drawing

Wreathing the Wheel

December, 2018

As an eclectic witch, one of the most transformative practices that I’ve adopted is the practice of setting intention. At its root, intention is a really basic method of manifestation: make a plan, then execute the plan. But as I’ve explored the idea of intention over time, I’ve come to see a beautiful effect that results from the ongoing process of self-examination. It’s not just the external result of manifesting my dreams, but a reminder to check in with myself and make sure I’m on the right path. After all, if I can’t answer the question, “What’s my intention in doing this?” for any given action I am taking… then why am I even doing it?

It is in the spirit of setting intentions, and thoroughly understanding those intentions, that I started bullet journaling. While I keep a separate grimoire (and have kept other books of shadows), my bullet journal is the place where my magical life intersects with my daily life, and I put some of the spiritual concepts that I’m working with into practice. In this monthly column, I’ll be exploring various methods for working craft into bullet journaling to help track astrological transits, green ally work, Tarot journaling, celebrating the Wheel of the Year, working with associations, artistic exploration, and more.

 

Monthly Spread for December

 

 

I like to illuminate my monthly spreads with images of plants that are associated with the nearest major sabbat, and the season in general. I gravitate towards plants and natural objects that are native to my own area, as a way to bring the outside in. So for December, the plants that I chose to draw in my journal were pine, ivy, and holly. I like to use the information in Llewellyn’s Complete Book of as a jumping-off point to get started with these associations, but it’s good to remember that associations aren’t set in stone, and can easily be changed to accommodate your own hemisphere and biome.

The next thing that I do when building my monthly spread is add the phases of the moon and the full moon’s name. I also record each month’s Tarot card, which I drew in my whole-year reading at the beginning of the year, so that I can reflect on the role that this card plays in my life and how it fits in with other themes and experiences that I’ve encountered during the year. In keeping with the occult tradition of associating moon values with the left side of the body and sun values with the right side, I track the astrological transits of the sun and moon through the month, with the moon transits in the lower-left corner of each day, and the sun in the lower-right corner. This December, the winter solstice falls on the day before the full moon; at the same time, the sun enters Capricorn, and the moon enters Cancer. The darkest night of 2018 will be filled up with the light of the full moon.

I’m calling this column “Wreathing the Wheel” in an effort to remind myself that this project is about more than just to-do lists and chores. Instead, it’s an opportunity for me to acquaint myself intimately with the cycles of nature, immerse myself in intentional thinking, record and study associations, and deepen my divination practices. This is a bit like the process of making a wreath: you find a solid base, and then weave together plant allies, ribbons, and baubles until you’ve got something that looks alright. While I realize that not everyone is as artistically inclined as I am, I would encourage any journaler to embrace the creative side of bullet journaling, not to impress anyone, but as a way to celebrate the passing of time, allow awareness to manifest as creation, and decorate the days that we’re given.

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About the Author:

Sarah McMenomy is an artist and witch. Her craft incorporates herbalism, spellwork, trance, divination, auras, and more. Her work can be found at https://sarahmcmenomy.tumblr.com

Review of PracticalCandleMagick on Etsy

November, 2018

Review of PracticalCandleMagick’s Spell Kit

Teacup, Pillar and Spell Candles, Handmade in London

 

Money/Wealth Drawing Spell Kit

 

 

A beautiful, gold package lands on my welcome mat. I’m immediately cheered by its shiny exterior. I open the tantalizing parcel, and am met with the most amazing smell. I’m already feeling better; the sensuous pleasures of colour and aroma have combined to notch down my stress levels a touch. A good start.

The parcel has been carefully package with up-cycled and reusable plastic, something I approve of greatly. The products themselves are in a peppermint and white paper bag, reminiscent of old-fashioned sweetshops; tempting and nostalgic in equal parts.

I carefully undo the paper bag and am surprised by how much is packed into the small package. There’s a gorgeous, green star-shaped candle, a bag of woody herbs, a napkin with £50 notes printed on it and clear instructions for a money spell.

The instructions have some great details in, including the best phase of the moon to complete the spell, examining your true intent and looking at the language you use. It’s clearly well thought out, and useful as a general guide to money magic as well as instructions for this specific spell. There’s links to helpful support agencies for those struggling with debt or other issues that affect their relationship with money.

 

 

The spell itself is well written and constructed, using a combination of incantation, visualisation and sympathetic magic. I received my package in the first quarter of the waxing moon, so nearly the perfect time for spells of abundance and prosperity.

I’d definitely recommend these spell kits. Their crafted with a sense of responsibility and are easy to follow, with a good focus on importance of intent and use of language. I thoroughly enjoyed performing the spell. As a freelance writer, work and therefore money comes and goes. Since doing the spell I’ve had a steady stream of work, so I’m impressed so far!

If you would like to Purchase PracticalCandleMagic’s Money/Wealth Drawing Spell Kit on Etsy, or see any of their other wonderful magickal wares, you can visit them at: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/PracticalCandleMagic

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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 on Amazon

Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways on Amazon

 

Learning Lenormand

August, 2018

Notes from My Lenormand Journal

Thirty years ago, when I received my first set of Tarot cards, I read the cards nearly every day. I didn’t have a separate journal for my Tarot readings in those days – I just put the readings into my regular day-to-day diary. My life was very melodramatic in those days and the various readings reflected the histrionics of my daily life. Mostly I used the Celtic Cross spread but I would try out any spread that I discovered in my study of the Tarot. I was sure that I would eventually find the answer.

Well, here we are all these years later and I am still looking for the answer – or maybe it would be more correct to say that I am looking for answers in general. Naturally some of the questions have changed radically in the past thirty years. But some questions – really, the most important and vital ones – have not changed at all. They have only become more critical and far-reaching.

In the mid-1990’s, a very dear friend gave me a beautiful bound journal with a marbled cover of a glorious royal blue. That was the start of the separation of my Tarot journal and my day-to-day journal. There are pros and cons to this. I like being able to see the divinatory reading in regards to what happened that very day – having the two posts side by side can be very instructive. But having all those Tarot readings – or any kind of reading – broke up the diary’s natural prosaic flow. I have maintained two journals to this day.

These days, I do a three-card Tarot reading and then a five-card Lenormand reading. While I am focusing on the Lenormand in this essay, I must say that I am constantly amazed at how the two systems reinforce the same message. Sometimes I pull a Rune from my bag and nine times out of ten, whatever Rune I pull has the same divinatory message! Somedays I go through all my various means of divination to see if I am getting the same vibes from all the sources! And sometimes they all add up to the same one message. BUT – sometimes it’s just a big fucking jumble of nothing. It’s really tempting to say, the hell with all of this, and not write it down in the journal. I mean – that all takes time and time is not something I have a whole lot of nowadays. The thing is – just because you can’t see the message today doesn’t mean you won’t see the message tomorrow or next week or next year. Or even five or ten years from now. It can be argued that being able to “see” a divination five years after the reading is dubious at best but on the other hand, it’s all a learning experience, isn’t it? And sometimes the cards are talking about events far in the future. It’s human nature to see everything in the here and now.

The past several weeks, I have been pulling these cards over and over again:

Of course, these five cards were pulled with other cards. These cards are just showing up more often in the daily 5-card spread than the rest of the cards in the pack. And given that in the Lenormand, card relationship – the combination of cards to create a single meaning – is more important that a card landing on a certain point, just looking at these cards in and of themselves really doesn’t say very much. For instance, the 5 Tree 7 of Hearts card has come up fifteen times in the last twenty-two days, which is a pretty good percentage. But that doesn’t say anymore than I have been concerned with family and health issues, which are paramount right now. It’s the combination of the tree card with the surrounding cards that enhance and define its meaning. On July 5, the 5 Tree 7 of Hearts card was winged by 8 Coffin 9 of Diamonds and 36 Cross 6 of Clubs. Given the state of my father’s health on that day, this was a totally apt reading – his bad health and the feeling that no matter what happened, it was going to be difficult for all of us in the family.

26 Book 10 of Diamonds has been paired with 21 Mountain 8 of Clubs seven times in the last two weeks. I think this is pointing to the various problems I’m having with my writing – not a writer’s block per se – although that would be the obvious idea. But in my case, it’s not so much that I have writer’s block but I am so horrendously busy that I don’t have the time to write – the mountain is keeping me from my book. Again – the tree is another modifier – it’s family issues that are pressing on me. My father’s ill health – my son, who recently moved back home and now I have triple the housework that I used to have – and sibling drama that doesn’t really concern me but is nonetheless part of my life.

Isn’t 32 Moon 8 of Hearts a beautiful card? Caitlín Matthews says that this card is a “false friend” from the “Tarot World”. She writes,

“In Tarot, the Moon means illusions, mutability, or anxiety – words that are better expressed in Lenormand by Clouds. Stork, and Birds,

respectively. Lenormand Moon is about work, honor, recognition, and creativity. This is because Moon governs the sublunary regions

and is symbiotic with the life of our planet. Everything that the Moon shines upon is under its influence. Beware of assigning disordered

emotions to the Moon, which has more to do with the emotional satisfaction arising from the act of our hands.” (Matthews, 83-84)

But again, in context of my personal life right now, the Moon card in its Lenormand aspect is perfectly apt. I am concerned with issues of work – writing, specifically – but also my collage work – and of course the additional housework with my son now living here!

Naturally, of course, 25 Ring Ace of Clubs represents my commitment to all of the above – my son, my family, my work and my divinatory studies. This card has been paired with each of these cards more than once in every way imaginable.

Do keep a Divinatory Journal? What methods do you use the most? Do you use the Lenormand Oracle? What cards show up the most often? What relationship do you have with those cards?

Until next month, Brightest Blessings!

The Complete Lenormand Oracle Handbook: Reading the Language and Symbols of the Cards

References

Matthews, Caitlín. The Complete Lenormand Oracle Handbook: Reading the Language and Symbols of the Cards. Rochester, VT: Destiny , 2014.

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About the Author:

Polly MacDavid lives in Buffalo, New York at the moment but that could easily change, since she is a gypsy at heart. Like a gypsy, she is attracted to the divinatory arts, as well as camp fires and dancing barefoot. She has three cats who all help her with her magic.

Her philosophy about religion and magic is that it must be thoroughly based in science and logic. She is Dianic Wiccan and she is solitary.

She blogs at silverapplequeen.wordpress.com. She writes about general life, politics and poetry. She is writing a novel about sex, drugs and recovery.

Book Review: Tarot by Design Workbook: Color and Learn Your Way into the Cards by Diana Heyne

July, 2017

Tarot by Design Workbook: Color and Learn Your Way into the Cards by Diana Heyne

Published by Weiser , Massachusetts, soft cover, with introduction by author

 

 

I have always loved coloring books. As a child, I valued my giant box of Crayola crayons (with the built-in sharpener), and could spend hours filling the black-lined drawings with colors. As an adult, I have indulged in the adult coloring books, spending time with images of ocean creatures, forest creatures, flowers and plants, and geometric shapes, and my colored pencils, bringing myself into a meditative state as I applied colors to the lined drawings. I have a lovely coloring book of Frank Lloyd Wright windows, with the line drawings on a translucent tracing paper so the finished works can be put in a window so the sun can shine through the colors. Imagine my delight when I held this Tarot-themed coloring book in my hands for the first time!

The Tarot by Design Workbook is 8 ½ by 10 inches, with a glossy full-color soft cover. The paper stock of the pages is smooth and substantial, perfect for colored pencils or crayons. The workbook is set up with a short forward by the author in which she explains the setup of the Workbook and offers some suggestions for connecting with the line drawings; then without much further ado, we move on to the drawings themselves.

The Tarot images beautifully drawn by Diana Heyne are based on the traditional Rider Tarot Deck created by hur Edward Waite and Pamela Colman Smith. The line drawings are detailed enough to be recognizable but not so detailed to be discouraging to a non-coloring book person. The Minor Arcana Cards are labeled with a number, or rank for the Court Cards; the traditional images portray the suits of Swords, Staffs/Rods, Cups and Pentacles. The Major Arcana cards are labeled with the title of the card and the number of the card, as well as traditional images portraying The Fool’s Journey.

The card images themselves are on the right side when the Workbook is open; on the left side is the “learning page” with the name of the card, some key words, phrases for both the upright and reversed card (and yes, a bit of whimsy: the phrases for the reversed cards are upside down), and some space for notes. The learning pages for the Major Arcana cards also contain a rhyme or phrase that briefly sums up the messages of each card. The last 10 pages of the book contain spaces for notes, drawings, or reflections, each bordered with a line drawing that can also be colored.

I pulled out my colored pencils, my crayons (yes, I still have one of those giant boxes), and a set of 20 magic markers, and turned to the page portraying The Emperor. The image was easy to work with, and the colors remained brilliant as I applied them. There was a bit of bleed-through to the reverse side where I used the markers. I had no problems with the crayons and colored pencils.

Despite that one bleed-through snag, I enjoyed playing with the images in the Workbook. For a Tarot novice, this could be a useful and fun hands-on tool for learning about the symbolism of the cards. For someone who is already familiar with the Tarot and its images, this Workbook offers the chance to play with non-traditional color themes, and to find a new way to go deeper into the symbolism of the images of the Tarot.

 

 

 

Spiralled Edges

September, 2015

Messages from the Goddess Amulets

It’s the Harvest Season, and I have gone to the Amulets of the Goddess to ask them what messages they have for us. What can they tell us about our personal harvest? This was what they had to say.

 

Primal Mother and Child

spiral

 

Know that you belong and you are loved. You have a place and a purpose on the Earth. Cultivate a richer and deeper sense of being a part of the world, of being a part of yourself. Accept the unconditional love that is there for you.

The love of a mother for her child. The love of the Universe for you. Take this love. Embrace it. Know that it is there for you and it will enable you to achieve greatness. Not the greatness as you define it with fame and riches. But deep within.

What you are cultivating, what you are growing is yourself. And what you are harvesting is your life.

 

Hand with seeds

spiral1

 

You alone hold the seeds of who you are. Though some may try to take them, they belong only to you.

These seeds cannot be taken, no matter what others say. No matter what you may be led to believe. Always they are in your hand.

You can be made to think they no longer exist. This is illusion.

Only you can hold your seeds. But only you can plant them.

If you never let go of your seeds, your hopes and dreams, your wishes, your desires, if you never plant the seeds you wish to grow, there can never be a harvest.

Open your hand. What seeds do you hold? Are they seeds of beauty that will grow to nourish your heart? Are they seeds of ugliness that will choke out the good things in your life and hold you back as a person?

No one can take your seeds, but only you can plant them. You can choose which ones are allowed to grow. Plant them all. Let them transform. Even the ugliest seed can transform into the most beautiful flower.

 

Whirlwinds

spiral2

 

Sometimes, we don’t know what will come from a seed. Perhaps we have held it so long we’ve forgotten. Perhaps we’ve been told too many times all you seeds are ugly seeds. Perhaps they’ve been hidden for too long.

It’s okay to plant them. It’s okay to trust that in planting a seed there will be a time of uncertainty. A time of not knowing. We cannot see the changes happening within a seed once we plant it. Until then, we must trust that change is happening outside of our view and outside of our control.

We can only see the seedling once it pushes out of the ground. Then we can fully see what this seed means for us. How it can transform us. Even an ugly seed allowed to grow can transform into something beautiful.

Trust what is growing and transforming outside of your awareness and control.

 

Snake

spiral3

 

Let go of your fears. Plant the seeds you hold in your hand.

Fear keeps us from seeing the unconditional love of Mother Universe. Dear keeps us from letting go of our seeds. Fear keeps us from planting them and allowing them to grow. Fear keeps us from harvesting them when are ripe.

Is fear the seed you hold in your hand? Plant it, water it, and let it transform. By clenching this seed in your hand you allow it to root within your soul. Take it. Look at it. Plant it. And let it become a thing of beauty that will nourish your soul.

 

Gorgon

spiral4

 

Are the seeds you hold seeds of anger? We are told so many times that anger is wrong, anger is bad, anger should never be felt.

So we clench the seeds of anger tightly in our fist. We hold to it so tightly, because we dear what may happen should we let go.

Plant your seeds of anger. Let go of them. Don’t clench them in your fist. Put them in the Earth. Let them be transformed into a seed that can bring beauty into your world.

Each of us holds the seeds of who we are in our hands. While harvesting the fruits is important, it is even more important that we plant those seeds. They cannot grow and transform into beauty if we hold them forever in our hands.

The set used for these readings is called Amulets of the Goddess and were created by the artist and author, Nancy Blair. I have been working with these amulets for over 20 years. Information on personal readings can be found on my blog.

Images all taken by author