Shielding is a skill that all magickal practitioners and energy workers should know and require proficiency in. Shielding Basics will give you the groundwork required to gain that proficiency. We will be discussing visualization, several type of basic shields, how to empower an object to act as shield, and how to maintain your shield.
This class will be held via Zoom. Link and course materials will be sent after sign up/purchase. Please be certain to include your email.
Weekly Oracle Reading-Choice, August 8-14, 2022: A choice must be made this week. This choice has the potential for new growth and the need for balance. Discrimination, intuition, and common sense play a vital role in deciphering needs from whims and wishes. They are worlds apart, so be sure to distinguish what is necessary before taking decisive action. Be still, listen to the guidance of your internal conscience, and in the words of William Shakespeare, “To thine own self be true.”
I am in a constant love/hate relationship with change. On one hand, change is good. It gives us new challenges, new hopes and a much needed change of direction. On the other hand, change is bad. It’s scary, messy and never seems to do what you want. Yet change is inevitable. Without change your life becomes stagnant, boring and well, not much of a life. So what’s a witch to do? How can you cope with change? Can you embrace change without fighting it? Can you use change to your advantage in both your mundane and magickal lives? How do you go about making change your bitch?
We tame change by tackling it piece by piece, starting with its inevitability. Let’s start by taking a moment to think about the statement “The only constant in life is change.” This tells us that nothing stands still. Not time, not the Universe, not you. And because we are always in a state of movement (even when we relax, we move) we are constantly changing. Changing ourselves and the environment around us without consciously knowing we are doing so. A shift on the couch cushions changes the shape of the area. A new puppy changes the dynamic in your home. That new job you’ve worked so hard to get. It is changing entire portions of your life. When you look at change as natural, normal, the scariness goes away.
Making Change Work For You
Change is messy. It always seems to muck up your day or throw you a curve ball at the wrong time. So, how can we make change work for us, make it our bitch? I’ve talked about how change is a constant. However, the way a change occurs can be manipulated, made to work for us. As an example: There is a new manager at work. The change has been hard for everyone because the new manager is shaking things up, letting people go and causing disharmony. You need to keep your job and learn to get along with this individual but you don’t care for them at all. How can you make this change work for you?
Since this is a blog primarily about witchcraft, I would cast to “sweeten” the change. Send a bit of sugar to the new manager by baking a batch of magick filled cookies. Or better yet, cupcakes with sigils drawn in lemon juice on the paper wrappers, designed to sweeten and aid the manager to play well with others. Not a witch or magickal practitioner? The sweets will still work – just add extra love or prayers into the batter with the same intentions.
You get the idea. Work with the change, not against it. Stand up to change and show it who’s boss. Mold it, bend it into the change you desire – not just an arbitrary happening. Yes, change is inevitable but it doesn’t have to work against you. Change can be your friend, your ally. But when it is misbehaving – conquer it.
Embracing Your Bitch
We now come to the truly difficult part, embracing change in all her glory. We’ve learned that change is constant and doesn’t need to be scary. We’ve talked about how to manipulate and mold change. The next step, embracing change, is ultimately the most difficult. Why? Because we have been trained to fight change and not to really look at and understand it. As mentioned before, change is scary. We try running from it to only find that it is running with you. Stop running. Stand firm, breathe, and open your arms wide to change. Yes, it may knock you over a time or two, but you’ll bounce back up. Change is like that.
Making change your bitch isn’t easy. But it can and must be done in order to lessen our anxieties about the processes of change. By opening your arms wide and embracing change instead of fleeing from it, change loses its death grip on your psyche. The fear and anxious feelings have no place to fester and grow when you accept change and the possibilities it brings. Think about how much better you will feel by letting change happen or by knowing that you can make change work for you. Realize the freedom in change, the infinite potential change holds. Who’s your bitch now?
The next time change knocks on your door, open it and give that change a big hug. Or maybe give it a make-over so the change looks and fits better into your life. Change is constant, inevitable, and it will always be there. Why not learn to love that bitch and make her your best pal. Imagine the possibilities then.
Spring is finally here and in the California Central valley it is planting time. Part Two of our “The Witches Garden” series will discuss some of the ins and outs of planting our garden. From soil and amendments, to placing our seeds and tender plants into their pots and plots, let’s get our witches garden planted!
In Part One we decided what type of plants we wished to add to our gardens. We discussed the pros and cons of seeds versus purchased plants. Today I will walk you through both planting seeds and transplanting nursery seedlings. Let us begin by making sure we have the optimal bed for our new plants by looking at soil and fertilizers.
Soil for The Witches Garden
If you are going to be planting in raised beds or pots you will need to purchase a good quality, organic soil. Prices and quality vary greatly from area to area but I would suggest you purchase a soil that includes a combination of the following ingredients:
Sphagnum Peat Moss
I love using “Happy Hippie Mix”. It is contains all of the above ingredients along with a few more. While not technically organic, it is pretty darn close. It does not contain any added fertilizers so I am able to add in the organic types that work best for me. As always, when in doubt as to the correct soil, check with your local garden center professional.
When planting in-ground, preparing your plot is key. I could spend an entire book going over how to dig and prepare your beds for planting. However, there are three key areas I’d like to mention:
Digging your rows: Make certain that when digging your rows that they are deep enough for the type of plant you will add. Root vegetables need deep, loose soil in their beds – around 12 inches. Most herbs and leafy greens only require about 6 inches of depth to grow strong and healthy.
Soil conditions: Check the labels on your plants for the preferred soil conditions. Do they like the soil moist or dry? Do they require a special PH to grow properly? Do they prefer sandy, loamy or dense soil?
Amendments: Depending on your soil conditions you may need to add amendments such as peat moss, vermiculite, or even a bag or two of potting mix, to get your soil soft and ready to plant.
Adding Fertilizer for a Successful Start
After testing the PH levels (kits are available at garden centers) and checking what the optimal soil conditions for your plants are, you will need to “feed” your soil by adding some fertilizer. To begin, I would suggest an all-purpose organic fertilizer be added to your raised beds and plots.
Sprinkle your fertilizer into your pots, raised beds and garden plots according to the directions. Till it in thoroughly and then give it a good watering. If possible, let it sit overnight so the fertilizer has a good chance to begin its work on the soil.
Some plants such as blueberries, grapes and specialty flowers will require individual fertilizers to optimize their health. I have special food/fertilizer for my camellias, fruit trees, blueberries and orchids. When in doubt what type to use on your plants check the internet. Google has a wealth of information on gardening to help you out.
Getting Your Hands Dirty – Planting
Now comes the fun part – getting our hands dirty and planting. Before you begin you will need to gather a few supplies and tools:
Pots and/or containers: Choose a pot or container that will give your plants room to grow. It should be of sufficient depth for the plants root system, should drain well (you may have to drill some additional holes in the bottom) and be easily moved.
A small hand trowel or shovel for transplanting into raised beds or rows.
Planter row markers for plots, containers and beds.
Permanent marker (to write on your row markers).
Once you have gathered your supplies, head for the beds to start planting. To demonstrate each step, I have planted Calendula seeds in my raised planter.
To begin, I read the directions on the package to determine how deep my seeds need to be planted and then how far apart they need to be for optimal growth. Using my pinky finger, I poked holes into the soil, pushing to just below my first knuckle – about 1/2 inch deep – and made each one about 3 inches apart. I dropped two seeds into each hole. This is because not all seeds may germinate properly so adding in two gives me the best chance of success. I can always thin them out at a later time if necessary.
After I placed the seeds into each depression, I covered them lightly with soil and gave them a good watering. When completed, I marked the bed with a row marker noting the name of the plant. Here, I am using craft sticks as they are inexpensive. I have also opted to cover my seed beds with a mesh material because my yard is a bird haven and they like to eat my seeds. The screen allows the light and water to come through but keeps their little beaks out.
Transplanting Your Nursery Plants
Transplanting is a bit simpler. Again, read the nursery label for instructions as to depth and spacing of your plants. If adding them into containers, try not to overcrowd them. While it can be fun to mix and match varieties into a pretty pot, just give each individual plant some room to grow.
Using your trowel, prepare the bed, row, or pot by digging a hole deep and wide enough to fit the root ball of the plant. Carefully remove your plant from its container by turning it upside down, while holding the plant gently, yet securely, at its base. Tap on the bottom of the pot (and maybe the sides) to release it. Place your plant into the prepared hole. You may need to adjust the depth by removing or adding soil to the bottom until the plant is in the correct position. Fill around the root ball with soil, covering it completely. Your plant should sit securely, the soil no higher than its first set of leaves. Give it a good drink, place a marker and you are done!
Enjoy Your Witches Garden
Your planting is done and you can sit back and watch your garden grow. But your work doesn’t stop here. In our next installment we will talk about maintaining your Witches Garden – keeping it growing strong, healthy and beautiful. So go on. Go get your hands dirty and plant away.
Scrolling through my Instagram page I see another post showcasing someone’s spell work. It’s a beautiful shot of an altar with all the trappings of another spell in progress. As I look closer at the picture, I feel it, a sharp sting to my subconscious. Hard as I may try, I can’t fight the feeling, the feeling of a little bit of witch envy.
Yep. I said it. Witch envy is alive and well in this psyche. It shouldn’t be, but it’s there, lurking in the shadows. But why is it there? What is this crazy witch envy that sneaks up on me from time to time?
Witch envy is what rears its ugly head when I feel that another practitioner is being more productive than I am. They seem to be doing more spells, have fancier altars, or appear more “witchy” than I am feeling at that moment. Yes, it seems ridiculous to feel this way and it is showcasing some of my worst insecurities. But there it is, popping up at the strangest moments.
Is there a valid reason for this feeling? Yes. No. Not really. It’s not as if I’m envious of their success or their work. Matter of fact it is just the opposite. I am very proud of all that they are doing and the fact that they are confident enough to share their workings with others. So why the twinge?
Why the Witch Envy?
I’ve been asking myself that question all day, hence the blog post. Having been practicing for more than 20 years I no longer find the need to do spells for each and every little thing (not to question the validity of anyone else doing such). Currently, I am at the point in my life that I do spells and rituals for what I call “the big stuff.” Sabbats, holy days for my Goddess, and for things I greatly desire. I live the magick each and every day, creating and manifesting through deed and thought. So why do these postings bring out the green-eyed monster?
Insecurity is the root cause. Am I doing enough with my Craft? Do I practice enough? Could I be doing more? Yes, I teach, I blog and write about witchcraft each and every day. I create and share spells, rituals and my “magickal moments.” Yet I still often feel insecure, like I am forgetting something important. When I see these posts it highlights that feeling of insecurity, of not doing enough.
Weird, right? I am a successful, powerful woman and witch yet I still feel insecure. Does anyone else feel the same way? Sure they do. Is it okay to have these feelings, this envy and longing? Yes it is. But it’s what we do when we feel that witch envy that makes us the witch, the practitioner, we want to be. If we come from a place of love and introspection then we can begin to understand why these feelings of envy are manifesting. We then have the opportunity of growing from the experience.
Growing from our Witch Envy
How can we grow from our feelings of witch envy? I can’t speak for everyone but for me it’s breaking down why I felt envious and then putting a plan into action to alleviate the feeling. In this particular case, I’m writing this blog as an exploration of the feelings. You, however, may take a different tact.
Perhaps this feeling is telling you that something is missing from your Craft. If so, make plans to find the missing pieces and start putting them into place. Doing something physical and tangible often replaces the feelings of envy with determination or accomplishment. Going to your favorite magickal store or website for a new item to update and enhance your altar will chase that envy away quickly. Creating a new ritual or spell can move you our of envy and into action.
Envy is not a negative emotion if it brings about positive change and progress. Instead, envy can be our helpmate, our good friend that kicks us in the ass and tells us to do something with ourselves. A little bit of witch envy may be just the ticket to kick starting a new chapter in our Craft.
So, the next time you feel a twinge, or start seeing green, remember to use that feeling to your advantage. You may be surprised at what you can accomplish with a little bit of witch envy.
For many in the Pagan community, Imbolc is upon us. Imbolc is the spoke of the Wheel of the Year when we acknowledge the return of the light. In many parts of the world the earth has begun to stir. Tiny shoots are breaking through the soil and reaching towards the strengthening sun, casting tiny shadows upon the earth. We too, are stretching, awakening, beginning to look forward to the longer days and shorter nights. This is the time of new beginnings and of giving birth to new ideas. With the light returning our minds stir and stretch, sloughing off the hibernation mode of deep winter. It is during this time of growing illumination when we may find ourselves seeing our own shadows.
While the world shakes off its slumber, we work to clear away the sleep from our psyches. The mind fogs of winter start to clear and we find ourselves looking forward to planting the seeds of new ideas and goals. Yet we find that there are shadows lurking in the liminal. We catch glimpses of the dark, unwanted parts of ourselves we wish to ignore and hide. Deep inside the spaces between the burgeoning light and winter’s darkness the shadows await our acknowledgement. Until we do we cannot move forward, cannot grow as enlightened beings. But what are the shadows? Where do they come from and what can we do about them?
Seeing our Shadows for what they are.
The shadows are our roots of pain, anger, guilt, resentment, and doubt, the things we least like about ourselves. They are the things we don’t wish see so we ignore them. hide them. We relegate them to the shadows where they lurk, popping out at the most inopportune moments. But they don’t stay down for long, manifesting themselves as fear, paranoia, mistrust and hate. What we must do is see our shadows as the roots of who we are and what we shall become, not as some hideous beast to lock away. When we take the time to step inside ourselves and flick on the light we allow ourselves to see our shadows for what they are, our allies. Then, and only then, can we begin to grow again.
How do we go about seeing our shadows? What does it take to make them our friend and ally? Time, meditation, introspection and quite often, a good therapist or counselor. Your shadows have been there a long time. They are not going to reveal themselves in a day, or two, or even a year. As witches and magickal practitioners we know that facing our shadows is a life-long process. As one shadow fades into the light another may take its place. Only with diligence, commitment and the help of others will the shadows give us their names. Once identified we can summon them, grab hold and embrace them, allowing for reintegration and healing. Tamed, a shadow changes from nemesis to ally, becoming our assistant in planting the seeds of renewal.
Facing our Shadows
All of us have to make the conscious choice to meet our shadows head on, to face our fears. It is not easy seeing our own shadows. It can be very uncomfortable and often downright nasty. But unlike Punxsutawney Phil on Groundhog Day, seeing our shadows will not prognosticate six more weeks of a winter in our souls. Quite the contrary, facing our shadows allows the light in and spring to return. By uncovering the roots of our struggles, cleaning away the old soil and tending to them, we have made viable what once lay dormant. When we allow the light to show us our worse, we can put a name to it and see it as an ally, a friend. Now, we can begin to plant those roots where they belong, in the light of our being.
Our shadows, no longer a threat, become tamed, a helpmate. That which was shadow ceases to exist as such. Transmuted, integrated, they now become a vital part of who we are, working with us instead of fighting against us. As the Sun continues to grow in strength so shall you, warmed by the knowledge that you have survived another winter of the soul. Your shadows dispelled, you can now move forward, sowing the seeds of possibilities along your way (read more about possibilities here).
During this season of renewal, beginnings, and the waxing light, make a choice to find yourself, face those bits and pieces of yourself that need tending to. Take a deep breath, reach inside yourself, flick on the switch and search for those shadows. At times the work will be difficult, sweaty and gritty, but the benefits are worth the fight. When your spring does arrive, all that you’ve sown, planted and nurtured will dispel the shadows, allowing room for change and possibilities to blossom.
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