Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Beginning

We spent Sunday breaking down the old fire pit. Eventually this area will be flat. Then I can start planting my garden.

I did do a bit of gardening Sunday; I repotted my lemon balm. We decided to fill the porch with hanging baskets of herbs. This makes cooking fresh easier. I also removed broken art from my side garden. It bothers me when people leave broken statues and cracked pots in the yard. Please, take down the wind chime with only 2 pipes left. Gardens live and occasionally they out grow things. You wouldn't let your children wear clothes too small, faded, or stained so don't think if you put something in the garden that it will last forever.

It's is perfectly acceptable to landscape the yard to suit your needs. Even if those needs change every year or two.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Dream Interpretation

I dreamed my husband and I were still living in the old house.  We were looking for something in a wooden box. There was lots of rope and tools. Suddenly Will said, "That shouldn't be there." Then he took something out of the box, but wouldn't let me see it. I asked if it was a snake and he reluctantly confirmed. We moved the box off the tree stump. There were lots of snakes inside the stump. I sent one of the older boys inside. Will kept searching. I saw a coral snake. Those are venomous so I made everyone go inside. Once in the house, I learned Middle Sister had written letters ranting about how unfairly she had been treated.

Here's how I am interpreting my dream: Middle Sister is up to something. That's not a stretch; she often creates drama, usually by running her mouth. This is why we aren't Facebook friends. One day she posted 4 whiney posts in a row and I got tired of it so I stopped following her. She has her setting to unfriend anyone who unfollows so that was the end of me. When I told Will he said she had blocked him long ago without explanation. A family friend called one day to ask what was going on with her because she had been posting negative but vague comments about us all day. And it's not just Facebook, occasionally Middle Sister will start talking to other family members. But just telling it once isn't enough and with each retelling she embellishes a good bit. Dreaming that she wrote letters instead of her being present makes sense. As does the drama queen making everything about herself.

Will hiding the snake makes sense because he usually deals with problems himself rather than worry me. In an effort to protect the boys, even my adult sons, I usually send them out of the room when having serious discussions. The son I sent into the house just moved out. I'm not sure if that is my subconscious processing it or if he is an underlying cause/target of whatever is going on.

Whatever it is may have something to do with the old house because we recently finished tearing down the last room. We have the foundation left, then we can landscape our yard. My inlaws own 3 lots in a row, one for each of their children. That implies inheritance but really they bought 2 lots and my husband bought the last one 20 years ago. Then he got a job out of state so his parents took over the mortgage. But now we are expected to buy our lot back. The girls don't have to buy anything. I don't think that's fair. To further complicate matters, I have a garden on the middle lot because there was no room for one on my lot. My mother in law also has her garden and her greenhouse on the middle lot but for some reason it is often whispered that we get more than our share. Middle sister will whine about having nothing while she lives rent free with her parents, then claim she cannot wait to leave town and never come back.

We are always looking for stuff. There's a ton of unorganized junk making finding items difficult. Father-in-law often borrows without asking and the boys move stuff to hide what they have broken. If it is too tempting, they will be lots of inquiries and pouting before it mysteriously disappering.

We often discover problems as we go about our lives. Generally we will be in the middle of something else. I can't think of a single time when we were relaxing or asleep or on vacation when being struck with tragedy.

I don't normally consult dream books. They can be a nice starting point if you are stumped about a symbol, but really the symbol only has meaning as defined by the context of your life. A dream book will tell you pine trees are healing but if you have a memory of all the pines being cut because of beatles then that's not healing that's your fear of loss. I think dream journals are much better because it allows you to not only explore your subconscious but also makes it easier to find patterns and reoccurring themes.

As for what I decided to do with this information, I believe dreams can be warnings or alerts to events. I worked a mirror spell to defuse negativity. Since I already know what could happen this is a smart move even if nothing is actually happening at the moment. If I'm wrong there won't be anything to reflect back and if I'm right then she only gets whatever she wished on me.

Monday, February 6, 2017

The 2 Herbal Magicks

Very few Witches talk about this and I think that's because most go with one then forget the other. I do both. Both methods have their merits and as long as you keep a few things in mind, you can practice either one.

The first herbal magick is the one we are all most familiar with and it's the one that comes to mind when discussing Witchcraft. That is using herbs as medicine. It's also cooking with herbs, or using certain leaves as a bandage. Some part of the herb physically affects the body.

The other herbal magick is invoking the spirit of the plant. Here is where things get confusing. When a Wicca 101 book lists a poisonous herb as a "cure" because it has been used "by Witches throughout history" then whoever wrote the book has no actual experience with plants or magick.

Mistletoe is an example of this. Mistletoe is poisonous. It was used by Druids and some of that as carried over into our tradition of kissing under mistletoe. But I assure you, the Druids didn't consume mistletoe. They used the totem energy of the plant.

Tree magick is more in the totem realm than the medicine. We talk to the tree. We recognize it as a sentient being. Even when we cut the wood we make choices based on the tree's corospondences such as using oak to make furniture because it is beautiful and strong. Willow gets turned into wicker furniture giving things a much more airy, relaxed feel. Sometimes the plants associated with each system overlap because aspirin is made from willow bark. But while you can invoke the spirit of any plant, you cannot eat all greenery. Some of it you can't even touch.

The main benefit to totem herbal magick is making use of toxins without causing physical harm. An example of this would be stuffing a poppet with poisonous plants thus causing a person to feel discontent or to feel sickened about something. Maybe a poppet of a stalker who begins to feel unwell whenever he enters your neighborhood.

In my practice I cook with spices, keeping their magickal properties in mind. I grow food. I grow other things, too. I grow plants for beauty. I grow plants to attract bees and hummingbirds. (Thought I'd throw that in so you wouldn't have an entirely sinister view.) I grow aloes for medicine but they cannot be consumed. Aloe has an unpleasant laxative effect so just ignore those pills which promise stomach relief. See, pharmaceutical companies use information without researching it just like wannabe witches.

To use totem plant energy sit before the plant and establish mind contact. Ask if it will help you. Ask if you may take part of the plant with you. You have to be content with leaves on the ground or dirt underneath. Leave an offering as a thank you. Fertilizer or water works well. You can also clear around the plant to help it grow. If the plant is poisonous wear gloves. Do not use kitchen tools to harvest cuttings. Do not use plants you cannot identify.

And as long as we're on the subject of identifying, when you buy spices do you know which part you're purchasing?  If you aren't sure about root or seed ground into spice, do research. I have met people who didn't know pumpkin pie could be made from pumpkins. They think the filling came from a can and they never gave any consideration to what was in the can.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

How My Personal Practice Changed

About a year and half ago, I decided to be a better Witch by helping people. I decided the best thing I could do for my community was to give magick to whoever needed it. So when I saw broke down cars, I sent healing energy  (and once got a stalled car out of a busy intersection). If I saw someone struggling with too many shopping bags or apparently stressing while on the phone, I sent calm energy. Sometimes I would pick random people and give them a boost of prosperity or love. This is a fun thing to do, especially when you see change occurring right in front of you.

I guess that was the Universe training me for what was to come. We all need magick now.

Our government is corrupt. The people's rights are slowly being taken away in the name of greed. Our planet is in sad shape yet we insist on killing ourselves. Our ignorance is astounding but we are too lazy to better ourselves.

I'm not blaming all this on Trump. These problems existed before he was elected. Actually, that's how he got in office. He represents the mask falling away; nobody is pretending now. Here's the ugly truth front and center.

Things are about to get worse.

Here is what you should be doing:
1. Your home should be a safe place. Make sure you can rest and recharge there. You need a way to shut out the world so you can have peace. That may mean you turn off all media at 7pm. That may mean you have a library of books about radical notions. It could mean an arsenal. It might mean every night you tell your children to be kind. Maybe it means the furniture is very comfortable and the locks are strong.

2. The Internet is how we are being manipulated. I have seen seen some rather backwards memes. I mean at first glance it appears to take one stance, but the words do not match the picture. I believe this is an effort by extremists to mock people. To make them like what they voted against, or to at least plant seeds of doubt in our subconscious. There's some nice things online, but mostly there's a lot of junk. So take a step back.

3. Realize what happens across the country IS your problem. If there is no clean water in Flint then the exact same thing could happen in Mississippi. Think the pipeline is only an issue in Standing Rock? There is one being constructed right now in Alabama, two miles from my house. Why is no one protesting? No one told us what it was. Information is still vague. I've heard it's a gasline, an oil line, and cable. Given the size of the pipe, I must say people don't mind completely altering the environment to install it.

4. Stop mocking the protesters. If you don't understand why there's a protest, educate yourself. Decide how you feel about the issue. I really hate to tell you this, but those women who dressed in vagina costumes aren't throwing a temper tantrum, that was the fastest way to get noticed.

5. If you're an artist, create more art. Make it beautiful. Make it shocking. Make a strong statement. If you think you have no talent, learn a craft. Learn to sew, cook, or carve. Learn a skill that is useful. If nothing else, learn CPR.

6. Be independent. Do for yourself, grow your own food, and gain an understanding of how things work. Can you change your oil? Can you change a flat time? Do you know how to turn off the water if a pipe bursts? Are the fuses labeled? Do you know how to tell if the fuse blew or just tripped?

7. Be kind. Leave a big tip. Put change in the parking meter. Hold open doors. Say please and thank you. If someone bumped into you would they walk away pleased to have met you or would they wish they had crossed the street to avoid you?

8. Do magick. Do magick every day whether you are a Witch or not. Everyone can make wishes. We can all carry good luck charms. And I can curse the bad guys.

In my next post, I will go into more detail about herbal magick. There's two very distinctly different forms but it rarely gets talked about.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Tidying Up

My sewing shed is not solely mine. Currently I share that space with my husband and his tools. I wouldn't mind,  except no one is capable of putting things back where they belong. I can't use my work table because there's always a toolbox or 3. Which is a shame. It's a very nice industrial work bench type of table, complete with a lovely metal shelf. Things came to a head a week ago. I went out around 7am for much needed thread. The door was standing open. I despise that because when the door is open any critter can wander in. The light was on. I realized it had been on for over 24 hours since 2 nights before my husband was working on a car. And sure enough, the lamp he was using was still plugged in (hence the reason the door was open- no outside outlet). I think it's a horrible waste of electricity, plus bugs are attracted to lights shining in the darkness. I tried to go in but there was a pile of tools just inside the door. I got mad. I locked the shed. It took my husband 3 days to notice, then he was mad. Now I have to take my keys with me every time I go out there and when I forget them I get mad all over again. Locking the door hasn't resolved the problem. Grudgingly I left the shed open this weekend so my husband could use the saw. He sent the boys into the shed to put up tools. They dropped tools at the door, then left the door open.

My temari ball didn't work out at all. My instructions suck. I thought I just wasn't grasping the concept, but no, the instructions are missing steps. I found more detailed instructions online, but it really discouraged me so now I don't want to work on the ball. I still think temari would make a lovely spell but when I realize my entire book is probably lacking information I don't want to do anything related to temari. It makes me irritable knowing I probably have to search for each stitch pattern.

The dragon I am making for the guild show is coming together lovely but slow. I picked a dense stitch pattern. Looks great, should hold up well, but damn it eats yarn like a pig. I don't have anything that looks like a dragon yet. The show is in July, the piece must be turned in the last week of June, and I am starting to stress about time. To complicate matters, I decided to participate in an auction in September. I have TWO works to complete this summer.

I have gotten tired of not being in shape. Now each time I finish a round of sewing I take a walk. I feel better but I think I am sewing less. Maybe I am using a lack of productivity as an excuse not to exercise.

Now you know why there wasn't a Stitch Witch post with pictures.

Monday, January 23, 2017

What I Have Learned About Stitch Witchery Thus Far

1. Probably most people will groan when I say this, but it is the math that makes the magick. I understand, you hate math. You think it is an acronym- Mental Abuse To Humans. I feel you. That's why I majored in English. But the pattern is math and the repition is how the power builds. All forms of sewing use math. It's basic math, and we all have cell phones with calculators so please just use the available technology to do the math. Having all the pieces fit is one of the things that makes the work beautiful. There are about 10,000 videos per technique and 90% show you shortcuts so you don't have to struggle with math. If you take the time to research you will find something you understand. So stop fearing the blueprint of the Universe because math will never go away.

2. Order is vital. I don't just mean keeping supplies or notions neat, though that's super important. I mean the magick flows well when you plan carefully. Ideally, the most successful spell would be you decide what working to do, find a project that best suits your intention, pick the best time to begin, gather, cleanse, and empower supplies, then work magick constantly as you sew. Deciding midway through a cross stitch sampler that it could be a protection spell lessens the power. It could still work, but you have more power with magick at the very beginning.

3. There's always a problem. You're going to run out of thread, break a needle, miscount, read directions wrong, sew something in upside-down, or realize at the end your perfectly made dress is a size too small. Fix what mistakes you can, gift it to someone who is that size, turn the too small quilt block into a pot holder, or just start over. It's life.

4. Magick begs attention. Every single time I do a stitch witch spell I gain an audience.  You might decide you could make a living sewing by how many people are interested in your work.

5. While there are Witches who make spells with needlework, there is no set tradition of Stitch Witchery. This is not something easily given in a generic form to span across different crafts. My favorite books on the subject are Magical Fabric Art by Sandra McCraw Scarpa and Dorothy Morrison's Magical Needlework.  Morrison's book covers several different kinds of projects so it is useful in demonstrating how to use magick no matter what kind of sewing you do, but it doesn't cover everything and it is rather simplified because she isn't writing a sewing book that allows the reader to progress in skill. The critics of Magical Fabric Art complain that the book only covers obvious stuff that every Witch should already know like enchanting tools and storing the quilt in a magick box to keep it free of mundane influences. I think the book would be absolutely massive if she had gone into quilt block meanings or how to use blocks as spells. Lengthy lists would arise just listing block names as protective or prosperity or healing. I think the book gives a good overview of what could be done. Remember, no one has gathered the information for us. We are compiling our personal journey as we go along.

After I wrote the rough draft of this post, I found another favorite book, Domiknitrix by Jennifer Stafford. I especially like her page on the boyfriend curse and her steps to decide whether such a thing could happen to you.

6. Skill before magick. You can't learn to knit and successfully cast spells at the same time. The magick isn't going to flow until you learn the stitches.

7. That being said, magick can help you learn new skills. Most sewing is very meditative. If you embrace that and open your mind to enjoying the experience, things could just click into place for you. You may find it's not as difficult as others claim.

8. There is no end. You will never know everything there is to know about all kinds sewing, thus you will never stop finding ways to add magick to your work.

9. Use the best of everything. People who are good at sewing do not work with cheap thread or cheap anything. While they are very capable of turning old clothes into quilt pieces, they will sew with sharp needles. Their pins aren't bent or rusty. Fabric scissors are not used on paper. They take care of what they have and use it wisely.

10. Magick doesn't need to be obvious. You don't need to embroider runes in order for the project to be a spell. You can trace sigils with your fingers or simply chant as you sew. It doesn't have to be black or purple or star print fabric.

11. Sewing is magick. Even if you aren't trying to do a spell. It's magick because it's creation, because it's art, because you put your time and effort into it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Going Along

Right now I'm tired. A Witch's work is never done, and neither is an artist's,  or a mother's. I am all three. Sometimes I wonder why I keep trying.

I am starting to have success with the broom. Today when I picked it up it felt heavier, sort of like picking up a small pet. The handle is starting to turn darker. When I sit on the couch and glance at the fireplace tools I can definitely tell which one is the broom. I think using the broom has averted trouble. I discovered someone was up to go good. When I took steps to protect myself I found out why their plan failed. I feel better, but just to be on the safe side I did an additional protection spell.
I have lots of keys. These were my father's. Crossed keys are a powerful charm. At first I tied them together with red thread. They shifted around badly. I tried gluing the keys together but the glue wouldn't hold metal to metal. Finally I glued the keys to popsicle sticks, then glued the sticks together. That worked perfectly. I have made 2 sets to be buried at the front and back doors of my house. I will add red thread and banishing herbs to set the spell. Just because a spell is traditionally worked one way does not mean that is the only way to do it. I really like how this came out and I will make more key charms. Now that I have a usable charm I am thinking of more applications.

I'm still plucking along with my art. I do some every day. Some days I get really tired of what I'm working on. Sometimes I really want to start another project but I don't because that leads to never finishing anything. I have reached a point in my life where having a completed project I'm proud of is more important than having been involved with multiple projects.

Monday I plan to be back on weekly posts. I'll have stitch magick to show you.