Everyday Witchcraft: Simple Steps for Magical Living

Fun, simple, and easy ways to integrate your spiritual beliefs as a Pagan with your everyday life.

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Deborah Blake

Deborah Blake

Deborah Blake is the author of Everyday Witch Book of Rituals (Llewellyn 2012), Witchcraft on a Shoestring (Llewellyn, 2010) as well as The Everyday Witch A to Z Spellbook (2010) and several other books. She lives in a 100-year-old farmhouse in upstate New York with five cats who supervise all her activities, both magickal and mundane.

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The Hibernation Vacation

I haven't taken a real vacation in years.

 

I've gone to a fair amount of conventions and conferences, including Pantheacon (a big Pagan convention in San Jose), RWA National conference in NYC, and a few smaller writing conferences. These trips are a blast--I get to meet up with other folks in the business, spend time with people I never get to see otherwise (like my Llewellyn editor Elysia Gallo and my agent Elaine Spencer, and lots of writer pals), learn new things, give workshops and presentations, and eat way too much yummy food. These trips are definitely fun, and a great change of pace from my regular life, but make no mistake: they're work, not a vacation.

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The Gift of an Hour of Joy- Brigid’s Cauldron of Creativity

We just finished celebrating Imbolc, so I have been thinking a bit about Brigid, the Celtic goddess who is most commonly associated with the Sabbat. Brigid is a triple fire goddess, known for her patronage of the fires of the forge, the fires of the hearth, and the fires of creativity. In the middle of cold winter, all that warmth is truly welcome!

It’s the creativity part that’s my focus today. After all, creativity is important—it feeds the soul and nourishes the spirit. One might even argue that it is one of the elements that makes us human. Certainly a spark of creativity makes us more well rounded people, and allows us to express our inner selves, or to relax and let go a little.

The problem is, many of us don’t take the time to be creative. We have all those things to do: people depending on us, jobs that won’t wait, work, cooking, cleaning, kids or animals or significant others making demands on our time and energy. Sometimes creativity feels a little too much like playing hooky. We don’t have time to just stop and have fun.

Or do we? I think it’s vital to feed our own fires, or in the end, we burn out and don’t have anything to give to anyone. (And if you can’t do it any other way, try sharing the hour with your family, and have everyone do something creative!)

I’m as guilty of this as most people are. Don’t get me wrong—I do creative things all the time. After all, I make part of my living from writing and jewelry making, both creative endeavors. The problem here is that they ARE part of my living, and hence, work, not play. I enjoy doing them both, but because they’re work, they don’t really count as relaxation and down time. Creativity needs, in part, to be an escape from the rest of our lives. So I’ve decided to make the time to do something else occasionally. Something creative that isn’t work. Something…dare I say it…fun.

Here’s what I’m going to do, and I’m hoping a few of you will try it to, and come back here to tell me if it works for you.

I’m using a small cast iron cauldron, since the cauldron is one of Brigid’s symbols, but you could use any bowl or dish you happen to have handy. Or even treat yourself to something new and special, just for this.

In the cauldron, I am going to put a number of slips of paper. Each one of them is going to have the name of some form of creative activity that I enjoy. I might even put in a few that I’ve been meaning to try out, and haven’t gotten to (you know—because I was too busy WORKING). My cauldron slips are going to include things like the following: paint a picture, write a poem, learn a chord on the guitar, learn to spin,  learn to crochet (again), sew something, put on music and dance for no reason. There might even be a few options that are a little less creative, but more about just relaxing: take a bath with a book, meditate, do a picture puzzle.

The main point is that I will be gifting myself with a space in time that isn’t about work, or achieving something concrete, or pleasing someone else. Brigid’s cauldron will give me the gift of time spent at play, something many of us forget to do as we get older.

Your cauldron may have completely different thing written on its slips of paper, depending on which creative things excite you: journaling, drawing, knitting, singing, playing a musical instrument, decorating things around the house—whatever makes you happy.

I’m going to start by committing myself to an hour, once a week. That doesn’t seem like much, but it’s a start. And you can do that too, I’m sure. One hour a week, as a gift to yourself. You’re worth it. Don’t believe me? Just ask Brigid, and I’m sure she’d say the same.

And if you feel like it, I’d love it if you come back here and tell me what things you’ve put on the papers in your cauldron—and then tell me what you ended up doing and how it made you feel.

Let’s all dive into Brigid’s cauldron of creativity together, and let Her fire spark a flame in our own spirits…no matter how cold it might be outside.

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How Being Pagan Cured My Winter Blues

I have lived in upstate New York my entire life. For the most part, I love it here. I love the changing seasons and the beauty of the rolling hills. What I don’t love so much is winter—probably not a good thing in an area where the first snow often falls at Halloween, and it isn’t unheard of for it to snow in the middle of April. Essentially, of the twelve months in a year, five of them are winter. That’s a long freaking time if you don’t like that particular season.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Janet Boyer
    Janet Boyer says #
    You're most welcome, Deborah. Yes, it's actually a variant of SAD, if you can believe it! http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/seaso
  • Deborah Blake
    Deborah Blake says #
    Thanks Janet! The summer blues, eh? Well, I do find the summer energy overwhelming sometimes, so I guess I can see how it would b
  • Janet Boyer
    Janet Boyer says #
    What a great post, Deborah! I don't have winter SAD (my husband does), but SUMMER SAD (if you can believe it). The symptoms are a

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I have a confession to make: Christmas is not my holiday. Never has been. I grew up Jewish, and the only time I ever celebrated Christmas was the couple of years I was married, way back in the 1980's. And these days, as a Pagan who runs an artists' cooperative shop (and sells her jewelry there), I am mostly just grateful that it isn't my holiday, so I don't have to feel guilty about focusing all my energy on making money...

This doesn't mean I don't celebrate at all, though. Every year, my group Blue Moon Circle gets together for a Yule dinner party at my house. We don't do a ritual, so it is a "safe" time for people to bring the husband who isn't comfortable with witchcraft, or the kids who don't sit still well. We usually invite a pagan-friendly friend or two, as well. BMC is really one big family anyway, so for us it is a time to gather as an extended tribe and enjoy being together and celebrating the light in the midst of the darkness.

We always have a big feast. Everyone brings a dish to share, all of them made with love (and no little cooking talent). Unlike the post-ritual feasts we normally have at the other sabbats, where we tend to sit around the living room with paper plates on our knees, we actually put all the leaves in the dining room table and sit down together. There are often over a dozen of us, so it can be kind of crowded, but nobody minds.

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Simple Samhain Rites

I love this time of year. Where I live, here in upstate New York, the summer’s heat has given way to autumn’s chill, the leaves are shifting into colorful hues of yellow, orange, and red, and the farmer’s markets are filled with pumpkins ready to be carved.

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  • Deborah Blake
    Deborah Blake says #
    Thanks! It's a great idea...and then you get to eat it, too!
  • Hunter Liguore
    Hunter Liguore says #
    Insightful... love cooking those ancestor dishes!

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I talked in my first post about the importance of integrating our spiritual beliefs as Pagans with our everyday mundane lives. Most of the Witches and Pagans I know strive to do just that. I also think most of us struggle to find the time and energy to do so, when we are already overwhelmed by our busy, hectic existence and our obligations to others. Certainly I wrestle with this dilemma: how do I find the space and time to practice my Craft when I barely have time to eat and sleep? (And forget having a social life or taking a vacation. Vaca-what?)

 

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  • Theresa Wymer
    Theresa Wymer says #
    That's what I do on a daily basis, and it works really well. I think it's not a bad idea, whatever your spiritual beliefs.

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After I'd been practicing The Craft for a while, I noticed that there were a few folks who stood out from the others, people that seemed to me to epitomize the essence of what it meant to be a Witch. The why of this puzzled me for a long time; they weren't necessarily the most successful, the most famous, or the most powerful. So what was it about these few individuals that made me look at them and think, "That's the kind of Witch I wish I could be"?

Eventually it came to me: these Witches, who all seemed somehow more centered, more in touch with spirit, more present in their own lives (which is not to be confused with being happy all the time, by any means)—they all walked their talk. Whether they were famous authors or the hypnotherapist who taught me tarot reading, they all walked their talk, all day, every day.

What I mean by this is that they had found ways to integrate their spiritual beliefs as Wiccans/Witches/Pagans with their everyday mundane lives. Once I'd figured it out, I began to try to do the same. Over the years, I'd like to think I have made a fair amount of progress along this path, although as with everything else, there is always room for improvement.

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  • karen bowman
    karen bowman says #
    thanks so much so glad u are on kindle!can't wait for new book blessed be
  • Deborah Blake
    Deborah Blake says #
    All five of my books are out on Kindle, and the new one coming in October will be too. In fact, we have a mini-ebook coming this m
  • karen bowman
    karen bowman says #
    deb can't wait hope u do the 5 min rituals in the next couple of blogs. on the subject of embraceing my crone does one of your b

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