Sunday, 31 March 2013

The Marriage Debate

So lately the whole issue of gay marriage has been popping up and the inevitable argument of the “right” comes up. I think that everyone should have the right to marry – personally I don’t want to get married – and I have that right. I would gladly give my “right” (if it truly should even be called that to begin with) to marry to a gay couple. It’s not a privilege that should be kept for “straight” people. I mean let’s be honest, straight people have been abusing the institution of marriage and the ideal of what it is since a word was given to the term. To be clear not all straight people, but there are a lot out there… (Kim Kardashian anyone?).

The thing is, my parents had separated before I was even born and were divorced not long after, and as it turned out, the argument of gay marriage became quite personal in my life because my father is gay. He and his partner “married” one another insomuch as you can legally in Australia, yet even here gay marriage is not a complete and legal right as yet. Our atheist, unmarried Prime Minister doesn’t support it, for the life of me I can’t figure out how a person (the PM) who chooses not to married, chooses to deny others that right. It’s a crap world we live in sometimes.

I’m not even going to really think about the religious nutters out there prancing about shoving scripture down the throats of the masses. The bible is not real, in my opinion it is a carefully constructed piece of fiction used to streamline one faith for the masses. Each part was selected to control the ancient people, there was a lot not put in the bible – likely as not it was things that would not achieve the aim the Church wanted back then. In today’s world, children are married to adults and are expected to bear them children, in other countries inter-family marriage is not uncommon yet we balk at the idea of two people of the same sex who love one another getting married? Why?

Then there is the ridiculous debate that children should be raised by a mother and a father – let’s pretend for one minute that straight couples are entirely functional people with absolutely no problems, never fight and never negatively impact their children physically, emotionally and mentally…nah I can’t even pretend that for as long as it took me to write it. The best thing for children is to be brought up in a stable, loving environment with two parents who love them, support them and are there for them, no matter what sex those parents are. There are parents out there who are abusive, neglectful and all round unpleasant people who shouldn’t have kids, yet this is a better thing to have than two parents of the same sex raise a child – parents who will be loving and caring? How is that even a valid argument? And if gay couples want to adopt children out of foster care and give them a loving home – why not? Why damn not?

As far as I’m concerned, gay marriage shouldn’t even be a conversation to be had, it should be legal and allowed and afforded to gay couples just like it is straight couples. It shouldn’t be something that is considered a ‘right’ or a ‘privilege’; it should be something everyone (of age and consent) can participate in.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Re-Launching Cauldron of Nephthys

The store is now open and full of new and exciting bits and pieces. I've got infused herb oils, loose herbs, incense mixes, kyphi, tinctures, readings and more coming soon.

Everyone please take a look and let me know what you think, I'm always open to suggestions and opinions, after all, I can only improve everything right?

Time got away so the ointments and a few other things aren't in yet, but hopefully over easter other things will begin to be put in the store!

(I tried to link the pic but it wouldn't work - so the highlighted link is the one to go to).

Mabon Altar

It's not as fancy as years past, but it still encapsulates the holiday I feel. I adore my little cornucopia candle holder - found it in an op shop for 50c. The candle in the top left hand corner was from a collection of handmade aromatherapy candles I bought on eBay - it was my first ever eBay purchase actually. The tomato is from our Black Russian Tomato plant (we had a very abundant crop this year) and I do love my witch candle.

I see Mabon as the beginning of the season of the Witch. It is the harvest time, the darker part of the year, the spirit calling the witch's soul, at least this witch's anyway. I can't wait for the season to progress, to see the change, to feel the cool, to welcome the longer nights. This is my favourite time of year.

I'm not sure if anyone else felt it, but today there felt a change in the air, positive, as though the season was actually changing over right then. The Equinox holds some power today I think.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Around The Garden

I love it when the apples are out and the bulbs begin to come up, it means that slowly - but surely - the season is going from unseasonably (and record breaking) hot weather and finally taking the steps into autumn!

My pumpkins are doing exceptionally well for like the first time ever!!

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Dream Ointment

I decided to make a dream ointment. I have very vivid, lucid dreams that, more often than not, I am generally the participant in. I rarely have dreams where I am the observer. However I never remember them, I remember that I've dreamed, how many and perhaps one or two small details from each but never the full dream. I may, on occasion, like my Woden dream remember details but I would really like to remember them more.

I came across two herbs one day while doing some research on Erowid. The herbs were called Calea and African Dream Root. Both herbs help with lucid dreaming and it is reputed that African Dream Root helps with recall. I decided to make an ointment because quite frankly, reports say that Calea is bitter as tea and other reports speak of smoking the herbs - neither of which I wanted to try. I figured an ointment would be the best way to go - much like a flying ointment I suppose. I've got it steeping in some Grapeseed oil on the windowsill. I think I will likely let it steep for a few days and then heat it through for a couple of hours on the stove. I'm only doing the one infusion of it to see how it goes.

This is what it looked like after I made it. It is mostly Calea as this was herb leaf and plant, the root was much smaller and diced within the infusion.

This is what it looks like in daylight. I love the play of light through it, it looks like a complete other world. Magical and mysterious.

This is a close up of it, I love it. It's almost like a Faery Land within a jar.

So, hopefully by the end of the week I will have an ointment up and ready to use. I'm also waiting for the weather to cool somewhat because I'm having trouble getting to sleep due to the unusual and horrible humidity we're having right now. I tend to think that if I have trouble sleeping, a dream ointment is not going to work properly, it's hard to relax when your insides are melting!! But look soon for some results of this experiment!

Friday, 8 March 2013

Becoming a Hedgewitch

There’s a time in your path when I think you seriously look at where you are and where you are headed. Because this path is always changing, always growing, the journey is never-ending. There are always new paths to follow, forks in the road asking you which way you wish to go. New opportunities present themselves and you have no choice but to go along for the ride, let the current of energy take you where it will. There is always a surprise and this I have discovered for myself lately.

I’ve long classified myself as a Green Witch and to that end I still consider myself a Green Witch but there is another path that is slowly calling me and that is the path of the Hedge Witch. I don’t even know what it means for me but things have been aligning themselves for some time now. I have been getting astral bleed through at the most random of times – usually when my vision is slightly out of focus (most often when I’m reading and watching tv and go from the page to the screen – it takes a moment to adjust). I feel as though I am getting close to something within myself, it’s an interesting exploration but there is still much to be uncovered or understood. But some realisations have been popping up in my life.

I’ve realised I do enjoy a more simplistic approach to practicing my Craft, I’ve never been one for elaborate, convoluted rituals, and honestly I don’t see the point in them. I’m sure for some it becomes a beautiful experience but I get bored – Aries attention span. If you’re too busy remembering to pick up this or light that, I think you get lost in the details instead of feeling the experience.

The other day I made some black salt for my store and whilst I did this I had some candle spells working on the stove (used tealights anointed with essential oil – such fantastic things tealights) and this was enjoyable for me, it felt more natural to me. This is the point of an individual’s path I reckon, it feeling natural, the best thing was at the end of it I felt a little drained. Why is this a good thing? Because it tells me there is growth on my path, previously when I did spellwork I’d feel the same as before I started, there wasn’t anything physical to tell me that part of me, of my energy had moved forward to help the spell manifest. I feel like I am beginning to connect with that part of myself. And it feels wonderful.

Honestly I think the realisation came to me when I began creating things for my store, I felt a deeper connection than I ever had and on some level I knew this was the part of me that had been crying for release for some time. I have begun to tentatively move forward, feeling my way along. When the time is right to fully commit myself to this path I will know. I think it will be when the season truly turns from this horrendous summer into the cooler tones of autumn, the season that calls to me more so than any other.

I’m looking forward to the changes this will bring into my life, I’m not sure how I will put it all together and be the witch I am, but I am sure I will find my way. Somehow.

I think I’ll leave it there for now, I’m constantly thinking, analyzing and so I type while doing this, sometimes I end up with epically long posts with no point, I know I need to take the time to do some inner exploration and see what I hear and feel. For right now I am off to make an infused mandrake oil and dream ointment.

My Store #2

I just realized I kind of really went on and on in my previous post about my store, I tend to do that, I’m a rambler, I’m a tangent lover, I do eventually get back to my point but I take the scenic route. I’ve been working on putting things together for my store; it’s an interesting creative process to be sure, I’ve never actually had to really think on this type of scale before because I had always just sold herbs or candles or generally put in dropship items. I like the challenge though. On the front page of my site I have written:

Welcome to Cauldron of Nephthys. Inside the Cauldron you will find an array of handcrafted and carefully selected items to add to your magical and spiritual practice. Cauldron of Nephthys is a store for those of us who feel called to the Wild Places, who work with nature's energies and feel the pull of the Earth within our selves and souls. We craft with nature's bounty and revel in working with our hands. We are witches who run in the woods, play in the dirt and dance in the rain.”

And I really want this to be my business motto (although it has been a loooong while since I’ve been able to dance in any sort of rain – damn summer!), I really do want to only work with as natural as possible materials. My first big purchase within this new direction was a selection of Certified Organic and Wildcrafted herbs. I will be selling these in individual 20gm packets as well as using them to craft my products. I’m also going to be making smudge sticks – Rosemary for now as this is the herb I have most in abundance.

The kinds of things I have and am also working on so far are:

Smudge Sticks (Rosemary to start but later adding in Mugwort, Sage and Lavender)
Thrice Infused Oils (Wormwood and Mugwort so far – Mandrake to come)
Kyphi Incense Pellets (handmade from organic/wildcrafted materials)
Selection of Herbal Incenses
Black Salt

Selection of 20gm bags of organic and wildcrafted herbs
Four Thieves Vinegar
using herbs out of my garden
Candles (made from Beeswax and Parrafin wax to give it a harder base)
Herb starter kits with charcoal tablets (maybe 15/20/25/30 herb lots? Not sure yet)
Flying Ointment (I’m also thinking individual Mandrake and Mugwort Ointment , perhaps Faery also, but I’ve not decided yet)

I am considering other options but so far this is what I’ve come up with and have the time to work on. I think starting small is perhaps the best idea and I shall go from there. I just hope that Aussie witches want artisan witchcraft products.

My tentative opening date is March 20/21st as this Mabon, the Autumn Equinox and my absolute favourite sabbat (also a few days away from my birthday)!  Autumn is the Season of the Witch and I am really quite excited!

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

New Herbs and Roots!!

My new herbs have come from Europe, ever so pleased they passed Customs. I was fretting like a frantic twit, although unnecessarily. I can't wait to get started doing a little experiementing! So what did I get?

Calea (Dream Herb) and African Dream Root, so named as they are reputed to induce very vivid lucid dreams, dreams that are remembered upon waking (which is an issue for me as I never do remember them). I'm thinking of turning these into an ointment to apply before going to bed at night. I'm going to have to test the strength and capabilities of each herb first, should be quite interesting. Each has differing effects from the research I've done but nothing tells you what it can do quite like trying it yourself.

I'm in love, here is my Mandrake Root. It is proper herb-of-legend Mandrake. Why is it necessary to qualify its validity? I've found most places on the internet advertise the Mandrake they sell as such but it turns out to be Mayapple (a.k.a American Mandrake) which is not even in the same botanical family as True Mandrake (which is a member of the Solanaceae family). It pays, if you are looking for the original stuff, to ask whoever is selling it what the botanical name is. The reason most sell Mayapple as Mandrake is that it is much easier to get a hold of. Mandragora Officinarum (True Mandrake) is not easily cultivated and therefore can't really be grown on any sort of commerical level, most mandrake is wildcrafted or grown within the person's own garden. Some who read my blog will be familiar with my attempts to grow Mandrake. To be fair, I did have luck but right now, leaveless as they are, I'm not sure if they're dormant or if they died off, I suppose I won't be able to tell until the weather cools off.

So anyway, I'm proper excited to have true Mandrake and can't wait to get to making things using it. I am considering thrice infused Mandrake oil (like my Mugwort and Wormwood oils), possibly a Mandrake ointment and/or Flying Ointment and also selling the root loose in my store. (I will be posting a post shortly on that too). Right now I'm busy dreaming up ideas and having fun thinking about all the lovely mandrake related bits n bobs I could make.

Friday, 1 March 2013

New Aquisition

So excited, my Crow skull came on Wednesday - ever so glad it cleared Customs! I've always had an affinity for this amazing bird and now I can't wait to get started on working with its energies. I'm thinking of setting up a bone altar - which will be better when I eventually get my Toad skull (still waiting on it).