animals

WitchCrafting: Crafts for Witches

August, 2018

Claws with Crystals


Merry meet.

Bones are a type of fetish,” Sarah Anne Lawless posted on her website. “A fetish is ‘an object regarded with awe as being the embodiment or habitation of a potent spirit or as having magical potency (source).’ The word fetish originates from the French fétiche which stems from the Portuguese word feitiço meaning ‘charm’ or ‘sorcery.’ Feathers, bones, crystals, and stones are all types of fetishes. Skulls and bones have an appeal to witches who perform spirit work and are a necessary and simple way to connect with spirits of the dead and of animals.

Working with bones is not just for necromancers and black magicians. Practitioners who work with bones are a wide range of healers, diviners, shapeshifters, rootworkers, witches, shamans, druids, and pagans.”

When a hunter I respected offered me wings and claws from turkey he had killed, I accepted. I covered the severed ends all with salt, rubbing in, placing them in a box and adding more salt. When more were gifted to me, I placed the fleshy ends in borax. Both were left to dry for several months. (An explanation of a process can be found on many sites.)


When I received them they were already a couple of days old, but the claws were pliable. I was drawn to having them hold crystals. The shape of some of the polished stones I chose made them unworkable. Thankfully, the pagan store I frequent did not mind me bringing in the legs and holding up crystals to determine what would be a good fit. Certain stones seemed to want certain claws, so I went with it.


There is a lot to be said for a more intentional approach, but as I sensed only one was for me, I did not consider uses and intentions that you would if you were making one for yourself.


I positioned each toe and talon to curl around the stone and then began wrapping it all in string to secure it while it dried. In one instance I used tape and while it worked, I think the string was easier to use and adjust.


After a few months had gone by I unwrapped them and found each was stone securely held.

It would be natural to use them as a wand – as is, embellished or attached to another wand – to direct power. A woman who bought one planned to tie it with a cord that went around her neck so it hung almost to her waist.


Bones carry the animal’s magical attributes which is one of the reasons I have worked with bear claws, a turtle shell and a coyote’s jawbone. Smaller bones have fit in mojo bags created to address various needs.

Turkey is considered a good omen, signaling that gifts are imminent. It’s also “a symbol of sacrifice for renewal and that generosity will open the doors to growth and rebirth,” according to a few websites posting the same information.


Turkey as a totem animal means you are “the abundance generator” for your community.

You have a gift for attracting all the bounty of the universe available to you and you are willing to share. You will often meet the needs of others in a giveaway self-sacrifice form simply because all life is sacred to you. You easily translate your life experience into growth and understanding. You recognize that what you do for others you also do for yourself,” according to spirit-animals.com and other sites.

Awareness, creation, generosity, harvest, pride, purpose, sacrifice, understanding and virility are also associated with turkey.

Knowing this, if you would like to make something similar, ask the Source and then be ready to receive what the universe brings it to you.

Merry part. And merry meet again.

***

About the Author:

Lynn Woike was 50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before she consciously began practicing as a self-taught solitary witch. She draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae, Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can follow her boards on Pinterest, and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.

Sacred Art Video

February, 2018

THE RESURRECTION BONE

 

Many spiritual traditions call the human body a Temple.

It has taken me 50 years on this planet to fully comprehend the truth of this teaching! The Tzeltal Maya people take this concept a few steps further. They believe that the human bodies and the bodies of animals they hunted have a so called Resurrection Bone.

This bone is part of the pelvis and it often the last bone to survive when a body is unearthed long after burial. Tribal hunters believed that from residual essence here a person will be reborn after death.

This is why they often carved the sacrum of animals they hunted. Ritual care for this bone ensured success in the hunt and carry favour with the gods.

They also believed that the human body has loci (places) of transformative power. This means that we can access the cosmos, powerful gods, ancestors and other worlds using portals in our own body.

Watch this brand new art video, created in January 2018, to find out more about this profoundly intriguing cosmology!

**

About the Author:

Imelda Almqvist is an international teacher of shamanism and sacred art. Her book Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit For Life (Using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages) was published by Moon in 2016.  She is a presenter on the Shamanism Global Summit  2017 as well as on Year of Ceremony with Sounds True. She divides her time between the UK, Sweden and the US. Her second book SACRED ART, A Hollow Bone for Spirit – Where Meets Shamanism will be published in the Autumn of 2018.

Click Image for Amazon Information

www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk  (website)

https://imeldaalmqvist.wordpress.com/  (blog)

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=imelda+almqvist 

(Youtube channel: interviews, presentations and art videos)

Imelda is a presenter on Year of Ceremony with Sounds True

http://affiliate.soundstrue.com/aff_c?offer_id=124&aff_id=2260&url_id=86

And she presented on the Shamanism Global Summit with The Shift Network in both 2016 and 2017

http://shamanismsummit.com/program/132

Children’s Book Review – The Natural Storyteller: Wildlife Tales for Telling by Georgiana Keable

December, 2017


The Natural Storyteller is a gorgeous heart-warming book full of stories that children (and people any age!) can relate to. It is a collection of stories, carefully gathered over a period of years, from all over the world (different sources, locations, periods in history). Some are based on myths, others on legendary figures or even saints (e.g. St Francis of Assisi makes an appearance – but in the story we meet his child self!) or extraordinary things that happened in the lives of ordinary people.

What steals my heart about this book is that it unflinchingly addresses the turmoil and realities of life in the 21st century. The author does not shy away from tackling themes such as deforestation, war or corporate greed.

My favourite story is the King of the Deer (perhaps because I live in the forest in Sweden for part of the year where I see deer daily and observe them very closely). I had a rather traumatic encounter with deer hunters only two weeks ago and this story (about the King of the Deer putting a stop to the hunting of all animal species) really pulled at my heart strings.

I live in London for the larger part of the year and there is a lovely story about a London woman who finds a wounded baby sparrow on her doorstep during World War II. She takes him in and he becomes her companion, eventually bringing comfort to people who lost their homes in air raids. The woman was called Clare Kipps and I am under the impression that this story is based on a real life person.

The author describes herself as going on hikes and actively asking strangers to tell her stories. Predictably many people first say they don’t know any stories before proceeding to tell a very unique story indeed. Many of those stories are about friendships between humans and animals.

I love the scope of subjects, characters and locations. I also love the fact that she does not shy away from the difficult aspects of life. When children hear about characters in stories surviving such things and even finding courage or beauty under challenging circumstances – then that same resilience is reinforced and inspired in the audience.

Many stories end with a Q&A section where the storyteller can ask questions to test if the children have understood the storyline correctly. There is also a Myths from the Land of You section where children are encouraged to connect the story to their own lives and experiences.

This book is that rare thing: it unlocks emotions, ideas and a wild surge of creativity. Even I now want to take myself off on hikes around London and ask complete strangers to tell me stories about sparrows and crows (and may just do that for a day!) Stories about other subjects would be welcome too…

(Full disclosure: I was asked by HawthornPress to review this book as a teacher and author of a book about innovative work with children myself).

Imelda Almqvist, 9 November 2017, London UK

***

About the author:

Imelda Almqvist is an international teacher of shamanism and sacred art. Her book Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit For Life (Using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages) was published by Moon in 2016.  She is a presenter on the Shamanism Global Summit  2017 as well as on Year of Ceremony with Sounds True. She divides her time between the UK, Sweden and the US. She is currently working on her second book Sacred .

For Amazon information, click image below.

 

www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk  (website)

https://imeldaalmqvist.wordpress.com/  (blog)

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=imelda+almqvist  (Youtube channel: interviews, presentations and art videos)

Spot – Our Magical Cat: The Story She Wants Me to Share

January, 2011

Spot – Our Magical Cat:

The Story She Wants Me to Share

Spot was our very special pet.  She came to us from out of the wild in the spring of 1995 when she was about a year old.  We decided that May 1st was her birthday.  She had a very playful and inquisitive nature.  For a couple of months when my husband, Mack, and I would walk to the nearby restaurant down our street, often on the way there and back we would become aware of the presence of a little black cat following us.  We would turn to look and she would scamper into the shadows of trees and nearby objects only to emerge and follow us when we had turned away again.

Sometimes we would pretend to chase her and she would pretend to be chased, only to resume following us, and eventually disappear into the shadows.  I thought to myself, “There is a cat who knows she is black.”  I assumed she had a home somewhere in the neighborhood, but she had no collar.  For the next three weeks it rained almost continuously.  Then, one day, we returned to our home to find this little black cat all drenched and crouched on our doorstep.  She was obviously in need of a home.  We took her in, fed her, and nursed her back to health, as she needed some nourishment and de-worming.

Mack said he thought she had been living in the wild for some time, but, as she was very affectionate, she must have been raised by some loving humans.  She had no fear of people, only a healthy wariness of them.  It was also obvious that she was in heat, and we were deciding whether we really could keep her as we were not supposed to have a pet in our apartment.  We are on the second floor and have a spacious porch.  Naively, we thought she would stay on the porch with her food and litter box when we were away.  That is how we discovered ‘the cat elevator.’  One of the juniper bushes along the side of the building had a trimmed area off its trunk, just at the level of our porch.  By the time we discovered that she could come and go as she pleased, we also discovered that she was pregnant.

By this time, it was also pretty obvious she had chosen us and we were going to have to make things work out together.  We named her Spot because she was all black but for a large white patch from her throat down to her chest.  I checked out the cat encyclopedia and found her in its pages staring back at me, matching exactly the description of the beautiful longhaired black Norwegian Forest Cat with the large intense yellow eyes and exquisite triangular shaped head and face.  She also had the characteristic of ‘rusting’ when exposed to sunlight.  I would refer to her as my fire cat when her reds, bronzes, and golds reflected in the sunlight.  When out of the sunlight she would transform again to black.

Spot gave birth to five beautiful babies.  We ran an ad in the paper and found loving homes for all of them.  Then, I rushed her to be spayed, assuring her that she would always be my ‘kitten’ no matter what.  Spot was a natural birder.  She was not at all much interested in mice or frogs or anything other than birds.  She was so good at catching birds that we kept a bell on her to give the birds a fair chance.  In spite of the bell, Spot still managed to occasionally catch birds and would bring them to us, dead, as a gift, or, quite often, she would release them alive inside the house so she could chase them.  This always created pandemonium, which she loved.

Spot would regularly accompany us on walks in the neighborhood, usually to the post office, but she would not go all the way.  She had a favorite set of bushes she would sit inside of, and watch and wait for us to return.  She would then come out and resume the walk home with us.  She was not as fond of riding in the car but, with some persistent encouragement, she would tolerate it.  At her best, she really enjoyed watching the world pass by through the windows.  At home on her porch, she would constantly survey the neighborhood, her ‘domain.’  Riding in the car expanded her sense of place.  She knew exactly where she lived in the scheme of things.  She could come and go freely, and she was known and loved throughout the neighborhood by people and creatures alike.  She was a true queen.

I had become accustomed to Spot being around me a lot now that I was working from home.  She was always very communicative.  Very talkative.  And, she had a large vocabulary.  She would boss me around and make me do things just the way she wanted them to be done.  For instance, she would command me to make the bed for her every morning, and would not allow me to leave any wrinkles.  Sometimes I would hold Spot on my lap and gaze into her deep yellow lantern eyes and ask, “How will I ever live without you?”  Not that I was really expecting an answer, but her answer would come innocently, “What do you mean ‘without’?”

I know the life span of a cat, in human terms, is short.  But my last cat was a venerable Siamese who lived to the age of 23.  He was very healthy all of his life and was never under a regular veterinarian’s care because I could not really afford it.  When we lost Si, it was difficult, but understandable.  His bodily systems were shutting down.  He had lived a long life and it his time had come.  Now that Spot was going to be a part of our family, I wanted us to do the best we could for her.  We decided that rather than rely on the same country doctor who had done her spay surgery, we would take her for annual checkups at the large veterinarian facility in nearby Sumner.  They were well established, with a good reputation, so we trusted them and went along with their program of recommended vaccinations.

Spot was very happy and healthy and we never had any problems until the summer of 2007 when, based on her blood tests from her standard annual examination, she was diagnosed with early feline hyperthyroidism.  She was 13.  As far as I could tell, she really was not manifesting any symptoms of the disease.  I was curious about its cause and asked her doctor lots of questions.  According to him, in many cases they are finding that it is hereditary and begins to manifest as a cat approaches its senior years.  He also told me that it has become more prevalent in the later part of the last century, which veterinarians theorize is due to successive inheritance of the trait among the cat population.  He gave me literature to help me understand what effect the disease can have if it is left untreated and what the options for treatment were.  He also strongly recommended radioactive iodine treatment, which is a onetime procedure done at a specialized clinic.  As it so happened, there was one nearby, in Tacoma.  He referred to this treatment as safe and assured me that it was a ‘cure’ for the condition, whereas the other treatments would require lifelong therapy.  My husband and I discussed it and agreed to have it for Spot.

Because it was an expensive procedure, we could not have it done until March 2008.  By this time, Spot was 14.  Everything went well with the treatment.  Spot’s 1st month follow-up examination was perfect, and so was her 3-month follow-up.  This examination coincided with the time that her standard vaccinations were due, so I asked that they be done at the same time, thinking it was convenient to do so.

Over the course of the next 14 months, Spot began to develop a progression of serious medical conditions: osteoarthritis, lupus or similar auto immune disorder (requiring chronic steroid dosage), prerenal condition (earliest indicators for a body in danger of developing chronic renal insufficiency that can often be averted with appropriate medical treatment), chronic urinary tract infections (requiring antibiotics), chronic kidney disease (requiring 3 times a week intravenous fluid), anemia (requiring a blood transfusion), diabetes (requiring twice daily insulin injection), and ultimately, end-stage renal disease and sepsis.  Spot was in and out of the emergency hospital and several times needed to stay in for extended periods of time.  At home, we cared for her and gave her the treatment she needed.  Assisted and supported by Mack, I nursed her throughout her progressive stages of health and appealed to the Goddess to heal her.

Throughout this period of Spot’s illness, Mack and I were in the process of closing a deal, on a lot across the street from where we live, where we plan to eventually build our own home.  I found myself, on several occasions, sitting by a little crab apple tree on our soon-to-be-own land, praying to the Goddess to heal Spot.  Every time the thought occurred to me that she was dying, I was afraid because we did not, yet, own our own place.  Where to bury her?

Spot, however, was not afraid.  She made an amazing recovery and seemed to be making progress to her good state of health.  In May of 2009, we finally closed the deal and got our land.  Spot had become healthier than she had been in quite awhile and spent the next three months hanging out with us on our property, doing wonderful lazy cat things in the sun and exploring all of its plant life.  Until nearly the very end, I believed that Spot could be healed.

Her time to die came on August 19, 2009.  Spot was 15 years old.  Mack and I were with her during the day and a half of her passing, until her very last breath.  The Goddess had given us time for Mack to build her a beautiful wooden coffin, and we knew where we would bury her.  Now, she is the heart of my sacred grove near the little crab apple tree.  Mack later built me a beautiful garden bench, where I can often sit and meditate, and be with Spot.  It is a powerful place.

But this is not the end of her story.

Initially, my grieving period was intense.  I could still feel Spot’s presence and I strove to maintain contact with her.  In meditation, I can see her eyes gazing back at me.  I can feel the exquisite silky texture of her long fur and the velvet of her nose and paws.  I can feel the outline of her cheek bones while I rub her cheeks.  Now, when I do this, it is a joy.  But it was extremely cathartic for me in the beginning.  Several times, I asked Spot for a sign.  Once, right after I asked, a crow landed on the window ledge, called loudly, and then flew off.  Another time, when I was on the bench in the grove, a black walnut dropped from the sky.  It landed ten feet away on the grass glistening with dew, making it look like a jewel in the sunlight.  What is most interesting about this experience is that crows like to drop these nuts, usually on the pavement, to crack them open.  But, as I examined the sky, I could see no sign of a crow nearby.

For months after Spot died, I tried to deal with nagging thoughts and emotions regarding the progression of her illness, things I had not allowed myself to completely process earlier because I was so absorbed with trying to save Spot’s life.  I was conflicted.  I could not let go of the feeling that something was not right.  I asked Spot what she wanted me to do, and she told me she wanted me to uncover the truth.  I had kept all of her health records and I started going back over things.  It was a puzzle I felt I had to solve, and I also felt Spot driving me to do it.  There was data indicating Spot had had signs of a prerenal condition prior to having the radioactive iodine treatment and studies show that the radioactive iodine treatment can worsen such a kidney condition.  It looked to me like Spot’s doctors should not have recommended this treatment and should have alerted us to the need to be proactive in treating her prerenal condition.

I learned that a pet loss support group was available at the Tacoma Humane Society so I went there for two consecutive Saturdays, and was fortunate to be the only person attending.  Therefore, I was able to have a one-on-one session with the same facilitator both times.  She helped me find my conviction to go ahead and put together a detailed report of my findings to present to the veterinarian specialist who had given Spot the radioactive iodine treatment.  I decided to send him my report and ask him to meet with me to discuss it.  It took awhile to make the connection with this doctor, but he eventually honored my request and we talked the entire experience out over the phone.  He pointed out where some of my conclusions were not correct, agreed with some of them, and also pointed out some other things that were astonishing to me.

When Spot’s osteoarthritis was diagnosed, I had taken her to her doctor because she seemed to be in pain around her hips.  They gave her an injection of Metacam, which they referred to as ‘Kitty Tylenol’ and also gave me an oral form that I was to give her several more times at home.  But this veterinarian specialist informed me that Metacam is usually given to dogs and is known to be toxic to cats and especially damaging to their kidneys.  There is a website that has some startling information regarding this:  www.metacamkills.com .

The veterinarian specialist graciously offered to contact Spot’s doctors at the Sumner facility for me.  Eventually, all the doctors involved in Spot’s care, including this specialist, conducted an in depth review of her case and held a conference.  The outcome of their conference is that the hospital has made specific changes in their health policy for cats, and they have even named the new policy, ‘The Spot McLaughlin Health Policy for Cats’ in honor of Spot.  They will no longer prescribe Metacam to cats unless the owners insist on having it, in which case they must sign a disclaimer.  They also will stop giving vaccinations to any cat over ten years old.  In gratitude, I sent them one of my favorite photos of Spot, framed, to hang on their office wall, next to her health policy.

It was some consolation.  Far from replacing Spot, of course.  But both Mack and I feel satisfied that our efforts have born fruit for Spot to be long remembered, knowing that she lives on in a way that will make life better for many other cats.

Ever since Spot died, I have sensed her presence with me often.  She still goes walking with us, like she did in life, for she was that kind of amazing companion.  I know when Spot is walking with me now, because even though I cannot see her, I can feel her and am filled with a joy that is like warm sunshine.  There are other creatures, and a rare person, who also seem to notice her with me.  Spot is here because she likes this place.  It is still her earthly home and even though she can travel anywhere anytime she wants, she always comes to me when I call her.  Sometimes, sitting at my computer, I feel her lightly brush my bare leg with her fur.  Sometimes I see her from the side of my eye, but when I turn to look, she has disappeared into the shadows.

Now, more than a year later, we have another wonderful kitten.  A Ragamuffin breed, he was given to us in circumstances filled with synchronous coincidence that leaves us no doubt that Spot picked him for us to fill in, with joy, the deep space she made in our lives.  His name is Socks.  As a result of my veterinarian experiences with Spot, we chose to take a different health path for Socks and find an alternative to allopathic medicine for him.  Just at the time we decided this, a friend introduced us to Dr. Jennifer Preston, Holistic Veterinarian.  She has opened our eyes to the truth surrounding the current widespread common use of vaccinations in animals and the fact that there is a healthy alternative.

She provides a lot of excellent information on her website:  www.holisticvetexpert.com .

I am still shocked and amazed, that I was so naïve.  But, I also know that I am not alone in having blind trust in allopathic animal doctors’ advice.  I am also grateful that I want to learn and understand more.  On behalf of Spot and Socks, Mack and I encourage you to do the same.

Mary McLaughlin, November 2010

HearthBeats: Notes from a Kitchen Witch

August, 2010

Pets and hot weather

For many of us this is our favorite time of year and a chance to have fun outdoors with our pets. The Humane Societies want Pet owners to enjoy this time while being mindful of the dangers that hot weather can pose for our Furbabies. Dogs primarily control their body heat thru panting and drinking cool water. In extreme heat, it can be difficult for pets to cool off and overheating is a serious danger.

On very hot days, pet owners should always be aware of their pet’s condition. Immediately stop strenuous exercise if pets start excessively panting, drooling or appear weak. You should take these simple precautions.

  1. When pets are outdoors they should ALWAYS have access to shade and cool fresh water.
  2. Avoid strenuous activities during the hottest part of the day. If you run with your pet, do so in the early morning or very late afternoon, when the humidity and temperature are lower.
  3. Asphalt and concrete can become VERY HOT in the sun, these surfaces can burn your furbabies paws and reflect additional heat back up at them.. Minimize exposure to these buy walking them on the grass or dirt as often as possible.
  4. When Traveling bring water and a travel bowl for your pet.
  5. NEVER EVER leave your furbaby in the car… If you see a pet locked in a car and in distress call the local police and ask them to call animal control. The pets owner  will thank you for saving their furbabies life.
  6. If you plan on shaving your pet please leave at least 1 inch of fur as they will get sunburns too.

Heat stroke is a very serious and often fatal condition. Pets in this condition should be moved to the shade, cool water given to them and ice packs on their chests and bellies while transporting them to the Vet.

These furbabies are part of you hearth and home, they love you, keep you safe, warn you of dangers and love you unconditionally… Please return the favor and do not do to them what you would not do to your own child.. they are and defenseless and depend on us as much as our children.

Pets and flea— and the treatments.

Further on this would be flea season for many of us… when all the animals you have indoors or outdoors seem to be bringing in all sorts of nasty fleas… or being bothered by biting bugs of some sort. There are a few things that you can do year round to help this.
1. Diatomaceous Earth is Mother Nature’s product with no harm to the environment, pets or to people. Diatomaceous Earth is not actually an “earth” but it is the fossilized remains of microscopic shells created by one celled plants called DIATOMS. As you will see, there are many uses for Diatomaceous Earth. This food grade product( not pool grade) can be used internally as well as externally. When lightly rubbed into their coats or dusted on their premises, it is very effective against fleas, ticks, lice, and other pests on pet dogs, cats, and birds. It can also be used as an organic wormer and will kill any worms or parasites the pets may have. When using as a de-wormer, mix the Diatomaceous Earth into their food as follows:

  • Large Cats – 1 teaspoon
  • Kittens – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Dogs 100 lbs + – 1-2  tablespoons
  • Dogs 50 – 100lbs – 1 tablespoon
  • Dogs Under 50 lbs – 1 teaspoon
  • Mini dogs – 1/2 teaspoon

As pets get older, they also get sore joints. With Diatomaceous Earth in their diet they will feel better.  Apply to moist kennel areas to reduce odors, dry the area, and prevent pest breeding.  Deodorizing and absorption are natural functions of DE, so add to kitty litter to absorb odors and keep the litter box drier.

Household Pests:

Diatomaceous Earth is a natural, organic insect killer. Diatomaceous Earth kills by physical action and not by chemical so there is NO harm to pets or humans.  The tiny hard and sharp diatoms scratch off the insects waxy coating, causing it to dehydrate.
Use Diatomaceous Earth for control of roaches, silverfish, ants, fire ants, bedbugs, lice, mites, spiders, earwigs, flies, fleas, box elder bugs, scorpions, crickets, and many other insects. Diatomaceous Earth can be used in and around the home, yard, animal housing, etc.  Sprinkle a 2 inch wide border around the foundation of your house to prevent insects from entering.

This can be used on humans as well as pets.

2. Eucalyptus.

To foil the nasty little pests in your home, place eucalyptus in dog bedding, under carpeting, and in furniture. Sachets of eucalyptus can also be placed in linen closets, and in low-lying cabinets and drawers. An infusion of eucalyptus oil in the final rinse when you launder your dog’s bedding will kill fleas, their eggs, and any mites that have hopped

On for the ride. Make sure to always wash suspect linens in hot water.

Make your own flea dip.

Vacuum carpeting and furniture frequently, and bathe an infested dog with a quality flea dip. You can make your own from 1/3 cup of dried rosemary leaves steeped in 1 1/2 cups of boiling water and left to cool overnight. Strain and combine the liquid with warm water and 1/4 cup of lemon juice for your pet’s final rinse.

3. Essential Oil Repellants

Drops of eucalyptus, cedar, peppermint, citrus (dogs only), lemongrass, pennyroyal oil, will  work as repellants. You can mix 10 drops all oils but pennyroyal oil( only 5 drops) with hot water.. shake well and spray on carpets , floors, beds and furniture.  You can also place all or one of these on the collar of your pet as a repellant.. but be careful with this as pennyroyal oil is toxic in larger doses.

While not an insecticide, these blended oils repel fleas with their smell. Even better, the scents are often quite pleasing for people. Be careful with your cats.. they can be very sensitive to essential oils and they have a very hard time processing them. Do not place directly to their skin or sleep areas. More around them. or on the collars so the repellant works but the cat does not absorb into their skins as much.

Blessed be and Happy August

Until next time

Blessed Home and Hearth

The Hearthkeeper

PS. If there is anything you would like to see here.. please email me at  thehearthkeeper@gmail.com

Animal Wisdom

June, 2009

An Exploration of Deities and Their Animals

As a pagan, I recognize the intrinsic connection that we have with our animal brethren as our ancestors did. Even in our folklore throughout the centuries deities and mystical leaders have changed shape from human to animal and back again.  Is this a literal transformation or just a reference to our close connection to the animal world? Oftentimes we feel a bond with one particular animal, again this is reflected in our deities such as Athena whose totem was the owl, Rhiannon whose animal figure was a horse, or Bastet the cat Goddess often depicted with a septum piercing and kittens wandering around her feet.

Animals have influenced our culture in a big way, from every day work where we are “as busy as a bee” to our sex lives where we imitate our animal counterparts.  With Goddesses such as Bastet who represents fertility or Odin whose animal is the wolf and encompasses all the qualities of the alpha male. It is easy to begin viewing ourselves as our animal representations. Many of us are called to our deities, and those just beginning the path often need a place to start. So why not begin with the animal you are most drawn to? If you feel a kinship with deer then you may work well with Diana the Virgin Goddess of the Roman pantheon.

Below I have a short list some of the deities most often worshipped by those devoted to the Craft today:

Anubis: God of Death, Weigher of Hearts   Animal: Jackal

Cernnunos: God of the Wild     Animal: Stag

Cerridwen: Guards the cauldron of knowledge .Patron of poets  Animal: Wolf

Epona/Edain: Fertility Goddess became Goddess of cavalrymen Animal: Horses

Freya – Warrior Goddess, Goddess of the Divine Feminine   Animal: Horses

Gaia – Protector of all animals and living things   Animal: All

Hathor: Goddess of Sexuality, Joy and    Animal: Cow

Horus: God of Healing      Animal: Falcon

Juno – Goddess of marriage, fair play and retribution  Animal: Peacock

Mars – God of War      Animal: Bull & Wolf

Morrigan:  Goddess of War and Death    Animal: Raven or Crow

Sobek:  Sun God      Animal: Crocodiles

Almost every deity had their animal counterparts; just as in neo-paganism today we accept that we have our own animal totem. Oftentimes our deities will call to us through these animals, so be aware while you are out, if you have not yet found your Goddess or God it could be that you are ignoring the animal signs around you. If you have innumerable encounters with the crow or raven, it may be Morrigan who would like your praise or if you find a crocodile in your back yard in New England Sobek may be looking for your attention. Either way, pay attention not to just what the deity does but their animal representation as well.

Animal Wisdom

May, 2009

Animal Faeries

Spring is upon us, and May Day is almost here, the time of the Fey and a celebration of our Lord and Lady.

But what about the faeries, did they own animals? Yes they did and I am going to devote this article to talking about these wonderful, horrible and sometimes mischievous creatures. Horses that rose from the sea only to be caught in nets, cats as big as dogs that guard faery treasure, and more!

Cats

Faery-cats are wild creatures, not the domesticated cats we know today. They are said to be the size of a dog and all black except for a white patch of fur on their breast. They are known to guard faery treasure along with snakes, in folklore it is believed that cats were at one time snakes. This is why they are hard to kill and dangerous to mess around with.

Cows

The cows of the faery Underland are just as big as the ones here, there is tell that on Mayday if a cow rises from the sea (a point of entrance to the world of the fey) and walks across a farmers land that it will bring prosperity to the farm. If it turns out to be the Glas Glaiven which is a sacred cow to the faery people, milk white and studded with green spots, wherever she steps on the property the grass will grow and the potatoes will become larger. The other faery cows are speckled with red spots, and have no horns. They are known for leading other cattle into the land of the fey. When one enters a herd of our cattle, our cows will actually become frantic but follow the faery cow wherever it goes, usually into a rock or grassy area to disappear forever.

Deer

Red deer are believed to be faery owned. Some actually believe deer to be their only form of cattle while others insist they owned cows as well.  In the Highlands it is said that no deer ever dies of old age and when they shed their horns the bits are never found as the fey take them away. Skittish by nature it is believed that deer will not frighten in the presence of faeries. Elves in particular dislike the hunting of the deer and when a successful hunter brings a kill home it is believed that these mischievous creature all pile up on the hunters back so it feels like he is carrying a three ton deer.

Dogs

Cù Sith is the infamous faery-god of Gaelic Scotland he differs from other faery dogs throughout Celtic mythology as he is a green shaggy dog with paws the size of a man’s hand.  In Irish folklore they have their own dog which roams the area of Galway with white rings around its neck. Faeries are always testing the humans and in Welsh folklore there is one particular story that emphasizes the reward for doing a good deed for the faery folk it is simply entitles A Faery Dog:

“Going home from Pentre Voelas Church, the good wife of Hafod y Gareg found a little dog in an exhausted state on the ground. She took it up tenderly and carried it home in her apron. This she did partly from natural kindliness of heart and partly from fear, because she remembered what had happened to her cousin of Bryn Heilyn. She had come across a strange little dog and treated it cruelly. The fairies had come to her as she was taking glasdwr (which is butter-milk diluted with water) to the hayfield. They seized her and enquired whether she would travel above wind, mid wind or below wind. She ought to have selected the middle course, which would have meant a pleasant voyage through the air at a moderate height, equally removed from the clouds and the earth. Above wind is a giddy and terrible passage through the thin ether between the worlds, and it was well that she did not choose it. But the course she made choice of, below wind, was almost as bad, because she was snatched through miry bog and swampy lea, through brambles and briars, until all her clothes were torn off her body, and she was brought back to her home scratched and bleeding all over.

The good wife of Hafod y Gareg had no desire for any such excursions, and she made a nice soft bed for the fairy dog in the pantry, and fed it well. The following day a company of fairies came to the farmhouse to make enquiries about it. She told them it was safe and sound, and that they were welcome to take it away. In gratitude for her kindness, they asked her which she would prefer, a clean or a dirty cowyard. Reflecting that you cannot have a clean cowyard unless your cows are very few in number, she gave the right answer, a dirty cowyard. She found two cows for every one she had possessed before, and their milk made the best butter in the whole neighbourhood.”~The Welsh Fairy Book

Horses

The faery’s horses could be matched by none other known to man, they were majestic, speedy and beautiful. Within the Bristish Isles and Ireland they are known to be shapeshifters who can change between human and equine forms. Although as horses they still have full command of their speech and so will often be found talking to a human. They were also believed to be the ones used as a means of transportation between this world and the other world. It is believed that if one tried to ride on the back of these horses they would make a hasty dash for the water and send you to your death by drowning. One account of a faery horse encounter comes from Lady Wilde here is the full story:

“There was a widow woman with one son, who had a nice farm of her own close to a lake, and she took great pains in the cultivation of the land, and her corn was the best in the whole country. But when nearly ripe, and just fit for cutting, she found to her dismay that every night it was trampled down and cruelly damaged; yet no one could tell by what means it was done.

So she set her son to watch. And at midnight he heard a great noise and a rushing of waves on the beach, and up out of the lake came a great troop of horses, who began to graze the corn and trample it down madly with their hoofs.

When he told all this to his mother she bade him watch the next night also, but to take several of the men with him furnished with bridles, and when the horses rose from the lake they were to fling the bridles over as many as they could catch.

Now at midnight there was the same noise heard again, and the rush of the waves, and in an instant all the field was filled with the fairy horses, grazing the corn and trampling it down. The men pursued them, but only succeeded in capturing one, and he was the noblest of the lot. The rest all plunged back into the lake. However, the men brought home the captured horse to the widow, and he was put in the stable and grew big and strong, and never another horse came up out of the lake, nor was the corn touched after that night of his capture. But when a year had passed by the widow said it was a shame to keep so fine a horse idle, and she bade the young man, her son, take him out to the hunt that was held that day by all the great gentry of the country, for it was Whitsuntide.

And, in truth, the horse carried him splendidly at the hunt, and every one admired both the fine young rider and his steed. But as he was returning home, when they came within sight of the lake from which the fairy steed had risen, he began to plunge violently, and finally threw his rider. And the young man’s foot being unfortunately caught in the stirrup, he was dragged along till he was torn limb from limb, while the horse still continued galloping on madly to the water, leaving some fragment of the unhappy lad after him on the road, till they reached the margin of the lake, when the horse shook off the last limb of the dead youth from him, and plunging into the waves disappeared from sight.

The people reverently gathered up the remains of the dead, and erected a monument of stones over the lad in a field by the edge of the lake; and every one that passes by still lays a stone and says a prayer that the spirit of the dead may rest in peace.

The phantom horses were never seen again, but the lake has an evil reputation even to this day amongst the people; and no one would venture a boat on it after sundown at Whitsuntide, or during the time of the ripening of the corn, or when the harvest is ready for the sickle, for strange sounds are heard at night, like the wild galloping of a horse across the meadow, along with the cries as of a man in his death agony.” ~Ancient Legends of Ireland By Lady Wilde

So remember, if you go out on May Day and see a green spotted cow you are in luck, your fields will be plentiful. If you encounter a large black cat with a white spot on its breast, then you are getting close to faery treasure and whatever you do, do not ride a faery horse!

Animal Wisdom

April, 2009

Animals That Heal

It’s been known for years that bringing animals to cancer wards, nursing homes and facilities of the like actually help the sick improve their health. The excitement and unconditional love these animals give is the best medicine for any person. But did you know that animals can really heal people?

Our favorite pets are natural Reiki Masters, attuned to earth energy they can call upon the healing energy of Mother Earth to help heal those they care about. Animals can sense earthquakes, death, intruders and the like way before we can. So it isn’t that far fetched to say that they are also illness detectives, Marvin my blue Russian/Siamese mix for example will try to lay where ever there is pain. Oftentimes I don’t even show that I am hurting but he knows right where to lay and will fight me every step of the way to get up on the spot. Even if it means laying around my head.

After recognizing Marvin’s abilities I began to use him with my clients and they love it! I will put a client up on the massage table and Marvin will walk around the table a couple of times. Then he will stop. I will ask if there have been any issues and that particular area. The first time this happens for a client they can’t believe it. Then it becomes common practice. You will be amazed at what an animal can tell you about yourself.

I had one client who had cancers in her abdomen. I had Marvin get up on the table per usual and he immediately laid down and put his forepaws on her stomach right where the cancers were. Except when I tried to move him he wouldn’t budge. I let him stay and decided to work with him instead of against him. So we gave the woman her Reiki treatment together. After that first session she said she had more energy and eating wasn’t half as painful as it had been!

The point of this is to inspire you to listen and watch your animals more closely. If they repeatedly lay on a certain spot take a note of it. Something may be brewing there. Animals are like spirit guides here to help us on our path, teach life lessons and be our partners. Would you ignore the advice of your significant other? Probably not, so why ignore the advice of your animal. These little people in fur coats are highly communicative and always trying to speak to us. So pay attention. Especially when it comes to medical concerns. I am not saying that your cat should replace your doctor. Merely that you should pay attention to what they have to say.

Animal Wisdom

February, 2009

Connecting With The Heart Of Your Familiar

One of the many things that we as witches strive for is to recognize the interconnectedness of everything. We look to the Goddess and God to show us the way. I am a hereditary psychic medium, animal communicator and have seen energy since I was thirteen. But even with these gifts, it took me a long while to discover the key to blending my energy with that of my familiar.  Animals are one of the best ways to connect with Divine energy for they are closest to Earth. They react instinctively and intuitively, their psychic connection is powerful and they are not guarded when it comes to sharing their wisdom. It is merely finding the way to listen and understand.

Each animal has their own purpose, just as we do. Some are meant to be protectors, others to be guides or healers. Familiars are meant to be all of these things. Did you ever notice when you are not feeling well your furry friend will lay right where the pain or discomfort lies, when you cast the ritual circle they have a need to be just outside or inside, that when something isn’t meant to be on the altar they knock it off?

These wonderful and gifted creatures deserve the utmost respect, the same that you would give anyone else in your circle. They are teacher, friend, and family. A simple way to connect with their loving spirit is to sit or lay with them, hold them if you can.  If you cannot hold them then just place a hand on them. Close your eyes, and match their breathing. Visualize their energy do not give it a color that will come on it’s own, see your energies blending with theirs. Your heartbeats matching in time, breathing with them. You may notice that your familiar will become very still as you do this. That means they are accepting you completely as a part of them. If they move away do not fret it just means that at this moment they are either to agitated or that you are not yet ready for the experience and knowledge they have to share. It is not a rejection. Also be aware that if you are in a heightened state or your energy is not completely calm the animal may react to this. So center yourself then try again.

I have a familiar, she is a beautiful tabby named Stevie I have worked with her for years. When I do energy cleansings or healings on clients she is right there jumping up on the massage table showing me where there are issues. Thought speak is the easiest way for these wonderful animals to get their messages across. A part of recognizing the interconnectedness of us all is opening ourselves to the wisdom of others. A way to do this with your familiar would be through mental pictures. A type of telepathic sending and receiving. Visualize in your mind something you would like for them to do, like look at you. Imagine that message being sent through the air to the point between their eyes. See what happens. This may not be something that works right away, but needs time and patience to develop. Animals don’t always recognize right away that someone is speaking to them. Especially if they have lived on their own with no other animal interaction. Their conversational skills could be a little bit behind. So like I said you must be patient. For others who have already developed a strong bond you may be doing this unconsciously already. Be aware.

The most important thing you can do to connect with your familiar is spend time with them, many of the animals that I speak with on a daily basis complain that their humans do not spend enough time giving them attention or playing with them. These animals want to help us on our journey, bring life, friendship, and understanding to our path. Be open.