Thursday, December 21, 2017

Have a Joyous Yule!

It's the Winter Solstice today. In the Northern Hemisphere, this is the time that the wheel of the year turns and we move toward the light. In honor of that, I often do a Yule log. I tie my wishes for the coming year to the log before I light it to offer them up to the universe. I pull some Tarot cards tonight and contemplate which chapters of my life should be closed and which should be opened.

Do you have a Yule tradition that you enjoy? Any recipes, like mulled cider or favorite wreaths? For me, Yule has usually been a fairly solitary holiday, but I'm looking forward to expanding my traditions. I'm thinking orange pomanders? I've never made those, but oranges always remind me of the sun.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Colette Baron-Reid's Wisdom of the Oracle Cards

Have you ever had a card deck follow you around? Well, this one has. Last week, I ran across it twice online among friends, and figured that I should pick it up quickly before it whomped me over the head a third time. Once was a general reading, and the other was a specific reading. I got the same card in each. became mine. It arrived this morning, and it's really, really lovely. I have a couple of Colette Baron-Reid's other oracle decks, and this did not disappoint!

The art is whimsical, glowy, with a really lovely quality of light. The cards don't follow a traditional Tarot structure, but follow the lead of many oracle decks in which each card represents a self-contained idea. The deck feels gentle and positive. I decided to draw a card to start my morning, and this is the one I got: Treasure Island!

Well, hello, turtle! Hello, jackpot! According to the guidebook, this card is all about the manifestation of positive thinking and faith in abundance. The guidebook is really neat - there are interpretations of the cards for general purposes, relationships, prosperity, and protection concerns.

I think this will be my new morning ritual - drawing a card to start the day and leaving it on my desk. Do you have any card rituals that you use to get your day going?

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Essential Oil Bath Fizzies

I love bath fizzies. But they're expensive, and I'm very, very cheap. I've been trying to figure out a way to make them, and I think I've succeeded. The recipe I ultimately used included ingredients I had around the house, which is the best way to do hedgewitching on a budget!


  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup salt (I had Epsom handy, but I think you could also use Himalayan or sea salt)
  • 1/2 cup citric acid
  • 2 tablespoons of fractionated coconut oil (I think you could also use grapeseed or almond)
  • Around fifteen drops of essential oil, depending on your tolerance for the scent
  • Soap or food coloring

Gear needed:

  • Large bowl
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Cupcake molds or tin
  • Tablespoon

I mixed the baking soda, salt, citric acid, and coconut oil together in a large bowl until clumps started to form. I added the essential oil and soap coloring in last. I used soap coloring, because I have some that I've been trying to use up FOREVER. For essential oil, I used ylang ylang and lemon with a couple drops of jasmine, because I wanted something sunny and cheerful.

I mixed thoroughly, then spooned the mixture into my silicone baking cups. I packed the mixture in tight with the back of a tablespoon. Warning: do not fill your cupcake molds up to the brim! This mixture expands, and you'll have an unholy mess on your hands in a few hours that looks like it came from Mount Vesuvius. I learned this the hard way. You can see in the picture how my acceptable batch still has a lot of expansion bubbles on the surface.

Instead, pack your cupcake molds about half to two-thirds full. Put the molds to dry in a place they won't be disturbed for a day and ta-da! Bath fizzies!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Dragon Stones!

I went on a road trip last week to the lovely Serpent Mound in Ohio...more details on that, later! But I wanted to share with you a couple of lovely septarian spheres I picked up in the gift shop. Gorgeous, aren't they?

I haven't had septaria before, so I was curious to learn about them. They're old, very 50 million years old. They're made up of a variety of minerals, like calcite, aragonite, quartz, chalcedony, and limestone. In these specimens, the brown stripes are aragonite. The yellow parts are probably calcite.

Metaphysically, septaria are stones for shamanic journeying, for privacy, and invisibility. They're called Dragon Stones...and they look exactly like the scales of a dragon. They're excellent protective stones for shielding.

I've put these two in a little nest in my altar...maybe someday, dragons will hatch!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Plentiful Earth's #30DaysMagicalRoots Challenge Day 30: Make a Commitment to Yourself

I think my takeaway from this past month of magic is a need for structure. I need to commit to getting outdoors daily, to setting aside time for reading and goal-chasing, for making adequate containers for the structures I want to build in my life. I tend to spend a lot of time on auto-pilot, and it's time to interrupt that with some intentional activity.

Thank you for joining me during this month of magic. 

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Plentiful Earth's #30DaysMagicalRoots Challenge Day 29: Astrology

Today's challenge is to find one's moon sign. Mine's Libra. In my spiritual tradition, the moon sign is all about the tools that one has used in the past to accomplish one's goals...and these tools need to be set aside in order to grow and learn new ones. My takeaway from a moon in Libra is a need to be more decisive and not agonize endlessly over choices. Libra has a lot of positive qualities, but endless vacillation isn't one of them.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Plentiful Earth's #30DaysMagicalRoots Challenge Day 28: Magical Podcasts

I read Elizabeth Gilbert's BIG MAGIC last year. I enjoyed it a lot, particularly the exercises designed to push us beyond fear and redefine it. I was thrilled to find that there are podcasts for the book:

Do you have suggestions for other fun podcasts?

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Plentiful Earth's #30DaysMagicalRoots Challenge Day 27: Healing

This last year has been a year of healing for me. Sometimes, I think the universe puts the breaks on my life every so often to get me to slow down. This year has been like that. The Hanged Man tarot card reminds me of this, those times of suspension.

But I've been focusing on self-care. Sleep, meditation, crystals, and learning to set better limits. Energy is finite, and I can't do everything. Fighting the flow is futile, and learning to go with it is something I'm learning to do.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Plentiful Earth's #30DaysMagicalRoots Challenge Day 26: Sigils

I dream up a sigil every once in awhile that I get obsessed with. Sometimes, I doodle these on my body with henna or scribble them on paper to put under a rock in the garden. I haven't found one yet that I love enough to commit to forever ink, though.

One that comes close is the image of Serpent Mound, a serpent devouring an egg. There's something very tranquil about that place, a meadow in the middle of the forest. I'd love to carry some sense of that with me.

Is there a sigil that you've loved enough to return to over time?

Friday, August 25, 2017

Plentiful Earth's #30DaysMagicalRoots Challenge Day 25: Esbats

I've talked before about five ways to celebrate the new moon. I tend to use the new moons for goal setting and evaluation of how the past month's plans have gone. I do try to schedule fewer things for new moons and practice more self-care. But new moons are awesome for planting seeds and beginning projects. They're also great for bringing things to a close and honoring the purging and removals that one does during the waning moon. I liken it to cleaning a closet...I spend the waning moon getting rid of what no longer serves me, so that by the new moon, I'm looking into the dark of an empty closet.

After a full moon, when the moon is waxing, is time to think about what I want to bring into my life. Where do I want to go? What can I build in the next two weeks? How does this compare with what I've done in other moon cycles throughout the year?

I do celebrate full moons, too. This is the height of luminous energy, like noon in the night sky. I usually attend Sage Goddess's online full moon celebrations - they're beautiful and very calming. I always learn something new about gods and goddesses, stones, and scents during these.

How about you? How do you honor the moon in your work?

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Plentiful Earth's #30DaysMagicalRoots Challenge Day 24: Sabbats

I try to be diligent about celebrating the Sabbats. I sometimes have to celebrate a day off in one direction or another, because I like my privacy. But they’re good markers for me that relate to the cycles of the year.

Mabon, the fall equinox, is coming up. This is the second harvest. I’ll be looking at what I’ve accomplished this year and bringing some projects to completion. Since it is an equinox of equal light and dark, I’ll also be thinking about ways to bring balance to my life, like setting work hours, devoting time to what really matters, and making sure that I haven’t been neglecting areas of my life. A Tarot card reading will also figure in here, somewhere.

Do you have plans for Mabon? 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Plentiful Earth's #30DaysMagicalRoots Challenge Day 23: Book of Shadows/Grimoire

I love notebooks and blank books. I love scribbling, pasting pictures inside, recording Tarot spreads, and drawing designs for gardens. I guess you could call these my grimoires, though I do more journaling with them than anything else.

I would be mortified if I got hit by a bus and someone else were to read them. They're disorganized, battered, and generally a mess.

My online Book of Shadows on Pinterest is much better organized. It's here:

How about you? Is your Book of Shadows well-organized? I have one friend who makes an index for hers!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Plentiful Earth's #30DaysMagicalRoots Challenge Day 22: Self-Purification

I've talked before about how much I enjoy a good purifying bath with Epsom salts. I try to make time for that every day.

But in the summers, I think the best purification can be found by swimming. I learned to swim in the ocean last year, and I can't believe it took me this long. I'll be making sure to spend some time today swimming, letting the water support me and letting it rinse away everything.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Plentiful Earth's #30DaysMagicalRoots Challenge Day 21: Symbols

Today's challenge is about symbols. I've spent a good deal of time studying alchemical, Reiki, Tarot, and astrological symbols, but I realized that it's been a long time since I've worked with runes. Many years ago, I made my own set by painting some milk quartz stones. I might try to do that again, maybe with glass marbles.

Are there any symbols that you return to, over and over again? Tarot is like that for me.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Plentiful Earth's #30DaysMagicalRoots Challenge Day 20: Ethics

Ethics are pretty simple in my religion: "An ye harm none, do as ye will." Pretty straightforward, eh?

If I were to choose to do harm to another, the threefold law kicks into effect. Whatever I do to others, positive or negative, comes back to me three times over.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Plentiful Earth's #30DaysMagicalRoots Challenge Day 19: Sacred Space/Circle Casting

I have a permanent circle in my backyard, a garden. I have markers for the elemental directions, and a large flat stone in the middle as an altar. At the moment, the altar is completely obscured by some overenthusiastic crown vetch, but I know it’s there.

I have small altars all over the house, on window sills and the fireplace mantle. Sometimes, they’re not any more elaborate or obvious than a handful of stones in a planter. My main altar is in my office, facing east. I like to hang a mirror over it to magnify the candlelight. I do redecorate the altar with the equinoxes and solstices. Someday, I want to get a circular rug to put there to mark the directions, but I haven’t found the right thing yet. I keep intending on repainting that room turquoise, and I’ll likely get to that this fall. I hope.

Do you have a favorite altar or sacred space you’ve created?  

Plentiful Earth's #30DaysMagicalRoots Challenge Day 18: Elemental Magic

I admit, I stick to the classical elements in the classical directions:
Air – the eastern direction, mind and intellect, sylphs
Fire – the southern direction, will and strength, salamanders
Water – the western direction, emotions, undines
Earth – the northern direction, material things and prosperity, gnomes

I call them in a circle, beginning in the east and going clockwise. I release them beginning in the east and going counterclockwise. Spirit, of course, is in the middle, so I visualize this as a winding or unwinding spiral.

I’ve built a garden in my backyard that corresponds to the directions, with plants that correspond to each direction. There’s a flat rock I unearthed in the middle that I use as an altar.

It throws me for a loop when I’m in ceremony with one of my teachers who uses the correspondences in the Native American tradition. In her tradition, there are two axes: the masculine axis, which is about air (west) and fire (east); and the feminine axis, which is about water (south) and earth (north). 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Plentiful Earth's #30DaysMagicalRoots Challenge Day 17: Raise Some Energy

So I'm not a person who dances when other people are watching.

It's one thing to melt into a crowd, but I'm not much for being on stage. I think that's what caused me to ultimately quit belly dance - the performance requirements.

Every so often, though, I put on a hip scarf and jingle around the house. The cats find this to be fascinating. I never totally got out of the habit, as most of the magical teachers I've had in the last several years have insisted that dance is a way to ground spirituality, to bring teaching into the body.

Do you dance? I promise not to look.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Plentiful Earth's #30DaysMagicalRoots Challenge Day 16: Connect with Mother Earth

This is the time of year when the trees are bearing fruit. I can see the crabapples on my crabapple trees. I've been eyeing my Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, and Stayman Winesap apples all summer. The Stayman Winesap has only produced one apple. I'm hoping it's worth the wait.

One crabapple tree is my favorite. I love spreading a blanket out below its branches in the summertime. I think that tree has read most of the books I've read this year. It's also been my shelter for many a summer nap! There's nothing quite like sleeping outside in the garden, I think, for grounding and a general feeling of peace.

Do you have a favorite tree that brings you back in touch with Mother Earth?

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Plentiful Earth's #30DaysMagicalRoots Challenge Day 15: Kitchen Witchery

Today's challenge is all about kitchen witchery. I love the everyday aspect of this, from blessing food to dropping (safe) crystals in water, and growing my own herbs.

In the spirit of today's challenge, I am going out to harvest herbs today. The catmint is past its prime, but the sage and oregano are ready to go. There's also tons of mint ready. I like to hang the ones the cats won't bother around the kitchen for a little extra scent while they dry. Though I do sometimes use a food dehydrator, there's something about doing this process slowly that I think leads to better results.

Hopefully, I'll be consistent enough with my harvesting this year to be able to make gifts of herbs for the holidays. I've got a vision of putting them in nicely-labeled mason jars. Fingers crossed I can get organized enough to make this happen!

Plentiful Earth's #30DaysMagicalRoots Challenge Day 14: Incense

I tend to forget about incense as a spiritual practice. Maybe it's because I'm a little fire-paranoid and hate cleaning up ashes. But I do enjoy a good stick of dragon's blood every so often. In the spirit of today's practice, I'm gonna light up some beautiful incense I got as a gift a few months ago. It smells like the ocean, a light, fresh scent. I think I enjoy the heavier-scented ones more in winter.

Do you have a favorite incense? Do you make your own?

Monday, August 14, 2017

Plentiful Earth's #30DaysMagicalRoots Challenge Day 13: Stone/Crystal

I'm working on some projects right now, and am behind on ALL THE THINGS. I forgot about yesterday's challenge, picking a stone or crystal to work with.

But I am catching up! A stone that I learned about in the past year is magnetite. It's lovely for drawing to you what you desire. I've found that I need to be really clear in what I want in working with it, as it seems to have a mind of its own!

What's your favorite stone or crystal to work with?

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Plentiful Earth's #30DaysMagicalRoots Challenge Day 12: Deity

Today's challenge is about Deity. As in, do I believe that there is one, more than one, have a favorite...

I think that pretty much everything is a facet of Deity, from the sparrows eating birdseed in my yard to the stream a block away. But I very much enjoy the various guises Deity takes in old an new mythologies.

One of my favorites is the goddess Seshat. She was the ancient Egyptian goddess of writing, Mistress of the House of Books. She is responsible for surveying, for recording lifespans, and for astrology. She's often depicted with a seven-pointed star over her head, dressed in a cheetah skin. There's a short funerary prayer to her in the Coffin Texts that translates to: "Seshat opens the door of heaven." 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Plentiful Earth's #30DaysMagicalRoots Challenge Day 11: Write A Spell

I think of spells like recipes. There are long, involved ones for special occasions that involve study, practice, amassing of ingredients, and perfect timing.

And then there are off-the-cuff ones, blurted in the spur of the moment: 

Air, Earth, Fire, Water,
Bless and protect your earnest daughter
As I stand here before my altar
Help me find the Goddess where I sought her
And always bring the elements honor
Air, Earth, Fire, Water

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Plentiful Earth's #30DaysMagicalRoots Challenge Day 10: Sage

Gardening is one of my favorite relaxing pastimes, so I was thrilled to participate in today's challenge: choosing an herb, plant, or tree to make magic with.

One of the plants that grows without any hesitation in my garden is sage. It's entirely cool with neglect, thrives in my clay soil, and smells heavenly. For the next month, I'll be harvesting it, drying it in the garage, and using it for cooking and smudge sticks. It's a lovely purifier and all-purpose herb.

Is there a plant in your garden that seems uniquely suited to your environment?

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Plentiful Earth's #30DaysMagicalRoots Challenge Day 9: Daily Practices

Today's challenge is to commit to a daily ritual. One that I've done for awhile is lighting a candle when it gets dark. I started doing it when one of my cats died, about a month ago, and it's a very comforting thing. I like to think of the light as an anchor, as a reminder that I love and remember him.

What daily rituals do you do, consciously or unconsciously, to bring magic into your life?

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Plentiful Earth's #30DaysMagicalRoots Challenge Day 8: Meditation

Day Eight of the #30DaysMagicalRoots challenge is about mediation. I admit, my mediation practice has slipped. I'm the queen of intrusive thoughts!

But I tend to have better luck if I pick a Tarot card to focus on. For the month of August, I've picked Strength. As a Leo, the image of a woman holding the jaws of a lion appeals to me. Today, the image reminds me of pilling one of my cats. But I'm going to stick with it! 

Monday, August 7, 2017

Plentiful Earth's #30DaysMagicalRoots Challenge Day 7: Yoga

I admit, I was dreading this one.

I know that the conventional wisdom is that "Yoga is for everyone!"

Yeah. Well, my body is just not built that way. Even in high school, I was unable to do splits or any kind of flexible stuff. My body just does not move that way. I've tried it, several times. Teachers are amazed by my lack of flexibility and think I'm just being resistant when my body will just not fold like an origami crane.

But in the spirit of this challenge, I decided to do Cobra Pose. As a sloucher, I know I need to open up my chest and get the blood flowing to my shoulders. I can do that. Corpse Pose and Child's Pose are also fine.

My flexible cats are mocking me. But I can deal with that.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Plentiful Earth's #30DaysMagicalRoots Challenge Day 6: Shielding

Shielding is so necessary. I find that I really need a mental barrier between myself and the rest of the world sometimes...especially when I'm in public. There's a lot of pollution out there.

There are some perfumes and fragrance oils that I love, including Apothecary of Avalon's Lady of the Lake and Sage Goddess's Arx. I use some form of fragrance almost daily.

Visualization of a protective egg of light is a popular technique for shielding. I like to use that in conjunction with an egg-shaped stone with protective qualities, like smoky quartz. Obsidian and black amber are also good for these purposes. Smoky quartz feels less dense to me, and I feel as if I can still perceive what I need to while envisioning an egg of warm grey light.

Do you have a favorite shielding ritual?

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Plentiful Earth's #30DaysMagicalRoots Challenge Day 5: Energy Work

I learned Reiki several years ago with the intent of using it with animals. While I do still use it with animals, I've never really spent much time applying it to people other than myself.

I think that energy gets stick very easily when we do the same things every day. I slouch in front of the computer far too much, and have developed truly terrible posture. I'm quite certain that my energy is permanently screwed up by that. :-)

There are some great energy un-stickers, like massage, that I'd love to indulge in more often. I do make time for a hot bath every evening. A handful of Epsom salts is particularly soothing to me.

What do you do to get unstuck?

Friday, August 4, 2017

Plentiful Earth's #30DaysMagicalRoots Challenge Day 4: Intentions

It's time to set an intention for this month. I mulled this over for quite awhile before deciding that I need to develop a better schedule for myself. I fall into periods of frenetic action and total lassitude, feeling guilt over not getting All The Things Done.

For this month, I'm going to more carefully structure time for work and play. I don't want summer to slip away without enjoying it, but I need to prioritize which things are important. I think this will lend itself to deciding which activities support my dearest goals, and jettisoning the rest.

One of the things that I need to kick out are time-wasters. I can spend way too much time in front of the computer, feeling busy but not getting much done. Time to turn off the internet and get into a deep work/play groove!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Plentiful Earth's #30DaysMagicalRoots Challenge Day 3: Centering and Breath Work

Today’s challenge is all about breathing. Like many of us, I find that I tend to just breathe shallowly I’m not thinking about it…which is a lot. Carving out some time to do nothing but breathe seems like a luxury, but I think it’s important to manage my stress.

I sat outside on the patio today for my breathing session and just listened to my breath and the birds. I realized how much I don’t pay attention to this, and how much I should. I have a hard time staying in the present moment, and always want to rush ahead on plans for the future. Otherwise, I'm reflecting on things in the past that I can't change. 

Once upon a time, I took a mediation class that involved an hour of meditation. I stuck with it for several weeks, but I found that my mind wandered. A lot.

Do you have any tips and tricks for staying centered in the present moment? 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Plentiful Earth's 30 Days Magical Roots Challenge Day 2: Grounding

It's day two of Plentiful Earth’s #30DaysMagicalRoots challenge! The topic for the day is grounding, and I thought I'd share a bit about grounding. I talked about dirt time in a previous post, and I think it's still the best way. But sometimes, I'm just too busy to go out and sit on the ground for the time I need.

When that happens, I try to carry with me a good grounding stone. My favorite is obsidian. It has a sharp but still energy to it. It feels alert, connected, but not sleepy. I have several pieces that I adore...silver sheen, rainbow, golden sheen. But the most special ones are the ones I find outside myself.

I carry a piece with me in my pocket when I feel disconnected. I also picked up an obsidian bead bracelet, which also works for me. You can also slip a piece underneath a pillow or drop one in your bathtub while bathing. 

What's your favorite technique for grounding? 

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Plentiful Earth's 30 Days Magical Roots Challenge Day 1: Divination

I’m doing Plentiful Earth’s #30DaysMagicalRoots challenge this month. For details on the challenge to step up your magical game in the month of August, check here. I haven’t been as present in my magical practices lately, and I’m looking forward to diving deeper with a daily practice.

Day 1: Divination

Today’s challenge is divination. I love Tarot and all kinds of divination decks. This is one I’ve acquired this year that I absolutely love…Lucy Cavendish’s Oracle of the Mermaids. I’ve been obsessed with mermaids for the past year, and this is a really lovely, beautiful oracle.

I drew a card to signify where to focus for the month of August. I picked “Sisterhood – Friendship, allies, compatible souls, loyalty, joy, delight.” 

It sounds like August will be a great month to connect with other witchy folks…I hope that you take the magical challenge and join me, too! 

Do you have a favorite oracle? It can be an old favorite or new favorite, and doesn't have to be cards. I have a friend who's learning to read tea leaves, and that sounds amazing!  

Saturday, July 29, 2017

July’s Mystic Muse Box

July’s Mystic Muse subscription box was even better than last month’s! I’ve been waiting for a quiet evening to break out these lovely tools, and I was not disappointed. In this month’s box…

  •         A nice, chunky amethyst point. As amethyst is one of the most versatile stones, I am always happy to add one to my collection. This one has a pleasing amount of heft that can be dropped in the bottom of a handbag or a pocket without fear of damage.
  •         Love by Luna Energize + Citrine Gem Juice. A really lovely citrus fragrance…not too sharp, not too sweet, just ripe.
  •         Designs by Katie Leigh diffuser bracelet. Ohhhh….I’ve been wanting a diffuser bracelet FOREVER. Add fragrance oil and go…finally, it won’t wash off my hands! This one has a beautiful onyx bead. I love onyx for protection and grounding.
  •         Mystic Muse alchemy patch. As a fan of all things alchemical, I am plotting the perfect jacket to add this to!
  •         Sage bundle. Yasssss, I need to smudge, and smudge often, to remove the gunk that’s circulating out there. This is a good reminder.
  •         Goodnight Darling Co. Deep Detox Bath Soak. I love bath salts…and this has rose petals, eucalyptus, and lavender. The fragrance is very subtle and not overwhelming, the texture is lovely, and the rose petals are decadently abundant.
  •         Palmetto Derma Rejuvenating Antioxidant Mask. Oh, yum! I love this. As a gal with oily skin, clay-based masks are my friend, and I’m thrilled to finally have one with antioxidant goodness that doesn’t make my face look like an oil slick. Two thumbs up!

I am loving these mystical surprises in the mail. Can’t wait for August! 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Grief and the Gift

Hi, Folks:

Sorry I’ve been away from the blog for so long. One of our beloved cats who has been ill for some time took a turn for the worse and passed away a few weeks ago. We’re doing okay. Sydney was a sweet, gentle cat, a silver tabby with a cloudy, marble-like left eye. I found him and his sister as adult ferals back in 2001. I trapped them, brought them inside, and it took a long time to tame them. It took Syd a year before he learned to purr.

Syd was a good, kind, sweet fellow. He was unfailingly kind to the additions to our household. He let a baby cat chew on his tail, soothed others when they were sick, and patiently taught the newcomers the ropes. He was the patriarch of our little cat clan, respected by all.

Syd had his challenges. He was blind in one eye, and both he and his sister were FIV+. Still, they lived long and happy lives. We were fortunate that Syd was able to pass away at home with the help of our veterinarian, who does house calls. He was able to pass away in my arms, which was a gift.

We buried him in our back garden, near the bird feeder. With all of our cats who have passed on, I bury them with a piece of rose quartz. I put larger pieces of rose quartz on their gravesites. For the time of grieving afterward, I carry rose quartz with me. Rose quartz is a heart healer, and it’s soothing to me to feel as if I’m still connected to Syd.

Three days ago, I had a surprise. I went out to fill the bird feeder near Syd’s grave. There’s a flat sandstone rock there. I feed the birds with bird food close by, and put cat food in a plate just a yard away for any neighborhood cats traveling through. The spot is in the shade of a few sunflower stalks.

Perched on the sandstone rock was a pink glass marble, the kind that florists use for decoration. It’s exactly the same color as the rose quartz. 

I picked it up and held it. It’s warm, like sunshine. I can only think that perhaps one of the bigger birds, like one of the ravens who love cat food, brought it. Our ravens are shy, I know that they grieve, too. Perhaps they missed seeing Syd in the window overlooking the bird feeder. Perhaps they saw me, and knew something was wrong.

It’s the most precious gift, this little pink marble. I don’t know where it came from, but I’m taking it as evidence that Syd is missed. And that he is well. I hope he knows he’s loved.     

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Summer Solstice Subscription Box from Mystic Muse

We all need a little extra magic in life, right?

I’ve been trying to do some better self-care, and decided to sign up for the @mysticmusebox at CrateJoy. I haven’t done subscription boxes before, but I’ve been tempted. I like being pleasantly surprised, and I thought this one would be right up my alley.

I got the Summer Solstice box, which includes all kinds of goodies for next week’s big shebang. The box is a very nice presentation, and looks like this: 

There’s some Bad Girl Good Tea in the Flower Crown flavor, which is really sweet and pleasant with a dollop of honey. Since I’ve been fighting a sore throat, I’ve been face down in this. It’s a lovely texture and fragrance, a nice light tea with green and white leaves, rose, fruit, and other goodies.

I got two stones, a yellow jasper and an ice agate. The yellow jasper is for positivity, and the ice agate is for intellectual balance. Both are very nice tumbled sizes that feel good in my hands.

The Summer Solstice candle included in the box is my favorite thing in the box. It smells like mandarin and verbena. Can’t wait to burn this next week!

There’s a cute sunflower print, a summer solstice pin, and an aromatherapy oil. The aromatherapy oil is meant to be balancing, but it is very, very heavily patchouli. I’ll give it a go in baths and lurking around the house, but it’s a little strong for everyday wear.

I’ll be curious to see what comes in next month’s box, if there will be a theme. Hoping for more stones and candles!

Do you have any mystical subscription boxes to recommend? 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Four Thieves Soap

I love fancy soaps. I do. I love the sudsy-clean feeling of a really crunchy soap and visualizing a squeaky-clean aura. But the price tag…not so much.

A few times a year, I decide that it’s time to make soap. I squirrel away supplies for a while. I collect blossoms from the garden and dry them in paper bags: violets, rose petals, apple blossoms. I pick up pink Himalayan salt and essential oils when a new smell or texture intrigues me. I keep on hand a selection of soap molds, all ready to be greased up with coconut oil and filled with melt and pour soap mix.

Would I like to try more ambitious lye processes someday? Sure. But with so many critters around the house and backyard, it’s impossible to find a place where I can play with toxic somethings undisturbed. So I make do with the melt and pour mixes.

This past weekend, a friend and I got together to make soap. She has a huge dining room table, and we spilled out all our soapmaking treasures on it to graze through. Some of these goodies included:

·        Lavender blossoms
·        Coffee
·        Four thieves’ oil
·        Crab apple blossoms
·        Rhododendron blossoms
·        Blueberry seeds
·        Oats
·        Rosemary oil
·        Cinnamon
·        Mint
·        Cloves
·        Pink peppercorns

…and whatever bits and bobs came from the spice and oil cabinets. There’s a lot of stuff that smells wonderful that doesn’t agree with my skin or my sinuses, and I assume that other folks are similar. Use only what you’re not sensitive to! Test things out, and be careful, as with all kinds of DIY endeavors.

We greased up our molds with coconut oil, stuffed them full of herbs and oils while the melt and pour soap melted in the microwave. We managed to get most of the soap in the molds without tragedy and a few hours later…viola! Out came some very cool textured soaps I can’t wait to try.

My favorite recipe from this batch was a purifying soap I’m gonna call “Four Thieves Soap.” I used:

·        Four thieves oil (I used Nature’s Truth, because I was feeling too lazy to mix my own. Inexplicably, their blend is called “Four Thiefs.” My internal grammarian is screaming)
·        A big handful of dried mint from my garden
·        Pink Himalayan salt
·        A bit of red coloring, because I liked the contrast between the green mint and pink salt

Four thieves’ oil has been around for centuries. I like the Nature’s Truth blend. That one is a very benign blend of lemon, rosemary, clove and eucalyptus oil. Delish. It just smells like a good aura scrub.

There’s a lot of interesting history about four thieves’ oils and vinegars. It supposedly was created during the plague times, when a group of four thieves made it their business to rob the bodies of the dead. Somehow, they managed never to pick up the plague. They attributed their success to their potion. Of course, no one knows their exact blend, or would be able to duplicate their incredibly bizarre luck.

There are about a bazillion different recipes out there…no one who makes it ever makes it like anyone else does. Some are pretty noxious and are suitable only for outdoor work…and these are very vinegar-y acidic concoctions that you wouldn’t want to make contact with your skin. Some of that stuff strips paint and will eat through nails…I’ve learned that the hard way. Ahem. Live and learn, right?

Others are softer and perfumier, like this one. I’m a big fan of citrus, and it does a fine job of purifying the body for me. I’m looking forward to soaking up some of these lovely new soaps in the bath and seeing how they work!

Do you have any favorite soap recipes to share?

Friday, June 2, 2017

Potions from Avalon

I adore a good essential oil blend. There’s nothing that calms me quite like a delicious smell…there’s something really decadent about soaking in a good scent. Maybe it’s because it’s invisible, and because only people really close to you get a whiff. It’s magic in that way, right?

I met the lovely owner of Apothecary of Avalon while in High Priestess training this past year. While priestessing has been a multi-year journey for me (and a long story for another time), I have met many wonderful priestess sisters and teachers on the journey. Pixi is a lovely soul and a master potion-maker, and she puts so much care into her work.

So far I’ve tried three of her blends. They’re full of lovely stuff – essential oils, crystals, and reiki blessings. Her Energy Balance potion is wonderful. It’s bright and clear and smells like a clear morning in a bottle. I just got her Manifesting Abundance blend, and I love it. It’s citrusy and powerful, and really gets the juice going. It’s sparkly and glittery! The two of these layer wonderfully together.

But I have a favorite. That’s Pixi’s Lady of the Lake Protective spray. I’ve been drawn to the Lady of the Lake for a while now, and the idea of it spoke to me. But when I opened the bottle, this was everything I was looking for in a scent. I wear it every day now. It’s sweet, spicy, and hits all the right notes. It feels like coming home, as if it’s sunshine and All Good Things sinking into one’s skin. Once I got my first bottle, I had to order three more. It’s that good. 

I can’t wait to try Pixi’s new things! I’m hooked. I hope you’ll try out her wonderful creations, too! 

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Door to Faerie

There’s been a lot written about how to move from one world to another, about portals and gates and doors in hedges. In shamanism, one of the doors to the lower world is often found in the roots of a tree. Most of us danced in fairy rings that we saw in yards as children, wondering if fairies would be invited by the sounds of our laughter or the ultra-tantalizing lawn sprinklers we played in.

I’ve had a few fairy circles around. One showed up in the backyard and stayed for a couple years, then vanished. One was made entirely of mushrooms when a neighbor cut down a tree…I always thought of that as the tree’s spirit still reaching out. And now that I’ve got a pretty lush garden going, other little portals and doors are in the making.

This is one of them. Three or four years ago, I bought a fairy rose in a plastic bag at the local discount store. I am notoriously bad with roses, I should confess. I’ve tried various kinds, but the only ones I’ve had success with are dog roses, prairie roses, and Don Juan climbers. One year, I picked up five or six beautiful white JFK roses, but they didn’t make it over the winter. So…I had some hopes for the fairy rose.

I have never pruned the fairy rose. Now, it’s taller than my head, and its canes brush the ground like a weeping willow. The flowers are flat and tiny and white…just gorgeous. This rose has surpassed all my expectations. It’s hard to see what’s under there; I imagine that this is probably where the backyard rabbits are raising their little ones. It’s hard to see what’s under there…maybe a door to faerie?

Do you have any mysterious gates and doors on your property where fairies might lurk? Have you ever made a fairy garden? I’m curious…perhaps if I build it, they will come! 

Friday, May 12, 2017

My Magical Garden: Irises

My yellow irises, also called “water flags,” are blooming now. There’s nothing like the dark, sweet smell of an iris, I think. Some of mine are more fragrant than others. I grow some burgundy ones that are the most heavily-fragranced and some blue-violet ones that have a very subtle scent.

Did you know that irises are a magical plant? They’re ruled by the element of water, and great to use in all kinds of water magic involving emotions. I tend to plant mine in the corresponding west area of the garden, though I have some yellow ones coming up in the south. Before I plant flowers, trees, and herbs, I try to figure out what area of the garden corresponds with them magically, and to put them there when I can. Sometimes, conditions don’t always cooperate. But I can usually put them in another direction based on color. Our backyard garden is something of a large (and ever-growing) circle, and I like to think of it as my outdoor, permanent magic circle. The directions are marked out, and I’ve kept areas clear for entrance points at the cross-quarter points.

Back to the iris! Irises are sacred to the goddesses Hera and Juno, especially in their blue or purple forms. They’re also associated with Iris, the goddess of the rainbow, and Isis. I tend to like the blue irises as offerings for Isis. Yellow irises make fine offerings to her son, Horus.

 In magical workings, irises of all shades are wonderful for workings involving love, luck, inspiration, and creativity. When I put a vase of irises on my desk, I swear that I’m more productive with creative work.

They’re also associated with mental focus, clarity, and willpower (especially the yellow ones). If you’re facing a project deadline, it doesn’t hurt to put a few in your work area, especially on the west side of your desk. Blue irises are associated with wealth, and this year I’m going to try to press one of the flowers and tuck it in my wallet.  

Do you grow irises? Where do they grow in your garden? 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

A Little Rain Magic

We’ve had rain for days now – deluges, sprinkles, and steady pattering of rain on grey days. It’s made me a little cranky, because I haven’t had the chance to be out in the garden.

But rain is great for magical work! I sometimes save a little bit in a bowl and bring it inside for some divination. I sit in a dark room light a candle near the bowl. This tends to be more dramatic-looking if the bowl is black – it really lends that scrying mirror effect. If I get it just right, the flame looks like the moon on water. It’s great for meditation. I zone out and usually get some great insights.

Here’s a little bit of magic that’s good for releasing things that no longer serve you. These can be habits, people, feelings, or pretty much anything else. I have several flat stones in my garden that I sometimes write these things on with chalk. When it rains, the drops wash the words away. I visualize these things being rinsed away from my life. For an extra magical punch, I recommend doing this during a waning moon. You can also put a stone in each of the four directional quarters (east, south, west, and north), plus one in the center for spirit, and write your petition to the elements on each one.

I may snag a bit of rainwater today to put into my bath for a little extra purification mojo. Do you have any rain secrets you’d like to share? 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Magic of Redbuds

Spring has finally come to my neck of the woods. The tulips are pushing up through the ground, the daffodils are blooming, and my favorite sign of spring is here…the blooms on redbud trees! One grows very close to where we live, and the moon gets tangled in it often. It was really lovely to see it blooming during the pink full moon this year.

Redbud trees are all about the magic of love and new beginnings for me, from the first pink buds in early spring to the heart-shaped leaves that will emerge in a few weeks. I’ve heard superstitions of restless spirits being drawn to redbuds, but I haven’t (yet) had that experience.

I have a couple of redbud rituals to share. When a branch is blooming, I cut a piece for my altar to enjoy some of the first flowers of spring. I pop it in a vase with a rose quartz at the bottom and make a wish. When the flowers begin to wilt, I take it outside on a windy day.  I strip the blossoms from the branch and cast them to the winds, remembering my wish. I suspect this is a holdover from wishing on dandelions as a little girl.

When the heart-shaped leaves are full and leathery, in late spring or early summer, I sometimes write a wish on a leaf and bury it. I’m convinced that the earth can ruminate solutions to my dilemmas better than I can!

What’s blooming in your area right now? Any blossoms that you’d like to cast to the wind or water?