Reconnecting with Fire

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Over the Autumn, Winter and into Spring we had an open fire every night. Lighting and tending to the fire brought me closer to the element of Fire itself, and to Deities associated (and I associate) with Fire. Not only that but it brought me into a better understanding of the hearthfire, and how important tending that would be. The expression ‘hearth and home’ became something that had more meaning to me than it had before.

Where we lived previously we had a log burner, and I loved seeing the fire through the glass window, but I didn’t realise that even that was keeping Fire ‘contained’ and ‘removed’ somehow. When we moved to where we’re currently living and the seasons turned, having an open fire was a kind of revelation. Here Fire is not shut away, it’s a part of the room, and feels more a part of the home. Our open fire became the hearth fire, the home-fire. Even my parents said how much of a difference it made, how it made the house feel different; how coming together by the fire and tending to it as a family made the house feel more homely.

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Minimalist, Small-space & Travel Altar Ideas – 01

This is part of a new series I’ll be sharing on alternate Tuesdays for the next couple of months. 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.

First off I’m starting with one that’s super-simple and multi-functional – prayer beads. You can buy lots of lovely sets of prayer beads now, or you can make your own. Not only do they act as devotional tools, but they can be made into different shapes and act as a simple but effective mini altar setup. They also look nice, catch the light, and you can even wrap them around your wrist like a bracelet if you want to.

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(The prayer beads pictured are all made by me and are my personal sets. I have an Etsy shop and will be making up more prayer beads in the coming months.)

(c) Michelle G, Northern Tamarisk, 2018

Individual Practice

I am very much in support of a practice that caters to a person’s individuality. While tradition has its place it can, at times, place constraints on how people practice, and how they approach and work with Deities. Part of my aim here is to encourage people to discover individual levels of practice, and to provide ideas for different ways to connect. It’s something I’ve been doing since the beginning, though I didn’t realise it until very recently. It is something I believe in strongly, and while I respect traditional practitioners, there is more encouragement needed for people on non-traditional pathways.

Our connection to Deity and/or Spirit is unique, and that can often be downplayed. I’ve seen more being written about what constitutes ‘right practice’, but ultimately I believe in doing what is right for you and the way the Gods/Spirits work with you as the person you are. Your gifts, talents and strengths are unique to you, and your work and connection with Deity will reflect that.

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Joanne Harris book talk & signing – The Testament of Loki

On the 24th May I attended an author talk and book signing by Chocolat author Joanne Harris. Her new book, The Testament of Loki, is a sequel to the popular novel The Gospel of Loki, and acts as a continuation of the time period preceding her Runemark stories. The talk took place at Lincoln’s Collection museum, and also included a book signing.

Joanne started off by telling us how she was first introduced to Norse mythology when she was seven. Her first book borrowed from the library was a retelling of the Norse myths, and she borrowed it every week for some time, so enamoured was she with the stories. But as she continued her explorations she found herself unsatisfied with the ending. Ragnarok didn’t seem a fitting end to the story of the Gods, so she started writing stories for them herself. When she was 18 she tried to get a 2,000 page book published which was continuing the story after Ragnarok. She was turned down by publishers and put the book away. But she never forgot her love of the Norse myths.

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Turning candle leftovers into wax melts

You know those annoying bits that always get left behind when you burn candles? Well, you can turn them into wax melts and save wasting those last bits of candle-goodness.

I usually buy soy or rapeseed wax candles, which are easier to do this with, but it can be done with paraffin or beeswax candles too.

Step one: Release the wax! Use a knife to loosen the wax in the bottom of the jar, then put the wax into a foil cake case.

Step two: Clean the candle container. I would suggest using a paper towel or rag you don’t want to use again for this part. Use the paper towel/ rag to wipe out as much leftover wax bits as possible, and then dispose of it. Next add some washing up liquid into the container, boil enough hot water in the kettle, and pour the water into the container. Leave it to sit for a while, then rinse out. This method is most effective with soy and rapeseed wax, and you may need to use a bit more elbow grease for paraffin and beeswax to get the glass fully cleaned. Re-use or recycle the container, depending on your preferences.

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Devotional Tip: reminders

If you have a chronic illness that affects the memory, or even if you’re a busy person who gets caught up in other things easily, a little reminder can be a valuable tool for devotions. It’s not that devotions and our Deities aren’t important to us, but sometimes the mind (or memory) just doesn’t cooperate.

As a way to help myself I have made a little sign to leave out for Saturdays or Sundays – my usual offerings days – and other times I know I want to do special prayers and offerings, or to give thanks.

(c) Michelle G, Northern Tamarisk, 2018

Equinox 2018 poem

Happy Equinox, everyone. May Winter’s pall make way for Spring’s more inviting shawl.

As it looked through the haze
The Sun saw it then;
The seed was a seed no more,
But with Spring’s eyes
It had shed its disguise
And was coming at last
Into bloom.
Out at last
From Winter’s gloom.

(c) Michelle G, Northern Tamarisk, 2018

Shared: Tattooing in Ancient Nubia by Nile Scribes

This is an interesting read for anyone interested in Ancient Egyptian and Nubian history, as well as those interested in tattoos in general. The article is short but talks about different styles, symbolism, tools and pigments used.

Egyptologists previously believed that tattoos carried a fertility or erotic significance and applied only to women in ancient Egypt — a belief that is now challenged by these new findings. Friedman points out that the wild bull was a symbol of male potency in ancient Egypt… They suggest that ‘Gebelein Woman’s’ tattoos, on the other hand, may indicate “ceremonial or ritual” involvement based on their similarities to motifs on Predynastic ceramics, figurines, and a tattoo from the late New Kingdom (1,539-1,077 BC).

You can read the full article here:
http://nilescribes.org/2018/03/10/scribal-spotlight-tattooing-in-ancient-nubia/