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The Morrigan by Dan Goodfellow 2014 www.dangoodfellow,co.ukThere's no doubt about it- we live in modern, changing times, when the old religious power structures and dogmas of the past are being rapidly over turned and quite rightfully, often treated with disdain. That's good. Free thinking, and free expression are wonderful things and we should be grateful that we can on the whole, in the West at least, practice our spirituality freely, according to our own ideas and inner promptings. There shouldn't be a problem with that- should there?

Well, sadly, there is sometimes. With the power to be our own clergy, comes responsibility, or the consequences for the lack of it.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Secret Heart of Samhain

I was picking apples one afternoon. I'd worked my way down the row into the oldest part of the orchard when suddenly, for just a moment, I began to wonder if somehow, like some character in a story, I had stumbled out of this world and into Another.

I don't know how much you know about apple trees. They say that originally they came to this world from the Other World. Whatever the truth of that may be, what I can tell you about the apple trees of this world is that they always bear flowers first; then come leaves, and later fruit. There's never a time when they bear all three at once. In this, they are said to be unlike the orchards of the Land of Youth, which in fact do just that. The undying trees of that Land, so they say, bear flower and leaf and fruit at once, all at a time, together.

And that's just what I saw in the orchard that day.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_140528-MUSHROOM-FAIRY.jpg        I awake to the bright sunshine of an early September morn and as I yawn and stretch ready to start the day, a chill in the air makes me shudder. Ah yes, the sun is still shining, but here is a definite reminder that the seasons are about to change. I pull back the curtains to chastise the crows who so noisily woke me and am greeted by an opaque film of condensation upon the window. Autumn is here. 

        I trundle toward the wooden gate at the bottom of my garden swinging my basket in eager anticipation of the bounty I am about fill it with. Big red juicy hawthorn berries beckon me enticingly and I think of the tincture I will make with them, good for the heart and the soul and my stock for the coming year. Huge plump orangey rose hips lay in wait by their side and my mouth waters at the thought of the sweet, sticky syrup they will become. I add huge purple  berries from the elder tree and my arsenal of herbal remedies, ready to beat the Winter blues is nearly complete.

       Lavender pink wands of loosestrife wave me on by as I continue my medicinal harvest and I notice how the branches are drooping from the drought of a long hot Summer.

       Geese fly in formation overhead and I marvel at the sight, like a spear piercing the blue sky, intent on its target, home they fly. I trip and stumble and giggle to myself as I look down to find the empty shells of acorns strewn all around me, evidence indeed that I am not the only one on a mission to fill my larder. Little holes in the ground where squirrels have been busily hiding their nuts and others have been digging them up.
And there, just there, I spot a most perfect ring of tiny mushrooms, hundreds of them just crowning above the blades of grass.
 b2ap3_thumbnail_140604-appletree.jpg
           I return to my garden to pick the Bramley apples that have fallen to the ground and on my way a handful of blackberries fall into my basket. A crumble is in the making. As I bend to gather the apples I notice how the lawn is covered with tiny hammocks of cobwebs all glistening in the early sun, rocking gently on the breeze. I hail to the fairy folk who have slept there.

         Cobwebs everywhere hanging from branches and twigs, the handle of the spade I left in the flower bed, from flower to flower, everywhere, cobwebs.  They trap the early morning light in a canvas of magical crystal like artwork and I am drawn closer, enchanted by their magic. So pure. So fragile.

      I prepare the apples for the crumble and marvel at how they can turn from firm slices to powdery fluffy puree in an instant, just as you turn your back for a moment and something moves just out of vision on the wall above the aga. 


b2ap3_thumbnail_140530-spider-1.jpg


         

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  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    Yikes I just saw that spider in my bathroom and when I tried to shake in out from the glass and the envelope, it stuck to the enve

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Worshipping Water Without Waste

We've all heard the advice about how to conserve water, especially during the summer months when drought and brush fires hit even the Pacific Northwest.  Water conservation is incredibly important and intrinsic to all of life on this planet.  For those of us who work with Water as a spiritual aspect of our paths, practicing water worship can sometimes leave one feeling guilty.

So, how do we honor Water without wasting it?

We start by honoring methods of conservation to preserve what is sacred.  We also must be mindful as we perform rituals to use only as much as we need, and show our gratitude at every step.

These are a mix of familiar, practical ways of working with water, as well as spiritual ones.

1. Showering.  If you're like me, stepping into a shower is invigorating, and if I'm not paying attention to my actions, or I'm not in a rush, I feel a strong urge to stay in the water and be embraced by its fluid arms.  Thankfully, I spent a few of my formative years in California, where water conservation is drilled into the heads of middle schoolers several times a year.  Unless you're especially dirty or have an illness that demands staying in the water longer, showers can be kept three minutes (my daily target) or up to five minutes in length.

When starting up the shower, it's recommended you collect the cool water in a bucket or bin while waiting for the water to get hot, and while it's great on a garden or to water your plants, it's also excellent for any divination work, blessings, or other water work you're planning on doing that day.

2. Baths. Whether you clean or just soak in a bath, make it count.  Plug up the drain as soon as you start, turning on the hot water only until it gets hot, then begin to adjust the cold water.  If it's too hot, turn down the hot water rather than turn up the cold.  Fill the tub only to the amount you need.  Use this time in a tub to meditate, cast spells based on water, or give thanks to the water beings, gods, or goddesses with whom you manifest intention.  A bath oil at the end of the bath will help seal in the water you've enjoyed, and continue its blessings.

I use my bath soaks primarily for self-healing work.  I add epsom salts, herbs, or oils depending on what I need.  Mugwort, steeped as a tea for two hours ahead of time, is an excellent addition for women needing to balance their hormones and regulate menstrual cycles.  It's very cleansing, and if you have tea left over, it's good for a once-a-month lucid dreaming session when drunk at night.  For women needing an after birth soak, or if you're a person who suffers from cysts or tears in your pelvic floor, a postpartum sitz herbal bath* is incredibly beneficial.  When healing in the tub, I ground, open chakras, and then perform Reiki on the affected areas that need the most healing.

3. Kitchen Rituals.  The water you drink each day is a blessing in itself.  Before taking the first sip of each glass, take a moment to thank the water and to put into it the intentions for healing, continued health, or ritual.  I recommend avoiding bottled water, as its production and consumption wastes water, harms global and local ecologies, and often harms the people living near bottled water plants by destroying local aquifers.  If you find your tap water unpalatable, add a filter to your faucet, keep a water filtration pitcher (add mineral rocks for an extra boost), or add fresh fruit and herbs** to your water pitcher for a hint of flavor.

Any kitchen witchery that uses water from boiling to washing should employ basic conservation methods: save water after straining, left over teas, etc. for watering plants.  If your ritual or meal left a bath of broth, freeze it for soup or reduce into a magical sauce. (Don't forget to sing while you cook!)  The glass of water in the image was used to water my indoor plants after its intended use; remember to give back to the earth or a nearby stream as often as you're able.

When cleaning your ritual tools, set aside a bin or half sink for soaking, to minimize water waste.

4. Gardening.  From shower and kitchen come rich water that can be used to tend your garden.  Pay attention to what might have mixed into the water in question and use where most beneficial: you don't want to use a broth that came from peppers in the same soil where you're growing them!  Also, save your cooking water for outdoors, or you might have odors you didn't expect.  Your shower water is better for indoor plants.