A Wise Word:

Witchcraft is all about living to the heights and depths of life as a way of worship. --LY DE ANGELES

Monday, June 30, 2014

Where the Witch Lives

Abandoned Home: Moore County, NC

Some times I just have to laugh at the people who insist that a witch is no different than anybody else.  I have read that a witch looks and dresses just like "normal" people and her home is no different than that of the Agnostic or Anglican next door.   Honestly, I just cannot believe that.  

To start with.  Can we define "normal"?  I am not sure how a "normal" person dresses or what an "average" home looks like.  Even when I go out in our relatively small town, I cannot find one style or kind of person to narrow down what is normal.  Everyone of us is slightly different and that difference is expressed in how we present ourselves to the world and the kind of environment we create in our home.  Which leads me to my second point...Since our personal style and homes are expressions of self, it only stands to reason that a witch would have a few quirks about herself and her home that others  might miss. 

I do have to admit that walking into my apartment, there is no shock value.  It looks fairly close to what one would expect when entering a modern home.  Unfortunately, it is not nearly as charming as these lonely old homes I love to photograph.   There are two computers, a great kitchen, and brightly colored baby toys scattered about randomly.  The first "oddity" one might notice would probably be the lack of a television...or maybe the random decorative "skulls" about the room.  Superman and I are both long time collectors of skull emblems and nic-nacs.  Initially, they were just something we liked and maybe a bit of rebellion, but now that we know more about how more primitive cultures view the symbolism of the skull we find them to be fun and encouraging accents to our home.  Around the corner in the kitchen, a few more surprises await.  The shelves above the sink are dotted with 32oz tincture bottles waiting to be filled and on the other end of the room sits my shrine to the Elementals.  Next to the shrine (hidden from first glance by the refrigerator), is probably the biggest shocker in the whole place: a life sized plastic skeleton named Chubbs.  I wanted to buy him for Halloween, but wasn't about to shell out $50.  Superman found him on clearance for $9 around Thanksgiving and brought him home for me.  I couldn't stand the thought of putting him in storage, so he has his own seat year a round.  After that, things look pretty much as expected unless one goes perusing our bookcases or poking around in our magical cabinet.  Our home is a bit quirky, sometimes messy and always busy, but fairly mundane. 

Far more than it's visual appearance, smell seems to be the element that sets this witches home apart from others.  Coming down the stairs into the apartment, the aroma of herbs and incense seem to waft up in greeting.  Besides those that I burn on the shrine, there are always aromatic candles or incense sticks in various parts of the living space accompanied by the scents of whatever herbs I am currently working with.  Underneath all that is the smell of wholesome, made-from-scratch cooking and good, old fresh air from the open windows.  Then, if I have been cleaning, the aroma of vinegar adds a few twangy notes.  Superman often walks in at the end of the day and declares, "This smells like a witche's house!"  It sounds like a lot going on, but it all blends into a warm homey smell that invites you to sit down and chat over a cup of coffee.  To me, that says a lot. 

The final touch that sets my home apart from others is music.  Superman and I both love music and for a good part of everyday there is some kind of lively Pagan music coming through our speakers.  Omina and S.J. Tucker are two of my favorites.  Going about my daily tasks to a good play list, makes the work a lot lighter.  If I am doing divinations or magical art, I create a proper ambiance with more meditative music or nature sounds.  YouTube plays like the radio in this home. 

No, my witchy home is not dramatic like the ones seen on television, but it certainly carries a unique vibe.  It truly speaks of who we are and close attention is paid to keeping a positive energy to the space.  As our refuge and sanctuary, this little apartment does a big job and we are truly grateful to have this place to just be ourselves. 


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

RX Coffee

Three weeks into allergy season it started late this year, I am sitting here enjoying my favorite seasonal remedy: coffee.  Although it is still considered a folk remedy and is debated hotly on the internet, I will always stand by this tried and true favorite.  Nothing clears up the seasonal sickies like a mug of hot coffee. Oh, there are herbs that do the job and I have a recipe for allergy tea that works like a charm, but for minor symptoms coffee cannot be beat.  It works quickly, is easily accessible, inexpensive, and as a dietary supplement, I am completely comfortable taking it while pregnant.  Even the nutritionists I spoke to recently said that two cups of coffee a day during pregnancy is completely harmless.  In this instance, I go a step further and say that it can be beneficial.

I know I keep saying "coffee," but the beneficial element that we are really talking about here is caffeine.  For someone who has not built up a tolerance by using this stimulant regularly , it can be just what the doctor or the naturalist ordered when the cottonwood pollen is flying and the rag weed is blooming.  For many people, like myself, minor allergic reactions to these natural substances can include congestion, headache, fatigue, itchy eyes, runny nose, etc.... Caffeine helps by relaxing the swelling in the airway allowing congestion to leave the body and relieving the headache caused by sinus pressure.  Also, since fighting off threats is exhausting the caffeine gives a little jolt of energy that facilitates the body in it's fight against it's otherwise harmless invader.  Some studies, like this one published by BBC News, even suggest that caffeine goes a bit further and acts as a natural antihistamine.  Of course, the study has it's nay-sayers, but conventional medicine is always slow to accept a natural or folk remedy. 

Now, I'm not advocating that anybody throw out their Epi-pens.  The Changeling carries an Epi to combat severe reactions from bee/wasp stings.  What I am suggesting is that before running out to buy a box allergy caplets, try drinking a hot cup of coffee.  You may find that you can cross that trip to the pharmacy off your to-do list with out even leaving the house. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Creating, Nesting, Simplifying (Not Necessarly in that Order)

Oh and sleeping....lots of sleeping.  This pregnancy is really starting to catch up with me.  I am absolutely enormous and although I feel good, I am tired. 

A Few Recent Sewing Projects

Creating:  Baby/Toddler wardrobes, Birthday Gifts, Maternity Clothes, Wands, Father's Day Gifts (I am planning a full post on my new wand creations once they are fully embellished). 

Nesting:  Creating, Cleaning, Simplifying 

Simplifying: Assessing what we really need and what should be donated,  Streamlining daily schedules, etc... 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Ethical Wild Harvest

Along the Yellowstone River: May 2014

Since I have been talking a lot about local plants I find growing wild, I thought it was probably my responsibility to make a post about the ethical harvesting of such plants.  Even though the plants I find along the river do not belong to any human, they are a living part of our world and come under the protection of the Others nature spirits, fairies, divas, elves... however you wish to address them.  One cannot simply go in an snatch up a plant or part of a plant and expect it to simply be alright.  Perhaps the Others won't find ways to fill your life with torment like the old stories say, but they will be offended and it will impact your future dealings with them negatively.

Before you even start thinking about harvesting a wild plant, you need to know a bit about where it grows.  Is the area maintained?  Will any human care if you harvest from the area?  Have any chemicals been sprayed on the area in an attempt to control weeds or insects?  Once you determine that the area is a good harvest location by human standards, then start thinking about how to harvest while maintaining a respectful relationship with nature.  Of course, we like to say in witchcraft that there are no set rules, but in all aspects of life good manners should be the first and foremost.  Following are my own personal guidelines.

  1. Before harvesting from a plant, use your energy to communicate with the plant and obtain permission.  A plant that is struggling will tell you "no."  Respect that. 
  2. Harvest no more than 30% of the plant.  The idea is to work with and borrow from the plant, not to destroy it.
  3. Leave an offering to show your gratitude.  Many older books suggest a dime buried near the roots of the plant, but The Changeling (age 14) insists that a quarter is more appropriate if leaving money.  A sip of milk or honey water at the plant base is also appropriate and appreciated. 
  4. Overall, just listen to your intuition and respect your position.  When out in nature, you are a guest.   

Also, if you find an unexpected treasure and believe it to be a gift, it is appropriate to leave a gift in return.  I carry small lengths of biodegradable ribbon in my pocket for this purpose.  Although it would be very rare indeed if the Others physically took your gift, they will know it was left for them and will accept the spirit in which you gave it.