Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Quick Witchy Book Update

     A little while ago in a blog post called, Writing about Writing  I mentioned that I was writing a book. At first I thought that my book would hit about 100 pages maximum, but lately I've come to accept that it will probably only hit about 50 pages. I'll admit that I've felt a little discouraged about the books length but I've come to accept that its better to just respect that this story is not super long and that that's alright. After all as they say, good things come in smsl packages :) Its going to be my first published book and if it sounds best in 50 pages then it sounds best in 50 pages.

      That being said I've just about hit the fifty page mark and finished writing my last chapter so I guess I'm done, well at least the writing process anyways. Now for the editing. I'm self publishing so its crucial that I spend a fair amount of time editing, the last thing I want to publish is a book full of typos!

       I've also begun cover design and am currently tweaking the title... things are really starting to get exciting!

        So I suppose that right about now I ought to give you guys a sneak peak or at least a hint as to what its all about...... Its not a fiction book so I can't really give you a snippet about the plot but I can tell you that it is about witchcraft. Actually it is about traditional witchcraft in particular, not a grimoire or book of shadows but a historical nonfiction approach to witchcraft.

       When the cover is all done I'll be sure to give you guys a sneak peak and perhaps even a giveaway....

      I hope you all have a blessed evening full of the moon's white light :)

Friday, 25 July 2014

On Walking the Hedge: New Understandings and Meeting Pan

       So a few posts back I made a bit of a fudge when I was talking about hedge witchery. In the post, which you can read here if you so desire, I wrote that although I was interested in the hedge I was not into the flying ointment stuff as at the time, I presumed that hedge-craft was mostly about rubbing on an ointment that might make you hallucinate, I was wrong. Why am I even pointing out that I made a mistake? Because I think its doubtful that I'm the only one in the witchy or pagan world who has thought along the very same lines and I though that should be corrected, at least for those who take the time to read this post and learn about hedge witchery.

      My first real (and very much needed) reality check about hedge-craft came from a comment that one of my favourite bloggers wrote on my wall. In the comment she wrote:

"I think hedge as a path can be so much more than journeying, ointments, tarot..etc.. I focus that way because my strong suit is seeing and of course jumping the hedge is part of it but to me it is more having that connection to spirit and the wild place, especially discovering those local and what they have to offer you in spirit.." -Morgan from Love by the Moon

    I am really beyond thankful that she left this comment on my post because as I said it really was a reality check, I mean not all witches practice their craft the same way (stricter followings of Gardnerian and Alexandrian Wicca exempt) so why would all hedgers cross the hedge the same way?!

     Needless to say Morgan's comment really got me thinking. I had been reading her blog, Love by the Moon for months, which I need to add is seriously amazing, go read it now or well maybe after finishing this post, but you get the picture :p I'd also been studying up on hedge-craft because I have been feeling a strong pull towards the hedge but never really addressed it. Honestly I was a little wary of the incorporation of some poisonous herbs into the path of some hedgers and for some reason I made an assumption (assumptions are always a bad idea) that all hedgers worked with poisons. So I got skittish and ignored my spirit's cry to walk in the otherworld, but thankfully after talking with Morgan and realizing that not all hedgers cross the hedge using flying ointments made with poisonous herbs I re-evaluated my thoughts on hedge witchery.

      My misconceptions corrected I have recently begun incorporating hedge witchery into my practice, something that my spirit has been asking me to do for a while. Looking back on some of my past meditations I know that I have crossed the hedge before and even grounded in the otherworld and so really it was high time to pay attention to this calling. So last week I gathered three candles (I almost always use three because as part of my Celtic path three is a spiritually significant number), got out my phantom quartz crystal which is especially useful for dreaming and finding clarity amidst murky emotional situations, mixed some dried lemon a personal herb of magic with dried basil leaves which are non-toxic and also increase your psychic awareness, poured me a little glass of white wine to calm myself and settled down with meditation music.

     The result was amazing, I felt my spirit open up to the otherworld and while I was there I encountered the White Lady a personal deity who is akin to the Arthurian, Lady of the Lake who I have met before in meditations, but this time I also met Pan. Yup Pan. I don't follow a Greek or Roman pantheon nor do I feel much connection to their deities though I do respect them, so I was more than a little shocked when he showed up. When I came across Pan he was green almost turquoise and resembled something like a green-turquoise version of the image below:

     I'm sure he was Pan, as when ever I met gods or goddesses or spiritual beings I seem to almost intuitively know who they are, unless they are actively trying to hide themselves. So there was Pan standing in the middle of a decaying and somewhat dead forest, kind of like a forest in winter but with no snow. He seemed a little bit temperamental, I got the feeling it was because his forest wasn't healthy. When I came back, his energy seemed to follow mine so I went to the google and searched up what I could on him and found out that he was essentially Greece's God of the Wild. When I discovered that, it struck me that on my first journey where I was actively seeking to go a hedge walking that he was essentially telling me that I needed to follow my spirit and accept that I was a Wildling at heart, one who needs to connect with the wilderness of the Otherworld as part of my practice.

     To thank him for his message and to ensure that he would go back to his home, after all one doesn't want a temperamental Pan just wondering the human planes willy nilly, I decided to leave him an offering. So I gathered some tiger eye, peridot and jade crystals as well as a bit of mossy bark I collected months ago on a forest adventure and went outside, perhaps about half an hour after my meditation, to deliver my thanks. I charged and blessed the crystals and bark with gratitude then placed them at the base of a tree in front of my apartment building and grounded my remaining hedge-walking energies into the soil. As I was walking away I turned around to look back at the tree and saw him standing there so I nodded my head once more in thanks. By the time I was back in my apartment his energy had left the yard and my home. Knowing that he had gone back to the Otherworld, I let out a breath and curled up in bed with a book before bed.

     So there it is, I'm a hedge witch. Certainly not as experienced as many of the other Hedge-bloggers and non-blogging Hedgers but I have begun to follow the path of hedge witchery. I guess that means I can call myself a Traditional Celtic Hedge Witch now if you're looking for a label, but honestly who needs labels at the end of the day I am just a wild spirit who practices magic, communes with the Otherworld and runs barefoot in the grass.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Witchy Shopping Fun at The Cat, The Book and The Candle

        Recently I decided to venture out of my nest and decided to go on a bit of a witchy adventure. Normally all of my witchy adventures take place in my home, the park, in books or online (who doesn't love a bit of magical online shopping!), but this time my adventure was more so an out and about shopping adventure. Even though I'm a solitary, sometimes its nice to go out and about and see other witchies in the area. I don't really have a whole lot of desire to join a coven, I'm more of a follow the beat of my own drum kind of gal, but I do like having the occasional little chat with like-minded individuals. My favourite way to go about this, aside from talking to my witchy Aunt T (T's blog here: Sometimes its the Little Things) is to go to a metaphysical shop.

        So off I set on my magical adventure, with my wonderful boyfriend to a store in Cambridge, Ontario called The Cat, The Book and The Candle. There aren't many metaphysical stores in the area, so far as I've noticed there's only this one, meaning that I haven't been able to have a poke about in witchy store for a little while, so I was super excited when I happened upon it.

        After about an hour and a half of journeying on the transit we had finally arrived at The Cat, The Book and The Candle's quaint store front in Cambridge. The window displays of the shop are just filled with treasures like crystal balls, books, and candles. Inside the store is like a little piece of the otherworld, the walls are decorated with green man masks, pendants and prints, I fell in love with one particular Wheel of the Year print, that has inspired me to create my own (when I put my creative pants on that is). Surrounding the store are little tables with: crystals, pendulums, pendants, altar supplies for Wiccans, herbs, oils, necklaces, bracelets, runes, and tarot cards. My boyfriend and I must have been there an hour before we took it all in!

      Even more wonderful than all the magical things to purchase was the energy in the store. The store's owner, Jodi Cross a certified Hypnotist who offers readings and Reiki sessions, was an absolute dream. Her positive energy filled the store with a sense of peaceful, happiness and she was very helpful in answering my unending questions about what this or that crystal was for. When I'm ready for Reiki and a reading I would definitely go back to her!

      Now for the goodies... While I was browsing around I happened across a crystal ball on a little golden stand (featured in all the crystal ball pics in this post). From the moment I laid I eyes on it and picked it up I knew it needed to come home with me, when the energy calls you just have to answer it! So now I have a wee crystal ball sitting calmly at home next to my herb jars. I've yet to try it out but I'll be sure to write about that when it happens. I also came across a sweet little moonstone to add to my crystal collection, and my boyfriend bought me a gorgeous triquetra necklace on a blue ribbon for my birthday, which I have absolutely fallen in love with.

     Overall my witch adventure to The Cat, The Book and The Candle was absolutely magical and wonderful. If you're in the area I would definitely recommend a visit, if you're farther away she also has an online store: The Cat, The Book and The Candle Online, filled with even more goodies!

Friday, 11 July 2014

The Doe and Buck Moon -July's Full Moon Esbat

       As July's full moon draws closer, (its tomorrow!) I can feel the enchanting energy of Luna growing ever stronger. At 99% full today, the moon feels almost at parity with Mr. Sun even though it still daytime. While the sun shines bright it feels like the sun and moon are engaged in the midst of an intricate energy dance in the sky.

       This moon as well as the next two moons, in August and September have been making quite a few headlines even in the non-pagan media as of late. Each of these 'Super' full moons for July, August and September are scientifically known as Perigee moons, meaning that they are 30% closer to the earth than the average full moon. While the media is pitting this as an extremely rare occurrence, like the blood moon that occurred earlier this year according to NASA scientists this occurs fairly regularly. January and February of 2014 were also super moons, and last year there was also a trio of consecutive super moons though the media only emphasized one. Essentially science tells us that super moons are not a sign of the apocalypse (sorry apocalypse watchers there's no scientific backing behind your theories), but rather that the super moon is a natural phenomenon.

       So we're not going to die, at least not from Ms. Moon's closer dance to Earth. Rather this perigee moon is a chance to reach out to Ms. Moon's energies and bask in her increased strength. For those who follow Native American practice this moon is recognized as the Buck Moon, especially in Algonquin traditions. According to the Farmer's Almanac, the concept of the Buck Moon originates in the physical growth of the stag during this time as July is the month when buck's grow new antlers. In my opinion the origin of this moon's name also likely results from the fact that like the buck, in the western hemisphere crops are growing strong.

       While I've heard of July's Celtic moon being referred to as either the Claiming Moon or Calming Moon, I wasn't able to find anything conclusive so for that, I think I'll need a little more book research. As it is, one of my familiars is a doe, and so I think that for my Esbat celebration July's full moon will be the Doe and Buck Moon. Then I shall be celebrating the feminine and masculine intertwined which seems to fit with the energy I feel in today's energies.

More Info on Moon Names:
Pagan's Path

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Simple Morning Oracle or Tarot Spread

      This morning while having my shower, (yay for being clean!) I began pondering what sort of Oracle spread I'd like to do for the morning. For the past few days I've been doing a quick five card spread just to get an idea of how the day was going to roll, and both of my past two readings were essentially about writing my book. Apparently they were dead on too because I passed the 10 000 word count mark for my book last night, happy dance time!

       Today I sort of felt like switching it up from the five card reading but didn't feel like using a traditional spread, so I came up with my own:

Then once I was all dried off, I gathered my Enchanted Oracle Tarot Cards and began to shuffle. The cards I drew for today, were:
  1. Gypsy Rose - Representative of the wild,  carefree spirit of youth, ever changing and ever exploring.
  2. Maiden Moon - Symbolizes the moon and her cycles.
  3. Tattered Dreams - A sign that things don't always go as planned and people aren't who we always think they are but even then, that there is always hope and renewal. 

Considering that the moon is currently waxing or in the phase where it is growing to its fullest, it seems that today's energy is both ever changing like the growing moon, and wild just like Gypsy Rose. To best approach today's wild, growing and changing energy like tattered dreams, we must remember that even if the things don't go quite as we had thought, that all is not lost. We must flow with the wildness of the day and acknowledge that any 'downs' will soon be followed by 'ups' of hope and renewal. Today the winds blow with change, and we must hop on our brooms and ride them. 

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Connecting with My Guardians -Animal Spirit Oracle (Tarot) Cards Layout

      A couple of months ago I wrote a post about purchasing my first set of oracle cards, The Enchanted Oracle, which was illustrated by Jessica Galbreth. When I wrote that post I didn't really know the difference between oracle and tarot cards, or that one even existed. Actually I must confess that I didn't even know there was a real difference until the past week or so, oopsies. The idea of tarot and oracle isn't really that different, essentially they're just different languages. Put it this way, when you say Je t'aime in French and I love you in English you are saying the same thing just using a different language. One is not better than other, they are simply different ways to garner advice from the universe's magic.

       Okay, now that I've corrected that little misconception of mine, I just have to share with you an oracle deck I bought about two weeks ago called Animal Spirits, with illustrations by painter Susan Boulet. As the title suggests, the deck revolves around animals and derives all of its advice from Native American, Celtic, Egyptian and Hindu interpretations of the significance of said animals. The paintings themselves generally lean towards Native American art with the occasional Egyptian inspired piece. Each card has the painting of the animal on one side and then the symbology and historical/mythical interpretations of the animal on the back. The fact that the animal is expressed on both sides of the card makes it rather impossible to spread the cards out and then choose so for readings I generally do the stop shuffling and then pick the first three, five or however many cards, method.

        Aside from that wee setback, I absolutely LOVE these cards. Cannot say it enough. I feel a strong connection to Native American (well Native Canadian) spirituality, which means these cards are a huge bonus for me. They seem to hum with the beliefs of a thousand years of animism, so the moment I saw them I knew they had to come home with me. As a bit of an aside I bought mine in a little shop in T.O. called Gifts from the Earth which primarily sells crystals and has a beautifully peaceful energy.

Gull, more detail below...
         At first I'll admit that I did have a little trouble figuring out a good layout for the cards as the one I generally use for my enchanted oracle deck just didn't seem to fit, but since then I've seemed to figure it out. One of that layouts that I've used quite successfully and is completely perfect fit for this deck, is the connecting with your spirit guides (familiars, angels or what you please) layout.

       The spirit guides layout is beautifully simple, using just three cards 1. What your guides are helping you with, 2. How you're guides are helping you with this, and 3. How to connect with you spirit guides (modified from Daily Tarot Girl's post).

       My layout (seen above, left to right): 1. Fox, 2. Jaguar 3. Panther (the card laid across panther, gull,  was drawn afterwards for further clarification). Essentially this spread told me that my spirit guides were trying to help me access my creativity and cunning or knowledge (Fox), by providing me with a sense of wholeness through spirituality (Jaguar) and that I should aim to connect with them through strength (Leopard), specifically by strengthening my connection between the Earth and the spirit world (Gull's clarification).

^What the Back of the Cards Looks Like^

     Overall I would definitely recommend that anyone with a strong spiritual tie to aboriginal customs and, or animism look into purchasing this deck, it is absolutely wonderful!

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Why are Vampires so Delicious?

        For as long as I can remember I have been fascinated by the idea of the vampire and according to popular culture I am not alone, not even a little bit. For me the fascination began when I was small and my mom let me watch the 1931 adaption of Dracula starring Bela Lugosi before Halloween. Then some time when I was in my tweens I remember watching Francis Ford Coppola's 1992 adaptation Bram Stoker's Dracula starring Anthony Hopkins as Dracula, also coincidentally just before Halloween.
Bela Lugosi as Dracula, 1931
        Then when I was in grade eight that book that we have all loved to hate, Twilight came out and I was entranced. I was besotted with Edward long before he ever sparkled, these days I think the fact that he snuck in Bella's room just to watch her sleep and then left before she awoke is a tad on the seriously creepy side but back then it merely represented how powerful his love for her was. When I read Twilight it felt like an epic love story, the man had to restrain his inner animal to be with the woman he loved. However, in hindsight I must admit every subsequent book in the series got a little bit worse and the movies were pretty bland, though the soundtracks were amazing.

        Twilight may have been the first vampirey book that I fell for, it certainly was not the best. Sometime after my falling out with twilight I chose Interview With a Vampire by Anne Rice for a Grade 10 book report and fell in love with vampire literature all over again. Not only did Rice's book encapsulate the romanticism of the vampire but it also emphasized the deeper, darker side of the vampire who hates his murderous self. Shortly thereafter a new t.v. series came out, The Vampire Diaries and I was poofskies all over again for the story time vamp. Though I have long since fallen out of touch with The Vampire Diaries the romanticism of the vampire has never really left.

       The sheer amount of material that came out about the vampire during my teen years tells me that I am certainly not alone in my love of the vampire, but the question still remains, why? I think that perhaps it is because of the fact that in today's day and age most of our society feels that everything can be scientifically explained. Or perhaps its an internal revolt against the centuries in which the state was tied to the church. Now that our Western world is secular we are able to explore those aspects which are ancestors very well could have been burned for researching. Then there's that age old fascination with forbidden love, and then again maybe its the romanticism of the night or perhaps more truthfully its because deep down inside us we still believe that there are monsters lurking in the shadows and the best way to address this as adults is to bury ourself in "fiction" about vampires.

       Whatever the reason maybe it is undeniable that the vampire holds a certain allure in our society. The creature that can't be tamed, leads to forbidden romance and fills the shadows with a certain mystery. What is your relationship with the vampire? Love it or Leave it?

Some Good Vampy Books:
Dracula by: Bram Stoker
Interview with the Vampire by: Anne Rice
Angel of Death by: Karen Dales
(Angel of Death is probably one of my all-time favourites definitely worth a read!)
Shadow of Death (The Sequel to Angel of Death) by: Karen Dales
Twilight by: Stephanie Meyer (If you're about 13 its a good book)

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Bottled Vs. Tap -Canada Day Musings on Water

       Pretty much every environmentalist from David Suzuki to the every day green witch has put together some thoughts on drinking bottled vs. tap water and I figured that it was about time I put in my two cents. As a Canadian I am celebrating Canada Day today (more on Canadian inventions here), which means that I am also celebrating the fact that I live in the country that holds 20% of the world's freshwater.

       While its wonderful and all that I live in the country which owns the greatest abundance of freshwater, what you might not know is that out of that 20% only 7% is renewable. But what does renewable even mean? The word is so overused these days with companies trying to spew out "green" gimmicks that something which should be simple has become hopelessly convoluted. Well in this sense, renewable means the water that as humans we can access, drink, purify and re-use. Why is only 7/20% of Canada's water considered renewable? Well, we aren't called the Great White North for nothing! The majority of our drinkable water is trapped in glaciers, and bad things happen when glaciers are melted. Some of our water is also located very deep underground in aquifers while the rest is in lakes, and the fish need their water too.

        So, really Canadians don't have as much water as they think they do. 7% is according to Environment Canada (EC) more than enough to accommodate the 30 million people who live here, however EC also notes that as the majority of said 7% drains northward it is largely inaccessible to 85% of our population. Now don't panic, Canada isn't going to run out of its water supply today or tomorrow so everybody just take a breath. But realistically we are stressing our water supply.

       Unfortunately I'm drinking out of a water bottle while I write this. Gasp, I know after all that I am drinking out of a plastic water bottle. Why am I saying this? Because I'm not perfect, we can all point fingers and claim to always use reusable water bottles but the truth is each and everyone of us has slipped. Personally I'm drinking out of a plastic water bottle because where I live the tap water looks more like milk when its poured into a glass. The water has been tested here and its aok but really drinking water that looks like milk and tastes well like pipes, not so much fun.

      So yah I'm drinking out of a plastic bottle before you attack pause just a moment and consider this, I was able to buy water. We sell each other water. Why? Well yes there is some consumer demand for it, but who really profits from it? The companies and the government (excerpt taken from the Canadian Revenue Agency):

"42. Therefore, plain bottled water sold in a single serving size bottle (i.e., less than 600 mL) is taxable. When plain bottled water is sold in manufacturers' packages of two or more single serving bottles, or in a bottle that exceeds a single serving, it is zero‑rated."

Think about it, with the exception of those who live in an area where the water is not drinkable when are you often driven to buy water? When, you're at an amusement park, movie theatre, food court i.e. when you buy it in a single serving. And who profits, well the government.

      If the money went to an environmental company whose mission was to regulate the Canadian water supply so that it didn't come out of the tap looking like milk then yah I could see the use of taxing water. But it doesn't. Instead it goes to fill the government's coffers. So don't attack the person who bought the plastic water bottle, sure ask them to recycle it politely but just remember maybe the reason they're not drinking water from the tap is because tax dollars haven't upgraded their water supply and maybe just maybe it looks like milk when it comes out of the tap.
More Info on Canadian Water:
Enviro Canada

Info on Taxable Groceries in Canada:
Canada Revenue Agency
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