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    Art & Mystery

    Inspiration in the Badlands “An artist’s duty is rather to stay open-minded and in a state where he can receive information and inspiration. You always have to be ready for that little artistic Epiphany.” —Nick Cave, Australian musician I’ve just spent the week in the badlands of North Dakota on a work trip to collect Late Cretaceous fossils for a new exhibit at the museum. I didn’t expect to be going on a week long artist date. I found myself surrounded by sculpted buttes striped in orange, brown, cream, and purple. There has been a lot of rain this year, so we can add more green to the palette than…

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    Jade Owl’s Cottage

    Welcome to Jade Owl’s Cottage   Happy Lughnassadh!!! The month of August brings us the 1st of three months of harvesting and putting up what we have spent the spring and early summer planting and fiercely tending. Of course, depending on where you live in the world, you have already started in late June and thru July; however the bulk of it begins now. This month I will start discussing how I harvest, dry, and put up my herbs, flowers, and what veggies I plant. I have a recipe for candies flowers, herbal waters, and a couple of my favorite summer recipes. Of course I will throw in some homey…

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    Book Review: City Magick by Christopher Penczak

      City Magick By Christopher Penczak © 2012 by Christopher Penczak ISBN: 978-1-57863-521-4 283 pages Paperback $19.95 (U.S.)   I was not sure how much I would find of use in this book as I do not live in a city. It was a very pleasant surprise to find information that can be easy adapted to suburban or country living. I have found myself looking at my surroundings in a new way. The author starts with the basics or what he calls the three R’s of magick – reality, rapture and ritual. Each of these concepts is described in detail and exercises to the help each are listed. Some of…

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    Ask Your Mama

    Are you cyclically confused? In a ceremonial quandary? Completely clueless? Wonder no more.                  *Ask Your Mama™                Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Spirituality and Didn’t Know Who to Ask™   A Question of Self Nurturing   Dear Mama Donna, I have been caring for other people for so long that I don’t think I know how to take care of myself. Whenever I think of some self-care rituals, I fly off to some nebulous airy mental space and lose my resolve. I need to be able to root myself in the physical plane and know that I can keep my feet on…

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    Interweavings

    August for our Book of Seasons   We are deep into the heart of summer if you are in the Northern Hemisphere.  August is full, ripe, and ready to harvest!  One of the things I love most about Mother Nature is that you can always count on her to be surprising.  The weather has been a constant conversation and if you grow anything edible the rain or heat or lack of has left its mark.  But now is time to gather and enjoy all of the fullness this season brings.   Affirmation for the month –   I breathe deep the abundance of life.     Each year I re-read…

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    MoonOwl Observations

    Animism   Animism is the probably the earliest religious philosophy employed by our ancestors. It is still practiced today, mainly in Africa and the Americas. The dictionary defines Animism as “the belief that natural objects, natural phenomena, and the universe itself possess souls”. Also, “ the belief that natural objects have souls that may exist apart from their material bodies.   This does not mean that Animists personify the gods with human characteristics, names or myths. It means that everything in nature is ascribed a spirit and an energy.  The Wheel of the Year and the cycles of life are then actually seen as divine in their own right. It…

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    Signposts

    Pagan Communities I met my first Pagan group at a local coffee shop.  After reading books and participating online I realized I was missing something – an in-person community that shared my beliefs.  I wanted to be part of a community that I could learn and grow with. I found the group on meetup.com and went to their next public meeting.  I honestly didn’t know what to expect or what they would be like.  I was extremely nervous.I ended up meeting a wonderful group of welcoming people who were ready to help a new Pagan find his way around.  Since that initial meeting I’ve been to several other meetups with them,…

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    The Mugwort Chronicles

    Oregano (Origanum vulgare)   Outside my patio door stands a huge terra cotta pot brimming over with Greek Oregano. This rugged plant has withstood much neglect over the years, requiring only water, an occasional thinning and repotting, to remain lush and green. Although her growth is somewhat diminished during the winter, she provides enough fresh sprigs during the cold months to season a special meal, although sometimes I need to brush a layer of snow off the pot first! The Oregano that I grow is Origanum vulgare and not its milder cousin, Origanum majorana-Sweet Marjoram- with which it is sometimes confused. Oregano’s genesis is attributed to the Greek Goddess, Aphrodite,…

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    Goddesses of Sorcery

    Diana Queen of the Witches             For those of you reading my last few articles you probably noticed that I am using phrases from the Charge of the Goddess as my inspiration for the topics and the Goddesses. The Charge of the Goddess was written by Doreen Valiente (1)  based on Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches by Charles Godfrey Leyland (2). He claimed that it contained the traditional beliefs of Italian witchcraft as conveyed him in a manuscript provided by a woman named Maddalena, whom he referred to as his “witch informant”.  In Leland’s Gospel, Aradia is portrayed as a Messiah, who was sent to Earth in order…

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    Simple Spells and Rituals

    As far as something simple and effective, I don’t think it gets much simpler than smudging, also known as saging or smoking, a space to rid it of negative energies.  It has been my experience that this is the most well known and most widely used way of smudging. Smudging, or the sacred smoke bowl blessing,  is a powerful cleansing technique started by The Native North Americans which actually dates back millennia.  Most traditional cultures, including the Zulu, and Chinese, for example, have age old rituals for blessing and cleansing.  It is impossible to say for certain when smudging actually began, but early civilation came to know that the smoke…