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!