Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Beltane Handfasting

This photograph of my handfasting at Beltane 2016 is one of my favourite pictures. It’s a good depiction of who we are, both individually and as a couple. We are both witches - the other person is who we have chosen to be with, this is how we live our lives, this is how we worship, this is how we observe and celebrate the milestones in our life.

It made perfect sense to be handfasted at Beltane; as we celebrated the union of the Goddess and Green Man, the coming together of m
ale and female energies, we also came together as Man and Wife. We were lucky to be handfasted at our beloved Avebury Stone Circle by the Archdruid and Keeper of the Stones, Terry Dobney, who also happens to be our dear friend. Here he is offering us the apple in our ceremony.

Beltane is a special time when the veil is thin again. It is a time of celebration, of merriment, of festivity, of joy, of abundance, of fertility, of making love in the fields, enjoying your sexuality and sensuality openly, and of embracing your masculinity or femininity. It’s a time to recognise and remember that our connection to nature is absolutely vital.

Samhain is the beginning of Winter; and opposite on the Wheel, Beltane is the beginning of Summer - the days are longer, the Sun is warm, the land is blooming. And so are we.

What is your favourite festival and why? Have you ever been to a handfasting? What are you doing for Beltane?

Monday, 27 April 2020

Beltane Preparations

The days leading up to Beltane are my favourite. As you can see from the colour of my stone walls, the Sun is now warm again; the balance has been tipped, the days now longer than the nights.

I now have energy to spare! The warmth of the Sun does wonders for me, and I usually spend this special time making preparations. We usually go away for Beltane, back home to Hampshire to celebrate with friends, but due to Coronavirus, this year will be different.

My preparations usually
 involve Spring cleaning, potting-up Summer bedding plants, sorting and tidying our home, visiting the local Sheela-na-Gig, and getting ready to travel down South.

This year we will have a local walk, a foraged meal, and a fire at home.

Other ways to prep for and celebrate Beltane are:

Decorate your altar, make a flower crown, dance the Maypole, visit sacred wells and springs, find wild spaces to connect with the Fae, hang ribbons in trees, spend time with the Hawthorn.

Sunday, 26 April 2020

Flower Magic

For hundreds of years flowers have been used in magic. Now that Spring is here (at least in the UK!) many flowers are blooming, or are about to bloom.

You can mix up flowers and create a magical combination, depending on your purpose and intent. Here are some flower magic correspondences.

Apple Blossom - Associated with immortality.
Crocus - New love, good for enhancing visions and intuitive dreaming.
Lesser Celandine - Psychic ability. Associated with the Sun, Artemis and Scorpio.
Daffodil - Strong connection to love. Associated with fertility, luck, and abundance. Also connected to Hades and death.
Hellebore - For spells/rituals for healing mental or emotional issues. Banishing, exorcisms. For intelligence, protection, and invisibility spells.
Dandelion - Positive change, divination, drawing good energy in.
Hyacinth - Abundance, luxury, attracting gifts, charm, irresistibility, glamour, influence, granting wishes, and chasing away bad dreams.
Lilac - Flirtation, new love, short-term attractions. Banishing, getting rid of negative energies. For jump-starting your life or a project.
Pansy - Attract new love, and strengthen and deepen existing love. Aids focus, helps you find direction. Use it in rain spells. Rebirth, love, divination, curses.
Tulip - prosperity, offers flexibility by using in colour magic.

Thursday, 23 April 2020

Chase the Ace Tarot Method

Today I’m sharing my ‘Chase the Ace’ method. You can use this with any of the four suits to represent something in your life; to see where blockages or issues lie, and to see how to move forwards.

For example, I use the Ace of Swords to represent what may be causing me conflict in life. The card below the Ace is what’s causing the issue, the card above the Ace is how to move forwards.

The Ace of Swords could also represent communication - the card below the Ace to represent w
hat’s impeding communication, and the card above the Ace to represent how one could communicate better. Or clarity; what’s obscuring one’s vision, and how to see more clearly. And so on.

Swords - action, movement, mental matters, spiritual matters, communication, issues, conflict, clarity, struggle.

Pentacles - money matters, the material or external world, career or work concerns, health, physical matters, manifestation, proof, prosperity.

Wands - ideas, growth, ambition, expansion, passion.

Cups - emotions, family matters, creativity, love, connections, intuition, healing, desires, experience, Spirit.

You could go a step further and use each suit as a Season; using the card below the Ace to represent things to watch out for, and the card above the Ace as positive things that will happen within that period.

Please have a go! And let me know below what Ace you used, and how it went.

Wednesday, 22 April 2020

Using water and rainwater in magic

In many Pagan traditions ~ as in other religions ~ water is considered holy and sacred.

Rain is cleansing and purifying, and readily available ~ especially in England! ~ making it perfect for rituals and spells. Rainwater can be enhanced by being left to charge under a Full Moon.

Different rains will bring different energies to your spell; rain from a warm summer rain may bring peace and tranquility, whereas rain from a thunderous storm may be used far more forcefully.

Rainwater Spell

Fill a bowl with rainwater. On a small piece of paper write down a bad habit you wish to be rid of, or something you’d like to let go of, in chalk. Immerse the paper in the water and imagine the bad habit washing away.

Alternatively, you can take the spell outside - and allow the rain to lash down upon you, washing the words away from the piece of paper.

Monday, 20 April 2020

Working with Rose Quartz

Rose Quartz is the stone of unconditional, and universal, love. It is one of the most important stones for heart healing, and heart chakra work. It opens the heart to all sorts of love, and in doing so it allows healing of the heart; and diseases related to the withholding of negative emotions.

It fosters empathy, forgiveness of others, and aids reconciliation. It is an excellent aid in healing trauma. It has high energy, but is calming and soothing. In many ancient cultures
 it was considered a powerful tool to help prevent ageing.

Feng Shui has some of the biggest collections of Rose Quartz in the form of wealth pots, mandarin ducks, and hearts. It is considered an ideal wedding gift or a fifth wedding anniversary gift. It is one of the birthstones for Taurus.

💎 Place by your bedside to attract new love.
💎 Hold whilst using a daily mantra - I like “I am enough, I have enough, I do enough”.
💎Wear Rose Quartz to help mend a broken heart.
💎 Place by your hospital or sick bed to aid recovery.
💎 Put under your pillow to open your heart.
💎 Place over your heart and close your eyes. Breathe. Know in your heart and soul you are loved. Repeat nightly.
💎 Use or wear Rose Quartz to lower stress and tension, and to clear out negativity and anger.
 Add to the relationship area of the home to strengthen and add trust to an established relationship.

Saturday, 11 April 2020

Casting a Circle

Casting a circle is personal preference. Many witches choose not to cast a ritual circle, believing that it is entirely possible to work magic without one. Many Wiccans do cast circles for most types of magic.

Of course it’s not necessary to cast a circle to experience divine presence, and when you do cast circles what you choose to cast it with is a personal choice. Some use a wand, some use an athame; others choose something different altogether, such as a finger or crystal
. It is said that the teacher and activist Starhawk uses a pen.

Wicca & Witchcraft for Dummies sets out some of the many benefits of casting a ritual circle:
 The circle keeps in the personal power for the ritual. This is the reason Wiccans usually cast a circle for a ritual or to work magic.
 The circle keeps out distracting, negative or unwanted energy.
 The circle casting helps prepare a person psychologically for a spiritual experience.
 The circle is a safe, consecrated place to enter a light trance and engage the unconscious mind.

Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Using Flowers in Cooking

Today I took inspiration from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Cookbook. He talks about flowers and how they can be used in cooking to flavour, colour, and garnish. Broom Buds, Elderflowers, Crab Apple Blossom, Primrose and Wild Roses can all be used to create culinary delights, and of course each flower comes with its own magical properties, too.

I decorated these vegan muffins with icing flavoured and coloured with rose petals, and sprinkled a few on top to decor

Roses are used to enhance female intuition since the Rose is closely associated with with female, or ‘Yin’, energy. Roses attract love, health, and good luck; and enhance self-acceptance and self-esteem. They protect, and relieve personal tensions and conflict.

To create Rose water for your recipes and potions add some edible rose petals to a bowl, pour on boiling water, and leave to steep.

Monday, 6 April 2020

Kitchen Candle Magic

For me, ritual and magic extend from the altar and into the kitchen. Recipes are a ritual of sorts; they are a set of tasks or actions performed to a prescribed order.

I have a kitchen journal which is much like my Book of Shadows; it is a collection of recipes, things that I’ve tried, scribbled notes, successes, failures, and all sorts of experiments. It has been with me since I left home, and some of the recipes ~ such as Lammas Loaf and Beltane Oat Cakes ~ appear in both b

I am a food lover and there is a spiritual and energetic aspect to food; the way it is prepared, how it is shared, what it may represent, its vibration, and the fact that we take it into our bodies.

There are several rituals I like to carry out when I am cooking, cleaning, and even turning the light out at the end of the day. I especially like a candle ritual focusing on the use of a candle as a symbol of spirit, which I light while I am cooking, which can be found in The House Witch (p.232) by Arin Murphy-Hiscock:

Sacred flame,
Burn brightly in my heart,
I light this flame in recognition of your sanctity.
Bless me, sacred flame,
With your light.

Sunday, 5 April 2020

Traditional Jams & Preserves - Eve Parker

At this time of year ~ when I am waking up and coming out of hibernation! ~ I start to think about the gifts of Mother Nature throughout the year, which ones I will use, and what I will do with them.

Elderflowers, Elderberries, Blackberries, Ramsons, Rosehips, Nettles, Apples, Chestnuts, Cherries - so many lovely things!

I love this simple book; it is full of tasty recipes for Jams, Conserves, Chutneys and Butters.

Apple & Elderflower Jam
🍎 1kg Cooking Apples
🍎 500g Elderflower heads
🍎 400ml water
🍎 500g preserving sugar

 Rinse the Elderflowers, shake dry. Pull the flowers from the stalks and tie in a square of muslin.
🥣 Placed the peeled, cored, diced apples into the pan with the Elderflower bag.
🥣 Add water, bring to a simmer. Cool for 20 minutes, or until the Apple is pulped.
🥣 Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Bring to the boil and cook for 20 minutes, making sure the jam is bubbling on the surface, stirring occasionally to stop it sticking to the pan.
 Test for set. When ready pour into sterilised jars, add wax disc, and screw lids on tightly. Leave to cool.

Saturday, 4 April 2020

Tarot Drawstring Bags

“The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul”
- Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Though Craft Week at @witch.with.me is coming to a close, I wanted to share these bags I made for my Tarot cards.

A lot of Tarot decks come in REALLY big boxes and I was running out of space. Now my cards take up less space and they’re portable - they’re handbag ready.

I’ve tried many crafts over the years and they all have one thing in common: their therapeutic effect. I love the meditative process of crafting.

Thursday, 2 April 2020

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the Sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
~ Mary Oliver

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Good morning!

If you’re just heading off to bed I wish you a peaceful and restful night’s sleep, and if you’re just getting up I wish you a day full of blessings.

Whatever you spend the next 12 hours doing, may you be at peace: sending you love from our house to yours.