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Welcome

September, 2018

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Cover art: Persephone’s Descent Goddess Harvest Mabon Fine Print by Tammy Mae Moon of MoonSpiral on Etsy.

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This Month Features:

Our Readers Have a Chance to Win Their Own Copy of each of these In Focus Titles this month!! Two Lucky Winners will be chosen this month to receive one copy of each title: In Focus Crystals: Your Personal Guide by Bernice Cockram & In Focus Astrology: Your Personal Guide by Sasha Fenton.

This Month We Have Reviewed both books, In Focus Crystals: Your Personal Guide & In Focus Astrology: Your Personal Guide, to help you better get to know the awesome prizes you have a chance at winning!

For Your Chance to Win A Free Copy of these books this month through PaganPagesOrg, thanks to the Quarto Group, visit PaganPagesOrg Instagram, hit follow, find the picture promoting the contest of EACH BOOK posted and leave a comment on the book you would like! That’s all!! A winner will be randomly chosen on Monday September 17, 2018.  USA & Canada Only.

Good Luck to You All!!!

 

This Month Also Features:

An Interview – Laura Perry: Re-enchanting the World. Laura is the author of various books including Ariadne’s Thread, an exploration of Minoan spirituality and Ancient Spellcraft, exploring ancient magics from all over the world. As well as authoritative books on ancient and modern spirituality, Laura writes compelling fiction with a magical twist. She was kind enough to return to PaganPagesOrg for another interview about her latest literary exploits.

 

A Review of The Sibyls Oraculum: Oracle of the Black Doves of Africa. This deck is an Oracle deck created by cultural anthropologist Tayannah Lee McQuillar, with artwork by multimedia artist Katelan V. Foisy. The images on the Oracle cards, appearing to be ancient mosaics, in glossy color are taken from beautiful full-color paintings filled with the powerful symbolism found within Libyan mosaics created in the first century BCE.

 

A Subscription Box Review: The Well Read Witch by Mabh Savage. This particular box is one for our UK readers. The Well Read Witch is a brand new monthly book subscription box where the focus of the box is a witchcraft book. The book is accompanied by several other items which all add to the pleasure of opening this little treasure trove.

 

A Book Review – The Modern Witchcraft Book of Natural Magick: Your Guide to Crafting Charms, Rituals & Spells from the Natural World by Judy Ann Nock. Each of Its eleven chapters delves into a realm of nature magick including seed, air, sun and fire, the moon, Gaia, time and the cosmos.

 

In Worth the Witch We Open A New Box this Month & It’s from Alchemy & Ashes. Alchemy & Ashes provide a variety of excellently handcrafted, by them, elixirs, incense, perfumes, soaps, conjure powders, and more. Have a read and see if this box is really Worth the Witch.

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Thank you to all our Readers!!

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Join us on FacebookTwitterPinterest, Google+ Community, Instagram, & YouTube.

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Only those who care about you can hear you when you’re quiet.

 

 

Witch & Popcorn

September, 2018

Bright Blessings, film lovers!

This month, I decided to review another classic film- Steel Magnolias.

Some have not seen it, as it’s set in the 1980’s in Louisiana. The film is all about motherhood, the cycle of life, death, and birth, and the power of women to support one another no matter what. I have never met anybody who did not bawl like a baby while watching this film, and it is one of the finest films ever made.

It’s filled with big hair, snark, shade, charm, love, and laughs. You will fall in love with the Steel Magnolias- delicate like a flower, and as strong as steel!

Here is the link to a trailer you can watch:

The story follows the lives of lady friends who gather at the local beauty salon, ran by Truvy, played by the divine Dolly Parton. While it appears to be the story of Shelby, played by Julia Roberts, it turns out, it’s more about her mother, M’Lynn, played by Sally Field. She is the main representation of motherhood in this film, and she plays a mother who raises her daughter Shelby, helping with Shelby’s health issues, even after Shelby marries, moves out, and has a child of her own. Unfortunately, Shelby’s body could not handle the pregnancy, and she eventually dies even after exhaustive efforts to save her. M’Lynn even gives Shelby one of her own kidneys.

What is the mother goddess if not life giving? Whose body do we live upon, and it is the fruit of whose body that feeds us? Whose waters quench our thirst, and to whose body do we return when we die? Who takes care of our children after we are no longer alive to do so, continuing to nourish them?

The great mother goddess! M’Lynn is the perfect embodiment of the lifegiving, healing aspect of the great mother.

Truvy, too represents that. She has her own issues, as her husband is struggling with a case of the blahs after being unemployed. She never gives up on him even when he holes up at the house, and won’t go anyplace. Her son, too has teenage attitude issues, and she still loves him in his rebelliousness. It turns out, her devotion to them was not misplaced, and her believing in them shows by the end of the film, the men in Truvy’s life are men who make life better for everybody. They just needed the understanding and support while dealing with their problems. Thanks to Truvy, they came out if their struggles whole, and better than ever.

The eternal compassion and understanding of the great mother carries us. Truvy embodies this.

She further gives a second chance to the heartbroken Annelle, played by Darryl Hannah. Annelle is abandoned by her good-for-nothing husband who is on the lam from the law, and when she can’t rub two nickels together, Truvy gives her a job, and a chance at a new life. Her whole life seemed over before being taken in by Truvy, but like a phoenix rising from the ashes, everything begins again for Annelle, and she absolutely thrives.

Sometimes, the goddess takes a bad situation from us we have been holding onto, because we believe it is all we have. Once stripped of everything, we are given so much more than we ever imagined.

The comic duo of the film, Miss Clary and Miss Ouiser, played by Olympia Dukakis, and Shirley MacLaine bring the snark and shade, and keep everybody in stitches. The oldest ladies in the group, they are bound by adoptive sisterhood, and both jokingly verbally attack one another.

Initially, Ouiser is a miserable old hag who bitches constantly, and looks worse than she acts. Shelby plays matchmaker a second time in the film, this time bringing Ouiser back together with an old beau. Reluctant to give up her independence, Ouiser first INSISTS they are just friends, which is pure hogwash. Soonafter, Ousier becomes kinder, gentler, and significantly less irritable, and all because she is HAPPY. Clary remarks at one point, “Ouiser! You are in a good mood! Did you run over a small child on your way here?”

She was absent minded, careless, accident prone, and a pain to be around at times. She stressed over every little thing, and complained constantly. None of the ladies disowned Ouiser when she was at her worst. Truthfully, her worst was not THAT bad, but she WAS difficult to deal with.

The goddess in her wrathful form is only such for reason. She has a benevolent aspect as well, Ouiser shows both sides.

Like the goddesses destructive side can clear the way for the good to come, Ouiser’s dark irritability causes her to snap at Annelle and drag the truth of her situation out of her. Had Annelle not spilled the facts, the ladies would not have known to immediately band together to lift up Annelle in her struggles. Ouiser also shows the fact the goddess needs the love and companionship of others to be her best self. Her friends as well as her new beau embrace her eccentricities, and while they joke with her about it, reminding her she’s got that mean streak she needs to keep in check, they give her the love and support she needs to be her best so she can love and support others as well.

Clary is a rich older lady, and uses it to put herself in positions to benefit her community. She is a testament to the goddesses generosity, and like the goddess smiles upon her children, so did Clary.

There’s not things in the way of mysticism or lore in the film, but the magic of women channeling their inner goddesses to make their lives and the lives of their loved ones wonderful is the lesson this film has for us.

This film deals with the joys of new life through children, the pain of loss when they die, and the new hope new life brings.

Don’t take my word for how amazing this film is. See it for yourself.

Note- I am also aware there was a 2012 remake of it, and I think I have to nab a copy of that as well. It got multiple awards and got rave reviews!

Happy film viewing.

Blessed Be!

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About the Author:

Saoirse is a recovered Catholic.  I was called to the Old Ways at age 11, but I thought I was just fascinated with folklore. At age 19, I was called again, but I thought I was just a history buff, and could not explain the soul yearnings I got when I saw images of the Standing Stones in the Motherland. At age 29, I crossed over into New Age studies, and finally Wicca a couple years later. My name is Saoirse, pronounced like (Sare) and (Shah) Gaelic for freedom. The gods I serve are Odin and Nerthus. I speak with Freyja , Norder, and Thunor as well. The Bawon has been with me since I was a small child, and Rangda has been with me since the days I was still Catholic. I received my 0 and 1 Degree in an Eclectic Wiccan tradition, and my Elder is Lord Shadow. We practice in Columbus, Ohio. I am currently focusing more on my personal growth, and working towards a Second and Third Degree with Shadow. I received a writing degree from Otterbein University back in 2000. I have written arts columns for the s Council in Westerville. I give private tarot readings and can be reached through my Facebook page Tarot with Saoirse. You can, also, join me on my Youtube Channel.

Connecting with the Inner Wise One

September, 2018

“Only free people can come together; sovereignty is something we can only give ourselves. The key to sovereignty is sharing. Everyone in time will become a healer because that’s the only way we can move. You have to heal yourself first and love all that you see. This requires humility; this needs to be learned in the head. Live what you feel–that requires reverence. Humility and reverence make up the heart. With self-discipline, we know we are all connected and learn there are no separations.”

-Hawaiian Kahuna Hale Makua

We are living in a time when connecting with elder medicine is essential if we are going to be able to navigate the challenges of our time: continuing wars, genocide, global warming, economic collapse, and violence of all kinds. Wise elders are a living resource; they have much life experience and they have learned how to wade through life’s ups and downs in a way that looks easeful and even graceful. Over the years, I’ve had the good fortune to work with elders from many different traditions and backgrounds. I’ve had the chance to study how they talk, what actions they take, how they treat people, and what values are contained in their world views. What follows is a bit of what I’ve learned.

Wise elders are masters of timing. They don’t rush and they don’t tarry either. They don’t always give you an answer right away. They know that life is complex and that different circumstances require nuanced responses. Wise elders listen with their whole selves and really take in what the other person is saying. They listen for connection and greater understanding instead of from a place of trying to be right or prove their point. They’ve learned that the quality of one’s relationships is the most important thing about living. Relationships extend to all living and sentient beings: the plants, the animals, the mineral world, and ancestors in the spirit world, for example. Wise elders know that we are part of the extensive matrix of life that we cannot possibly comprehend in its entirety. They know that every action an individual takes has an impact on that web of life and so elders seek to be conscious of the effect of their words and actions. Wise elders take care of themselves because they know that the only thing they have one hundred percent control over is how they treat themselves on the inside and on the outside. The ability to truly love “everything we see” starts with the relationship we have with ourselves.

In the tradition I study, we offer community members turning 60 an opportunity to have an elder honouring ceremony. The elder can always decline, however, most accept because they want to share their life’s knowledge and skills with future generations. They know that giving back is part of the elder way. At forty-three, I am an elder-in-training with training wheels on. I won’t have my elder honouring ceremony for quite some time yet. However, I’ve already started to tap into the energy of my inner wise one. When I am in a situation that I am not sure how to move through, I call on my inner elder–the elder I will be–to guide and inform me. When I am about to go into a tough conversation that I know I have to have and want to make sure happens in a good way, I call on my inner elder. In this way, she is teaching me how to use my energy, my words, and my actions more judiciously while still keeping me connected to the essence of who I am. Often, I hear things coming out of my mouth or see myself taking actions my younger self would never have dared to speak or carry out. I feel a lot braver when I can see out of the benevolent elder eyes of my inner wise one. I can see the long view and I don’t get so caught up in trivial things. I am also less likely to keep bumping my head up against things I have no control over. Instead, I see where I can indeed make positive impact and put my energy there. I skirt obstacles when I can and face the ones I can’t move around. I’ve learned that that is how life works: presenting challenges and gifts. Life doesn’t do this to punish us but to sharpen the quality of our characters.

This shamanic strategy is available to anyone at any age. I know there were times in my childhood when I acted in a way that was “wise beyond my years.” Although I didn’t consciously know it at that time, my inner elder was moving through me without a lot of effort. Kids, of course, tend to be a lot more open to expressing different aspects of their psyche than adults are. However, any of us can hold the intent to play with connecting with this inner aspect that is always there to see how we can move with more ease and grace in our lives before our chronological elder years. Perhaps if more people did, we would come to a place of inner sovereignty earlier in our individual life cycles and come up with creative solutions to the world’s problems.

To learn more about Honouring Elder Wisdom, tune into this Going Shamanic Show:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/pagemediaproject/2013/06/26/going-shamanic-honouring-elder-wisdom

***

About the Author:

Jennifer Engrácio has been a student of shamanism since 2005. Jennifer is a certified teacher who has worked with children in many different education settings since 2001. She is a certified shamanic coach, reiki master, and lomilomi practitioner; in addition, she runs Spiral Dance Shamanics. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, she now lives in Calgary, Canada with her life partner.

Engrácio participated in self-publishing three books that are now available:

The Magic Circle: Shamanic Ceremonies for the Child and the Child Within”

Women’s Power Stories: Honouring the Feminine Principle of Life”

Dreaming of Cupcakes: A Food Addict’s Shamanic Journey into Healing

For more information go to: www.spiraldanceshamanics.com

Story Series: Hedge Wizard

September, 2018

Part 1


(Photo by Clint McKoy on Unsplash)

Chapter 1, Part 2

Flight through the Forest

As we flew over the treetops, with the great starry dome overhead, I seemed to be flying upside down over an ocean filled with innumerable lights. The blue child led me deep into the forest, and at one point slowed down to allow me to catch up with him. Then he locked elbows and flew with me, and suddenly all was changed. The trees glowed with light of many colors, like lamps of blue, green, red and violet, each type of tree a different hue. Some trees throbbed with light, while others gave off a steady sheen. In places I saw what looked like columns of light erupting from the trees up into the sky and eventually disappearing in distance. Elsewhere, shafts of light descended suddenly from the sky and fused with particular trees. The blue child led me to a glade in the forest filled with oaks and poplars. We flew to one particular oak and passed inside it through a hollow ‘fairy door’. I was in the trunk of a massive, giant oak tree with the blue child.

Some noise in the forest woke me up at this moment. It was early morning, just around dawn. I went back to sleep and had no dreams I recalled.

At breakfast the Hægtessa seemed pleased and rested. She said she’d had the best sleep in years, for it’s tiring at times to fly with the blue child or other dryads in the forest. At least when you get up to my age,” she smiled. “But while you’re young it’s great fun, and you gradually become acquainted with the deeper forest.”

Dawn can go home tomorrow,” she continued as an afterthought. “Try again tonight with the Blue Child. See if you can get inside the Great Oak. Tell me what happened tomorrow at breakfast. If you find you like doing this, and don’t mind learning herb-lore from me, you can be hedge wizard when I am gone. But think it over; you have plenty of time to consider it.

But the times you go home,” she added, in turning, “don’t speak of your experiences here. Just say you are learning herb-lore from me. That will provide enough reason for them to ostracize you. No point in giving them more.”

* * * * *

On the following night once again I was flying with the Blue Child through the night forest. The blue child led me to a glade in the forest filled with oaks. We flew to one particular oak and passed inside it through a hollow ‘fairy door’. I was in the trunk of a massive, giant oak tree with the blue child. Blue light was all around us.

We rested inside a recess in the oak’s trunk. Not far from us was the figure of an old man sleeping. He seemed carved from wood, or else turning into wood. On his face was an expression of contentment and rest.

Who is that?” I asked the Blue Child. “My Dad,” he answered. “He is falling asleep into the tree. Dad, Dad,” he called softly. The old man’s eyelids fluttered, scattering small splinters. He looked with love at the Blue Child. “Dad, this is Bird-brow. He is taking his first flight.”

The old man’s voice came resonantly from his lips, which hardly moved. “Welcome, Bird-brow,” he said. “The gods bless you.”

And you, Sir,” I replied. “But what is happening to you?”

Oh, I am dying. It is time to return to the Tree, our Mother. My son will serve Her in my stead.”

In the garth, where I live,” I said, “to die is an occasion for sorrow.”

Not among us,” the old man said, smiling. “For we do not die entirely so long as the Tree lives. And She has lived here in the Forest a very long time.”

You can still go upstairs if you’d rather, Dad,” said the Blue Child.

No, Son. My place is here with our Mother, the Oak. But you should go upstairs to tell the Bright Ones I will stay here and subside into wood.”

The Blue Child turned to me. “Rest here awhile. I will return soon.”

The blue light grew around us and seemed to lift the Blue Child. He rose on a column of light and rushed out of the crown of the Tree, up into the sky. He was suddenly gone. I looked at the old man inquiringly.

You must pardon me,” he said, closing his eyes once again. “I am becoming very sleepy.”

I moved outside the trunk up into the lower branches of the Oak. Around me the elms were glowing green, the larches a paler shade of the same color. Here and there in the haunted forest columns of light shot up into the sky and disappeared; once in a while a column descended from the sky and passed into a tree from above, and the tree took on its color and glowed softly.

After some time had passed, a shaft of blue light descended from the sky and the Blue Child was back. “Now we must scout out the Hægtessa’s herbs,” he said. “the old beds have dried up.”

But where were you?” I asked him, as we resumed out flight.

In our star. Every tree in the forest has a star. Ours is there.” And he pointed almost directly up, to the top of the sky. “You must return with the Haegtessa in the morning and help her pick herbs.” Once again we entered the oak.

But where are the herbs?” I asked. “The trees will find them,” he said, and then called out softly “Dad…Dad.”

The old face appeared once more in the wood. “Yes, Son, what is it? I was drifting off.”

The Haegtessa needs more herbs, Dad. The old beds have dried up. We must find the closest bed of wild herbs for her.”

Right away,” said the face, and disappeared into the wood.

Where has he gone?” I asked the Blue Child. “Down into the roots,“he said. “The roots of the great oak extend far on every side and touch the roots of trees growing around us. They in turn touch the roots of their neighbors, and so on. The search for the wild herbs is even now traveling far afield, along the roots through the Deep Forest.”

Presently the old face of the Oak Father appeared once more in the wood. Little splinters flew from his eyelids and lips as he smiled and said “Tell the Hægtessa the way to the herbs has been charted. If she comes here to the Great Oak she can follow the trail with her staff” “Thank you, Oak Father,” I said, and promptly awoke in the crystal room.

At breakfast the Hægtessa was radiant. “You’ve done well, Bird-Brow,” she said. “The Blue Child and the Oak Father both like you. That is important.”

I told her what the Oak Father said. “I know,” she said, “I have done this before, many times. What he said was for your benefit. We must go together today, since you may be doing this next time.”

After breakfast she said farewell to my mother and little Dawn. “She has recovered. Keep her quiet and well-rested for a few days. Bird-Brow is going with me today on an expedition. He will return home tonight.”

The Hægtessa put on her voluminous white robe and took her carved oaken staff from her cabinet. “Take this sack with you, Bird-Brow,” she said. “We will bring back some herbs for replanting in my field.”

I had flown with the Blue Child to the Great Oak and knew vaguely how to get there in the body, but the Hægtessa knew the way very well, and in about half an hour we mounted the hill leading to the tree. It was a quiet, blue morning, punctuated with light birdsong.

The Hægtessa grounded her staff near the base of the oak. “Grasp my staff, Bird-Brow” she said. I grasped its head and felt a tingling coming up the staff from the ground. She knew I felt it, and took it back. “Now follow along. We have a journey to make.”

She walked to the next tree, a smaller, younger oak, and then beyond it to a birch, feeling the ground with her staff with every step. In this way we went down hill and up hill for about half an hour. Coming to a shallow stream, we forded it, the Hægtessa feeling the trail along the stream bottom with her staff, and picking up the trail again among the trees on the other side. The land sloped uphill from the other bank, until we reached a plateau at the edge of a cliff. Far below I could see the field of herbs. Passing to the left along the cliff, we came to a mild grassy slope downhill, and followed it down to the herb beds.

The field of herbs was the size of two yards placed side by side. Beyond them the forest continued on a shallow rise. “The herbs have come here from many places in the forest,” said the Hægtessa. “They are our partners. It is our job to protect them, to pick the weeds from among them and ring them about with guardian plants like marigolds. Some we will gather up and replant in my garden. These will be of use, like the feverfew I gave little Dawn, but once replanted, the herbs have less potency. Here, in this field, is where they retain their full magic.” She showed me how to tell weeds from herbs, and we replanted a few marigolds along the margins.

You must come here with the Blue Child, Bird-Brow,” she said, “perhaps once a week, to see if all is well. You must also come here at times in the body to dress and protect the field, and gather a few herbs for replanting. That is, if you want to.”

She looked at me carefully. “I am old, Bird-Brow,” she said. “I cannot make the journey here often. If you wish to be hedge wizard after me, you must start now to help with the fields.”

I will, gladly,” I said. “But what of my father and the boar hunt? I have never been asked to be on it before, because I was too young. He is counting on me to be with him.”

Some problems have no easy solution, Bird-Brow,” she said.

When I visited the herb field and pitched my tent, all was quiet. In the night I saw one herb light up within, and in it I could see the Hægtessa preparing herbs. She looked very old and tired, and suddenly I knew I would disappoint my father and remain here with her. When next I slept in the crystal room, the Blue Child flew in and said I had chosen wisely. She would not live much longer. In the morning I told her of my decision to remain with her and learn her herb-lore. She smiled and took me into her garden, pointing out the herbs which had been replanted. “These can be used in healing, Bird-Brow. But they must be boosted with wild herbs from the field.” Back in her house, she showed me how to prepare the herbs, cutting them and mixing them with the wild herbs. They seemed to quicken into new life when mixed with their wild counterparts.

At night, I flew with the Blue Child to the wild herb field, but instead of returning to the Hægtessa’s house we flew together over the wheat fields to the Hall. There was a lamp lit inside the Hall, watched over by the Hall-Sun, a young, vigorous woman with straw-colored hair. I was surprised to see my father there with her. “He won’t come, Hall-Sun.” he said sadly. I had hoped to show him hunting. The Hægtessa has bewitched him to her service.”

He can still come along to the boar-hunt,” the Hall-Sun said. “He can fly with the hunters and the Blue Child.” And she nodded to my companion.

That night the boar-hunters ran through a long tunnel in the Hedge, carrying torches. My father led them. The great wild boar had been reported in these parts, and each hunter was armed with bow, arrows and spear. I hovered over my father and the Blue Child and I flew on ahead to scout out the quarry and report its whereabouts to the hunters. Once or twice I saved my father from the boar by warning him of its murderous attack. I think he was aware of my protection and thanked me. He showed me how he stalked the boar and in this way I learned about hunting. The Hall-Sun watched me closely and I was taken by her fresh beauty. She seemed sprung from the earth, like harvest wheat. Her gaze seemed to reprove me for not being with my father on the hunt. But then I thought of the Hægtessa and her difficulties, and when I did, the Hall-Sun nodded approvingly.

End of part one

Tarot Talk

September, 2018

Four of Swords

(The Four of Swords card is from the artist Ciro Marchetti http://www.ciromarchetti.com/)**

We haven’t spoken about the Fours of the Minor Arcana in a while. This month we will talk about the Four of Swords, and remind ourselves of what happens to the energies of a card when we move forward from the Three.

The Four of Swords is a Minor Arcana card, so as we know, the message offered by this card will most likely be more immediate in nature, or will most likely be connected to more day-to-day issues. The easiest way to get a decent understanding of a Minor Arcana card is to examine its number, or in the case of Court Cards, its rank, and to examine its suit. In this case, we are dealing with the number 4, and the suit of Swords. These two ingredients alone could actually give us enough information about this one card to offer a useful interpretation, and we have other things to consider, too. Let’s begin our examination of this card.

The traditional image of the Four of Swords is of a knight laying on a bed with his hands in prayer position. There is a stained glass window in the background depicting a sacred image, as well as three swords hanging on the wall; the fourth sword is on the side of the bed. The knight’s helm is down, so we can’t tell if he is sleeping or meditating or dead. Some versions of this image actually show a coffin with the reclining knight sculpted on the lid. Another version of the Four of Swords shows a man reclining on the ground with his back against a rock (a very grounded image) and his sword laying by his side; behind him is a large Mullein plant (representing focus and grounding) and three other swords. Still another version shows the four swords grounded (points inserted into the ground), with a person laying on the four hilts with his face pointing toward the blue sky with its fluffy white clouds. There is stillness to these images (as if the figure is deep within a meditation or out-of-body experience) and a sense of deliberate solitude, and the sacred.

The suit of Swords corresponds with the element of Air, the Spades of playing cards, the direction of East and the color of yellow; Swords cards usually tell of some focused intent to bring forth a manifestation, or a struggle and then an outcome. Swords cards are about purposeful and deliberate actions and the thoughts, intentions or beliefs behind them. Swords cards and the effects they describe are sourced from within us; they teach us that we create our own reality from our expectations. The Swords cards give hints as to our mental state, the beliefs we have, and actions we choose to take in response to effects around us. A Sword has two edges, a perfect metaphor for this suit, which can represent attacking or defending, logic or aggression. The Swords cards also represent an opportunity to feel more empowered; self-empowerment happens when we successfully deal with challenges, but self-empowerment can be dangerous if it is not balanced with a bit of humility.

The element of Air corresponds with truth, clarity, and our capacity to analyze or apply logic. Air also represents the intelligence that clears away the fog of ignorance so we can clearly see and understand, and it supports communications and sounds of all kinds. Air allows both expression (out from within us) and hearing (in from outside of us) to happen. This information applies to all the Swords cards in the Minor Arcana, including our Nine of Swords.

The number 4 is about solidification, discipline, balance, authority figures, a foundation being created, calmness, caution, being steady or difficult to shake up. There are four points to a compass, so the number 4 can represent everything around us as it is right now. If we remember that the number 3 usually represents the creation of something new, or the making real of concepts or understandings presented by the number 2, then we can see that the number 4 brings depth or solidity to that creation. On the negative side, the number 4 can represent energies that are slow and plodding, too conservative, averse to change, or suspicious.

Within the Tarot, the Fours represent the concept of the cube, very stable and hard to tip over; here we have the pause that allows us to take a breath after activating the potential of the Ace through the partnership of the Two in order to manifest the creation of the Three. Briefly, we have the potential to experience potent ideas, thoughts and the ability to reason (the Ace of Swords), the power to focus inward and shut out distractions (the Two of Swords), and the perception of personal isolation and heartbreak that can be created by focusing solely on logic and analysis without including partnerships and interactions (the Three of Swords). The Four of Swords offers a “time out,” a period of healing before renewed efforts.

The astrological correspondence for the Four of Swords offers us a bit more depth of understanding; the Four of Swords represents the planet Jupiter when it is in the astrological sign of Libra.

In Roman mythology, Jupiter is the ruler, guardian and protector of the gods. Similarly, the planet Jupiter is in many ways the ruler of our solar system. Some astronomers believe that Jupiter with its massive gravity actually protects the rest of our solar system by attracting or deflecting comets and asteroids that might otherwise threaten Earth. Like passions and emotions, Jupiter is brightly colored and covered with large and intense storms; the planet is symbolized by a lightning bolt. Astrologically, Jupiter is associated with growth, expansion, prosperity, freedom, exploration, and good fortune. Jupiter is connected to long distance and foreign travel, higher education, religion, all humanitarian pursuits, and the law (and its role as a protector of society). Jupiter is also associated with gambling and merrymaking.

Libras are usually very focused on the people around them, and how they interact with those people. Libras are true team players, concerned with balance and cooperation, with fairness to everyone. Libras always put their minds to good use, considering and balancing carefully before choosing a course that brings the highest good to all. Because Libra is Cardinal Air, this sign initiates through new ideas, and by being a balancing force among people. Libra is about partnerships, and about a focus on other people rather than just on the self. Libras are most happy when they are paired up with another, and they are good at partnerships of all kinds. Balance is important to Libras, too, and they don’t like conflict. Libra corresponds with the planet Venus and with the element of Air. They use the intellect and their ability to communicate to form those partnerships and to maintain harmony.

When Jupiter is in Libra, matters focused on equality, liberty and balance are of importance. The energies associated with Jupiter, expansion, growth and good fortune, harmonize with the traits of the sign of Libra, partnerships and collaborations, and bring us balance, harmony and equality, a good foundation for building on and improving all kinds of relationships. Communication between groups and people will be positive and beneficial, and patience, compassion, empathy and an effort toward manifesting the highest good for all are possibilities for the future. This combination does not necessarily create passion, but cool, calm and collected is a good state of mind in which to be.

The Fours have a place on the Tree of Life of the Qabalah; they are found in the sephira of Chesed in the middle of the Pillar of Force/Expansion. This sephira is seen as the place of both expansion and stability. Chesed represents Mercy and tells us that love cannot happen without understanding. Chesed also represents the concept of authority, which brings the danger of self-righteousness and at the same time offers us the opportunity to learn humility.

The Wild Unknown Four of Swords shows a lamb with a brightly-glowing third eye chakra, all curled up and serene beneath four Swords hanging point-down above him. This tender, untried youth is resting below four Swords hanging precariously above him, and yet he does not appear frightened. He is alert, so he knows those Swords are there even though he does not even spare them a glance, but he is not even prepared to run should they come loose. Perhaps his stillness is part of his protection. It is as if he is keeping those Swords up there with his serenity, his stillness, his awareness of what is going on around him, and his belief, his mental force . . . his Will!

The Thoth Tarot Four of Swords is called “Truce”; the original name for this card was “Lord of Rest from Strife.” Crowley states that Swords are weapons, and weapons are connected to the discipline of war, not of peace. Thus, while equilibrium and justice are a part of this card, the “truce” being represented in the Thoth Tarot Four of Swords is a peace enforced by the threat of violence, a mutual deterrence. That kind of peace is not usually lasting.

The Llewllyn Welsh Four of Swords shows a woman warrior, resting with her hair streaming under her head, her eyes closed, and her mouth slightly open, with her white dog asleep beside her. In the background are four Swords floating above her, holding up a curtain that shields her, and a tree with naked branches whose trunk appears to be echoing the position of Christ after death on the cross. The card represents a vigil, withdrawal and silence, asylum, finding sanctuary, and a deathlike phase in life which incubates future dreams.

The Legacy of the Divine Four of Swords shows a man asleep, floating above a bed of four Swords with points facing downward, representing an inward focus. Behind him is a round stained glass window through which light shines faintly as if from the moon; upon that window is the Greek symbol for Christ. A hawk flies above the sleeping form, dropping a red rose, representing life, and a white rose, representing death. The card represents the need for recuperation, inactivity, physical healing, and distance from the stresses and responsibilities of life.

Our first three Swords cards, the Ace, Two and Three of Swords, have caused an imbalance that often creates the perception of being harmed. The Four of Swords can represent a pause or truce or mutual deterrent, or a time of silence and isolation used to prepare for challenges to come. Often it is necessary to take a moment to absorb what has happened thus far within our current situation, and this card offers that valuable pause. The truce represented by the Four of Swords does not happen due to weakness, but rather through a conscious and deliberate choice and through a balance of power. After all, the truce is “supported” by Swords, the suit of the intellect. This moment spent in limbo is not a surrender, but rather it gives us the opportunity to heal and rejuvenate, so we can once again face the challenges of the day with renewed optimism and focus.

** We Feature the art of Ciro Marchetti as part of Tarot Talk. You can view his work and Decks at http://www.ciromarchetti.com/.

***

About the Author:

Raushanna is a lifetime resident of New Jersey. As well as a professional Tarot Reader and Teacher, she is a practicing Wiccan (Third Degree, Sacred Mists Coven), a Usui Reiki Master/Teacher, a certified Vedic Thai-Yoga Massage Bodyworker, a 500-hr RYT Yoga Teacher specializing in chair assisted Yoga for movement disorders, and a Middle Eastern dance performer, choreographer and teacher.  Raushanna bought her first Tarot deck in 2005, and was instantly captivated by the images on the cards and the vast, deep and textured messages to be gleaned from their symbols. She loves reading about, writing about, and talking about the Tarot, and anything occult, mystical, or spiritual, as well as anything connected to the human subtle body. She has published a book, “The Emerald Tablet: My 24-Day Journal to Understanding,” and is currently working on a book about the Tarot, pathworking and the Tree of Life. Raushanna documents her experiences and her daily card throws in her blog, DancingSparkles.blogspot.com, which has been in existence since 2009. She and her husband, her son and step son, and her numerous friends and large extended family can often be found on the beaches, bike paths and hiking trails of the Cape May, NJ area.

The Emerald Tablet: My 24-Day Journal to Understanding

Review: Scents for Cents Subscription Box

September, 2018

Moon Dancer

Enhance Your Senses”

Moon Dancer offers a variety of Subscription Boxes ranging from soaps, oils, candles, and incense. This month we will be unboxing their Scents for Cents Box, which is a recurring monthly subscription box of handmade incense picked monthly for you and includes an incense holder. The price of this box ranges from $10 for a one month subscription to $100 for a year.

As soon as the Moon Dancer box arrived I could smell the beautiful, strong aromas permeating through the box.

Opening the box, I was surprised by the sheer amount of incense in the box. I was not expecting this many. The box is stuffed to full of packages upon packages of lovely smelling sticks. Then, when you take them out, you find a burner to go along with them, to make it easy to use them.

My Subscription Box contained 10 sticks each, of the following scents:

Hibiscus

Rain Musk

Butterfly Garden

Dragonfly

Wild Honey

Sweet Rain

Firefly

Summer Solstice

Wisteria

Lilac

Storm Clouds

Sun Shower

Water

Flower Fairy

Rain

That is a ton of incense! You can tell they are all fresh! I liked the smell of most of them. Maybe one or two weren’t my favorites. The only one I can remember that I found not too pleasing was Water.

I found when burning the incense that for the first few seconds they burn black and ash flies around. The ash was not lit. So there was no fire danger. Just a small bit of soot. It was not too much, and over quickly.

The incense holder is a common, wooden one. It is pretty with a moon & stars on it. Very practical. Nice on any altar.

As described by the owner of Moon Dancer:

The incense is ground up, rolled and scented by me.

It is made from non-endangered, sustainable wood. The wood was also chosen because it burns very slowly and has very little smell of it’s own.

Each stick will burn for an hour. Of course, if it is burning on a windowsill of an open window or under a fan it will cut down the burn time.

The sticks are saturated in scent, so they are strong, and the scent lasts on the stick for longer than it does on incense that is dipped. If you keep it in the zip-lock bag it comes in it will last at least 2 years.

There is no charcoal or alcohol used ever! So you will never hae a burnt after smell.

All the incense is scented with my own blends. It can be made in any of my 600 blends featured on my website www.mdancer.com.

For cratejoy each month in the Scent for Cents Box, customers receive 15 different scents. There are 10 sticks of each scent. The cost is just $10 a month. The scents are based on the month, flowers that are blooming, holidays, or events.

I guarantee to not repeat a scent in a year.

The first crate will include a plain wooden ash catcher. Each box after that will include a free gift of a burner.

Each month the incense is made fresh for the crates.”

I think Moon Dancer Scent for Cents Box is a great investment. The price is so right starting at only $10 a month, and you get so much for your money. The quality of the incense is superb. You even get a burner to go with your incense. This box is great for any witch’s arsenal! I recommend it!

***

About the Author:

Jennifer Wright is a witch on a path of change that is always winding. She founded PaganPagesOrg in the hopes of giving those a platform to share and learn without judgment. There are too many important things to her and not enough room to mention them. You are one of them.

Notes from the Apothecary

September, 2018

Notes from the Apothecary: Calendula

Calendula or marigold? Last month we explored the magic and mystical beauty of the true marigold and I mentioned in that article that marigolds are often confused with calendula. Botanically they are actually very different. Calendula are often called pot marigolds or common marigolds, but true marigolds are in the genus tagetes although both tagetes and calendula are in the Asteraceae family, along with sunflowers. Tagetes are native to North America, whereas calendula came to America from the Mediterranean. They have beautiful orange or yellow blooms, with an extremely long flowering season.

The Kitchen Garden

From Mrs Grieve’s Modern :

It was well known to the old herbalists as a garden-flower and for use in cookery and medicine. Dodoens-Lyte (A Niewe l, 1578) says:

‘It hath pleasant, bright and shining yellow flowers, the which do close at the setting downe of the sunne, and do spread and open againe at the sunne rising.’

She refers to calendula as the common marigold, and notes that it is easy to grow as long as the position is slightly sunny and the ground kept free of weeds. Calendula self-seed, and can spread quite easily although they are annuals so the new foliage replaces last year’s plants, rather than joining them. The seeds are curly little horns, perfectly beautiful and very decorative in their own way.

Calendula petals can be used as a substitute for saffron, but only for the yellow colour they impart, not the taste. The flowers make a tasty and beautiful garnish for salads and other foods, and can be mixed into butters and cheeses for colour and flavour. Even the peppery leaves can be eaten to add spice to a salad.

The Apothecary

Natural Living Magazine published a great feature on calendula and its many practical uses. The publisher, Amanda Klenner, notes that she uses the petals in skin lotions, body butters and salves. She also makes marigold tea which soothes irritated mucous membranes and internal tissues. She uses the tea for digestive health, and adds that the petals are used in some cold and flu remedies. She also believes it supports the lymphatic system, crucial for our immune systems.

In the same publication, Nina Katz states that the herb is, “Anti-microbial, anti-viral, anti-septic, vulnerary, cytotoxic, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulant, immunostimulant, cholagogue, heart tonic, hypotensive, lymphatic, respiratory tonic, emmenagogue, anti-spasmodic, astringent, aperient, diaphoretic…”

Many of these terms might be unfamiliar to you if you’re not an herbalist or phytologist. Vulnerary means healing of wounds or inflammation. Cholagogue means to stimulate the gall bladder to produce bile. Emmenagogue means to promote menstrual flow. This means it can be useful for period pain or delayed periods, as it stimulates the uterus. Pregnant women should not ingest calendula for this reason. Always check with a medical professional before changing or starting any type of medication.

The Witch’s Kitchen

Many believe that the term marigold comes from an association with the Virgin Mary. However, that supposition is a little backwards. The marigold (calendula) became associated with the Virgin Mary because the name sounded a little like Mary’s Gold, however the term ‘marigold’ was first coined by pre-Christian Anglo-Saxons, when referring to the marsh marigold, a plant related to neither calendula or tagetes (true marigolds). However, calendula has been used to honour Mary for so long that, if your path leans this way, it still makes a fantastic offering or altar decoration. It’s just good to know the origins and history so you can make your own mind up about what’s appropriate.

Cunningham tells us it is a masculine herb, which I presume is because of the plant’s association with the sun, and fire. I find it has a very feminine energy, but plants are complex and it’s often hard to pigeon-hole them. He advises picking calendula at noon in bright sunlight to ‘strengthen and comfort the heart’. He also states that calendula is used for protecting the home from evil, and scattered under the bed can give you prophetic dreams and ensure a safe night’s sleep. Calendula petals in the pocket will keep justice on your side if you need to attend court. His final and my favourite point about calendula magic is that, if a girl touches calendula petals with her bare feet, she will be able to speak to birds in their own language. How wonderful that would be!

Calendula has historically been used in divination, particularly relating to love and knowing who one’s true love may be. Rachel Patterson recommends the flower for spells or incense blends involved with psychic powers. She also writes that they promote happiness and uplifting energies, and can be used to make gossip about you cease.

Home and Hearth

As we move from summer into fall, calendula should still be flowering for some time yet. If you are lucky enough to have calendula in your garden, pick a few of the flower heads and separate the petals out. Create a circle of petals on a clean cloth or on your altar, one petal at a time. Have the base of each petal pointing toward the centre of the circle, so the end of the petal points outwards. As you lay each petal, think of something in your life you are happy about, or grateful for. You don’t need to write this down or prepare for it. It should be spontaneous and from the heart.

The bigger you make your circle, the longer it will take to complete, but you will think about more happy things! If you have been struggling with dark feelings or depression, it may be sensible to start with a small circle. This can prevent you feeling like you ‘should’ have more to be happy about, which can actually make you feel worse. Sometimes, we may only have a few bright sparks in our lives, and that’s okay. We can still celebrate that, and as we move into the darker months, focusing on the good things we have becomes even more vital and soul supportive.

I Never Knew…

A snuff of marigold leaves was sniffed up the nose, to encourage sneezing to rid the sinuses of excess mucous. Lovely!

Image credits: Flower of calendula by Wouter Hagens, public domain; Calendula officinalis, Seeds by H. Zell, copyright 2009 via Wikimedia Commons; Calendula officinalis – Botanischer Garten Mainz by Natalie Schmalz, copyright 2011, via Wikimedia Commons.

***

About the Author:

Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.

She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors and Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways.

A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors

 

Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways

Worth the Witch

September, 2018

Alchemy & Ashes

 

 

Parlour of Magical Curiosities

Inspired By History, Myth, and Magic

 

 


Alchemy & Ashes provide a variety of excellently handcrafted, by them, elixirs, incense, perfumes, soaps, conjure powders, and more. They supply an assortment of kits and boxes ranging from their $30 Sanctus Box, which includes a Protection Oil & Florida Water for Ritual, Purification & Aura spray for purification energy clearing, to; a PART the VEIL Conjure Kit- Witch Box that helps with intuition, divination & so much more starting at only $20. I’m only naming two, to see more of their kits & boxes, you can visit them at Alchemy & Ashes. You will not be disappointed. Their boxes are not recurring monthly subscriptions. They are one time purchases, as you go kits & boxes. So there is no need to worry about having to cancel your monthly subscriptions.

As I close the envelope addressed to me a waft of the sweetest herbal smells fills my nostrils bringing the promise of witchiness to come and my excitement surges. I received a mysterious box from Alchemy & Ashes all in black and smelling like a Witch’s Heavenly Cupboard. It immediately piqued my curiosity.

 

 

I had to tear right in I could not hold back. When I opened the box everything was beautifully wrapped like Gothic Presents. I was in a Gothic Dream come true!!!! Now let’s see what’s inside these little packages…. Rip, rip, rip…..

 

 

Pamphlet

 

Very nicely made. One page, folded. The art of their Logo and everything goes very well with a gothicy/witch theme. The Pamphlet lists all Alchemy & Ashes contact information and it mentions that they have a free app. I checked out the app and it is very helpful.

The pamphlet teaches you a few ways to use Conjure Powders. Reading this is how I learned the theme of the box. Everything is wrapped up so elegantly you could not tell what was in the box. Just smell beauty. The pamphlet goes on to tell you about 6 herbal blends of Conjure Powders, their titles, and info on them. At this point I was not sure what it all meant, but it looked promising. So I decided to get into more!

 

Conjure Powders

 

What I mistakenly thought would be a very large candle due to it’s sheer size and shape (most witch boxes give you candles what can I say!) when I opened the box turned out to be quite a surprise…6 tins of Conjure Powders. As you can see in the picture the tins are full. I kept spilling them in fact when I opened each of them. Then I would have to do a blessing, invite a spirit, or banish something. LOL. It was quite funny to watch. My familiar went nuts. I was expecting a smaller sample size of the conjure powders for a box. I was extremely pleased. The 6 Conjure Powders are as follows:

  • Elicio (Conjure) – a mixture to conjure spirits & energies beneficial to your workings.
  • Exilium (Banish) – a concoction to banish spirits & energies that are detrimental to your workings.
  • Praescientia (Intuition) – a blend to aid with intuitive abilities & divinatory gifts.
  • Amor (Love) – a mix to attract love.
  • Praesidium (Protection) – a combination to create a boundary of protection from unwanted spirits or energies.
  • Fortuna (Prosperity) – A mixture to attract spirits & energies of prosperity and abundance to you.

Almost all of the Conjure Powders from Alchemy & Ashes in the box are made from a blend of at least 7 herbs. Most of them were made from 13! The smells are vibrant. The pamphlet lists the ingredients in each powder as well as what it is used for & a definition for it’s meaning. Plus, as I mentioned before, they teach you a variety of ways to use Conjure Powders. None are difficult.

So excited by these 6 great sized tins that I almost forgot the box contains more! On we go….

 

A Modern Witch’s Flying Ointment

 

Unguentum Sabatti is the hand that parts the Veil.” That is how Alchemy & Ashes begin to explain what Witch’s flying ointment is. Flying ointment is a mixture of herbs & essential oils mixed in coconut oil and beeswax that help relax, soothe, and help bring you to another level of consciousness & help aid in meditations , divination, lucid dreaming, rituals, astral traveling, etc… When applied to certain areas of the EXTERNAL BODY before beginning.

You get a full 1oz supply in a nice tin. Solid, not too greasy and slimy like others I have tested in the past where you put your finger in the ointment and it just goes right to the bottom. This is substantial and will last a long time. The smell is amazing and you can actually pick out some of the herbs from simply taking a sniff. The back of the tin does, however, list the ingredients.

 

Sanctus Aqueum


This is Alchemy & Ashes own version of Florida Water. Florida Water is used for blessings, consecrating, cleansing, & purification when you can not smudge.

They create each batch on the New Moon & let it charge until the Full Moon. It is, also, infused with a Quartz Crystal to amplify it’s energy. It comes in a glass spray bottle.

When you spritz the air, you automatically smell more than just water in the air. I have used these sprays before, sometimes called ‘smudge sprays’ or ‘aura sprays’. I like them. They are quick ways to cleanse the area and yourself & they do work and calm you. You can feel them lessen tension in the air quickly. This one, however, has the most brilliant smell so far! The bottle may seem small but you don’t need to use much. Alchemy & Ashes recipe is strong. I am finding all I need is 1 maaaaybe 2 pumps. So shake, pump once, Deeeep breath, hold 1, 2, 3, Release, Ahhhhhh! I’m in a garden….a field….I’m goneeeeee….

 

Sanctus Oleum


In this 10 ml glass roller bottle is a witch’s protection oil. It can be used to consecrate items, make protective sigils on doorways & windows, as well as used to anoint yourself during ritual work.

Alchemy & Ashes creates each batch on the New Moon and leaves it to charge until the full moon. It is, also, infused with a piece of black tourmaline for it’s protective energy.

I have never heard of something like this before. It is definitely welcomed new knowledge and a welcomed new tool for my personal witch box. The smell to this oil is heavier than the smudge spray. Thicker somehow, if smells can be thicker. If feels thicker, too. I guess you would want protection to be heavier, your own fortress or armor.

 

Soaps (Free Samples)

Yes, I know you want to eat the picture, bu you can’t, they ARE delicious don’t get me wrong, but they are soaps! The deep brown, marbled soap on the bottom is named ‘Aquitaine’. A mix of lavender, patchouli, & bergamot it reminds me of a cleaner purer version of Bath & Body Works all “natural” line. I may have to change where I purchase my soap from now! The lighter brown, marbled soap on top is named ‘Sweet Alchemy’. It is a blend of almond, cocoa, honey, & oats and I think I may taste this one, it really does smell that good! The third, solid brown bar is named ‘Nimue’ and smells like clean sheets outside drying on a clothesline on a spring day to me. It’s made of lavender, lemon, & Clary sage.

They feel wonderful on the skin. So clean and fresh. They leave you skin soft and smelling as beautiful as the bars.

 

My Overall Opinion…


I have to admit the Witch in me loves the all black theme. Now they did send me a box of many different types of samples to review. I do not think they sell this exact box. But have boxes that sell these items. I can honestly say, though, that Alchemy & Ashes do not hold back and give small sample sizes in their boxes, because they gave me what they put in their boxes. They give you your monies worth. You can smell the quality. Feel it. The Conjure Powders tins are full to bursting, pungent, smell fresh. They explain all in their pamphlet, I love that. They don’t leave you in the dark wondering what to do. The Florida water WORKS. I have yet to try the flying ointment, but the quality is there, and I am waiting to use the Sanctus Oleum for Samhain on my front door. Their sample soaps quality is so amazing you will need more. I can, without a doubt, say this box is WORTH THE WITCH!!!

 

We were blessed to be able to have a little chat with the wonderful Owner & Madame of Alchemy & Ashes Shawnee Kircher!

 

Jennifer Wright: What brought the idea of the mystery box to you?

Shawnee Kircher: We loved the idea of other subscription boxes, and we also liked the idea of getting our products out there to people who may have never used them, or can’t decide which products to start with, so it was a win-win for them and us!

 

JW: How did you begin them?

SK: We realized there was a market for handcrafted ritual products, and felt that our products are a bit different from what we had been seeing. We were tired of seeing the commercially, mass marketed items in a lot of the boxes that lack the spiritual energy that a handcrafted product carries with it. That’s hard to recreate in a factory.

 

JW: How do you choose what you put inside them?

SK: We try to consider the season or sabbat coming up as to what people may be needing at the moment, but also like to have some staple products in there that anyone can use regardless of path or preference.

 

JW: Is yours a recurring monthly box?

SK: We’re aiming for seasonal at the moment. If interest grows, perhaps we will shift to monthly.

 

JW: Are you pagan?

SK: Yes. I use the term Pagan in the sense of a) outside the confines of the Abrahamic religions and b) nature based spiritual path follower. I also use the term Witch, as I am a practitioner of the Craft. I think those two terms can be used separately from each other, as not all Witches are Pagan, and not all Pagans are Witches, but in my practice they go hand in hand. I don’t ascribe to any religious doctrine, though I did find my way to Paganism through Wicca, as it was the most accessible at the time for me, about 20 years ago, and while I’m not an initiate of Wicca nor do I follow any of it’s “rules” (like The Rede), I do think it influenced some of my practice.

 

JW: What types of interests do you have?

SK: I love the dichotomy of beautiful and creepy when they present themselves as one – like in the “modern” vampire stories: Louis in Interview with a Vampire, or the suave and debonair Bela Lugosi – this beautiful creature that is deadly, so that you’re attracted and repulsed at the same time. That touch of “otherness” is very interesting to me in art and life.

 

JW: Did you feel the pagan world was missing something to make you create your Box?

SK: I think Pagans are pretty crafty folks, so I didn’t reinvent the wheel, but I did put my spin and perspective on my ritual products that are included in the boxes. Sanctus Aqueum (“Holy Water”) was based off of a 19th century recipe for Florida Water. I tweaked the traditional ingredients and added my own touch, and its been a great selling product. Sanctus Oleum (“Holy Oil”) is similar in use to Holy Chrism used in the Church, but with herbs associated with protection in various folk magic traditions. Unguentum Sabatti (“Sabbat Ointment”) was formulated with herbs associated with astral projection, necromancy, and visions to enhance your own intuitive abilities in a more gentle manner than many of the traditional flying ointments.

 

JW: Do you have a site and sell other types of products?

SK: You can find many of our handmade items to purchase on Etsy (etsy.com/shop/alchemyashes). Besides our ritual items mentioned above, we also make handcrafted cold process soaps, perfumes (both oil based and alcohol based), lip balms, herbal powdered incense, and amulets.

We don’t currently do direct sales through our website (alchemyandashes.com)

However, you can always email us your order at alchemyandashes@yahoo.com and we can invoice you and you can pay online.

We’d like to thank Shawnee Kircher for taking the time from her busy schedule to speak with us at PaganPagesOrg and everyone at Alchemy & Ashes for everything! We hope our readers get to meet everyone at Alchemy & Ashes soon!

***

About the Author:

Jennifer Wright is a witch on a path of change that is always winding. She founded PaganPagesOrg in the hopes of giving those a platform to share and learn without judgment. There are too many important things to her and not enough room to mention them. You are one of them.

Interview with Jennifer Noel Taylor: Spiritual and Broke

September, 2018

Jennifer Noel Taylor: Spiritual and Broke – How to Stop Struggling with Money and Live Your Purpose

I was really intrigued by the title of Jennifer’s latest book. I generally consider myself to be a spiritual person, and I’ve definitely been broke from time to time! Sometimes it certainly seems like a spiritual life is not one that lends itself towards wealth or riches, but maybe it can be? Is there a way to keep on the path that enriches your soul, without neglecting your bank balance? I was lucky enough to be granted a sneak peek at Jennifer’s upcoming book and discovered that she has a real insight into how to balance money, spirituality and living for your passion, not just your pocketbook. Jennifer was kind enough to answer a few questions for Pagan Pages about the book and her inspiration.

Mabh Savage: What inspired you to write about money and the connection to spirituality?

Jennifer Noel Taylor: During my 16 years of running a business in the field of energy medicine, I noticed that a lot of people in the healing arts as well other people with a genuine desire to help others, seem to be struggling with money. In my case, I was also struggling with money and had $135,000 of business and personal debt and no savings. As you can see, I was in financial trouble! Furthermore, I tried everything to get myself out of debt and nothing seemed to work. For example, when I forced myself to stick to a budget, I felt like I was on a starvation diet and hence my budget didn’t last very long! If I managed to increase my income, I would then have some unexpected expense that would match my new level of income. It seemed like no matter what I did, I couldn’t get ahead! I finally realized that I needed to shift my relationship with money –my thoughts, my emotions, the energy I was putting out into the world, and the stories I was telling myself. Once I made this deeper shift, then things started to turn around. I got out of debt, saved money and started investing in the stock market! I hope to help others do the same.

MS: Who would you say your book is primarily aimed at?

JNT: Spiritual and Broke is primarily aimed at people who are living their purpose and have a heartfelt desire to serve the world yet are having a hard time with money! Although I also feel like the issues I address in the book can be used by anyone who has an open mind and wants to turn their finances around.

MS: Do you think that generally, people are living outside their means more these days?

JNT: Yes, I read a statistic that over 75% of Americans are living pay check to pay check.

MS: Do you think it’s possible to become addicted to spending, just like a drug?

JNT: Absolutely! In my personal journey, I realized that I was doing a lot of “retail therapy.” As the old song goes, I was looking for love in all the wrong places. I was trying to buy love rather that buying things that I love.

MS: Was it difficult to open up about your own financial and spiritual difficulties before your epiphany?

JNT: Yes, I felt like a hypocrite. In Quantum-Touch, our work is based on the Law of Attraction – that we create our reality. In other worlds, our external world is a reflection of the world within. Yet I couldn’t use this same philosophy to attract money or balance my finances! I berated myself my predicament and I refer to this in my book as my “secret shame.”

MS: What was the most challenging thing about writing this book?

JNT: I share a very personal story about an Aha! moment that I had in a back of a police car. It was during this epiphany that I realized the fundamental mistake that I was making around money and how my fundamental approach to life wasn’t serving me. This story is near and dear to my heart, very vulnerable, and initially I found it difficult to write about.

MS: In contrast, what did you enjoy most about the creative process?

JNT: I love receiving feedback from people who have listened to my shows or read excerpts from my book – saying how it really helped them. I also love crafting the perfect paragraph or sentence, like creating a work of art with words.

MS: I love that you focus on avoiding deprivation and achieving emotional abundance. Do you think there’s a tendency for some people to believe you have to suffer for spirituality?

JNT: Yes! I believe that the martyr complex is alive and well in the spiritual communities! I think we have been taught that it’s somehow more pure or more generous when we suffer to help others. However, I have found the opposite to be true. When we have more money, more support, more means, we are in a much better position to truly enact change in the world. When we are happy, that energy is very healing!

MS: Tell us a bit about Quantum-Touch.

JNT: Quantum-Touch is a form of energy healing that uses life force energy to accelerate the healing process. We believe that the body has an amazing capacity to heal itself and Quantum-Touch is very effective at amplifying our own healing power.

MS: When did you first discover energy healing?

JNT: I discovered energy healing in massage school. One day, I was doing massage and I felt the life force energy coming from my hands and my client. It was pretty trippy as well as it made me realize that we are much more than just physical bodies. I understood at that moment that we are primarily energetic beings.

MS: What’s the most intense spiritual experience you’ve ever had (that you can share)?

JNT: I have to admit that my Aha! moment in the back of the police car was my most intense experience with life-changing implications. Although it wasn’t the most pleasant experience, it changed my perspective on what it means to be a spiritual being in a human body.

MS: When can people expect to see ‘Spiritual and Broke’ in bookstores?

JNT: I just signed a publishing contact and we should see Spiritual and Broke on Amazon early next year and in bookstores soon after that!

MS: And are you working on any new projects? Any more books on the horizon?

JNT: I’m working on a few projects – one is an online system like Doctors on Demand where you can see a Quantum-Touch practitioner 24/7. Another project we are working on is a Quantum-Touch workshop for kids. Finally, after I launch the book, I am intending to turn it into a workshop!

MS: Finally, how do you relax and unwind away from writing and healing?

JNT: My favourite way to unwind is to snuggle with my boyfriend and watch a movie or go to the gym and do some cardio. Occasionally I like to fly through the air on the flying trapeze! (Yes, I have actually performed on the flying trapeze! ?)

Find out more about Jennifer and Quantum-Touch at http://jennifernoeltaylor.com/ and look out for Spiritual and Broke in the coming months!

***

About the Author:

Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.

She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors and Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways.

A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors

 

Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways

Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

September, 2018

Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times September 2018

Autumnal Equinox

Bright Blessings,

It is almost the Autumnal Equinox!

We are thankful the weather is cooling off. Some of us nearly suffocate when it is so hot, but it’s also sad that Summer plants are winding down.

I got a head start and threw some mums in pots, and am eyeing more at garden aisles at local shops. I put my radishes in the soil five days ago, and they have already emerged tall and strong!

Next, garden cleanup begins! I have mint, zinnias, black eyed susans, echinacea, and a huge tomato plant that will need cleaned up by winter, and I start that this week. I have large areas of these plants, so it is imperative I do little bits at a time. I have learned over the years that working with plants is done best a little bit here and there almost every day. I see so many people saving all their yard work up for ONE day every month or so, and some complain bitterly about it.

As with all things in life, doing things in moderation in the garden is beneficial! This way, you also get to enjoy the seasons regularly, as opposed to feeling that touching the earth is a chore and a burden.

Besides that, being out there regularly with your plants means you are fully aware of what is going on with them. As we are aware of the poisons of modern chemicals, and how it is killing this planet, the best way to ensure you can manage pests with organic methods is to inspect the plants often. If daily is not possible, at least three times per week is helpful.

Not being aware of the goings on of the plants and the organisms that are interacting with them is one of the main ways a garden can fail. Catch the issues fast, and fix them faster!

The Autumn

As the wheel is turning, the days cool, the nights come sooner, and the sun rises later. It reminds us to enjoy the warmth and growing season for as long as we can, because the cold winter and short days are just around the corner.

Autumnal Equinox falls on the 23 of September this year, and on that day, the day and night are both equal, about 12 hours each. Already I miss the longer days thinking of it!

At Autumn Equinox, Pagans often celebrate a Thanksgiving and the focus is on seasonal food and fellowship.., and I really like this idea.

It gives opportunity to do so before the responsibilities with blood kin and the conventional Winter Holidays rolls around. It also gives opportunity to do this gathering out if doors before it’s just too cold.

It is considered by some to be a time to complete unfinished business before winter comes. This is actually a good idea because just around the corner are the conventional holidays of Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. There will be little time between running to and from shopping and festivities to do anything else.

Pagans further have Samhain, and Yule to add in to those other holidays. Busy busy busy!

Depending on where you live, snow may start fairly soon, and getting places is not as easy as it is during the warmer months.

For some, it is a time to reflect on the harvest or things accomplished during the growing season.

Dr. Brinks and Dr. Brinks

This month’s film falls in with that theme.

It’s called Dr. Brinks and Dr. Brinks, and here is its official trailer:

The film follows the death of illustrious doctors, both named Dr. Brinks who were a married couple. They were considered by many to be perfect people, and were touted as living saints with an almost cult-like following by some.

Unfortunately, some people who are married to their careers allow their family life to suffer. Not only did the parents fail to be close with their children, but they somehow managed to belittle, and shame their kids for not rising to greatness in the way they, themselves did.

The film begins with their son and daughter fighting bitterly following their parents funeral, and trying to squeeze a tiny bit of inheritance out of the parents who basically discarded them in favor of their careers.

The film shows how the adult children feel their own lives are lacking, and shows how both kids deny their own grief because they felt they lost their parents long ago, so their death is irrelevant. Why mourn somebody who basically dropped you?

Their son chastises his sister mercilessly, and she retaliates, and they even wrestle and scream at one another. Grief hits both kids when they least expect it, and in ways they struggle with.

It turns out, the parents were not the great saints they made people believe they were. Their perfect personas were a front for a horrible secret. Not only were they bad parents, but they were just bad people.

The son and daughter are able, with this shocking revelation, to pick themselves up, forgiving themselves of their imperfections, and repair their relationship with one another.

The Hidden Truth

The occult lesson this film teaches us is that belief does not always reflect reality, nor does it create it.

Our Pagan and New Age communities often want to teach us that we control all in our realities with the power of our will and belief, and yet that’s simply not how the world works.

Like being unaware of pests or diseases that can decimate your plants, the kids in Dr. Brinks and Dr. Brinks were completely unaware of the awful things their parents did. Everybody is unaware of these things, but they happen anyways.

Once the truth comes to light, we can either crumble, or pick ourselves up, and move forward, towards improvement.

Hidden truths still affect things.

Besides this, we oftentimes lie to ourselves, and we make it impossible to function in reality. We cannot imagine the world to be as we want it, and conjure that based on wishful thinking. We have to live in harmony with the way things actually are. We CAN change some things, but of the things we cannot change, being in denial is crippling, and hinders us as magical practitioners.

In the film, the Brinks kids were lied to, and they further lied to themselves. It held them both back from believing the beauty in themselves, and it pitted them against each other.

The truth was told, and poof! The spell was broken!

This was not a favorite film of mine, and truthfully, I don’t enjoy films that use sex and nudity to excite viewers, but it’s not a bad film due to the lesson it teaches. It moves a bit slowly for my taste, and relies very heavily on “cool” modern things and images to try to engage middle-aged folk who still want to live as they did in their 20’s. Both characters try too hard to act carefree, cool, and younger than they actually are. They want to be without responsibilities, but it turns out both of them are actually very reliable people, and in the end, they show they can count on each other. However, I really believe the over trying of the Brinks kids was just another illusion they maintained to make themselves feel better, and it’s very appropriate.

More on The Equinox

How this ties in with the Sabbat is at the time of harvest, we may find we are in a place in our lives we just don’t expect, or we may have some new revelation that has us reeling from the shock of it. I have written a ritual in years past for celebrating the unexpected harvests, that are a wonderful blessing we did not expect to get!

But what about when something not good happens we had not expected…something that is really not a blessing? Or what if it MIGHT turn into one with time, but we are just not thrilled with it?

What then?

How do we accept the way things are, and move forward?

The answer is to do a ritual breaking of our illusions, as a rite of passage, and ask for guidance. When hard work towards something falls apart, it can be beyond disheartening, and for some, ritual workings can aid in moving forward to the first step in the right direction.

An end of the old way of being at harvest time celebrates and honors where you have been, and serves to thank the gods for revealing what is to come. Sometimes, we harvest hard truths that are painful. We may ask “Why me, gods?” We can be in denial and mourning, and a time of processing this pain if crucial for processing change for some. The energy of the season can help with your process of accepting what is, and moving into what you actually DID harvest, and that is a new way of being.

Fall Equinox Moving Forward Ritual

This will be a three-step ritual and will entail travel. It does not need to be far, it just needs to entail walking away from the old, and going into the new, forward in the direction that you need to. You can even just walk from one end of the room to the next if it is appropriate, or you can do a trip if you like.

You will begin with either a new pair of shoes or a new pair of socks to take along.

You will start out with the old shoes or socks you wear when you set out, and end by leaving the old pair someplace, changing into the new pair, and leaving them behind to symbolize discarding the old illusions, which created the wrong way of being.

You will custom tailor this to yourself based on the basic structure.

What you need to do is three things

  1. Pick a starting place that represents where you were back when you still believed what was false. At this point, you should be in acceptance of whatever has changed, and the fact you have to adapt. If you want to say some words, or do a prayer, you can, but you don’t have to. An example would be. “I stand here where I was once in darkness, and I step away, moving towards the truth. I leave behind all illusions , and misconceptions here, and pray to my gods/esses for the guidance. The only way is forward. So Be It.” Leave some sort of a gift for the powers that be. Next, you move towards a middle location on your journey. You will be wearing your old shoes or socks, and take with you the new pair.
  2. Your second location will be a representation of the process of the change. You will next go there as the halfway point. This should be a place you find comforting where you can return in times when you need to recuperate and catch your breath. If you want to say some words, you can say something like.“ This is a place of light, healing, and growth. This is a place that will comfort me in the changes that are to come. I draw strength here, and renewed, move towards my new truth. Let this place be healing, and strengthening in times I am afraid, weak, or reluctant to keep moving forward. Let this place bless these shoes/socks that I will wear to carry me. The only way is forward. So Be It” Take the new shoes and socks, and lay them on the ground, and let the energies for this safe place soak in for a bit before leaving. Leave another gift for the powers that be.
  3. Choose a location that represents the new way of being and embracing of the new truth. If you would like to say some words, as you change, go ahead and say something like “ The truth is harder than the illusions, but living by illusions is unacceptable. Let this be as a reminder to me of how far from the darkness I have come, and he way forward in the light will be difficult at times, but nothing is better than freedom to walk in the truth. May my gods/esses bless and guide me. I will not go back. (Take off the shoes or socks, and put the new pair on) The only way is forward. So Be It.” Throw away the old pair of shoes and socks.

May your new change in light of the truth bring only good things. If there are difficulties in the transition, may you have the strength, and love and support of others to weather the struggles. May your new life with the new reality be the best life you have had yet, and may things get better and better.

Blessed Equinox.

Blessed Be!

***

About the Author:

Saoirse is a recovered Catholic.  I was called to the Old Ways at age 11, but I thought I was just fascinated with folklore. At age 19, I was called again, but I thought I was just a history buff, and could not explain the soul yearnings I got when I saw images of the Standing Stones in the Motherland. At age 29, I crossed over into New Age studies, and finally Wicca a couple years later. My name is Saoirse, pronounced like (Sare) and (Shah) Gaelic for freedom. The gods I serve are Odin and Nerthus. I speak with Freyja , Norder, and Thunor as well. The Bawon has been with me since I was a small child, and Rangda has been with me since the days I was still Catholic. I received my 0 and 1 Degree in an Eclectic Wiccan tradition, and my Elder is Lord Shadow. We practice in Columbus, Ohio. I am currently focusing more on my personal growth, and working towards a Second and Third Degree with Shadow. I received a writing degree from Otterbein University back in 2000. I have written arts columns for the s Council in Westerville. I give private tarot readings and can be reached through my Facebook page Tarot with Saoirse. You can, also, join me on my Youtube Channel.

 

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