Posted in Cottage Witchcraft

Cottage Witchcraft

Harvesting oregano from the gardenI think my blog post from yesterday confused people as much as I was confused when I reread it later in the day. I wrote that early in the day, having come off the day before, when I found out that I need a crapload of dental work done on something I thought was already rectified. Choose your dentist wisely people!

Anyway, my post was just supposed to be about finding more ways to raise my level of energy, or vibrations, whatever you want to call it. But as I’m known to do, I went a long way around the barn to say that one sentence…

This morning I was reading one of my books, Progressive Witchcraft, which I love, and was struck by the fact that there were so many “rules” in Wicca. Obviously, I’ve known that, but for the past few years I’ve basically been doing something I like to call, ‘Wicca, My Way.’ In other words, I’ve been ignoring the fact that Wicca is really a ceremonial witchcraft path, and I’ve not been very ceremonial in my practice. Yet, I still called my practice Wicca.

That’s clearly not the case. Wicca is not anything you want it to be. It has guidelines, and generally accepted methods of practice. I’m not doing the path justice, and conversely, it’s not providing me with what I need at this point in my life.

My lifestyle is simpler, greener, and more relaxed than it was when I started down the witchcraft path 13 years ago. Ironically, much of that came as a result of Wicca. I’ve always been a type B person, but at this point in my life I’m even deeper into that B. I don’t have a lot of interest in elaborate rituals and complicated spells.

I’ve written in the past about cottage witchery. It’s a broad term, that seems to include kitchen, green, and hearth witchery. Basically, it’s witchcraft that centers on the home, and since I’m home the most, take care of the cooking, cleaning, and most things connected with our home, it seems to be a perfect fit.

I believe I do a lot of the things connected with the path. I make great use of essential oils, herbs, crystals, and stones when it comes to cooking, making my own cleaning supplies, personal care supplies, and minor health issues. I do have to credit my wife, for she has the green thumb as far as gardening and growing herbs. To be honest, I probably need to read some more books on the path.

As far as magick and spells, most of my workings are folk magick. Making magical sachets, essential oil blends, and herbal remedies. Judika Illes book, Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells is a great reference for folk magick. Most of the spells are based on low, or folk magick. Once you have the ingredients, the spells are simple in nature.

So, I’m going to stop identifying myself as Wiccan. Cottage witch certainly seems more fitting, basically describing what I do on a daily basis.

Hopefully, this post makes more sense than yesterday’s convoluted offering. As always, thanks for reading, and leave a comment if you’d like! I love hearing from you guys!

Blessed Be!

*Pictured above are herbs drying in one of our windows. Very cottage witchy, huh?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Depression, Energy/Vibrations, witchcraft

Raising Vibrations, Witchcraft, Serenity

It seems almost paradoxical, yet when your inner dependency on form is gone, the general conditions of your life, the outer forms, tend to improve greatly. 

Things, people, or conditions that you thought you needed for your happiness now come to you with no struggle or effort on your part, and you are free to enjoy and appreciate them – while they last. 

All those things, of course, will still pass away, cycles will come and go, but with dependency gone there is no fear of loss anymore. 

Life flows with ease. 

~Eckhart Tolle

There is about a million ways to interpret that quote. I think it has to do with your expectations, and depending on circumstances to be just as you want them to be. It’s about letting go of those expectations, not counting on them, and finding happiness with what comes. And perhaps those things will come to you easier than you ever imagined. Yet, one has to realize that these things come and go, there is some sort of cycle, but if you have no concrete expectations, you will not feel sadness when these things go away, and you will not live in fear of them disappearing while you have them.

I’ve been noticing that much of my interest, and what I read about these days, is energy. The philosophy of life, of how energy, my own feelings, my own vibrations and frequency affects my life.

I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time over the years trying to define my Pagan and witchcraft path. Gothic/hippie/light/dark/Wiccan/just a witch/chaos practitioner, and on an on. That’s a whole lot of energy wasted. Worse yet, it doesn’t really matter. How I practice, how you practice, how the “experts” tell you to practice, it’s all a matter of personal preference. Every witchcraft author has their own spin. There are more offshoots of witchcraft than you can count.

At this point, I’m not sure what I am. The other night, with my arthritis flaring like mad, I asked the God and Goddess to help me out. I had a small (think tiny), informal ritual, said some blessings, and gave my thanks to them. This is not how I normally think. Witches do spells, they don’t count on the deities for help, they don’t really pray, they do magick. But I didn’t have the energy to do any magick, so I tried asking. Yesterday, things had improved. Did the deities do that? Was it simply mind over matter? Did I raise my vibrations by thinking positive? I can’t tell you. I just know that it worked to a degree.

From this point on, I’m just going to call myself a Pagan and a witch. That is enough definition. I am going to explore energy vibrations, frequencies, and how it affects me. I’m probably going to step foot in New Age territory a bit, or even a lot, and I know that just disgusts some witches.

But here’s the thing. So far, in thirteen years, I haven’t found serenity. I’ve found a spiritual practice I’ve enjoyed at times, but I’ve also had plenty of Dark Nights of the Soul. A lot of that had to do with how I took criticism of others, based on their writings. I’ve eye rolled new witches who wanted to know if there was a spell to turn them into a vampire. I’ve wasted so much energy on stuff that was so far out in left field.

Some may say that the quest upon which I’m embarking may qualify for a bit of craziness. Maybe, but it seems to be working for a lot of people. If it is just mental, that’s fine, because if I can find serenity though energy workings, so be it.

There is a lot of upheaval in the world right now. U.S. politics scare the shit out of me. I’ve wasted a lot of energy on worrying about that too. So, it seems to be a really good time to work on centering myself, and rising above all the crap.

The bottom line is that while I enjoy being a witch, it has not given me the strength I had hoped it might, and I am going to explore further to see if I can find some help.

Thanks for reading! Let me know what you think, or if you have any reference suggestions on the topics I’ve discussed here.

Blessed Be!

 







Posted in Depression, Paganism, Wicca, witchcraft

Never mind – A Witch Freaks Out 

So yesterday’s post might have had more to do with frustration, anxiety, and my immune system crapping out on me with another arthritic flare-up. It was one of those posts you write, then sit on a day or two, reflecting on your feelings, then usually end up deleting. Ugh!

Thanks to all the people who DM’ed me on Twitter! I was amazed at that, and yes, you talked me down off the roof. Blessings to you guys.

I bare my soul here, and on my witchcraft Twitter & Google+ accounts. Honestly, I really think I would have to hold back if I simply used my mundane accounts. As many pointed out to me, this is a form of therapy, as well as exchanging ideas with like-minded people.

And (this really was a valuable nugget someone brought up) this is not leading two lives. Rather, it is about sharing an interest, a lifestyle, with those that understand and can relate. If I posted witchcraft related stuff on my mundane social media accounts, it would largely fall on deaf ears. Here, and on my other Craft accounts, I have a community of fellow Pagans, witches, and those who may just simply be interested in those topics.

I may get frustrated with my path. I may have periods of disinterest or inactivity. But I think I would miss it dearly if I walked away from Wicca. Honestly, it’s tough being on a self starter spiritual path. Mainstream religious people have entire congregations to give them support. Most of us do not, which can make it difficult to stay the path every single day.

So disregard my last post. I was going to take it down, but I think it can help others see that even someone who has been on this path for over a decade can freak out about it every so often.

So I beg your indulgence, and appreciate you being here. And again, thanks to those that contacted me. It was so kind of you, and you led me to the light!

Peace, and Blessed Be.

Posted in Everyday Life

Reclaiming Myself

I’ve tried to write many posts over the past few weeks. I get a running start, but then either run out of steam, or simply realize they are basically rehashes of older posts. I get tired of writing about myself, and my successes, my failures, or personal troubles.

I’ve been a practicing Wiccan for 13 years. To be honest, I don’t really practice all that much anymore. I get up in the morning, thinking I’m going to do a ritual or spell, and then find a million reasons not to do it. Call it burn out, but I’m not sure that’s what it is.

I’m tired of living two lives. I have my mundane life, and the life I’ve exposed to you on this blog and other social media. The two do not always match. If I left, or leave Wicca, I’m actually afraid I won’t miss it. I think leaving Paganism itself would be very difficult.

I think like a Pagan. I have a Pagan outlook on life and death. I am open to the possibilities of the universe, and would never malign magick or witchcraft. It seems that so many people who walk away from witchcraft end up not believing in it.

Back to living two lives. I think I would like to abandon all my alternate accounts, and just have one email, Twitter, Google+ (honestly, it’s better than you think), and photo accounts. Right now I have no less than 4 Gmail accounts, a couple of Yahoo accounts, and even a Outlook account. As I soar well past 50 years of age, I find that I’m becoming more casual, and more minimalistic. Plus there are a ton of overlapping emails every day.

I’ve largely come out as a Pagan. I feel that I’m growing more toward Humanistic Paganism, which might be a better fit with my theoretical Paganism, rather than my past ritualistic Paganism. It would be mentally freeing for me to be able to talk about that openly, rather than veil myself behind an internet persona.

I might have a blog, I’m not sure. All of you who blog know the mental preparation of writing a post, formulating what you will say, then making it look nice on the screen. Then after posting it, you need to take the time to tend to comments, and reply to them. It’s a time sucking proposition, often fulfilling, but perhaps not to the extent it needs to be, given the time devoted to it.

I’ve spent the bulk of many summers sitting in the house, on the computer, communicating with other Pagans, writing posts, Tweeting, doing rituals & magickal workings, or reading Pagan/witchcraft websites, blogs, and other writings. This year is going to be different. I want to be more active, be more social, be more athletic.

I don’t regret all my time with my online Pagan activities. I’ve had fun communicating with others. Sometimes this communication has helped me mentally. In the end though, it just feels a bit hollow. My “real life” social life has suffered greatly, my relationship with friends and family were put on the back burner. They could not really even engage with me that much online, as I was spending most of my time there under an assumed identity.

So now, I’m gonna take a break from it all for a bit. I’m going to whittle down my online accounts, and become, well, me.

Thank you all so much for your support of this blog. It’s the longest I ever stuck with one.

Peace and best wishes.

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Grounding

In the complicated, often chaotic world we live in, this is a great way to reconnect with the earth. I think it brings calm to one’s life.

Solitary Path

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IMHO grounding ourselves is one of the most important things for any of us to be doing every single day. The more grounded we are the more we are in contact with our bodies, our physical beings and the more we can deal with whatever comes at us in a practical and useful way.

When we are stressed and have lots of things running back and forth through our minds it is easy to get caught up in that headspace, grounding ourselves can help to bring us back into contact with our physical bodies and settle us. I am not saying for one minute that it will solve all of our problems but it can help. I often see clients who are stressed, anxious or depressed and almost always, helping to settle their thoughts by balancing their energy and bringing some back down from that head space and into their bodies…

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Posted in Uncategorized

Walking the Labyrinth, by Anna Walther

This is something I really want to do! Great blog post!

Humanistic Paganism

Last year I made a series of mini-pilgrimages to local labyrinths. The labyrinth is an ancient symbol, around since at least Neolithic times and likely even earlier, and appearing in multiple cultures around the world. Labyrinths are widely associated with spirit, insight, and journey through human life. They are paradoxes: spiraling paths leading to both fear and empowerment, mazes in which one cannot get lost.

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Posted in Depression, Everyday Life, Paganism, Uncategorized, witchcraft

Wellness & Witchcraft Life

mind-body-spiritThis is a companion piece to my last post, with a plan of action to bring more joy and happiness into my life. Hope it helps others too!

Depression and anxiety are unfortunate companions to a lot of us. The causes are many, and often the causes can’t be pinpointed at all. Nonetheless, anyone who suffers from these, and other similar mental health issues knows the pain and exhaustion that results from the struggles.

Frankly, I’ve surprised myself as to how open I’ve been about my personal struggles with depression and anxiety. There is no doubt that they have changed the course of my life, generally not in a good way. I can’t help thinking that if the internet had existed when I first experienced life altering anxiety, I might have found the strength to overcome it, or at least control it better than I did. When we write about it and chat about it online, it gives us a certain degree of empowerment to battle the disease.

Becoming a Wiccan helped me with my depression by giving me that aforementioned empowerment in my life. While it taught me that I could have a degree of control over my life through ritual and magick, it also gave me the God and Goddess. Through high school, I followed my parents’ Judea/Christian religion. It was fine, but in the end, I never could really connect with that God. But becoming a Wiccan in my early 40’s gave me deities that seemed alive. They offered guidance with love, joy, sorrow, life, death, enjoyment of the home and hearth. I was guided through them to learn about herbs, essential oils, gardening, and loving myself. These deities didn’t require me to obey them, nor did judge those who didn’t believe in them. They were simply there, and offered hope.

Unfortunately, I’ve managed to find a downside of being a witch in regard to depression and anxiety. Those who practice Wicca or witchcraft know that these paths take up a good deal of our time. Most mainstream religious folk tend to go to church once a week at the most, and that’s about it. We witches have altars to attend and rituals to prepare and perform. We perform magick through spells, which requires finding or writing the spell, obtaining or gathering all the needed elements of the spell, then taking the time to do the actual spell work.

Because we don’t have a house of worship, witches tend to spend a lot of time reading the writings of other witches, and communicating through blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and many other social media outlets. Because we don’t have a central religious text, we also spend a lot of time educating ourselves by reading books, websites, and blog posts.

All of this takes time away from other aspects of life. Activities such as socializing, spending time with family and friends, exercising, and even just being outside suffer. Additionally, there is the work of keeping your witchcraft path under wraps, if you feel that is necessary or imperative. That, in itself, is hard work.

The result is that we insulate ourselves to a degree, and that can ignite depression and other mental difficulties. I’ve come to realize that the scales have tipped too far toward spending time on witchcraft activities, compared to taking care of my mundane needs. I’ve spent a lot of summers over the past 13 years behind my desktop, or doing rituals and spells, rather than being outside. And we all know the psychological benefits of getting outside in nature, exercising, and freeing up our minds.

So I’ve decided to work at balancing that scale. My first step has been running and cycling. We have had some ridiculously warm February weather, and I’ve been able to get out and cycle and run quite a bit. This, in itself, has improved my mental health.

My wife and I are starting to look for activities that take us out and about. Spring and summer offer lots of outdoor opportunities, all of which we’ve basically ignored. There are activities that can be part of a magickal experience, such as visiting botanical gardens, exploring cemeteries, and spending time in wooded areas. I hope to devote more time to gardening, which has been often left in my wife’s hands. I’m sure she would appreciate the help.

I guess I’m just realizing that living a magickal life doesn’t have to mean sitting behind a screen, in front of an altar, or doing spells or meditating in a darkened room. Of course this has always been the case, as many witches would be quick to tell me, but sometimes I just need to be hit over the head with a ton of bricks…

Life is all about balance. My balance has been off for some time, and I hope taking this advice to myself will help restore that balance.

Thank you for reading! I’m sure many of you have thoughts on this, and have been able to find your balance. I’d love to hear from you!

Blessed Be!