Getting ready for Samhain

I wrote this for 2 reasons” 1) To help those who are new to the craft understand Samhain and 2) to serve as a conversation piece for those who have been long practicing. I’m feeling good about Samhain this year!

 

Every October I feel a new surge of energy- something that makes me feel extra “witchy.” Part of me believes that it is the crisp, cool weather that breathes life into me… Another part of me thinks it is all the Halloween décor for sale. Regardless of why I get that surge of feeling, I believe that all other witchy people feel it, too. Whether or not you have been practicing the craft for many years now or you are just beginning to dip you toes into these waters, Samhain is a wonderful time of the year to connect to your spiritual path.

When is Samhain?

In the northern hemisphere, traditionally, it is November 1st, but the celebration often began after sunset on October 31st. For our southern hemisphere companions, Samhain is celebrated on May 1st. For my own practice, I celebrate on Halloween.

Why do we celebrate Samhain?

Samhain, meaning summer’s end, is the last of the three harvest holidays. The leaves are changing color, our fields are producing the last of their crops, and we are beginning to move forward into longer and cooler nights- officially propelling us into the dark half of the year.  Additionally, we believe that the veil between the living and the spirit world is at its thinnest, allowing us to honor and reconnect with our ancestors before they move on.

In both respects, it is quite clear that we honor death during this time of year; be it the death of the land and crops or a loved one. However, this celebration isn’t as morbid as some may think! Though we honor those that have passed, we do so by celebrating the life that was once had- It can truly be a happy time.

Symbols of Samhain

Using traditional Samhain colors, herbs, symbols, etc. can help give a boost of energy to your ritual- or at the very least brighten up you altar!

Colors: focus on black, orange, brown, gold

Stones: Onyx, Jet, and Bloodstone

Food and Herbs: Pumpkins, turnips, apples, mugwort, rosemary, garlic, sage, catnip

 

Celebration Ideas

We all celebrate differently, but these are a few ways I like to spend my time leading up to and the day of this holiday.

Make lanterns out of gourds: This is a no brainer- most of us do every year anyways. If you are feeling adventurous, try to make a few smaller “candle holders” out of turnips- the original jock-o-lantern. I’m NOT that adventurous, so I stick to my regular pumpkin. We carve the pumpkins as a family, carving faces into some of them and protective sigils in others. We use pumpkins and other gourds because they are the most durable crop we have available to us around this time of year.

Bake pumpkin seeds: You just carved that pumpkin, right? Waist nothing! Clean and toast your pumpkin seeds as a delicious, family friendly snack. You can also set aside a few seeds to be used in your Samhain ritual- get creative!

Leave baked goods as an offering: If you are planning on celebrating your departed loved ones, make sure to leave a place at the table for them! I make many different recipes of bread and bake apple pies (or any other seasonal baked good that comes to mind) and I be sure to leave enough for any loved ones who may be visiting. I believe it is a good way to show them that I still value them and will always leave a spot in my heart for them.

Revamp your altar: Using traditional Samhain colors and herbs, redo your altar and make it picture perfect for the season. I buy a few of the tiny pumpkins and other squash that are sold at grocery stores and place them all around my altar. I also add a few framed pictures of departed family members to my altar with black and gold ribbon and the name tags of beloved pets who have crossed that rainbow bridge.

Break out your Tarot Cards: Or any other divination tool you might have. Because of the mass amounts of spiritual energy in the air, this is an ideal time to practice divination. Personally, I like using Oracle Cards or my pendulum while holding a pouch of mugwort- an herb that is widely used for its properties in divination.

Get a witches’ broom: Not too long ago, I bought a cheap witch broom from Michaels and decorated it the fabric and ribbon. I use it around this time of year to “Sweep” away any nasty energies that may be lingering around my house.

Play with your kids and family: Go trick or treating, dress up with them, eat too much candy, go to a haunted house, watch the scary movies, etc. Though we honor death this day, we do so my celebrating life- so go live! While I believe that it is important to make time to partake in Samhain rituals, don’t lose sight of the friends and family you have in front of you. Be silly, make memories and laugh with them.

 

Have fun this Halloween!

 

Apple Picking and Magic

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With how much Cody and I have been working, it is rare that the both of us have an evening off together, let alone a whole day… But yesterday both of us were fortunate enough to be off work all day long with one another. Originally, we were talking about doing a lot of much needed shopping, running errands, cleaning house, then making dinner and calling it an early night; practical and boring, but thing that needed to be done.  However, as soon as we woke up and saw what a beautiful day it was, we decided an adventure was in order.

apple-picking-7We got dressed, threw together some snacks, and jumped into the car and set off for Blue Ridge, GA. There is a family run apple orchard there called Mercier, which hosts a “U Pick,” where guests can pay for a bag and pick all the apples they could possibly ask for. Cody and I spent the day in the Orchards and picked more apples than I could ever dream of eating, so I imagine I will be spending the next several days putting  together obscene amounts of baked goods for my loved ones.

With all the time we spent in the orchards, surrounded by the mountains and apples, it was hard to not thing about all the wonderful, magical properties in which the apple possesses and the many ways that you can incorporate said properties into your magical and mundane life.

The magical properties of apples:

  • Health and fertility
  • Financial Abundance
  • Happiness
  • Protection
  • Divination
  • Connecting to the feminine
  • Emotional and romantic love

apple-pickingAs you can see, apples can be used for nearly anything you can possibly imagine, and using apples for these purposes are incredibly easy. For health, bless and apple before you eat it. Add apple seeds to a financial security mojo bag. Bake apple pies for your loved ones. Place apples on your altar to protect and bless it.

As you can imagine, you all will be flooded with magical apple crafts for the next week or so- in fact, as we speak I am waiting for my sweet potato and apple dog treats to come out of the oven, so you will be getting a post on the baking process within the day.

Apples…apples for days. I have a life time of magic laying across my counters at the moment (and at least a week’s worth of baking… at least), so I will leave you here for the moment. I hope you all enjoied your long weekend (if you did indeed have a long weekend).

Be Blessed,
-D

 

What made me come back

anxietyIf you are one of the few who have been with my blog from the beginning, you know that I handle whatever stress or depression that comes my way by cleaning. I’ve been incredibly anxious- from moving, the fire, starting a new job, Cody getting a second job, wedding planning, family issues, and more… well… I’ve been a lunatic. I was (and still am) too stressed and exhausted to do anything more than what I had to, which was pretty much work and vacuum every now and again, leaving my home and my spiritual life in shambles… so I took a break from it. I stopped praying as much as I did before, I threw all my clothes over my altar, things in the house were getting dusty and gross… I guess I was just waiting for the moment when I snap- because I always end up waking up and flipping out at some point… and when that happens, I clean… then the rest falls into place on its own.

 

I have lived in my apartment for about three months now, and I really do love it here. Aside from a hiccup with our counters, and an even bigger hiccup with the fire, this place has become a happy home for Cody and myself. It is spacious, the dogs have plenty of room to frolic, the cats have a tong of large, sunny windows to lay near, and the kitchen is large enough for us to have room to entertain our guest.

As much as I love this home we have made for ourselves, I did take issue with one thing: our guest bedroom. We had a million boxes left over from our storage unit (full of absolute junk, by the way) and no where to put them, so we just kept shoving them in the guest bedroom until we had enough time to sort through them. But we never did… in fact, we kept shoveling even more crap in here until we could barely even open the door. I walked into this room many times with the intention of sorting it out, but ended up abandoning the project before I truly began because it was just so overwhelming to me… too many boxes, so much of it was  Cody’s, it was dusty in, there, there is still no ceiling light so it is a little dusty and dark… I had a ton of excuses to get me out of actually working on this room, so I kept ignoring it and pretending that it wasn’t a problem…
But it was a problem. We chose this apartment because of it’s size, because I wanted an office and a guest room… we are PAYING to have this bedroom available to us, but we can’t utilize this space because we have created an episode of hoarders in here…

A few days ago, I snapped. I needed to get into the second room to find a box of cleaning supplies and had to enter through our guest bathroom because I couldn’t open the door wide enough to fit through. Unfortunately, it was only then that my brain snapped and thought “hey, what is the point of having this extra room if I’m not even going to use it.” I then abandoned whatever project I was originally doing (laundry, maybe?) and decided that this room was going to get cleaned- today.

snowwhite cleaning
My pets didn’t even offer to help…

 

018f0d827adad4fdfbd4535c9573a6a3Many hours went by, and much organization took place- I unpacked almost all of the boxes and made three piles to sort them into: throw away, donate, and keep. I was shocked by how little I actually chose to keep, and I think the local church that regularly accepts donations was very pleased with how much I had to bring to them. I spent four hours in my room before I came to a stop and the difference is astounding. Aside from two boxes that are stacked neatly in the corner, this room is completely functional now. We have our Disney art hanging up on the wall, Cody’s comics and CD collection on display, the futon cleaned off and set alongside the huge and gorgeous window (which brings in a ton of natural, beautiful light, by the way), and  the best part- you can open up the door. It has quickly became my favorite room, full of inspiration and creative energies. Even our fur children have taken a liking to this room. It had been three months of hell in the room, and over the course of four hours it became a beautiful, inviting space. It took four hours of work to change not only this room, but my attitude. I had gone from sulking to cherishing- from hating the “junk” to becoming reacquainted with it.

I sat in the room for about an hour after finishing up, feeling exhausted but peaceful. For the first time in a while, I had created a joyous energy in my home and I was glad of it. It moved me to pray, to thank the divine for all that I had despite all of my other stressors in life. I followed my prayer with a quick entry in my book of shadows and a mediation.
Not only did I make peace with this room, but I made peace with my spirit. It has only been two days, but I feel like a brand new person and cannot wait to take on the rest of this year. I feel as if my heart has been mended and I am now ready to dive back into the blogging world.

I hope there are many wonderful things to follow and promise that I will return to my regular, pagan based programing shortly. For today, I simply wanted to explain to you what made me decide to get back online and reconnect with you all.

Love you all,
-D

To Live Simply

I have decided that I want to live simply.

 

I’ve been staring at this blank screen, grasping at straws while trying to think of something meaningful to write, but I’m coming up blank every time. Some clever topic regarding witchcraft or folklore… but nothing comes up. Rather than looking up a new topic, I walked away and poured myself yet another cup of coffee to sip on while I mull over everything that I’m unhappy with in my life.

Remember when I lived with my in-laws, how unhappy I was? I can honestly say I am MUCH happier now living in this apartment. I feel more free than before; free to paint in the living room when I want, free to work out without feeling embarrassed, free to walk down the hallway to grab a cup of coffee without a bra, free to take a shower when I want…
Yes, this freedom is incredible and I am happier here, however I am beginning to feel a “dark place” growing in the back of my brain, slowly expanding so that it may eventually consume my every day life. I’ve worked so hard to become well, so I would rather this “dark place” vanish, or at the very least stay put.

Over my morning cup of coffee, I pondered what exactly I was unhappy about and at first came up empty- all of our needs were being met. Rent was paid on time, we have food in our bellies, we have a warm bed to lay in and hot water to bath in. But upon further inspection, I thought “maybe its how I’m living?”

I find myself eating foods that are void of any real nutrition, I am staying sedentary while I am home for the day, I have found myself cleaning less and less, I pout about my hours at work rather than work to change them, I long to be outside yet never wish to leave the air-conditioning, I need new clothes (seriously, either my pants don’t zip or there are holes in them) but I feel guilty when I go to buy them, I want time off to be with my family but I feel guilty when I request off for it, and so on.

I’m over it, guys.
I decided that I, nor my fiancé, don’t deserve to feel this way.

Yes, my physical needs are being met, but are my soul’s needs being met?

I have decided that my soul needs to be bumped up on the list of priorities, and that if I do that happiness should follow.

I have decided that I want to live simply. 

I only want to eat foods that fuel me, that help me in some way or another. I want to be active, not just for a nicer looking body, but for the over all joy it brings me to be outside and moving. I will play fetch with the pups at the dog park and chase fireflies after sundown.
I will clean my home daily, ridding it of whatever negative energy that wishes to linger there while bringing in light. I will purge my home of needless things, keeping only those that make me feel happy. I will stop purchasing things that have no meaning to me, but I will refuse to feel guilty for buying things that I need, like jeans or new bras.
I will work to get the hours that I want, but never feel sorry for taking off time to be with my family. I will walk out the door with messy hair and a makeup-less face if I wish. Alternatively, If I want to go to work dawning red lipstick, I will do that too.

I simply wish to stop neglecting my soul… And that, I believe, is the key to living simply.

Now, I will bid you all a farewell while I go back to my coffee and get ready for work.

Blessings,
D

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What is in my MoJo bag?

Just a short post, for in a few minutes I will be off to a job interview. Please cross your fingers for me, I need a second job pretty badly if we are going to be comfortable in our own finances… and plus also we are planning a surprise Disney World vacation for my mom, so the extra money would definitely help.
Because I am really needing a little extra “umph” in the working department, I decided I would make a prosperity and business MoJo bag to help me sell myself as best as I could to a potential employer and to help me stay calm and extremely productive whenever I am working. If you want to watch my YouTube video on what all I put in there (in case you want to see my make-up-less face and pony tail AND what the stones looked like) you can click HERE.

Within the bag I have a:

  • Blue Goldstone- for good business sense and smart money investments.
  • Tigers Eye- to keep you grounded and to protect the wealth that you already have.
  • Citrine- to stay positive and promote a happy vibe, luck with money.
  • Clear Quartz- to magnify all of the stone’s properties.
  • Bluckeyes- something that has always been lucky to me.
  • A Dollar- to represent the money we need.
  • A note with all the needs of Cody and myself.

When I was finished stuffing my bag, I rested it in a bed of patchouli and cinnamon sticks so that it would be charged with their properties of luck and prosperity.

 

I got my mojo bag in my pocket… wish me luck, y’all. I need this.

-D