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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.

***

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

WitchCrafting: Crafts for Witches

June, 2018

Dragonfly

Merry meet.

 

 

With the magic of midsummer comes the magic of dragonflies. Their gossamer wings, narrow body and big eyes make them seem like they come from the Land of Fae I imagined in my youth as being all wee and cute.

I have many memories of lazing on the lake on an inner tube or raft and having one or more landing on me, as if finding an island on their long journey over the water. Some would stay for many minutes. Seeing them reminds me of those warm, long days.

To hold on to that essence of summer and the solstice – as the cold and the dark begin to slowly but steadily creep in – make a dragonfly or two or three.

 

 

Gather dry maple seeds and tiny twig pieces. Stand the stick up in a short container of sand or similar material. Put a dab of hot glue on the seed pod end (I compressed the pod first) and attach to the twig, holding for a few moments until the glue holds. You can then add color with paint or glitter. If I had had beads handy, I would have put two on for eyes.

 

 

If using tacky glue, place the seeds on your work surface with end touching, add a drop the glue and rest the twig on top unit the glue dries.

 

 

Merry part. And merry meet again.

***

About the Author:

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

WitchCrafting: Crafts for Witches

February, 2018

Imbolc Incense

Merry meet.

The smell of the ocean. The scent of a forest of pines. The aroma of bacon cooking. Each not only has a unique smell, they also touch us in other ways, eliciting memories and emotions, and shaping perceptions. Our sense of smell is strong, and sometimes unconscious, and it can set the mood. (For the record, dogs do not have a better sense of smell than do humans.) Think of it smells as aromatherapy. All I have to do is smell sage burning and my mind relaxes as my body absorbs its healing and my spirit absorbs it wisdom.

When cleansing a space, setting the mood for a meditation or celebrating a sabbat, consider making incense a part of the ceremony. For centuries, people of many cultures have used mixtures of herbs, berries, bark, flowers, resins and other botanicals to send their prayers up to the gods – by throwing them into a sacred fire as well as by burning them in a censer swung by a priest walking down the aisle of a Catholic church.

While many wonderful blends can be found, it’s easy to make your own. With astrological Imbolc coming on February 3 this year, there is still time.

Everything has its own energy, and you will add your intent while mixing them. All of that is released when it’s burned.

Depending on the source, correspondences list cinnamon, myrrh, vanilla, violet, wisteria, basil and bay as incenses for Imbolc, or they list chamomile, frankincense, jasmine, lavender, myrrh and rosemary. Another source gives basil, camphor, cinnamon, lotus, frankincense, myrrh, basil, jasmine and wisteria. The lists you will find will differ as well.

Sometimes I look for ingredients common to multiple lists – in this case, myrrh is on three while cinnamon, frankincense, basil, jasmine and wisteria are on two of the three lists – but most times I go by what I’m drawn to. When I feel limited by what I have on hand, I remember what Rosenari Roast, a wise herbalist, once told me: “I have found magical blends to have more to do with one’s own personal relationship with the plants than any recipe, formula or dogma. And what one has on hand at a time of need is there with reason, purpose and value.

The easiest to make is loose incense that is burned on a charcoal disk (a pinch at a time) or tossed into a fire (by the handful).

When using essential oils or resins, combine them first, mashing them together in your mortar with your pestle. When they are gummy, add any berries or bark. Dried herbs and flowers are added next, with powdery items put in last. As you work, focus on your intent, perhaps using a chant or an incantation while blending the ingredients. Store in a tightly sealed jar.

Patti Wigington gives this recipe for Imbolc incense on thoughtco.com, explaining it “evokes the scents of a chilly winter night, with a hint of spring florals.

2 parts cedar
2 parts frankincense
1 part pine resin
1 part cinnamon
1 part orange peel
1/2 part rose petals

The Real Witch’s Kitchen” by Kate West offers several recipes, including these:

Imbolc Incense 1
3 parts frankincense
2 parts dragon’s blood
1 part cinnamon
1/2 part red sandalwood
a few drops of red wine


To this mixture add a pinch of the first flower available in your area (dry it first) at the time of Imbolc.

 

Imbolc Incense 2
3 parts cinnamon
2 parts rosemary
1 part frankincense
1 part myrrh
1 part bay
1 part basil

 

Imbolc Incense 5
3 parts frankincense
1 part myrrh
1 part cinnamon
½ part sandalwood
½ part jasmine flowers
3 drops sherry or sweet white wine

Merry part. And merry meet again.

***

About the Author:

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

 

WitchCrafting: Crafts for Witches

August, 2017

Hand Fasting Gifts

 

 

Merry meet.

 

While couples planning weddings take advantage of gift registries at every place from The Home Depot to Crate and Barrel, couples who are hand fasting may appreciate a more pagan, creative and personal approach to gift giving.

 

At the urging of others, one couple I know visited their favorite pagan store and with the owner’s cooperation, made a list of items they liked. Those who wanted could look at the list and choose something without stressing over second guessing which book, what incense or the best color for an altar cloth. By the owner maintaining the list, it was helpful to know, for instance, someone had already gotten the wooden box with the pentacle on top.

 

(This box is available at magicraftshop on etsy.  You can view it by clicking HERE.)

 

Those who prefer to craft a gift have many options pagans will positively prize.

 

(There are a variety of ribbons to be found.  From the craft stores to your local dollar stores.)

 

If the couple is not making their own cord, you might want to craft it. It can be braided from ribbons with charms attached.

 

 

(These are just a few Pagan themed Charms you can use.)

 

Those wanting a challenge can try the five-string braid. In addition to ribbons, lace, trims and drapery cording found in fabric stores, and strings of beads found in craft stores can be incorporated. For a fall ceremony, consider wearing in a string of dried corn kernels, or strings of tiny shells for a hand fasting on the beach. Figure a finished length of at least six feet so that it can be wrapped around the wrists and knotted three times. If the number of people attending is small, you might organize its making by having each guest contribute the desired length of ribbon, lace, etc. Charms and color themes can be considered. As part of the ritual, they would be woven together with everyone’s intentions for a loving relationship.

 

(These handfasting brooms are available at BROOMCHICK on etsy.  You can view them by clicking HERE.)

 

A common hand fasting tradition is jumping the broom, making that another gift that would be welcomed. It can be purchased or made from twigs or other botanicals attached to a branch. It would then be decorated with lace, ribbons, flowers and other embellishments. Afterwards, the couple can hang the broom above a door or a mantle.

 

(Hand painted wine glasses.)

 

Painting champagne flutes or a chalice are other gifts that could be used as part of the hand fasting ceremony.

 

(Flower crown & hair pieces.)

 

Crowns for the couple can be made from flowers, leaves, antlers, feathers, vines, shells, handles from spoons and forks, or crystals – or any combination. If a man would rather wear a medieval style hat or even a top hat, it could be decorated with the same types of materials.

 

(Homemade, dressed talisman candle.)

 

What pagan ever has enough candles? You don’t have to be pouring wax to make a spell candle for the couple, you can start with any candle you choose, and using a selection of oils, chants, intentions, carvings and Reiki, turn it into a one-of-a-kind gift.

 

(This Grimoire is available at TheMadamePhoenix on etsy.  You can view it HERE.)

 

Smudge sticks, incense, tea blends and decorated journals are other ideas.

 

 

(The Magical of Crafting Charm Bags comes out on Oct. 1, 2017. Click link on bottom of page to pre-order.)

 

I happen to like making mojo bags, and would consider making one for the couple with herbs, stones, a miniature tarot card or two, runes and other objects holding my intentions.

 

These are just a few ideas for making a hand fasting gift both crafty and Craft-y. I’m sure there are many more.

 

Merry part. And merry meet again.