Blog is changing name and URL!

Hello fine people! I’m awaiting assistance from WordPress to transfer my followers over to my new blog Enchanting the Ordinary, so if you see that name in your reader feed don’t worry, its me. You can follow now if you like, to make sure any WordPress gremlins don’t make subscriptions go awry.

All the posts have been exported but currently remain on here too. However, when all followers and stats are properly transferred over I will be disabling Northern Tamarisk.

A question for those of you who have already done this: did your post likes get transferred over? Mine seem to have disappeared from the ‘new’ posts but the comments are there. Thanks.

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Friday Feature: Cave Crafts pottery

Cave Crafts is based in Hull but I’ve seen them recently at the Lincoln Makers Markets. Their pottery is based on ancient and Medieval designs, ranging from prehistoric-inspired pieces to Medieval, Norse and now (excitingly for me!) Ancient Egyptian pieces.

Cave Crafts was started by Andrew Ketley in 2014 as an outlet for his pottery creations and related services.
Andrew has been a lifelong maker and designer of things, starting, as many have before, with Airfix model kits and scrap wood. These days he produces highly individual thrown pottery in his workshop in East Yorkshire, England, also offering tuition on the wheel. He can be found at various festivals during the summer months, offering sales and ‘hands on’ sessions to festival goers – to date, Andrew estimates that he’s led over 500 individual sessions, with each of them resulting in a worthwhile piece – “Everyone has an innate drive and ability to create – teaching pottery throwing has shown me that the trick is to find the individual key to unlock it and then to give it direction”.
Andrew’s main inspiration for his pottery has been a childhood interest in the occult and a natural sympathy for ‘otherness’, together with his discovery of medieval pottery designs, but underneath all of this is his love for the natural world and its materials.

– from the Cave Crafts website

I’m lucky enough to see the pieces first hand at the Makers Markets but you can also find them on Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/cavecraftshandmade
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CaveCraftsHandmade
Website: https://www.cavecraftshandmade.co.uk/

Anyhow, here are some pics of Cave Crafts’ wares!

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I love these quirky guys too:

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The Egyptian pieces are new, and I was told there will be more designs forthcoming. Look at those Bes jars! I haven’t seen anything else like them and think they’re wonderful.

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As a lover of all things Egyptian, but especially anything Amarna-related I couldn’t resist buying a beautiful lotus pattern pot… it makes a lovely tealight holder for my altar. As you can see, it gives out a lovely ambient light in the evening. I can thoroughly recommend Cave Crafts as the pieces are high quality, handmade and really rather beautiful.

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*Note: I have not received anything to write this post. I love spreading the word for handmade and small-scale artisans, artists and creators.

Michelle G, Tamarisk, 2018

Lincoln Steampunk Weekend 2018

Every year Lincoln holds the biggest Steampunk weekend in Europe, and this year was bigger than ever! In it’s 10th year the festival has grown and continues to take over more of the upper parts of the city. I’ve never really read anything Steampunk-y (does War of the Worlds count?) but I love seeing all the costumes. The imagination and creativity involved is, quite simply, amazing, and as someone who once wanted to be a theatre costume designer I can appreciate the work and ingenuity that goes into them.

As you can see there are many types of genres that can be incorporated into Steampunk, and I saw more variety this year.

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It was also great to see peoples’ “pimped-up” wheelchairs and mobility scooters:

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Even the dogs were included:

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In the grounds of Lincoln Castle there were stalls and displays:

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They also had some live music from ‘Victor and The Bully’ – they were rather good! My parents and I stayed to hear a few numbers by them:

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Out in the Castle Square were more stalls, and it was packed full of people:

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My favourite local ceramic makers – Zoo Ceramics – had specially-designed Steampunk pieces (Zoo Ceramics: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/ZooCeramics )

There was even a stall selling Medieval, Norse and Prehistoric inspired pieces (Cave Crafts: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/CaveCraftsHandmade )

We stopped for a tea break in a tea room we hadn’t been in before. They had some lovely wheat-free blackberry cake, and my lemongrass and ginger tea was loose-leaf, served in a proper teapot with a tea-strainer. I felt very civilised, haha.

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Then, as if my day couldn’t get any better, we spotted a hurdy gurdy player in the Cathedral Square as we were about to leave. I love the hurdy gurdy, but have never seen one being played live, so this was a wonderful surprise:

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And the obligatory shot of the Cathedral, which is partially covered as renovations continue:

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(c) Michelle G, Tamarisk, 2018

Taking a break

I’m going to be taking a break of at least a week across all my blogs. I want to prioritise self-care, get back to centre, and be present for all of the changes going on. I’m needing time to recouperate, re-balance, reconnect, reflect and reassess on a number of different levels. To do so I need to withdraw from a lot of external output so I can go within.

The reassessing will also extend to my various blogs. As I’m shifting, growing and changing my ideas and feelings about my blogs are doing the same. I’m not the same person I was 18 months, a year or even a month ago, and I need to reflect on that and see how I can translate it into my online presence and content.

I will be back, but until then: take care of yourselves, remember you have a right to self-care, and you are allowed to change, evolve and move into new things.

Michelle
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Minimalist, Small-space & Travel Altar Ideas – 03

Not everyone has space for a large altar setup, and if you have to share the space with others, if you’re visiting (or have visitors), or if you’re on the move, having an elaborate setup isn’t always possible. In this series I’m going to be sharing little ideas and photos to inspire you for your own devotional space. Use them as general inspiration, adapting them to suit your needs, the items you own, and your Deities.

They’re highly portable, and you can put them in a pouch for when you’re on the move. If you have guests they shouldn’t freak them out too much, or you can quickly put them away for the duration of their visit. If you’re away from home they’re easy to pop into a draw while you’re not using the room.

This week I’m talking about symbolism. Items of a symbolic nature draw on the myths and associations of a Deity to add a more personalised setup. Animals, different forms a Deity takes, items they use or are known for, elements connected to Them, and items representing Their nature can all be drawn on. Below I give some personal examples so you can gain some inspiration for your own sacred space.

For Loki I made a mini Snaptun Stone. Not only is this one of the few depictions we have of Him, but it represents His connection to fire, and reminds us of the story of how His lips were sewn shut by Brokk the Dwarf. The Fool’s Gold is a play on his modern nickname of Trickster, and the mythological parallels between Loki and other Trickster figures. In the words of J.R.R.Tolkien, Loki teaches us that, “Not all that glitters is gold.” Finally, the fox is another modern association with Loki, but due to their reputation for being wily, sly, sneaky but intelligent opportunists I really feel they are a good fit for Himself. This fox pendant is one I bought on Etsy from TheNatureJourneyist.

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For Sigyn we have the eponymous bowl. It is made of Moss Agate, and I have written before about the connection I feel Sigyn has to this stone. I also have some little paper and wire Roses. Roses speak of love and the heart chakra; both attributes associated with Sigyn in Her role as a Goddess of devotion and compassion. The Rose Quartz heart I have for similar reasons. I also have a dove because there is something about the ‘pure’ and ‘good’ symbolism of doves that I associate with this Beloved Goddess. There’s also a strong energy of Hope around Sigyn, and I believe the dove represents that too. There’s a purity and goodness in Her nature, and I personally have also found her not only to love birds, but to also have strong connections to them.

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The final example I have is for Hella, Jormungand and Fenrir. All are pretty obvious if you know about Their symbolism and mythology, but at the same time they are effective. The drinks coaster has Medieval inspired wolf decoration, the beaded lariat is very snakelike, and the skull represents Hella’s Underworld and death connections perfectly.

(c) Michelle G, Northern Tamarisk, 2018

Deck Review – Flower Petals: Blossoming guidance from the garden by Cheralyn Darcey

I bought these cards to work with Sigyn, as to me She has a strong connection to flowers and nature. I have to say I have found them a beautiful way of working with Her.

The cards themselves aren’t that big but they have a good thickness to them, similar to most oracle decks. They come in a hard box which has a magnet fastening to keep it closed.

There are 40 cards in total, which “contain the wisdom of the traditional Language of Flowers“. The back of each card has the same watercolour in pinks and purples. This makes up the border on the main face of the cards. The main section is white with a delicate watercolour painting of each flower, their names and their message.

They can be used like a traditional oracle deck or in conjunction with flower essences, herbs and aromatherapy. As part of a wider holistic healing therapy they would make a wonderful addition to any therapist or healer’s practice.
As I have said, I am using them to connect with Sigyn. They could be used to connect in with other Deities too, especially Those associated with flowers and healing.

Flowers are wonderful healers, in many different ways, and I believe these cards can really open up a new aspect of working with them.

As a final note, I have asked Sigyn for a card to end this review on:

(c) Michelle G, Northern Tamarisk, 2018

National Insect Week – The Symbolism of Flies

This week is National Insect Week, and to celebrate our buggy friends I’ve decided to muse about flies… partly because of the links to Loki, and also because of their sacred symbolism in Ancient Egypt.

Many people have seen pictures of golden fly amulets and necklaces and wondered, “Why?” From a human perspective flies can seem annoying, they spread germs and diseases, and they multiply quickly. Let’s now turn this around and try to see it from a mindset the Ancient Egyptians were familiar with: symbolism and sympathetic magic.

If viewed from this perspective the fly becomes persistent and tenacious rather than annoying. As anyone who has ever dealt with them knows, flies don’t give up! They keep trying, going for what they’ve set their tiny fly-hearts on, no matter what obstacles (or fly swatters) they come up against. They are tenacious little creatures, and sometimes we too need that kind of attitude.

Flies also breed in large numbers, so from a sympathetic magic viewpoint the fly could be a very useful motif to draw upon. Fertility, in various aspects, was something the Ancient Egyptians valued so emulating the abundant fertility of the fly by wearing a fly amulet isn’t too far a leap of the imagination.

Flies also spread disease and perhaps, as with Sekhmet, their amulets were worn to try to curry favour, stave off illness, and act as a protective symbol. Flies also swarm on the dead, and it is not unreasonable to reason that they may well have a ‘death’ element to their symbolism. They are drawn to rotting substances and ‘feed’ on death in that manner too.

On a more modern level of symbolism flies as scavengers can also represent those who seek relentlessly to make what they can of the opportunities that present themselves. Flies are the ultimate opportunists. No matter how many times they’re wafted off (or chased away) they keep trying to get to what they want. Sometimes this is perfectly good stuff, but other times they’re literally feeding off poo. And this teaches us something: sometimes even the messy, s*** stuff in our lives can become fuel for our future Self.

If we tie in their fertility as well then we gain a picture of a creature relentless in the pursuit of its goals, able to turn even the rubbish times into future nourishment, and able to keep producing and creating ‘life’. We could learn a thing or two from Fly, if we’re willing to look from a more symbolic, sympathetic magic, Ancient Egyptian type of perspective.

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See also: Flies, Cats and Rat Traps: The Ordinary Animals of Ancient Egypt by Anna Garnett, Curator of the Petrie Museum –http://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/museums/2017/11/15/flies-cats-and-rat-traps-the-ordinary-animals-of-ancient-egypt/

(c) Michelle G, Northern Tamarisk, 2018

Sigyn and Daisies + worry dolls

Recently I have written about how I associate Sigyn with Roses, and also about making a Daisy tincture for Inner Child healing work. Others have experienced Sigyn as a Goddess for helping heal the Inner Child, and I believe one way She does so is through Daisies.

On the day my Daisy tincture post went live I had a parcel arrive – a handmade worry doll. I went on the site originally because a friend had liked her tarot and ribbon-reading page on Facebook and it piqued my curiosity. While browsing the online shop I saw the worry doll and felt such a strong ‘Sigyn’ vibe that I bought her. Pink, pretty, girly, flowery things often (but don’t always) mean ‘Sigyn’ to me. There’s a side to Her (that others have written about too) that is almost like this beautiful, innocent, sweet, open-hearted young girl. And that part of Her is the one I associate with the pink, girly, flowery stuff. Things I used to actively avoid, but the last year or so I’ve been more drawn to.

When the worry doll arrived (on the afternoon the Daisy tincture post went live) I saw she came with a little card:

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The worry doll’s name is Daisy! I didn’t even notice she had a name on the listing, and yet I felt so strongly that this little doll was for Sigyn that I bought her.

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Summer Solstice Praise for Ra

Wishing you all a happy, fruitful and sacred Summer Solstice.

On the longest day of the year, when the Sun figures so strongly in our lives, may we remember to thank and honour Ra.

O Ra,
Radiant, shining Sun,
We know
A new day has begun

When Your
Powerful fiery Eye
Enters the
Once darkened sky.

As Khepera rolls
Your flaming ball
Out from Nut
We hear Your call.

We welcome in
A brand new day,
And watch
As You move on Your way.

O Ra,
Radiant, shining Sun,
Thank you
For this new day that has begun.

(c) Michelle G, Northern Tamarisk, 2018

Summer Solstice oracle reading

I recently started a blog for monthly and ‘special occasion’ oracle readings. It’s my own ‘style’ of reading, which won’t be for everyone, but I’m enjoying opening up to an old love in a new way. I tend to focus on personal growth, self-care and encouragement of individuality, so if you’re interested in these kinds of things you might like to take a look. If not that’s fine too!

It’s a new thing for me to share openly but it’s not new to me. It’s something I’ve loved doing since I bought my first set of cards around 12 years ago. I spent around four years in a spiritual development group where, amongst other things, we would practice card readings for each other. Unfortunately the group disbanded, and as my health deteriorated I wasn’t able to try out any others.
The last year I’ve been working with my various cards more and more, and earlier this year I kept feeling the urge to do weekly readings. I pushed it away but finally I couldn’t ignore it any longer and I set up a blog.

I may be changing the name in the near future. As I build up confidence I’m starting to be more open about parts of myself I’ve hidden away. This is one small part of the process of reclaiming my Self.

Anyway, here is my Summer Solstice reading: https://thepenguinstidepool.wordpress.com/2018/06/20/solstice-oracle-reading-for-21st-june-2018/

Wishing you well for the Solstice,
Michelle