Thursday, 14 July 2022

The Lord’s Prayer

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1AsPnPttSQtIKdjbciSe926aUWMlkbA49

Just recently I discovered The Lord’s Prayer translated directly from Aramaic to English, rather than from Aramaic to Greek to Latin to English. It’s quite an eye opener… ♥️

“O cosmic birther of all radiance and vibration, soften the ground of our being and carve out a space within us where your presence can abide. Fill us with your creativity so that we may be empowered to bear the fruit of your mission. Let each of our actions bear fruit in accordance with our desire. Endow us with the wisdom to produce and share what each being needs to grow and flourish. Untie the tangled threads of destiny that bind us, as we release others from the entanglement of past mistakes. Do not let us be seduced by that which would divert us from our true purpose, but illuminate the opportunities of the present moment. For you are the ground and the fruitful vision, the birth, power, and fulfilment, as all is gathered and made whole once again. And so it is.”

A Loving Bell Spell by Scott Cunningham

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1SCvy5xYfwcNbZGNN7o8Fq4wPjxy8VYPZ

Air is crucial to our planet, and all that reside or grow upon it. Consequently, air has been used in magick for eons. Air can be warming, cooling, refreshing, restorative and energising. It can be used to call in a storm, to blow away a storm, for divination and protection. Air is as unpredictable as it is powerful.

The winds of the four compass points bring their own magickal correspondences. For example an easterly wind can help in matters of communication, intellect and mental power. A wind from the west can be used for handling emotions, or matters of the heart.

When using air magick it is helpful to remember that the name of a wind refers to the direction it has travelled from. The following spell is ideally performed using a West Wind; a wind that has come from the West.

✨πŸ”” A LOVING BELL (West Wind)πŸ””✨

~ Taken from Scott Cunningham’s Earth Power.

πŸ”” Hang up a bell with a pleasant ring in a window which remains open for a good part of each day, and through which the wind blows (West Wind where possible). 

πŸ”” As you hang the bell speak these words:
“Little bell,of love, I hang you to whisper my need for love on the breezes and winds.
Little bell of love, speak of my need for love to your brothers and sisters.
Little bell of love, I ask you to speak softly and draw to me someone who listens.”

πŸ”” Every time the bell rings it is ‘whispering’ of your need for love. Brothers and sisters is a reference to other bells, which will add their own power to the spell.

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Sunday, 3 July 2022

Sacred Cycles

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=16RNQ5uZm4uk3f6HxeVHvkUr1ea6pVSkH

I’m really grateful to have been sent this Sacred Cycles Journal created by Jill Pyle, founder of @goddessprovisions, Em Dewey @gardenofthemoon, Cidney Bachert @cidney.elizabeth and illustrated by Jessie White @seedsofspells. Published by @hayhouseinc (thank you! ❤️)

It works alongside the Sacred Cycles Deck, and is all about the tracking and honouring of your menstrual cycle, but you could easily use it without the cards.

There is information on your sacred cycle, poems and blessings, card spreads, crafting, mantras, cycle celebrations, journal prompts and pages, EVERYTHING you need to honour your body and its amazing cycle.

There is a list of new and full moons for 2022 and 2023, which is really helpful, and the illustrations are beautiful.

With all that’s going on in the world right now it’s even more important that we honour and celebrate our sacredness. It’s particularly perfect for those interested in the seasons and Earth energy.

I can’t wait to get started, thank you ladies!

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Sheela-na-Gigs

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1i5UbgbWeM7gLK4s3PeuJTXAPnLkrnW3r

Here is our beautiful local Sheela-na-Gig.

Sheela-na-Gigs are architectural grotesques that depict a woman showing an exaggerated vulva. They are found throughout most of Europe, and first appeared between the 11th and 15th Century, depending on location.

They are common in Ireland, Britain, France and Spain, with Ireland having the highest concentration of surviving Sheela-na-Gigs. It is believed that there were over 140 Sheela-na-Gigs in Britain and Ireland, with about 80 still in their original locations, including this one.

They may have represented fertility figures, or been used to ward off death, evil, and demons. A popular hypothesis is that they represented a pagan goddess, but the situation is complex, with multiple interpretations.

Some suggest that they were used as ‘birthing stones’, and there is some folkloric evidence to suggest that they were loaned to labouring women. Another theory suggests that they warned against lust and ‘sins of the flesh’. What we do know is that scholars generally disagree on the origins and uses of these figures.

The villagers here can’t have liked her very much. She was found around 1920, upside down, being used as a step into the church, hidden from view. She is now around the back of the church, being battered by the elements, but at least she is now uncovered.

I like to place flowers by her at Beltane., I feel she should be honoured, as should fertility, life, female sexual energy, and women everywhere.

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June’s Goddess Provisions Box

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1n2Z4Cz-9mgEEPkNi0mymJMCq-ODFSHLe

Take a look at last month’s incredible Goddess Provisions Box “Solar Energy” - fit for a Summer Solstice Queen. πŸŒžπŸ’…πŸΌπŸ‘‘

This box turned up after the cut-off point for ordering BUT @goddessprovisions are now taking orders for their July “Luminous Light” box, which looks beautiful!

In this box I received:

🌞 Atma BotÒnica Sun Shower Steamer
Let me tell you; this stuff smells AMAZING πŸ™ŒπŸΌπŸŒž✨ @atmabotanica

🌞 Tarot Sun Pendant Necklace
I’m definitely wearing this later and tomorrow!

🌞 Apothékary Co. Blue Me Away Superfood Blend Packets
These blue matcha and Siberian Ginseng are supposed to be good for cognitive boosting and mental clarity, EXACTLY what I need right now. πŸ™ŒπŸΌ @apothekaryco

🌞 Solar Radiance Bookmark
Perfect for all the witchy books I have coming up to show you. πŸ“š

🌞 Golden Ray Spoon
Perfect for measuring herbs for tea or spells. ✨

🌞 Earth Harbor Sunstone Hair Elixir
Contains seaweed, coconut, jasmine, calendula, carrot and jojoba oils. I can’t wait to get this on my hair! @earthharbor 

🌞 Prehnite Crystal
This water-safe stone is perfect for aligning those heart and solar plexus chakras.

🌞 Radiate Your Light Postcard
This is a run-down of everything in the box plus discount codes, Moon Wisdom Club etc. I actually look forward to this part of the box as much as anything else. These postcard-sized works of art can be framed and displayed. Art by @creativewannabe_ Jay Kay. πŸ’›

I feel like these already-generous boxes are that little bit more special around the sabbats. Thank you @goddessprovisions for your incredible work and for sending me this beautiful box.

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Using Dried Lavender

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1HtgGFDLGm-0i4EzzruyZIJCXT3F_aGcl

Lavender is an extremely versatile herb. Like lavender essential oil, there are many uses for dried lavender, here are just a few:

πŸ’œ Sprinkle over floors before sweeping/vacuuming. Your vacuum bag and/or bin will smell lovely! 
πŸ’œ Use as an insect/moth/silverfish repellent in wardrobes and cupboards. Hang lavender bags or make a pomander.
πŸ’œ Add to letters and cards for a scented surprise. 
πŸ’œ Create scented candles by adding dried lavender and some essential oil to heated wax.
πŸ’œ Add to other dried herbs plus some frankincense and myrrh to create incense.
πŸ’œ Make Lavender bath salts. Add 1/4 cup dried lavender to 1 1/4 cups of Epsom Salts, and a few drops of essential oil. Combine and store in a tightly closed jar. Pour into a muslin bag before adding to bath. Keeps 6-9 months in a cool, dark place.
πŸ’œ Make lavender bags. Place in drawers to keep clothes fresh or by your pillow as a sleep aid. Squeeze the bag regularly to refresh the scent.
πŸ’œ Lavender bags make great wedding favours. You can coordinate the bag material with your theme. 
πŸ’œ Lavender bags also make great car air fresheners.
πŸ’œ Add culinary grade dried lavender to your favourite drinks to add a floral flavour. Add to green tea or floral gins. 
πŸ’œ Add culinary grade dried lavender to salads, cakes and chocolate.
πŸ’œ Use in place of rice or paper as wedding confetti. Fragrant, a pretty colour, biodegradable, and perfect to take to a wedding if you’re not sure on the venue rules. Create confetti cones and leave in a basket for your guests on your big day. 
πŸ’œ Make lavender infused oil, perfect for restless legs, dry scalps, and itchy bites. Fill a jar half way with dried lavender. Cover with a carrier oil (I recommend Grapeseed). Cap and store somewhere cool for 4-6 weeks, shaking occasionally. Strain, and use within 9 months to a year.
πŸ’œ Use lavender oil made from dried lavender to create balms and salves.
πŸ’œ Use lavender on stalks for smudge sticks, or loose with other herbs to create incense.

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The Ring Stone, Avebury

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1k4JhkX4jx-vaqGO8JRg2pGU6N_z5pneW

This is the Ring Stone found within Avebury Stone Circle. Hundreds of handfastings have been carried out here over the years, including my own, conducted by the great, late Terry Dobney; the Arch Druid and Keeper of the Stones, my beautiful friend.

Even though it works perfectly as an altar during handfastings, it is not called the Ring Stone because of these unions. Terry told me that it was originally one of the tall megaliths that formed the circle, and would have had a hole in it, giving it its name. There is also an interesting, albeit sad, story about how it came to be a smaller rock.

Avebury is part of a set of Neolithic and Bronze Age ceremonial sites, and the recumbent Ring Stone had come to be used for pagan wedding and fertility ceremonies until it was smashed by a church minister who was enraged by it. I’m not sure exactly when this is supposed to have happened, but for ten years after the stone was smashed there were no babies born to newly married couples in the village. Concerned villagers realised that the minister had made a huge mistake in breaking up the rock; and so they collected up as many pieces of the smashed stone as they could find, burying them together. This action brought fertility back to Avebury, and babies were born once again.

When my husband and I were handfasted by Terry we were given a choice - be handfasted for a year and a day, using this time as a trial period, with the opportunity to repeat the process as many times as we wished; or pledge a lifetime commitment, which is exactly what we did.

You can see a picture of us being handfasted by Terry at the Ring Stone a bit further down the page.

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Nettle & Rosemary Hair Rinse

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1bi3pc_MqFzmxMb0eHHecIJCOjX140Qz6

Nettle is rich in nutrients and antioxidants. It contains silica and sulphur which together make hair shinier, thicker and healthier. Nettle boosts the circulation, meaning more oxygen (and therefore nutrients) reach the hair follicles. The antioxidants get rid of damaging compounds and inhibit the formation of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), an androgen (type of hormone) that causes baldness in both men and women.

Rosemary is also believed to prevent DHT from bonding to hormone receptors that enable the hair follicles to be attacked. Rosemary contains ursolic acid which increases (scalp) circulation. It is unsurprising, then, that hair re-growth has been observed in trials using rosemary oil. Its antibacterial properties cleanse the hair and increase shine.

Working together nettle and rosemary do amazing things for the hair.

This recipe has been in my Book of Shadows for over 20 years now. It seems a bit odd rinsing your hair after washing it with what is basically tea(!), but it will add body and shine.

Step 1 - Add a handful or two of Nettles, and a handful of Rosemary sprigs, to a heat-proof bowl. Add 1L of boiling water and leave over night to steep.

Step 2 - Strain. At this stage you could add 50ml raw apple cider vinegar if you wanted, but I don’t bother.

Step 3 - After shampooing rinse your hair with this mixture, no need to wash out. Use all in one go, this mix isn’t for storing.

‼️CAUTION: this beautiful reddish-brown mixture will stain ceramic bathroom ware, so please be careful. Rosemary can darken blond hair over time; so if you’re blonde - and enjoy being so! - you might want to avoid frequent use.

Elves

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1yOTDrHTxrZHZEcrPWguVjlqBukj7U2Nu

In the depths of the English countryside we stumbled across this little red door emblazoned with the inscription “elfs” (elves?) on it. We don’t know why it was there, nor did we find any other little doors. I’d love to know the story behind it.

Elves are the humanoid creatures that we commonly refer to as their French name, “fairy”. 🧚🏿‍♀️

I think my favourite common elf/faerie folklore story is that of the foxglove. Some versions state that the name actually means “folks’ glove” - gloves that the little folk would wear. 🧚🏼

Other stories maintain that the mottled spots are tiny faerie handprints, where the foxgloves have been gifted to foxes by faeries. This is so that the foxes can put them on their paws, and sneak into the hen house without being heard. 🧚🏿‍♀️ 

I’ve seen quite a few fairy stories online recently, and heard a few from friends - some of them extremely creepy. 🧚🏼

I’d love to know if you’ve experienced a personal encounter with the Fae? Do you have a story to tell? 🧚🏿‍♀️

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The Craft

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1dwrn9RFzGlAU4olAjLjmyR_K75l-oSzH

“The Craft will live through you, and through what you bring to it. And it is these traditions, these eternal themes, which I want to convey. You will find them referred to by other writers on the Craft, and sometimes you will see them in mythology and folklore. So read widely and learn everything you can on the subject of witchcraft and Paganism. Learn, as well, the related disciplines of divination, trancework, natural philosophy, herb magic, the properties of plants and trees and all countryside lore. You will then develop you own feelings about, for example, the spring equinox and how it should be celebrated. In time you will develop your own style. This is the strength of witchcraft. Its roots are in the oldest religion and yet it is created anew, by each individual witch, every time it is practised.”

~ Rae Beth, Hedgewitch: A Guide to Solitary Witchcraft

Gravestone Symbolism

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1vowwsZBk0K2AMLnAFQ9yf1_jdRkzebf7

Many gravestones have symbols and images on them, some common, some uncommon,  with scholars still debating the various meanings and interpretations of them.

Here are ten gravestone symbols and their suggested meanings:

πŸ‘Ό Angels - Messengers between God and man

πŸ¦‡ Bat wings - Death, misfortune

🦴 Bone - Death

πŸ•― Candle - Life

♥️ Heart - Romantic love

πŸ— Key - Knowledge, entrance to Heaven

πŸͺ” Lamp - Knowledge, spiritual immortality

πŸƒ Oak leaf - Strength, stability, endurance

πŸ”₯ Phoenix - Resurrection

πŸ¦‹ Winged Death’s Head - Mortal remains of the deceased

Next time you visit a cemetery or graveyard take notice of all the symbols you see - I’d love to  hear what you’ve seen.

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The Forager’s Code

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1vIbrwB7byQGQef3I31tt7LuLLjbJHa8W

I’m a keen forager but it’s really important to remember the responsibility that comes with foraging.

Whilst our motivation is usually to create something, it’s important to remember our place in this process. When we take something we become more than a visitor to a place, we actually become part of that place.

It’s important that our actions don’t hurt a carefully balanced system. Within any eco-system, other organisms depend on each other to survive.

Known as the Forager’s Code, it is our duty to work out how we can insert ourselves into this carefully balanced network without harming it. The Forager’s Code must be observed at all times:

🌿 Minimise damage
🌿 Collect from plentiful sources only 
🌿 Leave plenty behind - remember you come second to other birds and animals
🌿 Do not collect rare species 
🌿 Respect Nature

To add to that, I would say:

🌿 Don’t pick roots or bulbs
🌿 If you’re not 100% sure what you’re picking, don’t 
🌿 Leave no trace of your visit

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Trees are Sanctuaries

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1JHI4mcbmOCWNJehP6TjvO91X6D9mfNOF

“Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.

A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.“

~ Herman Hesse

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Stanton Tower ~ Stanton Moor

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=15NB-pjJXUr5PSChrOARH82SzZUy1a5xS

High on Stanton Moor, a stone’s throw from the Nine Ladies Stone Circle, and so high that you can actually walk underneath it during the fully bloomed season of summer without seeing it, lies Stanton Tower; also known as the Reform Tower, or Earl Grey Tower.

With all the barrows and standing stones of Stanton Moor you would expect this tower, in all of its atmospheric glory, to have a “witchier” background than being dedicated to UK politics, but it has an interesting and important history nonetheless.

It was built in 1832 by William Pole Thornhill to commemorate Earl Grey, a politician who successfully campaigned in the early 19th century to reform parliament. Thornhill was a Whig ~ a political faction that opposed absolute monarchy ~ who believe that parliament should be reformed to get rid of rotten boroughs, and to allow more men to vote. (Unfortunately at this stage women were excluded from the electorate. 1832 saw the first petition on women's suffrage presented to Parliament.)

Thornhill had the tower built where it was visible from the Duke of Rutland’s estate (whose other seat was Belvoir - see my Witches of Belvoir post); the Duke of Rutland being Earl Grey’s Tory rival.

It was dedicated to The Representation of the People Act, also known as the Great Reform Act, which was finally passed into law on the third attempt. There are also a number of large stones on the moor carved with dates and insignia that the Thornhill family had carved to commemorate several people, for reasons unknown.

Stanton Moor is well worth a visit.

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Bee Folklore

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1xInLZqI4Jricjfw0vx7WvL2Ap3Y-8tfL

Bees appear a lot in folklore. Traditionally bee charms were hung in the house to attract health and happiness, and bees flying into the house indicated strangers soon calling. Bees resting on the roof were seen as a good omen.

For some cultures bees may have been seen as psychopomps or messengers of the dead; Mycenaean tombs were decorated with bees and some were shaped like beehives. It is possible that they believed that the soul transmuted into human form after death.

“Telling the bees” is an old British custom, one that still goes on in my local area. Bees were kept abreast of all important family matters, including births, marriages, journeys, absences. Deaths especially were reported to the bees, often before other family members.

Usually the “goodwife” of a household would be tasked with “telling the bees”. She would knock gently on the give to get their intention, and solemnly tell them the news. In neighbouring Nottinghamshire, the wife of the dead was heard singing quietly in front of the hive:

“The master's dead, but don't you go; Your mistress will be a good mistress to you.”

It was feared that failure to update the bees of such news would bring catastrophe. Failure to put the bees in mourning could end in all sorts of trouble; the bees might fail to produce enough honey, leave the hive, or even die.

In my county, whenever there was a death the top of the hive was wrapped with a piece of black fabric or crepe by the beekeeper, otherwise it was feared that the bees would not thrive. Whenever there was a wedding the hives were decorated, and pieces of cake were left out so that the bees could share in the festivities.

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