Saturday, October 22, 2016

DIY Ancestral Samhain Tree

Samhain is quickly approaching! Of all the sabbats, this is the time to honor and recognize your ancestors as the veil begins to thin. Many witches and non-witches alike set up altars in honor of those who have passed over. In many traditions it is customary to set a place at the table for all those you have lost so they may join the family for a meal this night. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you remember them.

I decided this year to take a different approach to honoring my ancestors. Growing up, Halloween trees were common. Heck, they are still common today. It seems like everyone is either making one or buying one to decorate with this season. The one we had was made by my mother, a very crafty and artistic woman. She makes almost all of her decorations or buys them from other artists. I wish I had the collection of decorations for each holiday that she has, but alas I am still young. I am doing my best to grow out collection. Anyway, I distinctly remember Halloween trees and thought, "Why not use this as a way to honor my ancestors?"And thus the ancestral tree was born!

I have a beautiful curly willow in my front yard (and a weeping willow, yay!!) that I recently cut back. I used one of its branches, a old pot, and some foam and moss from the Dollar Tree to set up my tree.

Once it was made it sat bare in my library for quite some time. I'm being honest, at first I couldn't decide if I was making a Halloween tree or not. I was going to just put it up and save it for another time, but I said, "No, I need to do something crafty for a change!" In comes the ancestral tree.

I started by calling my mom and asking for pictures of relatives. She uses pictures of our deceased relatives all the time in crafts so she already had nice paper copies of most of the family, on both sides of the family...all the way back to when they arrived in the United States on a boat. She also had really great photos of my great grandmother and my grandfather who passes away while I was in college. I made copies of these to place on my tree.

Once I had collected all the images I wanted to use I set off to Michael's to pick up some Halloween scrap booking supplies to create my ornaments. I lucked out that they were having a 2 day door buster sale on all Halloween paper crafts. I ended up saving 60% and paying $8 for some very beautiful supplies and ribbon. In fact, they already had some paper flourishes that were perfect for the ornaments. I was already going to make something similar and buying them saved me a ton of time.

After I gathered all my supplies I set to work cutting and hot gluing everything together. I made several ornaments of different shapes and sizes from many of the people in my family. Next year I would like to add to the collection by creating some from my husband's family. In fact, I should make a note to see if I can't get more of the ornament paper I used before they sell out. Note made. Anyway, once I was finished I hung them up and viola! Simply yet beautiful ancestral tree to honor my loved ones this Samhain.

I think it turned out rather nice, albeit I need some more ornaments.

There are two people missing from my "family" on this tree; one is my best friend Anna who passed away almost 11 years ago when I was in high school. I haven't been able to bring myself to make her ornament, not because I don't love her, but because I feel like making one solidifies that she is actually gone. Even after 11 years I haven't quite accepted it. Please do not tell me she is in a better place. I know you mean well, but those words cut like a knife. The second person is my Uncle Richard. Technically he is a cousin, but uncle works just fine. My mom didn't send me home with any pictures of him. Just know you are remembered and deeply loved Uncle Richard.

How do you honor your ancestors and loved ones on Samhain?

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


While watching a couple YouTube videos last night I decided to create an Instagram account for the blog. I will likely be creating a YouTube channel as well in the future specifically to document my Grimoire progress. However, if you wish to follow the blog on Instagram, you can find me at

Hope to see you guys there!

Atlanta Pagan Pride 2016

Over the weekend my husband and I attended our very first Atlanta Pagan Pride Festival! Years ago we went to a North Georgia Solitaries festival and it ended with my husband having a foul taste in his mouth. We were told the class we were going to was on ghosts but some how or another ended up in a sex magic class. Yeah...not something my very prude husband needed to be a part of. He was extremely uncomfortable and it turned him off from going to other festivals for quite sometime. Honestly, it made him react poorly to witchcraft and paganism in general. However, I believe as time has passed he has become open once again, at least to understanding what I am doing and why.

Anyway, Saturday was an absolute blast! We got there early in the morning so it was still nice and cool. We shopped around at some of the 42+ vendors attending the event. I ended up buying a sea glass necklace first thing. I'm not even into wearing much jewelry, but this piece spoke to me; well, more like yelled...from across the parking lot...with a megaphone. I couldn't NOT buy it.

Pretty beautiful right? I've enjoyed wearing it thus far and the feeling of calm it gives me.

We walked around some more, saw some people I went to college with who were selling their artwork, pulled some batteries out of a dying smoke detector (well my husband did), drank some hot chocolate, and bought a really great grapefruit bath bomb. Unfortunately I did not get a picture of said bath bomb before I used it. I'll explain why this got used the night I bought it in just a few minutes.

After shopping for a bit we attended a Druid Magic class. It was supposed to be on talismans, potions, and herb usage, but due to the teacher's recent move, most of his belongings were still in boxes. Instead, he taught us a visualization technique that combines the three elements of the druids, sky, land, and sea, to bring forth change within your self. Each of these elements corresponds with a different aspect (emotion, physical, and mind), color (white/light blue, green, and dark blue), and shape (square, circle, and triangle). Now none of these are in order. I honestly can't remember which go together other than ocean is emotion and is dark blue while land is physical and green. Anyway. you envision beams of light transecting through your body before having them rotate to form circles then spheres of protective energy. Depending on your goals you either bring them within yourself or use them as a protective "skin." It was quite interesting. I love that the method could be adapted to work as a protective shield, something extremely valuable while hedge riding.

Finally we participated in the auction, which not only raised money for the event, but also the community. I ended up purchasing a purple besom to hang in my bathroom for $10. Excellent deal considering it is hand made. Unfortunately the druid class ran over so I miss the beginning of the auction and some pretty cool items. I'm happy nonetheless with my wonderful besom.

I am so glad I was able to attend this year and so look forward to attending next year. They said this was the largest turn out yet, and I hope next year is even better!

So, why did I use the bath bomb Saturday night? Well, my husband and I went out with my best friend and her new husband (they got married last week in secret), to dinner and then go karting. Well, in the first 2 minutes of go karting my husband decided he didn't like losing to me so he attempted to push me out of his way and in the process spun me out into the other cars. I was hit by a couple other drivers and flung around like a rag doll within the kart. I ended up with a mild concussion, bruising on my back, leg, and knee, whip lash, and some cuts. I had to be pulled from the kart and could barely walk for 2 days. It was terrible. Sometimes he sucks the fun out of everything. Needless to say I am banged up and sore, but doing fine. No broken bones and the concussion has gotten significantly better. No need to worry.

So yes, that was my wonderful and dramatic weekend! How was yours?

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Box of Shadows Review: October

So last month I was looking through Cratejoy, a site that basically complies all the monthly crates you can order in one spot, when I found an entire section for witches and pagans. Needless to say I was overjoyed. I have been trying to order a Sabbat Box for years now to no avail. I have yet to make it off the waiting list so finding there are other options available was great news. In comes the Box of Shadows.

This particular box has three levels: The Initiate, The Priestess, and The Supreme. Kind of reminds me of AHS: Coven. Each varies in price and offers a differing array of items. The Initiate, the box I ended up ordering, comes with an incense and herb or gemstone of the month, a smudge stick, a bundle of 5 undressed candles, and up to three surprise worship items. The Priestess and Supreme offer the same basics, but you get more surprise worship items (up to 4 or 5), and both the herb and gemstone of the month.

I ordered my box last month and had somewhat forgotten about it until it arrived yesterday. I'm not going to lie, I had a truly terrible day yesterday so seeing this little beauty show up was a blessing. It immediately changed my mood and actually got my husband and I talking about my spirituality. We are going to Atlanta Pagan Pride this Saturday and I am hesitant because my husband tends to unconsciously look down upon my spirituality. The box sparked a pretty good conversation where he, for the first time, seemed pretty open to what I had to tell him. Anyway, this is a conversation for another time.

On to the box!

My lovely box on my table. I have to say, taking a picture before opening it was hard. I just wanted to dive right in.

Upon first opening it the smell of cinnamon, cloves, and mugwort flooded the room. I knew instantly this was a box I was going to enjoy.

The box included cinnamon incense, a Samhain candle, mugwort, a bundle of sage, 5 beautiful candles, a ritual bath mix that smells AMAZING, and a selenite wand. I think I am most excited about the Samhain candle and the ritual bath mix.

I am VERY satisfied with my first box and look forward to seeing what comes in November!

Even the cats were excited over this box. I had to immediately hide the mugwort because Thanatos was trying to rip open the bag. For those of you who don't know, mugwort is similar to catnip. Keep it away from them.


Sunday, September 11, 2016

Recipe: Old Fashion Fig Preserves

For those of you who don't know, we have a fig tree in our backyard. Figs are probably one of my favorite fruits. They are only available at the end of the summer for a few short weeks, and this year our tree has been producing nonstop. In fact, it has been producing some of the largest figs I have ever seen. Last year the tree produced just a few small figs, so I was expecting much the same this year. However, due to the amount of rain we have received, the tree was able to produce more than I have been able to eat. Normally I don't share my figs, but this year I was giving them away I had so many. I've also let several dozen go to the bees. I just can't eat them all. And that is when it dawned on me; why not make fig preserves?! And that is exactly what I did.

Over the weekend I went to the store, bought some sugar and canning jars, and set to work. This recipe takes roughly 3 hours to cook and another hour to can it all, but it is well worth it.

     4 cups whole or halved figs
     2 cups sugar
     1 cup water
     4 lemon slices, seeds removed
     4 half-pint jars

  1. Gently rinse figs and drain. Remove the stems. You may leave the figs whole or cut them in half as I did.
  2. In a large, heavy pot, add the water, sugar, and figs. Bring to a boil then reduce temperature to low. Allow to cook for about 3 hours or until very thick. Stir occasionally. DO NOT leave the pot unattended.
  3. Ladel hot preserves into hot, sterile jars. Place a lemon slice on top of preserves then seal.
  4. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. If not processing in the water bath preserves will last up to 1 month in the fridge.

Unfortunately I didn't think ahead to take pictures of the cooking process for the blog, but I do have beautiful after photos. Looks tasty doesn't it?

Fig preserves are great on toast, crackers, scones, cookies (as in thumb print cookies), or just paired with cheese and olives.

I hope you enjoy!


Monday, August 29, 2016

Herbarium: Bay

Folk Names: Baie, Bay Laurel, Daphne, Sweet Bay
Gender: Masculine
Planet: Sun
Element: Fire

Powers: Healing, Protection, Psychic Powers, Purification, Strength, Wisdom
Magical Uses and History: Bay is a fairly common herb used in witchcraft. It was perceived as a symbol of immortality by the Ancient Greeks and Romans where it later became a symbol of nobility and victory. The leaves were worn on the brow of every triumphant Roman general as he rode his chariot through the city in celebration. It is believed this tradition stems from Apollo, one of the many gods associated with bay, because of his conquests in the natural world where he would deflower a virgin then turn her into a flower or tree as a symbol of his victory. Wear bay during an athletic event to ensure victory and bring strength and courage.

Despite the downfall of Asclepius, who was struck down by Zeus while wearing a crown of bay leaves, bay is traditionally viewed as having protective powers, especially against lightning. It was hung in Roman homes to protect those within and is commonly used in protection spells and rituals today. A withering or diseased bay laurel tree is considered a sign of disaster to come. More recently, herbalist Nicholas Culpeper claimed bay would protect against witchcraft and the devil. Wear as an amulet to ward off negativity and evil or burn  to purify your home and prevent poltergeists from working any mischief. A sprig is often used to sprinkle water during purification rituals to add an extra punch.

Furthermore, bay is said to have prophetic or psychic properties, allowing the famous oracle Delphi, the seer of Apollo, to see into the past, present, and future. Delphi was said to chew on the leaves or burn the branches to inhale the smoke in order to reach these trances. Use in brews or burn as an incense to induce a prophetic state or place beneath your pillow to induce prophetic dreams.

Bay is also associated with wisdom and poetry, other attributes of Apollo, and hence where the name Poet Laureate comes from. Have writers block? Burn bay to enhance your creativity and dispel writers block.

Bay can be used in a number of spells including:
     Protection Magic
     Prophetic Dreams
     Healing Spells
     Creativity Spells

Medicinal Uses: Bay leaves can be used either in whole leaf form or as an oil to treat a variety of ailments. The leaves can be used as a diuretic or to induce vomiting if something toxic has been consumed. It is also commonly used as a tea to settle upset stomachs, irritable bowel syndrome, or to help lessen the symptoms of Celiac's disease. Bay leaf essential oil can be mixed with a salve and applied to the chest to alleviate respiratory conditions such as coughing, wheezing, bronchitis, or asthma. Inhaling the vapors has a similar affect. Bay also works as an anti-inflammatory to reduce joint swelling and can be used to lessen the symptoms of arthritis. Finally, bay has been connected with lower blood sugar and is often used to treat/manage diabetes.

Preparation and Dosage: Bay can be taken internally as an infusion or cooked within food. To make an infusion, pour a cup of boiling water onto 1-2 teaspoons of dried leaves and let infuse for 10 minutes. Drink this solution up to three times a day. If using bay leaf oil, please follow the directions listed on the box/bottle. Each one is different and therefore should be treated as such. Externally Bay Leaf oil can be mixed into a salve and applied to the chest overnight.


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