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Book of Shadows: As the Wheel Turns

March 1st, 2019

Ostara – New Beginnings

My March divider is a reminder to myself to “Never Lose Your Sparkle” and I made every effort to bling the reminder as hard as I could because sometimes the mundane aspects of living actually dull my shine. It is my belief that every time I get out of bed, I am presented with the opportunity to shine; to potentially be the light that someone else sees and reflects in their own lives. Kindness is free, presenting someone with a smile is free and in March, I intend to be deliberate in passing along a lot of free smiles and kindness. I am also trying something new in my working Book of Shadows. I am trying a new dashboard idea that my friend Suzy Mesa made for me. I am using a wet erase marker on the back for reminders that I do not necessarily have to do today but need to be done in relatively short order. The dash board moves with my weeks and can be erased. But she is too cute, and I needed to share this with you!

Of course, there are always the weekly inserts for my Tarot Tracking, and each coordinate with the respective weekly layout.

March ushers in the first day of Spring, the Spring Equinox, or Ostara (whichever you celebrate) on the 20th of the month. This is a time for new beginnings, a time for fresh starts, to nourish the seeds that we planted on Imbolc. My seed has begun to emerge from the bulb, a small and happy little green sprout peeking up from the tightly closed bulb; nevertheless, there is life emerging and a healthy seed is one that is well-tended, well-watered, and well fertilized.

As a daily reminder, I speak my seed work to the bulb, I repeat it three times, and I work hard at manifesting the seed into a sprout that will eventually become a stalk, then a leaf, and, with hard work and dedication, it will produce a healthy and plump bud that will burst open with intention and volition. Spring will begin the work of manifesting the seed into the healthy harvest that I hope to bring this year. Completion. That is the work at hand for me.

Ostara also marks the day when most everything is perfectly balanced. The Spring Equinox brings balance to night and day. Darkness and Light are equal. Balance is present. The seeds are beginning to rise up from the soil, and the hopes planted at Imbolc are becoming realities. The animals are beginning to stir in their dens and readying themselves for mating. In Celtic tradition, one of the symbols of Ostara is the Hare, which is sacred to many lunar Goddesses such as Hekate, Freyja, and Holda; however, the Goddess most associated with the Hare is Eostre, the Goddess of Spring.

Another
of the symbols for Ostara are eggs. The egg represents promises and
new life, as well as fertility. In some traditions, the egg is
symbolic of balance as well. In those traditions, it is believed
that all of the energies such as male and female; God and Goddess;
and light and dark, manifest as balance in the egg as the yolk and
the white. The Sun God, represented by the yolk, is in balance with
Maiden Goddess, the white of the egg.

There
is a very special tale about the Goddess and the Hare and how the egg
became a sacred item during Ostara. It goes something like this…

The Goddess was coming to the forest to visit the animals. The were all very excited for Her visit. They decided to throw Her a party and to bring Her gifts as a show of their love and respect.

(Luna Dashboard and Custom Shaker Cards by Suzy Meza.)

During the preparations for the party, the animals were excitedly running around, gathering gifts. As in any other society, there are animals who are better off than some and had greater and more opulent treasures to offer to the Goddess. The Hare seemed very excited to see the Goddess, but he knew he had nothing to offer. He hopped to his den and he looked around, but after a very harsh and cold winter, he had used all of his food sources and had nothing to offer Her. Until, that is, he noticed that he had one egg left in his den. He took that egg and he shined it and then he set about decorating that egg the best way that he knew how. He poured his heart and soul into making that egg as beautiful as he could. When it came time for the party, Hare quietly watched as the other animals approached the Goddess and laid beautiful treasures at Her feet. Hare became nervous that his egg was not going to win favor with the Goddess because it was simple, but it was all that he had, and he made it everything that he could with his decorations.

(Luna Dashboard and Custom Shaker Cards by Suzy Meza.)

So, after all of the other animals had gifted the Goddess with their opulent treasures, Hare quietly hopped forth and laid his beautiful egg at the feet of the Goddess. When the Goddess saw the egg at Her feet, She recognized Hare above all of the other animals in the forest, for they had given the Goddess only what they wanted, but Hare had given Her all that he had.

All
of the animals in the forest are special to the Goddess, but none are
more favored during Ostara than the Hare. In our lives, when we give
of ourselves, in service to our Deities, we should be mindful to give
all that we have in order to manifest in our lives those things that
are in our highest and best good. As with anything else in life, we
must work toward manifesting what we want in our lives by focusing on
things such as light and kindness and, whenever possible, we should
emulate Hare in every aspect of our lives as we strive to find the
balance in our own world.

RESOURCES:

MAMBI® CHP Extension Packs

Luna Dashboard and Custom Shaker Cards by Suzy Meza.

March Monthly and Weekly Stickers by Shirley Lenhard are free at the Pagan Plannertarium.

March
Cover Page – Shoot for the Stars – Recollections®
“Constellations” paper pad & Miscellaneous Washi tapes:

Available
at Michael’s and other craft retailers

***

About
the Author:

Shirley Lenhard has been a practicing Witch and a Pagan since 1983 and lives in New England with her husband. She is employed full time in the legal field and has her Masters Degree in Psychology from the University of South Florida. Shirley looks forward to living her best possible life by giving back to the Pagan Community and has created the Facebook group “Pagan Plannertarium” where she provides a safe home for fellow pagans to have discussions about their path and to get free planner stickers and layouts. Shirley is a past writer for Llewellyn Publishing and The Peace Paper.

A
Look Inside a Monthly Working Book of Shadows

Many
newcomers to the Pagan Path, as well as new Witches, often mistakenly
believe that a Book of Shadows is an ancient concept that goes back
eons. There is the very real possibility that herbalists and wise
women in ancient times utilized recipe books, journals, or otherwise
kept written records containing their secrets or logging their
workings. However, the Book of Shadows is actually a neopagan concept
that has its beginnings with Gerald Gardner, the founder of Wicca,
sometime in the late 1940s or early 1950s. Gardner is the founder of
the Wiccan religion along with several other famous pioneering
Wiccans who seemingly thrust the neo-pagan movement forward and
opened the broom closet for many witches as well. The age of the
conception of Books of Shadows should not cause anyone to question
keeping a Book of Shadows. As with any other reference material, a
Book of Shadows can be an invaluable tool in any practice, whether it
is your craft or your spiritual walk. My working Book of Shadows is a
vital part of my Pagan path and my practice as a Witch.

As a practicing Witch and a practicing eclectic Pagan with a Matron who guides both paths, I rely heavily on my working Book of Shadows and I carry it with me every day. For the most part, my working Book of Shadows contains all of the information that I need at my disposal such as Sabbats, Esbats, the New Moon, color correspondences, Tarot, Oracle, and Rune draws, as well as trackers for stones, herbs, spells, and Goddesses. I also incorporate my mundane schedule and life in this working Book of Shadows to keep me on track. As any one else in these modern times, I try to keep my spending in check, live a simple life, and incorporate my definition of “enough” into my walk. In true frugal fashion, I decided that in 2019 I would take a completely different tact than in any other year and I created my 2019 working Book of Shadows from MAMBI® Classic Happy Planner® extension packs. For clarity and convenience, I have added all of the resources and links for materials and supplies that I have used at the end of this article.

Throughout
this series, you will notice some “upcycling” of materials as I
find cards that I have received, artwork here and there that I notice
in magazines, and even the creativity of friends, who make beautiful
shaker cards that are great for lifting the energy when I am feeling
like energy is being dissipated. A little blingy shake and the smile
returns to my face. Also, when you network and discover that friends
have hidden talents, such as making quality covers with special
meaning that directs your focus to the work at hand, that energy of
love, friendship, and community lends itself to a healthy Book of
Shadows.

Again, as a frugal person, and someone who believes that the Pagan Community could benefit from helping each other, I created a Facebook group called “The Pagan Plannertarium.” I created this home for Pagan Planners who are interested in planning and who could benefit from free stickers and layouts for their own Books of Shadows. All of the stickers that are in my working Book of Shadows can be found in the Pagan Plannertarium along with an ever-growing catalogue of stickers, layouts, and inserts. They are all free for your personal use, if you would like to plan along with me each month, join the Facebook group by answering the questions for entry, and plan along with me. I will continue this series for the year 2019, showing you the evolution of my working Book of Shadows.

Since
there are no Sabbats in January, and it is the very beginning of my
“Seed Work” which will commence in February for planting on
Imbolc, I have chosen a winter theme for the monthly layout, and I
have also made complimentary weekly spreads for the entire month of
January. In keeping with the winter energies surrounding me, I chose
to focus on the correspondences for the month of January which
include fox, birch trees, and the colors bright white and blue.
January is a time for self-reflection and spell work involving inner
workings rather than casting for others, winter is a time to go
inward and to work on those things that require change for growth.
February’s seed must be planted in order to yield a bountiful
Harvest as the wheel turns and we experience each Sabbat in its turn.

The January month-at-a-glance spread is where I keep all of my appointments which are upcoming, the Esbat, the New Moon, and I keep a place for notes. In the two blank spaces before the 1st day of January and the last 2 blank spaces after the 31st, I use these spaces for my own personal “Power” words – these are words that I use for the month to keep me focused on my seed work. They relate directly to the seed that I will plant, so I choose the words that I need to focus on to narrow my focus. Times and circumstances change every month and this is a working Book of Shadows so these blank spaces are often in a state of metamorphosis and they change from month to month. January is the month when planning my seed comes to completion and the seed is readied for planting on Imbolc.

Each
week there is a side dashboard that is sectioned off for my Goddess
of the week, Crystals, Notes, and two (2) weekly trackers. My goal
is to draw a Goddess card from a deck that I utilize each week, write
the Goddess’ name on the dashboard, and key words throughout the
week that may arise as I ask for Her protection and energies to guide
my week. The Crystal section is for the pouch that I carry on my
person each day, some days call for different energies and I may
change the contents of the pouch that I use during the week and, if I
do so, I like to have a place to log any changes that may occur in my
carrying pouch. The Notes section on the side dashboard is to make
note of any significant changes that I make, events that I need to
make a special note of, or any other information that may change from
time to time during that week. Finally, the two trackers that I have
are for reminders to check in daily on any spell work that I may be
undertaking. Other uses for the trackers include making Crystal
Water, Moon Water or other recipes for ritual use. You can use
mundane trackers even in a magical practice and, on occasion, when I
have no other use for them, that is how I utilize these trackers.
The best part of this whole process is that stickers can be lifted,
marks can be erased, and things are meant to change and grow as we
change and grow. It is my hope that by sharing my Book of Shadows
with you, before the pen, you will be able to glean some creativity,
some energy, or ideas for your own Books of Shadows and join me in
sharing for the greater good.

You may have noticed that the end of December, 2018, is contained in the first weekly spread. I included it because the energies are prime for spell casting, writing new beginnings, contemplating seed work, and writing down ideas for spells or, if I feel the energy in a specific way, I will use this night for spell writing. At the end of the week, there is a New Moon and I always use the energy from the New Moon to begin cleansing my house for the cycle of the waxing moon, to bring the energies into my home and life that I would like to manifest throughout my practice. I start by taking a ritual bath, meditate, and smudge my home from the center to the front and out the door and beginning from the center again and to the back and out the door. For the other days in this week, I will enter those things that I do to prepare for the upcoming New Moon, such as journaling, blending herbs for incense, smudging, writing spells, and working on the February installment of this series

Each weekly layout has a coordinating Tarot card insert. I utilize this insert to pull a Tarot Card each week and reflect on this card throughout the week. The first side of the insert reflects my first impressions and my expectations. The second side of the insert is a retrospective examination of the drawn card and how that has influenced me during the week. This insert is an invaluable tool for me. Not only do I receive guidance from the Tarot cards, but I come to a deeper, more committed understanding of the meaning of each draw and how that may relate in future readings not only for myself but for others

Each
weekly theme for the month of January embodies not only the
correspondences appropriate for this month, but some of them also
contain themes of strong Divine Feminine figures such as Athena and
Hekate. I decided that this month would also contain the energies of
the Divine Masculine and The Horned God made a special appearance
this month as well. As I called to the Divine Spirits of the East,
requesting the energies of communication, divination, and creativity,
these layouts pretty much made themselves.

Looking
forward to providing monthly installments of my Book of Shadows as
the wheel turns.

RESOURCES:

MAMBI®
CHP Extension Packs:

https://www.meandmybigideas.com

CHP
Custom Cover & Foiled Pentacle Stickers by Claire McNamee:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/BubsLovesBubba

Custom
Shaker Cards by Suzy Mesa:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/gichiscraftcorner

January
Monthly and Weekly Stickers by Shirley Lenhard are free at the Pagan
Plannertarium:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/217392179039705/

January
Cover Page – Shoot for the Stars – Recollections®
“Constellations” paper pad & Miscellaneous Washi tapes:

Available
at Michael’s and other craft retailers

***

About
the Author:

Shirley Lenhard has been a practicing Witch and a Pagan since 1983 and lives in New England with her husband. She is employed full time in the legal field and has her Masters Degree in Psychology from the University of South Florida. Shirley looks forward to living her best possible life by giving back to the Pagan Community and has created the Facebook group “Pagan Plannertarium” where she provides a safe home for fellow pagans to have discussions about their path and to get free planner stickers and layouts. Shirley is a past writer for Llewellyn Publishing and The Peace Paper.

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 Correspondences 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

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.

Tarot Journaling at the New Year

Many
witches use their journals to aid in the study of divination by
tracking readings from sources such as Tarot, bone throwing, scrying,
and others. There are many different kinds of divination, and many
ways to track these practices, but today I’m going to focus on one
of the most popular: Tarot. Tracking Tarot in a bullet journal can be
a very rewarding practice, as it reveals patterns which aren’t
always obvious, such as “stalker cards” which follow you through
several readings over a period of time, or the appearance of a card
connected to a season or a timely event.

One exciting way to start a devoted Tarot journaling practice at this time of year is a New Year’s Reading. There are lots of different kinds of New Year’s Readings, but I like to design my own. I’ve been working a lot with the image of the Wheel of the Year, so for this year’s reading, I chose to do a reading based on the Wheel and the Compass. The inner compass is a bit like the cross in the Celtic Cross spread, but with three cards in the middle instead of two, to invoke a few more numerological correspondences of duality and trinity for a balanced interpretation with lots of possibilities.

You may notice that I have
not included my own personal interpretations in this particular
spread. I do not plan to direct an interpretation until the Sabbat in
question comes to pass. This means that I’ll have to do a short
ritual for reflection upon the reading, as a Sabbat practice. The
year’s reading starts not at Yule, which is still covered by the
monthly reading I did for 2018, but at Imbolc, at the start of
February 2019. The Sabbats occur on (roughly) a seven-week cycle
throughout the year, so I’ve marked out six interstitial sections
via radiating lines between each pair of Sabbats. This way I can
track weekly readings, and see how it all comes together as I go.

I like to draw small
versions of the Major Arcana cards drawn so that they stand out (and
because the codified scheme that I use for the Minor Arcana cards
doesn’t work for the Major Arcana!). The way that I do it, it
takes very little time and effort because the drawings are so small,
but it is still a fun way to make the spread pop.

January Spread

For
January, I’ve chosen associations based both on the time of year,
and for my own personal healing intentions for the new year. This
month, I call upon carnations, elder, and willow as green allies, as
well as rose quartz and onyx for protection and healing. I also like
to add the names of holidays that have some meaning to me, whether I
plan to celebrate them spiritually or not. For January, these days
are: New Year’s Day, Compitalia, and the Wolf Moon.

I
like to write the names of the plants and stones in small script near
the drawing so that I don’t get confused or forget what they’re
supposed to be. If you’re still studying correspondences, this is a
good way to rehearse some of those associations, and decorate your
bullet journal at the same time.

***

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

Imbolc,
the Seed, and Growing Abundance

Imbolc has long been a sign of
the beginning of the end of winter. In many parts of the world, this
is the time when seeds that have long laid in the deep belly of the
earth at least start to spring forth with green shoots. Accordingly,
seeds wind up in Imbolc cakes, the white and new green of the young
shoots is associated with the Sabbat, and even the name of Imbolc
means “in the belly,” referring to the pregnancy of ewes, and the
seeds in the earth.

This year, I’m trying to
embrace prosperity and grow abundance as my way of celebrating
Imbolc. Like many of us, I carry a bit of debt that I’d love to get
out of, and I’m trying to manifest some new things this year. In
the spirit of the season, I’m not leaving this up to chance. I’m
planning out my payments to loans, and I’m ready to make progress
— not by winning the lottery, or through some other simply
impossible miracle, but through careful budgeting and penny-pinching.

While the hard numbers and
actual tracking occur with my bank, I love having a financial tracker
in my bullet journal, because it makes something of a game out of the
truly unpleasant task of being financially responsible. And to remind
myself that this is not a question of “whether” but of “when.”
I’ve designed my financial tracker with the growth factor in mind.
This isn’t so much about hard goals as it is about steady progress.

Weekly
Tarot Reading

Following
last month’s year-long Tarot spread, I wanted to discuss how I add
weekly Tarot readings to my journal. (I’ve covered up the personal
details in my weekly spread, because I do actually use this journal
to plan my life!) I usually do a month spread, and then have
single-page weekly spreads to plan my tasks each week; since I am
also making a practice of a seven-card weekly Tarot reading, I add it
here. I like to play around with the themes that I use for my weekly
spreads (because creativity is fun), so this one is based off of the
witch’s ladder, a sort of charm made from a rope with feathers,
beads, and other charms woven into it. Additionally, the planets
selected for each day accord with the ruling planet of the day.

***

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

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