Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Witchin it up in the Kitchen...

My love of cooking wasn't always so strong you know. I sort of liked it for a while, mostly when I got to cook with my grandmother. It was ok at my house, but it wasn't quite the same. I blame that on my inexperience. I was nervous about it tasting bad. (I got over that after I made a tuna noodle casserole and used condensed milk instead of 2% milk... it carmelized. We ordered pizza.)

I came across it slowly, and once I was truly out on my own I started getting experimental - after all, no one was eating it but me. If it sucked, then I was the only one who had to suffer through it. Eventually I got better, and what I was cooking made its way into my workplace because there I had people to cook for! One by one I got feedback, and little by little my confidence grew.

There were setbacks. Not everything worked so well. But whatever! That's life.

Then I brought my practice fully into the kitchen. I didn't relegate my magic work to the altar or the forest. I brought it full on into the kitchen. I set up an altar on my counter. I wove spells and cast circles at my stove. I set my "cauldron" (see: crockpot) to bubble low and slow all day, the scents of it filling the house like a song.

And everything clicked. I felt more at peace. Everything made more sense. My practice seemed whole somehow, that this was the last piece that needed to fall into place for everything to work.

(I still order pizzas on nights when the recipe just didn't really work.  No one's perfect and pizza is good.)

Most of the tools in my kitchen I bought for myself. I was gifted some things, and some things that I had as hand-me-downs are now gone (stolen) or fell apart. I don't think too much about those things anymore. They were what I needed at the time. I've upgraded some since then.

I have bowls from my Grandmother and from my Great-Grandmother. Those are sacred things. I have many things from my mother. Those are mostly sacred. I have things from my Grandfather too, I don't use them though. They're for remembering. I have Jello molds and plates and dishes and silver from my ancestors. I don't use them much either - they're also for remembering.

I have heavy cast iron that I bought for myself and have clutched in joy at a perfect dish and in fear as a weapon. I have knives that have seen me stand defiant at the door, ready to defend myself.

Everyone should have these things.

On the side, I sell kitchen tools. If you're interested, I invite you to follow the link. If you're happy with your kitchen tools, no worries. 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

A beautiful day full of worries

It's lovely outside. My garden is thriving in the humidity and I'm going to have tomatoes and beans a plenty soon. Maybe even an eggplant or two! The strawberries are blooming again too, but I'm letting them go to seed instead of picking them - I want a bumper crop next year instead of a few this year.

All this beauty, from the leggy mint on my back porch to the strawberries by my front door, is not enough to change the worries in my heart. They're the same worries we all have - money, success, security. We look for more and varied ways of attaining those and so today I'm going to talk about the difference between some of the more magical options.

There are no shortage of spells that claim they'll drop thousands in your lap. Bay leaves in your wallet. Green stones on your altar. Green candle wax in a storm water jar stuffed with intentions sealed in green wax and bay leaves, then buried at (insert time and date and lunar position here).

Do these work? hmm.... let me check my account balance.... *crickets*

That's not to say that these won't get you in the right mindset though, and that's where the magic truly resides. Magic work is mental, physical, emotional. It charges through you and you just know that something is happening. So why isn't it raining $100 bills on your in your sleep?

because that's not how this works.

To truly access the magic we need to get done what we need to get done, we need belief in the following:
1 - yourself
2 - your ability to work
3 - your plan
4 - your friends and family (blood or chosen)

Sounds impossible? Maybe. But think for a moment. You've done other rites and had exactly the results you want. So why not here? Why not in the one rite that will most directly impact the mundane necessities of life?

Well - think about what you're asking for... are you asking for unlimited wealth, or just what you actually need to get by? And are you expecting the answer to be as loud and obvious as that thunderstorm that hit at JUST the right time or could the answer be coming as a small shift that brings just what you need to you at just the right time?

If you're asking for thousands of dollars and not offering up a plan on how to do it, think about the deity you're talking to? Are they really like that? Do you honestly think you're going to get it without working for it? Nothing comes without a price.

So: You. Believe that YOU can do what you need to do to get what you want.
Your Ability to Work. Believe that YOU can work in a way that will be productive to your goal.
Your Plan. Believe that YOU have a plan for how you will gain your desires and that your plan is CLEAR.
Your Friends and Family. Believe that YOU will not waiver from your path because of them, but will take their kindly meant advice under consideration and leave their criticisms and attempted derailments by the roadside in the dust.

So, go back. Look over your rites. Look carefully at your wording and think about what you're really asking for in the long run. And be clear - are you looking for long term or short term? Do you know?

Be clear, or you might not like what you get. "I want it to rain money on me!!!" (gets pelted in the head with random change when someone's purse tips over on a balcony above you. not quite what you wanted, but totally counts as "raining money on me". clear? ;)  )


Sunday, July 23, 2017

oh my dearies...

How have these days found us? How is this the place that we've arrived, crying into the void and sweating under the sun of high summer?

I don't know. I know my garden is singing songs of ripening fruit and blooming herbs, and I know that song soothes my soul.

These are the days that bring me to a few weeks of freedom, when I can be a more me version of me than I can be day to day in the grind of an office. See, I found this weird group of people that sorta camp for two weeks every year out near Pittsburgh. And there, among thousands of people, I found a lovely creative outlet. It's very helpful to me, in resetting my clock in time with the sun and moon, in getting back in touch with me and my whole self. I've celebrated Lammas there almost every year for the last 16 years - sometimes with a roaring fire, sometimes with just a candle, and sometimes with a group... sometimes alone. It's always magical, and always extraordinary. The stars... oh, the stars.

So as I prepare for Lughnasad, I think about where I am in the Wheel. I think about where my family and friends are, and I think about where our country is. If all that is too much, I retreat till it's more manageable. The point of this is not to stress out. We do what we can. That is all the Gods ask of us.

I will sit at the hem of my Goddess and listen to what she has to say. I will ask my questions. I will ponder what answers she chooses to give me.

As you approach this turn in the Wheel, consider the changes in your life over the past months and think about where you want your life to go. The harvest is a time of work, but the best clarity comes to me when I'm consumed with a task.

So may it be for you.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

That feeling when...

The rains have arrived in New England and I appreciate them. They're doing a wonderful job of wetting down my raised beds.  We had a stretch of sun the last two days, and I took the opportunity to plant my tomatoes properly, and support them. It's a nice feeling to get things in the garden accomplished.

I've been away. I know. I've been mulling things over about the responsibilities of being a hedgewitch in times like this. I've been working with other witches to better the situation in this country - if you haven't, I suggest you go start reading hecatedemeter right now. She has wonderful things to say, and they need to be heard more than ever. She's doing good work too, and she needs all our help.

They say the book you need to read finds you when you need to read it. So it's been for me, and who found me but the most excellent Catherynne Valente and the Fairyland books. Reading her prose is like reading your dreams, and if you've never had that honor I highly recommend you start. (I'm doing a lot of that, but in times such as these it happens.)


A lot of people have a lot of thoughts, and it's impossible to know all of them at once. So don't.

Overwhelming seems to be the word of the day lately. I think my taking time from this blog was to help deal with that. Consider me renewed. (garden soil is good for so many things.)

There are many witty ways to close a blog, and I've tried quite a few... so for now, let me just say this.


Monday, March 27, 2017

Kitchen Witching in the almost spring

My seeds are going positively mad- I planted on Ostrara and the pumpkins are bursting out of the tray! I fear they won't wait for the frost to pass and I'll need to pull them out into pots inside... New England springs are not know for being reliable or mild. But still, my seedlings reach for the sun and even in the rain of a dying March they know the sun grows stronger.

I feel a lot like my seedlings lately- struggling, growing, changing, opening. I feel the sun though I can't always see it. I know the moon though clouds come in the dark. The ceilings close down on me, and open just at the last moment. It's a tumultuous existence, but one I'm glad I have. I feel closer to nature, I feel the seasons more acutely when I'm tending plants to maturity. It makes me want to start seeds all year long.

So many raise children, and their magic lies there. My magic comes to me from the soil, the rocks, the trees- and I am better when I remember that.

So as the days lengthen, as the sun grows, as the air warms, remember where your magic comes from. Celebrate it. Learn from it. Find your strength in it.

and Grow.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A love affair with the Atlantic Ocean

Life lately has been rather overwhelming - so many responsibilities, so many worries and troubles and causes to fight for... all worthy, all necessary, but overwhelming nonetheless.

The stars aligned and I was able to escape it all for a weekend, completely alone, into the wild of Acadia National Park. There is an amazing bliss that falls over you as you walk alone through the woods. When all that stares out at you are trees and sunlight through dappled clouds, and all you breath in is pine and sea spray. It's worth it, even in negative temperatures. (and it was, for the whole trip, negative temperatures. this past weekend was one of the coldest this winter for Maine - lucky me!)

It's emotional too. When you're alone with your thoughts - and I mean really, really alone (no cell reception helps) - it's hard to ignore them. You think all the thoughts, feel all the emotion, and when you're alone in the woods you can cry and you don't have to explain it to anyone. You don't have to have conversations with strangers who wonder why tears are streaming down your face in a place so amazingly beautiful. You can simply let the tears come, feel the emotions, and work through them till you come out the other side, smiling and happy and lighter for it. You can hear the voices of your ancestors more clearly once you've worked through the emotions that were keeping their voices hidden. It's like taking the heavy blanket off the speaker - suddenly it's easier to hear everything, and it's not so painful.

I went through a lot of tissues.

Tears aren't the only thing that Acadia spurred in me though - it's a wonderful place with so many photographable views that it's impossible to say I've captured all there is to capture. I wouldn't want to either though, as I know I'll be going back many times, and the view will be different each time. New trees, new flowers, differences in the ocean... it's ever changing as much as it's the same. There are many places I wasn't able to go too, because the roads were impassable because of snow, ice, and downed trees.

There is a stillness that you find in the forest, and us witches know it well. We wrap it around ourselves like a cloak; the familiar weight of it is a balm to us. Acadia is no different. The stillness there is old and kind, wild and violent, quiet and calm. It is all things at once, but feels like home all the same.

It's easy to speak with the Goddess in a place like that, no wires or cars to break your concentration, no unnatural lights or doors or walls. One bare hand on the mossy forest floor, your eyes dancing over the landscape, the scent of the ocean deep in your lungs, your other bare hand on the heat of a rock in the sun... it's so easy to find the elements there, all together in perfect harmony. The Circle came like breathing and the Gods came naturally, and spoke with clarity. There were no obstacles.

It was pure and beautiful. I felt whole in that moment, and connected to everything, everywhere.

I don't think my experience will be the same in July when my family comes with me. They're wonderful, and I cannot wait to show them the wealth of treasures I found in the park, but it will be summer - the busiest time for the park - and we will not be alone. The park will be full of people, full of activity and movement and breathing beings on two legs crashing through underbrush as they hike backcountry trails, scattering pebbles as they rush toward the ocean, chattering and clicking and talking and laughing and screaming in the spray of sunlight through the trees. The park will be happy then too, for it exists for those like them and those like us. It will not be sad that we're there again, unable to find the stillness like before. And I won't be sad either. I'll be one of the clicking, chattering, laughing beings on two legs, holding saplings aside for my young niece and nephew so they can see the fresh moss, helping them down the rocks to gain a chance to be sprayed with saltwater.

That will be a blessing too. To see the marvel on their faces as they see the ocean without smog or filter - to stand at the edge of the rocks and have nothing between them and the horizon but air.

It is all a blessing, and I carry it with me.

So may it be for you.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

When you just can't look...

The last few weeks have been difficult as the man "elected" to be the next President of the United States as filled my social media feeds to the brim with lies and bull shyte. Debates have raged, Democrats have wailed and gnashed their teeth, and bared them in attempt after attempt to get the decision recounted, revisited, and all but reheld.

It's everywhere. It's on the comedy that I watch. It's on the news that I try to pay attention to. It's on the conversations I hear from coworkers.

His image makes me sick to my stomach. His voice grates every nerve. We cannot escape this.

Goddess help us.

I sit before my altar these days. I ask the gods for guidance, for strength for the battles ahead, for patience to listen to his words, and the words of the people he's appointing as leaders.

It's hard for me, forcing myself to listen to voices that rally against all the things I hold dear. I am bisexual, I am a sexual violence survivor. I have dear friends across the spectrum of marginalized groups. We are all afraid.

Now, on the eve of the transition that will shatter for decades the progress we've made, I sit among like minds and knit hats in pink yarn. As I work the pattern I speak blessings and protections into the stitches and I pray the Goddess keeps the women who will wear these safe. One is my sister, the other a dear family friend.

We have to keep looking. We have to keep paying attention and we cannot just hide from this because to do that is to let them steamroller over our rights, our freedoms, our lives.

Ever vigilant. I thought I knew what those words meant once but now I know it was only a small taste to prepare us for what's coming.

Blessings on us all.