planning

Book Review – Yoga: 7 Minutes a Day, 7 Days a Week by Gertrud Hirschi

June, 2019

Book Review
Yoga 7 Minutes a Day, 7 Days a Week
A Gentle Daily Practice for Strength, Clarity
and Calm

by Gertrud Hirschi

As a long-time kundalini yoga instructor, I really enjoyed this book. It describes a gentle, wonderful path to a daily yoga practice, something everyone can benefit from.

One of the things I found most enjoyable is the fact that Ms. Hirschi used certain exercises/postures for each day of the week, using the qualities and the energies of each specific day.

Keeping in mind that different practices/traditions have alternate names for each day, the author uses the following:

Sunday is the Day of the Sun
Monday is the Day of the Moon
Tuesday is the Day of Mars
Wednesday is the Day of Jupiter
Friday is the Day of Venus
Saturday is the day of Saturn

Each chapter describes the particular day, what it’s energies are, what it represents, followed by a kriya (exercise set) and meditation, including a daily mantra, or affirmation. While each day has it’s own unique set of exercises separate from the others, they build upon each other for a complete sense of balance within the week.

Ms. Hirschi ends with a chapter on taking this step-by-step approach to your every day life, focusing on planning our days in a very mindful manner, for organization, focus, creativity, analysis, generosity, celebration and spirituality.

All in all, it is a very easy guide to a better you, using yoga as your pathway to more energy, clarity and peace.

Yoga 7 Minutes a Day, 7 Days a Week: A Gentle Daily Practice for Strength, Clarity, and Calm on Amazon

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About the Author:

Susan Morgaine is a Daughter of the Goddess, Witch, Writer, Teacher, Healer, and Yogini. She is a monthly columnist with PaganPages.org Her writings can be found in The Girl God Anthologies, “Whatever Works: Feminists of Faith Speak” and “Jesus, Mohammed and the Goddess”, as well as Mago Publications “She Rises, Volume 2, and “Celebrating Seasons of the Goddess”. She has also been published in Jareeda and SageWoman magazines. She is a Certified Women’s Empowerment Coach/Facilitator through She is the author of “My Name is Isis”, one in the series of the “My Name Is………” children’s books published by The Girl God Publications. A Woman International, founded by Patricia Lynn Reilly. She has long been involved in Goddess Spirituality and Feminism, teaching classes and workshops, including Priestessing Red Tents within MA and RI. She is entering her 20th year teaching Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, being a Certified instructor through the Kundalini Research Institute, as well as being a Reiki Master. She is a member of the Sisterhood of Avalon. She can be found at https://mysticalshores.wordpress.com/ and her email is MysticalShores@gmail.com

My Name is Isis: The Egyptian Goddess on Amazon

Wreathing the Wheel

May, 2019

Beltane, the Maypole, Interweaving

For May, I’d like to talk about Beltane and the processing of weaving. If you’re familiar with the Celtic holiday of Beltane, then you already know that this holiday is often celebrated with a decoration that serves as ritual, dance, entertainment, and more: the Maypole. While the exact symbolism of the Maypole is disputed, it is generally considered to be a magical appeal for fertility, power, and transformative forces coming together. In the Tarot, this process may be symbolized by the Lovers in the Major Arcana, or the Four of Wands in the Minor Arcana: different forces coming together in a celebratory act to create something entirely new.

For the monthly spread for May, I decided to use a simple Maypole theme to help me consider and incorporate this theme into my month. It’s very easy to accomplish a beautiful look with very little effort with this kind of a theme — just pick out your favorite rainbow-colored set of pens, and have fun making curls! But I also wanted to consider the theme of the Maypole and extend it in a more contemplative and spiritual way in my own life. This exercise may seem like an odd one for a bullet journal — especially since bullet journals are usually geared towards organization and lists — but I wanted to explore the idea of interweaving themes of life with the interweaving ribbons of the Maypole. If you’re looking to journal spiritually, you may enjoy doing a similar type of exercise.

While I’m only working part-time, I have a lot going on these days: I do freelance art and design, I write articles for my own blog and PaganPagesOrg, I’m designing a Tarot deck and writing a book to go with it, I’m growing an extensive garden with various types of seeds, I’m making herbal medicine, I’m learning sewing, I’m studying chemistry, I’m cooking lighter, I have a new puppy I’m training… lately it seems that I’m doing a lot of things, but they’re all going in different directions! 

For this theme, I decided to list out a bunch of the different things that I’m trying to accomplish in shorthand: train the new puppy, make sure he gets nails regularly trimmed, bathed; work on my Tarot deck, book, drawing… etc. What your list contains will certainly be unique to you, and there are lots of different ways to organize it, but I decided to use color symbolically in this theme: health concerns are blue, money matters are orange, my gardening goals are green, and so on. Many different types of color associations could be used in this way, and they are all sure to be beautiful! 

This felt like an unusual exercise for me, because it felt like anti-organization to take all the themes in my life and scatter them to the wind in this way. But it also helped me see my own activities in a new way, and I would encourage anyone who wants to see their interweaving lives to give this a try. If nothing else, you might gain a new appreciation for just how much you have on your plate!

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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

February, 2019

Imbolc Planned and Explored

February is the month of Brigid, the hearth fires are tended, the seeds are readied for planting, and spell work done in February focuses on purification, growth, and healing. Loving the self is the theme throughout the month of February; after all, how you love your self will teach everyone in your sphere of influence how to love you. This is a time for kindness to be extended inward. In addition, the energies in February are peek for accepting responsibility for past mistakes and forgiving yourself while you make plans for the future.

This month, I focus on spell crafting and making sigils. A sigil is a combination of symbols that are placed together with intent and are fashioned to become the embodiment of your intention. For instance, I may use the Theban Alphabet (aka the Witch’s Runes) to fashion a Sigil for a spell. If you’re not acquainted with the Theban Alphabet, a quick Google® search will lead you to the alphabet easily enough. Here is an example of a Sigil, the word is “Love” and I used the Theban Alphabet and then placed the letters together to represent how the “love” could represent itself in my spell crafting. Sigils have many uses in magical workings and it is my belief that when I make a sigil, all of my intent and purpose in the spell is crafted into the sigil and it facilitates my workings by manifesting a physical thing that I can see and use as a reminder or a representation of the working. The entire process of me devising my own sigil puts my intention into the sigil and the meaning is carried through the work. Some people use Runes, Theban Alphabet, Zodiac Signs, Sacred Symbols, and a myriad of other representations of their intention. Even a “doodle” can be a sigil; I have used “doodles” in sigil work as well. The beauty of the craft is that it is your own and you must walk the path, therefore, I am neither right nor wrong, I simply am being the best person I know how to be, and I use the craft to facilitate that idea until it becomes my practice.

The month of February is also the month when I plant my seed for the coming harvests which are Lammas (aka Lughnasadh), Mabon, and Samhain. I rarely plant more than one seed per harvest because I do not like to set myself up for failure by taking on too much when I am working on my own personal evolution. Every year, my seed work manifests during the dark times, between Samhain and Yule and, ordinarily, by Yule I would have begun the ascent from the dark days of self-contemplation with a seed virtually budding and ready for planting. This year was a bit different for me. I have reduced my seed work to a short mantra that has volition and purpose and the intention of the seed work is to write it down on a piece of paper, plant it in a pot with a bulb of some sort – usually Amaryllis because they remind me of my mother – and I nurture that seed daily. Nurturing your seed includes lighting a candle every day, watering, and speaking the mantra out loud every day in front of the seed. This not only reinforces your working, but it sets the tone for the rest of your year. Seed work is always internal work, always something for my highest and best good, and sometimes it is painful. The pain is sometimes like that of my youth, when my long bones ached, and my mother would tell me that someday I would be big and strong and able to do things that I cannot do as a child. I remind myself of that in the midst of any pain that seed work can deliver. I plant the seed on Imbolc (aka Candlemas), February 2, and I tend it daily.

The Goddess Brigid is a focal Deity for me during the month of February, She tends the hearth fires, and Her aspects encompass healing, poetry, and smith crafting. I usually start to play with making chain mail pieces during the month of February, an homage to Brigid’s forge, this year is a pentacle keychain made from chain mail. Of course, February also celebrates the Chinese New Year, with 2019 being “The Year of the Pig” and there may be messages meant for us to receive from Pig this month. They are extremely intelligent animals and have quirky qualities about them, it’s worth a look into them if you’re one of the people who looks for messages from the animal world

February also celebrates Valentine’s Day, and Brigid shares aspects of healing, childbirth, and unity with this celebration. Perhaps you have experienced a broken heart, Brigid can help to soothe that pain and ease the immediate shock of loss, while other aspects of this Goddess also serve to help is with new relationships and the flames of love that most tend to fan during this celebration. For pregnant Pagans, Brigid is often sought to lend Her energies to mother’s during birth. There is no union more sacred than that of a mother and newborn child

As the light begins to return, the darkness begins to wane and we have planted our seeds and February marks the time of year when tending to seed work is important not only in terms of personal growth, but also in how deeply we plant our seed so that the roots take hold and we experience positive, permanent change for the greater good; not only for ourselves, but for the world in which we interact. On the 19th of February we experience a Full Moon in Virgo and with this super full moon comes energies that are prime for completing tasks, putting order into your world, settling chaos, and maybe even trying to grasp a deeper understanding that we live in an imperfect world and must strive for balance during this time.

As Brigid’s month comes to a close, we must be mindful of tending the seeds that we have planted so that our harvest is well tended, our fields well-watered, and that we take the time, on a daily basis, to check in with our spiritual wellness, physical presence, and emotional stability. February is not just a month of exchanging cards and chocolates with our lovers. February is a month of self-awareness and love of the self. Be kind to yourself. Treat yourself well. Remember, how you love and treat yourself teaches those around you how to love and treat you. So be kind to yourself.

As a Pagan and a Witch who works in a professional setting, I carry my working Book of Shadows with me to work and everywhere else that I go. I am often referring to it throughout the busy work day or it may even be open on my desk for quick reference. Sometimes, people carry with them a certain vibe or they become negative or speak in a negative manner. When this happens in front of me, I like to dispel the negative energy as quickly as I am able. Because I am out and about and not in my home, I cannot smudge in my office, I cannot use my bell to dispense the negativity, nor would it be professional to cleanse the area with dance and fire. However, I have found an answer to all of the negativity that could potentially linger and that is by placing themed shaker cards in my working Book of Shadows. They are beautiful, easy to keep accessible, and they work like a dream! All I do is remove the shaker card from my working Book of Shadows, take a long look at the beauty in my hands, center myself, and give that shaker card a few shakes and before the last bit of glitter settles…calm and peace is restored. My shaker cards are commissioned by my friend, Suzy Meza, and she makes these fantastic cards to order. As I will do with each and every month, the resources, shop and group links can be found at the end of the article.

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 Meza:

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

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

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

February 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.

Wreathing the Wheel

January, 2019

Tarot Journaling at the New Year

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

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

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

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

January Spread

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

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

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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

In the Words of Mama Bear

January, 2016

What Goes on in Putting Together a Pagan Festival

Mama Bear hopes you all had a wonderful Yule. Now that everything has settled down, with the holiday season, I hope you’re enjoying a calm, restful time of the year.

Most people I know enjoy the winter months as a time for drawing inward, introspection, and self-work. Not this Mama Bear! Between classes and festival preparation, it seems as if every day is a new and magical adventure! Someone asked me what it takes to put on a pagan festival, so…

What goes on in producing a Pagan festival: time, money, blood, sweat, tears and a lot of coffee. (Hail Caffinea!) That is what goes into the production of a Pagan festival. Whether it’s a weekend intensive, a 2 week festival, a 4 day festival or your local Pagan Pride Day or Pagan Picnic, it’s an epic ton of work.

I’d try to dive into a breakdown, but like the elements of a spell, everything is interconnected. So, bear with me as I explain things to you from the heart and mind of an organizer. I also present this like I’m trying to teach you the basics, because that is just the way I explain things.

Organizing and actually putting on a festival.

A year or so before, you sit down and hammer out a budget. You need to account for everything from toilet paper, to airline tickets for speakers. Believe it or not, speakers and bands actually want to be paid for coming out to entertain people. This is how some of them make their living. Would you work at a job that didn’t pay you? No? Good. These people have bills to pay, food to put on the table and things like house payments. So they have to be paid. Travel expenses, lodging and meals for your speakers and bands must be paid for as well. In my experience, none of these expenses are arbitrary.

Then there’s insurance. You’d best have event insurance. From everything from natural disaster to stupid human tricks, if it can happen, it will happen. Insurance will give you peace of mind, but it does come at a price, and generally runs into several hundred if not thousands of dollars, dependent upon your event.

Venue Rental. Unless you are very lucky and own a property free and clear, you will incur a venue rental fee. That can be anywhere from a few thousand dollars to upwards of $25,000. Having written a couple of checks for one venue for around that amount, I can tell you, it’s not a far-fetched number. For instance, for a festival of 200 people, that comes out to $125 PER PERSON. Not per adult. But per infant, child, teenager, and adult. That does not include speakers and bands whose admission festivals are absorbed into the costs by the festival.

Then there’s everything else. Toilet paper, lightbulbs, supplies for ritual, supplies for children’s activities, shelters for this that and the other, portapotties if your venue needs them, ice supplies if you need them, shower trailers or portable showers, first aid kits, postage (pre festival need), website (pre festival need) program printing, sign printing, the list can go on and on. But, you need to set a budget to cover all of it. You estimate your cost at $10,000. (Trust me this number is low. I’ve worked on a festival a few years back with a budget of over $80,000) Then you estimate how many people will want to come to your festival. (After all you are putting on the best festival EVER! Why wouldn’t they want to come?) You estimate that 500 people will want to come to your festival. Well divide that in half. (I’ll explain more on that in a minute, hang in there with me.) So 250. Then divide $10,000 by 250. That equals $40 per human being on site regardless of age.

I told you I’d get back to you on something yes? That divide it in half? 250. You NEED 250 PAID IN FULL REGISTRATIONS to make your budget. That does not include speakers, bands, your festival staff or children. So you tier festival pricing to cover your speakers and bands, and because you like children, you tier the pricing for children. So, $40 per person, $20 for children….WAIT! And here’s where it can go downhill quickly. Some people don’t want to pay anything to bring their children. Even their 17 year old, consumes like a grown up, children.

Now you get to go play with math. Or, you can adjust your figures by drawing on the experiences of others. Whatever you do, make sure that what you’re charging is going to cover your budget and also give you a little wiggle room, because again, Murphy’s law. But wait, there’s more.

You’re going to get people who feel entitled to come to your festival without paying. For a myriad of reasons, whether it be their status in the community, the ownership of a large pagan store, or the fact that they believe all pagan festivals should be free, they are seriously not going to want to pay. When you politely but firmly tell them that there are no free tickets to your event they will get huffy, defensive, and not come to your festival, and will also run it down to others every chance that they can. Stick to your guns. You don’t want to pay out of your own personal pocket for them to come do you? Then stick to the admission fee. For everyone.

To add to the time factor, you must make rules for your event, and STICK TO THEM. This brings in both time and tears, lots of coffee and sometimes, even a little blood. Making rules is never easy, nor is it pretty. People get offended for rules designed to keep all event attendees safe, and to ensure the safety of the venue.

That’s where your first and basic set of rules comes from. The Venue. Those rules are out of your control. List them out first. Sometimes, they are all that you need. Other times, you need to create and enforce rules based on past experiences, voiced concerns from your staff and co-coordinators, or based on things you’ve seen done wrong elsewhere.

Two of the biggest rule issues I’ve seen are over nudity and alcohol. Huge controversies that have people up in arms because they want to be drunk and naked. They use the phrase “All acts of love and pleasure are my rituals” to excuse behavior better suited, frankly, to a frat party. There are huge issues that come up when allowing alcohol at events. They shouldn’t but they do. Everything from people with alcohol poisoning, to minors with alcohol. It’s more hassle than it’s worth. Do you want to be responsible personally for those sorts of situations? Think about it carefully.

Same goes for nudity. Most pagans are fine with keeping their clothes on. We live and work in a society that deems it necessary. However, you will get people who argue with you that they should be given special permission since their path demands it. Here’s the deal, not everyone is comfortable with nudity. Some venues do not allow it. Then, there’s always that one person who tends to creep on others who are nude. They take nudity as consent. From anyone. Regardless of age. What’s right? What’s wrong? Your best bet as an organizer, IMHO, is to not allow nudity. Again, is that something you want to be personally responsible for?

By this time you’re well past the “thinking about planning stage and are well into the planning stage, there’s so much more that goes on in this stage. The biggest one being sweat.

Let’s talk about sweat. You’re going to sweat. Whether you’re hauling wood for the fires, helping in the kitchen, or merely trying to negotiate things with people, you are going to perspire. Your brain is going to hurt. You’re going to bleed. Wait, I said I’d get back to that bleeding part didn’t I? Let’s talk about the blood, because we all know about sweat equity. Blood is infinitely more interesting.

You are going to bleed. Keep a first aid kit handy. I’m not saying this to scare you, but I know from experience, that unless you’re wrapped in bubble wrap, you will bleed. Paper cuts, cats doing burn outs on your leg while you’re updating the website, walking into a door frame because you’re reading where the most awesome people on the planet are coming to your festival, or banging your shin on a chainsaw blade, catching your chin on a car door….there will be blood. Take it in stride. However, you’re going to want to also make sure that you have the same supplies on hand to help out your attendees. Make it a dedicated medical team. Seriously. Those people are going to save you a lot of headache. Take care of them.

Speaking of taking care of people, let’s talk about more of the time aspect.

Take care of your meals provider. That team is going to keep you fed, and go above and beyond for you and all of your attendees. They’re also saving you time, money and headache by taking on a sometimes thankless task. They are invaluable. Invest in them as much as you can. Give your time to promote their meal plan, and them as people too.

Take care of your merchants as well. They put in a lot of hard work doing what they do, and they bring something unique to your event. In fact they bring things to people who might not have access to magical items otherwise. Treat them well and they’ll sing your praises far and wide. Give them the time to promote them and encourage people to “shop locally”.

Take care of everyone who waltzes through the gates of your festival. If they are there, it’s up to you to make sure they feel valued, welcomed and safe.

Invest some time into researching what needs to be done to put on a festival. Go buy Tish Owens’ book “Chasing the Rainbow” and READ IT CAREFULLY. There are myriads of reasons that Tish is my hero, and this book covers them all.