I’ve been thinking of doing something like this for a while. I love experimenting with herbs, oils, salts, waters and crystals. I’ve been working on different cleansing bath variations for a couple of months now and I have a couple of favourites. While they help I also wanted something I could keep in place as protective charms.
I have my own dried Hawthorn and Sloe berries from our garden, and mum had some Hawthorn tea bags she didn’t want, so I rummaged through my herbal chest to see what felt right. With a bit of guidance from Loki I now have four little protective pouches. It feels great to be engaging with my Witchy side again after she’s been mostly dormant for the last few years.
A contradictory title? If, like me, you’re currently ‘exploring’ the Underworld it may make more sense. My journey into the Underworld began in February, on the day my brother flew back to America. It was like some energy that had been stirred within when he arrived was suddenly unleashed by his departure. You see, in our family my brother is the trailblazer, the independent spirit who tries to shake us up and convince us to leave our safe cocoons. The Gods seem to be in agreement.
During this Underworld journey I have been in the dark about so many things. One after another old constructs, things and people I once held dear, and my safety net have been ripped away. While painful and sometimes terrifying in the empty potential they leave behind it has been my Shadow Self that has repeatedly reared its head.
Just when I feel I can catch my breath yet another dark, unlovable part of my Self arises, hungry for attention. Because I’ve pushed them down for so long, ignored or denied them, they have chosen very visible ways to make themselves known to me – most notably in communication with others.
While I like to believe I’m a good, honourable, ‘light’ individual I have had to face up to the fact that I can also – on occasion – be a darker, selfish, judgemental person. Not often, but boy have those Selves made themselves known in the last few weeks.
Yes, my Shadow Selves are having a field day, rearing their heads like those whack-a-mole games you see at fairs or the pier. Continue reading
For those of us with limited energy reserves or physical capabilities it can sometimes be difficult to do devotions. So I thought I’d share a few things that have helped in my own practice.
- Have some sort of visible ritual calendar so you don’t forget important dates. If your calendar has large enough daily sections write the dates on in a different colour to normal entries. A wipe-board is also useful for this purpose, especially if you want to write notes of supplies or ideas for rituals and prayers. If you have to be in bed a lot have this where you can see it clearly.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself if you can’t do the devotions! Just talk to Them, apologise for not being able to do the devotions, but tell Them that you still honour and love Them.
- Say good morning and goodnight to Them. It’s a simple greeting but brings Them into your daily life even if you’re not able to do devotions.
- Usually cleansing of some sort is appropriate when entering the sacred space of the shrine or devotional area. If you don’t have the energy to wash, or the focus to mentally cleanse, make up an aura spray for that purpose. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy; just water and some salt in a spray bottle is a good start. You can add more ingredients if you wish to. Use before devotions or when you want to talk to Them about anything specific or important.
- If you can manage nothing else try to put a glass of water out for Them. It is a basic offering but shows you’re committed and making an effort.
Our garden is filled with so many beautiful plants and trees, but my heart was captured this Autumn by our Hawthorns. They live at the very top, acting as a boundary between us and the field behind.
In folklore lone Hawthorns are said to be connected to Fairies. They have white flowers and red berries, and anything red and white was often linked to the Fair Folk. Animals like cattle and hounds with red and white markings were associated with them. Hawthorns were often used as field boundaries, like ours, and so can have a protective element. Because of the white summer blossom they are also referred to as Whitethorns. Ours do have thorns but not many. Perhaps they’re friendlier and don’t feel threatened.
In my previous post I listed a few ideas of how to connect with the Deities on Valentine’s Day. One of these was through the medium of food, so here are a few suggestions of my own. Some may seem fairly obvious, but others are a play on attributes, words, or just a bit of tongue-in-cheek fun. I wanted them to be items you could just quickly nip to the shops and find, although obviously this depends on your location, your local shops and country.
Don’t take them too seriously, and I apologise especially to Tyr, and any of his followers for the crisps recommendation – I just couldn’t resist. Hopefully He and you will forgive me!
The symbol of a snake biting its own tail is prominent in Norse mythology. Many associate Jormungand with Ragnarok and the end of the worlds, but this is not the whole story.
While watching Countryfile in December 2015 I was fascinated by a report on boars in the Forest of Dean. Years ago some escaped from enclosures and have now colonised the woods. There is some debate about whether wild boars should be reintroduced to certain areas of Britain.
It made me think of Freyr’s boar Gullinbursti. Boars are tenacious creatures, hardy and good at foraging for food; quite a fitting companion for a God whose grain and bounty has to keep people going during the lean Winter months.
If you are devoted to Freyr, or wish to work closely with him, perhaps looking into conservation or reintroduction of the wild boar will be appreciated.
Countryfile episode: The Peaks – December 13th 2015
This morning I dreamed I caused a solar eclipse purely by willing it. It seems an appropriate symbol for Samhain – the nights are growing darker quicker, and daylight hours are becoming shorter and ever more precious.
In Norse mythology the wolves Hati and Skol consumed the sun and moon, leaving the worlds in darkness. There are times when we all stumble in the dark, times when we feel our light ahead is blocked off by some unknown force; nothing seems to go to plan. Continue reading
These are some general tips that I have found useful when researching.
1) Buy or borrow the hardback versions of books where possible. Their spines are more forgiving, and are easier to leave open. This is especially useful for comparing texts and translations.
2) Use mini indexing sticky notes/ post-its to mark important passages in books. When you write up your notes you can then review whether you really need to write them down. I recommend reading the book all the way through first as sometimes you can come across a more useful passage later on.
3) With Kindle books take advantage of the highlighting system. You can take the notes from ‘My Clippings’ and create a new document, then review and edit as you see fit. Save the new document and print off.
4) If you have the book or article at home don’t tell yourself you have a set time in the day when you have to do your research unless you really have no other option. Using the index-sticky method I often find I can read through research material better at night. I then write up the notes in the daytime.
5) Use the library, especially for rare and more expensive books. Even if your local library service doesn’t have a copy of the book you’re looking for they can often borrow one from elsewhere. They may charge a small fee, but it’s well worth it and costs less than buying the books yourself. In some cases, unless you are part of a university or academic body, you cannot get hold of a book. In this instance the library inter-loan service is vital. It is thanks to this service I am currently reading ‘The Problem of Loki’ by Jan de Vries; there is no copy available to buy, at any price, and I am not part of a university or academic body.
I hope these tips provide some food for thought.