A Few Magickal Things

             Yes!  This is MY cup of apple cider.

It’s in the mid-to-upper 40s here this morning; and even though it’s a bit chilly, that didn’t stop me from going outside on the back porch in nothing but my nightgown to get some cold apple cider from the kettle-that-is-way-too-big-for-the-fridge. It was exhilarating! (both the cold and the cider) 

I have discovered this morning that my Samhain Apple Cider is as good cold as it is hot; it’s rather refreshing cold (remember, along with lots of the usual spices, I add peach tea bags to mine). Yum.

                                                                                                           These are mine…they could be yours ~
These are a beautiful set of chakra pendulums. I’ve had them for some time now, priced as a set (I won’t break the set up); and they’re being offered at a price which breaks down to about $10 a piece. I won’t go any lower, and I probably should have gone higher. I’ve now put a time limit on them…if I don’t sell them by January 1st, 2018, I’m taking them down, and they will permanently be mine!
This photo is a hot love spell that was underway for a client. I’ve always said that I don’t do spells for people, but maybe that’s not entirely accurate. I have a Candle Altar Service, traditionally called “Setting the Lights”, and I will dress and burn a spell candle for you for your particular intention. I prepare this on a tray, as you see in the photo, with additional herbs, stones, and sometimes some very interesting items added to it. When all is said and done and it’s burned down, I use the remaining candle wax, along with the herbs from the tray, as well as extra herbs and things, and create a mojo bag from the spell remnants that I mail to you. This has been very successful, and I’ve received enthusiastic emails from very happy clients.
PS ~ the stuff I add to the mojo bag will definitely not include the statue that you see in the photo! This has a place of honor on my entertainment center, and it’s raised more than a few eyebrows from guests of varying ages and spiritual backgrounds. If you can’t see it clearly, it’s a couple caught in the rapture of a sexual pose. It’s proven quite effective in spells to produce not only love but some major physical passion as well (she says with a smile).
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5 Things That Bring Samhain Home for Me

samhain7.jpg picture by witch_of_endore

I can’t believe it’s this time of year already!  Where did 2016 go??  This past year has been wracked with huge changes in my life.  All hell broke loose December 31, 2015, and it’s been a wild ride ever since– spiritually, emotionally, and financially.  However, the wild ride appears to be calming down now, life smoothing over with regular routine, new opportunities, and a new-found sense of stability.  The transitions involved have included acceptance, transformation, and new connections.  As I slide into the end of October, into the end of this year, I’m warmed and comforted by another celebration of Samhain at our house.

Five things that highlight this holiday for me include, but are not limited to:

  1. Hot Apple Cider ~ Every Samhain for the past 20+ years, I’ve drug out my huge (HUGE) silver canning kettle and set it on the back of the stove to slowly heat the Drink of the Evening.  My recipe —

5-7 large jugs of applejuice
8-10 bags of peach tea
a handful of cinnamon sticks
and a large metal tea ball filled
with whole cloves and allspice

You can leave a shaker of nutmeg sit on the counter & anyone who wants to add a dash of this spice to their mug of apple cider can do so.

If you don’t like this cider full force, you can dilute it some with water to suit your own taste.

My Hot Apple Cider

Let’s take a look at the ingredients we just used from a magickal perspective:

Peaches— love

Nutmeg— one of the most popular uses for nutmeg is to assure fidelity.  It’s also used for spells centered around luck, money, and health.

Cinnamon— spirituality, success, healing, power, psychic powers, lust, protection, love

Allspice— money, luck, healing

Cloves— protection, exorcism, love, money

Apple— love, healing, garden magic, immortality

2.  Autumn leaves & flowers ~ There is nothing more beautiful than a tree caught in its seasonal death throes.  It puts a new spin and realization on the idea of death and rebirth for me; the idea of shedding oneself of all the outward trappings of ego, vanity, and expectation; the idea of natural beauty that comes with age and experience, and a miraculous rebirth, whether physically or spiritually.

3.  The Ancestors ~ As I’ve gotten older and time has marched mercilessly on,  all through the past few decades, I’ve watched the Older Generation of my family die off.  First, the “Greats” (and these are people I actually knew, whom I remember)…great-grandparents and aunts:  Alpha, Tracy, Gma Smith, Gpa Smith, Lizzie.  And I still watch, even now, as the passing generations move up, ever closer to me and my generation…my grandmother, Darlene, Jim (my father).  And then there are those that died tragically, before they had time to get old…Joe, John Patrick, Norman.  It’s with a sense of awe and wonder, a sense of growing knowledge and acceptance, that I’m beginning to understand the real meaning behind the “Wheel of the Year” and its natural progression.

1

Last Year’s Ancestor Altar

4.  Spices ~ allspice, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg…They say that your olfactory sense, your sense of smell, can snap a memory into your brain faster than almost anything else, so closely are certain scents associated for us.  And this is true of the traditional smells of autumn at our house.  I can visualize Grma’s teapot, particular cups, favorite old trees adorned in autumn leaves, pets (both present and past) who laid at our feet around the kitchen table, puddles of glowy golden light from lamps on a wet and cold drooling autumn day…I could go on and on.  These smells, as pleasant as they are in themselves, hold all kinds of memories for me.

coffee-time-59

5.  Chili ~ Every year, for 20+ years now, I drag out my Great-Big-Red-Cooking-Pot and make a walloping batch of homemade chili.  You can tell the prosperous years from the lean years by my chili…on prosperous years, it will contain more meat.  This is another one of those scents that also connect closely with Samhain at our house, it’s a family tradition.  I usually start the chili early in the morning and let it sit and simmer on low all day, giving the flavors time to blend deliciously together.

My Chili

So, what are the things that bring this holiday, and this time of year home to you?  What are your family traditions and memories?  How does Samhain touch you?

Magickal Preparations for Winter

1.  Cleanse each room of energy debris…The negative stuff, the dark and ugly energy lurking in the corners and beneath the couch and chairs, the energy that hides in the cubbies and closets and scares those children who sense it…smudge, incense, burn candles, and bring out that magickal broom– sweep, sweep, sweep that space clean.  Leave a wee bit of something behind to keep this space clear, to let the Dark Ones, the Spirits, and Ghosts know that you’ve reclaimed this space, that it is yours— a mojo bag of protection and deflection, some cleansing & protective herbs tied up in pretty bundles and tacked to the ceiling here and there, over the windows, or door frames. And never assume that cleansing this space once will keep it clear forever. Every once-in-a-while, light some candles & incense, send positive energy through this space. Keep your guard up, keep your magickal energy pure, draw your magickal lines in the sand.

2.  Gather your harvest of herbs…As I write this, we’re just nine days out from Samhain.  In my neck of the woods we’ve been incredibly lucky with the weather so far.  We’ve had a couple really cold nights, only one where I had to cover anything, and we still have a lively garden.  So now is my time to Gather Those Magickal Herbs & Plants!!.  In the stillness of the Indian Summer days, I will clip and snip, tie and bind, hang and dry a variety of plants that will be tacked to my kitchen ceiling, crushed and added to bottles and jars, or arranged in pretty glass bowls.  This is the season for the Green Witch to reap the harvests of Mother Earth, to restock her magickal cabinet.  Hurry, before winter descends and the snow flies.

3.  Put your garden to rest for the season, magickally speaking…The nature spirits have spent all summer fluttering about your garden, gracing it with health and a wealth of blossoms and buds.  But it’s time now for nature to retreat into the depths of winter; it’s time for the plants to finish their final cycle; it’s time for the soil to rest.  On a quiet still autumn day, take a white candle and some incense into your garden, thank the fairies and spirits for their care and presence and magick.  Bid them adieu, until we meet again in spring.  Scatter to the four corners of this magickal space crushed rosemary and sage, allow the candle to burn in the center of the garden, sending out healing energy for Nature, as well as a  last flame of light before the darkness of winter descends.  It’s sort of bitter-sweet, this process for me; but you can leave your garden with a wistful smile, knowing that this is only a temporary good-by, a temporary sleep.  When spring comes, you’ll rejoice with the flowers and herbs and shrubs once more.

4.  Prepare your vehicle for winter travel…Just like most people check the tires, change the oil, and mundanely “winterize” their vehicles in anticipation of severe winter weather conditions, so you will want to magickally “winterize” your vehicle, making sure there is a powerhouse of positive protective energy surrounding the vehicle itself and everyone who travels in it.  This is an ongoing thing at our house.  I use stone talismans created personally, decorated with symbols and words related to specific deities invoking their energy for protection.  I use mojo bags filled with calamus root and plantain– one of the strongest combinations of herbs for safe travel– along with a tiger eye stone and even hair clippings from the car’s owner and people who will be routinely traveling in this vehicle.  Smudge the vehicle with sage or a favorite incense; asperge (sprinkle) the vehicle with salted water for purification and blessings; anoint the four sides of the vehicle with Mars Astrological Ointment, dipping your finger in the oil and drawing an invoking pentagram discreetly near the bottom of the car doors.  Settle into the coming winter months with the security of knowing that you’ve done all you can possibly do to assure safe travel for you and your family members

Photo: Magickal Preparations for Winter: 2.  Gather your harvest of herbs...As I write this, we're just nine days out from Samhain.  In my neck of the woods we've been incredibly lucky with the weather so far.  We've had a couple really cold nights, only one where I had to cover anything, and we still have a lively garden.  So now is my time to Gather Those Magickal Herbs & Plants!!.  In the stillness of the Indian Summer days, I will clip and snip, tie and bind, hang and dry a variety of plants that will be tacked to my kitchen ceiling, crushed and added to bottles and jars, or arranged in pretty glass bowls.  This is the season for the Green Witch to reap the harvests of Mother Earth, to restock her magickal cabinet.  Hurry, before winter descends and the snow flies.

Good-by Sweet Summer

For all the Pagans out there who celebrate Mabon (the autumnal equinox), may you have a glorious day of equal sun-light & darkness.  The dark season will be upon us now, before we know it.  This means that I will happily light candles around the house earlier and earlier in the evening and relish their beautiful golden glow.

For more information on this Pagan Holiday, including a beautiful video by MsJulieCarol, follow this link:
http://www.ladyamythyst.com/wheeloftheyear.htm

Mabon Altar

October’s Magick

October
Named for: “Octo”, meaning ‘eight’
Anglo-Saxon: Win-monap
Birthstone: opal, tourmaline
Flower: calendula
 October Moon Magick:
Blood Moon
Herbs: ginger, myrrh, allspice, basil, clove
Stones: alexandrite, citrine, lilac kunzite
Scents: pine, patchouli
Colors: dark green, brown, gold
Trees: yew, cypress, maple, oak
Deities: Astarte, Horned God, Lakshmi, Ishtar
Elements: Air/Water
 Astrological Influences for October:
Libra: ruled by Venus, projective/masculine, cardinal, air
Scorpio: ruled by Mars, receptive/feminine, fixed/water
 Pagan Holiday:
Samhain
October 31
Samhain (pronounced ‘Sou-wen’) is a celebration that has a more somber side than the revelry of modern Halloween. It is a day of remembrance of your ancestors and for those family members who have passed over.
Pagan families may set an extra place at the supper table on this evening, to honor those loved ones who are no longer with them. The veil between the world of the living and the dead is thinnest on this eve, and this night is an excellent time to perform divination, or try to connect with those from the other side.
Herbs: patchouli, sage, heather
Altar Flowers/Herbs: acorns, apples, pumpkins/gourds, dittany, autumn leaves
Feast Foods: pumpkin, squash, nut breads, sweet potatoes, milled drinks (cider, wine), roast meat, root vegetables
Animals: bats, cats, crows, ravens, owls
Incense: cinnamon, cloves, myrrh, patchouli, pine, mugwort, nutmeg
Rituals/Spells:  making besoms, divination, spirit contact, crone magick, working with dark energy, spells for new beginnings

Crafting Your Magic
Ancestral magic is cast with the Blood Moon. Do magic now to communicate with family members who have passed, to connect with your ancestors and your heritage. Magic surrounding divination is relevant, it’s the perfect time. Cast spells for justice and balance, and to overthrow anything oppressive which may be blocking your path to success. Ambition is highlighted, use magic to increase the potency of your own, or cast magic to contain ambition that may have run amok. This is also the perfect time to step into the dark shadows and take advantage of the vibrations found there. The gray witch revels in the magic of the Blood Moon and in this season.

Magickal Herbs

HERBALPICTURES.jpg picture by witch_of_endore

In the tradition of Samhain, we’re going to look at herbs used to call up spirits.

Mugwort
To bring forth protective & benevolent spirits, Mugwort is burned on charcoal with star anise, althea, and resin incenses like frankincense, myrrh, copal, or benzoin.
Energy: feminine/receptive
Planet: Venus
Element: Earth
Powers: strength, psychic powers, protection, prophetic dreams, healing, astral projection

falldivider.gif picture by witch_of_endore

 Dandelion
The root, when dried, roasted, and ground like coffee, is used to make a tea. This infusion will promote psychic powers. This same tea, steaming and placed beside the bed, will call spirits.
Energy: masculine/projective
Planet: Jupiter
Element: Air
Powers: divination, wishes, calling spirits

falldivider.gif picture by witch_of_endore

 Thistle
To call Spirits, place some thistle in boiling water. Remove from heat and lie or sit beside it. As the steam rises call the spirits and listen carefully; they may answer your questions.
Energy: masculine/projective
Planet: Mars
Element: Fire
Powers: strength, protection, healing, exorcism, hex-breaking

falldivider.gif picture by witch_of_endore

Wormwood
Wormwood is burned to summon spirits. It is sometimes mixed with sandalwood for this purpose. If burned in graveyards the spirits of the dead will rise and speak, according to old grimoires.
Energy: masculine/projective
Planet: Mars
Element: Fire
Powers: psychic powers, protection, love, calling spirits

falldivider.gif picture by witch_of_endore

Sweetgrass
Burn sweetgrass to attract good spirits, or beings, before performing spells.
(Strangely enough, I couldn’t find any correspondences listed for sweetgrass, other than it’s power to call in spirits.)

 Disclaimer: Never ingest any herbs, or feed them to someone else,
if you are not absolutely sure they are safe!  

Kitchen Wytchery
Elsie204.jpg kitchen witch 2 picture by witch_of_endore
As the Kitchen Witch knows, natural magick can be found in certain foods, recipes, as well as herbs. In this section we’re going to put this knowledge to work.
Witches-Kitchenbymagic_art.jpg icon kitchen witch picture by witch_of_endore
We celebrate Samhain at our house big time. I’m going to include in this newsletter my own recipe for pumpkin pie & my ‘secret’ recipe for the large pot of hot apple cider that is a tradition at our house. The photos included are family photos of Samhains past.
My Pumpkin Pie:
1 16 oz. can pumpkin (about 2 cups)
1 13 oz. can evaporated milk (but sometimes I use sweetened condensed milk– it makes it more ‘chiffony’…is that a word?)
2 eggs 1/2 cup brown sugar 1/2 sugar
the spices:
Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, and a dash of salt. Most recipes call for 1/2 teaspoon each, but I’m much more generous with my spices!
the crust:
I tried for years to learn to make a good pie crust, and I almost gave up out of frustration– then I found this recipe. It’s almost foolproof, no kidding.
2 and 1/2 cups flour 1 teaspoon salt 1 cup shortening 1 beaten egg 1 tablespoon vinegar 1/4 cup water
Mix the dry ingredients together and cut in the shortening, as usual. Then combine the egg and vinegar, stirring it up a bit, and add this to your dry ingredients. Add the water a dash at a time as you work it in, you’ll be able to tell when you get a good texture.
Edit:  I bake this pie at 425 degrees for the first 15 minutes; then I turn the oven down to 400 degrees for the next 30-45 minutes, until it’s cooked enough to thicken the filling. I check this by sticking a clean butter knife in the center– when the knife comes out “clean”, I know the pie is done.

myworldSamhaintreats.jpg picture by Amythyst1

falldivider.gif picture by witch_of_endore
Hot Apple Cider
I have a *Huge*– did I say huge?– kettle that I use to mix up my cider. This sits and simmers all afternoon on the backburner of my stove, wafting a wonderful aroma throughout the house.
Ingredients:
5-7 large jugs of applejuice 8-10 bags of peach tea a handful of cinnamon sticks and a large metal tea ball filled with whole cloves and allspice.
You can leave a shaker of nutmeg sit on the counter & anyone who wants to add a dash of this spice to their mug of apple cider can do so.  If you don’t like this cider full force, you can dilute it some with water to suit your own taste.

myworldsamhainpreparations.jpg picture by Amythyst1

Our kitchen isn’t as organized as Rachel Ray’s or Martha Stewart’s, but we get the job done. Above are kettles of cider brewing in preparation for a Samhain evening.
falldivider.gif picture by witch_of_endore
Let’s take a look at the ingredients we just used from a magickal perspective:
Peaches— love
Nutmeg— one of the most popular uses for nutmeg is to assure fidelity. It’s also used for spells centered around luck, money, and health.
Cinnamon— spirituality, success, healing, power, psychic powers, lust, protection, love
 Allspice— money, luck, healing
 Cloves— protection, exorcism, love, money
Apple— love, healing, garden magic, immortality
Happy Samhain!!
The information for this blog post has been taken from:
And Archived newsletters from The Witch’s Corner

Photo Slideshow: Our Fall Craft/Newage Boutique

This past weekend, October 14 & 15th, we shared a unique boutique/yardsale experience which included arts and crafts, as well as new-age items and tarot readings.  We met a lot of interesting people, made some new friends, and had two very fun-filled days.

By the magick of the following photo slideshow, you can take a peek.

(Be sure to click on the icon for ‘full screen’)

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The Real Witches of Halloween Blog Tour…Welcome!

autumn 6

 

 

When witches go riding,
and black cats are seen,
the moon laughs and whispers,
‘tis near Halloween.

~Author Unknown

 

 

October Moon Magick:

Blood Moon

Herbs: ginger, myrrh, allspice, basil, clove

Stones: alexandrite, citrine, lilac kunzite

Scents: pine, patchouli

Colors: dark green, brown, gold

Trees: yew, cypress, maple, oak

Deities: Astarte, Horned God, Lakshmi, Ishtar

Elements: Air/Water

Astrological Influences for October:

Libra:

ruled by Venus, projective/masculine, cardinal, air

Scorpio:

ruled by Mars, receptive/feminine, fixed/water

 

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Pagan Holiday:

Samhain

October 31

Samhain (pronounced ‘Sou-wen’) is a celebration that has a more somber side than the revelry of modern Halloween. It is a day of remembrance of your ancestors and for those family members who have passed over.

Pagan families may set an extra place at the supper table on this evening, to honor those loved ones who are no longer with them. The veil between the world of the living and the dead is thinnest on this eve, and this night is an excellent time to perform divination, or try to connect with those from the other side.

Herbs: patchouli, sage, heather

Altar Flowers/Herbs: acorns, apples, pumpkins/gourds, dittany, autumn leaves

Feast Foods: pumpkin, squash, nut breads, sweet potatoes, milled drinks (cider, wine), roast meat, root vegetables

Animals: bats, cats, crows, ravens, owls

Incense: cinnamon, cloves, myrrh, patchouli, pine, mugwort, nutmeg

Rituals/Spells: making besoms, divination, spirit contact, crone magick, working with dark energy, spells for new beginnings

Crafting Your Magic:

Ancestral magic is cast with the Blood Moon. Do magic now to communicate with family members who have passed, to connect with your ancestors and your heritage. Magic surrounding divination is relevant, it’s the perfect time. Cast spells for justice and balance, and to overthrow anything oppressive which may be blocking your path to success. Ambition is highlighted, use magic to increase the potency of your own, or cast magic to contain ambition that may have run amok. This is also the perfect time to step into the dark shadows and take advantage of the vibrations found there. The gray witch revels in the magic of the Blood Moon and in this season.

Halloween, or Samhain, is the most important holiday at our house and the most fun. We go all out. I make a huge kettle of hot apple cider, my big red kettle full of chili, and I spend the day before baking pies, lots and lots of pies! The older kids invite their friends, and the neighbors know that it’s an open house. My husband moves our firepit to the front driveway and tends the bonfire all night long, with chairs gathered ’round the cheerful flames, while guests roast hotdogs and marshmellows.

My kids look forward to this night all year long.

falldivider.gif picture by witch_of_endore

Lady Amythyst’s Pumpkin Pie:

1 16 oz. can pumpkin

(about 2 cups)

1 13 oz. can evaporated milk

(but sometimes I use sweetened

condensed milk– it makes it more ‘chiffony’…is that a word?)

2 eggs

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 sugar

the spices:

Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, and a dash of salt. Most recipes call for 1/2 teaspoon each, but I’m much more generous with my spices!

the crust:

I tried for years to learn to make a good pie crust, and I almost gave up out of frustration– then I found this recipe. It’s almost foolproof, no kidding.

2 and 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup shortening

1 beaten egg

1 tablespoon vinegar

1/4 cup water

Mix the dry ingredients together and cut in the shortening, as usual. Then combine the egg and vinegar, stirring it up a bit, and add this to your dry ingredients. Add the water a dash at a time as you work it in, you’ll be able to tell when you get a good texture.

myworldSamhaintreats.jpg picture by Amythyst1

falldivider.gif picture by witch_of_endore

Hot Apple Cider

I have a *Huge*– did I say huge?– kettle that I use to mix up my cider. This sits and simmers all afternoon on the backburner of my stove, wafting a wonderful aroma throughout the house.

Ingredients:

5-7 large jugs of applejuice

8-10 bags of peach tea

a handful of cinnamon sticks

and a large metal tea ball filled

with whole cloves and allspice

You can leave a shaker of nutmeg sit on the counter & anyone who wants to add a dash of this spice to their mug of apple cider can do so.

If you don’t like this cider full force, you can dilute it some with water to suit your own taste.

myworldsamhainpreparations.jpg picture by Amythyst1

Our kitchen isn’t as organized as Rachel Ray’s or Martha Stewart’s, but we get the job done. Above are kettles of cider and homemade chili brewing in preparation for a Samhain evening.

falldivider.gif picture by witch_of_endore

Let’s take a look at the ingredients we just used from a magickal perspective:

Peaches– love

Nutmeg– one of the most popular uses for nutmeg is to assure fidelity. It’s also used for spells centered around luck, money, and health.

Cinnamon– spirituality, success, healing, power, psychic powers, lust, protection, love

Allspice– money, luck, healing

Cloves– protection, exorcism, love, money

Apple- love, healing, garden magic, immortality

Samhain2007020.jpg picture by Amythyst1

samhain7.jpg picture by witch_of_endore

Samhain Memories

scan0015.jpg picture by Amythyst1

Four of my beautiful little Witchlings–
where does the time go??

Sarabubbles.jpg picture by Amythyst1

My Samhain baby– I was busy giving birth
on a certain Samhain eve 14 years ago.

Samhain2005-1.jpg picture by Amythyst1

My “Isabella”, “Deadrose”, and #1 Son

80sCostumeParty09.jpg picture by Amythyst1

A ‘pre-halloween’ party, the theme was the 1980s.
CopyofEmma-1.jpg picture by Amythyst1

Our “Resident Elf”

(This Resident Elf is only two years away from being
a teen-ager now. Time goes so fast!)

samhain0911.jpg picture by witch_of_endore

“Isabella” and her boyfriend, Joe, at last year’s party.
(October 2010)

Samhain0919.jpg picture by witch_of_endore

Preparations are finished– it’s time to enjoy!!

 

Samhain0924.jpg picture by witch_of_endore

We build a bonfire in the driveway & gather round, or join friends in the livingroom/kitchen for hot chili, or gather on the backporch to play with ouija boards, tarot cards, chinese fortune sticks, oracle cards, and runes, while sipping hot cider at candle-lit tables.

 

samhain095.jpg picture by witch_of_endore

A perfect day for divination.

 

Samhain0931.jpg picture by witch_of_endore

Spirits ‘rise’ to the occasion. 🙂

 

samhain094.jpg picture by witch_of_endore

Throwing a little light on the situation. I love my black tree!

 

HarryPotterretouched.jpg picture by witch_of_endore

Our very own “Harry Potter”
(#1 Son)

October 2003

This young man has an associates degree in computer science now,
and is working towards his bachelors.

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Thank you so much for visiting my blog.
I hope you’re enjoying the Halloween blog tour.

On behalf of all the Real Witches out there,
Happy Samhain…

and Blessed Be!

 

 

Autumn Magick: Flower Power

I was just talking to my girls the other day about flowers and foliage and the seasons. I mentioned that it seems, after that first brilliant ‘coming to life’ in the spring, there is a hot and lazy period. Everything seems scorched and beaten by the summer sun, wilted and tortured by the elements of the dog days of summer; and then comes autumn, blessed autumn. It’s like a second birth, a brilliant blossoming, a breath of cool fresh air that seems to revitalize the world of flora. Everything in the garden throws itself into color and beauty with renewed energy, just in time to begin turning for a glorious autumn show.

Many of the flowers that highlight this time of year are also some of my favorites, and it’s these flowers and plants that I’m going to look at from a magickal point of view. What are their connections to the elements? the planets? magickal intentions? How can I use them to work my magick in order to promote positive change?

Acacia: It’s gender is masculine (projective), it’s planet is the Sun, and it’s element Air. Acacia is used for protection and to promote psychic powers. Burn a small amount of the wood with sandalwood before practicing divination. A sprig from this tree kept in the home will ward off evil and protect the inhabitants from negative outside influences.

Allium: It’s gender is feminine (receptive), it’s planet Venus, and it’s element Water. I use allium in spells for feminine empowerment, to heighten intuition and psychism, and to promote feelings of love and well-being. I’ve used it both in mojo bags and magickal oils.

Alstromeria: White/pink/peach– the gender is feminine (receptive), the planet Venus, the element Earth; yellow/orange/red– the gender is still feminine (receptive), but it carries a bit of a punch; the planet is Mars, the element Fire. I use the milder more gentle form to work gentle magicks, the more robust colors I use in protection magick and self-empowerment spells, when you need strength and good dose of moxie.

Amaranthus: The gender is feminine (receptive), the planet Saturn, and the element Fire. The deity for amaranthus is Artemis– the feminine warrior/huntress. The magickal powers contained within this plant includes healing, protection, and invisibility. Amaranthus was used in pagan burial rites.

Anemone: It’s gender is masculine (projective); the element is Fire, and the planet is Mars. Deities associated with anemone are Adonis and Venus. This plant is also used for health, protection, and healing. To prevent disease, carry the blossoms from this plant in a red cloth upon your person. This plant can also be used in spells dealing with health issues involving blood and the reproduction organs. To keep an enemy at bay, place their photo in a red bag with a handful of the blossoms, or the root of the plant– and leave the dirt in place.

Baby’s Breath: The gender is masculine (projective), the planet Mercury, the element Air. I use Baby’s Breath for magick encompassing communication and creativity. I’ve also used this plant in love spells to instill good open lines of communications between couples, or to loosen the tongue of a shy partner– just be careful how much and how often you do this, you might be surprised at what’s released– or unleashed.

Bittersweet: The gender is masculine (projective), the element is Air, and the planet– Mercury. The most popular magickal use for bittersweet is in spells for protection and healing. I’ve also discovered that this plant, connected to the energies of Mercury and Air, is wonderful for issues of communication, clear thinking, powers of deduction, and the spark of creativity.

Carnation: The energy is masculine (projective), the planet is the Sun, and the element is Fire. Use the magick of the carnation for protection, strength, and healing. Use carnations in healing spells. Place carnations in a sick room to give strength to the one who is ill. Use this flower in healing rituals, mojo bags, and oils.

China Berry: This plant is used for luck. The seeds are considered good luck charms, so use them as thus, particularly in bags or lockets, where you can carry them upon your person. The China Berry can be used in spells to precipitate change.

Chrysanthemum: It’s gender is masculine (projective), the element is Fire, and the planet– the Sun. Chrysanthemums are used primarily for protection. Grown in the garden, they are reputed to keep evil spirits away– and in this case, my garden should be totally free of evil spirits, because I’ve accumulated a mass of mums this autumn. I take this one step farther by color associations– yellow blossoms for spells meant to help you find your voice; magenta blossoms for a good strong dose of pure love, and white blossoms to throw an honest light on any situation.

Cockscomb: The energy is masculine (projective), the element Fire, the planets Jupiter and Mars. The no nonsense energy of the Cockscomb can be used to discover and unleash the masculine side of yourself, when aggression, strength, and courage are called for. The most beautiful cockscomb flowers I’ve seen was in Iowa, when we were traveling through Amish country.

Cosmos: The energy is feminine (receptive), the planet is Earth, and the element is Earth. I use the lovely petals from this plant for goddess magick; to highlight feminine energy– for maiden, mother, and crone; for healing spells dealing with female issues; for safe childbirth; to celebrate those rituals geared toward women and their life milestones, including female puberty rites and a croning.

Echinops: The energy of the thistle will be found within this plant. It’s gender is masculine (projective), the planet is Saturn, and the element is Fire. Use the Echinops in spells for protection and self defense. This plant will also be used in hexing and cursing spells, added to poppets or mojo bags.

Freesia: The planet– the Moon, the element is Water, the gender is feminine (receptive). The Freesia contains the constantly mutating and fluid energy of the Moon and the element of Water. Use this plant according to color correspondences for a surprisingly wide array of magickal intentions. White, for those things of spirit and spiritual energy; red for passion, including not only physical passion, but passion for many things of life; pink to inspire friendhip and loyalty; yellow for God energy, and healing.

Gerber Daisy: The gender is masculine (projective), the planet Saturn, the element Fire. The daisy and the gerber daisy both possess strong energies for love spells, the gerber daisy being more ‘hot-blooded’, meaning there will be more animalistic passion in love spells done with the gerber daisy. This plant can also be used in spells when the energy just needs to be riled up a bit, when you need to light a fire and get people and circumstances moving.

Hypericum: The gender is masculine (projective), the element Air, the planets Mercury and the Sun. The beautiful yellow flowers of this plant can be used in mojo bags and spells to enhance communication, for god energy, for healing, and for spells of self-empowerment.

Juniper: It’s gender is masculine (projective), the element is Fire, the planet is the Sun. The magickal powers of Juniper include protection, protection against theft, love, exorcism, and health. I also use Juniper berries for spells geared to the Winter Solstice, youth & immortality, and spiritual rejuvenation. Juniper is reputed to promote male potency when used in love spells– though I have not personally put this theory to the test.

Kangaroo Paw: It’s gender can be both masculine (projective), or feminine (receptive), depending upon what type of magick you’re using it for, and which planet you’re using for the correspondence. The planets are Mercury and Venus, the elements Air and Water. I have primarily used Kangaroo Paw for fairy magick.

Kalancheo: The gender is feminine (receptive), the planet Venus, the element Earth. Magickally speaking, use the pink blossoms for friendship and healing, the red blossoms for love, and the white blossoms for healing.

Liatrus: The gender is feminine (receptive), the planets Venus and Jupiter, the element Water. This plant is best used for all of its connections to the element of Water, which includes the promotion and growth of your psychic abilities, intuition, dreams and visions.

Gloriosa: The energy of this plant is most decidedly feminine (receptive), its elements both Water and Earth, and the planets Venus and Earth. The Gloriosa blossom is representative of the female anatomy, and its magickal energies are best used for female health issues, fertility, female sexual issues, and female self-empowerment. This plant can also be used in spells, magicks, and spiritual practices to glorify and worship the Mother Goddess.

Misty Blue: The gender is feminine, the planet is Water, the element Water. Use this plant for spiritual practices, for spirit contact, and to promote contact in general with the unseen world and the entities which inhabit it.

Orchid: This is a very versatile plant, magickally speaking. It’s energy is masculine (projective), the element Air, the planet Mercury. Use the orchid in your spiritual practices and spell crafting according to the color of its blossoms: red/love and passion, pink/friendship and well-being, white/spirituality and healing. Personally, I use the speckled blossoms when change is needed and desired.

Pepper Berry: The gender is masculine (projective), the element is Air, the planet is the Sun. The red berries and green foliage from this plant make beautiful additions to wreaths. Magickally, I use Pepper Berry in mojo bags and magicks that deal with the Winter Solstice, God energy, and especially new beginnings.

Protea: It’s gender is masculine (projective), the element Air, the planet Jupiter. The primary magickal use for protea is for spells and magicks that move a situation along so that a final conclusion or decision can be reached. The various methods will include mojo bags and candle magick. This type of magick works best when worked over a period of three to seven days.

Queen Ann’s Lace: It’s gender is feminine (receptive), the planet is Venus and Jupiter, the element Earth. I primarily use Queen Ann’s Lace for issues of fertility, and this can mean not only fertility in the physcial world, but fertility of ideas and creative energies, creativity concerning unusual opportunities, etc. This plant is also used in magicks for Goddess energy and self-empowerment.

Roses: The gender is feminine (receptive), the planets are Venus and the Moon, the element is Water. Roses are most strongly connected with love spells. Use the energies of the various colors for different types of love– red/passionate affairs with lusty sex, or soul mate connections; pink/for strong bonds of loyalty, friendship, and fidelity; yellow/for peaceful partings, to say good-by; white/to honor a love who has passed, or to honor a relationship that has come to a natural conclusion. The white blossoms of a rose can also be used in spells and magick to contact a deceased partner.

Rowen Berry: It’s gender is masculine (projective), its planet Mars, and the element is Fire. Use the warrior energy of Mars and the fiery passion of Fire with the rowan berry in spells and magickal workings that require strength, concentrated doses of high energy, courage, passion of intention, and a strong will power. The poisonous berries are also potent when used in spells and magicks for hexing and cursing. Added to mojo bags and poppets, they work with a vengence.

Salvia: The gender is masculine (projective), the element is Water, and the planets are the Sun and the Moon. Salvia is part of a large family of plants which includes Sage. The primary use for salvia is for cleansing and smudging. Use the smoke from saliva to smudge your home and personal space, your person, your vehicle, or your land. Tie up dried bunches and hang them in the four corners of your home for protection, or hang a bundle of salvia by the front door to prevent anyone wishing you harm from entering.

Solidago: The gender is feminine (receptive), the planet is Venus, the element Air. Solidago, more commonly known as Golden Rod, is used for magickal workings involving money and divination. Carry a sprig of goldenrod in your wallet or purse to insure enough money to cover your needs. Place a piece of pyrite with it. Put a sprig of this plant in a small wooden box large enough to hold your tarot cards or set of runes to enhance the magick of divination and your intuitive powers.

Statice: This plant’s gender is masculine (projective), its element Air, it’s planet Mercury. I personally use statice in magick which highlights or incorporates group events, the gathering of people, peaceful conclusions to group debates or disagreements, as well as to promote peaceful cohabitation and successful growth within an organized group.

Star of Bethlehem: The gender is masculine (projective), the planet is the Moon, the element Water. I use the six pointed white blossoms of the Star of Bethlehem in spells and magicks involving spirituality, personal empowerment, and cleansing. I’ve also found it wonderful for Goddess invocation and feminine magicks. It is energy is inspiring and purifying.

Sunflower: The gender is masculine (projective), the planet is the Sun, the element Fire. The magickal powers of the sunflower includes fertility, wishes, health, and wisdom. Use the seeds from this plant in fertility spells, the yellow blossoms in magicks geared to gain your wish, and to inspire wisdom when wisdom is desired and needed. Carry a mojo bag containing various aspects of this plant for good health.

Yarrow: Yarrow’s gender is feminine (receptive), it’s planet is Venus, and the element Water. The magickal powers of yarrow includes areas of courage, love, psychic powers, and exorcism. Place a bouquet of yarrow on your table during divination sessions, in the four corners of your house to keep evil entities at bay, or place a sprig of yarrow in the pocket of the person you love. I’ve used yarrow in dream bags that I’ve placed beneath my pillow to inspire prophetic dreams and visions. You might want to add a marigold blossom to this bag and a stone of amethyst.

Zinnia: The gender is masculine (projective), the planets Mercury and Jupiter, the element Air. Use zinnias in spells and magicks where courage, fortiude, and strength are needed. This is also a good plant to use in healing spells, and spells of protection. As the zinnia stands strong and tall, so shall it inspire these attributes when you tap into it’s magick.

Credits:

The photographs in this post that are framed are all original photos taken by Amythyst Raine. These photos are copyrighted, © Amythyst Raine 2011.

Some of the information above may have been taken from the books listed below; but the bulk of information above was taken from my own Book of Shadows, which includes my personal magickal practices and correspondences.
“Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magickal Herbs” by Scott Cunningham
Green Magic: The Sacred Connection to Nature” by Ann Moura
“The Green Wiccan Herbal” by Silja

Mabon

 

Mabon

Autumn Equinox

September 21 (approx.)

Also known as: Mabon

Traditions:

celebration of the second harvest festival of the season, thanksgiving for plentiful harvest, in some cultures this is a corn festival, marking the beginning of the autumn season, the witches’ Thanksgiving 

Pagan Lore:

Descent of the Goddess…in Sumerian myth she’s known as Inanna; in Greek/Roman legends it was Demeter and Persephone. The descent of the Goddess into the Underworld meant an end to the lush growing season, a time when nature would rest beneath the cloak of winter.

The Harvest Lord

…in the Celtic tradition, the Harvest Lord was slain at the time of Lughnasadh, marking the end of the growing season and the beginning of harvest time.

Mabon

…is the masculine counterpart of Persephone; the fertile male aspect of the growing season. He is a Welsh god, stolen from his mother Modrin as an infant and, so the myth goes, rescued by King Arthur. All the while, he was held captive in the Otherworld– Modrin’s womb, so as to be ‘reborn’ with the spring, bringing with him fertility to the land.

Wickerman

…at this time of year, the ancient Druids would burn a large human-like wicker figure as part of their celebration. This figure represented the vegetation spirit, and indeed, the heralding of the dark season would bring an end to the growth and flowering of summer.

This day brings equal hours of light and dark, a second celebration of perfect equality. Beyond this day, light will gradually fade as the dark season descends upon the world. Modern Pagans celebrate this holiday with many of the foods connected with this time of year in their area. For us this would include pumpkin pie, pumpkin breads, and apple cider. Decorations may include leaves of autumn hues, sunflowers, pumpkins and gourds.

Correspondences for Mabon

Herbs: marigold, myrrh, thistles, sage

Altar Flowers/Herbs: asters, mums, pine, ferns, milkweed, honeysuckle

Feast Foods: autumn berries, nuts, roast game, root vegetables, cider, wine, bread

Animals: stags, goats, blackbirds, canines, owls, birds-of-prey

Incense: cedar, myrrh, patchouli, pine, sage, sweet grass, oak moss

Rituals/Spells: drying herbs, gathering late harvest, past life work, harvest moon rituals, making willow wands, harmony spells, protection spells for winter

(The information above is an excerpt from my books,
“The Gray Witch’s Grimoire” and “Natural Magick the Gray Witch Way”)

© The Gray Witch’s Grimoire,
Amythyst Raine 2011

© Natural Magick the Gray Witch Way,
Amythyst Raine 2011

 

Lammas…Let the Harvest Begin

As the dog days of summer are still upon us, it’s strange to realize that so is the first of the pagan harvest festivals, Lammas…aka Lughnasadgh.  Summer will soon be winding down, and August is the transition that will carry us into autumn.  As we celebrate the first harvest of wheat, let’s also celebrate the changing of seasons, the transparency of time, and the miracle of continuity.

Happy Lammas!

August

Barley Moon

Herbs: rosemary, jasmine, lilac, violet, calamus

Stones:  bronzite, peridot, green sapphire

Scents:  frankincense, heliotrope

Colors:  yellow, gold, green

Trees:  hazel, alder, cedar

Deities:  Ganesha, Hathor, Hecate, Nemesis

Astrological Signs:  Leo, Virgo

Elements:  Earth/Air

Crafting Your Magic:

The Barley Moon is the time to reap the harvest of magic cast at the beginning of the summer season. It’s a time for the powerful assertive energy of Leo to give way to the calmer vibrations of Virgo. Do magic at this time to cleanse before the winter, cleansing not only your personal space, but intangible aspects as well. Clear out unwanted rubbish, whether it be inertia, conflict, indecisiveness, or some other personal weakness. As the summer winds down and wildlife begins to prepare itself for the dark months to come, this is where the heart of your magic lay as well.

divider sunflower 1

August 1:  Lammas
(also known as Lughnasadgh)

Traditions: celebration of first harvest/grain harvest, celebration of the Feast of Bread, weather magic, gathering bilberries as a symbol of abundance, games showcasing athletic ability

Pagan Lore:

Lugh…Lughnasadh celebrates the Irish god, Lugh, a god of strength and athletic prowess. Tradition has it that Lugh’s mother Tailtia passed to the Summerland while working in the fields preparing for the planting season.

 This is the first of the harvest festivals, and in the ancient world this was indeed a time of celebration. A successful harvest would mean survival in the harsh winter months to come. In the northern countries this was a celebration of the first harvest of wheat and grain, thus bread is featured in the celebration of Lughnasadh, also known as Lammas. Freshly baked loaves of aromatic bread are the main feature found upon pagan alters for this holiday.

As modern-day Pagans celebrate the festival of Lughnasadh, they will build roaring bonfires, feed each other a mouthful of bread, and with wine they will toast each other…”May you eat the bread of life”.


For more more information on Pagan Holidays, including videos and rituals, visit my website, The Witch’s Corner:

http://ladyamythyst.webs.com/wheeloftheyear.htm

© “The Gray Witch’s Grimoire”
Amythyst Raine 2011

 

Tea Time with the Witch: Cats

Cafe-du-Matin-Print-C102639061.jpg tea time 1 picture by witch_of_endore

In my humble opinion:

Cats…they wreak of mysticism, they know what they know, and they keep secrets.  Cats don’t pressure you for emotions you don’t feel like showing.  They know when to crawl into your lap and seek your attention and affection; and they know when to retreat into the shadows, leaving your space open and clear.  Cats walk with spirits and commune with fairies.  They don’t encompass magick, they are magick.

SL385422-1.jpg picture by witch_of_endore

SL385494-1.jpg picture by witch_of_endore

SL385433-Copy-1.gif picture by witch_of_endore

Photos:

©   Amythyst Raine 2010

The Witch’s Corner

My October Newsletter is Out

This newsletter is jam-packed with personal photos of Samhain’s past, my own recipes for pumpkin pie & hot apple cider, a *gorgeous* Samhain video, as well as the usual stones and bones, herbs and tarot, spells and ‘stuff’.  It’s a boiling cauldron of witchy information and links to supplies and occult merchandise.The spell for this month…a ritual:

Breathing Your Poppet to Life

http://wykidwytch.yolasite.com/october-2010.php

 

Samhain2007020.jpg picture by Amythyst1

Happy Samhain!!
from Lady Amythyst 

The Life & Times of a Witch…photos

 

The following photos and narrative were originally posted at my website,
The Witch’s Corner

The contents of this page at my website are going to
be deleted and new information added.

 

photogallerywitchscorner2.jpg picture by Amythyst1

 This is a set of shelves that I have, embossed with elephants and framed…with bamboo.  Besides my Buddahs, it contains my cyrstal ball– held aloft in the trunks of three elephants, and a statuette that I bought in Old Market, Omaha, of a couple perched in a Kama Sutra position.

photogallerywitchscorner.jpg picture by Amythyst1

The back deck of our house is full of morning glories.  This is one of the hand rails on the stairs, buried in the brilliant blooms.  We love to sit at the round glass top table out here and have coffee, do schoolwork, write, bring out the ouija board, or whatever else we have a hankering to do.

 photogallerywitchscorner3.jpg picture by Amythyst1

 My messy ‘working’ corner, now open for the world to see.  Actually, it’s much neater in this picture than it usually is.  I had just finished up working on some candles and thought– here’s a moment of pure realism, let’s go with it.

photogallerywitchscorner4.jpg picture by Amythyst1

This is a photo of the moon that I took last night (Monday, August 11, 08), while standing on the back stairs to our deck.  I zoomed in as close as I could and then I juggled around, shooting the moon between a small opening where our apple and maple trees meet, framing the moon in leaves.

gardenmylavender.jpg picture by Amythyst1

This is a cauldron of lavender growing in my garden.  Remember the movie “Practical Magic” and Aunt Franny’s voice in narration:  “Plant lavender by the garden gate for luck”…and I do.  I’ll be harvesting this lavender soon to use in my oils and to dry for use in my own spell crafting.

signincandyshop.jpg picture by Amythyst1

 I took this photo in a candy shop in Old Market, Omaha, Nebraska…right before my daughter-in-law bought us some yummy chocolate truffles. 

spider.jpg picture by Amythyst1

This August (’08), I sat on one of the stepping stones in my rock garden and watched a spider building a web as twilight descended.  I glanced down as I put my camera down and saw a small green toad sitting quietly beside me.  Life doesn’t get much better than this.

OldMarketstreet.jpg picture by Amythyst1

 This is one of the many quaint turn-of-the 19th century buildings that can be seen in Old Market, Omaha.

signcatsgatherhere-1.jpg picture by Amythyst1

This is the post at the top of my back porch steps…and they most certainly do!

cletusdoingmath.jpg picture by Amythyst1

 Cletus, doing math.   🙂

witchlingemma.jpg picture by Amythyst1

Our youngest witchling doing school on the back deck, illuminated by the sun shining through the skylight.  We practically live on this deck certain times of the year.  The wall you see with the elephant mural does not go all the way to the top and the south and east sides have a wooden porch railing around it– which are covered in morning glories.  Since there is a roof on this deck, it is a wonderful place to sit and sip coffee and enjoy gentle summer rains.

witchlingsara-1.jpg picture by Amythyst1

Another Witchling, doing school at the opposite end of the porch from her sibling, shielded from the bright afternoon sunlight. 

tarotcards.jpg picture by Amythyst1

These are some of my own tarot decks.  I do believe that I’ve added a couple decks since this pic was taken– and I’ll try, someday, to take a clearer picture. 

knickknackssandfrommarthasvineyard.jpg picture by Amythyst1

This is a shelf on our entertainment center, and the sand and stones you see in that vase were sent to my by my friend, Z, all the way from the shores of Martha’s Vineyard.  I thought this was really cool!

herbs.jpg picture by Amythyst1

Herbs hanging to dry from the kitchen ceiling:  lilac, mint, wormwood, lemon balm and lavendar.

mushroom.jpg picture by Amythyst1

A mushroom growing in Iowa.  I snapped this photo during a recent trip that we made back for a family funeral.  It’s growing in my step-son’s backyard.

wytchatwork.jpg picture by Amythyst1

Wytch at Work…I was sitting in my corner in the livingroom, sewing on a red poppet, when my husband snapped this picture.

 art.jpg picture by Amythyst1

This is actually a large framed picture hanging on my daughter-in-law’s dining room wall.  It was created by the artist to promote the arts festival at Cedar Falls.  I love the vibrant colors.

basket1.jpg picture by Amythyst1

This is a lovely basket given to me by a new friend.  She carved the owl onto a mushroom picked from a tree; the mushroom then dries naturally.  I’ve seen other beautiful pieces that she’s done.

kitty.jpg picture by Amythyst1

Our Home School mascot…Mistress Pixie Paws.

garden2.jpg picture by Amythyst1

Moonflowers blossoming in my magickal garden.

garden3.jpg picture by Amythyst1

 Impatience growing beneath the treehouse deck.

gardenone.jpg picture by Amythyst1

These are shamrocks that I bought in March, transplanted in my garden around May, and then I thought they had died off.  Not only didn’t they die off, they spread out to become several new clumps.

Loopiness232.jpg picture by Amythyst1

These are astors blossoming in my herb garden.  I’m going to plant lots, lots more of these hardy little plants next spring.  I love this unexpected burst of color in the fall.

 
I took this picture through a black windowscreen while this fat little squirrel went through acrobatics to raid the bird feeder in the front yard.


 My messy dresser top…sitting here are two magickal boxes that I created, swords and a dagger, a deck of tarot cards, a scattered batch of sterling silver jewelry, a buddah and a chi dog, lavendar oil, a glow in the dark ouija board, a black scrying ball, a dish of oriental soap– Jasmine, I believe, a box of bracelets, green mottled candle sticks, and notes to myself.  At the far right is an antique candy dish that my grandmother gave me.  She said that it was brought over from Germany by my great-great grandfather on my father’s side.  It’s clear glass, but I filled it with silk roses and greenery.


This is a wild grape vine that grows around the stump of a cottonwood tree in the flowerbed in our front yard.

Birdz…on the top shelf of my antique desk.  Ravens are my friends, as you can see, and I consider this one very special for magickal reasons known only to me.  That’s the small white skull of a real bird on the left, below the cardinal.  The kerosene lamp belonged to my Great-Grandmother Lu Raine.  The boxes are not empty…the small black one on top of the elephant box holds an enormous dragonfly that I found on our back porch.  The elephant box is full of small brown bottles filled with items of a wytchy nature.

This box is one of the most unique items ever given to my by a very generous friend.  It never ceases to amaze me, and it generally gets a comment out of visitors.

 My elephants lay eggs…even the pink ones:


Actually, when I went through a divorce several years ago, coming out of a very controlling relationship, I was inexplicably drawn to elephants and began collecting them like crazy, from statuary, to jewelry, to artwork.  It was only later that I learned that elephants are representative of Feminine Power.


Katz…Upon our entertainment center I have cat statuary, and among them sits our own gray huntress.

Mistress Pixie Paws…the ultimate Witch’s familiar.

Yes, my dresser top is still messy; and it harbored a visitor from the beginning of last December until the end of February…a small spider made her home between the front legs of the Chi dog.  I was careful not to disturb the dresser top while it housed the pretty lady.  She has since disappeared, either living out her life span or moving on to new and bigger things.