Wednesday, 31 October 2012

My Halloween Pumpkin

This year my pumpkin is a cat under a full moon. I love cats and since I have two cats now, this pumpkin is in honour of my darling Bella and Mojo!! Again, I roped my ever suffering stepdad into carving for me (I'm seriously dangerous with a sharp implement) and doing the hard bit. Luckily there were no serious injuries!!



Here is my fabulous pumpkin, my stepdad got up and emptied it this morning!


My stencil of the kitty and full moon!


The stencil on the pumpkin, it's a bit faint but you can sort of see it.


The finished carved product!

Tonight I will set out my pumpkin and let her glow her little behind off. I'm thinking that once the candle runs out I might put a solar light in there, that way she'll be multi-coloured!!

I will post a photo of her in her shining glory tomorrow!

Here it was, it didn't shine as bright as I had hoped but oh well, it still looked fab when you saw it in person.


Tuesday, 30 October 2012

The Halloween Witch

Each year they parade her about...the traditional Halloween Witch.

Misshapen green face, stringy scrapes of hair, and a toothless mouth beneath her disfigured nose. Gnarled, knobby fingers twisted into a claw, protracting from a bent and twisted torso that lurches about on wobbly legs.

Most think this abject image to be the creation of a prejudiced mind, or merely a Halloween caricature.

I disagree. I believe this to be how witches were really seen.

Consider that most witches: were women, were abducted in the night, and smuggled into dungeons or prisons under the secrecy of darkness, to be presented by the light of day as a confessed witch.

Few, if any saw a frightened, normal looking woman being dragged into a secret room filled with instruments of torture. To be questioned until she confessed to anything that was suggested to her, and to give names or whatever would stop the questions. Crowds saw the aberration denounced to the world a a self-proclaimed witch.

As the witch was paraded through the town, en route to be burned, hanged, drowned, stoned, or disposed of in various other forms of Christian love...all created to be free and save her soul from her depraved body. The jeering crowds viewed the result of hour of torture. The face, bruised and broken by countless blows, bore a hue of sickly green. The once warm and loving smile gone.

Replaced by a grimace of broken teeth and torn gums the leer beneath a battered, disfigured nose. The disheveled hair conceals bleeding gaps of torn scalp from whence cruel hands had torn away the lovely tresses. Broken, twisted hands clutched the wagon for support. Fractured fingers locked like groping claws to steady her broken body. All semblance of humanity gone. This was a demon, a bride of Satan, a witch.

I revere this Halloween crone and hold her sacred above all. I honor her courage and listen to her warnings of the dark side of humanity.

Each year I shed tears of respect.

Written by Angel, 6/99

Saturday, 27 October 2012

My Grimoire

A grimoire is perhaps a witch’s most important tool. It will house her memories, her spells, her workings, her beliefs and her journey. It will be the tool that she always uses because it will ever be evolving and changing. A grimoire should be a true reflection of the path you walk and the journey thus far.

My old BoS


My old grimoire (as you can see above) was a Book of Shadows; I started it when I was still Wiccan. It’s a D-ring binder – and I find them to be very useful because they are very flexible. I had purchased a lot with 500 pages in it off eBay and I decorated all of the pages myself, coloured them in etc. But I found that I didn’t use it too often, I think this is because I had put in information that I felt I had to, was required, was told by other Wiccans had to be in your Book of Shadows and although it is lovely and decorated, it’s not a true reflection of my path.

I decided to start over because I had decided to start over in my path. For some time now I’ve been a Witch, not Wiccan. I’ve touched on the thought of being a traditional witch and I still feel to a degree that I am but I’m not completely comfortable owning that title in its entirety as it relates to my path. At this point in time I’m not even sure I could define what path is generally speaking. It’s something I’ve been struggling with for awhile, I wrote about it previously, and day by day I think I discover a little more about myself and where I’m heading.

Don't you just love the purple? Awesomest colour ever!


But anyway, back to my grimoire. For my birthday last year I had my stepdad handcraft me a grimoire to my specifications. It is purple suede (I do love me some purple), lined with purple and black material, white, black and purple ribbons and is post bound so it is still flexible. It has a pentagram on the front and it really is quite lovely. (He takes custom orders). Actually most of my important tools have been handcrafted or at least been altered by hand. I decided (as I had not put much in it since I got it) when I began to rebuild my book that I would only put in the things that were important to me, not things that people deemed important overall. I want it to truly reflect my journey so I am putting things in it as I do them. I will add correspondences and whatnot soon enough but for now, as I create, practice or do things, I write about it and add it to my book.

My Front Page, I haven't put in a title page yet
but you can see the lovely ribbons and lining.

Yes, I borrowed this out of the Charmed BoS, I liked it.

The Witch's Wisdom is also from Charmed.
I really do love what it says.

This was my page added after I made my first Flying Ointment.

Some more recipes I've tried out.

The October thing is from an Almanac - Llewellyn I believe
but I really loved the imagery.
The Beltaine page is something I bought from eBay.

Again from an Almanac and who doesn't love
the Pooka Pages stuff?

Ivy on the Path has two wonderful articles about creating a Book (here and here), it put some things in perspective for me as I was doing mine. My book is truly going to be an organic process, it will grow as I grow, it will change as I change and hopefully, by the end of it, it shows where I am. Perhaps then I can understand what my path is.

My most important advice for those starting their own book is truly to really just let it grow with you. Don’t cram a tonne of information in it because you think you have to, let it be an organic process, let it come naturally and really be the tool that reflects your journey.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

The Mandrake Project - Baby No. 3



Baby No 3 is up and Mama is so excited, I am really proud of the fact that I've been able to get them to grow! I can't wait to see how they progress. Hopefully I get more and more coming up.

Yay!!

Friday, 19 October 2012

The Mandrake Project - Baby No. 2



Mandrake number two has popped up. So excited. The two of them, even as small as they are, have such strong energy. The second one is not as big as the first one, but we shall see how they progress. They do put out a bit of power already so I think they are going to be incredible to work with. I still have 9 other seeds I planted so I am waiting to see if they come up but still - I have two mandrakes!

Yay!

Ancestor Workings

I’ve been thinking about ancestor workings lately. I have this image of one of my stoneware chalices and my aboriginal art scarf sitting together on an altar constantly in my mind; it just popped up in there one day. Just the two items, nothing more, and I am not sure why but I do have some ideas.

My family tree is an interesting story, I have no Aboriginal in my direct line, however I do know that off various branches of my mother’s maternal line there is Aboriginal, in my own, going back 5 and 6 generations there is African American and West Indian (although there seems to be some confusion now on whether or not this ancestor was also African American or from Barbados – most records suggest to me he is from Barbados), so two of my ancestors were black. I think the symbolism of the chalice and the scarf in my mind and the need to put them together is my roots in Australia are a deep well, and because four of my ancestors were First Fleeters (the two above mentioned included) my roots are deeply ingrained within the soil of this land since it was first colonised by people other than the Aboriginals.

I have interesting roots all over the world like in Spain and India, some in now defunct countries like Prussia. I’ve always felt a strong calling toward the UK, most of my ancestors across all branches are from the UK – a huge amount is English, a few are Scottish and a rather big group is Irish. I went to Ireland a few years ago and the only place I felt any true connection was in Cork. I found later I had ancestors from Cork but the rest of the Irish contingent across the family was from the North. When you begin to root around in the family tree, it becomes a journey, somehow they cease being names and dates once you start learning about the people themselves. My mother’s line (her maternal line) is fascinating, there are some interesting stories in there – wholly unexpected when I first began to research them, but now I get a feel of where I come from and I really can’t complain.

I think that I have a better idea of what truly connecting with your ancestors means. It’s not something I’ve tried and quite honestly, a lot of the time I don’t know that I completely grasp the concept, but I am willing to give it a go. I don’t want to work with my immediate ancestors (personal reasons) but the in the broader sense I’m quite excited to explore the ancestors who walked years before when this country was young to the white man and to those who walked the ancient soils of the UK and Europe.

Witch Cards Take 2.

Awhile ago I started a project using my Good Witch Bad Witch cards. You can read the premise of the project here. Suffice to say, it fell by the wayside given everything that has happened so far this year. I’m going to give it another shot.

But I think I’m going to approach in a different fashion, not sure how yet. I like where I was headed last time, however there needs to be a few tweaks I feel. So we shall see.

Hopefully I will begin posting soon, just as soon as I sort myself out.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

The War of Words

I had originally written a 1000+ word piece on a topic that has come up lately across the internet – I hadn’t even finished it but reading it I realized it read more like an exceptionally long rant than an opinion piece so I’ve decided to scrap my original and rework something that sounded more opinion, less rant.

The rant was originally inspired by a situation that arose on the internet. It involved accusations of imitation, intellectual property theft, stalker like behaviour and the “copying” of another’s style and personality. However it was not unique to this one situation, these days it seems that Pagans across the net are bitching at one another or throwing around unpleasant accusations on just about everything. It’s a sad state of affairs, we all want acceptance but I think we need to start with each other first.

I wanted to address each of these issues as rationally and calmly as I could without getting too carried away; I am sometimes prone to needless exposition.

Intellectual Property Theft: Not okay under any circumstances. If you’re not sure, ask the person who the work belongs to. This will get you the answer quite quickly. In one situation, a person did use without permission and removed once it was made clear permission was not going to be given. Unfortunately this seems to be the impetus of many a veiled discussion between some parties. I don’t believe that if this is a one time thing, you should suffer the “well they always” that seems to be used to define one event. I think if a lesson is learned and the action not done again, it should be left alone.

Stalker Like Behaviour: This is the one that gets me the most riled up because I’ve found in many a context the use of the word ‘stalker’ comes across as a trendy catch word or turned into something petty or asinine. Truthfully, having a similar spiritual path or blog template to some one is not stalking. I was stalked when I was younger. It was horrendous and terrifying so I know what a stalker is and it pisses me off when people use it to describe something trivial. True stalking is a terrifying; life changing thing and it is not something to be thrown around lightly as a buzzword.

Imitation: Hmm, imitation is an interesting term in the Pagan realm. You can try although I imagine it wouldn’t work. I think the problem is so many people are confusing ‘imitation’ with ‘inspiration’. A lot of the time there is no imitation but it can be perceived that way. One of the arguments of imitation that has come up is the creating and selling of flying ointments. It seems everyone is giving it ago these days. I can see that there are concerns because I believe some people are not even witches but people capitalizing or trying to make a quick buck and putting dangerous herbs together without fully understanding what those herbs do. There are some out there who are truly gifted with herbs and the ability to work them and for those individuals it must be hard to work forward knowing there are less than honest people moving in. I plan to, later down the track, make and sell ointments of varying degrees. Rest assured I am not imitating; it is a fascination and natural progression of my path.

Another charge is when websites look similar, I think in a couple of instances this was overzealous reacting without fully looking at the presented sites – and I will argue that if a template is free on the net and some one else uses it, it’s not imitating, its taking advantage of a free template.

The Copying of Style and Personality: There have been accusations of copying of style and personality of others who are well known within the community and it appears as though this thought, when presented to a larger audience, can incite some rather vitriolic hatred. I can understand if some one thinks that another witch is stealing their ideas and passing them off as their own that they may get upset and reach to the masses in alerting people of this but when the “copying” is so minimal that it barely registers, I tend to think this is more leaning toward bruised ego than anything else. You can’t copy some one’s personality because it is a unique thing. You would have to know that person intimately to be able to even begin to pull it off. As for the copying of style, this really gets my ire up. Why? Because it speak of the proprietary attitude that is so prevalent within the community today.

Some seem to think that any Craft they write about and present in their blogs, sites, or other media forum should be their own and anyone seen to be using any ideas is copying. There is this attitude of “I did it first so therefore it’s mine and everyone else is copying me”. And the truth of the matter is, some people learned about these things before one person was writing about them, and it doesn’t make it theirs alone and if the person who may have already been aware then begins to write about it themselves, it becomes an internet incident. The thing is, there are a multitude of ways people can get information and begin on different paths.

It could have been a text, anthropological studies, herbalism books, history on Native Americans and their spiritual practices, books on Celtic peoples and their practices; any number of areas, as did the idea of working with banefuls, plant spirits, tarot etc – all of it is not original to any one person. I’m not saying that developing your own style and not wanting that mimicked is wrong, it isn’t but when you post on a blog or website for the world to see, there will be some who are inspired by what you present and wish to give it a go themselves to see if it fits them.

For me, I was aware of things like banefuls, shamanism, ointments and the like well before I came across it on individual websites and blogs. I had been reading on spiritual practices for awhile and because I also subscribed to a couple of different magazines for a number of years I learned about these things on my own. (I was learning about the Craft from magazines and pamphlets – before blogs and personal websites). If I choose to blog about my adventures in growing banefuls (which I plan to do) I would not appreciate being thought of as a copycat or stealing the ideas of another’s path. It would be a natural progression, as I am studying Herbalism right now (4 subjects away for my Foundation Certification yay!). It’s a hard road we walk sometimes when anything can be subject to public opinion but sometimes one has to ignore the public and push on anyway.

The truth is nothing in witchcraft is original. No one person can claim any sort of ownership over any one path because it’s all been done before. Somewhere. However, witchcraft is ever evolving, changing and being experienced in all realms. People will come to things as they find them by the way of natural progression within their path. It’s enlightening and fun to come across some one else who has done it and has shared their experience. I would love for people to keep blogging and trying new things but I would ask that just because you were first to write about it doesn’t necessarily mean you were the first to do it and to call some one out or imply in an openly public forum there was copying is not the way to go.

Just remember, there were witches practicing before the internet doing what you’re doing, doing what another witch is doing, experiencing all manner of paths across all spiritual paths. This has to be kept present in the mind before hitting the keys and starting a war of words over something so egocentric. 

Well this turned out longer than I had planned, and it isn’t a rant which is wonderful but I hope I’ve put forth some food for thought. I worry that new witches will discover things on their own, go to the internet to learn and see witches tearing shreds off one another because of similar spiritual paths and decide to walk away from being active in the community. We want to encourage open discussion and growth but it has to be done respectfully and with forethought.

Walk your path, enjoy your practice and live it well without concerning yourself about others. Your path is yours of course, but it doesn’t have to be a bad thing if some one wants to walk it too.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Lordi - Hard Rock Hallelujah



I sooo love this group - they won Eurovision 2006 song contest in epic fashion. They are this curious blend of glam rock with a definite harder metal edge - not to mention the get up!!

Enjoy!

Monday, 15 October 2012

Mandrake Project – The Babies Have Sprouted


So funny, the other day I posted that I hadn’t done much on the Mandrake Project because not much was going on. Mum went out to water the garden today and lo and behold, one mandrake has sprouted!! So so excited. I was dancing around the house looking like a Gangnam reject!!

I am really hoping the others come up but right now I am over the moon! My first ever mandrake from seed!! Woooooo!!!!!

Friday, 12 October 2012

New Seeds


Yay, new seeds. Always a great day when you can get new seeds. The picture shows the stash. More Mandrake Seeds (both officinarum and autumnalis) as well as Sweetgrass (for future incenses and smudge sticks) and the Queen of witchy herbs - Belladonna a.k.a Deadly Nightshade. I'm not sure how I will go with the Belladonna, I think it will be a wait and see experiment. The Mandrakes I will be putting out soon and I certainly will be giving the Sweetgrass a bash. My white sage has started to come up (I think), no movement on the Mugwort yet.

I've not been ignoring my Mandrake project, I've been busy and they've not grown yet but I will be posting some more info soon!!

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Burning the Incense Balls

You will have to excuse the crummy quality of my photos; my camera was being quite uncooperative, but I think they’re kind of clear enough…

Pre-lighting.

These are the incense balls discussed in my blog post Making Incense Pellets. They were finally cured enough to burn so burn one I did. The charcoal was being a little bit of a bitch mind you, wouldn’t light correctly but I got it eventually.

During the burning process.

The smell was divine; honey really adds another dimension to the scent of the herbs but does not overpower it as the scent of the herbs came through nice and strong. I have to say I am now a lover of this type of incense, when my herbal stores are built up a little bit, I am definitely cranking out some incense pellets for my business!

All burned, they certainly reduce in size.
If you are curious about the incense burner, it was an item I got in an Uncle Fester's Cauldron Club package.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Spring is Here

Black Currant

Rose

Lilac

Don't actually know what this is

Bulbs in the garden

Dutch Iris

Yellow Tulips

What is a Grimoire?

A Grimoire is a traditional witch’s Book – an equal to a Wiccan’s Book of Shadows to a degree – where the journey is recorded, spells and rituals are written. It holds the story of the path of the Witch but what makes a Grimoire so unique is that it is so completely individual. Wiccan BoS tend to have similar information insofar as it relates to their religion (Rede, Law of Three, Charges etc) whereas a traditional witch’s grimoire will have whatever is relevant to her path individually with no required particulars in it. Every one will be different; there is not a witch who practices the same as another, there are those who may practice similarly but there will be subtle hints as to how their paths diverge from one another’s.

Grimoire is the name given to some of the most ancient and legendary of magical texts. A little research will net you PDF copies of some fantastic writings. One site I have found to be especially helpful is the Hermetic Resource Site. Some tomes have survived thousands of years, texts such as the Egyptian Book of the Dead gives us insight into the religious and ritual practice of the ancients, their spells, how they worded them, how they performed them, what ingredients they used. The grimoires of old are the foundations of where today’s Pagan writers structured their material; it was the “blueprint” so to speak.

The Grimoires of old were believed to hold spells, rituals, divinations, and instructions on how to make talismans, amulets and perform invocations and rituals to call forth Angels, Spirits and Demons. Some of the more famous ancient texts are the several Greater Key and Lesser Key of Solomon texts, these texts date back to the late middle ages and Italian renaissance and are believed to be the works of King Solomon. It is believed they were influenced by the Kabalistic Texts and Arab Alchemical works. These books are reputed to include rituals on summoning spirits and demons, binding them to the will of the magician. It also hold rituals and spells for becoming invisible, finding stolen objects, love, money, gaining favour and so on.

There are several other tomes and texts that delve into spirit and demon summoning; there is also the Grand Grimoire, a complete works on the Devil believed to have been written in the 13th century. Another famous Grimoire is the Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage. This book was translated into English in 1897 by British occultist Samuel L MacGregor Mathers. The magic described in this text was influential in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. This order is perhaps best known for its most infamous member Aleister Crowley, who at one time, started preparations for seeking out the angel described in the text. However he abandoned this plan to work with Mathers in the order.

These earlier Tomes and Grimoires are the ancestors of the modern Grimoire and Book of Shadows, a Witches most sacred tool. Although the modern versions now are very different, there is much to be learned from the older texts. Occultists and Magicians through the ages have been fascinated with these texts and the knowledge they hold, the spells and rituals, the summoning, bindings and use of higher beings for personal and magical gain is a fascinating insight into the medieval and renaissance magical practices. It shows that after the darkness of the middle ages that enlightenment and spirituality began to make a comeback, that people were open to searching beyond the confines of patriarchal religions and find another way, another path. Some of the texts still deal with “God” as he is presented in Christianity, but there are others like the Gospel of the Witches that shows a marked movement toward something else all together, and so from this point modern alternative religious paths were birthed, books were written and old tomes were re-written or translated, bringing this ancient knowledge back into the light.

I’m not saying as a practitioner any of these works will be of interest or important to your path, but they provide an interesting and fascinating history into the written magical works of our forbearers. As a Trad witch this doesn’t much apply to my path because I work with more natural earth based energies, the idea of Angels, Demons etc really don’t interest me at all. I would recommend reading some of these tomes, even just for curiosity’s sake, I would hazard that most witches would not use anything presented in these works within their own path but I’m a firm believer that learning new things, relevant or not as they may turn out to be, is a good thing.

On the left hand side of the Hermetics page is a long list of different Occult areas and the books that are associated with them. Go nuts and have fun. There are many great texts available on the internet, some old, some newer but all fantastic. Another great site is Dark Books, the day I discovered this site I spent a good portion of it downloading. There are some real old school texts in there; I challenge you to resist the urge to begin a download spree!!

Monday, 1 October 2012

Day 32: A Pagan/Witchy Artwork

I’ve chosen two images for this day because each one speaks to me in a powerful way. I could have chosen Anne Stokes or Victoria Frances art, I adore both of their work and even have an Anne Stokes bedspread, china mug and wall hanging (yes I’m a bit of a fan) but I felt like, as much as I love these artists, I love their work for the enjoyment I get looking at it. For this particular day I felt I needed to go a little deeper.

Menstrual Night by Emily Balivet

The first picture is called “Menstrual Night” and it is by Emily Balivet. It is a stunning, visceral piece of art and I relate to it. The menstrual cycle has always been a severe problem for me, I suffer from a condition that makes it much worse, painfully so. Looking at this image I can feel the primal power of being a woman and knowing that it is a part of who I am, it is not something to shunt away and be ignored, nor is it something to be ashamed of. It tires me, it pains me, it aggravates me and oftimes makes me an utter bitch to be around but at the same time, it is something that speaks to the power of being female. (Funny thing is though, as much as this is something I’ve been learning to embrace a little more, I still do not want kids).


Hedge Witch by SkyClad Witch

The second image is called “Hedge Witch” by Skyclad Witch. I think it is a phenomenally interesting piece of art because I feel it represents the Hedge. Hedge Witchcraft is something I am exploring and trying out, so I look at this picture as almost a guide, a knowing of what lies beyond. It is a place I want to get to, but for now, I just love this image.

Day 31: A Favourite Pagan/Witchy movie.


Ok so my favourite Witchy movie of all time has to be Hocus Pocus. Now it might seem a bit of a ridiculous choice I’ll grant you but there is no witch better than Winnie. Bette Midler plays her to perfection and I challenge anyone else to tell me different.

It’s fun, raucous and a hell of a good time and I watch it every Halloween without fail. To me, Winnie is the ultimate Witch. I look at her and think, if being bad is this awesome who wants to be good?

Day 30: Witchy Tools: Wand


This is my wand, it is Oak taken from the Oak tree in our yard, it is wrapped in brown leather with an amethyst tip. I love Oak, it is by far my most favourite wood, it is a powerful energy to work with.