Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Deciding on a Career

I’ve always been one of those people who take their time making decisions. I’m a great procrastinator. I think and think and then think some more. Although I’m an Aries, I don’t tend to display the more forceful aspects of the Aries personality. I’m reserved, shy and I prefer not to be around a lot of people, I find it very draining and it often gives me a migraine – though I do enjoy the sarcasm and quick wit that is part of the Aries personality. Toss in some severe immune issues and I find solitary life is a better fit for me than something that requires a large amount of people contact. But it does limit job opportunities and it has forced me to truly confront what I would like out of life. What are my dreams? My hopes? What do I want to be doing with my life? What is important to me and how can I adapt that into a satisfying lifelong career? It took me some time, but I honestly think I’ve found where I want to be. What I want to be.

My dream is to be a wisewoman, witch and healer. To write my experiences, to share a charm, cast a spell, and consult the tarot or offer healing through herbs. There is a longing in my soul for a simple life of magic and healing, of growing herbs and being in nature. I am not desirous of clinical herbalism, I have this dream of being the type of herbalist that invites people into her kitchen for a cuppa and a chat. A herbalist who can whip up a remedy on the spot for the person to take home, I want to share the experience and have people connect with herbs on a greater scale. 

I want the winding, whimsical herb garden home to butterflies, bees and faeries. I want a magical garden full of wonderous herbs and plants. I want to go to markets with my products and share the wisdom of herbs with people; I want to sell healing herbs for people to take home. I have this idea of having my table full of herbal remedies and alongside it, a selection of seedlings so people can go home and start their own herb garden. I’m not expecting it to be a wealthy lifestyle, at least not in the monetary sense. But I think I will feel wealthy and prosperous because my soul will be happy doing what I love.

I want to have a little herb nursery, only selling what I grow and encouraging people to embrace the quiet power that herbs have. I’ve not visions of a large nursery overflowing; it would not suit my lifestyle but a small nursery with happy plants calling for a home of their own; this I can manage. I’ve always wanted my own nursery; I’ve always liked the idea of being so intimately connected to plants. I’m studying horticulture in order to make this dream a reality – a successful one.

My witchcraft is also a big part of this life change I want to embrace. I want it to be as large a part as the herbalism because ultimately it is all tied together. I want to be able to cast charms and spells, create incenses and ointments, to do readings and continue to write articles, maybe have a book or two published. I want every day to be magical and every day to feel fulfilled and not empty. I want to be connected to the inner most parts of myself and answer the call buried so deep.

I want so much. I had thought perhaps too much. How does one even begin to create something like this? How does one begin to even wrap their mind around it? With small steps, very small steps, I’ve realized just when you think that luck has gone and your soul dreams have been abandoned, help can come from surprising places. Unexpected places. And sometimes when almost everything else seems lost there is a light if you just look ahead. I am soon going to be in the position where I just may be able to take small steps into making my dreams real and real in a way that works for me. I soon may be that herbalist who has some one at their table drinking a soothing cup of tea while learning to use herbs in the best way to help their health. I will be able to have my little herbal studio where the magic of potions and lotions can happen. 

It is almost terrifying to think the things you want most can happen, especially when you are so used to feeling as though they are never going to be possible. Sometimes I feel as though I almost have to pinch myself to see. But for now it is a waiting game with quiet planning happening in the background. Little notes, research and the understanding of careful management is the idea of the day. So for now I wait and see, planning, hoping. 


Saturday, 9 August 2014

Signs of Spring

Spring is beginning to unveil herself, yet still at night Winter lays her frosty coat on the ground. It is rather interesting weather we're experiencing right now. I look forward to early spring when the gardens start to flourish. I look forward to being able to spend time with my hands in the soil, strengthening my connection to land and plant.

Although I generally don't celebrate Imbolc, I took the time this year to honour it in a way that sat right with me. I did this by planting lots of seeds. I think I probably went slightly mad but that's half the fun. There is Clary Sage, Angelica, Rue, Chamomile, Chickweed, Tea Tree, Yarrow, Red Clover, Meadowsweet, Pennyroyal, Heartease, Datura and more. They sit in a sunny position, the alfalfa and cress already greeting the day, a small nub of green in the Cayenne section will soon be a lovely little seedling.

The Sarsaparilla is climbing all over the place, looking lovely, hiding in amongst the Banksia Rose.

Yellow always brightens the day when winter is grey and unwelcoming.

A young Crow often sits in our trees, the immature caw an interesting sound. We've been getting a lot of Crows this year, more so than usual which is nice as I adore these birds!

And my Mandrakes, autumnalis and turcomanica are growing. I am hoping that this time I have a successful plant come to maturity. We have a complicated relationship, Mandrake & I, so this time I would love to have a fully grown, fruiting plant!

So the garden is beginning to turn, soon I will plant out apple, peach, chestnut, elm and ash. I will work over the gardens, adding nutrients of compost, manure and soil. I will embrace the garden and feed her, watching her flourish and praying that come summer, she is able to thrive and survive despite the temperatures we get.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Realisation & Inspiration

I haven’t really been practicing my Craft lately, and by really, I mean not at all. I couldn’t even tell you the last time I did something remotely witch related. My altar has gathered dust, my tools lay unused and forgotten, my grimoire not updated for so long. It is simply because I haven’t had the motivation to bother. I haven’t felt at all inspired, and once inspiration is lost, enthusiasm and passion soon follow suit. What do you do when inspiration, passion and motivation walk out the door? How do you find it again? I think I have found myself in this place because I’ve been uncertain of who I am and where I’m going, I’ve not had a clear picture for a while and I’ve been left feeling empty, without purpose or direction. It terrified me, the idea of a purposeless life, I’ve always wanted to believe that I have a reason for being who I am, doing what I do but that has been lost of late. And in this digital age, it is so easy to doubt everything.

I have spent some time even considering whether or not I truly am a witch because I feel like I’ve failed; failed at being a witch, failed at practicing my path, just failed. So many years ago, I had the passion, I was practicing all of the time in one form or another, I was forever using my tarot and oracle decks, I would take the time to sit outside and reach for connection. I would fret over my gardens, excited when plants would sprout or blooms would reveal their delicate faces to the sun. I was so into my Craft that it permeated everything I did. I haven’t felt this level of passion for a long time, and it isn’t just the winter blues or burnout, it’s the insecurity of inadequacy that seems to fuel this current thought process of mine. I feel like I’ve failed because I’m not doing what I feel like I should be, and this is where my reference to the digital age kicks in.

I am a hedge witch, a green witch, consequently I tend to term myself under ‘traditional witch’, it seemed the most appropriate of “labels”. However, this had led to comparisons with others. I see what they do, how they practice, what is expected under the term ‘traditional’ and I see myself failing at even the most basic of things. I found myself doing things because I felt like I should instead of them being something that spoke to me spiritually. I started collecting bones because I thought that is what I should be doing – and while I do love my little collection of skulls, I’m not a bone worker, but it’s what traditional witches do right? While I adore my skulls and am currently weathering a collection of them outside, I don’t think I will grow my collection anymore because I don’t know that I will ever feel pulled toward bone working or working with animal spirits. And this brings me to my next failing.

I’m not inclined toward spirits; I learned that when I spent a weekend in a haunted gaol; everyone else was feeling it and me? Not a whiff of anything, although through an energy worker who was there I did connect somewhat with the energy of a spirit but it’s not natural for me. But as a witch I should be able to do it right? Especially as a hedge witch, I should be able to connect with spirits and work with them right? I should be seeing them everywhere and spending most of my time in the Otherworld building relationships, or so I keep thinking because that is what hedge witches do. I haven’t crossed the hedge in quite some time, but yet I can feel that my animal guide over there is not happy with me. Weirdly, I can feel that. Black Panther energy is powerful I guess, especially when it is being ignored. And there’s the rub in essence, because since I was a child I have had what is considered to be a very powerful and ancient guide yet I find myself noting only my failures and losing heart. I hold faith with the powerful hedge crossing I had the last time I did so, I hold faith that it means something greater than my utter lack of witchcraft practice.

I compare myself and I hate it because I’ve always been one of those people who don’t really care what people think of me. I’m not some one who chases praise or superficial friendships in order to boost my ego. I’d rather be alone than around people to be honest (apparent common trait of some one who has a panther guide). Yet I find myself reading blogs online, seeing witches achieve all these amazing things and I give up because I feel like I can’t do what they’re doing. I’m not a witch if I’m not doing what they’re doing. It’s damaging to see yourself as a failure in the witch world, and it is even more damaging when you know that you don’t care what they do because it is not what you do, yet being stuck in this place of stagnation because you’re not doing what others perceive as traditional witchcraft or hedge witchcraft or whatever it is. It’s a contrary position to be in. Especially when you’ve only noticed it being recent and not something that was particularly bothering months ago.

So instead I have spent my time focusing on my herbalism, writing recipes, trying new things, building a website. Doing anything other than witchcraft really and late one night I came to a realisation that should have been obvious from the very start. I threw myself into my herbs because that is where I am most comfortable. That is where I find my peace and my passion. And that is where the passion was years ago. When I used to teach, I taught Magical Herbalism. I wrote the course myself and then wrote another on Herb Crafts. The first true witch tool I ever bought was a little herb kit off eBay. The first things I ever sold in my eBay store was herbs and herbal incenses. My passion for creating products for my store whether they were incenses, salves or infused oils stemmed from herbs. And this is what I realised so late one night.

Herbs is what I do.

Herbs is who I am.

I have always been passionate about herbs. Because I doubted my witch self, I threw all of my energy into my herbal self, yet they are not separate. I first became interested in herbs magically and this lead to my studying herbalism. I forgot that, it seems though at the same time my subconscious was trying to remind me of it. I may not be a bone worker or spirit worker but I work very well with herbs. I connect on an elemental level with herbs. I have four mandrakes up at the moment, and I’ve been reminded of the excitement that comes from seeing the little green leaves pop their heads up (whether they stay alive for a length of time is another thing, we have a complicated relationship mandrake and I), seeing them develop more than two leaves. It’s not the excitement so much of knowing a complicated and rather temperamental plant is growing in my garden; it is the excitement of seeing herbs come alive in the garden. The gardener aspect of my personality revels in the thrill of successful germination and heartbreak of losing plants when it happens. The herbalist in me appreciates the aspect of growing your own herbs to use, because they almost always are more potent from your own garden. It also involves you in the cycle of the plant’s life. And the witch rubs her hands with glee to see the natural world so represented in its varying diversity, knowing that the Spirits of the Green are dancing happily amongst the garden.

I forgot who I was because I was so busy trying to be what I thought I should be. The fundamental foundation of my practice has always been herbs; I lost that because I wanted to be the incredible spirit contacting, bone working witch who has beings knocking on her door. I lost what made me love being a witch in the first place; I lost that connection to my magical self so my soul reminded me in other ways of the thing I love the most about practicing my Craft. I work with herbs, that is my calling. Whether I make a healing balm or a flying ointment, a restful tea or an incense I always worked with herbs. Rediscovering that is almost like discovering witchcraft again. My path has always been the green world, and in that, I do work with spirits and bones, mine are the just the Old Ones of the land, of the wilds. I am a hedge witch, I am a green witch, I’m not so sure I would call myself a ‘traditional witch’ anymore, but I am who I’ve always been. I know that now, I accept that now. I walk my own road, my own twisting path. My journey is my own and just because it is not like another’s does not make it less, it simply makes it mine.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

A Winter Garden

A Rose in Winter

Black Nightshade laden with berries

Henbane flowering

Flowering Burdock

Happy Daisy greeting the day

Sarsparilla growing wild in the Banksia

Aloe showing her beautiful flowers

Banksia Rose flowering in the cool winter sun

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Finding Your Mojo Spread

I've been rather lacklustre of late, and I wanted to get a little insight so out came the tarot cards. I came by this spread by way of Greylady's Hearth. I realised I don't post much tarot related stuff on this blog anymore since I create my tarot-specific blog but I'm going to try to post stuff more often. I decided to use my Wildwood Tarot for this spread because it is the one that I am most connected to (well this deck and my Dragon deck) and since it is more spiritually oriented, I thought it the best to go to for answers.

Finding Your Mojo

Card #1 (Here is where my mojo is hiding)

The Pole Star

The Pole Star of prophetic guidance and inspirational knowledge has risen and will guide you on your forthcoming journey through the forest”.

This is my Mojo, universal lore, higher spiritual knowledge and power. This is where I gravitate to when I need to find inspiration or understand something. Knowledge. Somehow I’ve disconnected myself from that and I was always at my happiest when learning and putting that learning into practice. I need to get back to the core of who I am and begin learning, allowing any growth I experience come from that powerful source – knowledge.

Card#2  (Here is what is getting in my way)

Nine of Bows – Respect

What is getting in my way is my lack of true dedication to the path I am walking. When I come to a challenge I tend to walk away rather than see the challenge through, simply because it is easier. I tend to lack self discipline and focus (a flaw I am well aware of) and allow negative thoughts to circumvent any action. I need to let go of the past and begin to apply myself to whatever I undertake in order to find the inspiration and motivation I currently lack.

Card#3 (Here is my solution. Do it now!)

Ace of Arrows – The Breath of Life

Follow through! That is what I need to do. Instead of leaving something and moving on to the next thing, I have to finish what I do. I have to get past my lack of confidence in my abilities and processes, the primal energy of the universe can be worked with, can be summoned to help create and I need to remember this. 

I am my own worst enemy I think is the general gist. I am the one who is capable of accomplishing my dreams but I get in my own way and fear failure. By letting go of this and seeing things through, whether or not they come out just right, is the first step to finding the passion and inspiration I lack. I love learning, and what is learning but doing and doing to the end whether you fail or succeed? 

Monday, 16 June 2014

Seasons of Change

I read this post and it spoke to me. As I progress further in my path I am beginning to see that as the world changes, my practice changes; especially with the climate issues battering the world. The original calendar really doesn’t apply anymore. It has become evident to me that I must throw any notion of that calendar out the window and truly pay attention the land and climate around me in order to truly connect with seasons and the land. The calendar of Sabbat dates is fast becoming irrelevant because the Earth has changed, her cycles are not as they were with our ancestors, I’m not even sure our ancestors would recognise the land we live in today.

The seasons here have been interesting, a hotter than average summer, a deluge of almost never before seen proportions on one day in February followed by a sudden and unusual greening because of the moisture in the land. Autumn actually came swiftly but somehow lasted longer than it has previously. May saw some unusually warm weather after a fairly cool April, thankfully it was just gentle warmth. Nothing too spectacular or unpleasant. June has been cool but not the winter I had hoped for. As yet we’ve not experienced anything truly cold, it has been very wet so far though, which was a surprise considering it has been predicted that winter will be warmer and drier than normal.

The winter solstice is in less than a week, but I don’t feel it, I don’t feel that the time is quite right. We are not celebrating the renewal of the sun or the dark half of the year giving way to the light. We’ve barely experienced the dark half of the year yet. There is comfort in tradition, but when the tradition does not match the reality, sometimes it can confuse and confound. It has been something of a revelation looking to something other than tradition to begin building a more authentic self practice. I generally only celebrate the solstices and equinoxes, rarely the other four sabbats. However, for each Sabbat I do cook dinner for my family, this has become somewhat of a tradition and one I embrace.

My Oak is perhaps the best example of this change. She is still holding her leaves. She is slowly changing colour but not too many years ago, by this time she was bare. At this time, there are still so many green leaves. Even the Oak has recognized that the seasons are not what she has been used to in her previous years. While I will cook dinner for my family on June 21st, I know that Yule, for me, will likely not be until late July. The Spring equinox will be closer to the end of August when trees begin to bud and flowers start their showing. By the time September 21st rolls round, I imagine everything will be out in bloom and celebrating their welcoming of the sun. If I was to go by the past summer, the pinnacle of it was late January not December 21st, I think the Autumn Equinox was perhaps the only one that feel in or around when it was meant to. The weather had begun to cool, some trees had begun to change and the usual hot weather we experience in March had begun to fade.

Now I have to look beyond what has been ingrained over the years of my practice. Now I must walk to the tune of nature as she is now, not how I perceive she should be. I almost feel as though I should begin from scratch, as if I had never practiced before and am building my own path out of what is now instead of what is considered ‘right’. I am going to create a ‘Genius Loci Profile’; a good example of one is here; it is important that as the land around me changes, I understand it more, connect with it more and truly understand the spirit of the place where I live. My practice has stagnated, it has not grown nor evolved and I have become lackluster in my approach to anything Craft related. I think I have lost my inspiration and somehow I must seek to find it, to re-ignite the passion that drove me previously. I haven’t centered my spirit on my witchcraft in some time, so caught up with other things such as writing, creating herbal remedies and trying to get past ill health that continues to dog me.

I really do believe that the best thing is to start as though I know nothing and rediscover what I do know, what Spirit knows and what witch lies within. I don’t intend that this blog will become some 101 thing, but I think it will document the progress I make during my rediscovery. Sometimes I think we all have to go back to the beginning to find our way again.

Monday, 26 May 2014

A Day in the Forest

Sunday was such a lovely day that it seemed a shame to spend it indoors, so a picnic was packed and off we went to the forest. It is a little bit of a drive from where I live, perhaps half hour or more, but the beauty that awaited was worth it. January this year, the forest was devastated by fires. It is estimated that three quarters of the forest had been lost, but still she stands regal and with pride. As I drove and walked through it, I could feel the energy of the place. It was strong and palpable. It may have lost so much of itself but its spirit was as strong as ever. Birds chirped, called and shrieked. Trees spoke in the wind, frogs sang and flowers bloomed. It was peaceful yet energising. It is slowly beginning to heal, to spark green again and although there are burned trees and devastated areas, the sprig of life beginning again gives hope that this old forest will one day again know its pre-fire glory.