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Wreathing the Wheel

July 1st, 2019

Watching
the
Summer
Skies

Summer
is a great time to get outside, go camping, and watch the stars come
out. This is something I like to do at least once a summer, and more
than that if I can manage it. This year, my interest in stargazing
has a new dimension: I have been studying astrology, and am now
watching stellar bodies with renewed interest. In the interests of
getting serious about learning the ropes of astrology, I decided to
make some bullet journal spreads as a reference to help me study.

Natal
Chart and Astrological Reference

One of the things that most new astrology students do is to study their own natal chart, which captures the positions of the planets and stars at the moment of a person’s birth. I’m lazy and didn’t want to do all the complicated calculations to figure out the positions myself, so I used the natal chart calculator available at Cafe Astrology so that I could focus my efforts on making my pages look good. As I usually do, I used a ruler, protractor, and mechanical pencil to sketch out these layouts, and tried to fit in the information as densely as possible. When I felt certain that I liked how it looked, I used my set of Sakura Pigma Micron Pens to ink the spreads. I also used “The Only Astrology Book You’ll Ever Need” by Joannaa Martine Woolfolk as a reference, along with a handful of astrology websites. 

The
right side of this spread is completely dedicated to an exploded
reading of the planetary positions in my natal chart, complete with
the names of the positions and some basic keywords. The center figure
started as a basic circle drawn with a protractor, and I used a
circle template to add the concentric inner circles around the
central point. Most of this was drawn with the 180 degrees of the
circle divided into twelve equal 30-degree angles; the houses don’t
perfectly match the division of the signs, but were drawn in by hand
using the computer-generated chart as a reference. The positions of
the planets, houses, and signs are all included here, along with the
ascendant line and the midheaven point. In the lower left corner of
the spread, I added the aspects in my natal chart.

I wanted to add a lot of basic reference information as well, so that I could refer back to these spreads over and over again. I included several lists: the signs with their symbols, associated elements, ruling planets, dates, and keywords; and the houses, with keywords and their native signs, as well as a list of the symbols used. As I mentioned earlier, I’m a newbie to astrology, so hopefully experienced astrologers will excuse any mistakes made in these spreads. While I did spend a fair amount of time inking these spreads, I won’t lie — the majority of the time that I spent on these spreads was spent on research, which is pretty unusual for a bullet journal spread.

The
2019 year calendar was difficult to fit into a small space, but I
used the Llewellyn’s 2019 Witches’ Calendar as my reference for
most of the included planetary transits. My calendar simply includes
which sign each planet is in during each half of each month of the
year, along with the moon’s path and phases. Below this, I added
the year’s meteor showers and eclipses. After filling out the
symbols on the facing page, I found I still had a lot of space left —
so I decided to add the constellations of the zodiac and a big more
art here. These spreads are now basically full of information, though
there’s room to add a few additional notes. I may be a beginner, but
I feel like I’ve now got a great reference to help me move forward
with my studies, something I can come back to again whenever I have
astrology to do!

***

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

Watching
the
Summer
Skies

Summer
is a great time to get outside, go camping, and watch the stars come
out. This is something I like to do at least once a summer, and more
than that if I can manage it. This year, my interest in stargazing
has a new dimension: I have been studying astrology, and am now
watching stellar bodies with renewed interest. In the interests of
getting serious about learning the ropes of astrology, I decided to
make some bullet journal spreads as a reference to help me study.

Natal
Chart and Astrological Reference

One of the things that most new astrology students do is to study their own natal chart, which captures the positions of the planets and stars at the moment of a person’s birth. I’m lazy and didn’t want to do all the complicated calculations to figure out the positions myself, so I used the natal chart calculator available at Cafe Astrology so that I could focus my efforts on making my pages look good. As I usually do, I used a ruler, protractor, and mechanical pencil to sketch out these layouts, and tried to fit in the information as densely as possible. When I felt certain that I liked how it looked, I used my set of Sakura Pigma Micron Pens to ink the spreads. I also used “The Only Astrology Book You’ll Ever Need” by Joannaa Martine Woolfolk as a reference, along with a handful of astrology websites. 

The
right side of this spread is completely dedicated to an exploded
reading of the planetary positions in my natal chart, complete with
the names of the positions and some basic keywords. The center figure
started as a basic circle drawn with a protractor, and I used a
circle template to add the concentric inner circles around the
central point. Most of this was drawn with the 180 degrees of the
circle divided into twelve equal 30-degree angles; the houses don’t
perfectly match the division of the signs, but were drawn in by hand
using the computer-generated chart as a reference. The positions of
the planets, houses, and signs are all included here, along with the
ascendant line and the midheaven point. In the lower left corner of
the spread, I added the aspects in my natal chart.

I wanted to add a lot of basic reference information as well, so that I could refer back to these spreads over and over again. I included several lists: the signs with their symbols, associated elements, ruling planets, dates, and keywords; and the houses, with keywords and their native signs, as well as a list of the symbols used. As I mentioned earlier, I’m a newbie to astrology, so hopefully experienced astrologers will excuse any mistakes made in these spreads. While I did spend a fair amount of time inking these spreads, I won’t lie — the majority of the time that I spent on these spreads was spent on research, which is pretty unusual for a bullet journal spread.

The
2019 year calendar was difficult to fit into a small space, but I
used the Llewellyn’s 2019 Witches’ Calendar as my reference for
most of the included planetary transits. My calendar simply includes
which sign each planet is in during each half of each month of the
year, along with the moon’s path and phases. Below this, I added
the year’s meteor showers and eclipses. After filling out the
symbols on the facing page, I found I still had a lot of space left —
so I decided to add the constellations of the zodiac and a big more
art here. These spreads are now basically full of information, though
there’s room to add a few additional notes. I may be a beginner, but
I feel like I’ve now got a great reference to help me move forward
with my studies, something I can come back to again whenever I have
astrology to do!

***

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

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

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.

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

March

I’ve
been working with astrology a lot in my craft lately, and it’s
starting to work its way into all my designs! Here, I’ve added the
planets associated with each day of the week in a flow of stardust —
this is pretty, but it’s also a way of labeling the days and
reminding me of the planetary associations.

This March, the full moon is on Ostara, the Vernal Equinox. It brings with it a great potential for manifestation of personal works. To harness this power and celebrate the season, I’m making a renewed effort to spend time on my garden. My husband and I moved a little over a year ago from a large house that had a lot of garden space to a townhouse with fairly little garden space, and I haven’t done much with it yet. I brought several potted houseplants and a few garden herbs, a few of which are in the ground already — carnation, spearmint, rosemary, and valerian — but there’s room for plenty more

At right, I’ve made a detailed listing of the plants I’m growing or planning to grow, with notes about what type of soil they need, how much sun they should get, how often they should be watered, how large they are likely to get, and any other care information that seems relevant. There are a few spots to add plants, but since I don’t have much space, I’ll probably do so slowly

At
left, I have a log to track my progress and schedule important dates,
and a small map of my garden in the middle of the spread. Because I
have such little space, I have to have the plants spread out into
several different locations, and it’s important that I don’t
confuse them. Some of the plants I’m growing need to be treated
carefully and grown inside a terrarium due to their toxicity; some
will do better outside than in. In this case, organization is
extremely important!

The
final step in this process is to carry the theme forward through the
rest of my journal so that I can return to this intention on an
appropriate schedule and don’t forget what I’m doing or get lost
in my plans. With most of these plants, weekly observation should be
sufficient for me to determine their needs, but there is still quite
a bit of work to be done to get everything set up, and I’ll need to
be very careful when I’m starting my seeds. I can’t wait to see
what grows!

***

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

crafty-writer

The magician pulls out his wand his magic wand and starts to say those famous words, Ala-kazam or Hocus Pocus, as he waves the wand. Poof goes the well timed smoke pellet and out of the empty box he pulls a rabbit. Wood working magic is an illusive illusion that occurs when someone with limited talent, creates something that they can use and are proud enough to use it.

gdcage

There are so many forms of woodworking, from the intricate lathe, and saber saw work to the more traditional small tools that most people have. These house hold tools are sneered at by many, but they can produce amazing things that you should be proud of. No, I am not talking about hanging pictures or using the screwdriver to change the batteries in a favorite toy. These items I am talking about are time consuming and very relaxing for me.

Magic is a hobby of mine so it makes using the wood working craft that much more interesting. If I can create something the others don’t have, like my very own wand then it makes mine different than the plastic store bought ones. All I had to do is go out and ask the trees to donate one of its branches. Then if you asked properly you may find that the tree had dropped the perfect piece and all you have to do is pick it up and say thank you.

wand

The wand shown was then stripped of bark, and sanded smooth. It even has a notch that my finger can lay across and give more control to the wave. Once you’re happy a bit of stain and a sealer like oil, varnish or polyurethane and you have a finished piece. All you need is some time, patience, a knife, sand paper and some kind of sealer. Items most households have or a trip to the corner store and minimal amount of money would remedy.

gegg

The illusions I create are not true magic, but the wood working to create them is. Like the Golden Egg a simple illusion where 2 pieces of rope are pulled through a solid golden egg. Or the Dragon Pagoda, where an empty space inside allows an object to materialize as you stare at the space. The Dragon Box is one of my favorites. For Halloween night I will swing it open showing that it is empty and than close it up again. I make the children say the magic words, Trick or Treat and then reaching into the box I start pulling pieces of candy enough for all of them. One of my more intricate pieces because it is a hinged box that is pegged and glued together with the only screws in it acts as hinges. These allow the magician to swing it open showing that it is an empty box. I did have to buy some wood, dole sticks, and glue, but it was worth it to see the kids’ faces.

box2

A craft is a skill, art or dexterity. Wood working and magic are both crafts because you use all three to create a finished piece. Fortunately there are different levels obtainable in all crafts and each is equally enjoyable. Now watch me pull a rubber chicken out of my wood pile. For more information about magicians contact the Society of American Magicians at www.magicsam.com or the International Brotherhood of Magicians at www.magician.org . For more information on wood working, check out your local hobby or hardware store.

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