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Archive for October, 2012

There are little things we try to do to remind us of our unique and authentic spirits that pull us through the year. As Pagans, we celebrate the seasons in ritual, food, crafts, community and decoration. The Wheel of the Year helps us realize the cyclical turning of life and how we must respect patterns in all of the creatures’ inherent nature.

There are some traditions that I have been doing for many years. Some I have started when I was a teenager. Some I started as a young adult. Some I might start next year! The important thing is to continue to do these traditions that help give your life some cohesion and add to your personal power. Pagan or not, having spiritual traditions gives us a sense of connection.

Just thought I would share with my readers some of my favorite personal traditions. I would love to hear about anyone elses!

1. The first dandelion I see at the beginning of the year I have to pick. This has led to some interesting adventures of parking my car in awkward spots and walking a ways to pick the dandelion that I saw while driving. Usually, the first dandelion I see, though, is in my own yard. Reason: Luck for year.  (Age I started: really young, can’t remember)

2. At least once a year, catch an autumn leaf as it falls off of a tree before it hits the ground. This is harder than it seems! When I was going through my initiation with the element Air, I was taught this game. It is really fun. (Age I started: 20)

3. Each year I need to jump over a young cornstalk before it grows too high for me to jump over. (age began: 11)

4. At harvest, I need to find a “corn baby”, which is basically a cob that was left in the field and forgotten to be picked. (Age started:11).

5. Once a year I need to streak in an open field. This always happens to a certain day of the year, but I may write more about that  in a later post. (Age started: 12)

So basically these are simple tasks but depending on the weather conditions and other factors, it can become quite a burden to complete, but it is still important for me to do. Call me superstitious (which is fine because I am a person who believes in reading the signs that the universe provides), but I feel like if I don’t do these that it will negatively impact my year. Overall, though, I love to do these things and I look forward to when they occur.

~Cicada

image from:

forums.steves-digicams.com

 

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As a hedgewitch, I work primarily with natural materials. Although I can successfully do magic without the aid of things, I like to incorporate the energies of the natural world into rituals often. This makes traveling to do ritual a bit complicated in terms of planning and packing. I like to bring so much with when I go to Sabbats or mid-forest rituals and it usually takes a while to collect everything that I want. And then I have to think in practical terms, like what am I going to feasibly want to carry out with me for miles?

I imagined a small carrying case that could be tucked into my purse and be with me wherever I go, just in case I want to do a bit of spell-working or ritual impromptu. And this is how my Bag-O-Tricks began!

I chose a sturdy purple tapestry fabric for the cover and I used dark purple felt for the interior. There are four pockets, six vial holders, two loops to hang things and one tiny candle holder sewed inside. I made it so that the bag could roll up into any size and a long Japanese silk cord could be wrapped around the whole thing and weaved around two buttons to secure it together.

Inside is what holds all of the fun… A tiny lighter, sage stick, candle, wood-burned pentacle, incense cone and a Shiva and Shakti statue to honor Goddess and God. There is also a pouch for collecting any wildcrafted items, tobacco, my counsel of stones (see below), elemental correspondences: corn for air, crystal for fire, shell for water and lightning struck pine for earth. Some of the vials hold citrine for cleansing energy and nature offerings, salt, moon-blessed water, shapeshifting oil (Otherworld Apothecary), and sacred life oil (read Courting the Lady by Patrick McCollum for more info). Believe it or not, my small rattle was made using pistachio shells! I placed small bits of glass and rock inside the shells, superglued them together and sewed it inside fabric. They actually sound pretty loud considering how small they are. The natural silk cord that wraps the bag can be easily broken off in bits to leave as spirit offerings, too.  I find that ritual is not negatively impacted due to the small size of everything.

Counsel of Stones: These are sacred stones that I like to meditate with or go to when I have a question. Each one represents a different aspect of the sacred for me, for example, I have a “Shaman” stone.

It feels good to make something for me! I had been so busy making things for TwitchyWitchy that Ganesha finally told me that I needed to get back to crafting sacred items for myself, too. Here’s a picture of matching coyote teeth necklaces I made for my husband and I:

May the light shine upon your path,

Cicada

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Yesterday my husband and I cut a huge hole in our ceiling in preparation for stairs leading to our future attic bedroom. New space? New cleansing! I remember when Tulie’s family did the same thing. Suddenly lots of spirit activity started to occur once the ceiling was opened up to the upper part of the house.

So, being from a Tantric framework, I blessed the whole house in a way that appealed to all of the senses. I smudged mountain sage for smell, a crystal bell for sound, sprinkled moonwater for touch, a candle for sight and food offerings to my patron deities for taste. By the way, moonwater is water that has been blessed in Full Moon light overnight.

Convenient that it is the New Moon. This is the optimal time to cleanse your home energetically (and physically) to prepare for the new cycle. Also, because there is no moonlight, energies tend to wane away, which is good for cleansing. Kali is also honored on the New Moon in traditional Tantric circles. She is the Great Mother of All who consumes what needs to be destroyed and gives birth to the new.

This is something that I occasionally do with my children, too. My toddler will ring a bell in every room and my daughter will bless the room with sage and a song. No age is too young to get kids involved in the craft as long as it is age appropriate.

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This collage I recently made about sums it up for me right now…

This last week I celebrated my birthday with family and friends. My husband and I went to a lake house with another couple over the weekend. It was gorgeous outside! It always seems that the leaves begin to change colors around my birthday. Bright oranges, burnt yellows and crimson reds screamed through our window as we played games and sat by the fireplace. Then we went to a year-long haunted house and had fun exploring the mansion filled with odds and ends of horror.

The next day, I did a self-blessing ritual in the morning and later Tulie and my family crammed into my cozy house to have vegetarian walking tacos, pineapple and better-than-sex cake. I got a bollywood movie, children’s books, a  cauldron bottle, jewelery, Psychology and the Occult by C G Jung and an antique lapis luzuli bracelet that has connecting rings from my husband!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also got to pick out a used autoharp from ebay!! I am so excited to start learning this instrument. It is supposed to be easy to learn because it involves pushing a button to access certain strings in a chord to strum.  I’m hoping that I will learn it well enough to accompany my own songs.

Life has been great and I am so happy that I have got to this place in my life. Growing up with a chaotic childhood made me feel that my life would never become stable like it has. I used to fantasize about a happier life whenever the song As I lay Me Down by Sophie B. Hawkins came on the radio. This older song played twice on the radio on my birthday… a definite sign from Spirit that I have reached my dreams!

I’ve broken the chain of mental illness in my family. I am the first one to graduate from college. I’m a happy mommy and wife and I have an art store (where the collage will be posted soon), pursuing music and a master’s degree in counseling. However, what I really need to remember is how I got here: Faith in myself and Great Spirit. My relationship with the Goddess. Acting out of love that opens my heart to connection and avoiding to act out of fear- the illusion of disconnect.

My toddler jumping on the bed…                                                                                                                                                                     ~Cicada

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I’ve been busy with a tarot project for a while and I’m pleased to say that it is done!

Working with tarot has been apart of my life for 16 years. I’ve had some memorable times… like when I got the message I was pregnant with my daughter or the time the cards prepared me for something about to fail.

Over time, I developed relationships with my cards. One deck wanted to be used for spiritual purposes. Another wanted to be used for practical uses and so on. I’ve learned that if you treat your set like a friend that the answers will be more consistent and reliable. When I first get a new deck, I bless each image while smudging with sage. After a reading, I clear the energy of the last reading by blowing on all of the cards.

Even though I have been working with Tarot for a while, I still find myself not knowing some of the minor arcana during a reading. I have to pause and flip through the book. As an exercise I started to keep a record of each card: the title, one or two word meaning, and a simple associated image. One thing led to another and I designed a whole deck this way that begged to be used! This was a great activity and I would suggest it to any tarot workers. I also wanted the cards to be very small so that I could toss them and work out spreads similar to runes if I wanted and so my Complete Simple Tarot on Scrabble Tiles was born! So far I have one available at my Twitchy Witchy store

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I am fortunate enough to live by a lake that dwells in the small town that I am in. There is a town legend that there is a whole other town under the waters and that the buildings were flooded out a long time ago. It is funny where myths and legends wind up in our minds. On the surface, we do not take much of the words to heart. However, in actuality, the stories do effect us deep down. Quite literally the surface of this lake shows no knowledge of this legend, but what actually lies deep into the depths of water?

Legends and myths do stem from somewhere. The truth may not appear exactly like the story, but somewhere in time something did happen to trigger the story to be strong enough to last years and years.

When I stand on the banks of this lake, I feel haunted. Is it because of the story? Or is it the drownings that I am aware of? I’m not sure. But somehow, the legend has effected all of our psyches.

I finally found out the truth of the lake story in history books. Turns out that in the early 1900’s, a group of boys damaged something that kept the area from flooding. Buildings were damaged enough that officials decided to fill in the whole valley. I’m not sure if any buildings remained, but it is interesting that this story has been passed down for 100 years. Even though I finally found out what really happened, it didn’t change how I felt. The legend outweighed the reality in my mind. I still think of those waters as holding great mystery.

It makes you wonder what was the root of many of the legends we hear throughout history in fairy tales and religious traditions. However, even if we find out they are true or not makes no difference. It is the print they leave on us that really matters.

~Cicada

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