Posted in Everyday Life, Wicca/Witchcraft

Peaceful Mind, Calm Spirit

I’ve decided to post more often here, even if it just a photo, or inspirational artwork that I’ve found somewhere online. As anyone who blogs knows, if you aren’t selling or promoting something, it’s difficult to come up with a constant flow of deep daily posts.

But I would like to feel like I’m staying in touch with those who choose to follow this blog on a more regular basis.

Today, I have to do something that I’m not particularly looking forward to, and fortuitously, I found this inspiration in my photos.

Have a wonderful day, and Blessed Be!

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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 Everyday Life, Wicca/Witchcraft

Feeling the Pain of Senseless Violence

Being an empath, I tend to feel the pain of others probably more than my own pain. I emotionally feel the suffering to the point that it’s almost a physical pain. But the world is so dangerous these days, that I have learned to block out the violence and hatred of events over which I have no control. Basically, it’s a self-preservation technique. Otherwise, I’d be constantly drained of energy.

That being said, for some reason, the violent, deadly events in south Florida have hit me like a ton of bricks. The senseless killing of the young singer, and the mass shooting at the nightclub have made me very, very sad. I wasn’t familiar with the young lady, nor I doubtfully know any of the victims of the nightclub violence, but the sheer awfulness of both events weigh on me heavily.

There is a heaviness hanging over our society, and perhaps that magnifies these brutalities. The political climate in the United States is spectacularly grim. The hatred and intolerance are palpable. When our “leaders” provoke the rage of segments of society, how can we be shocked over escalating violence? When the gun lobby exerts so much influence over our elected officials that the deaths of 20 children between the ages of 6 and 7 at Sandy Hook Elementary school moves no one to do anything about our gun problem, how can I be shocked over some hateful, perhaps disturbed person walking into a nightclub that caters to LGBT customers, and open fire with a yet another assault rifle?

I’m not surprised, I’m just deeply saddened and troubled over it all. As a Wiccan, I understand that I don’t have any kind of power to prevent events such as this happening. But tomorrow, I’m going to perform some kind of ritual that at least expresses my feeling about this to the deities. It’s what I can do, it’s all I can do.

My heart goes out to the families of all the victims of these violent acts. They are feeling pain that far too many families feel due to senseless violence.

Posted in Everyday Life, Wicca/Witchcraft

On Becoming A Pleasant Witch

This is a post I’ve written before, or at least like one I had written. It’s basically about my evolution as a person since I embraced Wicca in the early part of 2004. It’s relatively difficult to change as a person. We may desire to change, and we may change for awhile, but real change is a challenge. It can happen though, sometimes by sheer willpower, and sometimes simply as a result of circumstances.

Beginning in high school, even though I was a hippie kid (this was the 70’s!), I was a cynical shit. I wore that badge of cynicism proudly. I thought I was being smart and mature. This pretty well continued until my life was shattered by death and divorce in the late 80’s. Cynicism gave way to hopelessness.

Luckily, I managed to make it through that period. Friends told me later that they were unsure I would live through those several years. My life eventually got back on track, but never completely. It was really one of those life experiences which is said to change you forever.

But sure enough, the cynicism came back like a champ, like a bad penny. By this time I had dropped all spirituality, including any trace of my birth religion. A lifelong affiliation with my birth congregation had proven useless when I really needed them, so, you know, screw them.

By the early 2000’s, I began to feel the need for some spirituality in my life. I didn’t want some organized religion that valued money over most everything else. I found Wicca. I’ve written before about how that happened, so I won’t go into details.

Then, something weird happened. I changed. Cynicism gave way to open-mindedness. Let’s be honest, it’s impossible to believe in a God and Goddess, the existence of many deities, and the power of magick, without having an open mind. Cynical people could never be Wiccans or witches. Never.

Losing cynicism made me a more pleasant person. If you look at the world with an open mind, you are absolutely going to be a nicer individual. This is not to say I’m not suspect about things from time to time. I am, but it isn’t my default life outlook, and that feels like a weight that was lifted off my shoulders.

I’ve always loved the movie Harvey. In one scene, Jimmy Stewart has a line that I can now identify with. And here it is:

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 Everyday Life, Wicca/Witchcraft

The Broom Closet: In or Out?

MuCNJptToday I joined another Pagan/witchcraft group on Facebook. Let me preface this by saying that I am using Facebook less and less. I was quite active in the past, but came to the conclusion that I was “talking” to the same people over and over again, and many of them couldn’t have cared less about the things I found interesting. In my Facebook realm, the posts that get the most attention seem to be pictures of kids, grandkids, and pets. While I find some of those wonderful, several daily doses of that become tedious. So my Facebook has largely become a news aggregator and a collection of Pagan/witchcraft pages I like, and groups to which I belong.

I’ve stated in the past that I’m pretty well out as a Pagan. It says so right there on my mundane Twitter account, and on my religion info section of my Facebook page. However, I’ve never mentioned the word “Wiccan” or “witch.” One must remember that I came to this path in my 40’s, twelve years ago, so even being Pagan was hard for some to swallow. A few people did find out about my Wiccan path about 8 years ago, and we lost one couple to their own small-mindedness. I really see no need to shove witchcraft in anyone’s face. I didn’t do that with my birth religion, so why should I do that with Wicca?

I have boatloads of envy for people who either grow up in a Pagan home, or young people who find the path early in life, and who have no hesitation outwardly living their path. The  people who become friends with them know of their spiritual path, and could really be considered true friends. Plus these young people get a lifetime of joy from their paths.

But I digress. On Facebook, you can control what others see to some extent. When I join a Pagan/witchcraft group, I “hide” it from my timeline via the Activity Log. However, if you post on a public page that will show up in your timeline. A closed group post won’t. However, if someone who was friends with me happened to look through group pages, it would indicate that I am a member of the group, or “like” a page. I’ve actually come across two friends like that in witchcraft groups, and I had no idea that they were on the path.

Ultimately, I’ve outed my witchcraft self is anyone took the time to dig a bit. This would have freaked me out 10 years ago. But as I get older, I care less and less about what others think. And frankly, most people are so concerned about what others think of them, they don’t have time to worry about others.

I’ve followed a lot of Pagans and witches on my mundane Twitter feed too. So there’s another big clue. But honestly, I don’t feel I can be as open there as I can on my Pagan Twitter account, so I find myself spending 90% of my time on the latter. I do have a witchcraft Facebook account, and I do spend some time there. Frankly, I worry about getting kicked off Facebook for having two accounts. Oddly enough, on that witchcraft account, I have almost as many “friends” as I do on my mundane account. Pagans and witches are a friendly group, that’s for sure.

If I were a young person, I think my biggest concern about fully coming out of the broom closet would be the employment situation. I realize that, unfortunately, being known as a witch doesn’t sit well with some people. I’d be interested to hear from some out-of-the-closet Pagans and witches regarding their experiences about that. If you try to get a job at a large company or corporation, does your spirituality become an issue in the hiring process? How are you perceived/accepted by your coworkers?

I read about witches & Pagans becoming upset about employers asking them to take off a pentagram necklace while their Christian counterparts are openly wearing crosses. It’s not fair in the least. I have seen some damn big pentagram necklaces though, and that might be pushing it a bit far. Balance is probably best.

So I would say that I have one foot out of the broom closet with the other inching towards the door. I do think there is something to be said about witchcraft secrecy. It’s kind of like having an ace up your sleeve. In your heart, you know that you have a certain power that others don’t possess.

I know that there are lots of interesting stories out there among my fellow Pagans and witches regarding the broom closet. I would love to read any thoughts or comments you have on the subject. Please feel free to leave a comment!

Thanks for reading!

Blessed Be

Posted in Cottage Witchcraft, Everyday Life

When A Wife Knows Best

800acfa102aaec37479833fe4f16809aSo the other day, I kinda made the decision to move away from a hippie lifestyle, and replace it with with one that was more gothic in nature. I made some noise about being able to lessen depression by embracing a darker outlook, and this is not something with which I am unfamiliar. I’ve lived a goth-based path in the past, and it just seemed like I needed to revisit it.

Enter my wife. She happened to take a look at my Twitter on Saturday, and sauntered into the room I was in and her words were, as close as I remember, “What the fuck are you doing online? I wasn’t quite sure what she was talking about, and gave her a look like, what? For the next ten minutes she expressed her concerns about, and this is in no particular order: changing my Craft name (she loves Patchouli Sky), adopting a darker outlook (“your outlook is dark enough without looking for more ways to make it dark”), changing blogs (she loves this one), and flip-flopping online (those people are going to think you are crazy).

Oh, there was more, but lets just skip the particulars. One of her major points was: “you love the goth decor, and some of the art, music, and practices, but that doesn’t mean you have to go all dark on me!” Then she went on about it being the bright time of the year, time to go out and ride my bike for hours every day, do stuff outside, play with the grandkids at the park, and just get out and enjoy nature.

Then there was the Cupid arrow through my heart. “I love the hippie you. I like you worrying about the earth, making homemade stuff, watching baseball games, and herb gardening with me all summer. I don’t want you to get in that darker frame of mind.”

Well shit. She knows me better than I know me, and she’s been observing the witch me for 12 years out of our 26 together. She has an objective opinion. As Jack Bauer would say, “Dammit!”

As a result of our discussion, and her convincing pitch, let me just say:

Never mind…….