Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Crafting


One of my crafts coming together. I am making key charms for otherworld travel/hedge crossing. 

New Things

Change is afoot in the world of the Country Witch, many new things happening. I am finally creating (or consolidating) my poison garden (more to come on that) and I am at the beginnings of the creation of a skull collection (I have my Crow - my rabbits and foxes are still macerating). I’m crafting a new path that is somewhat in its infancy. I’m not sure what it is going to be as yet. I am feeling pulled toward areas I never imagined. The spirits call me, I understand that soon I must answer because as I begin to cross the hedge on a more regular basis; I will be seeking their guidance and wisdom.

There’s always an excitement when the unexpected happens within a spiritual context. Revelations and intuitions begin to show new roads ahead. A path once obscured opens just that little bit. What can you do but step upon it and let it lead you where it may. I find myself crafting more, letting the physical aspect of my witchcraft move to the forefront. I am making new things and making plans to make new things.  I am planning some candle making but am waiting for the heat to dissipate, hopefully within the next couple of weeks. No point in making candles if they’re just going to melt (yes it really is getting that hot here).

The previously buried artisan in me is wanted her five minutes in the sun to use her hands and create. Some of the crafts are for personal use; others will likely find themselves for sale somewhere along the way. I have a small list of things I would like to make; mostly I just go where I feel moved to. I am trying to be more intuitive and active in my path. It’s an interesting time for me, more fluidity, less procrastination.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Sigil Powder

I’ve felt the need lately to become more connected to my path through crafting, through making things with my hands and understanding the purpose and the process to that purpose. Oftentimes I think the ‘crafting’ in witchcraft is sometimes forgotten. With today’s get-it-instantly society, artisan crafting and creation is even more important. As I re-evaluate where I am heading, I find myself trying things I may not have necessarily thought about trying. I’ve found myself creating recipes for products for particular things that I would never have dreamed would become part of my journey; and through this I am beginning to feel more connected to the Self.



One of my experiments is Sigil Powder. It is a take on the Santeria Cascarilla powder. Truthfully, I’m not a follower of Santeria, so I felt it would be a little strange to create something faithfully to the original recipes. I want to use it for sigils, typing in the term ‘sigil powder’ gave some interesting alternatives so I continued on adapting and adding to create my own version. Some use just cornflour (the cornmeal type not the wheaten), others add talcum powder, salt, chalk or white eggshell (from the original Cascarilla). I went for a little of everything as well as adding herbs for their protection and cleansing properties, I can even say my eggshells are free range (we buy only free range eggs in my house). Some of the original recipes call to add water to form a chalk





Now many argue for the tradition of grinding down the eggshells using a mortal and pestle. I’m not that strong, so I crushed them down in a bowl using my pestle as it is heavy granite. Once the eggshells were crushed I put them in a chopper to grind them down further before finally powdering them in a coffee grinder. I have to say, eggshell getting worked over this way doesn’t smell particularly pleasant but it was fine. The herbs and salt were ground up to powder as well and added with the shells and cornmeal. 



The powder can be used for marking boundaries when laying the compass or casting the circle. It can be used to draw sigils on the ground when working outdoors. It is good for creating sigils when petitioning spirits, when collecting dirt from cemeteries or crossroads, it can be used to bless the home or ward it against negativity and also as a protection powder. I may end up selling it in my eBay store, although I'm of two minds. I've been considering devoting my eBay store simply to herbs and using Etsy or an actual website to sell the handcrafted wares.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Grow Your Blog

Fingers crossed my entry for Grow Your Blog Party wasn't in too late! So a little about myself for those new to this blog. My name is Stacey (a.k.a the Country Witch), I’m I am a herbalist, writer and witch; although if I was to be really specific I would say I am a green path hedge witch. This year has started well for me; I’m quite excited as I am having three articles published in 2014 with others up for consideration. I work with herbs crafting potion and lotions, oils and salves, I share their essence and craft with them. My driving passion is herbs. I think, aside from a childhood filled with fantasy and fairy tales, this is what put me on this path, I have a blog that sporadically documents my herbal interests (I know I need to work on it more). I read tarot and oracle to divine the future as with my herbal and witchcraft interests, I also have a blog for this too.

I have had an interest in witchcraft for the better part of 16 years. With supportive parents, at the age of 13 when I first became interested in witchcraft, I was able to explore that interest and grow in my knowledge. Coming into my twenties I began to study seriously and work toward initiation, I found a tradition to study in, I am now an initiated High Priestess, Elder and Pagan Clergy, although no longer a part of the same tradition. My path diverged quite dramatically from their tenants and beliefs.

I am intense at times, lazy during others. I love to read, to sleep and to write. I am opinionated, conditionally selfish, thoughtful and a book addict. I love to create beautiful gardens, read cards and play with herbs. I’m animal mad, garden mad (I tend to post pictures of my garden quite prolifically), and when not reading, sleeping, writing, being herbal mad or outside, I tend to spend my time cooking.

I love to blog because it is a way to connect with other people. I live in the middle of nowhere so people are few and far between. I’ve met some fantastically wonderful people online, some who I now consider to be good friends. I’m hoping to get to know even more fabulous bloggers across the blogosphere and to basically learn and have a great time.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Heat

The land is dry, it cries out in its thirst for relief. The grass is yellow, wheaten coloured, sometimes with only the barest hint of green pushing through; trying to find its place amongst the dried debris. There is no relief, at least not yet. The rain may come but not right now. Summer here has no remorse; it is relentless in its campaign of heat. It has no pity for the plight of those who live through it, who survive the torturous, stifling breathlessness of it all. It takes no prisoners nor does it listen to the pleadings and begging of a cool change. It stands proud it in its seasonal glory, reminding all who forget throughout the cooler months. 



The salty sweat trickles down my spine, over my brow, between my breasts, glistening on my top lip. So hard to breathe, the air still, no movement, no relief. The sun beats down on stone, warming the house through. It is too much; it is a reminder of the season that leaves in its wake, the death of spring. My head spins, light from the heat. The beginning ache of a telltale migraine begins to take shape, my body flushing from the rapidly changing temperature of my blood. At last, the wind begins, it is not cool but it is a break from the hot monotony of the day, of the forthcoming wave of heat determined to remind us all that summer is here and has found its stride. 

My eyes become unfocused, no longer seemingly connected to my mind, I see the gradual fading out of my vision, and even my minds eye wants no part of the heat pervading my very system right now. My body is in its monthly cycle, it can’t withstand the assault for much longer, as it warms so too does my inner core. It is a simple yet devastating fact that affects me during summer. The body heats during its cycle by as much as three degrees. Combine this with horrendous 38C+ weather, on the increase in the coming week, and it becomes exhausting. Sleep barely brings relief. Summer is a harsh mistress and she is unforgiving in her treatment of the land and her inhabitants. As she strips, she burns. A simple blade of grass cannot survive her fury.



But even with the harshness, and the tiredness and lethargy it brings me, as a witch I cannot help but appreciate the reminder of the power of the seasons. It is distinctly different from any other time of the year and it shows us that there is power in the summer sun even as it wears us down, it is a powerful energy. It can become the source for solar power, it can create natural heating for systems within the home, and it provides a sense of divide from its neighbours of spring and autumn. I understand the cycles of nature better, I can connect and feel it. I may not like it, but I can feel it. 

There are curses of the heat, like snakes inside the house – not an enjoyable experience by any stretch, but there are also blessings. Rich, red, ripe tomatoes on the vine, burgeoning green corn developing husks and growing beautifully in the sun, scented summer flowers and the forthcoming harvest promise. I take summer as the awesome powerful she-devil that it is and look toward the cooling winds, whenever they may come. I appreciate the absoluteness of the season, knowing its place marks the journey of the year, from light to dark (oh but I wish the dark would come sooner) and light again. I abhor the heat that reminds me but I can see the beauty in the stark reality of summer’s fiery rays. 



Saturday, 4 January 2014

The New Year

A new year is upon us; the time when goals written are in their infancy, taking the first steps toward fulfilment and growth. It is the time when previous failures are acknowledged and moved on from. I’m not making resolutions for this year, I never complete any and by year’s end I have a list of things I haven’t accomplished. My resolutions have morphed into goals, things I would like to achieve but without pressure or expectation. Going into this year, I wasn’t even sure if this blog would continue, but I’ve decided that it will. It may be messy at times, bare at others but it is the journal of my path, my life. It may not be as prolifically posted on as it has been in prior years, but it will continue in one form or another.

This year has so far brought good things. My paperwork for my Advanced Diploma of Herbalism is on its way. I passed my final exam late last year with a Grade A Pass, the highest mark available. It is a great feeling, the hard slog of learning and studying has paid off. I am also having an article published in a magazine this month. I’m quite excited; it’s a baby step into another field I have long studied hard for. The book I am writing is almost completed and my wonderful tutor has extended her help beyond the end of my TAFE course to edit it. I’m also attending my first Pagan event in early March. It’s not too far from where I live. One positive thing to come out of last year is that governmental agencies finally recognised that there are limitations to what I am able to personally do (immunodeficiency is so vague yet so debilitating), but it is a good feeling to know that there is some understanding. 

I had an amazing Christmas, got plenty of fabulous presents and spent quiet time as a family, without the added distractions of the outside world. It was truly a lovely time, stress-free and full of laughter and food. My new year was celebrated playing poker late into the night with family, surrounded by card-interfering cats. Bella and Mojo like to be interactive. Our new year here was hellishly hot though, we’ve hit a high of 47C up here so far. Hopefully it will be the last time. As I sit here typing this, it is currently about 21C and overcast. It was raining this morning. The weather seems to be trying to find its identity. Is it a cool summer, hot summer or planning to surprise us from day to day? The next 10 day forecast looks fairly mild. Nothing above 35C for the time being – I’m a bit of an obsessive weather channel checker.


The photo went a bit fuzzy but here is my Xmas haul of a handmade herbal cabinet, books, tarot deck and other delights. 

My year has yet to be defined, my goals yet to be identified. I do know what I would like to happen but it is not clear cut. I’ve things to work out, plans to make, lists to write and fretting to do. I take each day as it comes. From one day to the next the weather here makes things quite unpredictable. What can be done today may not be able to be done tomorrow. So I garden on the cool days, write on the hot days and melt into the lounge and read on the super hot days. This is likely the pattern for the rest of the summer or at least until the hottest part of the season dies down. 

How this year will play out, I don’t yet know but I feel positive about it. Really properly positive, I don’t feel as though this year will be another so-so time of not getting much done and looking back with regrets. I have a path in mind for some areas, now I only have to take that step and begin to put one foot in front of the other.

Have a wonderful new year my readers and fellow bloggers alike. May the year bring joy and happiness to all that you do and all whom you love.