A Wise Word:

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

Monday, August 24, 2015

Wild Woman Hair: Six Month Dread Update

Sometimes, it's hard to believe how long I've already been on this road.  It's been six months since I set my baby dreads and they have been such an up and down experience.  It seems like they can go from looking like a horrendous mess one day to tightening up over night and suddenly looking pretty fantastic the next day.  Since I washed and dried yesterday afternoon and separated this morning, I felt it was a good time to do a few selfies and update.  Let's just over look the blurry eyes.  It's been a hectic week. 
With my hair is still growing faster than my dreads are shrinking, I have far more open end than dread right now.  Also, it is a bit of a motley crew of dread styles.  Like I said before, I started out with twist and rip dreads in February, but now have a few back combed dreads in stubborn areas that didn't want to hold a dread and several free form dreads in the back where dreads fell out and I just didn't get around to putting them back in.  I am kind of partial to those extra messy little guys, too. I am still washing only with Dr. Bronners and a combination of baking soda, peroxide, and vinegar.  With one exception.  I have learned to put a few drops of essential oil into my soap every few weeks when the frizzies start building up. At this point, I still want my hair to be dry to help form the locs, but there really is such a thing as too dry.    
Here I am!  All put together for the day, wearing my favorite cardigan and scarf.  The cardigan is vintage Liz Claiborne circa 1980's.  I picked it up at a church thrift shop for fifty cents.  Whoot! Whoot!  I am really happy with my look.  I find that there is almost a spell like quality to my dreads that gives me a great boost of confidence in who I am.  The funny thing is, Superman's new co-workers are picking me out of a crowd in an instant.  They know I'm a witch from talking with him and I guess I just look witchy these days.  To sum it up.  I feel completely me and I feel like a BOSS!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Good morning, Mr. Magpie

I was only four or five years old the first time a magpie was pointed out to me.  Staring at those cobalt blue wings gleam in the Montana sunshine, all I could do was wonder at its beauty.   When I opened my pint sized mouth and commented in admiration, I was instantly shut down.  Magpies were "bad" birds.  (According to cattlemen, magpies are the scourge of the range preferable only to coyotes.  Because they will occasionally nibble a raw brand or preen the back of a cow so intently as to cause abrasions, most ranchers will shoot at every magpie they see.)  Feeling shamed to admire such a creature, I turned away from this bird who had instantly intrigued me and over the years nearly forgot about them.
Illustration by National Geographic
Recently, when we moved to Bozeman, I once again fell in love with magpies.  In our new neighborhood, magpies are as plentiful as children which is saying a lot.  People here still grumble and call them "dirty," but I no longer care.  The magpies are my friends.  Superman and I both make a point to speak to them on a regular basis and Miss Busy loves to yell "pie-pie" as she tries to coax them in for a closer inspection.  We have also had many hours of entertainment watching through the living room window as they play, fight, steal, and gather material to build their rather messy nests.

This past month, I have begin noticing that the magpies seem to pay a lot more attention to my porch than to those of the neighbors.  They pluck drying garment from my rail, uproot small plants, leave perfect beak shaped bite marks in my mother-in-laws tongue, and rearrange the decorations on my table.  At first, I chalked it up to knowing that they were safe in my space, but then they started leaving gifts. 

One night about a week ago, I heard a clattering out on the porch.  Considering it was a rather stormy night, I shrugged my shoulders and blamed it on the wind tossing around my mop bucket.  The next morning, I found a resin skull that usually sits on the table thrown back against the rail in the opposite direct that the wind would have moved it.  In the space usually occupied by the skull were two small rocks confirming who the culprit(s) had been.  Then a few days later, I went out in the morning to find a perfect magpie feather sitting in front of my garden shoes. 

As a result of all these goings on, I have made it a point to learn more about magpies.  The more I learn, the more fascinating they become.  In this past week, I have learned: magpies have a long association with witches and the occult, are known to hold "wakes" for fallen comrades, and that a magpie is the only non-mammal who can recognize themselves in a mirror.   They are also resourceful, attracted to human company on their own terms, and take on long term projects. 

From a magickal standpoint, magpies often symbolize a person who could experience more if they would only trust their limited occultic knowledge and the possibility of learning and/or experiencing the supernatural in a less than conventional manner. Folk lore also teaches that witches can turn into magpies, that's one bit of knowledge I'd like to gain.  As with most magickal symbolism, there is also a warning.  Those who relate to magpies run the risk of all alternative learners and relying on incomplete knowledge.  The lesson I personally take from this is: use what knowledge you have, but continue to learn and grow.  Pretty timely advice. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Spiritual Gardening

A few weeks ago, Superman walked past my alter and mentioned that it looked rather sad.  He was right. I have since fixed it, only to get wax all over it on Lammas.   With all the time I have been spending in the garden, I have been substituting my altar time with Earth time. If I had a garden space of my own, I would completely move my altar outdoors during the more temperate months. 
Several mornings a week, I take Miss Busy and Little Moon to the garden with me.  Perched in their double stroller and armed with snacks and sippy cups, the girls settle into a meditate state of stuffing their faces. In the silence that ensues, I invoke the elements and offer praise to the Universe while I weed, sucker, and harvest.  Standing barefooted in my garden with soil on my hands, I connect with nature and am nature. 

Even now, when my garden is not nearly as beautiful as it was when these photos were taken, a rather intense hail storm battered all the beautiful leaves  I find great inspiration in the strength and resilience found springing from the earth.  The plants are beginning to show the signs of weather and age, yet still they are producing food for my family.  In fact, the stress of our recent storm seems to have spurred some plants my cucumbers and zinnias to finally produce.  It makes me think of how we as individuals often require hard times to nudge us along in our own development.  Mountain gardening is a challenge in so many ways, but the struggles associated with it are teaching me so much.  Not just about this ecosystem and climate, but about myself and my relationship with the Earth. 


Monday, August 3, 2015

Celebrating the Beginning of Harvest

This time around the wheel I am trying not to get too caught up in the philosophy of our Pagan holydays, but to enjoy them at their simple point of origin.  I want to celebrate the passage of time as told by the rhythms of nature.  Being so immersed in my garden this summer made Lammas a little extra special.  Garden season goes so quickly here that it really is the beginning of the end.  I could really get into telling you all about my garden, but that is a different post. 

As usual, I kept things pretty simple.  I decorated my altar with my most recently harvested garden produce, held a sparse 5 minute ritual which even that was too long since Miss Busy managed to pull a page out of her daddy's new book in that time, and made grain cakes for supper.  Once I got the girls settled for the night, I spent about an hour in the garden doing some maintenance and just enjoying the evening.  I left the candles burning, with the fan in the hall and they melted down very quickly so now I have a waxy mess to clean up off my altar, but I did enjoy my little holyday.  As the littles get a bit older it will all get a bit more in depth.