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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!

***

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!

***

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

***

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

***

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!

***

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

***

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
[email protected]
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.

***

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 Books of Shadows should not cause anyone to question
keeping a Book of Shadows. As with any other reference material, a
Book of Shadows can be an invaluable tool in any practice, whether it
is your craft or your spiritual walk. My working Book of Shadows is a
vital part of my Pagan path and my practice as a Witch.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RESOURCES:

MAMBI®
CHP Extension Packs:

https://www.meandmybigideas.com

CHP
Custom Cover & Foiled Pentacle Stickers by Claire McNamee:

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

Custom
Shaker Cards by Suzy Mesa:

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

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

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

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

Available
at Michael’s and other craft retailers

***

About
the Author:

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

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.

***

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”. Recipes 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

***

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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