Articles

Welcome

July, 2019


Cover art: This month’s cover is brought to you by Avalon Kisbey from Aurora and Avalon Creations & The Pagan Planner. Born in Canada, but raised in the UK, Lisa (AKA Avalon Kisbey) went through a huge spiritual awakening in 2015. Being drawn to Celtic Goddesses particularly to the Welsh Goddess Blodeuwdd. Lisa fully embraced the Pagan Path with avid studying, following inner guidance and working with her Spirit Guides. Lisa practices Solitary as an Eclectic Witch. As a novice planner Lisa was saddened that there was such a lack of beautiful yet practical designs for Pagans, especially given how much they love to journal and record. Designing with that in mind became the foundation of Aurora and Avalon Creations. For all Avalon’s great designs you can find her on Instagram at The Pagan Planner or on Etsy at Aurora and Avalon Creations.

This month’s Free Downloadable Gift is given to us by Avalon Kisbey of Aurora and Avalon Creations & The Pagan Planner. Just download this lovely Planner Page and print it on regular or sticker paper for your enjoyment!

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It Has Been Quite A Start to the Month. Between the Heat & the Internet Issues, Where do We Begin? How about with a Late, But Great Issue, Featuring…

A Review of the Book ‘Waking the Witch’ & Interview with Author Pam Grossman a Busy Witch with Her Own Podcast Show and Set of Emojis Out!

An Excerpt from the Forth Coming Book ‘Cosmic Crystals: Rituals and Meditations for Connecting with Lunar Energy’ by Ashley Leavy, Titled August Native Moon

Our New Column ‘Pixie Witch Kitchen’ Teaches you How to Bake these Delicious Rosemary Scones with Blackberry Jam & Lemon Drizzle, All While Teaching you the Magick Behind the Ingredients!

In Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times, Saoirse Discusses the Myth of Noah and the Ark, as well as, Other Flood Myths in Differing Religions all Leading to the Important Topic of Climate Change. An Important article, Indeed!

We Review the Book ‘Pagan Portals: What is Modern Witchcraft’ An Anthology Which Takes a Step Up, Out, & Away from the books We are Accustomed to Reading and Covers Topics Relevant to Today’s Witches.

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August Native Moon: Excerpt from the Forthcoming Book ‘Cosmic Crystals: Rituals and Meditations for Connecting with Lunar Energy’ by Ashley Leavy

July, 2019

August Native Moon

From ‘Cosmic Crystals: Rituals and Meditations for Connecting with Lunar Energy’ by Ashley Leavy
Available August 20 from Fair Winds Press, an imprint of The Quarto Group

The thirteen Native Moons in Cosmic Crystals are by far the most difficult to describe. With so many different Native tribes, cultural traditions, and important stories, finding common threads is not always easy. In most instances, the main moon name given is the most commonly used name among the Algonquin tribes, and the listed alternative names come from other well-known tribal peoples from North America, Central America, and South America.

As you read about the Native Moons, put yourself in the shoes of those who lived in harmony with the natural cycles. Consider the lessons from the deities and totem animals that can be applied to present day life. What are the commonalities between yourself and the tribal people who were some of the first in the world to name the moons each month? What is different in your own life compared to the lives of those who gave these moons their names? What wisdom can you take away from recognizing those differences?

When working with the lunar rituals for the Native Moons, push yourself to find new ways to incorporate the corresponding totem animals and healing herbs into your ritual. Remember, your ritual may be as simple or as complex as you like. The point is to create a moment of sacredness between you and the moon, so listen to your inner guidance for how to customize each ritual to meet your needs.

AUGUST

The Grain Moon

The Grain Moon is named for grains, such as corn and barley, which can now be harvested. Fishing tribes know this as the Sturgeon Moon, named after the fish that are abundant at this time. Other tribes know the August full moon as the Red Moon because it often takes on a reddish color. Still others call this the Lightning Moon due to frequent late-summer thunderstorms.

To connect with the energy of the Grain Moon, place a small bowl of dry grains (e.g., corn, barley, or rice) in your sacred space or on your altar. Surround the bowl with Ruby Fuchsite stones to represent the sharing of this abundance with those you love. You may even choose to have one stone to represent each specific person in your circle of close friends and family.

ALTERNATE NAMES Barley Moon, Lightning Moon, Red Moon, Sturgeon Moon, Swan Flight Moon, Women’s Moon

ANIMALS squirrel, sturgeon, swan

COLORS gold, green, yellow

CRYSTALS Green Grossular Garnet, Heliodor, Ruby Fuchsite

DEITIES Laqan Kachina, Mashe-Namak, Mikew, Nisk-Na Peu – the Goose Master, Urubutsin

ESSENTIAL OILS rosewood, tangerine, tea tree

HERBS eucalyptus, lemongrass, rose petal

KEYWORDS abundance, connection, magic

GREEN GROSSULAR GARNET This abundance stone connects to the Grain Moon by reminding you that with hard work, there will be plenty to harvest down the road. Green Grossular Garnet enhances your connection to the plants and animals of the earth. Work with this stone if you’d like to find balance between modern life and more traditional ways of living.

HELIODOR A yellow variety of Beryl, Heliodor shines with the color of golden grain. This crystal helps you recognize abundance all around you and connects you to all that is. The more connected and grateful you feel, the more you have to be thankful for, because things are drawn to you like a magnet. Helidor is also a stone of magic and facilitates mystical experiences.

RUBY FUCHSITE This rock, also called Anyolite, is a combination of two minerals, red Ruby and Green Fuchsite. This crystal corresponds to the heart center and instills empathy and compassion. Wear Ruby Fuchsite in a medicine bag over your heart to facilitate a connection with others. This energy is perfectly suited to the Grain Moon, a time of celebration and sharing the abundant harvest.

About the author of ‘Cosmic Crystals: Rituals and Meditations for Connecting with Lunar Energy’:

Ashley Leavy (Madison, WI) is the Founder & Educational Director of the Love & Light School of Crystal Therapy. Teaching others about crystals is Ashley’s passion and her purpose. Ashley’s experience is based on almost a decade, and 100+ classes, of professional crystal healing training. Because of her expertise, Ashley has been a featured guest on NBC, has been interviewed about crystal healing for dozens of radio shows, has had articles published in many newspapers and magazines, and has been featured as a guest blogger on hundreds of energy healing and wellness blogs. She is also the author of Crystals for Energy Healing.

Learn more at quartokno.ws/CosmicCrystals.

Cosmic Crystals: Rituals and Meditations for Connecting With Lunar Energy on Amazon

MagickalArts

July, 2019

Our Physical and Subtle Anatomy: Part Four

Continuing this series of posts about the Energetic Anatomy and our seat of power that comes from ourselves as a Divine Source of co-c

The Nadis and Meridians: Specific Energetic Pathwaysreation….

The Nadis and Meridians are highly specialized energetic pathways that run in multiple directions throughout our body. It is these pathways that Chinese Medicine, Accupuncture, Accupressure and other healing modalities make use of by way of stimulating the flow of Chi energy to move in a non-restricted and healthful pattern.

The Nadis are highly specialized and localized pathways that align with the Chakras and act upon the energy flow moving up the central column, inclusive of the spine, spinal fluid, and the nerve bundles. In the Eastern Kundalini Yoga practice the Nadis and the rising of the Ida and Pingala coiling up the Sushumna is the serpent fire that opens the awareness of the practitioner to union with his/her Higher Nature.

The Ida is the lunar (Feminine) energetic path and the Pingala is the solar (masculine) energetic path. The union achieved at the Crown chakra is the product of the combined polarities of moon and sun, feminine and masculine giving birth to the Divine Child of your Higher SELF.

The Meridians are the pathways of the body that help to regulate and maintain a balance of flow from organ to organ. Each major Meridian or channel is responsible for a specific organ and their surrounding structures. The Meridians play a major role in Traditional Chinese Medicine and the treatment of dis-ease, thought to be cause by a disruption of the natural flow of the Chi within the body.

There are 12 major meridians in the body:
• Lung meridian
• Large Intestine
• Spleen meridian
• Stomach meridian
• Heart meridian
• Small intestine meridian
• Bladder meridian
• Kidney meridian
• Pericardium (Circulation/Sex) meridian
• Triple Warmer meridian
• Liver meridian
• Gallbladder meridian

Exercise:

Let’s begin with a very simple exercise to run pure energy through the chakras

A Chakra Renewal Meditation

©Robin Fennelly 2002

Turn your focus and attention to your breath. Allow your consciousness to move with the rise and fall of your chest and the filling and release of the lungs. Continue in this manner for several breaths, allowing each to become softer, smoother and slower. Now, shift your awareness to visualize seven clear glass spheres within your energetic self, each aligned with a specific chakra point along the central column. And approx. 7-8 inches above your head is an eighth glass sphere. This is the transpersonal chakra; the gateway between your parts of Self and the Divine.

Beginning at the root chakra, visualize the sphere filling with ruby red energy and light. As it continues to fill it becomes larger and more brilliant in color and form. When it has reached full capacity, turn your awareness to the sphere just above it.

Visualize this sphere filling with vivid orange energy and light. As it continues to fill the sphere becomes larger and more brilliant in color and form. When it has reached full capacity, turn your awareness to the sphere just above it.

Visualize this sphere filling with sunshine yellow energy and light. As it continues to fill the sphere becomes larger and more brilliant in color and form. When it has reached full capacity, turn your awareness to the sphere just above it.

Visualize this sphere filling with emerald green energy and light. As it continues to fill the sphere becomes larger and more brilliant in color and form. When it has reached full capacity, turn your awareness to the sphere just above it.

Visualize this sphere filling with sky blue energy and light. As it continues to fill the sphere becomes larger and more brilliant in color and form. When it has reached full capacity, turn your awareness to the sphere just above it.

Visualize this sphere filling with indigo blue energy and light. As it continues to fill the sphere becomes larger and more brilliant in color and form. When it has reached full capacity, turn your awareness to the sphere just above it.

Visualize this sphere filling with amethyst purple energy and light. As it continues to fill the sphere becomes larger and more brilliant in color and form. When it has reached full capacity, turn your awareness to the sphere just above it.

You have reached the uppermost sphere, that of your transpersonal space. See this sphere fill with brilliant white light. It pulses radiant light and seems brighter than those below it in clarity and intensity. When it has reached capacity, see all the spheres equal in size, perfectly transparent and filled to capacity with colors that are clear and vibrant. Allow this image to permeate your being for several minutes. Feel the strength and power in each of the spheres and connect with this enlivening energy, engaging all of your sensations.

Visualize a line of energy moving upwards from the ruby red sphere of the root chakra. This energetic pathway is the same hue of red as that contained within the sphere itself. It moves, and swirls and as it reaches upwards it blends and mingles with the orange energy within the sphere of the belly chakra. Allow the integration and synthesis of this energy to build and circulate.

Now, extend this energy and visualize it moving upwards towards the yellow of the sacral chakra. Allow it to blend and merge creating an energetic column connecting each of the three spheres in turn. Each, feeding one into the other, merging and unifying into a singular stream of vibrant and pulsing energy. Continue in this manner moving up through each of the chakra points rising all the way up and ending at the transpersonal chakra.

When reaching the transpersonal chakra, allow the brilliant white energy of the transpersonal sphere to pulse, infused with crystalline luminosity. As this energy builds it becomes brighter, fuller and more expansive. Allow this energy to grow and expand until it is overflowing and spilling down, pouring its energy into each of the spheres below it. Each, in turn filling with the brilliance of Light, the vibrancy of their individual colors fading and folding into the density of a brilliance of white. This transformation continues downward through each chakra and when it returns to the root chakra allow this energy to circulate, moving up and cascading down through each of the chakras for as long as is needed.

When you feel energized and have a sense of balance, beginning at the transpersonal chakra, see this energy slowly dissipate as each globe clears and returns to a state of transparent glass. Move downward from one sphere to the next. Each in turn fading in brilliance, returning to its resting state of transparency and size.

When you have returned to the root chakra and the spheres are once again clear pure transparent glass, chant a sustained “ OM “ to complete the working and coalesce the rate of vibration within each of the chakra columns in each of the subtle bodies.

References:

Emmet B. Keefe, Introduction to Know Your Body: The Atlas of Anatomy (Berkley, CA;Ulysses Press, 1999)
Cyndi Dale, The Subtle Body:An Encyclopedia of Your Energetic Anatomy (Boulder, CO:Sounds True Inc., 2009)

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About the Author:

Robin Fennelly is a Wiccan High Priestess, teacher, poet and author.

She is the author of (click on book titles for more information):

The Inner Chamber Volume One on Amazon

It’s Written in the Stars

Astrology

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Two

poetry of the Spheres (Volume 2) on Amazon

Qabalah

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Three

Awakening the Paths on Amazon

Qabalah

A Year With Gaia on Amazon

The Eternal Cord

Temple of the Sun and Moon on Amazon

Luminous Devotions

The Magickal Pen Volume One (Volume 1) on Amazon

A Collection of Esoteric Writings

The Elemental Year on Amazon

Aligning the Parts of SELF

The Enchanted Gate on Amazon

Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

Sleeping with the Goddess on Amazon

Nights of Devotion

A Weekly Reflection on Amazon

Musings for the Year

Her books are available on Amazon or on this website and her Blogs can be found atRobin Fennelly 

Follow Robin on Instagram & Facebook.

Perimenopause: A Spiritual Threshold

July, 2019

The special powers and sensibilities of women (especially menstrual powers) are central to the Wise Woman tradition. Men in the Wise Woman tradition find the wise woman within themselves and become her. In the Wise Woman tradition, we nourish. We do not fix or cure or balance…health/wholeness/holiness comes through nourishment. Healing occurs in the ground of woman power, in the ground of heart-centered compassion…Nourishment encourages expansion and growth. Nourishment includes. Nourishment supports each being as unique, holy, individual. Nourishing our problems encourages love for all parts of ourselves.

-Susan S. Weed from “Healing Wise”

(Haida Gwaii Beachcombing Collage by Jennifer Engracio)

Recently, I was talking to a friend who is also at the threshold of perimenopause about the changes she is experiencing as a woman at this age. Neither of us have ever been forty-four before, after all! And it turns out that we are feeling similarly at this point in our development even though we lead quite different lives in many ways. Ellen Besso’s article on menopause being a time for women to go inside in order to heal deeper emotional wounds makes sense to me. I feel my psyche is mature enough now to go there–that I can finally parent myself compassionately through the pieces I discover: pretty and ugly. Recently, I’ve been able to unearth the root cause of many issues that plagued me my whole life. And I have faith that my body will continue to heal as that process completes itself with the support of homeopathic medicines, practicing living aloha, and ceremony. I also feel that there is a deeper level of spiritual fulfillment that I am starting to venture into. I don’t know what this is going to look like and I am curious about how all of this is unfolding.

When these psychological shifts started happening along with the physiological ones, I didn’t put the two together. I initially thought I was losing my zest for life or that there was something wrong with my dreaming and manifesting skills that I’d always been able to lean on. What I see now is that there is a really profound change happening in all of my energy bodies requiring me to rest and introspect more. Gone are the days of rushing through life to get as many things done as possible. I find myself reflecting on what I’ve accomplished in my life so far. Morbid thoughts come and go: If I died tomorrow, would the legacy I leave behind be enough? Somewhere along the way, part of life has become about achieving things as a way to validate my existence somehow. As if taking up space isn’t alright unless I am contributing in ways that the mainstream culture approves of. These thoughts are fleeting though. These false beliefs are what I am letting go of as they arise in my consciousness. This is the transcendence that is presently taking place.

I’ve been going on the long walk to the beach most mornings here on Haida Gwaii in Northwestern Canada. It is late spring and nature is alive and blooming. Most mornings, I walk through the bird sanctuary, the dark and cool rainforest and its ethereal cemetery until I get spat out onto the big open ocean. I breathe in the salty air and thank the Goddess I am here in all this beauty. It is all I can do to keep taking it all in, allowing its magic to fill every cell of my body. This morning, I rode a bike so I could spend more time on the beach looking for agates, shells and beach glass. I haven’t ridden a bike around the ‘hood like that since I was in elementary school; this made my inner kid indescribably happy. I bumped up and down the trails giggling to myself as I went. Ironically, even though I work with children, there are things I forgot about slowing down to kids’ pace–like the details and moments I notice when I am not on a mission to get somewhere. I spend my days wandering and beachcombing for treasures that maybe only I will find beautiful. But then, when I was a kid, I didn’t care if other folks thought these finds had value. I am going back to a time when all there was was me and Spirit. Back then, I was conscious of what was happening in the now and nothing else. I can sense something being rejuvenated inside myself even while I don’t know exactly what it is. And I don’t feel I need to know. I know it’s all as it should be.

This is the first time I’ve given myself a “victory vacation” where I am celebrating all of the accomplishments and challenges I’ve transitioned through in my life. And there have been a lot of them! My inner landscape has completely changed. I am in a space where nothing new has emerged to place my focused energy on. I am in the dreaming of creation. Little wisps of inspiration and interest come my way, yet something has yet to really take hold. Strangely, I am not panicking about this like I would have done in my thirties. My ego keeps telling me I should be worried, but I am really not and this is liberating. I feel more present lately–like I did when I was a kid. Susun S. Weed describes this further in her incredible book “Healing Wise”:

In the Wise Woman tradition, all health…begins with a return to the void. To…become whole, we turn again around the spiral of our life…The void is woman power: simultaneously dynamic and relaxed; empty yet completely full, satiated yet always consuming; creative, abundant, insatiable, unfillable, unquenchable, wild, having nothing to receive, knowing everything is already present, completely calm. Here in the void lives the Crone.

If I had a wish for women my age, it would be to surrender to this process. Fear of the unknown is natural, however, I hope we can remember to celebrate all of the things we’ve accomplished and overcome in our lives and to “nourish” our current challenges. It’s good to acknowledge the enormity of this with all of the responsibilities pulling on women in the world! I recommend that women take time for reflection so they can really be in this new psychological and spiritual landscape they find themselves in as they prepare to enter their crone years. I’ve found solace and insight speaking to fellow sisters who are going through this stage of life and I really encourage you to do the same if you are in the same boat with us! I have a feeling an exciting and edgy new journey is beginning…for all of us if we can find the courage to welcome the elder we are becoming.

Resources:

icle: The Change: Medical Problem or Spiritual Passage? By Ellen Besso

https://www.life.ca/naturallife/0608/spiritual_menopause.htm

Book: “Healing Wise (Wise Woman )” by Susun S. Weed

“Haida Gwaii Beachcombing” collage by Jennifer Engrácio

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About the Author:

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

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

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

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

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

Dreaming of Cupcakes: A Food Addict’S Shamanic Journey into Healing on Amazon

Gael Song

July, 2019

The Druid Garden, Edible Forest Magic

Because I worry about the overuse of chemicals across the earth, monoculture on huge farms that leave the soil depleted, the clear cutting of trees for building, so soil that has taken 500 years to build up is washed away in the next big storm or two, I am hooked on edible forest gardens! They are meant to be as simple as can be, ending up as a hunter-gatherer’s dream come true. And EASY! All those Monsanto chemicals kill the network of tiny micronutrients in the soil, too, organisms that break down organic matter into forms the plants and trees can absorb. Without micronutrients, plants and trees starve. If you are using herbicides on your grass, stop, now! Overuse of chemicals has killed off most of the honeybees, too, so those massive farms are now in a pollinator crisis. But honeybees think an edible forest garden is heaven on earth and come zooming in to thrive all summer long. If food grows scarce in the future from all those Monsanto misuses, the edible forest garden is my personal hope for a simple and natural solution. Everyone should have one!

This year, I moved into a new home, (one I own as opposed to rentals for many years) so, I could FINALLY have an edible garden of my very own! This has been the most fun part of moving, joy that is only beginning as the apples and blueberries plump up and ripen. I will take you through the whole building process, so you can see how any five year old could do this. Beginning a garden after a move is the best possible time because my gardens always begin with sheet mulching, a permaculture technique in which cardboard is laid down over grass and weighted with a few stones to keep it from blowing away. I recycled very little cardboard from my move. And in 3-4 months, the grass underneath has died and the cardboard disintegrated to become organic matter in the soil, enriching it. Be sure to remove the plastic tape and staples, though (the plastic comes off as easily as can be after the cardboard has been outside through a few rains). Sheet mulching eliminates the need for rototilling or digging to turn grass under, both of which also disturb the micronutrient network beneath the soil for 2 years or more. Sheet mulching is a peaceful, simple way to prepare an area for planting, cardboard best laid down in the fall for spring planting.

Every edible forest garden has three layers, a tall tree canopy, an intermediate height shrubby level, and ground covers. Many druids believe in three realms; above, middle, and below just like this. And a forest garden especially is druid to the core! And once the ground covers fill in, there’s no need for mulching with bark or sawdust on the soil level. I was surprised how many plants will fruit or bear under a thin tree canopy in dappled shade. And plants in edible forest gardens are meant to be perennial. Yes, perennial! This means NO digging once the initial planting is done (with the possible exception of a bit of weeding before those ground covers fill in Such edible forest gardens have the most PEACEFUL undisturbed feeling when they mature, like Eden. And one can walk through and harvest nuts or fruit or greens for years to come with very little care. I only add compost around my forest plants in the spring, for compost is loaded with micronutrients, and all my plants sigh in pleasure when it gets watered in, I can feel it. Then, aside from harvesting, which is pure delight, not work, and a bit of pruning or weeding, and organic spraying on the fruit trees if pests come in (I’ve dusted mine with spinosad only once this year), that’s the only work an edible forest garden needs every year.

Some of the plants can get out of hand, and you’ll have to decide how much of this you want to tolerate when you choose what to put in. Most edible forest gardens look like a jungle when they mature. But I am one of those folks who likes neat drawers, closets, and gardens, so I put my plants in sections, rounded edges (another permaculture principle, no straight lines. Research shows there is much more growth and activity with curved borders between plants.), with a path up through them that is mulched in brown bark. So, it all looks exactly like a tree with branches of plant families and companions, as druid as can be. See the photo above (taken before the chicken wire went up to keep out the very chubby groundhog family living nearby who entertain me every evening now that they are no longer eating my dill and lettuce to the ground!). The mulch in the small beds is sawdust I got free from a nice man who cuts and sells wood for heating a few houses away (You do need to add some nitrogen when using mulches because they deplete it when they break down, a little manure, for instance.). Next year or maybe by fall, all those saw dusted areas should be filled in and green. By spring of next year, I will have zero mulching to do. Only adding some nutrient rich compost here and there and popping yummy produce into my mouth!

So, let’s talk about plants that will thrive in a part shade, forested space. Of course, this greatly depends on the climate, and you’ll need to check what temperature number your own location is in when you choose what to put in. I’m in southern New England, so a lot of the edible plants in the texts about them won’t work here, heat and jungle type plants mostly. (In the south, you can have a ball with this!). Many edible forest plants I read about in texts also are quite unusual, hard to find, and with acquired tastes and reactions one has to watch out for if they aren’t cooked properly (like sunchokes-cook those babies really well or you will be on the pot all night long!). In my own little garden, I chose trees with leaves and branching patterns that don’t completely block the sun. I have a Butternut tree (sometimes called a white walnut), a white Oak for acorns (just shell them, boil for 10 minutes, changing the water three to four times to get out the tannins, and grind up immediately [they get hard very quickly] and store in the freezer for use in baking, very nutritious, indeed and as druid as trees! A friend of mine suggested putting them in a pillow case and running them through the washing machine to get out the tannins but I haven’t tried that yet, maybe this year. Tannins make the nuts bitter, a taste that is hard to get rid of in your mouth, too. The Native Americans put their acorns in nets and left them in streams for a few days to get the bitterness out. And it’s impossible to get tannins out of black oak acorns, no matter how much rinsing you do. Use fruit only from oaks with rounded tips on their leaves, not the pointed ones, and you’ll be fine. I have Paw-Paw trees in my edible garden, too, which are native to the US, even in the north, fruit well in part shade, and grow large delicious fruit that tastes like vanilla pudding! Yum! And I put in a small fig tree, too, which is hardly native and not truly hardy here. But a friend of mine has figs he’s grown for many years in his orchard. He makes a columnar box of 2” thick, hard insulation, ties the fig branches loosely together in a tall central stalk, and puts the insulation box over them after one or two frosts in early November here. The insulation box needs to go all the way to the ground and be tied or weighted down to survive winter storms, too Then my friend takes the box off just as the weather starts to warm in spring, just before the last frost in early April (protecting the tree if there is a late frost but opening it up to air out as the warmth comes in. Leaving the insulation on too late results in mold all over the tree.) And his figs are leafed out and budded with fruit well ahead of the rest of his orchard and produce really well with this method. I’ve been aching to try this ever since he first showed me. And I put in a semi-dwarf cherry tree and apple here, too, both of which I keep pruned down to a reachable level. (Most fruit trees now are grafted to roots of smaller growing types, so they will not get too large and need far less pruning than the older, full-height varieties.) So, those are my tree canopy plants for my first-year forest garden. I have a feeling my edible forest “tree” will be expanding and growing with new plants every year, but this was enough for me right after a move. I am aching for several more varieties of apples and cherries, a plum, and a native persimmon, though. (Edible forest gardening can be a bit addictive, fair warning!)

My shrub level then has elderberries, raspberries, and half-high blueberry bushes, too (North Country, with fruit that tastes like those wonderful lowbush Maine wild ones). Wild blueberry pie, mmmm! I’ve planted the raspberries in their own section on the side of the yard and will mow the narrow strip in between other “branches” of my forest garden, since raspberries send shoots off into the wild blue yonder and need to be contained a bit if you don’t want them all over your yard. All these are easy care plants, too, only the raspberries needing any canes that have turned brown cut to the ground after summer fruiting (not the fall fruiting or you’ll have no berries next summer!) All plants need regular watering, soil full of humus, and most need good drainage as well.

Of course, the ground cover level is lowbush blueberries! Along with alpine strawberries, both of which fruit well in dappled sun/shade, so are utterly perfect for a forest garden. I have regular strawberries, too, in front, so they get the sun they need, along with herbs like sage and rosemary, etc. I added a very few annual plants in between this year, too, since there’s so much sun under the new little trees and space between baby ground cover plants I could not resist filling in with eggplant, cabbage, lettuces, parsley, nasturtiums for my salads, and dill (These all need full sun). Once my trees grow big enough and the ground covers take over, the veggies will need a sunny spot of their own. And, of course, they have to be planted every year, so are not true edible forest garden plants, taking more work and requiring digging every year. But there are perennial vegetables, too; onions, leeks, broccoli that is mostly like cauliflower, asparagus, spinaches, and many more to choose from that I haven’t listed here. (See the book Perennial Vegetables by Eric Toensmeier, the edible garden guru.)

Put on your druid robe as you plant and carry your wizard wand, for this is the happiest, most delightful and druid way of gardening there is in the world. You’ll create your own Avalon. And you’ll have moons of delicious things to eat with little to no work to produce them. There you have it, edible forest gardening, as magic as can be!

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About the Author:

Jill Rose Frew, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, energy healer, workshop leader, and author. She will be opening a school teaching light healing and the Celtic path of enlightenment in 2019. For information, please see www.CelticHeaven.com

Guardians of the Celtic Way: The Path to hurian Fulfillment on Amazon

The Future is Goddess: An Excerpt from Seven Ages of the Goddess

July, 2019

The Future is Goddess
An Excerpt from Seven Ages of the Goddess

Isis

Astarte

Diana

Hekate

Demeter

Kali

Inanna!

So goes the chant around so many fires at so many gatherings of witches, wiccans and pagans. Each name a chapter in the history-book of goddess worship, and each name still worshiped and revered today. Some believe that these goddesses are all one goddess. Some believe they are all aspects of the sacred feminine that is embodied within all goddess worship. Some believe they are all individual beings, each worthy of their own offerings, sacrifices and reverence. Whatever the practitioner’s relationship with these goddesses, the fact is that these goddesses have survived thousands of years, some possibly since before 3000 BC.

That’s over 5000 years ago, yet a mere 2000 years ago (approximately) a Middle Eastern guy who thought we could probably be much kinder to each other and all get along a little better, started a bit of a cult, which became the spiritual basis for much of the modern, mainstream religion practiced across the globe today.

The largest religion in the world right now is Christianity, closely followed by Islam. Two Abrahamic, patriarchal religions that have been repeatedly regurgitated into ever new and adaptive forms by our modern societies; at times twisted in the name of hatred, at times used for kindness, but always in the name of God; of Yahweh (Jehovah) or Allah. It’s inherently understood that God is male, all powerful, and alone. There are no other gods; to say so is blasphemy. There is also no companion; no counterpart: no goddess.

If you look hard enough at the bible, there are the odd mentions of goddesses, such as Ashtoreth (Astarte), who Solomon followed and was denounced as evil thereafter (1 Kings 11:5 and 11:6). emis is mentioned as a ‘man made god’ who is no god at all, though in the same verse it is written that she was worshiped in Asia and across the whole world. (Acts 19:26 and 19:27). In alternative translations of the bible it is Diana that the Ephesians worshiped. From the brief mentions we see, it’s clear that the goddess was the usurper; to be mocked, derided and forgotten.

To get a better understanding of why this might be, you have to look back beyond Christianity, beyond Judaism even, and spread your scope across the world. Take in the spirituality of the Paleolithic (stone age) humans. Look at the oldest depiction of a human being yet discovered: The Venus of Hohle Fels. This extraordinary item is a female figure carved from a mammoth tusk, and she is possibly 40,000 years old. 40,000 years. That’s approximately 20 times longer than Christianity has been around.

She has a loop which is clearly intended for a thong or similar, which tells us she is a pendant and possibly an amulet, emphasizing that this figure was obviously very important and possibly sacred or protective. She was found near the world’s oldest known musical instrument, a bone flute.

Scholars look at her oversized breasts and genitalia and immediately rush to the conclusion that she is all about sex; reproduction; fertility. Because that’s what women are all about, right? When you can see the breasts and the vulva, they must be advertising something sexual. At least that’s the current societal viewpoint, based on patriarchal morality and the lack of understanding regarding the divine feminine.

I think it’s much more likely this figurine comes from a culture where it wasn’t considered pornographic to bare breasts or expose vaginas. Stone-age artifacts like this one show an understanding of the sacred nature of a woman’s body: the legs and arms are missing because those are not unique. All humans have arms, legs and faces. Only women have breasts and a vulva. These differences are being revered, not mocked, and this is what makes these figures sacred. Only the woman has the power to bear a child into the world, and subsequently feed it. This was once seen as a powerful magic indeed.

In today’s world, under the thumb of a predominately male-led religion and society, women are told that their bodies are shameful. Menstruation is seen as disgusting, and even a weakness, despite it being a natural, biological cycle. Sex is seen as something done to women, rather than something they participate in. Breasts have become sexual objects, to be ogled in push up bras, and hidden away when feeding our babies. The voice of women is constantly shushed, muted, mocked and disbelieved. Yet the evidence above shows that when our species was at its most basic, women were the key to the sacred and the divine.

It is no wonder then, that so many people in the modern world are turning to goddess worship as an alternative to the dry, dusty and now outdated religions that have popped up in the last several thousand years. Paganism is marked currently as one of the fastest growing religions in the world, and while not all Pagans are sole goddess worshipers, most have a great reverence for the divine feminine in some form. The most recent census figures show that over 100000 people in the UK identify as Pagan, and approximately 1.25M people in the U.S.A., and that figure is growing exponentially as more people draw away from the religions they grew up with. About half of these recorded people name themselves as Wiccans, with the rest being druids, heathens and those who walk a veritable road map of other spiritual paths.

Disillusioned with destruction, people want a religion that teaches how to nurture and grow oneself spiritually. Tired of hate, people look to a source of love; not only for those around them, but for themselves. Catholics are told they are born with sin in their very essence. Goddess worshipers are told they are sacred, divine and connected to the universe. Christians are told their god forgives sin; the goddess teaches you to forgive yourself, and to make your own morals based on what is right and good; not what you are told.

It’s important to understand that the goddess is not just for women. Men have it just as hard in our gender unbalanced society. Western culture in particular states that men should be strong and bread winners, and women should be kind and motherly. But what happens when the man becomes a father and wants to stay at home with his child? In the UK, they can do this for two weeks, and only within the first 56 days of the baby’s birth. Mothers in the UK can take up to a year, depending on their employer. When it is built into our very government that fathers are not as important as mothers, you can understand why men as well as women are looking for alternatives. The Goddess smiles on all her children, male and female alike, and is likely baffled at the notion that a man would be considered weak for crying, being emotional or, as above, wanting to spend time with their child; time you can never get back.

Faults like these in our political system is exactly why Goddess worship is the future. So many of our policies and procedures in western politics come from men; male religion, male leaders of church and male leaders. It is the ever-present belief that man is superior, which stems from the relatively new belief that God is a man, that has spun our world into turmoil. Yet we can still hear the voice of the Goddess, even via the deeds of those that may not consider themselves worshipers.

This excerpt is by Mabh Savage and is from Seven Ages of the Goddess, published by Moon and available via Amazon and all good books stores. Various pagan and spiritual authors explore the journey of Goddess worship throughout the ages and into the future.

Seven Ages of the Goddess on Amazon

Notes from the Apothecary

July, 2019

Notes from the Apothecary: Book Recommendations

Hi all! Summer is here, and we might all need to take a break from the heat every now and then. With that in mind, I thought it might be good to give you a little insight into the books I use to help me craft each month’s Notes from the Apothecary. Then you’ll have some light reading to do while you’re sat in a nice air-conditioned room somewhere- or out in the park!

I love plants of all types, and often my research comes from experience. However, when looking at the medical uses, particularly from bygone eras, I refer to many different volumes. I also have a few go-to manuals when it comes to magical interpretations of plants. Here are a few of my favourites.

Mrs Grieve’s A Modern , 1931

This book is an absolute treasure trove. She references so many older naturalists and botanists and makes it really easy to cross reference and find the original sources for the information she’s providing. The wealth of plants in here is astonishing, and the fact that the whole book is available online too makes it invaluable to anyone with an interest in herbs. She includes snippets of folklore as well as medicinal uses for all the plants, and includes many different common names to make it easier to find the plant you are looking for.

Culpeper’s Complete

Born in 1616, Culpeper’s work is still surprisingly relevant in many ways. His Complete , originally known as The English Physician, is an astonishing catalogue of hundreds of herbs, all with medicinal uses. He took pride in his combination of experience, reason, diligence and honesty, and had a healthy respect for nature. His work is so interesting to us because it is due to his descriptions of medicinal plants and their uses that many were shipped to the New World to be used as medicines there. The world might be a very different place, botanically speaking if not for the writing of Nicholas Culpeper.

A Kitchen Witch’s World of Magical Plants and Herbs by Rachel Patterson

This book from experienced Kitchen Witch Rachel Patterson explains about the different magical energy plants have and how to harness them. It helps novices grow their own plants and explains the best ways to harvest and store leaves, seeds, and flowers. It’s a wonderful reference for any witch, with plenty of correspondences.

A Kitchen Witch’s World of Magical Herbs & Plants on Amazon

Cunningham’s Encyclopaedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham

It’s important to note that I don’t agree with everything Mr Cunningham has to say. Regular readers will infer my written roll of the eyes at yet another reference to a plant that automatically has water-Venus-feminine energy. I find this volume often over simplified and lacking in detail which can be easily extrapolated from older herbals or items of folklore. However, it has an astonishing range of folk and common names to cross reference, and is an amazing starting point for anyone wanting to know what the magical significance of any plant may be. The inclusion of snippets of folk magic for each plant are useful and exciting to both the casual and serious researcher. Cunningham’s is often my starting point before delving deeper into any particular plant.

[Encyclopaedia of Magical Herbs] (By: Scott Cunningham) [published: April, 2000] on Amazon

By Wolfsbane and Mandrake Root by Melusine Draco

The tagline for this book is “The shadow world of plants and their poisons”. That’s exactly what this book is: a focus on the plants we often try to avoid, but which are, obviously , incredibly magically and spiritually significant. The books explores poisons which can also be medicines as well as looking at the uses of poisonous plants in various types of magic. An engaging read and a great reference.

Pagan Portals – By Wolfsbane & Mandrake Root: The Shadow World Of Plants And Their Poisons on Amazon

I hope you enjoy my recommendations, and please drop me a line (Twitter: @Mabherick) if there’s a particular plant you’d like me to explore- whether that’s a herb, flower or tree. Until next time!

***

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 & 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

Retha’s Crystal Reflections

July, 2019

All About Crystal Gridding

I’ve had a lot of customers & friends inquire about gridding recently. It can seem overwhelming or mysterious at first, but I promise you that gridding can be a very satisfying, enjoyable and effective tool & it can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. I will go over the way I do crystal gridding and I hope it helps you to give it a whirl if you haven’t yet tried it!

Crystal gridding is at its most basic, placing multiple crystals in a pattern. You can make any pattern or design you like, color or draw a grid pattern on paper or you can use a purchased grid pattern as well. You can find amazing pre-made grid patterns in fabric, wood, copper, acrylic and even light up grids! I have reviewed a few if you want suggestions.

Sacred geometry patterns are common but you can literally make any design you prefer. The one thing it needs to have is a center point to place a piece of quartz. This should ideally be a generator or pyramid (something with a point facing skyward) but you could also use a tumble or even a chip-stone in a pinch. Quartz is the highest vibration crystal, that is why a type of quartz is preferred here. After all, the point of your grid is to raise energy. Having quartz in the center point of the grid will maximize the effectiveness of the entire grid as well as all the other crystals you include.

After you select both a center crystal and a design, you then need to gather the other crystals & stones you wish to include. If you are wanting a grid to draw love into your life for example, you would want stones that correspond to that. If you need some help or suggestions for which crystals to use for your grids purpose I highly recommend you read my past columns, I have covered many topics and give my favorite crystals for each one. You can use as little or as many crystals in your grid that you prefer. Get creative here and above all remember to have fun & follow your intuition. Sometimes you may feel drawn to a certain crystal & you don’t know why, I truly believe it’s because our intuition is telling us to work with it for a reason. So go ahead and include it. Even if you don’t think it goes with the theme. If you listen your crystals will start to communicate with you. They wont lead you wrong I promise!

OK, now you have gathered your grid or have a pattern in mind, and you have your crystals that support your intentions…now its time to find a spot where your grid won’t be disturbed (I have 4 cats so this is always important if I want my grid to stay intact). One other important tool you will need is a double terminated quartz wand to activate your grid. Double terminated simply means it has points on both ends. This is a tool to send & direct energy so is perfect for gridding. If you don’t have a double terminated wand, you can use your finger in a pinch. You can incorporate other materials into your grid as well. Flowers, sticks, bones, pine cones, etc. This brings another layer of correspondences you can incorporate as well. Plus, it looks very aesthetically pleasing. If you have a spinning table (lazy Susan) that is a genius way to do your grid, but any stable surface will suffice.

Now, you want to set your grid up.

First, it’s a great practice to get into saging all your crystals and the grid itself before you begin.

Next place the quartz generator or pyramid in the center point.

Then place your supporting crystals all around in the pattern you chose. This is all your preference where you place your different crystals. There is no wrong way to do this. So just give it a try. One thing I do want to point out is if you are using crystal points I would point them inward to the center of the grid if the grid is to draw something to you, and place the points facing outward if your grids purpose is to send energy outward to either the earth or another person.

Now you will say aloud your intention or dedication to this grid. If it’s for health, speak that into the universe.

Then you want to use the double terminated wand to first touch the center quartz piece, then touch a crystal on the outer part of the grid.

Working your way around or in any order that feels right you want to touch the wand to each crystal on your grid, while touching that center crystal between each crystal. So touch center, touch another, touch center, touch another and so on. You can use this process as a time to concentrate on your intention, pray, or to drop into a meditation. This process can be done once or you can continue it over & over as many times as you feel effective. I personally like to go around to each stone 3 times.

Now you are done and you can leave your grid up and activated for as long as you choose. If you leave it up for a long time I recommend recharging it or reactivating it every so often. If you decide you no longer need the grid you can un-dedicate it by thanking it for its service and say simply “I release these crystals from service”. Then your crystals can be used for another purpose or in another grid.

Grids are a great way to start working with your crystals. It can become a very relaxing and fulfilling hobby. I encourage you to try one, even if you only have a few crystals you can do a mini grid. Work with what you have to start, or if you think gridding is something you want to do often you can invest in more crystals and a nice generator & wand to use. Just don’t let not having all the things keep you from doing it. Your intention is the most important piece of this process. You can work with what you have.

I’d love to see your grids if you are wiling to share! I have a crystal group on Facebook called “Retha’s Crystal Circle” and if you haven’t yet you should join us! I always take pics of my grids & love seeing others grids as well! Thanks for reading & happy gridding!!

Love & Crystal Blessings

***

About the Author:

Retha N. Lent has been married for 17 years to her husband Mark & they have four cats that are their life. She lives in Norristown, Pa. Retha has her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Behavioral Counseling Sciences from Drexel University. She is the owner of “Retha’s Crystals” & sells sterling silver unique crystal jewelry & specimens on her FB business page. She has a FB group for her customers and those interested in learning more about crystals & all things magical called “Retha’s Crystal Circle“. She is also an advisor in the Sage Goddess Affiliate Program. She has her Holistic Healing Certificate and Pillars of Priestessing certificates from Sage Goddess. She is also an Ordained Pagan Minister from the Universal Life Church. Retha has a passion for crystals, nature, astrology, working with moon cycles, ritual practices, tarot and oracle cards, runes, essential oils, herbs, manifestation work, ancient cultures, magic & music. Her favorite place is New Orleans, La. Retha has an extensive personal crystal collection and loves sharing her love of crystals with the world. She has been a practicing pagan since she was 16 years old. 

You can reach her at rethalent@hotmail.com or on her business page on FB: www.facebook.com/Rethas-Crystals-197411227666484/

Or in her FB group

Her Sage Goddess affiliate link is:

www.sagegoddess.com/ref/84/

Or follow her on Instagram at @spookygirl16

3 Pagans and a Cat Monthly Feature

July, 2019

3 Pagans and a Cat Podcast

Three Paths, One Journey, No Cat

In this highly informative & entertaining podcast, three family members embroiled in wildly divergent traditions gather in one room to discuss, debate, and flat-out argue about their magical, mythical, and mundane lives, all for our education and pleasure.

While Waiting to Hear This Month’s Casts, Why Not Catch Up on Last Month’s…

Episode 46: Our Community – Enafae Moore-Sweet: Car sits down for a solo conversation at Convocation with Enafae Moore-Sweet to discuss… Convocation, the Magical Education Council, and Oz the Great and Powerful.

Episode 47: Solar Festivals – Litha: Car, Gwyn, and Ode discuss the context of Litha celebrations, including why you should worship the sun more, the most solar alcohol, and whether or not Ragnarok is about to start.

Episode 48: Our Community – Kenn Day: Car, Gwyn, and Ode sit down for a conversation at Convocation with Kenn Day to discuss post-tribal shamanism– the practice, the fad, and the function– as well as his books.

Episode 49: Storytelling – Apocalypse: Car, Gwyn, and Ode sit around the mic to tell each other stories from their respective mythological backgrounds, including: Flood Myth 2.0, Thor: Ragnarok (And Friends), The History of The End of the World, Vishnu Cleans House, Heat Death of the Universe, and Ominous Post-Victory Singing. Also they talk about Michigan Pagan Festival for like twenty minutes because it was a blast.

This Month’s Podcast Shares from their Backlog

Episode 16: Wheel of the Year – Lughnasadh: In the fifth of a series of Pagan Holiday Specials, Car, Gwyn, and Ode discuss First Fruits and necessary sacrifice.

Episode 12: Building Your Book – and herbalism: Car, Gwyn, and Ode continue the Building Your Book series by talking about recipes: what a recipe technically is, why you should be keeping track of them, and how to go about safely using them.

Where Else to Find 3 Pagans and a Cat…

Their Website: http://www.3pagansandacat.com

Their Twitter: https://twitter.com/3_Pagans

Their Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/3PaaC

Their YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJ0GJacu9SUzuumXJNNUZwQ

Remember …

You can always support your favorite podcasts with a donation. Every bit helps to keep them going.

***

About the Author:

Jennifer Wright is a witch on a path of change that is always winding. She founded PaganPagesOrg in the hopes of giving Pagans a platform to share and learn without judgment.

She loves to create in her spare time and you can find her Creations, Jewelry, & Magickal Witch Bottles at: www.facebook.com/TwistedWitchesShoppe/

When not creating she can be found strolling around FB, Twitter, & Instagram looking for an interesting conversation. She’s the moderator of her FB Coven called Cyber Moon Coven Of Changes and enjoys spending time with it’s members.

St. Louis Pagan Picnic

July, 2019

Every year for the past 27 years in Tower Grove Park in early June you will find a gathering of Pagans. This picnic is a fantastic start to the festival season in Missouri. 2019 was the first year that my husband and I were able to go for both days of the picnic. This year the picnic was able to boast that they had nearly 100 vendors. The vendors are in the middle of the picnic. The picnic coordinators are hoping to welcome even more next year.

On Saturday at 10 AM, there was an opening ritual. Ritual is on the south side of the vendor’s row. The Ritual takes place in an area that is marked by flags for each compass point. It is always open to all who want to participate.

Speakers start their presentations at 11 AM and go until 3 PM both days. The lectures take place on the north side of the vendors’ row. There were so many speakers this year, but I could only pick a few because there are four presentations every hour. Speakers only took an hour for a lecture; many also-ran vendor stalls while at the festival too.

Celia was there her talk was titled “Adventures of an Everyday Goddess,” and we could hear her singing during her lecture too. Reverend Don Lewis-Highcorrell was there talking about Cornellian Soul. Mickie Mueller taught about “Magical Self-Care During Hard Times. Reverend Bill Duvendack was there teaching about “Astrological Timing of Rituals.” And Sunday started with Oberon Zell giving a presentation on “Awakening into Quantum Consciousness.” (there were so many more that I didn’t get to hear this time around.)

At the St. Louis Pagan Picnic, there are a lot of local artists, writers, and teachers that give lectures. If there is a time that you don’t want to go to hear a speaker, you can sit on the south side of the vendors’ row at the Bardic Circle. At the Bardic Circle, they have some great singers and Dancers. Celia also was at the Bardic Circle. At another time, you could catch Mama Gina or watch Sugar Cyanide dance.

My husband and I purchased a Tarot deck and a refillable book from artist Karen Swartz, who has a shop on Etsy, Talenshistudios. The Tarot deck is called “A Darisa Tarot.” I found that the Tarot deck is genderless to be a unique aspect that makes reading with it more accessible in so many ways.

Another vendor I adore is “Chaos Emporium.” She has a shop in South County Mall in St. Louis. Her shop and her vendor space deal with corsets, hats, gloves, and some beautiful Parasols. (I had to get a purple one to go with the primary color I wear daily.)

I also found a new vendor that I hope is there again next year, Obsidian Sithin. They have amazing wooden puzzles. (I purchased a Unicorn from them. I want to get more of their puzzles.)

***

About the Author:

Dawn Borries loves reading and was thrilled to become a Reviewer for PaganPages.Org. Dawn, also, has been doing Tarot and Numerology readings for the past 25 years. Dawn does readings on her Facebook page. If you are interested in a reading you can reach her on Facebook @eagleandunicorn.

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