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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!


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Small Steps for Changing The World

For many people, the idea of changing the world is simply too big, too complex to even consider on any realistic level. But I believe that not only CAN we change the world, but that we NEED to change the world! And I'm a firm believer that it's something we all need to work towards, individually, and together.

Not only is the "how" something most people feel unable to really wrap their minds around, but the "what" seems to stump most people too these days. So here's the thing, the "what" really isn't as difficult as we're making it.  What we all really want, deep down, is real freedom, real liberty. We all want to live long, healthy and fulfilling lives - and with few exceptions, we want to do it without our neighbors, law makers and governing officials poking their noses in and making our choices for us. Really, it's not that "strange" of a proposal...  Isn't it the ideals of "Freedom & Liberty" that the United States were supposedly founded on?

But today we live in a society where everyone is more worried about removing the rights and freedoms of their neighbor than ensuring their own children have rights left when they grow up.  More than that, we've become so worried about giving people who we don't believe deserve things that we've become a society bent on giving to no one.  In a country with nearly 50 Million people dealing with chronic food insecurity, we cut food stamp benefits to provide school lunches, all the while spending astronomical amounts of money on a war that no one believes in.  Constant arguments over petty, and quite frankly, ridiculous issues like same sex marriage and abortion, have taken the place of real political issues, because we can't stand not having control over what the men & women next door or down the street can and can't do. And worst of all, we've become so accustomed to believing the lies our government feeds us that we happily consume tainted food, toxic medications and chemically contaminated water all in the name of progress.

It seems like for every issue we have to solve, there are a dozen more that seem completely unsolvable.  Who cares if we "fix" our hunger issues, there are still going to be school shootings... So what if everyone gets decent healthcare, people are still going to abuse their kids... Clean up our air, people will still lose their jobs... The list could go on and on forever.

But there is a way to fix ALL of these issues! In fact, it's a solution which people have used again and again...  It's called community!  It may seem like too small of an answer.  There are lots of great communities with high crime, lousy schools and more homeless than can be counted.  That's not completely what I'm talking about though.  When I say community, I don't just mean small introverted communities, I mean community on the large scale. Citywide, Nationwide, Worldwide...

But first, I AM talking about small communities, baby steps.  First, I am taking about YOU, your family and your neighbors... Of course the bigger picture is the long term aim, but if you can't fix a small issue, there's no way you can tackle a large one, right?  And of course if everyone is doing these "small" things then the bigger issue wouldn't be there in the first place...

So what kinds of things am I talking about? And how much work do they really take? Some things are in fact quite small - others not so much.

One of the most important "small" things you can do is educating yourself on the FACTS surrounding major social and political issues.  I'm not saying you need to go to school and study law, but if you don't know what Fracking is, you can't really make a choice one way or another as to if you are going to support it or not.  And the same can be said of nearly everything else. So, get educated. In most cases, researching the real facts takes less time than reading all the news stories and blogs on an issue, so go after facts, not drama.

In the mean time, while you're doing that, you can focus on making other simply changes in your own life that, at least in a small way, make the world better.  Here are SOME of those things:

  • Shop Local & Small Business
  • Be aware of what you're buying & how it's packaged
  • Refuse to bring items that you don't need home. 
  • Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle your waste.
  • Compost
  • Garden (Grow Your Own Food!)
  • Make Your Own (everything - cleaners, personal products, food, etc)
  • Reduce your water & energy use. 
  • Donate things you don't use or need anymore (even if they aren't in perfect shape)
  • Stop Using Plastic
  • Limit Your Use of Paper
  • Learn to Cook
  • Switch to a Whole Foods Diet
  • Drive Less and Carpool when Possible
Once you have started making "small" changes in your own life, it's time to start working with others.  Talk to your friends and neighbors, encourage them to do the things you are doing and help them learn how to do things like cooking, making their own cleaners and gardening.  If you have a group of people all working towards the same goals, it's even easier to make things work.  For example, if you plan your gardens together you'll be able to make sure you're growing different things, so you can then swap and share.  Planning menus together can help too, instead of making ONE casserole, you can make two, and switch with friends - which means you get to cook less!  

And now it's time to go beyond your own circle.  Once your friends and family (or at least some of them) are on board, it's time to focus on the community as a whole.  Get your "group" of like minded friends together and start talking about ways to make your community better. Take these ideas further by heading (as a group) to town meetings and by getting involved.  Volunteer at a local food bank together, clean up litter together, volunteer to pick up recycling from others in your neighborhood together...  As your "group" gets bigger and more people get involved, you can work on cleaning up local parks, raising money for a safe playground, organize a working watch group, and work on community wide events.  

Not sure what types of things to focus on? Obviously it's easy to point out issues like police corruption or violence in the schools. But again, those issues (as important as they are) are bigger than what we're looking at here. Those issues DO need to be tackled, but if you don't have a solid, strong and healthy community, they can't be.  So instead, focus on things that help bring the community together.  And depending on your area the "how" may very greatly from what people in other areas are doing. BUT, the point is to be working together for a better community, and in turn, a better world. 

My local town hosts a city wide "fleatique" (flea market / vendor show) twice a year (in the spring & fall).  It's a huge, day long event, where people all over town, small businesses and vendors of all kind come together to sell their wares (or old junk & clothes), and people from all over the state come to shop.  It took quite a bit of work to get it up and running, but once the first one happened, it was such a success that we had to add a second event.  Does it change lives? No. Not in itself. But it brings the community together.  It localizes business and relationships. It gives us a platform for change...  Other local events have included our small business "sip & stroll" where all the small businesses in town put out snacks, drinks and samples for people to try.  The whole town came out and wondered in and out of store after store... Sales were great for everyone and most people found new or better products than they had before... Events like these, in themselves, don't make huge changes. But they do bring the community together and help make it a better, and safer, town.  And things like this could be done nearly anywhere. If you have a local community center, it could be the perfect place to start working with your community leaders to make the changes you want to see, or it could be the perfect place to find other like minded people... 

Don't have one? Neither do I. But don't let that stop you. You can easily local group or "club" by using sites like "MeetUp.com" and posting flyers.  Involve as many people as you can - learn, teach and grow together.  As the group gets bigger, so will the impact you are making.  If forming a big group seems intimidating, that's okay, grass roots movements don't with large groups, but in small ones. So work on getting just 3 people to make positive changes and of course make sure you are too...  

Don't think helping just 3 people makes a difference?  What if I told you, helping just 3 people could change the world?  Okay, maybe not. But here's some numbers for you to look at...
  • You spend 1 year creating changes in your life... You learn to garden. Learn to cook. Simplify your life. Reduce your waste... ETC... 
  • Then you form a group. You find just THREE people to join your group (with you there's 4), and you help them all do what you did. 
  • After a year, you ask them each to bring THREE more people in to the group.  Now you have 13 in your group.  
  • Repeat this cycle for 10 years, know how many people you end up with in your "little group?"  Over 59,000!  That's 59,000 people who have changed their lives and made the world better in just 10 years.  That's 59000 people who YOU have helped!  And in fact, it's so many more than that because each time each of these people affect the world in a positive world, it affects those around them. Plus, assuming that these are 59,000 single people without kids or families, you would actually be responsible for changing the life styles of nearly 200,000 people or more (counting partners & kids).
Sounds impossible though right? Well, to some degree I have been idealistic in those numbers. Not everyone will want to grow their own food, eat organic or cook their own meals. But many will. And think about it, if 1 person in every town in the country did exactly what I'm talking about here, in 10 years we could be living in that world that we all really dream of. 

A world where fruit trees are planted in public parks and on side walks.  Where children know the river water is safe to swim in. And where a deep breath won't make you choke.  

The biggest thing about changing the world, is changing how people see it, and themselves.  Until we ALL get to a point where we are comfortable with the idea that we are accountable for ourselves and our community, we can not, and will not make the changes we want to see on any large scale.  It's up to each of us to change the way we are living and thinking BEFORE we can really change anything beyond us.  Of course some changes - on the largest scale - need to be made with a vote rather than a shovel, but even in those cases people who are living positive life styles for themselves are going to be open to making positive choices (in a voting booth) for others.  

There are NO simple answers.  There is NO quick fix! And more than that, we need to understand that the system we have is broken, simply voting for the opposite party in the next election isn't going to make any real changes.  No matter who's in charge of a broken system, it's still broken. We need to throw the system out, but we can't do that without first making LOTS of changes on a smaller scale first...  So, that's why I stress making changes in your own world, then helping others, and then going "big" in your own local community... 

It may feel like it's you against the world. But that's where the internet comes in at. Facebook, Twitter and numerous other social sites are filled with people who are trying to do the same things you are.  Find them, encourage them, and encourage them to encourage others... Learn from one another and support one another and together you can make a huge difference!  Remember what I said about helping 3 and them helping 3... Think how big that number could be in 10 years if there were 1000 people doing just that? 3 people may not seem like a huge change in a world of 7 Billion... But what about a world where 5 Million were working for change? Yeah, it may take the rest of your life, or the rest of mine, to really change the world... But guess what, we didn't destroy it over night, and we won't fix it that way either! 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Protection from the Body-Snatchers

Most of my life, I have been pretty fascinated with some of the most morbid points of human history.  I grew up watching Discovery Channel WWII Documentaries about Nazi Concentration Camps with my grandfather, and old Black & White horror movies with my mother. So it's no wonder that as an adult I have continued to be drawn to the darker side of humanity.  I have a slight obsession with The Phantom of the Opera and I've been reading my kids the many great works of Poe since they were too little to remember.  So of course when I came across photos of these "mortsafes"... well, lets just say my interest was peaked...

Before we get to the photos however, here's a short (but interesting) history lesson for those who are interested in why such devices became necessary in the first place.

Today, Medical Schools have the ability to access cadaver bodies through a number of legal means. However, prior to the Anatomy Act in 1832, these schools had just two ways to get these much needed bodies. The fist was through the Murder Act of 1752 which allowed them the ability to purchase the bodies of executed murderers. The second, however, was the illegal purchase of bodies of the recently passed locals.

Because the common religious beliefs of the time taught that the physical body was necessary for resurection, there was a great fear associated with dissection.  So even if it had been legal, it would have been extremely rare that a family would have donated the body of their recently dead loved one for study. However, it was this same belief which lead to the Murder Act, as it was believed that the dissection of an executed criminal's body was a continuation of their punishment.

This need for fresh corpses and the desperate belief in a need for a physical body clashed and lead to two profitable fields of business. The first was the business of stealing the recently interred bodies and selling them to Medical Schools for study.  The men who engaged in this "business" were often referred to as "resurrection men" or simply "resurrectionists."

The second of these businesses was the protection of the recently dead from "resurrection."  For the poorest of society this could mean guarding a person's grave against robbery.  In some cases entire families would have taken turns staying with the grave day and night, until the corpse was too old and decayed to be of any value.  In some areas Churches created "watch-houses," which were essentially manned guard houses meant to protect the cemetery.  Some of these watch houses, like this one in High Bradfield, are still standing over 18th century graves.  Other churches built vaults where bodies could be kept until they began to decompose and were able to be safely buried.

However, the most interesting form of grave protection was that of the "mortsafe" or "death safes."  These metal and stone devices were normally used only until the body was past the point of the very, at which point the device could be removed and used for fresher graves. Numerous styles were used, to varying success. Some of these devices are still visible in the many grave yards of Scotland. Because the Medical Schools in need of remains were in the cities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen, however, the cemeteries closest to the cities are the most common places to find such devices, as moving corpses long distance risked, not only the uselessness of the corpse upon arrival, but the risk of arrest.

The following photos are of remaining (and restored) mortsafes from the cemeteries of Scotland and England.

This plaque is attached to the above mortsafe. (Edinburgh, Scotland)
Location: Greyfriars Cemetery
Location:  Unknown cemetery in Scotland
Below are individual Coffin covers. Unlike the above shown mortsafes which are left above ground. The blow pictured covers were often placed over a coffin and buried in place.  They were not usually moved after decomposition. But they were also not able to be scene above ground, allowing for a more traditional view of the grave for mourners.

Location: Perthshire, Scotland
These above ground iron & stone options served, not only as a safety device, but also as a headstone or grave marker.

Location:  Cluny Kirkyard
A Mortstone, served the same purpose as more costly mortsafes, but instead of being placed around the coffin, were simply placed on top of the grave. The theory was that they would simply be too heavy to be moved by most resurrectionists, and the graves would thus be passed over for easier targets. 
Location:  Inverurie Graveyard
Finally, there was the rare option of using an Iron Coffin, which was, for obvious reasons usually reserved for the richest of the rich, and of course, most of those which were used remain in the ground. This means that we have very few examples of these rare coffins, but it's easy to see why they were chosen.  These coffins were either used alone, or with a more traditional wooden coffin placed inside. Some of these coffins featured locks, others simply relied on the weight of their lids to deter theft.   The below examples are now both featured in England Museums. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

You're a Disgrace!

You know, I found this on Facebook a few weeks back, and I wish I could write up a full post to go with it.  But fact is, it's perfect as it is. It says everything that needs said and I couldn't add to it if I wanted.  I only hope the point makes it to the heart of someone it needs to!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

What Would I Do With Lottery Winnings?

I think this is a question everyone thinks about at least a few times in their life.  I mean, when the PowerBall hits $300 Million, how can you not at least think about what you'd do with that kind of money... Personally, that's the only time I play.  I mean, once you pay your taxes, you only get about $130Mil - and that's like nothing... right?!?  (I'm kidding by the way.)

So, what would I do if I won the lottery? Well, I'd do quite a bit actually.

Like I said, I don't play unless the winnings are up over $300M.  Assuming I would actually get to keep $130M, I have quite a few plans for that cash!

First I'd make sure my family is taken care of - my mother, grandmother, aunt, sister and my sister-in-law would all be getting a "gift" that would allow them to pay off whatever debt they have, finish school (in the case of my aunt, sister & SIL).  Then I'd set up trust funds for my kids and my niece & nephew so they have the cash to go to college or trade school or just bike through Europe or whatever else they may want to do when they grow up...

Then I would buy some land (maybe 10 acres?!?), build my dream house, a couple of guest houses, a bunker (just in case) and a small farm/homestead.  And I would love to build a duplex nearby as well.

Why a duplex you ask? Who wants a random duplex right next to their dream house?  Well, I do.  If I had that kind of money I believe I could really change some lives! I would want/need help around the house & homestead, so I would hire a "staff."  - if nothing else a mhelp aid or two.  But I wouldn't want to go through some agency. Instead, I would contact the local women's shelters and see if there are any women there looking for a "restart" to their lives.  I could provide them with a decent paying - and steady - job, plus room & board and the safety of being on a private estate (for those with abusive ex's to worry about.  I would give them a place to bring their kids, and if they wanted, I'd happily pay for them to return to school.  So having a duplex would allow them to "live in" but still have their "own" home for their family.

Of course while the estate was being built I would have to take my family on vacation!  Disney World here we come! But I don't think I would stop there! I would get us a big beautiful RV and take the kids on a historical tour around the US... Battle fields, Haunted Cities, The Winchester Mansion, New Orleans, Salem...  All the good stuff!

When we get back, it's time to build my business.  I'd buy one of the historical houses in town and open CellDara as a physical shoppe.  On the bottom floor I would sell my jewelry, hand made candles, teas & herbal remedies, as well as single herbs, hand made cloth products (diapers, pads, unpaper towels, etc), and of course my organic cosmetics & household needs.  And I would use one of the front rooms for small classes and workshops to teach anyone who's willing to learn about everything from organic gardening to religious tolerance.  On the top floor, a witch's dream shop! Books, tools, spell kits, everything the well equipped witch would ever need.

And of course I would FINALLY be able to go back to school and get my degrees!  I hope to earn a Ph.D. in Holistic Health, and lesser degrees in Comparative Religion, Immunology and "Women's Studies."

And finally I would buy the old bank in town and renovate it, turning it in to a full fledged community center - Something my area desperately needs! Hold classes, create a safe place for kids after school, work with community businesses and average citizens to help this town become the great city it once was - again!  **And I would LOVE to start a local Red Tent!**

Whatever's left would be split up between charities, local and world wide.  Right now my favorites are The Half the Sky Movement, Heifer International and Children Of The Night, but I'm sure I could find more.  I would love to take my kids (once they're a little older) to do some humanitarian work in other countries as well, give them an idea of just how good we have it, maybe put life in perspective for them.

Yeah, there's a lot of things I would do with that money, and without a doubt it would change our lives. But I would work hard to make sure it didn't change US as people.  Money brings opportunity, and I would do my best to make sure that winning the Lottery would not just mean opportunity for me, but for my family, our community and beyond.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

How to Use A Scrying Mirror

A scrying mirror or magick mirror, is a very useful psychic tool. Divination has been practiced as far back as we can tell. And while different traditions held different methods, the results and reasons were always the same. Scrying can be used to access your inner self, spirit guides, oracles and to gain access to other realms and plains of existence. Results can vary from being in better touch with yourself to gaining a glimpse of your future... Or anything in between, depending on the aim of the scryer...

Regardless of why you choose to scry, or what comes of it, the "how to" is rather basic. It's one of those things that "a minute to learn, life time to master." Well, maybe not a lifetime, but it does take practice - above all else - practice!

It may seem, the first time or two, like it's a waste of time and nothing will ever come of it, but if you are willing to stick with it, you'll master it in time!

You'll want to scry while you're in a meditative or trance state. If you meditate regularly, this should be easy for you. If you don't, take some time to "master" meditation first. Once you've reached a relaxed, meditative state, set up (or you can do this before you meditate) your mirror, and dim the lights. You may use candles or incense (see below) to help you focus.

Gaze in to the mirror and focus on what it is you aim to see. Do you have a question? Are you trying to meet your Higher Power or Spirit Guide? Then look "past" the mirror. (Do you remember those "I Spy" books where you had to look past the pattern to see the picture? Just like that)

You may want to vocally ask a question or simply sit and focus on what your goal is. Remember that this may take time, and don't be surprised if you see nothing the first time or two. But you shouldn't give up! Try, try again is the way of the witch! If after 5 or 10 minutes you aren't seeing anything and you feel like you need to give up, do it. If you start to question yourself or scrying you won't succeed, so it's better to just try later when you can be relaxed and focused.

I also suggest keeping a record of your experiences in your Book of Mirrors so that you can reflect on them later.


Some Candle & Incense Correspondence Suggestions (if you choose to use them)

Candle Correspondence - (if these don't align with your tradition or beliefs, use whatever does)
  • Indigo - For Deep Meditation and Saturn's Energy
  • Yellow - For Psychic Power, Concentration, Mental Powers and Wisdom
  • White - For Spiritual Strength and Enlightenment, Balance during Meditation, and Lunar Energy
  • Silver - Removes Negative Energy, Promotes Psychic Abilities, Telepathy and Clairvoyance as well as the Energy of the Goddess and Moon
  • Purple - For Psychic Ability, Wisdom, Spiritual Growth, and Success
  • Orange - For Mental Clarity
  • Brown - For Improved Concentration & Telepathy
  • Black - For Deep Meditation and the Energy of the Crone
Incense Correspondence -
  • Honeysuckle - For Luck and Psychic Power
  • Lotus - To Aid in Meditation and to Open the Minds Eye
  • "Spirit Blends" - To Raise Personal Vibrations, Attract Spirit Guides and Honor Higher Powers or Personal Deities

Originally posted on my blog "One Witch's Wonderland" on 2/7/12
(C) on article ONLY. Please do not reproduce without permission.
I make NO claim to the included artwork. If it belongs to you, and you wish it removed, please contact me!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Announcing a Cut-Back

It's officially Summer for the Bowens!  My kids are home full time now, school ended on Friday.  And that means life just got insane!  As if I didn't already have enough to do, I just added two more ever-hungry, ever-energetic boys to the mix.

So I've decided it's time to prioritize my life and focus only on those things which are most important - my family, my business and myself.  So although I'm not fully dropping out of the Blogging and Facebook "businesses" I'm cutting WAY back...  From now til the kids go back to school, at the end of August, I'll only be posting a on Facebook on Monday - Friday, and just a few times a week here on my blog.  I will, however, continue to post the Kindle Books through the week.

It's important though that I focus on other aspects of my life right now. Once school starts again, I will once again focus here more.  Thank you so much for understanding!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

What is My Path?

Although One Witch's Wonderland is my Facebook page, I have a wonderful woman who has become my "second in command" over there.  A few days back she posted a question for the pages follwers and I thought it was a wonderful question to discuss here.  Her question was:
"What does being Pagan mean to you? If you only had 10 minutes, how would you describe your path to someone?" 
My initial reaction was "That's two different questions."  But I'm going to take it as one - especially since I've discussed more than once in the past what "Pagan" is. 

When I created this blog it was in order to "make my voice heard" and have a way to express my views. But I don't believe I ever really talked about what "MY PATH" is.  Often times I've had to explain it offline, and I'll be the first to tell you, it can be a rather daunting task. Not that my path is complicated, but to explain it to someone who has no idea what I'm talking about can seem overwhelming.  It is something, however, that we will all do at some point in our lives. And, although I have never thought about this before, having a "pre-written" form for such occasions probably isn't a bad idea. No, I'm not saying we should create and rehears some monologue to recite every chance we get. Instead I'm saying we should all more than likely take some time - alone - and decide how we would describe our path if we only had a few moments to speak - but all the time in the world to decide what to say.  

You may be wondering: "Why? Why is it so important that I take time to decide what I might say if the occasion comes up? I'm sure I can handle it all by myself. It's MY path, why wouldn't I be able to wing it?"  Well, in my opinion, a well thought out and clear answer to such questions - or challenges as they often seem - is much better than a trying to think on our feet.  When it comes to explaining your path, do you really want to be thinking later, looking back, and say "Hmm, I wish I would have said THIS" or "Maybe I shouldn't have said that." 

When it comes to topics like Paganism and Witchcraft there are, as we all know, a great many misconceptions out there. So a few misplaced or misunderstood words, can create a rather confusing and maybe even a rather "scary" view in the eyes of those you're speaking to. 

So, lets get down to it... If I had just 10 minutes to explain my path to someone, or a group of someones, who had no real understanding of Paganism, what would I say? 

If I were to put my path in to it's simplest terms my path is about Growth, Nature and Teaching. Yes, my path is simple, but it's not "easy." It's about self exploration, understanding and education. It's about learning to live within nature and learning to think before I act. And it's about teaching others to do the same.

Expanding on that simple explanation is quite the daunting project for me.  Because, like so many others, my path is about personal growth, rather than theology or religion, it's difficult to really put in to words exactly what it's about - where it's going.  But I feel my path is taking me to a point where I can more fully become the classic (in Pagan terms) Crone Witch.  A woman who is educated in the ways of healing, herbs, energy, magicks & lore.  But also a woman who is self sustaining and able to provide for herself, in a wholly natural way.  Healthy - physically & mentally, yes, but also spiritually.  But also a woman who is out there - working within society to create positive changes, educating others, helping others and fighting for a better world.

It may seem like a dream.  But I do not believe so. It IS my dream, my goal, but I fully believe it's one I can - and will - achieve.  I'm not looking for fame, I'm not looking for financial richness, I'm working for a better me - FIRST.  But I believe that with a better me, will come a better whole.  The better I become, the better I can help others to become.

SO I suppose my path is just that - it's about educating myself to be a more "whole" person, a person who lives as one with Nature. But it's also about becoming someone who uses that knowledge and lifestyle as an opportunity to help others to do the same. That is my path.

Simple? Yes. But not easy. I do not come from a background where this type of life, this type of thinking was encouraged or taught.  So although it may seem simple, I'm doing it on my own. I'm learning one herb at a time, practicing my energy workings between cleaning my house and working my business, and taking things one day at a time.  And I feel, so long as I keep moving forward, keep working hard, I will not get lost.  

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Dandelion Fluff Spell

I see a lot of blogs like mine posting spells and rituals, but it's something I very - VERY - rarely do.  Most of my spell work is (as you will see) not summed up in your tipical "magick words" set up the way many others are. And they aren't complicated with specific colored candles or a full altar.  Nope, for the most part they're very simple and generally rely on natural elements.  I once read that "a Real Witch can pick up a flower, whisper a few words and make magick happen."  And I took that idea to heart when I was forming my practice. I'm not going to say I don't do the occasional "ritual-like" spell with all the bells and whistles I see in all the books and blogs, because I do. But generally, this is how I do my magick!

So here goes.  I titled this one "Dandelion Fluff Spell For Growth" in my BOS, and it's one of the easiest spells I've ever done.  In fact, it's one that many people do (sorta) without ever even realizing it.

Remember as a child picking Dandelion Fluffs, making a wish and blowing.  When I was a kid the idea was "if you blew all the seeds off in one breath, your wish would come true.  Well, this is similar.

So what do you need for this spell?  You need a goal (something you want to see grow) and a Dandelion Fluff. Any other aspects you choose to include - like moon phase, time of day, etc... are completely up to you. I DO like to do this when the moon is new, but it's not necessary - it does encourage growth though, so if you're not yet very adept at energy work or focus, you may want to add that.

But here's what you do -
1. Choose your dandelion fluff and hold it in your hand(s).
2. Clear your mind and then focus completely on "growing" your goal.  For example, if you need more money, focus on the amount of money in your bank account going up OR if you need to break off a negative relationship, focus on the space between you two growing...
3. As you focus infuse your energy - your intent - through your hands, up the flower stem and into the fluff.  Close your eyes and envision your intent (your goal) filling this fluff in the form of a white light - SEE it glowing white.
4. When you are no longer able to focus or when you feel the fluff is "full" blow the fluff into the wind with the belief that as these seeds grow into new plants, your goal growth will also come.

As with all spell work, you want to attempt NOT to think on it to much afterwards and also not to retry it for a full moon cycle. Doing so will only take energy away from the spell itself, which of course, lowers the success.  But, if you don't think it worked, feel free to try again the following month.  With as easy as this spell is, there is no reason you can't do one (different ones) nearly every time you stumble across a dandelion fluff... Of course in my yard you'd run out of things to cast for before you'd run out of fluff...

Happy Casting!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Day to Day Pagan Practice...

I belong to quite a few Pagan groups online. Recently in one of them someone posted this question:
"How active are your in your Wiccan or Pagan beliefs?"
My initial answer to this question was quite simple. "I practice all day, every day, my faith is a part of me." But the poster was looking for something a little more specific. I have seen this and similar questions come up from time to time through numerous forums and sites. And I remember when I was coming in to my own practice how worried I was about "doing it right." So I am assuming this is a normal question for people looking to come in to their own practice and finding themselves worried they aren't adequate.

(Before you go further, please know that whatever you do, if you're connecting to it, you're doing it right!)

So I decided that since this seems to be such a common question, it was one I should address. Now, as I've said many times, my faith, my beliefs, and my practice are all a part of my day to day life. My faith affects everything from what meat I buy in the market to my bed time routine to the products I use around my home. But that isn't where my practice ends. I think for most people asking this question, they are asking less about how faith affects day to day activities and more on how or when to do things like meditation, divination, ritual, prayer and so on. So this is the area of the issue that I am going to talk about here. If you really want an answer to how it affects my meat selection, lets simply suffice it to say that I do my best to keep a chemical and cruelty free home.

I think the easiest way for me to address this is simply to walk you through an average day. Now, trust me, I'm not going to go hour by hour - you don't want me to! But I will go through the basics. And please keep in mind that with three kids and a husband, there are always variations all day every day, and the following is just a basic example.

Morning Routine:
  • Meditation
  • Record Dreams in my Book of Mirrors
  • Daily Devotional to the Great Goddess & God
  • Three Card Divination - Recorded with thoughts in my Book of Mirrors as well
  • Daily Affirmations
After this routine I can start more mundane aspects of my life - like waking the kids up, getting my son on the bus, making breakfast & lunch and so on, all the way down to bed time. The following are "practices" which are less routine and more spur of the moment within those mundane parts of life.
  • Blessing for my children that they may have a good day
  • At the bus stop, in the bathroom and when I'm nursing, I usually read whatever book I'm reading
    (I have a daily goal of 10 pages)
  • Prayer for safe travel (when my son gets on the bus, as well as any time we leave the house)
  • Blessing over our Meals (I not only bless our meals, but thank the Gods for them)
  • Story time with my children (I usually focus subjects like mythology, fables, nature or other "witchy" subjects)
  • Craft time with my children (I like to focus on holidays/sabbats, nature and the seasons mostly)
  • Cleansing prayers, chants, and/or songs as I clean the house & do laundry.
  • Injuries, illness and daily health are tended to with natural and herbal remedies, supplements and foods.
  • Offering to the Gods
And before you ask, I'm sure I missed a few! I pray throughout the day here and there, and I talk to the Gods, and other beings as I feel the need or want. When the need arises for spell work, divination or whatever else, that is done too. And of course around holidays/sabbats and other celebrations there are added things going on...

Once the kids and hubby are in bed my "Evening Routine" begins:
  • Meditation
  • Evening Blessing/Prayer
And I always have a number of projects going on in an attempt to focus on my own "growth" both spiritually and in knowledge.  My Herbal Notebook, Book of Shadows are current and ongoing projects, and there are a few others that I work on here and there as I have time.

Okay, so there you have it. A day in the life of... ME! Now, add to that all the mundane stuff plus things like writing here or running the Facebook page or answering questions in numerous forums or sites and you could easily extend that list a bit. Those are the basics though. As you can see my practice really does go on all day. Even the music I have in my car tends to be on the Magickal end...

I may not spend my day wrapped in robes, kneeling at the feet of a giant Goddess Statue, but my day is in no way lacking of spiritual activity. For me, this is how I live my faith, this is what fits me, my beliefs and my practices... If you read this and think "That's not right for me" then don't do it. There is never going to be a post here, or on any other blog, website or even in any book, that is going to fit every belief and tradition for every Pagan. Paganism is a living faith, so live it!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Book Review: The Fifth Sacred Thing by Starhawk

I'm not sure what took me so long to post the review for this book, I know a few of you have been waiting for it - so here goes...

The Fifth Sacred Thing
by Starhawk

It's rare that I read fiction, but this has been a book on my "must read" list for some time. When I first bought it I was a little surprised at it's size, it's about 2inches thick.  And I thought with the little time I have for reading, it would take me forever to get through.  But once I started reading it, I MADE time to keep reading it.  I literally could not put it down - I even figured out how I could cook and read at the same time.  This book was addicting in a way I have found few others to be.

Without giving away to many "spoilers," the story line follows an elderly women, her grandson and "adoptive" granddaughter through their trials and tribulations in a not-so-distant future war.  Inspirational and Thought provoking this story explores a post-apocalyptic world where the peaceful eco-topian San Fran is being challenged by a cruel overly controlling  outside ruling class.

Personally I found some of this book to be rather terrifying.  Looking back at the 20 years since it was written, I have personally seen many of this books "predictions" coming true. Although a work of pure fiction, the themes of the ruling classes greed and need for control through abuse of power is all to "on the money" for me.

At the same time, I found the characters, their struggle and their new-built society to be pure inspiration.  Great detail is given, explaining how their society works, how it is set up and why.  Centered around the idea of "the four sacred things" (air, water, fire & earth) in conjunction with a solidly interconnected community in where all walks of life are welcomed and embraced freely, this is the society of my dreams!  Never before have I come across a model for society so positive and yet down to earth.  A society which is truly BY and FOR the people, where no central controlling body exists, but where everyone has the ability to speak their part and do their part. Where the elderly and the young are cared for and loved. And where everyone is truly equal and free.  If a place like this existed on earth, I would happily move there! (Seriously, someone should start a Starhawk for President campaign!)

Reading through other reviews of this book I am seeing quite a few accusations of it being Anti-Christian, Anti-Man and even Anti-American... It's none of these. YES, the "villains" are Fundamentalist Christian in nature, but if you really look at their structure, you see their driving force is NOT their faith, instead, like so many through history, they are using their faith as an excuse and a tool, but it is not their faith that is the issue. And this is shown by the fact that, more than once, Christians are counted among those living peacefully and happily in their "new society."  As for it being Anti-Man, one of the three main characters is male, and is by no means shown as being weak, or "second class." Instead, he is shown as intelligent, strong, creative and EQUAL to his female counter parts. To some degree I feel this book does express a slight Anti-American tone, but it also gives an example of what we could be if we only chose to make it so. It works to show the extremes which already exist within our society and it shows both the flaws of our current world and the opportunity which we could have if we chose to fix the issues at hand.

I think the most unfortunate aspect of this book is that it's seen by so many as Pro-Witch and Pro-Pagan. Both of which is very much is. Being Starhawk is herself a Witch, it only makes sense that she would lean heavily towards that belief in her writing.  But this aspect will turn a great many away from reading it, something which I believe is a saddening fact, because although this book is clearly Pro-Witch, it's not about how Witchcraft or Paganism is "right" or even how they could will be what creates change. Instead, it's about how individuals of ALL belief systems can come together and create something better when they put aside their differences and fight for right together. Ultimately it is not Witchcraft or Pagan Beliefs which turn the tides in this book, but "The Fifth Sacred Thing" which we all have inside us.

The one thing I will say I did not enjoy here is the writing style which Starhawk uses.  Although having read some of her other works, I'll say that's simply how she writes.  She tends to "run on" a bit where she could simply have made a simple statement and moved on. But I didn't feel that it in any way took away from the story or the message of the book itself.

I personally would recommend this book to just about anyone who is open to reading it.  Although I should note that due to a few "Adult" scenes and language, it should be reserved for a 16+ crowd at least.

This book is available in both digital (kindle) and physical forms through Amazon:  HERE 
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