Welcome to my blog!

Merry Meet & Thank you for visiting!
This blog is all about all the things that make me up. I am a Mother, I am a Pagan Witch, I am a Wife, I am a homemaker, I am a student, I am Spiritual, I am a Teacher, I am Liberal Hippie, I am a Voter, and I am extremely opinionated! Plan to see it all! If you don't like what you see, feel free to leave! However, chances are, if you stick around, you'll find more to love than hate!

Blessings!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

How many victims were there during "The Burning Times?"

So around this time every year there are tons of specials about Witches, Witchcraft and the history of both on nearly every "educational" channel.  Just yesterday I watched (again) "In Search Of History: Witches."  In every show you watch the issue of The Burning Times will come up, is has to, it's a major part of the history of Witchcraft.  For those in the Pagan Community, it's generally considered to be one of the most horrific times in our collective history. And as such, it's often an area of interest for us, all year.

But any time the subject comes up, so do the numbers...  Everyone wants to know "how many?" How many people were arrested? How many people were burned or hanged or otherwise killed or tortured???  Most "experts" and historians quote numbers ranging between 40,000 and 100,000 killed. But others quote numbers in the Millions. These differences in numbers often create a rift between groups of Modern Witches.

Those who choose to believe the historians use terms such as "eccentric" or "fluffy bunny" when speaking to (or about) those who believe there were Millions killed. And those who believe the numbers were that high tend to see the historical group as "mislead" or "too accepting."

Fact is though, no one really knows the exact total. The "Burning Times" consisted of witch trials that took place over 300 years and numerous countries. Many of the records have been lost to time, and in some cases they simply weren't kept. Individuals with no land or property to their name would not have been "worth the paperwork" to many in those days.  And then there were those who died, not because of the torture or trial outcome, but while awaiting trial or even after being released, but still due to treatment - none of whom would have even been recorded. Add to those the people who would die after having property taken to pay for the trial of family members.  So it's clear that even IF someone would have access to all remaining records, they STILL could not fair a guess at the real total of victims.

So why the arguing? Mostly because everyone wants to thing they "know" the facts and have all their information right.  Especially those within the Pagan/Witchcraft community want to believe they have everything right, because there is this idea that we, as modern day Pagans, have some connection to those days, and attempt to keep them in our collective memory.

Here's the thing though,  the numbers don't matter!  It doesn't matter if there were 200, 20000 or 2 million victims. It doesn't matter how many were recorded and how many weren't. And it doesn't matter what number feels right to you or to someone else.  Because regardless of how many individuals were targeted, what should be important is that we all know the circumstances under which the Burning Times happened.

There is an old saying that "If we fail to learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it."  And in the case of Witch Trials, that couldn't be more true.  This is something we've seen over and over again. Places where "Pagans" were once the norm - Africa, Papua New Guinea, etc. - have now become places of revival for the Burning Times.

So WHY did the Burning Times happen?  Well, there were a great many reasons depending on the individual trial.  And although people have been looking for some big explanation of why they happened, the truth is simple - Religion and Politics mixed...  Yes, it's true that mid-wives were targeted because they took money away from the male doctors. And Yes, it's true that elderly widows were targeted because of their property. But the excuse used for all of them was religious in nature.  Mid-wives were said to be targeted "because they eased the pain of childbirth, which was God's curse against women and therefore, they were defying God..."  Elderly women were said to be targeted because they "used spells and evil to heal towns people", when reality was, they used the same herbs and remedies their grandmother's had used.  Examples can go on and on and on...

Now, there's nothing wrong with "Religion" and Politics are a must for society to flourish. But here's the thing. When ANY one group - especially a religion - is allowed to monopolize the politics of the land, people suffer.

So what it all comes down to is this - We, as a community, NEED to stop arguing over the numbers and start learning from the whole of what happened.  Because it doesn't matter how many were involved, what matters is that if we don't learn from the Burning Times and work TOGETHER to ensure that it never happens again (and stops in those areas where it is going on) then all of those people died in vein anyways.

Don't argue over numbers! Simply choose to honor them by working to make sure their fate, isn't ours (or our children's.)

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Blessing Bags

This is such a simple (and wonderful) idea, I don't know why I never thought of it before.  I live in an area where it's rare to see homeless individuals. But from time to time I will find myself in an area where they are more common - or even (on very rare occasions) see a one around in my own area.  Regardless of their proximity to my own home, it breaks my heart to see people in such need! I pray that if I were ever in need like that, that someone would reach out and help me. So I attempt to always do the same.

I know many people feel like it's a bad idea to give homeless individuals cash - and in some areas it can actually be dangerous for them. So what do you do when you happen upon someone in need and you don't want to give cash? Obviously there are lots of options - drive through McDonalds, buy them some bread, give them your coat...  And all of those are GOOD options!  But I always feel like I could do more! What things do these people really need? What types of things can actually help them survive and possibly even thrive?  Well, food is always a good option, but what about clothes, toiletries, information on how to get help...

Often time I'll hear people say things like "I'm not helping them, they need a job!" or "The only thing I'm giving them is a job application!"  Which I've always found to be very angering. Fact is, there ARE individuals who are choosing to be homeless because of addiction or other issues. But the majority are simply people down on their luck. Many lost their jobs and then their homes due to company cutbacks and/or even their own health issues.

I've worked with a few charities over the years that aimed to help those in need. Through them I have met some wonderful people who, through unfortunate events, had found themselves living on the bottom of society. One woman who was injured in a car accident and couldn't work for nearly a year. She lost her job and her home and ended up living in a shelter with her three children. Another woman had been in an extremely abusive relationship. She was pregnant with her third child when her husband landed her in the ER. She had no family and, thanks to her husband's control of her, no friends that could help me. She had no job and her name was not on any of their property or bank accounts - he controlled it all! When she was in the ER a caseworker convinced her to move in to the local women's shelter, which was forced to close weeks after she moved in. She found herself pregnant, homeless and running for her life from a man she knew would kill her. Just last month my mother met a local family who's apartment building had been condemned. They are low income and had just 2 weeks to vacate the property before the building is boarded up. Both husband and wife work, but minimum wage doesn't pay enough for rent in most places. And they have three young children. I do not know if they found a place to live in time, if not, it's probable that they are living in their car. Which is a thought that brings tears to my eyes. A neighbor of mine is never more than one accident away from homeless. She and her husband are raising their young grandchildren and rely on disability checks, welfare and the kindness of others to get by. These are not lazy people by any means, in fact she can be found every day, walking her grandchildren a mile and a half each way to go to pre-school. But due to her health, she is not able to work and her husband is in a wheelchair.

The reason I share these stories is because I need to illustrate just how some of these people find themselves on the street. It's not laziness, it's not entitlement, it's usually because they haven't had another choice. Moreover, these people aren't usually looking for a hand-out, but a hand up! But our society is set up to stop those on the bottom from clawing their way back up. You can't get a place to live without a job, and you can't get a job without a place to live...  Social services are stretched to far and are always the first government programs to be cut... There are other charities and groups out there to help, but often times these people have no way to even find out where they are. Libraries often have the information, but will ask those who are visibly unclean or have an odor to leave.

So how can we help these people? A trip to McDonalds just doesn't seem to fill the need, does it? But at the same time, unless your name is Bill Gates, you can't give them all homes and jobs either. But what CAN you do? Well, blessing bags are a great way to help!

What is a Blessing Bag you ask? It's a small bag of items that those in need can use to help stay healthy and possibly get back on their feet. I will never go another day without at least a few in my car in the case that I find someone in need!

What kind of stuff can you put in a Blessing Bag?
Here are just SOME ideas!

  • Listings for shelters and aid locations in the area.
  • Coupons for free coffee/tea at a local business (these can usually be bought very cheap, in bulk, around Halloween & Christmas)
  • Raisins or other dried fruit
  • "Lunchbox" sized fruit cups or applesauce
  • Granola Bars
  • Miniature Toiletries - toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, hand sanitizer, soap, etc.
  • Phone Card
  • Lighter or Matches (many people light small fires to cook or keep warm)
  • Travel Medicaitons - Tylenol, Rolaids, Vitamins, Sore Throat Drops etc. 
  • Gloves or Socks
Think about the people in your area and the needs they will have - if you live in Florida, gloves are less of a need.  And keep in mind that you don't want things to go bad in your car before you can give them out, so things like fresh fruit may not be a good idea unless you know you'll be giving them out within a day or two. 

**Love this idea and want to do something BIG? Talk to friends and family about making a large batch of these up to give away at a local shelter! You could even get small local businesses involved by asking for donations or coupons for goods.**

Friday, October 25, 2013

Is Paganism a Religion?

This is a question I have gotten over the years. And one that has recently come up on One Witches Wonderland...  It's not one I really thought would matter so much that I needed to provide any sort of long handed answer to it. But, apparently, it is!

Before we can really answer the question though, we need to define two things  1.) Religion and 2.) Paganism.

First - What is Religion?  Dictionary.com defines it as follows:
Source: Dictionary.com
Second - What is Paganism?  Again, I will turn to Dictionary.com. Unfortunately though, their definition of "Paganism" is extremely vague and lacking. However, vague as it may be, it's not totally incorrect, so I am showing it here for argument sake.
Source: Dictionary.com
Like I said, it's not really a great definition, but it's right. One way to define Paganism is the "Practice of being Pagan." Which then leads us to define Pagan. While, I would love to say that a secular dictionary would properly define "Pagan", but in fact, it doesn't. The definition given for "Pagan" by Dictionary.com is not only largely incorrect, but somewhat insulting. Showing here:
Source: Dictionary.com
Now, maybe it's just me, but terms like "irreligious," "hedonistic," "savage," "spiritually stunted" and "barbaric" - just to list a few - are extremely insulting! Now, I will give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that this definition was written to encompass both the term "Pagan" which is concerned with belief systems and the term "pagan" which is generally used to mean pre-christian by historians. Even at that however, this definition is horridly bigoted and ignorant!

So, since the secular "authority" on words falls short lets explore what it actually means!  If I were to write a dictionary style definition for "Pagan" it would read as follows:
A Belief System or an Individual who belongs to a Belief System which is -
1.) Based on the Beliefs & Culture of Native Peoples
2.) Based on the Celebration & Honor of Nature or the Earth
3.) Based on the Beliefs & Lifestyles of Ancient Cultures
4.) An Eclectic mix of two or more belief systems which fall in to the three categories previously listed.
That may seem like an extremely broad stroke of the brush, but the fact is, the Pagan Community is extremely diverse. Any random group of Pagans and find a Kemetic Orthodox Practitioner, a Druid Re-constructionist, a Asatru Revivalist, a Wiccan and maybe even a Native American Shaman... The differences between their beliefs, practices and traditions are far greater than their similarities, yet, they are all Pagan. But what of those Pagans who do NOT belong to any of these specific groups? What title do they claim or use? For the most part they simply refer to themselves as "Pagan" - some, prefer terms like Neo-Pagan or Eclectic Pagan.

**My argument though would be that if one considers themselves to be Pagan, the religion they follow would be Paganism. BUT, before I give you my full answer on this subject there is one more definition I want to explore.**

 And that is the definition of Christianity. You may wonder how the definition of Christianity matters, well, simply put it's because of it's similarity to Paganism.  So often Paganism and Christianity are compared and contrasted as a way to show their differences. One comparison I see often is the good ol' "Wicca is to Paganism what Catholic is to Christianity." So I believe if we are going to properly answer whether or not Paganism is a religion, we must also answer if Christianity is a religion or not. Christianity too is made up of a variety of smaller sects, each with their own beliefs and traditions, some being extremely different than others, which to me makes the parallel between the questions easy to see.

And while the "official" definition of Paganism was greatly lacking, the definition of Christianity is rather spot on. It is as follows:
Source: Dictionary.com
I wish particularly to point out each of those definitions given above for Paganism are easily transitioned to define Christianity as well...  "The state of being Pagan" easily becomes "The state of being Christian" and so on. But what the definition for Paganism lacks, the definition for Christianity does not. Christianity is clearly defined as "The Christian Religion" which then included all the smaller sects.

I would say it is not time to answer our original question. "Is Paganism a Religion?"

Well, lets look:
1.) IF Religion is "A set of beliefs..." and Paganism is "The beliefs & practices of Pagans" isn't Paganism the religion of Pagans?

2.) IF Paganism is "the state of being Pagan." And "Pagan" is a religion, how is the state of being a religion not a religion?

3.) IF one can be Pagan without falling in to any specific group under Paganism, are they not simply a follower of Paganism itself? Making their religion Paganism itself?

4.) IF Christianity - which shares ALL of the definitions which have been "officially" given to Paganism - is defined also as "The Christian Religion" should the definition for Paganism not also include "The Pagan Religion?"

I would say, after all that, that the answer is clear. Paganism IS a religion. It is the Pagan Religion, or more specifically "Paganism is ALL religions and belief systems which are Pagan in nature." It is a general term and can mean many things to many people. But in the end  a Christian is a "Follower of Christianity" and a Pagan is a "Follower or Paganism."

I have to say, I am a slight be angry that this even had to be dealt with or put out there. Being so petty to refuse to accept someone as Pagan simply because they list "Paganism" as their religion is anything but accepting. And while I'm sure most people didn't need this post to define whether or not Paganism is a religion, I hope that it has made it's point to those who do/did.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Bacon Cheddar Cauliflower Soup

I found this recipe on Pinterest and fell in love! There are few things I love as much as a big bowl of hot potato soup when the weather turns cold. And when I say potato soup, picture all the trimmings - Bacon, Cheddar, Sour Cream... The whole shabang!

But potatoes aren't as good for my waistline as I would like - not that Bacon is, but that's what Turkey bacon is for. So finding a way to replace the potatoes (or even half of them) is heavenly in my book!

Tip: I'll be making a HUGE batch of this and freezing off small portions so that it's ready to go when we need it.

Ingredients:
8 slices center-cut bacon, chopped (half used for garnish)
1/2 small onion, chopped OR 1 teaspoon onion powder
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt & pepper
4 cups shredded or grated cauliflower (1/2 large head)
2 Tablespoons water
2 Tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken broth, divided
2 cups 2% milk
3-4 dashes hot sauce (or more or less)
2-1/2 cups (12oz) shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided (half used for garnish)
2 green onions, chopped (optional)

Get the full "how to" over at the Iowa Girl Eats Blog!


Monday, October 21, 2013

How to do a Witch's Bottle

Witch bottles are considered to be a very old spell.  Their main purpose in the old days was to create a
decoy for curses or hexes which were cast upon a member of the home. Today however, we've adapted them to become more than that. They continue to act as a decoy and protector, but they also act as a type of charm which imbues the property, the home and those inside it with positive properties.

There are a great many versions of this out there and ALL are adaptive. I would suggest that you find a few and read through them, then create your own based on what you like and dislike about those, while using them as a guide. What items do you see in ALL of them? What items are "odd" in your eye? What properties do you want your bottle to contain? And so on until you have created your own personal ritual.

As always, taking the time to "create your own" will generate more energy and more power in to your spell. You can, of course use a version (such as the one below) just as it's found if you're uncomfortable changing or creating one.

This is the one I used when I first moved in to my home. However, I will be recreating it for my next home, as suggested above. This is my simple adaptation of Flora Petterson's adaptation of Selena Fox's Witches Bottle Spell. I have listed just a few herbs and their properties to give you an example, but you'll want to take the time to look over some herb and stone properties and choose the ones that are right for you.

*** *** ***

Witches Bottle

Ideal Timing: It's best to do this project on the first Full Moon after you move in to a new home or on the Full Moon directly before the Mid-Summer Solstice. However, if that is not possible, any Full Moon will do.

What You Need:
*Large (Pint or Quart) Wide Mouth Jar w/ Lid
*New Coin
*Pieces of Broken Glass (1 or more)
*Old Rusty Bent Nails (1 or more)
*Something Reflective (A piece of Mirror or a Tumbled Stone works great)
*Dried Herbs that match your intent (protection, love, safety, happiness, etc.)
*Stones or Crystals that match your intent
*Sea Salt
*Working Candle
*Hair, Blood, Semen or Urine from each household member
*Fur, Feather, etc from any pets in the house
*Shovel


You'll be burying your jar, so dig a hole large enough for your jar to lay and be covered by enough soil that it won't break when being walked over. I would say at least the width of the jar, plus 4 or 5 inches and wide enough that you can lay the jar down. If possible peel back the sod, keeping it as intact as possible, so you can simply lay it back in place. This will help to hide where it's been buried. This can be done any time in the days before you do your spell.
*IF you do not have a yard area, you can simply use a large planter, plant flowers or something on top and place it outside your door.

You'll want to do this at the height of the Full Moon. And you want to do it without witnesses by anyone outside of your home.

Create a sacred space (circle) and light your working candle.

Hold the bottle in your hands and say:
"With the Great Goddess and God
Working for and through me
According to Free Will and for the Greatest Good.
I now fill this bottle"
The remainder is said as you fill your bottle:
"These rusty nails, bent, now repels anything and anyone negative or life-denying.
The sparkling, shards of mirror hold the light for me and my deities.
This broken glass to deflect harm to anyone it is intended for."
"These herbs infuse the bottle with their living properties"
At this point you will list any herbs you are using as well as the properties they are bringing with them (these are only examples)
Mint for Money and Protection
Parsley for Protection
Sage for Wisdom and Protection
Rosemary for Love, Healing, and Health
Thyme for Health, Love, and Courage
"These stones/crystals infuse their properties into my spell"
Like the herbs before them, list any stones as well as their properties.
"These new coins manifests abundance in my home.
These whiskers/feathers/etc to protect (name) the (animal)"
Repeat this step for each pet including.
"My Hair/Blood/Semen/Urine to protect and draw any negativity to it and disperse it"
Include Hair/Blood/Semen/Urine from each person in your home and repeat the line as needed.
You can also create "Hair dolls" to represent each person for this part.

Now, fill the remainder of the jar with soil/dirt from the hole you dug earlier saying:
"Earth anchors this magick in the ground."
Hold your jar between your hands again, filling it with energy as you say:
"This home is divinely protected and effectively safe.
Nothing and no one can enter without my permission
Only those people and beings through whom the Gods work
Can stay here, can visit, can touch this place."
"Only Positive Witchcraft may live in this place
In safety, protection, abundance, love, and joy
According to Free Will and For the Greater Good"
Take the salt in hand saying:
"This this salt,
I banish all negativity from this place.
May my spell be safe and protected"
 Start to bury the bottle, and replace the sod while saying:
"I now bury this bottle
It is invisible to all but me
And its magick continues
And so mote it be."
Finish by covering any visible signs of your magick with leaves or something appropriate that will conceal your bottles location.

Finally, close the sacred space (circle) and snuff your working candle.

IF or when you move, it's best to dig up the bottle and preform this again at your next residence.

*** *** ***

IF you would like some more examples here are a few I have found:

I'm certain you can find more if needed. Just look around!*

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Spice Mixes From Home

As you know, I'm still working on learning to do things from scratch! Mostly because I was raised to cook Hamburger Helper rather than from scratch casseroles. But I figure if I can learn to make mixes to replace all the store bought ones, I won't need the boxes. So that's one of my next goals! While I was looking for information on how to make a lot of this stuff I found an awesome blog post with 17 different recipes - everything from Chili Spice to Creme Soup to Sausage Seasoning - and the recipes to use them in...  Great stuff!

Just make sure that you're using all Organic Spices in your mixes. I recommend Simply Organic brand! Everything comes in glass bottles that are easily reused to help organize your mixes!





Thursday, October 17, 2013

Replace 10 Household Cleaners with Castile Soap

I LOVE Dr. Bronners Castile Soaps! I literally buy them by the gallon! I use it for everything! Almond Oil Castile is my favorite for my skin, and it smells HEAVENLY! But did you know you can use it to clean your house too?  I haven't tried ALL of these, but the ones I have tried, I love!



   

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Homemade Pizza Sauce

My family LOVES Pizza! But if you flip the pizza sauce jar over and read the ingredients, you'll have all the reasons not to eat that Pizza you need. But making your own sauce is much easier than it seems.



   

Sunday, October 13, 2013

"DIY Flu Shots"

Cold weather, holiday travel, kids in school...  This time of year brings with it lower immunity and germs germs germs! But rather than running out for a potentially dangerous vaccine, make your own "Flu Shots" at the first sign of infection, or any time you need a system boost...  They're a great way to get and stay healthy! And unlike regular "flu shots" they're completely free of scary ingredients or risk of infection!



   

Friday, October 11, 2013

DIY Fae Skirt with Old Curtains

I came across this blog thanks to a post on Facebook. Unfortunately, it's in French, which I don't speak. BUT, I get the gist. This blogger used old curtains, but you don't really need old curtains, you could use any material you have (or you buy.) Since I don't have curtains, I'll be buying fabric. But regardless of where you get the fabric, the HOW is the same.

Just cut a piece of elastic to the desired length and sew the ends together (I will over lap to make it more secure). Cut your fabric in to strips of 2-3 inches in width, depending on the look you want. To find the length you want, measure from your (or the person who will be wearing it) waist to the desired length and add 1 inch. If you're making a long skirt cut the ends in a point (you can also round the ends for a different look). Then simply fold the fabric strips in half and attach them to the elastic band. To do so, just wrap the folded end around the band and pull the ends through the loop.  Pull the elastic band taunt and fill it up with fabric strips. Then, just put it on and DANCE!

To see all the pictures and read (if you read french) the original post check out Over The Moon.

   

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

How To Organize Important Magazine Articles

One of the hardest parts of organizing the home is organizing the piles of magazines. There's tons of great information out there in magazines, no question. If you're a better person than me you can switch to digital versions for many of them. But even if you do, chances are you have piles or boxes of old ones in your closets.  MAYBE, if you're really good, you've been able to downsize all that by tearing out the recipes & articles you want.  But even if you've done that, chances are, you aren't able to use most of it because it still lacks any kind of organization.

So how do you keep your magazine stash minimal while keeping all the important articles and recipes and have enough organization that you can actually find and use what you want...


   


Monday, October 7, 2013

Top 55 Foods for Healthy Weight Loss

So we're all trying to get healthy & lose weight, right? But we love food! So how do we balance our love of food with our love of a size 8 - okay, 10? Well, one way is to make sure our diet is full of foods that will allow us to both EAT and LOSE!

Here are some places to start -

  

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Skinny Pumpkin Pie Milkshake

If I could I would live in a magickal land where it's Autumn all the time. Autumn foods are the best! And I am one of those annoying people who make Pumpkin & Apple EVERYTHING from around late August til well in to December - when I start my Cranberry obsession!

A good bit of the stuff I make though is less than healthy - you can't even pretend some times. But this milkshake recipe is both DELISH and generally healthy. In fact, as long as you make it with Yogurt & Almond milk there isn't much about it that isn't healthy! So go ahead and enjoy!


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Crock Pot Cocoa Almonds

A few weeks back I stopped at a RiteAid for something and they had a container of Cocoa Almonds on their clearance shelf. OMG, these things were AWESOME!! Like, my new favorite snack - Awesome!  So imagine my pleasant surprise to find a crock pot recipe for Homemade Cocoa Almonds! YUMM!!

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups almonds
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/8 teaspoon powdered stevia extract (or 1/3 cup sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-2 tablespoons cocoa powder (we like just one, but you might want them more chocolately)
  • Dash salt OR use salted almonds
Now, Learn How To Make Them


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

How Pharmaceutical Companies Hide the Dangers of Vaccines from Parents

I've spent the last decade (plus) of my life researching vaccines. And I have found that there is a great deal of information available for parents (and doctors) who choose to look for it. But for the most part the truth is hidden between or behind flat out lies. And unfortunately, we are taught not to question authorities in our society. Because of this, parents often take what the doctors and drug companies tell them as fact without looking for the truth. And those that do begin to question are often fed statistics, studies and horror stories supporting the use of vaccines, without being given the whole truth.

The obvious questions here become "Why do these companies hide behind propaganda and not share the whole truth?" and "How do these companies hide the truth from intelligent people?" Well, I'd say the "WHY" is pretty clear. Money speaks louder than facts every day. But the HOW is really what needs to be focused on here. If we know how these companies are fooling people, we know what to question. Only when their arguments, statistics, studies and stories hold up to research can we really start trusting them AND their products!


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