Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Magical tools...

So, I've spent many hours over the last few days dealing with all that lavender I showed you last post. Seriously, my 4-year-old and I spent hours yesterday knocking the spent flowers off of the lavender "pods" and getting the pods off of the stem, removing extra leaves from the stalk, and putting the stalks aside to try out as incense.

We're half way done.

That made me think (as hours of meticulous labor tends to) about the purpose behind what I was doing. It turns out that I intend to use some of this for making Christmas/Yule gifts for some friends and family, but I had also intended some of this lavender to go into a decorative glass jar that would become part of my magical-stash-of-plant-material-for-spells-and-rituals.

And here is where all this dreaming fell apart. I'm just not feeling the assemble-a-bunch-of-stuff-that-some-book-deems-appropriate-for-this-intent kind of stuff. I'm also feeling like a bit of a bad pagan for that... I mean, isn't this what I'm supposed to do?

I've just started to realize that candle spells have not worked well for me, I just don't feel connected to it, despite how much I love candles. There has never been a correlation between how much effort I've put into setting up my rituals with what I've gotten out of it. In fact, it's entirely possible that the less I've put into setting up and getting ready, the more I've enjoyed what I've done and the more I've gotten from it. I like meditation rituals... especially spontaneous ones... and I always feel like I learn something about the earth or myself when I do them.

Some part of me really wants to collect stuff and use herbs in ritual... but now I'm not sure how that will look. I hope that at some point I will find that there are little simple preparations, not formal, that I will use for my meditations... but for now I'm honestly a little disappointed that I don't love all the "stuff" and "doing"... that I'm feeling simpler than that. Isn't that silly?

Monday, August 23, 2010


Mmmm... lavender... this is one of my all time favorite plants. I have it in my garden for one thing... and that's always convenient, I love the smell, and in my mild climate it blooms for much of the year. Or maybe that's because I have a couple of different varieties, I don't know.

Anyway, right now I'm drying a bunch... and I actually really love the way it makes my living room look and smell... part of me is thinking of leaving it there! Not really... but at face value it doesn't seem like a terrible idea!

My plans for it are:

1. To make some sachets to put between the cushions of my couch... so that every time you sit down on it you create good smells, and for putting in the dryer with clothes (those dryer sheets are no good, but I do like a nice smell in my clothes).

2. To make a few Christmas gifts... I know my mom really likes lavender... so maybe a pretty throw pillow, or a nice potpourri...

3. Roll a few softened beeswax tapers in lavender for beauty and nice smells for the holidays

And here are a few more ideas...

Lavender has long been associated with love, peace, healing, and sleep. It relaxes the mind and body, and therefore is good to use in soaps (which according to Kate West author of The Real Witches' Garden will also assist in quickly healing typical gardening scrapes! I'm going to try that!). It can be used in sachets for any time you need to feel grounded and safe. I used lavender in a back-to-school sachet that I made with the kids last year. They kept them in their backpacks... and I don't know if it helped them, but it helped me the first day of school!

Apparently smelling the scent of lavender can lift the spirits. One way to do this is to burn the stalks in a fire after removing the "pods" from the flower. The stalks can also be used as incense sticks after they're fully dried. I am DEFINITELY trying that with what I have hanging... and here I thought I was just going to throw them away!

When made into an oil or balm it can be used to treat bruises, aches, and pains. Lavender water can be dabbed onto "pulse points" to ease headaches, anxiety and depression. Lavender in sachets can repel moths, induce sleep, and nurture gentle dreams.

*Lavender uses from Kate West's The Real Witches' Garden and Scott Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

National Women's Self-Appreciation Day

OK, it's not really a recognized holiday... but I found a woman's blog who posted that she thought it would be a fantastic holiday... and I agree. I think a lot of people (not just women) spend a lot of time working for others, doing for others, and thinking about others, and maybe it would be good if we all spent a little more time patting ourselves on the back for the good things that we are and do.

So, here's three things I like about myself...

1) I like that I work very hard to be a good parent

2) I like that I have learned how to cook on my own... I wasn't taught as a child... and I'm pretty good at it!

3) I like that I LOVE to read... it's enriched my life tremendously... and it turned into really liking to tell the kids stories and make them up as I go!

Can I do another? I really like that I plant a garden every year.

What do you like about yourself? Please do tell me!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

On fire

So, I admit I held out on you a bit... when I said that we were going on a family vacation I failed to mention that we were loading four kids and six adults on an international flight to Costa Rica for twelve days. It was fabulous, and there were many many things to contemplate, but I want to share what I learned about fire while I was there.

Our first stop was the Arenal volcano in the northern part of the country. It's amazing. The volcano is active, spouting clouds of vapor every few hours, and occasionally throwing out lava. I never really spend much time thinking about fire, it's not one of my primary elements (I'm a water/earth girl if you were wondering). So I took the opportunity to really think about fire while at the volcano. I wrote a little about it that I wanted to share. It's not earth-shattering, it's all what you would imagine, but this was the first time I really felt it. So here goes...

Fire: I don't spend much time thinking about fire, despite using it in the form of a candle on my altar. I've always thought of it as transformative, of course, but I see it now as a truly creative force. It is active, certainly, and a bit spontaneous, as it seems that there are no hard and fast rules that can hold fire's spirit. Thus there's a danger element there, something that frightens me just a little. Fire can be warm and comforting, soothing, and just as easily, it can burn. In the same way that it can cook food, fire can char and destroy it. On a more physical note, heat drives the circulation of the world's oceans, forces molten rock out of the ground, causes air to move. Fire is about motion, transformation, action, purpose, spontaneity, passion, doing, and pressure. It is masculine, and lends itself to polarity of energies.

Photo credits: I did take the first picture, but not the second. The nighttime picture with lava was part of a CD we got after we did a zipline tour. We did see some lava, but it rained that afternoon cooling it before night, so I never did get a picture.

Monday, August 2, 2010


Hi guys, I just thought I'd let you know that I won't be able to post for the next two weeks. Sorry about that. Takin' a little down time with the family before school starts in a few weeks. Crazy stuff that summer vacation is almost over. Bright blessings to you all and I'll see you on the flip side! ;)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Unexpected blessings!

I have been blessed with a very sweet blog award from Green Witch Ways! Thank you SO much! You can head on over and see who else she gave the award to. I am in the company of four impressive blogs there that make me feel even more honored!

So, the most recent rules for the award are:

1. Thank the blogger that gave you the award - Many thanks GreenWheel, you have no idea how much this means to me! I started this blog as a place for my thoughts and fancies... as I am not good at writing things down in a journal. I had no idea people would really read it, or find it useful! I'm so glad for both!

2. Sum up your blogging philosophy, motivation, experience, using 5 words (how about 5 ideas or intentions of blogging?).
• open and honest, totally from the heart
• practical
• finding community
• sharing and learning from others (like finding community... I guess)
• getting a bit of feedback since I'm a solitary witch (like... finding... community... LOL!)

3. Pass the award on to 5 fabulous bloggers with substance. In no particular order and without further ado:

1 Nichola over at Knickertwist's... she sees joy and delight so easily... I admire her for that!
2 Pixie, Skye, and Nellie at Working Spirituality... wonderful collaboration! Oops... just realized they already had one... but I'm leaving them on the list anyway... go by and check them out if you haven't already!
3 Another collaboration at Grove of the Ancients
4 Heather at Say the Trees Have Ears... I'm still pondering her post on why pagans should be interested in astronomy!
5 Moonroot at Moonroot:Paganism, Permaculture, and Poultrykeeping on a Welsh Hillside

...and a nod to Nellie at A Bit of Gardening Spirit... she already got the award... but I did think of her when I was writing out this list!