the coming Yuletide season (and it's infinite opportunities to bake and decorate), or perhaps it was this weekend's Leonid Meteor Shower (how cool was that?!!).  Maybe Mercury is in retrograde (it totally is!).  Whatever.  The inspiration to do household maintenance has hit, and what better time to insert a little discreet witchery?

Looking up, I was appalled by the amount of ew which had collected on my air-intake vent.  When was the last time I changed those filters?  Oh well, where others see chores, I see possibility.

Negativity Trap Spell
-New air filter (my AC guy recommends using the basic cheap blue ones--the air conditioner doesn't work as hard drawing air, and it's better to change the filters often.  Makes no diff to me, but we don't have any asthmatics here either.)
-Lemon or orange furniture polish  (This was also on the advice of my AC guy--spray the new filter with furniture polish to increase it's efficacy in filtering dust, etc.)
I know, I know--store-bought furniture polish doesn't seem very magickal.  You can whip up your own essential oil spray if you like, you'd be able to fine-tune the spell and more power to you, but as this is home maintenance, why not work with what's convenient?

Center yourself and focus on your intent:  you are creating a trap for the negative energy circulating through your home.  If spells work better for you go for it.  I usually recite a simple phrase three times, maybe something like "peace circles, anger trapped."  Imagine your filter/trap working and remember to switch out the filter every month (I like to do this around the waxing moon, but obviously I forget often.)  Anoint (spray) the filter with furniture polish--Lemon enhances energy and can be used in purification spells, Orange is good for purification but better at lifting moods.  Replace the filters and give thanks.  Blessed be.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Autumn Tarot


As I was driving home from the store, a bright orange autumn leaf did a full-on cartoon style flutter-in-the-wind, gracefully flitting this way and that, just before it plastered itself onto my windshield.  It sat there through two stop signs before going on it's merry way to bless the windshield of some other hapless pagan on this glorious autumn day.

I love days like this--just a little too cool, a little too bright, the trees are showing their color, and my flowers are all dying.  Autumn makes me want to bake something or clean or, better yet, sit by the fire with a cup of coffee and read Tarot.

I wanted to do something different with my reading today.  I've got an itch to embrace change, possibly inspired by the weather, or maybe even my intrepid orange leaf.  Change is a part of life's circle, and autumn reminds us of this.  So I used the magical power of the Internet and found a wonderful article on Llewellyn's website (linked below).  In it, the author talks about a spread called Box of Change presented by Thalassa, the producer of the San Francisco Bay Area Tarot Symposium.
tarotseptember 

To read this spread, shuffle your entire deck (including the five cards the positions are named for) and lay the cards out in order. 

Card 1 is Wheel of Fortune, representing what is causing the change
Card 2 is Death, representing what is wrong--this is what needs to be let go of in order to move on.
Card 3 is Tower and it represents a warning.  It is what you don't see coming.  Be aware of potential SNAFUs on the horizon and change may proceed more smoothly.
Card 4 is the Hanged Man.  It is an area of your life in flux that you need to sit back and let happen.  It's like the weather, now move on.
Card 5 is Judgment and it represents what needs to be done.  Basically it is the opposite of card 4 and you should be proactive in the change that is coming.



Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Twinkie Paganism


While surfing the Net for juicy pagan stuff (you know you do it too), I stumbled upon multiple references to the "infamous Twinkie Pagan essay."  Intrigued (I mean, who wouldn't want to read something cool enough to stand out in an ocean of pagan search hits), I Googled it and discovered Michael Poe's "Figment Website" (http://figment3spade.tripod.com)
It's loaded with enough pagan articles to waste even the longest afternoon--get comfortable.

I'm not sure what I was expecting from "Twinkie Paganism."  The term Twinkie evokes (at least to me) images of blondness and sweetness and very little substance.  In the article, however, it basically described a newbie.  Worse than that, a newbie desperate for attention.  We've all met them, usually at Renaissance festivals or in Portland, OR, and they are the extreme opposite of the discreet witch.  But I think that instead of Twinkies, the better Hostess cake here would be the Snowball.  It's way out there on the outside--all pink and coconutty and not quite right--kind of dark on the inside, AND it still has that substance-free cream filling that the Twinkie boasts.  But the basic message was still solid--don't be a Twinkie (Snowball) Pagan.

http://figment3spade.tripod.com/idiots/twinkie.html

Enjoy

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

New Moon Ritual for November

 New moon is the time for growth and beginnings.  I tend to get my hair cut early in the moon's phase to encourage growth (though I'll be honest and admit I've never noticed a difference), and in the garden I'll plant nonroot vegetables during the new moon.  In my home, I perform cleansings--emotional, domestic, personal, spiritual--during this time to make room for the new clutter that comes with life.

November's new moon falls on a Tuesday, making it an excellent opportunity to open up peace talks with folks you've been feuding with (and we all have those), or encourage positive energy in your relationships.

Once everyone's left the house and I have a little privacy, I do a quicky cleansing--physical and psychic--which usually involves uber-cleaning the kitchen (a task I truly hate, but it's the center of my world, so I try to focus on my new moon goals as I scrub other people's dishes), straightening up the rest of the house, making a cup of tea (I think mint today), lighting a purifying incense and centering myself as I picture old, stale energy leaving my home and new, fresh energy entering.  On special occasions I'll do the big cleanse, but life is hectic and my goals are small this month--the health, happiness and peace of my family as the holiday season approaches.

I'll do this for the length of time it takes to enjoy the earth, wind, fire and water aspects of my tea, give thanks to the Universe for--well--everything, and get on with my day. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Autumn Pagan

Autumn is the best time of year for those of us still "in the broom closet."  We can let our pagan imaginations run wild as we decorate for the season, and while the cauldrons and gargoyles do get put away after Samhain, the candles and incense and all of the blessings of nature get to stay out.

This year I downsized the Samhain decor somewhat--I simply couldn't get into the spirit no matter how often I played Danny Elfman's "This is Halloween."  Still, this worked out well for me once I started putting all of the bats, crows and spiders away.  Normally I have to lug three or four storage bins up to the attic.  This year I was down to two(ish).  Much of what I decorated with I could leave out without raising eyebrows--pumpkins, autumn garlands, berries.  Candles, of course.  The "Evil Cauldron of Love" (as we like to call the candy bowl) has been replaced by the "Evil Pumpkin of Love," and miscellaneous winter squashes are left out in the hope that I will cook them...eventually.  In the garden, the Jack-o'Lanterns have moved on and the mums have been moved from their pots on the porch to fill in the autumn garden.

 There's a purity to this time, and a simplicity to the rituals that is a relief to me.  In the mornings I can sit quietly by the fire (earlier now that Daylight Savings has kicked in) with my coffee, and center myself for the adventures of the day.  In the evenings, a stick of incense and a glass of wine are all I need to give thanks for surviving the day's adventures and for the blessings I've been given.  All of this in front of my family or even guests.  Autumn, for me, has become a time for the discreet witch to let it all hang out.  Blessed be.