About Holly & Jacques

Proprietors of Euphoric Naturals & Apothecary. Purveyor of unique wyldecrafted products that enhance the magical journey and enchant the pagan soul!

A Souls Release

Hekate Altar

s the wheel turns, October once again gives way to November and the killing frosts of the Crone have visited themselves upon the garden, bringing a halt to new growth while melting vines and flowers.   The end of wild growth and external labors signal a time of transition as our outer awareness turns itself inward, heightening our otherworld senses. For many of us the enchanting Season of Samhain means working even more intensely and intimately with our Ancestors and disembodied spirits.  We decorate our altars in welcome honor of our dead and the long ago ancestors rooted in our past that have given us life.  We keep the old ways enlivened through ritually opening the gates, ensuring the presence of the old ones in the here and now, while drawing on the ancient knowledge and wisdom of those from whence we came.   Through the acknowledgement of the dead we simultaneously celebrate the living and gather energies to help the visiting and newly departed to reach the ‘other side’.

For many witches and pagans who choose to work in close-knit groups there is an agreed upon purpose or goal.  Our Coven had a particular anchor for the sending of our energy and light, however many years ago, during our yearly review, our coven made a collective decision to direct the sending of our energy towards aiding lost and disembodied souls in crossing over. 

Many will recall the trauma felt around the country at the terrorist actions on 911. While we might be unable to agree whether it was a Muslim attack or an inside job, I think we can all agree that it was devastating on some level for all who witnesses the event, be it in person or via television.

As an empath I guard myself carefully from the onslaught of emotional vibration and am rarely overwhelmed and given to emotions I am unable to handle.  On that particular day, however, the devastation and reverberating emotions overcame me.  I felt sick in my solar plexus, faint and fractured.  In all honestly, if I pause too long on that moment, it can still bring me to tears. In that moment I did the only thing I could do-I walked my shell-shocked disbelieving self outside to lay in the arms of mother earth and cry until I could no longer form tears.

By the end of it I felt hollowed out, raw and helpless.  It was a sentiment echoed by our coven members and we all rallied in our own ways to provide relief to families in whatever way we could.  The feelings were compounded as we were exposed to personal stories of the victims and families, repeated footage from all angles of destruction and more information/misinformation was fed to the news channels regarding ‘the facts’ and subsequent emergency response.

It became apparent that we needed to do something more as we begin to feel the overwhelming numbers of the lost and disembodies pressing up against us as we worked our rites.  As with spirits who are left wondering after trauma, there is much in the way of confusion and suffering.

This led us to more intensely work towards the common goal of alleviating suffering through the gathering and welcoming of lost souls while providing the energy and momentum to cross over.  While we work on this all through the year, it is much easier at Beltane and Samhain especially, to work these rites.  We incorporated the powerful words of the ‘Soul-Leading’ and ‘Blessing for a Souls Release’ by the amazing Caitlin Matthews (If you are unfamiliar with her works, do yourself a favor and get the Celtic Devotional, you won’t regret it).

As witches, pagans, shamans and light workers, we once again find ourselves at a crossroads in regards to all of the souls that have been lost world wide to covid and covid related illness during this tumultuous year.  Our Coven, along with Euphoric Naturals & Apothecary have chosen to host an event in the hopes that we can reach more people to collectively come together with the common goal of creating momentum around the globe that will alleviate suffering and confusion felt by so many at this time.  If you visit the Souls Release event page, the discussion section will have the words being used to connect us all in our goal that can be easily incorporated to whatever personal rite you are performing.

We wish you all a Blessed Samhain!

Beltane Traditions-How we celebrate

 

rosyAs the stark harshness of winter gives way to the gentle unfurling of spring our minds and activities turn toward spending time out of doors.  Spring and Fall are two seasons I love in equal measure due to all of the changes big and small that can be both seen and felt.  It is a time when the explosion of green buds, grasses and plant life in every direction hails the quickening of the earths energy towards growth, attraction and communion.

The energy of Beltane is abundant in activity, with birds singing, bees drunkenly overwhelmed in pollen and bunnies mad with the chase, while shyer plants and animals take their time.  The sun and warm moisture have returned along with a bit of food~browse and nectar aplenty for the animals, whilst we are busy harvesting fall sown carrots, kale and salad greens.  During this season we’ve been busy planting seed flats full of herbs, vegetables and flowers. There is nothing more rewarding than heading out to the greenhouse to take in the smell of damp soil and checking out all the little emerging seedlings-there is something new to appreciate every single day.

The returning light at Candlemas started slowly bringing our awareness from within, whereas the verdant lushness of Beltane slowly awakens our bodies and seduces our senses with the softness of new leaves and the intense sweetness of spring blossoms.  There is nothing like the fresh life-giving breath of spring to fill our lungs with the fragrant air and bathe our bodies in the brilliant greens surrounding us to heal and engage our heart chakras on a whole new level.   It is truly a season of growth and renewal as the burgeoning energy tangibly builds to a climactic burst of life. beltanewoods

During the Rites of Spring, we celebrate fecundity while also giving offerings to our ancestors, land spirits, fey and kin.  We decorate our altars to welcome the energy of the season and prepare for the coming celebration by creating our Beltane Bundles of sacred woods, baking bread, infusing May wine with Sweet Woodruff and preparing a feast of seasonal foods.

It is also traditional to collect the first dew of the Bel morning, considered sacred, it is believed to bring healing and physical beauty.
dewcollected I collect the dew in two different ways.  The night before I like to lay out a clean tea towel in a bowl on the grass.  When I collect the towel the next morning I will run my hands over the cool dew-soaked grass and pat my neck and face.  The towel will be rung out into a small vial so that I can add it to the sacred waters for our rite.  I also like to collect dew into a little egg cup off of the lady’s mantle leaves. I will use this on my skin or add to a spell working.

Two favorite feast recipes are the May Wine and Beehive Bread with rosehip honey butter.  Traditionally May Wine was used to celebrate the sabbat and call in the old gods being symbolic of the union of the God and Goddess.

It is best to plan ahead as this recipe takes about 24 hours to steep so that the herb imparts the essence of the woodruff.  My favorite wine to use for this recipe is a homemade apple wine we make in the fall.  If you do not have that tasty brew available then my next favorites would be a light Riesling or a Gewurztraminer.  You can use dried woodruff for a more vanilla-like flavor, however, I try to use the freshest and newest grown of all I can on my Bel altar.  While sweet woodruff is safe to use in small quantities such as in wine or altar cakes,  this is not something you are going to want to add to everything as it has been known to cause dizziness and vomiting in large quantities.  It also contains small amounts of coumarin and was used to thin the blood.

May Wine
Sweetwoodruff1 bottle of apple or white wine (representative of the maiden goddess and everlasting life)
20 or so springs of Sweet Woodruff (Galium odoratum) leaves and blossoms (is said to bring about protection and enliven male sexuality)
1 Tb local honey (amazing immune booster and sacred to the Goddess, powerful spellbinding ingredient)
10 Strawberries (adds a maiden’s blush)

Add clean organic blossoms and leaves of Sweet Woodruff to a bottle of wine.  Let steep 24 hours.  Strain and decant in a bowl, add a few fresh Woodruff flowers and some sliced strawberries.

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Bee Hive Bread
6 c flour
4 1/2 tsp or 2 pkts yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 c warm water
1/2 c honey
1/2 c cold butter grated
2 large eggs

Mix warm water a bit of the honey and yeast, letting stand for 15 minutes or so.  Add beaten eggs, remaining honey and salt to water mixture.  Add flour and mix then cut in butter.  Knead until elastic and let rest until doubled in bulk.
Preheat oven.  Push down and turn over a couple times in the bowl until a ball forms.  Cover large ovenproof glass bowl with a sheet of foil.  Make ropes and coil starting at the bottom and work your way to the top in the shape of a beehive.  Brush with egg white for a glossy crust.
Bake @ 375 for 30 minutes.
While bread is baking mix 1 c softened butter, 1/3 c honey and a few drops of vanilla together.  Butter is best when whipped with immersion or hand blender.
When bread is done remove from oven and let cool before peeling away foil.  Serve with honey butter.

This Beltane season gives us much to be thankful for.  Regardless of what is taking place in the world at large-we have our faith, our beautiful practice, each other and another turn on the wheel.  From our Homestead Coven at Rosethornmanor to our pagan brethren wherever you are lighting your Balefires-we wish for you an abundance of opportunity and prosperity in these trying times.

Happy Bel and Blessed Be!

Full Moon in Libra

FM Grid Libra

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find ourselves in a place of perfect opportunity with the upcoming April FullMoon.   A large portion of the world is housebound and facing the foretold challenge of social turbulence and material scarcity.  Little did we know it would take the form of a virus and toilet paper shortages.  Since March’s Full Moon we experienced the joyous celebration of the Spring Equinox Ostara Sabbat where sowed blessed seed for the coming season.

Libra’s motto is “I balance & weigh” with the purpose to take the Measure of our Souls.  The archetype is the Judge.  Keywords are conscience, cooperation, equality, diplomacy, intelligence, balance, perfectionist and adaptable.

Libra teaches us arriving at mindful, deliberate and well-thought-out decisions taking into account all angles will bring about a successful future.  It is a strange time and feels a bit surreal, sort of like the dust settling after a long storm.  Our planet has been bombarded with the actions of humans and as humans, we are bombarded by the energies of others.  In this we must take care to not let other’s feelings, emotions, anxieties and panic affect ourselves and our actions.  It is also the perfect time to tune into ourselves with crystal clarity whilst a large majority of people are at home and the world grows quiet.  We can see the effects in the climate with animals around the world returning to old spawning/mating grounds, seismologists have noted fewer rumblings almost immediately, less air pollution=improved air quality, less noise pollution above ground and in the oceans.  This list goes on, proving that the world would do well from a break from human activity bombardment for a month each year.

The combination of Sun in Aries and Moon in Libra sends our inner flame outward in the pursuit of understanding spiritual truths impacting our thoughts and behaviors.   Albert Einstein correctly surmised, “The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”  It is the walk of the Spiritual Warrior that is called upon now to change our world through changing our thinking, which in turn changes our actions.  Adapting to thrive beyond survival in challenging times and directing our inner flame with honed precision requires honesty, integrity, reflection and intentional purpose that gives power to our walk.

During this Libran Full Moon the influence of aspected Mars in conjunction with Saturn, Uranian impulsivity and Mercury in close sextile to the Jupiter-Pluto conjunction will push us to look closely at our deepest soul and heart level intentions currently manifesting itself in our lives, spell workings and spiritual practices.  It is time to scry by Aries fire and recognize these truths.  The  Libran thoughts connected with Venus heart centered understanding will feel different from others as thoughts that arise from our soul, heart and mind being aligned will be accompanied with a solid knowing.  These thought feelings will be known by the warmth felt throughout your body from top to bottom, your senses will be heightened and you will have a sense of its rightness and purity as in the ringing of a struck piece of crystal.
The areas where we have resistance, fear or avoidance will also point to future areas that need to be addressed during the dark of the moon, so make note of these as well.

This Full Moon will require the oftentimes difficult aspect of putting oneself first and forefront.  There is often a lot of resistance to this within ourselves as we are frequently led to believe putting ourselves first is a selfish act.   Self-care is not a selfish act, but one of required maintenance to grow as a person and be healthy for ourselves and others.  We are part of a larger whole, which is only as healthy as its parts.  The most healthy act a person can do is the caretaking of self and meeting your own needs in order to manifest a healthy unit.  This Libra esbat will give us the energy needed to take back the power that flows through our veins handed down through our ancestral roots and lifetimes past.  Let the truth of your inner self, your magic and your life’s purpose rise to the top and forefront of your awareness so that you can walk in your power.

During this time we are in a unique position to affect lasting change and weave magic into the world unlike ever before.  We are calling on the power of witches, pagans, shamans, healers and spiritualists to join forces and weave magic in the fabric of our everyday reality while bringing forth balance and harmony.

Starting on April 8th at sundown, each person will enact their own rite and light a candle (preferably a 7 day if you have it). The wave of energy will be sent around our planet for a full 24 hours and continue as long as our candles burn.  Please join in the power ritual by going to Euphoric Naturals & Apothecary Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/819088128585761/

For those joining us, please post a picture of your candle lighting on our https://www.facebook.com/EuphoricNaturals/ page as well as on Instagram #Homesteadcoven.

As you cast your circles and create sacred space, remember…….we are all in this together. May you be thricely blessed in the coming times.  Blessed Be!

Season of Ostara

Ostaracollage

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stara, also known as Alban Eiler, Eostre, Summer Finding and Vernal Equinox, is a fertility festival celebrated on the spring equinox, which falls sometime between March 20th and March 22nd.  On the spring and fall equinoxes, day and night are of equal lengths. Ostara begins with sunrise to celebrate the light overcoming the darkness and the heralding of spring, burgeoning growth and potent prosperity.

The feminine aspect of the Spring Maiden and the masculine aspect of the Horned God are called upon so that we may align with the necessary balance required for gentle growth getting ready to burst forth at Beltane.   The external focus of the Ostara season is coaxing new life forth.  We recognize that the length of our days have been growing ever so slightly since Yule (even though it does not feel like it at times) and this light is sending signals to the animals, our brains and plants around us to start mating and growing.  The balancing act comes in reading the signs correctly.  In the witch’s garden hellebore, witch hazel, snowdrops, early crocus and daphne are all blooming, however, if temporary warmth is coupled with too many full sunny days, some plants unable to withstand freeze start popping up and then buds are killed by the frost.  If we misread the signs and become too eager to start our gardens, the plants in the end become listless and weak.  Just as God and Goddess are learning what it is to grow the masculine and feminine energies necessary for the hieros gamos at Bel; spiritually cycles of woman and man play out similarly as we too learn to be priests and priestess in our own lives and embody the sacred energies.

At this time in the PNW, most of the snow is gone and we welcome yellow forsythia brightening the hedge as well as early daffodils and little purple-blue lungwort.  These early risers along with fragrant purple hyacinth, daphne and witch hazel are placed around our homes and spring altars along with pastel-colored eggs, chocolate bunnies, rose quartz, jasper, birch, potted shamrocks, early pussy willow and seeds for blessing.  While there are many stories about bunnies once being a bird and transformed to lay an egg on Ostara, there are more practical reasons for the symbology. Bunnies are associated with the goddess due to their gentle nature and nocturnal habits.  They tend to be prolific in numbers and make more of an appearance during the day, chasing each other before breeding.  Egg laying picks up around February, we tend to see a huge upswing in production around this time, which is welcome after so few eggs in the winter.  The allegorical theme arises from the Goddess bringing forth the birthed World Tree egg of life and mystery to be laid bare before the Sun God so the fiery spark of heat and light quickens the seed within.

At this time, we come together to pay homage to the Spring Goddess and Horned God.  We align ourselves with the vulnerable tendrils of equinox season, seeking balance before taking our next steps.  Additionally, we give an offering of gratitude for the returning light seen in the joyous bright colors and intensely scented blooms.  We call for the blessing of our seeds, so that they may be strong, healthy and abundant. New beginnings are cast through the seeds of our Grain Goddesses with plenty of water to nurture us until Beltane.

We dye eggs a brilliant red to represent the life-giving blood of the goddess.  Each egg contains a message to guide the potential we have within.  The shells are then used to plant wheat and nasturtiums or cast into the garden.

Sow a thought, and you reap an act;

Sow an act, and you reap a habit;

Sow a habit, and you reap a character;

Sow a character, and you reap a destiny.

       – Charles Reade

 

What have you planted for the coming year?

Calling all Pagans, Witches, Elders, Healers, Shamans & Spiritualists…..

 

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Let us come together and combine our sparks, weave our magic in light and dark!

Euphoric Naturals & Apothecary and the Conveners of Ivy Moon are sending out a call to all Peoples, no matter your path, to join us on the next full moon in sending a wave of love and light around the world.

As was predicted, the year of 2020 would see revolutionary change in social systems and our personal relationships with society and the world at large. Little did we know how these changes would be brought about or what it would look like.

As we speak, many are on the frontlines attending to the sick or working jobs where there is no choice but to do so, while everyone else does their part in staying home to avoid spreading the contagion.  The fear, panic, anxiety and overwhelm is palpable.

What most people do not know about pagans, witches and spiritualists is how tirelessly many of us work behind the scenes for the health, protection, healing and benefit of our families, friend, communities, planet and the world at large.  In WWI the witches of England banded together and protected their country by turning the tides on the enemy.  Many of you may remember in 2000 the late Abby Willowroot founded and launched The Goddess 2000 Project, where we covens and individuals alike created Goddess statues, lit candles and performed rituals that incrementally took place around the world for 24 hours.  We ‘Danced the Goddess Home’ and back into the forefront of the earth plane consciousness.  It was powerful and effective, to say the least.

With this Call to Action, we hope to follow in the footsteps of the visionary Abby Willowroot and work magic similarly through the combined efforts of all.  With this working we strive to bring about change and balance by calling on the goodness and humanity in people to reorient humanistic values to kindness, compassion and respect for all living creatures.  It is our intent, through this act, that the ripple effect will impact on a heart level so that each individual from the house wife to the policy maker and people in positions of power will behave in a wholistic heart-centered way.  May awareness be awoken in the heart of each living being and felt through all the lands.

We are in a unique position to affect lasting change and weave magic into the world unlike ever before.  The April 2020 Full Moon in Libra, ruled by the planet of Venus and Love, provides us with skills of intelligence, diplomacy, intuition that aid us in bringing back balance and harmony.

Starting on April 8th at sundown, each person will enact their own rite and light a candle (preferably a 7 day if you have it).  The wave of energy will be sent around our planet for a full 24 hours and continue as long as our candles burn.   The first place to kick this project off will be in Fiji and Samoa, followed by New Zealand and continue on down the list.  We have placed countries in order according to the ripple of sunsets.  If we could get people from each country to commit to a sunset lighting we will be able to collectively combine our energies and align our planet with a healing heartfelt frequency.

For our part we will be setting up an altar specific to our goal, preloading with a meditation, raising energy and then lighting a 7-day candle at the specified time.  Please look at the list to see where your country falls in order and sign up for a slot.  If you would like please share what you will be doing.  Get the word out to everyone in your groups, covens and circles, everyone is included.

  1. Fiji, Samoa and Christmas Island/Kiribati
  2. New Zealand
  3. Most of Australia
  4. Japan, South Korea and North Korea
  5. China, Philippines, Singapore
  6. Thailand, Cambodia and large parts of Indonesia
  7. Bangladesh
  8. Nepal
  1. India and Sri Lanka
  1. Pakistan
  2. Azerbaijan
  3. Iran
  4. Turkey, Iraq, Kenya and most of Russia
  5. Greece, Romania, South Africa, Hungary and other central and eastern European cities
  6. Germany, France, Italy, Algeria, Belgium, Spain
  7. UK, Ireland, Ghana, Iceland, Portugal
  8. Regions of Brazil
  9. Argentina, regions of Brazil, Chile, Paraguay
  10.  Some regions of Canada, Bolivia, Puerto Rico
  11.  Eastern Standard Time in the US – New York, Washington, Detroit and Cuba
  12. Central Standard Time in the US – Chicago
  13. Mountain Standard Time in the US – Colorado, Arizona
  14. Pacific Standard Time  in the US – LA, Nevada
  15. Alaska
  16. Hawaii
  17.  American Samoa
  18.  Baker Island, Howland Island

Dark Days & Keeping it Real ~orienting ourselves in trying times…

“The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis.’ One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger–but recognize the opportunity.”

― John F. Kennedy

M

erry Meet Pagan Peoples!  I think one thing as a country we can all agree upon (for once) is the trying nature of our current health crisis.   What will define us as humans and the character of our country will be how we move through these seriously trying times.

Let us grab a cup of our favorite nerve-calming tea (mine is honey ginger crystals as we speak) and have a chat witch-to-witch in an attempt to orient ourselves appropriately.   As previously mentioned in The Magic of 2020 and the Cancer Full Moon blog posts, this year would bring many challenges both in issues of material scarcity and our relation to social systems.  The writing was on the wall for some sort of swift change to take place, however, I don’t believe any of us could know how it would play out.

The Kennedy quote starting this piece was chosen due to its simple and pared-
down truth…..our planet, our country and our communities
Crisisare in danger crisis and there is no escaping it.  I cannot speak for everyone’s experience, but from my own, I have seen people on both ends of the spectrum.  From seriously freaked out to casually not thinking it is that big and everything in-between.  The panicked energy in the streets and in the stores is palpable, which for us empathic and intuitive types is toxic and immobilizing in of itself if one is not on-guard.  Though one need not be psychic or intuitive to feel the fear.  At one end we have people bogarting toilet paper and bleach to the other end where college kids are at the beach carrying on like it’s nothing.

Anyone with a modicum of sense realizes that we are truly in a place of danger and as a community, it is everyone’s responsibility to keep each other safe.  As in any other situation, we can choose to respond or react.   This choice will determine our success.

In these times it is normal for people to freak out, become fearful and overwhelmed or shut down and become depressed.  People may feel alone and isolated, confused, lost, suicidal and unsure of what to do.  I, personally, have experienced all of these emotions and situations in my life at one time or another and I am sure I am not alone in this.  However, having gotten this far in my life, I also know that as in all else, those feelings and situations are temporary, I do possess the ability, intelligence and power to move beyond it.   The downfall leading to most failures in such situations is feelings of depression, helplessness, powerlessness and overwhelm.  The way to combat these emotions and be successful is always forward movement of some kind, even if it’s incremental.  This is where magic and practical mundane living go hand in hand-both need a plan, idea or need and a jumping-off point or an initiator spark.  We are witches for goddess sakes-we know how to make a spark!

The first order of business is to STAY CALM for ourselves and our family so that we can keep a level head about us and Find Our Bearings!

~FIND (ONE’S) BEARINGS-to recognize or determine one’s orientation, position or abilities relative to one’s surroundings or situation.~

In finding our bearings we must first identify the situation-which we all understand to be the ‘Virus that Shall not Be Named’ (in actuality we know its name but I don’t want to have this piece blocked, so just in case…) and arm ourselves with factual information.    One of the most important acts we can do is to take care of our health.  This means getting quality sleep, safeguarding our immune system against inflammation and bacteria (such as making Immune Booster Brew) and mindfully processing stress.  I say mindfully process because there is no way around the fact that this health crisis will impact every person on some level.  Stress causes an inflammation response in our bodies which leaves us susceptible to illness.

The second thing to do is to determine our position and abilities.  This is where opportunities arise and will look different for everyone.  We must take into account fiduciary responsibilities, family members, health, age, housing, personal strenghts and level of preparedness.  This is not a time to judge yourself or others, it is simply a time to look at the facts and take stock.   Inform yourself with quality information-the podcast with Rogen is pretty informative.

Armed with the facts about your situation will lead to the third step of creating an action plan asking ourselves:  what do I need to do now, what can I do in the short term and what needs to be planned for in the long term?

For my family this has translated into ‘business as usual’.  What does that look like in the real world?  Knowing what was written in the stars coupled with the fact that we are so far from a store, my family did put up some supplies-though little did we know TP would be such a hot commodity, LOL.   In addition to our business Euphoric Naturals & Apothecary, I also work as a teacher.  This meant preparing kids at school on our last day and finishing up paperwork this last week, before being sent home to self-isolate.  Now, this wasn’t part of our plan as I didn’t foresee being off work or my child being home for five weeks, which equates to the use of more food and TP.   My husband is still commuting to work.  As with many businesses, they want everyone working from home, but we are in a dead zone and lack the internet speed (insert heavy sigh and eye roll here).  It means I still get up early and see my husband off, do my workout and have a cup of tea or coffee to enjoy the quiet before my handsome son blesses me with his presence.  I am diligent about wearing amethyst and black tourmaline to protect my auric field and combat the vibes of rising panic (especially when I go out for supplies or converse with others.)  I sit at my planner and review what tasks I need to accomplish for the day.   

For the now- we spent the weekend getting grocery items and building supplies to fill in any gaps.  I have a teenager which meant conversations around going to the school to getting learning packets from some of his teachers as well as expectations around the structure of his day which will include time out of doors, exercise, reading and working on educational things, not just video games all day.  For us, it also meant a conversation around food-making sure he didn’t skip breakfast and would result in wanting to eat more lunch and dinner foods that might not be available due to long term meal planning.

In the short term, it meant reaching out first to my family members, friends and coven mates to check on them.  Next, because we are all in this together, it meant reaching out to my community and school to assess needs and see where I could be of help.  As a counselor and ordained minister, I am able to offer assistance to community members and since I have a car I am able to be a meal runner for our schools.  This, of course, could change as needs arise on our social media forums.   The opportunity for family time is wide open-game nights, puzzles, cooking lessons, dirt bike rides, etc.  Setting a structured plan for my son’s time, much to his chagrin, that doesn’t include video games all day is a pretty high priority, because….business as usual.  Next on the list is to attend to our sacred space and home with a deep spring cleaning with Florida Water to clear out all the winter bogies and allergins, followed by a thorough smudging.  Black Obsidian is stationed under our beds, couches and both doors.   It is important at this time to keep the energies in our home clear of stress and panic.  At this time we start getting the garden ready and now have time to take seeds we blessed at the previous full moon and get them potted up in the greenhouse.  It’s also a good time to practice some candle magic.  I have a lavendar and cedarwood oiled orange candle for courage burning during the day and a blue peppermint candle burning for peace in the evening.  

In the long term, it means acknowledging this is something that could have long-lasting effects on product and food production.  For my family this is asking how do we manage our dollars and what does our skinny budget look like?  How can we slowly put aside a few staples here and there?  If you have the ability to grow your own food, then do so.  If you already grow food how can your ramp up food production to take your family further through the year as well as help your community?  We are ramping up what we grow in our garden this year and preparing to save seeds.  It’s time to dust off the to-do list of projects that take longer than a few hours and start chipping away at it, whether that be house and yard maintenance, cleaning out pantries and closets, completing some Book of Shadow pages, learn a new skill, revive an old skill, try out a new recipe, learn more about your favorite element, divination method, god or goddess, meditate, take time to slow dance, organize, read that stack of books that have piled up and reconnect with ourselves and the land.  Make plans for different ways to celebrate family.  It means at our new moons and full moons we are striving for protection of family, health, finances, and community while manifesting abundance and balance.  

The time at home with family is unprecedented but has given all of us such an opportunity to pull together as a unit and a community.  The choice is what we do with the time and situations as they arise.  For us it is focusing on family, helping each other stay positive, being gentle with ourselves & others and most important of all-keeping our sense of humor.

From our family to yours, we wish everyone balance, safety, abundance & sanity!

“Every test successfully met is rewarded by some growth in intuitive knowledge, strengthening of character, or initiation into a higher consciousness.”

― Paul Brunton

 

How are you making the most of your time?…..we would love to hear from you!

What’s Brewing?

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e currently are all a part of a larger health crisis facing our great nation.  We all will be impacted by the current outbreak, whether it be through our children’s schools (our kids in WA state are out until April 24th), layoffs, minor illness, knowing someone who has fallen ill or falling ill ourselves.

While every factor cannot be known, one way we can combat anxiety and overwhelm is by taking action where our health is concerned.   We pagans are known as brewmasters (among many other names)….we love our mead and other lovely concoctions, but right now I am speaking more to a medicinal brew.

One of my favorite brewings is a spicy concoction sure to bring my family through the cold and flu season.  It tastes like a deliciously fragrant and tangy salad dressing with a kick.

It is full of ingredients that most kitchen witches will have in our pantries or gardens.  A semblance of this recipe was originally obtained from a shop many years ago and thusly has changed somewhat as I have learned more about herbology and healing herbs.  I started adding turmeric because it is so good for us A blood types and really every blood type as well as rosemary.  Additionally, on a whim, I also added some very strongly aged blueberry kombucha that I had brewed.  While the kombucha is by no means a requirement, it is so beneficial on so many levels, if you brew your own, why not give it a try.

How does it work?  All of the herbs, roots and ingredients work to boost the immune system, fight free radicals and balance your Ph so that your body can do the job it was designed to do.

The recipe that follows is enough to fill a 1/2 gallon jar which is 128 tablespoon-sized servings.IMMUNUe booster

IMMUNE BOOSTER BREW

Fill a half-gallon jar with:

Rosemary 2-6″ branch
~beneficial in healing due to its rich source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, helping boost the immune system.

Thyme 6-5″ sprigs
~an antiseptic, expectorant, antispasmodic, digestant, anti-fungal and ant-microbial, rich in vitamins and minerals and an ally to the respiratory tract.

Turmeric 2-3 teaspoons
~contains curcuminoids with potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.  It helps your body fight foreign invaders and repairs damage

Black Peppercorns 1 TB (slightly crushed)
~Packed with potassium, magnesium, iron, vitamin K and vitamin C it is a natural anti-depressant, anti-bacterial and helps turmeric be absorbed into the bloodstream.

Onion 1 rough chopped
~anti-inflammatory, ease joint pain, indigestion, antibiotic, and an expectorant (loosen phlegm)

Cayenne powder 1 TB
~contains vitamin C, vitamin E, beta carotene, choline, lutein, vitamin A. Works as an antioxidant and anti-bacterial as well as pain reliever.
Ginger 2 TB grated root with juice
~Well known for anti-nausea properties it also works to reduce inflammation, promote circulation and as an anti-bacterial.

Honey 1/2 c
~works as an anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-fungal, antioxidant and full of phytonutrients.

Grated horseradish root 1-2 TB heaping
~contains vitamin C, folate, potassium, calcium, magnesium, zine manganese and compounds of glucosinolate and sinigrin which works as an antioxidant to fight cell damage caused by free radicals

Juice of 2 Lemons
~amazing and lovely in that it smells amazing, promotes hydration, contains vitamin C, calcium, bioflavinoids that boost the immune system and help fight infection,  helps prevent kidney stones, works as an anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-anxiety (all too important with the current hysteria).  Lemon juice actually works to balance our Ph which inhibits bacteria from invading and taking hold which make us sick.

Fill about 1/3 of the way with Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar with Mother if you can find it, if not regular apple cider vinegar will suffice.
~apple cider works as an antimicrobial and antioxidant.  The fermented elixir helps feed the healthy gut bacteria in an area known as our second brain.

You can fill the remainder of the jar with Water or if you brew kombucha– a mix of the two.

Shake jar really well and place in a dark spot on your counter or in a cupboard.  Shake it a couple of times a day.  It will be ready in 7-10 days, though I start using it the same day.  It is usually recommended that brews such as this be kept in a dark jar, however we just keep ours in the cupboard.

We use 1 tablespoon in the morning and 1 tablespoon in the evening.   When my son was younger I used a teaspoon full.  We use this a lot in the cold season but it is good all throughout the year as it is beneficial for overall health.

Keeping your family healthy is never overrated and one way to keep the craziness of life at bay.

Happy BREWING and blessed Health!

 

Full Moon In Virgo

FM Grid Virgo

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he time has come once again to set aside the every day and empower our lives by acknowledging the sacred wisdom we witches draw our power from.  Our New Moon Pisces vows were set around objectively viewing our soul dreams without judgment.  This coming Full Moon and Supermoon will continue the quest of living our best and most balanced life through analytical detail-oriented Virgo.

Virgo’s motto is “I analyze” and keywords are discriminating, dependable, unselfish, exacting, perfectionist, scientific, holistic healer.

We have touched on the need of weaving in balance throughout this year’s workings and this becomes even more necessary while the moon’s power is at its height during the sign striving for perfection.

The combination of the sun in Pisces and moon in Virgo lends itself the appearance of a calm pool, however, all that has transpired between the new and full moon is swirling in the depths.  Coupled with the aspects of Neptune and Mercury, all this yummy energy is coalescing on a Monday (Moon’s day)  to give us a very real opportunity to bring laser focus to that which is important.  Virgo moon pushes us to pursue improvement in all areas of our lives, however, this sign also can get lost in the pursuit of perfection.  In our everyday life, we may start to feel the need to do something-anything, give of ourselves freely and try to make sense of the chaos around us.  The ‘devils in the details’ analytics that will attempt to organize all that is being churned up from the depths, which can serve to overwhelm or give us exactly what we need if we will but listen.

In planning our upcoming FM rite it will be imperative that we silence the noise and input by tuning out of social media, silence the voices serving to divert us off our path while avoiding images and information that add to the chaos.  We may be flooded with ideas taking our brains in all sorts of directions.  This is not the time to go down the rabbit hole. Instead, make lists and review the lovely new ideas at a later time.  We have all the information we need within ourselves and do not need to gather more data.

The Pisces NM encouraged us to survey our internal landscape in the new young light of the moon.  Virgo FM directs us to dive under the placid surface and follow those beams of moonlight to what is being lit up (aka: what lights us up) while anchoring our feet in the nourishing rich soil that will take the often disconnected abstract separates and grow them into something unique to our spiritual walk.  This particular FM is enabling us to get out of our own way and trust the process of balancing intuition and discrimination to commit to what arises and feels right in our gut without overthinking it.   Give yourself over to the Moon, hear with your ‘heart’ and she will give you exactly what you need!

“We must be willing to let go of the life we had planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us”                             
                                                                                                  ~Joseph Campbell

Merry Part and Goddess Bless!

Understanding Pisces New Moon 2020

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he year of 2020 has seen a transition from Pisces to Aquarius and with it a shift in our personal alignment to higher spiritual wisdom coupled with our relationship to social systems.   In February the powerful Leo Full Moon illuminated the dark hallows shielding blockages that contributed to our suffering as well as stood in our way of stepping into our personal power.  This last esbat NM in Pisces allowed us to unpack emotions regarding our path and aspirations.

Keywords for Pisces are:

*Dreams *Creativity  *Psychic   *Divination  *Intuition

In the body, Pisces rules the feet, toes and lymphatic system. (The lymphatic system works primarily to carry infection-fighting white blood cells while also working to rid the body of toxins, waste and other unwanted materials).

Feet are vitally important in carrying us on our path and foot ailments can manifest when we are not walking our truth.  Our ability to navigate the terrain becomes compromised and we often ‘lose ground’.

The magical and spiritual workings for the year will focus on balance and our place in the world.  January and February had us honing our inspirations, adjusting our ambitions and assessing our material resources.  Thusly, seeds sown these last two months will help us navigate our relationship to monetary restrictions while meeting our fiduciary responsibilities  Additionally, we have begun the process of digging deep to discover what drives us, what closely held values do we believe at our core and how does this contribute to the creation of our most authentic self as the month of March brings forth a shake-up of society structures.  (This can already be seen as a vying for power and position in politics commences with the impending elections).

Themes around the questions of ‘who am I and who do I want to be”? continue to be explored as we work in the challenge of adapting and adopting a way that is integrous and balanced.  The seeds we are growing will empower and nourish our authentic selves without giving into the consensus trance of what is right or useful according to society?

This Pisces NM offers us the opportunity to look at our internal landscapes.  We are assessing where we currently stand and as with any new moon, where do we go from here?

In order to arrive at an answer, one must assess where we spend the most time physically, emotionally and mentally.  All three are driven by wants and needs.  Everyone has basic needs requirements, however, it is important to travel beyond survival mode to develop and grow.  In order to understand deeply held motives and desires driving our behaviors and actions, we need to look at our needs and wants objectively without judgement.  This by no means gives cart blanche to act upon all wants but simply illustrates in a quantifiable way what is truly driving our powers of manifestation in both the concrete realms and the craft working realms.

In an effort to counteract greed, our culture has attempted to differentiate between a want and need, with wants having had a lot of negativity attached to them.    Needs are generally focused on survival where wants are frequently seen as wasteful or unnecessary.  With these ideas in mind, the next step is to evaluate our relationship to wants; in a lifetime it is next to impossible to single out every defining moment that has shaped how we value ourselves and our relationship to what we want.  Many of us have been taught that what we want for ourselves is bad or selfish, wants are all about ego or not being grateful for what one has or, my personal favorite, if you want more for yourself you are ungrateful and therefore it will all be taken away.  In reality, how can one ever really know who they are in life without unpacking wants, needs and dreams for good or ill?

We can spend so much time judging the rights and wrongs of needs and wants that we quit dreaming.  Evaluating and picking apart every aspect kills it all.  Ultimately this Pisces New Moon was about dreaming and creating without judgement, allowing our intuition to be our guide.

Our New Moon Vows were centered around this motif.  Between this Pisces New Moon and the Virgo Full Moon, take time to unpack your wants and dream in the healing light of the goddess as we ready ourselves for attracting good vibes in March.

Merry Meet and Blessed Be!

For the Love of Valentine

The minute I heard my first love story, I started looking for you, not knowing how blind that was. Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They’re in each other all along.     ~Rumi

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alentine’s Day is one associated with lovers, couples and many may argue….commercialism.   As with any other public opinion, it requires examination so that one may evaluate and respond in a way that honors our path and our relationships in a way that feels authentic and productive. 

There are as many types of love as there are people with the most remarked on and notable being:  Eros (sexual, passionate, romantic), Agape (universal love/heart chakra centered), Philia (friendship and goodwill), Storge (familial/parental),  Ludus (playful activity, flirting, seduction),  Philautia (self-love: both the healthy and unhealthy kind), and Pragma (practical and compatible).  Despite Valentine’s Day being associated with lovers, through the ages it has been a day to celebrate love and friendship of all kinds.

For many of us, our introduction to Valentine’s Day and love outside of the home began in grade school.  It is a holiday full of creativity and social/emotional growth, but at times could be a bit painful as well.  For me, Valentine’s Day was exciting because I loved art and V Day meant access to new art supplies of red and pink paper, hearts, sequins and delicate lace paper doilies.  As a class, we worked diligently creating homemade collages loosely representing a Valentine’s card, most often to our parents.  We would then practice our spelling and fine motor skills to write out our classmate’s names on flimsy store-bought cards sporting cheesy pictures to later take to school and hurriedly place in construction paper mailboxes taped to our desks.  If we are lucky some generous parent would include a little chocolate, a box of candy hearts or a sticker.  After the cards were passed out, everyone would excitedly open the cards.  I was psychoanalytical even as a small child and so would evaluate each person’s message by their choice of card. Did I get cards from all my friends, was there a special crush card from someone I didn’t know that liked me?   Potential hurt would be present when someone didn’t give me a card as I couldn’t understand why.    

In later grades, our minds are stretched in figuring out how to express words of caring to our friends without sounding stupid or giving someone the wrong idea, while in turn telling someone we like them…..without actually admitting it in the event we are rejected.  Our social and emotional skills are tested as we are told by our parents that we must write a card to every student on the list, even when we don’t want to.  As we get older our personalities begin to develop as do conflicts and we don’t necessarily want to include everyone in our circle of love.  We begin weighing our like and dislike of each other based on how we’ve been treated, hurts experienced (imagined and unimagined) to withholding a piece of ourselves in not sharing a card with the feelings of what it felt like when we didn’t receive a card.  At this time (hopefully) conversations begin around what is love, kindness, generosity and compassion?  How do we deal with people who don’t treat us well or return affection?  How do we deal with emotional related hurts and disappointments?  It all can become complicated very quickly and have lasting benefits or consequences depending on what tools we are taught.

Eventually ‘Will you be Mine’ hearts and paper doily cards give way to roses, chocolates and more adult overtures or expressions of love.  Depending on our past experiences we can choose this to be a time of joy and celebration or a time of jaded pessimism.  Valentine’s Day has no shortage of celebrants and is one of the most popular holidays in the United States.  Despite its popularity, many detractors denounce V Day as simply a commercial holiday designed to make people just spend more money.  To that, I would say that nobody can make you feel or do things you don’t want to.

In reality, Valentine’s Day occurs during the Season of Imbolg, a time where the weak light starts quickening the seeds of life within.  We start waking up from the hibernation and slowly stretch our delicate tendrils to the light in an effort to leave winter behind. It is interesting to note how V Day occurs during this time of the year.

There is much in the way of controversy surrounding the origination of Valentine’s Day.  One theory postulates St. Valentine was a 3rd-century Roman saint who started out as a priest, ministering to persecuted Christians.  He was imprisoned, whereby he fell in love with a young girl to whom he allegedly penned a letter and signed “From your Valentine”.  Valentine was martyred and then commemorated in death on February 14th.

Another theory stems from the actions of Emperor Claudius II, who decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives, therefore outlawing marriage for young men. Valentine felt this was unjust and married young lovers in secret. When Claudius learned of this deception, he ordered the death of Valentine.

The romanticism of either myth has not been forgotten all these years later.  It does, however, beg the question of whether or not it was initiated by the Christians in an effort to usurp the fertility festival of Lupercalia, dedicated to Faunus, the god of agriculture?  This fertility ritual occurred in the middle of February in conjunction with the beginning of birds’ mating season.  There is the soft fragrance of early lily of the valley, witch hazel, redbud and forsythia as well as the returning sounds of birds.  There is a flurry of activity in the pairing up and nest building of these birds as well.  Those in rural areas see this quickening result in new beginnings: the birth of lambs and early calves as well as chickens starting to lay eggs (another seed of life) after a long dark winter.

As pagans in tune with the cycles of the earth, we understand the need for her balance and upkeep.  Our voice and power to effect change are expressed through what we spend on consumables.   While there are a lot of consumables to be indulged in during Valentine’s Day, one does not have to sell the farm and buy up the store to show love.  Many argue that loving-kindness and the generous nurturing of a relationship needs to be shown to our partners all year long, not just on one day a year.  I do not believe any person truly engaged in a relationship would argue that statement.  A relationship is a living co-creation that requires daily mindful attention of all people involved, as a whole year of maintenance and attention cannot be crammed into one day.

I liken the group mind energy of Lupercalia/Valentine’s Day to that of Winter Solstice/Yule/Christmas, in that the magic felt during the Solstice season is big and heartfelt with energy for spell working much easier to raise because people have open hearts and are largely of the same group mind.

Valentine’s Day is all about choices.  The value is in the micro choices taking place each day in how you choose to show up in your relationship.   How one approaches Valentine’s Day is a personal choice and like anything else in life-you get out of it, what you put in.  Valentines Day can be as unique as the couple celebrating and one can choose to view V Day as another commercial holiday or one can take the opportunity of the curated Valentine’s venues to tap into the love vibes and cast a spell on each other for deeper connection and another memorable year.  At this time of year, I build an altar for the love of my family and friends.  I make special treats and pen cards to hand out as a personal expression of how I feel and want to make others feel.  Valentine’s Day does not need to be fancy, just genuine.

Love is the Law of the Land and Love is the most powerful force on earth.  Even more amazing is this year it falls on Friday-that day ruled by Venus, the Goddess of Love.  Any reason to celebrate love in all of its forms is worthy of time and attention in my book!

However you choose to celebrate-may the Goddess bless your love thricely now and in the coming year!

Cheers and Blessed Be