Monthly Archives: August 2011

Good Night Irene – I wish!

Let me say straight out that I suck at weather magic. I know why, too. I’m always worried about the consequences elsewhere if I try to change what’s happening in my teensy corner of the world. We need rain but there might be someone that needs it more. Or maybe in times of excess rain if I were to work for less precipitation, it would go to someone that’s already experiencing flooding. Mostly I worry about farmers. That concern deranges my focus and without that, spells don’t work. So, I just deal with whatever Ma Nature hands me.

Even if I were a wiz at weather magic, I know little ol’ me isn’t going to be able to do a damned thing to change the path of a hurricane. Ma Nature generates a lot more energy than I ever could! Much as I’d love to give Irene a nudge further east, she wouldn’t even feel my little poke.

What I can do, however, is send as much protective energy as I can to my friends and family in the storm’s path.  While there are dozens of herbs one can use for protection, I’ll use Garlic in my spell and my explanation of why should give you some indication of how you can decide which herb(s) to use in a given situation:

Lore has it that Garlic deters Vampires. Although sanguinary (blood-loving) Vamps are rare, energy Vamps are everywhere. A storm is all energy.  (This is convoluted thinking, I know, but it works for me.) Garlic is also a nervine, meaning it’s calming.

When thinking about which herb(s) to use in your spells, in addition to just checking to see what you’ve got in stock and checking the traditional magical uses, think about the lore attached to the herb; and look at the medicinal therapeutic qualities to extrapolate a magical use.

I will use Garlic and my will to deflect that energy from my loved ones and keep things around them ‘calm’. Sure, that energy has to go somewhere – maybe to their neighbors. In this case, I’m selfish and my focus will be strong: as long as my loved ones are OK, I don’t really care where it goes.

I’m off to do some conjuring. If you’re a witch and you have loved ones near mine, you might want to do the same.

 

Witch Hunt – A Review

I have a habit of reading “munchable” books in the evening (baseball on in the background, naturally). I read a lot of serious stuff during the day and prefer to be entertained rather than educated at night.

Our purchase of Kindles earlier this year turned book-buying into instant gratification. I read a glowing review last week (and I do wish I could find it to give the author credit) of Witch Hunt by Devin O’ Branagan. I was out of new, light reading so thought I’d give it a try. The edition I read was updated from her first one, to make it more modern. I fell in love.

Without giving away too many details, she creates a modern-day Salem atmosphere in a small town in Colorado. Flashbacks to earlier times (including Salem Village) are vividly portrayed and give you a sense of why the modern family is the way they are.

I live in the Bible Belt and although we don’t have any televangelists nearby, the characters she portrayed made me just a little nervous about being out of the broom closet.

Admittedly, a lot of the magic described is fantasy or at least highly-exaggerated but then again, what we witches do on a regular basis wouldn’t make for much page-turning.

I read fast and got through it in an evening. I’d highly recommend this.

Advance Apologies

I”m going to take a break from writing a weekly blog. I know, I know, the pundits say to get and keep your name in front of the public, you need to have a post on a regular basis. But frankly, although I’m accustomed to juggling several things at once, I’m swamped:

  • My accounting clients are, as usual, wanting everything yesterday. I swear, a couple of them are as ditzy as a stereotypical blond.
  • I’m in the final throes of getting A Green Witch’s Formulary out. Only one last step (waiting on the printer) and I’ll be able to tell you it’s a “go”.
  • This story has me by the figurative balls. Or, as a friend of mine says, the muse is on. The characters and their lives are in my head nearly every waking moment, wanting to be put down on paper (well, hard drive). Thankfully I’m semi-retired from the j-o-b world and can write during the day as well as in the evening. Otherwise, I doubt I’d get a lot of sleep – they’re rather insistent. (If you’re good, maybe I’ll even give you a peek at the next chapter when I’m happy with it.)
  • At some point, I need to start sewing my costume for the New Orleans Witches’ Ball. Of course, I need to purchase the fabric, first. (Closest fabric store: 1.5 hour drive one way.) Then I need to figure out how to sew delicate fabric with two rambunctious kittens in the house and no door to shut them out of my sewing room …
  • And of course, there’s Mom. No discussion of my time usage would be complete without mentioning her. She doesn’t get ‘working’ or ‘schedules’ anymore and I occasionally have to drop everything and head over to her place for something which, to me, is nonsensical but very important to her.

So, if I find something interesting to say, I’ll blog about it but it won’t be every Thursday as it’s been for the last couple of years. Don’t delete me from your reader subscription list, huh?

On Snail Mail …

In today’s age of nearly-instant communication, the art of letter writing seems to have vanished. Mostly.

My long-time friend’s computer crashed and, due to the economy, they don’t have the money to either get it fixed or purchase a new one. How did I find this out? I got a letter in the mail.

As I read her newsy letter, I realized how much I actually missed getting something other than bills and adverts in the mail. For all her years, she still puts goofy stickers on the envelopes. Does your electric company put anything on their envelope to bring a smile to your face? I thought not.

I spent a few pleasant minutes with my cup of tea and her letter (deciphering her handwriting for the first time in many years) and another half-hour or so composing a reply that was thought-out, not dashed-off as we usually do with email.

Prior to putting the paper in the envelope, though, I took the letter down to my workspace and with a few essential oils, some words and a lot of intent, enclosed a spell to reinforce the thoughts I’d put on paper.

Yes, you can accomplish the same thing with email. Hand-write your message on a piece of paper. Transcribe what you’ve written into your email message. (Or you can type in your word processor and do a copy-paste, but I like handwriting things better.) Anoint the paper as you do your spell; then burn burn the paper and place the ashes in a crystal bowl. Focus your intent on those ashes as you hit ‘send’. Then dispose of the ashes by either allowing the wind to carry them or in running water of some sort. It works.

But I’m just old-fashioned. She won’t realize the lovely scent that wafts out of the envelope is a spell. I happen to know she’ll like how it smells and bring her as much pleasure as the words I put to paper.

I could easily get back to using snail mail.

Opinions, Please …

A couple of months ago, I wrote a blog post about changes in my life and mentioned that I was turning my writing attention toward fiction. If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you’ll remember that a couple of weeks ago, I had an idea for a short story that my husband decided was the beginnings of a novel. I switched gears and started working on that story instead of the original one.

As I also mentioned in that May post, although Pete is a good sounding board and usually objective, I like other feedback, too. So I thought I’d post the first chapter here and see what y’all thought.

Chapter1

Should I keep on with this story?

To Sleep – Perchance To Dream

No matter how long I live in the South, I don’t think I’ll ever get used to school starting in early August. For me, summer’s “official end” is Labor Day and school should start after that.

Today is the first day of school in our county and other counties around have either started or are about to. Kids will now have something to keep them occupied eight-or-so hours a day. Well, some of them. Let’s focus on the little ones still at home. You need something to keep them busy, right? Let them make their own dream pillow to snuggle up with during the long nights that we’ll experience all too soon.

Take a piece of fabric 8″ x 16″. Fold it in half lengthwise right sides together so you have an 8″x8″ square. Mark a line 1/2″ from each edge. Sew two sides together along this line (this can be done by hand with the stitches close together – no sewing machine needed). Turn right-side out. Have your child pick out their favorite herbs and fill the pocket you just made. (Lavender, Rosemary, Lemon Balm, Rose Petals or Peppermint are good smelling ones he or she may like.) It’ll take about two ounces of dried herb. Once the pocket is stuffed, turn the top edge inside along the line you drew and sew the final edge shut.

An alternative to the 8×16 piece is to go to the fabric store and buy the squares they’ve already pre-cut for quilting. These are usually 6×6 so the final pillow will be somewhat smaller. Instead of printed fabric you can buy plain muslin and some fabric paint, and let the kids paint their own designs. If they make several, these can be used as gifts for auntie or grandma. (In my family, uncle and/or grandpa won’t truly appreciate them.)

Other herbs that may help with a good night’s sleep are: Cleavers Galium aparine, Hops Humulus lupus (which will make it somewhat lumpy), Wild Lettuce Lactuca virosa, Roman Chamomile Matricaria recutita, Catnip Nepeta cataria, or Scullcap Scutellaria lateriflora. Any of these can be put into the pillow or made into a cup of tea as a calmative before bedtime. Catnip tea is good for the little ones, especially if they have an upset stomach or are still a little too energetic close to bedtime. It tastes good enough that they’ll drink it, too.

One thing about dream pillows: you don’t have to sleep on them, just have them near you at night. Therefore, you really can add lumpy things to one, such as a crystal for protection or to facilitate lucid dreaming. I’m no expert on crystals but I can tell you that when I have my lapis lazuli ring on, my dreams are very lucid.

Sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.  ~Thomas Dekker