Today’s Topic ~ Book of Shadows!

Here’s mine.  Would you like to share something about yours?… a comment, or a photo, or a video?  When did you start it?  What kinds of things do you add to it?  How do you organize it?  What are your future plans for it?  Who are you going to pass it to?  Do you let people see it, or are you very secretive about it?  What inspires you?

Pagan Pride Day, Omaha NE

I was asked to be a speaker at Pagan Pride Day in Omaha, Nebraska, September 20th, at Zorinsky Park…The festivities will run from 10am-6pm; good times to be had by all!

See you there!

7 Magickal Questions

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How did you “discover” Wicca/Witchcraft/Neo-Paganism?

I’m  not so sure that I discovered Witchcraft, it’s more like Witchcraft discovered me.

I’m sure most people who’ve known me for any length of time have heard the story of the first spell I cast, as a teen-ager, in the basement of my Grandmother’s house.  The fact that, somehow– by instinct or higher power, or both– I managed to get so many of the magickal correspondences right is somewhat of a marvel.  Actually, the idea that a teen-ager living in South Dakota in the 70s, who had never been exposed to witchcraft, would even think of such a thing in the first place gives pause for thought.

Do you grow herbs?

Yes– mostly in the garden.  I tend to have a very black thumb when it comes to house plants.  I’m not sure if their untimely demise is totally dependent on my lack of indoor gardening skills, or my very dark very plant unfriendly house.

Are you “in the broom closet”?  If not, share your coming out experience.

I don’t think I’ve ever been in the broom closet.  I’m too open an individual, the closet would have been too confining and stuffy for me.  The phrase “My Life is an Open Book”– I think it was written for me.

I am what I am.  It is what it is.

What tradition do you follow, if any?

I’m eclectic– a mixture of practices.

Actually, over the years, I’ve developed a new religion, a new practice, or spiritual path, if you will.  I dubbed it “Gray Magerium”.  It’s a combination of Wicca, Green Witchcraft, and Hoodoo.  (I feel another book coming on.)

For more information on “Gray Magerium”, follow this link: My Path/About Me

Do you consider yourself a Witch, Wiccan or Pagan (or maybe something else)?

Witch…most definitely.  The word is all-encompassing.

I also love the sound of Hag, Crone, Wise-Woman, Priestess, and Conjure Woman.

How much of Witchcraft/Wicca are you able to incorporate into your everyday life?

Witchcraft, and being a witch, are an integral part of my life.  It defines how I look at the world, how I relate to the people around me, how I set my moral compass, and the direction my life takes.

But on the other hand– just because my spiritual path is outside of the mainstream, mysterious, ancient, intriguing, interesting, exciting, or any other adjectives you can think of– this does not mean that my every waking moment is riveted on the fact that I’m a witch and practice witchcraft.  I’m the mother of a large brood.  I have groceries to pickup, laundry to do, toilets to scrub, meals to cook; I have pets to take to the vet, kids to take to the dentist, and a million other everyday ordinary things to do.

My spirituality is a large part of who I am, as I plod through regular life, just like everyone else.

Do you have a familiar? If you do, tell us how you met him/her, and how she/he takes part in your practice (if at all).

Yes, I do…Salem.  He’s a beautiful black American Short Hair cat with a small white spot on his chest (called a ‘button’, by the way).  He is elusive, prefers to live downstairs (away from the dog and visitors).  My husband has lived in this house almost two years and has only seen him once.  Various people have been to this house and have never seen him.  I wouldn’t blame anyone for thinking he is a figment of my imagination.  But he is extraordinarily loving, and sweet with me.  He looks deeply into my eyes and communicates quite clearly.  He is my Sweet Boy.

Does he take part in rituals or spell casting?…only in so far as eating all the catnip that I left out one evening; rolling through the black circle of stones which I had so carefully laid on the floor; tipping over a bottle of open oil; or trying to push his way into my lap as I sit in a cast circle trying to be all mystical and witchy and serious.


I nominate the following blogs for “The Witchy Blog Award”:

1. Writing the Witchy Way

2. The Witch Of Howling Creek

3. Witches of the Craft

4. A Witchy Life

5. Cauldron & Brew: A Witch’s Blog

 

Happy Beltaine!

 

Traditions:  love/sex magic, leaping the bonfire to bring luck, dancing ‘round the Maypole, honoring garden and house spirits, fertility magic

Pagan Lore:  The Maypole…in ancient Irish history there was a sacred tree believed to be the forerunner of the maypole.  It was thought that dancing around this tree on Beltane would send energy to the womb of the Earth and awaken her.

May Day Baskets…comes from the ancient Beltane Eve tradition of a young man leaving a garland of flowers at the door of a young woman who has caught his eye.  This was an invitation, and if accepted, the young couple would steal away for a night together in the forest, awaiting the Beltane sunrise.  In modern times, the garland was replaced with a basket of sweets.

Youth and Beauty…it’s said that at sunrise on the morning of Beltane, those women wishing to recapture their youth, as well as all women wishing to retain their beauty, should go out into the grass at the break of dawn, sweep up the morning dew within their hands, and bathe their faces with it.

This holiday is one of the most Pagan.  It is a celebration of fertility.  To the modern world, it’s more commonly known as May Day.  What the Roman Church tried so hard to control, to portray as evil, sinful, or dirty is the very thing celebrated at Beltane…human sexuality.  The ancient rites of Beltane celebrate the copulation of the God and the Goddess (the priest and the priestess); and in some Wiccan traditions this celebration of sexuality is honored with a ritual known as The Great Rite.

What was once considered wonderfully human, delightful, a miracle of life, and in some cases a spiritual act, was degraded by the Roman Church, the same church which branded women as evil and with it the emotions of lust and passion.

Modern-day Pagans have reclaimed the celebration of human sexuality and the miracle of fertility that accompanies it.  People still dance around the Maypole, a phallic symbol, while they hold brightly colored streamers spilling from the top of this pole, symbolic of the creative force of sex.

The information above was taken from,
“The Gray Witch’s Grimoire”
by Amythyst Raine
Moon Books/JHP

Correspondences for Beltaine

Herbs: cinquefoil, frankincense, marigold, meadowsweet,
woodruff

Altar Flowers/Herbs: daisy, hawthorn, lilac, primrose, wildflowers, rose

Feast Foods: barley cakes, oat cakes, red fruit, elderflower drinks, herbal salads

Animals: honey bees, cats, horses, rabbits, white cow

Incense: frankincense, lilac, passion flower, rose, vanilla

Rituals/Spells: bale fire, fertility magick, sex magick, handfasting, beauty magick, love spells, The Great Rite

(From “Natural Magick the Gray Witch Way”
by Amythyst Raine © 2011)

Wykid Wytch Newsletter– September!

Hi, Everyone!

My September newsletter from The Witch’s Corner has gone live this morning. You’ll find that I’ve changed up the format a bit with the addition of some new sections, including one entitled “Pagan Highlights”. You’ll find information about pagan authors, artists, activists, and other unique individuals that need to be brought into the spotlight so that we can all benefit from their wisdom, their sense of humor, their talent, and their eclectic pagan views. This month features Lunea Weatherstone, Susan Weed, Mickie Mueller, and Witches Rising.

There’s an essay on“Autumnal Holidays” and links to an article on interfaith marriage,“A Christian & A Witch”, learn how this couple handles both interfaith and inter-racial issues in their relationship. We’ll be “Makin’ Magick ‘Round the Kitchen Table” with some “Workplace Mojo”– bosses beware! And “From the Witch’s Kitchen” is a recipe for “Full Moon Biscuits”, it’s easy as pie.

I’ve also edited a photo slideshow called “Nebraska Autumn” with some new pics.

You’ll find updates and news from The Witch’s Corner with links.

The Wykid Wytch Newsletter
September 2011

click Here

Welcome to My Wytchy Realm

The following is an overview of my website:

The Witch’s Corner

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Follow the url to enter this magickal realm:

http://ladyamythyst.webs.com

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The Triple Goddess

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The Maiden

The maiden is overflowing with all of the possibilities of the future. Within her are the seeds of what will be. She is the fresh dawn of a new day. She is strength and tenacity and power. She is unbridled enthusiasm and wonder and hope.

The Mother

The mother is ripe fruit hanging pregnant from the vine. She is the foundation, the nurturer, the protectress. She is fortified with strength and placid with the calmness of a sunny day. She is who we turn to for stability and reassurance.

The Crone

It is the crone we seek in the darkening twilight. We find comfort in her quiet presence and yet we are challenged by her intuitive knowledge and aware of the darkshadows she casts…forcing us to seek the light and answers.

© Amythyst Raine 2007

Reconnect with the Goddess:

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

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Divination

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Divination brings to mind the stereotype of the gypsy woman ensconced in her tent, peering intently into her crystal ball—and that may very well be an accurate picture somewhere in the world. I grew up in my grandmother’s house, surrounded by books on astrology, numerology, handwriting analysis, dream interpretation, etc. The world of divination is a natural one for me.

But divination in this modern time of neo-paganism has come a long way baby.

Tarot cards of all kinds abound and fill the shelves at not only new-age and metaphysical shops, but also at the mainstream bookstores such as Borders, Barnes & Noble, Hastings, etc.

Crystals, crystal balls, runes, quija boards are as popular now as they were in times past—more so, perhaps. I like to think of this day and age as the “New Renaissance” for the occult world.

© Amythyst Raine 2007

At the url below you will find information on all forms of divination with links to pertinent sites, tales of my own personal psychic experiences, interviews with Allison Dubois and Patricia Arquette—the actress who plays Allison in the television show “Medium”, and more:

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

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Spells & Potions

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This is the “meat” of witchcraft, the most fascinating (and sometimes fear inducing) aspect of The Craft for many people. To most of the mundane world the idea that anyone would have the power and the ability to create change using occult means is awe inspiring and often intimidating. The Christian influence in our culture and on our society has taken such natural power away from the multitudes, deeming it “evil”, “sinful”, and even dangerous.

To those of us practiced and gifted in the use of “the black arts”, it carries none of those negative labels. It is awe inspiring, but in an uplifting and promising way. It empowers those who cultivate its secrets and those who learn to use it wisely. It opens doors of dimensions undreamed of; it embraces the forces of nature in all her glory; it wreaks of a time before recorded history…it calls to those of us with the spirit of the Olde Ones, those of us who wish to practice the Olde Religion, those of us who wish to return to these ancient times and reclaim that which is our birthright.

© Amythyst Raine 2007

Follow the url to my online Book of Shadows:

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

http://ladyamythyst.webs.com/spellspotions2.htm

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Herbs

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This is the magickal medicine cabinet of the witch, and especially the Green Witch. Those who practice the olde ways have known since time immemorial of the powers contained in the molecules of “the green”. Herbs have been used since ancient times—and still are used today—for their medicinal and healing powers. But the Witch knows that these gentle and lovely plants contain other powers as well…magickal powers to be used and tapped into for spells and potions and rituals and cleansing.

© Amythyst Raine

Follow the url for a list of herbs and their magickal uses:

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

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The Elements

(Earth, Air, Fire, Water)

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FOR ME: Water is the mist of yesterday and today and tomorrow all wrapped up into one magical moment. Water is dreams and visions and questing endlessly to know the unknown. It is divination– searching for answers and listening to the universe for its response. It is the mystical and the elusive…it slips through your fingers leaving you wet and cold and shivering, knowing that you have been touched by the Divine.

FOR ME: Air is the soft breeze on your face that makes you feel touched and not touched. It is thought brought alive and moved through space and time by the Divine. Air is the part of your mind that is clear and sharp and focused and ever changing, never still and never content, but always swept up within another breeze and moved along on the current of time.

FOR ME: Earth is all the treasures buried deep within the soul. It is the material things you long for and were told you shouldn’t have. It is the security of that which is solid and immovable, and it is “manifestation” into the real world of touch and taste and smell and sight.

FOR ME: Fire is that physical passion so burning that it can consume. It is enthusiasm so powerful that it is what drives you to succeed. Fire is that fiery will that doesn’t allow you to give up in the face of adversity. It is what draws lovers together across insurmountable odds and provokes the passion that fights endlessly for justice.

Earth, Air, Fire, and Water…the four elements from which we can draw power to create magick.

© Amythyst Raine 2006

Follow the url for more information on The Elements, including an extensive list of correspondences and a Quarter Call:

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

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Wheel of the Year

(Pagan Holidays)

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The Christian “holidays” all have Pagan roots. This is a fact that was constantly brought up to me years ago by a lady who was my friend and a Jehovah’s Witness. It was her oft repeated reason to me why she didn’t celebrate any of the modern Christianized holidays now.

I am surprised by the number of people who do not know this, and even more surprised at how many refuse to believe it. It just goes to show how completely saturating cultural training can be.

I find the history of our Pagan holidays fascinating and joyful and uplifting. I and my family embrace and celebrate them.

© Amythyst Raine 2007

Follow the url for more information on the Pagan roots of our modern holidays, pagan lore, and rituals for celebration.

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

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Chakras

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The word chakra is Sanskrit for wheel or disk and signifies one of seven basic energy centers in the body. Each of these centers correlates to major nerve ganglia branching forth from the spinal column. In addition the chakras also correlate to levels of consciousness, archetypal elements, developmental stages of life, colors, sounds, body functions, and much, much more.

This definition of chakras is taken from:

http://www.sacredcenters.com/chakras.html

Follow the url for more information on the chakras, extensive correspondences related to the seven chakras, and a link to Ambika Wauters website, “The Institute of Life Energy Medicine”:

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

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Rituals

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Rituals put a stamp on the passage of time and the progression of our life stages, from a Wiccaning (baby naming) to a death and remembrance ritual, and all those celebrations and milestones in-between. Rituals validate our existence in some implausible elusive way. They bring family and friends together, open doors to the future, and create memories for generations to come.

© Amythyst Raine 2007

Follow the url and you will find rituals for all of life’s passages and links to sites where you can purchase ritual items and clothing:

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

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Ghosts/Ghost Hunting

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Growing up in my grandmother’s house prepared me for the paranormal occurrences that I would experience in this, my own house. My grandmother’s house was very active and anyone with an ounce of sensitivity to such things was always very aware of it…the feeling of being “watched” when no one else was near you, the hair suddenly standing up on the back of your neck and the sensation that “someone” was standing behind you, unintelligible whisperings in the dark of the night, a blanket being pulled from you by something you couldn’t see, lights going off and on with no explanation—and stove burners doing the same unnerving thing, objects occasionally moving, etc.

Growing up with these occurrences, I thought it was natural—wasn’t everyone’s house like this?

Apparently not, I was to learn as I became older. That enlightenment helped me to appreciate, study, and cope with paranormal activities on a very basic level. It also taught me to conquer any fear.

But witchcraft taught me how to tame these ethereal spirits, how to control them instead of allowing them to control me. Witchcraft taught me it was possible to have dominion over the spirit world.

© Amythyst Raine 2007

Follow the url and enter the paranormal world of ghosts and ghost hunting. You will find a slideshow on ghosts created by me, a list of haunted cemeteries, information on poltergiests, the Bell Witch, TAPS, the “Hauntings Website”; and a section called “Our House”, which reviews our own paranoral occurances that my family and I have experienced.

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

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My Path

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I am a solitary eclectic witch. My path consists of hoodoo, Wicca, and green witchcraft. I am neither a “white” nor a “black” witch; I prefer to see myself in shades of gray— nothing else on this earth is completely clear cut, the practice of The Craft isn’t either.

I am a hereditary witch, taking after the traditions of my mother, my sister, and cousins. I am now watching my own daughters grow in this path. I was raised by my grandmother, a woman steeped in the study of the occult, yet probably not realizing the title many in this world would have attributed to her.

I am a legally ordained member of the clergy, yet I avoid the usual titles which smack too closely of Christianity for my taste. I prefer the simple, yet deeply meaningful title of “Lady”.

© Amythyst Raine

Follow the url to learn more about my path, with links to sites on hoodoo, wicca, and green witchcraft. You will also find a “code of ethics”, “rules of conduct”, my explanation of the “kitchen witch”, and my feelings on “Hexing and Cursing”:

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

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Photogallery

I’ve opened a window on this page, a window into my private world.  I have tried to post images on here that I haven’t posted anywhere else, they are exclusive.  I haven’t decided yet whether to continue the Photogallery or relegate it to an archive, but my camera is always ready, and life somehow or other always has something interesting to show me. 

© Amythyst Raine 2007

Follow the url and you will find a slide show, as well as personal photos of my home, gardens, family, & ’stuff’.

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

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Monthly Newsletters

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

http://ladyamythyst.webs.com/newsletterarchives1.htm

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Follow my raven to the Magick Forest where you can view/sign the guestbook, subscribe to the site, and find links to unimaginable places and incredible people.

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

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Creating Your Altars

I’ve had several people contact me with questions about altars.  How to set one up, what kind of items are needed, where do you place things, etc.  The fact is that an altar is a completely individual project, there will be as many different ways to set up and decorate an altar as there are Pagans to do it.

 To begin with, any flat surface will work, whether it’s a stone for an outdoor altar, a dresser top, coffee table, bookshelf, end table, a large serving tray, etc. You have to work with the space you have and the resources available to you.

 The items needed don’t have to be expensive boughten pagan paraphernalia, and for many of us with the economy the way it is, that would not be practical.  Natural or handmade objects make just as beautiful, magickal, and inspiring altars as the most expensive witchy objects you can buy.  Personally, I have used flowers from my garden, rocks and stones, sea shells, bowls of herbs and salt and water, pine cones, feathers, dried flowers, candles, old family photos, my grandmother’s silk scarves, a swatch of cloth from wal-mart’s fabric center…you get the point.


How do you choose the color and other correspondences, as well as what type of items you want on your altar?  That depends– What theme are you choosing?  What deity do you want to honor?  What holiday are you celebrating?

 For instance, with Imbolc, we’re honoring the Irish fire Goddess, Brighid.  For the herbs and flowers you could display carnations, rosemary, or chamomile.  You could fill a lovely bowl with an offering of milk and burn red candles.  The next major holiday coming up is Eastra, which has the potential for a lovely altar!  You could decorate with all the soft spring colors.  Your altar cloth could be pink, light green, lavender.  Include images of bunnies and eggs, plant new seeds in small pots and place them among white candles, sprinkle petals from dried flowers throughout this altar.  Decorate with fresh jasmine, daffodils, lotus, or any new spring flowers that come up in your area.


You want an altar, not commemorating a holiday or a deity, but an Element?  Say you wish to call upon the Element of Water to empower and enrich your intuition.  Blue, aqua, silver, or purple can be your colors—for your altar cloth and your candles, water your physical element—displayed in a bowl or a seashell.  You can display on this altar images of dolphins, mermaids, or any other aquatic creatures.  The stones you can lay among the other items could be moon stone, lapis, aquamarine, rose quartz.  You can buy inexpensive bags of sea shells at wal-mart and sprinkle them among the altar cloth and candles.  Offer bowls of the herbs yarrow or violets. 

 On some of my altars I have displayed many of the tools of my Craft—my athame, cauldron, pentacle, and other items I’ve accumulated over the years.  But the idea I’m trying to get across here is that simple natural things around you can be just as inspiring and uplifting– and welcomed by Divinity.  You are only limited by your own imagination.  Let the spark of creativity touch you, and see the beauty in many natural objects that you find around you, whether it be a stone, the shed feather from a bird, or the twisted limb of a broken tree branch.
 

(The altars displayed above are original photos of altars in my home.)
 


The Kitchen Wytch

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The Kitchen, or Cottage Wytch…for me, this is the epitome of what I have always viewed witches as being ever since I was a child. It is that unobtrusive and eccentric woman who grows herbs in her gardens and about her house, who has developed a unique and unusual relationship with the wild things that visit her yard and her gardens. It is the woman who has the ancient knowledge and wisdom to incorporate the magickal use of herbs in her everyday life—in the food she prepares, in the water and solutions that she uses to clean her home, in the incense she burns to smudge her living quarters.

It is not the flashy publicity oriented media image of a wytch that people seek out…it is the quiet Wise Woman in the unusual house down the road; the woman people whisper about curiously amongst themselves, the woman cocooned in ancient mysteries and magickal ways.

This is the Kitchen Wytch.

Blessings, Amythyst