Crafts

Wreathing the Wheel

July, 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!

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About the Author:

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

Wreathing the Wheel

June, 2019

Wreathing the Wheel: June – Summer Solstice and Project Planning

The month of June contains my favorite of all the quarter days: the summer solstice. This day is high noon for the year, a time when transformative, fiery powers are at their peak, warming the earth and helping plants grow to their fullest. Litha is about action, so this month I’ve decided to get serious about planning some of my personal projects. While there are many different types of projects, I’ll be using the example of this column as our template.

Here’s a basic, five-step road-map that can be used for both cyclical and linear projects, from the start of an idea to complete fruition. This can also be the basis for your planning spread, although obviously some projects may require you to add or eliminate steps. I’ve tried to make it as general as possible, so that this road-map can be used for event planning, project planning, spell work, and much more!

1. Brainstorm Your Idea

I often do this first step in a sketchbook, as especially with complicated ideas, it can easily be too much for a bullet journal. However, this column’s a slightly simpler example than a long-term, complicated project would be, so I’ve made a layout to include this part of the process as well. My method of brainstorming is a bit like Scrying: I like to make a word cloud out of short phrases, symbols, diagrams, and keywords that inspire me in my project, as well as short lists as I start to discover the structure in this cloud. I also like to highlight certain words with colored pen so that they stand out from the cloud after I’ve finished this first brainstorming step.

2. Refine the Idea: Vision, Mission Statement, and Goals

My vision board conveys the most important parts of the brainstorming results, and my ideas about how the finished project should be realized. My mission statement is a short sentence which concisely expresses my primary goal. While these may seem silly in the context of a simple article, they can be very important for long-term projects, as a mission statement will help remind you of what you should focus on if you get distracted. I also include a list of practical goals here to help give my idea some more structure and formulate the next phase of the plan.

3. Define the Project Needs: Resources, Education, Materials

With a complicated project, this part of the spread could easily be expanded to include a list of articles and references, a bibliography, and even a complex budget for my project. In the case of this article, this section is fairly redundant, since I already have all the materials and resources that I’ll need, but it would be a great way to track research progress for a longer project. If your project involves a budget or financial goals, this part will become much more important, and doing the exercise of writing it all out may even help you realize whether your goal is truly attainable — and affordable.

4. Project Road-map and Action Steps

For this article, I broke my trackable progress up into two phases: a structural phase which reflected my development of the article itself, which I call the project road-map; and the actual steps needed to bring this idea to fruition, from sketching the layout to e-mailing the column to my editor. And when that last piece of this road-map is done — so am I! But there’s still room in this layout for one more section…

5. Reflection and Response

Ideally, you’ve been using your road-map and your whole layout not only as you plan, but also as you work on your project. You may find that you need to expand or rework some of these items as you refine your idea. You should also track your progress as you accomplish your goals to help keep you moving forward. When your goal is accomplished, you can even journal a short reflection, or note others’ responses to your project, as a way of reviewing your own work. This is a great way to bookend your project and make sure that you don’t miss recording the results of all your hard work!

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About the Author:

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

Book of Shadows: As the Wheel Turns

May, 2019

May – Blessed Beltane

Blessed Beltane! May your fields be well watered, may you never thirst, and may you never hunger. This time of year, makes me happy as I watch everything coming from the earth in full bloom while love and kindness are awakening from the long winter scowls and slowly turning into deliberate smiles. We are all warming up! Finally. And, along with the warmth returning, the Green Man emerges. The King Stag comes in search of the Maiden. The need fires burn and the flames of passion are fanned. It’s time to sow the seeds we have carefully nurtured during the dark days from Samhain to Yule and planted at Imbolc.

As Beltane approaches, I find myself drawn by the Divine Masculine. I have only one Matron who I venerate, yet the pull toward being thankful for the Divine Masculine has its place in my walk. I chant the masculine chants to pay homage to that Divine Force and I place move my athame to a focal position on my Beltane ritual altar. I seek and strive to find balance, reinforcing my connection to the Divine Masculine and the beauty and the commitment of The Great Rite.

The first week of May, I wanted to convey the spirit of the Divine Masculine and utilize this space to journal every day about the aspects of the Divine Masculine, the Horned God, the King Stag in my everyday life and workings. It was a layout that I challenged myself to complete without influence of others. I did not rely on graphics that I found on the internet. Instead, I carefully birthed the Greenman. He looks here in my first week layout as the Greenman who resides in my heart, the one who beckons me to sow the seeds that I have nurtured.

Of course, May Day/Beltane, really the entire month of May, would not be complete without a dance around the May Pole and the beauty of the fae. Spring and the planting season, to me, are a combination of fun, frivolity, and making merry. The happier I am when my hands are in the soil, the happier the energy I am putting into my crops. Seed work this year has been difficult and this layout is helping me to see that even flowers grow through dirt and “difficulty” is not “impossibility.”

As mid-May approaches, I am drawn toward the growth of the seeds that I have planted, which brings my thoughts to the Great Rite. Love blossoming, seeds being planted, new life emerging. All of these acts of love and commitment are in some form a symbolic “Great Rite.” I utilized washi on the bottom that reads “HELLO” and in my view, the inflection when reading that washi tape is everything! It varies from “HELLOOO?” to “HELLO!” and I’m practicing noticing the smaller details more and more…hoping this makes me use the latter more than the former!

This Spring is a busy one for me, spiritually, as I am doing things that I had previously only dreamed about doing. I am facing the stark reality, in my Crone years, that in this life we have one of two things…we either have results or we have reasons. I am reflecting on a lifetime of reasons and a lot of results. It is not time to put those results into action and have them far outweigh the reasons. This final layout in May is not devoid of graphics because I’m being lazy, rather, it is devoid of graphics because I plan to do that on the last week of every month to utilize this space to pull the energies from the weeks prior into the final week and keep track of my accomplishments. This is the beauty of using a planner as a working BOS, I can change it up to suit my needs.

I wish you all a bountiful harvest!

RESOURCES:

MAMBI® CHP Extension Packs

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

May Cover Page – Repurposed Birthday Card

Miscellaneous Washi tapes: Available at Michael’s and other craft retailers

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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.

Book Review – The Art of Doodle Words by Sarah Alberto

April, 2019

Book Review
The art of Doodle Words
by Sarah Alberto
144 pp.
Race Point Publishing

“The art of Doodle Words” is an inventive, amusing look into a playful art style: Sarah Alberto’s “doodle words” are hand-lettered art pieces which incorporate fun pictorial imagery into the construction of a hand-lettered word or phrase. For example, the word “tools” can be spelled out with different types of tools, or a line of cursive may be incorporated into a larger drawing.

The introduction walks the reader through the basics of creating doodle art (including some suggestions for brain-storming and laying out a specific design), while the first part of the book gives numerous examples of different letter form styles: basic handwriting, a few script examples, bubble letters, block letters, and several other styles to give lots of variety and options to the imaginative artist. Different letter styles are offered side-by-side with numerous examples of phrases rendered in that style.

Part Two of “The art of Doodle Words” contains numerous examples of fully doodled words, each example broken down in a step-by-step process so that the artist can follow along and practice creating them. Many of the examples would make good signage for parties or invitations, and fuel the imagination for more. Creative children may enjoy this book especially, as doodle words can work with any skill level and level of creativity; it could also add playfulness to any journaling or scrap-booking practice. 

This isn’t a book that teaches fancy hand-lettering or calligraphy, but if you’re drawn to learn Alberto’s playful style of typography, you’ll doubtless find many uses for this technique, and have a lot of fun learning and experimenting along the way. “The art of Doodle Words” doesn’t teach anything besides this very specific style, but the style is one that has an infinite capacity for variety and experimentation — certainly a great tool for any hand-lettering or crafting enthusiast!

The art of Doodle Words: Turn Your Everyday Doodles into Cute Hand Lettering! on Amazon

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About the Author:

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

Wreathing the Wheel

March, 2019

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!

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About the Author:

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

Review – Witch Coloring Book: A Coloring Book for Adults Featuring Beautiful Witches, Magical Potions, and Spellbinding Ritual Scenes by Coloring Book Cafe

February, 2019

Review

Witches Coloring Book: A Colorful Book for Adults Featuring Beautiful Witches, Magical Potions, and Spellbinding Ritual Scenes

by Coloring Book Cafe, 2018

I recently received this awesome coloring book to try out & review. It is a book of 24 single sided coloring pages, and it has 2 copies of each picture (48 pics total to color). This is great because if you mess up or if you and a friend want the same picture to color you have a spare! It is 8 by 10 inches so standard size for a coloring book.

The title is Witches and appropriately so. This book is filled with all things witchy themed, cauldrons, cards, black cats, potions, candles, etc. I love it! I am an avid colorist and a witch so this is my favorite kind of coloring book! I only had time to complete 2 pages so far, but I am looking forward to finishing them all!

The paper quality is great and the images themselves are beautifully drawn and printed. I used colored pencils and a little gel pen on mine, but any markers would work with this paper.

This coloring book is available on Amazon for $7.99. I highly recommend this coloring book to anyone that is interested in coloring and also likes witch or occult themed pictures. It would also be fun for anyone around the Halloween season. I have thoroughly enjoyed this book so far! Here are my 2 completed pics I’ve been working on this month. 

I personally know many people who would love this coloring book and if you are into the witchy look or looking for gorgeous pics to add to your grimoire or book of shadows I think you will be very happy with this book. I think I’m going to frame a few and hang them on my wall, that’s how much I love these images!

Thank You to Coloring Book Cafe for sending me a copy to review!

Witch Coloring Book: A Coloring Book for Adults Featuring Beautiful Witches, Magical Potions, and Spellbinding Ritual Scenes on Amazon

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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: https://www.facebook.com/Rethas-Crystals-197411227666484/

Or in her FB group:

https://m.facebook.com/groups/1960619300929876

Her Sage Goddess affiliate link is:

www.sagegoddess.com/ref/84/

Or follow her on Instagram at @spookygirl16

Wreathing the Wheel

February, 2019

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.

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About the Author:

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

Book of Shadows: As the Wheel Turns

January, 2019

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 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 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 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

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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.

WitchCrafting: Crafts for Witches

January, 2019

Magic for Material

Merry meet.

When my body weight was fluctuating, I found myself buying most all my ritual wear at thrift stores and consignment shops. One way I used to make some of the velvet pieces more special to me was to emboss them with magickal symbols.

While many different types of velvet work, those with the most nap give the most striking results. Some velour fabrics work as well.

Rubber stamps are very easy to use. Cork and the large, thin erasers are two other materials you can use. You might experiment with others.

Place the front side of the fabric face down on the shape you wish to imprint on the material. Mist a couple of times with water and, using an iron set to the silk setting, press directly down on top of the shape. Hold it fairly still for about fifteen to twenty seconds. (If possible, use a test strip first.)

Wait a couple of moments and pull back the fabric to see the impression. Areas will still be damp, so let the fabric sit until it dries.

Goddesses, symbols, sigils and words offer abundant options, and embossing them with intention will add magic to your ritual garb, tarot bags and altar cloths.

Merry part. And merry meet again.

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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.

Review of Arin Murphy-Hiscock’s The House Witch

December, 2018

Review of Arin Murphy-Hiscock’s The House Witch

 

 

I received a “review copy” of The House Witch: Your Complete Guide to Creating a Magical Space With Rituals and Spells for Hearth and Home by Arin Murphy-Hiscock just before the Thanksgiving holiday. This handsome book is published by Adams Media, an imprint of Simon and Schuster, and is the twelfth book by Arin Murphy-Hiscock. On Simon and Schuster’s author website for Arin Murphy-Hiscock, you can find all the titles of her other published books. Some were known to me and some were not. Some, like Birds: A Spiritual Field Guide, I had borrowed from my local public library and had on my “to-buy” list. So naturally I was elated to get The House Witch. I immediately cracked it open and wrote my name and the date on the inside cover.

But the demands of the Thanksgiving Holiday – cooking the meal and getting together with family in town for just a few days – meant that I wasn’t able to sit down and give The House Witch a good read. And then I caught my son’s cold. Sick and miserable, I gave up. I took a box of tissues and curled up on the couch under a hand-crocheted afghan for several days in a state of semi-slumber.

When I did finally get back to The House Witch, I was delighted, as I knew I would be. One my very first impressions was, “Gee, I wish there had been books like this back when I was first getting into witchcraft and wicca!” In the 1970’s and 1980’s, there were only a few books out on the subject and most of them – like Starhawk’s The Spiral Dance – were geared toward the large group or the coven but very rarely the solitary practitioner. Not until Scott Cunningham published Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner in 1988 that you started to see more attention paid to the solitary witch. While The House Witch is not specifically written for the solitary witch, it addresses the many concerns of those of us who practice alone – whether we live alone or with other people.

I was born in May, under the sun sign of Taurus, my moon in Pisces, with Cancer rising. Issues of home and health and happiness have always been forefront in my spiritual practice, so it is natural that I would gravitate toward creating and maintaining a beautiful home, even if that home is a tiny apartment in a poverty-stricken neighborhood in a rust-belt city. Because of my wonderful grandmothers, I was always aware of the magic in everyday things but many people – especially those born after, say, 1980 – do not have the benefit of the wisdom of their elders. On page 17, Murphy-Hiscock lists four steps that anyone can learn to “recognize the magic” as she terms it, reminding us to keep things simple and always to focus on what we are doing in the house. These steps are: live in the moment, be aware of your intent, direct your energy properly and focus on an action. Anyone who has studied any kind of meditation, magical instruction or spiritual path will recognize these steps. So just what does all of this have to do with the home and the hearth? Murphy-Hoscock writes,

“Opening yourself to the simplest of tasks and allowing them to inspire you with some insight or wisdom, or even a

moment of peace, illustrates that the Divine can whisper to you in the oddest of unexpected places. Hearthcraft is

about communing with the Divine through everyday tasks, not through complicated formal ritual.” (page 19)

She talks about home as sacred space. One thing she mentions is the removal of shoes in cultures such as Japan and other parts of Southeast Asia; I don’t allow anyone to wear shoes into my apartment and I am always amazed – when I watch TV, for instance – and I see people, not only with their shoes on inside their homes but also on the furniture!

When I was growing up, I always lived in houses that had fireplaces and we usually had a fire most winter evenings, so the idea of a hearth and a hearth fire is not unknown to me – one of our houses actually had a giant hearth built into the wall surrounding the fireplace! But since I have left my parents’ house, I have never lived in a house with a fireplace, much to my great sadness. I consider my hearth to be my kitchen oven or perhaps a meditation candle. However, when I was sick a day ago, I had some split pea soup and freshly baked bread and lay down for a nap. I could feel the warmth of the soup and bread in my belly and it occurred to me that my hearth fire was inside of me.

With this in mind, the “Bank Your Inner Flame” ritual on page 45 makes perfect sense. I had a wonderful warmth inside of me and I needed to be able to hold onto that warmth. It wasn’t just the soup and bread – it was the sense of being safe and secure in my own home. I love the word “smooring” – I love anything Scottish and Gaelic – I added it to my list of cool words and then I copied the “smooring prayer” (page 46) into my personal prayer book.

This book is filled with jewels.

There is a chapter on “The Magic of the Cauldron” in which she talks about how to find and care for a cast-iron cauldron. “Hearth and Home Deities” is just what it sounds like – a chapter of gods and goddesses of the home and hearth. The next chapter is about the kitchen as a sacred space – something that not many people even think about seriously nowadays. If your idea of cooking is opening up a box of prepared food and popping it into the microwave – or even using something like Hamburger Helper – then I would give Chapters 6, 8 and 9 a very close reading. As I already stated, Chapter 6 is about the kitchen as a sacred space. Chapter 8 is “Magic at the Hearth” and Chapter 9 is “The Spirituality of Food”. included!!!!!

Other topics in this fabulous book are “Using Hearthcraft to Protect Your Home”, “Herbs, crafts, and other Hearth-Related Magic Work”, and a chapter of various spells, rituals and blessings. Quite naturally, there is an appendix and a bibliography that have quite a bit of information in them as well.

In the “Postscript”, Arin Murphy-Hiscock writes, “Several times as I was writing this book, my thoughts moved faster than my fingers, and as a result ‘hearth fire’ very often came out as ‘heart fire.’ I wonder, at times, if my subconscious was trying to tell me something.” (page 247). I do not wonder at all. This book most assuredly set my heart on fire. In this rich season of Yuletide joy, when all of us decorate our houses with festive lights and traditional ornaments that may only have meaning to our loved ones alone, The House Witch: Your Complete Guide to Creating a Magical Space With Rituals and Spells for Hearth and Home by Arin Murphy-Hiscock is a book which brings together all the spiritual and happiness that home and hearth can represent. I highly recommend it for anyone on any spiritual path.

References

Murphy-Hiscock, Arin. The House Witch: Your Complete Guide to Creating a Magical Space with Rituals and Spells for Hearth and Home. NY: Adams Media, 2018.

The House Witch: Your Complete Guide to Creating a Magical Space with Rituals and Spells for Hearth and Home on Amazon

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About the Author:

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

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

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

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