Preparation for 2015

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a planner.  I like to set goals for myself and I LOVE having things organized.  But with so many things going on at once I tend to get a little distracted and important stuff starts slipping through the cracks.

Enter The Planner. 

Now I'm as technology driven as the next gal.  I love my iphone, my tablet, etc.  But when it comes to to-do lists and project ideas:  out of sight, out of mind.  I have to have it written down in an obvious place or else I get caught up doing other stuff and forget what I was supposed to be doing.

I bought my planner (very similar to the one above, just in pink) at Walmart for less than $20 after doing internet research and nearly passing out at the prices of the ones I liked online.  It had nearly everything I wanted and what I didn't have I could easily make work.

The first thing that had to go was that horrid cover,  Not that I have anything against pink, I like pink.  But it was made out of a weird material that showed every crease and scratch.  Plus the binding was, like, bent under the spiral and it really annoyed me.

So out came my laminator and my washi tape/sticker box.  I pulled some of my favorite photos of the boys and mounted them on black cardstock.  Then I flipped the cardstock over and decorated what would become the inside of the front cover.

It just does not get cuter than that.  Once I had them where I wanted them I taped them down with double sided tape.  Normally I don't do this because I don't like to see the tape bumps under the pictures but I figured that they wouldn't show through because of the thickness of the images.  Plus I only had one copy on hand of each and didn't want to have to have more printed if I screwed it up.

I put my laminator to the 5mm heat setting and it's a good thing I did.  This puppy was pretty thick when it was done and I don't think the 3mm setting would have been enough.

Then I had to figure out a template for the spiral holes.  I couldn't find one online (really?  What the hell people I can't be the only one who has ever done this!) so instead I scanned the old cover and made a template out of it using photoshop.  Then I stuck the laminated cover down onto my die cutter (a Silhouette Cameo) and let it do the work.  

Then came time to make it my own on the inside.  It has all the necessary things like the monthly view and weekly view.  But it had a few pages of things I will never use.  Like grocery lists.  So instead of removing those pages entirely (because hello?  Grocery lists?  Really?) I used my washi tape to create my own categories.

Etsy ideas page

Then, instead of just writing on the page and filling it up quickly I added three rows of mini post-it notes that can be written on and removed when the item on them has been fulfilled, leaving room for a new sticky note and a fresh idea.

I did the same thing for my family goals, personal goals, photography goals, and household goals.  Each category has it's own color so that I can easily distinguish what's coming up.  Etsy, for example, is orange.  So whenever I have something Etsy related that needs to get done I write it in orange on the calendar or weekly pages.  Blue is for personal, pink is for photography, green for family, and purple for household.  This also provided the perfect excuse to buy multi-colored pens and markers.

And finally I created a bookmark to mark the current week so that I could flip right to it without having to search.  I made it much the same way as the cover only a bit smaller.  On the back is a colorful scene of jelly beans from scrap paper with the caption "Important this week" on which I can use more sticky notes for urgent reminders, etc.  

And on the front is my husband, ever my motivator:

Lessons Learned

This is the busiest time of the year in my Etsy shop (as I'm sure it is for many others).  I know this.  I've been kept pretty busy for the past two/three weeks.  Earlier this week I sold my last pair of 6 X 6 vinyl signs:

All packaged up, my husband took them off to the post office.  He hadn't been gone fifteen minutes when I got a message from a new customer asking if I could please, please make her a pair.


I was sold out of the size she wanted so I offered to upgrade her to the 8 X 10 size at no extra cost.  After all, I should have kept up on my stock.  I had exactly two 8X10 blanks left.  I painted them and left them overnight to dry.

Next morning I adjusted the designs to fit the new dimensions and got them cut out and weeded.  The first sign was no problem at all:

But man, that second one.  I repainted it twice and each time the transfer tape pulled the paint off.  I have NO idea what was wrong with it that wasn't wrong with the first one but man, it was pissing me off.

So I concluded that it must be some sort of default in the blank.  Maybe some solvent or something got on it and wouldn't let the paint adhere correctly.  So I had my husband stop on his way home from work to pick me up a few more blanks.

Guess what.  They didn't have any.

The next morning (this morning) I left the house early to hunt more down and I couldn't find a single one ANYWHERE.  I finally contacted my customer and admitted that I wasn't able to fulfill her order as promised and would she be okay if I upgraded her further to a glass frame?

Thank the gods she was not only agreeable to this but also very, very understanding.  Even apologizing to ME for having a difficult order!

These are the customers you love and you treat right.

So I bought some nice plain frames and mounted black cardstock in them.  Then I set about the process of cutting more vinyl.  This time it went on beautifully and I have to say, they came out AMAZING.  Better than I ever expected!

I really, really hope she likes them.  I'm seriously considering redoing the ones I have hanging up!  With them framed like this you can change the background paper to any color you want!  That's perfect for a serial re-decorator like me!

So I've learned several lessons:  Always have plenty of product on hand during the busy season.  Always keep your customer up to speed on what's going on, even if the news isn't good.  And where there is a will there is a way.  And sometimes that way turns out even better than you hoped for!

Mini update and giveaway

SO MUCH has been going on lately!  Octobers are notorious for that around our home.  It's going to take me a few entries to update everything but until then, here's the October contest!  Just click the link to head to the MC Facebook page.  You don't have to do anything  but leave a comment to be entered.  Who doesn't love free stuff?

"Describe Your Perfect Autumn Day"

Out here in Arizona there isn't really an "autumn" to speak of.  We tend to go from scorching hot to "hey where'd all the leaves go?".

But we still celebrate Mabon every year, usually with the air conditioner still working full blast.  Here are a few of our past Mabon pictures:

Lochlan was born the day after Mabon in 2012

One thing I can't wait for is to experience my first autumn in Minnesota.  The pictures I've seen are simply breathtaking:

Gorgeous.  I'd love to experience an autumn that allows you to wear sleeves in October.  My kids practically got heatstroke last year while trick or treating since all of the store-bought costumes are designed with cool weather in mind so they were sweating their little butts off.

Eighteen more months.   Let's do this.

A Precious Keepsake

Today marks the end of week two of homeschooling.  My little sponge is just sucking up every bit of information he can and running with it.  My refrigerator is decorated with things he's drawn, colored, or glued.  And it makes me nostalgic already knowing that there is no way I'm going to be able to save every single thing he makes.  In just two weeks his work has overtaken an entire filing bin.  It's unrealistic to think that I can keep them all but I just can't stand the thought of his little creations not being saved.

Then it occurred to me.  This is what I do.  There's no reason that I can't save my favorites so that they won't be messed up or fall apart with age.  I picked out the ones I loved the most (his first stick figures, his first smiley faces, and his own handwriting scratching out his name) and scanned them into my computer.

I pulled them up in photoshop and fit them onto one of my washer templates.  I had a pile of washers that needed to be made for my shop so I added it to the batch.

This morning I woke up to something I know I will treasure forever.  (Side note, it doesn't look all splotchy IRL.  I took this picture in super dim lighting since it was 6am and had to expose the poo out of it to get it to show up on film)

Share Your Professional “Aha Moment.”

I've had two.  The first was to delve into business at all.  I never, ever considered starting a business, let alone one that relies on my own creative works.  It was actually my husband who convinced me to open my Etsy store.  

My second moment was deciding to venture into other mediums.  I invested less than twenty dollars in my first batch of resin compounds and in doing that I've expanded my business further than I thought possible.  And to think that I almost didn't try it because I was intimidated by it.  

Planetary Hours Chart

From Wikipedia
The planetary hours are an ancient system in which one of the seven traditional naked eye planets is given rulership over each day and various parts of the day. Sunday is always the day of the Sun, Monday is the Day of the Moon, Tuesday is the day of Mars, Wednesday is ruled by Mercury, Thursday is Jupiter's day, Friday is the day of Venus, and Saturday is the day of Saturn.
Each planetary day begins at sunrise, and ends at the next day's sunrise. For example, Sunrise on Saturday is the beginning of the day of Saturn. Before sunrise on Saturday, you are still under the day of Venus.
The day is divided into two parts; the day (time between sunrise and sunset) and the night (time between sunset and tomorrow's sunrise). Each part of the day is then divided into 12 equal parts, for a total of 24 (unequal) hours.  The further the location is from the equator; and the closer the date is to the solstices (as opposed to the equinoxes); the greater the difference in length between the length of the planetary hours and the clock hours.
The first planetary hour of the day is always the same as the planetary day; so sunrise on Monday is the beginning of both the day of the Moon and the hour of the Moon. 

Full Moon Spell

Corn Moon

This moon phase carries on the associations of grain and rebirth that we saw at Lammas. Native Americans and early settlers called the August Full Moon the Corn Moon as it was a time of giving thanks to Mother Earth. Corn was the focus of early harvest celebrations and considered the "seed of seeds" and giver of life. All the products from corn can be considered holy. (Fact: At least 2500 products are made using corn.) Cornmeal, pollen, husks, and ears of corn were all used in fertility and prosperity magic. Corn Moon is a great time to do a ritual of giving thanks to Mother Earth. The best place to do this is in a field, if at all possible.

Colors: Yellow, red, orange
Gemstones: Tigers eye, carnelian, garnet, red agate
Trees: Cedar and hazel
Deity: Vulcan, Mars, Nemesis, Hecate, Cybele, Hathor, Thoth, Persephone
Herbs: Rosemary, basil, rue, chamomile, St John's Wort
Sign: Leo
Element: Fire
Animal: Salmon
Alternate names: Grain Moon, Barley Moon, Sturgeon Moon, Green Corn Moon

Harness the Corn Moon's fiery energy for your ritual and spell work. This is a good time to focus on your spiritual and physical health. It's the time to harvest what you can now to put aside for later use. Harvesting requires sacrifice though. What sacrifices can you make today that will benefit you further down the road?  Spellwork and rituals for enthusiasm and getting rid of shame are suggested during this time.

Corn Moon

Giving Thanks Ritual

Earthenware dish            Cornmeal

Corn Moon magic should be a simple ritual of giving thanks to Mother Earth. In doing so, you’ll create positive karma that will return blessings to you. On the night of the Corn Moon, stand outside in a field if possible. Carry an earthenware dish filled with cornmeal. Raise it to the Full Moon then lower it to the Earth.

Solemnly sprinkle the corn meal on the ground and speak the following words:

From seed to plant,
From plant to blossom,
From blossom to harvest,
I thank you, Mother Earth.

When done, be aware of the August night as the Moon casts a mellow glow over a land of plenty. Listen to the katydid scratching at the darkness. Smell the ripeness of summer’s end. And silently thank the ancient ones who gave us corn, the symbol of life itself.

Properties of Planets

Here are the listed attributes for the planets as they appear on the planetary hour calendars.  Very helpful for spellwriting.

Masculine, full of vitality.  It has determination yet much kindness.  It has a lot of heart and is capable of great love.  An authority figure, moving ever forward.

                Key Words:  Self-expression.  Vitality.
                Associations:  Creativity, Fatherhood, Children, Games, Royalty.
                Physical:  Heart, Spine.
                Positive Traits:  Affectionate, creative, generous, love of children, love of life, quiet dignity.
                Negative Traits:  Arrogant, overbearing, condescending, domineering.

Feminine, very sensitive, emotional,, domestic, love of water.
            Key Words:  Instinctive, Fluxuation, Responsive.
Association:  Emotional Disturbance, Memory, Home, Family, Patriotism, Public  Welfare.
Physical:  Birth, Motherhood, Digestion, Stomach, Breasts, Sympathetic Nervous System, Bodily Fluids.
Positive Traits:  Patient, Shrewd, Tenacious, Imaginative, Good Memory, Maternal.
Negative Traits:  Moody, Changeable, Unreliable, Gullible, Narrow-Minded, Unforgiving.

 Quick-witted, extremely active mind, good for research, explorations, analysis, judgment, writers, teachers, orators. 
                 Key Words:  Communication.
                Association:  Travel, Mental Perception.
                Physical:  Brain, Intellect, Nervous System, Respiratory System.
    Positive Traits:  Desire to learn and teach, Versatility, Perception, Reasoning Powers, Intellectual.
    Negative Traits:  Inconsistent, Argumentative, Sarcastic, Cynical, Hyper-Critical.

 Very feminine, very connected with love, friendship, physical attraction.
            Key Words:  Harmony.
Association:  Feminine influence, Money, Partnership, Possessions, The Arts, Beauty, Clothing, Fashion, Feeding, Peace making, Pleasure, Musicians, Jewelers, Actors, Tailors, Artists, Nurses.
            Physical:  Throat, Kidneys, Lumbar Region, Parathyroid, Feelings (esp love).
Positive Traits:  Kind and gentle, Appreciative of beauty, Lover, Tactful, Adaptable, Placid.
Negative Traits:  Excessively Romantic, Effusive, Impractical, Indecisive, Parasitical.

Action with great energy and courage.  May be brutal and jealous.  Frequently the cause of sexual problems.
            Key Words:  Energy, Initiative.
Association:  Action, Masculinity, Aggression, Weapons and tools, Soldiers, Surgeons, Sportsmen, Craftsmen.
            Physical:  Adrenals, Kidneys, Urogenital, Red Blood Corpuscle, Muscles.
            Positive Traits:  Defends the weak, Decisive, Responsive, Pioneering, Freedom-Loving.
Negative Traits:  Selfish, Over-aggressive, Brutal, Unthinking, Quarrelsome, Rude.

 Inhibited, persevering, cautious, often frustrated, taciturn, reserved.
            Key Words:  Limitation.
Association:  Tenacity, Slow Change, Inhibition, Restriction, Intolerance, Law, Mining, Printing, Dentistry, Building, Real Estate, Second-Hand Goods, Agriculture, Death.
            Physical:  Skin, Bones, Teeth, Gall-Bladder, Spleen.
Positive Traits:  Cautious, Practical, Thrifty, Reliable, Self-Disciplined, Patient.
                Negative Traits:  Selfish, Dogmatic, Depressing, Aloof.

Harmony, education, law, morals and religion.
            Key Words:  Expansion
Association:  Truth, Knowledge, Religion, Education, Languages, Foreign Countries, Faith, Book Publication, Philosophy, Good Humor, Learning Through Reading, Bankers, Judges, Ecclesiastics.
            Physical:  Pituitary Gland, Liver.
Positive Traits:  Generous, Optimistic, Loyal, Just, Compassionate, Sports, Languages.

Negative Traits:  Self-Indulgent, Extravagant, Conceited, Overly Optimistic, Extremist.

Orbs and Their Meanings

Many cultures and pagan denominations believe that the presence of orbs signify the presence of spiritual beings or energy.  Oftentimes however people with see small circles of light in photographs and immediately jump to a spiritual conclusion when in fact it could very well be light bouncing off of any number of sources, particularly if you are using a camera's flash feature.

That is not to say that true orbs have not been caught on film however.  It is a phenomena that happens quite frequently!  However the truest and most believable photographs are the ones taken without a flash since this negates the idea that light is bouncing from an artificial source.

Orbs can also be seen in a variety of colors.  An interesting theory is that the color the orb appears suggests its nature or intent:

Definitely an interesting take on color magic in relation to floating energy or spirits!

Easy Beginner Spell

Like most budding witches in the 1990's I learned a lot about solitary practice from the works of Silver RavenWolf.  One of the first spells that I tried was one that she had included in one of her books.  It was a spell to raise the winds.  With air being the element that I have always identified with I was eager to try out this spell.  

And it worked every time I tried it.

Spotlight Saturday: Amber Allen

Dance in the Everlasting Moonlight
By Amber Allen

 Dance in the everlasting Moonlight  
  Feel its wonderful gaze upon you 
  The Magic is all around the power is wild 
  Falling rays are inviting and a vibrant blue 
   Dance in the everlasting Moonlight 
   Lift your arms high to her smiling face    
  Move to the beat of the pounding drums 
                   Sway your hips and spin around with grace                 
    Dance in the everlasting Moonlight 
    Bow your head to received her abundance
    Let the child within take hold and laugh
    Be filled with love and taste the indulgence 
    Dance in the everlasting Moonlight 
   Worship at the alter of the divine 
   This ancient place of sacred Gods 
             Melting with and in you for all time      


Magical Symbols

Symbols and symbolism are a huge part of any earth-based practitioner's arsenal.  Symbols can be used to infuse energy by means of inscribing them onto candles, leaves, spell pages, etc.  They can be used to draw energy when painted or drawn on the body, on stones, or on talismans, etc.  Below is a guide of several symbols used in modern pagansim as well as symbols representing certain paths or faiths.

magical symbols religious symbols

Necronomicon Tarot Review

For this week we're going to delve into the darkest deck in my tarot arsenal: The Necronomicon Tarot by Donald Tyson and Anne Stokes.

When I say this deck is dark, I really mean it.  There isn't a lot of "fluff" here.  If you're looking for a gentle way to break the truth this is not it.  These cards explore very sinister themes with bold clarity. 

The 78 cards are very colorful with amazing artwork.  They are very slick however so you have to be a bit more vigilant when handling them or you'll lose a few.  The package contains the deck, a black organza carrying bag, and the guidebook as well as two extra cards that explain the elemental associations of the cards.

Each suit tells a different story.  The suit of wands is the civil war between the Atlanteans and the Deep Ones.  The swords tell of old Damascus and of jealousy, revenge, and violence.  The discs tell the tale of a necromancer and his attempts to compel a deceased woman to reveal the location of a mysterious strongbox.  And finally the cups speak of an acolyte who joins the cult of Bast.

The major arcana are gorgeous on their own.  Each one represents a god, devil, or monster present in H. P. Lovecraft's writings:

0 Fool - Azothoth

1 Magician Nyarlathotep
2 High Priestess - Bast
3 Empress - Shug-Niggurath
4 Emperor - Amun
5 Hierophant - Dagon
6 Lovers - Deep One & Bride
7 Chariot - Beast of Babylon
8 Strength - Shoggoth 
9 Hermit - I'thakuah 
10 Wheel - Yog Sothoth 
11 Justice - Spawn in Sphere
12 Hanged Man - Well of the Seraph
13 Death - Tsathoggua 
14 Temperance - Reanimators
15 Devil - Cthulhu
16 Tower - Great Ziggurat
17 Star - Ishtar
18 Moon - Hounds of Leng
19 Sun - The Empty Space 
20 Judgement - Guardian of Eden 
21 World - Yig 

I'll be honest in saying that I don't use this deck very often.  I rarely have a client who chooses it and at times it can be a bit brutal even for a personal reading.  I do have a lot of respect for this deck which is probably why I don't use it very often.  It doesn't give you vague answers or false hope.  It tells it like it is and there's really not a lot of room for interpretation unless you're REALLY digging for it.

How To Make Yarn Dollies

Gothic Grimoire Review

I received this book a long time ago before I began studying Correllian Wicca.  Prior to that time my interests leaned more toward a left hand path instead of the center line I now try to balance on.

            If you are drawn more to the twilight hours then Gothic Grimoire by Konstantinos may be right up your alley.  From beginning to end the author shares his love and respect of the night mysteries with such poignant passion that it is almost tangible.  As this book is somewhat of a “Volume II” to his title Nocturnal Witchcraft: Magick After Dark it bypasses the basics and takes you right into advanced techniques and concepts.  Everything from self-initiation to advanced conjuring is covered with a healthy dose of mythology and lore sprinkled in.

            Overall I felt as though I were learning information from a capable and qualified source.  The subject matter, while I am sure is uncomfortable for some, was fascinating to me.  His personal experiences and indeed his personal Grimoire are right there in the text, exposed to the reader.  He did not shy away from delicate topics and where appropriate included words of warning and disclaimers. 

            Upon completing the book I was definitely compelled to not only attempt some of the techniques therein but also to read its companion novel, Nocturnal Witchcraft: Magick After Dark, which I did.   Konstantinos was able to express his values and beliefs without sounding condescending or superior in any way. 
            Had I been the author of this manuscript I would have included a chapter discussing some of the more popular “Dark” deities and their properties/origins.  He makes a lot of reference to God/Goddess but does not include any appreciable examples of them, choosing instead to refer to them as Dark Gods or Dark Ones.  Energies raised by invoking the Norse Hel would be quite different than working with the Egyptian Set and I feel the differences should have been discussed and carefully noted.

            Though the book is written as an advanced guide to nocturnal magick he includes basic rites for each of the eight Sabbaths which I found to be very helpful in understanding the night witch’s connection to not only the wheel of the year but the cycle of existence as well.  “Celebrating the Wheel of the Year is how a Witch strengthens his or her link with the magickal currents that flow through our world.” (Konstantinos, pg.25)  He goes on to explain that the rites contained in the chapter are his own versions and that they can be adapted and changed as much as necessary so long as the Sabbaths are honored. 

            In an attempt to gain as much from the text as possible I opted to attempt one of the rituals it contained.  I chose the Nocturnal Servant as described in Chapter 11.  The rite reminded me of a story I had read from Hebrew folklore where a Jewish craftsman convinced his rabbi to teach him how to bring a clay golem to life through faith and magick.  The spell outlined by Konstantinos was a bit more modern and of course contained a well-placed warning.  “Your servant’s actions are, for all the universe knows, your actions.  Use this being for evil, and evil will come to you.” (Konstantinos, pg.116)

            Rather than go into great detail I will simply state that, while the spell allows for a complete moon cycle, the tasks I set my servant to completing were completed within a week. 

            I learned through internet research that Konstantinos lives in New York where he has been a paranormal researcher for the last fifteen years.  He has a bachelor’s degree in English and technical writing, both of which show in the ease of which his texts are read and comprehended. 

            I would recommend this book to a select few, as I could see it frightening some and giving others (who may purposefully ignore the warnings) access to dangerous information that they aren't ready to respect.  But for those who can use it in a mature manner I believe it is a wonderful book for not only understanding the “darker” side of magick but also to help in understanding that you cannot have one without the other: light without the dark, dark without the light.  Both paths must tread together, whether or not they choose to acknowledge one another.

Wicca Wednesday: The Book of Shadows

The Book of Shadows

Though the modern Book of Shadows is believed to have originated by Gerald Gardner in the late 1940's, the concept of such a book dates back to the 5th and 4th century BC by the Mesopotamians.  Many incarnations of personal grimoires have been noted over the centuries and many superstitions and beliefs surround them.

The Book of Shadows can be used to record nearly anything of a magickal nature.  My personal book contains spells, rituals, incantations, an herbal glossary, crystal and color magic charts, planetary hours, wiccan and pagan symbols and imagery, poetry, sketches, and lyrics.  In fifth grade I began to study calligraphy and my entire book is hand written with a fountain pen.  There really is no right or wrong when it comes to filling your own pages. 

Some traditions believe that a coven should hold only one book for all of its members, held with the high priest/ess.  Today however this system isn't as widespread since covens don't always reside close to one another as well as the many solitary practitioners who don't desire to join or participate in a coven.  Often a coven with have one "master grimoire" which new initiates may copy pages from to add to their own books.  And now, with the invent of the internet, modern pagans may even have a virtual grimoire that can be downloaded to a tablet or an e-reader.

I began my personal Book of Shadows in 1998 from a sketchbook with blank pages.  To this day it serves not only as a reference for magickal workings but also as a visual roadmap of how far I have walked this path and where the journey has led.  There is a definite ebb and flow of light and shadow energies that is almost tangible within the text and artwork.

My family also has its own Book of Shadows.  I began it after we had our first son and each year I add more to it.  My husband and I decided long before we were married that our children would be raised in the pagan path and this is my way of creating something for them that can be passed on through the generations.  There is a hard copy which contains all of our sabbat traditions, family spells, ritual information, etc that rests in our front room on a shelf.  I also keep everything backed up on the computer so that when they are eighteen I can create one for each of them to take with them through life, to add to as they see fit and to pass on to their children.  I also added information about each of their family members (even the ones who aren't wiccan) so that they will have a sort of family tree that extends beyond just a name and birth/death date.

Some traditions state that the Book of Shadows should be laid to rest with the witch who created it.  Others believe that it should be passed to the witch's descendants.  This is a very personal choice and one that should be thought about thoroughly before reaching a decision.  

However you choose to handle it is completely up to you.  My personal book is open for viewing to my family since my energy went into creating them (or in the case of my husband, maintaining our relationship).  In my role as teacher to my children I can't imagine not using my own text to teach from.  This is, however, a personal choice.  Not everyone is comfortable revealing all of the thoughts and emotion that goes into such a book.

A personal grimoire is an excellent way to record your thoughts, spells, artwork, and ritual workings.  There is a reason that they have endured for centuries.  Your book should speak to you, it should sing.  There is no use trying to pour your energy into a book that just doesn't "mesh" with you.  Modern books come in all shapes and sizes and are made out of many different materials.  Leather, suede, velvet, wood, paper, even virtual memory.  Explore your options and enjoy the process.  Your book will be your companion for many, many years to come.

Archetype Cards

Of all the decks in my repertoire, the Archetype Cards by Caroline Myss are the most useful yet the hardest to use.

I bought this deck quite a few years ago and have used it since.  The deck contains a whopping 74 cards , making it easily the largest deck I own.  Each card represents a different archetype.  They range from common (warrior, hero, king, mother) to obscure (Don Juan, Alchemist, Femme Fatale) and each has a listed Light and Shadow attribute.  Also included are a guidebook and six blank cards so that you can add others that you discover to your deck.

Though it is technically an oracle deck it just doesn't read that way to me.  I am completely unable to do a full spread reading with these cards.  Even so, I use them nearly every time I do a reading, especially if it is for a new client.  Before any other cards are drawn I (or the client) draw one to two cards from this deck to represent their current state of being or frame of mind in regards to the situation at hand.  It has proven invaluable for interpreting the rest of the cards that my other decks reveal in the spread.  Because it showcases both the good and the bad within the archetype I am able to more accurately read for the client (or for myself) by coming from a voice of that archetype.

This deck may not be for everyone but it is very flexible which is one of the things I love about it.  It can also reveal pieces of your character that you either weren't aware of or had forgotten about.  You can pick up your own copy from Amazon here.

DIY Fairy Circle Kite

Wicca appeals to little kids on so many levels due to its mysticism and magick.  One being that children really identify with is the fairy.  Small winged creatures who flit about in the garden or around the home hold an almost tangible appeal to a child.  This week's craft is meant to enhance that sense of wonder.

diy wicca crafts for kids, pagan kids crafts

The fairy circle is a natural occurrence in nature as a ring of mushrooms growing in the wild.  British folklore tells that these circles are make by the dancing of the fairies.  The Fairy Circle Kite keeps with this tradition in that it is a wonderful addition to a child's play or dance.

For this project you'll need the following items:

A ring (I bought a set of clear plastic shower curtain rings for a dollar!)
Ribbon in varying colors
Washi tape or flower tape (if desired)

Begin by making sure that your ring is securely closed.  If you're using a solid ring then obviously you won't need to take this step.  But I got halfway done covering mine before I realized that it was closed but hadn't "locked" into place fully.  If you are wanting to cover your ring now is the time to get started.  Flower and washi tape both stick to itself so this was a fantastic choice for covering the ring.  In fact, the flower tape that I used make the ring smoother than it had been before I covered it!

It is completely up to you what type and length of ribbon you want to use.  I do suggest using ribbon that is 1/4" or less wide though.  Anything wider than that makes it difficult to work with and doesn't produce as nice of a result.  I used seven strands of ribbon to create mine.  Remember also to cut your ribbon twice as long as you want your tails to be since it will be folded in half in the next step.

For this step I chose to knot my ribbon over the bulk of the shower curtain ring where it connected under the flower tape to give the whole piece a more uniform appearance.  You'll want to fold one ribbon in half, put the center of the ribbon under the ring and pull the ends of the ribbon through the loop, making a single knot over the ring.

The next part is a bit trickier to explain.  Take one of the ribbon ends and push it through the slip knot that you just made like in this next picture:

Then, using the two ends of the ribbon, tie two single knots on top of one another (a double knot, basically) to firmly secure the ribbon to the ring.

Add your ribbons in whatever order you choose, just make sure that they are all close together.

And that's it!  These can be used by kids as a visual aid in raising energy or just for fun.  They encourage movement because it is by the wind moving through them that you really get to see them dance.  I gave mine to my four year old and let him be the judge:

 I think he likes it. :)  Happy crafting!

Raising Witches Review

When Caleb was born I threw myself into research mode to find the best way to educate him on the pagan faith without pushing it on him as so many of us had experienced with monotheistic religion as kids.  My search led me to this book:

Raising Witches is more than a simple teaching guide for parents.  The author, Ashleen O’Gaea, has compiled years of practice and study into writing a very user-friendly guidebook that takes the guessing out of how best to teach to children of any age.  While she of course has her own beliefs within the faith, she writes from a perspective that any practitioner can follow.

As a whole, this book is to be used as a guide for parents or teachers to educate children from infancy to late adolescence on the path of Wiccan and Pagan spirituality.  It carefully and clearly explains the stages of children’s development and capabilities for understanding material at each age group.  She offers advice, knowledge, and lessons for each stage along with age appropriate chants, spells, and activities.

Included in the text is a comprehensive breakdown and study of the Wiccan Rede.  The author explains the Rede before dividing it into sections and taking a look at each key point as well as comparisons between it at other “Golden Rules”.  “In a class we attended once, a student asked how you could reconcile ‘threefold’ with every action having an ‘equal and opposite’ reaction.  If we’d been teaching, we’d have answered that Newtonian laws apply only in certain realms of the physical dimension, and that what we do in the world has an effect on dimensions beyond the physical.” (O’Gaea, pg.126)  By doing this she puts the Wiccan Rede in a context that someone not familiar with the faith might be able to parallel with a more widely-known belief or understanding.

One recurring theme throughout the text is the need for your child or children to have a firm sense of safety and security.  “What children really need in the way of support, while they’re going through this first round of identity establishment, is security.” (O’Gaea, pg. 72)  She goes on to stress that a solid sense of sanctuary is essential for one’s emotional growth as well as spiritual.

The underlying tone of the book was one of concrete knowledge and understanding of the subject matter.  Not once did she leave you questioning whether the methods included were plausible or credible.  In fact, since reading her methods, I have chosen to implement many of her practices into the teaching and guidance I offer my own child.

The values gained both from reading as well as practicing the techniques described in the book are perfectly in line with my own beliefs, making this title a go-to reference for teaching my son the Wiccan faith. 
The only limitation I have found in reading this book is that while she incorporates song and chants she doesn’t include the accompanying tune to most of them.  Two lines of standard notation for guitar or simple piano would have gone a long way toward making this book that much better.

That being said however, I am unable to find fault in any other form.  Ms. O’Gaea has penned a manual that I believe every parent in the faith should read.  The way she separates the information and activities by age group makes the book that much more accessible in that it does not pour too much knowledge on the reader (and consequently the child) at any one time. 

What Ashleen O’Gaea did very well was write a book that is easy enough to read by a beginner yet thorough enough so as not to disappoint a seasoned practitioner.  Her points are clear and concise and her ideas are very well thought out and worded.  She even went so far as to include photographs of her own family to help illustrate not only the points of the text but to show that she practices what she preaches (so to speak).  By doing this she creates a tone of camaraderie rather than that of an authority figure.

A bit of digging on the internet revealed that Ms. O’Gaea is not only an author but was one of the founding priestesses of the Tucson Area Wiccan-Pagan Network, a very prominent organization in Tucson, Arizona.  She also helped to begin the Mother Earth Ministries-ATC, a Neo-Pagan prison ministry program.  She also, along with her husband, Canyondancer, provides clergy services in and around southern Arizona.

Again, I definitely recommend this book to any parent or teacher.  Not only those who follow the faith but also those who may have pagan or Wiccan students in their classes as a way of incorporating spiritual beliefs into everyday life.

This book can be purchased through nearly any new ago bookshop or you can find it on Amazon here.