The Sober Pagan

March, 2019

Packing Up To Move

still only February as I write this but in ten days it’ll be the
first Monday of March and I will be moving into a new apartment. I
am so excited but I have to admit that I am just a bit overwhelmed!
I have all of my books packed and most of my fine china and
collectibles. I still have to pack up my kitchen – except for what
I’ll need on a daily basis until moving day. And all my pictures
will have to come off the walls here. There were lots of holes
punched in the walls in this place I’m in now – the people who
lived here before me argued a lot and apparently like to throw things
at each other – so I covered the walls with dozens of pictures to
cover up all the holes and marks from their stupidity. I’ll miss
my collage but the new place is really nice and I won’t need to
cover the walls at all. They all have a coat of fresh paint – a
lovely peach color in the bedrooms and off-white in the living room
and dining room. The place is spotlessly clean.

a huge front porch and I can hardly wait to put a porch garden up
there. I want tomatoes and peppers and cukes and lots of colorful
flowers. I have missed gardening these last few years – stuck in
apartments with no porch, not even a small balcony – so I am more
than ready to get my hands in some dirt! I am so glad I held onto my
gardening tools.

last two years I have been about as depressed as I have ever been but
I have hung in there and told myself over and over, “This too shall
pass” – and it did. I am finally moving out of this
dead-end neighborhood – moving to a far nicer section of the city –
moving to a bigger, lovelier apartment – closer to everything that
I need in my life. I am so thankful and happy.

I know this is a lame column this month but I am wicked busy! I just
wanted to stop in and tell you all – if you are struggling, if you
think it’s not worth it – HANG IN THERE. It gets better. It
really does.

Brightest Blessings, Polly Applequeen.


the Author:

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.

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

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

Book Review of Pastel Spells by Rose Orriculum

November, 2018

Book Review

Pastel Spells

by Rose Orriculum



Taken from the back cover “Pastel Spells is a pocket spell book filled with a variety of spells for witches of all levels of experience, from beginners to long-time practitioners.” That statement really sums up Pastel Spells so well.

This is one of my favorite spell books to date. It doesn’t focus on any certain type of spells and even includes curses. Some of the of the spells are romantic, sexual, anti-love, platonic love/friendship, help with relationships, sour relationships, self-love, self-care/habits, self-care/emotional, healing, and, as I mentioned, curses. There is also a few spells on gender and some on orientation. I felt these spells were something very unique that I had not seen in other books.

I have personally tried some of these spells and I am in love with them. I tried the Stuffed Animal Sleep Spell for my son. He loves his new stuffed animal and now will not sleep anywhere without it.

I have also been using the Restarting Spell at the end of each month. I feel this spell is a great way to end the month and get ready for the new one.

Rose Orriculum has such a way with words and spells. I enjoy her work and cannot wait to see what else she comes up with. To learn more about her, check out my interview with her in this issue!

Pastel Spells on Amazon

The Ancestors Walk in The Footsteps of the Living

November, 2018

For today a reminder that we will be Ancestors for a much longer “time” (Outside Time) than our lifespan on Earth. Perhaps life on earth is a training for becoming a wise or compassionate ancestor? Let’s make personal and global decisions that we can be proud of once we join our Ancestors!

Some tribal peoples (especially in Siberia) believed that the Ancestors literally walk in the footsteps of the living, in an “upside down realm”. If this is so – our every footstep affects them and pulls on them…. just as they in turn can influence every move we make (if we let them).

As I am publishing a book about Sacred art soon I might try to reinstate the Painting of the Day posts on Facebook (for the days I can manage this anyway).


My new book can now be pre-ordered on Amazon:

Sacred art: A Hollow Bone for Spirit (Where art Meets Shamanism)


About the Author:

Imelda Almqvist is an international teacher of shamanism and sacred art. Her book Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit For Life (Using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages) was published by Moon Books in 2016 and her second book Sacred art: A Hollow Bone for Spirit (Where art Meets Shamanism) will be published in March 2019.  She was a presenter on the Shamanism Global Summit in both 2016 and 2017 and is a presenter on Year of Ceremony with Sounds True. She divides her time between the UK, Sweden and the US. She is currently in the editing stages of her third book “Medicine of the Imagination” and has started her fourth book “Evolving Gods: The Sacred Marriage of Tradition and Innovation”  (website)  (blog)

(YouTube channel: interviews, presentations and art videos)

Natural Born Shamans – A Spiritual Toolkit for Life: Using Shamanism Creatively with Young People of All Ages on Amazon


Book Review – The Modern Witchcraft Book of Natural Magick: Your Guide to Crafting Charms, Rituals & Spells from the Natural World by Judy Ann Nock

September, 2018

Book Review

The Modern Witchcraft Book of Natural Magick: Your Guide to Crafting Charms, Rituals & Spells from the Natural World”

by Judy Ann Nock

Published by Adams Media, an imprint of Simon & Schuster

Copyright June 2018

Pages: 240

This book is not intended to be another Wicca 101 book; rather think of it more along the lines of Witchcraft 3.0,” Wiccan High Priestess Judy Ann Nock wrote in her introduction.

Each of Its eleven chapters delves into a realm of nature magick including seed, air, sun and fire, the moon, Gaia, time and the cosmos.

The Realm of Water covers Wells of Emotion, Rivers and Oceans. Its 15 pages offer an introduction to water, a meditation, instructions for a ritual bath, a blessing spell and a spell for prosperity, along with directions for making herbal tinctures and an aromatherapy spray. All involve water in some way.

In Magic Takes Root: The Woodland Realm, Nock writes about nature being a powerful healer and the importance of staying connected to it, saying, “A simple ritual of walking in the woods, meditating outside of a building, or taking part in the currently popular trend of ‘forest bathing’ can calm the mind and bring about a state of peace.”

She offers a centering meditation done sitting at the base of a tree, and a ritual for creating a personal tree oracle – not to tell fortunes, but as a tool to “communicate with the elements of natural magic.” The ritual, the lore and the charm all work with the sacredness of trees, with reminders of our connectedness to the seasons and rhythms of the Mother, and our responsibility to be stewards of the earth.

Readers will be inspired to draw on the powers found in nature when doing magick, thanks to the variety of meditations, rituals, spells and charms. There’s a recipe for consecrated crescent cakes to have for the ritual of calling down the moon, a solar charm for strength, and instructions for preparing a candle for magick.

Some tables are scattered throughout the book with such information as healing herbs, planetary correspondences and spirit animals.

As promised, this book can help deepen a connection to natural magick and offer inspiration beyond the basics. While it wouldn’t be in my top 10 list of favorite magic books, it would make a useful addition the collection of an intermediate practitioner.

Nock is the founder of a goddess spirituality group and the author of “A Witch’s Grimoire.” She lives in New York City.

The Modern Witchcraft Book of Natural Magick: Your Guide to Crafting Charms, Rituals, and Spells from the Natural World



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.


Spiralled Edges

June, 2016

Spiralled Edge: Setting Time Aside for Ritual

Rituals are a part of our daily lives. They are the traditions that bind us together as a people and that bring a semblance of order to what may otherwise be a chaotic life. So why is it so difficult to make time to actually do rituals?

Every once in a while, I start getting an urge to make time for ritual in my daily life. There is the part of me inside that tells me, “You’re not being authentic in your spiritual and religious life if you don’t include ‘real’ rituals.” By real ritual, I mean clearing a space, doing a full ceremony with all the bells, smells, and candles.

I’ve looked for inspiration in books that try to present ideas for a daily Pagan ritual practice or inspirational reading. None have really been workable that I have come across. They seem to be set up for people who don’t have children or a busy life, or people who are already working within a group that can provide a level of group support.




Get up a half hour or an hour earlier these books say. Well, I already get up between 5:30 and 6 each day. No, I’m not sacrificing an hour of needed sleep when I know already that I don’t get enough sleep most nights.

Doing a daily spiritual practice is infinitely easier when you don’t have a daily secular life. This is why the medieval churches had hermits and anchorites, and other religions have their holy men and women who live apart from the world. They locked themselves away from the secular world so that they could devote their lives to spiritual practices.

When I accepted the mantle as Priestess of The Cailleach recently, I was beset by a panic that in order to be “authentic” as Her priestess I would have to do some sort of daily devotional work for her, and I needed to learn how to do it the right way from so. Slowly though, She is reining me in, and showing me that I don’t need to learn from others how to be Her priestess, because that is what I have been doing over the past 25 years. I just didn’t know it at the time.

My daily rituals of devotion are in the tiny acts that I do each day. My morning cup of tea, observing the changing seasons over the year, noticing the fox beside the pavement as I walk. The Cailleach is not a Deity who wants pretty smells, fancy incense or candles. She is a primal Goddess of craggy hills and overgrown dirt paths through wood-filled lands. Her rituals can’t be done sitting in comfort in an artificially heated or cooled room. Her rituals are the quiet minutes spent walking through a nature preserve, only stopping to sit in quiet contemplation on a fallen branch or dusty rock. Nothing left behind put perhaps a footprint in the dirt.

The secret I have been learning is not to try to carve out time for more and longer ritual, but to find the ritual in the simple every day acts I am already doing. Making my bed is my time to give thanks for a safe place to sleep through the night. Brushing my teeth a time to honour the water coming through the tap. Just because this is water piped in does not make it any less sacred.

Each of the elements in turn present themselves to me over the course of a day in one way or another. They do not need to be set up on an altar for me to honour their place and importance in my life. Likewise, the Gods are always present. They are especially fond of engaging me in conversation when I am driving, something I don’t encourage if I am trying to concentrate.

I would still like to find a way of incorporating a time of quiet contemplation into my life, but not on a daily basis. I don’t life on a mountain in a cave. I’m not dwelling in a single room cut off from the trappings of the secular world. I am a single mother of two teenagers, I interact with the world every day all day in one way or another, and sometimes sleep or spending time just talking to my kids with no distractions is more important than contemplating the fuzz in my belly button.

While my spiritual practices are in a constant state of revision and change, right now I am learning to understand and accept that however I am doing it, I’m doing it the right way for me.

Image of footprints in the sand in the public domain.


Paranormal Path

June, 2013

Only A Matter of Time

The concept of time has always been an intriguing topic. Humans have always tried to find a way to manipulate it, reverse it or fast forward it, just to relive, or forget certain experiences. Sometimes the clock reveals so much more than just the time of day or evening.

There are so many superstitions surrounding time. Its 11:11 make a wish, or how many stories do we remember where something magical or terrifying was going to happen right at midnight also known as the witching hour.

Great pieces of literature such as The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Macbeth mention The Witching hour. Usually this is the time between midnight and 3 A.M. We know that at least since the time of Shakespeare the belief that the presence of ghosts and demons is greatest around this time. Possibly due to the fact that many people fear the dark and only those with ill intent were believed to roam the streets at these late hours. 3 A.M is also known as the Devil’s Hour comparing it to the time Jesus was crucified, though it is actually thought to be at 3 P.M. The number 3 also has significance to Christians because of the holy trinity. We could go on and on with the numerology involved in these theories.

What about those that feel they see 11:11 everywhere? Whenever you decide to look at the clock there it is, or whenever you have a startling realization 11:11 appears somewhere. There is actually a very interesting theory some have behind these occurrences. There is an entire network of people who consider themselves “Light workers” people who hold extra energy to raise the frequencies of love and unity for this planet. Those that see 11:11 continuously are believed to be the “Light workers” themselves. This is thought to be a reminder that they are an “Angel on Earth”.

Now what about the truly creepy clock occurrences’? How many people feel that they wake up at the exact same time every night? You fall fast asleep, but suddenly you wake up, look at the clock and it’s at the same exact time as the last few nights this has happened. The most common theory behind this is a spirit is visiting you around this hour. Our bodies are designed to pick up the slightest changes in our environment, even in our sleep. Spirits change the electromagnetic field that surrounds us and we can sense that. Others will tell you it has to do with our own internal clock and how lights, televisions and computers affect our sleep patterns but I prefer the spookier explanation.

Spirit visitation and time of day often coincide. In some cases of residual haunting the time someone passed can play a great role. The clock may stop at that time and just quit working overall and in some cases people have even witnessed clocks begin to go backwards. Another example would be if someone liked to sit in their favorite chair and smoke a cigar every evening at 5 P.M, when that person passes on the family may still smell cigar smoke in the house at 5 P.M on certain evenings.

Finally, think of how many horror movies have used the creepy sound of the old Grandfather Clock chiming away. These clocks have always held a certain dark mystery behind them, the pendulum swinging away, reminding you of each second of your life passing, the loud strikes of each hour, ringing, giving you a shiver. These clocks hold so much within them, the energy of the person who built it, the wood used, the mechanisms carefully placed by caring steady hands. Some feel these clocks have their own personalities. There are countless stories of the pendulum suddenly stopping at the time of someone’s death and it won’t work again until the anniversary of their passing comes around. Reminds me of the Twilight Zone episode when the elderly man believed he would die the moment his clock stopped working.

Time, does it matter, is it endless, does it really heal all? Scientists and spiritualists alike have studied it and still cannot master it, even the spirit world is obsessed with the concept of time lost, those minutes, hours, days, months and years we can never have back. Make the most of it, is all I can say.