Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Strange Dreams Again

I had a strange dream, in it I had a dog that looked like a husky or wolf type dog, it had electric blue eyes. I gave it a name but then I forgot it and I was asking people what I called the dog again and all I kept getting was Woden and Odin. I gave the dog Schmackos (a.k.a Dog Crack as any owner who gives their dogs these will attest) and it ate them but anyway, the dog was called Woden or Odin which was not the name I gave it originally in the dream.

As much as I understand is an Anglo-Saxan deity, his correspondences are that of Lord of the Wild Hunt, God of Wisdom, Magic and Master of the Runes, psychopomp, shaman and shapeshifter and healer. He has two wolves and two ravens that fly with him. This lead to me discovering the word Haegtessa. It was a rather convoluted researching thing I did. I looked up Woden which lead me to reading about Norse magic and of course it lead me to the word Haegtessa which essentially means hedge rider. I’m not even sure why Woden in a wolf form would be in my dream or if it is something of a symbolic message.

As it turns out Woden (or sometimes Wodan/Wotan) is better known as an Anglo Saxon deity, has a huge amount of places named for him in England. A bunch in Wiltshire – and the connection is made there by the fact that in my maternal line there is a host of ancestors from this region, as well as from other regions I have ancestors.

I was also looking up animal totems and dream symbols and came across a link for finding out which animal totem is aligned with your birth month. It turns out mine is the Falcon, this is the information I found on the site What’s Your Sign:

The Falcon animal totem comes to us when we require higher vision, or higher knowledge in solving current dilemmas in our lives.

The Falcon is a solar emblem for success, victory and rising above a situation.
Further evidence of its solar influence, the Falcon was symbolic of the rising sun in Egypt. It is also the king of all birds where many gods were shown with the head or body of the Falcon (including Ra).
In European tradition, the Falcon represents the huntsman and is associated with the Germanic sky-gods Wodan as well as Frigg and the trickster Loki. In European culture the Falcon is considered a warlike symbol.

At its core, the Falcon animal totem represents visionary power, wisdom, and guardianship. This powerful bird awakens visionary power, and leads you to your life purpose. The Falcon carries with it a message of transition and change - perhaps in your vocation, work, career, etc.

A quick-list of falcon animal totem attributes:

Superiority
Spirit
Light
Power
Focus
Prophecy
Freedom
Aspiration
Intensity
Determination


Falcon animal totems encourage us to calculate and strategize. If we have a goal, Falcons beckon us to make plans and strategies to obtain these goals. Falcons are all about focus - strong, one-pointed focus. When they show themselves to us, we are being called to focus on our desires and our goals, and do what is necessary to bring our desires into our reality.

The fact that the Falcon is a solar creature could mean there is something in your life that you are highly passionate about, and the Falcon is asking you to take action on this passion. But be smart about it - don't jump into something without doing research and planning. Make your passion a reality by pursuing it methodically and as strategically as the Falcon would pursue his hunt.

So the strange thing is that the Falcon represents Wodan. It’s all coming together for whatever reason; I’m not sure what it all means as yet. I’m sure it’ll smack me in the face when I least expect it to.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Making the Kyphi Pellets

Ok, so they turned out more ball-like, about teaspoon size I suppose, but it was such sticky fun! I had to keep washing my hands every so often because the honey in the balls would stick to the honey on my hands and not roll properly.


Here is the ingredients getting ready to come together. I am a bit funny in that I tend to add stuff as I go along, so this ended up with way more ingredients than originally intended.


Here is the sultana/date/port mix.


I added the vanilla and essential oils to the dry mix.


Here is the fruit/dry mix coming together nicely.


Adding the honey (organic).


Here is my lovely scented sticky mess (a.k.a kyphi).


Here are all the balls made, I think there is 68 all up.

So here is my first batch of kyphi, it will be sold in my store. I'm giving it a month to cure so it should smell absolutely fantabulous by the time it is ready for sale. I have it sitting in my Mum's food dehydrator so the air circulates better - plus way practical storage!

The kyphi itself is made up of almost all organic or wildcrafted raw materials so I am really pleased about that too.

Monday, 18 February 2013

My Store #1

I know I keep mentioning my store so I thought I would do a couple of posts on it. This first one is sort of exploring the background of why I wanted to be a Pagan seller in the first place and how I found the experience. My second post will be about where I am now, how it is all coming together and when everything will be ready…. Hopefully.

A few years ago I decided to open my own store, originally an eBay store, selling herbs, candles, incense packets and a few other bits n bobs. I was a bit of an eBay addict and there wasn’t too many people doing the witchy thing on there. I wanted my path to be an extension of other areas in my life, I wanted to do something I was passionate about and enjoyed. I was still working then (at Coles) and thought of it as a hobby, something to do on the side before it boomed into this massive eBay business that would be my primary source of income…. Yeah, didn’t happen. I was actually doing okay, had my little 15 herb kit – there was some one selling a kit with 25 but I had the much coveted Mandrake Root in mine. I also did little altar kits with a smudge stick, herbs, charcoal, candles etc, I really was making a little bit of money and having a great time of it. Until the market became competitive. My little altar kit seemed to spark a revolution in new sellers who were in a better position than I to afford more things – so along came large altar kits and 40 herb kits and I really couldn’t compete. Business dried up and eventually I was left with a mish mash of stock that I couldn’t move…. I did eventually because I chucked it all into one large kit and sold it, made a little money on it too which was nice. By this time however, I had decided to shut down my eBay store. The fees for having a store cost more than I was making. So that dream died.

In the interim I had set up a free store with Intelliworks. I never put much effort into it initially and then I went a little mad putting a thousand dropship items in it and it got a little much to handle. So I scaled back and to be fair and honest, gave up, moved on to different things. Then the last year or so happened, heartache, pain and a souring of the spirit and floundering of the soul. I didn’t even think about my store to be honest – it was empty anyway. I was empty. Passion is sometimes hard to get back once you’ve lost it.

There were days I just didn’t care. I was looking up something one day and came across Etsy. I wasn’t too familiar with it, I mostly thought it was for handcrafted crocheted stuff, not particularly an interest of mine but
I got to looking and found there was a plethora of wonderful handcrafted Pagan items on there. It got me to thinking; this was a market I could perhaps corner in Australia. If you look, a lot of the sellers don’t ship to Australia for whatever reason – partly the nature of the products I suppose – especially the handcrafted wood things – we have very strict Customs. I do believe to some degree this also goes for the ointments and whatnot. Anyway, I started to feel my passion begin to rise, my interest begin to spark and the forming of ideas beginning. I wanted to have a go at making things, crafted things that actually meant something as opposed to the wholesale mass produced things that are mostly on offer now. I’m beginning to find my lust for making this my path in life and business now, partly I think because I finally got my Herbal certification and I felt better about myself, more confident.

So where does this leave me now? Crafting my little butt off. Making things to sell, getting other things ready, letting things marinate together to create a better experience. I’m getting there slowly, every day I do a little more. Try something new and see where it leads me. Because it is such a niche market there it can be hard work to really get yourself and your business out there. I’ve been thinking about doing some YouTube videos, not because I particularly have any dream of being some ‘Guru’ (don’t you hate the ones who get on there thinking they are the Final Voice on the Craft?) but because it will put a face to the name perhaps? Maybe show a little of who I am, I don’t want a Facebook page and if I can avoid it I will because I’ve seen too many witch bitchin and complaining of co-opting and copying and just general character assassinating to want to open myself up to that. If I make a Flying Ointment or something, I don’t want some one else’s minions going hell for leather over using the idea of some one else who might be making them. I don’t need that headache; I have enough going on to give my own self one. :)

Oh I forgot to say what my store was called…how daft am I? My store is called Cauldron of Nephthys. It came from being inspired by the Goddess when it came time to choose my magical name upon initiation into the tradition I was a part of. Although I had never worked with her, the name came to me and I really liked it and it worked. So that is how my business got its name. Nephthys is Wife to Set, Mother of Anubis and Sister to Isis. She is considered one of the ‘darker’ Goddesses on account of her being an Egyptian Goddess of Magic, Dreams, Divination, Intuition, Secrets, Metamorphisis, Death, the Unseen World, Darkness and Hidden Knowledge and she is associated with the Earth, fertility and change. Anyone who is familiar with Egyptian mythology would likely be familiar with her as well.

Anyway I’ll leave it there for now but look soon for a post on where I am now, when I’ll be offering things for sale etc.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

The Gods/Godbothered

I’ve been coming across this term on a few blogs lately, it’s ‘godbothered’. My understanding is it relates to a person being chosen by a God or Goddess to work for them/with them performing tasks and whatnot. Others I find seem to be ‘married’ to a God and others find themselves yanked out of their bodies because their God feels like a one on one. By definition, as much as I can gather, when one devotes themselves to a Deity, devotion is expected and required, your life is not your own and from now on you belong to whatever God claims you. Frightening isn’t it?

Empowering too I imagine, if this is what one wants. I don’t worship/work with Deity, never have because my practice is God-less (not to be confused with Atheist although strictly speaking it is how I mostly identify, it simply means I have no Gods in my work), I am an Animist so I do believe that there is sentience and spirit in all things, but this kind of partnership or relationship is not something I would personally seek out with a God. That being said, I do know how it feels to have a powerful God knock around in your head asking you to write something down for them. Ignoring them makes it worse, I am prone to migraines and ignoring Morrigan when she had something to share was not wise. Her voice, her words were in my head for three days, there only came peace and painlessness when I wrote what she required. What was it that I wrote? It is here.

Although I prefer to keep Deity out of my practice, I don’t subscribe to the seemingly popular idea that all the Gods and Goddesses across the different pantheons are just facets of the Masculine and Feminine, aspects if you will. I fully and firmly believe that the Gods are real; I think they are powerfully sentient beings who will not hesitate to smack you six ways from Sunday if you disrespect them. It’s like people in the Craft who run around as ‘priestesses’ of the Morrigan or Hecate in their capacity as ‘Queens of the Witches’ and that is all they see. I shake my head because I think one day those Goddesses are going to show you who they really are, what lies beneath the happy exterior you put on them and you won’t like it because they aren’t referred to ask ‘Dark Goddesses’ for nothing.

I know what lies beneath because the Morrigan has been in my mind. Just like I know to kill a Crow is bad luck, don’t ask me how because its not something I read, it is something I know and I think this has been left over from the Morrigan, strangely after she had left my mind, my tarot skills improved. Her gift of prophecy was most appreciated and I’ve only recently realized this. To that end I have purchased a Crow skull (sooo hoping it clears customs) one – because Crows have always fascinated me, I love them and two – because I feel that this gift has come from her and to a degree is, in my own way without Deity, honouring her. I’ve also spoken with the Cailleach, she’s very wise and very powerful.

People seem to be of two minds when it comes to ‘godbothered’ (which in of itself is a severely unflattering term), there are those who are happy to serve, those who find it a bother and those who are jealous of those who can. There seems to be a mindset of ‘if you can I should be able to’ which is not so. I read a post on House of Vines about how sometimes the Gods will ignore you no matter what devotionals or rituals you perform. Why? They just may not like you. It makes sense to me, like any being – for lack of a better example – like humans, we like some people, we do not like others. Sometimes we just do not resonate with people and find them to be not what we want in our lives. I mean if you are a Witch, you aren’t exactly going to take up best friend status with some one who thinks negatively about witches – it wouldn’t work. So too will the Gods not favour you if your thinking and actions do not resonate with them. It would be like calling on the Morrigan to learn about the art of the Wild Hunt, she would not answer because for that you would call on Diana, not the Morrigan.

It’s a funny thing, Deity worship/devotion, I really believe you can perform all the tasks you wish, but the Gods are not going to visit you simply for that. You would have to show them you are worthy. I know no God would request me, I’m lazy, I don’t hesitate to admit I am. I sleep in late and often lack true motivation to really get up and go. I do what I please as it suits me, although to be fair I am studying and with a fairly heavy load so I’m not like slacker-lazy just sometimes-can’t-be- bothered-lazy. I’m not an exciting prospect for a God and I wouldn’t expect to wake up one morning and have one lavish untold amounts of adoration on me. It would seem counterproductive to any goal they may have. Even if I did put in the hard yards to get their attention I still may not. Just like people, one can never truly know what motivates the Gods to reach out to certain people and ignore others. Screaming at the sky won’t get you anywhere. If you approach them with an entitled ‘I’m special’ attitude or the ever popular ‘You owe me’ attitude, you also won’t get anywhere. Respect and reverence is the name of the game, and maybe, just maybe, like me, one day a message may come through right when you need to hear it.

You never know.

Here are some interesting posts on the topic to check out:

This Crooked Crown
Ask Secular Witch
Patheos
Finding the Owl
House of Vines

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Cursing - Response to 2 Witches in a Box

The questions posed by 2 Witches in A Box in relation to their Pagan Blog Post on cursing.

•Do you think a curse/hex could ever be warranted? Why or why not? Yes, there are some situations where cursing is not only warranted but suitable. Sometimes mundane avenues can't fix the problem and other means are required and waiting for karma (which I don't really believe in) to exact revenge is not an option.

(Why don't I believe in karma? Let's just say I've seen a few people do things that are so very wrong and nothing seems to happen to them.)

•Would you personally work a curse/hex?  Why or why not? I would if I felt the situation required it. It's not something to take lightly or flippantly so if I was to do it, it would really have to be warranted. I've not cursed anyone as yet, hopefully I never need to (not that I'm squeamish about it) but you do not know what could happen in the future.

•Have you to the best of your knowledge been on the receiving end of a curse?  If yes, how did you correct it? I don't think I have been, I don't believe I've ever pissed anyone off that much or deliberately hurt anyone to deserve it but I do believe that sometimes I wouldn't have any luck but for the bad luck I have - however things are improving which is fab!

Friday, 8 February 2013

Mugwort Oil

If one is a witch who doesn't know of Mugwort? It is one of my favourite herbs and I now have 2 plants growing!! Yay! I'm infusing some (thrice like the Wormwood oil) for my store. The Mugwort I am using is wildcrafted and is the whole plant not just the leaves.


Here it is steeping in the sunlight.


Next to it is the Wormwood. It has probably been infusing longer than necessary but it should pack a punch.

Mugwort is an ingredient in Flying Ointment also, and will be in mine when I eventually make some for my store. I always use Mugwort in anything psychic related and have some in a bag with my pendulum to both protect and cleanse it.

Making Kyphi

I’ve decided to make some Kyphi for my store. I’ve made incense balls before and quite enjoyed it, I’ve always been curious about Kyphi – however it does take some time to make and has an epic list of ingredients. I found myself thinking that if I am really going to be a crafty artisan product driven witch in business and in life then conquering the famous Kyphi is a giant step in the right direction.

I used a recipe from Artistic Witch and adapted it to suit what I had and where I was heading with it. I also added and subtracted a few of my own ingredients to give it a more personal touch. Hopefully when it’s completed it will smell divine! Most (near all) ingredients in my Kyphi are either Certified Organic or Wildcrafted.


Here is where I started with all of my ingredients. I had the romantic notion of using my mortar and pestle in true traditional style while making this incense. The futility was immediately evident so I chose to use my coffee grinder instead - so much easier!


My Frankincense all ground up.


The Myrrh was added.


As was the Bezoin, Copal and Dragon's Blood.


A selection of herbs in my grinder.


It is all together in the jar - although yesterday I changed this. I went to shake it to mix it up a bit, resins set hard even with other herbs in it, so it is now in a chinese container where I can break it up and shake it as needed.


This is the final mix all together before it was placed in the jar.


Here is my fruit mix. I didn't have raisins so sultanas it was, with dates and port. I didn't have any red wine and we had leftover port from Xmas. Very frugal of me I thought.


Here it is in better light in its container. This I will be turning every day to keep it even and well marinated.

I’m going to leave it all marinating and whatnot for the next week then I will make the balls which will dry for three weeks. Hopefully they will be ready in time for my store’s grand re-opening. (More on that later).