Saturday, December 20, 2014

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Holly and All of It's Relatives

I had a question concerning the Holly image I had posted early. It was pointed out to me that my Holly lacked little pointed leaves.
I took a second look and sure enough those leaves weren't pointy in any way, shape or form.

Hmmm... I had taken the image from Wikipedia surely they would have a correct photo as an illustration.
I did some investigations and found that the illustration used in the article is for the Holly family found that there are over 600 species in the Holly family.

The illustration is of the holly-Ilex paraguariensis- found in many Spanish speaking countries. The leaves of this plant are used to make a drink called Yerba mate, a caffeinated tea.

The Holly associated with the Christmas Holidays is the Ilex aquifolium, that pointy prickly leaved bush/tree whose sprigs adorn our Holiday cards, doorways, mantels and wreaths.

P.S. It's leaves are poisoness, no tea please!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Yule, Season of Light

The Season of Light provides us with an opportunity to reflect on the idea that pleasure is something we find outside ourselves but happiness is found within.
Take time for a night walk to enjoy fresh fallen  snow or the crisp cool night air. Look up ,count the stars, gaze at the moon or watch the wind blow the silver clouds across the sky.

Bring some boughs of pine and holly into your home to place on the mantel , hang over or on the door. Smell their lovely scent accented with the cold winter air.
Bake your favorite cookies, cakes or pies and smell their luscious scents waft through the house.
Create pomander balls either with oranges or apples. They smell so good while they cure and even afterwards.

Basic Pomander recipe:

1 small apple or orange,
whole cloves
Using a fork prick holes in the skin of your chosen fruit, poke a clove into each hole.
After you've covered your fruit with cloves, roll in in a cinnamon filled bowl til the cinnamon is distributed all over the fruit. Shake off excess cinnamon.
Place your pomander onto a small dish and set on a table, shelve etc. and enjoy the wonderful smell of it.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Yule Tide Greetings, Thoughts and Observations

I'm still learning about all the Sabbats. Seems like I have to scramble to find time for private reflection and education. I decided that if I make a goal to write down and post what I learn it might help me to recall it better.
I have gotten to the point in my journey on the Path where I think , feel and relate to traditional Christmas in a completely different way.  I got rid of a lot of decorations etc. because I no longer connected to them.
I have started over.
And in starting over I find myself  reassessing everything and wanting to know the background history of all the traditions relating to this time of year.
I'm starting with a book called Celtic, Myth & Magic by Edain McCoy. I'm sure I'll be consulting other books and sources of information as I go along.

To Begin:

The word sabbat has a Greek origin, it's root word is sabatu, meaning "to rest". The sabbats are solar festivals of balance or of extremes, such as at the solstices or equinoxes,.
Each sabbat generally corresponds to some stage in the eternal, ever-renewing, life of the Goddess and the God.
The Sabbats were all fire festivals because of their association with the phases of the sun.

Yule is the celebration of the Winter Solstice.
Other Names: Midwinter, Sun Return,
Colors: Red, Green, and White
Symbols: Evergreen, wreath, Yule Log, holly, spinning wheels
Deities: Newborn Gods, Triple Goddess, Virgin Goddesses

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

To Mother Earth with all her wonders.
I give thanks.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Pretty Potions and Poisons Apothecary Updating

I pulled out my Apothecary to do some gluing and repair work. I created another mini book and a bottle of
Full Moon Hairy Herbs ( which is dried homegrown rosemary).
I'm working on some inner pages for my captured Goblins book and my Bat book.

Do you know any good Goblin and Bat poems?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

It's Almost Here!!

My Fall Fever has come on with a vengeance!!
I drug out my Halloween boxes and began the unpacking.....
Ohhhh....... it's just like opening up Christmas presents.

My creative juices are flowing. I got out my Apothecary of Potions and Poisons I created two years ago and decided to finish some of the little potion bottles and books I had wanted to add to it.

I am painting some small skeletons so I can create my Dance Macabre Theater.
Shows will be given Nightly right up to the Halloween Big Bash.

Is your Fall Fever acting up too?
Do you get Fall Fever?
I was talking to some newbie witches who had to ask me what Fall Fever was!!
It's Samhain! It's Halloween!! It's Wonderful!!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Bust Of Athene.....Chicago Art Museum

My photos do not do her justice...
She's beautiful!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Wish It and It Will Come

The Grandin Road Halloween Catalog arrived in the mail Friday. 
I sat and flipped through it, thinking, planning and getting excited about what my Halloween/ Samhain decorating will consist of this coming season.
It's time to go and pull out unfinished projects and get busy.
I need a little black and orange paint on my fingers........

Monday, June 2, 2014

Life is All Around Us

Have you ever seen your plant move?
My aloe has really grown in the last six months,

 I had set it on a table in the corner of my living room during the winter months. That window had the best light exposure.
As I was watering it one day I realized it had really stretched itself to the left trying to reach for more winter  sunlight.
 We were getting ready to have some new window blinds installed so I picked it up and moved it onto a stool in my studio.
 Setting In this position the sunlight was to its right. ( the left side of the photo)

In two days the main stem of the plant had moved from facing the wall to the position it is in this photo.
 I should have taken a photo of it everyday so you could see how much it moved during the course of one day.
Everyday I would walk up the stairs to my studio and find that my aloe had moved just a bit more than the previous day.
It was an amazing thing to see. There is so much life force around us that we are so blind to.

Watching this wonderful phenomenon made me truly aware of the life force of Gaia, Mother Earth.

June..... Juno/Hera's Month

June is the sixth month of the year. It was the fourth month in the early Roman calendar, and once had 29 days.
When Julius Caesar reformed the calendar, he gave the month 30 days and made it the sixth.

June is named after the Roman Great Mother goddess Juno, the Greek Hera. This is the time of maximum light and minimum darkness. Juno is the divine watcher over the female sex and the month of June is held to be the most favorable for marrying.

I married my true love on the 20th of June.  We will be celebrating our 39th anniversary.
I raise a glass to Juno/Hera and will think of and honor her all this month.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Hard At Work Creating My New Container Herb Garde

Pentagram Stepping Stone
 Moon Flower and Grampa Ott Seedlings


Hens and Chicks

My Rescued and Reused Stone Crescent Moon Trellis

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Celebrating Hera

I've been coveting head vases. There have been ones I've seen at Garden centers and in gardening catalogs that I wished I could get hold of but they were just out of my price point.
Not so long ago I happened to be checking out the Micheal's store in my new home town and on the shelf were these lady head vases.
I was particularly taken with a turquoise one.
 I associate Hera with the color turquoise and the turquoise stone.
The vase came home with me.
I filled the vase with peacock feathers and silk white flowers.
It sits on my dresser and I think of her every time I see the vase.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Little Fairy Magic

The Green Man..a Fairy deity
As the chilly winds of the last days in March blow by we look to the Fairy World omens of Spring.
There is an old expression:" Keep your eye on the bunny and the bird," which is a fairy expression meaning that the answers you seek are often found in Nature.

Crows, for example, are favorable signs of a good crop.
Birds and rabbits, of course, bring messages of growth and a promising Spring.
Circles of mushrooms, which we often see in Spring and Summer, are fairy Rings and places of great power and magick.

Frequently around this time of year, Witches invoke or call upon the Fairy deity known as the Green Man. The Green Man embodies the spirit of growth and magic found in nature and is a sacred God of the woods and trees.

little egg nest mushrooms...part of a fairy ring
  For me Spring is a time of yearning, growing, flexing muscles, and learning new things about, Gaia, Mother Earth.
The amount of time I crave and want to be able to read and study the Craft  is growing again after the restrictions I have had to deal with due to our recent move.
The house and my studio are in the final stages of remodeling and updating.

I'm going to be picking up where I left off in my study of the Lore and Magic of Trees.
I'm also going to be picking up where I left off in my Tarot studies.

If interested check back; I'd love to know what tree mysteries and magic you have discovered.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Spring Equinox

Mother Earth awakens! She stirs, sending forth shoots and leaves, whispering sweet desires, coaxing forth all who seek release from the bonds of Winter's Night
At solstice we sheltered, tiny in the still fathomless darkness.
Now like the bird in the eggshell, we've swelled to fill the space.
Our world grows tight, cramped.
We feel anxious.
Time to peck our way out and claim the promise of Spring.

Notice and name "What Binds You." Name the prisons of fearsome circumstance, disillusionment, or inner turmoil. Notice what feels blocked, stifled or hopeless.
Then Circle together to" Turn It Around!"
Stir  and flex your power. Stretch and moan, rock and sing and break free at the peak.

Emerge from the broken shell of winter.
Feel lightened, lifted, determined to leave the old world in shards behind you.
Sparkling with power and promise stride through the Gateway, between the pillars of light and dark.
Unbound, blessed and surging, retrieve the trust that comes with balance.
Thrive in the burgeoning light!

( a paraphrasing of Marian Spadone's writing)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

March 19th

The day before the Spring Equinox is one of the festivals for the Greek Goddess Athena.

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Goddess has been in my thoughts a lot lately. Maybe because it is Spring and I see her handy work every where.
This morning as I cleaned up the guest bedroom from our recent visitors, I happened to look out the window. Down in the grass beside a shrub two mockingbirds were doing a little dance.
They stood looking at one another and moved instep with each other, turning first this way then that. One would step back and turn away then immediately turn around and make eye contact with the other. Watching them I wasn't sure if this was a mating dance or a little "This is my Territory" stand off dance. The dancers ended up under neath the shrub so I can't verify what the outcome was.

Saturday was Rhea, Greek Goddess of the Earth's Day. I thought of Mother Earth as we drove down the Highway. The trees are in bloom and those that don't produce large showy blooms were still dressed out in a quiet display of red and green tipped branches, where their tiny leaves are beginning to grow.

The grass was so green in the fields alongside of the road. It looked like emerald velvet had been spread out across the hill sides too. Such an intense green it almost made your eyes hurt with it's vividness.
I'm ready to start digging in the dirt, plant seeds and watch tiny little lives grow.

Thank You, Gaia, for your Loveliness.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Learning Lessons About One's Self

We have the Grandchildren visiting with us this week sans parents. I love my Grandchildren very much and their being here has brought home again the reasoning why I have only two children and they are 51/2 years a part in ages.

I don't deal well with sibling rivalry( the grands are 3 years apart). The constant who has or gets what, the picky eating habits etc. I'm having a hard time keeping my even sense of balance, patience, temper and holding on to the joy of my time with them.

How do you manage and take care of your children's children? I have to remind myself everyone has their own style of parenting. What they manage and select to deal with may not be what I would do.
So to love and take care of the Grands with out holding on to hard is proving quite a challenge.

There are lessons here that I will have to think on.

Tomorrow we hand them back over to Mom and Dad. The Grands are missing Mom and Dad and visa versa.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

This new house of ours has taken a lot of my time and attention.
But interesting things have been happening and I have been taking mental notes.
I promise I'll share soon.
Fountain Beauty from the Park in my neighborhood.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Rite of Wood

Beech Tree

Yew Tree

Books and The Pursuit of Knowledge
In Silver Ravenwolf's book, Hedge Witch, the Twelfth Night Ritual is the power of wood.

The personal affirmation is-
Through personal education, I open the door to Knowledge.
Every day I will seek to learn something new and beneficial to my well-being.

She writes that one must concentrate on wood ( trees) and associating their energy with the longevity of Spirit and the protection it offers to plants and animals.

I think of this rite as a call for one to think about Gaia, Mother Earth, and her other children  that we share space with here....the plants and the animals. That by acquiring knowledge of them we educate ourselves to better preserve and serve  them and Mother Earth.

She also discusses animal symbols; how various cultures  over centuries have associated good fortune and personal luck with them.
She challenges you to look for your personal Hedge Witch lucky animal symbol.

My previous posts on Owls are connected to this rite. One overlaps the other and I find myself drawn to learn more about them both.

S.R advises that if you are spending some time on this rite say a week or so make potpourri or magickal sachets using barks, leaves, flowers and essential oils or decorate a wreath that matches the magical correspondences of what you desire to bring into your life.
Remember accepting your desire is just as important as formulating it and the act of creating it.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Owl's Hill Sanctuary

Owl's Hill Sanctuary Nature Park sits in a small valley between three large rolling hills. The valley has mostly wooded slopes, a winding creek,a flat corn field in the center of the valley and along the southern slope a grassy knoll that has several picnic tables set up.
 To enter the park you take a road that rises upward. At the entrance the road winds down to the valley's floor. To the  east northeast stands a park pavilion having a concrete floor, rough hewn posts, open roof rafters and a ceder shake tiled roof. Eight picnic tables lined up in two rows of four fill the center of this outdoor room.
  A massive stone fireplace stands at the eastern end of the pavilion. Above the mantel piece an owl is carved into the stone and the two andirons in the fireplace have owl finials. Around the perimeter of the concrete flooring, there are pressed indentations of all kinds of tree leaves , animal paw and hoof prints and bird prints.

 We arrived  half an hour earlier than we needed to for the Solstice Owl Walk/Hike.
I wanted to be able find the place before it got to dark. We had dressed in layers for the cold and I wondered if I had put on enough layers. There was a small wind blowing.

 We were able to meet one of the volunteers who takes care of the injured owls the sanctuary protects. She was also preparing our dinner. The event included a meal before we left on our walk
They have five owls they nurse at the Sanctuary, a barn owl, a barred owl, a great horned and two little screech owls. They live in large outdoor cages. All have been injured to the point they can't be released. Because it was dusk and feeding time for the owls when we arrived; we were able to view the owls while they were active.
As we passed by the great horned owl's cage, I stopped and looked him over while he looked me over.
His eyes were large and golden. He bobbed his head a little and hissed at me.
Yes, hissed at me just like a cat hisses.
 I was surprised. I didn't know owls hissed! Later the volunteer told me Andromeda hisses at everybody.

Five couples came for the hike as well as our instructor/leader and his wife.
   After we had eaten and had introduced ourselves to each other, the leader gave us an informal talk about the Winter Solstice and owls and their habits in the woods.
It was full dark now. An almost full moon was rising but because of a high layer of cloud cover, the moon looked as though someone had drawn a gauzy veil in front of it.
We took a" naked eye" star watch/gazing-looking for owls hike, meaning no flashlights, candle lights or binoculars.
     Our leader instructed us on how to walk in the woods, high careful steps and no hands or arms outstretched from our sides. It would be to easy to get scratched or tangled up in something.
 He did assure us that after five minutes or so our eyes would become adjusted to the dark and we would be able to see much more than we would have thought we could.
 He also demonstrated several owl calls. He was very good and I was impressed.

As we began our walk I could hardly see where I was going. I thought "Oh good, Nothing like stumbling around in the dark out in unfamiliar woods"
But as we moved slowly through the valley my eyes did begin to adjust. Down in the valley walking among the trees, the sound of the wind moving through the tree tops was marvelous.
We stopped in a spot and our leader whispered to us he was going to try calling a barred owl. Some of us were instructed to stand looking in different directions. If one comes, it will come silently and not from the direction of it's responding call, our leader explained.
On his fourth call, we heard a response. We waited five minutes anxiously looking for any movement in the tree tops.
Nothing, so we moved on.
We passed a large tree log near the trail. The lichen growing on the tree glowed softly. We  were told that many types of lichen glow in the dark. It was magical.

Toward the end of our walk, Hubby and I stood close together holding hands, out in the woods, in the dark and gazed up at the soft glow of moon.

There may not have been any active owl sightings but this was undoubtedly the best walk in the woods I've ever taken.
p.s. having come early, Hubby and I were able to view the owls. The Others didn't have the chance to.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Owls and Such

When I began my journey on The Path, my reading lead me to the study of animals as familiars, guides and totems.
Webster's New World Dictionary gives these definitions to the words totem and familiar:

Totem-n[ Algonquian], 1. among primitive peoples, an animal or natural object considered as being related by blood to a given family or clan and taken as its symbol.
Familiar-n ) formerly a spirit believed to act  as an intimate servant.

At the time I was considering what my totem animal maybe.
I was studying Silver Ravenwolf's book, Hedge Witch, spells, crafts and rituals for natural magick. In the Twelfth Night ritual,she discusses associating the energy of Spirit with longevity and the protection of animals and plants.
The affirmation for this ritual is:
Through personal education, I open the door to knowledge. Every day I will seek to learn something new and beneficial to my well-being. Silver's symbol for this ritual was a tree or grove of trees.
She talks about  various cultures that have over the centuries associated good fortune and personal luck with animal symbology.
She challenges you to look for your personal Hedge Witch lucky symbol and learn all you can about the animal.
I began looking for my lucky animal symbol. It was Spring and I would find a feather every time I took a walk around my neighborhood. It made me curious about birds and how they are connected to magick.

I took a trip to my local book store and found a brand new copy of Adele Nozedar's book, The Secret language of Birds, A Treasury of Myths, Folklore and Inspirational True Stories.
It was sitting in the Bargain Bin and was priced $2. Synchronicity at work!

In doing my reading and research I felt drawn to the owl.  We had owls living in the small grove of woods behind our home. Hubby and I would listen to them call in the night. Occasionally we were lucky to get a glimpse of them sitting high up on a tree limb in the dusk.

 S. Ravenwolf instructs that the animal energy closest to yours will show up in the oddest of places.
 I wondered was the owl my animal energy?

 Not to many days later I had to stop by the grocery store and pick up a few things. As I walked by the magazine rack, a large owl starred at me from the cover of a magazine. It stopped me in my tracks.
Of course I had to buy the magazine.
Several days later Hubby and I were driving down the highway when a large truck pulled in front of us. It's logo was an Owl.
When I discovered a large feather on the sidewalk in my neighborhood and learned through research it was an owl feather, I knew beyond a doubt the Owl was my lucky animal symbol.

Fast forward several years and here I sit in my new little house in a different state.
 One of the magickal things I have wondered about was my animal energy. Would it change or would the owl still resonate with me?
 Was there,would there be owls here?

Two weeks after we moved in our home, Hubby and I had to take a hall table with a cracked leg to a local repair man's shop. Driving through the countryside was marvelous.
As we pulled into the man's driveway, I noticed he had an owl statue sitting on a post in his yard. I pointed it out to Hubby.
A few days later I had gone to our mailbox to collect the mail. It was sunset and there were Mare's Tails clouds sweeping across the sky that were the most gorgeous shade of  orange sherbet.
I had to stand back and look at them they were so beautiful.
As I followed one clouds outline against the sky, I spied on top of the roof of a house two doors down from us an owl.
It was a statue but just the same I had never noticed it before.
That evening as we read the local paper I learned that there is an Owl Nature Sanctuary very near to where we live and that they were going to have a Solstice Night Owl  Watch and Hike.

We are going I told Hubby and that's another story!...

to be continued......