Posted in Cottage Witchcraft, Hippie Lifestyle

Hippie Witch Renewal

IMG_1231When I wrote this, I hadn’t realized today was the new moon. After reading it with that in mind, I realized it was a reawakening of sorts. Never underestimate the power of the moon.

Enough of a break. And no more declarative announcements about leaving Paganism/Wicca, taking breaks, or anything like that. If I need a break, I’ll simply take it. I’ve exhausted you & myself with that kind of stuff. I value you guys so much, and I need to remember that on a daily basis!

Yesterday was one of those internal, soul-searching days for me. Those are somewhat dangerous for me, as they can morph into a depressive state. There was a bit of that, but mostly I was just thinking about the person I’ve become.

I’ve often said that I’m mostly hippie and slightly goth. True enough, but the hippie is definitely overshadowing the goth. It started when I was pondering the fact that I’m still using store-bought liquid hand soap, which has about 20 ingredients I can’t even pronounce. I’ve decided to cut down on that, hoping to phase it out. Bar soap is healthier, and less drying. I found myself on Amazon, looking up soap holders, thinking these are what I will get.

While I was thinking about that, I was thinking about my deodorant situation. I’ve mostly settled into a patchouli & almond oil blend, similar to what I use as a facial moisturizer, but with a bit more patchouli. I do defer to Degree deodorant if we will be somewhere crowded, where people might be sensitive to patchouli. I’ve noticed that on days when I use the homemade blend, even if I sweat, I don’t stink. I think I’ve detoxed my underarms. Because I’ve gotten some oil stains on a couple of shirts, I am going to cut down on the amount I use, and see how that goes.

Patchouli is my default scent. We are a patchouli family couple, and even my wife loves it now. That’s good, because when I take a load of towels out of the dryer, there is always a faint patchouli scent. Patchouli is an acquired scent, but it took me about 3 seconds to acquire it!

We used to lead a more lavish lifestyle. Not a Donald Trump lavish, but a middle class lavish. With the onset of hippie-witchdom, that all went away. Gone are the days of full closets of clothes, buying unnecessary trinkets, overspending on gifts, or new cars every few years. It took a while to get away from the “I want, want, want” lifestyle, but we’ve managed to do it.

One of the hardest things to overcome was jealousy over some of the things other people have. Coming from a “keeping up with the Joneses” lifestyle to a self-imposed simple lifestyle is a process. Part of the process is realizing it involves sacrifices. There is a shift in  what makes you happy. Sure, the purchase of a new (fill in the blank) might make you happy for a bit, but we still have lots of stuff sitting in curio cabinets that brought us joy for a bit, but are now largely ignored. Not going out all the time was difficult at first, but spending quality time at home ends up being better.

If I could impart one piece of wisdom on those just starting out on their own it would be this: before you purchase something, ask yourself if that item will bring you happiness, and if so, for how long? If we had all the money we spent on things that brought us only momentary happiness, we’d have a lot more financial security, which would definitely make up happier! Find your base-line joy level, and stick close to it.

It’s hard to not want a lot of things if you spend much time online. My Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook feeds are full of sparkly Pagan goodies that are tempting. Witchcraft can be practiced with no tools, or items at all, but you sure couldn’t tell that by the number of people and companies peddling stones, tools, crystals, oils, herbs, tarot readings, astrology readings, and on and on. I’m not saying to never buy anything. I have plenty of that stuff! And I’m happy people are able to make a living selling it. But it’s so easy to fall into a trap of constantly wanting more stuff. Sometimes to one’s financial detriment.

This has morphed, or perhaps was in the first place, a hippie stream of consciousness. I love how Paganism, Wicca, and witchcraft was able to rekindle my inner hippie. I am happy to have broken free from a total consumerism lifestyle.

I’ve subjected you to enough! Thanks for reading my ramblings, and I hope this finds you healthy and happy.

Peace, and Blessed Be!

 

Posted in Cottage Witchcraft, Wicca/Witchcraft

My Wicca: Absolute Belief is Essential

86DC5EB4-95B8-493F-A352-D46153D8F75BWithin the past year, I’ve had a couple of freak-outs. Like “I’m gonna leave the Craft” kind of freak-outs. Thankfully I managed to put those behind me, and I must say I’ve been a happy witch since. Over the past month, I’ve really ramped up my devotion to witchcraft, to infusing magick into our home, and even to getting back to my Wiccan roots.  The fact that I am using the word “Wicca” more on social media hasn’t gone without notice to me.

I do think of myself as a cottage witch and a Wiccan. Yes, in the past I’ve moved away from regular, more formal rituals, in favor of small bits of magick sprinkled around our home on a daily basis. But what I discovered is that for me, it does help to have some kind of ritual on at least a semi-regular basis. I think it keeps me grounded, and helps cement my relationship with the gods and goddesses.

What! The gods and goddesses?? Hey mister, wasn’t there a time in the recent past that you decided that the deities were archetypes? Hmmm?

Well, I’ll admit, that’s true. That nagging logic part of my brain that says, “Cmon, there’s no proof.” Ultimately, that’s pretty much true. However, I think that as a witch & Wiccan, my relationship with deity is way different than say, a Judea/Christian, who, when it comes right down to it, fears their God. Their God is one of death. By that I mean that his/her followers are trying their best to please their deity, in order to get a good seat in the afterlife. The orchestra pit isn’t as attractive to them in death as it is in life..

I don’t think the deities care that much about me. I think they cosmically do, or have done their thing, and we are just momentary commuters to them. I do think you can appeal to a deity for whatever reason, and maybe, just maybe, they will lend you a hand. But for the most part, witchcraft is all about you controlling your own life and destiny, not praying to a deity for his or her help on a constant basis.

As an example, take casinos. How many prayers to the Judea/Christian God are asked in a gambling setting each day? Thousands, right? Conversely, as a witch, I might create a good luck bag, using stones, herbs, oils, crystals, or whatever else may be needed, and carry that with me. Or perhaps, cast a spell before going to gamble. No asking deities for the right card or a good spin.

The key to all the witchcraft happenings, the spells, the rituals, the deities, the guardians of the watchtowers, the elements, the power of stones, oils, herbs, etc., etc, is one thing: rock solid belief. Janet Farrar, long time Wiccan author, wrote in her bookProgressive Witchcraft: Spirituality, Mysteries, and Training in Modern Wicca, that in order to practice the spirituality of witchcraft, she believed belief in deity was vitally import (I paraphrased there).

There are times of doubt for most all of us. Our logical brain tries to kick out the unseen, the things we can’t possibly wrap our minds around. And yes, I guess you can be a witch without believing in deities. But that is a practice, not a spiritual path. That witchcraft is all about spells and the mechanics of magick. But many of us need more. We need an empowerment brought on by a belief system. And that is exactly why I’ve gravitated back to Wicca.

I think my power lies within my total belief and acceptance of the existence of deity, and the full, unwavering belief in the power of magick through witchcraft.

Blessed Be!

Posted in Cottage Witchcraft, Wicca/Witchcraft

Witchcraft Intuition

img_3371Firstly, I have to admit that I’m floored by the fact that tomorrow is July 1st. The older I get, the faster time seems to slip away. Remembering back 40+ years, the summer days would seem to last forever, and that was a good thing. We were disconnected, unlike today, and that was probably a better time, as far as our physical and mental health was concerned.

This morning, I found this blog post in my inbox. It’s a short post, but I think, carries a big message. The author, a kitchen witch, writes about using intuition when putting together spells, or even simply what to have on hand for magical purposes.

This struck a chord with me, and I left a comment to that effect. In today’s world, with the internet, everyone who has an opinion can voice it online. There is no shortage of people out there in the witchcraft community (if there even is such a thing) who want to tell you exactly how to be a witch, perform ritual and spells, and even judge your path. There is also no shortage of books, with authors giving precise instructions on how to be a witch, Pagan, Wiccan, or whatever.

Every witch was a newbie at one time. We all remember reading books, and trying our best to adhere to the exact instructions given in whatever book we were currently reading or using. Yes, there are some general concepts that need to be learned to be a witch. However, we often lose sight of the fact that the authors of any how-to witchcraft book are instructing you on their particular style of practice. It is their opinion.

I’ve seen message boards with questions by those new to the Craft, excessively worried about using archaic language, because that’s what the author said had to be used. I’ve seen people panicked over the fact that they didn’t have a purple candle, and wondering if a white candle would work. I went out and bought all the stuff books instructed me I had to have to be a proper witch. I spent hundreds of dollars buying essential oils and herbs that seemed common to many spells. Many of those oils have never had the seal broken. Some were purchased in my first year in 2004.

It’s common that our excitement over the path rushes us to do as instructed. But what we should do is take our time, absorb the information in books, and then armed with that information, use our intuition to be our best guide. There are books on what color candle to use, what kind of stone, crystal, herb, or oil to use, and when exactly we should do a particular spell or ritual. Those can help guide us, but what we feel is right should carry a lot of weight also.

Ultimately, perhaps we should let those feelings, our intuition, our gut reactions guide us. If you are drawn to an ingredient or object that is different than the one suggested, then maybe that’s the right choice for you. If you feel strongly to amend a spell, or even think up one of your own, well then do it.

In the end, it’s important to realize that there is no rule book on how to be a witch. We have no bible, or other sacred tome that is central to our path. We have a lot of books by authors who make suggestions, some really, really good ones, and some that are just silly. The how-to books, chosen carefully, give us a foothold to the Craft, but once those are digested, it’s up to you to determine your best way of practicing. Because really, the archaic language isn’t really necessary unless it means something to you, and a candle, often dipped in a color vat somewhere in Vietnam or China, really doesn’t mean that much per se, only if it means something to you.

Let your conscious and intuition be your guide.

Thanks to the author of that blog post for inspiring this post, and happy July 2016 everyone!

Blessed Be!

Posted in Cottage Witchcraft, Wicca/Witchcraft

Hail Vesta! Goddess of the Hearth

vspToday is a holiday observed by some in the Pagan community called Vesta’s Opening. Vesta, in simplistic terms was the Roman goddess of the hearth. Vesta’s name roughly translates to “torch,” and she was thought of as “Keeper of the Flame.” If you ever use or hear the phrase, “keep those home fires burning,” you can thank Vesta for that.

Vesta usually appeals to women, as a symbol of domestic empowerment. Me, having a deep connection to my feminine side (there’s no explaining it, I just always have), have a great fondness for Vesta. Actually, my greatest connection is with Hestia, who was the Greek incarnation of the Goddess of the Hearth. I tend to default to the Greek gods and goddesses.

I am in charge of our home. I do the cooking, cleaning, laundry, and most of the home chores. I enjoy doing it, always have, and my wife is delighted about it, as she absolutely hates doing those things. So I’ve always felt an affinity for Hestia.

The Roman version of Hestia, who was Vesta, had her scope of influence widened by the Romans. Not only was she thought of as Keeper of the Flame at home, but they made her a goddess of the community and public fires.

I bring all this up because today my calendar informed me was Vesta’s Opening. In ancient Rome, the Feast of Vesta began on June 7th. On June 9th the Vestal virgins opened the holy sanctuary so women who baked goods could come into the temple and give the baked goods, usually bread, as offerings to Vesta. After 8 days, the temple was closed, it was cleaned, and the temple then reopened.

On the 15th, donkeys (Vesta’s sacred animal) were decorated with wreaths as part of the temple opening celebrations. Thus today’s incarnation of Vesta’s Opening.

There is more information on this page, including a Litha spell/ritual that I have performed for several years. It is simple, yet reverential to the Goddess of the Hearth.

So today, if you feel so moved, give thanks to Vesta for your home and hearth. Perhaps light a candle in the kitchen in her honor, and even give that ritual a try later this month.

Blessed Be!

Posted in Cottage Witchcraft, Everyday Life

A More Simple Lifestyle

IMG_1242Thought I’d lighten the mood a bit today. In other blogs I’ve written about my personal quest to carve our a more natural, simple lifestyle, but not here. So I thought I’d share a few thoughts. First, let me say I’m a meat eating, pizza loving, booze consuming guy. I grew up in an era where there was not a lot of emphasis on organic or vegetarianism. Our parents smoked in the house and car, and my siblings and I rode in the back part of a station wagon where there were zero seatbelts. The idea of wearing a helmet while riding our bikes occurred to no one. Now in my 50’s, I am a bit more careful, but I don’t think I could give up meat, and I like a cocktail here and there, and there, and there..

However, when my wife and I decided to start living a simpler lifestyle, I began thinking about all the cleaning & personal health care products we drag home from Target. I took a hard look at the list of ingredients and yeah, ick. So I went about making some changes.

For a cleaning spray, I find a vinegar & water mix is quite sufficient in most cases. Add some tea tree oil (careful with pets) or lemon essential oil, and it’s more effective. There are tons of websites with homemade cleaning product recipes. Careful with vinegar on porous surfaces, laminated wood toilet seats and grout. Vinegar eats away at that kind of stuff.

To be very honest, I have gotten lazy and use 7th Generation products a lot. For 3 bucks, their cleaning spray is great, as well as their dishwasher detergent, tub & tile cleaner, and toilet bowl cleaner.

I have mostly stopped using Clorox 2 and Downy. I buy a bottle of Downy a few times a year, and use it sparingly. Honestly, I can’t ever tell the difference if I use Clorox 2 or not. My wife swears by Dawn dish soap, and since I cook and she does the dishes that don’t get washed in the dishwasher, she makes that choice. We used to use Swiffer Wet Jet for our wood and tile floors, but now find that plain water does a fine job in most cases. I will admit that Swiffer floor and hand dusters are great because we have pets.

I still use Tide, but here’s the thing. As it got more “concentrated,” the caps that you use to measure out the detergent stayed the same size. So I use about 1/2 of what they suggest, and I’ve never noticed a difference. Same with Clorox 2 or Downy if you use those. The dryer sheets have disappeared from our home completely.

I’m planning to tackle homemade liquid hand soap. Personally, I think it’s more cost effective to buy it, but take a look at the photo at the top of this post of that list of ingredients of Target hand soap. It’s cringe worthy. Not to single out Target brand. Soft Soap label is almost exactly the same.

As a guy, I don’t use a lot of “beauty” products. I completely stopped using face wash. Water only washing has improved my complexion so much I’m baffled by it. Instead of body wash, a bar of soap suffices in the shower. To be brutally honest, except for a few obvious body areas, you don’t absolutely need soap every time you shower.

I use the water only method for hair washing most of the time. It takes time getting used to. There are tons of websites on water only or “no poo” washing. I will admit to using shampoo on my beard every day. Otherwise, it gets weirdly flaky. For a moisturizer, I fill a 2 ounce dropper bottle with sweet almond oil (I would use jojoba if it didn’t cost an arm and a leg), and I add about 10 or so drops of patchouli oil. I use this while my face and beard are wet, let it sit for a bit, then pat dry with tissue. Again, this has cleared up dry/greasy skin problems, and other complexion problems.

For deodorant, I mostly use the same mixture I use on my face, but that bottle has a few more drops of patchouli. Again, I let it soak in, then pat it dry. I don’t sweat a lot, so I’m lucky there. I will tell you that for awhile, I noticed a bit of odor at the end of the day. But after a month or so, that went away. Your body does adjust. It was 95 yesterday, I used the patchouli/almond oil mixture, and this morning I smell, well, neutral. I do use a regular deodorant if I know I will be in close quarters with others, such as a theater, because I know some people just hate any trace of patchouli. The thing is with the patchouli deodorant and the face moisturizer is balance.  You don’t want to absolutely reek of patchouli. Faint scent is the goal.

For first aid use, essential oils are really helpful. Lavender used on cuts and scrapes is great. I’ve found patchouli, lavender, tea tree, lemon, eucalyptus, rosemary and ginger are the most useful essential oils for me. Again, there are lots of websites on the use of oils.  They are very concentrated, so please, learn about them before using them!! And I don’t ever use them on or around pets. I know some people do, but that just scares me. I would suggest Mountain Rose Herbs for a supplier, but there are many reputable sellers. But seriously, do some homework before using essential oils.

So those are just some of the changes we’ve made in order to live a bit more naturally and Eco-friendly. It’s not perfect, but it’s head and tails above how we used to live.

Blessed Be!

 

 

Posted in Cottage Witchcraft, Everyday Life, Wicca/Witchcraft

The Sum Total of Many Things

170A2113-D640-4637-8372-3D9E8553F517Distancing myself from a depression fueled meltdown I had recently, I’ve decided to settle in for the long term with this blog. Having spent a lot of meditative time thinking about the ongoing direction of my spiritual path, I’ve realized that these words most describe me: Pagan, witch, eclectic Wiccan, hippie, patchouli, goth, cottage witch, kitchen witch, green witch.

This blog certainly fits the bill, with “eclectic Wiccan” & “goth” standing out a bit. I have to say that while I think of myself as polytheistic, I still find myself using Wiccan techniques, rituals, prayers, and magickal workings. However, I’m outside the proper definition of Wicca enough, that I don’t really feel it’s appropriate to classify myself strictly as a Wiccan. So cottage witch is a more comfortable fit.

Most things about me are hippie-esque. Clothes, being barefoot or wearing sandals, earthiness, concern about the earth, and absolute love & addiction to patchouli. However, there are some tell-tale goth traits too. I love goth music, art, literature, and many of the lifestyle traits. I love exploring cemeteries, anything to do with hauntings, ghosts, the paranormal and goth decor.

If you put hippie & goth on opposite sides of a scale, it would tip hippie, but not by all that much. So maybe we go with gothic hippie.

Ultimately, there is not anything requiring me to classify myself as one thing or another. Let’s just say I’m the sum total of that aforementioned list in the first paragraph. For purposes of this blog, we’ll go with hippie cottage witch for simplicity.

Sorry for the me, me, me post, but I needed to write down what has been spinning around in my head for the last week or so. Thanks for indulging me, and I promise to lighten the hell up!

Blessed Be!

Posted in Cottage Witchcraft, Wicca/Witchcraft

No Apologies For My Blessed Be’s

1205091004585117-blessed_be_goddessBlessed Be. Merry meet. Blessings to you. Merry part. Those are some phrases I find myself writing increasingly often. Obviously, before I became a Wiccan a dozen years ago, I had never written them. I used those phrases quite often in the first 5-6 years of my practice but after that, I seemed to stop using them.

When I ponder why that was, I think it probably had something to do with the growing anti-Wiccan sentiment among many in the witchcraft community. I still see that today. Some witches will go out of their way to say they “are NOT Wiccan!” or simply bash the path as “fluffy.” For some time that bothered the hell out of me. In fact that, coupled with curiosity, led me to explore alternate Craft paths. Yet I always came back to Wicca.

What’s interesting about many of those witches who are NOT Wiccan! is that when they describe their practices, their spell work, their rituals, and how they live their path, it sure sounds a lot like Wicca. They may not cast a circle, or claim not to believe in the few tenants of Wicca, but overall much of their practice is often Wiccan based.

Obviously, there are many witches whose practice is completely different than Wicca. I see instances of that all the time. But what’s interesting is those are the people who are not taking time to belittle the Wiccan path.

I’m not quite sure what motivates a person to disparage another person’s path. I think some of it may be due to the fact that many new to Paganism and witchcraft enter via Wicca, simply due to the availability of information. Scott Cunningham has welcomed perhaps most of us to witchcraft. Newbies seem to really bother some people, but sometimes people forget their own learning curve. And yes, some people will read one book, or look at a few websites and declare themselves to be Wiccan. But I think that probably happens in many witchcraft paths.

Blessed Be, Merry Meet, Merry Part, are not-quite-archaic-but-kinda pleasantries. They are a nice way to greet or well wish other Pagans, witches, etc. They are one of the first things many latch onto when they begin their Pagan paths, but are often discarded later on. As I envelop myself deeper and deeper in Wicca and cottage witchery, I seem to have this need to embrace more of the niceties of these paths. I find myself emotionally pulling away from the witch wars, Pagan controversies, and negativity that seems to seep into every facet of our lives these days.

I’ve noticed that I have lost most of my interest in the day to day political crap that is thrown at us from every front. While I realize that Paganism and Wicca isn’t all light and happiness, I’m finding the need to lean that way. Perhaps it’s my age, getting older, less interested in the day to day combat that many care to wage. Whatever the reason, it seems to be making me a better person, especially toward others. That seems to be a wonderful take-away from being on this earthen spiritual path.

So…. Blessed Be!