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Book of Shadows: As the Wheel Turns

March, 2019

Ostara – New Beginnings

My March divider is a reminder to myself to “Never Lose Your Sparkle” and I made every effort to bling the reminder as hard as I could because sometimes the mundane aspects of living actually dull my shine. It is my belief that every time I get out of bed, I am presented with the opportunity to shine; to potentially be the light that someone else sees and reflects in their own lives. Kindness is free, presenting someone with a smile is free and in March, I intend to be deliberate in passing along a lot of free smiles and kindness. I am also trying something new in my working Book of Shadows. I am trying a new dashboard idea that my friend Suzy Mesa made for me. I am using a wet erase marker on the back for reminders that I do not necessarily have to do today but need to be done in relatively short order. The dash board moves with my weeks and can be erased. But she is too cute, and I needed to share this with you!

Of course, there are always the weekly inserts for my Tarot Tracking, and each coordinate with the respective weekly layout.

March ushers in the first day of Spring, the Spring Equinox, or Ostara (whichever you celebrate) on the 20th of the month. This is a time for new beginnings, a time for fresh starts, to nourish the seeds that we planted on Imbolc. My seed has begun to emerge from the bulb, a small and happy little green sprout peeking up from the tightly closed bulb; nevertheless, there is life emerging and a healthy seed is one that is well-tended, well-watered, and well fertilized.

As a daily reminder, I speak my seed work to the bulb, I repeat it three times, and I work hard at manifesting the seed into a sprout that will eventually become a stalk, then a leaf, and, with hard work and dedication, it will produce a healthy and plump bud that will burst open with intention and volition. Spring will begin the work of manifesting the seed into the healthy harvest that I hope to bring this year. Completion. That is the work at hand for me.

Ostara also marks the day when most everything is perfectly balanced. The Spring Equinox brings balance to night and day. Darkness and Light are equal. Balance is present. The seeds are beginning to rise up from the soil, and the hopes planted at Imbolc are becoming realities. The animals are beginning to stir in their dens and readying themselves for mating. In Celtic tradition, one of the symbols of Ostara is the Hare, which is sacred to many lunar Goddesses such as Hekate, Freyja, and Holda; however, the Goddess most associated with the Hare is Eostre, the Goddess of Spring.

Another
of the symbols for Ostara are eggs. The egg represents promises and
new life, as well as fertility. In some traditions, the egg is
symbolic of balance as well. In those traditions, it is believed
that all of the energies such as male and female; God and Goddess;
and light and dark, manifest as balance in the egg as the yolk and
the white. The Sun God, represented by the yolk, is in balance with
Maiden Goddess, the white of the egg.

There
is a very special tale about the Goddess and the Hare and how the egg
became a sacred item during Ostara. It goes something like this…

The Goddess was coming to the forest to visit the animals. The were all very excited for Her visit. They decided to throw Her a party and to bring Her gifts as a show of their love and respect.

(Luna Dashboard and Custom Shaker Cards by Suzy Meza.)

During the preparations for the party, the animals were excitedly running around, gathering gifts. As in any other society, there are animals who are better off than some and had greater and more opulent treasures to offer to the Goddess. The Hare seemed very excited to see the Goddess, but he knew he had nothing to offer. He hopped to his den and he looked around, but after a very harsh and cold winter, he had used all of his food sources and had nothing to offer Her. Until, that is, he noticed that he had one egg left in his den. He took that egg and he shined it and then he set about decorating that egg the best way that he knew how. He poured his heart and soul into making that egg as beautiful as he could. When it came time for the party, Hare quietly watched as the other animals approached the Goddess and laid beautiful treasures at Her feet. Hare became nervous that his egg was not going to win favor with the Goddess because it was simple, but it was all that he had, and he made it everything that he could with his decorations.

(Luna Dashboard and Custom Shaker Cards by Suzy Meza.)

So, after all of the other animals had gifted the Goddess with their opulent treasures, Hare quietly hopped forth and laid his beautiful egg at the feet of the Goddess. When the Goddess saw the egg at Her feet, She recognized Hare above all of the other animals in the forest, for they had given the Goddess only what they wanted, but Hare had given Her all that he had.

All
of the animals in the forest are special to the Goddess, but none are
more favored during Ostara than the Hare. In our lives, when we give
of ourselves, in service to our Deities, we should be mindful to give
all that we have in order to manifest in our lives those things that
are in our highest and best good. As with anything else in life, we
must work toward manifesting what we want in our lives by focusing on
things such as light and kindness and, whenever possible, we should
emulate Hare in every aspect of our lives as we strive to find the
balance in our own world.

RESOURCES:

MAMBI® CHP Extension Packs

Luna Dashboard and Custom Shaker Cards by Suzy Meza.

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

March
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.

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

***

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 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.